Split Decisions

BY : Resting-Madness
Category: Final Fantasy Games > Final Fantasy VI
Dragon prints: 1003
Disclaimer: I do not own any character in Final Fantasy VI nor the fandom itself. I do not own any of the locations mentioned either it belongs to the respected creators. I make no profit from this work of fiction its just for fun.

Summary: Feeling the pressures of being king is starting to get to Edgar in an unusual way.

A.N.: For a first chapter you might think this is all over the place, and hell it might be but I hope you enjoy it and will continue reading. I update every other week because I'm working on two stories but it might be sooner than that if I'm stuck on that one. Thank you for reading, thank you for a review if you choose to, and thank you for a vote also.

..........

"Here you are, your majesty," Chancellor Arnold set a pile of papers down on the man's work desk. "this is the paper work of the progress going on in the mines of Narshe for the-..."

"Heating installations. I know." Edgar cuts the man off with a roll of his eyes.

All day his vassal has been handing him this to sign and keeping him aware of that that's been handled and frankly its getting to a place where he wants to shove the next stack of papers to hit his desk where the sun doesn't shine. But he knows that such is the life of a King, and his duties must be done before he can have any free time- unfortunately the last time he's had free time was what.... when he was fighting in the war two years ago. That's ridiculous! The world had no time to rebuild itself in that first year what with Kefka, that insane clown, still running around and causing more trouble on top of the initial trouble Emperor Ghestahl had caused with the Goddess statues destroying the world in the first place. It seems only now that the world is becoming what it once was- crops are growing again, animals are returning more and more, people are starting to rebuild their lost families. And all of this requires a ton of approvals from the king of not only Figaro, but until Doma chooses a head for its throne he has to see over the Eastern lands as well. After the land had drastically changed it was decided that it would be split two ways: eastern and western; Cyan, unfortunately, felt that he served better as a retainer rather than a king and stepped down from the duties having no one step up in his place.

So Edgar was left stuck with signing for this and signing for that. Towns being built, sizes of homes, men required for the job when the town needed help, so far so good anyway. But still the paper work never stopped as more land was asked for later on in the year by people wanting new towns: Bannon, to honor the name of the founder of the Returners, Algol, a town in the mountains a request from Setzer to rebuild the place he'd lost many years before the wars had begun at all, Desear in the Doma region a name chosen as a means to bring Hope into the lives of the victims of the castle when the empire struck. On top of rebuilding, he had to take a body count for all the victims either found or still missing from the end of the world. So many moogles died in the cave-in in Narshe.

Yes, times have been bleak but as before mentioned they have turned around. Edgar feels he has no right to complain that all he has to do is paperwork when the real work is being done out there in the ruined lands. But still, he'd take a day in the sunshine doing a good amount of manual labor to being cooped up inside these damnable gray walls looking at even duller shades of brown from scrolls and the pale of loose white papers.

Rubbing his aching right hand with his left; Edgar leans back in the small, cushioned, chair to let his also aching back have a break as well. A smile lay across his face when an image of Locke popped into his mind. The love of his life stroles in casually, gloves being removed from his fingers one at a time in an almost teasing sort of way before he would clamp his hands onto his shoulders and give the kinks underneath his skin a good workout all the while planting kisses on his up tilted face.

"He's in here, correct?"

Edgar hears a familiar voice in the hall. Shortly after that Setzer walks through the door of his office. Spotting the king he smiles at him in such a way that says he plans to ask for a favor of some kind- or shamelessly flirt without intentions; either way, Edgar was glad for the distraction. Maybe he could get the gambler to give him a ride someplace- the middle of nowhere would do, as long as he could get a break.

"Edgar?" He walks over to the desk his brown eyes glancing at the stack of papers. "Myyy aren't we busy?" He adds when hearing a faint hum of a response to his observence. "Hope you don't mind a bit more."

The king rolled his crystal blue eyes to the sky and back again, earning a sympathetic chuckle from his friend.

"Will you at least hear me out?"

"Five seconds."

"I want to open a casino in the desert."

