Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Capricious Infection ❯ Act 23: Tale of a Dove, Part 4 ( Chapter 23 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Act 23: Tale of a Dove, Part 4
“I will not take you,” the alien with the large horns told them with a frown.
“Why not?” Clubs held his throwing knives menacingly and growled lowly.
“Find your own way,” she crossed her arms and closed her eyes, only to open them to Dove, pointing an arrow close enough to touch her nose.
“You will take us there,” Dove demanded. She didn't have time for these childish games. Who knew what was happening to Spades as they spoke?
The alien's frown deepened and she jerked the arrow straight from the bow and broke it in half. “I will not allow you to interfere with my people's proceedings.”
“Then we'll just have to beat your ass and make you tell us,” Clubs drew back, ready to fire his knives on a moment's notice.
The petite girl with the large horns levitated into the air. “If you defeat me, then I'll tell you what you need to know. Allow me to introduce myself; I am Cyra of the Kefros race.”
Clubs narrowed his eyes. “Let me guess, you want to take over this planet?” He had heard it from a thousand races. By now it was more than apparent what the goal of every, single life form was who shot through the time rips.
“My plans are a little…different. We only want the resources that this world has to offer,” Cyra informed them of her plans. Whether or not she had the planet was of little concern to her. She had no intentions of living there.
“Wait…So you don't care about the people?” Hearts was bewildered. Usually pirates would take in slaves, but she didn't desire that at all.
“This planet has vital material that will allow our race to flourish for another hundred years,” Cyra explained why the materials were so important to her. More than slaves or money, or even the planet itself, she needed the precious nutrients it provided.
“Why do you need it? Did you drain your world and realize your extinction was eminent unless you sought more resources?” Hearts figured that was the reason Cyra sought out Earth's resources. It was a typical scenario with many races. They would use up every resource that their planet produced, and when the planet began to die they realized their destruction was eminent.
“Our planet was destroyed, so our rare resources were already depleted. Our planet was often pirated during the great space revolution,” Cyra continued to explain the story of her race. It wasn't their fault that her planet had died; it was the constant piracy that eventually made it inhabitable. In a way, her situation was much like that of the Arcanes.
Hearts narrowed her eye. “So, that's it.”
“Space revolution?” Dove questioned. She'd never heard of anything like that. Was it like the alien version of the space race?
“A time when planets went to discover worlds beyond our own. This resulted in wars, invasion and piracy. It would seem that the Kefros are victims,” Hearts brought light to the situation. It was known as the true point in time where everyone was out exploring other planets. For some races, it was a god send and for some it was like utter hell.
“That has nothing to do with us, so why are you seeking out members of our team to crucify?” Dove wasn't going for her sob story. Frankly, she didn't give a shit what kind of problems the Kefros race had because right now she had problems of her own.
“Wait…” Clubs called out, causing everyone to turn and face him. “Maybe we did…”
“What are you talking about?” Hearts looked cross. She didn't remember doing anything to deserve this kind of punishment.
“We traveled a lot. Pregmacia found us on planet Kastrique,” Clubs noted.
“Kastrique?” Boxcars wondered what that had to do with anything. Unless he was just missing the point, he didn't remember doing anything to the people of that planet.
“That is my home world,” Cyra noted, connecting Club's point.
Dove raised an eyebrow. “How did the piracy happen?”
Something was up. This was all connected somehow. Was there something that the Arcane were hiding from her? If there was, she was going to be pissed off. Since they were undoubtedly smarter than she was, they probably knew enough about the psychology of lower races to know how to fool them. In some ways, Dove felt intimidated by the Arcanes.
This was one of those ways.
Cyra explained that there was a warp hole that was created on her home planet. The Kastrique was a self-sufficient planet, rich in precious metals and valuable ore that the Kefros race sold and traded with foreign planets. They kept their location secret and always agreed to meet on other planets. Because of the warp, many other alien species descended to their planet, invading it and draining their precious resources dry. Their people had to flee for safer worlds. Because of that, their race dwindled in number and decreased to being a nomadic group of planet hoppers.
“That was our fault. I actually remember coming to Kastrique. It was the first planet we fled to after escaping Arcane.” That was how it tied into his sentence. Clubs knew it was their fault.
