The White Plume
By C.M. Ryan
Disclaimer: All character, items and locations are property of Squaresoft Ltd. and are used without permission for entertainment purposes only, not for profit. Various quotes from Cyrano de Bergerac have been used in the story within. No infringement is intended.
There was a sudden pain as sweat dropped into Seifer Almasy's eyes. Yet he dared not wipe it away. To do so would be to invite Death with open arms. His once spotless, white trenchcoat now lay in tatters as he slowly retreated through the Kashkablald Desert.
They were all around him now. The small, scaled creatures with their beady eyes had been pursuing him for what seemed like an eternity now. He remembered striking down at least eight of the creatures; their bodies left behind as their brethren continued to stalk him across the land. His gunblade was becoming heavy in his hands and he could feel the faint trickle of blood coming down his arm. He could feel it coming anyway, Death.
It seemed like Death was merely turning its smiling head his way.
"Laugh if you want," he murmured to himself. "Either way you'll not find me easy prey!"
As he stared into the lizard-like eyes of the pursuing creatures, a memory suddenly came to him.
'Let me die so steel in my heart, and laughter on my lips!'
As he slowly stepped away towards the now visible fringes of the desert, a glint of sunlight beamed off of his gunblade. 'Where did that come from?' The thought wasn't exactly disturbing but to be thinking of anything other than the battle at hand for him was odd.
'That book. That's where that came from. The book Instructor Trepe had me read back at the Garden '
Suddenly, three of the creatures came charging at him. Their fangs and talons, sharp as razors, gleamed in the light. Yet, he did not hesitate. The blade lashed out quickly catching one in the gut. He pulled the trigger without even waiting to feel the bite of steel against flesh and turned to face his other attackers. Magic was out of the question; the mere act of concentrating for the effect would leave him open to another attack. The drain too, would also allow the little monsters to take him down.
Instead of even considering his repertoire of spells, the blade shot out again and again a creature fell. The blade was like an extension of his arm, moving as if it was grafted onto the limb. Again he lashed out but the tiny creature had gotten under his guard. He felt the sharp fire of pain fly up through his side as the trickle of blood began anew. Before he even realized it the creature had ended up on the end of his gunblade, impaled and dead for the injury it had caused him.
'An officer does not lightly resign the privilege of being a target.' The words were flowing through his brain now. Without a second thought, Seifer stopped retreating and planted his feet in the sand. 'Here and now. Should I die, I die for my dream '
'The moon, yes, that would be the place for me '
Seifer dared to look away from the creatures for a moment, his gaze shifting up at the shrinking form of the sun. Suddenly, he smirked. For the first time since his battles with Squall, he felt a sense of purpose. A feeling of righteousness.
'Perhaps that is my place.'
' A man does not fight merely to win!'
His gaze shifted back from the sky to the small creatures that so gravely outnumbered him.
' Better to know one fights in vain!'
Again that mischievous smirk crossed his face and to his surprise, the creatures almost seemed to shrink back.
'Who are you? A hundred against one, I know them now, my ancient enemies, Falsehood! Prejudice, Compromise, Cowardice!'
Seifer shifted the gunblade back into position and once again took up his fighting stance, gunblade upraised with one hand and smirk in place once more.
'What's that? Surrender? No! Never!'
The creatures gave pause and for the first time since Seifer had encountered them, they did not rush to attack while he paused.
'Ah, you too, Vanity! I knew you would overthrow me in the end. I fight on!'
'Yes, all my laurels you have riven away and all my roses; yet in spite of you, there is one crown I bear away with me, and tonight, when I enter before God, my salute shall sweep all the stars away from the blue threshold! One thing without stain, unspotted from the world, in spite of doom mine own!'
'And that is my white plume.'
Seifer smiled, a true smile, something he hadn't done since childhood. Yes, it was apparent this would be the end of the Knight. Yet oddly enough, the thought didn't disquiet him. No, instead he felt a new fire burning within him. He raised to his full height, gunblade poised and wounds forgotten.
"Come on, then! Let's dance!" he shouted.
And Seifer Almasy prepared as the creatures charged for the last time, his gunblade shining and his old white trenchcoat seemed to glow in the fading sunlight.
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