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The Sorceress War Part I, Chapter XVIII


Julia Heartilly--  "Hey look, just because I have a short attention span doesn't mean I.... wait, what was the question?"


    Lancer jumped to his feet as he heard several footsteps fly past the cell door.  He put his head against the metal to peer out of the single view hole to see if the owners of the explosions had marched quickly away from them.  All he could make out however was brown shoulder length hair and a grenade launcher in the hands of the owner.  He smiled widely and motioned the others up.  Before Julia could run farther away with Zion and Edea, he called out to her.


   Since his hands were bonded, he kicked the cell door with the heel of his shoe to generate noise.  "Julia!  We're in here!  Come back!"


   As soon as he finished calling, they heard the sound of three pairs of feet skidding to a halt.  Suddenly, Julia's eyes appeared at the view hole, startling Lancer to the point where he jumped back almost a foot.  Julia looked away for a moment and ordered Edea and Zion to blast the lock off of the door, then told the captive Wolves to stand back.  As the four complied to her request, Edea went up to the lock.  Placing the muzzle of her chain gun against the computer lock, she squeezed the trigger.  As a string of bullets destroyed the small terminal, the lock on the door disengaged and opened.   Happily, if a bit groggily, the four captives exited the almost unbearably small room.


   "Hey, it's great to see you guys are okay!"  Julia greeted happily, she and the other two rescuers moving to untie the bonds which held the other four still.  "The others are holding off the enemy soldiers while Andraia and Corin are searching the other block of this level.  By the way, do you have any more ammo?"


   As Julia undid the bonds that held Raine, she could have sworn that the Alpha Wolf shuddered and had begun to growl at that comment.  She knew very well that Raine was probably angry at this type of rescue, and was just glad that Celeste was so out of it due to her beating that she couldn't do much more than glare at her.  As Raine's bonds were dropped, she spun around and looked sternly at Julia.

   "This isn't exactly the rescue I had in favor.  True- it was the one I was expecting, but that couldn't stop one of the calmer people like Lily or Edea from stopping you!"  She yelled quietly, shooting a look at the friendly sorceress.

   Edea looked sheepishly down at the floor in embarrassment.  She had tried to stop Julia with Lilliana, but the grenadier had grabbed them by the small hairs of the neck and forced them to go with her.  The whole incident hadn't been exactly glorious for a sorceress.  Julia smiled as Raine said this, and shrugged.


   "You know me, persuasive as always!"


   "Whatever," Raine said, and then raised her voice so that she was yelling.  "Andraia, Corin and Lilliana-- go up to the main chamber and get our weapons back!  It's currently unguarded!"  She turned to Julia, Zion, and Edea after she saw the other three race towards another level.  "You three go watch for guards and soldiers who were following you.  Lancer, carry Celeste... I don't think she is fit to walk right now."


   They all nodded at once.  Julia and Zion took off to the right to guard that side, whiled Edea went to the left.   Celeste, however, was partially conscious still and began to protest about her current state.


   "No Raine, I'm fine.  Really I am!"  Celeste said with as much energy as she could muster.  "See... watch."  She began to walk a few paces to prove that she was fine, but stumbled and began to fall as she once again grew dizzy.  Lancer was able to catch her by the shoulders before she hit the ground, however.   Epsilon shook his head and laughed.


   "If he doesn't carry you..."  The sniper said slyly.  "... I will!"


   Celeste's eyes widened at that comment.  "Lancer, pick me up!"


   After the group shared a brief chuckle, the mercenary quickly but gently took Celeste and threw her over his right shoulder.  Grabbing the underside of her knees, he made sure that she would fall off if he had to run.  The sudden change in height and position made Celeste's head throb worse, and lowly groaned as she pressed her hand to her forehead in an attempt to numb the pain.  After a few more moments, the three other Wolves returned from the now vacant main chamber which Raine was trapped in only moments before she awoke in the cell.   


    Lilliana returned Raine's katana, which now seemed to have strange scratches along the groove of the blade.  Raine scoffed when she saw the indentations and curse Virados for whatever he had done to it since her captivity.   Corin handed Lancer back his pole-arm and Epsilon his sniper rifles.   Epsilon checked to make sure he still had plenty of ammo, but to his dismay he only had a couple of magazines left.  Lastly, Andraia handed Celeste her whip and revolver handgun.  Still in a daze, Celeste was barely able to return the whip to her belt, and the revolver to her holster at the side of her outer thigh.  


    With the weapons returned, Julia and the other two Wolves began to walk backwards towards the group.   As they drew closer, Raine had the horrid task of finding a way out of the mess Julia and the rescue team had gotten themselves into.   Drawing a blank without Celeste's help, she was interrupted by Edea.


