To See Another Day Chapter 1
The Leaves Begin to Fall
By Kain Servant
Waves of time lapped against the endless shoreline of life. In different crevices and worlds the waves were more or less placid, while in others miniature storms raged. In one world, a world called Gaia, the waters swirled turbulently, acting in events surrounding a man, no, a copy of a man, a genome, named Kuja.
Much time passed in Gaia under this manmade storm, before the waves finally engulfed the foul creature, and stilled the waters once again. But the waters are never calm for long time and life cannot all be controlled by a mere event or a mere man. Or a mere genome.
For this world it was a long wait. Ten long years passed, and then a new stirring came, a ripple in the calm waters at first, but it grew and grew and grew
Vivi plodded slowly into the Alexandria Castle, waving at the guards and knights who stood sentry at the entrance. They all knew him, some had been through a whole lot with him, so they knew he had access to the castle almost no one else had. With a sigh he touched the small moneybag he held at his waist. It was from the Mayor of Dali. After Garn - Queen Garnet of course had prodded the stingy old man about where the borders lay, he insisted on paying tribute monthly.
And of course, Vivi, being a trustworthy citizen of the town, and close friend of the queen, delivered the tribute every month. Vivi thought that the Mayor was simply afraid of Garnet, afraid she might repay the awful treatment he had given her in earlier visits to his town. He smiled happily, of course he didnt mind bringing the tribute, he always wanted to visit Zidane and Garnet again, and renew the old friendship, but Lili was so touchy about him leaving home, even for a short period of time. And Lili was the last person he wanted to upset.
Um Vivi adjusted his hat as he addressed one of the Alexandria soldiers. Wheres the queen? Is she busy?
Hey, Vivi, hows life in Dali? Vivi simply shrugged and nodded, and she went on with a grin, The Queen is in the throne room being assaulted by addresses from various towns about trade negotiations. Oh yes, and the Chief Builder from Burmecia is here with a request about materials for some building or another, and then there is a land grant from Lindblum for being Vivi sighed and sank into his blue coat for a few minutes as the list went on, then he interrupted her,
Um do you think shed mind if I dropped in?
No, not at all, go right in. He nodded and smiled (no one ever seemed to see those smiles, but he gave them out quite often), then plodded along the pathway to the Throne Room. So many silly things queens had to do, signing petitions and spending money, it all seemed too complicated to him. Of course, no one ever offered to make him the King of anything, they only offered that to humans, black mages were sorta overlooked. Not that he minded
Vivi! A familiar voice hailed him, and he turned toward it with a smile. There was Zidane, striding regally toward him with a broad smile on his tan face. The thief had changed a lot since Vivi had seen him first. Gone were the ratty old clothing, and in their place was a velvet red coat with lions embroidered on it, and a pair of fancy bronze colored pants. Zidane said they matched, but no one else seemed to think so. His dagger had been replaced by an ornate and intricately designed sword that could barely be recognized for a weapon with all the jewels and gold.
Maybe Zidane wore it all because he was a Queens husband, or maybe it was just because he had never been able to hold that much gold in his entire life before then. But in any case, it was the same man that had taught him so much, the same smile, and the same swishing tail. Hi Zidane!
Zidane stopped next to him, still looming a good two feet above him. Hows the wife?
As long as Lili was his height, he didnt really care how much shorter he was than everyone else, Um shes pretty good. Bili and Wili are really growing, Ill bring them next time, you wouldnt recognize them.
Zidane tried to hide the grin, but Vivi saw it. He thought that was funny. Funny! That his kids were growing. The thief tried to pass over his amusement with another long-time joke of his, Do you still watch the windmill every day?
Vivi could never see anything funny about that so he had moved to Dali because he liked the windmills, what was funny? - So, as always, he answered truthfully, Uh-huh. Well Ive gotta take this money to Da-er, GarQueen Garnet. He adjusted his hat and shifted slightly. He still didnt like calling her that. But um I can talk with you afterwards. Is Ethan here too? And Beatrix?
Zidane nodded ruefully and rubbed the small beard that was accumulating on his chin, Yes probably in some corner snuggling and waiting for night time. And I had to marry a queen.
You wouldnt have it any other way.
Zidane grinned at him lopsidedly, You betcha. Ill try to find them an Ill meet you in Rubys theatre. Maybe theres a play showing we can watch.
Vivi nodded excitedly. He loved watching plays. That was how he met Zidane in the first place, and personally he thought that Zidane was a bad actor. Not like he was going to share that with anyone, Okay! Ill be there soon! And off he tottered again, avoiding tripping over his shoes as he hurried to the throne room, leaving Zidane standing behind him.
