The Perseverance of Knights in Love

BY : Haunter_Rayne
Category: Final Fantasy Games > Final Fantasy IX
Dragon prints: 110
Disclaimer: I do not own FF9, nor any of its settings, items, characters or content. This is a parody fanfiction for entertain purposes, not for profit.

**Author's Note** Hello all, I am back again and here to bring you another one shot. This is a completed single chapter story and my first in the Final Fantasy series so I hope you enjoy it. This is not a full tale of the game though. It is a ship between Steiner and Beatrix and it definitely time jumps through the game to focus purely on their story. Game spoilers beware.

A cautionary warning to the readers that this story begins with some extreme violence and permanent bodily injury to one character. But once you've gotten past that, this is primarily a romance ship. This is intended to be a tale of 'love overcoming obstacles' type story. But the sexual content is rather explicit as well. So this tale is not for the faint of heart. 

Always remember that I'm a sucker for comments and reviews! I hope you enjoy this fanfic and thank you for reading!

- - - - - 

The Perseverance of Knights in Love

A Steiner & Beatrix Tale...

 

Smoke rose into the night sky as the city of Alexandria burned. All through the streets citizens ran and tried to hide as the shadow of Bahamut loomed overhead. The attack had been swift and without warning. To make things worse, the great dragon's rampage was followed swiftly by vicious monsters charging through the streets. 

 

Large savage demons with long armored bodies and insect like appendages skittered over buildings and down along the roads. They showed no signs of sentience and gave no mercy towards the people's screams. Wherever the creatures gathered they ran the citizens of Alexandria down with their spear tip like legs. Any resistance they met were responded to with blasts of fire or spouts of mist from the unnatural innards of the beasts.

 

~ ~ 

 

Battling their way straight through to the town center, two soldiers charged ahead in defense of the citizens. "This is it, Beatrix." Steiner declared with his sword drawn in hand.

 

"I will give my all for Alexandria!" The general declared while the two of them dodged Bahamut's great wings that flapped above the burning chaos around them.

 

"Well said! Let us march on to victory!" Steiner cheered while leading a rush against a Mistodon who had been terrorizing around the city center.

 

The two stood side by side before the mist demon. It towered overhead at nearly twice their height while skittering back and forth in place before as if unable to still it's bloodthirsty rampage. Feeling unphased by the danger posed before him, Steiner charged forward. Fueled by his fealty to the city he fells the creature in a single strike.

 

Once the beast was down there was no time to celebrate while the citizens of Alexandria still screamed through the city's assault. The two pushed on into the town. Men, women, and children alike panicked through the streets but Beatrix clenched her jaw knowing that it would be the Pluto Knight's duty to help those who were frightened. Meanwhile she held fast to her sword knowing that a different task was set before her.

 

"Beware, Beatrix! The enemy is close!" Steiner said as they stopped in front of the item shop in Alexandria. Just then a loud skittering was heard from above as a Mistodon came right overtop of the roof. 

 

Steiner's eyes spread wide seeing the large armored body and mass of spear like legs hurling toward him. However Beatrix was quick to slam him to the side before aiming her blade upwards. "Shock!" A piercing light shot out from her sword and instantly the creature was obliterated into pieces which flew backwards through the air.

 

Giving a nod of thanks Steiner ran with Beatrix while sparing no time for words. The two chased on as they witnessed more citizens being hunted down through the streets. Trails of blood were smeared across the walkways as the two soldiers fought their way to the local pub. 

 

The once starry night sky was now clouded with smoke. The combatants squeezed their eyes tightly, fighting through the blistering funes tearing in their eyes. "Rrrwwwwrrrr!!!" Came the loud call of a Mistodon which was dripping from top to bottom in the blood of Alexandrian citizens.

 

"You wish to fight us!? You despicable beast!" Steiner called out in fury. Meanwhile another roar came from behind them as Beatrix immediately braced her back against Steiners upon seeing they were flanked. The two nodded to each other and war cried with vigor as they charged their opponents. 

 

"For Her Highness!" Screamed Beatrix.

 

"For the princess!" Steiner bellowed.

 

Once the battle began one of the Mistodons charged immediately, striking Beatrix in the shoulder with the sharpened point on its head. The monster had followed through, now standing beside the other one which reared itself back casting Steiner into a plume of fire where he stood. 

 

The two soldiers struck back at the beasts separately but now all four combatants stood bleeding as the injured Mistodons readied to strike again. Looking over at his battle partner Steiner called out, "Beatrix, our foes are weak! Strike them down!" 

 

"Very well," She said before lifting up her sword. "Stock Break!" Instantly a strike lashed out beyond the normal reach of her sword as both of demons fell slain at once.

 

Steiner and Beatrix alike had to steady themselves as Bahamut's mighty scream tore through the city like a typhon. His wings flapped with the force of hurricanes and his fireballs erupted in loud explosions, further polluting the air with the singe of smoke. The soldier pair paused only briefly in vain attempt to wipe the burning smoke from their eyes. Then after careening over smoltering rubble they continued through the city attempting to save what citizens they could.

 

~ ~ 

 

Fury filled their weary hearts. No matter how many monsters they slew, they found citizens still being run down and torn to pieces by the relentless beasts who held no notion to their savagery. After chasing a family down the street and trampling them, one of the Mistodons turned back and aimed itself at the charging soldier pair.

 

"Prepare to die!" Steiner challenged but was taken by surprise when the creature did not even stop at his approach. 

 

The mist demon ran him right down and dug it's bladed head straight into where he had been burned in the earlier fight. Blood spilt through his armor and the creature roared with fury. Though despite his injuries the knight smiled and held fast to his sword. "Minus Strike!" Steiner called out and the chittening creature was split in half from the magic of his blade. "Beatrix, are you alright?" He immediately called out, fearing another flank attack as he stumbled with his vision impaired from blood loss.

 

"I'm fine. What about you?" She asked while looking back to check behind her having the same worry. Once seeing that the coast was clear she examined her partner and was startled to see him nursing a wound with his hand as blood leaked straight through his fingers. "You're wounded!"

 

"It's just a scratch." He growled and looked up seeing yet another fiend approaching their way. "Persistent bastards!" 

 

Beatrix was well aware of the monster as it came near but she turned to Steiner while ignoring her own wounds saying, "You cannot battle in this condition! Curaga!" She called out as Steiner's wounds were healed. "Aahhh!" Beatrix then cried after taking a deep gash to her offhand arm from behind her. However after a strike from the Captain of the Pluto Knights and then a follow up attack from the general herself, the beast was then slain.

 

Now the two stood alone in the street but they knew it was a peace that would not last. Steiner was healed and Beatrix was still on her feet. But she was injured and could feel that her magical power was running low. Opting to save her strength for the inevitable next battle to follow she prolonged the decision to heal herself for now.

 

"This is futile! Let us return to the castle!" She behested her battle partner, not wanting to give up but knowing they would be of use to no one should they exhaust their strength and die to the relentless attacks of an endless horde.

 

"No! I cannot face the princess until we destroy all these beasts. On my honor, I vow to protect the princess, the citizens of Alexandria, and..."

"Beatrix! I...I shall protect you!" He called out with more than just fealty to the kingdom in his heart.

