Hand of Ice Chapter 5
By General Wyvern
Underneath the shallow pool of water stretched a cement ground, stretching to cement wall. The bluish ground reflected the refracted light from the waters surface, creating a mesmerizing, shimmering web of light, dancing over the concrete, as well as several coins. Each one depicted either the picture of an animal, or an elemental symbol. The cameo of several small bubbles marked the element of poison, and the tails side depicted a cricket, it was the lowest of currency at one gill. A spade drop indicated water element, it depicted a fish on the other side, this coin stood for two gill. A single circle stood for earth, and depicted a mole on the back, this coin stood for five gill. There were only three of these coins on the floor, as not many were willing to part from them for obvious financial reasons.
But coins werent the only thing that was at the bottom of the pool. There were several pebbles and rocks that made their way there, as well as the head of a doll, a copper key, several glass marbles, a brooch that held an imitation star sapphire, and an odd item that shone like, and even looked like it was made of amber. It was the richest of orange. Carved half hazardly, but still skillfully, in the shape of long tipped sickle.
From above, a single hand penetrated the surface of the water, aiming towards the orange amber sickle. The hand was, soon closely fallowed by a head. Dark hair swayed below the soft waves of the pool as the hand it belonged to, picked up the amber sickle, returning with it to the surface.
Nida pulled himself out of the small moat, gasping for a good deal of air. The fact that the moat in the quad was so deep didnt lend itself to the efficiency of getting anything out of it easy. But he did manage to pull out what he wanted: the fist-size amber sickle.
If it werent for the fun that a couple of junior classmen had, playing catch with it, he might not have had to dive into the fountain. But, if he had put the piece of amber in his room, and not left it in one of the study booths in the library, he probably wouldnt have had to worry about searching half the garden for it.
The rain that had come earlier that afternoon as he had piloted the Garden over Mandy Beach, but it had left, even though it was still a bit wet out. At least the sun shined. A few students, namely candidates, were playing hacky sack by the door. A few junior classmen were getting a game of floor hockey going below the quad stairs. Because it was still a bit wet, the game took of to a ravishing start, as the puck flew across the tile with ease. A few other students had gotten around the foliage, burying their faces in books, probably studying. And Irvine Kinneas was a few feet away from the top of the stairs with a tub of water, a bar of soap, and a soiled blanket. His coat lay beside him, as he did not want it to get in the way while he cleaning.
Out. Out! Damn spot! Nida heard him say as he was ascended the staircase. As he neared the entrance out, he nearly bumped into Quistis.
Muttering an apology, he walked past her, with something very urgent going on, on his mind.
Quistis took no notice of Nidas rush, only walked further into the quad, spotting Irvine, as he was busy washing the stains out of his blanket.
Hearing the dulled footsteps of her knee-high boots, Irvine turned around to see her approaching. His expression started as surprised, but became annoyed just as quickly when he laid eyes on her.
You here to take me to the cleaners as well? He scoffed, turning back to his work.
No, Came her answer. I believe Squall has punished you enough.
Irvine murmured a few more Galbadian curses as he scrubbed the dirty cloth. Why didnt anyone tell me he was so wrathful? He whined, turning his head to meat Quistiss cocky gaze.
You didnt ask.
Well, what the hell should I ask? Say, is Squall a very vengeful person cause I may get on his bad side one day? On top of that, the Headmaster wont even do anything.
You went to the Headmaster?
No, he called me. Came his none sarcastic reply.
Irvine turned back to his work, but continued to speak. About Squall. The Headmaster thinks he maybe mentally ill, or something like that. So hes sending him too a shrink.
Is this going to be another one of your rumors? Quistis probed.
God no! He responded with urgency in his voice, turning back towards her. Ive learned my lesson. Now, I cant even control my first rumor! Squalll kill me!
Thats true. But he is weaker now, so you do have a distinct advantage.
Protect me Quistis. Pleaded Irvine.
You sure that relying on me wont hurt your big boy image? Quistis started, obviously teasing they poor guy.
If Squall gets me, I wont have any image! Just look at my poor blanket! He, then, shoved the cover in front of the SeeD, the huge, green stain of monster droppings highly visible.
How logical of you, she exclaimed. Tell you what. Ill give you a half-ass defense, at least hell listen to me.
Irvine eased up when he heard that, but tensed up when he heard his name being shouted from across the hall.
The group of students by the door moved away. On the others side of the door stood Squall, using his gunblade as a cane. His clothes and hair were in disarray, and his eyes looked more like pale tomatoes, then eyes.
Squall pointed a gloved finger at Irvine. I have a bone to pick with you! He yelled.
Now that Irvine thought of it, why didnt he ask? It wasnt like the SeeD was Mister Sunshine, or Sweet Sammy.
His names Squall for heavens sake! Irvine angrily reminded himself. That does not suggest hes a very cheerful person.
His gunblade made distinctive chinking sounds as he hobbled across the quad, not taking his eyes off his victim, nor fearing him, no matter how bigger, or stronger, that victim apparently was.
Gotta go. Remarked Quistis, running away to the stairs in a hurry, leaving Irvine to fend for himself.
Squall stopped only a foot away from him, and looked up. His expression had his usual stoic taste, as well as the hidden air of humorous spite that never seamed to show. Even at his distance, Irvine could smell his breath, and it was hideous.
One thing I can say, Rinoa didnt fall for you because of your minty-fresh breath.
With no words, Squall continued to stare at Irvine with his emotionless visage.
Oh, cmon! Youre angry! I know you are! So look like it! Okay!
Squall still stared at him. A definite sense of tension had built up, and the spectators were obviously holding their breath, not wanting to miss a second of any response. Irvine could feel it himself, but had the feeling that his attempting mauler was waiting for him to make the first move.
You know, he squeaked, scratching the back of his head absently, youre not allowed to carry your gunblade.
Surprisingly enough, Squall responded very slyly with a heavy Alcauldian slang. I be told not to use gunblade for fighting or training, but nothing be said about using it as a cane, yah.
Nice comeback. They both thought.
