Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ VIRUS ❯ Oppression ( Chapter 13 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter 13: Oppression
By: Melissa Norvell
The group lounged around the hotel, each adorned in new articles of clothing as they all stared at each other. Rosario wore a pretty white dress with pink accents that looked like something straight from a shoujo anime and stocking with frills at the tops. Bunmei wore leather pants with two belts that crossed over his hips in an x-pattern, a sleeveless, black shirt and his tattered cape. Pazusu wore blue jeans, a yellow, long-sleeved shirt and a blue denim vest and Pippin sorted a long-sleeved, white belly shirt and long skirt with a geometric border of yellow and beige triangles with pants underneath. Quetzakotyl glanced around the room to Sin, who was still in the same clothes as before.
“I guess we'll just have to see what happens from here on out. We can only wait until one of us figures out who possessed the sword within themselves,” Sin advised the group of their options. As long as no one knew who the true holder was, he was going to stick around and ensure that its powers are used correctly.
Placing a finger to her chin in thought, Rosario glanced up at the ceiling. “I wonder who it is.”
Pippin gazed at their white, feathered friend. “Do you know which one of us has the weapon inside of us?” After all, the wise bird knew many things about this twisted land, why wouldn't he hold knowledge on who possessed such a weapon?
“The only way you can possibly know is if you are engaged in battle,” Quetzakotyl informed, pointing a feathered finger into the air. Only then would the weapon's powers be activated.
“That's it?” Sin questioned, a little shocked that it was all they needed to summon the weapon.
“There's no difference in someone's aura or something?” Kumoigi arched an eyebrow. Surely, something about the one who possessed the sword had to be special. Usually, these things applied. People had to meet certain criteria in order to possess an item.
The white bird shook his head, “I'm afraid not.”
“I guess we just have to wait until we get into a fight,” Bunmei stated the obvious, but if that was the only condition that they had to meet, he was going to wait it out. There was no point in forcing it, even if they were another way to summon it.
“That makes no sense. Wouldn't we have been able to utilize it before if that was the case?” Pazusu threw his hands out to either side, looking utterly perplexed by Quetzakotyl's explanation. They had been in countless fights before, some of them threatened their very lives and yet no sword had shown up then. Perhaps it wasn't in any of them, but maybe it was contained inside of Sin or Kumoigi. Maybe…it was even inside of the bird himself.
“You can't use a weapon you don't know about. Maybe we had to know about it first.” The answer seemed logical to Rosario, anyway. It was like casting magic. If they didn't know the spell, they couldn't have been able to use the magic they desired.
“The conditions were never right. From what I know, the Rose Sword only comes for if certain conditions are met,” Seishira informed everyone on that knowledge.
Quetzakotyl nodded in agreement. “Correct, when it shows you will know.”
Bunmei growled. He wasn't satisfied with such an unreliable weapon and this whole conversation sounded like contrived bullshit. That bird knew how to summon it; he just was being a shady asshole and chose not to help them.
“In this case, patience is a virtue.” It was a large virtue to try and keep in Pazusu's case. He wanted to see the sword as much as the others did.
“I guess we sit around until something comes up,” Kumoigi settled. There was a break in the action, and she wasn't going to go out on a limb looking for anything.
“Its bullshit,” Bunmei shot defensively.
“Does that mean we'll be staying here for a while?” Pippin ignored the swordsman and smiled cheerfully. She wanted to get her mind off of the dumb old sword and relax. Everyone was so apprehensive and tense from their journey. She wanted some down time to just hang out with everyone and act more like a friend and less like a soldier.
“ Looks like it,” her brother responded. What other choice did they have?
Then, an idea crossed the girl's face as she turned to Rosario with an excited expression. “Do you want to go exploring around town with me? Since there are a lot of magical items here, I was thinking that maybe we can go looking around.” It would give her a chance to update her collection of magical items and replenish her strength and casting ability. This down time would be spent making herself stronger for the upcoming journey. That was a helpful thing to do, right?
