All right! So this is the first Resident Evil story I've written in a long time, as well as a story that people have been asking me about for a while. I don't know how many of you remember my other two main RE stories from about two years ago: "sucked into the game" stories for RE4 and RE5 featuring my OCs, Audrey and Alexis Fagan, Resident Evil: The Other Side and Resident Evil: Mistaken Identity. At the time I wrote those, I wanted to write a sequel to "Mistaken Identity", but I wasn't sure when another RE game was going to come out until Resident Evil 6 was released. I've had the idea of writing a third and final story with Audrey and Alexis for the last two years, but I was never able to do anything with it until now.
This is the first chapter of my newest story, which is pretty much a recap of what happened in the other two stories, so the action won't really pick up until the next chapter. My plan for this story is to try and include all three main campaigns in chronological order of the events as best as I can. I hope you all enjoy this, and let me know what you think! Without further ado, here is Resident Evil: Divide and Conquer! :)
WARNING: There will be spoilers from RE6 throughout this story!
DISCLAIMER: Only my OCs and plot ideas are mine. Everything else belongs to Capcom.
The skies above Africa, March 2009…
The pain. It was too much, even for him.
Albert Wesker groaned as he clutched the side of his neck. This was the second time he had been injected with his own serum, the same serum that was supposed to keep everything under control. It was like a poison, coursing through his veins until he felt like he was burning. He was going to have to put the fire out if he wanted to still accomplish his goals.
"You're just another one of Umbrella's leftovers!"
Wesker growled at the taunting voice that had just spoken. It belonged to one of his greatest enemies that, in all honesty, should have been killed a long time ago, preferably back at the Mansion in the Arklay Mountains. He didn't know how the idiot had survived for this long, but he was going to get rid of him if it was the last thing he did. Being told that he was "another one of Umbrella's leftovers" only brought back painful memories of finding out he was one of the Wesker Children, just one of thirteen children raised by Ozwell E. Spencer to become an advanced race of humans.
"Estimated time until missile deployment: three minutes," a voice announced, and Wesker looked up as Chris Redfield faced the override lever in a pensive state, as if he was thinking about what to do next.
"You know what we have to do," another voice piped up in agreement, this time belonging to one of the two women accompanying Chris. What was her name again? Sheva Alomar? Then again, why did he care who she was? She was of no importance to him. Just another chaff to separate from the wheat.
"I'll go for the override lever," Chris announced, "Both of you, cover me."
"Roger!" the other woman cried, "Be careful."
And again, Wesker growled to himself at the sound of her voice as well. Although he hadn't known her for as long as he had known Chris, she was just as much of an enemy to him. He would never understand what Jack Krauser, one of his mercenaries, ever saw in her. In his eyes, she was an insolent traitor, and certainly not deserving of whatever human feelings Krauser may have had left. Although Wesker now viewed himself as being a god, he still knew the minds, feelings, and the inner workings of humans very well.
He picked himself up as Chris dashed towards the override lever. No! He wasn't going to allow Chris to foil his plans this time. He had gone for too long without succeeding. Now it was time for some payback.
Letting out another growl, Wesker began sprinting towards Chris, only to be stopped by a shower of bullets from his right, courtesy of Chris's two partners. He leaped out of the way, crawling on the walls and landing right next to Chris, who managed to pull the lever. By now, Wesker was furious. Normally, he would be able to keep his cool whenever Chris sabotaged his plans, but now that he was so close…
"You'll pay for that!" he snapped, but before he could do anything else, he stopped just as the lights in the jet shut off and emergency lights replaced those ones. The hatch in the corner opened up to reveal the night sky, causing a burst of air to enter the cabin and list the plane to the left. He heard a scream, but couldn't tell who it was as the force became too much and attempted to suck them right out of the jet.
"Hang on!" Chris shouted, but no matter how much he tried, Wesker couldn't do that. His boots slipped on the smooth floor, and he flailed his arms in an attempt to find balance. Even though he considered himself invincible in the long run, he still didn't think it would do him good to fall thousands of feet out of a plane. Granted, he had survived a plunge out of a window at the Spencer Estate (courtesy of Jill Valentine), but this was different.
Down below, Sheva managed to grab hold of a pole closest to the hatch, where she now struggled to keep herself from falling out of the plane. Chris remained by the override lever, watching the scene with an increasingly frantic expression on his face.
