Chapter 39 – O
“Hey guys, sorry we’re late!” Sophia steps into the room smiling in embarrassment. Myria follows her daughter closely into the room without speaking a word.
Based on what I heard from others, many of us lost a lot respect for Myria due to her actions at the hospital. I can understand where Myria was coming from, but I can hardly blame anyone for losing their faith in her. As such, Frey is the only one still willing to talk to Myria, whereas everyone just seems to downright avoid talking to her.
“So what are we discussing now?” Sophia asked.
“Well, Sis Sophia…”
The twins point to the television, sitting on the other side of the meeting table, reporting breaking news.
“[The situation is direr than ever. The Nebula Corp has just reported that – given the damage from the previous attack on Great Constella – it is highly doubtful that the Star Units would be able to make it to the aforementioned cities in time. Hence, an announcement to evacuate has already been issued to the respective security forces of each city],” said the reporter.
“Um… What’s going on?” Sophia asked curiously.
“The Ophiucus armies were spotted attacking the communities around Galaxia, Eternia, and Cancer City,” Frey explained to Sophia with a straight face.
“What!?” the emerald eyed brunette cried.
“And not just those three as well,” I added, “Since that night at Great Constella, more spawns fell from the sky and had already annihilated several small towns.”
“They started with the small villages and towns near big cities with large human populations, so the remote villages like Aresian Town and Marfik Village are safe,” Auria added, “But…”
“The damage is spreading way too fast. Since the Star Units cannot be mobilized to save the citizens right now, these three cities will definitely be wiped out in a few days,” Van added some more.
“We can’t let that happen!” Sophia announced, “That’s my home town there! And Auria’s too, right!?”
Sophia then turns to the startled caramel haired girl, who simply nods in response.
If I correctly recall, Cancer City is also my home town as well…
… Well… at the very least, the home town of the ‘Viola’ from 20 years ago. I might not have a lot of memories about it right now. But just thinking about it builds up nostalgic feelings in my heart, and I definitely don’t want to sit by knowing that monsters are now attacking that place.
“So what are you going to suggest now? Play hero and save the citizens?” Miki asked, shaking her head.
“W… What else are we going to do then? Sit back and watch people get killed!?” Sophia yelled back at Miki.
“… Actually, I think this is a great opportunity for our side,” Van spoke up thoughtfully.
“Seems like you’re thinking just like me,” Sarin said while looking at Van, smiling confidently.
“Um… Elaborate please. Elaborate.” Nat glares at the two of them.
“The public was informed that we, Zodiac Angels, are the leader of those monsters. But what if we show up and protect them from the monsters’ attacks instead?” Auria proposed a hypothetical question.
“Then all the people of Athenia…”
“… Would realize that we’re on their side the entire time!?”
Lin and Len replied.
“That’s the idea.” Auria nods, smiling.
“I see. Take advantage of this attack to restore our reputation… How crafty.” Frey smirks.
“Hey. But are we really going to make it?! That’s three cities we’re talking about! It’s not like at Great Constella where we can just split up and defeat the monsters from each area!” Lauress argued.
“We probably won’t be able to protect the entire city from the attack… But we can help protect the citizens until they can evacuate from the city safely,” Van said, “Like mention in the news, each city has already started its evacuation process. All we have to do is make sure that they are able to get out of the residential area safely.”
“Then what about after that? Where are we going to shelter all the immigrants?” Orica asked.
“Don’t worry about that. My father has already started contracting his alliances to organize special shelter stations for city immigrants,” Sarin spoke up after flipping her phone back into her pocket, “If we can stall time for a day or two, we should be able to get the facility ready for the immigrants.”
“Same here. I already had my parents organized the same thing for Eternia Citizens. Since Cancer City is close by and its population is just about the same size as Eternia, we can probably hold citizens from both cities together,” Lynus said.
“Wow, much expected from bro Lynus!” Orica cheered.
“Haha… Both of you are awesome!” Nat laughs. “Man, I wanna be rich like the two of you!”
“But more importantly, Richter.” Sarin turns to the blonde young man. “I would like you to supply our shelter houses with your energy.”
Lynus was surprised to hear that at first, but soon nods when he understands Sarin’s intention.
“… I see. Such strategy… Much expected from the daughter of the Ramel Media Group President.” Lynus nods some more.
“Um… you guys should speak out your plans, not communicate with eye contacts like that,” Sophia muttered.
“You see, Sophia. This is a great chance for the immigrants to be notified of our new energy,” Auria explained in Lynus’s stead, “If we provide them with energy at the time Nebula Corp is in crisis, they will definitely be reminded of us – that there are alternative energy beside Nebula Corp’s.”
