The Sorceress War Part I, Chapter XVII
Raine looked at the two men before her in confusion and astonishment. They had just revealed themselves as Mysidian survivors. To Raine, that sounded impossible. Together with Hyne, the Centrans defeated every last one of the Mysidians by calling upon the Lunar Cry, and nothing could escape that. However, a part of her wasn't as shocked with that news. She had seen Virados with silver wings that he could make appear at will, which all Mysidians were said to be able to do. It also explained why he could use magic. No Centran males could use magic, not even if their mother had been a sorceress.
"I think I knew that from the beginning. Now I can even remember the village elder stating so himself when he saw you." Raine said to the two men. She then shook her head. "But how? You were all destroyed during the Centran Wars."
The robed man that stood next to Virados decided to reply after a moment. He spoke in cool and smooth voice, almost too smooth for any human to imitate it. "That is what the world now believes. However, like legends, there is always a factual piece to the story, as well as the myth piece. True, the Mysidian Empire was completely annihilated, however, the Mysidians were more resilient than people thought. They escaped, leaving their empire to crumble. Where they went must remain unknown to you."
Raine was silent after that. After a few minutes of digesting that, and the previous information, she replied. "So, what do you want with me? Why was I left here while you took my friends away? Let me guess, you want to: rape me, kill me, and leave me in a ditch. Right?"
Virados gave her an amused look. "Well that all sounds like fun, but unfortunately no. Our true purpose is much more pleasant, I'm afraid. You see, the Tyraduna was our ace-in-the-hole, so to speak. Once it was gone, our plans were set back a bit. However, now that you have suddenly resurfaced, we see that you would make a valuable ally."
"An ally?!" Raine shouted in anger and disbelief. "An ally?! You have got to be completely crazy! You are the people that hunted me down like a pack of dogs, then destroyed my hometown all things that I had loved. Now you want me to be a part of your sick little game?! I don't think so!"
"We are only going to ask this one more time." The robed man said lowly, with a hint of venom in his voice. "You should strongly reconsider your answer. I have the power to give you all you desire, Raine. What is it you seek? Love? Riches? Anything and everything you want shall be yours. I can promise you that. Now... are you going to make us lock you up? Or will you side with us and receive all that you are entitled to?"
Raine nearly snarled at them. "I would rather be locked up for eternity than side with murdering bastards. I don't seek rewards for my actions, any good-hearted person would feel the same way. You can take your riches and shove them back up your ass where they belong."
Virados chuckled and the robed man simply shook his head. The dark figure turned to Virados then. "Virados, I am returning back home. I have already told you what you must do, and I have no more business to attend to here. Carry on with the mission as planned."
"Yes, as you wish." Virados replied with a salute. At that, the dark figure turned and began to walk towards the door, his long robes flowing over the floor that was beneath him. He turned to look at Raine once more.
"Pity you did not chose your answer wisely, young one." He spoke to her in a voice as cold as steel. "Now that you will not join with us, we will have to go after the Tyraduna, and turn her back to our rightful side."
Then, with out so much as a warning, a silver vortex seemed to curve around him out of nowhere. A few seconds after he went into the light source, he was gone without so much as a trace. The same spell was used by Virados to escape from battle in Esthar. Edea had called it, Warp. Raine wondered where her foe's superior had gone to, and just how far the Mysidians had come in the past couple of millennia. Reluctantly, she turned back to Virados. The villain said nothing as she glared at him, but simply crossed his arms and awaited her response to the encounter.
"Who was that man?" Raine asked with a frown. She hadn't caught the second person's name, but wondered how he worked into the situation she had founder herself and the Pack in.
"That..." Virados began slowly, "...was the current leader of the Mysidians. When the Queen died, he was left in charge since he had married into the royal family. However, as of now, he is the least of your worries. Now you should worry about me."
Before Raine could further inquire her thoughts to him, the doors opened behind them. In walked a Helian soldier clad in a uniform which Raine could guess was that of an engineer or mechanic. He walked down the long red carpet underneath them and saluted Virados as he stopped. After Virados had dismissed the salute, the mechanic began to talk.
"Sir! The Avenger is now fully prepared at the airship docks and is awaited your arrival. The Valhalla is also on stand-by in case we need it, sir! All preparations have been completed, and the troops will move out at your discretion!"
