Hello again; it's Cuttingmoon57 here. 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 or manga that I take elements 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, or flashbacks

"BLAH"= Yelling

(Blah)= scene change

"Blah"= quote or short poem (cause I thought it would be nice. Poems are in Kubo Tite's blank verse style and are heavily influenced by him)

Two concealed figures stood on top of a tall building, staring out at the mansion that dominated the other side of Camoa. The night was nearly pitch black with the exception of a myriad of small lights dotting the cityscape.

"That's Baron Popple's place, right? That's where the jewel is?" An adolescent male voice queried to his partner, his blonde hair fluttering in the night wind.

"It sure is. Try not to do anything too rash tomorrow night, okay?" The female responded in a concerned tone.

"Must you be so worried, Penelo? It's me we're talking about after all. The leading man never dies." The male confidently said as he leaped down from the building to the street below, motioning for her to follow.

The girl released an exasperated sigh as she followed after him.

"That's exactly what I'm worried about…"

Chapter Eight: Tales of Gully (Camoa Mix)

Luso, Cheney, and Hurdy's Tale

By Cuttingmoon 57

(Camoa, Adventurer's Rest Inn, Early Afternoon)

"Luso…" The rigid male voice of Cheney whispered to the brown haired Hume, who was currently resting beneath the Inn's cockatrice down bedspread. The boy grunted unconsciously and pulled the cover over him in his sleep as a gloved hand nudged his shoulder.

The hunter tried again, this time gripping the covers and forcing them back, though the boy's hold on the blanket was not easily overcome.

Cheney let out an irate sigh.

"It's almost noon. Is he not up yet, kupo?" Hurdy asked with a hushed tone, entering the room quietly. The huntsman nodded.

"Do you have anything that could wake him up?"

The pom-pom sporting musician pulled out a War Trumpet, putting the instrument next to the slumbering adolescent's ear. The hunter began to inwardly laugh as he imagined the boy's reaction.

The Moogle blew into the trumpet as loud as he could.

"Just like I imagined it…" Cheney thought to himself smugly.

"What the…What is wrong with you!? Can't you wake me up like a normal person!?" The soldier screamed out, erupting in agitated anger after stealing Hurdy's trumpet and holding it out of reach of the Moogle.

"Quit whining and get dressed..." The hunter responded curtly as Hurdy struggled to reach his instrument from the boy. "…it's a brand new day and we've got work to do."

"Heading down to the pub?" Luso asked, returning the instrument and heading over to the room's closet. He reached up and grabbed his signature red hat and placed it on his head.

"Yeah, Ensei emptied my pockets the other day. That and I figured we should probably do a joint mission together." Cheney replied as the boy grabbed his yellow overalls and slipped them on. "You know…something about building teamwork."

"Will we split the profits fifty/fifty?"

"Seventy-five/twenty-five…"

Luso gave him an expecting stare.

"…Sixty/forty…"

The soldier's stare continued.

"Oh come on. Does it really matter? Ensei will probably end up stealing it and blowing it anyway…"

"Well…that's true…" The chocolate haired teenager agreed. "But I still want fifty/fifty…"

"Fine, just come on." Cheney stated in an exasperated tone. "We're burning daylight."

(Camoa, City Streets, Afternoon)

It was a perfect day in the city of Camoa. The sun was blazing at its brightest, a few puffy ivory clouds dotted the sky, and the people were smiling as they went about their everyday business.

Yes, the perfect day for all….except for one.

A young, black haired girl stared longingly into an item shop display window as citizens passed her by along the street without a thought of concern or care. She placed her hand on the glass, almost as if she thought she could pass through it. A single tear rolled down the right side of her face.

"What are you looking at, kupo?" Hurdy asked inquisitively from beside her, causing the young female to jump and squeak in surprise.

"Hurdy, what are you doing?" Luso asked, walking over to the Moogle with Cheney following behind him. He looked up towards the window and noticed the price tag on a few of the displays. "We don't have the money for any of this."

"I was just asking her a question, kupo. She looked like she was crying."

The girl wiped her right cheek with her hand to remove the teardrop.

"Kupopo! I know what will cheer her up." The musician proclaimed excitedly, retrieving a harmonica he always kept on him. "How about a song?"

The girl shook her head, wiping away another single tear as it came out.

