Resident Evil/Biohazard: Hostage Rescue

Rating: T

NOTE:

All characters of Resident Evil/Captain Commando/Street Fighter are under the copyright of Capcom. All characters of Martin Mystery are under the copyright of Marathon. All characters of Kara no Kyokai are under the copyright of TYPE-MOON. All characters of Spriggan are under the copyright of Hiroshi Takashige and Ryoji Minagawa. All characters of Jiraishin are under the copyright of Tsutomu Takahashi. The appearance of Kenneth "Kenny" Feng is under noctorro's jurisdiction. All others are under my jurisdiction.

Summary:

Now that Ashley and Sho have safely reunited with the others despite surviving the odds that Los Illuminados has thrown against them, they need to flee the castle safely to escape the place. Can they hold on from further assaults that the cult has in store for them? Stay tune to this chapter to find out.

Chapter 20: Reunite


Concourse, Mansion, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


While Leon and Jill were helping Ashley to catch a break from escaping the maze with Sho, the SHADOW agents checked Luis' corpse one more time to see if they didn't leave any clues unturned.

"We need to get the Center to safely retrieve Sera-san's body." Fujino reminded her SHADOW colleagues. "Is there a way we can do that?"

"There may be..." Dan mused when he heard the Japanese agent's concerns. He then stared at Hiryu.

Hiryu pondered about the question for a few seconds. I could try that, but I don't know how long it can work.

"I think there may be a way for us to get his body out of here." Hiryu checked the directory of his O-Watch. "I could use the GPS tracker so that the Center can relay info to the Spanish military."

He got the GPS tracker to show up after he activated his watch. It appeared on his left hand as a small circular tracking device.

"Will the signal be blocked?" Dan asked after he saw the masked SHADOW agent place the GPS tracker on Sera's right arm. It was placed underneath the shirt sleeve so that it can concealed in case someone from Los Illuminados would try to search for anything from his corpse.

"Probably." Hiryu replied. "CIHL may have acquired technology from when Octavia Paine left the Center and set up shop on her own. So for now, we need to wait until we can get rid of Saddler and take out their comms."

After a few seconds, Hiryu confirmed that the tracker is activated and secured. He gave the thumbs up to his colleagues to indicate that it's working right now.

Martin and Diana went to see the SHADOW agents to check up on their progress.

"How's it going, guys?" Diana asked the SHADOWs. "Um... What are you...?"

"Do not worry, Diana-san." Fujino spoke up on behalf of the others. "We are installing a tracking device on Sera-san's corpse for retrieval after we escape from this place."

"Is it working?" Martin went to see Hiryu's O-Watch.

"It is." Hiryu nodded when he looked at the status of the tracker. "It's working as we speak, but the Center won't be able to pick up the tracker's signal via satellite due to electronic jamming the cult has in place. Whatever equipment they have up here may be a bit high tech from what we have. Maybe even better than ours."

"Man... That's going to be a handful."

"Indeed." Hiryu stared at Dan. "Reloaded your weapons?"

"Yeah." Dan replied with confidence, adjusting the sling for his Sig SG 552 Commando. "And you?"

"Already did that a few minutes ago. We'll be short on ammo soon. Probably same with the DSO agents as well."

"You guys ready to move out?"

Kevin called for the SHADOWs after he and Eriko had finished allocating ammo for their own weapons after Leon and Jill had previously did an ammo check on their weapons.

"We're done." Dan told Kevin. "We left a tracking device on Mr. Sera's corpse for body retrieval later on. But our satellites can't detect it due to strong jamming interference."

"Just like our comms then." The ex-SPF officer grumbled under his breath.

"We need to move." Cammy told the others. "Since we all rested up, I'd suggest that we get out of here. We don't know when the cult will send some of their own to hunt for us again."

"Java agree with blonde lady." Java agreed with Cammy's idea before he raised his clenched fist to show that he means it.

"Her name's Cammy, big guy." Kevin reminded the caveman on her name.

Chun-Li interrupted the others by clapping her hands and pointed to Leon, who was now getting a transmission from someone in the castle. Somewhere.

It's Saddler. Leon gritted his teeth when he got the transmission from the so-called family head.

"I'm so touched that everyone has gotten back together again." Saddler said to Leon, pretending to feel sorry.

"Shut up, Saddler. You're one to talk." Leon snarled at him. "Why don't you do us a favor and just leave before your audience gets pissed off at you?"

Saddler smirked at Leon's retorts. "You and your friends are nothing but extras in my script. So I suggest that you don't get too carried away. Or else..."

"The last time I remember, we weren't even in it to begin with."

"Oh?" The family patriarch was very amused. "Since you say it that way, then why don't you show me what a good script is like."

What's he talking about?!

"Through your own actions. Goodbye for now!"

Before Leon could say anything else, Saddler decided to end the transmission between them.

"Saddler knows that we're still alive." Leon gathered the others to him after the man ended the transmission. "We need to move fast as soon as we can before he can sic the cultists on us."

"Where to next?" Jill asked him, conducting a brass check on her sidearm.

"I guess over there." Leon pointed to everyone the long hallway with a door at the end. "That's the only place that we haven't checked out so far."

"Guess that's our new destination." Eriko said out loud when she drew out her sidearm.

"So you guys," Kevin looked at the SHADOW agents. "mind covering for us."

"No problem." Hiryu got his HK G36C ready. "You guys cover us."

"Got it." Yu replied after he shouldered his HK G3A4. Jean had his Franchi SPAS-12 at the ready.

Hiryu and Dan moved towards the long hallway with their weapons at the ready. Yu and Jean followed behind them in case of a sneak attack. The armed SHADOW agents slowly advanced onto the long hallway, checking the left and right for any signs of traps and ambushes by walking slowly.

