Propositions Chapter 5

Stolen Ancient Writings -or- Master Thief! Zero!

By Kenji Kotaro

Rating: PG 13
MP3s Listened To: Mecha Hajikete Gattsu Tobashite; Fired Up And Shooting Guns (THTC), Kaze No Uta; Melody Of Wind (Nuriko), Hikari No Naka E; Into The Light (Escaflowne), La Passione Commouve La Storia; Passion Moves The Story (Suikoden II Battle Theme), Shutsugen; Appearance (Digimon Tamers Uta To Ongakuu Shuu), 88 Lines About 44 Simpsons (?????), Eroberung; ???? (Devimon; German Digimon Dub), Various MP3s from the Digimon Frontier Uta To Ongakuu Shuu; Songs and Background Music, Ki Ni Naru Aitsu; The Girl I Can't Ignore (Li Shaoran), Okane Ga Ichiban; Money Is The Best (Lunar II song), Deep Deep Trouble (Simpsons), Shiokaze Ni Nosete; Place It On The Sea Breeze (Megumi Ogata)
Description: Part V -- The prologue to the Zero saga.

A thief has stolen Ancient Writings from the
Gariland University of Magic.
10,000 Gil reward is offered to
anyone who can find the Ancient Writings
or the location of the Thief


"Tell me this isn't happening..." Osamu mumbled as he, Rad, Alicia, Lavian, Ai and Ken waited at the gates of Gariland.

"Ramza needs us back at Igros!" Rad shouted at a guard at the gate, "We NEED to leave here!"

"Sorry, but, until further notice, no-one can leave the city!" The guard replied, "You did hear about what happened last night, didn't you?"

"What?" Lavian, the Knight, asked, tapping on her sword sheath impatiently.

"Some thief robbed the Gariland Academy of Magic. The mayor ordered that no-one enters or exits the city, except by ferry. Huge security checks at the ferry docks, too. The guards over there have a right to inspect your travel bags and everything." He guard crossed his arms, "Trust me, I don't enjoy this much, either. I was on vacation until this happened."

"Gariland Academy of Magic?" Ai asked, "I went there until I transferred to the military academy. What writings were stolen?"

"Really ancient spells, like the legendary Ultima and a few summon chants." The guard said, "That's what I've heard, anyway."

Ai turned to the others, "I say we head back to the Inn."

Alicia, the Oracle, sighed as she began to walk to the Inn with her staff as a walking stick, "Great, this is just what I needed...Ramza's going to be so mad at us for being late."

Rad leaned against the wall of the gates to the city, "So, everything's blocked?"

"Yeah, sorry, pal..." The guard replied, "As soon as someone at least gets the thief, we can let people back in and out of the city."

"It's all right, I guess this just gives us extra vacation time..." He looked over to the Chocobo stables down the left path from the gate, "Though, now it'll cost us extra to have our Chocobos kept there..."

"Well, at least you're still on vacation. I had this great trip to Lesalia planned, but, then this happened and all guards were put on duty." The guard hit the wall, "If I find this guy, I'll run him through."

"You just read my mind, buddy." Rad drew out his Platinum dagger, thrusting it forward like he was stabbing the thief, he sheathed it and turned to leave, "See ya later. If I find the guy, I'll bring him to you."

"Bye, I hope you find him..." The guard muttered.

The warriors had decided to go to the bar to try and pass the time, while Alicia and Ai went to find out more about the robbery.

Rad was telling the others a story, "I remember that battle like it was yesterday!" He said, "We were fighting Gafgarion at Zirekile falls, I was fighting him one on one on the rope bridge, he was screaming 'Traitor! I'll kill you for joining Ramza!' at the top of his lungs, and that's when I did it..."

"Did what?" Osamu asked, yawning and not believing a word of the story.

"He chased me to the end, I cut the ropes on the end of the bridge and he fell! SPLASH! And that's how I beat him!" Rad took a proud drink of his ale.

Lavian grinned evilly, "That's not quite how I remember it.."

"What?" Rad said, nervously, "It..It is how it happened!!"

"No," She said, sipping her Vaccas Liquor, "You DID cut the bridge.... ...ONLY with Ramza and yourself on it as well."

