He wasn't sure where he was or how much time passed since he had lost consciousness. He gradually regained his senses somewhere dark, which did not help his perception of time any. He could feel something cold against his cheek and against his chest, and guessed that he had to be against a floor of some kind. He tried to move.

"Mother $%^#!" Cid snarled as he felt a dull throbbing ache at the back of his skull. Although he was furious, he kept his voice low and soft, not wanting to irritate the ache further. "#$^# #$^@ #$^@...#$^#in' hurts...#$#@..."

"Perhaps if you hadn't resisted, like we suggested, then you wouldn't have such a headache."

"Yeah, #$^# you too..." Cid's voice didn't hold any particular malice, just an overtly blunt method of telling whoever the speaker was to shut up. He managed to push himself upwards, putting a claw to his head shakily. The throbbing was insistent and distracting, and he couldn't focus his eyes for a few moments. Thankfully, due to the darkness, he couldn't see anything moving out of his power that would have confused him more. He managed to pull himself into a sitting position, trying to stop the world, or at least what he could see of it, from spinning. His entire body began to ache all at once, as if the signal had been given by his abrupt change from horizontal to vertical. "#$^#er..."

When he looked in the direction the voice was coming from, he could see iron bars making broad lines across the angel's face, the same angel that had been speaking before. Cid was getting sick of seeing him. His voice was still condescending, still vain and haughty, and still far more musical then any voice should have any right to be.

"It's your own fault."

"@$^@ you." This time Cid's voice did hold contempt, unveiled and bare towards the angel. Cid tried to stand, falling at first ungracefully before managing to get himself up on his footclaws, leaning against the wall. He waited for the dizziness to pass, but unfortunately his headache did not. "#$^#, what th' #$^# happened t'me...?"

"We just rendered you unconscious, that is all." Again, the condescending, superior tone, as if the answer to the question was something that everyone in the world, excepting Cid, happened to know. The angel shrugged, white wings moving along with his motion. Cid snarled.

"No, what th' #$^# happened t'my clothes?"

Cid's shirt was completely missing, his chest marked with several abrasions and bruises, no doubt from his trip to the cell, and his pants were shredded almost what seemed to be purposely, now ending well above his knees. He could see his skin fading into the scales on his feet, not accustomed to having them uncovered against his will and he looked back at the angel, who kept an aura of unruffled professionalism.

"We searched you for weapons, but the damage to your clothing was caused by your transport here."

Cid glared at the angel for a moment before speaking, his voice low and dangerous. "Where's Vin?"

The angel made a disgusted noise and looked off to one side, his tone taking a more venemous edge. It was almost as if the demon's name was enough to harm or insult the angel in some way. "The demon is in a separate cell, waiting for the Judgement to start. We were waiting for you to regain consciousness before we began."

"If you $%&#in' TOUCHED him-!" Cid rushed towards the bars somewhat clumsily, reaching out for the angel who lightly hopped backwards out of range. It was a peculiar sight, the angel lifting off the ground, almost hovering for a few seconds as he moved backwards with calm, unperturbed grace. Cid struggled to reach the angel, thrusting his arms between the bars, clawing air, but the other creature prudentally remained out of reach. Cid could feel flame rising in his mouth and in his chest.

The angel stared at him for a moment, more then likely able to see the glow forming in the dragon's eyes, or the low rumbling growl that was working its way from Cid's throat. If he was scared, he was good at hiding it, and the angel's face again showed little emotion as he continued to speak in his calm, unstressed voice.

"I'll go inform the others that you're awake."

The angel moved off, quietly and with dignity, although the dragon could see the creature's wings quivering, no doubt from nervousness. Cid snorted angrily, frustrated, as he slid down the bars into a sitting position. The cold metal against his exposed back burned, and his wings cramped behind him, having suffered damage with the rest of his body, but that was the least of his concerns at the time.

