Beast of Xeriel

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Chapter Twenty-Four

Gala and PTong followed their escort through the capital to meet her father in the Pratham war room. The familiar hallways gleamed with beautiful contemporary designs and diamond likeness. Many concepts with minor resemblance of Earth’s history.

Four soldiers posted before and behind them, armed and ready. She thought their goal would be to kill PTong, but they both were being escorted to her father. Still, she remained prepared, thinking even with her deadly accuracy she would not be able to prevent PTong’s demise in the event she was correct.

Gala obeyed their commands, as they had transported them through the main edifices. Waiting behind the secured war room door was 50 of her father’s personal guard and over 100 of Pratham’s elite force.

Her father’s personal guard he affectionately referred to as the Fated. Each individual willing to give their life for him. They were far from ordinary in combat. Every guard having a great victory to their name.

One of whom dueled Da-Xia to a draw. A feat everyone knew would never be repeated. These were the most elite soldiers on Pratham. Even the Viper and his squadron began their military careers as members of the Fated.

Only being removed as Magnus grew tired of his constant incessant need for attention and praise. The demotion to Colonel making the Viper’s outburst even more taxing. But to be a member of the Fated was to be one of the finest warriors and tactical minds. After multiple attempts to recruit members of the Verge, he settled on the current 50 soldiers whose loyalty was unwavering.

Gala noticed only her father was present from the Council. In recent times, Magnus usually stood alone. The other Council members would see to other business in other systems, staying away longer and longer. Clearly more was going on than she realized.

Her constant galivanting in the Verge left her blind to the much bigger picture. Still, Magnus’s personal guard was very rarely threatened by the other factions, thus the armies of the other Councilmen weren’t needed. None of the other Councilmen were willing to risk their own men, the Fated were enough to keep her father unscathed in a battle.

The sea of soldiers crowded the horseshoe shaped room. In front a massive screen, her father stood atop a raised platform. Before she could get a good look at their campaign details, the images were withdrawn. Gala managed to make out a large scope of many galaxies; but was unsure what that meant as far as battle plans. Like her father she excelled in military strategy and tactics. But she loved to fly and shoot more.

She was proficient in every Pratham ship and one of the top assault fighter pilots. The only passion greater than her flying, was her cerebral aim with any blaster or projectile. Her father gave a nod to one of his Fated, on cue he responded. “Dismissed.” Magnus ordered to the troops. The great crowd funneled out of the war room, leaving only the personal guard and their captives.

“Khecks. Samp.” Magnus pointed to two of his guards at the rear. “Escort the Salum leader to a secure dormitory. See that he is comfortable and unharmed.” Magnus ordered. After a quick salute, the two guards peacefully exited with PTong between them.

“Councilman.” Gala said bowing her head. Magnus scoffed at her gesture. Her humor was a sign of how much time she spent with her crew and Jesh. Never truly taking anything seriously.

“Am I not your father? These men and women protected you since your birth. I do wish you would refrain from formality amongst family.” He responded. “My family is far away, fighting for the lives you and your peers saw as expendable.” Gala said making her way through the guard.

“You have fought with them and have a bond. But I am still your father. I am your family. Do not let the sorrow and pleas of the weak mistake you. You are above them.” Magnus said. Gala became face to face with him.

His hardened heart becoming softer the longer he laid eyes on her. Gala’s appearance that of a late teenager, despite her actual age. “You are the perfect mix of your mother and I.” He said, gazing at his beautiful child.

Finally, the two hugged, holding each other tight. It had been a long time since, Gala left his side to aid her friends. “I’ve missed you my dear. Your mother misses you.” Magnus whispered. Neither person wanted to be the first to let go of the embrace.

After a time, Gala released her father. “I’ve missed you two as well.” She said. Magnus held her hands in his own. “Come home. You don’t belong out there.” He urged. Gala saw the sincerity in his eyes. She never doubted how much her parents loved her.

“I can’t fight for you anymore. You kill the innocent; your methods of war are even more harsh than the chaos it brings.” She said.

Magnus refused to let go of his daughter’s hands. He was afraid if she left this time, he may never see her again. “War is harsh. There is no innocent. Only the victors.” Magnus said with certainty. Gala rolled her eyes at his words.

“And what of the defeated father? What of the people you watch die on the battlefield? What of their families?” She objected. “What of it? They won’t long for them. They will join them soon enough. Should we sully our minds with the plight of the inferior? With those who would fight for limitations, their fight being a direct opposition to the peace the masses can enjoy?” He asked rhetorically.

