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Chapter IX

Celeste and her team quickly descended the staircase leading towards the 1st level basement, trying to find their way to Julia and her group. She had yet to find anything on interest in her searching of the ground floor, and she hadn't heard of any news from Epsilon or Jesse since the ambush on the rooftop. Lancer and Andraia hadn't said anything for a long while. Celeste knew that Lancer was keeping his eyes open for the thing that had made the odd footprints outside the base, and she figured that paranoid Andraia was doing the same.

"Okay, Julia, we're on you're level. Guide me to you." Celeste said, pressing a button on her headset.

Julia's voice responded quickly over the headset. "Keep walking straight down the first hall, then when you get to the end, take a left."

Celeste did as she was told, Lancer and Andraia following close behind her. As they moved in their told direction, Celeste paused as she heard a soft clank come from the vent shaft above her.

Andraia heard it as well, but was much more panicked. "What the heck was that?!"

"Don't worry about it, just keep going." Celeste replied, then smirked. "Unless of course, it was a monster come to eat us all...."

"Celeste!" Andraia whined, "Don't say that! God, now I'll be thinking that the whole time."

"You're all right, Andraia." Lancer said reassuringly. She smiled back at him in thanks while Celeste rolled her eyes.

"Some husband you are. You're supposed to help me scare people, not help my victims feel better." Celeste chastised he husband, who furrowed his brows in confusion.

"Okay, Celeste. I see you. Now, just come down the hall until you reach the third door on the left. Go in it." Julia replied through the radio, guiding the hacker further.

Celeste looked along the side of the left wall, passing a security room which looked dilapidated and a second lab which was in ruins. Reaching the third door, she slid it open. All three members of that team halted when they saw the sight the others had. None of the Galbadians had seen a mauled body since the Deep Sea Ruins during the war. Ever since then, all they had to look at was a mediocre gunshot wound or the like, so the sight of this viciousness was almost too much.

"What the hell...?" Lancer asked to no one in particular.

Andraia noticed the large claw marks and dents in the titanium door and around the room. "Oh, Shajuk! I knew there was a monster! Damn it, damn it, damn it! Okay, guys, I'm officially freaked out now."

"You were freaked out the moment you were born." Julia replied. "Trepe, hack into the security system and by-pass the lock on that door please."

"I'm on it." Celeste responded quickly, flipping open the cover to the control panel.

"Hey, you downloaded a map of this place outside." Zion informed the hacker. "Do you know where this leads?"

"Nope." Trepe replied, not elaborating much due to her concentrating on hacking. "Only downloaded the first and second floors."

"Great." The general replied unenthusiastically.

Celeste continued to fiddle with the wiring of the control panel, using one of her devices to make her job easier. She sighed as she worked, this task taking a bit longer than the others due to tighter security. After a few minutes of total silence, which was a rarity amongst the Wolves, a confirming beeping sound rang through the room.

"Done." The hacker informed. "What next, Heartilly?"

Julia popped open the door, and she and Lancer pushed the heavy thing out of the way. Taking a step inside, she looked around the new areas they would be going to. A metal staircase led down to a lower level and a platform. Apparently, there had been some sort of electrical failure, as everything was fairly dark with only a few lights on. An occasional spark flew down from one of the broken lights. Despite the shadows filling this area, she saw something which triggered her into going into an alert mode.

"There's blood on the floor." She said quickly, taking another step inside to look for any more anomalies.

"Bye!" Andraia shouted, beginning to turn. Edea grabbed her by the shoulder and held her tightly in place.

"Stay here with us!" Edea scolded. "You're fine, Tilmitt."

Julia and Zion took the first few steps down the stairs to this lower level, the rest of the team following slowly behind, Edea dragging Andraia by the shoulder. The area of this new lower floor was very vast. Everything below the platform seemed to stretch a great distance, seeming even greater due to the dimness of the lights blocking the view of the far walls. Everything was cold. Metal. Nothing was 'friendly' to the eyes to say the very least.

