"Alright, let's go over the plan one more time. Now that we have the armor and know where to meet Zefer, we go there first, and when we're ready we give the signal. Now, what's the signal again?" Xen asked, looking over at Trigger, who just scratched his head.
"Don't you know? You told us the signal, like, five minutes ago…" he replied. Xen sighed.
"No! I already know the signal! I just want to know if you remember it!"
"Ohhh… uh… wait, what's the signal again?" he asked, grinning and scratching the back of his head again. Xen slapped his forehead.
"You know… sometimes I hate you…" Xen said, glaring over at him. Vincent snorted slightly and grinned.
"What an idiot…" he muttered, loud enough for Kana to hear. She giggled a bit.
"Isn't the signal a loud noise?" she asked. Xen nodded.
"Yes. Zefer mentioned something about a lot of metal and crates at the designated area, so we shouldn't have a problem. Now, after we make the loud noise, we hide until we hear Zefer come in, then we attack."
"So it's going to be five of us against thousands of soldiers?" Trigger asked. This time Vincent answered.
"Hopefully we'll have some help… but if the Shadow Emperor has control over everyone… then maybe it's us against the whole kingdom."
"If the Shadow Emperor has control of all of his soldiers… doesn't that mean Zefer is under his control too?" Kana asked. Xen went pale.
"…I haven't' thought of that yet… that's a good question…"
"Well, if she's not under his control yet, then maybe not. It's not like they injected a mind control device into her head or anything." Trigger said, scratching his chin.
"Yeah. Does anyone even have that kind of technology? I mean, even if he had something like a mind control device, he would have used it by now, right?"
"True. That's very true." Vincent said with a slight nod.
"Unless he didn't know he didn't use it." Trigger said. The others looked at him with questioning stares. "Zefer could have tricked him into thinking she's being controlled, when she really isn't. Doesn't that sound like something she'd do?" he asked.
"…If you're right, I'll give you all the money I have." Vincent said. Trigger smirked.
"You got yourself a deal dude."
"…What if she's messing with us?" Xen asked cautiously. Vincent rolled his eyes.
"Not this again-"
"I'm serious! What if the Shadow Emperor has control over her and he told her to give us all this information? What if the entire Shadow Army is waiting for us? Then what do we do?"
"Simple. We fight." Vincent replied. Xen rolled his eyes.
"That's it? We fight? We don't stand a chance if we fight against thousands of armed monsters! Our weapons are two swords, a staff and a slingshot!"
"Listen, Xen. We'll worry about all of that when the time comes. You don't seem to understand that we don't know if Zefer is with us or not, but as long as we don't know, we've got a chance. It's slim, but that's enough." Vincent said, standing up from the crate he was sitting on. "Now, let's get going."
It took the group about twenty minutes to get from the Armory to the designated meeting place (the training grounds just outside of the castle) thanks to the directions that Zefer had haphazardly scribbled down on the back of the note.
When they got to the arena-like training grounds they were greeted by the sight of hundreds of soldiers standing and sitting across from the entrance, talking amongst themselves. Everyone stopped talking and looked over at the four escaped prisoners.
"I knew this was a bad idea…" Xen muttered to Vincent, who gritted his teeth.
"Shut up and get ready to fight." He muttered, his hand already on his sword.
"Screw that man, I'm getting outta here." Trigger said, turning quickly to try and escape. Instead he slammed head first into a very large solder with a metallic clash and nearly fell on his back before a large gloved hand reached out and grabbed the front of his armor, pulling him up to stare into his face (by this time Trigger was about six feet off the ground). After what seemed like an eternity of staring into the giant soldiers eyes, the intimidating giant's face split into a toothy grin. Trigger blinked and nervously grinned back, not entirely sure what was going to happen, but praying that he wouldn't get his face split open by a large fist.
Thankfully, the big man grinned even wider and dropped Trigger as suddenly as he'd picked him up, causing Trigger to fall onto his rear with a surprised yelp. The giant walked past the group as the three helped their comrade up and turned around, nodding to them so that they would follow (which they did obediently).
