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"Your greatest enemy may be your greatest ally." - Tagline

The Ultimate Adventure is a fan fiction novel by TheLoneClone.

TUA Cover

The cover. Art credit belongs to H'Jar the Assassin.

Rating Edit

This novel is rated M for strong violence, blood and gore, and intense and frightening scenes. For more info about the VenturianTale Wiki Ratings, click the link.

Fan Ratings Edit

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ChaptersEdit

Chapter 1: The MessageEdit

Papa Acachalla cocked his shotgun, Annabelle. He looked over to Gertrude, his wife, cleaning her crowbar. "Gertrude, are you ready?" he asked. The red-headed woman nodded. Papa stood, filling his pockets with shotgun shells. Well, that is, except the one holding the bottle of root beer. 

He and Gertrude were going to meet a man behind a movie theater. But the two were going prepared: the alley behind the movie theater was known to be lurking with murderers and pickpockets, ready to strike at any moment. Before they left, Papa grabbed his holster holding his revolver and its bullets. After telling the kids they were going out, the two left. 

In about a half hour, they reached the alley, and got out of the Acachalla family junker. They slammed the doors (which only shut partly, by the way), and walked to the dark area. "Uh, hello?" Papa called, aiming his shotgun into the alley. A laugh came from the alley. "Oh, no need for that, Papa Acachalla," the voice, a young one, called back. Papa lowered the shotgun. "Who ARE you?" Papa called back. "Oh, that's easy," he said, stepping out, knife in hand. "My name is Jimmy Casket. And I'm gonna put ya, in a casket!" he cackled wildly. "Uh, Gertrude, I think we'd better get out of here," Papa said, stepping back. "I think you're right," Gertrude agreed, hightailing to the car. 

As they ran, Jimmy started picking up his pace, stepping to the car. "Come on, Acachalla, I've just gotta tell ya something!" he said, laughing. "I want to hear no, zero, N-O secrets," Acachalla called to the crazed teenager. "What? I'm not going to tell you a secret, Acachalla," he said, lowering his knife. "I've got a message." Acachalla stopped, stepping forward. "What message?" he asked. "Oh, nothing much, just an...adventure," he smiled. "What adventure?" Papa shot back. "The ultimate adventure," Jimmy said, smiling bigger. 

Chapter 2: TamrielEdit

Sally tossed up a piece of waffle, catching it in her mouth. "The eleventh one, Billy!" she squealed happily. Billy groaned, stuffing a piece of his waffle into his mouth. "Yipee," he said slowly. "Billy," Sally said, "I need another waffle." Billy facepalmed. "You've already had EIGHT full waffles, Sally! You don't need any more!" Sally's eyes started to turn black. Billy quickly raised a hand. "Okay, okay, you can have another!" As Sally went to get a waffle, she stopped.

"Maybe Slender'll want a waffle or two," she said thoughtfully, stepping happily towards the phone, ready to call her boyfriend, Slenderman. Billy shot to his feet. "N-no, Sally! I-I talked to Slender already! He isn't hungry," he pleaded, as his sister's boyfriend scared the heck out of him. She put the phone down. "Oh, okay." Billy silently said "Yes" as he walked back to his seat, only to have a knock on the door alert him to stand again. He went to the door and opened it, seeing a pale-skinned and black-haired young man at the door. "Eh, excuse me, Billy Acachalla?" he asked. Billy nodded.

The man cleared his throat. "My name is Johnny Toast, Paranormal Investigator Extraordinaire. I'm looking for my partner, Johnny Ghost. Have you seen him?" he asked. Billy thought for a moment, and then shook his head. "Nope, sorry," he replied. "Drats," Toast exclaimed, swinging a fist into the air. He turned to Billy. "Thanks for the help, son," he replied in his British accent. Billy nodded. "No problem." After Toast walked away, Sally shot up. "I've got something to say to that guy!" she exclaimed. Billy spun around. "What?! Have you seen Johnny Ghost?" he asked. She shook her head. "No, no. I just wanted to tell him he should have his name changed." She turned back to her waffles as Billy simply groaned.

---

The Dark Elf woman swung her short sword, catching the dummy in the side. She pulled her weapon out, swinging again, this time taking the dummy's arm off. "Nice one," a voice sounded behind her. She spun around, catching sight of the First Dragonborn, Miraak. "Oh, it's only you, Miraak," she sighed. "Calm down, Vahl. Ever since that time when Sofie hadn't come back for a few days, you've been all jumpy. Believe me, Vahl, Areum and Poet'll keep an eye on her."

Vahl nodded, knowing that her mentor was right. She then went back to practicing with the dummy. Miraak smiled under his golden helmet, which he was named for. He turned, walking to the lab where Poet, the group's tinkerer, worked. Inside the room was Poet's boyfriend, Areum, and his cousins, Sofie and Ma'isha. Gaelan, Vahl's twin brother, was also in the room, watching over his nieces. Miraak removed his helmet, and therefore revealed the face of his real self, named Fenrik; however, the group still called him by his other name, Miraak. As the group talked, little did they know that they would all be in a different world very soon.

Chapter 3: The Final Adventurers Edit

The red-head girl drew the final heart she needed to complete all of her shirts' upgrades. All of Maddie-Friend's shirts now had 'I <3 Billy' on them. She squealed in excitement. "Hopefully he'll sign one of them today!" she happily said. She began to stuff all of the shirts into some bags she had; she was bringing all of them to the Acachalla family house.

As she left the house, she turned to shut the door, and then felt a tap on the shoulder. She spun around, seeing a boy with glasses, a Star Trek shirt, and a toy Star Trek phaser in his pocket. "What do you want, Spencer?" she asked impatiently. "I want nothing, you absolute nerd!" he yelled, his lisp changing some of the words his spoke. "The Mighty Spence can get anything he wants! How could you not know that, you absolute nerd!" he continued yelling. She sighed. "Okay, okay. Just tell me where Billy is," she said. Spencer pointed a finger at Maddie. "One does not simply ask for something from the Mighty Spence and get it without giving him something, you absolute nerd!" he yelled back.

Maddie scratched her head. "I thought you said you had everything." Spencer groaned. "No one has everything, you nerd!" he said slowly. "But you just said you did!" she yelled back. Spencer facepalmed. "Do you not know a bit of sarcasticness when you hear it, you absolute nerd?" She sighed. "Okay, okay, what do you want?" she asked. Spencer grinned. "Go get me an autograph from Leonard Nimoy," he laughed. She looked at him sideways. "Leonard who?" she asked. His mouth dropped open. "You do not know who Leonard Nimoy is?!" he exclaimed. She shook her head. "No." He groaned. "He played Spock in the original 1966 Star Trek television series, how could you not know that, you absolute NERD?!" he yelled. She sighed. "Fine, fine, I'll go get an autograph from Sprock," she said, turning. He raised a fist in the air. "It is SPOCK, you absolute nerd!"

Maddie returned to where Spencer stood. "Finally!" he exclaimed. "It took you like, um, a couple of hours, you absolute nerd!" Maddie sighed, tired from working. "Well, he does have a busy schedule, Spencer," Maddie sighed. Spencer, completely ignoring her comments, grabbed the autographed paper. "Ah, yes, finally!" he exclaimed. "I have Spock's autograph!" Maddie tapped her wrist, as if tapping a watch. "Okay, okay, I did what you wanted. Where is Billy?" she asked. Spencer shrugged. "I dunno, I don't stalk him like some people do," he said.

She gaped at Spencer in awe. "You don't know where he is?!" she yelled. "I spent hours looking for the actor of Spork!" Spencer's eyes started to glare evilly at Maddie. "It...is...SPOCK!" he yelled back. "Spock, I tell you! It is SPOCK, you absolute NERD!" Maddie completely ignored Spencer's insults as she walked off, shaking her head.

---

The red-headed girl fired her specialized weapon, the Jayhawk. The raider tumbled to the ground, his hunting rifle sprawled on the ground with tons of bullets. "Nice one, Cywren," the woman's ally, Timebomb, smiled. "That one's not going anywhere!" Cywren smiled herself. "Thanks, Timebomb," she said, lowering her revolver. Cywren Caster's other ally, a dog named Quasar, bounded up to the smart escapee of Vault 101. She laughed, rubbing the dog's chin. "I'll take that as a compliment too, Quasar," she said after the dog barked excitedly. Like the people in Tamriel, these three unsuspecting adventurers would soon be in an unknown world.

