Horsemen – Chapter 8

“Drake!” Kara said in a hurried tone as she pulled him closer. Still shocked with the sudden event that occurred in front of him, it took him a few seconds to understand what was happening.”We need to move these people away from here!”

 

“Huh?” He asked idiotically before shaking his head and putting on more focused expression. “Why?” He asked in a low tone. “Do you recognize that thing?”

 

“No.” Kara denied immediately, getting the boy by surprise. “But whatever that is, it contains ether. And a lot of it.” She paused for a moment while choosing her words. “Humans shouldn’t have access to ether.”

 

“Then you have no idea what that is?” Drake asked worried, but Kara nodded weakly showing her worry. He thought for a moment what that could possibly mean, but seeing the girl’s anxiety, he decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea to linger too much. Turning his attention back to the woman who was being held by the men, he asked. “Can you do something about it if I get the people away from here?”

 

Either through luck or lack of it, the moment he landed his eyes on the woman, what he saw was some kind of black smoke, leaking from her mouth, noses and ears and swirling around her body in an ominous matter.

 

For him, it didn’t take a long look to know that, whatever that thing was, it was very bad news. Paling slightly, he turned towards Kara who nodded slightly at his previous question. Seeing that, he took a brief moment to think on an idea, and using something he knew that would probably work from the various stories he read.

 

Taking a deep breath, he tried putting on his best scared face and pointed towards the woman.

 

“THAT’S POISON GAS!” He shouted, before grabbing Kara’s arm and starting to run away from the place. The blue-haired girl looked at him confused for a moment as the whole mall fell into a dead silence, with the exception of him and Kara who darted away from the area.

 

Once the words sunk in the people’s mind, even if they weren’t so sure of what they were seeing, most people caution’s won over their curiosity, and with the black smoke seemingly supporting the crazy idea that had been put out. Soon, fear gathered in people’s expression, and all the people who had been close by started running away from the area.

 

In panic, people started running away from the central plaza, trying to avoid being close to said poisonous smoke.

 

“Why did we have to run too?” Kara asked Drake in confusion. He then turned to her for a moment then looked around, seeing as people ran away in panic, he quickly pulled Kara away inside a store that had already been vacated and they hid behind the balcony.

 

“Herd mentality.” Drake said quietly while spying from behind the counter. “Most stories, movies and such that I know, the population only really reacts when someone does the first movement.” He explained briefly and saw as Kara nodded briefly. in an understanding manner.

 

“I see…” She said while the two spied the plaza from their place.

 

With all the people gone from the place, the only ones left were the black hooded men and the woman who still had smoke escaping from her mouth. The men had a shocked look while the woman looked horrified, as if her stupor had been lifted.

 

“How… HOW DARE YOU SABOTAGE THE GREAT SUMMONING?” The mysterious person asked in the speakers. “THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A MOMENT OF GREAT JOY TO BE SHARED WITH ALL OF THEM! POISON? WHY WOULD I USE SUCH A ‘HUMAN’ WEAPON?”

 

As the man raged in on the speakers, Drake couldn’t help but think that it was already over. Even if he convinced the people that it wasn’t poison, it was clearly something dangerous, so they probably wouldn’t go back to watch the scene. Turning to Kara, he frowned and asked.

 

“So, what exactly can you do?” He asked, referring to the situation with the woman. Kara widened her eyes and frowned.

 

“I’m… Not very skilled with utilizing the ether, but I should be able to remove it from her body if I can get to her.” She said before looking at the man long and hard. “Should be easy.”

 

“I see…” Drake said with a nod while also looking at the scene. “Later on I’ll need you to tell me what is that ether thing. I have an idea but i’d rather be sure.”

 

Hearing that, Kara nodded in agreement while her tail appeared from behind her. Carefully laying the clothes bag on the ground, Drake saw as Kara leaned forward, towards the men as her tail rattled loudly.

 

Blinking surprised, Drake noticed as some kind of white mist started to appear around her body, not unlike the mist that had been gathering around the woman., except a lot less creepy feeling.

 

As he wondered what it was that she was doing, he heard as someone shouted ahead.

 

“RELEASE THE WOMAN YOU BASTARDS!” He heard a masculine-sounding voice come from ahead.

 

“Wha… Adam?” He asked surprised as he saw the large burly man carrying a large wooden plank while advancing towards the woman, using a cloth to block his mouth. Staring surprised for a moment, he cursed when he noticed that Adam was walking towards the hooded men. “Damn it!” He said while running out from the counter.

 

“Scribe!…” Kara shouted worried before stopping and shaking her head. “Get him away! I’ll deal with the thugs!”

 

Drake made a motion with his hand telling her that he understood while he ran forward, taking away his glasses and tucking them away in a place he considered safe.

 

“ADAM!” He shouted just as he saw the large man swinging the make-shift mace at one of the thugs, only for him to barely dodge the attack.

 

“Drake?” The large man asked surprised while looking at him. But he quickly turned back and made sure to cover his mouth once again. “Get away! Didn’t you hear that this is poisonous?” He asked angrily.

 

“Yeah, I know!” Drake said while reaching besides him and grabbing Adam’s arm, pulling him back. “That’s why we have to go!” He said nervously, but the man simply shook his head and pointed towards the woman.

 

“I’m not going to let them stay with her! We have to help her!” He said. Drake looked at the woman who had smoke covering her whole body into an almost unidentifiable mass.

