The sphere the phantom o.., p.30
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       The Sphere: The Phantom of the West Rim, p.30

           Fandy Adams
 

  Suddenly the ground beneath him trembled in erratic tremor, as if some giant knocking the floor from under. There and there, with a crack, few long tentacles piercing out of the floor. Then with a sudden breach, a shadow rise before him. Tall it was, about ten feet and slender. It moves gracefully like a woman but no legs appeared on it; like a tree, she stood rooting on the floor under with long tentacles grew from the back and swaying in the air. Her face was like pale mask and solid with eyes like jewel, red and shining. While her mouth always looks grinning but tattoos around the eyes depict sadness and sorrow. Gently her long fingers touched her own face as if she admired her own everlasting beauty.

  Marius sprang up to attack her but suddenly, as the eyes of the monster glowing red, Marius felt great pain in his head as if something squeezed his brain from inside. The triple-edged sword off his hand and Marius floundering on the floor with both hands kept the head and voiceless scream came from his clenched teeth.

  The red eyes dimmed. No mysterious force pressed his brain anymore but the pain still in his head. And have not the pain in his head gone, the tentacles seized and twisted on him. Then the queen brought him closer till reflected in her shining red eyes a man in agony.

  ***

  As if the dead awakened, a Phantom rose with suddenness. And without a helmet everyone now could see his face. The face looks life and warm but no expression or emotion appeared on him, only creepy yellow eyes staring blankly at everyone around. Then without waiting a second he begins to shoot everyone there. Two men down and one get shot in the leg till someone hit him in the face to knock him down.

  “What the hell? How he could get up?” said a soldier to Eorin.

  “They’re just stunned down. Lightning was effective to take them down in instant but it just temporary.” said Eorin. “Order your men to use their lightning only. It could bring them down without having to hurt them.”

  “If I could say this mission was to seek and destroy. All men here were common infantry, they’re only equipped with sword and their Spheres were standard, energy shot and shield. I don’t think none of us have a lightning now.” said the captain. “Dammit! If I knew this before I would brought Mage unit with me.”

  Another Phantom arises and followed by another. Royal Forces unsheathed their sword in alarm but they stance and brandished in doubt.

  “Captain! Order?!” asked a soldier.

  Captain Juntari turned and looked out. For the first time he trapped in the moment of indecision, for the enemies they faced now weren’t someone they could fight against. Those Phantoms would doubtlessly kill his men but on the other side they were peoples they have swore to protect. His mind twisted, either protect those peoples or protect his men.

  “Don’t hurt them! Please!” Eorin begged to the captain.

  “I wouldn’t.” said the captain, keen his eyes on the Black Soldier. Then he rose to commands. “Sheath your sword! Use a shot, aimed at their vest and do whatever to knock them down! They’re our peoples and you’re Ishtar finest, keep them and yourself alive!”

  All men yelled vigorously. The light sprang out of their hand and the battle-cries of men break out. One by one the Phantoms arose to their full force and the rest of royal forces go forth into the foothill. Upon the gloomy field the battle has begins and the silence of the night broke by the sounds of rumble. All fight in the crowd. Royal forces halt their sword in the sheath and they rarely shot with their magic. They fought only with a bare hand and boot to take the opponents down, even as the Phantom undoubtedly shot their magic to kill.

  There was a sudden bolt of lightning, dazzling and roaring, many of Phantoms fell in one stroke. Every soldier turned and there they saw the captain stood with a sparks of blue flash covering his hand.

  “Thank you for lend me your magic.” said the captain.

  “I think it’s better on your hand than mine.”

  “Just watch your friend. Leave them to us.” said the captain.

  The captain ran forward. Not only he casts a lightning to take them in a row but also have his fist gloved with sparking blue flash, one hit of the hand and the Phantom stunned to fall. On the other side Eorin protecting Rey who still lied unconscious. Few of Phantoms came to attack them and the girl fought them with her ice. Humid was the air and land in the West Rim, and the scepter on her hand possess a great power of cold. And so she became the master of ice. Every Phantom she sealed them in cold and turned them into ice statue.

