Chapter 23 – Consequences
Kayla met up with Lt. Hicks and his men where he explained everything that had happened as quickly as possible. They were all at the windows facing away from the tracks, prepping their harnesses and rope.
“We’re going to scale down the building,” Kayla asked. Shades were watching the doors and halls, picking off any Banshee soldiers they missed. “Why can’t we go through the front door? And why aren’t you helping Luke or the other guy?”
The building rumbled with another explosion. “That’s why,” Hicks said, referring to the fierce battle he witnessed between Vulcan and Nova. “And we are helping them. Our top priority, Dr. Foreman, is to get you out of here alive. Vulcan and Nightmare are keeping Nova and Deus occupied while we complete our mission. Now put this on.” Hicks handed her a harness and she put it on underneath Nightmare’s cloak.
The Flares began to heat up the windows with their flamethrowers and then the Shades shot it with dark energy. The blast broke through the bulletproof glass and the soldiers cleared off the edges of any shards. The building rumbled and shook again as the soldiers secured the rope on one of the pillars in the room. Hicks gave a signal and all but ten of the soldiers left and went downstairs.
“Where are they going,” Kayla asked as Hicks made sure her harness was secured.
“See if they can find any useful data and help Vulcan if they can. Nightmare is outside fighting Deus, and at the rate they are fighting, anyone who tries to interfere will most likely get caught in the crossfire.”
“Luke, you better not get yourself killed,” Kayla mumbled to herself.
“Are you ready,” Hicks asked.
Kayla nodded. Four Flares scaled down the building and made sure the ground level was secure and gave the okay. Hicks went down with Kayla and two Shades. Halfway down the building another explosion of fire and light broke through the walls, causing Kayla and a Shade to lose their grip on the rope. With quick reflexes, the Shade soldier grabbed the rope and used his Shadow Hand to catch Kayla.
Hicks swung over to her and secured her back onto the rope. “Are you ok,” he asked her. She nodded and they continued to scale down the building without incident.
They looked back at the building and saw it being destroyed from the inside out as more beams of light and streams of fire blasted through the walls. The rain started to pour down harder, dousing the lingering fires around the tower. More explosions rumbled, showering the ground below with glass and rubble.
Hicks and his squad escorted Kayla to the transport waiting for them at the rendezvous point some distance away from the tower. With Kayla safe and on her way back to HQ, Lt. Hicks and his men ran back to Deus’ fortress to put an end to this war.
Punch after punch, kick after kick, both fire and light rampaged through the walls and floors. Both warriors fought ferociously, but not for the same reasons. Vulcan fought for vengeance and his hatred towards Nova was his driving force. Nova fought only to satisfy his sadistic desires. Their goal, however, was the same: to be the last one standing.
Nova continued to rain down spikes of hard light in attempts to impale Vulcan, but Vulcan kept moving. He threw grenades around Nova, aiming for the walls and ceilings to bury him under the rubble. Both tactics failed and they resumed beating each other with their fists.
Nova blocked Vulcan’s right hook and twisted his arm. He was about to break it when Vulcan used his left flamethrower and scorched Nova’s helmet. He began screaming in pain and clawing at his helmet. Free from his grasp, Vulcan grabbed a large piece of rubble and raised it over his head. He got ready to drop it on Nova’s head when his visor alerted him to something approaching from outside.
The sounds of helicopter blades whirring could be heard, followed by the rapid-fire of gatling guns. The bullets flew with no designated target, forcing Vulcan to retreat from his attack. He hid behind a large pile of rubble as the bullets continued to fly. The screaming stopped, and so did the bullets. Vulcan peeked out and saw Silas climb onto the helicopter; his helmet lay on the floor.
Silas looked back at Vulcan, the left side of his face burned, and smiled at him. “Next time, Milay,” he shouted. “Next time you won’t be so lucky!”
Vulcan tried to go after him, but a figure enshrouded in a black cloak waved his hand and released a wave of dark energy that threw Vulcan off his feet. The dark figure released another wave at the ceiling and buried Vulcan under the rubble. The figure let out a dusty laugh and the helicopter began to depart.
The explosions distracted Deus long enough for Nightmare to regain his senses and move away from him. Nightmare saw Noctifer several feet away and used his Shadow Hand to pull it and several large pieces of metal to him. He caught his sword and sent the metal pieces flying toward Deus. Deus erected a barrier of light and stopped the pieces from hitting him. Nightmare jumped out of a Dark Void from above Deus and swung his sword in a downward arch.
Deus blocked it at the last second. They resumed their swords dance as the rain poured down harder. Their blades clashed, clanged, rang, and sparked with every attack. The building behind them continued to explode and collapse, but still they fought on. Their overdrive states almost up, Nightmare and Deus continued to hack away at each other. The sharp blades cut through their armor, their flesh, and they spilt their blood all over the pavement.
