Cuttingmoon57 here, and back with chapter thirty-seven of The Tainted Grimoire. And as a side note, any beliefs expressed throughout my story are not my own. They are simply unique to the characters and their personalities. Just wish to clarify that.
Credit for making sure this gaggle of words is somewhat coherent goes to Supreme Distraction. Every writer who wants to be taking seriously should have a beta, and now I have mine. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy or anything related to it. If I did, FF12 would already be getting a direct PS2 or PS3 sequel. I also don't own any other anime, manga, or game that I take elements or characters from.
Suggestion: Head to Final Fantasy Wikia for information or images of the main cast if you'd like to see pictures of their appearance. They remain virtually unchanged in my story. (Other non-canon characters will be described.)
"Blah" = talking
"Blah" = thoughts, writing, sound effects, or flashbacks
(Blah)= scene change
Remember to take part in the poll on my profile. Cast your vote for your two favorite Clan Gully members.
"After all this time, you're still after Klesta, huh? If you had told me before, I never would have allowed Luso to go with you." Cheney paused, taking another step forward so that he and Bowen were merely a few inches apart. Everyone watched warily from around them. "Next time that you feel the need to drag someone into your pointless revenge, do me a favor and leave my clan out of it."
Without giving him time to responded, the Hunter sidestepped him and walked forward, heading towards the exit, not even giving a look back at him. He kept walking, until the words that next left Bowen's mouth stopped him in his tracks.
"What need have I of the young and frail, especially of those that could only handle such a small amount of punishment? I've better things to do than play at nursemaid."
The Hunter paused, and in that moment, it seemed to the entire group that the whole pub had gone silent. Bowen stayed still, then after a calm of three seconds, it happened.
Cheney's fist crashed into the back of Bowen's helmet, the force so great that the Fighter could actually feel it through its metal plating. The action caught everyone in surprise, and instantly the entire noisy pub, even the rowdy patrons in the rear, died down instantly, allowing the sound of the Hume Fighter colliding with the ground to resonate through the space.
The fist of anger erupts!
Time stopped moving for us on that day
Trapped in this never ending cycle of retribution
Chapter Thirty Seven: Blue Rain Blues 3 (Cause for Confront)
Just as the Fighter's body would have smacked against the pub's stone floor, Bowen's reflexes took command, throwing his arms out in front of him and impeding his fall. He then seamlessly maneuvered into a horizontal roll, flipping himself over so that his eyes locked with Cheney, whose fist was still outstretched from the attack.
By this time, the resulting scene had now fully garnered the pub's attention, whether by the scant eyewitnesses, or the masses of pub-goers who had pointed to the group's position. Both Vili and Veis held looks of sheer astonishment, taken aback at how the normally mild Hunter could release such a violent outrage. Joining them were Loa and Tweigel, who's attention where more focused on their leader's reaction, which was gathering signs of wrathful revenge by the moment.
"Bowen, stop this ins-" Tweigel called out as his leader rose quickly to his feet. His warning proved to no avail, as the Hume, blinded by rage, ignored the Nu Mou's words and rushed towards Cheney, his right fist leading.
Cheney in retaliation, although caught up in the heat of the moment, calmly analyzed the Fighter's basic, power-heavy movements, movements he had come to easily recognized over the duration of his time within the clan. The Hunter spread his legs apart to gain a more stable stance. Bowen threw out a right straight at his opponents head, an action which Cheney easily dodged by cocking his head to the other direction.
At that moment, Bowen, anticipating this move, brought that same right hand back, latching hold of his enemy's left shoulder in the process. His opposite fist flew out at the man's head once more, Cheney quickly matching the attack with his own free hand. Rather than meeting each other in the middle, the fists just grazed the other, successfully colliding into the cheeks of each man's adversary. The blows caused both to stumble backwards.
