I didn’t expect it to go wrong so soon.
The following morning, the five of us had packed a bunch of supplies we thought we would need. Our list comprised of water capsules, food capsules, extra swords, extra spears, medicinal capsules and separate packs of clothes.
Yeah. Just the essentials.
We had been granted five Predators to help us reach Venn City, which was located on the other end of the planet, which was about ten thousand miles.
I know that it sounds like a lot, but the Predators, at full speed, travel at about two hundred miles an hour, so it would take us about two days or so reach there.
We had talked to Stanley the previous night, who said that, with our contingent still in Venn, there was a high possibility that Ray would strike the city again.
“This time, however, we will be ready,” He had said with enthusiasm.
Last time had not exactly been good. I remember how badly the soldiers had got their rears whipped. I wasn’t exactly sure that prior preparation was going to do any good for Valhalla.
But I didn’t want to say that in front of Colonel Stanley.
I remembered the man leading the attack. Ray, as they had called him, appeared to be a bit unhinged to me. Even after being driven away, he sought to get the Valdorian teens back. Why he did, I didn’t understand.
I was pretty sure that would not be the last time I met Ray. I had a feeling he would try to interfere with our mission.
Well, then, I thought, let’s not give him a chance.
So, at the break of dawn, we got ready, and met up in the main lobby, were Stanley, Amelia, Colonel Thales from the briefing room and Dr. Sycamore were there to see us off.
“Once you reach the outskirts of Venn,” Thales said, “Use the Predator’s communication devices to notify us.”
“Yeah, you do that.” Stanley supported him.
“Okey-dokey, guvnor!” Tyson replied
“And try not to endanger yourself,” Sycamore said, “Zade, make sure they stay alive.”
“Sure, doctor,” I nodded.
“Don’t forget to brush your teeth after every twelve hours,” Amelia chipped in, “And for heaven’s sake, try not to kill each other.”
“What are we, seven years old?” Elizabeth retorted.
“Nah, but you’re a hot-headed girl.” Tyson squeaked.
“Hey,” I cut them both off, “No fighting!”
Said people shut up and stood in attention.
“All the best,” Colonel Stanley said, “The fate of Blue Moon rests upon you.”
We had pre-loaded the co-ordinates and Access Code into the Scavengers’ system, so upon arrival, we could easily get into Venn. The system had buzzed, and then given an approving beep.
We had each climbed into our respective Predators. These were a bit different than the Scavengers. Scavengers are basically motorbikes with levitating wheels, and two extra thrusters. These Predators were much, much bigger, with wider leg space, and were fully closed, with a door, glass panels and windows, along with storage compartments.
I climbed into mine, did the pre-flight checks that Tyson had told me to do, and when the checks were completed, I started the intercom.
“Ready for flight, everyone?” I asked.
“Hell yeah!” Elizabeth’s voice came over, and I realized I had heard her not over the com, but from outside the ship itself.
“Check.” Gia said.
“Check.” Tyson said.
“Ready to go, boss!” Cameron yelled. I gave a soft chuckle. In so many ways, Cameron and Elizabeth were alike. Both of them had the same toughness, and both of them were excellent fighters.
Heck, if either I hadn’t known any better, I would’ve said that they were siblings.
“Ok, start your Predators,” I said, “We’ve got a planet to save.” All of us started the engines. The systems booted up, and the Predators rose from the ground. They lurched forward, and with incredible speed, they flew. Pretty soon, we were out of the city, on our way to Venn City.
During the flight, we had started discussing our plan of action.
“So the core,” Cameron’s voice buzzed over the com, “How do you suppose it is inside?”
“No one knows,” Gia answered softly, “No one.”
“But that does not mean we won’t follow a certain pattern of execution,” I said, “Once we reach Venn, we should be well protected, with all the soldiers, but in the core, I can’t even imagine what we will find. So upon teleportation, our paradigm will be as follows.” I looked over to all my teammates, who gave me a nod, urging me to continue.
“We will all travel only fifty mile at a time, since the entire journey will be long. After each fifty miles, we will set up camp, where Cameron and I will go ahead and scout the surrounding areas, to make sure we aren’t heading towards a trap.”
“What about me?” Elizabeth said, obviously annoyed. I expected that, because I knew she always wanted to be the one with a special role, in everything.
“You, Elizabeth,” I said, “Will stay and protect Tyson, along with Gia. No offence Tyson, but you need to be protected, and I’m not taking any chances. Gia will be along with you, since she’s our best healer.”
“Oh…”Tyson sounded unsure, “Okay.”
“So Tyson, what’s in the program design that Stanley gave you?” Gia asked.
