Chapter 04 – O
The night breeze blows against my face as the dragon soars towards our destination. It was a little scary at first, but once you got used to it, riding on Miss Frey’s beast like this sure gives you a thrilling experience. Unlike flying on airplanes where you hardly even see what is outside, riding on Algethi’s back allows you to savor the cool breeze as well as fully embrace the views down below. Too bad it is already nightfall, otherwise the views would have been more spectacular to see.
However, my personal time ended when my eyes caught a cluster of dark fog swirling towards the direction of our destination.
“H…Hey! Everyone! Look!” I called everyone and point at the black fog.
“That fog…Ophiucus’s spawns are here!?” mom uttered.
“Tch…They are pretty fast this time,” Miss Frey remarked.
“Wait…? Aren’t the other angels at the Orion Observatory already?”
“If that’s the case, wouldn’t they be fighting against those monsters right now!?”
Lin and Len asked.
Auria said her team already made it to the Orion Observatory. And maybe Viola probably has already met up with her too.
“Miss Frey! Can you take us to the center of the town!?” I asked her.
“I want to see if Auria and the others are there yet,” I said.
Miss Frey didn’t reply but it seems like she doesn’t mind complying with my request. Algethi slightly lowers his elevation, moving closer to the town. Glaring through the darkness, I could vaguely see the town square where there are evidently some struggles going on. The monsters are raining down on the square, but, as I expected, a group of girls is fighting against them. One of them also has an outstanding purple hair.
“Viola and the others are here!” I said and observe the monsters around her. They don’t look very familiar to me, so I assume they are not the same horde that attacks Grand Central.
“…The Hunters?” mom spoke up.
“Those hungry bloodhounds, huh? They came in pack as expected,” Miss Frey muttered.
“H…Hey, everyone! Look at that one near the fountain!” Len points down at the square.
Among the monsters, there is one that appears to be several times bigger than the others. Two girls that I’ve never seen before stepped up to fight against the big one, so I can only assume that they are Zodiac Angels as well.
“We have to join them!” I said.
“You kidding? There’s not enough ground to land Algethi here,” Miss Frey said.
“That’s okay. I’m going!” I said, tightly holding the Leonis Staff in my hand.
“Wait. Sophia! What are you gonna do!?” mom cried.
“It’s okay! I know what I’m doing!”
And with that, I hop out of the dragon’s back and dive down towards the ground. My left hand grabs onto the pendant hanging around my neck and connects to the angels down below. Since I don’t want to explain what is going on to the angels I’ve never connected before, I quickly channel my thoughts towards Viola as she was the only one I could locate from up here.
“Viola! Can you hear me!?”
Auria’s voice replied to me instead. My eyes then quickly noticed her standing right behind Viola. She is wearing a white slack dress, so she was easy to pick out.
“Get away from that monster! Now!”
“Why? What’s wrong!? And where the heck are you!?”
Viola’s voice asked me back.
“Just get away from there! Tell your friends too!”
That moment, Auria turns her head up above and notices me diving towards her. She quickly nudges Viola and notifies the other angel. They seem to be confused at first but in the end they quickly move away from the monster. As soon as they back off, I swing my staff forward with all my strength.
A ball of flame shoots out from the tip of my staff and homes forward at the monster. The moment it touches, the flame bursts into a fiery globe, completely turning the monster to ash. Using the recoil and the impact from the explosion, I perform a back flip and land on the ground safely without a single scratch. For some reason, after that stunt with Miss Frey earlier, I’m just not afraid to do something so daring any more.
“Sorry to keep you waiting!!” I spoke to Auria and Viola who simply look at me with their jaws wide open.
“How…Why…were you up there?” Auria looks at me in surprise.
“Forget that for now, girls! Let’s take care of the rest of the monster first!” I suggest.
“Ho ho ho. What an unexpected turns of events…”
An unfamiliar voice spoke up from somewhere. Startled, the other angels and I quickly look around for the source of the voice and happen to notice a dark haired man standing atop a house’s roof. On his back is a pair of wings with jet-black feathers so we can only assume that he is not a normal human being.
For some reason, the hounds around the square also seem to stand down as they no longer growl at us threateningly.
“You’re not… the same guy from Grand Central…,” Auria muttered.
She’s right. He’s not Rasalhague.
“…More of Ophiucus lackeys?” The purple haired girl locks her eyes on him.
He chuckled. “That was such a degrading term. I prefer being referred to as the ‘humbled servant’. But anyway, my name is ‘Priori’, one of Lady Ophiucus’s six servants. Nice to meet all of you, the hosts of my masters’ sisters.”
“Oh ho. Six servants? Like six Zodiac Beasts? Ain’t Ophiucus a greedy one?” Nat chuckled.
“Don’t bad mouth my master, you wretch! The six of us are proud and wholeheartedly willing to serve our lady!” said Priori.
“So I assume you were trying to announce Ophiucus’s sentence here too?” I asked him.