Furrowing his brows at the odd request, he has to ask "What?" as if wondering if he'd heard correctly.

"Think about it; you're in the scorching desert, stranded, going mad from the heat." He sits on the desk, one hand behind him a bit to support his leaning back while his freehand gestures an invisible picture of it all in the air before the blond. "And there, in the distance, are you seeing things? There's no way it can be real- can it? It is! A casino with a very comfortable Inn. You'll have food, you'll have drink, and maybe you'll even do a little gambling on the side."

Giving the dreaming gambler a skeptical stare, he sighs when seeing that he's very serious. "What makes you believe that a weather burned man or woman would have a penny on them to afford this unbelieveable oasis?"

Setzer shrugs. "So maybe they won't be the ones spending money- what the world do I care, once the people with money find out about it, they'll come. The others..." His 's' drags a second before trailing off. "they'll be on the house- honored guest. Then, when all is well and they're home again, they'll remember the kindness and come to spend." He seemed proud of his little saying, smiling as if hearing it over made a lot of sense.

Rubbing his temples with his thumbs he turns in his seat to look out the window. 'An oasis in the desert....' Turning back around he sees the male staring out the window as well. "And who will fund all of this?"

"I will, your majesty," He teased as he never addresses the king as anything other than Edgar when he's being serious.

None of his friends call him by title, actually, unless its in a joking way. To be honest, he sometimes feels like this work of his is a joke and then things like wars happen and he's reminded he does have a job outside of supervising what the world does. He's not a damned babysitter by any means, he shouldn't have to give people approval to return to living. Its all so ridiculous. With the way this lifestyle is he may as well turn into a Goddess statue and be worshipped.

Setzer frowned from the long gaze but suddenly clapped his hands together, the action almost soundless due to the dark blue gloves covering his hands, as if to say a slew of 'please, please, please' like a child asking for a candy stick.

"Very well. But-.." His 'but' paused the man's excited hand from patting him on the shoulder. "only if you do something for me first."

With a quick dash through the castle's hidden tunnels the two are onboard the airship. Chancellor Arnold is a big boy he can take care of some of the work himself. Right now, Edgar is on momentary break. He often wondered what it was like to truly take a break. Maybe he could get some pointers from Sabin, if he catches up to him some time in the passing weeks.

2222222

Sabin presses his back to a large tree; his eyes skim left, then right, then out before him up in the canopy of leaves covering the sky almost completely. He'd been doing his usual morning kata when he was suddenly attacked by an unknown enemy; he'd nearly gotten his pinky toe severed off by a thrown dagger at his left- judging by the way the daggers handle is facing. Sabin was under heavy fire at one point then left completely alone at another. The spontanious attacks were beginning to wear on him when the man remained hidden somewhere in the trees or behind him. If he were playing on his level Sabin would of had the man pinned by now. A branch snapped somewhere ahead of him. He doubted that it was by accident as this man seemed to know these woods very well, and his skill flawless because unless he wanted his presence known, you'd swear Sabin were playing cat and mouse with himself. Ears pricked to the sound of the forest, he can hear a faint disturbance amongst the whistle of birds and the sweeps of leaves in the slow wind, even a deer stepping through the area far away can't distract him from the sound that's behind his back. No shadow is seen, no breath is heard, but Sabin knows and with this knowledge he strikes.

Fist swinging around his shoulder, he's met with a pair of kicking feet about to land him right under his chin as his attacker dodges the punch by dropping his weight on a rope backward, flipping over catching nothing but air since the martial artist dodged the attacked much as his attacker had just dodged his punch- minus the rope having only his athletic training to support him in the arch before he back flips a foot away. Bouncing on his toes, he's poised for attack as the man, thin as a minute, dressed in solid black launches forward with arms swinging wildly. Such a lack of technique Sabin could have dispatched the hand to hand effortlessly, if it weren't for the fact that the man's sporadic flails cutting through the air with the four foot long claws attached to the gloves covering his hands. Dodging is all Sabin can do as he builds chakra in his arms; the attacker spots the movements being made and flips into the air over the martial artist head. Sabin kneels aiming his aura bolt up into the air just missing blasting the man into a cripple as the bolt shoots through empty sky before disepating. He rolls his weight to the ground before the claw can give him a new hair style and it, instead, impales the earth where he'd been kneeling.

