Seismic heard the man's voice in his head and felt one thing from it: confidence.
Confidence in spite of how horribly things seemed to be going.
At face value, this situation seemed to be the worst there could be. If there could ever be a rock bottom to how things had turned out, Seismic imagined this was getting pretty damn close.
Not only had the Locus, a being of undeniably troublesome might, been revived from near death, it had been revived with even more strength than before.
Now, the Locus had access to all its evolved powers on top of the cold hard fact that it could also rapidly heal itself without any of the supposed limitations known from the Antaeic Factor.
That was not even to mention whatever entity had suddenly hijacked its mind. This, Seismic had no idea what to think about.
This entity seemed to be linked to the Antaeic Factor, and he had heard vague theories about some mastermind entity creating Loci and being the source of the Factor, but as a fighter, he never really read into the research of the variants he hunted down.
He just hunted.
And while he hunted, he relied on his instincts more than any research or field report to survive.
Right now, Seismic's instincts screamed at him that the Locus was far, far more dangerous than it had been before.
When the Locus still spoke with words of curiosity, Seismic's instincts had felt the Locus was a threat, but one without much control over its own power. Like facing a child wielding power it had no idea how to use.
A being like that, Seismic could outmaneuver with greater experience. That was what he had tried to do beforehand by smashing it through a sinkhole by surprise. If Seismic's Crystallization had not flared up then, he might have even won.
How simple it would have been if Seismic had just won right then and there.
Now, though, when Seismic heard that strange, ringing voice emanating from the Locus, he could tell that this was a voice of both intelligence and killing intent that would utilize every tool at its disposal to eliminate its enemies.
That simple difference in mindset and mental capability made the Locus now infinitely more dangerous than it already had been before.
But even considering all of this, the armored man was dead set confident that he could end this fight here and now.
Seismic trusted the man. He did not know exactly why. His instincts usually never told him to trust anyone; a byproduct of walking the edge of life and death from intense fighting, often fighting alone, for decades.
But he did so now.
Seismic figured it was a side effect of resurrecting under the man's control, as he doubted that a careful man like that would raise someone as strong as Seismic without some way to control how he thought and acted.
Regardless of the technicalities, the fact of the matter was that Seismic would get overpowered soon enough if he kept struggling against the Locus's fist.
Seismic had come down, fought, and would soon lose. He had no choice left but to leave this to that man.
Knowing this, Seismic resolved to get out of this situation intact and alive. That man claimed he could heal Seismic's injuries, but nevertheless, Seismic did not want to take the risk suffering too much damage, not when he had been given a second lease on life, regardless of the conditions placed on it.
No matter what, Seismic would see his son again now that he knew someone else could handle this situation.
Seismic roared as he clenched the fist struggling against the Locus even harder, and the already broken knuckles within shattered with a grinding sound. The shrinking quake bubble around his fist detonated, shattering and releasing a burst of seismic waves that acted like a miniature explosion.
The earth rumbled and shook.
Unleashed seismic waves traveled across Seismic's arm, completely shattering all the bones within it into little fragments. Some of his bones splintered out of his arm, protruding in bloodied white chunks.
The same happened with the Locus as a burst of seismic waves shattered the white shell around its arms, causing blue blood to spurt out.
Then, right afterwards, Seismic and the Locus both flew backwards as the detonated seismic waves pushed them back.
Breaking quake bubbles early like this meant that Seismic had little control over the seismic waves that burst out from them. Normally, he had to focus to prevent his quakes from affecting himself by directing them away from himself as he actually did not have immunity to his own powers.
But in a situation like this where Seismic needed to make distance more than anything, he was fine eating his quakes and sacrificing an arm to get out of harm's way to clear the stage for that man to show up.
No, not just an arm.
As Seismic flew backwards from his own shockwaves, he coughed up blood from internal organs that suffered from the quakes that passed through him. Yet, perhaps because he was under that man's control, Seismic did not feel much pain at all from this.
What Seismic did feel pain from was his Crystallization. Nothing seemed to stop that. That pain still forced him to grit his teeth, feeling like a searing hot brand had been pressed deep into his lower back.
In comparison, when Seismic looked ahead to see how his foe was doing, he saw the Locus only drive backwards a little distance, skidding to a halt as the creature rapidly regenerated the damage done to its arm.
Seismic felt his body crash against soft feathers before lifting him up. The giant black feathered avian variant had swooped down to stop Seismic from hurtling back any further. Seemed that the avian variant could change the physical properties of its feathers from stiff and sturdy like metal to soft and impact cushioning.
The avian variant tossed Seismic onto its back with its beak before flying up in the air, rapidly getting him out of harm's way.
Seismic crawled up the bird's body to look down as he coughed up more blood, squinting his eyes as he tried to get a close look at how that man would handle this Locus situation.
The Voice stood tall as it stretched out its arms, showing off the cracked and damaged shell all around its body and how in just a few moments, white particles gathered around them, healing all the wounds into perfection.
It was an obvious power move. A way to assert that no matter what was thrown against it, it could always come back. That no matter how much anyone struggled, that struggle was utterly meaningless.
"Kindred, your champions fall to this one's child so easily," said the Voice. "First, that odd girl whose life also escaped this one's sense. Then, this human whom you have decided to take as your own. All others that you bear under you - they are not even worth mentioning.
Knowing this, will you not this one now?
Or perhaps you have already perished, and the last of your children now cast away their lives for your sake.
But no matter. This one will erase all trace of your aberrant existence, for you do not belong upon this world."
That was when the Voice's antennae twitched, sensing movement suddenly manifesting right within its vicinity. The Voice instantly reacted and turned around to its blind side, reaching out an arm and grabbing an invisible humanoid form by the head.
Dark wispy shadow clouds parted from whatever it was that the Voice grasped, revealing the appearance of a purple robed skeleton wielding a serrated dirk. The skeleton thrust the dirk into the Voice's head, very narrowly missing the eye due to the Voice's quick reaction.
The end result was that the blade simply shattered against the Voice's durable head shell, shards of broken black metal falling around the Voice like metal rain.
'Where did this creature come from?' thought the Voice as it briefly analyzed the moving skeleton in its arm with surprise. 'The antennae gifted unto this child can sense all manner of movement from great distance.
How could this creature conceal itself? And this one, too, like many of the Kindred's children, escape my life sense.
Are all these creatures not of this world?
No matter. If this level of creature is the best that the Kindred can now muster now that his greatest champions are gone, then there is nothing to fear.'
As the Voice thought this, right before it decided to crush the skeleton's skull to dust inside of its hand, the skeleton began to glow with a bright green light.
The Voice's eyes, gifted with the capacity to read all spectra of light and glimpse the flow of energy to remarkably clear levels, witnessed a rapid mass buildup of sheer, raw energy in the skeleton.
The tell-tale signs of an explosion.
The Voice's explosive entrance had been mirrored and used directly against it, almost as if to mock it.