More moments of silence passed. Squall still remained unmoving, and Irvine still remained nervous.
Still not sure he wanted to, Irvine continued to squeak. So, are you here to kick my ass? Get wize Irvine, hes too frickn weak, hes goinna, like, do something nastier.
Oh, I wont do that, answered Squall, I not Zell. Neither am I in good shape to take you on physically.
Whoah! Dude, you admittn that you cant do somethin.
Out of the short time that Irvine knew Squall, he had come to the quick conclusion that the guy had pride, and demanded dignity. But here he was, using his own weapon as a walking stick and admitting he couldnt take on a challenge. The weakness itself was probably getting to him already, for he wasnt used to, or maybe just didnt like being this demeaned.
So whatcha goinna dew? Irvine asked hesitantly.
I not come here for chit chat! Barked Squall. Youre little charade of social havoc has gone off road and into ditch! You lucky I not shave you bald and chip your teeth out! Infact, whats stopping me? He lifted his free hand up to Irvines face, locking his fingers in a vicious claw-like way.
Stop it right there Squall! Came a shout from behind. Both Irvine and Squall looked towards the door to the quad, seeing that Instructor Repede had stumbled upon their little scuffle. The other spectators also looked towards the tiny Instructor.
Well, if it isnt the Mighty Midget. Growled Squall, not in any humorous or sarcastic way as his enemy, Seifer would have done. Instead, there was just hate.
Whats this thats happening? Are you threatening another student? Asked Repede with flaring distaste.
Call it what you want. Squall growled. But unlike some people, I dont let things slide.
The instructor ignored him. And what are you doing out of the dormitory? Is that your gunblade youre using as a cane?
I had leg troubles.
That is an improper use of a gunblade young man. Repede scolded, not flinching from Squalls infamous burst into flames look.
That guys got some guts. Irvine thought with shame. Yet, Im a couple of inches taller, and I cower. If he werent an instructor, Id never be able to live this down.
Still on a scolding streak, Repede continued. Youre going straight to the Headmaster for this this act!
Oh, give me a break! Squall spat back. He was tired, and the side effects from the drugs were giving him a headache. To say the least, he wasnt in the mood to argue anything. Im stuck in a frickn box all day with you people dictating my every move! Now, I cant even use my own property for simple, goddamn assistence in WALKING!
That gunblade is the property of Balamb Garden.
It became mine when I became a SeeD!
Repede stopped his comments for a second while he mentally checked over the Garden manual. As usual, Squall was right.
Yeah, thats right. Bitterly, Squall hissed. Its mine, dammit!
Repede looked back up at him with a scowl. Thats no excuse for misuse.
At hearing this, the spectators, including Irvine, had to gasp in awe. No one, not junior classmen, not candidate, and especially a SeeD, got away with talking back an instructor. Repede especially. That kind of behavior wasnt known since Seifer left Garden.
Thats it! Shouted the instructor, taking hold of Squalls free hand. Youre coming with me.
I said: I dont want to come with you!
Even though Repede had dealt with headstrong teenagers before, he wasnt very equipped to handle what was happening before him. From what he could tell, the boy was taking in very shallow breaths, his eyes didnt seem to be focusing on him, and it looked as if he was sweating. Regardless of what his position, and pride demanded he should do, he would be damned if any one of his students had a stroke, or something, in front of him.
Opting to stay out of deep waters, Repede took a more evasive side. All right Leonhart, you dont have to come with me, but I want you to march immediately to the Headmasters office. Ill come by to see that you do. The instructor left, hoping that Squall would be more willing to confront Headmaster Cid. The students who were watching all turned back to their regular activities, now that the fight seamed to have died down.
Irvine stood speechless, looking at where Repede had left the quad.
Quistis had returned from wherever she had left to. Wow, he was pissed. She commented.
Who? Irvine asked absentmindedly. Squall or Repede?
Sure was, he made Repede mad enough and He turned his head towards the woman, not looking very pleased. Why did leave me to fend for myself? If looks could, like, kill, my life would have been at stake, woman!
Quistis agreed whole-heartedly. Yeah, but frankly, Im still mad at you.
So, you ran off?
And left me to fend off the gorgon? Irvine asked with rivaled curiosity and annoyance. I swear Quistis, when he was born, the doc musta takn out his original head of hair and replaced it, cuz it dont look like snakes for hair any more? Damn, that guy gives me the heeby geebies! Just starin into those steal gray eyesll drive you mental! I wouldnt choose that over Adel!
As I recall, Quistis chided, you turned tail when she looked at you. And his eyes are sky blue.
Well, so did you. And they were gray
Yes, but you were the first. Theyre blue!
Hey! Hey! The woman was huge and, like, monstrously ugly. I had to leave or Id go insane! Infact, I think we all turned tail, leavin Squall behind. His snarl erased itself, and was replaced by a snicker. Gosh, I wonder what the look on his face was when he found out he had to, like, fight Adel alone? And Im sure they were gray.
Quistis gave a cross look up to Irvine. Well, why dont you ask him?
About the Adel thing? Or the eye thing?
Well, maybe I will.
Thats good then.
Ill ask him.
All right then.
Where is he?
Irvine looked over to his right where she was pointing, and gasped. There he was, still with his gunblade, and a rather psychotic face that read bloody murder all over it. Obviously, he had not left his spot, and had defiantly heard everything Irvine had said.
An uneasy Irvine turned to face a very displeased person, or, as he had referred to: gorgon. Before you tear my throat out, I just want to say that I have a good explanation for why I did what I did. And are your eyes gray?
You damn well have better! And last time I checked, they were pink! Roared Squall, shaking his free fist at the taller man in a show of intimidation that, not so surprisingly, was more Zell-style then Squall-style.
Okay, first, I had not faced, like, a sorceress that was twice my size before. Second, she smelled like a hospital word, and as you may not know, I dont like hospitals in the least. Third
Squall didnt deem well enough to hear another one of Irvines pathetic excuses. It was not enough that he had just left him, but everyone else had fallowed suit?
