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Thread: Frogotten Shadows, Lost Freinds (FSLF)

  1. #1
    Mad Duck
    Join Date
    06-Apr-2011
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    USA
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    Frogotten Shadows, Lost Freinds (FSLF)

    A few years back I drew a picture of a black mage standing in a rain puddle, it inspired me to write a poem (which I've posted in poems) which in turn inspired this fan fic. This is a FF9/FF8 story. It might be an AU but I'm really not sure. The story crosses many different FFs on the whole. This is actaully the fourth or fifth rewrite of this fic. There is more than one post becuase I seemed to have excessed the character limit.


    Chapter 1: Hopes Arrival

    It had been many years since Vivi had been to Dali. Vivi walked straight towards the Inn, after traveling on the road for several weeks he needed a real bed not a Tent to sleep in. There was a fire in the small fire place the ever present cat was perched on it mantel which could better be described as a cook top. Vivi walk towards the front desk never taking his eye off his own shoes. “One bed please,” he said without looking up.

    “Sign here,” said a female voice.

    ‘Well that odd,’ thought Vivi the Dali Inn was known to be run by the mayor’s brother. “Are you the owner’s daughter?” he asked while signing, only looking up when he said daughter. The face was like something out of dream. The woman had bluish purple hair that was cut rather boyish, that is if page boys had near shoulder length hair and wore over sized yellow ribbons in it. That wasn’t the most striking thing though, no, Vivi’s breath caught in his throat as he locked eyes on her horn. The woman never noticed her emerald green eyes never left the desk and never changed from their bored expression.

    Vivi’s mind raced with questions, ‘Eiko? Why is she here? Why now? The Reagent said she had gone back to Madain Sara after she had left Queen Garnet’s court.’ The more he looked at her the more he couldn’t be sure. The more he feared some other mages trick. She might just be a doll designed to look like Eiko. But then his thoughts turned to what might have been, ‘Do I still have feeling for her? Did I ever love her? Am I just wishing for what might have beens?’

    It was at that moment that the woman sighed, “No, I’m not the owner’s daughter. And if you mind, Eye Up!”

    Vivi looked up into her face at the moment and realized where is eye had been. His eyes in his natural timidness had wandered down to her peasant blouse that had a very low scoop neck, which up until that moment he hadn’t noticed. “Oh! I’m so sorry,” Vivi quickly babbled, “I was just trying not to stare at your horn. And you reminded me of someone and I got kind of lost in my thoughts.”

    The woman could care less about what he had said after I’m sorry, she had hear all the excuses before, “From where you were staring I’d say the resemblance clearly was not in the face,” Her voice was lilting as ever, but there was a jagged edge to it that had once been a bubbling burst of optimism, that was if she really was Eiko.

    “Ah… the beds they’re still through there?” Vivi pointed at the nearby door.

    The woman was eyeing Vivi, the man had already signed the book she couldn’t throw him out, but she wanted some facts from this Black Mage. She glanced down at the ledger, ‘Stafferd… Vivi Stafferd.’ Her eyes took on a slight look of rage. It seems even this couldn’t drive the bored look from them, “Normally I won’t complain about what people sign their name as but it has been a long time since I have seen someone sign Vivi even as a joke so what’s your deal?”

    It was the straight forward question the way she threw her hand on her hip as she asked the question, that finally nailed it for Vivi, she was most definitely Eiko, and she thought he was a pervert with a dead guys name, ‘Time to make the usual excuse,’ “I’m Sir Vivi Stafferd official Black Mage of the Court Lindblum.” Normally he wouldn’t have made the mistake of signing Vivi into any document but he was tired and truly needed to sleep in a bed.

    Eiko nearly choked, “You have got some balls there Sir Staffered. And just so you know I’ll be asking the mayor if anything you’ve just told me is true.”

    “I’m sure you will Miss…”

    “Eiko” finished Eiko. She walked over to the door that Vivi had indicated a little before, “You’ll find the beds through here.” She looked like she wanted to say more but she was trying her best to remain civil and no bit his head off once more.

    Vivi for his part was actually contemplating about how happy he was she at least wasn’t a doll or at least she didn’t think she was one. ‘Dam Garland for ever teaching Kuja how to make dolls’ was Vivi thoughts on the matter. ‘Still if she is the real deal it would be worth it… Worth what? I know she never loved me not that way. She’s always been smitten with Zidane. I always knew that. I’m second best with her. Hell I’ve had more emotional connections with a moggle or Quina for that matter. I even married Quina in Conde Petie and as much as the two of were dissatisfied with the idea I really felt something for her then.’ Vivi found himself longing for Quina really and truly the only member of the old gang he wasn’t able to find. Which only reminded him of the role he now had to play. He had to find the King and Queen of Alexandria.

    Eiko opened the door to the sleeping quarters, there where for beds in the room arranged so that the door opened between two of them and that a night stand was across from the door. A fountain of sorts stood in the middle of the room and the walls were made of dirt until you hit the window with the remainder of the wall and ceiling being made of stone and wood. There was general nature feel to the room. Two more cats sat on one of the beds the other appeared to have body in it. Vivi’s face had taken on a bemused look as his eye where cast downward, Eiko had no way of knowing what Vivi was thinking only where his eyes were looking. She slapped him.

    Vivi mind raced as he felt his face heat up as a palm went right across it.

    “What did I tell you before? Eye Up.” She was giving Vivi one of her inspection glares, hands on both her hips leaning forward from the waist her horn nearly touching Viv’s face, “You have three options; you can either keep your eyes where they belong, find somewhere else in town to sleep tonight or you can take the mountain pass and go sleep in the woods. Which will it be Stafferd?”

