ZA – Chapter Ophiucus 31 A

Chapter 31 – O

Auria

I sit quietly in the dimly lit hallway of the hospital, blankly looking outward. It has been a couple of hours since Sophia was admitted into the emergency room. A part of me was telling me that it’s going to be all right since she is in the doctor’s hands. But another part of me could not help but worry about her. After all, my spells, which is scientifically explained to be the ability to hasten the body’s natural recovery, had no effect on Sophia – meaning that she had no wound on her.
Yet she is deep in comatose.
Not moving.
Not smiling.
It pains me just to think that I might not be able to see the funny and cheerful Sophia again. After all, last time I had to come to the hospital in the middle of the night like this, it did not end well. Frankly speaking, this reminds me of that night when my parents passed away.
That night, Orica was crying right next to me. I was sitting in the hospital’s hallway, confused and not sure about what to do. After that…

“Hey.”
And just like that night, while I was lost in thought, a kind young man approaches me from the other side of the hall. He passes me a paper cup containing hot chocolate then sits down next to me.
“Thanks.” I took the cup from him and blankly stare at the rising steam that warms me from the coldness of the night.
“The doctor is my mother’s friend. He’s a great doctor, so relax, your friend is in good hands,” Lynus said, sipping from his cup.
“… Yeah,” I replied breathlessly.
After that, an awkward silence quickly builds up between the two of us. It was to be expected since we were separated from one another on a rather shocking incident. That moment, my mind quickly changes from worrying about Sophia to questioning Lynus.
What exactly happened that day?
Why was the Star Unit waiting to ambush us?

“That day… Before you all come back to the warehouse…” All of the sudden, Lynus spoke up, as if he knew what was on my mind. “The Star Units march right into our warehouse, claiming that we were secretly developing an illegal biological weapon. Fauner, that nosy guy you girls met, is a spy from Nebula Corp. He was sent to spy on the Rich Generator. Well, it’s to be expected since we were able to spy on them, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they gave us a taste of our own medicine.” Lynus chuckled then sighed. “Anyway, it just so happened that I took you to the warehouse that he found out about all of you and report to the corporation.”
“… And what happened to you?” I asked.
“Most of the workers, the researchers, and I were captured and confined for a couple of days. All of our stuffs, including our phones, were confiscated,” he explained.
“Is that so? No wonder you didn’t pick up my phone,” I said.
It’s exactly just as I thought. If he really betrayed us, he should have picked up the phone and used some means of tracking to look for me. However, the phone was just left ringing like that. It’s not that he didn’t pick it up; he couldn’t do it.
“Oh? You were trying to call me?” Lynus asked, chuckling, “How many missed calls did you make?”
“I didn’t count. But it’s probably less than your stalk attempts,” I teased him.
“Ouch, that hurts, you know.” Lynus laughed nervously.

“… So, what happened after you were captured?” I asked some more.
“I was confined at the Eternia Police Department, and the NEFs interrogated me various questions about our ‘weapon’ and ‘Zodiac Angels’ like you,” I said.
“What did you tell them?” I asked worriedly.
“Of course I told them I don’t know anything about you, and that I’m not developing a weapon.” Lynus shrugs. “And actually, to be fair, it was only like three or four hours before I was captured that I knew that you are a Zodiac Angel.”
“I see… But then, how did you get out? Did you bail yourself out?” I asked some more.
“Earlier this evening, Lex used his father’s connections with the police of Eternia to bail me out, free of charge,” Lynus said, “… But I’m really sorry though.”
“Huh? For what?”
“I really wish I could get to you sooner than this,” he said.
“N… No. No, it’s not your fault,” I muttered, “You’ve decided to do this for us without asking for anything in return. Yet you got yourself in trouble because of us. I was the one who should be apologizing you.”
“Hey, don’t sweat it. I told you I’d do anything for my girlfriend.” Lynus smiled cheekily, softly nudging me with his elbow. “Just so you know, you owe me a date after all this is over. We haven’t gone out on a date for a while now, haven’t we?”

Lynus…
You are so kind.
… Way too kind…
To think that I almost believe that you really betrayed us…

Sophia…
You were right…
You were absolutely right that I should believe in him…
I’m glad I listened to you.
So please…
Please open your eyes again…

“By the way, what’s the plan now?” Lynus asked, this time with a serious face.
“Huh?”
“You girls are still going to fight the Nebula Corp, aren’t you?” he asked, “And you can’t just simply destroy their power source.”
“Yeah. After the incident at the warehouse, my group and I traveled for a bit to look for other means of fighting back, but we couldn’t get anywhere.” I sighed. “In the end, it all comes down to finding an alternate energy source to replace the Nebula Corp’s. That’s really our only available choice before we can do anything else.”
“I see. I guess that makes sense,” Lynus muttered, “The Nebula Corp cannot be destroyed after all – at least, not while the people of Athenia need them.”
“By the way, Lynus. About the Rich Generator.” I turn my face to him. “Is it… Is it still possible to launch the generator and distribute your energy?”
“Well, there’s not much I can do about it right now,” Lynus said, “The Star Unit had the warehouse in their custody and many of my research team members and workers are still in jail at Eternia.”
“What about the blue prints and the actual generator itself?” I asked.
“I’m not worried about those. I have backups of the generator blueprints in many terminals and the generator can be reconstructed at any time. The most important things here are our facility and my team. Unless we get the warehouse back and free them, I’m afraid we won’t be able to complete the generator,” Lynus explained, “It’ll be a while, but Lex should be able to help me bail my men. So the problem here now is getting the warehouse back.”
“… I see. So if we can secure the facility back for you, can we still distribute the energy?” I asked.
“Of course. After developing the generator to this point, it wouldn’t make any sense for us to just forget about it because the Nebula Corp told us to do so,” Lynus said, laughing.
It seems like we still have some hope left. It was quite a detour, but in the end we are back on our track. We need Lynus to complete the generator and distribute energy to Athenia. That would properly negate the time-bomb effect of Reisa’s plan.
All that is left after that is to actually defeat Fiore or find a way to stop the Nebula Corp from ever sending that girl to the Celestial Halls. But that is a little far off from where we are right now…
It would be best if we just take things step by step from now on.

