Author's Chapter Notes:
Note From Goku Girl: I am not the author of these chapters, I just added them, but I'm unable to change who's listed as the author.
Squall awoke to the sounds of splashing water. He found himself lying on his back in the grass right where he and Rinoa had their picnic. As he sat up straight, he could see the small stone Rinoa tripped over, and the tree that provided a bit of shade. -What did just happen?!- He asked himself. The grass was green, the sea blue. And the sky was still cerulean. He touched the ground around him with his hands. It felt as solid as it should be… Everything seemed in order. Except Rinoa was missing! Squall peered around but couldn't see anyone. Nor could he find any evidence of their picnic. -Another dream?- Squall wondered. "Aah!" He yelled out in pain as he got another sudden burst of headache. Whatever happened was real, he concluded. Jumping up, Squall looked around again. In the distance he could see the town of Balamb. It was too far away to be able to tell if anyone was there. He turned to the direction of Balamb Garden but couldn't see it because of a hill in between. -Hmm,- He thought. -From up there I'll have a better view.- As he started walking towards the hilltop he nearly fell over again. Slowly regaining his sense of balance he moved on. "Rinoa!" He yelled. There was no reply. The sound of waves rolling on the beach was the only thing he heard. Balamb Garden came further into view as Squall walked up the hill. He sighed with relief as he saw students walking in front it. But Rinoa was no where to be seen. The students noticed a man running towards them and followed him closely with their eyes. "Stop right there!" One of them yelled when Squall was nearly there. Amazed by the number of students suddenly standing around him, he did as he was told. They were armed. Their outfits were smudged, and stained. Squall held up his hands, having absolutely no idea what went on. -There was a battle?- He wondered. One of the older students approached him. "Your ID please." He asked with a sword held in his hand. Even though it was hardly ever used, everyone at the Garden had to keep an ID card with them at all times. -"I don't think he carries a weapon, Sir." One of the students reported. Slowly with one hand Squall reached for his coat pocket, carefully being eyed by the students. The older one gestured for some student to fetch Squall's ID card. Squall stared around. When he looked up at the Garden, he noticed a few holes and tares. It somehow looked very different from when he left. Something bad must have happened… -"What happened here?" He asked. The young student quickly yanked Squall's ID card from his hand and threw it to the older one. "Who is it?" A few students asked him. He examined the card. -"Squall Leonhart. A high-rank SeeD apparently." He told them, still keeping his eyes on Squall. Sheathing his sword, he walked closer to Squall. "I'm sorry for all this. But it's necessary." He said giving Squall his ID card back. He turned around. "Nida!" He called. "Escort him to the Cafeteria." Squall wasn't sure what else to do, and saluted the older student. He smiled and saluted back. "We don't have much SeeDs here, always good to have one more." "Has anyone see Rinoa?" Squall asked. -"Who? Who is that?" One of them replied. A discussion lit up. The older student ordered them to quiet down. "Rinoa Heartilly, I have heard of her." He said. "But I'm not sure where she is. You should talk to the SeeDs here. They should all be in the Cafeteria now." -"This way Sir." Nida said, gesturing Squall to follow. Nodding, Squall walked right behind Nida. As he looked back, he saw most students patrolling the entrance again. He turned to Nida. It was the same person he graduated with, the same Nida that flew the Garden. But there was something wrong. He was wearing a student uniform. -"Were you demoted?" Squall asked as they walked past the fountain and through the gates. "Demoted?" Nida asked with a surprised look. "No Sir." As they walked into the main hall, Squall noticed the structural damage of the Garden. There were holes in the ceiling and walls, debris was lying around everywhere. The students walking around all had serious looks on their faces. Not one of them seemed to be smiling. Squall suddenly stopped. -Not demoted? Then shouldn't Nida be wearing the SeeD uniform??