Squall Leonhart, Headmaster of Balamb Garden, was not enjoying his day. It had taken him quite a while to get adjusted into this new role, and he was still not entirely comfortable, even though he had been doing it for the past six months – ever since the terrible Ultimecia War had ended. After that beautiful starry night in which Garden had floated peacefully across the ocean, everyone made it back to Balamb safely. As soon as they did, however, Cid Kramer announced that he would be taking his much-needed retirement, and without wasting anymore time, packed his bags and headed for the old orphanage, along with his wife Edea. He left everything to Squall – including the decision of what to do with the now unnecessary military academy – after all, there was no point training up new SeeD cadets. There were no more evil Sorceresses for them to fight.
Luckily for Squall, Garden's mobility mechanisms had become caked with rust, and broken beyond repair … well, maybe they could be repaired by the star technicians at Fisherman's Horizon. But Squall was quite happy for Garden to stay where it was, in its original spot near Balamb – this easily ruled out any ideas the students or any outside parties had of moving it to a new location, or for the Garden to become some sort of travelling hotel. Honestly, he thought to himself, as he flicked through page after page of silly suggestions. A travelling hotel? A home for abandoned kittens?
Then suddenly he came across a very interesting looking envelope, which had the recognisable blue emblem of Esthar stamped across it.
"Ellone," Squall muttered under his breath with distaste while shaking his head slightly. He ripped open the envelope, unfolded the neatly written letter inside, and began to read.
"Dear Brother. It has come to my attention that this is the fourth time my letters to you have been rather rudely ignored. May I not remind you that our dear Matron brought us up to become polite, caring adults?"
Squall rolled his eyes. Ellone always had to bring Edea into the matter, didn't she? Trying to make him feel guilty, he supposed.
"The least I ask from you is a consideration for my, frankly, quite reasonable request. Yes, Sorceress Tombs have been erected both in Galbadia's Deling City, and the remote Timber. I have also seen to it that there are a large number of Tombs in my own city, my beloved Esthar. Now I request of you that your useless academy be sold as scrap, and a large Sorceress Tomb placed in the crater it sits in. Or, even better, may I also suggest that the academy could possibly be a mobile Tomb – to be moved to any location in the world, wherever one of their kind may be. I can offer you a generous budget of just over a million gil, should you need it, which I presume you will."
Six months ago, Squall and all the members of his team who fought in the Ultimecia War would have been both confused and horrified at Ellone's manner – but over the short half year, the young Headmaster had become quite used to it. This patronising tone didn't surprise him at all. Ellone didn't even use Balamb Garden's name when referring to it – she just called it 'the academy.'
"Perhaps it would be possible for us to meet up in person. Enclosed are two train tickets that will bring you straight into the city of Esthar on a private express line from Deling City. You may bring one guest. I am patiently waiting for you to attend – as is father, who is very eager to see you indeed. I understand he will be back from the Centra continent within the next fortnight."
"Yours, President Ellone Loire of Esthar."
Ironically, there was a kiss at the bottom under Ellone's signature. Squall peered into the envelope and sure enough, there were two train tickets inside. So, Ellone was still deadly serious about her Tomb plan. Squall shook his head with disappointment and wondered exactly how such a gentle soul, a free spirit, a kind and polite young woman, could turn out the way she had. And in only six months.
President Laguna Loire, craving for his past life of both writing and fighting, had set off on another adventure with his two friends, leaving his precious Elle to become the President of possibly the largest, most technologically advanced city in the world. She had somewhat reluctantly taken up the offer, but everyone knew she could cope. With gentle Ellone at the head of a powerful empire, there would probably be no more wars ever again.
How wrong they all were. In a short space of time, the incredible power that had simply fallen into Ellone's lap seemed to have gone straight to her head. It was a terrible experience waking up every night, tangled in her bed sheets and letting out blood-curdling screeches and wails throughout the Presidential Residence. Everyone knew how much Ellone had been through at the time of the Ultimecia War, but few knew exactly how much it affected her. She needed someone to blame. She needed something – anything – to direct her hatred and anger at, something to completely distract her from the pain she felt in her life.
She chose Sorceresses, and had spent at least four months brutally campaigning that the world be rid of every single last one of them – the young and the old, the good and the bad, the strong and the weak. Fortunately, she had not taken too many steps towards achieving this goal – aside from putting up a few Sorceress Tombs here and there, which was fairly harmless, if not a little threatening, it could be said. She had decided to do this shortly after the Tomb that originally held Sorceress Adel, and at one point, Sorceress Rinoa, had been destroyed as a celebration that the War was over. Everyone decided that Ellone would probably get over this obsession in another month or so, and finally begin to settle down.
Unfortunately, Ellone's behaviour had caused a sort of rift, family wise. Laguna, probably diving off cliffs into the ocean and battling monsters with his bare hands on the other side of the world, was blissfully unaware of Ellone's erratic behaviour.
Squall, on the other hand, was quite aware of it, and he was not pleased. He had been sent continuous letters from Ellone, all of them as pompous and patronising as the last. But with the love of his life being a Sorceress, he was hardly going to join a wild campaign that had the intention of murdering the lot of them. Ellone had been furious that her brother had been taken away from her – and by a Sorceress, no less.
"As far as I'm concerned," she remarked sharply one day to an aide, "Those witches have ruined my life before it has even begun."
Squall put Ellone's behaviour down to pure jealousy. She was sickeningly bitter that her brothers attention was on "his witch of a girlfriend," and not her, as she felt it should have been. He only hoped that it would pass in time. And sooner rather than later.
As he gave another sad shake of the head, Squall crumpled up both the sheet of paper and the envelope, tossing them into a wastebin before looking down at the blue and grey train tickets that were sitting innocently on his desk.
He decided to keep them.