Gala disapproved. Snatching her hands away. “You just don’t get it. I’ve seen the faces of those you would kill. They look just like us. They fight just like us. They die just like us. Where is their peace?” She asked. Magnus took a step back from his daughter. Despite her protest, he was proud. She was fierce and compassionate, but unwise in his eyes.

“Allow me to show you something?” He asked assertively. The guards parted to allow Magnus and Gala into the center. Two by two they departed from the war room. Once outside the Fated shielded them through the great halls of the Pratham compound.

The group marched with purpose, arriving at the main hangar and boarded Magnus’s personal vessel he named the Nova. It was the latest in Pratham technology, in the shape of a disk.

As it became airborne, two thin legs lowered beneath it, before rotating around the disk so fast they became invisible to the naked to eye. The Nova blasted off far away from the compound and city.

A couple hours journey led them to a remote location off the edge of Pratham’s mainland continent. A small island where only shrubs, trees and grass grew surrounded by the sand. The island in the shape of a diamond, as the Nova landed among the lush grass.

The Fated escorted the Councilman and his daughter outside. Creating a circular perimeter as they marched. The 48 circled up around a tree. Gala noticed the tree appeared chrome in nature.

It bared much fruit, but nothing that would appear edible. She followed her father to the tree. Magnus removed his armor, before placing his hand on the metallic tree bark. Responding to his touch the tree unlayered. Inside stood a podium, with two levers. Magnus pulled the lever on the right.

“The beginning of us all.” He said patting the left control. Gala wanted to question the left levers purpose but refrained. The ground moved before lowering them all into darkness. They waited on a rounded platform that until moments ago was covered in Pratham’s signature blue grass.

The group descended deeper into the dark, after several feet a massive seal would secure above their heads before proceeding to a lower depth. Each level housed research, ammunitions, space tech, bio ware, genetics, and countless other classified projects.

The highest clearance was required to allow access which was rarely given. Each level empty of scientist and researchers, which Gala surmised were her father’s orders. Finally, they reached the base, miles below the surface. Only 1 door was available. Uncharacteristically, Magnus moved first through the door without saying a word.

The light nearly blinding Gala, as her eyes had adjusted to the darkness. Gala pursued her father into the light. Once on the other side, the door sealed behind her. Magnus activated his gold armor.

He stood proud in front of a large tank filled with a liquid Gala easily recognized as the raw Iku. Even more recognizable was the colossal being contained behind him inside a prism. Gala noticed the lifeless body of Lale on the surface next to her immediately after.

She activated her yellow armor and drew two of her strongest blasters aiming them at Lale and the prism. “Father?” She probed.

Magnus smiled, attempting to put his daughter’s unrest at ease. “I will never harm you my child. But if you feel safer among these traitors, by all means, remain vigilant.” He assured her. Gala held her blasters tight, ready to unload without hesitation. “Gala, this is how we win the war. Permanently.” He began, arms held out.

“I have long solved the theory of our existence. I know the true power of the pure Iku. But now I possess an authority beyond knowledge and power. What need have I of the pure Iku, while I control his power?” He asked, motioning toward the Prism.

Magnus held his palm facing his daughter. A silver brace materialized around his hand and forearm, covering only his palm. His fingers and wrist exposed, still protected by his armor. A green orb of liquid shined in the center of his hand inside of a jewel.

“My Supremacy.” He said. “There is so much to teach you. For now, just know my influence will spread. Unchallenged. My enemy, the catalyst for undeniable obedience.” He claimed. Gala feared what information her father sought to share. Holding tight, aiming for the kill shot at Fei and Lale.

“You can’t control a monster.” Gala said. Magnus chuckled. “No……I can’t. But this can.” He said, pointing to his new device. “I will unleash him on our enemies. And when I am done, return him to this prison, until a need for him arises again. Once I have defeated all our enemies, I will destroy him.” Magnus gloated.

Gala aimed her weapons at her father. “I can’t let you do that. You can’t control him. No one can. He’s an animal, like his clan.” Gala exclaimed.

“My child, his lineage exceeds the ferocious Xeriel clan. There are greater fears than the one’s we created. We need a being of his power to protect us from those threats.” Magnus informed his daughter. Gala felt herself wanting to trust his words yet would not relinquish her triggers. This time he had gone too far. “Who are these threats?” She asked.

