Chrono Trigger: Twins of Destiny Chapter 16
By Mox Jet
Teclis and Alaria made a game of who could pickpocket the most people in half an hour. All totaled, Teclis won by a narrow margin of sixteen to fifteen, though Alaria had netted more actual cash. They managed to clear enough money to cover what the fees might cost, as long as they went through most of what cash they had left. Alaria had offered to sell her short swords if it came to that.
They met Yiri outside of their hotel at nine that night, just as they had planned. He was waiting for them when they came, the same grin plastered on his face that Teclis had disliked when he first met him. They told him they would be withholding payment until the identification was procured. He told them it wouldnt be a problem and quickly made his way towards leading them to the place.
No place in this city would really be described as a shady area, though the one to which he led them seemed out of the way enough. The streets were still clean and the buildings were still white, but they did have to go through a back door in an ally. That was about as criminal as anything here seemed.
The inside was a little different. It almost did look criminal. Once they came inside from the ally, the walls were no longer white, but black. They passed through a narrow corridor, though another door, and into a largish room. This one was garnished by all sorts of weaponry decorating the walls. A few bare lightbulbs lit the room and illuminated a hard wooden floor.
The shop was run by a Type IVB that happened to have a talent in the art of forgery. Introducing himself as nothing more than Euel, he was very un-Ithilmarian in appearance. He had dark hair and bronzed skin, a wide nose and deep set eyes. Denegrad POW, without a doubt, the teens thought. It made sense that hed be trying subvert the country that held him in labor, too. Being Type IV, he hadnt had a chance to become overtaken by the mental control reigns that Ithilmar held over the citizens that had lived their all their lives.
Euel was nice enough, at least for someone who was about to make several hundred gil on illegal M-1 Identification. The décor of his shop was, as he put it, to make it feel like home.
I dont ask questions, he told them. I just give results.
I told you what they need, Euel, Yiri said, standing against the wall with his arms folded across his chest. Can you hook them up?
No problem, he said, walking over to a nearby computer terminal and plugging in a few commands. He looked at the computer for a few seconds, looked back at Teclis, then at Alaria, then back at the computer.
Well? Teclis asked, impatient already.
The girls easy, he said. With a little makeup, shell easily pass for an M-1er. You on the other hand .
Well, I dont expect to have stolen records of any operatives with blue hair. Male operatives, that is. The military is pretty strict on the dying of hair. Is there anyway you can get your coloring out?
Its not colored, he said. This is how it is.
Hmmm . Euel pondered. He tapped the screen a few more times. Then, Whats this? The group huddled around the computer. A picture came up with a bio.
Tyrion Mandrake, Teclis said out loud. M-1 Agent, new recruit.
He has .blue hair, Alaria said, slightly confused.
Ill say, Yiri said. And he even looks kinda like you.
I suppose a bit, Teclis said, not thinking too much of it. But what I want to know is how having their information helps us? How are you going to match us up to them? Euel turned to him.
Its easy, friend. See, M-1 happens to have more than just a standard ID system. In addition to swiping a card, they also have something of a finger-prick device that reads fingerprints and actually takes some blood out of your finger. That gets matched up to the ID and cleared as someone who works there. To get to a computer terminal, though, you need to pass a retinal scan, as well. What Im going to do with this information is construct you people some false IDs, blood samples, retinal screens and fingerprints. You get enough uses of them to get in and get out, and you pay me for them. Sound good?
Umm .yeah, Alaria said. That sounds pretty good.
Great, Euel said, closing the windows on the computer and clasping his hands. 2000 gil an ID and Ill have them ready in the morning. They stared at him in silence for a moment, resisting outcry.
Were paying out of our ears Teclis mumbled.
Fine, Alaria said grumpily, tried of haggling. But could we defray some of the cost with credit cards and identification of say thirty one Ithilmarian citizens? She grinned hopefully. Euel laughed.
Really? Hell, if you can get me that much Identification, Ill give them to you for free! Im always looking out for that stuff. It does pay the bills, you know. Plus, youd be amazed to find out how many people are looking for false identification. Especially the Type IVs.
So, thirty one IDs and youll do it for free? Teclis asked, skeptical.
Sure, why not, Euel said with a laugh. Though youd have to be quite the little thieves to get- he was cut off as Teclis and Alaria started emptying their pockets of wallets and ID cards and throwing them a table along the right wall.
Twenty nine thirty .thirty one. Alaria said, throwing the last few casually on top of the pile.
Thirty two, Teclis corrected, taking one more out of his pocket, waving it in the air and then tossing it on the pile. Euel grabbed and opened it up. He looked at Yiri and laughed.
Its yours, Euel said, tossing it back to him. Yiri caught it and gave Teclis a glare. Teclis only smirked.
Now, about that deal, Teclis said. Euel couldnt help but laugh.
