Thousands of shuttles, bigger than ours, lowered to the ground.
There was an SE agent barking orders but I couldn’t hear over the humans screaming.
Four shuttles landed in front of us, practically in the pond. I drew my broadsword and positioned my shield. Some of the other shuttles whipped past us. The agent roared for half of the Enceladians to follow them since we had wings.
The doors to the shuttle opened and I said a silent prayer that I wouldn’t lose myself today, that I wouldn’t lose my family today. I immediately recognized the creatures that came out of the shuttles. In two shuttles were Rheans and in the third were Mimans. Inside the fourth were Dionians. Each shuttle only had about a dozen aliens in it. They didn’t waste any time and we didn’t either. We raced at each other.
I was stopped in my tracks by a Rhean. He had the bluest skin and pointy ears. Time to see what they did.
I slashed my blade through the air and he dodged it so fast I wasn’t sure he really moved. He lunged at me but I side-stepped, turned and thrusted my sword into his back. I wasn’t sure if I hit his heart (or hearts) but he dropped dead.
I felt nothing as I killed him except delight. I tried to push it aside. Feeling delight at killing people would only encourage her.
Next, I came face to face with someone from Dione. This person—um rock—was carrying a sword made from rocks. I briefly recalled someone telling me that Dionians could create other creatures and apparently objects out of earth. This Dionian was made entirely of tan rocks. He was wearing a type of vest and shorts.
I swung my sword at him. It locked with his rock blade and I was surprised to find it was so sturdy. I put more of my weight behind it and the rock blade shattered. I moved forward and plunged my sword into his stomach-thing. Only it didn’t go in. It stopped at his skin.
I groaned, annoyed and he caught me off guard by back handing me. I stumbled, almost losing my footing and dropped my shield. I recovered and sheathed my sword. Fists it was. I punched him in the jaw and some of his rock skin came tumbling off. Okay then. I swung my fist at him again and he caught it, shoving me away.
His human-like eyes turned away from me and focused on a spot on the ground. I stupidly watched him. From underneath the grass, a figure of dirt and worms emerged. I unsheathed my blade and stabbed the dirt that was all tall as me. It did nothing so I brought my sword up through the thing’s “belly” and “face”. That worked.
I turned on the rock dude after putting my sword away and began punching him. I punched him until my knuckles were bloody and he was a pile of rocks. I didn’t know if that killed him but I moved on.
I killed another several Rheans followed by a Dionian. The Dionian this time was a girl. I knew because she only had one arm made of rock. The rest of her was human looking. She had black hair and held a long rock spear. She wore a revealing dress and a cape. I killed her by stabbing her through the chest which turned out to be all flesh.
Then I came across a robot from Mimas. This one was a female, presumably, who had robotic limbs but a human looking face. One of her arms was literally just a blade. She wore a long robe/dress. Her eyes were like gears and she was glaring at me.
I sliced my sword through her blade-arm right above the blade—in the flesh—before she had time to react. My blade didn’t go all the way through but it definitely damaged her arm. It was sparking. She yelled at me in her language and leapt for me. I dove out of the way, rolling on the grass clumsily. I wasn’t fast enough before she sliced my bicep with her blade. She grabbed me by my throat and lifted me up.
Šĉôt. I gasped for air. She released me abruptly. I dropped to the ground in a heap. Lord Mel stepped over her crumpled form with a small ball of technology sparking in his hand.
“Her heart.” He dropped it to the ground and helped me up. “Are you alright?”
I nodded and thanked him. For a while, we fought back-to-back. We were great together.
Something was weighing me down though. I was getting slow, sluggish.
What was going on? I usually never got tired from fighting or using my abilities.
Soon enough, the city square was only filled with the good ones.
“Amy!” Talia was running toward me. She hugged me so tight I couldn’t breathe. Then she leaned back and searched me for wounds. I did the same. She wasn’t hurt. I exhaled. Then she noticed the cut on my arm. It had stopped bleeding and the dried blood darkened my long sleeve and leaked down my vambrace onto to my fingers. “You okay?”