With that, the mechanic saluted once more and left them. He exited out the door and slammed them shut behind him. Raine felt her brow arch in confusion at the sudden arrival and leaving of the Helian officer, then turned back to her captor.
"Now what are you up to?"
Virados turned back to her and glared. "Like I said earlier, Galbadia has made the first aggressive move against us. I did the only thing that I should have done to please our people. A joint strike between Esthar and Helios against the Galbadian capitol. Together, we will completely annihilate Deling City's forces and burn the city to the ground, as it should have been years ago."
"What?! You're kidding! You wouldn't dare, the Deling Army is reinforced by Dollet, Timber and Balamb. You wouldn't stand a chance against all of them, especially since you are the attacker and not the defender." Raine argued, hoping to make Virados see reason.
"I do as I please. Now... I've grown tired of your constant whining and questioning. " He said sternly.
A soft glow surrounded his eyes and a soft aura that looked like wings emerged from his back. Raine suddenly found herself enveloped in the same white light as the Mysidian leader had been. The pain caused by the light was great, and she could help but scream as she felt her skin burning. The pain vanished as was replaced with cooling. The area around her turned black as she slipped into unconsciousness. Once she was gone, Virados smiled. Now she would appear in the same cell as Celeste, Epsilon and Lancer, and now she was no longer a burden to him.
Virados turned and began to walk out of the room, heading towards the Helios Airship and Sea Docks on the Eastern coast of the Trabian continent. There, his path to victory awaited him.
Raine slowly awoke and groaned as she felt the sores that the Warp spell had caused her. She opened her eyes, and found herself in dark and damp room that she had not seen before. There was a solitary window that allowed star and moonlight to creep into the small room, but even so, Raine had to strain her eyes to make out anything. The room wasn't very large, only 6 ft-by-10 ft. A single steel door that appeared to be bolted shut was in front of her and three figures were scattered around the room. She squinted her eyes to make out who they were. Celeste was asleep to her left, and had her legs resting on top of Raine's. Epsilon lay awake in the corner opposite of her, still unaware that Raine was conscious. Lancer was on the other side of Celeste, but she couldn't tell if he was awake or not.
Epsilon looked up as Raine tried to move her arms, but found them bonded by a steel rope. She saw him smile and tap Lancer across the shoulder. The mercenary looked to where Epsilon now pointed and smiled as well.
"Raine? Are you awake?" She heard Lancer ask.
Raine groaned out a reply but wasn't able to say real words. Lancer nodded and agreed that he too was almost too sore to speak. The Helian guards had beat the three pretty badly before shoving them into the small cell, and the stiffness and pain still caused them grief. Epsilon looked to Celeste now as well. The blonde electronic expert had been beaten the worst, and had remained unconscious for the whole time she had been in the cell with the other men. Lancer had looked over her with worry, but now found himself barely able to keep his eyes open.
The Alpha Wolf suddenly shot her eyes open as she remembered her talk with Virados. She had to tell them of the planned assault on Deling City if it killed her. She was able to get out something, despite the after effects of the Warp spell. "D-Deling City! They- they're attacking us!"
Epsilon's eyes widened at the news of what she was trying to say. "Helios is attacking Deling City?!"
Raine only nodded hastily in reply, trying to conserve some of her energy for other things. Lancer let out a loud sigh and slammed down his foot onto the cold steel floor below them. The Blue Mage couldn't help but let out a curse, "Damn it...!"
"We might be able to escape, though." Raine mumbled. When the two men looked at her in astonishment, she continued. "I... set off the distress signal on my spare comm. link. If Edea saw it, then I'm sure the others have already mobilized."
Epsilon breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank Hyne, I was afraid we'd have to fight our way out of here. And what luck we would have since our weapons are stuck in Virados' main chamber."
As soon as Epsilon finished his statement, Celeste began to stir in her sleep. Lancer quickly sat up and tried his best to sit the whip user up, despite the bonds that held his arms together. The blonde sucked in air as she sprung into pain-filled consciousness. Her muscles ached and her head felt as if it was on fire from the rifle wounds that had put her under in the first place. She sat up and slowly took a look at her new surroundings, trying to come to grasp with their current situation. She opened her mouth to say something, but could only let out a small groan. Instead, she simply fell onto Raine's shoulders as she began to feel dizzy again.