    "Raine?"  The sorceress asked with a hint of nervousness in her voice.  "What about Virados?  We still have to kill him as stated in our orders."

    The commander simply tapped her own forehead in thought as she kept thinking.  "I know that.   Look guys, Virados has left for the airship docks.  I'm not sure where that is, but we need to go there to stop him.  He is there... because he is launching a full scale joint attack with Esthar against Deling City's forces."


    Lilliana looked shocked and worried at this news.  "Oh, that's just great.   Deling City is right by the coast, as well.   If they have naval and air forces attacking, it will take a bloody miracle to fend them off.   Dollet and the other allies have their own forces too scattered to do much to aid us."


    "The Airship and Sea Docks are over by the coast."  Lancer declared, recalling information he had learned in the past by former employers.   "If I remember right, we'd have to go through the pass over the mountain range that stands in the way."


    Raine turned back to him.  "Is there a train that leads through?  Walking would take hours.  Hours that we don't have."


    "I think so."  Lancer replied, "There may be a cargo and personnel train system that leads to it.   We can probably get a ride from the area which we first entered the city at, the cargo terminal."


    Raine nodded.  "All right.  That's the plan.   We have to get there and stop him before he can launch the attack.  If he is to take off and carry on with his plan, the consequences would be catastrophic.  Let's move out!"


    And with that phrase, the ten soldiers of the Wolf Pack unit readied their weapons and followed their leader as she began to speed down the halls that the others had come through only moments before.   Now the fate of a city-state rested with them, and not just the souls of a few.   



    Jesse kicked a stone angrily, sending it deep into the snow around him and his team.   Excalibur had pulled out of the sewer system a few hours ago, much to the relief of the soldiers.  Since Virados had not been inside his quarters, he was supposed to let Raine carry on the mission, then the two teams would return to the two troop vessels and return home.  Jesse liked being out in the field, but when he was told to be on stand-by, his impatient streak tended to get the better of him.


    "Where the fuck is Raine?!"  He yelled with venom in his voice.  "She should have been out by now."  He growled between phrases.  "She's probably just killing time to piss me off!  Ever since we broke up that became her favorite stupid sport!"


    "Would you calm down, please?"  Jun asked him.  Jesse was a well-respected soldier at the Zeta Base, however sometimes he tended to intimidate Jun with his violent behavior.  "Isn't it possible that Wolf Pack has gotten into some sort of trouble?  Shouldn't we be doing something?"


    Jesse sighed.  "Let me worry about that.   The distress signal went off earlier, but then it went away as soon as we left the city.  Raine must have split the team up, and the other half must have gone in to help."


    "If we don't hear from them  in another hour, then it's mandatory to go in a see if they're alive."  Icelina informed them, sitting on a rock sharpening her gunblade.  "They will most likely reply by then, though."


    As she finished the phrase, the communicator began to beep loudly.  Jesse couldn't help but chuckle,  "Hey, Ice, good timing!  Too bad you didn't do that a half hour ago."


    "Jesse, it's Raine."


    "Where the hell are you?"  He said angrily.  He then switched to sarcasm, his other main tone of voice.  "Do you know how worried you have made us, young lady?   I'm afraid we'll have to ground you."


    "Cute."  came the equally sarcastic reply.  "You have to go back to Deling.   Virados isn't dead yet, but he's launching a joint-strike on the capitol.  You have to go back and warn them.  The Wolves will take care of Virados, but if we do so too late, then your warning will be all Deling has to rely on.  If you can, try to get the allies to join us in the fight as you pass their territories."


    The blonde commander blinked in astonishment a few times.  "Whoa, a joint strike?!  Man am I going to have a fun time slashing down all of those baddies!  You got it babe, I'll do that!  Go kill that guy, and take as long as you need!"


    The only thing he heard from the other side was a exasperated sigh, and then static as she signed off.  Inwardly, Jesse was a bit worried at the news, but didn't want to show it to Raine or his teammates.   He had long been able to hide his fears to make sure that everyone else could look to him for support, in case they were feeling afraid of nervous.  He turned back to his soldiers and informed them of their new plan.


    "Okay guys, back to the vessel!"  He yelled, generating groans from his teammates.  "Oh, you can't be that sore, it only about fifty miles!  We'll find a train, don't worry.  We have to warn the allies and Deling against the strike!  Let's move out!"


    "Great, I knew something like this would happen!"   Aaron cried out, "Why is it always when I go out on a mission, chaos seems to follow me?  First I loose my walkman, now this."



