Golden Ray's Breakthrough
Four minutes after three o’clock in the afternoon
In front of the green dorm before Azalea came to help
Most of the students are beginning to feel fatigue due to the extraneous battles with little to no use of their ability that most of them are so proud of. The formation and shaky teamwork they have put together are keeping them from getting severe injuries. Blair, from where she stands, is sure that they can get through this. With this force holding out until the rescue comes their way is enough, even if those metaghosts use that machine gun trap again and again.
The enemies still have one more card up their sleeve. All of a sudden, in the middle of the battle, the metaghosts have started to explode one after another. The thundering blasts, along with the hot wind with rapidly flying shrapnel, are catching most of the students off-guard. The ones in-charge of defense are getting blasted away as more metaghosts go haywire and explode.
“Everyone! Pull back!” A voice shouts from somewhere. In the middle of the blasting noises he makes his voice clear. “Get away from those metaghosts!”
More explosions follow as a few of them are starting to panic. The pieces of metals made of trandium that digs deep in their flesh will be difficult to heal. Blair looks around, smoke thickened and silhouettes of the crowd in disarray catches her in surprise, unable to move and confused.
“Retreat--!!” Different voices shout.
“The robots activated their self-destruct system!!”
The command chain has started to fall as the inexperienced teens halt their attack in confusion. With no idea where to go, they ran around directionless. The formation has been destroyed; the supposed to be defenders can no longer reach everyone in their teams resulting in their vulnerability.
“Blair,” Emil calls while everyone else is overwhelmed with dread. “Don’t space out there. Don’t randomly move around either. We don’t know when we’ll get caught up in the explosions.”
“We have to help them,” Blair looks at him with worried expression. She has no plan in mind but she knows she has to do something.
Random voices echo around them along with the almost never-ending blasts.
Worried that she might do something without thinking it thoroughly, Emil tries to grab her hand but he is not able to reach her on time. “Hey!” He shouts while he immediately follows her footsteps.
“HELP! PLEASE HELP ME!”
“Over here!! Over here! Please!!!”
They are in danger. Many of them are. The noises are everywhere that it is difficult to distinguish them apart. In her every step forward, the dark clouds of smoke is becoming thicker. The visibility is going low. Other than the students moving like shadows, she cannot distinguish them apart. Despite that, Blair continues to look for those who might be in great danger nearby.
“Blair!” Emil calls out again but he receives no respond. “Idiot, be careful!”
She turns towards him a little while she keeps up her speed to reach the girl who is struggling to get up. “I’m fi--” is what she is about to say but she catches a glimpse of a metaghost that looks like it is flying to her direction. She cannot use her D-shift so she just have to evade it. In that case she is getting some injuries.
“I told you to be careful!” His voice resounds loudly before a stronger noise almost deafens her.
Everything looks so bright. She falls with a thud.
“What’s this burned scent?.. Emil?” Something heavy is pressing on top of her. When she opens her eyes, she quickly gets up. “Emil! Hey, what..? the hell…”
Emil is lying on top of her, bleeding, burned and not moving. She immediately grabs him as she sits up. His armor has shattered. That burnt scent was coming from this.
“H-hey…” He says with weak and hoarse voice as he opens his left eye that cannot focus. Blood is flowing down from his head over his right eye. “Y-you… y-your hand is touching my burns, you k-know.”
Blair panics while letting go of his left side. “Are you dying?”
“Are you cursing me?” He grumbles. He is forcing himself to sit up.
“Err… Are you okay? Wait, of course you’re not.” Her hands tremble while helping him get into his sitting position. At this moment, she has forgotten everything else. Her only concern is getting Emil to safety.
“I’ll go call for help.” A girl’s voice rings from behind. Her voice is quivering as her knees shake in terror.
“Ah—no,” Blair responds quickly. “Just hide somewhere far from those metasomethings.” She persuades her because it will be another problem to leave her wandering in the middle of this. “We’ll find a safe place in a while. You should take care of yourself first.”
She nods before taking a few steps back and then run. That girl, with hesitant expression, looks back once more before running towards the green dorm. Around that time Blair sees a set of glimmering sparks nearby. It looks familiar, so she decides to check it out.
“Where are you going?” Emil asks while gasping for air. “That’s the opposite direction of the dorm.” He weakly opens his left eye.
