ZA – Chapter Ophiucus 11 S

Chapter 11 – O

Sophia

On the cliff overlooking the sea, the seven of us look out towards the horizon. The power plant that we planned on attacking is settled in the middle of the sea, a few kilometers from the port city. The only way to get there, aside from swimming, is crossing the concrete bridge that links the plant and the shore. The plant itself has been fenced with concrete walls, so obviously, getting inside is not going to be an easy job.
“So, what’s our plan?” I asked everyone.
“We infiltrate the plant, get inside the generator, and smash the crystal personally so we know that it is destroyed for good,” Miss Frey replied.
Short and straight to the point, but that didn’t exactly answer my question.
“But how are we going to get inside?”
“The only way to get there is crossing the bridge, right?”
Lin and Len asked.
That’s more like what I wanted to know.
“Barging head on is definitely not a good idea. They probably have some way of detecting an identified incoming threat,” mom muttered.
“How about by air?” I suggest and turned to Miss Frey, “Can we lend Algethi’s wings?”
“I have no problem with that, but you better think hard about the landing procedures,” Miss Frey replied, “With no wide area, it would be next to impossible to land smoothly. Unless, of course, we pull the same stunt Sophia did a few days ago.”
“Dropping out of Algethi’s back when we get there, huh?” Myria muttered.
“Oh oh oh!!!! That sounds like fun!” Nat laughed. “By the way, Sophia. That sky dive was so coooool!!!”
“Ah… Haha. Thanks.” I laughed nervously. I honestly don’t know what got into me that night. I just had this urge that I need to join my fellow friends below no matter what. Before I know, I was already diving down towards the earth.
“In that case, don’t worry about the landing. I can use my power to mitigate our landing impact,” Van explained.

While on the way here, the seven of us discuss the capabilities of our power. It is important that we understand what each of us can do, so we can plan and use our skills efficiently and effectively. If memory serves me right, Vanessa’s power is the power to control wind current. She can probably use her power to slow our falling speed or something along that line.

“Right now, I would worry more about actually getting inside the plant’s vicinity,” Van continued our discussion.
“That’s right. They have cannon stations on their walls. Once we cross into their territory, they’re definitely going to shoot us down, so we should get ready for that,” Miss Frey explained, “Algethi might be able to fly, but maneuvering around the cannons with seven people on his back is impossible.”
“Don’t worry!! We’ll try to distract their attention!”
“That’s right! Our Zodiac Beasts can fly too!”
The twins volunteered eagerly.
“Hey. But that’s dangerous! If your beasts get hit, then the two of you would take the same pain!” I am definitely against this. After all, they are the youngest member of our team. I don’t want them to pull any crazy stunts.
If something happened to them, what would my mom and I say to their parents?
“Nah. Don’t worry, sis Sophia!”
“Yeah! They’re gonna need some serious aim if they’re gonna catch Pollux and Castor!”
The twins insisted.

Speaking of which, that was when I realized that I haven’t seen the twins in a real fight before. Well, I vaguely remember their Zodiac Beasts firing shots at me and they are pretty fast. Perhaps it’s because they have been messing around with their powers a little while before me, that’s why they seem so confident.
…Then in that case, why would they say that they want to train under me?

“So, we got our infiltration procedures. Let’s think about our next course of action once we get inside the plant,” mom suggested.
“Why don’t we burn the place up and let them blame accident or arson?” Nat suggested, laughing sadistically.
“I liked that idea,” Van chuckled.
Is there some kind of reference that I am missing here?
“But sadly, that won’t do. If the Ophiucus Fragment is really that important to them, the moment they notice fire, they’ll probably evacuate the fragment before even handling the flames,” Van continued.
“I thought the same. These guys are not stupid. They probably already have a procedure to evacuate the fragment should they detect any accidents,” mom said, agreeing with Van, “The only way we can guarantee the success of this operation is to personally destroy the fragment by our hands.”
“Tch. And here I thought we’re getting a pay back,” Nat grumbled.
“I think it should be easy once we get into the vicinity. They will all be busy trying to evacuate their non-battle personnel. We’ll use that chance amidst the chaos and plunge into the generator,” Miss Frey added.