When they had boarded the massive and elusive air-fortress-slash-mechanism: the Lunatic Pandora, Seifer had gone nuts and abducted Rinoa. When him and the rest of the group caught up with the loon, he had already given her up to Adel, who was just waking up from her damaged prison. Sealed away about seventeen years ago at the end of the Sorceress War, the name of Sorceress Adel was infamous throughout the world as the biggest tyrant that lived. Now, she stood in front of them, her eyes glowing and sharp teeth bared. Irvine was right about one thing, she was ugly. Really, she looked more like a man then a woman. But, of coarse, he had left. As Squall pictured the dark orange hall, lit only by the eerie glow of Adels tomb, he could remember hearing Irvine run for it, fallowed by three other sets of feet. When he turned around to see what had happened, he was very disappointed when he saw that he was alone. Which, suited him fine, he didnt mind taking on the Sorceress alone. He envied them, anyway, caring more about their own hydes then the hydes of thousands upon thousands of strangers. He wished he had that kind of discipline, but, even though Rinoa had been fused to Adels heavily muscled chest, making her look like a starfish on a rock, he couldnt run anyway because it was literally his job to take Adel out, and because it would have been a severe blow to his pride.
Rinoa moaned as she struggled with consciousness, while Adel turned to Squall.
I squash you like tiny bug! She hissed, pointing a clawed finger his way, speaking a heavy Estherian accent.
No kidding. Was all he could think of, taking in her monstrous size.
You not know what hit you! Tiny man! She hissed again.
Is kind of hard too assume that, started Squall, speaking as much Estherian as he knew, since you be much big, and loud. It be hard to miss you rearing very ugly head of yours. And I bet you not move very fast.
Adel was not pleased, to say the least. Why, you little gündershkoff! Those words, I make you eat!
I have no doubt you will.
Aiming her hand towards him, she made the ground shake beneath him. The spell was recognizable to him. Called quake to all those who either knew, or used any form of magic, it was earth based in the sense it used the essence of the earth. It was a bloodless spell of magic, but brutally effective if one couldnt fly. Squall took a heavy blow, not being able to keep his footing. But the spell was a bit weak, and he recovered quickly.
Raising her fists angrily in the air, her screams made it apparent that she was not happy. Tunger shneer kündigg! Osh modig vinglborg!
Ill assume Im glad I didnt understand that.
Adel raised her hand to throw another spell, but was cut off by a raspy scream at the other end of the corridor.
The Sorceress stopped her spell from materializing, and both her and Squall looked to see who had come. The black robed Cloak showed herself by the light of the Bone Hall outside. She waved her clawed hands around wildly as if she were on fire, her robe opened to reveal the slimy root that grew down from under her neck.
Adel stood speechless as the fiendish thing approached, but Squall began to scream at the site. For this time, others were responding to Cloaks presence, while they hadnt before, and it scared him.
That was not what happened. Squall had managed to tick Adel off so much, she went ballistic. Shooting spells which way and what, making it easy for him to get close enough to wedge his gunblade in her ankle. Thus, making it easier to stick the tip of the silvery blade in between her ribs. Making it, the only blood shed throughout the entire ordeal.
But the entry of Cloak forbade him to remember the rest of that bloodless fight. She came in screaming, and wavering about like a mad banshee, interrupting what he should of remembered.
Then, Cloak turned to Squall, her mouth half open, and her shining red eyes glaring right at him.
Let me out! Let me out! LET ME OUT!
From the quad, Irvine and Quistis saw his eyes go wide, and his hands dashing forwards, clutching Quistiss neck. The whole thing happened so fast that the two fall over, and the silvery gunblade clattered to the tiled floor.
Hey! Irvine shot back. Hes supposed to be mad at me!
Quistis struggled with Squalls groping grip on her throat. Tell him that. She managed to gag out.
Headmaster Cid looked at the two before him with a serious and stern expression. Quistis and Squall sat before his desk in his office. Instructor Repede had sent them both up, and sounded very unhappy, unlike the Headmaster, who was very worried.
So Quistis, he began, looking at the ex-instructor. Tell me, in your words, what happened.
She began a little reluctantly, not knowing where she should begin. I was in the quad with Irvine. Squall was there because he wanted to deal with Irvine about that rumor. He was hobbling, using his gunblade as a cane. Irvine tried to convince him not to get angry, and he mentioned Sorceress Adel. It seamed that Squall had cooled down, but he just attacked me, with no warning what so ever.
The Headmaster nodded as he took in what she said.
And you, Squall? The Headmaster looked at him with a mocking, curious look.
I attacked Quistis? He responded with another question. I dont remember anything like that.
Headmaster Cid looked worried again as he heard this, but continued. Then, perhaps you should tell me what you do remember.
Well, I remember being angry at Kinneas. The scenes from his memories were always laid out in full, vivid motion picture, very much like a movie, and he was replaying every scene as a movie editor would. My legs were shaking badly, so I grabbed the only thing I could find to help me stand, and I marched down too the quad, hoping that Irvine was there, because I didnt feel like looking around the whole Garden for him. Squall could see himself walking down the hall; hear himself muttering angry curses to himself. Then the gate to the quad was in front of him. I saw Kinneas standing beside Quistis. She ran off when I came near
Could you skip to the part where you attacked Quistis. Ordered the Headmaster.
The student obliged with no hesitation. When Kinneas started to talk about when we all met Adel, and how everyone left. he shot an angry look at Quistis when he said this. He could picture that whole scene where he saw Irvine lay out all the excuses he had made up for the occasion. Quistis was beside him to his left, looking back and forth at both him and Irvine with much confusion, and Cloak was on his right, looking right at him
Unfortunately, the ability he had to make the memory of Quistis and Irvine crystal clear was making Cloak pop up just as vividly, and she was staring right at him.
Let me out! She yelled, making harsh slurping sounds as she finished screeching.
