ACT -1 SOLITARY ISLAND IN THE FAR NORTH
Light. An all encompassing whirl of light.
But it was a very cold light.
The mission didn't stray from standard protocol and worked out perfectly within three seconds.
The British Army Special Air Service counter-terrorism unit to which Norse belongs, the Counter Revolutionary Warfare wing, successfully penetrated the enemies' hideout. It brought most of the liberation army terrorists under control, and had only one room left to rescue VIPs who were abducted and left behind.
Following their captain, the five-man team kicked down the door and rushed into the room. The dignitaries were unharmed. They didn't have any enemies. Relief flashed for a nanosecond on everyone's face.
But it proved to be fatal.
A tiny shadow unexpectedly came rushing out behind Norse.
It wore the shabby cloak of the liberation army covering its whole head.
Norse turned around and grabbed the M92F from his waist reflexively, and pulled the trigger without hesitation.
The dry sound BANG! reverberated and bright blood crimson sputtered from the tiny shadow's breast.
The shadow slowly collapsed, seemingly in slow motion, and the hood worn over its head turned inward.
It was a girl. Every inch of her would appear to be 12 or 13-years old.
Against terrorists, you empty a magazine without mercy until you completely take their life, even if it means children. That's the iron law of CRW.
But Norse hesitated.
It was because a smile appeared on the face of the fallen girl. Her most innocent smile had instantly melted the tension he experienced in the battlefield.
The next moment, light swallowed up everything.
A tube snuggled in the girl's hands expanded unnaturally at the centre and exploded.
Then the smell of burning flesh, blood and smoke seared his throat.
Norse's body was blown more than 3 meters away from his original position and hurled back against a wall.
The left hand he raised to rub his eyes was covered with dark blood.
A sharp pain travelled up his spine when he lifted his upper body out of the rubble.
His shrapnel-punctured left foot was numb and had no feeling.
Next to him, the Captain lay with his intestines hanging from his side.
Beyond that, a lump of meat was laying about, which appeared to be point man Alan, whose upper body had been blown away.
What happened to the three other members of the group and the VIPs that should have been secured... Probably dead.
The operation ended in failure and his unit was completely eradicated.
Norse forcibly twisted his head, which beat with intense pain, and looked down the forward passage.
There was also no sign of the girl who should have fallen there. With the explosion of the bomb in her arms, her tiny limbs probably scattered in all directions and vanished from the world.
An unbearable pain ran through his left foot again. Blood gushed and blackness spread out, dyeing his camouflaged pants. The white stuff visible inside was probably his thigh bone.
His consciousness faded away again and Norse fell into deep, deep darkness.
Norse returned to himself along with a major spasm.
Instead of the Beretta gripped in his open right hand, there was a crumpled ferry ticket with the ink blurred from greasy sweat.
His breathing was still laboured and his shoulders lifted up and down repeatedly and violently.
...He clicked his tongue slightly to see whether or not it had all been the dream again.
A strong iron rust and fishy odour assailed his nose, and he could hear the sound of waves and the roar of an old car engine.
Yes, it was the cabin of a cheap ferry crossing to the northern island. It was not the battlefield that already more than 2 years had passed...
Rather, a tiny old ferry that would fill to capacity even if just five passenger cars were loaded on board. Every time it overcame one of the raging waves in the open sea, the hull creaked and screamed.
In the cabin at the bottom of the boat, there were nearly 10 passengers other than Norse waiting for the harbour to arrive, but who were crouching motionlessly and didn't speak.
Norse stood up quietly.
"Change of pace, mister? You should expose yourself to the sea breeze for a moment."
The old woman sitting next to him in a worn blanket murmured in a subdued voice, but didn't make eye contact.
...He pretended not to notice that everyone was staring at him.
Since coming down to this cabin, Norse felt an unpleasantness lingering in the air.
Most of the ferry's guests were islanders going there now.
A small island in the far north that has little traffic with the outside world. It could be said that a strong sense of caution against foreigners was natural.
Ascending the narrow stairs with peeling white paint, Norse went on deck.
Lead coloured clouds gathered thickly overhead and hung down low as if he could grab them by reaching out his hand. Beneath his feet, bubbles formed in the smooth black water that spilt muddily into the bow.
He saw a monotone sky and the dark silhouette of an island on the seaboard.
A towering mountain at the centre of the island hiding its head as if to pierce the clouds. A forested ridge stretched to encircle the mountain.
It's about five hours by ferry from the mainland port. A northern solitary island floating in the middle of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Gadiwall Island.
...Why had he finally come to such a place?
With the affair of that girl who blew herself up, Norse became disgusted with fighting and was discharged. He then continued to travel in search of a place where he could live in peace. But until now, there was no place anywhere that accepted him. No; rather, Norse himself refused them... What is it really about that island...
He lifted his left sleeve to check his watch; there was still an hour until the expected time of arrival.
Norse went around the corner of the wheelhouse heading to the bow.
In a flash, the ship tilted violently to one side.
A wave collided with the bow and raised a huge splash, and Norse lost his footing in the seawater and oil on the wet floor.
He stretched out his left hand out of reflex and caught a handrail. At the same time, "Aaah!"
With a scream, a girl in a yellow parka flew by as if passing through his body. He reached out his right hand and caught the girl's arm, holding it tight.
Norse waited in the same posture for the shaking to subside. The ferry soon helmed to face the island but finally regained its original stability.
"Ah, you scared me. I thought you'd fall into the sea."
The girl in the yellow parka let go from Norse's hand with a sigh. Amber eyes, curly chestnut blonde with freckles floating on her tan, healthy-looking cheeks.
"It's okay, Kate."
A cool voice was heard from the other side of the deck.
A girl in a white blouse held onto a handrail on the bow.
"You saved her. Thank you."
Brown eyes and a short, bright chestnut bob. When she bowed towards Norse, her hair swung and the scent of a refined flower reached him.
An orange tie, thin dark green pleated skirt and a blouse with a white convertible collar; ironed and starched. It could be the uniform of a prestigious high school.
"Kate, say thanks properly. He helped you."
She pressed her and the freckled girl in the yellow parka named Kate stuck her tongue out in no time and bowed to Norse.
"But Rain, I didn't expect the ship to shake so much."
"That's why I told you before we got on. Since this area can suddenly make giant whirlpools, the ship may turn quickly to avoid them."
The girl called Rain pointed to the sea left of the bow.
There, a big mouth had opened splashing white sprays, a giant whirlpool that would've definitely swallowed this ferry.
"Wow, a giant whirlpool. You do know a lot. As you'd expect from a native of that island."
Kate looks back at Norse with an excited expression,
"Are you on a trip to that island too? We're room-mates from the dorm in the garden of Saint Lucia's Girls College on the mainland.
Kate looks back toward Gadiwall Island again,
"But you know, that island looks slightly different from how I imagined it. A blue sky and white, sandy beach. Beautiful villas in the shade of lined green trees... I was wrong.
"I told you so. Gadiwall's an island of fishermen who've lived in the North Sea for generations, not a resort..."
"I understand. Oh, I wonder if anything interesting has happened on that island."
Norse returned to the cabin leaving the two girls who began to get absorbed in their chattering on the deck, and he awaited the ferry's arrival at the island.
Afterwards, moving evasively around the island, the ferry avoided whirling currents and eventually arrived at the old fishing port 15 minutes later than planned.
