Chapter 25:

A Moment of Calm

A Moribund Hero


There was a moment of calm as they picked their way down the mine shaft tunnels, which were held back by sturdy struts and beams. Leon mentioned that they weren't too far from a sinkhole exit at a small chamber further west. Fortunately, they didn't encounter any dead or live bodies of miners. The guards must've been able to evacuate them. So, a lull had assumed around them for reflection.Bookmark here

Lucy frowned as she voiced her burning question.Bookmark here

"Who was that metal face freak back there?" She shivered. "Those freaky-eyed boys."Bookmark here

Leon explained Vedas and what the boys were, which made Wolf and Lucy frown with their disgust for what the empire was doing to their people. It revalidated their reason for serving in the army.Bookmark here

She had another question for Leon but decided to hold back from voicing it. The man seemed lost in his own thoughts or maybe defragging, whatever was a 'lost-in-thought' thing for a biodefect.Bookmark here

To be honest, she didn't really know much of what made one tick. Before Leon, Rabbit was the only one she had encountered whom she didn't fire a gun at. The girl had saved her from a mage self-destruction bomb during a hairy job at one of the villages half a year ago. Avril had been reluctant to keep her, but considering that the girl had gone out of her way to save her, and demonstrated no magic under Butcher's scans, she was allowed to stay. Our Lady of Light faction may spout word on biodefects being evil, but they had no problems with those that weren't magical to clean their lavvies and be their pets.Bookmark here

She frowned, thinking back on Rabbit's disappearance two months ago. It was sort of sus. Although, the girl did keep going on about watching and waiting for someone important prior. And so, she had assumed she went off to meet a black knight BFF. But it was actually Leon, and how was that possible? As far as she knew, no golden warrior and black knight were allowed to mingle and join a friends' club. If she looked at it from a rosier angle, it was like Rabbit was eloping to slap a ball and chain around her fated one true love.Bookmark here

"Ugh!" She growled and gripped her aching head. Food. That was it. She needed food.Bookmark here

Wolf saw Lucy's action and figured she must be thinking deep thoughts to make her head hurt. Fair enough. Leon and Rabbit were proving to be mysterious biodefects. He had never encountered any that weren't without magic and able to function coherently, but Butcher's scans on them detected no magic abilities. But could the good doctor's scans truly be accurate?Bookmark here

He heaved a weary sigh with an understanding of what could cause Lucy's head to ache. And decided it was no use analyzing potential hidden agendas, especially since they were both biodefects.Bookmark here

One thing he realized was common from all the ones he had faced, albeit mages. It was the honesty of their actions. A mage attacks head-on, and he attacks back. Honest. Leon and Rabbit had never said one thing and did another as humans could do. Even when Rabbit disappeared two months ago, she had left a note saying that she had to find someone. Before that, she had always gone on about one day having to meet a special person. So, it was like being a biodefect, they could only think with a set focus.Bookmark here

His face screwed up at the ridiculous thought of Rabbit running off to find her one true love. Then again, it was sort of endearing and made his soft spot for her softer.Bookmark here

"Fine!" He bellowed that had everyone flinch and cast a look his way.Bookmark here

Lucy and Wolf stopped to hold in their growling stomachs.Bookmark here

"I knew we should've packed the sandwiches." Lucy moaned. "I'm starving."Bookmark here

Rabbit fished through her belt pouch and pulled out a couple of green beans. "Your hungry spirit will be calm until a meal can fill your belly."Bookmark here

"As long as it doesn't taste like Wolf's stinky socks." Lucy sighed and shoved a bean in her mouth, making her face screw up. "Worse, it's grassy."Bookmark here

"Makes me want meat." Wolf began dreaming of chunky steak with mashed potatoes and a pint of ale to wash it all down.Bookmark here

Regardless, appetites were suppressed. They moved forward.Bookmark here

They finally reached an exit chamber, which was so because the chamber had a metal door labeled 'Exit'.Bookmark here

"Seems we have to step in for the Master." A grating voice entered the chamber when they had reached the center.Bookmark here

Lucy groaned. "Crazed goats on highways. A metal-face shotacon and now a pair of ogres. Could my day get any weirder?"Bookmark here

Squad42 faced off with two twin-looking, ogreish giants. They were a decent few heads taller than Wolf. Backing then was a group of unidentifiable punk bandit lackeys in full leather armor and wielding cat o' nine tails with glowing, spiky ends.Bookmark here

"Apparently it can."Bookmark here

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