As they approached the door, Dan slowly stepped up to the door and checked the doorknob for signs of being rigged for a trap. When the Malaysian SHADOW agent slowly turned his hand on it, the door slowly opened up.

Hiryu gave the thumbs up to Leon and Kevin, indicating that the door was clear and the way ahead was safe for them to proceed.


First Castle Gondola Station, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


Leon and company got pass the mansion's concourse, only to stumble onto another place in the castle. It had the appearance of a typical castle balcony, except that the area ahead of the balcony had machinery cogs with lit torches. On the left side of the station, there was a rail track with a small gondola cart. Nearby were a couple of vases next to the gondola entrance.

"Where the heck are we?" Jean said when looked around the gondola station.

Tea looked at her left to see the parked gondola. "It appears that we're in a station of sorts."

"Let's clear these guys out first before we do anything else." Cammy mentioned to the others after she pointed out the vases. The Delta Red operator approached them and executed a foot sweep to break them apart.

"Found this." Cammy knelt down and grabbed the Velvet Blue. She then tossed it to Tea, who graciously accepted it.

"I found some 9mm ammo here." Eriko picked up a box of 9mm ammo from the top of the dresser nearby. "We're about to run out of ammo for our sidearms."


Martin and Diana climbed down the steps to properly examine the gondola station.

"The gondola's too small." Martin examined the gondola, including the seats. "I doubt it can hold all of us in one ride."

"At best, we'll need two trips to shuttle everyone from this spot to the other." Diana checked the station for anything unusual.

"At least nothing's going to happen from here..." Martin told his stepsister. "Let's retrace our steps and get back to the others."


Kevin examined the platform in front of the balcony, which was connected by large cogs on both sides.

"This platform can hold only one person." The brown-haired DSO agent showed Leon the platform. "Not even the two of us can fit on it."

"You want to do a coin flip to figure out who gets to go past this balcony?"

"Nah." Kevin shook his head. "This time, let me do the hard work. After all, aren't we partners?"

Leon smiled at Kevin, patting his right shoulder. "Yeah, why not? I can cover this area with the others."

"For now, let's just swap weapons. I don't think my sniper rifle can cover for me when I go in alone."

Kevin tossed his Steyr SSG P IV to Leon. After the latter caught it, he nodded and tossed the Benelli M3 to the former.

"Okay..." Kevin examined the shotgun to check if it was still working.

"No need to worry about that." Leon reassured Kevin. "I already loaded it up. You already knew it, but the ammo on it is getting low."

"I guess you don't have much ammo left?"

"Only a box."

Kevin got the shotgun shell box from Leon. The former then handed a couple of 7.62 NATO boxes to Jill.

"Hang onto this for me." Kevin handed the boxes to Jill. "I'll be back when I'm doing exploring the area ahead of the balcony behind me."

"Got it." Jill nodded. "Just don't kill yourself, okay?"

"Same to you too." Kevin grinned before he hopped onto the platform. He waited for the platform to move all the way to the other side of the room.

Let's see what's behind door number one.

Kevin mused about what could happen next as he stepped out of the gondola station and into the unknown.


Dragon Room, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


The first thing Kevin saw after he got inside the castle's dragon room was the presence of lava, serving as the moat and as a security measure so that any intruder who makes a wrong move in moving around will get him or herself killed off by the molten rock. At the end of the room was an elevated platform that had a treasure chest on top of it.

"Looks like a cult has a primitive security measure for this place." Kevin secured the M3 by having it slung on his back. Afterwards, the man examined the dragon heads from the entrance of the room.

"Nice dragons." Kevin murmured as he approached the staircase. When he went down the steps, the ex-policeman noted something was behind the dragon heads.

Oh, crap. There's an entryway big enough to let a person get through them. Which means...

Three men rushed out of the entryways behind the dragon heads. They were manned now. And were now a major threat to his life.

"I'm really regretting about the weapon swap I made with Leon." Kevin groaned in his stupidity. Though to be fair, he didn't expect that the cult would have these dragon heads manned.

He drew out his Glock 21 Mariner out from his holster. He then got down a few steps to get the first dragon head to move and about, exposing the cultist manning it.

Here goes. Kevin aimed the pistol's adjustable sights at the bald-headed cultist manning the dragon head. He opened fire and hit the cultist at the right temple.

Looks like my marksmanship back from the RPD are still good. When the cultist fell down to his fiery death at the lava, the dragon head also fell down to the lava. It was as if it just crumbled instantly like it was made out of sand.

A treasure chest emerged from one of the platforms nearby. Kevin raised his sidearm and ran towards it, since the second dragon head was not a threat to him yet. He quickly opened it just to make sure it won't set off a trap.

"Okay... It didn't go boom or anything else." When Kevin inspected it, he was able to find gold bars worth 5000 pesetas in total.

"Now I have no choice, but to stuff it with me." He picked up the three gold bars and placed them in his empty pants pocket, hoping that they won't rip the pocket and make a new hole.

Kevin sighed another dragon head with another cultist manning it. He moved to the side, aiming his sidearm at the cultist's head. He used the open chest as cover in case something bad would happen when he stood from the side. The brown-haired man carefully aimed the sights and waited until the second cultist was not moving at all. He knew that it was a bit hard to shoot at him from the position, but the agent knows that he has no choice.

"Got ya now." Kevin murmured after he fired his pistol again. The second cultist fell down to the lava. Likewise, the dragon head crumbled into rocks and dissolved into nothing after it went to the lava.

What's next? After the second dragon head was taken care of, Kevin moved on towards the center of the dragon room. He noted that there was a revolving fence barrier in place, preventing anyone from jumping directly to the circular platform as another security measure until one can time their jump with the opening in the fence barrier.

"Dammit." Kevin was now worried about jumping to the circular platform due to the fact he has gold bars with him. He decided to backtrack to the chest and leave the gold bars there. After all, there wasn't anyone around to steal them.

