Chapter VIII: The Foreseen Decline

The planet of Mercury sat silently, ships flew in and out of the planet in organised lines. Plutoon’s craft followed the twenty fourth route into the atmosphere and towards the Houses of Order. He landed in the second hanger and the two left the ship. On the way back they had spoken of the girl, who had revealed her name to be Isabelle Zyphell, and her history. She spoke of a time on Pluto, in the southern city of Plutana, where her mother, Rosmerta Zyphell was queen. The people grew mistrustful of Rosmerta and her husband, Antonio, from whom Anton received his name, and rose up in rebellion. The family went into hiding, but were found and executed in their sleep, a six year old Anton Zyphell watching on. The execution was conducted by Grand General Tobias Ynot, grandfather to Thones Ynot, and the child that Zyphell held in his arms as he watched his parents murdered was his sister, Isabelle Zyphell. But most shocking of all, was the man who signed the death warrant and claimed the throne of the city. This person’s name was Troton Zyphell.

            “The Prime Minister?” Plutoon was shocked. “But how did he go from being King of a city to being Prime Minister of the entire galaxy?”

            “Well, Troton made himself noticed in the first gathering of the Galaxians, back in 700AD” Isabelle explained “At the time they were looking for a leader, so he just dropped Plutana and made himself Prime Minister”

            “But that would make him, well going on three hundred years old” Plutoon gasped “He looks so young”

            “He’s a Kong sorcerer” Isabelle said slowly “One of the most powerful of his time. But his powers have faded, they don’t last forever if you don’t hone them. Now he’s simply immune to death from old age, but no one knows this, he’ll be Prime Minister for eternity” Plutoon looked at the ground “This, of course, enraged my brother when he learned it. He wanted revenge. I was young, I wanted to help my brother, to get the old him back, the caring Anton. But he was dead. He wanted to stop Troton by using some sort of sorcery, the same as his enemy”

            “Kong Energy” Plutoon said slowly “So where did you get your powers? I mean, that was one Hell of a show back there” Isabelle bowed her head.

            “I was a test” she sighed “Not voluntarily, he got me in my sleep. Twisted by power, I gained abilities I did not want or need. I’ve become a Dark Vixen, the first of my kind for centuries, women with dark powers forced onto them. After the success of that test, my brother was sure the fate of the Galaxians was sealed. However, when he did the test on himself, the results were catastrophic. He became the Anton Zyphell we know today, even now he seeks to destroy the heart of the Galaxians and take his rightful place at the head of the galaxy” Zang Fang and Master Tiange suddenly burst into the room.

            “Oh! Plutoon, thank the heavens you have arrived!” gasped Tiange “You must come with me, now!” they ran down a ruby corridor and out into the Golden Courtyard.

 

Pandemonium had broken loose, people were screaming and running. Many packed bags and headed for the hangers to leave. “We must hurry!” Plutoon reached out to Tiange but missed him, Fang ran up beside him.

            “Master, what in Hell’s name is going on?” he asked breathlessly. Fang looked up at him

            “Keep the villagers away from the Houses of Order. One of the Galaxians has been murdered,” he said slowly. Isabelle gasped and clutched Plutoon’s arm, who stood frozen with disbelief “Move!” They leapt into action, ordering people to return to their homes and stay calm. The rioting began to calm, people slowly began to return to peace and Plutoon and Isabelle finally entered the Houses of Order. They climbed the stairs to the Entertainment Suite on the third floor and walked through the door.

            What they saw was appalling. Ha Xhiong, one of the Plutonian Galaxians, lay sprawled on the window ledge, his throat slit and blood everywhere. But that wasn’t nearly as terrible as the glass. The body was impaled, in many areas, by the shattered windowpane. Isabelle covered her eyes and eventually ran from the room, Plutoon followed. He held her arms to support her, as his father had once done for him. She looked up at him, with wet eyes.

            “Its happening Plutoon” she said slowly “My brother is taking his revenge on the galaxy” she hugged him tightly, and then suddenly drew back as if realising what she was doing. Plutoon stroked her hair and smiled

            “It’s all right” he whispered. She smiled then, before she even knew it, they were kissing. She was all over him, unable to control herself any longer. They stopped, but not for long. Soon they were back on each other, they paused again and she smiled at him.

            “It is like, all my life I have been waiting for this moment,” she said quietly “Lets go home” Plutoon nodded and they ran, hand in hand, back to Plutoon’s house. From the shattered Suite window, Fang and Tiange watched them. Tiange sighed and turned away, Fang looked around at him.