Blair quickly lends him her shoulder. “Trust my guts for now,” she responds as they both march side by side towards that sparse glimmer. With their sluggish movement and cautious demeanor, their approach towards that twinkling light is slowed greatly. “Azalea!!” She calls out the moment she recognizes who brought the light in that gloomy place.
Fifteen minutes after three o’clock in the afternoon
Front yard of the green dorm
“Hey-!! Az! Az! Since when did you have those cool looking tattoos on your arm?!!” Blair blurts out while Azalea heals Emil.
Azalea smiles naturally while observing Emil’s burns. “Just a while ago. It’s magic.” Small magic circles envelop half of his body. “Thanks to the armor, no trandium got mixed in… though there are some pieces of his armor that buried deep in his flesh…”
The noise reverberates farther away, the chain of explosions is still ongoing within the academy grounds.
“Could you update me with the current state of the support team?” She asks while healing to not waste time idling.
Blair crosses her brows while slightly tilting her head to the side. “Well… as you can see, we’re all over the place.”
“Picking up the formation at this state will be difficult.” A man’s voice joins in and catches their attention. Daisuke is walking calmly in the middle of the smoke-filled ground. “Azalea, we’re in total collapse. With this much injured and with our fighting force scattered, we have already lost the battle with no proper way to retreat.”
“Hey, hey, hey! Are we just going to give up like this?” Blair stubbornly disagrees.
“We don’t have a way of gathering those people back in formation.” Daisuke argues. He points at the direction of the dorm enveloped with smoke. “The formation and the command has both fallen and cannot be redeemed. Those kids have no real battle experience. This must be the first time they got involved in a real fight. We’ve only been fighting for few minutes and most of them already looked so tired. Everyone is already worn out and with the collapse of the formation, along with the rise of panic, just doubled the fatigue they are feeling. Trying to pick up the battle from here will produce more casualties. We just have to go and save ourselves for now.”
With obvious discontent written all over her face, Blair continues to argue. “What about those who are already injured?!”
“Daisuke has a point,” Azalea cuts in as she stands up. “We can’t force this confused crowd to fight properly anymore.” She takes a deep breath and then a number of magic circles appeared around her that also disappeared just as fast. Shining particles is starting to form and spread in the surroundings like little fireflies in the dark summer night. Except from her right arm part, the glimmering tiny light balls are coming out and moving away from her body like an aura that disperses outward. “Counting corpses isn’t my hobby.”
Daisuke’s mouth opens wide. “W-what are you planning to do?”
The firefly-like glimmers on the air are now swarming around Blair, Daisuke and Emil. The warm and calming feeling it gives off are putting them at ease while more of those light are produced around Azalea and are spreading outward. Like a never ending divine spring of mana, more and more scatter. It has taken them some time to realize that those tiny balls of light that are sticking to them are healing their wounds, from small bruises and cuts to even bigger deeper wounds.
“Hey, these things…” Blair mumbles while following the lights with her gaze. “They are sticking to the injured aren’t they?”
“No,” Daisuke responds while observing one of those glowing balls fall on a cluster of grass on the ground. The slightly burned grass blades started to regenerate. “Those lights… these are sticking to anything with life around us.”
“Az! Az! Can you heal everyone with--…” Blair calls but she cuts her question because Azalea has closed her eyes to focus on healing.
Both Daisuke and Blair are staying silent as they bear witness to this majestic sight of the mage who is emitting little balls of light that flies away to heal anything and everything with life around. In the middle of consecutive echoes of explosions, surrounded by thick fog-like smoke and dust, wrapped roughly by the scent of blood and steel, there stands one mage that showers the battle field with hope.
Eighteen minutes after three o’clock in the afternoon
Admin building, the monitor room
Headmaster Dimasalang has already contacted the NEPD. They are sending half of their force District 3 to aid in the academy. Most of the NEPD are still assisting the CTU due to some unforeseen circumstances while some of them are also helping in rescue operations along with the medics and firemen.
After collecting 90M sols, they left the ransom money in cash bags in the designated park, Isshinn park. They wanted to contact the terrorist to ask for more time since the demanded money is still lacking, however they have no form of contact so they simply left a note along with the cash bags. Both NEPD and CTU has been keeping watch while they are skillfully hidden around the park using the power of an esper from CTU. While they all have their eyes peeled and all their senses in maximum alert, a strong gust of wind blows at the center of the park. The CTU dispersed and looked for any unauthorized person around. Unfortunately they are unable to catch or find anyone. Furthermore the piles of cash bag disappeared as the gust of wind calmed down.
