Hello and Goodbye
The air was still tense, eerily still, after the angel woman gave her command. My mouth was dry. I still couldn’t move. I couldn’t process what was going on. Our lives had been fairly normal up till now. We had never directly come across hallowed before, even while living in Ravensworth, a city that had one of the highest cape populations in the states.
Now, after somehow being able to avoid capes all that time, Tiffany and I found ourselves in the middle of an altercation between five of them.
This is insane!
Tiffany had gotten her bearings under control faster than I did.
“Valterian?” she asked, facing the angel leader. “Isn’t that like… Nexus?”
Hearing her calm voice caused me to ease up a bit. I glanced at her. “Valterian?” I asked.
“Yeah, you remember what we learned in history class? About the father of the Galaxia chick? He’s the only hero that’s not a hallowed, he came from a different planet or something—I think it’s called…Valteria. He’s like an alien.”
Now that Tiffany mentioned it, I did recall Nexus being mentioned some point in Mr. Tate’s class. It must have been during our review on cape history. He was a popular hero, leader of the famous Omniversals. It was common knowledge that Nexus wasn’t from Earth but I wasn’t sure if we studied his place of origin in class. Tiffany must have learned that research on her own. She was a cape geek, even more so than I was.
The angel woman gave her a slight frown. “Although you are somewhat correct, Nexus and the other Valterians are not aliens in the way you think they are. Nexus isn’t the first or only Valterian to be on this planet either.”
So… were the group of angels also Valterians like the man lying on the ground?
“Now,” the angel woman said, breaking off her tangent. “It’s imperative that the two of you step away from that man. He’s a dangerous criminal wanted for acts of aggression against Arcadia and the Twelve Celestial Kingdoms— ”
“Woah-whoa-whoa, What? Arcadia? The Twelve—muh-what?” Tiffany asked, voicing my questions for me. Confused as I was.
The angel woman made a sound of annoyance, surprised someone had the audacity to cut her off. I would have been annoyed too, cut off by a little brat who wouldn’t let me finish explaining something so important. “That’s none of your concern children.”
She turned to face her Arcadian subordinates. “Caphriel, Tartys—set up the transport barrier. Aleph, prepare to assist with barrier maintenance and stabilization.”
The Arcadian warriors gave quick acknowledgment of their leader’s command before they went to work.
“Please stand back,” Caphriel, the other female Arcadian said.
Tiffany and I backed away as the three other Arcadians approached. Caphriel and Tartys stood a few feet from the Valterian. Their bodies started to glow with a golden energy.
They erected a small transparent barrier around the body of the fallen Valterian while Aleph positioned himself closer to the glass bubble of energy. He touched the barrier with both arms extended. The barrier started to become less transparent; it was becoming solidified.
“Starting stabilization process,” Aleph said.
Before he could finish whatever he was doing, the atmosphere changed. The fallen Valterian’s eyes opened slightly. So he actually was alive. I almost doubted that, with the way he was bleeding and all.
The angel woman’s eyes widened, she noticed a little bit before I did. “Get back!” she yelled.
The fox Valterian crouched on all fours and let out a feral roar, his tails stretching and wreathing outward. The barrier shattered like glass, instantly. The force of his roar created a wind-like pressure—strong enough to blow us all backward. My head was spinning, my eardrums were being ripped apart.
My feet had left the ground. For a moment I was caught up in fear, wondering what happened. It was like we were caught in a freaking hurricane. I felt the blunt pain travel across my back as I hit the ground with a thud.
I was going to be feeling that in the morning.
I sat up, looking around for Tiffany. “Tiffany! Are you okay?”
I turned around to find her stirring a few feet away from me on the flat part of the asphalt. The fox guy was able to throw us out of the crater by just yelling? I stood up slowly and ran to my sister, favoring my left leg.
“…Mercy? What the hell is going on…?” she asked in a soft voice as I helped her up.
“Apparently, we’ve just found ourselves in the middle of a cape fight,” I said, glancing back at the Arcadian warriors readying their weapons at the fox Valterian.