- Nida turned and looked at him questioningly. -"You are a SeeD, right?" Squall asked. "You graduated after the Dollet-mission." Looking down at the floor, Nida's body sagged. "I didn't pass the exam." "Well, anyway," Nida mumbled, looking up at Squall again. "The Cafeteria is over there. Do you want me to walk you there, Sir?" -"No that won't be necessary." Squall replied. He watched Nida walk off to the Garden entrance then turned to examine the interior of the Garden further. "Something is very wrong with this picture." Squall said to himself. Bullet shells and debris were lying across the floor. Yet students walked past it without so much as looking at it. A junior student ran past Squall. "Hey. Slow down for a minute." Squall ordered. The student stopped. -"Sir?" Squall pointed at a one of the holes in the wall. "What happened in here?" The young student sighed. "Ah, that's from a battle between this Garden and Galbadia Garden. A few weeks ago." He narrowed his eyes and stared at Squall. "Where have you been? Inside a cave or sumthin'?" Noticing a bench next to the hallway screen, Squall took a seat. "That was all. Move along." He told the kid. Playfully the young student saluted Squall and bolted off. Squall ran his hands through his hair. What's going on? He wondered. Nida didn't graduate. The damage of the battle with Galbadia Garden is still there. How is this all possible? -"Is everything okay with you young man?" A woman asked. Squall looked up. Doctor Kadowaki stood in front of him. She tilted Squall's head a bit. "Are you injured?" -"No." Squall answered. She sat down next to him. "Then what's wrong?" -"Rinoa. She…she suddenly disappeared in the fields." Squall explained. Shaking her head, Doc Kadowaki held out her clipboard in front of her. "Let's see now…Rinoa Heartilly, yes?" She asked sifting through the pages. He nodded. "Ah, there it is. Rinoa was dropped off in Timber a few weeks ago." She said. Squall glared at the doctor questioningly. "What? That's impossible! She was here this morning." Squall uttered. Doc Kadowaki shifted through the pages on her clipboard again. "No, I'm sorry. If she was here I would have known." She said. "You see, I'm charged with keeping the records of students, SeeDs, Instructors and any other people staying here at this Garden." He shrugged. "This can't be…" Taking a pencil, the doctor shifted to the last page in her clipboard. "And you are Squall Leonhart? A SeeD?" She asked. "I just got a call from the gate saying you had arrived." He jumped up from the bench staring at Dr. Kadowaki with eyes wide. "What?!" He exclaimed. "You don't know who I am?!" What game is being played here?! He had known the doctor since he first joined Garden, she had to know him too! -"Calm down Mr. Leonhart, please." Dr. Kadowaki said. She looked at her clipboard again. "There isn't any previous record of you being here, did you come from Trabia Garden?" She asked Squall. This isn't real. This can't be happening! He thought. "Are you alright? You don't look so good." The doctor asked. -"My forehead hurts." Squall sighed. He glanced in the direction of the Cafeteria. "The other SeeDs are in there?" He asked. Dr. Kadowaki stood up, and followed Squall's gaze. "Yes, I believe so." She answered. "Now, should I note you as Squall Leonhart, SeeD from Trabia Garden?" He sighed heavily and reached for his ID Card. "Read what it says right here." He told her, handing his card. This should proof it. -"…Stationed at Balamb Garden…" Kadowaki read out loud. She handed back his card and made a note on her clipboard. -"I'm sorry," She said with a sudden worried look. "Things have been very chaotic around here." "Now if you'll excuse me." She said as she walked off to the Infirmary. Squall shrugged and walked over to one of the holes in the floor. It had been created by several gunshots, the empty shells still lying close to it. Picking up one of the bullets from the floor, Squall examined it. Definitely Galbadian standard issue slugs He realized. Loud footsteps could be heard coming from the Training Center. As Squall turned to see who it was, he saw Zell run as fast as he could towards the Cafeteria. "Zell, wait!" Squall called, but he didn't hear him. Sighing, Squall ran after him, hoping to get some answers. Before Dr. Kadowaki reported back to her post in the Infirmary, she approached the Garden Faculty guarding the entrance. -"What can I help you with doctor?" The Garden Faculty asked in the usual drone-like voice. Slightly trembling, she cleared her throat. "Call Headmaster Cid down here right now. I think there's a spy in the Garden." <<------------------------------------------>> "Halt!" The Garden faculty guarding the Cafeteria yelled as Squall approached. Squall gave him an annoyed look, and showed his ID Card once more. The guards examined it for a moment, and motioned Squall he could proceed. -"Why is every entrance here being guarded?" Squall asked in an attempt to grasp the situation in the Garden. "We are expecting an attack from the Galbadians soon now." He explained. "Commander Gantt tightened the security around here." -Commander Gantt?