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Chapter ten: Settling the score

The vampire remained completely still, unsure of what to do. Outside the number of explosions was dwarfed by the number of gunshots, meaning the X-men were losing their fight.

"Fangs, you take Mystique, I've got the steel squid" Wolverine called, leaping to his feet, extending his claws and running at the Russian. Hellblade heard footsteps behind and immediately held a scimitar out by his side

"Absolutely not, you're in no shape to be fighting anyone" he told X-23 sternly

"Come on, I'm fine, I can take him" she complained, Hellblade sighed

"Fine but play nice, don't pull any blows, make it quick and clean" he told her, lowering the blade and seeing her charge at Omega Red

"They grow up so fast don't they?" Mystique sneered mockingly, morphing her hands into blades and running at the vampire, who drew his other scimitar and responded in kind. The two met near the middle of the cell and locked blades, Mystiques bladed appendages blocked by Hellblade's scimitars as each one struggled to overpower the other

"Why did you do it? Why did you hand me over to Weapon X?" he asked her as he slowly gained the upper hand, she was much stronger than he thought she'd be

"The same reason you've killed over a thousand people. Money. It was nothing personal, just good business" she replied, forcing his scimitar blades downwards

Mystique pushed her bladed hands downwards, along the edge of Hellblade's swords. They slid up and over the hilts and started to cut through Hellblade's shirt and into his chest. Hellblade let out a soft cry of pain as Mystique moved her blades to impale the vampire through the chest, point first

"Looks like I win" she said triumphantly

"Maybe, but look what you've done" he responded, Mystique then realised. She'd impaled the vampire with both her blades while his hands were still free, and they both had very sharp weapons in them.

Before Mystique could blink the scimitars were raised upwards then they plunged down, opening deep wounds in both sides of Mystiques abdomen. Hellblade let out a cry of victory but Mystique just shook her head. Almost immediately the blue flesh that had been cut started to stretch and the wounds began to fill, after only a few seconds they'd vanished, completely healed

"I learnt a few tricks from Apocalypse" she told him, enjoying the look of surprise on his face, Hellblade realised his revenge would be a lot harder to get then he'd previously thought

Meanwhile Weapon X and his clone were wrapped up in battle with Omega Red. The Russian super-soldier had extended both tentacles and was swinging them around like a pair of flails, X-23 back flipped out of the path of one tentacle, which cracked the solid concrete floor of the cell exactly where she'd stood seconds before. At the same time Wolverine came at the HYDRA agent, extending his claws and slicing at the tentacle. As they connected he felt his claws touch the tentacle and then slid down it, pulling back he saw there was only a faint scratch on the metal

"Adamantium, a gift from HYDRA, quite surprising isn't it American?" he sneered, lashing out with the other tentacle which slammed into Wolverines midriff. Wolverines face contorted in pain for a second before he grabbed the tentacle, pinning it in place

"First of all, I'm Canadian and second, I bet when HYDRA gave you those they didn't make them shock proof" he replied, grabbing the spike like tentacle end and jabbing it into a circuit box in the wall. The Russian let out a scream of pain as electricity danced down the tentacle and racked his body. Wolverine was thankful his uniform came with insulated gloves

Outside Cyclops felled another HYDRA footsoldier with a well placed blast and shattered the weapon of another. Fathom and Rogue were sporting bullet wounds and Cypher was lying on the floor, a nasty purple bruise on the side of his head. Clapping his hands to his ears he watched as Illustrati's newly drawn sonic gun brought the nearby HYDRA soldiers to their knees, but saw yet more HYDRA forces flooding down the hallway

'Logan, whatever's keeping you in there, you'd better get done soon, we can't hold these guys off much longer' he thought grimly, firing another energy blast

Inside the cell X-23 paused as Omega Red writhed in agony from the electric shock, enjoying seeing one of her old tormentors suffering. Suddenly Omega Red levelled his gaze at her, his eyes wild with pain and rage, she thought she could see tiny lightning bolts dancing across his pupils as his other tentacle shot out, wrapping itself around X-23s left arm and more importantly, her adamantium claws.

When Wolverine saw what Omega Red was doing he moved to help but the tentacle he was holding was yanked out of his grip and driven into the side of his head, which hit the wall with a sickening crack. He went limp and slid to the floor, blood leaking from both ears and a large dark blue bruise on his temple. Then Omega Red drove the tentacle back into the circuit box, too full of hatred for the clone to care what Lady hydra would say when she found out she was dead

X-23s screams reached both Hellblade and Mystique, Hellblade took advantage of the distraction to knock Mystiques bladed hands aside and slash her across the abdomen and left leg, she dropped to the floor, al tendons in her left leg cut and lay there, looking up at Hellblade

The vampire raised both scimitars up, their tips pointing at Mystique's heart and was about to bring them down when he saw X-23 screaming in pain and hacking at the tentacle wrapped around her arm, trying to cut if off but barely even scratching it

"Looks like you've got a real dilemma haven't you vampire?" she said mockingly, pale blue blood tricking from her mouth. She shifted into Hellblade

"You can either get your revenge and let her die" she shifted into X-23

"Or you can save her and spare me" she resumed her normal form

"So Hellblade, what's it gonna be?" she asked him. His eyes narrowed and the scimitars came down, Mystique closed her eyes and heard two dull thuds

Opening them she saw she wasn't dead and that Hellblade had buried his blades on either side of her, in the concrete floor of the cell. Yanking them back out he ran at Omega Red and grabbed the tentacle embedded in the circuit box. He ignored the immense pain from the electric shock and pulled as hard as he could and the tentacle was torn from the box. Omega Red cursed in Russian and tried to pull the tentacle out of Hellblade's grasp but Hellblade refused to budge

