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.
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.
"Blah" = talking
"Blah" = thoughts, writing, sound effects, or flashbacks
Hey everyone! College is now officially out for the summer for me! Now I will be working more hours at my job, but I should still be able to crank chapters out faster since studying is done.
Anyway, today's chapter is another Tales of Gully segment. Every story occurring in this edition occurred at different times during the last arc: during the Camoa Cup or in the week before Gully's departure. That said, the narration should help. Enjoy!
Chapter Sixty-Six: Tales of Gully (Camoa Remix)
A Luso, Adelle, and Kanin Tale
Wind ruffled the grass underneath his boots, as well as the cloth tied around his waist. His katana raised in front of him, poised to strike down the Bangaa who neared with every step. Their eyes could not relinquish the other's, but the Gladiator's mouth managed to curve into a toothy grin.
"Come, boy. Show me what you can do."
Adelle watched Luso and Chita leap forward into a blurring display of slashing, ducking, and weaving from underneath her shade tree. Forgoing their practice match—which had gone on far too long for her tastes—she glanced beside her. Vili's sleeping form leaned against the bark, arms crossed and for some reason still giving off the feeling that she could react to any surprise attack. She didn't plan on testing it.
Instead, she turned to the opposite side, where a half-asleep Kanin did her best to keep the perfect clear afternoon from relaxing her into slumber, Adelle's black cat curled in her lap.
The silver haired girl sighed, glancing back at the two sparring partners. She'd looked forward to their lazy day for quite a while, but now that it was here, found herself at a loss. Shopping would have been nice, if Ensei hadn't barred frivolous spending until Beltorey's sponsorship could roll in. Little else in the dusty city captured her attention; not like the ritz of Grazton did.
Her mind stormed through any thought she could muster, hoping to find something to break the monotony.
By chance, her eyes caught sight of the pile of gear they'd brought to the park with them: Chita's stash of practice weapons, the remains of the picnic they'd had earlier.
And the journal Luso always carried with him.
She looked to the sparring males again, making sure he was too preoccupied to notice. Then, with a sneaky glance, she leaned forward subtly, and plucked the weathered tome. She doubted she'd find anything remotely interesting. That she didn't already know about him. As long as it killed time.
To her surprise, she hadn't been completely right. She remembered how he'd shown them that it recorded his experiences. Kanin gathered what was occurring, and soon joined the Thief, being as discreet as possible to ward off suspicion.
Grazton from his perspective had been particularly eye-opening, especially the battle against Crow. Even some of the earlier pages brought delight. Training with Hurdy before the St. Galleria job. Teaming up with House Bowen of all people to track down the infamous Klesta. He and Cid's struggle to coat Gull's feet with the water-walking resin before the Acqua Alta. It was like a peek inside his mind, the words even narrated in his speech pattern.
But there was one thing neither girl could account for. Two people, a boy and a girl, would surface from time to time on the pages. Only during the quiet moments though: solitary training, at night before he'd drift off to sleep.
And as the group packed up their things and began towards the Inn later that evening, Kanin and Adelle both couldn't help but ask about it. "Hey, Luso."
Kanin started off. "Did you…have any friends back in your world?"
The silence that followed made them regret asking, but eventually he answered. Distantly. "Yeah, I did have a few, you could say."
"What were they like?" Adelle asked.
His face seemed to brighten. "It's hard to describe them. I guess you could say she was like a wildfire. Well no, maybe that's not right. Anyway, she was pretty strong and brash. And the guy was a little more reserved, but still lively. They were my very first friends back in school. And they were my best."
Kanin was hesitant to question. "….were?"
"Yeah. My birthday was coming up soon, and I'd worked up the courage to invite them over. But they never showed up." The Feol Viera noticed the slim cracks forming in his voice. "And I never saw them again."
An uncomfortable silence washed over them as Kanin's ears and mood drooped. Chirping crickets filled their path as workmen lit streetlamps to fight the descending sun. Neither of the two girls were quite sure what to say, and affirmed that they'd probably dug too deep on this one.
Luso reserved smile pulled them out. "I won't lie. I do miss them. But I know they wouldn't have wanted me to waste time worrying about them." They returned the gesture, nodding thankfully that he at least looked alright.
