The Creation of Heaven and Earth Chapter 6

Gambler's Luck

By NeoKefka

The coin flew into the air, spinning end over end. It reached the highest point it could, then let gravity claim it. When it did, the silver coin landed in Setzer Gabbiani's open palm. The white haired gambler examined at the coin fro a moment it before turning toward a pretty, red haired waitress.

"Heads. I'll have the stew, please." he informed her politely. The waitress nodded, scribbled the order down and then walked off. The gambler began to twirl the coin between his fingers as he sat at the table in the Falcon Casino's restaurant. It was the only way he could get away from the floors that had been flooded with a small army of casino-goers. They milled around the many distractions that the complex had to offer, talking excitedly and laughing loudly. From one corner of the building came a cry of victory as someone won a rather large amount of money at the blackjack tables.

It was a beautiful building on the inside, comparable only to the majesty of the Jidoor Opera house. The walls were covered with painted murals and exotic plants of all types were placed throughout. The ceiling was composed of several panes of glass that allowed the sky to be seen.

It was located in the city of Tarre, a tourist spot that had grown out of the area surrounding the Dragon's Neck Coliseum. It was the perfect place for the Casino. Setzer had sunk every penny he had into this place. It was a gamble, he knew that from the beginning, but in the end it was a gamble that paid off. People would come to his Casino to get away from the troubles of the world. Here in Tarre, the war that was going on between Camelot and Figaro was a distant memory.

A band was playing on stage while on the dance floor countless people were moving with the fast, upbeat tune that spilled from the stage. Drinks were being passed around accompanied by countless foods. The atmosphere of the place reeked of eat, drink, and be merry. It was a twenty-four hour party at the Falcon Casino.

'Or a twenty-four hour migraine inducer.' Locke Cole thought as he shot a side long glance towards Setzer. "Do you always do that?" he asked.

"Do what?" Setzer answered with another question. Out of habit, the gambler only said that which was needed to be said and nothing more.

"That bit the coin." Locke pointed at the piece of silver Setzer held in his hand. "Do you always gotta make your decisions that way?"

"Nope." Setzer replied "Sometimes I have a plan."

Locke gave him a skeptical look. "You? A plan? I never thought I'd hear those two words in the same sentence." Locke shook his head in mock disapproval. "What ever happened to the guy who let luck rule his life?"

Setzer gave him only the slightest shrug of his shoulders. "Chance favors the prepared mind." He looked at the coin again. "And besides, it's just dinner."

"What?" Locke didn't hear Setzer's last remark because of all the noise the crowd made.

"I said," Setzer repeated a little louder. "It's just dinner."

Locke motioned toward the crowd before taking a big gulp from his mug of sake. "Doesn't all this noise drive you crazy? It's enough to make a guy's hair turn whi..." Locke stopped talking when he realized who he was talking to, and grinned at Setzer sheepishly.

"Too late." Setzer quipped. "Yeah, sometimes all the bright lights and loud noise gets to me but I just remember one thing before I start pulling my hair out."

"Enlighten me." Locke took another long drink.

"Bright lights and loud noise means customers, customers mean money, and money means food on my plate, clothes on my back, and a roof over my head." He said.

"Cheers to that." Locke held up his drink and Setzer returned the gesture. Locke studied his mug thoughtfully for a moment before speaking. "God, it's been six years since you and me did anything like this."

"Where does the time go?" Setzer asked while admiring one of the female Casino customers. "When was the last time?"

"I think it was the weekend before Celes and I got married." Locke glanced down at the wedding ring on his finger, a little piece of metal that changed his life entirely. Then a mischievous grin appeared on his face. "You, me, Edgar, Sabin, and Cyan all went out for drinks and got stone drunk."

A grin had found its way onto Setzer's face as well. "Yeah, I remember that." Then he busted out laughing. "Remember how we had to make Cyan join in with us, and when he got going, he drank all four of us under the table?"

Locke broke out in laughter as he remembered that little party. "Yeah, and did you remember that look on the Chancellor's face when we brought Edgar and Sabin back to the castle." He started laughing even harder. "I swear you could have had gas and went into labor at the same time and still couldn't have made one that awful."

Setzer nodded trying not to explode in another barrage as the face of the Chancellor appeared in his mind. "Course," he said, trying to regain his composure. "The man had a good reason to be upset. We came in singing and falling on our rears."

"If I remember correctly, you were the one who did most of the falling." Locke interrupted.

"Well, what's a guy to do when the floor won't hold still?" That little joke was enough to get them roaring with laughter again. Restaurant patrons cast curious glances in the pair's direction, wondering what was so funny.

Locke held up his hands. "We better stop, people are starin'."

Setzer called upon ever resource he had in order to quell his laughter. "Yeah, we've got a reputation to maintain."

It took a little effort, but the two had finally managed to quit laughing by the time their food had arrived. The two of them had to admit that it felt great to relive the 'good old days.'

Their waitress set down their orders before them. Locke got a steak dinner, some of the juices still sizzling. A large bowl of beef stew was set in front the gambler. The two took hold of their utensils and dug in. Locke had worked up an appetite today and he was determined to stuff himself senseless.

