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The Sorceress War Part I, Chapter VIII


   Sergeant Andraia Navradski of SE-12, Wolf Pack:
               "Ooh! Ooh! Look Edea, Raine and Julia are fighting again, it's Bitch War 4!  I bet 200 gil that Raine throws Julia through a wall again!"


Esthar Presidential Palace, Prison Level:

   Raine woke up slightly as she felt what must have been one of many Cura spells that coursed through her body.  She still couldn't open her eyes, yet she could feel her ribs repairing themselves as each Cura rippled through her body.  Able to tell by the scent of the persons perfume, she could tell Julia was cradling Raine's neck and head, trying to keep her elevated.  As she heard Andraia cast another Cura through her, she was able to open her eyes again.  Julia looked relieved as Raine opened her sapphire eyes, which had lost their strange magical blue hue as she fell unconscious.  Before Julia could say anything, Raine remembered how they ended up in their prison cell in the first place.
    Raine bolted up from her lying position and grabbed Julia around the neck, gripping hard.  "Why you little evil woman!  You brought that grenade launcher didn't you! Did I not tell you that thing would attract soldiers from all over the place?!"
    Though Raine was mad, Julia could tell she was being completely sarcastic, and in fact she wasn't even gripping Julia's neck as hard as she would have if she was really trying to kill the young brunette. 

     Julia tried to explain through a choked voice,  "I did, but they shot me first!  Ack....!  Edea, why are you just standing there like a building?  Help me!"
     "Why?" Edea asked, "You did start it!"

   Julia was then completely surprised as Celeste began to defend her, "Now come on Raine! It really wasn't her fault!  The Esthar people must have found the cameras on loops and fixed them, because we were spotted by one of them in the archives!  Drop the Heartilly!"

   Raine let her go and folded her arms.  In order to cure Raine, they had to remove the leader's trenchcoat, and Raine was left in her white tanktop. The cell was very cold, and Raine shivered to keep herself warm.  Feeling no grudge, Julia passed the black coat back to the Alpha Wolf, a gesture of apology.  As Raine went to put it on, she noticed something on her arm.  The same symbol that appeared as she had her limit break, the sword with the angel wing hilt.  Now it had lost its color, and had turned a dark brown or black, like a birthmark.  She put her coat on before anyone else noticed, then turned to face her soldiers.

   "Edea, what's our status?" She asked, adjusting her coat now that she had it on.

   Edea looked to her and sat down in front of her, "Well, they've shoved us in this cell, which is apparently somewhere near the ground floor and prison armory.  They took away our weapons, but they don't know that I'm a sorceress or that Lily and Andraia are summoners and white mages, so they haven't prevented us from using magic yet."

   "Ground level, huh?" Raine began, "That means if we get our weapons back we can escape.  One of us will have to sneak out and grab our weapons from the armory.  Then we can bust out of here and flee into the city, they won't find us as easily in there."

   "Yes, but won't we attract too many guards?" Epsilon asked, leaning against the wall with an usually stoic look on his face.

   "Maybe, but there won't be enough to stop us from getting out of here," Raine said determinedly, "All right, we need to trap a guard in here so one of us can steal their uniform. That will allow us to sneak into the armory. "

   "Whose going?" Andraia asked, sitting up from the bunk on which she rested, looking worried if it was going to be her.

   "The fist fighters.  If we snag a girl guard, Lilliana.  If its a guy, Corin will go.  I'd go myself, but they are better at hand-to-hand combat instead of myself.  Neither of you have a problem with this right?"  Raine informed, seeking the fist fighters approval.

   Lilliana nodded but Corin spoke up, "Fine with me, but remember... I ain't so good at that incognito stuff like you and Lily are.  I may have to book it out of there with guards on my tail."

   "Just as long as we get our weapons back," Zion said, crossing his arms as he stood by Julia.

