Resident Evil 4: The Novelization, by L. Loire.

Author's note: This is a novelization of the game released on the Nintendo GameCube and the PlayStation 2. I do not own any of the characters contained in this novelization—all those belong to Capcom. For you faithful readers of this story, you may notice some discrepancies between game and story—for example; I am not going to write about useless things like finding treasures or all the documents in the game. I also may change some of the dialogue found in the game or some aspects of the plot to make it a little more coherent. This is a novel, not a strategy guide. If you're looking for a game walkthrough, buy one or go to GameFAQs. On that note, please read and enjoy!

Prologue: Six Years On

1998…

I'll never forget it. It was the year when these grisly murders occurred in the Arklay Mountains. Soon after, the news was out to the whole world revealing that it was the fault of a secret viral experiment conducted by the international pharmaceutical enterprise, Umbrella. The virus broke out in a nearby mountain community, Raccoon City, and hit the peaceful little town with a devastating blow, crippling its very foundation. Not taking any chances, the President of the United States ordered a contingency plan--to sterilize Raccoon City. With the whole affair gone public, the United States government issued an indefinite suspension of business decree to Umbrella. Soon its stock prices crashed and for all intents and purposes Umbrella was finished.

Six years had passed since that horrendous incident...

The car rolled along the dirt road, seemingly stretching on for miles and miles on end. Lively Spanish music was playing on the car radio, attempting to break up the monotony of this dreary place, but not doing well enough. Leon S. Kennedy just looked lazily out the window in his back seat, looking at the barren trees, the browned and dead leaves, and the grey, overcast sky which made the area seem totally dead. The two persons up front were local police, passing some small conversation in their native Spanish.

I received special training via a secret organization, working under the direct control of the President. I was to assume the responsibility of protecting the new President's family.

The cop in the passenger seat turned and looked at his partner, a small grin playing across his face, chuckling.

"Why am I the one who always gets the short end of the stick?"

The second cop, the driver, chuckled in response. He looked at his rearview mirror so he could get a glimpse of Leon.

"Yo, who are you really?" he asked, glancing back toward the road. "Come on and tell us."

Leon let out a dry chuckle.

"You are a long way from home, cowboy," he continued. "You have my sympathies."

Leon's features turned into a sarcastic half-smile. "Guess that's a local's way of breaking the ice. Besides, you already know what this is all about. My assignment is to search for the President's missing daughter."

"What, all by yourself?" the first cop asked, chuckling.

"I'm sure you boys didn't just tag along so we could sing Kumbaya together at some Boy Scout jamboree," Leon replied. "Then again, maybe you did."

The driver scoffed and looked up at Leon again. "Oh, you crazy American. It's a direct order from the Chief himself. I tell you it's no picnic."

"I'm counting on you guys," said Leon.

"Stop here," said the passenger cop. Leon went back to looking lazily outside at the dreary day as the car slowed to a stop. The passenger stepped out, took a few steps off to the side of the road and stood there for a second. Seconds later, the sound of urine hitting the dirt became audible.

It was right before I was to take on my duties of protecting the President's daughter when she was abducted. Ashley Graham, her name. Young girl, no more than 19 or 20, pretty, nabbed right of her college. That's the ultimate reason I'm in this lonely and rural part of Europe. According to our intelligence, there's reliable information of a sighting of a girl that looks very similar to the President's daughter. Apparently she's being withheld by some unidentified group of people. Who would have thought my first job would be a rescue mission?

As the cop continued to pee, Leon noticed a fog beginning to settle in the area. It was early winter in this part of Europe, a bit cold. Leon was wearing his dark brown leather jacket to compensate for the elements. In the meantime, the driver pulled out a pack of cigarettes and held them up in offering to Leon, to which he shook his head and waved them off. He was teamed up with these two officers, best in the field, he was told. Hopefully this wouldn't take too long. He hadn't been here long, and just the dismal atmosphere was getting him depressed.

