A/N I know I know kept you all waiting so very long for an update. I've been going through some shit in my life, n now I finally got the time to give you an update. Unless my boyfriend decides to come home and distract me. So I'm gonna try and type very, very fast. I had a really hard time trying to figure out exactly how I wanted this chapter to go, because it's a very important turning point in the story. We're going to be adding some plot twists and maybe a few new characters too while I'm at it. So let's get too it, shall we?

The Sacrifice

(The funny thing I was once again partially into it and I once again changed how it's going to go. Course then my computer froze and I had to start over. I'm having great luck with this chap... can't ya'll tell??)

Ruby made her way slowly through the crowded streets of Lindblum's Business District, keeping her eyes open for her friends. All she could do was hope that they had made it this far.

It had taken her forever to get out of Alexandria. After the Knights of Pluto's Captain Steiner had witnessed the Princess flinging herself from the cliff on whichAlexandria stood security had somewhat relaxed about the city, however there was still the matter of Alexandria Castle's female guards. Apparently Captain Aldebert Steiner didn't have much standing with Queen Brahne and she hadn't really taken his report all that seriously when he had returned from searching the lake at the bottom of the cliff without even a trace of the Princess or her two companions.

Finally Ruby had made it out of Alexandria aboard an Airship owned and piloted by one of her cousins. She had convinced her cousin to take her to Lindblum, but to first make a stop near Evil Forest so that she could examine the wreckage of Tantalus' Airship. It hadn't given her much hope. Who could have survived such a horrible crash? She had found only one grave and it had chilled her to the bone. Who's remains lay beneath the ground? Was it Blank? Oh Gods... She would not be able to bare it.

She had reached Lindblum the night before. The town was alive with rumors of the Alexandrian Princess being at the palace. Finally she had a glimpse at some hope. Blank had been with the Princess. If she had made it, then surely he had too. She took out a room at the Inn and had slept better that night than she had in ages. She dreamed of holding her beloved Blank in her arms again. Oh please Gods... Let her have this one wish...

When she had gone to Tantalus' hideout, however, it had been empty. Asking around she had found out that some of the members of Tantalus had been spotted at various locations around town, so she began her search anew. Somehow she had a feeling that she would find them at Pop's Diner. That was Zidane's favorite hangout and it had rubbed off on the other guys. What was better to a man than good food and beautiful waitresses?

As she entered, the aroma of beef stew hit her hard and made her mouth water. She decided that even if the guys weren't here this wouldn't be a wasted trip. She had been in such a hurry to find Blank, Marcus, Cinna, and Baku that she had forgotten about breakfast.

Glancing about the diner she felt her heart sink as she saw no one she recognized. She sighed and went over to the counter to place her order. It was early yet, they were bound to show up sooner or later. For now she would enjoy the food the way the men about her seemed to be enjoying the waitresses.

----

Kuja sat back, exhausted from his efforts. Despite his powerful magic, all he had managed to do was give her vague images... mere traces of what he could do if the link between them were stronger. If only she had given her maidenhood to him instead of to that blonde haired fool. Ah well... perhaps there was a way to get another... stronger... link. But for that he needed blood. Or better yet... a girl who shared a blood link with Princess Garnet.

The thought may have been nothing more than just the tired wanderings of his mind. But as he dwelled on it, a plan began to form. A real plan. He knew the truth of the princess' heritage even if she did not. Her birth mother had died nearly eleven years ago. Along with a majority of the princess' people. But when he had briefly merged with her mind and spirit, he had felt another...

----

Mayleena walked slowly through the forest paths, stopping every so often to study the herbs along the way. She was on her way to Lindblum, her chocobo Cassandra following her closely. She had found Cassandra many years ago as nothing more than an egg and had nurtured it until it had hatched. They had been pretty much inseparable ever since.

The sun shone brightly this day and she lifted her face up to capture the warm rays. There was a hint of rain in the southerly wind that played with her long chestnut hair. Her green eyes sparkled as she thought about it. She loved the rains of summer. They always cleared away the mist for a few precious moments. She hated the mist. It had been the spawn of the mist that had taken her mother from her about six years ago. She had been on her own ever since. Well... until she had found that man... He had yet to wake up however.

