I don't own Final Fantasy VIII, any of the characters except James Hunter, or The Legend of Dragoon
We got of at East Academy Station and headed through a forest to get to the Garden. A little way in, though, Squall, Quistis, and Selphie dropped to the ground, in much the same way as in the incident on the train. Once again, Esuna was useless, so we just waited for them to wake up.
When they did stagger to their feet, Zell asked them if it had been Laguna again. It was. Again, we decided to concentrate on our mission. We continued through the forest and quickly reached the edge. Galbadia Garden was in sight.
When we arrived, we were told to wait in a room on the second floor. I simply took a nap on one of the couches. A soldier learns to sleep when he can. I awoke to find that Squall had left the room after ranting about something. As well that I woke when I did, for the PA system told us to meet at the front gate.
After we arrived, the Garden Master, Martine, gave us our new orders.
Squall announced them. "Our mission is to... assassinate the sorceress. But these orders call for a sharpshooter. We have no one with that skill."
"We do. Kinneas! Irvine Kinneas!" A man with a rifle walked over to us. "This is Irvine Kinneas. He will be your sharpshooter."
The man greeted us. I found something oddly familiar about him, but dismissed on the basis that my last mission had taken me through this area, so it was entirely possible that I had encountered him previously. Get a haircut, buddy, I thought. I was also puzzled by the fact the he was being assigned to us at all. After all, I was a sniper myself. But Martine was continuing.
"We need to eliminate her for several reasons. First of all, with a sorceress involved, there will be no 'peace talks'. Galbadia is clearly maneuvering for world conquest. We must prevent this potential repeat of the Sorceress War. Also, she has chosen this Garden as her base. All Gardens are sovereign territory, and we have no desire to have an upstart sorceress take over Garden. All of us here would be driven out and killed. The sorceress must be stopped. Failure is not an option." With that, he left. Irvine pointed at the car.
"Let's go." Squall said. We headed for the train that would take us to Deling City. We were to meet with one General Caraway, leader of the Galbadian military.
Once aboard the train, I took an instant dislike to Irvine. He seemed more interested in certain members of our team than in our mission. After a few minutes of this, Quistis and I lost our tempers.
"Irvine Kinneas!" she said. "You're playing an important part in this mission! Now behave yourself!"
He started to say something, but I cut him off. "Shut up."
"I said shut up! You're acting like an idiot, when you should be concentrating on your mission! Now shut up or get out! I'll do your part for you if I have to. I'll have you know that I'm a sniper myself. I don't know why you were even assigned to this mission. Just remember that you are not indispensable. Behave like a SeeD cadet should, or leave the mission to me. Your choice." With that, I stalked to another part of the train. As I left, I heard Quistis saying one more thing to him.
"You'd better listen to him. He could do your job himself. I saw his skills in Dollet." The door closed on that remark.
We disembarked at the station in Deling City. Upon getting off an escalator, we were able to see most of the city. Rinoa spoke up.
"We're going to Caraway's place, right? Just take bus number 08."
"Exactly. You know a lot about this place." Irvine said.
Odd, I thought. She's a member of resistance group in Timber. Why would she know so much about the capital of her enemy? I tabled the matter. "Let's go."
We took the bus to Caraway's mansion, but were stopped by a guard. Squall spoke to him.
"We're here to see General Caraway. I believe he's been informed of our arrival."
"Yes, he has," the guard replied. "but he insists on testing the abilities of visitors."
"He's so skeptical of people." Rinoa said. I looked at her in surprise.
"The test is to go to the Tomb of the Unknown King. Just yesterday, a student from Garden wished to see him. This student has yet to return from the Tomb. You are to go there and search for signs of this student. You should find what you're looking for shortly after you go in. I wouldn't recommend going any farther in than you have to. It is very dangerous."
Squall turned to the rest of us. "Let's go."
"I suggest we rent a car," I said. "I'd rather not walk there and back. Besides which, the operation is tonight. We have to be back in time."
Upon arrival at the Tomb, we saw two SeeD cadets fleeing. "F-Float!" one of the students yelled.
"What was that about?" I asked Squall. He just shrugged.
As the guard had said, the evidence we sought was just inside. "I.D. Number 25," I told Squall.
"I suggest we go farther in as well,," I told the group.
"What for? You heard what the guard said." Rinoa said.
"There are rumors about a GF in here. I say we need all the help we can get."
"We'll do it." Squall said.
We moved carefully through the Tomb, endeavoring to avoid becoming lost. In one room, we encountered what we thought was a statue. Unfortunately, it wasn't. When it attacked, I dodged back, drawing a pistol, as the range was too short for the rifle. Unfortunately, the pistol didn't do much to the thing.
