Chapter 16: Angel With A Shotgun
Get out your guns, battles begun
Are you a saint, or a sinner?
If loves a fight, then I shall die
With my heart on a trigger
A month passed by after the ‘Wishing Princess’ theatrical play ended. A month had also passed by since Anya Romans last met with the Gran Mago. According to the Prince of Excalibell, Aidan had sense someone with great powers from Excalibell known as the Virtuoso, had been watching them from afar weeks prior to the Play.
It wasn’t until the night after the long-awaited play had ended that the Virtuoso decided to make their presence known to the Gran Mago and the Prince. Hence, in order to secure their safety, Duke had ordered Aidan to investigate the matter further and do whatever it takes to bring the Virtuoso back to the Kingdom of Excalibell.
Prior to his leaving, Aidan had told Rosy that he was needed back in his hometown for a month, as his father had suddenly fallen ill. Though Rosy had allowed him to extend his leave to be with his family, Aidan had assured her with a kind smile that he would definitely be back a month after.
A month and a half have passed by and he still hasn’t returned… I wonder if he’s doing okay. Duke would have informed me if something bad happened to him, right?
Anya pondered silently while washing the dishes in the kitchen.
It was ten o’clock at night, the closing hours. Anya and her staff were wrapping up the cafe for tomorrow’s preparation. An hour later, Anya was making her way back home when she stopped halfway. Stood five feet away, was a tall silhouette figure.
Anya slowly pulled her ultimate weapon from her sling bag, a foldable umbrella. Time seemed to stop when the silhouette figure suddenly charged at her in full speed. Braced herself, Anya swung her umbrella, and －THUCK!
“How troublesome,” said a familiar voice behind her.
Anya stared at the silhouette figure, turned out to be a disfigured demon with a body covered with numerous knives. Quickly she turned around and addressed her saviour.
“Zenon. Been a while.”
“I’ve been busy,” Zenon shrugged, taking few steps closer to her with a grin. “Miss me, babe?”
“Like hell. What are you doing here anyway?”
“Shouldn’t you be like, ‘oh, thank you for saving me, the great saviour! I shall forever be grateful to you!’ Like that?”
Rolled her eyes annoyingly, Anya turned around and marched toward her apartment as fast as she could, when Zenon pulled her arm, stopping her.
“Jeez. You really can’t take any jokes. Huh, babe?” The Demon Prince sighed. “So I’ve heard rumours going around how the great Gran Mago has been out of sight for a while and came here to find out.”
“He’s busy. Unlike certain someone, he doesn’t have the time loitering around.”
“Hey, I have my hands full too, babe! Being the Demon Prince doesn’t mean all I do is loitering around－although I tend to do it almost ninety per cent of the time.”
Anya tucked her elbow from his grip and crossed her arms while facing him with a tired face.
“Look, if we’re done here, I’d like to go home and rest up, please. It’s been a very long night for me.”
“Sure thing, babe. I’ll let you go if you tell me where I can find him.”
“I don’t know where he is. Besides, you’re a demon. Find him yourself.”
Zenon broke into a grin as he began circling her. His red eyes began to darken. “In that case, I’m afraid I simply cannot let you go, babe. You see, it’s very crucial for me to find him before it’s too late…”
“You’re starting to piss me off,” Anya gritted her teeth. “Look, I don’t know where Aidan is. He’s been gone for a month and a half now, and I haven’t received any words from Duke about his whereabouts! Now, could you kindly let me through so that I can get some rest?!”
At her comment, the Demon Prince continuously to grin.
WITHIN the Excalibell Castle’s walls, chaos was inevitable as the high ranked Knights and Scholars filled in the Royal Library and surrounded the long table filled with anything but notes, thick books and maps. They were deeply in heat of discussion when the doors suddenly opened.
The discussion ceased when Prince Duke walked toward the table with steady steps.
A senior veteran scholar bowed his head respectfully and said, “We still haven’t heard any news from Master Aidan, Your Highness. It has been a month and a half since he went looking for the Virtouso. We feared he might have been－”
“Silence! It is very insulting that you would underestimate the Gran Mago who is most certainly a capable man who can handle himself in any dire situations. I’m sure whatever that is holding him back from contacting us, is keeping him under close watch. Therefore, it is crucial that we monitor any communications from him. I have our forces to standby and ready to pursue any given time.”
“Your Highness!” The door suddenly swung open, a knight panting heavily walked in and bowed his head down. “We’ve received a word from Lord Dsja-khons of the Numèn Clan. He has agreed for an audience with you.”