- Squall thought. The name didn't sound familiar. He considered it was possible he was a Commander at Trabia Garden and was now stationed here. But last Squall checked he was in command of Balamb Garden. Why did Cid demote him? He headed inside the Cafeteria. Zell, Selphie, Irvine, Quistis and one man Squall didn't recognize were standing around a table in the middle of the room. A large worldmap lay on the table with several dozen pieces of paper along side it. Quistis crossed her arms. "According to Doctor Kadowaki, the amount of battle-ready students comes down to--" Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a dark-haired young man approach. The others around the table glared at Squall. He walked up and stood with them in a circle. -"What game are you playing with me? What is going on?!" He demanded to know. Zell banged his fists together. "Game? Everyone's life is at stake here!" "Dincht, can it!" The longhaired man standing at the head of the table said. Squall gazed at his outfit. He wore a long black cape. Underneath this he wore body armor not unlike Irvine's. Only his was in a dark-yellow color in stead of purple. A red bandanna was strapped around his forehead; it was slightly waving in the breeze that flowed through the Cafeteria. In particular Squall noticed his large black boots. They looked like they'd been frequently worn. -"I'm Kenan Gantt. Commander of this Garden." He introduced himself, giving a quick salute. "So you're a SeeD as will then? I heard you just arrived." "The name's Squall. Squall Leonhart." Squall said. Selphie smiled. "And my name's-" "Save it." Squall interrupted her. He tried to remain as calm as he could. "I know all of you except Gantt here." Raising an eyebrow, Selphie's smile quickly faded. "What I don't know however, is what is going on here." Squall continued. "Something strange happened to me out in the fields and now it's as if nobody knows who I am anymore." -"Are we supposed to know you then?" Irvine asked, shrugging. "The orphanage." Squall said. "We all grew up in the orphanage except Gantt." There was a short moment of silence, immediately followed by Zell's loud laughter. -"It's true Zell, Selphie, Quistis and I grew up in the orphanage, but I don't know you." Irvine calmly said. Selphie pouted at Squall. "You big fat liar!" Leaning asking the table, Gantt studied the map and papers. "Please, never mind that right now. There are more important things to attend to. This is a strategic-meeting. We'll discuss the past later, now we need to plan ahead." "Can someone fill me in?" Squall asked, noticing he was being warily eyed. Clearing her throat Quistis turned to him. "The situation is this; Sorceress Ultimecia, in control of Adel's body, is believed to be gathering Galbadian forces together in the Lunatic Pandora. Currently the Lunatic Pandora is stationed near Deling City. We expect them to head over here soon." Quistis explained, leaving Squall even more frustrated than before. Together they had defeated Ultimecia; Squall himself gave her the finishing blow! He knew he had defeated her when he saw Ultimecia hand over her powers to Matron. He witnessed the succession! Squall looked out the Cafeteria window. A few students walked by outside. All appeared as sad and depressed as the ones he'd seen in the main hall. During the struggle against the Sorceress he had seen that look on people's faces quite often, but it was over now, was it not?! -"What's wrong now?" Zell asked, breaking the silence. "We have defeated her already. I know it, I was there!" Squall suddenly yelled. He couldn't stand this non-sense. Kenan grinned coldly. "I doubt you'll make be much of an asset to this team. You've got a screw loose Leonhart." Squall stared at him. Kenan somehow reminded him of Seifer. "Although this information we've gathered here is about a day old," Quistis reasoned. "I very much doubt Ultimecia has been defeated in the mean time." Irvine frowned. "Suppose its true, how the hell did we defeat her?" "Yeah!" Both Zell and Selphie yelled at the same time. Surprised by the synchronized outburst, Selphie stuck out her tongue out towards Zell. Quistis and Kenan stood with arms crossed, waiting for Squall's comeback. Sifting through a few papers, Squall found a rough schematic for the Lunatic Pandora. "Selphie flew the Ragnarok straight into the Lunatic Pandora. Right about here, and--" Squall said. "Whoa. Hold it. Ragnarok? What's that? " Zell asked. Already he couldn't follow the story. -"We don't have the Ragnarok at our disposable??" Squall asked. "Uh…no, I don't think so." Selphie answered as she tried to figure out what Squall was on about. Covering his head with his hands Squall felt further away from finding answers than before. Rinoa. How he missed her. The smile on her face, the way she could always make Squall feel better, even in the most dangerous and bizarre situations. He needed to see her now more than ever. Squall sighed and uncovered his face. "Okay, let's start at the beginning." They agreed. Maybe now this Leonhart fellow would start to make some sense. Squall thought for a moment. Where did it all start? "Yeah," He said aloud. "The mission to Dollet. The SeeD exam." Zell raised his hand. "Allow me, I can tell ya 'bout that." "Me and Kenan were assigned to the Squad which had Seifer as captain." He said, with an annoyed looked as he mentioned Seifer. -Kenan…he took my place?