Counter 9: Rain of Calamity
Eighteenth day of Sapta’xahr, 4044 AOT
Past two o’clock in the afternoon
Eldoon New City, Nalkad Island, AB Academy grounds
A boisterous noise blows everyone’s senses awake. They all start to search for the source of the noise. The students that are resting in their dorm rooms run quickly to their windows to see the source of the disturbing noise that they are hearing. They look up the sky to find something that is not supposed to be there. A light air craft tours through the aerial territory of AB Academy. They have their eyes wide open as they gawk at the plane flying lowly around Nalkad Island. Observing its size, it probably only have four people riding at most. After flying around the island once, three people with parachutes drop at the center of the academy’s premises. While the three people in parachutes are slowly descending towards the roof the school gymnasium, the plane that carried them starts spiraling down to the direction of the administration building.
It falls rapidly, and in a few seconds it may crash to the near-center of the building. It will not be able to completely destroy the administration building but it will sure bring great damage. Furthermore, the Headmaster along with other faculty members and staffs are still inside. The students watch worriedly from afar, then out of nowhere, three beams of light hit the crashing plane causing it to explode mid-air. The whole island trembles due the thundering explosion. A burst of wind coming from the explosion violently tears through the flowery landscape of the garden below. Grayish clouds with flashing flames smears the atmosphere above the administration building while smaller parts of the plane storm down stabbing the ground like lances thrown by an erratic god. Below, in the middle of the ravaged garden where leaves, petals and scraps of metals fly in the air, two men are standing with might and composure. They are smoothly evading the swooping plane scraps that are coming their way. Dodging with as little movement as possible, their figures look like blurry images. Those familiar forms are moving with refinement and gallant as if they are walking in a palace hall. These fine men are none other than Evan and Keito. Two of the light beams that hit the crashing plane are from them while the other one seems to have come from somewhere farther.
On the other hand, the group of three people who were descending slowly on their parachutes has now landed on the roof of the academy’s gym. They are quick on their movements after they have landed their feet on a solid foundation. They are all wearing navy blue body fit attire, utility belt and combat boots. One of them is a woman with silky black short hair extending down to her nape. She got two hand guns equipped on her utility belt and a hunting knife farther behind the gun by her right side. She looks tall, but very skinny, maybe underweight as well. The two guys are assisting her after they have gotten rid of their parachutes. Both guys with clean-cut hairstyles have fairly fit bodies, like a well-trained soldier. They look almost identical to one other. The most distinguishable difference they have is that one of them with brunette hair is wearing something which seems to be a watch on his wrist while the other one with black hair is equipped with a hunting knife hanging on his utility belt.
After taking off the parachutes, the woman looks intensely at the direction of the administration building and then she turns her sight in the opposite direction, towards the ocean as if she is anticipating something. She is taken aback when she sees something that is blocking the view of the ocean. In front of her is a female student floating near the edge of the roof, her golden yellow hair glitters with the afternoon sunlight while it dances with the wind. Her purple eyes are fixed straight at them as if she has been watching them all along. She is wearing a white, red and gold mage robe along with gold and red plated armor; her clothes flutters with the wind as she stands on a floating magic circle. Behind her, a huge spear-like staff flies following her movements. At one glance, as if a cold breeze snaps her back to her senses, she remembers the Bewitched Demon Hunter who has mysteriously disappeared and quietly left her hunting career these past three months.
“Good day, intruders,” Azalea greets them with a menacing smile while taking a step at the edge of the roof leaving the floating magic circle behind to disappear.
The woman peers at her anxiously. She is trying to read into Azalea’s motives while being wary of her next move. “You… Why are you here?”
Azalea laughs teasingly, “I study here. What else could it be?” She then moves her eyes around to assess the situation after the explosion. “What a sight,” she whispers.
Thick dark smoke rises from the direction of the administration building. Several members of the BK are starting to check on the wreckage. There are a couple of them that turn their sights towards the direction where the three intruders have landed. Even if someone comes, it will still take them a few minutes to reach the gymnasium roof.
Azalea focuses her eyes to the direction of the dormitories. “Good, it seems that they are waiting for news. Most of the students are still inside the dorms… That’s why I thought that this day is worth looking forward to.” She lets out a heavy sigh.
