Chapter 416 - Anti-Narco Unit

"Is that it?" the lonesome figure of Mallie Lerado kneed to lean over the dead child. Her eyes watered, her hands bloodied, and her face filled with grief. "Tis my fault he died?" said she to herself. Footsteps came from the corridor behind, the five who were saved cramped into the doorway to watch their leader in tears. The one responsible for such a heartless act stood without a shred of remorse. 

"Mallie Lerado," said he strongly, "-get away from the body."

"WHY?"

"Do as I say!" the authority couldn't be argued with. The men behind saw how cruel he was yet, how easily he healed their injuries. To them, they owed more than their saved lives to this daunting figure. 

Slowly, without the will to stand, she crawled all the while fixating on the body.

"Those departed from the mortal realm shall live anew in the afterlife. Choose, child, for thee haven't sin; paradise or rebirth, choose, my child, choose, for death came to greet thee. For now, rest," fist to his chest, Staxius spoke a few words for the departed; *Death Element: Void Flame.*

"STOP!" cried she, "-DON'T BURN HIM!"

"It's for the better," *Death Element: Magical Barrier,* quick to force her into idleness – the body of the child burnt. Slowly, softly, and with dignity. There was no feeling of ill-will, the boy was sent to the afterlife. 

"Let's go," he stepped out, "-gather the ashes in remembrance or let it flow to the wind. The dead continue to live in memory. Crying over lost ones is normal, and I understand the feeling; however, the pain mustn't become a burden," alone in the corridor, the members stood inside beside their leader. "Heed me," said he to them, "-heed my words – there's nothing more disrespectful than to stop living for the sake of one who has lost his life. Live for him; I say this as a friend of the Lerado's, there will be more to come. Consider this a test, those who wish to leave, you included, Mallie, must do so this instant. I have been ordered to have revenge on those who decided to go against Godfather Renaud." No doubt nor fear, what needed to be said was said. 

"Éclair, I need information on what happened on the day of the deal. I suspect the Public service to be involved. This is but guess; have a log of what Larson of Unit 8 inputted." 

"Orders confirmed." 

The afternoon changed to dusk. The air felt cool – the streets of Tash were even more silent than at day. Rather, the night made it sinister, the perfect setting for a story of murder. Since Lerado came in town, the settling of the story became real – bodies would often be found in back alleys and taken to the infirmary or the church. Both were trained to heal the injured but not revive the fallen. 

The clock struck eight; the once m.o.a.n heavy building calmed to a library. The crackling of firewood giving heat came from the bricked fireplace. Amber and somber; the building seemed to speak with the gusts. 

*Knock, knock,* 

"Enter,* creaked to a stop, a lady stood awkwardly in the doorway. Her hair long and messy, the color now of a bleach-blond – she wore red lipsticks, and the eyes were bright blue. 

"Mallie Lerado," said Staxius holding a notebook, "-have thee decided?" 

"Yes."

"I see you've changed thy appearance once again; must be thy DNA?"

"Yes."

"So, have you come to terms with the death of the boy?"

"Yes."

"Glad to hear it, shall we begin?"

"Yes."

"Are you going to repeat yes until I bash thy head in?"

"Yes… wait no."

"Fret not, take a seat, the warmth from the fireplace is soothing." Soon, she pulled a couch from another table and sat covered by a blanket. Brown or red, the color was changing depending on the fire – inlaid with flowery design, a very feminine blanket complimenting her appearance. 

"Where are the other members?" asked he taking a sip of whiskey.

"They headed off to our old base. The other members are trying to bait whoever attacked us into showing their faces. I'll say this is war," said she sternly. The voice changed to match her face – a bittersweet tone that didn't fluctuate as much as before.

"I see," he paused to light a cigar, "-give me the full story of what happened."

"As you wish," gathering her thoughts, "-it happened a few days ago. We were scheduled to exchange merchandise with a party not that far from our base. The usual trade – hidden by night and done secretly. It had been a smooth sail until that moment. Just as money was going to change hands, we were attacked by Kevlar wearing officers. The Anti-Narco unit, it was them, the bane of the narcotics trade. I don't know how or what tipped them off, but with them as our enemy – there was nothing to do than fight. The Anti-Narco unit is a part of the military that is ordered to kill on sight. They don't ask questions nor care for answers, anyone related to the trade is killed. I doubt their credibility since they only show up for trades that don't include Cimier. The whole thing smells of scheming – tis the gut feeling also. That night, we lost half of our forces, the money, and the supplies we had for the month. Running the faction alone is hard, and without money, we might just be kids roaming the playgrounds calling themselves heroes or villains."

"How does the boy fit into the story?"

"I don't know," she shook her head, "-we found him a while ago. Since he reminded us of what we were as children, we gave him a home, shelter, and food."

Two sharp flashes perturbed the talk. 

"What was that?" asked she familiar with the shade of light. 

"Mallie Lerado," he stood, "-let me tell you, the boy was a mole. The reason they were tipped off was because of him and the intervention of other individuals. You made a good choice by having the five go away – the house is about to be raided." 

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN?" her face sunk into despair.

"The Anti-Narco Unit is here to destroy the remainder of Lerado." 

"Éclair," quick to contact the butler, "-have the car moved to the edge of Tash."

"Orders confirmed."

Her face said one thing, 'what is happening?'

"Listen, Mallie, you've changed appearance and I doubt they know who the leader is. Which is why I want you to go away."