The kidnapper's motives are still unknown, although there's reliable information that the perpetrator is an insider. Only a handful of people know about this kidnapping--it's been kept under wraps mostly due to the fact that we can't determine who the traitor is. The guys in Intelligence say they have reliable information that Ashley's been sighted somewhere in Europe--but until we find out who the insider is, I don't know what to believe. It could be a ploy. We have very few leads as to the whereabouts of Ashley, but members of the Secret Service and anyone else related to Ashley are being questioned by an investigative team. Even active agents are being investigated for any information. It's just a matter of time before the kidnapper is exposed.

"Damn, it's freezing," the cop said, barely audible. He zipped himself up. "So cold all of a sudden." A sound of leaves rustling nearby caught his attention, and he leaned his head in the direction of the sound. He looked around quickly, then shrugged it off. "Ah, must be my imagination."

The cop, now relieved, got back into the car. "Sorry it took so long. Let's go."

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The car crossed a rickety, wooden bridge. To Leon's slight surprise, the bridge held the weight of the car. He was half-expecting the bridge to collapse—it had looked ancient and ready to break at any moment. As soon as the car crossed the bridge, it pulled over to the side and stopped.

The passenger officer turned to Leon. "Just up ahead is the village."

Leon opened the door and began to step out. "I'll go and have a look around."

"We'll stay and watch the car," the driver began. "Don't want to get any parking tickets."

Leon looked at the driver in suspended disbelief. "Right…parking tickets."

"Good luck," the passenger said. "If you need us, just radio us."

As Leon began to walk down the road, he was beginning to have doubts about his two partners. "Geez, who are these guys?" he muttered to himself.

"Did you say something?" asked the driver.

Leon pretended he didn't hear him and continued walking down the road. He only made it about fifty feet when he heard his radio beep, indicating an incoming call. Taking the radio from the leg holster, he turned it on. It was a GRVT visual radio, allowing him to see the person who was calling as well as communicating. On the screen was a woman, light brown complexion, looked to be in her early twenties. Her dark brown hair was pulled back as a headset spanned her head. She wore a pair of glasses, which seemed to suit her business-like appearance. She wore a black business suit over a white, v-necked collared shirt. She looked good.

"Leon, I hope you can hear me," she began. "I'm Ingrid Hunnigan. I'll be your support on this mission."

"So now I put the name to the face," Leon replied. "Yeah, I can hear you loud and clear. Somehow, I thought you'd be a little older."

She smirked.

"So the subject is Ashley Graham, right?" he asked.

"That's right. She's the daughter of the President." A small, barely noticeable grin played about her lips. "So try and behave yourself, okay?"

He scoffed. "Whoever this group is, they sure picked the wrong girl to kidnap."

"I'll see if I can find more information about this group from my end as well," she replied.

"Good. I'll talk to you later. Leon out."

Holstering his radio, he moved further down the road and made out a house in the near distance, less than a hundred yards away.

Rundown looking place…

While the building looked intact, he noticed some wood nailed in a few spots on the roof, a window that had been boarded up…he began to wonder if anyone even lived there. Next to the door was a window with blinds, although he could see a few openings in them. Beside the house was an old, beat-up truck. The door was open, from what he saw. He walked up the small stairs and peered inside. It was dark inside, the walls looking brown and decayed from years of exposure to the elements and neglect. Slowly he walked further in, taking out his handgun just in case. The entry room took a turn to the right. The sounds of a fire crackling invaded his ears.

Maybe…?

As he turned the corner, he ended up in a dining area. A table and chairs were set up in the middle, and he saw a man bent over tending to a roaring fire in his fireplace. Leon holstered his gun and took a few more steps toward the man. Hoping the man understood English, he attempted communication.

"Uh, excuse me, sir?"

Still bent over, he turned his head toward Leon. Maybe it was the firelight, but the man looked homely indeed. His face was unnaturally pale, his short, curly hair unkempt.

