Chapter 12 – V
While the three of us are observing the dark hole in the sky, the lights return to the library and the computer terminal turns itself on automatically. However, instead of the normal start up messages, the screen displays a video footage of a huge street intersection in Grand Central right under the dark hole. The intersection has a huge dent on its center. Smokes fly up from the middle of the dent as if something massive was dropped on to that spot. The three of us move back closer to the screen and attentively watch the footage.
“What the heck just happened there!?” Nat cried.
I wanna know that too.
The footage automatically zooms itself closer to the center of the huge dent. As the smoke disperses, mysterious figure is revealed kneeling down. The crowds start gathering around while keeping a good distance from the big hole. The human-like figure slowly rises to its feet and casts his crimson eyes around. Despite having an appearance like a man, this figure has a couple of traits that distinguish him from our kind – pale blue skin and a pair of long pointy ears. He wears a golden chest plate covered over long dark robe stretching to the ground. Since that definitely does not look like attire you want to wear while walking in a shopping mall, the best word to describe his appearance is ‘other worldly’. His right hand tightly grips a long black metallic rod with a huge transparent diamond attached on the top.
“Heed my words, humans!”
The figure announces with a loud threatening voice. Although no voice amplification device can be seen nearby, his voice managed to spread across the whole city, as if there are electronic speakers casting his voice everywhere.
“My name is Rasalhague. I am the humbled servant of the great Zodiac Angel of Ophiucus. I bare an important message from my lady!”
The crowd seems restless from the figure’s words and started whispering to each other in confusion.
Zodiac Angel of Ophiucus?
You have to be kidding.
“My lady has long observed your kind ever since the beginning of time. She, along with the other 12 angels, created the very fabrication all of you perceived. But your kinds are nothing but a bunch of fools! You waged war against each other, fighting for the very blessing my lady and her colleague had given to all of you!”
His speech causes dissatisfaction among the crowd. Their chatter become louder and some of them began cursing the man standing in the dent.
“She had long waited and gave all of the time for you worthless fools to prove your worth. But time has passed and my lady has finally lost her patience. Your kinds are fools, blinded by insatiable greed. Your bottomless desires are disgusting and repulsive!! It has been decided once again: your kind shall be put to an extinction!”
“Is this a joke!?”
“What the hell are you yapping about!?”
“WHAT THE HECK IS THIS!?”
The crowds around Rasalhague begin booing. Some of them even throw random objects at him in dissatisfaction. However, he does not seem to be bothered by the cursing at all.
“An expected reaction of an uncivilized kind.”
Even though it was whisper under his breath, the voice was still amplified and heard by everyone. Without flinching, Rasalhague profoundly raises his rod at a random man in the crowd and a beam of light shoots from the tip of the rod. Once the beam touched the man, his whole body becomes bloated for a split second before literally exploding. His blood and flesh splatter all over the area, staining anyone standing near him. The crowd stops booing and instead, cries in panic and fear.
“The extinction of your kind is not a warning. It has been decided; this is a sentence. The will of my lady is absolute. Her other servants shall soon descend to Athenia and put your pitiful race to an end soon. Live in fear and terror while you repent for all the sins you have done!”
While the crowds are running from the scene in fright, Rasalhague gradually levitates from the ground and rises up into dark hole in the sky. At the same time, several weird objects, resembling a glob of meat, rain down on to the street. Those meats gradually shift its shape and transform into abominated creatures. These things stand on two legs like human, but the upper half of its body is a huge lump of meat, beating like a human’s heart. Two arm-like organs stretched out from the lump, each with a razor-sharp blade extending about one meter in length attached to it. A small hole on the place comparable to the creature’s face whistles a disturbing high pitch scream, threatening anyone near it.
The three of us look computer screen in terror as the horrifying massacre took place in the middle of the city. These hordes of monsters are slaughtering the people in that area without discrimination. All men and women are taken down one by one.
Suddenly, the picture on the screen was cut and screams can be heard coming from the outside. Van opens the door to take a look. Those creatures have entered the library as well!
“This is not good. Let’s get out of here!” said Van.
I snatch the MP3 player out of the computer terminal and rush to the door. Mom’s video will probably have to wait. As I run out of the room, my two eyes caught a glimpse of the slaughtering down on the first floor from the balcony. Those monsters raise its sharp razor arm and strike down all people mercilessly, ignoring their cry.
