Ch 22

1
Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 22 Pt 1
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Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 22 Pt 2

Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 22 Pt 1


Official Report
4th & Main,
New Hebron, California

He plummeted, spinning around in the open air. As he zoomed closer and closer to the ground he tried to right himself and stop his momentum. Nothing worked. He clenched his eyes shut, gritted his teeth and threw his hands in front of him in one last ditch effort to save himself. Mere inches from the ground, he stopped, his head jerked back and gasped for breath. There was a single inch of his body that didn’t hurt like hell, but at least he was alive. He let the barrier he’d formed drop and grunted when he collapsed to the ground.

He rolled onto his chest, propping himself up by the elbows, gasping and wheezing for breath. Darkness formed in the corners of his vision, and he gritted his teeth, forcing it back. As he staggered to his feet he steadied himself again the wall of a nearby building and looked about. The area didn’t seem familiar, but office buildings surrounded him and they all looked the same. Pedestrians crowded the streets and a cluster of them had already surrounded him. When he looked down at himself to ensure he was disguised and let out a long sigh of relief upon seeing a gloved hand.

He craned his neck upward searching for signs of Garos, and sure enough he saw human-shaped speck on the horizon that was growing in size and descending toward him. He was in no shape to fight and any attempts to confront the other being would not end well. Lurching forward and wobbling on his feet, he nudged a pair of onlookers out of his way as he moved through the crowded street.

He had to get away, had to get to Amy, but his body would not function. He collapsed to his knees, throwing his hands out in front of him in time to prevent himself from falling onto his face. There were gasps and cries of exclamation from the crowd, but he couldn’t process them. His hands were raw from the fall, the illusory gloves did nothing to protect them.

When he attempted to push himself back up, his knees didn’t have the strength. He fell forward twisting sideways at the last moment and avoided landing chest-first into the pavement.

The ground quaked and people screamed and fled all around him. He rolled onto his back just in time to see Garos turn toward him all of his many eyes focused on him. Sapphira gritted his teeth and held his hand out, attempting to bring up a barrier with his mind. It worked, but it took all he had.

“Please,” he looked up at the creature. “Don’t do this.”

The giant did not speak, but paused looming over him with both of his massive and irregular fists clenched at his side. He didn’t know if Garos would comply, but he saw within him a mind of a reasonable being. Perhaps he would be merciful.

“Why are you doing this? I’ve touched your mind, I know that you’re not motivated by the same malicious intent as Chemosh. What has he promised you?”

[You do not know me.] That familiar rumble accompanied his response. Still, he did not move.

“You’re right, but I’ve seen enough of Chemosh’s mind to know he will betray you sooner or later.”

[My computations show that, this is indeed, a likely possibility, but I need only remain allied with him a short while longer. It is worth the uncertainty. I am sorry, but you are a hindrance and I must remove you from the equation.] With his final utterance, the giant raised both fists high into the air and brought them crashing down into Sapphira’s barrier.
He gritted his teeth, putting every bit of concentration into holding the shield. The giant’s fists slammed into his shield and it curved and stretched from the force of the blow. It wobbled and shook and for a moment Sapphira wasn’t sure it would hold. The giant raised his hands again, readying another blow. The next strike would be enough to shatter the shield, both attacker and target were certain of this and Sapphira scratched and clawed at the sidewalk attempting to pull himself away. It wasn’t enough, Garos’ arms came down and he clenched his eyes shut awaiting the end.

It never came. There was a screech of metal, a familiar whir of a hybrid engine followed by an explosion of sound. Sapphira coughed, smoke filling his lung, and his eyes snapped open. A violet Yamato Ante had slammed into the wall of the building, pinning Garos against it.

“Amelia,” he whispered the name, and sure enough, the agent tumbled out of the car. Coughing and wheezing, she placed a hand atop the roof of the Ante to steady herself. She stood there in a daze, her head bowed as she gasped for breathe. Then all at once her head snapped up, and she reached inside her jacket. She drew a handgun and trained it on the giant.

“Move and I’ll fire. I don’t know much about the anatomy of, whatever the hell you are, but those eyes of yours looked pretty damned vulnerable,” Amelia said between gritted teeth.

[Another factor in the great equation. You too are but a hindrance, one which will have to be eliminated.] Garos spoke the air reverberating around him.

Van den Broeke tensed, squaring her shoulders, but didn’t otherwise bat an eyelash at the giant’s statement. Garos lurched forward, slamming the car away from his body. Sapphira called out her name, attempting to warn her, but by the time the words had left his mouth, the little hybrid was already hurtling through the air toward the agent.

Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 22 Pt 2


Official Report
4th & Main,
New Hebron, California

Moments before the hybrid impacted Amelia, a black blur swooped in, and it slammed into Amelia. The car passed through both forms then spun, lurching away from the building into oncoming traffic. Tires screeched, brakes squealed and several vehicles swerved out of the way avoiding the Ante before it landed. As the smoke and dust cleared, Sapphira glanced back toward where the agent had been standing, he blinked and sucked in air. Amelia hadn’t moved an inch from her previous position. A figure, attired in black was disengaging his arms from around the agent’s slender form.

