Chapter One – Prologue

Garnet was sleeping peacefully when she felt the presence of another in her room. Without even bothering to open her eyes, she whispered the word of power:

"Scan."

Instantly, information of every kind poured into her mind like a flood, alerting her to anything and everything that was in the room. To a person with lesser experience, the information would have proved overwhelming, but Garnet had used this particular magic spell more than a hundred times during the course of her journey. More often than once, it had saved the entire group's lives.

Sorting through the information in her head easily, the Scan magic had identified the stranger as Zidane. Breathing slightly easier, she turned around and smiled at him. However, her smile was soon replaced by a look of surprise and shock when she saw Zidane dressed in full battle apparel with the Ultima Weapon strapped to his back and an Orichalcon dagger at his hip. He was rummaging around in her medicine chest, probably searching for a few high potions and elixirs.

"What are you doing?" Garnet demanded, startling Zidane so badly that he jumped two feet into the air. His face looked like that of a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He grinned crookedly and rubbed the back of his head.

"Sorry," he replied smoothly, "I didn't mean to wake you. You looked so peaceful that I didn't want to wake you to ask you where you put our leftover elixirs. So I just kind of looked around myself. Sorry."

His tone may have been calm, but Garnet noticed that his tail was swishing back and forward quickly, as if with an anxious feeling. "You're lying, Zidane," Garnet thought to herself. She couldn't say that to his face, of course, but she could try to get the truth out of him in other ways.

"Where are you going?" she asked him with a cute smile on her face. He never could resist that face. He grinned and stuck his hands in his pockets.

He announced, "I'm going to Oeilvert." Garnet almost fell off of her bed when he said that. Oeilvert was the place that Zidane had first learned about his true heritage. He had not brought her along because of the anti-magic barrier, but he had told her all about it.

"Why?" she pressed. Oeilvert had been sealed off the last time she checked. But, knowing Zidane, that wasn't going to stop him. When he wanted to do something, there was no changing his mind.

"There is something there that I need to check out," he said casually, tossing his head to throw his golden locks out of his eyes. "I was kinda in a hurry when I went there to get the Gulug Stone for Kuja, but I did see something that caught my eye. I've been wanting to go check it out ever since I got back from the Iifa Tree."

"Just you?" she asked. Oeilvert was located on the Forgotten Continent. As far as she knew, their team was the first ones to have gone there in a long time. Even they didn't know all the different kind of monsters lurked there. The ones that they did know were deadly and ferocious. Zidane was strong, there was no denying that; but even he would be hard pressed to survive if he ran into too many monsters at once.

"Don't worry about it," he said reassuringly. "I'm taking Choco so that I can avoid all of the monsters. I'll be fine. Now, can I have those elixirs or not?"

Rolling her eyes, she got out of bed and reached under the bed. Elixirs were rare and she was not about to just leave them in plain sight. Finding what she was looking for, she pulled out a bag and handed it to Zidane. He opened it and nodded with thanks. Leaning forward, he kissed her gently on the lips.

"I'll be back before you know it," he whispered and ran from her room.

(Two weeks later)

"Queen Garnet, Lord Zidane is back," Steiner, Captain of the Knights of Pluto, announced. Without even bothering to say her thanks, she jumped off the throne and started to descend the castle to get to the front doors. Cursing her lack of speed, she altered her abilities and suddenly took off ten times faster with the aid of Auto-Haste. Time magic, such as Haste, Slow, or Stop, was some of the most unique magic that any mage could use. When she was in haste, time seemed to slow down for her while she moved at normal speed. However, to an observer, she seemed to move ten times faster than normal. With her change of abilities, she made it to the bottom in about fifteen seconds. With a flying leap, she jumped into Zidane's arms and gave him a big hug.

"I missed you so much!" she exclaimed.

"Me too," he echoed. Something wasn't right. Garnet pulled back slightly to stare at Zidane. He was a mess. His face was smudged with dirt, and he sported a few new scars. Most of his clothing was torn, leaving just his armor underneath. His eyes were tired and heavy. He looked exhausted.

"What happened to you?" Garnet asked shocked.

He replied distantly, "Nothing. Don't worry about me."

Sighing, he took a deep breath and walked to his room. For five days, he did not come out of his room; but whenever she went in to visit him, he seemed to be getting stronger with the help of Auto-Regen,magic that slowly worked its way through the body, healing any wound that it came across. On the sixth day, she found only an empty room awaiting her.

"Steiner, where is Zidane?" Garnet snapped.

Steiner replied with an odd look on his face, "He left last night, Queen Garnet. I thought he would have told you first."

"He didn't," she snapped. Taking a deep breath, she tried to calm herself. "Where did he say he was going?"

"He said that he was going to the Black Mage Village," Steiner responded nervously. Although he had sworn fealty to his queen and loved her with all his heart, he still feared her a little. True, now that he was the holder of Ragnarok, he had surpassed Beatrix as the greatest knight of all time, even with her Save the Queen. However, the queen held the power to summon eidolons, fearsome summon creatures that could destroy entire cities. He knew personally; he had seen it happen before.

"Order a search party to find him," Garnet ordered and headed for her room.

"At once, your highness," Steiner said and saluted her.

(Two days later)

"Still no sign of him?" Garnet asked frustrated.

Beatrix replied sadly, "None, my queen. It is as if he vanished off the face of the Earth."

"Keep searching," she replied and prepared to dismiss Beatrix.

"MY QUEEN!" Steiner shouted and came skidding to a stop just before the throne. Taking a moment to salute, he then dropped to his knees and tried to get more oxygen to his brain. The instant his brain began to function again, he stood up.

"My queen, I have terrible news," Steiner began. "One of patrol regiments, patrolling the Petrified Forest, has been completely slaughtered."

"Who dares to spill Alexandrian blood in our own kingdom?" Garnet thundered.

Steiner replied softly, "Zidane."

Utter silence met his words. Wordlessly, Steiner handed Garnet the bloodstained note that had been found at the battlefield:

To the citizens of Alexandria and the rest of Gaia:

My name is Zidane Tribal, herald as hero among you. But, I no longer care for what you think of me. This slaughtered Alexandrian regiment is but a taste of what is about to happen to all of you. This is not blackmail; we have no demands. I, commander of the remaining troops of Terra, now declare war on all citizens of Gaia. Prepare to die for the atrocities your ancestors have committed.

The Death Angel

Garnet dropped the note that Zidane had left with shaking hands. There was no mistaking his handwriting. There was also no denying that he had the power to destroy the regiment he had slaughtered.

But one question still remained: Why? For what reason would he do this?

Garnet was determined to find out.

A/N: Well, there's the first chapter of this story. Hope you guys enjoy it. I'm sorry if the ending isn't that good; I got kind of tired from writing. If you like it, please review. If you don't, review and tell me what was wrong with it. I don't care about flames, so long as they help me. Thanks for reading. I'll post more whenever I get a chance.