"So Fran, what do you think of those rumors?" Balthier asked as he and his companion traveled through Rabanastre from Lowtown.
"You are going after them?" Fran asked, classically answering a question with a question.
To which Balthier had to reply, "I asked you a question first."
Fran smirked, and after thinking for a moment, she decided to respond. "Could be fun."
Balthier glanced as his Viera partner, clearly exasperated by her response, though he attempted to hide it. "Would you clarify please?"
Fran only grinned further. "Now my question first."
And Balthier had lost their game yet again. It was damn hard to outsmart a Viera who had not even left her home until thirty years before his birth.
"Vaan! What's going on?" Penelo asked as she ran to find Vaan after hearing his shriek. "What happened to the Strahl?!"
"I don't know. It's gone!" Vaan exclaimed as he walked towards the crystal handing in the now empty hangar. And there was the message that caused Penelo to shriek with excitement and nearly tackle Vaan over.
"So nice to have her back," Balthier smiled as he and his partner flew their newly reclaimed airship over Dalmasca.
"They fixed her up for us," Fran commented as she ran through the display screens.
"Hm, seems the boy isn't as entirely useless as I thought he was," the male sky pirate mused. Fran just chuckled. "All right then, set our course."
As Fran did her work, there was something that had been bothering her slightly about her sky pirate. "Balthier," she addressed. "Why is it you seek the prized treasure as a gift for her Majesty, but you will not return her prized treasure yourself?"
Balthier sighed. "Fran," he whined. "Why do you always have to ask the most random of questions?"
"Mm mm," Fran smiled as she shook her head. "I asked you first."
Balthier groaned. "Because I'm sure the Queen doesn't need sky pirates around her. You know how she gets. Besides, the children will need something to do now they don't have the Strahl."
Fran shook her head. "You know why I ask these questions."
"That's not an answer."
"Of course it is. Just one you wish to ignore," Fran replied and watched as Balthier spent a long moment looking at the Dalmascan palace before taking off towards their new adventure. As they took off, Balthier took a glance at Fran and saw her smirking to herself. He knew it was going to be a long day with Viera in this mood.
"Your Highness?" A guard asked as he stood at the door to the top balcony.
"Yes?" Ashe asked as she looked up from her table.
"I have a message from the young Penelo." Ashe stood and accepted the small package and dismissed her guard. Her heart pounded as she read the note on the small envelope. But it pounded even more as the contents fell onto the table with a small clang. A small gasp escaped her lips as she picked the ring up. A smile crossed her face and her head shook as she thought of the sky pirate who was too busy to visit his old companion. Typical.
The princess picked the wedding band up and gently held it in the palm of her hand. She walked to the edge of the balcony to look upon the ruins of the Bahamut, something she did fairly frequently. This time, a small smile crossed her face. The well being of Balthier and Fran crossed her mind as every time she looked at the ruins she recalled her last interaction with Balthier. "'Not to worry princess' … what nerve," Ashe mumbled to herself as she shook her head. But now she sighed, relieved that they were alive and continuing on their adventures. It did bother her slightly that they had not made the effort to visit her themselves. But surely, Balthier would have his own grand appearance in mind, and Fran would follow for the amusement factor.
Ashe smiled as she reread the little envelope.
"In these ruins?" Balthier asked as he and Fran stepped out off of the Strahl.
"That is what the tale tells us, if that is what you wish to follow?"
"That's the treasure I seek here."
"More valuable then a royal wedding ring is it?" Fran asked securing her bow and arrow to her back.
"There aren't plenty things more valuable? What use do I have for a dead man's wedding ring?" Balthier replied, as he glanced at the ruins.
"You do not want for me to answer the truth," Fran replied. "Denial is your game."
Balthier's face twisted as he rolled his eyes. "Fran, you are simply too much."
"And what is a sky pirate without his partner?"
Balthier ignored her and continued on in.
Some time later...
"What a pain," Balthier complained. "How many of these stupid things can there be? This looks exactly the same color as the last three altars we hit."
"The tale tells us of stones of gold reflecting the colors of the rainbow. We must need to turn all these altars to colors."
"I wonder how many more there could be," Balthier answered.
"Our treasure lies ahead," Fran states and continued on. "Not much further."
"What a pain," Balthier whined again.
Several hours later, after all the gold pedastals had been turned to various colors, Balthier and Fran stood in front of a large ornate door. "Oh pray this is it," Balthier mumbled as Fran mulled over the door.
"No way to open the door that I see," Fran informed her partner.
"Well, no point of a door that can't be opened." Balthier stepped back and examined the entire room. Fran joined him, the two conserving their energy and trying to find a way into the room where surely the treasure lay. "And up above the skies would bear witness," Balthier mumbled.
"A treasure that would be the princess's greatest gift," The Viera finished the last line of the tale as they both looked at the ceiling.
"I believe that would be our way to open the door," Balthier said with a smile as he pointed his gun towards a target that all but said 'Shoot here to open the door'. After a click and a bang, the door opened by itself. "One day these tales will learn to not be so obvious."
"Obvious?" Fran asked with a smirk as the two walked into the room.
"Simple as could be," Balthier answered with a smile. "And inside is our… treasure?" Balthier's statement finished as he saw only a table in the middle of the empty room.
Fran continued to the table as Balthier stopped in his place. Balthier grimaced slightly as he saw the amusement in Fran's eyes. "This is our treasure," The Viera stated holding up a circular pendant with gold stones that shined the colors of the rainbow and a ring with a single bright stone.
"Much too literal," Balthier sighed as he walked towards the Viera, who was still amused to no end.