There wasn't particularly anything to hurry for. The people of the island were dropped off earlier, and Norse finally left the guest room. He got off the ramp with red rust looked around from the quay, there were a number of old fishing boats and there was only one dock.
Rotting wooden boxes of fish remains were stacked here and there.
There is a small village on the other side facing across the thin road from the harbour, and he could see several buildings resembling fish processing plants, but without the shadows of people, the whole island quietly fell silent.
Indeed, it's quite simply an island left behind the times. First of all, look for a hotel tonight.
With a dangling worn out bag containing just several pieces of extra clothes, Norse begins to walk.
That cool voice talks again from behind.
"That there...... Even though it's empty now, shall we show you around since there's only one inn in the village?"
When he turns around, the girl called Rain approaches carrying a big green suitcase with rumbling casters.
"Is it annoying?"
"No, not really..."
Kate stands next to Rain dangling a bag which seems to be discernibly heavy on her shoulders.
"If that's the case, take Rain's baggage. It's heavy. Uh..."
"Norse Sealuck. Norse is fine."
Norse smiled wryly at the unapologetic Kate's back-talk and suddenly snatched the handle of the green suitcase from Rain.
"Oh, it's okay. You're holding your own."
"Good, good. Me too while you're at it. Eh, Norse."
Kate starts walking ahead and thrusts her bag to Norse.
"Jeez, Kate. I'm sorry."
Rain apologizes to Norse with a puzzled look,
"Hey, aren't we going to your uncle's house ahead? It's close. It'd probably be easier to show Norse the inn after leaving our baggage there."
Norse also pulls a suitcase and begins to walk following Rain and Kate while laughing carefree, but they stop.
Someone's watching them!?
Norse looks back involuntarily, feeling a look piercing through his back.
But there was nobody in the deserted harbour. A shack's broken window doors made sounds, kachunk kachunk, probably because of wind passing through.
Was he imagining things? ...When trying to turn his eyes to the source, Norse gasped involuntarily. He saw two bizarrely large eyes staring from the shadow of the shack.
It was a young man. About twenty years old with unkempt blonde hair, a worn-out cotton jacket, shabby pants and a loose belt hanging from the waist.
It had to be an islander. When his eyes met Norse's, the young man retired himself into the shadows to hide.
"What's the matter Norse?"
Rain was a step ahead to the destination and turned around.
"Um... it's nothing."
Norse follows the two and enters the village.
It was littered with brick houses. It appeared as though there wasn't even a gap between poor and wealthy in this village with merely small homes devoid of affectations.
"Huh, the village feels deserted. More than 5000 people lived here when fishing was prosperous, but there are about 300 people now. It's been three years since I left..."
"Still, there's no nobody here..."
Kate looks around suspiciously.
The time was definitely close to evening already.
But Norse noticed.
They were constantly being watched. From gaps behind swaying curtains. From behind slightly opened doors. The islanders were staring at them, unexpected intruders, with fearful and curios eyes.
Perhaps the young man at the harbour was one of them.
Kate too naturally, but it seemed that Rain, who was born on this island, didn't notice such stares.
"Hey. Rain, your parents passed away young, then you were raised by your uncle Bale?"
"Yeah, I got lonely and left to go to a high school on the mainland."
"Are they delighted that their cute niece is coming home after three years?"
"I wonder if my uncle's doing fine. I want to see his face soon."
Seeing Rain's likely nostalgic expression, Norse felt as though it was comforting.
When they turned at a thin path and went up a hill, Bale's house quietly stood there.
It had an old brick appearance, but lovely red flowers bloomed in its small garden. However, to ruin such a rustic atmosphere, a large lock was attached to the front door coldly refusing entry to visitors.
"No way, Uncle. Such an exaggerated lock. This wasn't here three years ago."
Even if they knocked, there was no answer at all.
"Is he out? Didn't you tell him you'd be arriving today Rain?"
"Of course. I told him perfectly on the phone a week ago. I wonder if he went out for a walk or something."
Rain looked around in a hopeless way.
They heard the howling of stray dogs somewhere as the sun fell and it rapidly became dark.
"All right. He may have gone to Robert's shop."
Robert's shop is said to be the only pub in the village. Bale occasionally goes to the shop and it seems his greatest pleasure is drinking beer.
Norse carried the two's baggage and pushed them into the shadow of the entrance invisible from the outside, and the three left for Robert's shop.
Robert's shop was at the corner of a crossroad with a dried up fountain at the centre, once considered the village's main street.
The area became dark all too soon.
The light of lamps leaked out from the shop's small windows, seeing it was open.
Clink... went the sound of a bell as Rain pushed open the shop door and the three entered.
There were only a handful of customers inside the small dim shop. One on the counter and two on the four-seat table in the corner.
Both were old islanders, completely tide-worn faces that had become red and minced with deep cracks as if to prove their long fisherman lives.
When Norse entered, the old men stopped a conversation and looked back toward them. When their eyes met Rain, they smiled, but they realized they were forced smiles when they immediately turned an ominous colour.
On the counter, a white-haired 50 year old man with a thin figure polished a glass.
"It's been a long time Mr. Robert, has my uncle been here?"
When Rain approached the counter, the man Robert lifted his face and posed to her a dull stare.
"Hi, Rain. Welcome back. No, he hasn't come today."
Although Rain was an acquaintance home for the first time in three years, the expressions of Robert and the old men were slightly awkward. The news of three people arriving at the harbour probably went through the whole island almost immediately.
"Hey may have even gone out hunting again in the night. I haven't seen him these past four or five days."
The old men also simply stared at Rain and the others with no words.
The three vainly went to a shop table.
"As it is we won't be in a house either! I hate camping out."
"Anyhow, we'll show Norse to the inn first. Right after this."
It's said that the inn in the village, which is just one house, is located somewhere that takes less than a minute on foot from there.
The three went to the inn while Kate grumbled and complained.
But when they arrived, Rain stood there stunned again.
There wasn't even a shadow of the inn, only a vacant lot about enough to swing a cat.
"It should have been right here. Has it been destroyed? Oh no..."
There was no pedestrian traffic on the darkened road and there were also no appropriate stores.
At a loss, Rain began to walk ploddingly ahead, and at that moment, they quickly heard a thud from behind.
Norse quickly looked back. Both Rain and Kate stiffened their faces and turned around.
From behind, a figure came out of the darkness. A face emerged vaguely in the light of the houses.
It was a young man, but Norse shortly noticed it was the young man watching him at the harbour.
"Oh, it's you Paul. Don't scare us."
Rain rushed up with a nostalgic smile.
But the youth named Paul didn't return the smile and merely stood around fearful of Norse.
"Come on, Paul. Don't worry. This is Norse, he's not a suspicious guy."
Paul gulped and faltered in a state still afraid of Norse.
"Hey, my uncle's not around. Do you know where he went?"
That moment, the curtain of the house's window behind them shook and the leaking light slightly moved. Extreme tension raced through Paul's face.
"Leave the island on tomorrow's boat. Lock up well tonight when you go to bed."
"What do you mean? Get out of here. I can't lock it even if you tell me."
But saying nothing further, Paul escaped into the darkness and disappeared, and Rain watched dumbfounded as he left.
However, Norse intuitively felt that what the youngster said wasn't a simple threat or practical joke.
That's because when Paul suddenly turned around, Norse saw a small handgun bared under his shabby jacket, thrust casually into the belt on his waist.
