The news of Squalls escape did not remain covered. Agents from Galbadian Intelligence had come only an hour later to pick him up when they learned the news. The first to know what had happened was the new President Hartung.
Two hours after he had received that news, he sat up at a great meeting of several of his officials. The room was laid out with teal carpet. The walls of marble supported by the same marble pillars, between each were tapestries of the Galbadian Coat of Arms and several Galbadian symbols. The ceiling was supported with bronze rafters that were flanked by the most intricate of organic designs, while the roof was painted to look like violet lined clouds. The door that led out was double, and oak, another sign of the Galbadian Coat of Arms was carved over it in silver. Golden bracers curved and twisted along the surface of the door. A golden chandelier with crystal light catchers hung over a huge, long spruce table. At the end, just in front of a high stained glass window was President Hartung. To his right was the Vice President. A seat down to his left was his Official Treasurer. To the Treasurers immediate left was the Chairmen of Estate. A chair down from the Vice President was General Caraway. Beside him was Director of the Board of Health. Another seat sat empty, and at the end, adjacent to the President was the CEO of the G.B.N.: Director Sturlson.
As Director Sturlson has told me, Hartung started, leaning on the spruce table, yesterday, they received a call from the North Yaulny Hospital concerning a one Squall Leonhart. They had bluntly remarked that when he had bit himself in a delirious state, he bled black blood. Director Sturlson, would you care to give us the entire bit of news?
Certainly. The Director proposed, standing up from his seat. The doctor who was in charge of the patient, Dr. Karrion, had told me that his blood was black, and that it had no cell activity at all when they checked it. He also mentioned that there was a strange odor coming from him.
Was it corpse like? Asked the Director of the Board of Health. Because if it was, its defiantly a mutation due to some poison.
Sturlson looked angrily at the interrupter. Will you let me finish! It wasnt anything that would be considered a bodily odor. He smelled like one of those heavy duty felt markers they have in the schools. When some of our agents came to pick him up, they were told he escaped. Apparently, the door to his cell was left open somehow. Three of the nurses on duty had heard him scream and came rushing to see what the problem was. They saw him as he was trying to leave.
Now, those three had dealt with him before, as I was told, they knew what they were doing, but this Squall defended himself, managing to steel a taser and use it against them. He muttered something in his native tongue and out of nowhere, some creature shows up armed with two blades.
One of them was killed instantly by the thing. The two left to go get help and sound the alarm. Shortly afterwards, something happens to the locks of every cell in the hospital and all the patients are free. The staff was occupied with trying to get all these other people rounded up that they did not spot Leonhart until he had already jumped out of a fourth floor window.
And lived? Asked the Treasurer disbelievingly.
Of coarse. They wouldnt be so alarmed by this if he didnt.
Then how would he survive a four story fall out of a plate glass window? The Treasurer continued quizzically.
Paramagic. General Caraway spoke up.
The rest of those present looked over at him.
I know who youre all talking about. The General continued. This Squall Leonhart, he was the leader of the Sorceress Assassination we attempted. Hes a SeeD at Balamb Garden, theyre known for mastering the most advanced forms of paramagic before many of the men in our army become officers.
Then how is it they know such advanced magic? Asked the Vice President sternly.
Guardian Forces. Discovered by Dr. Odine of Esthar. While the rest of us are still wary about the side effects of using such things, they went ahead on adopted them into their group.
So Leonhart was a mercenary. The Vice President thought out loud. Dont those people start early?
Oh yes. When I saw him and his group, they were no more then teenagers. They start early so that theyre veterans by the time they reach theyre prime.
So this creature the nurses saw, began the President, was either a very well trained monster or one of those Guardian Forces.
The CEO broke in with another comment about what he heard. Dr. Karrion knew about the usages of Guardian Forces by the Garden, but was assured the patient had been completely separated from all three of his. Though, earlier the day before, someone who gave him a letter, and a kick ball visited him. The doctor found no danger in letting him have the ball. But, after he had escaped, they looked for that ball, and it was nowhere to be found. We assumed from that, that he had been given that Guardian Force by his visitor. Earlier that day, a new doctor and nurse had been hired, and had disappeared after Leonhart had escaped, along with an orderly. They had reasons to suspect the three.
What were their names? Asked the Chairman of Estate.
Dr. Rowan Wynhan, Nurse Merdoc Allymer, and Fujin.
Fujin? The President started absently. No last name?
None that they received, but the doctor looked surprisingly like Seifer Almasy.
