Chapter 16 – O
Two days was a very short trip. The majority of the trip was a simple car ride with breaks at various travelers’ check point. Sophia, Viola, Orica, and I sat at the back of the car. It was a little tight, but we managed it just fine. Surprisingly enough, Miki allowed Miss Myria to take turns driving with her. This is Miki’s brother’s car, so it’s something she deeply cherished. I could almost tell that Miki respects Miss Myria to a certain extent to entrust her brother’s car to her.
We took a break at a traveler’s inn yesterday when the sunset and we move out early in the next morning (which is today’s morning). Before we know it, we are already at the entrance of the resort before noon. Miki drives the car to the parking lot and I call Lynus after we parked. I know that if I call him earlier, he would definitely come to welcome me at the entrance, and that wouldn’t make our meeting a ‘secret’.
Anyway, he told me the directions to his villa and we head inside. The path was straight forward and we easily found our way there. His villa is settled right next to the shore.
I saw the blonde young man in his polo t-shirt and jeans sitting on balcony at the porch. The moment he notices me, he moves out from the shade and marches towards me.
Without caring the eyes of the other girls behind me, he instantly braces his arms around me and holds me tight.
I can’t begin explaining how much I missed his warmth.
“I miss you,” he whispered into my ears while his face is buried in my hair.
Tears started welling up in my eyes once again. I’ve said this so many times, but I’m gonna say it again.
I miss him.
I miss him so much.
Even after meeting up with the other angels, there were a couple of nights that I dreamt of seeing him in my dreams and I could remember myself crying when I woke up.
But when I was about to tell him that I missed him too, all of the sudden, something knocked straight into his face and forced him to move several steps away from me. The young man covers his swollen right cheek and looks at me with puzzled eyes.
I saw the plush doll bouncing on my shoulder, glaring at Lynus with hostile eyes.
“Woah woah, calm down!!” Orica quickly held onto the plush doll and took him off my shoulders.
“I think he deems that boy a threat to you,” Miss Myria said with a thoughtful look.
“Oh my… He doesn’t seem to like your boyfriend,” Viola teased.
“Oh come on guys!”
Stop teasing me for a minute!
“And Anty. It’s okay. He’s our ally,” I explained to the plush doll. He still seems hostile but he no longer hops up and down frustratingly.
“What… the hell is that thing!?” Lynus cried, “And who are you people?! What did you do to Auria?!”
“No, Lynus! These people are with me. They are my friends,” I explained to the blonde young man, “Can we just get inside for now? I’ll explain everything to you.”
“… Yeah. I better get a good explanation on what the hell is that thing…,” Lynus said while cringing at the plush doll’s hostile look.
Lynus leads all of us into the air conditioned living room. There were only three couches in the room, so Lynus, Miss Myria, and I sit on each of them. The rest had to sit on stools that Lynus got from the dining room. Thinking about it, I didn’t tell him that I’d be bringing other people with me, so I can’t blame him for being surprised to see Viola and the others.
“… So… We probably should start by introducing ourselves?”
Viola and the others did as Miss Myria suggested and introduced themselves. However, they only told him their names. While inside the car, I told everyone that I want to be the one to summarize our current situation to Lynus as well as explain ‘what’ we all are.
“… Okay then. With the formalities out of the way, can you tell me where have you been this past week now?” Lynus asked me. His eyes are narrowed and I could just tell that he still does not trust the others. Well, I guess the only other person he trusted in this room is Orica.
“Before I start, I want you to know that whatever I am about to tell you from now on, no matter how unreal it might sound, are all true,” I started.
“Uh huh…” The blonde young man simply nods and listens to me attentively.
“… All of the girls here, including Orica and me, are the reincarnations of the Zodiac Angels from the Tales of Star Ocean.”
I said it.
I’ve finally told him the truth I’ve been keeping for almost two weeks. It was only after I said it that I realized how ridiculous it sounded even to me. I would not be angry or surprised if he does not buy into whatever I just said at all.
“… Come on, Auria. I didn’t come all the way here for some childish jokes,” the blonde young man said with a frustrated tone.
Well, I knew it. There is only one way to prove this to him. I lift up my palm and point it towards the door behind Lynus’s couch. At my signal, Anty shoots himself at the door of the living room, completely cracking it opened, before hovering back to my arm quietly.
“…What… in the world just happened!?” Lynus cried in disbelief as his eyes locked themselves at the crumbled wooden door.
My hands reach for my back to unzip my dress and slightly lower it down.
“Woah woah woah!!! Hey, wait!! Why are you… strip… ping…?”
The young man blurts out while blushing, but stops the moment he saw a mark engraved above my left bra.
“Here’s the proof of my story. The mark of a Zodiac Angel – the reincarnation of the goddess that created this world.”
Lynus’s eyes widened at my explanation.
“And she’s the reincarnation of the most powerful angel too!” Orica added.
Thanks Orica, but that was already too much for him to digest.
“… You girls can’t be serious,” the young man whispered in disbelief.
“Well, want me to demonstrate my powers too?” Viola said and reached for the spear strapped behind her hip. At the same time, I saw Miki reaching for her sheathed daggers as well.
“N… No no no! That’s… okay… That’s enough.” Lynus quickly stopped them. I could see a huge drop of sweat tracing down his cheek.
“Listen to my story carefully, Lynus,” I spoke up while I zip up my dress, “This is what happened last two weeks…”
So I told him everything that happened from the moment after he dropped Orica and me off at the apartment that day, how Miki saved me, how I met Sophia and Viola, and how we saved Orica. The blonde young man listened to my story attentively without making a single interruption.
