ZA – Chapter Ophiucus 27 S

Chapter 27 – O

Sophia

The city is in chaos and the citizens are running amok. There are loud announcements from various megaphones everywhere, announcing the evacuation procedures. Right after we got into the city area, Auria, Viola, and I split up from mom’s party and head towards the shuttle area exactly as planned.
While plunging forth, we encounter a few familiar faces – the Strikers, the Flyers, and the Spiders. This reminds me of the mess at Grand Central, and somehow, it feels like we’ve returned to where everything started. The differences from then are that these things come in much bigger numbers, and the Flyers don’t simply attack by themselves anymore; they merges with the Strikers and Spiders, turning them into a flying nightmare. But that’s really all the upgrades they got; they are not that threatening to us any more now that we know how to handle our powers better than when we were at Grand Central.

It took us a while but we finally got to the shuttle launch area. It is just as we expected; the area is guarded loosely because all the military forces were deployed to control the situation in the city. As we get inside, we gaze upon the white space shuttle on the launch pad. It is tilted up diagonally towards the starry night sky, ready to depart at any time.
“This has to be the shuttle,” I spoke up.
“Let’s just destroy it and be on our way.”
The purple haired girl pulls out her lance and stretches it to full length.

“I can’t allow you to do that.”
All of the sudden, we heard a voice spoke up from the corner of the area. A huge muscular man steps out from the shadow, revealing himself.
“That uniform… A Star General?” Auria whispered nervously.
Fiber vest suit. Checked.
Metallic gauntlet. Checked.
Yeah, definitely a Star General.
“Wait a minute…” Viola steps forward, looking at that man with an anxious look. “You’re that Star General on the news.”
“Huh? What news, Viola?” I asked her.
“The urgent announcement on Grand Central assault and the announcement of the deployment of Star Units,” Viola replied.

……… Oh!
That Star General…
I think I remember him now. He wasn’t wearing the fiber vest suit during the announcement. If I’m not mistaken, I think his name is…

“So you have heard of me. I am Chief Star General, codename Rotanev,” the muscular middle aged man introduced himself.
“Chief!?” I uttered.
So like, this guy is the leader of all the Star Generals?!
… Well, thinking about it, maybe this is to be expected. This space shuttle is probably very important to them after all. It’s only natural they have someone this ‘big’ guarding it.

Okay, that was a lame pun…

“You must be the Zodiac Angels. You’ve been expected,” Rotanev said, tightening the metallic armguard on his right arm, “This shuttle is the Nebula Corporation’s property. Simply trespassing into the vicinity is already treason.”
“Like we care!!”
Our operation’s objective is to destroy this shuttle, not fight the Nebula Corp. So it is probably best that we destroy this shuttle as soon as possible and retreat. With that in mind, I quickly swing my staff and toss an Explosion towards the shuttle. With the distance between him and my trajectory, there is no way he can intercept it on time. However, the ball of flame exploded prematurely as it hits onto an invisible force field, surrounding the shuttle.
“Wha!?” I cried in surprise.
“How sneaky of you angels… Using the commotion in the city to destroy my shuttle? Very crafty.”
A girl’s voice spoke up from nearby.
After that, the girl who is supposedly the owner of the voice steps out from the shadows, revealing herself. She has long dark hair and wears a gothic lolita dress.
As soon as she makes her entrance, Viola steps forward, giving that girl a hostile glare.
“… Fiore!”

Fiore…?
So that’s Fiore, the only daughter of Nebula Corp’s president and the host of the Ophiucus Angel?

“It’s been a while, Viola. It seems like you’ve completely recovered,” Fiore taunted, chuckling.
“Yup. And your attitude is as smug as before,” Viola taunted back.
“Thank you for the compliment,” Fiore replied, brushing her hair off her shoulder.
Wow. With that kind of gestures, I already want to slap her.
“By the way, earlier you said that this is your personal shuttle, huh?” Viola continued.
“And what if it is?” Fiore raises one of her eye brow.
“I guess we really nailed it. This was indeed your ticket to the Celestial Hall,” Viola muttered.
“Good guess, although it shouldn’t take a genius to realize that.” Fiore chuckles. “That’s right. I am going to the Celestial Halls. There, I will assimilate the Ophiucus Angel into my body and my father will have infinite supply of the Ophiucus Fragments. There will be no one to stop us.”

Once again, I heard something stupidly ridiculous.
This girl…
Just who does she think she is?

