A Square Deal Chapter 1
"Oooh! It's so nice to relax for once," Terra said, easing herself down into one of the lounge chairs on the Falcon.
"Don't get too comfy, Greenie. We're all heading for some major stardom as soon as we land, which means that they won't leave any of us alone for some time," Edgar Figaro said to her, also sitting down.
"And how do you know, Blondie?" Terra said to him with a sly smile and using the hair color nickname.
"When I became the youngest king in history, they made a huge deal. It's a pain being in the limelight, especially when you have the media and groupies tailing you twenty-four, seven," he answered tritely, leaning over a bit closer to Terra.
"Hey, you two, stop smoochin'! We're at Figaro, and the crowd is HUGE!" said Setzer, popping his head down from the hatch. The rest of the bunch turned and looked at the two, noticing their close proximity upon the couch. Both Edgar and Terra split distances instantly.
"It's alright, Edgar; we know he's only joking. Everyone's been in lighter spirits since we destroyed Kefka," Locke said, walking to the ladder. He gave Celes a loving glance, to which she returned the same.
"I bet you both can't wait to get settled," said Sabin to Locke and Celes, cutting in in on the conversation.
Edgar turned to him, thinking that Sabin had been referring to him. "Hey, meathead, mind your own business!" Edgar said, his voice raised and his face red..
"I'll speak whenever I like, Casanova!" Sabin retorted, sneering. Edgar stood, and stepped closer to Sabin --who was ever-so-slighty taller than him-- in a menacing way.
"Hey Hey! Let's not get into brawls yet.." Terra said as she and Locke stepped in between the quarreling brothers, but the men kept pushing towards each other angrily.
Then Terra, with a gentle touch to his face, cooled Edgar off quickly. He didn't even give his brother another look as Terra spoke to him gently. He had suddenly made eye contact and was stricken by the soft lavender of her eyes, noticing the way that they slanted gently with her dark eyelashes making a natural line around her eyes, so defined and sharp.
"My god, she's so beautiful... I've always liked her, since the day I met her, but she was more like a confused child then, not this lion-hearted lady before me. She makes me feel in a way that I've almost never felt..." he thought, watching Terra's supple lips move.
"..So we should all go down now..? Edgar? Are you listening to me?" she said, querying him because of the transparent look on his face.
"Huh? Oh.. Yeah. I guess we should," he replied vaguely; he really hadn't heard a word that she said. After she turned around, he ran his fingers through his hair nervously. "Boy," he thought, "That was close. Any sign of weariness could deter any woman of her kind... she's so special; the only woman that had ever confused me."
Cyan Garamonde walked up to Terra.
"Dear Lady, wouldst thou beest so kind as to accompany mine self off of this vessel to attend to the crowd that awaiteth our company?" the knight said, being as dashing as always. He smiled warmly and held out his hand in wait.
"I would be honored, Sir Knight," she gave him her hand, and he kissed it. Terra giggled in girlish pleasure as they walked out, but gave one backwards glance to Edgar before disappearing up the hatch.
Edgar stared back as Terra was helped up to the deck by Cyan, and stood there until he was almost the last one left inside. Locke tapped him on the shoulder.
"Come on, King. It's your kingdom, so you especially should be out there," he exited, and Edgar followed him, reluctant to face the crowds and yet another change of status in life. The crowd cheered, as each came out to the deck of the Falcon.
They gave the crowd at Figaro a full account of their journey, and especially the racy parts about when they did away with Kefka.
Terra soon realized what Edgar had said was true. The week after the victory was a blur of parties and mobs of people surrounding each and every one of them to get a glance or a handshake from one of these new celebrities.
Edgar, who was used to being looked upon by the prying eyes people, took everything at strides, and tried to make the best of it until the mania died down like it always did.
Sabin remained at Figaro with his brother, taking on the responsibility that he had run from so many years earlier.
Cyan eventually returned to Doma to attend to new business that was coming up there; a new king had to be found, and Cyan was needed in the search.
Relm went back to Thamasa with Strago, hoping to help rebuild the town and try to return to the lives they left behind.
