Guardians - Those Who Stand Against the World's End
A force greater than a meteorite wiped the base out in an instant.
It’s thousands of guards, the state-of-the-art equipment and vehicles, the superhumans and buildings; all of it was nothing in the wake of the knight’s attack.
He descended from the skies, wrapped in blue magical energy, and smashed his fist into the heart of the base.
The impact shattered the ground, sending shockwaves for miles around, crumpling buildings, vehicles and mechs alike into dust.
Thousands died instantly.
Those few who survived fell hard onto the ground, breaking their bodies or, if they managed to survive even that, they were crushed by falling debris.
It was the second time that night that the knight had struck at Germany’s most secure military instillations.
The white knight stood calmly in the centre of the destruction. His suit was a pure colour with a teal trim and he soared through the sky on light blue wings with feathers shaped like diamonds. He held an ivory claymore with a golden trim in his right hand, and the hilt was decorated with a beautiful, fantastical pattern that was woven down the edges.
He glanced lazily at the devastation he’d caused before setting his sights on the only building that survived his assault; a gigantic, concrete cube that housed the base’s precious research labs and vaults.
What the knight sought lay inside.
He calmly marched over the corpses, cleaved through the reinforced metal doors with a single, gentle swipe of his weapon, and slaughtered everyone inside the building, floor by floor.
It didn’t matter to him who they were, only that they were in his way and had seen him.
Eventually, he came to a gigantic vault door that stood twenty feet tall and half as wide.
Using his sword, the knight sent blue streaks of energy to destroy the locks on its sides, before using his free hand to easily tear the door off its hinges.
He threw it over his shoulder and proceeded inside the vault.
However, he soon became enraged at what he saw.
There was a single pillar rested in the centre of the room with a light purple silk pillow sat on top of it, and it had a very visible indent.
“Gone,” he muttered, glancing around the otherwise empty room.
The item that he definitely knew was housed inside the Cube had been taken right before he could claim it.
“Did Kasmine deceive me?” The knight sighed. “No, it was the broker who beat me here.” He wanted to laugh at how easily the Death Stone had been robbed at him. “Dammit.”
He shot a beam of blue energy from his free hand at the pillar, reducing it to rubble.
“What a waste.”
The next morning, every country in the world was reporting on the attack in Germany.
No groups or countries took credit for the attack, but hundreds of them sent their support to Germany and stood in solidarity with them.
“More than two thousand people,” Eric muttered sadly.
It wasn’t an everyday occurrence, but crimes and attacks by superhumans were common enough in life that Eric had gotten used to hearing about them, and the useless debates the followed.
However, in Imperial, the city where he lived, they hadn’t had a major terror attack take place in thirty years, twelve years before he’d been born; this was the first time that Eric had ever heard of an attack on this scale in his lifetime.
Eric stretched his arms above his head, yawning, before going to the bathroom.
He rubbed his eyes and looked at himself in the mirror, seeing that his brown hair was in a tangled mess, slightly covering his hazel eyes. After having a quick shower, Eric got dressed and had a light breakfast.
When he returned to his room, he picked up his phone and saw that had missed a text from his friend Connor.
Need to talk to you. Outside. You have ten minutes before I throw a brick through your window.
Eric raised his eyebrow.
Concerned, he opened his curtains and found Connor standing across the street, his phone in his right hand and a brick in his left.
He smiled at Eric as he lifted the brick in the air, waving it at Eric.
Connor lifted up his arm and tapped on the watch around his wrist, before mouthing ‘Five’.
Eric sighed and finished getting ready.
He brushed his teeth, gathered his belongings, threw on his trainers and quickly exited his home, locking the door behind him.
Connor grinned as Eric approached, lightly discarding the brick onto the grass behind him.
“Wow, you were really cutting it close there,” Connor said, checking his watch. “You had just a few seconds left and all.”
“You could’ve knocked, you know.”
“And if I had been late and you’d thrown the brick, what was your gameplan?”
“I’m confident in my running speed.”
“So am I.”
“I wouldn’t be if I were you.”
Both boys smiled at each other and laughed.
Connor Owen was one of Eric’s oldest, and closest, friends who had medium length blonde hair and soft blue eyes. While Eric didn’t like to admit it, Connor was quite a handsome young man and his many girlfriends and confessions, from both men and women, attested to that fact.