Everyone in the room began to mumble to themselves. The name Seifer Almasy they remembered all to well. It had not been but a mere few weeks ago when he had taken over the Galbadian capital of Deling after Sorceress Edea left and Sorceress Ultimecia took over. He had caused a sever dent in the military budget when he went after the Lunatic Pandora. An even bigger dent was made when SeeD took the floating fortress back. That was when Seifer had left without a trace. Very few outside of Deling would recall him though, as he managed to stay in one place for security.
The Director of Health asked the CEO: Do you think its possible that he went after Leonhart?
Who knows? Answered Sturlson. Almasy was always described as an aggressive go-getter. At this point, we have no idea what to think of him.
So what about that black blood you mentioned. Spoke Caraway. I dont know much about Guardian Forces, but I do know they dont change the colour of your blood.
We have a good theory. Suggested Sturlson. When we looked through any records of such enigma, we came by one name: Esthar.
Esthar? Asked the Vice President.
The blood had no cell activity, thus, could not have been natural. It must have been artificial. Now, we dont have the technology to reproduce the effects of blood
but Esthar does. Finished the Director of Health.
Exactly. Now we dont really have much idea of why he would have artificial blood, but we do have it on record that he was recently in Esthar on a mission to defeat this Ultimecia. The mission was a success, and thats all we know about it.
And this was before he was admitted? Started the President.
Then Esthar is mixed into this somehow. Hartung Stated.
Sitting down, Hartung shook his head with a heavy sigh. If this were ever to get out into the media
I get what youre saying Mr. President. The Vice began. Exposure to the public could confuse the masses. We dont know much about the Estharians, or their leader. Its possible we could offend them somehow.
Caraway looked concernedly at the Vice. Do you think its possible it could start another war?
Why not. Fights have been started over smaller things.
And thats why we sit and wait for Leonhart to rot in that jungle. Hartung finished. People have gone in there and were lost for good. In the depressed, delirious state that Leonhart was said he was in, he will not make it out of there alive, Guardian Force or not.
But the one who gave him the Guardian Force to begin with. The Chairman of Estate piped up. If hes giving away those things for free, majour shit can and will go down.
Sturlson described the suspect. The person was female wearing a yellow jean dress with wavy red hair. Described as young, perky, and air headed. She was last seen driving a green car with a chocobo down south
The Chairman found that odd about the big bird. A chocobo
We dont know, spoke Sturlson, and we really dont want to know.
Well, isnt that something, began the President, all I thought we had to worry about was that alien scare.
Voices were heard outside.
Hartung commented again. Speaking of which, they should be having another rally right on the Presidential lawn. We should hear the dogs soon
Just on queue, dogs started to bark, and people started to scream.
I love dogs. Hartung thought with a smile.
Headmaster Scrivens sat on his chair talking on the telephone to Dr. Karrion.
I understand what youre saying, the Headmaster told him, but why didnt you go after him yourself? No offense, just wondering.
Well, the doctor started to explain, If your SeeD is out there, hes as good as dead. There are monsters, predatory animals, parasites that have been known to suck a person dry. Not only that, but natural hazards as well. You got quicksand, scarps he could fall over and twist an ankle, poisonous berries he could eat, snakes
Snakes are a natural hazard?
They are a part of nature, too.
Okay, but what if he survives?
Well, then he crosses the Timber/Galbadian boarder. Once he crosses, hes got bandits to worry about. And, unless he has cash, or any other object of financial value, they are going to be very mad, if you get my drift. And, since he is a SeeD
I know. Scrivens finished. As a SeeD, if Squall were to be killed, no one would pick up the body. It would leave behind a media circus if it were to be found. Once identified as SeeD, it would hurt Gardens reputation. Chances of finding the body were slim odds, even identifying it, but Scrivens wasnt considered a betting man. On the other hand, if he were found alive, he would be no more then an object for the time being. Chances of him being identified would be increased greatly, and Garden would be compensated, yet responsible, for any physical and psychological damages done to him. If he werent found at all, it would go down as a permanent stain on the Garden record that they had failed to look after one of their own. Sure, SeeDs have died in battle and come across some horrendous accidents. But, having abandoned a SeeD to be looked after by someone else, then having him disappear on them, meant they were careless and lazy. All scenarios would be considered a blow at the face, unless
Thank you for the message Dr Karrion. Scrivens spoke into the phone, trying to sound professional over his unbalanced nerves.
As courtesy, the doctor applied his blessing, then, both hung up.
Scrivens turned on the mic on his desk. Quistis and Irvine, would you please come to my office? Now!
A few moments later, Quistis and Irvine stepped off the elevator and into his office. Irvines hair was still wet from the shower he had to get out of when he heard the message.
You wanted to see us sir? Asked Quistis.
