Chapter Three: Blood Lust and Turkeys
It was by no great manner of effort that they managed to locate Yuffie after a run about the entire town. Vincent's team had spotted the young ninja racing toward the north end of town in a hurry. She had a head start on the trio but they were moving in swiftly behind her. Of course, they lost track of her the moment they got there and it took some investigation and Red XIII's fine sense of smell before they were able to discover the well had a secret passage. They had hoped they were going to be able to corner her in the hidden room but it would seem she had already been captured by another.
Vincent didn't know anything about Don Corneo but the disgust in Tifa's voice when she saw him was enough for them to know that he was trouble. He apparently had skilled henchmen that were qualified enough to not only capture Yuffie but also the blonde Turk they had encountered in the bar. The trio didn't know how she ended up there but they didn't have time to ask questions either. A short fight was ensued that the three were able to easily take care of; however, it was long enough for Don to disappear with the women.
As they stepped back out side, the first thing they saw was Reno and Rude standing outside looking positively pissed. They apparently realized their fellow Turk was captured to. "The slippery little weasel got away." Reno looked more than a little aggravated before turned toward Vincent and the other two. "That bastard Don got one of yours too?"
"He has Yuffie. We have to go after them." Tifa stated and shivered at the idea of what would happen to their young team mate if they didn't find her.
"Well, I don't have to tell you what will happen if we don't find them, yo."
"Hmm, are you suggesting we team up?" Red XIII was the first to pose the question.
"Don't get me wrong, yo. I don't like you assholes anymore then you like us. But Elena is a rookie and our responsibility. We'll do what's necessary to get her back."
"Even working with the enemy." Rude added.
"…What do you think, Vincent?" Tifa asked the gunman.
Vincent wasn't sure why she was asking his opinion on the matter. He was the newest member after Cid. From what he had seen, Cloud, Barret, and Tifa tended to be the people that the other's looked to for direction and leadership. Vincent always…followed. It was easier to just follow someone else then take an active role in the decision making. It was probably why he had been a good Turk – he could follow orders.
"Red XIII, head back into town and find the rest of the team, let them know what happened."
"Hmm, will you two be alright with… these two?" The beast eyed the two Turks.
"Got our word on being Turks that we're at a ceasefire until we get our people back." Reno stated as he brushed a hand through his hair smoothly.
Vincent merely nodded in response to Red XIII, "They'll keep their word." If the Turks were anything like they were almost thirty years ago, then Vincent could trust they wouldn't turn on them until they had Elena back into their ranks.
"Very well, I shall find the others." Red XIII gave one last glance to the small group before he took off back into town in an attempt to find the others.
"Well then. Rude mentioned he saw some men rushing toward the mountains. They probably headed there."
"Alright. We'll all search there and inform each other if we find something." Tifa offered.
"Tsk. If y'think I'm gonna risk Lena to you rescue efforts, y'gotta another thing coming to ya babe." Tifa scowled at the word but Reno either ignored it or didn't notice, "We'll head in together. Gotta make sure you all aren't willing to sacrifice her to get your ninja back. I imagine the feelings mutual."
"We're wasting time." Vincent stated and without a declaration of whether he was accepting the Turks into their ranks temporarily or not, he proceeded forward without further comment.
The three hung back a moment and Reno rubbing his chin thoughtfully before he glanced back toward Tifa. "What's his story, babe?"
"None of your business. Also don't call me that." She stated before she moved to catch up to Vincent.
"Reno…" Rude started.
The redhead shrugged his shoulders, "Yeah, I know partner. Lets get this over with."
To say the climb on the Da Chao Mountains was easy would be a lie. To say the atmosphere in the group was comfortable would be as well. Neither side liked one another; although, Vincent seemed indifferent to everyone in general. There apparently was numerous caves located on the mountains for Don to hide in. What was more difficult was the hard terrain made it difficult for tracks to be left behind. Finding any indication of where one individual went was tough and made the search slow.
Tifa felt somewhat out of place in the group even with Vincent there. The two Turks and Vincent all had the skillsets to properly track people and it was more evident in the way of how they all moved and observed things. Rude was the first one to find the first indication of Corneo's trail but it took them a long while before the ground found the next indication that was located by Vincent. The discovery was somewhat of a surprise between the two Turks as they hadn't noticed the light depression of earth between two slabs of stone to indicate the partial footprint that was there.
"How the hell did that fat ass even climb this." Reno stated forty minutes into their climb. The sun was still burning high above them and made the climb even more difficult with the heat. Tifa felt fortunate that she was wearing such light clothing but the Turks were in suits and working up a sweat. Vincent was in layers and she couldn't even tell if the heat bothered him.
