The Sorceress' Legacy Chapter 3
Rinoa found herself floating in a void of soft white light. She felt warm, and could hear soft music coming from somewhere distant. She felt that she knew the song, but couldnt place it. So this is what its like to be dead She thought. Was she dead? How? She remembered being in the control room of the Desert Prison. The Colonel had killed her father, and she snapped. She shuddered as she thought of what she had done at that point. The power of the spell and the hate that consumed her frightened her. Could she be on the road to becoming a twisted monster, like Adel or Ultimecia?
As she thought, she noticed the music in the background grow louder and clearer. She could plainly hear it and recognized it as a piano version of a song her mother wrote years ago. The light had also changed, it had dimmed and was now a myriad of pastel colors. She still felt warm, but there was something else pain. How had that gotten there again? Oh yeah, the desert prison, after the spell, I was shot. If she felt the pain, she realized, then she was probably not dead.
She forced her eyes open, and looked around the room. It had two other large cushions like the one she was lying on. There were soft lights, plants and smaller cushioned chairs in the small room. It was familiar, but she couldnt really place it. She tried to sit up and get a better look around, and again noticed the music. Where ever she was, they liked her mothers music and had one of her albums. She sat up and slowly stood, careful of her sore shoulder, and headed for the stairs, and the exit.
She went down the stairs into the front desk of the Inn where it seemed she was staying. She walked over and rang the service bell. Almost immediately, a short Shumi ran from a back room and came to the desk.
How may I he- He started before looking to see who he was talking to, Ah, its you. You had the young man quite worried. Laguna too. So how are you feeling?
Ah, Shumi village, I thought I knew this place. She smiled at the Shumi behind the counter, A bit sore, but otherwise Im fine, thank you. Do you know where I can find Squall or Laguna?
I can say with no certainty, but I believe they went to view the statue. The Shumi said, I will fetch them for you. You need to rest.
No, really, Im fine and could probably use the walk, Rinoa turned toward the exit, Thank you for offering though.
She found them in the back of the workshop with the artisan and village elder, looking over the statue there. She smiled slightly as Laguna humbly insisted that it was too much and that they shouldnt have wasted time on it.
I think it is quite nice, maybe you should take it to Esthar and put it in front of the palace. Rinoa stated as she walked over and hugged Squall.
How are you feeling? Squall asked as he embraced his wife, You had me worried.
My shoulder is a bit sore, She answered, but I will be fine. How long was I asleep? She asked as she backed away a step. How did we get here?
Well, you have been unconscious for about 3 days. We brought you straight here with the Ragnorok after Balamb and Trabia Gardens helped get us out of Galbadian territory. Squall placed his arm around Rinoas waist and led her out of the building, leaving Laguna to discuss his statue with the Shumis You should be interested to know that while you were out of it, and when I could be pried away from your bedside, we discussed our next move. Unfortunately, the only option appears to be war with Galbadia. They attacked and captured a peace envoy, and besides that, they declared war on Garden for 'aiding enemys of the Galbadian state' or something like that. Quistis and Xu are taking care of the particulars, but it seems that in a week or so, we will be attacking the Galbadian capitol and attempting to overthrow their government.
What about Laguna? Will Esthar aid us? Rinoa asked, They attacked him too.
His hands are tied; he was pushing it rescuing us. The Estharian people would never back a war with Galbadia. They see this whole thing as none of their concern. Laguna came for us on his own accord. We fight this alone. Squall sat on a rock just outside, I thought we could solve this without any more fighting. Now it again is inevitable. I wonder sometimes if there will ever be peace.
I dont know, maybe after we remove the Deling line from power, the world will see peace. Then again it may not be until after Ultimecia that this fighting stops. She sat down next to her husband, but whatever happens, I will be fine so long as I have my knight.
You know, you probably saved my life, and it almost cost you yours. Thank you. Squall put his arm around her shoulders. Though it is supposed to be the other way around, the Knight giving his life protecting the sorceress.
She rested her head on his shoulder. I know, I wasnt thinking. I just reacted. I couldnt let him kill you, and I didnt have the strength to deflect the shot.
Its ok, next time, I get to scare you half to death like that though, deal?
Good, now we should get back to Garden so I can help plan the assault on Deling City. He stood, taking Rinoa with him, besides, everyone else has been worried about you too.
Seifer Almasy looked up as the Ragnorok flashed by overhead, Quistis at the controls. He looked back at the dozen Trainees he was leading on their SeeD test. It had taken a week to plan the attack on Galbadia. The plan was that he, along with Fujin and Raijin was to lead an advance team of SeeD cadets into the sewers below Deling City to the presidential palace, and when the guards went to engage the main force, they were to move in and secure the area and take custody of President Deling and hold him until the main force arrived.
