The city says everything you must think,
makes you repeat her discourse, and
while you believe you are visiting,
you are only recording the names with which
she defines herself and all her parts.
– Italo Calvino –
GIRL NEXT DOOR
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CARPE DIEM WATCHES
No Time Like Present Time!
The time is [21:47:08,59]
Zone tried not to sigh too audibly as he made a valiant attempt to ignore the intrusive presence of all these in-your-face signs. Timber Maniacs Conglomerate, and its various subsidiaries were a major sponsor in this fundraising charity reception for post-war orphans; hence the proliferation of flashy billboards at the event. He was a war orphan himself, and this charity had been created at his own instigation. The least he could do was to suck it up and smile. His being there, gave the inauguration of the Children of Timber Foundation a kick start.
The present economy of the Free Republic of Timber (FRT) relied heavily on revenues generated by its telecommunications industry, as well as by its broadcasting and publishing conglomerates . It was feat of poetic justice that the underground efforts at covert communications of so many resistance groups, had paid off in such a big way. Zone smiled. His people sucked at guerrilla warfare. They sucked in real melee fighting. Period. However, they were damned good at getting the message across, at clanking out communiqués, clandestine wireless broadcasting, sneak digitalized newsflashes, etc. In truth, had the Sorceress not meddled with Galbadian politics, had not Seifer Almasy appeared onscreen brandishing his gunblade against that bastard Vinzer Deling… They would still be a subjugated people. There would be NO Free Republic, just the occupied country of Timber. Ironic how the two people who managed to wreak so much havoc in Galbadia, had actually galvanized and united all the various factions at Timber into real action!
They had been shamed by the fact that an unknown outsider had done what everyone had been “thinking” of doing, but actually never did. Their own rebellion had become a “comfortable” one. Everyone belonged to some “underground” resistance group, but all they did was talk, talk, talk… Nothing ever came out of it. Then it would be time to go home, have dinner, go to bed. With hindsight, Zone understood that the militaristic Galbadians must’ve viewed with contempt the so called “underground” activities of the various rebel factions, because they knew that nothing would come out of them. From time to time, in a show of muscle-flexing, someone would be taken away for “questioning”, and never to be seen again. His own faction had been the most troublesome of the lot, but ever since Rinoa joined their group, the occupying army stopped harassing them. It was only after Rinoa –codenamed the “princess”– had confessed to him WHO she really was, that he finally understood the reason for the Galbadian’s army sudden laxity towards his group, the Forest Owls.
Zone’s gaze strayed in the direction of the ex-sorceress knight, now turned SeeD Leader, Seifer Almasy. With great reluctance he admitted that the man had the self-assured presence of a natural born leader. He snorted when he saw the actress Morgana Laffite gravitate towards his tall figure. No luck. After a brief perfunctory greeting, it was obvious that Almasy was not interested, but Ms. Laffite was not the kind of person who would admit defeat easily. The President of FRT sighed, yet again. –Fate– that strange, often annoying force which seemed to rule everything, had once again played him for a fool. Never in a million years would he have thought that a man he resented so much, would become one of his main political assets!
In spite of the very successful monster-elimination run provided by B-Garden back in the summertime, some very powerful members of Timber’s Lower House had objected quite vocally to an extended contract with Garden, arguing that it was too expensive. They wanted to create their own Lunar Cry Response team. Zone could see the merits of such a motion, but he knew better than anyone how much time and effort was needed to gather and to train the necessary people. Time was something they could not afford. The death of almost an entire convoy of engineers and construction workers, at the hands of Wendigo monsters in the vicinity of Odel Lake, had created a national furore. The media had reported the incident with all it’s gory details… specially now that there was no censorship.
In order to save face, the people blocking passage of the contract through FRT’s Lower House had suddenly “agreed” to pass the necessary bill subject to “re-negotiation”. After much deliberation, Zone decided that he would not be taking any chances, and had requested the presence of Garden’s two most popular figures in Timber: Quistis Trepe and Seifer Almasy. The beautiful instructor was popular for the obvious reasons. The larger-than-life image of her calling out to her teammates onscreen had inscribed itself into the psyche of most Timberites: beautiful and heroic … As for Seifer… Headmaster Cid had not been surprised when he’d requested Almasy’s presence for the re-negotiations. In Timber, he was considered quite a hero, ‘Humph, being good-looking doesn´t hurt…’ Zone thought sourly. The arrogant bastard had gotten enough “get-well” messages, and care packages sent to him from Timber! His people had even gone so far as to copy whatever the bastard wore. There was a proliferation of grey trench-coats everywhere!
The only thing that had made him pause for a second, had been consideration of Almasy’s explosive temper, but decided to brush that concern aside. In his mind, he’d figured Quistis would be the one handling the negotiations, and that firecracker would be kept firmly in the background, more for “ornamentation” purposes than anything else. That’s why he’d been quite taken aback when Quistis and Seifer, both, gave their input during the important talks. He’d been even more amazed when the ex-knight not only did not threaten anyone, but had actually something intelligent to contribute! In fact, he had been articulate enough that the others had actually paid close attention to what he had to say! He’d always figured that those B-Garden pretty boys, were just for show, all looks and muscles, but no brains, preferring to solve everything by hacking at it… ‘That should put me in my place!…’
The President of the FRT smiled wryly as he looked in Almasy’s direction again. There was mixture of resentment, envy and resignation in that regard. Even though Seifer had never done anything to him; even when he’d given some of the people in his rebel faction lessons in attack and self-defence, he couldn’t help himself. Every time he stared into that face, it was like rubbing salt into a live wound! It reminded him of how Seifer had just casually strolled into their lives a few summers ago, and stolen Rinoa from right under his nose! Not that Rinoa had ever encouraged him in any way, or anything. She had always looked upon him as a sort of older brother. Still, he had his hopes. Only to have them crushed into bits by Almasy’s cocky appearance…
As he looked into Rinoa’s glowing face, he felt his heart sink like a stone in water.
“I just met the coolest guy!”
She clasped both hands over her breast, a wide smile on her pretty face.
“He’s a SeeD cadet from Balamb Garden! I think he can be a great asset to our cause!”
“Bu-But Rinoa! Have you thought things through?… I mean, we don’t know this guy…!”
“Zone! You worry waaay too much!”
