Chapter 15 – A
The sun has already set around the time we left the clinic. All the civilians have finished evacuating and the city has been completely desolated. Running in an empty abandoned city like this, especially after the sun has already set, is pretty unnerving, but I don’t care. Orica could be manipulated any time soon; she might even already have that crown on her. Because of that, we have to get to her as fast as we can. I really don’t want to imagine having to fight my dear little sister.
The three of us quickly run up towards the northern side of the city where the Aurigan Research Center is located. However, as I make a turn at the corner of the block, Miki quickly yanks my dress and pulls me back, nearly making me choke.
“Hold it, kitty.”
“W…What’s the matter!?”
She hushes me and peeks out of the corner.
“…The military forces are around…?” Lauress asked.
“…Yeah. After those monster made a mess, the military forces were immediately dispatched to control the situation. I can’t tell exactly where all of these guys are hiding, but I know they are hiding out there somewhere with their night scope,” Miki explained.
“How could you tell?” I asked curiously.
“Because I think I saw one of them up there,” Miki replied and points to the top of one building. Gazing carefully up there, my eyes can vaguely catch a humanoid shadowy figure standing up there. I’ve always thought the snipers are subtle with their position, but wow, this one stands out a lot.
“Should I take him out?” Lauress proposed.
“…What? You’re gonna snipe him down with your bow?” Miki turned to the blonde archer.
“Well, duh? You thought I was gonna throw your daggers at him?”
“You can’t be serious. Your arrows aren’t gonna reach that guy. It’s a bow not a sniper rifle.” Miki shrugs.
“How about a bet?” Lauress proposed daringly.
“A 100 Roals says you’re not gonna hit him.”
“Make it 200.”
“Then you’re on!”
Lauress pulls out the bow on her back and stretches it to full length. She stares at that roof top for a couple of seconds before raising her bow up with her right hand. After pointing her index finger forth, she quickly pulls the glowing bowstring, creating an arrow of light on the bow, and immediately releases it. The bolt of light shoots forth with a speed faster than my eye could catch. Turning back to the roof top, the shadow figure was seen fallen back, releasing a short whelp that echoes the empty city.
It was dark, but I can clearly Miki’s jaw dropping to the floor.
“Well, cough it up,” Lauress laughed and sticks her hand out at Miki. The twin pony tailed girl reluctantly pulls two paper bills out of her wallet and smacks it onto Lauress’s palm.
“Wow…You actually hit him,” I muttered in awe.
“Hmph. You’re talking to the president of the archery club of Grand Central University and the Zodiac Angel of Sagittarius, sweetie.” Lauress laughs victoriously. “If it’s precision and accuracy we’re talking about, I’m confident that I’m second to none.”
“Well, I’ve dodged most of your arrows though,” Miki muttered.
“Well, that’s because that wasn’t me shooting you! It’s those white gown geeks controlling me with their joysticks. If I was the one shooting you, you’re history!”
“Wanna try that again?”
“Wanna cough me 500 Roals?”
“Ah guys! We’re in a hurry!!! We don’t have time for that!” I yelled.
What’s with them getting into a fight all of the sudden!?
“Hmph. Let’s settle this later,” said Miki.
“Sure. I don’t mind leaving my 500 Roals in your hand temporarily,” Lauress said, chuckling.
After that, Miki leads us down the street, running along the shadows of the building to avoid getting detected by the snipers. When possible, we make a turn and run into an alley instead. It took a while but in the end, we managed to leave the commercial district into the residential area. Unlike the commercial district, this area is mostly filled with two-stories houses instead of skyscrapers. The pavements in the area are narrow, so the cars aren’t allowed to be driven in this area; the residents have to park their car in an empty lot reserved for each house, right next to the entrance of this area.
The three of us keep moving along the iron walls of the city until we finally hit a huge exit gate.
“It shouldn’t be too long before we reach the research center from here,” Miki explained as we leave the city.
“This is exactly the same path I entered this city after they dispatched me,” Lauress added.
“So you know the way from here?” I asked the blonde archer.
“Yup. Leave it to me! Follow my lead!” Lauress then takes the lead and runs off ahead.
“Wait, hold on!”
Miki tries to stop the blonde archer, but it was too late. A threatening roar echoes the grassy hills as three of those monsters from the train station jump down from the iron walls and block our path. After that, two more emerges from behind, surrounding us.
“Ah shucks! These guys again!?” Lauress gasped and grabbed the bow on her back. She quickly ducks from one of the incoming slashes and shoots at one of the monsters’ abdomen at point-blank, instantly disintegrating it.
