Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII it is copyrighted by Square Enix and all other associates.

Thanks RadiantKeybladeFantasy for your enthusiastic review, as they always are which I adore by the way. You are my inspiration to keep my creativity flowing with my hectic life.

Also thanks Ao Sekai for your review, I know that last line wasn't a part of the in-game text but as you probably can tell I've added extra dialog and little scenes into my story. I know this is canon to the plot of the game, but I wanted to add a special touch to one of my favourite Final Fantasy games (the first one I ever played when I was a kid at like 8 years old). To give it a personal touch and feel, makes it seem a bit more realistic and makes my story slightly individualistic without straying from the wonderful plot that is Final Fantasy VIII.

I also wanna thank Mallobie for following my story and also jaffa3 for also following and favouriting my story. What can I say, other than I'm extremely humbled and you guys rock. Thanks, makes my day so much brighter when I get these emails.

Now onto the story before I ramble more and waste everyone's time! I wanted to add side quests into this story, so here is one before the plot because extremely action packed.

Chapter XXVII – Freedom, Crumbling Ruins and Red Gardens

The concert soon ended and everyone began to walk back to the Garden to get some sleep, while they still could; they were going to go after the sorceress after all. Squall entered his dorm and just flopped onto his bed, he was too tired to change his clothes so he slipped off his bomber jacket. He placed his jacket on the chair sitting in front of the small desk he had in his dorm. The newly promoted SeeD fell into a restless sleep, constantly tossing and turning from side to side.

A small boy was standing in the rain; he was wearing a yellow shirt and a pair of blue jeans. His chocolate brown hair plastered to his forehead from the heavy rain, water dripped down his face. He was standing on the back porch of a small building; there was a door alight by two lanterns in-between stone columns.

"…Sis…" The boy called out to no-one.

The boy heard no response, not that he was expecting one to begin with. He sighed and looked up at the grey melancholy clouds that covered the sky in a bleak and dull shade.

"I'm…all alone." The boy sniffled a bit, trying not to cry. "But I'm doing my best…"

He then looked down at the ground in front of him and sighed once more before rubbing at his eyes and putting two hands on his hips. His voice came out meek as he attempted to be strong and not afraid or lonely.

"I'll be okay without you, Sis." He nodded trying to convince himself. "I'll be able to take care of myself."

Even if I'm all alone from now on.

"Squall, Squall! Please report to the bridge immediately." A voice called over the PA system.

Squall was lying on his side on top of his bed; he was now facing the wall. The announcement woke him up from his slumber; he rolled onto his back with his hands behind his head staring at the ceiling.

What is it now?

He sat up and left his dorm room and headed out onto the main floor of the Garden and took the elevator up to the third floor. Squall entered the headmaster's office and climbed onto the lift leading up to the bridge. Upon arriving at the bridge Quistis, Xu and some male SeeD were standing waiting for him, they began clapping.

"Greetings commander!" Quistis said smiling brightly, crossing her arms.

Squall scoffed and put a hand on his hip. "Don't call me that."

"We thought you should have a title. So, Quistis and I decided on commander." Xu explained.

"Sorry to carry out things on our own, but Xu and I assigned duties." Quistis added.

"I'll take care of all the supplies needed in the Garden." Xu informed Squall.

"And I'll help take care of the students with Doctor Kadowaki." Quistis finished, "You can just focus on our destination and battle plans. And ah…will you let Selphie rest a while? I think she's exhausted from the missile base mission. She could use some rest. How does that sound to you?"

Squall nodded. "Fine…"

"Alright, I have some reports for you already." Xu said, and then looked expectantly at the boy beside her.

"Hey, Squall." he greeted.

Squall raised an eyebrow and put a hand on his hip. "Who are you?"

"What!? Oh, man, it's me. We passed the SeeD exam together. I can't believe you forgot!"

Squall crossed his arms and looked over at the wall. "Oh yeah…"

Nida dropped down onto one knee. "Gee…" Nida then stood up, "Well, it's just like you to forget. By the way, you know the FH technicians were fixing the Garden, right? They just finished. Meaning… The Garden's ready to go anytime. Oh yeah…" Nida put a hand on his chin, "I'll be piloting the Garden. FH technicians taught me everything about piloting this thing. Let me know when you want to go."

