With my gun raised, I pointed towards the direction where I last saw the creature run past. Crystal stood behind me with her back against mine, as both of us watched for any sudden movements. We both knew that whatever it was was following us since the first time we encountered it, and I didn’t like it one bit.
At this rate, we both knew that we had to deal with it now or risk the chance of it suddenly catching us completely off guard. That was something that neither one of us wanted.
Searching from left-to-right, I looked for any movements, but the jarring street lights that flickered and buzzed annoyingly made it hard to adjust in the dark. This was the one time I wished I had night vision goggles, but I didn’t have one so the best thing I could do was stare into the darkness as best as I could.
The shadow rushed past us once again, causing me to snap towards the direction, but was too late to fire. I didn’t like how whatever it was was playing with us. Both Crystal and I was on edge, waiting for the possible creature or demon to come popping out from the shadows. As we waited, I saw something catch the corner of my eyes.
A full grown white cat came out from the dark shadows, strutting in as if nothing was wrong. “Meow?”
I stared at it for a moment, confused. Still, I didn’t drop my gun and kept pointing at it. There was a chance that this cat could be a demon cat, but the white cat just sat there harmlessly.
“Meow?” It tilted its head to the side, giving me an adorable but familiar look. Something about the cat made me feel like I knew this cat. I didn’t know where, but…..then it hit me.
“Daisy?” I spoke out loud, catching Crystal attention.
“Daisy?” Crystal repeated my word like a parrot. “Wait, you serious?” She glanced towards the white cat, not sure if she should put down or gun or not.
“Daisy is that you?” I called out again. This time the white cat meowed as if it was answering my words and started to trot over towards me in a upbeat motion. If cat’s can even show emotions, she was doing her best by slightly twitching her tails as she made her way over.
The whole time, Crystal had her gun pointed towards her, unable to comprehend what was going on. Even I was confused on how a Daisy was alive all this time. It was unheard of for a cat to live over one hundred and fifty years or was it only a year? I wasn’t sure, everything wasn’t making sense. I just had so many questions in my mind that it made my head hurt.
Daisy wasn’t even worried about the gun that was pointed at her, instead she came up to my legs, brushing it with her fur as she purred in happiness. My mouth was half opened unable to speak for a moment. I quickly put away my gun, and bend over to reach her. With one scoop, I picked her up in my arms, and cradled her.
A soft but pleasant purr reverberated on Daisy’s throat as a soft smile spread across my lips. I was glad that Daisy wasn’t just a dream, but real. I felt a bit of guilt that I had forgotten about her, making me want to hit myself for being so stupid.
“You’re kidding me. It’s really Daisy.” Crystal voice raised up an octave, pleased with our new companion that joined in with us. To see life still thriving in this desolate city made me wonder if they were other animals out there that still took haven in this city.
“This furball actually made it out alive.” A pleasant smile crept up her face, she reached over, petting Daisy head.
Daisy purred even harder, telling us that she was happy to see either one of us. I knew Daisy liked Crystal,since I’d always find her in Crystal’s workshop being fed little treats here and there from her. Sometimes I worried that Daisy would get fat from the extensive amount of treats that she seem to get from everyone. It wasn’t just Crystal, I seen Simon, Jones, Timothy, and even Marcus feed her when I wasn’t looking.
“It’s good to see you, Daisy.” Crystal gave her one last pat, Daisy answered with a meow followed by a light lick to her finger enlaced with the Dragon Scale Armor.
I had to wonder what she ate to be alive until now, from the looks of it there didn’t seem to be any source of food anywhere. She was quite plump with a bit of weight to her.
Daisy finally stopped and stared at me, and as I reached over to pet her as well, she bite into my finger.
“Shit!” I snapped, pulling back my hand. “Damn it?! Daisy, what was that for?!” Getting bitten wasn’t a pleasant feeling, especially because it was something that she did often.
Shaking my fingers, I blew on it and noticed blood seeping through the Dragon Scale Armor. Once again, shocked to see her able to break through the suit effortlessly. Not only that this suit was an upgrade from the last one, meaning it was twenty times much stronger, making me wonder what Daisy’s teeth was even made out of. Adamantine? Possibly?
