Thanks to Numbuh 006, DJHunter, Heartless demon wolf, Yuke Navy Pilot, ADrunkPigeon, The Loner in the Shadows, Ricky, DaddlerTheDalek, Exploder, HalfWright, slicerness, hateyuforever, Talons310, Guest & Blood Brandy for reviewing the last chapters.
Talons310~ Thanks. Dramatic and dark seems to be my style at the moment, either that or bitchy and sarcastic. It's a differing viewpoint. I do hope to get one thousand reviews. That would be a dream come true for me. It was unexpected, but it has been planned since the very beginning of this story. Thanks for reviewing. :)
Guest~ And haha, guys, if you're going to ask me a question that requires an answer, please don't ask me on anon. It doesn't make sense.
To mix it up a little, this chapter is written entirely in a perspective I've never done before. If you're not interested in Arielle Truscott, I suggest that you skip this chapter, and wait for the next one, which will be written in an official character's perspective.
Holy Hell, it's been a while hasn't it? I actually bought Sonic 06, just to see how bad it is, and I gave up after the first level, but at least I have a clear idea of what Soleanna looks like now.
background music: High Hopes in Velvet Ropes by The Cab & Zombie by The Pretty Reckless.
Anthem of Our Dying Day
'Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.' ~Saint Augustine
Chapter Sixty-Five: Siren's Sin
"You called, Dark Master?"
She'd admit; the ambiance in this room was pretty dreary. She'd always considered gypsy-like fortune tellers to be a little brighter, with rich drapes sequined with bright golden stars and lamps that glowed, but, she didn't have the most educated vision of fortune tellers ever. Being raised with military lineage would do that to a person.
She didn't know why she bothered adjusting her clothes; the Dark Master hadn't brought her back to life to look pretty. He said she'd been raised because of her abilities, and because her appearance would shake apart the very foundation of GUN officials all over Soleanna. She didn't really care; all she wanted to do was play with her little fox a bit more. She fixed her posture, placing a hand on her hip and cocking it out to the side. The Dark Master rarely spent any time looking at her anyway.
Before her, he placed one card down. She recognised it as a tarot card and felt an immediate sense of unease. Leilani had been into tarot. She could recognise some of the cards. This one: the devil. Upside down.
Evil. Abuse of authority. Uncontrolled ambition.
"Tails Doll was successfully captured a while ago. Eggman is driving all the mutants to hatred and insanity. It's been some time since we started campaign to destroy all non-mutants."
"That's all well and good, Sir, but what do you want me to do about it?"
"If you hadn't heard, we've recruited the talents of Silver, a hedgehog who is friends with Miles Prower. I assume you've seen him already?"
"Here and there," she answered, examining her nails. "But this is old news."
He placed another card down, his fingers curling around the cardboard like spindly bones.
The card read 'death', upside down as well.
Unwanted change. Refusal to accept change. Mental exhaustion.
"He is under the impression that his dear one, The Violet Lady, is dead. Unfortunately, this isn't exactly true. Silver doesn't know this, but your lover does. He ran into some former Violet Guards a few months ago who are keeping her alive and now knows the truth."
"Caleb?!" Arielle twittered excitedly, hopping up and down. "Do I get to see him again, Master?"
"Yes," the Dark Master chuckled, waving a decrepit hand about in an authorative gesture.
"Young Silver is stricken and furious about The Violet Lady's death. Because he plans to avenger her, he has joined our side. He is one of the best fighters we have, however foolish and gullible he is. You need to keep Heartnet from reaching him and telling him the truth. To keep him at bay, I want you to send him into the Gladiator Games. I have a feeling he will be a hindrance otherwise."
"But master, the Gladiator Games haven't started yet," she ermine said.
"They will soon, Child. I have heard from our spies that the Rodent King has permission from Eggman to begin them soon. They have been rounding up the players; some will survive longer than others. I'm sure if you dropped him into the games he would survive for a lengthy amount of time before you could pull him out again."
Arielle ran a hand through her long, white hair, "Is that all, Master?"