He sighed as he stared at his hands, the soft aura glowing in the darkness around him. He lightly touched one of his eyes, something that had become a constant source of pain for him and felt the rise of hurt and bruised skin, struggling to heal itself. He must have had a black eye, no doubt from his "transport" here...he continued to feel over his face, being careful and cautious around areas that already were in pain, and found something dry on his forehead that flaked away under the scrutiny of his claws. He must have had a cut that healed while he was asleep...however long THAT was...not to mention that his goggles were missing...if he had them in the first place...

He was almost positive that he hadn't just been dragged her and suffered these injuries by accident. Someone had taken revenge on him while he had been asleep, although they hadn't done too thorough a job. Perhaps the angels did not want to incriminate themselves in such an obvious way, but that made no sense at all, considering the position that Cid was in. Why would it matter to them what he thought? He was their prisoner...

He surveyed the cell critically, but found to his dismay nothing that could help him. It was fairly small and had almost nothing in it, not even a window. He couldn't think of any feasible way to escape...

And besides, if he did, he'd have to find Vincent and get him out as well...

If they had decided to rough him up while taking him to his cell, what had happened to Vincent? He felt a sick feeling rising in his stomach, causing the dizziness to return and the world to shift slightly, but he angrily scraped his claws against the stone floor beneath him, refusing to let himself lose control. He wouldn't think that, he couldn't. He would never let them hurt Vincent again, they wouldn't dare.

He didn't believe himself, but it was all he had, so he tried desperatly to believe his own lie. He knew at least that Vincent had to be alive, and to be conscious, as the angel had revealed that much when speaking about the Judgement. But in what condition would Vincent be in? Cid was almost afraid to find out, but he narrowed his eyes angrily as he continued his thought. Whoever had done it, if they had done anything, would pay for harming him. He would see to that.

He put a claw in his hair, letting a small fireball escape him as he tried to think. It lit the air with a bright flash of light that quickly faded, leaving a blotchy afterimage in his tired and swollen eyes. The return to darkness was a boon for the new pain the sudden flash of light had bestowed upon his eyes, and he made a note to keep his eyes closed if he wanted to breath more fire in such a dark space.

He wished he had a cigarette, and then realized that while he and Vincent had been spending time together, he hadn't felt the urge to smoke nearly as badly. He wondered if that had anything to do with the aura, then shrugged. It had a lot of mysteries around it he didn't understand, and they didn't particularly matter to him now.

He sighed as he twitched his tail lightly. He wished it wouldn't have to end this way, he wished that they hadn't been caught, he wished...

Although he had been telling Vincent for a while that he knew they were going to die, that there was nothing to be afraid of, the reality of it had never fully struck him until now. This was it...this was the end of the line...the end of everything.

Cid smiled to himself in the darkness as he let another plume of fire light it for a moment, keeping his eyes carefully shut. He could feel the heat and the light continued to penetrate through his eyelids, although it didn't hurt as it had before. The heat was welcome, as was the release of flame from his system. He let another small stream of fire escape him, letting his fangs show as he curled his lip upwards in hatred and defiance for his captors.

He was going to die, he knew that much for sure.