Drawing on of his scimitars Hellblade sent it spinning through the air towards the Russian war machine, it hit his head with a clang and Omega Reds world went black as he dropped face first to the ground. Hellblade stepped over the motionless Russian and ran to X-23

"I told you you weren't ready for a fight yet" he scolded, unwrapping the tentacle entangled in her claws and picking up the tiny bomb that had dropped off X-23 after she'd been shocked

"I could have beat him, you didn't need to get involved" she replied, they both smiled and X-23 wrapped her arms around him

"Thank you for saving me" she whispered

"It's my fault you ended up here in the first place" he told her, breaking away

"Like you always said, it's nothing personal, just business, I know Dr Risman didn't blame you either" she said

"You…you know?" he asked, his voice barely above a whisper, she nodded

"Come on, let's get out of here, I never want to see this place, or HYDRA, ever again for as long as I live" he said, helping her up

Suddenly Hellblade felt something clamp onto his right hand, looking down his eyes widened when he saw what it was. HYDRAs tiny explosive device had re-activated and was now attached to him!

The wall behind them both exploded and a familiar figure stepped forwards. Lady Hydra laughed evilly as she brushed dust and chips of stone from her uniform

"You X-men are becoming a major thorn in our side, almost as big a one as SHEILD. And don't think your betrayal will go unpunished Hellblade, consider this your severance payment" she told them, producing the small controller form earlier and pressing a button on it. Hellblade heard a small beeping sound and knew what was going to happen in a few seconds time

"Take care of yourself Laura, and never become what HYDRA tried to make you, ever" he told her before running forwards, putting as much distance between them as possible, and getting as close to Lady Hydra as he could

"HELLBLADE NO!" X-23 cried as the bomb on his left hand detonated, the vampire disappearing in a ball of fire and smoke

"NOOOOOO!" X-23 screamed, sinking to her knees, her eyes filling with tears

"Looks like he wasn't immortal after all" Lady Hydra gloated. X-23 looked up at her, murderous rage blazing in her eyes as her hand claws extended, intending to make Lady Hydra pay dearly for what she'd just done

Lady Hydra took another few steps forward, bringing her pistol to bear on the clone

"Now now, your mother and the closest thing to a parent you've ever had just gave their lives for you, be a good girl and don't let their sacrifice be for nothing" she chided, not noticing the movement on the floor behind her.

A blackened and burnt form pushed itself up, grabbed Lady Hydras arm, let out a snarl and sank its fangs into her forearm. She screamed and fired at it, trying to kick it away then hitting it with the butt of her pistol when that failed but it refused to budge. As he drank the burns that covered half of his face faded and Hellblade started to regain his normal appearence. After a few more seconds Lady Hydra blacked out and she sank to the floor

"Bleh, her blood tastes terrible, worse than snake blood" Hellblade complained as he picked himself up. The massive dose of blood he'd drank had restored his body, aside from a few burns still present on his arms and face

"How'd you do that?" Wolverine groaned, still groggy from Omega Reds attack

"It's how my healing factor works, I just convert red blood cells, blood basically, into other kinds of cells, so if I get a big enough dose, I can heal anything" he said as X-23 went over to Lady Hydra and picked up her remote control. She pressed a button and another warning light went off

"WARNING, SELF DESTRUCT ACTIVATED, ALL PERSONEL EVACUATE THE BASE IMMEDIATLEY, BASE DESTRUCTION IN T-MINUS FIE MINUTES" a computer voice said over the intercom

"Let's get going" Wolverine said, the other two were already ahead of him and had already set off running for the cell door

Outside Cyclops and the others had already set off running too and the group tore down the hallway, blasted down the door and was out into the cold Canadian night air

"BASE DESTRUCTION IN T-MINUS FIVE MINUTES"

"Dammit, we'll never get up the glacier in time" Cyclops cursed as they reached the fence

"Don't need to shades, Hanks got that covered" Wolverine called as the X-jet descended from the sky with Archangel and Nightcrawler waving from the open hatch. The X-men boarded and the jet took off, behind them HYDRAs base disappeared in a massive fireball

The next day…

Bobby threw a football in the air as Sam rocketed up to catch it, lost control and crash-landed in the fountain, drenching Jubilee and Boom Boom. Bobby laughed as Cannonball ran back indoors, dodging explosive spheres and green energy blasts

"So, has Colonel Fury got in touch yet?" Professor Xavier asked Wolverine

"Yea, SHEILD checked out the compound but they didn't find any trace of Lady Hydra, Gauntlet or Omega Red"

"You don't sound surprised" the Professor noted

"If they survived their air base getting destroyed, they'll survive that too" he replied

"What about Mystique?"

"What about her? We left her there in that base but Kitty said she's back at the Brotherhood boarding house, guess we had to know she'd survive" he told the Professor, looking up at the roof, where Hellblade was sitting, looking out at the setting sun

"Has he made his decision yet?" the Professor asked

"Yea he has. He said he'd be happy to stay here but he's not sure he'll stay, something about still feeling responsible for what happened but he wants to stay to keep and eye on X...Laura" Wolverine replied

Hellblade sat up on the roof, looking at the setting sun and holding a photo up in his left hand, he heard someone sit down beside him on the roof and looked around to see X-23

"You knew her didn't you? My mother" she asked

"Yes, I just wish you could have" he replied

"Maybe I can, can you tell me about her? What kind of person she was, that kind of thing" X-23 asked, Hellblade smiled

"What would you like to know?"

To be continued in The Next Evolution: Back From The Future

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