Yes. He answered. But before I ramble into tomorrow, you know that the jungle between the Yaulny and Monterosa is quite avid with flesh eating animals and monsters, and parasites that have been known to suck a person dry. And that there are times when a person loses much of their mind to various circumstances like hunger, disease, weariness insanity
Whoah. Irvine interrupted. Sir, youre rambling on into tomorrow.
Yes He admitted reluctantly. Yes I am. So lets cut to the chase. Squall has escaped from North Yaulny Hospital.
Both SeeDs gave empty stares for a few seconds before Irvine turned to Quistis. You owe me a hundred gill.
Headmaster Scrivens raised a suspicious eyebrow. You made bets on this?
Pretty much everyone in the Garden has. Quistis shrugged. Personally, Irvine bet me a hundred gill that he couldnt last a week in that place before he either escaped, or croaked.
You knew he would escape! Bellowed the Headmaster, standing up angrily from behind his desk.
Not knew. Irvine defended quite casually. We just had very lucky hunches. I mean, cmon. Hes a SeeD, and has, like, three or some GFs on him
We disjunctioned him!
Well that is weird. He scratched the back of his head, feeling quite stupid about what he had said. And lucky, for Squall, at least.
Headmaster Scrivens blamed the negligence of the hospital employees as well. The nurses that survived the encounter with Strychnine did not know what Strychnine was. They told others it was a monster. Dr. Karrion had dismissed it as such, so, never mentioned that possibility.
And an axe over out necks! Scrivens shouted in irritability. If word of this got around, it would be like a sucker punch in the nose! He covered his head with his arms, a soft thunk sounded as laid his forehead against the desktop.
But, we wouldnt suffer near as much if you could prove we did something about it. Began Quistis.
I know. Scrivens looked up at her from down on the desk, making her shrug with surprise.
You two are going to look for him. He continued, sitting back on his chair.
Sir, protested Irvine. You want us to look for him? As in, the two of us?
Yes, well, I do know that out of the present SeeDs in this Garden, you are probably the only two he wouldnt run away from.
So basically, Quistis inquired, you want us to go look for the kitten in the auto-wrecking yard.
Not completely up to date, Irvine asked, So when did he escape?
Last night at around 1900 hours. He was last seen running into the jungle north of the premises. They tried to tranquilize him on the way, but missed.
So why dont they, like, go look for him. Irvine asked bitterly.
Theyre lazy, thats why!
Quistis thought over the information they were given. 1900 hours. That would have given Squall plenty of time to make tracks. People have been known to take five steps into that jungle and get lost, how are we to track him down exactly?
With this. He answered, producing a hand held radar screen from one of the drawers in his desk. The device was handed to Quistis. She looked at the small screen. On it was a static map of the world, with several blinking green lights, one of them that was shown somewhere around the Yaulny rain forest was red.
It was something Cid had worked on to record tabs of his first students. Continued Scrivens. And, when we got radio signals back, it made a great tracker.
So I see. Remarked Irvine, as Quistis was looking at the screen she held. So, when do you want us to leave?
Oh, right frikkn now would be fine. Now beat it!
Startled at his sudden outburst, Quistis and Irvine stumbled as they ran as fast they could out of his office.
When the doors had been closed, Irvine addressed Quistis on a concerned note. Is it me, or is he more uptight then usual?
Hes defiantly more uptight then usual. The stress of his position probably supersedes the stress of his old one.
Or maybe hes just really bent on getting Squall back to the loony bin before hes blamed.
Probably, but I dont see how this thing is going to help us with that. She held up the radar screen.
And why not? Irvine asked smugly.
Because, I know damn well what this thing is. I was an instructor for a year. I heard that this project wasnt entirely Headmaster Cids idea.
So whod he, like, work with? Matron?
I dont know?! It could have been NORG for all I know. But I do know that the little homing device given to Squall is kaputs.
Kaputs. He started, glaring suspiciously at her. And just what does that mean.
What it means kaputs. I dont know exactly why, but all the little devices were put up into the nasal, right in the top part of the nose. She put her finger beside the bridge of her nose. Seifer bashed it good. I think thats also how Squall lost his sense of smell and taste, since that thing has small receivers.
Whoa, hit the brakes sister. Interrupted Irvine. If those things were in the nasal, then how come theres no scar.
They put it through the nostril. Now that I think about it, it could have been done with Shumi technique.
Then how come Seifer still has his sense of taste and smell I think he still has his sense of taste and smell.
Because, snapped Quistis, Squall didnt hit him nearly as deep as he did. Now come on! Every second we waste jawing away is a better chance of never finding Squall again, dead or alive. She left Irvine standing by the Headmasters office as she stormed towards the elevator.