It didn’t matter what he said or how he objected, once Rinoa’s mind was fixed on something it was impossible to change! So for the rest of that summer she’d walked around with a dazzled look on her face…
As usual, nothing had really changed. Even with that scar now marring his face, the ex-sorceress knight was the centre of attention, a lot of it the admiring female kind. ‘But he doesn’t look very happy… I wonder what got him so ticked off?’ He seemed to be only half-listening to something Morgana Laffite was saying to him. It was amazing how much that actress looked like Rinoa! ‘Well, maybe a bit better endowed…’ She was clinging to Seifer now, while those media hounds were taking pictures of them like crazy. The bastard should look happy, instead of frowning. Miss Laffite was an extremely popular and well sought-after actress!
Suddenly Seifer’s sea-green eyes locked with his. The animosity in that gaze made Zone gulp nervously. It reminded him forcibly of yesterday, when Seifer had deliberately cornered him after a meeting to demand in a cold voice, that he be given a detailed account of the security measures taken for today’s reception. In spite of himself, the intimidating scowl on Seifer’s face had made him blurt out that Watts was the one in charge of security. Grimacing at the memory, Zone wondered why Seifer needed to go over the safety measures taken for today’s reception.
From Watts’s report, Almasy had made him go over the plans in detail, and had actually suggested a few improvements to tighten security. ‘Hmn…now that I think about it, he also made a big fuss about security during the talks.’ Zone looked in Quistis direction. He’d asked her earlier on if she’d known why Seifer wanted the floor plans for the reception, but she’d surprised him by giving him a very vague answer about making sure as SeeD that everyone always be in the highest state of alert, just in case. If he didn’t know any better, he would’ve sworn that she was deftly evading his question, as well as alerting him about something… Now that he had time to assess the situation, it looked as if those two were watching each other’s back… ‘Now, why? Why is that?’
Earlier on, Seifer had stood looming over Quistis looking like a hound from hell. Only the bravest of her large group of admirers, had dared approach her in greeting –himself included– The rest had contented themselves in admiring from afar. Not a good thing. The main idea for the reception was to socialize and to rally for a good cause. Was it only his imagination, or did Almasy’s eyes become downright feral when looking at him? In any case, he didn’t stick around long enough to find out. Not healthy…
At least Quistis decided to take charge of the situation, because after the last person left their presence with a red face, she pulled Seifer to a secluded corner… As they were hidden from view, he didn’t see nor hear what Quistis said to her recalcitrant ex-student; but as a result, when they emerged, they each went into different directions. Quistis to speak with Representative Esmond Jones, and Seifer straight for the bar.
Zone understood why the Headmaster often used Quistis as B-Garden’s spokesperson and chief negotiator. No matter how uncomfortable she truly felt, ‘she’s very good at presenting a cool and collected exterior…’ not to mention the fact that she was frightfully intelligent. She had that old curmudgeon Jones eating out of her hand. Garden’s most vocal opponent, was now its most visible supporter. ‘Well, at least she’s clever on some things…’
More resigned than surprised he’d noticed the furtive looks Quistis gave the ex–knight. Not that it was obvious or anything, but after years of subterfuge, he was an expert in reading people’s expressions. Zone shook his head, ‘How does he do it?’ First Rinoa, and now Quistis has fallen too? What truly surprised him was the fact that they were not together! Given Seifer’s earlier stance, he’d bet his entire prized collection of Girl Next Door that he was more than a little interested in his hot ex-instructor! ‘Of course, knowing how regimented Quistis can be… I can see why she would be troubled at being attracted to such a badass character!. . . Good! Good! At least Quistis will make him work for it! The lucky bastard!’
Zone prided himself on the fact that he knew Quistis better now. It seems that she had never forgotten his gesture when he’d given her his own train ticket out of Timber so she could escape the Galbadian forces with the rest of her team. Then, he’d only caught glimpses of her during the Sorceress Trials, but had no real direct contact with her. He’d only gotten to know her better, when B-Garden was hired to help FRT control the alarming proliferation of monsters that had exploded all over the place! She’d commandeered the SeeD team, and had personally delivered a hand-written message to him from Rinoa…
The current President of FRT blushed slightly when he remembered how he’d broken down, and cried like a baby upon receiving the letter. He was a few years older than the instructor, but when she’d comforted him, she’s acted so big sister like! Zone cracked his first genuine smile of the evening. Quistis Trepe was a nice person through and through. Unfortunately, people found it hard to see her in that light, because she was so beautiful, and so stand-offish at first.
He himself had had trouble in the beginning. Beautiful as she was onscreen, in flesh and blood she was even more impacting. The first he’d met her, his brain had shutdown temporarily, and the engine below his waist had gone on overdrive! Of course, he was an expert in camouflage, so he’d only needed one look into those inquisitive blue eyes to regain his equilibrium…
He wondered idly if he should alert Quistis of the fact that they’d been talks of creating a Trepe club outside the Garden system… ‘Nah… She’d only get upset.’
She was the kind of person who took her duties very seriously, much more so than someone twice her age! Such frivolities would probably distress her… ‘Hyne knows everyone else would be flattered as hell, but not so Quistis…’ Zone thought, and not for the first time, if Quistis wouldn’t have been happier had be been born with much plainer looks… ‘Humph, if she were uglier I wonder if…’ Unwittingly, Zone looked again in Seifer’s direction and was met by the ex-knight’s unabated green stare. Cold and deadly.
Zone smiled nervously, glad that Almasy was unable to read minds, and unconsciously placed his middle finger inside necktie that suddenly felt like a hangman’s noose.
“Zone, my boy!”
The Duke of Dollet, arriving fashionably late to the reception, made his way in his usual forceful manner to the President’s side, waving aside with his hands a group of people who obviously wanted to give His Excellency a proper greeting. Normally, his lordship was the kind of person that would make Zone feel inadequate, but right now he welcomed the Duke’s interruption.
“Your Excellency! Welcome! I’m extremely grateful that you took time away from your busy schedule to come and show your support to our worthy cause…”
“Yes, yes… Glad to be of service. Now, that we have dispensed with the formalities, kindly introduce me to that beautiful young lady.”
Zone didn’t bother to ask Lord Dollet which one he meant, in spite of there being quite a few present at the reception tonight. All he needed to do was follow the direction of the Duke’s gaze.
“Uh, certainly Your Excellency!”
They both approached Quistis who was for once sporting a more natural smile as she conversed, feeling quite at ease, with Watts, Timber’s Presidential Chief of Staff. Zone threw a nervous glance to where Seifer was standing, not too far away from Quistis but far enough to give her some breathing space. He exhaled a sigh of relief, Almasy was temporarily distracted by Ms. Laffite and another beautifully turned lady. A new arrival, no doubt. She was quite a grand dame, and looked vaguely familiar.
