Disclaimer: I do not own Resident Evil, the characters or anything pertaining to the series. It is all copyrighted to Capcom. I am merely doing this for fun and entertainment.

Chapter Fourteen:


Piece together the pieces to a mighty puzzle that will tell of despair, and impending doom.

The news couldn't have come at a better time. Steve and Claire arrived at the infirmary within moments of Rebecca's call. When they broke through the door, Rebecca stood at the foot of Leon's bed with Ashley at her side and the two greeted their master and his significant other with respect.

Steve completely missed them; his focus solely on the weary mortals sitting up on their beds. Leon's reactions were quite languid, unlike the attentive and ready response he would normally present. The woman, however, didn't seem as weak as Leon, she was more receptive and aware of their entry.

"Leon!" Claire cried out and raced to his bedside. Hesitantly, she reached out to touch his hand and alert him of her presence. "Are you okay?"

The man's attention sluggishly drifted from Claire to Steve, and then back again. "Claire? What are you…? Where the hell am I?" he groaned and clutched his head, "I feel awful. What, did I pass out drunk after a party or something?"

Claire laughed a little. With a smile, she gave his hand another squeeze. "No, at least I don't think that's what you did."

Steve pulled up a chair to the bed, "You alright, buddy?"

Leon rubbed at his tired eyes before replying with a yawn, "I dunno, I mean, I feel fine but my head is all types of screwed up."

The two glanced over at the woman beside him; she wore the hardest stare and focused solely on Steve. "Leon, who's your friend?" she asked, gesturing to the brunette.

"Friend?" Leon turned to the woman and quickly was taken aback as if she were a figment of his imagination, "H-Helena?"

The woman, now known as Helena, said nothing. She kept her scornful gaze on Steve despite the others in the room. Rebecca sent a quick look in Ashley's direction, before having a seat at the foot of Helena's bed. "Miss, I am obligated to ask that you not send such hateful looks towards the mayor of this city."

"I don't give a damn who he is." The brunette's response was sharp, and laced with venom. "I will send him any look I please. I'll respect no tyrant."

"And what's that supposed to mean?" Steve started, rising from his seat.

"Hey, hey, hey – knock it off, both of you!" Claire intercepted, holding Steve back and sending an icy glare to Helena. "Helena, is it? I may not know you and you know nothing about us so I'll cut you some slack, but that's no way to treat someone who's saved you."

"It's okay, Claire, Helena's gonna behave herself – right?"

Helena turned up her nose and slid from her bed, "Get me outta here."

"We can't do that, you are on Sheena Island. The nearest city to this area is inhabited by some of the more vicious tyrants. You would need some of the best seafaring transportation to make it to the next human colony –"

"The Sea Towns is the closest to here." Helena cut off Rebecca with a growl. "I know. Get me there."

"Dammit, Helena… cut it out already." drawled a frustrated Leon.

"Jeez. Leave it to Leon to pick up a sassy one." Steve chided, folding his arms. Claire wordlessly agreed, missing the slight grin the copper haired tyrant sent in her direction.

"What did you say, demon?" before the tempermental brunette could charge at their leader, Rebecca quickly blocked her path.

She reminds me of Leon back before we met Rodrigo… Claire thought quietly. "Look, we don't have time for drama, let's just try focusing on what happened. You know, like what happened to your ship, how did you two get mangled up, and especially – we hope you two know where Sherry and Jake are?"

"What…?" Leon blanched; he looked around frantically until he could confirm the two were absent, and when he did, his face lit up in horror. "You mean they aren't here?!"

They all flinched away as the blonde attempted to spring from his bed – and then watched helplessly as his strength failed him, and he crumbled to the floor. Ashley and Steve were at his side immediately. At first, the former tyrant hunter was still trying hard to beat his own weakness, he continued struggling to stand but just as soon as he staggered to his knees, he collapsed onto his face, motionless.

"Leon!" Ashley and Steve turned him over. They were all startled when they were met with a ghostly white face painted in agony as his body shivered.

"Oh my God… Is he…?" Claire quivered out diffidently, crouching behind Steve with her hands cupped over her mouth in horror.

"I don't think so." Ashley said. "Master Steve, could you lift him back onto the bed?"

Steve did as she asked. Once Leon was returned to his bed, his tired body shook and convulsed where he lay. By now, his eyes had fallen shut and danced behind the lids. "What the hell is –?"

Before the mayor could finish, a sudden loud cry rang out in the room from behind them. This one emitted from Helena. The woman fell to her knees, clutching at her head and shouting bloody murder like a child trying to awaken from a terrible nightmare. Startled half to death, Rebecca kneeled in front of her, full intent to help. She started to gently plead for answers and begged the woman to calm down so she could assist.

However, they were all caught off guard when the petite nurse was knocked down to the floor, and not an instant later, Helena made a break for the exit.

Claire was frozen in place, as was Ashley; both bewildered by what was happening around them. Before Helena could escape, Steve made a quick dash and successfully caught her.

Returning her to bed was quite a challenge; she wasn't much smaller than him in stature, and with her kicking and fighting in his arms, he wondered if she'd hurt herself – or if he would have to hurt her to make her stop.

"Rebecca! Do something, dammit!" he ordered, right before a loud smack sounded out that made Claire and Ashley cringe.

"R-Roger!" The petite nurse raced towards her cabinets on the other side of the room and returned once she retrieved a syringe. "Please, hold her still."

"I'll help!" Claire grabbed one of Helena's arms and steadied the limb just enough that Rebecca was able to administer the sedative.

Gradually, the woman relaxed in Steve's arms, allowing Claire and Rebecca to return her to bed. Once she was finally resting, the two turned to the grunting and cursing Steve. Although his back was to them, they could see him clasping at his nose. Ashley was beside him, her arms wrapped around his abdomen as she cutely looked him over.

"Is Master Steve alright?" Rebecca asked, doing away with the syringe. The mayor abruptly started to chuckle like a hyena and the nurse breathed a sigh of relief. It was no secret that he was ticklish, and often they all would gang up on him if he was irritable just to see their leader smile. Ashley was particularly fond of tickling him – she was a young girl, so she took advantage of indulging her youth wherever she could.

"It's just a bloody nose. I can take care of him." said the pouty blonde. "Don't be such a big baby, sir!"

"I'm not! But damn, that chick hits hard!"

Ashley grabbed a medical kit from the cabinets and tended to his nose, while Rebecca looked over the two bedridden. "They're exhibiting a few behaviors of post-traumatic stress disorder. I'm going to have to keep an eye on these two. My apologies, Master Steve, Miss Claire; I can't have you questioning them in this state. Maybe sometime in the future…?"

"That's alright, Beccy," Steve said. He sat at the foot of Leon's bed while Ashley patched up his nose. He sounded particularly nasally as he spoke. "You do whatever you have to. I don't want another bloody nose, so just let us know when they're better."

Rebecca smiled and turned to Claire, curious to know why the woman was so quiet. She noticed the redhead's narrowed gaze set firmly upon Sheena's leader and the little nurse prodigy. There was a slight twitch under her eye as she stared Ashley down. The blonde was completely unaware, as was Steve – they kept their focus on each other with Ashley occasionally giving him little grins.