"Here goes." Kevin braced himself for the opening in the fence barrier to align with the opening in the pathway he is on. When it showed up, he didn't hesitate and jumped with all of his might. He was lucky to get into the circular platform safely.

Dammit, that was too close. Kevin sighed and got ready to jump out of the circular platform again. He waited for the opening to show again before he jumped out of the platform and into the other pathway.

"Made it." The Glock 21 Mariner was quickly holstered. He then shouldered the M3 in its stead.

"There's one." Kevin spotted a cultist standing still, not even alert to his presence. He aimed the shotgun and opened fire when he got a bit closer to him. The shot blew his head off like it was nothing.

A masked cultist was seen jumping down from the platform on top to the pathway. Kevin pumped the shotgun and took aim with it.

The cultist took notice of Kevin and was about to strike at him with a spiked mace when Kevin fired his weapon at his head. Like the previous attack, his head was blown up.

Kevin picked up 1600 pesetas from where the corpse used to be. He pocketed the coins and proceeded to walk towards the end of the dragon room to get to the elevated platform, remembering to pass by the second treasure chest. But as he approached the platform, he saw the third dragon head descend from the room's ceiling.

The third dragon room was manned. But unlike the others, it was controlled by a monk clad in the same red clothes he and the others encountered previously. It began to emit flames towards Kevin's position.

"No way I take it on directly!" Kevin shouted as he took cover by using the nearby walls. When he pressed his back against the wall, he spotted three enemies coming for him. One of them is a monk in black robes. Another is the balded cultist and the last was a masked cultist armed with the spiked mace.

Incoming. Kevin got his shotgun ready when the time comes to open fire at them. He waited and waited until the three of them got very close to the pathway leading to the elevated platform.

"Over here, suckers!"

When the three cultists were about to lunge at him, Kevin made a huge jump towards the other side of the pathway. Just like he predicted, the dragon head began to emit fire in front. But instead of burning Kevin like a crispy bacon, the three cultists were instead caught in the deadly blaze.

Now to rinse and repeat, if and when I can. Kevin decided to use this idea after three more cultists, all of them being of the same type. He waited until they spotted him and decided to make a go for him. He lured them towards the path of the dragon head and waited for a few seconds before he leaped to the other side again.

The flames made short work of them once more, saving Kevin the time and energy needed to fire his weapons.

"Hopefully they don't come out of the woodworks again." The agent grumbled, getting frustrated that he needs to jump back and forth in order to use the dragon head's flames.


MOM's Office, The Center


"MOM! Urgent news from the SID!"

Billy moved in to MOM's office, giving her a folder from the SID. It had the CLASSIFIED ink stamp on top of it.

"Any news from SID?" MOM asked when she went over the folder's contents.

"We spotted Wesker boarding a flight to Dublin after the last fiasco." Billy explained the details to his superior. "The photo was taken by one of our moles working at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas airport."

MOM examined the snapshot of Wesker boarding the flight to Dublin. As always, the mole was only able to take a photo of Wesker with the back of his head facing the camera. It was as if the ex-Umbrella agent and scientist knew that he was being monitored.

"It looks like he either turned his back on the mole or he knew that someone was keeping an eye on him." MOM mentioned her thoughts to Billy. "Was there anything else our mole in the airport have found?"

"Nothing except for a fake name." Billy checked his datapad to see Wesker's airplane ticket. "We can probably check our Dublin branch about this alongside the Irish Defence Forces' Directorate of Intelligence and the Garda Special Detective Unit."

"See to it that the SID informs our Irish branch." MOM gave her orders to Billy. "And get them to speak to the agencies via branch liaison officer."

"Understood, MOM."

Billy went off with the hoverchair to the SID office, leaving MOM to concentrate on her other work.


Dragon Room, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


Kevin had just decided to eat all of his words when three more cultists came to show up. As usual, he had no choice but to use the dragon head's flames to do his job in roasting the cultists alive.

"Hope that's the last." Kevin gripped his M3 after he placed his back on the wall again, hoping to nail the monk manning the dragon head. And I somehow need to do something and lure it.

He remembered how the cultist manning the previous dragon heads had to move it slowly just to get a bead at him. With that in mind, the agent decided to use it to expose the monk and get a good shot at him.

Kevin exposed himself from the left wall and aimed the shotgun at the dragon head. In response, the monk began to aim it at him.

Now to move! He then tried again and exposed himself in the pathway opening. The monk again moved the dragon head towards the center.

Okay. Kevin moved again towards the right wall. This time, he opened fire with the shotgun two times in succession after the monk's body was visible on the weapon's sights.

The monk fell down to his death towards the lava, burning his body. The dragon head gave way, which crumbled to pieces and now burned by the lava.

In response to this, a staircase began to rise up from the lava all the way, allowing Kevin a means of getting to the elevated platform.

"Finally." Kevin grunted, feeling a bit relieved that he can get to the elevated platform. Before he climbed up the staircase, he took a few shells and reloaded the M3 to ensure it was loaded in case the enemy decides to show up again.

Kevin started to sprint up the staircase, eventually reaching his destination. He gripped the treasure chest, once again opening it up slowly to ensure it was not rigged to a trap. Once he figured that it was not rigged, he forcefully opened it to reveal the Lion Ornament piece.

"An ornament-type piece." Kevin handled the piece and inspected it if it was damaged. Seeing that it was not the case, Kevin pocketed it and began to retrace his steps to get out of the dragon room.

On the way, he made a pit stop to secure the gold bars that he left behind in one of the open treasure chests. He also got one of the Los Illuminados Pendant as well.


First Castle Gondola Station, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


Chun-Li and Leon waited for Kevin to arrive back. In the meantime, everyone decided to take a few minutes to catch their breath and relax since most of them mentioned that their feet were literally hurting their ability to walk for a few more minutes.