“You alright?” Crystal asked amused at us, then when she saw my finger bleeding her eyes became wide. “How? Is that even possible?!” She grabbed my finger and yanked it forward in disbelief.
Then she looked up at me, stuttering. I could tell it was hard for her to form words because of her shock, and I understood her perfectly. She then twirled her head towards Daisy, trying to figure out how she even was able to do it.
“It seems your Dragon Scale Armor isn’t strong enough to be resistance to cat bites.” I half heartedly chuckled. Knowing full well that Crystal would have a headache in what she had learned today, possibly even make her annoyed that her suit was easily penetrated by at cat’s teeth.
“That’s not possible. It’s animal proof.” She replied with a serious expression.
“Apparently not…” I sighed, shaking my head at her. “Maybe it has to do with contracting with certain animals?”
“No.” Crystal furrowed. “Even Kyle’s contracted animal can’t bite through Dragon Scale. Your cat must be something else entirely.”
I stared at Daisy, who was washing her face with her paw as if nothing was wrong. We both knew that Daisy was a bit different, but what she had done twice against a Dragon Scale Armor made me really wonder how strong she was. The first time I met her was when she was a kitten, and now a full grown cat, her power could’ve doubled…..but still. It was strange. It made me doubt if Daisy was even a cat to begin with.
“Then do you know what she is?” I asked, hoping that she would know.
“I’m not a spirit contractor. I barely know anything about them, just as much as you.” Crystal let go of my finger and sighed, a bit distraught that her armor had been penetrated. I could still see the two canine marks penetrated into the suit itself as black ooze quickly filled it up to clog the hole.
All I could assume was that she was a powerful cat, and I hoped Marcus might know when we find them. Hopefully, they were still out there doing fine.
Daisy jumped off my arm and trotted forward. She then stopped and looked over her shoulders, telling me to follow her.
Both Crystal and I glanced at each other, she shrugged. “I don’t understand cat language, but I’m assuming she wants us to follow.”
“I think so too.”
We both followed Daisy, who slinked her tail side-to-side in a slight flicking motion. Whenever we got further away from her, she stopped and glanced over her shoulder. Then she would go back into a trot, leading us somewhere that neither us knew where.
We were getting closer to John Hancock building. I noticed that the buildings didn’t looked as bad as Seventh Sanctum. They actually looked somewhat intact, without any of the real damage that covered the buildings throughout the rest of the city.
“Where do you think she’s taking us?” Crystal asked, power walking beside me.
“I’m not sure. It could be a safe haven? Or maybe bringing us to the others?” Honestly, Daisy probably knew the way around this street better than either one of us.
We didn’t speak anymore and followed as close as possible. Winding through the tight corners of the buildings to open streets, we continually walked forward tensed. Both Crystal and I was examining around for any possible demons prowling around, hoping that we would find a safe place before the sun went down, but that wasn’t the case.
The sun eventually set, blanketing the whole city in darkness. Only a pockets of street lights kept the place lit up, but even then it made the city even more dangerous. Strange barking and growling sounds echoed in the city walls, bouncing off the buildings. We couldn’t tell at times which directions the sound was coming from as we whipped around to try to find the source.
The closest thing I could think of was a dog fight, happening somewhere close to us. There were even sounds of strange crackling birds chirps, but I couldn’t quite tell. Even the wind amplified in power, whistling through the open crevice of the building into a high pitch soprano.
As minutes past and found nothing coming out to jump us, we continued forward. At times Daisy disappeared, making me worried that I had lost her. When we stumbled around in the dark for a bit, Daisy would pop back out and meow to us, keeping us back on track.
We eventually stopped upon a small church boarded up on all sides. There were even jagged wooden spikes sticking out of the ground as if this was some kind of zombie apocalypse days. Even the metal fences were shredded, telling us that something had attempted to make its way into the church itself.