Refocusing his attention on Quistis, Zone wondered idly at the back of his mind, if Quistis wore the SeeD dress uniform and those wire rimmed glasses as some sort of unconscious protection. Before he could make the proper introductions, the Duke had suavely taken hold of Quistis hand, and placed a very gallant kiss on it. After His Excellency straightened, he smiled straight into the lovely azure eyes of the surprised young lady that stared at him through the clear lenses of her wire-rimmed glasses.
“Miss Trepe, allow me the liberty of introducing myself. Alistair Sandro Dolletia at your service!”
After executing a perfect bow, the Duke gallantly held out his forearm. Recovering quickly, Quistis smiled shyly, and placed her hand on the proffered arm. After the initial shock, she had recognized him immediately, if not from the news –in which the Duke and the various sundry members of his family were subject to constant scrutiny…and gossip– at least from the days of Seifer’s trial, when His Excellency sat as a member of the World Court Panel of 7 Judges.
“Your Excellency! It’s an honour to meet you in person.”
“Ah, Miss Trepe, the honour is all mine. I finally have the pleasure of meeting face to face, Counsel Seagill’s most diligent assistant…”
Poor Zone was not as quick to recover as Quistis. After casting her an apologetic glance at the unexpectedness of the introduction, he realized that the wily old aristocrat already knew Quistis’ name… Feeling slightly annoyed –something which seemed to happen quite a lot tonight– Zone wondered why the Duke even bothered asking him for an introduction. ‘Wow, if Quistis ever wanted to become a movie star, she would have an already built-in fan base!… Then thinking about it, quickly discarded the idea, ‘Nah! She’s way too self-effacing. That prospect probably hasn’t even crossed her mind!’
Zone watched Quistis exchange polite conversation with the Duke. She listened attentively, without fidgeting or gushing, to the discourse of one of the planet’s most influential, not to mention most difficult, persons. ‘She’s wasted as an instructor! She would make a great diplomat… Hey! Maybe she can get His Excellency to donate more money to the Children of Timber Foundation!’ Cheered by these random thoughts, he decided to leave Quistis to handle the Duke, while he and Watts made the usual smooching rounds in the huge reception area. He opened his mouth excuse himself and his aide, but before he could utter a sound, he was cut by a new voice –a husky feminine voice with a very dry tone.
“Alistair, as usual, monopolizing the pretty ones.”
Zone eyes widened when he watched the petite lady he had sighted before with Seifer make her way to them, her left hand firmly clutching the ex-knight’s right forearm. Miss Laffite was nowhere to be seen. Of course she had looked familiar! Zone felt like an idiot for not recognizing the Ganryu right away! In spite of her very petite and feminine form, only the extremely dimwitted would fail to recognize the air of authority and power she exuded, like some sort of enveloping perfume around her person!
“Tahera! Always a pleasure.” After bowing low and kissing the lady’s imperiously held-out hand, the Duke straightened. Then, he cast Seifer a measuring look and said with a charming smile,
“It seems I’m not the only one with such propensities…”
“–Humph!– This dear boy here is my niece’s best friend, Seifer Almasy, and as you well know, ex-sorceress knight.”
Tahera Ganryu patted Seifer’s arm and smiled up at him. Then she turned to fix the Duke with an almost challenging glance,
“I believe you two have not been properly introduced yet… Your Excellency, may I present Seifer Almasy…”
The Duke took another measuring look at Seifer, who returned his stare unabashedly, even to the point of raising one blonde eyebrow slightly. The Duke more used to people sucking up to him all his life, was rather intrigued by the arrogant impertinence of the young man who stood before him. To the surprise of the many watching the exchange avidly, His Excellency tended his hand out, and exchanged a firm handshake with the young ex-knight. Something he rarely ever did, as the powerful Duke of Dollet would usually just acknowledge people by a slight inclination of his head. Or not at all.
“Ah, Mr. Almasy, I see that you have recovered quite well from your brush with the Sorceress…”
“And I see that Dollet has emerged unscathed from its little “brush” with Galbadia, Your Excellency.”
“Hahaha!…” The silence was broken by Tahera’s delighted laughter. “Ah, Alistair! You’ll have to concede he got you there!”
The Duke smiled wryly, and started to laugh as well. It had been a very long time since someone, let alone a mere whippersnapper had put him so firmly in his place.
“My dear Tahera, I concede to your superior judging skills.”
Looking straight at Seifer, the Duke said.
“Let’s exchange partners, you young rapscallion! –Harrumph!– You were coming to retrieve her anyway.”
Smiling down at Quistis as he handed her over, His Excellency continued.
“Perhaps some other time, my dear young lady,” and then in a lower tone of voice that only a surprised Quistis could hear, “I’ll be watching with great interest how you deal with this young scamp of a knight.” Quistis blushed to the roots of her hair, unable to correct the Duke’s erroneous assessment of the situation. Alarmed, she saw Seifer narrow his eyes dangerously. Responding instinctively to the alarm in Quistis’ blue eyes, Zone barged in abruptly.
“Madame Ganryu! Allow me to welcome you! It’s a great pleasure to have you attend this reception!”
Tahera smiled at Zone knowingly and answered with a twinkle in her grey eyes.
“I’m pleased to be here, President Alloutte, in support of such a worthy cause.”
“Please allow me to present you my aide, Watts Electro…”
Quistis exhaled the breath she had been holding, and flashed Zone a very grateful smile. She tightened the hand she had on Seifer’s forearm to signal him to keep his opinions to himself! She knew he was about to say something! Probably something unforgivable… Even if he had the Ganryu’s favour, antagonizing the powerful Duke of Dollet was just not done! The Headmaster would be getting heart palpitations were he to be present at such an event!
Following the Duke’s example, he bowed low (albeit a bit clumsily) to kiss the grand lady’s imperiously proffered hand. Tahera Ganryu was no slouch, she had caught onto his stratagem in a flash. Zone was very relieved that she had decided to play along… If memory served him correctly from the old resistance days, Seifer had a wicked, not to mention, foul tongue!
Imitating his boss’s gesture (but with a bit more grace), Watts did the same when that regally held hand went in his direction. Seifer watched the entire proceedings with a slight smirk on his handsome face. He waited until the toadying was over, and surprised everyone by gently bringing Quistis forth to the center of their little group.