Hearts crossed her arms and glared at him, bearing her teeth in disapproval. “Why would you tell her that? What are you thinking?”
Now she was going to kill them for sure and it was all Clubs' fault.
“Oh crap!” Clubs recoiled, not truly thinking about what he said until after he said it. They were screwed.
Diamonds leered at him, folding his arms over his chest. “I say, is there anything else you would like to let them know, you wanker?”
Cyra held out her arms, releasing two rings of energy that rotated around her form as she glowed a lavender hue. The rings exploded around her, releasing strong winds and a sonic boom. Malice marred her face and in the depths of her eyes hatred bred. “I'll take revenge for what you've done to my planet. Now die!”
She threw out her arms straight out to her sides and stretched her legs out as she released more rings. The skies illuminated in a brilliant yellow, nearly blinding them as they were all beaten with wind and debris. They steadied themselves to keep their footing.
“What the hell?” Dove shouted with an arm bent over her face.
“Look out! Here it comes!” Boxcars warned, faintly seeing the attack approach them at a rapid pace.
In a flash, Diamonds appeared in front of Dove and held his arms out. He summoned a celestial barrier that formed a clear dome around the two, shielding them from the onslaught. The two whips of energy beat against it with large thunks. For now, they were safe.
“Thanks Diamonds! We owe you one!” Clubs complimented the English Arcane. He was happy to have been shielded from harm's way, especially by someone who didn't have a weapon. That was surprising.
Diamonds glanced over his shoulder and shot his team mate a glare through his monocle. “I hope you know, this is all your fault,” his words figuratively cut Clubs down a few sizes.
Clubs folded his ears back and lowered his head in submission. “I know.”
“What?” Cyra asked lowly, nearly growling the word out.
Boxcars stepped in front of the group with his weapon ready. “I don't have time for this bullshit. So, let's get this farce over with.”
“Oh my!” Diamonds exclaimed.
Hearts took a step back, pointing the toe of her red heel out. “Get ready to run.”
Dove glanced at her, unaware of what was about to transpire. “What do you mean?”
“He's fixing to let her have it, and you don't want to be around when he releases his full power,” Clubs rarely saw Boxcars go at full force, but when the gladiator unleashed his power it was brutally devastating to everything he surrounded himself with.
“Got it,” Dove didn't ask questions, she just got ready to book it.
Boxcars bent his elbows and growled. He hunched over, summoning his power as his furry knees bent slightly and his long, pointed nose pointed to the ground. His muscles bulged and flexed as brilliant electricity flowed over his body and lit up the skies above. The ground began to shake violently as Dove, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds struggled to keep their footing, causing a commotion and stepping awkwardly to avoid falling. Yells and blurred voices could be heard from his team mates as well as the booming of the earthquake and gradual upheaval of chunks of land.
“Holy crap!” Dove shouted as she stumbled away. She could barely keep her footing and she was sure her face was going to meet the ground at any time. All of the grains of dirt were beating against her skin in the worst derm abrasion she'd ever taken part in.
“Let's get out of here!” Clubs shouted as the group made it out of Boxcar's line of fire.
They cleared the area just in time to escape the pieces of land that came up in chunks, lifted into the air and levitating in place as a result of sheer magic ability and telekinesis.
`What is this power?' Cyra was taken aback as the land shook and ripped apart around her. It took a large amount of power to keep herself still against the raw energy that was being summoned. It over took her, resonating through her body as a precursor of things to come.
It was then that it hit her like a brick wall. There was no way that she could combat such a move. “I've got to get away.” Taking off as fast as she could Cyra flew off in an attempt to get as far away as she could from the range of the attack.
“Oh no you don't! HAZZARD DRAIN!” Energy resonated from Boxcar's body in a giant wave of brilliant gold, ripping up the ground as it continued to consume everything around him. Cyra continued to fly, desperately trying to outrun it, but it was futile. The wave met her body and made contact as she screamed bloody murder, jolting forward and slamming into a large rock before being engulfed in the aura. It later morphed into a brilliant orange and looked like liquid fire. It continued to swirl around Boxcars, forming a typhoon of brilliant energy. Lightening was haphazardly thrown from random points, striking into the ground with sheer force and power to put giant holes in it.