“Its complex,” He spoke in an annoyed tone, “The entire program was made over years, and is covered within several layers. It’s pretty difficult for me to isolate the cause right now, but I’m sure that I can figure this out in a few hours.”
“Hey Zade,” Cameron voiced, “Did you discover your element?”
That got me thinking. The previous night, I had been thinking about, and an idea had formed inside my head. I didn’t want to share it with anyone, for I feared it might raise unnecessary problems for me.
But if what I had in mind was correct…
I took out my sword, and ran my fingers across the glowing edge of the blade.
No, I thought, Thanatos’ blade.
It was never mine. Sure, it felt comfortable, but I knew that the history behind the blade, how it was responsible for the death of so many, and how it was responsible for so much bloodshed.
As if reading my thoughts, the light blue light turned dark, and it started radiating coldness.
Calm down! I thought, what’s wrong with you?”
The sword’s glow returned to normal, as though it could…it could understand me.
Great. As if I needed a touchy-feely sword.
Understanding sword….another idea formed inside my head, and this one unnerved me badly.
“Meanwhile…I’m hungry. Anybody else hungry?” Elizabeth blurted, and everybody, except me, laughed.
Then I heard my stomach growl, and I thought, Oh what the hell.
I took out a food capsule, clicked it, and it expanded into a plate with a hot, delicious-smelling pizza. It was the pizza Fernando from the Valhalla Medical Hospital had given me.
I took a cautious bite. It was perfect.
The others had followed my example. Elizabeth held a burger in her hands, waving at me from her Scavenger. I turned my head towards the right, and saw Cameron and Tyson holding up pizza. Gia had a burger in her hands as well.
I relaxed a bit, as though I was on a picnic with a bunch of buddies. The skies around us were clear, with soothing winds blowing all around.
It was calm for the next couple of hours. I lay back on the seat of the Scavenger, and closed my eyes.
“I’m gonna get some sleep,” I yawned, “Wake me up if something comes up.”
Over the intercom, I heard Tyson and Cameron snoring.
“Got it, chief,” Gia said, “Get some shut-eye. Sweet dreams.”
Sweet dreams indeed.
“WAKE UP, Zade. WAKE UP!” My eyes snapped open, and I rubbed my eyes, only to see icy tornados forming on either side of our scavengers.
“What the-?” I began.
“Dude, what do we do?” Cameron’s voice shouted over the intercom.
“Uh…I don’t know. Break formation, and try to maneuver through this calamity.” I spoke.
“Yeah,” Elizabeth said, “That’s not gonna work!”
In front of us, a huge tornado formed, and our Predators got pulled into it.
All of us were screaming, so I couldn't make out what any of them were saying. The intercom cracked with static, so I got bits and pieces of what they were shouting.
“Err….Zzz...Zade…..save……no...Dammit….Zzz…...” All of their voices were spinning inside my head, just like our Predators were spinning out of control inside the tornado. I could see large chunks of ice flying around in the vortex.
Wait a second, I though.
I brought out my sword, and as if to confirm my doubts, it was glowing dark blue like it had been before.
“Uh, guys!” I shouted, “I think we’re in a bit of trouble.”
I held onto the seat, as the Predator took a lot of hits from the flying debris.
I grabbed the Shadow Blade, and my backpack, as my Predator headed for the edge of the vortex.
I was thrown out of it, and I felt weightless for a moment, before being thrown out of the tornado for good.
The last thing I remembered was falling.
“Zade…ZADE!” My eyes fluttered open, and I found myself staring into Gia’s face.
“Oh my gosh! Are you okay?”
What kind of question was that? Gia helped me up onto my feet. I took a good look at her, and I saw her eyes were pained, and her posture tired.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“We’re a hundred miles away from Venn City.”
“A hundred?” I was confused. We had only flown for eight hours, or something. We had covered only a sixth of the distance, but here it was saying that we were only a hundred miles away.
“How’s that possible?” I asked.
“I think that the hurricane carried us all the way here,” She replied.
I looked around, and saw the wreckage of two Predators. Our supplies, thank god, were still intact, neatly organized.
“What about the others?” I asked.
“Tyson, Elizabeth and Cameron are together, about seventy miles east of our position,” She said, “I talked to them, as my communicator was still working, as so was Tyson’s. He said that they were also only ninety miles away from Venn.”
“Then we’ll have to meet up with them at Venn only,” I said.
So much for our ‘stick-together’ policy.
Gia must have read my expressions, because she grabbed my hand.
“Don’t worry,” She said soothingly, “They’ll be okay.”
I nodded, and then walked towards the supplies. I grabbed my sword from under it, slung my backpack across my shoulders, and turned towards Gia.
“Come on, Gia, “I said, and she understood, because she picked up her staff and backpack as well.
“We've got to get to Venn City.”