“Tahera, I would like you to meet my ex-SeeD Instructor, Quistis Trepe.”
It was Quistis’ turn to be subjected to a measuring look from very wise feminine eyes, before a fragrantly perfumed cheek was lifted her way. A bit awkwardly, Quistis returned the gesture by grazing the proffered cheek with her lips, and saying.
“It’s an honour to meet you Madame Ganryu.”
Tahera smiled. Her niece Fujin was an excellent judge of character. Her description of the lovely SeeD instructor had been flawless. She looked calm and composed on the outside, but those blue eyes gave away the inner turmoil felt by their owner whenever they alighted on a certain someone… Hmmn…Young people nowadays were so complicated! Biting her tongue, Tahera decided to mind her own business; still, she could put the girl at ease.
“Oh, please call me Tahera! I have a niece who’s also a SeeD at Balamb Garden.”
“Your niece is a SeeD?”
“Yes, Fujin has told me quite a lot about you.”
“Fujin is your niece?”
Quistis felt really stupid repeating what she was told like a parrot. Unconsciously, her eyes rose accusingly to meet Seifer’s. Just like him to keep important information like that to himself! Unrepentant, all he did was merely raise an eyebrow as if saying, “So what’s the big fucking deal?”
The Duke interrupted their silent exchange.
“Pardon us, but Tahera and I have quite a lot of catching up to do.” Then added almost as an afterthought to Zone, “Until later.”
Tahera waved everyone a cheerful farewell with the beautifully hand-painted fan she held in a perfectly manicured hand. Of the young people left behind, only Quistis was surprised at the rather abrupt manner of their departure, having met the Duke and the Ganryu only for the first time. Zone and Watts were used to the Duke’s imperious ways, and Seifer, although quite fond of Tahera, couldn’t care less if he never were to set eyes on that annoying old fart again…
“Well, Tahera, what brings you out of that jungle you Trabians call Grandidi City?”
“Really, Alistair, you of all people should refrain from calling our beautiful green haven a jungle! After all Dollet is built on an arid piece of rock, open to all sorts of incursions.”
“Ah, it’s been too long since you and I exchanged words! You broke my heart when you accepted Ganryu’s suit over my own!”
“–Humph!– I didn’t want to leave Trabia, and it didn’t take you long to replace me.”
“You should know all about political alliances; however, poor Sofia proved to be a weakling, and therefore easy prey for my political opponents.”
“What will you do if Roberto ever finds out the truth about his mother’s ‘accidental’ death?”
The Duke raised an eyebrow and inclined his head briefly in Tahera’s direction, as if in homage, “Thanks to you, he will never find out. You sent Jomei, did you not?”
“Indeed. Jomei handled the task.”
“As I was saying, Roberto has no reason to believe his mother’s death to be anything but accidental.”
“Your Roberto is a sweet boy.”
“I thought Quistis Trepe would make him an excellent wife. That boy is too much of a pansy to make it on his own, he needs a strong skilful woman to back him up!”
“I don’t think you should set your sights on that particular young lady…”
“–Harrumph!– I’m surprised that young hoodlum didn’t attack me right away!… He’s quite a formidable warrior when roused.”
“Alistair, I believe that young man has grown quite a bit since his brush with the sorceress…”
“ –Humph!– Once a hoodlum, always a hoodlum!”
“Why! You like him, don’t you, Alistair?”
“You think he would agree to leave Garden if I offer him enough incentive?”
“If he could be swayed, he would be working for me now…but that is one stubborn young man!”
“It doesn’t surprise me that young thug is best friends with your niece. It takes one to know one!”
“You’re such a sore loser! Really! You should be happy that Fujin refused to marry your Roberto. He’s too sweet a boy to be married off to someone like my niece. She would make mincemeat out of him!”
“He needs someone strong by his side!”
“You mean, he needs a wife that can double as bodyguard. How many attempts were made against his life this week?”
“That beautiful young SeeD would have Roberto eating out of her hands in no time whatsoever! But its also very evident where her interest lies! I would want my Roberto’s life to be different from mine. A sense of duty will only breed an heir to the dukedom, but a strong bond can create a real ducal family.”
Tahera turned to stare at the man she had known for so many years. After a peculiar silence she finally said, “You really mean it.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Well, in any case, even if you tried, I don’t think he would allow her to go to another without putting up a fierce fight. Sooner or later your poor Roberto might have end up facing Hyperion…”
“I have to concede that young rascal has a perverse sense of humour by naming that pitch-black blade Hyperion!”
“Oh, it wasn’t really him who named it. It was Cid Kramer who gave Hyperion to Seifer.”
“–Humph!– Hard to believe such a weakling would such a blade in his possession.”
“Indeed, Alistair, I’m surprised to hear you say that. You of all people should know better…”
“Indeed, my dear… Indeed.”
§ ~ § ~ §
ECBI – 9th Division
Esthar City’s Bureau of Investigation
D-Files: 569 cases unresolved
-Eye colour: dk brown
-Hair: black w/red streaks
-Distinctive feature: eyebrow ring and various body tattoos of white snakes
-Cmmt: last seen by witnesses at entrance to S-107
-Eye colour: black
-Hair: dk brown
-Distinctive feature: none
-Cmmt: found broken parole-tracking device in S-107 near the border to S-108
-Eye colour: blue
-Distinctive feature: wire rimless glasses.
-Cmmt: found broken parole-tracking device in S-107, near the border with S-108
“Holy shit! 569 unresolved disappearances! What the hell is goin’ on?”
“You’re new here, ain’t ya, rookie? –Stop scroll.”
“Uh, yeah…This is my first assignment! These numbers gotta be staggering even for you, ma’am!”
“–Smirk– You got that right, rookie! An’ don’t ‘ma’am’ me! It really pisses me off!”
“Good, you’re learning! …Unless you like gettin’ your ass whipped!”
“Hmn…C’mon, junior, we’re gonna have us a little field trip. –Grimace– And those numbers only apply to Esthar City alone…”
“What?! I thought they were Esthar wide!”
“How d’ya think you got yourself such a cool assignment, rookie? We’re seriously understaffed aroun’ here!”
–Gape– (Mouth wide open)
“Yeah…Better close it, junior! Here! –Toss– Don’t let it slip pass your fingers. It contains real sensitive information you don’t wanna get scrambled just ‘cuz you were too clumsy with yer hands! C’mon, let’s go!”
