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A quest to return home: D’you want Axe? (Open)

#1
Orihime's heart had never felt heavier; the harsh whisper of the icy breeze chilled her to the bone. Like a fool, she had never considered the consequences of not returning to the shore. She was frustrated and her all too familiar tears were racing down her porcelain cheeks. ‘You're weak.’ The sound of Zabajin’s familiar voice filled her with a passionate rage she had never felt before.

"No!" Orihime bellowed out into the frosted canyon. She wiped away loose strains of fiery red hair and tears, then rose on her feet. Zabajin and his family were everything to Orihime;  the trolls were like family. She believed that even her and Te’Zali could one day be friends. In order for Orihime to return home, she knew she could not give up, or lose in the battles ahead.

After examining the instructions left behind by Orunjin along with a map, she was able to determine that she was close enough to Dragonspire Peak. According to the quest, Orihime had to return with a fistful of dragon scales. The place was familiar to Orihime, but only by name.

Zabajin had once told the red-haired girl a story of his names origin; he was called the dragon warrior. One particularly warm day, after they had spent many hours training, they went and relaxed on a fallen down tree. Orihime had packed homemade black bean and onion custard rice balls for the both of them. To Orihime, the best time of the day was eating and resting alongside Zabajin.

She didn't mind the grueling hours that the troll warrior made her spar with him. The deadly, yet graceful way he moved took Orihime's breath away. There was something about how he fought that was unlike anything she had ever seen. The troll was not very tall, in fact, he might be one of the shortest trolls she had seen so far, but that did not stop Zabajin from being their village's strongest warrior.

He was quick and venomous; his movements were mystic compared to the brute force of his brother Rufio. It's hard to describe the fluid and violent way he moved other than it was like a dangerous dance. Orihime was the perfect partner for him because she could always heal herself if he cut her too deep making her by far the strongest opponent he ever faced. Zabajin's eyes would still be lit up from adrenaline when they broke for food, a high he got from trying to surpass his limits.

At these times, Zabajin was the most vulnerable. Here he would talk to Orihime about anything and everything. The chief would talk to Orihime about things like his hopes and dreams for his son and his people. One day he opened up about his past to her and she learned he was found in front of a cave at Dragonspire Peak.

When Zabajin became of age and began training to fight and hunt, elders said that he fought like a serpent. When he started being noticed in battle, the future war chief adorned his entire body in a dragon tattoo. The wings of a dragon sprawled across the entirety of the chief's back. With ink like his, combined with the way he fought, the mantle of Dragon Warrior was given to him.

It was only fitting that Orihime would brave Dragonspire Peak to get what she needed to return to Zabajin. The prime smiled to herself as she imagined the moment she would sit down next to her friend again, but Zabajin listening to her tales this time around. Orihime did not stay in her fantasy for long as she knew she would face her toughest obstacle yet. She needed to obtain a fistful of dragon scales. 
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#2
The Frozen Fields certainly lived up to its reputation in Alexander’s eyes. He was covered head to toe in his power armoured Pilot suit which insulated him from the brunt of the arctic-like environment. Even with this protecting him, his progress was slowed by the ferocity of the icy winds. Visibility was also a factor in navigating these treacherous lands, blizzards and heavy mist shrouds obscured the surroundings. Even experienced travellers had been known to lose their lives after missing an easy to spot landmark that was hidden by snow and mist. The terrain was as unpredictable as the weather, ranging from flat, open fields to grandiose mountain ranges. Combined with arctic temperatures, this made navigating the Frozen Fields a particularly dangerous undertaking. An undertaking with risks that Alexander was used to making at this point.

This time the risk was unpredictable, he was hunting down a foe far more elusive and deadly than a gang of organised thugs. Alexander was hunting down a witch. A witch responsible for looting supply convoys and kidnapping children to devour later. Alexander frowned as he trudged along one of the smaller mountain ranges in the region. The search was tedious as caves dotted each of the snow-coated mountains. The idea of witches, wizards, the supernaturally and magically gifted existing outside of fiction still seemed sceptical to the Titan Pilot. And yet here he was, trying to hunt one down and claim the reward on her head. While the reward was decent enough, it was the fact that this supernatural sorcerer was killing innocent kids that drew her into his crosshairs.

He had very little information to work with from the beginning, the witch was somewhat methodical in leaving no witnesses to her attacks. The information he did have, however, allowed him to narrow down the general area in the Frozen Fields she hunted and a rough description of her appearance. Surviving accounts were sketchy at best, her attire was described to be mostly white, no doubt to blend in with her wintery surroundings. Her physical appearance was described to be youthful, beautiful even, ranging from sixteen to mid-twenties if he had to place an educated guess. A target not to be underestimated to be certain, but he was determined to apprehend her dead or alive and rid the Omniverse of one more monster. Truth be told it was taking time away from his primary goal of escaping this Omnidimensional prison, but it was something that he couldn’t ignore.