I nodded. It was nothing really. I didn’t even feel it.
“It’s pretty deep,” she said. Then she noted my bloody knuckles. “Love . . .”
“May I?” Mel said. He took my hand and suddenly there was a bright light. The cut on my arm disappeared completely and my hands healed.
I gasped. “Thank you!” I spotted all my siblings. They were okay.
“You are welcome.” His gold eyes searched mine. For what, I wasn’t sure. “Apologies. You just look like-”
“Everyone!” some SE agent called. “We’ve lost about two dozen but the day is not over. The shuttles dispersed all over Houston. I need Janus to shape-shift into animals that can fly and find somewhere that no one is protecting. Enceladus and Iapetus need to join together and find other shuttles that are terrorizing the city and stop them. I am going with Janus. Go!”
Just then, everyone from Janus turned into an animal. Talia and I gasped. Some were simple birds and others were huge winged animals I’d never seen before.
“They can shape-shift,” Mel told us, “into animals or other creatures and people. It’s a very dangerous ability. It gives them a god-like complex.” I wondered who he thought I looked like but now wasn’t the time to ask.
I could only imagine. I wondered what someone like Peidax would do with my succubus ability.
The animals of Janus took off with the agent who had shifted into an eagle.
“Should we fly?” I asked Cassiopeia. I noticed that her cape was torn. “So that we can find the other aliens easier?”
Cass nodded. Her armor was much more protective than last year during the war. Now, her hands were the only exposed skin. “Everyone from Iapetus pair up with an Enceladian,” she shouted. No one argued with her.
I ended up carrying Adina, Mel’s sister. Mel was carried by Lynx and Talia carried someone I hadn’t met. We took to the skies.
I looked down. It was bad. Buildings, cars, greenery and even humans were on fire. I heard sirens racing every which way. Things were wrecked and it had only been an hour or so. The humans screamed and my heart ached. They didn’t deserve this. No one did. Human or not.
“This is awesome!” Adina shouted.
Mel was watching his sister in amusement. He rolled his eyes, looking awfully human. At the top of his eye roll, he caught my eyes. He smiled and I smiled back before looking away. I really, really hoped he didn’t have feelings for me.
“Hey, Adina, can I ask you something?”
“Of course.” She was laughing, the wind blowing her brown hair back into my face.
“Your brother . . . does he-” I stopped. I shouldn’t ask her.
“Does he like you?”
I bit my lip. I shifted her in my arms. Her metal skirt thing had been digging into my palm. I wasn’t sure I had shifted her any better since now I was gripping her bare thigh. All she wore was an intricate cuirass, a hanging armored skirt with the sides missing and high armored boots.
I nearly choked on my own spit. Bæt.
“But don’t worry. He knows he has no chance. He knows you are into girls and completely in love with the gorgeous Talia,” she said.
Now I felt bad.
“You don’t have to feel bad. He knows how stupid it is. It’s just, you remind him of someone.” Her voice was sad. Maybe an ex? “He wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize your friendship either.”
How did she know how I felt? “Okay,” I squeaked.
“I’m an empath,” she explained. Oh right. “I can feel exactly what you do.”
“Can you shut it off?”
She shook her head. “It’s sometimes too much for me. Sometimes I can’t concentrate on the real world because there are so many emotions.”
“That must be tough. How many people have that ability?”
“Nearly none. One of my friends but it is rare.”
“There!” John shouted. He was carrying a girl that wouldn’t stop staring at him. Cassiopeia was regarding the girl with a warning stare.
I looked to where he was pointing. There were a group of fifteen Mimans killing humans near a bus stop. We landed.
I tucked in my wings, knocking down a robot. I stuck my sword through its apparently real heart. Not every Miman had the same biology, I was coming to know. This one had one humanoid leg.
The next one I faced was terrifying. I couldn’t tell the gender but that didn’t matter. This Miman’s body was made entirely of metal. From the head to the feet. How could I kill this thing? We fought for a while before I saw its weakness. I leapt in with my F-S knife and dove it into their slightly fleshy neck. The Miman choked and fell to the ground.