Headmaster Cid was the first to notice something was wrong, as he saw Squalls gray eyes go wide, and his breathing became rapid. Quistis fallowed soon in this noting as he dove right for the elder man. She managed to grab him under the arms as he clawed fingers tore madly about to get at the Headmasters throat. Keeping his eyes on Squall, Cid reached for the mic that sat on his desk, and managed to beep the infirmary.
Dr. Kadowaki, he spoke in the mic, his voice shaky with panic. I have a situation in my office. Please send two big, and strong students.
The pompous structure of the Domane house stood up amidst a backdrop of pines, birches, and spruces. The night overhung the gothic structure, starless and moonless. The only light came from the house itself, and the feeble lights of Timber.
The lot in front of the house was alive with a marble fountain, carved with a stone angel. Her head thrust upwards, and wings spread out in preparation for flight. Water came out of the vase that she carried. Various vehicles were parked around it. On the right side, covered in proper asphalt and protected by a stone wall, was where the Galbadian residence parked their limousines, while the Timber guest were position on the left, where the asphalt gave way to gravel, and had only small trees to protect the cars from the weather.
As they arrived, they entered. A group of Galbadian bouncers were placed in front of the front door. Their main purpose was to make sure the people from Timber didnt enter before the Galbadians did.
From the back of the house, a smaller building sat by a simple wooden door, lighted only a by a single bare bulb. Inside were three security guards; all of them were watching a monitor each. It was a hard duty, as there were twelve monitors, but they were told only to watch the front door, the tunnel, and the fourth floor.
A few soldiers had come by earlier that day to drop something off. They wouldnt say what, but the security guards knew, that the party was to celebrate this new delivery, and eventually, reveal it. Besides this information, they didnt know what the heck it was. The reason for having the party in Timber, and not in Galbadia, was that the delivery was to be shipped to Esther City the very next morning via Horizon Bridge.
The three of them were so intent on there objective that they neglected to watch what really should have counted: Their own backs.
Moving with brigand agility, Rinoa took two of them down. The third managed to get up and see what was happening, but he proved no match for Angelo. All it took was one order from her master, and the mans arm was in a tooth filled vice.
Watts and Mordechai came in the small room with twine in hand. With two of the guards unconscious, and the third with a wounded arm, it was easy to tie them up.
After they were tied up, the three teenagers took to the control panel while Angelo stayed to watch their hostages.
With the planned descriptions they had studied, the Viral team found no trouble in taking out the alarms and sensors. It was now time to contact the rest.
Mordechai and Watts took up a station at the monitors, each on taking six to watch at random. While Watts was watching what was going on inside, Mordechai watched the outside, and the basement. Whilst they were monitoring the grounds, Rinoa took out her walkie-talkie and, once the right station was found, contacted the Lookout team.
Weve secured the security shack, over. She started, turning her signal to receive.
Watching the front door from in a tree sat two other Forest Owls: Zone, and another guy named Brix. When Rinoas message came over the frequency, Zone took the walkie-talkie and confirmed that he was in place, as well as a piece of the team that was hiding by the west side, the other at the east side, one at the back, and the fourth, a little ways down the road.
When all the sub teams of the Lookout confirmed their status, Rinoa turned back to her own teammates to confirm their own status.
She began to the two men. Hows everything goin? Find anything?
I think Ive found what we may be here for. Suggested Mordechai, pointing to a large crate on one of the monitors. The room it was in was a cement blockade with a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. The crate was large, roughly four by four feet in length, and bearing the Galbadian coat of arms.
Rinoa turned to look at Mordechai. Are you sure?
Sure am. Its the only crate here.
She checked to see if he was right, and, he was, no other crate could be seen. The basement was pretty much empty, excluding several moskeetoes that buzzed by.
Terrific. Rinoa grinned happily, turning her walkie-talkie back on. Zone. I think we may have found our target.
Zones voice came over the frequency. All right. Well get the Decoy team in here.
When Rinoa had no more to say, he turned to a different channel and contacted their patsies.
Andy was asleep at the wheal of the Forest Owls car. The vehicle was done up as best they could to make it look more upper class. Zone had flexed his awesome make up skills to make all four of them look a little older. >From what he had heard from Zell, he was very sure that their disguises would work, or at least, hope they would fool the bouncers. Rind was the first to get to the walkie-talkie. Zone gave them the order to move out.
The car rolled down the gravel road until it came to the front end of the house. No gates guarded the outside, and no walls bordered the perimeter. The four Forest Owls had to wonder how such a large house felt with such inadequate security in a country where so much hostility was present. They gave the thought no more attention, as they pulled into the gravel lot reserved for Timber guests.
Rind and Spikes came out first, each one dressed in a suite that had been stolen, as they could not afford, nor did any of them have any sewing skills, to create anything then the rags they already had. Rind had not cut his hair, but he had brushed it, to Rinoas great relief. Spikes had abandoned his bandana, and combed his hair flat, much to his dislike. Andy and Red Hawk came out only seconds later. Red Hawk was the only one that was wearing a turtleneck and dark corduroys. The red tattoo that covered his forehead had been conveniently covered to make him look less conspicuous.
Andy made his way to the trunk of the car and opened it. Inside was their getaway driver, Cody. He was scrunched up in the most uncomfortable position. When he had pleaded to be hidden under the dashboard, Zone had refused and had gotten another stomach spasm. The reason he had given was that someone was more likely to see him if he was hidden in front, so they stuffed him in the trunk. Thankfully, the trunk door to the old wreck didnt close all the way, and Cody still had something to breath.
You all right? Asked Andy.
Croaked Cody, Can I come out now?
Andy looked up to the other four who were with him. Hes okay. He spoke quietly enough so that no one would bother to over hear him. Then he closed the trunk door again, over Codys protests.
As nervous as they already were, they received no worse shock when the bouncer at the front of the door told them they couldnt enter. For a while, the four boys thought that they had already been caught. Their fear was evaded when Rind had asked why, and was told that Timber guests werent allowed in until after the foreign Galbadians were all inside. So they had no choice but to wait outside.
Man, this sucks. Whined Red Hawk, who was leaning against a birch trunk.