"Don't worry Celeste, Edea and the others should be coming to get us out of here. They should be able to track the signal from the communicator." Raine informed the woman, who nodded in reply.
As this was going on, Epsilon had a thought creep into his mind. If Raine wasn't in charge of the other group, then command would go to the person with the next highest rank. That wasn't Edea or Zion, and he would sometimes hope, but was actually Julia. And though sometimes the young pyromaniac had good strategies for combat, she was not an expert on covert operations. Oh damn it! She's gonna blow up the entire place before she finds us! The textbook procedure would be to send another group of four or three in to get us out. I bet anything that she's got her grenade launcher out and has the gunners set to 'destroy'....
As the thought was completed, there was a loud but low rumble that came from a lower level area of the base. That was easily identified as an explosion. Raine groaned, for she knew who it was as well. Celeste simply countered the action by shaking her head at the sound of a second explosion. The alarms started to sound, causing the four Wolves to flinch as the sound entered their currently sensitive ears. The lights that came from the hall turned red, and filled the cell with a soft pink glow, letting them see more of the cell.
Raine groaned again, "I knew this would happen. Well, she does have one thing going for her. With my hands tied back, I can't kill her right away."
The second or 'rescue' team sped down one hallway of the large first level of the Helios Base. Andraia, who was running in the center of the group, had her face buried in a small electronic device, trying to read co-ordinates off of it and direct the others to Raine's current position. Edea and Zion were speedily back-peddling with the team at the rear of the group, blasting down the waves of Helian soldiers that kept trying to attack from behind. Lilliana curse herself and Julia for not thinking this plan through as much. It astounded her that Julia could think that this was fun. Julia and Corin were leading the group, having Julia blast away things with her grenade launcher, and Corin attack the forward attacking guards.
"Okay!" Andraia shouted over the gunfire and grenade blasts, "Raine's up on the third level! Come on Julia, find a way up there!"
Julia looked back briefly at the shorter woman. "Who, me?! Uh... okay, I guess I can do that!"
Oh this is nuts! This woman is crazy, despite how cool she can be sometimes! Lilliana thought to herself. By the look on Edea's face, the sorceress was having similar or even more violent thoughts. Julia wasn't going to be liked for this type of rescue, especially by Raine, but then again they couldn't have just let the others rot in some cell while they tried to navigate through the base without being seen. But as Lilliana observed the others, she could see that the two gunners and Julia seemed to be handling the situation well, despite the several bullets that kept whizzing by their ears. She just hoped that the three attacking Wolves wouldn't run out of ammunition at the wrong time. But then again, that's why they had all gone into the Zeta Base ammo lockers, wasn't it? She thought, She figured this would happen.
As Julia saw a break in the hall, she looked at her new surroundings. To her left, she spotted a staircase, and to her right, a few more dozen soldiers. Needless to say, she quickly pivoted to her left and sped up the new flight of stairs, followed by the other Wolves as close as they dared to run. To block the path, Zion flung one of his own grenades at the floor behind them. As it collided with the floor, it exploded. A few pieces of the wall fell onto the stairs as it did so, blocking any other soldiers from following them.
The next floor appeared to be barren, since most soldiers had raced down to the first floor to try and stop the Pack from going any further. However, as they began to run down the long hall they were currently faced with, a large clanking sound caught Edea's attention. She saw that several steel panels at the top of the ceiling had started to descend downwards. She gasped and yelled out to warn the others.
"Sprint! Run faster, the security doors are closing!" The sorceress called out. At that, Julia groaned and sped up her pace, if it was even possible. The team had been practically running their fastest since they burst in. They passed the first three security doors with no problem as they descended down at them. But, by the third and forth they were having to duck down to get under in time. At the fifth door, they had to dive down and roll to make it. Julia and the others knew very well that if they didn't make it passed the last door, they would be captured as well. The sixth and final door was almost shut, and they ran as fast as their legs would allow. They ended up forward diving to slide under in time, but the door almost closed down on Zion's leg, for he was the last one to go across.
"All right, cool!" Julia shouted as she got back up with the others, "See, I told you this was fun!"
The others looked at her incredulously as she began to run down another hall. They had no choice but to follow her in, since that was the only way to free Raine and the others from their prison. As they did so, they heard Julia call out again.
"Okay, so one more floor and Raine's there somewhere, right? Come on guys, don't give up now, we haven't even used up all our ammo yet!"