The Sorceress' Legacy Chapter 6
This is next mission will be the hardest we have ever faced. The monsters are strong and organized, and we may be facing one of our own. Xu started her briefing for the division leaders roughly an hour before Garden arrived in Centra. We will launch a full frontal attack, hoping to hold the monsters defending the castle long enough for Seifers group to clear the way and escort President Loire and his group inside. Once they are in place, we are to try to draw the enemy away from the castle. We will no doubt suffer casualties in this, but its our duty. SeeD exists to free the world from any evil sorceress that tries to control it. We are the last line of defense against one of the greatest threats the world can face.
She put one of the recon pictures on a board in the briefing room. These, are ruby dragons, and these behind them are t-rexaurs. Attack them with ice based magic from a distance, and use sleep on the T-rexs. The Estharian Air Force will try to eliminate as many as possible from the air, but a few may get through. She placed another diagram up. This is our strategy, those with physical weapons will be in front, protecting the magic users. Gun users, you will be right behind the rest of the physical attack group providing support fire. As the monsters close, we will attempt to flank them on either side, forcing them to fight us from as many angles as possible. Once the castle assault team is inside, I will signal a slow withdrawal in an attempt to draw them away from the castle in order to give the castle team as much time as possible. She stepped away from the board and faced everyone. Remember, do this right, and we can limit our losses. Be sure to go over your individual orders packets. We are alone on this one, since Esthar and Galbadia have had to deal with a series of monster attacks, so be sharp. You have your assignments, lets go.
In the back of the room, Seifer sat unmoving as the rest of the SeeDs, save his group, scurried out to prepare for the upcoming battle. Do you really think this battle will work like that? He asked Laguna, who was sitting next to him. Cause I dont. The monsters will attack with such a force that the battle line will collapse and will turn into a free-for-all.
I know, Xu responded, I dont expect the line to hold for long, thats why each division commander has his own set of orders concerning such an event.
Besides, a free-for-all could be beneficial to us. Kiros said from Seifers other side, In the confusion, we would be forgotten or ignored.
By a bunch of monsters, yeah, but a sorceress? Zell said from the row in front them. She will notice us and send them to attack.
But by focusing on us, it gives the SeeDs enough time to take most of them before they get to us. Irvine said. It might not go as planned but it will work just the same.
It has to, or the world is doomed. Selphie added. Just like before, if we fail, there is no one to fix it. We are it, so we have to succeed. And thats why we will!
We will win because we have to? Zell said, Thats sound logic
Well it worked before! Selphie countered. Lets go get ready!
An hour later the SeeDs were advancing toward battle once again. Though still battle weary from the recent war with Galbadia, and the ordeal with Ultimecia, they pressed on. They knew that this fight was for the survival of the world as they knew it. They had no other choice. It was their duty to see to it that Sorceress Rinoa was stopped before she could do any harm.
Behind the main formation, Seifer and the group he was leading against the castle Rinoa now resided in, were preparing to escort Dr. Odine inside. Once there, they would seek out and face the sorceress, friend or no, and put an end to her attempt to rule the world, and, with the use of Odines sorceress crystal, eliminate the risk of future sorceresses.
The main group formed up in ranks, swordsman and other non-projectile weapon users in the front, with gun users right behind them. Magic users were in the rear of the formation, and the Estharian Air Force providing air cover. While not as powerful as the mighty Ragnorok and few in number, the Estharian fighters were impressive craft carrying both machine guns and plasma bomb emitters. They would be of great help to the SeeDs on the ground.
As the formation advanced from the beach where they had staged toward the castle in the distance they could see the huge army of monsters that awaited them. They could see the Estharian aircraft weave back and forth over the monsters, raining fire down onto them. The blasts from the plasma bombs slaughtered great numbers of smaller monsters, but their losses were minimal.
