Finnian and I ran as fast as we could without running out of stamina, my eyes still focused on the screen of my device. Acnolgia ran beside me, Tag in front of me. Somewhere round the bend I had picked up some useful stuff and my grip on the small torch-like thing that I figured could fire a powerful load. Finnian was by my side and I was desperately waiting for Nyra to respond. A few seconds later she responded, this time in the form of a video call.
“Silver, this is Nyra. Head to the headquarters now. Sorry we might not be able to meet with you two but watch out! There’s a berserk grunt swarm heading your way now! Hurry!” The line was cut off. Finnian turned to me with a look that said he wished luck to the duo. There was urgency in Nyra’s voice, She wanted us to be all safe and sound. I gently put my hand to the wall. There were footsteps coming our way. So what she said was true. I took a glance at my device. A throbbing red dot was advancing our way. A large blue dot known as the headquarters was very far away. I nudged Finnian and together with Acnolgia, we ran like there was no tomorrow. I spotted a volcanic region from a window as we ran past. The grunt’s habitat, I was sure. A large whitish-blue speck whizzed past and I thought I saw an albatross’s beak. Heren. My device started to beep extra loudly and Finnian had terror written all over on his face. Then there were footsteps. The footsteps of a man wearing office shoes. He was running towards us. We ran.
“Silver,Finnian!” A familiar voice called after us. We ran a little further before turning around. The site that greeted us was not welcoming. There was a swarm of red, blood red grunts on berserk was heading towards us. He smiled.
“I’ll stop them! Now, notice the stripes under your feet? Once this door closes, the elevator under the floor will bring you straight to the headquarters. Now run, my lads!” He dismissed us with a flick of his wrist and a feeling welled up in my throat. We ran. I could still hear his footsteps behind us, only slower now. Then there was a bloodcurdling cry in the air with thundering footsteps. We ran faster than ever till we reached an open door. This was where Prof Herman wanted us to stop. I took a glance at my device. We were so close to the headquarters. Thundering footsteps followed. Someone behind us jammed the red button and the doors bolted themselves.
“Good luck! Stop Sird and save Zephyr, please!” Prof Herman yelled as the door closed. So he was behind us. I pressed my ears to the door. It had been soundproofed. I looked up and noticed that there were no longer endless corridors. A metal door was behind us. Behind us was the man we had abandoned. A tear dropped to the floor. We looked at each other. I was the first to cry. So this was what it felt to be family. The floor started to move under us. It was bringing us to the headquarters. I still wonder… where this will take us.
A man and a girl. A blonde and a brunette. Both were running but not into each other’s arms. Running towards a shared goal. They stopped at a junction. A man was waiting for them. A glint of metal rested on a nearby table. He was weak and as his fingers felt for the gun the weapons slipped from his grip. The man collapsed with a small thud and the girl fell to his side. All that was seen through Heren’s eyes.
The floor started moving on its own accord, zipping through a few different rooms before slowing down at a point where windows were present. Silver looked at the windows. The lab was located in a windy islet in the middle of possibly nowhere and the sun was just setting. The lab was literally entirely made of glass save for the ceiling as Silver could see almost every detail of what could be seen. There were two figures running by the ell caused by the mountain rift and some dark shapes could be seen jutting out from the landscape. Machines, probably. Silver was admiring the fiery red and varying shades of orange sky when the elevator came to a halt. It had reached a dead end. An automated dumbwaiter waited them at east of the where the elevator had stopped. A locked door was blocking the way to the headquarters. Finnian gestured towards the dumbwaiter and Silver sighed, getting into it. Once inside, the dumbwaiter automatically started up its gears and crawled its way up. Once at its destination, it clicked to a complete halt and a glass door was ready to open. Finnian pushed open the glass door and stared at what greeted them. It was the same old private library. Had they U-turned back to where they had begun?
“No…it isn’t possible…” Silver mumbled, glancing around once again to check if they were indeed at the Private Library.
“Why don’t you use your special powers or something like last time?” Finnian suggested. Silver put two fingers to his temples and almost immediately removed them. He was panting hard, as if he had just gotten an electric shock.