   Raine nodded, "Okay, here's the plan.  Julia and Andraia will lie down on the floor and act like they're really sick.  I'll stand on the side of the door, and Zion will ask for help from the guard.  When he comes in to see what the problem is, I'll snap his neck.  Depending on the gender, one of the fighters will go and get back the weapons.  All right, let's do it!"


    Julia and Andraia positioned themselves face down on the ground in a slight fetal position, and for effect they began to quietly moan in fake anguish.  Raine went to the side of the door, to make sure that she wouldn't be noticed.  As she looked down at the two girls, she knew that their years of faking sick to get out of missiles or school finally came in handy.  Zion went up to the door, and took one last look to make sure everyone was ready.  After they gave him a thumbs up, he started to bang on the heavy steel door with his gloved fist.  


    "Hey, anybody out there?!" Zion began to yell,  "Get in here, we've got problems!  Two of the girls are very, very sick!  You aren't just going to leave them to suffer are you?!  Hey!"


    A male guard clad in soldier armor, complete with a helmet, approached the cell door.  "What's the matter with you, scrub?!  Shut up!" 


    Zion stepped to the side to show the guard the two females writhing in false pain on the floor.  The guard grumbled something and took a card key out of his belt.  He slid the card through the card reader on the side of the steel cell door, and awaited confirmation.  A green light appeared and the door slid open.  The guard walked in and looked down at the two girls.  Before he could do anything, Raine grabbed his jaw and covered his mouth to prevent him from calling out for help.  She used her other hand to grasp his shoulder.  With a quick twist of her hands, she heard several of his vertebrae snap and pop, and he went limp in her arms.  She dropped his corpse on the floor.


    Celeste looked to Corin from her bunk bed, "Well, look at it this way Corin.  At least your uniform is designed for someone your size, and you won't have to have your chest compacted into a tiny area that makes it almost impossible to stand in, like the girls did!"


    "Yeah, well, you girls have a bit more volume to your chests then I do to mine," Corin said smirking, noticing some of the girls giving him slightly disgusted looks.  He began to detach the guards armor, and pull it over his own clothing to hide his Galbadian identity.  The guard had a fairly large build as Corin did, so the uniform was a fairly good fit.  The helmet was a bit too small, but he was able fasten the clasps on either side of the blue and green mask.


   He prepared to walk out of the steel door, and looked back to his comrades for approval.  Giving him looks of affirmation, he exited the cell, shutting the heavy steel door behind him.   He looked at the walls for any sign to which direction the armory was.  The floor gave him the answer.  Two arrows were painted on the floor pointing to the left and right.  The right said Soldier Barracks/Stairwells, the left said Prisoner Armory.  Looking to the left, he turned as walked quickly down the hallway.


   He was glad the armory was so close, but felt very uncomfortable that the soldier barracks were nearby.  He may have to run fast to get back to the Wolves before somebody noticed that the guard was gone and dead in the cell, shoved under a bunk now most likely.  At this time of night, only a few lone soldiers wandered the halls.  Lucky for Corin, the guard whose uniform he stole must have had a high rank, and was receiving many salutes from the two or three soldiers still in the hallways. 


   As he approached the armory, he noticed two guards standing in front of the large blue steel door which locked away the weaponry.  He hoped he could find a way to talk his way through the situation, the last thing he wanted right now was to set off the alarms by beating the crap out the two guards to get to the weapons.   The two guards saluted him as he drew nearer, and he returned it to the best of his abilities.


   One guard spoke up, "Sir! Sorry, but we are forced to ask why you need in at this point."


   Corin began to sweat in his armor, trying to think of a good excuse, "Ah... the boss wants that new weapon shipment that just came in moved up to the mid-level armory.  Don't ask why, you know them, they never say why."


   The two guards looked at each other for a moment, a dumbfounded expression on each of their faces. Corin was growing more and more agitated by the second, Oh Hyne, please let this work!  Please, please, please, please.....


   The second guard nodded and spoke, "Yeah, whatever Satori wants, Satori gets, right? Here man, I'll let ya in."