Then, the corners of his mouth turned a little more upward. "Oh, and you don't have to read my book next time. Just ask me."
"It was a little spicy"
A Vili tale
"What's wrong with you three?"
Adelle's curious eyes peered down at the inn table's surface, notably the three pale-stricken heads of Luso, Crow, and Hurdy that occupied it. A dull rumbling blared at times from the stomachs, and the agonizing groan that followed fared less to please her ears, even though Crow kept silent on the matter.
Luso managed the strength to raise his head and say. "Cheney said he couldn't cook for us tonight, and we have no money to order something."
"We're starving, kupo."
"We'll that's what you get for not saving it."
Hearing that from Adelle transcended nails on a chalkboard. Luso was sure to correct that. "…You took most of our money and spent it on clothes!"
He lacked the energy and will to muster a counter, and so slumped forwards once again. Adelle shrugged, turning to Kanin and Vili who followed behind her and motioning for them to head out. She stopped mid-step, though, as Vili's proposal rang out.
"I don't mind cooking for everyone."
Luso and Hurdy's faces brightened to near blinding levels, and they quickly ushered her into the kitchen. Their previous plans abandoned, Kanin and Adelle shrugged and agreed to join them, laughing at how excited and animated the boy and the Moogle were. Crow remained reserved through it all, but his grumbling stomach betrayed his expression.
Half an hour passed before all three were slumped again, once eager knives and forks lying back down. They were almost sure she'd abandoned them given the time, especially after hearing the dish would only be a simple meat-like broth. But as if on cue, she returned with a metal bowl, handles clasped by kiln gloves, her body wrapped by a spare apron the cooks on staff allowed her to borrow.
"Alright, here you go. Dig in."
Luso, Hurdy, Crow, Adelle, and Kanin all blinked at the dish before them, and cringed at the first spoonful.
"It's so bitter! The meat is raw, and it's all colder than ice!"
"Why is there an entire slab of meat in here? I'm sure I heard her cutting something."
"The food is cold but my mouth is burning! What is this? Is this really broth?"
"Is…is this even food?"
Vili raised the ladle from the pot and poured her own bowl, smiling brightly at them. "Just let me know if you want seconds." A frigid wisp of smoke wafted up as the ladle sunk into the concoction again, taking the form of a skull with crossbones.
"That was an omen. The Occuria are definitely warning us."
"Did Hurdy just pass out?"
Adelle and Kanin set their spoons down, forcing satisfied smiles to the limits of their ability. "Ah, that was….really good, Vili. But we're not that…hungry." Adelle blushed as her stomach groaned.
Vili surveyed the rest of the group. Luso and Crow seemed deathly pale. Hurdy was fully unconscious, eyes rolled back.
She curved her lips into an apologetic smile. "I…guess it wasn't that good…then."
Through his weakened state, Luso looked up as she spoke, taking a glimpse of her hands just before she hid them behind her. Covered in recent burns and cuts, patched with adhesive bandages.
Crow noticed the same thing, and both threw caution to the wind, much to the surprise of everyone. Spoons flew back and forth between the bowl and their mouths, draining the bowl with as much haste as they could. And a minute later, as they finished their last bite, both stood from the table and moved towards the hallway leading to the Inn's rooms.
Speaking over their shoulder, back facing the stunned Viera. "It was great, but a little spicy. Thanks for the food, Vili."
Kanin and Adelle watched the girl's face ease back, and the two inwardly thanked them for sticking up.
Then, all of a sudden, a swarthy Seeq donning a messy apron waddled over to their table, a small glass bottle filled with black powder in hand. He held it to Vili's face. "Hey girl. Dis was in the kitchen. Dis your bottle?"
Vili nodded. "Yes that's my special seasoning."
"Dat ain't no seasonin', girl. Dis be low grade poison, here!" Kanin and Adelle's mouths gaped in disbelief, and they slowly lowered their spoonfuls back into the soup. "If anybody dun eaten dis, dey betta see a docta soon."
An emergency overnight treatment and stomach pump eventually saved Hurdy, Crow, and Luso; the latter two they found on Inn staircase completely drained of color. Kanin had eaten as much, so antitoxins had cured her, and Adelle was strangely unaffected by any of it.