"It was his fault!! He tried to go in to stop him when I started to cut the bridge!" Rad said, "He shouldn't have tried to fight Gafgarion! I had it all under control!"

"You were screaming, 'Oh God, please don't kill me! I just can't stand your ego or your ugly mustache any more!'!" Lavian said, Osamu and Ken laughed, Ken almost spitting out some of his ale while laughing.

"...Well, it was an ugly mustache..." Rad mumbled, putting down his glass.

Osamu poured himself another cup of black tea, "Hey, I've been doing some thinking..."

"Does your head hurt?" Ken asked, getting an elbow in the side from Osamu.

"How about we try to find this thief? We could get clues, ask witnesses and everything! We're also warriors, we can take on anyone!" Osamu announced.

"Yeah!! Two Knights, an Archer and a Thief can take down anyone!" Rad added, "We're unstoppable!"

The sound of someone clearing their throat was heard, "Aren't you forgetting US?"

Rad paused, "...Ai!" He said, getting up turning to the glaring mage, "Of course you help make us unstoppable--"

"Can I have your Ale?" Ai asked, calmly.

Rad nodded, giving Ai his glass of ale.

"Thank you." Ai said, taking Rad's hat off and pouring the ale onto his head, she put the glass on the table and tossed the hat to Rad, "Sit down, we've got an update on what's happened." Rad sat, down, Alicia sat next to him while Ai sat between Ken and Osamu, "Here's what I've heard. The thief stole all of it just before sun rise, and no-one has entered or left the town since the robbery, so he's still here. He was in his early thirties, and was last seen leaping out of a second story window and limping away."

"So, he's got a limp from the fall..." Osamu said, "Think he'll take a ferry out of town?"

Alicia spoke, "That's what we're thinking...But, there's a problem there."

"What?" Ken asked.

"The security checks, they're strip searching everyone."

Immediately Ken, Osamu, Rad and Lavian's eyes widened, "HOLY AJORA!"

"That's what we said..." Ai continued her explanation, "But, there's a Luxury boat that leaves this afternoon..."

"...And because it's privately owned, the town isn't ordering it to provide security checks." Alicia added, "We know the thief is going on that boat, it's a cruise boat that's going to Warjilis."

"A perfect escape..." Osamu muttered, "Looks like we're stuck here until they finally realize the thief got away..."

"Not quite." Ai held up some tickets, "We bought six tickets, one for each of us to go on the cruise and catch the thief."

Osamu took one of the tickets, "I..It's real! How in the nine hades could you afford this?!"

"Well..." Alicia turned away, nervously.

Ai looked away, "...We kind of...had to..."

Ken, Rad, Alicia and Osamu glared, "...You didn't...." They all said at once.

"...We kind of....hadtoborrowmoneyfromyouguys." She mumbled as quickly as she could.

Osamu drew out the Blood Sword, Ken drew out his crossbow, Lavian unsheathed her sword and Rad swiftly held his dagger up. The patrons of the bar gasped as the group of four glared at Ai and Alicia with their weapons drawn...

"That was the last of my money!!" Lavian screamed.

Osamu held up a sheath in one hand, which was falling apart, "I was going to buy a custom sheath with that money!"

"I wanted to buy a nice dinner with my money!!" Ken shouted, reaching for an arrow.

"...You wouldn't TRY it..." Ai glared, raising her hands into the air, "Bright light, shine down on bloody impurity...HOLY!!!"

A loud explosion was heard outside of the bar as a bright light burst through the roof of the bar from the inside, throwing two knights, a thief and an archer into the air, screaming at full volume.

Alicia looked at the hole in the roof of the bar, and sighed, "...Think you might have killed one of them?"

"Think? I'm HOPING I at least got Ken."

Ken was the first to land, smashing a table, charred and black, "...Wow, if I knew Holy could do that, I wouldn't have skipped church so much..."

Ai sighed, "One can only hope..."

Osamu, Lavian and Rad landed somewhere around the bar, after receiving a phoenix down and a few X-Potions, they headed to the docks.

"That's it, the SS Yagami." Alicia pointed to the large ship. Ken, Osamu and Rad's eyes lit up immediately.

Rad began to drool at the thought of sailing on it, "Wow...A trip to Warjilis on that thing..."