The crowd of soldiers parted as the four adventurers walked through them and immediately followed them, closing their exit path and making escape impossible. By the time the giant stopped, the soldiers had formed a large semi-circle around them. Vincent frowned lightly and looked around; even if they did manage to get past the first two rows of armed monsters, they would just be engulfed in even bigger creatures.
Their giant escort looked up and saluted whoever stood at the top of the twenty-six foot arena wall; the four had barely looked up when the hooded figure standing there jumped down and landed with a dull thud in front of them. The figure stood straight then pulled back the hood of their cloak.
"Hey there! Good to see you all there again! I see you four have met my bodyguard Brutus." Zefer said, smirking widely. The newly named Brutus walked and stood behind his commanding officer, making her look comically small (she stood only a few centimeters higher then her guards hip).
"Um… when did you get a bodyguard?" Kana asked, pointing at Brutus, who stood behind Zefer like a large breathing statue. The Colonel simply shrugged
"I've always had him. But every time I saw you guys, he was out doing errands."
"Errands? What… what kind of errands?" Xen asked, looking up at him. Brutus moved his large head to peer down at Xen.
"Laundry." He said simply. His voice was impossibly deep and made everyone's ears ring (except Zefers of course). Vincent, Xen, Kana and Trigger all stared in shock.
"Laundry?! You mean this big guy does laundry?!"
"Well, he also cooks and cleans." Zefer said nonchalantly. "This guy makes a killer plate of spaghetti." The large bodyguard blushed deeply at the compliment and Vincent cocked an eyebrow.
"You've got to be kidding me! You mean he doesn't fight?" Brutus shook his head.
"I don't like fighting. I was raised to be non-violent." He said, blinking down at them as timidly as a giant soldier could.
"…H-How… ugh, never mind…" Vincent said with a shrug. Trigger grinned up at Brutus.
"Right on dude! So was I!" he said, holding his palm up to him. Brutus just stared at him, obviously confused. "It's called a high-five dude, all ya have to do is slap me back." The large bodyguard blinked before nodding and lifting his big hand, swinging it and slapping Trigger hard. He flew across the arena and slammed into the wall, standing ridged for a few seconds before falling limply on his side. "…T-That was c-close enough…"
"Alright, enough messing around! Listen, I thought you were going to wait for us to signal you before getting here." Vincent said, frowning lightly. Zefer shrugged.
"There was a change of plans. You see, the Shadow Emperor likes all the divisions to take turns using this training facility, and my division just happened to get our turn here. I just thought, what the hell? I'll surprise 'em." She said, smirking lightly.
"So… you wanted Brutus to scare the crap out of us?" he asked. She looked up in thought before nodding.
"So Colonel, these are the outsiders you want us to help?" a feminine voice asked. A few soldiers at the front of the group parted to reveal a petite woman standing there, her arms folded across her chest as she waited for an answer.
"Yes Zero, these are the outsiders."
"Huh… for some reason I was expecting them to look… well, different." Zero replied, a light frown forming on her face. "No offense." She said, looking at the four.
"Really Zero? They look exactly how I pictured them." Another female voice said. This time everyone turned to see who it was. Unlike all the other soldiers, who all wore the normal Shadow Alliance armor, this woman wore a rather uncomfortable looking outfit that didn't look appropriate to fight in. Zefer smirked at the newest member of the conversation.
"Glad to see you made it Trice. What's with the skirt and jacket uniform? Armor not your thing anymore?" the newly named Trice shrugged.
"I just felt like a change, is all." Xen stared at her in shock.
"Didn't you die?!" he yelled, pointing at her. She gave him a strange look.
"Nice to see you too Xen." She said flatly, frowning slightly and waving a bit.
"You'd think you'd be happy to see an old friend from the dead." Yet another person said. Everyone turned to the third entrance to see a young man with the normal Shadow Alliance armor and dragon wings.
"Tie?! What the hell are you doing here?!" Xen screamed.
"Hold on a second!" Vincent yelled. The crowd looked at him. "Who are these people and how do you know them?" Vincent asked, looking at Xen, who seemed to be suffering from extreme shock as his mouth hung open. Tie sighed and scratched the back of his head.
"Well, I'm Tyler Flameheart, commander of the Dragon Division. I met Xen while I was traveling about ten years ago." He said, doing his best to answer Vincent's questions. Vincent nodded and looked over at Trice, who simply sighed.
