Xu took no time in responding to the summons.
"Sir?" She asked with a fragile smile, saluting to him, for what she felt was the last time.
"Xu." Cid said steepling his hands in front of his face. "Today’s a sad day, as I am sure you are aware." Cid said
resting his hands on the top of his desk.
"Yes Sir." Xu said as she sighed and rubbed her temples. "However, I think you should evacuate with the rest." She said
"That, I’m afraid, won’t be happening Xu." Cid said standing up, and picking up the package, and walking around
his desk. "It is as they say, the Captain goes down with his ship."
"Sir! You can’t! Everyone looks up to you!" Xu reacted sharply eyeing the package in the Headmasters hands.
"It is as I intend." Cid said handing her the package. "This now belongs to you, Xu. Take good care of it, and good luck."
"You can’t be serious! Headmaster Cid!" Xu said. "This is stupi.."
"You are dismissed." Cid said turning his back to her and looking out the window. "Oh and Xu, turn on the record player
at the door, as you leave."
"... Yes Sir." Xu said clutching the package in her hands and turned bitter tears forming on her eyes. Pausing at the door,
she lifted the arm to the old gramophone player placed it at the start on the black vinyl record, and then turned it on and
quietly slipped out the door.
"Crystal!" Andrew shouted, as he ran to catch up to his friend. "Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bite your
head off." He said knowing full well she wouldn’t take the apology at face value. In fact he expected her rare temper
to flare and winced when she whirled on him, eyes narrowed into slits.
"That’s a bunch of chocobo shit right there Andrew Bird." She said stabbing her finger into his chest, looking up
at him angrily.
Andrew knew at that moment he was in real trouble. Crystal never used his last name unless she was really ticked. Wincing
he prepared for a lecture. However, the small girl stood looking at him, her face flushed with anger, her left hand hanging
at her side gripped into a fist, and shaking.
"Look I know this is a serious thing, but you possibly cannot understand anything." She whispered darkly and whirled again
and started to navigate debris, dead monsters, and the occasional discarded empty vials that usually held potions or medical
Andrew blinked, he didn’t understand what the girl had meant. In all his years of knowing her, this was the first
time the girl did not yell at him or pitch a fit. "Okay," he said walking quickly to keep up. "care to inform me about what’s
on your mind?"
"No." She said, keeping her eyes focused straight ahead.
"Why not?" Andrew asked as he kicked at an empty vial on the ground and sent it smashing into the wall.
"It’s none of your concern." Crystal replied as she rounded the corner and stopped dead in her tracks. "Oh my god."
She whispered and tore off at a run leaving Andrew behind all the more confused.
The body was cold. So cold, and pale. Blood was spattered on his shirt, and Crystal was near herself in hysteria. Covering
her mouth she knelt down next to the body and fumbled in her coat for one of the small vials with a feather engraved into
the glass. Uncorking it, she looked at the young mans face and swallowed.
With a shaking hand she opened his mouth a tad and poured but a drop on his lips and waited. It had no effect. Corking
the vial and replacing it back in her coat pocket she looked at the mans face, and gently traced a finger along the tribal
tattoo on his face. With a heavy sigh she turned on her head set and choked out a sob.
"Devin, we have two casualties in the Doctor’s hall."
"What, who?" Devin asked as he and Xu made preparations to head to the lobby.
"It’s Zell, he’s dead."
"Crap." Devin replied after a few moments of silence. "Who’s the other?"
Crystal choked again. "It’s.. It’s.. Anna Upton."
Devin sat down with a heavy thump and turned off the headset and ran his hand through his hair. Anna Upton, the girl from
With a heavy sigh, he turned the connection back on.
"Crystal. Do me a favor. Zell should be wearing gloves, take them with you."
"I’ll explain later." Devin said as he shot a look at Xu who was once again exiting the Headmasters office. "Further
more, Anna has a special family charm. She carries it in her inside pocket. Please grab that and keep it safe. We should return
it to her family in Esthar."
"Okay, if you’re sure." Crystal replied thickly. "Devin, you should evacuate with the others. We’ll meet you
at the Hanger bay once we find Jay."
"Okay." Devin said and then cut the connection again. Standing he tore off the headset and tossed it onto the terminal,
with a curse.
By the time Andrew had rounded the corner and saw Crystal, Amalia following closely behind. He saw the young brunette was
standing in the middle of the hallway her head hanging down, and her fists shaking as she clutched a pair of black gloves
with metal across the knuckles, in one hand, and a charm of some sort in the other.
It was then he noticed the bodies.
Closing his eyes, to quell the urge to throw up at the display Andrew swallowed and walked forward towards Crystal. Amalia
he noted was already walking down the hallway towards their friend.
It was then he noticed the floor change color under Crystals very feet, with a sudden sense of urgency Andrew ran forward
with a burst of speed, he ran past Amalia pushing her against the wall.
"Amalia, cast reflect on yourself. Now!"
It was as if time had slowed down, by the time Andrew had reached Crystal and tackled her out of harms way a third level
ice spell had formed and exploded into tiny shards.
"What the hell was that," Crystal squawked, "and will you please get off me!" She screamed at Andrew as she shoved him
off of her and stood up as another reflect spell formed and shielded herself, followed by a third one that surrounded Andrew
as he got up with a grunt.