Ai sighed, "Knock it off, Rad, this is to catch a thief."

"...Is there a buffet?" Lavian asked.

"Yes, there i--" With that Lavian was gone, already on the ship. Ai turned to the remaining warriors, "Remember do your best to look casual, we can't let anyone know we're looking for the--" Ai groaned as she realized Ken was already going about, asking people if they knew who the thief was.

"...I'm afraid I don't know." Said one man, he wore a black coat and a green shirt underneath, as well as a black hat on his head and a cane in his right hand, "I just arrived here last night."

"If you hear anythi-- ACK!!" Ken was pulled back by Ai.

"Sorry, sir, he just wants to play detective..." Ai muttered, dragging Ken onto the ship.

"It's quite all right!" The man said, "I'd be more than happy to help if I knew anything." He picked up a travel bag by his side and walked onto the ship.

"What was that for Ai!? He--"

"Ken, we're NOT supposed to go around asking people like this!" Ai whispered, "We can't make people realize we're looking for the thief! This person is probably *very* dangerous!"

"We took on Gafgarion--"

"And remember when he almost cut your arm off?!"

".....It was a lucky shot..." Ken muttered, "Besides, Mustadio saved me, remember?"

"Only because he broke his sword before he cut past your tunic!" Ai sighed.

"...Touche..." Ken muttered, turning away walking onto the ship, "At least we'll be able to spend time in Warjilis after this..."

"I just hope we get back before Ramza continues his quest." Ai said, "He'll be pretty upset if we aren't back on time..."

It took little time for Ai and Ken to find Osamu and Lavian, both were at a small buffet on the ship, their plates filled with fruit and chocobo meat.

Ai groaned, "We're NOT going to find the thief here..."

Osamu swallowed his Chocobo meat, "Thieves have to eat, too, don't they?" He continued eating.

"His logic works for me!" Lavian added, pulling apart a pomegranate.

"This proves my theory..." Ai muttered.

"What theory?" Ken asked.

"All knights have brains located in their stomachs."

Osamu and Lavian glared. Lavian tossed a pomegranate seed at Ai, "Very funny." She muttered.

Ai turned to Ken, "Let's try to find Rad and Alicia. They might be doing what they're supposed to and looking for that thief."

Ken nodded.

Osamu waved, "See you guys later, we'll keep a look out for anyone suspicious at the buffet!"

"Then I say we check out the bar, all sorts of suspicious people can be found at a bar!" Lavian added.

"And it gives you two a good excuse to drink!" Ai shouted as she left.

"...Well, we can't help it if thieves hang out in the same places we eat and drink at, can we?" Lavian asked Osamu, innocently.

"Of course not! If anything, our search will have the best results!" Osamu replied, before peeling a banana.

On the other end of the ship...

Rad was walking through a crowd of people, he bumped into one man, "Sorry!"

"Watch it!" The man shouted continuing on his way.

Rad laughed to himself, turning a corner, he reached into his pocket, producing a wallet, "Oh, how I love being a thief..." He began to count the money, "Twenty gil?! That's IT!?" He continued looking, "A passport in the name of Vormav Tingel... And a candy wrapper." Rad sighed and tossed the wallet aside.

He sighed to himself, but immediately saw stars as a sudden blow to the back of the head, he fell forward, "Ow!" He looked up, facing Ai and Ken, "What was THAT for?!"

"We're LOOKING for a thief, not acting like a thief." Ai said, motioning to the wallet.

"...Well, pardon me if I wanted to have some FUN on this cruise!" Rad replied, "It's easier than battle, too! At least with these people I don't have to defend against weapons and magic."

Ai glared, "And it also makes YOU look like the thief!"

"...Not unless I'm caught!" Rad replied, "Besides, I might end up stealing back the Ancient scrolls!"

"I doubt it..." Ai muttered. Ken walked up behind her.

"No sign of Alicia, she might be below deck." He said.

"Oh, she's at the bar." Rad said, getting up, "She's asking the bartender if he's seen anything."

Ai groaned, "We're supposed be acting like we're not looking for the thief!"

"At least she'll be doing a better job than Lavian and Osamu." Ken stated.