  Unnoticed by her, an enemy walked towards them. Shadows covered him and leave only yellow eyes gazed them behind the darkness. He stretched a hand and as energy sprang out towards her suddenly a huge shape jumped down behind her to take the shot. Eorin turned and to her surprise she found a huge wolf stands behind her with eyes glowing in the darkness.

  “Seem you need a help.” said Aska with heavy voice.

  For a moment the girl stunned, either in happiness or affection when she saw the huge beast before him. Wonder what Scarlett had done, but she relieved that her friend was back. Although all those feelings overwhelmed by her own pride later.

  “You’re late. Now get off my sight.” said Eorin as she freeze a Phantom.

  “Hey, what's happened to Rey?” asked Aska approached him with pity, and in that form he looks like a dog trying to help his helpless master.

  A blast on the ground interrupted them. Then few of Phantoms came from their right. The frost she gathered to a big snowflake upon her hand and she throws to them. One ice she thrown, one spell she spoke in whisper. Then suddenly a blast of cold ice sprang from the ground and freezes everything, all of those Phantoms frozen and concealed inside the crystal cold.

  “How you did that?”

  “Is that important for you?”

  “Of course, why you didn’t do it when that dragon after us?”

  “This is night and the place was cold and wet, very haven for my ice magic.” said Eorin. “Rather than complain on me why you didn’t help them?”

  “Affirmative.” said Aska turned around.

  “Hey!” called Eorin.

  “I know. Don’t kill or be killed.” said Aska “Take it easy, I just want to knock their head with mine.”

  The horned-wolf looked into the battlefield. Keenly the eyes of the beast gazed at them and then he howls into the moons as if ask a permission for the battle. The huge wolf ran and wildly rushed all the Phantoms on his way.

  “Get away the beast coming.” said Aska eagerly like unstoppable rage that get rid everything on his way.

  “Captain!” shouted a soldier with his eyes pointing at Aska.

  “He’s Volk. Looking what he done I think he’s on our side.” said the Captain with joy.

  Suddenly the captain glared at the darkness behind the girl. Then he ran with blue sparks on his hand and strikes a Phantom behind her to fall.

  “Watch your back girl.”

  “Thank you.”

  Upon the field the royal forces began to be overwhelmed. They were wounded and fatigue, not few of them had down. Save for the lightning bore by captain, seemed none of their attack could effective against them.

  “Have any other idea lady? If things keep going like this I’ll going authorize whatever it need to keep my men alive.”

  Eorin had no word to answer. Then she looked up to the castle, “Whatever you do please be quick.”

  ***

  With her long purplish tentacle the monster took triple-edged sword and the long fingers of the queen grabbed it. Marius tried to fight back with his lightning but it seemed the queen has locked his mind by pain. The tip of the sword glinting in the dimness and the grin in her mask-face seems get wider as if she was mocking Marius for his failure.

  “You think lowlifes such a you can kill me?” said Succubus with eerie voice piercing the ears and echoed in the hall.

  “I can.”

  Scarlett appeared before her in suddenness. On the red jewel-eyes her face reflected, smiled in confidence and
power. His left hand grabbed the queen’s neck, holds on it and attached on his right arm was a steel claw, triple-bladed and long. Swiftly and strongly he thrust the steel claws right into the heart of the queen. At once the queen cried out in pain with shrilling voice. Marius was let off and fell, then he get away immediately as the tentacles swaying wild, so was Scarlett.

  A loud scream grew in the hall and piercing to their ears, and the tentacles whipped everywhere and tore everything. For a moment the queen was like shrunken, and then with eerie long scream the queen falling down like uprooted tree.

  “Is she dead?” asked Scarlett while reshape the claw into the Sword of Enigma.

  The queen has fall, her body didn’t move at all. The purple blood flooded the floor and the red glow on her eyes dimmed, though her tentacles still swaying weakly.

  “I thought so.” said Marius.