---

The police officer fired his water pistol, catching the crow in the left wing. "Ow! Watch it!" the bird yelled, flying up. The officer, Maloney, smirked as he lowered the pistol. "No can do, pal. You're wanted for," he said, before a frown appeared on his face. He quickly pulled out a slip of paper, which unfolded into a huge list of crimes. "Flying on a restricted airway...pecking a restricted tree...um, eh, dropping a payload on a restricted statue," the officer read them. He chuckled, looking at the bird. "You, sir, have a lot of crimes on your tab."

---

At a small home, a woman (resembling Papa Acachalla) sat by her newly-wed husband, the Rake. Visiting was the Rake's best friends, Jeff the Killer and Slenderman, Sally's boyfriend. Jeff grinned evilly, drawing his knife. He suddenly lifted his eyes to Sally Betty Jessica's face. "Hey, she doesn't match us all that well," he said. "Maybe we should, uh, fit her in. Waddya say, Slendy?" he cackled. Slender, the most intelligent of the group, shook his head. "Um, I'd rather not, Jeff," he said. Jeff frowned. "Why not, ya baby? Scared?" he asked. Slender positioned his blank face to look at Sally Jessica's face. "Actually, yes. I'd be scared if anyone made that face scarier than how it is now."

---

In another part of the town, Johnny Ghost, after switching from his Casket form, ran, the French voice called out. "Come on, Mister Ghost! Don't run away!" she called. Ghost panted, afraid of the young French ghost girl Aimee. Ghost looked around. "Stay away, Aimee! I haven't done anything to deserve this!" he yelled. A young laugh sounded. Ghost turned and ran past a building. As he turned the corner, he switched to his third and final form, a young boy under the name of Gregory. But that made his conditions even worse. "Gregory?" a voice shouted. The small boy looked around. "Huh? Who said that!" he demanded. A laugh sounded from the alley behind Gregory. "Oh, don't worry, Gregory," the voice added, soon being known to belong to a lifeless cardboard person. "Don't worry...I'm your friend, Gregory."

Chapter 4: Strange New World Edit

Billy opened the door to the Acachalla household. "Papa! Mama! You're home!" he happily exclaimed. "Papa! Did you bring waffles?" Sally asked from behind her older brother. Papa groaned. "Gertrude! Fix Sally some waffles!" he yelled. Gertrude groaned herself. "Okay, okay," she said. As Gertrude fixed the waffles, Papa plopped down into his recliner. "Papa," Billy said, moving to his father's chair.

Papa grunted a noise which seemed to be a "yeah". Billy climbed onto the arm of the lounge chair. "Um...this guy...I think he's name was Jimmy Toast, said-," he started before Sally walked up. "No, no, no, Billy, it's not Jimmy Toast. It's Julie Toast," she smiled. Billy frowned. "It was a guy, Sally, not a woman!" he exclaimed. "But, this guy, Toast, was looking for a man named Johnny Ghost, and-," he continued before Papa cocked his head to Billy. "Wait...Johnny Ghost?" he asked. Billy nodded. Papa snapped his fingers. "That's it! Ghost was Casket, and Toast looked for Ghost - or Casket," he said, confusing himself. Sally looked at Papa strangely. "Uh, Papa, you're confusing me," she said. Papa shook his head. "Never mind. Gertrude, Billy, Sally, get ready - we're going on an adventure!"

---

Gregory's lower lip trembled. "C-Cardboard Friend...s-stay away from m-me!" he stuttered. The cardboard shape shook it's head. "Oh, no, Gregory! Come to me! I'm your friend." Gregory backed into the wall until he could move no more. It seemed as if the cardboard friend would finally capture Gregory. But would that guess be so wrong...

A shot of water hit Cardboard Friend. The seemingly inimate object let out a shriek, running off. Gregory turned, only to see Johnny Toast, carrying a water gun. "Um, excuse me, young boy, but I'm wondering, have you seen my partner, Johnny Ghost, anywhere?" Gregory grinned at Toast. "Oh, Johnny, it's me!" Toast looked skeptically at the young boy. "Oh, no, you're wrong, kid. Mr. Ghost is a bit taller than you," he chuckled. "No, no, no!" Gregory said.

"Wait here." As Toast stayed in his position, Gregory moved behind the wall, stepping out as Johnny Ghost. "Mr. Ghost! Boy, am I glad to see you, sir!" he exclaimed. "I saw this strangest little boy; he kept saying he was you, sir!" Ghost placed a palm on his forehead. "Johnny, that was me!" he said. Toast dropped his jaw in astonishment. "Oh, my apologies, sir! I had no idea-," he started. "No problem, Johnny," Ghost smirked. "It even happens to the best of us." As the two walked on, nine figures materialized in the dark alley...all nine brandishing medieval weapons.

---

Maddie finally found Billy. With his whole family. And two Paranormal Investigators. Billy, Papa, Sally, Gertrude, Toast, and Ghost had all gotten together and where about to start their journey. Ghost stood still. "Come on, mister! We came to go on an adventure, not stand still like idiots!" Papa yelled. Ghost raised up a hand. "Calm down, Acachalla." Papa grunted as he folded his arms across his chest. "Billy!" Maddie excitedly shouted. "Wha-?" was all Billy got out until Maddie was on him, wrapping arms around his neck.

"Uh, Maddie-Friend! What are you doing here?" he asked. Maddie pulled away. "Oh, you know, Billy," she said, smiling. Billy groaned as Sally muffled a laugh with her palm. As Maddie turned to talk to Toast and Ghost, Sally tapped Billy on the shoulder. "Billy and Maddie, sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-," she started. "Shut up, Sally!" Billy exclaimed. The boy's younger sister giggled louder. "Um, Mr. Ghost?" Maddie asked. Johnny Ghost looked down at her. "Yes, Maddie?" he replied. Her eyes widened. "Y-you know my name?" she asked. Ghost grinned. "Of course! You're coming with us," he said. Billy's eyes shot up. "Wait...what? Maddie is coming with us?!" he exclaimed. Ghost nodded. Billy groaned as he sank down.

---

Maloney fired his water pistol at the target, marking it right in the middle. "Bullseye!" a voice sounded behind him. Maloney spun around, seeing seven people behind him. "W-who are you!" he asked. One of the men, with pale skin and black hair, smiled. "My name is Johnny Toast. These are my companions. We are here to recruit you," he said, looking over at a cage. "And that bird." The officer looked at the metal cage holding the black crow, dubbed the Bird. Simple.

"HIM?!" Maloney exclaimed. Toast nodded, grinning. "Once again, bullseye!" he said. Maloney sighed. "Okay, okay. What for, though?" he asked. Ghost stepped forward. "You are both going on an adventure, sir. A very long adventure." Maloney looked at Ghost, grinning. "With this?" he asked, holding up his plastic water gun. Ghost shook his head. "Oh, no. With this," he said, holding up a .32 caliber pistol. Maloney smiled, taking the silver gun. "Thank you, Mr. Ghost," he said. Ghost nodded. "No problem." Maloney turned around, snapping on his .32 and its holster. "Okay, Bird, let's get going," he said, opening the Bird's cage. The small black crow jumped out. "Yes! Finally, something fun to do!" it happily said.

---

Cywren looked around, Timebomb and Quasar beside her. "What happened?" her male companion asked, rubbing the back of his head. Cywren shook her head. "I'm not sure," she said. Timebomb stood, helping Cywren up. The three had just experienced a strange explosion-type thing, knocking them both out and teleporting them. Timebomb looked around. "I don't think we're in the wasteland anymore," he said. Cywren smirked. "Me either." She secretly had a crush on her ally, who also had one on her as well, although the two were far from admitting it.

Quasar stood, letting out a cough. Cywren reached over and rubbed her dog's head. She picked up her black eyeglasses that belonged to the deceased Jonas, rubbing the dirt from the lenses. She then proceeded to place the glasses on her head. Suddenly, a ringing sound started to flow through the three companions' ears. "Do you hear that?" Cywren asked. Timebomb nodded. The two looked to a box marked 'TELEPHONE'. The two stepped to it, Timebomb opening the door. Cywren stepped inside, fumbling with the strange machine inside. She then pulled it from the rack. A voice sounded through it. "Hello?! Cywren Caster?" the voice asked. Cywren nodded. "Yes...and this is?" The voice laughed. "Oh, forgive me, miss. My name is Johnny Ghost. I am the one who brought you here," he said. Cywren looked skeptically at the glass. "Why?!" she exclaimed. "Hold on, hold on, let me tell you something: just go down to the corner and turn left down the sidewalk, and then walk into the building marked 'TARGET PRACTICE'," he said. "Got it?"? he asked. Cywren nodded. "Yeah." The voice sounded happy. "Good. Bye," was all Ghost said.