“Where are we heading, sir?”
“Temple of Zarûthra in S-107… I gotta bunch of questions I need to ask some of the ‘enlightened ones’…”
“To prevent future system malfunction,
please refrain from slamming the door
Detective Elektra Desu…”
“Yo, Desu! Are you abusin’ yer door again?”
“Kiss my ass, Kinoseki!”
“Awww, Desu! What else is there left fer me here?! You refuse to introduce me to that hot cuz of yours, Kiara!”
“Yeah, Desu! Kinoseki here’s a loser, but c’mon, I am definitely a great catch for that cousin of yours!”
“Shuddup, Bouretti! You’re a sleaze-ball As if someone as classy as Miss Kiara would fall for the likes of you!”
“Boys, boys! Down! You, Rookie! Stop gaping at those two losers an’ follow me!”
“Awww, Desu! You’re one cruel woman…”
“Yo, Bouretti! You think this rookie will fare better than the others?”
“Huh? Who knows? This one looks smarter than the rest…”
§ ~ § ~ §
CARPE DIEM WATCHES
No Time Like Present Time!
The time is [23:32:11,44]
Date: 21.12.01AU 22:10:28
hey, man! like it sucks to work on your birthday, eh? found like a cool bar in B-city with real cute waitresses! we gotta go there when you return, cuz you gotta help me drag Commander SERIOUS there for a couple of drinks! Mebbe he´ll relax some!
Oh, yeah…Ma Dincht is like preparing a huge meal to celebrate! man, my stomach’s like groaning already! that’s gonna be some huge feast! haven’t heard from zell yet…
See ya in like a couple of days.
btw, quisty’s coming back with ya, right?
don’t tell my selph about the cuties in the bar, ok? she’s been feeling a bit insecure about me lately as she’s all over me, acting kinda jealous-clingy! man, like what a pain! and oh yeah… sasha came over the other day looking for you! that’s one determined chick! of course, no one told her your whereabouts, but man she was like so pushy! when she couldn’t find you, she latched onto me! I mean, she’s like cute an’ everything, but not worth making selph angry at me! in any case, i think selph gotta trust me more! i love her and stuff, why would i want to hitch up with someone else?
man! what is it with chicks nowadays?
‘Man! Irv’s just asking to get whipped! …But I kinda like his idea of gettin’ Squally totally plastered… Hehehe!’
– next –
Date: 21.12.01AU 19:29:01
Subject: SEIFY, HB!!!! :wuv: :wuv: :wuv:
–Image of a very large pink cake that looks about to explode–
I wish you a very, very, very, very, mega-super HAAAPPPYY BIIIIRTHDAAAY! With tons and tons of hugs and kisses!!!! It’s a huge mega-bummer that you’re not here today! Everyone’s waiting for your return so we can celebrate your birthday properly! Mrs. Dincht said she’s gonna bake you this humongous cake! She says you’re probably not eating properly in Timber! lol (yeah…as if!) Oh, yeah, and Matron’s gonna help her cook your birthday feast! …But…does Matron know how to cook?
‘I guess Selph wasn’t kidding with the pink cake shit! –Snort– MG…like you shouldn’t have…all these pink blinkers are making me go fucking blind!’
Btw, do you know that Sasha Tavares came for a visit with her dad a couple of days ago? Apparently, Mr. Tavares had some business to conduct with Headmaster Cid, but Sasha was let loose over the place. Rina and I had to “show” her around, but she wasn’t interested in anything “we girls” had to tell her! She only perked up when my Irvy showed up! I gotta say she’s got some nerve! Hanging onto my Irvy, and right in front of me! I got mad at him too! He didn’t have to look like he was liking it!
Oh, well, to cut a long story short: we had a fight, but made up since…
‘Yeah…this Sasha chick is a gettin’ to be a real pain in the ass!…’
Come back soon! Miss ya and Quisty! Zell too! (We haven’t heard from him since that off-the-scale sandstorm in kk desert!)…
‘Meh, Chicken-wuss can take care of himself… Wasn’t that library chick, Susana somethin’ also part of his team? She’s almost as annoyingly smart as the instructor so at least there’s gonna be some serious brains in that expedition…’
Could you have a man to man talk with my Irvy when you get here? I’ve been sooo busy with Festival committee stuff, that I haven’t had the time to pay much attention to him, so he was sulking. But when I do pay him attention, he acts weird-like! What’s with him? I hope he doesn’t think that I’m still mad at him over that girl, Sasha Tavares… Humph! Even thinking about her gets on my nerves, coming on to my Irvy!!!!
‘Man, this is becoming some sorta he-said, she-said shit!’
pss: btw, has Quisty come over to see you yet?
‘–Frown– What the fuck is Selphie jabberin’ about?! Does she even know that Quis an’ I are in Timber? –Snort– What the fuck can I be thinking? Of course she would… –Sigh– Whatever… I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough… … Fuck! I’m beginning to sound like puberty boy…something’s gotta be wrong with me! … Anyway, lemme read her highness…
– next –
Date: 21.12.01AU 12:17:49
Subject: Happy Birthday, Seifer!
A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY hug for you from Squall and me! (–humph– Squall’s looking over my shoulder as I write this and snorted when I wrote the word “hug”…)
How’s everyone? Tell Zone and Watts and the rest of the gang of “Forest Owls” that I say “hi!”. Can’t wait till you’re back, birthday-boy! Mrs. Dincht and Matron are cooking up a storm!
Poor Mrs. Dincht, she really misses both “her boys” as she usually calls Zell and you! Personally, I think she’s also a bit worried about Zell. He hasn’t reported back yet, as he should have, but then there has been some huge sandstorms happening over the Kashkabald Desert, no doubt interfering with their communications equipment, so we have reassured her that Zell will be getting back at us as soon as he gets the chance!
‘Hehehe! Chickenwuss gonna howl when he finds out we had a feast without him!”
Will reserve you a big hug when I see you.
(Squall’s mumbling something about not to expect him to do the same. Really!)
‘Yeah, Princess, like a hug from Squally’s really gonna make my day!’
See you in a bit!
Rinoa (A BIG HUG from me! lol) and Squall
PS: I almost forgot to mention it, but Sasha came by looking for you. Selphie and I got charged to keep her company, but I have to say she was not very nice to us! The worst happened when she spotted Irvy… I guess she couldn’t see you, so Irvine kinda took your place! Selphie got sooo mad! I was so surprised with Sasha’s behaviour! I don’t remember her being ever so mean!
