Seifer stormed into the room with a bag full of fruit pieces, vegetable slices, and a couple of pieces of old pizza. He threw the bag down on the floor in front of Raijin.
Help yourself. He smirked.
Raijin picked up a slice of apple from the bag. These are samples from the super market, aint they?
Seifer justified his act easily. If they wanted me to spend gill, they wouldnt have made free samples. Raijin took the justification easily enough, and began to wolf down the food.
Hey! I need to eat some of that! And so does Fujin!
Dont worry, Raijin mumbled with a mouth full of apples and oranges. Theyre making dinner inna couple hours anyway, ya know.
Seifer grimaced. Dyou think Id eat anything made by old lady Hodges?
Its a free meal, ya know.
If its a free meal, why the hell did I have to sell my gunblade dammit?
Idunno? Because the room aint free?
Dont start with me Raijin! Snapped Seifer. It was pure hell to get those samples! Dont make me feel like my task was all in vain!
Oh, cmon, how hard can it be to grab a few samples from the store, ya know?
Its that damn alien scare! Now everyone is stocking food and dry goods like they knew the apocalypse was coming!
Well, you were the one to find that thing, ya know.
Yes. But I wasnt the one who went blabbing to the media. Now was I? Stupid Welsh.
No, but you would have.
Oh, thanks for the analysis.
Seifer could sense, that while his comment was sarcastic, Raijins gratitude was genuine.
Doug, the man from the room above them looked down the hole where the bathtub had fallen through. Hey, you kids! What the hell did you do to my soup tub?! Like everyone else in the house, Doug spoke New Galbadian.
Seifer looked up at him with disdain. Oh, you noticed your tubs missing now? What the hell do you mean? He shouted back. That thing fell onto our pad fair and square!
Listen Almasy! The guy shouted back. In Alcaudia, maybe you guys keep whatever piece of property falls into your lap! Not here, ya see!
Alcaudia?! There is no such country you rock head!
Raijin looked at Seifer with the look of wanting to know all over his face. We came from Alcaudia? I thought we came from Balamb, ya know.
We did. He told his dull witted associate. But dumb-ass upstairs doesnt even know that place exists.
Hey! Doug shouted. What did you just call me?!
I called you a dumb-ass, you dumb-ass! He shouted back.
Why you little ! Didnt your old lady ever tell ya not to talk back to your elders?!
I cant remember my old lady! So there!
I bet if you could, you could hold a job for longer! Heard you got canned for the second time this week!
Heard this is your second month of unemployment!
Doug apparently looked beaten. Waving him and Raijin off, he left to do something else.
Dunce. Seifer mumbled when he couldnt see Doug any more. Now where the hells Fujin? She would have loved to sling her own mud at Bubble Dome Doug!
Shes at her new job, ya know. Answered Raijin, digging into the bag, taking out one of the old pizza slices.
The smell that thing admitted was as bad as it looked. Seifer winced horribly when Raijin stuffed the slice into his mouth.
The South Monterosa Hospital had been made visually pleasing on purpose. The main reception area was covered with marble tiles. The back of the reception counter was built of red brick, as well as the corridor behind it that lead to the various patients treatment centers. These doors, done specifically to see the jungle plant life outside, had huge glass windows adjacent to each other on the other side.
Fujin knew that she was probably the only employee in the place worth the money she made. If she could have had it any other way, she would be worth more. First thing she happened to find out about the nurses was that they hadnt a clue what manic depression was, and a doctor thought that paranoia was an advanced sore throat. Taken what she knew, Fujin should have applied for medical staff, rather then orderly. What Seifer had said did ring true: people were thrown in there because no one wanted to see them again.
Only new at the job, Fujin had already witnessed that one of the more advanced patients was dead in her cell. She had committed suicide by choking herself. When Fujin had reported the death, no one seamed to care. Oh, how she felt for those poor, insane saps.
Now, at 1600 hours, she was getting simple meals ready for her next round, meals that anyone else would be glad they werent eating. But, thinking of how she would be going home in a couple of hours to eat some of Ms. Hodges cooking, she would have loved to eat some of that creamed corn and old mashed potatoes.
