Continuing on with Final Fantasy: Returning Hope!
Enjoy, and also check out FanFiction.net, where I’ll also be posting this story.
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
Edgar had sent a pigeon ahead to the scout from Figaro; the message told the scout to enter the secret tunnels his people had excavated beneath the desert, and to tell the Chancellor to bring Figaro Castle home. A masterwork of mechanics was the castle, engineered and manufactured over decades. It had originally been the brain-child of Edgar’s great-great-grandfather, but it was only during Edgar’s rule that it was finally completed. He remembered when they’d first tested it they’d evacuated the entire structure, save for Edgar and those required to operate the machinery. The castle had descended gloriously into the desert sands on an ingenious system of gears and tracks…and promptly got stuck. Edgar had been in a panic, knowing that his subjects were above, baking in the sun, waiting for their home to reappear.
It had all worked out in the end, of course, but even so Edgar let out a sigh of relief to see those stone towers waiting as he and his companions crested over the final dune.
“Ever consider moving the castle to a nice meadow?” Locke complained, his bandana soaked with sweat.
“Then I’d have to put up with the likes of you landing on my doorstep that much more often,” Edgar retorted with a rye grin. Locke stuck out his tongue and Sabin chuckled.
“Now, now, boys,” Celes said. “Play nice.”
As they half-walked, half-slid down the dune toward the castle, Edgar cast a sidelong glance at the Magitek knight. She hadn’t spoken much during their little hike South, but every now and then she would chime in with an offhand remark or two, and she seemed friendly enough. But though he’d helped defend her against Cyan’s anger, and though she’d proved herself in helping to defend Narshe and the esper, Edgar couldn’t help wondering about her. After all, this woman had been a part of the Empire her entire life, and had done some terrible things in their employ. Additionally, Edgar had seen the way Locke looked at her, and that worried him. In Edgar’s opinion, Locke had suffered enough heartbreak for a lifetime.
The Chancellor was waiting for them at the gate, eager to hear the details of the king’s journey, but Edgar was all business. He gave instructions for preparations to mobilize again immediately, then turned to his companions to find his brother staring at the walls with a glassy look in his eyes.
I can’t believe I forgot, the king thought to himself. Sabin hasn’t been here in over a decade.
As though sensing his brother’s thoughts, Sabin’s eyes moved to Edgar and he grinned. “Just like old times,” he said. “I’ll, uh, have to wander around for a bit.”
Edgar nodded. “Of course.”
Sabin needed no further encouragement. With a faraway look on his face, he strode off into his childhood home.
After a few moments Locke cleared his throat. “How long will the trip be?” he inquired.
“To move the castle all the way to the desert outside Kohlingen, we should expect to be underground for ten hours,” the Chancellor explained. “That is, assuming that we have no issues traveling under the mountain, where rock-slides occasionally gum up the tracks.”
“In other words,” Edgar added to his friend, “Go get some rest while you can.”
“Just what I wanted to hear,” Locke admitted with a grin. He turned to Celes and gestured for her to follow. “Come on. I’ll show you where the guest quarters are.”
When the two had wandered out of sight, the Chancellor leaned toward and asked in a hushed voice, “My liege, is that woman-?”
Edgar sighed. “Yes, but I think we can trust her.” And I pray I’m right.