Amour de Plaga

While trying to escape from Saddler with Ashley, she and Leon suffer a horrible fate and the two lose their memories...

Prologue

"Keep running! We're almost out!" Leon urged to Ashley as they ran.

Ashley could only nod, forcing her already tired legs to keep going. Behind the two were several Ganados, armed with weapons, from pitchforks to lit torches. This was not Leon's day; what he hoped to be a successful rescue from the castle went wrong, as they were sighted by a zealot. Leon could only run and shoot behind him, hoping to minimize the group of the infected. Ahead of him, the drawbridge was being raised, blocking their main exit.

"NO!" Ashley cried out in despair.

"This way!" Leon yanked her towards the stone stairs.

Halfway up, Ashley tripped and fell. Leon looked back and saw the fallen girl. He quickly went back for her while shooting down a few more Ganados. Picking her up, they continued up the stairs. Reaching the top, he shot the zealot shooters from atop the towers. Suddenly, an arrow buried itself into Leon's shoulder, making him cry out in pain. He looked behind him and saw another robed follower with a crossbow.

Raising his gun, he shot him three times before the figure fell down dead. Reaching behind him, he slowly pulled at the arrow while biting back a scream.

"Leon, hurry up! They're coming!" Ashley pleaded.

With the arrow finally out, Leon tossed it aside before the two ran again along the wall, looking for an alternate escape route. Getting to a door, Leon kicked it open, knocking back a few of the freaks that waited behind it. Bullets flew and they were dead in seconds. They hurried down the stairs inside, leading them back inside the huge marble hall.

"Great... back where we started," Leon groaned.

Then, he heard the low, eerie chants echo in the hall, making them tense up again. Leon whipped around in different places, trying to pinpoint the source of the chants while aiming his gun. Suddenly, a door burst open and out came a gang of zealots, some armed with spiked shields while others were armed with chain flails. Then, he heard a low chuckle. The two looked to the balcony and flanked by two High Zealots, there stood the cult leader himself, Osmund Saddler, mutated staff in hand.

"Well, well... this game has certainly been fun, but now... it is time for you to surrender," he said.

"Never! I refuse to be like you monsters!" Leon shouted in defiance.

"You tell 'em, Leon!" Ashley encouraged.

Saddler chuckled again. "Such bravery... too bad it will be for naught," he said, shaking his head.

"You liar! Luis gave me something to keep your little bug you placed inside me asleep for awhile, so no controlling me this time!" Leon shot back.

"Do you honestly think that those pills that Sera gave to you will stop the plagas? Sooner or later, you both will belong to me," Saddler smirked.

"WE ARE NOT YOUR PUPPETS!" Leon roared, aiming his gun at him.

Suddenly, an explosion made the hall tremble, causing some of the marble to crack and plummet to the floor. Leon yanked Ashley out of the way of a falling piece, both tumbling to the ground.

"What the hell was that!" he exclaimed.

He heard Saddler growl, then he spoke something to the zealots below in rapid Spanish. His tone gave away his apparent anger as Leon listened. After the zealots ran out, he turned to his captives, but discovered them gone! With the infected two, they darted out a back door they discovered and out into the cool night.

"Don't stop, Ashley," Leon panted.

"I don't plan to!" Ashley replied, huffing.

Running down the path, Leon shot any ganados that got in his way. Where did that explosion come from? Suddenly, another explosion happened, but this time, closer. It sent the two off their feet and onto the ground. Leon looked up and saw a helicopter above them. Who did it belong to?

"Whoever that is, I hope they're on our side," Ashley prayed.

"Come on. We can worry—"

Suddenly, a missile, from out of nowhere, hit the chopper. Exploding on impact, the helicopter plummeted to the forest in a fiery mass of twisted metal and heat.

"Oh no!" Ashley gasped, hands over her mouth in shock.

The raging fires started to spread through the trees, creating a wildfire. Leon took Ashley's hand and ran for it. The fire seemed to chase them, slowly but surely. Then, a burning tree collapsed in front of them, blocking their path. Ashley screamed from the sudden heat before them.

"Back this way!" Leon shouted over the flames.

As they ran, the agent was suddenly hit hard in the back of the head and all he saw was white, followed by a searing pain. Somewhere, Ashley was screaming for him. Blackness threatened to take him. The last thing he saw before passing out was the hem of a purple robe running towards him.

"...Ashley...no..." Sweet oblivion finally covered his eyes and he fell unconscious.