He placed down a final card: The Lovers. Also upside down.
Deception. Indecisiveness. Disharmony.
"No," he said, gesturing her to stop her leave. "GUN has been using their former headquarters to shelter mutants and civilians alike. I'm going to need you to destroy it for me, Arielle. Destroy it and steal the chaos emerald I know they're hiding there. They've recently acquired it from the remnants of the echidna tribes and we have to remove all hope the mutants have so that they will join our cause. Understood?"
"Yes, Dark Master!" she performed a habitual salute, grinning from ear to ear as she skipped out of the room. "And thanks for the reading."
She pressed her lips to one of the worn hemp bracelets hanging around her wrist, "I'm coming for you, Darling."
She was dressed in her bounty-hunter garb; a tight blue t-shirt, a cropped black jacket, matching black pants tucked into commando boots. "It's such an irritation that this mission doesn't call for more fashionable clothes," Arielle complained, as she laced up her boots.
"Oh stop complaining," Honey replied, tossing her two sub-machine guns.
"Ah my favourites," she said, kissing the barrel of one of the Magpul FMG-9s. "What's your next mission?"
"I haven't got one," the yellow cat complained, pulling on a pair of gloves. "Marsali's just put me in charge of babysitting the Tails Doll."
"Oh boo hoo," Arielle teased, poking out her tongue.
"Shut up," Honey grinned. They were in the Church of Argus' hidden armoury, and Arielle was getting geared up for her mission. She skimmed her hands over three different pistol swords.
"These are nice," she smirked, taking one of them down and examining it. "I thought they stopped making them."
"Why use swords when you can simply shoot someone?" Honey asked her.
"I've always been better at close combat," she grinned. "This one says it's a flintlock sword revolver. Looks fancy."
"Stop messing around and choose your weapon. I can see why you're using swords I guess, ever since you were raised, the ability to move faster than bullets comes in handy, huh?"
"Only enough to block them," Arielle murmured, putting the pistols back and grabbing two twin swords, both with the name Tsurugi on the sides. "I like these! There are charms on the ends. I'm glad people still make these, it would be a shame if people stopped using swords."
"You're insane," Honey told her before pulling her out of the armoury and closing the door.
They passed by the priest with a brief 'Sup, Chip?' when she realised there was something distinctly different about the church. She looked around, examining all the patrons plus the survivors of the nearby skirmishes. She scratched her hairline, trying to figure out what was wrong.
"What's up?" Honey asked her, trying to follow her line of sight.
"There used to be a little altar boy around. He was around three or four, brown hair, grey eyes… Don't you remember him?" she asked the yellow cat, receiving a shake of the head for her troubles. "It's just a little weird. He'd always use these tripwire cherry bombs on me, but he's not here anymore."
The cat rolled her eyes and pushed the ermine out the door. Those women and men who had joined the Dark Master's 'resistance' were fighting to keep mutants alive and gun down everyone else. The women and children who had remained were scavenging the ruins of buildings for food and supplies. As it had been for the last few weeks, the sky was filled with fighter jets, smoke, fire and explosions, while a backdrop of intransigent red magic kept them all boxed inside. It truly was a warzone out there, with little to no shelter scattered few and far between.
"First thing's first," Arielle smirked as she hopped onto her motorcycle, "I'm going to visit my darling."
"See you later!" Honey waved as the mercenary revved up her engine and took off with blinding speed.
She'd gotten intel from Argus' still working scouts that a white fox had been sighted moving in and out of a building that Shadow and Rouge also frequented. She'd guessed that that had been the GUN secret base. She'd set some scouts to monitor the building, and sure enough, there were sightings of civilians not-so-sneakily going inside as well.
The wonderful thing about GUN agents was that they weren't exactly trained to be creative, and so most thought in the same process as everyone else. Sneaking in was going to be a piece of cake.
