Trials of the Valiant Chapter 9
By The RPGenius
As Duegran was organizing the forces of Syldreth, Ramza and his friends were returning to Goug after another successful job. Over the past month, Ramza and his friends had taken many jobs and helped many people. They hadn't made much money, but that wasn't the important part.
Ramza, although in a good mood, had a few concerns. Through their work, they had been able to learn the latest rumors and gossip. Ramza had two major concerns. First, no one anywhere had any clue as to the whereabouts of Orlandu. Although his letter had assured Ramza that he was fine, Ramza still would have felt better if he had some news of any kind that could indicate that Orlandu was okay.
Ramza's second worry was the rumor he had heard concerning the events in the royal castle. According to many sources, the tensions between Ovelia and Delita were continuing to rise. Ramza worried about the possibility of a split between the new rulers. Such a thing invited a new series of the Lion Wars.
He put his thoughts on hold as Alma talked to him as they made their way through the snowy streets. "Brother, is something wrong? You're awfully quiet."
He smiled and replied, "It's nothing. Just thinking about some of the rumors we heard on the last mission."
Alma nodded knowingly. "You're worried about Delita and Ovelia, aren't you?"
"Partly," Ramza conceded. "I'm also worried about what else might happen. After all, if-"
Ramza stopped abruptly as the group rounded a corner and saw a man being backed into a corner by a group of thugs.
One of the thugs spoke to the man. "Listen, buddy, we don't want much. That fancy sword and your wallet will do nicely."
The man that the thieves had decided to rob didn't agree with the proposal, and expressed his feelings on the matter by spitting in the boss thief's face. This enraged the thief.
"Damn! That's it! We'll take your money from your dead carcass! Robbins, Matilda, Ivan, get over here!" He motioned to his companions. "Time to teach this little boy that the Shrikes run the neighborhood here!"
The thief's companions, an Archer, Wizard, and Monk moved closer.
Ramza decided to intervene before the thieves' victim got hurt. "Alma, Agrias, Worker 8, Boco, Byblos, we've gotta help him!" As he unsheathed the Ragnarok, all his friends unleashed their weapons as well. Ramza, riding Boco got there first and quickly cast an Ultima spell on the Wizard. The explosion of raw power instantly blew the man to dust.
The thief boss turned and saw Ramza, along with all his friends hurrying over. "Damn! He's got friends! Alright, EVERYONE out!"
Out of the alleys and houses came several Squires, Archers, Thieves, and a few Wizards. At the top of a building a Chemist stood holding a gun.
As the thief boss turned to order his men, their would-be mugging victim suddenly swung his sword, muttering, "The doom of a planet...Crush Punch!" A powerful magic spike rose up from the ground, instantly and painlessly killing an archer. Quickly, he ran over to where Boco and Ramza were now preparing to fight.
The man parried a thief's knife while asking Ramza, "Why are you helping me, stranger? Now we are both likely to die. Either you are very noble or very stupid." He grunted as an arrow grazed his leg.
Ramza swung the Ragnarok, blocking a sword swing and taking out one of the Thieves in the process. "I don't intend to die here, and we're not as outnumbered as you think." As he ended the sentence, a powerful laser cannon beam blasted a Wizard, ending his threat. "You see? My friends are with m--AHH!" Ramza cried out, then cried out again. He looked down and saw that his leg was bleeding profusely.
Wincing, he looked around for the cause of his pain. Then he saw the Chemist on the roof of a building, holding his smoking gun.
Ramza was confused. No gun should be able to fire two blasts directly after each other. You had to reload them. He had watched Mustadio do it a million times.
A Squire brandishing an ax suddenly came up before him. Ramza had no time to defend himself, and closed his eyes, waiting for the killing blow. It did not come. Ramza opened his eyes and saw Agrias standing before him, a small smile on her face. He tried to get up to thank her, but fell down again due to his wounds. Agrias noticed this and quickly called to Alma, "Alma! Over here, quickly! Ramza's hurt!"
Alma rushed over and cast MBarrier on him. Boco also came over and used a Choco Heal on him. Ramza, after a minute, was able to stand and fight. All his companions had grouped together. They were wreaking havoc on the band of robbers.
Then he noticed the Chemist on the roof aiming. A second later, Meliadoul cried out and fell. Boco and Alma hurried over to her. Ramza realized that if they didn't get rid of that Chemist soon, they would all be facing large problems.
Agrias could tell what Ramza was thinking. "Ramza, if you could clear a path over here, I could probably take care of that Chemist," she told him.
Ramza called over Worker 8. As the robot ambled over, Ramza said, "If anyone can clear a path, it's him. Worker 8! We need a path cleared!"