"That's it!" I yelled in frustration. "After this mission I'm getting a sword! The rifle's no good up close and the pistol's no good anywhere!"
I jumped back, realizing that I was doing no good. Squall rushed past, using his Limit Break on the thing.
When Squall was through with it, it simply fled.
I examined the pedestal it had been standing on. "What's this?" I picked up some kind of round, gray stone. It glowed at my touch. "Whoa!" I decided to bring it with me, though I wasn't sure why. It looked like it had the pupil of a reptile's eye in it.
We continued our search of the tomb, having concluded that statue was the Guardian Force. We found two rooms with switches to be pulled, but the last room we checked had the GF standing on a coffin.
"This time I'll beat you! Big Bro!"
"They crashed the tomb, p-plus they attacked me!"
"oh, really. impudent humans."
"This shorty?" Irvine sounded amused. "That's a surprise!"
"Bro, they're makin' fun of us!"
"humans. you'll learn not to mess with the brothers."
They attacked! "Renzokuken!"
"Angelo Cannon!" This from Rinoa.
"Bro, I lost." Sacred dropped to the ground.
"mighty ones, may we join you?" We welcomed them as allies and left the tomb.
Upon our return to Deling City, we gave the guard the number. "25," I told him.
"That's correct! Right this way, please." We followed him into the mansion. We were promptly forced to wait for half an hour. Rinoa abruptly stood up.
"Making us wait... this so like him. I'm gonna go complain." She left the room, but promptly came back. "Oh, and this is my house, so don't worry." Zell looked like he'd been punched. Moments later, the General came through the door.
"Where's Rinoa?" Squall asked.
"She has not had the training you have and may become a burden." he replied.
"You're Rinoa's father!?" Selphie exclaimed.
"I can't remember the last time she called me that."
"How about we get down to business," I said.
"All right. Follow me."
We went to the street in front of the Presidential Residence. Caraway went through the plan, telling us where the parade would be and when. We returned to his mansion to assign the team members.
"The leader and the sniper will make up the sniper team. The leader's role is vital, because if the sniper misses, it is up to the leader to make a frontal assault. Who will the leader be?" We all looked at Squall.
"Good. That's taken care of. Now, who leads the gateway team?"
Squall looked to Quistis. "Quistis... Instructor Trepe, you will lead the gateway team."
I looked up. "I'd be best used as cover for the other teams. I can climb a tree or something and snipe anyone who gets in the way."
"All right." Caraway said. "Let's get in position."
We left the mansion and headed for the Presidential Residence. Squall and Irvine waited in front of the building, while Quistis, Zell, and Selphie entered the gateway. I surreptitiously climbed a tree and rested my rifle on a branch. Shortly after Caraway headed back to his mansion, I saw the gateway team follow him. What are they doing? They shouldn't be leaving their post. Well, I can't do anything about it, so no point in worrying about it. I went back to my sweep of the crowd, noting the positions of the soldiers mixed in with them.
When the sorceress began her speech, I paid little attention until I heard the president abruptly cut off. Wha? Then I heard his body hit roof. She killed him!? I'm sure Rinoa will be pleased. Moments later I saw the two Iguion statues on the gateway come to life and bound to the roof of the Residence. Nothing I can do now.
When the parade began, I swept my sights over the sorceress' vehicle. I nearly dropped my rifle in shock. For there, with the sorceress, was Seifer. Seifer!? I thought he was dead! They said they executed him! But even if they didn't, why is he with the sorceress? I almost fired right then and there, since Seifer's presence meant betrayal of Garden. But I restrained myself, for the mission was to kill Sorceress Edea, and the mission had to succeed.
At exactly 20:00 hours, the parade entered the gateway, and the gate slammed down. Moments later, I heard the shot...
And it was blocked. A protect spell! Knew the gateway was a bad idea. She was prepared. Well, Squall should be along any time now. Sure enough, there was Squall, charging into the fray. I dropped out of the tree and headed off to join him.
"Seifer!" I shouted.
"So, you've become the sorceress' puppet." Squall said.
"I prefer to be called her knight." He charged at Squall, slashing with his gunblade, but Squall blocked, parried, and flipped Seifer to the ground. "I... lost!?"
"Of course." I turned to the sorceress.
"A SeeD," she said, "raised in a run-down Garden." It was then that Rinoa and Irvine joined us.
The battle lasted nearly an hour, but at the end, Edea spoke again. "Impudent SeeDs!"
She raised her hand, and icicles formed above it. She motioned forward, and they flew at Squall. One of them hit him in the right side of his chest. Before I could react, I was hit in the back of the head and knocked unconscious...
Author's note: Anyone who's played The Legend of Dragoon should recognize the stone James found in the Tomb. More will be revealed in the next chapter.