A Beautiful Flower Arrives in Style!
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Okay, a strange name, but you'll figure out why I named it...I hope. Anyways, I tend to ramble on and on about nothingness, but since it keeps my concentration going, I'm just going to ramble anyway. I thank you all so much for the reviews! This chapter introduces a new character, so it'll go back and forth from Phoenix's situation but still mainly stays with Phoenix, hopefully. Enjoy and e-mail me if you want more! Oh, and um... these [ ] means that it's a flashback or a dream just to let you know.
["Daddy, why did Mommy have to die?"]
Seifer awoke with a start. It's that damn dream again. He was with a little girl, both standing in the rain. The girl looked very similar to him; it was mainly the catlike eyes. She had her blond hair in pigtails, it curling against the curves of her face. She looked so sad, and it frightened him.
"Hey, Seifer, it's time to wake up, ya know?"
Raijin stood in the doorway, all decked out in his fisherman gear. It looked ridiculously small on him: the pants ankle high, shirt barely able to tuck in the pants, and the vest up to mid-chest length. He was a big man, and it was hard to find anything in Balamb that would be in his size.
Seifer got out of bed, brushing the wispy bands of blond away from his eyes. "Yeah, thanks for waking me. I'll be there in a sec. You and Fuj go on ahead."
"SURE?" Fujin's voice rang in the hallway.
"Yeah, I'm sure, go on ahead."
Raijin nodded and left.
It had been two and a half years since he and his posse had left Balamb Garden. They became fishermen for the harbor. Well, it was mainly Seifer and Raijin fishing; Fujin just watched and pushed Raijin off of the dock if she was fed up with him. Nothing much had really happened since then and then those dreams came. He felt completely confused in those dreams, not knowing what to do or say. And that little girl frightened him to death. She looked so FAMILIAR, but he couldn't quite place it in his mind. Taking in a deap breath, he changed into his typical outfit of black pants, vest, and white trenchcoat. For some odd reason, he felt like today was going to be a really long day.
A young woman sat on top of the roof opposite of the posse's home, her braided blond hair blowing gently with the breeze. She stayed as still as a statue, invisible to the eye, but her catlike eyes followed every movement Seifer made as he left. She smiled wickedly to herself.
"I finally found you, Seifer."
"What do you mean that YOU defeated Ultimecia two years ago?" Phoenix repeated Irvine's words.
"We killed her in the future," Quistis explained, "when time was compressed."
"Time compression?" A horrified look came to Phoenix's face. "No..."
Edea laid a gentle hand on her shoulder, gesturing to sit down.
"Phoenix, can you at least explain to us about your past?" she suggested gently. "Maybe if we know about your past, then we can figure out why you are here. And we can also find out why turmoil is taking place all around the world at the same time."
Phoenix let herself be guided to a seat, still dazed. Time compression? No, if they beat Ultimecia in the future then time in all parts will be...
"Everyone, sit down," Edea told the others. They sat. She then held Phoenix's hand for comfort like a mother to her child. "Let Phoenix explain."
"I-I don't know where to start..." Phoenix stuttered.
"Do you remember your parents?"
She nodded, eyes closed. "Yeah, I do, but vaguely. I never knew their names. Just called them 'Mommy' and 'Daddy', nothing more. They died when my sister and I were seven, leaving us alone to take care of two younger siblings."
"You have a sister?" Edea asked gently again.
Phoenix opened her eyes now, looking at the floor, and nodded, her eyes dream-like. "I have a twin sister and a dead one who was three years younger than we were. I also have a little brother who was born just before my parents died."
"Let me ask you, does your entire family know ho to junction magic without equipping a guardian force?"
This time Phoenix looked up at the former sorceress in surpise. "How did you--"
"I can feel it in you, my child," she replied, smiling softly. "You are a sorceress, aren't you?"
While Phoenix told her narrative of her past, the others listened on silently, totally speechless.
She...she doesn't LOOK like one...Zell thought.
To be able to hide her power, how come I didn't realize that? Rinoa thought among the same lines.
"Well, I guess so," Phoenix continued. "My mother was a sorceress, but she distributed her powers among the four of us, so there's a little bit in everyone. But most of it is within me, my twin, and my younger sister. Since she's dead, though, some of the power had returned to me."
"So, it used to be divided among the first three," Rinoa said thoughtfully.
"More or so, yes."
Just then, the phone rang. Cid reached over to grab it. After a few moments, he hung up and looked gravely at the gang.
"I just got a call from the President of Esthar. The city is changing much more rapidly than the other cities and panice is now starting to settle in with the civilians," he said and looked at Phoenix but addressed to everybody. "I want you all to go. It's more than just a two-person mission. Phoenix, can you help?"
"I'm sorry for this to be such short notice, everyone," he apologized. "But President Loire wants SeeD's help right away. There is no time to prepare. Leave on the Ragnarok in 1400 hours."
The once peaceful metropolis of Esthar was now of one of chaos that suddenly erupted after nineteen years of rule under Laguna Loire. By just landing on the Airstation, Squall and the others could tell that there was something extremely wrong. It didn't feel like the Esthar that they knew. Hell, it didn't even LOOK like it.
"How come I feel so strange?" Selphie asked when she bounced onto the ground. "It's as if I'm missing something. What about you guys?"
