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Vesper’s Knights

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Humanity is on the brink of extinction. Ninety years ago, an unprecedented catastrophe occurred worldwide. A virus has spread and greatly contributed to the decline of the human race, wiping almost half of the population. For decades humanity has struggled and somehow finally found stability after billions of lives were lost. Now only about a million remain in this once dominant race, but fate will have none of it. Once again signs of that catastrophe that humanity has once ignored have shown signs of happening again. Will this be the end?

Fantasy / Scifi
Gehenna Mortem
Age Rating:

PROLOGUE: The Final Struggle?

60 L.A

"Commander Azaria, what is this all about? The only backup we're getting from Eden before such a vital operation is only five people?" When Apollion Azaria, commanding officer of Eden's military division answered the communicator, he was greeted by the angry voice of the person on the other end of the line. The communicator was placed on the dark wooden table and it was on loudspeaker, the enraged voice of the middle-aged captain on the other line rang out in the silent office.

"You want me to report this to HQ?" the man threatened, but Apollion just smiled lightly, not at all affected.

"Please, calm down, Captain. Each of them is capable of doing the work of an entire battalion." Apollion replied calmly, waving at the assistant in thank you as she placed a cup of coffee in front of him "Besides, this operation is under your leadership, what could go wrong?"

"But-" Before the man on the other end could reply Apollion interrupted him.

"And while it embarrasses me, this is my cousins' first mission. I'll be counting on you" And without waiting for the captain's response, Apollion dropped the call leaning back on his chair, his faint smile overflowing with amusement. He turned his swivel chair around, facing the flag of the Resurgence Alliance, pinned on the wall.

The black fabric of the flag signifies the death of billions and as a symbol of mourning for the loss of humanity, the orange lining near the edge of the flag represents the sacrifices made by the human race throughout the years and up until now. And at the center of the flag was a flaming red torch that symbolizes the fire of hope that would never extinguish, fueled by the blood of the deceased - the torch of determination and courage that would never diminish.

Apollion's eyes flashed "The final struggle of the old generation of the human race, let them witness the result of it."

On the other end, Captain Elias threw his communicator in anger, smashing it into the wall in pieces due to the force he used.

"Are those cosmic weapon wielders, the only ones capable of resisting the Devourers?" The captain gritted out a question, "They're just children!" he shouted, swiping the table of everything on it.

"How truly vexing to be pushed around by such people" the second person in the room who witnessed it all spoke out, he was Captain Elias' assistant.

Ignoring the assistant's words, Stravos Elias regained his calmness. Fixing his uniform, he walked out of the office "I won't force myself nor the others to accept this, as long as the operation succeeds."

⚸ | ⚸ | ⚸

In the large conference hall, leaders of every squad were gathered, each one listening with their full attention to Captain Elias who was speaking.

Gesturing towards the holographic image of a terrain map in the middle of the meeting table, this is where the battle operation will be held.

"This is a crucial large-scale search and destroy operation to guide this coven of devourers into a strategic location" Captain Elias stated as he pointed towards a certain part of the map with a metal wand, manipulating a symbol on the holographic map and dragging it towards another icon.

"A nuclear fusion reactor, and detonate it to wipe them all out in one clean sweep" He then paused looking towards a group of young people in the corner of the room. "Then I would like to ask the cosmic weapon wielders dispatched from the Eden base to play as shepherds, guiding the Devourers to that point"

After his words, the people of the room turned their heads to look at the five people who were quite hidden in the shadows. It was a glance, and everyone immediately turned away because of the aura that the five people emitted. They were veterans - well-known gods of the battlefield, but in front of these children, they felt the danger that was similar to those of monsters that they can't kill with one bullet.

"Hey you guys, this is your first mission right?" A man in his late 20s asked the three people who were about a decade younger than him, paying no attention to the words of the captain. "Nervous? You better relax, being too jumpy on the battlefield will get you killed earlier than you're supposed to"

"First of all, we have a name, and second - mind your own business" A black-haired female teen answered rather rudely, her tone cold and her eyes piercing and cold.

"Quit teasing them, Seth" A more mature-looking woman in her mid-20s, told off the man - Seth, whilst the latter just chuckled, lighting a cigarette.

Maya snorted and turned her head away from the man then glanced at the other guy who was their age, he was blonde - and was fiddling with some sort of gadget, frowning. Thinking that he was just worried about the upcoming task, Maya ignored him and stood up but a second after, a chill ran up her spine. She turned her head and looked at her twin, Mara - who was also looking at her with a grim expression.

Lada, who was flipping through the mission plan description noticed the anomaly between the twins and raised her head to look at them, about to open her mouth to ask but the ground shook, almost making everyone lose their balance as the emergency lights lit up, filling the room red and the alarm blaring.