But he'd be #$^#ed if he didn't go down fighting.

~~~

An hour passed agonizingly slowly and he had very little to keep him amused. There was nothing in the room that could possibly entertain him, the walls being too sturdily constructed for him to mark or draw on, although he pressed his claws hard. He had, for some time, struggled against the bars, throwing his already battered body against them, but they held fast. He had even attempted breathing fire at the bars in an effort to melt them, but he could not keep up the necessary heat long enough, and it only made him feel sicker and weaker.

Most of his struggles occured in the first fifteen minutes, and then the rest of his time was spent slumped against a wall, his wings spread out in an effort to ease the aching in the thin joints. He sat and stared outwards, letting his mind relive most of his life. Remembering who he had been, what he had done. He spent a long time lingering over thoughts of Vincent, how they had first met, how he had known that he was doomed when the demon approached, and he did not attack. So many memories, so much time seemed to have passed, and yet it was nothing at all. In a way, his life was also nothing to beings whose lives were much longer then his own. He tried to follow that train of thought further, but his logical brain refused to ponder questions that had no real revelance to his situation. He sat and thought, remembering, sometimes humming to himself, but on the whole he was exceedingly bored.

He was almost relieved to have them come, simply to relieve his boredom.

This time it was all dragons, the angels having learned from before, the whipping tail, lashing claws, burning flame, that it was not wise to approach an angry dragon. They carried several lengths of cord with them, along with some small lengths of chain, and they more then outnumbered the lone green-blue dragon in the cell. Already sensing that he had lost a battle that hadn't even begun, Cid stood, trying to intimidate, or at least show his defiance, in the face of such overwhelming odds.

"Get th' #$^# away from me!" Cid snarled, flaring his wings as best he could in such a confined space. As it was, his wings brushed the roof of the cell, but still did not expand to their full size. His antagonists seemed annoyed and frustrated, but not worried or frightened of his behavior. They watched him as he stood, trying to look bigger then he already was through his wings, hissing through his teeth, his claws held at ready in front of him.

Cid fought as best he could, but again, the small space and their number overwhelmed him once more. He managed to swipe at one once, missing, before one seized his arm in midswing, the other his other arm, and the mass of bodies pushed him to the ground, his muscles crying out angrily at being turned in such an unnatural manner. Cid bucked and thrashed, snarling and roaring as he let vent his primitive fury, but their number and their calm logic in the face of his rage gave them the upper hand.

After they had managed to get Cid pinned on the ground, a dragon to each of his limbs, one to his tail, the remaining dragons pushed his wings together, so the claws that rested at the top of his wings meshed, and they tied these together with some of the long strands of cord they had brought. After making sure it was tied securely, they tied the bottom tips of Cid's wings together as well, thus rendering them useless. Cid tried to struggle, to get them off of him, screaming obscenities all the while, but from his vantage point on the floor he couldn't do much.

After they had secured his wings, making them essentially useless, they moved to his feet, although they didn't tie these tightly together like the wings. The cord looped several times around each ankle, but there was a length between his two feet, no doubt to allow him to at least walk, even if it wasn't at his normal long stride, by himself. They looped it around his backclaws, the structure of his foot itself, and the dragons that had been holding down his legs holding his feet still so that they could be bound properly.

Cid continued struggling but to no avail. He refused to give up fighting, even though his tail soon become strung from its middle to the cord that connected his feet, and then again at the tip of his tail to the same point. His tail was now in a painful loop that prevented movement fairly well, and apparently pleased with this, they hoisted Cid off the ground roughly. Before he could try and move again, they pushed him against the wall of the cell, two of the dragons holding his shoulders back, while the others seized his claws, tying them as quickly as possible in front of the dragons body.