    The Helios Air and Sea docks were one of the largest man-made structures in the world.  Not even Esthar had a dock of this magnitude.   It's positioning was perfect for an assault on the Western countries, since it faced the general direction of Deling City.   Several dozen nuclear and normal powered Helian submarines lined up against the Eastern portion of the docks, while the large vessels such as carriers or destroyers had claim to the Western half of the Sea Docks.   However, an entire second story was built on top of these docks, leading to a flat platform which housed a portion of Helios' airship fleet.  At least five to six airships were present at the same time, though it could dock a maximum of nine.  These airships were not mere fighters, like Galbadia and Esthar used, but dwarfed even the newest Ragnarok cruisers of Esthar's R&D division.   


    These massive machines could hold several dozen people, and most were at least several hundred feet long.   Most were about five times the size of the Ragnarok, but the larger ones that were used for troop placement were about twice that size.  The world knew very well that airships were a leftover tool of war that had been used by the Mysidians during the Centran Wars.  Somehow, the technology was stolen by Centrans and taken into Trabia after  they migrated when the continents were destroyed.   Helios had now upgraded them into the deadly war machines they were today.  Unless a city had air defenses, they stood no chance against an attack by a single airship. 


    Virados couldn't help but marvel at them.  They were almost a forgotten piece of his heritage as the world now saw.  They drifted away from Mysidian origins, and simply thought they were Helian in nature.  With these tools, he felt he had the power to crush almost any army.  As he looked on as busy deck hands prepared almost every vessel in the docks for departure, he couldn't help but let out a victorious chuckle.  With this force, and the force of the Estharian troops, his plan almost seemed too perfect.  


    However, there was one annoying thing standing in his way.   Though Virados was president of Helios in almost every area aside from name, the current president seemed to disagree with the attack.   In fact, the middle-aged man was currently begging him to stop the assault at once. 


    "Ambassador Virados, I demand you stop this at once!"  President Nerrance said with authority in his voice.   The last thing the president wanted was to get in between this war of Galbadia and Esthar.  "It is insane!  We have no business meddling in their affairs!"


    "You are beginning to annoy me, little man."  


    "Then if you want me to be quiet, you'll call off the assault!"  Nerrance said with venom on his tongue.  He was beginning to get a bit frustrated with Virados, and was seriously growing disturbed with his decision to allow Virados to be ambassador.  Little did he know, he was working with someone who held more power than he could ever hope to achieve.  


    "Believe me.  I know what I am doing."


    "Enough of this!"  Nerrance said at last.  "I am the rightful president, and have more power than you do, young man!"  He turned to the nearest group of officers.  "Listen to me my soldiers!   This man is leading you down the wrong path of your destiny!  We mustn't allow him to succeed, you must stop the assault at once!  This is an order from-- "


    This was the last sentence of his life.  Before he knew what had happened, Virados had spun around with his sword in hand.   The blade now rested through Nerrance's heart and ribcage.  Blood dripped out of his wound, and onto the stone ground below.  In a swift motion, Virados removed his blade and placed it back into his scabbard, leaving the now dead president to drop to the ground dead.  


    At the looks the officers were now giving Virados, he decided to make his point more clear.   "This is what happens when you do not follow my orders!  Either follow me and complete your mission, or meet a similar fate!"


    The officers saluted and sped off with looks of complete terror in their eyes, hoping not to anger the new leader of Helios any further.   Virados chuckled, amazed at how easy it was to strike fear into the hearts of the Centrans.  Most Mysidians were braver than that, some even to the point of being recklessly brave.  Often, the truly brave Mysidians would cross the line between bravery and stupidity.  


    He began the ascent from the Airship Platform onto the foredeck of the larger airship known as the Avenger.  He had the option between that and the other ship, the Valhalla, but to his knowledge this ship was the more heavily armed.   It was slower, but he was looking towards firepower over speed.  Besides, the airships had to fly along with the navy ships, which were as slow as the Avenger anyway.  


    His aids quickly followed him up, after telling crew members to do something with the former president's body.   Virados was actually the person most Helians were afraid of, instead of Galbadia.  Defying his orders meant the end of a life, and his way of execution was more painful than Galbadia's.  The most popular saying among Helians now was 'Better to walk beside the Devil, than to be in his path.'



    Virados on the other hand looked forward to the battle ahead.  He could almost taste his victory as of right then.    The airship slowly undid it's chains that held it to the platform, and rose into the air at Virados' command.  As long as the Galbadians didn't know of the attack, then they would stand no chance against a surprise attack from both Eastern Empires.  Everything he and his leader had planned together so very carefully now seemed to be coming into place.  


Chapter 19

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