 

"Steiner..." Beatrix paused, giving ear to his feelings. The valiant warrior looked upon the Knight Captain with new eyes, having lived a life of being too intimidating for others to approach her before. But here now, amidst the heat of battle to make his feelings known, Beatrix could think of no more honorable way for one to call upon her.

 

Unfortunately that moment's pause Beatrix had allowed to think on her battle partner was all the opportunity needed for yet another Mistodon to sneak upon her. 

 

"Watch out!" Steiner cried as he raised his sword.

 

However Beatrix was taken neither by surprise nor fear. At the hopeful promise of future romance, she quickly spun 'round with renewed inspiration and raised her sword right to the demon's face as it attacked. "Climhazzard!" She shouted and the monster was eviscerated in an arc of flame and might.

 

Steiner was relieved to see that Beatrix had saved herself from that attack. But as she dropped her sword point to the ground, the battle hardened captain knew the signs of fatigue when he saw it. "...This might be it for us!" He said, recognizing that her magic power was now spent and meaning her maneuvers were no longer available to save them.

 

Beatrix sighed at the sound of more roars approaching in the distance. "I have no regrets!" She cried out as two more Mistodons approached them from either side. A warrior's death was an outcome she was ready for anytime that she had ever drawn her blade. However now she pondered that the only outcome better was to meet one's end beside one who was dear to her, even if it were a romance unfulfilled.

 

She tightened her grip to brace herself as the Mistodons roared to attack. But she was surprised when it was Steiner's voice who carried next instead. "Beatrix... There is something I must tell you!"

 

Standing flabbergasted that he would choose now to have a conversation whilst danger stood in their very faces, Beatrix answered back to discover what could be so important that it took precedence over their current situation. "What is it?"

 

"I..." Steiner nervously began.

 

Raising her eyes up to the sky in exasperation Beatrix shouted back, "Save your valediction, Steiner." She paused and looked over to the knight. She glanced beyond his battle stance, and through his body, seeing his heart being so foolhardy as to proclaim his feelings now in absence of better sense. With that the bold-hearted general had heard all she needed to, deciding that she would survive to have this knight in her bed even if it were the last thing she did. "We'll live to see another day." She growled in determination, fueled by the silent desire to have the recent years of her celibacy finally put to an end.

 

As if fate had ordained them time for this moment to play out, one of the Mistodons skittered across the side of buildings to join beside the other before attacking. Both of creatures were bloodstained, seemingly more experienced than the others that Steiner and Beatrix had previously fought. While one Mistodon chittered with the other peeping and clattering in response, Beatrix and Steiner looked to each other with worry. 

 

Then as they prepared for a frontal assault, one of the demons surprised them by instead spewing a heavy mist that burned the skin and lingered in the air. Beatrix screamed, falling to one knee from the pain and Steiner faltered but remained on his feet. "Ugh, what is this burning mist?!" He shouted. "It lingers on the air and, ah, it's collected within my helmet! Fear not my lady, I am prepared against all manner of poisons so this shall not…" He wavered and then a moment later collapsed upon the growl as his consciousness abandoned him.

 

"S-Steiner?" Beatrix whispered before gasping as the second Mistodon ran her down. Then with the Captain of Pluto Knights rendered asleep beside her, it was Beatrix whose nightmarish ordeal truly began.

 

Blood spewed from the general as she was tackled backwards and trampled by a multitude of sharpened legs. But to her horror, when she looked up she found that she was still overstepped by the beast. Staring upwards at the complexity of it's underbelly Beatrix glanced hastily around for her sword. However as the Mistodon's large head turned itself attempting to locate where she had gone, one of its legs stepped and pierced right down through the wrist of Beatrix's sword arm.

 

"Ahhhhh!" The general screamed as her reach had been stopped mere inches from her blade. Now her arm was gushing blood from where the Mistodon's leg had plunged a hole all the way through. 

 

With her scream giving her position away the Mistodon held its position and began kicking inward at the human body beneath it. From all sides Beatrix was pummeled back and forth taking heavy blows against her armor and her sides as she looked up seeing the other Mistodon burning Steiner in his sleep with a Fira spell. However the notion to vomit from pain was only brought to Beatrix when one of the Mistodon's sharp legs found where she was sparsely armored at the backs of her thighs. 

 

"Clever bastard… cutting my hamstrings!" She winced in fury, feeling how her legs no longer responded to her commands for movement. Though as bad as that had been, she suddenly grit her teeth and grimaced wide eyed at a new feeling that had been over a thousand times worse by comparison. 

 

One of those legs piercing amidst her thighs had slammed down again but struck beneath her underarmor. The proud general cried out like a babe in pain at feeling the blade-like appendage pushing through loins. Sinew and tissue ripped as blood poured out onto the floor. Beatrix gasped and clawed at the stone ground until her nails bled, still feeling the twisting and thrashing appendage that would not pull out from inside her. She vomited on herself feeling it cut through her intestines, skewering her beyond the depths of her naval inside.

 

"Filthy... bastard!" She whimpered in anger. "I am the proud General Beatrix! How dare thee kill me with such a shamefull wound?! Am I really to meet my end with such disgrace?!" She growled before somehow managing to find a grip upon the stone patchwork beneath her. 

 

In a desperate attempt to liberate herself from her impalement, Beatrix pulled upon the ground with all of her might until her body slid forward. She grimaced becoming numb to the pain and allowing herself nothing but her resolve as she pulled herself forwards again. With a wet slicking sound the creature's leg finally pulled free and Beatrix shivered, becoming cold from the amount of blood vacating her body all at once. The sense of shock was so great that as she rolled onto her back she smiled at the peace she felt inside of being free. 

 

However a second later the horrifying realization that she was not in fact safe came rushing back as she opened her eyes and screamed seeing the Mistodon looming at her from above. Pain like she had never felt rained down upon her. It's legs pierced her arms and chest. Her armor was shattered and flaked back into her own skin. Then a large mouth hidden beneath the sea of limbs bit down against her sternum. Never before did she believe that she could wish for death but Beatrix sobbed in desperation for the pain to stop as she reached out with her ruined arm toward the pile of armor sleeping not ten feet away from her. "S-Steiner! Anybody! Help me! Please!!!" However her shame was not yet to end. 

 

"Nooooo!" She wailed feeling her underarmor being bypassed once more. Both arms shot down to grip upon a leg in resistance, completely ignoring the pain in her desperation. She shrieked as her maidenhood was cut into and pushed apart, feeling it penetrating her in places that she would have no other touch. "Just kill me you monster!" She shouted while resisting as one of its feet rent her belly in the worst way possible. "You can kill me but leave me my dignity! Not there, please!" She whined like a frightened girl with all her pride gone and her valor being a memory of the past. "Nooo!" She began to beat upon its chest with her injured wrist while still trying to pull at the leg with her other hand. "You, can't, have, that! Nrr-aAHHHHH!!!" 

 

The woman thrashed in misery as the sharp appendage pushed forward. Beatrix's spirit broke at knowing something sacred was taken from her. Stab after stab, holes were poked through her womb until eventually the tissue in her entire lower abdomen gave way to the leg pushing through her guts.