The little brunette snickered to herself before turning her attention to Leon. "Something very scary must've happened out there." she mused quietly.

"Yeah, but there's no way of us knowing just what it is until one of them tells us." Claire finally spoke, but her tone carried an edge.

"All done." Ashley chimed, moving away from her leader.

"Thanks, Ash." Steve said, sliding from the bed.

"No problem." the blonde moved to sit in the chair beside Leon. She quickly lost her glow when she saw her friend in such a fragile state. "Why did it have to be him…?"

"Come on, Claire – let's go so they can treat them." Steve said, turning on his heels for the door.

"I think I'll stay here."

The sudden tension in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife. Ashley sent a wide-eyed look to Rebecca, whom pursed her lips and returned her attention to examining Helena. Steve was stunned by Claire's sudden attitude; he knew her to be particularly moody at times, but why now?

"Miss Claire, um, you really don't want to stay here. It's boring, trust me." Rebecca tried with a nervous giggle. "If it weren't for my love of medicine and biology, I wouldn't stick around either."

"Yeah, and I'm a student so I'm stuck here no matter what. I wish I had some freedom once in a while." Ashley moaned, folding her arms on the bed to cushion her chin while her chocolate orbs looked over Leon's shivering form.

"You can always go with Steve." Claire abruptly suggested with a sugary sweet smile, "I'll stay here and help Rebecca."

She was clearly mocking them.

"Are you kidding? My last tyrant boyfriend dumped me after the invasion! I'm not hanging around any more tyrants for a while!"

Ashley wasn't one to pick up on sarcasm.

"No really, I'm sure you both would have a great time together." Claire insisted.

"That's enough, Claire." Steve cut in, lowly. "Let's go."

She was stubborn as a goat. Steve was rapidly losing patience; he'd been cracked in the nose and now, his girlfriend (to him at least) was giving him an attitude. To prove he wasn't tolerating her shit, he emitted a low groan within his throat – an inhuman one that always alarmed humans.

That did the trick. Claire masked her initial reaction by letting out a short whistle and going for the exit. She also made sure to brush past Steve none too politely. Once she was gone, he looked helplessly at his nurses. Rebecca made a face, but remained silent and quickly pretended to be taking down notes while Ashley simply shrugged and returned her attention to Leon.

Steve sighed, but before turning to leave, he muttered: "Human girls are weird…"

The stars were incredibly brilliant tonight; hordes of them twinkled around the giant heavenly body of the witching hour. Tonight, all was quiet – there were no parties, no fun to be had. The Primitives were too busy farming crops and preparing themselves for the arrival of the lunar eclipse.

Jake lay on the roof to the house he shared with Sherry. With one hand propped up behind his head to serve as a cushion, he twirled a dagger around his finger, thoroughly savoring the quiet night and opportunity to let his mind wander freely.

He wanted to get away from this colony. The Primitives were fun for only short intervals, at least to him. Majority of the year they lived simple and chaste, and Jake was not a fan of that. His blood boiled as he craved excitement. He liked the wild side of life; gambling, partying, fighting for fun and sport – not just for training purposes. He was a professional, and didn't need to train with these weapons.

The restless hybrid had an urge to explore more of the human's firearms. He enjoyed the power they wielded, as well as the slick surface and rush he felt while pulling the trigger. Ever since the incident in Sheena, he'd been without them and had no opportunities since. The next time he came in contact with a colony that was not stuck in the dark ages, he would be sure to take advantage of it.


The hybrid raised a brow before he crawled to the edge of the roof. He saw a mess of blonde hair below, walking along the porch and calling out for him. With a grin, he quietly descended and crept up behind her.

"Jake, where are you – Ah!" Sherry screeched as arms wrapped around her shoulders, squeezing her like a stuffed animal. She was ready to swing on her assailant, but just as balled her fists, she heard a low chuckle in her ear that was way too familiar. "Oh, Jake, I wish you wouldn't do that!" she fussed.

"Maybe you oughta work on ya reflexes, Siren. You're easy prey like this."

She sighed, "You are such an ass sometimes."

He rocked side to side with her, his nose nuzzled into her tresses and he gave a slight shudder. She was so intoxicating. The fact that she had laid with him only fueled his desire for her ten-fold. He constantly wanted more, but the human within cock-blocked him with the sympathy factor each time. Pleasuring her often involved her feeling some sort of pain, whether he bit her or humped her to the point of exhaustion.

She shouldn't be so sexy. He was clearly whipped.

"Let's go inside." she said, wiggling from his embrace. He conceded and allowed her to lure him into the house and out of the chilly night air.

Once inside, Jake migrated towards the bed, but not before briefly appreciating the warmth from the dimly lit fireplace. It may not have been blazing, but it kept the small space under a comfortable temperature. Sherry, meanwhile, started for the curtains to close them for the night. When they were enveloped in darkness, Jake lit a match and ignited the lantern they were given by Sheva. At last, they had light, warmth and felt fully content.

"The Red Moon will be here within the next few days." Jake said suddenly, walking over to the fireplace and lingering there. With fire dancing in his icy hues, they carried the countenance of dawn over the arctic.

After such a long day, Sherry was exhausted and ready to crash, hard. To think she would have to do this again tomorrow was enough to make her want to cry, and to make matters worse, she knew what was to come, and it filled her with anxiety.

The Red Moon; with such an ominous occurrence close at hand, Jake found himself a little on edge, not in the same sense as Sherry however. The Primitives still wouldn't tell him what they were up against and he was sick and tired of the damn riddles. He wanted answers.

Sherry stood idly by the curtains, when she finally looked over her shoulder to him, she calmly asked: "How do you feel about it?"

"Frankly, I'm mighty fucking dandy at the idea we're finally gonna be free to go wherever the hell we want. What about you?"

"Honestly, I have mixed feelings. We can go find Helena and Leon – that makes me look forward to it, you know? Wouldn't it be great if they were in that town Manuela told us about?"

"Hmm," Jake hummed, "So, what's giving you the heebie-jeebies, babe?"

"The fact that we don't know what's in store for us." she admitted with a soft sigh, "I'm a little annoyed that the Primitives won't even tell us anything – if it's that dangerous, you would think they would just be honest already."

"I hear ya loud and clear."

"It's so frustrating… I mean, what the hell are they hiding? We're stuck here either way, so why keep secrets?"

"Your guess is as good as mine – well, maybe not."

She tilt her head at him, "What are you thinking?"

Jake took a short gander her way before moving to sit on the foot of the bed. "At this point in my long ass life, nothing surprises me. But I've been taking notes on everything they've implied, said, and trained me for. I have a guess – a few actually."

Sherry was briefly transported back to their time on the ship full of cannibals. There was danger all around her, and yet she hadn't a clue of any of it. But all that time, Jake was watching and piecing together a mighty puzzle of something that to this day made her skin crawl.

