Just in case (because I don't want to get sued and have to start selling Slovanian children on the black market for money) none of the characters belong to me, nor the places, or anything else taken from ff9 really. The characters were designed by some guy I don't remeber because he is not my beloved Tetsua Nomura.

A New Seed

Maps and books were strewn across the table, stained by spillages and dirty fingers. Obviously someone was not an admirer of literature, or even books in general, because these had not been treated with care. The pages had been brutally folded in many places, in some cases pages had been ripped out entirely, and there where blotches of ink where it had soaked through whilst someone wrote notes. The nearest pile of books was being used as a footrest.

"Marcus, get your dirty boots off that book and pass it here, I need to look something up."

Marcus looked over at Blank lazily, and after several minutes, found the energy to slide the book over to him.

"Well, you know, I'm resting. It's tiring work, being a thief."

"How can it be tiring, you aren't doing anything!" Blank glared at him over the huge pile of books he was currently using.

"Ho yes I am, I'm planning."

"...Planning." Blank gave him a sarcastic look.

"Yup," he said self-assuredly, leaning back in his chair and putting his feet up on the books again. Blank began to mutter under his breath.

"Planning...yeah and I'm sure he was planning in his sleep too, and while he played that rather loud game of checkers..."

"Hey, Blank..."

"Yes!" He shot Marcus a dark glare.

"Erm, ah, are you sure we shouldn't tell the boss what we're planning? I mean, won't he figure it out afterwards, you know, when we're stinking rich?"

"Look, if we tell him, he'll end up getting the biggest cut, even after we...I, did all the hard work. Plus, what does it matter if he figures it out later? We'll already have our money."

"Hehe, yeah..." Marcus gave his characteristic trollish grin.

Blank went back to reading a book titled "Recent Scientific Discoveries on the Forgotten Continent". Every few pages he made a note on a piece of paper, or drew a sketch of an illustration he saw.

"I swear, this treasure better be worth it, if I have to read one more thing about the affect mist had on the land, or properties of various monster bones.."

The door burst open and Marcus and Blank jumped. They relaxed as Zidane strutted into the room.

"Oh, hi Zidane. Er...how's Dagger, sorry, Queen Garnet?" Marcus asked cheekily.

"Dagger is doing ok, thanks for asking. But I came here for a reason..."

"Oh yeh? Wow, Zidane, wants us to do something for him, this makes a change!"

"Alright no need to be so sarcastic!" Zidane punched Marcus in the arm 'playfully'"You know this vacation you're going on?"

"Vacation? Wha" Marcus began, but Blank was quick to cover up.

"Yeah? What about it?"

"Well, I want you to take a couple of my friends."

There was a short silence before both Marcus and Blank chorused in at once.


"Erm, I don't think we can Zidane...it's not that kind of vacation..."

"Sure it is! You said you wanted a bit of relaxation, and so so they! Look, they won't be any trouble, I just don't want them going on their own, kinda inexperienced about the world y'know, since they spent most their lives in the black mage village...You're going tomorrow right? I'll send them round at noon!"

"Thanks guys!" He yelled as he rushed out of the door.

The sound of the door's hinges squeaking filled the otherwise silent air, and a ripped out page floated across the table. Marcus broke the silence.

"The Black Mage Village?"

Blank and Marcus got up early the next morning, packed up supplies, maps, and other reference material, collected weapons and counted their gil, before slinging on their backpacks and leaving the house. They did this all earlier than they had originally planned. They had made last minute changes to the plan to set off at 11:00 instead of 1:00, thus avoiding the unwanted tag-a-longs.

"See Marcus? I told you not to worry!" He slapped Marcus on the shoulder reassuringly, "Off we go!"

"Excuse me? You are Blank, correct?"

They turned around to see a small blonde girl and a black mage standing side by side near the doorway. The black mage was poking the mailbox experimentally.

"Dammit! He knows us too well..." Marcus said, his shoulders slumping.

The young girl stepped forward. "I'm Mikoto."

"Oh, hi! I'm Mr 163!" said the black mage hopping from foot to foot.

Marcus and Blank looked at each other silently, then looked back at the companions in disbelief. Mikoto looked Marcus up and down.

"So, what species are you? I thought that most of Zidane's friend were human..."

Marcus' face went red. "You little..."

Blank turned away from the ensuing argument, and put his head in his hands. "Boy, this is going to be a barrel of laughs..."