Seifer signaled his team forward and led them into the entrance to the underground tunnels that served as the citys sewer, leaving his posse to bring up the rear. The looked at his watch to check their progress. They had ten minutes to reach their objective area, otherwise, they ran the risk of being caught in the tunnels when the main force attacked. If that happened, the sewers could collapse on top of them, killing them all. By his estimate, they had to hurry.
Unfortunately for them, the Galbadians had prepared for their arrival by placing steel bars in the tunnel about a hundred yards in, and with them about six guards. The group of SeeDs charged the guards, talking them out with fire spells as they ran in. The bars were another story though, it took several fire spells and precious time to soften the steel to a point where Almasys gunblade could cleave it. By the time they got it open, they heard Garden overhead, and the thuds of SeeD forces landing on the ground above.
Lets go!!, MOVE!! Seifer shouted as they raced through the sewage tunnels toward safety. Suddenly, there was aloud explosion above as a Galbadian artillery shell slammed into the street above. The support beams that held the ground above where it belonged began to crack and crumble as the SeeD force was knocked to the ground. The whole tunnel quaked as the walls began to give way. Raijin was up in a flash, pushing up onto the nearest supports, trying to buy the team a little more time.
GO!, Its gonna cave Ya know! He yelled as everyone jumped to their feet.
Are you nuts, Youll be killed!! Seifer replied.
Better me than everyone, Ya know! Raijin countered. Go!
Seifer stood and stared a second as the others fled, wanting to believe there was another way for any of them to save everyone without this kind of sacrifice. Finally, he tore himself away, and ran down the collapsing tunnel toward safety, tears streaming down his face. He quickly reached the ladder up to the Presidential manors central drive and scurried up onto the pavement above as the rest of the sewage tunnel below caved in upon itself, entombing his fallen comrade.
As Seifer slowly stood, Fujin silently walked over, tears forming at the corner of her one eye. He put an arm around her as she burried her head in his shoulder, sobbing quietly. Seifer just looked down at the collapsed tunneling, tears in his eyes and anger in his heart.
You died a noble death my friend, He choked, struggling to hold back the rage he felt. And I promise you, you will be avenged. He pulled away from Fujin for a moment, putting a hand to her face, using his thumb to softly wipe away her tears. There will be time to mourn later, right now, we have a job to do.
The former knight turned and walked toward the stacked crates that lead to the roof of the manor, leaping up on the truck parked in front of them. With his team in tow, he quickly made his way into the courtyard on top of the building, meeting up with two presidential guards. The guards both charged, their blades flashing in tandem toward him. Almasy simply walked toward them, sidestepping one guard as he parried the others weapon. He spun, slashing into the mans chest while kicking the back of the Galbadian who had overshot him.. The second guard, thrown off balance by Seifers kick, fell forward to the floor. In one quick motion, Seifer slammed the sharp point of his Hyperion down into his enemies back.
A door opened behind him as several more guards ran up the stairs. Without missing a stride, he brought his gun blade around in a low arc in front of him, catching the lead soldiers kneecaps. He spun thrusting into the next mans chest, sending the sharp blade through flesh and bone.. He pulled his weapon free in time to deflect a blow to his right, pivoting and slamming his weapon through the Galbadians ribs and into his heart.. The remaining two guards stepped back, contemplating retreat, but Seifer never gave them the chance. He hit one with a thunder spell, knocking him back as he leapt forward, bringing his gunblade down at an angle, slashing into the base of the other soldiers neck. He yanked the weapon free of where it had lodged in his shoulder joint and sneered down at the remaining guard who tried to back away, fear in his eyes. Seifer swung his gunblade over his head and then slammed the blade into the cowering Galbadians head, shattering his skull.
He stood, blood splattered on his coat and pants, waiting for his group to catch up before heading down the stairs and into the manor. Carefully they went room by room down the hallway at the bottom of the stairs. About half way down the hall, Seifer, cautiously opened the door before being forced to leap clear, the sound of gunfire and of bullets striking the far wall making it clear that he had found Deling. He used his gunblade to close the door again and signaled to the others to secure the area and stand by for Squall and the others. He then sat back against the wall, tears in his eyes as he tried to cope with the pain of his loss.
Soon he got a series of short beeps over his radio, indicating that Squall had reached the Presidential manor, and would be inside shortly. He wiped the tears from his cheeks as he stood and walked toward the front doors to meet them.
Squall and Rinoa ran through the streets of Deling City toward the presidential manor while Quistis screamed by overhead in the Ragnorok and the main SeeD force behind them. Selphie had been reluctant to give up the controls, but with Irvine leading a division on the ground, she was persuaded to give up the pilots seat to go with him. With the air support, the resistance had been limited to a few heavy artillery placements and some militia. Quistis made short work of them, leaving only craters and destroyed sewage tunnels in their place, and in no time the main force was approaching the palace moments later, having lost only a few SeeDs to minor injury.
