Book Two: Vengeance, Chapter Fourteen-
Tick, tick, tick, tick went the Newton's cradle. It was the only sound in the massive room. Set far against the back wall in the middle of the office, a middle aged sat with his fingers tented at a desk where his name was spelled out in gold. Absorbed in deep contemplation, a panic seemed to be about him. The tapping grew unnerving, and he stopped the metal balls as he stood up to pace around his desk to ease his mind. He approached the lengthy wall behind him, pulling a string that drew back the curtain that it was, unveiling it as glass. Leaning his head against it, he gazed at the entire night life of the city below. The whole expanse of the metropolis could be seen from his place at the top floor. All of the bustling little people, vehicles, buildings. All of which he was above, better than. Before, this act would always remind him of the seat of power he held, his utter superiority, but, now, it offered nothing.
The man jumped as the phone behind him rang. His weary eye stared down the device as a bead of sweat worked its way down his face. It rang a few more times before he even began to approach it, and even then, it was done slowly. Huddled over the mechanism, he paused after picking it up, afraid of who it might be. Him, afraid. It had been a few days since he had a good night's sleep because of it. There was no reason for one of the top executives at Silph to be acting this way. He was invincible. Trampling his fears, he still drew the receiver to his face cautiously. Silence on the other end.
"H-hello?" His speech was barely audible.
"... sir? Are you alright?" It was just his secretary. He was overcome with relief. "You took a while to answer."
"No, Suzy," he assured with the trembling out of his voice, "I'm just fine." He plopped back into his plush chair and kicked his feet upon his desk. "So, I trust all went well at the trial?"
"Yes, sir," answered Susan. "The capture mechanism worked to expectations, and the battle protocol was most impressive. It went so well, in fact, that your backer kicked in a little extra." A smile washed over his face. Nothing sounded sweeter in his ears.
"So that's it? He just loved it, took it, and left? Did he give any hints to our future projects? I mean, I know that he has been busy lately, especially with his recent loses." A dead silence awaited him on the other side. "Suz?"
"He said," her voice reappeared, "that he wouldn't count on it, that you wouldn't have the chance." The man's euphoria fled. "And that you'd know what he meant by it," she added, puzzled. "Do you know what he means, sir?"
"No," he blurted out in a shaky voice as he loosened his tie. "I don't." Withdrawing a handkerchief, he soaked the sweat from his forehead while asked, gulping, "Is there anything else, Sue?"
"There is," she hesitantly responded, "an awkward call you received. I'm pretty sure it was just some prank made by some kid with nothing better to do, though, sir. You shouldn't worry about it."
"No, no," he insisted, wiping the copious drippings on the sleeve of his suit. "Patch it on through to me." Holding his temples, he tried calming down, but then the voice came.
"Hello, Mr. Itatch," sounded the woman's voice, in a low, raspy, creepy tone. "You and I, we have never met before and never will, but I have yearned to find you for ages now. Everyday since then, it has been the one, driving thought in my mind. It was all because of you, too. You and your friends on that dark, rainy night years ago. And that was just the start. You just wanted to be part of something responsible for countless deaths of innocents, one was not enough, so you helped them make a weapon powerful enough to destroy the world at the cost of the freedom for noble beasts. You assumed that you would never get your comeuppance, that you were safe as long as your secret friends watched you from the shadows. But you don't have friends anymore, Mr. Itatch, for they are all gone. I made sure of that." His stomach churned at the note of twisted pleasure in her last words. "The four with you that night. Gone. All of your little meeting places. Gone. Your bases, your hideouts, every last one. Destroyed. All of the people unfortunate enough to be within them. Not one soul weighs upon me. They were all guilty and deserving of their fate, but don't think I won't do the same for you. They are all as guilty as you are. You are all alone, Mr. Itatch. The cold wind of vengeance swept all your friends away, and, now, it is coming for you. Beware the blue star." the recording hissed. He had received this message once before. It is what he had been dreading. Aiming to calm himself, his chair swiveled as he went to lean against the window again, but something was different this time. Far down the dark horizon, a sparkle caught his eye. As the light grew brighter and bolder, the message repeated, "Beware the blue star for it carries the same fate as those who have fallen before you." The speaking went on, but it passed his ears. His body froze, jaw dropped, as the phone slipped through the stiff fingers of his hand, plummeted, and shattered on the floor. The blue light was speeding towards him. His time had come.