“Very well. We shall leave at once. Prepare a carriage for me.”
“Yes, Your Highness!”
“LET me get this straight: you dragged me all the way here just so I could invade this underground lair and conducts a search and rescue mission on Aidan?”
Anya sighed deeply, rubbing her face with one hand. Why oh why does it has to be her out of all people? All she ever wanted was to return home and sleep, goddamnit!
Taking a long deep breath, Anya turned to look at the unfazed Demon Prince again.
“Please, kindly explain why you couldn’t just use your magic tricks to bust him out of this place yourself?”
“Because my sweet, the Numèn Clan is the only powerful Clan that gained it’s independence from the Demon’s Royal family, for more than a decade ago. Should they ever found out that I am here in their territorial, there would be bad blood and huge uproar between us that could last for another century or so.”
“Then don’t get caught! Use your dark mystical summoning, magic or something!” Anya yelled angrily at his face and groaned. “WHY am I even doing here? I’ve never agreed to do this in the first place!”
Zenon patted her head softly like a child. With an innocent smile and a wave of his hand, a photo frame of the Romans’ family appeared.
“There, there. You realise the consequences should you refuse to do this little errand, do you?”
“You’re threatening me now?!”
“Why, of course. You don’t think I came here unprepared, do you? Besides, the reason why I chose you out of the people is because…”
“Because…?” Anya lifted an eyebrow.
Out of the blue, there was puffy smoke surrounded her. When the smoke dissipated, Anya gasped when she found herself in a dark maroon full-body skintight suit with a dark grey corset-style leather breastplate, spiked shoulder and knee pads and metal boots.
“W-What the hell is this?!” Her face turned several shades of red followed by a wolfish whistle came from the Demon Prince.
“Damn babe, you look so fine in that outfit,” He grinned mischievously and licked his lips. “If only I didn’t need you on this mission, I would have the pleasure to enjoy you...”
Gritted her teeth from the embarrassment of his comment, with her face flushed, Anya counted to ten in her head, hoping to avoid her hands from grappling the sleazy Demon Prince to death, though she knew it would be impossible to do so. With a long heavy sigh, Anya turned to face Zenon.
“So what now? Should I simply charge into the lair in this outfit? Does this outfit even has special abilities or something?”
“Well, why don’t you test it out?”
Without a blink of an eye, Anya dived her fist and punch him straight in the face.
“That really hurts, woman! My handsome face…” Zenon held his hands on his face, hopefully not cracked to pieces.
Deaf to the Demon Prince’s whining, Anya punched several times in the air, while admiring her newly found strengths. “Amazing! I can feel my reflexes are sharper than before.”
“Don’t get is used to it, babe. The reason why your power has greatly increased is because of the suit you’re wearing,” Zenon smirked dashingly, his face already healed. He approached her and inspected her closely.
“Hmmm…. Not bad. But I suppose carrying a weapon doesn’t hurt either.” With a snap of his finger, a heavy labrys appeared floating in the air in front of Anya. She held the labyrs with both hands, then swung it in the air, testing its ability and sharpness.
Zenon whistled and clapped.“You are as talented as the rumour circulated.”
“Rumour? What do you－”
Before Anya could inquire further, Zenon grabbed her by the neck and shove her into the entrance of the lair.
“We don’t have much time to waste. So off you go!”
They say before you start a war
You’d better know what you’re fighting for
Well, baby, you are all that I adore
If love is what you need, a soldier I will be
“THAT stupid son of－” Anya groaned loudly, swinging the heavy labrys, slashing any enemies that came her way.
The moment Zenon had to shove her into the entrance and disappeared to who knows where Anya found herself surrounded by angry members of the Numèn Clan.
Tall and slender beings that covered their faces with a mask contained four holes on top of each other and sharp canines, Anya had been absolutely terrified beyond belief. Gripping the heavy labrys with both hands, she swung the heavy weapon and hacked the first member that attacked her. As her first victim staggered backwards and collapsed on the ground, the rest of the members continued to attack her viciously.
By the time the last member of the clan collapse, Anya was already drenched in sweat and covered with their blood. Panting breathlessly, Anya collapsed on one knee while still gripping the labyrs tightly.
“This is just the beginning. I’m nowhere near where Aidan might be, and I’m already panting like crazy. Shit, I’m screwed!”
After a few more cursing, just to let it out of her system, Anya inhaled deeply before cautiously, she picked up the pace and moved forward. It took her less time than she initially had thought to arrive at a pitched black tunnel inside the lair.
“It would be incredibly stupid and suicidal of me to go in without any light. But how?” Anya murmured.