    “I’ll…” his voice cracked, he sounded almost ten again, “…I’ll keep my eyes up from now on.” Vivi pulled off his hat. If he was going to be self conscious of his face or himself even he had already blow it besides he wasn’t going to wear his hat in doors all the time and in fact would have taken it off already if it wasn’t for the fact that he was so thrown off by the appearance of Eiko here. “I’m sorry if I offended the M’lady. And if you like you may call me Vivi.”

    “That’s good.” She began to walk away. “Flattery will get you nowhere Stafferd,” she couldn’t bear to look at this Vivi’s face there where definite similarities between the two but Dolls don’t age and it was that fact that made her stop and turn and face him once more. “And one more thing, I change my mind on what you can call me, it’s Miss Carol.” She just couldn’t stand the fact that someone with his name and his face no less was calling her Eiko. Walking away once more she thought out loud and loud for that matter, “Who names their kid after a dead hero in this day and age? Forget this day and age who names their kid after a dead hero that’s isn’t been dead and buried for less than 100 years never mind less than 50?”

    Vivi new that he shouldn’t correct her but he just had to it was his name after all and it wasn’t the first time he had had to defend his name ever in his life, “I’m not name after a dead man Miss Carol. That is my name.”

    “You’re some kind of creep aren’t you? I moved here to get away from those memories of him.” She was rounding on him as she said this. Vivi was afraid that she was going to pummel him but she just seemed to go off on a rant as if you was somewhat still think aloud, “I loved two men, they were both great friends. I played for second best I could never have the one I wanted fate had other plains.” She seemed to realize that she was ranting, “But why should I tell you this? No matter what you say you’re just some creep taking the name of Vivi Orunitia, as if you own it Staffered. He died and you brandy around with his name making yourself out to be a Black Mage,” Eiko was clearly fluster with this man she had no idea why she herself wouldn’t just drop the subject already. ‘Perhaps somewhere deep down,’ she thought, ‘I really want him to be My Vivi.’

    Vivi was begging to realize that no matter whom or what this woman was she had been jaded by love and what must have been well over 10 years of utter loneliness had taken its toll. She was 11 when Vivi had finally bit the dust as it were he just stopped one day while they were playing together. By then Garnet had her hands full as Queen running her country and trying to keep Zidane out of trouble. Quina was off exploring the world, tasting food and such. She truly didn’t get along with the other kids she was just to grown up for them. And then there was the matter of all those Vivi clones/sons whatever you’d want to call them. They all had their own lives each having grown into their own person and finally taking names. Eiko never really cared much for them they were kind of like a dress up doll they could be anything she could have want but they couldn’t be the real Vivi. And thus Eiko for one of the only other times in her lives couldn’t have what she wanted no matter how much she was going to scheme. ‘I’d have better luck with Mikoto or Quina.’ Vivi thought bluntly. Quina though, was basically lost to the world. ‘I’ll try asking the mail moggles one more time.’ Mikoto was another story altogather. She wasn’t the most easy going person to begin with having been totally jaded by Garland and emotional crapped on by Kuja. After she had grown use to the world she had joined Zidane in the theater or rather she took over Ruby’s place in Tantalus and Zidane became one of the patrons for Tantalus. Stardom had done many things to her, ‘She’s a train wreck there is no other way to describe it. And one overzealous den mother when it come right down to it. The guys can’t get away with anything.’ Vivi thought with a laugh, ‘She’d mother me and I can’t have that.’ Vivi’s thoughts finally returning to Eiko, ‘Even she said it I’m second fiddle to Zidane,’ Sighing he had to admite, “You where the second person I ever loved Eiko Carol truly last of the Summoners of Maiden Sara.”

    “What did you say Stafferd? How do you know that about me?”

    Vivi realized he had spoken aloud too late, “I’m so sorry I didn’t mean to say that aloud,” he tried his best to look her in the eyes. They no longer look bored just anger very, angry and very confused. His eyes darted all around the room in an attempt to avoid them finally his eyes feel in the one place they shouldn’t have, her blouse. The bed that contained a body moved slightly and muttered some things.

    “You creep,” her voice raised enough to wake the sleeper in the room.

    The figure sat up in bed grabbed the pillow from behind him and hurled it in their general direction. “Would you shut up woman?” before dropping back down to the now pillow less bed before sitting bolt upright. “Vivi, my mage man, what are you doing here? I thought you were working for Cid not Garnet.

    Vivi was thankful for the sleeper, the pillow he had thrown had taken much of the wind out of Eiko, but it also gave him an excuse to no longer talk to Eiko. Since she was the one that had pushed the conversation when all she had to do was walk away.

    Turning to the sleeper, “Hello Puck. And it good to see you too. The Regent sent me on some business here. I’ve had a hard travel and all I really want to do is sleep but this woman her seems to want to argue over my name instead.” Vivi had given up on the pleasantries with Eiko and he knew that they where pointless to say the lest with Puck, Crown Prince of Burmecia, he told it like it was and except much the same from everyone else. Vivi said a silent pray to whatever Summon took care of this kind of stuff, argument breaking and comic relief. As for Puck it was a silent, ‘Thank you.’

    Eiko had no idea what had just happened, one minute she holding an argument with a guest and the next thing she has a pillow in her face from another of the guests and now they were talking as if she wasn’t even still standing there holding Mr. Ratsafarian pillow. She promptly dropped the on one of the nearby beds and walk away she was going to have to find out all she could on this Stafferd fellow. He most certainly had some kind of an angle and she was going to expose it.

    Flash Scene: How to get home?

    A small boat yacht south of Esto Gaza, two people, a blonde haird male in a blue sweater vest over white long sleeved shirt and a pair of well fitting pants, and a raven haired female in a tight fitting satin yellow jumper over a white cotton blouse and a long white and pink cloak like sweater, sat inside it a picnic basket between them. A gentil breeze ruffled the loosely drawn sails. The woman’s raven hair blew in the breeze, she went out pull it out of her face. The blond male had other idea though he leaned in closer and nuzzled her hair. Their boat rocket gently in the waves.

