Chapter 18: The Great Disaster Explained

The next morning, Mateo, Achilles, Lauren, and Diana began finishing their preparations to leave the area. While Mateo finished tightening the last of a duffle bag, Achilles placed his bag onto the floor, and looked at Mateo.
“Can I ask you something?” Achilles questioned.
“Sure.” Mateo responded, placing his bag onto his back.
“When we get to the town in the south, where to after that?” Achilles asked.
“I… I don’t really know, honestly. Once we get to some kind of civilization, then I guess we keep traveling. If we are to go to Infinite Tower, then we need to be one hundred percent ready.” Mateo responded.

Suddenly, the tress in the surrounding area started ruffling harshly from the sudden wind. Within moments, Diana and Lauren came charging into the room with bags on their backs.
“We have to go! Something’s wrong!!” Diana shouted, grabbing hold of Mateo’s arm.

She violently dragged Mateo outside, and pointed to the sky. Mateo was horrified to watch purple rings pulsing into the sky, followed by sparking lights raining from their afterimage.
“Oh… no. We have to go! Now!!” Mateo shouted as loud as he could.

Grabbing all they could, Lauren and Achilles charged out of the room, following Mateo towards trees. For a brief second, he glanced back and saw Shimara standing from her deck, glaring at Mateo with evil-festering eyes. Behind her was Palacio, starring down towards the ground in disgust. With no time to survey them, Mateo continued through the forest.
“What is that light??” Achilles shouted.
“That’s the terra-former! We need to hurry!” Mateo shouted, knocking more branches from his face.
“Then what’s… that??” Lauren shouted, pointing in the distance.

Ahead of them stood a person bathed in a purple-like color. They wore a cloak, covering all but their faces, and a long blade was sitting in their hand. Unfamiliar with the being, Mateo reached for his beam saber. As they approached the being, its solid white eyes opened, and wielded the blade in an attempt to strike at them.
“Keep going!” Mateo shouted, pointing to the left of the being.

While the other three turned a few degrees, Mateo pulled his weapon out and jumped straight into the unknown being. It not only blocked Mateo’s attack, but deflected it and him into a neighboring tree. Mateo quickly bent to his knees, barely dodging the being’s attack and followed with a forward slash, slicing it in two. As Mateo jumped ahead a little, he dropped his jaw in astonishment. The creature turned towards Mateo while its midsection wound reattached.
“What the hell are you??” Mateo gasped, holding his saber tightly towards the creature.

Mateo slightly caught glimpse of its mouth movements before it charged him once again. Unable to do damage to the creature, Mateo quickly put away his saber, turned towards the direction Achilles and the others were running, and sprinted to catch up. As he ran faster and faster, he saw in the slight distance Lauren and Diana with Achilles at the front. Unknowingly to Mateo, the creature was right on his backside, barely in striking range. When it tried to strike Mateo, it barely scathed his backpack, and the force of the swing struck several trees, making them completely explode. This caught Mateo’s attention, shocking him to the core. Thinking fast, he reached for his saber again, and pressed a button on the bottom portion and chucked it to the ground. The moment the creature stepped on it, a blinding green light emitted from the saber, causing a small explosion. The force of the explosion pushed Mateo speeding swiftly past Achilles. Achilles caught glimpse of the explosion, and saw a tumbling Mateo fly through trees and branches.

Unable to find out what happened, the three continued to charge in the same direction. All of a sudden, the same creature that attacked Mateo, started appearing all over the place in the forest. At the same time, Achilles ran across Mateo, who was bruised and scratched from the previous explosion. As the three vastly helped him to his feet, they attempted to run again, but was faced with hundreds of the glowing purple beings.
“What’s going on??” Diana asked.
“The hell are these things?” Achilles asked, nudging Mateo with his arm.
“I… I don’t know… I can’t hurt them.” Mateo responded, wiping blood and dirt from his face.

This struck fear in both Lauren and Diana. Mateo, who reached in his pocket, realized he still had his plasma blaster, to his surprise. Before he had a chance to pull it out, a thundering voice echoed amongst the group.
“Run…!” It shouted.

As the four heard the voice, large explosions erupted form the direction they ran, followed by the purple beings floating back into the air. Confused, and Mateo being distorted, the four continued to run at an even more accelerated pace. The explosions were so violent, the four could feel the shockwaves pressing on their bodies, almost tripping them. It wasn’t long before they came across a blinding light at the end of the forest.
“There’s a clearing ahead!!” Mateo shouted.

