Chapter 11:

The Mythic Ops

Little Red Riding Witch

As the group turned to their formation, another bullet had already left the hidden barrel, this time aiming straight at the ringleader’s heart. However, the attack proved to be futile also, as a bubble suddenly formed mid-air to completely trap the projectile in its place, mere inches off the man’s chest.

“Aqua,” the black-and-white man sounded, “isn’t it a bit close to comfort? I know you want to spice things up, but…”

“I-I’m sorry, your Highness,” the blue-haired teenager had no choice but to bow in apology. “I thought you could use the entertainment…”

Before he could finish his excuse, another attack ensued from the shadows, this time coming from both in front and behind the group. Yet again, the assailants had failed their marks, for another timely bubble blocked the frontal shot, while the back was handled by the old man, who put his hand in front of the bullet’s path, using himself as a meat shield.

“How inelegant, old man,” scoffed the blue-haired man, now Aqua. “Blood is splattering everywhere.”

“Watch your tongue, lizard boy,” the old man rebutted with a scowl. “My blood never splatters.”

True to his words, the hole on his hand had already closed completely, while any stains of the crimson liquid that had flowed from his wound onto the ground had already darkened, perfectly blending into the scenery.

“Guys, just finish the job already,” the face-painted person lightly grunted in a cute voice of a young girl – something that one could never guess if they had just judged her based on appearance alone. “His Highness doesn’t have time for this kind of childish behavior.”

“No, no,” the black-and-white man waved his hands, before letting out a condescending smirk towards the bushes where the bullets came from. “I don’t mind. After all, these are just lowly grunts.”

Immediately, another round of bullets was fired. Not one, not two, but a constant rain of bullets, on a whole other level compared to the other shots from before.

“Ah, you dumb Griffons,” Aqua hummed a tune, gesturing his hand forward. “If you want to use numbers against us, better make it a thousand-fold compared to this.”

This time, the bullets were stopped far before they could even graze a single strand of hair on anyone’s head. Each and every one of them was trapped once more in a small bubble of their own, and this time, it didn’t just stop at neutralizing the threat. Inside each bubble, the bullets rotated backward, now facing exactly where they came from.

With a snap of Aqua’s fingers, every single bubble burst, but instead of just a small popping noise that a normal bubble of that size would sound, every one of them exploded in a deafening wave, a single one already much more powerful than the entire round of gunfire they were attacked with. Every bullet was return-fired at a speed much greater than the initial assault, and, without another sound, a stream of crimson soon trickled to the group’s position.

Before the young man could show his success to his commander, however, a desperate battle cry sounded behind them. As soon as he turned around, a clash of blades had already started. The attacker – a mysterious figure in a full-black trench coat and a matching bird-like mask that covered their entire face – struggled to push his dagger forward. However, he was stopped by an invisible force, with the contact point between his knife and his target vaguely resembling another blade.

“I thought you Griffons would never resort to close combat?” The target – the black-and-white man – scratched his nails in boredom, completely unfazed before the blade ready to slash his neck.

“You… You monster!” The assailant wailed in desperation. But before he could say another word, his stomach was already pierced with the same kind of invisible force holding him back, splattering his blood all over the ground behind him – where an unconscious Lucy still slept soundly as if nothing had happened.

“Okay, now it’s unsightly,” Aqua shook his head in disgust.

“You can use your water to clean it up, right?” The old man sarcastically raised his brows.

“And you risk waking her too.”

“She should still be asleep for another while. After expending that kind of power, at least a full night.”

While the two were bickering, another shadow had already leapt out of their hiding, and once again charged straight at the heart of their enemies. The action caught the attention of the bandaged woman, who then sounded to alert her comrades, albeit in a series of meaningless noises.

“uuuu… uuuu!”

“Enemies!” The first to respond was the face-painted person, who quickly blocked the attack with an oversized staff with hanging feathers and bells. “God damn it, Aqua, Tempest, can you two not argue over the smallest things!”

“How many of these small-fries are there?” Aqua, annoyed by both the constant ambush and the recent nagging, raised his voice.

