Ch. 6 *Azaiah*
The wind tugged at my hair and tied it in knots. But at this moment, I didn’t really mind. I had to make it to Treville, the filthy side of the city near the bay. Treville was the last place a “Buigel” battle had occurred, and it would be my best lead to trace the actual predators on the loose.
It was never a good idea to take flight in the city in most situations, but I had panicked. As soon as I left the LYS, my jacket had already been stripped from my back and my wings were outstretched to their full potential. Luckily, the fog shielded me from the humans below. But now the problem was landing without being seen.
Glancing over the cloud coverage, I spotted water below me trying to creep up onto the shore. I slowed my speed and hovered inside the fog, waiting for my perfect opportunity to land. It didn’t seem like there was anyone around, but as an LYS member, caution needed to be overused. My hand trembled before I shot an ice beam across the sky towards the west of me. If I had an audience, they would at least be distracted by this glimmer for a few moments to give me time to land. My wings folded inwards, allowing me to sink to the ground and plant my feet securely.
With trained ease, I slipped my jacket back on and hid my ivory feathers comfortably. I scanned around, not able to sense human presence. It appeared to be isolated, as far as I could tell. Glancing to my right, I spotted the old school building that the fight had taken place in. From where I was, I could see the deep burn marks swiped across the brick walls. Each window was shattered, with an exception of maybe three. And every once in a while, small sparks emitted from the wires that had been torn out of the tattered walls.
I approached the building with an unnecessary nervousness. I wanted to find clues and dig into the rubble, but this place put me on edge. Nothing pleasant ever happened in Treville.
As I drew near the burnt bricks, I grew a bit weary. My blood was chilled, and ice was in my veins. This was no place for an Ice Angel to be hanging out. Ignoring this discomfort, I stooped down to take a sample of the black debris splattered all over the ground. It coated my fingers effortlessly, making them feel fiery and dense. The stuff was thick and grungy, which made me cringe. This whole scene was looking more and more like Aejin murder.
Right as I wiped some of the dust into a test tube, the hairs on my neck began to rise.
“What are you doing here?” a shaky voice spoke from behind me. I slipped the test tube up the sleeve of my jacket and turned around.
Just like I had assumed, I was staring at Sakura. Her pale pink hair was tangled, being that it was slightly windy outside. Luckily mine was no different. My eyebrows scrunched a bit, wondering what was wrong. Her deep blue irises were pooling with tears.
“I should ask you the same thing,” I replied. Guilt spilled over my body. Of all the things to say, I had to sound suspicious of her.
“You must know… right? This scene, this place. It’s too perfectly set up.”
“Yes, I’ve noticed,” I said, hoping to sound less rude.
The two of us glanced at each other for a moment, not saying anything. I couldn’t help but stare at her. It had been too long since I had done so. The way she was holding herself up was unusual. Her army-like stance was nonexistent at the moment. From the looks of it, I couldn’t see any weapons on her person. She was empty handed, wearing only a grey jacket, some jeans and combat boots. I couldn’t stop soaking in her appearance. She looked away from me, evidently bothered by this. A faint red hue swiped across my face before I did the same.
“You shouldn’t be here,” Sakura mumbled, finally breaking the silence.
“Neither should you,” I said, glancing over again.
“I know… but it’s dangerous, and I’m the one to put myself forward, not you. It’s not your duty.”
“You should still care about your well-being. Carelessness isn’t honorable.”
She squinted, trying to rid the tears in her eyes. I felt bad for my harsh sort of tone. I never truly realized how rude I sounded unless I was speaking to her. But then again, I was over-analytical about everything whenever I spoke to her.
“So don’t be careless yourself. You won’t graduate as a Silver Rank if you continue looking for something you shouldn’t be,” she said, grabbing ahold of her emotions.
“You know that Silver Ranks aren’t respected. And you know how I can handle myself. I’ve worked alongside you…” I bit the inside of my lip.
“Look how that turned out,” she growled.
