After two years of the fall of Kefka, a new discovery is going to change our heroes lives.
Chapter I: The past of a ninja.
It was a dark night. Edgar Roni Figaro was standing in the highest tower of the Castle in the middle of the desert. For him, it had been a really long day, he worked since the first hours of the day until a few minutes ago, signing papers, interviewing architects and engineers for the power source he intend to build in South Figaro, having meetings with ambassadors from Kohlingen and Maranda, giving speeches and signing more papers and treaties. He was glad the day was over. Although he was tired, he wasn't sleepy, he just wanted to be alone in a quite place so he can breath some air, and he couldn't think of a better place than the roof of the highest tower of the castle.
"What a long day" said Edgar in a low voice "I hope that tomorrow I can be more relaxed" he sighed deeply "It feels so nice up here..." H e look up to the sky and with a sad smile he whispered:
"It's been 3 years since we defeated Kefka... I can't believe it... It seems like yesterday...." and fixing his blue eyes on the desert he said in a louder voice "I miss my friends. Since the wedding of Locke and Celes we hadn't been together... And that was almost 2 years ago..." the moon appeared in the sky, and what was a dark night, became beautiful and shiny "I won...."he got interrupted, when far in the distance, he saw a figure running towards the castle, and suddenly, the figure fell in the sand. Edgar, almost unconsciously abandoned his place in the roof and ran where he saw the figure fell. He wasn't sure why he was so eager to discover what happened to that mysterious figure, but something deep inside told him to do so. Edgar abandoned the castle opening a secret door that was located in the back part of it. He ran until he reach the fallen figure. It was a man dressed in black ninja clothes, the mask he was wearing was broken, and Edgar was capable to see a part of his face that was covered with blood.
"This mask looks like..." mumbled the king of Figaro "no... It just can't be..." he was going to keep talking, but the bark of a dog confirmed what he was thinking.
"Interceptor" shouted Edgar when he saw a black and brown dog running towards him. The dog barked when he saw the wounded man in the sand, and he began to lick the hand of the man.
"Then he IS Shadow" said Edgar surprised "What on earth happened to him?" Edgar looked at Interceptor and remembering that Shadows 's dog was extremely smart, he asked:
"Is someone following you?" Interceptor shook his head barking. Edgar understood and he said:
"Interceptor, I have to take Shadow to my castle so I can heal his wounds, I want you to walk behind us so you can watch our backs, ok?"
Interceptor nodded. Edgar lifted Shadow carefully in his arms and walked as fast as he could to the castle, followed by the ninja's faithful dog. He entered the castle by the door that the used to get out, and went to his private rooms. At the beginning he thought taking Shadow to the nursing room, but then he realized that the doctor will have to remove the mask from Shadow's face, and he was sure that the ninja would get really mad if that happened. "After all, there's a reason why he uses a mask"- said Edgar to himself, so he decided to cure the wounds of Shadow himself, if someone was going to see the face of the ninja, it was better that someone that knew him sees it. Edgar put Shadow carefully in the bed, and ran to the nursing room, for some bandages and other things to cure the wounded ninja. He ran back to his room, and proceed to the healing process. He removed the clothes of the ninja and he saw he had some bad wounds in his arms and in his chest. Edgar do his best to contain the bleeding and after several minutes he succeeded. But know he had to remove the mask form his face so he could fix Shadow's face. Edgar doubted for a second, but then he stretched his hand to reach the mask, not without barks of protest form Interceptor.
"Sorry, puppy" said Edgar "but I have to cure your master's face, unless you want to let him bleed until he dies". Interceptor seemed to understand, because he stooped barking. Edgar smiled to Interceptor, before he removed the mask form the face of Shadow.
It was a face completely different form the one that Edgar had always pictured in his mind. He always imagined Shadow with a scary face, with black hair and dark eyes, and scars all over the face, like Setzer, but he was completely wrong. The hair of Shadow was brown, his face had no scars, except for the wounds he had at the time, his gesture though, was sad, cold and nostalgic. Edgar stared at Shadow surprised for a few seconds before he started to cure his messed face. He finished by putting some bandages that covered almost all his face, only one of his left eye, his nose and mouth were visible.
"I'm done... " and with a light smile he said "If I got fired as a king I can work as a doctor, don't you think Interceptor?" The dog barked. Edgar supposed that he agreed with him. Edgar sat heavily in a chair next to the bed were Shadow was lying.
