Risk Factions

AN: Yeah, I thought I was all done with this fic. Buuuut I've just been having so much fun playing Risk Factions with some of my online friends, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if the Hellsing crew started up their own game of it. So, I guess this fic is going to get one more chapter after all. :p I hope you all like it as much as the previous ones. ;)

PS. Please forgive me for ignoring the four player control limitation the Xbox 360 places on couch multiplayer. Thanks. :)

It was a quiet night. It seemed that, for once, the dead were actually staying in their graves... well, most of them anyway. Alucard and Seras were up and about of course, but that wasn't anything Pip Bernnadotte had to worry about. On the contrary, he was rather pleased that at least one of these corpses refused to stay in her coffin. In fact, he was presently engaged in the process of seeking said vampire out. No undead to slay meant that Pip essentially had the night off, and he couldn't think of a better way to spend it than getting to know the cute, ridiculous strong vampire a little better.

There last meeting had not gone so well, with Pip getting finger flicked around the room. Upon consideration, the mercenary figured that trying to cop a feel on the young, well endowed vampire probably hadn't been the best way to introduce himself. But then no one had ever accused Pip Bernnadotte of making a good first impression, and he'd recovered from worse in the past. The task now was to locate the pretty girl, find a way to work… or charm off that negative first impression, and hopefully start to build a little something between the two of them.

It took Pip longer than he'd expected to find Seras. She was not in her room, the training area or any of the other places he'd guessed she'd be. No, he didn't find her until he decided to cut through the mansion's main living area – an odd place to find someone who was technically dead, no?

Seras, as well as, Alucard, Integra and Walter were all gathered together in front of the mansion's 42", HD, LCD television; and to the mercenary captain, that seemed downright strange. He hadn't been in Integra's employ for very long – just over a week – but even that was enough time for him to tell that his boss wasn't a woman given to socializing. She worked, trained, gave orders and occasionally spent time in the company of her red-clad killer or family butler. Once, Pip had seen her talking with Seras, though he had been too far away to overhear the content of their discussion. But, in each of these cases, Integra spent her time with one 'person' at a time, and from what Pip had observed Alucard was pretty much the same way. Seeing the two of them gathered together in a group setting was… 'novel' – to say the least. What were they all up to?

"Random or manual placement?" Seras asked.

"Random," Alucard replied, "makes the game more interesting."

"Alright, how about the map?"

"I like Limbo," Alucard responded.

"Not again," Integra countered.

"Big Ice then?" Walter suggested.

Integra paused for a moment and seemed to be considering it. "Alright," she finally replied.

"What are you all doing?" Pip asked as he entered the room.

"Risk Factions," Integra answered simply, as if that explanation alone should've been sufficient for the merc.

"Risk Factions?" Pip questioned with a raised eyebrow. He'd heard of the board game Risk before, even a couple of variations on it – like the Lord of the Rings one. But he wasn't familiar with this 'Factions' game, and he'd never seen one played on a TV instead of a board before.

"It's an updated, video game version of the classic board game… with a lot of new things added in, including five different races – 'factions – you can play as. Hence the name," Seras explained helpfully. Perhaps she wasn't as upset at the merc as he'd thought?

"Oh," Pip responded, getting the jest of what Seras had said, even if he still wasn't completely clear on all the details. "Well… anyone mind if I join in?"

Everyone exchanged uncertain glances, all eyes eventually coming to rest on Integra. "Well, there are five factions and only four of us. I suppose we have got room for one more."

"You're taking the yetis though," Alucard added in, making it clear that none of the 'regulars' were willing to part with their usual faction.

Pip didn't seem to mind as he squeezed himself in between Seras and the arm of the couch. In fact the corner of his lip unintentionally curled upwards, though that probably had little to do with the game.

The game started, and it was time for everyone to place their capitols. The Xbox 360 had determined that Alucard would go first, and thus the ancient vampire dropped his capitol in the Bone Yard territory of Skullshire. The continent was worth two additional troops if he could take control of all of it. That wasn't bad for Big Ice, but there were other continents worth as much and one worth more. However the number of troops it would yield was not the only reason Alucard had selected it. No, it was more valuable than that. Taking over all of Skullshire was one of the maps randomly generated objectives. Also, Skullshire was close to Von's Temple, and the long time strategist had his eyes on that powerful prize.

Integra went next, and she chose to place her capitol in Darkhill. She would've preferred a more tactically secure location. Next Gen Bay was the largest continent on the map, and Integra highly doubted that she could take – and hold – the whole thing. But Darkhill was the territory the game had placed the highest number of her troops in. She'd try to hold that territory and concentrate her assaults on Death's Door, across the sea. That continent was worth two additional troops, and it only had four territories – one of which Integra already possessed. Plus, once Death's Door was in her hands, she had a foot hold from which to challenge her pet for control of Von's Temple.

