Cuttingmoon57 here, and back with chapter forty of The Tainted Grimoire. 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"= Yelling

(Blah)= scene change

"Alright, we'll give you a test run."

Her visage changed completely at that moment, a mixture of both shock and uncontainable happiness. Cheney and Luso immediately went up to her, followed by Adelle, Kanin, and Hurdy, who all surrounded her, slightly overwhelming the girl.

"Now, let's say we order some lunch. I'm starving." Ensei opened up the menu before him, stared for a moment at the prices, then calmly folded it back and set it down. "Oh, and new rule. New members now buy everyone's first meal."

Both Luso and Cheney stared blankly at him before reaching and patting Vili on opposite sides of her shoulder, both talking in unison.

"You have no idea what you just signed up for."

Clan Gully celebrates with their newest member!


Hello all, Cuttingmoon57 here. Today's chapter will continue along the Tales of Gully series: various side stories that I wanted to include, though weren't actually able to fit. I plan to include at least two every time, though this one was long enough for just one. Next time should definitely be more.

(Note that these stories are Tainted Grimoire canon. Make sure that you read them, as important plot points and foreshadowing are common in these.)

Chapter Forty: Tales of Gully (Bisga Greenlands Mix)


"It matters a lot now"

A Luso and Kanin Tale

By Cuttingmoon57


It was a warm, Silversun morning, the bright yet bearable rays of sunlight shining down on Kanin Heldig, who strolled idly down the crowded Vieg street, paying little heed to the swarms of pedestrians walking along around her, her face angled towards the bright blue cloudless sky.

Every last cart and stand down the length of the street was manned, each owner projecting his or her voice over the area in an attempt to draw in potential customers. The White Mage had been more or less oblivious to their efforts, only having stopped at one stall so far simply to browse, before a particular stall owner called out specifically to her in quite the indirect fashion.

"You, White Mage. With the hat. Come here."

So maybe not that indirect.

Kanin stopped in her tracks, the traffic flowing with her quickly adjusting enough to pass around her. She eyed the source of the voice easily, a fairly young Hume woman no older than her mid-twenties, with locks like midnight cascading cleanly from the red bandana fixed around her forehead. The White Mage effortlessly made her way to the stall; standing to the right of what she assumed was a curious female Seeq. The stalls contents, a menagerie of women's jewelry and fashioned accessories, gave her a clue, though she honestly could never really tell with the pig-like race.

"You look like you could use some jewelry." The stallholder stated, giving the blonde a friendly smile as she approached.

"Well, I do have a little extra to spend." Kanin replied after placing her free hand to her chin. Her eyes wandered around the stand for the next half minute, taking in all the glittering wares hanging or lying along the counter top…along with their quite…daunting price tags. Kanin's head drooped slightly. "I'm sorry. They are very pretty, though I don't have nearly enough money for these."

"How much do you have?"

"About…seventy five gil."

The black haired girl thought for a second, then snapped her fingers, smiling.

"Wait, right here." She turned around, staring at a few of the boxes in the back of the stand. Sifting through them, she eventually opened one and grinned, pulling out a much smaller, crimson colored box. She returned to the front, opening it in front of Kanin.

"Wow, it's beautiful." The spellcaster admitted, taking in its splendor; a single encased ruby dangling from a gilded chain.

"It sure is." The stallholder agreed. "Not only that. It's also very special. You see, this particular necklace is said to have a certain power; the power to find your soul mate." She grinned once more as she watched Kanin's face. "Your enthusiasm tells me you have someone in mind?"

"Well…" Kanin responded nervously, averting her eyes. She carefully eyed the piece, picking it up in her fingers in an effort to change the subject. "Anyway, so does it actually work though?"

"Let's see. Go ahead and try it on."

Shrugging, Kanin followed the saleswoman's instructions, placing the chain around her slender neck and hooking it in the back. The woman helped Kanin adjust the chain so that it fit perfectly.

A full minute passed as the two stood in silence, Kanin raising an eyebrow and looking around for any changes, the stall owner merely continuing the knowing, confident smirk that graced her face.

"I don't feel any differ-"

"Hey you!"

Kanin's sentence came to an abrupt halt as she turned around to the voice. There, walking briskly towards her, was a Hume White Mage. The girl's eyes widened as she took in his features: dark brown hair, vibrant blue eyes, and the cobalt lining of his job's standard robes.