"It was an ice spell obviously, but why it randomly formed I haven’t the foggiest idea." Andrew answered.
"I think we’re about to find out." Crystal said as she stuffed the Gloves into her inside pocket, with the charm.
"What do you mean?" Andrew asked as he turned around, to face none other then Shiva. "Oh, shit."
"That was Anna Uptons practice summon." Crystal said as Shiva looked around wildly and charged towards Andrew and Crystal,
shrieking like a mad banshee.
"You have got to be kidding me!" Andrew grumbled as he shoved Crystal behind him and cast Fira on himself, the effects
bouncing off the reflect spell and smacking Shiva in the face with a hiss of steam.
Shiva blinked and shook her head with a hiss, and snarled as her hands reached forward and wrapped around Andrews neck,
sending cold chills down his spine.
"Get off him!" Amalia screamed as she ran forward and pressed her hand on Shiva’s back casting a Fira spell at the
same time. The effect causing a small explosion that sent Amalia flying on to the floor across the hall.
Andrew’s face by now was an ashen color as he struggled to breathe. Crystal watched in mute horror, before she snapped
out of it and shrieked in rage. The stresses of the whole ordeals they had gone through finally taking their toll.
With a shout she leapt at Shiva, her eyes blazing in anger.
"Get your," she grunted, "hands off him." Crystal seethed as she thrust her Katars into Shivas shoulders. The action caused
Shiva to change her focus onto Crystal, releasing Andrew from her death grip.
This is what Crystal had been waiting for. With a smile she licked her lips and threw herself to the side, yanking Shiva
with her as what could only be described as purple flames formed around Crystal, and then Shiva, as the two rolled down the
With a hiss, the guardian force looked at Crystal through the flames and screamed at her.
"Shut up." Crystal said as she yanked the katars out and stood up, as the flames died away. Shiva bounced up to her feet
and clawed at Crystal’s chest ripping the fabric of her uniform, and then leapt into the air calling on the forces of
It was at that moment, Andrew’s large spear pierced Shivas abdomen, from behind and poked out the front in a shower
of melting ice.
With a sound of surprise Shiva looked down at the large spear then looked up as her eyes went wide, before she exploded
into several shards of ice.
"You okay?" Andrew called as he gasped for breath of air.
"I’m fine." Crystal said crossing her arms over her chest. "You?"
"You almost died, you arse." Crystal snapped as she tossed him a potion vial. "Here, use that on Amalia."
"Yes, Ma’am." Andrew said as he took a small sip after uncorking it, and then went to tend to Amalia.
Edea remained sitting at the doctors desk, she heard crashes and yelling from outside, and knew another fight broke out
in the hallway outside. Standing she moved to the door and placed a hand on the door knob. She would have turned it, if it
hadn’t been for the blast that hit her from behind.
Coughing she turned and faced the one she had been waiting for.
Rinoa stood in the center of the office, her hand raised, a snarl on her lips.
"Where is he?"
"Gone, my child." Edea said quietly as she regarded the woman before her.
"I’m not your child." Rinoa snapped as she stepped closer, a sneer destroying the girls lovely face.
"Is that so?" Edea asked as she raised a hand and created a barrier of white light. "Then tell me, why you are not? Was
it not my inherited powers from Hyne that I gave you?"
"Spare me the details witch." Rinoa whispered as she sent a black ball of magic at the barrier.
"Hear me child, you are under the thrall of Ultimicia." Edea said calmly as the black ball of magic dissipated into white
wisps of smoke that curled and was absorbed into Edea’s own barrier of white light.
"Who do you think you are, to say I am under a thrall?"
"It is because I have seen the future. I have seen in her mind." Edea answered.
"Have you now?" Rinoa said as she closed her eyes. "Then you knew what would happen from the start, when your powers past
on to this lovely host. That part of me went with it. That this is what I had planned from the start."
"It is true. I see clearly now, that you are not the child that loves Squall, but rather Ultimicia herself. You leave me
Rinoa- no, Ultimicia sneered again, nodded. "Then we shall fight in spirit. Within the minds." She said answering the challenge.
"So be it. You will release the Child." Edea agreed stepping closer towards Rinoa/Ultimicia.
"How do you propose that?" Ultimicia asked raising an eyebrow and regarding Edea with caution.
"I’ll give you, myself."
Ultimicia twisted Rinoa’s face in a snarl. "You think I will fall for that? You have already tried such a bargain!"
"Your body is already dead in the future, this piece of you is trapped. Forever." Edea countered. "So, do we have a deal?"
Ultimicia paused at this commentary and thought it over. "Very well." She said with a nod. "However, we fight in a place
of my choosing's. A place, that interests me as of late. I’ll release the child from my thrall and what happens, happens."
Edea nodded her head firmly and held out her hand. "Then let’s get started shall we."
"Not so fast." Ultimicia said with a smirk. "Our physical bodies will remain here. It is our spirits that will do the fighting."
"Very well." Edea replied, "I’ll fight under your terms Ultimicia, but you will rest the body you currently possess
over there on that medical bed."
"Details, details." Ultimicia said with a smirk, and turned from Edea and sat on the bed and held out her hand. "All it
takes is but a simple touch." Ultimicia whispered.
Edea nodded and stepped forward lowering her magical field. Reached out and touched the out stretched hand.