"I'm Trice Ceilborn, commander of the Shapeshifter Division and I was with Tie before he met Xen."
"And… you died…?"
"Yeah… about that… well, it's a long story… and pretty unpleasant." She said, looking up and scratching her chin with her index finger. "But when we met Xen, he was on this sort of…heavenly vacation, if you want to call it that. Tie and I had been traveling together for a year before then. Actually, I never really died, per say. I mean, I regained consciousness after they'd left and I just sort of wandered around for a while. When I met up with Tie again we started to travel together and were taken by the Shadow Alliance a few months later." She said. She noticed the questioning stares around her and sighed. "I'll explain the rest later." She said, waving a hand.
"Okay… now that we have a little back story, let me explain our situation." Zefer said, clearing her throat before continuing, "We have the Werewolf Division, Dragon Division and Shapeshifter Division on our side. Since there's a good thousand soldiers per division, we're three thousand strong!"
"And that's three thousand against seventeen different divisions with a thousand soldiers each." Tie said. He and Trice sighed.
"We're doomed…" Trice said hopelessly. Zefer barely opened her mouth when the sound of sirens blared around them. A few soldiers looked up, never having heard that noise before.
"It would seem the idiots finally noticed you were missing." Trice said, looking at the Trigger, Vincent, Xen and Kana.
"I'm rather surprised that those alarms still worked. We've only used them about twice before." Tie said, smirking lightly. His smirk quickly changed to a frown. "It's only a matter of time now…" he muttered grimly.
"Now now, don't be so glum! We can take 'em!" Trice said, slapping him on the back reassuringly. He looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
"You're strangely happy today. What gives?" he asked.
"I dunno. Just have a good feeling about this fight." She said, smirking at him. As the two commanders talked, all the soldiers got their weapons ready. A few were stretching arms, legs, wings and whatever else they had besides those. Zero walked up to Vincent and the others and handed them each a gun and a few cartridges of ammunition.
"Here. We smuggled these out for you four." She said, turning on a heel and walking off. Trigger and Kana looked down at their weapons with light frowns.
"Dude… this ain't right. I may not like these Shadow dudes, but I ain't mowin' anyone down with this." Trigger said, handing his weapon to a random soldier, who looked down at it curiously. "Besides, that thing looks rusty… it might explode when I try to use it." He said. The soldier's eyes went wide and he handed it to the soldier next to him, who passed it back quickly. Kana followed suit, giving it back to Zero, who handed it to the soldier behind her. Trice noticed these exchanges and cocked a brow.
"What are you doing?"
"Passing out the guns." Zero growled, shoving the gun to yet another soldier after re-receiving it. "Keep it!" The soldier jumped and nodded fearfully, clutching the weapon to his chest.
"Quit messing around and get over here!"
"Yes ma'am…" They said in unison, walking to the front with their weapons drawn. Every soldier had moved to one side of the arena, ready to attack and defend themselves. Trigger hadn't noticed these exchanges as he took his slingshot from his pocket, loading it with a large stone and filling his pockets with smaller and sharper rocks.
Zefer walked through the crowd towards Trice and Tyler, taking her black bladed sword from its sheath, before handing it to her. "Thanks for letting me use Pandora. She really saved my ass." The Colonel said, handing it back to her fellow traitor. Trice smirked and took the sword, handing Zefer the sword in her possession.
"No problem. Zeus isn't bad either." She replied.
"Well, it is named after a god." Zefer said with a grin. "So, what are you planning to do after all this?"
"If we're still around? I'll just live my life as happily and normal as I can." She said, taking a quick glance at Tie, who had been watching them talk a few feet away. He quickly looked away from the two women, a light blush appearing on his dark cheeks. Zefer noticed where Trice had glanced and smirked.
"Kind of late for a love affair, don't you think?" she said. Trice sighed.
"I know… fate really screwed me over in the love department." Mere seconds later a dull thumping noise came from the entrance to the far side of the arena-like training grounds. Everyone tensed and got ready for their enemies.
