ZA – Chapter Ophiucus 40 A

Chapter 40 – O

Auria

Eternia is the town that I lived for almost my entire life. If memory serves me right, I don’t think I’ve ever been outside the town at all; that is until my journey started of course.
Now, I have returned to the town that I grew up once again. But this time, half of it is in wreck and I can hardly see any people around. Instead, I see is a bunch of Strikers and several other familiar looking spawns that we used to fight. Eternia is not a big town at all, so its number of residents is not as big as, say, Galaxia City. Hence, it’s most likely the case that the civilians have already evacuated to safety. Thinking so, my party and I quickly head down the road towards the town’s evacuation site, hoping that our guess is right.

“So this is your hometown, huh?” Lauress asked while she follows Orica and me down the road.
“Yeah. Nothing much to see, huh?” Orica asked, “Where’s your hometown by the way, Lauress?”
“My family lives in Australis, but I moved to live in a dorm at Grand Central because I’m studying there,” Lauress explained.
“I see… Don’t you miss your parents?” Orica asked.
“Nah, not really. I’m not in good terms with my parents, actually. And I’m staying at dorms because I sort of ran away from them,” Lauress replied.
“You’re quite a delinquent to run away from home,” Miki spoke up, chuckling.
“I don’t want to hear that from a delinquent like you,” Lauress hissed.
“Oh really, now? What makes you think I’m a delinquent? Because I always speak what I have in mind?” Miki chuckles. “Just so you know, I aced all of my science and math subjects back when I was still studying, and I never disobey my big bro at all.”
“Damn you and your grades… What the hell is with all these nerds always being a jerk?” Lauress muttered.
“I think Miki is sort of an exception, Lauress,” Orica argued.

“Hey, everyone, time’s up. We got company!” I told everyone after I spot a huge horde of spawns blocking our path. There are several Strikers and Spiders roaming around, and deeper inside the horde, there are a few Brawlers in there as well.
“Hey, guys. As we were discussing earlier, most citizens have already evacuated from here, didn’t they?” Lauress asked, pulling out her bow then stretching it to full length.
“Yeah… But it certainly would help if you don’t destroy the whole town, okay?” Orica told the blond archer, “It’s still my hometown after all.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll snipe them and get things done in a jiffy!”
After her declaration, Lauress swipes her left arm outwards and creates four glowing orbs that hover around her.
“Have some of this!” Lauress announced and releases the energy that she charged up with her bow. Three arrows of light were shot – one heading straight forward, while the other two runs 30 degrees to the left and right. At the same time, the four glowing orbs that surrounded Lauress release the same kind of arrow projectiles. Hence, 12 arrows were released at once and instantly disintegrated the same number of Strikers at once.
“Hah! What do you think? That was pretty neat, huh?!” Lauress laughs proudly.
“Wow… Was that a new technique? I never saw you did that before,” Orica asked Lauress.
“Well, you can say that. After so many battles, I knew that I have to come up with new techniques otherwise, I won’t be able to keep up with the rest of you,” Lauress said then turns her face at Miki, “Heh! So what do you say, Miki? Do you think… huh? Where is she?”
The blond archer looks around the area, but the dark twin pony tailed girl is nowhere to be seen.
“That’s strange? I thought she was standing next to me earlier,” I said, looking around me as well.

“Um, Lauress, Miki has already plunged through the spawns’ formation,” Orica said, pointing towards the horde of monsters.
“What in the!? Dang it, Miki!!!”
Seeing so, the blond archer quickly dashes at the monster horde with her glowing orbs of light, shooting several arrows at the monsters.
“Your new technique is so cute, Lauress!”
I heard Miki’s voice speaking out loud as tens of twenties of Strikers and Spiders were blown into the air with ice spikes the pops up from the ground.
“Darn it! Stop stealing other people’s kills! You take the one at the corner, I’ll handle the rest!!!”
Lauress’s voice also spoke out loud as several bolts of light were shot from different directions, blowing many spawns off at once.
“12 kills at a time? Please, I took out almost 30 in just 5 seconds! You stay back with Auria and Orica!”
“Wanna bet!? Cough me 2000 Roals if I can get more kills than you!!!”
“Make it 5000!!!”
“DEAL!!!”

The two of them kept arguing in the middle of the monster horde, yet it was the spawns that grow smaller in number as every second that passes. Almost five minutes have passed since they charged inside and the two of them still show no sign of exhaustion at all.
“They… really didn’t give us a chance to act,” Orica muttered, unsure of what to do.
“Well, I’m not complaining. Just look at Miki. She’s really enjoying this,” I said, giggling at how Miki and Lauress are ‘collaborating’ – at least that’s how I see them.
“How can you stand being around her anyway? She’s a jerk, you know?” Orica muttered.
“Don’t say that. She just loves to speak out what she had in mind out loud,” I said.
“Yeah. Whatever.” Orica ruffles her hair with one of her eye brows raised.