“No kidding,” Tiffany said. She let out a whistle of admiration. “And that fox dude is packing.”
“Yeah—what…?” I asked, my question trailing off. Taking another look at the fox guy, I could feel my face start to heat up as I caught on to the double meaning of Tiffany’s words.
He was butt-naked and had no qualms about it, a cocky grin showing on his face. His wounds had stopped bleeding.
My eyes traveled downward toward his lower extremities.
He…was well endowed.
Tiffany laughed as she saw my mouth hanging open.
“He’s so big and cuddly, with those huge tails of his,” she said. “And gorgeous hair. A sexy body too. Just your type, right?”
Words were caught in my thought. “T-Tiff! Are you serious?”
Tiffany laughed again. “What? Am I lying?”
“Really? At a time like this?”
I shook my head trying to focus and pay attention, attempting not to stare at the Valterian’s crotch. Yeah, he was pretty hot, but that was the last thing I cared about in this situation since both my sister and I could end up being killed!
“Why the hell haven’t we run away yet?” I asked Tiffany in a low voice. “We need to get out of here.”
Tiffany didn’t react. I didn’t know if it was because she was ignoring me or because she was too focused on naked-fox-guy swinging his business around.
The Valterian turned to face the angel leader. His smirk widened as he scoffed.
“You thought such a weak barrier could hold me, Shekhinah?”
Aleph tightened the grip on his twin blades. “His wounds have healed?”
Shekhinah held out her hand. Golden energy formed. She materialized an exotic looking lance. It was blood-red, with a small but lengthy blade at its tip. It was pretty as it was deadly.
“Do not be overwhelmed by fear, Aleph,” Shekhinah said. “He’s still damaged internally from all that fighting, no matter how much he tries to hide it. We can stop him. Take positions!”
Shekhinah took an attack stance. Her body in a form she must have perfected long ago. The other Arcadians followed suit. Caphriel, with a rapier in hand, stood by Shekhinah while Tartys and Aleph positioned themselves behind the Valterian.
I swallowed, rooted to where I stood. Things were about to get real.
“Hah—You’ve become quite ruthless Shekhinah, trying so hard to kill me. Did our break up scar you that badly? No?”
He gestured with his hands. “Or perhaps you’re desperate to prove that you haven’t betrayed your king? Hmm? Ace messenger of the Twelve Celestial Kingdoms—Loyal warrior of Kairanna?”
Well, that was a mouthful. The other Arcadians paused for a moment at his words. Their postures had changed slightly. It wasn’t too pronounced, I barely had time to notice before they hid their concern.
“The Valterian speaks lies,” Shekhinah said. “Do not listen to such nonsense. He is trying to break us apart. Poison our minds with deceit and doubt.”
The fox man tilted his head. “Is that really the case?”
“Yes!” Shekhinah hissed. “You are nothing but a liar, a manipulative scoundrel of the highest order—Kazuya, reprobate nine-tailed fox of the Fox clan! Even the Valterians saw fit to banish you!”
Kazuya shook his head, amused. “I see. Let me correct the faulty information that leaves you so clearly confused. I was not banished from Valteria, I simply left after a misunderstanding with Decimatus.”
Shekhinah gritted her teeth. “Misunderstanding is putting it lightly.”
Kazuya started to glow, a golden aura surrounding his body.
“Mmm,” he mumbled. His tails started to twist in the air. “You’re entitled to your opinion, my fair messenger. I must thank you for giving me enough time to replenish some of my vapor. It’s always a pleasure to reminisce.”
“What? Stop him!” Shekhinah ordered as Kazuya’s body started to shine a vibrant white, lighting up the night road even more.
“Woah…” I muttered, looking at the glowing nine-tailed fox.
“Yeah,” Tiffany agreed.
The Arcadians rushed to attack Kazuya but it was too late.
Brightness filled my vision.
Then all I could see was white.
My body had disappeared and I had found myself in a void of light. I felt like I was floating on thin air. An out of body experience. Like I was a ghost. Pretty freaky.