Cheney, regaining both his footing and his sense, in anger made a reckless charge at the still recovering Bowen, despite the verbal protests of the Viera sisters, Loa, and Tweigel, and in accordance with the cheering crowd that enjoyed the barbaric brawl from their seats. The Fighter hadn't the time to properly react to the oncoming threat, and within moments Cheney collided with him in a full-on tackle aimed at his mid section. The force and momentum carried the two Hume down the stairs, leading them into the pub's open dining room before crashing into and knocking over one of the occupied round tables. The two customers seated at the particular table had scrambled from their seats in time to avoid them. The table cracked in half upon hitting the hard floor, partly shattering into splinters and small pockets of dust upon impact.
Bowen, knowing he'd have little time before Cheney regained his composure, heaved the Hunter from on top of him, the Hume's body limply falling to the side. He sat up quickly, then raised his right fist high into the air before bringing it down square into his foe's cheek. A mixture of coughing and saliva spewed from the huntsman's mouth following the hit, though it gave his body the wakeup call it needed to block the second attempt, catching Bowen's fist in his own gloved hand.
The two struggled against each other, the crowd beginning to evacuate the dining room after deeming the escalating fight growing too dangerous, until two pairs of strong, feminine arms wrapped around both of Bowen's own limbs, forcibly dragging the man from on top of Cheney. Bowen desperately tried to break free of their grasp, but Loa and Veis's combined effort proved to strong even for him.
With Bowen removed from on top of him, Cheney took staggering movements towards standing to his feet, until Vili approached and offered him a hand, which he generously accepted. Seemingly calmed down, the Hunter stared disapprovingly at the restrained Fighter, causing Bowen to resume his verbal tirade.
"Don't you stare at me that way! Don't you dare!" He gritted his teeth, narrowed his eyes, and his voice took on a low, venomous tone as the pub grew silent. "Looking down on me with your holier-than-thou attitude. That filthy creature took my wife! My beloved wife! Don't you dare act like you could just let it go!"
"That's just it, Bowen!" Cheney retaliated in the same raised voice. "It's not Klesta's fault at all that Friese is dead. It's yours! You should have known better!" He paused but for a second, pointing without looking at Loa and Tweigel. "One day your obsession with this pointless revenge will end up killing you all!"
The room grew silent, with Bowen quietly shaking free from Veis and Loa's grip. He calmly made his way over to Cheney, stopping just directly in front of him. His face was no longer as anger-filled as it was previously; now more overcome with a quiet intensity. He spoke low, but audibly enough for everyone to hear.
"And what do you know about losing your most precious person?"
With that last sentence, he exited the pub, heading straight for the front door. On his way out, he reached into a pocket and pulled out a small bag that jingled as he placed it on the bar counter, from what Tweigel assumed, gil to pay for the fight damages.
A few seconds of absolute silence passed before Cheney would quietly respond to his rhetorical question.
"More than you know."
He also headed for the door without a following word. Moments later, the pub began to fill with sparse amounts of chatter, mostly concerning the scene that had just unfolded or who had actually won the fight. Tweigel turned towards Loa, Veis, and Vili, his voice noticeably tired, distant, and melancholy.
"Perhaps it best that we check upon Luso now."
(Vieg Town, South Clinic)
"Ah Luso, you're awake." Vili remarked happily as she, her sister, Tweigel, and Loa entered the lobby of the Vieg Town South Clinic, a space sporting the generic white washed walls and plain furniture that so commonly accommodated most medical facilities in the land of Jylland. A few potted plants hanging either from walls or located in vases in the corners of the room gave the space some greenery, but all in all the room was standard clinical lobby fare.
She spotted the boy standing in the center of the medium sized room, adjusting the straps on his trademark yellow overalls before picking up his red cap from a coffee table and placing it on his brown locks. Next to him stood a Nu Mou White Mage, with ivory robes absent of the red embroidering that so traditionally emblazoned their outfits. The spell caster directed his Hume patient's attention to the door, remembering the group that had brought the unconscious boy in as well as taking note of the familiarity in which the Viera had called his name.
"You bet I am." Luso responded with his normal upbeat tone, giving the girl a high five as she approached.
