Chapter 07 – O
“[Last night, an unexpected disaster struck the scholar city of Orion Observatory. Several monsters rained down on the city from the black fog in the sky. Many were severely injured and there were at least 10 deaths. The surprise however is that the impact from the assault appears to be fairly light compared to a similar attack on Grand Central three days ago.]”
I listened to the news report from the television hanging down from the ceiling inside a convenient store at the traveler’s break point. The news sure is fast. The assault took place last night, yet the news is already reporting it early in the morning. After that, the news continues to show the footage of the Nebula Elite Force (NEF) making their ways into the city to provide aid for the residents.
I guess we made the right decision to move out of that town immediately after the battle.
The report then continues with the interview from various residents who suffered from the assault, but I didn’t stay around to watch the whole report. Once I got the drinks I ordered, I quickly get out of the convenient store and head back to the small shack where everyone is resting.
“Here. I got the drinks you all requested!” I lifted up the plastic bag in my hand, showing it to everyone.
“Cool! I was just getting thirsty!” Nat jumps up eagerly.
I place the bag on the stone table and let everyone pick up their drinks from the bag. Nat was the first to reach into the bag and pull out her canned green tea soda.
“Thanks a bunch!” Nat laughs and hops away.
After that, the other girls took their turns picking up their drinks from the bag.
“Thanks, Auria.” The silver haired girl with twin pony-tail spoke to me as she picks up her canned black tea. I believe she is Sarin, the Zodiac Angel of Taurus. We were fighting against the monsters at the Orion Observatory town square together last night.
“No problem.” I replied to her with a smile.
Thinking about it, I don’t think I had the chance to talk to some of the angels yet. Maybe I should try talking to everyone of them. After all, we are in this together, so we should try to get to know each other a little more.
I pick out my bottle of mineral water after everyone has picked up their drinks and look around, thinking about who I should go talk to. But before that, I noticed another bottle of mineral water in the bag. Among the 13 of us, there were only two people who ordered mineral water. Those two are Miki and me.
Yet the bottle is still here.
I look around and notice the dark twin pony-tailed girl sitting quietly alone in another shack nearby.
She’s isolating herself again.
Having no other choice, I pick up the bottle and walk to her.
“Here you go.” I offered her the drink.
This kind of reminds me of the night Miki came to save me. I also offered her a bottle of water like this while we were having a break.
“Thanks.” She took the bottle from me and twists the cap opened. After a sip, she closes the cap and looks at the bottle. “Not cool enough…”
“Oh. The fridge in the store was pretty old, so the drinks aren’t so cool like the ones in the city convenient stores,” I said and sat down next to her.
“Not a problem.”
The girl tightly grips the bottle and all of the sudden, chilly fog could be seen emanating from the bottle, as if it just came out of the refrigerator. Miki then twists the cap and drinks from the bottle again. This time, the water is evidently flaky and half frozen.
“Wow. That sure was convenient,” I said, amused at how she instantly cools her drink.
“That’s just about the only good thing about my power.” She chuckles and closes the cap.
“Mind cooling mine too?”
I hand her my bottle. The twin pony-tailed girl takes it from me and tightly grips it. Suddenly, cold chill emanates from the bottle just like hers, and she hands it back to me. However, the water wasn’t just cooled; it’s completely frozen to a chunk of ice.
“…Hey. I said cool it, not freeze it!” I cried.
“I’m not your refrigerator, honey.” The girl chuckles and continues drinking from her bottle.
Oh boy. That’s just so Miki…
It’s only a short amount of time, but somehow, her attitude has completely grown on me. In fact, I could almost tell that this is probably her way of showing her affection. After all, before this, she’d just screamed ‘mind your own business!’ every time I try to get closer to her.
“…Has your boyfriend made any new calls?” she asked out of the blue without looking at me.
“Oh…? No. How could he, when I’ve already blocked all of his calls?” I sighed and looked out to nowhere.
“You’re a lot stronger than I thought…”
Was that a compliment? …From Miki?
“You think so?”
“Well, despite all your wails, you still gathered the guts to block your boyfriend’s calls, even though he’s so important to you. I gotta give you credit for that,” she said.
…Wow. What was in that bottle of water?
“You know… I don’t trust her,” Miki spoke up again.
Looking at Miki’s direction, I saw the purple haired girl, chatting formally with Nat and Van.
“…Oh. You mean Viola…?” I asked.
“Aren’t you pissed off? She’s telling us to trust the very person that caused all of this. My big bro’s death. Your sister’s kidnap. This big chase,” she asked.
