Hand of Ice Chapter 3
By General Wyvern
Cruising down a dusty country road was a dingy looking car. Rusted on the bottom, and paling, blue from fender to back bumper. It was a simple family sized car driving down the rural roads around the Timber region. Inside were two passengers. It looked like a couple of people out for a morning drive. But in reality, it was business.
At the wheel of the old, beat up vehicle, was the bold and blond, Zell Dincht, and in the passengers seat sat Selphie Tilmitt. They were heading to the new base of the resistance group, the Forest Owls. It was sure a new feeling having Zell in charge. Squall would have never allowed them to play the radio at full blast. In all respects, it would be better for them. Who would suspect a bunch of rowdy teenagers to be heading towards the pad of a resistant group, and probably be given the orders to assassinate the very people who looked at them and thought: what a bunch of morons.
The radio was blaring some alternative rock band singing in Valoo. With happy faces, and carefree attitudes, the two tried their best to keep up, but mumbled through much of the verse, not really knowing what the heck they were singing.
They were to meat at a Galbadian road check. There, they would meet one of the resistance members, incognito. The contact would give them directions to the new base. The last one, they knew, had been found, and trashed. So far, they had no new news on their new abode.
Do you remember the queue Zell? Selphie asked, making double sure that the instructions hadnt rubbed off of his arm.
Sure. He replied, taking his hands off the wheal and looking at his left forearm.
Eiuwak muk nüto wasaman. The queue was in Mainstream Timber, and neither of the mercenaries could speak that language either.
Aye. Agreed Selphie, looking very pleased. The password?
Zell looked towards the smaller girl with his usual look of spellbound know-nothing look.
The password we tell them when we hear the queue. She repeated.
Zell looked at his forearm again. Tuka! Mebak nüto hapan ütaaqabuq apuk na wisimus.
Not sure if what he said really was the password, Selphie leaned over and took the guys arm. He had scribbled various things down on his skin in black ink, and in a very small print. But, sure enough, she could see that Zell got it right.
In the action of checking their queues and passwords, Zell had let go of the wheal. Now they had swerved onto the wrong side of the road, and a car was headed right for them. Selphie let out a sudden, panicky yelp, and grabbed hold of the steering wheel, swerving them out of the path of the other car just in time. The other driver honked the horn madly.
Sorry! Selphie apologized, looking towards the car. She knew that the driver wouldnt have heard her, but, at least, she meant it.
Yeesh, whats got him all upset? Huffed Zell, getting his hands back on the wheal. And since when did you become Queen of Twenty Questions all of a sudden? Youre acting like Quistis.
Oh, cmon, the girl whined, its the Galbadians were dealing with. Last time we screwed up, we were thrown in the big house, an Squall got the electrical treatment.
Yeah. Agreed Zell, remembering when they had been arrested for attempting to kill the Sorceress. Then, he smiled. His hair was sure funny lookn.
If he were here, hed tie you up to the back bumper and drag your arse over yon road.
If he were here, he would be able to decipher this stupid song! He pointed angrily at the radio for visual aid.
Well, hes not. So youre just goinna have to make do. Now, she was behaving like the Selphie he knew. Yknow, you going to have to take his place. So, what kind of impressions can you do of him?
Oh, groaned Zell in annoyance, why dont you just shove me out of the car and run me over.
Oh, cmon. Act like him!
I just did.
Selphie looked shocked and aback at the blond. Thats good. She congratulated when it had just sunk in what he had done. Do another one!
Zell grunted apathetically.
Squealing with glee, Selphie clapped her hands playfully, bouncing up and down in her seat. Thats exactly what Squall would say!
Howd you get so good at that?
Woah! Now, youre just creepy.
I wasnt behaving like Squall.
Then, whyd you stop? You were doing soooo good?
I know. But, too good if you tell me. Its scary to act like that guy. He gave a little shiver to prove his point. No wonder he hates himself. He turned his gaze towards Selphie, once again, taking his hands of the wheal. Id hate me, too, if I talked like that all the time.
Zell swerved, narrowly missing the oncoming vehicle. This time, Selphie was very aware that they were being cursed at, even though she couldnt speak the language.
The Galbadian road bloke came up to view.
This is it, began Selphie, in a low whisper, its show time.
Yeah, baby. Zell cheered, also keeping his voice low. One of the rarer of social occurrences, Selphie took note of that, and was surprised that he actually kept he voice down.
