Nine was sharpening her neo-sword with a chunk of Seraphite they had gotten in their last mission. Seraphite could kill you if you held it with your bare hands, but it did wonders for neo-metal, and Nine had no qualms with danger. She laughed in the face of it. Her necklace hung proudly on her neck, it held the tooth of the last X-Tiger, golden and gleaming, always, even in their dark cove. They all had necklaces like that, all three of the sisters.
Eight, her sister was cleaning her arrows and fixing up her bow. During their last raid, it had gotten pretty banged up, but Eight was good at fixing things. There was nothing she couldn’t do. Most of the time.
And Seven, Seven was…
“Oh, Goddess,” Nine said, her hands freezing over her sword as Eight looked at her. “Where is Seven?”
Eight shrugged. “She said she was going out to get some grub or something. I don’t know.” Eight continued cleaning her arrows until realisation pricked her spine. “You don’t think…”
Nine groaned as she got her scabbard and began putting on her battle suit.
Eight sighed. “Here we go a-bloddy-gain.”
In Seven’s defence, she had been going for a walk to get some food.
But she had decided to check out a nearby nest. How was she meant to know that the Six’s were all around? And that they had their home in one of the nests?
It was just her bad luck, she guessed. Good thing she carried all her ammunition and was, luckily, wearing her battle suit. It was almost like she was looking for a fight.
A nearby Six bared its teeth and its saliva dripped across Seven’s face. “Ew,” she squealed as she shot it in its ugly face.
Her blaster was good for three more rounds before she had to reload. She was surrounded by dead bodies and sulphuric gases from the nests, and she was going to keep piling them up until something started saying something she liked.
A small Six, barely up to adulthood, slithered all the way to a wall. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” it said in that nasally voice of theirs. “I swear.”
Seven pointed the blaster in its face. “You’re lying,” she said through gritted teeth.
“Okay, okay,” it said. “I can tell you something. Only one thing.”
Seven didn’t lower her gun. “Talk.”
The six faltered and shifted and it kept looking at her nervously, and then the look fell away and it smiled at her coldly. “You were a fool to come here alone.”
Seven shot him, clean and straight through his head.
She put her blaster back in its holster and sighed, putting her hands in her afro like she did when she was anxious, or tired, or just bored.
“The Six was right,” a voice said from behind her and she spun, pointing her gun at the figure. He was bald dressed in black, and his jaw was like it was cut from marble. He had stone eyes and his hands were in his jacket. She had heard of him, from whispers in the underworld, who hadn’t?
“Leave,” Seven said, “or I’ll shoot.”
A smiled. “Shoot me?” He asked. “But I’m so nice.”
“I’m going to give you ten seconds, A,” She said, “and then, if you’re still here, you’re dead.”
He walked towards her, over the bodies of all the six’s she killed. “Numbers can last a long time,” he said, and Seven’s eyes widened. And he used his finger to brush against her cheek. “But of course,” he said, “I’m just a distraction.”
Seven hadn’t been counting down, but A had. And he smiled at her now, and said, “One.”
Then something hit her from behind, and the whole world went black.
Finding Seven hadn’t been hard, all they had to do was follow the bodies.
There were some Six’s remaining and Nine was happy to hack as Eight shot her arrows through them all.
“Why in the hells does she always do this?” Eight grumbled as they ploughed through the green scaly bodies of the Six’s.
Nine didn’t answer. And Eight didn’t need the answer. They both knew why. They all missed their mother.
Nine held her necklace as it pulsed. “She’s this way.”
Eight held her own necklace and looked at the dark hole drilled deep into the cavern walls that only led downwards. “Yay,” she said.
Nine walked into the darkness, and Eight followed.
Seven held her necklace close to her.
She felt the pulse in it as it grew stronger and stronger, and even though she was imprisoned in some dungeon, with a laser chain over her ankle, her heart was beating with excitement.
After so long, she finally had a lead.
“Look on the bright side,” a voice in the shadow said. “You finally have that anklet you’ve been wanting.”
Seven glared through the shadows. “Nice one, Eight,” she said. “Love the gallows humour.”
“If you didn’t run off so much,” Nine said, walking into the light. “Maybe she wouldn’t have so many jokes.”
Seven held the bars and they sizzled at her touch. “You guys have to get me out of here,” she said. “I found something.”
Nine sighed. “Are you sure?” she asked. “Remember — ”
“I know,” Seven blurted, “but this isn’t like Castavius, I swear. I have a solid lead this time.”
Eight was busy with the locks and when she stood up, she said. “Walk through.”
“But — ” Seven was saying.
Eight sighed. “Seven, please just walk through, we don’t have all day.”
Seven took a deep breath and she walked through the chains and the bars like they were nothing.”
Nine and Seven gave Eight a look, who shrugged. “I disabled the light density on the prison locks. Easy.”
“Now,” Nine said looking at Seven. “What’s this new lead you have?”
“Did you really think it would be that easy?” A voice said from behind them at the door, and Seven sighed.
“Who is that?” Nine asked as she whipped her sword out of her scabbard.
Eight already had three arrows nocked at his head.
Seven readied her fists, her blasters were in the collection tray at the prison’s entrance.
“He’s A,” Seven said. “He’s the one who has her.”
Eight fired three arrows at his head and Nine and Seven screamed, “No!”
“We needed him alive,” Nine said.
But the arrows passed through him…like he wasn’t even there.
“Hologram,” Eight said. “The bastard isn’t really here.” Her arrow and her bow didn’t go down though. “But they are.” She said, as the door burst through and a pack of Six’s erupted into the dungeon.
Zero’s palace was a sight to behold, built from the ground up in pure Lunarium that glinted in the moonlight. The castle jutted, and edged, and crested over their whole city. And the whole of the palace guard had the same exact expression of surprise when three of the Queen’s personal combatants all came in soaked in Six blood and guts.
“You may leave us,” Queen Zero said to the guard as she sat on her Lunarium throne that was higher than any in the world. Her skin was pale brown but her hair was jet black, with a dress that was silver and beautiful and draped over her round figure.
“Children,” she said with pursed lips as she looked at Seven, Eight, and Nine, all dishevelled, all soaked in gore, and smelling of guts. “Why have you…come here. To my palace. Like this.”
“We know where she is,” Seven said. “They have her. The letters. ‘Numbers last a long time,’ he told me. A.”
“He’s a dangerous rogue,” Queen Zero said. “Wanted for numerous counts of murder.”
Nine nodded. “It’s why we have to go after him.”
Eight folded her arms. “We’re the only ones capable.”
“And she’s our mother,” Seven said.
Queen Zero thought for a moment. “You understand, then,” she said. “That you may most likely die on this mission.”
Nine looked at her sisters and spoke with their voices. “We accept the risk.”
Queen Zero sighed heavily. “It would be nice to see my sister again. It has been ages.” She put her fingers to her ears and took off her earing, and it floated to Seven’s hands. “I closed the borders because of the Six insurgencies, but give them this at the Infinity gates, and they will let you out into the Alpha lands.”
Seven nodded and pocketed the earring.
And as the girls turned to leave. The Queen called out. “Children,” she said.
And they all turned around.
“You may see my husband on your travels,” she said.
“You want us to bring him back?” Seven asked.
“No,” Queen Zero smiled as she sat back on her throne. “I want you to bring me the traitor’s head.”
Eight nodded. “Consider it done.”
And the three of them walked out of the palace, and into the years of the future, to face theirs, and everything in between.
Thank you for reading! This series is a product of a daily suggestions I’m getting from my social media account. You can be a part of it too! Just hit me up on any @AnthonyAzekwoh