Though violent cases are unlikely to happen on an island so tiny, why'd a young man like that have a handgun? Norse felt a strange uneasiness.
The three reluctantly returned to Bale's house. But Bale seems to have not returned.
When Norse passed through the bewildered girls, he lifted a fine wire from a scrap of old fishing tools sat next to the entrance. Then he slowly arranged its shape in his hands and twisted it into lock of the door.
"...What're you doing Norse?"
An unlocking sound, the lock unceremoniously opens.
Together, Kate and Rain's were in disbelief, but getting into the house was first priority. Rain gently held the knob and quietly pulled the front door.
The three were greeted by a chilly lounge.
It was clear Rain's uncle wasn't here. Still worried, Rain looked around the house from the first floor to the second floor. Kate also followed with her. Meanwhile, Norse looked around the plain lounge.
The resident's modest life could be felt from the scarce furniture in the room. Old furniture and tableware were finely polished and arranged on shelves.
Two small picture frames hung on top of the fireplace. Taking them into his hands, he sees one photo showing a seemingly stubborn elderly man holding a young girl, seemingly Rain before she left the island. The other photo had a young man dressed in military uniform, seemingly the same person as the old man.
Rain came back from the second floor, and Norse asked her.
"Is this your uncle Bale?"
"Yeah. This was five years ago. That one's my uncle in his younger days."
"He was in the military?"
From his own experiences, Norse imagined that the man in the photo was an excellent soldier. When he gently returned the photo frames to the top of the fireplace, Kate came down there from the second floor.
"I'll sleep in the back room on the second floor. The bed feels comfy."
"But since that room's Uncle Bale's room, when he comes home..."
Rain bowed her head. A colour of uneasiness and apprehension twisted its way onto her face.
"That's true. I think using it as you please without his permission would be bad. But I wonder where Rain's uncle went."
"The islanders are weird too. They were cheery before. Now they're strangely distant."
"Besides what that other guy Paul mentioned. We're not leaving the island tomorrow."
"Paul's an orphan my uncle loved from the time he was small. Although he's a slightly weak-minded cry-baby, he's a very kind kid."
With his baggage and while listening to Rain and Kate's conversation, Norse was about to walk calmly toward the entrance.
Rain saw and quickly ran.
"Where are you going Norse?"
"To look for a place to sleep now."
"What're you talking about? Stay here tonight. Come on."
When Kate thinks of Norse going away, she suddenly goes into a helpless state,
"That's right. You won't be able to find a place to stay now, there are no hotels. You gotta stay."
Norse was puzzled. He couldn't sleep with two young girls under one roof.
However... Norse felt that this island was now in an unusual state more serious than Rain and Kate.
The attitude of the islanders wasn't simply wariness of strangers. It seemed like they were afraid of something more. Then there's Bale's sudden disappearance and the young man Paul's inexplicable behaviour before their very eyes. He was also worried about that handgun.
Pressed by the two, Norse couldn't disregard the foreboding omens and decided to stay here tonight.
Dominating darkness and silence struck.
Norse inadvertently woke in a bed and didn't know where he was for a while.
He noticed he was lying wrapped in a blanket with the fragrance of the tide and an herbal smell made by the pillow, and remembered there was a room on the first floor of Bale's house.
He held up his Breitling to the moonlight faintly coming in from the window; three hours had gone by and the day had already changed.
I'm not a sucker. Don't even need to stay here just being a pretend bodyguard simply because some young girls asked. It's not good even being involved with others. That's right.
I'll leave this house early tomorrow morning. Nothing big will happen overnight.
When Norse forcibly persuaded himself, he shut his eyelids again in comfortable silence and his consciousness faded.
Then in the silence, a low sound cracked.
A normal person might miss it. But in his long life of battlefields, Norse had become someone that never failed to catch any small sound. That's because it could be fatal in some cases. No, if a sentry missed the trivial sounds of the enemy creeping up on the battlefield, there was a risk the entire unit could be wiped out.
Subconsciously, Norse listened patiently.
He also heard it. At the front.
The sound gradually increased.
It wasn't a mere sound. Indeed, that was footsteps. Footsteps crudely walking and dragging some heavy baggage.
Had the fishing preparations already begun? No, the walk rhythm was too irregular for it. It was waddling, and neither direction nor purpose could be discerned.
The footsteps approached the house where Norse and the others were sleeping securely.
Along with the uncanny footsteps, a loud stomach-churning growl was heard.
The growl got more like a low, enigmatic beast.
*growl... growl... slump... slump...*
The footsteps stopped in front of the house. Were they observing the state inside?
What on earth... A shudder ran down Norse's spine.
"Lock the door well tonight when you go to bed."
What Paul said came to the mind of the recovered Norse. Were those words referring to the owner of the footsteps at the front right now?
The footsteps began to change again.
It slowly went away.
Norse sprang up from the bed and quickly laced up the boots on his feet.
He came out into the living room and grabbed a single handy piece of firewood piled up beside the fireplace then left for the entrance, passing the stairs ascending up to the second floor room in which Rain and Kate were sleeping.
He stood in front of the door. The questionable sound was considerably in the distance.
When Norse calmly held the knob and opened the door, he went out to a table filled with dull moonlight.
A strange rotted smell immediately assailed his nostrils.
Was it the rotten smell of fish? No, it was different. It was a more rank smell. Of course... Norse knew a smell like this. It was a battlefield. That indescribably unpleasant smell when heaps and heaps of tumbling bodies are exposed to wind and rain over a long time and rot. It was exactly like that.
Norse ran after the owner of the sounds while muffling his footsteps.
The rotted smell gradually became stronger. The foul cause seemed to be the owner of the sounds.
When he passed several houses dotted along the way, there was another entrance to the forest. It was deeply overgrown toward the mountain in the island's centre and the dense conifer trees denied humans from stepping in.
Norse looked hard at the ground under the moonlight and saw something, like footprints. And something shined dully here and there on the surroundings.
When he approached the visages, they looked like globules of viscous, muddy liquid, and the rotted smell in question assaulted his strong nose.
What is this? Did the owner of those footsteps drop it?
Before he knew it, he could no longer hear the footsteps. Maybe it went into the forest.
Norse raised his face to make an opening through the fresh forest. He couldn't hear anything any more. At that moment, the quietness was broken by a high-pitched roar he hadn't heard until now flowing from the distance.
When he looked up, there was a small hill on the other side of the forest, and a giant full moon appeared. Then he saw the shadow of a person on the hill with the full moon on their shoulders.
The silhouette was a slender, thin figure, but was filled with bursting suppleness.
Transparent long silver hair fluttered in the wind and scattered drops of light within the moonlight.
...A woman? But why on a hill behind such a forest at such a time?
Norse and Rain spent the night in Bale's house without a wink of sleep and drove the sedan toward their appointment; the lighthouse ruin.
The ruin of the lighthouse was on a cliff which rose high over the east side of the island. It's said the lighthouse there previously was demolished since it was outdated and its light was also weak, and a new lighthouse was erected further to the east around 30 years ago.
The area was filled with thick fog since they left the house. The fog got deeper as the lighthouse ruin approached and the thick milky-white veil completely pressed the sedan from every direction and wrapped it. It was certain that the car would fall to the lower sea from the road along the cliff if one wheel failed to turn. Norse held the steering wheel carefully.
Before long, the sedan appeared at the ruins of the lighthouse spread out on the cliff.
