The Sorceress War Part I, Chapter XIII
Lilliana Frieda, in a letter to Corin Dincht during off time-
"Corin will you please STOP asking me were Edea
keeps the recipe for her hotdogs?! If you want them that bad, go to
Deling City and ask her to make you some! If you send me one more letter
about this... I'm sending Raine and Julia down to break your legs!"
Helios City-- 00:25 hours
Raine stood up and
stretched out her legs, which was a tricky thing to do in a fast moving train
car. The skyscrapers of the Helios capitol had come into view about five
minutes ago, and they were almost to the cargo train station. The scene
of the Helios skyline at night reminded the Pack of Deling City. The entire
city was lit up in lights, and the sounds of the bustle of car traffic and
night life filled the air around the team, despite being so far away from the
main part of the city. Raine checked out through the window and cursed to
no one. As soon as the disembarked from the train, the two Helian
soldiers guarding the station would spot them and alert the rest of the city to
the Pack's presence.
The rest of the team
saw them as well. Andraia looked up to Raine with a worried look.
"Great! Well, Raine, now what are we going to do?! We're
screwed over, big time!"
Raine looked around the
car in silence for a few moments. The others glanced at her with
suspicion in their faces as she smiled at the roof of the train car.
Raine saw their looks and pointed up. They saw a small hatch that led to
the roof of the train car. If they could escape onto that, then
they wouldn't be spotted when the Helios soldiers did their check of the
cars. Lancer allowed Raine to stand on his shoulders and pry open the
door. It took a bit of effort, since it was rusted partway shut.
Once it was open, Raine escaped onto the roof. She bent back down to help
the others get on top of it as well.
One-by-one the team
used Lancer as a height booster and Raine as an aid to get onto the roof.
When only Lancer was left in the car, Epsilon held Corin's ankles while the
blonde martial artist hung down from the door and grabbed onto Lancer's
arms. Together, Epsilon and Corin pulled the Blue Mage up onto the car
roof, where the team couldn't help but be a little shocked at how fast they
were going. Carefully, as not to fall off of the speeding train, Raine
crawled back over to the door and shut it.
prone, so the guards can't see you! Also, the ceiling of the train
station looks a little low, so if you're any higher than prone level, it looks
like you might fly off when you hit that thing! Get down!"
Raine ordered, then proceeded to lie flat on her stomach, and tried to make
herself as thin as possible.
The others followed her
example, and soon they felt the train slow down as it approached the station
entrance. Edea couldn't help but hold her breath as they passed, barely,
under the ceiling of the station. The solid concrete ceiling passed at the
most of three inches away from her head and body. She heard Andraia and
Lilliana shudder as the ceiling passed their heads, the two girls had long been
afraid of closed spaces and the like, so this entrance was not exactly their
The train skidded to a
halt as soon as it reached the loading platform. The Pack had to cling to
the sides of the car roof in order to stop themselves from flying forward at
the sudden change of speed. Julia had actually started to fly forward,
her being in the middle and away from any sort of handle, but Zion caught her
by the calf at the last moment before she slid off.
Raine heard the
soldiers announce themselves to the train conductor, "We're with the
Helios military, and we are going to check your train cars for any things that
may be out of place. This may take a few minutes, but it is required of
all long distance transportations. Wait here."
Raine looked around as
the officers went into the first car. The station was almost bare at this
time of night, fortunately. There were several lifts that were apparently
for cargo supplies, and a security checkpoint by the tracks, which is where the
two Helios officers had come from. At last, she found what she was
looking for. A set of twin door lay open at the far wall, and appeared to
lead into the city. There was another entrance, one that seemed to be
made for vehicles, but Raine decided that they would probably be spotted if
they took that exit.
With only that three
inches of movement space, Raine slid to the side of the train car and grabbed
onto the silver ladder that hung from it. It was challenging, to say the
least, to get down onto the ladder from the roof with only three inches of
breathing room, and to do it quietly added more of challenge for Raine.
Somehow, she was able to do it, and touch down on the ground without a
sound. She motioned for the others to do the same.
They cautiously and
quietly followed Raine's example and slid down the ladder she had climbed down
only moments before. Celeste was the last, due to her fear of
heights. The rest of the Pack urged her to hurry with hand gestures, for
the guards were almost done with their check, and the team would loose their
cover once the train moved again. Celeste slowly made her way down the
ladder as the officers finished their check of the last car.
done, go ahead to the cargo terminal!" one officer called out to the
conductor. The conductor nodded back, wondering why they hadn't spotted
the Wolf Pack. The train began to speed up to get to the cargo terminal,
which lay just beyond the station.
When the train was
gone, the two officers were the only souls left in the station...
wow!" Andraia exclaimed happily. The Pack had kept to the
shadows and snuck a good way into the city. Now, the lights of the Helios
City skyline were brighter than ever, and reminded the team of a dream
Raine had led the Pack
up onto the rooftops of the city to avoid detection by the Helios sector
police. The city had been divided into sectors, and the residents had to
present their ID cards to the police in order to enter or exit a sector.
