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)


Along a dusty, beaten path, a caravan of three, elaborate carriages led by chocobo rolled towards their destination as a dimly lit sun began to gradually rise from the east. The surroundings were mostly quiet, with the chirping of various birds and the clutter of the carriages breaking the monotonous silence every few seconds.

"Where are we now, Mr. Paladin?" A brown-haired, adolescent looking girl asked her protector from inside one of the carriages.

"Not to worry, Ms. Marie. We should reach Camoa in a few hours." The Paladin replied in a good-natured tone, walking alongside the carriage.

"Very well..." The girl agreed, leaning back onto one of her elegant pillows. The brunette stared out of the carriage window to the rising sun out in the distance with a somewhat sorrowful look. She reached under a different ornate pillow and pulled out some sort of notebook, with a beautiful, unfinished, black and white portrait of a sunset over a pasture landscape. She reached for one of her pencils and started on the shading of the picture, all the while taking looks out at the sun slowly rising outside of her carriage.

"Every timeI look at this pictureI wonder if it is a rising or a setting sun…" She began to think to herself, resting her head on the window seal.

A sorrowful look encompassed her facial features as she envisioned a cold, desolate place, and people wandering the streets in hopeless disdain.

"…noit's definitely a setting sun…"

Chapter Nine: The Setting Sun Overture

(Camoa, "The Prancing Chocobo", Late Morning)

"Whew, talk about…a workout." Luso exclaimed, breathing heavily and sauntering into the Camoa Pub in an exhausted fashion, Hurdy and Cheney following closely behind him and in similar manners. "I'm crossing four…hours of arrow dodging…off my list…of training exercises."

Ever since the sky pirate incident five days ago, the trio of friends had been working almost non stop on improving their technique as well as the coordination when fighting. Their exercises usually consisted of direct combat fighting, Luso using his sword and Cheney brandishing a hunting knife, as well as marksmanship for the hunter and 'arrow dodging' for Luso.

The soldier and the Moogle had also been working on their own combination as well. The two had learned during their short skirmish with Vaan that Hurdy's music was able drastically boost Luso's fighting ability, and they had been working on improving that combination as well over the past five days.

"Aww, really? But you make such a good target to practice on." Cheney remarked in a playful tone, the soldier sending him a sarcastic glare.

After a couples seconds of scanning the room, the trio eventually spotted Kanin's white wizard hat standing out amongst the crowd of hardy adventurers. The group wandered over to the table, pulled out a few wooden chairs, and sat down.

"Welcome back, guys. How did it go?" Kanin asked perkily as her father leaned back in the chair next to her.

"I think we've finally got it down." Luso replied confidently. "How about your white magic training?"

She looked over his body and noticed a small cut on his left triceps, most likely where an arrow from Cheney had braised him she surmised. She reached out a hand and placed it over the cut and after a quiet whispering of cure, her hand glowed a bright white. The cut as well as the pain seemed to disappear with no visible exhaustion from the blond girl. She finished her demonstration, sitting back in her chair with an evident smile.

"Wow, you're definitely getting better at that." Cheney commented in surprise.

"Well that's my girl for you. What do you expect from someone with my blood running through their veins?" Ensei stated with proud chuckle, patting his daughter on the back in the process.

Both Luso and Cheney sent each other a blank stare.

"No need to answer that one…" Both said inwardly and simultaneously, unaware of the others thoughts.

"So what are we waiting for, kupo?" Hurdy queried.

"Just Cid…" The parivir replied, taking another swig of his drink. "…he said something about looking for a new mission. We need the cash right now."

Within a few minutes, the Revgaji had entered the pub and walked over to the clan's table, pulling out a chair and plopping next to Ensei. In his hands was a rolled up piece of paper, most likely a mission bill from what the others could tell.

"Well lady and gentlemen…" The blonde Rev announced, accounting for the single female in the clan. "…after much consideration, I've finally located a suitable mission to take."

He rolled the mission bill out across the table and everyone gathered around to view.

