Tower of Babel
Author: Isaac Woulms

Chapter 28
Ch.28

Clustered columns spread throughout the first level of the divide in no discernible pattern. Some pillars were chipped and some had black smudges smeared across them. The outer walls of the tower had archways fifteen feet apart, ten feet high, acting as glassless windows.

“Trisha,” Ben yelled over the wind that cut through the level. He saw his breath in front of his face. “Trisha.” How the hell am I supposed to find her? No more than ten minutes ago he was filled with more rage in his body than he ever had in his entire life, and now there was only regret. Come on, think Dammit. He turned around a few times trying to get his bearings. Brainwaves. I could search for her brainwaves. Ben closed his eyes and thought about invisible lines in the air. Minutes passed and he saw nothing. How do I search for brainwaves again? I have to keep trying. Ben thought of electricity flowing through a telephone cable, but nothing came of it. He thought of sound waves traveling through the air, hoping they would bounce back with Trisha’s location, but none came.

“I’m sorry,” he said. He thought of how she must have felt when he pushed her, but he pushed those thoughts away to make room for happier memories. The way she sometimes stretched the s at the end of her words, he never asked her about it, he thought it was cute. The time she didn’t believe him when he told her how magnets work, she thought it was magic. “Where are you?” 

A red dot blipped in the left side of his peripherals.

Ben looked in the direction of the light but it was gone. “Trisha?” He closed his eyes and thought about her again. In the darkness, he saw the red light, only this time it glowed. Ben ran in the direction of the light, correcting his course as he came closer. “I’m almo-” Ben hit his shoulder against one of the columns. “Damn that hurt.” He slowed his pace and stopped running every time he closed his eyes. The red light became more define and into the shape of her body. He ran around a column and said, “Trish-”

She stood in the frame of an archway looking off into the distance. Her short golden hair blew in the wind and her medallion fluttered against her chest. She had her hands hanging down by her side, her head slightly bowed. “Stop right there. Why did you follow me? I'm sure you can find the rest of the way on your own,” she said.

“Trisha, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to use my powers on you.” Ben took a step forward.

“How was it? How did you feel?”

“Are you hurt?”

“You felt a craving didn’t you? A distant call for more power. You forgot all about why you came here, huh?”

“That's not tru-”

“Don't lie to me. Everyone just lies. Lies, lies, and more lies. It was just a normal day in my room then you came into my life. Every day before was the same. I would train, eat, and sleep and nothing else. You know what I think is going to happen though? It's just going to go back to the way it was. So what's the point in all of this?” Trisha looked at Ben. A tear came down her right cheek. “Now you’re lying too, just like everyone else. But I'm not any better. I've told so many lies I don't know what's true anymore. I need you to tell me Ben, what was going to happen after you found Lilly? Did you think you were just going to leave? Did you think everything would be okay after finding her? She doesn't even-” Trisha looked back out the archway she stood. “If we would have traveled to the top, what then?”

“I don't know.” Ben took another step forward.

Trisha laughed in a desperate way. “See what I mean. Do you even know what you’re doing? Do you even have an idea?”

“I have no idea what I'm doing, Trisha. I haven't had a solid idea of what's going to happen since I woke up this morning.” He took another step forward. “You can't tell the future, but I do know we're going to make it to the top.”

“No. I'm not going any farther than this. This is where I get off this ride.”

A stint of anger flared inside of Ben. “I'm not going to let you do that.” Ben's voice became stern as he walked towards her. “Look me in the eyes.”

Trisha turned around and took a step back. “Don't think I won't ju-”

Ben approached Trisha and held the back of her neck with his right hand, her hip with his left. “Look at me and tell me what you’re thinking, do you even have an idea?”

“Ben.”

“I'm not going to let you go through with this.” Ben moved her to his right and stepped away from the ledge. “Just forget about all the lies that you've been living in. Right know is your chance to start anew. I need you.”

“That's it, huh? You just need me to get to the top.” Her head dropped.

“No, you’re more than that to me. There's a lot going on, but I do know that I want you to be there after this is all over.”

“What do you mean?” Her eyes met his. Time hung in the air.

Ben's emotions were sporadic so he took a deep breath to calm himself down. Movement beyond Trisha’s right shoulder caught his attention. He saw a younger boy holding a war scythe, charging for the both of them, hovering off the ground.