When she had handed in her resume, they had put her on the advanced ward rounds right away, what with her militant background. Still, she had to be accompanied by a couple of nurses, since there were some patients that would put up a real good fight.
Groggily, Squall opened his eyes to a neon light fixture. Since he was still very drowsy, the simple detail of his surroundings didnt register for first in line. Foremost to him was what an unnatural sleep had done to him, made him weary, nauseous, and highly in tune to his most recent subconscious pictures of crowds of strangers, hooded marauders, and Cloak, seaming to fallow him around a preoccupied street with some unknown agenda on her mind.
Damn, youre up quick. Thought youd be down for a couple more days. Snickered the voice in his head.
Squall responded to her remark, his throat was a bit dry. Wouldnt mind if I did sleep for a couple more days. I feel like hell, and I dont think Im in any place nicer. How long was I out?
Dunno. Dont care.
Im in that hospital, arent I?
Maybe, maybe not.
Lying on his back, Squall slowly turned his stiffened neck to look around his new room. The walls were padded, and so was the door, all pale cyan in color. The padded bed he was on was apparently attached to the wall, positioned on the wall left of the door, which was adjacent to the window; reinforced with metal bars. The window, he guessed, was no doubt, bulletproof glass. There was no other furniture in the room. Swiftly, he was reminded of the cyan room in his dream: with its dirty floor and small window. He did not see any sky out of his window though, just the trunks and vines of the tropical scene. Getting back to the memory of his dream, he remembered quite clearly the haggard nurse that came in, and Cloak fallowing close behind.
She chose to butt into his thoughts. Twas one of my better roles I believe.
Oh, you believe? Responded Squall sarcastically.
Damn right I do! I believe it illustrated my point very well.
Like the point that you would eventually drive me into the nut house?
I believe I have illustrated other points as well.
And you remember all of that? He spat those words out matter-of-factly. He couldnt care less if Cloak remembered the time he was bitten by the hamster cobra when he was ten.
I do. Answered Cloak. I can still recall you suckn the wet nurses nipples, and I do remember you getting bit by that hamster.
Terrific, you know about the hamster. He raised an eyebrow curiously at the ceiling. I was weaned by a wet nurse?
Funny story really. Youre old lady had cancer, and, well, superstition had it you would get it if you sucked her tits. Beyond that, I know nothing. You happy! I KNOW NOTHING!
Yes, I am happy. Thank you for saying that.
For a while more, Squall laid on his back, barely moving, just staring at the ceiling. He could feel his limbs, but there was no will for them to move, or the strength. When he did gain the will sit up, he was immediately brought back down by a severed dizziness.
Dammit. Why do I feel like Ive had the flu for two weeks?
The question wasnt meant to be answered, Cloak answered anyway. You are far away from the graveyard.
Which one? Theres a lot of them.
The graveyard. Where the corpses rot into jelly, and you derive your gusto from it.
Where is this graveyard?
The bottom of the ocean. And since youre on the mainland, youve recovered much more slowly from the insulin shot they gave you. Had you have been closer to the coast, or better yet, over the water, you would have gained consciousness much faster. Cloak chuckled. Victicious is really guarding a treasure, but youve got a coupon for it. No flat fish can stop you.
Its all yours boy! ALL FREAKN YOURS! And I do mean all.
And how do I get this treasure? He spoke cynically.
I dont know? Surprise me!
Squall stopped his questioning, well aware that he wouldnt get anything else out of the entity. A noticeable side effect did come of the quiet. He couldnt stop thinking of what he had just done, and even more of what he had just given up. No matter how hard he tried to get away from these thoughts, he just couldnt help beating himself up.
Im going to be like this till the day I die. He thought bitterly.
What did you say? SPEAK UP!
You cant hear my thoughts can you?
Being difficult arent we? Well, I see you need stronger discipline! Squall could tell that Cloak could not hear him when he thought to himself. But, if that was the case, how come she had read his mind twice before?
