AN: I'm terribly sorry that it has taken my ass so long to update, and… it's not entirely due to writer's block either. To be painfully honest, I've grown quite lazy. Bah. Complaints, complaints.

PS; Some facts here are wrong; Fiona woke up in daytime, not nighttime. By the time I found out, I had written too much to be bothered to change it. Sorry.

Chapter three: All roads lead to Belli Castle


The tires screech… such an awful sound…

The wall is coming closer… a stack of tree trunks, by the looks of it…

We're going fast… too fast…

Mom screams…

Dad screams…

I scream…

Fiona's eyes dashed open, a loud breath swiftly inhaled through her pale lips as she promptly pulled herself into a sitting position. A droplet of cold sweat trickled down the skin of her cheek, wavering on her jaw for a few moments before its weight caused it to fall down, creating a dark speck on the silky sheet sheathing her bare body.

My clothes…?

Frustrated, her mind began its frail attempts at rationalizing the situation, stitching memories together in order to cover the gargantuan black hole present in her reminiscence, leaving her the more bewildered as she shifted her blue gaze to the rusty bars enclosing her.

A cage…? I'm in a…?

She stretched her fingers towards them, wrapping them around the cold metal of the bars, inching her face towards them to take the room she was currently in into full perception. The lack of proper light swathed the room in darkness, making it difficult to see. The few square meters the scarce moonlight elucidated contained various racks with brightly pink carcasses tied to them, swaying ominously from side to side. Light glimmered in the blood-spotted steel of butcher knives. Fiona swallowed.

Where…? How…? What… happened…?

She moved her gaze around the room, her breath hitching in her gullet as she noticed a peculiarity about the door to her gritty cage. The padlock was unlocked. In an odd mixture of relief and disbelief, Fiona clutched it, the clumsy fumbling making such clatter that she nervously looked around her to 

make sure no one was within hearing range. It eventually fell with a soft clunk to the stone floor. Fiona opened the door and stumbled out of the cage, her grip on the silky sheet tightening.

She had to get out of there.

Cautiously, like an apprehensive soldier in a field riddled with enemies, Fiona walked forwards, grimacing slightly when pointy pebbles got squeezed into the sole of her foot. As she passed a wooden table, decorated with various chunks of meat, a short and stifled sniff made her freeze. She swiftly turned her head around, fixing her eyes to the gloomy shadow obscuring the floor beneath the table. Her heart paced up against her ribcage as she arched her back towards the source of the noise and stepped towards it, wrinkling her nose slightly at the metallic stench reeking from the thick blood that dripped off the table. White legs appeared into her vision, a ferocious growling sounding from the shadows as a row of teeth came into view. Without warning, it launched itself at her, its heavy body knocking her screaming off balance. Like a flash, it vanished up the stony stairs to the exit.

Fiona blinked perplexed. She rose to her feet, heaving for air as she placed a hand on her chest in attempt at soothing her rapidly thumping heart. An object on the ground attracted her attention. Curious, she bent down to pick it up, quickly able to distinguish it as a collar made of soft leather. Her gaze swept over the golden plate with large letters carved into it.

It was a name.

"Hewie."

Feeling uncertain what to with it, she simply dropped the collar and turned towards the egress. A chilly draft brushed her cheek, making tiny bumps jut all over her skin. Drawing in a deep breath, Fiona slowly ascended the flight of stairs, holding tightly on to her sheet.

Her sole possession at the moment, she thought bitterly. She didn't even have underwear.

I have to find Mom and Dad. And a decent set of clothes wouldn't be unappreciated either.

The air density increased with every step, causing her skin to moist. As she strode into the dark night, she could feel her jaw drop at the impressive sight of the construction protruding from the ground. It carried a distinct medieval feel too it, either a castle or some kind of a mansion. Fiona continued into what she thought was an old and poorly tended courtyard, jumping slightly at the sudden movement of a crow. As she cursed her skittishness, a distant mechanic rumbling trembled within her auditory channels, increasing in volume with every second. Clamping her hands over her ears, Fiona shifted her gaze to the sky, blinking out dust that was whipped up with the wind created by the sharp rotors of the black helicopter that suddenly entered her view.

Fiona's eyes widened.

Several moments went by that she just stood there, unmoving, frozen on the spot like a pale and rather shocked mannequin.

"Hey!" she cried, flailing her arms towards the helicopter. "Hello! Please! I'm down here, I'm here! Look this way! Please, look this way!"