Rosario smiled kindly at her. The idea sounded like fun. “Sure, if no one else minds.”
The girl glanced around to her team mates, who all said nothing. Bunmei still looked cross from being forced to stay in one place. He merely crossed his arms and glared a hole in the wall. No one else dignified her with any reasons not to go alone.
“You should be careful,” Quetzakotyl advised. They could not forget where they were, after all. This place was just as dangerous, if not far more than any of those they had ventured to before. There was also that execution field in the center of town. It was cause for careful measure.
Pippin nodded confidently. “We will! We'll be just fine. Don't you worry about us!”
“We'll come back later. If you start to worry, you can always look for us,” Rosario reassured them. She was certain that nothing would happen to them that was too dangerous. So far, they managed to fly under the radar. This should be no different. Besides, the pink-haired girl was looking forward to enjoying herself for once, instead of hiding or fighting.
Pazusu nodded. “Alright, tell us if anything comes up,” he wanted to be one of the first to know. If danger was present, they were to come back to the hotel as soon as possible.
Pippin saluted, and with a `see you later' the two disappeared out of the doors and headed off into the central part of town. The smaller girl grabbed a hold of her friend's pale hand tightly in order to make sure that they didn't get lost in the large crowds around town. They were ready for a hopefully uneventful day.
“This is going to be so much fun!” Pippin drug her pink-haired friend along. Rosario had to take long strides just to keep up with her overly excited friend as they bounded towards the large crowds that littered the large rows of vending stations in the middle of town. The market place was absolutely huge and it was very easy to get lost in the sea of people down below.
They were all packed like sardines. Anyone with claustrophobia would have nightmares about it. People brushed against each other as they went to and fro from each station, glancing at or buying and trading for magical items, potions and rare stones.
“What are we doing, exactly?” Rosario questioned as the two walked past several vendors.
“I wanted to go into the market place and look at their magical items. Since you can find Earth Stones in the ground, who knows what you can find by shopping around!” Pippin pointed a finger into the air matter of factly and smiled. She was excited about any kind of magical item. It didn't matter what the properties were or even really want the item itself was. She just wanted to expand her magic ability and strength.
Looking thoughtful for a moment, Rosario looked up in thought. “You're right; you can teach me about them.” It would be a great time to learn about magic. After all, she was the only one on the team who had no magical abilities.
“Really?” Pippin's face lit up at the thought that she'd be anyone's teacher. What an honor!
Rosario nodded. “I'd like to know about them.”
The two of them stopped at a quaint, little stand at in the middle of one of the rows and glanced around at the many magical items displayed. Pippin was interested in some stones that looked like opals. She had informed Rosario that they possessed the powers of light and pierced the darkness of the land. The magician went on to explain the various other types of stones that lay around the stands, and the two became engrossed in conversation, so much so that they didn't notice the crowds thinning at an alarming rate. By the time that the two of them glanced up even the vendors were gone.
Glancing around, the marketplace was completely empty. It was as if the town turned into a ghost town. All that could be heard was the rustling of the wind as it blew through the empty stands. The two girls glanced around, trying to find any semblance of life but there was none. It was as if they were completely alone.
“Where is everybody?” Pippin questioned with a worried expression. Surely the vendors wouldn't leave their precious and valuable items out to be stolen.
“They were here when we passed by earlier,” Rosario was very confused. Something was wrong. She had a sickening feeling about it all.
The two continued to walk around, looking in all directions for signs of life, but found none. Pippin stated that she found it very weird that everyone would just disappear. Rosario turned to her, catching up from being drug around so much and told her that it was as if everyone had just vanished.
Letting go of her pink-haired friend's hand, the tiny magician ran ahead of her, glancing through the stands for a while before something caught her eye. She backed up and stared at a few pieces of paper before her eyes widened.
“Pippin! Stop!” Rosario shouted, jerking the girl out of her trance as she turned around to face her.