Supported by one hand the man kicks his foot out to block a punch coming his way, sending his other leg to sweep the ground beneath the blonds feet while freeing his weapon from the ground, landing him on his stomach. Rolling over, he crosses his arms over his chest where a very powerful heel is aimed to smash his rib cage in; the metal in his glove dinted in taking the force of the dropped weight, the back if his hand began to bleed a bit when the second strike came down completely splitting the metal inward. But he wasn't going to give up that easily and with a wide spread of his arms the blond has to switch to defense before the hook at the end of the blade snatched his balls off. A smoke bomb is thrown blinding Sabin from where the man intended to take cover. The blond had expected the attacker to throw his busted gloves away but what he did not expect was to have the broken blades launched at him!

He ducked, he spun on his heals, anything to avoid one of the eight knives that whirled his way, but he missed a step from an unseen branch and stumbled to his side; the swiftness of the blade meeting his face tugged his head in its destined direction leaving a bleeding slice upon his cheek. Hand coming up to cover the light sting vibrating from it, he lets out a sigh when a spatter of blood lands on the back of his hand. When the smoke cleared he wasn't surprised to see a long sword aimed at his throat, the blood along the blade stemming from the cut open hand holding the weapon. He lost.

....................

Shadow can never get enough of the taste of Sabin's skin: firm from years of training in the martial arts, yet, soft from the oils he uses on his body to ease the aching muscles. Oils that smell of the forest floor, aloe and flowers but not at all feminine like you might think, more earthy and heavy. It also makes for a wonderful lubricant. Biting Sabin at the nape of his neck and shoulder, his teeth sinking in deeper than normal causes the blond to expel a deeply taken breath; the sound passes his sense of hearing, teasing pleasure from his body almost as much as fingers tickling around his sex can. Leaving the reddening flesh behind, Shadow trails kisses up to the blond's earlobe where his tongue brushes just between the tiny space left between the earlobe and the band of the looped earring. Goddess how he loves their little game- especially when he wins, because he gets to fuck the man mindless.

Blue eyes widen as he's surprised to hear his own voice let out a cry of pleasure from his ass being squeezed hard enough to leave fingerprints behind. Tugging the man's long rat-tail in response, he removes the hand placing it back on the headboard where it belonged. He loves taking the man this way: on his knees, his upperbody leaned against the headboard, his bottom pushed out and into his thrusting hips, meeting each one perfectly to his movement. He may be smaller than Sabin in size but he by no means lacks strength under him and often leaves the man painfully sated by the time he's done. But the blond's wandering hands can't touch the brunet enough as the offending hand slides down the back of his leg in a taunting glide then back up again, fingers touching lightly between the cheeks.

Panting heavily into the blond's ear, he bites out. "If you want me to milk your dick you'd better keep your hands still."

Sabin laughed teasingly shoving his hips back hard enough to create a louder slap of their skin, but he removes his hand regardless. His member was aching for attention and Shadow, the bastard, liked to drag it out and the idea of having to do THAT himself wasn't one he was really looking forward to. He moans when a hand latches around the base squeezing fondly before stroking up and down tightening at the top and spreading at the base as if molding clay. Speed picked up, Shadows back arches as the ring around Sabin's opening tightened around the base of his shaft with each met thrust; eyes clamped shut, his fingers absently twist and pinch at the taught nipple in time with the clamping of his lover's body having it- if possible- strangle his sex more.

The 90 degree weather cooled only after they climax and collapsed to the bed beneath them. The spinning room slowed to a stop allowing them to gain their senses; their lips meet when the smaller male moves over to the empty side of the bed. Breaking the kiss, Sabin smiles at the assassin, brushing dusty brown bangs from his face.

"I have another job to carry out. We can play our little game again after that."

