Chapter 14 – V
Three pairs of crimson eyes from the merged monstrosity shot straight at us bloodthirstily before letting out a threatening ferocious roar.
“Okay then. Let’s do this!”
Tightly gripping the lance with two hands, I announced and marched towards the monster without fear. Frankly speaking, this thing is just a combination of three monsters merged together into one. It never crossed my mind that they would get any significant advantage in doing so.
How wrong I was.
The turtlehead opens its mouth up wide and shoots explosive slime out like cannon from a pirate’s ship. The shot was a lot faster than any of the ones the other turtle fired. Fortunately, the course of the shot was easy to dodge by simply bending to the side. However, the winged monster on the back flutters its wings and releases flocks of feathers down when I’m about to make another step forward. My feet immediately jump backwards, taking me away from the danger zone. Those feathers do not explode like the slimes. Instead, they stuck half way into the solid tiles on the ground. Frankly speaking, they look more like razor blades than feathers.
“Damn, that’s dangerous,” I muttered.
“Don’t take these things too lightly!” That moment, the girl with the staff caught up with me from behind. “One of them alone might be weak, but when packed together they cover each other’s weaknesses. The [Tankers] are slow, so the agile [Flyers] cover that up with its fast attacks. On the other hand, the Tankers covered Flyers’ lack of solid attacks.”
“Wait wait. I’ve been meaning to ask this since earlier. You named those things?” I asked her since I cannot keep my curiosity any longer.
“Uh…well, it’s a long story and I don’t think this is exactly the time to be sitting down discussing this,” the staff girl smiled nervously.
“Girls! Look out!”
The caramel haired girl warned us when the turtle head fires another explosive slime. The staff girl rapidly swings her weapon, firing a bolt of flame that strikes the slime and evaporates it away. After that, the two of us quickly run further away from the monster’s line of sight and regroup with the other girl.
“Damn. This is going to be tougher than I thought,” I muttered while thinking for a better approach.
“It’s too risky to attack head on. We’ll have to fight it from afar,” said the girl with staff.
“Easy for you to say. I don’t have any long-ranged attacks like your fire bolts.” I shrugged. Technically, I have the wave attack in my arsenal, but it is more of a mid-range attack rather than long range. The wave has to be released in a relatively close range for it to do any significant damage.
“This monster might be hard to approach, but they should not be any tougher than the ones in the city. I think I can snuff them out with my thunder spells,” the caramel haired girl volunteered, “But if it keeps on moving closer like this, I don’t think I’ll be able to finish the incantation in time.”
“Hm…So all you need is some time to chant those spells?” the staff girl asked.
“Uh…Yeah. A minute of quality silence for me to fully concentrate should do the trick,” the caramel haired girl replied.
“I see. How about this, girls? I have a plan,” the staff girl said then looked at the caramel haired girl, “You focus on casting the spell. I will buy you some time to chant and cover you from its attacks. Whatever you do, don’t stop chanting.”
“Uh…Okay. I’m counting on you,” the caramel haired girl said. She takes a few steps back then inhales deeply, perhaps to calm herself down from anxiety. After that she closes her eyes and mumbles something inaudible.
“I have a favor to ask,” the staff girl nudged me while I was observing the caramel haired girl, “Can you distract that monster with your speed?”
“Distract? Like luring its attention away from both of you?”
“Yeah. With your speed, you should not have any trouble escaping its attacks,” the staff girl explained.
She really has some nerve to outright ask a total stranger to become bait for her.
Did she really expect me to cooperate?
“Look, I’m not exactly happy to ask you to do this,” the staff girl said when she noticed a trace of frown on my face, “I saw your agility a while ago because I was following you closely from behind. I don’t have the reflex that you do, and neither does the other girl here. Since we cannot just fight against this thing head on, we should exploit what each of us can do best. My powers aren’t very strong at close-range, but I can fight really well in mid-range using my fire spells.”
While I am still not happy with her excuse, I can’t deny the fact that she is correct. Neither of them has the reflex that I do. At the same time, I lack the ranged options that they do.
“I know it sounds a little crazy, but please believe in me. I’ll cover you from behind. That thing won’t get a hit on you,” said the staff girl. Her left hand nervously reaches for the pendant hanging around her neck.
Her plan indeed sounded crazy and I am not sure I fully trust her. But I must be even crazier than her to actually take this job on.
“Fine then. Guess I don’t have much choice now, do I?”
“Don’t worry. Just keep moving forward, and I’ll cover you with my fire bolts from behind,” she said, “Are you ready?”
“Well…Here goes nothing!”
I turn around and dash straight at the monster again. Thinking about this again, maybe it won’t be all that bad. Since all I have to do is focus on luring its attack without having to worry about finding an opening, the whole process sounds theoretically a lot easier.