"Whatever it is, I'm sure I can handle it." she assured, joining him on the bed.

"I know you can…" he trailed off with a purr, turning to kiss her cheek and nibble on it. Sherry scooted closer, and forced him to hold her close.

"Jake, what have you gathered?"

"Is that a demand, my lady?"

"Yes." she sang, kissing his cheek.

"Don't do that. If I get a boner, I'll have to take care of it – meaning you will have to take care of it."

Sherry snickered, "Come on, Jake. Tell me."

"Alright, alright," he sighed, "I've got a few ideas. I'll put them in order from best case scenario to 'fuck my life' scenario. The first, I think it's an animal."

"An animal…?"

"Yeah, with all the talk of 'no one survives the animals, insects' and shit, it might be an animal. It might be some prophecy bullshit where it can tell the future, who knows – these are some crazy ass tyrants."

Sherry couldn't hold back a giggle, "You're an ass."

Jake shrugged, "The next one I thought of was that it might be a plant. I dunno if I told you why I've been training with a weapon but apparently, whatever them is, it's crucial that we don't come in physical contact with it."

"You mean, we can't touch it with our bare hands?" she clarified.

He nodded, "So, I thought about a plant. Do you know what poison ivy is?" Sherry nodded briskly. Jake fleetingly suspected she touched it before; her reaction was of a person who had an unfortunate encounter. "If it is some type of contagious plant that grows from a canyon, that's not too far-fetched and I can see why we would have to kill it and its little young'uns."

"I'll admit, that sounds creepy." Sherry whispered, "It does sound plausible too – I mean, Parker said something about the darker side of immortality, maybe this plant thing could infect tyrants…"

"Maybe, but this last theory, is the one I'm certain of. Unfortunately, it's the worst kind, but dammit, my most dreaded theories are the ones that always come true." The hybrid noticed his lover tense up, drastically. He pulled her closer against him and tenderly kissed her forehead. "If you don't wanna know, I won't blame you. I can stop right here."

"It's okay, tell me."

His inner human was screaming at him, demanding he withhold his musings from her to protect her innocence. She didn't need to know of the horrors around her – it was his job to protect her because the truth could break her… He knew he should keep this from her.

But alas, the tyrant in him won.

"Parker said we were about to see the darker side of immortality. He told me that coming in close contact with them will be fatal. And then there's the fact that Manuela said that we are born from the earth. I had to imagine, that last revelation is a warning that the red moon itself is going to bring to life a species that otherwise lies dormant."

Sherry fell silent. Jake waited patiently for her to respond, all the while, kicking himself for being so cold… But she begged him to share. It was only fair that he did. She's not a child. I don't give a damn what the human in me demands. Sherry's an adult; she doesn't want to be protected this way, she wants to be prepared for the future and she deserves to know.

"So… it could be… some kind of monster?"

"Maybe… I'm willing to bet it's some type of new breed of tyrant."

His lover sighed softly, "I'm tired." Jake laid back with her, but rearranged their positions so he could spoon her. "I'm scared, Jake."

"Dammit…" he should've known better than to do this to her. Once again, the human in him had been right, but he was hard-headed. Now, he had scared the woman he cared for more than anyone else in the world. He felt like shit.

"I'm scared but… thanks for telling me. Don't worry, I'm always scared, but I still try my best. After all, I have to be brave if I wanna keep up with my big, strong hybrid." Jake was taken aback by her. She turned to face him, and gave him the biggest, most beautiful smile. Much like the time when they were on the ship full of human eaters, he was awestruck by her beauty.

Sherry Birkin was strong; in her person, her heart, and everything else. He always underestimated this woman, and each time, she reassured him of her undying determination. She inspired him.

She inherited her inner strength from her father. He mused silently. Sherry pulled him in for a kiss. Like always, Jake melted from her love and affection.

Through trying times, they were always able to emerge alright. And they would be fine this time too. Because when they had faith in each other, they were strong. Their strength came from their bond.

As long as they're together, they will survive. As long as they're together, they're unstoppable.

The infirmary was cloaked in a comfortable stillness that filled Rebecca with a sense of calm. Outside of the steady tick of the wall clock and faint snores from her patients, all was quiet. She had sent Ashley home early under the assumption that the girl had learned enough for the day, and now was quietly going over her notes from earlier.

The petite brunette needed some alone time anyway so it couldn't hurt to revel in the silence before heading home and going to sleep. Keeping busy kept her distracted, and she needed the distraction. Every night now she was dreaming about Billy, the husband she lost years ago. It hurt to think of him and his absence. Billy was a great man, loyal and strong, he made her feel safe – but now she relied on the safety of Sheena Island to replace him.

But it was impossible to replace a loved one. She would never stop loving him, but as time went on, she was forced to accept that she may never see him again…

A sudden knock on the door drew her away from her woes. She quickly answered and was surprised to see none other than Hunnigan, but she wasn't alone. Behind her was Luis Sera, the tyrant Ashley crushed on until he told her he thought humans were too crazy to date (the invasion was responsible for this 'epiphany').

"Hunnigan? Luis? What are you doing here?"

"Ashley told us Leon woke up so we just wanted to stop by." Hunnigan replied curtly. "I hope we're not intruding."

Rebecca shook her head, "No, come on in."

When they entered, they were quite disheartened by the air inside. It was such a gloomy room; grey and foreboding, the smell of medicinal herbs and soap filled the air. The two were quickly drawn to the two bedridden and a short pause followed.

"Damn," Luis said shortly, "Look at them, they look so tired."

"When they woke up earlier, we barely got a few words from either of them before they flew into a frenzy. I had to sedate Leon's friend, but he seemed to settle down on his own. It's terrifying, whatever they may have experienced."

"This is awful." Hunnigan lamented, "Did you find out anything about the girl?"

"Only that her name is Helena, and that she hates Master Steve." she added with a chuckle.

"Well, I did some research about chest devices and learned that it's a mind control weapon."

"Mind control?" Rebecca echoed surprised.

Hunnigan nodded, "Only a few tyrants in existence are able to activate it. They don't even have to be near their victims, just within range of their natural element."

"They were out at sea, weren't they Rebecca?" Luis inquired with a raised brow. With a nod, she confirmed it. "I wonder if we're dealing with a water tyrant…?"

"It's possible, and for this tyrant to affect two people is incredible in of itself."


Rebecca tilt her head curiously, "Tell me more about this device."

"It only works on humans. A tyrant cannot use mind control on another tyrant because of the lack of effort to use the conscious. While tyrants may think, we don't dwell." Luis explained, winking at her. "You guys think too much, we just act on impulse."

"I see…" Rebecca murmured. "So, any idea how long they will be this way?"

"From what I gathered, once the device breaks away, they should have been freed."

"So why are they still suffering?"

"I was going to add that although the device is gone and they should be free – if only temporary. The control is permanent unless the person responsible willfully releases it. The tyrant who placed that device on the human may still activate it at any given time. If we want them to be freed, we'll have to contact the controller."

"What? What do you mean by that?"