Ben didn't have time to counter Corvus’s attack. He hugged Trisha and jumped out of the window. A torrent of wind engulfed them as they began to fall.

“What are you doing? What the hell is your problem? I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.”

They were falling with their arms and legs spread out at an even pitch. The wind roared all around them as the pressure increased in their ears. The levels of the buildings passed them by faster and faster, all of their hard work reset. “Grab my hand,” Ben said.

“I'm going hit you in the face if we survive this. Why the hell did you jump out of the window?”

“Just take my hand I have an idea.” Trisha started waving her hands around making her roll in the air. “Hold on.” Ben used his telekinesis to bring them together. She started hitting him on the chest as he gave her a hug.

“I'm going to hurt your face so hardcore,” she told him.

“Maybe later. I need you to save us, Trisha.” Ben turned her around and gently wrapped his arms around her neck. “Turn into Ishtar.”

“But I can't fly that good.”

“Its fly well and you have to try.”

The earth was far below them, but would soon be their final destination.

“But I'm scared.” Trisha brought her legs to her chest and balled up.

Ben closed his eyes and whispered in her ear, “I trust you.”

Trisha's medallion emitted a green light. She opened her eyes and saw the light shining bright. “Do you really?”

“Right now you’re all I got.”

She grabbed her medallion and the green light shined brighter.

There was a sudden shift in the air around Ben. He could feel himself still falling, but it was at a slower rate. The wind changed again now pushing down on him. He opened his eyes and saw Ishtar gliding at an upward angle. Her wings flapped beside him, his arms still wrapped around her neck. He looked down at the ground beneath them. They were high enough to almost see the entire forest around the Tower. Ben held on tighter and said, “I knew you could do it.”

It's because you believed in me. He could feel the warmhearted feelings in her thoughts.

Their moment of joy was interrupted when a shadow came over them. Ben looked up and saw Corvus. “Trisha we've got some company.”

Ishtar turned her head and saw the bogey. Hang on to me. I'm going to try and out run him. Ben felt the muscles in her back and chest tense. Her wings pumped harder increasing her thrust through the air. She leveled out her pitch and continued to flutter her wings faster. Ben held tight, but even then, he felt like he was slipping off.

Am I losing him? he heard.

Ben shifted his head to get a better view and saw Corvus slowly creeping up on them. “He's gaining on us. Can you fly any faster?”

She tried, but she was already flying at top speed. I can't.

“We need to get back to the Tower. Try to fly back to the divide. We'll have to defeat him on solid ground.”

Ishtar adjusted her roll and made a sharp maneuver to the left. Corvus followed behind with ease. His wings were in a set position. The metal tips of his wing's fingers emitted small jets of power to aid in his high-speed flight.

As Ishtar neared the Tower, she could feel herself getting tired. Her velocity dwindled while she desperately tried to maintain her dragon form. Ben, I'm not sure if we can make it. The archway they jumped out of was just over a hundred yards away.

“You have to make it. It's not that much farther.” Corvus came within striking distance.

I'm trying. I'm trying.

Ben could see into the archway, but something was wrong. Standing inside the level was Sagitta taking a knee and aiming the crossbow on her right forearm at them. Corvus rose his war scythe behind his back and aimed for Ben's neck.

Ben what are we going to do? I can't evade both of them.

“I…” He was staring at Sagitta as she adjusted her aim. His subconscious shouted, “The next level,” as he noticed the archway above her. Ben looked down at the back of Ishtar's neck and pulled up. He heard her choke a little as her body tilted upwards changing her flight path.

Corvus swung his scythe, and Sagitta shot her bolt.

The bolt flew through the air and went underneath Ishtar's arm and towards Corvus. Corvus realized he was about to be hit and redirected his swing towards the bolt. This distraction made Corvus continue to fly forwards into Sagitta as she could not get out of the way in time.

Ben and Ishtar were flying at a steep angle for the next level. “Just a little more,” he said. The ledge was still out of reach. “Come on Trisha.” They reached the height of their glide still unable to grab hold of the edge. Ishtar flashed green and she turned back to Trisha. “No.” He held on to her with one arm and threw his free hand behind him. He sent a wave of telekinetic energy out of his hand with enough force to push them an extra five feet, just enough to fall into the next level. Their feet dangled past the edge as they laid on the floor panting.

