By Blackjack Gabbiani
For the last time, were going to the Recovery Spring! Sabin yelled to his brother. And its because you need some martial arts training!
From behind, Edgar moaned. How will we know when weve found it? Theres a million springs around here, and neither one of us can read Doman!
I can! Sabin said. Now get a move on!
About an hour later, they reached the spring. Several thin walkways, about the size of gymnast beams, ran across the surface of the water.
Ideal for balance! Sabin exclaimed. Now, get up there!
Grudgingly, Edgar climbed onto the nearest beam. Sabin swung a punch and missed. Edgar countered with a weak kick, and Sabin roundhoused him.
Sorry brother! Thats the nature of training! Gotta be ready for anything!
Edgar stared up at the sky. Why did he agree to this?
Edgar? Edgar? Sabin gulped. He hoped his brother was O.K....that punch caught him off guard.
A figure emerged from the far end of the pool. A young woman. Maybe she had seen Edgar fall in. Sabin hurried over...
Whatd ya do that for? the girl screamed.
Huh? Have you seen my brother?
I AM your brother, dunce! Dontcha recognize me? Im the same Edgar Ive always been!
Someone called from the other side of the spring. Sabin! Thank the Goddesses I got here in time! Duncan paused to catch his breath. Since the Cataclysm, this hasnt been a Recovery Spring! Its been a... His eyes rested on the shapely young woman next to his student. I thought you were bringing Edgar here...
I AM Edgar! Cant you two see?
Duncan got a sudden sinking feeling. So thats what they meant by a cursed spring!
At the same time, in the mountains of the Serpent Continent, a great evil awoke. Pale as the death he brought (or at least tried to bring), the man remembered what had happened. His liege, the God of Destruction, was gone, defeated by the Returners.
The Returners! The man stood and clenched his fists. Revenge would indeed be sweet. Especially against that wimp of a king, Edgar Figaro, who had knocked the man into unconsciousness during their battle.
Laughing, the man straightened his blue uniform. His liege loved to laugh, and as the sole remnant of the Cult of Kefka, the Magi-Master saw no reason why he shouldnt as well.
Completely involved in laughter, the Magi-Master walked into a post, knocking himself out again.
Back at Figaro Castle, Terra was in a foul mood. She was usually a very calm, pleasant girl, but this man would try the patience of...well, anyone.
Terra Branford, I offer to thee a present.
Siegfried. Everywhere she went, Siegfried followed. Ever since Edgar left on that training expedition, every man in Figaro thought it was prime time to try and win the heart of the beautious half-Esper.
Terra Branford, loveliest of girls. As I promised, I have slain the beast to prove myself.
But Siegfried was the worst. Thinking he was proving anything by fighting Sand Rays and FossilFangs.
Amateur, she thought.
With a lightning motion, Terra punched the advancing Siegfried in the stomach, bringing him to his knees. Groaning, he looked up and smiled weakly.
To be struck by one so beautiful as you...Truly an honor...
Oh shut up.
Ohnnnn...if anyone finds out about this, Im screwed! And not in the good way, either!
Sabin grunted. Turn into a girl and youre still horny as a guy. Lissen, Duncan said that all you gotta do is stay away from cold water. We live in the middle of the desert! Cold water is a precious commodity!
Edgar groaned again. Not...anymore...
The Figaro Irrigation Project, remember?
Oh...but thats only over a small area, not the castle. And we got plenty of hot water to turn you back, just in case. Anyway, we should tell the Matron. Sabin looked up with a grin. Hey...I always wanted a sister...!
Edgar punched him.
Setzer Gabbiani staggered through the Figarian desert. Dammiiiiiiiit... he moaned. Thats the last time I bet the airship...damn guy looked like a playing card...so much for cheaters never prosper.
The airship hangar should be around here, he whispered, thinking of his beloved Falcon, and his two new ships, the Ace and the Palidor. He slapped himself. Why did you bet the Blackjack, you dope? You know you cant find your way around on the ground! Im probably nowhere near Tzen...
Gogo was hard at work. The letter had to be perfect to win the heart of the young mimic that had caught his eye. He didnt even know if the peg of his heart was a man or a woman, but with mimics, it didnt really matter. The lovely one was known as Didi, a feminine name, to be sure, but also a mimics name.
To my darling Didi, Gogo wrote, not noticing the figure coming up behind him.
Another love letter? You just wont quit, will you? Didi yelled.
My love! Gogo gasped. Oh, my precious!
Shaddup! Didi shouted, right before slamming a giant spatula on Gogos plumed head. And take off that feather. Ya look like a Kefka wannabe, the younger mimic stated flatly before storming off.
Gogo rubbed his head. Oh, such a fiery temper. So lovely. Sighing, he decided to go spy on his paramour.
Within five minutes, Gogo returned to his dressing room, the tree disguise he had chosen barely allowing him to enter.
Darling Didi... he whispered lustfully before passing out.
Listen, said Siegfried to Ultros. I seek to win the heart of the fair Terra Branford.