“You know, the ones I have is called the Aura Seer. It enables the user to see both auras and sense elements. It also enables the users to mask their aura as well as heighten their senses. Aura in Latin means spirit, so I can also read and feel the feelings as well as thoughts of others. Quite difficult to explain though. However, to stop a Seer from reading things, some may place a seal tag or have a stronger Seer in the presence. The other Seer has to be strong enough to blind the weaker’s senses and disable them from reading any aura. But if the weaker Seer attempts to overpower the stronger’s aura, he has a possibility of losing his powers or even becoming blind. What I have tried to sense just now was caused by a Seer who is only a tad stronger than I am but uses a tool to heighten his powers. I assume this place is not the Private Library but is made to appear so by the use of a seal I do not know of. It appears the only way I can undo the seal is to defeat the Seer.” Silver coughed and started taking in the scene. It was similar to the Private Library, to be frank. He had felt an electric pulse coming back to him when he tried to see what the room really was. A Seer who was weaker than he was but was using strong tools. Seraphim. The name had echoed in his mind upon opening his eyes. It had to be the Seer’s name. Silver took out a coin out of his pocket and gripped tightly onto it. It had started vibrating a few moments ago. He could not use his skills, which was annoying now and then walking in odd circles, bumping into random bookshelves. The Seer had to be somewhere. That would be determined when Silver’s coin started to expand. Natural Seer sense, Silver noted. It was hard to even determine a trace of the Seer’s whereabouts. He had to be using a powerful tool indeed. But Silver knew the Seer was no weapon guy. Just like bullies who hide behind masks but actually are cowards themselves. In the meantime, they still would have to find him. Finnian was biting his fingernails now, even scanning through the bookshelves as if the enemy would come out any time now. Concentrate, Silver ordered himself and a faint glimmer shone in his silver eyes.
“There!” He hissed as the coin that was once in his hands flew out of his palms and landed somewhere. A figure appeared almost immediately and Silver narrowed his eyes almost immediately. It was a girl
“Now and you finally get to find where I am, hehe. Seraphim will destroy you for keeping her up. Hehe.” The Seer smiled creepily and tilted her head to the side for the added effect. She clicked her fingers and almost immediately, a bookshelf toppled a few spaces away from where the duo where standing.
“Just who are you?!” Silver yelled over the dust and stopped in time to see the girl raise a large katana to strike a blow on the duo. Silver teleported the coin back into his hands and formed a shield around the two of them.
“Hehehe. Seraphim. Now will you battle with me, not?” She tilted her head once again. Now her hazel eyes were glassy and her weapon, a pickaxe was floating about. Silver beckoned Finnian closer to him before transforming the coin into a pair of scythes.
“Why!” He hit her with a blow so hard that she recoiled almost immediately.
“I desire to fight, not?” She smiled creepily and with a flick of a finger, her pickaxe came down on the duo but was reflected by the shield that Silver had created earlier on. Silver summoned back the twin scythes and turned them into two large throwing stars. Seraphim fought back with even hardier attacks. But she still had the possessed look on her face. Just like a puppet. After a few turns, she decided to get serious and her attacks became even hardier and hard to protect against.
“I desire to fight, ah! The shrill screams of the poor souls, hehe. Do you not feel that too?” She laughed, clasping her hands together as if wishing for something.
“I desire to kill! I desire to be stronger! I desire to hear their lovely screams! It feels me with so much desire! Ah! The desire is so much more now! You shall entertain me, must you not?” She ordered the duo, stretching out her hand before throwing back her head in frenzied laughter.
“Entertain me with the crying of your pathetic souls, must you not? Ah! That desire, that yearning!” Her purple dress seemed to be radiating with some energy as she clasped her hands together and her glossy lips moved in some unheard prayer. Silver read her lips and gasped when he heard her say,
“Let them perish with my will.” He couldn’t stand it anymore. Not one bit would he tolerate anymore the ramblings of some lunatic who treated life as if it was nothing. Had she once not been a defenseless lamb? The grip on his two throwing stars tightened and with unprecedented willpower, the two knives turned into twin cannons before merging together to form one extremely large cannon.
