Wishes Chapter 2

By Jeff Schmidt

It was a very dark night in the slums of Goug. Meliadoul had just arrived after many days travel on her way to visit Mustadio. The street smelled like boiling oil, and the steam from the machines blocked most of the sky so the stars could hardly be seen. The only light was emanating from a small lantern Meliadoul carried, and from the few windows of people who were still awake at this late hour.

She took a turn down a very cramped alley, a shortcut she’d learned a while ago to get to Mustadio’s house near the dig site. As she was walking through her instincts told her something wasn’t right, but she passed it off as fatigue and kept walking, she was near the house and didn’t feel like stopping.

Suddenly she heard something move behind her. She turned quickly, the light of her lantern barely penetrating the oily thick darkness surrounding her. She saw nothing and thought it must have just been a rat. But when she turned back around she was face to face with a grinning Monk.

She reached for her sword out of instinct, but where it normally hung at her hip was nothing but an empty scabbard. She looked down dumbly then back towards the Monk who was chuckling under his breath.

“Looking for this?” said a female voice behind her. Meliadoul turned again and saw a female Knight standing in the darkness, her own Save the Queen broadsword glinting in the light of the lantern. Meliadoul was completely baffled. How’d she steal it without her even noticing?

“Oh, not so confident with your precious sword now are you, Ms. Tingel?” said the Monk again. When Meliadoul turned again she could faintly see something glowing around the hands of the Monk. “I guess Ramza should have thought about that before he dumped us for you.” and with that he swung his arm around, blue energy glowing around his fist and hit her in the stomach. Meliadoul flew backwards and impaled herself on the sword the Knight carried. She looked down incredulously at the blade protruding from her stomach, and she thought her lantern must be dying, because everything was slowly getting darker.

“I’m sorry it had to come to this miss. But Ramza needs to be taught a lesson.” the Knight said, a hint of compassion in her voice. She pulled the blood-soaked sword from the woman’s gut, letting her collapse to the ground.

“Now, for Mustadio.”

* * *

“You gonna be alright out there, Cloud? It’s getting pretty dark.” Mustadio asked through the kitchen window.

“Yeah, I’m just doing a little light sparring with Worker 8, I’ll be in in a minute.” replied Cloud, he circled Worker 8, his Materia Sword drawn and ready. Worker 8 stood perfectly still, awaiting commands.

“Attack.” Cloud said, and Worker 8’s eyes blinked red, and he charged. Cloud parried the monsterous arms of the robot with his sword, retreating under the relentless blows of the machine. One shot made him leap backwards, giving Worker 8 enough time to charge energy to his weapons. When Cloud landed he was faced with a full force beam of energy from Worker 8 that he barely dodged, leaving a small crater in the ground where he stood.

Cloud ran forward, anticipating the machine’s next move, as it swung it’s massive arms downwards, trying to compact Cloud into a tiny block, Cloud slid on the damp grass between the robot’s legs and kicked upwards as hard as he could, just barely unbalancing the huge ball of iron. He then flipped up, but before he could bring his sword down on Worker 8’s back, he heard Mustadio’s gun go off in front of the house. He ordered Worker 8 to stop and ran around the building.

* * *

“With all that noise back there I’d better take a walk until they calm down.” Mustadio said to himself, leaving the house for a walk. But he didn’t get far before he noticed something odd. The smell of blood was in the air. It was a smell he loathed. It reminded him of the dark muddy days on the road with Ramza. All the death, all the blood, all the wasted life. He’d never forget the smell. But why was it here. He had his gun out in an instant in case something happened.

It was then he felt a hand move around his throat from behind and another grab at his arm. He shot the gun off on reflex before he succumb to the person’s control. Whoever they were, they were strong.

Then a figure emerged from the darkness. A Monk just like any other, but he had a disturbed look on his face, and he was holding something behind his back.

