ZA – Chapter Ophiucus 30 A

Chapter 30 – O

Auria

“H… How did you know that I’m here?!”
That was the first thing I asked him when I got on his car. Unlike other times, I am sitting in the back seat of the car right now because I have to take care of the unconscious Sophia. Anty is also sitting on the back seat, tightly hugging onto my shoulder.
“I saw the urgent news about the monsters attacking Great Constella and that there are groups of mysterious girls fighting them off,” Lynus explained.
“And you hurried here knowing that there’s a battle going on?!”
“Well, you expect me to stay home knowing that you are in the middle of a battle field!?” Lynus asked back.
“But that’s—!!”

Before I could say anything else, sharp ear-breaking screeches can be heard from behind the car. I took a peek out of the rear window and was immediately greeted by the flocks of flying Strikers chasing after us.
“The Strikers!?” I cried.
“What? Those flying monsters!?” Lynus asked.
Perhaps the explosion from Arcturus’s rail gun earlier drew their attention. This is definitely bad. There are so many of them out there.
“Time to run!”
Lynus steers the car off to the side and heads onto the highway leading out of city. The flock also makes a turn and follows up onto the high way.
“Hold on to something!” Lynus yelled and steers the car to the right, evading three Strikers that swoop down on time. The sharp turn causes the car to sway, making it hard to sit tight. I can’t help but scream as the car swayed. My left hand tightly holds on to the grip next to the car seat while my right holds on to Sophia’s body.
After that, Lynus makes a couple more sharp turns. He seems to have no problem evading them, but I just doubt that he’ll be able to do it consistently. Plus, I’m starting to feel a little sick with the car swaying around. Since I am in the car like this, I cannot cast any of my spells from inside. Our only choice is to outrun them.

“L… Lynus!” I called to him.
“What!?” he replied with his eyes still focused at the road in front.
“Can’t we go any faster than this!?” I asked. Upon hearing my question, the blonde young man remains quiet with a thoughtful face for a few seconds before replying to me.
“… Well, we can,” he replied, “But I thought you told me not to drive faster than a hundred… Or was that one-twenty?”
“W… What?”
You mean all this time you were driving with my imposed speed limit!?
“Then just forget the limit! Hit the pedal!” I cried. I don’t really care about the limit any more. If he can outrun these things, then it doesn’t matter.
However, instead of complying, he remains quiet for a while.
“…This is not your ploy to find an excuse to break up with me, is it?” he asked some more.
“What!? Why would I do that now!? If you don’t hurry up, both of us are gonna get attacked!” I cried.
“I’m more afraid of you dumping me than dying!” he announced out loud while he steers away from a swooping Striker.
“W… What are you saying now!? Just hit the bloody pedal already!” I screamed in frustration.
Geez… Lynus!
I beg you. Please take the situation a little more seriously!!!
“I’m gonna take that as permission granted! Don’t dump me after this!” Lynus smirks daringly and steps onto the pedal.
That moment, his car immediately lunges forward at a speed completely different from before, throwing me back against the seat. The speedometer rises at an increasingly nerve-racking rate. The needle turns up from 90 kilometers per hour to 100… 110… 120… and it’s still rising!
“I’d suggest that you put on the belt for yourself and Sophia!” Lynus said while his eyes are still focused on the road. The flock of flying Strikers was immediately left to bite the dust with only a few of them able to catch up with our car’s speed. One of them tries to swoop down onto the car, but Lynus quickly shifts his lanes causing the Strikers to miss and rolls on the highway.
“Hahahaha!!!! You’re gonna need more than speed to catch up with me, suckers!!!” Lynus laughs victoriously while he steers away from the obstacles blocking the road. Everything seems fine when running in a straight path. However, as a curve slowly comes into view, my face can’t help but turns pale.
“L… Lynus!!! There’s a curve up ahead!!!”
Whenever you want to make a turn while driving, you have to slow the car’s speed down, otherwise the car would sway off track. At least that’s what my father taught me. Yet with the speed we are running on right now, there is no way we can effectively control the turn.
“Hmph!”
However, the blonde young man simply smirks daringly and drifts the car off the curve without even coming close to grinding against the corners. Not to mention that the speed of the car doesn’t even seem to drop at the slightest as well.
“You underestimated me, my goddess,” Lynus said, laughing as the car continues moving forward, “You know, if you love speed, you have to know how to control it!”
…Geez…
He is unbelievable.