    The lovers laugh and nuzzled each other. The woman ran her hands through the males hair, he playfully bats her with his tail.

    “My playful thief,” she says and she begins to tug at his vest. Her hair spilling into her face as she does so.

    “My jeweled summoner,” he whispers opening the picnic basket.

    A second gust of wind blows hard on the boat rocking the boat up against the nearby icebergs. The waves begin to crash hard against the boat. A few more good gust and the boat begins to tip as a wave come crashing over the railing.

    ****

    The blonde man opens his eyes. He‘s laying on an unmade bed in a small cabin like room, with and double wide window, grayish walls and a blue carpet. A door way is open to an adjoining common room. He sits up in bed, a long sleeved dress shirt gaps open revealing a dark color undershirt, “It was a dream. It felt so real.” The man stands up and begins to button his shirt as walks towards the door. His tail twitch left and right as he walks. His feet are bare, a pair of boots lay in a corner. He leans against the door frame surveying the common room. A yellowy blonde haired man with a facial tattoo sits on a couch with an onyx haired woman in a blue outfit. The room is the same grayish colored walls as the bedroom. The carpet is a beige color. A multicolored transporter is tucked into the far corner casting a wheel of colors on the far wall. The tattooed man stretches his legs and arms and then stands up pacing the room to a desk littered with paperwork and notebooks, the only clear space on it was where the built in computer terminal was. The woman lips a moving as she thumbs a ring on attached to chain she has around her neck. A pile of papers rest on her lap. The tailed man stretches his arms and sighs.

    The blonde looks up from the desk, “Zidane how long have you been standing there?”

    “Not long. What’s up Zell?” He nods towards the woman in blue.

    “Rinoa,” Zell calls as he turns to face the woman in blue, “He’s up.”

    The woman opens her eyes and looks and Zidane a slightly distant look in her eyes. Rinoa gathers the papers on her lap and stands up, dropping them on to the couch as she did. She walks over to Zidane link her arms behind her back and leaning into him, “I think I have an idea about how get you guys home.”

    Zidane saw a mischievous look in Rinoa’s eyes, he liked it better than the mile long stare that she was known to get on occasion. He was pretty sure that she had just come out of one of those moods too. Right now she seemed to want him to play along with her idea; they went through this every so often. Rinoa would get it into her head a grandiose idea about how she could help Zidane and Garnet get home. But neither she nor they knew where that was in the scheme of things. Today Zidane felt like biting, he’d had the dammed dream again. “What does the great and powerful Sorceress Rinoa have planed this time?”

    Rinoa straight herself and big smile on her face, “I figure that if it was a powerful magical location that sent you here we could use one of the powerful magical location we have here to get you home. I figure Edea’s house might have enough magical energy to send you home. Although I haven’t figured out how to trigger the gate to open.”

    “And if,” Zell picked up next thread of the plan before Zidane could protest, “that fails there are a few more magical locations that we can use. One is the Centra Ruins and then there is the Shumi Village, both have a lot of potential.”

    Zidane who could see that there indeed was a major flaw in their plan, namely the one that Rinoa had pointed out and then there was the matter of, “Have you told anyone else about this idea yet?”

    Rinoa pouted at Zidane as if he had just explained that the Easter bunny wasn’t real, “I told Garnet this morning when the idea came to me.”

    “What about Squall?” Zidane asked leaning against the door frame was again, “He is the leader of the get us home squad or whatever it was that you called it.” A portion of himself was kicking another portion of himself for sound all serious over the matter. He want to be the laid guy he always was, but he was worried because as he found out later after one really bad idea about trying to use a Guardian Force to send them home, that a large number of Rinoa’s ideas came from her sitting in a corner with a group of like minded friends and quickly brain storming something no matter how crazy it sounded. Add to that her Mystical powers and well she was one very chaotic person to trust with these sorts of things. “What does he think of this idea or were you looking for support before telling about it? I mean I’ll try anything once and so will Garnet if it means we might be able to go home.”

    “Um, I haven’t told him not because I wanted your support or anything,” Rinoa conceded, “It has more to do with the fact that the Centra Ruins are near Ester. And you know how he gets about his father. It’s sometimes worse than me and my father. Things have been better in recent months between the two them; I think you and Garnet have had a hand in that. Laguna is completely taken with the two of you. It gives them something amicable to talk about.” Rinoa was going to say things with her father hadn’t change not since she ran away from home after the attempt to assassinate Edea had failed. Caraway only thought of his daughter new found powers as a setback in his plans which hadn’t help much in their relationship. Cid had been much more of a father to her since then. He even helped her deal with her new role as a Sorceress and tried to help to keep her sane, which work much better given that Adel was well and truly dead. It was the splintering effect that had really made things worse. Edea, Ellone and Rinoa all had powers. There wasn’t just one major power to deal with. All three could take on the other and it kept them all in check. But it wasn’t just that Rinoa had Squall to lean on when things got to tough and Squall had her to lean on when the world seemed to be pinning everything on him. It was only a few years ago that the Timber anti-Galbadian factions had called on the support of Balamb Garden to help keep order while they tried to set up a provisional government after they had finally retched themselves free from Deling City’s control. Everyone wanted the B-Garden’s help because it could go anywhere to enforce the peace. Thankfully Ester had stepped in on the Timber matter and had promptly told Caraway to remove his tropes if he didn’t wish to wage the next world war. In a funny way Laguna and Squall were two of the world’s most unlikely leaders and yet the guy that just wanted to listen to Julia (her own mother) in a lounge than fight a war and for the most part couldn’t even follow a map if he had one, and the son of said man who just wants well really to have people stop relying on him for everything and is more than likely the worst guy to lead the charge into battle. Rinoa began to laugh at this last thought because that was exactly what to lost souls where doing relying on him to help send them back home and to lead the charge.

