AN: Here it is, the final chapter... This was easily the hardest of the nine to write. 'Twas fun though. Enjoy!
A quiet night, a full moon, and a cup of hot tea... Not a bad combination when one was up late on watch. Regal smiled and leaned back into the makeshift chair he had crafted out of his pack and a few spare blankets, taking a sip of his tea as he scanned the neighboring hills for any monsters or bandits foolish enough to try prowling around on such a bright night. Nothing but peace and tranquility, as expected. It'd be a nice change of pace to have nothing to report when Kratos came to relieve him in a half... hour?
Turning his attention back to camp, Regal spotted a figure, a purple figure, leaving the small circle of tents and making its way to the top of the hill where he sat. It was unlikely that either of them had misjudged the time, so what was going on? He set his cup down and reached around into his pack to retrieve a second one, waiting and watching as the swordsman finally crested the hill.
"Kratos, you're early."
"I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all." Regal gestured for Kratos to sit before snatching the teapot from the embers of the fire where he'd left it to warm and poured. "Have some tea." As the cup changed hands, Regal noticed his companion seemed deep in thought, like he was mentally rehearsing some sentiment but having trouble finding the right words to actually voice it.
"I wanted to thank you for watching over Lloyd."
"Sometimes I think he is the one watching over me." Regal swore he saw a faint smile on Kratos' face as the swordsman raised his cup.
"Yes, I know the feeling."
They lapsed into silence, surveying the moonlit landscape. There wasn't much time left before the official changing of the guard, but perhaps, Regal thought, if Kratos didn't mind, there may be time for a story.
"Kratos, as a Seraph of Cruxis you must have witnessed many key points in the histories of both the worlds over the past four millennia. Would you be willing to share some of your experiences? I would enjoy hearing them."
"Hm..." Kratos took another sip of his tea, considering. "Very well. Is there any specific event you were interested in?"
"Yes. The Olfe Uprising, if you were present." The answer came without hesitation and Kratos nodded. Of course Regal would be curious about that battle, any history buff worth their salt would be.
"I was." It had been quite a while... The swordsman closed his eyes, collecting and ordering the several millennia-old memories as best he could. "Cruxis supported the rebellion, so I fought alongside the southern Sylvaranti tribes and the first Governor-General against the remnants of the Balacruf army..."
-- -- -- -- --
Completely engrossed in Kratos' tale, Regal didn't even notice his tea had gone cold or the hints of light glowing softly on the eastern horizon. The first-hand account was far more interesting than any scenario dreamed up by the historians he'd read. Plus, Kratos was an excellent storyteller.
"By that time the Balacruf has run out of boulders and began catapulting tomatoes from the nearby fields over the battlements."
"The stench of tomato was overwhelming..." Kratos paused, as if embarrassed to admit just how much the hellish fruit bothered him. "I couldn't stand to remain inside the fort so I accompanied the small scouting party the Governor-General sent out to gather information on the opposing forces. When finished, they returned to the fortress to give their report. I, however, stayed behind in the enemy camp and conducted a series of guerrilla attacks. It was a massacre." He took a sip of his tea, unperturbed by Regal's expression of shock and disbelief. "Without their reinforcements, the army was forced to retreat, securing a victory for the defenders."
'Impossible!' Regal frowned slightly and stared into his cup, turning over every possible explanation in his head. He couldn't have heard the entire story wrong, and there was no way Kratos would go to such lengths just to pull his leg... Then, maybe it was actually... True. He glanced over at the swordsman, who was draining his cup and looking the picture of innocence.
"Are you saying that one of the most important battles in the history of the worlds was won simply because you dislike tomatoes?"
"Hm..." Kratos considered for a moment, then closed his eyes. "Looking back, yes. I suppose it was."
AN: Don't ask me why I like the Olfe Uprising so much, I don't know myself.
Anyway, that's the last chapter I have planned. (There's a statistically insignificant chance I may do an extra Zelos and Kratos one, but don't count on it.) Thanks again for sticking with me, and be sure to check back in every now and then to see if I haven't started into some new crazy project or other. (You know how I get...) Later all!