He had thought this stupid quest to see General Caraway a waste of time, but since it had to be done to complete their mission, there was no choice but to comply. So his team had gone back to the hotel where Rinoa, Irvine, and Quistis were supposed to be restocking supplies and resting. Upon explaining the situation, Rinoa immediately wanted to be one of the three who went in. At first he was against it, but after thinking about what was to come, maybe it was best she went now and stayed behind later. It was going to be hard enough to talk her into that as far as he could tell. This little trip could be ammunition in the upcoming fight. It was decided that he would take Zell and her with him into this king-guys tomb leaving Selphie to rest and Quistis to keep an eye on the new addition. Irvine seemed pleased at being left in the company of the two girls, while Zell seemed pleased to escape him. It was decided that they would head out at first light.
In the morning, on the way out of town they stopped by a junk shop for an upgrade, just in case. Skipping an offer to rent a car they hiked out into the fields. Seeing new creatures and gathering new types of magic takes priority over convenience when time allows. Finding some windmills along the way from a flying creature, Rinoa became overly pleased when told he would allow her to upgrade again giving her the most advanced weapon out of the group. Frowning at the realization, he decided to listen for more ammunition to use against her in the upcoming fight over the sorceress party.
At last they finally made it to the tomb and ignoring the students running out the front, stopped for an early lunch in a shady alcove. Zell's moaning over the library girl, complaints about Irvine, sneaking snacks to Angelo and just general goofy conversation made Squall even more relieved he'd asked Zell to come. He hadn't given any thought at all to talking during lunch and with Zell there the problem solved itself. It was even nice having Angelo holding down the fourth corner of the picnic blanket or playing with the little silver fish in the stream. Watching Rinoa lick plum juice off her fingers after finishing the fruit, he even offered her a slight smile when she caught him staring. After packing everything up, with Angelo was admonished to stay in the spot and guard their things unless called for, they headed into the tomb.
As they walked around, know-it-all Zell decided to share what he knew of this tomb. It wasn't much. Just that the king was from a long time-ago, the place was a maze, and there was supposedly a legendary guardian who could not be defeated guarding the place. Finding the sword they were looking for, the decision to head back should have been obvious. Unfortunately the words "could not be defeated" were still ringing in Squall's ears, combined with Zell's gusto and Rinoa's playful nature, led instead to the three venturing further in. Sticking to the right wall as the maze-survival-training courses the SEEDs had to take kicked in they rounded the corner into a little alcove with a statue on top.
Walking around the statue, checking it out from every angle, and about to leave in disappointment, the feral grin on Zell's face stretched even farther when it spoke, challenging them. The creature jumped down from its perch, and the fight began.
At first things seemed to go well, it took some damage, they took some damage, then unexpectedly its wounds healed. 15 minutes into it and they were reduced to one attack while the other two healed. It seemed to like hitting on Zell the most, keeping him perpetually pissed off and going crazy on it. Not liking how this was turning out, but refusing to run so long as the others were staying in for it, Rinoa decided to try magic. 25 minutes later, with Zell still angry, Squall irritated at being only able to cast heals, and Rinoa running low on different types of magic to try, something brilliant struck. Flashing a smile at Squall when he glared at her for giggling, she waited to try out her plan.
After casting three cures in a row on Zell, her chance came. Her float spell seized the creature and suspended him in mid-air. The thing instantly frenzied, furious at this indignation. Squll and Zell gave her a wide-eyed look, both scared and a little impressed. Shrugging a little, she turned back just in time to take the things hit in her jaw. Zell cursed and launched his next attack, while Squall desperately reached for a cura in his mind. It was too late as she was struck again and he cried out as she fell. Dropping to his knees at her side fumbling to let go of cura and grasp life, Zell and the creature both gasping from injuries, he was bowled over by a large blur of fur. As he lay staring at her prone form with the dog standing over her, he was suddenly so grateful he had caved and bought her those magazines she wanted. Angelo had revived her. He watched in shock as Rinoa calmly handed the canine a treat, patted his nose, and told him to go back and wait. The dog disappeared back in the direction he came from and he felt warm as Rinoa's cura hit him. As he got back to his feet he looked over at Zell, who was now floating and merrily kicking the creature in the face. Looking back at her just as she cast float on him, he returned the favor as, with a small smile and a nod, she turned back to the battle.
The minotaur howled in rage as they kept it and themselves suspended throughout the fight. Unable to regen and its ability to damage them severely limited, it was quickly beaten. As it ran off bawling something about a big brother Zell broke out in cheers, while Rinoa turned away to check her appearance. Swinging his sword around to stretch out his back, a little stiff from staying in fighting posture for so long, for the first time he was glad to be fighting with her. No one with any SEED training would have ever started randomly casting spells at a creature like that for fear of strengthening it, weakening themselves, or just plain running out of magic. It was reckless and foolish, but it had worked. Taking a deep breath, he began lecturing her, fighting with her, hoping not a word of it sunk in.