"Who did this to you?" thought Edgar staring at Shadow "Why you haven't showed until now and like this? Where have you been this 3 years? Why you didn't escape with us form the tower of Kefka?" Edgar looked at Interceptor that looked him back. In moments like that he wished Interceptor could talk so he could answer his questions and explain him why Shadow, when the final battle against Kefka was over, told him to go without him, but as soon as they landed he disappeared. And why Shadow was beaten like that. Edgar stared at Shadow and didn't realized when he got asleep, but when he opened his eyes, the sun was already in the sky. Edgar stretched his body and then, a bark from Interceptor made him realized that Shadow was awake.
"How are you feeling?" asked Edgar. Shadow looked at him like if he didn't know who he was.
"Don't you know who I am?" questioned scared the King of Figaro noticing Shadow's look. The ninja shook his head.
"You're Edgar" said Shadow with no expression in his voice. Edgar sighed relieved.
"You scared me," he said. Shadow did a gesture with his mouth that Edgar interpreted as a smile. It was the first time he saw Shadow doing such a thing.
"I assume I'm in Figaro" said Shadow a few seconds later. Edgar nodded.
"I found you last night in the middle of the desert" said Edgar trying to take the conversation where he wanted. But Shadow remained in silence. The ninja then realized that his mask was no longer covering his face and he asked:
"Did you see my face?" Edgar was caught by surprise. He opened his mouth to answer, but he couldn't emit any sound, so he just nodded nervously. Shadow smiled (now it was a smile for sure).
"That's okay" said Shadow still smiling "I understand you had your reasons..." and after a few seconds he concluded "Thank you." Edgar smiled too.
"Sorry for not taking you with the doctor, but I thought you would get ... angry if someone you didn't know saw your face, that's why I choose to cure you myself" explained Edgar. Shadow nodded.
"You made the right choice" said Shadow. Then after a hesitation he asked "Had somebody else seen me?"
"No" answered Edgar "I sneak in by a secret door that leads directly to my room. I thought you like to remain anonymous".
"Thank you" said again the ninja.
"No need to thank... I did what I had to do" he was tempted to ask what happened to him, but he pressed his lips together. Shadow understood what Edgar intended so he said:
"I don't remember quite well what happened... I just remember something gold, a blue light and a bunch of men dressed with purple cloaks." Edgar frowned. He wanted to pressure Shadow to remember, but he realized the best in those type of cases was to let the things flow.
"That's okay, Shadow, you'll remember eventually what happened" said Edgar with a comforting smile. Shadow nodded. Edgar abandoned the chair and rubbed his back. Then he looked at the clock in the wall and said in a low voice:
"Shoot, it's late" and raising his voice he said to Shadow "I'm going to change my clothes, if you need something just shout, Ill be in the room next door... Take care of him Interceptor", and he left the room. Edgar took a quick bath and change his clothes. He was tired and his back hurt a lot. Then he heard a knock in his door, he ran to open.
"Good morning, your Majesty" saluted the Chancellor as soon as Edgar opened the door "I don't want to pressure you, but I must remind you that at 11 o `clock you have a meeting with an ambassador of Jidoor. And it's already 9:30 and you hadn't take your breakfast. And I shall remind you that you are having breakfast with the architect from Albrook..."
"I know" interrupted Edgar "I was on my way, but first I need to talk to Thiago, can you tell him to come here?"
"Of course, but .... " answered the Chancellor that kept talking but Edgar closed the door, he went to the room where Shadow was.
"I want to discuss something with you" he said as soon as he entered the room.
"What is it?"
"I cannot take care of you all day, so I think the best is to assign someone of my entire trust at your service. You know, to help you eat, drink, and things like that..." he waited for an answer, but seeing that Shadow remained silent he asked, "So what do you think?"
"If it'll help you, I agree" said finally the ninja. Edgar smiled "His name is Thiago Iriak. He is 17 years and he have been working for me for 3 years. You'll like him, he's like you in some aspects" said Edgar enthusiastic. A knock in the door avoided Shadow to ask in what aspects they were similar. Edgar went to open the door, and several minutes later Edgar returned accompanied by a tall young man, with brown hair, and a silver earring in his right ear. He was wearing the green and red uniform of the militia of Figaro. His gray eyes had a cold look, but there was something in his attitude that inspire confidence.
"Shadow this is Thiago Iriak, Thiago this is Shadow" introduced Edgar.
"A pleasure, sir" said Thiago doing a little reverence with his head. Shadow mirrored Thiago`s move.
"Well, now I gotta go" said Edgar walking to the door "I leave you in good hands Shadow" and before leaving the room he concluded smiling to Interceptor that barked in disagreement "and in good paws".