From a safe distance, Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Dove watched the attack go on. Dove placed her hand on the bark of a nearby tree, the brilliant attack reflected in her shades as she stood, entranced by the mass and force of it.
“Whoa…” She spoke softly.
“That's the power of Hazzard Drain,” Hearts crossed her arms and stepped up beside of her, looking out over the scene. From this distance, it looked like a tornado of fire in the midst of a violent storm.
“That's cool as hell. Won't he be drained by the time he's done, though?” If not, then Boxcars truly was something special. Maybe all of those years of being a gladiator made him superb. Dove never questioned how many fights he won and lost but by the looks of it, he more than likely won most of them. However, considering the vast expansion of the universe and all of the races within in, she could have been exaggerating a bit.
“Boxcars can do it twice a day before he fizzles out,” Clubs pointed out his prowess.
Dove could only blink in disbelief. “Are you serious?”
The knife thrower nodded proudly. “I have seen it.”
A smile crept to her pink lips. “That's fantastic. I wished I could do that, but all I know how to do is concentrate my energy through my arrows.”
Hearts placed a hand on the human's shoulder and leveled them both with a dire expression. “We'll talk about this later. We've got to get to that crucifixion scene.” There was no telling what was going on or if they would be able to save Spades. They had already lost a considerable amount of time fighting Cyra.
Suddenly, Clubs looked as if something came to him. He pointed a finger into the air with a smile. “I have an idea.”
“Oh?” Diamonds was up for anything.
Clubs pointed over the high cliff they stood on, out over the multiple roofs of the houses in the once flourishing city. The whole time everyone had been watching Boxcars exert himself on the field, he was studying his surroundings. “You can see it clear as day.” Over the roof tops, three crosses were being raised.
Dove frowned, her sandy bangs shading her eyes behind her sun glasses. She could only imagine what kind of excruciating pain Spades could be going through at this point in time. The girl was worried about him. She hoped that they could make it in time. Dove didn't think she could forgive herself if something happened to him.
“We'll close them in, and then we can work out magic.” While Dove was feeling sorry for his team mate, Clubs was promising a great rescue. As long as Spades held out, he was sure that they could rescue him efficiently without going through a war zone to do it.
The large, wooden cross stood against the busy skies, and on it hung Spades. His arms were stretched out with large stakes drive through his hands. His red blood was slowly oozing from the open wounds, flaking where the cold winds dried it, and matting the fur on his hands. A large chain was linked around his chest in a criss-cross manner, fixing him further to the cross and holding him in place. His feet had also been nailed to the base of the cross, and he could feel the blood sloshing around in his shoes, sticky and warm against his skin. Pain resonated through his body.
Spades glanced down at the pool of aliens below; his ears were flat against the back of his skull and a sorrowful expression written on his face.
“So…This is how it ends. I suppose even the sun sets in paradise. It's been a hard life, that's for sure. I wonder if Miss Dove is alright. To be honest, she didn't need to be caught up in this mess. Is this what it's worth? Is coming here for the Blood Ruby worth this?” He glanced back up towards the sky with its rain clouds of cinder and black. “Forgive me Cyphia, Zyro, Etnyre and Olin. I am simply a sacrifice in this war…Miss Dove…I…” Off in the distance, he caught sight of the air ships and Ares' factory, pumping billows of smoke into the air. “Hmmm…that's right. The dead go to that hell in the sky. My powers have been drained. I can't even gather enough psychic energy to control my blood streams. This is it Zathern K. Ronima…the last page of your life has been written. I just wished that I could apologize to her one last time…”
Below him, the crowd was going into a frenzy. Commotion filled the air and several screams could be heard as a bright red aura surrounds them. The air began to feel heavy and hot, as if they were standing in the middle of a broiler. The crowd ran in several directions, trying their best to get away from the heat.
“I don't even get to hang here and suffer. I'll be torched like Joan of Arc. What a dismal way to die.” It wasn't as if hanging there and bleeding out wasn't dismal on its own, but it was far better than being cooked.
Behind him, in the air Boxcars rode in as his sadistic, baritone laugh echoed through the battle field a top of a great phoenix composed of the same molten fire that he created in his Hazzard Drain attack. The substance danced around in the form of a beautiful bird that lit up the skies and gave off that powerful heat.