Luis grinned widely, "That's why I'm here. Only another tyrant can contact the distributor, but I'll have to use one of them to do it…"

Rebecca glanced at the woman beside Leon. "She's your best bet. She's actually in better physical state than Leon is. I'm not sure why exactly but she's strong enough to move while he wasn't."

"Works for me." Luis pulled a chair to the sleeping beauty's bedside while Rebecca and Hunnigan stood behind him.

"Alright, let's see what I can do…"

The women stood by anxiously, watching as his index and middle finger came to rest in the center of Helena's forehead. A light green glow appeared beneath his fingers and pulsed like a heartbeat. All was quiet as they waited to see what was coming, Rebecca clutched her clipboard with enough force to snap it in two and Hunnigan removed her glasses, safely hooking them in her pocket.

"Okay, I've got a connection… so, who are you mystery tyrant?"

"What do you want?"

Hunnigan and Rebecca jumped into each other's arms. Despite Helena's body remaining motionless, her lips moved! Rebecca was alarmed by the voice from Helena – it wasn't the same as the one she'd heard earlier. Helena spoke lowly, quite velvety but her youth shone out when she raised her voice. This one was similar, but particularly hoarser. Rebecca was certain this woman was older.

"T-That's not Helena speaking…" Rebecca stammered out. "That's someone else…!"

Luis remained calm, maintaining his focus on Helena. "So you're the one controlling my friends?"

"I'll only say this once and I hope it gets through your thick skull. Do not interfere."

Contrary to the warning, Luis turned to Hunnigan, awaiting further orders. The stern woman nodded, "Luis, ask her why she's controlling Leon and Helena." Hunnigan instructed stiffly, although she was nervous, she kept herself leveled.

"I assure you, I mean them no harm."

Realizing the woman could hear them all, Hunnigan pressed further without Luis' assistance. "I understand that, but I hope you understand why this will never be acceptable in our book. You're manipulating two innocent people, and they don't deserve it."

"I'm trying to protect someone. I cannot risk him being caught if these two spill the beans."

"Spill the beans on what exactly? All we want from our friends is to know what happened to them. How are we interfering with you protecting anyone?"

"We just wanna know what happened to some friends of ours that were traveling with these two." Rebecca cut in, albeit nervously. "They have disappeared and we're worried."

"Tell Steve they're fine."

"She knows who Steve is?" Hunnigan wondered aloud.

"Of course I do," the voice laughed just a bit. "Trust me, I am a friend. When these two awake up, do not ask them what happened. I purposefully tapped into their memory to have them safely brought there. There's no need to tell Steve that they're under my control, I'm sure he knows already…"

"Ma'am, what do we do? How can we care for our friends? And who are you protecting?"

"Those are good questions that I cannot answer. I will tell you this, however: In a few days, I will provide them both information that is vital and it's important you don't interfere. They will need to leave, and I promise you that after that, I will set them free altogether."

"Why? Where are they going to go?"

Her response came after a short pause, "I'm sorry if I'm putting your friends through a lot, but the world must be protected. The one I am protecting is key to saving this world. Tell Steve to stay strong, the battle has unfortunately just begun… That's all I can give you. Goodbye, and good luck."

As the green light faded away, they were all left without answers, but now had even more questions. Questions they feared would never be answered.

"Claire! Claire, slow down dammit!"

Normally he could catch her in a heartbeat, but the woman was fuming. He thought it was in his best interest to keep his distance, especially when each time he called out to her, her hair seemed to light up like fire.

The elevator doors screeched open and she stepped inside, he followed her quickly. Without uttering a sound, she punched the button for the surface floor and fell back to the farthest corner, and waited. Steve let out a whistle and moved closer to her. The rejection was swift; she moved away and shot him the darkest look possible.

"What the hell's your problem?"

"I don't have a problem, Steve." she replied flatly.

"Oh yeah, acting snotty to my nurses and giving me attitude is totally a sign that you don't have a problem!" he scoffed, mocking her and throwing up his hands in frustration. "You and that passive-aggressive attitude… it's so goddamn annoying."

"Well excuse the hell outta me for not being all fine and dandy with you screwing around with your nurses!"


The elevator came to a stop. When the doors slid open, a rush of cold air whipped inside. Claire stepped out but Steve immediately grabbed her by the forearm and whirled her around to face him. Before he could utter a word, she tore her arm from him and started about her way without batting an eyelid.

Steve watched as she stormed off. With a whirlwind of unfamiliar feelings swimming within, the fists balled at his sides trembled until the rage got the better of him. "Yeah! Walk away! That's what you do best anyway, isn't it?!"

She stopped in her tracks. "What did you say?"

"You heard me."

The fiery redhead turned on her heels, and advanced slowly upon him. She looked ready to skin him alive. "How dare you?" she asked lowly. "You don't even know why I left! What gives you the right to judge me?!"

"If that's the case, what the hell makes you think it's okay to accuse me of sleeping with my assistants?!"

Claire stood before him now. She pointed an accusatory finger in his face, "I saw how you looked at that Ashley girl! And she tickled you – I mean, just what the hell was up with that?"

Steve's jaw dropped. "W-What? N-No, Claire! Ashley's just – oh come on, she's like a sister to me! And all my nurses tickle me, not just her!"

"Exactly," Claire fold her arms over her chest, "I bet you just get a kick out of having women tickle you, huh?"

"Claire what the heck are you talking about?"

"It's okay, I get it." Claire suddenly quieted down, her eyes downcast and she sighed. "It's selfish of me to think that you would wait around for me, especially after what I did."

As she turned to leave, he once again caught her arm. "Claire… Ashley's just a loyal friend. She's training to become a nurse like Rebecca, or Cindy. We're all rooting for her. Whenever she does well, I try to show support – that's what a leader does. They protect their own and look out for their best interest, right?"

Claire chuckled sadly, with her head dropped, her red bangs concealed her face, but he could see the thin line that was her lips. "Who taught you how to be so distinguished?"

"You did."

A faint gasp slipped from her, followed immediately by a sharp scoff, "Please – I'm nothing special and you know it."

"You are special, Claire – you're warm and fun and super talented! You're not afraid to put your safety on the line for someone you care about and you always beat Leon and me with insults!" he chuckled shortly.

So he was terrible at cheering her up but it could be worse, right? He could just stand there and say nothing…

Following a deep breath, he put his hands on her shoulders and forced her to look him dead on. "Claire, have you forgotten how far you came in Sheena? You went from being a little human girl to a sensational performer. You beat the odds and got rewarded for it."

The scowl disappeared from her lovely face, and in its place was the look of a woman who finally started to see her own worth. Deep down, Steve was jumping for joy. Whatever he was saying, it was working, and that gave him courage.

He hugged her, "Don't you see? You're amazing, Claire. It's because of you that I believe no matter what our differences are; human or tyrant, we can learn to appreciate each other. It just takes effort – effort that I'm willing to put out."

"And it's because of you… that I learned how to feel. Only you can make me feel things – Claire Redfield, the first person to make me believe in…"


Steve was grateful that she said it, because he sure as hell couldn't. Just hearing that four letter word flutter from her lips got his heart to do flips. It was a foreign sensation, and he longed to feel it again. "Yeah… that's the word for it."

