Fayt paused, his hand on the Sacred Orb. The OPA, the artifact of administration within the Eternal Sphere, gave him the power he needed to perform almost any whim he could imagine within the program. His hand trembled with the possible power. What if, just for a moment, he could forget all the responsibility, all the pressure? What if he could use it to achieve his greatest desire?

Unable to contain himself any longer, Fayt gave in to his most dire temptation. He raised the orb, and put on a menacing grin as he faced the rest of the group. Maria and Cliff saw the look in his eyes. "No, Fayt! Please, you can't!" "It's not worth it, kid!" But they were far too slow. He concentrated, gathered his will... And, with one of the most powerful objects in the universe...

CLUNK! He pegged Albel in the forehead.


"And what would you like to file a patent for today?" Welch smiled expectantly at Fayt over the communicator.

"Well, I made this nice pearl necklace. I haven't heard any of the other craftsmen making any, so I think it's a new invention. And do we really, REALLY need to do this via the communicator? I'm in the workshop across the street from you. I could walk for maybe a minute and be talking to you face to face."

"You know the rules, Fayt. The Guild Master made them, and all of the inventors have to follow them. But yeah, I'd give it a tentative rating of about 30-"

"WHAAAAT?! You can't file a patent for THAT!"

Fayt recoiled for a moment. "Adray? What are you talking about?"

"I can guarantee you that's not an original invention. I invented the pearl necklace over 20 years ago."

Welch gave a deadpan look through the monitor, obviously not believing him. "With those sausage fingers? Do you happen to remember exactly when you created your pearl necklace?"

"Of course I do. It was exactly 23 years ago, in May. My memory may be going, but you can be damned sure I remember making a 'pearl necklace' on my wife. What do you think led to us making Clair?" He guffawed, obviously amused at himself.

Welch just stood there silently for a few moments before hefting her giant hand-tipped staff. "Fayt, keep him there for a moment. I'm going to make that one-minute walk across the street and invent a new medical technique or two."


Sophia was more nervous than she'd ever been. "I really don't know if I'm cut out for this... and I'm certain this costume isn't cut out for me."

Peppita slapped her on the back in a friendly manner. "Aw, c'mon, Sophia. Just give it a try! Ursus'll catch you if you fall, I promise!"

Mirage shook her had sadly. How did Peppita ever talk Sophia into trying the high-wire act, of all things? And in one of the small girl's spare costumes, no less. It was at least 4 sizes too small... "Fayt would die of nasal blood loss if he saw her like that."

Cliff simply leered at her comment. "Why don't you try one on? I'm sure it'd suit you very nicely."

Mirage looked at him, and smiled. And drove her fist firmly into his gut, followed by an elbow to the base of his skull as he bent over.

By the time he woke up, Cliff was the one in the costume instead. Dangling by his foot, tied to the trapeze, swinging lightly.

"Y'know... I was expecting worse from her for that."