Chapter 18 – O
“Okay. Here we are,” I said when we got down from Miki’s car.
The mine is a lot closer than we expected. It was only a two hours ride from the warehouse, and the path is pretty straight forward as well. I unlock the padlock using the key Lynus’s scientist team gave me when we left the warehouse and open the chained gate. We move deeper into the vicinity until we see the entrance to cavern, which is apparently the mine in question.
Hiding behind the shade of the trees nearby, we took a peek to observe the setting. As we anticipated, we could see several monsters from Grand Central roaming near the entrance of the cavern. I believe Sophia and her mother called them the ‘Strikers’. In addition to that, it appears that there are two more kinds of monsters in the area.
One of them can simply be described as a four-arm gorilla with glowing red eyes. It stands over three meters tall, and from the first glance, one could easily tell how physically strong they are. There are about three of them patrolling around the entrance of the cavern.
Another kind of monster has the same appearance of a normal human. However, their right arms are shaped like a pickaxe and their faces have a huge bulb engraved in it instead of eyes, mouth, and nose. They have just about the same number of the Strikers roaming the area.
“…The Brawlers and the Miners, huh?” Miss Myria muttered while peeking at them from behind a tree.
So those are the monsters’ names?
“Are they tough?” Viola asked.
“The Brawlers or the gorillas are a little hard to handle. They might have huge body, but they have insane reflex and agility. Don’t expect to land a clean hit on them easily,” Miss Myria explained, “The Miners are slow, but they are fairly durable. Look out for their pickaxes.”
“So what’s the plan this time?” Orica asked, scratching her head.
“It’s a shame Natalie isn’t here this time. She’ll probably be delighted to hear that we’re charging through the front doors this time,” Miss Myria said, giggling.
“Same thought here.” Viola is giggling as well.
They sure love to tease Nat.
“Anyway, Viola, Orica, and Miki. You all take the front line with me. We’ll charge ahead and crush all of the monsters around here,” Miss Myria said.
The three of them replied at the same time.
“Sophia. You coordinate everything with Zodiac Link and cover Auria,” Miss Myria said to her daughter.
“… Okay. Understood,” Sophia replied.
“Auria. I want you to cover us with your healing spell. Is that okay?” Miss Myria looks at me.
Normally, I wouldn’t turn down the chance to stay at the back. But somehow, I just don’t want to do that this time.
I want to participate in this battle actively as well.
“… No, Miss Myria,” I argued, making her slightly surprised, “This time. I want everyone to cover me. I want to actively fight.”
“…But Auria…? I thought you said your powers are not suited for front lines?” Sophia asked with concern. I guess it was surprising enough that it made her move her mouth after remaining quiet for a while.
“Yeah. But I don’t want to stay at the back while everyone is risking their lives any more. I’ll fight actively too…” I insisted.
“Auria… You sure about this?” Viola asked me with concern.
“Yeah… You’re not gonna do something stupid like at the Auriga Research Center, right?” Miki gave me the same look. Was she talking about how I exchanged hits with Orica…?
“It’s okay. I can do it,” I replied.
“In that case, I’ll stick with Auria while everyone fights,” Sophia volunteered, “I can adjust to any range, so I can support everyone while covering any close quarters for Auria. If I really need help, I’ll signal it through the Zodiac Link.”
“Thanks Sophia.” I smile at her.
“All right then. Let’s do this!” Viola said and took the lead, running out to draw the attention of all the monsters. Miss Myria, Miki, and Orica closely follow her from behind. Only Sophia remains next to me to help cover any possible ambushes. When the rumble started, Sophia grabs her pendant with her left hand and closes her eyes.
That moment, a weird sensation engulfs my body, just like back at Grand Central and Orion Observatory.
The Zodiac Link… The power that connects the minds of Zodiac Angels together…
Fiore also has a similar power. Sophia must be thinking hard about this power.
After all, one would definitely question oneself if they found out that their power is of the same origin as someone who they thought of as an enemy…
In any case, I can’t afford to be distracted. I hold Anty in front of me and look at him with a serious expression.
Please, hear me out. I need a spell that I can cast instantly from afar like Slingshot but more powerful. Is there any way I can do that?
