Chapter 10: Separation

The red haired chimera girl fled to the underground emergency room. The alarm was sounding violently, but she didn't appear to worried as she entered a secure chamber. The door sealed behind her with a simple flare of antennae as she slowly approached two vats, peering inside. A devious grin formed on her face.

"You two will be perfect." She purred.

Her antennae flared again the same time she connected a cable to the containers. She accessed the mainframe, unlocking the seals on the two glass containers that held giant snake like chimera. Water flowed out, flooding the floor, but it was quickly swept into the drain before it could get any distance. Red eyes lit up the dark room and they stared over at her, robotic sounds coming from them as if trying to communicate. She understood them well enough, withdrawing the cable and laying her own red cross haired eyes on them.

The group watched as the pigmask base was destroyed, it's entrance caving into rubble. Deciding that their job was done, the group began their way out of the forest. Everything seemed strange as the atmosphere began to grow more colorful. It had to have been some sort of chemical in the air that acted as if each of them were on acid. Claus pressed onward, followed by the others. It felt as if the surrounding trees were changing constantly as their vision grew worse and worse. Before they could realize what had happened their vision grew dark. As each awoke, they found themselves alone and in a part of the forest that they didn't recognize.

Claus stood to his feet, thinking back on what had happened. It was mind boggling, no plant should have that ability to do that without being consumed. observing his surroundings, he noticed that he had found his way deeper into the forest, next to a waterfall.

"I could have sworn we were almost out of the forest." Claus spoke, but remembered that he was alone. "What was that?" He pondered.

He began to look around, hoping to find at least one of the others, but none of them were in sight.

Ninten Climbed up a tree, scouting around. He took a pair of binoculars out of his trusty backpack and looked through. As he was peering through them, Ninten noticed two large snake like chimera communicating through electrical sounds they produced. He appeared confused, watching them go off in opposite directions.

"Now this is rather strange..." He grumbled. "I better go look for the others and warn them."

Lucas was all alone, scared out of his mind. He wished any of his friends were with him, he didn't care who. Sounds made him jump in fear.

"Claus!? Codex!? Ninten!? …..Ness?" His voice grew quiet as he realized no one could hear him.

A sad expression covered his face as tears rolled down his cheeks.

Codex sat up, holding her head. The atmosphere appeared normal now, but she still felt dizzy. She was surrounded by trees, but she wasn't on a path.

"Is everyone okay?" She asked, suddenly realizing that they were gone. "Guys?!"

She heard mechanical sounds nearby, seeing a giant red snake like chimera hover over her.

"Not good!" She yelped, making a run for it with added speed from her PK Time Riff.

Ness found himself in a clearing, alone as well. He picked up his bat as he noticed a rustling sound not too far off. Suddenly, Lucas burst out of the bushes, being chased by a butterfly he thought was a monster.

"Help!" He cried.

Without noticing Ness, he crashed into him. The butterfly landed on Lucas' nose as his eyes slowly opened, realizing in was only inches away from Ness' face. Fear flooded his face, as he shoved himself off Ness in a panic.

"Lucas, relax it's me." Ness attempted to comfort.

"A chimera is after me!" Lucas cried.

"Do you mean that little butterfly?" Ness pointed at the small little insect who sat on Lucas' shoulder now.

"B-butterfly? You mean it's just a butterfly, not a chimera?" Lucas relaxed, seeming relieved as the bug flew away.

Ness chuckled at Lucas, who looked over in confusion.

"Are you really that scared of the forest that you mistook a butterfly for a chimera?" Ness laughed.

"N-no…I'm just-" Lucas muttered, in embarrassment.

"It's okay Lucas. You're not alone anymore." Ness stated.

"Yeah, you're right." Lucas managed to fake a smile through his nervousness.

Ninten continued his search, using the PK 4th D-Slip to escape some swarms of Quadsect chimera he encountered. He was practically useless without his friends. He knew deep down that if he was discovered by those snake chimera, he wouldn't last alone. His only way of stopping them was to regroup with the others, if he could only make it in time to warn them.