The outside of the GUN headquarters was decorated like a homely old apartment building, covered in red bricks and ivy, but it looked abandoned, as was most of the homes in Soleanna. The smart people had immediately gone down to the Black Market for underground shelter, if they hadn't been able to reach the emergency bunkers in Soleanna's forest.
Arielle parked her bike on the other side of the street, in a blind spot from the cameras she could see swivelling under the ivy. She ran a hand over her eyes, smoothing out her fringe and wondering about a plan of attack. Dark Master had said nothing about how delicately she needed to handle this mission. All he said was 'destroy it' meaning, she could do it with any amount of bang she wanted.
She looked at the machine guns strapped to her sides and shrugged.
She ran up to the building and took out the two cameras hidden behind the ivy by scaling the wall and cutting up some wires with an army knife. After that she slipped into one of the open windows soundlessly.
She didn't particularly pay any attention to whether she was being stealthy or not. She only had to mind whether a GUN agent saw her, because they would surely recognise her, after all, the disappearance of Mytho Truscott's little sister and his best friend had been a base-wide distress. There weren't many that knew that she died as well… and in a way, Caleb did too. She stretched languidly, inspecting the seemingly innocent hallway she'd landed in. Everything looked as it would have, should this be a normal apartment building.
She looked in every room, finding no one inside save for a few abandoned… shells? She picked up one of the bullet sized pieces and decided to inspect the rooms more closely. Do the GUN agents get ready for battle in these rooms? She went downstairs and took out two more cameras. She could hear a buzzing noise that was getting increasingly more annoying as she wondered what it was.
Suddenly, she heard a commotion from outside and decided to peek out a window, readying her firearms. There was a small girl carrying a handful of supplies. She opened the door to a basement situated outside.
Well, I see no other way to get inside.
She jumped out the window and crashed into the door, utterly destroying it in the process. The little girl was gone, but it wasn't like that would have affected how she went about destroying someone else's property. She found another door that looked more like the entrance to a meat locker. She rolled her eyes.
I'm giving up on subtlety.
She brought out her firearm and blasted the hinges for the door. When that didn't work, she kicked them apart, making the door fall down with a dramatic slam. Inside it looked a lot more high-tech, but it wouldn't stop them from her blasting the place apart. She was greeted by three GUN agents and a bunch of frightened civilians. She scanned the crowd, but she still couldn't see Caleb.
She walked forward, and the GUN agents cocked their firearms; a rifle, two pistols and an SMG. The corner of her mouth twisted up in a smirk. She took three gracefully slow steps forward, watching as the agents started shivering in fear.
The one holding the pistols put his firearm down, but she could see his hands were still shaking, "Is it really you, Arielle?"
"Who's really anyone anymore?" she asked cryptically, crossing her arms, along with her SMGs, across her chest. "I can make this really easy for you: one, I can give you time to evacuate this building before I steal the chaos emeralds and blow it up- all you have to do is give me Heartnet, or you can hide him and perish. C'mon, time's ticking," she laughed, placing her wrists on her hips.
One of the GUN agents fired, but superhuman abilities granted Arielle the time to unsheathe her swords and use them to deflect the bullet. It ricocheted off the blade and back at the agent, who was shot somewhere in the abdomen. They were sent to the floor, blood pooling underneath them.
She pursed her lips and sheathed the blade, knowing that she'd made her point: anyone that tried to hurt her would die. The ermine moved from one foot to the other as the two remaining GUN agents thought about their options.
"Tick, tock~" she sung before turning around and inspecting the surrounding room. The place looked like it had been made out of chrome. The lights were too bright. She turned back to the two agents. One of them saw that she was looking at them and the other hid a cell phone from her sight. She scowled at them. She thought that all the cell reception had died because the phone companies weren't working anymore. "Are you going to reveal him?"
"He's not here!" one of them yelled at her. The other tried to place their phone into the back pocket. Her eyes widened.
"We're not, honest!" the one who had first spoken said. She narrowed her eyes. She was a sound elemental. She knew the truth from a lie. Sure, Caleb probably wasn't here, but there was something else straining their voice. They… they'd probably called for backup. She placed her hand on her hip, the other ghosting down her body until she revealed two bombs that had been strapped into the inside of her jacket.
