Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 9 > The End of Times

A Motley Crew

by DevilishKurumi 0 reviews

It's the end of the world as we know it... [Character Death, Character Mutilation, Character Bad-Stuff-Happens-To. See inside for full warnings.]

Category: Final Fantasy 9 - Rating: R - Genres: Drama, Horror - Characters: Adelbert Steiner, Amarant Coral, Beatrix, Blank, Eiko Carol, Freya Crescent, Garnet Til Alexandros, Marcus, Other - Warnings: [!!] [V] - Published: 2006-04-22 - Updated: 2006-04-22 - 2425 words

The motley crew of survivors is rather... unusual, Steiner decides.
Among the survivors in the theatre is a thief he vaguely recognizes, who introduces himself as Alleyway Jack, and to who Amarant gives a vicious glare; an old dog named Dante; the owner of the bar near the front of town; and a little girl no older than ten, holding a bear and looking at them all in confusion.
These are the only ones relatively undamaged - the others are all beaten or battered. Some have only massive bruises, others are cut, and still others have broken limbs. They don't ask the queen for help, however, even after seeing Ruby's leg - they simply smile and agree that it's a good omen that their queen has survived.
Steiner loves his kingdom very much, and these people only reassure him that they will persevere. Even if the thief with four arms keeps backing towards the back of the theatre, giving Amarant and Lani wary looks - even if the little girl looks nearly traumatized. He wonders if the girl's parents are even alive.
Garnet is sitting in one of the chairs with her hands in her lap, looking blankly ahead over the tops of people's heads. She's telling them all that though damage is severe, she's certain everything will be alright, and that they mustn't get discouraged by these events.
Steiner looks to Beatrix and finds her leaning against the wall by the entrance, blankly gazing at the queen, and goes to her. "Are you alright?" he asks lowly, not wanting to interrupt the queen's speech.
"...Fine," his wife says, looking to him and nodding. "I'm simply... worried. We have a very long journey ahead of us."
Steiner smiles and says, "It isn't that long. I've traveled the entire way."
Beatrix nods but responds with, "You also had Zidane to lead you."
The knight turns his head to Garnet and doesn't respond.
"Is there any word from Lindblum?" Dante asks gruffly, arms crossed over his chest, "Or Burmecia?"
"...None, as of yet," Garnet responds, "But..." She tilts her head to the side and asks, "Beatrix?"
"Yes, your Majesty?" the general responds, pacing forward and leaving Steiner at the wall. He watches the two converse in quiet tones and examines the faces of the crowd - they all look puzzled, and some worried, over the sudden secrecy.
Beatrix nods and then, remembering Garnet's condition says, "Yes, your Majesty."
Garnet nods now, and then says, "Captain Steiner, General Beatrix, and I will be leaving for Lindblum today, to ask for help."
Several people mutter worriedly to one another and Alleyway Jack exclaims, "On /foot/?"
"We're quite certain of the way," Garnet responds calmly to the question, smiling vaguely. "Captain Steiner and I have already traveled that way before. We will be going through Evil Forest-"
The group gasps now, and the bar owner says, "That's /suicide/!"
"Nonsense," Beatrix waves a hand, "Evil Forest is petrified. It is barely a day's walk through, and with all the living inhabitants petrified, we will be completely safe."
"...We will then take the Ice Cavern to South Gate," Garnet concludes. "South Gate's footpaths should still be traversable. Hopefully, we will get through to Lindblum territory by the end of tomorrow - if not sooner."
The four-armed thief nods and says, "Sounds good, your Majesty!"
"Leave the cleanup to us," Dante replies. "We'll try to find more survivors."
The group all agrees that the queen has it planned, and Steiner nods, smirking. He loves his kingdom.
Ruby goes up to the general and queen and the three women converse quietly. Beatrix then helps Garnet up, and together the two follow the actress towards the stage.
Steiner uses this moment to search the crowd, trying to place names to faces. Eventually, his eyes land on Amarant, who is leaning against the wall by the bar and shaking his head at Lani. The bounty huntress is currently digging through the bar, filling a sack with various items.
He hates theft so he goes to them and asks, "What is it you're doing?"
"She's decided to stock up for us. We've got a long way back to Treno."
The knight frowns, looking at Amarant in confusion. "You aren't coming with us?"
Lani stops packing for a moment and looks between the two men, cocking her head at Amarant. He waves a hand, so she shrugs and continues.
