"Hmph... This girl is a failure. Her will to disobey, the inability to respond... It's clear that this was a rather fruitless attempt, even if she has those strange powers that a summoner don't have," the voice that the small 9-year-old girl dread and hate rings through the blue-lighted room, all the way to her small cell. The ceiling above shows the red planet, the one that he wishes to take over, destroy. How or why, the girl doesn't know.

"Losing the other two subjects, somewhere on Gaia... It's clear that I'll need to try again, much harder than before. But I best start fresh, she's useless right now for this," he continues as his footsteps starts to fade off. The horned girl with small wings and a white tail with black spots continues to sit against the wall, never moving from that spot even after many hours since she was put there. She is more like a lifeless body or a doll than someone alive. She had lost all her will to move, to even live, even before the man took her from where her tribe of summoners and feline-people roamed for centuries...

"Poor, poor girl..." a new voice says after many days of being alone, as the girl's eyes register that there is someone in front of her, though because she is only staring at the floor with somewhat blank eyes, she only sees silver boots and a white waist cape. "A cat, longing to be set free to loop around... That's what you are, the cat in a cage." He kneels down next to her, using a finger to lift her face up by the chin. The girl now stares up into the face of the feathery, silver-haired man. His blue eyes shows a kind look to them, though strangely enough a sinister look, as well... The girl doesn't notice it, though, as she blinks to focus a little bit more. "Do you wish to get away from here? I can take you back to your home planet. He won't even think twice about finding you, he left you here to die."

'Is it possible? An... escape from this place of pain and experimenting?' the girl thought with small hope starting to fill her. The man patiently waits for her to say anything as she finally move on her own will, sitting up more and lifting her head from his hand. "...Y...You... can?" she said uncertainly, the first time to talk after many months of nothing but screaming in pain from whatever the man did when he experiments.

The new man smiles softly. "Yes, I most certainly can." He stands up and lowers the same hand down. "Come on, we best go. Oh, and where are my manners?" he said as the girl takes his hand and gets helped to her feet. "My name is Kuja. May I have yours?"

"M... My n-name is Rose..." the strange-looking girl, Rose, said as Kuja leads her out of the lab, and on to a new life and dangers...

DISCLAIMER

I don't own Final Fantasy 9, nor any of the copyrighted characters. Rose, who doesn't belong in FF9, belongs only to me. And other characters (Zellen, for one), belongs to my friends on Gaiaonline. Later on, I'll make a list of the new characters and who they belong to.

Chapter I: Beginning

3rd person P.O.V.

"Ya'll hurry up! The ship's about ta take off yonder!"

"We're coming Ruby!" Blank yells as he and Zidane run for the Prima Vista ship. Regent Cid had given them orders to head to Alexandria and perform the play, 'I Want To Be Your Canary' and kidnap the princess during the last scenes. Zidane doesn't know why Regent wanted Princess Garnet at Lindblum, but they would get good gil for the job. Managing to get on the ship before it took off, Blank heads upstairs, while Zidane gone to the small room that he's going to hang at for the first part of the trip. He finds ship rides long and boring. All knows Zidane as the 'monkey-tailed, blonde hair boy', wearing the blue vest with laces at the neck, slightly baggy jeans, and big gloves. Blank has crimson-red, spikey hair, always wearing his headband over his right eye. He also wears a vest with no long-sleeved shirt (just red, not blue) like Zidane, and also big gloves. The only thing about the pants is that he wears shorts instead.

The trip takes about 3 hours before they finally near Alexandria. Zidane stretches and takes off for the other room. He slides down the pole and walks into the room to find the whole room dark.

"Sure is dark…" he said to himself. He walks in further. "Guess nobody's here yet…"

He lights a match and found his way to the candles in the middle of the room. He lights the candles and the whole room lights up.

"Who's there?" a voice shouts from the other room next to the room Zidane stands in.

"It's me, Zidane!" Zidane answers as Blank, Cinna, and Marcus runs out of the room. They all saluted to each other - hitting one fist on the other wrist.

Blank looks at Zidane as he said, "Hey Zidane! You sure are late!"

"Sorry. So, where's the boss?"

"Ain't here yet," Cinna answers.

Suddenly, the other door kicks open and a man in a dragon mask jumps into the room and attacks the others.

"What the hell did this thing come from?" Cinna shouts as he dodges.

"I don't know, just defend!" Zidane said as he rushes in for a hit.

Every so often throughout the fight, the masked guy falls over and yells, "Oww!" And every time he hits Zidane or his friends, he yells, "Get some!" and "Gwahaha!".