Snow pouring in the wake of her majestic wings, the Arctic Goddess soared towards the building. Her beak open, a freezing blast plowed through the top floor allowing her and her passenger to crash through, shattering the frozen supports. The roof gave way and collapsed, crushing all beneath it. Upon their emergence at the other end, the bird took wind as Rei clung for her life, arching back until she bore straight down the top of the building. In a few beats of her wings, arrows of ice rained down, drilling a hole through the many levels. In a straight course, the legend spiraled down the hole. With the passing of each floor, the windows burst forth with glacial spikes as one by one, they were demolished. The chaos and blight recessed temporarily as the building glistened under the night sky like a miraculous wonder. In complement to its splendor, rising up with heavenly call, a twinkling trail rose angelically from the smitten building followed by a roaring streak of lightning and a dazzling pillar of flame. The three incarnations circled about in the twilight, illuminating it with their graces.
"Thank you, Freezer," Rei whispered as she squeezed the bird's neck. "I know you three want to be on your way," she deferred, "but could you ask your friends to do me one favor? There's one more address I'd like to pay a visit to."
In the dark room, the man sat, alone, behind his desk. He tossed a metallic orb up and down, blazed with a large letter "M." The simple task was complicated since the ball would jostle and bounce on occasion. This struggle only made the man smile, for he knew it was no good. Nothing could escape its prison. Not even a being as powerful as it, and it should. After all, he paid good money for it, as well as the beast within. All of its power was right in the palm of his hands. He felt like king of the world. His dreams and ambitions were cut short by the annoying buzz of his intercom.
"This better be good," snapped the mystery man.
"Sir, you wanted to know, and we just got word: the Silph building was destroyed just like you said it would be, sir," a woman replied. He leaned back in his chair.
"I see," he scowled. "Did we have any men stationed there?"
"Sir, about fifty. None survived, sir." He tossed the sphere from hand to hand.
"Were any of them expendable?" he bluntly asked. There was a pause.
"Sir, yes. All of them, sir," she eventually responded.
"Good, then there wasn't any lose," retorted the man carelessly. "What about my other hunch?"
"Sir, there are many reports of strange lights in the sky," she informed him. "All of them point right our way. They're coming, sir."
"Perfect." A wicked smile grew on his face. "Everything is going according to plan."
Gliding over the mountains' glory, the three beams of light dashed to their target. When it came in view, Rei signaled for Freezer to land. Jumping off, she walked forward to take in the final destination. Wedge within the mountain, the iron fortress of the Rockets was kept. Its tall, ominous walls were topped with turrets and cannons. A flurry of helicopters speckled the air above as the skyline traffic kept constant, rushing people in and out from sinister ventures. Rei, however, did not see a monument to evil but the last step in her long journey. Her arm rose, pointing dead at the expansive construct.
"Destroy it," her cold words sounded. "Wreck it, break it, blow it up, I don't care. Just make it go away." She turned to her friend. "But be careful," she added. "Try to stay away until all of the artillery is disabled. Don't think that the aircrafts in the way will make them spare you. I know these people, and they wouldn't think twice about shooting down one of their men to get at you." Throwing her arms around the bird, she communed, "Good luck." Kissing her on the cheek, Rei trailed on, "And thank you." Stepping back from them, the three elemental spirits ascended into the sky.
