Terra: Part II Chapter 4

By Mintbaby

The trip to Thamasa would be a long one.

First, the group would need to proceed underground to the continent which held South Figaro, where they would charter the use of 3 chocobos that would take them to the port town of Nikeah. From there, they would buy passage on the ferry that could hopefully be persuaded to take them to Thamasa - for an extra price of course. All in all, Edgar and Terra figured it would take at least a week. Hopefully, in that limited time Shadow would be inspired as to the best way to present his identity to Relm.

The Chancellor wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of once again losing control over the (not-so)-young king of Figaro, but he handled it well enough. The group’s supplies were packed as the castle made its way underground, past the mysterious castle where Odin had been found, to resurface just outside the cave that had at one time led to South Figaro. The cave had since been sealed off by a landslide, so the group would need to proceed, instead, around the mountain range to South Figaro. Edgar and Terra bid the Chancellor good-bye, promised they would be careful, and then turned to follow Shadow who had already began making his way toward the town.

“Terra, do you think it wise for him to offer her the choice of hearing the truth about her father? Relm is young. She may opt against the telling because of a myriad of reasons, anger being the greatest.”

Terra nodded and gripped Edgar’s hand. “I know. I’m worried about that too, but it really should be her choice. I think she’ll want to hear it, though. It’s a gut feeling more than anything else, but I trust it.”

Edgar was quiet for a moment, examining Shadow’s tall and rigid frame as he walked a fair distance ahead of them. “How does one confess such a secret to a young girl, Terra?” He glanced over at Terra’s delicate features and caught her eyes. “I told Shadow that I would not be so courageous to do what he has planned. It was all I could do to confess my love to you.” Terra flushed and lowered her gaze as Edgar continued. “How does someone such as Shadow confess to a secret such as this to someone like Relm?”

Terra shook her head. “I have no idea. I don’t think Shadow does either. He didn’t even know how to tell me. It just kind of happened. He just kind of unrolled it like a person would shake out an old carpet.”

“Do you believe Relm would be receptive if it was offered in such a way to her?”

“Relm’s so unique,” Terra stated with a sigh, “that I don’t think her own grandfather would know how she’d take something like this.”

“Speaking of grandfathers… do you think he realizes who Shadow is?”

Terra looked over at Edgar with a small smile. “You’re full of questions that I can’t answer, Edgar.”

He returned her smile and brought her hand to his lips. “I apologize. My curiosity has run away with me, it seems. I shall do better at curbing it.”

Terra moved in closer and wrapped her arm around his waist. He draped an arm around her shoulder and kissed the top of her head. “Don’t. I like it when you ask me questions. It means you want my opinion.”

“Among other things, soul light.”

Terra giggled, glancing up at him with a flush and twinkling eyes. “You’re too wonderful, Edgar.”

He smiled down at her. “Do not set me too high on that pedestal, my little Esper angel. I am terribly afraid of heights.”

She laughed.

* * *

They arrived in South Figaro in record time, chartered the required chocobos, and then promptly left town toward Nikeah. The group made it quite a ways toward the port town before making camp. Shadow had set an incredible pace, but Edgar and Terra had kept up without complaint. Their journey was beginning to remind them greatly of their past adventures against Kefka and the Empire. An adventure that, while difficult and filled with heartache, had held a great many tender memories of discovered friendship that had later blossomed to love.

As Terra and Edgar set up camp and Shadow disappeared into the darkness to see about dinner, Terra sent Edgar occasional glimpses. He noticed and after he had finished setting up the campfire, he made his way to where she was setting up the tent they would share that evening. He offered his help and began tacking down the opposite corners.

“What is it, Terra?”

She bit her lower lip as she tied off a corner. “Do you think you could disappear for a little bit when he comes back?” She looked up before he could answer, stopping what she was doing to go over to him. “He needs to talk about something. Something that wouldn’t be easy to say if you were here. I hate to ask…”

Edgar’s lips tilted with a smile as he finished off the tent corner and stood to wrap his hands around her slim waist. He pulled her close and nuzzled his lips against her neck. “Afraid I may get jealous, sweet?”

