Chapter 14:

Chapter 14 - Naois vs. Fiera

Of Heroes and Royals

As Naois charged toward Fiera, he came to a sudden halt. His opponent had stayed still, the blade of her scythe had begun to glow, and as she slashed at the air a beam of magic energy came flying toward him from the tip of her weapon - resulting in a sizeable explosion behind the boy as he barely managed to dodge in time.Bookmark here

A drop of sweat rolled down Naois' forehead, and it took him a moment to regain his composure. "Hey! What the hell was that?! Aren't you going to attack me with your scythe?!" he yelled loudly, shaking his fist at the woman.Bookmark here

Fiera brought her scythe toward her, gently caressing the edge of its blade. "This scythe is a Magical Weapon, developed by my master. I can pour my own magic into it, and create the destructive beams you saw just now. It's quite effective."Bookmark here

Immediately upon finishing her sentence, the woman fired off another beam, which this time directly hit Naois. The impact sent him into the air, landing a few feet away. In an instant, his mouth was filled with the taste of iron as blood trickled from his lips. Even so, this was not nearly enough to take him out of the fight. A few moments later, the smoke from the explosion had cleared, revealing that the boy had gotten back on his feet - blade still in hand. Despite the resolute look on his face, the boy was clearly shaken - for the Reaper's destructive power was unlike anything he had ever seen.Bookmark here

"Oh my, you're still intact! Maybe... you'll entertain me, after all!" Fiera observed. For a moment, Naois thought he could hear some semblance of joy in her voice, the woman's small smile growing into a full-faced grin. However, a second later, the woman cleared her throat and the emotionless, obedient look she usually wore returned. "You see, I was put on this mission to supervise Terra, and kill any resistance members that aren't already dead."Bookmark here

Naois was just about ready to charge at her once more - but hesitated. "Terra?"Bookmark here

"Yes. Terra, God of Earth. The monster, as you called it, that appeared as a mountain and is now attacking this town." The woman explained, wiping some dust off the blade of her scythe as she spoke. "Before this day is done, he will have killed everyone here."Bookmark here

"So that's what the mountain was, huh? Oh, I bet Apollo's having a field day with this..." Naois thought to himself.Bookmark here

The boy charged forward once more. In response, Fiera fired off another magic beam, which this time, Naois slashed at with his Flameblade - only for it to explode within a few moments of clashing with it. Pain and adrenaline rushing through his body, Naois grit his teeth and charged forward, using the smoke as cover, before emerging and jumping at Fiera.Bookmark here

He swung down as hard as he could, and the two locked blades as Fiera retaliated with a slash from her scythe. Naois looked her dead in the eyes.Bookmark here

"What about your comrades, huh? The Stratus soldiers? I highly doubt you can get that thing to avoid killing them, with how destructive its power is!" He commanded an answer.Bookmark here

"That's why we didn't put any soldiers that are ranked lieutenant or higher on this mission. We shan't be losing any... vital assets. That is, besides, the two that begged to come. Though, I'm sure they can handle themselves." Fiera explained, before overpowering Naois, jumping backwards, and firing off another beam - one he was unable to dodge. "It seems my master believes that Terra is sufficient to wipe out the resistance. Or perhaps, this is another experiment... but never mind that."Bookmark here

This time, Fiera charged forward. In the blink of an eye, she was in front of Naois, who was struggling to get up off the ground after her previous attack. He meagerly brought up his Flameblade to block, but the woman wasn't using her scythe this time - she kicked him in the neck and up into the air, before swiping at the boy's stomach with her scythe.Bookmark here

It would've been a devastating slash - had Naois not aimed his Flameblade at the ground and extended its length, which resulted in him being pushed backwards and dodging the attack by a hair just in the nick of time.Bookmark here

"Heh... it's a good job I picked up this trick in yesterday's fight." Naois chuckled slightly, before a serious look returned to his face. Despite his eagerness to beat the opponent before him, his rational mind knew that she held information that could be useful to the resistance. "So tell me... is that really a God? Your master figured out how to control Gods?"Bookmark here

"Whether you choose to believe it or not, that really is Terra. However... what you see with your eyes is not the entire truth. You could say that beast is Terra... but you could also say it is not. It's simply a matter of perspective. We're not controlling him. Right now, the being known as Terra is acting of his own free will." Fiera explained, turning her gaze toward the God of Earth as she spoke. "Oh no, it seems I've rambled on a little too much. Wait, what was the question again?"Bookmark here

"Y-You forgot?" Naois stuttered in disbelief.Bookmark here

"Your question was unnecessary information, so I forgot. Much like how I forgot your name." the woman answered bluntly.Bookmark here

One thought crossed the red-haired boy's mind. "Did this chick just casually diss me?"Bookmark here

He didn't have long to think it over, however, as the fight continued. All of a sudden, Fiera grabbed him by his neck and dragged him over to the nearest building. Naois struggled to free himself from her grasp, but this was a futile endeavour. Fiera's grip was like a vice. The woman jumped into the air - clearing the two-storey building in an instant - all the while, she held Naois face against the structure's concrete wall. Afterwards, she threw the boy into the roof, before landing on it herself.Bookmark here

Throughout this experience, all Naois could do was scream. As he lay there on the flat rooftop, he was tormented by the stinging pain of his now cut face - a feeling that was complimented by the warmth of his blood dripping down from his forehead.Bookmark here

"Yikes, that... hurt..." The boy muttered, wiping his cheek as he slowly got back on his feet to face Fiera. "So we're... fighting on a roof now? Sounds... fun... fewer trucks for you to send me into..."Bookmark here