- Squall pondered. Zell paused for a moment to make sure he got the facts right. "Shortly after the landing we arrived at our designated post, Seifer ran off to the Dollet tower and--" -"Please, stick to the short version, we don't have much time." Kenan interrupted Zell. He looked at his wristwatch. Soon lunch was going to be served in Cafeteria. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea making a HQ out of it. "Eventually, with help from Selphie here, we found out the Galbadians were messing with the tower. In short we kicked their ass. Then we returned to the landing vessels, followed along the way by a robot…uhm…friend…" Kenan sighed. "And eventually only me, Selphie and Zell graduated." -So Nida didn't graduate.- Squall thought. -The past…has been altered? Is that what happened?- Selphie jumped in. "After that, our first mission together was in Timber, aiding the resistance." "Your mission failed. The President you attacked was a decoy." Squall sighed. "I was there as well." Selphie glared angrily at Squall. "NO you weren't! Liar!" "He's just insane." Zell concluded. Exploring his options, Squall decided to play along with their story. Maybe listening to the events as they happened according to them, he might get some insight in the whole matter. "Okay, but please continue…" Squall reluctantly said. Scratching the back of his head, Zell turned to Kenan questioningly. "Alright. Tell him the rest. But be quick about it. You're gonna have to explain yourself in a minute Leonhart." Kenan said. -"We were forced to retreat to Galbadia Garden, since we were cut off from this one. Oh yeah, and Quistis had joined us in Timber. Anyway," Zell continued. "Receiving orders to assassinate the Sorceress, we headed for Deling City. Irvine was assigned to our team as the sniper. The one who would actually make the kill." Irvine coughed. "In short, we failed and everyone but me and Rinoa were imprisoned. Oh, and we found out that dog Seifer joined the Sorceress." He said. -Seems to be right so far- Squall thought. -Except that I'm not part of the story…- Carefully thinking back, Quistis remembered something they had forgotten to mention. "And what about those dreams? The ones caused by Ellone, remember?" She asked. -"Yeah, but we'll explain that in a moment." Kenan said, nodding towards Quistis. -Right- Squall thought. -Ellone…She could have something do with all this…- "So anyway, if I may continue!" Zell pouted. They all motioned him to go ahead. "We found out missiles were gonna be launched at Trabia and Balamb Garden. As you know, Galbadia Garden was the Sorceress' Garden. Anyway, we escaped the prison and divided into two teams. One headed for the Missile Site, and the other back here to warn everyone. Oh, and missiles had already been fired at Trabia Garden by the way." Panting from the high-speed explanation he just performed, Zell took a deep breath and continued. "The Missile Site was blown up, but not before the missiles were launched. Luckily, Kenan found out the Garden could fly and we moved out of the way just in the nick of time. We went to assess the damage at Trabia Garden and Irvine told us about the Orphanage. Kenan didn't really agree, but we decided to go back there, the place we grew up." -"Why don't you go get a glass of water," Irvine interrupted as he heard Zell's voice got dryer. Body sagging, Zell reluctantly agreed and he bolted off. "We dropped off Rinoa in Timber, and headed for the Orphanage." Kenan explained as he took a quick glance at his watch again. "Got in a fight with the other Garden, which was hovering around that area. The damage of this battle is still visible as you may have noticed." Finally they were getting somewhere Squall realized. -"May I ask why you dropped her off?" Squall said, intensively staring at Kenan. "I decided it was too dangerous to involve her in this Sorceress hunt we were -and still are- on." He calmly replied. -"And Ellone? Where is she?" Squall asked. He figured she could have something to do with everything that's been going on after all. "DON'T ANSWER!" A man yelled. Headmaster Cid stood at the Cafeteria entrance with at least five Garden Faculty. "Detain him!" He ordered, pointing at Squall. Without further thought Irvine reached for his gun and aimed it at Squall. Zell popped up from behind the lunch counter. "Hey, what's goin' on?!" "Catch," Cid said as he threw a pair of cuffs towards Kenan. "I have reasons to believe he's a spy." "NO!" Squall yelled. "I'm Squall Leonhart. I graduated here at this Garden! Why doesn't anyone know who I am?!" If he had his gunblade with him at that time, he was sure he would stick it at Kenan's throat and demand the whole story. But the fact is he was unarmed, and outnumbered. Maybe he had to talk himself