|Terror in the Night
Author: Martin III PM
-SF2- The peaceful sleep of Granseal's residents is shattered by the coming of a monstrous creature. What it wants: Bowie.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy - Words: 1,858 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Published: 08-31-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5345844
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Well, here is my second Shining Force II story, and the first one to not be a crossover with Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict. If you enjoy this piece or loathe it, do let me know, as I already have a sequel plotted out - and as always, both praise and constructive criticism are appreciated.
Readers of my first Shining Force II story may have noticed that I borrowed the name "Kaylee" for Bowie's mother from an earlier SF2 fic(can't remember which one now, and for some reason I never wrote it down). Besides saving me the trouble of thinking up a new name, this creates a bit of consistency among Shining fan fiction. For that same reason, I am now using the same name Demonic Weasel gave the minister in "The Granserian Way". (To the best of my knowledge, Rananer is the only other writer who has given a name to the minister, and since his story is in Spanish, it was obvious which of the two names I should use.)
The milieu and characters of this fanfic are property of Sega. This story is set a few years after Shining Force II - I'll let you decide exactly how many.
Terror in the Night
plot and script - Martin III
Bowie's eyes flickered, opening just a sliver. He'd been woken by a noise... a distant sound of loud thunder. In his dreary semblance of consciousness, he concluded that it was still the middle of the night, and he closed his eyes, once more entrusting himself to the comfort of his warm, cushiony bed.
There it was again. Not so distant this time. Is this going to keep up? he wondered, trying to estimate the odds of his getting a good sleep out of the remainder of the night.
Definitely getting closer. And each time pushed Bowie a little more awake, so that the thunder began to sound rather familiar...
He groaned in sudden recognition. "Oh no, not again."
Elis stirred beside him with a similar groan, pulling at the thick covers that lay over them. "By Mitula, not tonight..."
"Your turn," Bowie muttered.
She smacked the back of his head with a pillow. "This isn't the baby! It's your turn, Bowie; it always is. I can't stop this. You're the only one in Granseal who can handle it. You're the only one with the power to."
"Getting a little melodramatic, aren't we?" he mumbled, but she was right. There was no one else who stood even a chance against what was coming for them. So he rolled out of bed, stuffed on his slippers, lit the lamp set by the bedside, and went to the window to take a look out.
THOOM. THOOM. The footsteps were getting closer, and he could see an enormous shadow in the distance. It seemed to tower over the nearby hills.
Bowie swallowed. "He's gotten bigger."
"It's your imagination," Elis muttered.
"No, love; I'm sure of it."
She perked her head up. "How much more can he grow? At that size... by Mitula, Bowie, what does he eat?"
"I'd rather not think about that, honestly. If he gets much bigger, anything less than a devil king will be nothing but a light snack to him."
"Or he could just grab a section of a castle filled with juicy people and munch on that," Elis said with a shiver.
"That's not going to happen," he vowed.
THOOM. THOOM. THOOM.
Elis scrambled out of bed, hastily adjusting her night gown. She came to Bowie's side, a hand slightly touching his arm as she stared out the window with him. "Gods. Merciful gods. We must be like ants to him. What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to tell him off."
"You're joking." He didn't reply. "Bowie, you can't!"
"What, I have to allow this to keep happening? No. I've had it with having to deal with this nightmare. It ends here, tonight."
THOOM! THOOM!! THOOM!!!
Bowie involuntarily trembled as it came closer. With each step, the shadow loomed larger and larger, eclipsing the moon. It eventually covered the entire window, laying darkness over the room like a blanket of death. Only the lamp continued to provide light, light enough for them to see the terrifying monstrosity before them.
Its enormous jaws opened, revealing a reptilian tongue, and from it boomed a voice like the shattering of boulders, carrying a breath rich with the stench of dead animal flesh: "Um... Bowie?"
The hero of Granseal let out a heavy sigh. "Hello, Kiwi. Listen, I told you before that we can't keep feeding you, and you're bigger than you were then."
"I'm not hungry," Kiwi shook his head. "I had a big meal just before dark."
"Good. Did you forget that this is the time when you go to sleep - when all of us go to sleep?"
Kiwi looked at him with round, innocent eyes that were filled with worry. "I can't sleep. I'm scared."
"You?" Elis put in.