He had the sweetest smile to his face. The sheer innocence and geniality of his message cut deep, and brought her to her knees in weakness of his valor. He kneeled in front of her once her legs gave out, kindly cupping her hands in his own; a silent testimony of his sincerity.

She fell silent, consciously gathering her thoughts and waiting for the passing of time so that she may weave together the story of her; Claire Redfield, in the most fruitful way possible.

"I had to find someone…"


It was time she addressed the grey areas in her life.

"That's why I left." she clarified. "It was my last attempt…to find my brother."

In the dead of night, Manuela and Sherry teamed together on a short journey to find fish and fruits. The berries by the lake were the best to select from, according to Manuela, and Sherry knew no better, so she followed without issue. The evening was serene as always; the world, beautiful, sleeping but effervescent even under the light of the crescent moon.

Manuela spotted the big dipper in the starry sky above and started that way with Sherry trailing behind. They proceeded down a narrow trail through a thick abundance of trees. Heading deeper into the night, the hum of crickets echoed around them, drowning out their footsteps. Although they were quite far from the colony now, they pressed on, guided by the stars with lanterns serving as their only source of light.

"The lake is just up ahead, Sherry." Manuela announced, pointing forward.

They broke through the brush, their feet touched on cold solid rock, and Sherry flinched away. Manuela walked ahead, and the delicate blonde started after her – fearful she'd get lost out here alone. However, she was struck with awe as her watery eyes scanned over the area.

The crystal blue waters looked simply magical as it lay still in the night. Pools of lily pads and other water flora formed together around the borders, tangling themselves along the rocky barrier and overcoming it with the progression of time. Fireflies danced around, playing and twirling under the moonlight as it reflected its likeness on the surface of the waters.

"Wow…" Sherry breathed.

"Yes, it is most beautiful – even on the darker days." said Manuela with a smile. "I'm going to catch some fish, why don't you take this basket and fill it up with the berries of that bush?"

Sherry followed Manuela's trail of focus to a large bush filled with hordes of colorful berries. With a nod, she went about her way with the big straw basket in hand as Manuela dived into the lake. While the meek Primitive fished, Sherry quietly tended to berry picking. Humming a soft tune, she sat the basket on the ground and dropped the fruit into it one by one.

It was such a lovely night, although it would have been even better if her father or even Claire were with her.

As a young girl, Sherry often picked berries with her dad around the tower. They would eat a few and then offer some to the elk and deer too. The beauty of the lake didn't help much either. It brought her back to a time when she and Claire bathed in a lake near the tower. She could still vividly recall Claire suggesting they run back home, naked, just for shock value. Of course, she politely declined, sighting that the area they were in was where a few of the tyrants resided.

Before she knew it, a tear slipped from her eye and touched on the top of her lantern sitting in the grass. Luckily, it was a sealed case but the water caused it to sizzle a little. Sherry wiped away the others that threatened to fall. She was happy to be free from her confinement in the tower, but she felt homesick quite often and now, more than anything, felt ready to go home – just to check on her father and Claire.

The journey to the New World would have to wait… She needed assurance that they were indeed, safe.

Sherry bent down to pick up her lantern, along with the basket now over-stuffed with berries. Behind her, she heard a splash and saw Manuela dropping another fish into her sack and then, just as quickly as she surfaced, she submerged again.

The beautiful blonde sighed, reaching for her lantern once more.

And that was when something caught her attention.

A crunching noise…

At first, she was ready to write it off as a leopard in the area. They were nocturnal animals, after all. The odds of them feeding this time of night were not strange in the slightest.

However, the more she listened, the more she could register the sound of something else.


Sherry glanced back over her shoulder to see if Manuela had resurfaced. She had not. Surely if something was wrong, she, a tyrant would have been alerted, right? Especially a tyrant as alert and caring as Manuela was.

Curiosity got the best of the young Birkin. She peeked around the berry bush, eyes searching in the dark for whoever was talking.

Sherry stepped behind the bush, her lantern in hand. The night was deathly quiet, save the endless chatter from the mysterious trespasser. The crunching grew louder, as did the prattling. The more she advanced, the worse she began to feel.

Something isn't right…

A sudden wave of heat washed over her, it was almost like she was thrown into an oven that was steadily climbing to a boiling point. She stopped, hoping the strange phenomenon would wear off. It didn't, instead, it only got worse.

It was at this time that Sherry realized the degree of vocalization from this shadowy person was terribly distorted. Whoever they were, they were babbling absolute nonsense. Or at least, it sounded like nonsense at first.

"I-Is someone there?" she managed quietly, fanning herself.

The crunching and talking abruptly ceased altogether.

Silence followed – a deathly silence… until the young Birkin could hear the bushes nearby begin to rustle, loudly.

And then, it started again… the nonsensical chattering. Only now, she could see something…

There really was someone there.

She could see what she assumed to be skin, arms, a head… but nothing else stuck out. They weren't too far from her – maybe ten feet away. They were still as the night, standing there… looking at her. It had to be a human or tyrant – there was no such thing as monsters.

Daddy said monsters are only in stories. They're not real. This has to be a tyrant… it's tall enough to be one.

Sherry felt her legs ready to give out on her. She was shaking, and suddenly scared stiff as she sized up this anonymous person. From her position, it looked well over seven feet tall… maybe close to eight feet, and incredibly thin.

Without breaking eye contact, the figure slowly crouched down behind a bush. The heat was intense all the sudden, enough to make her feel nauseous and close to retching. Whoever they were, they gave off a burnt odor.

The siren-like woman gathered her courage and stepped forward again, hoping to get a better look of their physical state although the smell was beginning to make her eyes water.

Before she could set her foot on the ground, she heard the most heart-stopping sound.

In a scratchy, but deep bellow from the gut, whatever it was – it wailed loudly like a tyrant, but their voice failed them.

Having grown used to tyrants, Sherry swallowed roughly and tucked away her fears to grow some balls once again. She took in some air, and advanced, her lantern held high so she could get a better look.

The instant she raised that lantern, the sound came again – along with a terrifying voice.

"It… BURNS…!"

Sherry screamed and fell backward as the figure leapt away from the bush and swiftly dashed away, disappearing into the dark, shouting, crying and yelling absurdities until it completely was heard no more.

She sat there long after it was gone. Paralyzed with fear, she couldn't get that sound out of her head; the gibberish, the scream, the smell, the heat… was now gone – could that thing have been responsible?

And then she felt a hand her shoulder.

Instantly, she broke out into a frenzied state of screams and terror. She fought her hardest to get away from this person – images of the thing from the bushes stamped firmly in her mind and she couldn't erase it. It was here, it was trying to kill her.

"Get away from me! Lemme go!" she screamed, kicking and swinging at her assailant.

"S-Sherry! Please! It's me, Manuela!"