She pushed at him with a soft giggle as her cheeks flushed. “Edgar, Shadow’s not that far away.”

Edgar sighed with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes and faked dejection. “Very well. I shall turn the other way while you entertain this rogue ninja.”

“Oh Edgar, stop it.”

He touched her lips briefly and then smiled. “I shall make myself scarce, Terra. Do not worry on that. Perhaps I shall have Interceptor take me for a walk.”

Terra returned his smile as she caressed his cheek. “Thank you. I don’t know how long I’ll need, so… an hour?”

“I am sure Interceptor will know when we are welcome back. Do not feel rushed. Besides, the time alone may do this man good. Too many months of perfection is liable to drive me insane.”

Terra laughed and turned to finish securing the tent. Shadow and Interceptor returned a few minutes later with dinner - a fistful of fish from a nearby stream - and set about cleaning them and setting them up on stakes around the fire. Dinner was a silent meal and Terra could feel the tension rise as they got closer to finishing. Edgar sent her a glance before cleaning up his meal, making a semi-believable excuse of needing to stretch his legs, and then asking Interceptor if he wanted to come along and keep him company. Interceptor hesitated, sent a glance to Shadow - who ignored him - and then gave an annoyed growl before falling into step beside him.

Terra took in a slow breath as she set aside her plate. She didn’t want to start this conversation, but some small part of her was saying that he wouldn’t. “You want to talk about it?” It was the only thing she could think of to say that didn’t make her sound like an idiot.

“Talk about what,” Shadow said in a dead voice.

“Whatever. You don’t need to do this by yourself.” He said nothing and Terra looked over at him. Having his face covered with the shroud was going to make it difficult to know what he was going through, but she wasn’t going to ask him to take it off. It had been his choice to wear it again… A sudden thought struck her and her eyes widened in surprise. “Shadow, I had a sudden idea.”

His gaze actually traveled to her face. It was wary. “What.”

“You don’t need to tell Relm that Shadow is her father.” His eyes registered surprise and confusion. Terra continued. “Hear me out. Do you believe that Shadow is Relm’s father? Or do you believe that Clyde Arrowny, husband to Amanda Magus-Arrowny, is her father?”

“The latter.”

“Right. To you, Shadow is a ninja with no emotion, no home, no family, and probably no friends.” Shadow barely acquiesced the statement with a nod. “Clyde Arrowny left her to make things right, then was captured by the Empire.”

Shadow examined Terra’s face for a long, silent moment. “You want me to lie to her?”

“Where’s the lie, Shadow? The minute you put your emotions and family behind you, Clyde was a captive. Now, you’ve let him go. He’s no longer a prisoner. He can go home to his family and start over.” Terra looked down at her hands. They were trembling. “I’m not saying this is right. I’m not saying this is wrong. I just believe that this is a possible way for you to get your family back.” Terra took in a deep breath and looked back over at him. He was gazing at the fire. “You say that Shadow should have died in Kefka’s tower… Well, maybe he did. Maybe Clyde is the one who fell down the hole and was able to find his way out safely.”

Silence descended and Terra sighed, turning away from him to lie back on the cool grass. She’d let him think about it for a while. Edgar wasn’t due to arrive for another 45 minutes, at least, and that would give Shadow some time to make a very important decision. Terra didn’t know why she’d suddenly thought of this. Maybe it was the simple fact that she didn’t want Relm’s innocent view of Shadow to be tainted. After all, Relm thought he was the coolest thing since energy. Maybe it was the questions she’d heard Relm ask Celes about people captured by the Empire and whether or not they were ever released.

Relm knew something.

