To See Another Day Chapter 21
It Just Got Worse
By Kain Servant
The bombs came down and the world went round and nothing changed for the children. They looked at the sky, and began to cry, then went on with their endless game. It took almost a day, from pure fear to dismay, to confusion to boredom to play once again But life did go on, in their neverending song, and the neverending game in the life of the children.
Necron was proud. He had made that up himself, and chuckling to himself in the pride of poetry, the left his perch against the window of his private mountain home, and hopped nimbly back to the floor, fingering his amulet. The view didnt show him much he could see a foggy line of smoke in the distance, where Lindblum was. So it was burning too. Wonderful.
Everyone was gearing for war. It was an everyones joker, eat or be eaten situation. Kuja had his plans and his minions, and the ellians were gathering to Menoth who would soon be out and at his highest capacity. He just hoped someone would remember to seek out the little old man who had planted the seeds. It had been quite a few days since hed gotten the chance to torture someone and he was dying for some action.
Of course, he wasnt a little old man anymore. He had discarded that guise as soon as he had left Macema and moved back to the cliffs. Now he was a muscular young man with auburn hair and a glamorous smile. Enough to make the women swoon and the men jealous. He wore nothing but his amulet and a pair of baggy black pants.
And he was jumpy but patient. He always had to be patient. He had been patient for oh, three thousand years almost, thanks to his little trinket. But this was perfect. The children were at play. Kuja and Menoth and Emryal and Zidane would all fight it out below him until one defeated the rest and stood proudly to lick his wounds. Then he would strike. And the world would be his for the cleansing.
Zidane. That one thing disturbed him, a wrinkle in fate perhaps he was supposed to have died with Garnet but his spirit still made its presence on the earth but a minor obstacle one that he was prepared for.
Reapers! He called curtly. It only took a moment for the ten to come to him. Ten shadows, ten dragons, ten souls, his ten servants. Carefully he had trained them from a young age, turning them into his very own, intelligent killing machines The project had starteed hundreds of years ago, heeding the future ahead of him and anticipating the battle that would come.
Well not anticipating. Knowing. He was, after all, the master of fate. And the reapers would be the bane of the heroes. Alright my beautiful comrades. They crowded around him, all in various forms, that of animals or birds, monsters or humans. Flickering from shadowed to form, amorpheus to perfect. I think Ill send you now. You know your bidding.
Steiner. One hissed
then the next one followed, each with
his assigned task,
Zidane. The greatest spoke last, his eyes burning red with hatred Necron had given him, infused into him through the training given him. His patience would pay off he was the one with his head, he would be the victor and he wouldnt be stopped.
Good. Necron shrugged and turned away, letting his back feel the malice of the sun. Go.
Silence. Her head had been ringing for hours. This was the first moment of silence she had experienced in a long time. It fit the barren scenery quite nicely the faint whisper of the wind, and slow tumbling of unsettled debris were the only signs that she wasnt completely alone now. It was frightening.
Eiko clutched her torn garments to her and glanced fearfully around one more time. As if this sudden settling of sound would change the terrifying reality. The Royal Lindblum Castle was broken. She could see where it would have been, where it once stood proudly on the hill and guarded its subjects. The jagged cut that remained could be called proud, but only in a sad way, such as the way a blind man is proud that he can find his way out of his house.
One thought that stood out of the tumultous waves of questions running through her mind was How? She had been in the castle, that giant whose back was now broken by a steaming mound of rock. How was it that she was lying some two hundred yards from it now? And how was she not injured? Oh yes and there was always the question of why there was a steaming mound of rock there in the first place but whatever the cause, the effect was quite evident. Lindblum was destroyed it was the end of the world.
Oh dear heavens Someone gasped from behind her, and Eiko jumped as she turned, her hands shooting to her sides to grab her weapon which she didnt have.