"You think he'll be fine, Leon?" The INTERPOL agent asked Leon, the latter who stared at the platform since it was at the other side of the room.

"I'm sure he'll be okay." Leon reassured the Street Fighter veteran. "We went through hell and back in Raccoon City many years ago..."

The two were briefly interrupted when Kevin showed up on the platform, riding it all the way back to meet up with the two of them.

"Hey!" Kevin greeted Leon and Chun-Li. "Miss me?"

"Good to see you make it in one piece from wherever the heck you came from." Leon exchanged high fives with Kevin.

"Didn't expect such heavy resistance back there to get this piece." Kevin showed off the Lion Ornament Piece to him.

"Is that the only one you got?" Chun-Li inquired when she got a good look at the piece.

"I got the pendant that has the cult insignia on it too." Kevin also showed the Los Illuminados Pendant.

"We can sell that to the Merchant for much needed cash." Chun-Li gave her suggestion to him.

"Agreed." Leon agreed with her idea. "Never liked it anyway."

"I got some gold bars too." Kevin patted his pants to show them where they are. "But I gotta be careful when I move. Otherwise, I may have to repair my pants when we're able to escape from this stupid place."

"Suit yourself." Leon nodded when he went back to rendezvous point to meet up with the others.

As the group reunited and made plans to use the gondola cars, they all realized that it would take them a while before all of them can be transported to their next destination.


Second Castle Gondola Station, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


After a long time to what it seemed to be for eternity due to the slow movement of the gondola car moving back and forth between stations, the gondola car made a final stop with Ashley, Leon, Kevin and Jill in tow. The others chose to wait for them while they secured the station of any hostiles. So far, it was all clear.

"Finally... we got some progress." Ashley groaned after the gondola car came to a full stop.

"On the other hand, things are just starting up again." Kevin told the First Daughter. "With the big boss knowing that we're all alive, we need to move his lapdogs get onto our trail."

"Good to see you guys made it." The four were greeted by Tea, who walked to them alongside Cammy.

"How are things so far?" Leon asked the British Spriggan.

"We've cleared the place up." Tea replied when she pointed to the door nearby. "We just couldn't go ahead without you four."

"Anything you guys got?" Kevin asked the assembled group.

Jean went up to Kevin. "Got these from the vases." He handed to him a box of shotgun shells.

"Merci." The French Spriggan thanked Kevin for the trouble of getting a bit more ammo. "I'll pass it on when I've reloaded my shotgun."

Leon went to unlock the only door that led them out of the gondola station.


Audience Hall, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


Leon was the first one to exit the gondola station after he holstered his sidearm since no hostiles were present.

Kevin whistled, being the next person to exit and back to the audience hall. "Looks like we stumbled onto a familiar place in Salazar's castle."

"It's still here." Cammy pointed to the puzzle slab that still blocked the main hallway.

"At last that didn't go anywhere else." Jill examined it again to make sure it was still okay. "Who's got the puzzle pieces for this?"

"I do." Tea got the three pieces from her coat pocket. She walked forward and faced the puzzle slab. The rest came out of the gondola station and waited for the puzzle slab to be moved out of the way.

The beret-clad woman got the Lion Ornament Piece and inserted it into the puzzle slab. She smirked when it was able to fit perfectly.

"One down." Tea murmured when she picked up the Goat Ornament Piece and inserted it into the puzzle slab. Like the Lion piece, it was able to fit perfectly also. This pleased her and the rest of the group.

The only thing now left was to insert the Serpent Ornament Piece.

There we go.

After Tea placed the Serpent piece at the end of the puzzle slab, she felt the room slightly vibrate as if there was an aftershock.

"I hope that's not anything bad." Dan sighed when he felt the ground shake.

"Only one way to find out." Yu replied when he was about to shoulder his G3A4 when the puzzle slab began to descend down to the floor. This opened up the hallway, going further inside the audience hall. It eventually led to a small staircase with a door at the end. Lit torches were seen at the end of the hallway at both sides.

"Side staircase." Hiryu saw another path that diverged from the main hallway.

"You come with me." Leon faced Hiryu and pointed at him.

"Understood."

Hiryu took the lead when he ascended the staircase, shouldering his G36C. Leon followed with the Silver Ghost already drawn out. Together, they secured the balcony Salazar used a few hours ago before they examined the vase and the painting with the former smashed to pieces with the G36C's rifle butt and the latter being removed from the wall mount.

It resulted in securing a frag grenade and several gold bars worth 5000 pesetas. They collected them and regrouped with the others before leaving the audience hall permanently.


Main Castle Gondola Station A, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


The main castle gondola station was similar to the other gondola stations Leon and Ashley saw on their way out of the audience hall.

"Another one." Leon muttered and shook his head when he saw another gondola car.

"The usual?" Kevin asked him when he examined the car for anything suspicious or dangerous.

Martin hopped the fence over to the left and smashed the vase before he did the same thing to the vase on the right side of the station. From the smashed vases, the blonde Center agent secured a Spinel and 1100 pesetas.

"All clear." Kevin gave the thumbs up to Leon after he walked around the gondola car and checked the rails. "It's safe to use, but we'll need to take turns again since the car takes four persons at a time."

"Ashley, stay put. We'll take the lead to clear the place."

Ashley nodded.


MOM's Office, The Center


MOM received the folder from Billy when he passed by, on his way to help provide funeral arrangements for the agents who died in Spain while they tried to search for Wesker's last known location.

The enemy surely anticipated that someone may be tracking them.

The Center head read the bios of the agents who were killed in the line of duty. Out of the four agents killed, two were Canadian. One was Irish and the other British, all of them residing in Canada at the time of their active service.

Perhaps our mole tipped them off? In that case... it may be wise to detain him the moment SID says so.