Shadow disappeared without a trace, in fact, no one had even seen him leave the Tower.
Setzer took to Narshe, re-vitalizing the city by turning into a gambling city with hotels and stage shows, which was making him richer by the day.
Mog and Umaro helped Setzer out in his business, and Mog found some of his moogle friends to help in the dance routines and the poker tables.
Gau returned to the Veldt, and not much was seen of him at all.
Celes and Locke got engaged, and began to tour the world in search of new treasures to be found. Gogo disappeared as well, presumably back to his/her sanctuary under the Triangle island.
And then there was Terra.
Magic was gone, and there would always be an empty spot in her soul where her magic dwelled. Part of her being had died the day that Magic had gone, and she had a tough time coping. The parties and the mobs didn't help her at all; she had never liked big crowds to begin with, so she left on her own and returned to Mobilz, only keeping tabs on he closest friends by letters on carrier pigeon. Little by little, she could feel that void in her heal, fill with her new life, but there would always be a hole --no matter how small, it was still a hole. Of course, her life wasn't as full as she wanted, either. After a while, she could hardly discern her loss of magic from her other problems, so, like the rest of humanity, lived with it.
Life goes on...
One year after the victory-
Edgar had been very troubled for the last week. It wasn't the kingdom that was the problem, not at all; things in Figaro were as right as rain. It was himself that seemed to be going awry, for every night, when he slept, the most terrifying dram came to him, always the same, never losing any ferocity. He dreamt that he caught in corner by something so dreadfully evil that he would scream out in terror. Behind the evil being were all of his friends and loved ones, all looking at him with the most woeful eyes, pleading to him,
"Save us, please!"
After a while of listening to their askance, the evil would say;
"Their fate is your choice, young Eternal. Fight me, and if you win, they are yours." Edgar could not think clear for a moment, fear facing through his veins, his heart pounding. Finally, he ran, not accepting the challenge, fearing for his own life rather than his friends. An amused laugh stopped him, and he looked back, but he could not find anyone... just hear blood-curdling shrieks of pain and horror from the friends that he abandoned.
He'd usually wake up at this point, very disturbed and frightened. His heart would race, and he would be moved almost to tears.
Sabin was becoming very concerned about his brother, for he did not know what the reason was for his brother's malaise. He knew that Edgar was not sleeping, for he would see him pacing the halls late at night, which was making his health deteriorate. On top of that, Sabin had noticed that his brother was not up to his normal hijinx, namely flirting with every girl who entered the castle, but that had been going on for a much longer time than this. He was on the verge of declaring Edgar unfit to preside as king, and call for the royal doctor right away. One night..
"Edgar? Brother, are you here?" Sabin called as he went down into the dark engine room. He saw Edgar there, working on the engine.
"Brother, you should be asleep," no response. Sabin walked up closer to him and leaned over. "You don't need to fix that, we have paid mechanics who can do that; you're the king," Edgar still said nothing. Sabin sat down. "Edgar, I'm really worried about you... you haven't slept well in a few weeks, and you haven't slept at all in the five days. You haven't been eating, you haven't been able to concentrate on anything, and you look like death warmed over! The ministers and the Chancellor are very worried, and the public is beginning to notice... Are you sick? Or is something just bothering you?" Sabin put his hand on his brother's shoulder. Edgar looked down in dismay.
Edgar breathed a heavy sigh, and with a trembling voice said, "I've been having these terrible feelings, like some sort of evil is near," he turned to Sabin and looked straight into his twin's bright blue eyes for a moment, then looked tot he floor. "It's all because of this dream I've been getting over and over again... I can't sleep without it plaguing me. I'm so afraid... as if everyone's life is dependent upon my actions towards this evil... and that's preposterous!! Sabin, am I going crazy? My only escape is being awake, and I can't do it forever, Sabin, I can't..." Edgar slumped over with his face in his hands, and rocked back and forth, his eyes full of tears from his unknown fear.
