Chapter 967 I Don't Understand Anything
'What sort of ability are they using to track us like this...'
His first instinct wasnt to suspect a traitor among them, but that Cekt had made certain arrangements before disappearing to complicate their mission. Of course, the possibility that the Digestors spawning on the Resonator were different from the others was also not to be dismissed.
After sharing his observations with his companions, Lucia finally released his hand and focused once again, hand resting on her sword hilt, ready to react at the slightest hitch.
A moment later.
"We're here." Ulfar announced, stopping at the edge of a precipice. "We can't go any further."
He meant this in the most literal sense. Progress was barred by a force field.
If they had wondered earlier where and how the Magnetic Resonator produced its energy, they now had their answer.
Before them, the ground abruptly ended, giving way to an enormous chasm-a hole at least 20 kilometers in diameter, its bottom invisible. The walls lining this hole appeared to absorb almost all light, making it difficult to discern their exact shape.
Still, with his Cosmic Sight, Jake could fairly confidently assert that the hole was wide at the surface and narrowed progressively with depth, funnel-like.
"It seems we're stuck." Syrbarun sighed with feigned dismay, almost as if he hoped this was simply an oversight by Cekt, who had forgotten to "open" the door for them.
Perhaps some sort of pass was required to breach this barrier. The other disciples each had their reservations and theories, but Jake's countenance had grown significantly darker.
His mental sense had clearly registered the countless Digestors shadowing their actions, traversing this barrier and disappearing into the bowels of the Resonator. If even these hostile creatures could wander here as if in their own garden, then why were they barred?
"It's coming!" Hade suddenly shouted, pulling them all back with his telekinesis without warning.
The energy barrier that had hindered their exploration of the chasm beyond the precipice began to flicker abruptly, shifting from invisible to a brilliance surpassing lightning. The course of the Resonator veered dramatically, dangerously encroaching on the black hole's event horizon.
At the same instant, an invisible magnetic field for Cekt's disciples but crystal clear to Jake's eyes, gushed out from the bowels of the funnelshaped chasm, clashing head-on with the much more diffuse, but infinitely larger magnetic field surrounding the event horizon of the black hole.
Immediately following, a blinding radiance far surpassing that of a million nuclear bombs forced them to close their eyes, only Jake and Lyra keeping theirs wide open. Jake, because this level of light was but a tonic for his eyes, and Lyra, because she was literally made of light.
She wouldn't be hurt unless the radiations reached a level that would destabilize the very structure of light itself. Jake wasn't sure that was possible without affecting the very cohesion of space-time, but too much energy in one place could also cause the generation of matter, the opposite state of an ethereal being composed of light.
This was the risk Lyra had to consider, but before reaching this point, she had some leeway. Especially since the bulk of the radiations and particles emitted by the clash of magnetic fields were intercepted by the barrier.
The initial burst of radiance lasted only a moment, but shortly after, due to the magnetic fluctuations, ionized gas at very high temperature was regurgitated from the black hole's event horizon and miraculously landed in the gigantic funnel surrounded by the impenetrable barrier.
Then, the collisions between magnetic fields continued for a while, radiations, heat, and plasma being redirected in the form of an impressive laser beam several kilometers wide towards the depths of the funnel.
At a certain point, even Jake had to shield his eyes with his Fairy Force to continue observing the spectacle. Lyra also ceased admiring the sight to stabilize the continuous stream of light sweeping her body and nourishing her cells to the point of overindulgence. She was on the verge of overdose, and this was while being shielded from the radiation by the barrier!
Several minutes later, whatever was emitting the magnetic field gushing from the bottom of the funnel went into cooldown, and the Magnetic Resonator disengaged from its previous path, returning to its previous high orbit at a safe distance from the event horizon.
The plasma storm raging within the barrier faded as swiftly as it had appeared, absorbed by the heart of the Resonator. The temperature took longer to drop, but being on the other side of the barrier, they had no way of measuring this process.
"So what do we do now?" Siri asked their opinion in a neutral tone. "I see no other entrance than the mouth of the generator itself, and a barrier separates us. Not to mention the barrier, even if we could cross it, we would be at the mercy of the next activation of the generator, which can
occur at any time."
Everyone agreed with her. Without knowing the pattern of these magnetic field emissions, entering the funnel directly was too dangerous.
"There must be other entrances, but clearly we don't have access to them," Rigel clicked his tongue, massaging his temples, his fingers scraping against his forehead like steel grating on steel.
"Please, stop doing that!" Lyra snapped, grabbing her radiant skull.
Rigel immediately stopped, but Siri rationally objected, "You have no ears. Even the most unbearable ultrasound should not bother you."
"Yeah, well fuck off," Lyra shot back without mincing words. "I listen with my consciousness, and I can assure you that this sound is like poison to my soul."
Instead of being offended as a human would and stooping to her level, Siri remained impassive and stated factually, "What you're saying makes no sense."
"Okay, that's enough you two!" Rigel growled,
frustrated. He'd never thought that massaging or scratching his head would alienate his companions. It wasn't his fault that he was the only Gorgonite here.
While they squabbled, Jake, Hade, and Syrbarun had finished inspecting the barrier.
"Absolutely impervious," Hade admitted, shaking his head reluctantly. This barrier exceeded his expertise.
Without finding the switch to deactivate it, he doubted he could disrupt it or find a way to cross it without spending at least several months or years. If only he knew where the control room was, he could have tried to hack it.
Even a simple entry point into the Magnetic Resonator's computer system would have sufficed, but sadly, they didn't even have that chance. The metallic surface was the same everywhere, without any obvious irregularity suggesting that another path existed.
Jake was about to reveal what his Oracle Scan had recorded when the Digestors had gone through without hindrance when he saw everyone suddenly turn their heads towards the barrier behind him. Turning around as well, he saw Epsilom on the other side of the funnel crossing the barrier like a phantom, then disappearing into the depths of the Resonator.
"Damn it! He could have helped us," Ulfar grumbled, poking the barrier with the tip of his sword in search of a loophole to exploit.
"It's not difficult for Epsilom to cross this barrier as he is invulnerable to all forms of energy," Rigel explained helplessly. "By changing his energy signature, he can even pass himself off as the barrier."
"Lyra can also go through," Siri stated coldly.
"The light produced in the funnel was reaching us earlier, and we can see what's on the other side. As long as the light intensity doesn't exceed a certain limit, she shouldn't have any problem."
After encouraging her for a while, they managed to convince the maiden of light to cross the barrier first as a scout, but before that, they planned to wait for the next activation of the generator.
Jake decided to wait a bit more before revealing what his Oracle Scan had seen, but what
happened next didn't give him that chance. From a different direction than Epsilom, they spotted the iconic figure of Drakon, recognizable by his ruby and gold scales, membranous wings, and long horns.
They were prepared to warn him to avoid banging against the barrier as they had, but to their surprise, the Draconian crossed the barrier without a hitch, not even slowing down, leaving them dumbstruck.
"I don't understand anything anymore," Lucia gave up, deciding to take Jake's hand again and take advantage of this lull to flirt with her lover.