“…I can see where you are coming from,” I said, “But… Think about it, Miki. Viola’s stepmother wasn’t the one who killed your brother… She also wasn’t the one who tried to dissect you. It was Oscar.”
“…Doesn’t change the fact that we’re in this mess because of her.” Miki frowned, gripping her water bottle tighter until it was crumbled.
I remained quiet, speaking nothing else. Somehow, I could tell that Miki doesn’t want me to speak anything this moment. She just wants someone to listen to her frustration and I’m happy to take that honor. I don’t want to be so full of myself, but honestly, aside from me, who else would possibly want to sit next to her?
“Okay guys. Time to move.” Sophia’s mom called out to all of us sitting scattered around the shack.
Everyone gets up and returns to the cars.
“I’m gonna tell you right now that if whatever her mother said is a trap, then I won’t hesitate to kill that girl. And I won’t let anyone stop me. Not even you,” Miki said while she got up from the seat.
“… No. You won’t need to lay your blades on Viola,” I said and stand up as well, “… I don’t know why, but I know that I can trust her. After all, she bets everything with her life. I don’t think she’ll be willing to throw her life away so easily.”
“You are still too naïve.” Miki shakes her head.
“…Well, why don’t you try trusting someone for a change?” I asked.
Miki quickly shifts her cold stare towards me.
“You told me that the Nebula Corp probably took more than your brother from you, right?”
“Great. Now you’re throwing my words back at my face.” She sighs.
“You’re not traveling alone any more, Miki. Everyone here has agreed to fight against Nebula Corp; we all have the same cause. Let’s try to trust them,” I suggested.
“…I’ll think about it.” The twin pony-tailed girl sighed and walks back to her car.
‘I’ll think about it.’
One might think that sounds like a ‘whatever’. But actually, this means a lot more than that. If she was not interested, she would have just frowned and walk away.
Our party has only two cars – Miki’s and Van’s – and those two cars have enough seats only for five people each. As a result, we were not able to fit everyone into the car. To solve this, some of us will have to our Zodiac Beasts. Orica and I gave up our seats in Miki’s car for Lin, Len, and Miss Frey. Sophia rides on her lion’s back with her mother. Surprisingly, it took her a while to get used to riding him without falling off his back, but her mother was able to ride him just fine.
Once everything is set, we continue heading towards our destination.
“So… You called bro Lynus?” Orica suddenly asked me from behind while I was looking forward.
“Hm…? Yeah. I told him that I’m safe right now,” I replied.
…Wait a sec…?
“Wait… How did you know that? You were still sleeping when I called him…,” I asked her back.
“Miki told me.”
Why would she do that?
“Why would she suddenly tell you that?” I asked curiously.
“Well, the two of us sort of had a bet.” The caramel haired girl giggled.
After Lauress, now Orica?
“We bet if you were gonna call bro Lynus or not, and apparently, she lost,” Orica said.
…Miki really has no luck with gambling…
She should stop betting with others.
…Or was this why she told me that she was disappointed?
“Is that so?” I muttered.
“Yeah. Haha.” Orica laughed. “She has a really nasty attitude, but I don’t think she’s a bad person at all.”
“I know,” I replied, chuckling in agreement.
“Was she like this when you first met her?”
“Yeah. Thinking about it, I must be really desperate back then to listen to everything she said.” Miki won’t be happy to hear me say this. “But still, I was glad I listened to her. There’s no way I would make it this far alone.”
“Well, you don’t have many choices back then, right?” Orica muttered.
“…Hey, Orica. Can I ask you some favor?” I asked.
“Oh? What is it, sis?” the girl asked curiously.
“Can you befriend with Miki?”
“…What…kind of favor is that?”
I could almost picture the girl raising her eyebrows, even though she is sitting behind me.
“Maybe I’m a little over myself, but I felt Miki hasn’t really opened her heart to anyone but me,” I explained, “I want her to open up to everyone else. I want her to feel that all of us are comrades, not just ‘acquaintances with the same cause’.”
“What makes you so sure that she wants that?” Orica asked, “She’s been repelling other people with her aura, you know?”
“Yeah. That’s why someone has to break it to her. I don’t dare say I fully understand her. But I want someone – not only me – to be beside her,” I explained.
“……Sure. I don’t really mind. But I can’t help if she keeps repelling me though,” Orica said.
“Don’t worry. Just do your best,” I replied.
Yet another surprise update. XD
This one is a rather short chapter, so I figured I’d just throw this out in the middle of the week. Not to mention that the plot didn’t progress a lot.
Chapter Ophiucus is fairly long, so there might be more short chapters thrown out in the middle of the week like this often. I don’t want to give the feeling that I am trying to drag the story on.