Chapter XII

Jesse, and Epsilon, their teams behind them, ran out of one of the doors in the cargo bay where they had entered. They quickly slid down one of the ramps, not stopping for anything. They leapt down into the snow, their legs and feet sinking in slightly. They jumped back out of it and sprinted across the tundra, not wanting to be trapped in the base any longer.

Celeste's group was exiting through another cargo bay door to the south, about one hundred feet away. They too were sprinting, but they had more of a reason. Gunfire followed them, and if Jesse made it out right, it sounded like it was from Helios standard machine guns. Almasy froze, and drew out his gun in one hand and his machete in the other.

"Ambush!" He called, which sent everyone into alert status, their weapons out and ready.

Shit, shit, shit! Epsilon thought. Satori must have known they were pulling out, and had sent all her forces after them. He just wondered if there would be more demonic monsters like inside the base.

Jesse and Epsilon's team dashed towards Celeste's, wanting to help out in anyway possible. Out of the corner of his eye, Aaron caught site of people moving on top of a snow banks at least 500 meters away.

More enemies?! He thought at first, then recognized their silhouettes. Hey, it's Julia's team... but what the hell happened to Heartilly?

Aaron's thoughts were broken as a bullet soared passed his head, so close that he could almost feel it graze him. He darted to the side, and took out his twin pistols. Well, no time to think I guess. We got bigger problems than Heartilly right now!

Celeste cracked her whip at one of the approaching Helians, slashing his face and chest with her leather bullwhip. He screamed in pain, and fell at the immense pain she had caused. She drew out her magnum revolver quickly, firing it into a second soldier before he could shoot at her. The powerful bullet left a hole in his chest, and he too fell to the snowy ground.

Lancer stabbed one soldier in the stomach with his spear, and then deflected a blow from an Estharian's boomerang sword. He kicked the Estharian in the face and slashed his neck open before he could counter attack Lancer. Seeing about five more approach him from the left, Lancer closed his eyes and concentrated.

The blue mage raised his arm at them, and from it shot a wall of flames, a skill called Fire Breath which he had learned from a Ruby Dragon when he was a young teen. The soldiers were burnt to a crisp, and quickly landed on their charred faces into the snow below them.

No matter how many they seemed to take out, more Estharians and Helios soldiers appeared to take the place of their fallen allies. Icelina did away with two of them as they exited the cargo bay, slicing her gunblade into their necks as quickly as she could. Aaron continued to give cover fire, taking out several enemies with his guns.

Epsilon shot a look over his shoulder at the other team. Zion and Edea were rushing towards them, though they had left Julia on the snow bank, as she was too tired to fight properly at the moment. They were sprinting towards the battle, though they still had a bit more to run.

"Kinneas!" Jesse called, "Can you see if they're running out of troops yet?! I feel like were taking on the whole fucking army!"

Epsilon shook his head, seeing another wave of soldiers exit the cargo room. They came out shooting, leaving Celeste and Lilliana to dive behind a stone stairway in order to not be hit. They covered their heads with their hands, screaming lightly. Celeste regained her composure and placed more bullets into her revolver, in order to not run out during the battle.

They stormed back out of their hiding spot, Lilliana sinking her claws into two oncoming soldiers, while Celeste took out three more with her gun, and yet another with her whip. A bullet grazed Celeste's shoulder, leaving a trench in her flesh where the bullet had passed. She winced and grabbed her arm, but continued to fight.

Heavy gunfire came from behind them, Edea and Zion finally in range. Blasts from their guns leveled a good portion of the opposition, allowing the melee weapon users to not be as stressed. Jesse sliced one more down with his machete, and Andraia took out two with several swipes of her nunchakus.

Epsilon was thrown to his feet when a bullet entered his thigh. He screamed and clutched it tightly. "Medic!"

Andraia rushed over and knelt down. "I can close it, but the bullet will have to be surgically removed once we get back, okay?"

Epsilon nodded. "Fine, just do it!"

As Andraia put her hands on his wound, allowing the curative magic to seep in a heal the flesh, an Estharian approached her from behind. He raised his blade and quickly lashed out at the small summoner. Epsilon attempted to scream out, but someone stopped him. Aaron tackled the Estharian from the side, and quickly shot him in the chest.

Andraia spun around, "Aaron?! Are you all right?"

"Fine!" He called back, brown hair falling in his eyes. He stood back up, and rushed back into the battle.