Chapter 5: The Adventure Begins Edit

Ghost walked towards an alley to be alone for a bit. "Mr. Ghost?" a voice said. Ghost groaned. "Aimee...not again!" he said. He silently turned into Jimmy Casket, and spun around, being face to face with the French girl, who was a bit shorter than he was. "Oh, Aimee, if I was you, I'd turn around right now and get the heck outta here!" Casket threatened. Aimee's face looked a little sad. "Oh, now, Mr. Ghost, I know you wouldn't do that!" she said. Casket's eyes shrunk. "What? I'm not Johnny Ghost! My name is Jimmy Casket!" he yelled. Aimee stepped closer to Casket. "Oh, I know you're "secret", Mr. Casket!" she said, her voice beginning to grow more seductive.

"What do you want, Aimee!" Casket demanded. Aimee stood on the tips of her toes, right in front of Casket. "Oh, just to...join you," she said, wrapping her arms around his neck. Now, Casket looked more afraid than menacing. He couldn't go anywhere - a wall was right behind him. "N-now listen here, A-Aimee! I'm not taking y-you with me, understand!" he said, trying to sound firm. She leaned in closer, slowly closing the gap in between the two. "Oh, don't say that, Mr. Ghost!" she said happily, finally being close to him. As Casket felt her breath on him, he closed his eyes, knowing there was no escape. "Mr. Ghost?!" a British voice called.

Casket turned his head to see Toast standing there, frozen in shock. "Johnny! Give me a hand over here, darn it!" Casket yelled. Toast nodded, darting for Aimee. The French girl back off, and ran away, not wanting to face off against two of them. "Are you okay, sir?" Toast asked. Casket nodded. "Yeah," he replied. Toast stepped back in realization of Ghost now being Casket. "Sir, just...just calm down, okay, sir?" he said. "Toast...don't worry, I won't hurt you," Casket said, wanting to calm down his partner.

Toast nodded. "O-okay, Ghost," he said, turning around. The two walked out of the alley. Maloney turned around, and was surprised to see Toast with a wanted murderer. "Toast! Get outta there!" he yelled, aiming his pistol. Toast raised his hands. "Hold it, hold it, don't shoot! It's Mr. Gh-," was all Toast got out before Maloney fired a bullet towards Casket's position. The murderer took a dive forward, turning it into a roll. Toast gritted his teeth as he looked towards the police officer. "For the love of...stop it, now, Maloney!" he yelled back. Maloney ignored Toast's orders, firing off two more bullets. Casket's eyes turned blood red as he looked at the attacking officer.

He darted for Maloney, knife in hand. "You are gonna PAY!" he roared. Maloney looked on in fear, but fired again, this time hitting Casket in the arm. The murderer shouted, "Drop the gun! I'm on your side!" The Bird walked up, pecking Maloney's foot. "Eh, I say kill 'em!" he said. Maloney smiled. "As I was saying!" he laughed. Toast stood firmly. "Drop. The. Gun," he yelled. Maloney shook his head. "Sorry, Mr. Toast, but no murderer is gonna be with us!" he said. Toast swung a fist upward, catching Maloney in the gut. "What the heck is wrong with you?!" Maloney grunted in pain, grasping his stomach.

Toast pointed at the officer. "I told you to drop it," he panted. Maloney roared in a shout, slamming a fist into Toast's face, knocking the British man into a blue recycling bin. Casket pounced, tackling Maloney to the ground. Papa looked in awe as the three punched and kicked, knocking one to the ground with each motion as the Bird flew over the small scuffle, avoiding being trampled or rolled on. The oldest of the Acachalla's ran in, pulling Casket off of the officer, pushing him against the wall. "Stop it, all of you!" Gertrude yelled. "We're on the same team!" she continued, placing her hands on her hips. Sally yawned, grabbing a waffle from her bag. "I'm gonna have lunch," she said. Billy looked at Sally. "We just had lunch!" he exclaimed. Sally shrugged. "Oh, well I'll eat dinner," she said, biting into the waffle.

As the men continued to fight, Gertrude felt a hand on her shoulder. "Um, excuse me, ma'am?" a young man's voice said. Gertrude shrieked, grabbing the hand and flipping the man onto his back. "Ow! What the heck?!" he yelled. "Oh, whoops!" she said, smiling. She laughed a fake laugh. "Eh, I'm sorry!" she said. A red-headed girl walked up. "Um, my name is Cywren Caster. This is Timebomb, and this is my dog, Quasar," she said, pointing to the dog below her, although he was level now to the downed Timebomb. The armored man stood, rubbing his back. "Puppy dog!" Billy happily exclaimed, running and hugging the dog. "Billy! Be careful!" Gertrude said. Cywren chuckled. "Don't worry, he won't hurt you!" she said.

As the newcomers and the Acachalla's conversed, the men soon finished up fighting. "Uh, when did this guys come here?" Papa asked. "Oh, just when you fella's where slamming each other into the walls and ground," Gertrude smiled. Ghost, who had transformed in the end of the fight (that caused it to end), walked up, smiling. "Cywren Caster," he said, sticking his hand out. "Johnny Ghost, Paranormal Investigator Extraordinaire," he said. Cywren took his hand, shaking it. "Hello," she said. "What is the reason for bringing me, Timebomb, and Quasar here?" she asked. Before Ghost could say, a voice behind him boomed, "For an adventure, Cywren." All heads turned and saw a man who they all had not intended to see; the grown adopted "daughter" of the Acachalla's, Sue: The Suckish Officer. "Sue?" Sally asked, bounding off to her "sister".

Chapter 6: Family Edit

Sue had explained how he had heard of the adventure. According to the soldier, Chakalata Soup, a chef at a local Olive Garden, had told him of a group of people heading off on an adventure. When he had heard his new family was also going on the adventure, Sue couldn't pass it up. And here he was, ready to join the adventure of the group. "Speaking of adventures, I saw a couple of people back there, all with medieval weapons," he said. Ghost stood. "Nine of them?" he asked. Sue chuckled. "Well, now that 'ya mention it, yeah, there were nine of 'em!" he said.

Ghost smiled. "Ah, they've arrived!" he happily said. As the ghost hunter walked back, Papa rushed up to him. "Who do you mean by 'they'?" he asked. "Oh, you'll see." As the group of thirteen walked on, they continued to talk about the adventure. Soon, they arrived at an alley, where, indeed, nine people with bladed weapons and bows sat. One of them, a young man with a bow and sword, jumped to his feet when the thirteen walked around the corner. "Who are you!?" he yelled. Maloney put out his hands. "Woah, son! Calm down!" he said. The small black crow walked beside him. "Yeah! Listen to the copper, moron!" he cawed. A young girl stood, looking around the age of twelve.

"W-why did you bring us here?" she asked. Ghost chuckled. "You're going on...an adventure," Ghost smiled. The younger man laughed. "Well, we could go on an adventure any day back in Tamriel," he said. Billy stepped up. "Wait...Tamriel? As in Skyrim?" he asked. The nine nodded. Billy smiled. "I know you all!" he said. Ghost smiled himself. "As do I. Vahl. Farkas. Poet. Areum. Sofie. Ma'isha. Miraak. Gaelan. Frea." The nine looked in awe. "How do you...?" Vahl asked. Ghost smiled. "I have some...contacts," he said. Miraak looked around, and caught sight of Cywren. "Are you...Cywren Caster?" he asked. Cywren took a step back, nodding. "Yes...do I know you?" Miraak pulled off his golden helmet. "Poet...come here, quickly!" he said, motioning for the red-headed girl to run up. "Yes, Miraak?" she asked.

Miraak pointed to Cywren. "Poet, this is your...ancestor," he said, looking down at his daughter figure. Poet looked at Cywren strangely, to which Cywren returned the glance. "Ancestor?" they both asked at the same time. Miraak nodded. "Poet, well...in the future, you sprout off offspring with Areum," he started, to which Poet blushed, "And, then, down the line, in comes Cywren," he finished. Poet looked at Cywren. Poet stepped up. "Um...hello," she said, smiling. Cywren returned the smile, waving. "Well, this is...awkward," Cywren said. Poet nodded. "Kinda weird to see an...older ancestor younger, isn't it?" she chuckled. Cywren nodded. But before the two could get to know the other anymore, gunshots rang out. All heads turned that direction, the ones with weapons pulling them out. Ghost looked on in horror. "We've gotta get outta here...NOW!" he yelled. He and Toast darted off, the others following. Papa risked a glance behind, catching sight of a platoon of white armored Combine soldiers.