MOM wrote in the memo to prepare for the funeral arrangements and send out word to any of their immediate family, if they do have family, that the agents were killed in a training accident, using the PMCs her predecessor established as official cover.


Main Castle Gondola Station B, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


Most of the others have been staying in the secondary gondola station after they volunteered to move ahead first, securing 9mm pistol ammo and a Velvet Blue from the broken vases while the gondola car returned back to the other station to secure Leon, Ashley and Kevin.

"Area looks good." Eriko advised the two DSO agents as they disembarked from the gondola car, followed by Ashley.

"Okay." Kevin nodded. "Let's get out of here."

Hiryu and Hien provided cover for Kevin, who opened the double doors leading out of the station.


Lobby, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


The party arrived at the entrance of the lobby after stepping out of the station.

"Looks clear." Diana murmured when she got a chance to look around.

"I don't think we're out of the woods yet, little lady." Kevin said when he motioned the others with guns to get them ready when he drew out his Glock 21 Mariner. "It's a bit quiet. Too quiet if you're going to ask me."

"You guys take the lead." Leon ordered the ARCAM Spriggans (except he didn't look at Tea) and to the armed SHADOWs.

Dan simply looked at Leon, wondering if he's got a point of prove.

"I think he's saying that because you guys have the big guns." Chun-Li pointed to the assault rifles handled by Yu, Dan, Hiryu and Hien.

"He can also take the shots here as well." Hien insisted, pointing to Jean. "His shotgun's handy for close quarters."

"Found a door here." Martin pointed to the door near the lobby entrance, which has a blue color finish.

"Is it locked, Martin-san?" Fujino asked the Center agent when she heard about his finding.

"Yeah, should be." The teenager opened the door and peeked inside. He saw someone inside, who happens to be mighty familiar.

"Guys..." Martin called the others. "You won't believe who I just found."


Deserted Room, Lobby, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


Martin showed Leon and Tea the Merchant, who just happened to make the small room his makeshift shop.

"Welcome, strangahs...!" The hooded man greeted the trio. "I'm pleased to see that you all made it."

"Well, yeah! We gotta...!" Martin exclaimed when he clenched his fist in triumph. "We're this close to getting out..."

"We have some wares to sell to you." Tea approached the Merchant when she showed a couple of Velvet Blues placed at the palm of her right hand. "Like these for instance."

"Ah..." The Merchant happily picked them up from the British woman's hand and examined them for a few seconds. "Still in new condition, I see."

"Same price?" Leon inquired to the Merchant.

The Merchant nodded and replied. "Not at a high price, strangah. But for these, I'll pay 5,000 pesetas. Same price as always."

"A deal, then." Tea nodded in reply when the Merchant pocketed them.

"Anything else that you need to sell, strangah?"

"We found this on our way here." Tea showed off the Spinel on the palm of her hand.

The Merchant nodded and took the Spinel. "Of course, strangah. 2,000 pesetas, the usual price."

Leon went to inspect the cupboard and opened it, taking a box of 9mm bullets.

"Of course."

"Thank you."

The Merchant shined the Spinel with the sleeve of his robe and pocketed it afterwards.

"You don't mind if we offload our gold bars to you, right?" Leon got the gold bars from Tea. The DSO agent asked himself if it was a good idea to ask Tea how she could store all the things they found in their journey to escape the place.

"Ahhh...! I'll buy them at a high price... 5,000 pesetas!"

"Deal."

"But I have to say, strangahs. If you try sell me any more treasures from around here, you might drive me penniless."

"Do we still have more First Aid Sprays...?" Martin faced Leon and Tea when he heard the merchant's potential money problems.

"We should have at least five or so left, if I recall."


Lobby, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


While the main group waited for Leon and Tea to finish their business with the Merchant, Sho secured a flashbang from one of the empty chairs with two Spinels, a Velvet Blue and a Green Gem from the statues on display in their short hallway after he secured the L-shaped corridor.

"Yo!" Martin peeked his door out of the door that led to the Merchant's makeshift shop. "Leon's asking if there's anything else found out there?"

The ninja commando showed up when he heard Martin out.

"Take these." Sho showed him the two Spinels and the Velvet Blue.

"Thanks." Martin instantly took them from the ninja. "This'll come in handy with our merchant friend."

"All right, young man."


MOM's Office, The Center


"Enter."

MOM allowed Billy to let a SID agent inside her office. He was of African origin, but it was unclear if he was from Africa or from North America, Europe or Australia.

When the SID saluted her and stood in attention, MOM nodded and noted that the doors closed behind him and locked up automatically. "Report."

"As of 1700 hours, Daisuke Sawamura is officially off duty from his shift in checking our teleportation equipment." The SID agent narrated with a hint of a British accent. RP to be exact.

"I see." MOM took a few seconds to think over the agent's report carefully. "Was there anything conclusive?"

"Negative." The agent shook his head. "We inspected his locker and workspace, but there's nothing to suggest that he's covertly working with Wesker on behalf of Los Illuminados."

"He's been very careful to cover up his tracks." The black-haired woman murmured before he eyed the agent. "What about his movements?"

"Our Tokyo-based agents are keeping an eye on him ever since he teleported back to the city a few minutes ago. A report should be coming in to the office at any time now."

"All right. Continue monitoring his whereabouts 24/7 until he returns back to the Center to assume his duties again."

"Yes, ma'am." The SID agent saluted MOM before he left the office.

"I don't like the idea that we should keep surveying the mole." Billy said when he raised his concerns to MOM. "We ought to nab him while we still can."

"I understand your concern, Billy." MOM replied when she steepled her fingers. "Who knows if Sawamura already is convinced that the SID is planning on snatching him in Tokyo. He could seek Wesker's assistance and set a trap for us."

MOM glared at the doors in front of her.

"That's why I won't have any more funerals. No more."