"You're that one girl, right?" He said, stopping just in front of her, his tone upbeat and cheerful. "The one that was at that baked goods stall the other day. I was hoping you were still in town, but I knew it wouldn't be hard to find you." He chuckled a bit, pointing to her wizard hat. It took her but a few seconds to realize his identity.

"Oh hello. You're that kind boy who bought my friend and me that bread." She responded with a feminine smile, before adopting a confused look. "Were you looking for me?"

"Yes, actually. You see, I need you to pay me back for the bread."

"Oh…" Kanin's face gained a disappointed look. "Umm…well at the moment I don't have much to spare…Maybe I can ask my father for some."

"No money, huh? That's too bad." He playfully put a hand to his chin, pretending to be in deep thought. "I know! Instead of money, you can just pay me back with a date instead."

Kanin stopped.

"What?"

"Well I have to go now. I'm on a job at the moment. If you're up for it, meet me back here at six. Oh, and the name's Graham, by the way. Graham Hartford." He began to walk off, and before long faded back into the large mass of pedestrian traffic. Kanin stared at his retreating form, dumbfounded at the events that had just transpired.

The stall owner just continued smiling, a confident grin plastered across her face. Kanin turned to face her, wide eyed, then spoke.

"I'll take it."

(Vieg Town, the Blackwind Restaurant)

The entirety of Clan Gully had decided upon converging back at the Inn to find a suitable restaurant to dine at, opting rather for more exquisite food as opposed to the pub selection they were usually exposed to. It was now late afternoon, around five thirty, the sun just now beginning to set on the horizon; and to take advantage of such a view, the clan had requested a table out on the deck, not wanting to miss the delightful weather.

Conversation during the meal had mostly split up between groups. Cid, Ensei, Cheney, Luso and their newly acquired member Vili mostly discussed various weapon types and skills along with the increases in prices. The clan's co-leaders were rather impressed at the Viera's knowledge of weapons, though not surprised considering her occupation. The five were so absorbed in the conversation that Kanin and Adelle's own faded into the background with the rest of the restaurant patrons. Luso, who sat next to Kanin, broke himself off from the other's discussion, curious as to what the two had been whispering so enthusiastically about the entire dinner. His eyes rested on the trinket around the White Mage's neck.

"Kanin, when did you get that necklace?" He asked, staring at the object's design curiously: particularly the small, polished ruby dangling from the chain.

"Oh, this thing? I bought it this morning. " She replied, arching her head downwards. "Do you like it?"

"Yeah it's alright." He replied with a smile.

"I think you may have gotten ripped off." Adelle commented, inspecting the necklace with the eye of a seasoned appraiser. "This chain isn't even made of real gold from what I can see."

"Well it didn't cost me very much anyway, and I just thought it looked pretty." The White Mage responded. "The lady that sold it to me said that wearing it lets you find your soul mate, or something like that."

"I see…"Adelle said after a brief silence, placing a hand to her chin. She pondered for a few moments, before a sly grin came to her face. "And who exactly do you have in mind?"

"Well umm…I…" She began stuttering, before finding a good response, lest she dig a hole she couldn't escape from. "I'm a little too young to be thinking of that, don't you think." She nervously stood from her seat, and moved away from the table, pushing in her chair before. "Now, if you'll excuse me. I have an appointment to keep."

"An appointment?" Luso queried. The girl turned her head, looking over her shoulder at the table, all of whom were now looking back. She kept her eyes averted, her cheeks tinted red, and answered quietly before walking out briskly.

"…a date."

All conversation around the table halted at that moment, and Luso and Adelle gradually turned their heads towards the other end, where all stared nervously at Ensei. The Parivir, who was currently holding up a fork, paused, almost as if transfixed by time magic. The fork slowly slid out of his hand and clanked against the table, and within seconds, everyone could almost feel the bloodlust oozing from him. He spoke quietly yet menacingly.

"….date...a date?"

"Seems our little Kanin is finally interested in the opposite gender." Cheney commented.

"I guess she is at that age now." Cid remarked with a slight laugh, leaning back in his chair while Ensei only gave him a menacing glare for not seeing the 'seriousness' of the predicament.

"I don't care what age she's at. No dating. Ever. Especially if I've never met the guy." Ensei retorted.

"Oh, lighten up Ensei." Adelle spoke, the Parivir's glare switching from the Revgaji to her. She continued on undaunted. "Kanin told me about him while you all were talking. Plus, I've met him already. He's the guy I told you about the other day, the one that bought us that bread. I think she said his name was…Graham Hartford."