    Zidane and Zell just looked at her like they couldn’t see what was so funny about Squalls relationship with his father.

    “Well,” Zell announced, “I should get going need to teach those new SeeD’s about Guardian Forces and Junctions,” he ran out of the common room faster than if someone had said free hot dogs.

    Still laughing and with no intention of stopping, “I’ll tell him tonight. Squall might have a better idea about where we might be able to try.” With that she picked her papers off the couch and walked out the room.

    Zidane just shook his head before leaving the room as well only turning around to grab his boots.

    Re-entry: Hopes Arrival
    Vivi paced back and forth across the room. Puck sat cross leg on his bed just watching as Vivi nervously pulled of his cloak. Coming to a full stop inches from Puck, “There is big trouble in the Kingdom my ratserfarian friend.”

    Puck just nodded and waited and Vivi explained everything. Alexandria was without its King and Queen. They had just disappeared. They weren’t any where to be found, Vivi had search for them. The moggles had helped him, they had assured him that if the King and Queen were anywhere on Gaia that they could find them. This made Vivi very uneasy. Puck would have said that Vivi look unnerved but it was hard to tell with the way he self consciously adjust his cloths or hair every few minutes or so. Vivi watched Puck’s reactions as much as Puck was watching Vivi’s. Puck was patient, something he wasn’t the last time they had met and calmly listened. It was weird to the once hyper active rat boy who’s famous red overalls and feathered cap told almost anyone who he was and to give him a wide breath become this rumpled bohemian rat teenager who just drank everything in. Or perhaps it was the fact that Vivi was a close friend of his. He didn’t have to act like he was wired on some sort of monster toxin.

    After a small silence, “I’m not sure mage man what you expect me to do. I mean I’m the prince of a revival nation and I can’t just come in a say I’ll lead you nation. Actually I wouldn’t even do that if my father was missing. I’m a trickster, a lover, and a coward, I’m not afraid to admit that. As long as the planet is burning in a huge ball of fire or a Meteor crashing into the planet, I’ll keep by self to my self.”

    “I know,” Vivi said sitting down on the next bed.

    Puck rolled over onto his stomach and turned to face Vivi.

    “But I wanted you to know the truth. I wanted you to know that when I told you why I had come here you wouldn’t feel like it was completely out of the blue. Your father has asked me to find you and to ask you to take the temperature of things in Alexandria. Not alone of course Gilgamesh is supposed to help you. That is if I can ever find him. I’m headed to Daguerreo next before I make one last stop. “

    “Why should I do something like that? I mean I’ve told you the kind of man I am and you’ve known me longer than most people.”

    “Because the public doesn’t know that their monarchies have been missing for almost three years now, that may be a long time to keep this a secret but what was the stewards going to tell them,” Vivi had just about broken into a nervous mess again, “Most of the time the Stewards would make the public appearance anyway. The King and Queen loved to run off and explore the world. As I said before all of those of us involved had hope that this was it. That was until two years ago. They had never run off for that long. Not without sending word. The last anyone heard of them was that they we’re sailing of the coast of the Lost Continent. After that no one’s heard anything from them.” Vivi began to wring his hands together, “Puck you’re my last hope here.”

    “Mage Man Vivi,” Puck patted Vivi’s knee, “I don’t know what to tell you but I really and truly have not seen them in all my wanderings across the Mist Continent.” Looking Vivi in the eyes, “I mean are you saying I’m in danger, or do you fear something else all together? I mean in all seriousness is the world at stake here, is living at stake are we facing another uber wizard god trying to take over the world? I’m a free bird,” Puck said with a laugh, “I like to stay a free bird. I don’t want my wings clipped.”

    “I don’t know,” Vivi sighed The Bohemian Prince was one of his last hopes. Gilgamesh truly was his last hope, but that conversation would have to wait. He only hoped that Pucks wild assumptions were just that and nothing as serious as Garland. “Puck my ratatafarian friend, promise me you will go home or to Alexandria or even Lindblum, and stay there. You don’t have to let it be known that you’re a prince; it can be like when we met all those years ago. You just another nameless face among the mass, just the way you like it. I don’t want you to have your wings clipped but I want you safe. Two missing monarchs are all I can take at the moment and I’d rather not add you to my list.”

    “Mage man, my mage man, you don’t want to clip my wings or have them clipped, so I will fly to the theater. I hear they need a new ticket seller.”

    “Thank you my friend.”

    Pucks face took on a mischievous glow, “Tell me, does the blue unicorn not put two and two together?” Puck said pointing at Vivi and then the door to the room.

    “She thinks me some creep with a dead man’s name. If she has her suspicions she is keeping them to herself.”

    “Well you were dead, as dead as the Evil Forest is these days. The girl just needs a little push; tell her something only you and her would know… something that no creepy pretend Black Mage would have been able to dig up. Like that thing you told me to gain my trust. Only me, you, and a moggle even knew what had transpired that day. So tell the Unicorn something that no one in the whole world would know outside your adventuring group.”

    Vivi had to admit the puck had a point, “Thanks,” Vivi said with a yawn.

    Puck just nodded.

    Vivi began to pull of boots, “My bohiemian friend, I need to sleep. You mind if I crash for a bit. I’m not ready for round two with M’lady Unicorn.”

    “Crash , crash. I got a date with a hot weapons dealer,” Puck rolled over and bounced off his bed and in one motion bent over to grab his boots and strolled out the door. Vivi graciously passed out.

  2. #2
    Mad Duck
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    06-Apr-2011
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    Chapter 2: Support comes from the strangest of places

    Vivi awoke to the sound of snickering and a crooning voice, “Blue lady, sky is you, clip my wings and set me down.”

    Vivi sat up; it was well into the night. The moon shone through the small half round window. His face putted, he hadn’t intended to sleep that long. There was a knock at the door, “No visitors allowed, you stay you pay.”