Lobby, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


"Sorry for the wait, guys. We just finished up with the Merchant."

Leon was the first to step out of the makeshift shop, followed by Martin. Tea was still not around, apparently still trying to conclude her business with the hooded man.

"Did you buy anything from him?" Cammy asked the DSO agent, who took one of the empty chairs and sat down, feeling tired from walking around the castle.

"Just an extra First Aid Spray. Nothing biggie." Leon showed of the 9mm ammo box with him. "Also got this from the cupboard inside."

Tea politely nodded to everyone else waiting outside when she exited the room and closed the door behind her.

"Just a FYI to you three," Kevin pointed to the gold door behind him, located when you turn left after you enter the lobby. "There's a room there that's... um..."

"That's what?" Leon said when he saw Kevin at a loss of words in trying to explain the significance of his findings.

"I checked the place for myself." Jill spoke up for Kevin. "There seems to be pressure pads inside, but I didn't probe into them much further. I'm just worried that I can easily trigger a trap or something else."

"I have a feeling that we'll need more than one person to help check and secure said room."

Hien raised his hand. "We can go."

Hiryu shrugged his shoulders. "Sure, why not? We got special suits to help bear the damage of the bad guy's attack if a worse case scenario happens when we go inside there."

"All right you two. Be careful and good hunting." Leon said once he was sure that the masked twins won't be budged from their decision.

The two moved into position at the gold door. Once Hiryu confirmed that the door was not locked, he gave the thumbs up.

One. Two. And three!

Hien patted Hiryu's right shoulder softly two times before he gave a hard pat on his shoulder for the third time. That was the signal for Hiryu to get the door open and storm the room. Hien followed behind him afterwards.


Weapons Exhibition Room, Lobby, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


"Clear!"

"Clear!"

Hiryu and Hien searched the room from left to right, up and down from the ceiling to the floor.

"Nothing so far, except for the statues of knights in steel plate armor." Hien pointed the statues out to Hiryu. The two noted that they were in full display with their broadswords held in a reverse direction, blade tip pointed downward.

"Seems to be these guys in the house." Hiryu examined the statues before he checked the pressure pads. "These seem to be normal, but stay on guard."

"Looks like one of us needs to step onto the pressure pads, just from the looks of things here."

"Let's decide with rock-paper-scissors. Best two out of three, bro."

The two decided to use it as their only way to decide things. Hien got one shot with his scissor beating Hiryu doing paper. But on the last two matches, Hiryu managed to beat his brother by using rock to beat his scissors. When that failed, Hien tried again by using paper to beat the incoming scissors. Hiryu accidentally used paper.

Dammit. Both of them were upset by this, but were determined to win the best two. Hien was the first to go when he used rock. This time, Hiryu used paper to counter it.

"Best two out of three, it is." Hiryu said when he counted with the wins he had.

"Just be sure to watch my back, yeah? Don't wanna show off my back to them crazy monks." Hien eyed his brother carefully when he stood in the middle of the room and examined the pressure pads and the two statues.

"Are they pushable?" Hiryu asked his brother when he checked the other door that seemingly led out of the current room.

"I think they are." Hien traced his gloved hands on the statues slowly and carefully to make sure that he didn't leave out any detail that can help, even if it's just a minor thing. "Give me a minute or two to check this statue first."

Hiryu took a good look again at the entire room. He noted four pressure pads positioned in front of a sliding door with two statues in the middle.

There's no handle, which meant that this is a puzzle room meant to hinder any intruders who show up in here as a security measure.

"The statues seem to be pushable." Hien tried to position himself at one of the statues by placing his left foot down and his left shoulder on the pedestal. With his right hand pressed on the pedestal, he started to push it towards the upper left pressure pad.

After spending some time pushing the pedestal to the spot, Hien went to the other pedestal and pushed it towards the lower right pressure pad.

Hiryu stood guard nearby in case someone or something hostile would show up in the room. He then asked him. "Why'd you push those pedestals on those spots?"

Hien shrugged his shoulders. "Dunno. Just some guess on how they'll work. We'll never know."

"So what then?"

"I'll need you to stand on one of the two pressure pads around here. See if this'll open the sliding door."

"Alright."

Hiryu volunteered to go to the upper right pressure pad, since it was near the sliding door. He stepped on it and watched the sliding door as it opened up.

Hien quickly moved in and placed his back behind the wall near the sliding door from the left. Hiryu followed suit and placed his back behind the wall, this time near the sliding door from the right.

"Come on now. Don't be shy. You can come in, you know."

This statement startled the two masked teens, who were surprised as if someone knew that they were coming.

Go peek around the corner and check who it was. Hien pointed to Hiryu before he pointed to the open door with his left thumb. He kept his grip on his Pindad SS1-M5 Commando. He patted his weapon for emphasis. I got your back.

Roger that. Hiryu nodded and took a peek and saw someone familiar. Even with the back facing him, he already knew who it was.

Hien saw Hiryu point to the other room inside with his right thumb. He sighed and took a peek for himself.

Holy... It's Ramon Salazar! How'd that twerp get in here?!

Without saying anything, Hiryu and Hien charged into the next room together and confronted Salazar with their assault rifles aimed at him.


Waiting Room, Weapons Exhibition Room, Lobby, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


Hiryu and Hien stormed the room and saw who was waiting for them to arrive.

Salazar turned around after he finished looking at the painting of the Virgin Mary. He sarcastically clapped his hands when he faced the twins.

"My compliments to the two of you for making it this far." Salazar said when he smirked. "Though I'm sad to say that the First Daughter is not around. I would have liked to say hello to her at least."

"Very funny, you squirt." Hien aimed his SS-1M5 at Salazar.

"Ah, ah, ah." Salazar raised his right index finger and wagged it when he was "clearly" upset by his manners. "You shouldn't say things like that when you speak to someone who's older than you."