When Zidane slices the mask in half finally, it actually turns out to be their boss, Baku.

"UGHUUA!" he yells as he grabs his head. "Oh, my head! Go easy, you guys!"

"It's your fault for attacking us in a dragon mask," Blank mumbles. Everyone feels stupid now for not realizing that it's Baku, not a monster.

Zidane and the others are now catching their breaths as Baku walks up to them. They really wish that Boss would stop fighting them at unexpected times...

"Hey, fools!" Baku yells at everyone as they kept resting. "You're looking' a lot better!" he said as he pats Zidane on top of his head. "Gwahahaha!" He laughed as he walks to the room (that Blank, Cinna, and Marcus ran out of to meet Zidane) and kicks the door open. "Alright! Let's start this meeting already!" Baku yelled as he walks in. Zidane and the others follows in, taking a seat at their usual places. "Here's the plan!

"Tantalus, the infamous band of daring thieves (that's us), is heading to the Kingdom of Alexandria…" Baku stands over the model of Alexandria and is holding a doll that represents Princess Garnet. Baku looks around. "Our mission: to kidnap the heir to the throne, Princess Garnet!"

"I'll take it from here, so listen up!" Cinna says as he stands up, everyone switching their attention to him. "Our ship's about to dock at Alexandria…" Cinna shows a model of the airship. "And when it does, we're going to put on our costumes… and perform 'I Want To Be Your Canary', the most popular play in Alexandria!" Cinna looks at Marcus. "Break a leg Marcus! 'Cause you're playin' the lead!"

"Leave the actin' to me!" Marcus replies. He looks at Blank, then Zidane. "Of course the real kidnappers'll be Blank and Zidane!"

"I'll distract the audience from the backstage with these little buggers." Blank says as a oglop croaks from his clothes. "I can't stand oglops… But I'll manage, so don't worry about me. And that'll be your cue, Zidane!"

"Okay!" Zidane says. Then he had a idea. A very funny idea… 'Let's try this mind-trick I've picked up.' "That's when I kidnap Queen Brahne, right?" he said to his boss, with a smirk.

"You bet!" Baku says as he pulls a doll of Queen Brahne off the table, from behind the model of Alexandria. "You're gonna kidnap the fat-ass, butt-ugly Queen Br- What… what'm I sayin'?!" Baku yelled as he throws the doll behind him. He growls to himself for falling for that.

"Okay, okay. Then that's when I kidnap Princess Garnet, right?" Zidane says, already did his little trick.

"That's right. You're going to kidnap the most babe-ilicious beauty in all of Alexandria, Princess Garnet!" Baku said, though he continues giving Zidane a glare.

--

With a little black mage in the city, Vivi's walking past the statue in the square of the entrance when the ship, Prima Vista, appears above the city, which he and other stares at while it passes. Continuing on walking towards the castle, he's suddenly knocked forward by one of the running boys. The boy continues on without helping Vivi. Little Ilia kneels next to Vivi.

"Are you awight?" she asks Vivi. Vivi gets up as the girl picks up the ticket that was knocked out of his jacket. "Here! You dwopped your ticket," she said as she hands the ticket over to Vivi. "Bye-bye!" she said with a cute smile as she runs off, waving.

Vivi looks after her, then continues on down to the castle until he's knocked down again by some boy that looks like a rat. Vivi and the boy gets back up.

"Why you - get outta my way!" Rat boy yells as he ran around Vivi. Vivi watches him as he disappears, then follows the crowd of people. 'Am I that small that people would knock into me...?' he thought to himself. He spotted a group of nobles from Treno gathered around the trumpeter.

"Honorable nobles of Treno… Castle Alexandria is this way!" the trumpeter said as he turns around and sound the trumpet. He walks off, leading the nobles to the castle. Vivi follows them a while, being that it's the first time in the city. Reaching the square, he spotted a group of girls playing jump rope. He walks to the ticket booth, pulling out the ticket.

"Can I help you, son?" the Ticketmaster asks as he leans over the counter. The size of the man scares Vivi slightly, but the man has a friendly smile, so he isn't bad.

"Uh… um… What's showing today?" Vivi asks.

"This year's performance is the masterpiece 'I Want To Be Your Canary' . The Tantalus Company is performing," he answers Vivi.

" What kind of troupe is Tantalus?" Vivi asks.

"They're star performers from Lindblum, the regency to the west, with accompaniment by Lav Layderce!" Ticketmaster said.

"What is 'I Want To Be Your Canary' about?"

