Chapter 12 – O
“So… The head honcho comes out to greet us by himself? What an honor,” I said.
I really never expect to see this guy in person – the big boss of our primary enemy.
“I just happened to be in the area, and while checking on stuffs, I heard that we got some rats infiltrating the system. So I figured I should pay them a visit,” said the old man in white shirt.
“Hey!!! Who’re you calling a rat!?” Lauress screamed.
“Oh my? Was that not accurate enough? How about vermin?” Orson suit asked with a mocking tone.
“Come down here and say that!!!” Sarin yelled.
“Oh… What a pleasant surprise. Aren’t you the daughter of Selvic Ramel? It’s not appropriate for a young lady to be speaking in a tone like that, don’t you know?” Orson snickered. “Perhaps you’ve been traveling with these vermin for too long. I heard you ran away from home.”
“That’s because I was looking for other Zodiac Angels to help me stop you from stealing my father’s company!” Sarin said.
“My my my. That’s an extremely inaccurate accusation. I’m merely buying your father’s assets for the growth of the group.” Orson keeps chuckling at Sarin and shakes his head. “In any case, my darlings, let me ask you a question: What is your business here in my power plant?”
Something is wrong…
…What is this man trying to do?
Why is he so calm even though he probably knows that the six of us can easily blow up this place to smithereens?
“We’re here for your Ophiucus Frag—-!!”
“Orica!!!!” Auria quickly covers her sister’s mouth. But it was too late.
“…Ohhhhhh. I see how it is. So you were thinking about destroying the Ophiucus Fragments, aren’t you?”
Dammit… Now this guy knows about our plan!!
“This is such a surprise. How on Athenia did you know about our possession of this stone? Was there a traitor in our company?” Orson said and looks around the officers standing around him. The officers seem to be restless and start chattering with each other. Some of them turn their heads left and right, looking at each other confusingly.
“As a matter of fact, Mr. President, we do have a worm in our company.”
That moment, another voice spoke up from behind the president.
An old man in white gown walks into the room from behind Orson and looks down at us. He wears a thick pair of glasses and has relatively thin white hair. From rough estimation, he appears to be in his 60s.
“Gregory!” I grit my teeth upon seeing the owner of that awful smirk in my nightmares – Albert Gregory, the man who came up with the Reunion Theory!
He really is still alive.
“Oh my professor. Is it okay to come out like this? You were supposed to be ‘dead’,” Orson asked the old man in white gown behind him.
“It’s okay, Mr. President. I faked my death record to put me under cover from the Zodiac Angels while I continue my research. But that won’t be necessary now that it’s done,” Gregory said with his signature smirk apparent on his face. He then looks at me. “…So we meet again, my angel Viola. It was a pleasure to know that you still remember me somehow despite how Rokishi told me that you knew nothing about your past. Anyway, I assume you knew about the fragment from Lyra’s video?”
He knew about mom’s footage!?
“Why look so surprised? You didn’t think we’ve never come across that video before? You underestimated the Nebula Corp. Her security files are easy beyond easy to crack. Such a silly video,” the old man said, chuckling.
“Who is this ‘Lyra’, professor?” Orson asked.
“She was one of my assistants at the Cancerian Laboratory, sire. After we extracted that girl with purple hair, she was turned into a baby. I need her to grow up again and see how she will play out the reunion. Lyra volunteered to raise this girl up out of ‘shame’, which is good because that saved up a lot of our research budget,” Gregory explained, “I was really hoping that Rokishi would successfully reunion with her, but I guess I was expecting too much from a defect like him. In any case, it appears that we are ready for the second phase…”
“I see. That’s good to hear.” Orson smiled.
“……Well, now that you’ve known about the video, I guess there is no more need to hide,” Sarin said, “That’s right. We’re going to destroy your precious Ophiucus Fragments so that your corporation—!!!!”
