The Aftermath of the Magic Apocalypse
After that beam of fire or whatever that was that hit the wreckage of the car, a box landed not too far from where I am waiting with Hans who is unconscious, but still breathing. The blood has clotted and my hands feel sore from being a bit too forceful in trying to hold down the blood.
Did that chimera really use its tail to cleave a firebolt spell in 2 and extinguish flames that were probably hot enough to vaporize a living creature?! As a researcher in magical countermeasures, I can’t help but be curious if it is just its natural physiology or an anti-magic property we can potentially harness.
Oh right, I have to take this chance to look at the box. There is a slim chance that maybe what I could use to help Hans is contained in it. I look at the box that is partially entrenched in the ground. Despite being caught in both a crash landing and a fiery explosion, it’s remarkably intact with very light dents. I even see the Kaiba Corporation logo on it. That gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, there is something that can help us. Hopefully, whatever is encased inside is also intact. And more importantly, can I actually get this box to open? I don’t see anything that looks like a handle that would let me lift the box. Nor do I see anything that resembles a switch. I encase my hand in my sleeve and poke the box with the sleeve as a buffer. The surging heat I feel makes it prohibitive for me to try to move it.
I throw my arms up in frustration. “Argh, how do I open this thing?!”
A logo emits a faint light of green and blue. The light spreads across the center indentation of the box and a voice responds. [Life assistance unit Aria at your service. Please provide authentication.] The voice sounds feminine and while I’m pretty sure it’s a machine, it doesn’t sound robotic. It must be an advanced artificial intelligence unit.
“How do I do that?” I asked, perplexed.
[You can provide some magic. If your magic residue is recognized by the Kaiba system, you will be authorized to use me]
“Ugh, I can’t use magic” I respond dejectedly. Don’t tell me I won’t be able to use this thing.
[Non magic users can use their Identification credentials].
“My ID card-” Uh, I pat my blouse skirt but don’t feel anything thin and hard on me. It must have gotten lost from the crash earlier.
“Listen Aria, right now we have a man in very bad shape. I am Mana Viotto, analyst of the Kaiba Corporation Compound 77 Magical Countermeasures Research Team. Please...help me...save him. It’s...my fault...he’s at death’s door.” Tears are streaming down my cheeks dripping to the ground below. I bow my head to the box in hopes that the AI will prioritize saving a life over whatever user protocols it enforces.
[Understood Mana Viotto. Voice authentication matches Kaiba Corporation records. Please direct me to the patient]
I breathe a sigh of relief and wipe the tears from my eyes. “He is 20 meters behind where I am standing.”
[I shall instruct you on how to use my equipment since records indicate you have no formal medical training. Please follow my instructions so we have the best chance to help our patient. Now please, take me to the person]
The box, Aria rises from the ground on spider-like legs extending from the bottom reaching my waist. It walks over to me and I turn around and walk towards Hans. Aria is right beside me as I stop in front of Hans. The legs retract as Aria lowers itself on the ground, stopping to be just above Hans’ body. A bluish green light scans Hans body and 4 additional spider-like legs extend from the sides, each one equipped with a miniature hand at each end. The top of the box opens up revealing an assortment of supplies, categorized in an assortment of trays that stack. Out of the box comes a pixie. The pixie is a translucent blue and green with 4 wings, 2 on each side with the top wing being slightly larger than the bottom.
[Patient is estimated to be a 50-60 year old human male, 180kg in weight and 185 cm tall. Scanned vitals appear to be stable. The patient has lost an estimated 20% of blood and has a bullet lodged in a wound in the right shoulder. This unit will proceed to open the wound and remove the bullet to avoid acute poisoning. A nanite pack will then be administered to help restore some of the lost bodily fluids and disinfect the patient to maximize chances for a healthy recovery. Assistant Viotto, I’m about to open the wound to extract the bullet. After I extract the bullet, place this mesh on top of the wound to reseal it.]
One of the spider-like arms hands me a fleshy material that has tiny grooves all over in a grid-like pattern. “Uh, will he be at risk for infection?” I show my hands covered in dried blood to the transpixie.
[Please hold out your hands.] The arm offering the flesh-like mesh to its storage compartment and pulls out a bottle. I hold out my hands in a cup and it pours what I assume is a cleaning solution. The dried blood is mostly absorbed by the clear liquid solution which becomes a muddy color as it falls to the ground. My hands are back to their normal pinkish-white tint and I take the fleshy mesh. I feel the material and it really does feel like skin.
Aria proceeds to carve an incision into Hans’ wound using a bluish laser coming out from one of the fingertips. Once the wound is open, one of its other hands inserts a tweezer-like tool with claws at the end of the blades to keep the wound open. Her free hand digs in to locate the lodged bullet. The pixie appears to be manipulating the spider-like arms with her wings and arms while staring at a projection that shows the inside of the wound. She sees a blackish-green substance on her projection and directs the arm inside the wound to it. The arm wraps itself around the blackish-green substance and begins to hoist it out.