Ensei pieced together everything the following morning, from what he knew of Assassin training and what Vili filled in. "Many Assassins undergo poison conditioning to build up immunities. Vili's been taking it for so long that she has no reaction. She must have not been told what it was, and just assumed it was a spice."
Everyone eventually made a full recovery, leaving the clinic with a new lease on life, a newfound fear of Assassins, and a little bit more appreciation for Cheney Galliformes.
A Luso, Cheney, and Hurdy tale
"Here you go, sir."
"Aye, thanks lass. Something for the trouble." Chita flipped the waitress a silver coin, which she graciously accepted and thanked him for.
As she worked her way back through the bustling crowds and tables of the Prancing Chocobo, the Gladiator turned back to the boys at his table, worn out and covered with dust and small nicks. The Bangaa couldn't blame them. It'd been a full eleven hour session with him, trying to work them into as best a shape before they clan went their separate ways.
"Is…is it worth it, kupo?" Hurdy remarked, trying to lift his paw to his glass of water. "I can't even feel my arms."
"I hope so." Luso breathed out. "It doesn't feel like it right now, anyway."
Cheney nodded in agreement, and all lapsed into silence to let the music and blending conversations wash over them. An hour passed by the time they felt recovered enough to move, and the quartet filed out of the pub and moved down the street towards the inn.
However, a massive overturned cart blocked off traffic down the road, and local policemen diverted pedestrians to side roads and alleyways. Their new path led to a particular alley Cheney, Luso, and Hurdy were familiar with, and whose outlet placed them right in front of a quaint medicine and reagent shop.
Cheney, Luso, and Chita recognized the main standing in front of it through the front window, if only because he wore the exact same outfit as before. The woodcutter they'd met after the Acidwire situation down at the pub, the one who'd given them the confidence to press on. A small girl, perhaps no more than ten years old, rested on his back, small snores escaping her throat.
"Hey, it's you guys!" He exclaimed vigorously, turning to Luso. "I saw your match against Acidwire. Well done, boy."
They eased into conversation over the next few minutes, relating plans and general information with each other. All the while, Hurdy couldn't keep from glancing at the girl on his back from time to time. She just seemed so familiar, but he couldn't place his finger on it.
"But thanks again. Your words there really kicked us into shape." Cheney admitted.
"No trouble at all." The woodcutter responded. "I couldn't stand there and listen to that Nu Mou bash good clans for one more second. Not after what happened to me."
Hurdy's eyes wandered to the shop window, read the name plastered across the glass. His eyes widened, and the girl's identity became clear to him. He whispered. "Luso, that's…"
"What happened?" But the boy didn't hear him in time.
"A few months ago, an illness was on the verge of taking my life." The man adjusted the girl a bit as he began to recount. "Too poor to go see a doctor. Medicine too costly for a mere workman like me. Didn't think I'd live to see the end of the week." His face became notably less somber. "Imagine my surprise when my little girl comes home one day with a bottle of the exact medicine I needed. When my wife and I ask, she says that three boys from a clan paid the shopkeeper and told him to give the bottle to her free of charge."
Chita listened to the story fondly, but his eyes darted over to his three companions every once in a while. The woodworker seemed completely oblivious to their dumbstruck expressions and parted mouths.
"That one random act saved my life and the livelihood of my family. To this day I've never met them, but one day I'm going to find them and let them know that their kindness was not wasted."
Luso, Cheney, and Hurdy continued to stare in subdued awe, neither able to move, speak, or breathe. At quite a length, so long that the man began to ask if they were alright, Luso finally snapped his impenetrable silence.
"I'm sure they were just glad to be of help."
The man smiled and nodded genuinely. "I'd bet they were too." He threw a last wave before heading off, leaving a serene peace about them as the evening began its descent.
"Hey, Hurdy." Cheney remarked in the stillness.
"I'd say it was worth it."
This one was rather short, but I didn't want to drag anything out this time. Hope it was passable. The first is kinda important, Vili's was more for the humor, and chapter 8 should explain the last, for those who didn't catch it. It has been a long time, I understand.
Anyway, next chapter starts our new arc, following the main Clan Gully through the Zeldei Forest! Don't miss it!