And she didnt need them either. Behind her stood an old man, dirty and disheveled, his face wrinkled with age behind a bushy gray mustache. And he was crying as he looked mournfully on at the city his mouth still muttering, Oh god oh god
As she looked at him in confusion, a few more men appeared over the hill behind him, all with disbelief stamped on their faces. They were all dirty and all old. One man stumbled along with the help of another mans arm.
Hello? It seemed they didnt notice. It was a rather awkward moment them staring straight past her and her not knowing what to say. Who ?
Good lord! The first old mans eyes snapped to her, Its a girl! The others grunted and looked down at her their faces suddenly adopting the same surprised expression.
What the bloody blazes are you doing here? Another man demanded, stepping forward to confront her.
She slowly let her mind take hold of a summon spell. Just in case. Hey now! I have as much right to be here as you do! Its very uncivil of you to come here and start yelling at me. She gave the two front men a haughty stare, and they sheepishly took a step back, looking down.
Er sorry, maam.
Guess we forgot our manners a bit, you know?
They had such pathetic looks in their eyes. Alright, I forgive you now what were you doing wandering the slopes around Lindblum? All of the mens eyes went wide except for the one standing with support. Eiko assumed that he was blind.
Tell you? But boss we cant tell her what we were doing one of the men mumbled, Thats a secret.
Shutup, you idiot! The first man she had seen snapped. So naming himself the boss. Shes just a girl come on, it-she that is The boss coughed, blushed, shuffled his feet, twiddled his thumbs, and finally began to speak to Eiko again,
We were having a meeting. Ysee this group of fellows here were the Anti-Tantalus group!
Thats right! Another man chimed in, The most feared thieves guild in the city of Lindblum!
No Eiko corrected him, Thats wrong. Tantulus the actual group Tantalus is the most feared group in Lindblum.
Yeah? Says who?
Look Eiko felt her temper rising again, Ive never even heard of you clowns before.
The boss held out a pacifying hand, Were still growing we havent reached the pinnacle yet. But Baku and his bunch of kids will be no match for us!
The blind man took up there, Yar, well skin em with our teeth, and whip em with our belts and smack em down and beat em up and send em-! His armrest quietly hushed him. He resisted, but then fell into a fit of coughing.
Dont get all excited, Graius, Tantalus isnt here well tell you when to bite and whip and everything else to them.
No problem! Right! The boss, Ned, raised his finger and twirled his mustache, So now that you know about us how about yourself, missy?
Im Eiko paused. It was so odd how could they all be so excited in their banter? Didnt they know that the world was ending? Not ending, over! My name is Eiko, Im the adopted daughter of Regent Cid. A few hushed gasps went around the group of seven, And I dont know how I got out here, but somehow I flew from the castle out here, and I was with my father and my mother before I started flying and now I dont know if theyre safe and I want to go to the city and check for them and yet Im so scared I cant help but standing here and try not to cry! She bit her lip and turned away why so emotional Hell, why not? What about Cid, and Hilda, and Blank! Was she the only one lucky enough to be alive? She wanted to see them now!
Im sorry. Ned sounded truly remorseful, So if you will allow us may we escort you back into the town, and help you search for your parents? It would be our first royal biddings as Anti-Tantalus.
Eiko smiled. What would Blank say if he knew she was hanging around with his enemies? I would be very honored, Mister Ned. Lets go! A sudden surge of bravery pushed up within her, and she ran, or fled? Down the hill toward the city, with seven old men trailing dutifully behind her.
The outline of the Ice Cavern became visible on the horizon by midday, a bright splash of blue against the earthen colors that surrounded it like the paintbrush had slipped at creation. The traveling survivors all heaved sighs of relief at the sight of it. None of the fallen planet had crashed in the plain, but there was still an unnamable discomfort at walking across the flat land like they were being watched.
Amarant led the pack, head down it looked impossible that he could possibly see where he was going from beneath his huge bulk of hair, but somehow his feet found the right way, and he continued the straight path toward the ice cave, silent and reclusive as ever.