Ben sat up and held Trisha's head up to his chest. “We did it. We're alive. Holy shit we were flying,” he said.

Trisha put her arms around him and hugged back. She sat up in his arms and tried to catch her breath. “We did didn't we?” They looked at each other for a while not sure what to do with themselves. “You saved me again,” Trisha said.

“I believed in you,” he told her. A silence followed. He looked down at her welcoming lips. He inched his head forward. She smiled and parted her lips slightly. Before they could kiss, Trisha brought her fist up and hit Ben in the cheek.

“I told you I would hit you in the face. Jerk. I can't believe you thought it was a good idea to jump out of a window.”

“Look who's talking sweet cheeks, you wanted to get all dramatic.”

“I was getting your attention is what I was doing.”

“You've got it.” Ben blew his breath in her eyes then got to his feet. “Let's stay in the Tower from now on.” He offered her his hand.

“Agreed.” She got to her feet and brushed herself off.

He turned inward of the Tower and stood still.

“Ready to go?” she asked.

Ben couldn’t reply. She felt a tense shift in his brainwaves, and his heartbeat increased. Standing ten feet from them was Samael with his arms crossed, and a small grin on his face.

 

“I'm sorry,” Corvus said from the fetal position.

Sagitta had been circling him, her fists on her hips, spouting any chain of derogatory phrase and curse words that came to her mind. He felt like crying again, but Corvus tried to limit himself to only crying three times a day.

“You were really going off on one there so why the hell did you fly into me? Earlier you almost let that brute suffocate me with sand, and now this. I don’t know why I stay on with you during missions.” Sagitta paused to think of something else to complain about. “Another thing, I could have hit you with one of my bolts and then where would I be? How could I explain shooting one of my teammates?”

Corvus moved his hand and looked at her through his fingers.

“Pathetic. Get up and get yelled at like a man.”

He gradually sat up and then got to his feet. His shoulders hunched over and he stared at the ground in an unsure manner. His wings hung lifeless from his back. “I’m sorry,” was all he could think to say anymore. The moment he reared back his weapon, ready for the kill, he had been consumed by his goal. Those seconds before he took a life always took him to his own world where the blade he wielded was master. In that world, he was neither weak nor strong, free nor imprisoned. There was only the blade. “I tried.”

“At least you’re standing to take your lumps.” She grabbed his bangs and brought his face to hers. “Are you going to try and be a good boy?” This only made Corvus want to cry more. “Come on now. Be a man.” He looked away, so she violently shook his head. “All I’m asking for is a solid partner. Either you can be a man or I’ll make you a man, and you’re not going to like it my way.”

Corvus looked back at her and slowly shook his head. She let go of his hair and stood straight, bringing her hands back to her hips.

“Well?”

He leaned forward and put his arms around her gently. “I’ll do better I promise.” Tears formed in his eyes. “I promise. I don’t want to go to sleep.” His voice hiked for his following question, it’s what men do during times like these. “Did I hurt you?”

She smiled a little. “No. You didn’t hurt me.” She patted the top of his head, his face buried in her chest. “Straighten yourself and get ready to set a perimeter. This floor will be our meeting spot.”

Corvus wiped his eyes and shook his head. He took off running and initiated his cloaking device. Every step made less noise and his body became more transparent as he faded away.

That kid could straight kill me if he wanted to, she thought. “Better call up the boss. This looks like a good nest egg.” Sagitta pulled a small circular object from her back pocket. She put it next to her ear and pressed the button at its center. The device hovered by her head and she could hear a ringing sound.

“Tell me your progress, Sagitta.”

“I've found a rendezvous point for the team. I'll leave the beacon on so you can find us. I'm not sure if the others have passed this point yet.”

There was a pause then Deus said, “Judging by your position I doubt it. Secure the entrances and exits and welcome the members as they arrive. Good luck my child.” Sagitta heard a beeping noise as the call terminated. She took the device away from her ear and returned it to her back pocket.

“Corvus,” she called out. “Corvus how's the perimeter?” She looked around the level past the columns. “Corvus?” She took a step forward and brought her hands to her face. “Corvu-”

Corvus materialized in front of her and grabbed her wrists. “We have guests. Ignis and Gulo have arrived.”

 

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