Obviously, the Pack did not have such clearance, and would be captured since
they were Galbadian. Raine felt that the easiest way to travel was by the
rooftops. The buildings of the city, aside from the skyscrapers, were
close together and made it easy to travel on. The only problems were the
roads. They created such a large gap between buildings that it was almost
impossible to cross unless they found some sort of bridge between them.
They were now at the
top of one of the taller office buildings not more than a half a mile from the
train station. They now had a good view of the city around them.
There was a large section of commercial buildings and a industrial section that
made up most of the Southern half of the city. In the Northern district
however, which Raine could view with her binoculars, was much nicer than the
South end. She could spot several buildings that looked like military
outposts guarding a larger building, which Raine assumed was the base that they
had to infiltrate. Also in that district were several high class mansions, most
likely reserved for the VIPs of Helios. That was where Excalibur and Wolf
Pack had to go.
There was a beep on
something that was Raine's equipment. The Alpha Wolf smiled and pushed
the button on her comm. link. Excalibur must be trying to reach
them. Raine spoke, "Jesse? Is that you?"
Icelina." Came the feminine reply. Raine had almost
forgotten that it was Icelina who was in charge of Excalibur
communications. "Our team is just now reaching the outskirts of
Helios. Where is the Pack?"
"We're inside the city, on top of one of the buildings. We're
just now heading off to the North district towards the base. I'd be
careful, the city is under a kind of martial law and guarded heavily. The
city is divided into sectors and you can enter or exit one since you are all
Galbadian." Raine replied with an emotionless tone, informing
the other unit of what the Wolf Pack had just learned.
There was silence for a
moment. Icelina came back over the radio, her voice had a trace of
happiness if Raine could hear right. "Okay. Jesse and Aaron
just came back scouting and met a friendly Helian civilian. He said that
the city has elaborate tunnels underneath the roads that aren't guarded.
We're going to use those and sneak in from the sub-levels."
So Jesse wants to take
a nice romp through the sewers, hmm? Raine
thought to herself. She replied back, "Whatever makes him
happy. I'm going to lead the Pack now. I'll call you back just
before I reach the base district."
well. Icelina, over and out." The communications expert
replied, and then the comm. link turned to static as she signed off.
Raine shut it down and turned back to her soldiers.
Raine crossed her arms
and furrowed her brows. She didn't like the idea of going down to the
sub-level passageways that Excalibur was taking, for if they did and they got
spotted, then they would most likely not have room to fight none the less
escape. The rooftops presented problems as well. True, they could
use them for a time without anyone spotting them, but it would be a hard task
getting over the wide road gaps between them. They had been fortunate in
Esthar, because the streets were often above the buildings, so they were closer
together and easy to walk over.
Raine noticed that her
team was staring at her, waiting for some kind of answer. She figured the
only way across was to jump, unless they found some other mean of getting
across. So she had to ask, "All right, who had the shortest
distance at the long jump?"
They looked at her in confusion,
but after a moment of puzzlement, they began to debate amongst
themselves. After a few minutes they came to the conclusion that Corin
was the shortest jumper at 6 feet distance. Julia was the longest jumper
at a length of 10 feet, if she sprinted as fast as she could. Raine then
evaluated the distance across the streets. None of them could jump it,
for it was at least a good 13 to 15 feet across. And these were the back
roads and not the main roads.
Raine shook her
head. They would be fine if they could find a way to just get over the 15
foot gap, because they were on a path that had no main roads all the way to the
North district. She looked around for another option. They were on
top of a building with a lot of construction material on it. As she
spotted several long but thin pieces of wood, she figured she had her answer.
She turned back to them
with a mischievous smile. "Say, how good were you guys at pole
vaulting in high school?"
They had decided that
it was Julia who would go first, and Lancer that would go last. Lancer
and Julia both had longer pole-arm weapons that made pole vaulting an every day
part of their missions. Strapping her staff to her back, Julia grabbed
the first piece of wood and made sure that it wouldn't snap on her.
She showed the group how to grab the wood, and what to do when they were going
to jump. Getting back to nearly the other side of the building, she
prepared to sprint to the other side.
nuts. 'Be the guinea pig Julia, so just in case you don't make it, we can
all live.'" The brunette mocked to herself. "I swear if I
die then the first people that I'm going to haunt are these guys."
She took off at a
sprint, fast enough so that she could build up enough momentum to land on the
other side of the street. As she approached the end of the building, she
slammed the piece of wood in the groove between the roof and the solid concrete
guard rail. She felt herself lift into the air, and began to soar
effortlessly over the street. She arched her body forwards and made sure
that her feet would come down first. She was worried for a moment,
because the distance seemed to be a bit longer than Raine assumed.
However, she landed -- a bit roughly-- on the other side of the street with a
few feet to spare. She waved to them from the other building, signaling
them to follow her example.
Raine was after her,
and flew smoothly over the buildings, despite her not having done any sort of
pole vaulting since her track days at her Deling City high school.