She had woken one morning and found that Cassandra was missing. After hours of frantic searching with no luck she had returned home to find her chocobo standing anxiously by the small wooden house her father had built before she was born. Beside her was a man, lying broken and bleeding upon the ground. She was surprised he still lived. She now traveled to Lindblum in hopes of finding a Doctor for him. She had learned much from her mother, but she feared that he had a head wound that she could do nothing for. All his external wounds had been healed. But the white magic that she had inherited from her father was not strong enough for the kind of injuries he might have.

She had heard the last time she had made a trip to Lindblum that the famous Doctor Tot would be coming. He was bound to be there by now. She knew that he would help her. She had known Doctor Tot all her life. Her mother had taken her to him when she had grown very ill as a child. If worse came to worse all she had to do was let him finally examine the jewel that her father had given to her before she was born. It was the only thing that she had besides the house to let her know that she did have a father. He had left her mother before she was even born. He had left the jewel for her and warned her mother to never let it fall into someone else's hands. She had no idea why it was so special to him... but it was special to her because it was the only gift she had from him. She wore it on a silver chain around her neck and never took it off. The jewel was small, no bigger than a marble. But she loved it more than anything in the world.

When Doctor Tot had first seen the jewel he had been ecstatic. He said it reminded him of the jewels he had seen in Alexandria Palace. He had wanted to examine them, but Mayleena's mother had refused to let him. The warning of her lover still remained with her. She could sense a power dwelling within the jewel. A power similar to what she had felt dwelling inside Mayleena's father. A power so great it made her tremble.

Finally she reached Lindblum. She talked to one of the guards at the entrance and found out that today Doctor Tot was at the church's library. She smiled and made her way anxiously through the business district.

----

He hid in the shadows of an alleyway, watching as she made her way through the crowded streets. He knew it was her that he sought. He could sense the aura around her. She would soon be his to control. His puppet... His sacrifice....

----

Ruby was just finishing her stew when Marcus and Cinna walked into the Diner. She cried out excitedly and had her arms wrapped tightly around both of them before they had any idea what was going on. When she finally let go and backed up they both stared at her in astonishment.

"Ruby? What are you doing here?" Marcus asked, exchanging a brief look with Cinna that she didn't notice.

"I've been lookin' for ya'll all day," she said, "I saw the airship go down when we ya'll left Alexandria n I was worried 'bout ya'll."

Neither of them said anything. Both knew that sooner or later it would be time to tell Ruby the truth about Blank. But right now didn't seem the right moment. "Where's everyone else?" she asked.

"Zidane's with Garnet at the palace," Cinna said, "In fact, we were just on our way there, weren't we, Marcus?"

Marcus looked at Cinna, "We uh— yeah, we were. He's expecting us. I'm sure he'd be glad to see you Ruby, why don't you come along?"

"Alrighty, let's go," she said. Zidane was Blank's best friend. Maybe Blank was with him. It made sense. The two were practically inseparable growing up.

As they made their way out and began to head toward the Palace, a commotion down the street made them stop. A chocobo suddenly started screeching high pitch kweh's. Everyone's attention was on the chocobo, and only Ruby caught a brief glimpse of the man who held a young woman with chestnut hair against him and then vanished into thin air.

That man.... she knew him. Images of a burning airship filled her mind. Fire and death.... Her breath came in jagged gasps as premonition hit her. The world faded around her and she fainted.

A/N And there it is. The new chapter of Conflicting Desires. This is a big spinoff of the way I originally planned this fic, but somehow it just fits. I actually did something I didn't plan on doing. I wasn't going to add an O.C. that had a decent size part in the fic., especially not one that I envision as myself, because personally, and no offense to those that have done this, I've read many fics that have done this and have tried to follow the game somewhat... and all they've managed to do is butcher it. I think I've butchered the game enough, but since ya'll seem to like it what the hell. I'm writing it for you guys anyway. The only thing I'm getting out of it is writing experience. Which I very badly need. :/ anyway.. So... I'm not going to go too deep into an analysis of why I think I butchered the game n everything. It's pretty obvious. In the game... Garnet's prude. In my story... I wouldn't exactly call her a slut, but she's definitely promiscuous. Ah well. What's life without lemons? Haha... sorry, bad pun. I'm gonna go now. Another update soon we hope. My head's buzzing with ideas, but my body is exhausted. It's not easy being six and a half months pregnant.