They got out of the car and walked along the wet grass for a while in the fog, the wall of the collapsed red bricks could be seen mistily.
There was still some time left before the promised six o'clock. The two waited for Paul to show up. But he never appeared, even at six. "Where are you Paul! Paul!", Rain called aloud.
Before her voice finished, BANG! A gunshot rang.
Norse reflexively grabbed Rain's shoulder and lay low toward the grass.
That sound just now was definitely a rifle. Norse heard the hit. But they saw nothing in the deep fog. And then, "Ough!"
Bale's stomach wouldn't stop bleeding. Norse quickly tore his shirt and pushed it onto Bale's wound to try and prevent the bleeding. Bale nodded feebly with a smile of gratitude and began to speak under painful breaths about an even more shocking fact. "I was shot by a sniper hired by Umbrella Pharmaceuticals."
He said that Umbrella Pharmaceuticals used a sniper to shoot Bale and had even murdered Paul.
"Umbrella Pharmaceuticals was secretly continuing the T-Virus research that should have been stopped 20 years ago."
Twenty years ago, while Bale was still in the military, a mysterious incident occurred on this island and as a result of secretly investigating Umbrella Pharmaceuticals using the power of the military, he discovered a fearful bacterium, the T-Virus, for which research and development were carried out in that laboratory.
The T-Virus. According to Bale, when someone is infected with it, their entire body emits a high temperature and exhibits rashes with intense itching, and they die. Then they seemingly revive again as a Zombie.
Four days ago, Bale had gone into the woods to shoot rabbits to return home for Rain to eat.
There he encountered a Zombie. Bale had also seen Zombies twenty years ago. He instantly tried to fire his hunting rifle but a gunshot roared right before and the Zombie fell to the ground, its head blown off in one pop. Then a single van swept through. A number of people came down, sharp eyed men he hadn't seen on the island, who then quickly recovered the Zombie into the car and drove off. But then Bale remained standing in utter amazement and was attacked.
Bale ran away. He somehow arrived home, but in the evening, he was attacked again. The men deeply feared that Bale had seen the Zombie. Thereafter, Bale was pursued and escaped from the men's sight wandering from place to place on the island.
"The people of the island are also vaguely aware of Zombies. But nobody wanted to believe in the Zombies, and the opponent was Umbrella Pharmaceuticals. They couldn't run their mouths rashly."
Twenty years ago, when Umbrella Pharmaceuticals prepared the laboratory on this island, they also ran a ferry between the mainland, installed electricity and built a hospital, the only one in the village. That influence continues even now and the people of the island cannot ineptly defy them. So they were naturally wary of Norse and the others.
"Last night, Paul came to tell me a girl named Kate who came to the island with you had gone missing. So I went into the forest, and found this."
With his shaking hand, Bale lifted a wrecked blue trainer from the inside pocket of his suit.
"It's Kate's! There's no doubt about it."
"I picked up this shoe in front of that Umbrella Pharmaceuticals lab in the forest...... Th-- the girl must've probably been taken into it."
Bale had an intense coughing fit and vomited blood from his mouth.
"Uncle, don't die! Uncle!"
"N-- Norse boy, there's a gun and bullets in that bag. Rain...... Get Rain off this island safely. Please."
Bale stares at the tear-filled eyes of his beloved niece,
"I love you, Rain...... If I go, you'll be alone. But yo-- you'll be okay."
With those last words, he calmly closes his eyes.
Rain clings to Bale's body and lies in tears.
Before they knew it, the fog cleared and the blue sky approached overhead, but Rain's voice kept crying, forever echoing in the lighthouse ruin.
Norse didn't know the words to cheer Rain up. He silently opened the old leather bag at Bale's side.
An old but well-maintained Colt Government emitting blunt light and three cases of bullet boxes appeared from inside.
The sedan carrying Norse and Rain rolled along.
They were heading to the island's western forest in order to investigate the abandoned lab of Umbrella Pharmaceuticals.
Norse wanted to leave Rain, but she followed him and said she absolutely wanted to know Kate's whereabouts and the truth of the incident that drove Bale to his death.
When they came to the entrance of the forest, that movie's location crew was shooting to the back of the mountain wall towering in the centre of the island.
Norse looked for that blonde man with casual eyes, but he was nowhere to be found. Was he not an actor either?
ACT-3 INVITATIONS FROM THE OLD CASTLE
Judging from the appearances and names of the company visitors readily guided to the seats, all of them must be VIPs of companies in business with Umbrella Pharmaceuticals.
Gilliam guided Norse and Rain to the seats at the end.
"Mister Norse and Miss Rain, you're here."
When all the members took their seats, Gilliam slowly looked around everyone involved, and in a particularly loud voice with more dignity than before, declared;
"Apologies for keeping you waiting. Please give it up for the master of this mansion, Mylène Beardsley, seventeenth master of the Beardsley family."
A door opposite to the door Norse and the others were in vigorously opens to the left and right, and the small shadow of a person appears from the other side.
A long dress glittering with sewn-in small and large gems. A tiara and gorgeous necklace with seven colours of large jewels in a row.
She slowly stood in front of the dinner table and gave a faint smile full of cold beauty, like an Oriental ceramic.
Even Norse and Rain held their breath in her beauty.
This was Mylène Beardsley...
From the bustle of nearby seats, the two were even more surprised to learn that she was seventeen years old. They were unable to consider her dignity with an air of authority to be something of that age at all. It was provided by nature. Is this what's called noble blood?
Mylène looked around the guests and gave a slight nod to them.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my Beardsley Castle. Please enjoy yourself this evening."
Her tone sounded exactly like that of a pleasant musical instrument.
When she, the sponsor took a seat, waiters quickly appeared and went around pouring wine into silver glasses placed before the guests.
"Miss Mylène, thank you for your invitation this evening. You get more and more beautiful."
In the guests, a stout elderly gentleman threw the first words toward her.
"Mister White, President of Rochetant Electronics? I met you at a symposium in Paris two years ago. You certainly seem to be looking well there..."
"This too is thanks to Umbrella's vitamin pill compound."
The elderly gentleman bore an expression of great delight at Mylène remembering his name. Then the guests rushed to speak to her as if a dam had broken, striving to be first.
"Miss Mylène, the new painkiller received your ideas, but has finally made it to release through joint development with Umbrella."
"The shares of Umbrella Pharmaceuticals in our company's dealings this year eventually exceeded 70%. Thanks to that, our company's sales have shown distinguished growth compared to last year."
At the dinner party, such lip service and business tales flew about for a while.
Most were stories of another world for Norse and Rain, but they couldn't help but be shocked by Mylène conscientiously remembering all the names and positions of the seated guests and being able to fluently speak with technical knowledge and jargon in pharmaceutical development that a seventeen year old girl couldn't possibly know.
One more thing had become clear. There was a connection between Umbrella Pharmaceuticals and the Beardsley family. As far as they heard from the guest's conversations, the Beardsley family wasn't merely a provider of land. They definitely cut into the nerve centre of Umbrella Pharmaceuticals.
If that was the case, why'd she invite herself to this seat? Did she really have any trap prepared...
As the dinner progressed, Norse still merely observed Mylène. His sharp stare was constantly stuck to her.
She could notice it. However, her eyes totally ignored his presence as though it were air.
Norse understood her intention enough. She wanted to say he was a completely worthless existence.
The elderly woman in the next seat spoke to Norse.
