I realize I forgot to post this, but in my defense it was only finished last month.
Courtesy of RogueTwister (roguetwister.wordpress.com)
Read Part 1 here!
Authors’ Note: Similar to last issue’s Zodiac story, the main characters of this story part are the star signs of this month, April, which are Aries and Taurus. We hope you enjoy the Zodiacs’ action-filled adventure!
Aries: a large, sharp-horned ram
Taurus: an enormous bull
One week later…
Taurus the Bull stamped his hooves nervously as he and the other Zodiacs were gathered silently on the island of the monster whom they were about to fight in a mere few minutes. Beside him was Aries, a ram with a temper as large as his horns. Right now, he was calm for once as he listened to Aquarius, the Water Bearer’s, battle plan.
“A few of us will go into the lair and distract the monster. That will be the Gemini twins, Leo, and Sagittarius. The smaller, sneakier ones will spot the weak points of the monster and report to the strongest ones, who will move in for the final kill. The spies will be Pisces, Libra, Scorpio, and Cancer. Those who fight shall be everyone else: Aries, Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo, and of course, me. Questions?”
When no one replied, he sighed deeply. “We attack at dawn. For now, everybody should rest.”
The Zodiacs slowly disbanded and went their separate ways to other parts of the dark island, far away from the shadowed entrance to the monster’s lair. Taurus was left standing there alone with Aries, who had simply huffed quietly, blowing a small plume of steam through the cold air, and trotted away after the others.
Aries couldn’t comprehend what had happened next until after many long sessions of meditating. What he could recollect was quite enough for him.
A huge roar ripped through the cold air, deafening his ears and even rattling the ground under his hooves. Or at least, that was what he thought. Later, he found out that the ground was not shaking because of the sound, but because of a gigantic thing bursting out of the ground, splitting the earth apart. Dirt and plant parts were scattered all over the place, covering Aries’ and Taurus’ bodies almost entirely in a very short amount of time.
Sound and silence filled Taurus’ ears at the same time. All he could hear was a constant ringing and muffled yells and screams from above, and yet it was as if someone had stuffed cotton in his ears.
Another deafening roar ripped through the air above and tore through the dirt, reaching the bull’s ears. Suddenly the dirt was dumped off of him and he felt himself being lifted up into the air by something large, warm, and scaly. Gasping for fresh air and screaming as loudly as he could at the same time, he opened his eyes and looked down to see the ground frighteningly far away from him, the Zodiacs looking up at him with wide, fearful eyes. “Taurus!” Leo called out, but at this point Taurus could not hear him, and could do nothing but watch as Leo’s mouth moved far, far away, along with the rest of the island and the ocean.
When Taurus regained consciousness, the only thing that he could see was a distant, orange light flickering ahead of him, a single source of light in the middle of the darkness that surrounded him. The air felt cold to his wet fur, and when he tried to move, the sound of chains rattled noisily. Tiring quickly, he gave up and fell limp on the floor.
At the sound, Taurus immediately shoved himself as close to the cold, stone wall as physically possible, trying to keep his rattling chains quiet.
The heavy footsteps seemed to grow closer and closer with every second.
Finally, they stopped, and Taurus realized that he had been holding his breath the entire time. Slowly and softly, exhaled. Just as he did, he heard low, deep breathing coming from somewhere above him.
In an instant, Taurus felt himself being grabbed by an enormous something and being lifted quickly up into the air. Looking up to meet his captor’s eyes and trying not to throw up from motion sickness at the same time, he saw a strangely shaped silhouette slowly moving towards him.
“Zodiac,” spoke a slow, rumbling voice like boulders rolling down a hill. “I have been looking for one of your kind for a very long time.”
The thing slowly stretched out a large appendage that looked somewhat like a hand, yet not quite one. But before it could reach Taurus, a resounding cry rang out.
“CHHHHHHHAARRRGGGEEEEEEE!” Something else smashed into the creature with such force that it toppled over, cursing loudly as it went. Roaring with rage, it got up and turned to face whatever had collided with it. But, it had disappeared.
The creature whipped around. “Who are you?! Show yourself, you cowardly fiend!”
What seemed like an oceanful of water was dumped on its face in response.
“AAAAARRRGGGHHHHHHHH!” It reached its hands up to its face instinctively, and as rubbed the water out of its eyes, Taurus felt something fiddle with his chains. Looking down, he saw a little blue crab snipping its huge, sharp claws at the metal bonds.
“Cancer!” he exclaimed. “How did you guys find me?”
The crab Zodiac paused in his snipping. “We followed the monster,” he said simply, and went back to work.
As soon as the chains were cut, Taurus stumbled upright. As he did, he saw another shape that vaguely resembled a quadrupedal creature running straight at the monster.
When he opened his eyes once again, he saw the blurred form of Aries standing over him. As his vision cleared, Taurus struggled to stand up, but fell down immediately afterward, his head feeling like someone had cracked his skull open and planted a live bomb inside it. He groaned.
“Don’t get up,” Aries said, gently holding a hoof against Taurus’s flank. “You need your rest after today. You did great. Aquarius and even the Creator said so.”
“The Creator, huh? Well, that’s nice to think about.” Taurus shifted and closed his eyes. “So I did incapacitate that thing?”
“More than that. You killed it. The explosion that resulted ended up knocking you unconscious. Although,” the ram added with a smirk, “I was the one who charged it. And ordered Aquarius to dump the neverending contents of his water jug onto his face. So I do get some of the credit.”
Taurus chuckled and rolled over on his side. “Sure, whatever you say.”
Once Aries had left, Taurus turned his face towards the cloudless, star-lit night sky and sighed. “Home sure is beautiful,” he whispered.
And it was.