Seconds later, the arm comes out wrapped around the bullet like a wire on a coil. Just as I am about to apply the fleshy mesh onto the wound, Aria uses one of her arms to block me.
[Please wait assistant Viotto, my instruments indicate this bullet contained traces of mercury and arsenic at a level lethal to humans. We need to cleanse the toxins or he could die, not to mention, it is possible you could be contaminated if enough of the compound transfers through the mesh to your own hands.]
No wonder the raider with the gun only shot once. Hans was going to die anyway no matter where he was struck if poisonous compounds were contained in the bullet. But how would they gain access to mercury and arsenic to make bullets? Settlement 11, the mining and primary district for manufacturing heavy metal products, is the most heavily guarded settlement after Kaiba corporation’s main headquarters. It would be difficult for them to gain access to those materials under normal circumstances.
Suddenly, the ground is shaking all around us. During the quake, Aria’s box falls to the ground with a thud. The translucent pixie disappears shortly after the fall. When the rumbling finally subsides, I turn my head to see the wolfman standing over what appears to be a small mountain of slabs of rock jarred together. His shoulders are heaving. I don’t see the chimera or the hooded witch in sight. Was that quake caused by the wolfman? No, that can’t be or they wouldn’t need to use the truck to wreck the car. Where is the witch? Aria finally re-materializes although she is now transparent.
[It seems the fall has compromised my functionality. I won’t be able to thoroughly cleanse the poison. Assistant Viotto, please take this antidote ointment and spread it on the bottom layer of the mesh. It will bind the poison to it, preventing it from circulating. It’s important that this man receive urgent medical attention from a qualified medical professional so they can remove the poison and do follow-up treatment to properly detoxify him. I will also need you to inject the nanite pack in order to help our patient as my appendages no longer appear to be functional. For best results, place the syringe in a vein so the nanites and restorative fluid can circulate fastest in the body]
I spread the ointment onto the meshy flesh and apply it over the wound. I press firmly on it and it appears to have latched on like a bandaid. Aria’s spider-like arms must have been damaged from the fall earlier. I take a pack with a red cross with a tinker cell logo with a syringe on one end. This must be the nanite pack. “Aria, can you help me pinpoint a vein? It’s a bit dark and I would rather get this right the first time.”
A light from the box focuses in and pinpoints a spot on the leg. [This is the Great Saphenous Vein, the largest vein in the human body. It extends from the base of the foot to the upper thigh, so you have the highest chance of injecting into a vein using this vein].
I remove the casing on the syringe. I squint my eyes to focus on the light and stab the needle through the clothing into the legs. Within a minute, the package is deflated and I remove the pack. Right as I completed that step, a beam of light shoots out of the slabs, and blows back the wolfman and scattering rocks all over the ground. The chimera’s barbs on its back are glowing a bright shade of yellow and it gradually dissipates until the light vanishes.
The wolfman, no the witch, must have entrapped the chimera in the bowels of the earth. But I still see no sign of her. Considering the quake didn’t leave a fissure except the slabs of rock around the wolfman, she had to be nearby. It’s extremely difficult to cast a wide area spell to such a precise location. Just where could she be. With Hans out of immediate danger and Aria here, I have to see if I can help the chimera. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
“Aria, are you in that form able to scout”
[Negative, Ms. Viotto. This form is purely visual and has no physical body. My main body is the case you see before you.]
“Are you able to detect any living humans around where those 2 beast-warriors are?” I point to the wolfman and the beastman.
[My thermal sensors detect three heat signatures assistant Viotto in that area]
“Three? She must be using light magic to make it impossible for us to see her? Or maybe her cloak has a stealth function. How far from the larger beast-warrior is the 3rd signature?”
[The larger beast-warrior overlaps with one of the heat signatures]
“What, is she above or beside the larger beast”?
[No, by overlap, the smaller human heat signature is distinctive present with the heat signature of the larger beast-warrior]
“She’s inside the wolfman? Then it must be...no way, she can use...Beast-warrior Power Armor Form?” My legs become wobbly as I fall to the ground. Why is a witch who is that powerful a raider? Such witches are the most highly sought after talent around the world. They could do almost whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.