"How's his condition, doctor." Tweigel queried to his fellow Nu Mou, Loa noticing how visibly relieved he seemed to be.
"Oh he's fine." The White Mage replied with a good-natured chuckle. "There weren't any exterior or interior damages along his head, and his neck received only minor trauma from the fall. Our on-duty healer has already remedied that complication, though, so he's free to go."
"Thank you doctor." Tweigel bowed respectfully, the doctor doing the same before heading out of the room. Once he had left, the Illusionist turned to Luso. "It's good to see that you're alright."
"Eh, it just got a good lick on me, that's all. Round two will be different." He responded enthusiastically, tapping the two blades at his side. He glanced around, before looking back at the Nu Mou. "Where's Cheney and Bowen?"
An uncomfortable silence drew upon them after the boy's question, something which caused him to raise an eyebrow. Tweigel was the one to speak up in reply after clearing his throat.
"There was a…disagreement of sorts when we encountered Cheney at the pub." He began. "It escalated into a fight, and both of them stormed off into the night."
"What!" Luso stated in surprise. "Why? What happened?"
"Yes, I'm quite curious as to the origins of this argument." Veis added.
"Very well. I believe it's time that you hear the entire story." Tweigel complied after a drawn out silence, sighing lightly. His visage grew more sullen as he began the tale. "The truth is, we have a long history with that monster. Long, and troubled. We have fought it many times before." He paused, looking up at Veis. "Have you heard of the swordmaiden Friese?"
"Why, yes. She was a famous headhunter in this land." The Viera responded. "Her exploits have even reached our ears."
"Indeed, she was." Tweigel continued. "Though it is not widely known, she was a comrade of ours in her later years. She was present when we fought Klesta some years ago. A bitter, hard fight it was. At the end of the battle, Klesta fled, much as it did today. Bowen saw that Friese still had her wind, so he sent her to chase it down and finish it." Everyone's faces grew somber as they realized where the tale was headed.
"A while later, we heard the beast's cry from a great distance, and ran in the direction of the cry as fast as our tired limbs would carry us, eager to savor our victory." He paused once more, for a brief moment, then continued, releasing another labored sigh. "Unfortunately, it was not victory that waited for us - it was the broken body of our comrade. The wounded beast had slain her."
Luso and Loa's heads both hung low, while Vili placed a hand over her mouth in shock. Veis remained still, though tightly but subtly clenched her fists as Tweigel uttered his next words.
"Friese... was Bowen's wife." Another pause ensued, then the Nu Mou pressed on. "Since then, we as a clan have acted with more caution than ever before. He bears the wounds from that time deep in his heart. We all do." He looked specifically at Luso. "Especially your friend Cheney."
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "We have been chasing it ever since. As for his outrage today, these feelings must have been building up for years. I can only surmise that today's encounter pushed him over the edge."
"I see." Veis spoke. "And I presume Cheney left House Bowen after her death."
"That is the case." Tweigel nodded solemnly in reply, before pausing and turning to the others. "It has grown rather late. It would be best for all of us to turn in for the night."
"Yes, that would be best." Veis echoed, before turning to her sister. "Come, Vili." The younger Viera heeded her sibling's call, heading towards the door when Luso suddenly spoke, performing an embarrassed smile.
"Before you leave, do any of you know the way to southern part of town. I'm not really sure where my Inn is." Both Loa and Tweigel's spirits were lifted slightly with this, and the two chuckled as Vili stepped back towards him, also smiling as she spoke.
"I'll make sure he gets back safely."
(Vieg Town, Crossroads Inn)
"So you're an Assassin?" Luso Clemens queried as he and his Viera escort Vili turned a corner, arriving on the street that contained the Inn Clan Gully was staying at. "I remember seeing it in the different job class listings. That's pretty amazing."