On this day, more than half of the students and staff of AB Academy is away for five hours, leaving the academy with less than half its power to counter attack. All fourth year students have left the academy grounds to attend the ten-day study and training session in Igama Island located in the eastern parts of Kaianna Archipelago. This event starts on the tenth day of Sapta’xahr and is ending on the nineteenth. This day, they are returning around six o’clock in the evening. The third years are scheduled to leave at one o’clock sharp in the afternoon for their field trip in the Ruins of Lyra in Najjar-Lamri Kingdom. This event leaves the academy with less than half of its staff and students, making the defenses full of holes. In the usual case, BIDAO provides the academy with more guards however another threat has occurred in Eldoon New City. According to the news, threats from terrorists are sent to the mayor, in response, the Eldoon New City Police Department in cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Unit have been deployed in the city and they are guarding possible attack points.
The afternoon classes in AB Academy have been canceled due to the unrest in the city. After the students are dismissed from their last class in the morning, Azalea stumbles upon some news article in the internet. The reports tell about an explosion in the third district. The details are unclear. The authorities must be blocking some media coverage to prevent further uproar within the mass. Be that as it may, the situation does not look any better.
Even though Azalea has anticipated this outcome, she cannot possibly say that she has everything planned beforehand. All she could do and all she could have ever done is to collect the pieces and connect them together. Tristan and Azalea have looked into the memories of the card that Evan took. From there, despite the indistinct images that they have received; she is able to make out some important details.
These intruders are looking for a certain “item.” If that is what she thinks it is, then academy is to be attacked by that organization on this day. Her suspicions for the time of attack are right on the spot. However, there is nothing to rejoice about it in this situation. She has hoped for her hunch to be wrong but here they are now. If the hints they got from that ship they visited are from this same group then defeating these intruders is not something they can do as they are now. Suddenly throwing a bunch of inexperienced kids in front of this invasion will only bring another disaster. Defending is the most they can offer, but even that may result in a number of casualties. At the end of the day, casualties are the only thing Azalea does not wish to have.
“Should we consider giving up on that item?” She ponders.
Azalea can feel a great deal of mana from that ridiculous looking thing. That nostalgic feeling, she can vaguely remember. Her father would sometimes return home with artifacts that he found in the ruins he has explored. Those historical artifacts sometimes hold tremendous magic that could bring disaster if not handled carefully. That is why her father, after shortly dropping by their home, would again leave to give the things he found to the right people who can study, learn the story behind them and what those artifacts are for.
“No.” She shakes her head. “Putting these much effort just for that is very suspicious. Even though that thing that the old fart brought to our clubroom holds far too much mana for something insignificant. I have no idea what it is or what it could do, but I am at least sure about one thing, I cannot let it fall into the wrong hands. That’s why…”
Azalea calmly walks towards the center of the gymnasiums roof.
“Major,” the black haired guy calls.
“Major?” Azalea mumbles as her mind snaps back to reality. She turns her head just enough to see the three at the corner of her eye. “So, she’s the one giving commands in this operation?”
“Our schedule,” he continues while the woman listens attentively. “We can’t move slowly, our time is tight. Shall I take care of that female warrior?”
“Bitch-! I’m a demon hunter!”
The major clicks her tongue while fiercely glaring at the subordinate. “You dumbass! You can’t even recognize your opponent properly!”
“I see,” Azalea says while turning around to see them clearly. “You know me… that’s why you are on the defensive since I’ve exposed myself.”
“You’ve been very popular this past year,” she answers while struggling to get her composure back. “So, are you going to attack us?”
“Attack you?” She repeats with a smug look. “Aren’t you the ones attacking my school?” She sighs heavily while looking disappointed. “Tsk, tsk… And here I thought I could have some peace and quiet in this boring place.”
The brunette haired guy looks pissed off as he tilts his head. “Are you making fun of us? You seem to possess too much confidence for a little kid, missy.”
“Get off this case, Taka!” The major raises her voice while taking something out from the back pouch on her utility belt. “If you have no intention of fighting us out here, then we’ll quietly continue on our assignment.”
She throws three black small spheres into the air. The black spheres immediately start flying away rapidly.
