What Makes A Hero Chapter 2

The Manipulator And The Subservient

By Nanaki

Zeltennia Castle

"You say Ramza Beoulve is not only alive, but leading his men here? That's ridiculous!" Delita said, appearing angry on the outside.

"But your highness, the sources from Warjilis have hardly ever been wrong." The squire bowed low before him.

"Even if Ramza is alive, which I severely doubt, what cause does he have to come here?" Delita demanded. But inside he was shaken. He had never been able to find Ovelia's body. He had left the scene for only enough time to come up with his cover story, but when he returned, she was gone. Since then, he had been afraid that one of the few small factions opposing him had gotten ahold of it. If Ramza had somehow found out, there could be substantial trouble. "We must find some way to distract him from coming here." Delita frowned.

"Huh? But didn't you just say..." The squire trailed off as he realized he was getting in over his head.

"What would he consider important enough to take his time for?" What indeed?


Baraius Hill

It was the same old nightmare. It was always the same. The snowy wasteland of Fort Zeakden surrounding him. Algus, taking aim for the fatal shot. Himself, running forward, too late to stop it. But this time, there was a new twist. "Stop!!!" He heard himself shouting. "You're creating a monster!!"

Next to Algus, Zalbag rippled, and suddenly, Dycedarg stood in his place. "Good!" He shouted. "All of your allies deserve whatever they get! You just stood by while they ended the Beoulve reign!"

"I was trying to kill you! I was glad when Orlandu blew your brains out!"

"Why? Why were you against power passing to the Beoulves?"

"YOU KILLED BALBANES!!! You killed Teta, whether you were here or not! You created the monster!!"

"There are so many "monsters" in the world. I certainly didn't create the Bloody Angel. Do you even know who you're referring to?"


"Delitaaaaa!!!" Ramza sat up, gasping in the cold night air. Everyone knew that Ramza didn't sleep very well, and so only Roberto paid any attention. They all rolled over and went right back to sleep. Except, the one person who wasn't used to him slowly sat up.

"Its good to know I'm not the only one who does that." Ovelia said softly.

"Don't worry about it. You need to be resting."

"How can I? How can I rest, or sleep? The nightmares will only come back."

"For now. I've got to MAKE them go away." Ramza clenched his fist.

"How will you do that? I thought I was finally safe with him, but the nightmare was only beginning."

"He's become just what he used to hate, and he doesn't realize it. Ovelia, what really happened to you, on that day?"

"Word came that you had followed the Shrine Knights into Murond. After no one saw you or the Zodiac Stone monsters again, it was generally assumed that you were dead. Delita didn't seem to care, so I got mad at him. I mean, really mad. I yelled at him that he used me, and everyone, and then... I attacked him. I yelled that he was going to kill me, "just like Ramza," and then... he did. He totally lost it when I said that..."

Ramza thought for a minute. "There are two possible sides to the story." He said at length. "Either he really did lose his temper, and handled the whole affair VERY badly, or..." He sighed heavily. "Or he married you just to get the throne, and planned to kill you all along."

"Ramza... What are you going to do?"

Meliadoul's voice drifted back. "Ramza, will you shut up?"

Agrias kicked her from her own sleeping bag. "Shhh! He's talking to Ovelia!"

"Hey! We're trying to sleep over here Agrias!" Mustadio shouted from farther away. After a few moments of arguing, everyone settled back down to sleep, with a few grumbles coming from Meliadoul's direction.

Ramza smiled a little, before he remembered Ovelia's question. "Well, if he did lose his temper, I'm going to forcibly remove him from the throne until such a time as he can prove he can handle any dispute with fair and objective judgement."

"And if... If he..." Ovelia couldn't bring herself to say it.

"If it was premeditated, then I'm going to kill him." Ramza said simply. He looked up at the sky for a minute, then got out of his sleeping bag. "Looks like I won't be getting any sleep tonight. You should try to rest though." Ovelia lay back down, although he doubted she would get any sleep either. Ramza walked away from the group until he came to the trees where the chocobos were tied up. He untied Boco, scratching the energetic bird under the chin. "Hey boy, feel like going for a ride?"

Boco warked happily, and Ramza hopped up on his back. "At least life is simple for you." Ramza sighed. "All you have to do is run or fight. Actually, that's really all I do. So why does everything seem so complicated?" Boco only warked softly in response, and ran even faster.


Dorter Trade City

"What's really bothering you, Ramza?" Agrias asked as they passed through the Dorter slums. He gave her a funny look. "No, there's something besides the obvious." Ramza quickly glanced back at the rest of the group. They were all marching along silently, Roberto and Orlandu bringing up the rear guard. Whitman had a crossbow half-concealed under his robe. Ramza sighed softly. Why didn't Rafa ever bug him like this?

"We never found the Leo stone." He said, hoping that would satisfy her.

"Hmm..." She glared at him. "Why does that bother you?"

"Someone could use the holy stone to summon Lucavi..."

"So? We'd just kill 'em, like all the others."

"Maybe." Ramza said, turning onto another street.

"Uh, Ramza? This isn't the way to Zeklaus." Roberto ran up to him.

"I know." Ramza said grinning. He turned around quickly. "Orlandu, I want you, Agrias, and Meliadoul to go ahead to Zeltennia. You'll function primarily as a Dark Knight, and between the three of you, you can easily kill anything that gets in your way."

Orlandu nodded, taking this all in stride. "Uh huh. And where will you be going?"

"I forgot to mention. Take the southern route, through Limberry." He said before answering. "The rest of us will be heading to Igros, to muster the remains of the Hokuten. Or so it will seem to casual observers..." Suddenly, Whitman's crossbow twanged, and a man fell from a third story window. Roberto walked over, scanning the dead man's clothing.

"Just as I thought. Nanten insignia."

"Considering Ivalice is supposedly united now, why are there still two sides?" Rafa stepped forward.

"Would trust the surviving Riovanes troops who served directly under Barinten?" Ramza asked her. Then he continued. "If it all works out, the Hokuten will press through Goland and up through Doguola pass. While we will also follow behind on the Limberry route."

"And just what are you hoping to accomplish?" Rafa asked him.

He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "That... I'm not sure of."

"So the point would be what?"

"Before, we did almost exactly what Delita wanted. I figure that the more unpredictable we are, the harder it will be for someone to use us."

"That's really paranoid." Meliadoul observed.

"And rightly so." Rafa countered. "I know what its like to be used..."

"I have to wonder though," Ramza sighed again, "who's using who here?"

"You seem to be using us." Meliadoul said, provoking him.

"I'm only doing this because I want to." Orlandu told her sternly. "You know very well that no one can make me do anything I don't want. Now, we're going to Limberry!" With that, Orlandu walked off, without a look back. He and everyone else knew he would be okay, no matter what happened.

"Take good care of Ovelia, okay?" Agrias asked Ramza.

"Yeah... Of course." Ramza nodded solemnly. "As long as I'm alive, she will be too." He said bowing, half joking, half serious.

"Okay." She said smiling. "I hope you know what you're doing."

'So do I.' He thought. 'So do I.'


"I just know, I'd give my life for her..." - Delita Hyral


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