Horsemen – Chapter 5

“Then, you really aren’t human…” Drake said with a surprised gaze as he looked towards Kara, who had an uncomfortable expression on her face.

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of this you just said, to be honest.” Aliss said with a sigh. “Not only you openly show you aren’t human, you also claim that, in the end, no one is actually a human?” Aliss said with a heavy tone. “That’s not something I will simply be able to believe overnight like that.”

“It is understandable.” Kara said while sighing loudly and having an expression that wasn’t quite sure on what she should say. “After all, even if such a revelation is given to you so suddenly, it is not like you can do anything about it. Neither it’s going to make any difference towards your daily lives at all.” She stopped for a second and sighed. “It is more like you got a small curiosity rather than a life changing find.”

“Wait, does this means that we can’t do something like you just did?.” Drake asked curious. “The whole pop a tail thingy?”

“Oh, good question!” Aliss said excitedly while clapping her hand. “That would do wonders helping me in the kitchen.”

“No. You don’t understand.” Kara said exasperated. “Even if you know about this, there’s nothing you can do based on it.” She looked seriously at the siblings. “As I said before, even though our souls may all be from various worlds, we still have a very fundamental difference amongst us.” She raised her finger, giving emphasis to her words. “You all were reincarnated here so that your souls may recover from your death at the upper worlds. Meanwhile, I was sent here from the upper worlds to solve the situation that have been observed.” She stopped for a moment, letting the words sink in. “Different from you, whose bodies can be called human, mine is more akin to a disguise so that I can mingle with the locals better.”

“Wait, then this tail is actually part of your real body?” Aliss asked surprised.

“Indeed.” She replied with a nod before turning towards Drake. “So, now that you understand, would you mind letting go of my tail?”

“Do I have to?” Drake asked while putting a slightly hurt expression.

“Yes, Drake.” Aliss replied briefly. “stop hogging her tail all for yourself. I also want to feel it a bit, you know?”

At the siblings exchange, Kara could simply let out a loud and weary sigh. After her revelation earlier, the two became into a state bordering a state of shock. But they recovered surprisingly quickly, and after that it didn’t take much longer before Drake snatched her tail so he could feel it with his hand.

Initially, the Hu-ara didn’t bother too much, since her shells covered her tail whole and blocked almost all the subtler feelings. This also led to Drake quickly letting them go due to how hard they were.

Then, he reached the blade at the end, testing the sharpness with curiosity and seemingly becoming surprised. Afterwards he started to check the tuff of fur that sprouted from between the blade and the tail.

“So smooth!” He had said surprised before start to stroke the fur. Since the fur bypassed her armor, she could feel it directly into her skin, and although far from unbearable, the ticklish feeling was starting to become bothersome to her.

However, she was also thankful that the siblings managed to recover so fast from the shock, as it would have left her into an awkward position. The girl’s recovery wasn’t all that unexpected, taking in consideration that she was an Angla, but the Scribe was… Interesting, to say the least.

“Oh, I read a lot of stories with similar things, so I guess I built up some immunity to this kind of thing.” He had replied.

Scribes really are a surprising race, aren’t they?

“Then, does that means that we have no way to access our… Real race’s skills?” Drake asked after choosing his words, bringing Kara’s mind back to the present.

“Not exactly.” Kara replied with some thought. “You see, some of your traits aren’t actually inherent to your body, but to your soul. A good example would be yours, Angla Aliss.” She said looking towards the blonde girl, who seemed surprised.

“Me?” She asked as if unsure, but Kara nodded.

“One of the Angla’s most defining traits isn’t their physical traits or grand skills, but their leadership abilities, famously known for being great and charismatic leaders that always aim to do the best, both for their subordinates and for their protegees.” As she said that, Aliss face started to receive a reddish tint as she looked away. Drake smiled wryly knowing how poorly his sister reacted to compliments. The fact that it were the exact same ones she heard almost every couple of weeks at her job didn’t exactly help. “On the other hand, They are known for being especially bad with cooking. Thankfully, that does not seems to be the case with you.”

