Pyrrhic Victory

BY : terpfen
Category: Final Fantasy Games > Final Fantasy VI
Dragon prints: 1393
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy is owned by Square-Enix. I make no claim of ownership nor profit from this work.

Pyrrhic Victory

by geedee
 


Notice: Final Fantasy VI has a relatively thin backstory. Events referenced off-screen are never elaborated on, and its world is generally underdeveloped. This is an amateur's attempt at correcting at least one part of that. Feedback is greatly desired.

Enjoy.


***


"Report."

"General. Our sweeps are progressing slowly. The forests are hindering the Magitek Armor's mobility, as we expected. Operations could be conducted faster if the Magitek troops were able to use their Fire Beams, and--"

"No. For the last time, no. The Emperor has expressly forbid our use of overwhelming force. His Excellency wants Maranda taken with minimal damage, and that includes not burning down the entire peninsula."

"… Of course, General. Ahem. As I said, progress is slow, but steady. About forty percent of each forest has been cleared. We've killed 450, captured roughly the same. Based on intelligence gathered on the front lines and from captured enemies, we estimate about 1400 enemy fighters still capable of some form of resistance."

"We finally have numerical advantage, at least."

"Yes, General. If we proceed at current pace, we can conclude the operation in about four days. If you look at our current positions…" the aide paused, gesturing to an oversized table map of Maranda around which the command staff was standing. "… We're well positioned to push the enemy out of the forests, into the central clearing. But there's a risk they may flee into the city itself, unless we have some force sweep in from the south to prevent that."

The group studied the map intently, looking for a way out of their dilemma. After some moments, the general spoke up.

"How many troops do we have in the western forest?"

"900. About 250 are Magitek Armor."

"… It'll have to do. Order half of the Magitek troops to dismount and sweep the forest on foot as infantry, continuing their southern advance. The rest of the Magitek Armor should reposition to the south of the city."

"On foot? General, that will…"

"It will mean that we no longer have the disadvantage of poor mobility. The enemy freely runs and hides in the trees. We need that same agility. Speed is critical. I don't want them getting extra time to set traps or reorganize."

"As you order, General. Now, the situation in the eastern forest is better. We have..."

As the aide droned on, General Celes stared at the map, frustrated with the situation she found herself in. Dispatched by the Emperor a week ago to conquer Maranda and complete the Empire's dominion over the southern island, she was given a token force and a long march to subdue a hostile, albeit inferior, enemy. True, Magitek guaranteed their victory, but the situation prevented her from employing them. Still, on the march to this distant city, she had allowed herself to believe that her token force of 1900, perhaps one-third of that comprised of Magitek troops, would provide a sufficient show of force to intimidate the Marandans and guarantee their surrender without a fight.

Reality was not so gentle. The Marandans had been expecting the inevitable, after the decimation of Tsen, and had ambushed her miniature army on the open plains north of the city. A night raid had resulted in the sabotage of some Magitek Armor, the theft of a great deal of provisions and spare parts, and a sudden sense of urgency to her mission. The morning brought little relief, as her arrival into Maranda proper revealed a ghost town. The citizenry had evacuated, clearly intent on guerilla warfare, fearful of meeting the same fate as Tsen.

Tsen… Damn you, Kefka. Tsen had capitulated immediately, faced with a force five times the amount Celes currently commanded. Kefka had been placed in charge of the occupied territory, and had set about amusing himself by executing random civilians… after brutally torturing the former ruling family. While that might have entertained the budding psychopath, and even assured the unlikelihood of a rebellion in the short term, the ripple effects made Celes' current task even more difficult.

"… General?"

Celes looked up, the aide's question snapping her back to the present.

"General, while victory seems inevitable, we could possibly be defeating ourselves."

Celes furrowed her brow. "Explain."

"Well… nothing has exactly gone according to expectations. We were led to believe that there wouldn't even be a fight, and now our soldiers are fighting an entrenched enemy in close quarters. They weren't well-prepared for this, and the restricted use of Magitek Armor is only upsetting them further."

The gathered commanders looked at each other, surprised that this topic had actually been broached. In public, no less.

Celes sighed. Another problem. "Are you telling me that my soldiers are on the verge of mutiny?"