A few of the crew followed behind him, murmuring quietly among themselves. One man, named Thomas, was a bit louder than the rest, We still havent addressed the question of hostility that we could face in Alexandria. Were no army, what if we walk this whole way just to find that the real enemy is in front of us?
None of his comrades answered. Instead Fratley did, from a few paces behind him, Then well fight him, or them. It doesnt matter do not fear numbers. I dont believe Ive ever been on the side of numbers my whole life, and Im still alive.
Thomas sneered, Yeah, thinking back on your last visit to Alexandria, looks like youre just lucky to be breathing.
Fine then, dwell on how Kuja will be sawing your spine tomorrow, but keep it to yourself. Its a fine day today, and I want to bask in the quiet beauty.
So they basked quietly for a few moments. But only a few it wasnt long before a loud voice suddenly broke into song behind them.
It was Blank. You can seeeee! The sun is smiling and the clouds have gone away! Want to beeeee! Something beside what I was yesterday! Oh cruel life, remove all the sorrow, and let me live tomorrow just like I did . There was a brief pause, and the others finally began to breathe again. Then he hit the high note, Todaaaaaaaay!
Thank you, Blank. Freya turned to smile sweetly, Now shutup! We didnt ask for entertainment.
Blank growled defensively, I like singing.
I do too. But not yours. Fratley chuckled.
Blank whined, Heyhey now! Thats not very nice I was just singing about the beautiful day like you were talking about basking and all, I was basking!
Shh! Steiner spoke up suddenly. His voice hissed so urgent that everyone turned back for a moment to look at him. The big knight has his sword drawn, Theres something coming! Look ahead you fools! And he was running to the front, along with the eyes of the rest, to where the wind had suddenly sped to a frenzied pace.
Amarant stood stolidly, the wind whipping at his still-fresh wounds and pulling at his clothing, his eyes searching through the dust and leaves for anything coming through the cloud. Whatever was there spotted him first. There was a sharp cry, and then a jagged shard of ice shot from the dust and mist. Amarant dodged by a hairsbreadth, calling out,
Damn. Stay back!
Mages? Blank blinked incredulously, What the hell is this? I thought the mages were on our side!
You forget, Blank Steiners hands were rigid on his sword, Kuja is out there somewhere this is him. This has to be him.
Blank was barely listening as a figure stepped out of what had slowly transformed from wind to mist draped in shadow. That was how it could be described, it had no facial features simply floated slightly off the ground like a wraith, wreathed in mist, two blank hands held forward with energy floating from the tips
> somewhere in the non-existant face, a voice came, Die I-ha-fhs-I The message choked a few times, but then finally, after a few tries, the voice came out as clear and cold as death in the phantoms hollow tone, I have a present for you, heroes. Welcome my new form of mage!
Kuja? Blank hissed .then the figure exploded, throwing everyone off his feet. The mist, dust and smoke covering died slowly and as it did the party slowly struggled to its feet, rubbing bruised limbs. Thomas, the complainer from before, held a limp arm gingerly, his face deathly white. Blank offered him no comfort. When nothing was going wrong kindness was one thing, but Blank had a face for battle as well a cold face. Alright heads up! Here come more!
And they came. Sliding quickly over the ground, chanting spells and clenching and unclenching their hands. Along with them came a line of mist spawns summons from the mist just like the mages were.
Blank felt sorry for them he knew they had souls, deep inside somewhere the only fallacy of Kujas plan. Blank knew Vivi, and knew what one of those monsters could become when civilized and it filled him with sorrow.
Vivi would they all die?
No! Blank unsheathed his sword as he ran, giving a battle cry as he rushed past the others, Come on, lets give these ghost bastards some hell!
Tantalus lets see it says here that Zidane was found and taken in by Baku out of kindness and allowed into Tantalus. N mused over the blurry paper.
What really happened? The secretary asked.