“But right now, we hit a dead end. And that is why we are here,” I finished my story.
“…I can’t believe this,” Lynus sighed. The blonde young man placed his palm onto his forehead with a serious face. Several drops of sweat trace their way down, wetting his entire polo t-shirt even though this whole room is air conditioned.
“… The Nebula Corp is behind all this…?” he continued, “I know that it’s a filthy corporation with stupid amount of corruptions inside, but inhumane experiments on ‘gifted’ girls…? That’s…”
After that, his eyes shift their focus to the plush doll sitting on my lap and gaze at it with doubtful eyes.
“……And you’re telling me that fluffy thing there is a legendary Zodiac Beast, servant of the Zodiac Angels?”
“Uh… Well, to simply put it, this is his miniaturized form,” I explained.
“Yeah. His true form is way bigger than this,” Orica added.
“Enough about trivial issues, Mr. Richter. Auria, if I may?” Miss Myria said and turned to me, asking for my permission to speak. I simply give her a nod of approval.
“I would like to get down to the point. Our goal is to destroy the Nebula Corp and make sure that no one else will have to suffer its inhumane act,” Miss Myria explained.
“Woah… Ahaha… You have to be kidding.” To our surprise, Lynus laughed at Miss Myria. “Destroy Nebula Corp? Have you thought about this thoroughly? Do you have any idea what are the consequences of doing that?”
“Exactly. That is the problem we are facing now. We thought about destroying Nebula Corp’s main income source – its energy distribution. But…”
“You can’t do that! If you do, Athenia will lose its sole energy distributor. Households will have no light. Factories will have no electricity to operate their machines. Banks and Stock Markets will not be able to update their information, let alone handle transactions. The system will crash and everything will be in chaos. In the short run, everything might still be in shape due to spare energy and those stuffs. But in the long run, people will be killing each other for energy resource. Wars could occur. That’s exactly what happened several years ago.”
This… is a surprise…
Not only he knows history, but Lynus also knows about the consequence of Nebula’s absence too?
“You sure know the details,” Miki said with a voice full of doubt.
“Isn’t that something obvious?” Lynus asked back.
…Honestly, no. That idea never occurred to me at all. Then again, maybe our party was indeed a little too hasty to get rid of the Nebula Corp.
“And well, Nebula Corp is our important business rival – more specifically, my department’s rival. We had to formulate various strategies to tackle against it in the market. It was after a long period of research that we realized the truth; our world needs Nebula Corp’s energy. Without it, the whole world would be thrown into the greatest chaos known to mankind,” he explained, “Even my company needs its energy right now.”
“That’s right. That’s why, we came here to ask for your company’s help,” I said.
“Me? You kidding? What can we do to help girls with special powers like you?” Lynus said, chuckling.
“Your new energy source,” I said briefly.
“…New energy… You mean the ‘Rich Generator’?” Lynus asked.
“That’s right. My idea is that if we can create a secondary energy source – one that can replace Nebula Corp’s – then there would be no problem if we destroy its plants,” I said, “That was when I remember what you told me about your company’s new energy…”
“… I see. If the world has a new energy source, then there would be no problem if the Nebula Corp were to disappear, huh…?” Lynus muttered.
“Yes. That’s why… You are the only one who can help us, Lynus,” I said.
“… So… You were the one who came up with this plan?” he asked me.
“I see. Much expected from you, the smartest girl of the Eternia University,” he said, chuckling.
This is really not the time to be flattering me. Please, be a little more serious, Lynus.
“So… Will you help us?” I asked.
“Before I give my answer, I have one question for the rest of you, if I may?” Lynus raised his hand and looked at the others.
“Sure. What is it?” Miss Myria responded to him in everyone’s stead.
“I understand why Auria trusted me, and possibly Orica too. But what about the rest of you? Why do you trust me – my company – for this?” he asked.
“I’ve told Auria many times that I’ll do anything for her. But what about the rest of you? Why do you trust me? I have to tell you that I have nothing to guarantee that my company won’t rise into the next evil monopoly after the Nebula Corp is gone. I am a third party who will extremely benefit from the fall of Nebula Corp. Why do you think that I won’t abuse all of you for that?”
His question struck hard on me. It never occurred to me at all that Lynus’s company would do something like what Nebula Corp did.
But I was biased…
When you analyze it from an unbiased point of view, Nebula Corp became what it is because it is a gigantic monopoly. If Richter Electronics were to become a monopoly after the Nebula Corp is gone, then…
“That’s a great question,” Miki spoke up with a daring smile, “And I’ll be frank. I personally still don’t trust you…”
“Miki!!!” I screamed at her. Most of the time, I would just give up stopping her when she said something, but this time, I can’t.
This is Lynus.
I respect Miki for helping me several times, but this…
Before I could reprimand her, someone else spoke up in my stead.
“Auria trusted you,” the purple haired girl said.
“She is our important ally. If she is willing to trust you, then we know that we can trust you as well…” the purple haired girl continued and looked at me with a smile.
That meant so much for me…
“…All right then. I understand. I’ll help you,” Lynus spoke up with a serious face after remaining quiet for a while.
“Really, Lynus!?” I cried.
“Of course, Auria. I’ve been offering you my help for so long. Now that you’ve come all this way to ask me for help, how could I possibly turn you down?” he said with a smile.
He is so kind. I’m so glad I met him…
What would we have done without him?
…No. From the day my parents died, how would I have survived from back then?
“So then, let’s get down to business.” Lynus got up from his couch. “Come with me to the Richter Elec’s warehouse. It’s right around the outskirts of Eternia. I’ll show you our latest technology – the Rich Generator.”