“Our reinforcements got delayed more because of the situation in the city.” Headmaster Dimasalang says as he sits down on the couch behind. “The NEPD can only enter from the main gate. Is there nothing we can do to aid the students in the dorms?”
“Mhm. Most of them do not know the battlefield yet.” Miss Malupit says with her arms crossed. She inhales heavily sensing a chill from the air inside the dimly lit room. “That girl, Miss Blakewood, might be overexerting herself... If this goes on… won’t bringing her here be pointless?”
“We’ve lost contact from her for a long time now.” He responds as he curves his spine stooping down while resting his elbows on his lap. He fixes his eyes at the monitors that are showing smokes rising from different areas around the academy. “She has people around her now. She is not alone anymore.” He crosses his fingers gripping his hands tighter. His brows furrow while he is deep in thought. “The green dorm has been in chaos and is still swallowed up by that thick smoke. I have a bad feeling about this.”
With the little lighting from the slightly blurry monitors, Miss Malupit sneaks a glimpse at the headmaster’s expression.
“Worrywart,” she mumbles. “No matter how meticulous your preparations are… you still lose confidence at the most crucial time.”
“Huh?” He abruptly turns his face towards the woman sitting in a composed posture beside him. He opens his to say something but his speech is interrupted when one of the BKs monitoring the situation alerts them. She gestures a signal with her hands. “What is it, Nagare?” The Headmaster immediately replies with anticipation.
“A message from Professor Jhalil Claws,” she answers softly and then she gestures to the guy beside her to tune the communication device. Headmaster Dimasalang stands up, inching a little closer. “An update from the green dorm area,” Nagare continues her report while twirling a button at the right temple’s side of the headgear.
“…done yet?..” Loud ear-piercing screech resonates as soon as Nagare gestures ‘okay.’ The man’s voice buzzed and then immediately gets cut off. After a short pause, the voice resounds again. “Aster… zzt… Headmaster Dimasalang, can you hear me?”
“Jhalil,” he responds hastily. “What’s happening there?”
Silence follows the headmaster’s question. “That’s hurts,” Jhalil answers in a bit grumpy tone. “Sorry, there’s a little noise rebound here. Well… The situation is all green now. We’ve somehow regained the formation that was lost… and with my lead the capable students are once again subduing the metaghost. We are holding out for now but most of the students are already physically and mentally worn out. The anxiety and sudden pressure that this attack brought is not something these bunch of inexperienced ones could not handle… it seems…”
“How are the wounded students?” Headmaster Dimasalang asks while clenching his fists. “How many casualties do we have?”
“None, so far.” His serious tone gives a spring of smile to the BK members that are listening at that time. “That girl… Blakewood is the sole person that could turn such fierce tide around. Her intellect and skills with that great mana capacity really makes her very… awe-inspiring.”
“She single-handedly turned over the tides?…” Miss Malupit mumbles while pressing her chin. While she is deep in thoughts, the headmaster and the BKs focus their attention at her. “Hey Oryx,” she suddenly turns fixing her eyes on the headmaster’s and then she clears her throat as though she suddenly realized something unveiling. “Don’t you think this is part of their plans?”
Headmaster Dimasalang’s eyes dilate upon hearing her. “Where is that little rascal now?” He asks with a serious tone as if he is already foreseeing a distasteful answer.
“Dunno,” the professor answers languidly. His tone does not change much while everyone else inside the monitor room expects a more earnest reply. “She’s nowhere near me but she is somewhere within the green dorm area. I tried looking for her but the situation here looks more urgent. I chose to prioritize supporting these students.”
“Is that so,” he responds indifferently while the knit between his eyebrows becomes more visible. “Could you hold on for another fifteen minutes, at least?”
A long silence accompanied by static noises increases the tension in the air as they wait for the professor’s reply. ““Mhm… maybe. We’ll try… No—perhaps I should say, I won’t let any of my students get hurt. Right?”
The headmaster nods slightly before taking a deep breath. “What is your latest information about her?”