"I made these bombs with the help of a fire elemental mutant. They're stronger than any bombs Gun has ever manufactured. I'm giving you thirty seconds to tell me where-"
"I'm here Arielle," she spied Caleb swivelling between the crowd of frightened mutants. He could have very well been hiding in the crowd the entire time; she didn't recognise him with white fur.
Of course he has white fur. There isn't exactly any time to buy fur dye with all of the chaos about.
"Callie!" she yelped excitedly, dancing over to him and throwing her arms around him in a hug. Arielle hadn't aged, so it was kind of surreal to be hugging a now eighteen year old fox. The ermine had died when she was nineteen. Caleb was taller than her now, thicker and more muscly as well, even if still a little skinny. She heard him gasp as he embraced him then stiffen all his muscles as if freezing would erase him from her sight. She let him go and looked down at his wrists. He was still wearing her bracelet. Caleb noticed this and clenched his fists, narrowing his angry blue eyes at her. "It's been a while, hasn't it?" she purred.
"A year," he clarified. To think it had been over a year since she last saw him, since Eggman had brought the tools together to make the red sky. She revelled in the sound of his voice, it was a little high pitched but musical. Despite their love-hate relationship, Arielle still displayed the normal girl-in-love traits. She missed his touch. His taste. His voice. But she understood now that it was at the point of obsession. After all, anyone the Dark Master brought back could only feel the seven deadly sins. She understood that this 'love' she felt for Caleb was an unhealthy amplification of anything she'd felt for him when he was alive.
What she felt for him was tragic kind of lust. What she hated in him was a gleeful wrath. What she wanted was a sick greed. What she saw in the relationships he'd forged with everyone else: Leilani, Lottie, Rouge, Shadow, and most of all Mytho was the darkest and wickedest kind of envy, an evil that consumed her from the inside out and dictated her body like the strings of a puppet.
It had been a year since she met him at the graveyard, and he'd fought for his life. When she was meant to deal the killing blow, she instead slashed at his neck, disfiguring his hair and mortally wounding him. She could admit that she had been taken aback by the fact that Caleb was trying to mindfuck her by saying that he was in love with her brother (and it was working) and that was the reason Caleb had managed to dodge the attack, or she could lie and pretend that she wanted to live a little longer, so she might see Caleb suffer as she suffered.
"I'm here to take you away from these peasants."
"Can you –you know- not. With the high-and-mighty zombie speak? I mean I know our circumstances aren't exactly normal but do you have to make it that uncomfortable for me?" he asked her, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Sorry, Snookums," she teased, taking his hand and leading him out of GUN's base.
"Listen, Arly, do you really have to blow this place up?"
Ah, she saw what he was doing: he was lulling her into a false sense of familiarity to make her go easy on the civilians.
"Well aren't you the selfless little trooper?" she replied, hands on her hips. He kept running his eyes over her outfit. When she was alive, she would have considered this flattering, you know? Because there were a lot of guys that adored her splendid beauty, and didn't get to see a lot of beautiful girls because they attended a military school, which is primarily where police-officers-to-be and juvenile delinquents were sent, yeah? Arielle could tell now that it was a totally different story. Caleb didn't see her as his girlfriend anymore, he saw her as a siren-like mistake that walked around without a beating heart, while she did carry a shred of what she used to be like, back when they would skip classes and share pixie stix on the rooftop listening to La Dispute and Passion Pit, or fighting about who'd most likely win if they were to fight to the near-death over tickets to see The Black Keys.
"I do. I do. If I don't, I'm putting my undead life in danger, so if you wouldn't mind telling everyone to leave before doing so? Oh wait, I still need to collect the emerald GUN is hiding."
"Why do you have to take orders from these guys again?" he replied.
"It's written into my HTML," she joked, patting Caleb on the head and wandering back into the GUN headquarters. "Everyone better be out by the time I find this emerald or you're going to be blown to pieces. Trust me, it won't be a pretty sight."