            “He is only a boy, Master,” he protested “We cannot force his childhood from him” Tiange looked back at him.

            “This is the test, Fang. The challenge that Plutoon must face” Tiange said slowly “The end is coming Fang, I can feel it. The galaxy is sinking into darkness, and I feel a decline approaching our time. A darkness that none of us can escape, and I fear the end of our way of life is on the horizon” his voice took a very grave tone “Emperor Xhine is dead also” Fang’s eyes widened

            “What? How?” he demanded

            “He was executed by your pupil” Tiange revealed “He cut off his head, betraying Neptune and corrupting them against us. Creating more enemies, bigger threats and an even bigger war. We must act quickly, Plutoon is being lured into a trap, something is controlling his decisions” Fang interrupted briskly.

            “Master, I cannot believe this!” he blurted out “My pupil is not evil! Anton Zyphell is moving his forces and he is heading straight for us! Dominator passed Saturn only yesterday”

            “You think I do not know this?” Tiange said coolly “My defensive formations shall protect the outer strongholds and if, and I mean if, they break through I have a little surprise awaiting them. On the moon of Earth, I have two hundred Auto turrets on standby. Anton Zyphell’s blood-lust will be his undoing” he smiled, Fang looked concerned. “Trust me” they nodded and retired.

 

            Elsewhere, things were not as peaceful. Dominator rumbled through space, Zyphell stalking on its command bridge barking orders. The ship turned and forwarded all engines. Anton Zyphell sat on a solid golden throne he had stolen from Mercury. He stroked his brow in frustration and caressed his trident. The captain approached and bowed.

            “We are making final preparations on approach to Mars, our scanners have picked up metallic objects in the surrounding space. It is most likely Martian satellites” Zyphell raised his hand

            “No, captain. It is more than that” he said slowly, his eyes closed “Activate wide-span cloaking devices, hide the ship” the captain nodded and repeated the order to his men. The Dominator slowly slipped into an oblivion of shadow, hiding its monstrous form in a shield of deceit. After a short while, the ship passed a large metal turret, resting on a small asteroid and manned by four soldiers. “I knew it! Fire!” Torpedoes fired from the weapon tubes and struck the asteroid, destroying it utterly. The soldiers floated away into space, as the ship continued its journey, another turret came into view. “Reload the tubes and fire!” Within seconds, the second outpost was decimated. The captain reported back to Zyphell.

            “Sensors detect enemy minefield ahead!” he reported, Zyphell grinned

            “Reel in those commoners and attach them to metal slabs” he sneered “Then fire them through the weapon tubes in the direction of the minefield” the captain nodded and hooks were soon fired at the floating soldiers. They were drawn in one-by-one and attached to large chunks. The captain gave the order and the men were fired at their own minefield. The ship shook as the field detonated and the group was completely destroyed. “Captain, change course and move the Dominator towards Mercury at a higher speed. This act of betrayal will be dealt with! I have foreseen that they are not expecting us for a few days and word of our presence in this area will not have reached Mercury yet. We shall ambush Master Tiange on home turf, and my family legacy shall be resurrected!”

 

            Another day began on Mercury, the hot summer weather flooded the planet with brisk sunshine at an enormous size. However, peace was not with this summer’s day. Within hours of sunrise, Plutoon had found himself forced out of bed by Master Tiange and ordered to report to the Golden Courtyard immediately. When he had awoken, Isabelle was gone. He travelled reluctantly across the city, passing an enormous Civilian Transport packed to the roof, heading away from Mercan. When he finally arrived at the courtyard, Plutoon spotted Isabelle once more. She wore an elegant purple dress that draped over her left shoulder and was tied, by a ribbon, at the back. She smiled at him, and he smiled back. Fang suddenly burst into the courtyard, followed by Tiange. Plutoon approached.

            “Masters, what is going on?” he inquired

            “You are not going to believe this Plutoon” Fang began breathlessly “Another of the Galaxians has been murdered, killed in his sleep” The courtyard fell silent, Plutoon struggled between anger and confusion. Somehow, he felt he was expecting this news, but didn’t know how or why “The appropriate authorities have been alerted and the Prime Minister has been moved to a safe house in the north beyond Zang Taan. Only myself and Master Tiange know its exact location”

            “What will happen now?” Plutoon asked, “Do we have any clues as to who is behind this?” Fang shook his head slowly “Blast! I have a strong belief that Anton Zyphell is returning to Mercury”

            “Returning?” Fang looked confused, but Plutoon folded his arms

            “Master, I know things about the Zyphell family that I must share with you” he said quickly.

