Rising Stars #4: Possibility or Curse?

Rising Stars Event

Previously on Rising Stars…

Radiants are under attack as the monstrous creatures known as Abyssals are on the rise. To stop this, Sorceress Udona begins forming a group of Radiants seemingly to stop them. First was the Radiant Alexander Aile, the second was the pre-teen Vigilante Aranea, and third was the Priestess Yuna. Now two members; the explorer and pilot, remain to be recruited to the cause…

Martial Artist Radiant

Aranea/Derek Varg

Vigilante Radiant

Is this wish a possibility for a greater future or is it a curse destined to bring about another tragedy?”

A man with a calm and alluring voice says. He stands at a podium dressed in a Long Azure Suit Jacket with two distinct trails that cut off at the calves of both legs worn atop white pants and black knee-high boots. The inside of the coat was black and the wrists and shoulders were accented with gold. Resting over his heart was the sigil of what appeared to be a Thunder Raven. White gloves covering his hands to give him a noble appearance. But what made him truly stand out was the silver domino mask that covered his forehead, eyes, and nose. Opaque lenses covering his eyes and giving him a mysterious appearance. Smooth pushed back black hair as perfectly maintained as his uniform. He stood before a large crowd of diplomats, politicians, and news crews. As well as soldiers wearing simplistic versions of his uniform using a normal shirt rather than a long suit jacket. There were also a number of soldiers wearing green camouflage uniforms. Some clearly appearing to be that of infantry while others were higher rank much like a lieutenant or commander.

“That was the question asked by our founder, Materu Sorensen. He was the first Colonist to gain the Eyes of God. Eyes that could see any and all possible futures. He believed that this power would be the deciding factor in shaping our destiny. This is why Maxim and the X.S.F are waging war. The X.S.F fear our power…To be completely honest, they have a legitimate reason to. Much like Materu Sorensen did, he knew the Eyes of God could be used for great things. To save lives or crush any enemy.” his voice never once wavered as he spoke calmly to the crowd before him. “This is the crux of the X.S.Fs campaign against us. To snuff out the Colonists with the power to topple them. But I don’t believe that has to be the case. Which is why I’ve invited people from both the X.S.F as well as the neutral governmental bodies throughout the Earth and Colonies here today. For many of you, you simply believe Maxim to be a militant force craving dominance. I imagine many others think I’m a madman or that this is an elaborate ploy. But I only speak the truth. I believe that all of you…” he raises his right hand. “Colonists…” he then raises his left hand. “And Humans should decide what the Eyes of God hold. That Maxim is merely a tool to complete our goal of gaining true freedom and independence. That the Eyes of God are a wish granted to us for a better tomorrow. Will this wish be a possibility for a greater future or just a curse destined to bring about another tragedy? I believe the true tragedy would be continuing a war needlessly.” he pauses briefly. His thoughts seeming to wander as he returns to his normally cool and collected stance. “I have no stomach for battles and wars only drag us all down no matter how righteous. I hope that together, we can use the Eyes of God to create a possibility for everyone.” he pauses once more and exhales. “Excuse me, it seems my attention is demanded elsewhere.”

Without any more to say, the man calmly walks off the stage and to the back. Ignoring the questions from reporters and the curious and cautious stares of the enemy faction. It didn’t matter to the man, his focus and attention clearly elsewhere. He travels the side hallways through what appears to be a mansion. Marble floors covered in pristine scarlet carpets, the walls covered with paintings from every era. Windows along the left side of the hallway giving view to a massive lake. He continues walking until he arrives at an open courtyard garden. In the center of the courtyard and around the rectangularly shaped border were an assortment of flowers and trees. Near the middle but off to the side were two marble benches. In the north-west corner was a booth with two chairs and a table overlooking the lake. He sits down at the table so he’s looking at the expansive lake before him and crosses his right leg over his left.

“Whatever you’ve come for must be important to need two Radiants.” he says glancing to his left as Lao & Aranea land in his courtyard.

“You sure this is the guy?” Aranea asks with a cautious glare. Since they arrived on the World of Endless War Aranea’s Danger Sense was perpetually active. Even more so now that they were face to face with the man.

“Yeah, I’m sure.” Lao says before bowing at the waist. “Sorry if we’re intruding mister…”

“Alistair Rosewood. It’s fine Lao, I already know you mean well. What brings you to my World?”

“He knows my name?” Lao thought briefly. Udona had told him Alistair was one of the longest lasting Radiants amongst the Star Forgers. But he had never once seen him go beyond his own World let alone interact with any of its other members. “We need your help.”