“Run, you little cretins!” Boxcars called out as he yanked the barbell off of his back and took a flying leap from the phoenixes' back. “Time to bash…and crash!” He continued to yell as the gladiator slammed his weapon into the ground, shattering the earth around him as he created a crater, causing many of those gathered to stumble, fall in and even become crushed by the rocks.
Dove stood on a roof top nearby with Clubs and Diamonds as they looked down on the situation that unfolded before them. “Is this really a good idea?”
“We'll be fine,” Clubs dismissed her concern as he urged Diamonds to come on.
They continued to go from roof top to roof top, making their way over the crowds and stampedes of people below. Dove, who was not as agile as the two canines, slowly made her way across the roof tops, trying not to fall down below. She knew that if she didn't step right or judged her distance wrong, then she was going to be stomped to death.
Leaping onto the large mansion that was closest to the site, Clubs gripped the side of the roof and smiled as he looked down on the crosses. His white eyes glimmered with mischief, as his target was in his sight. “There he is.”
Dove hesitated; almost afraid of what she would find when she laid eyes on the situation. The teen forced herself to look over the edge as she laid sights on Spades, who looked in a sad state nailed to that cross like a canine Jesus. Instantly, her heart dropped to her feet and she felt an overwhelming guilt and sorrow overcome her. `Spades…what have they done to you?'
Clubs turned to his human companion and gave her orders. “You rescue Spades, leave the rest to us.”
The two jumped onto a lower tier of the Japanese style roof and struck dramatic poses. Clubs placed a foot onto the point of the tier and pointed into the air. He wore his most menacing face. “Time to die! I Clubs Cutlass-“
Diamonds struck a pose, pointing to the sky in the other direction while striking a regal appearance. “…and I, Diamonds Debonair…”
They both spoke in unison. “Will reclaim what is rightfully ours! Now, prepare yourselves!”
The two Arcane jumped from the top of the roof, doing a series of spins and flips through the air before they crashed into the ground in a crumpled heap. Both of them looked like fools as beads of sweat ran down the crowd's heads and they crashed to the ground. The only things present were a series of twitching legs.
Clubs grabbed his leg and howled in pain, squirming around in circles. “GAAAAHHH! That fucking hurt! I think I broke my leg!”
“Ouch…my face…” Diamonds moaned as he lay on the ground, rubbing his face with his hands. He had landed face-first and felt the full force of the blow.
“What the fuck was that?” Boxcars turned from his demolition and looked at his team mates.
Dove looked down at her team mate's stupidity with a frown on her face as she cringed. “Damn…That looked painful. If they were going for a dramatic entrance, they failed hardcore.”
“Grah! My damned leg!”
Spades couldn't believe what he was seeing. He sighed heavily to himself. He really wished he was elsewhere, and at this point he didn't want to claim to know his fellows, either. “Sometimes, I question my team mates' motives.”
Boxcars bulldozed his way through the crowd, knocking people over and stomping around, fuming with anger as he made his way towards the two, shaking his barbell at them. “You idiots! Are you trying to bring shame to the Cut Throat Crew's name?”
“I can do this!” Clubs said frantically, trying to regain his sense of integrity as he bent his knees and squatted down, throwing his arms out to their respected sides. “Time to show off my ultimate technique!”
“Is that what I think it is?” Spades hoped that Clubs wasn't going to go through with the attack that he thought he was.
“Flames of Wrath!” Clubs called out as bright flames shot from his body and traveled into the air. His body burned brightly, like a large comet.
The Arcane screamed and flailed around, violently patting himself as he hopped around wildly. “I'm on fire! Yeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!”
Clubs had sat himself on fire as Hearts, Diamonds and Boxcars crashed to the ground.
“Gah! Help!” Clubs continued to flail around as everyone just watched him with expressions that said `what the hell' or called him an idiot. They couldn't believe what they were witnessing.
“Clubs…” Diamonds trailed.
Hearts looked irritated. “Uh…”
Spades looked down at Clubs, who was still trying to extinguish the fire. “He set himself on fire with his own attack. How degrading. That's just…embarrassing.”