Hmm? He looked up but he was getting used to questions like this, It wasnt his choice really A few weeks after Zidane found himself in Lindblum after wandering around for days confused and lost he found he needed to eat. So he took things he was a really good thief. It was only a matter of days before he became aware of another kid stealing food and neccessities in the same manner.
That was Blank. Blanks parents had left him and he was forced to fend for himself they became friends fairly quickly. Not very close friends they differed in opinion too often and never quite trusted one another, but staying together helped them survive.
Baku never would have come into their lives but for one of his insane schemes, to take two of the Tantalus brothers into the royal castle, secure an entry for Tantalus, and take Regent Cid hostage. Baku figured that two kids would be less noticable in the castle than two grown men so one day he caught Zidane and Blank, and told them that if they did this job for him, they could be part of the big Tantalus family. It seemed ideal.
N sighed, But it wasnt partially because Zidane and Blank didnt make a very good team. They screwed over the mission thoroughly, causing the compromising position in which Cid blackmailed Baku to work for him. Baku agreed with a smile, but his true feelings were taken out on the two boys later. He beat them frequently after that the only wounds they ever had until they grew into men but they stayed no real reason. They just figured that they were still alive, and an animals basic instinct is survival.
The life really sucked, and over the years as he grew older and Tantalus grew as well emnity grew between Zidane and Blank, and Zidane and Baku. Between Zidane and Blank it seemed like there was a struggle to be the best, to be the one to get more of Bakus favor, to get the main job in the operation or the main part in the play it was all points against the foe.
Between Zidane and Baku there was always the resentment for Bakus actions against him how Baku could never be a real father, and Tantalus could never be a real family. He hated Baku for his lies and his fake smiles and vowed that he would never be like that vowed he would never lie to anyone.
He tried to keep his word, but of course he was a rogue so sometimes he failed. And so he became a rogue with a guilty conscience and how he tried to escape it was by running away from Tantalus. He would always come back, of course, but he ran away occasionally just to prove to himself and everyone else that he had no ties to the life he lived he was free to do whatever he wanted.
He was in one of his rebellious moods during the mission for Cid to Alexandria.
He had run away again. Running and running, his feet taking him somewhere that his head didnt recognize. He didnt care he simply felt his numb feet pushing against the ground, the longbow digging into his back the fear in his mind that he would die.
He had seen the sky fall seen the flash of red roll around the world as the rock had come down. He was scared! So damn scared! Why couldnt he do anything about it? He was just weak and growing old and spineless and he had never recovered. His life was futile. He couldnt protect Garnet, he couldnt help Zidane he couldnt save her couldnt save Garnet or
Damn! Damn it all! Kain pushed cowardly tears from his eyes and focused his eyes to see slowly stopping to look around. From Macema he had been running south for almost a full day. He was now in a slightly wooded section that still bordered the mountains seperating Alexandria and Lindblum. It was empty asides from the massive trees and the occasional woodland creature that skittered nervously by. He was alone no one lived within miles of the place. He could finally stop and think without affecting other peoples lifes.
Kain searched a moment for a place to sit, then found a convenient log and took his place. More like infected other peoples lives. He seemed to cause trouble to whoever came around him not by doing anything no. Usually by not doing anything. He was such a coward. Kain gritted his teeth and punched his leg as hard as he could. Tears came back to his cheeks. Pushed into anything by anyone why had he ever set eyes on Garnet? That could be traced back to why he ever listened to Necron why did he ever move to Macema why did he ever argue with Kel why was he crying now?
Sitting there moping for a few moments made Kain resolute on two things one, he was never going to sit and cry again while there was an opportunity to act.
And two two was he was going to find the one responsible for killing Garnet and causing Zidane and his friends so much grief. He was going to find the killer Menoth they called him. Find him and kill him. The resolution pushed on him with sudden urgency a meaning for his empty life something to keep him from ducking away from confrontation and backing out of situations. He would stand up and fire the shot, he would make it right to everyone! He was going right now!