Walter was the next to place his capitol, and the butler selected Kattepus. It was out of the way and easily defendable, especially if he could complete the entire Silvestris continent – of which he only lacked one territory. And as an added bonus, Silvestris housed one of the dam controls.

Seras went next, and by now her prospects weren't looking too good. Most of the choice areas had already been selected… or were so far away from the bulk of her forces that she knew she couldn't hold them. In fact the only halfway decent continent where she had a formidable presence, that she thought she could hold onto until her turn came around, was Kotka. It was a valuable continent, being worth an objective plus two troops and housing the mineral deposits. But the presence of the dam up above made it a risky place to make one's home base. Even still, it was the best out of a bad set of options, so Seras chose the Rufus territory of the Kotka continent as her capitol.

Then it came time for the last player to place his capitol, and it seemed that the game had smiled on the new guy. Pip's 'beginner's luck' granted him Warpaw. It was the smallest continent, consisting of only two territories, but it was still worth two additional troops if he could hold it. Also, it was the easiest continent to defend, forming a one territory bottle neck in which one could marshal one's forces in preparation for attack or bunker them down to hold against the enemy. It was the 'England' of the Big Ice map, and it was all his… for the moment anyway. Pip dropped his capitol in Panthera, the northern most territory of Warpaw's two territories.

With the capitols placed it was now time for the game proper to begin. Alucard used his first turn to take over another territory in Skullshire, seven of his undead zombies massacring the two yetis defending the land. Then, being careful not to spread himself too thin, the No-Life King stopped his advance. He used his final movement to split his soldiers as evenly as possible between his territories and then collected his card.

"Playing it cautious, Alucard? That's not like you," Integra commented.

"If there's one thing I've learned in my five centuries of life, Master, it's to be patient. I'll strike hard when I'm ready," the red-clad killer replied.

Integra went all out on her first attack. She placed all her reinforcements in her capital and used it as a jumping off point to invade Death's Door. Five new human troops were added to the seven already present, and the lady knight used every last one she could in her assault. The two kitty-cat commandos guarding Wretchchell were the first to go. Then Integra's army moved on to decimate the single zombie holding the Bog Steps territory. And finally they took Guttum from the three robots stationed there. Integra had conquered Death's Door, but the victory had not come easily. She only had two spare troops left, which she used her final movement to bring back to her capital.

"And that is how you do it," the lady knight informed

"Careful, Master, keep waging war like that and you'll over extend yourself," Alucard warned.

"Will I?" Integra questioned in a coy tone.

It was Walter's turn now and the first thing his machines did was wrangle Chutcha out of the cold, dead hands of the three zombies who had it. Then, to everyone's surprise he stopped short of attacking the humans stationed at Chicata. Instead he took the five robots the game had randomly placed in Hissying and moved them first up to Korat and then down to take possession of Birman. Once that was finished, the elderly butler used his final movement to divide the machines remaining in Chutcha between that territory and Sire.

"Y-you… you're planning on opening the damn and drowning my kittens?" Seras exclaimed.

Walter said nothing in reply.

"Well… you're not going to get away with it," the fledgling asserted

"We'll see," the butler replied calmly.

Rather than strengthen her hold on Kotka, like she'd been planning on, Seras dumped her five reinforcements into Catling – adding them to the three she'd started with - and pushed northward. She couldn't let Walter keep control of both sides of the damn. She had to take Birman. But the opposition she faced was tougher than expected, and the dice rolls were against her. The fledgling vampire's cat army managed to take Dewclaw, but Walter's robots held at Birman.

"Grrrrr, that's not fair. I had you outnumbered nearly two-to-one!" Seras fumed.

"All's fair and love and war, Officer Victoria," Walter replied.

Now, it was Pip's turn to go. He cashed in his two starting stars and added seven reinforcements to the yetis in Papillae and headed south. His smiling, harry, white giants hit the robot holding Korat with a volley of snowballs. Then they continued on to freeze one of the machines in Birman and impale the other on an icicle. But though they could've continued, Pip's forces stopped short of attacking the single kitten commando Seras still had in Dewclaw. Instead, the mercenary captain used his final movement to pull the bulk of his yetis out of Birman and move them back into Korat.

Seras eyed the merc. "Why'd you stop?"

He shrugged. "I got what I wanted. And like your master said, it's best not to over extend yourself."

That didn't make any sense. If he wasn't going to continue, he should've stopped when he took Korat. He'd already secured his card; there was no tactical reason for him to go after Birman. He didn't have a single troop in the Kotka continent. It wouldn't have harmed him if the place was flooded. Was he… was he being chivalrous? Suddenly the vampire's lips pulled into a small smile. Perhaps the Frenchman wasn't as bad as she'd thought?