Kain stood awkwardly hopping from foot to foot as he waited in line to see the queen. He was still uncomfortable, even after being in the city for two days. The whole trip to Alexandria had made him uncomfortable. The town he was from, Macema, was nearly unknown and basically untouched during the Kuja crisis. The episodes and tales he had heard about it had been well, simply episodes and tales. And now I come to Alexandria. Walking down the street, down the bloody street! He had stepped out of the path of Steiner. Adelbert Steiner himself, with General bloody Beatrix hanging on his arm! His mouth had dropped to the pavement, while everyone else simply greeted the Captain of the Knights as if he were just the captain of the knights, not a legendary hero who saved the world from destruction.
And now he was going to meet, personally, the beauty of the story, Queen Garnet herself. Kain went over the lines his village elder had given him one more time. I give her the book and say This is a gift to you from Macema. We hope you will accept our allegiance, and may this gift help you in your path to glory.
Of course, he had no idea what the book was about he hoped she wouldnt ask either but he was just a fletcher, no use for the elder to explain himself, just do what was commanded and accept the glory of the task they had-
Um excuse me? A voice questioned softly from behind him. He turned swiftly, murmuring apologies and his eyes nearly fell out when he saw who the owner of the voice was.
Vivi Ornitier!?!? The little black mage peered up at him curiously, and then nodded. Kain snapped his mouth closed then ran a finger through his graying black hair, Let me guess, you want to invite me to go to a play with you and Zidane?
Vivi shrugged and blinked, If you really want to come. Is this the line to see the queen?
Kains mind was still working over that If you really want to come part. But he dropped back into gear with the question, Y-yes, actually. Yes, Master Vivi, I Im going to see the queen.
Master? Kain could imagine the little black face wrinkling a little black nose, if it had been there, Dont tell me youre related to Steiner. With a sigh, the mage sunk his head dejectedly; I just want to see the queen. Why does everyone else want to see her too?
Kain gaped which, unfortunately, wasnt the first time in the past ten or twenty seconds Y youre Vivi the bloody Legendary black mage. If you want to see a bloody queen all you have to do is walk in and bloody see her! As soon as the words were out he snapped his mouth closed and looked around hopefully. He had to watch his language; one of the guards might kick him out for using it around Vivi.
Yeah I guess I could. But then Id make other people wait like you. And youve probably come a long way to see her, and I havent so Ill just wait my turn.
Kain gaped again. Sure Macema was far away, almost directly on the border between Lindblum and Alexandria by the South Gate. But this was a bloody hero, for heavens sake. He had always thought heroes went around doing whatever they pleased and signing autographs, not waiting in lines. I would be honored to stand next to you, Mas-Sir Vivi.
Time passed by swiftly as the two chatted and the line moved forward. They talked about wives, the one the black mage had and the one the fletcher didnt have. They talked about professions, Vivi training chocobos and Kain making arrows. They talked and talked and talked until finally, one of the soldiers tapped Kain on the shoulder and informed him that it was his turn. He nearly dropped the beautiful jeweled book with all his shaking and stammering, but with an encouraging nod from Vivi and a rough pull on his arm from the soldier, he was off through the door before he could even rehearse again what he was going to say.
Queen Garnet stifled a small yawn as she watched a woman in an elegantly embroidered, sleeveless dress swish gracefully from the court. Of course the dress was a near mirror image of her own everyone based their dresses and clothing style on what the queen wore, Sometimes she speculated that if she wore a paper bag, everyone else would too, but she couldnt bring herself to test the theory. But it was still pretty, Garnet thought. The woman was Felicia GranAldael the XXVI or XXVII or something like that, she couldnt remember. Queens are supposed to know things like that A voice in her head told her. Why? Queens were able to think the number of Felecias in your family was boring, just like everyone else. But queens werent allowed to voice that opinion.
Right now her mind was on Zidane. She longed for his comforting arms around her after the long day, his soft whispers in her ear and his gentle stroking of her cheek. She loved his touches, loved them as much as she had five years ago, or ten years, or even the first day he had grasped her in his arms he said it was something about avoiding a grappling hook, but she didnt remember anything like that but duty always called above her feelings. And now her duty was to sit in this chair and look interested in everyone elses problems.
The door opened again and she watched the soldier lead another man in. He was not a noble or resident of the city that she recognized. Probably a traveler with some tribute or another. His graying hair played a pattern over the black it was trying to cover, but his deep brown eyes and sun scarred face still shone youthfully. And now they shone with excitement, or was it fear? She couldnt tell, and she would never know why people feared her? At twenty-six she still felt as if she was the youngest person alive in the castle. And she probably was.