"The request is an escort mission to the town of St. Galleria, located in the Galleria Deep." He began. "The client seeks protection only up until we reach the city, where he will be dropped off to another escort and reach his destination."

"Sounds pretty easy if you ask me." Cheney commented.

"More like boring…" Ensei snorted. "…and just when I had been craving some action..."

"What can we do…?" Cid sighed. "…we're pretty short in the funds department right now and we need some higher paying jobs. But I wouldn't count this one out just yet Ensei; you know how we always seem to attract danger." The Rev sent his partner a smirk, which was returned full force.

"Yes, and mostly in unhealthy amounts…" Luso thought to himself.

"Well if everybody approves of it, I'll go tell the pubmaster. Any questions?" The Revgaji asked.

"Who's the client and when do we leave?" Cheney asked, throwing his hand into the air.

"We leave first thing tomorrow morning, so I advise you get everything packed up and ready to go by then. As for the client, a name's not given, just a vague description. It says he's a Nu Mou Sage. Those are pretty rare around here, so we shouldn't have much trouble finding him. Any more?"

The blonde, muscular Rev waited a moment to give a chance for any more questions, though none came.

"Alright then. You're dismissed; go out and get anything you need for tomorrow."

Everyone rose from their respective chairs. Cheney was the first to leave, followed closely by Hurdy and Cid. Luso stayed behind for a moment before beginning to file out until he was stopped by Ensei.

"Hey, can I talk to you for a second." The Parivir asked, motioning for the boy to sit back down. He did so, and sat back in his chair, waiting for the man to address him. Kanin sat quietly at the table. "I've been thinking about this over the past week…"

"About what?" The boy asked curiously.

"Well…in terms of clan usefulness, a soldier isn't really much of a powerful job to have. Most strong or professional clans don't keep one in their ranks…"

"So what…" The soldier questioned in an agitated tone. "…are you saying I'm not useful? You're the one that started me out as a soldier in the first place."

"Do you know why I started you out as a soldier?"

Luso shook his head.

"There's something special about that Dagriohm of yours that you didn't know. It's actually a two handed sword."

"But…but I've been using it one handed this entire time. How could it…?"

"I lied to you. It's a fully-fledged two handed sword, but I told you to hold it like a one-handed sword." The Parivir explained. "I'm sure you've noticed that your right arm seems stronger lately. It's because your arm is getting used to the weight of that sword, and in turn, your sword swings are stronger."

The chocolate haired boy allowed the bearded man to continue on uninterrupted.

"I don't know where you learned it, but you have the necessary sword technique; all you needed was a powerful swing…."

Ensei flashed him a smirk as he placed his hands behind his head and propped his feet upon the table.

"…and now that you have that necessary strength, Luso Clemens, how would you like to take the next step to becoming a Parivir?"

(Moorabella, Jytras Mercantile Building)

A tall, beautiful Viera strolled down a hallway illuminated through sunlight pouring through the windows as she made her way to the ornate double doors at the end. She sported long, flowing white hair that came down to her lower back as well as a decorative, ivory dress. She walked with an authoritative flair.

With her were two more Viera, one with brown hair and one with blond, but both outfitted in a Spellblade's uniform. They both stayed behind her as they walked, their respective swords dangling at each of their sides.

"Greetings, milady…" Two armed Hume soldiers bowed and said as the Viera approached. The rabbit-woman in white gave a gesture to cease, and the soldiers each grabbed a handle and pulled open the double door.

Inside was a room with finely polished oak floors, clear windows and white walls surrounding the space, and in the middle sat one flawless ebony table. Circling said table were a plethora of matching chairs and in those chairs sat a various assortment of different races and ages.

"Ah, mistress, how nice to see you Ms. Francesca…" A Nu Mou scholar remarked as the Viera entered the room and circled the table, reaching her own seat at the end. Her two guards took either side of the chair.

"Likewise, . Now…what did we discuss at the last meeting?" She responded, taking a look at he papers in front of her.

