Paranoia & Misstep
“…I really want no part in this.”
Vasil couldn’t help but mutter that aloud. He stood in the middle of the street, hands in his pocket, and grimace on his face. He squinted at the curtain of rain that fell right in front of him, trying to make sense of what he was looking at. Following it with his eyes, he tracked the curtain all the way up to the very edge to the flaming half dome that burned high in the air, creating a very bizarre sight, far worse than oil and water. One would naturally assume that flames were flames, but after seeing that the basic assumption of water being water was not right in this particular case, he had to be suspicious.
Either way, standing here being reluctant wasn’t going to help the situation. He already had a grasp of what was going on—the sight of a few people standing limply with glowing hieroglyphs on their foreheads was a pretty straight forward thing once you wrapped your head around it—so all that was left was to head in and do something about it. Vasil sighed heavy and took his glasses off, folding them up neatly and placing them into his pocket. He then took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and took a step forward once he reached the end of his breath.
All at once, the sound of the rain falling around him stopped. The rain itself continued the fall as it did before, but he could no longer hear any of it. The rain fell around him, leaving him be without being interrupted or disturbed. He didn’t even disturb the puddles he stepped through. It wasn’t even a case of him being too focused to notice—it was like he rendered himself invisible from every perspective, even touch.
Like this, Vasil headed straight for the airport. From what he’d seen, only people who had been standing out in the rain had been hypnotized (or whatever). He did see some other people running around in the rain that weren’t in the same condition, so there were probably exceptions, but he at least knew that anyone under cover would be safe. People were starting to gather under the safety of the nearby overpasses even as oblivious drivers continued to driver through the anomaly overhead. Since his grandfather had taken a car to the airport and, based on his grandfather’s words, his grandmother was definitely already inside, he would be safe. After taking a car, he would head to the parking garage or go to valet parking under a hangar—he would have avoided the rain no matter what decisions he made along the way. So Vasil had no major reason to be worried, but it was best for him to check anyways.
The real problem was deciding on where to enter. Airports were big and as far as Vasil could imagine, they had the most entrances of any building with walls. Just going inside and searching through the mass of people seeking shelter was a needless headache. Would calling be enough? But what then? Should Vasil leave his grandparents inside the airport and go home? Or should he do something about the weird weather? He knew it wasn’t natural, but he didn’t particular need to deal with it if no one he knew was threatened by it.
Either way, calling first was the best course of action.
Vasil took out his phone, dialed the number by memory, and put the phone to his ear. He continued to casually look around as he strode along the sidewalk that circled the airport. Judging from what he’d seen, the flaming sky probably extended from the roundabout at the front of the airport, spreading in all direction, probably a perfect circle with equal radii. The airport was completely covered, but he doubted that that was the target. The rain didn’t reach anyone inside, obviously, and if locking people inside was the goal, having the epicenter at the center of the airport would have been best. So either the perpetrator couldn’t get inside the airport so they went with the next best thing, or their goal was the randomly get people in the rain outside with those golden hieroglyphs.
But that was unlikely. Was there anyone so stupid as to use such an obvious and ostentatious ceremony with only that as the goal? Attracting unwanted eyes was practically guaranteed.
“Well this is a surprise. Walking calmly in this weather without a drop on you? You look like some kind of haunting spirit with those dead eyes of yours.”
Vasil stopped short in his tracks and glared straight ahead. His path was blocked by a lounge chair and the young woman lounging in it, wearing a sundress that had probably been white and green before being soaked with the suspicious rain. She made no attempt to protect herself—in fact, they seemed to be enjoying it. She held as fishing pole in her hands with the line cast out, but Vasil couldn’t tell where it was because of the rain.
<Hello? Vasil? Hello? Is that you calling me?>
Vasil slowly lowered his phone without responding to the voice coming out of it. He ended the call with his thumb and placed it back in his pocket.
“Are you the one who did this?”
“You mean this rain? As if. There are a lot of stories of gods who make it rain, but when it comes to making it rain blood, there’s nary a god who does that. Well, not any classical gods, anyways. Cults are a different beast, I think.”
“You don’t need to be able to turn rain to blood to do this.” Vasil recalled the stories Vesna often recounted to him, insisting that he was better off knowing them if he was going to live in this world built on history and legends. “It’s water all the same.”
The woman’s eyes flashed in surprise and a smile appeared on her face.
“Then I can assure you it’s not me. No demigod can use magic from the bible.”
Vasil resisted the urge to make a confused expression. This wasn’t caused by a demigod? But that left only one another option, but that was out of the question. Only a demigod would cause this must trouble—ceremonies were their way to return power to the god that possessed them. An Apostle had no reason to go this far unless….
Unless they were fighting another demigod?
The dome of fire and the rain were different phenomenon. No, the rain was a way of stopping the effects of the dome of fire from affecting the people below. The people who had been running around unaffected in the rain were alright since someone had already changed neutralized the danger.
The young lady cocked her head as she watched Vasil turn and head back the way he came.
“I have no reason to stay.” Vasil responded bluntly. “Everything will be settled without me, so I’m going home. You should do the same and wash off that blood. If you get caught, there’s no telling will happen to you.”
“Caught? By whom? The Apostle? That’s not a problem. I can just use the people in the airport as a hostage in that case. I’m actually thinking of helping out the demigod behind all of this—I could use some allies. The same goes for you. How about we make an alliance? It’s not like any of us can take on an Apostle alone, but together, we could probably handle him.”
Vasil stopped in his tracks for what was probably the third time that day. He silently raised his head to look up at the burning sky through the sheet of rain overhead and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly again. He kept his hands in his pockets, but gripped them all the same in an attempt to contain his frustration.
It seemed this day was just going to be one annoyance after another.
With a swift spin on his heel, Vasil closed the distance between him and the young lady in an instant, standing over her lounging form and brought his fist down on her face with as much strength as he could muster.