out of this one. He knew Headmaster Cid as an intelligent man, and a good leader. Surely he would listen to reason… "Please listen to me." Squall practically begged. Something he had never done before. As a sign of good intention Squall voluntarily put his arms on his back. Kenan smirked and cuffed Squall. "Alright." Cid said walking closer to Squall. "You get your say." Irvine slowly lowered his gun. Sitting down on the edge of the table, Squall wondered why this had to happen to him of all people… "Well?" Selphie said. "You have a lot of explaining to do." "The orphanage, that's the earliest recollection I have--" Squall started to tell. <<------------------------------------------>> "And that's how we defeated Ultimecia." Squall said, relieved he was almost done telling his part. "And on my way back to the present time, I saw how Matron received her powers from a dying Ultimecia in the past. The succession…" Cid shrugged. "Well, I must say, that's a fascinating story you just told." There was a silence in the room. "Do you believe it, Sir?" Quistis asked with a calm tone of voice, considering the amazing tale she just heard. Squall stared down at the floor. He had now done most he could. Although he left out certain parts about him and Rinoa, he had told almost the complete history. "Well," Cid reasoned. "I…don't know. I've seen and heard some strange things in my lifetime, but this…" Kenan nodded in agreement with Cid. "IF all you say is true Mr. Leonhart, how did you end up here?" "I was out in the fields. There was a blue light--" Squall explained. "Geez, r-ight!" Selphie pouted. She seemed to be the least convinced of all. "There was a flash. Rinoa who was with me at that time suddenly disappeared." Squall said, reaching for his forehead. "I looked down at the ground…it swallowed me up. I lost consciousness not long after." Squall looked around the room. "And when I woke up, and proceeded here, this is what I found." He pointed towards a gap in the ceiling. Presumably caused by an explosion of some sort. "A damaged Garden. People who don't know who I am anymore…" Squall sighed. Cid stood with arms crossed. "Commander, what do you think of this?" -"According to him I never even graduated. Let alone met any of you, fought along side with you…" He grumbled. "You might have been a student here. Maybe I just never met you." Squall reminded him. He could imagine why the guy didn't like it, but it was the truth. -"Well, I don't believe a word of it." Kenan replied. Resting his shotgun on his shoulder, Irvine leaned against the table. "What if the Sorceress can read our minds?" "She could have come up with everything in that story, to fool us!" Selphie exclaimed. -"Quistis, what do you think?" Kenan asked. Zell jumped up from behind the lunch counter. "Hey! Why doesn't anyone ask what I think?" Glancing over sat Squall, Quistis thought for a moment. "Why would a Galbadian spy come up with such a story?" She said in Squall's defense. At least he could still rely on her to be impartial. That Kenan guy seemed to really dislike him from the start. Just what he needed, another Seifer, another rival. One was enough. Cid wasn't sure what to do. Greet the newcomer, or imprison him. As if reading his thoughts, Kenan grabbed the still cuffed-Squall by his shoulders ready to escort him off. "We know the Sorceress wants to achieve time-compression. He wants us to deliberately make this happen. In my book that makes him one of her lapdogs…" Kenan argued. -"That's a good point there." Irvine said, agreeing with him. Squall silently moaned. Of course it was a good point. But it had worked. Cid's face lit up slightly. "I see no other solution for now." He spoke with a soft voice. "Take him to the brig." A Garden Faculty came up to Cid and whispered something in his ear. -"No matter, there already are two guards posted." Cid said to the Garden Faculty. "Please, take him away for now." Kenan started pushing Squall towards the Cafeteria entrance. "Walk." He ordered. "Headmaster, I'm telling the truth!" Squall said. -"I…I would like to believe everyone is innocent until proven otherwise, but you've come at the wrong time at the wrong place. We will talk again later." Cid told him. A Garden Faculty gestured Squall to follow him. Kenan reluctantly let go of Squall's shoulders. "Don't try anything." He warned him. They watched the young man being escorted out of the Cafeteria. The Headmaster followed close behind. "Weird character he is, huh?" Zell said from behind the lunch counter. -"HEY, you'd better not be eating all our hotdogs!" Selphie yelled. Quistis and Irvine sighed. "Now Quistis, you were saying?" Kenan said, focusing on the gathered intelligence on the table. She frowned. "Excuse me?" He pointed towards a piece of paper on the table in front of her. "Your report on the students." Putting his gun away, Irvine headed over to the lunch counter. Zell nearly choked on a