“So essentially, we’re PR-ing ourselves and our energy to the people of Athenia?”
“Isn’t that just like what Nebula Corp did?”
Lin and Len asked.
“Yes, exactly. This was actually how Nebula Corp manages to get recognized so fast,” Van explained, “Dirty experiments aside, they did give lots of benefits to the public. This time, we’re basically using the same strategy that they did.”
“Well then, I guess it’s settled?” I spoke up after listening to everyone’s idea, “The Nebula Corp announced it themselves that they’ve suffered big damage. This means that it will take them quite a while before they can mobilize the Star Units to capture us, or make another shuttle launch for the matter. We can leave them alone for now.”
“I agree. Right now, since Nebula Corp cannot do anything yet, it is best that we leave them alone for a while and focus on restoring our reputation as well as PR-ing our new energy,” Auria added.
“Argh… So, we’re now on an escort mission? This sucks,” Nat grumbled.
“What’s the matter? I thought you like to wreck things up?” Orica teased the red haired girl.
“Well, exactly! If I have escorts, how am I going to fully unload my aggression?” Nat pouts.
“Who said you’re gonna be on the escort job?” I tap her shoulder. “You’ll play the bait and lure the monsters away from the crowd. I don’t want you to accidentally cause buildings to fall down on the immigrants.”
“Hey! I’m not THAT careless, okay!?” Nat grumbled.
Everyone in the room then laughs amusingly.
Of course, Nat, everyone knows that was not true.
“In that case, let’s begin our planning by assessing our enemies,” Van suggested and starts writing on the board, “We’ve defeated 3 Ophiucus Servants. So there are three Ophiucus Servants left. One of them is Rasalhague, who showed up at Grand Central once. The other two we’ve never seen before.”
“Based from the reports on the news, I notice some of the bigger and tougher spawns attacking the cities as well,” Frey added, “I don’t have any evidences to support this, but I have a hunch that the spawns this time will both be tougher to handle and come in much bigger numbers than we’ve seen before.”
“Basically, it seems like they are going all out on us this time, huh?” Sophia muttered after hearing Frey’s hunch.
“In that case, let’s move on to team divisions,” Van suggested, “There are three cities, and we can divide ourselves properly into three teams.”
“Hey! Why don’t we get back into our teams before we all meet up with each other for old times’ sake? That’ll be three teams of four people equally!” Nat suggested while laughing amusingly.
“Wait.” I stopped Nat. “Before we decide on the attack team, we have to consider our strategic headquarter – this warehouse – as well.”
“I agree. We cannot move out carelessly any more. Just for safe measures, let’s have two of us remain stationed at the warehouse so the Nebula Corp can’t pull a dirty one on us again,” Van said.
“Yeah. I agree with Sis Viola too!” Orica added then turns to Auria, “Sis. Let’s stay here at this warehouse… We’ll have to protect Bro Lynus!”
“No, I can’t do that.” Auria shakes her head.
“B… But sis! Why not!?” Orica cried.
“That would be selfish of me. Considering the scale of our enemy’s attack this time, my powers would be of more use if we encounter Rasalhague and other Ophiucus Servants in the front lines, so I can’t just stay here,” Auria spoke up.
Lynus seems troubled to see Auria volunteering into the front lines at first, but he probably understands why Auria makes that decision, so he forces himself to give her an encouraging smile instead.
“Well in that case, maybe you should get to choose who you want to stay here and protect the warehouse,” Sophia suggested to Auria.
“Yeah! At least you should choose who you trust to look after this place,” Orica quickly agreed with Sophia, “Not asking you to pick me, but I’m more than happy to stay here!”
The shoulder-length caramel haired girl eagerly looks at her sister.
“Oh… Well… Um…”
Auria seems a bit unprepared for that. Hence, she remains quiet for a while and makes a thoughtful face while skimming her eyes across the room. After she has made up her mind, she walks across the room towards the emerald eyed lady in white coat standing quietly at the corner of the meeting room.
“Miss Myria. Can I ask you to protect the warehouse while we are gone?” Auria asked.
Myria gave Auria a surprised look.
“You… want me to stay here and guard this place?”
“That’s right. Can you please do that for me?” Auria asked again.
“… I see.” Myria nods with a sad face. “Well… I guess it’s only natural that you don’t want me to—-.”
“No. It’s not that I don’t want you to fight alongside us anymore,” Auria interrupted Myria before she could finish her sentence, “Please. Do not think that I don’t want you to participate in the front lines. I’m asking you because I know that you are one of the most skilled fighters of our crew. If I know that you are looking after this warehouse while we fight in the front lines, I would honestly be a lot more relieved… no… Only then would I be able to fully concentrate on the fight in front of me.”