"Alright everyone get ready to fight like you never fought before!" Tie said, taking his blade out of its sheath. All three thousand soldiers prepared to fight, taking out their weapons and stretching a bit more. Brutus towered above everyone at the very back of the crowd, holding a giant axe and looking as timid as a kitten. Vincent and Xen cocked their guns as Trigger clenched the slingshot and pulled it taught, ready to fire as Kana held her staff tightly. After a few agonizing moments, the doors burst open, revealing not their enemies, but a totally different army.
"Stop this now you fiends!" a booming voice called out. The sound of a sword being unsheathed pierced the stunned silence and everyone turned. A tall man with stark white hair and a thick beard stood out in front of his soldiers, his sword drawn.
"…Who the hell are you?" Zefer asked, frowning deeply. The man smirked and pointed his weapon at her.
"I am King Damien Alexander." He said.
"D-Daddy!" Kana yelped. Everyone turned to look at her, then looked at Zefer.
"Wait, you were serious about the Alexander Army coming here?!" Vincent asked.
"Yeah, but that was before the castle moved!"
"Ah-ha! That was only one of our armies! Our intelligence is top-notch and when you moved we simply followed! Now hand over my daughter kidnappers!" King Damien boomed. The soldiers behind him erupted in loud cheers, roaring in support of 'saving' their Princess.
"Oh my god this is not what I was expecting…" Zefer muttered, rubbing her temples. A few hundred feet away from the Alexander Army the second entrance door burst open, revealing the Shadow Army. "What the hell…" she muttered again, rubbing her temples harder. The Traitors and the Alexander Army turned their attention away from each other to focus on the Shadow Army. Growls came from the now transformed Werewolf Division, the once hulking muscle-headed men and lean athletic women now vicious fur-covered monsters with killing intent in their golden eyes. A gaunt lizard man at the head of the huge group stepped forward with his lance drawn, a wide-eyed expression on his face at the sight of three thousand soldiers siding with the enemy.
"Traitorsss…" he breathed, pointing the lance at the seven in front. Trice grinned and unsheathed Pandora, moving the lizard's weapon so that it was pointed to the ground.
"We're not traitors. When the Shadow Emperor came into power, there were two sides. Just because I was forced to serve one side it doesn't mean I was on it. I've just chosen the side I like more. And I'm sure everyone on this side agrees with me." She said, pointing the black bladed sword at him. The lizard smirked at them.
"Dude… I don't think there's enough room in here for everyone…" Trigger muttered.
"What is the meaning of this?!" King Damien yelled as more soldiers yelled behind him. The two feuding sides simply ignored them.
"So brave and yet so foolish." He sneered. More soldiers flooded the remaining entrance, blocking both of their enemies in. "Give up Traitorsss, you're outnumbered! Maybe if you get on your knees and beg his Majesty will grant you all a quick death!" the lizard said, laughing.
Trice frowned and gritted her teeth, but noticed that he'd had his guard down. She grinned manically and rammed Pandora into his chest plate, puncturing his heart. The sharp blade went through the armor like a warm knife through butter. "We're not afraid of death," she said, turning the blade in his chest and ripping it through the side of his breastbone, cutting his heart in half. The soldier fell in a heap onto the floor, blood pooling out from under him. "Because this is war."
Both sides took the hint and seconds later the sounds of clashing blades and armor piercing bullets ignited the night sky. King Damien and his army stood dumbly in place, simply watching the spectacle, before he looked back at his soldiers and nodded. All of them screamed their battle cries and jumped into the fray, attacking random soldiers as their King went in search of his daughter.
Trigger flung rocks at his opponents, lodging rocks into open mouths and eyes, denting armor and bruising exposed flesh. He found a broken spear and used it to block oncoming swords and even knocked a few soldiers out, leaving them to their fates. Not far from their friend, Vincent and Xen were busy deflecting attacks and getting used to the kicks from their guns. Quite a bit away from the three, Zefer gored her attackers left and right, even going so far as to rip off helmets and use them as makeshift shields. She gritted her teeth and pushed against a sword that had lodged itself firmly into the helmet, forcing her attackers arms above his head and kicking him in the groin. He dropped the sword in pain, fell to his knees and reached down to hold himself. Zefer grabbed his chin and pulled his head back, slitting his throat ruthlessly.