“I’m not sure how to react to that last part.” Aliss said with a wry tone before shaking her head and focusing herself once more. “So, let me see if I understood. Since you didn’t die before coming here, you still have all your skills, physical and whatnots?” She asked and Kara nodded. “Should I take it then that you are overwhelmingly stronger than humans?”

“Indeed.” She nodded in confirmation. “According to some data I was provided, only a few of your human weapons can damage me, and only fewer can downright kill me.” She gave a wry smile at that. “Most of them being too powerful to be used within the city.”

“Waah…” Drake said with surprised tone. “We have a one girl army here in our house…”

While he said those words half-jokingly, receiving a brief glare from his sister, Kara’s reaction was a bit unexpected, as she looked surprised for a moment before blushing and looking away as if embarrassed.

“I’m… I’m not that much…” She said in a shy tone that shocked the siblings. It took her a few seconds to notice their reactions and she quickly cleared her throat embarrassed. “F-Forgive-me. Being called a one man army is one of the biggest praises a Hu-Ara can receive. I… Never received it before, so I became a bit flustered. Forgive-me.”

The siblings looked at each other with wry smiles. To be so embarrassed from being called that, it looked like their culture were really completely different.

“Err…” Drake interrupted so he could disperse the awkward atmosphere. “If you are so strong, what exactly are you facing here? And how exactly would I be able to help if it needs someone as strong as you to actually deal with it?”

“That’s…” Kara said, recovering from her embarrassment. “We aren’t exactly sure of what is happening here.” Seeing the siblings worried faces she quickly went on. “We noticed that there was some Ether coming from this place that does not match the ‘human’ one. It felt similar to ours, but still somewhat different.” She grimaced slightly. “Some of the intellectuals said that the worst case scenario it might be someone trying to change you go back to your original bodies with the souls still under recovery.”

“That…” Drake said shocked before frowning. “Doesn’t sound all that bad, actually. Would it really be that troublesome?”

“I see where you are going, but there is a reason we are sent to these weaker vessels when our souls get damaged, you know?” She said with a heavy tone. “The soul is what control the body. Although there’s no problem of having a strong soul in a weak body, the opposite is not exactly the same. Think of it like this, your scientists create the strongest weapon, yet the only commands they can give it is to turn left or right while aiming. Nothing more. They can’t control when, where and how it will fire, simply if it will shoot to the left or to the right. It’s something like that.”

“Okay, suddenly that doesn’t sound so good.” Drake said in a more serious tone, and the siblings both started to become a bit more wary towards their situation. However, Kara gave a gentle smile, dissipating the tension.

“But as I said, that’s only the worst case scenario. The best case it might only be a powerful Recovered who’s on the brink of leaving the purgatorium, although rare, it would not be unheard of for something like that to happen.” She said, and the siblings visibly calmed down. “However, this also might only be a possibility, so, as I said, i’d rather be safe taking a few precautions, and that’s the reason why i’ve been seeking for help.”

“So, right now it’s more of an investigative mission than anything else?” Drake asked just to be sure, and Kara nodded. “Well, if it’s only like that, then I guess I could try to give you a hand… ” He said with a slight hint of hesitation in his tone. “If it doesn’t involve fighting people who are hundred of times stronger than me, I should be able to do something. Although I have no idea on how to go around investigating that, to be honest.”

“No, your participation alone is more than enough help for now.” Kara said once again.

“Well, I can’t let my irresponsible little brother get into this alone, can I?” Aliss said with a sigh. “If there’s something I can do to help, you can count me in.” She stuffed her chest out and hit it with her fist as if making a point. Kara looked at the two and gave a solemn nod.

“Now then, what exactly would you have us do?” Drake made the critical question.

