Tomoe looked around at her group, tensing beneath their curious gazes. She shot Wolfe a sharp look before speaking.
What was it that the court said....? Oh, yeah.
"High treason due to public defiance of the Sorceress, conspiracy against the Sorceress, and attempted assassination of the Sorceress. Such acts are punishable by public execution." Tomoe's gaze dropped to the ground. "Then when I escaped from prison, it got longer--'high treason due to public defiance of the Sorceress, conspiracy against the Sorceress, and attempted assassination of the Sorceress. Such acts are punishable by public execution. Reward for capture, dead or alive.'
I actually don't see what this has to do anything relating to the mission." Tomoe looked up and met each and every one of her teammates' eyes. "So I'm not allowed in Esthar, big deal. Neither are any of you. So.....can we get on with this mission and stop procrastinating? It's getting late."
Then she headed towards the back of the truck.
/.....Well. That was embarrassing,/ Obsidian said.
Zacke's lips parted slightly as Tomoe's story sunk in. Attempted assassination of the Sorceress?! Tomoe...
"So I'm not allowed in Esthar, big deal. Neither are any of you. So.....can we get on with this mission and stop procrastinating? It's getting late." she finished, then started for the truck.
Zacke's looked Tomoe to Wolfe. "You knew all this?! And you--I can't believe--" Zacke turned and started for the truck, biting his tongue. Of course there was nothing wrong with what she did. Zacke completely agreed. Sorceress=bad. It was the fact that she tried to hide it that bothered him. Not angered. Just bothered. And Wolfe...
How can she come with us?! She'll get caught...why did she try to distract that truck driver in the first place?! thoughts flew through his head. He didn't know what he felt at the moment. Anger. Frustration. Worry. Guilt. Admiration.
"Everyone get in the back of the truck. Wolfe, you ride up front with me. We're going into the city." he said, opening the driver's side door of the truck and climbing inside.
public execution. Reward for capture, dead or alive. Blaze wondered what it felt like to be a wanted person. Of all the illegal acts that she had committed, it had never amounted to anything close to being wanted. Still, Blaze understood why Tomoe did not want that info to be public.
"Everyone get in the back of the truck. Wolfe, you ride up front with me. We're going into the city." Zacke said, opening the truck's door. Blaze thrust the dead, bleeding truck driver into Zacke's arms.
"Put on his clothes." She said sweetly and crawled into the back of the truck with the others. As long as Wolfe and Zacke were up at the front seats alone with the weight of getting into Esthar without getting caught on their shoulders, Blaze knew her life could be in danger. She opened the tiny sliding window separating the back from the front.
"Well," Blaze glanced at Zacke's new name tag "....Jimothy....we'd better get moving." She slid the window shut again.
"You know they might check cargo before we can get inside, Jimothy. They might like to take a look at the interesting pieces of ochu tentacles that you've got back there in the trunk. What happens when he finds out the ochus have mutated into lethal seeDs?" Blaze asked Zacke as she slid the window open again. She closed, then reopened the window. "I don't trust you two up there alone, driving us to our doom. You do know where you're driving us right?"
"I don't trust you two up there alone, driving us to our doom. You do know where you're driving us right?" Blaze's floated in through the window that connected the front to the back of the truck.
Wolfe settled into the seat beside Zacke and glanced back at Blaze. "Do I look like the kinda guy that would know something like that?" he asked.
Tomoe sidled up next to Blaze. Wolfe couldn't see her, but her voice was clear enough. "Don't worry, as long as you make it past the checkpoint right at the city entrance, the guards should lead you straight to this truck's supposed destination. And they're not so paranoid they'll check the truck....if all else fails, I bet Blaze will go ballistic on them." There was a pause, then she spoke again, "And Wolfe, you twit, you know exactly where we're supposed to go, you only lived here since your were a friggin' fetus. Stop joking around."