Ghost was the first at the door. "Carson? Are you there?" he asked. The door opened slowly as a young man, in his early twenties, opened the door. "Oh, good to see you, sir!" he said. "Come in, quickly!" he added, pulling open the door. Strapped to his side was a small handgun, an assault rifle on his back. All of the group ran in as the guard shut the door. "Carson, are the others here?" he asked. Carson nodded. "Yes, sir. They're here, and all of our men are fully armed." Ghost smiled. "Good. All of you, come with me," he said, darting off. The group followed their leader, Toast staying behind to watch the door with Carson. With all of those Combine coming, he may need a hand.

"Papa, I think you know these here," Ghost said, pointing into a room. The Acachalla's entered the room first, coming across four people seated at a couch. "Slender!" Sally happily said, bounding to her boyfriend. The young creature stood. "Sally!" he said as the smaller girl jumped into his arms. Papa froze when he saw the next one. "Oh no...not Sally Betty Jessica!" he exclaimed. "Hey, don't forget us," a voice said behind Sally Jessica. Shortly, Jeff the Killer and the Rake moved from the couch. "Oh, great!" Gertrude groaned. "Now we have four monsters to deal with!" she said. Ghost chuckled to himself. "Alright, guys, let me show you around," he said, leading the group around their base.

---

After showing them tons of vacant rooms, an armory filled with gear, a cafeteria, and a lounge, Ghost stopped. "Okay, now for the biggest thing," Ghost said. The others stopped. "Now, to introduce you to...our army!" he said, pushing the doors open. Inside the room stood hundreds of armed soldiers, all wearing blue jumpsuits or jackets, bearing tons of different rifles, pistols, grenades, rocket launchers, and submachine guns. "This is what we will use to face off against the oncoming Combine," he said. Papa stepped closer. "That's another thing," he said. "Why are all of the Combine coming after us?" he asked. Ghost sighed. "Becauase I have...this," he said, shoving out a small crystal. "And that is?" Papa asked. Ghost put the crystal back into his pocket. "This crystal will complete the ultimate weapon for the Combine to unleash, destroying tons of innocent lives. Therefore I, with some help, stole the crystal, causing them to come after us," he explained. Papa nodded. "I see. And why did you choose us?" he asked. Ghost laughed. "Because, you guys are known to be headstrong, brave...reckless," he said. Gertrude shot a look to Ghost. "Hey, not all of you!" he said, raising his hands.

"Sir!" a voice said over the intercom. Ghost ran to an intercom. "Yes, Carson?" he asked. "It's the Combine, sir! They're headed this way!" he said. Ghost sighed. "Get your weapons ready. We'll be right there," he replied. Ghost turned. "Alright, everyone! This is it: this is war!" he shouted, resulting with a reply of several soldiers' cheers.

Chapter 7: The Nuke Edit

Ghost entered the area at the door, where Carson and Toast stood, SMGs in their hands. "Ready, sir?" Toast asked. Ghost nodded. "Yeah. The others are coming now," he said. Soon, Papa, Gertrude, Maloney, Miraak, Farkas, Vahl, and several armed soldiers arrived at the door. "Everyone ready?" Ghost asked. Before anyone could reply, a strong blast knocked all of the people off of their feet, sending several soaring into walls and down hallways. Carson was the first to look, catching sight if Combine soldiers moving through the destroyed doorway.

"Incoming!" he yelled. Several soldiers stood, firing off rounds from their guns as the others got to their feet. Gertrude watched as bullets pummeled into the soldiers, causing blood to splatter onto the walls and floors. "Dang it! There are too many of 'em!" Carson shouted. Ghost fired off from his dual wield pistols, taking down several Combine, covering their crisp white suits in splotches of red blood. "We've gotta evacuate the base! Gertrude, Vahl, Farkas! Get to the others and get them ready. Papa and Carson, get to the vehicles! Miraak, Maloney, and Toast, you're with me! Got it?" Ghost yelled. The others nodded or responded with yes. "Good! Let's do this!" Ghost exclaimed, firing off more bullets. The team split up, leaving Ghost, Toast, Miraak, Maloney, and the soldiers to guard the door.

---

Gertrude, Vahl, and Farkas made it to the others. "I'll watch the door," Farkas said, turning and readying his weapons. Vahl nodded, quickly placing a kiss on Farkas' lips, turning and running off. Sally looked up as Gertrude walked up. "Mommy! Where are the others? What's going on?" she asked. Gertrude looked at Sally. "We're under attack. The others are getting vehicles ready and holding off the bad guys," she explained. Sally nodded. Vahl turned to Sofie. "Sofie, you and Isha stay with Areum and Poet, okay?" she said. Sofie nodded. "Okay, mama!" she said. Vahl smiled, standing up. "Okay, let's move!" she shouted. Sofie and Isha moved to stay with Poet and Areum while Frea, Vahl, and Gertrude led the squads of soldiers. Farkas watched the rear. "Hey, Maddie! This is kinda like Dodgeball, but with bullets!" Billy happily said. "Yeah!" Maddie added. "It is!"

As they kept walking, a soldier's voice rang out. "Grenade!" he yelled as the group took cover behind anything they could find. But that grenade was no ordinary. It blew out the walls, took down about ten soldiers, and caused the roof to collapse. At the end of the crashing tunnel, though, stood a young boy. "Come on, absolute nerds! What are you doing? Do you WANT to die?!" he yelled. "Spencer? Is that you?!" Gertrude called. "Yes, you absolute nerd! Who else would it be?" he continued. Spencer sighed, facepalming. "Anyways, follow me, or face utter destruction by the hand of the Klingons!" he said, clenching his fist. "Um, but it's the Combine, kid," a soldier said. "Oh, you nerd! How do you not know I was being sarcastic?!" Spencer yelled.

As the group ran after the boy, they soon made it from the tunnel. "Spencer! You've led us out!" Maddie cried happily, rushing to Spencer, planting a kiss on his cheek and hugging him tightly. "Ew, gross! You absolute nerd! You simply do not grab the Mighty Spence and hug and kiss him!" Spencer exclaimed, pulling away and wiping the area Maddie had kissed him. The girl simply laughed as Spencer rubbed his face. Spencer turned, Maddie, Gertrude, Sally, the Rake, Sally Jessica, and four soldiers following him. "Wait...where are the others? Billy, Slender, and Jeff?" Gertrude asked. Spencer shrugged. "I dunno. But follow me, or you'll end up like those absolute nerds," he said, walking away. The others followed, but saddened by the loss of the three.

Papa fired his shotgun, causing a bit of blood to fall from the Combine soldier's chest. "Carson! Let's go!" Papa called, jumping into a truck. Carson ran quickly to an RV, starting it up. "Okay!" he called, following Papa as he drove off. The two drove the vehicles until they found the group. "Papa!" Sally called throwing her arms around her father's stomach. Gertrude ran up to, joining the embrace. "Where's Billy?" Papa asked. Gertrude looked down at her feet. "Is he...dead?" he asked. Gertrude slowly nodded as Papa sank back onto the truck.

---

Meanwhile, the soldiers and the two paranormal investigators held off the oncoming Combine soldiers. "There are too many, sir!" Toast yelled, firing off the last bullet of his rifle. "I know, Toast!" Ghost replied, tossing down his two pistols, also out of ammo. The two searched for weapons from the dead soldiers laying on the metal floor. Ghost snatched up a loaded fully-automatic G18 pistol, firing onto two Combine soldiers. Toast grabbed an M16, raining fire on the approaching enemies. Ghost looked to the doorway behind him. "Toast, get outta here!" he yelled. Toast froze, noticing Ghost was going to stay behind to defend the group. "No can do, sir!" he said. Ghost gritted his teeth. "Toast, do as I say NOW!" he ordered.

Toast sighed. "Sir, you go first, and I'll be right behind you!" he said. Ghost cursed under his breath, darting to his partner. "Listen to me, Toast! Get out of here this instant!" he ordered. Toast nodded slowly. "As you wish...sir," he said, running to the doorway. "Come on, sir! Now!" he yelled. Ghost nodded himself, running to his ally at the door. "Go, go!" The two ran, Ghost occasionally firing off bullets at the Combine behind him. "Keep moving, Johnny!" Ghost yelled. Toast chuckled. "I wasn't planning on stopping, sir!" he replied. The two soon reached the collapsed tunnel. "Think this is where they went?" Ghost asked. Toast nodded. "I wouldn't doubt it, sir." The two maneuvered through the rubble, soon discovering the Acachalla's, the Rake, Sally Jessica, and Carson. Toast looked around. "Where are the others? Did they not...make it?" he asked. Papa nodded. Toast shook his head. "I'm sorry," Ghost said. "Sorry?!" Papa shouted. "That's it, sorry?!" he continued. "Papa, it's okay," Gertrude said, trying to calm him. "No, it's not! Billy is dead, and it's all his fa-," he got out before he sank down, a dart sticking from his side. The others all looked to Toast, who fired it.