“For now, nothing.” Her answer made the siblings raise an eyebrow in surprise. “To be honest, I did not expect to find help so soon like this and it’s only been a short time since I arrived, so I have not been able to make my preparations yet.”

“Then, simply keep an eye out?” Aliss asked,

“Indeed.” The blue haired girl said. “Just keep an eye out for any odd rumors or the like. If you find something odd, contact me.” She suddenly frowned while looking at the siblings. “By no means try to verify the situation yourselves. In the slightest chance we are dealing with a worst case scenario, you might be risking your lives, and I have no desire to see that happening.”

“I guess we can do that, then.” Drake said while giving a quick glance towards his sister. “But aren’t you a bit too paranoid with the whole ‘for safety’ deal?”

On his words, the girl made a small wry smile before sighing loudly.

“We, Hu-arii, are a warrior race and value combat prowess above almost everything else.” She said in a low tone. “But exactly because of that, we know how precious a person’s life is. We, better than anyone else, know how it feels to lose someone you hold dear, so it’s not uncommon for us to be this worried about one’s life.”

Although she said that as if just stating a fact, Drake and Aliss couldn’t help but think that her tone meant that she had already passed through something similar, thus they simply kept quiet.

For a few awkward moments they simply kept quiet, but finally Kara cleared her throat and put on an apologetic smile.

“Sorry, I guess even for you humans this is a sensitive topic.” She said while shaking her head.

“It happens, no need to worry.” Aliss said while gently hugging the girl. “You must have been through a lot to say that.”

“… You do reckon that I’m probably much older than you, right” The Hu-ara said with a slight tinge of awkwardness.

“For me you only look as old as my brother, so I don’t care.” The girl said stubbornly.

“By the way, sis is twenty f-” Drake started with a mischievous tone, but was stopped by a swift kick to the shins.

“I’m nineteen.” Aliss said coldly.

“Haah? Weren’t you nineteen last year too?” He asked confused.

“I’ll be nineteen forever. Twenty at max.”

“…So humans can stop their aging. I sincerely had no idea.” Kara said while nodding.

“Look, now you are making our alien friend have misgiving about humanity!” Drake said with a frown.

Noticing what her speech did, Aliss smiled wryly before lifting Kara’s head towards her and putting on a serious face.

“Look, Kara.” She said seriously. “I can see that you don’t actually know a lot about humans, so let me leave this clear. Humans cannot stop their aging , be it through natural or artificial methods.” As she said that, Drake kept nodding satisfied. “That’s something only I can do!”

“OI! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TEACHING HER?”

“I see.” Kara said while nodding, not noticing Drake’s backlash. “Does that have anything to do with the skill needed to make those ‘cakes’?”

“…Yes. Totally.” Aliss said in a deadpan face, but Kara didn’t seem to notice this, as her eyes flared up in admiration.

“So I ended up meeting someone incredible today.” Her tail started rattling energetically as she looked excited at Aliss. “To think that I underestimated you just because you aren’t a Recovered.”

“Yeah, ignoring the whole being tricked…” Drake said with a wry tone. “What is with that whole recovered thingy you keep calling me?”

“Didn’t I explain before?” She asked doubtful for a moment before shaking her head. “No matter. As I said, your souls are sent here to recover itself from their death in their original bodies. However, a single human life is not enough for a complete recovery, and usually it’s not strange for our souls to last a few cycles in here, recovering a bit with every lifespan we have. And the more it recovers, the more traces from our original selves appear on our human bodies. Be them physical or psychological.” She turned towards Aliss with those words. “For example, should you be on a later stage of reincarnation, it wouldn’t be strange for your name to be known throughout the whole nation. Even more when you have such a thing you call ‘cake’ as a method to spread it.”

“Me? Famous?” The blonde girl asked surprised, and Kara nodded. “Isn’t… Isn’t that a bit too much?”

