To See Another Day Chapter 29
Setting the Stage
By Kain Servant
"Yes?" Necron didn't flinch as he felt the shadow stalk around the house, its sleek body pressed up against the wall. It was a perfect, beautiful example of a being - and the only reason he had not abandoned all hope for the war. His invincible elder dragons, "What do you want?"
Tenason glanced askance at the shattered pieces of glass littered across the boards of the porch, but he let it go and stepped out into the light, flourishing his wings as he spoke, "I am just here to report that Psal has taken flight, he is off to test the human Beatrix, and will report in by tomorrow."
Necron nodded thoughtfully, "Will he finish the job, instead of playing these useless mind games that lost me one of my dragons?"
Tenason shook his scaled head, adopting a condescending tone, "That is not the way with the yetti. We must first test for weaknesses, and try to break them before we use physical strength. It is a way of honor."
"I don't give a damn for you yetti honor, Tenason, I want them crushed. Will she be crushed?"
Tenason smiled, "There should be no complications this time - Blank's vice was simply overestimated.I will take care of both Steiner and Blank, if need be. There is no problem."
"Good, you will." Necron rose, picking his way around the glass until he stood at the rail, looking down into the eyes of the wise elderkind. "After you receive your report, I want you to rouse the rest of the dragons and prepare a full attack. I grow impatient of you toying around, I want all of them dead in this next sweep. Besides, things have changed."
"Do tell." Tenason cocked his head and let his wings fall flaccid against his thick sides, his eyes lazily following the path of the clouds as they advanced across the broad sky of the Lindblum mountains.
"While you were away, I was threatened by the one called Kuja," Necron motioned to the glass on the floor, "and since then I have been thinking. I think I have taken Kuja's presence much too lightly, and it's time to show him a little of my own power."
"What do you command?" The question came slowly, as the dragon's eyes flickered between Necron and the sky.
"In a few days, you will attack Lindblum - destroy everything and everyone, and depending on Kuja's decision.you may kill him as well."
"What about the heroes? All of our training?"
"The heroes pose no real threat as of now. We will take out the snake in our midst, and then you can settle back down to your fun. Remember all that has been promised to you if you obey me, Tenason. You shall be a Lord...a God."
Tenason turned away, "Yes...as you wish."
Light was fading in Tyen when Kain finally arrived, and collapsed against the first building he found, a small worker's residence. The building was well made, and as Kain tossed a weary glance around he saw that Tyen was not a normal town. By the look of the rich make and type of the buildings, this was more of a resort town than anything. Tall white brick buildings with red slated roofs, all in a large sweeping circle around the town center. The majority of the buildings were houses, but mingling among those were the shops, the clubs and bars and spas, places of revelry and entertainment...what a town. And not a field or industrial building to be seen.
Though the outskirts of the town seemed almost completely deserted, the loud noises of merriment came from within, toward the center of the circle, so that was where Kain went, supporting himself on walls and fences, taking huge gasps to catch his breath. If the event was what he feared it was, then he was too late. But no matter, he was used to defeat. The sun fell lower.
As Kain stepped past the last ring of buildings, and into the central quarter, he was suddenly bathed with light once again, blinded by the vast amounts of candles and lanterns held by a vast amount of people, all forming a semi-circle around a tall wooden stage. On the stage stood three people - and the man in black swaths did not concern him. The ones that concerned him were Adam and Kate. Were Adam in his formal white suit, and Kate in a long, flowing white dress. Kain cursed in frustration, holding back his tongue to cry out to her.
That would help, that would only get him beaten up again, and would probably only worsen the situation. 'Alright Kain, think about this for a second. They're on the stage...getting hitched...what can you do about this? Okay...alright...' he looked around confusedly for a moment, his mind gone completely blank from sheer exhaustion and panic. Then he caught a sight of yellow.
It was vague and sketchy.and not very plausible, but hell, he was about to drop anyway, the only thought in Kain's mind was that he had to do something. And that chocobo looked like as good a start as any. Hurriedly he stumbled toward it, ignored by the wedding crowd as he heard the haunting words trickle out from behind him, "Do you, Adam, take this woman to be your wedded wife...to..." What a bastard.a rotten bastard, and all the women loved him. Why? Because they were just like that. But he knew Kate didn't like him...didn't love him, and somehow his life had lost all purpose but to satisfy that one goal. To gain her respect somehow...maybe this could make her smile, perhaps a kind glance.
Kain shoved the stable gate open and awkwardly toppled on top of the chocobo, who chirped angrily in protest. He urged the bird on, and slow as mud it obliged, walking daintily out into the square, where Kain proceeded to lead it around the circle of people toward the back of the stage.
