Chapter 208:

Villains Undeterred

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Evron silently stared from the deck of a hovering boat as the glowing city of Nun faded out of view. The mayor had been left alive, and Ripple and Nighthawk had gone silent at the hospital. To make matters worse, Nero stood behind the bleached blue Zenotote and played a somber song on his haunting metal violin.

Sabia stood at the wheel of the vehakul and navigated them down the channel as the light from Nun slowly shrunk in the blackness of night. Thorir took a nap without a care about what had gone on, preparing instead for his next fight in his usual manner.

“I think I shall call this tune the ballad of Evron’s failed leadership,” Nero said with a laugh as he set the bow to the side.

Evron scratched at his new chest with fake red scales, a spare they had just in case, as his teeth ground tighter.

“We almost had them,” he replied after contemplating, “Those children got in our way.”

“Please do not push all your failure on some meddling children; it is unbecoming for a leader!” Nero hissed. “Inexperienced as many of them were, you knew there was a general level of competence. Instead of splitting our forces to take down everyone, it would have been best to send the full group to attack the mayor. Especially given your ability, we could have easily raided the hospital and completed our mission. This is your failure Evron, and you need to own it.”

“Spare me your idle blather; you simply used the time to play. That Netzian soldier’s arm won’t grow back, and we are both aware our sponsors were interested in keeping him alive.”

“He’s not dead, I stopped the bleeding, and I suspect he’ll get a wonderful mechanical arm and be right as rain. Though I still have an itching to drive my scythe into his chest.” The man had replaced his cracked mask, so it was no longer possible to see if he had a vicious smile underneath.

“Please stop talking about all this killing!” Sabia shouted from the wheel.

“Your one to talk,” Nero chuckled. I heard from Thorir you killed some poor sap you seduced. Our battle-crazed friend said the man looked almost like he was about to cry! Good showmanship, I must say; I wish I had seen it!”

Sabia’s hands clenched tighter on the helm as she steered them away from Nun without another word.

Evron continued to scratch at the new red scales which covered his chest. Nun was no more than a small light in the distance, as if one of the stars had fallen to Resh. He turned away and headed across the vessel to a small screen.

“It’s about time we gave our final report,” the Zenotote leader muttered.

“Ah, finally worked up enough courage!” Nero said in a sing-song voice. “Unfortunately, I already beat you to the punch; you know how the bosses get when information like that gets delayed!”

Evron said nothing as he started the call. No image came on the screen, but a distorted feminine voice came through the speaker.

“Evron, it’s good to hear from you,” the voice said.

“I am remiss to report we were unsuccessful in eliminating Mayor Abelard. All other tasks were successful within the city, but all our safehouses were raided as we left. We had already destroyed any evidence of value, but it appears some other party was acting near the end.

The voice sighed, which made a series of crackles when distorted.

“I suppose that can’t be helped. I understand the force that left Quenth got in the way, and you had no choice but to divide your team.” Evron could hear Nero snicker as their commander spoke. “Abelard was less of a priority than Whitlock; the other things prepared in Nun will do for now; for now, we can leave him alive; it won’t hinder the plans. I am more concerned that you lost Nighthawk; creating specimens like him is not easy, as you know.”

“I am sorry, ma’am.”

“I don’t mind forgiving you, but your next assignment will be with both his siblings. They are less forgiving than I.” Evron tightened his fist; his next mission had been different before coming to Nun; he could see the change only as a punishment.

“Of course, I will endeavor not to fail you again.”

“That is right. Now, the rest of you will return to our home base; get some rest since the next missions I have for you will be more involved.”

Thorir sat up.

“Are we going to get a good fight?”

“That will be up to your opponents to decide.”

The yellow-haired Netzian grumbled and laid back down.

“If that is all,” the distorted voice said, “I have some other matters to attend to back home. I will be the next one to contact you.” Nothing more was said as the connection was dropped.

“Things should be fun going forward!” Nero laughed.

Evron took a deep breath and thought about his battles. The next time he saw the Hobusian Prince or Aqueenian Princess, he would kill them without question. With his determination set, he waved Nero away and drifted into his own slumber.