“They are far away. And very near. But time is running out. This war is petty. We have much greater things to attend to. The other Council members have been against my plan from the beginning. But once I unleash my new weapon, they too will be removed soon enough. The time of the Council is over.” Magnus proclaimed. Gala could not wrap her mind around his words. Finally, she had heard enough.

“Guards!” She called. She heard no movement no response. Her entire life the Fated were sworn to protect her and her family, but they did not answer her call. “You ordered them to no longer obey me?” She asked.

Gala couldn’t help but entertain the idea of her demise, far away from her family. She felt truly alone. “Never. Gala you will forever be my daughter. I will never forsake your plea. And neither will they.” He answered her.

“They simply can’t hear you. This structure predates, our existence. It was designed to contain something much more powerful than we could ever imagine. Pratham was meant to be found.” He said.

Gala’s stomach began to turn. “I discovered this place a long time ago and sealed it beneath this mirage of an island. No one can enter or exit without my authority. Once inside, the prehistoric power it holds prevents escape.” He said. Magnus began to pace back and forth. Gala’s eyes and blasters following his every move.

“Do you see now? I was meant to find Pratham. This has always been my destiny. My ambition has led me here.” He proclaimed. “I want you to understand. Please. I have spent my entire life building a foundation from which our lineage can mean something. A place for our name among the cosmos. You are my only child. Our lines future. I need you to see reason.” He begged. Gala listened, but she knew his methods, how malicious he was, she could not follow.

“Please Gala. Our family needs you. I’ve done everything I can for us. Help me save Pratham. Help me end the war. Help me lift up our name………Help me save our family.” Magnus begged again.

Gala felt her blasters lowering. She wanted to keep them raised but the look on her father’s face was gut-wrenching. Before her hands could reach her side, she detected slight movement in the prism.

Gala’s heart stopped. Her father’s eyes not set on her, not realizing her reaction. Her grip tightened around her blasters, yet her fingers felt cold and numb. “Father.” She barely managed to eject from her mouth.

Magnus ceased his movements, lastly detecting the expression on Gala’s face. “Has his eyes always been open?” She asked. Magnus turned around to see a sight he was not yet prepared for. Fei had awakened.

He stared blankly at Gala, yet to blink. Gala did not want to make any sudden moves. Magnus cautiously reached up to touch the container. Fei’s eyes, nor body moved. The comatose like state, made Gala feel more secure. Until her father shook her senses awake. “Gala, get out of here.” Magnus Whispered. Fei’s eyes abruptly fixated on Magnus. Gala raised her blasters and quickly backed toward the door.

Smashing her back into the wall, the door would not open. “Gala GET OUT OF HERE!” Magnus yelled. He held up his device to the tank. “I can’t!” It won’t open!” She shrieked in panic. Suddenly, the tank, vibrated and exploded.

As the tank shattered, everything stopped, remained still for a moment, time paused briefly before ending in a concussive blast. Gala was smashed against the door before sliding to the ground. Magnus took the brunt of the blast, as he was thrusted against the wall by the force.

Lale’s body followed suit on the other side of the room. Fei’s naked body in his normal form suspended in mid-air where he was previously submerged. Magnus tried to shake off the grogginess from the blast.

Squirming to his feet, nearly falling as the liquid provided a slippery flooring. Magnus held up the device to Fei. A silver circlet formed round Fei’s head with the same green jewel of liquid in the center of his head piece.

The liquid began to illuminate. Magnus breathing heavily. “Enough!” He ordered. Gala rose to her feet, blasters at the ready. Fei’s blank stare slowly transformed. A deep aggressive frown. His armor regenerating around his body despite not having his shards, a new armor.

His dark armor as dusk in the night, more rigid and sharp, fiendish in appearance. Gala opened fire. After a plethora of shots, she realized his armor was absorbing the energy. “How!” Magnus bellowed, watching the failure of his device.

Fei lowered himself to the ground. A blood red drape flowing down from his gilded belt into the raw green Iku beneath his feet. Stepping out of the tank and onto the lower floor. His focus switched to Gala.

She proceeds to unload her arsenal again, switching to blasters with greater and greater fire power. Magnus rushed to save his daughter. Fei’s armor neutralizing her weaponry. Fei reached out to Magnus forcing his body to halt mid stride. Frozen in place, Magnus could not provide any aid.