 

Elsewhere a startled scream erupted as a sharp leg pierced down through Steiner's thigh. He wailed in pain feeling burned as if his armor had been roasted into a furnace. Although despite his injuries he still had strength about him thanks to Beatrix's earlier healing. With his sword still at his side he thrust his blade into the Mistodon over and over until it perished. 

 

On weakened knees Steiner wobbled to his feat and mumbled out, "Phew, that was a close one. Who knew that these creatures could… Beatrix? BEATRIX!!!" Steiner glanced behind him in horror. 

 

The proud General of the Alexandian military was laying on her back looking up at him with tear soaked eyes. Blood spewed out her mouth from internal injuries while the outside of her tattered body looked riddled with holes. Something was piercing Beatrix inside from down below causing a large deformation of her abdomen to be sticking upwards. Furthermore, one of her breasts had been exposed from where her chest armor had been torn off and was now held in the teeth of the creature. This was leaving Beatrix's torso literally hanging from it's mouth by her chest. 

 

Rage and fury and sympathy and worry… more emotions than Steiner could comprehend flooded through his body. The knight began to glow from a surging he felt in his heart. Beatrix's tears continued to fall as she soundlessly mumbled to Steiner in defeat. But in his refusal to give up on her Steiner lifted his sword. In a tranced fury he swung, cleaving the creature clean in two with so much force that the top half went flying while the lower half and Beatrix were separated from each other. 

 

"Phoenix down! Where is that blasted phoenix down?!" He shouted before grasping a feathered emblem and breaking it upon the general's body. 

 

Instantly the woman's tattered body began convulsing as Beatrix whimpered and shook her head. Steiner knelt down and lifted her head into his arms as he leaned down to hear her whisperings. "N-no… Steiner. Don't save me… please, kill… me." She sobbed toward his ear as her mind finally succumbed to her injuries causing her to faint. Steiner in his horror couldn't wait to break a Hi-Potion over her fast enough. Then he panicked, using a second potion on her as well from her being covered in so much blood that he couldn't if her wounds were healing or not.

 

Suddenly the sound of footsteps came from up the street to which Steiner raised his sword defensively of Beatrix. Though he was relieved to see that it was an Alexandrian soldier who approached. "Captain!" The smaller man exclaimed before rushing over. "Haagen, Pluto Knight VIII reporting! The princess is missing and must be found! I came searching for you… wait, is that Beatrix?!" He gawked seeing the bloodied body in the captain's arms. 

 

Steiner reached up and with a forceful arm pulled the man face to face with him. "You have new orders! You WILL escort lady Beatrix to safety! Take her out of the city and secure a protected location for her until she recovers!" 

 

"But sir, I-" 

 

"YOU WILL FOLLOW THIS ORDER, OR SO HELP ME I AM GOING TO-" 

 

"Of course!" Haagan remarked. "I was going to say, but sir, I would never allow harm to come to the general." 

 

Steiner released him but reached down and grabbed a scrap of Beatrix's ruined armor to cover her exposed chest with. "Do not behave unbefitting of a knight, you hear me?" Haagan immediately saluted so that Steiner would know he had nothing to worry about. "I will find the princess. That is my duty. Your duty is to protect the general. And when she awakes, if she were to behave erratically, then you must protect her even if it be from herself. Take her sword and do not return it unless she is of sound mind." Haagan didn't need an explanation to obey and immediately began dragging Beatrix off the main road. 

 

Steiner gripped his own sword in hand to make his charge toward the castle. He gave a heavy sigh when he started to leave but then suddenly looked up seeing an airship struggle it's way across the sky. "Regent Cid?! If he is here then he must know something." Then Steiner charged off to find where the others would be.

 

- The Next Day -  

 

The escape from Alexandria was a sad one as the castle had been completely destroyed and the town was left tattered in ruin. The survivors who were now homeless had nowhere to go as the recent wars had filled every nation on the continent with destruction. However during his visit the Regent Cid had taken in the heroes he had become familiar with, as such Princess Garnet had found herself waking up in Lindblum after the destruction of her home.

 

"Alexandria is gone…" She thought to herself in self-reproach after an eager but failed attempt by Zidane to lift her spirits. "I still can't believe it… So many people were killed. The survivors are homeless and destitute. How could this have happened...? Maybe I shouldn't have listened to Eiko and summoned Alexander… No. It's not her fault. It's my fault! I never should have run away from home! I got everyone involved in this: Zidane, Vivi, Steiner...everyone… Had I stayed with Mother, maybe I could've stopped her… It's all my fault." The princess lamented. "......" Staring off from the telescope balcony her woes burdened upon her in rapid succession. "I shouldn't have assumed the throne… I thought I could make amends, but… I've only brought misery to everyone… What am I going to do now?" She asked herself now consumed by hopelessness. "......"

 

Down in the conference room the group gathered before the Regent as Steiner attempted to give a report. "...The town is now in shambles. Many innocent lives were lost."

 

"<Gwok> ...I can imagine." The ooglop sitting upon the throne replied.

 

"Her Highness is probably beyond despair." Minister Artania empathized while Zidane and the others couldn’t even phathom how to comment about how she must have felt.

 

"I have never witnessed such tragedy." Steiner told them as his eyes replayed his last moments of battle. But while all others in the room were concerned with the princess and her kingdom, there was only one that Steiner could think about. "There was nothing we could do. We fought with everything we had, but to no avail. Beatrix and I were prepared to give our lives… I don't know what happened to her." He mumbled gravely at the memory of how wounded she'd become while while at his side.

 

However Minister Artania and the others gave no heed to his words. For of course the great General Beatrix would be assumed to pull through with none but Steiner knowing how deeply she'd been injured. "We have spent much time and effort rebuilding Lindblum. But I believe it will take much longer for our people to overcome their losses. Those who survived have a long, tough road ahead of them."

 

Freya spoke next commenting, "Burmecia, Cleyra, Lindblum and now Alexandria… Kuja has vanquished all four nations. What is he trying to accomplish?"

 

However Steiner turned away from the conversation of politics. It was clear that none present were lending an ear to his word so the captain kept his concerns to himself. They would speak until they hatched a plan for revenge against Kuja and once they had he would be ready.

 

However as life never allows for things to be as simple as they could be, the plans to take revenge on Kuja were put on hold as the princess in her muted depression had fled the safety of Lindblum without telling a soul. As such, Steiner, Zidane, and even friends of friends all set out in the search for her together. 

 

- Meanwhile, In Alexandria - 

 

"I SAID DO IT AGAIN!" Shrieked the voice of a brunette woman in a towering rage as she lay pained and frustrated in her bed. Her face was red with anguish and fury as sweat was dripping from every pore in her skin. There was a team of four different medical mages and as well as a surgeon stood around her but they each were looking as uneasy as the next by now.

 

"But ma'am… we're sorry. We've tried over a dozen times already. I'm sorry… we want to help but I'm afraid that there is nothing more we can do. Just like your eye, you will never-" 

 

"NO!!!" Beatrix screamed. "Not this! I will not accept it! Give me another one, I'll try it again myself!" The general ordered. 