 

The three of them left the courtyard and entered a small archway. Plutoon told Fang and Tiange everything that Isabelle had told him, about Anton and the Prime Minister. Fang sighed heavily.

            “To think this has been going on under my very nose, I can’t believe I didn’t sense it” he said slowly “So the Prime Minister is the reason that Anton Zyphell is the man he is today, and I thought I knew him. Now that Anton can wield Kong powers, the danger has multiplied”

            “This is intolerable!” Tiange cursed “If things continue like this, the entire Galaxian way will be dead before Zyphell even passes the Mars defences” Fang placed his hands on his friend’s arms and comforted him with silent words

            “I am sure we can prevent our enemy’s advance by use of your defensive technique” Fang said slowly “Fortify the outer defences and send word to the Mars team to ready themselves. The Dominator will not be easily hidden”

            “Actually, this could be more problematic” Plutoon said quickly “Zyphell has developed some sort of weapon he calls a Death Ray. The energy of this weapon is off all recorded scales in the history of the galaxy. Emperor Xhine was on the financial support and the work force supply team. According to him, the weapon has the power to melt Mercan and every other city on this planet. If the Prime Minister is the cause behind Zyphell’s actions, it is possible he is still manipulating the situation. We have to confront him now”

            “Do you expect me to take the advice of someone who is, firstly, hugely unqualified to do so and, secondly, murdered a huge member of our Galaxian way and turned an entire planet against us?” Tiange suddenly stopped in mid-speech, as if sensing something terrible. His eyes widened, filled with fear and surprise.

            “Master?” Fang looked up at his friend, who now held his chest

            “Another Galaxian has been found dead,” he said slowly. Isabelle suddenly ran forward and hung onto Plutoon’s arm, he put his arm around her and stroked her dark hair with his thumb “This is most unexpected, even to me”

            “This cannot go on, Tiange” Fang said “We must launch the fleet immediately”

            “No, we stay with the defence scheme” Tiange ordered, “I have foreseen this, though not to this extent, but a doom has been sealed for the Galaxian way. And, though I may not be able to stop it myself, I still believe that the Galaxians can survive. There is only one man that can destroy them, and he does not suspect that I know where he is going” A shrill laugh echoed in the courtyard, black smoke flooded in from all sides and twirled in a typhoon of shadow. Red flashes began to erupt around it and civilians ran in fear to their homes and shut up the windows. A dark figure stepped from the smoke, wreathed in purple fire and steam. Plutoon drew his sword and stood in front of Isabelle.

            “Well, hello” came the voice of Anton Zyphell “Ah, Master Tiange. At last we meet, and Zang Fang, I believe we have already encountered one another. Well, well…Zanton Plutoon, was it but two days ago we fought? Now, you are one person I did not expect to see here, sister” Isabelle looked up at her brother with watered eyes. Plutoon leapt at Zyphell and swung his sword. It cut through the smoke and Zyphell’s neck reconnected “Ooh, feisty are we? I thought you might like to know I have already decimated your Mars defences, cleared your minefield and my battle fleets are on final approach to Mercury”

            “This cannot be!” Plutoon said. Zyphell laughed

            “You see Master Tiange” he sneered, “I am more than a match for your insignificant powers! My army is growing, my power is multiplying and my strength is multiplying” He smiled grimly and his eyes thinned “Very soon, my family will be back on top and you will be snivelling at my feet!” The wind blew and Zyphell slowly blew away with it, his sneer still lurking in the air. Isabelle grasped Plutoon and Tiange rested his head in his hand. Fang paced up and down the courtyard, his mind fighting a vicious battle.

            “This is the end, isn’t it” Isabelle whispered, Plutoon held her arm

            “How many men have managed to survive?” he asked. Tiange concentrated hard; he saw Mars and the devastated area of space surrounding it

            “None” he said blankly.

 

The day soon approached midday and the hottest moment of the day began. Mercanian security forces moved the Galaxian convoy towards the Zang Taan camp. Inside, the entire Galaxian Voice Committee waited to learn where they were going and, more importantly, why. They reached a checkpoint and received orders to transfer ten of the Galaxians to a separate safe house. They departed and went off with another group of soldiers. As the remaining convoy was slowly shipped away, the vehicle suddenly detonated and was consumed in a ball of flame. The burning, metal carcass was flung into the air and crashed to the ground. As the giant sun slowly began to sink in the sky, the terrified Galaxians that remained were secretly escorted away. And it was then agreed that their survival should be kept under level ten confidentiality.

The End

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