Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Power Array Saga - Season Three - Part XIX

Part XIX – Insert Rescue Mission

As they saw their youngest sibling carried away by a small group of blood sucking Ura, the three remaining sisters let out a wail filled with agony. They lashed out with renewed vigor striking down the surrounding Ura.
                Momotaru let out a roar. He was surrounded by the undead demons. While slashing furiously at the creatures that sought to rip him to shreds and drink his blood, Momotaru drew in more energy. His pitch-black eyes seemed to grow darker. They drew in latent energy that swirled like the light of a sun trying to escape the gravity well of a black hole. Momotaru gathered energy until he felt as if his individual cells would burst. So he let his body do what it was on the verge of doing, releasing the stored energy in a massive burst of radiation that shot outward. Several small tornadoes of bluish, white, and black wind swirled him. Dark clouds formed underneath the canopy of the forest from which lightning struck. Several fires started. Somehow, Momotaru had summoned a weather disturbance that fit within less than a kilometer and devastated the area as if it were a natural disaster.
                In a matter of minutes, all of the Ura that had assaulted the humans had been destroyed. Kya ran up to Momotaru with a scowl plastered on her face.
                “Now do you see why we should never have come here?” said Kya. “Hurry, we have to go after her.”
                “I still have enough energy,” said Momotaru. A small twister of dark wind circled his feet and lifted him into the air. “While within The Void, I can conjure up enough energy in order to burn this entire forest to the ground.” He stretched out his hand.
                The eldest twin, Cynia ran forward to block his path. She reached upwards, standing on the tips of her toes and clasped Momotaru’s calloused caramel hand within hers. Their eyes connected, Momotaru slowly descended back to the ground and let the power from The Void leave his body. He breathed deep, chest heaving up and down.
                “Please don’t do that,” said Cynia. “Right now Chyntel is unhurt. I can still feel her presence. She’s afraid but safe. If you destroy this forest you might hurt my sister or prompt the demons into killing her.”
                “If we have any hope of finding her,” said Monel. “We had better hurry before the trail disappears.”
                With a nod of his head, Momotaru and his team of assassin sisters set out. Kya and Monel took the lead. They followed the trail of broken tree limbs and crushed underbrush. Quietly creeping through decomposing leaves and dry pine needles, they crept up behind the small group of Ura. They stood concealed in the underbrush, huddled several meters away, observing their adversaries. Soon they had located their sister. For some unknown reason, the Ura had chosen to stop their mad dash through the forest. The humans had to be very careful as they crept closer since the senses of the undead creatures were far better than theirs.
                The assassin sisters used unique hand symbols to communicate with one another. They formulated a plan to save their sister. Momotaru looked at the group in confusion. The sisters used basic, universal hand gestures to inform him that he should just wait here. After the eldest sister, Kya gave out orders, each of them moved silently into position. They crept through the forest and positioned themselves into a wide triangular formation around the group of Ura in order to make sure the demons could not escape.
                With everyone in position, they sprung their trap. Monel was the first to act. She threw a smoke bomb down in front of the Ura. Monel leapt from behind a bush. She used the fog to her advantage and crept through it with silent footsteps. Once the Ura locked eyes with her, they were unable to look away. Monel’s special ability allowed her to alter someone’s reality once they fell under the control of her ocular power. The ancient saying from her home of High Garden Clearing was that, “the eyes are the gateway to one’s inner temple” was one that Monel exploited at every opportunity. With her unique ability she was able to gain access to that temple and once inside, kick her shoes off and make herself comfortable. For the individual under the ocular spell, time was a strange notion, it extended forever, seconds felt like years.
                As Momotaru watched from a distance, he marveled at the sight in front of him. The Ura that had locked eyes with Monel now stood in a stunned trance, slightly swaying back and forth.
                Cynia was the next sister to spring into action. She dashed forward like a squirrel skittering underneath the feet of giants. Once she was amongst the Ura, she picked her sister up and carried her to safety, eventually making her way to where Momotaru watched in amazement.
                The last of the sisters to jump into the fray was Kya. Just as the ocular power of Monel was fading, Kya crept up behind the Ura. The Ura shook their heads as they came back to reality, looking around, stunned and confused. Before they could gather their bearings Kya struck. She sliced the throats of the demons. She watched as they clawed at their ruined necks to try and stem the blood that gushed. The demons fell to the ground. She stood over them with a frown on her face, looking down on them as the life drained from their bodies and the creatures turned to ash.
                Momotaru knew that he had chosen his bodyguards well. Together they would make a powerful team. In short order they found their way out of the Ura Forest and back to the outskirts of the High Garden Clearing town walls. In the distance, the glow of the rising sun transformed the cloudless horizon from a blackish blue to a rich navy. As the front gate of the city slowly opened, the group was surprised to see the mayor of High Garden Clearing standing in the entrance and smiling at them warmly.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Power Array Saga - Season Three - Part XVIII