Sabin nods closing his eyes from the dark blue gaze that could easily be black, if he ever bothered to look closely enough. He didn't dare to ask whom the person to be taken out was or the reason why. What went on in that insane Colloseum was no one's business but the idiots who decide to fight there or take wagers on who would or would not walk out alive. It was disgusting, but it was a life for some people. And he would be the last person to question another man's life decisions having made so many of his own and wanting no part of being told otherwise about them. He more than felt guilty over leaving Edgar with the run of the nation, and thought very seriously about taking over Doma castle; it would be sort of a show of respect and... sort of an apology for leaving his teenaged brother out on his ass at such a vulnerable time.

Rolling over to check the clock, Sabin looks back asking. "I'll be sure to wi-..." Shoulders slumped in disbelief of the empty bed and home, Sabin rolls his eyes. Shadow would have to teach him that little disappearing trick sometime.

222222

"Edgar, where exactly are we going?" Setzer places a glass of dark purple wine down on the coffee table set between the two couches. Mimicking his guests posture of laying across the chair, booted ankles crossed on the arm, he sighs. "We've been sitting above the castle for ten minutes now."

Edgar, whose eyes are closed, shakes his head. "Nowhere. I just wanted a break from work. Twenty minutes without a pen in my hand."

Setzer makes a thoughtful sound before closing his eyes as well, listening to the whirl of the fanblades surrounding the ship. "Where's Locke? Wouldn't he be best to spend twenty minutes with?"

A smirk appeared on the man's face, only this smirk seems more sad in its place rather than teasing. "Trying to get rid of me?"

"Not at all, I rarely see anyone these days- this is actually a nice treat."

Nodding, Edgar replies to the question. "He's out drawing maps of the new world; to be honest, I thought that he might be with you." Answering to the raised brow. "It would be easier to make a map from overheard, would it not?"

"I suppose so, but Locke is a hardcore land-lover from what I've learned. He likes track and field." He shrugs a hand.

Edgar didn't need to be told that; Locke would choose to walk rather than ride a chocobo half the time or take a carriage with him; to Locke it was a means of transportation in formality, walking was the way to go. The king smiled thinking about spending twenty, uninterrupted minutes with his non-husband. Though the world accepted his lifestyle he didn't think they were ready yet for a male queen, although, he has heard rumors about a popular theater performance going on with cross-dressers impersonating women and women impersonating men. He'd have to catch an act someday. Hn. Someday always seemed to turn into never gonna happen.

"How much time has passed?"

Looking at his silver pocket watch, the gambler replies. "Fifteen minutes."

Releasing a heavy sigh, Edgar sits up, downs the glass of wine in three gulps before setting the glass back down on the table. "Better take us down then."

Reluctant to move, Setzer stands up heading for the upper deck. Tired hands scrub Edgar's face and he's almost annoyed at the prickle at the corner of his eyes from the thought of going back to his castle in the sand.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the Doma region on a body of land that was once- judging by the monsters that reside on it- the Veldt; Locke Cole sets down a hammer after he's finished pounding the last set of nails into the soon-to-be left wall of a home in Desear. He'd been drawing maps and stopped in on the workers to give a hand with the building, while scoping out the layout of the new town and its progress. He quickly drew an outline and was soon carrying loads of lumber around for the workers. Several slabs of wood on each shoulder didn't even come close to compare with the weight of his Hawk Eye boomerang and moving the loads around took less than five hours. He got a break with some of the men; the women, who are camped out in tents in the surrounding area, brought food and drinks for them. Locke has never tasted anything so good as when he bit into that sandwich made of Narshe rabbit meat and a bit of pickled cabbage and tomato. Gau, not surprising, was in the area running around with the watch dogs and randomly attacking monsters as they came near. You can never tame the animal in that kid: fifteen years old, has a home with his father, Yancy, on the island but further away from where Desear is being built but still the lad chooses to run around leaping on monsters and absorbing their abilities; but its not as if this is a bad thing. Factor out the danger and Gau is doing a lot of good for this area. When the magic disappeared from the land the monsters began to behave as normal as any other animal on the lands, but some of the more preditory monsters tend to attack regardless and use the remnants of magic they have left to harm people before moving in for the kill; its because of Gau they've been left powerless as he absorbs the ability and shoots it out of his system later. Magic can still put the world in a lot of danger, no matter how limited the use so they all knew to keep the little secret.