Wesker was still slipping, but just as he was about to completely lose himself and fall, he reached out and grabbed the closest thing he could reach. To his surprise, it wasn't a pole, but someone's hand, and when he looked up, he glared at the woman who had somehow won Krauser's…whatever he had for her.
Wesker could see the hatred in Audrey Fagan's eyes, and he knew it was intense hatred for him. She had a lot to hate him for: tricking her into working for him, sending someone to kill her after she wanted to leave, infecting her sister, Alexis, to use as a weapon against her, and possibly getting her killed as well. At least, Audrey thought she was dead. Wesker couldn't see how she would have been able to survive Excella Gionne's rampage back on the boat. Even though the four of them had, anyone else would have surely been a goner.
And now, Audrey was the only thing keeping him from falling back to the surface below.
Wesker gripped her hand, though she made no move to drop him or pull him back up. He could tell she was battling with herself over what to do with him. He could also try and drag her down with him, but he hoped she would remember who it was that had saved her in the first place. She still owed him for giving her the virus that enabled her to keep going with weaker versions of his powers. She had the gall to do a lot of the things she had done, but maybe what was really important would take root.
"So help me God," he hissed at her, "If you let go…"
Audrey backed up a bit, glancing over at Chris, who was staring at her with wide eyes. Ever since the truth about her alliance with Wesker, among other things, had been revealed back in the Monarch room, there had been distinct tension between the two. It wasn't without good reason, though; Chris had assumed since Audrey knew Wesker was alive that she had also known Jill was with him as well.
After locking eyes with Chris for a couple of seconds, Audrey nodded and turned back to Wesker, and he seemed to already know what was about to happen before she even did anything. He bared his teeth at her as he scrambled to hold on, but he was too late, for she loosened her grip, allowing his gloved fingers to slip out of hers with ease. His stomach zoomed up to his throat as he fell backwards, plummeting towards the open hatch and colliding with a pole in the process.
Wesker crashed to the floor, but just as he was about to fall thousands of feet, he reached out again and grabbed onto Sheva's leg this time. Unlike with Audrey, he had every intention of dragging Chris's other partner out of the plane this time.
"Get off me!" Sheva snapped, attempting to kick Wesker, but her efforts were futile. She found she was losing her grip on the pole that was holding her up, and when she met Chris and Audrey's gazes, she knew what she had to do to stop Wesker.
"Sheva, no!" Audrey cried, "Don't do it!"
"It's the only way," Sheva insisted, refusing to look at Chris's anguished expression, "It was an honor being your partner."
And with that, she let go of the pole, causing both her and Wesker to fall. This was the second time Chris was about to lose a partner to his old enemy, Wesker realized, and he couldn't help but smirk a little bit. Chris had failed to save Jill, and it looked like history was about to repeat itself.
Or was it?
"No!" Chris shouted, dropping down to grab Sheva's hand while Audrey went to grab his. Wesker looked up at all three of them, anger clouding the rest of his emotions. How could they all do this to him? How could they work together and actually think they could reject the new face of humanity? Couldn't they understand that Uroboros was the way to go?
"I'm taking the three of you with me!" he vowed, earning a kick in the face from Sheva.
"Like hell you will!" she snapped, pulling out her pistol and shooting him in the head, causing him to let go of her.
With that, Wesker finally plunged into the night, tumbling in the air as he fell, the wind whipping his hair all around him. He spread his hands and legs out to create some drag for himself, wondering where he would land, and if he survived, how he was going to get rid of Chris, Sheva, and Audrey once and for all.
Real world- Maryland, Present Day…
Despite the fact that I was wearing protection over my ears, I still flinched at the sound of a pistol being fired next to me. I figured it was because I hadn't expected it to happen so suddenly. I was used to hearing gunfire by now, though, and I was honestly surprised I hadn't gone deaf from all that-and more-a long time ago.
With that, I fixed my ear muffs, raised my own pistol, aimed it at the target up ahead, and pulled the trigger.
"Nice job, Audrey! For a newbie!"
I glanced over to my right as my best friend, Chelsea Perkins, smiled at me and grabbed another box of ammunition. She quickly loaded some more bullets into her gun and aimed at her target again, finishing another round before reloading. I did the same, and soon, it became a competition of who could fire off the most rounds in a given period of time.
"Thanks!" I thanked her, "You're not bad yourself…for a newbie."