There were bones of animal carcass, rotting out on the lawn. It wasn’t just a simple dog or cat carcass either, but large, monstrously sized animals that could match the size of a horse or even a tiger decorated the outskirts of the church’s land. What was even more mind blowing was that there was one giant creature, which looked to be some kind of mix between an elephant and some kind of triceratops laid out sprawled at the same distance as the other monsters with a large wooden pike in its head.
Almost all of them were completely decayed, with only pieces of flesh sticking onto the bones. Though the natural skeletal museums told us a quite a fascinating story, we could tell as we passed by that there was some kind of epic battle that was fought on this land. The monsters were always stopped by some force that kept them at bay as they got speared or even crushed.
The thought of something or someone strong enough to combat these monstrous creature made me wonder if they were other Ouroboros inside the church. Both Crystal and I hurried, excited at the thought of such possibility that there could be others alive.
While rushing forward, I couldn’t read the sign, mostly because the letters were all sprayed paint and scratched off, and plastered with the words: Die! Demons! With a drawing of an middle finger pointed upwards.
Daisy slipped underneath a cracked door, we both stop unsure what to do to get in. I observed around for anyway to open up the bolted door, but couldn’t find anything. It was tightly hammered in with dozens of nails, telling me that I would have to use quite a force just to peel it off.
“You got anything?” I asked, tapping the wooden boards with the back of my knuckles, trying to find a loose board.
Crystal was doing the same, she reached over towards one of the windows and shook it a couple of times as it rattled loudly. “Nothing.”
We then went around the side, hoping that the other windows were loose, but as far as we could tell every door and window were hammered shut, making it difficult to enter without breaking it apart. The thought of forcing our way in wasn’t what we wanted to do, especially because we had to board it back up just to keep the inside from being breached.
This time, I rapped at one of the front door, hoping that someone would hear us inside. “Anyone in there?” I called out, Crystal gave me a frown, telling me that wasn’t a wise idea to do in the middle of the night without a single word.
An loud echo followed after my knock, wondering if anyone else was inside. Then silenced followed after, making both of us anxiously wait as we hope that someone would answer.
“Nothing.” I sighed, disappointed that there was nobody there. The thought of seeing another human was quickly drifting away. “I guess we should pry these wooden planks off and head inside.”
“Are you sure?” Crystal wasn’t too keen on entering an abandoned church. “This place doesn’t look safe at all. Look.” She pointed towards the grass where dead skeletal demons lay. “There was a demon attack. “
“Key word: was.” I replied, checking to see if there was any loose boards to pry apart. “Plus, Daisy went in. It’s safe.”
Crystal wasn’t sure how to take in that information, she just sighed and shook her head at my statement.
I wiggled my hand in between a loose board, about to tear to pull it apart when I heard someone shouting.
“Wait!” A childlike voice shouted out from behind the board. “Don’t break it!”
I froze, unsure if I should break it or not. I was stunned that there were people inside the church. This whole time, I thought it was empty.
“Don’t break it! It’s going to ruin the enchantment!” The voice sounded close, making me wonder if it was a little girl on the other side.
“Then, how do I get in?” I asked, slowly.
“Come near the side door.”
“Jesse!” A younger male’s voice hissed at her, angry that she told us where to go. “You shouldn’t be allowing strangers inside! What if they are a demon like last time!”
“But, I don’t feel any malice from them…it’s almost like those people who saved all of us.”
My interest piqued at what she had said.
“Not only that,” Her voice stalled for a moment, “they’re wearing the same suit!” She said excitedly as if we were someone she knew. “Come on, David! They’re the Ouroboros!”
Both Crystal and I looked at each other, knowing full well that Ouroboros weren’t something that you usually talk about the first time they meet us. For her to assume that we are an Ouroboros, something must’ve happened for her to instantly recognized us.
“What?!” David voice could be heard in alarm as the sound of his foot steps shuffled forward to the point where I heard a loud bang on the other side. “Shit!” He cursed angrily, instantly knowing that he hurt himself from trying to see us.
“Do you think…?” Crystal asked with her eyes, telling me without words what she wanted to say. I knew instantly what it was and was actually getting excited at the thought of learning some dire information of others.