Kana, who was on the other side and farthest away from her comrades, was forgotten in the fray and helped a werewolf solders by braining his meal for him (albeit reluctantly), as a small, obviously frightened enemy soldier passed her and ran into the castle. He would have gone by unnoticed if Kana had been fighting, but fortunately for her, she hadn't been. Suspecting foul play she followed him in and the little lizard man didn't seem to notice at all as he went deeper into the dimly lit castle, running the entire time. Eventually they'd gotten so far in that the sounds of battle could no longer be heard.
Finally, after passing many, many doors and going up a flight of stairs, the lizard man came to a halt. Kana hid behind one of the walls as he looked around and opened the door cautiously. She noticed that he left the door slightly open and followed him in quietly. As she entered the room she was amazed to find a very sophisticated laboratory in the modestly sized room. She hid once more as she spotted the small soldier standing at a panel covered with buttons.
"Now… which button was I supposed to push again…?" he asked himself, frowning as he scratched the scales on his neck. He sighed. "Well, they didn't tell me I couldn't push all of them." He muttered as he began pressing every button on the panel.
"Stop right there fiends!" Kana shouted, repeating the words of her father as she jumped out of her hiding spot. The little soldier jumped at the sudden voice and turned around quickly, practically tripping over his own feet.
"H-H-How did you get here?!"
"I followed you. Now stop pressing those buttons!" At that command he frowned.
"Why should I? My superiors told me to come her and your not one of them!" he said, turning back to the panel to continue his button mashing. Kana scowled and walked over to him, lifting her staff and conking him on the head, knocking him out of the way of the panel. She started to re-press all the buttons and hoped that they didn't do anything to bad.
Meanwhile, out of the battlefield, the soldiers fought on, cutting, hacking and generally inflicting wounds and killing each other. Trice and Tie were standing back-to-back as they wielded two swords and hacked through their enemies.
"So…" Tie began, deflecting the blow of another sword, "What are you going to do after all of this?" he asked, plunging his sword through an enemy. She didn't answer until she cut down one of the soldiers.
"I dunno… probably just travel around like before." She replied, looking at him over her shoulder as they waited for more attackers. He looked back at her.
"Mind if I tag along?" he asked, smiling slightly. She grinned back at him.
"Only if you can handle it." She said. With their backs still to each other they turned and killed two more enemies at the same time. After a few more enemies the arena lights started to flicker on and off. No one seemed to notice at first, but after a few dozen times, everyone stopped fighting and looked up at the lighting.
"What the hell…" muttered one of the soldiers in the Alexander Army's armor.
"…Maybe it's a ghost." Another said. Everyone around him gave him strange looks.
"Ghosts? You believe in ghosts?"
"Yeah… why?" he asked as he nodded.
"Cause… they're not real. Besides, one ghost couldn't do all this."
"Well… maybe it's a really big ghost."
"STOP PRESSING BUTTONS WOMAN!" the lizard man shouted, shoving Kana out of the way and slamming his fist into the panel in a frustrated manner. The panel dented instantly and started to spark. "Great! Now look what you've done!"
"Me? You're the one who punched it!" she said, glaring at him and raising her staff once more. She raised her staff above her head and came down with all her might. The little soldier dodged and the attack that was intended for his skull slammed into the panel. The blow sent sparks flying through the air and a screen came up from one of the walls without an image. Then there was a sudden beeping noise.
"Operation Howling Conqueror will now begin in 20 seconds." A robotic, feminine voice said as red text started to fill the black screen.
"Howling Conqueror? And I thought Colonel Helios was bad at naming missions." The lizard said.
"Twenty seconds… what's going to happen when the time is up?"
"Uh… we… blow up?"
"No…" the two jumped and turned around quickly. Annette stood at the door way with a horrified look on her face. "It's something far worst then that…" she said quietly, turning and running towards the battlefield. Kana and the little lizard man looked at each other and followed her, their weapons drawn.