– next –
Date: 21.12.01AU 08:36:05
Subject: HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Seif, happy birthday, man, ya know? Fu didn’t want me writing on hers, so here’s mine! She can be so mean sometimes, ya know?
Nothing much happening around here. Yesterday I was on patrol and had to crack some heads, but nothing too exciting, ya know? Bwaah! Disciplinary committee work’s not the same without you and Fu! (you know, I almost wrote down “ya know?” again, but Fu’s been telling me that it’s bad enough I use it so much when I speak, so she wants me not to use it when I write…but it feels kinda funny not adding the “ya know?”, you know?)
The headmaster has assigned a couple of assistants to help me patrol the hallways, but it’s not the same… I kinda get frustrated when they ‘sir’ me too much…and man, do they like to follow ALL the rules! We had some real fun times together Seif!
Can’t wait for you to come back! Ma Dincht is gonna make one of her famous meals!
Fu just came in and read what I wrote…
See you back, Seif!
Does Fu still contact you at your official acct? Man, she can be so picky-strict sometimes! Me, I kinda like the name Selphie gave me, ya know? I dunno why she dislikes hers so much, ya know? What’s wrong with posse.girl-fu? I think its kinda cute, ya know?
‘ –Chuckle– …Heh! Raij just asking for his ass to get kicked! Man, will he ever fucking learn?! … Nah… I think that big ox likes it when Fu kicks him. Go figure…’
– next –
Date: 21.12.01AU 07:58:30
Subject: HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Sorry, I can’t really bring myself to write a profuse greeting, although I’m sure others will already have done so. Did you meet Tahera? She mentioned to me that she might be attending the CTF’s fundraising gala, so I told her you would be there. I don’t know why I bothered, as she seems to know these things before anyone else does…
Raijin and I are due for a visit to my parents next month (you know why), and it’s nice to have Tahera’s support. However, in spite of everything Raijin is still extremely nervous about it, but I told that fool not to worry. The only consent he really needs is mine! And I have already agreed! He makes me so mad sometimes! It’s not like this is the first time he’s met them! He should know by now what a bunch of phoney snobs the rest of my family happens to be!
Councilman Tavares was here a few days ago to negotiate some kind of protection arrangement with us, but unfortunately he also brought his daughter, Sasha, who as usual made a big nuisance of herself. I’m sure Selphie already told you everything, so I won’t bother.
‘That’s Fu for ya! Straight an’ to the point… Just like Tahera. Hmmn, she seemed kinda cosy-like with that old man… ’
See you home.
– next –
‘Wow, an email from Matron! ’S up? She usually calls me…’
Date: 21.12.01AU 06:23:44
Subject: Best Wishes
My child, just wanted to drop a quick line to tell you that the Headmaster and I wish you a very, very, very Happy Birthday!
Weren’t you surprised to receive a message from me this way?
Well, Selphie very patiently sat down with me, and taught me all the basics! I know you would be extremely busy today, so I refrained from calling your unit. I tried to get Hazel to learn with me as well, but she refused by saying that calling was more than enough for her! Oh, by the way, she sends her love…
‘Hah! Ma Dincht hates anything related to machines… Maybe that’s why Chicken-wuss is quite good with… Fuck! I can’t believe I’m thinking what I’m thinking! I am becoming a sissy!’
…and says to tell you she’s making all your favourite dishes! Why is it that you never told me you liked grilled Balamb fish?…
‘Matron you gotta be kiddin’ me? You are, right? Remember the sorceress, knight thing?…’
…Anyways, I told Hazel I would be also making some of your other favourite dishes…
–Groan–‘ Ah, shit! I’m so fuckin’ dead! I hope they’re not gonna ask me to judge…’
…that I remembered you liked as a child.
I’m sure everyone told you that we’re planning something very nice for you, so please come home as soon you are both finished there! Send Quistis my love.
A big hug,
Matron and Cid
“Save messages and Logoff”
The people that didn’t know Seifer Almasy well would’ve been shocked to catch an almost boyish smile hovering over his lips. Silently shaking his head as he recalled some of the messages, he concluded that they were actually using his birthday as an excuse to pig out and party. He felt a bit uneasy about the cookout between Matron and Ma, but decided not to worry about it… ‘Raij’s gonna be there, so I’m sure the food won’t get wasted…’ It would be good to see everyone. The few hours they spent at Nida’s wedding didn’t count. This time around they had real holidays, and would be spending some quality time in Balamb. Even that ass Laguna had invited himself to spend New Year over, as Ma Dincht’s guest…
‘After all the shit I’d had to put up with these past few days, I fucking deserve a trophy!’ Trepe was a little slave driver, but he didn’t mind the hard work. No. What he hated was all the fucking schmoozing! He refused to have any part in it. He also hated watching Quistis at it. It pissed him off big time, and she knew it. From time to time, she would flash him one of her little challenging looks, as if daring him to explode, but he never did. No matter the provocation, he always managed to keep his temper under control. Humph! One point in his favour.
Moreover, observing Quistis in action had proven to be a very interesting exercise. Oh, he’d seen her interact enough in Esthar, but most of the personnel there were either military or used to the military. In other words, the people at Lunatic Pandora or the Esthar Garden Project were used to authority and hierarchy. No matter how complex or difficult the problem, or large in scope, these people understood military code. And Quistis occupied one of the top commands, which meant that in the worse case scenario, she could just make it an order, and it would get done anyway.
On the other hand, the sort of discussion ongoing in Timber was outside the strictures of the military, and a completely new territory to him. Here, everyone was on an equal footing, and the only way to get any results was in negotiation. His appreciation of Trepe’s abilities went up several notches, as he observed her parley her way through with a bunch of wily old politicians. She even had that old fart Esmond Jones, the head honcho of the anti-garden faction, eating right out of her hand.
Him? He’d lost count of the times he’d wanted to slice someone through with Hyperion, but had somehow contained himself (he’d figured that Quistis would not be very happy with him if he chose that route to get his point across…). Maybe he should’ve paid more attention to what she was saying in class back in the old days, but he’d been more interested in staring at that nicely rounded ass of hers as it swayed around the classroom. In any case, it was never too late to learn. Watching Trepe in action these past few days had been more productive for him than any amount spent inside a stuffy classroom!