In about ten minutes, we had finished off the few Mimans. We saved only three humans but it was better than none.
“Who are you?” one of them asked us.
I stepped up. “We’re here to save you.”
The girl nodded and took out her phone. Before I could stop her, she took a picture of me.
“What are you doing?”
“People need to have hope. They need to know you’re helping us.” Then she burst out in tears.
“It will be okay,” I told her.
“Amelia, let’s go,” Lynx said. Half of his cape was stuck on his left wing. I adjusted the fabric for him. “There’s others that need our help.”
We took to the sky once again.
I heard gun shots before Golda yelled, “There’s some!”
Everybody landed and immediately started fighting. There were dozens of Mimans, Rheans and Dinoians. And human policemen.
A Rhean was strangling a police officer so I took the blue woman’s neck and twisted it. The crunch it made set my blood aflame. The cop looked at me in fear but I saw the gratitude. I helped him up.
The cops’ guns were working okay, not perfectly. On the people from Rhea, the issue was shooting them before they dodged out of the way. The problem with Dionians was that the bullets barely phased them.
I fought beside Jaeel for a little bit. He was amazing at controlling his abilities as I had known but never witnessed in a battle. He didn’t have a special weapon but he didn’t need one. He was so advanced in his powers that weapons were almost a burden. He wore heavy gauntlets that looked like they could kill someone just from one punch.
“Are you not wearing a cuirass?” I asked him.
“No.” He socked a Rhean and the woman went out cold.
He shrugged and my attention snagged on the clean sword that was strapped to his back. He hadn’t used it yet. “I don’t need one.” The only armor he wore were his gauntlets, knee guards, and armored boots.
I would have laughed at his confidence if I hadn’t been fighting with him for a while. He was right. He didn’t need one.
I used my electricity to take out a Miman. I didn’t think it would work but it ended up short circuiting him and he had a type of seizure. For a while, I used that ability on everyone before I got tired. The sluggishness was back. I hadn’t realized it’d left.
I was fighting next to Jae when a rock-man got the best of me. His hard, rough hands wrapped around my neck. I tried to use one of my powers. Mind control, elements, anything, but nothing would work. I started to see spots when the Dionian collapsed into a dusty pile on top of me.
Jae was the culprit. “Amelia, are you alright? Why didn’t you use your abilities?”
I shook my head and tried to stand. It didn’t work. I fell back down and Jae came to my aid.
“What’s the matter?”
“I’m just really weak,” I said.
He took his attention away from me for a second to snap a Mimans fleshy neck with his telekinesis.
Talia ran up to us. “Oh no . . . What happened? Are you hurt? Where? Let me see.”
I waved her off. “Not hurt. Just weak.”
“Well, of course. You haven’t been eating.” She had noticed? Of course she had.
“What? Why not?” Jae exclaimed.
Suddenly I knew what I needed. “I need to take from someone.” I was hungry. Starving.
“What?” Talia and Jae shouted at the same time.
“Someone told me that I don’t need physical food anymore. And I know that’s true. So, he told me I need ‘essence’ like you do food. I need to use energy sourcing.” That someone being my father.
Talia was hurt that I hadn’t told her this. All she said was, “Okay.” She stood and grabbed the nearest Rhean by the neck who was fighting a human officer. She used her telekinesis to kneel him in front of me and keep him there. “Take from him.”
I flicked my eyes up and down. From her to him. He was yelling in his native language. I wondered why he didn’t teleport. My guess was that Talia would come with him since she was gripping his shoulder. I studied his face. His eyes were a dull green that clashed with his blue skin. His hair was dark black, like mine.
I could do this. I could take from him without going dark. I did it before. I could do it again.
I held his eyes and breathed in. Light blue/white wispy air came out of his mouth and into mine. After a while, he collapsed, dead.
I stood up and could feel the energy coursing through me. It was pure adrenaline. It felt so good. It was like I could kill all of Mimas, Rhea, Dione, and every Titan by myself. I was invincible. I was no longer weak. Nor would I ever be again.