    Two head popped out from under the neighboring bed Puck had been on earlier, “Blue lady,” Puck’s voice explained, “You have clipped my wings, but this bird has got to try and fly,” It sounded as if he was still crooning to her.

    “Were will you wings take you bohemian rat? This blue bird wants to fly high,” the woman replied.

    “To the Theater Blue Lady, it is a promise to my Mage man. Meet me at the round.”

    They both climbed out of the bed. The woman Puck fondly called Blue Lady slipped into a long blue gown and promptly walked over to the door only then lingering as she opened the door. Blue Lady came face to face with Eiko, she had a sour look on her face, “Mr. Ratserfrian this is the third time this week. If you cannot follow the rules, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

    “My lady Springtime, your heart is cold. I travel with love; you live with your pain. Tomorrow I travel to the Round,” Puck said with airs.

    “Mr. Ratsafarian you have no right to make such comments, if you have a problem with me take it up outside of the hearing of other customers.” Ekios eyes darted from Puck to Vivi and back again.

    Puck watching her continued as if she had not spoke, “Springtime Lady. You pine for the dead, when the dead are not dead,” an air seemed to pass around Puck as if some ethereal being was trying to communicating. “You clipped your own wings long ago when memories made your heart stone. Don’t clip mine; for love is the night bird which you greet like a friendly spirit not the mist monster you banish.”

    Eiko was a bit unnerved by the air in the room, “I will expect you to be out of here in the morning.”

    Puck seemed to relax as the air returned to normal, “Chill, Springtime. I’ll be gone, you spoil my fun,” Puck crawled back in to bed and threw the covers over his head.

    Eiko who’s eye had darted back towards Vivi, only just realized that he was in fact awake, a smile curled onto her face; it was not a pleasant one, “As for you Stafferd, your on notice, no funny stuff, the mayor is looking into your claim as per my request.”

    Vivi could care less about the smile she wore, he still had corresponds to write, and the night was already well past midnight, “That’s fine, you’ll find I say who I am is true.”

    Her smile dropped away as she looked back at the Blue Lady. The other woman just walked past. With that Eiko turned and shut the door.
    Vivi thought, ‘Puck was right, her heart is stone. Not even a white mage could he’ll that.’

    ****

    Eiko watched the Blue Lady leave her mind drifting back to what Puck had said, ‘My heart may be stone to that little rat but I know somewhere Vivi realy lives but it can’t be here. Dolls don’t age even Zidane said it, it was a strange mystery how Zidane aged. Vivi never had and never would, he died like all the other black mages. The real Vivi is a child somewhere out there. I just have to find him I know it. Stafferd you are a lying scum bag and I know the mayor will back me up on this. Your days are numbered.’

    ****

    Vivi climbed out of bed and leaned over Puck’s, “My friend, please don’t leave too soon tomorrow.”

    Puck rolled over in bed sound asleep.

    Vivi walked back to his bed, tapping his staff on the floor it began to glow a faint glow. Vivi pulled some parchment out of his cloak and began to write her reports.

    Flash Scene: The gift of help

    Ruby stood between a group of tables, her little theater was closed at the moment. Amarant sat nearby with his legs up on a table. His eyes closed. The two of them had between having a bit of an argument. Ruby had finally begun to notice that Zidane and Garnet were never around. The two would have atleast come to see a show every now and again. Amarant had told her she was just being paranoid, that there was a lot of work to do as King and Queen. For two whole years, Amarant, that’s a little long don’t you think, had been her comeback. Amarant wasn’t worried as much, but Ruby had kept at it until he had to admit that he had never seen them during his work in Treno, they always stopped by to say hi to Dr. Tot. And he hadn’t even seen them when he returned to give his report to the court.

    “Ruby, I can’t believe that you really want me to go talk to Beatrix and Steiner,” said the husky voice of Amarant.

    “Yes, yes, yes,” said the seductive southern voice of Ruby. “I want you to go; who knows what is going on. You have a right to know what has happened if anything. I don’t want to think the worst, you know like last time.”

    Like last time, last time it had Garnet how had actually wanted to run off but it was the Tantalus that was suppose to kidnap her. All Ruby could think was, ‘Look how that turned out.’

    Amarant had missed part of last time because he was part of the other group, the get her back to the Queen, ‘and look what happened then,’ “Ok, ok, I’ll do it, but only to shut you up.”

    “Thank you, and don’t forget you’re in their serves to make up for you rouge ways, behave yourself.”

    “Oh fine,” Amarant said he stormed out the door, the noonday sun setting his red hair a fire.

    ***

    Beatrix waited in a drawing room near the castle entrance. A guard came up to her and said, “My Lady Beatrix, you have an unscheduled visitor.”

    “Well, who is it?” she asked.

    “It is Amarant, my lady,” the guard replied.

    “Then let him in.”

    “Yes, my lady,” the guard said and walked out to get Amarant.


    Flash scene: A frog-ish plea

    Two moggles stood in a marsh talking to one another, “Bro we should tell the poor guy where she lives.”

    “But she doesn’t want anyone to see her.”

    “Can you blame her? Have you see what has happened to her. You ever heard of that happening to a Blue Mage.”

    “We can’t tell anyone.”

    “Only she can say if we can or can’t. We need to talk to her.”

    “Fine little Bro but she’ll be mad.”

    They walked into the reeds. They eventually came upon what they were looking for. Little Bro spoke first, “Quina, he has been asking about you again. I think we should give him a clue. He’s struggling for clues. You’re the only person he hasn’t asked. Maybe he can help you.”

    Quina looked up from where she was catching frogs, “Me don’t want to be found… but crazy voice in my head says tell him. Me don’t want to. Me want to be normal Qu if can be.” To the moggles it sounded as if two people were speaking at the same time a few seconds apart. One was froggish, the other was very human and sounded almost motherly.