The plush doll simply gives me a nod in reply. After that, I could feel a tingling sensation on my right palm. It felt as if an overwhelming energy is about to overflow from there.
“I have acknowledged your true intention to push forward. Because of that, my lady, it is finally time for the removal of your second limiter…!”
Anty was also asking me if I wanted to remove my limiter back when we were fighting Fiore at Andoria. However, because of how she was able to use everyone’s battle skill, I could tell that Fiore must have some means to negate my thunder. As a result, I followed Viola’s retreat order and hold on to the limiter removal.
After attaining Antares’s consent, I could feel that a huge burden was lifted off my body right away. An overwhelming sensation engulfs my body once again and I could feel a lot of energy overflowing from inside. With more power, I should be able to actively help my team members fight, not only support from afar.
“With the second limiter gone, you will now be able to cast the spells you’ve chanted at least once instantly without having to rehearse the chant again!”
I don’t need to chant anymore?
So that means I’ll be able to use Thunder Flare, Lightning Fangs, and Thunder Reign without chanting the long spell incantation again?
The plush doll simply gives me a nod in reply.
“Okay then, I guess this calls for a test!” I hop out from the tree’s shade and shoot Anty towards one of the monsters, pass Viola and the others. The instant Anty touches a Striker, he releases an explosion, blowing all the Strikers nearby away instantly.
Viola, Miss Myria, Miki, and Orica stopped marching forward and immediately turned around to see me. Even Sophia was looking at me with a surprised look.
“… Isn’t that [Lightning Fang]? But she didn’t chant anything!”
I heard Miki’s voice mumbling via the Zodiac Link telepathy.
It’s really true. Now I can actively shoot spells at enemies without having to chant the long incantations!
“Everyone! Please carry on!” I announced, telling everyone to move forward.
The monsters seem to sense an overwhelming power from me, so they direct their murderous intent at me. Many Strikers and Miners start moving towards me, but Sophia constantly shoots them down with fire bolts from her staff. She seems to have learned a new skill, since I saw her releasing four to five bolts at the same time with just a single swing. The Strikers are no match for her powers and instantly vanish when they were hit. The Miners are a little more durable and only stagger back from her shot.
Orica uses her weapon’s range advantage and strikes the Miners that manage to survive from Sophia’s bolts. Occasionally, she will toss her whip lash forward and release an intense flow of energy that pushes her opponents away. Somehow, she is surprisingly good at fighting at the front lines unlike me. I’ve always thought that she could take down Miki and Lauress because she was being controlled by Oscar. But it seems like I was wrong. Miss Myria told me that we Zodiac Angel hosts inherited the battle instincts of the angels. However, the angel inside me – the Scorpio Angel – has minimal front line battle skills and that was why I couldn’t charge forward like the others. However, that disadvantage was offset with my high magical powers and I can fire off magic attacks from afar instead.
Back to the battle field, Miss Myria and Miki help each other slash down the Strikers and Miners one by one. Miki is faster than Miss Myria, but that doesn’t mean she is better. Miss Myria’s attacks are a lot more deft and most of the time she can take down a Miner in just a slash while it took Miki a couple of slashes. So to sum it up, Miki is faster, but Miss Myria is stronger.
While I was busy analyzing their strengths, all of the sudden the ground starts shaking and I could see two Brawlers charging straight at Sophia and me. The emerald eye brunette shoots an explosive fireball at them, but the two only staggers slightly before continuing their charge.
“I can’t stop them!?” Sophia cried out in surprise.
If it’s simply interruption, then I know just the thing to use on them!
“[Thunder Flare]!!!!!” I raise my palm forward at them and suddenly a globe of electric current engulfs the two of them, stopping them from any swift movements.
Another confirmation of Anty’s announcement. I’m really able to cast any spells I’ve casted in the past without having to chant again. Back at Andoria, it took me a while to cast Thunder Flare on the Star General. We still won that fight, but it could have been a lot faster if I didn’t have to chant that long incantation.
Anyway, the Brawlers are trapped in the electric globe and cannot move well. They try to break free, but it was no use. Thunder Flare’s locking power is far superior to their strength. While being pinned down, Viola quickly closes in one of the Brawlers from behind and thrusts her spear full strength forward, instantly destroying one of the Brawlers. After that, she charges her spear forward against another Brawler and launches it into the air.
