Chapter 06 – V
After four full days of walking, I have finally reached the Cancerian Laboratory. The three-hours trek a while ago was really nothing compared to the whole trip. On top of the hill is a wide-open space covered with several orange square stone tiles with nothing else but a lone oak tree standing near the staircase leading up to this hill. There are wooden fences built around the hill presumably to prevent people from accidentally falling off the cliff. Standing right next to the cliff overlooking the Cancer City is a deteriorated white three-stories building. A half broken down neon light sign that reads ‘Cancerian Laboratory’ is placed on top of double glass sliding door entrance, which is left open. Judging from the appearance alone, I roughly estimate that this place has been abandoned for no less than seven years. It is a surprise no one cared to demolish this place and do something else productive with it yet.
Will I really find the answers to my questions in this building?
Before I did anything else, my eyes spot a car parking nearby. It looks rather new and I can see silhouettes of someone inside.
What business could that person have here?
As I walk closer to the building, two men in black suit with dark sunglasses step down from the car and head straight for me. Both of them dressed just about the same so I assumed it is some kind of a uniform.
“A girl of about 21 years old. Purple hair. Carries a white spear. No doubt. She must be Hikari Viola,” said one of the men. This guy looks really tough and tall. I can just tell how muscular he is even though he is wearing a suit.
“Who would have thought she would really come, haha. The boss really knows her,” said another man. He is slightly shorter than the first guy, but a lot skinnier. He does not seem as strong as the first man, but he seems extremely cocky.
Could it be that murderer?!
“Yeah. I’m Viola. Who are you guys?” I asked them back, while reaching for the lance behind me.
“Take her down!!!!!”
Suddenly, both of them quickly reach inside their suit and pull out a pistol. Aiming their guns at me, they open fire a shot without any hesitation.
I guess it is time someone has to get hurt.
The sensation from the night I fought those thugs returns. My senses and reflexes turn into someone else’s once again. The vision in front looks so slow to the point I can even see the bullets flying at me. Out of instinct, my hand swiftly slices off the entire volley in two with my lance.
“Holy crap! She really could cut our bullets!!!” said the skinnier man with a shaky voice.
“Keep firing!!!! She can’t do it forever!!!!” the first man said, nervously biting his teeth. Obviously, he does not really believe what he just said himself.
Both of them go nuts with the trigger, ignoring the fact that they are shooting a girl. Unfortunately, like they said, I might be able to see the bullets, but I doubt my reflex can constantly keep up with it. To avoid unnecessary risk, I run off to the side, avoiding the volley. Luckily, the lone oak tree nearby works perfectly as a barricade. The two of them keep on shooting, applying pressure to prevent me from countering. I am not exactly a gun savvy, but I do know that all firearms need to be reloaded after a volley. How long it takes for a clip to empty depends on the firearm’s model.
As soon as I heard a ‘click’ from their guns, I immediately step out of the tree and dash straight at them. My body feels so light as if I am riding the wind. It takes only a couple of second for me to zoom right at both of them.
“Crap!!!!” the skinnier man cursed out loud and reached into his pocket for a new bullet clip, panicking at my speed.
“Why do you have to run out of ammo at the same time with me!?” the taller man reprimanded his friend and reached for a new clip as well. Their shaky hands fumble with the clips, trying to reload. But I am already standing between both of them before they could finish. I thrust the bottom shaft into the skinny man then swiftly kick other, staggering both of them.
While they are wincing in pain, my mind rapidly analyzes the current situation. Both of them possess a weapon with longer range than mine, so they obviously have an advantage both in range and numbers. The best strategy now is probably to take one of them out as soon as possible. The taller man is extremely muscular, so I do not think he will fall in just a few hits. That leaves me only one obvious choice to pick; the skinnier one.
Before both of them can regain their balance, I approach the skinnier man and smack his face with the lower part of the lance. As he cries in pain, I thrust the bottom shaft against his abdomen a few times then smack his neck, putting him to sleep in an instant. Of course I do not forget to kick his guns away from him, so he cannot conveniently pick it up even if he wakes up.
“Why you!!!!” the taller man grits his teeth and points the gun at me again. I let go off my left hand and swing the lance with my right, slicing off the barrel from the gun’s grip. With no more weapon, this guy is now a simple street thug. All I have to do is hit him a few times into his abdomen and kick right into his shin. I heard that no matter how tough a guy is, one deft strike at a man’s shin can drop him to his knees, and a single kick to the crotch will make him fall to the floor.
That is exactly what I did after kicking his shin.
The big man helplessly falls to the floor, writhing in pain.
“Who sent you!? Who’s your boss!?” I point the spear tip at his throat. “Tell me before I slit your throat!!!!!”
I move the tip closer to his throat, threatening him even more.
“Hehehe. You really think you won, missy?”
Suddenly, a loud noise emanates from the cliff overlooking the city. A huge war helicopter rapidly rises from the bottom of the pit, pointing its machine gun at me.
“How do you like my reinforcements, eh? Hahaha!” The man lying on the floor laughs as if he was victorious.
The pilot pulls the trigger, but I have already made my way back to that oak tree again. As I was running for the tree, I heard a cry from that tall man. Apparently, the pilot is very ruthless and does not even care that his companion is caught in the fire range. The volley of the copter’s gun is a lot more devastating than a normal pistol. I saw one big branch of the tree falling down from a single bullet hit. It is definitely a bad idea to stay here for too long.
So after a deep breath, I make a leap of faith out of the tree and head straight for a better shelter – the laboratory building. I will probably have more time to think about what to do. However, as if the pilot anticipated my move, a white missile was fired and landed on the ground a few meters in front of me. The explosion blows me backwards away from the laboratory. My body roll on the ground from the impact.