Andraia finished healing Epsilon, and the two Wolves stood and re-entered the conflict. Epsilon and Jun rushed up a flight of stairs, seeking cover from a guard rail, and preparing to launch a sniper attack at the remaining enemies. However, new arrivals stopped them in fear. Four demons rushed in, two flying and the others running into the battle.

Corin turned around to see one of them rushing him, but was too slow to get out of the way. Corin was flung several feet away into the snow, a small cut on his arm where the demon had hit. Lilliana countered by sinking her claws into the demon. It took quite a bit of force, enough to where Lilliana's arm was in pain, in order to get the hit in due to the demon's tough exoskeleton.

The demon roared, and flung her away with a Thundara spell. Zion and Edea came together, both firing onto the same demon. Edea's weaker hand gun didn't do as much damage as she'd like, but combined with Zion's gunarm, the demon soon wailing in pain, and dropped to the ground, blood spewing from the gunshot wounds.

Epsilon shot another beast in the head with his powerful sniper rifle, forcing the demon to die in one mere shot, contrary to the other gunners taking out their demon by using a full clip. Jun aided by picking off several of the human soldiers that remained.

The third demon sped up one of the walls and leapt down once it reached the top, directly falling near Celeste and Andraia. Both women screamed and jumped up from their cover spot, dodging gunfire in order to get away from in. Celeste quickly spun back around and fired two shots with her Magnum, leaving holes in the demon. It growled and sped towards her despite its wounds.

She used her whip to slash it, but its exoskeleton was too strong and it wasn't effected. The demon grabbed Celeste by the throat, and despite Andraia hitting it repeatedly with both her nunchakus and her handgun, it continued to choke the hacker.

"Celeste!" Lancer called, running over to help, yet he was on the other side of the battle, and had to run through gunfire and melee combat to get to her.

A staff entered the demon's forehead from behind Celeste, and a Flare shot it backwards. Julia leapt up and slammed her bladed staff into its heart, killing it quickly and painfully. The grenadier was already tired, and sweat was on her brow from sprinting over to help.

"Julia!" Zion shouted from a few feet over. "I said to stay back there! You're still too tired and fatigued!"

Julia stood, and shot a glance at her husband. "I'm fine, just keep fighting, we'll get all of them eventually."

Zion reluctantly nodded, returning to his fight with several Helians. There was one more demon and a squad of ten Estharian and Helian joint fighters left fending off the base, and no more seemed to be coming to aid them.

Jesse felt a blade slice his shoulder from behind, and he groaned in pain. He spun quickly, machete out, and stabbed the attacker in the chest. The Wolf Pack and the Excaliburs were getting both wounded and fatigued, and finishing off the last of the enemies seemed like a daunting task for them now.

Icelina sliced down another Estharian, then shot another quickly. One female Estharian tackled her and stabbed her in the leg, blood pouring into the snow. Icelina screamed, and Jesse grabbed the Estharian and lifted her up.

"I was told never to hit a lady, but you're just asking for it." Jesse seethed. "Nobody attacks my wife and gets away with it!"

Jesse flung her to the ground and shot her in the stomach. He helped Icelina up, further aided by Lilliana casting a Cura on her injury. Jesse tossed away his empty gun, not wanting something that was useless any longer.

Corin slammed his fist into one more, snapping his jaw and leaving him rolling on the ground in agony. He kicked another in the throat, which instantly made the enemy pass out from pain. Now there was only five humans left, but one very angry demon was helping them.

Celeste shot another one, and holstered her gun as it was then empty. She noticed Andraia walking up to two human enemies and the demon.

"Hey!" Andraia said kindly, smiling. "I have a nice doggie I want you to meet! He's so sweet!"

They looked at the summoner as if she was completely insane, so much, that they stopped trying to attack her. They stood there in confusion while Andraia only laughed.

"What the hell is she doing?" Jun asked from the snipers position on top of a staircase. Epsilon just rolled his eyes and shook his head.

"Here doggie, doggie, doggie!" Andraia called, cooing and smiling.

The humans furrowed their brows, but soon screamed in fear and pain as a gigantic demon wolf pounced on them and began to maul them. Their shouts increased in volume as Fenrir bit into them, tearing them apart with his large fangs. The screams stopped as Fenrir completed the job. The wolf turned to the demon, who was backing away slightly. The wolf opened his mouth and shot out a sphere of energy, which shot through the demon, blasting it apart.