Wolfe nodded. "Aye aye, good madam! Now, if you'll just keep quiet, I'm Wolfe and I'll be your tour guide today." To Zacke he said, "Just keep going straight, head right into the city. And Jimothy!" He forced himself to remain serious as he stared at Zacke, "Loosen up. Don't think about the fact that they might arrest us, and jail us, and publicly execute us in front of the entire city if they find out we're SeeDs. There's absolutely nothing to worry about...."
/You know, you make horrid jokes when you're worried./
Oh good, I thought I was the only one thinking I sound like a total idiot.
Zacke stared ahead,biting his tongue as Blaze's voice filled his right ear. "Don't trust you two blah blah blah" Just shut up already... he turned the key in the ignition.
"Don't worry, as long as you make it past the checkpoint right at the city entrance, the guards should lead you straight to this truck's supposed destination. And they're not so paranoid they'll check the truck....if all else fails, I bet Blaze will go ballistic on them." Tomoe said. After a pause, she continued. "And Wolfe, you twit, you know exactly where we're supposed to go, you only lived here since your were a friggin' fetus. Stop joking around."
Zacke grinned and shook his head, revving the engine a few times.
"Aye aye, good madam! Now, if you'll just keep quiet, I'm Wolfe and I'll be your tour guide today." Wolfe replied.
"Just keep going straight, head right into the city. And Jimothy!" Wolfe addressed him. "Loosen up. Don't think about the fact that they might arrest us, and jail us, and publicly execute us in front of the entire city if they find out we're SeeDs. There's absolutely nothing to worry about...."
Zacke grinned. "Thanks for taking the stress off, Mr. Tour Guide." he replied with sarcastic cheer, then slammed down on the gas pedal. The truck took off like a rocket, flying over the desert sands at what had to be the top speed of the delivery vehicle.
The grin quickly faded from Zacke's face as he gripped the steering wheel so tightly his knuckles turned white. He frowned in concentration, trying to steer the truck clear of large rocks and desert bushes.
Their entrance became bigger and bigger until it was only a mile away. Zacke slowed the truck to a halt, dust flying out behind them. He stuck a hand out of the window and motioned for the man at the gate controls to open the gate. Seeing the trucker's hat and coat on Zacke he nodded and pressed a button, allowing entrance.
"Hold onto something back there, it's going to be rough." Zacke said loudly through the small opening into the back. He glanced at Wolfe before slamming his foot down hard on the pedal, pushing it to the floor of the truck.
They took off at top speed. Zacke spun the steering wheel to the right to avoid the corner of a warehouse. His eyes darted around as he concentrated hard on the path ahead of them. A few Estharian men even ran in front of the truck, waving their arms to slow Zacke, but he did not slow the truck. Some were even hit.
/Zacke what are you doing?!!!/
A silver, ten foot fence grew closer and closer. Zacke's foot stayed firmly planted to the pedal. His heart raced as the truck slammed into the fence and broke through. The front windsheild shattered, a shower of glass flying into the front seat of the truck. Zacke's momentarily brought out hand up to sheild his eyes, before quickly grabbing the wheel again and swerving out of the way of a hover-car.
He took a left turn down one of Esthar's blue translucent roads, a frown of determination set on his face, his jaw clenched. Oh we'll get there all right...
/You--of all plans--you're a fool Zacke!! Do you even care about these people?! You've lost your mind!!!/ Iris roared in his mind.
"Erple Way, Wolfe!! Have any idea which side of Esthar this street is on?!" he yelled above the screeching roar of the engine and honks of other cars they passed, ignoring his irate GF.
"Hold onto something back there, it's going to be rough." Zacke warned while Blaze slumped down in the back of the truck.
"whatever." She mumbled as the truck sudenly shot off. Blaze tumbled backward into the ochu tentacle crates as the truck zoomed 50 times the speed limit that it should have been traveling. She felt the uncomfortable bumping of wheels over estharian bodies as she tried to crawl towards the window.
I'm going to kill him. I'm going to kill him!!! She seethed.
