Trials of the Valiant Chapter 7

By The RPGenius

Duegran was beginning to get worried. His boss had left hours ago, and had not yet returned with the stone. What if something had gone wrong? Maybe she had bumped into Ramza and his allies and been killed. Maybe she had been caught by a group of soldiers. Maybe-

"Well, we now have Cancer," came Syldreth's voice behind him.

Duegran jumped up in shock. Syldreth probably found scaring him funny, partly because she could do it with such ease.

Duegran turned around. Syldreth was just entering her quarters. She must have seen the relieved look on Duegran's face, for she said, "No need to have been worried. I'm not an incompetent minion; I don't get caught."

Duegran voiced the largest thought on his mind. "So the thief was correct? The stone was, indeed, the Zodiac Stone Cancer?"

"It was," she replied.

Duegran took a large breath. Syldreth had been correct, the stone HAD found its way to an owner. Or had it? "If you wish, I can begin looking for a suitable body for it."

"No. It will get to the person suited for it eventually. Until then, I shall keep it," she told him.

Duegran bowed. "As you wish."

As he turned to leave, he suddenly remembered something. "Oh, yes, there is something else. Er...well...the engineer leading the excavation team at Nelveska Island is having some...problems. It would seem that...well, he says it will take at least a month to transport the object that they dug up," Duegran said, gulping nervously. He was well aware of Syldreth's usual reward for bad news.

This time, though, Syldreth must have been in a good mood about the Zodiac Stone. "Very well, that won't hamper my plans at all. Just be sure that it doesn't take longer. Is that all?"

Duegran knew when he was being dismissed. Happy that Syldreth wasn't angry, he quickly left her chambers.

As he made his way to his office where he carried out any matters of business Syldreth told him to, he felt somewhat puzzled. Even with the Zodiac Stone, he didn't see how she planned to do what Ajora, Wiegraf, Dycedarg, Vormav, and Elmdor themselves couldn't.

* * *

Once again, Mustadio had spent the entire night fiddling with his work. He was pretty sure that he was getting close to making a device that would give Worker 8 his own decision-making capabilities, but every way so far had been blocked by some inconsistency in his equations.

Mustadio sighed and got out of his seat. Maybe a nighttime snack would clear his thinking and provide inspiration.

As Mustadio entered the kitchen, he was amazed to see the light of day filtering in through the windows. Ramza, Agrias, Meliadoul, Alma, Boco, and Byblos were busy with their breakfast.

Ramza noticed him and said, "Mustadio! You almost missed breakfast. Here, sit down and have some."

Mustadio obliged and began helping himself to the different food around the table. "I stayed up all night again working on that stupid device!"

Ramza looked puzzled. "What are you making now? A new gun or something?"

Mustadio was about to take some of the stuff Byblos was eating, then thought better of it. "I'm trying to make something to put in Worker 8 to make him capable of making his own decisions. Instead of you having to tell him what to do, he'd be able to decide to do it himself. It'd be useful for when you aren't around to tell him what to do," Mustadio answered.

Ramza nodded. Mustadio decided to tell Ramza the answer to the unspoken question right now.

Mustadio cleared his throat. "I'm sorry, Ramza, but I'm not going to be coming with you, at least not for a while. My dad's getting old, and his work is becoming a lot harder on him. Until he has enough money to live on, I can't go anywhere with you. You can always use my house when you need a place to stay, but that's it. Sorry," Mustadio told Ramza.

Mustadio could see that Ramza understood his position. "Okay, Mustadio. In that case, farewell for now." He got up. "Well, we may as well get going. Worker 8, come along."

Ramza and company got up, said their goodbyes, and left.

Mustadio finished his breakfast and began tinkering once again with his new idea. As he did, he tried to think of some way to quickly make enough money to support his father. Mustadio wanted very badly to go with Ramza, and as far as he could see, as soon as there was enough money coming in, his father wouldn't need Mustadio to work with him, and Mustadio could once again join Ramza.

* * *

So far, the day had been a normal day for the bartender of the most popular bar in Goug. All the usual people had come in, ordering drinks, talking to friends, or causing trouble.

The bartender was busy wiping out a glass when the door swung open, and a group of strangers walked in. The bartender had lived in Goug all his life, but he had never met these people before. He was somewhat glad of that. They were the sort of people that you could tell you didn't want to mess with. The leader, a young man, walked over to the counter, accompanied by three women a large figure wearing a cloak that completely covered him. You could see two glowing red eyes within the dark cloak staring straight ahead, never blinking. The bartender was sure that he'd seen the man's face on a wanted poster before.

The bartender took a deep breath, and asked, "Would you like something, sir?" to the leader.

The young man nodded and answered, "Some milk will be fine."

Such an order attracted some stares. The bartender felt a little relieved. Surely no one who ordered milk was going to cause trouble.

As the bartender got him his drink, the young man studied some of the propositions posted. As the man drank his milk, he conferred with his companions.

The young man addressed the bartender. "We'd like to take up this job," he said, pointing at one.

The bartender looked down at the proposition paper and shook his head. "I don't think you'll want that one, sir. The person who posted it is rather poor. They can't pay more than a few hundred gil for your services," he told him.

The young man didn't seem to care. "We're not interested in the money, and the proposition says that people are in danger from this monster. We'll take the job."

The bartender shrugged and handed the man a packet containing information on the job.

* * *

Ramza stepped out of the bar, along with Alma, Meliadoul, Agrias, and Worker 8 (who was concealed in a large cloak). It was a cold, dark day. Snowflakes slowly fell, blanketing the world in white.

Ramza took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He had just signed up to join a part to defeat a large monster that had been terrorizing nearby towns. Neither Agrias nor Meliadoul had objected to it, and Ramza felt it was a worthwhile thing to do.

He helped Alma onto Boco, who was looking unhappy at being left out in the cold with only Byblos for company. Once everyone was ready, they set out for the redezvous area for all the parties who joined.


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