Irvine beckoned to her. Hey, if that thingamadoohicky is no good to us, why are you still holding onto it?
Because its heavy. Argued Quistis. And heavy objects can be useful at times.
Im with that, but whats with that red blinky thingy by the Yaulny jungle I saw? I thought you said Squalls nose chip was busted?
I dont know?! Quistis scoffed as she got on the elevator. Im not psychic!
Hey, I was just saying, he quipped back, getting onto the elevator as well. Irvine continued to defend his point as they descended.
Driving over tropical thickets and lumber roared an all terrain jeep. Fujin was at the wheel, beside her was Seifer, and sitting in back was Raijin.
I dont see why we had to go back home ya know. Replied Raijin.
Well, I sure as hell wasnt going into that jungle unprepared! Snapped Seifer.
AGREED! Agreed Fujin. JUNGLE, DANGEROUS!
Besides, he continued, looking back at Raijin. We had to swipe some wheals.
MESSY, BUT DO-ABLE! Fujin agreed again.
Not only had they stolen a jeep, pathetic as it was, they had gotten their weapons, and Seifer had settled for a dagger. They had also adorned proper attire for trekking the hot, humid forest. Even though he still carried his overcoat with him, Seifer got a more practical, yellow cotton T-shirt for the trip, torn, of coarse, at the one sleeve, and rather heavy boots to ward off any snakebites. Fujin also had a T-shirt, only brown to ward of the more pesky mosquito bites, and dark pants over sandals. Raijin wore a fishermans vest with its many pockets, and abandoned his usual pants for shorts. He still didnt wear a shirt, it was unknown why he didnt want to wear any shirt, but he did have a necklace of bone for some reason.
What happens, ya know, Raijin started, if we accidentally run over Squall, ya know?
I can only think of so many things at a time! Seifer barked.
Just wondering, ya know.
CONCERNED! Fujin added.
And you should be. He spat back. Youre the one driving at eighty miles and hour through super dense thicket!
GO FAST, YOU SAID!
Well, slow down then!
Fujin didnt slow down, but stopped entirely. The breaking speed of the old vehicle was incredible. Seifer and Raijin were nearly thrown out of their seats.
No way, thats why this thing doesnt have a roof.
The Garden made a pit stop by the hospital to let Quistis and Irvine off. Dressing appropriately for the humid climate, Quistis wore a tie-dye T-shirt over khaki shorts. A strong, black leather belt she wore at the waist held her chain whip, a set of spark plugs, and a couple of pouches filled with dried fruit, antidotes, and a jack knife. Not the most concerned about snakebites, she only wore white sandals. Irvine had donned a khaki shirt with several pockets filled with antidotes, curative potions for the real emergencies, and several pieces of fresh ammo for his gun. He also wore khaki shorts, and hard leather boots, not forgetting his regular cowboy hat to begin with, as well as getting himself a pair of sunglasses. His gun, he had over his shoulders, as well as a large backpack filled with flint, canned food, a few blankets, tranquilizer darts and a bag of anesthesia.
Why the sunglass? Started Quistis as they walked down the parking lot. Those things are cheap pieces of plastic that make you look like some wild game hunter.
Hey, it gets bright around here. Besides, they do make me look like a dignified wild game hunter. And so does the entire wardrobe. Irvine commented. So, like, whats with the tie-dye?
Wendigos are sensitive to colours. If you show them a bunch of bright colours at the same time, they cant see you.
Sweet. But about the spark plugs
Zip it Kinneas.
Dr. Karrion, as well as two other doctors, were waiting for them just in front of the stone steps. It was remarkable, as the only medical doctor that they had to work with in their life was Dr. Kadowaki. Karrion had short, wavy black hair and dark eyes, appearing to be only in his late thirties, not quite the conventional picture of the standard quack either Quistis or Irvine envisioned.
Approaching them, Quistis greeted in mainly New Galbadian. Lithgame. Im SeeD Quistis Trepe. This is my associate, Irvine Kinneas. Weve been told about our comrade Squall Leonhart.
Yes, started Dr. Karrion, I had a feeling you would come out. He started a few steps away from the other doctors. To them, he looked, and sounded a bit worried. As youre Headmaster has probably told you, he ran away last night into the jungle.
Just, where did he exit the building? Quistis asked the doctor with heavy concern.
Dr. Karrion and the two others took them around back, where a large clearing of gravel separated the back door from the jungle. The flowers and ferns they saw were huge, it was no wonder why they couldnt shoot Squall once he was in their cover.
He jumped out of the fourth story window. Dr. Karrion started, pointing upwards toward the broken pane. Irvine and Quistis looked up. It would have been a long way to fall.