Alexander crested a steep ridge overlooking the Witch’s hunting ground and laid prone into the thick snow that now engulfed him. With his helmet being the only partially visible part of him above the snow, he slowly peered over the ridge and waited. The icy mists had cleared hours ago leaving the skies above almost cloudless with the sun hanging high slightly to the east. To his west was a mountain range, the locals referred to it as “Dragonspire Peaks”. While he was curious if it was actually home to some of the mythological beasts, he had no intention of finding out personally. There was also a settlement established under a giant tree some twenty miles nearby, he spotted it during his initial scouting patrols but avoided detection from its inhabitants. To the north and east beheld vasts mountainous forests with trees as tall as twenty-five metres and just as proportionally thick bases. To the south, where he initially approached from only to take a major course correction to avoid a roaming dragon, was significantly flatter and quicker than going through the various mountain ranges.

Alexander checked the chronometer on his helmet’s Head’s Up Display, the time that the target would start prowling for convoys was near. A supply road vital for reaching scattered settlements in the Frozen Fields was just four hundred meters below the ridgeline he was on. Using this road as bait and lure the witch out he watched convoys came and went for the next hour. Despite its importance to the settlements, the manpower to keep it safe was focused in key locations with checkpoints established. The idea made sense on paper, instead of spreading out their meagre forces to be easily picked off by raiders or rogue Primes, it would be easier to focus it within key locations vital to maintaining the primary settlements and expand from there. In practice, however, it wasn’t so simple as threats were incredibly varied and with not enough manpower to tackle these obstacles meant expansion would be a slow and costly affair.

Alexander waited patiently for the witch to appear and make her move. Longbow Designated Marksman rifle in hand and primed, but lowered, avoiding the sun’s rays reflecting over the scope lens. After another twenty minutes of watching the convoys below and he spotted her. She prowled through bushes and trees into position just a few feet away from the road to ambush an unsuspecting convoy. Sure enough she matched the description, white robes, youthful and easy on the eyes.

This time she was the one being hunted. Alexander watched as the witch hid behind a low standing thicket, obscured from view by the roadside but painfully obvious from his position. Slowly his rifle was raised with its crosshairs zeroing in on her, preparing for the shot. At his angle the shot could either kill her or outright cripple her, either way she would be incapacitated. His breathing was controlled, stabilising his aim as his finger slowly pulled the trigger. The trio of deafening cracks of the Longbow were heard as far as the nearby settlement. Only three were needed as the Pilot pulled the trigger and sealing the fate of his target. The first shot smacked into the witch’s head, killing her with the following two striking where her heart resided. Her body collapsed on the floor as if someone delivered a powerful kick to her skull.

Minutes passed with the Pilot keeping his rifle’s crosshairs on the freshly deceased body. He no doubt expected her to come back to life or perform any magic tricks while his back was turned. Yet she remained lifeless, with the kill confirmed he took photographic evidence and sent the images to his client. The reply he received was satisfactory, the reward would be sent to him with a message thanking him for his service. Alexander arose from his position, engaged the safety catch on his Longbow and began to flee the area. The sound of his rifle would've attracted at least some attention and he preferred to not linger in the immediate area for too long.
In the end, there will be no one left.
We are no longer innocent.
We are lost from this world.
From home.
We no longer believe in such things.
We only believe in war.

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#3
The path to Dragonspire was only a few footfalls away from the red-headed prime as the snow crunched softly with each step. She didn't pay much attention to the scenery around her and Orihime's mind raced with thoughts of what she must do next; she was afraid. The only dragon that Orihime had ever seen belonged to the soul-reaper captain Toshiro Hitsugaya and was named Hyorinmaru.

She hoped that the dragons here wouldn't be as powerful as the zanpakuto Hyorinmaru, but there was no way for her to tell. The road she was on now would only lead her so far before she was forced to climb up the mountain. Finding a dragon seemed to be the easy part for the prime and she only worried about having to kill something innocent.

Orihime was too busy being caught up in her thoughts to notice a predator was stalking her. A man in a fully equipped metal suit had begun to follow closely behind her. He was several feet taller than her and had Orihime in his scopes ready to fire. As she took a few more steps forward something made the female prime stop in her tracks and look over her shoulder.

POP. POP. POP. POP.

As soon as Orihime looked over the man fired several rounds of his semi-automatic weapon that echoed across the canyon. Bullets tore through her back and out through her chest before Orihime could activate her shield San Tan Kenshin. Before the assailant could inflict any more damage, Orihime put her shield between her and the gunfire. Even though her glowing guard came as a shock to many, it did little to slow down the mysterious gunman.

He let out a few more shots that were useless against her before letting out a frustrating grunt. "Hey Houdini, the magic show's over. What kinda tricks are you up to?" he said as he reached for a new brand new clip to his weapon, "How are you still standing? I riddled you with holes back there."