In spite of her efforts, the black piece of airborne machinery flew over her, literally leaving her in the dust. Disheartened, Fiona lowered her arms, exhaling a deep sigh trough her lips as the helicopter decreased in size and blended in with the dark sky, vanishing from sight.

Well… it was worth a shot.

Intent on not letting this drawback devour her spirit, Fiona drew in another deep breath, sweeping her eyes over a new flight of stairs leading to a simple, wooden door. A few meters to its left were tall windows, radiating a golden fluorescent light from within, disturbed slightly by an occasional flicker. Fiona could well imagine a warm, comfy chair in front of a vivid fireplace.

Curious, she climbed the first stairway, carefully avoiding all of the little, pesky pebbles randomly dispersed on the stony steps. She could see now that the stairs led to a plateau she deemed a little uninteresting compared to the comfy chair and the fireplace. Starting to feel a little short of breath, she nonetheless hurried up the second staircase and pushed open the door.

Fiona stepped in, letting her eyes wander over the beautifully carved pinewood of the furniture, the painting of a rather handsome young man and an amusingly off-looking TV. The air inside carried a peculiar scent, like a combination between moist rock and xylem sap.

Nothing like home.

The cheery crackling of fire drove her forwards, her attention soon being pulled to another panting. Unlike the other, this man appeared more sinister than noble, the given impression being reinforced by the way his eyes seemed to peer down at Fiona, monitoring her every move. Feeling uncomfortable, she tore her eyes away from it and fixed them to the door out. As her fingers lightly brushed against the knob, she stopped dead in her tracks, a powerful prickling running down her spine, making the fine strands of hair on her neck rise.

Someone's watching…

Fiona slowly turned her head around and swiftly back-stepped upon locking eyes with an unfamiliar woman. Her striking thin lips curled into a cold smile as she arched her head slightly, eying Fiona with curiosity. Fiona's immediate thought was that something was wrong with this woman and it was not just the fact that she was purple.

Her face was expertly chiseled, cheek bones high underneath almond, amethyst eyes. Light glimmered in the shimmering, violet locks that curled down her ghastly pale skin, draping her narrow shoulders. A dark emerald maid dress embraced her tall, slender frame.

She was beautiful.

Too beautiful.

It almost seemed unnatural…

"I've gathered some clothes for you," the woman said monotonously, gesturing towards a few threads neatly arranged on a bed. Fiona shunned away as the maid ambled towards the door, movements stiff and robotic.

"… U-uhm," Fiona stuttered, taken aback by the dozens of questions grinding against each other inside her head. "Wait! Don't go!"

The maid went to a halt, returning her lilac gaze to the blonde girl. Fiona hesitated before continuing. "Uhm… excuse me, but where are we? And how did I get here?"

The woman fixed her eyes to a point behind Fiona. "Yes, master," she purred, "we will keep her here for a while. I will make sure she stays… comfortable."

Fiona puckered her brows and turned around, facing the painted face of the sinister old man. Without warning, the world dissolved and solidified again, this time inside the wreck of her parents' car.

My head hurts so badly… there's a man standing outside the window… looking at me…

A jolt of pain shot up Fiona's knees as she fell to the floor, sucking in shivering breaths upon remembering that she was not inside a car, but in the bedroom of a strange castle. Talking to a strange maid. Slowly, Fiona looked up, sweeping her gaze around in bafflement as the mysterious woman seemed to have disappeared into nothing as suddenly as she had appeared out of nothing. With trembling legs, she got to her feet and walked towards the bed, eyes glues to the peculiar attire the maid had prepared for her. Fiona brushed her fingers gently on its silky fabric.

At least my desire for clothes was granted…


The castle had been quite a remarkable view and fit Wesker's expectations to a tee. Whether or not there was something of interest on the inside was left to be debated. Achieving a decent landing spot had proven a more difficult task than either of them had foreseen, but after a little searching they decided to ground the helicopter on a small, open field just outside a forest nestling the castle.

Wesker shot the pilot an amused glance over his sunglasses as he outfitted himself with the necessary equipment. "Are you alright? You have been squirming in your seat for an hour."

She had refused to talk to him only minutes into the flight, which Wesker thought was to the better as he himself had been too quick on the temper lately to take her sweet, sarcastic stings lightly. She sent him a weary glare. "I really have to pee," she muttered, shifting her weight on the seat.

Wesker arched a brow. "Didn't you go before we left?"