As they reached the top of the small embankment that marked the end of the of the beach they broke into a run toward their adversaries. The crossed the once peaceful flowered field quickly and were met by the beasts which had charged them, intent on destroying them before they could get anywhere close to the castle. The SeeD formation held for a few moments before it began to falter. The SeeDs then broke by division and attacked, starting with the closest larger enemies first, trying to remove the largest threats from the battle first. At first, the tactic was only marginally effective, but with a little improvisation on the part of the division commanders, they began to slowly gain ground. Though they were making progress, attrition was starting to take its toll. It was only a matter of time before the SeeDs would begin to become overwhelmed and have to retreat.
During the confusion created by the SeeDs formation breaking down, Seifer and his group broke through and started for the castles main doors. They cut in between two divisions as they split off of from the main formation and into the fray, running toward their objective, stopping only to stop the monsters that faced them.
Seifer leapt forward, slashing his gunblade down from above his head and into the shoulder of a wendigo, slicing down into its chest. As he pulled the blade out of the dead creature, bullets whizzed by his head, striking the adamant is that was lumbering toward him between the eyes. Irvine stepped forward and set his aim back to the arc to the front and right of the formation, picking off bite bugs and thrustaevis as they flew close as Laguna swept the other side for monsters, raking his machine gun across entire groups of monsters.
Selphie swung her nunchaku over her head and advanced past Irvine. She let fly and struck a buel across its center, leaving it quivering on the ground. She snapped the end of her weapon out to her side and into the throat of a torama that was leaping for Irvine as Kiros dove and rolled underneath the beast, bringing the blades on his fists up into its soft underbelly before twisting around and coming face to face with a ruby dragon.
The group wrapped around the great beast, keeping Odine back with Ward to protect him. Laguna and Irvine centered their sights on the dragons head, keeping a steady stream of fire on it. Meanwhile Selphie began casting blizzagas as Kiros and Zell ran between its massive front legs, delivering blow after blow to its un-scaled underbelly, finally emerging from either side of its mighty tail as it collapsed dead.
As they advanced, one of the Estharian fighters flashed over head, strafing the scores of monsters still swarming toward the SeeDs who were attacking them. The fighter finished its run, banked into a tight turn, rolled and dove back in at the mass of beasts. Just as it approached the group, it was hit by a series of thundaga spells which blew out every system in the small craft. As the cockpit panels caught fire, the canopy blew off and the pilot shot out on his rocket-propelled seat. His parachute opened and carried him safely away from the stricken craft and the battle that raged under it.
Irvine watched the lightning arc across the aircraft as it flew towards them, and knew as its pilot ejected that it was going down. He watched in horror as the burning Estharian plane came hurtling toward them. He yelled and pointed as everyone ran. The craft rolled and slammed into the ground a few yards away before exploding. The explosion threw everyone to the ground, and sent shrapnel flying in all directions. As the plane hit, Irvine pushed Selphie forward to the ground and fell with her, protecting her from the shards of metal that would be flung away from the wreckage.
As Irvine rolled off Selphie, she placed a hand down on the strange warm wetness she felt on her stomach. She sat up with a jolt as her had came back covered in blood. She looked down, thinking that somehow she had been injured. She then looked beside her and her heart went cold as she saw the large piece of steel that had gone through Irvines back and was protruding out of his chest.
No!! Irvy!!, She cried, Not you!! She carefully removed the piece of metal from where it had lodged, and laid him on his back.
Selphie, Irvine gasped as Selphie knelt beside him, Selphie, Im finished, you have to go on.
No, dont talk like that, she cried, I wont leave you here to die. I have to get you back to Garden.
I would be dead before I got there. Irvine winced. You have to go on, save the world and save Squall. he held up a finger to silence the objection that was on her lips, Go, or I will die here for nothing. I am beaten, but there is one more thing I can do to help us win this battle. His arm fell back beside him and his vision blurred. Now go and do your part. I will do mine.
I love you, Selphie said and leaned down to kiss him one last time, and I forever will .
As will I. Remember me, for in your memory, I will live on. Irvine said as she stood with the others who had gathered around them. Go and end this for good, you guys. He winced again and let his eyes close as he drew a deep breath. Eden .come to me. he gasped, feeling himself begin to fade into the darkness, Eden, help them!
