Chapter 2 – Responsibility

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A chopper was flying near the place where fantasy and natural disaster met.
Inside, there was a beautiful journalist. She was going to report the situation about an area where continuous lightning fell without stopping.

The reporter’s hands seemed to be shaking. “Vanessa, you got this!” she said. She then tied her blond hair in a ponytail fashion, pluck her pale luscious lips to make it turn redder than usual. Then she closed her eyes and clasped her hands.
“I promise you, Vanessa,” she said. “This is the last thing you are going to do this dangerous job.”
There was a man who was getting the camera ready for the set. “Vanessa?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied, “James?”
“We are about to go live, in 5, 4—”
“3, 2, 1 go.” James gestured her.
“Hello, this is Vanessa Smith from BNN—Live. As you can see the whole area has been covered by this strange dome of yellow-ish light. It seemed that it’s keeping this part of the city intact by covering the entire place. Rendering the lightings, that are strangely bombarding the place nonstop, useless!”
The anchor of the show said, “Vanessa, can you perhaps get near the place to take a closer view of what is happening?”
“As you can see, John, the place is very dan—,” she turned to the pilot. “Can we please try to go near it?”
“That’s impossible,” the pilot said, “Ma’am.”
“Can you please at least try,” she said. “The people need to see this.”
The pilot looked hesitant for a bit and then he said, “Hang on tight.”
“People of the world,” Vanessa said, “we are about to unveil—what is that!”
“Incoming!” the pilot shouted. “Hold on tight!” Suddenly another massive and powerful explosion swept the place in the sky. But this one was so powerful that the chopper started spinning out of focus as the shock wave was so strong for the chopper to fly safely.
“Mayday, mayday. Alpha-Lima-Alpha is about to fall, losing tail rotor control—”
“Mom and dad I love you.” The reporter smiled. “This is Vanessa. Signing off—!”
John the anchor shouted, “What happened—Team can you please try to contact them!”
He stood up and seemed to listen on the earphones that were attached to his ears.
John the anchor appeared bleak and pale. “The signal has been lost. We’re trying to get in touch with them but it seemed we can’t get in touch with them. We’re taking a very short break—please stay tuned.”
When it was finally time for a break, the smile of John’s face was gone.
“Please,” John said, “send a rescue team in the area.”

After Atlas had destroyed the unknown phenomenon, a powerful shock-wave took place in the skies. It cleared the dark clouds and stopped the lightings from forming. In the process, the shock-wave sent a bit of strong turbulence in the air that would render any flying objects useless.
From his head to his very toes, Atlas was covered with an armor of unknown substance. His face was not an exception. He rushed to the scene where he saw a chopper spinning out of control.
The people, who saw him sprint at an astonishing speed, had to run away from the scene. Because any creature would fear the unknown. Especially something so outlandish as him. However, some were still able to take a few pictures and videos of him. Some were even shouting that it was a terrorist attack. Few were expressing their thanks by bowing their heads.