"Not much, that's where they planned to go next." Ai replied, "But then again, they won't be asking the bartender for anything except drink orders..."

Rad grinned, "Well, perhaps you'll find the thief below deck or something."

Ken nodded, "I'll check below deck, all right?"

"Fine." Ai replied, she turned to Rad, "As for you..." She grabbed him by the arm, and dragged him across the deck of the ship, "You're going to look for the thief, and I'm making sure you stay out of trouble doing it!!"

"H-HEY!!" Rad shouted as Ai dragged him, "No fair!!"

Ken just laughed as he went down to the bar to check on Osamu, Alicia and Lavian.

The two Knights and Oracle were sitting together at one table, drinking ales and talking amongst themselves. They paused when Ken joined them minutes later.

"Any luck, guys?" Ken asked.

"We were going to ask everyone if they've seen anyone suspicious." Alicia began.

"..And?" Ken asked.

"...Everyone here IS suspicious." Osamu motioned around the room. It was true, the room was full of people who looked like they did it, or at least did something illegal. Thieves with eye patches and scars, mages with swords instead of staves or rods, even one summoner missing two fingers on one hand. All of them drinking ale and other drinks, some even passed out drunk on the floor.

"Well, not the bartender..." Ken suddenly took back that statement as a dagger with a note through it wedged itself into the table, the bartender being the one who threw it, "....Eep..."

Osamu pulled the dagger out of the table, "It's our drink bill." He pulled a feather pen out of his cape and wrote something on the back of the bill, he placed it back on the dagger and threw it at the bartender, it wedged itself into a wall a few feet from him. The bartender read the note.

"...Round of ale at table three!" The bartender shouted to a waitress.

Ken looked at the other three in surprise, "...Is that the first time he's done that?"

Alicia grinned, "Nah, he does that to us about every hour."

"Takes you by surprise the first couple times, though!" Lavian said as a waitress began to hand them their drinks.

The group began to talk about other places the thief could be...Until they heard the door to the bar open.

In stepped Ai, looking relatively calm, she sat at the table. A dagger with a note landed in front of her, she looked at the note, "'What do you want to drink?' ...Anyone got a pen?" Osamu handed her his feather pen, she wrote a reply and threw it back the bartender.

"One bottle of Vaccas Liquor!" He shouted to a waitress.

The group looked nervous, expect Ai to yell at them, "...Hi, Ai..." Osamu said, breaking the silence.

"...My common sense is telling me that this ship is made out of wood, therefore blasting any of you with a flare spell or a lightning spell would burn this place down....Therefore, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

The group sighed in relief. They continued talking, Ai joined in the conversation after a few minutes.

Meanwhile... On the top deck of the ship.

Few people were left on the top deck, the area Rad was on anyway. Only one other person, a man in a black suit, green shirt and a black hat. Rad bumped into him, "Sorry, si--" Rad was cut off by an elbow in the stomach, followed by the back of a fist in the face, he began to fall back before the man grabbed his hand, taking back a wallet, he tossed Rad aside and continued walking.

Rad moaned, "What...happened...?" He looked in the direction the man walked away in. There was a piece of paper on the ground, Rad picked it up. It was written in a strange language, "..Wait a second, these are the symbols...spells are written in..." He whispered to himself.

He heard footsteps approaching, it was the man again, Rad noticed he had a cane in hand, "Y...You dropped this..." He held up the paper, the man immediately grabbed it and placed it in his pocket.

"...Kid, you shouldn't touch things that don't belong to you." The man glared, "...It might not be good for your health." He raised the cane into the air, Rad rolled out of the way just as it came to the ground, cracking the floorboard it hit, "...Nice reflexes."

Below, in the bar, everyone (except those who were passed out drunk) was staring at the ceiling, after hearing a strange cracking noise from above.

Most of the patrons went back to drinking, but one table (which was relatively sober) decided to investigate.

"You guys check it out first, I'll pay." Osamu said, getting up and turning to the bartender, pausing as a dagger flew through his cape, tearing a rather large hole, and wedging itself into the table, "......Thanks!" He said, taking the bill from the dagger as the others ran up to the top deck to see what happened.

