Flame and Shadow

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Chapter 66

Hanson scoffed cruelly, but did decide to turn around. There, towering above the squad of agents, was Zachary Urlacher.

Good ol’ Teklos. They really do come through when you need them.

Hanson was absolutely shocked; both that Milo was telling the truth and the fact that an enemy division had invaded the organization without him even knowing it. His fright quickly turned to anger.

“Grrrrr… You were there…You were the one who unleashed the seismic attack on our defenseless agents six years ago! You’re gonna die for that!”

In a fit of blind rage, Hanson pulled out a deadly-looking dagger and charged Teklos’ lieutenant. The powerful man didn’t budge from the incoming captain. A slight smirk came to his face, and he stomped his right foot on the ground.

A powerful shockwave traveled through the floor, and contacted Hanson just as his stride touched the ground. The earth-caller’s attack instantly shattered the complex bones in the man’s foot, and he stumbled to the ground. Urlacher then walked slowly toward him, reaching behind his back. The big man pulled out an assault rifle with one hand, and pointed it directly at Hanson’s head.

“You’re first.” He flatly stated, and pulled the trigger.

The instant the shot was fired, both sides leapt into action. The expansive hub-like room had suddenly turned into a battlefield, with gunshots and melee strikes being delivered in a chaotic cacophony. This seemed very familiar. It hadn’t even been 24 hours since the last battle. Again, we were fighting for survival alongside unlikely allies, only this time, the warriors were sort of techno-ninjas, for lack of a better term, rather than elementally-powered children of angels. Man this is weird.

What was Teklos thinking, attempting to fight both sides like this? They were very formidable, but did they really have enough power to fight a war on two fronts? Or did they have a secret that we hadn’t thought of yet?

There was no time to ponder such things in the heat of battle. I tried my best to take an active role in the fight, using my force fields to protect our team defensively, and enhance the effectiveness of my strikes offensively. I spotted several of the Eisenaki Tech equipped soldiers. Teklos must have known that Milo, Sera and I would be there, because there would be no reason to bring the ability neutralizing equipment to a fight only against Tsalderek. However well-thought out their plans were, these spiritual power-negating soldiers proved ineffective in this battle. All I had to do was steer clear, and the fact that they had traded traditional weapons and armor in for the specialized equipment enabled Tsalderek’s agents to defeat all of them.

It appeared at first that Tsalderek was gaining the upper hand. Teklos was slightly outnumbered, and Tsalderek’s agents were more skilled in close-range combat. Milo, Sera and I also seemed to make a substantial difference in the course of the battle. All of that changed when the Scorpion entered the battlefield.

He appeared to be a young Asian man, who could have been handsome if certain things had been different. His dark hair was long and unkempt. There was an insane look in his eyes and face, and he had a cybernetic scorpion tail which was connected to his shirtless back with a metallic system that ran up his spine. Upon being dispatched to attack, he mercilessly killed a number of Tsalderek’s agents with apparent ease. His powerful and swift robotic tail allowed him to deflect bullets, and the lethal blades embedded within the “stinger” combined with his immense strength and agility made him a true killing machine.

From a distance, I watched as he brutally cut down several men, including one he tore in half. This couldn’t go on any longer. I had to stop him. As I made my way through the battlefield toward this powerful foe, I had to duck beneath a fireball that flew across the room. Sera was obviously doing her part.

When I drew near to my adversary, he instantly turned and thrust downward with his tail. I barely pulled up my shield in time. The man wailed on me like a crazed lunatic, before finding it was ineffective. He then moved on to his next target. I wasn’t going to let him continue his killing spree.

“Hey! Um… your opponent is me!”

That sounded way cooler and more dangerous in my head.

The crazed cyborg flipped back around to me.

“Are you serious?! The mouse is asking the scorpion to kill it?! AH HA! AH! Fine! Two seconds and I’ll be back to work!”

With that, a bladed object folded out from each side of his tail which the man proceeded to reach out and remove from the metal. They were twin deadly looking katanas. Drat. As if he weren’t already dangerous enough. I struck a kung fu like fighting pose, and waited for him to attack. Somehow, I wasn’t afraid this time. It again felt like someone was with me, and I knew I wasn’t going to die. I could take this guy. Although incredibly powerful, he behaved like nothing more than a wild animal. I just had to stop him before his feral rampage further turned the tides of the battle for Teklos.

The fiend struck first with extreme speed. He made a swipe with the sword in his left hand, before immediately striking down with his killing tail. I put both hands in front of me with a small bubble around them to block the first attack, then moved them to above my head to defend against his tail. He then performed a series of spinning slashes that was reminiscent of some kind of dance routine. I blocked each one of them with well-placed force fields, before creating a full-body one and expanding its size to push my opponent back and buy a little bit of room.

It couldn’t afford much though. The instant I let it down, the scorpion came in on the attack again. It was all I could do to keep up with defending myself. After blocking a number of the killer slashes, I spotted an opening. Stepping forward, I delivered a palm strike with as much strength and force energy as I could possibly put into it. The man went skidding backward, but maintained his footing.


This man is not well.

Without much recovery time at all, he dove back in on the attack. His triple flashing blades were more than I could defend against for long, and after a few more seconds of the frenzied slashes, I had no choice but to put up a shield that fully encompassed my body. However, his unnaturally high speed and reflexes allowed him to jab forward with his tail faster than I could get the barrier up, and the tip of it was caught within the shield. He was unable to remove it as the force field had closed around it, so he began firing an energy beam from the end of it.