She grabbed the handle of the sliding window and opened it violently, her eyes bloodshot. "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, YOU IDIOT?!?!??!? I'M GOING TO KILL YOU, MERCUTIO!!!" She screeched above the honking and cussing coming out of other cars. Reaching out to strangle Zacke, she gaped and slammed the window shut during the split second when Zacke crashed straight through the fence. Blaze fell down with the impact, everyone in the back of the truck was tumbling around like they were in a washing machine.
"Erple Way, Wolfe!! Have any idea which side of Esthar this street is on?!" Blaze faintly heard Zacke holler. Blaze was beyond mad now, she was practically foaming at the mouth. She tugged at the sliding window and discovered that it was stuck closed. Without thinking, her claws came out and she tore through the tiny window barely large enough to fit her head through. One seeD death was insignificant in such an important mission, was she correct? There were plenty of graves waiting for dead seeDs murdered by their teammate. Blaze reached out as far as she could and punched Zacke in the back of the head hard enough to hear his forehead hit the wheel. The truck swerved violently and went out of control.
"You fukking moron, why don't you all just get us killed you effing idiot, we have enough sh!tholes on this mission as it is you fukking ass!!!!" She rambled a stream of insults tied together with cusses. "I'm gonna kill you! I'm gonna kill you!!!!" She screamed and started to bang at the wall, trying to break through to the front seats.
Blaze's wild screeches of fury and cussing that would put a sailor to shame filled his right ear. He swerved to the right, the tires screeching over the road and creating black marks where the wheels had been. Blaze was momentarily thrown aside, as the window slid shut. He frowned and swerved to the right to avoid oncoming traffic as Blaze's claws tore into the window and ripped the metal like it was thin paper.
And she was screaming. Still. His eyes narrowed. Next thing he knew something hit the back of his head and his forehead slammed into the steering wheel. Stars exploded in his vision and he blinked quickly sitting back up just in time to swerved out of the way of an oncoming truck.
"WHAT THE FUCK BLAZE?!??! CAN YOU SEE ME DRIVING?!?!" he roared, the pressure on him too great to even allow him to become aware of the pain in his head. "WOLFE STOP HER!!!"
"WHAT THE FVCK BLAZE?!??! CAN YOU SEE ME DRIVING?!?!" Zacke was shouting angrily as Wolfe tried to get his bearings. Only one thing was running through the martial artist's mind.
Why the hell did we let HIM drive?!
"WOLFE STOP HER!!!" Wolfe snapped back to reality just as Zacke suddenly twisted the wheel and the truck swerved. Blaze was frantically banging on the wall separating the driver from the back. Suddenly he saw claws pop through the metal and his head snapped up to look at Zacke.
"You want me to stop something like that?!" he demanded. "Screw you!!"
/Mind your manners!/ Athena scolded.
Tell that to the homicidal chick in the back!!
Wolfe scrabbled for the dashboard to try and balance himself. "Could you please slow the fvck down, Zacke?!" he hollered. "Everyone in the back will be dead by the time we reach Erple Way, do you want that?!?!"
"I'm gonna kill you! I'm gonna kill you!!!!" Blaze continued shrieking as she began hitting the walls. Tomoe could see the faint dents in the metal.
"WHAT THE FVCK BLAZE?!??! CAN YOU SEE ME DRIVING?!?!" Zacke suddenly shouted. Then--"WOLFE STOP HER!!!"
The truck moved again and Tomoe stumbled, crashing into a crate. The box on top of it wobbled and suddenly fell, covering her. The lid came off and Tomoe surfaced from the sea of tentacles that had spilled out.
What in Hyne's name is that man thinking?! Tomoe thought furiously as she joined Blaze near the front. She banged angrily on the wall.
"What's going on out there?!" she yelled. "Slow down!!"
Blaze was still shrieking. Tomoe looked down at her best friend.