"What's wrong?" Cheney asked in a concerned voice.

"I…I…d-don't have en-enough money…to buy…the…medicine." She sniffled out as more tears seemed to appear. "My daddy is…really sick. The…doctor said that…he needed this medicine…but…if…my daddy doesn't get it…he…he could…"

Without warning, Luso placed a comforting hand on the girls head.

"How much is it?"

The girl looked up to him in wonder, before answering him in a small voice amid the continued sniffles.

"Five…thousand…gil…"

"How much do we have, Cheney?" The boy queried again, not turning to face his accomplice.

"About…one thousand…"

"That's fine. Meet us here tomorrow morning. We'll get you the money. We'll save your dad."

And with that, Luso walked off in the direction of the pub, the other two following behind him. The girl stared off toward his retreating form in wonder.

(Camoa, Baron Popple's Mansion, Late Evening)

"The perpetrators said in the note that they would attack at midnight…" An elderly man known as Baron Popple informed the trio of Gully members. The three all stood at attention as he continued. "…but make sure you are primed at any time for their arrival. Are you sure you can handle this assignment, gentlemen?"

"Yes, sir…Mr. Baron Popple…sir?" Luso responded awkwardly. "You can count on us."

"Very well." The man replied. "Good luck, gentlemen. Be vigilant…and Godspeed." The Baron began to retreat back into the recesses of his vast mansion, slowly climbing up the grand staircase of the manor.

As soon as the Baron had left, the three Gully members became at ease.

"How do you get us into these messes?" Cheney asked Luso sarcastically as he slumped down next to a glass case which held a large, ornate jewel. The boy and Hurdy joined him, both choosing different sides of the case to lean back into. The Moogle reached for his harmonica and began playing a quiet tune.

(Flashback, Camoa Pub)

"Why did you have to go and do that, Luso?" Cheney asked in an annoyed tone as both Luso and Hurdy fervently sifted through the various mission requests the pubmaster had handed him.

"You said you wanted to do a mission together, didn't you?" He wittily returned. "What happened to the building teamwork thing?"

"That was under the impression that we got to keep the money we made, not give it some charity case. How do we even know she was telling the truth?"

"Her father was dying, I had to do something." He spoke curtly once again, his focus fully on locating a mission.

"But that wasn't our problem. We have mouths to feed now, Luso. One thing you need to learn is that we can't help everybody."

"But we can help somebody…"

"I don't understand why you're so fixated on helping this girl."

Luso spun around on the stool after he had chosen his mission. He walked up to Cheney, standing inches away from his face, and whispered lowly and remorsefully into his ear.

"I don't expect you to understand…at least not until you know what it's like to lose a father…."

Cheney remained motionless as the soldier passed him by.

"Put that one back, Luso." The hunter commanded. "Get one with a bigger reward. You know how those shopkeepers like to hike up the prices."

Luso turned around, a smirk plastered across his face.

"You got it."

(End flashback)

"What, I can't help it. It's just the kind of guy I am." The soldier replied back with a chuckle.

"Well there's nothing we can do about that." The hunter added. "But couldn't you have picked a more exciting job than guarding a jewel for a night."

"Hey don't blame me." Luso argued lightheartedly. "It was the only one they had that would cover the medicine price. Plus it sounded a lot more exciting in the description."

"We don't even have a guarantee that these 'sky pirates' will even show up. A pirate's not exactly the most truthful occupation you can have…"

A strange noise from the lofty roof above them interrupted Cheney's sentence, and the three directed their attention towards it. Hearing quiet whispers, the hunter sent a look to Luso, who immediately retreated into the shadows of the room with Hurdy by his side. The huntsman mirrored their action.

An unknown silhouette began to cut a circular pattern in the glass of the roof with a knife, before removing it and placing it to the side. A single rope dropped down, dangling just centimeters above the ground, and two figures slid down onto the tile floor.

"Very nice, Vaan. You've definitely gotten better at your entrances." A girl with two long braided pigtails complimented her partner in crime.

"Naturally, Penelo." He replied with a smirk. "But you'd think they would have posted guards around here. We even left a note for them."

The blonde haired brigand took a single step towards the jewel case, but stopped. His eyes shifted downward to find a single arrow millimeters infront of his foot. A look of mild surprise appeared on the sky pirate's face, before switching into a reserved smirk. He looked up as a hunter with bow at the ready stepped out of the shadows.