The game was winding down now, and Integra was not pleased. She knew allowing that French mercenary to join wasn't a good idea. Why hadn't she just said no? The Frenchman and Seras had entered into an unspoken alliance early on, with them occasionally attacking each other but never in any territory that was overly important to the other player. And while Integra and Alucard had been locked in a bloody war for control of the islands, the crypts, and Von's temple, Seras and her unofficial ally had squeezed Walter out of the game.

The fledgling now controlled both the butler's capitol and all of Kotka – netting her two of the three objectives she needed to win. And on her last turn Seras had used her final movement to redeploy what troops she could into Tigercat. The strawberry-blonde was mining minerals, and once she stockpiled twelve of them she'd have that third objective.

Pip might have had enough yetis in the area to block Seras's plan by taking the two mineral deposits on Kotka out of the kitten's claws. But Integra highly doubted the Frenchman would do that. He seemed more concerned with making nice with the bosomy vamp than actually winning the game – the fool! No, Integra could not count on the merc to make the smart move, and that meant she only had one option if she was to have a chance at winning the game. It would take Seras at least two full turns to mine the minerals she needed to win, so Integra had that long to add two more objectives to the one she currently possessed.

The lady knight cashed in the stars she'd been accumulating since the beginning of the game, bolstering her reinforcements by an additional thirty troops, and set about taking over all that remained of Next Gen Bay in a single turn. It was a dicey move, but if she could pull it off, her conquest would gain her one objective this turn. And if she could then hold eighteen, of the twenty total, territories she'd possess, that would gain her that third objective.

Integra attacked relentlessly, but she was careful to leave at least three troops in each new territory she took. After all, she could afford to lose two territories before her next turn – perhaps four since she could likely wrangle one or two back on her next turn – but no more. And the Master of Monster's strategy seemed to have paid off. When her turn was over she owned all of Next Gen Bay… as well as a rather smug smile.

But the game wasn't over yet. On Alucard's next turn, the monster did something quite unexpected. Having held the three alter territories around Von's Temple for a full turn, the ancient vampire used his 'convert ability' on the troop stationed in Integra's capitol.

"What are you doing?" the lady knight asked in a puzzled tone. She'd only left the one troop in her capital, having set up sufficient buffers to stop invading armies before they could've reached it. Even if her servant dumped all his reinforcements into her capitol, he wouldn't be able to hold it come her turn, not once her own reinforcements were added to the troops currently encircling the territory.

"You'll see," Alucard replied cryptically as he bolstered his forces in the Vile Forest territory and sailed them north to attack Integra's soldiers in Gutter's Corner. Despite the efforts of a rather incredible, shotgun wielding human, Alucard's larger, zombie army managed to wrestle the territory from Integra. Then with a grin, the wily general ended his turn and used his recently obtained third crypt to freeze Integra's converted capitol.

The lady knight was furious – more at herself for not anticipating her pet's strategy than him for exploiting her weakness, though he was the one who bore the consequences of her rage. "Cheating Bastard!" Integra roared as she pulled out the small pistol she carried with her at all times and blew the irritating grin off Alucard's face.

Seras and Pip both jumped at the unexpected sound of the gunshot. Alucard, merely laughed manically as the shadowy mass of his true form repaired the damage his master had done. He did so love to get under her skin and raise her ire.

Integra spent her next turn taking Gutter's Corner back from her 'pet' and breaking his hold over the Fire Alter territory, but even she recognized such actions were ultimately futile. She had nineteen territories again, one more than she needed for her third objective. But with her capitol frozen, she couldn't win this turn, and Seras only needed one more turn to mine enough minerals to gain her third objective.

Sure enough, as Seras's turn began, her hard working kitty-cats mined the remaining minerals she needed. Already having secured her third objective and still in possession of her capitol, Seras didn't bother attacking anyone on her turn. She simply placed her reinforcements and then skipped to the 'reward's phase'.

And that was how Seras won her first game of Risk Factions, and Pip 'worked off' that negative first impression he'd given her.

Well, I hope you enjoyed. Please drop me a review and let me know what you thought. Thanks. ;) Oh, and to anyone who's also reading Integra's Batty Vacation, I'm afraid I probably won't be able to update that next weekend as planned. I've recently ordered some new RAM chips, a new Hard Drive and the new Windows 7 operating system; and once all the parts come in, I'll probably be spending my next weekend overhauling and updating my laptop. Sorry about the delay. :( But I should make to following IBV update time. :)

Have a good day, and God bless.

Metropolis Kid.

To Pyradeath01: Thanks for the review and the compliment about my writing skills. :D I'm glad you had fun with this story and got such a kick out of it, the fifth chapter especially.

To Alucardistehvampire: Thanks! I'm glad I could make you laugh, and I hope you enjoyed the rest of the story as much as those first three chapters. ;)