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

In The Forest

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 - 1319 words

Garnet always thought that waking up blindfolded - or, in her case now, blind - would just make her want to sleep more. That's the thing about darkness: it tends to make day into night, and awake into dazed.
She also had always thought that being blind meant absolute darkness, but now that she's moving and - there's the ground - pushing herself up into a sitting position, she can see a vague glow fill the black. It must be morning, then.
Now she focuses her working senses on the area around her. Steiner is still snoring, and it feels very sleepy in their makeshift camp. She can smell fire, and hears someone moving around a few meters away.
"Good, you're awake," Amarant's voice drawls, kind of lazily but not sleepy at all. "I need you to do something for me."
"...Are you talking to me?" she asks, because she has no clue if maybe Beatrix or Lani's awake. Maybe he's talking to someone who can actually do something without being led by the hand.
"Yeah, I'm talking to you."
Footsteps grow louder and she feels Amarant's hand grabbing her arm in a loose grip. "C'mon, get up," he grumbles, "You need to play magic so we can have something worth eating."
"What did you find?" she asks, warily, struggling to her feet with his hand on her arm, balancing her.
"Some wild bird or something. Looks like a pheasant... Just a lot bigger than any I've seen." He lets go of her arm and paces off, returning later and placing something at her feet. "Here, kneel down."
She bites her lip and manages to slide into a sitting position without the bounty hunter's help. He takes her hands up and puts them against solid rock - something she measures it to be nearly a meter long and covered in intricately carved feathers. Real feathers.
"This can't be a pheasant," she breathes.
"The tail's almost half it's length - it looks like a pheasant. I need you to... un-petrify it. Like the fruit. Lani didn't get nearly as much meat as I had expected, and this thing could last us a while."
Garnet bites her lip and strokes the bird's stony feathers.
"Don't get attached to it. It's not like I'm asking you to help me kill a chocobo. This thing's probably a monster, anyways." When she hesitates, he sighs and adds, "Do you want to starve when we're on the plains?"
Garnet doesn't want them to starve, so she holds her hands over the bird and focuses on the spell she learned so long ago - all because Zidane had said it might be a good idea to memorize it.
There's a loud squawk and she feels feathers brush across her face, before a snap silences the bird in mid-struggle.
She pulls her hands away from the suddenly limp bird and crosses her arms over her chest, looking in what she hopes to be a different direction from Amarant.
"Thanks," he mutters, and she hears the grass crack under the bounty hunter - he must be sitting down. She hears the scrape of a dagger leaving a sheath, and closes her eyes against the sound of ripping flesh.
A few minutes later, he asks casually, "How are you holding up?"
They must be the only two awake, and he must be very desperate for company, if he's resorting to talking to her of all people.
"...I'm... I'm alright. How are you?"
He snorts and is silent.
She frowns. "Amarant, that's not a very polite thing to do - I'm simply trying to make conversation."
"Well," he growls, and she hears something slap against the ground and make a disgusting squish noise, "I'm sitting in the middle of Evil Forest, making food for people who couldn't give a shit about me, trying not to open my eye socket and infect it, all while talking to a blind queen who doesn't feel like actually informing people of how she's really feeling. I don't know how you categorize that, but it seems a bit too heavy for casual conversation."
Garnet tries to keep this information with her, instead of focusing on singular aspects of the man's short rant. She files away certain pieces of information and readily acknowledges the more important ones.
"...Your eye...?"
"Got punctured by some shrapnel in Treno," the hunter mumbles, sounding suddenly much less like he should - strong, direct, caustic - and more like... more like someone who doesn't want to worry anymore. "...A healer managed to clean the eye out before she..."
He trails off uneasily and then mutters, "There should be enough here."
"...Amarant. I can't... I can't see," she rasps. "...Is everyone /alright/?"
"Physically?" he asks, before sighing. "...The rust-bucket's arm looks alright. It's healed over nice and smooth - wouldn't be able to tell it was an accidental amputation."
She winces at the word but he continues.
"Sure, your general's hair is shorn pretty short - pity, too - but she looks alright. She's got a few bruises but hell, everyone here should. A couple of those cuts might scar, though... Lani's alright. She's always alright. Her nose is gonna have a funny bump in it, though. Not much we can do for her." He shifts and she hears sizzling from the fire. "Emotionally, though? None of us are going to come out very good."
She doesn't respond to this. She doesn't want to.
"...What about... me?"
Amarant chuckles humorlessly. "You look like royalty. You're the lucky one. You're always the lucky one," he mutters.
"...And you?"
"...Hell, I don't know. It's not like I've been near a mirror in the last few... weeks. I haven't seen my face for a while."
Garnet feels something horrible tugging at her and now, she has to know. She has to make sure that he's really alright - physically. She needs to make sure he's not hurt, that she's not pushing him to a limit by asking him to come with her, she needs to make sure he's not going to-
"Hey! Watch it, woman!"
He grabs her by the shoulder and she realizes she had nearly crawled into the fire.
"Are you /insane/?"
She presses her hands against his shoulders and he breathes in deep, holding the air against his ribcage. Her hands follow small indents and bumps in his skin, ropelike combinations that snake up is neck, cutting themselves in half and twisting in different directions. The left side of his jaw is patched smooth and hairy - she wonders if he shaved his beard but realizes now that no, he just has cuts that are causing this smooth skin. There's a deep gash running from the bridge of his nose down to the right corner of his mouth, and she can feel the strange flatness of his empty eye socket through his eyelids, so she pulls away and sits back.
"/Amarant/," she rasps, and he lets out his breath.
"...Yeah. Figured it wasn't any good. I have a few scars on my arms and feet - I think the healer accidentally healed everything up. Probably wouldn't have so many if she hadn't..."
There's a grunt and Steiner's snoring stops abruptly. Garnet wonders which way would be the best for her to look, when Steiner's voice calls out and answers for her.
"...Wh-What are you /doing/?!"
Amarant makes an annoyed noise and Garnet asks, "What?"
"You're sitting in my lap, princess."
Garnet feels her face grow warm and struggles to move, so Amarant guides her over to the hard, prickly stone-grass.
"Y-Your majesty - what...?"
"She nearly walked right into the fire," Amarant drawls, "So I grabbed her. Can't help how the blind fall."
The knight makes a noise and Garnet traces his voice. "Amarant found a pheasant," she tells him casually.
"You might want to wake up your warrior wife, if you want to eat soon," the bounty hunter adds on, earning an annoyed sound from Steiner.
Garnet looks away.

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