Babalawo, glanced back at Sapphira, a hollow look in his eyes and stepped away from the agent, knees bent and looking for all the world as if he was ready to spring into action.

Garos chest heaved, blue fluid oozing from the wounds on his legs where the car had impacted. He was bleeding Sapphira realized, the giant’s many eyes darted back and forth between all three exemplars, before he emitted another rumble. He looked ready to pounce, but before he did Amelia fired off a shot. The bullet hit an eye on the right leg, blue blood splattered the pavement.

“A half a dozen AEGIS cars are headed this way as I speak, they should be here any second. Each vehicle is packed with agents and they’re all armed to the teeth. If you attack now, you might kill us all before they get here, but you’ve already seen what my friend here can do. Even if you’re successful, you’ll have every law enforcement officer in the city, AEGIS or otherwise rearing to gun you down.”

[Another unforeseen factor. I must make new computations.] The giant, lurched forward, leaping high into air clearing the street and the cars and people that populated it with a single bound. The creature landed atop a distant roof and leaped away one more time before disappearing from view. He briefly appeared again, his massive frame rising above the cityscape before falling back out of sight.

Satisfied that he was out of danger, Sapphira let out a long sigh of relief before his concentration slipped, his shield wobbled and folded in on itself before dissolving into the air. He looked to the agent and other exemplar. Babalawo frowned and eyed him. The agent didn’t even look into his eyes. She scowled and holstered her weapon, glancing back behind her shoulder.

“More AEGIS personal should be along any minute to retrieve you. Try not to run off, this time,” Amelia said between gritted teeth. To Sapphira her emotions were raw, still fresh from the sting of their previous confrontation.

Sapphira bit his lip and nodded, but didn’t say a word. He closed his eyes and let out another long breath of air. The darkness closed in and he welcomed the deep slumber that followed. Before he faded away into the darkness, he felt a hand touch his shoulder. He gasped, and his eyes snapped open. Awẹ́ had locked gazes with him

He was skirting the edges of unconsciousness, he couldn’t lift a finger let alone reach out with his mind which meant he had to rely on facial cues to determine the other exemplar’s intent. He creased his lips in a frown, but it was hard to read his expression since he still wore the mask.

“Why’d you do it, old man?” Babalawo asked, sitting atop the pavement and hugging his knees to his chest.

“W-what?” Sapphira blinked shaking his head. It was clear Noah, had told his son about his identity, but his head was throbbing and was having a difficult time processing the words.

“Why’d you run off? Why didn’t you finish him?”

“I-I,” he said and closed his eyes fighting to focus. “I thought I wanted to kill him, but when I looked into his mind I…”

He panted for breath and was drifting off again. The hand on his shoulder shook, hard, and his eyes snapped open again. “Speak, dammit!”

Sapphira shook his head and fighting to remain awake. “I, uh, had this picture in my head. I’d convinced myself that he was a, he was a…” Sapphira paused, his head pain, growing to such levels he thought he’d pass out, but then it subsided and he was able to force himself to continue. “convince… myself that he was a monster who deserved to die, but then… then I realized that we were more alike than I’d supposed. Clara’s death was an accident, he was just trying to fend for his family. What he did… it wasn’t right, but I couldn’t bring myself to kill him. I would have become the monster.”

Babalawo nodded and smiled down at him an expression that seemed to belie what he said next. “He turned himself in, said it was time he paid for what he’d done. It might kill him, getting arrested, he’s in rough shape, but…” He paused biting his upper lip, “I didn’t even try to stop him. I admired the hell out of my old man. His condition was the reason I started robbing banks, to help pay for his bills. When I found out he was a murderer, it fucked me up good in the head.”

Sapphira grunted, but didn’t say a word still struggling to remain conscious. That didn’t stop Awẹ́ from continuing. “I can’t forgive you for what you did, but I understand. I might have done the same thing in your place.”

“Why did you come?” Sapphira croaked out the question.

Sapphira sensed Amelia approaching and turned his head in time to watch her kneel beside Babalawo. Awẹ́ glanced at her and shook his head. “The Agent here, upon hearing of my father’s arrest, did a little digging. She figured out my identity. She’s offering leniency for my help.”

Sapphira glanced at Amelia, who scowled and look back over her shoulder again. “They’re here.”

Sapphira who was barely aware of those that surrounded him had neither seen nor heard the AEGIS car pull up. Amelia turned to leave, but somehow Sapphira managed just enough strength to grab the fabric of the agent’s jacket.

“Amy… I-I,” he whispered, but could never finish. The darkness closed in and he couldn’t hold it at bay any longer.

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