About ten minutes later, the entire horde was wiped clean. We continue down the road towards our destination with Miki and Lauress constantly arguing over who got the last Brawler kill, since it was a collaborative attack from both of them.
“Thank goodness. It seems like the residents have already made it,” Orica spoke up as she looks at the site from afar. Most of the migration trucks have already left the evacuation site, heading towards Lynus’s shelter. There are only three trucks left by the time we all got here, and all of them are ready to depart from the town.
“Well, mission accomplished then?” Lauress muttered, “Felt like we didn’t really do much this time.”
“Hey, sis,” Orica spoke up with a troubled look, “…… Do you think Aunt Kelly made it?”
“… I don’t know,” I replied, crossing my arms together.
It would be a lie if I said I’ve never been concerned about her at all when I heard that Eternia was under attack. Even though she has been really mean and rude to Orica and me, that still does not make her deserve to be killed by the hands of those monsters.
“Your relative?” Lauress spoke up after she heard Orica and I discussing.
“Well, I guess you can say that,” Orica replied, “She was the one looking after us after our parents died… for a while anyway…”
“Wanna go check out her house?” Miki suggested.
Lauress and Orica then immediately glare at Miki puzzlingly.
“… What?” Miki asked us with a frown.
“You’re… suggesting that we help someone?” Orica muttered.
“Did you hit your head or drank someone else’s tonic? What the heck happened?” Lauress asked with a puzzled face.
“W… What’s your problem? Wasn’t this why we’re all here in the first place? To save Auria’s home town?” Miki asked with a flustered face.
“Heeeh… So you are not such a meanie meanie after all. You really do care about other people,” Orica teased, “You oughta show this side of yours a little more.”
“Screw it. I don’t care anymore. Just let your sister decide,” Miki hissed, turning her face away.

In the past, I kept getting scolded by her for being indecisive and weak. For Miki to let me decide on our next objective like this, I could instantly tell that her views about me must have changed…
… Either that… or it was her that changed.
I can’t help but wonder what happened to Miki after we split up from the camp fire that night. Thinking about it, we weren’t on a very good term then.
Speaking of which, didn’t she told me she has something to talk to me about?
I must be sure to ask her after we get back to Lynus’s warehouse.

“So it seems that the humans have already fled the town.”
That moment, a voice suddenly spoke up from our side, startling us. Turning towards the source, my eyes widened upon seeing a figure gazing at the evacuation site. This masculine figure has light blue skin and a pair of long sharp ears. He wears a golden chest plate over long black robe, stretching all the way to the ground. In his right hand is a long black metallic staff with a huge transparent diamond equipped on the top.

I know this man…
He is the person we saw at Grand Central – the one who announced the death sentence to mankind.

“R… Rasalhague…?” I spoke out his name.
“It is an honor to be recognized by Lady Anastasia’s reincarnation,” the blue skinned man with sharp ears spoke up and slowly turns his face towards us.
“Sis… You know him?” Orica asked, tightly gripping her whip’s handle
“He led an army to attack Grand Central while I was on my way to save you,” I explained to Orica.
“I see. So you indeed heard my sentence,” Rasalhague said, tapping his diamond-tip staff onto his shoulder, “Then we can probably cut out the formalities and get straight to the point. I am here to erase this town from the surface of Athenia.”
My heart skipped a beat upon hearing his objective. Sure, his objective to destroy Athenia is definitely nothing new to me. But to hear that he wants to destroy the town that I grew up, I can’t help but feel anxious.
“Like we’re gonna sit around and let you do that!!!” Orica screamed.
“In case you don’t know already, both of your friends were taken down by this very person in front of you,” Miki spoke up to Rasalhague, slightly poking me with her elbow.
“I see. I knew that Hans and Priori were defeated, but I didn’t realize that it was you who did it. I have to say that it was much expected from the reincarnation of Lady Anastasia,” Rasalhague said, chuckling.
“Then you probably should think twice before trying your luck with us, buddy!!” Lauress said, pulling her glowing bow string while aiming at Rasalhague.
“Just so we are clear, we Zodiac Beasts are not afraid of losing this material body. Every 20 years, our bodies will be resurrected upon an eclipse,” the Ophiucus Servant explained, “So no matter how many times you destroy us, we will keep coming back until we can put this filthy world to an end!”
“Gets resurrected every 20 years? Hey, that’s unfair!” Lauress grumbled.
“…… I see. So that is what the eclipses were about,” I muttered, thinking about the recent frequent eclipse occurrences. Perhaps the Scorpio Angel inside me woke up because she could sense the resurrection of Rasalhague and his friends. That was why my body reacted to the eclipse that way.

“Well, I don’t really see your point. What we’re saying is that we’re gonna kick your ass right here and now,” Miki said, assuming her stance.
“Miki is right!” Orica agreed, “If you come back in 20 years, we’re just going to beat you again!”
“I’ve heard about your master’s story and I can understand her pain. But even so, I won’t standby and watch you destroy this world!” I declared.
Upon hearing my speech, Rasalhague’s left hand clenches into a fist until it starts shaking.
“… You? Understand her pain!? DON’T SCREW AROUND WITH ME!!” Rasalhague yelled angrily, “Enough with the pointless banter!! Let’s get down to business! I’ll show you just how naïve you are to say that you understand Lady Reisa’s sadness!!!”

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