"Well…as you are aware of…" A regular Hume dressed in robes answered, standing to his feet as was expected of him when one was to speak. "…The path through the Rupie Mountains was blocked a few days ago by a massive landslide and the way to the Galleria Deep was rendered inaccessible. As such, we agreed to send Lady Marie around through Camoa to meet with the caravan."

"…who did we send with Miss Marie as her guards?" Francesca asked, her eyebrow perking up.

"Well, the more prominent ones would be…the renowned duo, Raven and Crow."

Her eyes shot wide open in realization, though it went unnoticed by all except the Nu Mou Scholar. She schooled her face back into its emotionless state.

"Are they…the only ones guarding her…?" She asked hesitantly.

"Well, um…no ma'am; there are another relatively famous pair of adventurers. I believe they are Sir Loin and his daughter."

Vendo looked closely at the white clothed Viera, noticing her let out a sigh of relief.

"Very well. Now, how about today's business."

Another Hume at the other side of the table rose from his seat as the first Hume performed the opposite action.

"As of the latest report, it seems our Grazton branches and warehouses are having a bit of difficulty. Shares are down as of late and they require assistance in reorganizing the main offices."

The Viera rested her head on her hand, closed her eyes gently, and pondered for a moment.

"Mr. Vendo, make arrangements for my departure to Grazton." She remarked, opening her eyes.

"Very well, Miss Francesca." The scholar replied, taking an ink dipped quill and making a few notes on a piece of paper. "Is there any other business that needs to be attended to at the moment?"

No one responded.

"Apparently not; this meeting is now formally dismissed."

The attendants of the meeting then rose from each of their chairs and, in an orderly fashion, filed out of the room, conversing amongst themselves. Vendo remained behind and neatly shuffled some papers into order as well as Francesca, who hadn't moved an inch.

She snapped her fingers, a gesture which her two Spellblade guards recognized instantly. The duo walked out of the room at a hastened pace, closing the doors behind them.

"Who was the idiot who hired Raven and Crow for this?" She asked in a rushed tone, getting directly to the point.

"I believe it was Coryn. Your instructions were to hire the best money could buy…."

"You know exactly who those two are. What if something happens to Marie while…."

"Calm down, Miss Francesca." Vendo suggested. "…Sir Loin and his daughter are a formidable duo, and they haven't failed an escort mission yet. Have a little faith."

The Viera let out another sigh as she walked towards a window, staring out into the snowy building covered landscape.

"How long until…they arrive?"

"Not much longer now; they should arrive in a week or two." The Scholar answered. The rabbit eared woman in white returned to staring out the window, most likely in deep thought.

"Only you can change this rotting world nowDuelhorn…"

(Camoa, Weapon Shop, Late Afternoon)

"Kanin, we've been roaming around for hours…are you sure you know where the shop is?" Luso asked in an exhausteded fashion as they rounded yet another corner in their search for a weapons shop. Ensei had instructed her to take Luso to find some gear for his new job.

"Well…" The girl began, turning toward him and grinning sheepishly. A slight pink tint rose to her cheeks. "…not exactly..."

The boy stared at her in a dumbfounded manner.

"Couldn't you have mentioned that before?"

"Um…probably…"

"…Then why didn't you?"

The blond girl considering telling him the real reason, which happened to be wanting to spend as much time with him as possible, but she quickly ousted that idea.

"I suppose I just didn't realize it…"

He let out a hopeless sigh.

"Oh, well wouldn't you know. There it is right there." She pointed over to a large shop where a picture of a sword hung over the entrance. The boy mentally slapped himself over why he didn't notice it before.

The two walked into the entrance and were amazed at not only the size of the interior of the store, but the wide selection of items as well. Swords, bows, and staves lined almost every portion of the walls. Robes and outfits lay neatly folded on shelves and tables. Customers all around browsed and took their time inspecting their respective choices of items.

"Wow, look at all of this!" Luso exclaimed, taking in the sight before him.

"Like what you see, boy?" A gruff man with faded red hair and a mustache asked the blue eyed boy with a warm but hardy voice. He had on a green shirt that just barely covered his bulging muscles, as well as a faint tan colored apron covered with small burn marks. Healed but prominent scars littered his arms in almost every conceivable place, as though he had placed them in a shredder.