I wont take this lying down. Scoffed Cloak. LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT
Squall rolled over onto his side, trying desperately to drown out her screams, like he had drowned out many previous annoying conversations. All efforts to do so failed him. In reaction, he covered his ears, but the screaming just got louder.
SHUT UP! SHUT UP YOU BITCH! I DONT KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU MEAN?! He shouted in response.
Walking just outside in the hall was Fujin, wheeling her cart along, fallowed by two male nurses.
She heard Squall shouting.
One of the nurses looked at the other with a somber face. I think the new kids awake.
NEW KID? Fujin asked, turning around to look at them. It was almost like they were two teachers talking about a new student. She still spoke with her regular form of speech, but with much less force, just for employments sake.
Oh yeah, the other one answered with a slight smile. we got this kid just this morning. Capped some guy for no apparent reason and almost got eaten by a monster. We stuck him in cell five-eight-three. He pointed with his thumb at the door just to their left. We gave him a shot of insulin, but I think a SeeD can take more then that.
SEED? Fujin still looked flabbergasted.
Yeah, maybe you know him.
YOU, KNOW THAT?
Of coarse I do, I read youre resume.
YOU, A DOCTOR?
Sure am. They had a shortage of one doctor, and one nurse at the time I was hired. Since I had a degree in psychiatrics, I was hired to fill both positions.
Oh Hyne help us all. Both a doctor and a nurse.
The nurse that wasnt a part time doctor turned to his comrade. I think we should do something. He started. The nurse/doctor agreed. Opening the door to the cell, they walked in. The patient did not stop his screaming.
Okay kiddo, one of the nurses stated, time to meet Mr. Electric Shock Therapy.
I SAID NOTHING! The patient bellowed. Nothing is sacred! She wont leave me along. DAMMIT! WHY WONT SHE LEAVE ME ALONE?!
Dont worry, spoke one of the nurses calmly, well get her to leave you alone. Fujin heard that the patient had an Alcauldian accent.
The patient suddenly rambled with the nurses. Hey! What are you doing? Let me go!
Both nurses came out holding onto the patient. Like the rest, the guy was dressed in light cotton shirt and slacks, but Fujin found it hard not to recognize the brown hair, and the scar across his face.
Squall? What happened to you? Did Ultimecia drive you crazy? Fujin thought. Not that you werent crazy to begin with, you just seem worse off now.
Squall noticed Fujin, standing by the serving cart. His eyes were lowered in a stance that flat out yelled he was a fruit basket.
FUJIN! He yelled, just as the nurses were dragging him away. FUJIN! You tell Seifer that when I get out of here, I stick his head on the end of a spear, and tie it in place with his gut. YOU HEAR ME! I COULD USE THE REPREIVE!
The nurse/doctor intervened his threat. Okay now, easy with the death threats. They then, disappeared around a corner, but Squall was still yelling at them, mainly in Alcauldian. Much of what he said didnt make much sense to his current scenario. But, then again, he was in a mental institute.
When the shouting had died down into the distance, Fujin returned to her cart. Ive gotta tell Seifer about this.
Zone sat at the kitchen table, a deck of Triple Triad tarot cards in his hand. He set the deck down and began making a card house. It was going along great until
YO! ZONE! Yelled Zell from behind him. In his surprise, the card house fell instantly. Sup with you?
The same thing that was up with me three minutes ago. Zone started impatiently. Nothing.
Nothings something. Zell justified, stepping into the kitchen. He spied the cards. You know, thats not how you play Triple Triad.
I know how to play Triple Triad. I was just making a card house, thats all.
Psht! Making a card house is easy. He boasted.
Zone speculated his comment. Makeem often, do ya?
Hey! Theres nothing to it. He pulled out a chair and sat down. Taking up two cards, he began to stand them up together, but they wouldnt stay no matter how many times he tried. Ejha desmo! [Stay dammit!]
Dont worry about the staying power. Reassured Zone. The table grain is good for that. Secretly, Zone knew that Zell couldnt make much of a card house, he was more talk then action.