He was almost there when he finally distracted the attention of Adam, who squinted down at him for a moment, trying to figure out why a strange man was riding a chocobo through his wedding, but quickly he regained his composure and turned his glance back to Kate, saying with a sweet smile, "I do."
The priest nodded and threw a few religious symbols around, "Very well - you, being bestowed with the blessings of the gods, may kiss your maiden, assured of your everlasting peace in your journey down the path of ri-"
"Stop!" Kain roared. "Stop it!" And...very quickly, everything stopped, and the eyes of the crowd, the priest, Adam and Kate, all swung around to stare dumbfounded at him as he slumped against the irate chocobo, heaving for breath, hoping for strength. "Stop it..."
"How...fantasy-esque..." Adam grinned harshly and stepped toward Kain, rolling his sleeves up, "The knight in...rags comes and saves his maiden on a chocobo. I could just...die."
"Kate...get on the chocobo." Kain whispered weakly. But she didn't move, she just kept staring. Along with the crowd - whose eyes felt like a million painful little lights stabbing him.
"Look, Kain, I don't think I have to make this much clearer. Kate is mine. MINE. You can't have her for your own twisted little game...and I don't think you're about ready to take her from me."
"Care to repeat what happened this morning?" Adam hopped from the stage to land a few feet in front of Kain, whose glance was still trained on Kate. "Guess you're just a stubborn bastard.guess I'll have t' teach ya." He pulled his fist back for a punch and swung it.
Kain grunted, and caught the fist, squeezing it tightly, "No." Still holding the fist he dropped from the chocobo, holding the halter with one hand as he stared Adam straight in the eyes, "This won't be like this morning. I'm going to fight for what I want."
"Well, that's-" Kain released Adam's fist and hooked his jawbone in almost one fluid movement. This punch was followed by two more, both as vehement and direct to target, leaving Adam lying on the ground, wincing at his bruises.
"Kate...let's go." Finally she reacted. Slowly she advanced the stage, backed by the murmurs of disbelief from the townspeople. Jumping lightly from the stage where Adam had, she stepped over him and smiled at Kain, then mounted the chocobo. Kain followed suit. "Thanks."
"Back at you." She murmured, "Come on, let's get out of here." He flicked the reins and the chocobo began slowly forward. Slowly.
Adam painfully picked himself up off the ground, "Don't just stand there, he's a kidnapper, shoot him!" The words were slow to take effect, but finally a few men reacted, reaching to their coats and pulling out short wooden poles, melded with steel in a few areas. They raised them to their shoulders.
"Guns. Go, Kain, go!" Kate hissed. Kain kicked the chocobo, who slightly picked up the leisurely pace. Kain began to kick him again, but an explosion from behind him knocked him forward against the chocobo, who finally began to move quickly. Another explosion came, and another. And then they raced away, into the wooded hillside and away from Tyen. Kain smiled as he felt Kate's arm encircle his waist. He did it.
He opened his mouth to speak to her, but suddenly his tongue felt very thick, and his head began to spin, "Wha...wath that? I...don't..."
What went wrong? Did he die?
Alexandria was ringing with the sounds of battle, a battle that could not clearly be seen. Which heightened the tension as the weary band of travelers mounted the hill and looked down at the miserable end to the grand city. Alexandria was cut, the fallen planet had given her a fatal blow. Giant chunks of rock and steel stood at jagged angles through the shambles of buildings. The glorious castle of Alexander was broken, the giant sword lying horizontally across the city, it's blade snapped into two pieces. The kingdom was dead, the truth dawned rather easily on Blank, accompanied with the skirmishing that made a good theme for the depressing mood.
"Beatrix." Steiner grumbled through the hesitance, "We've got to find Beatrix." He began stumbling down the hill, and silently the rest of the band followed, drawn to the sounds of shouting ahead.
Near the outer wreckage of what used to be Alexandria, a ragged bunch of men and women were throwing themselves at a more organized group of uniformed soldiers. The soldiers knew what they were doing, and some of the motley mob were wielding nothing but their fists, but the sheer number of the crowd was breaking down the soldiers. It was easy for Blank to tell the soldiers wore the uniform of Alexandria. A figure flashed through the corner of his eye and he turned.
There was Beatrix, further through the ruins, fighting off another mob of brigands with two soldiers at her side. Steiner had nearly dived in her direction when he saw her, and the rest followed, drawing their weapons.
There was no fight. One look at the well armed group and the bandits took off with a collection of curses and mutters, leaving Beatrix and her protectors behind holding their knees. "Hi..." She breathed heavily, then was wrapped up in the massive arms of Steiner.
"I...I...Steiner stammered, trying to hold her and wipe his eyes at the same time, "My...oh god, Beatrix." She looked up at him with a suspicious smile, then returned the embrace fiercely. There were tears in her eyes as well. Hell...it just about made Blank want to cry with happiness. Finally the big guy would be out of his hair. It all turned out alright...and why wouldn't it?