"So how is the General?" Setzer asked. He had given Celes that nickname right before she and Locke got married. One reason was, in fact, because Celes was a former General of the Empire. The second reason was because, despite the fact she was a woman, Celes reminded Setzer of his father, who was a soldier himself.

"She's fine. She's got a job y'know." Locke answered as he dug into his dinner.

"Really? What she doing?" Setzer asked as he started taking small spoonfuls of the stew.

"Well, a while back, there was a mild epidemic in Kohlingen. The hospital needed some help from anyone with medical experience. In the Empire, all general's were given some form of medical training, so Celes volunteered." Locke studied the bite of food for a second before popping it into his mouth. "After it was over, she stayed on as the doctor's assistant. She says she likes it."

Locke paused for a moment. "She said it made her feel needed."

"What did she mean by that?" Setzer gave him a puzzled look, noticing that Locke's usual good natured expression had changed to one more solemn.

"I really don't know." He shook his head. "I haven't been home as much as I wanted to." Locke had gone respectable himself. After he and Celes were married, he went to work for the town's relic shop. "Such is the life of a 'relic supplier.'"

"Yeah right. No matter how you cut it your still a thief." Setzer prodded, try to hit Locke's weak point. Much to his surprise, Locke simply nodded his head. Setzer looked at him for a moment "Did hell freeze over or what?"

"Why do you want to know that?" Locke asked.

"You didn't say it. I called you a thief, and you didn't say something like 'That's treasure hunter.' or 'Call me a treasure hunter or I'll rip your lungs out."

"Sorry, I'm just a little sore from today, I'll make it up to you next time." Locke still felt like he had been kicked by a mule even though he had fought in the Dragon Neck Coliseum, which the Falcon casino was next to, three hours ago. It seemed that the one who had the relic Locke was looking for wasn't willing to give it up without a fight. It would be the hardest payment he'd ever earned. After collecting the relic, he ran into Setzer who invited him over to his Casino for dinner and conversation.

"By the way, since you were at the Coliseum, how did the match between Dorga and Zande go." Setzer asked as he flipped the coin into the air once more.

"Zande put him down for good in the third round." Locke said, attacking his food again.

Setzer's face became even paler than usual and he didn't catch the coin which hit the table, bounced off and landed on the floor. "Zande! That marshmallow!" he finally exclaimed.

"Lemme guess, you put money on Dorga." A big grin came across Locke's face.

"No, I bet Boaz, the night manager, that if Dorga lost, I'd come in tomorrow wearing a dress."

"Now come on, your buddy was probably joking." Locke comforted his friend but at the same time making little effort to supress the laughter he felt coming on.

"When it comes to bets, Boaz doesn't joke." Setzer grimaced and slapped his forehead. "I was so sure Dorga would win."

"I wish I could say something to help. But I can't, so I won't" Setzer thought he heard his friend snicker as the gambler retrieved his coin from the floor.

Setzer tried to get his mind of his loss. "So, when are you going back?"

Locke shrugged. "I don't know, probably get a room at one of the inns and then take the ferry back in the morning." Seven years ago, when Locke and the others had fought Kefka, the clown had unleashed several blasts of his 'Light of Judgement.' One such blast had torn across the Dragon Island. It essentially decapitated the 'Dragon' and put several miles of ocean between  Tarre and Kohlingen.

Setzer shot his friend a skeptical look. "Are you sure that's wise? Camelot has got a bunch of naval blockade's set up. The boat to Kohlingen from here might be delayed for days on end."

"So what do you suggest?" Locke asked.

Setzer finished of his stew before answering. "I haven't taken the airship out in a while. It could get you over there, back to your home and your lady love in about three hours." Setzer held a finger up. "I just ask one thing."

"What's that?" Locke inquired.

"Let me stay at your house for a couple of days, I really don't want to come back to work tomorrow."

*  *  *  *  *

Roke's ears perked up at the sound of the word 'airship.' He turned his head only slightly, searching for the owner of the voice. Roke was sitting at a table in a corner of the restaurant. With him at the table, were two other men. Drinks sat in front of them, untouched. A tattoo could be made out on his forearm. A clenched fist encircled with fire.

Roke nodded his head toward one of the tables, the one where Locke and Setzer were sitting at, still chatting. His two companions gave them only a quick glance before nodding to Roke. The two men also had tattoos like Roke's decorating their forearms.

"That's the one were looking for." Roke whispered, motioning toward Setzer. "We follow them after they leave."

*  *  *  *  *

Terra looked into Kalas' green eyes with disbelief. "You've got amnesia?"

Kalas nodded before sitting down the edge of a nearby bed. A slight throbbing came from his bandaged forehead. He rubbed his temples trying to relieve the ache. "Eight years ago, I woke up in the hold of a cargo ship. Who I was before then, and how I got these scars." He ran his finger along a particularly nasty one on his forearm. "I just don't know."