The Primitive forced her to look her in the face. Seeing the pretty tyrant brought Sherry to tears. She was safe… Manuela was here to protect her. Manuela began to hum a soft tune long enough for her to relax and lay her head on her shoulder, though she was still shivering with fear. "What happened? Are you alright?"

"W-Was that y-you?" Sherry asked weakly.

"Was what me, Sherry?"

"The thing… that…" she trailed off to clutch her head. "Oh… God, can we go back now?"

"Of course… but Sherry, are you alright?" Manuela helped her to stand, and brushed off her clothes before returning her lantern to her.

"I-I… It was… something there… eating something."

Manuela nodded, rubbing her back supportively, "There's a lot of strange animals out here. You'd be wise not to wander off alone. Remember, this is the land of mystery."

Since when to animals talk? Or stand at almost eight feet tall…?

After she picked up her basket of berries, the two started to make their way back to the colony. But Sherry felt dread in her stomach. The more she thought about it, the more she realized she didn't hear 'gibberish'… she heard words. Horrible words.

And she'd never forget those eyes… black… soulless, empty.

On the outskirts of the village, Jake joined the many other tyrants as they gathered around to listen to their leader, Parker, who called a conference. Dawn was threatening to arrive within the next hour when he finally stepped onto a higher platform and waved his arms to gain everyone's attention. At his side were Sheva and Krauser, both heavily armed and alert for any trouble.

Jake crossed his arms and shift his weight to one leg, with a huff, he nodded to the Primitive and remained where he stood. At this moment, Sherry joined the group and took her place beside him while Manuela reunited with Parker and the others.

Taking a short gander at his lover, Jake noticed she seemed distracted and was fidgeting with her fingers. Concerned for her well-being, he fancied he'd ask about her. "Stai bene [You alright]?" he whispered.

"Y-Yeah, just – it's nothing."

Parker whistled, and all gave him their undivided attention. "Alright everyone, if you all listen thoroughly, I can make this quick and we can get the hell outta here before the light bulb comes over the mountains, capisce [got it]?"

The group conceded.

"Tomorrow, when we awaken, the red moon will be here. Once again, we have to band together to protect the people of Kijuju and our homes. More importantly, we have to make sure that the monsters of the canyon do not escape this land."

"We've got new entrees to our colony," Parker inclined his head in Jake and Sherry's direction, "Too many really, so it's important I give each of you cadets an idea of what we're up against. If you're a veteran of this community, this will be nothing more than another briefing, but for our newcomers, I implore you to listen closely and remain attentive at all times."

"Ugh, finally." Jake mumbled, and Sherry nodded in agreement.

"My friends, what we are about to face is the darker side of immortality. We're fighting our own kind; immortals." Jake silently patted himself on the back, he knew it – now to hear the part he dreaded. "These immortals aren't like the rest of us. They have survived the unthinkable but at the price of their own person. My friends, we are about to fight what we've long come to call the Deranged."

A slew of whispers developed among the ranks. Parker held up his hand to silence them, "These are immortals that have, incredibly, fallen into despair and insanity, eventually, they succumbed to madness."

"How?" Jake asked aloud. "Tyrants don't know shit about introspection, so how the hell could we possibly go insane?"

Parker smiled – which was weird considering the circumstances, but nodded and proceeded to explain, "It's quite interesting that you used the word Tyrant, cadet. That title actually didn't come about until after the Great War 500 years ago. Before that time, if we weren't called Aliens, we were called Champions."

"Champions? What the…?"

He nodded again, "We excelled at things humans wished they could have. They admired us, therefore calling us Champions. It wasn't until after your… After the overlord declared war on the humans that we were suddenly called Tyrants."

Sherry let a small smile come to her face, "I rather like the idea of calling you guys Champions. It's so fitting."

Jake said nothing. She could tell he was upset, but why? What was so harmful about calling Tyrants 'Champions' instead?

"But to answer your question, I suppose I'll have to share a little history with you to do so. It began 500 years ago, not long before the beginning of the Great War…"

Sherry and Jake shared a glance, but then returned their attention to the leader.

So began the story they long awaited to hear. Parker told them the story of his first experiences on this land, along with his fellow Primitives that had joined him. He reminisced over the past; citing the changes, though few, brought to the land and the animals as well as their losses and other experiences.

"For years this beautiful region had been perfect. However, years after we arrived here, a sudden change occurred that marred this perfect world forever. There came a time where our community, immortals… were struck by disease."

"Did he say... disease?" Sherry turned to Jake, "I thought tyrants were immune to illness? How is this possible?"

Jake took a moment to ponder the question, eventually responding with a shrug, "I'd like to know the answer to that too."

All around them, the other Primitives all sent questionable looks to one another, whispering and muttering unintelligibly. Parker lift his hand to silence them after a moment. "Allow me to explain. This disease was… a result of the most unfortunate circumstances."

"Like what?" Jake demanded.

"Before the Great War, a great deal of our kind remained hidden from the world to avoid another war."

Sherry frowned and wondered just what the Primitive meant. Was there a war before the Great War...?

"Once news spread of this land where human's couldn't survive, the carriers came here, and brought their disease with them."

"What kind of disease, dammit?" Sherry winced at her beloved's tone. He was oozing with rage.


The silence that ensued came swiftly like someone slapped tape over each and every one of their mouths. Parker didn't wait long, he needed to wrap this up before the sun came over the mountains. "There's an old tale that developed from this. It was a part of old world folklore; those who sleep under the light of the moon, succumb to madness. The story that emerged from this incident, is not folklore, it's reality. Like humans need sunlight, we need the light of the moon to flourish."

Lunacy isn't a disease… it's not contagious at least… "So, what does that have to do with the ones who succumbed to lunacy?" Sherry inquired, meekly.

"The immortals who came here with their disease of lunacy, had buried themselves deep within the earth to avoid contact with humans. They went days at a time, trapped within the many layers of the earth; some got lost trying to tunnel their way out, other's never resurfaced. The ones that were lucky enough to return to the surface were despaired to realize they no longer could handle the light from the moon either."

"They were bathed in cloaks of darkness at all times. Eventually, they lost their sight, and blindness followed. From there, their behaviors became increasingly bizarre. Often we saw them talking to themselves, or claiming to hear voices. As time went on, they slept more often, for months at a time – when they awoke, all they wanted was food before they returned to earth once again."

Sherry was curious, "The light from the moon is actually from the sun," she informed, albeit shyly. "Maybe that's why they couldn't handle it?"

Parker's brows raised, comically, "You know… I never knew that. Grazie, Principessa [Thank you, Princess]." he chuckled. "That just might be why. And I suppose it could also explain why we need the light of the moon. Perhaps it is delicate enough for us, because everything on earth needs sunlight."

Disease for humans is physical, but for tyrants, disease is mental. I guess this means that even though the tyrants that had it weren't contagious, they consider them so because of the side effects... Sherry sort of wished she had a notebook to take down notes. She really should invest in one next time she came in contact with books and paper.

"We should wrap this up, sir." Krauser said gravelly, eyeing the threat of dawn in the distance.