They started to climb toward the western side of the mountains, toward the carved faces when Vincent suddenly stopped and held up his hand to signal everyone else to follow suit. The Turks were quick to follow the order and Vincent started giving silent orders towards the with his hand. Tifa wasn't exactly sure what was being communicated and she wasn't sure the Turks were either. They exchanged a questioning glance at one another as though they were uncertain; however, they seemed to understand because a moment later the two separated to spread out. Reno's electro-Rod was pulled out and Rude slipped on his gloves.
Vincent's own weapon was removed from his holster before he turned toward Tifa and gestured toward the large rock formation ahead of them. She gathered that someone was there and nodded her head in understanding. Vincent took aim at the wall and fired his shot into the small valley. Above them a half dozen men dressed in black jumped out and sprung toward them. They were the Don's men and trained ninjas themselves by the looks of things.
Tifa had to be quick on her feet to dodge the bladed stars from digging into her flesh. More gunshots followed to her right that indicated that Vincent was firing his gun. She was quick to dodge swipes and moved to make her own attacks. Her enemy seemed just as agile as they ducked from blows she attempted to deliver.
"Slippery fuckers, yo." She could hear Reno comment off to the side.
Three more came out of hiding to join the fray, adding to the original six. Tifa only noticed them a fraction too late as a swift kick was delivered to the side of her face and sent her sprawling to he ground. She felt her arm gripped roughly and pulled back to her feet by Rude. "Thanks." She mumbled as wiped the back of her hand against her face. The bald Turk merely gave a short nod in response before turning his back to her. She turned away from him as well to protect his back. "We're outnumbered here." She stated.
"…You practice the Zangan style." Rude stated.
"You know of it?"
"Studied. Don't practice it. Pair up?" Tifa nodded her head. At this moment they had to do something to push back the advantage. Even Vincent seemed to have trouble shooting them. They were quick on their feet and dodging his shots while keeping him on the move with their own projectiles.
One of Don's men launched themselves into the air toward them. "Lift." Rude commanded before he hunched down. Tifa reacted on instinct and launched herself forward and as her feet landed on Rude's shoulders, the large man jolted himself upright to add to her next jump, propelling the woman forward quickly. It was enough to catch Don's man off guard as she landed her knee right into his chest. She used her momentum to spin around the ninja to appear behind him before she sent him crashing back down with a heel kick. Rude was there waiting for him and rammed a powerful punch into the fighter before he could fully hit the ground that sent him flying off the ridge and down them mountain.
Tifa landed behind Rude and the pair exchanged a nod with one another before deciding they could fight efficiently as a pair.
"Whoa! Go Rude. You the man!" Reno stated as he flashed his partner a thumbs up. A kick drove into his stomach a moment later as he was seemingly caught off guard; however, his free hand grasped the fighter's leg. "Finally yo," He commented with a smirk. The ninja attempted to jump kick him in the head with his free leg, but the redhead shoved him back to toss him off balance. He stumbled but it was all Reno needed in order to close the gap and shove the tip of his rod at the fighter before activating the Taser. The ninja dropped to the ground once the rod was finished discharging. "Glad I got this upgraded." Reno announced joyfully.
"…You're welcome." Rude stated from his location
"Looks like we're even. Both got one.
"Losing." Rude stated before he gestured toward Vincent. There were three of Corneo's henchmen lying dead at his feet
"Damn." Reno stated before he charged toward another lackey. The four that remained gathered back toward and jumped back onto higher ridge and Reno stopped his charge. "Think they're giving up?" They disappeared behind the ridge and the Turks and AVALANCE drew back together. "Looks like they're giving up." Reno stated smugly.
Immediately after his comment there was a loud roar that was anything but human. Followed by the sound of wings flapping. Flying down toward them was a large wyvern. "…Not retreating." Rude commented as he lowered his sunglasses slightly to look at the approaching beast without his shades.
"Shit, did Corneo get a new pet?" Reno stated.
"Ideas?" Tifa questioned.
"…Kill it." Vincent stated before he reloaded his firearm, took aim, and started shooting at the beast. The thick hide on the wyvern seemed to prevent his bullets from penetrating it. It swooped down at the group, causing everyone to scatter to get out of the way.
"I can't attack it unless it's grounded." Tifa stated. "Wish we had our materia."
"Why the hell don't you have materia, yo?" Reno questioned as though the idea were absurd.
"Yuffie stole all of it."
"…Peachy." Reno activated his Lightning materia and shot Bolt 2 at the dragon. It shrieked but remained airborne.
"Made it mad." Rude stated.
