029 Those Who Watch the Sky - 29


29 – Children Changing With the Sky 4

The cockpit to the Dolmen opened with a hiss of hydraulic gasses and a cloud steam filled the space below the chest of the mech. The pressure from the steam blasted up a cloud of dust making it impossible for the band of ruffians to see the pilot descend. The lead ruffian lost his missing tooth grin as realized it and motioned to the ruffian behind him holding the end of the net that held Melody. The ruffian reached for the long knife that dangled from his hip in response and then promptly fell over alongside his leader with a gaping hole in his forehead to match the two gunshots that echoed out from under the Dolmen. The second bullet hole adorned the forehead of the lead ruffian and signaled the ruffians to panic.

“You were unwise to test me in seeing if I could kill another human being again… As it turns out, it seems I have no problem killing any of you.”

“Elliot…”

Mumbling weakly in response to the merciless chill that accompanied Elliot’s words, Melody could only watch helplessly as Elliot emerged from under the Dolmen. He emerged however like a gun shot himself and his sword met the closest remaining ruffian to Melody with a stream of the dust and steam still clinging to the blade. Where Elliot found the strength to move at such a speed and severe a man in two was obvious to Melody and she began bawling as the ruffians fell upon Elliot en masse. It was a mistake on their part.

Humankind had inhabited the face of Icarus for some time and had taken the form of many different species. The weakest of these species were considered one of the old races that inhabited Icarus since time immemorial and before the chimeric races were ever born; the icarans. Weak as the icarans were however they were also the most malleable when afflicted with the infection of the Foreigners resulting in icaran Sa·B·ers having little trouble if any matching their chimeric and nāti peers. For the ruffians who had chosen to attack the Dolmen piloted by Elliot they discovered in tremendous fashion the difference between an icaran possessed by a Foreigner and even the most hardy of those of the chimeric races. The difference could be summed up with the ease with which Elliot cut through his opponents as though they were the air itself.

Watching the trails of blood that drifted through the air like crimson ribbons attached to Elliot’s sword a number of the ruffians made the decision that his sword arm was the greater threat. Those in a position to do so drew forth simple revolvers of their own and opened fire on Elliot. Melody screamed in response to the gunfire echoing about her and her scream was soon joined by the blood choked screams of numerous ruffians as Elliot emptied several more rounds from the semi-automatic firearm he held in his left hand.

Melody could not silence the battle that raged on around her even as she possessed the ability to block out the sight of Elliot’s massacre. The ringing of steel and gunfire filled the air as more ruffians descended upon Elliot from the surrounding woods. The accompanying screams of the ruffians as Elliot’s sword made short work of them did not make Melody open her eyes again but rather the rush of air that followed the heat and thunderous roar of an explosion.

Fearfully opening her eyes Melody was rewarded for her timeliness with the sound of a single bullet being fired from Elliot’s pistol. Surrounded by a growing mountain of corpses and the cries of ruffians demanding that someone kill Elliot it was impossible for Melody to make out who or what Elliot had fired upon. It did not seem to matter to the ruffians however as their numbers seemed to be great enough to have not lost their nerve yet at the sight of Elliot slaughtering all who approached him resulting in Melody becoming buried under their corpses.

“No, no, no, no, no! This isn’t right! This isn’t Elliot!”

Denying the scene around her Melody recalled the image of Elliot’s kind and cheerful smile and could not correlate it with the blood soaked icaran youth who resembled her childhood friend. The savage scream that erupted from Elliot as he charged away from Melody and into the ranks of the small army that had banded together to seize the Dolmen only highlighted the dissimilarities further for the cringing harpy. Curling up into a tight ball entwined in the net that held her under the heap of corpses Melody tried to block out everything. With vehement sobbing she muttered over and over again her denial of what was transpiring.

“That’s not Elliot! That’s not Elliot! Elliot would never–! Elliot would never–!...”

Melody’s denials did nothing to change anything but there was a change occurring. Within the chest cavity of the Dolmen, Link groggily opened her eyes and stared ahead. If the ground were possessed of eyes it would have stared back at her. Confused to be staring at the ground Link looked up half-asleep at the displays within the twenty five meter tall mechanized humanoid and saw at first the flashing indicator of damage to the Dolmen’s left knee. It was only after that that she realized that she was looking at the horizon beyond the trees as she looked up and that she was dangling from the harness of the pilot’s seat.