Damn! Remarked Kinneas, looking back at the doctor. Was there anything under that window at the time.
No. He answered. We dont know what happened. He was already running towards the fern beds by the time we got someone there to sedate him.
Was there anyone else? Quistis asked.
Another doctor and nurse had seen the whole thing. One of the other doctors, a woman, answered. But they disappeared after the ordeal along with an orderly. We dont have the entire picture.
Why did they leave? She asked some more. What were their names?
Dr. Karrion answered for the other doctor. There was a Dr. Wynhan, a Nurse Allymer, and Fujin, who had just recently been hired. We dont know the last name of the Fujin girl, so dont ask.
Both the Garden students looked strikingly at each other. Chances were great that he was talking about only one Fujin.
Was this Fujin silver haired with a patch over her left eye? Irvine questioned.
Yes. Replied Dr. Karrion.
What did the other two look like? Now it was Quistiss turn to question.
The nurse was dark skinned and rather large in build. He told them. Dr. Wynhan had short blond hair, and a scar across his nose. He traced the direction of the scar he had seen, starting from under the right eye, to ending over the left.
Both of them gave a poker face of deep thought, then Irvine spoke up. Could you excuse us for a second while were discuss something.
Certainly. Allowed the doctor.
Irvine spun around to face Quistis, whispering in Alcauldian. What the hell is Seifer doing here?
Your guess is a good as mine. She whispered back in the same language. But I dont think they were here to earn a legal living.
And what gives with this doc?
Im not sure about Doc Karrion, or that girl over their, but that other guy with the dark brown hair and googly eyes aint no doctor.
Irvine arched his neck to look at the silent doctor for a moment, then turned back. You know that guy I was talking about in the infirmary? Well thats him.
Damn right. Ill never forget how his eyes always turned like that when he was unsure of himself.
Well, whats he doing out her?!
Beats me. But this, like, all has to go with Squall flying the coop, Seifer and his lackeys, and Tergo getting out here and posing as a doctor with no clue from the others, then theres some pretty rotten dog pies flyin around here.
No kidding. Quistis caved.
So, now that we heard more then we would like to know. What do we do now?
Act like we know nothing.
Irvine nodded his agreement, then they both turned back towards the doctors.
Which way did he run off. Quistis asked in New Galbadian.
That way. Dr. Karrion motioned just behind them. Now, if you excuse me. I have to go attend to some other patients. He left them as if they were none of his business. The female doctor turned to fallow. She did not get but halfway out of their sight before Tergo revealed a switchblade he hid under his medical smock. He threw it at the other doctor, hitting her in between the shoulders. She dropped to her knees, and was dead.
In reaction, Quistis got out her whip while Irvine aimed for him.
Tergo looked unhappily at the two and their poised weapons. That wont help you. He croaked in New Galbadian, his voice was chalky and hoarse. Walking over sludgingly to the dead woman, he plucked out his knife.
The two shifted uneasily as he walked up to them. Stay right where you are Tergo. Warned Irvine. I dont miss at twenty paces, the odds of you dodging at point blank are nil to inhuman.
His knife dripped of fresh blood, but he did not raise it. Im glad you came. He spoke softly.
Thats good. Irvine quipped back. Now do us a favour and loose the knife.
Its not me you should be afraid of. If they find Squall, they will kill him.
Define they. Quistis ordered coldly.
Who else. Since the Coalition of Heath was passed thirteen years ago, this hospital has gotten more funding then it should. But most of that money goes into the pockets of its employees. And they want it to stay that way.
Quistis and Irvine lowered their weapons once they noted no hostility from Tergo.
He continued: If that means burning the evidence, then thats what they will do.
But I thought they werent doing anything about this? Quistis inquired.
They lie, they cheat, and they will kill! His voice caught in a mammalic hack. Coughing for a few seconds, he started again. Theyre as bad as those fat cats in Deling. Theyve already sent five patsies to go find him. He pointed behind them to a garage at the side of the building. The jeeps they collect are top of the line. One of them was stolen last night, and is probably on the same mission. They know this jungle better then you think. They have ways.
His story was unusually believable. Irvine set his gun back on his shoulder, though Quistis still kept her whip on hand just incase.
These ways, she addressed Tergo, what are you meaning by them?
There ways. He quirked enigmatically. They will kill you two as well if they find you again. Youre appearance was unwelcome. Theyre already getting their guns
So lets amskray! Irvine shouted. Tergo, been a pleasure. Peace.
Wait a minute! Snapped Quistis, taking hold of Tergos forearm. Ive been a SeeD long enough to know when to take hostages.
Irvine looked at her with disdain. You cant be serious? Did you just see what he did to that girl over there?
