Chapter 06 – A
When I woke up, the car was already running on the road. Miki has not moved an inch from where I saw her last night. She looks straight forward and keeps on driving.
“Oh. You’re awake…,” she said when she noticed me moving.
“Yeah. Good morning,” I replied.
“Oh. No. Not really.”
With my current financial conditions, I’ve trained myself to eat only twice a day; Around noon and in the afternoon. Hence, I don’t usually feel starved when I wake up in the morning.
“Good. Because we’ll skip breakfast and have our training first. Then we will have lunch once we get to our break point,” Miki said, “Having full stomach would only hinder your movements.”
“…Training?” I tilted my head.
“Didn’t you say you want me to teach you how to manifest your powers?”
“What? Changed your mind?”
“No. I just thought that you’ll orally explain to me how to use those powers,” I said.
“Some things are easier learn when shown,” Miki said and pulled the car over to the side of the road, “…This should do.”
The plain next to the road is covered in dust and soil, spreading across the horizon as far as my eyes could see. It is still early in the morning and the sky is fairly cloudy. As a result, the weather is not very hot and there is no heavy sunlight shining down. Miki got down from the car and led me deeper into the plain.
“Can you tell me again why we need to come out this far…?” I asked after following her for a while.
“My powers that you’ve seen yesterday was the power I’ve honed and learned to control for almost a year. You have no idea what kind of havoc I caused when I first manifest my powers,” she explained, “There is no guarantee you won’t cause the same mess that I did. So I want to teach you in the area where there won’t be any casualties.”
“…I…Is that so?”
How thoughtful of her. She might actually be a very nice person, despite her unfriendly attitude.
“This should be far enough from the car,” Miki turned back to see her car, as if trying to measure the distance between us and the car. Perhaps she is afraid I might screw up and blow up her car?
“…By the way, what do I exactly have to do to manifest my powers?” I asked.
“Well, that’s the easy part. Defend yourself.”
Miki announced out loud and all of the sudden, the mermaid and the merman from last night slowly appeared behind Miki. The mermaid is holding on to her harp with a serene expression like usual, while the merman gave me a cold stare as soon as he opens his eyes.
“W…Wait! You want me to fight these two!? Are you serious!?”
“Don’t worry about that.” Miki then turned to the mermaid. “Eta!”
The azure haired mermaid strums her harp, playing a soothing melody. A cool breeze flows out of the harp and embrace my body, caressing every pores on my skin.
“I have Eta casted ‘Ice Wall’ on your body. This will protect you from any fatal injuries by Piscium,” Miki explained.
“But how do you expect me to fight against him!? I don’t even have a weapon!”
“Well, I don’t know. You show me.
Is she out of her mind!?
The merman, Piscium, lunges at me, pointing his trident forward. He is fast, but I was able to bend to the side, dodging his thrust just in time. However, he made a quarter flip and smack the shaft of the trident at my face. I fell to the ground, rolling a couple of rounds away. While it does feel numb, the smack wasn’t as painful as I expected. Maybe that was the effect of Eta’s ‘Ice Wall’ spell.
“Stop it! We’re wasting time like this!” I cried.
I know that I am a fast learner, and I can do things after someone demonstrated the process for me at least once. But that was the catch. Someone HAS to show me how to do it for me. That was how I’ve always managed to score good grades. But this is different. How does she expect me to manifest my powers when I don’t even know how to do it? The martial arts that I knew are only for self-defense and there is no way I’ll be able to hurt this merman with just a punch.
“Just keep quiet and focus on the fight!” Miki yelled.
Piscium lunges at me one more time and swings his trident horizontally for a wide swipe. I duck to the ground, dodging the swing. However, his fins slap me straight into the face, so hard that I felt my body being lifted up from the ground. As I cried in pain, I notice the merman jumping up over my body, before he smacked me down against the ground with the shaft of his trident.
“Stop slacking off and get up! You’re not gonna manifest your powers if you lie on the floor like that!” Miki said while I struggled to get up from the ground.
“I can’t do it…,” I whimpered, “How…do you expect me to do it!? I don’t even know what I have to do!”
“Stop complaining and just focus!” Miki yelled some more, “It’s your power! If you don’t manifest it by yourself, then who would!?”
That doesn’t make any sense. How am I supposed to do that? How am I supposed to do what I don’t even know how to do?