“We need to go back to the hotel,” Rosario advised with urgency laced in her voice. Something was amidst and she didn't want to be a part of it. A dire expression crossed her visage as green eyes scanned the area with cold defiance.
Footsteps approached her as Pippin ran up and stopped. “Why? What's wrong?”
“Something is definitely wrong. Look!” The pink-haired girl pointed to a nearby post in the road and her friend turned, eyes widening as she glanced at a set of wanted posters with all of their faces on them, drawn out in accurate strokes. “We're not welcomed here.”
“We're going to make sure you never leave.” The angry, ominous voice of a woman intoned, cutting through their conversation like a callous knife with a rusty edge. The two girls turned around to face a group of angry townspeople, all holding makeshift weapons or anything they could grab from home that could be used as a weapon. “Your home will be six feet under.”
A sharp knock on the door caused the room of travelers' sights to be instantly brought to their source. Looks of apprehension and dread spread across the room like an enigma as the atmosphere became tense among them. Something was definitely wrong and the aspect of it being Pippin or Rosario on the other side of the door was low.
Bunmei, who leaned against a long, wooden table with his arms crossed was the first one to speak. "Do you think its room service?"
Pazusu laid on the couch, unmoving with his eyes locked on the door as his tone turned grave. "That sounds like more than one person."
"Something is definitely amidst," Quetzakotyl, who seemed more than relaxed, responded.
Seishira tensed up, her visage hardened as she rushed to the corner to retrieve her staff. The mage commanded everyone to grab their weapons and they all shot from their positions, taking their weapons and assuming defensive positions as they stood behind Pazusu, who opened the door cautiously, only to have it pushed in violently as townspeople poured into the doorway. They nearly trampled him with great force until Seishira interrupted them by propelling them back with a powerful magic spell.
They tumbled backwards, landing on the ground in haphazard positions as the white-haired woman pulled Pazusu off of the ground.
"What the hell is going on?" He honestly didn't understand why this was happening. They hadn't done anything to upset the townspeople that he could recall. Why would they suddenly be out for blood?
Sin tensed up, malice marring his face. 'It's just like before,' his cold eyes narrowed and he bore his teeth. "We have to get out of here."
"What?" Kumoigi turned to him with a look of question riddled on her face.
"They must have seen us on the execution grounds. They're out to rewrite the score and make sure that they finish what they started," to Sin, it was all too familiar of a sight. He would have bet anything that the people of this town wanted nothing more than to see them hanging from the old gallows.
Bunmei's sword clashed with a gruff-looking man's shovel as they exchanged blows. Over and over again, the middle-aged man attempted to strike him, only to be blocked. "You mean, they think we're your accomplices?" It made since to him now. They were actually after Sin, but since they traveled together the townspeople assumed them to be affiliated. No wonder they were attacking them.
Sin took out his sword, viciously slicing through many of the people, leaving large lacerations and deadly wounds in his wake before he made his way over to the black assassin. "Possibly, either that or they just want me."
"Oh shit!" Pazusu exclaimed as he darted out of the room, making his way outside, followed by everyone else in the room. Staying inside would have only got them swarmed with towns people and by sheer numbers, they out powered all of them.
"Pippin and Rosario are in town! We've got to get to them before they're captured!" Kumoigi's mind registered the true gravity of their situation as she punched and kicked her way through the townspeople. If the hotel was like this, then who knew what would happen down in the marketplace, where hundreds of people gathered on a daily basis.
Quetzakotyl simply stood there as the angry civilians surrounded him, clutching their weapons close to them and leveling him with malicious looks. The white bird merely stared back with his large, blank eyes that held no hint of emotion. He spoke calmly, despite being outnumbered and the threat of his team mates more than present.
"The queen wants you disposed of," one of the men stepped forward, portly and unkempt in appearance as he pointed a pitch fork at him menacingly.
"So, you're going to do it in the execution yard?" Quetzakotyl asked, trying to make sense of the whole situation.
"Sin is with them."