Before Orihime had returned to the fields, she had helped a spirit cross over, and during that time she had to battle against others for artifacts. She completed her mission and helped the spirit only to be ambushed and killed shortly after. The man in the futuristic suit brought back painful memories that Orihime was not inclined to remember so soon.

"I am sorry sir, but I believe you have me confused with someone else," Orihime's voice cracked as she reached for the hilt of her energy blade, "I am not a witch I am just a girl out looking for dragons."

"Looking for Dragons? Sounds reasonable, what could possibly go wrong?" The strange man questioned as he lowered the barrel of his rifle slightly before continuing, "So if you're not the same witch who I just had to take down for a dirt nap, who are you?"  His helmet moved up and down as he sifted through the prime. Even though he stopped attacking to listen to the girl, his body language showed he was not so easily trusting.

"No sir I am not a witch" Orihime replied, doing her best to hide the slight shake in her voice. "I am not a witch; I have no artifacts, and I don't have any quarrel with anyone" she took a deep breath before proceeding, "My name is Orihime Inoue." Blood running down the white of her gown went unnoticed as she did her best to make her case to the stranger. The last thing Orihime ever wanted to do was to cause pain, but nothing had ever been more important to her than returning to Zabajin. "Please, I don't want to hurt you," Orihime begged before activating her energy sword, "but I will if you don't let me pass."

The man said nothing and stared at her with the neon blue glow where his eyes should be. "Start talking, why are you here then?”

Orihime could feel her cheeks begin to flush as she started to feel agitated. In an effort to remain calm she began to use her San Ten Kenshin to heal her wounds before addressing her attacker further. "I am here because I live here," she professed while she shook hair away from her face, "and I am trying to get back home." It was now Orihime's turn to give the man a good once over and could say she had not recognized him. "I have told you who I am, who are you?"

“Name's Alexander Blakesley, Captain, serving within the Republic of Atlean Marine Corps. At your service," he replied and finally lowered his rifle, "If you're huntin' Dragons, you'll need more firepower than that.”

Orihime fluttered her eyelashes coyly and asked, "have you ever hunt dragons before captain?"

“Well, they didn’t breathe fire on the Frontier but I have,” Alexander replied, his gaze scanned the skies above cautiously before returning to the girl. “Listen, if you let me tag along with you, I can help you bring down this dragon of yours and we’ll call it even. Deal?” He asked, offering his hand to shake in peace. 

Right before Orihime could speak another strange man unexpectedly appeared from the mountainside.
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#4
This was not the first time Haseo had been in a cold area but it was the first time in his game avatar. His black and red armor did provide the needed protection from both the cold and from most kinds of physical damage so that was welcome. What was not welcome was the stares he got from the other people of this verse. He understood their caution though as he did look like some sort of demonic entity to most. Haseo would just wave at them with a light yet somewhat fake smile since he did not care for doing so but at the same time he did not want the locals scared of him and possible attacking him.
This was to say he would rather innocent lives not be lost because of some misunderstanding which almost happened once when he was in Camelot. The hell that was Camelot was back when he got ambushed by bandits thinking he was an easily kill and rob but they made their choice as Haseo dispatched them quickly then scared them off pretending to be an actual demon that would kill all of them if they didn't bolt out of there right then.

He parted his thoughts from the subject as he came upon another town in this cold wasteland like verse. He had to appreciate that they didn't just up and run this time. Maybe they got word from a nearby settlement about his own arrival there? It would make logical sense. As Haseo looked to stay in an Inn for the night which he did so because it was so darn cold out there he overheard news of a Witch in these parts who killed innocents and ate babies. In fact they warned Haseo about it as he came into town and even had requests to take it down for them. While he usually would hate to take on a request from a complete stranger this witch thing posed a threat to these people and it piqued his interest as he ordered a hot cocoa for his stay at the Inn. The cocoa was just as expected hot but very sweet and tasty. As he took his armor off to sleep in the bed he noticed he couldn't do that before in the game The World. He really was stuck in this body even though it was originally a game avatar. "I wonder what this Witch is like?" he would think before he passed out and into dreamland.

The next day Haseo was up and ready to go as he proceeded to put his armor back on then head to the dining area of the Inn for breakfast. Eggs and Toast was all they really offered but it was enough to fill his stomach, though not his real one it did make him less hungry and give him enough energy for the day. As he finished he paid his tab for the room and board at the Inn then set off into the cold wasteland once again. The sun shining in the distance made the trip to the Witch's last known location a tad warmer but it was thanks to that armor of his that kept him going. He could very well die out here but like The World he could just re-spawn in a sense right back to the Nexus. That didn't mean he would want to die though since it would still be painful. Soon and coming up to his destination he heard gunshots in the distance. 