"I-- I don't know what to say. Is there anything I can do?" Sabin asked him. He was vexed on what he was supposed to for his brother; he wasn't well educated on how to comfort people. He hesitated, but then gave his brother a stout hug. "C'mon Edgar, snap out of it... you're worrying me so much... you're the only family I have left," Sabin said softly, "At this rate, you're going to waste yourself away..." Edgar raised his head, surprised by the tenderness of his meathead-brother. He smiled, and returned the manly hug.
"It's ok, Sabin. I'm not going anywhere," he sighed again, "I'll make it through this, don't doubt that." Edgar took a large breath, then continued to change the subject, for neither of them wished to continue discussing what they had been. "So tell me, how have the preparations for remembrance day coming along?"
"Everything is done as planned; the pavilions are set up, the grandstand us ready, the great hall is decorated and the game and vendor zones ready for booths. Gosh, It's been a year already since we defeated Kefka... It'll be nice to see everyone again," Sabin said, almost sounding relived that he would not be the only support for Edgar for the time being.
Edgar had a warm feeling come over him, and he smiled. "Yeah, it'll be nice to see them all, I miss her," he commented absently. Sabin looked at him quizzically.
"Why did you say 'her' instead of 'them'?"
"I did?" Edgar raised an eyebrow, looking to his brother from the corners of his eyes.
"Yes, you said, 'I miss her.' So, who is she?"
"There is no one person in mind, you know I always like to see big crowds with women in them," he shrugged, covering up for his slip of the tongue rather smoothly.
"But, you haven't been womanizing for over half a year now,"
"Ok, flirting. You think I couldn't tell? You have someone on your mind; It must be one of our old companions. So, who is it, Celes? Terra? Or, what about Relm? Ha ha!" Sabin waited for a while for Edgar to react in some way, but when he heard nothing, he looked and saw that Edgar had fallen asleep, snoring softly, but looking content. Sabin took Edgar's robe, (which had been on the floor,) and draped it over his sleeping bother. "Sleep well, Eddie boy, you're gonna need it. You have a kingdom to attend to... and it's ok that you didn't answer. I'm not dumb; I know who you were talking about."
At about the same time, the sun was rising on the east, where Terra Branford resided in Mobilz.
She got up with the sun, feeling extra energized that morning. The empty place in her soul had gradually filled, and she was glad that she would not always have that nagging for the magic she did not have. Today she was feeling more full than she had the last time she used her magics.
"Ahh, that summer sun is so nice. Has it been only a year?" she put her robe on, and tiptoed outside her residence in the town. Mobilz had been rebuilt during the course of the year, and people were coming back to live in the town. She still took care of some of the children, but many of the younger ones had been adopted by kindly families who had moved into the town. Duane and Katarin had their own house as well, and their baby was fine and healthy.
"This time last year, the world was near death, but now, all life has come back tenfold! The energy is enormous, I can feel it so much!" she declared to herself while she walked to the outskirts of town into a hidden alcove. In the alcove she had found a natural mineral spring earlier in that month, and had been waiting to use it. She walked around it a few times, and decided on the optimal spot to enter, where she dropped her robe from her body. She knew no one in town would come to this place, and monsters cared nothing about human nudity, so she felt no shame.
When she had lowered herself into the cool water, she took hold of a soft cloth that she had brought with her, and a bit of moustirizer-soap. As she lathered soap on the soft, pale skin of her upper torso, she thought about her magic. It had become a different life for her, always having to depend on tools and physical skill for what she had once done so easily with her magic. She remembered her first spell: 'fire.' How she wished she could use it now, for the water was quite chilly.
She splashed a hand against the surface of the water, making ripples, trying to keep back her urge to do something illogical, but she gave in anyway.
"Oh, what the heck? I'll try it! 1..2..3.. Fire!!" she held her hands under the water, and pointed to the water a short distance away from her, and, to her great surprise, she felt a surge of hot water from where she had aimed.
"Oh my!?" she said aloud, in shock. She took a good look around the pool, but there was nothing in it except for her. She examined her hands, top and bottom, then tried it again, this time pointing her hands above the water, and into the air. If it really was magic she wouldn't need to say it, she only had to think it. 'Fire,' she thought, and her hands glowed red, then a burst of flame shot into the sky. "What's happening? I thought magic was gone?" she said, looking at her hands again.