He didn’t have the time to think about what the people think of him. What’s important for him right now was to stop the chopper from spinning out of control or hitting the ground.
“Damn it,” he grimaced, “I wouldn’t be able to make it, do I?”
Someone whispered, “Would you want to trade?”
“What’s the deal?” he asked.
“The same thing,” the voice answered. “To maintain the balance, one would have to pay a certain price—never forget this.”
“Even in this situation, you are still thinking about the trading,” he said, ” for the lives of these people?”
“Their lives do not mean a thing to me,” it said. “Struggle all you want but you wouldn’t make it in time.”
The glint in his eyes showed his determination. “How much?” he asked.
“Just 2% percent would do,” it said. “I’m even doing you a favor for using me again after a long time.”
“Deal—seal the pact now!”
“It’s my pleasure of doing business with you.” The Feather of Hope whispered chants that he wasn’t able to decipher, much less understand. Then the feathered sword morphed and attached itself on his back.
Golden wings started to sprout behind his back. “Don’t worry you wouldn’t feel any pain at all. It just shows how much I treasure you.”
“Please,” Atlas said, “tell me what to do with it.”
The feather’s voice was as gentle as ever. It brought serenity to his chaotic mind, but he had never understood what it wanted from him or its real purpose. “Use your imagination.”
“It’s not even funny,” he growled.
“Just use your imagination,” it said. “Close your eyes and concentrate on the wings on your back. Then you would know what to do.”
Atlas followed suit and concentrated the energy on his back. He felt the weird wings on his back. To be honest he didn’t feel like it weren’t his. It just felt natural—it seemed to be his from the very beginning. It was similar to how a person would use his legs to run and how a person would use his lungs to breathe. It simply felt natural. The wings started to flap with great force and gave him extra lift that he needed to reach the skies.
“It’s now or never.” The golden wings propelled him with great force. He finally reached the chopper that was about to hit the ground. When his body hit the chopper, the force of the impact made his body shook—causing him to cough blood after the violent impact. He felt the pain running throughout his body.
The chopper was very hard to control from spinning out of control. Atlas had to give everything he had to make sure it descended without any complication.
It took him some time and great effort to stop the momentum. Fortunately, the spinning chopper gradually made its way to the ground without a problem.
“I—I made it.” Gasping for breath, Atlas staggered and fell on his knees with his arms shaking nonstop.
“The passengers,” he exclaimed, “yes, the passengers.” He picked himself up. There were sprinkles of yellow-ish light around him when the full-body armor disappeared. The light looked like it evaporated into thin air. The full-body armor was gone. Now, he was just as normal as a mere man would look like.
“Is everyone alright?” Atlas walked his way to the chopper’s passenger seats, to check the passengers. He took a deep breathe when he saw every one of them was breathing, and finally released a sighed of relief.
Some of the passengers, inside the chopper, were even on the verge of waking up. But just to make sure, he tried to wake up the lady who was near him. Her hair was disheveled, but it couldn’t hide the fact that the lady in front of him was a beautiful woman he’d encountered in his life. Her long eyeslashes were restless. She seemed to be waking up.
“Are you alright?” he asked. “Miss, are you alright?” He didn’t try to touch her just in case she had some fractures in her body. After all, it was not a very good fall. No, it was not at all.
Atlas kept on asking to make sure. Soon, the lady woke up and started screaming for help. She gripped his hand as tight as could. She shook from fear as she saw everyone around her unconscious.
“A—a—are they dead?!” She was the only one who was awake; the others were unconscious. With her state right now, she would definitely be confused and would have had a hard time knowing and assessing if her co-workers were dead.
Her reactions startled Atlas, but he knew it was a very normal reaction given the things that happened to them. For such a delicate person to experience such a thing—it really was a horrible experience to go through.
If it weren’t for his partner—The Feather One, or as he called it—everything would have transpired differently. He did not want to think about that particular outcome. Since, he had already achieved the outcome he had desired.
“It’s okay—they are fine…” He caressed her hands and smiled. “Everything is gonna be alright.”
“B—but,” she said, “t—they—”
“Miss,” he assured her. “Trust me. Everything’s fine now.”
The way he handled the situation seemed to be effective as the woman gradually stopped shaking. Her breathing was also slowly calming down. He was trying his best to make sure that she’d feel safe and secured.
“Everything’s gonna be alright,” he continued. “That’s right. Just relax, Miss.”
“It’s Vanessa.” She smiled. “Vanessa Smith. Thank you!”
Her smile was very genuine, making her more beautiful despite the situation she went through. Or so Atlas thought. It startled him for quite some time that he wasn’t able to reply immediately.
“It’s Atlas,” he said. “Atlas Nightshade. Nice to meet you!”
She smiled. “Nice to meet you as well, Atlas.”
“Are you hurt somewhere?” he asked. “we’d like to know that before we try to move.”
“Yes, thank you very much. Let me see,” Vanessa said. She slowly moved her body one by one to make sure if everything was fine.
“It seems so,” she said. Her eyes were shining. It seemed to have stars in it.
“Good, that’s a relief, “he said. “Oh, by the way, what were you doing earlier?” He didn’t really have much time to appreciate her beauty. However, he seemed to be attracted to her dark blue eyes.
She seemed to remember everything now. Her eyes went wide as she tried to look for something in his pocket and bags. “We were doing a live report about the weird phenomenon that was happening in the city.”

“So you went off,” he asked, “from live news?”
Vanessa seemed to realize something and went to check her things up. She was looking for something inside her pockets.
“There you are!” she said. She seemed really glad she found her phone from her pocket. Before she could make a phone call, the people inside were groaning. Finally, the pilot was awake.

“W—what happened?” Even the pilot seemed confused as well.
Atlas told them something not far from the truth. He went through the same process of letting them know about the whole situation before he arrived in the area where they landed.
“So, basically, you’re telling me that we were failing down but someone flew up and prevent the chopper from getting into an accident?”
Atlas scratched his head. “Even I was quite shocked by the whole thing.”
The pilot turned to Vanessa, who seemed to be talking to someone over the phone. “Do you believe this guy?”
“His name is Atlas,” Vanessa rebutted. “Also, Mike, I’m making a phone call here.”
“You don’t have to be so cold,” Mike said. “We just survived that together.”
“That’s why I’m making a phone call now to let everyone know that we are fine,” she continued. “Make a call as well. Your family must be worried.”
It looked like he seemed to forget that important thing. “Ah, yes, yes. How could I forget!”
“Atlas,” he said. “Thank you, brother. I don’t know what happened but I just want to thank you.” He patted Atlas’s shoulder a few times and went on his way to make a call.
A few minutes had passed, James the cameraman woke up as well and went through the same briefing. But this time it was Mike who explained everything to him. James calmed and asked Mike for his phone. It seemed that his phone fell when the chopper spun out of control.
Finally, everyone had already woke up from the fall.
“Wow,” said James, “we are far away from the city!” Outside, barren land rolled by under a bright blue sky.
“I’ve called the headquarters,” Vanessa said. “I told them that we’re fine. They were very worried by the sound of it.”
“Like who wouldn’t?” asked James. “We would be killed by your father if anything happens to you.”
Vanessa’s face seemed to lose all colors. “He sounded very worried when I called him.”
“Vanessa, James—everyone!” Mike turned to Vanessa. “When did you say the rescue would arrive?”
“About 10 minutes,” Vanessa replied. “Why?” She seemed to get a glimpse of something strange over the mound. It didn’t seem to be a kind of modern vehicle. As it got closer to them. They were sure that it was something not from this world.
Atlas was resting beneath the shade of the chopper when he heard Mike shouted. By the time he saw what was coming to them, he had already lunge himself straight towards the charging creature. “Stay inside the chopper and don’t come outside!”

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