It would not matter really to Haseo at first but those gunshots seemed to be hitting something of significance since he had heard and even felt snow hit the ground at a faster pace than before. This prompted Haseo to investigate as there was no one else anywhere for miles, unless you count the nearby villages but those were not this high up in the mountains like he was just now. Moving at a faster running pace Haseo came to a spire or rather what seemed to be a mountain top. "Why would the witch be up here?" he would wonder out loud as he began to scale the mountain with enough effort to gain stepping ground for each passing climb. As the climb got steeper Haseo had to resort to using his claw like armor on his hands to scale the mountain.
His claw like armor burrowed into the icy mountain and with each movement made his climb that much easier. Upon reaching the top or what he thought was close to the top he saw it or rather her. It was a girl who looked about his age or maybe a bit older with an energy shield in front of her and the gunman he heard shooting at her from the distance.

Those gunshots echoed from the mountain and with Haseo's crimson eyes he took notice of the spent ammunition casings as the energy shield just blocked those bullets. "What is going on here?" Haseo demanded to know as he paced ever closer to the supposed witch and her hunter. "You don't look like a witch so who are you?" Haseo said paying no mind to the hunter.
"As for you, are you hunting the witch as well?" Haseo asked in a rough tone as his canines revealed themselves in his anger.
Haseo wasn't exactly the nicest person but it was the fact he came after a baby eating witch that he got this far in the first place.
He did overhear the woman claim she was not the witch the hunter was after as he got closer to the climb but it did make Haseo wonder why the villagers described the witch like they did. She may not have been the witch but if she was this 'witch' it was not going to be a problem to take out especially with the added help of this hunter. "I'm Haseo." he said bluntly even though no one asked him his name yet. "And I'm here to see if this Witch is real or not then challenge them to fight me." Haseo said with a grin before darting his eyes between the two others. Haseo was unsure of his situation but he knew he could beat both of them easily.
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#5
Heading back the way he came, Alexander quickly trudged through the snowy ridgeline towards the Dragonspire Peaks. Using the Peaks as a geographical marker, he would trek around the central mountain and then head south to the initial settlement containing the Nexus gate. It would take longer than going south, but it would prevent him from being sighted by the same dragon Alexander sighted earlier in the day. The trek was slow-moving, he had to navigate around precarious mountainous forests along the peaks. Avoiding local wildlife who seemed too interested in him for his liking along the way didn’t help either. It was risky, but time was against him. The noise of his Longbow’s shots had carried far. Certainly far enough for someone to no doubt hear it and investigate the area. Alexander trekked across a large ice-covered ridge when he spotted something in the corner of his eyes over the edge. Something that made him question what his own eyes were witnessing, whether out of disbelief or hesitation as if processing the sight.

A young woman who looked similar to the witch he just assassinated trudged through the thick snow. Her trail of footprints in the snow suggested that she was heading to the Dragonspire Peaks from the nearby settlement. He was close enough to get a clear view of her before she could spot him. Immediately he laid flat on the ridge, not wanting to be sighted when she looked towards his direction. Anticipating a vicious retaliation by the witch, he ducked behind the edge using it to shield him. After minutes dragged past, Alexander poked his head over to spot the woman again as if to confirm what he saw was real visually.

The youthful woman was sluggishly wading through the snow. She was closer now than before, but she didn’t seem to even notice him up on the ridge. Close enough for him to get a clear view of her. Clad in form-fitting insulated snow-coloured winter clothing that clung to her feminine, generously well-endowed physique. Her heart-shaped face held an expression of worry and seemed almost endearingly innocent. Her fiery red locks flowed with the wind with such majestic ferocity that it appeared her head was on fire. He could see her warm hazel coloured eyes darting frantically around her as if she felt like she was prey. Alexander doubted that she was aware of how correct her intuition would be.

He would need to act fast and hit harder before she could retaliate with her potent magic. Alexander disconnected the magnetic locks attaching his Flatline assault rifle to his armour and primed the weapon for combat. He raised his gun; sights honed in at the Witch’s back, he waited until she was halfway along the side of the ridge and looking away from his hiding spot. The Atlean mentally counted down from ten seconds before ambushing his target; he had the element of surprise on his side. Once his countdown had reached zero, Alexander emerged from the snow with his Flatline rifle barking as it sent a volley of gunfire at the Witch. The first burst slammed into the Witch’s back; Alexander carefully advanced towards his target firing precise bursts of suppressive fire as he closed in.

In spite of his successful ambush, the woman had erected a powerful defensive barrier between her and the incoming fire from his weapon. Initially, the Pilot thought she had deployed an A-Wall, a device that projects a directional protective energy field commonly fielded by Pilots or support specialist infantry. Alexander fired another burst of energy projectiles at the shield to test its strength; predictably it stopped the gunfire much to his irritation. When his weapon emptied its last shot, he exchanged the depleted magazine from his rifle for a new one while uttering an annoyed grunt in the process.

"Hey Houdini, the magic show's over. What kinda tricks are you up to?" he asked, his freshly loaded rifle sights set firmly on the woman. "How are you still standing? I riddled you with holes back there." He inquired. Further, his index finger began to tighten around the weapon’s trigger as the woman started reaching for some device attached to her waist. While it didn’t resemble a grenade, the way she was reaching for it put him immediately on edge.