Feeling the sheer pressure of the shockwaves, they all braced themselves for the bright light. As soon as they stepped into it, the light quickly subsided, and unveiled to them a large cliff. Below raged a fierce river. Before Mateo and the others could stop their momentum, they helplessly stepped off the cliff, starting in a free fall towards the river. Diana attempted to reach for the cliff, but one of the shockwaves blew them too far, sending them down. She watched as the very cliff they were reaching for quickly exploded, sending debris falling along with them. In the free fall, Mateo quickly reached for Lauren and Achilles’s hands. Still a little disoriented from the explosion earlier, he was unable to quickly locate Diana. Within seconds, they all impacted the water.

Lauren, who quickly swam to the surface, gasped for air as she tried to locate the others. Above, the sky was quickly covered by debris shrouding them all in darkness. Lauren helplessly tried to stay above the raging river as the current washed her down the stream. Streaks of light shined only for a brief moment from above, giving her glimpses of the surroundings. She was completely surrounded in tree fragments, rock, and random things. Suddenly, she caught glimpse of a glimmer of light at the end of the river, but at the same time she felt the current pick up significantly faster. Unable to move from the stream, or see anything but that glimmer, she knew exactly what was coming.

Desperately, she attempted to swim against the current. Not only was she quickly unsuccessful, something caught her leg, pulling her under the current. As hard as she could, she kicked her leg away, freeing herself. When she returned to the surface, the light subsided, showing her the tip of the waterfall. For a brief second, she was able to fully see the landscape. The clouds were churning with smoke, golden sun light, and a purple mix all over, as well as explosions all over the cliffs. To her surprise, random building began sprouting from the explosions. Her curiously quickly ended, as she fell with the current over the tip of the waterfall. The only thing she could do was let out a blood curdling scream as she passed out before impacting the bottom of the waterfall.

She then opened her eyes, finding herself to be laying in a large golden room.
“What…? Where am I…?” Lauren gasped, grabbing hold of her body.

Taking a deep breath, she quickly threw the covers off her body, and jumped to her feet. Looking downwards, she realized she was wearing a black shorts, with a tank top covering only her breasts. On her neck she felt a white necklace on. Her hair was also tied into a ponytail. On her feet were black tennis shoes. Her sack sat next to the bed where she stood up.
“I’m… I’m alive?” Lauren gasped.
“Of course you are, silly…” Said a man walking in to the room.

As the man’s voice echoed through the room, Lauren turned to the man in disbelief.
“… Max?” Lauren gasped, gazing at her old lover, “How… are you alive?”
“Sweets… Are you alright?” Max asked, walking towards her.

She quickly refrained from him touching her.
“You were running a fever, so…” Max responded, pulling out a bowl of soup from his back, “I made you some ramen.”

He slowly placed the ramen onto a table sitting next to the bed.
“I will leave… this here. Are you feeling alright still? You were having a god awful dream…” Max asked, taking a step back.
“You… You were dead…! Achilles…” Lauren gasped.
“Who’s that?” Max asked, sitting onto the bed, “Come sit down with me.”
“No…! I can’t! You’re dead…!” Lauren shouted, backing up towards the wall.

Max stood from the bed, and approached Lauren with a concerned look on his face.
“Lauren… Please… You’re actually starting to scare me.” Max stated, concerned, “You were out for days… Please, what’s wrong?”

As he reached his hand out to touch her, she clinched up, burying her face into her palms. The moment his touch rested onto her shoulder, a warm feeling soothed Lauren, allowing her to relax. She slowly stood firm, looking at Max.
“Tell me… What’s wrong?” Max asked.
“I…” Lauren responded calmly for a brief moment, “I… Was all of it a dream?”

Max put both hands onto her shoulders,
“I guess so… I’m literally standing in front of you in the flesh. How could I be dead?” Max smiled.

Drawing her in, he embraced her comfortably, placing his head on top of hers. Feeling much more relaxed, she placed her hands into his chest, and let out a snug sigh.
“What were you dreaming about?” Max asked.

Lauren peeled off of Max, and pulled him over to the bed. She sat him down, and sat next to him. Glancing at her sack, she realized it was soaked. There was a puddle still formed around the bag.
“I’ve… been out for days?” She asked, looking back at Max.
“Yes, I’ve been worried sick.” Max responded, “Now tell me what happened.”
“But you were at central station…!” Lauren stated, trying to withdraw from Max, “You tried to…!”

