Trials of the Valiant Chapter 2
By The RPGenius
Boco was feeling extremely happy. First, he had found his master, Ramza. Secondly, Agrias had gotten off him. It wasn't that Boco had a problem with people riding him (so long as they were friends of his master). He just didn't like having to carry people with lots of heavy armor, and Agrias wore lots of it. This Alma person was much lighter.
As they walked along, Ramza, Alma, and Agrias conversed a lot. Boco listened to them as he slowly walked on. Master Ramza and Agrias were explaining the big adventure to Alma. Boco didn't think they mentioned his deeds enough, but he said nothing. From some of their talk, Boco came to realize that Alma was Master Ramza's egg-mate (sister was a human word for it). It seemed that Agrias already knew, which made Boco incredibly indignant. Why hadn't anyone told him? He would have taken special care of her, had he known. He carefully adjusted his stride so that it would be as comfortable as possible. After all, Alma was now a mistress to him.
Master Ramza was asking Agrias a question. "By the way, Agrias, how did you know I was hiding behind that fallen tree?"
Boco recalled that he had smelled Master Ramza's scent and had stopped before the fallen tree. Maybe Agrias had smelled Master Ramza, too.
"Ramza, the way this foolish chocobo was running, I knew you must have heard and realized someone was following you. As we approached the fallen log, I realized that your strategic mind would realize its value. Honestly, after all the fights we've been in, don't you think I know you?"
Boco was shocked. How dare she call him foolish?! He opened his beak to give his view on the matter, but stopped before he had begun. Nice as humans usually were, they weren't quite smart enough to understand chocobo tongue. In fact, the only one of Master Ramza's allies who could understand chocobo talk was Byblos, and he made Boco nervous, so they rarely talked.
Oh, well. Boco would just have to remember to throw Agrias off the next time she got on him.
* * *
Alma was starting to get tired. Agrias and Ramza might have been used to traveling all day, but she wasn't. However, such thoughts only strengthened her resolve to keep going. She was constantly arguing with Ramza about his being too protective. Neither Ramza nor Agrias were showing any signs of fatigue, and they had been walking all the time, whereas she had been riding (and this chocobo seemed to be trying to make the ride a smooth one).
Alma's mind began to wander as time rolled on. She wondered if Ramza would introduce her to all of his friends. She wasn't sure whether she was to happy to be meeting them all. Certainly, she would be happy to meet them all, but...
She looked over at Agrias. Agrias was polite, of course, but she seemed a bit cold at times. Ramza had told Alma that Agrias was simply just that way around people, but Agrias had seemed to be friendlier to Ramza. Of course, Agrias knew Ramza better than she knew Alma, but was that the only part of it? Maybe Agrias simply didn't like her. And if Agrias didn't like Alma, would anyone? It meant a lot to her. She didn't want them to just see her as their leader's sister, who constantly needed to be saved. She wanted to be considered one of them...
* * *
Agrias looked over at Alma. Finally! Agrias had been waiting for her to drift off to sleep. Agrias was exhausted, but she wasn't going to admit that to this to Ramza. But now that Alma had gone to sleep, they had an excuse to make camp for the night.
"Ramza, I think Alma is asleep. Perhaps we should call it a day," she told Ramza.
He sighed. Agrias realized that he, too, was tired, but he also wanted to see his allies safe and sound.
"Ramza, if you walk in after midnight, none of our allies are going to be there to greet us. Let's just continue on the morning. It won't take long after that for us to get there," she pointed out.
She was right, and he knew it. "Okay, but I think that Alma should stay on Boco for the night. He's probably more comfortable than the ground."
They set about making camp. It didn't take long before both were settled and waiting for sleep to overtake them.
Then Ramza spoke. "So Agrias, what do you plan to do after we've arrived? Are you going to resume your old job as Ovelia's bodyguard?"
Agrias had asked this question of herself several times. She always knew the answer, but she couldn't come up with any reasons she believed.
"I don't think so. I think it would be dangerous, for one thing. Delita knows that I know some secrets about him that would hurt his image. He might believe it safer if I were out of the picture," she told him.
"Olan knows a lot of Delita's secrets, but he's alive and serving Delita," Ramza pointed out.
"Still, I wouldn't feel safe. And now that Ovelia is the queen, she has an entire army to protect her. She's in good hands." These were the reasons she had given herself, and they were both valid reasons, but she knew that they weren't the reason. She didn't knew why she wanted to stay with Ramza's group more than she wanted to have her old job back.
Ramza was silent. He might not believe her entirely. Or perhaps he was just asleep. Speaking of sleeping, she should get to it. Alma was already asleep, and from the soft, snore-like warks, Boco was, too. All Agrias's questions could wait for tomorrow...
The night wore on as the travellers slept peacefully under the stars.
* * *
Elsewhere, things were not so peaceful. In the gloomy streets of Murond Death City, the soldiers who had followed Vormav, Elmdor, Wiegraf, and of course Ajora, were in chaos. They were now leaderless. Leaderless, unless you counted you counted the many self-appointed leaders whom no one listened to. They had no leader, no plan, and no clue as to what to do next. The meeting they had called had turned into a screaming match between the ambitious ones who wanted to be leader.
* * *
A little ways away from the meeting, a lone archer nervously made his way down the dark alleys. He was part of a secret group of the soldiers arguing at the meeting. Everyone had to belong to a faction, and this particular faction's leader did not seem to be a hot- headed fool like many of the other faction leaders. This leader was secretive, sly, and waited for the precise moment to strike.
The archer rounded one more corner and waited. He was the special spy of his leader's, and so he had to give his reports personally.
As he waited in the cold night air, a hooded figure seemed to materialize from the shadows. The archer felt a shiver run down his spine, and not from the cold air. Whatever was underneath the leader's dark hood, nobody had seen it and told a tale about it.
The figure lifted a gloved hand and signaled the archer to begin the report. He gulped and began, "There's been no real change. People constantly switch factions, trying to get on the side of the loudest fool yelling his brains out. Nobody really has a plan. None of the factions seem to outnumber ours by more than a few scores, and many are still undecided." The hood nodded slightly, indicating for him to continue. He cleared his throat and said, "That's all I have to report, Syldreth, sir-"
There was a flicker of movement, and suddenly the archer looked down to see a knife protruding from his chest. As his eyes grew misty and his hearing dimmed with death, he heard a mocking laugh echo until finally his hearing ceased.
* * *
After dealing with the foolish archer, Syldreth stalked off into the shadows. Once safely hidden, the hood which hid the face so many served, but did not know, was lowered. Once the hood was down, Syldreth let down her long, jet-black hair. She looked over at the dead archer. Fool! She had killed better men for less than calling her 'sir'. Nobody knew anything about her, save her personal advisor, but people should not have been so soon to assume that the great Syldreth was male. Well, she certainly hadn't picked the archer for brains, and it would be no great task to replace him.
Syldreth carefully made her way to the small, underground cavern that served as both her living quarters and her secret base. She would not have had to be so careful had her hood been up, but it was cumbersome to wear. She had her reasons for wearing it, though. She suspected that if some of her minions knew she was a woman, they might not follow her as loyally as they did now. Worthless as they were to her, she needed a good amount of them until her plans were set in motion.
Quite suddenly, Syldreth went completely still. A few seconds later, a squire and knight came around the corner. They passed by, completely unaware that one had almost brushed up against her.
When they left, Syldreth relaxed. Being a ninja had its advantages. It was all but impossible to see her when she was in the shadows.
Slowly, she made her way to her destination, totally undetected by all the guards she passed.
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