Trials of the Valiant Chapter 5

By The RPGenius

Ramza and all his friends spent the night at Mustadio's home. Beowulf and Reis had said their goodbyes to everyone. The next morning, they would be setting out for Igros, where they had a house waiting, courtesy of Orlandu. Rafa and Malak were also planning to leave. Malak had found a job in nearby Warjilis, and Rafa would be looking for a job herself. Mustadio was planning to stay in Goug and work with his father.

As for Ramza, he didn't know exactly what he would do, himself. Agrias, Alma, Byblos, Meliadoul, and Worker 8 were all planning to follow him, but where would he leading them? Ajora's threat was over, and Ramza had all of the Zodiac Stones, so no new Zodiac monsters would be coming. Ramza supposed they could try to fight thieves and others who attacked innocent people, but opportunities to do such things rarely came, and the local soldiers in towns usually managed to deal with such things themselves. He supposed that taking up jobs that were offered in pubs was an acceptable start. Sometimes those jobs were worthy causes, like dealing with local monsters or escorting people through dangerous territory.

Yes, Ramza thought, that was probably what he would start with. After that, who knew? Life often threw many unexpected occurances at people. Perhaps something would happen.

The night wore on, and soon Ramza was asleep.

* * *

Other people, however, had work to do, and no time for sleep. So was the case of the thief who had just broken silently into the home of Jacco Crun.

He had volunteered for the job. It was an easy one: break into the home of the famous Jacco Crun and take as many valuables as he could find. Syldreth's forces were constantly growing, and so needed a constant supply of money to buy the proper equipment for the new recruits. Thus, many thieves were employed to get the funds.

The thief quickly made his way through the house. He was an expert at his profession, and could always spot places that might be secret hiding places for gil. As he had thought, Jacco Crun kept a good deal of money at home, to supplement the incredible amount in the bank.

The thief was almost about to leave, having found about 1,000,000 gil, but stopped as he passed a small chest. He gave a small chuckle. He had never seen so obvious a target. Almost certainly, Mr. Crun kept things of great worth in this chest.

After dismantling the simple lock on the chest, he opened it and surveyed its contents. Suddenly, he went totally still, and looked. He had seen two Zodiac Stones, one with Vormav and the other with Wiegraf.

As he looked at the small, purple stone inside, he gathered his thoughts. Quickly, he closed the chest. The thief picked up the bags of stolen gil, and made his way for the nearest transporter to Murond Death City. Luckily for Syldreth's forces, another transporter to enter and exit the city had been found, and required an even simpler curse than the one that Rofel had used. The curse was so simple, even a thief could easily use it.

The thief hurried on. He had to inform Lord Duegran of his discovery!

* * *

Duegran all but ran to his leader's chambers. Whether or not she was awake, or in a good mood, Duegran knew that she would have to know about this.

He burst into her chambers, out of breath. After looking around, he groaned softly. She appeared to be out.

Then, before he knew what was happening, there was a sword at his throat. Apparantly, Syldreth was there, after all.

Her voice was dangerously low. "I will give you a total of five seconds to give me a reason not to kill you for entering without permission."

Duegran could hardly contain himself. "The Zodiac Stone, Cancer, has been found!"

Instantly, the sword came away from his throat.

"Where? How did you find it?" This was the first time that Duegran had ever heard her voice sound excited.

Duegran continued quickly. "Thief number twelve was looting the house of a Mr. Jacco Crun as part of an assignment. He discovered that this stone is in the possession of this Jacco Crun. He is sure that it is one of the stones. He's seen the stones that Wiegraf and Vormav used, so he is probably correct in his judgement. Shall I send a team to get it?"

Syldreth put on her hood. "No. I will handle this myself. Unless there is something else, you are dismissed."

Duegran cleared his throat. "Actually, there is one other thing. The men digging at Nelveska Island have uncovered one potential working device. Once it has been activated, we should have no problem controlling it. Best of all, its slot has the Cancer symbol on it."

"Excellent. You know what to do. Now, I must go and retrieve the Zodiac Stone." With that, the Phantom Ninja disappeared into the early morning darkness.

Duegran stopped for a moment to write himself some notes. One, to promote the thief who had discovered the stone, and two, to personally assist the engineers as they attempted to fully uneart the device. No telling what sort of idiocy those bungling fools would manage with no one to supervise.

Duegran gave himself a small smile. Indeed, Syldreth's plans were working out nicely.

* * *

Dawn had begun to break; a beautiful orange and yellow hue was being shaped upon the world as the sun awakened it.

Once again, the beauty of the sunrise was totally lost upon Jacco Crun. He was too busy looking for his secret stash of gil to look at the dawn break.

Jacco dashed from one place to another, moaning softly to himself. Out of the ten hiding places in which he had gidden gil, only two remained untouched.

He slowly sat down. That was at least one million gil down the drain. Although this was no financial problem to one as rich as Jacco Crun, he was extremely greedy and, like many rich people, paranoid. So this robbery left him feeling extremely depressed.

Suddenly, Jacco saw that the door to his small chest was open. He bent quickly to see what valuables had been taken. To his great surprise, they were all there.

A cold voice from behind him shocked him. "So, it looks as though you've lost a bit of money."

Jacco whirled around to see a cloaked figure standing right behind him.

"What are you doing here?! Get out of my home!" he yelled at the stranger.

"I am here to take that stone. I will give you one thousand gil for it," the concealed one responded.

Jacco allowed himself a small smile. Whoever it was was going to have to do better than that. Even in shock, Jacco's business mind was working fine.

"No. I'll give it to you for twenty thousand gil and no less," he said craftily.

Jacco suddenly found himself staring at the tip of a rather deadly-looking blade. "I will have the stone, and I don't really care if you are alive to see it. The only reason that I did not instantly kill you was because I am in a good mood. Now, if you wish to keep me in good humor, I suggest you give it to me!" the stranger hissed.

Jacco hurriedly took the thousand gil and threw the stone to the deadly customer.


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