Looking thoughtful for a moment, the white bird placed a hand under his beak in thought. "I see, don't you think this is a little too hasty?" Maybe talking rationally to this railed up crowd would make them calm down a little better. It could also give the others some time.
"Do not question her majesty. She knows what's best for us!" A middle-aged woman wither her dishwater blonde hair pulled back in a bun shouted from his right. She was outraged that anyone would dare speak such horrible statements about their savior.
"Does she now? Interesting," Quetzakotyl mused. Truly, these people were as brainwashed as he believed them to be. He just hoped that his team mates were having more luck reuniting than he was trying to reconcile with those who were beyond the point of reconciling.
He could only pray that they would find Rosario and Pippin.
The group met up at the execution grounds. The gallow ropes swung idly in the wind as they stood there, glancing around and hoping that they were not found by the citizens of the town. Kumoigi was the first to speak, telling everyone that they were not there. In fact, the execution grounds were the only place that was void of any life whatsoever.
"Maybe they went into the market place," Pazusu brought up the possibility. He knew how much his sister like to collect magical items and that market place in particular has a vast supply of magical gear being sold.
"That place is huge! We'll never be able to cover enough ground in one group," Kumoigi knew that this task would be more possible if they all split up. Pazusu agreed and suggested that they did, to which the ninja gave him a nod, suggesting that she would take the right wing of the market place. Bunmei noted that he would check the west wing and Sin and Seishira would search ahead and Pazusu would take the current section.
Each of them went through their respective sections, combing over them like fine-toothed combs. Pazusu looked through stands and through the odd mixture of people that walked around. Occasionally, he shouted out the names of his friends, only to get nothing back in return.
Bunmei darted through the crowds stealthily, his golden eyes scanning through the sea of people around him, only to fail to find any signs of the girls. "Damn it, I don't see them anywhere."
Sin and Seishira stood behind a stand, glancing through its contents with serious expressions. Seishira's eyes narrowed when she came upon a particular object. A deep frown adorned her face.
"This isn't good," Sin stated gravely.
"What if it's already been taken?" Seishira gave him a side glance.
"I don't want to think about it. Surely they couldn't have gone far," the black-haired man hoped so, anyway as did Seishira. The two darted off, trying to find them as fast as they could. Now that the situation had turned grave, it was only a matter of time.
Kumoigi turned the corner and saw an interesting sight. Quetzakotyl was standing there, with his hands on his weapon, looking as if nothing has been bothering him at all. He wasn't even affected by the presence of the townspeople or that they had just tried to flood into their hotel room earlier with weapons raised at them. Kumoigi was suspicious. Quetzakotyl had acted way too strange for this situation and she was beginning to wonder what exactly his deal was.
"Sage..." She let her presence be known.
The white-bird said nothing in response.
"Please, help us look for Pippin and Rosario," the ninja tried to enlist his help in her search party, only to be shut out completely.
"They are no longer here."
Kumoigi felt her body lock up and her heart rate increase. "What? Where are they? You know, don't you?" Why else would he stand there like that, so clam and undaunting as if nothing were truly wrong. The sage knew the vast majority of what happened in Versailles. No doubt he knew exactly what was going on right now.
Large, void eyes trailed back to the ninja. "That is something you will have to fight out of me."
"Why would you have me do that? You're not really our ally, are you?" Her eyes narrowed on the figure before her as she took a hold of the handle of her weapon. Kumoigi knew at this point that Quetzakotyl's intentions were not as pristine as his color scheme.
"I never remembered choosing a side." It was silly for any of them to assume he had gone along with their little game. He only allied with those he had claimed to be a part of their team. It was how he operated. The sage wasn't one to involve himself completely with anyone. Those who had his allegiance were special cases.
"Do you work for the queen?" Kumoigi had to know. It would explain everything, and when she thought about it the situation made perfect sense.
"You would presume that just from this short conversation? I admit that I do know far more than I should, but as to whose side I'm on. Well...you will have to find that out for yourself," Quezakotyl wasn't about to blow his cover, nor did he plan on letting this girl get away with her accusations and what she presumed to be fact.