Right now, Locke intends to return to Figaro castle. He hasn't been there in what must be six months! He's beyond in need of a good sleep, heartier eats, and the main attraction of the company waiting for him when he arrives. Edgar must be bored stiff by now; he knows that Edgar likes to travel around as much as he does and being cooped up in the castle would be getting to him soon. He only hoped that someone had come to visit his beloved in the meantime. Loading the boat with his traveling supplies: a tent, lantern, some food, paper, brushes, an inkwell- wrapped tightly to prevent it from coming open if its rattled around in his bag- and a change of clothes, his weapon was a sword and dagger since his favorite weapon would weigh the boat down; last thing he'd want is to drown in the ocean when he barely wants to float on it.

"Steady now." He says to the swaying boat when he places a hand down on the edge, his other on the seat. "You don't wanna topple over with me." He steps a single foot inside then the other. Tying his lantern to the hook at the tip of the ship, he sits down on the bench then lets out a shallow, yet, relieved breath then grabs the handle of the paddles rowing out. It wasn't long before sickness washed over the poor man as the waves surrounding him rocked like the waves in his stomach and his head leaned to tilt over the side of the boat so that he could cease the bubbling in his gut. He could only hope that the sharks were in bed and only fish would come to eat his once delicious dinner. Locke made a sail out of an old tent that once had a hole in it, to keep it stuck to the boat he planned to nail the poles of the tent to the edge of the boat. He'd only need a good west wind and he could just lay back and let his stomach turn over and over while the boat takes him to shore. Maybe he could pysche himself out by focusing on rowing; he's known guys that can put things out of their mind by simply channeling all their energy on something else. He can do that. Pulling the paddles taut, he then gives them a good shove through the water again, three minutes later he was throwing up over the side of the boat again.

22222

Edgar sits quietly in his bedroom; its around six o'clock. He decided to take his meal in the bedroom and watches as a maid slices his vegetables and fruits for him. Everything came in on a cart then spread out over a small table brought in by two male servants that act as bodyguards should anyone slip in. This was Locke's idea, he also thought that it would be a good idea to train some of the women but Edgar objected to the idea of having women battling when in a place they should feel safe. He prefer that they hide in the kitchen tunnels if something should happen to the castle. Edgar smirked a bit; he could tell that his gaze was making the woman very uncomfortable either because she liked it or was never under such heavy watch before. He meant no harm in it, not even a flirt, he was simply watching her cut up his meal like he were a one year old. Although, with the strain on his hand from the angle it had to be in for writting, he doubts that he could do it himself without slicing a finger off on accident.

His sudden chuckle at the idea of a war hero unable to handle slicing a peach caused the maid to falter in her own slice doing the very thing he had been pondering over. Panicked she brought the finger up to her mouth to remove the blood, then began to apologize for getting a droplet onto his plate. Edgar smiled warmly at the woman; Katia, he believes her name to be. She gasped when the king took her bleeding hand into his own steering her over to a small bedside table; Edgar pulled the drawer open and pulled out a few cotton swabs, a bottle of iodine, and a tiny wrap of bandage. Locke tended to return from trips a little roughed up, so Edgar never bothered keeping the simple things in his bathroom.

"This might sting a little." He touches the swab to the slice.

His tone of voice, gentle and sweet, caught the woman by the throat and she had to swallow hard around it; completely unaware of the medicine being spread over the slice she just watched the king's concentrated face from behind her own blonde bangs, blushing deeply when the, now wrapped, finger came up to the man's lips pausing just as he says.

"And mother's best remedy." He placed a kiss on the bandage.

Katia was sure that she would die in her bed tonight, the other maids will never believe her- worse, they'll want to bring his next meal in and will purposefully cut themselves in hope of receiving the same treatment. No she could never tell a soul of this. Bringing her hand to her chest, she looks from the king over to the table.

"I can do the rest, you're dismissed."