"Darling, you haven't said a single word from the start, what's your name? How do you know the Beardsley family?"
She seemed to have a vested curiosity in Norse's features, which weren't appropriate among the upper class ladies and gentlemen sitting in the rows no matter how you looked at it.
It seems that strong curiosity against Norse had been borne.
...No, I'm just a tourist who came to this island by chance.
But before Norse could eat, a voice flew from the sponsor's seat.
"Mr. Norse was a super-elite soldier active in the British Army's specialized anti-terrorism unit, the CRW-wing team."
All the visitors who'd taken place at the table and seen Norse's appearance were surprised at Mylène's words.
...It was an old tale.
Norse matched eyes with Mylène for the first time. There he noticed hostility, like acutely sharp ice within golden pupils one could be drawn into.
"Two years ago in Ireland, UN dignitaries were abducted by the IRA. He participated in the rescue mission. But the operation failed. His team was wiped out and because of it, he left the military and now merely wanders, is that right?"
...How'd this woman investigate his top-secret military past that absolutely shouldn't be in the open? In witnessing the smiles in her room, Norse again noticed the volume of her supporters.
Was the power of Umbrella Pharmaceuticals still merely that of an international company?
Before long, the meal was over; the guests were again guided to a next room and served dessert wine and a post-meal gathering began.
Musicians appeared playing a light string quartet.
Before they knew it, Mylène's figure had vanished from the room.
"Rain, I'll go look for Kate."
Norse said in a low voice within the bustle of the guests, and gently stood up.
Though they'd arranged it for some time, when it came to being left alone, Rain felt uneasy. But Norse stubbornly refused Rain's proposal to look for her as well. Making a 17 year old girl who doesn't know how to fight do such a thing would merely jeopardize her and could result in slowing Norse down.
Norse came out from the dining room into the hallway and looked at his Breitling to check nobody was around.
He promised to return in thirty minutes. If Norse didn't return to Rain in that time, Rain had to escape this castle with any means necessary. Those were the next arrangements.
Norse began to walk quickly down the hall, muffling his footsteps. Kate should be being held captive somewhere in this castle.
When he turned a corner for the nth time, there was a large door at the end. However, a castle servant stood before it.
"...Where are you going?"
"Um, just a little sightseeing."
"From this point on is the Beardsley family's private room. You're not expected."
Although the servant was polite, he stubbornly refused, and Norse couldn't help it. As long as there was no conclusive evidence that Kate was there, he couldn't afford to make things worse.
He returned to the corner and quickly walked back to the other passages.
When he went ahead through the corridors for a while, that man with sunglasses was stood.
"Are you sightseeing too? This castle's got an exquisite presence. I'd like to shoot in such a place."
Norse no longer thought this guy was a movie director. But regardless of the man's identity, finding Kate was top priority now. Norse passed his side, merely lightly nodding to him.
The director said from behind.
Norse continued walking the corridors for clues. But the people of the castle were stood before every room and he couldn't go any further.
A colour of impatience flooded Norse's face.
He was running out of time. He couldn't return with nothing.
Norse gave up and returned to the room where the invited guests sat in a happy circle, however, there was no sign of Rain there.
What happened to her!?
When he asked the elderly wife seated next to Rain, Gilliam had called out to Rain and they left together from the back door.
Norse jumped out through the door into the corridor. However there was no sign of the two.
A girl's scream broke out.
It was Rain!
Norse began running toward the voice. After turning some corners a still-open door flew into his view.
His intuition immediately told him it was a trap.
The perpetrator who took Rain must've escaped and purposefully invited Norse by opening the door.
But he couldn't help but go. He pulled the Government from the belt on his waist and passed through the door.
A new corridor extended further on the other side of the door.
The moment Norse was about to start running, he caught a glance of cold metal in the depths.
The overwhelming sound of a gunshot struck and Norse rolled agilely on the floor.
The wall behind him broke and a piece quickly fell on his back.
This time the air-tearing sound passed close to his ears where he lay.
There was more than one enemy. A silenced sniper able to kill him precisely without revealing his position, and a sniper with a shotgun able to knock down Norse with stopping power. How many enemies were there in total!?
Norse rolled to the wall on the opposite side and hid there in the shadow of a decorative suit of armour. However, the shotgun blasted the armour along with its pedestal into oblivion with a roaring sound.
Norse quickly jumped out of the armour's shadow with the Government blazing in the direction of the gunshots.
That moment, Rain regained consciousness on a bed.
Aside from the bed, the room was small, empty and tasteless.
The young members of the filming team were encamped in front of the door. As Rain awoke, he quietly thrust the gun in his hands to intimidate her into silence.
Then a door opened and Mylène swiftly entered, accompanied by Gilliam.
Instantly jumping off the bed, Rain tried to start running toward the open door and a filming crew youngster quickly grabbed her arms and violently slammed her against the bed.
"Aw, that was harsh. I'm sorry, Rain."
Mylène said sneeringly.
"Where's Kate!? Norse?"
Mylène shrugged and lightly raised a hand to the desperately hanging on Rain.
One of the servants pushed in a silver-covered tray. Their pale face bled with greasy sweat and their hands pushing the wagon trembled little by little.
"We were expecting you and specially prepared this main dish. Well, won't you open it?"
The servant who carried it left to escape.
Whatever they placed before her in a frightened manner, Rain was able to understand that it was ghastly.
She gazed at the silver lid. What did this contain?
She grabbed the silver lid with her shaky hands, taking the plunge and lifting the lid.
It was one ordinary soup plate with a steaming, clear consommé.
Rain was momentarily relieved but inadvertently noticed two whitish spheres the size of quail eggs floating in the soup.
The soup swayed when she timidly brought it close to her face.
The moment she realized what it was, incredible screaming surged from Rain's mouth.
Human eyeballs floated in the soup.
Drawing in one big breath, Norse dashed.
Running zig-zag down the hallway, the shotgun and silencer fired at him all at once.
Despite running, Norse desperately measured the position and distance of the snipers. In particular, there was a sniper aiming at him very precisely. That guy's bullets hailed from above.
Norse dived broadly when he gauged the next pillar to hide behind.
He changed the direction of his body in the air and threw the Government toward the ceiling.
Norse's perception proved correct. A man's figure aiming at him from the pillar came into his sight, and he pulled the Government's trigger without question.
With a cry, the man was shot through the chest and fell head first.
The sound of bone crashing and hitting again the floor echoed through the hallway. The Desert Eagle handgun with a silencer fell from the man's hand, making a dry sound and rolling in the hallway.
At first, he was alone. Calmness returned to Norse. There were several enemies, but judging from the gunshots, there wasn't many left. Probably two or three people including the man he just killed.
That moment, Rain saw Norse fighting through a television monitor. Mylène had taken her, trapped her in front of a set of monitors in the corner of a sealed room and told her to watch the two of them.
"It's admirable. That man fights for you so hard. But it's futile. If I activate this, he can do nothing but die no matter how well he fights. You'll watch that man slowly die here."
Mylène's laughter echoed in the air once more.
Norse's fight continued. He hid himself behind a pillar while rolling. He steadied his breathing while quickly changing the magazine.
A shotgun gunshot sounded close, his hiding pillar was hit directly and it was considerably shaved off. However the moment it impacted, Norse jumped out of the pillar's shade and ran straight through a corridor.
Seven shells were being loaded into the shotgun.
Norse already knew that the shotgun assailant fired all his rounds with the latest shot.