Fiera was surprised to see Naois was still able to move. She had been aiming to ensure he wouldn't dodge the next slash from her scythe. "I admire your tenacity. I suppose I'll have to keep throwing you around until you stop moving for good... this fight is far from over, is it?"Bookmark here

"Not by a longshot."Bookmark here

"That's good, then. Help me kill time until my mission ends, okay?"Bookmark here

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"He's not gonna save you, you know." the Captain spoke firmly as he slammed open the door to the Mayor of Fiorir's home office. After fighting his way through numerous soldiers, he had made it to the Mayor's residence to see that, luckily, the building was still mostly intact.Bookmark here

Several men dressed in traditional black haori followed the Captain into the room. "We're sorry, sir, we couldn't stop him!" one of them apologised.Bookmark here

"You're not supposed to be in here!" the Mayor exclaimed, standing up at his desk.Bookmark here

"And neither are you!" the Captain bellowed in response, slamming his fist on the mayor's desk. "You need to leave, now. Let my men help you get out."Bookmark here

"No! I will stay right here. It is my duty to answer when that man finally calls and tells me his plan to save my people." the Mayor argued. "I will not trust you, Captain. You caused this! You led them to my town, you endangered my people!"Bookmark here

The Captain was beginning to lose his patience. "And you accepted that risk, Mayor Fukushima!! When we decide to move our headquarters to a town that is controlled by a native government, rather than one installed by Stratus, we ask. You agreed to us being here. We always knew they'd find us eventually. Course, we never expected something like this, but every town that allows us to stay is aware of the risk. Anyways... if you want to talk about bringing them here, why don't we ask the question of who leaked our location?"Bookmark here

"Hmph. And how do you know it wasn't one of your men?" Fukushima asked coldly.Bookmark here

"I would've known about it. I have eyes and ears in a lot of places, you know... but this totally blindsided me. So, I can only assume this came from you." the Captain snappily answered.Bookmark here

The Mayor sighed. "I hate to admit it, but you are indeed correct. One of my men... vanished, about a week ago. I hear he was sighted in Ombra. He was not a spy placed here by Stratus. He was... a traitor."Bookmark here

"You have my sympathies. I'm sure that must be difficult." Deciding not to push the issue any further so as to not antagonise the man, the Captain pressed on. "So, then. Shall we return to our previous topic?"Bookmark here

Fukushima scowled. The Captain could see the despair in his eyes instantaneously. "Even if you are right... you must be aware of my position, Captain. I am lucky enough to still hold the title of mayor. But a title is all it is. Calling an evacuation without the military's consent could have me removed from office! And then, the town my ancestors founded would truly be in the hands of the enemy."Bookmark here

"But there's not going to even be a town left if you do nothing! Your beloved cherry blossom trees, buried under a pile of rubble. The bodies of the townspeople you love, littering the streets. You know they're out there shooting on sight, don't you? Your ancestors legacy, gone in a day. Is that you want, Fukushima?" As the Captain made his speech, he stared the old man before him dead in the eyes. His voice did not waver, even for a moment. He had total faith in all of the words he spoke. "You have two choices. You can stay here and die. Or, you can call a full evacuation, and I can help you get to safety."Bookmark here

The Mayor of Fiorir paused for a moment. His next words would decide the fate of the entire town, and he could not take this decision lightly. But as he reflected on the Captain's words - his speech echoing in the old man's mind over and over, for what seemed like thousands of times, even just in that brief moment - the answer seemed obvious.Bookmark here

Fukushima walked around his desk to stand next to the green-haired man that had so rudely barged into his office. The despair had disappeared from his eyes, and his brow was no longer furrowed in frustration.Bookmark here

"You forgot the third option," the mayor declared, holding out his hand. "We fight alongside you."Bookmark here

The Captain was somewhat taken aback. "Are you sure about this?"Bookmark here

"My ancestors, as you may know, were immigrants from Juzuha. Back then, it was not a great, unified continent as it is now, just a simple kingdom among many. The cherry blossom trees you see here - the only kind on this continent - they grow in great numbers there. In a similar fashion..." Fukushima began to explain, taking a brief moment to look out the nearby window and witness his beloved town falling to ruin. "It was also standard practice to pass down the art of swordplay from generation to generation, in similar numbers. Back when Lumiere still had its freedom, the native men and women of Fiorir would lend their blade to the royal family. Our influence and power may be nary a shred of what it once was... but of the thirty-seven of us in this town that still practises that art, we... are still proud samurai."Bookmark here

"Then welcome to the fight." the Captain said with a smile, giving the mayor a firm, resolute handshake.Bookmark here

"Initiate our emergency response system. I want as many citizens escorted to safety as possible. And gather all of our available samurai. We will lend the resistance our aid." Fukushima commanded one of his nearby subordinates that had entered the room earlier, after the Captain. After nodding affirmatively, the men left the room in a hurry. The mayor turned back to the green-haired soldier in front of him. "So, what's the plan, leader of the resistance?"Bookmark here

For a moment, it would seem as though any sense of urgency had left the Captain as he spoke his next words with a chuckle, almost carefree. "So, samurai, ever sliced a mountain in two?"Bookmark here

Fukushima returned the sentiment, chuckling like a mischievous youth. "A mountain, no. Plenty of boulders, but a mountain, never. I'll gladly take up the opportunity."Bookmark here

"Glad to hear it. Better go grab your sword, then."Bookmark here

The look on the Captain's face turned serious.Bookmark here

"We're launching an all-out attack on Terra."Bookmark here

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