Shou leaned over his desk and stretched his hand out towards the container. He wanted what was in it. Needed it. A groan let out as his muscles stretched painfully. He could stand up to get it, sure, but at what cost? Marble the golem was rolling around the work floor, its one eye following Shou's actions with pined interest.

"Come on..." he gritted.

Finally, his fingers swiped the edge and pulled the bowl back enough for him to take the whole thing into his hand. Reaching in, he picked up a piece of dried chip and bit down.

"Ah..." he let out in relief.

Marble spun in its spot excitedly.

Miu voiced, "You're an idiot."

"What? I was hungry?"

She was sitting at her workstation, a portable screen hooked up to an illegal wire line. The news station had its camera trained on an empty podium. The President of the Dogon Republic was about to hold a press conference to respond to the state of the war and crisis within the nation. Informants up and down the wire had warned Shou and Miu that they had a non-zero chance of being mentioned at the event.

Adelle and Luce teleported up onto their work platform. "Is it starting?" the latter asked, pulling up a seat beside her.

"Bored!" Adelle announced before anything even happened and quickly teleported away.

Shou added, "I like her way of thinking." He prepared to stand.

"Don't you dare leave," Miu reprimanded. "I'll drag you back by the ear."

He huffed and turned his attention back to his work station. On his table were two circuit boards the size of a head. With the new power cell they were aiming to steal, they would need something to regulate the excess charge. A new repeater and resistor would do the trick. Through scavenging, they had managed to gather enough parts, but they still needed an excessive amount of work to be usable again.

His solder iron smoked as he put another strain of aluminium wire to the board, melting it into an existing line, slowly and carefully so as to not damage the board itself.

"And now we go live to Citidale, where President Corlyle is taking the podium to address his nation."

Shou puts his solder down and leaned back against his seat, turning to see the screen. Corlyle walked onto screen from stage right, his suit a finely pressed black and short grey hair in a neat buzz cut. Even his straight and sharp face was cracked in places. The edges of his chin had faint grey stubbles that marred the otherwise chocolate skin. He could tell the leadership role had worn the man out. Eight years of fighting a never ending war does that to a person.

Corlyle stood behind the black steel podium. A holographic screen with his script flickered on at a slanted angle the cameras could not capture. He barely cleared his throat.

"Citizens of Dogon, I trust you well." Clear. Smooth. Not a falter in his voice. A tendency to cut straight to the point. "I called this conference today to announce that the end of the war is nigh." The newsroom erupted in questions but Corlyle refused to continue speaking until they were quiet. An effective politician, capable of controlling the masses. Soon, the room quietened down.

Shou turned his seat fully, sitting straight up to listen, his attention finally captured.

"We have been developing a weapon to deactivate the magic circuitry of golems. It is non-lethal to mortal mages, but will disrupt the enhancement flow, effectively breaking the golems from the inside. As a pulse weapon, once activated, the range will cover half the continent." Corlyle then proceeded to list technical specifications. The weapon sounded large. "The Golem Anti-Seither Pulse, or G.A.S.P, as we lovingly call it, is ready to fire. However, we will be giving Seracue time to discuss a treaty before using it."

Luce flew to her feet and even with her back facing him, Shou knew her eyes were wide.

"What's wrong?"

She replied, "It's not possible to break one circuit but not the other. We've tried. The biology of it are basically the same. Magic circuits for enhancement and golemancy uses the same basic concept as circuits in our bodies."

Miu raised a brow. "So Corlyle is lying?"

"He must be."

Shou put another chip in his mouth before speaking, "Maybish itsh jush..." he licked his lips and swallowed. "Maybe it's just our technology's better."

"Not possible. Golems are based on magitech. And the level of magitech studies on the other side is far more advance than they are here. Equivalent to our science, I'd say."

"What happens when circuits are cut off for mortals?" Miu asked.

"Depends on the severity," Luce admitted. "Best case scenario is you either temporarily or permanently lose your magic. At the absolute worst case, it could necrotise the blood vessels around your circuit. And if it's near your vital organs..."

Shou finished, "You die." He turned back to the screen. "It's a weapon of mass destruction. What the tites is going on?"

"Shush!" Miu hushed them. "He's saying something about the church."

Shou only managed to catch halfway through the sentence, but it was enough.

"... of Moira has been sponsoring the development of this weapon, and to them, I give my thanks. Their goal of ending the war is a noble one. Which brings me to the recent news of an attack on the Church of Moira in their Central Citidale chapter. We have determined that one of the attacker is Lucinda Baerrinska, a former Titan Hunter turned deserter. While the other attacker, an elf, has yet to be unidentified, but possesses some form of teleportation magic. They are deemed dangerous and should be approached with caution."

"Ooo, Luce, you're in trouble."

"The two has also been linked with apostates Shou Kenta, Miu Hotaru, and Arnold Wyndham, the masterminds behind the Regalia Heist."

"Well," Shou unwittingly let out. "Shit."