"Yes, your Majesty." Bowing her head she ducks out of the room tearing down the hall the moment the door closes behind her.

'Sweet girl.' He shakes his head. Reaching for the bloody cotton swab his hand pauses, fingers hovering just above it; the red, so deep and rich in the white seemed to make his intentions of grabbing it itch. Shaking his head, he knocks the ball into the trash then moves over to the table. He plans to eat quickly then head off to bed, his bath can wait until morning. With his knife and fork shaking hands cut a bite of steak free, swiping it through the brown gravy covered potatoes before eating it, he'd done this on repeat leaving his steamed vegetables for last. Edgar used to put up such a fuss about eating greens and carrots but now he absolutely loves them, and the way cook makes them, he wondered many times if they've always been this good and he'd been stubbornly missing out. Sabin was the vegetable eater, which is probably why later in the years he'd quickly gained more muscle than he had.

A slice of zuccini lay on the plate, the piece with the drop of blood on it. Edgar stared at it for the longest time before he was finally able to break the spell and move it onto a napkin beside the beautiful plate with the tiny blue flowers in the center. Getting up from the table, fingers and mouth wiped clean, he walks to his dressing closet pulling out his dark blue night gown to change into it. Ten minutes later the maids came in to clean the table, placing anything to be thrown away into a bin they then fold the table cloth putting it and the soon folded napkins into a separate bin to be washed. Katia, who braved returning wondered what the king had done with the slice of zuccini that she had bled onto? She figured he'd of set it aside on the napkins. With a mental shrug she figured he'd thrown it away in the waste basket where the swabs had gone, or maybe out the window into the darkening desert. It would be weird to think that the man had eaten it.

The king is in the bathroom, the water running as he rinsed his mouth out; listening to the sound of the maids and the two guards cleaning up the table and dinner. He exits the bathroom when assured that the bedroom is empty. Walking over to his large and comfortable bed, he lets his weight collapse onto it; face down, he turns to his side pulling Locke's pillow over to him giving it a whiff. He snickered wondering if Locke ever smelled the scent of bread, crackers, or fruit on the pillow? He tended to eat just before bed, his breath soaked deep into the pillow from it all. He prayed to the goddesses that Locke return sooner than later. As if it would matter, he would not stay long he's always talking about what he's been doing- and he loves the listen, don't get him wrong- but lately it seems that there's always some distant land calling him away when he should stay put with Edgar. How many islands has the world shattered to anyway?! Its dumb to think, even dummer to say but... things were better when there was a war. Everyone was always seeking to get back to each other as soon as possible, even when it seemed impossible they always found a way. He smirks into his own pillow at the thought of something so evil bringing people closer together. When the world ended, when he'd woken up on that island half dead and starved he thought for sure it would all be over, but then to find those bandits to trick them into believing he was someone else to get back to his castle, he knew they weren't out yet. If he had survived falling from the airship then others had to have as well.

But Locke, he was hidden in a cave, he'd been away from him forever because his lover finds a cave the safest place to be when things look grim and uncertain. It was winter and freezing, but there was Locke in a nice warm cave surrounded by boils of lava. The night they spent catching up was through moans and sighs, pants and silence until they both looked at the other to say 'not to ever leave them for longer than needed again'. A day out turned into a week out, then to a month out, then months.

'Hn. Where are all the sickos when you need them?' Wonders the man before his eyes close.

...................

Eyes glued on his feet, breaths steady and even, Locke rows as hard as his arms will allow. Its three days at sea and six days on foot- maybe four if he can find a chocobo then he'll be back at Figaro castle and in his lover's arms. 'A sailor once said that whistling will call up the wind. I hope the wind knows which way I want it to blow.' Puckering his lips he whistles a tune he once heard playing in a pub. Locke swallowed a thick moist lump, the whistling was ceasing his calm breathing and that made the waves move his inards again. Holding it back he felt his weight dropping to lay across the other bench in the boat. 'Where the hell is Setzer with that ship when you need him?' Wonders the treasure hunter. 'He should be able to see my lantern from here, right? Look at me, I'm talking to myself now. Well, at least its taking my mind of the rocking.' Looking at the stars, he blinks in wonder; a slew of them are moving in an odd manner. 'It couldn't be? Could it?'

