Desecration of Saints Chapter 2
By Paul J.
Life goes on, as it tends to do, and children grow, as they tend to do, and times change ... As they always do. Jason Siegel and Roland Leonhart continued to be friends in the final year of their SeeD training, though the extent of their workload caused them to eventually drift.
Headmistress of Garden, Quistis Trepe, announced her pregnancy, but refused to give away the identity of the father. Commander Leonhart, though disappointed, did not press the matter.
President Caraway of Galbadia, died in his sleep at age 58. He had been terminally ill before then, and he and his daughter, Rinoa Leonhart, reconciled at his deathbed. His estate was left to his daughter and her husband.
Irvine Kinneas, having led a force against a known and dangerous terrorist organization known as the `sorceress cult,` was promoted to the rank of Commander of the Galbadian SeeD. Selphie Tilmitt, who separated from Irvine some years before, did not attend his celebration.
Now, Roland and Selphie are preparing themselves to travel to the Fire Cavern, to claim another Guardian Force . . .
Jeez, Instructor, don't worry so much!
Oh, hush up, you. I wouldn't be worried if you were using a gunblade, like your father, but a gun?
Ach, Selphie ...
Instructor Tilmitt, Roland, at least until we leave Garden.
... Gunblades are my father's thing. I just never took to them. I like guns better.
Selphie pressed her lips together in annoyance, but said no more. She had been a foul mood ever since she heard Irvine had been promoted. Squall had asked her the other day if anything was wrong, and she nearly punched him in the face.
So, er, what am I looking for, exactly?
Selphie grunted; they were already outside of Garden. Well, you're looking for a Fire elemental GF. You have your current GF's equipped?
Doomtrain and Shiva Guardian Forces equipped, Instructor.
Good. I will be using the Bismark Guardian Force, but only if I need to. Understand?
Selphie gave Roland instructions for the remainder of the short trip, a trip punctured by the sudden arrival of two Grats. Selphie grunted, and stood back.
Winking at the Instructor, Roland turned to face the Grats, and pulled the trigger on his gun. One of the monsters fell to the ground, dead, but the other was much quicker, and advanced on Roland with its long tentacles raised.
Roland fired his gun and missed. Cursing, he retreated three paces, aimed his free hand at the Grat, and fired a spell at him: Fira!
The Grat was suddenly enveloped in a brief tornado of fire, which disappated to leave a withered husk of monster behind.
Roland whooped with triumph, and went to inspect the creatures. He returned to Selphie fingering a couple of potions, which he pocketed quickly and informed the instructor they could move on.
Selphie nodded, and then smiled. It was the first time all day Roland had seen her foul veneer chip and crack. You got potential, kiddo.
. . . Whatever.
Selphie was in a considerably better mood after that.
The Fire Cavern, which was a cave that led down into a shallow pit of lava and rock, had been damaged in some places due to the exploits of the SeeD cadets who explored it. It was a nesting ground for fire monsters, however, so people continued to battle within its heated depths, despite the fact most of the rock paths had begun to deteriorate.
Roland sheathed his gun and approached the two Garden Faculty who stood at the mouth of the cave. He stood straight and saluted, then announced that he was present to take the Field Exam. Selphie interjected to announce that she, Instructor number 26, Selphie Tilmitt, was his support. The Garden Faculty nodded, and asked Zell to pick a time. Mindful of his abilities, Zell chose a time limit of thirty minutes, just to be safe, and the two entered the cavern.
Immediately, sweat began to bead on Roland's brow. He pulled his gun again, and began to carefully trot down the stone path, illuminated by the lava that bubbled on either side of them.
Nah. Not a bit.
Liar, liar, pants on fire!
Careful; the way you're walking, they just might be!
This anxious quip silenced Selphie for a few moments, and they continued on, relatively undisturbed, until they finally reached a narrow passageway of smooth stone which led to a pit like area. Roland paused, and turned to Selphie. Is that ...?
Do you know what it'll be?
All right. Let's go, then.