“Wait a minute there, Sarin.” Miki stopped the girl. “…… Don’t you think it’s weird…?”
“What’s weird?” Sarin asked.
“………If these guys knew about Lyra’s footage… Then why didn’t they dispose of it?” Miki said and turned to me with a cold stare, “Why would they leave something that is potentially a huge threat to them for us to find?”
I hate to admit it, but Miki is right. If they knew that we are going to go after the fragment from watching that video, then why…?
Why didn’t they dispose of the video?
Or was the video really a trap after all…?
No… It can’t be. From the information I know about the Reunion Theory and how the president of Nebula Corp mentioned about the Ophiucus Fragment himself, everything mom said fit all the holes!
It can’t be a trap…
“Allow me to answer that question in place of the president,” Gregory spoke up, “It’s because we don’t deem it a threat to our company at all. That’s why we thought we’d humor you a bit, should you angels even make it this far.”
“…Humor… us…?” Auria whispered.
…Well, at least this means that mom’s video was not a trap.
But what does he mean by ‘humor us’? Wasn’t the fragment Nebula Corp’s main source of income? So why are they so calm even though they knew that we’re going to destroy it!?
“What do you mean?” Miki shifts her cold stare back to the old scientist.
“Ah. I see. So you think that destroying the fragment would bring a downfall to my company.” Orson chuckled. “That’s a good joke.”
“What’s so funny? We’re about to crack your money maker, you know?” I asked.
“Why would you want to destroy my company? What have my company ever done to all of you? I’m merely making sure that my company has a sustainable future so we can continuously serve mankind!”
“Oh cut with the crap!” Miki screamed. I’m glad she did. Because if she didn’t, I would have done it myself.
“Serve mankind!? Don’t give me that bullshit! My brother. My friends. Everyone who helped me was killed by the people of your bloody company! And you’re telling me that what you did is for mankind!?”
Nice job, Miki.
You totally spoke what I had in mind.
However, Orson’s reaction was completely different from what I expected. Instead of speaking back instantly, he simply snickered.
“Bloody? Oh, my dears. The very existence of this stone, given to us by the Ophiucus Angel herself, is what provides the luxury and convenience that our world enjoys,” said Orson, “So tell me, my dear angels. How can you say that what I did is ‘evil’, when all I did was simply giving what mankind wants?”
There is no other word more appropriate to describe this man. How could he say all of that with a straight face?
So he is telling us that our lives should be forfeit for the sake of mankind’s luxury!?
Didn’t he know how much blood has been shed because of his company!?
“It’s exactly because of that stone that we are being hunted down, and so much blood has been shed on Athenia,” I said, trying to hold my anger.
The other Zodiac Angels 20 years ago…
So much blood has been shed…
So many lives have been lost…
“I admit that I myself don’t feel comfortable with the thought of destroying other people’s property, even though I was the one who came up with this idea. But now, I’m even more confident than ever. To end this fight… To end this bloodshed… This man needs to die!!!”
If this man who commands this company still exists, then we, the hosts of Zodiac Angels, will never be able to find a place to rest. They will keep hunting us to the end of the world.
But once again, Orson does not seem to be intimidated by my death threat at all. Instead, he just laughs at me like a mad man and sighs.
“You girls haven’t really think things through, huh?” the president said, sighing, “Okay. Okay. Fine… Go ahead. Destroy me. Destroy my company. Destroy the Ophiucus Fragments. Go ahead and do it, if you dare.”
Even the officers around the president seem surprise. They quickly turn their faces towards the man in grey suit and start chattering louder than before.
“But let me ask you this, my angels. Have you ever thought about the consequences? What will happen to this world after the Nebula Corporation is gone? What exactly would you gain from destroying my company? Do you really think that you can go back to your normal lives after you destroyed my company? Have you forgotten that this entire world needs my company’s energy?”
That moment was the first time I realized that we’ve never thought about anything beyond defeating this corporation. Orson’s questions struck me so hard that I probably won’t be able to forget them for the rest of my life.