A Galbadian soldier in blue uniform came up to their car, fallowed by two uniformed men that were probably normally stationed there.
Chagootoo uk mukagoot, ukama. [License and registration, please.]
Zell looked appallingly at the blue uniformed soldier.
The hell if Im supposed to know what youre saying!
The soldier asked him again. This time, when Zell didnt change his expression, the Galbadian opened up the drivers door. The SeeD took this as a sign that he should get out. And out he got, with Selphie getting out of the passengers side.
The Galbadian soldier looked furious at Zell.
Gotoo. Kocha takata kochak nimukon maat bukut? [So. You think your getting of easy?]
Say what? Thought Zell.
To intervene came one of the other men. A shorter guy then the other two, and a trite bit familiar. Zell could have sworn he had seen that guy before, but decided that, if he was going to stay out of prison, he was best to keep his mouth shut. It took all his will power, and a good chunk of his sense of decency not to call out.
Baa Kulatooch! Eiuwak muk nüto wasaman. [Hey Sarge! They are just kids.]
I know this line! Recognizing the code words, he looked down at his arm. The ink had become garbled, but he managed to read it.
Tuka! Mebak nüto hapan ütaaqabuq apuk na wisimus. [Look! We just need directions to town.] He spoke the line as if he were reading it of off the back of a cereal box. When he had finished speaking the password, he looked up from his arm, grinning a grin that made the soldier, and the other men think: What a moron.
Buqnuk! [See!] Spoke the defending man.
Kech éaq musik kopapaaqa. [I am still suspicious.] Protested the soldier.
Kochak bakuma kopasaaqa, [Your always suspicious,] The man walked over to the teenagers transportation, stopping in front of the fender. Tuka! Cha eiuwak kumus nimukona na bisusmus panaqôn, müis eiuwak chapuq aba kuchun nip ma üqamaat ik nisuk muchat hiqaach. [Look! If they were going to commit a felony, they would not go around in a piece of crap like this.] Making his point, the man laid his hand down on the hatch. At that point, the front bumper and hubcaps fell off, as well as a good deal of steam came out of the radiator.
The man looked at the car sheepishly, then looked back to the soldier. He pointed towards the piece of crap, nodding his head and placing his other hand on his hip.
Chisut huk bakit. [Point well taken.] Agreed the soldier.
Okay, what just happened? Zell asked himself.
Not wanting to waste more time, the Galbadian soldier left, leaving the two other men to deal with the travelers.
The second of the men, was taller, and blonder, then the other. He approached them. For a while, Zell was a little uneasy, but neither the blond, nor the smaller man, held any aggression in their faces. The short man walked towards Selphie, handing her a piece of paper. She took the paper without word, while the taller man looked over to Zell.
Ika Hamutok Subaamin. [For the Forest Owls]
The two of the men signaled with their hands for them to get in the car, as they made their way back to their posts.
Selphie walked up to Zell, showing him the piece of paper she had received.
Its directions to the Forest Owls new base.
Awesome. Agreed Zell. Thanks, you guys! He shouted in Balambese.
The Galbadian soldier turned to them with suspicion at hearing the Balambese language, while the two Forest Owls turned in a state of urgency.
Quickly, Selphie and Zell got back into the car. Slamming the doors shut, they zoomed out of the block as fast as they could before they were called back for further questioning.
Rinoa Heartily sat at a desk in her new, third story room. The other members of the Forest Owls took the news of her new sorceress powers very well. They had, in the strictest sense, went into a frenzy of hooting, thinking her more of a trump card then a threat. Not that she minded what she was to them, as long as it got that monkey off her back.
That didnt mean so for the rest of Timber. Thus far, none of Timber actually knew she had received anything but a close call with Galbadia. She was determined, though, to set things straight before they got crooked. With her particular position, her choices were slim, but she finally found a niche by writing editorials for the National Squeal, the next best thing to an anti-government publishing since the Timber Maniacs.
The fact that the group was positioned out in the middle of the Roshfall Forest wasnt helping in the matters of transportation, so Rinoa had taken on the art of teleportation. It turned out to be easier then she thought, she just couldnt transport more then one person at a time.
As for their new base, their leader, Zone, decided to move it out into the woods, where they would occupy the old homestead that belonged to the Hutchins family line. Now abandoned, and not known by any Galbadian, it was thought to be the perfect place to set up shop.
It was too bad that they didnt have a computer. The act of writing out everything by hand wasnt lightening the load a single bit.