Cid at this point was enfuriated to where he could breathe fire, and he did this liberally, but the dragons who were bent to tie his hands raised their wings to shield their bodies, and those holding his shoulders moved out of the range. Unable to hold the flame for long, Cid ended up breathless, panting angrily as his claws became as useless as his wings now were, bound in front of him tightly, wrist to wrist, so much so that he worried that he might lose the feeling in them shortly.

The dragons again pushed him, or much rather threw him, to the floor of the cell, putting non-too-gentle footclaws on his back to prevent motion as they proceeded to loop another length of cord around his neck, with a long lead hanging from it. Cid screamed with fury at the thought of being leashed in such a way, but was unable to resist, and as soon as they let him up, he breathed fire angrily at his bonds, which resisted his efforts stubbornly. It made sense that it would have been protected for this contingency.

"#$^#ers! #$%^ you all!"

Apparently the lead around his neck was not required, or they had done it for some other reason, as they took him by his bound claws and led him out of the cell, down an increasingly bright hallway. Cid tried several times to break away or break free, but he had a full escort of other dragons around him, larger and (he noted with a flare of rage) taller then he was. He continued to snarl angrily, but the dragons seemed to know that he couldn't do anything. He couldn't walk as fast as they could, due to his footclaws being tied together in such a way, and he stumbled and tripped often, unable to catch himself with so much of his body bound tightly. The dragons around him would angrily catch him, shoving him back upwards with unconcealed distaste that Cid returned in abundance.

He was led down the gradually lightening passageway until a bright light surged ahead of him, overcoming his vision. He winced, wishing he could use his claws to shield his eyes, but as it was they were useless and immobile in front of him. He had to try and let his eyes adjust, which took some time that his guards weren't willing to allow him. They moved forward, dragging him along against his will, and finally Cid's vision managed to acclimate itself enough so that he could see where he was.

He knew he had to be in angel territory; that was the only possible conclusion. The light airy colors and overwhelming presence of blue tipped him off. He could feel a light breeze and guessed they had to be somewhere high, maybe a mountain or something. It would explain the stone cell and such. It definitly smelled of angels, however, and if that weren't enough to inform him of where he was, there were large stands set up on either side of him, filled with spectators eager to watch the criminals sentenced. He didn't blame them, considering.

The Grand Judgement was only reserved for the most heinous of crimes, and whatever the verdict happened to be would set a precedent for any violation that would come afterwards. They were extremly uncommon, but almost always ruled in favor of the angels and their beliefs, as it was the angels who ruled the council that would eventually decide his fate. Once the knowledge of a Grand Judgment was made known, the news spread quickly. To miss it meant you could miss everything, and the laws made in the Grand Judgement's continued to stand for all eternity. Cid could not remember when the last Grand Judgement had been, but apparently his sin had been enough to warrant him one. To stand here, in front of everyone, as the law was changed in order to punish him effectively, and anyone who dared to follow after him. Grand Judgments were rarely kind or merciful, dealing justice as the angels saw fit.

It was understandable that everyone would be present at such a massive and important ceremony, but that didn't make him hate them any less.

He was pushed forward amidst the jeers and shouts from the crowd, still swearing and struggling. They ignored his protests, leading him to a series of metal rings imbedded into the ground. It was logical, considering that subjects of the Grand Judgement varied from every species, that they'd have something specifically designed to restrain dragons.

They fastened his claws tightly by another long length of cord to one of the center loops, taking the slack that had been leading from his neck, looping it around the knots of his claws, then tying that to the middle loop as well. Cid thrashed about, amidst more calls from the crowd, but it served him as well as it had before. His footclaws were untied, but then shackled to two more metal loops some distance apart, preventing him from getting any kind of footing. He had to constantly scrabble in an effort to keep his balance. His tail was untied, only to be shackled to two separate loops at two separate places, thus preventing it's movement anywhere.