"Do you need something?" asked Thiago a few seconds later when the door closed. Shadow shook his head.
"No, thank you" and staring at the ceiling he asked to Thiago "Can I make you a question?"
"Of course, sir".
"How do you met Edgar?" Thiago sat on the chair next to the bed.
" I met His Majesty four years ago" answered Thiago "My father and I were members of a crew in a pirate ship, but when Kefka transformed the World of Balance in the actual World of Ruin, our ship sank, my father and I were the only survivors, so we escaped on a boat and we rowed for days until we end up in the shores of Kohlingen. In the Inn was a group of thieves that escaped from Figaro castle, and one of the thieves used to be a member of our crew, so we joined the group. They were in search for Zozo, so we decided to use our boat to travel, because the only ships were in Nikeah. We travel for months, until one day, we end up in Narshe. We thought the city was empty, but in one of the houses we were attacked by a group of monsters. We had no weapons to defend ourselves, but suddenly a rain of arrows destroyed the monsters".
" Edgar's autocrossbow" interrupted Shadow.
"That's right. His Majesty saved us all. Of course we didn't knew it was His Majesty, because he looked like a... vagabond. Anyway, he asked us what were we doing and my father told him we were searching for Zozo, and invited His Majesty to join us. His Majesty declined the offer saying that he was looking for Figaro castle, because he heard there was a great treasure in there. My father offered to help him, so he can thank him for saving us all. The rest of the thieves made the same offer, because they were interested in finding the treasure. My father asked His Majesty his name and he said it was Gerard..." Thiago sighed "and that's how I met His Majesty".
"Interesting" said Shadow in a low voice and speaking louder he asked "but, why are you still working with Edgar? According to what Edgar, Sabin and Celes told me, after they defeated the monster in the Machine Room, he abandoned the thieves."
"They told you right, but before they abandoned the castle to go to Kohlingen, my father discovered that Gerard was really His Majesty Edgar Roni Figaro, so my father and I offered our services to His Majesty. Since then I been at His Majesty service..." and with a tone of devotion Thiago continued "His Majesty has been really good with me. When my father died a year ago, His Majesty was a great support for me, he comforted me and help to dealt with the pain by keeping my mind busy with work."
Shadow smiled. He wasn't surprised. He knew that Edgar had a charitable soul; he always was willing to help others. And he was the perfect example for that assertion. And for the look of admiration in Thiago's gray eyes, he knew he totally agreed with him.
Edgar signed the last paper on his desk. He stretched his arms while he dropped the pen on his deck and rubbed his neck. He had been working almost all day, and if he counted that he barely sleep, and when he slept he did it in a chair, he was absolutely exhausted. He abandoned the room and went to his personal chambers were Shadow was. He gave strict orders that only Thiago was allowed to enter his room, no one else could even put a feet in his room, not even the maids that did the cleaning, without been punished. Edgar hated to act like a... king, but he knew that Shadow wanted to remain unnoticed, so he had to take those measures.
"How are you feeling?" asked Edgar to Shadow when he entered the room.
"As fine as I can be" answered the ninja. Edgar smiled and after looking around the room, he asked:
"He went to the kitchen to bring some food to Interceptor." Edgar didn't say anything. He sat in the chair and sighed with exhaustion.
"A rough day?" asked Shadow staring at Edgar's tired face. Edgar nodded. Thiago appeared a few seconds later with a bowl of dry meat and he gave it to Interceptor. Edgar asked Thiago if he had any problems during the day. Thiago answered that he only had a problem with one of the maids that insisted to clean his room, but the Chancellor showed and informed her the order he just gave, she stopped insisting. Edgar thanked Thiago his help and told him to go to bed, that he will take care of Shadow over the night. Thiago abandoned the room after wishing them a good night.
"I want to ask you something" said after a few minutes Edgar "You don't have to answer if you don't want to".
"-What is it?" questioned the ninja with strangeness.
"When was the last time you saw your face?" asked Edgar after a little hesitation. Shadow closed his eye free of bandages.
"I don't remember," answered the ninja after several minutes "I don't even remember how I look like".
Edgar raised his eyebrows.
"Oh... I see... Sorry" he apologized almost shyly.
"No need to apologize" said Shadow "I understand that you are curious about who I am and who I was before I became Shadow, but as I told you I don't remember anything."
They remained in silence for a long time. Edgar stood up and saying that he will be back soon he abandoned the room.