 

Now the medical staff looked around nervously. The surgeon was the one to speak next as he attempted to take a firmer tone with her. "I'm sorry but that is out of the question. You've already had too many as it is. There is such a thing as potion poisoning you know. Your body can only digest so mu-" But he was cut off as Beatrix snapped forward, snatching a vial off of a nearby tray before another of the nurse mages scooted the rest further away from the bed. "You've already tried that! We all have! Ugh!" He shouted in frustration seeing Beatrix swallow down an Elixir. The empty vial was dropped to the floor where next to it a waste bin held a collection of used Ether and Elixir bottles. 

 

Beatrix reached down feeling her 'wound' and finding that it was still there, despite the healing potion. However now with her magic power restored, albeit for the sixth time, she raised her right hand up into the air ignoring the scar that was marred through both sides of her wrist. "Curaga!" She shouted, targeting herself with the powerful restorative spell. Once the flashing light had passed Beatrix ignored modesty and pulled the bedsheet back while feeling between her legs. All of the staff looked away to give the General her decency. "Why won't it work?!" She shouted before trying yet again. "Full-Cure!" She practically screamed as the highest white magic known to them shimmered through her body. However her body remained unchanged from her affected state. "Nooooooo!!! WHY?!!!" She sobbed, squeezing her knees together in shame. 

 

One of the nurses took pity on her and spoke up with what they were all thinking but too afraid to say. "Because even magic has its limits ma'am." She answered. The others frowned but waved her on deciding that even though Beatrix already knew this, perhaps she just needed to hear it said aloud. "It is the same reason why magic cannot fix your eye. A phoenix down or a heavy spell can heal damage or even restore a victim from fatal wounds. We can save people from the very brink of death… but we cannot bring back what is no longer there."

 

"Please…" Beatrix cried as tears fell from her face onto her lap below. "You must do something…" 

 

But the nurse told her the hard truth. "Magic can heal what is damaged but cannot restore what has been destroyed." She explained. "The damage was too severe. And at this point I do not believe that there is any spell or any potion in the world that will be able to change what has been done. You will never be able to carry children in this lifetime… and that is beyond our medical ability to change." 

 

There was no response from Beatrix other than to sob. The battle scarred brunette heaved as heavy tears of loss fell from her eyes. She curled herself up and rolled onto her side while holding her belly in despair. Beatrix cried harder than she had ever cried before, never having known such sadness. She felt robbed and cheated from a joy she had never known. The fury of her longing gave her no relief as she screamed with eyes closed to have back what she now knew she would never have again. 

 

- Later that afternoon - 

 

"Where is she?!" A doctor demanded as nurses ran about. 

 

"General Beatrix is missing from the recovery wing! She hasn't fully recovered yet, somebody find her! Fast!" A mage nurse called out.

 

- Meanwhile by the waterway, in front of the castle - 

 

"This is strange..." Zidane said to himself. "I was sure that she'd be back in Alexandria… Where else can I look?" He thought while searching for Garnet.

 

"Hey, Zidane! I've been lookin' for ya!" A gruff voice suddenly called out as a large furred man made his way over to him.

 

"Boss! Have you found Dagger?" Zidane asked.

 

Baku just waved him off saying, "Nah... Can't find her anywhere!" But then he paused before saying, "I didn't find Dagger, but… I think I saw that chick..."

 

"That chick?" Zidane turned his head to the side and asked.

 

"Yeah, you know, that chick!" Baku repeated, no clearer than the first time. "I'm gonna check again." Then he proceeded to just walk off leaving Zidane to have to run after him.

 

"Hey, wait! Who is she? What are you talking about!?"

 

- - 

 

Not far off at the Alexandrian Harbor Zidane was still chasing after Baku while pestering him with questions that he would ignore. "Where are you going, Boss? Is she here?"

 

Walking over a stone bridge overlooking the harbor below Baku said, "She was standin' over there just a second ago..."

 

"Over there...?" Zidane asked while he glanced down to see nobody around. But then suddenly, "Is that who I think it is?"

 

- - 

 

"Ridiculous!" Beatrix scowled, stepping out onto the harbor and tossing her hair back. "Nearly twenty different healing spells and over half a dozen healing vials… and they have the nerve to say that I left without being fully recovered just because I did not wait for them to release me! I think they made it perfectly clear that I am as recovered as I am ever going to be!" She scoffed and turned away as even the sight of the sea failed to calm her.

 

Meanwhile Baku remained where he had been standing and watched as Beatrix left again. A moment later Zidane had appeared in the right place but at the wrong time.

 

"Hey!" Zidane shouted in frustration and ran back the way he'd come. Baku just laughed to himself though as no sooner when he had, Beatrix had returned.

 

"Perhaps I am being too hasty though. Maybe I should apologize for my behavior. Even valid as my frustrations are, they did go above and beyond to meet my unreasonable requests." She paused while staring out at the water. "In truth, I had known since the second attempt that their efforts would be in vain. And yet they did as I demanded of them over and over, refusing to accept what was clear." 

 

Just at that moment Zidane appeared upon a different balcony and spotted Beatrix back at where Baku had pointed. "Ah, over there!"

 

While Zidane ran off, Beatrix lingered a bit. But her sharp eye did not miss the silhouette of someone standing in the distance where they surely did not belong. 

 

When Zidane returned to the harbor balcony where Beatrix had been standing he kicked the ground in frustration at seeing she was gone again. "Where did she go...?" After that he stormed off to backtrack his steps.

 

- - 

 

"Still alive, eh?" Baku asked after seeing Beatrix walk up right behind him. 

 

"You are...Baku?" She asked him softly.

 

"Yup, I'm the man who abducted yer princess!"

 

"Let us forget about that. It happened a long time ago..." She said dismissively as she had not approached him looking for a fight.

 

Baku respected her decision but unfortunately wasn't very skilled at reading the emotions of others. "You got a big heart, unlike that knucklehead, Steiner. No wonder the women are runnin' the show here. Gwahahaha!" He laughed, not evening noticing how Beatrix turned her gaze away with a pained expression.

 

Just then Zidane finally managed to catch up. "Boss! You must've seen Beatrix!" He shouted but then gasped in surprise at seeing her standing right before him. "Hey!"

 

Now that they had gathered together the three of them caught up about the recent events. "As you can see, Alexandria was completely destroyed..." Beatrix grieved. "Steiner and I did our best to protect Alexandria..." She paused as terrible memories flashed through her mind, but she remained silent about her pains. "...but our efforts were in vain."

 

Zidane wasn't as clueless as Baku when it came to the feelings of others. "Steiner was worried about you. Why haven't you contacted him?" But when she did not respond he decided it best to leave well enough alone. "Dagger's still in shock. She's been mute ever since the attack."

 

"She is...?" Beatrix asked, not having forgotten her fealty even in the face of what she recently lost. "Then it is better for her not to return to this city for a while… It won't do her any good to see Alexandria like this..."

 

"Well, here's the thing... We can't find her." Zidane admitted. "I thought she'd be back here, but I can't find her anywhere."

 

"She is back in Alexandria?" Beatrix pondered. "But she's nowhere to be found...? Have you looked in the resting place?" She asked with a knowing tone to her voice.

 

"'Resting place'?" Zidsne asked, never before having heard of it.