Lavian was the first to make it to the top deck, she drew out her sword immediately, "Stop!!" She shouted, Alicia ran next to her and quickly held her staff in a battle reader position. Ai and Ken looked at what was going on from behind the Knight and the Oracle...

It was Rad, on the ground, holding his arm in pain, while a man holding a wooden cane prepared another attack, before turning to the others with his cane still in the air, "...Friends of yours?" He asked Rad, turning his head to the thief.

"Y...Yeah..." Rad groaned, "Guys... He's got the writings..."

"You shouldn't have said that." The man grinned, he gave Rad a swift kick in the stomach, the thief fell back, "...Now, for you..."

"You!!" Ken recognized the man, "I...I asked you if you knew anything about the thief!"

"...I had a feeling you'd--" The man was about to say something dramatic until an arrow shot through the air, hitting his hat and taking it off his head, revealing he also had no hair.

"LIAR! You LIED to me!!" Ken shouted, his crossbow in hand, "You're a thief and a LIAR!!"

"................." The thief glared, "Just for that, YOUR death will be SLOW!"

"HA! I don't mind living longer!" Ken shouted.

"...AND painful!"

Ken snapped his fingers, "Darn it..."

Ai punched him in the arm, "We plan to SURVIVE this battle, stupid!"

"...Oh yeah..." Ken glared at the man, "I plan to SURVIVE this battle!"

"..Do you know who I am?" The man asked.

"...The guy who stole the Ancient writings." Lavian replied.

"I'm the great thief...Zero!"

"...Who?" The warriors and mage asked at once, even Rad coughing out a response that sounded like "Wh...Who...?"

"...Legendary leader of a band of thieves formed after the 50 years war?" Zero asked.

The group shook their heads.

Zero groaned, "Okay, fine...I'm more famous around Lionel anyhow..." He held his cane in the air, "Ready?" He asked, pointing it at Lavian.

"...You're kidding, right?" Lavian asked, "My sword'll cut through that piece of wood in a second!"

Zero twisted the cane, the lower part flying off, Lavian barely had time to block it with her sword, "I'm always prepared." It turned out the cane was really a rapier.

"This looks tough..." Ai muttered, she began to concentrate, "Shining light, be the armor that protects us! Protect!!" A shield of light surrounded the group.

Ken jumped in front of Alicia, "I'll get those writings back!!!" He shouted, he shot an arrow at Zero, who dodged. Zero ran towards Ken, slicing the crossbow in two pieces, and slamming his fist into Ken's stomach. Ken let out a groan, before being pushed aside, the protect spell blocked most of the force, but Zero was still strong enough to break through most of the spell's defense.

Alicia made a quick dash behind Zero, she struck him in the back, and almost received a rapier in the side if she didn't dodge, "Smash all who hunger for destruction! Confusion song!" The spell hit Zero dead on, a bright light flashed through his body for a moment.

Zero simply laughed, "...Nice try."

Ai looked at Zero in surprise, "That spell hit you dead on!! You SHOULD be a total idiot who can't fight now!"

Zero held up a pink ribbon, "Not with this! The ribbon, a special Odine Brand accessory that cancels ALL negative status spells, including confuse!"

Suddenly Ai, Lavian and Alica began to laugh, Ken and Rad (both still in the ground, trying to recover from Zero's attack) did the same.

".....Yes, I am aware it's a woman's accessory, but that's irrelevant!!!!!" Zero shouted in anger, a slight blush on his face, "...And they SHOULD have made an accessory for men that do the same thing, curse it!!" He stomped on the ground, before using the hilt of his rapier to hit Alicia in the side, knocking her back. She hit the ground, next to Ken.

"A...Ajora...That guy's strong.." Alicia got back up, she charged at Zero, he grabbed her staff with one hand, hitting her with it and throwing her back, her staff following her.

"I've been a thief for more than twenty-five years, I know how to defeat anyone." Zero mumbled, he turned to Ai and Lavian, who backed off from Zero.

"This isn't good..." Lavian whispered to Ai, "We're not going to beat this guy without help."

Ai raised her hand into the air, "Scatter your chilly sharp blades!! ICE!!!"

The ice spell formed over Zero. Zero held up his hand, the ice crystal flew over to Ai and hit her instead, "Reflect ring." He said, "I never leave home without it."

