Crownless: The Fallen World - Chapter 22
It was a dark night where the sky was filled with a thick and dark cloud that covered almost the whole territory of Gavin City. Hale was leaning his body on the railing of the penthouse when he heard a quiet thud of the metal door.
He looked over and saw Aires holding a cloth bag full of sandwiches. Aires set the cloth bag beside Hale and asked, “How is it?”
Hale opened the cloth then quickly munched the sandwich, trying to get used to this exquisite taste he ever tasted. Damn, he could even hire Aires as his personal chef sometime in the future or…
He swallowed, “I still don’t know what it is but… I really feel something ominous about that cloud…” Hale took another big bite.
“We have to be careful, then. I’ll put it in our journal. Can you give the details while I’m at it?” Aires retrieved his netbook, going into a journal software. All set for jotting down.
“There was constant yellow lightning in an interval of 2 seconds and white lightning of 1.5 seconds. The length of each was 1 to 2.5 meters. The cloud was 8 meters thick but still getting thicker by an average of 0.05 millimeters per minute. The radius was 56km, with an average growth of 1 centimeter per 3 minutes.”
Aires could only nod while typing, the light of a small screen shone brightly in the dim night. He noticed how his informant squinted his eyes, leaning more against the railing. Aires immediately pulled Hale back by his collar, “We’re in the freaking 10th floor, don’t be stupid.”
“I know you can save me anytime. Anyway, I noticed another thing…”
“What is it?”
“The colors of the lighting and their pattern… it was yellow in the east and white in the west then it switched. Then the yellow went to the south and the white in the north then they switched again. After those, they showed up in all of the directions in the same manner as the first pattern. Which means,” Hale pointed at the center, “That there will be something coming out of there. I don’t know what or when will it happen but it’s bad…”
“Mhm,” The fast punching of the keys was devoured by a rumble of loud thunder. Aires’ ears perked when he deduced the direction where it came from, “Hale, is it from the center?”
“Ye-yeah… it was a mixture of yellow and white lightning, they were intertwined as if they were dancing together. Then it spread out from the center, dissipating.”
“Hale, can you dial Kassean’s Holowrist? We have to ask in case they already encountered this,” Aires continued to type with furrowed brows.
Hale never wasted any words and directly called Kassean, it rang for 30 seconds as it grew longer, “I don’t think Kassean is available at the moment…”
Aires was confused, even if Kassean was busy with a mountain of workload, he would always answer his calls, “… let me call him,”
It only rang twice when it was picked up, “Yeah? What happened, Seb?”
“You… did someone called earlier?”
“Heck, it was an unknown number… and Kassean never gets unknown numbers! It was creepy.”
“Save that number under Hale Grafton.”
“Oh sht. Ah… hey? Little beauty? I’m sorry, okay? If you want to beat me up too, please beat Seb for me. Thank you.”
“Can I kill this fcker?” Hale’s eyes were now filled with contempt. He really wanted to say that he was a head taller than the idiotic blond. The fck is with the dwarf calling him little?! Such disgrace!
“Never mind that,” Aires turned his gaze at Kassean, “I know you saw the clouds. Did you all encountered it before?”
“Yeah, we did, but not this big. It rained chunks of ice and rocks that day. We had to fix the houses the next day, bury the dead, and treat the injured. I believe it was last year in mid-October.”
“Can you tell me more?” Aires readied his fingers on the netbook’s keyboard.
“I don’t remember much but the weather that day was really cold. Even if the ice dropped, it never defrosted and it lasted for about 2 months before it melted. We have to retrieve those chunks using a piece of special equipment because whenever the people touched it, their whole arm will freeze and will numb the arm before it remained paralyzed. Even a clip froze when it touched the ice. You know the box in the supermarket?”
“Yeah. The tiny little box. I saw it when we bought groceries earlier,” Hale answered for Aires who was so busy typing with a serious look plastered on his face.
“We tried using it because of the particle characteristic of it, though it worked, we have to be fast enough before it freezes the grocery box and was deemed as broken. We used a total of 800 boxes that day. We were in a tight financial situation after those. The people, gratefully, accepted the traditional way of living before we can advance further again.”
“Do you remember the colors of the lightning back then?” Hale inquired.
“Uh… it was light blue with a grayish hue, I think? The cloud back then was thicker than this one. Oh! We already installed protection dome on the roof of the houses, in case that happened again.”
“Anything more strange you remember?”
“Uh… oh right, the cloud only covered half of the city.”
“Is that why half of the wall outside was somewhat new…” Hale rested his forefinger on his lips, contemplating.
“That’s strange. My people said that it looked like it was what it was back then. How come you can differentiate it?”
“Hale can observe the finest detail. He can even see the strange and complex something written on the wall,” This time, Aires answered, still typing quickly, “By the way, after the ice rain incident, were there more?”
“Just disturbances from outside the wall when some of my people came out to forage and hunt for food. I think… they said about earthquakes and small earth spikes coming out of the ground but not enough to pierce a person in his foot,” Kassean closed his eyes, thinking more of what were the previous reports brought to him, “I think that was all that happened in the city. But I heard from the merchants that it was worst in the other cities too. You can search for international news if you got the internet.”