"This play is a tale of romance between a noble and a peasant! You really must see it!" the ticketmaster says to Vivi. Vivi is now really wanting to see this play. But he wants some more information of the town of Alexandria, so he's going to get them from the ticketmaster while he's in an answering mood.

"I-I will. Tell me about Alexandria."

"The Kingdom of Alexandria is a fine country, ruled by Queen Brahne."

Vivi becames quite curious about the Queen. "Who's Queen Brahne?"

"Did you know Queen Brahne has a beautiful daughter, Princess Garnet?" the ticketmaster said, not answering the question directly.

"Tell me about Queen Brahne!" Vivi said loudly.

"Unfortunately, I've heard strange things about Queen Brahne recently," Ticketmaster said, not answering the question directly again. Vivi decides to give up on the question.

"Who's Princess Garnet?" he asks instead.

"Today is Princess Garnet's sixteenth birthday, you know!" is all Vivi got from the Ticketmaster.

"Tell me about Princess Garnet!" Vivi asks loudly again. The Ticketmaster is really a one-track man...

"Her Highness is a beautiful princess, and everyone in Alexandria loves her!"

"Is Princess Garnet really that beautiful?" Vivi asks.

"Why, she's the most beautiful princess in the history of Alexandria!" Ticketmaster exclaims.

'He really is not that good with answering questions...' Vivi thought as he holds up his ticket. "H-here's my ticket for the show."

The Ticketmaster looks at it strangely. "What's this? There's something odd about this ticket…" he said slowly as he studies it. "Why, it's another fake! I've seen so many today." Vivi looks at it, and it turns out that the Ticketmaster was right... It said instead 'I Want to Be Your Crow'!

"Nooooo!" Vivi exclaimed, bowing his head. He was given that ticket from the friendly airship captain that brought him to Alexandria... and it's a fake!

"Now, now. Don't cry. I know how you must feel. Here, I'll give you these. Do try to cheer up now, hmm?" the Ticketmaster says as he hands a Goblin card, a Skeleton card, and a Fang card. "Talk to Alleyway Jack to learn more about cards. Good luck lad!" Ticketmaster said as Vivi walks away, waving.

'Now what will I do? I can't see the show…' Vivi thought to himself. Running into the alleyway leading to the water, he trips, causing the signmaker miss on the sign he made for the theatre next to it.

"Blast it!" Dante yelled. He climbs down the ladder and glares at Vivi. "Hey! You made me miss, you little klutz!" he yells as Vivi dusts himself off. Dante climbs back up the ladder and re-hangs the sign. "Whew. That should do it," he said to himself as he climbs back down. "Well, it's been a long day," he said, walking off.

The Rat kid suddenly appears from the other side of the alley and approaches the ladder and Vivi.

"Hey, you! Shrimp! You're the one with the phoney ticket, ain'tcha? I saw the guy tell you it was a fake!"

"Y-Yeah, it's fake," Vivi said hesitantly.

"I'll let you see the show if you become my slave! Well, whaddya say?" Rat kid said to Vivi.

"U-um... A-Alright," Vivi said, nodding. He really wants to see the show, and he doubts that the rat kid is serious about the slave part.

"Awesome! Now for your first assignment!" Rat kid said. "You go stand over there and see if anyone's comin'!"

Vivi runs over to the side of the alleyway that he came through and looks around. No one, as far as he could see.

"All clear?" Rat kid yells as they turn around to look at each other.

"Yeah, it's clear," Vivi yells back.

"Awesome! Engage according to mission parameters!" Rat kid said. He runs over to the ladder and picks it up over his head as Vivi walks over to him. The Rat kid runs off in the direction he came from. Vivi follows, though he finds that the other kid is much faster, even with a ladder.

"Over here!" Rat kid yells as he run towards the steeple. "Don't fall behind! Into the steeple!" he said before he disappears into the said building, Vivi catching up. "Now we're gonna climb up this tower!" Rat kid says as he goes to the side.

"T-the tower? Climbing up that?" Vivi said, being that he's afraid of heights...

"It's very dangerous... You go first!" he orders Vivi.

'Oooohhhh, why me?' Vivi thought as he goes over to the ladder and look up, grabbing one of the steps… but then it's to find a small mass of something furry falling on top of him!

"Ahahaha! What the heck was that?!" Rat kid said. Vivi stands up and walks out of the tower, allowing the thing to exit.

"Sorry 'bout that, kupo!" he said.

"That's Kupo. He's a moogle," Rat kid said to Vivi.

"Kupo!"

"And this is slave number one!" Rat kid said to Kupo, introducing Vivi. "Try to get along, okay?"