“Don’t tell me you don’t remember me Mustadio. I was still around when we came across you. But that’s okay, I was very different back then. Tell you what, if you don’t remember me. You must remember her.” and the monk produced Meliadoul’s severed head, still dripping blood from behind his back, and threw it at Mustadio’s feet. Mustadio tried to scream through the hand covering his mouth, but he was still gagged. He could only stand there and stare at the surprised death gaze of someone who was once his friend.

It was then that Cloud came running around the side of the house, sword drawn, and found the group there. Quick as lightning the hand around Mustadio’s mouth was replaced with a sword at his throat.

“Put the sword down or he dies.” The woman holding him said. Know that he could finally speak, Mustadio took the opportunity.

“Wha..... Xavier........ Lavian? Is it you? Why are you two doing this? What did you do to Meliadoul? What are you gonna do to me? Wha...”

“Shut up, Mustadio. Yes, it’s us. Why? Take a wild guess. Meliadoul? You can clearly see what we did to her. And I won’t lie to you, we plan to do the same to you.”

Cloud was again about to attack, but a small trickle of blood running down Mustadio’s throat stopped him dead.

“I don’t know what the hell is going on here, but let Mustadio go!” he said, looking back and forth between the two warriors. “They don’t look any different from normal fighters. How’d they get the jump on Mustadio like this. Even more how’d they do that to a great warrior like Meliadoul?” Cloud thought to himself.

“Go ahead and tell him Mustadio, I could use a bedtime story.” Lavian said.

Mustadio sighed. “These two are Lavian and Xavier. Two of the warriors that used to fight with Ramza. But once Meliadoul and Orlandu joined up with us, Ramza thought it’d be better for everyone if these two, as well as Alicia and Rad were to leave the rest to the more skilled fighters.”

“I couldn’t have said it better myself. We were shunned. Why? Because were weren’t nobles with sword skills like Meliadoul and Orlandu. But of course they kept Mustadio here because he had his sniping abilities. But not us, oh no. It ruined us. We wandered for months, not knowing where to go or what to do. Rad ended up hanging himself from a tree in Sweegy Woods because he couldn’t stand the rejection. We lost Alicia when we were attacked by Behemoths. The only thing that kept Lavian and I going was each other. We came to love each other, but even that wasn’t enough. We were out our end when we stumbled into the Dead Forest. We thought it’d be fitting to be killed by others like us. Abandoned souls. But then, something happened. The souls of the forest didn’t attack us, but embraced us. The fed us, trained us, made us strong again. All because of Cyrus.” Xavier said. His eyes were filled with pain and rage.

“Cyrus was different from the other ghosts of the forest. He was dead like they were, but he had died elsewhere. But his soul had migrated here. Not even he knew why or how. All he knew was that he was in a place where there were others like him. That he was in a place far away from the ones he loved. He gained control over the other spirits. And when we entered he sympathized with us. Under him we trained harder than ever before. We became stronger, faster, smarter. And under his instruction we learned how to combine the skills of the so-called lesser job classes and improve them. To use all of our skills at once. Until finally we had the power to come back and teach Ramza the lesson he deserves. I’m sorry Mustadio but this is the only way. The only way he’ll realize what a mistake he made.”

Mustadio started to squirm under Lavian’s grip as Xavier raised his fist, a blue glow emanating from around it. But the killing blow never came.”

“Cherry Blossom!” Cloud shouted and swung his sword through the air. Xavier barely had time to turn around before a powerful blast of energy sent him flying into the wall of a nearby building.

“Xavier!” yelled Lavian, and with an angry look slit Mustadio’s throat from ear to ear. She ran towards her lover, while Mustadio collapsed to the ground, his hands groping at his mortally wounded throat.

“Shit. I knew the super villain speech was a bad idea........ it gave him enough time to charge his attack.” Xavier said as Lavian helped him to his feet. They knew it was safe to depart when the saw Cloud hunched over Mustadio instead of chasing them. They left through the darkness of the alley.

“Mustadio! Dear god!” Cloud exclaimed, running over to his wounded friend. Blood was everywhere, and his pupils were already beginning to dilate.

“Besrodio! Get out here! And bring potions! Lots of them! Hurry!” He yelled frantically, holding his hands on the wound.