"Are you suggesting we should fight? I'm not going to make the same mistake again, Sage." It wasn't a threat, it was a promise. If this bird wanted a fight then she was going to bring the action and she wasn't going to hold back.
"I won't go easy on you either, Kumoigi Sol," Quezakotyl was going to make sure of that.
"Then the battle at hand should be more than satisfying," the ninja smiled in anticipation, reaching into her long coat she flung what looked like specks of light at the sage, only to have them hit an invisible shield and crackle and pop violently before they faded out. "Huh?" The noise barely escaped her lips before she was blasted backwards with such great force that she was knocked off of her feet.
With great force, the sage charged at his opponent and drew his strange-looking weapon. In an attempt to cut her throat, he hooked it around her neck but she vanished before his eyes and appeared behind him. Kumoigi thrust her fists forward, trying to axe handle him in the back but he teleported and held out his hand, sending a wave of white, illuminating energy at her.
"Sunbeam Blast!" Kumoigi summoned fourth her magic ability. The yellow and white beams clashed, exploding on contact in a burst of blinding light. In the midst of the explosion, her eyes darted aroundmand caught no sights of the bird. Maybe he was caught in the force of the blast and knocked backwards.
A blade curved around her neck, threatening to slice the tender flesh.
Quetzakotyl sat on a stack of crates, piled high above her and was reaching down with his sword, accurately positioning the curved blade around her. The girl's body froze, knowing good and well that all he had to do was pull up for an easy beheading.
"Do you know anything about this world, other than the fact that you're a part of it?" He questioned in a dire tone.
"Why...are you asking me that?" Kumoigi's voice trembled as she stood as still as she could.
"It's a simple question," the sage stated but got no answer as the ninja's body was replaced with a rock that fell at the bottom of the stack of boxes. The girl reappeared a safe distance away.
"Do I know? No, not everything but I know enough to know that Ambaralla is brainwashing the people here. It seems that she even got you and the most powerful being in Versailles minds, Iga," Kuomoigi rubbed her neck, closing one eye as she tried to stand tough against the sage.
"That's not it at all."
"What do you mean?"
The words came like an ominous premonition. "You can't escape this land, even if you go to the castle in the sky."
Kumoigi's eyes widened in fear. It was as if all of her efforts and any notability that she had achieve had been stripped away from her before his very eyes, leaving her weak and nude before him like an exposed baby. "What? You're lying. There are worlds beyond this." No! She refused to believe that the sage was telling the truth.
The girl flung out her arm as a giant shiruken appeared, its blades fanning out from a small disc that she held. Pushing herself forward, she charged at the stack of boxes where Quetzakotyl had been seated. A metallic clank reverberated through the air as she found herself staring into those cold eyes, surrounded by many white feathers. The shoved her blades forward and he provided opposing force with his sword.
"It's far from a lie. The higher powers are at work. We are all trapped in here. No one is a captor, and yet we are all victims. We are souls caught in limbo, dancing in dead space. Even I am a product of this fate." With a forceful swing, Quetzakotyl was able to overpower her. Kumoigi ducked and tried to kick him in the stomach but he blocked her with his forearm.
"Fate can always be altered!" Kumoigi believed this beyond the shadow of a doubt. It was the one thing that kept her faith in this dark world and she would not have him take that away from her.
The ninja spun around in an attempt to spin kick him but as she lifted her leg to deliver the blow she was blasted backwards with a powerful, invisible force. Suddenly, she felt something searing in her stomach and a sickening pop sounded in her ears. A blur of white was seen as her stomach was ripped open by that square-shaped blade as it tore completely through, severing her body in half. Organs, blood and ichor seeped from the two halves of her body as they lay on the cold earth.