Dont move. A voice hissed behind him. Or maybe not. He felt a thin hand on his neck and then the sharp point of a dagger against his back. The hissing voice spoke again, I dont know what youre doing out here, but whatever it is youre going to give me your money right now.
Kain tried to relax, I dont have any money.
Thats not a good excuse! The knife poked harder, Come on, youre sitting in the middle of my territory like a big dumb animal, barging through my environment and youre not going to pay me for my troubles?
Your troubles? Youre the one troubling me!
Dont sass me! The knife drew blood against his back, and Kain gasped. Silent reigned for a few moments, and then the voice spoke up again, Now whats your name.
Kain. Kain Servant. Whats yours?
Shutup, stupid! What are you doing out here?
Kain sighed trying to relax his arms at his side. He kept feeling the impulse to push away and run, but he knew death awaited him that way. He could find another way out of the situation. Running away.
The voice behind him was tense and sounded odd. From what?
The planet that hit Gaia. Or maybe you didnt notice that.
I so did! Feminine. It him him slowly the voice was a muffled, partially-disguised female voice! Now enough messing around, wheres your money?
Wheres your manners? You didnt say please.
Do you think Im a kid? Is that really what you think? The knife suddenly became very present in his back again. Kain winced and chose his words carefully,
No but youre a gir-a woman and Ive never really communicated very well with women. So maybe I can learn you can let me go, and- The hand gripped his throat tighter, Or we could just stand here all day.
The girl-woman laughed and the gripped slacked once again, Of course Im a woman, The voice wasnt disguised anymore, I wasnt trying to hide that. You just werent quick enough to pick it up at first.
So you really dont have any money? She was dissappointed. Kain hoped she wasnt the kind that would stab him through, knowing that she couldnt get what she wanted. He sighed and slowly pulled away,
Im an honest man. She let him go and he rose to a standing position and then turned to look at her. She grinned sheepishly and slipped the dagger into its belt sheath quickly.
She wasnt quite as young as she sounded, probably nearing her thirties, dirty blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, which was cropped up to her shoulder. She wore a overalls and a baggy shirt, such as the suit Garnet had worn when she left the castle except this girls suit was baggier and colored blue instead of orange. And she was pretty, not quite a goddess, like Garnet, but appealing in her roguish attitude and free-spirited appearance.
Both of them inspected each other for a moment. Then she sighed, Damn and youre older than I thought you were.
Hey! She developed a hurt expression, then lost it in another apologetic smile, Sorry really I am, I dont usually rob travelers but you know I hadnt seen anyone for a while and its the end of the world and all.
End of the world. So the thought had crossed more minds than his. Kain shrugged, No bother really .except He pulled at his shirt, feeling for the hole the dagger had left in his tunic. It was a rather large one.
Oh She rolled her eyes, You baby. Follow me, Ill fix it for you. She turned and began a quick pace through the forest, rolling her feet around the numerous brambles and small bushes, dodging in and out and still maintaining a quick speed. Kain was hard pressed to keep up with her, and after a few moments he puffed out a question to beg some time,
Whats your name?
Thats a pretty name what are you doing all the way out here, Kate? I dont think there are any towns within a few days of here.
Wrong. She corrected placidly, Riding a chocobo you can reach the town of Tyen to the South within a day.
Oh He was silent for a few moments, before she finally sighed and answered his question,
Solitude, really. Im trying to train, and its hard to train when you have a bunch of humans and dwarves poking into your business all the time asking me for help, and asking if I need help, and asking to make love too many questions. The trees dont ask questions.
Are you always this boring?
Kain blushed and continued to wheeze heavily as Kate did not relinquish the pace, Well Im an old man, what can you expect?
Good point. Hang on, the cabin is just up ahead.
Thank the gods.
Final Fantasy 9 Fanfic