Im not blind. And thats why we cant let this guy out of our sight.
Tergo shrugged free of her grip, backing up only a few paces. Who says I have to go with you?
Well, you dont have much of a choice. She started. Its either us, the hospital, or the jungle.
In turn, he looked at all three of these options. If youve lived my life, he growled at them, you would not hand out such choices. Swiftly, he raised his knife, cutting his own throat. Tergo collapsed on the gravel, taking in his last laboured breaths.
Tergo! Irvine panicked, running to his side. What the hell was that for?
Tergo looked up at him with bloodied glazed eyes. I dont like what I have become. He stuttered weakly.
Then why did you bother with the warning? Asked the candidate. You cant be all that bad.
Tergo closed his eyes, but continued to talk, even though he was breathing to hard for clear language. Irvine, Ive always admired you. You may not have noticed, but I have. Giving his last breath, Tergo gave up. His corpse settled limply on the gravel.
Irvine looked solemnly down at the body. Holy crap. I have an admirer. Or, had is more like it. But you know, to have a dead admirer is better then having none at all
Irvine! Quistis shouted in obvious panic, pointing towards the side of the building. Irvine fallowed her direction. There were voices, speaking in New Galbadian, and talking about intruders.
With a silent curse, Irvine stumbled to his feet, leaving Tergo where he fell. Both of them disappeared into the garage.
From behind the corner. Two nurses, and Dr. Karrion appeared, each carrying a rifle. First, they saw the body of the real doctor, then Tergos. They looked around some more for any other oddities. The garage door blew open. Racing outwards to the jungle in a green coloured jeep was Irvine with Quistis at the wheal.
Shoot them! The doctor ordered.
All three of them began to open fire, even as they entered the deep floral overgrowth.
Damn! Muttered Irvine loudly enough for everyone to hear. Tergo was right. These guy shoot to kill!
Then lets hope theyre as bad at point blank then! Remarked Quistis, keeping her eyes on the path before them.
Squall stumbled through the brush, trying to make as many steps between him and the hospital as possible.
Cloak had belittled him throughout the night. Yeah, sure. You just keep running. I like that plan, so risk free so boring
Zip it! He snapped. You wouldnt be so cocky it you were the one they were going to flay!
Flay! My, my, hasnt your imagination run away with you.
What did I say about zipping it?!
Oh, I heard you. I just chose to ignore, thats all.
Thats all?! Whispers conspired all around him. The plants were talking again, but this time, it was in a Timber dialect he didnt know.
Backing up against the trunk of a barbed sequoia he stuttered at the alien voices. W-what are you saying?
The flora ignored him. Their voices became more, and louder. The shear size of the giant trees appeared more intimidating. Their grand trunks appeared to grew even higher, the ferns grew denser as the flowers became as wild, obtrusive shapes.
They fear you. Cawed Cloak.
Why! He shouted, getting away from the barbed sequoia, towards a patch of Spindle Weels. The blue petals of the flowers conjured into the maws of snapping turtles, turning upwards to hiss at him. He stumbled back in surprise and fright, falling over on the ground. The noise from the plants grew, until it was an uneasy chant of whines and squeaky chuckles.
Squall got up groggily to his feet, his leg never hurt so badly before. I dont understand you! He shouted, somehow expecting an answer, but the uneasy chanting continued. To make things worse, Cloak started to laugh her high pitched, squeak of laughter.
All the plants began to close in. What do you want from me! He shouted again, the plants still coming in. I did nothing! NOTHING! Even the dirt began to cackle.
More then plants heard his shouts. Plowing through the carpet of ferns and dead litter, Quistis and Irvine came. Fate had found them, again.
Quistis stopped the vehicle when she heard the shouts. The two strained to listen.
From a distance, they heard him. Get away from me! GET AWAY FROM ME!
Sounds like Squall. Suggested Quistis.
Irvine started at her. Sounds like he found company. Lets roooooo
The jeep had already started to move before he finished. Irvine had to put his hand on his hat to keep it from blowing away.
Seifer and his posse had searched for most of the day, but didnt come across anything that remotely resembled human.
You know, he started at Fujin, we would have found something if you would slow down.
FAT CHANCE! She bellowed back.
Ya, Raijin began, last time we slowed down, we were jumped by one of those big snakes, ya know.
The revving of another vehicle sped behind them.
Seifer heard first. Do any of you guys hear that?
Hear what? Asked Raijin.
He didnt answer blankly. Were being fallowed.
Yeah, I see. Agreed the big guy, looking behind them.
No, I said hear!
And I said see, ya know.
Another jeep came up right beside them. Yeah, I know. Seifer scoffed back when he saw who the passengers were.