"You bet I do, sir!" The soldier answered excitedly, turning to face him. "Just look at all the cool stuff in here! I can't wait to try out some new swords."

"Ha, I like you already, kid. Come over here and I'll help you with what you need." The man walked past a few customers and behind the counter. The boy and Kanin eagerly followed him to the counter. "So what'll you have?"

"We're here to find some fighter equipment. Luso wants to be a fighter." Kanin interceded with a smile.

The man burst out into uncontrolled laughter at that moment. The two stared at him in embarrassment for a moment until he regained his composure.

"You almost had me there for a second, little lady. I thought you said he wanted to be a fighter."

"She did…and I do." Luso confirmed, giving the man a firm look.

The shopkeeper stared into the boys eyes with an equally stern eye, not faltering at his determination. He mentally sighed as the boy refused to flinch as well.

"Why do you want to be a fighter?"

"Because…" Luso stated simply. "…It's on the way to becoming a Parivir."

"Look…a fighter is not just some pushover job…" The red-haired shopkeeper began. "Fighters are masters of the sword who put offense over defense. It takes a lot of guts, discipline, and strength to make it anywhere as a fighter. It's not a job for little kids like you."

"And just how do you know?" Luso asked aggressively.

The man gestured towards his brawny arms, which were covered finger to shoulder in nothing but scars and hair. Kanin let out a gasp as Luso became slightly unnerved.

"Every one of these scars came only after three months of being a fighter…" He explained. "If it wasn't for a special surgery, I wouldn't have been able to use my arms anymore. The pain still remains even to this day…I can't touch a single thing without my nerve endings going crazy."

Kanin covered her mouth in surprise, while the boy just stood there in shock. The shopkeeper looked the brown haired soldier straight in the eye.

"Now tell me…after all this…do you still wish to be a fighter?"

Luso paused for a moment, complete silence pervading the area around the three people. The boy instinctively reached for his Dagriohm, sheath and all, and slammed it down onto the counter before him.

"How many blades can I buy if I sell this?"

The man was quite surprised by the audacity of the boy's action. But…something he noticed this time when he stared into the boy's eyes was different than the last. He could very well see the strong fire of self-assurance and confidence bursting forth from him.

He chuckled.

"Alright…you pass…"

"Wait…what?" Kanin asked with a confused tone.

"I said he passed. I tell that story to every kid who walks in here saying he wants to be a fighter." The man said, still continuing to chuckle as he picked two blades from the shelf. "But…they usually get scared after hearing that one."

"Wait…so that whole story was just some test!?" Luso yelled agitatedly. "You had me scared half to death!"

"But…you stood your ground, didn't you?" The shopkeeper queried, placing two different blades on the counter before him. "Those who aren't mentally and emotionally prepared as well as physically won't last very long as a fighter. You have to have both, and so far you've got the mental state in check. It's up to you to get the physical."

The man paused to clear his throat, before continuing on.

"The left one is called the Sweep Blade, perfect for knocking your enemies back. The left is the Atmos Blade; it's a lightning elemental blade that's got some nice ranged potential once you figure out the trick. So…which one would you like?"

Luso pondered his options for a moment, before making a choice.

"How about both?"

The shopkeeper smirked once again, bringing out the sheath for each one from under the table and sliding them into each blade's respective holster. He handed both blades to the bewildered soldier.

"Good choice."

"Thanks, old man." Luso said with an exceptionally bright smile, turning towards the exit and heading for the door with both blades tucked under his arm.

"Thank you, sir." Kanin thanked the man more appropriately, before beginning to chase after her clan mate.

"Men like him only come once in a generation." The shopkeeper said, sending the blond a wink. "Make sure you hold on to that one, girl."

The White Mage turned a tomato red at his statement and quickly exited the door in embarrassment.