I nodded quickly, reassuring her what I was thinking. Her eyes started to twinkle, hope filling back in her eyes.
“It’s true!” David voice shouted in excitement. “Holy cow! They’re back!”
Feets scampered around inside the church, becoming silent as they started to fade away.
Suddenly, a blast of loud sound reverberated behind us. We whipped around startled by the explosive sound that both Crystal and I drew our weapon in a heartbeat. Looking around, I found nothing that caught our attention, until we glanced upwards into the night sky.
A white rippling effect could be seen haloing around the church itself, creating a bright barrier that stopped exactly where the dead monsters stopped. It glowed for a few moment, dispersing whatever hit it and slowly fading away as if it wasn’t there.
I was piqued by the barrier that protected this place, honestly I never seen a barrier in effect until now. It did exactly what I thought would it would do from other people’s description, but my thought was, why here? Was the religion really one of the big factors that kept the place intact? I wasn’t quite sure nor did I fully understand.
Suddenly, another flash of energy that looked like a comet was hurtling down towards us from a distant, becoming bigger and bigger. It wasn’t just one, but many. My eyes grew big, unsure where the comet was coming from and noticed that they were coming from the east side of the city.
“What in the world?!” Crystal shouted out in alarm, surprised at the large amount of energy balls, hurtling towards the church.
The energy balls slammed into the church’s barrier, creating a rippling shimmering effect. First hit created a thunderous sound of impact as if thunder were rolling in, it even left behind a thick gray clouds overhead, darkening it. Red electric thunder sparked off in the clouds, giving it an eerie feel.
Even still, the barrier still held up as it was pummeled repeatedly by the other slew of energy ball that pelted down upon it.
“I can’t believe I’m seeing this.” Crystal gaped, lowering her gun. “Is this how you see energy?” She asked, turning her head towards me.
“Yes.” I was a bit surprised that she could see the fluctuating energy that was hitting the barrier, making me wonder how that was possible. Usually, I was the few who could see such phenomenon, but for another like Crystal was a huge thing. “You can see it?” I asked, lowering my weapon.
Crystal slowly nodded her head, “This is too weird.” She replied, stashing away her gun. “I never seen something like this ever happening, my only guess is that the borders between this dimension and the other is becoming very thin. Something like this isn’t possible, especially because the barrier shouldn’t be able to be seen so easily…”
“Well, whatever it is. A lot of things have changed over the hundred and fifty years. We need to know more about what’s going on.” I replied, watching the rain of energy balls continually barrage the barriers.
It was like fireworks on a fourth of July, the sparkling energy blast and the shimmering effect was quite spectacular to see. The only problem was that being hit by one of those energy ball was definitely a sudden death scenario. I was glad that the barrier was up in the first place to keep this place safe from whatever was repeated barraging this church.
“Hey! Over here!” David’s voice called out towards us from the side of the church. We turned and followed his voice.
A young man in his late teens was crouched by a hidden panel, poking his freckled face out the side and waving us towards him. His brown curly hair was in a mess. “Come on!”
We started to power walk and eventually got on our knees. Crystal was the first one to crawl through the tight space, while I stopped to take a good look around the area, because I felt a strange feeling of being watched the whole time. Something didn’t felt right, but I couldn’t find the source, making me nervous.
“Alexus? You coming in?” Crystal voice chimed outwards, catching my attention.
“Yea, sorry.” I grunted, getting on my knees as I crawled through the tight space. When I got out, I was welcomed with quite a number of people. In total, I counted two children, three teenagers, and one female adult.
The children were excited to see us, even a couple of teens, but the female adult wasn’t so thrilled at our entrance into their safe haven.
Crystal gave me a hand, and I pulled up to my feet. A bit unnerved at the intensity of their gaze that was staring at both Crystal and me.
“Um…hey?” I spoke, unsure what to say, slightly raising up my hand in front of me.
Heavy silenced followed after, and even Crystal shifted uncomfortably, unsure what to say. Public speaking wasn’t my thing, but the silence was killing me. Unable to take it any longer, I opened up my mouth to say something, when the children squealed out in delight as they ran over towards us.