Julian raced after the purple moogle that flew so effortlessly ahead of him. A brown, laden bag filled with letters hung against his side. "Sir Artemicion, you really are too fast for me!" he cried, breaths heaving from his chest.
The purple moogle paused in flight and glanced back. "And they say I'm slow with deliveries. You're not getting anywhere anytime fast."
"Of course not, sir. I don't have wings like you. I must take the foot trails. You have access anywhere," he said, running a hand through his hair.
Facing away, Artemicion shrugged. "That's nice. Keep up. Next delivery is due in ten minutes!" He started off without waiting.
"Ack!" He jumped into a run. "Where are we going exactly?"
"How are we going to get there in time from Alexandria?" he asked, exasperated.
"I have wings. You figure it out!" he squawked, flying faster.
"Wait! Sir Artemicion!" Julian called, raising an arm and chasing him. He paused and glanced back as they left Alexandria. The kingdom had grown quite a bit since he'd seen it. The second reconstruction yielded finer knowledge of architecture. Maybe some good came from the past…
Ferris held the hammer nervously, narrowing his eyes at the sword before him. He took a breath in and then brought the hammer down in a heavy clank against the metal.
"That's fine, Ferris," Ember said in approval. "Try to relax your shoulders. I'm surprised that you didn't learn that from Julian."
"He's not a very good teacher in the art of forging."
"I didn't think so either," he chuckled, leaning back in a chair and turning a page in the book he held. He wanted to ask him how he found his way home from Treno. After Julian had left with him, he hid him in the city of thieves and nobles to protect him from Mateus. Some great forethought he didn't expect from his little brother. Ferris had been taken care of by Lady Stella and he wondered how Ferris could have put up with the termagant. He had been safe all along and paid off to protect his whereabouts. Though sometime after they'd found Terra, he had regained strength.
Lady Stella proclaimed it must have been her healing rituals that rejuvenated him. Ember seriously doubted that was the case. Upon question, Ferris remembered a burning in his skin where the Cadmium had affected him. And then his whole body had set aflame. He awoke from a dream crying in agony. When he looked down, the scars were eaten away by fire. He rose from his bed and escaped the Stella manor. Then he trekked slowly home for days.
In waiting for everyone to come back, he'd perfected the art of forgery. However, he still acted nervously in front of Ember when he practiced. This made Ember laugh. Though he would never tell Ferris, that he surpassed him in the art.
A light knock on the door tore Ember from his book. He pulled the glasses from off his face and stood, glaring at the door. He and Ferris had moved their shop to Lindblum where the business boomed with aspiring knights and rogues to purchase Evans' weapons.
A young woman with long, auburn hair stood in the doorway. "Hello there. I'm looking for a new weapon," she said confidently, brushing a strand of hair from her eyes. The rest of which was tied back in a long ponytail.
Ferris put the hammer down and walked over. "We have quite the array of weapons, Miss," Ferris smiled, motioning to the walls.
Standing from his chair, Ember stared for a moment, looking the newcomer up and down. She was trained to wield a broadsword. He could tell in her posture and the calluses on her palms. An eye patch draped over one of her hazel eyes. She was a thief in the making. He watched her carefully as she examined the wall of steel.
Ferris presented piece after piece to her, hoping to make a good sale. All the while, the woman asked question after question. Her hands trailed over the hilt of a very unique blade; one that Ember made recently. It was designed flat like normal blades at the tip and then the metal twisted like a corer in the center. In practicality, it was meant to obliterate the insides of the victim and cause a wound wide enough not to be sewn shut.
She admired the craftsmanship and originality. "How much for this one?" she inquired. Her hand dropped to her side. Ember kept a good watch on her movements by pretending to examine the way some of the swords hung on the wall.
"That one sells for 8100 gil," Ferris answered cheerily. "It's a prototype; there's none other like it."
"8100 is quite the high price…" she mused aloud, tapping a finger on her chin. "I don't believe I have that much. But…" She pulled a flintlock from her side and aimed it calmly at Ferris. "You'll give me a discount, 'kay?" she demanded with a too happy grin on her face.
Ember pointed his rapier at her throat. "Drop it," he ordered, eyeing the flintlock. He had scarcely seen a weapon powered like a cannon in such a small form, but he knew the capabilities well enough.
She laughed a little. "You think you can cut my throat before I pull the trigger? I'm sure you value your friend very much, sir."
The gun lifted from her hands as Deryo snatched it up from above. "Ooh, it looks very unique," he beamed, eyeing the new find.
Turning up to look at the boy, the woman stumbled back on her butt. Deryo sat cross-legged, upside-down on the ceiling as if he sat on the floor. He had been in deep meditation when the ruckus awoke him.
"Ember tapped her neck with the rapier. "Women cannot be trusted no matter what form they appear in."
"Is that so, good sir?" she asked. "You are a man of good judgment." She closed her eyes. "Those children didn't lie when they said you're the best." Placing a hand on her knee, she rose to her feet, careful to not scratch herself against the sharp edge of his blade.
"Children?" Ferris inquired sharply.
"Three of them," she smiled.
Deryo laughed. "Oh, you know them!" Ember and Ferris looked to Deryo for an explanation.
Before he could answer, Autumn, Elario and Hana stood in the threshold.
Autumn stood tall amongst her friends. Her hazel eyes darting intelligently through the room and her hair had grown longer. She had become a Lady at the age of seventeen and was currently engaged to a noble in Treno.
Elario stood a little shorter than Autumn at the age of thirteen. His masculine features were starting to outline his face beneath a herald's hat. He was obviously in training to be a noble. Deryo hardly doubted his ability to amplify his voice; he had trained him to be strong.