Hey! Seifer! Irvine quipped back, sitting up on the back of the passengers seat of his jeep. Nice rental youve got there!
Ha, jokes on you! Laughed Raijin. We stole this.
At the drivers seat, Quistis spared a glance at them. So it was you who stole that jeep from the hospital.
Raijin scratched his head absently. Howdyoo know, ya know?
Another patient told us! Started Irvine.
Another patient?! Shouted Seifer disbelievingly. How many have you stuffed in that asylum?!
Just the one.
Yeah, like Im going to believe that!
Can it Seifer! Quistis barked. Were here for Squall and you damn well know that!
Well what a coincidence! Seifer scoffed back. Were looking for the same mutant as well!
If yousis out here to, like, find someone, commented Irvine, then why did you pick out the crappiest piece of junk they had in that garage?
We were in a hurry! Seifer quaffed.
I can obviously see that.
Screw you! Fujin, step on it!
CANT GO ANY FASTER! She complained, noting how she was already going at top speed.
Irvine found that very funny. Youre at your limit? Man, were only going, like, fifty, and this baby hasnt even broken a sweat!
Shut your gob Cowboy! Started Seifer angrily. Raijin, throw something at them!
Raijin looked around the back seat, but ammo was slim pickings. He looked up and shrugged absently.
Seifer noted the obvious, but wasnt satisfied. Then hit em!
Obediently, he took out his staff.
The two jeeps were only an arms length away from each other, if Raijin wanted too, he could have jumped into the back of their vehicle. Choosing instead, he stood up where he was and commenced his pummeling with his staff. Irvine blocked with the barrel of his gun.
Could we not do this now! Started Quistis, shouting over the roar of engines. We have delicate cargo!
SO WHAT! Fujin ranted, colliding their two jeeps together. Both Raijin and Irvine lost their balance, landing back in their seats. Quistis responded back doing the same to theirs.
Give it up Trepe! Seifer called back, his fist raised in anger. You dont have the balls to ram us into a bog!
Youre right! Quipped Quistis. Woman dont have balls! We have spines! With that, she gave a sharp yank on the steering wheal, crashing into the posses vehicle with heightened force as compared to before.
The two vehicles jumped as they drove over an outcropping stone. Irvine nearly fell out of the back seat.
Seifer laughed hysterically at seeing this. With driving like that, Squalls as good as ours!
About that, started Quistis, getting a twig of fern out of her hair, you never wanted to sit next to each other in class, now you break into a hospital, impersonate a doctor, steal a jeep, and brave a jungle for him? What gives?
My dear Quistis Trepe, he cooed in reply, there are forces at work beyond comprehension. Im sure you know all about them by know?!
Irvine replied to his question. Probably. But about what you were saying about him Something from the backseat started to move, a blanket. Poking his head from under it, Squall looked out curiously.
Youre too late. Irvine laughed.
Seifer gapped in awe. Son of a
Well, did you think you would, like, find him cruising at the speed youre going?
And you did?!
We found him yelling at a bunch of trees!
You told! Squall thought. Irritated and embarrassed, he jumped out of the backseat with Irvine, and into the backseat with Raijin.
Seifer nodded with light approval at the action. Well, that was easy.
Like hell it was! Squall hissed inwardly, never too pleased about his bragging. In response, he jumped back beside Irvine.
Wondering what was going through his mind, Seifer hit Raijin in his arm out of confusion. You let him get away!
Ow! I didnt see that coming, ya know! He cradled his maimed arm gingerly.
Ha, ha! Irvine chanted. Score two for us!
Squall did not like what he said. Oh, so Im a prize! He jumped back to Raijin.
Hey! You know what! Seifer quipped. I really dont think he likes bragging.
Like I need you to defend me! He jumped back to Irvine.
Terrific. Started the Galbaidan. I guess well just be heading back to the hospital now.
Squalls eyes glassed up with panic. No way Im going back there! Hitting Irvine over the head, he jumped back to Raijin.
Irvine! Quistis began angrily. If we send him back, theyll kill all three of us! Or have you forgotten what already?!
Oh, fellow outlaws. He jumped back to Irvine, who motioned to Quistis to get as far away from Seifer and his group as possible.
Hey! What gives?! Shouted Seifer as they drove off. You chickens, get back here and do some real negotiations!
Suddenly, Fujin shouted, JUMP!
What jump. He asked. Looking towards the way ahead of them, he saw what Fujin was yelling about. A tree stood in their way.
No room to swerve, all three of them took the only option: jumping out of the vehicle. The jeep rammed front first into the trunk. The tires rolled for a while before the engine shut down entirely.