    The guard slid his own card through the reader, and the blue armored door slid open to reveal a large cache of weapons.  Shelves and cases were piled up neatly everywhere.  Corin just hoped he could find the Wolf weapons fast.   He entered the door and searched through the first few cases.  Finding and empty box, he figured he could take them all in that.  He found the backpacks that the team used piled up in a corner.  Though only three, Raine, Julia, and Edea's, he piled them into the box.  He double checked to make sure Zion's Gunarm, Edea's Chain gun, and Epsilon's Shotgun were still in Edea's, which they were.  He continued to walk down the ally, looking for more.  He found his own Gauntlet class fighting knuckles and place them over his bare hands.  Next, he saw Lily's Tiger Claws and placed them in the box.  Looking to his left, he saw the longer weapons, Raine's katana, Lancer's pole-arm, and Julia's bladed staff, leaned up against the back wall.  He put Raine's weapon in the box diagonally.  He knew that Lancer and Julia could collapse their weapons for travel, and he did so, putting them in the box as well.  He grabbed Andraia's nunchakus and Julia's grenade launcher off of one of the nearby shelves as well.  Since they had no more use for the silenced guns, he left them, and turned back out the door. 


    Seeing all that Corin was carrying, the guards offered their help to him.  He denied them the opportunity, and continued back down the prison area.   He knew that if they followed him,  it would be the death of the whole Wolf Pack.  He was a bit nervous about the whole thing, but he was also glad that Raine finally trusted him with something as important as helping them break out of a place where their life would undoubtedly end if they stayed their long enough.  As he passed down the hall, the soldiers who were still awake gave him odd looks as they saw him take all that weaponry towards the stairwells, but paid him little mind.


    He finally got back to the cell, and double checked to make sure he wasn't followed.    Seeing that he wasn't he took out the card key and unlocked the door.  The team quickly got their weapons out of the box he set on the floor, and Corin was frantically getting out of the Estharian armor.  He knew that if they stayed idle too long, the Esthar soldiers would discover them.  As if on cue, the halls flashed with red light and ear splitting sirens sounded throughout the palace again.  Either a camera had seen him, or someone had seen them execute the plan.  They were ready, and sprinted out the door and towards the stairs.   


    Raine took the lead, bounding down the silver stairs with long strides, her team right behind her.  She could hear the Estharian soldiers storming out of their barracks to come after them, but so far, the Wolf Pack was ahead of them by a great distance.   Two soldiers stood before them as they were just about to exit down into the lobby.  Raine slashed her katana through both of them, sending them tumbling down the stairs and landing in front of a group of civilians.  On instant, the civilian businessmen began to panic and scatter, allowing Wolf Pack to escape out of the doors easier.   Raine crashed through the doors to the rear exit, using her shoulder to ram them open with her running at top speed.  


    Raine guessed that the team had been in the prison cell for a good hour or two, since the night sky was pitch black, darker than the midnight black.  She estimated by the moon position that it was somewhere around three in the morning.  Seeing the Esthar soldiers spewing out of the palace exit, they quickened their pace, running through the back allies and narrow passages which they encountered.  If they were lucky, they would be able to escape to the Salt Lake outskirts and radio for help from a nearby Galbadian Navy ship.  




Esthar City Outskirts,  03:40 hours.

    Their legs had long tired, their muscles ached for sleep, and their bodies were underfed and now dehydrated.  Never the less, they continued running passed the numerous buildings still at the Esthar Outskirts, trying to outrun the Estharian soldiers which were still on their tails.  They had a fairly easy escape, since the Esthar soldiers were so far behind them, but any good soldier knew to keep moving in a dangerous environment.  Raine and the others skidded to a halt as their escape was cut off.  A military blockade of five cyborg soldiers and a Mobile Type 4 stood in their path to liberation.  With Esthar soldiers closing fast behind them, Raine knew the only way was to fight through, and fast.  