“What’s going on he......... oh my god! Son!” Besrodio yelled out the window. He ran and fetched a bag full of potions on the table, but by the time he made it outside, Cloud was closing the young man’s eyes.

“He’s..... gone, Besrodio. I’m so sorry.....” Cloud stood, and looked into the old man’s eyes. The bag of potions dropped to the floor, and Besdrodio knelt on the damp ground. He was almost too surprised to cry. He crawled over to his son’s lifeless body, shaking and dazed. He touched Mustadio’s face, the colour starting to drain. And that did it. He doubled over and cried aloud. Those neighbours not awaken by the sounds of the violence were now at their windows, looking out at the body of a man most of them knew very well. At his father’s heaving sobs, and the puddle of blood on the cold grass.

Cloud, who was seldom compassionate about anything, took Besrodio by the shoulders and lead him back inside. Several of the people living nearby began to gather around the body. Not a word was said among them. Once Besrodio was inside, Cloud returned with a large blanket, and gently wrapped up his friend’s body. Of course not a tear was shown on the young man’s cheek, but he wept on the inside for his fallen comrade. It only served to bring back foul memories from his own past. Several men helped him carry the body down the street to the undertaker.

* * *

Xavier collapsed on the bed with a grimace of pain. The blow had hurt quite a bit, and his torso was cut up pretty bad. Lavian grabbed a handful of healing potions and sat down beside Xavier.

“Drink this, it’ll be okay, you’ve had worse.” she said, a calm smile on her face. A smile that tried to hide the genuine concern she felt. Xavier smiled back and placed a hand on her cheek.

“What would I do without you?” he said and downed a potion. It burned on the way down but he began to feel a little better almost immediately.

“Well, we got the job done...... all things considered...... gah....” Xavier said painfully. He opened another potion and took a long slow drink. It burned less this time, and his stomach began to numb a bit.

“Don’t drink them too fast, it’ll make you sick.” Lavian said standing up.

“Yes, mother....” Xavier said in a mocking tone. Lavian smiled mischieviously and punched him lightly in the gut. He cried out in pain and she laughed. “What was that?”

Xavier laughed. “Makes me wonder who wears the pants in this relationship.”

Lavian smiled. “Oh we both do. But too bad they’ll have to stay on till that wound of yours is healed.”

Xavier looked shocked. “Oh, c’mon, I feel better already, see!” he said as he tried to stand, but the pain in his stomach made him gasp and fall back to the bed. Lavian laughed again.

“You never could fool me. Down boy.” and she came back over to sit beside him again. She kissed him on the cheek and laid him back down onto the bed.

“As much as I hate Ramza for abandoning us, I have to thank him for one thing. If it weren’t for him, we may never have met.” she said, brushing Xavier’s forehead. He smiled.

“I know... I honestly wish things didn’t have to be this way between us and him. We used to be close friends. I remember back when we went to the academy together in Gariland. Ha! I had to sneak in under an assumed name because I was a commoner. Ramza stood up for me when they questioned my lineage. I’ll never forget that. That’s why I’m so torn. But then I think how he sent us away... the four of us, alone, out in the middle of the Zeklaus Desert. We were too weak to fight the forces they were going up against. So instead of protecting us like they should have, they sent us out into the wilderness to die. No food, no money, only the clothes we had on our back and the swords at our belts. As much as I once admired that man, I will never forgive him for that. Never.” Xavier said, a distant look in his eye. As Lavian sat looking at him a single tear ran down his cheek. She hadn’t known Ramza nearly as long as he had, and the dismissal had come as less of a surprise to her. But she felt his pain as her own, and swore that she would do anything she could to help him rest. But could she kill otherwise innocent people for a simlple grudge. The answer was yes. She’d already done so that evening. The thought brought a sick feeling to her stomach, and she got up to leave.

“Good night, my love.” she said sadly, but he was already asleep. She quietly crept into the ajoining room and did the same. But as expected, her sleep was wracked with nightmares.

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