But, to his surprise, he did. Zell had completed a three-story card house, complete with a little yard.
See, he cheered. Nothing to it.
Zone continued to stare at his creation with awe. Well Ill be damned. A familiar pain, then, chose to rise in his gut. Ooh, my stomach just acted up again. He wrapped his arms around his abdomen protectively.
Zell looked at him curiously. You sure thats Ulcers. Cuz I remember from a documentary I saw Hyne knows when, that Ulcers eats away the stomach lining, but doesnt cause severe pain. Now heartburn, that causes pain. Buy you, my Timber friend, are experiencing side effects of a kidney stone. Now if it was a kidney stone
Owww, need to use nearest toilet.
Oh, you mean the sink?
He didnt comment, just ran out of the kitchen, and out the front door to the outhouse.
YOU KNOW, Zell called out, THE SINK IS RIGHT HERE! He turned back to his card house and shrugged. Fine, use the civilized can.
From below him, he could make out voices, muffled only by distance. Curiously, he left the kitchen to wander down the hall. At the end of the hall was a door, positioned under the first story staircase. The door was plain and wooden, a crack of age down the middle, and the bottom right corner was completely missing, the voices emanated clearly up from it. A heavy discussion was going underway on the other side. Zell opened the door, descending down the stairs to the basement.
The walls of the basement was covered with dark floral wallpaper, restricting the light to a mere glow on the walls, and lit by a single light bulb, surrounded with a stain glass shade. A small dais was at the foot of the stairs, covered with rotting and tattered linoleum. Below the singer stair of the dais, was a dark brown carpet, in relatively good shape for its years, but still showing wear and tear.
In the middle of the room, directly under the light bulb, seated around a large round table were the Forest Owls. A pile of gil was set out in the middle of the table, and sitting on the tattered, moldy old basement easy chair, was Rinoa with Angelo beside her. Most of the other Forest Owls had found a seat to sit on, some were on chairs, and others had stools. Rind had found a box. Those who didnt have a seat were standing.
Okay, started Rinoa, out of all the money we received from that china hutch we hocked, and what we saved in that phony account we have what?
Fifteen hundred gil. Answered Red Hawk.
Fifteen hundred gil! Shouted Rinoa in disbelief. Oh, terrific, thatll save Spikes life.
Well, it would have been better if that account wasnt cancelled. Started a frizzy haired fourteen-year-old by the name of Spytz. Who the hell started that account anyway?
Zone. They all answered at the same time.
Then who the hell cancelled it? Asked Andy.
Zone. They all answered again.
Speaking of whom, Mordechai wondered. Where is he?
YO FOREST OWLS! Zell greeted in Galbadian, squeezing in between Rinoa and Watts. Sup with you guys?
Rinoa chose to answer him. Were scrounging up enough cash to pay for Spikes medical bills.
Good luck? He asked with a smile.
Were fifteen hundred gil short.
So this is about money? Then why dont you sell that glowing purple rock Selphie found? Bet itd bring in some serious cash-o-la!
Tried. Remarked Rinoa with a contempt. She pointed to a guy with long brown hair, black eye shadow and colored nails. Seth here already took the rock into town to sell it. Its apparently worth butt kiss.
So, what you are saying is Zell paused to think of the meaning. That thing isnt worth anything.
Rinoa frowned at him. Yes, thats just what Im saying.
A door opened and slammed shut from above. Angelo barked as a dog would, and down the stairs came Zone. Whatd I miss? He asked once he stood on the dais.
We were just counting gil, sir. Watts answered.
Rinoa whined at the latecomer. Zone! Where were you?
I had to use the outhouse. Very badly.
I told him he should have used the sink! Scoffed Zell.
The sink? Rinoa started. What good would a sink do?
Well Ive used it before, and its convenient.
Dear Hyne! Brine gagged, I wouldnt want to use the same bathroom as that guy.
Hey, HEY! Plenty of people use the same bathroom as I do, Okay! Brine just winced more, along with several other Owls.
Rinoa intervened the moment again. Could we deal with this money issue already?