 

With a nod Beatrix assured him, "Yes, if she is back in Alexandria, I am certain that she will be there...There are a couple of favors I'd like to ask you… If you see Princess Garnet, please tell her not to worry about Alexandria… She must take care of herself first."

 

"Sure. What else?" Zidane asked.

 

"I'd like you to give something to her." Beatrix told him while handing over a garnet stone. "Maybe it will help the princess get through this time of uncertainty..."

 

- - 

 

Much happened after that as time went by. 

 

Later that evening as the setting sun bathed the broken kingdom in a rosy hue, Beatrix watched from a distance as sure enough Zidane had found the princess and their group of friends left to hunt down the man responsible for so much destruction.

 

However back in Alexandria one woman was left behind, alone, trying to pick up the pieces of what little she had. "Do not make me have to repeat myself!" Beatrix ordered. "Our first priority is to secure all of our citizens safely back inside the city! I want the guard manning the entrances to the town to ensure that no other monsters can get past." Beatrix declared, ensuring to put an end to the chaos.

 

"Leave it to the volunteers and the workers to start cleaning up the debris. Their efforts will be for not if they keep getting attacked while trying to rebuild our city!" "No, the castle is not a priority. For now it may remain in disrepair. We must secure the homes of our citizens first. The new queen is still away ensuring the defeat of all threats to the kingdom. We can worry about the state of the royal chambers after her return." Beatrix ordered, prioritizing by what she felt was most urgent.

 

- - 

 

"Arrgh! I am a soldier and a General! My duty is my sword! I was not meant for governing the entirety of the city in the absence of royalty!" Beatrix cried as she threw herself back into the bed. She was lying a portable tent that may as well have been a mobile cottage which was assigned to her as a temporary residence until the castle could be rebuilt. 

 

Instantly her tears started to fall as the bed gave no comfort and instead only proved to shatter the visage of confidence she had portrayed all throughout the day. Alone she wept with her fists balled up in the sheets. For all her power, she now felt helpless against the throws of her emotions that tormented her mind.

 

"Why must this burden fall to me… I, who am so unworthy…" She thought to herself. "What right does such a failure have to lead her people to recovery when I could do so little to stop it? I… who failed to slay simple monsters… I who allowed citizens to be massacred in the streets… I who am no longer even worthy to become a mother…." At this she once more scrunched up in despair while holding her abdomen in her hands. 

 

Her suffering did not end there as in the privacy of her room she began removing her armor as well as her underclothing. There in the dark of night and behind her locked door Beatrix lay naked, even going so far as to set her eye patch on the table stand beside her. 

 

Beatrix took a deep breath before looking down over her body as her skin was bathed in moonlight. She closed her eyes running her fingertips across her lips just to feel the sensation against them while ignoring the wetness that still streamed from her eyes. She traced her hand down her neck and felt her touch glide along her collarbone. Beatrix whimpered into the cold night air feeling desperate for any relief from the world of pain that her life had become. 

 

The buxom brunette squeezed upon her breasts with all the desire she had to have her body whole. She caressed over the scars left from the Mistodon's teeth and pinched her thick nipples until her breath became hot and ragged. Beatrix trailed her hands down across each one of her arms, touching every part of her body as if to reclaim ownership of herself over the memories of what was done against her consent. She had decided she would not allow the scars she was left with to rob her of her self worth. 

 

Ignoring the marring of her skin on both sides of her wrist and even the pale redded streaks bitten across her breast, Beatrix's trembling fingers now inched their way beyond her abs. The mighty woman's body began to tremble as if in the nervous grasp of a lover. Goosebumps rippled across her skin as her toes curled. Her hands became shaky with every inch that she reclaimed of her figure. Lower now to her navel she traced and fingered around it as her knees bent in anticipation. 

 

The desire for release burned in her heart as she caressed over her hip bones at each side of her waist. Beatrix bit her bottom lip as the warrior was in combat now, struggling through a battle of body and mind, both overtaken with desire. Her imagination created the lover that her body lacked; gripping her like some defenseless tavern girl and shoving her over a barrel in the wine cellar with brutish force. Beatrix ravished herself with the strength of a fighter until the bed was creakiny beneath her and threatening to snap.

 

"I need it!" She cried, eyes streaming harder now as lust mixed with loss. "I… I need to feel it!" She demanded loudly through the empty room. Then with an eager thrust of her hand her fingers descended to her sacred place to satisfy her yearning. However instead of pleasure, all went still in her mind the moment that she had touched herself.

 

The feeling seemed alien to her as her fingers explored what could only be described as scar tissue between her legs. Beatrix was not one to consider herself a slave to lust, but all the same she was not unfamiliar with the pleasure that a maiden could give to oneself when alone. Her fingers delved down to once familiar places where firm muscles and tight enclosures held a secret trove for the general to enjoy. But now she sifted through loose tissue and stretched openings. Where pressure had once presided, only a numbing stillness could now be found. No resistance was met as her fingers entered into places where her body could once tighten and restrict.

 

A suffocating need for release choked out from within the general's hot and flustered throat. She pulled her fingers back from her depths and traced along the upper ridge of her opening still to receive nothing from her efforts. "I need it…!" She sobbed to herself whilst turning to the side and spinning her fingertips in circles. "I feel…" She cried out to herself while rubbing the apex of her groin. "I can feel…" Sobbed in convulsing spasms of fury as she humped the air with her hips while rubbing herself. "I can feel nothing!" She shouted out in fury. "Why?!!!! It isn't fair! You have taken mine womb from me! Was leaving me this smallest of concessions also too much to ask?! You fiend!" Beatrix sobbed and pulled her hand away from her legs. She mourned as no matter how she touched herself she could feel no pleasure. No satisfaction was gained as no sensation could be felt by masturbating. The scar tissue had run too deep and deadened her nerve endings right where they were needed most. 

 

"I am ruined!" Beatrix howled and grabbed at her pillow holding it tight. "No longer a woman… and now numb to evening's joy as well! Hath the heavens no mercy for me?! Be this my penance for all the lives I've slain?! To live and to never enjoy bearing child, nor even experiencing that which makes joy have meaning?! My fire still burns but now without means of which to clench mine flame! Why?! Why couldn't it have just killed me?!" She wailed as her arms squeezed what life would have been within the pillow, if only it could have been the memory of that night she were choking away instead. 

 

- - 

 

Days had passed and Alexandria had heard nothing from the outside world. It was common knowledge that Lindblum was still under reconstruction from it's own disaster and every once in a while a supply ship would come and go from between the cities. Both Lindblum and Alexandria did what they could but there was little in the way of shelter or resources to provide. However just as a semblance of peace was just beginning to be restored, tragedy seemed to strike once more from out of nowhere. 

 

"Ma'am! Ma'am! I bring urgent news!" Came an Alexandrian soldier. 

 

Beatrix stood by the waterfall on the city side overlooking the ruins of the castle. Turning around to face the soldier she nodded. "Report!"

 

"Kohel, Pluto Knight III, ma'am! It's outside the town! All around the city, ma'am! There's mist!"