Ater Lynus’s stunt driving, there are only a few more flying Strikers following us from behind. Their numbers aren’t that big any more, maybe because they are already tired of chasing after us.
“There is still some more,” I said looking through the rear window.
“Well, not anymore!” Lynus smacks a huge switch on his car’s console and suddenly, his car basically rockets forward along the straight road. I’m not even looking at the speedometer right now because I know that it is not going to be healthy for my heart. From what I can tell, if this car has wings, then it probably would have been soaring into the sky.
However, thanks to the ridiculous speed, the flying Strikers immediately lost our tracks and we are now running along the highway outside of Great Constella. Lynus smacks the switch again and the car slowly returns to its normal speed. By the time I notice the speedometer, it is now back to 100 range, which is considered pretty normal.

“Woohoo!!! That was pretty thrilling!!” Lynus chuckles as he keeps his eyes on the road. “Been a while since I get to drive like that. Haha…”
Boy. He really does like speed…
I’m glad I get to see him laughing to his heart’s content, but right now, something else worries me more.
“Lynus,” I called to him, “I know you just saved me, but I have one more favor to ask.”
“Shoot off,” he replied without looking back.
“… Can you take us to a hospital?” I asked. Sophia’s condition doesn’t seem to get any better at all and my healing spell would not heal her. Maybe it would be better if we can actually get some scientific diagnosis for her.
“No problem. That’s where I planned on taking you and your friend to anyway,” Lynus replied, “There’s a small town called ‘Genubia Town’ around this road. My mom’s friend works as a doctor there. I’ll get Sophia admitted.”
“Thanks…”
Really, I could not thank him enough. He really was a savior…

With everything out of the way, I thought about contacting everyone. However, calling them via phone at this moment might not be a very good idea. After all, Viola and the others are probably fighting and they wouldn’t have the time to pick up the call.
That moment, my eyes caught a glimpse of the pendant hanging on Sophia’s neck.
… The Connection Pendant.
I’ve never actually orchestrated the Zodiac Link before, but theoretically speaking, any angels should be able to activate it. If it’s only telepathic communication, I should be able to do it even without practice.
“Sorry, but I’m gonna borrow this for a bit,” I whispered to the unconscious Sophia and remove her pendant. Anty looks at me then tilts his head, as if wondering what I am going to do.
“… I should be able to activate the link, right?” I asked him. The plush doll simply gives me a nod back as response.
Holding on to the pendant, I try to recall how Sophia activated the link. She tightly held onto the pendant and closed her eyes – probably to channel her thoughts to the other angels. With that in mind, I did the same; I tightly hold the pendant with my left hand and close my eyes. After a few seconds of meditation, a strange sensation engulfs my body and I could vaguely hear the other angels’ voices.
“Everyone, can you hear me?”
I asked without moving my lips. Since the link was connected to the remaining 11 angels, I could hear all of their voices talking back to me at the same time, asking something like:

“This voice… Auria?”
“Oh? Auria? What’s the matter?”
“Hm? Auria? Not Sophia?”

It seems like I was able to reach all of them after all. I should issue an order to retreat.
“As of the moment, we’ve successfully destroyed Nebula Corp’s space shuttle… But…”
I paused, trying to think of a better word to say. It pains me so much just to speak out what happened to Sophia.
“Sophia… Sophia is severely injured. I am taking Sophia to the hospital! Everyone, please retreat and meet up with me at Genubia Town to the south east of Great Constella. I will explain the mission results when we meet up there.”
There was mixed reaction, but the first voice that I heard back after I mentioned that Sophia was injured was Miss Myria’s voice.

“What!? What happened to Sophia!? Auria!? Answer me!!!”

Her voice was filled with panic. All of the sudden, my hand trembles in fear of guilt. Sophia took that hit for me. It was my fault that she was hurt.
However, as a coward that I am, instead of replying to Miss Myria, I opened my eyes and cut off the link.
“… I’m so sorry.”
I quietly whispered as I gazed upon the unconscious beauty, lying on my lap.

Please, Sophia.
Please open your eyes again…

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