Terra couldn't believe it. Not just the fact that he had amnesia, but the fact that she had found him, someone who had gone through the same ordeal, years earlier. She didn't know what to make of any of this. She turned to leave, to gather her thoughts about all of this, but lingered for a moment. She glanced over her shoulder at Kalas one more time. "I'll see if I can find those clothes for you. Then, once your dressed, I want you to meet with me and tell me what you do remember."

Kalas watched Terra leave. "It won't be much, I can tell you that." he thought for a moment. "What I'm about to say is probably pointless," he paused "but I'm sorry about what happened."

Terra didn't turn to face him or speak to him, but instead walked out of the cave.

"I deserved that." He thought out loud. To himself, he said. 'You could have killed her.'

The moment those words left his mind, he froze. Images flashed in his mind, too chaotic and disjointed for him to make sense of them. In one, he and a young, raven haired woman held each other closely. In another, he gripped his forearm as blood oozed forth from a hideous gash while the village around him was consumed by flames. Finally the demon knight appeared, reaching for him, ready to rip apart his soul. The memories of a life he no longer remembered.

Then they were was as if they had never been.

Kalas shook his head in bewilderment. 'For the past eight years, I've remembered nothing but my name.
Why are things starting to come back to me now?' Then he remembered that his forehead had been bandaged. 'At least I remembered something.' he thought dryly. The images gave him no answers, only more questions. "Who was the girl? What happened to that village? what was that thing?" he shivered as the demon reappeared in his mind's eye. However, they still didn't answer the question he wanted to know.

"Who am I?"

*  *  *  *  *

"Did you know that when I first started the Casino, Boaz wanted to turn the Falcon into some sort of ride?" Setzer asked Locke as they dismounted from their chocobos and sauntered down a set of concrete steps that lead to the hanger where the Falcon, Setzer's ship, was kept. The ship had once belonged to Setzer's daredevil friend, Daryl, who had died years before when the ship had crashed into a mountain. Setzer salvaged the wreckage of the ship and repaired it but hid it away in an underground hanger. Only when Kefka had killed Gestahl and took over the world did Setzer gather up the courage to bring it back.

"You're kidding? What did you tell him?" Locke asked after shifting the sack that carried his hard earned relic in to his other shoulder. The two had ran into Setzer's partner on the way out of the Casino. Boaz gloated about his victory over the self proclaimed 'Master gambler' and said he wanted to see Setzer bright and early the next morning.

"I told him hell no. Daryl's ship was to good for that. No way would I turn it into some sort of theme park ride." Setzer said spitefully. Boaz may have been genius at managing money, but social skills he sorely lacked. Setzer stopped at the wood panel door to the hanger, unlocked it, and stepped inside.

Locke caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned to see what it was, but all he saw was the bright lights of Tarre in the distance, and the chocobos, grazing on the hill. 'Just my imagination.' he thought as he followed Setzer inside the darkened hanger.

The minute he stepped inside, Locke's foot hit something hard, made of metal. Setzer heard his friend saying a few choice words behind him. He was glad it was dark, because Locke probably would have punched him if he saw the smirk on his face. "Be careful, I left a lot of tools lying around last time I was in here."

Locke gaze burned into Setzer's back as he rubbed his injured foot. He could swear he felt the bruise forming. "Impeccable timing."

Setzer felt along the wall to his left until he found the light switch. With one quick flick of the switch, the rows of lights that lined the wall came on, revealing the massive airship that rested on the concrete floor.

Along with, Locke noted, a lot of tools.

Setzer took a moment to admire the ship. It was magnificent looking, even on the ground. "Ready to take to the skies?"

"Of course." came the reply.

Setzer's heart stopped the minute those words fell on his ears. That wasn't Locke's voice that answered him. The gambler whirled around to come face to face with a total stranger. Behind him, two thugs restrained Locke's arms.

The leader stepped forward, a sinister look on his face.

And a large autocrossbow, loaded and ready, aimed directly at Setzer's head.

*  *  *  *  *

Palleon marched down into the dungeon underneath the capitol of Camelot. The walls were no longer made of stone, but of adamant metal, the strongest known ore on the planet. A slight hum was the only sound in the air other than Palleon's footsteps as he went down even deeper into the prison complex. He walked by a few sentries, who saluted him, then resumed their vigils.

Lieutenant Darik, another Elite Guardsman, stood outside one cell. "General Palleon." he gave a quick salute.

"At ease, Lieutenant." He ordered. He shot a glance at the cell, before turning his attention back to Darik. "I trust your mission was successful."

Darik nodded in agreement. "Yes sir, there was little trouble when we captured him." Palleon noted the swollen part of Darik's jaw. "He disabled six of our men, but we were able to take him out with a stun grenade."

Palleon pulled back the slide over the cell window and peered in. "And none of his injuries are crippling?"

Darik confirmed this. "He received some minor scrapes and cuts during the struggle and the sleep serum we injected into him will have some temporary side effects when he wakes up, but that's all, sir."

"Good. It is necessary that he not be molested for the Emperor's plan to work." He took one last look  at the figure lying on the cell floor.

A blonde haired man in his thirties lay on his side. His powerful arms were chained behind him.

The man was Sabin Figaro, and he was in the hands of the enemy.


Chapter 7

Final Fantasy 6 Fanfic