Dove arched her eyebrow. “That's his ultimate technique?” She wasn't impressed.
“You idiot!” If Boxcars could physically speak, he was pretty sure that he would have busted a lung shouted that phrase.
Clubs held out his hands. “No! Wait! I'll fix it! Flames of Wrath!”
He tried his attack once more, launching the flames at Spades, who was unable to move out of the way. They hit him and sent his cross into a flaming crucifix.
“They're going to make barbeque out of him,” Dove was a little worried. Usually, the Cut Throat Crew worked so well together, but at this moment they were pretty much failing at every move. She'd heard of a streak of bad luck, but this was ridiculous.
“Why did you do that?” Hearts asked, frantic about the situation as Boxcars extinguished the flames by casting a water spell that both drowned his team mate and got rid of the problem.
The gladiator growled and leered at his partner menacingly.
A wave of terror was sent through Clubs. His body trembled and he took a shaky step back as a large shadow overcame him. “I'm really sorry-“His groveling was cut off as he was hit with the bar of Boxcars' weapon with force enough to knock him off of his feet. It sent Clubs crashing to the ground a few feet away in a furry heap.
The gladiator loomed over the smallest Arcane with primal rage in his pupiless eyes and teeth bore. “You mental patient! You could have killed him!” He reprimanded the knocked out alien on the ground as his eyes swirled around.
“At least the flames seared my wounds shut,” Spades was trying to be on the optimistic side. His tone of voice was haggard and downtrodden in contrast.
“Are you alright?” Hearts called from her position directly below him on the ground.
Boxcars snapped his head over in her direction. “No, he's nailed to a freaking cross!”
“How do we get him down?” Clubs inquired as he held the side of his head and rested on his elbows.
Boxcars held up his barbell, then everyone turned with freaked out looks on their faces and shouted `no' in unison at the top of their lungs. The consequences of his actions played on repeat in their heads and they could only imagine what would truly transpire if the reckless muscle head decided to use his strength.
“The cross could fall the wrong way and kill him,” Hearts pointed out. It was the very first scenario that ran through her mind. It was the one with the most deadly outcome.
“I've got nothing,” Clubs mumbled as she pulled himself from the ground.
“We really don't need your ideas, old chap. If you give us any more, we'll all be dead,” Diamonds wouldn't have listened to any of his fellow's ideas after what he witnessed. Flames of Wrath were definitely out by all means.
“I'll get him down,” Dove jumped down from the roof, landing gracefully at the gladiator's side. She called his name, earning his attention.
“Hold your barbell up. I'm going to hop on the end of it and you can catapult me up there.” While the rest of her group were talking among themselves, she managed to form what she thought was a great plan. If nothing else, it would get her closer to Spades.
“I say, are you quite sure?” Diamonds could see the failure in it. He knew how strong Boxcars was, and in most cases he was like a bull in a china closet.
Dove leveled him with a serious gaze and nodded. “Dead sure. It's either that or climbing.”
“Let's do this first.” Of course Clubs would agree.
Boxcars lowered his weapon as the human climbed on, steadying herself between two of the spikes. When she was in position, the strong man asked if she was ready. Dove gave him the okay by saying `let's do this' and with a battle cry, Boxcars gripped the end of his weapon and hoisted the girl skyward.
Dove soared through the air and grabbed the beam of the cross, digging her fingers into the wood she pulled herself up with her arms and crawled over to Spades, who looked up to her in recognition.
“You came…” If anyone, he was most happy to see her. Since his capture, Spades worried about the girl's safety.
“I can't just leave you here to die,” Dove cracked a smiled as she fiddled with the large links of chain, trying to figure out if there was a method to their madness.
Spades looked away, ashamed that Dove not only saw the failure in his crew but saw his shambled state. It dishonored his position and honor code. He also felt as if it demeaned him. He was supposed to protect her and show her the ropes, but instead she was the one helping him. It wasn't supposed to happen that way. “I woke up and you were gone. I was hanging on this cross and I hoped that you weren't behind me.”
Dove glanced back at the other crosses, which all had corpses tied to them in the same fashion. “Glad I wasn't. No one else but you is even alive.”
His muzzled pointed to the ground and he closed his eyes. “I heard them. I know.”