"You're an idiot" said Edgar to himself while he entered the room next to Shadow's "a total idiot, Edgar, how could you ask him that?... I have to control my curiosity better, and identify the right moment to ask such questions" and scratching his head he said "why I came here?... Oh!" he said remembering, he grabbed a velvet lounge that was there and carried it to Shadow's room that looked him confused.
"I'm going to sleep in this," explained Edgar noticing Shadow's look while he put the lounge on the floor, "it's more comfy than that chair". Shadow nodded comprehending.
"By the way" he said, "Where's Sabin? I haven't seen him around".
"He sent me a letter two weeks ago telling me that he's training in the Veldt".
"I thought that when the battle ended, Sabin returned here with you," said Shadow confused.
"He did. He was a great help in the labor of rebuilding Figaro. When we finished the reconstruction, Sabin retook his training, first he trained every afternoon, then every morning and every afternoon, then all the weekends, then he went for weeks and now he's gone for months" Edgar sighed with resignation " But I'm no longer surprised, I now my brother can't stay in a same place more than a year. Actually, I'm surprised he hadn't gone before our father died. Anyway, Sabin has the spirit of a nomad."
"And what about the others?" asked Shadow curious.
"Well, Locke and Celes got married a couple of years ago. Mog and Umaro returned to Narshe, Setzer opened a casino west from the Triangle Islands, Cyan returned to Doma and became the retainer and took the difficult task of trying to civilize Gau, Relm and Strago went back to Thamasa and Terra is in Mobliz with her children. We have no clue were Gogo can be, as you, he or she didn't escape with us from the Tower".
"Well at least I wasn't the only one" said Shadow. Edgar smiled shortly and looking the clock at the wall he said:
"Its late... we better go to sleep." Shadow agreed. Edgar removed his cloak and boots and laid down on the lounge covering his body with the cloak, and he fell asleep almost immediately. Shadow looked at Edgar and he slowly sat on the edge of the bed, and with great effort he stood up and walked to the window. He stared at the beautiful desert moon.
"How much I wish I can answer you my dear friend" thought Shadow "but I guess I won't be able to do it until I see my face again." whispering he said "Clyde. Clyde. Is that my name? I'm sure all the mysteries about me will unravel as soon as my eyes see hoe I look like. And the I will be able to respond all the answers. Right, Interceptor?" said Shadow stroking the head of his faithful dog that stood next to him.
"And then Terra transformed to her Esper form" said Shadow to Thiago that listened to his tail excited and curious "and she used her powers to take us out of Kefka's tower".
Edgar was outside the room also listening Shadow's narration and smiled. It was a dark night two weeks after Edgar found Shadow.
"Are you having a good time?" asked the king of Figaro entering the room. Thiago stood from the chair almost jumping and said nervously:
"Mr. Shadow is telling me the story of how you beat Kefka".
Edgar raised his eyebrows and said smiling:
"A hell of a story."
Shadow smiled too. Interceptor barked in what Edgar interpreted as a sign of agreement.
"Thiago, can you leave go to the nursing room? I need to change the bandages."
Thiago nodded and abandoned the room. He returned a few minutes later with clean bandages and what he need to clean the wounds. Thiago made a reverence and left the room. Edgar proceeded to remove the bandages on Shadow's stomach, legs and arms. He smiled when he saw how well the wounds had cicatrize. He cut the bandages and put little pieces on the wounds that were still open.
"Since when you are doctor?" asked Shadow to Edgar.
"Since a mysterious ninja arrived at my castle with his body full of injuries" answered Edgar smiling "Seriously, the matron thought me the basics in curing this type of injuries and wounds. But I never thought I had the opportunity to put my knowledge in practice."
Edgar interrupted himself. It was the turn for Shadow's face to be cured. Shadow noticed Edgar's hesitation and said:
"Go ahead. Sooner or later you'll have to do this."
Edgar sighed and removed the bandages of Shadow's face. Edgar contained a gesture of surprise. He saw Shadow's face two weeks ago, but now his factions were more distinguishable. He even noticed that Shadow's eyes were dark blue, darker than his. Edgar sighed again and continued to clean the wounds. Shadow closed his eyes and when Edgar was going to put the bandages on his face, Shadow said with his eyes still closed:
"Wait... I want you to borrow me a mirror."
Edgar eyes widened in surprise, he opened his mouth but he didn't emit any sound, he just nodded and grab the mirror in the wall in front of the bed and gave it to the ninja. Shadow opened his eyes slowly and look into the mirror. He put his hand on his face like if he was trying to make sure that the reflection in the mirror was his face and not the face of another person. Edgar was looking at Shadow holding his breath.