    As the cyborg soldiers began to charge them, Edea whipped on her chain gun and sent blasts of heavy Vulcan cannon fire in their direction.  She took down two with her gun, and injured the rest.  Raine sliced through two of them with her katana, and Celeste and Lily worked together to finish off the last one, Celeste trapping it in her whip, and Lily slicing it with her claws.


    As for the Mobile Type 4, they needed to bring out the big guns.  Andraia raised her nunchakus in the air and called forth Fenrir to battle once again.  A shrill wolf cry with a demonic hue to it pierced the silent Esthar night.  As if out of nowhere, the demon wolf sped up to the team at lightning speed, stopping by its master.  The wolf used his large claws to bat at the mechanical beast, denting a section of its armor. 


    Edea and Julia each casted Thundaga at it, hoping to short out its systems.  The mobile armor shuddered as the strong currents of thunder hit its hull, but countered by shooting a high powered laser beam at Zion, who was hit it the chest and sent flying to the ground.  The area around his collar bone was red with heat, but he used a potion to clear it.  He fire a round of Gunarm fire off towards the Mobile Type 4, puncturing the armor partially.   The machine used an arm attached to its hull to bash Edea across her shoulders, causing her to fall over.  Julia helped her up as Fenrir prepared for another attack.  Fenrir form a large orange sphere of energy in front of his mouth, and exhaled quickly, sending the sphere to spread over the machines hull in a sort of strange liquid breath attack.  This was Fenrir's signature attack called, 'Atomic Breath.'


    Fenrir caused much of the Mobile Type 4's hull to melt away as if the energy was acid.  This would allow the team to damage the inner circuits quicker.  Andraia dismissed Fenrir, since he was running low on energy.  The wolf howled to the moon and leapt away from the battle back to its own world.  Raine heard the Esthar search party closing, and told her troops to hurry up.  The Mobile Armor shot its laser again at Epsilon, who was able to duck out of the way just before it hit him in the leg.  


    Celeste used her whip to attach it to a large grouping of wires under the melted armor.  She pulled the whip back again, ripping out the wires from the chassis of the Mobile Type 4.  She was disappointed when nothing happened to the machine, and let another group of Wolves attack it.  The machine hit Lancer this time, its laser piercing his left arm.  He reached his limit break at that point.  Lancer was one of the worlds last Blue Mages, and could replicate strong attacks he endured from his enemies.  He found one, Trine, to be quiet fitting in this situation.  His body began to glow a faint dark hue as he charge the attack.  At once, electricity erupted from his hands in a wide arch towards the machine, eventually when enough was out there forming a three dimensional triangle of thunder.  In conjunction with gravity magic, the power released throughout the machine, greatly damaging it.  


    Its circuits sparked and cracked as it was about to fall apart.  One more hit would easily put it under.   Julia took the last hit, and pulled out one of her frag grenades, and pulled the pin.  She tossed it at the machine, aiming at the exposed circuits.  It hit and exploded in an array of fire.  The Mobile Type 4 shuddered violently and exploded one section at a time, in an impressive arrangement of orange and red explosions until all that was left was scrap metal.  The Wolves continued to run, leaping over the wreckage of the cyborgs and the Mobile Armor.  


    They could see Salt Lake in the distance, but the path ahead would be hard to cross with their sore muscles and rapidly tiring bodies.  Raine sighed inwardly out of fatigue, but was immensely glad that they could be rescued soon, just as soon as they set up their radio equipment and called the nearest Naval ship.  Then it was back to Galbadia with their information.  




Salt Lake Outskirts,   04:50 hours:


    Wolf Pack had found a clearing in the middle of a small wooded area to set up camp.  They could see the shore from their site, and made sure that the Estharians hadn't followed them.  Epsilon, Zion, and Corin had gathered wood a half hour earlier, and built the fire which they were now seated around.  Most Pack soldiers immediately curled up onto the ground and fell asleep, their bodies not able to stay awake any longer.   Celeste was still up toying with the radio equipment, still trying to get it to work.  Now Lancer was trying to help, but Celeste being overly protective of her electronic skills was refusing to let him touch the equipment at all.  