 

Beatrix's one eye opened wide as her hand instinctively reached for her sword for she would not be caught without it in hand a second time. "Then to arms! Rally the city and call all guards to the gates! Find Laudo and open communication with Lindblum! I demand to know what is going on. And all other Pluto Knight's defend Alexandria to the end!" She called and marched for the entrance to the city.

 

- - 

 

A great sense of alarm was raised with the dangerous monster filled mist suddenly covering not just their continent but also the entire world. Roots from Lifa Tree, once thought to be slain, erupted around the globe and released mist in overwhelming amounts. 

 

However, in the state of such a crisis news also traveled fast as nations equally reached out to one another for information and support. In the end, despite the hardship of Kuja's war, all that was achieved was to draw the surviving nations closer to one another in a united struggle for survival. 

 

"You're sure about this Regent?" Beatrix asked whilst standing upon the outskirts of the city. 

 

"Yes, positive. The source of the mist comes from a great tree on the northern continent." The Regent from Lindblum explained. "Zidane and the others had previously attacked a monster there which halted the source of the mist but it is clear now that the creature survived. I believe that Kuja is using this tree to further his plans for destruction so it would only make sense that Queen Garnet and the others would be heading there now. It's possible this could lead to the final showdown against Kuja. As such, I am sure that the tree will be heavily defended and Lindblum will not stand idly by without making our vengeance known." 

 

"And neither will Alexandria!" She called out and turned to a soldier next to her. "Ready the Red Rose immediately! Alexandria will join the fight on the northern continent!" 

 

"Yes, ma'am!" The soldier saluted and hastily ran back towards the castle. 

 

Then with a flourish of her hair Beatrix stated, "We shall join you as soon as we can! There is not a minute to waste! Leave now and we shall be right on your tail." The two saluted and the Regent returned to where the entire fleet of Lindblum ships were waiting behind him.

 

- - 

 

"General, the battle appears to already be underway! A large vessel of unknown origin appears to be under siege by an army of white dragons! The Lindblum fleet is reported to be giving covering fire but the dragons are too many in number! The unknown vessel is about to be overrun!" 

 

"Steiner… Are you on board that accursed ship?" Beatrix thought silently to herself, having recognized the Invincible immediately from it's previous attack on Alexandria. With a flourish of her hair the general ordered, "Then let's put a stop to it! Full speed ahead! I want the Red Rose used as a battering ram to intercept those dragons! They'll have to get through us if they want to attack that vessel!" 

 

"Aye, aye!" The ship's pilot called out.

 

"Ready the main cannons!" Beatrix ordered. "Pluto Knight's assemble at the port side of the ship! Prepare for oncoming attacks and protect the helm! Pilot, keep us away from friendly fire of the Lindblum fleet! But do not let those dragons get past us!" 

 

The Invincible soared towards a brilliant purple light in the sky that hovered over top of the Iifa Tree. Though several dragons had escaped Lindblum's cannon fire and were quickly in pursuit. Just as they were about to reach the Invincible another ship appeared from out of the clouds with a deep mahogany hull. The first wave of dragons were crushed as they flew against it and the rest who followed scattered in surprise. 

 

Kohel was quick to shout out once the battle commenced and several dragons released their breath attacks against the ship. "General Beatrix! Our ship is going to burst!"

 

Beatrix however was finally feeling alive again as she stood from the deck and blasted dragons out of the sky with her magic. "Holy!" She commanded and a righteous arc of light smited beast after beast. "Do not fret! Your captain is about to enter Valhalla! You are a Pluto Knight! Now, act like one!"

 

Once there was a break between the waves of attacks Blutzen snickered aloud, "...We all know you came along because you were worried sick about Captain Steiner..."

 

"Did you say something!?" Beatrix snapped but none of the Pluto Knights had anything else to say over the course of the long arduous fight.

 

Over on the Invincible Zidane jumped with surprise while saying, "Red Rose!? Could it be...Beatrix!? Quite a woman, you fell in love with!"

 

"You're one to talk!" Steiner quipped.

 

"Wait a minute, Steiner! What did you mean by that!?" Princess Garnet scolded but the Knight Captain ran off without responding. 

 

Back aboard the Red Rose Blutzen shouted out, "General! There is a signal communication coming in from the… The Invincible?! Uhh, from the foreign ship!" 

 

"Relay the message!" She ordered while unleashing a powerful Climhazzard against several dragons in the sky at once. 

 

"Uh, it's addressed to you personally ma'am." Blutzen muttered. 

 

Turning in a rage at having to repeat herself Beatrix ordered, "Pluto Knight, relay the message!" 

 

Reading from the transcript that was received Blutzen spoke out, "My lady, you have my thanks for your assistance. Vengeance upon our true foe is close at hand and we have you to thank for it. You may await my gratitude in person upon our successful return. Until then, yours, Captain Albert Steiner." 

 

Now several of the knights on the deck stood around snickering. Beatrix's cheeks burned as she marched over to Blutzen. "What's the matter soldier? Too busy laughing to find something to fight? Here, let me assist you!" Then the others gasped as she threw Blutzen overboard. The man screamed until he fell on top of a dragon which spiraled upwards out of control until it crashed two other dragons out of the sky. Once they collapsed Blutzen fell back down upon the deck of the Red Rose. Then as soon as Beatrix turned around all of the other knights quickly scattered to rejoin the fight.

 

- - 

 

The battle raged on for several hours while the purple glow of Memorial continued to shimmer. The Lindblum Fleet was an excellent help against the number of dragons in the sky but eventually the Red Rose was forced to land in the sea and carry on with long ranged weapons. 

 

Eventually though all eyes looked up as there was a change from above. The purple swelling seemed to collapse in on itself until constricting to a tiny yellow ball of energy. Then the orb exploded in a tremendous blast that reached far across the sky. Meanwhile the Iifa Tree started to come alive, flailing it's branches around like the arms of an octopus.

 

Down on the deck of the Red Rose Beatrix ran to the railing in alarm. "...I doubt anyone could've survived that explosion..." She mourned.

 

"Nooo..." Kohel said.

 

"Captain..." Blutzen sobbed. However Beatrix turned and scowled, ready to remind them that their queen had also been abord the ship that went into Memoria's abyss.

 

Before she got the chance however, Mikoto looked down and said, "...They are still alive."

 

"What!? Where are they?" Beatrix yelled, daring to hope.

 

"...Over there." Mikoto pointed out. 

 

"The Hilda Garde is probably closer..." Beatrix surmised. Turning to face another of the knights standing on the deck she said, "You. The tall one."

 

"Sir! Haagen, Pluto Knight VIII, ma'am!"

 

"I didn't ask for your name." Beatrix scowled. "Contact the Hilda Garde right away."

 

"Yes, sir, ma'am, sir!" He replied before rushing off.

 

- - 

 

The rescue of the heros was swift at Regent Cid's command, but complicated. Zidane who had led the charge for Kuja's defeat had turned back into the fray of Iifa Tree's thomping madness and was not seen again. Even as time passed and Queen Garnet awaited his return, not even rumor of a sighting from him was ever reported. 

 

The band of heroes seemed to go their separate ways after that. In the time that followed, Garnet had her coronation to prepare for as her title was to be made official. Meanwhile the strange gourmand creature Quinna found a home working in the kitchens of the castle once it was eventually rebuilt.