And in conclusion, Rinoa spoke as she was writing, the need to undergo the continued act of fire against fire against the Galbadians will, in the end, lead us nowhere. So it is advised that we, the people of Timber, should resist the need to fight on with force, but send out our words as the bullets. As for the Galbadians, who dont seem to mind using their guns at all She paused as she thought of what to saw about them.
Angelo, she addressed her dog, turning her chair around to look at the dark brown animal, resting in the middle of the floor. Help me out here. What should I say about the Galbadians?
In response, Angelo yawned.
Seeing as how she wouldnt be any help to her, Rinoa turned back to her editorial. Screw them. She spoke, than wrote it down.
I should be the one to talk. She thought. Here I am, in a resistance group based on movements both violent and non.
Just as she was admiring her handiwork, she heard a car approach.
I wonder who that could be?
She looked out of her bedroom window, and spotted a beat up cyan car making its way down the dusty road. She knew it wasnt a Galbadian in the car, since they tended to drive bigger, and nicer looking vehicles. And it couldnt have been a member of their resistance, since both Watts and Mordechai had left in a burgundy car, and it was a lot nicer then that one.
Then that means
As the old homestead came in to view, Zell put his foot onto the brake, only to find out that the brake wasnt working.
Zell, whined Selphie, you can stop now.
I cant! The breaks are out.
You try floorn them?
Thats just what Im doing!
Both the SeeDs let out panicked screams as they headed towards a group of boys around their age. Zell swerved the car wildly, as the people outside scurried about, trying to get out of their way. Dust flew up as the car was steered in circles. Both of the passengers looked around frantically for something to slow them down.
Its no use, Selphie. Started Zell in a panic. We may have to stop this car with our feat.
No need! We can slow ourselves down with those bushes over there.
Zell saw what Selphie was talking about. He swerved the car in the direction beside the house, crashing into the overgrown hedges. The foliage swept across the windshield as the car began to slow down against them. Finally, the car came to a complete stop, but not before it knocked over a small, wooden building that was apparently the outhouse.
As the humor of coincidence went, someone just happened to be on the john at the time.
Uchühun bumak! [How rude!] The guy said.
Shaken, but not beaten, the two mercenaries got out of the car. They were greeted by a group of the Forest Owls, all speaking frantically in Mainstream.
A voice came from behind the shaken group. Hanut chipuk, upabuk hestun! Kech ip tunachooka! [Make way, coming through! I am the translator!]
Coming out from the crowd was an all too familiar face to the two SeeDs: Rinoa.
Thank Hyne your here. She started in Alcauldian. After hearing nothing but Valoo and Mainstream, her use of Alcauldian, and her Classical Galbadian accent, was a welcome change to the two new arrivals. Can any of you cook? Zone has a lot of recipes, but he cant really cook.
I thought we were here for Began Selphie, but was cut off by a frantic Rinoa.
First food, then, business.
I can cook. Answered Zell in Alcauldian.
I cant. Chided Selphie. So dont ask.
Rinoa responded, Awsome. Now, Ive been wanting to ask you: Hows Squall?
Last I saw him, started Zell, he was puking his guts out in the bathroom.
But hes alive. Right?
Unless it was his corpse lying face down on the toilet and making hacking soundz, then hes alive.
There was a corpse on the toilet, whined an exasperated Selphie, slapping Zell on his shoulder, and no one told me. Damn! You would have known that Id be there in two minutes with my camera!
Okay. Thought Rinoa. Hes alive at least. It wasnt in her nature to hold things back, but she couldnt help but feel that she was responsible for his drastic actions.
She could remember him telling it to her face: But Rinoa, I thought Id never see you again. The only translation she could draw was: If I cant see you in life, Ill see you in death.
It shook her moral that she would even think of things like that. In a way, she was glad to be away from him, if only for a while. Metaphorically a sculptor, she had once vowed to reshape that block of ice he called his heart. But, as her fifth grade teacher had said, she had no talent at sculpting. How right she was.
Now, she really hoped she could sit back and watch, lest, she incur more damage.
Well, started Rinoa as a very exited Angelo bounded up beside her, Im guessing that you would want to go inside. She looked over to where Zell and Selphie had knocked over the outhouse.
The guy that had been on the toilet was still on there for some reason. Tun musin tuka. Itasmasim bachupik! [Dont look! Partial nudity!]
What did he say? Zell asked.
What does it matter? Retorted Rinoa. Im dying to show you around the place.