“No. Anglas like you are more usually than not extremely famous, even amongst other races.” Kara said with a serious tone. “You could say that most of them are destined to greatness.”

“Then, what about me?” Drake asked while raising his hand. “Am I destined to greatness or something since I’m a Scribe?”

“Well…”

“…Why are you averting your eyes?” He asked slightly angry.

“Scribes… Although some are famous, they are known for being slightly… Eccentric, at times. Mostly due to some of them becoming influenced by their stories.” She said while avoiding eye contact. Drake blinked while staring at her for some time.

“Then… I’m destined to become an oddball?” He said worried, but Kara shook her head.

“No, as I said, only some of them become like that.” Kara interrupted him. “Not all of them are as eccentric as they are known for.”

“I see…” He said with a sigh of relief before frowning once again. “Wait a moment. At the bus you said that scribes are record keepers, right?” He asked in doubt, and she nodded. “That doesn’t sound all that good in a brawl as you said that you needed.”

“Hmm… I guess I didn’t explain Scribes in their entirety then.” Kara said with a slightly disappointed expression. “If we, Hu-ara, are known as the swords due to the nature of our bodies, and the Angla are known as the leaders due to their personalities, the Scribes are called the law for their unique ability.”

“The law…?” Drake said, clear expectative appearing in his face “That sounds fancy…”

“Indeed. Most Scribes dislike that name as it seems to attract attention to themselves and interrupt their reading or writing.” As Kara said that, Aliss took a peek at Drake with the corner of her eyes and gave a smirk. Drake replied with a brief frown and a glare. “But they didn’t receive that title for nothing. As I said, the Scribes are the lorekeepers of the worlds and the words are their weapons of choice.” A wry smile appeared in her face. “Literally.”

“What do you mean?” Drake asked curious, but she simply shook her head.

“To be honest, that’s something i’ve heard once.” She said with a sigh. “You are the second Scribe i’ve actually met in my whole life, and even then the one I met never showed me his natural ability.”

“That doesn’t sound very helpful.” Aliss said with a wry tone and Kara nodded in agreement. “If that’s the case, why ask my brother whom you know to be a scribe? Actually, how do you know what we are?”

“Also, from the way you word it, it looks to me that the ability isn’t something that can be used by humans.” Drake added his thoughts.

“Well. First, the scribe told me that it’s a very natural skill, and most scribes know how to use it instinctively.” Kara started her explanation while looking at Aliss. “Second, since my soul and my body are actually in synchrony, I am capable of seeing one’s soul once I approach them enough, in fact, all of the other races are also capable of doing that.” She then turned towards Drake. “I can’t be sure for now since I need to confirm the theory, but there should be a way for you to use the skill of your soul, even if only for a moment. And lastly, answering your initial question, as you may have deduced, Recovered are those whose souls are in a later stage of their recovery. More specifically, the ones who are in their last lives at the purgatory. Thanks to this, their traits are much more pronounced and, theoretically, they should be able to utilize some of their abilities under certain circumstances.”

On her words, Drake nodded satisfied. Although some of it sounding a bit far-fetched, it wasn’t in his position to doubt the only one who actually knows what is actually happening. Looking at his sister, he noticed that she was having a bit more trouble wrapping her head up around everything that had been said than himself.

Seeing that the two siblings had enough information for now, Kara nodded satisfied and decided that it might have been enough for the moment. Yanking her tail off from Drake’s hand while he was distracted, she turned to them and said.

“Well, i’ve already troubled you enough for today and I think it might be a good idea to let you two think about it for the time being.” The girl said with a calm voice. “I’ll come back here tomorrow and you can tell me your final decision then. If by any chance you find something before then, just contact me and I’ll come as fast as I can.”

Aliss let out a long sigh before nodding briefly. Seeing that Kara decided to finish her stay for the moment, even if the storm from earlier was still raging, so she took upon herself to escort the visitor to the elevator at the very least. Drake watched the duo go for a moment, but when the door closed behind them, a question popped up in his head.