It was by this time a little past midnight, the sky a dome of purest black dotted here and there with bright stars. Further light was provided by the waxing moon in the sky that, from what Luso surmised, would be full in only a matter of days, as well as the neatly arranged streetlamps placed evenly along the sidewalk. As always, the street was still somewhat alive with travelers, mostly men hauling packages or groups preparing for travel the following morning. It was, though, not nearly as occupied to the degree that the daytime brought along.
"Amazing?" Vili questioned with good natured sarcasm, giggling lightly as they walked side by side. "You say you're from another world, and you're amazed with me?"
"Well even if you are so young, it's still pretty believable that you're a trained assassin. Mine just sounds silly." Luso replied with a chuckle.
"Yeah, I suppose." She spoke with a sly grin, which he returned. "I won't say I believe you a hundred percent, but there's something about you that tells me you're speaking the truth."
"I find that really weird, though." The boy admitted. Upon noticing her quirked eyebrow, he decided to elaborate further. "Back where I come from, anybody who said they were from another world was basically considered crazy, but the people here seem more open to the idea." He stared up at the sky. "I guess that's why I waited so long to tell my clan."
"Maybe, but in this world full of sorcery and mystics, to me at least, traveling through an otherworldly portal doesn't seem so farfetched." She said with a smile, bringing about the same reaction in him. They continued along the path in a comfortable silence, before arriving at their destination.
Luso and Vili pushed open the front door and stepped into the lobby of the Inn, an open floor plan containing a series of different rooms. Each held its own unique arrangement of furniture, ranging from cushioned couches with coffee tables to carved, oak tables and dining chairs. The green walls matched well with the menagerie of potted plants harvested from the nearby Jadewood, and candles placed periodically gave the room adequate light, even in the dark hour.
"Greetings, young master." The Moogle receptionist spoke with her distinctly female voice, emerging from the door behind her desk with a handful of clean towels just as the two entered the building. "If I recall correctly, you are with the Clan Gully party, yes?"
The boy nodded in confirmation, then surveyed the room, catching a particularly odd sight out of the corner of his right eye. He began walking towards the figure, whose head and arms where sprawled out over the table.
"Who's that?" Vili asked, taking note of the White Mage outfit and the ivory-hued wizard hat that sat atop her head. Luso smiled as he took a good look at the female's face, eyes closed and deep in slumber.
"Oh this is Kanin. She's Clan Gully's White Mage-in-training." He replied to the Viera with a chuckle as the girl released a large, uncouth snore, something which Vili mimicked. He looked down at the remainder of the table, a bowl of vegetable stew, with a majority consisting of chopped carrots. "Judging by the amount of carrots, I'd say she made dinner tonight." He laughed once more.
"She's been there since this evening. Poor girl's been waiting there for you to return. Said she didn't want you to have to eat dinner by yourself." The receptionist chimed in from the far side of the room, setting down the towels on the desk before exiting through the door once more.
Hearing of this caused Luso to don a sincere smile as he took a seat in the chair adjacent to her. He offered Vili to sit in the third seat next to him, and as she did he placed the bowl of stew in front of him. It was quite cold from having sat there for hours, but he neverless enjoyed it to the fullest, especially knowing the thought behind it. He would have awoken Kanin, but judging from her snoring, he doubted that he would have the power to accomplish such a feat.
Vili watched distantly as Luso happily dug into his cold meal, and half a minute passed before she spoke.
"You people from Clan Gully are all pretty close-knit, aren't you?"
Luso swallowed down the spoonful that was already in his mouth, then raised an eyebrow curiously at her. His eyes traveled to the white ceiling, mulling the question over in his head, before his vision refocused on her.
"Yeah you could say so." He said with a warm smile playing at his lips. "I mean we have our problems like every other clan, but I can honestly say that I would trust my life to any of them." He paused for a split second. "Except Ensei or Adelle. Either of them would sell me off for a sack of gil." The boy added with a chuckle, signifying his lack of seriousness, though he offhandedly wondered just how true that statement might be. "Anyway, in the leader's words, we're all one big family." He slurped down another of the chopped carrot pieces, then looked towards her. "What's your family like?"
