Chapter 353 Mel Morales
Aldrich materialized his Frost-hallowed Warscythe, equipping himself to the max extent of his power. The only thing he would hold back was his solar ring as he wanted to access that with his Vane alter ego, differentiating the two identities further.
The scythe appeared in Aldrich's hands with a shower of blue and white fragments, like a miniature snowstorm given form. The air immediately chilled in the area. The concrete underneath Aldrich even started to frost.
Valera landed right beside Aldrich, taking a forty floor drop with ease. She stood up from a shattered indent in the concrete from the impact, fully adorned in her hound styled battle armor.
Chiros appeared as well, appearing on Aldrich's other side with a quick dash that left dust and rubble floating in the air. He had been out and about, talking with people to get a better idea of how humans in this world lived.
In the air, Crow circled.
From Crow's back, the Geist jumped off, cannon-balling into the ground in front of Aldrich. When he popped out of his crater, the Geist was notably different with an aura of black energy shimmering about him.
Demonic energy from the Fel Body Core that he had consumed, gifted to him by Aldrich from the Third Trial Quest's rewards.
"Geh! (Who is this!?)" said the Geist.
"An intruder," said Valera, grasping her shield tight. "A lone one, too."
Chiros unsheathed his Hellfire Blade, staring at Mel with quiet poise.
Skeletal Assassins slowly approached, forming a perimeter around Mel. Other undead and variants were all on high alert. Arcadia was outside the city right now, and she along with the sand worms and Clint and the Spearhorns formed a defensive perimeter.
"Why are you here? If you don't give a good explanation, you won't find it easy to leave, especially not after tampering with my citizens," said Aldrich. He had never spoken to Mel once throughout his stay in Blackwater.
Mel had not antagonized Aldrich and his group, no, in fact, she had even helped out somewhat.
Strength drew followers, and once Mel took the rank 1 spot, Seth Solar lost quite a few followers to Mel.
Mel helped them train for the most part, and because of that, they spent more time self-improving than harassing Aldrich and his friends.
Regardless, in a strictly personal sense, Mel had no connection to Aldrich.
And most likely, that would not matter either. Mel should have no idea Aldrich was Thanatos.
"I'm not here to fight," said Mel, raising her hands in the air. "I'm only here to talk. Needed to clear out the people, though. If they're in earshot of anything we say, bad things will happen to them."
"Is that a threat?" said Aldrich.
"Not a threat, but a warning."
"And what's the difference?"
"A big one."
Aldrich observed that Mel was not backing down despite being outnumbered. From what he had seen in Blackwater, Mel was strong, but not strong enough to overpower everyone here. Her barrier based power made her functionally invincible, but so long as that was Alter based, it was not going to save her from instant death magic.
'That one...is odd,' said Volantis. The All-Seeing Eye opened up on the helm of Aldrich's forehead.
Aldrich felt his head ache, the same way it did when he, or more specifically, Volantis saw Emrys. The All Seeing Eye was reacting here, outlining Mel in a bright silhouette of gold.
Something about her was not from this world.
"That's Supermind's eye, isn't it?" said Mel. "Seeing it like that is disturbing, but oddly comforting. In my world, Supermind lived a lot longer. He got to go out as a hero again in the end, too. A shame that didn't happen here."
"Your world?" Aldrich questioned Mel, raising his hand in the air to halt the advance of his troops. "What do you mean by that?"
"You must be familiar with the concept of parallel universes, right? Or alternate timelines?"
"You're from one of them?" Aldrich was not entirely surprised here. Parallel universes were all but proven to be real.
Ravana, the Sentinel from India, could actually draw power from other universes.
But the issue was that nobody had ever been able to break the barrier between them. Traveling through to them was impossible. Even Ravana's ability just let him take energy from other universes; it did not let him see what was going on in them, let alone jump to them physically.
"That eye should tell you as much," said Mel. "I know the eye isn't the most accurate thing ever, but it should at least let you know I'm not from here, and if I'm not an alien, then that means most likely, I'm from another Earth.
Specifically, the future."
"How are you capable of doing this?" said Aldrich. "Your power, Vector Manipulation, if I'm correct, doesn't let you come close to doing something like that."
"You're right in that regard, but it comes a lot closer than you think," said Mel. She put a finger up, swirling distorted space around it. "Every force has a direction. The very fabric of reality is comprised of countless threads of space-time all weaving and wrapping together.
Control their direction and unravel them enough, and you can come close to breaking through the universal barrier.
But I alone am not enough for this. Even if I create a 'hole' in space-time to drill through to another universe, something needs to perform the calculations to direct me to the place I want and not an infinite void of nothingness."
"And I presume that's the same person that mind controlled my citizens."
"No, that was me as well." Mel tapped the side of her head. "The brain thinks based on the direction of synaptic connections, sparks of electric thought alongside the flow of neurotransmitters and countless other moving parts.
I can control that flow as well provided I amp up my calculative capacity."
This spoke to a level of fine control and capability with her power that Mel had not shown at all in Blackwater. Something that would have made her obscenely powerful enough to stomp all the other inexperienced Alter students into the ground.
"Of course, in Blackwater, I had to hold back. A lot a lot. It was hard to as well. I had to fight the urge to wipe that smug kid, what was his name, Seth? Yeah. Seth's grin off his face. I wasn't supposed to draw attention, but I couldn't help myself, especially seeing Elaine and Adam get hurt by his goons.
And when I knew you, Aldrich, were their friend, it just added another reason to put him down a notch or two."
"You know who I am? And Elaine and Adam? Why would you care about them?"
"Why wouldn't I? We all went to school together, didn't we?" Mel paused when Aldrich was not amused at her joke. "Alright, jokes aside, I knew Elaine from the future. Her and Adam. They were instrumental in keeping humanity alive as long as it did.
I want you to know that in the future, they were the world's best heroes. In every sense of the word.
As for how I know who you are, consider that a bit of future knowledge mixed with some deductive reasoning."
"Adam and Elaine?" Hearing their names brought back memories of a time long gone. To think that there was a universe out there where they managed to survive Blackwater and achieve greatness was something that Aldrich felt oddly sentimental about.
It also made him wonder: had they died because of him? Mel did not mention him at all...which begged the question, actually: where was he? In the future?
A future where, Mel hinted, humanity was no more.
"Where was I in all this?" said Aldrich, asking out of pure curiosity.
Mel crossed her arms. "That's the thing. You weren't. In the future, or rather, my timeline, you never existed. Everyone else did.
I cross-referenced citizen databases - barring a small margin for error, everyone that lived in my timeline also lives here.
Everyone except you."
Aldrich had no idea what that meant for him. What the implications were. He could not even begin to think about them. Did it mean he did not belong here? Why was he such an unique existence in the first place?
"Is that why you're here? To figure out what I am?" said Aldrich.
"Partly. That's been a big point of curiosity for me," said Mel. "But no, not exactly. I'm here to help you.
I know you've been eyeing Blackwater, and soon enough, maybe in two or three weeks - I don't know exactly now that the timeline is so different - there's going to be a mass conflict over Blackwater involving the three Trident Prongs.
I know that this is a fight that you have your eyes set on. I've tracked your surveillance over the area, and since you haven't made a move yet, I'm assuming you want to wait until those forces cancel each other out.
I'm here to tell you if you wait until then, it's going to be too late.
We need to strike Blackwater as soon as possible.
If not, the end of the world, or at the very least, the end of humanity as we know it is bound to happen."