Disclaimer: I do not own FF8 or any of the characters from FF8.

AN: SOOOOO sorry for the long delay between updates. Thanks for all the reviews last time! I thought you guys would've liked that chapter hehe. This one should be quite similar since it's more or less a continuation of the last one. I used that little detour into assassination to introduce the next important event which is in this chapter. Hope you guys like it!

Chapter 14: Fall of a Tyrant

"And now I present to you Balamb's highest ranking metasite, SQUALL LEONHART!" came the loud voice of the announcer. The applause was a small ripple from the audience. I was relatively unknown and nobody really cared about me. They wanted to see their own champion, the best Deling had to offer.

I did as I was told and walked into the center of the coliseum feeling slightly out of place but trying to hide it. I waved a bit sheepishly to the crowd and then saluted Deling and his family with my sword. The president of Deling city looked at me with something between a grin and a sneer on his face and it disturbed me.

Deling was a man of about fifty. He was built quite stocky but not very tall, he was also slightly balding with flecks of white in his charcoal grey hair. But people didn't look at his hair. They say that Deling is the greatest motivator of all time, something about his eyes that draw people to him. His understanding of language is unparalleled and his speeches contain a vibrant power but at the same time a fluent grace. I looked straight into his hard grey eyes and felt a sense of deep happiness flood through my body. But I fought it off. Something was not right with Deling, there was no doubt about that.

"The newest and strongest force that Deling has ever had is here today...Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for...KUREDO!" the booming speakers blasted the last word out so loud I could feel the vibration on the floor.

The crowd was dead silent for a moment then it seemed as if they suddenly cranked the volume to maximum. Everybody in the stadium started cheering like mad. I was curious as to who this "Kuredo" person was. I didn't have to wait long.

All of the gates in the stadium were open now. It came to a total of 8 gates with me in the center of the octagon. It puzzled me as to why they did this because when I walked out I distinctly remembered only one gate being open. I could also hear movement from inside all the gates but couldn't see clearly what was going on. I just stood in the center with the foundations of tension building around me. I was flicking my eyes from one gate to another getting increasingly confused. I knew it was an exhibition match and that nobody would get hurt, but was this part of the match? Perhaps a grander introduction to their champion? I had no clue.

Then I heard a deep scratchy sound from the gate behind me. It sounded like an anchor being dragged behind a ship. Instinctively I turned around and once again, my gut feeling saved my life.

I only caught a brief glimpse of it but it was enough to get me moving. It was definitely a metablade, the glowing sickle was a dead giveaway. It was a wicked curved blade attached to a chain the length of the entire stadium. I was ordered not to draw my blade and I was afraid that if I did then I might disturb Galbadia-Deling relations so I held off on drawing Lionheart. Instead, I used the extendable blade on my arm and tried to cut the chain. It was like trying to cut steel with a butter knife.

The blade missed me by a few inches because I side-stepped out of the way. I had my eyes fixed on the gate where the chain came out of. The blade was imbedded on the other end of the arena. Suddenly, it was yanked back by it's owner causing me to jump out of the way again.

I was slightly nervous now, not sure whether or not I should draw my blade since this might be just some sort of publicity stunt. If it indeed was a stunt, then it was one hell of a dangerous stunt. I decided to hold out a little longer before letting Lionheart loose. It certainly seemed like the chain wielder was aiming to kill.

Then from a gate to my right I heard a zipping sound getting louder and louder. I reacted by leaping backwards, a good move since an extremely fast orange blur cut a yard long gash in the ground where I was standing half a second ago. I finally saw the metasite step out of the shadows. He was quite a stocky guy that had huge arms and spines growing from his back. He caught the blade that made cut on the ground in one hand and I got a good look at the design of his weapon. It was built like a boomerang but almost three times the size. The orange blades were attached at an angle so that the weapon would return to its owner when thrown.

If it were a one on one fight against this metasite, I was sure I could win. However, it was much worse than that. I hadn't forgotten about the chain blade that almost took my head off. Its master decided to show himself as well. A slimmer metasite with a black and blue armor that held the chain in both hands. The blade of the chain was resting on the ground creating a ghostly blue glow on the place where he stood.

"May I present to you, the leaders of Kuredo, BIGGS and WEDGE!"

It had just turned ugly. A duel had been changed to a two on one fight. But something bothered me...the announcer said that Biggs and Wedge were only the LEADERS of Kuredo. Which meant that I was in for a lot of trouble.

Metasites came out of all the gates all of a sudden. I was completely surrounded. It wasn't a pretty sight. I counted thirteen metasites in total including Biggs and Wedge whom I had already met. By this time, it had become pretty obvious that this was no exhibition match. Even the crowd started to get suspicious since the first two attacks on me were so dangerously close to hitting home. The loud cheers that had greeted me when I entered the stadium had dissipated to a low murmur. I was trying my best to stay calm while scanning the stadium for people I knew. I couldn't find anyone. All the metasites surrounding me with the exception of Biggs and Wedge were carrying different size swords. I was devising a strategy to win this seemingly impossible to win fight.