"What are you talking about?" Hiryu shouldered his G36C. "You're not making any sense!"

"Well it doesn't have to in the first place. In fact, it doesn't have to make sense all the time."

"Why you...!"

"I think it's about time that I put an end to all this." Salazar boastfully said when he raised his arms upward.

Hiryu and Hien heard some noises coming from the direction of the ceiling. Suddenly, the ceiling began to shake before it slowly descended. They saw the spikes retract out of the ceiling.

"Shit!" Hien cursed, but not before he saw Salazar run out of the room via open door. "Hey, get back here you son of a -!"

"No time for that!" Hiryu shouted at Hien to get his attention back to the ceiling. The two heard the door slam shut and locked afterwards. "Right now, we need to stay alive!"

To emphasis the danger, he pointed to the spiked ceiling that was slowly moving down towards the floor.

"You see that?" Hien saw the red lightbulbs on the ceiling.

"Yeah." Hiryu nodded. "Could be a way out."

"We take two each." Hien then gave out his instructions. "I stay at the right. You head to the left."

"Gotcha. Let's do this."

Hiryu and Hien crouched and shouldered their weapons. They opened fire on the red lightbulbs together, acquiring their targets with their sights and using semi-auto mode to take them out faster instead of using single shots.

Okay. Hiryu sighed when he saw the spiked ceiling cease its descent.

Hien checked around the room and saw a box of 5.56 NATO ammo left on the corner. He dashed towards the area and picked it up.

The locked door opened up and revealed a short corridor that led to another one.

"Go." Hiryu motioned to his brother to go first.


L-Shaped Corridor, Weapons Exhibition Room, Lobby, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


Hien noted that the corridor was clear of Salazar, but the area was illuminated thanks to lit torches hanging on the wall.

"All clear. I don't see the squirt around here." Hien waved to his brother to head down the corridor.

"I'm right behind you. Keep moving." Hiryu patted Hien's right shoulder twice to indicate that he's right behind him.

The two ran down the corridor towards the opposite end. But when they were almost to the end, the entryway was suddenly sealed off by a steel portcullis.

"What the hell?" Hiryu found himself trapped outside the room that he was going to go.

A loud rumbling came from the opposite end of the corridor. The rumbling became louder and louder until the wall crumbled.

"Oh...my...god." Hiryu couldn't believe that Los Illumindos was able to get a driller inside the castle.

"Can you shoot them?!" Hien saw two Zealots manning the driller.

"I'd like to debate on how the cult got a driller inside the castle, but that can wait!" Hiryu shouted since the driller was making loud noises that it would be hard for them to talk at a normal level.

He took aim and used the G36C's 3x riflescope sight to aim at the cultists.

Don't have time for a headshot. I'll take my chances and aim at their chests instead.

Hiryu fired the G36C once he lined up his sights at the Zealot manning the driller on the right seat. His aim was true when he saw the Zealot fall down from the driller.

All right. Now for the other one.

Hiryu took aim at the Zealot manning the driller from the left seat. He fired it again and saw him get shot and fall down from the vehicle.

The portcullis opened up from behind Hiryu.

"Come on! Get in!" Hien shouted when he saw the driller was still moving.

"Oh crap!" Hiryu dashed inside after he realized that shooting the cultists didn't make the driller stop.


Storage Room, Weapons Exhibition Room, Lobby, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


Hiryu and Hien decided to move back inside the storage room when they heard the driller's loud noise, which meant that it was getting closer and closer to the entryway.

They were incredibly tense. They didn't know if the driller would crash and bring the whole room down, the possibility of being crushed by the debris that they would die in the castle. Without their relatives knowing why they died in the castle or what the heck they were doing on a black ops-type mission when the twins were suppose to be doing their post-secondary education.

Hien caught sight of a red treasure chest. With that in mind, he quickly walked towards it before the driller crashed. He ducked down and covered his head with his arms.

"Did the ceiling collapse again?" Hiryu asked him, who also did the same thing.

They waited to see if they felt something hit their arms. They waited in silence until the driller ceased functioning.

Hien was the first to move his arms away from his beret-clad head. He looked up and saw that the ceiling was still okay.

"We're good." Hien gave the thumbs up and opened the treasure chest lid. He used his gloved finger to trace the edges to make sure no trap was tied to it.

"I'll check the others here." Hiryu told his brother when he smashed some barrels and crates to secure a Spinel, 800 pesetas and a box of 9mm ammo.

"What's inside?" The ARCAM Spriggan agent murmured when he slowly opened the chest. Inside was some kind of grail-type vessel. He picked it up and examined it to see if there was anything unusual about it.

"Looks like the grail that the teachers talked about in CLE class." Hien moved the Queen's Grail with his hand to see if it was heavy.

"You found something?" Hiryu crouched and opened the cupboard near some huge wine barrels.

Inside was a chessboard. But it was not an ordinary chessboard. It was an Elegant Chessboard, made with the finest materials ever found. The chessboard's legs were made out of gold. The frame made out of high quality wood, which was also polished to keep it looking new.

As for the chessboard's surface, it was made out of high quality material, but Hiryu couldn't tell what it was. On top was a knight and a bishop chess piece. Both were made out of fine metal.

"Yeah." Hien showed him the Queen's Grail. "A grail of sorts. Isn't that heavy, but it can make your hand tired even if you're wearing a combat suit made out of Orihalcon." He then looked at the Elegant Chessboard. "Found this."

"I did." Hiryu nodded when he handled the knight chess piece. "Looks like the chessboards we've seen before, except this one appears to be made out of exquisite materials."

"So a chessboard made out of fine material for rich people?"

Hiryu nodded again.

"Makes you wonder if the Saddler family was heavily loaded, which would explain that."