"Of course. Well, where was I… oh yeah! So, the infected immortals eventually retreated back into the earth only to now surface every Red Moon for food. Any questions?"

That was blunt… Sherry thought with a sigh.

"Yeah, I got a few questions – well, mainly just one… Why the hell haven't you told us what we're fighting yet?" Jake growled short-patiently.

"He said we're fighting the Deranged, the immortals who succumbed to Lunacy." Sheva answered with a twitch.

"What makes you guys so sure they're crazy?" Jake pressed, "Tyrants don't think. How the hell can you go mad if you rarely dwell on anything? Maybe they're just different, did you ever think of that?"

Sherry realized at that moment just why he was so testy. Jake was thinking like a hybrid, he was different and assumed that maybe these tyrants were just different too. If anyone was a testament of acceptance despite differences, it was Jake.

Parker sighed, "When the Deranged started to sleep more often, they were forced to do nothing but dream. When our kind dreams, our subconscious comes alive. And when your conscious works hard, you think. And when you think, you dwell, and for an immortal, dwelling leads to madness. Our kind dreams of our past, of things we rarely think about. So, if you're forced to do nothing but dream, what can you do but relive every act of evil you've ever witnessed, or worse, committed?"

All around them, the world fell silent.

"Just imagine… dreaming for eternity." Sheva said gently, but with enough volume that she could be heard. "Imagine being stuck, unable to wake up because even when you do, your sight has been lost – you're trapped in the dark. Now, imagine that you suddenly begin to hear voices that aren't there. You get to the point you can't tell the difference between if someone's really there talking to you or if it's a figment of your imagination. Imagine that your body burns whenever light of any kind touches your skin so badly that you want to be buried in darkness 24/7."

"Now... just imagine that you're forced to explore a world within your body that you never had any concept of to begin with... It must be terrifying to be trapped within yourself... It's the worst torture for our kind to endure, and my heart goes out to the victims."

"But that doesn't mean we should show them mercy."

Everyone gave the brooding, stony faced Krauser a variation of expressions. His statement was cold but the message was about to be made clear. "It's taken centuries for us, Primitives, to become more aware of our mind's abilities and influence, but we've achieved that, and now we know better than to let ourselves succumb to insanity if it is preventable. The immortals that fell prey to the toxic energy of overwhelming darkness and fear are not to be hated, but they should be eradicated entirely."

"That's why we're here, remember?!" Parker exclaimed. "We can't let our poor development of sympathy get the best of us. These guys gotta be put down. There's hordes of them buried in the earth from even before our arrival, and we can't let them get to Kijuju – nor can we allow them to defeat us. Remember, the Deranged kind is just as dangerous as we are and if their numbers increase, they'll just grow stronger."

"So it's important you all pay attention to the signs." Krauser finished.

"The Deranged have a peculiar trait from being in the earth long periods of time. They dig as close to the core as possible, and as a result, they absorbed heat and ooze it when they come to the surface, so if you feel like there's a dry sauna nearby or smell something scorched, that's a clear sign for ya. They're also not the most attractive looking things… they're like walking toothpicks…"

Sherry's heart dropped to her stomach.

"They are a danger to us all because of what they do. Since they're blind and crazy, they will attack whatever comes near them. Their portal of entry; the Great Canyon, and that's where you'll see most of them. When it floods, they float to the surface and look for food – and everything is food for them, they eat anything." Sherry trembled when Parker's gaze zeroed in on her. She knew exactly what that meant.

"Humans… and tyrants." Sheva clarified. "We're all food to them. Don't ever think otherwise."

Humans… and tyrants?! These are monsters… The shadowy figure in the dark by the lake slowly made its way back into her mind.

Unlike humans who would panic at the threat of danger, the Primitives remained calm, merely discussing the news amongst each other as if they had not a care in the world. Sherry realized this was most likely a result of their lack of introspection, they may be nervous, but they don't know how to be, or how to show it.

Even Jake was cool as a cucumber, standing next to her with an almost bored and uninterested expression. Didn't he realize the threat these monsters posed?

"So, I'm guessin' that's why we need weapons." Jake recognized, nodding shortly. He expected this, and while he wasn't worried in the least bit for himself, he was however, concerned for Sherry's safety. "Mano a mano is fatal in this case. We're talking fried tyrant fatal. Or in your case, Siren, fried chicken fatal, you know, since you're a bird lady."

"Great timing for a joke, asshat." Sherry was in no mood for his jokes. She was slowly piecing together her own puzzle, creating a relation between the creature she saw before, and the details given by Parker and the others.

"Alright everyone! Let's get to our homes before we turn into dust. When we wake tomorrow, we'll meet here, dressed to kill."

The hordes of Primitives quickly began to pile out of the vicinity. The sun hadn't risen yet, it was a good time away and Sherry knew she needed to say something, and fast. Before Jake could scoop her up to return home, she broke towards Parker and reached him in the nick of time, although comically startling him in the process.

"Sorry, Parker, b-but I really need to tell you something. It's important!"

"It can't wait until tomorrow, Sherry?" Sheva asked puzzled. "We should be getting home, dawn is coming –"

"Please!" she insisted. Jake appeared behind her, sending curious looks to the others before trying to pull her away – she snatched away but mouthed an apology to him. Sorry, Jake, but I really don't want anyone touching me right now… "Wait… please hear me out. I-I saw something before the meeting…!"

"Well, what was it?"

"You mentioned they give off immense heat... Would... Would they also happen to have really dark eyes…?"

"It sounds like an animal, Sherry. There's lots of animals with strange eyes, trust me." Parker replied, ready to turn away.

Sherry quickly glanced at Jake before shouting: "But it couldn't have been an animal! It's eyes…" she trembled, recollecting the way those dark, dark orbs looked. Were those really eyes I saw… or were the eyes missing…? "It looked like it had no eyes…"

Sheva sighed, "Sherry, you're just a little paranoid because of the story. Try to get some rest and we'll meet up tomorrow to keep you safe."

They all started away. Jake held out his hand for her, ready to go home. She dropped her head and cursed her cowardly, weak countenance. She needed to stand up and warn them – what she saw was not a tyrant and definitely not human. "It talked…"

It was the mousiest utterance the reach their ears, but the revelation was earth-shattering. Once she raised her head, she realized all eyes had intensely fallen upon her delicate form. In the next instant, the Primitive leader and his guards closed in on her.

"Sherry, what did you see?" Sheva demanded quickly.

Sherry forced out the words, stammering with anxiety, "I-I don't know, but while Manuela and I were out getting fish, I was picking berries… a-and I saw something strange in the bushes." she paused to compose herself, and then continued, "It was so dark, but I saw it was so tall… and it had the biggest darkest eyes… even in the dark I could see those empty eyes. I heard it and I heard what it was doing... I also felt really hot as I got closer..."

"You approached something even though it could have killed you?" Jake's voice was dangerously low, and it chilled her to the bone.

"I didn't know it was some sort of monster. I thought it was another Primitive that may have been hurt or something. I heard it talking and mumbling but when I asked if it was okay, it stopped whatever it was doing and... I dunno what it tried to do. When I raised my light to see it, it screamed at me before running away."

