Final Fantasy VIII: Chronicles Chapter 2
By Choong Won
Squall woke to the sound of thunder. "Great. I hope it doesn't rain." Squall glanced at his chrono, it read '5:01'. "Better get moving." He quickly showered and put on his 'casual clothes.' These included his black boots, black baggy leather pants, a white T-shirt, and a black leather jacket with a white Mesmerize hair collar. Mesmerize hair was said to be the softest, lightest, and most valued hair in the textile industry. Its wispy soft caress tickled the back of Squall's neck as he adjusted the jacket. "Twenty thousand gil.but it was worth it." Squall always wanted the best...and would settle for nothing less.
"I feel ready," he thought to himself as he combed his hair. "At least better so than Seifer." He glowered for a moment. "Seifer.Seifer.why can't you leave me alone? I don't hate you-hate can be a weakness.but I would feel no remorse if you received your just reward." Thoughts of Seifer lying on the ground bleeding came to mind. He knew that they both faced a terrible risk, if one of them failed to block another's blow.
"If he gets hurt...it'll be his fault. I will feel no remorse." Squall thought as he left the Garden.
* * *
Kenka Mountain was actually a very large hill. At the top of the hill, was a flat spot dotted with boulders and small rocks. During the summer, people would have picnics there. However, it also served as a good place to practice one's abilities with another student. Most of the time, Garden cadets would use less lethal weapons, so that the chance of serious injury would be significantly less.
The trip up was rather long and quite steep. Squall noticed that beads of sweat had collected on his brow. "Not much farther." He continued to walk up the steep trail, until it finally made a final turn next to a large boulder and then leveled out.
Waiting at the top of Kenka Mountain was Seifer. "I should have known he'd be the first there." thought Squall. "He's always wanted to be number one." He felt a bit of anger rise in his chest, knowing that Seifer had bested him.
"Hey Squall." sneered Seifer. "Tired from the hike?" He was resting his black gunblade on the shoulder of his light gray trench coat.
"Whatever..." Squall brushed away the beads of sweat.
"Are you going to wet your pants?" Seifer taunted. Seifer pointed his gunblade at Squall. "Come on, let's see what you've got."
"So be it..." Squall threw his gunblade high into the air.
It arched and then began to fall, whirling end over end as it fell to the earth.
The gunblade struck the earth and buried its tip into the ground, leaving it at a seventy-five degree angle. Lightning cracked and boomed in the distance. It began to drizzle lightly.
Squall slowly walked over to where the gunblade was buried into the earth. He closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath of air. He slowly let it out and grabbed the handle to the gunblade. At that second, Seifer drew his gunblade and pointed it at Squall. Squall ripped the gunblade from the earth and charged towards Seifer. Seifer smiled and pointed his gunblade at him. Squall brought his gunblade behind his body, as if he was lugging it. He leaned forward as he continued his charge towards Seifer. Seifer suddenly sprung into action as Squall drew closer. He lifted his gunblade and charged towards Squall. The two rivals stared each other down, neither giving way to the other. At the last second, Seifer spun around and did a downward slash towards Squall's chest. Squall barely countered, by bringing his gunblade over his head and catching Seifer's gunblade inches from his chest.
Blue sparks flew from the impact of magic-infused, triple refined steel blades clashing together.
The two combatants held for a second, each testing the other's strength. The gunblades slipped and Seifer spun past Squall. Squall reacted by raising his gunblade and dealing a downward blow. Seifer slammed his gunblade against the blunt side of Squall's blade, deflecting the blade past him. Squall was ready for this and quickly charged Seifer. Seifer sidestepped his attack and Squall charged right on by.
"I'm open!" thought Squall as he charged by. He spun around and saw Seifer raise his gunblade. With his other hand he beckoned with his fingers for Squall to attack. Seifer grinned. "Don't get too cocky," thought Squall as he dashed towards Seifer.
Seifer jabbed at Squall's head, but Squall parried the blow. Seifer then tried again, but again Squall parried the blow, causing blue sparks fall. Squall saw his chance and went on the offense. Using a two-hit combo, he knocked Seifer's gunblade back and then did a downward slash. Seifer blocked the blow and pushed Squall's gunblade back. He then executed a short slash, which Squall blocked, and then he knocked Squall's gunblade back as Squall was preparing for another slash.
"You're open! Duck!" thought Squall. He ducked just as Seifer's gunblade flew over his head. He heard the wind and felt his hair flutter. "Seifer's playing for real," thought Squall as he leapt back from an upwards cut by Seifer.
Squall yelled and charged Seifer. He wasn't about to get beat by this egocentric jerk. With renewed determination he began a series of quick slashes. Seifer, startled by Squall's sudden attack, barely blocked the blows. Just a Squall was about to do a downward cut, Seifer knocked Squall's blade back and slashed at him. Squall jumped back and prepared to charge Seifer again. As he charged Seifer, his left arm outstretched, his palm facing Seifer, a look of determination crossed his face. Seifer merely stood there and held out his arm, his palm- facing Squall as if to ward him away.
"What's he doing?" thought Squall, as he got close to Seifer. "Something's not right."
Seifer grinned and his hand began to glow. Translucent red, yellow, and purple tendrils of magic came together to form a glowing ball of magic.
"Magic!?" thought Squall. He quickly broke his charge and tried to deflect the fireball with his gunblade. The fireball hit Squall's gunblade and exploded in a small ball of fire. The blast blew Squall backwards a couple of feet, where he skidded to a halt on his back. Seifer gave a grin of triumph.
"Eeh...." Squall started to get back up, but his joints felt stiff from the blast. He was only halfway up when the shadow of Seifer loomed above him.
Squall looked up and saw Seifer hovering above him, his face lit with a malicious smirk. Squall couldn't move. Squall watched in terror, as Seifer drew back his gunblade and then swung it at Squall, open mouthed in shock.
In that split second, as Seifer's gunblade was heading for Squall's face, everything slowed down. Squall's life passed before him. Old memories suddenly rushed into his mind, flooding his emotions in a calming bliss. The memories suddenly shattered and Squall snapped back into reality. The gunblade was still heading towards his face and on instinct he began to bring his head back, hoping it would miss. A split second later he felt the gunblade glanced off bridge of his nose and he fell to the ground. Lights exploded in Squall's head as he felt the rough earth against his palms. Blood from Squall's face created a red crescent moon with a crimson slash crossing through it, on the cold gray earth.
Things began to turn hazy in Squall's mind, but a new emotion suddenly pierced through the haze: hate.
In a cry of pure rage, Squall leapt to his feet. Blood flowed from his fresh wound, streaking the left half of his face red, as he gave an upward swing of his gunblade. Seifer was taken back by the fact that Squall was still alive and Squall's attack completely surprised him. Squall's gunblade sparked against the earth before the blade cut into Seifer's face. Seifer's head snapped back and he fell to the ground. Squall stood there for a minute, his face bleeding profusely, drops splattering the earth a deep red. The haze in Squall's mind began to grow and as shock set in, everything began to fade. The last thing Squall remembered was that his legs had given out and that he was falling. Everything faded to black.
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