  “How could you lose against frail monster like this?” asked Scarlett. “Man, had all the muscles but don’t know how to use it.” she taunted him.

  “I fought three elites of Azgalor all the day. Besides it’s a she and I hurt no woman even though she was … something else.”

  “Whatever! Let’s go and see if they’re all right!”

  “You go first I’ll catch later.” said Marius leaned himself on the pillar. He looks exhausted and in pain.

  “Are you really okay?”

  “I’m okay. Just catch those kids outside.” said Marius as he leaned himself on a pillar. Then he looked at the mask-face, the grin still on her face as if to say that this is just the beginning.

  ***

  The Phantoms surged forward, there and there the shadows of the night torn as their shot flashing everywhere. Some of royal forces step back, other still fought under fire. Even as the captain took down many of them with his lightning but still the opponent came like endless wave. The sparks of blue on his hand began to fade now, instead his hand hold the sheathed sword with holding rage.

  On the other side the great wolf has stumbled, one shot might not hurt the beast at that size but he have wounded by many of them. And so the horned-wolf turned into a young boy lied powerless upon the dark barren. A step he heard and beside him had stood a Phantom with head stooped and yellow eyes stared at him blankly. Soon a hand stretched to him with a glow on his palm ready to shot.

  “Well this is the end.” said Aska as he closing his eyes.

  A moment he waited the death to come. But after few seconds he closed his eyes nothing have happened. Aska glance one eye and he saw the Phantom stood frozen in the same position of his last sight, only the glow on his palm has faded. Aska then looked around. Not only the one near him but every Phantom there had frozen like statue. And suddenly, to his surprise all of them fell altogether.

  Everyone wondered and amazed, and a bit of both joy and worries, few of them stance with tense – just in case if they’ll rise once again like before. For a moment they waiting in tense and wonder, and their curiosity answered immediately as one of the Phantoms arose. On The Captain’s hand a blue flash sparked ready to attack, but Eorin halt him first.

  “Wait! Look!” said Eorin, pointed at the rising opponent.

  That Phantom walked and moved weirdly like was sleep walking, and he turned to and fro like someone confused with helmet still attached. Then suddenly he fell to him sat on the dark ground. He touched and feels his head and how surprised he was when he knew something had attached on his head. He tried to get off the helmet but he couldn’t.

  “Here let me help you.” said Eorin, beside her stood Captain Juntari with wild blue flash still on his hand.

  Eorin opened the lock and get off the helmet from him. A young man he was, maybe as old as her or Aska, but his face looks confused like someone who just woke up from bad dreams. But over all there’s something that drew her attention, deeply she looks through it. His pupils were brown and normal, although lost their focus now.

  “Where am I?” asked him.

  “Outside the castle.” answered Eorin.

  The young man then turned to see the castle. “How I get here?”

  “I wish I could explain.” answered Eorin.

  The captain unsheathed his sword and with that he shouted in joy as he raises it. Then a yell of victory spreads out among them. All men dancing and shouted in joy, and like fireworks to celebrate this glorious moment they fire their magic high into the air and light up the night.

  Among their victory only the man in the black vest that still look confused, both to them and himself.

  ***

  The night was calm and peaceful under stars and both moons. The forest still rest in the deep silence. But there, some creatures still wakened at the night and leaped from one tree to another. Then they halted upon the forest-roof, moons and stars had charmed them and in amazement they looked up into the sky with gleamed eyes.

  All of sudden they sense a horror came closer like there was an evil tidings brought by cold winds. They turned and hiding, peeking behind the leaves with fear. For a while the sky was empty. Then they saw it, a huge shadow flying at the great height, so mysterious like a winged serpent crossing under the moon. Dragon it was, of the class Amphitere, named for the dragons which had feature of winged serpent in this world. But this kind, whose origin, weren’t from this land. From the outer continent it was, of the isolated and untouched Black Continent in far northwest, lived in the realm of solitude where in the air contains a deathful whisper. Till some mysterious force with great power enslaved it to be his steed. And there he was, sat upon it as its master. Black robe he wore and the night gave him a shadow to mask his face.