“That won’t be a problem then,” Azalea replies not minding the black spheres. “As long as you don’t decide to attack me either... Ah-! I think it’s unfair that you’re the only one who knows about me. Why don’t you introduce yourself?”
The woman continues to set up three small rectangular projectors below. “At this point, I think it’s best to ignore you,” she answers without looking back at Azalea. “But if you are that interested, then I’ll at least let you remember me.” She pauses to look at the mage straight in the eye. “I’m Elen Kim, an ubliss. I am the commanding officer here. This one is Taka,” she points to the guy with brunette hair beside her. “And this one here is Gaozu.” She then points at the black haired guy behind her. She wears a teasing smirk as she talks, while the guys are showing a trace of surprise on their faces.
Elen continues to work on her setup, while Taka and Gaozu’s expression show a hint of sadness. There is something off with their actions and reactions.
“She really did tell me her name,” Azalea mumbles, somewhat surprised. “And she added some information about her as a bonus too.” She feels the chill of forewarning out of such misfit conduct of a commander. “Something really bad is about to happen here,” she thinks at the back of her mind.
“Taka! Gaozu!” Elen calls while she continues her work. They sprint closer to her. “Take note of this person, she’s known as the bewitched demon hunter.”
The two flinch as they recall what that alias means.
“I’m not really fond of that name,” she cuts in. “My name is Azalea.” She observes Elen who is busy tuning up the projectors while Gaozu and Taka guards her. “Mind if I just watch here?”
She asks politely but they are only ignoring her.
Without any words left to tell each other, Elen quickly finishes setting up their equipment.
She boots the gadget and it displayed a holographic image. The three rectangular projectors constructed a holographic image of the island and a map of AB Academy. It marked three different places within the island.
One of the places that are being monitored is near the second watch tower, that stands beside the administration building, at the south-western part of Nalkad Island. There, one man is fighting against twelve people, the intruders. He wears a sleeveless red polo and a black neck tie, pale gray slacks, and black leather shoes. An image of a snake, a magatama, and a crown is tattooed on his right shoulder. He appears tall, probably more than six feet. His hair is brown and styled in a weird fashion. His bluish gray eyes glares wildly at the group of intruders. He looks like he is in his mid-twenties.
At that moment Azalea recognized the man. He is their physics professor, Isaw Crownheit. His pose shows so much confidence contrary to all of the twelve men that are putting up a defensive stance. They are all wearing black shirt or sando, and black jeans with black combat army boots. They simply stood in front of him anticipating what his next move will be.
It is clear looking at their posture that they have not anticipated to be found this early.
A short glance at the situation, Azalea already knew the outcome of the battle. Amidst their face off, ten of the enemies suddenly run away leaving only two to hinder Professor Crownheit. At this point, Elen looks bothered. She then fishes out another black sphere and throws it into the air letting it to fly somewhere.
Meanwhile, on another holographic image, the area near the shores at the north-eastern part of the island is displayed. It is a place that can be found beyond the forest Blair frequents. There a woman stands with valiant posture. She is probably in her early twenties. She is wearing a moss green waist length, short-sleeved blouse with band collar and side front closing underneath paired with dark green pants, along with green and white rubber shoes. Her black curly hair is collected in a ponytail while it waves along with the breeze of the ocean shore. Her resolute dark green eyes glare fiercely at six intruders who are obtrusively taking their steps into the island shore. She is one of their professors, Xiao Feng Zhu, the biology teacher. While the intruders are taking off their face mask and their wetsuit, Professor Zhu run and fiercely attacks with her ki-covered fist. One of the guys evades it whilst another caught her straight punch while shielding himself with his arms crossing over his chest. This guy is the fastest one to take off his face mask. He shouts something and then the rest of the group run towards the forest while they are taking off the unnecessary equipped diving attachments.
After confirming that group’s situation, Elen again throws another black sphere into the air and let it fly away.
The last holographic image shows the front door of the academy’s library. The camera seems to only rotate around the area, nothing more. Elen fixes her eyes at it for a while. In a few moments, two new holographic images appears one after the other. She bites her thumb nail as she watches it. The new holographic monitor follows the ten intruders who ran away from Professor Crownheit while the other chases after the four who escaped from Professor Zhu.
The grounds for the upcoming series of battles are being prepared rapidly.
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The Bewitched Demon Hunter
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