Thats when it happened. Just as they passed under the large gates on the main road to the Presidential Manor, The two large enemy brigades that were waiting for them attacked. Every SeeD that all three Gardens could muster were suddenly engaged in fierce combat with the whole of the battered Galbadian military. Both sides took heavy casualties, but the SeeDs were better trained and of greater numbers. The Galbadians were strong and had the tactical advantage, but attrition quickly caught up with them, and the SeeDs slowly drove them back.
Squall, seeing the tide of battle turn, pulled the small transmitter out of his belt. He sent Seifer the short message it had recorded on it and signaled his team to form up and move on to their primary objective, Vinzer Deling Jr. They made their way across the raging battle toward the front door where they met Seifer and his exhausted team of candidates.
Seifer, good to see you made it, report please, Squall said as they entered the main foyer of Delings residence, stepping over a dead guard and facing Seifer.
We were caught in a tunnel collapse when the battle started. If not for Raijin, we wouldnt have made it. He saved us all, but ... Seifer said sadly. After arriving here though, He took a deep breath and continued, we were able to secure the building, except for Delings private study. He is in their with a gun, and shoots at the door as soon as anyone comes near. I have a few people watching the door making sure he doesnt escape. We were waiting for you to get here before going in there after him.
Good work, I think its safe to say you and your people passed their exam. Squall answered as they walked toward the study, Im sorry about your loss, Seifer. I know Raijin was a good friend of yours. If you want someone to take over for you, I wont hold it against you.
No, I still have a job to do here, besides, I want to see that bastard pay. Seifer growled through clenched teeth. I will see him pay.
When they reached the study, they could hear Deling inside, ranting and raving about how no one could take his empire from him. Rinoa cast a strong protect on the whole group and led them into the room. Deling went ballistic when they entered the room, and began shooting wildly at them, emptying his gun with no effect against the shields of magic that protected the SeeDs.
Damn! Deling said throwing his gun to the ground. no matter. He turned to Squall, Congratulations, youve won, I am beaten, He started as he turned to face them, But I am still dangerous, and I can still hurt you. With that he walked over to his desk and swung the computer panel to face him. I still have one more card to play, he said as he punched a code into the console
President Deling, just give up peacefully, and we wont harm you, Rinoa said, walking over toward him. There is no need to cause any more pain, any more suffering. If you stop, you can leave here a free man, get yourself and your family a nice home near Winhill and live out your life in peace.
Deling looked her in the face, Ahh, the sorceress, come to take my empire away for herself, just like with my father. Not this time. He stood and backed away from the desk, That panel controls the last missile launcher in all of Galbadia. Its four missile, each of which can level a small city, are targeted toward Balamb, and will launch momentarily. I may have lost, but in the end, I guess you did too, He laughed.
Balamb Garden is mobile, it can just move out of the way like last time, one of the SeeD candidates sneered, That was foolish
Not Garden my young friend, Deling snickered, Balamb Garden gets its name from the town that supports it, therefore I targeted the city of Balamb.
As he finished, there was a loud grinding outside the window as a missile turret came up from beneath the flower garden and angled to the east.
Quistis!! Deling is launching missiles at Balamb! You have to intercept them. Squall yelled into his radio as the warheads outside rocketed into the air. Repeat, intercept those missiles at all costs!
Ive got them, Quistis replied calmly as she pulled the Ragnorok into a tight climbing turn and increased the throttle to full. She targeted the aft missile and dove in at if from above, shooting as she came into range. The target blew into a large ball of fire as Quistis flew right through it. She quickly took out the next two leaving only the lead missile. She locked onto the last target and hit the firing key. Instead of being greeted with the sound of gunfire, a red light appeared on her board indicating that her machine guns were jammed. She was out of gun ammunition and by the time the plasma cannon charged, it would be too late. She looked outside and saw water. They were almost there, so she didnt have much time. If she didnt do something, that missile would level Balamb. There was only one way to stop it now.
She shut down all systems except for flight control and dumped it into the engines, trying to coax a bit more speed out of the ship. Her efforts paid off and the Ragnorok began to pull ahead of the missile. She maneuvered the ship right in front of the deadly warhead and hovered her finger over the button that would activate the air-brakes. She looked out the forward windscreen and saw Balamb in the distance and heard Squall asking her status over her radio but that didnt matter. The magnificent ship she piloted shook under the stress of the incredible speed it was going. She forced her eyes shut and braced for impact as she hit the button.