Hey! Just be lucky we werent caught. Rind reminded him.
No one else felt they had to say anything, so they just sat quiet with the other Timber guests who had to wait.
It had become cold out, and the four Forest Owls couldnt help but notice that very few of the others didnt have jackets.
Andy started to shake Rinds arm. Hey, bro. Look whos here.
Rind looked over where Andy was pointing. It was a midget woman, dark haired, wearing a dark blue dress and a black pearl necklace.
A Forest Bear. Commented Red Hawk. Guess we werent the only ones to pick up that information.
Spikes came up to hear their conversation, but could not deliver any input. A small monster, a thrustaevis, had cut up his throat when he was younger. Now, he couldnt talk at all.
Having position on the walkie-talkie, Andy found it best to contact Zone about their unfortunate discovery. As expected, Zone was not happy to hear about it, but advised then to stay as far away from the midget as possible.
Out of all the resistance members in Timber, the Forest Owls, and the Forest Bears did not see eye to eye at all. It seamed that the Bears did what they did more for glory then for their countrys independence, a moral that the Owls despised. They had been rivals ever since the two factions had been made four years ago. Whenever the two groups did cross paths, it was often with different objectives in mind.
The midget came unknowingly closer towards them. The four Owls were concerned about running, or even moving away in such a crowd. Thankfully, they were sparred the discussion, when the Galbadain bouncer announced they could all go in.
All the Timber guests pilled into the great house. Andy, Rind, Red Hawk and Spikes stopped to stare in awe at the houses foyer.
A great crystal chandelier hung from shining brass-looking ceiling. The walls were of an earthy tone with large tapestries of self portraits and landscapes. The floor itself, was checkered bronze and black, and carried a moderate reflective property. Spikes found it particularly entertaining to watch the reflection of his feet move around as he did. Three staircases, one leading from the far left, another from the far right, and another in the middle, had dark red, velvet carpeting draped on them. At the floor where the cases started, each banister ended in a statue of what looked like angels and nymphs. But one of them, a statue on the right staircase, on the right banister. The figure had the head of a lion, or so it looked like at first glance, fastened in a pose of roaring. Looking closer, it was clear that the head had ears that spread off into three branches each, and had four eyes, a neck that was more reptilian, and four, well carved tongues. Behind it were well carved bat wings with four fingers each. Its body was that of a snake, and had no legs. Its arms were very humanoid looking, but the hands only held, what could be recognized, as two fingers. There were two other appendages on the hands, but they looked more like something that would be seen in a dentists office, and one was sticking out of the top of the hand, while the other was sticking out of the opposite side that the thumb would normally be.
Red Hawk was the only one to notice it. For when he told the others to see this weird stone figure, another nymph replaced it as soon as they all looked back at it. Red Hawk swore it was the figure of some monster, but got no appreciation. The rest thought the odd lighting of the foyer was making his eyes funny. Constantly, he pleaded for truth as the four crowded with the rest down the elaborate main hall to the ballroom.
The chandelier in the foyer was big, but not as big, or decorative, as the one in the ballroom. It carried white, red, green, and blue colored crystals. The illumination of which, was made more dazzling with the small electrical lights behind the crystal vales. A separated pendent of gold hung down from the very tip, shaped like an oak leaf. The room was round, and had about a thirty foot radius. The very center was marked by another statue. This one was of a large bird, most likely an eagle. It was carved out of dark marble, and its eyes were made of rubies. The whole thing was perched on a granite rock.
The pillared walls were lined with tables, each one holding a center piece flowers: cloud lips, dragon tails, and muralwind flowers, all held in very exotic looking vases often accompanied by blue and white candles, sitting on top of laced white table cloths. Hours douveres were already set out on each table, and the four boys were salivating at the site of croissants with raspberry icing, plum cake with cream cheese, pitchers of something they all hopped was sweet, chocolate covered roaches, slices of lemon coconut squares, endless plates of chocolate chip and blueberry muffins, and several other items that they didnt even know existed in the Wide World of Pastries.
Just above them was a balcony, closed by two white doors with golden organic designs fringing out from the edges. A stairway led down from the left of the balcony, covered in a plain black rug.
Beneath, was a marble floor. White, in the best sense, but decked in several gray veins and dark yellow smears.
As the four looked around with curiosity, Rind spotted the midget going up and down the tables. It looked like she was admiring the food, but it was hard to tall, as she had her back to them. Someone else was walking along with her. It was a taller woman, short haired, wearing a hideous, frilly, deep forest green dress. Rind also recognized this woman as a Forest Bear.
From behind him, Andy blurted out, I am going home from this party so fat
Better take a rain check on the snacks for a while.
Why? He asked, turning around, frowning at the longhaired guy.
Rinds next sentence was announced in a whisper. Because there are two Forest Bears by the tables.
Inside the security shack, Watts, noticed that their Decoy team had made it in.
Rinoa sir. He called, looking back to where Rinoa was keeping watch at the door. Theyre in.
Rinoa looked at him for a second, as if she didnt believe, them. She left her post and walked up to the monitor he was pointing at. She noticed Rind, Andy, Red Hawk and Spike right away.
Did you see those Forest Bears they were talking about? She asked Watts.
Ditto. Remarked Mordechai from his seat by the other six monitors.
The two men went quiet; as Rinoa held up the walkie-talkie, ready to call in the Scavenger team.
An electrical static came over the frequencies. Idri! nira sthi vákor? Vraskidur nàmir nirsvati! [Hey! You there? Come in you guys!]
Idri! nira sthi vákor? Vrâskidur nàmir nirsvati!
The call woke Zell up from his napping. He waited for Selphie to grab it, but realized, that as the new squad leader, it was his duty to answer the call. So had no choice but to answer.
Drith, Air sakir hurgung nira. Isvasrind. [Yo, I can hear you. Over.]
Guys, the Decoy team has just entered the building. Informed Rinoa, still speaking Alcauldian.
Zell answered back, sounding very happy to hear her voice. Okay, but when you finish a transmission on a walkie-talkie, you should always end with over. Over.
