What Makes A Hero Chapter 12
A Hero's Departure
A bar in the lower class section of Lesalia
Ramza had foregone his usual milk in favor of a large tankard of ale. He heard two sets of soft footsteps behind him, and turned to look. Rafa and Alma entered the bar cautiously, until they spotted him inside. "I was starting to think you wouldn't show up." He said quietly.
"This wasn't exactly the easiest place to find." Alma scolded him a little. "I'm not sure I even want to know how you knew about it."
"Anyway, why did you ask us to come here?" Rafa asked him.
"You remember how we were all getting set to leave before? Well it seems that everyone's forgotten about that. Now that Delita and Ovelia have made up from what was apparently no more than a domestic squabble, they're all full of hope for the future."
"Ramza." Alma put a hand on his shoulder. "I don't think they ever wanted to leave. They were going along with you because it looked like there were dark times ahead for the country. But Ovelia can hold Delita's temper in check, to a reasonable degree. Agrias will stay because of her. And did you think Orlandu would ever leave this country?"
"Well I still want to leave!" Ramza exclaimed. "I just had a huge fight with the man who was once my best friend, and he also happens to be the ruler of the country. I'm sick of this place. I want to get out of here." He remained silent for a moment, then looked intensely at both of them. "And I want you two to come with me."
Alma looked at the ground for a moment. When she looked up again, her expression was very severe. "Ramza, you know Zalbag died in the battle." Ramza slowly nodded, still not quite believing the news. "Someone has to take care of Balbanes."
"Let the Hokuten. They've been doing a decent job so far."
"No! I can't just abandon him! Not now that I know he's here!" She shouted.
"You're turning on me too?" He demanded.
"Ramza, no one is turning on you! We just don't want to leave things unfinished here!"
"I didn't make this mess, why should I help clean it up?!" He clenched his fist. "I'm not saying I'm leaving forever, but for right now..."
"Well I'm staying!" She shouted, then stormed outside. Ramza frowned. He had thought that Alma understood him. She always had, ever since they were kids...
"Ramza." Rafa said quietly, sitting down beside him. "I think I know how you feel. I'll go with you." Ramza turned to look at her with an odd expression. Alma had understood him, ever since they were kids... ..but he wasn't a kid anymore.
"Thank you." He said quietly. "There's still a way going on out there, you know. But this time, it can't be won with force. There's nothing more I can do here." He stood up, then held his hand out to Rafa. "Shall we get going back to Warjilis?"
"I'd love to." She took his hand, and they walked out into the night.
Igros, Capital of Gallione
Cyran's chocobo came barreling through the main gate of the castle. He was alone at the moment, and he had been for a while, but he was so deep into Hokuten territory that he wasn't worried. His bird slowed to a halt, and Clara came running down the hall. "You're by yourself?" She was surprised. "We were going to have a hero's welcome ready for you, but..."
"Forget that." He brushed the concern aside. "Ramza and Zalbag were the real heroes." She gave him a skewed glance. "Besides, the more I downplay this, the less resentment Dycedarg's men should have toward me."
"I didn't think you'd give them that much credit." She smiled. "But you shouldn't downplay your achievments too much. From what I hear, you were the only one besides Zalbag to battle Alicia."
"Yes, that's true enough." He slowly nodded. "But what you probably didn't hear is that she beat the hell out of me and placed a curse on me to boot."
"A curse?" She looked surprised.
"Yes, she overloaded me with fire energy. Apparently, if I don't transfer at least some to a child of mine within three years, it'll kill me." Then, his expression changed to a softer one as he looked down at her. "I know you and I have never been serious to the point of marriage, or anything, but I was hoping you might help me out with that one."
Clara turned to look him in the eye. "Oh Cyran, I'm afraid you're not going to like what I'm about to tell you."
"What? No? No, that's all right. I can understand..."
"No, that's not it." She looked apprehensive. "I've already had a child by you."
"What? When? How?"
"And who, where, and why too, right? You know that baby girl that's been sharing my quarters for the past year?"
"Well I knew she was YOUR child." His eyes widened. "But... Tara is MY daughter? You told me that..."
"I lied." She looked down at the floor. "You were under so much stress from Delita's presence that I didn't want to burden you with something else. But now..."
"Wow..." He tilted her chin up so she was looking at him again. "You are so nice! But, are there any more children of mine out there that I don't know about?"
"Not to my knowledge." She shrugged.
"Are you lying again?"
"You'll have to ask around." She grinned at him.
Cyran grinned, but then looked at his hands and sighed. "I can't help but think that I could have done something to save Zalbag, or keep Ramza from disappearing on us. They both helped us out immensely." Then he looked up again. "I wish I could be more like them."
Clara looped her arm through his. "I don't know what makes a hero." She started walking down the hall, dragging him along. "I don't think any of us do."
"I turned and ran..." - Ramza Beoulve
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