Piscium does not stop to give me a moment of thought. He continues his fierce assault by repeatedly thrusting his trident’s shaft at me and finally smacks me down against the floor again.
“Get up, Auria! How do you expect to save your sister if you are weak like this?! I have no use for a liability!”
Her words make me even more frustrated at my powerlessness.
I hate this.
I hate being powerless.
I hate not being able to do anything.
Can someone…can someone give me a clue…any clue…on how I can use my powers at all…?
As if my prayers were answered, a sharp pain suddenly spreads over my left breast, coincidentally on the same spot where I saw my Zodiac Angel mark. It was the same pain I felt when there was an eclipse. However, this time it is so painful that I pressed both of my hands on it as I writhe on the ground, crying in pain.
Suddenly, a pale flare shot out of my chest and burst off as bright as the sun.
“W…What’s…going on?” I cried as I covered my eyes from the light.
“A Zodiac Beast, huh?” I heard Miki speaking. “See? The best way to make … an angel … huh?”
After a while, the light faded and the pain on my breast vanished. As I lower my arms, the first thing I saw is a weird black … thing, hovering above my chest. I really don’t know where to begin describing this creature. He has a head as big as the size of a football with two big sharp white eyes. An organ that is best described as his tail is formed by five fluffy spheres joined together, dangling down from his back. He quickly jumps onto my face, cuddling his cheek against mine.
“W…Woah…hey, stop it! That tickles,” I laughed as I pulled him out with my two hands. Grabbing his body, I realized for the first time how fluffy and cuddly this creature is. Maybe a ‘moving plush doll’ would be the best description for him.
“…What the heck?” Miki walked to me. “This is your Zodiac Beast? You gotta be kidding.”
“…A Zodiac Beast?”
“They are the humbled servants of Zodiac Angels, like my Eta and Piscium.” Miki points to the mermaid and merman, who have been idly hovering nearby for the whole time. “They will appear when their angels are in trouble or whenever the angel demands it.”
“Is that so…? But…,” I look at the plush doll creature, “He…doesn’t look very much like a beast to me…In fact, I think he’s pretty cute.”
The plush doll presses his tiny hands to his cheek, as if blushing from my compliment.
“That’s nice. But ‘cute’ isn’t going to be very useful when fighting against the Nebula Corps’s men.” Miki crosses her arms.
The plush doll turns to Miki, glaring at her.
“What?” the twin pony tailed girl asked when she noticed the doll glaring at her.
The doll slowly hovers into the air and radiates a faint light from himself. I felt my body becoming lighter, and before long, my body gradually levitates from the ground. The warm and soothing light embraces my beaten up body, and the numbness from Piscium’s assaults gradually subsides. Once the light fades, my feet touched the ground again and I no longer feel any pain.
“…What…the? The power…of healing…?” Miki’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Power…of healing? Like the power to heal wounds and sickness?” I muttered.
“…I can’t tell just by a single look.” Miki crosses her arms. “But in any case, that is still very interesting. Let’s see what other powers you have.”
The twin pony tailed girl snaps her fingers, and suddenly, Piscium lunges at me again.
I tightly hug the plush doll and jump away just in time before Piscium thrusts his trident at my face. The merman continues his fierce assault with the trident, forcing me to keep moving away from him.
“Hey! I still have no idea of what just happened!” I cried as I barely managed to dodge Piscium’s thrusts.
“Just stop complaining and try fighting back for a change!” she said.
“I said I don’t know how to fight!”
I admit that I am gradually losing my temper with her. Everything she did is so frustrating.
“Heed my words, my lady.”
A deep and profound voice suddenly whispers next to my ears. I’ve never heard anyone with a voice like that before in my life, yet it sounded awfully familiar. So nostalgic…
It almost felt like something is telling me I know the owner of this voice extremely well.
“It is I, Antares, your most humbled servant. The time for you to use your powers have come. Now you shall be able to use your powers freely again.”
Humbled servant? Was that supposed to be this plush doll’s voice? That aside, how am I supposed to do that!? I am already busy keeping myself alive.
While I was looking at the plush doll, Piscium aims his shaft at my face again.
I was distracted. I’m gonna get hit this time!
However, just as I closed my eyes when the trident gets closer, the plush doll suddenly kicks himself off my arms and bumps against the shaft, causing the merman to slightly stagger backwards.