My legs stop moving.
Was it the fear of these monsters that stopped me? Or was it anger that these abominations are heartlessly showing no mercy?
No matter what the reason is, I found that my legs just won’t move away from where it stands.
“Come on Viola! Let’s get the hell out of here!!” Nat yelled at me.
“Y…Yeah.” I turned to her, startled by her yell.
My mind is still having second thoughts. These people are being slaughtered.
Is it really okay for us to leave them like this?
“No!!!! Run away!!!!!”
The lady, who is supposedly the child’s mother, is lying on the first floor’s lobby. Her foot seems to have sprained from tripping over the fallen furniture. One of those monsters spots the helpless mother lying on the ground and proceeds to attack her without delay.
The cry of a little girl slapped me back into my senses, making me realize what I truly should be doing. As that monster approaches the lady, my hand unhesitatingly reaches for the lance behind me and darts it straight at the monster. The lance stretches itself to full length in mid-air before piercing through the meat lump of the monster. It lets out a loud screech, crying in pain as its body gradually turns into a sculpture made of sand-like material.
“Mommy!!!!” The girl crawls to her mother and tightly hugs her.
I quickly jump down from the balcony and rush for the mother and the little girl.
“Quick! Hide in the back. I’ll take care of these things!” I urged the mother and picked up my lance from the dead body of the monster. Once the lance is pulled out, the sand-sculpture crumbles and piles up on the ground.
“T…They’re behind us!!!”
The mother points towards the direction I just came from. Three of those monsters are standing in the way. They seem to be aggravated upon seeing one of their companions turned into sand. A couple more of them approached and formed a circle surrounding us.
I nervously grit my teeth as both of my hands tightly grip the lance. These monsters are just mindlessly swinging their bladed arm without even aiming, so dodging their attacks should be an extremely easy job. But the problem is I can’t do it while protecting the mother and the little girl.
“Okay!!! Make way!!!!! Coming through!!!!!!”
The three monsters blocking the back are suddenly blown away like a bowling pin being struck by a bowling ball. The ball was Natalie pulling a full speed charge from behind them.
“Go to the librarian’s room at the back and hide!!” Van follows Nat closely and helps the mother and the little girl up.
“Thank you, whoever you are!” The mother hugs her daughter and heads for the librarian room at the back, withholding the pain from her sprained ankle. The commotion earlier causes all the monsters to stop what they were doing and immediately turn their attentions towards us.
“You just love playing the hero, don’t you? Don’t like being the damsel in distress?” Van sighed, reaching for the metallic disc behind her.
“I didn’t want to act like one. I just…I just don’t want another girl to end up like me.” I gritted my teeth and pulled the beanie off my head before stuffing it into my waist purse. “If running away now means that I’ll have to regret it forever, then to hell with the idea. I’d rather die than take on that burden!”
“Good. That’s a strong conviction. I hope you hold on to it to the end.”
Van reveals the chakram’s blade out of the ring. This is the first time I saw her weapon up close. Back when I first saw her using it at the Cancerian Laboratory, she was moving very fast and my vision was all blurry. The ring itself has a dark green color, about 15 centimeters in diameter. A cross-shaped handle is attached in the middle of the ring, where twisting it causes the four blades to reveal themselves.
“Damn. This is even more nerve racking than fighting against those men with guns. It’s like I’m fighting stuffs from a horror book or something!” Nat cracks her knuckle nervously.
She is right. These monsters are nothing like I’ve seen before and, on top of that, their numbers are overwhelming as well. Fear of the unknown is the basic element of all humans after all. Because of that, my left hand instinctively reaches for the zodiac mark above my right breast.
“Don’t be silly, Viola. This place is too small to summon our beasts.” Van stopped me before I even have any idea. “We can handle these things. Both of you saw their movements before, right?”
“Yeah. They don’t really have a brain. They’re just mindlessly swinging their arms,” Nat replied.
“That’s right. Stay focused and these things won’t be able to harm you! Let’s go!”
Once she finishes speaking, Van leaps into the air and performs a 360 degrees horizontal spin. Without any warning, a strong gust blew all the abominations surrounding us away, creating more space to move.