Chelsea pretended to pout, which made me laugh as I shrugged. "Sorry," I joked, "I couldn't come up with anything more original than newbie. How about Miss I Thought You Didn't Want to Learn How to Shoot a Gun?"
Chelsea chuckled as well. "And you say you don't like to joke around. Well, ever since you and your sister wanted to learn, so did I. I think it's important to know how to defend ourselves in case something happens. Thank God we've never had anyone try and kill us, you know?"
I hesitated in answering her at first before deciding to go with a safe response of, "Right, but it's good to be prepared. You never know when some psycho will make an appearance. And speaking of which…" I looked around at the indoor shooting range.
"Alexis has been gone for a while now," I noted, "I thought she was just going to get some supplies from the car."
"I'm sure she's fine," Chelsea assured me, "You know how long it takes to walk through that wooded path."
"Yeah, but this long? And with crappy cell phone service on top of it? I'm going to check on my sister. I'll be right back."
And before Chelsea could say anything else, I put the rental pistol down and exited the building, taking a deep breath as the brisk, autumn air blew in my face. Orange, red, and yellow leaves fell from the trees and landed at my feet, and I heard the crunching of my boots as I entered the small woods heading to the parking lot. My fingers hovered over the pocket where my switchblade resided. I had been carrying it around with me for the last two years now, and although I seriously doubted I was going to be attacked at this very moment, I never let my guard down. As much as Chelsea and I had joked around back in the shooting range, I knew in my case, there was a lot of truth to her words.
What I also hadn't told her was that I was no amateur when it came to armed combat. I could have easily explained to her where I got all my experience, but that was a story I knew she wouldn't believe. Hell, I had lived it and even I still didn't believe it sometimes. Nobody knew except for Alexis, and for now, we both preferred to keep it that way. For the time being, I had decided to go to the shooting range every now and then for the last two years to practice so that I wouldn't lose everything I had learned.
I continued to walk on the path, taking note of the woods around me as I pulled my hood over my head. It wasn't too far now, thank God, but I just wanted to make sure Alexis was okay. I'm sure she's fine, I told myself, and after a while, I believed it. Alexis could take care of herself. She had done so in the past.
The clearing was just up ahead, so instead of walking, I began to run. My brown hair flew in my face, and I pushed the loose pieces down the whole time I sprinted. "Alexis!" I called out, stopping to see if I would get an answer. When I didn't, I picked up the pace again, running until I finally made it to the parking lot.
"Alexis!" I repeated, finding my older sister standing by our car as she fiddled with her cell phone. She frowned as she held it up in the air-in an attempt to get some service, I assumed.
"Audrey!" she gasped, glancing in my direction as she jumped a little bit, "You scared me! What are you doing back here? I thought you and Chelsea were practicing."
"And we thought you were getting supplies," I replied, "What's going on?"
"I was getting the rest of our stuff out of here," my sister explained, "But then Mom and Randy tried to call me, and I can't get any service. In the little bit I had, they said they had something they needed to tell us when we got home."
Alexis shrugged and then faced me with a look of concern in her eyes. "Anyway, that's the reason I was taking so long," she said, "You don't have to worry about me. I'm fine."
"I know, I know," I replied, "But I still get worried sometimes when I don't hear from you for a while."
Alexis smiled weakly, wrapped her arm around my shoulder, and began to usher me back to the wooded path. "I know," she repeated, "But we're strong, little sis. We're survivors, and you know I'll never just disappear again."
I gave her a smile in response, and I moved my hand away from the switchblade pocket and allowed it to relax at my side. Maybe she was right. Maybe I really didn't have anything to worry about. It was normal to be concerned about my sister if I didn't hear from her in a while, right?
For me, things were a little more complicated than that. More like these last three years were complicated. For all intents and purposes, we were damn near lucky to be breathing right now after everything we had been through.
It had all started three years ago when I decided to venture into the wonderful world of Resident Evil. Looking back now, perhaps I should have started from the first game instead of halfway into the series. Then half the things we had gone through would have never occurred.
Anyway, Resident Evil 4 was where it all began. Resident Evil 4. One of the most critically acclaimed games of 2005, as well as in the series itself. I had heard so much about it, and even though I hadn't known much about the games, I had decided to buy it anyway.
Biggest mistake of my life.