At hearing those words, Selphie jumped up and down with her usual pep. Yay! A tour! She eagerly took off after Rinoa and Angelo.
Zell stayed where he stood for a second, before he shouted to Rinoa. Hey! Rinoa! Do you have any food in that house?
Sure, she answered, turning around, but still walking backwards. We still have some nuts and berries some of the guys foraged for.
With his face stuffed with blue berries and chestnuts, Zell sat in the old living room of the Hutchins homestead.
The room was in a bad need of a paint job, and one of the two large windows to his left was boarded up with white paper. The curtains on it were purple, old, and musty. Beside the door was placed an old, dark wooden oak desk. Despite the rest of the furniture, it was in relatively good condition, and would probably fetch good gill at an antique auction. The lentil of the door had fallen off a long time ago, and the nails that had held it there were exposed and rusted. Regardless of what shape the frame was in, the door was still there. Its paint was pealing, but it had an old classical feel to it, just like the rest of the house.
The walls were hung with old black-and-white pictures, as well as a few oil paintings of trees, animals, and one that especially caught Zells eye, a painting of the GF Quezacotl. It felt funny to see it, as he happened to own that particular GF. If Quezacotl could have talked, he would sure have had something to say about it.
In the far corner of the room was an old grandfather clock, still ticking on, adding more of an air of classic grace to the homestead. Beside it, was probably the newest piece of furniture in the whole house. A TV. It was an old model, and probably black-and-white. Zell wouldnt have guessed that it would be of very good quality. No one expected to get rich being a member of a resistance group.
Above the TV was a glass bear. Shiny, brown, and semitransparent, except its black eyes. It looked as if it was ready to catch a fish in a rushing stream.
An old rug of blacks, whites, dark reds and greens was laid in the middle of the hardwood floor. When Rinoa had introduced this room on the tour, she had mentioned that there was a heated debate as to whether the rug was Balambese fashion, or North Willburn. Zell laughed at this, remarking that it was definitely Balambese. The geometric patterns and simple color scheme denoted that fact.
On top of the rug was a coffee table of oak, same as the desk but lighter in color. It was smeared with water rings, crayon marks, and several scratches. The legs of the furniture were carved in floral style, and ended in a lions foot shape.
The couch he sat on was dulled and threadbare, but was probably green with yellow and orange flowers once, same with the armchair that was to the couchs right.
This place is soooo cool! Exclaimed Selphie as she pranced into the living room, sitting on the armchair and looking over at Zell and his berries. I can imagine my own Grandma living in a place like this, if I knew my Grandma.
Zell looked at her with another mouthful of blue berries. Really? I knew mine.
I like this furniture. She continued. The place could be painted, and this rug could use a good scubbn, but otherwise, tis good, aye?
Since when did you become so good at home decor?
Im from Trabia Garden. You dont go through their curriculum without learning a thing or two about home decorating.
That must have been a pretty shabby Garden?
Oh, it was. Well, until it got blown up.
A sudden slamming came from the front door, situated in the porch that was just outside the living room. Through the open door ran, whom both Zell and Selphie recognized as, Watts.
Watts was the chief spy of Forest Owls, and a darn good one. There wasnt a lot that could be hidden from him, which was a problem in the areas in hiding chocolate and sugary delights. When they first met him, it was on the old base inside a train car. It was him who had divulged the information that the president of Galbadia was in their territory, and it was him who divulged the codes that allowed for them to disconnect his train in Timber. Watts also had the habit of addressing everyone as sir, or maam. Zell also realized that it was he at the roadblock.
I must congratulate their makeup artist on making him convincingly look older.
Wupum, üqwin. [Hello, sir.] He greeted, lifting himself over the couch and seating himself on the floor. He had several documents under his arm and he set them all on the coffee table. He positioned himself on his knees and started to sort the pile out.
Both Zell and Selphie had guessed early what üqwin meant, and were pretty sure that wupum, was some kind of greeting, or form of address. So they responded.
Zell gave him a Balambese greeting. Escola. [Hey]
Selphie just gave a little wave and a smile.
The rest of the group crowded into the living room. The leader, Zone, took a seat on the far left of the couch, with Rinoa in the middle of him and Zell. The rest clamored all around the coffee table. It was apparent that they were all there to discuss the documents Watts had acquired.
What have you got there? Zone asked Watts in Mainstream Timber, his accent seaming to bounce his words while giving them that soft tone.