“You wouldn’t actually have thrown it, would you?”
“No, I would’ve.”
“So, what did you want to talk about? It better not be something stupid.”
“When have I ever done something stupid?” Eric glanced down at the brick behind him and Connor shrugged. “Anyway, I did have something to tell you and thought it be best to tell you in person.”
“Kaida’s coming back.”
Eric’s eyes lit up. “Really?! When? What time? What-” He cut himself off when he saw Connor’s large smirk. “What are you grinning at?”
“Nothing, nothing at all. Just trying to remember the last time you were this excited. Ah.” He hit his balled-up fist against his palm. “That’s right. Last year when she came back for a whole week.”
Eric rolled his eyes a little and mumbled, “So what?”
“I mean it’s adorable to see you get so excited over your crush coming back to the city.”
“It’s not like that,” Eric whispered with slightly red cheeks.
“Eric, come on, no one would-”
“Seriously.” Eric’s tone changed and he looked away from Connor. “It isn’t…like that.”
Connor stopped smirking and decided to stop teasing him.
“It really has been a while since we last saw her, though, so I’m just as excited as you to see her again,” Connor said with a bright smile.
Kaida, Eric and Connor’s childhood friend, had left the city two years ago and moved across the country, meaning she hadn’t gone to the same Sixth Form as they had.
The three had spent practically their entire lives together, both inside and outside of school, so it’d been quite a shock when she first left.
“Why’d she tell you and not me?”
“Oh, that. She said she wanted to surprise you, but I thought it’d be more amusing for you to surprise her instead.”
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. So, what time does she get back?”
“Her train arrives around four, but I told her that we were going to the festival tonight, so she wants to change and drop some stuff off at her hotel room first,” Connor said. “So, I imagine she’ll want to meet us here about seven.”
“That’s nine hours from now,” Eric sighed.
“…So, you didn’t need to come all this way just to tell me this.”
“And you didn’t decide to just text me this because?”
Connor smiled. “I wanted to see your reaction.”
“So you just wanted to mess with me?”
“That’s not what I said.” Eric glared at him. “…Well, you’re not wrong.”
“I’ll kill you.”
Connor laughed a little, before resting his hands behind the back of his head. “So, wanna hang out until tonight then?”
“Might as well.”
Imperial was the largest and most heavily populated city in Europe, and the capital of England.
It once served as the heart of the Great British Empire hundreds of years ago.
Eric lived on a hillside house far from the bustling urban heart of the city.
When Imperial began to rapidly expand and grow nearly a century ago, the largest corporations and organisations on the planet had moved their head offices to the city which helped it earn its title as the unofficial ‘capital city of the world’.
“You hear about what happened at the Cube?”
“Yeah. Pretty scary stuff, right? Wasn’t that meant to be the most protected place in Germany?”
“Well, it’s at times like these I’m glad we live here than anywhere else. Always reassuring to look off the coast and see Ferris there.”
Located a few miles off the Imperial Bay was the man-made island city of Ferris, the training academy and headquarters of the Guardians.
They were the United Nation’s private global defence organisation run by Kasmine Aysen.
It was home to thousands of students and professional superhuman soldiers from across the globe, and it was the most heavily defended place on the planet.
The last time a major incident had occurred in Imperial, hundreds of Guardians from the island had been deployed to the city in under two minutes.
The two boys arrived in the heart of the city and departed their crowded train.
While it was always busy in Imperial, it was more crowded than usual because of the final preparations ongoing for the festival in the city centre.
They’d closed the roads in the area too, meaning even more people were on the trains.
Eric led Connor through the bustling streets towards one of the more prominent shopping areas in the city which housed many large department stores and shopping centres.
“You should’ve just said if you wanted to get her a present,” Connor mused as they entered one called Windsor.
“Well, I didn’t want to have you mess with me all the walk here.”
“I totally would have done that.”
The Windsor was one of the most popular shopping centres in the entire city, and as result, it was always packed with people.
It didn’t help that it was also a popular date spot either.
“Any idea what you’re going to get her?”
“A few,” Eric replied, casually glancing the windows of the shops that they passed. “Do you want to get her something as well?”
“I could, but she wouldn’t like mine as much as yours.”
“That’s not true. She’d love to get something from you.”
“She’d still like yours more though, you know, given how she’s madly in love with you.”
“Don’t say that.”