However, while dashing at the monster, a weird sensation suddenly engulfs my body. My heart races and the muscles of my body slightly tense up. All of the sudden, I heard someone’s voice whispering next to my ears.
“Good! Don’t stop moving okay? I’ll tell you the direction of its attack as well as cover you!”
Wasn’t that the staff girl’s voice?
How is that possible?
I briefly look over my shoulders and found that she has not budged a step from where she was standing earlier at all. She was nowhere near me, but why am I hearing her voice?
“Please. Stay focused! I’ll explain this later!”
She really does owe me a lot of explanation. But I guess now is not the time to think about it. I shake the distracting thoughts away and focus on what is in front. The giant turtle fires another slime shot but a fire bolt flew over my head and landed right on the slime, evaporating it before it could even reach me. The four arms with razor blades are swung in attempt to slice me when I got close to the monster. They are indeed a lot bigger than the ones the monsters at the library has, but yet again all it does is mindlessly swinging it. This makes the attack extremely easy to read as usual. Perhaps even easier than the slime ball since its speed rather consistent. I step to the side dodging the first blade that was painfully obvious to plain sight.
I heard the staff girl’s voice whispering (shouting) next to my ears again. The attack came from behind, but with that girl’s guidance, my legs automatically jump up for a backward aerial somersault, dodging the attack without even seeing it. The monster raises its third blade, aiming to strike again.
“Focus on the fourth one! I’ll handle the third blade!”
The girl’s whisper (shout) was immediately followed by an explosive bolt that blasted right onto the monster’s arm, destroying the third blade.
Ignoring the pain, the monster attempts to slice me for the fourth time with its fourth blade. Knowing it beforehand, I easily block the slash with my lance. With all its arms done attacking, I exploit the opening and smack my lance onto the turtle’s face once. A powerful energy was released from the tip of the lance. But while the blast did not blow its head to smithereens like the other turtle, it forced the monster to stagger back a couple of step as well as cry out in pain. Feeling more and more insecure, the winged monster flutters its wings and throws flocks of razor sharp feathers down at me once again.
“Don’t panic! I’ll take care of them!”
A couple of fire bolts fly over my head and burn the razor flock that was thrown at me to ashes. Since I am right next to the monster, I thrust the powerful blast unto the turtle’s knee, forcing it to kneel down.
This is simply amazing. My agile reflex has always been limited by the fact that I need to know my opponent’s movements before I can react accordingly. But with this girl’s mysterious guidance, that weakness was covered up. It felt like I could see the attack coming through her eyes. Now that I think about it, this feels slightly similar to how I connect my thoughts to Zubenes during that sparring fight with Nat.
Could this be that girl’s power – the power to connect to other Zodiac Angels like her own Zodiac Beast?
“Get away from there! The spell is ready!”
This time it was the caramel haired girl’s voice. Hearing so, I proceed to blast the other leg of the monster before running out of the monster’s range. It attempts to slice me with the razor arms again, but the staff girl’s fire bolt homes straight at it, halting the attack on spot.
The caramel-haired girl announced to the top of her voice. Complying to her command, a huge bolt of lightning immediately pierces the sky and lands right on the back of the monster, followed by a loud thunderclap. The bolt creates an explosion in the form of a huge column of light. After the column fades, not a single trace of the monster’s remains can be seen. Not even a grain of sand. It was like the monster completely vanished in just a blink of an eye. Her spell was simply amazing, and extremely destructive.
“Phew! All done!” the girl with the staff gave a loud sigh of relief before hanging her staff onto her belt, “Hey, we were a pretty cool team, don’t you think?”
She might be giggling right now, but I could just tell that she was trying to cover her shaky voice.
“Well, it was all thanks to your voice telling me the enemies’ attacks,” I replied as I put my lance back in place while walking back to her, “And so, I think I deserve to know the explanation behind that.”
“Yeah. What was all that about?” the caramel haired girl asked in curiosity, “How come I can hear both of your voices when you girls are standing so far away from me?”
“…Uh…you heard her voice too?” I asked the caramel haired girl.
“Yeah. Both of yours actually. Not because any of you were screaming either…Um…How do I explain this?” the girl scratched her cheeks. “It’s like…I can hear what both of you were thinking.”
“Ah. I guess I have to explain about that huh?” the staff girl nervously smiled.
Before she could say anything, the sound of siren rang from the roads outside of the square. That thunderbolt earlier probably drew the attention of the cops…or whatever security force dispatched to take care of this mess.
“That doesn’t sound good. We shouldn’t stay here any longer,” I suggested.
“Well then, follow me! I know a safe spot where we can talk about this,” the caramel haired girl said and ran out of the square. The staff girl and I looked at each other puzzlingly and shrugged, before following her closely behind since we don’t have much choice.