Quetzakotyl looked down on her with his wizened expression, placing a hand atop of the hilt of his weapon. "There are a great many things that you are unaware of." He told her, as he gazed onto those eyes, slowly glassing over from death's icy grip. "Versaillis is the product of happiness, a dimension of its own created exclusively for souls. You cannot rule it, and you cannot defy it. The only means of escape from this place are to disappear or be killed. You have an ideal life here. Anything you want you can obtain, and all that you desire can come true within the blink of an eye. A true utopia that you would sacrifice for that one moment to reach the castle in the sky? Preposterous. I don't understand those who would do such a thing. "
"Humans live their lives in search of a paradise to be granted the wish of the living how you choose is beyond a dream come true. The souls of the dead and dying deserve to be blessed with that which they could not in their mortal lives, to live free of the pain it incurs," the sage pulled his sword from her body and began to clean the blade with a white handkerchief he had in his breast pocket. "It's a shame that you couldn't share in this philosophy...Kumoigi Sol." The bird placed the bloody rag over her eyes in a last, respectful as before he walked away, thoughts plaguing his mind. 'Now, shall we see what's going on in the eyes of our Rose Sword bunch?'
Everyone darted to the middle of the market place as they assembled in their group. All were disappointed at the lack of either Pippin or Rosario being present. Each had hoped that the others would find them, but none turned up with positive results.
"No matter where we look, we can't find them," Seishira was the first to report her details.
"We should go back to the execution grounds," Sin mentioned that it would be best to check such a grizzly place twice. He couldn't get it off of his mind that something was going to happen, something that would be a repeat of the events of the past and it all was centered around that very execution site.
"What? Why would you do that? It's like saying 'hey everyone! I'm that guy on the wanted poster. You know, the one you're supposed to kill and I just express delivered myself to the execution grounds to save you the trouble,' " the swordsman's words may have been sarcastic, but they held truth. Appearing at the execution grounds when they were all on wanted posters was being suicidal.
Sin's expression hardened. "If they have Rosario and Pippin, they'll bring them there."
"We don't have a choice. Hopefully, they haven't already arrived there," Bunmei didn't want to go there more than any of them, but they couldn't just skip over it because of that reason.
"What happened to Kumoigi and Quetzakotyl?" Pazusu glanced around, noticing the sage and the ninja didn't show back up to the group meeting. It was odd that everyone was present but the two of them.
"They'll find their way to us. At least, Kumoigi will." That was something that Sin could be sure of. Kumoigi must have run into something important in order not to show up. Either that or perhaps she had found the girls or was caught up in whatever they were and was unable to return by herself. "Right now, our prime objective is to find Rosario and Pippin."
The pink-haired girl struggled violently against two large, burly men who had unkempt, dark hair and wore plates of armor similar to those worn in the samurai days. She protested and kicked, thrashing around as they drug her across the ground.
"No! Stop it! I didn't do anything wrong!" She viciously spat as her body was forced down into a wooden stock and locked into position, her head and hands poking from the holes. Searing pain shot through her neck and arms, being locked into place. "Ouch..." She winced as the wood bit down on her flesh.
Beside of her, Pippin was in a similar one. She glanced over to her friend, casting her a sympathetic expression. "They caught you, too? I thought if we split up at least one of us would get out and warn everyone."
Green eyes were crestfallen. "I'm sorry....I tried to hide but they dug me out."
"I'm really sorry," Pippin felt like crying. Look what she had done. Now, they would never get out of Versailles. They would both die where they stood.
"For what? You didn't know," Rosario tried to relieve the guilt from the tanned girl's shoulders, but nothing could be done as they both glanced up at the maiden above them, ready to behead them at any time.
"Everyone told me not to go but I ignored them. I'm so dumb. We should have stayed together," Pippin beat herself up over her deadly mistake. It was something that would cost them both of their lives.
"It's not your fault. All we can do is wait...and hope that the others find us before we're beheaded." Green eyes were transfixed on the sharpened blade, bloodthirsty for one more taste of flesh. The color in her irises danced nervously the longer she stared at it. 'I can only pray that moment is soon.'
...To Be Continued