Dont worry. Assured Zone, turning to Zell. Hey, they pay you guys well. Do you think you could give us a hand here?
You want me to sell an organ? The SeeD asked absentmindedly.
No, I was just wondering if you could lend us some cash.
Zell thought about Zones proposal. Well, I dont know. Money isnt really a SeeD issue unless were the ones getting paid. He thought about it a bit longer. Damn, what would Squall do?
Zell, resumed Zone, youre the one in charge now, not Squall.
Youre damn right! Remarked Zell with realization. I do so have the power! And I say: let there be mooching! So how much do you guys need?
Rinoa answered him blankly. Fifteen grand.
Well then, lets see what I got in the ol pockets. He put his hands into both his pockets, talking out a ripped balloon, an old movie ticket, a Balambese coupon for fish sticks, a glass eye, a rubber band, and two hundred gil in two coins, each one had a face of a star, the symbol of the holy element.
How did you get a glass eye sir? Innocently asked Watts.
Zell answered curtly, psht, I just found it in some glass in the infirmary, and I needed something to play marbles with.
The money was counted. Two hundred gil. Rinoa responded with irritation. Thats all you have?
Thats all I have in my pocket. I need on-hand pocket change.
Zone looked at him curiously. Two star coins is pocket change?
It is if you live in Balamb.
You mean things cost more. Began Mordechai. I thought that kind of price difference was paved over by the World Constitution of of some year?
Since when does World include Balamb? Red Hawk asked with jealousy.
I dont know. But I find it highly ironic that they would include Timber, and not Balamb.
If thats all you have in your pocket. Rinoa started, leaning her elbows on the table. Wheres the rest of it?
Oh, Im lousy at holding onto money. So, as leader, I ordered Selphie to hold onto it.
Warning bells signaled in the Sorceresss head. She had learned very fast, that Squall didnt want anybody to look at the money, not alone entrust it with someone else. Selphie! How good is she with holding onto money?
Dont know. But I do know that anyone in existence is better then me.
So how much gil is she holding onto?
FIFTY GRAND! She yelled in surprise. All the other Forest Owls were surprised too, so murmured their replies to each other. And shes not going to be back for another couple of days!
So, cant you wait that long?
We can, but Im not sure Spikes can.
The die-hard chocobo moved with energy through the forest, guided by the reigns his rider directed. Sly flew past trees, shrubs, over creeks, and if his pounding feet werent what scared many tiny woodland creatures out of hiding, it was Selphies whooping cheering.
WOO HOO! Alright! Out of my way little critters! Im a chocobo rider!
She had been traveling since last evening, stopping only to sleep, and then stopped twice the next day. Now, she was on her third day of traveling, getting close to the Garden. She had hoped she was right about the floating base being in Roshfall, all she had to go on was the rumor that the Weekend would be in Roshfall. As far as she knew, they could have been south of them the whole time, and she would be running forward all the way to the plains. It was her bottomless optimistic hope that pulled her forward.
It was lucky for her, that ahead of her the trees thinned, and the floating disk of the Garden became visible. At the sight of it, Selphie gave a mighty cheer, throwing her hands up in the air while Sly still ran forward. Her luck had brought her through again.
She pulled the reigns, and the big bird stopped just under the edge of the rotating disk. Sly stood his ground, taking in the new forest scenery and the strange thing above him while he obediently awaited any commands from his rider.
Selphie got off the back of the chocobo, her bag of provisions slung over her shoulder. She looked up toward the Garden with delight. She had truly come through for Rinoa by herself.
HEY! ANYONE UP THERE?! She yelled as loud as she could.
Silence for a few seconds, then an answer came from above. YES!
WHO ARE YOU?! She asked.
I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU THE SAME THING!
MY NAME IS SELPHIE! IM A SEED! THE HANDS GAVE ME A NUMBER, BUT I CANT REMEMBER WHAT IT IS! By Hands, she was referring to the Garden Hands that worked under the old regime of Garden Master Norg. They left after his face was smashed in.
WHO DOES?! THOSE HANDS WERE CREEPY! IM ESRA! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!