Terra sighed again, draping her arm across her eyes. “Shadow, I didn’t explain my idea to you very well. If you have a second…” He remained silent and she took that as a ‘yes’. “Relm is fascinated by you, hard as you may find that to believe. I think it would be awful if you ruined that by telling her that you’ve been her father all this while. You don’t even believe that. You believe Clyde was someone different.” She paused and lowered her arm to her side before sitting up. “If Shadow just disappeared, Relm would think that was fairly normal. After all, you’ve done it before. If her father shows up and explains that he was able to get free of Kefka’s tower after the end battle, it’s the truth on a whole other level and she’d believe that too. That way, she wouldn’t lose your friendship. She’d gain her father.”

Shadow tightened his hands into fists. “It seems too simple of an answer.”

“Simple? Sure, the answer may be simple, but doing it will be the hard part. You won’t be able to be secretive anymore, Shadow. You’ll have to learn how to talk to her about stuff. About her mother. About why you left. About everything that’s happened since you went to try and save the world. It won’t be easy.” Terra hesitated a moment. “Shadow, if you do this, you will have to stay gone. No more hiding. I… I just thought you’d want to know.”

“You don’t believe Relm would wish to be visited by her one-time friend?”

Terra shrugged. “I don’t know. That’s your call. Not mine. It might be dangerous to have Shadow show up because what if she figures it out? You’ll hurt her.”

“What of Interceptor? Surely she’ll recognize him.”

Terra dropped her eyes. “Yeah. I thought of that, too. That’s your problem, though. I can’t think of anything. Unless Shadow says good-bye and leaves the dog with her.” Terra shrugged. “That’s all I can come up with.”

“It’s a good idea,” Shadow said after a slight pause.

Terra heard Edgar and Interceptor approaching. “Whatever you decide to do, Shadow, we’re behind you one hundred percent. Okay?”

Terra stood and went over to meet Edgar while Interceptor continued toward his master. Edgar took her hand and led her to the tent, ushering her inside and tying the flap closed.

“So, how did our ninja do this evening?”

“He was quiet. I did most of the talking.” Terra blushed and sat on the large, two-person bedroll as she began to remove her soft-soled boots. Edgar sat beside her and did the same. “I came up with the most bizarre idea.”

Edgar’s lips were tickled with a smile as he set aside his shoes and began to disrobe. “I am all ears.”

* * *

Shadow stared at the fire, the night sounds drifting in and out of his awareness as Terra’s words settled deeper into his mind.

‘If her father shows up and explains that he was able to get free of Kefka Tower at the end battle, it’s the truth… You won’t be able to be secretive anymore… She’d gain her father… She wouldn’t lose your friendship…’

Shadow pushed the thoughts away with a painful sigh, pulling the shroud from his head with a slow and deliberate motion. He stared down at the crisp blackness of it and thought back. So many thoughts and feelings had been hidden by it. Safely tucked behind its black mesh. Safely distant and alone.

‘You’ll have to learn how to talk to her about stuff. About her mother. About why you left. About everything that’s happened since you went to try and save the world…’

No. It wouldn’t be easy. He had come full-circle… Shadow tossed the shroud at his bedroll near the fire and hid himself away from the feelings. He was tired. Too tired to face them and survive.

‘Shadow, if you do this, you will have to stay gone. No more hiding…’

He stood and made his way to his bedroll, lying back to drape an arm across his eyes. Laughter and a tight grip on his hand drifted out of his memory and twisted his insides. Cheerful chatter. Humor and smiles. The wedding. The wedding of Locke and Celes and Edgar and Terra had been the beginning of the end of Shadow’s life... No. Even before that. When Ledo’s evil had been put to rest Shadow had known his life was coming to a close. He had known that Clyde was demanding freedom from the cage within his dark self.

There was no more vengeance to be sought.

‘The answer may be simple, but doing it will be the hard part… I just believe that this is a possible way for you to get your family back.’

Shadow released a deep breath and drifted to the blackness of sleep.


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