"Next time, try not to give us a time and date." Cheney remarked coolly. From the other side of the room, Luso appeared with Dagriohm in hand along with Hurdy, who had already pulled out his Aona Flute.

Vaan chuckled, drawing out the saber that rested at his side. Penelo

"What do you mean…?" The pirate asked, turning towards Luso and Hurdy while his accomplice faced the serious huntsman. "…there's not going to be a next time."

"Hurdy, cover me!" Luso barked, charging straight for the duo of brigands. He brought his sword above his head and slashed in a downward vertical arc. His blonde opponent managed to parry the blow with his saber, and the two were in a deadlock.

"Penelo, take the hunter. I'll handle hothead over here." Vaan requested confidently, his partner heading for Cheney's direction. He turned his attention back at his blue eyed opponent. "Now…where were…WE!"

With one shove, the brigand broke the deadlock and shoved Luso back a meter. He then proceeded into a couple of swift saber strokes, all of which Luso barely managed to dodge. He brought back his saber and swung, reaching another deadlock of the blades with his adversary.

"Your technique's pretty good; kind of reminds me of a parivir." Vaan remarked.

"That's good to hear; means I'm doing some thing right…" Luso chuckled, beginning to push the sky pirate back. The outlaw eyes began to widen as he was apparently being overpowered by someone seemingly younger than him.

"What's going on? Just a minute ago, his strength was…"

Vaan looked behind the soldier, noticing a small, blue-clad Moogle playing an instrument in the corner.

"Is that…Hurdy?"

………………………………………………………………………………………………

"Why do you guys want this jewel anyway?" Cheney asked Penelo, his bow focused on her feminine form.

"Well, we're pirates, aren't we?" The double braided blonde replied in a sarcastic yet light-hearted tone. "Isn't 'steal jewels' what pirates do?"

Cheney donned a serious demeanor.

"I guess you're right…" He tightened his grip on the string and pulled it back as far as possible, the arrowhead still set in her direction. "…still, I can't just let it go…my friend made a promise to a little girl…that we'd get the medicine for her dad…"

The hunter's eyes narrowed.

"You're allowed to leave right now…but the jewel stays here…"

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Luso continued to push his opponent back as he noticed his attention was elsewhere. The boy worked his way into a combination of fluid swings, exercises he had learned from Ensei during training.

During this flurry, the sky pirate snapped back into his concentration and immediately deflected a blow from the soldier's sword with his own. Using his free hand, he landed a blow directly into the brown haired boy's abdomen and sent him back a few feet.

"I was wondering why you seemed to be getting a little stronger. Which song was that…Battle Chant?" Vaan asked, staring in Hurdy's direction. The Hume and the Moogle locked eyes, as the musician came to a realization. "…long time no see, Hurdy…"

"Vaan!?" The Moogle yelled in surprise. "Wait…that means…" He looked across the way to where Cheney was pointing an arrow at the blonde haired female. "Penelo!!"

Everyone stopped in their tracks as all eyes turned to each other.

"Wait…this is my chance..."

Vaan instantly darted for the jewel display case with all his speed, bringing his sword around him and performing a clean sweep across the upper half of the display case. The glass made a clean cut in the area that was slashed.

"Penelo, we're out of here!" The sky pirate ordered to his female partner in crime, as he grabbed the jewel and made a break for it.

"Oh no you don't…" Cheney fired an arrow at the retreating brigand, but he brought his saber up just in time to deflect it.

"Sorry, but it looks like we'll depart for now." Penelo remarked as she took out an orb shaped item and smashed it onto the floor beneath. A large amount of smoke spewed forth from the ball and created a smokescreen that pervaded the entire room.

"Wait, kupo! Vaan…Penelo…" Hurdy screamed between coughs as he witnessed the two sky pirates retreat back up the rope the entered with.

As Penelo shimmied up the rope, Vaan followed right behind her, cutting the rope under him as to keep them from following them.

"You're trapped now!" Cheney thought to himself as he aimed an arrow at the rope above the two thieves. He struggled to aim correctly with the smoke clouding his vision as well as seeping into his eyes. The hunter only managed to fire two inaccurate shots before succumbing to the smoke and pausing to clear his eyes.

