Since I’ve decided to start working on this project again as a way of getting my word count up, I’m going to keep posting bits of this for a while. Enjoy!
Reminder: If you’re looking for the previously posted parts of the story, go to the “Categories” drop-down banner on the left banner of the site and choose “Final Fantasy: Returning Hope”.
*Spites via http://www.videogamesprites.net
None slept soundly that night, but Edgar – having been plagued with nightmares about his family – was the first to realize that something was terribly wrong. He’d thrown on his favorite navy uniform from the day before and was walking through the halls with his auto-crossbow in hand when he heard the first scream.
“What the-?” The auto-crossbow was quickly strapped to his back and he took off running.
Edgar’s personal chambers opened out onto a stone bridge that spanned two of the outer towers; this vantage point gave him a wide view of the carnage below.
“What’s happening?” he screamed to a Figaro soldier below who was attempting to put out the nearest fire.
“It’s the Empire!” the soldier yelled back in a panic. “It’s Kefka!”
The laughter, rife with insanity, that echoed through the courtyard made Edgar’s blood boil. Kefka was standing, roaring with mirth, in the center of the chaos as screaming Figaro citizens ran from the fires.
“What the hell are you doing?!” Edgar bellowed in a rage.
“I know you’ve got the girl!” Kefka squealed back. “Bring her to me now, or welcome to my barbecue! Kya ha ha ha ha!”
Edgar’s fists clenched as he screamed a string of profanity that echoed across the desert. His outburst only made Kefka laugh harder.
A body appeared behind Edgar. “Your majesty,” the Chancellor spoke quickly and quietly. “The soldiers are gathering everyone inside as we speak…” As he said the words Edgar looked for himself. Those who were dashing about in the courtyard in a panic were actually quietly ducking into the main building.
“You’re ready then?”
The Chancellor nodded slightly.
Edgar glanced across to the eastern bridge, where Locke and Terra were watching from the shadows, out of Kefka’s view. Terra looked positively terrified, but she was dressed and ready. The two men locked gazes and Locke nodded.
“Do it,” Edgar commanded.
“Good luck, your majesty,” said the Chancellor before dashing off into the nearest corridor.
Edgar took a deep breath, hitched his cape back behind his shoulders, and hoisted himself up onto the wall of the bridge. “Kefka!” he bellowed.
Kefka looked up, and a wide, insane grin spread across his hideous white face. “Change your mind?” he called in a mocking tone.
“I guess I have no choice!” Edgar called back. But as Kefka laughed in glee, the young king placed two fingers in his mouth and belted out a sharp whistle that pierced through the night air. A cry like an eagle’s called in return. Before Kefka understood what was happening, three huge, yellow, chicken-like creatures – the size of horses – came sprinting around the tower. The three chocobos stopped beneath the bridge and Edgar leapt deftly onto the back of the lead.
“Ack!” Kefka cried out in surprise, but he quickly fell into maniacal laughter once more. “Shameful that a king should flee, leaving his people behind! How utterly delightful!”
Edgar wasn’t listening. He steered the chocobos, as swift as any other creature that ran on land, to the eastern bridge. “Jump!” he cried, but the others were already ahead of him. Terra landed gracefully on the back of her chocobo, while Locke almost tumbled right off his. He cursed loudly. Edgar urged the birds into a gallop, past Kefka – who was now gaping with wide eyes – and through the gate that he’d broken through.
“Go!” Edgar called behind as loud as he could. “Dive now!”
“Submerge mode initiated!” came the Chancellor’s voice from high on top of the central tower. “No one can touch the people of Figaro!”
“Yahoo!” Locke cried across the desert.
There was a sudden immense rumbling, like the entire desert was shaking.
“What’s happening?” Terra yelled out in alarm. Edgar was grinning at her.
“The people of Figaro have long studied the potential of machinery,” he explained, winking and pointing to the auto-crossbow on his back. “What you’re hearing is the secret of our desert castle!”
And with a second, closer look, Terra gaped in surprise to see that the huge stone fortress was actually beginning to slowly sink into the golden desert sands. In the foreground, as the sand rose in large, dusty clouds, Terra saw Kefka running as fast as his legs would take him and felt an uncontrollable urge to laugh out loud.
The three galloped away, laughing together, secure in their knowledge that the people of Figaro were safe. It was not yet so, however, for them.
“Go!” came Kefka’s enraged voice, wafting on the wind. “Get them! Get them!”
It happened very quickly. Two soldiers, clad in full Magitek armors, emerged from the clouds of sand. There was a sound like an explosion as something collided with the sand mere feet from Locke. His chocobo reared and screamed in surprise, dumping him to the ground as it took off as fast as it could go. Edgar brought his mount to an unsteady halt in front of his fallen friend and ripped the auto-crossbow from his back. A round of bullets that could have easily been fatal shot the weapon away from his hand.
The Magitek armors, with their long stride, were on them in moments, all guns pointed directly at the two men.
“I’m really gonna enjoy this,” one of the soldiers snarled. He had both his cannons aimed at Edgar’s chest.
They were trapped. Edgar had no weapon and he couldn’t flee without leaving Locke for dead. The Magitek soldiers couldn’t possibly miss.
Terra made her decision without realizing it. The soldiers blinked stupidly at her as she leaped off her chocobo and ran into the center of the confrontation. Edgar shouted something that sounded like a plea to get back, but she paid him no attention.
“Then you’ll be the first, you little bitch!” the soldier screamed.
He barely got the words out of his mouth before Terra had raised both her hands, cried out unintelligibly into the night sky, and all the land before her erupted into an enormous pillar of fire.