While she continued to ponder, all the sudden, something caught her attention: the silver bangle bracelet on her right wrist with a maroon jewel on top, which Aidan had given her upon their return.
“I wonder. Aidan did mention it is meant to protect me from harm. But, I wonder if it would assist me as well…”
Without thinking ahead, Anya silently lifted her wrist in the air and waited. After a few minutes passed by in silence, it seemed that nothing would happen, Anya pulled down her wrist and sighed disappointingly.
“Yeah, right. Like that would ever happen,” Anya snorted aloud and rolled her eyes. Shaking her head, she decided to look around the entrance that she came in when she heard a soft groan came from the darkness. Immediately, her face grew pale.
Anya quickly pulled out her weapon and shouted aloud.
There was a long empty silence before a familiar chuckle softly greeted her in the darkness.
Fears forgotten, Anya raced through the darkness until she reached to the end where she found beneath the high pinned torch, was a figure, being chained against the walls, and badly beaten with his shirts torn apart.
The Gran Mago lifted his head up and revealed his bruised face.
“W-What the hell happened to you?”
“I got careless.”
“Careless? You, the ever-so-perfect butler－got careless!?”
“Heh. Because...”Aidan’s calm attitude quickly disappeared when loud footsteps came at the entrance Anya had been earlier.
Those were no human’s footsteps. “You should run. Miss Roman. Now,” Aidan commended firmly. Eyes never strayed at the entrance.
“W-Why? Who’s at the entrance?” Anya whispered.
“Run, Miss Anya!” Aidan hissed. “My powers are being trapped within this place. I will not be able to protect you from it!”
The ground rumbled and shook loudly. From a distance, Anya could identify a seven-foot-tall silhouette figure stood in the darkness. It certainly not pleased to know another unidentified figure managed to get depth into its’ lair.
It’s too late for her to run away now.
“Damn,” Aidan cussed. “Why didn’t you run away like I’ve instructed you to?”
Anya gulped. “I-I won’t leave you behind!” Who knows what that bastard Zenon would do if he sees me leaving this place empty-handed.
Holding the labyrs tightly, Anya braced for whatever about to come.
Magic won’t work in this place, huh? But even so... I feel like there’s something flowing inside of me. Could it be...
Anya swallowed the gulp on her throat. Lifting one hand in the air, and let her mind focused.
Aidan, who observed the whole transition remained calm yet curious. He’d sensed the presence of strong magic when she first came in － before he knew it was her and had been wondering how could she suddenly possess one? Had he not being chained up against the walls and had whatever magic abilities that he possessed left drained from the barriers surrounded the entire place, Aidan would have known the cause in split seconds.
It frustrated him.
Just then, he felt a wave of magic flowing out of Anya’s fingers － and surrounding the labyrs that she was holding. Come to think of it, how did she manage to break through the lair in the first place?
Before Aidan could ponder more on the matter, a loud howl echoed throughout the tunnel. Fighting to overcome the migraine, Aidan turned his attention back to the young woman who had her back turned completely at him, facing the beast.
The Beast, known as ‘Experiment 131’, is a recent failed creation between men and combination of huge wild beasts that the Numèn Clan had secretly experimented on for years behind everyone’s back. Soon after they gained their independence, feared that the Demon Royal Family would hold a grudge against them, the Numèn Clan who specialised in Dark Artes, proceeded with the planning to create a secret weapon known as ‘La-Ante’, using the high-tech weapons they had stolen from the Other World.
There’s no way she could win over such beast using a weapon like that. “Run, Anya!”
Gripping her weapon tightly, with numerous volume of magic overflowing her, Anya cried aloud as she charged toward the beast.
I’m an angel with a shotgun
Fighting til’ the wars won
I don’t care if heaven won’t take me back
I’ll throw away my faith, babe, just to keep you safe
Don’t you know you’re everything I have?
And I, wanna live, not just survive tonight
ANYA jumped mightily high and above in the air, then forced the labrys down with all her might, slicing the back of the beast. The beast cried out ragingly, with a wounded back. It charged rampaging at her.
Anya flipped on the side, feet touching the walls before landed safely on the land. She prepared to be on defence against the beast’s upcoming attack with it’s huge and deadly canines.
Anya deflected its attack by kicking on its stomach. She managed to get a minor impact from the beast and ward it off, before jumping a distance back from the beast and took off outside of the tunnel.
The beast immediately took off after her while howling loudly, once again it created a vibrated echo to caused Aidan to feel the migraine.