A few moments after that, I heard the sound of several footsteps coming from the other side of the hallway.
“Auria!”
That moment, an emerald eyed lady emerged from the corner of the halls and ran towards me with a face pale as snow.
“Auria!”
“Sis!!!”
“Auriaaaa!!!!”
Following Miss Myria, Miki, Orica, and Lauress quickly follow suit and approach me. Their faces however turn slightly pale when they notice the young man standing behind me.
“Bro Lynus?” Orica called to him.
“You…” Miki glares straight at Lynus with her hands reaching for her daggers.
“R… Relax, everyone. Lynus didn’t betray us! He was the one who picked me up and brought Sophia to this hospital!” I explained.
Hearing so, Miki simply lowers her guard, although she still maintains eye contact with him.
“I knew it! I knew you wouldn’t betray us!!!”
With that, the shoulder-length caramel haired girl quickly hops onto Lynus, tightly holding on to him with both of her arms along with giving him a peck on his cheek.
“Wah hey… Come on, your sis is here you know.” Lynus smiled nervously.
Well, maybe I’ll let this slide this time.

“Auria, how’s Sophia?! How is she!? How did it happen!?”
Before I could embrace myself in the nostalgia of Orica messing with me, Miss Myria bombarded several questions at me with a worried face. Most of the time, Miss Myria appears to be a glamorous lady, filled with grace in everything she does. However, this time around, her face is pale as snow and it almost seems as if she grew a few years older.
“Um… I…”
While I was looking for the exact words to tell her how I was responsible for this, the young man behind me stood up for me.
“Calm down, Miss Estella,” Lynus spoke up in my stead, “The doctor said your daughter is still breathing. She will be all right.”
“… Sophia,” Miss Myria whispered her daughter’s name and restlessly sat down on the bench with a blank look.
She seems devastated.
… Of course, she is.
Her daughter is in comatose…

“Hey.”
A few moments later, I suddenly felt a tap my shoulder. Turning around, I found the purple haired girl standing right behind me, along with Miss Frey and the remaining angels.
“Viola!”
I couldn’t help but tightly hug her. I’m so glad she is okay. To be honest, I was expecting the worst. How could I be optimistic when all the odds were against us in that battle?
“Yeah, I’m back,” she said, softly stroking my hair. As I released her from my arms, I notice for the first time that there are a good deal of scrapes and bruises on her body.
“You’re hurt…!”
“Oh… yeah. Lin and Len used up a lot of their powers so they could not heal me,” she replied.
“Come on, sit down. Let me heal you.”
With that, I take Viola to the bench nearby and cast my healing spells onto her body. The wounds on her body vanish almost instantly.
“So… did you defeat Fiore?” I asked curiously.
“…No.” She sighed loudly, grinding her teeth. “I lost again…”
“I… I see,” I muttered, “But at least, you weren’t beaten up like last time.”
“Had Frey come a little later, I might not even be sitting here anymore,” Viola muttered, “Fiore is way too powerful. We are no match for her. If we even want to get close to defeating her at all, we’ll need a better strategy and more people.”
“… Can we really defeat her?” I muttered, “… The 12 Zodiac Angels were not able to defeat Ophiucus and had to seal her away instead.”
“… No. There has to be a way to defeat her,” Viola spoke up, “She might be powerful, but unlike the real Ophiucus, she has the body of a human. She might be able to endure our attacks using many defensive techniques. But in the end, if we can constantly bombard her with our most powerful techniques, we should still be able to defeat her.”
“I see…” was all I said in reply to her.
“… We were careless… I was careless,” Viola muttered, “We should have just escaped from Fiore when we had a chance…”
“N… No, Viola. Don’t blame—.”

Before I could finish, all of the sudden, I heard the sound of the sliding door from the other side of the hallway opening. A man in white gown then steps out and walks towards Lynus.
“Mr. Lynus. Miss Estella has regained her consciousness,” said the man in white gown.
My eyes widened upon hearing the great news.
S… She has woken up!
Sophia…!
“Oh. That’s a reli—.”
“Really!? Really doctor!?” Miss Myria interrupted Lynus and asked the doctor eagerly.
“Uh… Yes. She’s awakened now—.”
“Sophia!!!”
Before the doctor could even finish, Miss Myria quickly dashes off towards Sophia’s room.
“Hey, come on. Let’s go see her,” Viola said and stood up from the bench.
“Yeah…”

I’m so happy right now.
Sophia…
I’m so glad you are alive.

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