The blood on the floor was in the shape of a trail, flowing from the center of the platform to a point halfway down the stairs, where it clumped together in one giant puddle. Julia and the others descended down these stairs, cautiously stepping over the pool of blood as not to trip. The stairway was a great height in order to get down to the bottom of the floor.

The bottom floor was about fifty feet tall, and the twin gods only knew how large it was area-wise. The team looked around as they reached the bottom of the stairs and spread out.

"So, where do we start looking?" Edea asked curiously.

Julia was about to reply when she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. She pivoted quickly to face the source of movement, but was only able to see turquoise armor and long black hair before the person disappeared behind a wall.

"Satori!" Julia hissed. "Found her!"

"Where?" Lancer asked, looking around rapidly.

Julia pointed to where she had seen the woman, already walking towards the location. "Over here. Celeste, take your team to go find the missiles. My group, we're going after that little bitch."

Celeste nodded, Lancer and Andraia quickly going to her side. "Right. Stay in radio contact, okay?"

Julia nodded as she went from a brisk walk into a jog, Edea and Zion running to catch up with her, guns already in their hands ready for battle. They disappeared into the darkness, leaving the other team alone.

Andraia clutched Celeste's arm tightly as they walked in the opposite direction of the other team. "You'll protect me, won't you? Please, Trepe!"

Celeste shook her arm, getting out of Andraia's iron grip. "Get off of me! You have definitely been out of the battlefields for too long. You've gone soft. To think a little old monster scares the mighty Tilmitt."

Not realizing Celeste was using a mind game to coax her into being quiet, Andraia replied. "Of course I'm not afraid! Come on guys, let's go get whatever the hell's in here! Missiles are down here too, I know it! Let's go!"

Celeste nudged Lancer in the ribs as Andraia stormed ahead, taking point with a determined face. "Told you it would work."


Julia walked swiftly down the hall that Satori disappeared in, barely noticing Edea and Zion behind her. Her bladed staff was out, adrenaline began to pump through her veins, and mana energy began to circulate to get ready for use. Not having been in a good battle since the Sorceress War, Julia was a bit too eager to begin a duel between her and the Estharian general.

Ah, the distress of being a Mysidian who hasn't battled in a long while...

Julia sighed as she continued walking. You know, most fathers call their daughters on the phone, instead of telepathy.

Yes, but this way is far more entertaining for me. Besides, you don't even have a phone with you.

Bite me.

It feels terrible, does it not? I created Mysidians for the sake of fighting and bloodshed, yet without a war, they become so terribly jittery. My poor daughter, your bloodlust has not been fed lately. I can sense that you want to fight badly.

I don't have bloodlust. I prefer peace over fighting any day.

Hyne laughed mentally at her. Oh, yes of course you don't. I have forgotten that you chose to lie to cover your true violent desires. You can't fool me, you know, I am your creator. Biologically and otherwise. I made you to kill things, and that is what you excel at! Mysidians need to feed their rage at some point. If you want to slice apart someone's throat, go ahead! Nothing is stopping you, you're far stronger than most figures of authority.

Shut up, you annoying pest. I do not go around killing things at random, and I never will.

Oh, but you did, not so long ago! Those were fun times, weren't they? The Deling Crime World is such an entertaining place, I'm glad you decided to evolve yourself in when you were a teen! You did feel better then, didn't you? Rather than sit around all day with the family, you got to go out and feed that need for blood...

I have full control over what I destroy or not. I'm not like you. I love my family more than anything. I don't try to trick my daughter into becoming a psychotic killer... unlike some parents who will not be mentioned.

Mm... what a clever retort. It matters not, I'm sure you'll think my way eventually. You know, I think you're my favorite child, actually! You're the most evil and you know it, too.

Okay, then, buh-bye now. I've got an enemy to vanquish before she can destroy my country and the people in it. You aren't as important as that. I'm not evil, you just want me to be. Now... thank you, come again! Or not. Julia replied, wishing the god away by shutting her mind from any more messages. Hyne was starting to get on her nerves.

Luckily, none of the other Wolves had noticed that she was having a mental conversation with her omnipotent father. Or at least, Julia hoped it was. Better him that have the conversation by herself. She felt like she was starting to go mentally insane, and that all those years of working for the Deling Underworld had started to get to her.