“I decline.” Alistair replies flatly.

“You’re not even going to hear us out?” Lao asks.

“I’m certain you won’t change my mind but I’ll humor you.” Alistair turns his head to look at the pair.

“Our leader, Sorceress Udona, needs your help with an important mission. Something that could end all reality. She wanted me to bring you back to the Starpulse so you guys could-“

“Why are you here?” Alistair interrupts Lao.

“Excuse me?”

“Why are you here? With a thought, Udona could contact us across the Star Cores. Sending you to find and bring people directly is pointless. Especially if we already know what it means to be part of the Star Forgers.”

“Radiants have started to get attacked.”

“We’re always under attack. How is this any different?”

“The Angels are getting stronger.”

“They’re always getting stronger.” Alistair counters much to Laos dismay.

“And people call me childish.” Aranea scoffs.

“Did you expect me to simply jump at your say so?” Alistair asks the obvious.

“Yeah, cause it’s the right thing to do you selfish ass!” It takes all of Aranea’s willpower to not grab Alistair by the collar and take him by force. Every fiber of his being was telling him not to trust Alistair but he believed in Udona. Even if it meant having to put up with someone he couldn’t stand.

“Perhaps, then tell me. How long will this take? Where are we going? Who are we facing?”

“Well…um…I…I don’t really know.” Lao sighs. Head hung low and shoulders dropped.

“Does it matter? You don’t help and who knows how many people will die. It’s the greater good and even you can understand that. ” Aranea interjects once more. Storming up to Alistair so they’re face to face.

“Fine then, I’ll leave my World on a quest to face an enemy we have no knowledge of. In a place, we’ve likely never been to for an undetermined amount of time. I’ll leave my people in the midst of a war without a leader at the first attempt at creating peace. I’ll disappear for possibly months at a time when every second and every moment counts. I’ll save reality and return to a World where my people are subjugated or dead because I wasn’t around. I’ll let every sacrifice me and my people have ever made be in vain to do something we can’t even confirm the simplest detail of.”

“If you came with us and stopped complaining we’d find this out.” Aranea counters.

“Abyssals have been on the rise. Whatever it is must be really bad.” Lao adds.

“Yet not bad enough to call me herself with the message.” Alistair exhales. Patience wearing thin of the repetitive conversation.

“God, who cares how she did it? She called you and if you’re really a Radiant you’d know that meant you do what she asks!” Aranea grabs Alistair by his collar.

“And thus the die has been cast.”

In the fraction of a second, Aranea’s Danger Sense magnifies like an explosion in his head. Desperately calling for him to get out but it’s too late. At such close range, it was impossible for Aranea to dodge the Cosmic Beam shot at his stomach. Launching him through the air, the roof of the mansion, and out of the other side. He barely had enough time to erect a Cosmic Barrier to protect himself as he soared through the air and crashing hard into the pavement like a meteor. An alarm blaring as the innocent bystanders begin flocking to the nearby runway in hopes of fleeing whatever battle is brewing.

“Aranea!” Lao calls out. Flying to check on his fellow Radiant who was stunned but uninjured.

“Knew we couldn’t trust him…” Aranea groans as he’s helped up to his feet. “No hero looks like that or says ‘the die has been cast‘.”

“You’re the one antagonizing him!” Lao argues moments before Alistair flew to meet the pair. His blue coat now black with a golden trim. His white pants and gloves, as well as his mask, were all gold. His black boots, however, remained the same. Strangely, his Star Core was nowhere in sight.

“If you want me to help you, you’ll have to make me do it.” Alistair challenges the pair without hesitation.

“With pleasure!” Aranea flies towards Alistair as fast as he could. “Glad this guy’s a Radiant. This means I can really cut loose!” he thought gleefully. He didn’t even attempt to hold any of his natural strength or strength gained from his Star Core as he flew fist first towards Alistair. Right before his fist can connect, his Danger Sense intensifies once more. Time seemed to freeze as Alistair simply hovered to the side to avoid the punch. Pulled his arm back, and thrust his palm into the Star Core on Aranea’s back. His Cosmic Aura dimming as his powers fade. Sending him falling out of the sky helpless. There was no time to question where his powers went, only to act. “No buildings or trees insight. Gonna need to improvise.” With few other options, Aranea holds his hands inward and releases streams of webs from his palms. Cocooning himself as he fell onto the roof of a truck.