“Don’t forget, boy, this forest is also near Sever’s border. Of course, they’d be crawling with these.”

“Aqua is right, though,” the orange-haired woman, who had been standing out of the fight the entire time, started to ponder as well. “Even if this place is near Sever’s territory, the group’s size is nowhere near as small and light as the griffons’ normal strike pattern. Something might be up...”

As if to prove her right, once the woman had finished her guess, from the nearby trees, more black-clothed soldiers appeared, each armed to the teeth with guns and knives alike, while their numbers easily reached dozens.

“Your reign end’s here, King Dragon!” One of the soldiers shouted, raising his fist to the sky. “Glory to humanity! Glory to Sever!”

With one last battle cry, the horde of assassins began their attack, ready to discard their lives for their belief. For their targets, however, it was only the final wail of a dying prey. Normally, the group would just wipe out their obstacle in one attack, like what Aqua just did against them. However, an unforeseen circumstance had occurred, throwing a wrench onto their plan.

All that screaming and shouting had finally woken Lucy up. With a loud yawn and a sleepy voice, the young girl muttered.

“Ugh… can’t you be quiet for a moment…”

“She woke up!” The face-painted person shrieked. “Cu Sith woke up!”

“Damn it! Do not let her transform!” Shouted Aqua. “We don’t want to waste resources restraining her!”

The group was soon thrown into panic, except for two. The ringleader, the black-and-white-haired man, King Dragon according to the black assassins, only smirked at the situation. Gesturing towards the remaining member still with their head on the ground, he asked:

“My Queen, would you mind?”

“It’s my pleasure,” answered the orange-haired woman. At the snap of her fingers, a small flame formed, wiggling gently as if having a life of its own. Putting the flame in front of Lucy, the woman spoke in a soft, soothing voice, as if singing a lullaby to a small child:

“Sith, you’re okay. You’re just tired, that’s all. Now, go to sleep. Dream sweet dreams, and you’ll be all right.”

“I’ll be… all right…” Lucy, upon hearing the words, slowly closed her eyes once more, going back to sleep like an obedient child. At the same time, the group of assailants had already been completely wiped out in a full-frontal assault of water and wind, sending blood and bits of flesh all over the ground and trees.

“Ugh, do you two have to always end things like a mess?” The face-painted person nagged. “And I just had my cloak washed too… Aqua especially, what happened to that whole ‘inelegant’ bit?”

“I destroyed them elegantly,” answered the young man, spinning a full circle to reveal his completely unblemished garb. “See? Not a single drop of blood.”

“That’s because you directed them all to me, punk!” Next to him, however, the old man called Tempest was already drenched in red, so much that one would think he was the wounded in that little skirmish.

“Enough, you two,” this time, it was the orange-haired woman who spoke. “We’ve got what we came here for. Now let’s go home.”

“… Yes, your Highness,” both bowed in shame, taking a step back to reflect on their guilt.

Meanwhile, the woman stood up and moved towards the center. Raising her hands forward, she started to chant:

“Heed my call, o’ Wings of Flames,

Open the door to our domain.”

As the last words left her mouth, a mysterious burst of flame arose from thin air, quickly forming itself into a rectangular shape akin to a door.

“Mictlan, Tlalocan, will you two carry our guest?” Asked the woman.

Answering her call, both the bandaged woman and the face-painted person answered in their own ways.

“U!” The bandaged woman nodded, filled with enthusiasm.

“Okie-dokie!” The face-painted person cutely replied.

As both of them, each leaning Lucy on one of their shoulders, stepped through the flaming door, their traces disappeared completely. The orange-haired woman then directed her gaze towards the bickering pair.


“… As you wish, your Highness,” Aqua and Tempest soon followed.

“And finally, my King,” the woman lightly courted to the only one left beside her.

Without another word, the black-and-white man stepped into the gate.

As soon as he disappeared behind the flames, the woman finally did the same thing. And once everyone had crossed the fiery door, it dispersed itself, once again turning the forest into its original quiet atmosphere, as if nothing had happened that fateful night.