"What did it say?" Krauser's question was more like a demand. Sherry hesitated, so he repeated, "What. Did. It. Say."

"It said It burns…"

"No, when it was talking before, what was it saying?"

Sherry shook her head, "It was a bunch of nonsense. But… But I did make out s-something like… food… hungry… yum…"

Her stomach twisted into knots when she saw the horror come to their faces.

"Oh my God..." Sheva whispered. "It can't be... The red moon isn't even out yet! Not until tomorrow...!"

Parker turned to send a sharp look at Jessica; she stood on the platform and looked on with mild interest. "Jess, you and Finn go to the canyon and let me know if it's been filled."

The beautiful Primitive sighed loudly, "Yeah, sure, let the woman and baby boy do all the work while the men stand around like idiots."

"Jessica..." he grumbled.

With another huff, she stepped off the platform and grabbed Finn by the collar, "Fine! But dammit, you owe me dinner. I'm too sweet for all this work."

Once the two departed into the quickly fading night, he then turned to Sherry and Jake. "Lead us to where you saw it. Krauser, you, Manuela and Sheva come with us."

Sherry raced toward the bush while the others followed. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she knew she had to hurry. Dawn was closing in quick and the Primitives needed to get home. She came to the lake and stopped abruptly, eyes darting everywhere to remember the bush. When she found it, she started that way, only to fall short.

Behind that bush was a Deranged tyrant and she had come so close to it, it could've killed her in an instant. She had spoken to it – what if it had attacked her? She felt weak-kneed and even more so when she whiffed the smell of something scorched. It was like it was happening all over again.

Jake stopped beside her. He recognized the look of fear in her eyes and the poor girl was literally frozen in place, staring dazedly into the forest. He sniffed the air and picked up on something rotting, and burnt. Without a word, he nodded in the direction of the stench and stood by as Parker sent Sheva and Krauser to check it out.

"I'm praying this isn't true…" Parker said slowly, "If it is… Kijuju could be…"

"Would they really go there first?" Jake asked.

"Si [Yes], these things go after anything, human or not. They want to eat, and that's what they do."

"After all these years, the same ones come back each time?"

"Any immortal that journeys to the Great Canyon any other time other than if the valley is filled, does not return. That is our theory as to why the numbers continue to increase. That is why we didn't want the two of you to go off alone. Most that venture off alone on this land never return." Manuela answered.

"What bothers me most is… if these things have surfaced before the Red Moon… could it be they have developed immunity…?"

Jake said nothing. He ruffled Sherry's hair, which pulled her from her fear induced trance. She swallowed roughly and watched as Sheva and Krauser returned. They returned with slumped shoulders. Parker dropped his head, and Jake placed a hand on his shoulder; a rare display of support from the hybrid.

"We found these…" Sheva walked up to the leader and extended out her closed fist, dropping the item into her leader's palm.

"What is it?" asked Jake, moving over so the petite Sherry could see past him.

"They'll eat everything on a body, except these…" he opened his palm for Jake and Sherry to see.

Two slimy, round organs…

"It's the one thing they can't stomach, and it's a clear sign of what you saw, Sherry."

"Those are…" Sherry felt nauseous.


Sherry quickly buried her face into Jake's chest and started shaking like a leaf. "Manuela, you let Sherry wander off alone?" Jake grit his teeth at the petite tyrant.

"Mister Jake... I didn't pick up on anything out of the ordinary, nor did I sense anything. I wouldn't have known." she dropped her head in shame, "Please forgive me..."

"It isn't her fault, comrade." Krauser cut in, "No one can sense a Deranged in the vicinity. Unlike humans or us, they wear the same aura as the earth – another side effect of being buried underground for a long time. You gotta get close enough to smell the burnt odor or feel the heat they give off to actually be sure, but by then, they may attack."


A small Primitive child appeared behind them, her youthful face pale with panic. "Jessica and Finn have reported that the valley is filled!"

It was like a bomb was dropped on the group.

"So early…" Sheva gasped.

Parker threw the eyeballs to the ground and turned to Jake, "I hope you both are ready, cadets. It's a little ahead of schedule though."

Jake frowned, "What should we do?"

"Sherry, you encountered one of them, there's a risk that they may have already infiltrated Kijuju. There are more immortals there that have no doubt put up a fight, but in case the unthinkable has already happened… I can only hope there are some survivors."

"So what do we need to do?" Jake pressed again.

"I need you both to go to Kijuju."

"What…?" Jake and Sherry couldn't believe their ears.

"We have to get to shelter before the sun rises… but you two are able to travel in daylight. I'm begging you both to go there. Just protect them until we can arrive during the night."

"But…" Sherry trailed off.

"Please… we have to contain the Deranged. They'll tear through the city and kill every human there. And if your friends are there, they could really need you."

The very mention of Leon and Helena instilled a fire within Sherry. She knew she was in for a tough battle ahead if she was going to encounter more of these things, but so long as she stayed with Jake and had her trusty guitar, she would be safe. She wasn't going to let her fears get the best of her, she'd try her best to stay strong.

"Alright." Sherry affirmed with a nod. "We'll do it." she sent a nod in Jake's direction too, he shrugged.

Parker smiled, "Grazie, now, there are multiple underground safe havens where the people can hide out for the duration of the Red Moon – get them to the safe houses and then you two should do the same. The Deranged will try to get all of you, so be on guard until we arrive."

"The Deranged sounds so lame." Jake stated coolly. "Let's call 'em Mad Tyrants."

Parker sighed, "Sure, whatever you want, cadet. Yamu can get you two there before noon if you start out now." he put a hand on Jake's shoulder, and then Sherry's. "We've trained you for this, Jake. Keep her safe, and don't let them get you. You know why you can't die… so don't be reckless." he turned to Sherry, "Keep him safe… and do the same for yourself." Sherry nodded, as did Jake. "Now, get going my friends… good luck."

A/N: There's chapter 14! The next chapter will be tons of fun. Lots of action, and some pretty creepy stuff too. So, what's Kijuju like? Hmm… we'll have to find out, won't we?

IMPORTANT – I'm sorry to have to post this, but updates for Hybrid Dreams are really going to start to slow up, drastically. It's not a hiatus though.

My reason: I'm trying to focus on some other areas in my life right now and I can probably get everything together if I can put this fic on my back burner for the time being. I didn't feel comfortable just constantly leaving you guys/girls hanging without giving an answer for my extensive absences.

What does this mean? It means I will still try to pop up and update this story from time to time, but the updates will not be at a systematic pace. It could be once a month… I don't know.

Do not worry, I promise you guys this story WILL be finished. But there's nothing worse than a rush job, and if I rush through this fic, it will definitely show and it's quality will decline. I love this story, and I would hate to have it fall apart because I'm getting my butt kicked by life.

So, hang in there everyone. In the meantime, let's just hope we hear some news about RE7 or something soon (and hopefully it features some more Jake and Sherry love! XD).

Take care everyone, and I'll see you guys/girls next time!