"Any suggestions on where we should go?" Quistis asked crossing her arms.

"Hey, why don't we go back to Balamb?" Xu suggested excitedly, "We don't know what's happened since we left. Besides, Balamb may be their next target. It's a harbor town, just like FH."

Quistis nodded looking at Xu and turned her cobalt gaze to Squall. "You're right. Squall, what do you think?"

Makes sense, Balamb it is…

"The ship that took Ellone… Where do you think it is? I mean, who are all those people on that ship?" Xu questioned aloud.

They we're SeeDs that much I know for sure…

"What does the sorceress really want? It doesn't seem something as simple as world domination…" Quistis added.

Ellone is at least one thing she wants…because of her ability? But why would that matter? What does the past have to do with all of this? Just…stop thinking.

"Ready to go?" Nida asked Squall.

"Yes, we're taking off. I'll direct you to our destination. Announce the departure."

Nida saluted and turned around to the new control panel that was seriously updated. There was a large lever that acted as a way to direct the halo of the Garden, this would make controlling the Garden much more efficient and avoid any more crash landings.

"Roger!" he turned on the PA system to make the announcement. "May I have your attention please. This is the bridge. The Garden will be leaving FH shortly. Please prepare for departure. I will now hand the mic over to our leader, Squall."

Quistis and Xu got behind the commander and pushed him forwards towards the mic. Squall was trying to resist them, but it was futile.

I'm not a…speech person. Forget it, this is not happening.

Rinoa was standing in the library, she wanted to find a new book to read and there was so much selection. She didn't pay much attention to Nida's voice but once he mentioned Squall's name, she quickly turned and looked up at the speaker.

"A speech…? Forget it." Squall's voice replied from the speaker.

Rinoa started laughing; she put a hand over her mouth. Oh Squall…

The commander realized this was being broadcasted and everyone could hear him. "Cut the mic!" he demanded.

Nida began to maneuver the Garden towards Balamb; they were traveling near the Centra continent, when Nida spot an unusual landmark. "Squall, come look at this."

Squall walked over to the control panel and stood beside the Garden's pilot. There was a large three-dimensional diamond shaped framed structure with a tall tower built into the center. It looked old as the frame was broken in pieces; Squall had never seen this structure before.

"Do you think the sorceress might be involved?" Quistis asked coming to stand with Squall and Nida.

"I'm not sure…" Squall answered crossing his arms.

"Should we go check it out?" Quistis asked looking over at the commander.

Squall met Quistis' gaze and nodded. "Might be worth a look… We should let Selphie rest and Rinoa too. She's seen a lot of action lately, from what happened in Timber, Deling City, D-District, Garden and Fishermans Horizon. You, Irvine and myself will go check it out. Meet at the front gate in ten minutes."

Quistis nodded and left to find Irvine and collect her gear. Squall left the bridge and jogged to the dorms, he entered the hallway where his room was located. He entered and opened his gunblade case; inside was his gunblade Cutting Trigger. Squall hooked his gunblade onto his side and left to go meet his companions, Quistis and Irvine were already there waiting for him; whip and gun in hand.

"Let's go." Squall said nodding his head in the direction of the front gate. They left the Garden and approached the ruins; it looked even more decrepit up close.

"Hey, I think Selphie was telling me about this place…" Irvine said to the others, causing them to stop and look at him. "She's really into reading magazines, like occult fan and timber maniacs. She writes about all this stuff in her diary online at Garden. Anyways…apparently Tonberries are crawling all over this place, if you defeat enough the king will show up who's secretly a GF."

"Is that all?" Squall asked putting a hand on his hip.

Selphie always finds secret GF's…

"If you reach the top of the power, there is something powerful up there." Irvine finished.

"So, it's not connected to the sorceress after all, huh?" Quistis said crossing her arms.

"Still worth the look…we'll need all the strength and power we can get for the final fight against the sorceress." Squall said shrugging.

Maybe Selphie should be on hidden GF research…

"Alright, lead the way commander." Quistis replied.

I guess I'll always be 'commander' from now on…even if I don't like it.

Squall nodded and took point, with Quistis and Irvine following slightly behind him; they approached the ruins in the search of these hidden powers. They approached the structure and stood at the bottom landing, there was a staircase that led higher up the tower. A sign was located near the beginning of the entrance to the ruins and read My Blue Heaven.