Miki pulls out her dagger and takes on the two monsters behind us. One of them swipes its razor arm at her, but the twin pony tailed girl simply jumps up and chucks an ice spear through its round body. The ice spear pierces through its round bouncy body and sticks halfway into the ground, deflating the monster before turning it into a pile of dust. The other monster does not seem to be interested in handling Miki and rushes at me instead. I quickly hop to the side, evading the monster’s attack, and throw an uppercut at its body as a counter. As usual, the monster flies into the air and a bolt of lightning strikes down on it, frying it to ashes.
Suddenly, I heard Lauress’s cry coming from behind so I turn around towards her. There is only one monster left, but the blonde archer has lost her balance and falls to the ground. Before it could slash her, I shoot Anty at that monster’s arm, halting his slash. At the same time, Lauress quickly shoots her arrow at the monster from the ground and disintegrates him.
“Phew! I thought I was done for.” Lauress laughed embarrassingly while lying on the ground.
“You okay?” I quickly run over to her and help her up.
“Nah. Sprain my ankle a bit, but I’ll be fine,” she replied.
“Oh. Lie down first then. Let me heal your ankle.”
The blonde archer sits down on the grassy hill while I hold Anty with my two hands above her ankle. The plush doll radiates a warm light that slowly heals the sprain.
“…Woah. I…don’t feel the pain any more!” Lauress cried in awe.
“Well, it’s only a minor sprain, so it heals pretty easily.” I put Anty onto my lap after he is done.
“Thanks a bunch, Auria!” Lauress laughed, “Man! That was pretty sudden! I totally let my guard down!”
“You were reckless.” Miki shakes her head while sheathing her daggers.
“And you are a snow girl with no emotion.” Lauress sticks out her tongue at the twin pony tailed girl.
“Oh, you want me to cut that?”
“Hah sure. Just make sure not to cut your own finger instead!”
“Oh, come on guys! Will you cut that out!?” I stopped both of them.
The two of them pout and look away from each other.
Oh geez. Will we really be able to make it through this?
The three of us continue our way down along the path until we reach the foot of the hill. There, I can vaguely see a white building with bright light shimmering from distance. Orica is some where in there.
“So like. How long have you manifested your powers?” Lauress asked all of the sudden while we were running, “I knew that I have some bloody accurate aim among the members in my archery club, but I don’t know I had this power until those geeks captured me.”
“Why would you wanna know?” Miki asked her back.
“Well, if you’re not gonna answer my question, then that’s fine. Not like I wanna hear your story anyway.” Lauress shrugged. “So, how long have you been using this power, Auria?”
“Well, Miki taught me how to manifest my powers yesterday. I don’t even know I had my powers until Miki told me about it,” I replied, “As for Miki, I think she has been using her powers for —-.”
“Holy sweet angel of stars, are you kidding?! You just know how to use your power yesterday!?”
“You can’t be serious! The way you used your powers don’t look like an amateur to me at all. I mean, look at your healing spell!” Lauress cried, “And then there’s that thunder something spell! It completely stopped me on track and I…I mean, those geeks couldn’t make me move at all!”
“W…Well, it’s nothing. I just chant these weird poems that were echoing in my ears,” I replied.
“And what about that uppercut earlier!? You just hopped to the side and WHOOSH! That thing became history! It was amazing!”
“Yeah! You are so talented, Auria.” Lauress continues her praise while hugging me.
“I hate to agree with her, but she’s right,” Miki agreed with the blonde girl for the first time, “To be honest, I was pretty surprised with your Lightning Fang spell when you fought Piscium. That explosion was huge, but nowhere near the mess I did when I accidentally manifested my powers for the first time.”
“Aw…well, I don’t know.” I scratched my cheeks from flattery.
“Awww, you’re so cute when you’re shy!” Lauress laughed and poked my cheek, “Learn to accept compliments when they’re given to you, sweetie!”
“Ha…Haha. Okay then.” I gave her a smile in reply.
I’ve only known her for a while, but I like her a lot already. She is so upbeat and cheerful – completely the opposite of Miki. But at the same time, she is also sarcastic, no less than Miki herself. Maybe that’s why they were able to talk back at each other like that.
Anyway, even though I am very worried about Orica, her presence really eases my mind. I am glad we were able to get her to join us.
“Okay. We’re here,” Miki warned us while we are hiding behind the bushes outside of the Aurigan Research Center.
“You ready, Auria?” Lauress asked.
“Yeah. Let’s go,” I replied.
“I’ll go scout ahead. The two of you follow me, okay?”
“Got it,” I replied.
“Yeah yeah.” Lauress rolled her eyes.
Orica. Please be okay. I’m coming for you.