Chapter 40 – O
It has been a while since I left this city.
I know that I’ve always complained about how tightly populated this city is in the morning when I am rushing to the university, but it wasn’t until now that I just realized how much I missed it. It’s still my home city after all, and it pains me to see it half in ruins.
“… so horrible…”
Lin and Len spoke up, anxiously looking at the city from the top of the sky train station that I used to ride every morning. The towering skyscrapers in the business area literally have holes everywhere on it. Fires are burning on the streets and smokes cover the bright blue sky. This makes the city dark and gloomy, even though it’s the middle of the day right now.
Ophiucus spawns of various kinds – both ones that we’ve seen and never seen before – have plagued the roads. Luckily, based on the news’s report, most of the citizens have already escaped the main city area and entered the evacuation site in the outskirts at the residential area. In fact, some of them have already migrated away from the region entirely, including Miss Magareth who is looking after Roro. She has a vacation villa far to the south, so she and my cat should be safe right now.
“Come on, girls. Let’s head to the evacuation site,” I said, signaling everyone to follow me. It pains me to have to turn my back on this city, but right now, the lives of the citizens are much more important. Cities can be rebuilt after all, but the lives of the people cannot be recovered once lost.
As we hop down from the roof and run along the sky train rails for a shortcut, all of the sudden we heard loud screeches coming from above. Looking up, flocks of Flyers can be seen swarming above us in an overwhelming number. Their senses sure are sharp when it comes to searching for preys.
“Hey, look!!” Lin points forward. At the same time, a horde of Strikers can be seen marching towards us from the direction we are heading.
“Perhaps it’s time we start the rumble,” Sarin spoke up, grabbing the gigantic axe hanging on her back.
“Well then, let’s get this party started!!!”
I pull my staff back then toss it as far as I can up into the air. After flying up to the top of its momentum, the staff automatically shoots itself up into the clouds. A short moment after that, a swarm of boulder-sized meteor diagonally rains down from the sky, striking the flock of Flyers.
Sarin gazes in awe as the raining meteor rain quickly takes out the pesky Flyers. Although it did not completely get rid of the entire flock, their numbers are reduced substantially.
“Lin. Len. I’m counting on you two. Please take care of the rest of those Flyers!” I said.
The twins replied at the same time and summon their servants. Hoping onto their backs, the twins ride off into the air and begin taking down the remaining Flyers one by one. The twins’ destructive power are fairly weak when compared to the rest of us. However, Flyers aren’t very durable, so the two of them had no problem taking those things down.
“Okay. Now it’s our turn,” I told the silver haired girl who is itching for some action.
“Then what are we waiting for!?”
Sarin fearlessly charges forward at the incoming horde of Strikers. Once in range, the silver haired girl makes a full 360 degrees swing and smacks her axe at the Striker leading the horde. The leading Striker flies back, hitting the horde that was following him from behind like a bowling ball scoring a strike. A good number of them falls from the sky train rails, so their numbers are quickly diminished. Not letting Sarin having all the burdens, I point my staff forward and zoom at the monster hordes. While lunging forward, a bright curtain of sidereal energy – as opposed to the normal curtains of flames – engulfs me, protecting me from the crash impact when I ram into the monster’s horde. The impact causes some of the Strikers to fall of the sky train rails, although not as many as Sarin’s strike.
The two of us then help each other smack any incoming Strikers with our weapons. One by one they keep coming at us, and one by one they hopelessly fall off the rails. Some Flyers swoop down from the sky and merge with the Strikers standing further to the back of the horde. Perhaps they want the ones at the back to help the ones in front attack us since their number advantage was rendered pointless due to the bottle-neck area. However, before they could fly from the back line towards Sarin and me, Lin and Len quickly soar down and shoot them down with their sparkling fire crackers.
“You two keep fighting the ones in front of you!”
“We’ll take down the ones flying from the back!”
Lin and Len said.
After that, Len’s servant, Castor, remains hovering in place, no longer soaring around all over. Len closes her eyes and spreads out her arms with her weapon rotating above her head. After that, she begins mumbling something inaudible to Sarin and me because she is too far away from us. I saw this kind of chanting before. It was exactly like when Auria was chanting her spell at Grand Central. Len is probably about to unleash some kind of a huge spell. Unlike Auria however, Len has her twin sister soaring around, protecting her from any Flyers or Flying Strikers that try to approach her while she is chanting.
“Their team work sure is neat!” I said while dodging a slash from a Striker then counter it by smacking it off the rail.
“This is not the time to be fascinated by others, Sophia!” Sarin said before she hops up to avoid a slash aimed at her legs. As she lands, she smashes the blunt side of her axe at the Striker below her, splattering him to a pile of dust before moving on to the next one.