Fine! Just get goin! Over!
See, that wasnt so hard. Over.
What did I say about getting going? Over.
You said nothing, just that we should be going. Over.
HEY BRINE! Rinoa yelled in Mainstream, obviously trying to get Brines attention. GET GOIN! OVER!
From the front seat, Brine unfolded his arms from the cradle he had made for his head and gripped the steering wheel. The car purred affectionately as he turned the key for the ignition.
Thats a fine sounding car. Selphie commented. Zell couldnt contrast, the Forest Owls car, although cheep, was better then the rental they came with.
I should hope. Spoke Brine in Galbadian. Its important that this car doesnt make much noise. We wouldnt want to be discovered before we got there? The car pulled out from its parked position in front of the local drycleaner, motoring down the road at a reasonable pace.
What happens if we do get caught? Asked Zell, leaning over from the back seat.
Lynched, it were lucky.
And if we arent
The D-District Prison.
The SeeD sat back in his seat. He had been to the D-District Prison, and it certainly wasnt thrilling.
As Selphie had been so kind to point out, they had been in the Galbadian prison before. It had happened shortly after he and his squad, then led by Squall, had left Timber on account of security. After finding a safe haven in Galbadia Garden, they were sent on a mission to kill Sorceress Edea. The mission was a flop, and they were arrested. They had been lucky to get out the first time. Second time around, they would not have the blessing of four SeeDs, seven GFs, and really stupid guards.
The lights of the gravel streets had thinned out to none. Now, the burgundy car was on wild road, lined by giant pines and birches. Brine had turned the headlights on low as to see his way around the curving, dirt path. The Forest Owl was sweating from tension. The road was narrow, and meandered more then an old stream; one false move would have sent the car and passengers into the ditch. Several close calls came when Zell began to gab, Brine had lost his concentration and nearly ran into the trunk of an evergreen. The unexpected detour had gotten them off the road. The vehicle wasnt all terrain, but it managed to get itself back on the road, minus one bumper and a broken headlight.
The loss of one headlight didnt matter, for Brine turned them off just as the road was starting to straighten out.
Sup Brine, Zell asked, really loud.
Both Brine and Selphie shushed him. Zell gave his question again as soon as he registered that he had to be quiet.
Were nearing the Domane House.
But arent the sensors supposed to be down?
They can still hear us. Commented Selphie. And with yon voice like that, I wouldnt be surprised if they heard us already.
Then, I say, bring it on!
Zell, this isnt funny! Shut up!
Who says Im being funny? Im damn serious! Im pumped and ready to do some stealing!
Well, were not going to do any thieving with you announcing our arrival.
Zell and Selphie continued to squabble for a few more seconds while Brine got the car into position in front of a small moat that surrounded the underground entrance. He made sure to hide the car behind a thick cover of cariganas and pine saplings, so that they wouldnt be seen by anyone who ventured outside.
Turning around in his seat, Brine cautioned the two mercenaries, Now, remember, if your in trouble, that means you are lost. If you are in deep, that means you are in jeopardy of being caught. If you are stuck that means the original plan has been botched, and you need a new one.
Both of them were spellbound. They looked at Brine with the uncanny expressions of a nine year old trying to read a level eight book.
Why cant we just say it in plain Galbadian? Zell asked.
Selphie still wanted to ask what they had to say if they were caught, but was interrupted by Zell, yet again.
Sounds straight forward. Wouldnt you agree, Selphie?
She took a moment to decide whether to respond or not. I think so?
Good, continued Brine. Now, if you are in the house for some reason, contact Andy. Hes leading the Decoy team.
Is he Rinds brother, cuz he looks the same? Blurted Zell.
Theyre twins. Whyd you ask?
Just curious, you know. I never really knew any twins before. Well, there was this one time I came close
No time Zell! Interrupted Selphie as she grabbed her nunchaku. Weve got a job to do, aye.
Brine watched them as they got out of the car. Good luck you guys. He spoke before they closed the door.
A single light fixture that was cemented to the brick wall, as well as a few lights that could be seen under the moat lighted the outside. At close inspection, both Zell and Selphie could see that the moat was artificial, lined by teal painted cement. On the other side was a huge platform fitted with granite ceramic tiles. The door to the basement looked more natural then the moat, for all they knew, the entire house could have been built on top of a cave. There was no light on the inside, as could plainly be seen.
Selphie tested the water by dipping a finger in. As suspected, it was cold
She turned to her squad leader, who was busy surveying a spruce sapling. Looks like we have to swim across the water. She was now speaking Alcauldian.
Alright! Time for a swim! Zell cheered, as well as dove face first into the moat, making much noise in the process.
The temperature of the water was a shock at first, but he persisted, driven forth by his own strength and hyped up energy. Being a child raised in the harbor town of Balamb, he had pretty much been swimming his whole life, and had become very skillful in the water. Even though he was still wearing his shoes, and his clothes, he did not falter, but they did feel very heavy when he got up onto dry ground again, soaking wet.
Oh, forget what I said, came Selphies excited voice from the other side of the moat, we can use this big ol tree.
With disbelief and embarrassment on mind, Zell turned around anyway to see what she was talking about. Selphie had found a thick old oak with branches that stretched way over the water. As he watched some more, the girl made her footing on several knots in the twisted tree trunk, climbing up until she reached the thickest bough. With the added speed of GF Pandemona, and her own lightweight, she leaped off the bough and landed on the platform.
Hey, it helps to take a little look around. The girl giggled, giving one of her winning smiles and bouncing steps.
Zell coughed up more water, Youre telling me. He turned around to face her, soaking wet and not to pleased.
Well, did you think that swimming was the only way?
Selphie gave him a playful shove. Cmon, youre the squad leader, you have to act like Squall now! And he wouldnt have jumped face first into a moat unless there was no other way.
His last word fine seamed to echo throughout the cave behind him. A soft rhythm of thuds flowed from the darkness, and then became louder, until the source of the sound emerged. Selphie gagged on shocked surprise while Zell turned around to face the intruder.