The combat situation would change completely if he brought the other parties with strong destructive power under control. The backup silencer fired at Norse running through the corridor.
However he didn't pay any attention to it and in a straight line he rushed into the shade of the pillar the shotgun assailant was hiding himself.
Just as he read. The shotgun assailant was still reloading.
The panicked enemy looked at Norse bouncing the shotgun barrel with his left hand and forcing the Government into the man's side. Without mercy, Norse shot one, two, three bullets into the man's side.
Strength suddenly escaped the man's body. He leaned on Norse as if he were hugging.
Norse caught him and turned each of their bodies in a half rotation.
The silenced assailant who'd turned around for backup was immediately approaching from the side. The silencer was for the enemy to not make his position known. His panic became fatal with Norse's unexpected action as he appeared. With the body of the dead man as a shield, Norse pushed out the Government and shot at the other man.
The man flipped and jumped to the floor. Norse blazed away until his magazine was empty.
Silence finally returned to the corridor with the sound of an empty magazine crashing on the floor.
Each man was of the location unit. Norse took rounds from their dead bodies and drew the combat shotgun Itacha M37 he took from them onto his shoulder and loaded new shells, putting he newly-loaded Government and the Desert Eagle handgun of the silenced man into his waist and began to run once more into the depths of the corridor.
The anxiously waiting Rain was watching Norse and his battle on the monitors and let out a sigh of relief.
Mylène was starting at the screen along with her with an "aw" expression and shrugged her shoulder towards Gilliam behind them.
"...Your subordinates were of no use after all, Gilliam?"
Gilliam quickly bit his lip at her words.
Then Mylène faced Rain again.
"Your mister bodyguard is pretty good. Just as I'd expect from a former CRW soldier."
But she gave a cold smile and Rain's back froze hard again.
"But this is as far as it goes. Now I'll invite him to a special show..."
Norse ran. He ran with his own sense of direction in the vast castle.
The guests gasped together at the scene. Even screams wouldn't come out any more.
In front of them, the Zombie chewed and tore off her face.
Heavy bone-crunching and eyeball chewing sounds could be heard from its mouth.
Then blood mixed with saliva dripped slovenly and fell from its mouth.
...A person, it's eating a person. The guests were horrified by the sight in front of them.
The healthy old man who praised Mylène fell to the ground due to a heart attack.
From the wide open door, Zombies entered the room one after another.
The surviving guests went to the door on the opposite side. However, the Zombies appeared from there too.
They were Zombies of the servants and maids who served them dinner a little while ago.
Now the guests who'd relished the cuisine and wine they carried were their meals.
And then a green gas flowed into the room from behind the Zombies.
It was a nerve gas that leaked from the gas chamber. The guests who inhaled it lapsed into dyspepsia one after another and died convulsing.
However, the gas had no effect on the rotten bodies of the Zombies, once dead and revived.
While the devilish green gas rolled in, they began wandering in search of fresh food.
As the castle fell into panic, the man who played the role of the filming team's director had promptly escaped to safety in the parking lot.
He lost all his associates as a result, and he himself escaped by inches. Although he pitied his dead associates, in the end they were merely relationships connected by money. He wasn't going to exact proper revenge until he risked himself. Above all, his perception as a professional mercenary told him the stupidity of fighting those men.
...And oh well, he already had half the contract money in his hands. He wasn't going to commit suicide with the people doing such insane research.
The man opened the door of the 4WD's driver seat and hopped inside. However, an arm suddenly pushed out and firmly cut into his throat.
Rotten eyeballs glared at the man over his ill-fitting focal sunglasses. The man was simply pinned down in the driver's seat. Rotten saliva fell onto the man's face with drips.
The man pushed desperately and the Zombie's arm tightened around his throat. He buried his fingers into its soft, flabby flesh, and rotten skin slithered off.
But it didn't care; the monster bared its teeth and approached his throat.
The sunglasses fell from the driver's seat, bouncing and breaking on the road. Fresh blood spilled on top of the pieces, forming a large puddle.
"Damn, this castle's done for already..."
Gilliam observed the atrocious events on the monitors of the management office and took a platinum disk from his breast pocket.
"What's that Mr. Gilliam?"
"It's a key to open a direct line with the Umbrella chief executive."
Gilliam inserted the disk into a slot.
After a short demo of the Umbrella OS, it indicated that a direct line was now open with the chief executive.
Gilliam waited a little and quickly began to type.
"Mylène Beardsley has recently gone out of control with her selfish actions in the development of the enhanced T-Virus strain, centred here on Gadiwall Island.
Now the research facility has fallen into annihilation, filled with test subject Zombies.
Given the approval of the Umbrella chief executive in leaving the clean-up of physical evidence to my discretion, as a member of Administrative Division Special Unit Two; I will immediately strip Mylène Beardsley of all rights."
"Mr. Gilliam, is this...?"
The Administrative Division member on the next seat looked steadily into Gilliam's face.
"...Verified. You are granted full responsibility for that girl."
Gilliam took a shining silver revolver from his chest.
A 6-inch .45 King Cobra manufactured by Colt. A powerful gun with a silver rotary cylinder in a long barrel shining with stainless silver steel.
"I was just starting to get tired of nursing a girl like that. I'll take down the partition walls in here and liquidate all of this. Contain the poison gas and open the path to me!"
At that moment, Norse finally reached the ground from the underground labyrinth.
But in front of his finally escaped eyes, he witnessed a disastrous scene unfolding. Out of control Zombies. Bodies tumbling all over. There was definitely some that had already started to become Zombies. In another few minutes the monsters would awaken and wander in search of food.
...Could Rain really be alive in all this?
The situation was hopeless. However, Norse didn't intend to leave this castle until he confirmed whether she was alive or dead with his own eyes.
From the front corner, the castle servants crowded as though tearing their chests. The green gas slowly hanged and followed them.
It's a nerve gas, fast-acting too!
Norse quickly began to run in the opposite direction of the gas.
Heavy partitions began to close one after another behind him. The trapped gas was going nowhere fast.
Norse ran desperately. Then he passed through the gap of the final partition and arrived at what could be the very back block of the castle.
There was no sign of Zombies, monsters or the poison gas there.
Holding the shotgun, Norse advanced again.
Before long he faced a towering, jet-black and frosted metal door.
Neither a switch nor a keyhole was anywhere to be found.
But as he stood before it, the door calmly opened, as if to invite him.
ACT-4 TO THE END OF THE NIGHTMARE
Norse was welcomed by chilly air within the room.
Into a stark open space, there extended merely a cold silver floor.
Ready with the shotgun by his waist, Norse carefully entered the cold room.
Just as he stepped forward, drops of water fell at his feet; drip, drip.
Norse looked up at the ceiling. The next moment, his eyes were nailed there.
Huge flasks filled the large room's ceiling. One by one, they were entirely the size of humans. An enormous amount of the huge flasks hung from the room's ceiling.
Stored at low temperature, their surfaces were covered in white frost. But liquids of various colours floating inside could be seen through the frost.
It was the human-shaped monsters Norse had encountered in the underground passage extending into the castle from the laboratory, their whole bodies covered with reddish hair.
Norse slowly and carefully proceeded to the centre of the room. Then a heavy sound occurred behind him. When he turned around, the door he came in had been firmly shut.
But he'd already prepared for that when he entered this room.
"You've come to my divine laboratory at last."