The man looked up at her, his eyes still gleaming, and then nearly dropped his cargo, a jewel encrusted gold bound book. Pretty She mused as she scanned it, then looked back at the mans face, Please state your business here in the Court of Alexandria.
Oh uh, um er . Um Hello, Queen, I am just here from Macema. Um The Um reminded him somewhat of Vivi, though she knew he was just stammering because he was nervous. As she tried to pretend she was listening intently, she began to notice that the man was rather handsome, in a rugged way. Macema was obviously a small town, where hard work was used to stay alive, and this man looked hard. She could make out scars on his face, old scars, maybe from battles or from his job. And the way his eyes continued gleaming at her intently she shuddered, conveniently right at the part of his stumbling that mentioned how much hardship she must have gone through.
Yes well um here is a tribute from the elder of, um, Macema. Um this book has been in the royal libraries for um many years. And it is my honor as a servant to turn it over to you. He bowed deeply, then moved forward to place the book at her feet. The jewels and gold glimmered softly in the light of the candles. She smiled,
Thank you for the gift, Sir Dammit! He had given his name, but it was while she wasnt listening Think! Kain! So, what is Macema like?
He shrugged and blushed simultaneously, Its small. But I really love it there, I like peace and quiet. Not one for big cities no offense to the queen of course. Now he was talking right. Its next to a river, and in the middle of a big valley right near the border of Lindblum. Peaceful.
I can imagine. That light in his eyes was peaceful too. Nothing like the dangerous gleam in the eyes of the nobles that tried to betray her, or well the adventurous gleam in the eyes of her husband. Wait! Stop that train of thought! So Kain, what is in the book?
Um, er well He flushed completely. So much for him opening up. I dont know the elder didnt tell me. He bowed again, deeper this time, Im just the humble messenger, your highness, and will continue to serve you as you see fit.
She was now following the muscular line of his shoulders and forearms. Very muscular indeed. She noticed his chin was strong, but not tilted all of the nobles of Alexandria tried to look down at her he was her humble servant. His eyes melted into words I will serve you as you see fit His eyes melted her
Kain, I wish to see you tomorrow, privately. I thank you for the book, and I will read it tonight, then I wish to discuss it with you tomorrow evening on the West Royal Balcony. She spit out a time, any time, just so it was out of her mouth. She would remember it later, when she finished berating herself. What was she thinking? Having a private meeting with an older man? The Soldiers and nobles attending the room were already beginning to raise eyebrows. Hastily she stammered, You may leave now.
He smiled gratefully, then backed away bowing, Your wish is my command.
With a sigh she sank back into the lavishly decorated throne. So the man had made her lose her cool, tomorrow she would do exactly what she said she would. Tell him what she thought about the book he had given her. Then he would go. She wasnt going to go silly for a pretty face, she already had a husband, and she wasnt about to cheat on him!
The next audience was Vivi, which brightened her mood considerably and made her forget completely about Kain. He came with the tribute from Dali, of course, but after that was delivered, she offered him a seat and they talked about old times. In ten minutes, the man from Macema was nowhere in her mind.
Zidane sighed as he wandered the streets of Alexandria, fiddling with his sword and handing out grins to people he knew or pretty girls that he didnt. His life was so easy. Too easy. He kicked idly at a loose cobblestone, easy, and yet his problems were too big to deal with. His problem rather.
Garnet was the love of his life, he told himself that firmly. No one could match her personality, her inner strength and she was the hottest chick he had ever seen. But the most intimate he had ever gotten with her was an occasional long kiss before he went to bed. He went to bed. She said that she had a lot of work to do, and that was why she stayed up. And the excuse for sleeping in another bed was that she didnt want to disturb him when she finally did go to bed.
Yeah the girl was either playing him like an ace or she was celibate, and either view he didnt appreciate very much. He wasnt celibate, for crying out loud, he needed sex! Now he was thirty-one and a virgin. Him! Zidane, popular with all the ladies and always having girls trying sneak into his bed all because he wanted to save it for Garnet.
A young girl brushed past him quickly, rotating her hips to emphasize all that she had. She looked back at him and winked. A pretty girl. He grinned at her weakly, and then turned into Rubys Theatre, cursing Garnet and every girl alive to a prosperous life in the pits of hell.
Steiner was already in the small, darkened theatre. And Beatrix. Actually they seemed to be molded of the same piece and she sat on his lap, arms about his neck, while he stroked her upper leg quite intimately. Zidane snapped, Oh for get the hell of his lap! Beatrix did so rather meekly, and Steiner looked embarrassed. Steiner always looked embarrassed when he was around Beatrix, Zidane supposed it was years of being trained to be a lapdog instead of a man. He supposed Beatrix had taught him everything he knew about things that needed to be known. But that wasnt an issue right now. I thought you of all people would know some decency, Steiner. But here you are, fondling Beatrix like a prostitute. Are you two not the protectors of the queen?