"Oh…so much like my daughter…" He thought to himself, picking up Luso's former sword, Dagriohm. The shopkeeper noticed an inscription on the hand guard of the sword, the signature saying the words 'Anna Gaelic' in cursive writing.

He smiled.

"Well, well…speaking of my daughter."

(Camoa, "The Prancing Chocobo", Late Afternoon)

Ensei relaxed quietly in his chair at the pub as he listened to the light tunes Hurdy played with his flute up on stage. The pubmaster had recognized the Moogle and had asked him to play a few songs, with proper pay, of course. The musician accepted immediately and had been playing for the last hour and a half and was somehow managing to keep on going strong.

"Ah! Such a peaceful moment. I could get used to this." He thought to himself, enjoying his time alone.

"Aye, Pubmaster! Rustle up some good ol' natural ale for me, would ya!?" A boisterous Seeq voice bellowed as a portly Lanista entered the Prancing Chocobo. Ensei turned toward the entrance, irate that someone would ruin his quiet moment.

The Pub owner quickly filled the Seeq's order and passed him a nice, cold one.

"Thanks, ya ol' coot." He remarked, loudly chugging down the glass and placing a few coins on the bar counter.

"Do you mind!?" Ensei called out, having enough of the Lanista's noise. "Some of us are trying to have a moment here!"

The portly half-pig paused for a moment, searching hastily through his mind for where he had heard that voice from. He trekked over to Ensei's chair and stopped right behind him, turning the Parivir around.

"Look, buddy. I'm not in the mood to start a…." As Ensei turned around, his focused on the Seeq. The samurai-esque warrior made a wide grin. "Well it's been a long time, hasn't it Loin?"

"It's Sir Loin now, Ensei Rou." The Lanista replied, mirroring his grin. "It's good to see ya again, old friend."

"Please…don't say old friend. You'll make me feel like an ol' coot." The Parivir commented sarcastically, obviously making fun of the Seeq's dialect.

"That's alright. You're already one. How long's it been again?"

"It's been a long nine years…" The samurai responded whilst reminiscing. "Good to see your not dead yet."

"Well don't jinx it, idiot. I've been in a few life threatening situations over them nine years. So what ya in town for?" The Seeq queried.

"Well, you know…just looking for some work. My clan's got a job escorting to the Galleria Deep. What about you?"

"Actually, me and my little girl got the same job." Loin answered. "Cept' my client's a little girl…and a pretty important one at that. Goes by the name of Marie, I reckon'."

The Lanista took a sip of his drink, before continuing on.

"…I heard the way's pretty dangerous, though. Are ya sure ya and Kanin can handle it by yourselves?"

"We don't have to." The Parivir smirked. "You're looking at the co-founder of Clan Gully."

"Thank you, kupo." Hurdy bowed, finishing his latest tune as everyone gave him a good round of applause. After his performance, the Moogle hopped over to the table where the two friends were conversing and sat in a chair next to Ensei.

"This is one of our members…Hurdy." The samurai added, patting the furry musician on the head. "In total so far, we have six, but we're growing pretty fast. We've even convinced that famous hunter Cheney to join us."

"Well, I'll be…ya mean the former House Bowen member? Didn't think someone like him would even consider joining up with an unknown like ya." He chuckled light-heartedly. "…all I got is an expensive daughter who buys about everything in sight…"

It was then that the Seeq remembered something important. He rose from his seat and quickly finished off the rest of his ale, pushing the chair into the table simultaneously.

"…speaking of said daughter, I gotta get going. I promised her I'd bring back something sweet from that dessert shop on the corner. I'll see ya tomorrow."

The Lanista gave him a nonchalant wave and sauntered over to the pub's exit. Ensei sent him a similar gesture.

"Who was that, kupo?" Hurdy asked curiously.

"…Just an acquaintance…"

(Camoa, Adventurer's Rest Inn, Evening)

"So what staff did you get, Kanin?" Luso queried as the two walked into one of the Inn's hallways, each carrying a menagerie of different items and the bag of leftover gil hanging at his side. The duo had gone to many different shops on their way back to the Inn, picking up a present for everyone with the money Ensei had loaned to them.