“Keep this in mind, my dears. If you destroy me and my company, then you will be marked by the public as terrorists – the people who took their energy – their luxury away from them! The populace will compete for the remaining energy left in this world. War and cataclysm will arise and the history of mankind’s bloody race for energy several years ago will repeat itself! My company won’t be the ones who will hunt you after that; it’s the people of Athenia – your friends, your families – they’ll be the one who will hunt you down like dogs on the street! Do you really want a life like that?”
I could almost feel my face turning pale.
The people of Athenia will hunt us…?
Ridiculous as it might sound, what this man said is true. The whole world is indeed addicted to the energy provided by the Nebula Corp; there is no doubt about that. Everyone needs its energy. The public does not know about the true nature of the Nebula Corp. If the news of the Nebula Corp’s downfall is spread to the public, then there is no way the populace would understand. We, the Zodiac Angels, would indeed become the villains who took everyone’s energy away.
“Do you understand it now, my angels? You have no chance of winning. There is only utter annihilation for whatever you try to do,” Orson said, chuckling victoriously.
I don’t want to admit it. But what he said is true…
“…You think… You think that’s gonna stop me from killing you!?” Miki asked, pointing her dagger at the president on the balcony. Yet, her grip is obviously shaking.
Of course. Who wouldn’t be intimidated by his words?
It’s all true…
If we really destroy the Nebula Corp, then we would be going against the entire world.
“I don’t really care what happens to me after that. In fact, I don’t even care what happens to this world. All I want is your head. Anything after that doesn’t matter!” Miki yelled.
“… Miki,” Auria whispered the girl’s name out of concern.
“Don’t try to stop me, Auria! I’ve told you before that my only goal is to destroy Nebula Corporation. I don’t care about any other consequences!” Miki said, gripping her daggers even tighter. “If I… If I can’t do that… then my… my brother…”
Her voice is shaking.
The Miki who has always been such a prick is now trembling…
“I cannot let you do that.”
Before we could do anything else, a mysterious feminine voice spoke up from behind us. Startled, the six of us immediately turn around and notice a dark haired girl in black gothic dress standing under the shadows at the corner of the room.
Who… is she?
And more importantly, when did she get into this room?
Why didn’t I feel her presence until now?
“You are a threat to my father. I cannot let you get away alive,” the girl spoke up again and slowly steps out of the shadow.
“…Who the heck is this brat?” Lauress muttered nervously.
“My name is Fiore Nebula, the only daughter of Orson Nebula,” the girl introduced herself. As the light from the ceiling shines upon her face, the weird mark on her forehead becomes apparent to all of us.
……… No way.
This has to be a joke!
“T… That mark!?” Auria gasped.
“A Mark of Zodiac Angel!? But what sign!? I thought we’ve already met all the 12 Zodiac Angels!!” Sarin cried.
“… Wait a minute,” I muttered, “If we’ve already met all the 12 angels… then this means that she—!?”
“That’s right, my dears. My daughter is the host of the Ophiucus Angel,” Orson explained and laugh loudly.
“What?! That’s bullshit!! Ophiucus Angel was sealed inside the Celestial Hall!! She didn’t die!!! How could she have a human host!?” Lauress cried.
“Of course. The real original Ophiucus Angel is still inside the Celestial Hall. Fiore is born a normal girl. But she has a brave heart. She is only 15 years old, but she insisted on becoming the host of Ophiucus so that she can suppress the goddess for the sake of her father,” Gregory explained, “That is why we injected the power extracted from a piece of Ophiucus Fragment into her body.”
“Dammit! These guys have already injected Ophiucus’s power into someone!?” Miki uttered, gritting her teeth.
“Don’t be afraid everyone!” I tried to calm everyone down. “Rokishi didn’t even know how to swing a sword. This girl might have Ophiucus’s powers, but her body is on her own! She doesn’t have the spirit of an angel to guide her in battle like us!”