Quote:"I am sorry sir, but I believe you have me confused with someone else," Orihime's voice cracked as she reached for the hilt of her energy blade, "I am not a witch I am just a girl out looking for dragons."

The young woman’s answer didn’t seem to connect with Alexander, searching for dragons was not part of his target’s M.O. "Looking for Dragons? Sounds reasonable, what could go wrong?" Alexander snarked quietly; he lowered the barrel of his rifle slightly before continuing with his questioning. "So, if you're not the same witch who I just had to take down for a dirt nap, who are you?" He asked bluntly, watching her cautiously in case she decided to attack him preemptively. His helmet moved up and down as he assessed the young woman. Even though he stopped shooting at her, listening to the girl, his body language combined with his unwillingness to lower his weapon showed he was not so easily trusting.

Quote:"No sir I am not a witch" Orihime replied, doing her best to hide the slight shake in her voice. "I am not a witch; I have no artefacts, and I don't have any quarrel with anyone" she took a deep breath before proceeding, "My name is Orihime Inoue." Blood running down the white of her gown went unnoticed as she did her best to make her case to the stranger. The last thing Orihime ever wanted to do was to cause pain, but nothing had ever been more important to her than returning to Zabajin. "Please, I don't want to hurt you," Orihime begged before activating her energy sword, "but I will if you don't let me pass."

"Start talking, why are you here then?” Alexander asked, unfazed by her threat his steely gaze locked onto the redheaded woman from behind his polarised visor. Suddenly the sword in the woman’s hand changed the Atlean’s view of the woman. It was now clear that this person wasn’t the witch, his information mentioned nothing about his target possessing a sword like the one in the woman’s hand. It seemed fascinating, almost hypnotic in its blue-white glow as the twin-pronged violet-edged blade shined fiercely. It looked like it could carve through his armour like a hot knife through butter. His willingness to test that metaphor was an unwelcome thought.

Quote:Orihime could feel her cheeks begin to flush as she started to feel agitated. To remain calm, she began to use her San Ten Kenshin to heal her wounds before addressing her attacker further. "I am here because I live here," she professed while she shook hair away from her face, "and I am trying to get back home." It was now Orihime's turn to give the man a good once over and could say she had not recognised him. "I have told you who I am, who are you?"


“Name's Alexander Blakesley, Captain, serving within the Republic of Atlea’s Marine Corps. At your service," he replied curtly, he finally lowered his rifle as it became apparent that she wasn’t his target. "If you're huntin' Dragons, you'll need more firepower than that.” He added, pointing to her sword. She seemed to lack any means of engaging targets from a distance — a minor oversight when she probably sought to bring down a mighty beast that could fly and breath fire.

Quote:Orihime fluttered her eyelashes coyly and asked, "have you ever hunt dragons before captain?"

“Well, they didn’t breathe fire on the Frontier, but I have,” Alexander replied, his gaze scanned the skies above cautiously before returning to the woman. “Listen, if you let me tag along with you, I can help you bring down this dragon of yours, and we’ll call it even. Deal?” He asked, offering his hand to shake in peace. Before they could agree, however, Alexander heard another pair of footfalls crunching through the snow from just below their position. Alexander’s combat senses immediately kicked in as he raised his rifle sights towards the source of the intruding footsteps. The intruder was a strange sight, trudging through the snow like a predator.

Masculine physique and facial features with a tanned complexion. Neck-length Platinum-white hair flowed freely from the newcomer’s head. Two red zig-zagging symmetrical tattoos ran parallel to each other down his face. But the most unusual feature was his eyes, they shined with an unnatural crimson shade. Everything about this newcomer screamed bad news to Alexander. He was now outnumbered by two-to-one, and his mind was frantically telling him to enact a tactical withdrawal. The intruder began to introduce himself; Alexander had already started beginning to back away towards the treeline to the north.

He was just fifty paces from the thick treeline when he raised his left arm towards the nearest tree. In ten seconds he pulled the trigger, sending a suppressive volley of fire at Haseo. It was inaccurate, but enough to keep the intruder’s head down. A distraction for Alexander’s escape, he fired a grapple cable into the trees and rapidly catapulted himself into the air. Jumping from tree to tree, his jump kit and grapple launchers gave him a significant head start. It seemed like he was close to evading the intruder when an unholy loud shrieking roar echoed across the mountains. The Dragon of the Mountain was on the hunt once more. The sound unnerved even the battle hardened Captain; he knew he would hear that noise in his nightmares. Soon enough he met the source of the noise when his escape route encountered a critical flaw.

