ZA – Chapter Ophiucus 40 V

Chapter 40 – O

Viola

Cancer City…
Being back here once again gives me a nostalgic feeling, just like that time when I came here to visit the Cancerian Laboratory. From what I’ve gathered, this is the town where I was born and raised 40 years ago. I might not be able to remember it by detail any more, but my body seems to still recognize it – the nostalgic feeling of walking along these streets and enjoying the scenery. Because of that, I could not help but instinctively feel angered upon seeing the monsters wrecking it down to ruins.

Nat, Van, and I reached this town a few hours ago by air. After that, we immediately head to the evacuation center to get a grasp of the current situation. But on the way going there, we could already tell how horrible the situation has become. The Ophiucus Spawns have already infiltrated the town. Yet, many women and children are still stuck inside their homes, too scared to leave.
Since it was too much of a hassle to explain to the evacuation staffs that we are on their side, the three of us agreed to just split up and spread out to take down the spawns as much as we can, while telling the residents hiding in the house to quickly go to the evacuation site. Van and Nat spread off to clear the monsters in each area of the town, but I start by taking care of the monsters near the evacuation site to secure a path for the escaping citizens.

“Okay, go now!” I announced to the three kids hiding behind me after I took down the Strikers barring our path.
“Thank you so much, sis!”
After thanking me, the three of them immediately run down the street ahead towards the evacuation site. Before I could move on to the next area, a loud scream can be heard coming from the alley on the next block. Out of instinct, I quickly head towards the source of the voice and notice a new breed of spawn that I’ve never seen before, cornering a lady and a girl – most likely a mother and her daughter. The spawn is a 2-meters tall muscular humanoid giant with sharp teeth and nails. Its red eyes bloodthirstily glare at the two, readying to sink its fangs into both of them.
Without wasting another second, I quickly leap at the giant from behind and drive my spear onto its back. The monster cries in pain upon being pierced from behind and desperately tries to shake me off its back. However, my spear has driven deep into its back, so a simple shrug won’t be able to shake me off. Not to mention that while it has a big body, its arms are not long enough to reach me or my spear. After gaining a good balance, I swing myself into the air using my spear as a swinging bar then quickly stomp down onto the bottom of the spear’s shaft, driving the spear through the monster’s back and killing it as a result.
“It’s okay now. Please quickly proceed to the evacuation site,” I told the mother and her child while hopping down to retrieve my spear.
“Sis… Viola…?”
Surprised to hear someone calling my name, I quickly turn towards the source and realized that the one who called me was none other than the little girl that I just saved. She has short dark hair and wears a blue one-piece dress. Her glittering innocent eyes look straight at me, reminding me of our fated meeting at the bus stop on that rainy day…
“Aya?” I called her name.
“It’s you! It’s really you!!” the girl cried and quickly runs into me, tightly hugging me by my hips.
“Haha… Woah… Hey, not so hard.” I laugh. “It’s been a while, huh, Aya?”

That’s right…
Aya…
She is the girl I met early in my journey…
The little girl who reminded me how to smile even though my world seemed to have fallen apart…

“You’re…”
That moment, the blond lady who is apparently Aya’s mother spoke up.
“Oh hi, Miss…”
I stuttered after replying to her. Thinking about it, I don’t think I had a chance to ask her name since I was busy chatting with Aya while on the bus.
“Are you… Hoshikari Viola?” she asked.
Hearing my old name, my eyes couldn’t help but widen in surprise to know that she is acquainted to the ‘me’ from 20-years ago.
“… It’s a long story, Miss. But ‘that’ Viola is long gone,” I replied, “Still, thank you for remembering the other me after all this time.”
Aya’s mother looks at me with a puzzled face.
“What are you talking about…? What do you mean the other you?” she asked.
“Well, like I said. It’s a long story,” I replied, tapping my spear onto my shoulder, “Now, you need to focus on taking Aya to the evacuation site.”
Hearing that, the lady’s expression changes.
“You’re right. Thank you.” The lady nods then looks at her daughter. “Come on, Aya. Let’s go.”
The little girl looks at her mom reluctantly then turns back to me with her big round eyes.
“Sis Viola…?” Aya called my name, yanking my skirt.
“Yes?”
“Are you going to fight more monsters?” she asked.
“…Yeah. It’s my job after all,” I replied.
The little girl tilts her head slightly then asks me some more. “…… Are you really an Angel?”
“Oh? Who told you that?” I asked back, slightly surprised.
“I saw your picture in the TV. The TV said you are an Angel…,” she replied.
I see. Although she is still a little girl, it seems like the Nebula Corp’s media still managed to get to her somehow.
“… Well, yes. I guess you can put it that way,” I said.
“I knew it! You are an Angel! You are not a bad person!” Aya cried, “My friends kept telling me that you are bad because the TV said so! I was so angry!!”
“Ah… Haha… Is that so?” I laugh nervously. “Hey, Aya. Do you think I am a bad person?”
“No way! You saved my mom and me! You can’t be a bad person!” she argued.
“I see. Then Aya, when someone asks you about Angels, can you tell them that the Angels are trying to save everyone?” I asked.
“Of course!! You are going to fight the monsters to protect everyone, right?!” she asked me back.
“Yes. My friends and I are working hard to fight them and protect everyone,” I said.
“Are your friends also Angels?” Aya tilts her head curiously. “Do they have wings???”
“Oh… Uh… Well, no. Not really. But yes, my fellow Angel friends and I are fighting the monsters,” I explained.
“That’s so cool!” The girl laughs.

Once again, she showed me that innocent smile…
The smile that helped me continued my journey to find out the truth about myself…

“So promise me you will go to the evacuation site with your mother safely. If I know that you are safe, then I can fight without worry,” I said.
“Got it!” she replied eagerly.
“All right. Good girl.” I smile then send her back to her mother.
“… I don’t know who you are anymore… But you saved me and my daughter. I thank you for that,” the blond lady said.
“It’s my pleasure,” I replied, “Please go to the evacuation site and get out of this town as soon as possible. I’ll go cover the evacuation parade after I’ve made sure that everyone in the town has evacuated to the site.”
The lady politely gives me a bow along with her daughter then quickly runs down the road towards the evacuation site.

That moment, while I was watching the two run off, another muscular giant leaps at me from behind, roaring fiercely. Before I could react, a rolling blade runs straight through the monster and slices it into two.
“That’s so unlike you to be spacing out that much,” the green haired girl said after gracefully landing on the ground next to me. She lifts up her right hand to catch the chakram that somehow conveniently flies back to her.
“Well, I was sort of indulged in nostalgia,” I said, shrugging, “What about you? Done evacuating all the citizens?”
“… Well, we have quite a problem right now… A big one at that,” Van said.
Right after she finishes saying that, I could feel everything around me shaking. As my eyes try to look for the source, my body suddenly shudders upon seeing a stone colossus marching into town.

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