"Well…Veis and I hail from a long line of Viera that departed from the wood generations ago and specifically practiced the arts of the Assassin. Our grandmother raised us and taught us the art…" Her voice seemed to grow somber as she continued, a trait that Luso picked up. "It was hard, brutal most of the time, but we somehow managed. Veis felt that there was much to learn in Jylland, especially after she heard of House Bowen, so we set out a few months ago. Now here we are."
"So you two traveled here to join House Bowen?" Luso asked, seeking confirmation as he munched on piece of celery stuck on his fork. She nodded in reply. "Is that what you wanted, or was it what Veis wanted?"
"Honestly, I didn't mind that we left our homeland." She admitted. "I had always wanted to travel around. If at all possible I would like to be in the same clan as my sister, though presently I don't know how I feel about joining House Bowen." Luso grabbed the napkin that lay beside his bowl to wipe his mouth, before wadding it into a ball and looking straight at her.
"Yeah, I think I see what you mean." He spoke. "Though I do know one thing. You can't join a clan solely for someone else. The clan you join has to have the same beliefs and principles that you do, otherwise you'd be wasting your time."
"You're right." Vili said with a sigh after a pause.
"But hey, it's at least worth talking to her about." Luso assured, patting her on the shoulder while standing to his feet. He gestured towards Kanin, whose snoring had calmed down. "Alright, I should probably take her up to her room now-"
Their attention flew from the slumbering White Mage to the door of the lobby, laying their eyes on the light pink skin, and draconic features of the Gria Ravager Loa. Beads of sweat rolled down the side of her face, pooling on her chin before plopping to the ground. Her dark pink hair, also soaked in perspiration, clung to her face and neck. She held a folded piece of worn paper between her hands. Shallow breaths repeatedly escaped her throat.
"Loa! Why are you here? What happened?" Vili questioned aloud, standing from her chair. In response, the Gria knelt down for a just a second, attempting to catch her breath, before returning to her upright position.
"Bowen's gone after Klesta! By himself!" She yelled in desperation. "Please! Help us catch him! If he goes alone he'll be-"
Loa's plea was interrupted by the sound of Luso Clemens fixing his blades back on his belt as well as Vili checking to make sure all of her equipment was present. He gave the Ravager a nod of confirmation, his eyes blazing blue with determination, then spoke.
"Then what are we waiting for."
It has been my sincerest personal honor fighting alongside the two of you for all these years. Never in my years have I encountered two as loyal as you, and there is no one I would rather entrust my back to.
What Cheney said tonight at the pub was right. If we continue along this path, we will one day suffer the same fate as Friese. I have pressed on for all these years now, but I can no longer bear the burden of Friese's death. But no more could I bear losing one of you in this selfish revenge of mine. That said, I will now hunt down this menace named Klesta, by myself. By the time you read this letter, either I will have slain the beast, or it will have slain me.
I sincerely hope that the former is the case
Best wishes to you both,
"Wow he really seems serious about this." Luso commented loudly as he finished reading the letter. He, Loa, and Vili rapidly made their way through the semi crowded streets of Vieg town, the two earthbound individuals having to dart and weave their way between pedestrians and beasts of burden alike, while the Gria took to her natural place in the sky, always flying just a little ahead of their position on the ground. "Where did Veis and Tweigel go?"
"Tweigel said he was going to pick something up that might help, and Veis went with him. I figured that if they finished before I found you two, they could go ahead to intercept him. Being an Assassin, I figured she could track him better. Trying to spot him from the air wouldn't do much good this late at night." Loa answered, descending slightly.
The trio continued to make their way along the road, the traffic thinning out as they drew closer to the edge of town, closer to the beginning of the Jadewood.
Within a few minutes of their respective sprinting and flying, all sources of life had vanished, and they reached the end of town, the singular stone, open gateway that they had passed by so many times that day. The lamps on either side of the gate partly illuminated the structure, and as Luso strained his eyes, he could make out a humanoid form leaning against the gateway. Next to him, a Greatbow lay flat on the ground. Loa, noticing the boy and Viera stop, leaned to the left, circling around before landing next to them in an easy crouch.