Instead of playing the game like any normal person would, I ended up living it. Long story short, I gained an infection from a special virus that was given to me and made enemies like Albert Wesker. Anyone who knew about Albert Wesker would know it was not a good idea to get on his bad side. Well, I had, and I had paid for it in more ways than I cared to remember.
Resident Evil 5 was no better. That time, Alexis had gone with me, and unfortunately ended up in Wesker's hands, something I still felt guilty about to this day. There was a point where I thought I had lost her for good, and ever since then, I vowed to myself that I would never let anything like this happen to her again. So far, we had done well staying away from everything to do with Resident Evil. We already had to deal with our respective viruses without getting thrown back into another adventure.
Ironically, getting sucked into two Resident Evil games had also been where I became trained in armed combat. I took out my wallet, where I flipped through the slots holding my credit cards and other identification until I found the one I still carried around with me to this day.
"You still carry that thing around?" Alexis asked, peering down at my wallet as I took out my Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance identification.
"I guess it's just a part of me now," I answered, holding it up as I stared at the picture of myself, "Now let's get back before Chelsea thinks we've both run off."
"So did you guys hear about the latest Resident Evil game that just came out?" Chelsea asked excitedly once we were on our way back from the shooting range.
I glanced at Alexis as she returned the look out of the corner of her eye, not taking her eyes off the road in front of us. "Bits and pieces," I said, "Apparently there are three campaigns?"
"You got it!" Chelsea chirped, "Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy, and newcomer Jake Muller! And I've gotta say, Jake is smokin'!"
Alexis and I laughed. "That good looking, huh?" Alexis teased, "So who's Jake Muller? I've never heard of him before this game."
I glanced over my shoulder as Chelsea leaned back in her seat. "A mercenary of some sort," she explained, "I don't know much else about him, though. I've avoided all trailers and demos. I want to be surprised when I start playing the game."
"Wait, you have it already?" I questioned.
"Preordered and bought!" Chelsea reported happily, "While you're home from college for the weekend, Audrey, you and Lexy should stop by so we can play it! We can do co-op and everything!"
I shared a glance with my sister again. Like Chelsea, we had heard a little bit about Resident Evil 6, but we were not invested in it at all. Not after what had happened to us with the previous two games. Plus, I was busy with college, and Alexis was focused on her full time job as a receptionist at the local doctor's office.
"Come on," Chelsea pressed, "You know you want to. It'll be fun!"
"Oh, I don't know," I responded, pretending to hesitate, "What if we get you killed and get a bad score? That happened to our cousins with Resident Evil 5!"
"I don't care. It's our first time playing the game. We're bound to die a million times."
"True," Alexis conceded, "But still…we don't really like those games anymore."
"At least think about it," Chelsea said once we finally got to her house and dropped her off, waving to her as she opened the door and went inside. Alexis then put the car into drive and began to head back towards our house.
"So what do you think?" she asked, "Should we risk everything and play Resident Evil 6?"
I hesitated at first. Like my sister, I had my reservations about diving back into that series.
"I say no," I decided, "The last time I suggested we play a Resident Evil game, you almost got killed. I'm not going to let that happen again."
"But it won't," Alexis insisted, "I know you don't feel comfortable with the idea, but it's been two years now. We can't let that stop us from living. We've been doing all right so far, and even though Wesker's dead now, this is only making him still win in a way. Besides, you've shown me how strong you are. You were able to break away from Wesker's influence, and I don't just mean when you decided to stop working for him. I didn't let him infect me with Uroboros, either."
"I guess so," I said, "But what if it happens again, you know? Getting sucked into the game?"
Alexis didn't have an answer for that, but she only shrugged as she made a left turn. "It only seems to be the two of us that are affected. Maybe if we don't play it, we won't get sucked in. I doubt anything will happen to Chelsea. Trust me, Audrey, everything's going to be fine. You'll see."
And that was the story of our lives for the past two years. For the most part, we were all right, except for the fact that we still had nightmares of our adventures every so often. Alexis still wouldn't touch champagne after nearly drinking a glass of it that had been laced with the Uroboros virus. We weren't sure what would have happened to her, since she had been given a full blast of the original Progenitor virus, but we wouldn't take any chances.
Soon, we made it home, and I wondered what Mom and Randy had to tell us. We jumped out of the car and hurried into the house, where we found our mother and stepfather waiting for us in the living room, along with our cat, Jack.