---

After going for hours, the group stumbled upon a small town. "Maybe the others came here," Ghost said, Papa soon coming to. "Let's go," Gertrude said, stepping from the car. Papa, Ghost, Spencer, Gertrude, and Carson all got from the car, ready to search. Ghost turned to Toast. "Toast, keep an eye on the others. We'll be back soon," he said, turning to the others. "Let's move out," he said, leading the others to the town.

Within a few minutes, the group had found Cywren, Timebomb, and Quasar. "Cywren! Are you guys okay?" Ghost asked. Timebomb nodded, and the group looked to Cywren, who seemed to be ignoring them. "Uh, Cywren?" Ghost asked. Timebomb shook his head. "She's been that way since...well, look for yourself," he said, pointing to an area. The small group looked, and couldn't believe what they saw - planted in the ground was a huge nuclear bomb...with a timer on it saying 10 minutes until detonation.

Chapter 8: Losses Edit

The cowboy duo slowed their horses down. Each had dual holsters strapped to their hips, six shooter revolvers in them. On the sides of their horses, strapped to the saddles, were rifles. The one on the right carried a shotgun. "What'd ya bring me out here for, anyway, Maxwell?" the one with the shotgun asked. The one on the left chuckled. "Mr. Quagmire, I brought you here to help me kill some people - some, eh, necessary targets." Princeton chuckled. "Maxwell, you know how to draw me in."

At the bomb, Spencer wiped the sweat from his forehead. "Hurry it up, Spencer!" Ghost said. "Keep your Starfleet shirt on, Ghost!" he yelled. "I'm working on it." As the boy continued work on the bomb, Ghost turned around, in awe at what he saw. "Spencer...do you think you could do it if an army of enemies was attacking?" Spencer shrugged. "I dunno, why?" he asked. "Because an army of enemies is attacking," Ghost said, pulling his pistol from his holster, as well as grabbing his cell phone. "Toast?! Toast?!" he yelled. "Yes, sir?" Toast replied. "Toast, get the heck back here!" Ghost yelled. "We need as much help as we can get!" Toast's voice came through. "Right away, sir."

Gunfire shot around the area, cutting down multiple soldiers. "Get to cover!" Toast yelled, firing off an M1 Garand. He quickly hopped into a truck, followed by Maddie and Sally. The cars drove off as rockets blasted the area, destroying multiple vehicles. Soon, a cowboy on a black horse was to the left of Toast's truck. "Sally," Toast said, looking to the young girl. She nodded, grabbing her favorite weapon from the floor of the vehicle - the might Wafflegun. She aimed it at the cowboy. "Wait a minute...Maxwell?" Toast said, thoughtfully, as Sally fired a waffle. "Ugh!" Maxwell grunted, falling from the horse as the waffle slammed hard into his gut. The horse roared in a scared shriek, darting off into a different direction. Maxwell stood, drawing his revolvers. Bullets flew into the back of the truck as Maxwell holstered a pistol, grabbing his grappling hook.

He tossed the hooked end of his rope to the bed of the truck. As he started to get pulled, he lifted his feet into the air, getting pulled quickly to the site of the bomb. Meanwhile, Princeton Quagmire was dealing with the Rake and Sally Jessica. "Rake, you might wanna do your thing now," Sally Jessica said, stepping back as Princeton grabbed his rifle. "Sure thing," the Rake giggled, leaping through the air, landing on Princeton's chest. The cowboy shouted, falling to the ground, his rifle sprawling across the terrain. The Rake sank his teeth into Princeton's shoulder. The fastest gun in the West picked up the Rake, one hand at his neck, the other at his ankle, and raised him in the air. The cowboy tossed the Rake to the ground, hearing a sickening crack. The Rake howled in the pain; he was suffering from a now broken spine. Princeton looked at the Rake, lying pitifully on the ground. Princeton then glanced up at Sally Jessica. "Witness now what will soon happen to ALL who oppose me and my army!" he yelled, grabbed a tomahawk from his belt, kneeling beside the Rake. "Say goodbye to your life, Rake," he said. The Rake hissed, raising a hand an scratching Princeton's face. The cowboy just grunted, looking down at the Creepypasta beast. He roared a battle cry, bringing the axe down, beheading the Rake. As he looked up, ready to kill Sally Jessica, he was surprised to see no one.

---

Billy stood, huffing, looking at his dirtied shoes. "Where am I?" he asked himself. "We've been wondering the same thing," a voice behind him sounded. Billy spun around, seeing Slender and Jeff the Killer standing beside each other. Jeff grinned. "You've been out for...um...a few hours," he said. Billy looked around. "Where's everyone else?" he asked. Slender shrugged. "We've been separated from them. A few of Ghost's soldiers are here, but we don't know where anyone else is."

Billy sighed. "What are we going to do?" Jeff chuckled. "What'd you think? We're going to look for the group," he said, grabbing his knife and sharpening it. Billy nodded. A finger tapped his shoulder. Billy turned, seeing a slightly bearded man, in his mid-twenties, carrying a Spas-12 shotgun. "Billy Acachalla?" he asked. "Me and those other five," he said, motioning back to several soldiers, "are the remaining members of Ghost's team that made it through the crash." Billy raised an eyebrow. "Remaining?" The lieutenant nodded. "Yes, sir. The others were killed by Combine soldiers." Billy sighed. "Okay, lieutenant. Gather up your men. We're moving out." Dempson nodded. "Right away."

---

Papa spun around to the calls of Maddie and Sally. "Mr. Ghost!" came Johnny Toast's voice, followed by a small amount of gunfire. "Toast! Is this it?" he asked, looking at the small amount of survivors. Toast sadly nodded. "Yes, sir." Ghost sighed, and then turned to Spencer. "How's it going?" he asked. Spencer sighed himself. "I have done all I can: the bomb will not go off like a nuke - but it will still send off a small explosion once I remove my hand." Ghost looked in awe at the boy. "A-are you sure?" he asked. Spencer nodded. "It's all I could I do."

In about five or so minutes, the group was able to get through with telling Spencer about how they would miss him. Even Papa apologized for locking him in their basement, and told him he would give anything for Spencer to live. The group packed up all of their things, and Ghost handed Spencer a pistol. "Take this. Hold off the Combine until we leave. I...I'm sorry it had to end this way. Because of my doing, you have to give your life." Spencer looked at the ground. "Ghost, just...please. Leave now." Ghost slowly nodded. "Good luck," was the last thing Spencer ever said.

---

The explosion was heard as the group drove off. Along the way, they had picked up Sally Jessica; she explained how Rake had died, and soon she was given a ride in a vehicle. As they left, they were silently watched by two figures. "Amazing. They will do anything to save each other," one of them spoke, using a formal, nice voice. The other nodded. "Ma'am," the first said, looking to his shorter companion. "Aimee, isn't it?" he asked. She nodded. "Yes, sir."

"Ms. Aimee, I need you to do something," he said. She looked at him. "Anything, sir," she replied. "Go follow the group. Get to know them better. Make them think of you as one of them. I just want to know why they would give anything for each other." Aimee nodded. "Yes, my lord," she said, bowing. As the young, red-headed French girl left, a pair of guards, carrying spears, entered. "Lord Ris," one said. "Yes, captain?" the royal man asked. "General Dunbain is asking for your audience," the captain said. The lord nodded. "Very well." As the two guards left, the lord looked out the window at the group. "Soon, I, Tommy Nor Ris, will learn the secrets of teamwork," he said, turning. "And learn how to work with people."

Chapter 9: The Mall Edit

Timebomb zipped up his black hoodey that Ghost had handed him. All of the team had changed into casual clothes (at least the out-of-this-world groups did). Timebomb now had a grey shirt, a black hoodey, and blue jeans on, Cywren had a red hooded sweater and black shorts, and all of the Tamriel visitors...well, let's just say that they still looked out of place with elves and a scarred man.

Ghost was left to lock up the vehicles. Carson, Timebomb, Cywren, Ghost, Toast, and Papa all had concealed pistols on them, and Farkas, Vahl, Gaelan, Areum, and Miraak all carried concealed daggers. When they had first entered, Sue, of course, was mistaken for a thug; he had to be patted down before he could enter the mall. As Ghost locked the doors, he spun around, being face to face with none other than Aimee. "Oh gosh, Aimee, you scared me to DEATH!" he shouted. She chuckled. "Well, Mr. Ghost, I've just decided to...help you with this quest!" she said, beaming happily. "Help?" Ghost asked. She nodded.