I immediately leap at the closest monster then slice it in half with my lance. The blade is extremely sharp and the abomination was split in half like a hot knife through butter. Thinking about it, I don’t think I have ever cut any living creatures with this weapon before. The monster’s sliced body turned into sand-like material like the previous one before falling to the floor.
Two more of them approach me from behind. But thankfully, they love giving away their position by releasing the disturbing screech before attacking. My two hands swing the lance and unleash the wave attack from the tip of the blade. The sound wave instantly bursts the monsters into sand when it touches.
The fight keeps going in the same cycle and these things do not seem to have any other new attack patterns. They don’t seem to be very tough. However, the problem with them is their numbers. Therefore, it is important to make sure that they are kept from ganging up on me.
After the ones on my side are cleared, I turn around to check up on Nat and Van. Both of them are handling those monsters just fine as well. Each of Nat’s punches cause the monsters to stagger back, preventing them from ever raising their blades against her. She finishes them up by burning them with the flames released from her right arm, where her Zodiac mark is located.
Van, on the other hand, attacks those monsters by hurling the chakram at them then controls its course with the strong gust of wind, using her left hand. The chakram flies along the wind current freely as if it was being controlled by some sort of telekinesis. The blades are sharp and sliced through the monsters’ body like hot knife through butter as well.
On top of handling these monsters well, the two girls are extremely proficient in collaborating their attacks too. Van clears up all the monsters that are about three arm lengths away with her chakram and the power of wind, while any monsters that managed to get near her are kept away by Nat’s attacks. Their attacks are efficient and safety-oriented as well.
Needless to say, both of them are truly skilled.
In just a few minutes, the entire batch that entered the library’s lobby is cleared up. The whole lobby’s floor is covered with piles of sand-like materials from the remains of those monsters. I hope all the other people made it to safety.
“That should be all.” Van hides the blade on her chakram and hangs it behind her waist like usual.
“Man, I’m glad that’s over,” Nat sighed in relief.
“Okay then. Let’s get out of here,” I suggested as I fold the lance the keep and it in the same place. With this batch cleared, the people hiding in the back should be safe until the military arrives.
“W…Woah hey? We’re walking?” Nat asked.
“Yeah. If we get in the car, we’ll get stuck in the traffic,” I replied.
“But it’s a pretty long way to the city’s gate from here!” Nat argued.
“Oh come on. How long would it take, really?” I sighed. After my trek to the Cancerian Laboratory, nothing else seems far any more. Nat was probably pampered from sitting in a car too much.
“Enough complaining. Let’s get moving now, Nat,” Van said, agreeing with me.
“Ugh. Fine,” Nat rolled her eyes before following Van and I out of the library.
Outside of the library is extremely chaotic. People’s scream of fright and despair echoed throughout the whole city. The dark hole on the sky shows no sign of dispersing any time soon. Army of monsters kept pouring down like rain.
“This is bad. These people are casual men and women. They don’t stand a chance if the army of monsters continue attacking them like this,” Van muttered.
“Let’s just get out of this place before we are caught up in the crowd!” Nat suggested and led both Van and me off down the street where the crowds are also running.
“Viola!!! Look out!!!!” Van yelled all of the sudden.
I was startled by her yell, but fortunately my reflex instinctively forced my legs to take a jump backward. A gigantic monster fell down from the sky without a warning right on the spot where I was standing earlier, separating me from Nat and Van. If I was a second slower in dodging that, it would have flattened me.
While its appearance is different from the hordes that struck the library, it is without a doubt from the same side as those monsters. This creature stood over five meters tall on four massive elephant-like legs. At first glance, it looks like a gigantic turtle with two long horn-like structures sticking out from its shell in front. They release a different high pitch screech but it is disturbing just about the same as the hordes at the library. To top that up, two more of this monster dropped down behind it, tripling the trouble.
“Nat! Van! You girls okay!?” I shouted at the girls.
“We’re fine!” Nat replied in her sister’s stead. But with the two gigantic turtles started marching at them, they are forced to run to the other direction away from me.
“You take care of that thing and call us when it’s over! Got it!?” Van yelled back at me as she runs away with Nat.
I look up at the monstrosity with anxiety. This thing is over three meters taller than me.
Can I really do this?