Everyone in the room looked at each other in dismay as murmurs of discussion started to compete with the sounds of alarm.

The Avast team who was keeping to themselves at the back just watched the scenario, their expressions dark.

"They're here" Maya's twin whispered hoarsely.

⚸ | ⚸ | ⚸

Snow fell ever so gracefully, covering the earth with its frozen breath.

It would have been a serene and beautiful view if it were not for the monstrous creatures that trampled on the powdered blanket of the earth.

Amidst the cold night, sounds of roars rang out. Explosions and screams broke the silence of the night.

Blood and death.

The guards were already in battle with the devourers - monsters that were once humans.

Skin covered in snake-like scales, talons that could slice through most materials like paper, and fangs that could easily rip off a good amount of flesh if caught between them.

Monstrous demi-gods. Despite the same characteristics, each devourer also has its uniqueness. Their mutations vary, some can fly and others have extra limbs. To each their own.

Waves after waves of devourers came, killed, and ate their fill.

Squads upon squads of soldiers took arms, fought, and died.

Above, an aircraft was hovering, and the group of five watched the scene below with blank faces, no emotion could be seen on any of their faces.

"They're swarming all over down there" Seth hummed, his voice was low and could not be easily heard amidst the sound of propellers, but the other four heard him nonetheless.

"We have to buy time until the reactor is ready. Be prepared, don't let a single one through anymore" Lada responded, slightly raising her voice.

"They're living up to their names as butchers" The blonde teen muttered behind.

"Let's go!" Seth ordered as he jumped, followed by Lada and the others.

⚸ | ⚸ | ⚸

"What's the situation?" Captain Elias asked his assistant as they make their way to the central control station, passing through the windowed passage.

"A group of low-level butchers are attacking the area around the nuclear reactor and have currently penetrated the outer area, bypassing the vanguards. They are being fought by the second defense line." The assistant reported as he followed after the captain hurriedly. "Guess we don't need to lure them anymore."

"Can the reactor go critical?" Stravos asked, glancing at his terminal.

Looking at his terminal, the assistant was silent for a second before answering "Sir, we have given it a boost but it's still roughly at 40%. It will take some time until it can be detonated but the cosmic weapon wielders have been dispatched against them, they should be able to hold out until then."

"Make sure the defense holds up until then" Stravos ordered, his pace speeding up.

"Yes sir. If necessary the shepherds could also be–"

But before the assistant could continue with his words, a flying devourer crashed into the window, accurately landing on the assistant. They both rolled on the floor, the assistant pulling out his gun and shooting at the monster, aiming to distance himself from it. Despite his actions, his arm was still cleanly swiped off with a slash from a devourer. Gasping, he then pounced on by the mid-level butcher with wings of a bat.

⚸ | ⚸ | ⚸

Not knowing what was going on inside the base, the cosmic weapon wielders were cleaning up the battlefield with ease.

Lada and Seth coordinated perfectly as subordinates for a few years. Seth was a melee fighter, his weapon was a large sword that was twice his size. Everywhere he went he would cut down a devourer to death with a swing of his blade. One by one, these monsters who had reaped many lives earlier were cut down easily, their scale armors were comparable to paper. At some point a devourer who mutated with wings launched an attack at Seth from above but before it could even get a meter close; it was already blasted to pieces by Lada who was closely supporting Seth. Her weapon was a handheld cannon, a mini portable cannon she calls it. The ammunition that uses was concentrated energy that she manifested, creating an explosive blast that could puncture through a devourer's defense, enough to instantly blow a low-level butcher to pieces.

Not only is Lada able to support Seth, but she also looks after the three younger team members and gives her assistance, though most of the time she does her share of killing due to the rest not needing much of her help.

Ciro, the blonde boy was also a melee fighter. His weapon was his own hands. Covered in a bear paw-like gauntlet, he also easily tore through the tough skin of the monsters. His agility was something not to be underestimated, his sense of danger is also a plus, allowing him to dodge any attack and easily counter in only a few seconds. This allows Lada to focus on her fight and not worry about supporting him.

The soldiers that were struggling to defend with despair in their hearts earlier were stunned at this show. Many snapped out of it and continued to shoot at devourers in hope of even injuring one, or even killing it.

Some were still in a daze.

"What are they?"

"Are they even human?"

Due to their fear and surprise with the present situation, a devourer found a loophole in their defense and pounced on a soldier. Pushing the man to the ground, its mouth opened with a roar, exposing its sharp rows of teeth.

But before the devourer could bite down, something wrapped around its neck, stopping it from biting down just a few centimeters from the soldier's face.