"Wanted to make it dead." Rapps pulled steadied itself before it's head jolted forward to release a burst of typhoon winds at the Turk. "Shit." He was blown off his feet and Rude managed to stop him from being blown clear off the mountain side. Vincent continued to take shots off with his firearm in hopes of breaking through the hide.
The wyvern produced another Aero 3 directed at Vincent's and the Ex-Turk found him smacking against the cliff face, momentarily stunned. Tifa rushed toward him to help. Predatory instincts ignited into the flying beast and the sight of a downed prey propelled it down, ready to snatch it up.
"You alright Vincent?" Tifa questioned as she grabbed his arm and tried to pull him to his feet. The Ex-Turk glanced up and saw the beast's approach. He shoved the martial artist to the side and raised his gun once more to continue firing. Talons dug into his side, penetrating clothing and flesh. He hissed but kept firing his gun as he was carried into the air. "Vincent!" Tifa called out to him.
"Well, shit. What now?" Reno questioned as their party member seemed trapped by the beast. It's long neck craned down to snap its mouth onto the rifle and rip it out of his grasp. Vincent dug his gauntlet into the fiend's ankle, causing it to shriek and release its hold on the man. Vincent nearby, bloodied and his cloak more ragged and torn then before.
Another Bolt 2 spell was produced from Reno followed closely by a Fire 2 spell from Rude as the Turks did their best to damage the beast with materia. "Vincent?" Tifa turned him over onto his back and covered her mouth. The lacerations on his side were deep and blood was flowing freely. He seemed unconscious. "Oh my god. We need to get you out of here." The gunman's eyes opened with a start, "Vincent! You're awake. Hold still. You're hurt."
He growled in response. A sound that seemed so uncanny it couldn't be human. "Vincent…?" His form started to convulse as bloodlust seemed to overpower his senses. The woman stepped away from him, uncertain to what was going on. He started to stand to his feet, however, he remained hunched over. The smell of blood in the air triggering some deep desire he didn't even know was buried inside. The smell of blood fueled the wyvern's predatory instincts and it started to break away from its attack on the Turks to head toward Vincent once more.
The sound of bones cracking and popping were only deafened by the sudden howl that was shot from Vincent's mouth. His cloak seemed to swim around him, obstructing all view of him as a dark cloud surrounded him. "What the hell is going on, yo?"
"I…I don't know." Tifa said frightened as she continued to back away.
The wyvern neared but before it could finish its descent, a new beast leapt from the dark cloud that Vincent had once been standing in to meet it's charge. The Galian Beast's claws ripped into the hide of the wyvern's chest and continued to attack in a berserk frenzy. When the wyvern attempted to bite the beast with it's powerful jaw, the Galian Beast leapt to the left wing and tore a large gash before it fell to its decent with the wyvern in tow.
"The hell is that…?"
"Did that spooky bastard actually turn into a monster?"
"I… I don't know. I didn't know he could do that but.. Vincent's not here anymore." Tifa stated as she watched the Galian Beast land on its feet. The Wyvern had attempted to slow it's descent but its landing was far less graceful. It was downed but not out. It stood up on its feet once more to square off against the beast that downed it. The two monsters roared at one another before the Galian Beast made another leap for the wyvern. The grounded flier swung its head and smacked the beast away and into the cliff face harshly.
"Come on! It's down now. We can take it!" Tifa told the two Turks before she rushed toward the dragon.
"She serious?" Reno complained.
"Unfortunately." Rude responded as he adjusted his sunglasses.
"Well, that spooky bastard better not turn around and eat us in the process." Reno stated as he rushed toward Rapps as well.
Restricted to the ground, the wyvern had very little mobility against the fighters. The advantage turned toward the group of fighters. A constant onslaught of spells from the Turks kept the beast at bay and distracted to allow Tifa to pummel the creature with clawed gloves. But it was the beast that once had been Vincent that laid the wyvern to rest as claws and teeth tore apart the neck of it's opponent.
A final blood curdling shriek filled the air as the wyvern finally fell to the attack by the fighters.
The Galian Beast stood upon the carcass of its adversary as the winning creature. The swell of blood rushed to its senses, feeding its lust for the hunt renewed. The beast's gaze shifted from the dead reptile to the trio that fought beside it. The three stood guarded as though it turning on them became truly a possibility. It stepped off the carcass and cried out while its form became enveloped into darkness once more.
Vincent's cloaked form appeared once more sprawled out on the ground, unconscious.
"Got it. He's some kind of god damn werewolf." Reno stated as though it suddenly dawned on him.
"No full moon."
"Got a better idea what the hell just happened, partner?"
"Then he's a god damn werewolf."