And so, grim faced and steely-eyed, the duo slowly made their way down the path, until Roland and Selphie stood before the great lava pit. Roland took a deep breath, and bellowed into the silence: I, Roland Leonhart, command the Guardian Force that dwells within, to reveal itself. I challenge you to a battle!
. . . A battle?
Roland looked slightly taken aback, though Selphie grimaced. Roland looked uncertain, but then pressed on. Yes, a battle. If we win, you will join us. If you win ...
. . . I kill you.
. . . I like that deal. It's been boring down here, anyway. All that are left, really, are weaklings. My most powerful rival was taken by a young SeeD cadet a many year ago . . . Leonhart. That's your name, isn't it?
. . . Oh, my. This is ironic. Very well then, son of Squall Leonhart, I will battle you. Let us see if you are as powerful as your father was, when he enlisted the services of the Father Ifrit . . .
There was a sudden, ominous rumbling that came from the pit, and Roland clenched his hands around his gun. Pebbles shook and bobbed as the entire cave seemed to vibrate. A roar emitted from the pit, and in a sudden flash of red light, the Guardian Force emerged to face Roland and Selphie, though it was not the type of monster they expected, oh no, the monster they faced was much different.
It was Salamander.
Roland's sudden cursings and shoutings were drowned out by Selphie's shriek and the sound of Roland's gun going off. The bullets bounced harmlessly against Salamander's scaly flesh, and the Guardian Force gave off a deep, rumbling laughter.
You won't beat me that way, young one ... Heh heh heh.
Then I'll show you what I got!
Roland had paused long enough to initiate a GF summon, and as he spoke, the great Ice Queen, Shiva, appeared in the place of Selphie and Roland, glared briefly at Salamander, and then blasted it with ice. Salamander shrieked and fell back, steam suddenly rising from him in great waves, as cold and hot merged.
Shiva vanished, leaving Selphie and Roland in her place. Immediately, Selphie blasted Salamander with blizzaga and Roland geared up for another summon. Salamander roared, and blasted the two with flame.
Just as Roland believed he was to be roasted alive, a sudden cold wave swept over him and he felt an icy shape against his chest. He opened his eyes, which he has closed tight to avoid seeing his fate, and saw Shiva, grunting with effort, using her ice power to counteract the fire blast.
Shiva, Roland whispered, thank you.
Shiva cried out, and then vanished, disappating the fire at the cost of her consciousness.
Roland! Selphie cried suddenly, here!
A golden light emanated from Selphie's palm, and eveloped Roland in a sudden warmth and feeling of power. With a confidant battle cry, he cocked his gun and pointed it at Salamander, whose yellow eyes widened as the trigger was pulled.
Roland pummeled Salamander with powerful AP ammo until the Aura finally left him, and he sank to one knee, exhausted.
Salamander quivered, roared, and fell to its side, looking helplessly at Roland with drooping eyes.
. . . It must run in the family.
And then it fainted.
Selphie and Roland gaped at Salamander for a moment, before it grunted lightly, a sound which shocked Roland out of his reverie enough to junction Salamander to him. Immediately, he felt an immense boost in his physical strength. He looked blankly at his arms, which had not changed but somehow had, and turned around, as if looking for something. Selphie looked at him blankly as Roland sheathed his gun and hoisted a bolder over his head, gaped up at it, and then hurled it down into the lava pit, where a loud splash announced it had connected with the magma.
Roland looked shocked, but Selphie smiled. Oh, my. Big strong handsome Ro-land! He blushed, and Selphie giggled. Okay, okay .. Let's get out of here.
They had just made the time limit, and Roland emerged from the Fire Cavern victorious. As he and Selphie walked away from cavern, he noticed that Selphie had slipped her arm around her waist and was smiling serenely and somewhat mischiviously. When he raised an eyebrow at her Selphie kissed him lightly over the left eyebrow and then grinned impishly. Big .. Strong ... Handsome .. Roland ..., she murmured, and Roland suddenly found himself frozen in place, and it wasn't because of fear.
