Continuing on with Final Fantasy: Returning Hope!
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She’d done it. She hadn’t wanted to hurt anyone, but she had let instinct take over, and instinct told her to protect the men who had protect her.
The flames that had erupted from her palms began to slowly die down, revealing a scorched and twisted mess of metal in their wake. Terra gradually lowered her arms, leaving the last of the fire to burn itself out, and turned in disgust from the smoking, stinking heap.
The look on Edgar’s face took her by surprise. Rather than looking relieved, she found him staring at the smoldering fires with eyes as wide as saucers, his jaw hanging slightly open.
Locke was hoisting himself from the ground, rubbing his head and stretching to peer around Edgar’s chocobo. “What’s happening?” He blinked a few times at the pile of melted metal and then up at Edgar’s shocked expression. “W-what’s the matter?” he asked in concern. “Edgar, you look positively spooked!”
“D-did you see what I just saw?” Edgar stammered.
Locke glanced back to the receding flames and then, oddly enough, started to examine Terra from every angle. “You loaded for bear, kid?” he asked, and Terra realized he was looking for the weapon she’d used to cause such destruction.
“She’s amazing!” Edgar exclaimed suddenly, startling his chocobo. He turned his wide eyes to Locke’s. “That was magic! Magic!” He said the word as though it meant something both holy and terrifying.
“M-m-magic?” Locke stuttered. He looked at Terra, and then back at the destruction behind her. He was looking with new eyes this time. His eyebrows raised and his mouth dropped open in realization, his face now a mirror of Edgar’s. “She used magic?”
“Terra…” Edgar barely whispered. “Where in the world did you learn…?”
Terra’s face was hot and her heart was fluttering like a hummingbird’s wings. She clenched and unclenched her fists, confused and upset, completely insecure and unable to speak. What had she done wrong? She’d saved them, hadn’t she? What was the problem? Why were they looking at her that way?
“I…sorry…I…” she whispered, her voice cracking painfully. “I…I just…”
The pain on her face registered something in Locke and he shook himself out of his own bewilderment. He shoved past Edgar’s chocobo and rushed to grab one of Terra’s hands. “No, no, it’s okay!” he promised frantically. “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to make such a big deal out of it!”
“Me either!” Edgar insisted loudly. He hopped from his chocobo and rushed forward as well. “It’s just that I’ve never actually seen magic before…where did you…?”
Locke cut him off at the strange look in Terra’s eyes. “Look, Edgar…Terra can use magic and we can’t, and that’s it! She’s still our friend, and frankly we could use her help. She certainly saved our hides just now!”
Terra’s heart fluttered again, but for new reasons this time.
“You’re right, of course,” Edgar admitted. “This doesn’t change anything, naturally. She’s still just Terra.” He grinned at her, his smile genuine and sincere.
She let her face break into a smile and allowed instinct to take over once again. “Thank you Locke!” she cried, wrapping her arms around him for a quick, tight embrace. She squeezed once, firmly, before releasing him and giving Edgar the same treatment. “Thank you Edgar!” By the time she stepped back again both their faces were red as roses.
“Stop swooning!” Locke hissed under his breath at Edgar.
“You stop swooning!” Edgar hissed back.
The voice was distant, but they all heard the enraged shriek coming from the direction in which Figaro Castle no longer stood.
“Perhaps we should move on?” Edgar suggested urgently.
With everyone in full agreement, they quickly saddled up on the remaining two chocobos – Locke squeezed on with Terra – and took off to the south-east as fast as the birds would allow. Kefka’s furious screams eventually faded into the early morning air.
“He’s scary,” Terra observed quietly. She couldn’t stop picturing his abnormally pale skin and blood-like makeup.
Her simple observation caused Locke to chuckle, but there was little humor in the sound. “He certainly is.”
They rode in silence for several long minutes before Terra spoke up again. “Where are we going?” she asked.
“Through South Figaro and then into the mountains,” replied Edgar. “There’s someone I’d like you to meet.”
“Another Returner,” Locke explained. “Our mentor, Banon.”
“He will surely like to meet you,” Edgar said, smiling at the thought. “Especially with what we now know. Your magic just may be the key to winning this war.”
“Magic…” Terra rolled the word around in her mouth. It sounded familiar, but ultimately meant nothing to her.
“Terra has magical powers,” Locke said, mostly to himself. “According to Arvis, that esper seemed to…react to her. Could there be some connection?”
Terra thought about it for a moment, but nothing came to her. “I haven’t the foggiest,” she said honestly. “I didn’t really think about it. It just seems completely natural to me that I have the use of this power. It’s like breathing.”
Edgar frowned. “But no human is born with the sort of power you seem to have, and-”
Terra’s face had fallen again and Locke was glaring daggers at the king.
“I apologize,” Edgar said quickly. “I just meant that you’re very unique. I’m sure the Empire will be coming after you, and if they get their hands on you again…well, it won’t be good for anyone.”
Terra imagined the death and destruction her powers could cause under the influence of another slave crown. “What should I do?” she pleaded.
“You want to understand all of this, right?” Edgar asked. “Then I think we should consult with Banon. He is very wise.”
Terra didn’t reply, but after a moment she gave a quiet nod.
“Alright then. There’s a cave in this direction that will take us to South Figaro. We’ll make our way there and rest for the night.”