"Ah." Luso stated in an uninterested tone. He stretched his limbs, before also rising from his seat. "Well I'll see you guys. I want to get in a few more hours of jumping practice before bed. If you need me, I'll be around the park." And with that, the boy walked back into the establishment before exiting, making a right and heading down the street.

"Hartford, huh?" Cheney said. "She's bagged quite the high roller there. If memory serves, Graham Hartford is the White Mage of Humeism. They're pretty famous around this part of Loar."

"Humeism?" Cid asked, his eyes shifting towards Ensei hesitantly, and the katana wielding warrior doing the same. At this time, the waiter returned to their table to place their check, before walking back into the establishment proper. After grabbing the check, the Revgaji continued. "That's not good."

"Why's that, kupo?" Hurdy questioned, all tuning to hear the answer.

Cid turned to Ensei, who breathed out a long, heavy sigh before also standing from his chair. He began to walk away from the table, back inside. A heavy aura seemed to encompass him, and as he left earshot, Cid spoke.

"I'll explain on the way back to the Inn. It's time all of you knew."

(Vieg Town, North Bridge)

"This ice cream is really delicious." Kanin remarked, taking in another slurp of her vanilla cone. She walked closely alongside Graham down the sparsely populated street, a lot of people having already begun to head home. The orange sun slowly sunk below the horizon behind their backs, giving their weathered white uniforms a glow of similar hue. "Thanks for buying it."

"Don't mention it. Like I said, it's no problem at all for such a pretty girl." Kanin blushed at his response, though turned her face just enough so that he couldn't see. "So, Kanin. I'm sort of curious." Her attention gave him the prompt he needed to continue. "Where did you get your hat from?"

Kanin's eyes widened in a split second, though she did her best to keep him from noticing. She managed to keep her voice even.

"What do you mean?"

"I've just never seen a White Mage with that kind of hat before." He responded plainly. "Don't worry I think it looks neat." The girl released a mental sigh, before catching her breath at his next sentence.

"Though, I think you'd look much better without it."

Without so much as a warning, Graham playfully reached up and plucked the ivory hued hat from her head, eliciting a surprise gasp from the female in question. Though without looking back, he ran ahead of her, holding the hat high in the air.

"Graham, give me the hat back!" He heard her say from behind him, though he gave no thought to her request, continuing only to run forward, laughing playfully all the while.

"Sorry, my dear. If you want it, you'll have to catch me."

After around a half minute of movement, he began to slow down as he witnessed the north bridge coming into view: a wooden bridge of average length that stretched across the thirty foot width of one of the streams that ran through the town. The bridge was wide enough to have a two lane roadway for animal drawn vehicles along with slightly raised sidewalk; though it was completely empty as he ran upon it, slowing down even more to give Kanin a chance to catch him.

"This isn't a joke, Graham. Please give it back!"

He stopped dead in his tracks as he heard her footsteps stop, and spun around on his heel while beginning to respond to her.

"Alright, alright you can have…"

His entire body froze as he laid eyes on her.

"You're…"

"Spill it, Cid. What's going on?" Adelle was the first to speak as the group—minus Ensei, who had gone up to his room for the night, Luso, and Kanin—sat down at a table in the Inn's lobby, deciding to head straight to the point. The Rev sighed at the fact she had barely given him time to sit down, though heeded her question regardless.

"Alright have any of you noticed anything…different about Kanin."

"Not really." Hurdy answered first.

"I haven't." Vili admitted. "Though in all fairness I haven't been in the clan for very long."

"Neither have I." Cheney added. "I mean other than that hat she never takes off, she's your typical Hume girl." The Hunter turned to Adelle. "What about you?"

"Well…there has been one thing I couldn't put my finger on." The girl looked away nervously for only a moment. "This may sound strange or unimportant, but I've never seen Kanin's ears before." She looked around, noticing everyone's confused stares.

"Now that you mention it, kupo…I've never seen her ears either." Hurdy pondered aloud.

"Her hair is thick enough so that it falls over them, so I guess that's a good explanation." Adelle continued. "I'm just saying. I mean I sleep in the same room and tent with the girl. I think I would've seen them at least once by now."

After a few moments of silence, Cid decided to verbally intervene.

"I can assure you that she does indeed have ears. However, the real issue is where they're located."