Two sullen nods greeted him, two sullen nods from two red faces. His scream surprised them more than it did him, Then get the hell out of here and go protect the damn queen! Now!
Several moments later he realized that he was alone, that his face was flushed from yelling, and that he felt like a complete fool.
Marriage problems, bro? Okay, he thought he felt like a complete fool, but Blanks statement completed the completeness of the fool. The red headed man strolled out from backstage, a mischievous grin settled across his eyes.
However angry he was, Zidane refused to vent his rage on Blank. The man had saved his life at least once, and protected him ever since he joined Tantalus at a young age. How could he be mad at such a friend? But such a friend took liberties of being a bastard sometimes. You could say that. How are things going with Ruby?
Things were going? Where have I been? Blank looked around in mock surprise, and Zidane grinned. Blank was always chasing after Ruby, but the former belle of Tantalus had been harder to catch than Garnet. Garnet Weakly he laughed, I came here to meet Vivi and Steiner but I guess I let my temper get the best of me.
You always had a temper, some even say its worse than Marcus. That brought a chuckle. Marcus had to be the most stolid man Zidane knew. But he was loyal very loyal. Cinna was permanently as hyper as a moogle with a dozen kupo nuts, and Blank was a joker. And a very ornery one at times.
Any plays today? If not I guess Ill shove off and get a drink.
Blank stepped forward until he was standing directly in front of Zidane, then he shook his head, Nah, Rubys still having trouble getting enough actors I wont act no matter how much I like her. I guess Ill go to the bar with ya, A drink wouldnt hurt on a hot day like this.
Hot? Oh yes, Zidane realized he was sweating but his mind must have been elsewhere. Something to take his mind off he rubbed his bearded chin, Hey Blank, any chance youd want to set up a sword fight on stage for Ruby? It might get her a little business; maybe she can set up a little play around it, maybe cook something up by tomorrow. Im getting pretty rusty He was getting pretty rusty. Ten years ago he had been the most powerful fighter to live on Gaia, and he was the surviving Angel of Death on Terra, a man to be feared and respected. But the sword at his side was just decoration, and he hadnt even practiced for years.
Blank split his blunt face with a grin, then tugged at his headband, You think people would pay to see the Queens husband killing some random actor? As long as I get some sorta payment out of this.
Zidane nodded, then unsheathed his ornate sword, eyeing it up and down, How bout you get a sword just like this.
Blanks eyes glittered, and he drew his own sword from his back, well-used and much more earned than Zidanes own sword. Do you still remember the old routine?
Zidane grinned, You bet.
Um The black mage announced his arrival, peeking from behind the door. Is there a play today?
Blank shook his head, No, kid, sorry. But actually He gave a brief synopsis of what he and Zidane had decided. Zidane smiled. Blank had always had a good side for the young mage, he never seemed to be his punkass self while explaining things to him.
Vivi shook his head slowly, Um, I dont think I want to act in that. Im not very good with swords
Zidane shrugged, Well how about blasting us around with your magic or something? All he received for his pains was a blank look from Vivi. Well at least he was kind enough to offer
Blank nodded and punched Zidanes arm, Tomorrow then?
A return nod, the grin still there. Maybe everything would be all right after all, Tomorrow.
Puck stumped wearily along the desert path. He was going to Madain Sari. No real reason could be afforded, of course, he was just going so he didnt have to be anywhere or do anything else. Such as be King.
He had detested the idea ever since he had become the only royalty left. Thats why he had run off and left the kingship for Kal. Let the buffoon make all the miserable decisions and talk to all the miserable people. He was going to be free! He was going to live his own life!
And his own life at the moment was walking alone in the desert, hungry and thirsty. He always looked forward to seeing the moogles again. They were fun and they talked so funny. He loved making fun of other people. And then that bounty hunter chick was there sometimes. She was hot, so he enjoyed her presence, even thought she was a little bit older than him.
He had made the desert, Madain Sari and Conde Petei, his main home in the past years. He liked the dwarves and the moogles, and they liked him, so he spent most of his time there. Of course he still had the airship that he stole from Cid, so if he ever wanted to go anywhere.
Ill never go back to Burmecia, they dont need me. He thought firmly, kicking aside a dirt clod, which quickly burst into a million specks of dust. Suddenly he was aware of a rustling noise to his left. Slowly he turned, but he could see nothing.
It was the wind. He told himself as he quickened his pace. He could almost see the little town ahead in the distance. Better to make it there before dark.
A day passes
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