"C'mon, hurry up!" One of the men said nervously as two others worked on a crate.
"Almost…there!" The two men grunted.
As the cheering from the Luca Stadium nearby increased in sheer volume, their leader stepped forward.
"Get it open! The guards will be back any minute!" He growled irritably.
"Don't worry, boss! The guards ain't a problem! Nobody's coming!" The man standing guard said lazily.
Nobody's coming…Nobody's coming…
I lifted my gaze, hearing the echoes across time and space.
The ship was sailing on calm waters, and the nighttime was quickly passing.
With little interest I noted the odd group of passengers on this voyage with me.
A Ronso with a severed horn, a woman clad in revealing robes that was almost entirely made up of belts tied together, an excitable young man with an interesting sword, some orange-haired loudmouth with a blitzball, and a cheerful young woman with short brown hair clad in robes that revealed her as a summoner. Aside from them, it was only a couple of blitzball teams and the "secret" cargo the Crusaders had stashed in the lower decks.
I let out a tired sigh as I allowed my hunched body to stand, slinging my gigantic satchel over my back and lifting my cane.
As I hobbled across the deck, a scroll slid out of my coat and fell on the ground without my notice.
"You dropped something, ma'am." I heard a polite voice echo from behind.
The woman in the black belted robes was holding the wrapped parchment out.
"Why…thank you, child." I rasped, extending my reptilian hand and taking the scroll. She seemed slightly unnerved when she realized I had four eyes behind my silver mask.
"Who are you, may I ask…?" I continued, sliding the scroll back into the folds of my weathered cloak.
"My name is Lulu, but—" She started, but then the excitable one came over and started talking to her. While she was distracted, I slowly hobbled away.
"Lulu, you say…perhaps…perhaps I will hear more of you…kekeke…" I whispered to myself, settling down into a new spot and carefully taking the scroll back out.
"Huesn kiue…" I whispered, and a quill and inkwell appeared. I took the quill and began writing upon the yellowed parchment neatly.
We approach the large city of Luca. I can now retrieve my Baronocompaso from the newly arrived cargo ship as planned.
Soon, I will be able to relocate the Nirvana. With that, it will be mere child's play to find the sphere hidden at the peak of Mt. Gagazet and the Tome of Unlife at the Zanarkand Ruins.
Soon, I will have the components for the ritual.
However, I will require a change of appearance once I claim the important tool. My human form will be sufficient to make the journey across Spira for the rest of the ritual materials.
I suddenly felt an immense pain.
Something in the timeline was changing.
I hadn't felt a paradox in years.
"By the Blood Gods…" I grumbled, uttering a few words that made the scroll and writing utensils disappear into nothingness, and looked over the bow as I stood.
Luca was less than half an hour away.
"Eh…!?" I suddenly noticed him.
It was difficult to describe him, but to my senses…he was a paradox. I had lived and relived through the events of this timeline thousands of times to ensure the retrieval of the artifacts I needed. He wasn't in existence in ANY of them.
"I must hurry…paradoxes are too dangerous to risk aborting this operation." I growled, and lifted my staff.
It was a beautiful carved stick that would barely be a shortsword length to normal people, but it held power beyond imagination.
Carved from white Elder, with several crystalline orbs within the length of the staff that each glowed black, and finally the ending part of it was a whitened silver blade that could punch through a wyvern's skull. No matter what form I took, I would possess it in some way. Obviously, when I turned into my human form…it lengthened to accommodate such a change in my anatomy.
"Huritus menthus…Luca Stadium…dock B…" I uttered quickly, and I disappeared almost into thin air.
Paradoxes couldn't be gambled with. I needed to retrieve the Baronocompaso…quickly.
"Gotcha!" The lid pried open, and an assortment of small items spilled out.
Several fiend trophies, crystals, a few moogle dolls, and a spherical golden object that had several rings around it like a beautiful model of a planet.
"What the fuck is that thing, boss?" One of the men picked it up, examining the cyan crystal slowly spinning in a clockwise fashion.
A cane-like staff appeared in his throat moments later. His blood painted the ground beneath him as he collapsed into a dying state.
They looked back in shock, and saw the owner of the weapon.
"…That…is mine." I stood before them, a hunched-over, four-eyed, masked, and carrying a gigantic satchel the size of a Desert Drake.
"Get her!" The leader roared, and the four other men charged with their weapons readied.
I simply waved my hand, and the staff whirled around and became their deadliest enemy yet. Each strike made no difference, for there was no person wielding it to push back.
It only took moments for one to fall, and then the second and the third.
The fourth attempted a maneuver that actually impressed me, strafing around it to attack me. Unfortunately he forgot about the weapon and it went straight into his skull and through his head.
"Die, old hag!" The leader let out a berserker-like roar and charged straight for me.
"Adula youngina." I uttered with a smile behind my mask.
As he brandished a giant greatsword, a powerful darkness enveloped me and blinded him.
When the haze finally cleared, a new me stood before him.
I was a young woman with dark brown hair that was braided twice on each side, fiercely glowing red eyes that would put a chill down anyone's spine, a slender and attractive body, and was stark naked.
My staff reappeared, having turned now into a walking stick made especially for my height and preference.
"Old hag?" I made a knowing smile and my staff, in a blindingly fast movement, impaled him to a crate.
"ARGHH! GAHH!" He let out an agonized scream as I opened another crate.
"Ah…these garments should do." I found some that suited me well. A dark crimson noble's dress that boasted an impressive view of my chest, and a black cloak and hood to wrap around my body. As I dressed in them, his screams were all but nonexistent.
"W-why…argh…why?" He whispered as I approached the crate.
With a careful hand I retrieved the Baronocompaso from the bloody remains of his first henchman. I shifted the gears that spun around the center crystal a bit, and it began spinning once more.
"Because you idiots tried to steal my property." I answered simply and began walking away. My staff drew itself from him and I retrieved it, walking with it once more. I cleaned the bloodied tip with my dress and continued walking onwards.
Suddenly, I felt the timeline shift.
The buildings and landscape that Luca was composed of began to pulsate. Writhe. Almost liquefy. The signs that an extremely bad paradox was occurring.
"Shit." I sighed as the wave of fractured time slammed into me headfirst.