Cid pulled at the chains that held him constantly during the process, trying to move the now useless weight at his shoulders, the fingers of his wings aching more now that the sensitive tips were bound so cruelly and harshly. His efforts came to naught, however, and his bonds continued to hold strong. He snarled angrily at the crowd, exhaling a blast of fire at the last leaving dragon before slumping to the ground as best he could, too tired to stand. He was exhausted from all the flame he had breathed, all the energy he had spent in a futile effort to escape. He glowered at the lead angel who sat on a pedestal, holding a book in her lap with a small feather quill. The woman, her face framed by almost corded brown hair, stared down at him, magnificent white wings spreading behind her back as she began speaking, her voice melodic and beautiful.

"We are here for the judgement of two great sinners, the dragon Cid Highwind-"

There was a joyous shout from the crowd, and Cid could recognize Shera's colors even from where he was. He snarled to himself, unable to do anything, knowing that she must have had something to do with this, although he didn't know what.

"And the demon Vincent Valentine."

The cheers and cries of jubilation from the crowd doubled for Vincent as they had for Cid, and Cid felt worry begin to creep into his chest. Whatever punishment they inflicted on them, Vincent would surely take the worst of it. He hoped the demon was alright, wherever he was...although such a hope was far too foolish to keep. It was more logical to hope that Vincent was still alive in general...

"I am the Archangel Marlene and I will be preceding over the affairs." She gestured to herself with her golden quill for a moment, pausing for what seemed to be dramatic effect. "First, we must review the sinners themselves. Cid Highwind."

Cid glanced up, a slight clinking of chains indicating his movement more then anything else. Flame was burning inside him, and he longed for just five minutes alone with the Archangel unbound.

"Can you justify your actions?"

Cid paused for a moment, actually smiling before he managed to cough out a reply. "Why th' #$^# should I justify anythin' t'YOU?"

The crowd hissed at his actions, and showed their disapproval through various ways, one of which involved throwing something at the dragon which fell pitifully short. Marlene did not seem fazed by this, continuing to speak in her beautiful voice, aware of the crowd, but not letting it show in her face or tone.

"Do you accept the things you have done?"

"#$^# yeah!" Cid shouted, causing the crowd to again condemn him, much more vigorously then before, but Cid didn't care. He struggled to rise, something difficult at the position his feet had been anchored in, and he glared at the angel, eyes burning. "I don't #$^#in' regret a god#$^# thing!"

"T'his credit..." A softer male voice near the woman spoke, although Cid could not see who was speaking. "The drag's say he was a great warrior..."

"The Grand Judgement awknowledges Wallace's comments, but reminds him that it is the Archangel who will be asking the questions." Marlene's tone was frosty, and the softer voice fell silent. She again stared at Cid, her gaze cold and calculating.

"Why did you sin in this way?"

"Why th' #$^# should I tell you?" Cid shouted back at her, his voice rough and uncontrolled, and the crowd again became angered against him, although Cid didn't care about them. "Why th' #$^# should I tell you anythin'? Drag me here for some #$^#in' rigged court! Jus' kill me like I know you're goin' to an' stop pretendin'!"

An uproar followed the dragons comment, but Marlene quickly silenced it with a wave of her hand. The crowd immediately deferred to the Archangel, who turned her gaze back to the dragon, speaking seriously. "The outcome will not always be death. Answer the questions or forsake your ability to defend yourself."

"I'm #$^#in' dead already anyway." Cid sat back down, glaring at her angrily. A tense pause followed while the dragon and the angel stared at one another, testing and challenging, before Marlene took a deep breath for a moment, writing something in the book on her lap. She didn't look up when Cid continued to speak. "Why th' #$%^ should I even try..."

Without looking up, she gestured with one hand, her voice quiet and deadly.

"Bring the demon."

Cid turned eagerly, with a touch of palpable fear in his heart, wanting to see Vincent more then anything at the moment, just to know that he was alright, or at least to know what had happened to him. There was some movement from the portal he had come from, and then several angels moved forward, carrying a large structure that rose above their heads, which resembled at most a form of the gallows.

Hanging from the structure by his wrists was the demon himself, and Cid stared, unbelieving, his mouth unconsciously falling open.