Alexander pressed onwards through the forests until a significant stretch of open ground confronted his efforts. There was no time to backtrack around; he was still evading pursuit, the quickest escape route was through the exposed stretch of land. Faced with two difficult choices, the Atlean opted to attempt to rapidly navigate through open ground even with the risk of a hostile dragon in the air. Reaching the halfway mark, he heard that damning shrieking roar again; his eyes sharply looked skyward to spot the dragon. He was in an exposed position at the mercy of a beast that soared through the air with a mighty appetite. At first, he couldn’t see the dragon; then he felt his arm an immense pressure constrict his arm and his body followed it as it flew skyward. Alexander’s arm was locked in between the teeth of the flying beast. Unable to pry it loose, he helplessly watched as the Dragon flew higher and higher into the air. Far below him was the snowy plains north of Dragonspire Peaks. The view would have been awe-inspiring if he wasn’t at the mercy of the Dragon. But the worst was about to happen as the beast opened its jaws, releasing Alexander from its grip only to be captured by the maw of Gravity.

He fell like a slow-moving comet, faster towards the frozen earth by the second. Alexander tried to slow his descent with his Jump Pack, yet it was not designed for sustained flight. He was unable to soften his landing enough, survival was doubtful and surviving with no injuries was even less so. Death seemed mostly likely at this point, even with this grim realisation in mind Alexander continued his frantic attempts. He saw the ground rush to meet him at a terrifying pace. All he could think about was the clear blue skies of Atlea. The promise of hard-earned peace, free from the genocidal, bureaucratic corporate tyrants of the IMC and reuniting with Freya and his family. He cursed himself for not taking enough opportunities to spend time with her, or his parents for that matter. He didn’t want to leave just yet, but he wasn’t afraid of death, he knew it personally just as it knew him personally. Everything turned to darkness as his unconscious body slammed deep into the snowy plains. The Dragon roared once more before continuing its hunt for prey to consume.
In the end, there will be no one left.
We are no longer innocent.
We are lost from this world.
From home.
We no longer believe in such things.
We only believe in war.

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#6
Everything was happening so fast for Orihime, as the gentleman known as Alex Blakesley appeared, then promptly disappeared from view. A new stranger who introduced himself as Haseo took his place, and they shared confused glances at each other. When an onslaught of bullets rained over the silver-haired prime, Orihime was quick to act, and placed a glowing orange shield between them.

Without another foggy breath, the captain had completely vanished behind frosted treelines. It had been some time since she encountered another prime, and running into two in one day was unlikely in this region. Orihime turned to look at Haseo and asked if he was alright.

The man nodded then asked aggressively, "So are you some kind of witch?" he questioned, "Or what?"

The girl sighed heavily, and was about to respond, when a terrifying shriek echoed across the snowy canyon. Right above them, a monstrous ice white dragon canvased the pale blue sky. Her coffee-colored eyes flickered with fear, as the beast was something out of her worst nightmares. Orihime gasped in alarm, as she recognized Alex pinned between its razor-sharp jaws.

Haeso's chuckled to himself, "Oh shit," as he reached for his long scythe, "It's been a while since I have seen something like that." He then quickly rushed towards the dragon, with a sly smile spread across his face.

Orihime knew the captain was in grave danger and her mind raced with plans to try to save him. Alex looked like a small child in comparison to the deadly dragon’s locked jaws; it was likely he would be crushed to death. Or worse he could be eaten! she thought to herself in a panic.

The red-haired prime stood paralyzed as she watched the mighty ice dragon release it’s prey hundreds of feet in the air. Orihime gasped, "Alex!", and started to run towards the direction he was falling, "Oh no, oh no, oh no!" She was too late to reach him, and Orihime cried out to as he crashed deep into the snow. By the time she reached Alex, hot tears had started to fall down her freckled face.

Orihime had a pure heart, and she never liked to see anyone in pain. She was always willing to help whoever, and no matter the cost. Orihime was even known to heal her enemies in time of great stress, and that was just the kind of person she was. To Orihime, seeing Alex lying motionlessly in the bloodstained snow, pained her greatly.

"It's ok," Orihime spoke softly and activated her healing shield, San Ten Keshun, "It's going to be ok." The glow of the shield was always comforting to the prime, and she used the sleeve of her dress to wipe her eyes. The red-haired girl had always been confident in her abilities to heal the sick or injured, and one of the last things she did in her old world was regenerate someones lost limb. Since appearing the Omniverse, she had begun to question everything; she doubted herself. 

Even with her powers, complete recovery was not promised, as the man she tried to save remained distressingly still. Orihime rushed to his side and called out to him, when she received silence she reached for his helmet. At first, she struggled to remove it, and her dainty hands pulled and pried all over it. Finally, and with a quiet hiss, it released and loosened itself. 

Orihime didn't know what to expect as she removed the captain from his headgear. Underneath the space-like helmet, however, she found a generally ordinary man. He had hair as dark ad midnight and strong features, but a small trickle of blood escaped his nose. A panic-stricken looked canvased her delicate features and she cried out, "Wake up Alex!"