"Doesn't look like you'll need us," Amarant says, "So we figure we'll head back to Treno and pillage a bit." He smirks, violently, "It's been a while since I've been able to pillage something."
"Pillage!" Steiner exclaims, "Why in - have you learned nothing in these past few years? This is not the time to be robbing people!"
Amarant rolls his eyes. "Look. Lani and I have better things to do than wander about with a warrior woman, a blind queen, and a knight who can't even use his sword anymore."
Steiner growls. "I am not so inept. I could easily fell you."
"Really?" The bounty hunter crosses his arms, "Try it."
Steiner doesn't know how to use his left hand for much of anything, but he pretends it's his right and reaches over, grabbing the hilt of his sword and drawing it from its sheath in one fluid movement, tip landing directly in front of Amarant's long nose. The hunter raises an eyebrow.
Lani looks back up and then double-takes, looking to Steiner and waving her hands, putting the bag down and going around to step between the sword and Amarant. "Don't fight; this isn't a good time," she says, motioning to the people now staring at them silently.
Steiner stares at her for a moment, then to the people watching, and then sheathes his sword, nodding. "Fine."
The knight turns to face his queen and Beatrix, who has her arms crossed and is giving him a semi-annoyed, semi-approving glare.
"Yes, your Majesty?" he asks, ignoring his wife warily and coming forward.
He sees what they had been talking to Ruby about - the queen is now dressed in clothing akin to hunting clothes - a green tunic and loose-fitting pants - and his wife is wearing a chain-mail shirt and tight riding pants, sword hanging from a lose belt. She always has looked good in masculine clothing.
"If you need - Ruby says she has clothing that you could wear for our journey."
Steiner looks up to see Ruby waving to him from the stage and so he nods, then says, "Thank you, your Majesty."
Beatrix accompanies him and tells him quietly, "Though you can handle your sword without fighting anyone, do not start with the bounty hunter."
He smirks and replies, "Yes, my lady - anything for you."
Garnet, meanwhile, stands awkwardly beside the bar and feels the grain under her hands. For all she knows, there could only be two people around her right now.
"Amarant...?" she tries.
She smiles a little. "Will you be accompanying us?"
Amarant makes a noise and then Lani asks, "What is it?"
Garnet wonders how Amarant is handling being surrounded by one deaf woman and one blind one. It must be hard - he can't hide his expressions from one of them, and can't hide what he's saying from another.
"Oh," Lani says, signaling that he's somehow got the basics through to her.
"Amarant," Garnet calls softly, "...I need your help."
The man is quiet and she wonders if he still thinks at all of their journeys together. She hopes he does - and that he thinks highly enough of them to do it all again, even without...
"Please," she pleads.
Amarant makes a pained sound, and she reaches out a hand, silently still hoping. She feels his hand wrap around hers and he mutters quietly, "...Alright."
A moment later and Lani adds, "I'm coming too. Where Red goes, I go, that's the deal."
Garnet nods and smiles. She knows that Lani's... well. She understands, to some extent, Lani, and she's not about to break apart a very good defensive and offensive team.
"Your majesty," Beatrix's voice comes from behind, and Amarant lets go of her hand quickly, "Some of the townspeople wish to speak with you before we leave."
The queen nods and allows Beatrix to take her arm, leading her in some direction or another. She had never known how important her eyes were until now - she wonders how everything truly looks. She wonders how he looked...
Perhaps its better she cannot see.
"Your majesty," a familiar voice calls from her left, sounding very muffled and almost inaudible. She turns her head to the side and hears it again, "I think I should talk to you about your companions."
"Yes?" she asks, slowly realizing something for herself as the voice shifts to her right and, consequently, becomes louder.
"Well," the male's voice drawls, a little disrespectful sounding but still with that... soft tone. A kind of buttery feeling, like someone used to using their voice to seal deals, make pacts, and condemn. "Those two you were just talking with - oh, the red haired man and that woman. Do you know who they are?"
"I believe I'm quite familiar with both of them, being that they were hired to kill me," she responds in an easy voice, mimicking his butter-texture. She can play this game.
"...Oh. Then - then you know, that man is-"
"The Flaming Amarant, yes. Ten thousand gil from the royal family for his capture." Garnet's lips curve into a smile. "Steiner?"
"Yes, your majesty?" comes the knight's voice, barely concealing his aggravation.