    “I told you not to ask her,” Mogster said rather hard.

    “It was worth a try.”

    It was the same thing every single time they had asked her this. It seemed that she was just drawing further and further into herself. Quina cleared her throat, “You give message, Quina at Marsh near Daguerreo.”

    The two moggles couldn’t believe what they were hearing.

    “Don’t make ask again. Me upset about breaking this far, but if friend still live then he can help.”

    The two moggles just ran out of there as fast as they could, they feared for their lives, the frog-ish voice had all but stopped speaking. All they could think was that can’t be good. They would send the message, may the Summons help who ever responds.

    Re-entry:

    Vivi awoke with the noonday sun in his eyes. He rolled over glanceing at the bed Puck at occupied the night before. It was empty and the bed was neatly made. Vivi sat up kicking the covers off himself as he did. ‘What happened,’ he thought the last thing he remembered was writing a message to Beatrix and then thinking about how Eiko’s once cute stubborn streak had turned to the malice she now radiated, ‘I wasn’t tired at the time. I must have just drifted off to sleep. I was dreaming of Quina. We were having a tea party back in the old Marsh. She was singing to me. Her voice was nothing like I remember. It just didn’t fit with the Qu’s body. As she sang she was trying to tell me something.’ Vivi had given up trying to decode his dreams long ago. He liked the idea that he could in fact dream, it was just that sometimes he wished they weren’t so confusing or scary.

    Vivi climbed out of bed and began to get dressed. When he walked over to the mirror he saw that Puck’s travel gear was gone. ‘I missed him, just like Puck.’ As Vivi checked himself in the mirror he noticed that there was a brownish scrap of parchment sticking out from under the pillow. ‘Just like Puck.’

    Vivi pulled the scrap out from under the pillow it was more than a scrap it was a full page.

    Mage Man… Vivi,

    Sorry to have left before you woke up but, Alexandria is a two day’s ride from here. I’ll send you word once I reach it. And you make sure that Gilgamesh bloke helps me out. He owes me big time as a fellow treasure seeker.

    Your ever wandering friend Puck

    Vivi had to laugh at Puck’s note. Of course Vivi was still going to have to get Gilgamesh on board with the idea. That man owed so many people favors. Vivi wasn’t ready to call in his just yet and Puck had given him the advantage. Old Jack was in debt to the worst possible person, Puck had a long memory and was not going to forget favors he was owed or those he was in debt to. Gilgamesh wasn’t going to be a problem. After Vivi got his supplies he would take the next available airship to Daguerreo. He tucked the note inside his cloak and walked out the door.

    Eiko was at the front desk; her hair was pulled back into a tangled bun. Her face had the same bland expression it had had yesterday when Vivi arrived. Her eyes though, shown the anger that they had last night mixed with what now looked like confusion. ‘She must have gotten her answer from the mayor’, thought Vivi. He noticed a purple moogle standing at the fireplace. Vivi mused, ‘purple the color of speed, express mail.’ Vivi walked over to it, “Hello, would you like a kupo nut?”

    The purple moogle bounced, “Would I ever!”

    Vivi rooted around his pockets before pulling out the brown acorn shaped nut, “So….”

    “Moogle,” the purple creature answered.

    “So Moogle do you have any mail for me?”

    “Kupo… Kupo,” Moogle reached into his sac and pulled out a tightly folded letter. The wax seal was stamped with Mogster’s personal emblem, “Vivi right?” Moggle asked before turning the letter over, when Vivi nodded yes.

    ‘Why would Mogster send me mail?’ Vivi thought as he took the letter.

    Miss Quina of the Qu would like an audience with the Great Black Mage Sir Vivi Stafferd of Lindblum. Please come to Qu’s Marsh south of Daguerreo and come alone.

    Mogster

    P.S. (This is Bro) Vivi you’re the only one that can help her, something bad happened.

    Vivi had to make sure this wasn’t some kind of joke, “Is everything okay?” he asked Moggle the purple moggle.

    “We promised not to tell unless she was ready,” the moggle explained, “It was not are place to talk.”

    Vivi understood. He thought it was strange that the moogles couldn’t find Quina when he would get mail from her on occasion. But all that had stopped after he … well that was to be expected. ‘Something must have happened after that.’

    “I understand,” Vivi said after he placed the letter in his pocket and removed a large scroll from it, “I’ll go to the Marsh south of Daguerreo,” There wasn’t any reason for him to explain where he was going out loud but he did anyway, as he did he hear a quick intake of breath, “Now I need you to do something for me Moogle.”

    The moogle looked about pleased, he was sure that he was going to get another Kupo nut out of it if he did.

    “This,” Vivi waved the scroll, “Must get to Alexandria before the day is over, and it must go to Beatrix Captain of the Royal guard and steward of the city.” The scroll glowed for a bit before he handed to the purple moogle. “And this,” he pulled out a small blank piece of parchment that seemed to have an ethereal glow, “must get to the King of Burmecia sometime this week.”

    The moogle stowed but items in his sac before bowing and speeding away.

    Vivi turned back to Eiko, he face was down and her lips where slowly moving through was appeared to be a chant. Vivi just looked at her with a sense of dejection, it was better this way. The Eiko he had known was no longer there and he felt pity over that. He only hoped that if this was a doll that some where the real Eiko was waiting with her ever present optimism and wonder. Vivi straighten his hat and turned to leave.

    “The mayor confirms you’re who you say you are. How is it that you are called Vivi as if you are the Vivi? You have a right to the name of Vivi. Are you just a conman that can fool even the most diligent of people? Who do you really work for?” Eiko was giving him the stare that was now to send mist monsters running, it said I dare you attack me. To Vivi all it said was, tell me the truth dam it. “The real Vivi would be too scared to do what you are doing.” Eiko seemed to be getting ready to run full steam into a rant.