Max continued to hold Lauren to his body.
“Shhhhh!!! Lauren! Calm down…!” Max begged, stroking her blue hair, “Maybe a stroll around the block will calm your mind?”

After thinking about the decision for a second, she nudged him, signaling an agreement.
“You should grab your jacket before heading out… It’s rather cold.” Max suggested, pointing at a rather long coat hanging next to the door.

When they stood from the bed, Max scurried to the coat, bringing it off the coat hanger. Lauren slightly blushed when approaching him, extending her arm for him to put the coat over her arm.
“Max, are you… alright?” Lauren questioned, “I don’t ever remember you being so nice!”
“Thing’s changed, and I regret… Everything I done, Lauren.” Max smiled, sliding the other sleeve onto Lauren’s arm.

He quickly spun her around, grabbing her by her hips. Slowly, he pulled her towards his body.
“I’ve done a long of bad things to you… I am sorry, Lauren… From the bottom of my heart. I won’t ever leave your side, ever again…” Max spoke in a warm, soft voice.

His voice not only convinced her, she melted in his arms.
“I love you.” Lauren smiled, embracing him.
“I… Love you too. Now, let’s go get some fresh air.” Max smiled.

Max opened the door for her, and the two walked down a red carpeted hallway towards two large golden doors. As the two stood at the towering doors, Lauren could hardly breathe from the sight of the beautiful doors.
“Where are we Max??” Lauren gasped, looking up at the towering doors.
“We are in Raven!” Max smiled, opening the doors.

Hearing Raven immediately shook Lauren to the core, but was overwhelmed at the sight when he opened the door.
“Oh… This is Raven???” Lauren gasped, running outside to the balcony.
“Yes…” Max responded, approaching Lauren at the balcony edge.
“The trees… The vegetation… The buildings… The homes… Look over there!” Lauren started spewing everything that came to sight in an excited tone, “I’ve never seen such a stunning view!”
“I know… You’re very beautiful too…” Max smiled, gazing at Lauren’s radiating light.
“What is that…? Gleaming pillar of light in the distance??” Lauren asked.
“That’s the Shining Tower. It had a cryptic name beforehand, but now it’s called The Shining Tower. It’s where the president resides.” Max smiled, gazing at the tower’s beauty.
“Cryptic… name? Infinite tower…?” Lauren questioned, turning towards him.
“Yes…” Max replied, “Come with me, there’s a lot I need to show you.”

Grabbing Lauren’s hand, the two walked down a curved stairwell that circled a waterfall from the foundation of the building. Once below, he continued holding her hand as they walked down the beautifully maintained road.
“Everything’s so pretty…” Lauren gasped, looking around in astonishment.
“Indeed. Things have come a long way thanks to Arthur.” Max explained.

Hearing Arthur’s name almost made Lauren slap Max. Unfortunately, she couldn’t budge her hand from the passion she started sharing for Max again.
“After The Great Disaster, what was left of the scientists, Commander Arthur, and the demons of Silan all worked together, and stabilized the core of Infinite Tower. With the help of Zilan, Silan’s second in command, and elite demons, they were all able to purify the core of Infinite Tower, turning it into a beacon of light. The very moment the light emerged from the tower, great and powerful magic were unleashed for miles… It healed the wounded, resurrected the dead, mended amputations, everything you could possibly imagine!” Max explained.

During his explanation, he stopped at a statue in the middle of the street.
“There’s a statue built here in the name of the alliance.” Max smiled, gazing at the statue.

It was a statue of Zilan, and Commander Arthur standing side by side, with Silan between the two holding a crystal in his hand.
“We all now co-exist with not only demons, but the habitants of this planet as well!” Max smiled.
“What…? But…!” Lauren gasped, remembering the events that took place prior to.
“But?” Max questioned.

After a few seconds of looking at the statue, and the confidence Max had while looking at the statue, she shook her head for a moment, and smiled along with him.
“It’s nothing.” Lauren replied with a warm smile, “So… The residents here settled down?” Lauren questioned.
“Absolutely. Within days, both scientists of human and demonic cultures started combining their technologies and powers. Our culture is back!” Max cheered.

The two started walking around the state, and continuing down another road.
“Look over there.” Max pointed out.