Beast-warrior Power Armor Form...also known as Fusion magic is when a magic wielder, which were usually witches, and a beast-warrior would combine. The beast-warrior’s flesh would open up to encase the witch, which would protect them from attacks so she could exclusively focus on casting spells while the beastman. Witches could also borrow the energy from the beastman if necessary to augment their magic power. The only way to attack a witch in a fused form was to deliver an attack that was powerful enough to pierce through the beastman’s thick hide, but witches usually used their magic power to greatly enhance the body and reflexes of their companion, making them extremely formidable. The witch could heal injuries taken provided they weren’t instantly fatal and even if the beastman died, the witch would survive and potential escape danger. The downside was it required near unconditional trust between the magic wielder and beastman. If either side rejected the other, the technique would not work
In the height of the last great war, it was this technique that determined the course of the war, giving the side who gathered the most well-trained fighters the advantage. Usually, in a fight, it was the side who had either overwhelming power or more stamina that won. It was because of this technique that Magical Countermeasures became a huge business for Kaiba Corporation.
Is our only option to wait for Kaiba Corporation’s security team to get here? How many will be killed or injured before we can stop her and her partner?
“This is probably a good excuse to test our newest prototype. I mean this witch and her partner are raiders, they were going to kill us without hesitation just over our ID’s. The magic they can wield is a real threat to society. But...if the prototype works as we theorize, she will never be able to use magic again...
Do we have the right to do such a thing? Crippling someone for life to save ourselves, how is that any different from killing? I would be no different than the witch, would I?”. My eyes swim around as I stare at the night sky.
My train of though is interrupted by the screeching roar of the chimera. It’s nowhere near as loud as the first time he made that roar. The wolfman, Holdergard is standing on a very large boulder looking down at the chimera. Next to him, the smaller of the 2 human raiders, Jeice is swirling his hands and manipulating the wind current. I’m guessing he is going to try suffocating the chimera again.
“Aria, is there anything we have that can hit the human standing next to the wolfman, the smaller of the 3 up on that rocky boulder about 100 meters from us? Just to stop him”
[It is possible to hit him with a tranquilizer containing a sleeping agent, but this unit has never been further than 20 meters from a target. Normally this unit would never imply harm on a human as it goes against the 3 laws of robotics, but I am aware these humans mean to harm you Ms. Viotto and Mr. Boone. They attacked, and meant to kill you and you are both representatives of the corporation I am designed to serve. Therefore I shall do my best to support you, but I would like it very much if we don’t kill anyone. ]
“Thanks so much Aria. What about making a grenade, something like tear gas except with a sleeping agent. Even if they fall off, they shouldn’t be killed and Kaiba’s security team can apprehend them.”
[As it so happens, I can put the agent in a container that you can throw and I can remotely detonate it, but you will need to get close enough to get it to them and do so undetected. My sensors suggest the wind flow is unnatural around here, implying someone or something is manipulating it. If they detect you, they will very likely manipulate the wind to prevent the container from reaching them]
“Yes, it’s that small guy doing it. I have a plan for that, just gotta hope I get lucky.”
Aria hands me a canister. The canister is shiny sheen of silver, probably stainless steel about the width of my fingers brought together and the length that is about double. I go behind another boulder and run to the location, hoping to get behind them. With the wind blowing towards me, there is a good chance the wolfman, Holdergard won’t pick up my scent. I just have to hope I throw it just high enough to reach them without going over so Aria can detonate the gas.
I manage to reach the base of the boulder where the raiders are standing. It’s about 5 meters high. I toss the canister up and run as fast as I can. The canister clinks from the boulder and a hissing sound means the gas is coming out.
I turn my head back around as I keep running to see the Jeice wobbling and collapsed onto the face of the boulder next to Holdergard. Unfortunately, the larger human next to Holdergard, Shinra turns up his flames to burn the remainder of the gas away so neither he nor Holdergard are affected. He jumps down the boulder and is running right behind me. I can’t have him follow me back to Aria or Hans.
I change course and head to the chimera. Please don’t kill me chimera, I’m in this mess because I tried to help you. The chimera, freed to breathe takes a look at me and then looks at the guy chasing me. He jumps and I crouch in panic, shuddering in fear as he lands next to me. Thankfully, he kicks Shinra away from me, sending him flying towards the boulder Holdergard is standing on. He stares at me with his brownish eyes and then looks to Holdergard who has his arms raised to the sky. What in the world is with that pose?
The ground once again quakes, I lay on the ground, covering my head. Rocks, clumps of dirt, and pieces of debris from the car and the truck- wait what happened to the truck, it’s been smashed. Did that happen during the last quake? Everything gathers together in the sky about 50 meters directly above where I and the chimera next to me are standing. In about 2 minutes, the diameter of the mass of harvested earth is about 10 meters and still growing. Does she seriously intend to kill us all?
If we ran, would we make it? It would take not even 3 seconds for that big rock to come down from that height, and assuming the witch has good control to aim it anywhere she pleases. She could even turn it on the settlement in the distance. I can’t let innocent people get caught up in this.