And whats in it for me? the purple mass asked.
You must attack Figaro Castle, where she stays. I shall pretend to defeat you, and she shall see me as her savior.
Wait a minute, said Ultros. Didnt she fight that clown last year? Siegfried nodded. And you think that you beatin me is gonna land her in your lap?
Of course. Oh, she fights with such ferocity...But has never been able to beat you. She and her friends have saved the world from an evil God, but none can rid the world of you, my purple friend.
So what do I get?
Oho! What DONT you get!
Ultros shrugged, an impressive feat considering that the shrugger was a giant octopus. I want part ownership in the coliseum and an all-I-can-eat lunch every day.
Siegfried smiled, and rammed his sword into the floor. Done! he bellowed.
Terra smiled. Siegfried was nowhere to be found! And Edgar was coming home. Today couldnt be better. She hummed an aria as she prepared her hair with several ribbons, but her mood changed abruptly when she heard the familiar voice of...
Relm! How are you?
The prepubescent heroine looked up and smiled maliciously. Where Edgar?
Shes been experimenting with different accents lately, came another voice, an elderly man, leaning on a walking stick twice his height.
Grandfather! I talk to Terra. You no interfere! Relm spat out.
Strago groaned. Shes also being belligerent.
Terra nodded. Some of the older kids in Mobliz are like that. How long are you two staying for?
Relm grinned. Till husband come back to Thamasa and leave uncute girl!
Strago withdrew the staff. It clears her head for a while. Relm, Edgar is not your husband!
The two left. Terra sighed and sat on the edge of her bed. Uncute...?
Where is Tzen? Setzer demanded of a guard.
Uh...wrong continent. This is Figaro Castle...
Figaro, eh...? Thoughts of a certain beautiful young woman entered the gamblers mind. Is Terra here?
Smiling, Setzer entered the castle and promptly got lost.
One more time! Siegfried shouted.
Ultros swung his fourth tentacle, and toppled eighteen trees with one swipe.
Wow... whispered a strange figure hiding in the shadows of the forest.
An intruder! With one strike of his sword, Siegfried felled another tree.
Owwwwwww.... came a moan.
Siegfried was soon atop the blue-clad man, with his glinting sword pointing at the strangers neck. Who art thou?
Uh...call me Magi-Master. You wouldnt know me. No one does.
Didnt you used to work for Kefka? Magi-Master didnt answer.
I bow in holy reverence before your eightfold tentacles of mass destruction!
Uh...Siegfried...? This guys gettin weird...
The swordsman turned and saw the former High Priest genuflecting before Ultros. Several lit candles had suddenly appeared.
Whoo... whispered Siegfried. This guys worse than I am!
Hi-yah! Husband come home!
Hello Edgar, Sabin.
Edgar waved to his friends. IT was great to see so many of them together, but right now, he needed to see the Matron.
King Edgar, welcome home. The Matron, mother of the castle, nursemaid of not only the royal twins, but of their father was well. Are you still... she dropped her voice needing hot water?
Uh...well talk about this later.
The young king turned. Terra... he breathed. She was indeed a vision of loveliness in a lavender dress, her green hair spilling over her shoulders.
Sabin leaned in. She cant find out, remember?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Edgar dismissed his brother.
I missed you.
The two kissed, mage and royal. No one noticed, but Relm turned bright red and Setzer turned away.
The next day, Edgar woke with a smile on his face. Home, a soft bed, running water...Terra...He briefly considered going to her chambers and watching her sleep, but decided against it in favor of a shower.
Siegfried smiled as he entered the castle. The plan was set. Ultros would attack in a few days time, with the Magi-Master serving as a distraction in the meantime.
He heard water running--damn! The king was back! But no matter.
The water stopped abruptly, and a door opened. Siegfried prepared to explain his absence to Edgar, but the person he saw was decidedly not the king.
A young woman, maybe mid-twenties, clad only in a towel, with both leg and cleavage showing, gleaming wet...She didnt seem to notice the mercenary swordsman behind her, as she wrung the water out of her long blonde hair.
Ooh...so lovely...thought Siegfried. She is as beautiful as Terra...no! MORE beautiful! He watched as the girl walked down the hallway to King Edgars room and quietly entered.
W...what? Siegfried was taken aback. Edgar already has the ideal, Terra Branford, and harbors this lovely innocent behind her back? The self-proclaimed Worlds Greatest Swordsman fumed, thinking of that perverted king and the two wonderful women...
THAT SLIME!!! HOW DARE HE!!!!
Terra woke early, letting the sun play over her eyelids. Edgar was home...and today they would both go to the experimental farm fields for the official dedication. Boring, yes, but they would be there together.
She heard a shout from the hallway. Siegfried, ranting about someone. A servant probably bumped into him or something.