“What, it’s true, isn’t it?”
“She’s not in love with me,” Eric said, blushing a little.
“Eh, is that so?” Connor purred. “Well, I’ll probably end up picking up something simple anyway, so I don’t outdo you.”
“I told you it’s not like that.”
Eric came to a stop as they walked past a jewellery shop.
“I take back what I said; I couldn’t outdo that even if I wanted to.”
“What, you don’t think that she’d like it?”
“It’s not that she wouldn’t like it, it’s just.” Connor leaned in closer and inspected the price tags. “It’s a bit expensive, isn’t it? I can chip in if you want.”
“No, it’s fine. I have enough saved up for the one I want.”
Connor looked perplexed. “But that would mean that you’d have to know the price before coming here.”
Eric turned his head away from Connor.
“You researched this place, didn’t you?” Connor tried to make eye contact with Eric who refused to do so. “You already knew what you were going to get her the next time she came back, didn’t you?”
“Anyway, let’s just go in and buy it,” Eric said, pushing past Connor and into the shop.
Connor couldn’t help but smile at his friend’s slightly red cheeks as he went in.
However, once Eric was inside, he lost his smile and frowned.
…How much longer are you going to keep blaming yourself for that?
Eric had bought a silver ring which had Kaida’s name engraved into it in a nice cursive font. Afterwards, Connor picked up a new purse for her and the two went their separate ways back to their own homes.
Eric spent the rest of the day reading a book until about half five when he started to get ready for the festival.
“Hmm, I thought you’d be overdressed.”
“Are you going to be like this all night?”
“Do you want the truth, or the truth?”
At Eric’s weary sigh, Connor chuckled and said, “Okay, okay, I’ll tone it down. A bit. A little. Somewhat.”
“Woah now; let’s not go asking for the impossible, mate.”
Then, they heard a familiar voice call out to them.
It was a woman with long flowing red hair and beautiful blue eyes, Kaida excitedly ran towards them. She was dressed in a brown hoodie over a white shirt with a red skirt and she was slightly shorter than Eric and Connor.
“Hey Kai-” Eric started to say, but he was cut off by Kaida excitedly jumping on him, tightly hugging him.
“It’s been far too long, Eric! I missed you so much!”
Eric smiled a little, relaxed and hugged her back. “I missed you, too.”
“Um, I’m here too. But, it’s cool. Only tricycles need a third wheel.”
Kaida giggled and broke away from Eric. “It’s great to see you too, Connor.”
“Good to see you to, Kaida.”
The two of them high fived.
“Why’d you ruin my surprise?” Kaida asked, slightly annoyed. “I wanted to see Eric’s face when he saw me again.”
“That’s why?” Eric blurted out.
“Well, I just wanted to see how surprised you be. Don’t worry, you won’t have two Connors to deal with.”
The three of them laughed together and began to walk into the city.
After travelling and catching up for an hour, the three of them finally arrived at the entrance to the festival which was a gigantic archway designed to look it was made of stone. Hanging from the archway was a banner which read: Celebrating the 1077th Year Since the Founding of Imperial.
The streets were decorated with cardboard cut-outs of medieval architecture to help to help try and recreate what the city had looked like back when it had first been built. Thousands of people were walking through the streets, some of whom were even in period costumes or dressed up as knights. A fantastic display of lights had been erected above the streets which the city spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on each year to make the festival look as beautiful as possible.
“Wow, it’s more amazing than I remembered,” Kaida gasped.
“Well, it better be given the few million they put into this every year,” Connor mused. “Hey, does anyone remember the last time we all came here together?”
“I think it was the first year of secondary school,” Eric said. “It was right after Kaida’s dad transferred and it you started to go up north to visit him, right?”
“Ah, yeah,” she said; her voice shook a little. “So, what do you guys want to do?”
“Well, as you haven’t been in years, why don’t you choose where we go first?”
“You guys sure?”
“No objections here,” Connor said.
“In that case, let’s go to the games!” Kaida cried as loudly as she could.
While the boys remembered how excitable Kaida had always been, they had forgotten just how loud she could get.
“Lead on then,” Eric said.
Kaida nodded enthusiastically, grabbed both of their hands, and Eric lead them through the crowd to the carnival games.
They were extremely busy as hundreds of children roamed from stall to stall, dragging their reluctant parents with them.