"I am Odin…" A deep and powerful voice called out.

The three teens turned and looked at one another with furrowed eyebrows; they didn't question the voice and walked up the stairs in front of them. Then a rainbow spectrum of light ran parallel between the set of stairs, acting as an indivisible handrail and continued up to the top. Once they reached the top of the stairs they found a medium sized round platform, there was broken pillars than ran along the outside of the platform. There were two arches, one over the stairs they just came up and another at another set of stairs. In the middle of the platform sat a ruined fountain that was completely empty.

The teens walked over to the other set of stairs, as it was the only option, they began to walk up them and the same rainbow light appeared acting as a handrail for the stairs. Once reaching the top there sat the large tower, the pillars and arches that decorated the outside of the building were crumbling with age and weathering. Squall led his friends through the large doorway located on the tower, inside there was two small stair cases leading up to a large pedestal. There was a platform located just above the pedestal but it didn't lead anywhere. The teens walked up the right staircase and all stood on the pedestal which was actually a lift, which rose from the ground and took them higher up inside the tower.

The lift took them to another platform located outside the tower; the outside structure of the tower was still visible. There was a large copper arch in front of them, carved into the side of the tower was two ladders and a pair of statues; age had caused them to crack and slowly break down.

"Left or right?" Squall asked looking up trying to follow the path.

"Left maybe?" Irvine said with a shrug.

Squall nodded and began to climb the ladder, Quistis and then Irvine followed suit. There was a small platform at the top of the ladder, which led to another ladder for them to climb. The ladder ended and they stepped onto a large carved platform, in front of the platform was a large arc with a small dark hallway. Inside was a room with a black metal patterned railing running along a circular platform that rested in the middle of the room. There was a console on the platform with a large black button; Squall approached it while Irvine and Quistis waited near the door for him. Squall touched it and it opened revealing a large blue light, the large gear like structures that were encasing the lights on the ceiling began to spin.

They left the room and climbed back down both sets of ladders back down to the balcony. The arch now had a console below it with the same blue light as the one in the room did. Squall walked over and examined it, and a set of stairs pushed out from the side of the tower; they led up.

"Up it is then?" Quistis asked.

"…Seems that way." Squall said nodding, "Let's go then."

Squall took point and the other two followed him up the narrow stair case. It spiraled around the outside of the tower and connected to the small platform that the first ladder led to. The path kept going up passed the door they entered for the first console, the teens kept going up higher along the outside of the tower. They reached another small platform; there was a staircase that led up and a small ladder that led up to a small platform where a statue was resting. The statue was of a gargoyle and had a red jewel for a left eye; Squall walked over and pried the eye out of the statue. They went back down the ladder and up the staircase.

The stairs ended at a large green dome that acted as the tower's roof; there was a small platform that ran along the outside of the dome. Built into the side of the dome was a ladder, Squall climbed up and there was another gargoyle statue on the very top, it had a red jewel for its right eye. Squall put in the left eye he got earlier and left the right eye in, the statue's mouth opened and inside was a set of numbers; six-seven-three-one-eight. Squall took the left eye out of the statue and also the right, he went back down the ladder to join Irvine and Quistis.

They went back down to the other statue and inserted the red jewels into the slots for its eyes. This statue's mouth opened revealing a small keypad of numbers, Squall entered in the code he found at the other statue. Under the platform where the statue rested was a set of stairs that led to a door, the door opened when Squall put in the code; they climbed back down and entered the door. Inside was a large statute seated on a throne; the statue was of a man in silver armor with gold trim. He had a helmet on his head with two large horns coming out of the top of it. Beside the throne was a stone horse with six legs, it had a golden mane and tail. The three teens looked at each other; Irvine shrugged and moved closer to the statue to have a better look.

"Excellent, prepare thyself." A voice called out, it was the same voice they heard earlier, "The weak shall perish. The strong shall triumph. Prevail over my sword, and I shall grant it to thee. For honor…let us fight!"

The statue rose and climbed onto the horse; he had a large curved blade in hand. They quickly drew their weapons and prepared for battle, Squall charged forward and slashed at Odin. Irvine fired a round from his gun after Squall had moved away from Odin and Quistis slashed her whip. Odin sat in the same spot, not attacking them.

