The Outlaw of Madain Sari
Woohoo! Chapter fourteen is done! This will be the second to last chapter, mind you. So, we're almost finished here! Can you believe it?! Is it sad that this story took me three years? haha. Jeez. I need to stop starting so many stories at one time. Anyway, here's the chapter!
The Great Summon
It was a long time before Eiko woke up, and when she did, she wished she was still asleep. Her hands were tied behind a post, and Gilagamesh stood in front of her. His hands were clenching the final jewel, a smirk on his face. It was a smirk of victory. He had won.
Eiko closed her eyes in pain. The last thing she remembered was casting the spell Bahamut and passing out. What had happened? Was Blank okay? What about Marcus? Did Gilgamesh attack the castle? Were all the people she held dear gone?
Was she alone?
She was pretty sure about the fact that she would die today, because there's no way she would cast Alexander for him. What she currently was aware of was that no one she knew or loved was here, so he had no leverage over her. They could not force her to cooperate, and she wouldn't. Eiko would die here, today, most likely. There was no way she was going to be the cause of several thousands of deaths. He couldn't force her to do that.
"It looks like I have won," he gloated, getting inches away from her face. Eiko scrunched up her face.
"Not quite," she told him. No, not quite.
Gilgamesh only smiled. "I always loved your pride, Eiko. You are, truly, a strong and confident woman. It's a shame you never cooperated. We could've avoided this whole fiasco if you'd have only agreed to help me."
"I won't agree to killing my friends!" she screamed.
Gilgamesh laughed. He took his thumb and index finger and squeezed her chin. Eiko shook her head, violently trying to escape from his grasp, but his hold was tight.
"So loyal. And yet you still ran away from them. You betrayed your friends, Eiko. What makes you think they're even coming to save you?"
"I hope they don't," she growled. "Then you won't have any control over me and, oh, you can't stand that, can you?"
"I have all the control I need over you, my lovely princess." His hand brushed through her short, now brown hair, while Eiko glared him down. "You're here now, and that's what matters, right? I missed you."
"You missed your precious Alexander."
Gilgamesh only smiled. "So proud."
All of a sudden, Gilgamesh let out a whistle and almost out of nowhere, the entire village, it seemed, walked out into Eiko's sight. They were lined up like soldiers and went to stand behind Gilgamesh while Eiko could only gaze in horror. How on earth did he get the black mages on their side? How did he manage to do that?!
He seemed to take quite an amount of glee in Eiko's reaction, clearly it being the one he wanted. She truly was outnumbered, and it was in his intention for her to see that. Any means of escape would be futile. Not like she'd have much chance to, anyway. She could barely summon, and, at that, she could barely move. Getting out of petrification can take a toll on your body, though, she probably wasn't even aware she was petrified.
"No," she said, out loud. Gilgamesh chuckled.
"Oh, yes. I've been meaning to tell you. I've gathered up some new recruits since your disappearance."
"Why have they joined you?! What've you done?!" she screamed.
"You don't think that I'd gain my true presence in this world with just Alexander, do you? Ha! Such a blind little girl. I needed to go after more people of influence. Lani wasn't enough."
Her teeth gritted. "I will never summon Alexander for you, Gilgamesh! You can kill me AND my friends, but you will NEVER push me to that edge. Not ever."
At this, Gilgamesh's smile grew even further. He, clearly, knew something that she did not and it was almost too good to keep it inside him.
"My dear Eiko, whoever said you were going to summon the eidolons? No, silly. I will be taking them from you."
Those words made Eiko freeze and she was too short of breath for words. He would be extracting her eidolons from her…why had she never considered that?! How could she have been so stupid? She had forgotten all about that power, quite frankly. Perhaps she tried to block it from her mind. The last time someone had tried to extract her eidolons, a moogle saved her life. She wouldn't be so lucky this time.
The fact of being truly powerless…it frightened her. Without her summon magic, Eiko was nothing. She had no physical strengths. Magic was all the defense that she had. How could he take that away from her? Not only Alexander, but all the other eidolons that she'd worked so hard to control over the years. All of that work…gone.
She would be at the mercy of Gilgamesh…forever. There'd be no way for her to escape, or fight.
"When the war gets here, as it surely will, I will kill all that come to fight. I will go to every kingdom and declare war, killing all who stand in my way, while I take every prized possession, every valuable magical item, and claim it to be mine. The money will go to the poor and the thieves will rule the world. Every nobleman will be a thief and every thief a millionaire! The tables of the world are turning, Princess Eiko Carol-Fabool, and it all starts…with you."
Eiko said nothing but stared in horror. None of this was about ruling the world. It was about thieves being put in their proper place. Not all thieves were as honourable as Zidane and Tantalus were. There would be blood, and death. Revenge would be taken. Rules would be broken. The law would be sabotaged, and chaos would reach the world. With no order to run it, it would surely go up in smoke. Literally.
"See you when I'm wealthy, my queen. 288, put her to sleep."
And before she could say anything, the Princess of Lindblum passed out and became the mercy of the thief, Gilgamesh.