"Hi, girls!" Mom greeted, hugging us both before we went over to hug Randy, "Back already?"
"Yeah," Alexis said, pulling away, "You won't believe how many people were there today! I guess everybody wants to learn how to shoot a gun now."
Although our parents still didn't know about our Resident Evil adventures, they knew about our frequent trips to the shooting range. Surprisingly, they hadn't been bothered by our decision to become members of that place. "You two are adults now," Randy had told us, "Whatever you want to do is up to you."
"So what did you want to tell us?" I asked while we all took seats on the couch.
Mom and Randy took a deep breath as they held each other's hands. "Your father called before while you were out," Mom announced, "He'll be arriving in Maryland tomorrow and he wanted to visit us."
My mouth dropped open in shock, and I could see my sister was surprised as well. Out of all the things were expecting, that wasn't one of them. Even though I was thirteen when Mom and Dad originally got the divorce, we still kept in regular contact with him. In fact, the last time we had seen Dad in person was at my high school graduation before he had gone away on another business trip.
"Wow," Alexis finally whispered, "It's been so long since we've seen him. Is he on another break?"
"He said he is," Randy answered, "And he figured while he was in town, why not visit? You two are okay with that, right?"
I remained tongue-tied for a few seconds before I asked, "What about you? Are you okay with it, Randy?"
Randy waved his hand nonchalantly. "I've told you, I don't have a problem with it as long as you two don't," he assured us.
"And it's just a brief visit," Mom added, "He just wants to stop by for dinner."
I rested my chin in my hands. Not that I had an issue with my biological father visiting us. In fact, I was looking forward to seeing him after such a long time! It was just that after adjusting to having Randy in the house, this was throwing me for a loop.
"Are you okay, Audrey?" Randy asked, frowning as he pressed his hand against my forehead, "You feel a little clammy now."
"I'm fine," I said, looking up at him, "It's just…with our father visiting…I don't want you to think I hate you again."
"That's ridiculous," Alexis spoke up, "He's not going to think that! Are you, Randy?"
"Of course not!" Randy insisted, "I know we had our…problems in the beginning, but everything's been smoothed out. And your father and I get along very well. Trust me, you have nothing to worry about."
Later on that night…
"Yay, you guys made it!" Chelsea cheered as soon as she opened the door to her house, "Step right in! Everything's almost ready!"
I can't believe we're doing this right now, I thought, entering the living room as Alexis followed closely behind me. It was like she had said; if we didn't actually play the game, maybe we would be safe. But I had to admit that I was a teeny bit curious about Resident Evil 6. I was still trying to get my mind off the fact that my father was coming to visit. I would never admit that to Chelsea, though.
"What are you doing?" Alexis asked, nodding at the screen as our friend picked up the Xbox360 controller again and began twirling the left analog stick.
"I don't know if this game picked a campaign for me already," she said, frowning, "But it's making me play as Leon. Here, look."
We cautiously stepped forward, which made her laugh. "What's with you guys?" she questioned, "You can move a little closer. You're not gonna get sucked into the game."
I started laughing while Alexis just glanced at me with a big grin on her face. "Right," I replied, "Not gonna get sucked in. You're right." We moved a little closer in time to see what Chelsea was talking about: right now, she was playing as Leon Scott Kennedy as he flew a helicopter dangerously close to a few buildings with signs lit up in Chinese characters.
"Leon!" I cried.
Chelsea nodded as she finished the quick time event and the helicopter narrowly missed crashing into the ground. "Yep," she confirmed, "And his new partner, Helena. You know about Leon Kennedy, right? Rookie cop who survived Raccoon City and investigated Las Plagas in Spain?"
"Yeah, we know about him," I quipped, allowing a small smile on my face. I also know him personally, I added to myself.
Still, I couldn't get over how different he looked. Granted, he was older than when I had joined him in Spain, but his face looked more set in anger, he had a slight stubble, and I could have sworn his blonde hair was slightly darker as well. I didn't know who Helena was, but I was sure I would find out more about her.
The scene in the game ended just as Leon and Helena barely managed to escape being crushed by part of the helicopter that had crashed through the roof. "You all right?" Leon asked.
"Yeah," Helena replied, and Chelsea quickly guided the two of them into the next room. I found myself holding my breath, wondering what would happen next in spite of myself.
After making Leon jump down to the level below, the game switched to a cutscene where something suddenly leaped down to the ground. Something we couldn't see.