  The rider looked upon the land, all were grey and still. The night still dark, even at the great height he didn’t see a pale light in the east horizon. Mile by mile, land upon land, all forests, rivers and mountain he had passed at great speed. Then presently he saw a grey smoke, rose in curling threads and spreads behind the stretching mountains. Soon, as the mountains had been passed, he saw a vast and black valley, with lurid fissure everywhere till looks like red labyrinth from the height. Buildings and structures built of steel formed industrial area on the entire barrens. Steam and smoke arose from the lurid fissure, and dust and ashes falling from the sky like black snow. The valley was fort by mountains and at the south a huge cleft divided the rock and formed a natural arch. And railroads was built extends to the edge of the west.

  Later they stopped at the biggest building in the center. There, in the deck, four guards have waited. They wore a heavy armor, black-colored with red stripes on arms and legs. And a big guy stood amidst of them, a pale-skinned man with short grey hair.

  “I’ve always asked when you come here.” said the man.

  “Man in my position couldn’t move freely Cyrus, especially if they know I stepped in the enemy’s lair.”

  “Nagard wasn’t lair. It was hell’s end.” said Cyrus. “How it was? I heard you had a little trouble there."

  “Nothing to concern about, but your men have expended on this. All of them I think, if Blitzberg don’t make it,” answered the mysterious man.

  “They’re my best. Too bad if we lose someone at their level.”

  “Let’s not grief for the peon, we still have many of them.” replied the mysterious man. “How about that fat bastard, did he willing to give one of his collections?”

  “That pig faces did not want to give it even as we raised our bidding. He wants to barter it.”

  “What’s he wanted as an exchange?”

  “The Jewel of Ishtar.” answered Cyrus

  “So he demands something impossible.”

  “You know I could send some of my men in Arabana to steal it. It would be easy for them.”

  “Stealing from that fool bastard is not difficult even easier than if we take the Jewel of Ishtar. But I have particular reason why I want to have good trade with him.” said him. “Just tell that pig faces that we will give him what he wanted.”

  “It w
ill be done.”

  ***

  Rey half-opened his eyes. At first he only saw a bright blue light but then faintly and blurrily he saw Aska’s face smiling to him.

  “Hi!”

  “Hi.”

  “What happened?”

  Aska stared at him softly and his face was calm. He never saw it on him before as if his soul now filled with serenity and peace. Then with a smile he answered. “We’re dead Rey and now we’re in heaven.” said Aska with smile.

  “VVhaaat?!" Rey was shocked when hear it.

  “Nah just joking, you should look at your face.” said Aska laughing.

  “How can you make joke at a time like this?” said Eorin.

  “The danger have passed, we deserve a good joke right now.” replied Aska.

  “Are you alright?” asked Eorin.

  “I’m fine, just bit dizzy.”

  Slowly he gained his consciousness. Although not completely recovered yet but he could see everything around. The sky still dark above him but in the east the grey dawn crawling up behind the forests and hills. Dozens of blue flare spread above them glimmered upon the black lot. And as he looked toward the rumbling sounds in the distant, he saw an airship floating in the air and anchored with long chain to the earth.

  Then he looked around, the black field now crowded both by men in armor as Marius wore and soldiers in black vest. At first he saw them with fear and worry, but then he realizes that no battle was around them, not even cries of battle nor light flashed to shot them, instead peoples look help each other and some medic take care of them. Now he see those in the black vest wore helmet no more and no creepy yellow eyes were seen on them, they’re just like a common people wearing odd gear. He wondered, and rejoiced, for everything look ends well.

  “Did we make it? Did they survive?”

  “We made it, they’re survived.” answered Scarlett from behind. “Good job kid, all of you.”

  “Better you check your wound.” said Captain, he paused for a moment looked at them then he speaks again, “But after that I must ask you to leave.”

  “Hey, we’re helped you here. Without us this night would turn into nightmare.” said Aska. “We deserve a medal, a gold one.”

 
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