“Sounds like a plan. In that case, I guess we’re all set. Everyone ready?” mom asked.
Everyone simply nodded in reply.
“Well then, get up on Algethi’s back,” Miss Frey announced and summoned the armored dragon out of nowhere. Algethi kneels down and let the seven of us get onto the ring on his back again. With all of us aboard, the dragon flutters its wings and launches into the air in a single thrust.
Unlike the last time I rode on Algethi’s back where I am simply relaxing, waiting to reach my destination, I keep my mind focused for the upcoming rumble. Our infiltration of the power plant is about to begin in a few minutes, so I cannot afford to become sloppy.

Just as we move closer to the plant, the sound of siren alarms becomes more and more apparent to us. Suddenly, a loud explosive sound was heard and Algethi quickly makes a shift in his flight to the right, dodging a huge cannon shot that flew towards us.
“Heh. Just as we thought! They seem to notice us already!” Miss Frey said daringly.
“Okay, Lin! Len! Now is your turn!” mom told the twins.
“Okay!”
“We are on it!”
The twins then suddenly got up and hop out of the dragon’s ring.

Wha…!? What are they doing!?

Just as they are falling, bright light emerges from Lin and Len’s right and left hand, respectively. The lights form into two humanoid figures with jet packs and the twins ride on their backs like a flying skateboard.

Wow. I didn’t know that they could do that.

The two girls head straight for the power plant ahead of the dragon. Noticing new closer targets, the cannons quickly shift their aim at the twins. However, try as they might, none of the cannons were able to hit the girls at all. It was like a human trying to squash mosquitoes with their bare hands. Pollux and Castor move around way too fast for the cannons to successfully shoot them.
As a retaliation, the jet pack Zodiac Beasts fire their firearms at the power plant’s fortress wall as well. It did not do much damage, but it seems like it was meant to provoke more attention from them to keep the dragon safe from being targeted.

Once we are right above the outer walls of the plant, the remaining five of us jump down from Algethi’s back and dive down towards the plant. From up here, I could already see several officers crowding in the area outside of the power plant. While diving, all of the sudden, a weird current of wind suddenly embraced my body and my diving speed starts to decelerate. Upon our landing, the wind current around us bursts off to the side, blowing away any officers that were crowding around us.
“Regulus!!!!”
I summon the lion with the golden mane out the moment my feet touch the ground. Regulus quickly takes care of any officers that were not blown away by the wind current before they could get their aims on me.
At that time, it seems like mom and the others have summoned their Zodiac Beasts while they were diving as well.
This is the first time I saw Nat and Van’s Zodiac Beasts. The two of them looks so intimidating.
Nat’s Zodiac Beast, Hamal, is a ram with crimson wool that stands on two feet. He fearlessly charges against all the officers surrounding him and knocks them away with his fists. From the way he fights, I can only say that he really seems like a great partner for Nat who loves to fight at close range.
Van’s Zodiac Beast, Al Tarf, on the other hand, is a giant crab-like creature with two huge pinchers extending to the front. He swings the pincher, knocking anyone that attempts to get near Van away. But most of the time, he covers Van from any gun fire directed at her using his strong outer shell.
Mom and Spica fights alike. The two of them charges straight at the officers and slashes them down without hesitation. Their movements are even similar to each other, so much that it probably won’t be wrong to say that they are carbon copies of each other.
Miss Frey does not seem to have any trouble handling the officers one by one. As a result, she did not let Algethi join us. The armored dragon now flies freely in the air, raiding the cannon stations that were aiming at us earlier so they cannot cause any trouble later on.

The rumble continues on, but the number of officers gradually decreases. It took a while, but it seems like we were finally able to take down all the officers guarding this plant.
“Hah!!!! That was way too easy!” Nat laughs victoriously.
“We can’t rest easy now. We still have to take care of the fragment,” mom spoke up.
“Let’s go inside everyone!” I suggested and turn towards the facility.
However, just as I move ahead of everyone, a figure steps out from the entrance of the facility – a huge man with muscular build wearing black fiber vest over tight leather suit.
“Bravo bravo! You really surpassed my expectations,” the figure said while clapping.
“… That uniform… A Star General!?” mom cried and resumed her stance.
“Dammit. Just our luck. Running into one right after their deployment!” Miss Frey muttered.
“Do you know this guy?” Van asked.
“No. Many of the Star Generals were killed during Ophiucus’s invasion 20 years ago. This guy must be a new recruit,” mom replied.
“That’s right. General Sirius at your service!” the man introduced himself, “You ladies must be the Zodiac Angels that I kept hearing about.”
“What if we are?!” Nat asked daringly.
“Simply amazing. You all look no different from average girls, swinging toy-like weapons. Yet you are able to wreak this much havoc on my highly trained men. I am honestly impressed,” said Sirius.
His men…?
So all these officers are actually Star Unit officers?!
I don’t mean to disrespect them but they don’t seem any stronger than ordinary NEF officers.