/No good can possibly come from this,/ Obsidian said nervously. /It's gonna get VERY bad before it gets somewhat good..../
"ARGGG!!" Blaze thrashed in the tangled ochu tentacles that had spilled all over Tomoe. It was mass mayhem. The truck was now speeding up instead of slowing down, Blaze was surpised the tires hadn't caught on fire by now. Chopping up the tentacles with her claws, she started for the back of the truck streaming out cuss words a mile a minute.
"You're asking for it, Zacke. I'll kill you before the car crashes." Blaze muttered incoherently and thrust the trunk open. She crawled on top of the truck with difficulty and slowly made her way towards the front, figuring she'd let Zacke savor the few precious seconds of his life. She rammed her weapons through the roof of the truck, narrowly missing someone's head as struggled not to fall off the top. Three, then six, then nine holes appeared on the roof as Blaze's knive-like weapons sliced through. She didn't care who she had killed in the truck, her only thoughts were on Zacke's excellent driving technique.
"STOP THE CAR!!!!" Blaze screamed jumping onto the hood of the car like something out a horror movie. She punched through what remained of the window and gripped Zacke's steering wheel with both of her hands. "SLOW DOWN YOU FU.CKING MORON!!! STOP THE CAR!!!" She shrieked. He was going to stop whether he wanted to or not.
"STOP THE CAR!!!!" Blaze suddenly landed on the hood of the truck like a murderous angel and punched through the shattered windshield. She reached out for the steering wheel with both hands just as the truck swerved yet again. "SLOW DOWN YOU FU.CKING MORON!!! STOP THE CAR!!!"
"FUCK!" Wolfe had had enough. He grabbed for the seatbelt and reached for the steering wheel, as well. "Stop the goddamned car, Mercutio!!"
Tomoe watched the entire scene from the back and began silently praying. Hyne, please let us live through this.....!
Zacke's eyes widened in horror as Blaze suddenly jumped onto the hood with a loud thud, her claws in his face. She began screaming herself hoarse at once. "SLOW DOWN YOU FUCKING MORON!!! STOP THE CAR!!!"
Zacke's eyesbrows came together in a frown and he readied to swerve the car to throw her off when Wolfe's hand grasped the steering wheel. "Stop the godd*mned car, Mercutio!!" he yelled.
The sound of metal crushing against metal exploded in Zacke's ears as the airbag instantly inflated before him. All around he heard screams and cries and the screeching of brakes. The smell of burned rubber filled his nostrils. He growled in frustration and forced the white plastic balloon out of his face.
He opens the door and stepped out onto the blue road. Panic welled up within him, and his heart raced. His hands trembled slightly as he ran one over his hair and walked around to the front of the car, expecting to see Blaze crushed between the cars.
It was so sudden. First, Wolfe was reaching for the car, and then there was the screeching sound of metal against metal. Wolfe caught a glimpse of Blaze before something took over and he let go of the steering wheel, reaching for her instead. The truck jerked forward, the airbags blew up in his face, and Wolfe tried to shake the sudden stars dancing in front of his eyes.
Beside him, Zacke pushed his own airbag out of his way and forced open the driver's door. Wolfe struggled with his own airbag and turned his attention to the fornt of the truck.
Was Blaze alright....?
Did he manage to grab her arm in time.....?
Alaxzander grunted as his right shoulder slammed into one side of the truck. He shook off the dull pain and made his way over to the dark-haired woman near the window separating the back from the driver's seat. She turned to look at him. "What's going--?!" he demanded authoritatively, but he never finished. Suddenly the truck screeched to a stop and Alaxzander was thrown forward, straight into the raven-haired SeeD.
"Aagh!" Tomoe involuntarily cried out as the man she knew only as Alaxzander slammed into her as the truck came to a sudden and violent stop. She heard a sharp crack behind her just as everything stopped and she and Alaxzander fell down, onto the pile of Ochu tentacles that had spilled from their crates.