"Same here," Rinoa said behind her. She hopped off the Ragnarok as soon as Selphie was out, being the last one, and streched out. "I feel so tired for some reason."
Squall looked at her in concern, but Phoenix explained, "You're just not used to the anti-magic field here, that's all."
"Anti-magic field? I didn't know that was used here. I thought it was only in the D-District Prison."
"So do ya mean that this is the Esthar you know, Phoenix?" Zell asked.
She frowned as they looked at the chaotic metropolis before their eyes. "...Some of it looks familiar, but some doesn't."
"What do you mean by that?"
That question came from Squall who was silent the entire time they were on Ragnarok. The look he gave to Phoenix was still one of doubt.
Man, he STILL doesn't trust me...she thought as she put a hand on her hip. Well, whatever. "What I mean is that some parts of Esthar I recognize while others I didn't even know that were there."
At that time, about a dozen cars drove in. Piles of people streamed out of them, mainly soldiers, but some were officials. Three of the officials were easily recognized: Kiros and Ward in their presidential aide uniforms and Laguna in his normal attire. The sight of Laguna made Squall stiffen, as Rinoa could tell when she wrapped her arms around his. News came in a couple of weeks ago in Garden (which Squall found out long before that), the last time Laguna had visited, was that the president of Esthar was Squall's father. Of course, Squall didn't take it easily. Time and time again whenever Laguna's name was mentioned, he'd loathe it and walk away from the subject. Now he was just getting used to Laguna's presence...sort of.
Laguna approached the SeeDs timidly. He scratched the back of his head and smiled sheepishly. "Well, sorry for calling you in on such short notice," he looked at Squall for a moment and then at Quistis, just to get rid of the tension. "As you guys can tell, there's...ah...some problems..."
"Laguna, just get to the point," Squall cut in.
Laguna took a deep breath and breathed out deeply as he continued on. "Basically, things are changing. Buildings are disappearing and being replaced, people pop out of nowhere, and an anti-magic field has been set up somewhere which we don't know where it is."
"That's been occuring everywhere in the world," Squall pointed out.
"But by the looks of it, you've taken the worst of what we've seen over the Ragnarok," Phoenix observed, totally oblivious to the tension that was in the air between Squall and Laguna. Looks too much like home...
Laguna looked at Phoenix and nodded. "Yeah...You're Phoenix, right? Atamos told me about you."
She looked at him in surprise. "How did you meet..."
Just then, another car arrived, but it looked totally different in style. Unlike the light colored air cars of Esthar, this one was a mixture of navy blue and black; they were the colors of the night. The windows were tinted so dark that neither the driver nor its passengers were visible. An insignia that looked similar to SeeD's was on the hood of the car. It braked to a stop, and what seemed like an elderly man got out. He wasn't elderly at all, actually, when he turned around. He was a young man who looked around Ellone's age with silver hair. In other worlds, a true Estharian with cold violet eyes that seemed to glow. Like Phoenix, he took on a dark attire: black trenchcoat, black pants, and a black shirt. On the back of the trenchcoat, however, was that same SeeD-like insignia. His heavy boots thudded on the ground as he walked towards the gang.
"Glad to see that you're alive and well, Phoe," the man said, smiling somewhat evilly.
"It's nice to see you, too, Atamos," she replied, maintaining an expressionless face. She arched an eyebrow, continuing to stare at him.
This guy's really creepy-looking... Selphie thought.
"What's wrong?" Phoenix asked Atamos.
For the first time in his life, Laguna had nothing to say. It wasn't that he didn't have ANYTHING to say, it was just that the guy freaked him out.
Atamos walked toward Phoenix until they were face to face and leaned forward, whispering in her ear. What he said was so low of a tone that nobody could hear what was being said, but everyone could tell it was something serious because Phoenix's eyes widened in shock. After the message was delivered, they faced each other again.
"You can't be serious..." Phoenix murmured.
"It is, at least that's what we've seen so far," Atamos replied as he walked back to the vehicle. "I'm counting on your family to complete this mission. The sooner she's gone, the sooner time returns to normal. That is all."
"So, wait," He paused as Phoenix stopped him. "Lily is getting her father NOW?"
Atamos then continued walking and entered in the vehicle. "Yes. Expect her back sometime soon."
The blond woman could tell that Seifer felt that he was being watched. Every now and then when he and his posse were fishing, he would glance up at the rooftops and she would have to hide from sight. Damnit, why the hell does he ALWAYS have to be so sharp?
Then something caught her eye. She was not the only one on the rooftops. A black shadow hopped from each rooftop. The woman's catlike eyes narrowed. Shit! Why the hell do those freaks always get in the way?!?
It perched itself on the roof opposite of her and stared at its targets for a moment. And then in a blink of an eye, it charged forward to its seemingly oblivious prey.
The woman crouched down even more, her eyes glinting dangerously.
"That's just great, Almasy, you just HAD to let on of them find you, didn't you?" she muttered to herself and then smirked. "Well, like Dad always said, fight your opponent with style. And Lilian Almasy," she stood up, preparing to jump off the roof, "arrives in style!"
AUTHOR'S NOTES (once again...aren't you tired of me?): And yes, I stop here. Now, I know what you guys are thinking: "What the hell?!?". Weeeellllll, I'll explain in the next chapter...sort of. R/R plz!! ~Ayame-chan