The ship was filled with almost everyone: Zidane, Garnet, Tantalus, Steiner, Freya, even Amarant. Plus countless others, of course. Guards from both Alexandria and Lindblum attending the rescue mission, including the Regent Cid and his wife, Hilda.
"It's been so long," the Regent said. "Three years."
Hilda stood there, quietly, staring at the sky at these words. She had missed her darling daughter. Even though she wasn't her own flesh and blood, that child was very dear to her. She missed her very much.
"You'll see her again, Regent. Alive. I promise," Blank said. Of course, he's proving right now that he doesn't always keep his promise. But this one he intended to keep even if his life depended on it. He just hoped he wasn't too late. That he hadn't been spending her last breathing moments moping in a bar downing whiskey while she was screaming in torturous pain. He ached just thinking about it.
Zidane came over and put a hand on Blank's shoulder, looking at the Regent. "And Blank never breaks his promises. Do ya, Blank?" he asked, winking. Of course, Zidane was only joking, but it still hurt Blank inside. What if something happened? What if he wasn't able to save her? It killed him.
"Just don't be a hero, Zidane. It's obnoxious," he growled. Zidane only grinned.
Dagger and Freya came back to the bridge at this moment and stood next to the lot of them. Dagger was clutching her staff in her hand; something she hadn't used since their journeys together. She sort of promised herself ever since she became Queen and Leon was born that her adventure days were over. For the safety of her kingdom and her son, she couldn't divulge in battles anymore. But this was different, and she would also be willing to break her promise. It seemed like there was a lot of that going on.
"The sky leans towards victory, at least," Freya said. "Something tells me she's still alive, or is fighting. Otherwise we would be reaching chaos at this point."
When they began to get into a conversation, Dagger tugged on Blank's arm and pulled him aside. Blank wasn't sure why but he almost wished she hadn't once she began to talk. Of course, it was about Eiko.
"Zidane told me about….what really happened that night." Blank looked at her in confusion. "The night she had the dream. What she said about you." Blank rolled his eyes and glared over at Zidane who was currently talking with the Regent. The night before Blank and Marcus took Eiko from the castle, the Tantalus boys were just chilling on the stairs. Blank was telling them not to go after Eiko, which Zidane ignored, of course. They also got into talking about what really happened. How Eiko kept saying Blank's name, screaming it, almost. That Blank was the one that broke her. She caved because of him.
Because she loved him? Maybe.
"Please don't be angry," she pleaded. "I just. I wanted to tell you. I'm thankful for everything you've done for her, and haven't done, as well."
"Dagger, come on, I don't want to talk abou-"
"Do you love her?" she suddenly asked. Blank was taken off guard. No one had ever been that straight-forward like that to him. Perhaps it was a girl thing. Girls were still a mystery to him.
"It's not as simple as all that bec-"
"Forgive me. I'm not trying to pry, Blank. It just…it's okay." Blank said nothing. "Coming here with us must have been hard for you; but, I'm glad you did. And doing something like that…I'm just very grateful she has someone like you in her life. She's my sister, really. I want to make sure she's taken care of and safe…and I don't think anyone does that for her better than you do, Blank."
Blank sighed. He could hardly be mad at her when she was saying such nice things. But Blank doesn't really open up to people. He hadn't really thoroughly discussed his feelings for Eiko because, at first, he wasn't even sure if they were there.
"You're basing all of this off a dream, Dagger. Anything I say or want doesn't matter because…I don't know."
Dagger smiled. "She cares for you, Blank. More than you realize."
"She's a princess…" Blank said. At this, Dagger only smiled.
"Zidane is a thief. Don't start thinking she could do better than you, Blank. I've met many nobles, and believe me when I say that Eiko will hate every one of them." They both smiled at this. It was true. Eiko would probably be very picky on the one she married, if she ever did. She wouldn't want some sissy noble boy; that was for sure. "The Regent trusts Tantalus. He wouldn't have a problem with it."
Blank only nodded, glancing at the Regent and his wife, Hilda. Little did they know. He turned his gaze to Dagger and smiled a little bit.
"Thank you." Dagger only nodded and there was a small silence for a while until Zidane walked up to them.
"We're here," he said.
A huge lump began to appear in Blank's throat.
When they got off the air ship and arrived in Madain Sari, it almost seemed like they were too late. A group went in only to find Eiko on the ground, looking to be unconscious. She held the gem in their hands while a bunch of black mages and genomes stood around her and Gilgamesh in the middle with his arms folded and a smile creeping along his face.
Blank forgot the tell Zidane about the genomes and the mages, and looking at Zidane's face, he felt terrible for not doing it earlier. Zidane looked in absolute shock.
"What are they doing with him? Why? Why aren't they trying to help Eiko?!" Dagger put her arms on Zidane's shoulders in empathy with a sad look on her face. They were all shocked.
Blank only sighed. "Gilgamesh has Mikoto, Zidane." At this, his face turned into more horror. "I'm not sure what he's done to her or where she is…but I can't imagine that they can properly distinguish the value of one life versus several."
"He's got my sister…?" he asked, it still sinking in.
"I'm sorry, Zidane," he said.