"Looks like we came just in time." Freya commented casually. Beatrix nodded and looked around,
"You could tell a straighter truth...we need to work fast if we want to save the rest of the troops...we're going down in flames, Steiner, you take Amarant an...Blank...oh Blank..." Beatrix fell silent for a moment, and Blank took a step forward,
Hmm? What was that look? "W...what? You that happy to see me?" The remorseful look on her face couldn't have told him anything further from it. A creeping dread came on him...what could have happened?
"We couldn't save everyone. Come on...I'll lead you." She led...he followed. The trip wasn't very far, and as she rounded a collapsed building, he saw a familiar heavy-set figure slumped against a fallen wall. "He fell earlier today...it...doesn't look good."
It was Marcus.
"Bro!" Blank scrambled to his side, tears welling in his eyes again. He felt like such a bastard, he hadn't even thought of Marcus since events had begun to twirl around him...Marcus who had faithfully stood by his side for so many years...with his broad smile and blunt manners. "Dam...dammit..."
Marcus opened his eyes, the smile lighting faintly on them. "Bro...it...bitch, isn't it?" Blank grabbed his head tightly and nodded. "Death...it's the end, bro...scary...don't think about the end too much."
"It's not the end, Marc. The...the evil has never won before."
"Good luck...then...I guess I'll step out for a while...catch...my breath..."
"Don't talk like that! Everything is going to be fine! Fucking fine!" Blank ignored the sudden limpness of the hand he clasped, he just held it tighter as he continued, "Everything has gone so wrong so far, it can't get any worse, right? This is just a ...a bad day.maybe..." The hand pulled him down, and Blank fell onto Marcus' chest, "Maybe a dream...we can all wake up and it never happened...we're all back in Alexandria, rich and happy...you were coming with the boss to see me and Zidane...and we'd all have more drinks then we could hold...and I'd try to make passes at Ruby, even though she's out of my league...and Vivi was there that last day..." Blank broke into a sob. Maybe if he kept talking Marcus wouldn't go. He could still feel some life somewhere in the unconscious form. "Vivi and Zidane and me and you...we could find some trouble to get into...that...dammit, what happened to it, Marcus? Where did the days go, at what point did heaven turn into hell? It's not...not fair for us...for you, you never did anything wrong...or for me! Hell, I need someone to hold on, I keep wandering around, and all my branches keep breaking and...and...it could be me next! I don't want us all to die! Dammit, Marcus talk to me! TALK TO ME!"
Marcus was dead. That was very certain. He knew it...but he didn't want to accept it. It was as if...in seeing Marcus his old days had been revived and he realized what he was. He was lost...wandering around and trying to tell himself it was all alright. But it wasn't alright...Zidane was gone, him and Garnet. Probably dead. Eiko had come and gone, pulling along a piece of his heart.dead or alive...Tantalus was fading away. What was he now? What did he have? He didn't love Steiner or Freya or Amarant...they were companions of circumstance, not bound from the heart.
How could he live like this? He couldn't take another damn step with the depression that welled through him and made his lungs want to burst in a scream, but he couldn't die either. He couldn't think about death - death wasn't an option...he wasn't meant to die. There had never been death this close and in his face, his face pressed against Marcus' still heart. He had never been this close to reality. He was alone.
And he screamed. Vaguely around him he felt his companions take up their weapons again...apparently there was a conflict nearby.they fought, they killed and took wounds themselves. He didn't care. He just pressed his face into Marcus' chest and whispered over and over to himself. Wake up... Wake up...
There was Lindblum, come and gone. It was easy to get in and find a few abandoned ships to take Menoth's army to the air. The city was so chaotic he even doubted anyone had noticed them as they passed through in droves along the streets, taking any food and shiny objects they saw. Except for one man.
Menoth watched the man watching them as the horribly dilapidated cargo ship tottered into the air and slowly pulled away. The man was dressed in a full suit of black satin, with a gold chain around his neck. His hair had been dyed black, but was now returning to its light brown orgins, and pooling around his neck. Menoth knew the man...he had been there at the highest concentration of power Gaia had ever seen. Four warlords gathered at one spot, destined to start the end. The man's name was Kuja.
Their gaze met and held for a moment. Not hostile...not friendly...just diplomatic. They were enemies...Menoth knew, he would never be allied with Kuja, and never wanted to. But the time for fighting him hadn't come...let a few more fall...let Kuja come to him. The smile on Kuja's face showed that he was thinking too...contemplating, scheming. "What kind of wonderful plan do you have for me, Arteon?"
Their eyes met and held for one more long moment...and then Kuja turned away.
Zidane opened his eyes.
Final Fantasy 9 Fanfic