“How dare you, Seraphim!” He fired the cannon but felt life drain out of him with that one blow as his knees buckled from under him. Finnian had a worried expression on his face as he crouched near the redhead.
“Hehehe. Not strong enough are thou? Worry not; thou shalt perish within Seraphim’s will!” She rose out of the cyclone of dust and waved a manicured finger at the duo. Her amber eyes glowed with some luminosity and her hair was floating in the air, suspending her entire being aboveground. Her purple dress radiated with some form of dark energy and Silver grimaced.
“Thou shalt liveth while thou entertain thy lady. Hehehe. At defeat, shouldn’t your friend cry of despair and grief! Ah! Thy sorrow and despair! Ah, thy desire!” There was a dark aura surrounding Seraphim now, as though she was possessed.
“Thy longing…” She quieted down, just a mere whisper, cradling some object in her palms. A large wave of the same dark energy hit the duo, sucking life from them. The two fell to their knees, Finnian clutching the area near his heart and Silver panting while struggling to gather energy for the next attack.
“Non, non, non! None shalt defeat thy lady Seraphim!” Seraphim held her hands up high towards the ceiling and twirled in a drunken manner. Suddenly she disappeared in a cloud of smoke and Silver scanned the area, trying to guess where she was.
“Non, non, no! Thy lady is here!” Her hand was over Finnian’s neck, keeping him as hostage. Silver gulped and gripped on even tighter to his weapon.
“Will thou sacrifice thou soul for thou friend? Or thou fiend?” She asked, placing the flat end of her blade near Finnian’s throat.
“Or will thou not?” She inquired, grin feral and blade drawing a thin trickle of blood from the blonde’s cheeks. Tears were welling at Finnian’s teal eyes, fear written in them. Silver froze. Then he fell to the ground on all fours, gripping his temples.
“No…” His eyes were glassy now. Seraphim smiled and licked the blood off the blonde, causing him to flinch against her touch. An enraged roar caused Finnian to glance up. Silver had rose up, blood streaming from his lips and tears endlessly flowing as Seraphim’s illusions. Finnian gave a small yelp as Seraphim released him from her grip.
“My, my. Seems like somebody is mad today, isn’t it?” She taunted, hazel eyes cold and mean. Finnian lay in a crumpled heap as he watched Silver. Then he remembered something and released Tag.
“Help Silver, please.” He whispered to the small weasel before it ran off. He watched as Silver raised his weapon to attack Seraphim, who in turn laughed. No, it wasn’t the Silver he knew. Tag hugged Silver from behind, breaking him from Seraphim’s illusion. Silver gave a yelp and landed on his knees, gripping his temples as well as rubbing blood off his mouth.
“What…was that? Thankies, Tag. I’ll get Acnolgia out and try to devise a strategy to defeat Seraphim, Finnian!” His hands were on his twin guns, a small smile upon his lips.
“According to Tag here, Seraphim is an Intermediate Seer, relying on non-elemental attacks to strike the foe, such as illusions. We’ll just have to defeat her with a material attack that prevents her from escaping such as the shooting of bullets. Finnian, help me with this weapon transformation, ok?” Silver whispered to Finnian and transformed his guns into one large bazooka.
“I’ve never bothered to use this one before since it needs the corporation of a non-Seer’s aura, but since there’s a need for this today, let’s take this gamble.” He nodded to Finnian and waved Tag as well as Acnolgia over.
“Listen here. Tag and Acnolgia, try to hit Seraphim with an ice element attack as well as a dark element attack, got it? Make sure the ice immobilizes her and gain control of the dark areas around her with the dark attack. On the count of 3…” They got into battle stance.
“What are thou planning for thy Lady?” Seraphim asked the two in a sing-song voice. She wasn’t strong, my deduction was correct,huh, Silver thought while gathering energy to deliver the blow.