"Well, seeing as I am someone who has gotten by in life without the aid of viral witchery, my bladder probably needs more tending than yours," she spat.

"Run into the woods, then," Wesker said, somewhat irritated. "The forest ought to be a decent substitute."

"That just grosses me out."

"Do as you like," Wesker replied and adjusted the radio in his hear, tapping it lightly. As he turned his back to her, he added, "but don't fly too far away, I want you near if anything happens."

"Go to hell."

The pilot yelped in surprise as Wesker zipped around and caught her throat in an iron hold. Gagged rasping sounded from her esophagus as his clutch tightened mercilessly and she began flailing and thrashing against his grip, to no avail.

Wesker tilted his head. "I've always found your snappiness to be rather charming, but your disrespectful attitude towards me is starting grow tiring. I suggest that you stop it."

He released her and slid out of his seat, ignoring her coughs and gasps for air. Grass and dry leaves crunched under the sole of his shoes as Wesker sauntered up the slope to the forest. Inattentively, he readjusted the radio, a dark shadow looming over his mind. Somewhere on the inside, the virus that had returned him to life was now twisting and bending his cells, turning his body into his most deadly enemy yet. And all hope left was in the incoherent babble of a madman. Quite ironic, Wesker thought, that he should be the one to suffer such a fate. He had no time for death; there were still goals to be reached.

Buzzing and scraping from the radio pulled him from his thoughts, the static forming words too obscure to interpret.

"Who is this?"

"It's Krauser!"

Wesker laced his tone with a pleasant surprise. "Ah, Krauser. You're out of your bed, I presume? How did you like the aid-virus that I gave you?"

"I'm feeling much better. Thank you."

"No need to thank me," Wesker said, ducking under a thick branch of a tree. "Tell me, how is Hamilton?"

"Guy nearly pissed his pants when I knocked on his door," Krauser's voice answered, dripping with contempt. "You must have given him quite a scare."

"Good. Now he has the motivation needed to keep himself busy."

"You know, there's something we need to talk about."

"Really? And what is that?"

"Spain."

A crease formed on Wesker's forehead as he raised his eyebrows. "We've been through this, Krauser."

"I'm not doubting your decision-making skills, but why do you keep her in your employ after what she has done?"

"Ada Wong is one of the best," Wesker replied simply, jumping over a small brook that slithered in between the trees.

"I could have dealt with Saddler myself."

"He knew what you were up to. Ada provided the distraction necessary."

"Yeah, but she is not trustworthy. You could've sent another one. Like that Steve-guy or the blonde woman."

"'That Steve-guy' is mentally extremely unstable," Wesker remarked, "and unpredictable. Deploying him would be certain failure. And Sherry is not a disposable agent; she is not trained to be one, meant to be one, built to be one. Despite your fancy of her, I'm afraid she'll never become your new comrade."

Krauser seemed taken aback. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"I am no fool, Krauser, you wear your emotions on the outside."

"I am not attracted to kids."

"If you say so."

Krauser grumbled. "Well, at least she's not a treacherous bitch."

"Is that what it takes to win your heart, Krauser?" Wesker mused, his slender lips coiling into a smile. "I must say, you are being very harsh towards Ada."

An incensed snort sounded from the radio. "Harsh? Oh, I'm not being harsh enough. Not by a long shot."

"What do you mean?"

"The Sample is a fake."

Wesker halted.

"There was no evidence of any biological traces after the Plaga. Just a fancy purple liquid. And guess what; the rat has escaped the building. She's nowhere to be found."

Wesker felt nothing but a strange void in his chest, slightly resembling fatherly disappointment. She was her own woman with her own agenda, and thus the kind that could never be trusted, but she did owe him her life. She knew it, he knew it, and he had never let her forget it. Nevertheless, the second he had turned his back on her, she had plunged a dagger deeply into his spine. So openly betrayed him without a speck of shyness.

A fuming heat flickered to life, prickling under the skin of Wesker's stone-cold visor. The corners of his mouth began to quiver with fury as a coat of red shaded his vision, his gloved hand clenching into a trembling fist.

"Wesker?" muttered Krauser's gruff voice, sounding uncertain. "Are you there?"

"Yes," Wesker replied quietly, inwardly stomping out the blazing fire.

"I can take care of her."

The black-clothed man remained silent.

"Just give me the order and I'll kill her."

Wesker hesitated. For a moment he felt lost, like a little child stumbling in the dark. "She nearly killed you the last time the two of you met."