"Back for more?" Leon growled before the scene ended.
"Oh, okay," Chelsea said, "That was just the introduction. Now the real game starts. I'll be right back, okay? Pick any campaign you want."
And before we could say anything, she got up and quickly left the room.
"Chelsea, come back!" I shouted, but she disappeared.
"Oh, God," Alexis groaned, "Why did she have to leave us with the game?"
"Let's just quickly press Start and then back away slowly," I suggested, inching my hand forward slowly, "Get it over with now before the game starts itself."
"Be careful," Alexis warned, and I nodded. Just a little bit further, and I'd be able to press Start with no problems. Closer…closer…closer…
"Ouch!" I gasped as I suddenly felt a painful shock in my finger after barely touching the button. It was as if I had been struck by lightning, which caused me to stumble back and knock into Alexis.
"Audrey!" she shouted, but let out a gasp as well as my back collided into her, knocking the wind out of her as we both crashed to the floor.
"Chelsea," I choked, but before I could have time to wonder if she had heard us fall down, everything faded to black around me.
The first sensation that hit me when I finally came to was the bitter cold.
A sharp, forceful wind blew through my hair as I groaned and opened my eyes, taking note of the fact that I was lying on a wooden floor. A thin layer of snow covered the ground, and I even found myself brushing some snow off of me as I sat up and looked around. I was in a dilapidated cabin, where a broken window was situated to my left, bringing in the wind and blowing snow from outside. I shivered. The outfit I was wearing was unfortunately not appropriate for these conditions, for I only had jeans, my boots, and my hooded sweatshirt. This was definitely not like the previous two times I had landed in the Resident Evil universe. Part of me was thankful I hadn't ended up next to a monster like the Regenerator, but the other half was wishing this was all just a nightmare.
Groaning, I sat up, wiping some melted snow out of my hair next. Why now? After two years of being free from this hell, I was thrown right back into it. Wait…
"Alexis?" I called out, looking around as the strong wind and snow were the only things that responded to me. If I had ended up here, did that mean she had as well? The last time we went into Resident Evil 5, we had been separated. Would it be the same this time?
"Alexis!" I repeated, standing up and trying not to let my teeth chatter. I pulled the hood over my head and lengthened the drawstrings until my face was completely covered by the hood. It wouldn't completely defend me against the elements, but I had survived worse conditions than this.
I heard the wood creak under my boots as I walked through the cabin in order to find my sister. If she was here, she couldn't have gone far. At least, I hoped not, anyway.
"There you are!"
I sighed with relief as I found Alexis in the next room, sitting in front of a fireplace as she warmed her hands.
"I was just about to come and wake you up," she said, "I managed to just get this started. Here, sit by the fire."
I slowly sat down next to her and held my hands out as well. It was still far too cold in this cabin, but the little fire we had was good enough for now.
"When…when did you wake up?" I asked, shivering.
"A little while ago. Can you believe we ended up back here again?"
I scoffed as I continued to try and warm myself for the time being. "Not at all," I said, "I knew going to watch Chelsea play Resident Evil 6 was a bad idea."
"Well, we're here now, so we might as well try to make the best of it. Besides, I still owe you for risking your life for me in Africa."
I shook my head and offered her a small smile. "Really, it was nothing," I insisted, "You know I would never let anything happen to you. I'm just sorry I couldn't save you from Wesker sooner."
My sister waved her hand, and we sat in silence for a few more minutes as we contemplated our situation. Neither of us were really surprised we had somehow ended up back here, but I knew there was something that kept nagging me: Albert Wesker was dead. We had helped Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar kill him back in Africa, so what were we doing back here? What was happening now that the man who had given us a lot of grief was gone?
"Well, first things first," I piped up, "We need to figure out where we are."
"I had a look around when we first woke up," Alexis reported, "Through the broken window in the other room. We're in a cabin in the middle of the woods. There must have been a blizzard recently, too."
"Why didn't you wake me up right away?"
"I just wanted to get a sense of the place. There was no need for both of us to panic, and I didn't go too far. Just in the next room and the one we woke up in. Besides, after that nasty shock you got from Chelsea's controller, you needed to rest a little longer."
"Still, you should have let me help you. We need to find a nearby town and see if someone there can help us."
Alexis nodded grimly, and we spent a little more time warming ourselves before putting out the fire and getting up from the ground.