Their blades clashed again. Both warriors used brute force to beat the other out of the standstill. They heard a helicopter approaching, but the ignored it. It wasn’t until the helicopter started firing at the building that their concentration was broken. Nightmare and Deus saw Nova boarding it and a figure in a black cloak released a wave of dark energy at Vulcan. It released another wave or energy and the helicopter started to leave.
It came back and hovered a couple dozen feet from the ground and shot at them. Nightmare and Deus ghosted away from the line of fire. That same dark figure stood in the opened door, holding someone who was bound and gagged.
“Rosaline,” screamed Nightmare and Deus.
“I told you there would be consequences for rejecting the Arcanum, Deus,” said the hooded figure as Rosaline screamed muffled cries for help.
“Thanatos,” shouted Deus. “I swear to god I will tear out your insides from your ass if you don’t release her!”
“You are in no position to be making any threats, Deus,” said Thanatos.
Nightmare opened a Void to the helicopter, but Thanatos released a massive surge of dark energy inside it before Nightmare could step through. The blast sent Nightmare flying across the ground, all his overdrive energy spent.
“Let her go, Thanatos,” demanded Deus.
“With pleasure,” he said. Rosaline’s muffled cries stopped abruptly when a long and curved blade came out of her chest. Thanatos threw her out of the helicopter and flew away.
“NOOOO!!!!” Deus used every ounce of energy he had left to launch himself up to catch her before she hit the ground. He landed in a crouch and tore off his helmet. Cyril looked at Rosaline with tear-filled eyes and tore off her bonds. “Rosie! Rosie! You’re going to be ok! Just hold on!”
“Cyril,” she said weakly. Rosaline started coughing up blood and then said, “Men are not supposed to cry. Smile for me.”
“Men can cry, Rosie, when someone dear to them is hurt.”
Nightmare limped over to them, dropped his helmet, and pointed his gun at Cyril. “Step away from her,” he growled.
Rosaline looked at Lucian and smiled. “Luke. Happy birthday.” With everything that was happening, Lucian had forgotten about his birthday. “Don’t make Hope sad anymore, ok?”
“Rosaline, I-I promise,” Lucian said, holding back the urge to shoot Cyril in the face.
“Rosie,” Cyril said. “Would you like to visit my home in Greece? There is a beautiful garden in the back and a wonderful view of the ocean.”
Rosaline started coughing again. “I would love that,” she said. She touched his cheek lightly, her blood smearing his face, and died with a smile on her face. The rain continued to pour.
Cyril held her close to him, quietly crying in her neck, and let out a scream filled with anger, anguish, and hate. Lucian held it in. He couldn’t cry, not yet at least, but his implants began to burn a bright red again. He grabbed his other gun and started shooting, but not at Cyril. Lucian’s target for his rage was the rubble around them. He continued shooting until his guns clicked empty, but he kept squeezing the triggers.
Vulcan came limping along with Lt. Hicks and their army. Hicks and the soldiers aimed their rifles at Cyril, who had covered up Rosaline with his soaked cloak.
“Lower your weapons,” Lucian said quietly. Everyone looked at him with confusion, but Lucian just glared at them.
“At ease, men,” Jason said after he took off his mask. “That’s an order.” The soldiers lowered their weapons, and Lucian nodded his thanks to Jason.
Lucian walked up to Cyril, who was saying prayers for Rosaline. “Deus, who was he,” Lucian demanded. “Who is Thanatos?! What is the Arcanum?!” Cyril ignored him. Instead he continued with his prayers to his lost love. Lucian knelt next to him, looked him in the eye, and said, “Cyril. If you really loved Rosaline, tell me what I need to know. Help me!”
Cyril met Lucian’s gaze. “I never wanted her to get involved. I tried to keep her safe. I tried to keep her separate. I tried because I loved her. With the trauma of my kidnapping when I was a kid, my parents’ murder, and my rough upbringing, being around Rosie made it all seem like fading memories.”
“Who is Thanatos,” Lucian demanded again.
Cyril removed a data card from his arm console and handed it to Lucian. “This contains everything. The data for the suits, my detailed log, and I everything I know about Thanatos and the Arcanum. I never wanted things to turn out like this.” He placed a kiss on Rosaline’s covered head. “You won’t get any more trouble from me. I’m done with this.” Cyril laid Rosaline on the floor and stepped away from everyone. A lightning bolt struck, and Cyril Alexandros, Deus, was gone without a trace.
Hicks brought Noctifer over to Lucian, who put it back in its sheath. The built in generator kicked in and charged up the Dark Void buckle. The soldiers gathered their things and Nightmare and Vulcan’s motorcycles and prepared to leave. Jason limped over to Lucian, sharing a few moments of silence.
“Let’s get her back home, Luke,” he said.
Lucian nodded and went over to pick Rosaline’s body up. He opened a Dark Void and everyone entered it. Lucian was the last one to go in and the Void closed behind him. A mournful howl whispered among the ruins of Deus’ fortress.