"Kupo! Pleased to meet you!" Kupo said to Vivi. "I sorry. I enter you in Moogle Diary!" Kupo said, apologizing for falling on him. Vivi nods in agreement.

"Alright, time for some upward mobility!" Rat kid said. He runs over to the ladder, adjusts the ladder he's carrying, and starts climbing. When reaching the top, he looks down at Vivi. "Okay, come on up, slave!"

Stiltzkin walks in with his traveling clothes on while Vivi was walking towards the ladder. "Kupo…? You here?" he asks Kupo.

"Kupo! Stiltzkin! Why that getup?" Kupo asks Stiltzkin. "You leaving, kupo?"

"Yeah, and this time I might be away for a long time."

"I'll miss you, kupo."

"Now don't worry. I'll write."

"Okay, kupo!"

"Well, I'm off. Take care! Oh, and say hi to Mosh in the castle for me," Stiltzkin said before leaving.

"Was that a friend of yours?" Vivi asks Kupo.

"Yes, kupo. A very special one, kupo!"

"Hey slave! I thought I ordered you up here!" Rat kid yells once more.

"K-kupo, looks like you better go up before he gets real mad."

"Y-yea," Vivi said as he reaches the ladder and climb it.

"Alright, the play's about to start if we don't hurry!" Rat kid said. He walks across the planks that crosses the two roofs. Vivi stops and looks at the planks, making Rat kid look back at Vivi. "Come on! Get over here!" Vivi looks up at the rat kid, then at the planks in fear. "Lemme guess… You're afraid of heights, aren't you?" Rat kid asks. Vivi nods. "It's okay! Just pretend that you are on the ground!" Rat kid said to Vivi. Vivi tries that and find that it works well for him.

'Whew... I made it across!'

"Come on, already! We're runnin' outta time!" Rat kid said and run across another set of planks. Vivi follows until he reaches the planks. "Not again…" Rat kid complains. "Don't worry! It won't fall!" he said. Vivi begins to walk across the planks… then they suddenly starts shaking! Vivi jumps off in time as the planks crack and fall. "Hahahah… I guess it fell," Rat kid said. "No point in worrying now, right?" he asks Vivi as starts running again. Vivi follows him as he crosses another set of planks.

'I wouldn't be doing this, if I don't want to watch the play... that was really close!'

"Oh yeah, I almost forgot!" Rat kid said as he pauses for Vivi to catch up. "I don't even know your name!"

"It's Vivi," Vivi said to Rat kid.

"So your name's Vivi, huh? Kinda funny name…" Rat kid said. "My name's Puck! Pleased to meet'cha!" Puck said as he runs off again. Vivi follows him across all the planks. They reach to the last roof that is next to the wall of the castle.

"Whew… We finally made it!" Puck said. He throws the ladder across the two roofs to make the final bridge. Puck runs across it and turns to Vivi. "After this wall, we'll be inside the castle! C'mon, let's go!" Puck said, leading Vivi in.

'At last, we made it...' Vivi thought to himself as he tries to keep up with Puck.

--

"Lady Rose, shouldn't you be in the balcony? And why are you wearing that cloak?" a Pluto knight said as one of the guests of Queen Brahne walks by.

"Sorry, but I wish for some time to myself right now," the 17-year-old woman, Rose, said as she turns her head to look at him. The long, golden horn on her forehead is really hard to hide, but she manages to wear the cloak just right for it to be hidden. The only time that it's seen is when some light hits it, shining it underneath the hood. She really looks like an woman with a deformed back, being that her wings are bunched underneath the cloth. But she doesn't care, as long as they're hidden from the people. She hates answering questions about the wings. The horn and tail is more understandable and accepted than the damn wings.

"Well... Well, being that I have no control over you because you are a guest, I guess I can't make you do anything," the knight said with a shrug. "Want me to tell Kuja that you're going for a walk or anything?"

"No, it is okay. Master Kuja is currently talking to Queen Brahne, so I do not wish to disturb him. Need not worry, he will understand," Rose said politely as she gives a slight bow, then turn and walk off. The soldier shudders a bit.

"Gawd, she really needs to lighten up her mood... The way her face always look cold gives me the creeps!" he mumbles.

Rose finds that the boat that ferries the people across the river that seperates the castle grounds from the rest of the city, gone.

'Looks like I shall have to fly,' Rose thought as she goes to an abandoned spot of the castle grounds, where she couldn't be seen by people. Taking off her cloak, she spreads her great white wings behind her. Her golden-brown horn shines in the sunlight and her long cheetah-looking tail waveing behind her. Her purple, long-sleeved shirt that's over a longer-sleeved red shirt (one can tell because of the slits in the shoulder parts, as well as the small amount at the end of her sleeves, bottom of the purple shirt, and the collar area at the neck) makes the whiteness of the wings stand out more. As does her long purple pants makes the tail stand out. The only thing not purple is the brown boots, and the black glove on her right hand and wrist.