ID LIKE TO GET UP!
I HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE TO SQUALL!
From on the Garden, Esra gave his associate, Priam, a nervous glance. Shes got something for Squall. What do we do? He asked shakily.
Ask her who its from. Priam ordered.
The candidate looked back down at Selphie. WHOS IT FROM?!
ITS FROM OUR CLIENT! She answered. SORT OF A GET WELL THING!
He looked back at the other candidate. Do we let her up?
Hell yeah! He is in a hospital you know.
Esra shouted back down to Selphie: OKAY! ILL DROP YOU A ROPE! He turned back to Priam. Do we have a rope?
He reached behind him, holding out a thick yellow rope. We have them all around the Garden now. Esra took the rope, lowering it for Selphie. She gave another cheer when the knotted end reached her height, then she grabbed hold, waiting to be hauled up.
Both the candidates pulled on the rope. When she was almost at the top, the girl threw her sack onto the platform, hauling herself up next. Still exited about being back at Garden, she sat on the edge of the platform, looking out over the forest in the evening sun. Below her, Sly faithfully waited, nibbling on the grass as he did.
So engrossed with the scenery, Priam had to snap her out of her trance.
Oh, sorry. Apologized Selphie, picking up her bag and getting to her feet. Can I go see Squall now?
Yeah, about that, stammered Esra, youre going to have to see the Headmaster.
We feel it best not to talk about it. Offered Priam. Its kind of unnerving to talk about it.
Well okay! She smiled warmly then took off, navigating towards the nearest entrance with nary a clue on her mind.
The two candidates looked at her while she was leaving. Do you think we should have told her? Esra asked skeptically.
Nah, shell learn from the Headmaster.
You mean Scrivens.
Priam chuckled softly in mock appreciation. Yeah, Scrivens.
Selphie entered the Garden through the parking lot. No students were present until she got out into the hall. The students who recognized her waved to her, she waved back, also stumbling into other students from time to time.
When in front of the elevator, she hopped back and forth, anxious to see Headmaster Cid, and get answers to just why no one wanted to talk about Squall specifically, and maybe tell him where the heck she could find him. Knowing Squall, he was probably locked up in his dorm, but she thought it best to refer to someone else first, just in case he was ordered not to see anyone, and she got in trouble for it.
The elevator finally landed on the first floor. Selphie pushed herself into the empty lift, pushing the button for the third floor. As the elevator ascended, she continued to skip excitedly.
Just as the door from the elevator opened up, Selphie ran out onto the carpet that led to the office of the Headmaster. She through open the door with vigor.
Hello Headmaster! I was told to come and find you. She hurriedly skipped past the bridge lift to the front of the Headmasters desk. She was a bit surprised to see who it was.
Heeey! Cool! I like what you did with your hair. She complimented, pointing at Scrivens hair.
What? Stammered Scrivens. What did I do with it? His green eyes were wide with shock.
Selphie continued. You know, you dyed your hair red. I like that color, tis so you.
But my hair has always been red.
No, last time I saw you, it was dark brown.
What? Do you really think Im Kramer?
Who else! Scrivens barked with impatience. He couldnt believe that the girl in front of him was a SeeD. The late Headmaster Cid.
Headmaster Cids late? Well, where is he?
Scrivens stammered impatiently again. Hes not that kind of late. And Im the Headmaster.
Not so surprisingly, Selphie laughed when she heard that. You? Headmaster? So wheres Kramer then?
He isnt here! Hes gone, dead, deceased, smoked, croaked, kicked the bucket, bit the dust, gone bye, bye, and so forth.
Well make up your mind! Which one is it?
Headmaster Scrivens grumbled with annoyed agony. HE ISNT HERE! HES DEAD!
Oh, so why didnt you say that earlier?
Again, he grumbled. Just, why are you hear?
I came to give something to Squall. She dropped her bag on the red carpet, then crouched down to retrieve the ball and note from it. Its from our client in Timber. Kind of a get-well-miss-you-wish-you-were-here kind of thing.