"First Eiko, now Mikoto. This bastard's gone too far," he growled. At this, Zidane suddenly took off towards the scene with Blank, Dagger and the rest of them, of course, to follow. They could waste no time. This wasn't a time for strategy plans. Go in, and get out. That was the plan.
They watched as they slowly crept towards him that Gilgamesh was performing some sort of spell around Eiko. It meant nothing to Blank, but Zidane and Dagger seemed horrified by it.
"Zidane, they're…they're-" she choked. Blank couldn't take it anymore.
"What?! What're they doing?!"
Zidane gritted his teeth and shook his head violently, clearly pissed off. "They're extracting their eidolons from her."
"They're what? English, please."
"Gilgamesh is taking her summons from her. He'll be able to control them. God, how could I have been so stupid. He doesn't need her to summon them for him. He's going to summon them. Blank, did she tell you what summons she had other than Alexander? What else has she learned?"
Blank only gulped. "She said she's stronger than Dagger, now."
"Damnit," he cursed. "This is bad…where's Vivi when you need him?" he growled.
"I didn't think he'd want to know…" Blank said, referring to the Black Mages.
"I know…but his magic would be helpful right now. Freya?! Where's Freya?"
"Here, Zidane," she said, stepping up from behind him.
"Can you jump?" he asked her. Freya smiled.
"Jump?" Blank asked. Before anything else could be said, Freya kneeled and all of a sudden seemed to fly into the air. He couldn't even see her anymore, she jumped so high. Before Blank could think anything else, Zidane had already come up with a plan.
"Dagger, you need to stay here."
"Honey, you're not melee offense. Stay here and if anything happens, summon Odin to clear the comp outta that guy. Everybody else…you come with me. Amarant, here," he said, handing him a weapon known as the Ogre. It was a good weapon, and Amarant knew just what to do with it. "Blank, you got your medicine belt?"
"When don't I?" Blank asked.
"Good. We're gonna need it if he pulls those eidolons out. Steiner, Amarant, Blank; you come with me. Dagger, stay here. Cid, and everyone else…sorry, but you have to return to the ship. If something else happens, something big, we'll need canons. Lots of canons."
"Zidane, do you remember when I told you not to be a hero?" Blank asked, laughing. Zidane was not amused.
He snapped his fingers and everyone went to their assigned battle positions.
Zidane, Blank, Amarant and Steiner appeared on the ground in front of Gilgamesh. He took no notice of them at the time, still focusing on extracting the eidolons from Eiko and stroking her short brown hair. It made Blank want to puke. It should be him stroking her hair; not that creep.
"Get your hands off her!" Blank couldn't help himself from screaming.
Gilgamesh looked up, suddenly, smiling at the current company. "Oh, I was so hoping you'd join me on my special day," he said with a large grin.
"Where did you put my sister, freak?!" Zidane yelled. "Where is she?!"
"Oh, the monkey girl," he said amused. "Yes, she was fun. It may not surprise you, but you may already know, as a thief, just as we are very good treasure hunters, we have the best hiding spots in the world. You may never see her again."
Zidane was, of course, outraged at this remark. He was about to charge after him when Blank saw something in the sky. Blank grabbed Zidane's shoulders, holding him back, as Freya landed her jump attack, her spear landing on Gilgamesh. She jumped back towards the group, not even a bit out of breath.
"Didn't miss anything, did I?" she asked.
Gilgamesh was wounded, but he still stood up. Looking around at all of them, he smiled. "It's so sweet for you to be my audience. You will be my guinea pigs."
"You took what you wanted from her! Give us Eiko back!" Blank demanded. Gilgamesh chuckled.
"Yes, she has been quite useful," he said, fumbling with the rocks he currently held in his hand, enchanted by the power of her summons that he would soon be taking advantage of. "But like you, I've grown rather fond of her. She hasn't worn herself of her use to me yet."
Blank gritted his teeth at this. The thought of her with that bastard…he'd never let that happen. Not now. Not ever. Never again.
"I've grown tired of talking to you brats." He reached his arm with a gemstone into the air and yelled out, "Alexander! Almighty father of the summons! I seek your aide!"
All of a sudden, the ground began to shake and the group exchanged looks of panic. Alexander. None of them had ever versed that monster before. Just what summons did Eiko learn these past three years? How much stronger was she than Dagger? Did they want to find out?
Breaking through the ground of the ruins of Madain Sari was a giant statue made of rock. The four of them looked in horror at the gigantic summon. Just how strong was this it?
"Zidane-?" Blank started, about to ask how they hell they were supposed to defeat it.
"I don't know…" Zidane said, almost speechless.
In the background, you could hear Gilgamesh laughing. This was his last hurrah.
Uh-oh. haha. How's it going to end? In the next chapter...just warning you. Lots of extremely cute fluffy blank and eiko stuff. Just a warning :3 You don't think I'd write this story without a happy ending, do you? There is one bad thing that happens, though...
By the way, thank you RylianH for the review! Glad you're liking the story even with its bizarre pairing. haha.
I'll try to have the last chapter up within the next month. I haven't started writing it, yet, though.