Chapter Nine

Frozen Wasteland


The Docks

When they crossed the final bridge and walked down the slope the three Yokohama students had to stop when they saw what had become of their precious home. The city was indeed a frozen wasteland. The water along the docks was thick with ice and the various ships were now trapped.

An iceberg blocked off entry into the other sections of the docks. Snow and ice covered the entrance into the city itself. Large spikes of thick ice stuck it in all directions from the heart of the city. From where he stood Toya could see the remains of the Enchant University. Large icicles were suspended from the school and dangled dangerously from above. The very grass was frosty around the docks and not even the sunshine could keep the group warm anymore.

The city looked like something out of a fairytale. Toya remembered the Yokohama fable of the Ice Witch. He had always like that story as a child. Sighing heavily he walked down towards the docks and then tentatively stepped onto the ice. The ice was so thick it didn't even crack under their combined weight.

Toya spotted a ship armed with an Ether Cannon that was pointed towards the iceberg. If luck was on their side the Cannon should still have some Ether left inside it to fire even a single shot. Toya made his way over to the ship while Raigar and Karin stayed behind to look out for any Golems in the area.

Atsuma and Amber followed after Toya onto the abandoned ship. The dark haired student felt bile rising in his throat when he saw the frozen form of people on the ship. Some of the men had tried to jump overboard only to become icy statues as soon as their feet left the ground.

Toya moved towards the front of the ship were the Ether Cannon was located and he quickly began looking over the controls. During one of the lectures given by Professor Kou the students had to understand the basics of Ether technology. He pushed a red button on the side of the weapon and stepped back when it began to power up.

"As soon as we reach the docks we'll go through the warehouse, we should be able to reach the University through the customs depot." Toya explained.

"Can we get moving already?" Karin yelled at the trio. "I'm freezing out here!"

"I'm surprised she can feel the cold." Amber mumbled.

"Be nice Amber." Atsuma admonished before he sighed deeply. "Let's go see the University."

"Do you think anyone could still be alive?" Amber muttered sadly.

"We'll find out soon enough." Toya breathed out.

They left the frozen ship behind and headed for the remains of the iceberg. The Ether Cannon had unleashed a thick beam of red light that sliced cleanly through the ice, effectively unblocking the entrance into the docking bays.

Raigar and Karin let Toya take through across the frozen water until they came to a large section of the dock that had once been a small lake. There was a ladder leading up to the flat walkway of the docks and the warehouses. That was the only entrance into the school now. They crossed the ice only to be stopped by a menacing roar.

"What the heck is that?" Atsuma balled his fists. There was a large Golem standing in front of the ladder. It had white fur all over its thick body and teeth the size of swords.

"I've never seen a Golem like it." Raigar mused.

"It looks like the Golems are attracted to Yokohama." Toya brought up his spear. "We'll have to defeat it if we wish to reach the school."

"This should be interesting." Karin tensed her muscles in her legs.

The white furred Golem attacked Atsuma first but the boy managed to avoid the blow from the clawed hand. Karin brought up her legs and delivered three successful kicks to the creature's lower body. Raigar swung his blade and sliced across the Golem's middle.

Before Toya could attack the beast raised his large fists and used its own Enchantment to attack. Shards of ice flew towards the group and knocked them back across the ice field. Atsuma bore the brunt of the attack and he gasped in pain. Because of their opposing elements the Golem could inflict better damage on Atsuma and vice versa.

Toya charged forward with his spear and slashed the Golem heavily across the chest. Amber used his own Enchantment next. He was a master in the field of Dark Enchantments and he brought both his daggers before him to used Hi-Dark Blade.

The Ice Golem howled as the blades cut into its flesh and Atsuma attacked again with Flare Blow. Karin raised her legs again and delivered a powerful roundhouse kick to the Golem that sent it flying backwards. Raigar used his sword to finish off the creature by slicing through its neck in one clean cut.

"Now that the Golem is dead can we move on?" Karin put her hands on her hips.

"Yeah let's get out of here." Atsuma shivered against the cold.

"I can't believe you did that!" a voice screamed from behind them.

