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We had been walking quite a while through the town, the streets were empty but I think Velora’s presence had something to do with that. Something about her tail and perhaps it was the hidden arms on her or may be her amalgamatory look, or perhaps it was all of those thing, but they reminded me of drawing I used to make. If it had come alive in much much more vivid detail.
It was a long way to where ever it was she was taking me. I could be being led to the slaughter for all I knew but if she was going to do that what is the point of lulling me into a false sense of security. Then again there were a lot of weird things too. “Velora,”
“Mmm.” she hummed.
“Where are you taking me?”
She stops and looks up. “You see the skies,” I looked at the skies for a bit. They looked normal too me although a few dark and when I say dark I mean raven black, clouds. Though to be honest most everything looked harmful. “That is a sign of caustic rain. We need to find shalter. Understand?” she gazes down at me. It was odd, it almost felt like… Vanity.
“Yeah, I understand.”
We found ourselves outside of a ruined diner, outside there was an eating area along with a canopy. The place had been long abandoned, a few people were caught in the blast of whatever happened as shadows testified to where they were as burnt marks on the wall. Some flesh grew on the side of the building but I guess that was normal, now.
I walk over to a rusty chair but it was altogether still usable. Velora rested by allowing her legs to bend kind of like a horses on the sides. I drag the chair allowing the feet to scrap on the ground to where she is sat on the concrete. Stopping beside Velora I sit in the chair.
She is really something. Her torso looks like it would hurt. Considering how a machical thing is there displaying the seems of her body, exoposed muscle tissue against metallic armor and her body. Its like up to her stomach was cut off. Though her face looked normal if not for a the horns and ears. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Oh I am sorry. I wasn’t aware.” I said though in all truth I was rather in shock of her. The way all the parts came together to work as one body. It was, impressive.
“Am I that horrible of a sight that you would recoil. Tell me, is it my hooves that you don’t like. Or perhaps at is my tail. Hmmmm or maybe it is my wings.” she said looking at me with a shark tooth grin.
“No… its not any of that. But I mean… does it hurt.” This must have taken her back a little, a small smile creeps over her mouth. “I mean the exposed muscle.”
“I will be honest with you.” I said softly. “I am scared of you.”
Velora must have found this funny. She laughed so hard that she held her upper body up with both sets of arms. “You know I am. I used to be a war machine when things first went south. The dread you pathetic little things must have felt at my mere presence.” She said which brought me no comfort at all. “I used to burn entire cities down by my self. I was a scourge to the world. Sadly though there is no world left and not must for thing like me to do.” She said as she stretched her arms and let out a little yawn.
I could not help but think of the wars in my time. Terror struck people and they died in bullets, and bombs. Really if they knew this is what would become of the world would they have fought for it? “What are you anyways?”
“I don’t know.” Velora said.
“Are you an android?”
Velora shook her head at the notion. “I am something else.”
I looked and saw black rain falling. “Caustic rain.” The black little drops hit the ground with a sizzle. No doubt eating a whole in just about anything. “Its scary to think about, even the rain can harm you here.” I huddle with both my legs on the chair. “Why isnt this place harmed at all?”
“Anything with nano machines are not as harmed by it.” Velora causally responds. “These stores were ones which used the plating.” She looked at me. “What was something like you doing out here in the first place.”
“I can’t tell you.” Not sure if I could trust her, I did the best thing I could do. Velora went quite. I guess my shut down of her was a little harsh.
She eventually started to talk to me again. “You know Prina, your company is enjoyed.” She grabs one of her arms with her other arm. “It gets boring with no one to talk to, you know. It breaks up the monotony of it all.”
It really was a secret… at least to Vanity it was. Then again if she was… Vanity in some form. She would know this already to some brief context at least. “So, when you assimilate people what happens to them?”
“They become a part of me. They exist still but they do not exist in the same way. I am a collection of their thoughts. As I increase to number of people I assimilate I hear them so to speak. Its rather annoying to be honest.” Perhaps she was not so bad after all.
“I am trying to destroy Azergile.” I let down my guard completely with her. Telling her everything that had happened to me up until that point. I broke down crying Velora actually hugged me. “Velora I was so scared.” I rapped my arms around her and held on. She cradled my softly in arm like a mother holds a child.
“You plan is impossible.” Velora says without showing much emotion.
I pull away from Velora. “What? Why?”
“Azergile is across the ocean. You would never make it. The struggle alone of the journey would kill no double. So that is what she meant.” Velora lets me down onto the chair. My face was to my feet and I felt a deep sense of sorrow welling inside me. “There is only two ways to get there?” I look up to Velora playing with her horns. “One way. Which is what I would choose is an airship? Seeing as how neither of us have one, its going to be very difficult to get over there.”
“Whats the other?”