In the silence following, she heard a soft rustle in the bushes behind her. She stood up, turned to look, and saw Cyan, a man that she didn't recognize, Interceptor and Relm come out through the bushes. She stared for a second, stunned like a deer caught in headlights, and the men in the group gawked. Upon realizing what she was doing, Terra turned red, instinctively covered her chest with her arms and ducked back down into the water. With her hand, she searched for her robe which had been left on the side somewhere. Relm walked up, and handed it to her.
"Thank you, Relm," Terra said softly, putting the robe on.
"You're welcome. Cyan says that you have a very proportioned anatomy. I think he meant that in more ways than one..." Relm smirked knowingly, Terra looked down at her chest; she wasn't sure how to take the comment. She was 21 now, and in her adolescence had matured very slowly for a girl, and had filled out to her fullest just in the last year. Maybe it had something to do with being part Esper, but she had noticed that about herself.
She led them back to her house in Mobilz without another word, got dressed, and then properly greeted them. They gathered out in the town square, and Terra spoke with each.
"Hello, Cyan. I've been looking forward to seeing you again," she told him.
"As have I, mine Lady-dear," he responded with a flourish.
She and Cyan had seen quite a bit of each other during the course of the year. Doma had a new group of people living there, and a relative of the original king had been found to become the new king, so Cyan had taken his place as retainer. Often time he was sent sent out as correspondent to business and relations with the towns of the serpent trench, so he had been in the area for a few weeks. The handsome knight had been good company to Terra during the dreary winter. He had been so nice to her, and he had attended to her needs, like when on of the children wanted to know how to fish, he went to help, to give private time for Terra. He also made bunches of silk flowers for she and the children. If Terra didn't' know better, she would have thought that Cyan was falling in love with her. She thought that it was just a sill notion...
"And Relm! You've grown so much -- wow, I like your clothes, too," Terra said, turning to the young woman.
Relm smiled, "Thanks Terra! I'm kinda glad to see another girl, cuz I've been out with men for a while now... Which is not to say that I'm not looking forward to seeing those hunky Figaro brothers, especially that king Edgar--" she made a cat-call whistle, and she and Terra giggled.
"I'm looking forward to seeing them too."
She was about to talk to the last person, but didn't know where to start; it was the man that she didn't recognize.
"Oh, and you, sir, but I don't believe that we have met," Terra said to the man who stuck close to Relm. She then noticed that Interceptor was close behind as well, and then a small idea of his identity. The man spoke.
"I look a lot different without the mask on," then her assumption was confirmed, and Terra instantly knew who he was.
"Shadow!? It is you!" she hugged him, and he was gracious about it, which surprised her. "Wow, even your voice isn't as dark-sounding. I never imagined that you'd turn out so... handsome!" she looked him up and down again, thoroughly impressed.
He really was a handsome man, looking like he was in his early thirties or so. He had short, light brown hair, a prominent chin, and a very friendly smile. He sill did have a nonchalant air about him like he had always had, just not as foreboding.
"So, are you going to tell me your real name?" she asked him with her always cheery smile.
"I'm Clyde Arrowny," he said. Terra knew that she had heard that last name before. She exchanged glances with Relm and formed a hypothesis, and Relm nodded. The connection between Relm and Shadow finally clicked, and the way he had always been so protective of her.
"Are you really Relm's father?" she asked, hesitantly and slack-jawed.
"Yep, he's my Dad. Right, poppers?" Relm answered for him, looking up at Clyde.
"Yes," he said, giving Relm a loving gaze.
"Why were you off as a Ninja then, if you had a child? What had happened all those years ago...." Terra's question was cut off by the buzzing of wind-riding propellers, and a great shadow that signaled the arrival of Setzer in the Falcon.
"I'll tell you on the way to the festival," Clyde said. He waved at Setzer, who was looking down from the deck. He, Relm, and Interceptor proceeded to the ladder that was descending from the body of the ship.
"Come, ye, sally to the ship," Cyan said, gesturing up with his hand. He gently helped Terra along, and she still couldn't shake the feeling that Cyan was trying to charm her.