“Look out below!” Dove cupped a hand to the side of her mouth as the large chain tumbled to the ground. She turned her attention back to her injured friend as clinks and booms sounded from the contact. “How long have you been here?”
Spades tipped his face up. “I'm not really sure. This…I just…” Then, he felt his feelings and inner turmoil give way, and like a busted dam being overcome with water, his sorrow poured out. “I'm sorry I couldn't protect you.”
“Stop it. I don't need to be protected-“
Spades finally turned to face her with an irritated expression. He was disgusted with himself. “I'm a knight. That's my job.”
“You have a new job now,” Dove reminded him that he left that position on Arcane. Whatever his name was, and whatever he did was all buried in the sands of time. He was now Spades Sapporo of the Cut Throat Crew, rouge and criminal.
He knew she was right and turned away again, pointing his snout to the ground in shame as Dove crawled out to his left arm and grabbed the stake. “This is going to hurt, but when I free one hand you can get yourself off.”
Using all her strength, she slowly pulled the stake as Spades whimpered and whined. Dove inwardly cringed at how painful it must be to do it like this without the air of painkillers of any type. She would just have to make it as quick and painless as possible. The girl continued to pull, slowly revealing the blood-coated weapon. “Almost got it.” With one final yank, she freed his hand and chunked it down below.”Man…”
Spades yanked the other stake out of his hand and dislodged the others from his feet. More blood coated them as he struggled to keep a good enough grip and his hand occasionally slipped but they were removed quicker than they would have been if Dove were to pull them all out.
Dove grabbed his wrist and pulled him up onto the edge of the cross. He was surprisingly light for someone who had a different structure than she did and was taller by a couple of inches, excluding his fox-like ears. She put his arm over her shoulder.
“Come on, let's get you down.”
Spades looked at her and said her name with endearment, mixed with how tired and faint he felt.
“Don't speak,” the girl replied as she jumped down. The remaining members of the Cut Throat Crew watched as she scooped the canine up to his injured feet wouldn't impact the ground and landed in a reverse bride-and-groom style on the ground.
“Dove…” Spades said awkwardly, a blush nearly apparent through his ebony fur.
Dove smiled the biggest she had in a long time. “That's what I'm talking about. Just call me Dove.” The fact that she broke his formality made her happy. It was so awkward to be referred to with such proper titles, especially when she wasn't anything special, not compared to the knight she held in her arms.
“In your country that means-“ The topic only made the knight blush more. His heart pounded in his chest, causing him to feel even more light-headed as his hands bled out from his increased blood flow.
“Hush. You have permission,” she chided. The drop of formality could simply mean friendship. Did he have to take their customs so literally?
“Dove then…thank you…”
“You don't have to keep thanking me. I'm just glad that you're alight. Although, you'll have to stay off of your feet for a while until they heal,” she peered at the holes in his hands. Those he could manage but the ones in his feet were unavoidable.
“Yes, I'll listen to you,” Spades was too tired and in too much pain to argue.
Dove then looked over to the other three. “Let's head back to the kids, guys.”
“Do you want me to carry Spades?” Boxcars offered, not just because he was stronger, but because he felt as if Spades might be slightly embarrassed being carried by a woman.
“I guess it does look like some sort of role reversal shit if I carry you-“
She was cut off by an unexpected answer.
“No…I'm content like this.”
Dove arched an eyebrow. “Really?”
Clubs snickered. “That's wimpy, Spades. I never thought you'd want to be carried by a girl.”
Spades shot him an unamused glance. “I don't want to move, screw off. Besides, you guys couldn't even pose a threat. You just set yourselves on fire…and tried to kill me.”
“Don't put me in their category,” Hearts wanted no part of any of it. She neither helped nor hindered, and she wasn't about to take the blame for Clubs' out of control Flames of Wrath attack.
“Hey!” Clubs retorted. He really did try to help. He was just having one of those days where nothing was going his way. Spades could have cut him some slack but nooo…
“Terribly sorry,” Diamonds apologized. In truth, it was flat out horrible. They should have pulled together instead of acting like senseless loons.
Spades glanced back to Dove with a kind expression. “I'm safest in her hands.”
“I truly am.”
…To Be Continued