“2…” Acnolgia and Tag had their paws conjoined, a semi-orb of energy already at their paw-tips.
“Are thou going to entertain m’lady?”
“1!” All at once, a crystalloid white beam encircling a darker pulse made its way towards Seraphim and a streak of dust headed straight for the immobilized Seer.
“Ah! Thy death!” Seraphim screamed for a moment before collapsing onto the floor, not moving. A few feet away from where she collapsed, a piece of joss paper laid, an illegible character written on it. Silver moved forward and removed the piece of paper, revealing a loft. Its floors were layered with some grease paper and it seemed possible to tear through a shot and play sniper. Silver put his head onto the floor and closed his eyes, listening while the other three made sure Seraphim really was dead.
“D-don’t come any closer! Or e-else I’ll d-destroy this place.” A man’s voice came and Silver could see him—trembling from head to toe as his quivering fingers reached for a nearby gun. Serge and Nyra confronted the poor man and his features were prominently Asian; jet black hair, chiseled cheekbones and almond-shaped eyes.
“If you must, Mr. Zephyr.” Serge calmly stated, pulling out a revolver and pointing it in the direction of said man’s chest. Zephyr was a middle-aged man, reaching his forties but something in his system made him this weak.
“Yes, if I must, Mr. Sergio.” Zephyr pointed his weapon to somewhere in the furniture of the room and dragged out a grunt. A green grunt with its eyes wide and shocked, staring straight into Serge’s soul. Zephyr pulled the grunt closer to him and held his firearm to the grunt’s head. Silver gulped and reached for his pair of guns, transforming them into swift sniper rifles and positioned it at the hole he had created.
“Surrender now or this grunt gets it, Mr. Serge.” Serge tensed. Nyra was caught between screaming and crying, a mixture of several emotions at the sight of her father. But he no longer was the man she knew. Silver quickened his breathing and loaded a shot containing dissolved sleeping pills.
“Fire!” Silver hissed as a streak of dust made it to Zephyr’s chest region. At the shot, the duo looked up and Nyra fell to Zephyr’s side, sniffling away tears. Silver noticed another thing in Zephyr; his eyes were glassy, lifeless, as if he was possessed. But it was no Seer’s doing, he could tell. Zephyr had been brainwashed. By some mysterious Sird that Serge had mentioned, Silver assumed. Silver tore through the flooring to land softly on fours. Nyra looked up, eyes tearful as Finnian landed together with Tag and Acnolgia through the hole.
“How did you make it?” Serge was the first to break the silence.
“Through the passage no. 2, we got to a point where we were chased by a berserk swarm. Prof Herman helped us through…” At the point, Finnian’s voice was cracking. He was trying hard not to cry.
“And we came to where we could see you two but there was a roadblock so we went up a lift to where we came from just now and clashed with a sadistic non-elemental Seer.”
“Did you defeat her? What was her name?” This time it was Nyra speaking, her voice breaking occasionally as she took in deep breathes to stabilize her talking.
“We did. Her name was Seraphim.” Nyra nodded, a small smile creeping to her lips.
“Let’s decide on what to do next, shall we?” Serge glanced at his group, making sure that he had everyone’s attention.
“Tag, will you stay behind to guard this place and take care of Zephyr? Inform us on any of his conditions of late through this device. Here, put it on his temples and information will automatically be sent to us. Thank you.” Tag nodded before giving Acnolgia a firm hug before scampering away with Zephyr in tow.
“Heren is outside to pick only two of us to the other base at the other side of this archipelago, though she will also be making round trips to and fro. Silver, I heard that you have flown a plane before, will you be kind to travel with Finnian to the other base in the seaplane at the Hold. Prof Herman has already pre-registered information on the auto-pilot system, so you should not have any trouble. Acnolgia will go with you, Silver.” Silver nodded and headed off to the Hold with Finnian and Acnolgia behind. Serge sighed and clambered aboard the awaiting giant.
“Off we go, Heren.” He whispered and leant onto the bird’s back to shield from the dust with a sniffling Nyra behind him.