Oh, Scrivens started with relief, sitting back on his chair. If thats all there is, why didnt you just say that in the first place?
Cause your hair was just so cool, I had to compliment.
Selphie, he started. Youve seen my hair before, I was your Galbadian instructor. He lowered his head. And, in a way, still am.
So! Selphie quipped. Does that mean I cant compliment on your hair?
No. But about Squall, he isnt here.
Oh, is he late too?
No, he was sent away on an errand.
So, hes late from getting back on that errand.
No! He isnt scheduled to come back for some time now.
So why did you say hes late?
I didnt say hes late. You did.
No, you did. You said he was with the late Headmaster.
I also said the Headmaster is dead.
So Squalls dead.
HELL NO! We stuffed him in a mental institute because he killed the late Headmaster Cid!
Oh, Selphie realized. But, how could he kill the Headmaster if hes already dead?
Scrivens sighed in defeat. We admitted Squall into South Monterosa Hospital located in the jungle close to the former location of the Galbadian Garden. If you want, you can stay here for a while to stock up supplies or whatnot and we could take you to the hospital ourselves. Nemo! He called up to the bridge.
Im sure it is! Do you think you could make a quick coarse for the Galbadian Rain Forest?
No need, I still have my chocobo. Offered Selphie.
Scrivens looked back at the girl. Are you sure you wouldnt want a quicker route of transportation?
Nay. I said Id go chocobo back, and Ill go chocobo back.
Very well then. Cancel that order whoever you are!
Is it too much to remember four letters? Asked Nida, looking down from the railing of the bridge.
Yes. Scrivens answered bluntly.
The occupants of the Hodges boarding house all sat down to dinner, around the same dining table, in the same rotting old kitchen that was sure to have termites somewhere. As usual, Seifer sat with Fujin and Raijin. There were exactly seven other tenants in the house, not including Ms. Hodges and her daughter Kia.
The landlady and her daughter set the table with several pots of things they claimed were edible. Seifer didnt feel like looking at them to see if they were.
Not hungry youngin? Ms. Hodges asked Seifer kindly. She dug the ladle into one of the pots. Why dont you try some scalloped potatoes. Kia made them herself.
Hey lady its not like your daughter can cook any better then you can. He didnt say anything though, he only looked at his gruel and slate, or, as Ms. Hodges put it, scalloped potatoes.
Dear Holy Goddess in Heaven, complained Seifer in Alcauldian. This crap looks worse then the junk they gave us at Garden.
I dont know? Raijin spoke, leaning over his plate. They made some pretty good stuff in the cafeteria, ya know.
Raijin. Youd say any food is good as long as you live to say so, yah.
AGREE! Bluntly agreed Fujin, who had gotten a small helping of yellow stuff and a pickle chip.
Well, at least I wont go hungry. He defended, taking Seifers plate and scrapping the potatoes onto his own.
Hey you three! Shouted Doug. Speak Galbadian at the dinner table, will ya?
ILGRID! [SCREW YOU!] Spat Fujin.
Yeah, let them be. Stated a skinny accountant named Burgeon. Doug looked at him sternly. Well, stammered the scrawny man, its not like we made it an official rule.
Hes so right. Spoke up a hefty woman named Faye. I have nothing against other languages being spoken around the table.
Thats what you say. Argued Shnook, a middle aged man who ran an unsuccessful bar downtown. Its just unfair that something should be said here that cant be understood by anyone else!
Seifer lashed out at that last comment. Well, excuuuse ME! But the world just aint fair! If you get my drift.
I know that! If it was, I wouldnt be running a dive that only gets business because of the rat fights held in the basements!
What about that tourist attraction? Asked Lila, a fry cook at one of the local fast food joints.
What? You mean that crane that got so much media attention because someone saw Sorceress Vi in the rust?
Yeah, thats the one?
Nobody gives a damn about something like that if it isnt affiliated with a church! Started Faye.
Amen! Shouted Berny, who was sitting beside Raijin.
Dont you find it ironic that all our churches are being abandoned, started Gabe, yet they find some coincidence on the street that attracts people who probably come because someone told them too?