 

Grimacing, Drake looked at the woman and tried to find a way to convince Adam to let go for now and come back later, but while he did so, the voice came in from the speakers once again.
“NOT ONLY DO THEY FORSAKE THE RITUAL, NOW THEY ARE ALSO TRYING TO STOP IT! GET THEM!”

 

Gritting his teeth, Drake turned back to the men just in time to see as one of them pulled a knife out of his jacket and came towards him.

 

Being shocked by the sudden attack, it took him a moment to recover, but before he had the chance to do anything, Adam swung his weapon at the man and knocked him back on his butt.

 

“Little Drake! Leave it to me! I’m more than used to dealing with things like these!” Adam said while covering for him. However, Drake simply frowned and turned towards the other hooded man who took out a beating stick.

 

Adam didn’t seem to notice the man, and before he had the chance to attack Adam, Drake put himself between the two of them, grabbing hold of the stick mid-swing, Drake closed in with a shoulder bash and knocked the man down before slamming his feet on the man’s stomach, who grunted in pain before passing out.

 

“I can take care of myself.” He said smugly for a moment before frowning once again. “Anyway, we really need to get out of here quickly. Who knows what that thing can do to us!” he said while pointing towards the woman, and Adam blinked for a moment and stared at her.

 

However, neither of them could see the woman anymore, as the smoke had become so dense that it blocked out everything. Also, the last thug was looking at them for a long time with a weird expression in his face.

 

The duo recovered from their shock just in time to see as the man pulled out a pistol from his robes, aiming at them. They froze in shock for a moment as the man took aim with his two hands.

 

Feeling a cold sweat drip from his forehead, Drake gave a quick look towards Adam and saw that he had a similar expression.

 

“You have brought this upon yourselves.” The man said coldly while taking aim. Widening their eyes they saw as he turned the barrel towards Adam.

 

And pulled the trigger.

 

There was a gunshot echoing in the mall, and Drake threw himself over Adam, trying to move him away from the path of the bullet.

 

However, even as the two fell onto the ground and became stunned by the shock, the bullet never even got close to them. Only getting sight of it with the very corner of their eyes, the a single thought of confusion crossed their minds.

 

““A… Knight?””

 

A bright white armor passed in front of them a brief moment before the bullet left the gun, standing between the duo and the deadly lead projectile.

 

Recovering from the impact, they stood back up once again and stared at the armor who had saved them, and they understood something. Calling this an armor was a bit wrong.

 

Covered in what looked like metallic platings all over its body, the thing in front of them was clearly a living being, as it opened its claws to let go of the bullet it caught. However, even if it was a living thing, it was clear that it wasn’t human with one single look.

 

Standing tall at two meters of height, the plates that covered its body weren’t pieces of an armor, but the creature’s shells. With a slightly humanoid shape limb-wise, the similarities stopped there. Its feet were more akin to what one would expect of a bird, with one extra joint midway up and claw-like feet that planted evenly on the ground.

 

The hands that finished in four long claws that seemed sharper than a razor were, just as well, covered in sharp-looking protective shells. Midway through the forearm, a piece of the shell projected out forming a long blade-like appendices.

 

Its chest, the closest that it had to a human, was where the heaviest plates concentrated, giving it a sturdy appearance that wouldn’t surprise Drake if it could stop a tank despite it’s surprisingly slim build. From its back sprouted a long tail made of segmented shells with a blade on its end, from which a blue fur seemed to pop out. Same fur that sprouted from the joints of the armor in both of its shins and wrists, giving it a somewhat regal look, as well from the back of its head, where it formed a long cascade that went all the way to the middle of its back.

 

Finally, the head had a shape that was unique, but reminded him of a wolf. With four long triangular protrusions on the top of its head that looked like ears, its face formed into a middle sized snout, where a pair of dangerous looking fangs lightly peeked out.

 

Ferocity oozed out of the thing in front of them, its shape and stance reminding them of a war god rather than a simple mindless monster. Something that the shining blue eyes full of comprehension seemed to affirm.

 

Drake and Adam were shocked for a moment, watching the thing in front of them. Confused and terrified by the sudden appearance, the thug turned his weapon towards the monster and shot at it. However it didn’t even budge as the bullets bounced off its thick plates. Even the ones on its face.

 

Grabbing the gun with one of its hands and, not crushing, but literally slicing it right where it was, the monster then back-slapped the man, knocking him back already knocked out by the sheer strength of the impact.

 

“…”

 

Drake and Adam were completely speechless by the scene before them, and when the monster turned to the two, they both flinched.

 

However, once his eyes met with its eyes, Drake saw something in it that quickly made himself recover. Turning towards Adam at his side, he grabbed his hand and pulled him up.

 

“Come on. Let’s go!” He said quickly.

 

“Huh… But… That…” Adam said while pointing towards Kara, who was walking towards the smoke where the woman was found earlier.

 

“It protected us, didn’t you see? It’s on our side.” He said quickly. Adam blinked surprised before nodding and turning to the woman. “It seems to have some way to solve the woman’s situation. Let’s go before we get poisoned!”

 

Adam stared at him for some time before nodding weakly and turning back. As they ran away, Drake thanked the god that Adam was still too shocked to understand what was happening, and giving a look back towards Kara, who had crouched besides the black smoke, he wondered what she was going to do.

 

“… I have to go and get Kara. She must still be hiding!” Drake said after leaving Adam in the shop’s entrance together with the rest of the people. Before the burly shopkeeper could react, he had already darted back to the mall.

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