With a slight tug of the whip, Maya was able to completely pull the enormous creature off the man, throwing it at the feet of her sister who readily stabbed at a certain part of the devourer with a fragile-looking rapier.

The twins' weapons looked far ordinary compared to their three teammates but only Stellars knew the true capabilities of the twins. They don't only own one cosmic weapon but two each and each of them is also in possession of a celestial weapon.

⚸ | ⚸ | ⚸

Inside the base, blood was splattered on the walls like a blooming flower during spring, dripping down and pooling on the floor.

Captain Elias, limped past the dead bodies of his subordinates. His gaze was blank, there was only one thought that kept repeating in his mind, 'to head to the central control station'.

Making a turn, he entered an open room. The lights were dim, and the red alarm was still blinking in a warning. Dead bodies were scattered in the room, some of them were still in their seats but everyone has one expression on their face as they died – horror, fear, despair.

But Stravos ignored all this and limped to the center of the room, where a table of controls was located.

Pressing a button, Captain Elias released an order, his voice steady and firm, as if he wasn't injured, as if there weren't a dozen dead bodies around him.

"To all soldiers, all hand evacuate. I repeat, all hands evacuate!"

⚸ | ⚸ | ⚸

On the field, everyone under Captain Elias received the evacuation order. They looked at each other and within a few seconds, signaled their men to retreat.

Unknown to the five who were giving all their attention to wiping out the devourers, the soldiers had already retreated to safety and boarded an aircraft for evacuation. When they realized it, it was already too late. The copters have already taken off and only because of the sound of the propellers were they able to notice the departure.

"Hey, why are they pulling out?" Seth asked Lada who was beside him, as they had just taken down a mid-level butcher.

Lada's face twisted into a scowl, "Do they mean to abandon us?"

No one answered her except for a loud roar.

"There's more coming" Maya muttered. Everyone heard it as they looked at the only entrance that the devourers made themselves after going through the vanguards.

"This is the main force of their Coven" Mara stated, following after her twin to stand beside their teammates.

Ciro paled upon seeing three figures amidst the monstrous silhouette of other devourers, "Nobles" he gasped.

"Damn it! We can't hold out like this" Seth shouted.

Everyone in the Avast Tean felt the danger that made them frown, their expressions solemn.

⚸ | ⚸ | ⚸

Inside the base, Captain Elias stood in a corner. A capsule-like machine was glowing in front of him. A glowing green button was on the center, covered in glass.

"You accursed monsters!" He howled before opening the glass cover and smashing the button. The lights of the button turned red.

It was the trigger for the nuclear reactor to detonate.

⚸ | ⚸ | ⚸

Outside, the heat wave from the fission started to spread as the explosion started to count down. Pressure coming from the reactor was released. With the speed seen through the naked eye, a large dome of energy started to expand.

Lada, who took notice first, cursed out "Maya create a protection barrier! Ciro reinforced it immediately!" She ordered.

And just after her words, the energy dome covered them.

But before the explosion could happen, an unknown error appeared on the screen in front of Captain Elias.

Vine-like appendages, as large as buildings, crawled up the energy dome, mysteriously stopping it from becoming larger and not spreading further out.

There was no explosion, the vine was suppressing the explosion, not allowing even a tiny bit of energy to escape. Compressed the large amount of energy again and again, until it became smaller and smaller. Becoming a dot till it became nothing, the vine covering the energy disappeared along with the ball of energy. After a second or two, a violent shock wave spread.

⚸ | ⚸ | ⚸

It was already dawn when everything settled down.

The battlefield was nothing but rubble now.

The 160-meter radius of the reactor became a bowl of rubble. Not even a speck of snow in sight.

Copters from various bases around the area arrived, and the loud sound of the propellers broke the morning silence.

"What happened back there?" Seth asked the shaking female that was sitting on the ground, curled up and silently crying.

Lada frowned, so many factors on this mission went wrong and one of their teammates is. . . Gone.

Ciro sighed in frustration as he sat beside Maya, "I can't track her down".

No one knew what happened to one of the twins. During the incident, they weren't able to see each other due to the heat and light. They only heard Maya screaming her twin's name and when it was over, Mara wasn't anywhere to be found. Maya won't talk either, Ciro's tracking seems useless too.

⚸ | ⚸ | ⚸

Back at "Eden" Apollion turned off the screen that showed the battlefield. The whole night, he just sat there.

Pressing a button, he ordered his people to send an aircraft to fetch the Avast Team and also sent a post-processing team to cooperate with other bases to take care of the situation.

If this event was humanity's last foolish act, had it shocked fate into silence?

In any case, this tale is far from over. As long as humans keep repeating the same mistake again and again, fate will continue to weave the dark tapestry of the human race upon the order of the gods.

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