"He's not doing anything?" Irvine asked in disbelief.

"Who cares? Just focus Irvine." Squall called over to him.

The three of them kept hitting Odin with their weapons, Squall stayed in close while Quistis and Irvine stayed at long range. Odin still refused to attack them, making the teens feel very confused.

"Thou art strong, mortals! I shall grant thee my powers. Call upon me in times of trouble…" Odin's voice called out and he disappeared.

"…Um what was that?" Irvine asked putting a hand on the back of his head.

"A GF of sorts, I guess. Seems we can't actually junction him. Oh well, let's leave." Quistis turned and walked towards the door.

Irvine moved to walk beside her. "What about the Tonberries I was mention earlier, let's go do that too."

"Fine, may as well right?" Quistis said leaving with Irvine.

Odin… A GF…? He did say we can call on him in times of trouble…whatever that means.

Squall followed after the others, who went ahead to go Tonberry hunting; he found them at the ruined fountain near the entrance. There were Tonberries lurking all around this area.

"Come on Squall! Come join us!" Irvine called waving his gun trying to entice Squall to join them.

Squall sighed and drew his gunblade; the three of them started fighting the Tonberries. Irvine and Squall stuck to their melee attacks while Quistis used Demi on the small green little creature. The Tonberry would start to move closer and raise the knife it had in its one hand, while its other hand held a lantern. When Quistis used Demi it would counter occasionally with Everyone's Grudge, an attack that did damage depending on how many monsters you've delivered the killing blow to. They continued to hunt the Tonberries, and they number of slain slowly increased.

Squall used a Curaga spell on himself. "How many more Irvine…"

"I'm not sure…"

"We've already killed nineteen and nothing has happened…" Quistis said rubbing her forehead.

A lone Tonberry appeared from the shadows, and the three quickly got into their fighting stance, Squall stayed close and slashed his gunblade and would swiftly move back to avoid the Tonberry's Chef's Knife. Irvine would fire rounds from his gun in-between Squall's attack to avoid hitting the lithe gunblader. Meanwhile Quistis used Demi and a few occasional Curagas on herself when the Tonberry countered her Demi. The Tonberry started to morph and change in size, it became much larger and a crown was located floating on top of its head.

"It's the Tonberry King." Irvine said with a smirk.

"Yeah, yeah, Gloat later after we deal with this guy." Quistis said rolling her eyes.

The Tonberry King wasn't affected by Demi, so Quistis attacked and acted as support; healing whoever was hurt. The Tonberry King used Junk, causing random objects to fall from the sky; the trio quickly dodged the falling junk. Squall and Irvine kept up the physical attacks; Tonberry King charged at Squall and stabbed him multiple times with his knife. Squall dropped to a knee, he was bleeding in a few different places. Irvine hit the Tonberry King with another round from his gun, Squall climbed to his feet and used Renzokuken; and ended with Rough Divide. The Tonberry King shrunk in size and became a regular sized Tonberry, be began to panic at the situation.

"I…I'm sorry." The Tonberry apologized; he became a GF and joined the party for junctioning.

"Well, that was interesting." Irvine said.

"We have to get back to Garden and head to our next destination." Squall answered.

They all walked back inside the Garden, Irvine waved goodbye and left to go find Selphie. Squall and Quistis both headed back to the bridge to join Nida and Xu once more.

"Ready to leave?" Nida asked.

Squall nodded. "Yeah, let's depart."


I just hope Balamb hasn't been affected by any of this…

Nida directed the Garden towards Balamb, once the town came into view there was a large red structure located next to the small town.

"Is that…?!" Nida asked, his eyes went wide as he turned to look at Squall.

Galbadia Garden…and its mobile too…

"Zell's gonna wanna know. I mean it's his hometown after all. I'm gonna go find him." Quistis replied moving onto the lift and going down to locate the blonde brawler.

Is Seifer here…? Is the sorceress here as well? Looks like a shore party is needed to investigate the town and the appearance of Galbadia Garden… I just hope they haven't started anything drastic to Balamb. Like setting it ablaze…

The lift came back up carrying Quistis and Zell; Zell quickly ran over to the window and saw the red Garden.

"Squall, I gotta go with you…make sure my mom is okay." Zell moved over to Squall and put a hand on his shoulder. "Please, man."

Squall nodded. "Let's go then."