Tomoe shook her head slightly and looked down at the green-eyed young man. His attention was focused on his side and Tomoe turned her head, and saw an open wallet lying on the ground. "I--I'm sorry," she said quietly, reaching for the wallet. "Here you--"
Her eyes narrowed as she stared down at the picture in Alaxzander's wallet.
"Excuse me," he said sharply, and the wallet was snatched from her hands. "That would be mine. Could you get off now?"
"Oh....s-sorry." Tomoe rose to her feet and made her back out the truck. The scene shocked her.
"HOLY SHIT!!" Blaze cussed and rolled off the side of the hood, just missing Wolfe's outstretched hand as the truck went into a head on collision with another car. She went rolling a couple of feet before she managed to stop, face down in the gravel.
Ugh.... I think my arm's broken. She gingerly stood up and touched her arm. Nope, not broken. Good. Zacke can live another few minutes. She cracked her neck and shoulders and started limping towards the crash.
Blaze stopped short when she saw Zacke open the door and walk to the front of the car. he ran a hand through his dark hair nervously.
Could he possibly be afraid that I am dead? Like a little car crash could kill me. You'd need a nuke. Blaze laughed. This is fun, maybe I can just walk away right now and leave him feeling guilty.
/Be nice. You could just go over there and punch him/
Blaze hobbled over to Zacke and yelled loud enough to scare him. "HEY!!!! WHO GAVE YOU YOUR DRIVER'S LISCENSE!?!?!?! YOU ARE NEVER... EVER TO DRIVE A CAR WITH ME IN IT AGAIN DO YOU HEAR!? Don't go all looking panicky because I know you wouldn't give a rat's ass if I'd died! hmm.. wonder how long it will take until we're up to our necks in estharian police. Let's count down the milliseconds." She finished snidely.
"HEY!!!! WHO GAVE YOU YOUR DRIVER'S LISCENSE!?!?!?! YOU ARE NEVER... EVER TO DRIVE A CAR WITH ME IN IT AGAIN DO YOU HEAR!? Don't go all looking panicky because I know you wouldn't give a rat's ass if I'd died! hmm.. wonder how long it will take until we're up to our necks in estharian police. Let's count down the milliseconds."
"Blaze!" Tomoe ran over. "You okay?"
/Well of course she's okay. Blaze Sanaku is a spawn of hell that can never die./
Tomoe suddenly turned round to Zacke. "And you!" she said furiously. "What the hell were you thinking, driving like that?! Did you want to kill us all?!"
"I WAS GETTING THE MISSION DONE!!" Zacke roared back at the two women. "I'm so fvcking SICK of everyone pussyfooting around!! Do you guys want to get the fvcking Emerald or not?!" he glanced at each of them.
"AND YOU!!" he pointed a finger at Blaze, his eyes filled with hate. "HOW CAN YOU EXPECT ME TO STAY ON THE DAMN ROAD WHEN I'VE GOT YOUR PSYCHOPATHIC ASS FLASHING CLAWS IN MY FACE AND DANCING ON THE HOOD?!?! IT WAS YOUR FAULT WE CRASHED!!!" his breathing was deep and ragged. He turned and swore, grabbing his head with his hands. He kicked the wreckages and turned once more. A crowed was beginning to gather.
"I'm getting out of here. I'm finding the gem and I'm going to have something to show for myself next time we see Xu. And frankly I don't give a flying fvck whether or not you like me. I don't give a flying fvck whether or not you trust me, or even choose to accompany me. But don't," he stepped forward toward Blaze. "don't tell me that I was acting. I was scared that you were dead, and I'm glad you're not. And if I was in the back of that car and you were driving, I wouldn't have jumped on the hood and tried to kill you." he spat.
He glanced at Tomoe before taking off, weaving his way through cars, toward an alleyway across the street.
/Zacke just calm down, you're being bullheaded and foolish. You don't know where Erple Way is, and even if you did you can't finish this alone./ Iris explained rationally.