“I’m merely an observer tonight. But I was surprised to see my friend’s troops getting massacred, so I decide to check things out. And what do you know? I never expect to meet the other Zodiac Angels here,” he said, “And to add that up… It seems like the 12 zodiacs are already here…”
The winged man then looks up at the sky towards where mom and the others are.
12 of us?
Counting mom, Miss Frey, Lin and Len, that’s three Zodiac Angels up there and five down here – Viola, Auria, me, and the two other angels I’ve never seen before. Does this mean that Viola and Auria have the rest of the angels with them in this town?
“So what are you trying to do this time? Was the bloodshed on Grand Central not enough for you!?” I asked.
“Enough? What are you on about? How can it be enough when there are still filthy humans running on Athenia?” he asked.
“I won’t let you have it your way! I’ve already decided. I will protect Athenia from all forces of evil with all my strength!” I announced, pointing my staff at him
“…Evil…? Evil!? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!” The man crackles madly like a crow. “Oh please!!! Oh my angels…!!! That one was priceless!”
He keeps on laughing, holding his abdomen.
“What’s wrong? Did I hit a sore spot?” I taunted.
“…So you really think that my master is evil?” he asked once his laugh subsided.
“Wiping humans off Athenia’s surface? Well… yeah. Sounds totally evil to me!” I said.
“Ahaha. I see… I see how it is. You might have the souls of my master’s sisters in you, but you are still merely just a mortal. You really do not understand my master at all.” The man shakes his head, chuckling. The hounds that were on standby around the town square suddenly disperse into black dusts and rise up into the sky, joining with the dark fog above. After that, Priori flutters his wings and rises into the air.
“I’ll fall back for today because you amused me. But be warned that Athenia will not be spared. This world shall face my master’s wrath!!!”
“Not if we get you first!!!!!” the red haired girl near the fountain shouted, “Hamal!!!!!!”
Suddenly, a pillar of flames bursts up from behind her. After that, a ram with crimson wool jumps out of the flame and leaps for the black winged-man hovering in the air. The ram raises his fist for a jab, but the black winged man flutters his wings, releasing two shadowy waves at the ram. The waves blast against the ram and blows him away landing onto one of the town houses.
The red haired girl instantly kneels down as she experienced the same pain the ram felt. After that, the ram’s body simply turns transparent and disappears.
“Nat!!!” Viola and the silver haired girl near that red haired girl cried out loud when she falls to her knees.
“…We might be fellow Zodiac Beasts, Hamal. But if you stand in my master’s way, I will not hesitate to kill you and your master,” the winged man said with a smirk before soaring into the swirling dark cloud in the sky. The dark cloud then gradually disperses and disappears.
“Ugh…Darn it!!!” The red haired girl falls down to the ground, writhing.
“Think before you make a move next time!” the silver haired girl spoke up while she tends the red haired girl’s body, trying to look for her injury. Viola, Auria, and I quickly approach to see her condition.
My Regulus took many hits before, but even with a straight jab at the face, I only feel numb. So why is this girl writhing like this?
“Uh oh…” The silver haired girl spoke up.
That doesn’t sound good.
“What is it, Sarin?” Viola asked.
“…Look…” The silver haired girl points to the red haired girl’s shoulders where black marks are burned on her skin.
“What the heck is that…?” Viola muttered.
“That’s strange… She’s not supposed to have the same injury that her beast got!” Sarin spoke up.
“Let me see!” Auria said and puts her plush doll above the girl’s body. The plush doll then radiates a pale soothing light over the girl. “……I don’t think this is major. This will probably heal up.”
“Wow…You can heal injuries?” The silver haired girl looks at Auria in surprise.
“Only minor and non-fatal wounds though,” the caramel haired girl remarked.
“But that’s weird… Why does Nat suddenly take the same injury that Hamal did? I thought we angels only feel the same pain, not get the same injury…,” Viola muttered.
“That’s… what I wanna know too,” Nat – the red haired girl – spoke up while gritting her teeth from the pain.
“……Could this be Ophiucus’s Zodiac Beasts’ power?” Auria suggests while tending Nat. “Could it be that Ophiucus’s beasts have the power to inflict direct injury on us angels through attacking our beasts?”
“…That’s possible. So far, we’ve never fought any of these guys before. This could very well be their power,” Viola said, “……I guess…These guys really are not mere pushovers like the enemies we’ve fought so far…”
I guess Viola and the others haven’t really prepared their minds for what we are about to face in the future. But personally, I’ve already have. Ophiucus was said to be more powerful than the 12 Zodiac Angels combined, so the fact that her beasts are more powerful that ours only makes sense.
However, what bothered me even more is…
‘You really do not understand my master at all…’
Priori’s voice echoed in my mind over and over again.
What does he mean by that?
What is there to not understand about Ophiucus wanting to destroy Athenia?
Surprise update! xD
Well, half of this chapter was a repetition of last chapter, so I thought I might as well throw this together after yesterday’s chapter.
Enjoy Sophia’s grand entrance again xD