“Damnit, Alistair! We didn’t come to fight!” Lao puts himself between Alistair and Aranea. Assuming his fighting stance but not moving from his position in the air. The feeling that no matter what he did he’d be making a mistake was overwhelming. Unable to aid his friend or attack his newfound enemy, he puts his hopes into talking one final time. “Please, we can talk about this! We’re all on the same side aren’t we?”

“Just because we wear the same uniform by no means makes us allies.”

“That’s not true! We were all chosen by the Star Cores for a reason!” Lao defends vehemently. Doing all he can to hide his shaking.

“Is that so? Then what are these requirements to be chosen?” Alistair waits for an answer but he already knows from the crestfallen expression what it is. “As expected.”

“Okay…” Aranea tears himself free from the webs and stumbles off the side of the car. “Ow…The heck did you do to my Star Core?” he asks while slowly using the car to get back to his feet.

“Yet another thing you’re unaware of…” Alistair lands in front of Lao who flinches. He takes a deep breath and exhales. “You should both leave.”

“Forget that!” Aranea summons his spider legs and leaps into the air towards Alistair. “I was beating bigger bads than you without any fancy cosmic powers!”

While Aranea’s spider legs dealt physical damage, they were psychic powers in reality. Something he banked on Alistair not anticipating. But first, he fires webs from the palm of each hand. The spinnerets located in each palm could shift with his thoughts. Different shapes allowing for different types of webs to be released. In this case, becoming a wide funnel to let his webs spread out like massive nets. Both to blind Alistair and trap him long enough for his second attack. As expected, Alistair made no attempt to dodge the web net and was easily ensnared. Not a second later, Aranea thrusts his spider legs into the cocoon at the shins and shoulders. Aranea was no killer and only wanted to disable Alistair. Thanks to his spider legs blurring the line between physical and psychic, it could bypass Alistair’s Cosmic Aura. Striking through the webs at their target below.

At least, that was the intention. His spider legs stop short as the webs melt away. Revealing Alistair who remained unfazed. His Cosmic Aura focused at the points where Aranea’s spider legs made contact. Stopping them entirely. “Tell me, is the Star Core a possibility or a curse?”

“The hell does it matter?” Aranea retracts his legs and goes for a right straight but misses. Using the momentum to kick at Alistair but only gets his leg grabbed before being thrown into Lao.

“So you just take the power and don’t consider anything that comes with it?”

“God, what is it with you villains and monologues?” Aranea jumps to his feet. “You always think you’re so damn smart. That you’re soooo much better than everyone else.” Rage begins to build within Aranea as his Star Core begins to shine once more. “I’ll show you! Nobody looks down on me!”

For a moment, Alistair is taken aback and hesitates as Aranea’s rage relights his Star Core. Summoning his uniform before he flies like a meteor and punches him across the face. The force and shockwave reverberating through his body as if he had no protective barrier around him. His mask cracking as he flies back through the mansion walls, pass the garden courtyard, and into the lake on the opposite side. Before Alistair can get his bearings and surface, Aranea flies in from high above with a diving kick. Sending the pair deep into the lake until they impact the bottom with a massive explosion of water above them. Catching the attention of the transport vessels that were still attempting to leave the area.

“You’re right, I was looking down on you for your ignorance.” Alistair says calmly.

“The hell?” Aranea realizes too late that his diving kick impacted with Alistair’s left hand which lay on his chest. Once again, his Cosmic Aura focused around his hand to catch Aranea’s foot. Just keeping the bare minimum around the rest of his body so he could breathe and speak underwater.

“No more.” He pushes Aranea away and flies off.

“Hey! Get back here!” Aranea shouts but stops when his Danger Sense surges in his head violently. “What the…” he strains to focus as a beam of energy consumes his body from below and sends him up into the sky.

“Aranea!” Lao calls out as he finally manages to catch up to his partner.

“I hate pointless battles. But this…” Alistair’s voice echoes from beneath the waves as a massive figure begins to rise into view. A massive mech that appeared to be a white knight. Smooth metal plating covering its body, a long flowing cape reaching down to its feet, a sword & shield strapped to the left side of its hips. Feather-like plating covering its shoulders, collar, wrists, and waist to give him an angelic feel. Further accentuating this point was the golden trim throughout the body and in the shape of a cross on the eagle-shaped head. “This is war…” the eyes of the mech glow green as a massive Star emblem appears on its chest. The white turning black and gaining a Cosmic Aura. Stunning and terrifying the two Radiants before it. “And the die has been cast.”

Next Issue

Rising Stars #5: Piercing Light

Previous Issue

Rising Stars #3: Radiant Pulsars

First Issue

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