Just as she landed, Cheney came from out of the shadow of the gateway, and spoke.
"I suppose you're looking for Bowen." There was a small pause before Luso replied.
"Yeah. Do you know where he is?"
"He passed by me through the gate nearly half an hour ago." The Hunter replied, gesturing with his hand behind him. "Don't go after him."
"What! Why not?" Vili questioned. "If we don't go-"
"What? If you don't go, what?" Cheney interrupted loudly, before forcibly calming himself. "If all of you earlier could not best Klesta, what makes you think you three could help him now?"
"And what makes you think Bowen by himself could do any better?" Luso retorted sharply.
"I know very well that he will fail!" The Hume called back, throwing Luso off guard with his response. "But he doesn't want to involve any of you in this. He cannot bear to lose any more comrades, so he went alone to save you all." He paused, calming his voice once more. "It was for this reason alone that I allowed him to go." He began walking forward to the group, his voice low and melancholy.
"This is a fight with both his life and pride on the line. By the end of this night, he will lose one of these things."
All fell quiet after Cheney's words, only the rhythmic sound of crickets chirping filling the empty void. Then, footsteps sounded, slowly. Luso's feet began moving towards the gate, one foot after another. Both he and Cheney stayed silent as they crossed paths, and when the boy was a few feet past him, he spoke, not turning around.
"We know why he's doing this, and we don't care." The chocolate haired boy held up the folded note in his hands. "I don't know where you get this from, Cheney, but if there's one thing I learned in Clan Gully, it's this."
He turned around solely to toss Bowen's note at the Hunter's feet.
"Your comrade's life always weighs more than his pride."
He faced towards the gate again, and continued walking. Within the moment, Veis and Loa begin silently following, passing by the subtly stunned Hunter. It was as the trio reached the gate that they heard Cheney's voice.
"It seems that's the second time you've had to lecture me since I've met you, Luso Clemens." Luso turned his head, watching as Cheney picked up his Fey bow and slung it over his shoulder.
He smirked, with the Fighter mirroring his action before responding.
"Let's not make it a third."
Cheney joins the rescue party! Will they make it in time?
(End Chapter Thirty Seven)
Hair Color: Coffee Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Skin/Fur Color: White/Caucasian
The current presiding Judgemaster and head of the Jylland Defenders of the Peace, he is widely regarded, especially by the general populace, as the strongest man in Jylland. Whether this title is valid, however, remains to be seen.
"Some circumstances are simply beyond your control. You say it's your fault that Sir Loin died? What about me, then? Is it not also my fault for not arriving on time? Is it Vaticus Finch's fault for starting this entire ordeal in the first place? Is it Raven's fault for committing the murder? Do you understand what I mean?" Luso nodded quietly, finally lifting his eyes up to meet Cid's own. "Do not become hindered by your self-conceived failures. You are young. You still have much more improvement in your future, and much more room for it. Besides, I'm sure Maria, Sothe, and the remainder of the Heretics would definitely consider you as a hero."
Cid Randell, encouraging Luso after the battle at the Cathedral.
(Likes and Dislikes)
Likes: Drinking, Taking time off whenever possible
Favorite Food and Drink: Behemoth Steak, Milk
Hates: Lawbreakers, Death of loved ones
Favorite Color: Blue
-Cid Randell from FFTA makes a cameo appearance in Tainted Grimoire as the Judgemaster, head of the Jylland Defenders of the Peace.
Alright, that's about it this time. Sorry for the large delay between chapters this time. My files were deleted for some odd reason, so I had to start the chapter over again after getting halfway through. Anyway, the climax of the arc is next chapter, and it promises to be a good one. Look forward to it!
Also, Cheney's last line refers to chapter 6, if anyone didn't get that. It's understandable, being so long ago.