As Lauren gazed over, she saw a dog park. Humans of all different colors mingling in with strange humans with a tail and fox ears.
“Those are known as Elven Foxes of the Forest. Research shows they have inhabited Gethos before coming here, to Motavian.” Max explained, “Those shaded humans are not just humans, they’re humans that needed to be fused with Demonic DNA to survive. The Agency, though proud to serve, is no longer called the Agency. It’s now The Supreme Army. Only the select few are infused with a special serum created by the Great Doctor, and are able to join this military. Me, I’m a part of the Royal Guard; to maintain and uphold peace here in Raven.”

Soaking in the information, one thing Max said queued her in on a little suspicion.
“So… What was The Great Disaster?” Lauren questioned, becoming more and more suspicious.
“The Great Disaster?” Max responded, “From what Commander Arthur explained, some rebellious group ruptured the core of Raven, and destabilized the planetary plates; sending them in all different directions. Two plates remain intact… The other two…”
“Max?” Lauren questioned, watching his face drop.
“The others… Were destroyed by Angels.” Max explained, “So many of them perished…”

A tear beaded, and fell off Max’s face. Lauren continued to be more interested.
“Any… idea who would have done such a horrid thing?” Lauren questioned.
“Them…” Max explained with a deep grumble, “The Leohan family. They are the ones responsible for Raven’s destruction! Specifically, Mateo Leohan.”
“Mateo…?” Lauren gasped, suddenly stopping from the walk.
“Yes! He and his accursed family is solely responsible for the destruction of our home-world!” Max grumbled once more, “They trained among Commander Arthur himself, and tried to sabotage everything… Word through the forests say he’s on the planet somewhere. If we find him…”

Lauren suddenly started putting things together in her head.
“I… I gotta go.” Lauren stated, taking a step back.
“Wha…? Why?” Max asked, reaching for Lauren, “I have more to show you!”
“No, no… That’s okay… I want to head back to my room… Thanks for everything!” Lauren attempted to smile.

Before Max could grab her once more, she took off running in the direction which they came. Max stood, confused.
“What’s her deal? Women are freaking strange.” Max shrugged.

Facing the original direction he continued his stroll. Meanwhile, Lauren darted for the building with the huge double doors.
“I know I’m not crazy…! There’s something wrong…” Lauren said to herself.

Bolting up the stairs, she wasted no time in opening the doors. Once she sprinted down the hallway, barely dodging some locals, she ran into the room that her and Max were in. To the other side of the bed, she grabbed hold of her damp sack, and opened it.
“See, I knew it! I wasn’t dreaming!” Lauren shouted, reaching for her retractable staff.

Suddenly, once she grabbed it, she had an idea.
“Maybe… I should stay here… The last thing… I remember is an avalanche, and many explosions… I remember…” Lauren stated.

All of a sudden, a man and a woman ran into the room and quickly shut the door. Lauren, startled, backed up a few steps as the two started pushing things towards the door.
“You! Where’s the nearest exit out of this building??” The man shouted.

He wore disgusting rags, just like the female. They both appeared to have a saber and a pistol attached to their hips.
“I… don’t know!” Lauren gasped, reaching for her bag once more.
“Open the door! We will destroy it on three!” A voice shouted from outside.
“You, come here!” The man shouted, pulling out his gun, “Let’s go!”

Overwhelmed and scared, she quickly attached her sack onto her back, and willingly went with the man. He took no time in restraining her. He reached for his pocket and pulled out a zip tie cuffs. The woman started raiding one of the closets for a bag and other supplies as the man pointed the gun towards Lauren.
“Put those on! Hurry up!” The man shouted, pointing the gun closer.
“Who are you…?” Lauren gasped.
“None of your concern!” The man shouted, using his other hand to tighten the zip tie cuffs.

Once he got her to her feet, he snapped at the woman to finish what she was doing. Turning to the back of the room, the man pushed Lauren to the ground, and holstered his pistol. At the same time, he pulled out his saber. With no effort at all, he thrusted the blade into the wall, forming a fiery hole. It took only seconds for him to cut a clean hole, allowing them the escape.
“Go! Now! We don’t have much time!” The man shouted, signaling the woman to run.

Tying up her medium sized sack, she jumped out of the hole, and ran into some bushes in the distance. The man quickly grabbed Lauren’s hair and threatened her.
“Do what we say or I will kill you!” The man shouted, throwing her through the hole.