“Auria,” Myria whispered the girl’s name.
“…… I… I agree with sis!” Orica stands up and speaks out loud, attracting everyone’s attention. “I know how strong you are. If you stay here, then I won’t have to worry about Bro Lynus being in danger!”
The girl crashes weapons with Myria once, so I’m sure she knows exactly what she is talking about.
“You two…,” Myria whispered again with a sad voice.
“Let’s do it this way. I’ll send all of you off by air, then I’ll return here and guard this place with Myria. How does that sound?” Frey suggested.
“Please. That would be great.” Auria gives Frey a polite bow then turns to Myria again. “Miss Myria…?”
“All right then.” Myria nods. “Please, count on me. I won’t let anything happen to this warehouse while you are gone.”
“Then I’m relief,” Auria said, smiling.
“Well now, let’s move on to team division!” Sophia suggested. “We have 11 people left. How do we decide on the team?”
“We’re with Sis Sophia!”
“I’m with Sis!!!”
Lin, Len, and Orica quickly make their reservations before others.
“I’m going with Auria too,” Miki said then drags Lauress by her dress collar to her side, “And you’re coming with us.”
“Huh?! Wait, what!? Why!? Hey, have you forgotten that I hate your guts!?” Lauress grumbled but she doesn’t seem all that unwilling.
“In that case, why don’t we do like what Nat suggested? We form the same team with the people we met before the 12 of us met up?” Orica suggested.
“I don’t really have a problem with that. But then Sophia’s team would have only two angels, despite having three people,” I said.
“Well then, let me go with Sophia’s team,” Sarin volunteered, “Viola and Nat are great vanguard fighters, so having me with them would be redundant.”
“Oh. Thanks, Sarin.” Sophia smiles.
“Then we’re set,” Auria spoke up.
“… I guess this means I’m stuck with the two of you again,” I said, looking at the Sabre Sisters.
“Or you can go alone if you want?” Van teased.
“Meh. I’m not letting Viola have all the fun alone!” Nat makes her signature cheeky smile.
This sure bring back memories. These two are also the first angels that I met when I first started this journey. It was just the three of us for a while.
Good old times…
“Well then, before we move out, why don’t you say something to everyone, Sophia?” Frey suggested.
“H… Huh? Me? Say what?” Sophia looks at Frey puzzlingly.
“To make it official of course. You lost your powers, right? Now you are a Zodiac Angel again. Don’t you want to say something to everyone to commemorate this moment?” Frey asked.
“Or maybe you can give everyone a motivational speech,” Auria suggested.
“B… But I’m not good with that! …I always ended up making really really lame puns.” Sophia smiles bitterly.
Since it seems pretty amusing to tease her, I decide to join the fun.
“Hey, come on. Don’t be bashful!” I nudge her with my elbow. “I said one corny line when I agreed to restore your powers. Now it’s your turn to say something as well.”
“Ohhh…! You all are just having fun with this, aren’t you?” Sophia seems flustered. Out of desperation, she turns to her mother. “Mom! Say something!”
“Actually, I agree with Frey and everyone else, Sophia,” Myria added, smiling.
“Aw. Not you too!!”
Sophia pouts, making everyone laughs amusingly.
Oh Sophia, you…
The emerald eyed brunette then takes a deep breath and remains quiet for a while, perhaps to sort out her thoughts in her mind. After that, her face turns serious and she begins her speech.
“Everyone… We all started this battle differently, but in the end, it is undeniable that we’ve suffered so much pain and loss,” she began, “We’ve fought numerous battles against both the Nebula Corporation and the Ophiucus Armies. Our enemies are strong, and in terms of numbers, we are at an absolute disadvantage.”
The brunette then pauses to see everyone’s reactions.
“However, it is my firm belief, that if we hold our grounds together, then we would definitely be able to defeat our enemies, no matter how strong they are!”
Everyone in the room then responds to her speech. Some simply nods in agreement, while the loud ones yells ‘Yeah!’
“We might have argued and disagreed with each other several times, but in the end, we’re finally united together once again. That is the very proof that our team spirit is much more powerful than whatever advantage our enemies have!”
The brunette then pauses to take a deep breath one more time.
“So enough with being pushed around! I say now is the time… Now is the perfect time for us to make our stand and strike our enemies back!”
“Everyone! Let’s fight this battle… together!!!”
Everyone in the room cheers at the same time.
“Let’s move out!”
At Sophia’s signal, all the Zodiac Angels march out of the meeting room together.