She walked through a sea of panicking civilians, parting it effortlessly while she turned around and beckoned Caleb to come closer and tell her where it was. "C'mon, Sweetie. For old times' sake?"
"It's not here, Arielle."
"Seriously?" she said, giving him a 'really?' look before smirking.
"It's your name."
"But it's not what you screamed during-"
"Yuck. Don't be disgusting," he said, before shrugging. "It's really not here, Arly."
"That's more like it," she replied before raising an eyebrow, her blue eyes shining curiously, "and why not?"
"Because Ash just drove it out in the getaway car."
Right after he finished the sentence, Arielle heard a deafening 'vroom' from outside and gave Caleb a scathing look before grabbing the bombs attached to her belt and threw out all the pins. Caleb started running for the exit, but she overlapped him and got onto her motorcycle, trying to keep the car she assumed was Ash's in sight before it drove into the wrecked streets of Crisis City.
As you very well know, the warfare on the streets of Soleanna had disfigured everything beyond the point of recognition. That didn't stop the GUN agents trying to keep the last chaos emerald away from her. They brought out the heavy artillery. There was a machine gun attached to one of the utes aimed in her direction, and several more cars in front of her preventing her from reaching the one that Ash was driving, carrying the object she needed to complete her mission.
She realised quickly that she was going to have to say goodbye to her motorcycle, and she patted tank lid right before veering it into the nearest ute. Quick as lightning, she stood up from the bike and gripped the barriers of the ute, flipping herself over them skidding across the back, taking out whoever was manning the gun with a leg sweep that sent them tumbling off the side to hit the road with a bloody slap.
She paid no heed to the crunch of bone as their body was crushed under another vehicle, or when that vehicle swerved violently and crashed into the highway barrier. Oh, look at that, they were now under the only highway in Soleanna that had actually survived the bombs: Lethal Highway.
She reached past the window to the driver's seat and quickly grabbed hold of the screaming driver's head, ending his misery by simply snapping his neck. After that, she leapt to the top of the car and vaulted from the roof to the next motorcycle. The force that she used to vault of the motorcycle unbalanced the driver, and they were sent to their side spinning around in another bloody mess. She left a trail of death wherever she stood.
There were still three more vehicles left before she would reach the one containing the chaos emerald. If she used the other GUN vehicles to her advantage, then she would be able to trick them into not shooting at her. The next vehicle she liberated didn't have someone manning the back, she supposed that they didn't have time to assign someone, well less work for her. She brought out her sub-machines and shot the driver in the head before leaping off the hood and wall-running against a GUN truck, followed by a path of bullets from the second last truck.
She leapt off the truck by springing off the side of the driver's door, muttering '3, 2, 1,' under her breath, waiting for the exact moment the truck would-
However many down, two to go. Unfortunately, the last agents were ready for her. Their shooting was disastrously accurate, meaning they'd actually prioritised skill over body when they created the getaway train. One of them actually managed to shoot her, what they forget when they smiled over getting one of the bullets into her, is that however much pain she was in when she was shot… wasn't enough to kill her.
Even if they aimed for the heart, she thought maliciously, watching as their smile turned into a frown, when they realised the bullet wasn't affecting her. Arielle's skin was searing and she's gone into a plane where she'd forgotten about physical pain all together, and she let loose the demon inside of her that screamed in bloodlust.
She grabbed the screaming GUN agent, totally ignorant of the seven or so bullets they fired into her stomach. She wasn't going to die; they should have just stopped already. She claw-liked fingers invaded the agent's mouth, each grabbing onto one set of teeth and slowly, excruciatingly pulling them apart until the corners of their lips started tearing apart, watching as blood spurted and the high-pitched scream of their terror resonated in their head.