“Wha…!?” My jaws dropped to the floor. How did a fluffy puffball like him knock the trident’s shaft away so easily like that?
“Aim for the target, my lady. Aim, and place your palm forth at it!”
“Aim? L…Like this?”
I raise my palm to the front while focusing my sight at the merman. Suddenly, a bright light engulfs the plush doll as he was shot forward and hits directly on the merman’s chest. Piscium took a step back and looked at the plush doll in surprise as he hovers back to my arm like a boomerang.
What…just happened exactly…?
“Huh. That wasn’t too hard, wasn’t it?” Miki asked. For some reason, she was rubbing her chest on the exact same spot Piscium was hit.
“I don’t even know what I just did!” I screamed at her.
“Oh? Well then, I’ll let Piscium continue until you have an idea of what you did,” Miki said and laughed.
That was…such a sadistic laugh.
The merman rushes at me once again with his trident in hand. The plush doll jump out of my arms and rams against Piscium’s face. The merman staggers back and aims to strike the plush doll down with his lance. However, the doll is extremely fast. He flies around the merman, occasionally ramming into him like how a mosquito approaches its target.
While I am watching the doll fights with the merman in awe, another voice echoes inside my ears. However, this voice is different from the previous one. Instead of speaking something comprehensible, it is chanting some sort of poem over and over again. I’ve never heard it from any where before, yet the words felt so nostalgic – as if I’ve recited these words before in the past.
Anyhow, the voice is so bewitching that it invites me to chant along with it. Before I know it, my eyes are closed and my hands are raised forward. My lips start chanting the poem along with the voice in my head.
O the divine beast in the sky…
Descend down from on high…
And strike down my foes with thy sacred fangs.
From the top of my voice, I announced the last word of the poem. All of the sudden, the plush doll’s body becomes engulfed in light as he rams himself repeatedly at the merman. Each time he rams at Piscium, a spark of electricity was seen emitting from his skin. After that, the plush doll rams straight into the merman’s chest again and explodes, releasing a high voltage burst that sends Piscium flying away.
I turned to Miki the instant I heard her cry. The twin pony tailed girl fell to her knees, clutching her chest tightly as Piscium landed on the floor with a loud thud.
No way? Was she caught by the burst some how?
…That can’t be. She’s standing meters away from where I am. There’s no way the burst could have hit her.
Before I could run to check up on her, the plush doll flies straight back into my arms and cuddles me like nothing happened.
“…That…was really unexpected. Perhaps…I really underestimated you,” Miki chuckled as she stands back up and walks to me, slightly staggering.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her again. She really seems to be in pain.
“A pain induced upon a Zodiac Beast is directly reflected back to the angel and vice versa. Nothing out of ordinary, so don’t worry,” she explains.
“Wait…Wha!? So you mean—-!?”
“Yeah. Take a look at your work.” Miki points to the ground behind me.
My eyes are wide opened as I saw a huge circular pit dented into the ground. The pit is roughly one meter in diameters and about half a meter deep. The soiled was darkened and the scent of burnt grass filled the air.
“I…did that…?” I looked at both of my palms, which are now trembling from both fear and excitement.
“Yeah. So now you know why we have to get away from the car,” Miki chuckled again.
“S…Sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt —-.”
“You silly girl.” Miki flicked my forehead before I could finish. “I offered to teach you even though I know full well I will get hurt. It’s all on me.”
“Why didn’t you tell me so!? We could have done something else that won’t involve you getting hurt!”
“Something is easier to teach when shown, rather than tell,” Miki explained, “Besides. If I told you that hitting Piscium would result in me getting hurt, you’d just refuse to take my training. It can’t be helped.”
“On this road we walk, Auria, nothing is perfect and beautiful. You can’t expect to get everything that you want. Grow up and learn to let go of small stuffs.”
Once again, her realist words send my arguments down my throat.
“And that concludes our training. I need some rest.” Miki turned away and walked back to the car. The twin pony tailed girl waves her hands into the air and the mermaid and merman quickly hovers to her before they gradually turns transparent and vanishes.
That was very underwhelming and empty. I don’t feel accomplished at all.
This is not what I wanted.
I want a power that will protect others, not a power that hurts other because ‘it can’t be helped’.