The Orphan Chapter 5
A New Evil
By Kate Lorraine
Quistis, Selphie, Irvine stepped into the Garden Conference room to see Xu and Zell already there.
"I can't believe this either," Xu said remorsefully,
"They are okay aren't they?" Selphie asked, quietly.
"Don't worry about Squall and Rinoa, they can get themselves out of anything," Zell said more as a comfort than as a belief. "Remember the time Rinoa was lost in space? They all thought Squall and her were goners but they turned out to be fine, more than fine. I say, ha, if they can survive that they can survive anything."
"Yeah." Selphie said quietly. "I'm just wondering where they are right now."
"What about the rest of SeeD?" Quistis asked. "Should we inform everyone?"
"No," Xu said, "let's wait it out. If Galbadia gets hostile we'll deal with it then. There is no need to create panic. "
Quistis shook her head.
"We need to find Rinoa and Squall," Quistis, whispered. "Only then will we be able to assess the situation throughly. Squall is probably afraid to bring Rinoa here for fear of endangering her safely and that of Garden. He's always been afraid to ask for help."
"He's afraid to ask for help in a situation like this? That's crazy!" Zell exclaimed. "We're his friends. He knows that."
"No, it's not that simple." Quistis stated. " Think about it, if he brought Rinoa back here Galbadia would declare war on Garden without a doubt. He won't endanger Garden like that, even for Rinoa. He's probably hiding with her somewhere."
"Did anyone try to locate the Ragnarok?" Irvine asked. "It's hard to miss a huge ship like that."
"We are in the process of doing that." Xu assured him. "Galbadia is getting more hostile hour by hour, Quistis, Deling is convinced that we are harboring the sorceress. Even if we were to find Squall, there is no way that we can hand Rinoa over to them. War with Galbadia is almost inevitable."
"But we can't just sit here and wait!" Selphie added.
"We need to find Squall and Rinoa." Quistis said. "I have a feeling that there is something else here, something bigger than just a misunderstanding about Rinoa's abilities. I want to know what really went on that night instead of what Galbadia lets on. For one thing, I don't believe that Squall will attempt so dramatic an escape unless he was really pressed into a corner."
Zell shook his head. "You know how Squall gets about Rinoa. He's pretty dramatic when it comes to her."
"But not dramatic enough to provoke a war!" Selphie yelled at him.
Irvine waved his hand at Zell, "This isn't a cheesy chick movie. Knowing Squall, it would have to be something big for him to do something as impulsive as this."
"Wait a minute, Xu what exactly did Galbadia say went on that night during the ball?" Quistis asked.
Xu shook her head absently.
"I was notified by the Galbadian ambassadors that the sorceress threatened the president. They told me that all communication between Garden and Galbadia is abolished until the sorceress is given over. Quistis, they think we purposefully sent the sorceress over to assassinate the president!"
"That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," Irvine stated. "If we wanted to assassinate the president we would have sent a sniper or something. Why be ostentatious enough to send a sorceress?"
"No, Irvine," Quistis said softly. "This is all playing right into Deling's hands. Deling is itching to go to war with Garden. He has been for a long time. The incident with Rinoa only served to give them an excuse to do it."
"But why?" Zell yelled. "Those Galbadian bastards, I'll kill them all." Zell further began to emphasize his point by punching the air in a frenzy.
"Calm down Zell," Xu said softly. "We need to think. We need to find Squall too, he and Rinoa are in danger. If the Galbadians get to them first I don't even want to think about what will happen."
Quistis shook her head. "Deling's popularity is at a all time low. If my reasoning is correct he will make only a half hearted attempt to find Rinoa. He wants a war, not an execution. War with Garden will serve to unite the Galbadians against a common enemy, which will heighten Deling's popularity beyond his dreams. It will also give him cause to execute many activists that oppose his dictatorship with the excuse that they are spies for the enemy. This war will benefit him in every way possible. And since Squall is no longer commanding Garden during this war, Deling will not be risking war with Esthar. Galbadia will not be able to fight a war on two fronts. On top of all this, Rinoa's father is the general of the Galbadian army. If Deling were to execute Rinoa he would risk a mutiny of his army."
There was a moment of silence in the room as the group contemplated what Quistis just said.
Finally Xu spoke up. "That's why we need to find Squall. We need to abolish the threat of the sorceress. Odine will probably know how to do that. If we have the backing of Esthar, Galbadia will most likely desist in their threats. The longer Squall remains hidden, the worse it is for us."
"Hey, maybe we having nothing to worry about," Selphie said suddenly. "Laguna is Squall's father, maybe Squall went to Esthar already! We just have to go tell him and Rinoa about our plan and everything will be alright."
"No," Quistis said again. "Squall would go to Seifer for help before he went to Laguna." She said sarcastically. "Laguna left him and his mother to the wind. No, getting Squall to go to Laguna would take more than a little persuasion."
"Speaking about that blond haired imp, is he up to trouble again?" Xu asked. "What did you guys find out?"
"He was in Odine's lab," Irvine said. "He's up to something, that's for sure."
"Yo, do you think that and Rinoa's outburst are connected? He was buddies with the evil sorceress before. What was he again? Her guard dog?" Zell asked.
Quistis shook her head. "No Ultimecia is dead. She passed on her powers to Edea. There is no more to that story. At least I don't want to believe that there could be."
"Noooo!" Selphie whined. "I don't want to fight anymore sorceresses."
"That doesn't matter right now." Xu said. "We need to think of a course of action."
"Someone need to go to Galbadia to try to start up on negotiations, at least to see what is happening. We need to stall. We need to send another group after Rinoa and Squall." Irvine said, surprisingly, taking on a leadership role.
"I need to stay here." Xu said. "I'll try to inform Esthar of our situation."
"Alright," Quistis said. "Me and Irvine will go to Galbadia to negotiate."
Irvine winked at the group "Just in case a sniper is needed after all."
"No, there will be no assassinations. That will lead us straight into war." Xu said.
"Not if it's Deling that gets the bullet," Irvine stated.
Selphie giggled, Zell nodded thoughtfully, Quistis shook her head and Xu looked annoyed.
"Are you sure it's a good idea to take him along?" Xu asked Quistis.
"Yes," Quistis said, "anyway it's best to send Selphie and Zell after Squall, they know the Ragnarok pretty well, in terms of it's ability to land. It will be faster that way."
"Alright, so it's settled." Irvine said and rubbing his hands together, looking at Quistis with a coy smile on his face.
"You better not be thinking what I'm thinking," Selphie said, snapping at Irvine.
Irvine laughed, swung his arms around Selphie and said in a sincere voice "you know you are the only one for me dear." He proceeded to lead her out of the room, while stealing a concealed wink at Quistis.
"I saw that." Selphie said, just before they stepped out of the room.
"This is not going to be easy," Quistis said, wearily.
"I was Squall was still here. He always got things done right. Why can't all men be like that?" Xu asked, equally weary.
"I still don't see why we can't just take out Deling with a bullet," Zell said.
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