Grinning, she got out of bed. She started to remove her nightgown, but remembered the person she wanted to avoid was about. She got the key from the nightstand and put it in the keyhole so Siegfried couldnt peep. Actually, she whispered as she dressed, Im surprised Edgar hasnt tried that sometime. She would know if he did, too, as her Esper sixth-sense remained with her even after the fall of magic. Ahh, but I love him. she smiled.
Relm, please. Stop calling her that.
The young painter eyed her grandfather. Why not? Is free country.
Strago sighed, a common pastime of his lately. Its a free country partly due to Terras help. We should be grateful for her.
Relm snorted. Then she should be grateful for me! Edgar is mine!
Relm, honey... Strago paused, unsure what he would follow that with. Relm was probably suffering from some sort of post-traumatic stress. After all, he reminded himself, its not every ten-year-old who fights to save the world.
On the other hand...maybe shes just getting belligerent. Just like her mother.
He watched as Relm sketched a quick picture of Terra with an X over it.
Or, Goddesses help us all, like her father.
Relm added the word Uncute to the caricature and started drawing whiskers.
For the seventy-fourth time that day, Strago sighed.
Thanks, Matron. Edgar, now back in guy form, sat in his room with towel draped across his lap. The Matron put the kettle down.
You know, you really should remember what cold water does to you, she said.
Yeah, yeah, the young king said as he held the towel to himself and crossed to his closet. But you know how long it takes for the water to heat up. Besides, we live in the desert. Its nice to cool off.
Sabin entered at that moment and laughed. All those times of telling you to go take a cold shower...Oh, the irony!!
Edgar roundhoused him.
When he came to after a few seconds, Sabin laughed again. Thats the move I was trying to teach you! The training worked!
Two pairs of eyes watched as Edgar and Terra got into the royal coach.
That FIEND! Enemy of women! fumed Siegfried.
Smarmy little pretty-boy! exclaimed Magi-Master.
Who does he think he is, to take the two purest, most beautiful women in the world and make them part of his sick life?
I must do this! Avenge my liege, and myself, in one swift action!:
EDGAR RONI FIGARO, PREPARE TO MEET THY DOOM!!! both men finished.
...and this is the pipeline. It reaches all the way to the Bay of Kohlingen, and supplies water to...
Edgar suppressed a yawn. This man was so boring, but, as the king, there were certain duties that had to be performed.
Terra grinned, and whispered in Edgars ear, I saw that.
Uh? Oh...Looks good, my man. Very good.
Highness, I asked if you would like to take a break.
Oh? Uh...yes. If you dont mind. Uh...Ill be back in half an hour. I just wanna take a look at this marvelous machine, he commented as he rose from his seat.
As he wandered through the maze of pipes, Edgar thought. Ah...Terra. Just being around her brought joy to his days.
Sorry lady! a mechanic shouted. Some of the pipes leak. Say...are those the Royal Robes of Figaro?
Edgar took off, cursing the diplomatic procedure all the while. Damn! Now, where was that room...?
Finding his quarters, he ran in and locked the door.
Terra was wandering as well, but found herself at the guest rooms. Unusual as it was for a king and his lady friend to stay in a guest room, they were guests, after all.
She opened the door. Sunlight bathed the room in a cheery light. Sighing, Terra walked to the window and looked out.
The door slammed shut, and she heard the click of a lock, followed by frantic footsteps. What?
A voice from the washroom caught her attention.
Female Edgar sat on the edge of the bathtub, ringing out the Royal Robes.
Damn, she said. Why do I gotta wear these? Man, if Terra catches me, Im as good as toast!
From behind the door, Terra gulped. Edgar had given his spare robes to a young woman...who was now in the kings quarters! Why that little...
Withdrawing, Terra walked into the main room.
Ill kill him, she stated flatly.
Sorry about that, Edgar told the head engineer.
Terra scowled at him. Wheres your robes?
Edgar looked down. Oh, uh...they got wet. So...fascinating contraption here.
The former mage sunk lower in her padded seat. What a liar, she thought. And who was that hussy? If I still had my Fire...shed be toast, all right.
Ah, Gogo! Long time no see! Setzer enthused.
The mimic smiled under his robes. Sir Gabbiani. I heard about the airship. Too bad.
Setzer shrugged. Theres worse things... His face clouded as he thought of his lost love Daryl.
Gogo sighed. Her again, eh? Yes, I still remember when you suspected me to be her.
The pilot grinned. That had been strange, thinking that the androgynous Gogo was the beautiful Daryl...
But I see how you are taken with another, the lady Terra. Alas, forbidden love. I, too, have felt the sweet, fatal sting of loves battle.
Its name is Didi. A fellow mimic, hence the article it. Oh, Didi is so lovely...
Ever seen its face? asked Setzer, thinking of the heavy robes and veils that mimics wore.
Nay, but Didi transcends physical loveliness...It is a pure deity of love...
What the hell did you have to go and say that for, you obsessed freak?!?! demanded a tall mimic in purple and green robes as it drew back a giant spatula.
Didi, I presume?
Oh! You must be Setzer Gabbiani. Yeah, Ive heard about you.
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