The Battle for New Millennium
Chapter 8: Doubt
Jonah stood holding Barachiel in front of him in his right hand. The sword was heavy, but he had gotten used to holding it this way. Today, Killian was teaching him a trick that Jonah had been having trouble with.
“Absorb Barachiel’s power with your right hand,” Killian said. “Feel it flow into your body.”
Jonah concentrated. He felt Barachiel’s power in his hand. He felt it traveling up his arm and into his body.
“Good,” Killian said. “Direct that power to where you want it to go. Direct it into your left fist.”
Jonah balled up his left hand and held it in front of him. He concentrated on moving the power from the right side of his body into the left. He felt the power condense in his left hand. He concentrated on keeping it there. It raged in his body, looking for a release.
“Good,” Killian said. “Now release the power towards me. Picture it erupting from your first as a harpoon or spear.”
Jonah aimed his first at Killian. He pictured the raw power of Barachiel firing from his first at Killian. He willed it to do so, and it erupted from his knuckles, flying through the air at Killian. It was the first time he was able to do it.
“Excellent,” Killian said, side-stepping the spear of Barachiel’s raw power. “You shall grow stronger along with Barachiel. Start from the beginning.”
Jonah reluctantly got back into a fighting pose. The training was growing stale. He had gotten further than ever before, but he had been at it for hours. Now that he was able to fire the power from his left hand, he wanted a rest. Most of the training took place on a plane that existed in Jonah’s mind, so he had trained for hours in a matter of minutes.
As Killian began his mantra again, there was loud knock on the dojo door. He sheathed Barachiel, and turned to the door. “Hold on, Killian,” Jonah said. “Too much has happened lately for me to ignore that banging.”
Jonah moved to the door and opened to find Willow Bowman standing outside once again. The last time she had come into his dojo to interrupt a training session it was because New Millennium Airport had been attacked.
“What’s happened?” Jonah asked.
“Gabriel left with your cousin,” Willow said. “I got word that they found Tsu-Kata. They went together and with little backup.”
“Dammit, Rock!” Jonah cursed. “What’s he playing at? He knows I should be there!”
“I don’t know,” Willow said. “But we have to hurry. Who knows what’s going on there.”
“Sure,” Jonah said, turning. “Are you feeling up for coming as well, Killian?”
There was no answer. Jonah turned to see nobody there. Jonah put his psychic blocks back up and realized what Killian had done. “Shit,” Jonah spat as he left, passing a confused Willow.
“What?” Willow asked, jogging to catch up with Jonah.
“Killian,” Jonah said. “The whole time I was training with him he wasn’t there. He had me take my psychic blocks down to train, and had me shadow-boxing an image of him in my own mind. No wonder he kept making me do the same thing over and over.”
“Why would he do that?” Willow asked.
“It’s whatever is happening to Rock and Gabriel,” Jonah said. “Killian doesn’t think I should be there for it.”
“Think it’s another trap?” Willow said. “They know you’ll go rushing in. The attack on the airport was to get us away from the DPA so they could steal Rev’s device. Maybe they’re aiming this Tsu-Kata at you this time.”
“Most definitely,” Jonah said.
“But you’re still going,” Willow said.
“I can see why the others didn’t tell you.”
Gabriel tried to formulate a plan that would get him free of Tsu-Kata’s grasp, but nothing was coming to mind. His sword was gone. He still had his hard-power shield, but he didn’t know what would happen if he activated it. It was installed into the armor on his left forearm, and he pictured Tsu-Kata turning his entire arm to wood if he tried to somehow use it.
“I was secretly hoping it was you they would send to me,” Tsu-Kata crooned. She covered her mouth with a sleeved hand and let a tiny giggle out. “That tawdry demoness thought that I would get the warrior, but I got the metal man instead. I am lucky.”
The warrior? Gabriel thought. So this was a trap meant for Jonah after all.
“Let me down and we can talk this through,” Gabriel said. “You don’t have to kill any more innocents.”