Within a moment the sensation passed.
Tiffany and I found ourselves lying on the cold grass in a tangled mess. Confused, we fought each other off for a couple of seconds – not realizing what just happened.
“Hey! Calm down it’s me!” Tiffany said after I gave her a good shove.
“Yeah, I know,” I replied with a smirk.
“You little bitch,” Tiffany said, enunciating each syllable slowly – grabbing hold of me like she thought I was irresistible. I pushed her off. We could play around later.
“Where are we?” I asked, looking around.
We stood the middle of a large field next to a walkway with park benches along the side. A bunch of trees were on both sides of the clearing. It was kind of hard to see since there was hardly any light but I could tell we were in a park of some sort.
“Maybe we’re in North Park?” Tiffany asked, glancing my way for confirmation.
“….Probably? How did we get here?”
“I don’t know. What makes you think I know?”
“I’m just asking, Tiff.”
“Well, I’m just not knowing the answer, Ems.”
I rolled my eyes. “Shut up.”
“That fox guy,” Tiffany said, “He must have done something. He was shining so brightly.”
I nodded. “And then we ended up here.”
I could hear the sound rustling of grass behind us. Tiffany and I turned around at once. Kazuya—the fox guy from before was following us, some of his tails trailing on the ground.
“My, my,” he said as he approached us. “I must really be on my last legs if I couldn’t concentrate well enough to bring only myself.”
Kazuya sighed. “Shekhinah, you really are quite tenacious.”
“W-what did you do to us?” I asked.
Kazuya focused his attention on me, his feral eyes looking me up and down. A chill ran down my spine. I was shaking. This guy was dangerous.
“Simple teleportation, my dear. I accidentally took you along for the ride. Nothing for you to worry your little cute head over.”
“Wow,” Tiffany said after some silence. “So you’re a cape. Why are those angel people after you? They messed you up pretty good.”
Kazuya frowned. Yikes. Tiffany should have known better than to offend the crazy fox guy. “Do not compare me to humans, brat. Those four little cubs couldn’t harm me if their lives depended on it.”
Kazuya glanced upward toward the sky. “I had a small bout with the previous Valterian King and then ran into Corinath, that frustrating man.”
“Corinath?” I asked.
“The one who leads Arcadia,” he replied.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Kazuya was probably a very strong cape. I wasn’t sure if I actually believed the whole Valterian-alien thing but after seeing Kazuya here? This whole situation? Nothing was too outlandish anymore.
My mind was teeming with questions. Who were those guys? Who was Kazuya? Why haven’t we heard anything about them before now? Why wouldn’t Kazuya put on some damn pants?
Before Tiffany and I could say anything else. Kazuya looked pointedly toward his left, off in the distance.
“The Arcadians will be here soon,” he said.
“You mean those angel people from before?” Tiffany asked.
Kazuya ignored her. “No matter how much I would like to pretend, I don’t have enough strength to take them on right now. I pretty much used all of it getting us here.”
“Then, what are we going to do?” I asked, worried.
Kazuya looked at us thoughtfully. “Well, nothing my dear. I moved locations to simply buy time after all.”
“Buy time? How’s that going to work?”
“Well you see,” Kazuya said, “The Arcadians will come here and probably kill us all. Me and you by association.”
“B-but—” I stuttered.
“But we didn’t do anything!” Tiffany exclaimed.
“Ah, I know,” Kazuya said. “It’s truly unfortunate, but that’s how things are when it comes to them. They are rigid and bound by rules. Anyone who goes against the Arcadian kingdoms is treated like a heretic to be purged.”
Kazuya had moved closer to us. I had a bad feeling.
“They definitely wouldn’t let you live after you heard all that you did tonight,” Kazuya said. “And that’s a real shame since you both have so much vapor for human beings. Enough spirit energy that I could use it to fight them off.”
Kazuya’s eyes narrowed, his lips twisted into a wicked grin as he barred his teeth. “Perhaps I should do you girls a favor. Instead of having a wasted death, why don’t I eat you alive?”