"What the hell?" Amber gripped his blades. Behind them stood that crazy cowgirl from the festival.

"Yuki?" Atsuma gaped at her. "What are you doing here?"

"You know this kid?" Karin scoffed.

"That Golem was mine for the taking!" she yelled angrily. "I can't believe you destroyed it!"

"We had no choice." Toya said calmly.

"I'll get you all back for this!" Yuki screeched then she turned and ran back along the ice field.

"Is it me or is she stalking us?" Amber questioned.

"What a brat." Karin crossed her arms.

"Indeed but we do not have time for that now." Raigar said.

"Follow me to the warehouse." Toya motioned for the others to follow him up the ladder.

The group made it to the pathway above the ice and a large frozen door lay partly open on the other side of the walkway. Toya slipped in through the door and scanned the immediate area. It was bitterly cold inside the warehouse.

Toya could see his breath forming into ice crystals. Shivering he walked through the warehouse and looked around for another exit. He saw a metal lift that could take them up to the second floor. After taking the small lift up to the next floor Atsuma saw another door that was slightly open. Light was spilling in through the crack.

The silver haired boy slowly entered the customs area and looked around the place. Boxes and crates were piled up and icicles hung off the ceiling and windows. Rubbing his arms Atsuma walked through the small room until he came to a door marked with an EXIT sign.

He heard the others following close behind him and he pushed the cold door open. Sunlight spilled across the floor and freezing cold wind blasted into the room. Atsuma felt his teeth chattering against the cold.

The group were standing under an arch at the other side of the Trade District. Atsuma could see the school from where he was standing. It looked like an ice palace, somehow beautiful in its sadness. Taking a deep breath Atsuma walked from under the arch and made his way down the steps into the main square.

He didn't have time to reach the centre of the square when four Golems appeared out of thin air. They were female creatures wearing blue dresses with ice and snow dripping from their snow white limbs. The one in the middle sneered at Atsuma.

"What are these things?" Karin gritted her teeth against the cold.

"Minions of the Queen of Ice." Raigar stated. "It would be the most logical explanation."

"I agree with Raigar." Toya nodded. "The Queen must be here then."

"In that case..." Atsuma cracked his knuckles. "Get out of our way you overgrown popsicles."

"I don't think you should piss them off." Amber gulped when the three females snarled and raised their icy hands.

"Who cares?" Atsuma cried. "Let's take them out already!"

"Our Queen wishes for you to die." The Ice Golem snarled. "We will obey her."

"Golems commanding Golems? How is that even possible?" Karin gulped loudly.

She didn't get her answer because Atsuma attacked the nearest Ice Golem with rapid punching attacks. Toya dodged an icicle coming his way then slashed the Golem in half with his spear. Karin and Raigar both attacked the third Golem and she went down quickly under the dual assault.

Atsuma cried out when ice hit him in the torso and sent him back from the battle. Amber lunged forward and drove his twin daggers through the neck of the first Golem to appear. Her body fell to the icy ground with a resounding thump. Toya tossed a Curing Powder towards Atsuma before turning back and taking care of the last Golem.

"That wasn't so bad." Amber shrugged.

"Let's get to the school before more of them turn up." Toya ran towards a steel door across the square.

"Where will this take us?" Karin asked.

"Through the customs depot and then we should have a clear run into the school." Toya replied.

"What if we should find the Queen of Ice?" Raigar asked.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Amber muttered. "But either way we have to find that icy bitch."

"Let's not waste anymore time here then." Atsuma followed Toya into the warehouse.

They ran into the freezing cold building and down a flight of metal steps that was covered in a thick coat of ice and snow. After walking down a small corridor lined with boxes and icicles the group stopped at a door with an EXIT sign above it.

After pushing open the door Toya stepped out into the harsh sunlight and stared at the ruins of the school. There was a small piece of metal connecting the customs building to the school and it acted as a small bridge. The school itself stood as silent as a tomb.

"I hope we're not making a big mistake." Karin murmured.

No one said anything else but the atmosphere was thick with tension as they walked along the bridge and towards the doors into the school.