While Cid had suffered some injuries at the hand of his captors during his stay, Vincent had suffered far worse. The demon's thin chest bore fresh scars, only now beginning to clot and heal, as did his face, scars running across his cheek, his forehead, across his eyes, which were sealed tightly. He swayed with the movement of the creatures that bore the structure's footsteps, and his tail dragged along behind him, not moving, the dark skin hard to examine for injury. The metallic arm that distinguished Vincent so easily from all others was stained with rust red in akward patterns against the once shining metal. It seemed to be fairly intact, unlike the rest of the demons flesh body. However, in the dark, matted clumps of the demons hair, thick with what had to be blood, Cid could still see traces of the dark blue fabric of his shirt that he had given to the demon in replacement for the bandana he had given him, as proof of his death, but the irony was lost on Cid at the moment.

The thing that struck Cid the most were Vincent's wings. The tips had been bound together as his were, but apparently binding the wings was not enough insurance for the angels, faced with their greatest foe at their mercy. Between the thin fingers of Vincent's black wings, obviously broken in several places, white and bloodstained bones protruding through black skin, there was nothing, only tattered remains of what had once been the membrane that allowed him to fly. The membrane had not been removed carefully, but obviously ripped, torn out, by the uneven edges of the scraps of thin, bleeding flesh that remained, clinging to the bones of his wings like the two of them had tried to cling to their life. From the bottom tips of the wings, tied together tightly with the same kind of cord that had been used on Cid, he could see a steady, but slow stream of droplets, dark and thick, falling from the brutalized limbs, spattering into the dust that formed the floor of the sick Judgement grounds. The demons footclaws had been bound to one another, with no room inbetween for movement, the indentations of the tight cord against black skin visible even to Cid, and the only garment that covered the pathetic beings body were the tattered remains of his pants, in worse condition then Cid's had been, torn up past his thighs, barely able to hide him from the hateful gaze of the crowd that cheered and clapped when the demon came into view.

There were bloody streaks across the demon's face, some dark and some fresh, and Cid knew they had to be tears.

"You #$^#ERS!" Cid shouted, rushing against his bonds only to fall flat, unable to escape. They tightened angrily against his skin and scales, sending waves of pain through already pained limbs, but he ignored them in fury, pulling with all his might. "How th' #$^# could you do that t'him!?"

Vincent lifted his head slightly from its resting position against his chest, eyes easing open slowly, almost completly red, to meet with Cid's for a moment. When he opened his mouth, Cid noted one of his fangs missing.

He seemed to be trying to speak, but the procession that was carrying him dropped their cargo, interrupting him, leaving Vincent hanging just off the ground, his tail brushing the dust, painfully suspended by bruised and bleeding arms. The broken and pathetic things hanging from his back twitched occasionally, no doubt Vincent trying to move the tattered remains of his once large, black wings. The pathetically jerky, pained movements again caused Cid to rise in fury, the chains that held him clanking loudly.

"#$^#ERS! #$^#IN' #$%##$^#! I'LL #$^#IN' KILL YOU!" Cid surged against his bounds repeatedly, the power of his anger making him continue his futile attempts. Vincents tail moved slightly, and finally Cid could hear the demons voice come to him through the wind. It was tired and hoarse and cracked painfully. Cid did not want to think why Vincent's vocal chords would be damaged so badly, of what he had been through...

"Highwind..."

"Vincent Valentine, can you justify your actions?" Marlene showed no reaction to the demons condition, almost as if it was nothing out of the ordinary, or Cid's outrage, pointing at the demon with the golden quill for a moment. Vincent struggled to look up, his black hair that once fell so smoothly now striking his face, hiding his eyes, unable to be brushed away. He could not even muster the energy to shake his head to one side, to move the errant strands away.

It took a moment for his voice to be able to be heard over the crowd. "No."

Marlene marked something in her book. "Do you accept the things you've done?"

Vincent's reply came quickly. "Yes."

"Why did you sin in this way?"

Vincent paused for a moment before speaking again. "Love."

Cid pulled at the chains holding him fiercely, ignoring the bite of metal through his skin and scales. He refused to let this go on, he refused to let this happen...

Another rush of fire escaped him angrily, blasting the earth in front of him. The fact that this continued to do nothing only frustrated him further.

