ZA – Chapter Ophiucus 20 A

Chapter 20 – O

Auria

“With this, Lynus should be able to complete the Rich Generator soon!” I spoke up while looking out of the car’s window.
“What’s with that all of the sudden?” Viola asked me and removed one of her earphones.
“Sis. You sure are in a good mood,” Orica teased me.
“Haha… Well, yeah, I guess,” I giggled.

Why would I not be in a good mood?
We got the Athenium mine back. The faster Lynus can finish the Rich Generator, the faster we can go back to destroying the Ophiucus Fragment and the Nebula Corp. After that, we’ll be able to go back to our normal lives. We won’t have to risk our lives again…

“Don’t get too relaxed yet. Your boyfriend might be able to complete the machine now, but we still need to plan our next attack on Ophiucus’s power plants,” Miki said.
“That’s right. The Nebula Corp won’t stay still. They still have three more Star Generals with them along with that girl named Fiore. And there are three more Ophiucus servants that we have yet encountered. They could appear and challenge us again any time,” Miss Myria added while looking forward at the road.
“No worries! We just need to take out the Ophiucus Fragments after this, right?” I asked, “I’m not really the type to blame luck, but let’s face it. Our last operation was simply a bad luck. We ran into a Star General and Fiore. It’s not like we are going to run into them every time from now on.”
“Well, that’s true I guess,” Viola said and shrugged, “But we eventually have to meet with them some day when there are only few plants left.”
“That’s okay! If all of us are together, we’ll be fine! Everything will be all right!” I said.

Right, Lynus?
‘Everything will be all right’, right?

“Okay. We’re back,” Miss Myria said while she drives through the main gate. She parks the car exactly where we parked when we first arrived here.
…?
That’s weird?
Lynus’s car is gone. He’s not in the warehouse any more?
Well, we didn’t tell him when we’re coming back, so maybe he already went home? After all, the sun has already set.
Before I could say anything, Miki quickly dashes towards the entrance of the warehouse and slides the heavy metallic doors opened.
…?
That’s… weird…
The lights in the warehouse are still on, but the machines have stopped operating.
Why aren’t there any more staffs operating the machines?
…Where’s Lynus…?

“Good evening, my dear Zodiac Angels,” an unfamiliar male voice spoke up from the shadows outside of the warehouse. After that, the owner of the voice – a man in a thick fiber vest suit – steps out from the shadows and encounters us.
“……!? That suit!!! A Star General!?” Sophia cried and reached for her staff.
“That’s right. My codename is ‘Vega’. And this is my partner, the [Epsilon Arms],” the man in fiber vest suit lifts up the metallic gauntlet on his right arm. Unlike Arcturus’s weapon, the gauntlet actually covers his whole arm instead of just his hand.
After that, several men in uniform marches out from the shadows into the warehouse’s vicinity. They form a formation and point their assault rifles at us, painting our outfits with glowing red dots. Not only that, four to five helicopters quickly soar into the area and shine their spotlight down on us.

Why is the Star Unit here?!
It looked as if they were expecting us!

“W… What’s going on here?! Where’s Lynus!?” I asked the Star General.
“… I don’t know,” he replied with a smirk.
“What do you mean you don’t know!? Answer me!!! What did you do to him!?”
My hands tightly grip into a fist out of instinct. I could feel anger building up inside me as tears flow down my cheek, fearing the worst.

Where is Lynus?
What did those men do to him?!
I kept asking myself the same question over and over.

“… More like… what did he do to us…”
The one who broke the intense silence was Miki who has been gripping onto her sheathed daggers for the whole time. “Hmph. I knew something was fishy when I don’t see his car outside, but I get it now… So that’s how it is…”
“What do you mean, Miki?” I asked.
“Look inside the warehouse, Auria. These troops were waiting for us in this warehouse’s vicinity, but none of the machines and cargoes were damaged. This means that there was no shooting and struggling in this warehouse while we were gone. These men did not force their way into this warehouse and they did not harm any of the staffs that were in here…”
It’s exactly like Miki said. All the machines are in their complete shape. There are no holes from bullets or anything like that on the warehouse walls. Nothing was damaged. There is not a single trace of battle in here. Everything looks exactly like how it was when we left this place.

…It’s like someone voluntarily let the Star Units inside to wait for us…

Somehow, that moment I understood what Miki was trying to say…
But instead of accepting the truth, I asked Miki a question that I already knew the answer.
“What are you talking about, Miki?!”
“Open your eyes and get a grip, Auria! Your boyfriend betrayed us!!!”

‘Your boyfriend betrayed us!!!’