The way he figured it, Timber stood more to lose if they did not sign up with B-Garden. Their own forces were in terrible shape, and they not only lacked suitable training facilities, they lacked qualified trainers! On top of everything, they were also in dire need of some kind of security measure to protect the population in case of a sudden monster influx. The Pandora Lunatic Project was progressing very nicely, but from that to its completion… Timber might be overrun by monsters before any of the planned controls were in place! After assessing the situation, he concluded that they were like sitting ducks. That Wendigo attack at Odel Lake was just the tip of the iceberg!
Seifer frowned. After Ultimecia’s defeat, the monsters had been multiplying like crazy, and the worst part of it all was that they were also getting stronger! Did that bitch act as some sort monster growth inhibitor? The idea got discarded as quickly as it came under the label of “too-nuts-to-be-even-considered.” At least that little moron Zone, as much as he disliked to admit it, realized that FRT was going to be facing a huge crisis if they didn’t do something about it, and soon. Both Quis and himself had been working their ass off to convince both Upper and Lower Houses to back the agreement Zone had drafted with B-Garden. Commander Puberty was probably rolling on the floor now, laughing his head off! Man, how he hated all the fucking paperwork! How did Squall put up with all this shit day-in day-out?
The only good thing resulting from their punishing schedule, was that there had been no free time for anything! Not for him, and specially not for the instructor, being the sort of dedicated person that she was… Early to rise, late to bed as she made him and herself go through endless dossiers over and over again. He didn’t it mind at all. The more he had her to himself, the less time she got to spend with that moronic boyfriend of hers. As it was, the only time those two got to see each other was during the endless rounds of meetings –Smirk– with him present…
True. He’d decided to “tolerate” the present situation (He had no fucking choice – It was Quistis’ decision…). But… he’d be damned if he was going to make things easy for them! Besides, he needed to stay close to Trepe, and keep all those dogs sniffing after her away. They still had not been able to determine the identity of their shadowy attackers, nor of the hooded figure who seemed to be in control of them. He’d been torn between wanting to be on the team the Headmaster had sent to Centra upon their return of the mission and guarding a comatose Quistis. In the end, it was no choice at all. ‘At least they sent Priya Dephta, she’s pretty good in this sort of reconnaissance missions.’ But they had returned empty handed. The bastards had completely cleared the area.
He knew Squall and the Headmaster were doing their best… but he had a very bad feeling about the whole thing. Hopefully, Zell’s venture into Kashkabald Desert might throw some light into the whole mess, ‘Humph! Who’d think that I’d end up relying on Chickenwuss of all people!’ He knew for sure that it would’ve never crossed the mind of his younger self two years ago… ‘Dammit! I have a very bad feeling ‘bout this whole fucking business…’ He felt Tiamat’s faint stirring, ‘Yeah… I don’t like it either. They were not random attacks.’
It was the main reason why he’d insisted they both be allowed to carry their weapons. He knew Quistis could probably get away with concealing hers, but there was no way he could camouflage Hyperion, specially after it was remodified by Johan…
“That’s a very interesting blade you’ve got there, Seifer… Mind if I take a look?”
“I thought your specialty was aeronautics.”
“Yeah, but from time to time I like to tinker with gunblades.”
“You’re fucking kiddin’!”
“No, as a matter of fact, I’m not. I’m even quite adept with one. –Smirk– Of course, not up to your standards, Almasy.”
“Heh, shall we put your skill to the test?”
In the end, Johan proved to be exactly as he claimed. His skill with the gunblade was quite good, but where he proved to be unparalleled was in his knowledge of this weapon class. He even admitted to being a contributor to Weapon’s Monthly Gunblade section!
“Seifer, did you know that the kurogane which makes up Hyperion’s blade is extremely rare?”
“That’s the name of the black alloy from which your blade has been forged. It’s partly Adamantine and partly some other very strange substance…”
“Fuck if I do! All I need to know is that I can slice through tough Ruby Dragon skin!”
“Hmmn…after examining your weapon, I think I can improve it… specially now that you are in synch with Tiamat…”
“Because of the nature of the strange alloy that makes up your blade, and in part the gun as well… I think I can modify your weapon in such a way that when you junction Tiamat, Hyperion will also benefit from it.”
“Well? What do you say? It’s all in theory, however…”
“Hell, Tiamat approves! Let’s go for it!”
“ –Snort– No one can say you’re fainthearted, Seifer.”
“Fuck, I’ll agree to anything that can increase my power.”
“There are some risks involved…”
“So be it. –Smirk– Where would the fun be otherwise?”
“You’ve been warned, Almasy.”
In the end, Johan’s tinkering had paid off big time. The enhanced weapon had allowed him to fence off the attacks of those shadow warriors. All those long hours of hard training to get used to Hyperion’s new weight, had been worth the trouble. However, he was realistic enough to know that had the fight continued, no amount of enhancement would’ve been enough. It was two against an enemy that could not be stricken down… It made him very uneasy to think that they were being toyed with. And Quistis. After every confrontation she would end up being strangely drained. Not battle tired, not hurt, just seriously drained. ‘I don’t fucking like it!’ But they would be ready for the next attack.
He’d been surprised at how easy it’d been to secure Zone’s approval for keeping their weapons. ‘I guess people expect SeeD members to be always armed…’ He didn’t give a shit about the reason, as long as he was able to keep Hyperion. He’d even gone over all the security arrangements with Watts, not only for the talks but also for the reception tonight. ‘Fuck, these people have shitty security!’ After looking at the plans, he’d made Watts re-deploy everything. It would not be the first time he’d wished to have some of his own people here…
‘The time now is 00:00:00,01
Remember: No Time Like Present Time!
Get a CARPE DIEM WATCH!’
Humph…He looked at the huge clock with its annoyingly flashy display, and realized that he was officially as of now, 20 years old. No wiser. No better. Just fucking older. Big Deal. Today was just the fucking same as yesterday. With his back against the balcony rail, Seifer leaned against it using his elbows as props, and stared up into the starry sky. He was twenty now and finally a SeeD, but he was nowhere near his real heart’s desire…
Frowning slightly, he wondered what kind of relationship would Quistis be getting with a major wuss like Zone. He hadn’t really expected a lovey-dovey kind of relationship, as this was Trepe after all… He wondered if that little shit had to ask Trepe for permission before kissing her, then scowled ferociously at an innocent shooting star streaking across the night sky. Thinking about that moron’s lips on Quis’ really pissed him off!
