After the fall of the Temple of Chaos and Puppeteer, much work laid before the Returners. Of course the first stop was in Narshe, where Mog and Umaro offered them all a nice bed and warm food in exchange for the tales of their adventures.
For the next few days, Edgar, Locke, Sabin, and Setzer rested more then told their story, while Celes and Terra enjoyed telling their furry friends the high points of their adventure. But when they came to Qaletaqa's death, neither could choke back their tears. Shadow, that is, Clyde, vanished the first night of rest, while Daithi remained off in his own world as he practiced with his rapier and helped his wounded friend back to health.
Once everyone was fully recovered and each individual story was told, the Falcon took to the skies, leaving Narshe and the land of the Ever Rising Sun, far behind them. Setzer's smiled after feeling the wind blowing through his hair and the sense of freedom returned to him after flying high and fast in his friend's airship. He knew he had to go to their hill, but now he had just a few stops to make on the way. This game of life was his to play and he swore, never again, will someone rig his table. Gazing beyond the horizon, Figaro castle was in sight.
It was both a frightful and a delightful day for the Phoenix tribe. From the north came an army of women on chocobos with large carts behind them. The fact that they were women didn't scare the huge barbarians, but the foreigners outnumbered them twenty to one and the unknown cargo worried them more than a little. Leading the army were two men looking identical, yet appeared so different. The army stopped a good hundred yards away as the two men and one woman came forward.
"Good afternoon kind people of the Veldt. I am King Edgar Figaro and this here is my brother Prince Sabin Figaro and this is my friend Lady Terra Branford," the king announced with a bow on his chocobo.
"Why you come here?" asked an old native with a long headdress filled with bright red, orange, and yellow feathers.
"We have come to tell the heroic deeds of one of your own, Qaletaqa," Terra began her rehearsed line.
The story was told about a brave native that came to Figaro for help for his tribe. Figaro castle couldn't help anyone; however, do to the constant attacks of a sand worm surrounding the area. Qaletaqa offered his strength in assistance to Figaro's time of need. Many died, including Qaletaqa, but the worm was defeated and the people of Figaro were saved.
The army approached at the end of the tale, unloading the large amount of food and tools that could help the tribe, like fishing nets and bows and arrows. Out of one of the carts sprang a young native boy with torn rags. Running about with more energy than a wild chocobo, Gau began introducing himself to the entire tribe.
Terra smiled at the people of Figaro handing the tribe of Phoenix food or teaching them how to use one of the complicated items like a fishing pole. She then chuckled as Gau started kicking the ground fast as he stared at a beautiful young Phoenix girl. She winked at him, which caused him to grab his heart and fall over. Terra's chuckle blew out into a wholehearted laugh.
Shaking her head at the youths she gazed upwards to the darkening skies. A bright star blinked into existence and began to shine down upon the half-Esper. Bowing her head, she felt a strong force around her. Qaletaqa, I hope you are at peace.
Three days have passed since Celes, Cid, and Daithi's arrival in the town of Kell. The epidemic left most of the people malnourished and only five perished during Daithi's absence. To the hunter, that's five lives on his head for not looking for another way to help his people. Celes planned on making a story for Daithi like Terra made for Qaletaqa, but the pride of the hunter wouldn't permit it.
He told his town everything, leaving out no details about the dark deeds he done for the money to help his people. Surprisingly, no one blamed him or judged him for what he done. They were nothing but proud of his decision of choosing the right path before it was too late and the fact that he saved their lives.
That night, with everyone in good health, there was a celebration for Celes, Daithi, the doctor that cured the town, and all that survived the plague. At the bonfire, Celes excused herself before the main meal was served. Looking back to the fire, Celes smiled as not just the physical well being was returned, but the spirits of the people have also returned as most of the town danced around the fire with some of them playing a flute.
On a log away from the fire, Cid, Daithi, and his fiancée chatted and laughed as if they were long time friends. That sight eased the ex-general's heart. Daithi never opened up to the Returners. Why, was anybody's guess. Now it seemed with his family and friends in good health, the hunter himself appeared to have lightened up.
Heading back out of town, Celes eyed every dark alley, hoping to catch a glimpse of her loving treasure hunter. Like Clyde, once the Returners landed in Figaro, Locke vanished without a word. During their temporarily endeavor, the thief let out more than he wanted to, to his closest friend.
Celes's smile never changed. A soft breeze blew against her fair skin. Admiring the horizon and the sea of stars, she pondered what adventures Locke was on this night. Eventually, she knew, he would have to go on the greatest adventure of them all. Locke will have to search his heart and come to the realization that he truly loves Celes. When that day comes, she'll be waiting with open arms.
Clyde took a deep breath. His hands shook uncontrollably, regardless of his long time mental discipline. His face, drenched in sweat, stung his light colored eyes. Standing before a great dragon couldn't possibly make him more nervous than what he was going to do. With a quick rap, he wondered if he had time to get away before it was too late.
A familiar bark held him in place. Interceptor, his closest friend and ally, he left behind to protect her when he knew that he was too much of a coward to protect her himself. Calming down with another deep breath, he released all of his guilt and excuses. He was here now. The dog barked again on the other side of the door. The portal opened.
"Can I help you?" a beautiful blonde teenage girl asked, tilting her head to one side.
"Hello, Relm. I'm your father."