He sighed. "Aimee, nothing would change my mind," he said. She quickly stood on her tiptoes, planting a quick kiss on his cheek. "If you don't, I'll have to do that again...closer to your mouth," she said seductively, smiling. He groaned. "Fine, fine," he said. She clapped happily. "Yay! Let's go on now, Mr. Ghost!" In a matter of minutes, the two were in the mall. Toast turned around. "What took you so long, Mr.- what the heck, sir?!" he exclaimed. "Eh, I had to bring her, Toast! I'll explain later." Toast nodded. "I see, sir."

As the team moved, Ghost looked at a door, marked 'Maintenance'. "I'll be back to y'all in a sec," he said, darting through the hallway. Cywren looked around. "What do we do then?" she asked. Gertrude shrugged. "Um...go shopping?" she suggested. Within minutes, the group was spread out throughout the mall shopping. At the hobby shop, Miraak, Poet, and Areum observed the, well, Elder Scrolls section. "By the First...what is this?!" Miraak shouted, picking up a Miraak bust. "Um...I think it's you, Miraak," Areum said.

Timebomb and Cywren were on the escalators at the mall. Timebomb scanned the area, and soon caught sight of a platoon of Combine soldiers running into the mall. "Um...Cywren?" Timebomb said, tapping her shoulder. "What are we going to do?" he asked. She shook her head. "I dunno," she said. "These guys on the escalator are taking FOREVER to move!" Timebomb noticed the Combine looking their way. "Timebomb, what are we going to d-," she started before his lips were on her's. She froze in awe as Timebomb continued to kiss her, and he watched until the Combine turned and left. He pulled away. Yes! he thought. The two got up the escalator. Timebomb smiled, Cywren doing so as well; she enjoyed it herself, actually. She wondered if he did it for real, for cover, or both.

---

Johnny Ghost pulled back the hatch to the control box. "Which wire," he whispered to himself. "Hey! Who are you?!" a voice called. Ghost spun around, seeing a mall security guard. "I'm...um...with the mall technical patrol, the MTP!" Ghost smiled. The guard chuckled. "We don't have a mall technical patrol," he said. "Just my luck," Ghost said. "Looks like I'm gonna have to report y-," he started, but Ghost brought his foot into the guard's gut. He toppled over, clutching his stomach.

Ghost brought his hand down, chopping the guard in the back of the neck. As the officer reached for his radio, Ghost slammed his fist into the guard's face. Ghost quickly grabbed the security officer's taser, running back to the controls. He scanned the wires. "If I remember correctly...it's green!" he smirked, grabbing the green wire and ripping it out. He looked at the screen above the control box. It read, 'SECURITY TURRETS OFF'. Ghost smiled. "Oh yeah," he said. Suddenly, though, new words popped on the screen: 'EMERGENCY FIREFIGHT SQUAD ON THE WAY'. "Oh, crap!" he exclaimed, darting off to the team.

---

"Hit the dirt!" were the words from the head of mall security. Many people in the cafeteria ducked under their tables. Gunshots sounded out as the mall security force fired around the area. "Sir, who the heck are these guys? They don't look like any guards I've seen!" a security officer asked the chief. "Because they aren't guards, Jacobs! They're imposters," he said. Jacobs nodded. "I see, captain."

Papa fired his pistol, catching one mall guard in the shoulder. Carson and Toast moved to get to the front lines. A small team of Combine guards busted through a door behind the imposter guards. Two of the mall guards ran to the hiding crowd by the tables. One was cut down before he got to the meal area, but one made it through; at least, before Toast grabbed his shoulders and pulled him to the ground. After knocking the guard unconscious, Toast took his submachine gun, aiming it and firing onto the firefight team of villains. As the gunfight carried on, Ghost ran from the maintenance room. "Toast!" he called his dropped behind a table.

"Sir!" Toast called back, reloading his pistol. "What did you do, sir?" Ghost smirked. "I just...um...kinda called in a firefight squad," he sighed. Toast groaned. "Come on, sir!" he shouted. Ghost aimed his pistol over the table, firing at a Combine trooper. The soldier's white puffy suit was soon engulfed in blood at his gut.

Carson looked around, firing onto other imposter guards. The mall security captain and Jacobs continued to fire onto the enemies. The captain, Barnes, grabbed his radio. "We need a SWAT team down to the food court!" he yelled. Jacobs looked to Ghost and Toast. "Sir, who are those guys?" he asked, pointing to the two men. Barnes shook his head. "No idea. Go check 'em," he ordered. Jacobs nodded. "Got it, sir." Jacobs moved to Ghost and Toast. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave," he said, shifting his eyes to Carson. "And you're friends."

Ghost smiled. "Not a chance." Carson and Toast nodded, and then lifted their firearms. "Papa," Ghost called, alerting the head Acachalla's attention. "What do you want?" he yelled back. The paranormal investigator pointed up the escalators, the ones Timebomb and Cywren had recently gone up in. "Take some of the guys and get up there and find Miraak and the others and get outside!" Papa nodded, and then turned. "Sue, Sally, Gertrude; come with me," he said. He turned back to Ghost, Toast, Carson, Aimee, and the mall guards. "Good luck. All of you." As he and his family left, the others waved goodbye. They may never see each other again.

Chapter 10: Defense Edit

Carson ran up the staircase, Ghost, Toast, and Aimee behind him. "We need to find out who is in charge of this whole thing!" Ghost yelled. The others nodded. As the three men drew their pistols, Aimee looked around and saw a man standing behind a small column, nodding to her. She smirked, and then opened her mouth to speak. "Mr. Ghost!" she called. The head of the whole operation turned to her. "Yeah, Aimee?" he asked.

The French girl nodded her head in the direction where the man disappeared to. "I just saw someone go back that way." Ghost looked at his two companions, and then looked back to Aimee. "Okay, let's check it out. Toast, you and Carson go off and keep in touch." The two men nodded, and then darted off. "Okay Aimee," Ghost said, walking down the hallway. "Let's see what you saw."

As the girl led the way, Ghost kept both hands clamped around the pistol's butt, making sure it was ready to fire. Aimee slowly stopped before a closed door. "I think he went in here," she said, and Ghost nodded, and raised his leg, kicking the door open. Immediately he aimed his gun around, looking for any opponents in the chamber. Seeing there was nothing except a small window, a couch, a TV, and a desk, he sighed, lowering his sidearm. "Just a dead end." He turned around, only to see Aimee shutting the door.

"Aimee," Ghost slowly said, holstering his pistol. "What's going on?" Her smile spread across her face, she stepped closer to the investigator. Ghost stepped back again, and she stepped close to him another time. Backing up some more, Ghost realized he was against the wall - he had nowhere to go. She used this as her chance, making her way quickly before him.

She slowly raised her arms over his shoulders, clasping them behind his neck. "Come on, Mr. Ghost," she said, stepping up higher on her tiptoes, Ghost pushed his head back farther. "Oh, Mr. Ghost, come on. I won't hurt you," she said, moving in closer to Johnny. He gulped, feeling her warm breath on his face and smelling her old-fashioned French perfume. He saw her close her eyes and open her mouth slightly, and he sighed, knowing there was no escape.

Aimee raised herself up all the way, and soon, she pressed her lips softly against Ghost's mouth. She backed down slowly and smiled, showing her teeth. Ghost opened his eyes, and looked at her, sweating. She lowered her arms, keeping them around his waist. "That wasn't so bad, was it...Johnny?" she asked, leaning in again. Ghost shrugged. "I-I guess not," he said, and then, giving in, he leaned in, closing the gap, kissing Aimee - something he never thought he would do.

---

Officer Maloney paced at the mall entrance, on the opposite side of where the whole battle was going on.

The policeman had been left by his friends to guard the doors alone...all except for the Bird. "Cause I'm a bird," it chanted, walking in circles, repeating the short sentence over and over, sometimes switching to, "and I'm walking away." Maloney sighed, massaging the brim of his nose, resting his left hand on his belt. "Maloney?! MALONEY?!" a voice came in over the officer's communications system. He quickly grabbed his radio system, and shouted back into it, "What is it, Toast?"

Johnny Toast replied: "It's my boss, Mr. Ghost. He told Carson and I to move on, that he and Aimee would search for a figure he saw. But now, we can't find him anywhere!" Maloney groaned. "I'll be right there," he said, and then let go of his radio. "Ghost's disappeared," he muttered to the Bird. The Bird cackled. "Well, why don't you go find him?" The police officer smiled. "You want me to live, don't you?" The Bird thought for a moment, then said: "Yeah, you're right."