Soon the whine of the fan blades sound in the distance, a sound coming from the other thing that can make that sound- the airship! Sitting up, he moves slowly to the front of the boat to undo the lantern from the hook. "Hey!" He calls out waving it around. "Hey! Down here!!"

Realizing that he was shouting to the wind because there's no way Setzer could hear him from all the way up there, and over the fan blade he settles for waving the lantern frantically hoping to get the man's attention.

"Maybe he can't see me." Lowering the light to the floor, he rummages through his travel sack until he finds his dagger, quickly he writes out his name and location onto a slip of paper he planned to use for the next towns' map and tying it to the handle of the dagger he expertly tosses it into the air.

Uncertain if it managed to stick or not, Locke hopes for the former. Setzer may not get to him right away but at least he'll get to him if he lands somewhere and finds his note stuck to the vessel. Damned auto-pilot. The man flew over head, no doubt passed out asleep- well, drunk knowing the gambler, either way the ship just cruised on by.

'How many days of this was it again? Three?' Grabbing the paddles again, he returns to rowing. Looking around him at the black bottomless sea he lets out a sigh then begins to whistle again, stopping when he remembered that it would only cause him to lose more weight from vomiting.

22222

Sabin finishes the last lines of his letter to his brother. He'd decided to come home since Shadow planned to be away. It was about time he'd visited his twin, he can feel his brother's pain almost like a lost thought in the back of his mind only the thought isn't his own. He hasn't seen him in four months, they can have dinner and catch up, maybe do a little archory game together; Edgar always loves that. The guards would set up targets and while riding chocobo's the two of them would take shot after shot from different ranges. Edgar always won, his sight being impressive over his by far. But then again, even if he were twenty twenty he'd always preferred the close hand attacks over long range. Folding up the note, he walks over to the window. A small pigeon sits there; a little pouch strapped to it. "Take this to my brother, okay?" He says to the animal while sticking the folded note into the pouch.

It flew away from the window and into the night sky towards Figaro castle.

Returning to his bed, the prince removes his dark green tank tossing it onto a single sitter in the corner of the tiny living room. Sabin likes living in his old masters house, maybe even more than his own home back in the forest near South Figaro before the world ended. His master died of disease last year and left everything he owned to him including this little house. Laying himself out on the single bed, he closes his eyes from the lamp that he had turned on.

'I wonder if I should get a double bed.' He smiles as flashes of Shadow dance through his head. Opening his eyes, he turns the flame down in the lamp closing his eyes once again to wait for sleep.

The air is warm tonight for fall, he didn't think he'd need to start a fire in the little stove top for later on. Sounds of the night, crickets, nocternal animals slipping through the trees snapping branches when their weight is too much for certain limbs. Sabin rolls over once, twice... his eyes open for a moment so that he can beat at the pillow beneath his head then he lies down again only to sit up in a huff.

'Alright, I'm restless. I may as well head out now if this is the night I'm gonna have.' Getting out of bed, he pulls his shirt back on. Packing some supplies, he writes a note for Shadow telling him that he's gone to the castle to visit and didn't know when he'd be back then tearing it up he drops it into the trash basket. Shadow was never the type to question his whereabouts and he frankly never cared where Shadow went. As far as the assassin telling him about jobs he was taking it was just a form of conversation Sabin supposed. Bag over his shoulder, he exits the home being sure to lock the door after him before making his way to the boat.

22222

Edgar lay in his bed, glass of wine in hand, watching the flames dance in the fireplace. Its 60 degrees in the desert and the wind is gently whipping cool breezes through the sky and into the glassless windows. His thoughts aren't anywhere in particular, at one point he'd been wondering about how much work it would be to frame a stone window, another thought was switching bath oils, but every once in a while his mind returned to the cotton swabs in the trash can. His father coughed up blood on handkerchiefs all the time, he would send his sons from the room wishing that they not see him in the state that he was but Edgar saw, he saw everything and it still haunts him. An absent smile appeared across his face.