Before Lauren could reply, she fell onto the ground, with the man falling behind her. He landed inches from her body. The man grabbed hold of Lauren’s bound arms, and threw her into the bush with the woman, and followed through into the bush just as the door exploded above. Followed by Max, he and a bunch of crimson soldiers ran into the room, immediately checking every nook and cranny. Max continued directing the soldiers, instructing them to look harder, and broaden their search.
“Shit… She got away…!” Max snapped his fingers.
“Sir, they escaped out of this hole.” One of the soldier’s reported, “They could be anywhere in the city!”
“Then search the whole area! They can’t be far!” Max shouted.
“For…?” A thundering voice echoed into the room.

Hearing Commander Arthur’s booming voice made all the soldiers stand at the position of attention, while Max kneeled.
“Commander Arthur, they escaped.” Max explained, sweat pouring from his head from nervousness.

Arthur no longer wore his golden clad armor, he wore nothing but simple white robes with a circlet on his head. On his side he possessed the same saber as before, but no other weaponry. He looked down at Max with a content look on his face.
“Its fine, Maximus. Rise.” Arthur spoke, lifting his hand up to signal to stand.

Once Max stood to his feet, Arthur placed his hand on his shoulder.
“Master Maximus, do not be frightened of me…” Arthur spoke softly, “Our people are at peace, and we have no more need for conflict at this level. Calm yourself.”

Max gasped at Arthur’s words and lifted his head with disbelief. Sweat poured from his forehead.
“She may have had the information we needed, but we do not need to worry. As long as the townsfolk are safe from harm, that’s all that matters. Now, go to the Shining Tower, and get some rest.” Arthur smiled, lowering his arm.
“But sire…!” Max questioned.
“Farewell, Master Maximus” Arthur smiled, turning away from Max.

With the guards that charged into the room, they and Arthur exited the room. Max, who fell to his knees with relief, looked towards the hole cut in the wall.
“Acknowledged, sir.” Max grumbled.

Meanwhile, as the two that kidnapped Lauren ran down a dank sewer, they reached a point where they had nowhere else to go. That’s when the man, still pulling Lauren by her hair, threw her against the wall and pointed a gun to her head again. The woman quickly removed the zip tie cuffs with a knife, and quickly jumped back. Scared and shaken, Lauren started to cower in fear.
“You, who are you?” The man asked, aiming the gun towards her head.
“I am Lauren… Please don’t…” She started pleading.
“Silence!” The man shouted, “You are who we came for…”
“Alec!” Elena said, “If she’s the one we are looking for, stop pointing that damn gun at her…! She’s been through enough…”

Lauren gazed at Elena with an extremely puzzled look.
“We have a lot of ground to cover…” Alec replied, “We need to get a move on, we’ll explain on the way.”

Walking towards Lauren, Alec slid Lauren to the side. He pushed on a random brick against the wall, activating a trap door in the wall. Once it started sliding open, Lauren took a step back, still confused and disoriented.
“Go…” Alec said, pushing her in the door.

Once inside, Lauren saw a log with a hole inside it, being held by a chain above the water. Looking back, seeing Alec giving the motion to get in the boat, she jumped into it, and held onto the sides. Elena sparred no time jumping in, while Alec jumped in still standing. Reaching to his side, he grabbed hold of a knife. With one stroke, he smacked the chain that was against the log, and the rushing current of the water violently hurled the log forwards.

Lauren desperately tried holding to the edges of the log for stabilization and keep from being thrown out, while the other two hunkered down, pressing against the sides. As Lauren looked above, she saw random streaks of light, assuming it’s the surface. The longer they flowed down the tunnel, the thinner the lights became until they were nothing but twinkles in the darkness above.
“Hang on!!” Alec shouted, bracing himself.
“Brace onto…!” Lauren tried to question.

Before she could finish her question, light suddenly engulfed them. Lauren then let out another blood curdling scream as her sight came back. Below her was the river from before, only slightly higher. Alec quickly reached forward, grabbed hold of Lauren by her midsection and mouth, and threw themselves out of the log. Lauren started panicking, grabbing hold of Alec’s arms. All of the sudden, Alec was snatched in the air by Elena. As Lauren started to calm down, she reached with one hand and removed Alec’s hand from her mouth.
“We’re flying???” Lauren shouted.
“Yes… With Elena’s mechanical wings.” Alec stated, wrapping around Lauren’s mid-section with his free arm.

Lauren looked down, looking at the harshly raging river below. She looked to her left and right to absorb her surroundings.
“What… What did they do…? Lauren asked.
“Shut up…! You’ll bite your tongue!” Elena shouted, taking a hard left turn.