I got these in back of the checking point sir. He replied while filling through the papers some more. I cant believe the stupidity of the solders put in charge their sir. Me n Mordechai here were able to take these out with no risk. He put his hand on a taller blond guy with freckles. Zell could assume that he was the other guy at the roadblock.
Watts continued, It looks a if theyre expecting a real important delivery from Galbadia sir.
How do you figure? Asked some scrawny guy in a gray bunny hug.
Because. He answered, not sounding annoyed in the least. It say here: Expecting delivery in five to seven days.
HOLY CRAP! Screeched Zone. And you just walked out of there as if nothing happened?
This time, the guy named Mordechai spoke. Thats right. The Galbadian bully didnt look at us once since the SeeDs got here.
At the mentioning of the SeeDs, the group turned to look at Selphie and Zell. The girl was giving them her best, and cheesiest smile, while Zell was wiping away the last of the berry juice form his chin, with his arm.
Werent there three of them? Asked another Forest Owl.
I can answer that. Rinoa interrupted before Zone had a chance to speak. The third member got in a bit of a situation. So he wont be here for awhile.
Are you sure? Asked Zone, looking rather concerned. I dont mean to be rude. But, it seamed that Squeal was the only one of them that had any real intelligence.
His name is Squall! Defended Rinoa.
Hey! Zone rebutted. I didnt get to know either of them as much as awhh! My gut! He put his right arm over his stomach. Ive gotta puke!
Putting his free hand over his mouth, he ran out of the living room as fast as he could.
Zell leaned over towards Rinoa. Ive been meaning to ask you, he spoke in Balambese, the required use of Alcauldian escaping his moral conduct, why does Zones stomach hurt so much?
Rinoa answered, Ulcers. She spoke in Balambese as well. Or, at least we all think its Ulcers.
Ulcers! What the hell are Ulcers?
Well, from what I know, its very annoying.
Selphie put herself in the conversation, speaking excitedly in Alcauldian. I know what Ulcers is, aye! Its the stuff to put in the tub to make the water smell nice.
Zell looked to his partner in awe, Really? Cool.
Several moments of silence passed before Rinoa evoked Watts to continue. So, what does this information mean too us? She asked in Mainstream.
Simple, he replied, that the Galbadians are driving their junk through Timber.
Do you think it could be weapons? Another member asked.
One things for sure, Rinoa interrupted, if it is, thats an infringement to their agreement. They promised us they wouldnt be shipping any offensive doowackies through us.
Those jerks are abusing their power! One of the Forest Owls shouted.
Yeah, but what can we do about it? Watts asked skeptically.
Rinoa thought that was a pretty blatant question. Were a resistance group, what do you think we do?
The spy looked up at her, feeling quite stupid that he didnt know the answer. Sabotage their delivery?
All the other Forest Owls muttered in approval.
What do you think? She asked the SeeDs in Alcauldian.
Well, to be honest, Zell piped, sounding short on confidence. We didnt really understand what you said. What with you all talking in Mainstream.
Three hundred and fifty six, three hundred and fifty seven, three hundred and fifty eight
Squall lay on the bed in his dorm room. He had been laying on his back and counting the indentations in the ceiling for quite some time.
Three hundred and fifty nine, three hundred and sixty, three hundred and sixty one
Quistis had urged him to come to the common room for a game of cards, but he had reclined. The cards had a way of making him think.
Three hundred and sixty two, three hundred and sixty three, three hundred and sixty four
Maybe it had just been the giant task of cleaning Headmaster Cids office that morning that had whipped him out. Or
Three hundred and sixty five, three hundred and sixty six, three hundred and sixty seven
He was afraid to start thinking, to start remembering. The perilous shroud he had seen a few days ago had always come to him in his dreams since then. An entity of a darkness that could not be described as total, or even evil. With a pair of bottomless eyes that couldnt be defined as soulless or not. He knew this entity only as Cloak.
Four hundred and thirty five, four hundred and thirty six, four hundred and thirty seven
A knock came from the door.
Beat it. Squall called out in an emotionless manner. One, two, three, four, five, six He began to count the dots on the ceiling again.
Its Quistis. Came the reply. Dont give me the old excuse that you forgot my name, because I know you know!
Seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve Squall continued to stare at the ceiling.
Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen
HEY! PENCIL NECK! I GOT YOUR OLIVES! Quistis yelled from the other side of the door.
Squall stopped his counting, but still lay on the bed.
He called to the woman, Its not locked.