“Well now, how about we cut the chit chat and get to business?” Miss Frey said, lifting her scythe off her shoulder.
“Yeah! Why don’t we let our fists do the talking instead!?” Nat smiles daringly.
“So you prefer to talk with fists?” Sirius chuckles. “I like that.”
The general then tightens the metallic gauntlet on his right arm.

Such confidence…
Does he really intend to take on the seven of us?
I mean, against single opponents like this, we definitely wouldn’t gang up on him because we would ended up harming each other from our powers instead. But if he is really serious about fighting us, he must lots of confidence in his strength and stamina.

“So, who’s gonna be the first?!” Sirius taunted.
“Oh oh oh!!! Let me!!!!” The red haired girl volunteers and eagerly steps forward.
“Hey, Nat. This is not going to be like the past fights. Don’t do anything reckless,” Van warned her sister.
“Don’t worry, Vanny. I just wanna try something out!!!!”
And with that, Nat charges straight forward at the Star General. She raises her fist and throws a straight jab. Sirius blocks the incoming jab with the metallic gauntlet on his right arm. The impact was powerful, yet Sirius doesn’t seem to have moved away from where he was standing.
“A full hit from Nat’s punch and yet not even a budge!?” Van cried in amazement.
I heard Viola telling me once that Nat is extremely proud of her physical prowess, and there is hardly anyone (or anything) that could withstand her fist.

Yet this man just blocked her punch with a straight face!

After blocking the jab, Sirius swings his right arm and blows the red haired girl away from where she was standing. Nat quickly performs a back flip in mid-air and lands gracefully.
“Woah! That was some crazy guard you have there, dude!!!!” Nat cried in surprise just like her sister.
“What do you think we are? We are not entitled a Star General for nothing!” Sirius announced pridefully, “We are the mightiest military force – the last resort of mankind!!! Little girls like you are no match for us!”
“Wow. Seriously? What’s with your confidence? Do you even know what Zodiac Angels are?” Nat muttered.
“Reincarnations of goddess or no, the reports given to me said that you all are restrained by the restriction of a human body. This means that you can die by having your neck snapped. That is more than enough for me!”
After the taunting speech, Sirius raises his right gauntlet and shoots a blast of energy out of his palm.
“Hamal!!!!”
That moment, Nat calls out to her crimson ram, who immediately came running in and smacks the energy shot away just before it hits his master.
“Let’s see if you really are as strong as you say you are!!!!”
The red haired girl rushes straight at the Star General once again, launching an assault of several jabs imbued in flames. However, while some hits managed to pass through Sirius’s guard, their impacts were mitigated by Sirius’s thick fiber vest.
After Nat’s assault ended, she hops into the air just in time for the crimson ram behind her to fully charge against the general. The girl used her body to block Sirius’s view as well as distract his attention while Hamal was picking up his momentum for the tackle. As a result, the general has no choice but to parry the charge.
“… Huh. Now that’s a new tactic,” Van commented, “Unlike how she usually let Hamal handles her opponent’s whiff, this time she actively let Hamal do some work too…”
“I see. Your tactic is brilliant. But…”
While commenting on Nat’s tactic, the Star General pulls his right arm behind him and shoots a jab straight at the charging ram. Instead of blowing the general away, the ram ends up getting thrown back against the fortress walls.
“W… What the buck!?” Nat cried and quickly grabbed her left shoulder – the same spot where Hamal was hit.
“You are still an amateur to rely purely on your strength like that!” Sirius taunted, “I heard that you suffer the same pain your servant does. Your arm must be bruising right now.”
“Dammit!” Nat grits her teeth.
Although there was no apparent bruise on her shoulder, I could almost tell that Nat is suffering a stinging pain on her left shoulder right now.
“Now, who shall be the next one!?” Sirius wags his metallic gauntlet daringly. “My [Lambda Arm] is hungry for some rumble!!!!”

“Well then!”
“We’ll be your opponent!”
Suddenly, the twins, who have been flying around the fortress taking care of the cannon stations earlier, hops down from the air and steps up to the Star General’s challenge.

———————————————

A/N:
And well, Lin and Len fans (if they have any fans), next chapter will be the twins’ show time! 😀

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