As the soldiers in the Arena stared at the flickering lights with the most amazed looks on their faces, Zefer was busy decapitating the loyal Shadow Alliance soldiers while no one was watching. She was about to knock a few more heads off when she stopped abruptly and dropped her sword. Her eyes changed from crimson to gold as she lurched forward with a grunt. Soldiers around her pulled themselves away from the lights and watched her curiously as the lights stopped there little show and stayed on. Trigger noticed a few of the werewolves retreating behind him and he swallowed a lump that had formed in his throat.
"Werewolves retreating… this is not a good sign…" he muttered. Vincent and Xen also noticed the shift in behavior.
"Crap." Vincent said, before looking over at Xen and nodding. He grabbed Trigger. "We're gonna find whatever's scaring those mutts."
"Alright… but if something attacks I'm blaming you two."
Meanwhile on the other side of the battlefield, Zefer was hunched over in pain and holding her head as her eyes went wide and her breathing became heavy. Traitors and soldiers alike watched on before one of them snapped out of his trance and swung his axe at her chest. The blade made contact with a dull thud before it's wielder grinned and started to pull it out for another swing. Before he could pull it out however, Zefer grabbed the handle and looked at him with a growl. Before the soldiers very eyes Zefer started to change. She grinned maniacally as her teeth grew long and sharp. She grew a long, elegantly shaped muzzle and fur started to sprout from her flesh.
With her free hand she grabbed her helmet and ripped it of, revealing large pointed ears at the top of her head. The axe-wielding soldier let go of the handle and backed up as the sound of snapping bones filled the surrounding area. Zefer pulled her armor off in the process of extracting the axe-blade from it. Vincent, Xen and Trigger got to the front of the shocked crowd and stopped, watching in amazement as she finished transforming.
"A w-werewolf…" Xen muttered. Trigger went slightly pale.
"More like a Zefer-wolf." He said, looking up at her. Just as the transformation came to it's end, Annette, Kana and the lizard soldier came running out.
"Oh god… Colonel…" Annette said. Both Kana and the lizard looked at Annette in shock.
"That's the Colonel?"
"As in… Colonel Zefer Helios…?" Kana asked cautiously. Annette nodded.
"Operation Howling Conqueror activated a certain chemical in the Colonel's brain that forces her transformation. Because it's forced she has… no control over what she does… the only person who has control over her-"
"Is me." A smooth voice finished. The trio turned around quickly to see the Shadow Emperor.
"Your Majesty…" Annette said, bowing low. The lizard man and Kana stood in shock.
"I'm afraid 'Howling Conqueror' was activated prematurely, so unfortunately I don't have total control." He said, more to himself then to the three standing in front of him. The Alexander Army stared at the Shadow Emperor in shock before looking at the werewolf form of Zefer, obviously disheartened. King Damien frowned.
"Don't let this discourage you men! We can still win!" he boomed. Zefer howled angrily into the night sky before looking over the crowd of soldiers, her gaze scanning over all of the faces until she reached the King. She growled and stalked over to him, looking down as she stood to her full height. He stared up at her defiantly, his face the perfect picture of a Warrior King. She sneered before bending down in front of him as golden eyes met gray ones. The two stood there like statues for only a few seconds, as if communicating telepathically, before King Damien nodded, as if agreeing to something. Zefer's muzzle split into a toothy grin, before standing at her full height once again. King Damien turned to his men, whispering plans to the soldiers in front, the message he gave them being passed along down each line.
Zefer turned to look at the werewolves behind her traveling companions, a series of growls and grunts coming from her throat. Her soldiers nodded before dispersing to designated areas, half of them surrounding the Shadow Emperor, who stood calmly at the entrance to the castle. The three travelers looked on dumbly.
"I guess… she's still on our side…?" Xen said in an unsure manner.
"Now now Zefer. There is no need to be angry." The Shadow Emperor said coolly. Zefer simply growled.
"No need? No need?! Because of you I'm a monster!" she yelled. Her voice had become a deep coarse growl. "And mark my words… you will pay." She said as she lunged at him, bearing her claws and fangs. The Emperor simply soot in the same spot, before calmly drawing a whip and snapping it, creating a vertical cut across her muzzle and throwing her off balance. Zefer ran head first into the wall behind the Emperor after he sidestepped her attack.