Maloney shook his head. "Thanks. I feel loved." The Bird shook its head. "Sorry, quite the opposite." Maloney sighed, rushing off through the doors. The Bird then continued its march and song. As Maloney ran through the mall, he heard the evacuation sirens going off. "Better hurry," he muttered, rushing up the escalators. "Toast!" he called, seeing half of the PIE team standing alongside Carson. "Maloney," Toast muttered, stepping towards the police officer.

"Carson," Johnny stated, looking over his shoulder. "Get the security team and try and hold off the Combine troops." Carson nodded, and then rushed off, alerting Captain Barnes to his position. Toast then turned back to Maloney. "Let's go. Mr. Ghost was this way."

---

Papa kicked the door open to the hobby shop. "Okay, you suckers, keep your hands where I can see 'em!" he yelled, cocking his shotgun Annabelle. "Papa!" Gertrude said, resting her hand on her husband's weapon. The staff of the store stood frozen, hand raised in the air. "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!" they were yelling as Sally rushed to Miraak and the others, examining the Elder Scrolls section. "Come on, guys!" she squealed, tugging on Miraak's sleeve. "What in the name of...," he trailed off, looking down to the girl.

"Young one," he said, "don't you know you shouldn't surprise the Great Miraak?" Sally looked curiously at her elder friend. The man laughed, crossing his arms. "I guess we from Tamriel joke differently from you here on Earth, eh?" Sally shrugged. "Yeah, I guess so."

"What's going on?" Areum asked, looking to Sally. The girl motioned her thumb back to the room. "A raid. Carson and the mall guards are holding the Combine off." Poet stepped forward. "We'd better find Vahl, Farkas, Ma'isha, and Sofie." Miraak nodded. "Agreed."

The four approached Sue, Papa, and Gertrude, who were looking over the staff of the hobby store. "Let's get going," Miraak said, placing his hand on Papa's shoulder. "Now wait just a doggoned minute!" the shotgun-armed man shouted, shoving Miraak's hand off of his shoulder. "I give the commands here, Mr. Dragonborn!"

Miraak sighed, rolling his eyes. "Fine. But we still need to get going." Papa shrugged. "Okay, okay. Let's go." The group quickly exited the shop, their weapons in hand. "Did Vahl say where she was going?" Gertrude asked. "Yes," Miraak said, pointing to a clothing shop. "Went into that abomination to clothing." Papa and Sally looked curiously at each other.

In a few minutes, the four family members were recovered, and Miraak and Papa explained the situation. "We'd better find the others and get out of here!" Farkas bellowed, and readied his dagger. "I hope that Toast and Maloney found Ghost."

---

Johnny Ghost looked out the window. "Look at all of those Combine!" he shouted. Aimee stepped beside him, slightly cuddling to his side. Although he had kissed her, Ghost wasn't all that comfortable around her. As he gazed out, Ghost heard talking outside: Toast and Maloney! The investigator turned around. "Toast! Maloney! I'm in here," he said.

The door quickly flung open, Maloney standing as if he had just kicked - because he had. "Mr. Ghost!" Toast called out, holstering his pistol. "Johnny!" he said, clapping his friend's shoulder. "Maloney," he said, nodding to the officer. Toast eyed Aimee. "What's going on, Johnny?" Ghost asked. Toast flicked a thumb over his shoulder. "A raid. The Combine attacked us. Carson and the mall guards are holding 'em off."

Ghost reached, grabbing his gun belt, snapping it around his waist. "We'd better get out of here," he said, and turned around to face Aimee. "Are you coming with us?" he asked. Aimee nodded, smiling. "Okay," Johnny said, and turned. "Call Carson in and get him to the cars NOW!" he ordered Toast. The other investigator nodded, grabbing his radio system. "Carson! Carson, come in now!"

---

The mall guards continued to fire upon the Combine soldiers as Carson's radio system beeped. "This is Carson," he said, grasping his communicator. "Carson! This is Toast. You need to get to the cars and start them up so we can make a fast getaway." The younger soldier nodded. "Will do." He replaced his system back on his belt. "Captain!" he called.

Captain Barnes lowered his rifle and looked to Carson. "Yeah?" Carson pointed to the doors. "I need to get out there and start up the cars." Barnes nodded. Two of the security officers were quickly cut down by gunfire. Carson darted out of the doors to the cars. As Barnes and Jacobs continued to fire, with their last three remaining men, they saw Ghost, Maloney, Toast, and Aimee running down the stairs. "Sir!" Jacobs said, pointing to the newcomers, as another soldier was shot.

"Ghost!" Barnes yelled as the four rushed to his side. "Carson is out there with the cars." Ghost motioned for Toast to get outside. "Give him a hand." Toast nodded, rushing out the door. As Ghost and Maloney returned fire alongside the mall security guards, another was killed. "Has Papa come by yet?" Ghost asked Barnes. "No," the captain said, shaking his head.

Jacobs pointed up the stairs. "I think that's just changed!" The others looked up the staircase as Papa, Sally, Gertrude, Sue, Farkas, Vahl, Sofie, Ma'isha, Miraak, Areum, and Poet rushed down it. "Has anyone seen Cywren and Timebomb?" Ghost asked. The others shook their heads. "You get on outside," Ghost ordered, and they nodded. "Maloney, with me," he ordered, and the police officer rushed after him. Barnes, Jacobs, and the other security guard gave them cover fire.

As Ghost and Maloney rushed up the stairs, they scanned the area, and saw Timebomb and Cywren crouched behind an overturned table, firing their sidearms. "Cywren!" Ghost yelled, sliding behind another table. Maloney set himself up with his pistol drawn at a small wall. As the four returned fire upon the automatic weapon-wielding Combine soldiers. "These puffballs don't give up!" Cywren yelled, and Timebomb shot her a curious look. "Puffballs?"

Cywren shrugged. "Just something that came to mind." Ghost fired off two bullets. "They're called the Combine." Maloney scanned the area, and then called to his three allies. "We'd better move!" The others nodded, and Ghost motioned away. "Go! Go! Go!" he shouted. As Timebomb, Cywren, and Ghost ran, Maloney gave them cover fire.

After the three ran past, Maloney fired onto another Combine soldier, and then ran as more and more Combine men rushed past their dead comrades. "I hope that the civilians were evacuated," he said, and Ghost nodded. "Yeah. This Combine will execute anyone they can find." Maloney responded with a nod. "You've got that right." Soon, Ghost, Timebomb, Cywren, and Maloney reached the food court, where only Carson, Jacobs, and Barnes stood. "We've lost our third man!" the captain called.

Barnes motioned to the door. "You guys leave. Jacobs and I will hold them here." Ghost nodded. "Okay. Come on, guys, let's go." As the five heroes left, Jacobs and Barnes continued to fire. Combine soldiers rushed into the food section of the mall, and the two knew that they were outnumbered. "Run, Jacobs, run!" Barnes yelled, and continued to fire.

Jacobs nodded, and then rushed off. Barnes turned back to the fight, only to have three bullets slam into the mall guard, knocking him to the floor. As blood began to pool under him, the captain coughed up more blood as Jacobs looked in awe at his friend's limp body. Looking up, he saw the Combine troops parting ways. Striding between the rows of soldiers was a man wearing a cowboy hat, with a rifle on his back and two pistols on his hips.

The young mall guard tripped over his feet as he started to run. The man charged Jacobs down, who was not able to escape him. As Jacobs made his way to the door, the man grabbed a rope from his waist, sending it swinging to Jacobs' ankle. As it wrapped around him, it tripped him down. The man pulled Jacobs closer to him, and then drew one of his revolvers, firing into the young man's head.

Maxwell Acachalla turned around to his Combine soldiers as Princeton Quagmire stepped from the ranks of the troopers. "The chips are down," Maxwell said. Princeton nodded. "We will stop at nothing to wipe out these foes of ours. This is war."

Chapter 11: A New Trace Edit

One of the white-clothed Combine soldiers stepped to Princeton and Maxwell, with two mall guards in front of him. The security officers had their hands clasped behind their heads, and their gun holsters were open, empty.

"These are the only two I found, sir," the soldier said, pressing his submachine gun against his white-armored chest. Maxwell nodded, stepping in front of the two guards. "Thank you, soldier. You may go now." The Combine trooper nodded, turned, and then exited the lonely office room.

The two villains had decided to confiscate the mall's manager's office and make it into their own headquarters. The manager shouldn't have objected...if he hadn't he would still be alive. "Now," Maxwell said, crossing his arms, "let's get down to business." He narrowed as eyes at the older of the two guards. "Where are they headed?"

