The Clash of GunBlades

By Lee Seng Wai

Squall Lionheart stepped up the rocky incline of the hill, the morning sun blazing before him. The trek was not arduous, but it was steep. The weight of the Gunblade at his side didn’t make the climb any simpler. But Squall, one of the most promising, and quiet members of Balamb Garden will not find the climb difficult. Constant training at the Garden’s Gym and Training Centre has made him strong. Squall silently knew that a little trek like this was nothing, compared to what’s ahead.

“You’re late, Squall. As usual.” A displeased tone rang out before him. Squall had reached the summit of the hill, and at the top was a man in a white raincoat tapping his feet impatiently. Squall had difficulty making out who it was, for the morning sun was behind that man, forcing Squall’s eyes to see nothing but a standing shadow. But the reflection of the sun on that man’s Gunblade made him instantly recognizable.

“Wrong, Seifer. You’re early.”

Seifer turned to the side, swinging his gunblade onto his shoulder. “Can’t help it. Can’t wait to whip the hell out of your ass.”

Squall knew the answer before Seifer said it. Seifer has always despised him, just as Squall did not like Seifer. Squall knew that Seifer felt threatened by him because of his fighting ability. When Seifer threw the invitation for a ‘training session at Duel Hill’, Squall couldn’t resist accepting it immediately, if only to sooner wipe that smug off Seifer’s face.

Duel Hill was aptly named. It curved down at the summit in a lens shape, like a natural arena. The rough rocky surface made it easy to grip, but painful to fall on. The hill has many times witnessed duels amongst the students of Balamb Garden, and it was about to witness another one.

Seifer threw his gunblade onto the ground, it’s long blade embedded into the earth. “Are you ready, Squall?”. It wasn’t as much a question as it was a challenge. Few words are normally spoken between the two.

Squall did not reply, but only withdrew his gunblade from his holster, and threw the holster to one side. He stood in his classic combat stance, sword held firmly in a inclined position before him, ready to block or strike at any time.

Seifer sneered and picked up his gunblade, holding it horizontally at shoulder level, his right arm bearing all the weight of the heavy weapon. Only Seifer could use this stance effectively for it was confusing. No one knew where and when Seifer would gash next when he stood like this, and Seifer was proud of it.

Squall rushed forward, swinging his blade at waist-level. The blade moved at such speed that the air singed against it, as if a vacuum was steadily being created by such a simple swing. At the same time, there was the sound of gushing wind, and dove feathers flew from the blade as Squall channeled his body energy into the weapon. This was Squall’s unique attack. The feathers represent a power within Squall that even he himself did not recognize. He seemed to be born with that power, and nobody could interpret its usefulness, other than it seemed to cause much damage whenever it occurred.

Seifer was well aware of this, and swung his sword in the opposite direction to parry Squall’s attack. The clash of metal rang loudly in the quiet morning hilltops. Seifer felt his hand numb a little from blocking the attack. Squall showed no sign of relenting. After all, it was only a training session. He rushed forth again.

Seifer had anticipated that. “You can’t use the same trick twice on me!” Seifer simply spun round the blade and launched and attack of his own. Squall could not parry the attack as the momentum from his own blade kept him from retracting it. He ducked.

“Bang!” There was a loud explosion above Squall’s head. Squall was shocked and quickly retreated. Seifer’s gunblade was smoking at the barrel. It was obvious that he had pulled the trigger. Maybe he pulled it as a taunt, or maybe as a direct assault. Such an explosion can easily disfigure one, or even maim. Squall was lucky to escape with his hair intact.

It is an unwritten agreement that gunblades are not supposed to be triggered during training sessions for obvious safety reasons. Squall knew this and realized that it was no longer a training session, but a battle for survival.

Seifer retracted his gunblade, sneering. He raised his left hand and taunted Squall with his finger. “If you continue to fight like that, you’ll never beat me!”