Hell, kids, all this is worth more to me than the two grand. Give me till tomorrow morning .you can pick up your stuff at around noon.
Deal, Teclis said, and he and Alaria shook his hand.
Well be by to pick them up tomorrow, then, Alaria said. She turned to Yiri. Now since weve saved some money, show us someplace nice to eat.
Nice? You got it.
Good, Teclis said. And its even our treat.
Really? Yiri asked.
Yup, Teclis said, waving a credit card in the air. Yiri didnt even have to check to see that it was his. He forced a grin. After all, what else could he do?
They dined out that night, as per Alarias request. The food turned out to be rather good, much better than most meals that they had eaten on the surface. The seafood was the most pricey thing on the menu as it obviously all had to be imported. So, with Yiris credit card in hand, Teclis made sure he ordered the most expensive thing there. He never forgot to tell Yiri how good it was and how it was certainly worth all 520 gil.
The night was open to other activities following diner, and while Alaria suggested bar hoping, Yiri pointed out that the drinking age in Ithilmar (which happened to be 22) was strictly enforced. After a quick comment under her breath about hoping that they IDs they were getting tomorrow were older than 22, Alaria conceded to what most teenagers do on nights without drinking: wandering the streets aimlessly.
Yiri, probably having had enough of that in his youth, opted out and made his way home. Alaria was left with just Teclis, for better or for worse. The duo began to wander, admiring the skyline of the city.
They walked in silence for a good stretch of the way, content to not really speak. They eventually found their way into a park-type clearing. There werent any trees and the grass was obviously not real, but there were benches, and what else would you call some benches lining paths in a clearing?
Lets sit, Alaria said, breaking the silence. Teclis shrugged, not expressing any desire to break the said silence. Alaria took position on the nearest bench and gazed up at the stars. Teclis sat down next to her, his hands on his lap and his gaze at his hands.
Theyre so clear up here, she said.
The stars. Theres no cloud cover you can see them all so well. For some reason the light doesnt seem to disturb them much.
True he said, somewhat awkwardly. There was a pause.
So tomorrow, she said, trying again to start conversation. Whats the plan?
Ideally? he asked. She nodded. Ideally, we walk through the door, hit no problems with the IDs, make our way to a computer station, hit no problems with the access codes on the IDs, upload the information we need onto a disk and waltz out.
And not ideally?
Not ideally also known as what I think Yiris really out to screw us, were gonna end up calling down half the army on ourselves, and Im gonna have to Dragon Slave the entire place to get us out safely. We then have the Ithilmarian Army on our backs in addition to the bounty hunters, and were no closer to finding information about the Lavoids, Crystain, or why theres a hit on our heads.
Is that really what you think?
Not so much what I think, I guess, but more or less what Im afraid of.
Yiris all business, Tec, she said. I dont think hell screw us. Hes made the money off of us, thats all he cares about. I dont know what he did before this, but the way he haggles and runs the numbers through his head are all signs of someone who was working in exchange somewhere. Hes nothing more than a merchant, really.
Youre probably right, he conceded. I think Im just a cynic. She laughed.
I have every bit as much reason to be cynical as you do, she said. I wonder why it never took to me... He didnt answer for a moment, then finally, he lifted his head and looked towards the stars.
People never were afraid of you, Alaria, he said softly. People never exchanged nervous glances when you entered a room. They never whispered about you behind your back, not knowing that your ears were actually good enough to hear them. Thats what it was like after I left the orphanage. Thats what it was like at the Mage Guild, too. I mean, I was one of their own and they still wouldnt accept me. She nodded slowly.
They let me in because the Head of the Order thought I had promise, he continued. He identified my skill and supposedly wanted to train me. In hindsight, I think it was because he was afraid that someone else would beat him to the punch and train me for different purposes.
I guess I had the opposite experience after leaving the orphanage," Alaria said. "At the monastery, I was one of their own, and they welcomed me. I suppose maybe thats where what cynicism I had sorta dwindled.
We led quite similar lives up until the point that our paths divided, Alaria, Teclis said.
Quite true. Thats why were still attached at the hip, eh? she said, elbowing him in the side playfully. He chuckled.
Oh, arent we bizarre, though? I mean, weve fluctuated from being together all the time, to not speaking, to being back together again. All of its centered around fighting, too. What happens when the fightings done? Our relationship is kinda like two sinusoidal curves that start off together, then spit, then come back but where is it going to end?
Together, I hope, she said emphatically. She looked at him and laughed.
Thats the most open, honest thing Ive heard you say in awhile.
About the curve thing?
Yeah. I like it better than your usual grunts and shrugs.
Hey, I dont grunt and shrug that often.
Are you she looked at him and paused. Oh wow, you are!
Youre turning red!