Andraia laughed as the Pack finished off the last two humans while Fenrir completed his task. "Good doggie!"

"You are one strange, sick, twisted little woman." Jesse said softly, seeing her devious smile.

Andraia only laughed, and scratched Fenrir behind the ears. She gave the demon wolf a hug, burying her face into his gray fur. Fenrir licked her on the head, and the Wolves and Excaliburs groaned in disgust, having just seen the dog rip apart two humans. "That's my doggie!"

"Okay, Fenrir, good bye now!" Andraia cooed, allowing the summon to go back to his own realm.

Fenrir wagged his tail and disappeared into a black sphere of power, leaving his human mistress behind in the snow fields. Julia and Jesse came together, calling the two units in so they could talk. Before anyone got a word in, someone stopped them.

"Well, well.... I wouldn't be surprised that Galbadia sent in Wolf Pack and Excalibur. 'The best of the best', they say you guys are." A male voice called from above.

Atop the roof stood a tall man dressed in black. Blonde hair adorned his head, and a small chin goatee was on his face. Black shades covered his brown eyes, and his dark trench coat flapped in the wind. Jesse quickly recognized him.

"Xerim!" The Excalibur leader called. "What the hell are you doing here? You guys are still alive? But Gabriel is dead!"

"Who's that?" Icelina asked.

"It's Xerim! The close-combat specialist from the Smoke Panthers!" Jesse informed.

"The Smoke Panthers were executed Xerim, what are you doing alive?!" Julia called, angry and confused.

Xerim chuckled. "It's amazing what you can do if you're willing to sell out your unit in order to trap Wolf Pack and Excalibur for Satori. She merely hit me with a tranquilizer bullet, rather than a real one like she did the other members of my pathetic unit."

"What?!" Zion yelled. "You set this whole fucking thing up? Why?!"

A helicopter roared overhead, coming down a few feet above Xerim. He grabbed the rope leading up to it, and took off with the helicopter. He called down as he lifted off. "Because without war, we are useless in this world! Satori was more than willing to give me what I desired, along with more than what I expected!"

And with that, he was gone, taken in the Helios helicopter and headed south. Julia looked up after in and swore several times.

"I knew this was a setup!" She yelled.

"Calm down." Edea replied. "Look, we need to radio headquarters with the information we learned, they'll want to know and they are probably in a panic since they can't reach us."

"How are we going to do that, the radio Julia found isn't strong enough to reach Galbadia from here." Corin said, examining the metal radio the size of a VCR.

They were silent for a few minutes, each thinking of a plan. Naturally, Celeste smiled and spoke up. "I have an idea! The Valhalla!"

"The airship?" Edea replied, furrowing her dark brows.

"No, the thing in mythology." Julia said sarcastically, then smacked Edea upside the head. "Yes the airship!"

"Don't touch me." Edea replied, pushing Julia slightly.

Jesse jumped in and stood between them. "Okay! So, we head to the crash site of the airship you people used, and then what? What could you possibly do with a totaled airship?"

Celeste nodded and continued on. "The Valhalla went down, but only the front and bottom portions of the ship were destroyed. If the engines or the bridge are still in operating condition, I can tap into the ship's power and use it to strengthen the broadcast of this radio. Thus, it can reach Galbadia from here."

"...Smart." Zion replied.

"Yes, I know." Celeste said as she smiled sarcastically.

"So, what do you say guys? Should we do it? That Valhalla is a few days away..." Jesse asked.

Seeing everyone slowly nod, he smiled. Julia stepped forward. "Okay then, let's get going. We don't have all day, who knows what Xerim and Satori are really up to. The little bitch...."

"Mad?" Andraia asked.

"She stole my Tyraduna power!" Julia growled. "Keep your eyes open for her, so I can tackle her and beat her senseless when I find her."

They nodded, some a little downtrodden that Julia wouldn't be as strong as she once was. As they walked, Epsilon formed an evil looking smirk on his face. He tapped Julia shoulder as they started off for the southwest.

"Hey, if you do start tackling her and beating her... would you mind terribly if the guys threw mud on you two.... just to make it more challenging." Epsilon asked. "Yeah.... challenging....."

At the same moment, every single one of the females slapped him, Jun and Julia a little harder than everyone else. Epsilon let out a small wail, and held the side of his face.

"Ow, okay! Just kidding!" He defended, waving his spare arm as a sign of surrender.