"I was weak," Krauser retorted. "I underestimated her. Played with her. That won't happen again. This time I'll make short work and finish her off. Though looking back on it, I can almost swear that there was some kind of divine hand that took control of her and Leon. There is no way in hell they could have come through what they did in one piece otherwise."

"Really?" Wesker said in a surprised amusement. "And this divine hand is lacking now?"

"You can mock me all you want, but -"

"It is indeed a generous offer, Krauser," Wesker cut him off, "but I need you to watch Hamilton. Besides, I want Ada alive, and I feel you may be a little too emotionally involved to be fitting for that kind of a mission."

"Need her alive? What for?"

"I want that Sample," Wesker murmured, raising his hand in front of his face. "And that prying Organization out of the way. I'm going to achieve both. One way or another."

"You'll never get her to talk."

"You have no idea what I'm capable of."

That marked the end of the conversation for Wesker and the scarred mercenary. He continued up a narrow path, jumping over menacing roots protruding from the soil. Sooner than he had anticipated, the gray crown of Belli Castle gleamed over the thin branches that speared up into the air. As he closed in, he soon found the wall to be too tall for even him to jump over. Figures. His luck had been questionable lately.

I need to find another way…

His sharp eyes swept over the stony exterior, soon fixing on some unusually thick twines of plants that clustered themselves together and climbed up the wall.

Bingo.

Wesker scurried to them, curling his gloved fingers around the sturdiest-looking cord. With ease, he pulled his slender body upwards, worrying slightly about the green stains the plant generously left on his unblemished suit. After spending a few minutes scaling the wall, he reached the top and hauled himself over the edge, letting himself plummet to the ground. A stifled groan escaped his lips as he heavily landed on his feet. Standing from his position, he could feel his ankle protest. Ignoring the minor ache, though making himself a mental note of it, he sauntered forwards, stepping over remains and stone rubble of a tiny wall. In front of him were three immediate options; either continuing to the door nestled in between four statues of young women, or going through the walkway to the left, or, if he felt like breaking a sweat, bursting through the locked iron gate.

Deciding that he couldn't be bothered, Wesker chose the pathway and steered left. His way was illuminated by ill-circuited lamps that seemed a stark contrast to the medieval appearance of the castle. As he stepped into a small area containing nothing but a barred up well and a few dispersed strands of grass, he was presented with another two alternatives. Again, he ignored the door-option and opted for the tall plateau with no means of accessing other than a slightly fragile ladder and a demolished stairway. When he got close enough to brush dust off the wall, he arched his back and leg and jumped, shooting upwards, his feet gracefully hitting the surface of the ground. Adjusting a crease on his suit, Wesker continued to a new door, sighing inwardly at feeling something bar it. He took a step back, jutted his shoulder out and thrust himself forwards.

The door splintered to pieces as Wesker rammed through it, into something that was immediately knocked off balance, the rough impact at meeting the floor so hard that it rocked the castle, nearly making Wesker topple over. A quick glance revealed that something to be a massive, disproportionate statue consisting of dense and parched soil. Wesker cocked his head.

"Wops."

He strode over it and into a small room, moving his gaze around the new room. Golden flames sputtered eagerly from a fireplace underneath a black pot emitting a violet smoke with a rather peculiar scent. In front of him was a table adorned with various test tubes, an antique weight and blue bounded books.

Much appropriate for an alchemist, I reckon.

A parchment, ruffled and yellow in the edges, attracted Wesker's attention. As he extended his arm towards it, gleeful grunts sounded from the neighboring area. Rapid, heavy footsteps thumped after a pair of lighter ones, leaving Wesker intrigued. As the parchment dropped on his priority list, he went to open the exit door, only achieving an inch gap as the door resisted. Forcing the door open, Wesker stepped into a hallway, passing a metal crate that had blocked the path. A doll was sprawled on the floor before his feet, its plastic skin smudged and deformed, framed by knots of unruly hair, stiff from caked grime. The dress clothing it was tarnished, suspicious brown specks of dirt tainting the once pink fabric. Curious, Wesker plucked it up, twitching his lips with disgust as a foul stench slammed into his nostrils.