    Vivi cut her off, “To start with I don’t care whether you or anyone else believes me, so don’t treat me like you would Amarant. As for the rest that really is none of your business.”

    Eiko felt like she had been slapped, ‘None of her business,’ Vivi was her friend it was always going to be her business, especially if some conman was dragging his name around. Then something shining caught her eye, it would seem that this Stafferd wasn’t as neat as her Vivi, his top buttons were undone and a pendent hung around his neck, the flacon claw pedant. It was a sign of trust to be given one of those. She had one, though it had been years since she had wore it. It was too much of chance for her to wear it; she didn’t need people knowing that she was the adopted daughter of Cid Fabul. Too many question would arise if the towns foke new the truth about her upbringing. But this man he wore the pendant as if he owned it. This man had his pride. Any conman could have his pride but to openly wear the falcon claw pedant that took a special kind of pride. The more Eiko looked at it the more she suspected it was a fake. The shine was wrong and the weight was wrong given the size of the pendant it should have been more relaxed along the chain.

    Vivi noticed where her eyes were looking; he quickly finished buttoning the top buttons of his shirt. Puck’s note had distracted him. He had to be careful, he was part of small group of people (he didn’t really know what else to call it) that kept the peace between all the nations. His pendant was more than just the falcon claw; it was also the sword of Alexander. She was right when she asked, who do you work for? In truth he worked for the people. The Regent had made this all too clear to him when he last passed through Lindblum. That’s why he was trying so hard to find Zidane and Garnet. Vivi was grateful that Eiko hadn’t see the whole thing, it would have only reinforced her theory about a conman, since she had left the court of Lindblum she would have known nothing about his group. And, that’s how it needed to stay, until she returned to Lindblum and saw the truth. But he knew that was never going to happen, “Yes that is what you think it is,” he said at last, “Perhaps you will not be so free with your words about who I am next time, Princess Eiko Carol til Lindblum.”

    Ekio looked as if she could cast Stona on him.

    “Your parents miss you very much and wish that you would come home.” It was true the Regent and Lady Hilda missed Eiko but not that they wished she would come home. Vivi added this last part to reinforce what he had come here to do. He had sent Puck off, Eiko knew from last night’s conversation that it wasn’t home but it was good enough, and now Vivi was trying to send her home as well.

    “What I do is my business Stafferd and I hope that you won’t forget that if you are indeed a servant of the court.”

    Vivi was pleased with her response, it sounded so much like the 7 year old girl in yellow overalls from all those years ago. Eiko never really grew up it seemed she just grew into a woman that still fancied herself the little lost princes. Perhaps she wasn’t a lost cause after all. It was just a matter of whose cause she was going to end up being. As a White Mage and Summoner it would seem that it had come down to… well the Summons. Vivi hated the idea that he was going to impose her upon them but what else was he going to do. She was too stubborn to see what was really in front of her. In all of this Vivi came to realize that Eiko had lost the one thing Vivi had admired her for, she never gave up she always kept going forward no matter what happened. But she was here in Dali… she had run away from the pain not lived through it. It was then with a voice of utter neutrality that he said, “I’ll be at the shops should any other messages come for me,” and walked out the Inn door.

    Flash Scene: News and failed hope

    A purple moogle dashed through the drawing room door nearly bowling Amarnat over. As it was Amarant looked at it with and expression, ‘What the hell? I was here first.’ It fluttered to a breathless stop in front of Beatrix. Amarant was about ready to pummel the purple thing when Beatrix raised her hand for him to stop. She then threw her hand threw a chair, meaning he was to sit. The only reason Amarant even did so was because if he didn’t he would just be arrested and thrown in jail, and then he would have to listen to Ruby rant about how he was suppose to be a good ‘ex’ conman and about how she was going to come and visit him every day until he came to his senses and just went back to working for the court. Which truly wouldn’t have been that long since he would have done anything to get away from Ruby (as much as he really did have feeling for her) for a few weeks. When Amarant had taken the seat and the moogle caught its breath, it began to rummage around it sac taking out the scroll Vivi had given him, “Captain Beatrix I presume?”

    “Yes,” Beatrix answered.

    “I’ve just come from Sir Stafferd with this,” Moogle gave the scroll to Beatrix.

    The scroll was nothing more than a collection of Vivi’s travels since his last report. On the last page through was a slightly different hand writing, ‘Magic,’ Beatrix thought. Vivi had met up with Puck finaly and he was on his way to Alexadria and that his planes to head to Dugerreo had change slightly, he was heading for the Qu’s Marsh in that region. And to not send someone after him until he next sent word. All in the entire message was much the same as she had suspected. They were nowhere to be found. Of course the missing princess of Lindblum was found working as the owner of the Inn in Dali. So that was it. It was much the same as the message Steiner and Dr. Tote had sent her earlier that week. “What do you make of this?” she handed the scroll to Amarant.

    Amarant looked it over, “I think we can just give up on Eiko being of any help. As for Puck I’ll make sure Ruby doesn’t try to throw him out before he’s even applied for a job.” It was going to be hard to tell Ruby the Puck was coming to town. Ruby only wanted to know if what she feared was true. And Amarant couldn’t tell her it was. She was always looking for the newest gossip when he got home from his travels around the kingdom (or what she thought was just the kingdom), she would never be able to keep this one under wraps and the populace didn’t really need to know any of this. Not when you added Vivi into the mix.

    Beatrix had to agree with Amarant conclusion about Eiko. Puck was defiantly a welcome surprise. Vivi must have made some agreement with the King of Burmecia. “Thank you,” she said to Moogle but also for Amarant. Reaching into her pocket she pulled out a kupo nut. “Here you go.”

    “Kupo… Kupo!” the purple moogle flew off.

    Beatrix turned to face Amarant, “I have a job for you.”