Part XVIII – The Peach and The Void 

“This is insane,” said Monel.
As they slowly trudged through the forest, Monel ran the point, leading them forward.
“It’ll be fun,” said Momotaru.
“I think my sister may be right, my liege,” said Kya. “Why would you go looking for trouble in this most dangerous of places?”
“Plus it’s night time,” said Monel. “The light of the moons is obscured by these trees and the eyes of nocturnal creatures work best in the dark.”
“Well I wanted to explore this new country,” said Momotaru as he turned around, “but someone wanted to get a cab. Now I seek adventure against a worthy adversary in order to vent.” With a resigned huff, Momotaru lowered his head. “Let’s head back to the city. We’ll make a camp around the wall and wait there until morning.”
Though Momotaru’s head was down as he walked towards the edge of the forest, he saw a glimmer of red flash into the dense brush of the forest.
“What was that?” asked Momotaru.
“What did you see?” asked Kya. She stopped behind him. Her body was tense. She relaxed as she flowed into a defensive stance.
The three other sisters ran towards the two of them. The sisters formed a defensive perimeter around Momotaru.
“We can’t let you leave now,” said a disembodied voice grating and raw.
Red eyes sparked into existence in a nearby thicket. Another pair of red, glowing eyes appeared. Then, as if it were a domino effect, dozens began to pop into existence deep into the forest. Decomposing flesh and a strong undertone of iron wafted through the air.
“Run,” said Kya.
The group sprinted towards the forest exit and the demonic Ura that lived in the forest gave chase. The Ura had long sharp teeth that acted as syringes. These pale, blood sucking creatures moved faster than humans, even humans that had honed their body into weapons through years of training. One of the creatures got in front of the group and leapt.
Monel, who ran in front of the defensive formation, struck first. She threw her arms out straight and with a flick of her wrist sent small steel needle streaking into the demon’s forehead. In a matter of seconds she was able to penetrate the brain and sever its link with the spinal cord. The Ura hit the ground in a heap before rolling to a stop and the group was forced to leap over the body. Glowing red eyes continued to close in around them.
A pair of Ura sprang out from a dense patch of bushes. Kya, whose duty was to protect one side of the defensive formation, pulled a pair of daggers from her waist. With a twisting maneuver, she sliced into the throats of the two Ura. The snarling creatures tried to cover the gushing wounds. Without the human blood that flowed in them they would not be able to sustain their current forms. Smoke rose out of their pale skin as it turned dull and grey until evaporating away completely, leaving piles of white ash on the forest floor.
Distant rays of light shone through the canopy by the exit. Before they could dive through and out into the vast and vacant plain in front of the city, the Ura surrounded them. The demons stood between the humans and the safety of lights.
“What are your orders, Kya,” asked Chyntel, the youngest of the twins.
The assassin sisters formed around Momotaru as if a compass.
“Stand back ladies,” said Momotaru as he gently pushed past Monel who stood in the northern position of the formation.
“Like I’ve said before, we would be poor bodyguards if we didn’t lay down our lives to protect you,” said Kya. She reached out with a hand and grabbed Momotaru’s shoulder.
“The reason I choose you all to accompany me as bodyguards,” said Momotaru as he turned to face Kya, “is because I needed people at my side that were my equal in fighting prowess… well, almost my equal.”
Recoiling like an injured snake, Kya looked at her liege lord with a raised eyebrow and her head held askew as if she were questioning his sanity.
Momotaru walked several meters in front of the sisters. His sword held lazily by his side, the tip centimeters from the dirt. For the sisters watching, the wind seemed to slowly pick up and swirl around the man. It was as if a small tornado had surrounded him and he stood at its center. The air circling in his immediate vicinity seemed to draw what little light remained towards him. He turned to look over his shoulder. The sisters were taken aback. His eyes were completely black.
“When I give you the signal,” said Momotaru. “Head straight for the exit and don’t look back. I will follow shortly.”
One of the creatures came forward. It towered over Momotaru by meters. Its glowing red eyes stared menacingly down at Momotaru. “You will never leave this place,” it said.
With the slightest movement of his arm, Momotaru seemed as if he had barely lifted a finger. Like the flash of a lightning bolt he struck out with his blade. The creature had been about to speak again. Now it was frozen, except for its eyes which had widened as it realized something was wrong. As the Ura reached for his head, its body slid apart in halves with the sickening sound of mush sliding down a wall. The halves hit the ground with a thud sending dirt and dead leaves wafting into the air before settling back in silence. The only sound left was the light breathing of the Ura and the humans alike as they watched in astonishment.
“Go, now!” shouted Momotaru.
He sprinted forward to engage the Ura who were caught off-guard. The black adamantite and carbon steel blade that Momotaru wielded struck with the speed and precision of a serpent. This single fang was all he needed to slice the heads from a row of stunned Ura. Four Ura corpses hit the ground in a heap and their comrades sprang into action. Some of the creatures tried to chase after the sisters who were only several steps from escaping the thickets and brambles of the nightmarish forest. With his dark eyes drawing in more energy from his surroundings, Momotaru was fueled with high octane gas. He leapt from opponent to opponent striking them down mercilessly. Heads, along with other body parts, flew from the scrum that had tried to surround and overwhelm him.
A scream caught Momotaru’s attention. He watched in horror as his female companions were assaulted by the brutish Ura. One of the twins was carried away by several Ura who quickly disappeared into the dense foliage of the forest.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Power Array Saga - Season Three - Part XVII