Tsu-Kata giggled again from behind her sleeve. Gabriel caught a glance at the yellow and wrinkled fingers as she did so. “Innocents?” Tsu-Kata said with another giggle. “Humans have destroyed this earth. I’ve watched them do it time and time again. They hew its trees. They pump poison into its air and waters. Humans are a disease. I have the power to put this planet back to nature and rid it of you retched creatures. There is not a human in existence that I would call innocent.”
Suddenly, Rock was dragged up from the hole in the ground that Gabriel had blasted. Tsu-Kata picked him up one handed. Some more vines came from the ceiling and held him up by his shoulders. He swung, lifeless.
“He is not dead,” Tsu-Kata said. “I was instructed by Kasayda Kiz to kill any member of your wretched group that entered. They posted a demon outside to kill any that were too afraid to enter. There should not be any way you or your friends survive this day.”
A light dawned in Gabriel’s head. Tsu-Kata used the word “should”. Was she offering a deal that would spare Rock and the others? Gabriel weighed the whether or not he should take the bait as she inched closer to Rock. He knew she had every intention on feeding on him as he swung.
“Wait!” Gabriel said.
Tsu-Kata turned back to Gabriel. The smile was back on her face.
“What do we do?” Mona asked again. Killian was in deep concentration. He had slowed the demon down, but didn’t know how long he could hold him. All he knew was that he had every intention on killing the four members of the Wolves that awaited the return of Rock and Gabriel.
“I will attack him,” Killian said. “You and the others run away while he is busy with me.”
“The Wolves don’t back away from a fight!” Mona said, defiantly.
“You will die,” Killian said. “He already destroyed your guns. He’s too much for you to handle. He’s fighting my mind, and I do not think an illusion would confuse him long enough to kill him.”
“Then we die defending the city!” Mona yelled. “The Post does not surrender.”
The three men with Mona pulled their pistols out and aimed it at the demon again. “We fire on my command,” Mona said. “Aim for the head or chest. We shoot to kill. You try and stop his sword, Killian. We either kill this beast or we all die together.”
“I will hold him as long as I can,” Killian said, beginning to tremble with the stain of holding the demon in his frozen state.
Mona aimed for the spot between the demon’s eyes.
“Take me,” Gabriel said. “Let Rock go. Tell your friend outside to let the others go. You can have me.”
Tsu-Kata observed Gabriel through the hair that covered the top half of her face. “You do not have much to offer me, Gabriel Cogs. There is not much inside you that I could consume. What little is left has been tainted by the hand of man. You are yet another atrocity of this earth.”
The vines began to tighten around Gabriel again. They tightened his chest, and his heart protested. Gabriel groaned loudly. He felt as his his chest were about to explode.
“You are injured beyond your body’s ability to heal,” Tsu-Kata said with her head cocked. “Your heart. It has been through too much. You are living in the final moments of your life as I speak these words.”
“Then finish it!” Gabriel pleaded through the pain spreading through his chest and upper body. “Finish it and let Rock and the others go!”
“I do not believe I have agreed to that,” Tsu-Kata said. Gabriel was suddenly annoyed with her child-like tone. He wished he still had his sword and his arm free so he could cut her head form his body. His only regret at that moment is that he had to die without taking the foul demoness with him.
“Calm yourself,” Tsu-Kata whispered, coming closer to Gabriel. Her lips were now inches from his ear. “The demoness, Kasayda Kiz, wants me to kill all that come to me, but I do not bend to her will. I would have killed you regardless, but now I feel compelled to do the opposite.”
A yellow and claw-like hand emerged from under the white and blue-trimmed sleeve. It moved to Gabriel’s chest where it began to massage the metal armor. “I can still feel you under all of this façade,” Tsu-Kata whispered. Gabriel could feel the lips brushing up against his ear as Tsu-Kata whispered. “The image before my eyes is not you, Gabriel Cogs. The real you is inside.”
Gabriel thought that the demoness was about to pull his heart from his chest, but instead he felt a coolness emanating from the hand that was moving in a circle on his armor. His heart stopped raging and calmed down. For the first time since Kasayda Kiz attacked him, he was no longer in pain.
Killian was right. Before the bullets could piece the demon’s skin, he turned in the air. He was now free of Killian’s mind. As soon as he dodged the bullets Killian threw blades of black shrapnel at the demon’s chest. These, he was not able to dodge. Four pieces of metal jutted from the demon’s torso. He continued moving despite the pain. The wounds were not mortal.