Two things saved me from being killed here. One was my own ability to stay cool during an intense situation. I was thinking straight and did not panic and go on a sudden rampage. If I did that, I would have been dead. I waited it out with them, letting them walk around me in circles fingering their weapons and searching for an opening.

The second thing that saved me was my reputation. I recognized a bunch of the metasites and I knew that they weren't from Deling. They were mostly bounty hunters, some good some mediocre. But all of them knew who I was. They knew how fast I could draw that sword of mine. They knew that I could whip that blade out so quickly the air around it would crack. They knew...that whoever tried to cut me first...got cut. This meant that nobody wanted to make the first move. They all watched my left hand, partly why I was so dangerous since the lefty attack was the opposite of a standard strike.

I saw their eyes on my sword hand. I could see their brains working. If I drew my sword with my left hand, I would be hamburger meat before I could get 6 inches of Lionheart's blade out. This gave me an idea. It was my only chance at survival. I had to trust my reputation and put it to good use.

I took a deep breath and then in one fluid motion, brought my right hand down to Lionheart's pistol grip and ignited the blade. With one backwards thrust, I impaled one of the metasites, then I swept the blade to the side and tore through two other metasites. Then I switched the handle to my left hand and it was all over for them. It wasn't a case of skill or power. It was all in how I executed the attack. They were so surprised that in one second I dropped three of their men that they forgot how to attack. They panicked and just started swinging wildly which is an open invitation for me to take them down one by one. I located the weakest guy and charged him down breaking their circle then it was all a matter of dueling. They lined up so nicely and I just butchered them all including the leaders who were trying to get far enough away to use their ranged weapons. Bounty hunters weren't trained killers. They were cowardly assassins who were a step below mercenaries. Judging by the amount of bounty hunters that had shown up, they must've placed a really high bounty on my head.

I turned to the crowd now speechless at the horror in front of them.

"I don't know who set me up for this, but it doesn't matter. You failed." I said the final two words straight to Vinzer Deling. I knew he was the one behind this and whether it be a coincidence or something more, I was the one who took Seifer's place.

To this day I still don't know whether or not Deling's assassination attempt had been directed at me or Seifer. It wasn't like Seifer to turn up sick at an event like this, but then again there was no way Martine could know that Deling had set up a trap for his strongest metasite. I know for a fact Martine had no clue what was going on because of what happened afterwards.

I threatened to take out everybody in the stadium if they didn't let me leave. I didn't have to wait long before the stadium had a clear line straight to the exit. I had to return to Galbadia for orders on what to do next. Deling had disappeared right after I had finished speaking to him. Even my highly toned senses couldn't detect his presence.

I returned to Galbadia alone. The other people I went to Deling with were all missing.

Once I got back, I reported everything to Martine. He looked like he had a 12 inch knife jammed into his gut when I told him what happened.

"We can't let this stand. Galbadia Garden has to take full control of Deling, since there's obviously something wrong with Vinzer Deling. I'll dispatch a team to take him out tomorrow. Squall, you'll lead one squadron and Seifer will lead the other. It shouldn't be too much of a problem."

I saluted and left the office in search of Kiros. The veteran soldier was having a cup of coffee at the cafeteria. When he saw me he smiled and gave me the thumbs up. I didn't return it.

After giving him the full details of the story (and I couldn't resist telling him the full play by play version of how I killed "Kuredo") Kiros was actually laughing.

"Well, now you know you're more than a match for Deling's best." he joked. His nonchalant tone of voice made me forget about how serious a situation this was.

"Kiros, don't you see? There's going to be a war between Galbadia and Deling starting tomorrow and I'm the cause of it!" I said. I was getting increasingly concerned and wanted Kiros' support badly.

"Nonesense," he waved me off "it was bound to happen sooner or later. Deling's stupid assassination attempt is just the final straw that sends the wheelbarrow rolling."

"But still, I'm the reason why hundreds of men must die. I started it all." I argued.

"No, Deling started it. If he wants to do stupid things, let him. He's just going to get himself killed."

"Killing Deling is no problem, he's not exactly a saint. But I don't want to kill any more innocent people. They had nothing to do with it." I said.

"They have everything to do with it if they choose to fight on Deling's side. You can't think this way in war. Either he's an enemy or he's a friend, if he's an enemy, you kill him." Kiros said.

Truth was, I didn't care if innocents died. I never cared. I just didn't want to go back to Deling. That attempt to kill me was too close for comfort and I didn't intend to go back for round two.

Nonetheless, I was not one to argue with Kiros or Martine. The very next day, Galbadia had declared war on Deling and I was to be shipped to Deling once again to lead Delta Squadron. Delta was the Squad that would charge Deling's mansion and bring Vinzer down any way possible, including death. This war was not going to last more than one day and Martine made sure of that.