I am not! he argued, suddenly regressing to the debating tactics of a twelve year old, turning even redder in the process.
You are, you are, you are! she said, jeering him.
Quiet! he said. This is ridiculous. I cant believe were having this conversation. He crossed his arms and looked forward.
Would you be a teenager for once? she asked him. I mean, you do realize that were still teenagers.
I disagree, he said. Teenager has connotations of being a child. Once you have to kill to make a living, youre no longer a child.
You never want to act like one, though?
I see no need.
Then maybe thats why your so cynical you never had a chance to be a kid.
A long time ago maybe I did. When we were little. Back at the orphanage. Those were more care-free times. Sure, we didnt know where we were from or if we were at war, or if the trade markets were crashing. We just ran around and played and that was that. We had no conception of what was going on outside of those walls. Ironically enough .it was war that caused the Magic Purge which drove me away. It was war that perpetuated my life of living in conflict .always doing battle.
Our lives, Teclis, she corrected somberly. Our lives.
Yeah, he conceded. Our lives, I guess. There was a brief silence, then Alaria spoke up again.
We were training in the monastery, though we were never told for what. It was always referred to rather cryptically as The Coming, or The Return. And our mantra Halus Viavius Geminus Jallar they never told us what it meant.
How did you get involved with them?
It was always sort of the next level of being in an orphanage, she said. It was a bunch of kid without homes mislead Ithilmarians that lost their way, or people of mixed blood like me. They say over in Lyons that the temples actually reach out to the communities tries to recruit kids from the neighborhood that show talent. I guess they were building an army for something, she laughed. But who isnt now a days? Teclis nodded.
True, even the mage guilds always seemed to be amassing forces for something. It sorta makes you think that they were all taking an hint from the same source that they knew something was coming and they knew to get ready for it. What could it be? The climax of this war with Lyons?
Or something bigger, even, Alaria suggested. Teclis shrugged.
Were going to start with the Nisai Ryu, I suppose. Crystain and the Lavoid may just be the key. Tomorrow, well find out
Then what happens? she asked, somewhat suddenly.
After we finish this. After we find out. What do we do then?
Ummm I never really gave it much thought. This was sort of on your whim.
But how will we know what to do?
The information will lead us somewhere. Well figure it out.
Im not talking about the information, she protested. Or what happens immediately after we get it. Im talking about after after. Like down the road. What happens to us?
Well, unless this information leads us to some great financial discovery, we still need to eat. I just suppose well go back to what it was always like. Hunting down bandits stealing from the rich and giving to ourselves. That kind of stuff. She sighed.
You never want something more? she asked.
We had this discussion already, he said. Selfishness is a bad thing. I dont want to succumb to dissatisfaction with my life.
You have no desires? No long term goals?
Not particularly. I guess I always just intended to allow things to go on as they have.
Oh, Im not saying that theres anything wrong with that at the moment, but down the road, dont you want to stop fighting?
Its all Ive known, Alaria, he said. Its all weve known... There was silence for a moment. She looked at him.
Dont let me do it on my own, she said. I still need you there you know to Dragon Slave the bad guys when I get over aggressive. I still need you there when
Well .just when, she said, only half satisfied with the answer she had given. He thought about it.
Im here now, he said. Ill be here then.
Promise, he said. Again, an awkward silence settled over them. Alaria felt temporarily satisfied, yet something seemed to be missing. Something in this scene was just not right.
Was this where she wanted to be swept up into his arms and held tightly and be kissed? Is that what was missing? Why Teclis and why now? Surely, such actions were beyond his emotional tolerance! He seemed sapped of that kind of sense of romance, though how romantic it would be. Here, in Ithilmar, under the stars, a proclamation of unity and a physical representation of it. No, Alaria, she told herself. Dont be silly. Even if he did know how you felt, thered be no way to get to him to express what was actually in his head. No. Teclis Spelman had more growing to do before she could expect that of him. The moment would wait for another time, and she wondered briefly if that time would ever come.
Teclis stood up from the bench, looking down at her. Come, he said. We should rest. We have a big day tomorrow. Maybe well get some of the answers that youre looking for.
Maybe, she said with wavering disappointment mixed with acceptance. She rose. Yes. Lets rest for the night now.
They rose up from the bench and began to walk back towards the hotel. All the while, Alaria inwardly wished he was holding her hand. It was a silly girlish wish, she told herself, but she simply felt the need to be comforted at the moment. Perhaps it was premonition. Perhaps is was just PMS. Something, though, quivered in her and was making her feel oddly moody as a result. There was some liquor in the mini fridge at the hotel. Shed finish that off and feel better. Yeah, that would do it. Then, in the morning, they would go.
Flying Kingdoms equals Planeswalker sex Id tease Jack about the similarities for years to come, the first of which that Teclis was just as clueless as he was. Tristan Tenser
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