The door opened up with a whoosh, allowing for Quistis to enter. She wore her usual red dress and vest, and was carrying one jar of olives, three hardcover books, two paperbacks, a box that resembled the kind pizza came in, and a deck of cards.
Honestly Squall, she began, stepping into the room and handing him the olive jar. I dont know what you see in those things?
I see a pimento. He answered, taking the jar and unscrewing the lid. He threw the coppery thing carelessly behind him. It shot off the only window in the room and landed on his desk. Immediately, he stuck his gloved hand into the olive juice and started pulling them out of the jar, one by one.
Quistis gave a squeamish look of disgust as Squall shoved each olive individually into his mouth, making slurping sounds as he did.
You should get out more. She told him matter-of-factly.
More then what? He rebutted, not stopping the train of olives from coming.
More then you already do! Youre starting to become weird and weird.
Terrific! Let me know when I graduate to freaky.
Im serious Squall! Piped Quistis, Youre missing out. It was volunteer day in the cafeteria, and I made my favorite dish.
How many casualties?
Really, thats a new low for you, isnt it?
Oh, like you could cook any better?
Squall dared to look up from his olive jar, his expression sheepish. I withdraw my insult.
Quistis remained standing and silent for a few seconds while Squall continued to wolf the olives down. He had been lippy before, but never as lippy as he was after they got back from the time-compressed world. It was comforting for her to think that he was finally shedding the exterior shell that he had worn most of his life, it showed in his snappy witticisms that he was becoming more talkative. On the downside, it could have also been a sign that he had just donned another shell to protect him from something else. Such as Rinoa.
Anyone with half a brain would want to help him in such a manner. But, since Quistis had a whole brain, and more experience, she knew it would not be good for either of their health to do so. For now, she had to ride the roller coaster, and see where it stopped.
She dropped the five books she carried onto his bed. Here are the books you asked for. She spread them out and named them off, starting with an old, dark blue hardcover:
Lloyd Burmans: Angels of Heaven and Hell.
She dropped that one on the bed and picked up a larger hardcover of a lighter green, and not so old looking:
Civilizations Beyond the Moon.
Next was the third hardcover, this one dark red with gold writing:
She, then, took hold of the first paperback. It looked as old as the hardcovers, and was missing its back cover:
The End of Our Existence.
Then the last. Newer, and bigger:
Dr. Odines: Wildest Theories by the Craziest People. I had no idea the library had any of these books in stock, not alone that anyone would read them. Well, maybe Dr. Odines: Wildest Theories by the Craziest People.
He should be the one to talk. Squall hissed, merely commenting on the mans own eccentricity.
Now Squall, she started, waving the book in front of her, this is what Im talking about. Your forced isolation is driving your fancies up the wall!
Whats wrong with boning up on the paranormal?
Well its just not normal. His former instructor stammered, holding the red book up in front of her.
Normality is the language that cannot be deciphered by hand-me-down garbage.
Quistis took a second to translate what he had just said. It didnt register. See, this is what Im talking about. Now, your not even making sense in your native tongue, and Im well aware of the poetic license of the Alcauldian language.
Beside her, she had put the flat box down on Squalls bed. She had neglected it until now.
I think its time we had a heart to heart. She patted the box with her hand.
Me no heart to heart. Quipped Squall; looking up from his half finished olive jar and leering at her. Me Squall Mouth-Ever-Shut.
The woman started to become cross with him. Change is good Squall.
Now, she took the box and placed it on her lap as she sat down. Ive brought a chess set with me. I figured we could have a game in the quad.
The QUAD! He shouted, nearly dropping his olive jar. But there are people there.
So? Do you have a better place in mind?
Why didnt I just drag him? Quistis wondered as she sat in the broom closet located in the back of library. They had set up the chessboard on a cardboard box. Quistis was white, and Squall was black. So far, she was down by three pawns, a knight, and a bishop. While her opponent was only down by two pawns and a bishop.
Did you hear that Ifrits Bane is expected to erupt next month? She asked, speaking first.
A string of volcanoes laid in the belly of the Fire Cavern located to the southeastern corner of Balamb. Several volcanoes in the ring were active, oozing lava out in streams daily. Others, like Ifrits Bane, were dormant, and hadnt erupted for a while. It wasnt clear if the volcano was named after GF Ifrit, or vise versa. That GF, she knew, was now Selphies. Knowing this fact, the name seamed more apt then ever.