“Sis Sophia! Sis Sarin! Please move back away from the Strikers!” Lin quickly warned us.
As I expected, a short moment later, Len reopens her eyes and announces her spell’s name to the top of her voice.
After her announcement, several huge sharp icicle spikes appear above the horde of Strikers. One by one, the spikes fall down and pierce the monster horde, scattering their formation and even pushing some of them off the rails.
Sarin and I quickly take a few steps back then safely watch Len’s spell take care of the horde.
“All right! Great job, girls!” I cheered as I strap the staff back onto my waist.
“Well, that was pretty easy,” Sarin said, wiping sweat off her forehead.
The twins cheered and give each other a high five.
“We’re still a bit of ways from the evacuation site. Let’s hurry,” I suggested.
With that, the four of us continue our way down the sky train rails and keep moving towards our destination. Along the way, we still encountered a few spawns such as the Spiders and Brawlers blocking our path at the stations. But they are nothing we can’t handle.
“Okay, we’re here!” I spoke up as we jump down from the train station to the ground in front of the evacuation site. The group of citizens loitering outside of the evacuation site’s grounds immediately panic upon seeing the four of us. They quickly run into the facility, screaming in fear. A little while after that, three security officers who are probably in charge of patrol quickly come running towards our direction, each with an assault rifle in their hands.
“Stop right there, Zodiac Angels!!!” the officers yelled at us.
“We will not let you harm the citizens of this city anymore!” another officer said.
“Wait, you got it all wrong!” I said, “We’re here to eradicate the monsters! You should quickly migrate the citizens away from the city!!”
After that, the three officers shoot the first volley at us. However, Regulus and Aldebaran automatically emerge in front of us, and shield us from the bullets with their weapons. Upon seeing our servants, the three officers cry in fright and quickly retreat back into the shelter.
“Why won’t they…”
“… listen to us?”
Lin and Len spoke up with a sad voice.
“Well, they’ve been drugged by the Nebula Corp’s lies, so we can’t blame them for that. Hopefully, this should force them to quickly get moving out of the city instead of staying here,” Sarin said.
“Man. I’m not really expecting for any recognition or gratitude. But it’s kind of disheartening. I wonder how Reisa even thought about selflessly tainting her own reputation.” I sigh restlessly.
“Because that is just how my master is…”
A low-pitched voice suddenly spoke up from behind us. Startled, we quickly turn around to the source and spot a huge man in trench coat standing a few meters away from us.
Sarin tightly grips her weapon one more time and enters her battle stance, and so does the twins and me.
“… An Ophiucus Servant?” I asked him.
“Yes. My name is Sabik,” the huge man replied, “It is a pleasure to meet you all, my master’s sisters.”
“Just as we thought. They really were going all out to strike three cities at the same time like this,” Sarin said.
“And he heads straight for the evacuation facility where people are preparing for migration… What is your heart made of?!”
Such cold bloodedness…
To attack completely unarmed and helpless citizens…
“Before anything else, I would like to answer your question earlier, my lady…,” Sabik said, “Like I said earlier. That was how my master is. My Lady Reisa… she is kind and loving… She has always thought of others before herself. So tainting her reputation completely means nothing to her.”
“Oh yeah? How would you explain all of this then?” Sarin spoke back, “Sending an army down to Athenia to wreck things up sure is an act of kindness!”
“Don’t you dare badmouth my master, you lowly wretched pathetic scum!!!!!” the gigantic man scowled, “It’s because of you humans! It’s because of you fools! You brought all of this upon yourselves! My lady wouldn’t have done all this! My lady wouldn’t have let her hands tainted with your filthy despicable blood if it wasn’t because your kind began killing each other first!!!! You all drove my lady down towards desperation!! You’ve sealed her into an empty hall for millennia! YOU ALL HAVE NO RIGHT TO JUDGE MY MASTER’S ACTIONS!!!!”
At the end of his announcement, Sabik spreads off his arms and suddenly, the muscles on his body begin to expand, tearing his outfit and trench coat. The huge man grows nearly thrice in size and his body shifts its shape until it no longer bears any resemblance to his previous form. What stands before us right now is a gigantic ferocious-looking behemoth with sharp red eyes, bloodthirstily glaring at the four of us.
“I AM JUST A ZODIAC BEAST, SO I’M SURE MY STRENGTH IS NO MATCH FOR ZODIAC ANGELS LIKE YOU ALL!!! BUT I DON’T CARE!!! EVEN IF I LOSE THIS BODY… EVEN IF MY SOUL HAS TO FADE AWAY… I WILL NEVER GIVE UP UNTIL ALL OF ATHENIA IS IN ASHES!!!!!!!!!”