What…?
Lynus… betrayed us?

“……He reported to the Nebula Corp that we’re coming here, so they can wait to ambush us?” Viola muttered and reached for the spear strapped behind her hips.
“Bro Lynus… lied to us? He sold us to the Nebula Corp!?” Orica cried. I could see tears flowing down her cheeks no less than mine.
“We were given a reliable information that the pesky Zodiac Angels are hiding around this area. So our agent used his authority to make this place a grave for all of you,” Vega said with a mocking tone.
“… Agent…?”
My legs are completely deprived of energy and my body drops down to the floor, kneeling.

“I love you, my goddess.”

“Everything will be all right.”

“…This is just a lie, right?” I whispered.

This has to be a lie…
This HAS to be a lie!!!
Please tell me this is a lie…
Because otherwise… I…

“You all will be executed for the treason of stealing Nebula Corporation’s property and murdering a Star General,” Vega said.
“What a dirty trick… The Nebula Corp has never changed after all this time!” Miss Myria unsheathes her sword and angrily glares at all the troops surrounding us.
“Dammit… There are too many of them! They were totally prepared for this!” Miki muttered.
“Don’t you see, my dear angels? There is no way you can stop us. There is no place on Athenia for you to run or hide!” Vega announced, “It’s about time you realize this truth: Athenia no longer needs its goddesses!!! We humans are the master of our own destiny! We govern our own lives! There is no place for dead goddesses in our world!!!”
“Oh yeah!? Talk big all you want… But do you even realize that the energy you are using right now was given to you by the Ophiucus Angel!?” Sophia stepped up and screamed at the Star General, “You guys are living off her powers! Do you still think you don’t need the goddess’s blessing!?”
“I’ve heard enough.” Vega sighed. “You all are just a bunch of folklores that exists only to make children sleep at night. And so… you will be just that… forever…”

Is this it…?
Is this as far as we go?
Is there really no hope for all of us?

Suddenly, a loud explosion was heard and one of the helicopters fell down to the ground. Everyone’s attention quickly turns towards the source. In the sky, we saw an object soaring around the vicinity. The battle helicopters are slowly taken down one by one and in just a few minutes, all of it was completely destroyed.
“What’s going on!? They have reinforcements!?” Vega shouted in surprise.
After that, several glowing light arrows rain down in the area, attacking all of the troops in the vicinity. Following the barrage, a strong current of wind rushes through the warehouse gate, destroying the troops’ formation.
“Fire!!! Fire at will!!!!” Vega announced to his troops via the megaphone.
The troops that were still in line start firing their assault rifles.
“Zubenes!!!!!” Viola cried out to her Zodiac Beast, and suddenly an iron giant emerges from thin air, guarding all of us from the volley with his iron shield.
“Eta!!! Piscium!!!!” Miki also cried out to her Zodiac Beasts. The merman and the mermaid appear and create a huge wall of ice on the other side to shield us from the other volley.

“Myria!!!!” a familiar voice was heard from above us.
The blonde lady with the crimson scythe dives down from the air lands safely near us.
Following her entrance, Lauress, Nat, Van, Sarin, Lin, and Len also dived down into the area and landed safely. Kaus, Hamal, Al Tarf, and Aldebaran were also seen charging through the warehouse’s fences and attacking the troops that were outside. Algethi, Pollux, and Castor are soaring around the area, attacking the Star Units’ men from above.
“Frey!? Why are you guys here!?” Miss Myria asked the blonde lady.
“The Star Units found out that we were hiding at Sarin’s Mansion! They sent an army after us, but luckily we barely made it out in one piece,” Miss Frey replied, “We have to get the hell out of here now!!!”
“Okay! I got it! Sophia! Connect the Zodiac Link to everyone! We’ll use this chance to run away and we’ll regroup together later!!” Miss Myria ordered her daughter.
“Understood!” Sophia replied and activates the link. “Auria! Get up! Summon Antares! We have to get out of here! Auria!!”

While everyone was busy fighting the troops, my body just wouldn’t move.
Lynus betrayed us?
I don’t believe it…
I kept telling myself the same thing without knowing how many times Sophia has called my name. Before I know it, Sophia lifts me onto Regulus’s back and rides him out of the warehouse’s area.

———————————————

A/N:
And here we end the year with perhaps the most depressing plot twist of the story so far 😀
Yes, Auria fans. Let me hear your cries, lol.

Marcelo’s comment on [ZA – Chapter Ophiucus 17 A]

Your hunch was correct (well, not 100% correct, but it’s a tragedy still xD). I did not intentionally use that line for no reason, LOL.

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