Chapter 20: Ruins of MadnessMature

[Story]

I've just received some encrypted data from Kalpa II. There's been another attack.”

A large screen updated with information as Shift broadcasted the data to the rest of The Hidden. Chaos and the others were dispersed throughout their single roomed ship, minding their own business, yet all half holding their attention to the images on the panel above the ship's controls.

I see our friend caused just as much destruction as he did on Haalm,” Kole grimaced.

This was done by the civilians.” Chaos stopped sharpening his twin daggers, and turned his attention to the screen.

How bad is it?” Rok asked.

Enough for The Northern Alliance to set a level five restriction on the city.”

What do you mean the civilians did it?” Chaos interrupted.

Based on the reports, whoever attacked released something. No examinations yet, but whatever it was spread anarchy throughout the city.” Chaos kept silent, the puzzle coming together, and a result he wasn't fond of.

Is something wrong?” Carina spoke in his direction. He held up a hand and kept his silence for a few more moments.

Angel, set a course for Kalpa II. Carina, hack into the automated docking field. We're going straight to the surface.”

Uh, ok?”

Shift. Keep an eye on the system's proximity sensors. Establish contact if military show up.”

Aye.” The screen went blank, and silence reclaimed the ship. Angel looked out of the corner of her eye, trying to decipher the thoughts of her other half. Clearly there was something he knew that the rest of them weren't aware of. She figured the answer would come soon enough, and set their course for Kalpa II.

It was about an hour before it came into view. Black clouds covered the planet's atmosphere, and the fleet of the Galactic Evacuation Corps held all traffic from the docking field.

Stealth systems engaged,” Carina broke in. Angel nodded and circled around the chaos into the planet's atmosphere.

Take us into the edge of the forest,” Chaos spoke up, as he slid his daggers back into their place along his sides. The ship landed silently, and The Hidden unboarded. The energy was radiant as they ventured into the city, taking into account all of the fires and destroyed objects.

Split up,” Chaos commanded. “See if you can find any tracks.”

In a flash, the group dispersed, except for Angel.

Anything in particular you looking for?” She began.

I'm not quite sure yet.”

They glanced about as they walked various streets on the outskirts. Homes and vehicles had been broken into, and dead bodies littered the streets. Despite this, there were a variety of people sitting on their porches who simply eyed them as they passed by.

They look deranged,” Angel broke in after several minutes of silence.

It's the atmosphere.” Chaos declared.

They continued their venture along the streets until they turned into an alley with a large fissure separating it into two halves. In the center of the other side was a body laying lifelessly on the pavement. Chaos jumped the fissure, and squatted next to his body, and examined the head left behind. A black aura resonated where the neck had once connected it to the body.

This guy was a Guild member,” Chaos noted.

This isn't ordinary energy either,” Angel replied.

N-no, it's not,”spoke a slithering voice from behind them.

Chaos and Angel turned there heads to find a deranged man had appeared, holding a twisted grin, and an uncontrollable spasm. His head cocked to his side, and as his body shook, he let out a small laugh.

It's s-something m-much more w-won-d-derful,” the man stuttered.

Like r-roses on a m-mellow day. S-so calm. So p-peaceful. So...free.” He began a high pitched laugh as he shook closer to the fissure.

Angel reached for her dagger, but Chaos held her hand, eyeing the man as he got closer. The man pointed at the lifeless body on the pavement.

S-so sad that h-he won't be jon-joining us. H-he w-would have been veer-ry p-power-ful, but The C-creator made sh-sure the d-dark-ness c-couldn't bind him.”

Chaos looked down again at the black auras between the two necks. He realized that it must have actually been a life force trying to pull its opposite side back together. Since the head was severed, it couldn't connect properly. That also meant that anyone's who's vital organs weren't severed by the attack could still rise. If that was the case, then why were there so many dead bodies?

But y-you two are e-even stronger.”

Suddenly the man's grin grew wider, as his eyes turned black. Auras of more infected began surrounding the area.

Would you like to join us?” he said fluently

Chaos drew his daggers and Angel followed suit as the man stopped his twitching. He noted their caution, and laughed.

Can't you feel the energy? All of its wonders?”

They held their silence, calculating how many enemies they'd have to run through and how fast their energy levels were increasing. A few moments ago, they seemed like just deranged people, but this energy didn't just twist their mentality. It gave them power. And a lot of it.

If you will not let the darkness take you willingly, then we have no choice but to force it into you. It is the only way you will become free from this world.”

Chaos tsked, instantly annoyed at this man's nonsense. He bursted across the fissure and into the man, ripping his daggers through his neck. The swarm of infected descended on them, and Chaos ripped through them one by one with the same anger he did with his most hated targets. Freedom? They didn't know anything about freedom. And he was the last person who'd succumb to some fool's ideal of it. Angel surged forward, just as relentless in her attacks. She jumped into the center of the combat, dagger in one hand, and a single golden energy thread in the other. The thread resembled a flexible wire, and she wove through the swarm, stabbing through some, and dodging others. She reached the end of the chain, and pulled the thread. All at once, her adversaries fell disfigured before her as the thread ripped through their bodies. Chaos sheathed his blades, and looked upon their forms in disgust as the black auras tried to rekindle with their separated parts.

Wretched beings.”

Angel nodded.

So what now?”

Chaos turned to head back the ship when a familiar energy appeared for a moment. It was feint, and quite a distance from the city, but it was unmistakable.

This way,” he nodded his head in the direction of the presence, and bursted off with Angel right behind him.

The End

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