Gala dropped her blasters. She held up her fists, prepared for hand to hand combat. Fighting in the frontlines was invigorating, hand to hand with larger opponents was usually exciting to her, but this fight was horror inducing.

She began swinging wildly and unlike her usually natural and precise strikes. Fei blocked each of her punches and kicks. After a few jammed attacks, Fei planted his palm into her chest, a clear wind energy thrusted her against the door. The impact knocked the wind from her body.

Gala dropped down to her knees unable to fight gravity, gasping for air. She jumped back to her feet, staving off the pain mentally. Gala threw a few more strikes toward the body of her opponent.

Nothing could get through his elite defensive guard. After another wayward punch Fei evaded and dislodged her shoulder from its socket, cracking her armor in the process.

“Agh!!!!” Gala screamed. Tears falling from her face. She dropped to a feeble position against the door. Fei released his hold over Magnus. Allowing the worried father to run to his daughter. To give them some space, Fei nonchalantly retreated to the front of the prism. “You beast! I’ll kill you!” Magnus screamed, witnessing his daughter’s agony.

“My son.” Fei spoke in a booming deep voice. Different than even his feral form had ever projected. He turned to face Magnus. “Why did you try to kill my son?” He asked calmly. Magnus was frantically trying to open the door for Gala to escape to no avail.

“My life, I understand. Lale’s life, I understand. But my son?” Fei asked again. “I had to. I know what you are. Where you come from. Your blood. He was possibly even more dangerous than you.” Magnus responded furiously.

Magnus stood guarding his daughter from his enemy. “Spare her. Kill me. But please don’t hurt her anymore.” Magnus pleaded. Fei was taken aback by his request. Closing his eyes as if searching for something inside himself.

“The great Councilman of authority.” He said, opening his eyes. “Yet, you possess no power from the Iku. You led the most dangerous military in our galaxy. Destroyed planets and conquered civilizations. But you enjoy no strength of your own. I heard it all. I know.” Fei sinisterly chuckled.

“I used to think you may have been strong enough to defeat me. To think what it would do to your image, if everyone knew you were pathetic.” Fei continued. Fei thought for a moment. “Alas, I will allow the idea of you to stand the test of time.” He said.

“For every being to know, the powerful Councilman Magnus. Fell by my hands……. Not that it matters. I care little of the people. I have been enlightened to a new path.” Fei explained.

Fei began to transform into his feral form. “I just want every idea of you to be utterly destroyed by me.” Fei growled. Magnus raised his hand, once again praying for the device to work. Fei reached up and took the circlet from his head and tossed it aside.

Fei reached forward, causing Magnus’s hand with the device to lift against his will. Closing his fist Fei fused the device to Magnus’s hand, as it melted through his armor.

Magnus squealed in pain. Falling to his knees. Fei took one finger swiping through the air, sending Magnus soaring to the other end of the room. He was met with a great thud as his body hit the wall.

Magnus cupped his hand, the searing pain almost too much to bear. But he knew what would happen next. “Please! He’s alive! Your son is alive. Please spare my daughter.” Magnus begged. Fei halted before grabbing Gala. He returned his gaze to Magnus.

“He survived. If he fought for me, I swore to let Kyah keep him.” Magnus explained. Fei grimaced at the sight of Magnus. “You misunderstand. As you tried, so will I.” Fei seized Gala by the throat, lifting her off the ground.

Fei forcefully pinned her to the door as his grip tightened. “I assume you understand now why she must die. Seeing as killing an heir is not of foreign nature to you.” He said. Gala violently squirmed and kicked, scratching and clawing at Fei’s face and armor. Desperately fighting with one arm to break free.

Fei looked back at his helpless and defeated nemesis. “If she survives, I’ll allow her to fight for me.” He taunted. Fei withdrew his colossal black halberd. The blade cracking the ground as it landed. He grabbed the neck of his weapon and slowly plunged the blade through Gala’s armor and into her chest.

Gala shrieked using her one arm to fight the blades entry. After a few seconds, her cries went silent. Fei removed his blade, the blood dripping into the Iku. Placing Gala on the ground he slid her body to her father.

Magnus wept uncontrollably as he held her against him. Fei made his way over to Lale. He placed his hand on her. Focusing his energy and mind.

“It won’t work.” Magnus boasted through his sorrow. “She will never come back.” He piled on. Fei attempted to block out Magnus as he focused on trying to bring his beloved back. Nothing happened. He tried multiple times, but Lale would not awake.