Velora smirks. “Under the ocean through the Amala.” She said it with such disdain as though she was spitting the words from her mouth. “Its a evil place. Dangerous is an understatement. They are controlled by the families. They made thing that are even worse than me. Devils dwell down there. Those that get caught in that demonic underworld are trapped in darkness. Constantly in torment. Starved and thursty.”
“So we have to get an airship. Alright.” I said with hope.
Velora get to her feet. “If you insist. However I suggest we hear the words from an AI.”
“A robot.” I thought to myself. That is a rather strange statement. I look at her puzzled.
“I see you are not familiar. He is not just any AI. He is very old. In fact he might be older that Azergile. But that is a very very long way away. We will have to travel by foot there but it will be worth you while.” she said. “It will be shorter if we find a caravan along the way. We can travel with them for a while.” I nod my head in agreement. “You seem eager.”
“I am.” Looking at the rubble of the city I cant help but wonder what happened to everyone. “Velora, I don’t understand one thing. Where have all the people gone?”
Velora stretches. “What do you mean?”
“I have not seen anyone since I was around. I been all over this city and I have not found anyone.”
“You found lots of people.”
“No, I dont mean the monsters. I mean humans.”
“I am confused. I saved you from several people already.” What Velora said buzzed around in my head. She saved me from humans. What those were not humans. That when it hit me. The rules. “No.” I say quietly. “It can’t be.” Those things were, were, people. I couldn’t help it. My stomach retched, gagging as though a thick brick met my throat. The sour taste of vomit fill my mouth as I allowed it to fall on the floor.
Slowly if feel a hand on my back. “Are you ok?”
“No.” Turn my face to Velora, I scream at her. “This isn’t the world, this is a nightmare.”
Velora regards me for several moments. I can tell she does not know what to do. “I am confused. Did you not know those were people.”
I throw my arms to the side. “Of course I did not know they were people. A dog! What happened to make a man into a dog!”
“The nano machine do it. Azergile makes changes their shapes out of curiosity.”
“No… this is all wrong. Where are all the cars, and where is the people walking the streets. The sky, the sky isn’t blue and everything is in ruins.”
Slack jawed the girl with many arms seemed to be in shock “Your from before the AI empires.”
“I don’t know!”
“What is the last thing you remember from before? From the time before you where frozen.”
“I don’t know. I was kid. I remember them telling me they were going to freeze me because I had a disease that was going to kill me.”
Velora squints and cocks her head “So, you remember the old world?” I nod my head. “Then I truly feel sorry for you.”
We traveling out of the city into the rubble of another city however this city was leveled completely. Building were nothing more then stumps where they once stood. Hollowed bones of a land forgotten by the gnawing teeth of time. It was like a junk yard, every where you walked there were valuable littering the streets. Pictures of people, alive, dead, did it matter anymore.
I stopped to rub my aching legs. While strong, my ability to walk was not endless as I cam to suspect Velora to be. “Velora,” I said. She turned to toward me. She stands to proud, so, powerful. Her armored appeared to shine even though it was dull. “I have to rest.”
“Why are you refusing to walk? Come on.” she said.
I huffed and continued up the path. It was not long till I felt weak, weaker then I have ever felt before. With that I fell one the ground. Velora comes over to me and looks down. I gaze up at the large portion of her goat like legs the skulls staring down at me, to her red hair. “It hurt too much.”
“I need water.”
“Why do you need water?” Velora asks confused.
“I am thirsty.
“I don’t understand.”
“I need water to survive.”
Velora then bend down and scoops me up in her arms. “I heard humans were fragile and require maintenance multiple times a day. I guess the rumors are true.” I laid in her arms. Her limbs are not quite complete, they seemed to show breaks it the bone. I rested my legs to dangle off her large arms, my head rested on her other arms. When she rose to stand at full height I could not help but be impressed. She was much larger than me, carried me like it was nothing.
“Velora,” I said.
“Thanks for carrying me.” She did not reply to me but I could see it in her face, that she appreciated it.
We traveled for a little bit until we reached a toppled building. Velora rested me on flat piece of plywood. It must have been from a house. It was covered in a layer of dust. I brushed it off with my hand watching it fly off like pieces of pollen. “Here, drink this.”
I looked up to see Velora holding a bottle of water outstretched toward me. “Thanks.” Taking hold of the bottle I screwed off the cap and brought the lukewarm liquid to my mouth. I sucked down a fair amount of the precious liquid. “Refreshing.”
Velora was todding around poking at stuff. Not entirely sure what she was doing I walked up to her. “Hey, what’s with all the poking around.”
“Shelter.” Looking over the ocean of debris around us was so vast. There is nothing to found in this.
“Yeah I dont think you are going to find one here. Its getting late, so lets hurry to the next place.” I said.
Velora stops and turns her head toward me. At first this intimidated me however I eyes said I was not. “Your hurt.”
“Nah, I am not. I can walk.” I say to her.