She looked around, continuing to soak in the surroundings. From all the explosions, the clouds above were polluted by smoke with the sun attempting to break through the pollution. Trees laid to the side with debris falling off the edge. Long strands of black ash and polluted water poured from the cliffs above, turning the river into a murky; green color with black stains. When Lauren attempted to look behind her, she saw a large beige building with funnels coming out of it, spewing greenish water as well.

It didn’t take but a few minutes before they were past the cliff walls. Below, the trees began to turn brown from the polluted water around.
“There, that’s where we are going.” Alec pointed out.

Hidden deep into the decaying forest was a broken up town, but barely visible. Elena quickly flew through the tree limbs, letting Alec and Lauren go once they were close enough to the ground. By the time Alec and Lauren were standing on their own two feet, Lauren immediately felt wobbly from the flight. She fell to her knees when he let her go. Achilles, who watched them from the building he resided in, staggered and ran outside as fast as he could.
“Lauren!!” Achilles smiled, falling to his knees to her level.
“Achilles…!” Lauren gasped.

Seeing Achilles sitting beside her filled her with great joy. With tears forming in her eyes, she reached for him and embraced him as hard as she could. Alec cracked a grin, and looked over back at Elena.
“Who would have thought we would find her so fast.” Alec said to Elena.
“Look at her; it’s kind of not hard to miss her. Look at that hair.” Elena remarked sarcastically.

Hearing the ruckus sent Mateo running out of another one of the torn buildings.
“What happened??” Mateo shouted.
“She was taken in for questioning…” Alec explained, “She was attended to by a Royal Guard.”
“Oh.” Mateo responded, “Lauren are you alright…?”

Lauren glanced over at Mateo, and gave him a kind of stink eye.
“Fine… Mateo. What happened on Raven…?” Lauren asked.

Using Achilles, Lauren stood to her feet.
“… In what regard?” Mateo asked, puzzled at Lauren’s response.
“Back on Raven… When the plates took off. What happened?” Lauren asked, sounding demanding.
“What’s the deal?” Achilles asked, “Now that we are all together-“
“Shut up.” Lauren snapped to Achilles, “Mateo Leohan, what happened on Raven??”

Mateo looked towards the ground with great sorrow in his eyes.
“What happened?” Mateo repeated back, “I would rather not talk about it.”

Lauren sternly walked up to Mateo, grabbed him by the shoulder, and spun him around with great force.
“Tell me!” Lauren shouted.

Mateo looked into Lauren’s eyes and saw much confusion mixed with hatred. He took a step back, and looked at Alec, Elena, Achilles, and Lauren, and let out a deep sigh.
“Vakarra explained…” Mateo attempted to respond.

Lauren became more upset.
“She explained how she got in her position…! What happened up there, Mateo?!” Lauren shouted, clenching her fists.

Mateo uttered a sigh; catching the attention of the others around him.
“I saw lots of horrors. Things I wouldn’t imagine seeing in my lifetime. Sure, I dreamed and through about pursuing my family, trying to find out the all mighty secret of where they went. But at the same time, with Emmy around, I shrugged it and tried to live a good life. Myself, Emmy, and Cecil, another agent with his follower, Chelsea, were in my house, trying to figure out some strange anomalies that happened in the area, when… Specter, a follower for Zane, a high level Agent, appeared before us. Her body looked dead but fully conscious. She told us in a specific timeframe, everyone on Ravel will die with the exception of Infinite tower and that specific province.” Mateo explained.

Alec and Elena looked at each other, and bowed their heads with sorrow.
“Cecil explained to us that there was an infiltration of demons among the ranks of the Agency. Just about all, with the exception of him and Chelsea, rebelled. So, putting two and two together, we figured out that there is a possibility that there may be a way to release the other plates, giving everyone on Raven a chance to survive. As farfetched as that sounds, I decided I was going to try and save them. All… On my own. As Cecil prepared our vehicle for takeoff, I put Emmy in the vehicle with the two. She wanted to come with me so bad… But… I knocked her out, and went on my own.” Mateo explained further.
“Lauren, are you satisfied?” Achilles questioned, glaring at Lauren.
“No! Continue the story!” Lauren shouted.
“Then…” Mateo choked a little with tears coming to his eyes, “Once they took off, the armada of Silan’s army showed up. It must have been hundreds of infused humans, with small and large battleships entering the atmosphere… I never seen an invasion like that. Ever… in my life.”