'Look at me, brooding around these times of the month have become so habitual I didn't even realize that the anniversary of their deaths is approaching.' His eyes blink up to the canopy of the bed, trying to keep tears back seemed futile at this point but he didn't want to cry. He just didn't have the need to shed more tears when the initial tears fell on their own.

"Your Majesty! Your Majesty!" The knocks on the door are hard and serious.

Edgar gets up from his bed, glass quickly set down on the bedside table. Opening the door, he looks over the panicked faces of two of his guards. "What is it?"

"Its one of the maids, sir, Katia. She's been wounded."

"Katia-... what?" He had to re-process the words. Exiting the bedroom, he leads the guards down the hall to the servants quarters.

The other maids and a few guards are crowded into the tiny bedroom, clearing the way when the king walks into the room. His mouth parted in a gasp, and in one quick movement he sits on the bed, touching the woman's face. She looks as if she'd been beaten with a blunt object, her face swollen and bruised with purple blotches here and there, some red. Looking at the rest of her body his eyes are drawn to the blood that's come through her nightgown. Lifting it; the other servants turn away, the guards move closer, Edgar touches his finger tips to the finger length stab wound there. Rolling her over a bit he sees that its gone through to the other side. Lowering the gown, he stands.

"Get her to the sick room, hurry, and get the doctor to patch up her wounds and put a cold compress to her face."

"Yes sir!" One guard craddled the woman in his arms walking her out of the room

"You three, search the castle. If someone's gotten in here chances are that they haven't gotten out yet." He walks over to the secret passage in the room. Giving the wall a press, he moves away when it doesn't give easily. "Whoever it was didn't come in through here, but search the passages anyway to be sure that it isn't being used as a hiding place now."

"Yes, sir!" The three men separate.

Two to the hall, and one in the passage in the bedroom.

"The two of you, come with me while I search."

"Yes, sir!"

A maid with orange hair is crying on the seat in the corner of the room, her hand to her face trying to silence the sound. Crossing the short distance to her, Edgar kneels down taking her free hand into his own.

"Miss, where is your bedroom?"

The woman tries to compose herself taking a moment before she can speak, though, its through sucked in breaths. "Across, diagonal."

"Did you hear anything coming from this room? Who sleeps in the one across from Katia's?"

"Petunia. She's gone to the sick room with the others, they were best friends." She began to cry again.

"Did you hear any strange sounds coming from the bedroom?" He knew it was a stretch but there was a chance.

The woman shakes her head rapidly.

"I see. Thank you for your help."

"I'm very frightened, your majesty. Are we in danger?" She finally looks him in the eye, her brown orbs filled with concern.

"I don't believe so, not anymore. But it would be best if you all move to maybe three rooms together. I'll have guards outside of each of the doors for your safety."

Nodding, she stands on shaking legs to return to her bedroom.

Lighting the lamp on a small table, Edgar picks it up walking it over to the window. Inspecting it carefully, he looks out of it and down the side of the building. "I see no signs of entry through here, look," He says to the two that are to search with him. "if someone had used a grappling hook there would have been scrape marks somewhere around here before the claws stuck in." Looking up; his men doing the same, he then says. "The idea of someone coming in from a stone ceiling is impossible to imagine."

Standing on a chair guard one gives the ceiling a push in many different spots. "Nothing, sir."

"Dammit. To think that right under our noses someone could do something like this." Gesturing to the door he and his men leave the room. "The kitchen is below here, so I don't think they could have come in through the floor. I'll have to ask Katia if she saw who did this to her when she wakes."

His guards follow him to his bedroom where he quickly changes into a red, gold trimmed tunic and white tights, his sword latched to his belt should he come across the attacker.

"We search until we find them." He informs his guards. "Let's go." Down the hall he takes them to the first floor; heart heavy with guilt Edgar can't help but think that its his fault this happened. The servants quarters have one guard walking up and down the halls at night; he just never thought that someone as simple as a servant would be a target when the king himself is such a good prize, but tonight has shown him otherwise. But this will not happen again, once he finds the man, he will end his life.


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