“You sure are so confident,” I taunted her, “A princess like you might have not heard about the Tales of Star Ocean, so just to be sure we are on the same page, did you know that the Celestial Hall lies deep within the Star Ocean, far away from Athenia?”
“… And your point is?” Fiore tilts her head.
“Do you really think your shuttle can take you that far?” I asked, “The distance is not just a walk from your bedroom to the convenient store next to your castle, your highness. It’s light years away!”
“Ahahaha… So that’s what you are worried about? How naïve.” Fiore chuckles mockingly.
And now I’ve officially hated this girl.
“With Nebula Corp’s finest technology, we can engage in a Hyperdrive that shortens light-years distance to merely a week of shuttle ride,” Fiore replied, “So don’t worry about me not reaching my destination. A week from now, I will be standing in the Celestial Halls with Ophiucus’s true powers in my hand!”
“You can’t do this!” Auria cried.
“Why not?” Fiore glares at the caramel haired girl with narrowed eyes.
“You can’t go to the Celestial Halls! You know how powerful Ophiucus is! You won’t be able to defeat her!” Auria explained.
“Ophiucus Angel is sealed inside the Celestial Halls; she cannot invoke her powers. In other words, she is powerless before me,” Fiore replied, chuckling.
“No, you don’t understand! This is all part of Rei… Ophiucus Angel’s plan! She wants her human host to go to the Celestial Halls, so she can reverse reunion and steal her host’s body!” Auria continued, “You are being used as her pawn!”
However, instead of being intimidated by Auria’s story, Fiore simply narrows her eyes and glares at her with an unsatisfied look.
“…What are you rambling on about?” Fiore hissed, “If you are trying to bluff me, then give me something a little more believable.”

“Stop it, Auria. There is no use trying to reason with her,” Viola said, getting into her battle stance.
“Viola is right, Auria,” I said, tightly gripping my staff, “Let’s just destroy the shuttle, and be on our way.”
“Hmph… I guess it really comes down to this.” Fiore sighs and turns to the Star General. “Rotanev…”
“Yes, my lady,” the chief Star General responded.
“Take the three of them out.”
“Understood.”
Heeding her command, the Star General immediately leaps towards us.
“We don’t have time for you!!!”
Viola charges forward and swings her spear forth. At the same time, I quickly grab my Connection Pendant and initiate the Zodiac Link.
“Auria, you zap him immediately after Viola throws his guard opened, okay?” I told the caramel haired girl who simply nods in return. She is our most powerful ally, but due to the nature of her power, we cannot have her attack at the same time as Viola does, otherwise she would just get caught up in the blast.

While Viola is engaged in a close-range combat with Rotanev, I quickly move off to the side, so that through my line of sight, Viola could easily tell the Star General’s movements beforehand. At the same time, I also begin observing his moves.
Rotanev’s gauntlet arm has a blade sticking out from behind its palm, which can be used for slashing attack. There is also a small barrel installed around the gauntlet’s wrist which shoots barrage of rapid shots forward. However, its accuracy is extremely poor due to the insane recoil. Hence, Rotanev only uses it when Viola gets too close to him.
Normally, when engaged in such a close-range, one would probably not be able to observe all the details of one’s opponent. However, using the Zodiac Link, Viola seems to be able to quickly catch onto Rotanev’s weapon capabilities and knows exactly when and where to strike.

Viola ducks down to evade Rotanev’s side sweeping slash, which leaves him completely opened for a counter. The purple haired girl then thrusts her spear forth, unleashing a powerful energy blast. However, Rotanev’s armor appears to be a lot more stronger than any other Star Generals that we’ve faced, as he only took a step back even after taking a full direct hit.
“Is that all you got!!?”
Rotanev then jabs his left fist forward, smacking Viola fully in her cheek. While she is flinching, Rotanev puts up his gauntlet’s barrel and tries to shoot her at point-blank. I quickly shoot a fireball at his arm, throwing his barrel to the side before it could shoot her. Taking advantage during his flinch, Viola quickly hops into the air and dives down with her spear pointing towards the Star General. Rotanev quickly steps back away from Viola, making her whiff and hit the ground instead. However, that was not the end. Upon thrusting into the ground, the spear unleashes a burst from underground, blowing the Star General even further back.

“Thunder Flare!!!!!”
With the Star General thrown off balance, Auria quickly tosses her palm forward, announcing her spell. A globe of electric current immediately surrounds Rotanev, completely holding him down in place.
“Grrr!? What’s this!?” Rotanev cried as he tries to shake free of the Thunder Flare’s captivity.
But it was too late, by the time the Thunder Flare timed out, I’ve landed down right next to him with six boulder-sized meteors trailing down from behind me, heading towards the helpless Star General.
This will probably decide the fight right away…

Or so I thought…

Just before the meteors could land on Rotanev, a bolt of light shoots from the side and blasts him out from the Meteor Barrage’s range. The Star General was blown across the area, only to be stopped after his body crashes upon a building nearby, knocking him unconscious.
“What in the…?” I couldn’t help but cried in surprise.
“What a useless piece of junk,” Fiore uttered, shaking her head in frustration as she walks down from the platform.
“Huh…? If he’s a useless piece of junk, then why did you even bother saving him?” Viola taunted.
Yeah. It was obvious that she saved Rotanev, even though she sends him flying across the area.
“Enough with the foolishness.” The black haired girl in gothic lolita dress refuses to answer Viola. She grinds her teeth and marches towards us. “Father has always told me to remain on standby to save my energy, but this time the three of you have officially ticked me off. I really shouldn’t have listened to father and just kill you all back at Andoria Power Plant!”
Fiore then raises her hands up and the bracelets on both of her wrists starts glowing. They expand and turn into giant black claw gauntlets, emanating an intimidating aura.
“So, you’re actually entering the ring this time, huh?” Viola smiled daringly. “That’s good. I’m itching for a pay back!!!”
My right hand nervously grips my staff tighter; we are about to fight the person who hosts the power of the forbidden Zodiac Angel.

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