 

Lady Freya left the companionship of the group and was finally able to meet up with Sir Fratley who she had longed to be with for so long. While his lost memories never returned, the two eventually found love.

 

The little summoner girl Eiko had stayed in the company of Regent Cid, surprising them both by addressing them as Mother and Father, to which they joyously accepted. 

 

No matter who they were, once Kuja's reign of madness had ended they all had to find a place for themselves in what was left of the world. However despite all evidence to the contrary, there was one individual who already had a place but no longer felt that they deserved it. 

 

- Back in the rebuilt Alexandrian Castle -

 

Beatrix stood with a mournful expression while standing in what was previously the princess's bedroom. She thought over her life and the roles she had served in this kingdom. She wasn't just the general of the military but she had also been Garnet's guardian. She had served and protected the princess as had been her duty. Although not just a duty, it was her joy. Now that there would be a princess no more the failed protector of the realm felt her need to move on.

 

"It's time to say goodbye to this room..." Beatrix said while raising her sword into the air. "Save the Queen, you have served me well..." She acknowledged to the weapon, recognizing that the blade belonged to the realm and not to her personally. She laid it down upon the table to say goodbye. "My duty is finished here. Farewell, Alexandria..." With that she turned and left, peacefully making her way from the castle.

 

Though fate was not prepared to release her from her duty so easily as Steiner stood waiting there outside the castle archway. "Beatrix!" He called out to her. "Where are you going?" He asked with his voice full of emotion.

 

"Please don't ask. My mind is already set." She replied, finding it too painful to turn and look at him as he said it.

 

"Wait! Listen to me!" He pleaded, not feeling quite sure what he wanted to say. Although he was sure that even she could hear the rapid thumping if his heart.

<Thump-Thump...Thump-Thump...>

"I, uh… I-I never wish to lose you again!!!" He blurted out.

 

"Steiner..." She sighed, heavy hearted as she finally looked at him. "He really is so terrible with words." She thought to herself endearingly. For all the feelings that he didn't know how to say, her own heart filled in having heard them loud and clear.

 

"Let us protect the queen together!" Steiner urged. Not another word was needed as Beatrix rushed forward and threw herself against his armor with her hands wrapped around him. At first Steiner was overjoyed, but then the tears that Beatrix cried made him worry and pull his head back to look at her. 

 

"Oh Steiner, you fool! You know not what you ask." She whimpered against him but clung tightly to him all the same. "Of course I would defend the queen by your side." Looking up into his eyes now she told him, "I would stand for anything if by your side." Then she reached into his helmet and held his cheek tenderly with a smile. 

 

Before he could embrace his arms around her she turned from him. "Beatrix!" He called out as she stopped, feeling his gauntlet grasped around her arm before she could escape. "Then why are you leaving? If you hold no ill will towards fealty or service, and if you do not reproach the desire of me being at your side, then why do you still try to flee with tears in your eyes? What is it that troubles you so?" 

 

"Don't you see, Albert?" She said to him informally as a sign of proof for her comfort around him. "The problem that is so troublesome is me." Suddenly yanking her arm away from him she screamed, "I am what's wrong with me staying here!" Steiner gasped but there was nothing he could say. "You don't want me Albert, you don't want to be by my side." Beatrix fretted as she turned her back. "I'm not worth it." 

 

"My lady, please…" Steiner begged but then he straightened upright and spoke clearly. "Beatrix, you are the most amazing person that I have ever known. You are dedicated, talented, and thoughtful. You lead with your heart and I have no doubt that is where your true power comes from. They say that when true warriors meet, they never truly know one another until they've experienced battle together. Well I have fought both against you as well as beside you, and I can honestly say that by your side is where I wish to remain ever more." 

 

That was when Beatrix remained still for but a moment before starting to cry. And not only did she cry but she was wholeheartedly wept into her hands. 

 

"My lady, if I have offended you then I-" 

 

"No! No…" She reassured him while quickly wiping the tears from her face. "Steiner, you are wonderful. If you wish to know my feelings, I feel the same as you. My heart is yours for the taking. But I fear that time would prove you to be disappointed in me." 

 

"Beatrix… my- my dear!" Steiner dared, trying it out to see how it sounded. She raised an eyebrow at him in surprise but smiled. "How could you say that?! With my companions I hath literally traveled around the world and nowhere have I found a lady to be so fair."

 

"...A lady, huh?" Beatrix replied. Suddenly changing her tone as if finding her inner strength Beatrix said, "Speak plain with me Steiner. Should you and I join hands, then in time you would bed me, would you not?" She was not surprised to see Steiner throw up his hands in shock toward her frankness but she encouraged him. "Come now, we are alone and do not allow gender to insult thine General whose hand you proclaim to seek. Should you and I union, then it would be only natural to assume we would become lovers." 

 

Clearing his throat Steiner nodded and said, "Well, yes. I suppose it would." He stated simply so as to not overstep himself. 

 

"And if I could not satisfy you?" Beatrix was quick to respond. "If I could not fulfill the wifely duties that would be expected of me in the bedroom? Would your respect and admiration for me be enough to see you through your days without intimacy?" 

 

Steiner faltered at this unexpected line of questioning but Beatrix did not blame him for doing so. "My lady, forgive me… I did not understand. Why bring this up now? What merit could these concerns have to ask now?" 

 

Beatrix closed her eyes and wrapped her arms up around Steiner's neck. He jumped in alarm but she didn't let that stop her as she delicately pressed her lips up to his, giving him a full lingering kiss. She savored the moment, caressing their lips back and forth while kissing him. Beatrix found that she enjoyed his taste and smiled when his nerves calmed and his arms wrapped around her. 

 

Once the embrace had carried on long enough she pulled herself back and tossed her hair back over her shoulder. "Steiner, hear me well." She said and he nodded that he was paying attention. "I have no desire to participate with a loveless partner. I shall have no part in a passionless union. I understand that my words may seem vexing to you, but if you desire to have me as your own then meet me tonight in my chambers." 

 

"Beatrix…" Steiner whispered in surprise.

 

Slashing her arm through the air she said, "I shall have it no other way Steiner!" She declared. "Should your desire for me be true, then you will show without tary. And should you not show up, I will hold no ill memory of you… but will be gone from Alexandria never to be seen again by dawn's first light." 

 

Taking a deep breath he steadied himself. "I will be there! I assure you!" He promised but she just as quickly dismissed his claim.

 

"Seek me not in thy armor should you approach my door tonight, Steiner. Likewise do not expect for me to await you in any sense of formal attire. I pray that thee understand." Steiner seemed a bit choked up but again he nodded. "Very well. Then by tonight, I shall give you my explanation for why you will surely reconsider, and then once you have renounced your bid for me I shall have no further reason to remain in Alexandria." 

 

That was all that she had to say as she slowly walked away from him. All that Steiner could do was watch as Beatrix returned to the castle, seemingly to await the time of their meeting and nothing more.

 

- That Night - 

 

True to his word Steiner was on time, in fact arriving a bit early to the outside of her door. The setting sun still bathed the sky in red and from the crack beneath the doorway the knight captain could see the general's shadow walking about the room. 