"Where are you going with this, Cid?" Cheney queried hesitantly. The Revgaji paused for a few more seconds, then breathed out once before responding.

"Kanin is…"

…..

Graham's eyes widened, and stood silently with his mouth slightly agape at the scene lain out before him: Kanin Heldig standing at the edge of the bridge, breathing heavily through her mouth, her eyes pouring out tears by the second. And try as she might…

Her arms crossed on top of her head did little to hide the two rabbit-like ears protruding from her hair.

….

"A Feol Viera."

All at the table turned towards the doorway leading to the Inn's rooms, where they saw Ensei leaning against the door's frame, arms crossed. He began to walk towards the table, all eyes focused on him, their minds buzzing about with the sudden revelation. He began to explain in more detail.

"There's a tale of a humanoid, winged race called the Aegyl, and its leader Feolthanos, who took a pure blood Viera as his wife. Their children and subsequent descendants, a hybrid of the two races though with shorter ears and no wings, were name Feol Viera after him. Commonly, this title has now been used to identify any Hume-Viera hybrid."

"Feol Viera!" Vili stated in surprise.

"Actually, that would make quite a bit of sense." Cheney said in a more composed manner. "Like a couple weeks ago when we were in the Aldanna Range. She was much more affected by the Mist than any of us were."

"But what does that have anything to do with her going on a date, kupo?" Hurdy questioned innocently. Ensei turned to him in response.

"It's because of who the date is with."

Graham's eyes soon retracted to a more reserved form, and his surprise was still high, he no longer continued to show it on his face. He merely walked forward towards Kanin, step by step, the brim of the hat he had playfully stolen gripped in his hand.

She looked up at him as he approached, tears trails still staining her cheeks and sniffling occasionally through her nose.

He said nothing as he stopped in front of her.

He said nothing as he handed her the hat.

And he said nothing as he walked past her down the street and into the distance, without so much as a glance, as if she was not even worth looking upon.

…..

"Though it is not as widespread as in the past." Cid continued to explain. "There are still those out there who believe in racial hierarchy. Humeism is one of these. It seems they picked up on the Archadian's sense of Hume superiority."

"That's terrible." Vili remarked.

"I'm not so much concerned for Kanin's safety. She's a big girl now, and no stranger to racial persecution." Ensei picked up. "Though no matter the façade she may put up, in truth she is very deeply hurt by it. Hurt for being judged over something she had no say in, for merely being born a certain way." He paused, his eyes full of sadness. "That's why she always wears that hat. She's ashamed of her mixed blood."

All paused in silence, not exactly sure of what to say. Ensei broke the silence one last time, this time with a smile on his face.

"But I know this for sure. One day she will come to accept herself…"

Kanin sunk to her knees and remained transfixed in that position, completely and wholly unable to bring herself to move. There was no movement around her; the alleys leading both to and past the bridge devoid of pedestrians, even in the relatively early hour that it was. The sun had already set enough so that the sky was more dark than orange. Faint traces of the stars could be seen overhead, along with a bright, waning moon.

Her tears formed in unison in both of her eyes, and no matter how many times she wiped them with her sleeve, it did little to stop those coming to replace them. During that time, her mind offhandedly wondered back to the stallholder's words earlier that day: "You see, this particular necklace is said to have a certain power; the power to find your soul mate."

Then, suddenly, the tears stopped.

She gripped the brim of her wizard hat and placed it comfortably on her head, making sure to completely cover the furry ears rising from her head. Then, as she gradually stood, she brought her right hand slowly to the necklace, encompassing its dangling ruby with her palm while remembering the words her father spoke during their time in Camoa.

There'll be a day when they don't look down on you anymore

She began making her way towards the center of the bridge, her steps firm and with purpose, and stopped just as she reached the railing. The blonde girl looked out over the expanse of the stream, how the moon's reflection could just faintly be seen upon the surface of the sunlight-tinted water.

And until then, keep standing tall

Then, she ripped the necklace from her neck, breaking its fastening, and threw the gilded trinket as far as she could into the air above the stream. Without wasting a moment, she quickly looked downward at the water once more, staring at the moon's reflection and waiting to see the jewelry hit the water's surface.

Ensei looked up, a grin like no other on his face.

"And in turn, they will accept her as well."

"Kanin! What are you doing?"

The Feol Viera's head shot up at that moment towards the source of the voice, and upon finding it, her eyes widened in disbelief at the majestic sight that took place before her over the course of a couple seconds.