The disorder and chaos that had been caused among those in the stands at Vincent's quiet, yet sure word was amazing, and Marlene actually had to wave her hand twice to silence them, something that only made her harden her facial features.

"You have heard the testimony of the condemned." Her voice rose again, musical and yet so dangerous. The notes that Cid knew would end his life, but more importantly, the life of the demon nearby. "Their motives for doing what they have done. Do you approve?"

The crowds thunderous reply did not surprise Cid in the least, and he closed his eyes for a moment.

"I ask you now, both of you, to explain something to us gathered here." Marlene gestured at them both with the quill. "Why has Heaven's Aura been bestowed upon you? What tricks have you played on the gods that govern us to get it?"

"It's not a #$^#in' trick!" Cid shouted in response amidst the uproar from the bystanders. "It jus' #$^#in' happened. What th' #$^# were we supposed t'do?"

Cid struggled to draw himself to his full height, bound as he was. "How can you say we're sinners when the gods them #$^#in' SELVES say we're right!?"

Screaming from the crowds drowned Cid out, and they continued for a while at the words of such blasphemy. The gaze on Marlene's face became dark and terrible, and she stood, flaring out her snow-white wings behind her, pointing at Cid with a dramatic flair that only made Cid glare at her with more hatred.

"Do not presume to speak for the gods, lizard! You know NOTHING of what you speak!"

"Then #$^#in' kill me! KILL ME!" Cid's last words escaped with a flare of flame. "Stop #$^@in' around and #$^%in' kill me for bein' right! An' you know I am!"

"Silence!" Marlene held her arms out to her sides, the loose robe that all angels wore stopping perfectly at her wrists. The crowd reluctantly grew silent, deeply insulted by the words that the dragon continued to dare to speak in the presence of one of their most revered. The angel stood for a moment, her wings almost holding the sun in between their feathered expanses as she stared down at the two chained, powerless beings.

"Take the demon away, and restrain him in true fashion." Her words were quick and sharp, like someone had been caught playing an instrument they had been forbidden to touch, and gave a few flickering moments of playing before running off. Within moments the group that had carried the makeshift gallows returned, settling to their position next to it, lifting the construct off the ground and beginning to move off. Vincent's eyes opened wide with panic, faint glimmers of white showing through the almost completely scarlet orbs, several droplets falling free from the newly opened eyes as Vincent stared at the dragon, who threw himself violently against his bindings, trying to reach the demon desperatly.

"Highwind, don't, please don't let them..." Vincent's voice was panicked and frightened, but a jostle from one of those carrying the gallows, strong enough to cause him to swing on his pained and swollen wrists, reminded him, and he fell silent, only his frightened, tearful eyes to continue what he wanted to say.

Cid again rushed against his bonds, repeatedly, falling heavily against the ground several times as he tried to break free, the chains and cord too strong for him. He again hit the ground, bodily, his breath driven from him in one moment, his wings flopping uselessly to his right as he breathed heavily through his mouth, staring through the dust that swirled upwards from his hot breath at the quickly disappearing visage of the demon, carried away by his tormentors.

Cid forced himself back upwards angrily, snarling, his fangs cutting into his lips with anger as he glared at Marlene for several moments before venturing to speak.

"What are you goin' to do to him?"

Marlene had not forgotten what Cid had said beforehand, and the dangerous, malevolent look on her normally passive features prevailed, although at this point Cid was too far gone to begin to feel frightened. Her voice was cold and quiet.

"We are going to discuss this. You will wait here."

"The #$^# I will!"

Marlene turned on him scornfully, ignoring the dragons fury as he roared angrily, testing all his muscles against what bound him so stubbornly to the ground. Marlene walked off, wings blinding in the brightening sun, and Cid was stuck again, waiting.

Although this time he had the crowd to keep him company, which did not make him feel better.

They couldn't have come to a decision already, could they...? He forced himself to think rationally as he sat, trying to regain his breath. These things usually take time...there's no way that they would have already come to judgement against them...

Cid had a sick feeling inside that, considering this was no ordinary case, there would be no ordinary ruling.

So his judgement was coming...

He sat, struggling to keep his rage under control. This was a bit early for his tastes.

Early and excessive.