Dante's heart sinks as the realization hits him with the weight of a freight truck. His eyes adjust, invoking the power of the glasses of truth. His focus becomes razor clear, allowing him to see meters into the distance. The once blurry skyscraper was now crystal clear. Dante, feeling every muscle in his body tensing and growing warm, started sprinting toward the direction of the building. A cold realization washed over him. The explosions here were a distraction. There their real target was the East continental star building. The second most prominent structure in all of New Roark. It is also the largest renovated hotel in the engineering district, city eleven. Most importantly, it is the hotel the legends stayed at and where his son was sleeping.
Alexander tried to flag down Dante, who ran past him like a blur. Alexander had never seen Dante move so fast. Contractors are faster than normal humans, but the rate Dante was going was inhuman, even for a contractor. His friend's panic dash past him made him curious. Alexander begins sprinting to catch up with his best friend. It was as if he instinctively knew he was in trouble and would need help. Determined to get to the hotel in time, Dante uses Blink to propel him hundreds of feet ahead. This would ordinarily be dangerous because Dante couldn't be sure of the kind of surface he was going to land on.
Although he couldn't force himself to care about his own safety, his son was in that building. Dante began leaping from tree branch to tree branch. Until he finally broke out of the field grounds. Nothing but large glowing buildings could be seen for miles. Summersaulting onto a lamp and blinking to the roof of the first building. He begins hopping from building to building, using Blink to get across the significant gaps in space.
The East continental star building was finally a few hundred feet away. Dante felt his heartbeat quicken, the building burning a bright blue flame. He is almost there. He thought just a little more. Launching himself straight towards the burning sky scrapper. The smoke began to invade his lungs, and it became harder to breathe the closer he got to the building.
Suddenly debris from the building begins to fall overtop of the gawking citizens below. Dante became laser focused and drew his katana. All his muscles tense as the large slab of burning concrete falls toward the civilians below. With one clean and decisive slash forward, Dante sent a gust of wind, cutting the slab in half and forcing the stone to implode from the impact. The large slab of debris is now broken down into small bite-size chunks of rock.
"Get the hell out of here," Dante screams down to the onlookers. The civilians disperse, some of them running in terror.
It is insane how stupid people can be to get a look at something. Dante thought as he turned his attention back to the building itself. He jumps across and bursts into the building through the window. Rolling to brace his fall and disperse any flames that may have gotten on him during entry.
Dante's midnight cloak is completely fireproof and blast-proof, but he can still feel the heat and intensity of the fire. His lungs fill with smoke as he begins to make his ascent up the building. Occasionally blinking past debris blocking his path. Finally, reaching the stairwell to get him to the top floor, where his son and nanny presumably were when the blast went off. Dante was praying they were still alive, considering the explosions were shallow, attacking only the surface infrastructure. If the explosions were to target the lower pillars and base of the building, it would have already collapsed. The only genuine concern is the smoke inhalation coupled with the intense heat.
Although Xavier is not entirely defenseless, his nanny Angela is an ex-combat priest from the crimson church. She is retired but still has a powerful defensive relic called "Mbai." An ancient African necklace that gifts its contractor the ability to close off a 10 feet space around the user from the world. Anyone in the bubble is immune to damage or disease, and no one outside the bubble at the time of creation can enter.
The Mbai's ability has a duration of 15 minutes. It took him 10 mins to get here, and Dante needed more time. He threw himself against the hot door to the staircase, hoping to break through the debris on the other side. He cannot blink in a place he cannot see, nor can he just cut the door down without threatening the integrity of the building.
Dante was running out of time. If Xavier was still alive, his little lungs would not be capable of surviving the smoke inhalation. Drawing his blade Dante cleaves through the debris with one smooth motion trying not to apply too much force. After pushing his way into the stairwell, Dante wasted no time climbing the stairs making his way up to the penthouse suite. He rushes inside, kicking the door hard enough for the wall to shake.
Dante begins calling out for his son at the top of his lungs, "Angela... where are you? Say something? say anything?"
Frantically searching for them, he hears rustling but can't figure out from where and, once again, calls out, "Angela, it's me. I'm here".
Dante starts coughing from the smoke, still calling out, trying to pinpoint the rustling. The only downside to the Mbai protective bubble is it cuts out sound from the outside world. So even if the building wasn't burning and the smoke wasn't as thick, they still couldn't hear him. Pushing past the falling debris, the silver chain on the chandelier snaps. The impact of the chandelier dispersed some of the smoke. Dante's eyes, red from the smoke, narrowed at the sight of Angela holding his 8-month-old son in her arms. Dante surmises that she was probably singing him a lullaby to keep him calm. The room is filled with smoke again, but Dante wouldn't have known it because he can finally breathe again, with the thought of his son being perfectly okay. A massive rush of relief washed over him as he moved closer to them.
Jumping over the railing and landing on the floor below where they are standing. He wanted to call out to them so bad. Although he knew they couldn't hear him. So he decided to save his energy and focus on finding a route to escape. The bubble began to shimmer, probably because its duration was almost up. Dante is standing just outside the range of the bubble. His eyes locked on his son's innocent, smiling face.
The bubble shimmered one more time before dissipating. Xavier begins crying out because of the smoke burning his underdeveloped lungs. Dante walks up, almost scaring Angela, but she smiles when she sees him.
"I told you! Daddy will be coming back soon, little one," Angela says with an angelic but relieved voice.
Dante puts his blade away, smiling from ear to ear. At this moment, nothing else mattered. He was so happy to reunite with his son that he almost forgot they needed to escape.
"Hand me, my baby boy," Dante says, reaching his arms out toward Angela.
And just as Angela places Xavier in his arms, another explosion goes off. This time in the building, the force of the blast causes the building to shake. Dante loses his footing and is sent flying toward the hotel windows with enough force to break the window sending him plummeting toward the ground.
Still conscious, Dante shifts his weight and gains his bearings mid-air. He was falling from 150 feet in the air. Luckily he can use a piece of falling debris to stabilize his footing using Blink to jump from one falling piece of debris to another. Propelling himself upward, clawing his way back up to his son. His head felt the warmth of his own blood dripping down his head. Although his vision was cloudy and his ears rang, Dante was still energetic.
When another explosion goes off, this time at the base of the building causing the building to collapse, the final blast knocks Dante off his feet again, slamming him into the glass of the building across the street. His body broke the glass sending him tumbling through what seemed to be an office space. A worker sprung up to check on him while the others stared and gawked.
Dante was bruised and battered, his head cut and bleeding. It felt like he had broken every bone in his body. He could only think about his son's crying voice, the only thing keeping him conscious. The building, no longer able to withstand the damage, collapsed inward. The ash and asphalt fly everywhere, completely covering the surrounding area. Tears well up in Dante's smoke-irritated eyes. Dante couldn't believe his own eyes. New Roark's safest and most secure hotel was now a pile of rubble. A place that was supposed to be a beacon of peace, civility, and hope is now stained with blood and ash.
His only child, son, and the most important thing in his life are buried under that rubble. While he lay motionless and in pain. Dante thinks back on his life and how he got here. Dante has never averted his eyes to the possibility of a loss of life. He has never turned away from his destiny or his dream to change this cruel world. However, this time it was just too much. Dante could not bear this loss or this reality.
Dante begins to fade into the sweet abyss of darkness with every moment his eyes close more and more. The last thing he could make out was a silhouette of a man holding a black top hat, and he could have sworn the man had called out his name. Exhaustion took hold of Dante, forcing his eyes to close and for Dante to drift off to sleep.