When Norse turned to the voice, a large screen descended from the ceiling into the centre of the room. Projected on it was Mylène's figure sat on a chair. And at her feet was Rain, lying bound with her hands tied behind her back.
A sense of relief suddenly welled up within Norse. At the same time, he welled up with anger and hatred toward Mylène's wickedness in what she'd done to Rain and Kate.
"Mylène, let Rain go!"
However, Mylène's horrifying face was projected by the screen; merely giving a cold smile.
"... How dare you, why are you in my castle? Do you want to be torn apart? Or do you want to become a genetic sample for monster development?"
Norse involuntarily questioned the word he hadn't heard until then.
"Yes, the information organisms pass from one generation to the next in order to obtain better "life."
"But the connection with the Zombies. Doesn't Umbrella's T-Virus product create Zombies?"
Mylène shook her head slightly toward Norse.
"That's right. But they're failures. Wouldn't you want to be with my lovely monsters?"
Now that she'd definitely mentioned it, Norse had encountered human-shaped monsters different from the Zombies motivated merely by the instinct of hunger, then a female monster with silver hair,
"Was genetic technology used for these monsters?"
"Yes, like myself, these humans are a new evolution through the artificial recombination of genes."
"Yes, I'm the crystallization of the Beardsley family's research."
"The Beardsley family's?"
"For generations, the Beardsley family have been masters in biochemist fields, such as brain physiology and bacteria analysis studies. They quickly began genetic research, which had become prosperous in this century. Then by the time average researchers had finally started tinkering with cattle and mice, my father had already been successful in "dominant human" experiments through practical genetic engineering techniques."
"...That's what you are?"
Mylène bloomed with a smile and pointed to her temple.
"Yes, my brain. There's a much heard tale that the human brain only uses half its functions. Father released the human brain's potential through gene manipulation and devoted himself to research in order to evolve it. And I'm the crystallization of this research."
"...His daughter was the result of human experiments?"
"He expanded the capacity of active cells by reducing electrical resistance between the synapses in the brain, dramatically increasing the speed and the amount of informational electric current, and carried out extended rearranging of a data bank. Through genetic recombination, he elevated capability to many times that of the original brain using a computer to replace the base; raising capacity and operational speed ...Can you tell?"
Mylène further continued teasing in a retro musical-like way.
"Then I further expanded my given capabilities through modern cyber techniques. I built a DNA genotype mutual rewriting program and fulfilled a link between my brain and a computer. I gained virtually infinite knowledge and networks in my hands.
Things as simple as sniffing out your career from the military data banks. If you'd like, I can even jack a major nation's nuclear weapons from this edge of the north island, and I'll be able to destroy the world like some cheap novel!"
"...Oh my god."
"However Norse, you've just been getting in my way on this island. If you hadn't come, everything would've gone smoothly."
"You don't need to continue."
"I'll have you properly compensate for the crime of disturbing my ambition's success."
"Yes, the development of the Neo-T Virus to surpass the T-Virus. Then giving rise to even more powerful monsters through combining excellent genes. Then I'll literally stand at the pinnacle of Umbrella."
"Why do you dwell on the top of Umbrella like that?"
"Although the world believes Umbrella was founded by Lord Oswell E. Spencer, in reality, my father aided Lord Spencer as a business partner at the time of Umbrella's establishment."
"Since the time of its foundation, the Beardsley family's accumulation of biochemical research elevated the Umbrella Corporation to its current state in the world. After my father's death, it was a matter of course that I, his genius daughter, became an executive."
"Then you aim for more than the top?"
"Naturally? Why must I have to work under these stupid humans? Using the monsters I developed in this Beardsley Castle, I'll stand at the pinnacle of Umbrella. Then I'll control this world!"
Mylène said as she looked up at the group of flasks overhead, bearing an enchanted expression.
"But many have been sacrificed for such an occasion."
"I think its fine. Since it's for fulfilling my wish."
With a look of innocence, Mylène aimed her gaze straight at Norse.
"I only miscalculated you, Norse. A creature that arrived here and broke through all obstacles and traps I had set. I admit your strength, honestly. That's why I detest you and want you dead. I'm a renewed, dominant human, and the masterpiece produced by the Beardsley family with all knowledge and creativity in my hands! I can never be defeated by an outdated human. Not one!"
An insane colour had already appeared on Mylène's golden pupils.
"...I see. But Rain doesn't matter, let her go."
"Why bother with this girl, this girl who can't even become a genetic sample?"
"People aren't your tools Mylène!"
"...Why not? Stupid humans with no merit live worthlessly and die worthlessly anyway. Couldn't becoming a tool of mine, superior in everything from brain to appearance, be a long-cherished desire?"
"We're going. Whatever it takes, I'll save Rain and get away from here!"
"Hehehe... All right. I'll return your princess as requested."
The screen's image is disturbed and becomes mere scan lines, and part of a wall slides and out comes Rain, freed from her shackles as if released from the depths, and the wall that slid closes again.
Rain was puzzled why she was suddenly freed, but quickly ran toward Norse.
Rain jumped into Norse's big chest. Even though his chest was covered in sweat, dust and smeared with blood, she knew it was all for her and buried her face there in peace.
Norse hugged Rain's body firmly. At the same time, Kate's horrible appearance a little while ago resurrected in his mind. One way or another... He must protect Rain!
Mylène was projected on the screen again and called out to the two strongly embracing in order to make fun of them.
"Imagine holding Rain with your hands."
Mylène's slim, supple white fingers ran through the top of a console box at the side.
Clank, one of the huge flasks overheard began to slowly turn.
Then the next moment, it dropped over their heads with terrible force with a lock sound outside.
Norse held onto Rain's waist and jumped aside.
In the nick of time, the flask crashed onto the floor the two were standing on and shattered. Scattered bits of glass and a thick culture fluid splattered all over the floor.
Then from that moment, a man-shaped monster slowly stood up.
"Get away Rain!"
The roars of the waking monster shook the air of the room.
The shotgun readied at Norse's waist was of no use.
The monster's eyes caught the two in its view. The next moment, it suddenly jumped. It growled with its strong muscles and its large body flew to the sky.
However, the shotgun's aim was correctly tracing its core. The awe-inspiring Itacha M37 fired.
There was a large hole in the monster's red body falling before their eyes. Its two meter large body rolled to Norse's feet, leaving a long, sad scream.
However, Mylène wasn't shaken at all and ran her fingers to the console again.
A new flask dropped and a new monster awakened from there again.
Norse's shotgun howled again toward the monster rushing at them.
The monster's head was blown away and it missed its prey, crashing directly into the wall past him, causing it to convulse on the ground.
"As expected; how about this?"
Several flasks began to turn to the movement of Mylène's fingers. Locks are released and those that fall from overhead begin to attack Norse and Rain one after another.
Shattered bits of glass and cloudy culture fluid dance all over the room.
Everyone for themselves, the awakened monsters attack the two with all their strength just to avoid being crushed.
When combat shots were fired in tandem with the pump action in Norse's left hand, the monsters fell one after another.
However, seven shots were immediately spent. Nevertheless, the monsters wouldn't wait. Norse pulled the Government at his waist, grasped the gun and sent the pouncing monsters flying anew.
He continuously squeezed the trigger towards the monsters getting up. The monsters consistently shot in the head were left screaming and sank into the sea of culture fluid.
While fighting the monsters, Norse tossed the empty shotgun to Rain.
