Trials of the Valiant Chapter 4

By The RPGenius

It was only a few hours' journey to Goug, but to Ramza, it seemed much longer. He missed all his friends incredibly.

The trip was uneventful. For the most part, everyone was too busy with their own thoughts. Ramza was still trying to figure out how they had all survived (with the possible exception of Orlandu). Alma was probably trying to decide how she should act around Ramza's friends when they got there. Agrias was also silent.

The small conversation that he and Agrias had had the night before came into Ramza's mind. He suspected there was actually another reason for her not going back to protecting Ovelia. But from the tone of voice she had used, Ramza suspected she herself didn't know.

It was not long before they could see Goug Machine City coming up.

* * *

Meanwhile, in Goug, Mustadio was busy. There had to be some way to give Worker 8 an artificial intelligence, and he was going to find it. It would be easier for everyone if Worker 8 would at least pay attention to someone besides Ramza, and if Ramza really was dead, then Worker 8 would be useless. Mustadio didn't want to to believe Ramza dead, but he had to be realistic and acknowledge all possibilities.

There was a knock on the door. Mustadio looked up from his theoretical scribblings. "Come in, I'm not busy."

The door opened and Meliadoul came in. "I just thought you should know that it's breakfast time. Your father is in the kitchen making it."

"What!?" Mustadio said, startled. He rushed over to a window and pulled away the curtain. "Oh man, I was up all night! That stupid robot's equations kept me up all night!"

"Have you come up with a way to fix that problem? You know, to make him smart?" asked Meliadoul.

Mustadio sighed. "I'm trying to give him the ability to reason, not make him smart. And no, I haven't been able to come close." Mustadio sighed again. "Oh, well. Say, what's my dad making?"

* * *

Mustadio's father looked up from the meal he was making and sighed. This was getting ridiculous. Didn't any of these people have their own home to go to? Trying to fit a Temple Knight, his wife, a Heaven Knight, a Byblos, a Hell Knight, a robot, and a Divine Knight in one house was ridiculous. They were all nice, but he was going to have to ask them to leave pretty soon.

The tables that they all sat at were filled to capacity. This morning they all seemed excited about some letter that had come, but they all decided not to open it until the others came back. Mustadio's father paid little attention to all this. He was much more interested in tinkering with some of the devices he had recently dug up.

* * *

The travelers had finally made it to Goug Machine City. Quickly, they made their way through the bustling streets toward Mustadio's home. It was still fairly early, so there weren't as many people as there might have been.

Before long, they had made their way to Mustadio's home. Ramza walked up to the door, opened it, and walked inside, where everyone was sitting, eating breakfast.

There was a silence for a split second, and then, suddenly, he was surrounded by all his friends (except Orlandu, who still hadn't shown up), shaking hands and being clapped on the back. Many, many questions, greetings, and stories of what had happened reached his ears in a confused jumble.

* * *

Eventually, everyone settled down and allowed Ramza to sit down, along with Alma and Agrias.

Ramza was kind enough to indroduce Alma to his friends. She and Rafa got along well from the beginning. Malak was nice. Beowulf and his wife were both kind and polite. Meliadoul seemed a bit impatient, but was courteous to Alma nonetheless. Mustadio was very nice to her. The robot, Worker 8, was a bit intimidating, but her brother had assured her that it would not hurt her. Finally, she had met Byblos. He was a bit unnerving, and she wasn't sure that she liked him, but she tried her best to be polite. He said nothing, and left Alma feeling a little nervous.

However, for the most part, Alma was pleased. Most of Ramza's friends were nice and seemed eager to meet her.

* * *

Ramza, meanwhile, had been telling everyone what he and Alma had been doing before Agrias found them. For the most part, they had traveled straight to their 'funeral', after 'buying' those two chocobos from the famous farmer, Jacco Crun.

Once Ramza had finished his story, Beowulf informed him of a special letter that had arrived. Ramza opened the letter addressed to him and wondered who could have known he would arrive there that day. After reading the signature, Ramza became excited. It was from Orlandu.

Ramza read the letter out loud. "To Ramza, Alma, and all my friends: First of all, I am alive and well. You were probably wondering and I just wanted to put your worries to rest. I'm sorry, but I cannot tell you where I am writing from, nor am I going to join you again. There is some unfinished business of mine which I must attend to. I hope to see you all again after I have completed this task.

"Ramza, I am writing to tell you many things, not just my goodbye. I would like to tell you that your father would have been proud of you. I know that some of your actions have caused you to doubt this, but I knew Balbanes well, and I can say without a doubt that he would have been proud of you. Continue to live your way, helping the people who need it and standing up for what is right. Balbanes did the same when he was younger, and it is good to see that someone is taking up his ideals in his absence.

"Ramza, if you reading this aloud, please stop. I have things to say to some of you that are private." Ramza stopped and handed the letter to Alma. "The next part is written to you."

Alma took the letter and read to herself, "Alma, we do not know each other well. However, I want to give you this advice: Do not doubt yourself. You may find times when you are unsure of the value of your judgement, but I believe that as long as you do what you feel is right, your judgement will always have worth."

After reading, Alma passed it to Agrias, who took the letter and silently read: "Agrias, you have terrific potential. I believe that with a little more training, you could even become a Holy Swordsman, like me. Therefore, I think you should stay with Ramza. I'm sure he'll have more adventures that will be good training opportunities.

"I also think that you would have stayed even if I hadn't just asked you. You probably don't understand why you've come to that decision. I think I know, though.

"If you decide to stay with Ramza's group, I have a request of you: Look after him. He is like a nephew to me, and while he has good judgement, he also has a tendancy to get in trouble. He will need steadfast friends to help him in times of need."

Agrias silently handed the letter to Beowulf and Reis.

"Beowulf and Reis, I wish you a happy life together. If you don't want to stay with Ramza and want to settle down, then please accept a gift from me. Enclosed is a small key to a house I recently bought you in Igros. I won't be needing my money anymore, and I can think of no better way to spend it than on friends. The house is much better than the common, run-down shacks typically for sale. I hope you enjoy it."

Beowulf and Reis hugged each other and handed the letter to Mustadio.

"Mustadio, I haven't been able to understand a single thing about your machines, but I think that the things that they can do are incredible. Keep tinkering with them. I have a feeling you'll end up inventing many useful tools."

Meliadoul was next.

"Meliadoul, I don't know what I can say. Don't know if there's anything I CAN say. There is no real consolation to give you. I am sorry that you have lost both your brother and your father. All I can tell you is this: In my experience, it is easier to take the loss of loved ones if you have your friends. Look to the friends you've made in times of need. Good luck."

Meliadoul passed the letter to Rafa and Malak.

"Rafa and Malak, you have a strong bond to each other, much like Ramza and Alma. I hope that this bond between you never breaks. Always remember that you have each other to call on when there is something wrong. I wish you both luck."

They gave it back to Ramza, who read the rest aloud.

"My friends, I hope to see you again someday, but in case I cannot, I would like to tell you some things. To begin with, it was an honor to fight alongside you all. Some of you may have further adventures, and some may not, but as long as there are people like you, the world will remain a decent place for the innocent. I dislike long good-byes, so this is it. Good-bye and good luck.
AKA Thunder God Cid


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