Come with me, Cadet Leonhart, she invited, and led Roland by the hand into the nearby clump of forest. There, Selphie found a clearing and led him to it. Roland looked extreamely nervous and asked what was going on.
Well, Selphie said lightly, rubbing her right hand first over his cheek, then down his chest, then to his belt and what lay under, you still have one more test to pass before we return to Garden .. Just .. Don't tell your father, kay?
Roland looked staggered. Um, er, yeah .. Sure. I won't. I never do.
Selphie winked. Good boy. Now, get ready for a lesson you'll never forget ...
Selphie cackled and unbuttoned her shirt, then let it slip off her to the forest floor. Roland looked at her openly for a moment, then came to her.
They finished moments later, and within half an hour, they had returned to Garden, Selphie in a considerably better mood than when they had left.
* * *
The mighty jaws of the T-Rexasor snapped together around a small tree and began to shake it violently, massive feet digging into the dirt floor as it did so. A shape fell silently from the tree, and darted to the left, in the direction the top of the dinosaur's head was not facing.
The beast ceased ravaging the tree and stood up straight, nostril's flared. It turned swiftly in the direction of the scent it had just picked up, a low growl rumbling from its throat, yellow eyes darting from left to right.
Suddenly, a rustling sound, to its left! The dinosaur roared again and stampeded towards the growth of brush where it had heard the sound, stood over it, and raised its head to the ceiling to let another roar trumpet to the heavens, ready to rear down and bite.
However, it never got the chance.
Squall Leonhart flew from the bushes, his flesh and clothes a glowing gold color, and brought the blue blade of his Lionhart across the fleshy underbelly of the beast. Before the T-Rexasaur could cry out in pain, Squall had worked his way up its body in a serious of ridiculously vicious slashes, the power of the Aura spell increasing his strength, agility, and speed to the superhuman capacities needed to execute such a devasting attack such as the Lion Hart Limit Break.
Finally, Squall flipped backwards off of the chest of the T-Rexasaur and twirled in a motion that resembled his Fated Circle attack.
He landed mere seconds before the T-Rexasaur's head did.
Squall rested his weapon against his shoulder as he looked at the fallen monster, breath coming in quick stitches as Aura slowly began to fade from his body. He had just sheathed his gunblade (and with some disgust; all that work and the monster wasn't carrying anything useful in its stomach, where items were often found) when he heard light clapping from behind him.
Squall turned quickly, hand still on the hilt of his gunblade, and took in the sight of his wife, Rinoa, beaming at him, her beautiful hands clasped together in front of her and wonderful brown eyes shining brightly.
Squall relaxed considerably, and Rinoa giggled. Ooh, so tense ... Maybe it's time I give you one of my world famous massages ...
Squall smiled lightly. Oh, world famous, hm?
Rinoa walked slowly to Squall, who was doing to same her. Rinoa wore a smirk on her face as she met and slipped behind him, so that he hands were resting against his back, hot with the work he had just done. She began gently rubbing his shoulders and neck, and purred softly into his left ear, yes, that's right .. world ... famous ...
Squall's arms broke out into goosebumps, and he blushed horribly. Rinoa couldn't see his face, but she saw his ears light up like fires. She giggled softly into his ear, and then kissed him gently in the place just under his jawline, the place that made him really shiver, then broke away from him.
Squall stood frozen for a few seconds, then turned to glare at her, eyes shocked. You big tease! He accused her.
Rinoa rolled her eyes heavenward, and then began to rock back and forth on the soles of her feet. Oh, Squall?
Is that a gunblade in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Squall boomed a sudden, uncontrolled burst of laughter, and chased after Rinoa as she darted off, daring him to catch her if he could. As he chased, he ran by the fallen head of the T-Rexasor, and glanced for a moment into one of its yellow, ugly eyes. What he saw reflected in them made him shiver, and the smile dropped from his face at once. He slowed to a near stop for a moment, until Rinoa's cat-calls spurred him on, the momentary discomfort gone, but it would return in the night, when he dreamt of what he saw in that yellow eye:
A knowledge. A knowledge of a terrible thing coming, and in his direction.
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