Mateo grew increasingly uncomfortable.
“I used what mystical energy I could control, and infused myself. I didn’t have long, so I left for the Gravitational station. As I was heading there, I saw… things you wouldn’t even imagine. Demons devouring humans… Tainting, corrupting, destroying, killing everyone around me…” A tear beaded down Mateo’s face, “One fiercely attacked me and almost took me down due to his brute strength… But I managed to power through. Once I got to the station, I was met by one of Commander Arthur’s Lieutenants. Her name was Vakarra. We engaged into a fierce battle, but I over-powered her and she came back to her senses.”

Alec gasped at the name.
“You fought Vakarra??” Alec gasped.
“Under her instruction, we headed down the Gravitational Station to the bottom floor. There is where the core was stabilized. I was greeted by Zilan, and Shimara…” Mateo explained.

Achilles and Lauren froze, hearing Shimara’s name.
“That’s why… you had such anger towards her…!” Achilles gasped.
“There’s… more.” Mateo responded, “Vakarra took on Shimara but was ultimately overpowered. Using a few maneuvers I learned when I was a kid, I was able to beat her. I found my way into the Gravitational Engine room. When I walked towards those panels, I was greeted by Zilan…”

Mateo turned his back towards Lauren and the others. He started balling his fists with rage.
“Zilan and I confronted after he revealed…” Mateo sobbed, reaching into his pocket.

He pulled out the slightly burned around the edges picture that Zilan gave him. Lauren, who was immersed into Mateo’s story, took the picture and held it with both hands. To their curiosity, Alec, Elena, and Achilles all walked up behind her.
“Zilan is a lost brother of mine. Although I do not remember him, he’s related to me. We engaged shortly after that. When I got the chance, I jumped over to the controls, and pushed the release mechanisms to release the rest of the plates.” Mateo grumbled.

Lauren handed Achilles the picture, and walked up to Mateo. She put her hand onto his back and attempted to rub it.
“I pushed the buttons… And prayed something good would come of it.” Mateo sobbed, “By now, Vakarra pummeled Shimara back to her senses, and we found a way to escape quickly to an emergency escape pod. Zilan charged back into the room with his Demonic Wings out. I, preparing to fight to the death, stayed behind to give Vakarra and Shimara a chance to escape. I fought Zilan once more with all my might. I lost all hope in surviving, and came to a conclusion that I was going to die… Then it happened.”

Mateo turned back towards the group.
“Emmy talked to me telepathically… She empowered me, and I continued to fight Zilan… Until he showed up.”
“Who??” Alec asked, immersed in the suspense.
“Silan, the Great Demon King. His very aura disabled my saber… To the point where I had a severe burn on my hand. Zilan kneeled at the king’s power. He… He walked towards me. The very pressure of his power took my breath away, and I was helpless. I couldn’t do anything but stand there, like a helpless child. Then… everything went dark. When I came to, I was in a cell inside the basement of the Infinite tower.” Mateo finished explaining.

Lauren, taken by Mateo’s explanation, attempted to hand him back the photo.
“So, you did push the controls and sent the plates hurdling into space…” Lauren questioned.

Mateo nodded as he took the photo away from Lauren.
“I did… Specter told us the explosion with all the debris would cause catastrophic damage and death to many lives on all the planets on the solar system.” Mateo responded, wiping a tear from his face, “Then I… Separated from Emmy when I escaped Infinite tower… As Emmy and I were escaping, Commander Arthur and I dueled… and I lost. Silan also appeared, and just when I was about to be dealt the final blow, Emmy… Gave herself up to save me. Vakarra rescued me at the last second… And the last thing I remember is seeing Emmy and Silan disappear in a blinding light…”

With all that said, Mateo headed back to one of the destroyed buildings. Lauren attempted to stop him, but her efforts were meaningless.
“Why… Did you ask him that?” Achilles asked.
“… Max… was right…!” Lauren gasped, “The Leohan Family…”
“What are you on about? I killed Max… I thought?” Achilles responded.
“When I came to, Max informed me about… The Great Disaster, and how the Leohan family brought upon death and destruction to Raven.” Lauren explained.
“You can’t believe those lies, girl!” Alec shouted, approaching Lauren, “They are blinded by the truth! I dug up facts on that dreaded tower. It was built and manifested by Angels… Back in the old days. Both Silan and Arthur, using the ancient crystal below the tower, they activated it, and are now living in a fabricated world. The shockwave that tower sent out destroyed everything for miles… For miles and miles beyond the walls… Is nothing but decaying forests, rotting animals, and towns such as this one…! They brainwashed everyone inside that… monstrosity…”

Lauren started comparing the story to Max’s story.
“So what Max said was true… That holy shockwave resurrected the dead, mended wounds…” Lauren gasped.
“That may be so, but they’re living an artificial life. It’s not a life that’s natural… It’s built off someone’s ideals… Are not fair.” Alec explained.
“But…” Lauren questioned, “Living a peaceful life, not remembering the horrors of Raven. That sounds… Kind of appealing…”

Alec and Elena both glared at each other for a split second.
“It’s brainwashing! It’s not realistic to live that kind of abnormal life…!” They said.
“But it’s better! No crime, nobody’s suffering… Nobody is in pain!” Lauren shouted back.