In front of the SeeDs stood a nine foot tall yellow android: a Galbadian unit known as GIM47N. Old by their technologys standard, but not by their punch.
Zell, Selphie squeaked, that doesnt look like a moskeeto.
No sweat man. Zell started confidently, weve met these babies before and gotten off clear.
Just as he finished, the android launched a massive metal fist directed at the blondes head. He missed just narrowly. With an extreme fortune of luck, the GIM47N had taken an unfortunate step to get closer for the punch, and ended up tripping over Zells crouched form, falling face first into the moat. The water crackled and spat at the live machinery of the robot hit it. The GIM47N hit the concrete bottom, thrashing for a few seconds until it short-circuited for good. It then lay motionless at the bottom; with the underwater lights illuminating its last pose.
Both Zell and Selphie looked down at the disposed android.
See, piped Zell rather proudly, no sweat.
What do you mean: no sweat. Mordechai heard Selphie whine on one of the monitors. You know, Quezacotl could have taken that thing out easily.
Psht, I only use GFs for the really tough battles. I did not count that as a tough battle. Besides, if that thing was smarter, it wouldnt have picked a fight with me in the first place.
Theyre in. Announced Mordechai, but not without a scuffle.
Rinoa shot a worried look at him. What, are they hurt in any way?
No, theyre fine, he explained as the sorceress pushed up in front of him to see the monitors. She couldnt see them, as they had already gone into the cave, but she did see something unusual.
Whys the water bubbling like that? She asked.
A big huge robot appeared that sure as hell wasnt a moskeeto.
Blue or yellow?
Was it big, burly looking, and had a metal ring over its head?
Thats it! He answered with agreement.
But the prints said nothing about those things. She started to shake with heavy concern. Not so much that the GIM47N was around, she knew Selphie and Zell could take care of that, but it changed so much, along with the coupled interference of the Forest Bears.
Ive never seen one of those things sir. Watts asked a little less concerned. What are they?
Some kind of security android, started Rinoa, looking over at Watts. I saw them in the D-District, but I cant remember what they were called.
I think those are the robots my mom always talk about. Informed Mordechai. She said there were a lot of them around when Galbadia first invaded. Everyone called them the Iron Fists. And just when were you in the D-District?
I believe I have told you that story a hundred and seventy-two times! Rinoa complained to his face.
And I still dont get it! How come you were called into the assassination?
I told you! I had to pass as a SeeD so they wouldnt throw me out in the middle of the Monterosa!
So how come they didnt?
Rinoa sighed in annoyed surrender. Arent you supposed to be keeping an eye on our SeeDs?
Realizing his negligence, Mordechai quickly turned around to face one of his assigned monitors. On it, it appeared that Zell and Selphie had stumbled upon a moskeeto, and were busily beating it to metal mulch.
Watts was also watching his monitors. On them, he could keep an eye on their Decoy team. It seamed as if the four guys were getting a hang of their role, even though, it seamed that Andy was making very sure that none of them ate any of the hours douveres set out. He also noticed some strange newcomers. They wore robes of white with colorful ponchos and funny hats. Judging from their funny clothing, Watts thought them no more then entertainment, so he felt no need to tell anyone of this new finding.
Selphie brought down a last smash with her nunchaku. The moskeeto was now, officially, offline.
That showed it. Boasted Zell.
It sure did. Selphie agreed.
Now to go and find more of these metal buggers n bust em!
Then we find the delivery. Aye?
You know, the delivery we came here to steel.
Huh? Yeah, sure, just as soon as we clear the basement of its pest problem. Zell geared, throwing a few practice punches in the air.
But, Selphie started to whine, shouldnt we find the delivery first?
Hey, whos the leader here? We find when we are good and ready.
So are we ready?
Yes we are. Any idea where to look first?
No, do you?
Hey! As leader, Im ordering you to give me an idea!
Okay. So, may I ask permission to ask if you have any idea?
Do you have any idea?
Not a clue.
The walkie-talkie that Zell carried in one of his shorts pockets crackled to life with the resentment whining of Rinoa.
What the hell are you two doing? You have a job to do! Remember?
Zell picked up the walkie-talkie. He held it up close to his mouth and began to speak. Well, you see, we dont really have much of an idea where to look. And the use of over would still be nice. Over.
Fine, have it your way! Now listen closely. You see where most of that moskeeto wreck is?
They had both beaten the metal bug into shrapnel. But, as Zell saw, most of the shrapnel was located in the same place, by a corridor that was lit by a single naked bulb.
Rinoa continued on the walkie-talkie. Take the hall that the remains are closest too. Ill walk you through the rest of the way.
On the other side of the transmission, Mordechai smirked at Rinoa.
Worth every gill? He coaxed with a chuckle.
Rinoa put her hand over the walkie-talkie like she would a phone receiver, and glowered angrily at the blond guy. Oh, shut up. Angelo barked a response.
Back in the basement, Zell began to move down the hall, with Selphie fallowing close behind. The hall was lined with large cement blocks painted puke green, or looked that way in the dim light. The floor was of a cold concrete, and pertained huge cracks and potholes that had acquired water and grime, giving the whole place a strong must smell. Silently, the two SeeDs moved forward, wary of the slightest buzzing sound while Rinoas voice guided them through.
Okay, She remarked as they came to a junction. Take the door to your left.
Are you sure? Zell asked.
Of coarse I am. I still have that map that Watts and Mordechai got.
As he turned to look back at his comrade, he shrugged, then motioned silently which way the were to go.
The hall they had gone down was dark at first, but grew brighter as they continued down its interior. Another light bulb hung by a string at the end, and behind it was a wooden door.
Behind that door, continued Rinoa, should be the crate the holds the delivery.
You sure about that. Skeptically asked Selphie, leaning past Zells arm so she could speak into the walkie-talkie herself.
Sure am. From what I see here in the monitor, the room matches the one on the map.
Enough talk, barked Zell, lets bust this baby wide open! No more words were wasted as he bashed into the wooden barrier with his elbow. The door gave away by a few splinters, then cracks, until the door was broken enough to get through.