Inside the traffic tower, all of the radar screens turned to static. Complete pandemonium set in as crafts constantly struck each other without proper guidance. When seeking the cause, all eyes turned outside, where a blanket of darkness had stretched over the sky. The terrible thunderstorm which ensued was blamed for the interference as well as the following blackout, until the cry from above was heard. Immediately, all man-stationed turrets aimed skyward and fired at anything that moved while they could. Soon, all of the weapons became stuck, unable to aim, before an arctic shard piercing through rendered each one unusable. With the border preliminary defense down, a mighty gale ripped down the canyon, blowing anything above or anyone on top the base over the ridge. A brilliant wave tore across the front wall as the fiery spirit dug its wing in it during its flight by. Made of solid metal, molten steel poured down, open a large gash to the inside. Approaching the opening, the ice spirit launched her chilling ray within, erupting a tower of ice through the roof of the compound.
Encompassing the frigid construct, the phoenix spun faster, generating a whirling fire. The glacier was quick to fall to the searing heat, and rushing waters flooded down to the space below, drowning the lowest regions. Follower its kin's example, the lightning spirit fired a burst of thunder though the new aperture. Everything was electrocuted. All of the mechanical systems within were overloaded, causing a series of explosions visible from outside. Smoke and screams billowed from within, but it was not yet enough. Placing itself over the base, the firebird spread out its wings. A ray of light pierced the storm clouds of its brethren. Its whole body was aglow as it summoned the power of a force greater than its own. Brimming with holy radiance, the god bird launched an attack from the sky that ended deep within the earth, demolishing all that laid between.
The storm clouds brought by the thunder maker began to disperse, dropping a light shower in their disappearance. Embracing her friend one final time, she bid her and her friends farewell as they took to flight. They flew around the burning rubble once more to make sure it was through before transcending far into the horizon, each to their own way. As the legends left her sight, a thought of regret came over Rei.
"Gee, I wish I asked her for a ride out of here first," she sorrowfully spoke, her quiet words echoing throughout the vast valley walls to infinity, as she looked about the wide stretch of wasteland. Afterwards, she strolled down to the ruins of Rocket base. The tall flames and eerie still marked the end of her troubles. "It is truly all over now," she said to herself. Pondering, she conversed more. "But where do I go from here? All my life has lead up to this point, and now it is over. What now?" She gazed starward for the answer.
"I would not worry about that, my dear," a voice called out. Before she could face the speaker, she was struck down. Thunder clapped at her plunge as the rain began to pick up. "You won't be living much longer." Stumbling up from the ground and dazed, she perceived her attacker. It was a man, mighty and strong, not so much as in size but guise, dressed in stylish black. A fierce, intimidating look was worn about his eyes, the kind that could make your very soul sweat.
"Wh-who are you?" demanded Rei, holding her bleeding head. A smile of devils crept onto his face as he began advancing on her.
"Just call me Rocket, little miss," he insisted. "That is what my followers dubbed me," he said.
"Y-y-you're the leader of Rocket?" She muddled away from his approaching, inquiring, "How did you survive?"
"Was," he corrected. "I was the leader. I am rather certain that I am the last, especially after what you did," he said, pointing to the flaming wreckage. "And I persevere for I have been watching you, who for the past three years have made my life nothing but pain. I learned your pattern and figured you out to be some sort of vigilante with a grudge against my respected syndicate. I knew you were coming for me, I knew you would succeed in destroying the base, and I knew to leave."
"If you knew all of this," Rei asked, still backing away, "then why are you the only one left alive?" Evil glinted within his eyes. "You're sick!" she accused.
"They were expendable," he justified with a grin. "The people, the base, the monsters, the research, all of it. All of it was just in my way. You merely disposed of them for me."
"You're sick!" she reiterated louder.
"But you see, my dear, I did not need them anymore." Shadows loomed over his being until only his eyes and teeth shone through. "None of them. Everything I shall ever need," he expounded as a new shape took light in the darkness, the letter "M", "I have right here."