Are these guys serious?
They use firearms and missiles against a girl?!
I cough from the dusts that are flying all over the place. My eyes are suddenly burning hot and I could feel the tears welling up.
Was that missile chemical?
If it does, then that would explain the burning eyes. I can barely keep it open now. While I am trying to regain my balance, I heard a sound of metal crashing against each other. That does not sound good. Looking through the smokes, my eyes could vaguely see the copter’s machine gun pointing straight at me. With these smokes burdening my respiratory system and vision, I doubt I would be able to pull a dash out of this mess.
Someone said that you relive your whole life within the seven seconds before you die. As a result, everything around would seem extremely slow. It was not until now that those words made sense to me. Everything looks slower even than before. Those metallic ammunitions heading straight for me reflected the evening’s sunlight, making them look as if they are glowing.
Is this really the end for me?
Am I really going to die here without getting any answers to my questions?
All of the sudden, I heard a voice calling out to me. It was the same deep voice I heard at the end of my nightmare last night.
“It is time. I am ready to fight along side you once again.”
What are you talking about? I do not even know who you are. When have we ever fought along side each other!?
“Call out my name. The name of your most humbled servant.”
Without a warning, a sharp pain struck my head. It is so painful that I felt like my head could blow up any minute.
At the same time, It felt as if something is suddenly coming back to me. My most humbled servant’s name – the servant who would never abandon or betray me no matter what.
I remember his name now…
Suddenly, a sharp familiar pain spreads from above my right breast and a bright light engulfs my body. My arms covered my eyes out of instinct.
The sound of the bullets hitting on the surface of a metallic object was heard.
What just happened?
And what is that metallic sound?
Once the light faded, I lower my arm and widen my eyes in shock.
“WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?” The pilot’s scream can be heard clearly. “Emergency!!! A gigantic iron robot has appeared along side the girl! I request a back up immediately!!! I repeat—!!!!”
Like what the pilot vaguely described, the iron giant is kneeling down on its knees, covering me from the bullets with the two metallic shields attached on its arms. Each shield has iron chain attached to it, tracing onto its back. Even though its black armor looks metallic, I doubt it is really made from a simple metal. I could just tell by placing my hands on it; it is extremely thick and dense. On its back is a huge cape, weaved from some sort of metallic silk.
“My name is Zubenes.”
The profound voice echoes in my ears again. Apparently, it belongs to this iron giant.
“From the ocean of stars, I have come to your call.”
“…Good…I could use some help now…,” I spoke to the iron giant and coughed, trying to stand up.
The battle copter fires another missile at me but the iron giant simply smacks the missile away with its shield. The missile drops onto the two men in black suit’s car, blowing it up to smithereens. However, the battle copter does not seem to give up just yet. It started another volley of machine gun shots, but the bullets cannot harm the giant’s armor at all.
Zubenes stands up and hurls a shield on its right arm at the helicopter. Too bad the pilot could see it coming and bent away, dodging the hit. The chain attached to the shield started rolling backwards, pulling the thrown shield back to the giant’s arm conveniently. The copter keeps firing, but like before, no harm was done to the giant at all. In fact, I doubt his armor is even denting at all. The bullets shot onto his armor are all flattened before falling down to the ground like mosquitoes being sprayed. The helicopter’s pilot does not seem to give up. He tries to launch another missile at us. Seeing the missile’s combustor ignited, a bright idea came into my mind. I quickly hop onto the giant’s arm and stand on its shoulder. As the missile moves closer, I whack it with my lance as a baseball bat back to the helicopter, creating a magnificent mid-day firework. The remains of the copter drops down from the air down the hill below.
The giant kneels down again, allowing me to hop back to the ground conveniently. Before I said anything, the giant casts its chained shield out and starts twirling it like a rodeo. The wind current created from the twirl blows all smoke from the exploded missiles to other directions. With those smokes gone, my eyes are no longer irritated. He is pretty thoughtful.
“Thanks. You’re a big help,” I spoke to the giant once he slows down the twirling.
“I cannot accept your gratitude. I am merely doing my job.”
The chains draw the shield back to his arm and he kneels down before me again, bowing his head. His body slowly becomes transparent.
“Call me again whenever you need me.”
And with that, the giant disappeared into thin air.
So I guess that is what he meant by a ‘humbled servant’. I still have no idea what the hell he is or why I know his name. But I almost could tell that I can trust him. It was like our hearts are synchronized. I can understand his thoughts and he knows exactly what I wanted him to do. If I am ever in trouble like that again, all I have to do is call out to his name and I can be sure that he will come to my rescue.
In any case, with all of that out of the way, it is now time to get some answers. Those two men in black are still lying on the ground. Both of them are floating on a puddle of blood. This is not the first time I have seen it, but I still found myself cringing at it.
I search each men’s suit, looking for something – anything – that can explain who sent them after me. But to no avail, I found absolutely nothing on them that I could use to identify their boss. Moreover, their car was all burnt up from the missiles earlier, so I doubt I can get anything out of it.
Figures. Of course they are not going to tell me who sent them after me.
But that is okay. I was not expecting to get much answer from these men anyway. According to my mother, whatever I am looking for is in the Cancerian Laboratory. And now I am standing right before its entrance. The explosions and flashy mid-day fireworks must have caused some panic to the Cancer City below the hill. There might be cops heading this way now. Not to mention the copter’s pilot were calling for reinforcements earlier too. I probably do not have much time.