Would Aria have something we can use. Even if she did, at this point, the witch could easily drop the meteor on us before I could even hope to reach her.
Damn it, if I knew I was going to die today, maybe I should have accepted Ken’s request to go out. I’ve never had a chance to experience romance. While I am crying my eyes out, the chimera next to me stares at me.
“What are you staring at? Is it really so funny to see me crying because I’m going to die?!” I scowl at the chimera.
He continues staring at me and then at the big meteor above us. He brings his face to be eye level. His stare feels like he is staring beyond me and into something deeper. What exactly is he thinking?
“What do you want-”
Right as I ask, the chimera leans in and kisses me. A warm sensation is flowing out of me. After several seconds, my mind recovers from my shock of being kissed and I push him off of me.
“What the hell did you do that for?” I yell at him in anger. How dare he take advantage and kiss me!
The chimera’s barbs are glowing and sparks of light are gathering at the tip of his tail. I wonder if he has a means to deal with the massive meteor that at this point completely blocks out the night sky from this angle. I run as fast as I can back to Aria and Hans. The barbs on his back are bright enough that the ground around him is visible as if it were day time. Streaks of light flash from the spikes on his tail to the largest barb on the back of his head, each bright enough to illuminate the surroundings as if it were day time. The chimera lets out a roar and sparks of light gather at his mouth. Holdergard swings his arms downward, prompting the massive meteor which has reached a diameter of 30 meters to fall towards us. The chimera shoots a bright bluish-white beam that collides into the meteor.
For the first few seconds of the clash, the mass of earth is descending upon us, its speed greatly reduced thanks to the beam of energy being shot out of the chimera.
About 5 seconds in to the collision, the beam has bored into the surface of the mass of earth
3 seconds after that the beam has bored entirely through the meteor. The chimera raises his head further, cleaving the mass of earth in 2 and then repeatedly moving his head to chop the meteor into much smaller clumps. The largest size of the rubble falling down is probably no bigger than a household appliance. Thankfully we are standing out of the range of the falling debris.
To cut down to that level of precision and to sustain that beam attack for 25 consecutive seconds, the chimera is clearly something else. How was it made? Could it be someone managed the feat to create a dragon and then used that as a base to create this beast-warrior, well dragon-kin? It was said to be impossible with our current magical capability to make a dragon, but it’s not the first time mankind has done what was thought to be impossible.
After the debris has fallen, I see no signs of Holdergard or any of the raiders? Did they escape? The chimera, I mean dragon-kin is looking around. I guess we’re in the clear. I breathe a sigh of relief now that the immediate danger is past. I walk up to the creature.
I take this opportunity to get a closer inspection of the creature I have never seen before. Thinking back to what just happened, I ask him “Why….did...y-you...kiss...me?”
He tilts his head and blinks at me.
Perhaps he didn’t hear me properly. I repeat myself a little louder and more clearly “Why did you kiss me?” And is it a he?
Once again he stares and he responds “Kiss?”
I think to myself, did he really just kiss me without knowing what a kiss is? Well at least he sounds like a male. I let out a sigh and ask “what is your name?”
My gaze is met back by a gaze that is pleading as he utters “Name?”
He must be playing dumb. How can you not know what a name is?! “You must be making fun of me if you don’t know what a name is!” as I angrily snap at him
He steps back and appears anxious. He is either really good at acting or is it really possible he doesn’t have a clue? I can’t imagine how such a feat is possible. After what seems like a painful minute, he responds “I must not have a name since I don’t even know what that is”
I can’t believe such a thing, and I’m pretty sure my face must be communicating my shock since he is looking at me and turning away every few seconds. I sigh once again. “A name is what others would call you when they talk with you. Do you know what you were called?” I point to myself “My name is Mana. That is what others who know me call me.”
I stare at him and he seems to be blinking back at me a few times. Did he really not understand my explanation? Right as I am about to try and explain again, he looks at me and says “I see….I believe I was called Beast most often.”
I don’t know if I should be relieved he understood my explanation or disturbed he said most often? And what kind of name is Beast? I mean, that’s what you can call anyone who doesn’t look human, and I don’t even know what kind of animal you are. Well, I guess I can think it over later. Maybe learning about where he lived before would help me figure some things out. After thinking “Where is your home?”
He looks at me, and away for a few times, don’t tell me he isn’t familiar with those terms either?
“I don’t think I have a home.”
Maybe looking at me and away is his habit for thinking up an answer, that would be handy to figure out a way to better communicate if that is the case. But not having a home?
I put my hand to my face and sigh “You are telling me you don’t have a place where you sleep?”
Looking troubled, he responds, “Before, I would sleep in a cage.”
What the hell kind of sick joke is this God? My first kiss is with a beast-warrior that doesn’t know human society and all he knows for a home is a cage. “ARGHHH!!!”