She clearly was not happy about something but hid it… like Vanity hid… well lets not talk about that. I run along the dusty old bored and rubbed sides of houses. Turning back to Velora I call out. “Well are you coming.” With the nod of her head she too ran.
“Velora, look.” there it was. An old building with a roof. It was rather large actually. It must have been a military installation or a lab of some sort because it had solid walls or at least it looked like it from a distance.
“That will work.” she said.
Through the parking lot we walked. I stopped in front of the locked doors and looking back at Velora. “The doors are locked.” I said to her. Her bone laden tail strike it like a scorpion’s telson. I ripped right through the doors interior. Then the door opens just like that. “Wow. I did know you could do that.”
She retracts her large tail, it slides past my face, razor spikes and all. “It’s just my tail.”
“Well, I think it is cool.” I say to her, and she smiles. Velora leads the way into the dark building. It was beautiful, a massive crystallized tree stood in the lobby of the building.
Velora then looks at me. “I am going to search this build out. You wait here.”
“What? I want to go with you though.” I said.
She shakes her head “I don’t feel comfortable with that.”
“Fine.” I huff and fold my arms.
She then made her way into the dull lit hall. I waited for what felt like an hour. I then started to worry that Velora was tired of my presence and had left. The idea struck me hard. “Velora.” I called out. “Velora, you didn’t leave me did you.” I couldn’t shake the feeling. I decide to head down into the hall where Velora had entered.
It was long. Very long. At the end of the hall was a dull glow. I decided it was best to start my search there. Down the hall I went. Closer and closer to the glow I went. When I had arrived I held my breath before entering. I looked up to see a bright ceiling, projecting a sky on it just like in the colony I lived in. There too was polished floors. And white crystallized trees line the room. I walk over to a bench and sit on it. Its amazing, it really is amazing. The producers of this world knew what elegance was yet they were lost.
I look out into the dark hall to see something moving. “Velora?” I call questioningly to the dark. There is no answer, and as I was preparing to call again, I noticed it was not big enough to be Velora. Then the horror walked out into the open on all fours. Like a massive wolf.
Its face a mask of nothing, accept a giant nostril and a row of razor teeth. Where it should have had paws or something it has stubs the hard a large portion of sharp bone sticking out. The creature jaunts into the room, sniffing the air with that massive hold in it head; hyperventilating. I scream out “Velora!” Getting up off the bench I move slowly behind one of the trees. The creature moves with unnatural speed like stop motion. It sniffs the bench where I just was.
I can’t help but scream again. The thing charges at the tree. I back away from the tree and run into the dark hall. I see another dark body blocking my path. “Velora!” I scream again and huddle up. A hand glide over ontop of my head. I look up to see the dark figure was Velora. The creature comes out of the room and in an insteant Velora had it in all four of her arms. She tore it as if it was a sheet of paper. Then it on the ground. The two pieces of create spasmed on the ground making silent gasps for air. There was blood everywhere.
“I told you to wait in the lobby.” Velora said.
The whole way to back to the lobby Velora was silent. Even when she was preparing our meal she was ever quiet. Now she hurled the heavy words at me. “I… I got scared.”
“This colony was comprised. All the humans are twisted. It was a biogenics labs. It means they make monstrosities here. Then released them on the world to ravage and kill what they like.” she explained.
“Why would they do that?”
Velora sat up stretched her limbs. “Not sure why you humans are obsessed with exterminating other humans. Anyways it appears there experiment got out and ended up messing everyone up here.”
I looked at the rations Velora managed to get. “Well at least we got food and water from this trek.” Brown containers sealed in clear plastic. No doubt nanomachines kept the fresh. “Hey Velora, I’m getting kind of sleepy.”
“Very primitive but I know you require sleep. Fair enough, I will wait by your side.”
I found myself happy with the thought of being guarded when I slept. Velora while she looked like something out of a horror painting, she was pretty nice. I laid down next to Velora and closed my eyes.
When I awoke it was morning and as promised Velora was right there. “Velora, thank, forever thing.”
“Its only because I find you a curious thing.”
“In what way?” I said while picking up a ration and tearing off the top of it.
Velora adjusted her self as I rested my back on leg. “I just do.”
“So, is it night or is it day.” I ask.
“Not sure, the dark haze and the lights in the sky never let anyone know. Just that haze.”
I started drinking the mush from the pack in my hand. “Nothing is the same in the world anymore. Hmmm, I wonder what God thinks of all this.”
“It is now the creation of Azergile and the God of man has gone silent.”
I ponder that thought, has God gone silent. “I don’t think he has. Perhaps were just not listening to him. While I cant remember there faces I remember my Father saying that we had abandoned God. He prayed still though. My Mother did too.”
Looking down at me Velora said “Did he heal your illness.”
“Well my sickness is what might save the world.” I told her.
“It is the science of man that did this. Not your God.”
“You can look at it that way. God brought me this far and God will see me through. After all he brought me you.” I said while drinking from the ration.
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