Light-years away from her location, on the opposite side of the galaxy on a planet known as Gaia, a tall dark haired man stood within the most regal yet ruined palaces on the planet. Dark eyes shined with humor in his latest conversation. Hyne in his human form chuckled to himself. Ah, she's so stubborn! Makes it all the more fun to torture her. The little pest doesn't deserve her life though, she isn't making the proper use of it. She'll either have to make use of it... or I'll take it from her...


"Okay, Celeste, any ideas on where to go?" Andraia asked, now ready to take on anything that came her way.

Celeste continued to walk down the dark halls of the bottom floor, looking around for any hints of a missile bay. There were several areas large enough to store the missiles, yet she didn't know exactly where to begin. She sighed deeply, with a mix of frustration and fatigue. There weren't any signs or symbols on the doors or walls to signal where the missiles might possibly be.

"You're guess is as good as mine, I suppose." The hacker replied. "It's so hard to tell."

Celeste began to walk towards one of the larger area's that was blocked off by walls. That room was about the size of a large hanger, so it should have been more than needed to hold four missiles. She continued walking, when her husband stopped behind her. He had been quiet for a good while, and Celeste was beginning to worry about Lancer.

"Lancer, what's wrong?" The hacker asked, but only received a hand telling her to be quiet.

Lancer darted his icy eyes back and forth as he strained to hear what ever it was that had made him go into an alerted state. He listened for several minutes, finally hearing a soft thumping sound coming from one of the vent shafts that was attached to the wall. His eyes shifted to the shaft, and quickly turned to Andraia.

"Shine your flashlight up there, Tilmitt." Lancer told her, pointing to the vent shaft.

Andraia did as told, pulling out a flashlight from her item pouch and turning it on. She pointed it in the direction Lancer had showed her, lighting the once darkened area. A fleshy substance coated the outside of the vent, liquid seeping out of it. Andraia scrunched up her nose in disgust, as did Celeste.

"What the hell is that stuff?" Celeste asked, slightly disgusted by the green skin like substance covering the outside of the vent.

"I don't know, but I heard something move up there a second ago." Lancer replied, taking out his spear and holding tightly.

Lancer used his spear to hit the side of the vent, the metal portion of the weapon puncturing the metal and slicing in like a makeshift can opener. He twisted the spear a bit, to see if her could hit anything, but to no avail. The man pulled the weapon back out, checking the spearhead for any blood. It was clean, aside from having scraped along the fleshy coating of the vent.

"Is it wrong to be a little freaked out by now?" Andraia asked quietly.

"No." Celeste answered back quickly. "But we have missiles to find, we aren't monster hunters."

Lancer nodded, "You're right. Let's go."

Celeste and her team quickly entered the doorway of the large room, and the twin electronic doors slid shut as they got out of the way. Little did they notice the inhuman organism drop from the ceiling, and climb back into the vent.

Inside the building, four large Helios missile tops came into view, the bottom portions of the weapons disappearing down into a lower floor. Celeste walked across the platform the team stood on, grasping the railing. Wind was actually in this area due to it's size, and a slightly open gap that was built into the ground. Celeste's hair flew past her shoulders as she looked on.

Celeste quickly found her wits, and pressed a button on her headset. "Attention all groups! I've found the objective, repeat, my team has found the objective!"

"Good job, Trepe!!" Jesse called back cheerfully. "I knew you could do something useful!"

"Way to go, Celeste. Finally, someone found 'em!" Epsilon replied in a tone similar to Jesse's.

"Good. Now, get cracking and disarm those things." Julia ordered, though she too was as joyful as the others.

"Right, I'm on it. No worries, guys!" Celeste responded. She turned to her team after releasing the button on her headset. "Come on guys, let's get up there, and I'll see what I can do."

Celeste, Lancer and Andraia sprinted up the steps leading to a higher platform, which would bring them to the missile's control panels. Hopefully, they were still at the level where Celeste could manipulate them as she wished.


Chapter X

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