    “Of course.” Amarant nodded.

    “You’re to take this letter to Regent Cid. He has a right to know where is daughter has run off to. And then head to Burmecia I’m sure that Puck has forgotten to send word to his father about where he’s headed.”

    “Of course.”

    “I would wish that you find out what has turned Vivi towards Qu’s marsh but I’m sure that he’ll tell us in time. If you should run into him though, please try to find out what it was.”

    “Beatrix, I don’t mean to contradict your orders but Vivi said that he would send word when all was done. I trust my fellow member.” Amaranth said raising his arms. The light coming in through the drawing room window caught on the bracelet Amarant had wore since coming to work for Alexandria. The Sword of Alexander supported the Bell of Burmecia. “If and when we meet it will be at his choosing not mine. And it will more than likely be after Vivi has met Gilgamesh.”

    It was Beatrix’s turn, “Of course. I only hope that Old Jack has some news. Dr. Tote has had much trouble trying to find him.”

    Flash Scene: Knowledge isn’t easy

    Captain Steiner awoke to the tinkling of water and the smell of old paper and the grinding of metal on stone, he’s hammock swayed a he shifted his weight; he was in the top bunk for lack of a better description. Dr. Tote awoke a few minutes later. General Beatrix had asked them to find Alleyway Jack or as Steiner had found out in his travels with Zidane, Gilgamesh. He was known to live in Daguerreo, sometimes catching a passing airship back towards the Mist Continent. They had been there for several months with no luck. In the mean time they had used the library to find out any information they could about people vanishing without a trance and to asked any they could if in their travels they had seen the King and Queen.

    “We have read all the information here,” Steiner sounded dejected, as he grouped at the sides of his hammock; he managed to swing his legs down just as Dr. Tote was getting up.

    “Watch it.”

    “Sorry,” Steiner admitted, as he got older he found it harder to see something. Dr. Tote’s head was just beyond his clear field of vision. Perhaps it was all the Fire spells he may have taken head on or perhaps it was just old age having a go at him. To him it really didn’t matter it was just another one of those things that he was getting used to, he was 43 now and old age was starting to creep up on him. “We have asked everyone here, but no one has ever seen them, and the scholars have hundreds on ideas but no real information on this kind of disappearance.”

    “Captain you may be right about the books and scholars but there is one person we still have not asked,” Dr. Tote joyfully said as he skipped from his hammock.

    “So he has finally shown up then?”
    “Yes The Red Man has finally graced us with his presences. I heard he arrived late last night before we went to bed. Judging from the sound I’d hazard a guess that he’s in the water way.”

    “Let’s get this over with then,” Steiner said a bit huffed. ‘Now the man shows up. It’s almost if he planned it this way.’

    Both man took the elevator down at the weapons shop and then headed out into the waterway. The saw Jack by the fountain, he had a fishing pole over his shoulder and a fish cooler slung over the other. He was splashing his feet in it.

    Dr. Tote approached him from behind, “You seem to be going fishing?”

    Jack jumped and spun around, “I just got back from fishing, had a long walk back. What can Old Jack do for you?”

    “We’ve been looking for you,” Dr. Tote explained.

    “And you made us wait a long time,” Steiner piped in.

    Jack just stared at them.

    “We we’re hoping you had some information,” Dr. Tote started, “You see we were wondering if you happened to have seen Queen Garnet or the king by any chance?”

    “I’m afraid not. Has something happened, that you’re asking this old treasure hunter?”

    “Well to perfectly honest, we can’t seem to find them. And since no one had seen them in quite some time it has become a bit worrisome.”

    Jack looked at them with a gleeful smile, “Well you see I once heard this tale about how these creatures called Espers, which were like the protective guardians of a group of people, a tribe to be exact, picked up the whole tribe and transported them somewhere else. It was a kind of defense. But one time something went wrong and instead of transporting the tribe to another continent they were pulled through space and landed on a different world.”

    “You sir,” began Steiner, “sound crazy. Whatever is an Esper? And how does that help us? Striener was about ready to hope up and down in his rage. Jack was just laughing still standing in the fountain.

    “An Esper is what you all an Eidolon, a summon spirit or sorts. As for your other question weren’t you listen. Perhaps the spirits have transported you king and queen off to somewhere else. They could still be on this planet, just some place not even the moogles go. They could be high on a mountain or deep in an underground cave.”

    “Do you believe him,” Stiener raged.

    “I once saw it with my own eyes; a man with many arms like myself, dressed in a long robe like outfit carrying many weapons, one for each of his arms. He was just falling right out of the sky. He hadn’t been there moment before and there was nothing for him to fall from. There appeared to be a group of shimmering images that his arms wrapped around. Then in the blink of an eye they were gone seemed to pass right through the sky.” When he finished he looked from one man to another, “I can see by the look on your faces that you don’t believe me. That’s okay I don’t really care if you do or don’t.”

    Dr. Totes face may have said that he didn’t believe Jack but inside he was thrilled at the idea of what this could mean. Steiner face was the truth he may have seen a lot of crazy things in his travels but a man falling through the sky from nothing only to vanish once again, was well crazier than some of the stuff that even Garland had done. Kuja’s crazy stories and ideas seemed grounded in comparison. It was almost a reverse telling of what happened in Madain Sari all those years ago. But there was proof of what had happened back then. And not everyone had been wiped out. Eiko was proof of that and the fact that she had been raised by someone for some time before she was left on her own. Jack’s tale didn’t have anyone other than himself as witness and that didn’t sit well with Steiner. Even the fact that he didn’t care about being believed or not bother Steiner.

    In the end both men had tried and this was what the fates had handed them. Old Jack may be a trusted friend of Vivi and Amarant but he was most certainly not the sanest person they could have talked to about this. Both Men walked back towards the library.

    ****
    Old Jack just watched them go.

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