Leading the way in, Zell stepped over the broken splinters while Selphie widened the hole some more with her weapon.
There the crate was, big, tan, and beautiful. The Galbadian insignia was painted in teal paint on the front. Damn, what the hell were they shippn? Shouted Zell with surprise, a nuclear weapon?
Just open it up. The voice from the walkie-talkie begged.
Whoo-hoo! Open sesame! Selphie chanted, skipping forward towards the crate. Bringing up her nunchaku, then bringing it down. The lid of the crate splintered a bit, and a bit, and a bit, and a bit, and a bit more each time she took another hack at it.
Zell looked at the crazily happy features of his partner and panicked. Yo, save some of that for me! Then he ran over to chip the crate with his fists.
Mordechai watched with growing disgust. Why cant they just try to pry the crate open? Like normal people.
Dont spoil their fun, lectured Rinoa. Angelo barked another response to her mistresss anger. Look how happy they are. She said this as she pointed towards the monitor. The two SeeDs had become quite content in their present activity, and the crate was already showing holes near the top, with foam sticking out of each and every one of them.
From in front of the house, Zone was busily trying to contact the Viral team about the new arrivals. Unlike Watts, he had good reason to believe that the people in the white robes were not entertainment, as he saw them pull up in taxies and private cars. Unfortunately, Rinoa had her communication set on the channel for the Scavenger team. And so, was unable to reach her to tell her that.
The crate was now splintered enough to be pronounced open. Zell lifted up the weakened lid to expose the covering of more foam bits. Selphie cheered with happiness, then dove into the foam pool with Zell, each one of them frantically groped inside the crate until they found something.
They continued for about another fifteen minutes before they realized that nothing was there. No notice, not a scrap, not even a receipt, just foam.
Bummer, exclaimed Selphie, letting some of the foam she had slip from her fingers. Rinoa must have gotten the wrong crate.
All four of the Decoy team had waited uneventfully before the champagne was being handed out. Red Hawk was tempted into getting some; until Andy reminded him they were still under legal drinking age. This got some protests in how they were to act older, but, in the end, Andy won over.
When the champagne had been passed out to all the adults, they had been all told to direct their attention to the balcony.
A podium had been set out in front of the railing. A wrinkled old man with no hair walked up in front of the podium.
He looks like the older version of Brine. Remarked Red Hawk, getting a few silent snickers out of the other three.
The old man began to speak in Classical Galbadian. May I have your attention please?
But he sounds like Zone. Snickered Andy, making Red Hawk, and Spikes chuckle. Rind didnt laugh, as he didnt get their joke.
Continuing into the mike, the old man spoke. Here to present tonights special discovery, the Estherian Ambassador and Secretary of Defense: Willis Gatchmen.
The audience applauded as the old man left, and a woman with a white robe and dark blue poncho stepped forward. The Decoy team stood still where they were, looking up towards the woman with awe. She wasnt in her prime, and appeared to be in her forties. They couldnt see her hair, as she was wearing a funny looking hood with a tall hat on top of it.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, she began with a foreign accent that none of the Forest Owls recognized. I am Secretary of Defense, Willis Gatchmen.
Andy looked towards his twin brother with amused astonishment. Willis? How the hell did she get that name?
I dont know, snapped Rind, I didnt even know there was anything alive on the Esther continent except monsters.
You never know, started Red Hawk, they say theres no one living on Trabia but Shumies and Moombas.
But there is.
No. Theres Trabia Garden, and a few smaller settlements around it with people.
From beside, Spikes patted Red Hawks shoulders with surprising enthusiasm.
With an annoyed note to his voice Red Hawk demanded, Whats wrong with you Spikes?
For a response, Spikes pointed up towards Gatchmen, who was now rambling on about political junk, and something that was probably related to Galbadian/Estherian peace.
I dont get you man. Admitted Red Hawk. Spikes shook his hand more viciously towards the Estherian. It didnt take much thought for him to see that the mute was not pointing at Gatchmen, but at who had gone up towards the woman. The midget. She was whispering something to the old man. Quietly, he got up and fallowed the midget out.
Do you think they have a contact? Asked Rind, who had also noticed what happened.
Cant be sure, Red Hawk suggested. Andy, you better get Zone on the line about this.
What do you make of it man? Andys voice asked.
To that question, Zone answered sarcastically. That Im sitting out here and missing the action.
This isnt funny man. Look, have you contacted the Viral team?
You know: Rinoa, Watts, and Mordechai.
Tried, but they must be on another channel.
Damn! I know what you mean. I couldnt get them either.
Even though they didnt hear from any of the other groups, the Viral team wasnt oblivious to what was going on. They were far from it. From their point at the monitors, they could see almost everything.
Rinoa finally noticed the Estherian people on one of Watts screens.
How come you never said anything? She demanded.
Because, sir. Watts pleaded while he cowered under Rinoas glare. I thought it was a masquerade sir.
If it was a masquerade, then how come no one else is in costumes?
Um they didnt read that part of the invitation?
Angelo looked up from her place in front of the three security guards to see what was aspiring. Not seeing much cause to leap to her mistresss rescue, she laid her head back down. The security guards were all fully conscious, but made no move. From their point of view, they had no need to. They could see that their attackers were just kids, and that the next shift would come in an hour. Then, they would have backup.
Who are those people? Questioned Mordechai.
Rinoa answered quickly. Theyre from Esther.
How do you know?
Cause Ive been there.
There will be plenty of time for questions and answers later. Right now, we have a problem. She held her walkie-talkie up. Zell. Selphie. Gungri org rosthurn. [Zell. Selphie. Change of plans.]
Yo! Rinoa! Boomed Zells voice. Vingtha? [Sup?]
Sthinuri ygrathnud a tridth. Isvasrind. [Were pulling the plug. Over.]
Hladrith göt. [Might as well] He sighed. Mârg fimin üngrolslat nàmir a skiltha. [Theres nothing in the crate.]
General Wyvern's Fanfiction