“So, this is what it’s like to have kids,” Connor whispered to Eric which made them both laugh.
After surveying what games they had on offer, Kaida walked up to a shooting gallery and paid to have a go.
When Eric and Connor reached the stall, she handed the gun to Eric.
“You want me to win you something?”
“Well, I’m terrible at shooting games.”
“Then don’t go to the shooting gallery,” Connor groaned.
“But I really want that plushie.”
She pointed up at a hanging pink teddy bear which held in its hands a heart.
Eric looked at the rifle she had handed him and saw that he had three chances to land a bull’s eye to get a prize. It was doable, but Eric wasn’t the best shot in the world and the corks the guns fired were almost always rigged.
He had wanted to refuse but when he saw the puppy dog face Kaida was making, his resistance crumbled.
“Fine, I’ll give it a go,”
Kaida eyes lit up.
Eric glared at his friend’s whisper, but Connor just looked away and whistled nonchalantly.
Eric fired his first shot and it swerved wide. He loaded in his second shot, adjusted his aim as best he could and fired again; this time, he just missed the bull’s eye. Knowing that he could make the shot, Eric loaded the third and final shot and this time he hit the bull dead in the centre.
“We have a winner!” The owner cried out, ringing an obscenely loud bell next to his head. “Shooter, choose your prize.”
“I’d like that one please,” Eric said, pointing at the same bear Kaida had been.
The owner smiled as he gave the toy to Kaida, knowing exactly who Eric had won it for. Kaida tightly hugged it, before then hugging Eric and giving him a small peck on the cheek.
“Thank you so much, Eric,” Kaida sung, her cheeks glowing.
“You’re welcome.” His cheeks were a little red.
Connor, upon witnessing such a scene, could only let out a weary sigh, before smiling at the two of them.
After going up and down the various streets, the trio arrived at a café.
All the shops and restaurants in the area had extended its hours into the early hours of the morning. They sat at a table outside of the café and took in the sights of the festival continuing right next to them.
A waitress approached them and took their drink orders before departing to the bar.
“How long are you back for Kaida?”
“Oh, right, I forgot to say, didn’t I? I’m going to university here, so I’ve moved back for good.”
“Really? Which one?” Connor asked.
Kaida smiled sweetly. Then, with a shaking voice, she said, “Sorry, I just need the toilet.”
She got up and walked away, leaving the two boys quite confused.
Once Kaida was out of earshot, Connor asked, “Doesn’t it seem like she’s been a bit on edge all night?”
The waitress came back with their drinks, quickly putting them on the table before attending to the table next to theirs.
They were about to take their drinks when a man walked up to their table.
“Evening, fellas,” a deep voice with a thick American accent said.
Eric turned around and found a tall man with grey, messy hair standing behind Kaida’s seat. He had brown eyes and wore a yellow smile on his face. His hands were tucked into his black leather jacket and he wore torn and tattered jeans, and ebony boots with spikes on them.
“Finding two of you in one spot at the same time,” the man continued, sitting down. He brushed his hand through his hair, displaying the scars on his wrists hidden beneath his sleeves and a Necronomicon tattoo on the back of his left hand. “I must be lucky.”
“Who are you?”
“Eric, let’s go-”
The man grabbed Connor’s left arm and forcefully held it against the table. “Name’s Spike, but that doesn’t matter.”
Spike then tore the sleeve off Connor’s arm, revealing a long-jagged scar running from his elbow to his wrist.
“Well, I’ll be damned.”
“Wh-What?” Eric stuttered.
The scar along Connor’s arm began to glow black just as Eric felt a searing pain in his left arm. He rolled his left sleeve up and discovered an almost identical scar to the one Connor had, just as it started to glow a deep red.
“Heh, two at the same tim-” Spike turned back to face Connor and he stared at the glowing black energy.
Without so much as a word, Spike threw his free hand towards Connor, sending a bolt of black energy into his chest, launching Connor flying into the café’s window. He smashed through the glass and landed hard on his back on the wooden counter, before crumbling to the ground.
Spike grabbed Eric’s arm and pulled Eric over the table. In the next moment, he punched Eric in the stomach, his fist glowing with black energy, and Eric soared across the street and into a nearby wall.
The people in the café and on the street nearby broke into a panic, running frantically, desperate to get away from Spike.