Squall quickly got up, but Seifer was already charging at him. Squall returned the favor and rushed forward too. Clash after clash of solid steel rang out. With every upthrust that either one struck with, it was parried by the other. Seifer constantly stabbed at the mid-section of Squall, forcing Squall to retain his blocking position. But Squall was not a baby, and strafed to one side whenever he could. Squall deflected the blade upwards, leaving Seifer vulnerable. Squall quickly lunged forward in a diagonal slash, and tore a gash in Seifer’s raincoat.

Seifer was shocked that he could be attacked do easily by Squall. The truth was that Seifer has been complacent and refused to improve his own sword skill, giving Squall the chance to attack so easily. Seifer swung his blade downwards and knocked Squall’s blade away from his mid-riff, and pulled the trigger. The explosion rocked Squall’s gunblade, and threw him back by three feet.

It is so obvious that the Seifer is a lunatic. Had he been any closer to the explosion, his own mid-riff would have gone too. But Seifer escaped by retreating at the same time he pulled the trigger.

Once is happenstance, twice is enemy action. Squall knew that the trigger explosion was no accident. Enraged, he rushed forward, bringing forth the hidden power within him again.

But Seifer did not appear to parry. Instead, he just stood with his palm facing Squall. Red and amber wisps of energy gathered around the palm, quickly molding into a concentrated ball of energy.

“Magic!” Squall thought, but it was too late. The fire elemental energy ball went straight at him, hitting him full in the chest, and knocked him down onto the hard rocky ground.

Squall’s head was in a red haze. It will take a while to recover from an impact of such magnitude. He could only think that magic is forbidden during training sessions, and anyone who casts magic for intentional hurt could most probably be expelled from Garden.

There was an evil laugh, and Squall looked up. His eyes began to clear, and he saw Seifer, gunblade raised, laughing away. There was no time to react, and Seifer swung down hard on Squall.

Squall felt for an instant the cold contact of steel on his forehead, which quickly transformed into hot searing pain as the blade gashed diagonally from his forehead to his cheek. His right eye began to cloud red with his blood. The blood continue to spill forth, painting specks of the brown earth below him red. Squall’s thoughts may be blurred, but he knew that Seifer has done this on purpose. He could only think of one word : REVENGE!

Squall was lucky in the way that Seifer had totally forgotten to pull the trigger this time. Had he done so, Squall may not exist any longer.

Squall did not recover from the blow. He never did. He just got up and grabbed his gunblade. His mind in a haze, he only vaguely knew of Seifer’s position, as the white raincoat contrasted greatly with the surroundings. Squall tried to step forth, but his legs were still weak. Bearing the enormous pain, he focused all his energy onto the weapon that his hands were holding. The blade seemed to weigh a ton, it was too heavy to lift. Squall could only drag the blade across the earth. The ground sparked as the gunblade grated across it. There was no time. Soon Seifer will recover from the deathblow he initiated. Then there will be no chance of hitting him.

Squall still could not lift the blade, when suddenly he felt something snap within him. Like the membrane that used to cap his hidden power was suddenly released. New strength burst forth from Squall’s chest, and quickly found it’s way into the arms and blade. Like Samson Squall swung the gunblade with more ferocity and force then ever before. The background seemed to flash brightly, and the feathers from the blade were no longer grayish-white, but pure white. It was a sign. A sign of Squall’s potential.

Seifer was taken aback by this sudden change, and could not react in time. It was as if the sudden flash of light has stopped time itself. Seifer felt the blade slash diagonally on his own face, in the direction different from what he had done to Squall. Seifer’s world went red, then black.

Exhausted from the outburst, Squall felt his strength leave him and collapsed backwards. Before he fainted, he wondered if Seifer could have died from the blow, but he did not care as the darkness overcame him.

The two lay unconscious for the morning, until an afternoon rendezvous by a young student couple from Balamb Garden resulted in the Garden officials coming to take them back to Garden for nursing.

But the scars on their faces will remain forever.

The End

Lee Seng Wai's Fanfiction