“Amy?” Talia said. The worry in her voice snapped me out of the whole “invincible” thing.
“I’m okay. Great. Thank you.” I hugged her, kissed the top of her head, and took out my sword. “Let’s kill some ĥåk.”
She grinned and we fought some aliens. I watched as she took out several Rheans with her katana. She was amazing. She wielded and twisted her blade like it was an extension of her own arm.
Later, we had killed all the bad guys on that block. We left the cops and civilians bewildered and made our way to another block.
We walked (well I was basically bouncing) through the streets, killing stray aliens along the way.
Some other Enceladians found out that we could control Dionians with our elemental control which made for a much easier kill. I couldn’t wait to try it out.
By the time we found another big fight, it was dark. The heat in the city started to lessen, much to our joy. I had been sweating the entire day.
“Don’t you think it’s time to leave?” I asked a Miman. She was just about to slit a human’s throat.
“Humans do not to deserve to exist. They are weak and stupid.” She had blonde hair and metal plates on her forehead and neck.
So, she spoke English. It wasn’t surprising. She had a computer for a brain. I grabbed her metal neck, pulling her off the human girl. “You don’t deserve to exist.” I plunged my other hand into her fleshy (lucky me) chest and pulled out her electronic heart. She dropped. My hand was covered in translucent goo. Yuck.
“Th-thank you.” The human girl trembled.
I nodded. “You should go now.”
She stood and ran the other way.
My siblings were already engaged in combat so I joined the fun.
I stabbed here, decapitated there, punched some and took lives. I was on a high until I realized that wasn’t very smart. That was how Stacia would come out.
Alexander caught my attention. His cape was almost in his way as he swung his battle axe into a Dionian over and over. Well, that certainly worked. The rock dude crumbled. Was he dead now? Or could he reform himself?
I noted that my entire family wore capes except for Talia, Caelum (he didn’t even wear sleeves) and I. I had worn a cape for the coup and it wasn’t my favorite battle accessory.
About two hours later, we had finished defending the humans on the street. Before our group went looking for more people to protect/kill, Lord Mel and his people began healing some Enceladians and humans. I wished I had the ability to heal. Instead, I only had the ability to murder.
Just as we were about to take off, the SE agent from earlier found us. He had dozens of citizens of Janus with him. “Hello, all. I hope you haven’t lost too many. We have been doing alright. There are no more hostile forces in Houston! By order of the Council, we are going to stay here overnight and find the species that are hiding across the state in the morning.”
That caused some uproar. Not much but enough to interrupt the agent.
“We can’t leave these Texans unprotected. Now, you will all go back to your shuttles. Rest and eat and heal. Don’t go out of your way to find any hostiles tonight but keep an eye out. We have a job to do here and we are not leaving until we know every human is safe. We’ll meet in the city square at 0700.” He left no room for arguments. Everybody went their separate ways.
Mel and several of his people walked toward the square with my family and I. I was so grateful nobody I cared about had gotten hurt. I was also thankful to have healers on our side. Where was Mel when Alessa was bleeding out? I wondered if he would’ve been able to heal Alexander last year.
We walked in silence until we heard a scream. Everybody raced down a dark alley—where the screaming came from.
A Rhean was on top of a human woman who had barely any clothes on. He looked up and snarled at us. We all stepped toward him until someone said, “Wait”.
I turned around and saw Golda making her way through our small crowd. Her dark purple cape flowed behind her, making her look regal. She grabbed the Rhean by the neck and slammed him up against a wall with a force I hadn’t known she possessed. She held him there with telekinesis and stared deep into his eyes, her mouth moving. Everyone was at a loss for words. Golda let him go and crouched near the woman.
I was too busy watching the man suddenly scream and tear at his skin and eyes. He scratched and scratched and scratched. Soon his skin was red with blood. He had picked off his skin. I shuddered. Without any warning, he ripped his own heart out. Then he ripped out the other.