Martine only sent two Squadrons. One was much larger than the other. I led the smaller one while Seifer led the main strike team. His team would charge directly at the front gates of Deling and take them by force, they would open up a clear path for us to get to Deling's mansion.

The force I commanded wasn't very large. Just a team of twelve men and another metasite. It made fourteen of us including myself, we were not meant to fight a huge battle, just go in quick and take the mansion. Deling was likely going to put up a fight and if he did, we had permission to kill him. This would be no fluffy negotiations thing. This was a full out war.

I focused my eyes on Seifer's team. They were intelligently hidden in a nearby forest. If Seifer did his job right, they would be able to take the gates real quickly since Deling had only staked out two metasites on the guard towers. It seems as though Deling had no metasites which was why Vinzer put a bounty on my head and got those hunters to try to collect it. Seifer's squad had five metasites including himself and they were more than a match for the Deling defenses. Deling just didn't know it yet, but he was going to witness first hand the power of SeeD.

Seifer whipped out his blade and gave it one quick swipe indicating the start of an attack. I saw each of his men charge from the undergrowth and head straight for the guarded walls of the city. Gunfire blazed from the bunkers on the wall, but it was no match for metasite strength. The five metasites easily scaled the walls and knocked out the threats to the mobile infantry. The humans followed as a cleanup squad, using grappling hooks to get up the heavy walls of the city. The metasites cut through infantry like hot butter, Seifer being especially ruthless. His skill with a blade had improved just as mine had even though we stopped training with each other. Hyperion, Seifer's broadsword, was heavy enough and fast enough to knock three or four mens' heads off with one swing and Seifer used it to deadly efficiency.

When the five metasites of Galbadia met the two metasites of Deling, it really was no contest. Seifer actually ordered the other metasites to step aside and faced the Deling metasites alone. One of them held a lance that was effective on the wide walls that they were fighting on but Seifer's sword easily blocked its thrusts. The other metasite carried a cane sword, a sword with no guard that was thin and looked like a cane with blades on both ends. This sword would have been deadly had Seifer's weapon not been so strong. The thin blade of the cane sword was no match for the strong flat edge of Hyperion. It wasn't long before both metasites were lying in a crumpled heap at Seifer's feet with metasite blood drenching the ground.

I knew it was my turn, the road was clear and all I had to do was go in and finish off Deling. I turned to my men. Leadership was never really my thing, but I understood what had to be done and did it even if I didn't like it.

"Alright, we're not gonna be outdone by Squad A. Our job's more important and I intend to complete it perfectly. Deling intends to fight to the end. Let him die trying then. Deling must die."

I whipped out Lionheart and hopped on the transport taking us to the battlefield. My men were enthusiastic and they gave a cheer as we approached the scene.

Once there, I flat out sprint down the secured road towards Deling's mansion. The metasite on my squad, someone named Darien, was close behind me while the infantry continued to travel in the vehicle. We got there first, Deling's mansion was a big white building that had a large balcony overlooking his huge front yard. The automated defenses sprang into action, turrets began to unfold from every possible place, under bushes, the garden, statues of Vinzer Deling, everywhere. Machine gun fire raked the lawn towards Darien and I but I stood my ground calmly. With a flick of my wrist I unleashed a telekinetic wave that turned all the turrets into scrap metal. Then it was a clear walk into Deling mansion. Darien just stood dumbstruck at the destroyed machinery on the front yard.

The foyer was empty, figured it to be that way since all of Deling's men were sent to the front gates. Apparently, the city only had a handful of metasites and none of them were with Deling at the moment, not too smart if you ask me.

"Split up, I don't know the building well. First one to find Deling, kill him. If you run into trouble, knock out a wall or something so I know where you are." I told Darien.

He nodded. He was a smart soldier, I'd never seen him fight, but he followed orders well and never questioned his superiors even if I WAS six years his junior.

I took the first floor while Darien took the second. I figured Deling would be trying to escape instead of corner himself. Deling's courtyard was right in the middle of his house, just like the Garden, it was well equipped with automatic defenses. Once I entered, I was attacked by bullets from all angles. I used the same tactic as before and short circuited the mechanical menageries. After minutes of searching I still couldn't find the tyrannical leader.

"DARIEN!" I yelled from the courtyard.

I was hoping he had completed the task and was searching for me. I got no response.

Making my way upstairs, I began to search for not only Deling, but also my teammate. I could hear the tiniest of movements, not something from a fight. They were coming from a room with a closed door. A bedroom.

I kicked open the door and was met by about 12 shurikens all aimed for my vital organs. They were moving way too slow to actually hit me though. Once the shock of the booby trap had passed, I was met with an even greater shock.

Sitting at his desk in front of a giant window, was none other than Vinzer Deling. But that wasn't the shocking part...what made my jaw drop was the fact that Darien was standing right beside him with a maniacal gleam in his eye.

AN: There, finally done! Sorry about the delay again, I'm having exams in a few weeks so I really need to study. I promise that after these few weeks, I'll get cracking on the story again. Unfortunately, really pressed on time right now so no shouts this time --