Swearing profusely under his breath, but unable to stop the train of his thoughts, Seifer wondered if Quistis would respond to that little shithead’s kiss in the same way she did to his… ‘What the FUCK am I doing? I don’t wanna know!’ Angry at himself, he left the balcony and plonked down on his bed with a heavy thud. However, he was not able to block the images that came to his mind… ‘Fucking great! It’s my birthday and the only thing that’ll make me happy is the idea of hurting that pansy-pants Zone!’ …In spite of himself he almost laughed out loud. At least he hadn’t lost his sense of humour…
He’d expected Zone to try and spend some quality time with Trepe during the reception tonight, he’d been the one to score. Seifer stared up into the ceiling fan, and smirked at the memory. Another point for him…
Quistis had plastered a very false smile on her face as she made up an excuse, and forcibly dragged him into a secluded corner, away from prying eyes and ears. He allowed himself to be pulled, unsurprised to see her place her fisted hands akimbo on her hips while glaring furiously at him. He kept the smirk on his face, knowing very well that it would made her even more mad at him…
“Seifer! Why are you being so difficult tonight?!”
“Why, Instructor! I’m hurt! I’ve been at my best behaviour!”
“Oooh! You…you dumbass!”
He’d raised an eyebrow at her choice of words. He hadn’t been able to resist.
“Tsk, tsk, Instructor! Such language!”
“Don’t you dare give me that! Do you know who it was that you were so rude to a few minutes ago?”
He knew. But he had still wanted to knock the teeth off that dweeb’s leering face.
“No. And I don’t give a fuck either, Instructor.”
“You were rude to Minister Stanley Cole! Garden’s ally and leader of the Upper House!”
“That sleazebag just wanted to get into your pants, Trepe.”
The little bastard was lucky he had contained himself from running him though with Hyperion. Of course the Instructor would not see it his way. When did she ever?
“Do I need to pull rank on you here, Squad Leader?!”
Seifer stared into those flashing blue eyes, and refrained himself from acting on his first impulse. Instead, he deliberately shrugged his shoulders with nonchalance and said.
“Meh, he’ll get over it after a minor confrontation with another Wendigo…”
“Seifer, it’s me.”
He recognized the voice immediately. Getting up, he went to get the door. After he swung it open, he was unsurprised to see Quistis standing outside.
“Uh, may I come in?”
He raised an eyebrow, but silently stepped aside to allow enough space for her to enter. She hesitated briefly at the doorway, as she stared up into his face, before entering his room. She held a rather large squarish box in her hands, with the words “CyGaramond” etched in very fancy silver lettering on the cover. Holding it out to him, she smiled shyly and said.
“This is from all of us. Happy Birthday, Seifer!”
This time, he was surprised. Very surprised. His hands came out automatically to receive the gift, but his eyes were on Quistis’ face. She blushed slightly, flustered by his perusal, before saying.
He placed the box on a table.
“I-I hope you like it. Sorry it’s not wrapped, but it’s been really crazy…”
“Selph recommended a store, and Sis helped me choo…”
She finally realized he was calling her by her name. It was a rare incident, rare enough to make her stare at him.
“Aren’t you forgetting something, Instructor?”
Frowning blue eyes stared into inscrutable green ones. Somehow relieved and annoyed at the same time that he’d reverted to his usual…
“What did I forget?”
Swiftly closing the distance between them, Seifer lifted her chin and without allowing her any time to think, seized her lips rather roughly. Lips that were both forceful and cajoling at the same time. Lips that burned their way through days, weeks and months of self-control and denial.
§ ~ § ~ §
I am the most grotesque
I am the most beautiful
The transience of mortality is meaningless to one such as myself. Even those who follow and serve me are subject to laws forged by other gods. As their followers will be subject to mine. It is befitting.
(Master, the initiates are ready for the ceremony)
(Very well, take them to the Chamber of Subjugation)
(We have four Candidates…)
(Only one is gifted in the Arts)
My existence is all encompassing
My being is unfathomable
Mortals will do anything to avoid that which they fear the most. For many, this means death. Such a triviality. It is easy to prey upon their terror in order to gain their compliance…
(Dispose of the weaker three, and only have the one Candidate before the Chalice)
(Master, the experience might prove to be too much for the Candidate)
(So be it. Let that be a true measure of the Candidate’s ability)
I am the most loathed
I am the most beloved
Those who fear the unknown stand to lose the most, for they will desperately seek the counsel of false gods who care nothing for them. And yet every act they do to avoid me only serves to bring them closer to me. Mortals are such fools.
(Ignore the objections of Master Ji, Caster, and proceed as ordered)
(The others should be tested as well!)
(Master Ji, you are as well acquainted with the covenant as I am. No exceptions were made with my own child when her candidacy was submitted, therefore no exceptions can be made for yours)
(You bastard! I suppose you feel very smug with yourself when Sasha became an Initiate with flying colours!)
(I am a top level Master Caster, and presently the Overseer of Candidates. Something you should take care to consider before uttering such nonsense)
(Your own daughter was presented alongside three other Candidates!)
(All of whom were gifted in the Arts, unlike this present batch)
(Why is it that only she managed to pull through, while the other three became drained?)
(You were the Overseer at the time, Master Ji. Surely you can answer that question better than I can)
(I wouldn’t put it past you to cheat!)
(I am not the one who failed. You should have known that drafting the children of four prominent families, all from the same place would draw attention)
(Fool! They were all gifted!)
(I had to personally go and retrieve the Initiate due to your own ineptitude…)
(There shall be no bickering among Masters)
(My apologies, Great Doma)
(Pardon me, Great One)
(Very well, Master Ai, please go and insure that Candidate is ready for the rite of passage, should he survive the rite of passage)
(As you wish, Great One)
(Master Ji, come with me)
(Y-yes, Great Doma)
(It displeases me that you seek to bicker with Master Xi)
(Great Doma, I-I was the one prov…)
(You have already been forgiven once, since your mistake gave us a blue witch. However, do not slip again)
(Y-yes, Great Doma)
Darkness and light
They all become I
(What is it, my disciple)
(Please forgive my daring, Great One, but…)
(Thanks to Master Ji’s fumbling we have found two, why are we holding off?)
(We need all Seven)
(Why not secure the two we know?)
(All in due time, my loyal assistant… All in due time… Our ancestors failed in the first awakening, because they were impatient. Did not read the signs correctly. We shall not fail, because we are patient. We know how to lie in wait)
The wheels of fate are in motion. I will be free. As I should be. As I have to be.
I am Everything
Everything is I
§ ~ § ~ §
To be continued…