"A solid B4," she mused quietly, oblivious to the blood splirting all over her face and clothes, soaking into her white fur and becoming grotty and disgusting. She heard a loud crack, and the limp body of the agent finally gave away the distinct sound of the jaw detaching, the bottom half of their face permanently maimed. She threw the body to the ground, reaching into her stomach to pull away the bullets the agent had lodged into her, ignoring the screaming noise of the driver. She had to dig a little to claw out the bullets, but she managed in the end, becoming relatively calmer now that the bullets weren't inside of her. She was going to have to go to Honey later to fix up these wounds.
"You insane bitch! You just fucking ripped his jaw apart!" the driver screamed at her as she got out her sword, sliding it slowly out of the hilt, and quickly beheading the driver, blood oozing from the stump of a neck.
Definitely quieter than the previous tactic.
She made one final leap to the back of Ash's truck, letting out a seductive purr noise as she slowly wrapped her blood stained hands about the side of his neck.
"Been a long time, Ash…" she said, her words laced with lust and amusement as Ash.
"Do me one favour, yeah Arly?"
"Sure," she whispered into his ear, "anything you'd like."
He gulped as her words blew his black hair about, "Tell Mina I love her, okay?"
"Wait a second!" Caleb screamed as she tossed him to the ground, blue eyes wide with fear. He was absolutely filthy, she knew mutants were having a hard time getting around but she managed to sneak to the river occasionally, when it wasn't filled with corpses that is.
Corpses unlike me of course.
"Sorry, Callie. Dark Master wants you in here so that Silver doesn't know that his girlfriend is still alive," she sing-songed, wagging her finger at him as he tried to fumble around for any weapon that she could use. It had been over a year since Arielle had blown up GUN's headquarters, and Caleb couldn't even muster up a hello for her.
"Cream…" he muttered quietly, clenching his fist. "I've been taking care of her for over a year, Arielle. How do you expect her to survive on her own? But you don't care about that do you?"
"Cream's a non-mutant," she replied, examining her nails, "she can rot for all I care."
Caleb ran a hand through his black hair before getting up again, making no hostile movement towards her. She felt something shift in her limited emotional range and scowl at him.
"You know that isn't going to work," she scowled at him. "There are some of us revenants that only have the capacity to feel the seven deadly sins."
"Haha," he laughed humourlessly, "Is that what you're calling yourself now? You getting sick of the term 'zombie'?"
"Yes, actually," she grinned, leaning against the cell door. "Don't worry about it, Callie. I know you're just agitated because you're going to have to kill to survive here. There's this new fighter called Dante, I think. I can't wait to see if you two will have a match against each other."
"You're seriously going to just leave me here to fight against other mutants to survive?" he murmured quietly, actual hurt in his eyes. But then again, he might have been faking it. It had become harder and harder to decipher Caleb's emotions now. She guessed with was the war affecting him.
Out of her backpack she produced three bottles of aloe vera, there had been some old shipments which were refrigerated on one of the old buildings she'd ransacked. "Here you go. This should be enough to keep you sane for a few more months. Rouge and Shadow will have broken you out by that time."
"Why are you trying to comfort me?" he asked tentatively.
Her eyes widened for a fraction, startled if you could believe it, before she opened the door to the cell and slammed it closed.
Arielle was about to sneak out of The Colosseum (formerly The Egg Dome) when a rushed 'Wait!' broke her brooding sense of though.
"Please don't do this…" Caleb muttered.
She rushed to his side, her large blue eyes locked with his as she reached between the bars, weaving her fingers into his messy black hair and kissing him soundly and quickly. She let out a resigned sigh, as if she still needed to breathe, and disappeared melting into the shadows.
I love you.
If I'm even capable of it any more.
She walked away from The Colosseum as the next round began and fanfare initiated the start of a blood bath.
Rouge and Shadow will get you out. I won't get in the way, because I want you alive. Because…
Arielle clutched at her empty chest cavity, willing away something that definitely shouldn't have been there.
If she had a heart, it would be breaking.
If you're confused, you're meant to be. I think. There are a lot of things that are happening and intertwine during this arc, involving most of the main characters. The actual length of the time skip will be revealed on the last chapter of the Limbo Arc. Review please!~