    Everyone aside from Zion, Lancer, Raine, Celeste, and Julia had fallen asleep since their arrival at the campsite.  The rest had either been trying to get the someone to pick them up on the radio or been stargazing.  The area of Esthar they were in now was silent and away from the city lights, so most of the stars were visible at this time of night, though dawn was fast approaching.  Raine stretched her legs muscles out, she could feel the effects of Haste on them, since they were so sore.  


    She gazed down at her peaceful soldiers, off in dreamland.  She felt it was her duty to stay awake and look out for incoming soldiers.  She would sleep on the way back to Galbadia inside a safe cabin.  She wouldn't be surprised if Esthar sent out yet another search party after them.  She was glad they escaped, from the stories passed around by most Galbadian soldiers, not many people returned from Esthar alive and unscathed.  


    Julia felt her head drift down onto Raine's shoulders, she was rapidly falling asleep.   Raine looked down and grunted at her in disapproval.  With that, she pushed Julia off her shoulder and unto Zion's, who was on the other side of Julia.   She though that Raine gave her a mischievous look before her head crashed into Zion's shoulder.  He laughed slightly, and pushed her back to Raine.  Raine scoffed at his attempt, and pushed the brunette back to him.  This continued for a few minutes before Julia had enough.  She and Raine faced back to back, and used each other as a human pillow.   Since Raine and Julia were no longer trying to fight with him, he felt like he had won.  He smiled at the thought.


   Julia snickered at Zion as she saw his look, since the two were facing each other now.  She kicked him lightly in the foot, which made Raine groan when Julia moved, she was so sore that any movement still hurt. 


   Celeste cheered happily as she finally got someone on the radio, "This is the Naval ship the Vagrant?  Good, listen, we're a Galbadian Special Forces Unit, SE-12 Wolf Pack.  We've run into some troubles over here and need immediate pick up.  Our co-ordinates?  25 degrees North, and 89 degrees East.  Yes, thank you captain!"


   "Well?" Lancer asked, unable to overhear the other end.  The rest of the awake Pack looked at her for an answer as well.  


   "That was the Galbadian Cruiser the Vagrant.  They say they'll be here by sunrise, and they said not to move around too much since that won't be too long from now,"  Celeste informed them happily.  "Do you think we should wake the others?"


   Raine shook her head, "No, let them sleep.  They need the rest.  Why don't you guys get some sleep too?"


   Zion ignored her, "Won't the Estharian's track that message?  With those co-ordinates Celeste read out, they can find us easy, right?  Shouldn't we get up and watch out for attack?"


   "They may have tracked us, but I don't know if they'll come after us or not," Raine informed, "They are probably going back to their barracks or repairing the palace.  We did kind of leave it in a mess.  Besides, they probably couldn't intercept it.  Galbadia and Esthar use different styles of radio.  We can't intercept their transmissions all that well, nor can they to Galbadia."


   Julia noticed that Lancer and Celeste were talking quietly on the other side of the fire, and was about to yell out something disgusting.  She felt Raine's elbow hit her ribs, as if she knew what Julia was thinking.  Raine never liked to play matchmaker, but she sure as hell wasn't going to let Julia do something stupid to the two people in the Pack who may be starting to form some kind of relationship.   Surprisingly to Raine, Julia always seemed to act all tough and sarcastic while she was around a large group of people.  However, when she was alone with Raine or even Edea, she could act quite sweet sometimes.  It was just a tough exterior, a kind of mask.  Everyone in the Pack seemed to have one.  Maybe even Lancer and Zion, once they got to know them better.  They had only been with them for a short time, but the two men seemed to adapt well to their new unit. 


   Surprisingly, none of the Wolf Pack soldiers heard the shouting of commands, and the roaring of a large beast over the hills that lead to Esthar.....


AN: This was a bastard of a chapter. It crashed on me just as I finished it, and I lost everything! So I retyped it pretty quickly cause I was mad at it, so sorry if this seemed a bit more rushed than the other chapters.

Chapter 9

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