Leon reached behind to his back pocket and pulled out a photograph of the girl, showing a smiling Ashley—long, blond hair, a nice, white round face, and bright hazel eyes. "I was wondering if you might recognize the girl in this photograph."

The man stood up from his fire and glared at him angrily.

"¿Qué carajo haces aquí¡Lárgate, cabrón!"

Not particularly the idea Leon had in mind. He raised his hands as if to gesture 'take it easy' to the man, and began to walk back toward the exit, pocketing the photo. He heard the sound of metal scraping against the floor, then heard quickened footsteps barreling down on him. Leon turned around quickly just in time to see the man give out a loud yell, accompanied by an axe being swung at his head. He dove out of the way, missing by inches as the blade swung overhead. He scrambled to his feet and put a few feet between him and the crazy person. He pulled out his gun and aimed it toward the slowly advancing man.

"Freeze!" Leon ordered. Nothing. "I said, FREEZE!"

Again, to no avail.

I warned you.

He opened fire, sending three rounds into the man's chest at point-blank range. Blood spurted out the back where the bullets exited his body. He dropped his axe and fell to the ground, collapsing at Leon's feet, unmoving. His radio beeped again, startling the former R.P.D. cop. Quickly, he turned it on, seeing Hunnigan on the video screen once again.

"Leon, is everything okay?" She asked, her features showing worry. "I just got a distress call from one of your partners. Said they heard gunfire."

"There was a hostile local," he replied calmly. "I had no choice but to neutralize him."

"Get out of there and head toward the village. It's a little further down the path. Take whatever measures necessary to save the subject."

"Understood. Leon out."

Seconds later, he heard the sound of a vehicle's engine coming to life. Peeling off, Leon ran toward the window and looked out from a hole in the blinds. The truck that was sitting on the side of the house was tearing up the road, going as fast as it could toward the parked car with the two officers.

Oh, SHIT!

Coming from the doorway, he heard the angry cries of a few more of the locals as they made their way toward the house. He ran toward towards the door and saw three men coming up the stairwell, one with a pitchfork, another with another axe, and one with a small knife.

Great, the welcoming committee…

He aimed for the head of the closest one, the one with the pitchfork, and fired. These guys meant business, and right now, he was sorely outnumbered. The first shot tore straight through the head, and he quickly brought his hand up to his face, screaming in pain as blood coursed down his hand. He fired another, and suddenly the head exploded, sending pieces of skin, blood, and bone everywhere, splattering on the man just behind him, coming up the stairs.

What the hell?

Off in the distance, he heard the sounds of screaming followed by gunfire, immediately followed by the sound of metal crunching and glass breaking. Leon kicked the villager as he was coming up the small stairs, toppling him onto the one behind. Suddenly, he heard the sounds of pained screams, then two loud splashes.

NO!

He opened fire again as the two were getting back up, each handgun bullet cleanly slicing through them as if they were nothing. Six more rounds followed before the two of them were dispatched. As soon as they were down, he ran back toward the wooden bridge where the officers' car had just been, hoping that he'd find that they had survived the drop. That hope began to sink when he saw the black smoke rising from the river beneath. When he arrived at the edge of the embankment, he looked down, only to see two wrecked cars side by side, black smoke pouring from the underside of the totaled officers' car.

Damn it! Who the hell are these people?

He stood there for a few more seconds, taking it all in. He was completely alone here, alone in nowhere. Name probably didn't even exist on a map. However, he discovered that he worked best by himself, and so, he'd have to do so again.

Why am I getting a feeling of déjà vu?

Resigned to his fate, he did the only thing he could do—he turned around and walked down the road again, wondering what the hell he was about to get himself into after an introduction like that.

Adios, mi amigos.

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END OF PROLOGUE. So, how do you like the opening? Let me know with a review. Look for Chapter One soon.