The minute we stepped outside, I wanted to turn around and return to the warmth of the fireplace, but I knew we had to keep going. So far, all we could see around us were dense trees, and my eyes began to hurt from the bright white of the snow, despite the fact that the sky was a bright blue. Some stray flakes fell in our faces, and we spent most of the journey looking down at the ground to avoid getting it into our eyes.
"Jesus, it's cold," Alexis whispered, wrapping her arms around her sweatshirt-clad figure, "Maybe once we get into town, we can find a store and buy heavier jackets. Granted, we don't know if there even is a town close to here…"
We fell silent, huddling close together to combat the cold. I had been close to freezing to death once before when I had fallen into a lake back in Spain, but this was way worse. We didn't know if we were even heading in the right direction, but it was better than staying in that cabin the whole time.
"Just think, little sis," Alexis spoke up again a few minutes later, "At least we're together this time."
I laughed as I felt another shiver go down my spine. "I'm glad we're not separated this time, either," I agreed, "I guess that'd be too cliché."
"Saddler would have thought so, anyway. Not that he didn't turn out to be a big cliché himself in the end…"
We both chuckled as the wind continued to whip falling snow from the trees into our faces. This forest just seemed to go on endlessly, but we doggedly made our way through the trees.
It seemed like forever before Alexis finally perked up and nudged my shoulder. "Audrey, look!" she cried, "A clearing!"
I followed her gaze and saw she was right. There was a bright patch just up ahead, and with even more determination, we picked up the pace and sprinted towards it. Sure enough, the forest was ending, leaving nothing but a mountain range to our right and an empty road to our left.
"Well, at least there's this," I said, "This road must eventually lead to a town. But the only question is, which way do we go?"
"Back there is the forest, and if this road parallels the woods, going back the way we came will just send us back where we started. I say let's go this way and see what we can find."
"Look for signs of life, too. Or any sign, for that matter."
Now we ran, and the further we traveled, the more we began to feel hope that we would be able to find something. Maybe the game was trying to help us out somehow, with the way everything was falling into place, but we wanted to figure this out on our own.
Although we had no idea what time it was, we realized it had to be sometime in the afternoon, for temperatures were slowly dropping. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard what sounded like engines coming from behind us. "You hear that, Alexis?" I whispered.
Alexis glanced over her shoulder and gasped. "Military trucks!" she cried, "And they're driving towards us. Maybe someone there can help."
"Is it our military?" I asked.
"I don't know, but all we can do is ask. Come on." We stepped back and waited for the first truck to pass, and I gasped as I took in the large tanks and other artillery. I was used to sights like this from my days in the BSAA, but these ones seemed much more massive. On the side, I could make out a red banner with a black spider outlined in yellow right in the middle. Underneath the spider was a motto that read, "La Vita Nuova."
"Excuse me!" Alexis shouted, and I watched as she flagged down the first truck, which hit the brakes and stopped right next to her. The driver poked his head out the window and frowned while Alexis cleared her throat.
"We're sorry to bother you," she said, "But my sister and I are lost and trying to find our way to the closest town. Do you think you could help us?"
The man coughed, his frown deepening as he opened his mouth and began to speak to us in a language that sounded a lot like Polish. Or was it Russian? Slovak? Czech? Another Slavic language like those ones? A mix, perhaps?
I shook my head, noticing the harsh tone he was using. My guess was that he was saying something that wasn't particularly helpful or nice. Alexis must have picked up on it too, for she was stepping back and putting her hands up in the air.
"Okay, sorry," she apologized as she took a step back. The driver of the truck was reaching for something next to him when his passenger spoke to him in the same language, waving his hand dismissively at us and instead pointing up ahead. Maybe he was saying not to worry about us and that they had to keep moving. I watched as the man put the truck into drive and began to resume traveling once again, the long line of other trucks and tanks following closely behind.
"Now what?" Alexis asked, but I held a hand up to silence her as I waited for the end of the line. The very last vehicle to pass us was a truck similar to the one Alexis had stopped, and I quickly checked to make sure nobody was watching. Good, they weren't.
I wordlessly grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the back, which was open. I climbed in first and then helped her next, and we crashed to the floor after we hit a bump in the road.
Alexis laughed quietly. "Hitchhiking, huh?" she whispered.
"You better believe it," I replied, hoping that wherever these soldiers were going was somewhere we could easily navigate.