From his position in a frond of ferns, Raijin looked longingly at Seifer. So, is this a bad sign, ya know?
Ya damn right it is! He snapped at the guy. Now that our wheals are toast, were stranded!
HEAD NORTH? Fujin suggested, getting up from a bed of tropical flowers.
Yeah, sure! Its easy enough to say lets head up north. He turned to the two of them, looking pessimistic and annoyed. Look around us if you havent noticed! Were in the damn jungle! There are no maps, and we can barely see the sun! From behind him, the brush began to sway. Seifers shouts had attracted something.
Seifer Raijin started softly.
Still worn out from his stroke of bad luck, he snapped at him. WHAT?!
Theres theres something um right behind you, ya know
Thehs thehs thehs Seifer mumbled sarcastically. Theres what? A rescue party? A car? A dog? WHAT?!
MONSTER! Fujin shouted, pointing above Seifers head. He turned around to face a giant snake beast, a creature resembling the dreaded Anacondaurs, but was not. It was true it appeared as a snake, only it had the ears of a rabbit, and was covered in blue and green feathers. The scuts shone as glass marbles under a light bulb, and it had two pairs of button black eyes.
Looking up at the creature, Seifer whined to himself. I picked the perfect time to sell Hyperion.
The feathered snake lunged at him. He rolled nimbly out of the way, getting out his dagger. Raijin and Fujin reacted as well. The big guy came forward with his staff while Fujin flanked with her pinwheel. The snake snapped and hissed at them with speed that surpassed the Anacondaurs. They narrowly dodged its fangs. Seifer lunged at the beast, his dagger hitting the feathers. No sooner did he get his hands close to the green and blue plumage did he received a nasty sting. He slumped in a rushing fatigue. The snake, noting what had happened, turned away from the two others, its four black beads for eyes stared at him. With exposed fangs, it lunged again.
Rushing to his side, Raijin blocked for him as he looked at his wound. The skin had been blistered, like from electricity, but oozed with an unnatural fluid, like poison. Seifer had no recollection how potent the stuff was, but it was stinging with acidic fury.
Fujin swung her pinwheel at the scuts of the beast, but the circular blade deflected as if it hit metal. Startled and angered, the gouging mouth of fangs turned to her, snapping and hissing. Raijin ran to her defense as she dove to collect her pinwheel. The snake received a hefty blow to an eye by the staff. It hissed madly in pain.
Hey! I think Ive found a weakness! He shouted. Seifer heard him but did not move, the poison was gaining ground. Fujin, however, jumped up, aiming her weapon at the remaining right eye. A spray of liquid black ran from the optic wound. The snake thrashed some more. Only Seifer notice the odd pulsing just under the head of the monster. The feathers split, releasing small streams of its cold black blood. Two appendages ascended from the wound. They spread out wide. Wings.
Still wet and bloody, they would have not allowed any elevation, but would have made for great weapons, and on both the wings wrists were similar black eyes.
All three of them stopped where they were. How many eyes did that creature have on it? The snake hissed with relief, but did not attack. It looked down at them all, but, being unmoving, it did not see them. And, not seeing them, it did not find much need to stick around. Before it could show more aggression, the monster slithered off.
Fujin breathed heavily with her won relief. THANK HYNE!
Uh huh. Agreed Raijin, sitting himself down. He looked over towards Seifer, huddled on a bed of dead leaves.
Both became worried. SEIFER? Called Fujin, hoping he would answer.
You alright, ya know?
Before they heard any response, they ran to his side. Seifer held his poisoned hand by the wrist, his eyes sparkled with unhealthy tearing.
Fujin could have guessed what was wrong. POISON!
Do we have an antidote, ya know?
Hurriedly, he checked the pockets of his vest. They did have several small bottles of the miracle antidote. The antidote, made thusly, was effective against all known types of animal poisons, they just hoped that the poison that had gotten Seifer was of the known type, and also of the animal type. Raijin gave the antidote to Fujin, who emptied the contents on Seifers bad hand. The open wound fizzed, and a fine froth conjugated, sure sign that it was healing. Seifer flinched from the stinging action of the concoction.
Raijin asked him after a few seconds. What happened, ya know?
That monster, he started with regaining strength, I stuck my dagger into him, and those feathers I dont think those were feathers.
Well, what about the others, ya know, Raijin started with a whine, would that thing have gotten them?
Theyre big kids! Spat Seifer, sitting up slowly, they can take care of themselves.
But what about Squall?
Im sure when the time comes, they would look after their precious leader!
No, I meant, what if Squall goes psycho on them?
Raijin, thats none of my concern.
General Wyvern's Fanfiction