The crowd of Shadow Alliance, Traitors and Alexander Soldiers once again exploded into battle as Vincent, Xen and Trigger ran to their comrade with their weapons drawn.
"So, is Zefer on our side or what?" Trigger asked, scratching his chin as usual.
"Well, she did attack the Shadow Emperor, so I'm sure she is." Tie standing behind the four, his arms folded across his chest. Trigger jumped and turned to look at him.
"Where the hell did you come from?" he asked. Tie shrugged.
"Around." He said simply. Zefer's soldiers had blocked all three entrances, one of the bravest ones standing in the way of the Shadow Emperors exit, his arms crossed over his chest and a defiant look in his eye. As the Emperor gave his former charge a disapproving glare, Trice got behind him and thrusted her sword forward. The Emperor, sensing the attack, somehow dodged her sword, ripped it out of her hands and impaled her with it. She stood there, her eyes wide and mouth hanging open in shock. Tie, having seen this, clenched his teeth before unsheathing his own sword and attacking him with a battle cry before lifting it above his head. The Emperor calmly ripped the sword from Trice's body and dodged the close range attack once more, slicing a thick wound through Tie's armor and onto his body.
Both warriors fell to the ground with a dull thud as Vincent and the others, including Annette, watched in horror as the events unfolded in front of them. Zefer stood on all four legs, shaking her head groggily before looking up at the carnage that had unfolded seconds before the Emperor threw Pandora onto the ground and stepped over them calmly as he walked through the fray.
"…T-Trice… Tie… w…what…?" Annette stuttered, walking up to them with her hand outstretched. An enraged roar pierced through the sounds of battle, causing Annette to turn before being tackled. Zefer howled into the night sky before glaring at the startled and unnerved Captain underneath her.
"You…" she growled, sniffing the air slightly. "You're… frightened and sad… I'll give you one chance. Fight the Shadow Alliance with us or I'll kill you where you lay." She snarled, lifting a paw and brushing a sharp claw along Annette's throat. The Captain opened her mouth to speak, before her eyes widened.
"Colonel, watch out!" she screamed.
"Zefer!" Vincent and the others yelled. Zefer turned just as the Shadow Emperor thrusted his raised sword at her back, aiming for her heart…
The door to the little inn shattered to splinters as a thick black boot kicked it in.
"That's it! We've waited long enough! You're coming with us NOW!" a scary and rather short woman screamed. The Storytellers eyes went wide with horror.
"Z-Zefer! No, wait! I'm almost done with the story!" he yelled with his hands in front of him. Zefer stomped over and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, dragging him away. "Nooo!"
Xen sighed and Trigger grinned, scratching his chin.
"Just let her have her way, Vincent. Unless you wanna get beat up again." He said as his grin widened. The shocked patrons of the inn looked at each other and ran out after them, getting a full view of a rather dilapidated old horse drawn cart as Zefer lifted Vincent over her head and threw him in. The innkeeper ran out, his face red with fury.
"You're payin' fer that door!" he yelled. Zefer turned and stomped over to him, glaring up with one red eye, the other covered with a patch.
"Now listen you-!" she began before getting pulled back by Annette.
"Now Colonel. Please don't repeat the scene from last time…" she said with an exasperated sigh. Kana ran over as Zefer was dragged away and bowed apologetically.
"I'm very sorry sir. Please forgive Zefer and take this…" she said, handing him a medium sized sack before walking back to the little cart. Everyone outside stared in shock as Trigger hopped on and grabbed the horse reigns, looking at everyone and waving before cracking the horses into action, a grin plastered on his face. The innkeeper blinked as he stared at the sack before shrugging and pocketing it, walking back inside as if nothing had happened. Vincent's former audience watched dumbfoundedly as the cart pulled further away, before the group of children ran after them.
"Wait! You need to tell us how it ends!"
And so concludes Shadow Soldiers! I'm sorry it took so long to update this, I ended up saving a corrupted file from school and it's taken me months to sift through my USB for a non-corrupted version. As you can see I finally found it! Please remember that this is a really rough final chapter and I'll be re-writing some of it in the near future.
Thanks to everyone who's been reading up to this point and I hope you've enjoyed this little journey. I have another story in the works that I hope you'll tune in for it once I have the time to upload.