The aide shuffled, realizing he should probably have keep his mouth shut. "Well… no. Not yet. But something has to give, and soon."

"Victory will have to pacify them," Celes declared. "We don't have enough troops to establish a front line rotation, and if we take some units off the line, we'll create gaps in our advance. The enemy can slip between our screens and attack from the rear. That will be even more disastrous for morale than having to go without Magitek Armor."

Murmors of assent spread throughout the gathering. It was hard to deny Celes' reasoning. No one liked being stabbed in the back.

"But…" she continued. "I understand your point. If anyone knows of a way to boost morale, submit it to me in writing. Otherwise, this meeting is concluded. Return to your posts and issue your orders. Remember, time is of the essence."

The gathered subcommanders saluted their General, then turned and exited the command tent, leaving Celes and her immediate staff. Celes sank into the nearest chair, her exhaustion and frustration evident. Resting her face in her hand, long blonde hair draping over her arm, Celes looked over to the aide who had brought up the topic of morale. She hated to broach the topic again, but…

"Okay. Tell me," she sighed.

"General?"

"You didn't tell me the full problem, did you? If my soldiers are at their morale's end after only a few days of combat, then something else is going on."

"Um… yes, the General Celes is observant as always," the aide nervously responded.

"Don't brown-nose me, just say it."

The aide looked at the other two in the room, hoping for support. None was forthcoming. "… General, the soldiers have a problem less with the combat conditions and more with the person who sent them there."

Celes looked up. "What?"

"… The soldiers despise being under the command of a woman, General Celes."

Great. Celes burrowed her face back in her hand. "And just what is it about my command that the honored soldiers of the Gestahlian Empire do not appreciate? Permission to speak freely."

Instead of relaxing, the aide grew more tense as Celes' expectations of frankness grew. "Well, to be open… well… the troops resent not just that you are a woman, but that you were given command with no prior achievements. No one knows who you are. The Emperor favors you, and they understand that, but they believe his favor might be due to competency in… um… non-military endeavors."

Celes frowned. Did he just say… "… They think I'm seducing the Emperor?"

The aide looked down at his feet. "Well… more like prostituting yourself to His Lordship."

Celes just groaned. She felt a migraine setting in.

Attempting to salvage some sort of positive from the revelation, the aide quickly added: "But, General, the soldiers feel that way in part because you're popular amongst them."

Celes peered across at the aide, her blonde hair partially obscuring her face. "That makes less than no sense. If they resent me, how am I popular with them?"

"Your, um… attributes, General."

Celes lowered her line of view, looking across her body… well, the parts of her body that were visible over the peaks of her sizable breasts. Barely restrained under the low-cut top of her green leotard, they threatened to spill over at any moment, but were somehow thwarted by the flimsy fabric's grip. Lower down, the leotard stretched across the expanse of her midriff, her muscle tone faintly visible underneath. Upon meeting her hips, the cloth narrowed to a V, disappearing between her long legs, a short expanse of thigh going uncovered before merging into her leg-length white boots. Her backside was a mystery, covered by her signature white cape, itself partially cloaked by her cascading straw blonde hair.

At least I can still see my feet… from this angle, she cynically thought.

Looking herself over, considering her aide's words, Celes felt a twinge of anger. She hadn't asked for this type of body. No one had consulted her ahead of time, curious as to whether she would actually want to look like one of Albrook's bar-dancing wenches. Far from being an asset, her statuesque appearance was actually a hindrance, preventing most from taking her seriously as a person. Only Doctor Cid, General Leo, and His Excellency, the Emperor Gestahl, seemed to recognize her as a human being, and not a breathing blow-up doll.

"Let me make sure I understand," Celes said after a moment. "My soldiers do not like me because I'm a woman, and they would prefer to be commanded by a man. But at the same time, they do like me because I'm a woman, and specifically an attractive woman. They don't want to be here fighting in the forests of Maranda, but they would love to be here with me at any time. Is this correct, Lieutenant?"

The aide hesitated, thankful his expression wasn't completely readable under his brown helmet…

"Um… yes, I suppose that's about what I'm saying, General."