The guard didn't make any movements. "I don't know." Maxwell bared his teeth and, with one swift strike, smacked his open hand across the guard's face. "Don't lie to me, maggot! Where are they?!" He grasped his hands around the man's throat, lifting him up. The guard, shocked, began to gag as his young partner watched the whole scene unfold, dumbfounded.

As Maxwell's hands tightened around the man's neck, Princeton admired his younger comrade's strength - and his way of torture. Not too shabby.

The guard's head slowly bobbed, and then fell limp to one side. Maxwell groaned, and then threw the man's limp body into the wall behind him. "Useless imbeciles," he muttered, strolling to the next guard. Princeton suddenly discovered his method: with the older, respected man dead at Maxwell's hands, this younger, surely inexperienced guard would crack much, much easier. "Now, I'm sure you can tell me where your friends are off to."

The younger man gulped, shaking his head. "N-no! I swear, I have n-no idea w-where they went!" Maxwell shook his head as he walked around to the other side of the guard. "You should tell me the truth."

"I told you! I don't know where they are!"

"Don't lie to me!"

"I'm not lying!"

"Then tell me where they are!"

"I DON'T KNOW!"

Maxwell sighed, seeing that he was getting nowhere with this pathetic kid. Drawing one of his revolvers from its holster, the man pressed its barrel against the young man's head. "One last chance. Tell me where they are, or die."

Suddenly, interrupting the interrogation, a beeping sounded from the security guard's shoulder mike. "Does anyone read me? If you can hear me, respond! This is Johnny Ghost. My friends and I are on our way to the Westover Motel. If you get this message, come NOW! We need all the help we can get."

Maxwell smiled: "Ah! So that's where they are." With one swift smack, the cowboy knocked the guard from his chair onto the carpeted floor. The young man grunted, lifting his head up. "You...sick man!" Maxwell snorted. "Is that the best you can do?" he asked, aiming his pistol at the man's head. "You disappoint me, kid." And before the young man could bite back with another sentence, Maxwell fired, leaving only a curl of smoke to rise from his gun's barrel.

"Mr. Quagmire," he said, shoving the gun into its holster. He turned to face Princeton, a look of confidence plastered across his face. "Ready the men. I've got a plan to get us to those welps." Princeton's face took on a look of surprise and shock. "You? Since when have you ever been the mastermind of this operation? I'm in charge here!" Maxwell shrugged, cocking his head to one side. "Think however you want, my good man, but this is the honest answer: I am in charge here, and I give the orders. Understood?"

Wanting to object, Princeton simply sighed. "Understood."

Maxwell smiled, turning to walk away. "Good. I'll see you outside, then." Princeton nodded. "Yeah. I've got you, Maxwell." As the young man exited the office, Princeton did the one thing he really wanted to do: pressed his right index and middle fingers together, forming a hand gun, and aimed them at Maxwell, acting as if he shot the cowboy in the head.

He really hoped to do it some day.

Chapter 12: Attack of the Combine Edit

Ghost and Toast stepped out of the lead car. "It's nice for a bit of a...bad part of town," Ghost examined, looking at the slightly run-down motel in front of them. "Indeed, sir," Toast said, crossing his arms. Before Ghost could take another step closer, though, he felt two arms wrap around his neck. "It looks...romantic, Mr. Ghost!" Aimee said, giggling happily.

The paranormal investigator, grabbed her arms, tearing them from his neck. "Erm, yes, Aimee. Whatever you say." Papa slammed open his truck's door. "I'll take the dump over this any day of the week," he grumbled, wiping his forehead with his sleeve. "Papa," Gertrude said, turning to face him, "last time you stayed at the dump, the workers called me because you kept on eating all of the garbage in the dumpsters. Heck, they said you even ate the dumpsters!"

Papa waved her off. "Stop gabbing, woman! I didn't eat the dumpsters. I might've, well, just nibbled on 'em." Gertrude put her hands on her hips in irritation. "Just a bit," Papa added, making a small space in between his index finger and thumb. His wife sighed, strolling to the front doors of the Westover Motel.

Sally Jessica stepped from the back seat of the truck with Sally standing close by. The girl was seemingly deep in thought, but Sally Jessica knew what she was thinking about. "Don't worry about Slender, Sally. He'll be just fine." Sally looked to up. "But what about Billy? And Jeff?"

The older woman sighed, placing a hand on Sally's back. "I'm sure they're fine too, Sally. Just wait and, sure enough, they'll be here in no time at all." Sally nodded, although it seemed as if she wasn't quite sure of Sally Jessica's claims.

To be honest, she wasn't to sure about them, either.

---

Billy, Slender, Jeff, Lieutenant Dempson, and the soldier's six men all marched through the rubble. The Combine littered the streets, firing upon innocent civilian homes and vehicles, even shooting innocents themselves!

"I can't believe this," Billy said, shocked. "Where's the law?" Jeff chuckled. "I...I dunno. Maybe they're not reliable enough." The young Acachalla cocked his head. "This isn't the time to laugh, y'know!"

Jeff simply responded by cackling.

"Billy's right," Slender said, standing up tall - which was very high. "We need to help these innocents. It's not right for them to be hurt because of our faults." Dempson snorted. "Huh. Imagine that: the Slender Man wanting to help others." Slender simply stared at the lieutenant with his blank face, and Dempson nodded. "Okay...we'll get moving." He waved to his men. "All right, troops, get moving! Let's go, go, go!"

As the soldiers ran to provide cover fire for the endangered civilians, Jeff shouted: "Boo-ya! Let's go spill some blood!" He tapped the blade of his knife and laughed hysterically, running down the shattered pavement. Slender turned to Billy. "Come on, Billy; let's go!"

---

Ghost and Toast dropped their bags into their own hotel room. Being best of friends, the two decided to get one room for the two of them to share - which, Ghost thought of plenty of times, was fine by him: he didn't want to have Aimee bunking with him. He may have enjoyed their kiss, but he didn't want to encourage her with a relationship.

"This is better on the inside than on the outside," Toast observed, glancing to the nice wallpaper job, as well as the neatly kept bed, bathroom, and overall environment.

"Yeah," Ghost agreed, looking out the balcony window. He didn't feel like opening the door, so he simply gazed out...and saw something truly unexpected.

A fleet of Combine war tanks, with platoons of Combine soldiers marching beside them, yelling out war chants. It looked like something straight out of Nazi Germany during World War II.

"Johnny," he said, turning back to Toast, "we've got a problem." The pale-skinned, British investigator ran to his side. "By George," he said, his jaw dropping. "They could take us out easily!" Ghost nodded in agreement. "We need to warn the others."

But before he could leave the room, a deafening shriek sounded from outside, and a puff of smoke shot from one of the war tanks, followed by a rocket launching from it. Even before Toast spoke, Ghost knew what it was: a missile that could wipe out the ENTIRE Westover Motel.

"That's a missile, Johnny! It could wipe us all out!" Toast exclaimed.

Ghost nodded. "I know, Johnny! Just run! Run for it!" The two turned and sprinted for the door out of their hotel room, but, before they could, they felt a shudder from beneath them, and then everything turned orange, white, and, finally, black.

Chapter 13: Descent Edit

The lead Combine soldier, a white-armored man signified by a red shoulder pauldron cocked his head to the side at the sound of rocks crackling. "Hold it right there!" the commander ordered the group of ten figures, but he was quickly silenced after being peppered by gunshots. From further down in the lines of wreckage, a platoon of Combine troops rushed to cover.

"Get them!" one of the troopers bellowed, crouching behind a chunk of rubble. Dempson popped off a barrage of shots as he dropped behind a low-hanging beam. "Get to cover!" Billy shouted as Slender shot out an arm, grasping a soldier from the shoulder. As he tossed the man, the young Acachalla fired with his pistol at another trooper, killing him.

Slender dropped down as a Combine soldier's bullet hit one of Dempson's men, killing him. "How, exactly, are nine people supposed to take on a whole legion of Combine forces?" Slender demanded as another one of his comrades was shot. Billy held up a hand. "Make that eight, Slender."

The paranormal being huffed. "Okay, eight. But that simply makes things more impossible!" Dempson scooted towards Billy and Slender as a maniacal Jeff let out a chuckle like a hyena as he dove towards the fray. "Not impossible, Slender." He motioned to a crate beneath some rubble. "Looks like the Combine left a little something here."

Billy's eyes widened. "What is it?" he asked, to which Dempson smirked. "A launcher." Slender and Billy looked to one another - well, at least Billy looked and smiled.

---

MORE COMING SOON!

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