Achilles walked towards Lauren and placed his hands on her shoulders.
“Lauren.” Achilles asked calmly, “Do you want to go back to it?”

Lauren walked from Achilles’s grasp, giving Achilles an astonished look on her face.
“I…” Lauren responded, “I…”
“Let her go!” Diana said, rolling out of one of the buildings nearby, “If the bitch doesn’t want to continue our cause, there’s no point in arguing. There’s nothing here binding anyone to do anything. Just go! If that life suits you… But if you go, don’t you dare come back!”

Before anyone could stop her, Diana pushed forward, pushing Lauren to the ground.
“You’ve seen first-hand what they’re doing. “ Diana shouted, “What makes you think that life is suitable for you?”

Lauren scurried to her feet with a look of shock on her face.
“You… Don’t get it!” Lauren shouted, “Crystal blue skies, luscious green fields, wondrous plant life, people are happy. People are on the streets, walking their kids and their animals. Not a soul that I saw had a worry or complaint. Just the little time I spent there… Even though I was full of questions, it was peaceful. It was good to breathe clean air again and see people not panicking. I saw my boyfriend happy, and he was treating me right. Everything… Just felt like it made sense. Even though Mateo’s story is gut wrenching, I’m having a hard time digesting the fact he, being classed as a level 2 agent, was able to take on not only Vakarra, one of the Lieutenants, but managed to thwart Zilan, one of the generals of Silan, and being related to him as well! I don’t buy it! I just can’t. You all can’t stand there and tell me you automatically believe it all! Alec, you’re a seasoned agent yourself!”

Lauren snapped back, looking at Alec.
“You’re a level 5 agent yourself, Alec! The level of training you were pushed through to become one of the few level 5 agents! How could someone like Mateo be that powerful and fail to be an agent?” Lauren shouted, pointing towards the building Mateo was in.
“Because I know when someone’s bleeding their hear out, Lauren.” Alec responded coldly, “Regardless of stature of the agency, there’s inner strength in all of us. When backed into a corner, there’s no telling what will happen. You don’t know his backstory, and you don’t know him, much like I don’t. But I will tell you this. I am a good judge at reading people… And I think its best you just go.”
“Maybe it’s best I do leave…” Lauren spoke softly, astonishing Achilles, “I pray for whatever you all hope to accomplish.”

Before she finished, she took off in the direction she believed was the city. As Achilles attempted to chase after her, Diana stood in his way.
“No.” Diana said, “Don’t chase after her…”
“But why…?” Achilles asked, trying to push her out of the way.

There was a brief silence between the two. Glaring into each other’s eyes, they could have said a thousand word towards each other.
“Because she made her decision.” Alec responded, halting Achilles’s advance, “I can tell you care for that girl, but you need to realize… She’s made her mind up…”

Achilles pulled away from Diana, and turned his back towards her.
“So disappointing…” Alec sighed.
“Let the bitch go.” Diana laughed, “She’ll realize she fucked up eventually.”
“Regardless, we need to get our head together… and get moving.” Achilles sighed, shaking his head, “We need to head… South towards Devils tower.”

Alec glared at Achilles.
“Devil’s tower? Why…?” Alec questioned.
“Because… Bri told me.” Achilles responded.

Both Alec and Elena scratched their heads in confusion.
“Bri was a mystical person that came to me in a dream. She told me to head south; towards Devil’s tower. We would find answers there… Which, at the time, was Lauren, Diana, Palacio, and myself. So… That was the plan of action.” Achilles explained.
“We totally have nothing to go on…” Elena said towards Alec, “We can’t go back in that city peacefully, so let’s see what happens. Maybe we’ll find more people and places so we can get out of these nasty rags!”
“Okay… we’ll leave in the morning… Let’s rest up.” Alec nodded.

 

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~ by Mateo the Wonderer on January 5, 2017.

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