"We failed…" Thoughts of the little black haired girl swarmed through Luso's mind as he repeatedly pounded the ground in frustration.

Vaan looked down at the aggravated boy from above as he continued to climb…

…and for some reason, a pang of guilt swept across him…

He reached on his person and pulled out a small pouch and tossed onto the ground beneath before he finished climbing. Both him and Penelo then darted across the roof and leaped to a building at a lower elevation beside the mansion.

"Pay the girl my respects…"

(Camoa, Item Shop, Next day)

"I guess…they couldn't do it…" The black haired girl thought to herself, mentally sighing as she gave up hope after an hour wait. She began to walk away when the shopkeeper noticed her form and placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Wait, this is for you." He proclaimed, handing her a vial of the medicine she needed.

"But…but…how…?" She stuttered out in a mix of surprise and astonishment.

"A couple of gentlemen came by this morning and said to give this to a young, black-haired girl. Then they paid for it and left. They didn't give their names though."

The female stared at the bottle with joyful look on her face, and a single tear rolled down her cheek.

But this time, it was a tear of happiness.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Luso, Cheney, and Hurdy looked on at the girl's joyful expressions from a nearby alleyway and all smiled to themselves.

"So that bag they dropped was full of money, was it kupo?" Hurdy asked. "Sure is Vaan's style. Though I wish I could have talked to him."

"Yeah, after adding it to our gil, we managed to barely make the price." Cheney commented distantly.

Luso, who had been mostly quiet, walked over to Cheney and held out a clenched fist at the hunter. A fire seemed to light in the blue eyed teenager.

"We'll work on teamwork, and I'll get stronger…" He began with a firm, confident voice. "…so we won't have to rely on pity to keep our promises. Are you with me?"

The hunter looked at him proudly as he pounded the boy's fist.

"All the way…"

Kanin and Ensei's Tale

By Cuttingmoon 57

(Camoa Magic Community School, Early Morning)

"Thank you for letting me come here, father." Kanin remarked happily as she skipped ahead of her dad, a bright smile plastered across her face.

"No problem. Anything for my little girl." Ensei replied as the two finally reached their destination, The Camoa Magic Community School.

Ensei had heard about it from Cid in a recent conversation about the girl's mage training. Neither of them had the ability to instruct her in it, and they doubted Luso, Hurdy, or Cheney could provide any assistance in that matter. Considering all that, the two decided to check the pub listings for anything that could help the struggling white mage in training.

And that's when they had found it. The place was a city funded association that provided basic instruction for any novices in magic or anyone that was looking for official training. Ensei immediately signed up and…regretfully…paid the entry fee.

"Well, we're here. Have a good day…oh, and show them what my daughter can do." He brought her into a one armed hug before letting her run off into the building. The bearded man stared at her retreating form with a sense of fatherly pride, before leaving after she was out of sight.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

"Much better than a couple days ago, Ms. Kanin. You're progressing very nicely." The teacher applauded as Kanin finished her treatment on a test Dreamhare that the class had prepared.

The school divided the different types of magic into classes depending on job, followed by skill. The girl was currently in the intermediate white magic class she had been assigned to. The class was practicing healing various small creatures and the girl had been doing much better, though she contributed to the size of the animal, as opposed to mass of the human bodies she had been used to casting on.

Occasionally throughout these last few days she had been here, she had received many negative and disapproving stares from her peers, who also committed to careers in white magic. As naive as she was, Kanin had barely noticed any of them.

In another two hours, the class had ended, and the blond healer began to pack up her belongings, including a small lunch her father had prepared. She giggled inwardly as she recalled the difficulty her parent had in creating something so simple. He did have his faults, some more obvious than others, but she was glad to have him.

"Might as well get going then…" She thought to herself, picking up her staff and her brown sack and rising from her chair. The moment the girl rose up and took a few steps, she accidentally bumped into a fellow student, knocking him over in the process.

"Watch where you're going!" He shouted as two of his white mage accomplices helped him to his feet.

"I'm so sorry; I should have watched where I was going." The girl apologized fervently as she also attempted to help him up. The boy snatched his arm away from her in fury.

"You sure should have. I've had all I can stand of you for three days now. How dare you parade around with that filthy black mage hat..." He stormed over and stopped directly in front her. "…and how dare you taint the title of a healer by learning black magic."