"...Sorry, Lavian, it's useless...." Ai groaned.

Zero stepped towards them, he raised his rapier, "...I think I'll take care of *you two* first, then I'll kill the others..." He stood in front of the staircase to the bar.

"Sorry I'm late!! What'd I miss!?" Shouted a voice, the sound of running came from the stairs.

"What the-- AGH!" Zero shouted as Osamu bumped into him, he stumbled, dropping his sword and falling off the deck of the ship. Osamu grabbed his jacket before he fell into the water.

"Geez!! Sorry, sir!" Osamu shouted, "I was in a hurry and--"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEE!!!!" Zero's body slipped out of the jacket and he fell into the water.

"..Holy Ajora... MAN OVERBOARD!!" Osamu shouted, running off to another part of the ship to get help, tossing Zero's jacket to the ground.

"...Lavian, you check the papers for the jacket, I'll heal Alicia, Ken and Rad!" Ai ran off to her fallen allies and began casting cure spells. Lavian began to dig through the jacket, eventually finding the ancient writings that had been stolen.

Osamu and crew members arrived minutes later, they fished Zero out of the water. Zero was arrested and held until the ship reached Warjilis. The writings were sent back to Gariland, while the group of six that recovered them received a reward as well as tickets to the next cruise to Gariland. Zero was taken to prison...

It had been eight days since they caught Zero, the group had a room reserved at the inn... It was the day before the ship would leave to Gariland, at 8:00 the next morning...

Ai woke up, she looked at the old grandfather clock on the other side of the room...It had stopped at 4:00 that morning, Ai could tell because there was a dagger stopping the hands. There was a note, she took it and read it aloud...

Dear fools that "caught" me,
I never leave my hideout unprepared. No prison can hold me.
I'll find you guys later, I won't be so nice next time.
-The great thief Zero

PS: Check out your reward money.

Ai woke up the others, showing them the note, before she looked at the money...

..The bag was filled with small pebbles, Zero had stolen their reward money.

"...We've been robbed..." Osamu growled, "That had ALL of our money in it!!"

"At least we still have our tickets." Lavian held up the six sets of tickets for the cruise back to Gariland.

The group quickly dressed and ran down to the front of the inn...

...Only to find a working clock, the time was 1:00 in the afternoon. The ship had already left.

"Excuse me." The Innkeeper called the group, "A man wanted me to give you this note before you left." Ken took the note and read it.

What time is it?
Must be too late to catch your boat.
I caught mine, 8:00 to Gariland.
I guess it may have been wrong of me to cast those
sleep spells on your all. I should have used petrify.

"...He's good..." Rad mumbled, "...Great, now what do we do?"

"Take what's left of our money, go to the bar and discuss plans." Lavian suggested.

"Works for me!" Osamu said.

Ken smiled, despite the situation, "I'm up for some ale."

"Fine with me." Ai mumbled, tearing up the note from Zero.

"Let's go!" Alicia pointed to the direction of the Warjilis bar. The rest of the group of warriors and mages followed, all hoping to figure out a way to get out of this mess...

To Be Continued...

Notes: Before you say anything -- YES, Zero is a real character from FFT. He has an entire series of propositions in the game, the first one being in Lionel, and from the sound of the propositions, he's a VERY serious thief. He's going to be a mini-arc for the cast.

Job reports and Ramza's evaluation will be on hold since Ai, Osamu, Ken, Alicia, Lavian and Rad are separated from him for the time being (There IS a plot to this, I assure you!). I needed an excuse to get them to the Lionel area, so, I decided to add Zero in the Ancient Writings proposition (he isn't in the original), instead of creating some one-story villain.

Also, I have officially planned to do all of the Propositions in the game....Let's see here...There's about 85 jobs, and then there's a few other fics I want to throw in for the fun of it.. And at this rate..................

................I'm going to be writing this fic for about three years.....

It'll be worth it, though, I have a lot planned for this series and I WILL write about every job even if it kills me (and it probably will).

Final note: Expect Toki, Honoo and Sogeki to appear sometime soon.

See you next next! Keep reading!
-Kenji Kotaro

Chapter 6

Kenji Kotaro's Fanfiction