Yes. He answered. I have also heard that the Horizon Bridge has been opened. After he spoke, he moved one of his pawns to take out her pawn. The Horizon Bridge, as he had mentioned, lay between the shores of Timber and Esther, with the large settlement of Fishermans Horizon smack dab in the middle. The railway had been shut down for seventeen years due to the First Sorceress War.
Really, where did you here that?
Quistis, just because I be in my room all day, does not mean I am blind and deaf. I here gossip from outside my door.
So you are getting social experience?
Quistis took hold of one of her pawns, and took out another one of Squalls pawns.
You know, she started, both Irvine ant I have noticed you have become rather talkative lately. At least with us.
Like I set. Whatever.
But I am still concerned.
Go for the kill Quisty. Her conscience insisted. His mind is on the game. His brain cant go two ways.
You could just be performing an act, making us think stuff. Concluded she.
That theres trouble in Squallsville.
You have no right to enter Squallsville. And I prefer to call it: My Frequent Purgatory. He took hold of his queen, and moved her forward one space.
Your upset about Rinoa. Arent you? She moved her knight out of near shot with his queen. Damn, I promised myself that I wouldnt go there.
You also have no right to talk about Rinoa. Shes mine, not yours. In a hated response, he took her recently moved knight out with one of his rooks.
You cant blame all your recent woes on drugs and blood loss.
Squall gave his classical look of disdain, the one that had that powder effect on the blood. He leaned his face closer to hers. Watch me. He snarled. Setting himself back in his original position, he looked so much like a vulture to her just then, what with the fuzzy white collar and black jacket.
Quistis gave him a nasty glare back. Noticing her bishop, she moved two spaces diagonally and to her right, just diagonal of his queen.
Well, I seem to have struck a cord. He cooed.
Whats with you? Quistis observed. Why are you acting so meticulous and suspicious?
Ill have you know Ms. Trepe, he started in a low and menacing tone, Squall Leonhart does not discuss his feelings. Besides, I cant let you know! You will never understand! His mind seamed to scream out that last thought. With his queen, he was able to take out another one of Quistiss pawns.
The blond woman shook her head slowly as he removed the pawn from the board.
Not even with your former mentor? She asked.
The bigger the problem, the more reason to keep it behind lock and key.
But Squall, she started, as she used her remaining knight to take out his remaining bishop, the bigger the problem, the more it needs to be discussed.
Oh, but thats were your wrong. For sometimes, it is best to ignore the biggest threat. Illustrating his point, he managed to take her last bishop with his rook.
Checkmate. He quipped.
Quistis looked down at the board. She was checkmated. With her two rooks at her kings side, his rook right in front, and his queen able to graze the area in front of them, there was no way she could move. If only she hadnt paid so much attention to his queen.
She looked up from the board to meet his stern gaze. This proves nothing.
Says you. Squall snapped back.
Cmon Squall, Quistis complained, also sounding very assertive, your mental health is in question. Headmaster Cid is worried.
Duh! Thought Squall bitterly. Hes already planning to dump me in some clinic. He remembered the pamphlet he found in the Headmasters office, he still kept it, hidden away in one of his desk drawrs. For some reason, he felt that he needed to hold onto it.
Do you, or do you not have anything to say? Quistis asked sternly, snapping Squall out of his thoughts.
Oh, for Hynes sake, cant I get anything out of you? She growled. Im trying to help you.
Its just in one ear and out the other, isnt it?
Before Quistis could register any hate, a sneeze came from outside the closet.
What do you want? She asked a little inanely, but the door opened regardless, and Irvine was standing in front, looking very bashful.
Squall looked at the foreigner with paranoid astonishment. How the hell did you get here? Now, this is a private closet. You better have a damn good excuse for butting in?
Hey, hey, Irvine began, turning on his ultra cool exterior. I just came cus someone said you were heading this way, and I got, like, curious.
Squall and Quistis continued to glare at him. Irvines exterior began to melt as he realized he was against two people who had seen him break down several times.
I saw you come this way. He squeaked, giving up the charade and twiddling his fingers. He lowered his head to issue defeat.
You spy on us? Quistis asked with disbelief, knowing full well that she wasnt surprised.
Irvines head shot up to meet her gaze. Hey! This is a broom closet! And you two are not the same gender.
What are you getting at Kinneas? Barked Quistis.
Well, what else do you use a broom closet for? Storage? I think not.
I know! I heard it all! You two should be making out, not playing checkers.
So what! Same board.
Irvine stood in the doorway with his hands sternly wrapped across his purple shirt.