'I hope no one sees me while getting across,' she said in her head as she leaps into the air and glide her way across the water, to the harbor docks, being that it's almost always abandoned of people. Especially that day, being that people has tried to get in and see the play that way for free. Soldiers make sure that no one goes in, most of the time anyway.

At the said place, there stands another person. She has short, blonde hair, wearing a white vest (no laces), light blue long-sleeved shirt under the vest, and dark blue jeans. The leather boots goes over the edge of the jeans, mid-way up her legs. But no gloves for her, though. The only thing different with her from people is... her monkey-like tail.

'I've looked everywhere, but it looks like they're not here...' she thought, looking for people that she've been searching after for years now. 'The rumor DID say Alexandria, right? ...I just hope that he isn't here...' the girl adds with a slight shudder. She sits against the wall, near the docks and alleyways of the city (as well as the steeple), resting.

The sound of something flying overhead and a soft thud catches her attention, jerking her out of her thoughts and towards the alleyway that is a dead-end. She watches as someone in a black cloak emerge from the alley. The person doesn't seem to see her, as she starts walking her way.

'That's strange, I thought I was the only one here. And isn't that alleyway a no-way deal, even without doors?' the girl thought as the person now realizes that she's sitting there - being that she tripped over the girls' feet.

"Whoa!" the person in the cloak said as she manages to catch her balance without falling. The hopping around shook the hood around a bit, the light catching something underneath it and making it shine for a second or two. She turns to the girl that's sitting there, almost expecting to fight or something. After about a minute of staring (being that the girl is familiar and yet not), she makes a small bow.

"I apoligize, I did not see you there," she said.

"It's okay," the girl said as she stands and dust herself off. "I probably shouldn't have stuck my legs out like that for people to trip."

"Hey, you two!" the patrolling Alexandrian soldier shouts as she stands there at the top of the stairs. "You're not allowed back here! The play's about to start, and you're not going to get free seats in the front!"

"We are not trying to sneak in," the girl in the cloak said a bit coldly. "I am going to leave here, do not worry about me..."

"And I'm doing nothing! I'm just searching for some people!" the other girl said with her hands on her hips, defending herself.

"Hmph... Fine, but you two better not be here when I come back!" the soldier said as she huffs again and leave.

"I hate being accused of somethin', don't you?" the girl said with a slight laugh.

"Very much so," the other replies as she pulls on the hood to cover her face more, out of habit. She looks up, then raises an hand to the other girl. "I am Rose Laxzi. May I have your name?" she said a bit ackwardly.

"Zellen. Zellen Tribal," Zellen said with a smile, shaking hands with Rose. "Hey, I know it isn't much of my business, but is that a horn under that hood?" she said, being that she did see that shining.

"...Yes," Rose admits with a slight sigh.

"Then... that makes you a summoner?"

"...Yes." 'Half summoner, by blood...'

"I thought Madeen Sari was destroyed, as were all of the summoners. So I'm just a bit surprised," Zellen said, her tail wavering a bit.

'And I am surprised to see someone of the other place... But you do not act like they did...' Rose thought to herself.

"I'm not gonna ask about the cloak business, but I got another question," Zellen continues. "You know the airship, Prima Vista? Do ya know the people that's on there? I'm searching for some friends of mine."

"Let me see... I do not remember the names, but I do have a sort of pamphlet that give the names of the crew..." Rose said slowly as she reaches into her pants pocket, looking for a folded piece of paper that she was handed earlier. "Here it is," she said as she tries the other pocket, unfolding it and looking at the words. "It says 'Tantalus proudly presents 'I Want to Be Your Canary', with Baku as King Leo, Ruby as the lovely Princess Cornelia, Marcus as Marcus, and additional characters such as Cinna, Blank, Zidane - ' "

"Blank? Did you say Blank?" Zellen said quickly, her eyes wide open.

"Do you know him?"

"Yes! Yes, I do!" Zellen said. "Now I know where to go!"

"Though... How will you be able to get onboard of the Prima Vista airship...?" Rose said, realizing the main problem before Zellen.

"Oh... Yeah..." Zellen said sadly. Rose gives a small frown.

'I cannot believe what I am going to say, but I want to help out...' "Maybe... I can help with getting you there..." Rose said slowly as she removes the hood from her head. "...Are you afraid of heights?"