As Irvines last breath escaped him, the sky over the fierce battle turned black. In the distance, a massive creature loomed on the horizon. The huge Guardian Force Eden lumbered into position over the heart of the fighting as both SeeD and beast stared in fear and awe. The underside of Eden began to glow as large amounts of destructive energy prepared to discharge. The SeeDs, who were moments before locked in battle disappeared as the GF unleashed its power. The ground turned as black as the sky and Edens emblem glowed there as a powerful beam leapt from his underside. The intense beam slammed into the battle, consuming every beast in the area. The resulting explosion gathered in a ball at the center of the glowing glyph and was channeled through Eden and into space. As the GFs power slammed into a nebula, igniting the gasses there, the SeeDs appeared exactly where they had been standing before, but with no one to fight. Irvine had won the battle, though he was never able to see its end.
. Selphie watched on from where she stood on the steps to the castle, tears streaming down her face. Irvine had saved countless lives and won the battle, but he was gone. She had to be strong and finish the mission. she could grieve her loss later with everyone else. Come on, She said, turning for the door, lets get this over with.
As they walked in the doors, Zell and Selphie stood in awe, gazing at the large staircase going up to the second floor, the chandelier that was visible in the next room, the paintings the thick carpeting.. It was Ultimecias lair, newly built and just as evil.
Ok, Zell said as he walked up to the staircase. So, where do you think Squall would be?
Well, since he was kidnapped, I would check the prison area Selphie answered. This way. She walked off toward a door on the right side of the staircase. They went through a room filled with fine paintings and down the hall past it, staring at the incredible artwork and ornate carvings all along the way.. From there they went down into the cellar, where they saw the door to the small dungeon.
Squall, if he still hasnt sided with the sorceress, would be in there . Zell said as he pointed to the locked door on the left. Or hes dead.
She wouldnt kill him, Seifer said while walking over to the door, and Squall would never go over. I may never have been particularly fond of the guy, but one thing I always admired about him was the fact that he never backed down when he knew he was right. He started undoing the lock. Thats why I picked fights with him, he always fought back. The door creaked open as he spoke. There.
The cautiously walked into the room and found Squall, battered and beaten, hanging from the far wall. He had a black eye and his jaw was red and swollen. Seifer and Laguna walked up and began to work on the chains that held him as Selphie used a couple cure spells on him.
Man, what happened to you? Zell commented as he walked over. Looks like Rinoa worked you ever a bit.
Youd be surprised how hard a sorceress can slap when shes angry, Squall said, running a hand over his jaw. Never make one mad if you dont have to.
Zat vill be no problem! After ve confront ze Sorceress Rinoa, zer vill be no more! Odine said, bouncing from foot to foot.
I take it he got his little toy to work? Squall said, any luck on altering how it works?
Yes it works, Laguna said, but Im sorry, there is still only one way to remove the powers. I wish there were.
Its ok. I will manage. Squall said, taking a step forward and collapsing to his knees. I hope.
Squall, you stay here and rest. Seifer said as he turned for the door. We have a sorceress to take care of. Everyone turned to follow as Ward walked over and handed Squall his gunblade and left as well.
Squall sat for a moment thinking about how he failed as a knight. Here he was in some dungeon while his friends, family, and Seifer went on ahead. Seifer, he must love this, having to do Squalls duty for him. He gripped his gunblade tight and stood, gritting his teeth. It was time he did his duty, painful as it was, and end this sorceress nonsense. Besides, if anyone had to harm Rinoa for what she had done, it had to be him.
Seifer led the way up the stairs and to the doors to the great hall where the legendary SeeDs had faced Ultimecia a year before. They opened the door and ran inside where they found what they were looking for. Rinoa was standing, back turned and staring out a window at the field below.
You just dont understand what a place this world would be if I could rule it, She said, turning to face them. No more war, no reason for you to risk your lives. I didnt want to hurt anyone, but you wont understand! She yelled as she threw her hands forward. A great wind blew in through the open window and threw everyone to the floor. You attacked me! You brought this on yourselves! The others will understand through your deaths!!