"Shadow..." called Edgar, but he obtained no response.
"Shadow?" he called again, but then again no response.
"I'm no longer Shadow" said the ninja minutes later "The ninja known as Shadow died. Edgar looked at Shadow almost in shock."
"From now on, there's only Clyde. So I beg you to call me that".
"O... Okay" said Edgar still surprised "Clyde is a nice name. Do you remember something else..." Edgar didn't finish the sentence, he put his hand in his mouth. Clyde smiled and said:
"Yes, I do remember something else" the smile vanished form his lips and continued "I used to be a treasure hunter from Tzen. But one day I found a treasure in a cave near Tzen, it was a strange golden plaque or tablet . I returned to Tzen and a group of men tried to steal the ring, saying I stole it from them. I escaped and after several days in the sea I arrived to Thamasa. I was almost dying from thirst and hunger when a beautiful young woman named Afra found me and helped me to recover my health. As you can imagine we fell in love, but her father didn't agree with our relationship and opposed. I didn't understand at first, but a few time later I discovered that the people of Thamasa were the descendant of the blue magi, and her father wanted her to marry someone of her "kind", but I insisted and I convinced him to accept me as the husband of her daughter. We lived happily for years, and 3 years later we became parents of a little girl. But one day one of the men from Tzen appeared in Thamasa threatening me to harm my wife and my daughter if I didn't collaborate with them and gave them the object. I had no choice but to do as they said. I abandoned my wife and my little girl and my faithful dog came with me, also an old friend of mine, Baram, came. They wanted us to steal a million GP from a train instead of the object, because I told them that I lost it in the sea, but I truly hid it. We stole the money, but unfortunately, it was a trap and as soon as we gave them the money, they attacked us and when I regained consciousness, I didn't remember a thing and when I saw my face reflected in a river, I didn't recognize myself so since that day I decided to became Shadow the ninja, and I covered my face. I lived as Shadow all this time, but after Kefka cause the world of balance transform into the world of ruin, I began to have dreams about my past, and when we defeated Kefka, I didn't escape with you because I had to find my own path, that's why I said Interceptor to go with Relm, but as you can see he didn't obey and he looked for me in the remains of the Tower and when he found me, I decided to began to search for clues about my past."
Edgar heard the whole story with his mouth opened. He never imagined that Shadow's story was so sad, he always thought that Shadow became a ninja for choice not because of the reasons he just heard. Edgar stood from the chair and went for some water. He gave Clyde a glass and he served one for him.
"What happened to your wife?" asked Edgar.
Clyde sighed sadly and answered:
"She's dead" Edgar lower his eyes and said in a low voice:
"Sorry..." suddenly Edgar raised his eyes that show surprise. He remembered that the name of Relm's mother was Afra and she died when Relm was a young kid, and the name of her father was. Clyde Arrowny. Strago told him that Clyde abandoned her daughter and granddaughter with no apparent reason. Then the Clyde that was lying in front of him was the father of Relm! That's why Interceptor always liked her. Clyde looked at Edgar and he realized that Edgar figured out what he was about to say.
"Yes, Edgar, I'm the father of Relm" Edgar was drinking water and spit it. Clyde laughed.
"I thought you figure it out" he said.
"Yes, but it's not the same hearing it form your mouth" said Edgar cleaning his mouth. Clyde kept laughing but he suddenly stopped and said seriously:
"Where are the clothes I was wearing?"
"In the other room" said Edgar confused "Why?"
"Can you get them? Please." Edgar nodded and went to the room next door. Interceptor looked his master and barked.
"You always knew the truth about me, although I forgot who I was" said Clyde to the dog, that jumped into the bed and licked Clyde's hand. Edgar arrived a few seconds later and gave the clothes to Clyde that immediately began to search in the pockets of the pants. After some minutes Clyde took out a golden object that looked like a tablet and his eyes widened as soon as he seemed to remember what it was. Edgar looked at him frowning and asked:
"Is something wrong?" Clyde kept staring at the object and said:
"Maybe..." - then he looked Interceptor that barked nodding and continued "Edgar, I need to go to the cave of Figaro right now."
Edgar frowned even more.
"What for? "he asked. -I think I remembered the reason of why I came here and I need to go there to be sure.
"But I don't know if you" started to say Edgar but Clyde interrupted;
"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine".
"If that so. let me get you some clothes and we'll be ready to go" said Edgar.