Worker 8 charged forward, tossing people aside as though they were toys. Agrias and Ramza quickly followed in his path of destruction.
Ramza almost forgot to tell Worker 8 to stop once he had reached the building. The Chemist had been firing ineffectively at Worker 8. The Chemist, seeing that the small bullets did nothing to slow the lumbering giant, began to aim at Alma over in the thick of the battle. Alma had already been wounded, and this attack might very well finish her off.
Ramza knew there was nothing he could do as the Chemist brought up his weapon to fire. However, Agrias swung her sword next to him. Even from his position on the ground, Ramza could see a giant knife-like blade coming up from under the Chemist, chopping in half the gun and wounding the Chemist.
Ramza looked over in amazement at Agrias. When had she learned Hell Cry Punch?
* * *
Agrias felt Ramza staring at her. She allowed herself a smile. During the past month, she'd been training with Meliadoul. Meliadoul's Divine Knight abilities were part of a Holy Swordsman's abilities, so Agrias had figured that she might as well begin learning them.
She was somewhat relieved that she had pulled it off. She hadn't ever tried before to use the skill in combat, and she hadn't been sure it would work.
Ramza, Agrias, and Worker 8 made their way back to the others. The few robbers left alive had run by now, realizing that they had no chance against these ferocious fighters.
Once they had gotten back together, Ramza searched through his item packs and brought out several assorted potions. He handed them to the people who needed them.
Once that was done, he walked over to the man he had saved. Agrias followed.
The man, breathing heavily, offered his hand. "Thank you, whomever you may be. I owe you much. Permit me to introduce myself. I am Vantan the White Knight." He looked closely at Ramza, then said in a shocked voice, "Why, you're Ramza Beoulve, the heretic!"
Agrias's hand flew to her sword. Ramza and all his allies were wanted by the church. If this man Vantan was with the church, he was under orders to kill Ramza on sight.
Vantan saw her tensing for battle, and held up his hand. "I have no intention to try and kill any of you. First, you've saved my life, and death hardly seems a fitting reward for your actions. Secondly, I myself am a fugitive from the law. But tell me, how is it that you are alive? Everyone knows you're dead."
Agrias asked him, "Why are you on the run?"
Vantan looked a bit embarrassed. "You'll probably think it foolish. Until a few months ago, I was part of the Shrine Knights, as the only White Knight besides Wiegraf. I was ordered to assist in the assassination of some people who were examining the church a bit too closely. These people were only trying to do the public good, and I refused. Eventually they gave up trying to persuade me, branded me a heretic, and tried to kill me. I managed to escape, and have since been on the run from the church. I am currently trying to get an audience with King Delita. I am sure that he will help me-"
"No!" Ramza interrupted. "I know Delita. He'll use you as a gift to the church for his own gain."
Vantan frowned, looking slightly bemused. "But King Delita is a hero! He has brought peace to all the land! All people know him to be a benign, compassionate ruler. Are you saying he is otherwise?"
Agrias cut in before Ramza could speak. "Delita is a king. Don't you think he would make an angelic image of himself?"
Vantan looked a little surprised, but he seemed to understand. "You sound like you know what you speak of. But tell me, how is it that you know him? How is it that you all live?"
Agrias listened as Ramza began to explain the entire story to Vantan. She hoped that Ramza wasn't being foolish, telling a stranger all this.
It took almost an hour to explain it all. At the end, Vantan looked shocked. It was an incredible story, and not many would have believed it. However, Vantan could see that Ramza was an honest man, not given to lying.
"Truly, sir Ramza, I, and Ivalice itself, am in greater debt to you than I could ever repay." The knight knelt before Ramza. "I offer you my services, small as they are. Please accept."
Agrias knew that this was embarrassing Ramza incredibly.
Ramza stammered out, "You don't have to do that, I'm not that great. Come on, get up!"
Vantan rose to his feet. "Where are we headed?"
"We're going to Mustadio's home. He wants to see us about something. Worker 8, time to go!" Ramza called.
Ramza allowed the others to get ahead of him until he and Agrias were walking by themselves.
He cleared his throat and said, "She doesn't know it, but my sister owes her life to you. I'd like to thank you on her behalf."
Agrias nodded. "It was nothing." Seeing the questioning look in his eyes, she continued, "I've been practicing with Meliadoul lately, and I've just learned how to use that skill."
"Well, I wouldn't have guessed you'd just learned it. You used it like an expert."
Agrias fought furiously not to blush from the praise. She quickly said, "Thank you. We'd better hurry up and catch up with the rest."
As Ramza ran on to catch up, Agrias was furious with herself. What was wrong with her? She'd never much cared about praise before. Why had it mattered to her so much?
She soon caught up with the others, still confused.
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