Running after the girls, he yanked the door open and found the two waiting in front of the elevator just as its doors opened. Kara already putting one of her feets inside stopped surprised and looked at him in confusion.

“Say… How do we contact you again?” He asked and saw as Aliss widened her eyes in surprise.

“I also forgot about it with so much going on…” His sister said with a regretful tone before turning towards Kara. “I don’t think you have a cellphone or something of the kind, do you?” She asked curious.

“Cellphone?” The girl asked before shaking her head. “I did not have the time to acquire one of those yet.” She said with a thoughtful tone.

“Then, how do we get to get in contact with you?” He asked dubiously.

“Well… You could always come to the place that I am using as my base for now.” She said after some thought.

“I guess that works for now.” Aliss said with a nod before pulling her cell phone up from her pocket. “What’s the address?”

“It’s the old metal bridge at the northeast.” She said briefly.

“So it’s close to the bridge then?” Aliss said slightly surprised. “Not as far as I thought. I can even drive you there…”

“There’s no need for that.” Kara said with a shake of her head. “I can reach there faster on my own rather than taking one of your vehicles.”

“…Really?” Aliss asked surprised.

“As expected of the superhuman girl.” Drake said with a wry smile. “So, where exactly is it? You don’t mean that you are living on the bridge, are you?”

“No, that would be foolish.” Kara said with slight annoyed tone. “The bridge is public property from your city, so living on it would end up disturbing it’s workings.” As she said that, Drake heaved a sigh of relief. “I’ve taken the place under the bridge as the base.” Both Aliss and Drake froze at her words before staring at the girl who had satisfied smile. “The patch of ground is packed enough to not be a bother while walking and the bridge is wide enough to protect me from the weather. It’s also fairly isolated, so not much people cross the area. It’s the perfect base if I do say so myself.”

As she gave a satisfied nod, she finally noticed how oddly silent the siblings were. Turning to them, she noticed how the two were looking at her strangely. Drake looking at her with a look of pity while Aliss looked at her with a mix of sadness and anger.

“Kara.” Aliss said shortly.

“Yes?” She replied automatically with a worried tone.

“You are going to your ‘base’ right now, correct?”

“That’s… What I was planning, yes…” She said while feeling a strange chill run down her spine as the blonde smiled.

“Ooh boy… Aliss snapped.” Drake said with a wry tone.

“Well, let’s have a change of plans then.” Aliss said with a smile that didn’t match her tone at all. “You are taking all your things from your ‘base’ and relocating to a more appropriate place.”

“Huh… ” Kara took some seconds to choose her words before continuing. “And… What would be a ‘more appropriate place’?” She asked confused before widening her eyes. “Is one of the other bridges even better?”

“…You…” Drake said while facepalming and holding back a laugh. “You are surprisingly simplistic, aren’t you?”

“Huh? What do you mean?” She asked confused. “Sometimes the simplest strategies are the best, you know?”

“You sound oddly like someone who gets tricked easily when you say that.” Drake said with a wry smile. At his words, Aliss expression darkened.

“I… Was going to recommend you to take a hotel or something, but Drake has a point.” Aliss said with a worried tone. “I think that if we leave you alone for too long you might get tricked by someone else.”

“I’m not one to fall for such tricks so easily.” Kara said proudly, but Aliss denied immediately.

“Nope. You are too easily tricked.” Kara didn’t even have the chance to complain, as when she was about to do it, the elevator started beeping, telling that the door had been open for far too long. “Okay, I’m taking you with me, then we’ll get your things and bring them here.”

“Look, there’s no need for you to…” Kara started seriously, but her voice froze when she saw Aliss expression.

“I’m not giving you a choice, young lady.” As she said that, Aliss pushed the terrified Kara into the elevator, stepping in herself.

“I totally saw this one coming.” Was Drake’s last comment as the doors closed

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