A terrified, shrill gasp cut through the air to his ear channels. Wesker looked up, catching a glimpse of a colossal figure vanishing around a corner. Still with a tight clutch on the doll, Wesker paced up, dashing like a black blur through the hallway, passing plant-nuzzled pillars and buzzing lamps. He darted around a turn, through two doors – a screech emitting from his shoes as he halted an inch in front of a hefty man. Hulking arms hung limp next to a massive torso supported by a pair of stumpy legs. Blotches of blood and dirt stained the white garb stuck into simple, calf-long pants. Two round, brown eyes peered down at Wesker from a face with childlike traits.

They stared at each other in silence, disturbed only by deep, wheezing breath puffed out from the bizarre child-man's lips. With a tilted head, Wesker reached out the hand clasping the doll. "This is yours, I presume?"

The child man moved his gaze to it, an incoherent babble rasping from his throat, soon dying out. With a pudgy index finger directed at the doll, a single understandable word was gurgled out; "Dolly."

"Indeed," Wesker replied, his patience abbreviated drastically. "Take it."

The other more or less sentient being reacted by shooting Wesker a blank stare. A dark shade crossed the blonde man's face; his tolerance towards children in any size was fairly limited.

"Fine," Wesker said, flinging the doll to the floor. The child-man's head slowly turned towards the toy, wavering on the spot. A deep inhale through his lips was quickly exhaled in a horrendous shriek as he fell to his knees, raising meaty, quivering hands in shock. Wesker blinked in surprise and seized the opportunity to peek under the bed present in the room. As expected, a pair of slender, booted legs gleamed to him from the shadows. A distressed gasp sounded from underneath the bed as Wesker grabbed the woman by her ankle and hardheartedly hauled her into the light. He clutched her upper arm, pulling her with him with a gruff "move".

As they entered the room with the alchemist equipment, he let go of her and she fell to her knees, panting heavily. Wesker watched her in stillness as she regained her stamina and rose to her feet. Cerulean eyes glimmered from under striking blonde locks of her bangs.

"Th-thank you so much," the pale, young woman whispered. "You saved me from that… that thing…"

Wesker cocked a brow. "Yes. And now I want something in return."

She blinked and stuttered. "Wh-what? I... I don't have anything."

"Where is Aureolus belli?"

The woman's eyes turned blank with confusion. "…Who?"

Wesker took a threatening step towards her, making her shun away, her face lined with fear. "Aureolus. Lorenzo. Belli. Where is he?"

Her lips trembled. "I… I don't know what you're talking about… I was… uh… I…"

Wesker turned his back on her, not wishing to hear any more incoherent rant. No old alchemist meant no life-saving Azoth, and if that woman was sincere, she really did not know what he was talking about. Then again, she could likely be a treacherous wench underneath her innocent appearance, but Wesker had no remaining patience to stay and find out. As he sighed he decided he was going to pluck the whole castle apart in search for the Azoth and dispose of Hamilton if he returned to America with empty hands. "I apologize. It was not my intention to frighten you."

Wesker stepped towards the hallway, halting at the sound of the woman's voice.

"Where are you going?" asked the unfamiliar girl, her pale hand reached out, as if she subconsciously attempted to physically prevent Wesker from leaving.

"To find Aureolus Belli," Wesker answered simply, not bothering to turn around and look at her. "Wherever he may be."

He had barely taken a step forwards, as the young woman's voice again claimed his attention. "Uhm… can you… can you take me with you?"

This time Wesker span around to face her, eyebrow arched and an amused trait about his thin lips. "Take you with me? Why would I do that?"

She batted her eyelids, seeming oddly flummoxed by his question. "I… I need help… I was… uh…"

Wesker could see signs of an internal battle on her insipid face, as if she desired to break eye contact but did not manage to. "I… I was in the car with my parents… and… I must have… I… I was taken here… against my will…"

"Against your will, you say?"

"Y-yes."

"Ah," Wesker said, moving his gaze over her oddly clad figure. "And I presume that your 'kidnappers' stripped you completely of your casual clothes, forcing you to grab the first custom-tailored outfit within your reach?"

She opened her mouth to answer, her voice hitching in her throat, leaving her gawking at him in bewilderment. "Are you… are you making fun of me?"

"Not at all, dear," Wesker replied and twirled on his heel, sauntering towards the wooden door.

"My name is Fiona…"

Wesker stopped in his tracks.

"… Fiona Belli. What's yours?"

Cocking his chin upwards, he hesitated for a few moments before answering, "Wesker. Albert Wesker."

Wishing to end the conversation, he strolled into the hallway, tapping his index finger on the radio.

"Krauser? Put Hamilton on the line, we have a matter I'd like to discuss…"