Trials of the Valiant Chapter 1
By The RPGenius
Neither Ramza nor Alma paused to look back. As they rode their chocobos away from the graveyard in which their names were falsely marked gravestones, neither felt, at that moment, sad to be leaving it all. After Ramza, Alma, and their friends had defeated Altima, the airship which had been carrying them had fallen, and to this day neither Ramza nor Alma had any rational idea as to how they had survived. The others were most likely all dead. Agrias, Orlandu, Reis, Meliadoul, Beowulf, Boco, Byblos Rafa, Malak, Mustadio, Worker 8, and even the stranger from an unknown land, Cloud, all hung on Ramza's mind. It made him incredibly sad to think of his comrades as dead, but he could see no other possibility. Alma, too, seemed to grieve their loss, though she had not known any of them well.
Ramza gave a small sigh. Even if they had, miraculously, survived, he wasn't going to look for them. Both he and Alma had agreed that they weren't going back to the rest of the world. Neither would miss the corrupt country of Ivalice, and even if the had wanted to go back, they would most likely be killed. Both of them knew a lot about King Delita and how he got to power, and both knew he would likely seek to silence them forever if he knew they were alive. Everyone thought they were dead, and they were happy to let the world think that. Olan, a friend of Ramza's, had probably seen them as they passed through the graveyard, but Ramza knew that he was trustworthy.
Ramza and Alma rode on for a short while, each wrapped up in their own thoughts. However, as they were passing a fallen tree, Ramza became aware of a far-off sound that was getting closer. He looked over at Alma. She heard it, too. Frowning, Ramza listened. However, it was Alma who first identified the sound.
"Someone's coming this way on chocobo, and by the sound of it, they"re coming quickly."
This put Ramza on his guard. Quickly, he unslung the Ragnarok. No one else should be coming down a path leading to nowhere and not at the speed they were going. Perhaps someone else besides Olan had seen them, a knight of the king, or maybe just a thief.
"Better find a place to hide, Alma. Someone's following us," he warned.
Alma replied indignantly, "Brother, if you don't know by now that I'm never going to run and hide when you tell me to, then you obviously don't know me very well."
Ramza sighed. He didn't have time to argue, and even if he did, he knew he'd lose the argument anyway.
"Well, at least stay hidden until I begin the attack." He looked around, trying to formulate a strategy.
"We'll hide behind this fallen tree. When they ride by, I'll ambush them. While we're fighting, cast Mbarrier on me, then you can help. The chocobos will--where'd they go?" Ramza looked around, but didn't see them.
"They ran off the moment we got off them. I think we paid too much," Alma informed him.
Ramza focused his attention on hiding himself and Alma from sight. Those chocobos had probably been trained to run off and return to the previous owner, anyway. It certainly wasn't an uncommon practice, and not illegal.
Once he and Alma were sufficiently hidden from sight, Ramza listened. He was happy to hear only one chocobo coming. At least whoever it was was alone.
The rider was very close now. Ramza heard whoever it was get off of their chocobo and start walking towards the tree which he and Alma were hiding behind. He gripped the Ragnarok tighter. He prepared to jump out and-
"Ramza Beoulve, come out from behind that tree--I'm not going to attack," called Agrias. Ramza, astounded that she was alive,
well, and following him, quickly stood up and walked forward. He couldn't help grinning as he clasped hands with her.
"Agrias! I thought you died back when the airship fell!" Ramza suddenly saw the chocobo that Agrias was riding, and exclaimed, "Boco's okay, too! That's great! Is anyone else with you?"
Agrias smiled (an uncommon occurance) and told him, "We've found all our friends, besides Orlandu. He wouldn't happen to be with you, by any chance...?" When Ramza shook his head no, Agrias continued. By this time, Alma had come out. "Well, I wouldn't worry about it. He's probably just lying low. After all, he's supposed to have been killed already. But getting back on the subject, we were scattered all over Ivalice. I woke up next to Boco and Mustadio. When we went to Mustadio's home, Beowulf and Reis were there. Reis had been sure that Mustadio would go there first, and she was right. They had already found all the others, besides Orlandu. When she heard that there would be a funeral for you, she felt positive that you would both be around. Apparently, she's good at second-guessing peoples' actions. I went to get you both, but I was late. Luckily, I met Olan, and he told me where you had gone. And so here I am."
Ramza felt a great weight lifted from his heart. His friends meant a lot to him. "So everyone's waiting for us, besides Orlandu?"
Agrias nodded. "Yes, except for Cloud. Mustadio managed to send him back to wherever he came from. But Ramza," she continued on, "Some of them plan to say goodbye when you get back. Beowulf and Reis have lives to get back to, and I think Rafa and Malak have found a job somewhere."
Ramza felt both happy and sad at this news. But there was no real reason for all of them to stay together. Altima/Ajora was dead, or at least defeated, and with Delita ruling, the kingdom seemed to have settled down somewhat.
Alma jumped onto Boco's back. Well, let's go see them, then! Sorry brother, but I claim Boco for the trip back."
As the companions set out, Ramza realized that he would have been miserable if he had disappeared, as he and Alma had planned. He would have missed his friends too much.
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