“As Nekogami informed me, that girl is still in the middle of all this smokie ground standing without a care of what might happen to her. Anyway, she got those two idiots from Asylum there so I bet it’s not a big deal… as long as she doesn’t stray away…”
Sixteen minutes after three o’clock in the afternoon
Near the green dorm area
Azalea has closed her eyes but her senses are still working at their highest efficiency. She continues to release her healing light to everyone that needs it. The cries, the worried shouts, those pleading voices, painful coughs, rumblings, and inaudible appeals have slightly quieted down. They are being replaced by astonished murmurs that buzzes along with the mechanical screeches.
“What are these?”
“It’s warm… it makes me feel at ease.”
“These little glows are healing my wounds--!!”
“Mine too. Who’s doing this?”
“No way, what…?”
The faint voices are resounding in Emil’s head while he regains consciousness. “What’s… happening?..” He croaks as soon as he opens his eyes. At first, his vision is blurry. The moment he got his vision clear, he finds himself dumbfounded at the sight of those little balls of light coming from Azalea. When he moves his eyes down his wounded body, he then realizes that his awful burns have almost healed. The pain is gone, though there still traces of the burns and bruises. For some reason he feels refreshed and safe. “Az..a… lea?.. She’s healing… me?.. Blair… Blair?!!” He gasps before quickly sitting up and moving his head around.
“Emil, don’t just move suddenly like that!” Blair yells at him. There are clear traces of worry in her expression. “You aren’t fully healed yet!”
“This is…?” Emil grumbles with baffled look. Blair supports him while he carefully stands up.
Azalea slightly opens her eyes to check at the two. She only glances at them for a moment before concentrating on healing again.
“I’m fine now,” he whispers with a smile.
Blair answers with a nod.
Then he moves his sight away. “But… Azalea, don’t you think you’re overdoing things now? The barriers from a while ago and this healing magic, both require a lot of mana…”
“I have more to spare,” Azalea answers calmly without opening her eyes to look at him so he cannot read her well. “Daisuke, look for a telepath.” She commands; her tone is very soft. She is not moving in that same posture. She is not even turning her gaze to the person she is talking to. “I can’t move right now. If I do anything, I’m afraid the spell might break.”
Daisuke snaps back to his senses. “But if I move around now, I might stumble with more metacraps. Just so you know, both my stamina and mana’s pushed to their limits now.”
“As long as those light are with you,” she answers in a cold and low tone. “Your presence will be concealed from the metaghosts. Tell the telepath to call everyone who can still fight. Everyone surrounded by these light are currently being healed while their presence is camouflaged from the metaghosts. We must regain our fallen formation from here.” She pauses to breathe while Daisuke is stunned and confused. “Please hurry up,” she continues with her voice that is growing softer as more light floats away. “I can’t move here… The spell I casted, Heaven’s Cure, Calming Light, and Pulse Camouflage, might get cancelled if my concentration gets interrupted.”
“This is insane…” Daisuke gulps. He clenches his fist before turning around. “Alright, I just have to do something about the formation. Hm.”
“Two minutes… that’s your time limit before the Pulse Camouflage dispels.” She adds before Daisuke runs off to do his task.
“Az?..” Blair calls with an extremely worried look. “Your mana?”
A brief pause increases the tension between them.
“I’m fine,” she utters softly. “I can still hold on, don’t under estimate my mana capacity.” Her slow calm tone is a little disturbing, as if her consciousness is gradually drifting away.
“But three spells at the same time…” Emil interrupts while breathing heavily. “It’s not something a normal mage does, you know.”
“We just have to hold on for a few more minutes.” She answers without moving. She looks as though she is half asleep. “Help will come soon.”
“I wonder… Time feels more stretched out when you’re exhausted.” He responds with a firmer tone. He struggles to maintain his posture.
Blair lets go of Emil letting him stand without support. “Okay!” She cracks her knuckles while grinning. “We got your back, Az!”
Emil sighs heavily and then he scratches the side of his head. “Alright.” He sneaks a glance forward while Blair laughs carelessly. His sight lies on the glowing aura around Azalea. For some reason, she feels so far away.
“Hey Emil, you have to take it easy because you are not fully healed yet.”
His brow twitches. “Don’t wander off too far. You get into trouble every time I take my eyes off you.”
“I’m not a kid!”
“That’s what kids usually say.”
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Asylum's Counter Attack
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