“No. You messed up. You are the careless one. You shouldn’t be here. I don’t want you-” she paused, inhaling violently. She clenched her teeth together. “I don’t want you to end up dead.”
“I’m sorry,” I said sheepishly. Any other words left me. I didn’t know what else to say.
“Your apologies have no sincerity. Don’t throw words at me when you don’t mean them,” she spoke solemnly. Before I could even try to say something less stupid, black particles hovered around her hand. A sharp blade materialized from this into her palm, and was abruptly swung at me.
I leaped back, avoiding her attack. Her swing was unprofessional. It was unusual. And this hand magic was foreign to me. Where had she learned that?
Sakura hustled forward, jabbing at me with this odd blade. I blocked her attack with a beam of ice. The blade flung from her grasp and hit the ground. But as the metal made contact with the black debris below our feet, the luster faded from sterling silver into a crimson red, and disintegrated in front of us.
“You prick,” I swore angrily, clenching my fists to create ice energy. I crafted a jagged blade of ice and slashed her across the face. The slice on her face morphed from pale to black. She didn’t bleed.
The being didn’t say anything. Her face dripped a black substance, deteriorating the beauty I had fallen for. She rose up and shot a black, glowing orb at me. It skimmed my right arm, burning the sleeve of my jacket. I ignored this inconvenience before emitting two icy beams from my palms to break her down. She dodged them with ease and whirled around me. I spun, trying to keep up, but her speed topped mine.
Another orb attack had slapped my back and pushed me to the ground. My hands shielded my face from planting into the ground, but planted into the burnt gunk around me. I struggled to release them, but the more I moved, the worse it became. Sakura took the opportunity to create another blade with her foreign black magic. She hovered to my front side, swinging to slash me back. But before she could do so, I flipped my feet over my body, performing a backwards somersault and releasing my hands from the debris. She missed her attack as I tackled her. I pinned her down roughly, causing her to release the crafted knife.
She smirked, seeming to not care about that. That’s when I noticed her chest was glowing. A deep crimson orb was spinning over it, preparing to latch onto my soul and end this mundane battling. My icy hand dug into the orb, freezing it over. I pulled my fingers inwards, closing them into my palm and shattering the orb altogether. Sakura lay limp beneath me.
“You may have destroyed Cornustar, the kingdom, and the Epsilon galaxy altogether. But don’t think for a moment that you’ll get anywhere with Earth. This ends here,” I snarled, before jabbing the last ounce of life out of her.
Those deep blue eyes rolled back and steamed. Her body began to separate into tiny black particles before disappearing completely. I clenched my teeth.
It was only an Aejin, but my heart was wrecked. They were psychological assholes. I walked unstably with my head down.
After returning to the bay and stepping onto concrete, I sat down and held my temples. I slowed my breath, trying to regulate it while calming my nerves.
Hurting Sakura, the real Sakura, would destroy me. And for a few scary moments, I almost thought they had gotten her. I almost thought I had killed her. But if they had latched onto her soul, those dying particles would not have been black. They would’ve glowed a bright blue before melting.
I shook uncontrollably. I hadn’t done so since Cornustar has been shattered. I looked at my trembling hands with my blurred vision. It made sense that I was only a Silver Rank. I couldn’t even contain my stupid emotions. I was foolish.
I stood to my feet, not allowing myself anymore time to bleed my feelings everywhere. The test tube of black debris was now in my pocket, and all I had to do was test it and inform the chief. I unzipped my burned jacket, and released my wings from its grasp. They lifted me from the ground, and within moments I was soaring above the clouds once more.
The trip back to the LYS allowed me to breathe. I entered through my dorm window to avoid another awkward landing, and shut it swiftly behind me. I threw my charred jacket onto my bed, not feeling motivated enough to wash it.
The cold air wrapped around my body and energized me. Thanks to the organization’s safety requirements, they cooled my room to 40℉. I laid down next to my jacket and drifted into an unconscious state. The test tube would have to wait a while.