Trials of the Valiant Chapter 23
By The RPGenius
Alma had rejoined the others shortly after their battle. Now she studied and examined the blocked cave entrance.
Malak told her about the situation. "None of us can get past these boulders. It might take months just to get a few feet in, and we don't know how far the cave in extends. Have any ideas?"
Alma thought for a moment, then snapped her fingers. "As a matter of fact, I do. Wait here, I'll be back in a few days!"
With that, she mounted Boco and rode off in the direction of Goug.
* * *
The inside of the mushroom hut was interesting, with many miscellaneous objects strewn about. Interesting, and extremely untidy. At the center of the small room, a moogle with dull gray wings sat on a small stool.
"Kupo! Kupapog Kupapop Kupey?" he asked. Though his voice was fairly high and squeaky, as with all other moogles, it was a bit lower and shakier. Ramza suspected that this moogle was very old.
A short conversation took place between one of the moogles and the older one. Once they were done speaking in moogle gibberish, the older one turned to Ramza.
"Kupo! Time for talk, human," he said. "Your names?"
Pleased to finally find a moogle that spoke his language, Ramza replied, "My name is Ramza Beoulve, this is my friend Agrias Oaks, and my large companion outside is Worker 8. What is your name?"
"I'm Magop, kupo. Chief here."
"Well met, Magop," Ramza said, extending his hand. Magop did not take it.
"Kupo. Why you here? Humans here much lately. Hurt, kill moogles. Now you sleep in Holy Grounds, kupo! Very bad! You must die. Now."
Magop waved his paw, and his moogles advanced with their spears. Ramza tried to talk his way out of this before Agrias began laying waste to the small creatures.
"We're not with the other humans! They're trying to kill us!" Ramza told Magop.
Magop spat. "You lie, human. All humans same. All lie, all kill. Even if you say true, you sleep in Moogle Holy Grounds!"
"We had no idea that the room was considered sacred by your people! Surely, there must be some way to prove our sincerity to you?" Ramza replied.
Magop considered for a moment, then waved his paw once more. The moogles stepped back. "One way, kupo. We go back to Holy Grounds. Answer may be there. But do not hope much, kupo!"
Ramza, Agrias and Worker 8 found themselves retracing their steps back to the room with the spirit crystals.
* * *
While walking, Magop filled his prisoners in on some of the details of the Moogle Holy Grounds. Perhaps even these infidel humans would be able to see the divine beauty in it.
"Holy Grounds place where all Moogle soul go, kupo. When Moogle dies, often leave Kupo-crystal behind with soul inside," Magop told them.
"Yes," Ramza replied, "The same is true with most creatures. We call the crystals containing their souls behind Spirit Crystals. Humans don't use them as you do, though. We often grab them and break them open to release the soul inside. Humans believe that the soul inside is trapped, wishing for freedom, and that in thanks for setting it free, it restores the breaker's vitality and passes on knowledge that the soul gained in it's life."
Magop snorted. "Kupo! Humans stupid, wrong. Moogle legend right. When Moogle dies, soul choose leave Kupo-crystal behind. Soul not trapped inside! Kupo-crystal left for gift to living Moogles. Have great power. Moogles do much with Kupo-crystal power. Kupo-crystal light shine through wall and ceiling, so able to light whole cave. Many together do great things, kupo."
"Well," Ramza replied, "Maybe you're right, the soul may leave Spirit Crystals to be presents to those living. But humans might be right, too. Our legends are likely as old as yours."
Magop snorted again. "Humans lie, so all human legends lie."
There was silent marching for a good while, until Ramza asked, "Why do you Moogles live in this cave, and not on the surface? You need light to see. You seem better adapted for the surface."
Magop glared at Ramza. "You know, kupo! All humans know! Humans reason Moogles live dark cave! Humans hunt Moogles long ago. Moogles warm fur, kupo, humans like. Humans like, so kill Moogles! I tiny when Moogles hide in cave, kupo. Humans not find, so stay here. No choice, kupo!"
Ramza made the mental note that a Moogle's life span, to have been born during one of the ancient wars, must be incredibly long.
Magop continued to glare at Ramza. "Your fault, human, kupo! All human fault!"
Ramza protested, "You can't blame me for what was done so long ago by other people! I've never hurt your people, and I never drove you to live here. Not all humans are evil!"
Magop replied, "Safe for Moogles go back?"
Ramza frowned but did not answer. Moogles would still be considered good game by hunters. If the people of ancient times, with their impressive guns, robots, airships, and other technology, had not been able to find a better animal to skin warm coats from, then modern hunters would not be able to either. Moogles would once again be hunted to extinction.
Magop smiled bitterly. "Kupo. Humans not same ones now as then, but humans always same kind. Always evil."
"But that's not true--" Ramza began, but was cut off by Magop.
"Kupo! We see soon. Now quiet!"
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