“You will remain imprisoned here forever. I’ll never let you leave.” Magnus cried. Fei scooped Lale’s body and strode toward the door. A shadowy crimson energy covered their bodies. Fei placed his hand on the door, causing it to melt away. Magnus fuming as his enemy was escaping, and he was powerless to stop him.

Once through the doorway the 48 guards were alarmed at Fei’s arrival. “I’ve dreamed of killing each one of you.” Fei’s voice rumbled. Placing Lale’s body gently on the platform, Fei engaged the Fated.

Fei again drew his halberd, twirling the blade and large hilt, the massive weapon appearing weightless. The swarm of the guards would have easily annihilated all other foes. Fei lunged forward covering the distance between the guard opposite him on the platform in just one step.

His right fist shattering the guard’s armor and protruding out the back. Instinctively, he whipped around withdrawing his arm from out the body, grasping his halberd with both hands and impaling the guard next to him. The remaining opponents drew their blasters and opened fire.

Absorbing the energy into his dark red aura and new dusk armor, Fei swiftly flew to the other side of the platform. His movements substantially faster than his victims. To their naked eye, he reacted quicker than a blink. To Fei, he beheld a still photograph.

A blank canvas for him to paint with their blood. He placed the palm of his hand on the chest of the unsuspecting guard. Rechanneling the absorbed energy through their armor and exploding the guard’s organs. Blaster fire lit up the darkness.

The light of the lasers only slightly faster than Fei, as he strategically pirouetted around the room. Shooting across to the other side, he removed the head of another guard with a powerful swing of his back fist and an unnerving roar.

His armor continued to absorb the energy as he moved. Each landing shot feeding his frenzy. Fei opened his palm following the trajectory of the head he viciously detached and unleashed a bright red stream of energy. The continuous stream seared through a line of guard’s armors cauterizing their insides.

One brave guard attempted to rush Fei’s backside. Fei’s senses combined with his speed would prove too much for the individual effort. Without looking, Fei twirled his halberd, thrusted the blade behind him and through the would-be assailant. Extracting his blade, Fei hacked and slashed a dozen more guards before they reacted. Only seconds had passed, but 24 guards remained. The guards ceased firing, seeing as it was providing their opponent fuel.

Fei allowed the guards a moment to regroup. He laughed sinisterly as they formed up and withdrew their melee weapons. “It was all of you, who attacked me. Tried to kill me. Tried to murder my boy.” He growled extending his colossal halberd in their direction.

“You failed. As the Fated of this world. I survived to destroy you all.” The remaining guards rushed in together. Fei let out a roar that could be heard on the surface.

The first two victims killed with one swing. He twirled his halberd fiercely behind his back at an angle, ducking the next attack, simultaneously decapitating the aggressor. Twisting, turning and twirling, not one attack could penetrate his defense.

In kind, not one guard could evade his swing or possess the strength to block his blade. Fei effortlessly wiped out the remaining guards. Blood soaking the platform, the smell of searing flesh trapped beneath the surface.

Fei’s heartbeat was steady. The effort during his slaughtering of the Fated, not being reflected in his physical calm. He was pleasantly surprised by such an increase in his power. In the past he would have struggled or been defeated by the guards.

Yet, now he stood unharmed. Fei planted the hilt of his halberd into the ground, leaving it standing upright. He reached out, mentally calling for Lale’s body. It obeyed, levitating across the platform and peacefully into his arms.

Her beauty in death only surpassed by her beauty in life to him. He cuddled her body against his, as he observed the two levers. He noticed the right control was active in a lowered position, while the other upright.

Fei seized his weapon by the throat, his body swirling in his dark energy. After another deafening roar he shot up through the ceilings. Rubble falling behind him.

A few moments later, Magnus emerged from the chamber. His eyes puffed from every tear that fell. He trudged through the blood and rubble to the center podium. The smell of burnt flesh hovering beneath his nose.

Magnus placed his hand on the lowered lever, beginning to return it to its upright position. He hesitated. His eyes followed the light to the chamber where his true enemy murdered his daughter.

The image flashed again of Fei pummeling Gala. Magnus literally, shuttered at the thought. Releasing his grip on the lowered right lever. Magnus grabbed the left control and pulled. The platform shrieked and shook before lowering him even further into darkness.

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