Hien kept holding the grail while Hiryu took the chess pieces and placed it in a small, unused vest pouch. He took the chessboard and held it by clutching it with his right arm, underneath his right armpit.

"Seems heavy." Hiryu grunted a bit when he felt his right arm struggle a bit just to carry it. "But I can manage until we can hook up with Leon and the others. They probably want to know what we found in here."

"All right. Let's get out of here for now."

The two came out of the storage room, which led back to the main room. While they were slightly surprised, they shrugged it off. It seemed that there's barely anything that would surprise the both of them anymore.


Lobby, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


Leon and the others greeted Hiryu and Hien when they came out of the gold door, carrying the loot they secured.

"You two alright?" Martin asked the masked teens.

"Yeah, we're alright." Hiryu reassured Martin. "We got some extra loot on the way out."

"I would assume that nothing hindered your way?" Jill inquired when she noted the stuff the two were carrying in their hands.

"Aside from a massive driller that the cult somehow got into the castle," Hien sarcastically replied before he said. "No, everything worked out fine. But we saw Saddler in there."

"Did you guys see where he went off to?" Leon then asked the two when Hien mentions of their previous encounter.

"No." Hiryu shook his head. "Bastard got away after he sprung a spiked ceiling trap on us."

"Guess we're going back to square one again with this guy." Kevin sighed.

"I'm not surprised by this outcome." Cammy suggested to her allies. "I mean, we're dealing with the last surviving member of the Salazar family. Which means that he knows a lot about the place more than us."

"We can worry about him later once we're in the clear." Jill stepped in to help the others stay focused.

"I can take those off your hands." Tea approached Hiryu and Hien when she noted the Elegant Chessboard and the Queen's Grail in their hands.

"I wonder what's going to happen once the Merchant doesn't have any more money to pay us for selling him good quality stuff?" Hiryu thought out loud when he handed the Elegant Chessboard to Tea after Hien handed to her the Queen's Grail.

Tea smirked, who chose not to entertain the question.

Hiryu sighed and handed the knight and bishop chess pieces to her in order to complete the chessboard set.

"When did you get those items?" Ashley was stunned to see the chessboard and the grail. She knew from first glance that they weren't ordinary items. They reminded her of the items she saw on public display at the White House.

"After we got chased by the driller, it got us cornered into some kind of storage room." Hiryu explained the situation to Ashley. "My bro and I just found them in a cupboard and in a treasure chest. Probably owned by the Salazars for many years now."

Tea excused herself and returned to see the Merchant while the others began to plan on how to proceed through the castle's lobby.


Deserted Room, Lobby, Salazar Castle, somewhere in Spain


The Merchant saw Tea enter the makeshift room. Unlike previous times where he met her and the rest of the team with much joy when they sold their goods and bought his merchandise, the hooded man seemed... a bit apprehensive this time around.

This slightly alarmed the British Spriggan agent when she took a look at him.

"Is there something wrong?"

The Merchant was taken aback a bit by her question. "N-no worries, strangah. I... was trying to remember something."

"Anything in particular?"

"Nothing that can wait, strangah. I assume you have something to sell to me?"

Tea showed a Spinel, which the Merchant accepted and paid her 2,000 pesetas for it.

The Merchant took a good look at the Queen's Grail and said. "I cannot buy that from you, strangah."

"Is it important?" Tea asked him when she showed him the item.

The Merchant nodded. "Indeed it is. But for what details, I do not know."

After Tea contemplated on his warning regarding his warning on the Queen's Grail, she placed it on top of a small 4x4 table and showed him the Elegant Chessboard with the knight and bishop chess pieces.

The man slowly took the Elegant Chessboard and looked at it carefully before he took the chess pieces from her.

"Such an exquisite masterpiece for a chessboard like this, strangah. I must say that you and your friends are to be commended to find things like this."

"Thank you for your kind words."

"Strangah... I will offer to buy this chessboard from you at a high price for 13,000 pesetas." The Merchant made Tea an offer when he raised the chessboard to his eyes.

Tea did not hesitate to say yes to his offer. "I have no objections to your offer, good sir."

After the Merchant heard Tea's acceptance. He began to slowly break down and cry, all while holding clutching onto the chessboard.

He was ready to accept going broke if he continued to buy rare things from this group.

Chapter 20 END


PS - Got several excuses to why this didn't get a much needed update for many, many months now. I had job searches, most of them not doing well since I was told that they placed my resume in the "We'll think about it" side or "We'll find a suitable position for you once we can do so" side. Aside from that, there has been some anger issues with family, but mostly with the mother due to feeling used by the family since she's getting old and stuff. And I also went to Bali for CNY holidays and to Japan for Holy Week holiday. Not to mention going to Vietnam, but only as a tag along 'cause my old man and older bro went to meet someone to do business with.

Barring that one, I am trying to get back to the spirit of things since moving back to Manila. I feel crappy all inside, but I can't do anything for the meantime. So doing this chapter should raise my spirits up for the meantime. I just hope that I can finish all the stories I have before I start winding down and/or not have any time to finish them at all.

As of now, we're in chapter 4-1. Which means this story's almost done with the 5th chapter in the game left.

Otherwise, I hope to update this again, depending on what happens first and on the pacing I've set for typing the chapter up.

PPS - I need to get in touch with someone who can read and leave a review the 19th chapter of "Peacekeepers" and the 3rd chapter of "Conspiracy" and see how it is. I've been in hiatus for more than 5-6 months ago and I want to make sure that I haven't lost my touch yet. Or so I hope. Thanks for any eventual replies.

Let me know what you think of the story when you leave a review. Do read and review on my other stories in progress (e.g. The ones without the "complete" markup should give you that hint) and leave me a review when you can. I just hope I didn't make any serious mistakes for being out of the game for such a long time now. Thanks and enjoy the chapter.


Pesetas in Total = 286,100