Once she too was over, Zion stepped up. He had to adjust to the weight of
the pole, but was able to successfully leap over as well. One-by-one,
they followed their teammates over the street. They could help but laugh
as Corin found himself falling backwards instead of forwards when the piece of
wood became completely vertical. He crashed back onto the first
building. Getting back to the start line, he ran a bit faster this time
and made it over.
Celeste and Lancer were left. The whip user took one look over the side
of the building and saw how far down the street was. She, being afraid of
heights, quickly stepped away from the side and dropped her pole.
"No, no way in hell am I doing this!"
Lancer looked back to
her as she began to pace from one side of the roof to the next.
"Sorry Celeste, but this is the only way across. There
isn't another option to get over there."
"Can't I just stay
here? Epsilon can give me his sniper rifle, and I'll cover you guys from
back here!" She suggested, but then reasoned with herself.
"Okay, bad idea since I've never taken a sniper course before, but... must
I go over? Can't I go with you?"
"Two people can't
make it over on the same pole. Don't worry, its really easy, I
swear! You can do this Celeste." He declared, slipping his arm
reassuringly over her shoulders. He pushed her back to the start
line. "Now, let's do this."
She nodded slowly and
picked up the piece of wood. Before he could instruct her, she took
off at a sprint. Putting the end of the wood at the same place the others
had, she flew over the street below her. She let out a small yelp as she
saw how high she really was. As she was going to land, she felt herself
do something wrong, and was starting to tilt to the side. She made it
though, crashing into an oblivious Julia, who began to chew the blonde out as
soon as the two of them got up again.
Shaking his head,
Lancer followed Celeste and vaulted over the building as well, landing smoothly
near Edea and Corin. Epsilon and Lilliana checked to see that no one had
been injured on their way over, and Lancer kept trying to calm a nervous
Raine looked to
them. "All right, that wasn't so hard was it?" After
receiving a glare from Celeste, she continued. "Well... for most of
us. So all we have to do is pole vault from one building to the
next. We'd better hurry and go, this is taking a lot of time."
They followed the
pattern of pole vaulting for so long, they almost forgot the time. Julia
would make the first run over the buildings, and the rest of the Pack would
follow, Lancer taking up the rear as planned. Celeste had been stubborn
for a few times about the whole thing, but by about the fourth time over, she
must have gotten the hang of it since she had stopped complaining.
However, the other team was having a much more interesting time in the Helios
The sub-levels, which
weren't much more than glorified sewers, were dark and dirty. Breathing
through the mouth instead of the nose had become routine, unless the Excalibur
soldiers wished to pass out from the intense smell emitted from every corner of
the sub-levels. Icelina and Alexius had resorted to pulling out
their high-powered flashlights, just to make sure that they didn't step in
anything that they would regret. Though they had night-vision goggles,
they felt it would be unwise to use up all of their battery power before they
really needed them.
Jun hadn't said
anything for the past hour or so, while most of the team tried to kill time
with conversations. She adjusted the heavy PSG-1 rifle that hung on her
back and continued to trudge through the sewers with the rest of her
team. Jesse, on the other hand, was more than willing to express his
feelings on their situations.
"God it reeks down
here!" the blonde gunblade user ranted. "Ugh, maybe we
should have taken the roof tops like Raine did. .... Whoa! Did one
of you just pass gas or did we walk by something nasty?!"
something nasty." Icelina replied coolly. "Though
everything in here could be considered nasty."
"Can we not talk about this? I don't know about you guys, but I'm
just trying to ignore the whole thing all together."
Alexius turned back to
him, his red hair falling in his eyes. "You've got to be
kidding! How could anyone possibly ignore all of the stuff that's down
here! What's even worse, all the stuff that's down here that you can't
We've got another fork in the road up ahead. Which way do we turn?
Left or straight?" Jesse called out from the front of the
team. Jun looked up with annoyance.
Pulling out her
electronic map again, she searched through the pathways to get to the district
in which Virados had his residence. "Left. And straight isn't
up. I know that!" Jesse replied hotly, turning his path to the
"Think of it this way,"
Icelina said, "We're not far. A couple more pathways and we'll be
right under his residence. Let's just hope that the guy is actually
there, and we didn't have to trudge through here for no reason."
"Oh, don't even
think that!" Alexius groaned loudly, "Please don't jinx this
Icelina shrugged and
continued walking. The path ahead wasn't very difficult to get through,
but the stench from the depths of the sewers made the seemingly easy task seem
like torture. She really did hope that the path they took wouldn't have
been for naught, since if Virados wasn't in his quarters, it would be up to
Wolf Pack to kill him. It wasn't that she didn't have faith in that team,
she did. In fact, she had the utmost respect for each one of their
soldiers. They had only botched a mission once to her knowledge, and
their record was one to look up to. She just didn't want to go back the
same way that they had come. Her idea of fun was not romping
through the sewers of Helios. She prayed that everything would just go
well on the mission to come.