Thats because people are idiots! Shouted Seifer, pouring himself a glass of milk. Not astonishing enough, the milk was clumpy.
Youre people too, Almasy! Remarked Doug.
And so are you.
Is that some kind of insult?
Fujin remarked sarcastically. YOU THINK?
In the seat beside Doug, Burgeon gave a silent smirk at the joke, but was careful enough not to let Doug notice, lest he break his calculator again.
Now, now. Started Ms. Hodges. Seifer didnt mean it in that way. He was just commenting on how human kind is imperfect.
Well isnt that the most beautiful euphemism if I ever heard one.
It sounds more like he has given up on humanity. Commented Lila.
To himself, Seifer sighed defeat, wishing that he had not opened his mouth. Raijin continued to stuff food in his face, getting several grimaces from the tenants.
Ms. Hodges cut up a piece of dried ham on her plate. Oh, its not that bad, Ive met some decent people in my lifetime.
Rarely, sniffed Shnook. The first really decent people Ive ever met used to work for me in the bar. Then they quit and left for that strip bar that opened just a block away.
Faye joined in the conversation, Aint that the way. All the decent people leave and only the jerks stay.
Hey! Fujin started a new job today at that nut house in the Timber. Spoke Gabe rather excitedly.
Everyone but Raijin, who was too busy eating, and Seifer, who was trying to get the courage to drink his sour milk, looked at Fujin, then laughed. She couldnt blame them, even though she found nothing funny about it. Through the rest of the day, she had encountered two suicides, twelve hysterical fits, and someone who threatened a doctor with a pen.
I bet theres some interesting freaks in that place. Teased Berny. So what did you see?
SQUALL. She squawked. As a blunt response, Seifer spit out his milk at hearing the name.
He turned angrily to his lackey, still coughing up some of the semi-white semi-liquid he had already swallowed. You said that just to see me spit up my milk!
Squall? Inquired Doug. What the hells that? Some kind of bird?
No, no, she was referring to a person. Started Ms. Hodges.
Isnt that the guy who used to exterminate the rats? Asked Lila.
No. His name was Squid.
Wasnt he hit by a bus last month?
The group debated over the subject some more, completely alienating the foreign posse.
Fujin, Seifer started, getting up from his chair. A word with you. He left the dinning room for the den, Fujin fallowed. As soon as she noticed Raijin hadnt noticed a thing had happened, she grabbed his arm and dragged him while he was still holding onto a fork.
When she had gotten into the den, with Raijin complaining about how he wasnt finished his supper, Seifer began with his many questions on the new piece of information.
Okay, be straight. Who was it you saw?
The person or the mutant?
So you saw the mutant?
Sweet! Cheered Seifer. Ive always said he would end up in a mental institute, but I always had that lingering feeling he would die before that, but now its come to pass. I will sleep well tonight!
Yeah. Laughed Raijin. And you always said you would end dead before you left Garden, ya know.
Dont burst my bubble.
Sorry. He hung his head in shame, only to start giggling some more at the irony.
Seifer put on his cocky face as he continued. What I wouldnt give to see Mr. High and Mighty Leaders face now that hes sunk lower then me.
STILL, FREE BOARDING! Scowled Fujin.
Raijin helped her along with her pessimism. And I bet he gets free food as well, ya know.
Hey, what did I say about bursting my bubble.
They both fell silent, until Fujin spoke again: VISITING HOURS: 1400 HRS TO 1800 HRS.
Excellent. Seifer responded with pure glee. He walked off, his shoulders hunched as if thinking.
To Raijin and Fujin, they found the whole gesture creepy. When still in Garden, he loathed with an art and resisted with purpose. Now that he was out, he did not seem sore about it. Whenever anything was mentioned about Garden, his previous life inside, and its inhabitants, he did not spit at the mentioning, but seemed to take everything in with contemplation, as if he really did believe he was their superior, and they were all something he could flush down a toilet. It was like he was planning how he could show them up. Squall would just be step number one.
General Wyvern's Fanfiction