“Eh–

Consciousness returned to Link with a start and she began flailing about as she tried to take in what was happening.

“What’s happening here Why am I strapped into the pilot’s seat Where’s Melody and Elliot–

With her question coinciding with her gaze falling upon the red blood soaked Elliot engaging with a group of ruffians with terrified looks upon their faces Link froze. Staring aghast at the horror that Elliot was inflicting Link found the clarity of focus she needed to release the seat harness and drop from the Dolmen’s cockpit to the ground below. As the Dolmen had propped itself up on its right hand the fall was further than Link realized and she surprised herself as the several meter fall did not strain her at all.

“Okay… that’s weird.”

Looking down at her body Link discovered that she was entirely naked as the darkness that replaced her flesh had seemingly consumed the last of her clothes and reached her collar bone. The ringing of steel and further gunshots drew her attention away from herself however and reminded her of her current concerns.

“Right. Elliot first and then everything–‼”

Taking a step to make for Elliot LImk’s foot brushed against something on the ground that was obviously not natural. Looking down link saw her sheathed sword at her feet and felt oddly confused.

“Didn’t I drop this back in the dam? Speaking of the dam…”

Trailing off for a moment to study the river off to her right Link discovered that she had a lot of questions that she wanted answers to. Knowing she wouldn’t get them by staring at the river Link knelt down and picked up her sword before sprinting towards where Elliot was still engaged with the ruffians.

“Maybe Elliot or Melody picked it up…? Or maybe I did while I was still out of it… Ugh! Now isn’t the time to dwell on it Link! Elliot obviously needs us and that’s not even accounting for Melody! …I hope she’s okay…”

Shaking her concern from her thoughts Link redoubled on her intention to catch up to Elliot only to discover that she already had. Caught off guard by her own speed, Link stopped to again look down at her body. Her glance did not stay on herself for long as gunfire drew her attention back to Elliot.

“Elliot! Stop! Let them go! Can’t you tell that they’re terrified

Link’s words fell on deaf ears and Elliot’s sword rent another ruffian asunder. Staring in wide-eyed disbelief Link made a decision that she knew would likely risk her life as well as Elliot’s. Taking a deep breath she raised her voice and yelled an order at the bandits.

“Get out if here before he kills you all. I’ll deal with him myself! But don’t think that’s an invitation for you to attack us either or I’ll join him in finishing you off!”

The ruffians had no idea who Link was, where she came from, or for that matter what she was. Her threat seemed all too real to them however and those who were still engaged in combat with Elliot dropped their weapons to better facilitate their retreat. Elliot had no intention of letting them retreat and would have pursued them if not for Link’s hand suddenly upon his shoulder.

“That’s enough Elliot!–

Barely reacting in time to Elliot spinning around and attacking her next Link just barely got her sheathed sword up to catch the attack on the guard. Link’s shock at being attacked by Elliot transitioned to horror as she looked upon his face contorted with unbridled rage, his eyes having turned pure white.

“No…‼ Elliot, don’t you dare give in!”

Her plea answered with a series of powerful one-handed strikes against her Link performed an impressive dance of footwork and hand eye coordination as she managed to draw her sword and deflect a number of Elliot’s attacks. As she was just trying to defend herself though Link was pushed back easily by the raging Elliot despite managing to fend off his rain of blows.

“Elliot! Get a hold of yourself!”

Ducking away from Elliot, Link put her acrobatic ability to work to try to keep out of reach of his sword. It was an impressive effort visually but the difference in their demeanors assured that Elliot maintained the advantage. Putting that advantage to work Elliot lashed out after one of Link’s twirling dodges with a ferocious kick that took her square in the face sending her crashing to the ground. Link did not stay down for long and due to being oblivious to her own pain attempted to spring back off of the ground. She was cut short by a new barrage of attacks from Elliot and it took all that she had to continue fending them off as she was forced down to one knee. From this position even under Elliot’s rain of blows she could have finished him off at any time but as she did not desire to kill her oldest friend she remained on the defensive. Staying on the defensive from such a position was a great risk and Link paid the price for it as Elliot’s superior strength overwhelmed one of her blocks and his sword drove down into her color bone locking her sword under his preventing her from counter attacking.



Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater

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