Zell and Seifer slowly stood, reaching into their pockets as they slowly slipped to the sides. As they did, Laguna reached inside his coat and moved slowly toward the sorceress while the rest fanned out and prepared to attack. Rinoa looked about the room and readying another spell. She reached out a finger toward Laguna, who was closest, and let loose a powerful bolt of lightning. Just as it discharged, he brought his hand out of his coat and held it out toward her. The bolt raced toward him, just to be reflected into the ceiling harmlessly as it bounced off the Odine Bangle he held.
She looked at the hole in her ceiling with shock and anger as Seifer and Zell made their move, leaping forward, bangles in hand, and grabbing each of Rinoas arms, tightly fastening the bangles to her as Laguna placed his around her neck. Zell and Laguna both forced her to the ground and held her there while Selphie ran out to get Kiros, Ward and Odine.
Seifer drew his gunblade and readied himself for what he knew had to be done. He held his weapon in a downward grip, hovering its tip over the center of Rinoas chest. He lifted up, ready to strike as she thrashed around, cursing and ranting on how no one understood why she had to control everyone in the world. As Odine readied his sorceress crystal, Seifer hesitated, closing his eyes and shaking his head sadly.
Just as he began to thrust down, Squall burst into the room, running over and swiping out with his Gunblade, deflecting Seifers and preventing it from touching his wife. He pushed Seifer away from her and stood panting, leaning on his weapon. Seifer readied to attack and glared at the SeeD commander.
Seifer, I cant let you do this. Squall said, leaning heavily on his gunblade.
Squall, it has to be done. Laguna said, stepping toward his son, I know she is your wife, but she must to be stopped.
I know that, but I cant avoid my responsibility anymore. Squall said, Ending this is my duty, no one elses.
Seifer lowered his gunblade, I agree with that, its the knights duty, but I wonder if you really have the guts to do it.
This has nothing to do with my being her knight. Squall said, standing up straight. Once, she said that, if it came down to this, to the point where she had to be stopped, it would be ok, so long as it was me. He continued, tears forming in his eyes as he looked down at Rinoa. As long as it was my gunblade that stopped her. That way, she knew that there was no other way. I never thought it would ever happen. Now .theres no avoiding it.
Squall raised his gunblade, placing its sharp point just above his wifes heart and readied himself to thrust down on it. Rinoa, I am so sorry. He said, closing his eyes. I have failed you as your husband, and your knight. Please forgive me. He slammed the blade into Rinoas chest, carving through bone and flesh until the blade's tip struck the stone floor. He pulled the blade out and threw it to the side, and collapsed to the floor. The gunblade sailed into the wall at the far end of the room, its sharp point striking the large bricks, causing the blade to break just above the hilt. Both parts clattered to the floor as useless scraps.
Squall .Squall, Im s so sorry. Rinoa said weakly, her mind once again her own, Its ok, so long as it was you ..its ok. I will all ..always love you, my .brave knight . Her eyes slowly closed as her body relaxed, never to rise again.
Rinoa . Squall sobbed as he leaned forward. He looked into her angelic face, remembering the times that he had done so before, those beautiful eyes looking back at him. He leaned forward and kissed her lightly. I will love you too, always. He said as he fell to the floor next to her. He propped himself up on one arm and gazed into her face while he held her hand tightly in his. What have I done,.....what have I done? He said to himself .
You did what you had to do, Seifer said as he looked on, something that I dont know if I ever could do.
Hes right son, Laguna added, Im proud of you, what you did took great courage, more than I ever had.
Ive destroyed the only good thing in my life, Squall said softly as he lay his head on Rinoas lifeless shoulder, and I dont think I can survive with out her.
Meanwhile, a faint white glow had begun to grow from the deep wound in Rinoas limp form. It slowly reached out and encompassed the wound itself before spreading to her whole body as it grew brighter.
Whats going on! Squall yelped as he stood and backed away from the light. Whats happening.
I tink I have a theory, if you vant to hear it. Odine said, backing away as the light turned into a quickly growing ball of energy at the center of the room.
As it came in contact with objects, they were sucked into the glowing mass of energy. The group tried to run for the door, but they were caught as it blew out to encompass the world.
Final Fantasy 8 Fanfic