Corlyle began taking questions from the room. From queries of cost, to implementation, to political backlash. None of which were of particular interests to them so the three turned to talk with each other.

Luce spoke first, "Sorry about getting you guys in trouble." As she said that, Marble rolled by her feet as if to emphasise the point. She picked it up and hugged it in her laps.

Miu answered, "Don't worry about it. Shou would have done the same thing."

"I would not!" he denied, though jokingly.

It was true, he would have done the same thing. But since he did not have a teleporting elf, he might not have survived it.

But he could not get his mind off Corlyle calling them out. They had lived in relative isolation for all these years without crossing paths. Their little outpost no more than a speck of dust amongst the greater picture of Dogon politics. Bringing them into the cross hair seemed odd at the very least. At worst...

"Shou used to go to school with Corlyle," Miu chimed in.

Shou looked up. "What does that have to do with anything?"

Luce joked, "What? Have Shou bribe the president."

"That won't be a bad idea, but I'm not that close to him."

He got to his feet, the cyber-prosthetic clanking the steel floor. With a slight hobble at the start, he picked up pace as he walked towards the ladder.

Luce asked, "Where are you going?"

"I need some fresh air," he said.

"I don't think there are any nearby."

"You know what I mean."

He slid down the ladder, landing on the ground with a thud and clank. Now where was his hoodie? His mind traced from the last point in memory where he used it. He had came back in from a test pilot with Reggie, so the best place to start from would be the mech-bay. He passed through the plastic curtains covering the door into the bay area, his mind still wandering about on Corlyle.

"Going out?"

He jumped.

Sitting next to him above a cabinet was Adelaide, calmly sipping water from one of their hydration packs. The elf scared him. Unlike the rest of them, she was truly a being of power. Teleportation aside, she had a keen survival instinct and was possibly one of the stealthiest person he had ever met.

"Just looking for my hoodie," he replied, having calmed down.

"So you can go out?"

The mech-bay's height took up the whole of the building. Reggie sat in the middle of the work area, a large power cable coupled to its back, charging it. Around it were large machineries that cut, drilled, and some which only Miu knew did that laid around.

Reggie's head turned as he walked in and Shou gave a wave to his partner. The mech nodded its head and continued to watch the interaction between cyborg and elf.

Shou continued, "I'm just going out for some fresh air."

"I don't think there are any nearby."

"That's what Luce said."

Adelle clicked her tongue and turned away. Luce seemed to be both important and a sore spot to her. He walked over to a set of hangers opposite the room where their jumpsuits hung and snatched his stained white hoodie off the middle hook.

Adelle asked, "How do you keep that clean?"

"Bleach." He began heading towards the garage exit. "Lots of bleach."

"Whatever you're doing, make sure it's as stupid as possible so we can get a laugh out of it," Adelle joked. "Also, it'd help take the heat off me and Luce.

Shou gave a fake dry laugh, taunting her as he exited the mech-bay. To Reggie, he said, "See you in a bit, partner."

See you. The mech said in his mind.

They were still mentally linked by their bio-comms, up to certain distance. Reggie had been kind enough not to poke around his head and Shou was more than happy not to do the same.

In the garage, he grabbed a second riding jacket to put over his first. He also took a gas mask off a rack of many. Just before he placed it on, however, the door from the main building opened and Miu stepped through.

He smiled and greeted, "Hello, beautiful. Care to go for a ride."

She walked over chuckling before punching him jokingly in the shoulder. "I would, but I don't think Corlyle would be happy to see more than one of us."

"I told you, I don't know-"

"Yeah, yeah. You're a terrible liar, you know that?"

From her pocket, she pulled out a gun-shaped tool that looked no different from a slightly modified pistol with a larger barrel.

"Miu," he said, disappointedly. "I don't like guns."

"I know," the girl replied with a smile. "It's a taser. Double layered oobleck pellet with single charged shells. Nine rounds. It's lethal up to 5 meters, so don't get too close."

He took the weapon from her and it weighed forever in his hands. Eventually, he tucked in into the back of his belt with the safety on.

"Thanks, Miu."

She nodded. "We knew you made some sort of deal with Corlyle. I don't know what. But the fact is, he's reneging on it. What's the worst case scenario?"

He let out a nervous laugh. "Why are you asking me?"

"Because you're the smartest person I know? Not intellectually, mind you."

"Geez. Thanks for the boost of confidence," he replied sarcastically.

"But you are street smart. So what's the prognosis?"

Shou sighed. "I think he's using our names to throw us under the bus. If Luce is right and the G.A.S.P works, we're going to be the bad guys."

A note from aden_ng

Author's Note: Hi everyone. Thank you for reading Tearha: Titan War, which will continue to release a new chapter every week on Friday until its completion. If you like what you've read so far, and would like to support my writing, you can buy one of my books at my website. Or you could check out my Patreon to help out for the long run. Of course, just sharing, commenting, and reviewing helps a bunch as well!



Support "Tearha: Titan War"

About the author


Bio: Author of 'The Chronicles of Tearha' web serial novels. Weird guy.

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