"Hurry! Put shells into the hole underneath!"
With shaking fingers, Rain loaded the shotgun with the shells Norse handed her.
Norse fired the bullets left in the Government's magazine toward the monsters from his right hand.
The fangs of a monster attacking from the left ballooned all over Norse's view. Now its claws quickly flew toward the back of his neck and he reflexively struck its jaw with his left elbow.
When he dodged the blow and twisted his body, Norse grappled with the monster as it rolled to the floor now overflowing with culture fluid and pieces of glass.
The broken glass shards pierced his back through his jacket and a sharp pain coursed through him. The screaming monster probably suffered the same severe pain in the back as him, and at that moment, its movement dulled.
Norse didn't miss. While rolling, he shoved the Government loaded with a new magazine at the monster's throat.
He squeezed the trigger. With the gun's recoil, intense convulsions raced into the monster's arms bearing down on Norse, and it expired, hunched over his body.
From the gap beneath the monster's body, Norse fired the Government at new monsters about to attack Rain.
Norse blazed the Government.
The monsters ate bullets from the side to the temples, spraying blood but changing their target and attacking Norse, lying on the floor. However, he shot their foreheads before they could reach their prey.
The monster's splattered bodies merely became lumps of meat, and Norse climbed to his feet.
Norse knew he had emptied the Government. Counting the number of bullets had become a habit for him under any situation.
A remaining monster approached right before his eyes.
He wasn't able to reload a magazine. Norse threw the Government and last magazine to Rain and snatched the now shell-filled shotgun, firing at the approaching monsters exhaling rotten breath.
The Itacha M37's full capacity was emptied in a heartbeat. Then the monsters lined up in front left muffled screams, falling lifelessly to the floor one after another.
Only Norse's rough breathing and Rain's pale face remained in the sea of culture fluid, glass chards and heaps of tumbling monster corpses.
While fixing his erratic breathing, Norse fumbled in his pockets. However, the Itacha's ammo was now just a meagre three. Looking up, there was now just a single flask hanging from the ceiling.
"You've run out of ammo, haven't you...?"
Without even turning to the screen, Norse loaded the shotgun with the final three shells.
Fresh blood from his back had already dyed his arm, dripping after piercing the countless glass shards when he rolled on the floor. But despite the pain, his eyes were filled with fire.
"After all that Norse, you think this child is a companion?"
Her fingers typed the touch key "M" three times.
Then, the flask remaining on the ceiling was engulfed in vibrations.
Fine cracks ran along the surface, spreading throughout and becoming a fissure.
That next moment, the flask broke scattering culture fluid and glass shards from it, and a silver-shining shadow jumped out.
When he thought it would spin once in the air, it danced in the air again and landed, kicking the floor at the same time.
It soared up into the air, hit the ceiling and attacked Norse, who held the Itacha in his hands again, without giving him time.
The next moment, sharp claws as long as knives pierced his left shoulder. Although his consciousness involuntarily drifted into excessively sharp pain, Norse still pulled the trigger toward the silver shadow undaunted.
However, the silver shadow surprisingly turned around suddenly and dodged the bullets fired at it from point-blank range.
Then it back-flipped three times escaping the Itacha's aim and let out a high-pitched roar from its mouth; preparing to attack again. It was the silver-haired female monster that stood bearing the full moon at the hilltop.
Norse pointed the shotgun's muzzle toward the monster. However, the opponent dodged the two rounds fired from that position. He wasn't able to pull the next trigger.
"Hehehe, it seems even Norse has trouble dealing with Millenia. How do you like it? The power of the warrior created by the N•T-Virus and my dominant genes?"
"...Born from your dominant genes?"
"That's correct, Millenia is another me. She perfectly understands how I feel. Isn't she different from the fools created by the crude T-Virus?"
The silver monster created from Mylène's DNA slowly approached its prey while uttering a low growl.
It seems there's not even one cell that's useless for fighting within its agile muscle-covered body.
"Rain, have you filled the magazine!?"
Flew Norse's tense-grown voice.
Rain responded in a faded voice with the Government in her hands.
"You can shoot any time now."
Norse's sweaty hands readied the Itacha M37. He aimed well at the combined Millenia monster. However, Millenia easily dodged even when he pulled the trigger. There was nothing that could be done. Millenia could attack him now at this moment. He can't attack because Millenia would simply measure the timing of his aim. Then it'll definitely pierce through his throat rather than his shoulder...
The same gold eyes as Mylène peeped out from the gaps of its silver hair. It caught Norse in the centre of its eyes and aimed at even the smallest opportunity to attack.
They both gradually moved aside while maintaining each other's distance.
They didn't blink once. The one that averted their attention from the enemy, even for an instant, would die.
There's little ammo. How do I fight this damn thing? How do I win!?
"Neither of you are interesting right now. How about this?"
The fretting Mylène used the console. Two, then three new empty flasks appeared on the ceiling and began to turn and fall over the two's heads one after another.
Norse jumped aside to avoid them. Millenia jumped the opposite way.
Many glass pieces broke, scattering and flying in the air, blocking Norse's view.
The next moment, all the glass shards were stained by a silver shadow.
Flick, flick, she jumped out before Norse's eyes.
He desperately squeezed the trigger of the shotgun. However, Millenia twisted her body's reflexes phenomenally and dodged all two remaining rounds.
Her mouth roared louder and her sharp fangs shined. Millenia closed in on Norse at terrible speed.
Norse caught the fangs with the barrel of the shotgun by a hairbreadth. However, her powerful fangs cut deeply into the metal cylinder trying to bite it.
With both arms, Norse forcefully turned the shotgun Millenia had bitten back toward Rain.
"Shoot it Rain! Shoot!"
"It's fine, shoot!"
Determined, Rain aimed the Government with both hands and pulled the trigger.
However at that moment, Millenia's fangs crushed the shotgun's barrel right in half. Millenia collides with Norse and both get stuck in the sea of culture fluid.
Rain's bullet cuts through the air and hits the wall. She quickly aims again. But she couldn't measure the time to fire as the two struggled rolling on the floor.
Millenia's fangs aimed close at Norse's throat again. He pulled a combat knife fitted on his right foot and desperately fought back. The fangs pounced straight toward their prey.
Rain waited for her missing uncle and confronted her fears in pursuit of her friend, believing in herself until the end.
She was able to fight this far because it was for herself. Then she was able to pull this trigger.
Rain grasped her uncle's Government in her right hand well and fully narrowed down the trigger.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Against terrorists, you empty a magazine without mercy until you completely take their life, even if it means children. That's the iron law of CRW.
One after another, the impact areas split open on Mylène's small limbs.
One after another, the flowers opened on her white dress like blooming roses of crimson blood.
Then she slowly fell to the off-silver floor, bouncing lightly and dying.
Rain muttered in a shaken voice.
Norse briefly replied.
Until now Rain had forgotten where she was and looked down lamentably at the dead body of the girl genius her age.
However, there was almost no time left for them any more.
"Come on Rain. Let's get out of this hell as soon as possible."
Rain nodded to Norse's words and they bolted to the remains of the open wall section where Gilliam disappeared while she supported the staggering Norse.
As they ran, the ceiling flasks fell one after another to the incoming shakes.
The only remaining room was where Mylène's remains were and the monster Millenia was created from her genes.
But at that moment, the halted Millenia's golden eyes began to shine dully.
"Hurry! There's only three minutes left!"