hotdog he was devouring as Irvine managed to jump over the counter and land right next to him. Irvine raised an eyebrow as he saw the mess Zell had made in such a short time. A sticky sauce covered the floor around him. Small pieces of hotdogs lay scattered all over. He grabbed Zell by his hair. "Ow, oooooww!!" Zell uttered. -"And you call yourself a SeeD?" Irvine asked. "C'mon, we have a meeting to attend." He dragged Zell over to the table. "Okay, now we're all here," Irvine laughed. "Please continue Quistis." Dusting himself off, Zell moaned and got up. <<------------------------------------------>> Squall was being escorted down the second floor hall towards the brig. He had never been in there before, and hardly even knew where to find it. Probably in some dark-corner on the second floor he thought. Passing students looked strangely at the handcuffed Squall. Some carefully watched him, others pretended to ignore him all together. Xu whom hastily walked by didn't recognize him. But neither did anyone else… Again Squall noticed how different the Garden looked in comparison to the one he was walking through this morning. The structural damage was just one thing. Besides that, Squall noticed how the dark the hallways were. The lights had been muffled. A procedure to conserve energy, Squall had learnt in one of his many classes. They walked up to a door with two guards posted aside it. -"Here's another." A Garden Faculty said. A guard nodded at the Garden Faculty and turned to a panel on the wall. After entering a series of numbers, a light blinked and the door slid open. Squall slowly stepped inside the room, and as he turned around the door closed up. He glared across the room. The brig was about as big as half a classroom. At least he couldn't feel claustrophobic. There were three narrow windows on the opposite wall. A bit of sunlight managed to shine through, but it wasn't much. A girl sat on one of the bunks that were firmly attached to the wall with chains. Even in the dark room, Squall could clearly see her long red hair, which grew blonde at the ends. He couldn't help but think her hair looked just like fire. She seemed quite young, perhaps about Rinoa's age. The girl stood staring out one of the windows for a moment. As she stepped in the faint light, Squall noticed she was wearing a shabby student's uniform. "And who might you be?" She asked. Squall was surprised as he saw she was both handcuffed and wearing a metal bangle of some sort around her neck. She must have done something really bad to deserve all that. Her eyebrows furrowed for an instance. "Oh, don't mind these," She said. "By the way, you're cuffed yourself, you know?" He remained silent and walked over to the bunk on the opposite side of hers. -"Is something wrong?" She asked him, eyeing his every move. "No." He simply answered, not feeling the need to get into that conversation with the girl. He wondered how many times had he heard that question today. What could be worse than seeing the woman you care about the most disappear before your very eyes? He had never felt worse in his life. In one morning, his life had been completely thrown upside down. The girl took a seat on her bunk. She smiled. "You don't look like a dangerous criminal or something to me." -"Whatever." Squall replied. The girl couldn't stand him being so quiet. She had been locked up two days ago and has since been all by herself. Now that there is someone she could talk to, he doesn't say a thing! "Oh c'mon. Cat got yer tongue?" She said. -"…What's with the thing around your neck?" Squall asked as he slowly lay down on the cold, uncomfortable bunk bed. She stood up and tried to remove the bangle with her hands. No luck. "I don't know. They put it around me, saying I would be too much of a danger otherwise." She sighed. Squall wondered why they would lock up such an innocent looking girl. Another one thought to be a spy? They seemed paranoid enough for that. She walked up closer to Squall so she could get a better look of him. "So what's yer name?" The girl asked. -"Squall." He rested his head on his hands and stared at the ceiling. She smiled. "Hi Squall. And welcome to this super-deluxe five star prison." He found it strange she was so cheery given her current situation. "The food here's good, although the rest is..well..lousy." She said. Those words reminded him of Rinoa. He thought about what Kenan had said. They dropped her off in Timber? Suddenly he realized that he actually believed the story he had been told, even though he knew it couldn't be right…could it? The damaged Garden seemed to suggest they spoke the truth. Squall thought back to the moment Rinoa disappeared. That eerie feeling…time-compression? Sighing, he realized he hadn't gotten much closer to finding out what happened. Finding more questions than answers, that's all he had done. "You frown a lot, don't ya?" The girl said laughingly. He turned