Eric’s body felt broken and he glared at Spike. A malicious black aura formed around Spike’s body, surrounding him in dark magical energy.
Necromancers were mages who used Death magic to absorb and summon the spirits of the dead and conjure powerful spells with their mana. They were considered by many to be the strongest and deadliest of all mage types, and their ruthlessness was legendary.
“Sorry kid, but this isn’t my fault, or yours; it’s just bad luck. Be happy that’ll it be over quickly.”
His aura flared and a large black spirit in the form of a knight appeared behind him, wielding a two-handed battle axe.
The knight charged towards Eric with its axe raised.
It swung at Eric’s neck.
However, the blow failed to connect.
A dragon wing made entirely out of fire appeared before Eric, blocking the strike. The dragon’s claws then sliced through the spirit’s chest, turning it into mist.
Eric barely had any strength left but, with what he had left, he turned to look to the left and saw a girl standing there, covered in a flaming aura. The flames licked high above her head and the dragon wing appeared to have come from her shoulder blade. The girl’s red hair flowed on a powerful wind and Eric could feel the heat of her flames from where he was.
Kai…da? He thought as he lost consciousness.
Kaida stormed out into the courtyard of the café and stood in front of Eric. Her aura flared and a large dragon made of fire appeared behind her, roaring at Spike.
She thrust her hand at Spike and the dragon darted towards him, slicing at his chest. Spike’s aura, however, was more than strong enough to take her attack. He kicked the dragon in the side of the head, his foot surrounded by magical energy, and it turned into mist.
“That it?” He spat.
Spike’s aura flared and a dozen black bolts of energy flew at Kaida. She threw her arm across her front and a dragon wing appeared before her, absorbing the attacks. Once the barrage stopped, she lowered the wing and summoned her dragon behind her once more.
“A Dragon Soul, huh?”
Spike’s eyes narrowed and his aura’s intensity increased, sending two solid beams of black energy at Kaida. The dragon flew out to intercept them, but the beams cut through the dragon and hit Kaida. She flew through the air and collapsed onto her knees roughly.
Kaida winced and summoned her dragon once more, its flames burning more intensely than before. A knight armed with a spear appeared behind Spike and threw its weapon towards her. Kaida rolled to the side as her dragon was destroyed once again and where she had been standing exploded in a black cloud.
Spike clicked his tongue and his aura flared once more.
It angered him how long it was taking him to defeat her.
Thirty black bolts shot at Kaida, hitting her repeatedly in the chest before her dragon could reappear. She screamed in pain as she flew into the café and into the far wall, smashing through it. Spike raised his hand, a magic rune formed in the air in front of it, and a stronger black beam fired from it, collapsing the café’s roof on top of Kaida, trapping her beneath it.
“Now then.” He turned back to the boys. “Don’t know how you two survived my attacks, but another one or two should do it.”
As he prepared his attack, his aura was hit by a hail of gunfire, causing it to crackle.
Spike was caught off guard and, in that moment, a figure jumped down at him from a nearby building, two swords aimed at his heart. Spike hissed and leapt backwards, easily avoiding the stabs and he sent his knight to attack them.
The knight and the figure dressed in all black fought, but the knight couldn’t land a single attack on the nimble figure. The figure was wearing an obsidian mask with an emotionless expression on it and, given how they didn’t have any other obvious weapons, Spike assumed that there had to be at least two of them.
“Guardians? No. Then, I was right to be afraid of the kid.”
Spike conjured two more knights behind him, both armed with gigantic swords, and he raised his hand up again. He conjured another rune just as sirens began to blast from only a few streets away.
He was out of time.
The necromancer clicked his tongue and dismissed his knights and his aura vanished.
The figure in black watched Spike disappear out of sight, then glanced over at the two boys, confirming that they were alive before leaping onto a nearby rooftop and leaving the area.
Kaida broke through the rubble, ready to fight, but found that Spike was already gone.
She relaxed her body, causing her aura to vanish, and she ran over to check on Eric. She placed her hand on his neck to check for a pulse.
It was faint, but it was there.
Kaida then checked Connor and was relieved that they were both still alive, despite being bloodied and bruised. Connor’s pulse was far weaker and his body more damaged, but help would be there soon enough.
“I’m so sorry.”
The emergency services and members of the Guardians arrived soon after, securing the area and attending to Eric and Connor.
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