The Ragnorok slowed considerably when the brakes were applied. The missile behind couldnt compensate for the sudden obstacle in its path and slammed headlong into the aft of the mighty ship. It to shuddered violently as the missile penetrated into the passenger compartment and detonated. Fire erupted out of the great Ragnorok's top and aft sections, and the engines tore free from their housing, careening of in odd directions before exploding. Fire vented from the breaches in the ships sides and front view port as the front grappling arms tore free and plunged into the waters below. Secondary explosions tore through the dying vessel sending shards off into every direction. Finally the fuel cells, holding a volatile mixture of liquid hydrogen and oxygen breeched, igniting immediately. The once great ship erupted into a huge ball of flame as scorched debris rained into the sea.
Those in Balamb who were looking out at the sea that day, saw the bright series of explosions that marked the end of one of the greatest ships ever built, as well as the death of one of the greatest SeeDs to ever come out of Garden, with out even knowing how close they had come to oblivion. Concerned about the cause they did what they always did, they sent boats out to investigate and called Garden.
Quistis, come in, please. Squall repeated into the radio, Come in, please .. He hung his head as Rinoa came and placed a hand on his shoulder.
Suddenly, the radio came to life. "Sqaull, this is Nida...." Nida's voice cracked as he spoke, and sobbing could be heard in the background. "We just got a report from Balamb."
"This is Squall." He said slowly, afraid of what he was about to hear. "What's wrong and wheres Xu."
"Xu isn't able to respond. She's...." The young pilot wasn't sure how to go on. "The missles hit the Ragnorok sir. I'm sorry, but Quistis didn't make it. I'm so sorry."
Tears formed at the corner of the SeeD commanders eyes as he clenched the radio in his hand. Quistis, the one who had looked out for him after Sis left, was gone. She had been more than a friend, she had been like a big sister to him. And now, she was gone. His head dropped into his free hand and he leaned against the wall, tears streaming down his cheeks.
"Squall, Balamb has offered to dispatch rescue and recovery ships to the site. What should I tell them." Nida's voice came over the radio. Squall simply gave stared at the radio in a state of shock.
"Squall, are you there?" Nida asked again, "What should I tell the Balamb Shore Patrol?"
"I'm still here," Squall started, unable to think. "Tell them that Trabia Garden is on its way to investigate and make a recovery effort, also make sure Trabia is informed. Squall out." He dropped the radio and glared at Vinzer Deling Jr., who was standing near his desk chuckling lightly to himself. "You bastard," Squall hissed, "You killed her, and now you have the nerve to laugh about it? She was closer to me than a sister, and now she's gone because you wouldn't have the decency to let some oppressed people have a few liberties of their own!! How many would have had to die to make you happy? Huh?" Squall grabbed his collar and shook him. "HOW MANY!!?"
"Aww, poor SeeD." Deling laughed, "Does he not like what I've done? I told you I would hurt you. You may have taken my kingdom from me, but was it really worth the cost? I think not."
"AHH!" Squall threw the man into the far wall and drew his gunblade. "General Caraway, Raijin, Quistis and countless others have died by your hand, and all you have to say is 'too bad'!!?" He shook with anger as he yelled at the Galbadian President.
As the Galbadian stood, Squall leapt forward stabbing his gunblades sharp point through the man's chest and into the wall, pinning him there. He leaned close to the now wounded Galbadian and sneered. "The sorceress isn't the only one with powerful magic." The SeeD stepped back, closing his eyes for a moment before thrusting his hand out. Immediately a large beam of massive power leapt out from him and slammed into the deposed president, burning away his flesh and reducing bone to ash, leaving only a bloodstained gunblade and a faded outline on the wall. Squall grabbed the blade and stepped back to survey what he had done as the others in the room just stared.
The gunblade clattered to the floor as Squall backed away from the carnage he had left, unable and unwilling to believe that he had done such a thing in cold blood. He stumbled and fell backwards near Rinoa. She knelt and wrapped her arms around his neck, burring her face in his shoulder, her tears wetting his jacket. Squall placed an arm around her and stared at the silhouette of the unarmed man he had just slaughtered.
"I......I killed him....." He stuttered out, "I killed him in cold blood, how could I do such a thing?"
"Squall, he killed Quistis and Raijin." Seifer coldly remarked. "If you wouldn't have killed the bastard, I would have."
Sqaull simply wrapped his arms around his wife and the both cried, mourning the loss of a dear friend while the other SeeDs filled out the door one by one, each pained by the loss of friends and heros that they had suffered that day.
Seifer was the last to leave, and as he turned to walk away, something caught his eye that worried him and left a cold feeling in his gut. As he walked out of the room, he had caught Rinoa's eye, and saw the dim red glow that had appeared there. There were few things, even now that frightened Seifer, and the thought of another evil sorceress scared him more than anything.
Final Fantasy 8 Fanfic