Several seconds passed and then with a mighty jolt, Alex sat up abruptly and opened his eyes. With heavy lids, he turned to Orihime and asked, “Freya, is that you?” while reaching out to her. The captain grabbed for her hand with a cold and metallic touch and held it tightly.  

"I think I had a nightmare, different from the normal ones, I was stuck in this bizarre inter-dimensional cage that didn’t make any sense…”

The red-haired prime was unfamiliar with anyone named Freya, and she regretted that this person couldn't be there for Alex at this moment. The long fall had clearly left him disoriented and Orihime feared there may have been some permanent damage. With a half smile and a heavy sigh, she asked, "Captain Blakesley are you alright?"

It was at that moment that the pieces came together for Captain Blakesley, as he then turned to her with a clear look in his eyes. What the captain had said about being stuck somewhere else hit her close to home, and she understood how he felt. Alex noticed that his hand was clutching Orihime's and pulled away quickly. He then blinked a few times, cleared his throat, and searched for his headgear.

Before any more could be said, the ice dragon flew past them with Haseo hanging on by his deadly scythe. Haseo's war cries, mixed with the winged beast's screeches, echoed through the mountains. The silver-haired prime had dug his weapon into the dragon's side causing thick red blood to stain its underbelly. With a flash of light, the beast turned a corner and sent a flurry of fire towards the unsuspecting primes on the snowy floor. 

Orihime's eyes sparkled with the glare of the oncoming blaze, and her ginger hair blended with it making her look like a fiery portrait. Before she could say a word Alex, had dived for her, crashing them both into the snow several feet away. The captain had the girl pinned and laid his combat clad body on top of her as the flames crawled over his back. Orihime panted and looked up at Alex in bewilderment. If only she could summon her shield as fast as this man could move, then she could more useful, she thought to herself. "Thank you." she expressed to Alex and let out a sigh of relief.
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*  Healer  -  Sheild Maiden  -  Guide To Lost Souls  -  Ginger Waifu  *
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#7
Haseo's chuckled to himself before noticing the dragon swoop by, "Oh shit," as he reached for his long scythe, "It's been a while since I have seen something like that." He then quickly rushed towards the dragon, with a sly smile spread across his face.

His speed was not unmatched but it was the thrill of a challenging battle! Haseo charged in and would jump from his place on the snowy mountain then high into the air as the dragon seemed to try to devour Haseo on the spot. He wouldn’t have that as he sliced into the side of the dragon with his scythe spilling blood to the ground below.

His claw like hands dug into the flesh of the mighty beast that was this huge dragon and used them to his advantage by keeping him on the dragon as it spewed fire from it’s mouth towards the girl and the captain. In order to stop it from breathing any more fire Haseo put his scythe away and reached above his head to pull out his chainsaw broadsword the Broad-Legged!

Haseo charged at the dragon’s head by running up its spine then slammed his blade against the forehead of the mighty dragon. The chainsaw like blades on the broadsword dug more into the flesh of the dragon as it roared in pain as it’s scales ripped right off and tore straight across the forehead leaving a large open gash that continuously bled out.

Haseo was hardly done though as he noticed that his antics made the dragon pay more attention to him then the people down below. It was made clear as the dragon tried to shake Haseo off of it. “Oh i’m not done yet you scaly bastard!” Haseo with an evil looking grin as he whacked the dragon’s head with the blunt of this broadsword making the dragon lose control of its flight pattern.

The dragon now started to crash toward the ground as it was starting to lose more blood from the gashes in its body that Haseo left it. But this did not seem like it was the end of the dragon by a long shot. The dragon had a surprise for Haseo as it feigned its death to him. Then as Haseo let his guard down it struck Haseo from behind with its wing knocking Haseo straight into the side of the mountain. Haseo was in deep pain but did not give up as his armor wasn’t just for show and protected him from the impact for the most part.

“Scaly Bastard.. You are tougher than you look aren’t you? Bah! I’ve fought a lot tougher foes than you. Tri-Edge would give you a run for your money!” Haseo said crawling out of the hole in the mountain that his impact caused. “You’re nothing! It’s not over yet!” Haseo said as he put away his Broad-Legged and drew his twin daggers before moving to battle with the wounded dragon that had crashed to the ground.

The dragon seemed to have some more in store for Haseo but only time would tell what sort of tricks the dragon had in store for him as Haseo fought off the dragon as it ignored the others. Haseo could only hope he could cover for them so they wouldn’t get hurt in his place. Haseo was badly wounded but continued to fight the dragon despite not knowing these people much at all. Haseo just did what came naturally and fought even with his injuries.
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#8
Alexander couldn’t move his body, or feel the bitter cold winds biting against his exposed face initially. In fact he couldn’t remember where he was at all, he was somewhere cold, snow-covered mountains and thick forests. Death was at the gates again, calling his name in hopes of greeting him. But he couldn’t greet it this time, he moved to a different song than the one death welcomed him with. The thunder of guns, screams of the fallen and roar of machines, a symphony of war. A soldier whose blazing wings would shield those who couldn’t fight against the oncoming tide of metal and annihilation. Amidst the void he found himself in was a voice. It was calling out his name, it was dull at first but became clearer as he crawled his way closer to consciousness. He couldn’t rest now, he had a war to win and a home to fight for.

