Chapter 277 Going Back to the Present
The three of us, plus one rifle, were currently stuck in the middle of nothingness.
It had been a few minutes already, and nothing had happened yet. Ember was busy analyzing the situation, looking for a way to return to the present, but she was currently out of energy and couldn't do much.
I, too, am in a similar situation. I don't even have enough energy to open up my [Spatial Storage] and place the rifle back in safety. It was too bad that Ember and I, and Minerva too, didn't possess any Storage Rings.
"... Master, it seems like there's a way."
Finally, Ember muttered words that brought us a ray of hope. Her brows were still covered in sweat, but her face was shining with joy.
"It seems like if we break out of this space, now that we are somewhere in the void, the path to return to the present would appear before us."
"Isn't going out of here dangerous?"
I quickly rebutted, as the outside of this little barrier was literally the "Void". Nothing existed there, not even space or time. If we went out of this little safety point, I guess we'd just die in seconds...
"I would use what energy I have left to protect us from the erosion of the Void, but please keep in mind that it'll still be dangerous."
Her face was serious as she muttered. As expected, venturing into the Void is extremely risky. As I was deliberating whether to risk it or just wait until we recover a little more, Minerva finally opened her mouth to state her opinion.
"I-I think we should take the risk and go out into the Void. I can protect us against erosion too, so that's double the protection."
She was relatively fine when compared to Ember and me, but she was also almost out of energy. I guess we can use her as a backup defense when Ember's cover fails.
"Alright. We're not sure if this little bubble would last long anyway."
I nodded my head reluctantly.
With my approval, Ember and Minerva quickly talked to each other, matching their timing. I hung the rifle on my back before using my left hand to grab the Box Cutter-like device that Ember made.
"Alright, are you two ready?"
Both of them nodded their heads simultaneously, their expressions serious and focused, despite looking battered and tired. I smiled lightly before taking a deep breath, steeling my resolve as I waved the Box Cutter in my hand.
I swung it vertically... And contrary to my expectations, the thin film broke pretty easily. There wasn't even a sliver of resistance, as if I had just cut through butter using a hot knife.
However, a powerful pressure quickly washed over us as soon as the opening was made. Ember didn't waste a second and raised a barrier using Space Energy, preventing the erosion from reaching us. However, I could see that the surface of Ember's barrier was deteriorating at a rapid pace.
"We should hurry!"
I declared it with certainty. If we dally, then we're doomed.
Matching each other's pace, we dropped down from the film's opening and drifted randomly. There was no gravity here, so as soon as we left the previous spot, we would only fly in the same direction at a constant speed. Well, unless we unleash some form of energy to change directions, at least.
It was pointless to do so, however, as the Void was literally "nothing". As soon as we left the space from before, it felt like we weren't even moving. There was nothing within sight that could act as a landmark to let us know if we were even moving.
"There! That place!"
After about a minute of floating about, when Ember's barrier was running thin, we finally found a portal open up not far from our location. It was a circular portal that showed the inside of Vendetta's workshop, which looked like a bomb had exploded in the middle of it.
I gently used wind energy and generated a weak gust in the opposite direction, turning our direction toward the portal. We approached it quickly, but as we got close, a powerful blast of erosion swept over.
"It's a [Void Storm]!"
Ember shouted in panic.
Her barrier didn't even hold for a few seconds before it was completely dissolved. Fortunately, Minerva was well prepared and managed to set up hers before Ember's barrier vanished.
The problem wasn't that, though. It was that we were getting blown away by the portal. If we wait for a few more seconds, then the portal will vanish from our sight.
I no longer held back and just shot a powerful gust, enough to overpower the "storm" that was pushing us away. Our group moved in a straight line for the portal, but the speed caused the erosion to speed up too.
A hole formed right behind Ember, so I quickly pulled her into my embrace, moved the rifle in front of my chest, and let my back face the opened hole, all in one swift motion. I felt my back getting scorched by something. No, it was more appropriate to say it's getting melted. It didn't even pass the stage of being painful and went straight to almost robbing me of my consciousness.
Ember noticed what happened and raised a heartbreaking cry. Tears appeared in the corner of her eyes as she looked at my face with an expression that was the very definition of worry.
"... It's fine."
I just smiled. After all, we were already safe.
As soon as I said my piece, the three of us burst through the portal we were aiming for and got slammed against one wall of Vendetta's workshop. A large crack appeared on the wall as the sound of destruction reverberated all over the entire room.
Ember grabbed my body, unable to move anymore, and cried large beads of tears. As she roared, from within my slowly darkening view, I saw Fang rush to my side with blinding speed, an expensive-looking potion in her hands.
Ahh... It looks like I'm saved...
A few moments before Will and the others crash-landed, Fang already noticed that his presence was approaching.
"Leader's coming back!"
It had been more than eight hours since they vanished, and from the start, Fang didn't leave her spot even once. As soon as she realized that the time-travel group was returning, she felt elated.
However, her face quickly turned to a frown. Out of the three of them, two were already out of energy. One was even losing life force at a blinding pace.
Fang dropped on all fours and dashed forward, entering the workshop at blinding speeds. As she did, she also took out a 1 million Credit worth potion, preparing to use it in an instant.
At that exact moment, a loud explosion echoed, almost deafening to hear in an enclosed room. Fang winced a little before turning to ground zero, where Ember was cradling Will, whose life was draining away quickly.
Fang jumped, using [Shadow Skip], and broke the potion bottle's lid without hesitation. She then roughly turned Will to his side and splashed the contents on his back. Or rather, his nonexistent back.
Although Fang was prepared to see some blood, she didn't expect to gander at his internal organs which were still pulsing lightly. After all, Will's entire back was literally gone, leaving his spine, ribcage, and everything else exposed to the open air.
The potion did its job and quickly regenerated whatever Will had lost—muscles or skin—saving him from the brink of death. Seeing that no traces of the grievous wound remained, Fang finally heaved a sigh of relief.
Ember, whose face was still covered with traces of tears, finally felt relief. Just as she turned to Fang, about to express her thanks, her eyes turned to their whites as she fainted.
Just like Will, Ember had been forcing herself beyond her limits for a long time already. She was all out of energy, enough that it was a wonder how her heart remained beating. Her fainting was just her body kicking off an emergency shutdown as soon as her brain detected that they were safe.
Fang stared at Will and Ember, embracing each other as they fainted. One with closed eyes, while the other has opened eyes with its whites showing. It was a funny sight, but Fang just smiled before heaving a deep sigh.
"Great work, Minerva."
In the end, Fang only greeted the only member that was still standing. They both looked at each other and smiled wryly.
Well, as long as they're safe, that's all that matters.
"So they're finally back?"
Footsteps echoed as another figure came down to the workshop. It was none other than Vendetta, the owner of the space, who got further destroyed.
Looking around, she tilted her head and muttered with a flat expression.
"I guess I'd better increase the durability of my workshop next time."