Irvine. Spoke Quistis; breaking the Irvines silence, dont you have somewhere to go?
No. My next class isnt for an hour.
Then would you like to play some chess?
You kiddn! I know nothing bout chess. Youd womp me.
Squall spoke up for the first time in a while. Then leave!
Squall! Quistis snapped.
Why should he have nothing to do but annoy? He should leave! Go bye, bye!
Whoa! Dont blow a fuse oh Terrible One! Joked Irvine.
Hey, cool it man. Im goin. He turned around, but looked back when he spotted the board. The pieces were still in their original positions.
Irvine asked, Whos white?
I am. Answered Quistis.
Youre checkmated you know.
I know, I know. She repeated with irritation.
The door to the closet closed behind them. Both Quistis and Squall could hear Irvine leave, whistling the tune to some Galbadian blues song.
Squall began to get up, but Quistis stopped him.
Squall, she started, we arent finished here.
Yes, we are.
No, we arent. She grabbed hold of his jacket sleeve, and pulled him back down.
Quistis began to speak when he was seated. Now, you dont have anything to discus? Not even after all we have been through? How the hell does Rinoa do it when all I can get is a whatever.
This is just like that night at the inauguration party. She thought. Remembering back on that night, she had asked Squall to come with her to the back of the training center. She wanted to talk to him about her demotion from SeeD instructor, back to SeeD cadet. He was her best student, and she hoped he would have something to say, whether it was to comfort her or not. But he had shunned every attempt to speak.
The Secret Area only contained a few students, not including Squall and herself. A long silence came after they had just stepped onto the balcony. Both of them looked out into the night, until Quistis asked him the time.
He rudely slapped the student beside him and asked for the time. The student gave it too him, but not without any glare of annoyance. It was apparent that Squall was annoyed himself, not because he got a mean look, but because, Quistis knew, that he hated having someone interrupt his precious schedule. And that was just what she had done.
In a decisive moment, she thought that maybe she could share her concerns with her ex-student by allowing him to remember this moment, as long as the GFs hadnt already taken it away.
Do you remember that night after you became a SeeD? She asked.
Squall had started to nod off, but snapped his head up quickly when Quistis addressed him.
He spoke nothing in response, but went back to that night in his memory.
When Quistis had asked him to go with her to the back of the training center, to the Secret Area, he had become instantly aggravated. He had planned on going to bed early, then, wake up and post his recent thoughts, in abstract, with graffiti in the morning.
A feeling of sudden and abrupt dread came over him. It couldnt have been out of annoyance, it was more like the fear of a phobia then anything.
Then, he saw her. Cloak. She was in the way of the large door that, lead out of the ballroom.
Her infinitely dark robe drooped down from her shoulders. The hems covered the floor for a short radius, and ended as tattered rags.
Her dark feline head boasted the two red eyes that seamed to fallow the most invisible of matter. Two large red spots were on her head, one just above each eye, and her ears were pressed against her temples as if in rage.
Her mouth parted open to reveal her unnaturally white fangs.
She spoke in Alcauldian, its time. Her voice was high and raspy, like sandpaper against sandpaper.
Squall screamed, but no one paid attention. They were all deaf to him and Cloak. She was never there, he knew. He had never seen anything like her that night, nor had he screamed. Cloak had found him in his memories. He had to leave.
Jumping past that memory, he fast-forwarded to the actual talk with Quistis.
She was upset, but that was only angering him further. He didnt want to say anything for fear that he would just make it worse, but how could he tell her that?
Youre good with words. A raspy voice sounded from his left.
Squall turned around, and screamed again. Cloak was right their beside him, leaning her black arms against the rail and looking at him.
Why cant you tell her? She asked, the essence of a curious little girl came over her voice, as well as impatience.
Squall continued to scream. In a frantic delusion, and the necessity to get away, he jumped off the side of the balcony. Hitting the ground with the most sickening cracking sound, his skull had been fractured.
He could see Quistis, still on the balcony. Now, she was looking down at him, emotionless, as if he had done that stunt before. Then, she left.
Not a dream, not a nightmare, but a memory that never existed.
Jumping up from his stool in the broom closet with a startled yelp and panic in his eyes, he slammed into the closed door as he tried to run away.
The true Quistis was stunned, as she saw him run face first into the door like a bird would a clean window. He collapsed to the wall, knocking over a broom. But, strangely enough, the board and its pieces did not shake a bit, preserving Quistiss checkmate.
General Wyvern's Fanfiction