The bullets kept flying towards the demon, and Killian did as well. The bullets didn’t stop firing until Killian was in front of the demon. With his hand he held the demon’s wrist that held his sword. With his right hand he held the demon’s neck, squeezing it with his sharp claws.
The pain in Killian’s back roared in protest, but he fought against it. He was shouting into Mona and the other’s minds to keep shooting. They were hesitant to hit Killian, but taking his life into consideration would kill them all.
“Human nature triumphs again,” the demon said. He moved closer to Jillian so the blades in his chest cut him as well. He reached with his right hand and grabbed Killian’s sword from his back. He quickly raised Killian’s hooked sword above his head and swung it down, intending to cleave as much flesh from Killian’s bones as possible.
Killian had enough of the little game. He reached out into Willow’s mind and took it over. He saw himself holding the demon back and the sword coming down. She had a clear shot at the demon’s head, and Killian took it.
Gabriel fell to the ground in front of the rock. He tossed the stick that used to be his sword aside. It wouldn’t do him much good any more. His hands instinctively went towards his chest. He couldn’t remember how long it had been since he felt so good. He looked up at the smiling face of Tsu-Kata.
“I am true to my word,” Tsu-Kata said. “If I see you or any of your friends again, you will all die.”
The body of Rock Judge fell to the soft ground as well. The vines receded and his unconscious body lay in the grass. “Take your friend as well,” Tsu-Kata said. ” He is fortunate that I have recently fed and have no current need for sustenance.”
Gabriel stood up. Every ounce of his being urged him to attack while her guard was done, but he couldn’t. Something else entirely was stopping him.
“Go,” Tsu-Kata said. “She began to walk away.”
“Why?” Gabriel asked. He could hardly believe the word slipped past his lips.
Tsu-Kata gave him yet another smile. “They are coming,” she said. “In two days’ time it will matter not that I let you and your friend live. After three sunrises, they will have this city. Soon after that they will have this world. Once they take the world, I can mold it once more. Goodbye Gabriel Cogs. Do not seek me out again.”
Tsu-Kata walked into the darkness and was gone.
The bullet hit the demon on the right side of his forehead, and he was thrown back in a violent, twisting motion. Killian was not able to keep his grip on him while he was firing Mona’s pistol and was thrown off as well. The demon fell to the ground where he lay and stirred.
“That didn’t kill him?” Mona asked.
“I didn’t think it would,” Killian said, picking up his sword. He moves quickly, and I lost my grip on him. The bullet did some damage to his skull, but he’ll live.”
“Unless you cut his throat out,” Mona said.
“Yes,” Killian said. “That is my intention.” He stepped on the chest of the demon and moved his sword to the right. He intended on using his sword to cut the demon’s throat when the ground opened and swallowed him up. The ground closed as quickly as it opened. There was a patch of grass where the demon was lying.
“Was that Tsu-Kata?” Mona asked.
“Had to have been,” Killian said.
“So that means…” Mona said, trailing off. Killian didn’t have to read her mind to know what she was thinking. If Tsu-Kata was under them to take the demon, then she was no longer in the building. Rock and Gabriel had been gone too long for them not to run into some kind of trouble.
Killian turned toward the building. He was readying his senses to probe for Gabriel or Rock when the front doors opened. Gabriel walked out holding an unconscious Rock.
“Rock!” Mona shouted, rushing past Killian and over to Rock, where he was now lying. Gabriel walked past the scene.
“Gabriel,” Killian said with a bit of shock in his voice.
“I know,” Gabriel said, knowing that Killian had already looked into his mind to see what had transpired. “We can talk about it later. Rock is OK, but he should get to a hospital. I don’t know what Tsu-Kata did to him before she brought him to me.”
A truck pulled up to the building as Rock was regaining his consciousness. Jonah jumped out from the passenger seat with his sword held in his right hand. He saw Killian, Gabriel, Rock, and Mona and stopped.
“What happened?” Jonah asked.
“Come on,” Killian said. “We’ll fill you in at the DPA.”