To her right, just north of the bridge along the stream's edge, she saw a chocolate haired boy running at full steam towards the water. Even in the dimming light, she could still make out his yellow overalls, and the red cap that sat atop his head. Then, just as reached the verge, he leapt into the air with all the might in his legs. Lastly, he reached out a hand at the apex of his leap and snatched the still airborne necklace out of the air.

Kanin Heldig stared in wonder at the breathtaking scene; the form of the boy, silhouetted against the waning moon and darkening sky, as if he was dancing in the sky. She had never witnessed a more beautiful sight in her life.

And then, his momentum stopped, and plummeted into the water feet first.

She watched as he began laughing upon resurfacing seconds later, and the boy began swimming across the calm creek towards the shoreline. She began walking briskly to her left, rounding the bridge's post and taking the short flight of stone steps down to the grassy bank, where the male had found his way to. She approached him slowly as he wrung the water from his red cap before placing it back on his drenched, brown locks.

She looked down at his hands, offhandedly noticing the necklace gripped firmly in right hand, the arm she had healed the first day they had met.

"Hey, what did you throw this in the river for, Kanin?" Luso Clemens questioned, his face wholly confused. "Doesn't it mean something to you?"

His face grew even more confused as she began crying before answering him back, her sniffling impeding her from saying the sentence fluently.

"No…buddit…madders a lod…now."

The girl moved forward, throwing her arms around his torso and placing her head on his chest, sobbing silently into the fabric of his overalls. Luso, initially shocked at first, simply awkwardly patted her on the back, unsure of how else to calm the grieving girl.

Though unbeknownst to him, her tears were of happiness.

(Vieg Town, Crossroads Inn)

"Hey, you ready, Kanin?" Luso asked, directing his voice at the door to Kanin, Adelle, and Veis's Inn room. He and Cheney had offered to train with the girl today, as per her request, and both males were currently waiting in the hallway, both appropriately dressed for the long session that was to come.

"Okay. Ready."

The girl stepped out into the hallway at the same time she spoke. Luso's eyes widened as far as possible, and his jaw dropped. For the first time since he had met her that day in Targ Wood, he had never before seen the girl without her trademark hat on.

"You have….You have rabbit ears!"

It took Cheney a few seconds to realize that Luso hadn't been present when Ensei and Cid had revealed that particular revelation the night before. Kanin stared back at him in a slight mixture of both nervousness and hesitance, as if she was waiting for his approval.

"Whoa that's so cool! Why didn't you say anything before? Can I…."

Kanin Heldig only smiled brilliantly and blushed as Luso continued on to his excitement of the discovery. And as the group began heading for the lobby, she brought her free hand to the necklace, whose clasp she had fastened together with sealant as a temporary fix, and began fiddling with the ruby dangling from it.


(End Chapter Forty)

Character Corner

(Vili)

Job: Assassin/Sniper

Race: Viera

Hair Color: White

Eye Color: Yellow

Skin/Fur Color: Brown

(Description)

A Viera hailing from a country outside of Loar, she and her sister Veis have left their homeland and traversed Loar in search of House Bowen, hoping to join their ranks while learning new styles and methods in Jylland. She and Veis were raised at the family's home by their grandmother, and taught the arts of the Assassin. After much deliberation, she has decided to travel along with Clan Gully.

"You say you're from another world, and you're amazed with me?"

Vili, conversing with Luso on the way to the Inn

(Likes and Dislikes)

Likes: Traveling, Dreamhares

Favorite Food and Drink: Tomatoes, Carrots, Flugoris Tea

Hates: A certain man

Dreams: To become a well-known Assassin while traveling

Favorite Color: Brown

(Trivia)

-Vili's character is taken from the original FFTA. There she is the leader of the Brown Rabbits, a clan you face in one of the clan tourneys. Her personality and appearance has been changed to fit the format I wanted.

-Upon writing the story for the Vieg Town Arc, I had originally planned for Veis to be the only Viera traveling, have no sisters at all, and be the one to join Clan Gully. The idea was scrapped, and Vili was created, as I didn't like the idea of altering important canon clans. This choice proved to be better in my opinion.


And there you have it. Hope you guys enjoyed that. I had originally planned two stories for this chapter, but the Kanin/Luso one became so long that I decided to save the other one for the next tales segment. Didn't want one to overshadow the other.

Anyway, next chapter is going to set a lot of following events up, so be sure not to miss it.

Til next time