Hana stood a little farther back from the two at fifteen years old. Her hair still remained short and her amber eyes piercing. Currently, she trained directly under Beatrix in Alexandria. Silver armor adorned her petite figure beneath the kingdom colors.
The reunion was by no means quiet. Ferris and Deryo busied themselves with catching up with the children. Ember set his gaze on the woman. "Why did you come bearing arms?" he demanded, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her away from the commotion.
"I was looking for someone strong enough to fight. Those kids told me about an Ember Evans. As I searched the land, I heard many rumors of you, Great Knight who drew the blood of Taurus. Orion!" She ripped her arm away.
"Don't tell me you're a fanatic…" he grumbled.
"And if I am?" she threatened, placing her hands on her hips.
He sheathed his rapier. "Then I'll kill you," he glared.
She grinned. "I'd like to see that, kiddo. I could probably bathe the entire store with your fluids."
He raised an eyebrow. "A woman who carries a hand-cannon will draw none of my blood."
She raised the gun. "I've killed many a man with this. And it is called a flintlock, you amateur."
"Ameteur?" A vein pulsed in his temple. "Alright, you shrew, if you really want a fight, then I'll give you death."
The woman grinned. "Sounds fair. The children promised that."
"What's your name so I can carve it on your gravestone?" he taunted.
"What a weak name for a rogue to carry."
"That's what you think…" She pulled the hammer back on the flintlock and aimed at his head.
"Now, now, you two," Deryo said walking over and placing a hand on each of their shoulders. "Violence is not among allies. If you two don't stop, I might have to start a wedding ceremony for the old couple arguments to resume."
"Allies?" Amber shrieked. "I'd never be so stupid as so ally myself with such idiocy!"
"Couple?" Ember boomed. "You think I like this termagant?"
Deryo grinned. "Oy, Ferris, you up for a wedding?" he called.
Ferris glanced over with a harsh look about him. "Yeah, why not? Could use a little celebration."
"Haha! Awesome! I finally get to use the matrimony prayer I learned from training!" his eyes glinted warmly as he placed his hands together and started chanting.
Both Ember and Amber's eyes widened in horror. At once, Deryo was on the ground, gun and rapier pointed at his throat. He looked too baffled to speak, but it might have been the force at which his head hit the floor. "Ow… okay… okay… Just kidding! Get off!" he cried.
The two of them stood, still pointing their weapons. Once he proclaimed peace, they looked back to one another, weapons still drawn. "Husband and wife! Kiss!" He scrambled away but didn't get far.
Fields of green stretched for miles across what was once desert. Flowers sprouted in clusters along the rich, warm fields. The mountain of Desert Palace had been changed with magic to accommodate a village that was steadily growing as travelers ventured to the northern lands.
A young boy with blond hair and red eyes stomped through the grassy plain as he explored his new kingdom. He looked out toward the distant ocean and giggled, turning as he pointed. "Blue!" he shouted with joy.
I smiled and walked over, scooping him into my arms. He giggled and hugged me around my neck as we walked back to the castle that towered over the flourishing village.
Upon reaching the castle, I took him inside where his father was currently in conference with an Ambassador from Lindblum. Such niceties were necessary despite our good terms with Regent Cid. Unfortunately for Kuja, the Ambassador was none other than Eiko Carol; someone in which held the man in strict disregard.
"And I don't want any funny business from you, Mister!" she admonished, pointing a finger at him.
"Miss Eiko… that is quite enough. He won't cause any trouble."
"Terra!" she beamed, rushing over. At fifteen years old, Eiko was slowly turning into the respectable lady. Though the mouth she had got her both in and out of trouble. Trouble being mostly suitors that graced Lindblum every so often. She was of proper age now. I was hugged carefully as I held my son in my arms.
"Keeping my husband in line, are you? Less work for me," I laughed.
Eiko giggled. "You need a break now and then, Your Majesty."
"Don't be formal. We're friends."
"Blue!" Sven exclaimed, pointing to Eiko's hair. She laughed and shook his hand.
Moments later, the load was taken from my arms at that point, Eiko made a quick escape. I placed my hands on my hips and stared up at Sven who now clung to his father.
"He's cuter than you," I smiled, running a hand through the boy's shoulder-length blond hair that curled about his face.
"Probably," he pouted. "Guess he won today. I need to try harder."
"Hmm… I don't think you could out-cute a child."
"I could try," he grinned.
Reaching up to take Sven, I shook my head. "No competition."
He pulled him out of reach, causing Sven to squeal in excitement from the height. "Ah, ah. My turn with him. You've had him all morning. I get to have my fatherly influence time."
"Fatherly influence time? Fancy term for a shift. Don't you have a kingdom to rule?"
He glanced out of the corner of his eyes at me. "You're plenty enough to rule."
"Not quite. There's still a rebellion going on here…" I teased. "Think you're still able to best me?"
He licked his lips. "I'm sure I can. But I don't think you want another child anytime soon…"
"It's been three years," I blurted out. And then concluded with, "I'm perfectly fine with waiting." But he already caught what I had said. As he passed me, I felt the air of mischievousness around him. When I glanced back, he caught my eye with a smirk before rounding the corner and disappearing with Sven. I knew I was probably in for a challenge later.
~FFIX~ ~MayrisErin~ ~FFIX~ ~Destined to Die~ ~FFIX~ ~Flames of Rebirth~ ~FFIX~ ~Tears of Rejuvenation~ ~FFIX~
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