to her. -"H-ey, w-what?" She asked uncomfortably. "You're not a student here, right?" Squall asked, unable to recognize her. -"Nope. I was found washed ashore a few days ago. They gave me these old clothes." She answered, not sounding too happy anymore, her sadness being clearly visible. "Washed ashore?" -"Yeah. The doctor believes I was involved in some sorta accident." The girl replied. "And they locked you up?" -"No, not right away. It wasn't until I talked to the Headmaster." She said, looking down. A sudden feeling of tiresome came over Squall. Even though it must have hardly been after noon, it felt as though an entire day had passed. He couldn't help but yawn. -"Oh, am I boring you?" She asked with a surprised tone of voice. "No, I'm just tired." Squall answered. The girl walked over to the prison door. She carefully knocked on it, the sound of it too faint to be heard on the other side of the door. Judging by the sound, it was quite a sturdy door. -"I don't know how," The girl said with a determined look. "But I'm getting out of here." Her fire-like hair seemed to glow for just an instance. Or maybe it was just the sunlight shining on it at just the right angle. "So who are you, where are you from?" Squall asked, and was amazed by his own sudden interest. Frowning, she shook her head. -"I can't remember. Doctor Kadowaki diagnosed me with amnesia." She said. "Although according to the identity tag I was wearing, my name is Skye." "Can I see that bangle around your neck?" Squall asked as he got a hunch what it might be. -"Yeah, sure." Skye moved next to Squall's bunk and tilted her head a bit so the bangle was clearly visible. Squall looked up and examined it. She shrugged. "Well? What is it?" He nodded. "It's definitely a Odine bangle." Sitting down next to Squall, she looked puzzled. "It's designed to suppress a Sorceress's powers. So,--" -"I'm a Sorceress?!" She yelled in astonishment. "No…" Skye said shaking her head in disbelief and she let herself drop to the floor. "A Sorceress?" Squall got up from his bunk and stood next to her. "There aren't only bad sorceresses, you might be one of the good ones." He said. She wiped her eyes and looked up at Squall. "If I was a good one, would I have been locked up?" He watched Skye. She sat knee-down on the floor, looking utterly devastated. Rinoa had become a Sorceress without wanting it too. He knew how hard it was. -"If you were really a bad sorceress, you wouldn't be locked up, you'd be dead. SeeD's mission is to fight those sorceresses like Ultimecia and Adel." Squall explained, not sure if he was any good at this comforting-thing. Skye smiled a little as she picked herself up and sat down next to Squall. "I never noticed I had any powers or extra senses a few days ago, back when I didn't have this thingy yet." She said pointing at the Odine bangle around her neck. Squall frowned. "Sorceress Skye…never heard of you. I'm sure I would have if you were considered any threat." -"So, I'm not considered a threat, because if I were I'd already be killed. But I'm not a good one either, 'cause they wouldn't lock up one of the good ones, right?" Skye asked. Sighing, he leaned his back against the wall. "Actually I am one of the good guys. I'm a SeeD." He stated. She looked at him suspiciously. "Really? So why did they lock you up then?" -"They suspect I'm a Galbadian spy." He answered. "I'm not. But it's a long story." She smiled warmly. "Please, tell me. It's not like I don't have time to listen to it." He sighed. "It all started in this orphanage, run by--" <<------------------------------------------>> "Okay, that concludes this meeting." Kenan Gantt said, relieved. He folded up the world map and put all the pieces of paper and notes on one pile. "We'll talk about the attack-plan later." Zell and Irvine nodded at each other. -"Training Center here we come!" Zell yelled as they ran out of the Cafeteria. Selphie pouted as she walked after them. "H-ey! Can't I join in? Three makes a partee-hee complete!" Kenan looked up and noticed Quistis still stood at the table, absently staring. "Quistis?" He asked. "Is something bothering you?" She blinked and realized she'd been completely zoned out. Turning to Kenan, she shrugged. "What if Squall was telling the truth? Maybe he really had defeated the Sorceress…maybe something did happen to him. You saw the look on his face." She said. Kenan crossed his arms and considered Squall's story again. "Well," He said. "I don't know what to think Quistis. I just don't know." He leaned against the table. "It's just an incredible story to believe. Using time-compression, the one thing the Sorceress wants to achieve to stop her; Rinoa disappearing in front of him; falling through the ground… " -"I suppose it is, yeah." She agreed. "But that's not the only reason to distrust him, you know." Kenan said. -"What do you mean?" Quistis asked. "The Sorceress here. She arrived her a few days