It made no sense to her. Then again, this entire campaign made no sense. The abnormally low troop count, the guerilla fighting, even the need to take a city on a peninsula with the invasions of Doma and South Figaro needing every available resource…

"DAMN IT!" Celes yelled, her frustration welling over. The three troops comprising her support staff remained quiet, unable to offer any immediate solace. Another moment passed before a second aide stepped forward, speaking up.

"General Celes, whether or not it makes sense, this is the situation we're in. Let's do something about it."

She looked up at the speaker, a green-armored captain. "And what do you suggest?"

He froze. His thought process hadn't quite gotten that far… but… "If you're truly popular with the soldiers, then there's a way to take advantage of that to hasten the campaign..."

Celes sat up in her chair. This ought to be good, she hoped.

"… Offer yourself as a reward."

I hate it when I'm wrong.

"Captain. I'm a general, not some war trophy," Celes stated flatly.

"No, no! I mean, no, General. Not like that. Just… what if you were to set a stipulation and spend a couple of hours with the squad that meets that goal?" he explained.

"And what stipulation do you propose?" Celes entertained.

"Well… the purpose of the operation is to clear the forests of resistance, so let's go with that. The first unit to clear its sector and raise the Imperial flag in Maranda proper will be graced with an evening with the General Celes in recognition of their achievement."

Celes didn't immediately reply. It seemed like a ridiculous idea on its face, but… she had to admit, there wasn't much else to do. She couldn't clear the forests herself, and using her Ice magic was out of the question, thanks to the Emperor's standing order.

A sigh. A nod. "Fine. Write it up. First to the finish line wins a date," Celes sarcastically assented.

The three aides rushed outside the command tent to begin their work, leaving the blonde behind to wonder what she had just done.


***


"What am I doing here?" Celes complained out loud.

Less than a day after giving the order, her troops had advanced rapidly, clearing the forests of Marandan fighters and civilians. She guessed that it was only a matter of hours before some soldiers appeared, boasting about their victory, possibly sooner.

Of course, their proud strutting would probably come to an end as soon as they came within viewing distance of the semi-popular general. Celes stood next to an oversized Imperial battle standard, signaling her location--the Marandan outskirts--for miles around. She was alone, and thankful for that, given what her support staff had actually convinced her to wear.

Rather than her standard green leotard and white cape, somehow she had agreed to wear something less… protective. Instead, the statuesque blonde was wearing what could generously be termed a perverted version of her usual attire. A see-through green mesh stretched across her curvy body, offering a relatively unhindered view of her nude body underneath. Straps thinner than her boot laces looped around her neck, plunging down her bare back, eventually merging into a thong back that nestled between her round butt. Her cherry red nipples poked prominently against the mesh, begging for attention. But they had competition, as the pink slit of Celes' pussy strained against the one piece outfit's mesh cameltoe. She looked and felt like an Albrookian bar dancer.

Hell, they'd probably kick me off the stage for public indecency, Celes bitterly thought.

The obscene parody of her usual leotard had been crafted overnight by a captured Marandan tailor, apparently famous in his field. He had been allowed back into his workshop under the paranoid eye of an Imperial squadron, Celes' measurements given to him by courier. According to what Celes had been told, the tailor read the numbers and laughed out loud in disbelief that anyone would have her particular figure. A personal appearance by the buxom general caused the tailor to observe her in momentary silence broken by a demand for additional fabric.

"What am I doing here?" she again lamented.

Celes turned to look over her right shoulder, longingly staring at the local Inn. There was still time to duck out, at least to change back into her standard attire. The trust green leotard still showed more than enough of her body, not that it was designed that way, with the added benefit of not plainly revealing her feminine bits. And the cape did a remarkable job of hiding her jutting ass, compensating for the leotard's inability to quite cover its round expanse…

"Hey! Look at that!" a faint voice shouted out.

Oh, no...

Celes turned to the horizon in front of Maranda. In the distance, a group of silhouetted figures appeared, some pointing her way. All were walking steadily closer. The outline of their heads, those distinctive angular twin antennae mounted on their helmets… yes, a squad of soldiers had broken through the forest.

The realization prompted a knot of fear in her gut.

"I'm going to regret this..."


***


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