He seized the wizard hat from her head, an action that surprise all present. The boy stared at her in a mix of astonishment and later disgust as he viewed what was at the top of her head.

"…and here I thought you were only a half-breed in magic…"

Kanin shoved the boy out of the way and ran out of the door crying, dropping the lunch Ensei had prepared for her, her white staff, and pulling the hood of her white mage outfit over her head for concealment.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Ensei strolled past a weapon shop window as he turned a corner on his way to pick Kanin up from school. Every day she had come back to the Inn with a smile on her face, recalling the day's events with him and anything new she had learned about her job or magic. In a way, it had become a favorite moment of Ensei's day.

But it was all about to come crashing down…

That was when he spotted her, lying on her knees in a figurative pool of tears outside the school's gates. His fatherly rage began to swelter.

He passed by the blond girl without a word and entered the school's doorway as she looked up to him with tears rolling down her cheeks.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

After asking the front desk secretary, the parivir managed to find Kanin's classroom, spotting a white mage boy holding her cherished wizard hat. He slowly approached the boy and passed by, just barely managing to hold back from lashing out at him with cold steel.

"Who are you supposed to be, her father?" The white robed male asked as the bearded samurai bent down to pick up the girl's staff.

Ensei remained silent, refusing to respond.

"Answer when you're asked a question, you filthy pauper." The boy shouted yet again with rising annoyance. The parivir turned around to face him and began to walk in his direction. He flinched as the man grew closer and stretched out his hand, but after a few seconds he felt nothing.

In a flash, Ensei had managed to take back the hat without him noticing. The man still kept his silence and began to walk out the door, an action which infuriated the pompous healer to no end.

"I'll teach you to look down on me like that!!!"

The boy reached for his staff and charged straight at Ensei, raising it high above his head and slamming down right on the katana wielding warrior's head. The old wooden staff broke in half and exploded into a gaggle of splinters and wooden shavings, though it managed to stop the parivir in his tracks.

"You know, for a white mage…" Ensei began in a deep voice, facing the opposite direction of his aggressor.

"…your heart sure is black…"

And with that, the parivir left the room with Kanin's belongings.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Kanin finally managed to dry up almost all of her tears and the girl stood to her feet. She heard footsteps behind her, the heavy footsteps of her father's boots as she recalled.

"Be proud of who you are, little one…" She heard her parent's deep voice over her shoulder as the familiar feel of her wizard hat returned to her head.

The girl turned around and embraced the samurai's torso, burying her head into his chest. He continued to pat her on the back in a loving manner, though his voice kept its stern quality.

"…there'll be a day when they don't look down on you anymore…"

He could hear her sniffles begin to die down as she squeezed him harder.

"…and until then, keep standing tall…"

(End Chapter Eight)

Character Corner

(Hurdy)

Job: Bard

Height: 91 cm

Weight: 97 lbs

Race: Moogle

Hair Color: Blond

Eye Color: Blue

Skin/Fur Color: Light tan

(Gear)

Weapon: Aona Flute

Helm: None

Armor: None

Shoes: Battle Boots

Accessories: None

(Likes and Dislikes)

Favorite Animal: Canary

Favorite Food: Macaroni and Cheese

Favorite Drink: Strong Coffee

Fears: Dreamhares

Association: Clan Gully

Favorite Color: Blue

(Trivia)

-Hurdy's character traits in this story are loosely based off of real life composer Ludwig van Beethoven, such as his love for Macaroni and cheese as well as strong coffee.

-Like all other Moogles, Hurdy has a fear of Mooglebanes, the variety of Dreamhares that has a fondness of eating a Moogle's pompom. This fear is more exaggerated in this story with Hurdy, who has come to fear Dreamhares in general.

-Hurdy's abilities throughout the story will be based off of musical instruments or musical terms and techniques.

(Author Notes)

Well, there you have it. I've always wanted to do a sort of 'mini-adventures' type of thing. I really did this to put some space between major arcs so it didn't feel like I was going directly from one to another, so I plan to some more of these chapters in the near future.

And if anyone wants to submit any ideas for a sort of mini story like these, I'd be happy to consider adding it into the next Tales of Gully chapter and of course credit will be given where credit is due. If you want to submit one, leave it at the end of a review if you're already going to review anyway, or just pm me. Either is fine.

Next chapter should return to the main plot. Until next time.