“Auria!” Viola called to me as if asking me to finish it off while hopping away from the area. As a final test, I stop concentrating, canceling the Thunder Flare, and swing my right arm downwards.
Under my command, a huge thunder bolt pierced the sky that instantly purges the launched Brawler without a trace.
“She casts the Thunder Reign without having to chant that long incantation anymore!?” Sophia cried out loud.
“Way to go, sis!!”
“Much expected from the most powerful Zodiac Angel…”
Orica and Miss Myria commented via the Zodiac Link telepathy.
Just as we clear most of monsters in the area, a new batch pours out from the cavern’s entrance, and it seems like they are more numerous than the previous batch.
“Don’t get in my way!!!!”
I close my eyes and start concentrating when I heard a new incantation ringing inside my ears.
Heed my call…
The ultimate spark which can even leads mankind to its downfall…
Descend now and shatter my enemies!!!!
At my command, several bolts of lightning pierced the clouds and strike the monsters that marched out of the caverns, instantly disintegrating them. For each strike that misses a target and hit the ground, the ground explodes and destroys the formation of the monsters instead. The bolts rain down continuously for nearly ten seconds. Most of the monsters are wiped out and those that survived start running away in fear. I remember that these monsters normally become more aggressive when they saw their comrades slaughtered. But it seems like they still have some concept of fear programmed in their instinct.
“…… Wow. Sis is so pissed off right now…” Orica’s jaws dropped down to the ground.
“I… really didn’t expect you to wipe everything out like that,” Viola said while moving towards me.
Well, I wasn’t expecting to release something that big as well. Now I understand why the Scorpio Angel has to put limiters on herself. Without it, everything could become a disaster if my powers go haywire.
“……You have to be kidding me.”
All of the sudden, an unfamiliar voice spoke up from above. Everyone quickly shifts their attention towards the source of the voice and notices two figures – one hovering in the air and another dropping down to the ground, creating a tremor.
“All of our men… gone in just a single spell… Their powers have grown faster than I thought!” One of the figures spoke as it descends to the ground.
…We’ve seen this man before…
“Priori!” Sophia called the man with jet black feathery wings.
“Good evening, my masters’ sisters,” Priori politely greeted us, “Priori at your service.”
We’ve seen this man before. He paid us a visit back at the Orion Observatory because we were destroying a lot of the bloodhound-like monsters.
“How unexpected to see all of you here,” another figure next to Priori spoke up, “My name is Hans, one of Lady Ophiucus’s six Zodiac Beasts.”
Unlike Priori, Hans has a bigger and more muscular body build. One glance and you could already tell how strong he is.
“Two of them!?” Miss Myria grits her teeth nervously.
“Ophiucus servants… How troublesome,” Viola muttered.
These are the foes we cannot take on lightly, not to mention that it is a bad idea to use our Zodiac Beasts against them. Viola knows this best…
Perhaps Orica’s Sandalsuud might be a good contender considering the secret of her ‘true body’, but as fellow Zodiac Beasts, these two probably know about Sandalsuud’s secret as well.
“… What do you want?” Miki asked them.
“You killed so many of our men and you’re asking what we want?” Hans asked her back.
“And you even took down Cebal the other day. I guess you can say we are here for a revenge,” Priori said with a sadistic smirk.
“One of them was already a big trouble enough… But to fight the two of them at once…!” Miss Myria muttered nervously.
“… Get out of our way. We don’t have time with you,” I said with a stern voice and take a step forward. Everyone seems to be surprised to hear me say that and quickly turns their faces at me.
“Hahahaha!!!! Such a strong word! We might not have the same tier of powers as Zodiac Angels, but we are more powerful than amateurs like all of you!” Hans smirked confidently.
“I let all of you off the hook last time. But this time, I’m not letting any of you out alive!!” Priori gave me the same smirk.
“……You already had my warning…”
That moment, an overwhelming aura bursts from around me and the mark on my left chest emanates a bright light.
“Strike!!! I summon you!!! Antares!!!!”
The plush doll in my arms disappears and suddenly a huge mechanical scorpion robot emerges beneath my legs, carrying me onto its back.
Once again, another surprise update!! xD