"How was that supposed to be a good idea?" Corinne asked him as he caught up with her. The shadow of the yeti was on their heels, its fifteen foot frame ambling over the landscape with murderous intent.


"I'd like to see you try."

"Well in that case-" Lenz turned back around and drew his sidearm.

"I was joking!" She grabbed him by the arm and pulled him away.

"Everyone inside! Activate the lockdown codes!" Lohardt yelled out but was ignored by the other Dires.

"Get down so we can get a clear shot!"

"Why're you in the way of the yeti!"

"Draw it closer to us!"

"Lenz your fat head's in the way!"

"That's not nice!" Lenz yelled back as he approached the group. The three rushed through the crowd, dodging rifle barrels as they ran up to the others waiting by the doorway.

"Okay, go for it." Cor stopped at the crowd and instructed them to fire.

"Umm...Deston's still out there." A kneeling guild member reasoned from the barrel of his gun.

"Hold on!...Wai...Wait up...!" He stumbled through the snow, trying to catch his breath. The monster approached.

"Ehhh...can't you like shoot past him? Or around him?" Cor crossed her arms.

"I can shoot through him."


"Are you seriously pondering that right now?!" Deston managed to hear the exchange between Cor and the armed rifleman kneeling next to her from a distance.

"Quiet! I'm trying to think!" Cor yelled back. "Hmmmmm..." She went back to her thinking pose. "Yeah, I think you should just try shooting around him."

"Wait wait wait-watch." Lenz put a hand on the rifle and pushed it down. Deston neared the edge of the forest, passing underneath a banner held by two trees reading "Welcome Home!"

"Ohhhh say the word." Brendan appeared next to Lenz, his hands crackling red with power.

"Wait for it..." Lenz stared at the charging Yeti, not taking his eyes off of it as Deston pushed past him and made a beeline for the HQ. "Not too early...NOW!" Lenz pointed at the Yeti. An arc of red lightning shot out from Brendan's palms and into the banner as the Yeti approached it. The banner fell from the trees and molded with the front of the beast, blinding it with melted plastic and reading "Welcome Home!" from its face to its stomach. "Okay, now we run." Lenz calmly stated. The words stirred everyone from their positions as they turned for their HQ.

"So worth it." Brendan let out a sigh of satisfaction before following the others. As they made their way to the front, metal shutters came down on all sides of the cuboidal structure, effectively locking them out.

"...Umm, something bad just happened behind us, right?" Wally stood right out front of what was previously the doorway with Lega.

"Guys, I can't do panic mode without Noka's room-I need his forbidden corner to stand rebelliously in." Lega turned around and faced the metallic structure.

"This is not looking good." Lenz deadpanned while staring between the Yeti and the HQ.

"Why'd it do that?! I don't remember there being an actual lockdown mode!" Brendan threw a rock at the steel shutters.

"Guys-it's gettin' closer." Lenz spoke from the back of the pack but went unheard.

"Yeah, we've been working on this with Dante for a while. I think you and Wally were too busy in the garage to ever notice." Lega answered Brendan.

"There's no override or anything?" Cor asked out loud to no one in particular.

"There is from the inside, but we can't do anything from the outside-it'd defeat the purpose of having a lockdown mode, wouldn't it?" The giant asked rhetorically.

"Giroux! You're strong! Do something!" Deston pleaded with the blonde man.

"Hold that thought." Giroux reached out and tapped Deston on the arm with one finger. The blonde boy was clipped with a small static shock.

"Ow-what was that-"

"All of the mana I have left." He repositioned Abra as he ended the sentence and watched the Yeti approach.

"I can try cutting it in half-" Noka reached for his sword but remembered it was left in his room with the rest of his field gear. "-Oh right."

"I would not get into a fist fight with that. The wildlife around here are constantly exposed to mana lakes so they're kinda strong." Lega advised Noka.

"Maybe if I-" Noka began to say until a sudden explosion was heard off to the right of the group. Trees toppled over as something bisected them in half, sending waves of snow up into the air. A blue figure rested at the end of a long trail of destruction, dazed from a blow. Noka shook his head free of the white powder and got to his feet, wiping the snow off his clothes. The yeti was now facing his direction in a pose that appeared as though it had thrown a punch.

"Wow, its reaction time is stupidly disproportionate to its movement speed." Wally plainly stated.

"It countered Noka's blitz but it still can't see-tactical retreat!" Brendan declared, sending the guild members to run away around the side of the HQ. Hurried feet pounded against the snow and churned the white landscape into a mash of powdery dunes. Lenz brought up the back with Cor and Giroux, constantly seeking a clear shot of the monster's head. Firing several rounds directly at the "W" in Welcome, the auburn haired soldier watched as every bullet was dodged in a haphazard, jerking motion.

"Hey, so gun's are useless." Lenz caught up with Cor and Giroux as the group rounded the corner of HQ.

"Great-wait, try the four-nine." Cor handed him her sidearm in a fluid motion. Lenz disappeared momentarily as the entire magazine was emptied.

"Yeah, low-velocity rounds don't work either." Lenz caught back up and handed the pistol back. "So you're completely outta mana, huh?" Lenz matched pace next to Giroux and asked.

"Yeah. And I'm carrying this guy so..." Giroux looked down at the sleeping Abra.

"I can hold him so you can fight." Lenz offered.

"That's the thing, he's holding *me* more than I'm holding *him*. He has a deathgrip on me." Giroux clarified by exposing Abra's hands. They were clutching at his shirt and grabbing underneath at the flesh.


"Yeah. I can just about feel my skin turning purple from lack of blood flow there."

"He's been waiting to see Noka for so long, he'd probably let go if you told him he was here."

"He is passed out now. I don't know what did it, but right after everyone started yelling he went into complete coma mode." Giroux motioned as to show that even though he was running around the HQ, Abra was fast asleep regardless of the movement.

"My god, all it takes to nullify you is a clingy five-year-old incubus." Lenz spoke as though he had an epiphany.