I couldn’t defend from an attack within my shield, so I negated it and ducked down beneath the projectile. Instantly, the cyber-scorpion began stabbing down at me with both swords and his tail. I formed another shield around my crouching body, and the man tirelessly attempted to penetrate it with powerful lightning fast strokes.

I was totally trapped. What could I do? There was no way out. While I was hiding under my bubble and rapidly glancing around the area, I saw something strange. There was a pair of twins fighting on Teklos’ side. But it appeared that they were wearing a variant of Tsalderek’s uniform. That was strange. As I watched, the two seemed to enjoy having other people in their power and causing them pain, as everyone they defeated they ruthlessly killed by electrocution. Were they Nephilim? Double agents?

The Scorpion seemed to have seen them too, but his reaction was not what I expected. He stopped his relentless attack on my bubble, dropped to his knees, and put his hands to his head. What was happening? His “tail” thrashed madly, and he let out some kind of roar. These two twins didn’t even seem to notice his agony, as they continued the battle. My opponent was unable to move for some time. It looked like something may have been going wrong with his cybernetics. Maybe a reaction to their electric powers?

With an instant to survey the battlefield since the Scorpion was no longer attacking me, I took a quick look around. Kazushita was fighting the dark-skinned girl, Rachael, I had seen at Eisenaki’s Corkscraper headquarters. Their skills were apparently quite even, until the girl began gaining the upper hand. Her speed and precision were superior, despite her opponent’s greater strength. After they blocked several of each other’s attacks at close range, Rachael released a number of her wind blades. They cut into Kazushita’s legs, and he fell to his knees before her.

The girl paused for a moment, then looked right into his face.

“I’ve waited a long time for this.” She whispered venomously, then formed a powerful wind blade, and released it downward into his chest.

The razor-like condensed air sliced a visible hole through his body just below the collarbone, and he slowly crumpled to the ground, dead. I could only wonder why she had been so ardent about killing him, as I didn’t know their history, but I could easily see that there was some deep hatred between them.

Violent screams caused me to turn back to the Scorpion. He was still holding his head, and appeared to be seriously struggling with something. At the same time, I spotted the twins leaving the battlefield and entering the room that Milo had said contained the only entry down into Commander Razo’s domain. Were they going to assassinate him?

Suddenly, the cyborg-scorpion leapt to his feet, screaming bloody murder up into the air. If he was saying real words, they were thoroughly unintelligible. Then, he gave chase after the two twins. Well, I had no idea what was going on, but I was unable to get away from the combat zone. There were people I was defending, and I couldn’t break away.

From my position, though, I saw Milo approach the wind-powered girl. I was close enough to hear them speak to each other, and I could detect the tension between them.

“You know, I’m sorry for what I did to you, Rachael.” Milo began. “I wasn’t the last time we met, but I am now.”

“Great to hear. Thanks.” She sarcastically replied.

“I was blinded by ambition, and I-“

She held up her hand to silence him.

“Stop. I know there was no way I could escape from your and Kazushita’s shadow. While I was limited by trying to hide my true power, I stood no chance. I should thank you. When you revealed my secret, you set me free to become everything I could be. Now I’ll prove what I can really do.”

“Is that why you killed him?” Milo gestured to Kazushita’s body. “Just to prove a point?”

She shrugged and tilted her head back and forth.

“Sorta. That, and I always hated him. It was just a little less than I hated you, so we were able to work together. That’s all over now. It’s just me.”

“It doesn’t have to be this way, Rachael. I know you want to put an end to all this conflict. You’re better than these monsters.”

“Hmph. Am I? This is where I belong. And I look forward very much to killing you.”

Milo could tell that trying to talk her out of the fight was futile, so he prepared to defend himself. From then, I was unable to direct my attention to their duel, because I was caught up in the battle of my own. I continued forming shields for defense and attack, while looking over to see how Milo was doing whenever I could.

I only caught glimpses, but I saw her use a foot block to deflect a lunge with the stun gun attachment on his wrist-mounted device. Next time I looked, he had knocked her off balance with a spinning combination of kicks, and she had to do a handspring to escape. The next, the girl had sliced part of the Survivortex 3000 with a wind blade, and Milo was pulling the long broken grappling hook cord out of its broken chamber.

Their moves were fast and furious, and I wasn’t sure who would come out on top. I was caught up in fire from reinforcements, and had to look away from their fight. When I was next able to look back, Milo had used the broken cord from his grappling hook to ensnare and debilitate his opponent, who lay on the ground, awkwardly wrapped with the rope. He won! He beat her!

In fact, the entire battle seemed to be looking up. With Rachael, the twins, and the Scorpion all taken out of the field of battle, the tide was severely turning to Tsalderek’s favor. Seeing the opportunity, Milo broke away from the battle and sprinted toward the room that led to the underground. Sera followed closely behind when she saw what he was doing, and I came along as well. He must have seen those guys from earlier going in to attack the Commander. Once we made it into the large room, the door automatically shut behind us. Did we just slip in before it closed, or was it intentionally waiting for us to enter before closing?

The room we were in was Spartan in its construction; there were little to no decorations at all. There was no sign of the electrically powered twins or the scorpion guy. Only one person was in the room. He was a tall man wearing a dark bandana and trench coat at the far end, seemingly waiting for us.

Milo and Sera both appeared surprised at the identity of the man, and simultaneously uttered:


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