There was an awkward silence. Bowie dropped his face in his palm. "Kiwi, have you... have you noticed how much smaller the castle looks now? Hasn't it occurred to... Look, you're the largest living thing on the face of the world! There's nothing on this side of Arc Valley for you to be afraid of."
Kiwi tilted his head up and let out a massive sigh - though perhaps it wasn't so massive from Kiwi's perspective. "I'm bigger than all the animals and bigger than the people-homes. But the night sky is still so much bigger than me. It doesn't make a difference if I'm as big as a mountain or as big as an ant hill. I look up... and I see I'm still so small." Another moment of silence passed. "And I'm all alone, too."
"Kiwi, we told you, you can't live around other people. You're too big! If you roll over in your sleep, you could crush a house!" He took a breath. "Look, I... I'm sorry it has to be that way, but..."
"It's okay." Kiwi plopped down to a sitting position, and Bowie shut his eyes and clenched his teeth as the resulting tremor rocked through the castle. "I don't mind being alone most of the time. And I have so many friends I can visit."
"Not in the middle of the night, Kiwi!" Elis burst out.
"I'm sorry," he said in a sincere tone. "Didn't mean to wake everyone. I only came because I couldn't sleep. I'm scared."
"Aw..." At the sound of the familiar voice, Bowie leaned out the window and looked down to see minister Graig's father sticking his head out of his window. "Don't be sad, big fella. We're here for you."
Bowie sighed with exasperation. He'd hoped that the rest of the freshly awoken residents of the castle would stay out of the discussion out of respect for royalty, and for a minute that had held true. Now, however, besides Graig's quixotic father, he could hear children crying out "Look, mommy! Look!", and "Hi, Kiwi! Can I climb your shell again?", and other such things.
"Look, everyone," Bowie said with as much patience as he could muster, and his best impression of regal firmness, "Let me handle this, alright? Kiwi's my friend, and -"
"Kiwi's my friend, too!" a child called out.
"- and I'm... the royal consort, or something." He'd almost said 'the hero of Granseal', as that was what most people called him, but to call himself that was too pompous by far for Bowie's tastes. He struggled for what to say next… some relatively gentle way of telling Kiwi to get lost.
"Bowie's my best friend," Kiwi said to the other people sticking their heads out their windows. "That's why I came to him. He's always comforted and protected me, for as long as I can remember."
"What do you want me to do, Kiwi?" Bowie demanded. "How am I supposed to get you to sleep?"
"Could you... maybe tell me a story?"
"Bowie, maybe -" Elis began.
"No, I'm not going to tell you a story! You're a grown tortoise now, and you can very well get yourself to sleep without me around to tuck you in! Now go away, and don't come back unless it's daytime!"
The gargantuan monster looked back at him for a moment, unmoving, as though he wanted to do as Bowie told him to, but simply couldn't. Then a pair of tears began to well up in his eyes. One of them grew until it fell off his cheek and landed with a loud splash on the ground, forming as instant mud puddle.
A chorus of sympathetic moans for Kiwi harmonizing with mild boos for Bowie arose, growing in volume and power, eventually becoming punctuated by a series of voices taking their turns in solo parts.
"Aw, tell 'im just one story!"
"It won't take that long!"
"Least you could do for the brave little monster who helped you save the world!"
"How can you just stand there and watch him cry?"
Bowie clapped his hands over his ears. "Alright... I said, alright! I'll do it!" He waited until the crowd's voices had died down before taking his hands from his ears.
He looked Kiwi in the eye. The tremendous beast had wiped his tears away, and having surrendered to his whim, Bowie felt his irritation dissolve. "Look, Kiwi... you know I care about you, don't you? If there was any way I could, any way at all, I'd take care of you here at the castle for as long as you live. I don't like you being left out there in the wild to take care of yourself... There's just nothing else I can do, nothing I could ever do but look after you until you were big enough to look after yourself. You understand that, don't you?"
Kiwi just nodded.
"That's good." He smiled at the fearsome tortoise he'd found shivering and alone in the devastation of Granseal all those years ago, and his heart felt as though a heavy weight had lifted off of it. "Now, listen. I'm going to tell you one story. I'll try to make it a pretty long one... but if it doesn't help you go to sleep, I don't want to hear you crying for another one. You just leave the rest of us to get some sleep, alright?"
Kiwi nodded again. "Thank you, Bowie."
A smattering of applause went through the gathered residents of the castle. Elis shushed them, and Bowie took a deep breath to begin.