That’s right. She might have the power of the strongest angel, but that doesn’t give her an edge above us if she does not have the battle instinct that we all do. We can defeat her if we work together!
“Oh my. Don’t put Fiore down on the same level with that guinea pig.” Gregory laughed madly. “Rokishi and you were the beta test subjects of the Reunion Project. The implantation of your powers in him was not complete because his heart is not 100% compatible with your powers. Fiore’s heart, however, has completely forged a link with the stars; she has become the true host of Ophiucus Angel, just like how you are the reincarnations of the other Zodiac Angels.”
… Wait a minute.
What did he just say?! Then this means that…!?
“I… I don’t understand. What is he talking about, sis!?” Orica asked her sister worriedly.
“I’m… not sure of it myself,” Auria replied with a shaking voice.
“It means that I am going to kick your asses.”
Upon finishing her sentence, the girl raises her right palm and suddenly a bolt of light was shot out from it. It was fast, but all of us were able to bend away from the shot safely.
“…!? That arrow?” Auria uttered as the arrow flew by.
“Little girls like you need to go back to school!” Miki swings her dagger forward and hurls an ice javelin at the girl. However, Fiore lifts her right hand into the air, and suddenly, a pillar of flames blows up from the ground, instantly melting the ice javelin.
“It’s useless to struggle. Did you all not know? Ophiucus is the absolute Zodiac Angel!” Fiore swings her left hand and suddenly, a bolt of lightning shoots down from above, blowing all of us away to different corners of the room.
“W… What the…!?” Auria cried as she tries to get up from the ground.
“Don’t mess with me!!!!” Sarin charges forward then hops into the air. As she swoops down at the girl with her axe, Fiore puts up her left hand and suddenly, a dark claw-like organ emerges from the bracelet on her wrist and blocks Sarin’s smash.
“N… No way!?” the silver haired girl cried in disbelief.
So far, there was nothing Sarin could not smash. But now, her attack was stopped short and Fiore shows no sign of flinching even at the slightest!!
“Dammit! We’re not letting you have it your way!!!” Lauress raises her bow and shoots an arrow at Fiore. Seeing so, Sarin quickly hops away as the arrow homes in for the girl. However, Fiore points her right palm at the arrow and a globe of water was shot forward, completely negating Lauress’s arrows.
None of our attacks are connecting at all!!!
“Wait… That attack… Wasn’t that my Water Balloon!?” Orica cried.
What was that?
She’s using Orica’s skill!?
“…No, Orica. Not only the Water Balloon! Lauress’s arrows. Natalie’s flames. My thunder… She has access to all of our skills!!!” Auria cried.
“…You just realized that?” Fiore smirks. “Ophiucus’s power is the power of ‘Connection’. She is the only angel with the power to connect to other Zodiac Angels’ stars and invoke their powers. That was exactly why the other 12 angels could not defeat her; she used their powers against themselves!”
“Have you never wondered how we were able to locate you girls in the first place?” Gregory laughed again. “Fiore’s power allows her to connect her mind to all Zodiac Angels, regardless of their power’s status. This is exactly how we were able to acknowledge the existence of every single one of you, no matter which corner of the world you are hiding! After that, it’s just a matter of Fiore pinpointing you all down!”
Wait a sec… The power of Connection…
The power to connect to the minds of other Zodiac Angels…
Wasn’t that… the same power as Sophia’s Connection Pendant!?
What on Athenia is going on right now!?
“So now do you understand that there is no way you can win?” Fiore asked, “It is useless to try. Sooner or later, all of you will fall.”
This is bad…
We can’t fight against this girl any more…
We have to run!!!
BOOM!!! Wham Chapter 😀
Hopefully this was a big surprise but well…
Well, guess who saw through this back in Chapter 5? XD
I commend you for picking up the details!