Part XVII – Family is Forever

Stone walls towered above the city of High Garden Clearing. On its northern border was the Ura forest. A vast expanse of pine, broad leaf, and red wood trees provided cover for the demonic creatures.
                The party of five walked along the wide, concrete sidewalk that led out of Consonance and into the agricultural city of Melqart. Time seemed to pass with the speed of a drunk snail and the midday sun beat down. They continued to walk mostly in silence. Bringing up the rear of the straggling train were the twins, who periodically bickered amongst themselves. As the twin moons of the planet Threa shone above their heads, Monel stopped abruptly and let out an agonized groan.
                “Why are we walking?” asked Monel.
                “Why not,” Momotaru replied with a smile.
                “My feet hurt and I’m tired,” said Monel. “Don’t tell me that you expect us to walk all the way to HGC.”
                “Well why not,” said Momotaru.
                Monel’s blue eyes narrowed to dangerous slants.
                “Control yourself,” said Kya. “He’s our liege lord. If he wishes to walk then you’ll do as commanded.”
                “Shut up,” said Monel. “You can’t tell me what to do anymore. Father’s no longer here and we’re no longer in the guild.”
                “I’m still the oldest,” said Kya.
                “Not by much,” said Monel.
                The two sisters drew closer to each other with each step. Their eyes were locked on each other.
                “Yeah. And we all know why that is,” said Kya. “You’re not really one of us.”
                Monel let out a growl. She was about to lunge at her sister until Momotaru stepped between them. With his arms up, he held both sisters back.
                “Calm down,” said Momotaru. “What’s all of this about?”
                Both Kya and Monel turned their backs and folded their arms as they pouted. The twins walked up in front of Momotaru. They shared a look and then nodded their heads in unison.
                “Our older sisters are rivals,” said Chyntel.
                “They compete at everything… all the time,” said Cynia.
                “Shut it you two,” said Kya peering dangerously over her shoulder. Her dark eyes smoldered.
                The twins giggled to themselves.
                “What makes them even more competitive is the fact that Monel is only our half-sister,” said Chyntel.
                “Our father cheated on his wife with a highly skilled assassin that worked in the guild,” said Cynia.
                “But mother took him back,” said Chyntel.
                “I think it’s pretty obvious that she took him back,” said Cynia. “Or else we wouldn’t be here.”
                They traded several blows, striking one another in the shoulders repeatedly. Momotaru let out an exasperated huff as he slowly shook his head.
                “As far as I know,” said Momotaru, “I’m an only child. I can’t imagine what having a sibling is like. But while you all are acting as my bodyguards you will put this petty nonsense aside and function as one unit… think as one mind. I have big plans for this world. Now let’s get moving.”
                “So I take it that means we still have to walk across two more states before reaching HGC,” said Monel.
                “If I say yes to a cab then will you stop your whining,” said Momotaru.
                “I don’t whine,” said Monel with narrowed eyes.
                “Well whatever you call it,” said Momotaru, “you can cut it out. Let’s get to the nearest service station and order a hover transport.”
                After calling for a hover van, which dropped the group off at the entrance to High Garden Clearing, Momotaru and his bodyguards arrived before the large, wooden double doors of the fortress-like city. They were shut tight. Stone walls circled the entire area. Directly to the north of the expansive and winding stone wall was a large clearing. A plain of tree stumps stretched from the walled city to the edge of the forest. Momotaru stood and marveled at the vast amount of trees.
                “They keep the area in front of the wall clear of trees in order to make sure the sentries can see if the Ura try to attack the city,” said Kya.
                “And what exactly are the Ura?” asked Momotaru.
                “A race of wicked demons that inhabit this forest,” said Monel. “The Ura pray on the civilians and survive by drinking their blood.”
                “Why are they allowed to even live here?” asked Momotaru. “Why doesn’t the Eioda government or military launch an assault to wipe them out?”
                “Because most politicians think that it would use up too many resources to launch an all-out assault on the forest. It might not even work,” said Kya. “The Ura and extremely tough to kill.”
                “Well let’s get inside and find an inn to sleep at,” said Momotaru. He walked over to the towering doors of the city and shouted up to the guards who were sentried on the ramparts of the wall.
                The guard responded with a shake of his head.
                “They won’t let anyone in after dark,” said Kya.
                “Don’t you guys live here?” said Momotaru. “Can’t you force them to let you in?”
                “We haven’t lived in this city for several years now,” said Kya. “The twins were still teenagers when we were forced to leave our home. Ever since then we’ve lived in the capital with your father.”
                “Well fearless leader,” said Monel with hands on hips. “What now?”
                “How about we explore a little bit of this forest in front of us,” said Momotaru with a sly grin on his face.
                “Are you insane!” shouted Kya. The other three sisters responded with looks of shock and shouts of outrage.
                “You guys are supposed to be skilled assassins right,” said Momotaru. “Well this will be a perfect chance to see what skills each of you possess.”
                With that said, Momotaru did not look back as he sauntered toward the dark and gloomy forest.