"It's called a Cleansing Staff." She replied, examining the object she held in her hand further. "From the description the shopkeeper gave me, it's supposed to teach me how to cast Esuna." She continued to walk, not noticing where she was going and who she was about to run into.

"Well all you have to do is practice with it and I'm sure you'll…Kanin! Watch out!!" Luso exclaimed as the Gully White Mage collided with a brown haired, adolescent female. Both of the girls fell to the floor with a thud, and a necklace the brown girl was wearing snapped and fell to the floor.

"Are you okay, Kanin?" The Grimoire holder rushed over to Kanin and began to lift her up. The blond girl winced as she rubbed her head a little bit, but she eventually stood to her feet.

From down the hall, a single black cat scurried over to the brown haired female that Kanin had accidentally collided with. It paused for a moment before gently licking her face. Luso watched on with a raised eyebrow at the scene.

A few seconds later, a girl with shoulder length silver hair and bright yellow eyes rounded the corner the cat had come from and stepped into view. To Luso, she looked more like a cat, if the bow in her hair shaped like cat ears was any indication.

"I can't leave you for a second, can I?" The silver haired female sighed, hurrying over to the girl's body and helping her up to her feet.

"I'm sorry, Miss White Mage…" The brown haired girl apologized to Kanin with a smile on her face, holding out her hand. "…I should have watched where I was going."

"No, no…it's my fault. I wasn't watching where I was going…Oh, and my name is Kanin." The girl apologized back, shaking the girl's hand.

"Yeah, yeah…hugs and kisses and all of that…" The cat themed female commented. "So are we going to the pub or not, Marie? I'm in the mood for something fruit-flavored."

"Ah, yes. Excuse me." The brown haired girl performed a small curtsy before walking off down the hall.

"Bye, Kanin…" The silver haired girl said with a wink. "…and…hmmm…I didn't catch your name." She walked over to Luso and stood directly in front of him, there eyes locked. Her black cat trotted over to her legs and brushed itself up beside them.

"The name's Luso…Luso Clemens." He said with a wary tone.

"And my name is Adelle. It was nice meeting you, Luso. See ya later, Kanin." She turned and walked down the hallway after her client, the cat only inches behind her.

"They seemed like nice people." Kanin remarked happily, retrieving the things she bought from the shops.

"I guess the brown-haired one did…but that cat-girl seemed like nothing but trouble to me…Wait…where did that sack go?"

Luso frantically checked his belt all around, but failed to find the pouch containing all of their gil. The boy then began to scour the floor and the rest of the hallway to no avail.

"Did you drop it somewhere?" Kanin asked.

"I don't think so. It was in my belt right up until that cat-girl asked me…."

And then it dawned on him.

"SHE STOLE THE REST OF MY MONEY!!!"

(End Chapter Nine)

Character Corner

(Kanin Leporidae Heldig)

Job: White Mage

Height: 165 cm

Weight: 111 lbs.

Race: ???

Hair Color: Blonde

Eye Color: Brown

Skin/Fur Color: Light Tan

(Gear)

Weapon: White Staff

Helm: Wizard Hat (colored white)

Armor: None

Shoes: Red Boots

Accessories: None

(Likes and Dislikes)

Favorite Animal: Rabbits

Favorite Food: Carrots

Favorite Drink: Viera Mist

Fears: Losing the white wizard hat she always wears

Association: Clan Gully

Favorite Color: White

(Trivia)

-Kanin's nationality is of Norwegian origin. Furthermore, her design is based primarily off of rabbits. Her middle name also comes from the Classification Family for Rabbits.

-A quirk of Kanin's is that she rarely takes off her wizard hat, even wearing it to sleep. The only times it has been seen off is unintentional on her part or when she is bathing, and only if no one else is around.

-Kanin is the biological daughter of Ensei Rou. She has never seen or heard from her mother before.

(Author Notes)

And there you have chapter nine. Chapter ten should lead off to the beginning of the mission as well as introduce some important characters. Any questions should be answered in due time.

Until next time