Summary: (Three-shot) There are times when one must do whatever they can to survive. There are times when one must protect another with their life... and then there are times when one must choose. It is a choice that will try even the best of friends.
Spoilers: I highly advise that you not read this unless you have made it past Mt. Roneal (first time around).
A/N: Another one of those odd urges at night spurred on this. Honestly, in the game, they could've done so much more with this certain situation…
Though this isn't my best work, I hope the next two chapters will more than make up for this starting one.
The sound of gun shots rang through the vast snow covered mountain range, the clash of blades and shouts close in its wake. A fierce battle ensued on the plains of the Roneal mountains, which seemed to quell after the shrill cry of a fallen girl. Then, however, it was too late to retract the trigger—the bullet had been shot, as smoke trickled from the searing barrel.
Although, to say it was actually rather frosty would in fact be an understatement.
When all three of the God-Generals appeared incapacitated, for the moment, anyway, Tear took her eyes off them to look up the side of the mountain. Her battled hardened eyes quickly filled fear as she exclaimed, "Our battle has triggered an avalanche!"
"Everyone!" Jade commanded as the snow surged towards them. "Get—"
White flooded their vision.
Jade was the first to regain consciousness… as far as he knew, anyway. Covered in an icy quilt of snow, he immediately began trying to work his way out, he'd count his blessings for merely surviving such an avalanche later. Time was of the essence as, he knew from living in the snow covered city of Keterburg, there were very few pockets of air beneath many feet of snow.
Ice crystals clung harmlessly to his hair and apparel, his glasses completely coated with the icy water it had melted into. It wasn't that he necessarily needed to be able to see through the lenses, but rather he found them increasingly bothersome as he tried to distinguish white from off-white. That alone could determine whether he would escape, or simply continue to meander within the drift.
Still… the watery blurs were driving him insane, bit by bit…
…Well, more insane than the Necromancer could stand to be, anyway.
Jade continued to scrape his way through to what he assumed to be the top. The snow only looked increasingly darker as he went on, so either he was headed in the wrong direction, or simply there was a lot of snow until he could reach the top.
He sighed, ending his dig. "This is inefficient."
Closing his eyes, he concentrated deeply, sorting through the air as one would when shifting for gold. His gold, however, was the fifth fonon—fire particles, in other words. Sixth fonons would work as well, but fire melts ice faster than light, and the faster, the better.
Finally, Jade felt he had gathered the necessary amount and cast.
Luckily for Guy, he had tumbled down with the avalanche sustaining only a few bumps and bruises and had managed to avoid getting trapped beneath the many layers of ice. Unfortunately, not everyone in their group had such a stroke of luck, as he grimly discovered when he arose from his spot. Atop the drift, he wasn't that cold, but those whose who got trapped below…
Guy shivered at the thought.
Working quickly, he began softly calling their names, "Luke? Tear! Natalia, Jade, Anise? Someone! Can you hear me?" Using his hands, he shoveled through the snow. Not even faltering as the ice cut time and time again through his raw flesh beneath his thin gloves.
He stopped. A muffled voice called out from beneath the drift. It was faint, but he could tell from the urgency nestled in their voice that they weren't dying, at the least.
"Where are you?" he asked, scanning the white around him. "Just keep talking, alright?"
Treading silently so their voice was still audible, Guy followed the voice until it led him to a bank of powder near the ledge where their battle had taken place. He set to work digging through the snow as fast as his arms would move. Soon enough, a white hand grabbed his tightly. "I can't move!" they pleaded. "Help me up!"
He nodded as he gripped their hand with both of his, then—after assuring his footing—pulled with all his strength that remained after their battle. He could feel them slowly easing their way free of the snow's grip. Shortly after, another hand surfaced, grasping the edge of their crumbling embankment. Guy went to take hold of their other hand, but felt himself stop as his eyes trailed the white of the glove leading him to see the tan and gold behind it.
It was Tear.
In his moment of realization, he almost let his hand slip out of hers. Limbs now shaking, he steeled himself and gripped her hands tightly once more. Sure, he had helped Anise in her moment of need, but Tear was something completely different. He knew this in his own mind, but still his body felt the need to remind him as he began to quiver more than ever.
"Not… now…" he reminded himself through clenched teeth. All he had to do was free her from the snow… simple.
With one more tug, he managed to pull her top half out from her bitter prison.
She cleared the strands of icy hair from her vision and slipped out clumsily. "Th-thank you, Guy." She sputtered.
By this time, Natalia had handled herself quite well and poked her head over the surface, as if coming up for air from a pool. She shook her head free of the icy crystals and broke free of the snow.
Once she finished wiping the stray snow from her uniform, Tear looked to Guy and asked, "Do you know if everyone else is alright?"
"No," he said, still recovering from his bout of tremors. "You and Natalia are the only ones I've—"
The ice adjacent to Guy was strewn into the air as the ground they stood on seemed to melt a couple inches. A few moments later, Jade climbed out of the miniature snow geyser he had created, sopping wet and very irritated.
"Tear, Guy, Natalia…" he counted.
"Don't forget me!" Mieu exclaimed shrilly, bursting out of Tear's item bag.
"…We're missing Anise and Luke." Jade stated, ignoring the Cheagle's interruption.
Tear nodded, shifting through the snow with her eyes. "Yes, they have to be around here somewhere… I hope,"
Carefully, he walked over to the edge of the ridge they'd fallen on, observing what lay below them with a solemn look. "…Or they could've fallen beyond this protrusion down to the…" he cut himself off—they weren't to be found here. He turned back to them, red eyes bleak. "…Let's search through his mound a bit, and remember to keep your voices low."
Tear looked away. Luke and Anise had plunged down the mountainside along with Arietta, Largo and Major Legretta…
It would be a miracle if any of them survived.