"Who ended up receiving that money? I forget."
"I believe he collected it himself," Beatrix responds for her husband, and the queen can hear the humor in her voice.
"Ah, yes. As you were saying, mister...?"
"...J-Jack. Uh, Alleyway Jack. Haven't I seen you before?"
"I would expect so," Garnet drawls coyly, "I'm afraid I can't extend the same question towards you, however."
"Oh... Oh, I remember now!" The man laughs and says, "You were in Treno! I... oh."
Garnet blinks and then draws up memories from Treno. The last time she had been there had been over the Supersoft. So... Ah!
"...How much does a power belt go for nowadays?" she asks, calmly, "I do believe I have one for sale."
"...In any case," the man hurriedly states, suddenly loosing that soft, conniving tone and gaining a more placating one, "I would be aware of their motives. Perhaps... perhaps the Flaming Amarant has changed, after being in your presence-"
"Ah, the flattery of a knave," Steiner mutters lowly to Beatrix, and Garnet smiles.
"-warn you that the woman might be..."
"That is enough," Garnet frowns now, feeling her voice vibrate and fill the room a little more than she had been going for, "I will not tolerate any remarks towards Lani's reputation. If you are trying to warn me out of concern for my safety, you needn't worry; however, I do believe that you are trying for something else. State your business, if you will."
"I simply worry for you, your majesty!" The man's smooth voice returns, hastily adding, "But I see now that I was worrying for nothing. Please excuse me... I, ah, have things I must attend to."
"Thank you for your concern," the queen responds in a lilting voice, "And I hope to return to Alexandria and hear as to how you've helped our kingdom."
"Ah... Yes, your majesty. Good luck on your journeys."
Quick retreating steps and then, "Good god, your majesty, how can you tolerate that sort of...?"
"Steiner," Garnet admonishes, "He was simply looking for something he won't be able to find."
"You know, you probably should've listened to him."
She feels Amarant's presence, rather than hearing him, really, and says lightly, "Well, if you're so concerned, I suppose you'll have to turn Lani in for her bounty as well. I can assure you, she will get a firm slap on the wrists if you do."
Amarant chuckles and says, "I can't guarantee you much of anything, Garnet, but I don't think you're going to have to worry about Lani. She's a leech. She can't hear, and we can. She isn't going to go traipsing around Gaia if she's deaf."
"You should be careful as to what you're saying," Beatrix states. "You have no idea when she'll gain her hearing back, and her standing next to you is not always a good thing in that case."
The bounty hunter grumbles, "I've been on the receiving end of her annoyance before. Hell has no fury, you know?"
"I know," Steiner mutters in response.
"Oh, you poor boys," Garnet sighs, before frowning. "We don't have time for this. We really should be going - it might get dark before we get through Evil Forest."
"Yes, your majesty," Steiner agrees, before making rounds to inform people of their leave.
"You majesty," Beatrix starts, only to be cut off by the younger woman.
"Beatrix, I really don't want to feel like a queen right now."
"...Garnet," the general corrects herself, "Do you think that this was an attack only against Alexandria?"
Garnet sighs and shakes her head. "I... I don't know, Beatrix. I hope it was."
Amarant makes a noise but Garnet doesn't have the heart to ask him for his opinion.
She has a feeling she might already know what it is.
Blank's not sure what's wrong with him but it's getting harder to breathe with every movement. Marcus checks his chest nervously and puts his hands against the other's ribcage, telling him to breathe in slowly, while Benero is still on the hill, digging through the wreckage.
"Marcus," the redhead rasps, "Marcus..."
"Everything's going to be fine, bro," the new boss says quietly, "Everything's going to be fine."
He draws in a breath and feels it rattle in his throat, "What happened - where's the castle?"
Marcus stands up from his kneeling position in front of the other. "I don't know. I don't know, Blank. I don't have any answers for you. But I want you to stay here, okay? You need to rest. You probably just have dust in your lungs. It's probably nothing."
Blank's chest heaves and he nods slowly, "Alright... I trust you, Marcus."
"Thanks, bro." The older of the two looks relieved at this unabashed announcement - the two of them have always relied on the other. That's just how it's always been.
"Oh /god/," Benero shrieks from the hill and Marcus turns around.
"...We... I guess we found someone," Blank mumbles weakly.
"...I wish we hadn't."

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