ago, and Cid suspects the Galbadians are after her." He said. She looked surprised. "You don't know about our other prisoner?" He asked. Quistis looked even more astonished. "We keep a Sorceress prisoner here? In our Garden?" The two lunch-ladies walked in and took place behind the lunch counter to prepare for lunch. "Ew!" One of them shrieked in surprise as she looked down at the floor that Zell had befouled a few minutes earlier. "What in places happened here?!" Kenan held a finger in front of his mouth, gesturing Quistis to keep quiet. "Not a word to anyone else about this matter. We don't want the students to panic." -"We can't keep her here, it would be endangering everyone." She said, trying to keep her voice down a bit. "Don't worry about it," Kenan replied as he picked up the map and several notes. "A Trabia SeeD is on the way over here as we speak to escort her off." Quistis picked up the pile of papers from the table and stared at Kenan questioningly. -"So where is she going then, Trabia Garden?" Quistis asked. He raised his shoulders. "Don't know. But it's none of our concern." Kenan walked towards the Cafeteria exit. "C'mon, let's get this stuff locked up before another spy comes by." "Hey," She said as she followed him. "I thought you said you didn't know whether or not he was a spy." Grinning, he kept walking. "You got me there. I just dislike anyone who claims I don't belong here or something." He stood at the Cafeteria entrance and noticed the long line of students waiting for lunch. The bigger, older ones were practically pushing the younger students aside. It seemed so chaotic, nothing like a military unit is supposed to look. "About bloody time you guys got outta there!" A student yelled. "Man…I'm hungry…" The Intercom rang. "Commander Gantt and SeeDs, please report to the Headmaster's office." Kenan nodded slightly and made his way through the crowd of students. Quistis followed close behind in the path the Commander left for her. <<------------------------------------------>> The elevator doors slid open and Kenan stepped out, followed by Quistis who was still holding a big pile of papers. Kenan turned to her and pointed at a corner of the room. "You can't put it down there." Relieved, she threw it down. It wasn't really that heavy, but walking with such a high pile is always uncomfortable. Turning the knob of the door to the Headmaster's office, the door flew open and the bright sunlight shown directly in their eyes. Covering their eyes a bit, they walked in his office. They noticed Zell, Selphie and Irvine already stood in front of the smaller elevator leading up to the Garden's controls. The small platform descended, and a worried Headmaster Cid stepped off it. Taking of his glasses, he pulled out a handkerchief and cleaned them. "I have some bad news." He started. Cid put on his glasses again and examined the faces of the SeeDs standing in front of him. They looked as worried as he did, if not even more. "I just received a communiqué; Galbadia Garden is heading over here." He calmly spoke. Zell banged his fists together. "I'm ready to fight!" Headmaster Cid smiled. "I know Zell. I know everyone here is ready." "Has this been confirmed? And is the Sorceress on it?" Kenan asked. Information is ammunition, he had always been taught. -"Yes and no. A Trabia SeeD out in the fields saw Galbadia Garden fly over him moments ago. But we believe the Sorceress has remained in the Lunatic Pandora, which is still hovering near Deling City. Seifer is most likely commanding the Galbadian troops." Cid answered. Irvine nervously ginned. "How long until they're here?" An eerie silence followed. "We have about fifteen minutes. Maybe less." The Headmaster finally said. Commander Gantt saluted Cid. "We know what to do Sir, leave it to us." The rest of the SeeDs saluted Cid as well, and ran out of his office. Each one knew their tasks, and responsibilities. Cid and Kenan stepped on the small elevator and went up to the Garden controls. "Should we move the Garden?" He asked. -"No, but we will hover so a ground assault is made impossible." Cid said, looking at the student behind the control panel as the elevator came to a stop. She had heard what Cid said down in his office and nervously glared at him. "Don't worry, " Kenan assured her. "Everything is gonna be fine." He ran his hand through his long black hair, wondering if he really believed that himself. He loaded his handgun with live ammunition, sure to be ready for the soon-to-come battle. <<------------------------------------------>> Galbadia Garden hovered over and past Timber at full speed. Any minute now they would see Balamb appear. Seifer stood triumphantly in the main hall in front of several squads of Galbadian soldiers. "Give 'em hell." He said as he gripped his gunblade tighter, ready for action. -"Yes Sir!" A chorus of voices yelled.


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