Left alone, Aidan inhaled deeply. Focusing on whatever strengths that he managed to gather, and with a brute force, Aidan broke the chains that were holding him against the walls and fell down limply on the ground.
Slowly, Aidan rose from the ground. Feet trembling, as he focused on his breathing, the Gran Mago forced to walk in the darkness. Gradually, Aidan picked up his paces and started running after the two.
THE fiercely battle between the young mortal and the beast continued. Each powerful attack delivered by Anya were counterattack by the beast and delivered the blow twice amount of its power, causing Anya to be blown away by the force.
“If it wasn’t for this suit, I think I would have been blown away to pieces. though it does hurt like hell being blasted off like that,” Anya murmured, spitting blood on the ground and wiped her lips. Though the full body skintight suit protects her from any excessive damages, it still hurt like hell whenever she got blown away.
Charging toward the beast, Anya dodged the upcoming attack that aimed at her head, before swung in fast motion the labrys at it and tore its shoulders.
The beast growled fiercely and aggressively attacked her with its sharp razor fingernails.
“Ugh!” Anya fell heavily down the ground, the suit on her right arm tore apart when she got scratched.
Chest pumping heavily, Anya trembling got back up to her feet. “Shit... I got arrogant and really thought I could beat up this beast with this suit and the magic flowing inside me... Why won’t it die already then?! Anya tired moving her left leg forward and ended up stumbled down the ground.
“My vision...!” Anya dropped her weapon, hands touched her face desperately. “I-I’m seeing double! Why now, dammit?!”
“HER body’s slowly shutting down,” A tall young man wearing a white robe stood at the tree’s branch, observing the whole event from a far away distance. In his hands, he held a thick large book that glowed brightly.
“Nothing can defies from The Wills of Keetes. Everything has already been set in the stone. Her time ends now.”
Beneath him, the young man watched with glowing yellow eyes the event that slowly unfolding.
Anya shut her eyes tightly, covering her body protectively at the hungrily charging beast, ready to tear her apart.
In a split second, wild flame burst out from where the entrance of the tunnel. Aidan stood grimly, his entire left arm covered in flame. He walked toward the young woman and helped her stand.
Still, in shock of what happened, Anya yelled.
“You broke free! And you can use your powers now?”
Aidan shook his head. “Unfortunately, my powers are still being strained for as long as I am within this place. This is something that I borrowed a while ago. Truth be told, I was saving it in case of emergency.”
Giving him a questionable look, Anya could barely make out a word when Aidan suddenly grabbed her shoulders tightly and pulled her close, their lips touched.
The kiss happened just quickly as Aidan pulled her away and shielded her from the beast. The flame on his left arm now turned blue and enraged brightly. Sweats quickly formed on her forehead, Anya could feel the heat from where she stood behind him. She could feel her face flamed from the kiss they’d shared second ago.
Damn him. She will definitely grill the answers out of him later! For now, though, her focus remained on the ongoing battle.
Aidan remained poised as he watched the beast’s every move. The flame earlier had burnt its upper forehead. With the two wounds on it’s back and right shoulder, it should be an easy fight.
Getting into a fighting position, the Gran Mago draw the first card. He charged toward the beast, muttered a spell as he raised his left arm in the air and summoned a mighty fire gale that immediately consumed the beast whole.
The young man early clenched his teeth and shut the book loudly. “The Wills of Keetes is just. It cannot be overruled. She should have died then!” Golden eyes looked down at the couple below before focusing on Aidan.
Gran Mago. Perhaps I’ve underestimated him...
DAWN set in when the two finally reached the closest Excalibell in the Southern. Upon their arrival, the posting Excalibell soldiers immediately rushed to offer their aids and services while others quickly informed the Capital that the missing Gran Mago had been found in the arms of the young lady known to be His Highness the Prince’s Honourable friend.
The trip from the checkpoint to the Capital where the castle took a couple of hours. None of them talked during the journey. Both were too exhausted to even think that Anya immediately fell asleep in the carriage.
All the while, she was unaware that Aidan who was sitting on the opposite side had moved beside her, and wrapped his arms protectively around her. Nor would she knew that throughout their journey, the Gran Mago never left his eyes off her as he watched her slept soundly in his arms.
Aidan remembered the promise he had made with the Elder a long time ago: To never let the matter of heart got the best of him.
It’s useless for me to seal away this heart of mine. No matter how many times I’d tried to resist her... To the point that I had to make up an excuse after slipping away for kissing her.
“I’m sorry for disappointing you again, Grandfather.”
Author's Disclaimer: I do not own the song lyrics above. The song "An Angel with a Shotgun" belongs to The Cab.
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