"What about you?"

"I'll clean the trash."

"o-ok…" *Ancient Magic: Teleportation.*

"Lady Mallie Lerado, welcome inside the EDO-4," driverless, the car dashed over the hill and towards the capital. 

'The Anti-Narco unit was tipped off by the boy who was a spy for Larson. A good but unthought idea. You never thought someone had the powers to track you back, did you? Éclair has infiltrated thy computer, phone, and anything linked to it. Unless it's on paper, there's nowhere to hide from my trusted butler. Larson, Chad, this is war – Phantom is joining the fray.' 

*Click,* the main door opened.

"PUT YOUR HANDS UP," screamed a well-built man holding a hammer. They were shocked to see someone walk one without concern – the ambush they planned was foiled.

"DON'T YOU DARE MOVE," screamed another hidden behind a car – their guns poised on the roofs and hood. 

"What might be the matter?" asked Staxius.

"REMOVE YOUR MASK!"

"Gentlemen, there isn't a need to be so heartless."

"STOP MOVING OR WE'LL SHOOT."

'They're not going to talk, well, whatever, guess this is going to serve as a warning to those who decide to come after us.' 

"May death find thee well," *slash,* the ones closest were beheaded in an instant – blood spewed like a broken hose. "FIRE!" 

*Blood Arts: Bloody Mary,* channeled, the crystal formed a hovering shield. Bullets did not harm and fell as if rubber bands. *Clop, clop, clop,* down the stairs, their final moments were those footsteps. *Death Element: Shadow-Step.* The bodies fell one after the other.

"I should get some gloves," said he taking a breath, "-It's been a while since I've killed using my hands – such a barbaric way of fighting. Long are the days when I would once jump into a fight with my sword – I fear the day I have to arm with Tharis and Orenmir."

"STOP RIGHT THERE," cried the fallen squad. They rose one by one with glowing veins. The eye socket was burnt and carved; flames spewed as if an uncovered flame. The unit revived.

"Oh, a chance to redo the fight?" he wondered.

"Did you really think it was that easy to take down the Anti-Narco Unit?" came a loud voice up the roof. *BAM,* whoever it was, landed.

"You who so cruelly killed my companion will suffer their same fate," said he smugly.

"Captain Flare?" asked Staxius.

"HOW DID YOU KNOW?" he laughed; "-I suppose my reputation precedes me." 

"No, far from it," said the masked man, "-the badge makes it awfully obvious. I make it a creed to not remember the weak. Now, Flare; are you going to be my next toy?"

"No, I shall be thy DEATH, Attack my minions, ATTACK!" 

"So pathetic," *Death Element: Magical Barrier.* 

"Are you going to hide away behind a wall, are thee that cowardly?" 

"Watch and learn, amateur," *Death Element: Magical Barrier – Spikes.* The mindless wave skewered on the spot, one by one, they came without care. *Blood Arts: Crimson Thread,* the blood from before became gems which soon embedded into the zombies' forehead. 

*Blood Arts: Ghoul Revival.* The pointless march halted, the barrier vanished, the puppets turned with crimson-colored glares. 

"A puppet master should always remain behind the scene, there isn't a need to come in the open. Flare, you were foolish and over-confident, now die by the hands of those thee created." *Snap,* the mindless horde who were but weak evolved into the servants of a vampire. The pace increased, they jumped farther than the common man and had strength well over the normal limit. 

"LET ME GO," one by one, they bit, tore off skin, muscle, limbs, and devoured. "OUR GOD WILL BE BACK, HE WILL LAY DESTRUCTION TO THIS WORTHLESS PLANE, OH GOD OF KRESTON, HERE I COME TO BE IN THY GRACEEE." A nauseating crack had him fall silent, one of the ghouls tore out his throat. 

'God of Kreston,' thought he, '-here's something I thought I dealt with. It does explain why he managed to revive the bodies. It's lesser powerful with more potential than what the pope did. That conniving old man, he must have had acolytes all over the world. When will that damned fool leave this realm?' 

Those who fought soon came to kneel before Staxius. "Ghouls," spoke he, "-what does thee wish, death and reincarnation or to serve my will."

"S-serve t-thy w-will," said them in tandem. 

"Come to my shadow," a gesture opened a dark-crimson vortex. The total was thirty, thirty ghouls to join the puppet army. 

"Master, I've confirmed that Larson was involved again in tipping the Anti-Narco Unit."

"How many of their forces did they dispatch on this mission?"

"Not much, sire, I think they underestimated our forces." 

"No, this is bad," a realization had him worried, "-it could be a diversion. The real attack is at the old base, we need to go now!" Sprouting wings, he flew towards the hideout.

"I've confirmed the worry. The real Anti-Narco unit is headed to the hideout. Should I call for help?"

"I doubt Phantom to make it here in such a short time. We'll have to fight on our own, Éclair, get ready, it's going to be a tiresome fight." 

"Sir Larson," far away, "-do you think it was a good idea to have the Anti-Narco Unit split?"

"Chad, dear Chad," replied he in a jingle, "-it was a distraction. Lerado is still a family tied with the underground – we can't underestimate them. The mole sadly died, which means they know. Nothing more than to start a war now," came a nonchalant shrug.

"Sir is resorting to violence..."

"Don't preach to me of justice, they who could kill an innocent child are heartless murderers." Surrounded by screens and people speaking through microphones, the mobile command unit closed into the Lerado's hideout. 

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