With a mighty jolt, he regained consciousness back in the land of the living. Disoriented and dazed, he surveyed his surroundings while figuring out why he was here. Turning his head he saw someone beside him, a woman with fiery orange hair and eye colour that he couldn’t identify at first but she bore an unnerving resemblance to Freya. He wondered if he was back on the Frontier, what happened certainly qualified as either a nightmare or some hallucinations from the result of a head injury.

“Freya, is that you?” He asked confused, his hand reaching out to her as if to physically confirm she wasn’t a hallucination. The captain grabbed for her hand with a cold and metallic touch and held it tightly. A wave of relief emerged in his mind as his hands brushed against the woman’s hand. "I think I had a nightmare, different from the normal ones, I was stuck in this bizarre inter-dimensional cage that didn’t make any sense…” He spoke with a groggy tone, trying to articulate what he experienced in the Omniverse.

"Captain Blakesley are you alright?"

These words coming from this red-haired figure who sat next to him cut through his dazed state. It revealed that not only was this woman not the one he fought alongside through thick and thin across the interstellar Frontier and fell in love with. It was a cold, brutal realisation that he was still trapped in this omniversal cage. It took him a moment to process this information, unaware that he was still holding the woman’s hand with a somewhat firm grip. Slight embarrassment written on his face, he quickly let go of her hands and cleared his throat sheepishly. The arctic weather and the snow that gripped onto his hair and exposed skin quickly reminded him of his lack of headgear. After a calm yet frantic search, he brushed off the snow off the helmet and with a hissing noise, attached and sealed it over his head.

Collecting his bearings he heard that same shrieking roar, along with a more human-sounding roar of defiance and excitement that only battle could bring. Craning his head behind him to the sky, he saw the source of the commotion. He saw the dragon flying into a sharp turn, one he recognised all too well after being on the receiving end of a close air support airstrike. A turn that told him one thing; It was coming around for a strafing run on his and this woman’s position. Without so much as a seconds worth of hesitation, he leapt towards the woman just in time to shield her from the burst of the dragon’s fire breath. He pinned her down, throwing his body over hers as the dragon’s fiery wrath came within metres of turning them both to atomised ash. He could feel the heat searing the back plating of his pilot armour suit. Warning signs flared up on his heads up display, the armour held but the intense heat remained.

The Atlean merely nodded to the woman’s gratitude. He steadily climbed off from her to painfully rise to his feet. His muscles ache with each exertion, sleep seemed tantalizingly tempting but rest was a luxury to soldiers like him. A luxury you had to earn through hard work and not squander, it was a precious commodity. Once he arose to his feet he marched to the centre of the open terrain and began summoning a weapon. One ideally suited for taking down adversaries like the dragon. An Archer Heavy Missile Launcher, one of many a Titan and armoured vehicles’ worst nightmare. In the hands of an infantryman or a Spectre automated infantry unit, the Archer is a formidable anti-armour weapon. In the hands of a trained Pilot, however, the Archer becomes the stuff of paranoia fuel due to a Pilot’s omnidirectional hypermobility. In Alexander’s hands, the dragon was about to learn exactly why a Pilot armed with a missile launcher was to be feared.

The dragon was circling around again after having shaken off its aggressive passenger. Alexander could see that the beast was wounded, a jet of bloody liquid leaked from its many wounds like a contrail and it flew erratically while trying to stabilise itself. It was up to Alexander to finish it off once and for all. He raised the launcher’s targeting viewfinder up to his visor, training its sights on the beast until he achieved a target lock. A low, dull series of beeps alerted him that the Archer had not acquired its target yet. He had to keep tracking it until one continuous beep told him that his target was locked and he could fire. The dragon had fully circled and was about to unleash a burst of flame. He waited for the right opportunity to fire even if the lock had been acquired. His Archer’s targeting sights were trained squarely on the jaws of his prey.

Fire too early and it would allow the dragon to maneuver out of the way and incinerate him with its fiery breath. Fire too late and the missile and himself gets caught in it’s breath attack. When the dragon’s jaws opened wide, its throat glowed an ominous orange and he pulled the trigger. A missile erupted from the weapon and screeched towards its target. Too late to maneuver out of the way or close its jaws in time, the dragon erupted into a gory aerial fireball and crashed next to Alexander. The missile struck inside its mouth, rupturing the dragon’s internal flesh to such an extent that the fire it created couldn’t be contained and consumed it in spectacular fashion.
In the end, there will be no one left.
We are no longer innocent.
We are lost from this world.
From home.
We no longer believe in such things.
We only believe in war.

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