Claus continued looking around for his friends and whatever had caused them to get separated. He then noticed a figure who was peeking out of a small cave. He approached cautiously, but relaxed as he drew closer. It was Codex. She turned around as he snapped a twig beneath his feet.

"Claus?" She asked.

"Uh…hey Codex. What are you doing inside that cave?" Claus replied.

"Finally, a friendly face! I've been avoiding this red chimera for at least an hour now. Have you seen the others?" Codex explained.

Claus shook his head. "You're the first one I've came across."

Codex stepped out of the cave, walking closer to him. "It might be wise if we were to stick together."

"Agreed." Claus replied.

"We need to find that chimera and stop it. It's too dangerous to leave on its own." Codex suggested.

"True, but what are we dealing with?" Claus asked.

"It's a snake like one, red in color. You're the Ex-Commander of the pigmasks, do you know anything about it?" Codex replied.

Claus thought for a minute. "Hmmm, no I don't think so. But it must be behind the effects we all witnessed earlier. Seems like it creates a state of hallucination."

"That would explain earlier, but it might have other abilities we aren't aware of!" Codex exclaimed.

Lucas and Ness decided it was best to find the others, since it would be safer. The forest had grown dark from the nightfall. Lucas was still scared, but he was glad Ness was with him. The capped male had stopped suddenly, but Lucas had been unaware and walked into him.

"Oops, Sorry Ness." Lucas muttered, but glanced ahead to see why he had stopped.

"Who's that?" Ness asked.

They noticed the red haired chimera girl slip off into another part of the woods, pulsing antennae serving as a beacon of sorts.

"We should follow her!" Ness exclaimed.

"I-I don't know about this Ness..." Lucas was very unsure about the idea of following an unknown person.

"But, what if she can help us find the others?" Ness stated.

"That may be a possibility, but what if she's the one who separated us to begin with?" Lucas muttered.

"You could be right, Better safe than sorry. Let's stick to the plan. Come on, let's find the others." Ness replied.

Lucas nodded, happy Ness didn't decide to follow some girl that he had no knowledge about.

Codex and Claus had began investigating together, heading in search for the chimera Codex had seen earlier.

"Claus?" Codex asked.

Claus looked over. "Hmm?"

"Oh! Never mind, it's nothing." She muttered.

Claus looked ahead of himself. "Then why bother saying anything?"

Codex looked annoyed.

"Well?" Asked Claus.

"Let's just find this chimera and then find the others and get out of this forest." Codex stated, avoiding the subject.

"Fine, don't tell me." Claus grumbled.

Ninten continued onward, still not seeing hide nor hair of his friends. He grew impatient and quickened his pace, his asthma beginning to act up. He stopped and began taking deep breaths to help stop his asthma attack.

Lucas and Ness had found the waterfall Claus had originally been at. They stopped to get a drink of water. Lucas couldn't help but catch a quick glance of Ness' behind as he crouched down for a drink.

"This isn't getting us anywhere." Claus growled.

"Claus, relax! As long as we stay off the main trail we should be able to avoid the chimera and find the others." Codex hushed him.

"The main trail would have made more sense. I thought we were going after the chimera." Claus grumbled.

"Whining about it isn't going to make me change my mind. I realized that we need the others, so it could be more dangerous that I had initially thought." Codex insisted.

"Last time I checked, I didn't need your permission!" Claus snapped, folding his arms.

"Says the reckless blockhead who doesn't plan ahead and rushes into stupid situations!" Codex retorted.

"Hey!" Claus hissed, insulted.

"It's the truth and Lucas even knows this. He wants to make sure you don't run off and get yourself killed again. He asked me to look out for you if he couldn't." Codex explained.

"Liar." Claus grumbled, looking away.

"You're in denial." Codex stated.

"I am not!" Claus hissed.

"You are too!" Codex insisted.

"Now isn't the time to be fighting amongst yourselves." called a voice.

They glanced up, noticing the red haired chimera sitting on a tree branch, one leg tucked up to her chest while the other swayed from the branch. She smirked at them and Claus' eyes widened.

"I had my suspicions about you, but now I'm positive. Welcome back... Commander." The girl smirked.