 

Steiner raised his bare hand and allowed for his knuckles to rap twice upon the door. "Good evening, my lady. It is I, Albert." He announced but as far as he could tell he was ignored. "Please forgive me for being early but I thought it best to not leave a lady waiting." Again there was only silence. 

 

Steiner nodded as he had his answer. He had been told evening and it would appear that Beatrix had meant it. Stepping away from the door he leaned himself against the opposite wall of the castle corridor and waited. 

 

He looked down at himself to make sure his attire was straightened. He wore a white shirt with a string loop down the center. His shorts were a darker beige that was fastened with a belt. He did carry a scabbard at his side with his sword in sheath in case the need arose to defend themselves against an unexpected scoundrel, but otherwise he had come unarmored… and in easily removable clothing. 

 

Like clockwork, just as the sky changed the light from beneath Beatrix's door from garnet to sapphire, so too did Steiner hear footsteps approach followed by the clicking of lock upon her door. "Bid thyself entrance, Albert." Her voice beckoned from within. 

 

Steiner reached for the door handle with shaking fingers but then shook his head and steeled himself, assuming that Beatrix would expect him to be entering with confidence. Grasping the handle firmly he opened the door and walked straight forward before making sure it shut tightly behind him.

 

A single candle had been lit casting the room in a dim glow against the moonlight that was shining brightly that evening. Large windows basked the bed chamber in a bluish hue from the brilliant stars radiating down upon the castle. And there in the center of the room Beatrix stood waiting for him with her back turned. "My lady… I have come to dash these ridiculous claims that you could be anything less than beautiful in my eyes." Steiner said romantically and with conviction. 

 

Even with her back turned Steiner could see how her hand raised to her chest and he could almost hear it as her cheeks flushed from his words. He smiled proudly knowing that he had just made her smile even though he could not yet see it. 

 

"I so hoped that you would come… and yet I regretted that I knew you would." She said aloud as she turned to face him. Her face was just outside of the candle light but her body looked like it was glowing. A long white gown of sheer lace complimented the curvature of her figure. It bent at her hips and jutted forward from her chest with the thin material allowing for the color of skin to be apparent. While the finer details could be seen in the absence of better light, it was clear that Beatrix wore no undergarments beneath the designer gown she was shrouded in.

 

"Please tell me that you claim this in jest!" Steiner replied, raising both fists up in front of him to accentuate his point. 

 

Beatrix smiled and then stepped over to her balcony. Steiner blushed at being able to her backside in exquisite detail through the sheer backing of her gown. But this was what he came for and decided it might offend Beatrix should he look away. 

 

"Steiner…" She said suddenly. "Do not be discouraged. I have feelings for you too. But I fear the breaking of our hearts." Then she slowly walked past him allowing him the stunning view of her nipples as they showed through her dress when she walked by. Making her way to stand in front of the bed she turned back to face him. "I am a warrior, as you well know. But as such, I have a warrior's body. My flesh is riddled with scars the likes of which I cannot fathom you would be attracted to." She whispered while squeezing her arms around herself shamefully.

 

"No…" Steiner's voice said coldly. 

 

"What?!" Beatrix remarked while even stepping backwards in surprise. 

 

"...I will not stand for this." He said while standing in front of her with his head down. Then while raising a fist he told her, "I will not stand to hear anyone make besmirching remarks of the most beautiful lady I have ever laid eyes upon… not even from that lady herself." Steiner said while finally looking up to her and smiling. Beatrix blushed a bit but was given no time to respond as the knight caption quickly spoke on. "Tell me, is your anxiety for us bedding truly that great? Could it really be so simple as that being which stands in the way of our love?"

 

"Yes Steiner, but you-" She attempted to say but then froze in alarm. 

 

The knight captain was a brave man indeed and when the situation called for it he did what he had to do. Without hesitation he gripped at the drawstring of his shirt and pulled until the bindings snapped. With one arm he removed the garment and without shame he dropped his shorts while kicking off his shoes. Steiner lifted his arms to stretch and then stood with his hands upon his hips. 

 

"Look upon me Beatrix, and see that I am unafraid!" He called out while completely in the nude. "Look at the body of a warrior and see that I too have scars! See my own doubts and anxieties of a man fit for duty but perhaps lacking in figure. Yet all the same I cast my doubts aside in hope that you would see my conviction. I look upon you lady Beatrix, not as a scoundrel but with a lust all the same. With a healthy lust of the heart, and a love I pray thee will accept!" He shouted, standing with an erection firm with determination. 

 

Beatrix was aghast with surprise as she reached to brace herself against the bedpost behind her. But soon did her lips curl and give rise to panting as her one left eye looked upon him with desire. "Sir, Knight Captain… Might I assure you, all your talk of doubts or insecurities are for nought! What you say may be a man lacking in figure, I see the body of a gentleman who is matured. And a body… if you'll forgive my vulgarity, that lights a fire within me such that I desire to have you upon me this instant!" 

 

Steiner looked glad to hear her words as he took a step forward. When she nodded to him in welcome, he ceased holding back and pulled her into his arms where she was just as quick to kiss him. Her hands fell upon him no different than his did to her. Beatrix was happy to exchange tongues as Steiner's hands found their way to her breasts. The two moaned in delight of the other and Beatrix was the first to reach down to fondle her partner's ass. 

 

It was with a portly grunt from him and a giggle from her that Steiner fell upon her on the bed. "Uuh, forgive me. I must be heavy." Steiner admitted while worrying about her comfort.

 

Yet she would not allow him to lose his confidence as her hand held his cheek while asking, "And with my armor removed do you so quickly think me to be weak? An able bodied man is an attractive thing. Lean your weight upon me and allow me to feel you Albert." She cooed up to him as his erection dug against her stomach. As Steiner nodded and pulled back his arm he had braced himself with Beatrix let out a little grunt but then smiled, happily wrapping her arms around him to not allow him to move.

 

The two kissed passionately as they explored each other's upper bodies. Their fingertips ran along scars on their shoulders, backs, and chest. Beatrix allowed Steiner to spread her gown apart and squeeze upon her breasts as firmly as he liked. But she in turn leaned upwards, tonguing and nibbling on his thick meaty nipples as well. The general purred equally as loud in exploring him as when she felt his touch upon her. Meanwhile the knight captain's eyes glistened as if no other woman had ever made him feel so alive and Beatrix returned a captivated look being proud to be his bed partner.

 

The moment was almost perfect, almost, if not for how her hand snapped to his wrist in trepidation as soon as his touch reached her thigh. "Albert… I'm sorry. I still cannot show you that." She said before sliding out to the side from under him and then sitting upon the side of the bed in silence.

 

Steiner felt undone by his surprise. He quickly moved to sit beside her as she turned her face away, clearly fighting to hold back tears that were welling up in her eyes. Steiner for his part hated feeling so helpless in not knowing what afflicted her so. "My lady, why do you still cry? Is not our mutual embrace not evidence enough? Does my doting of your figure, despite our mutual wounds, not show you that prior injuries mean nothing to me? Tell me what reason could remain for you to still-" 

 

"BECAUSE I COULD NOT STAND TO SEE YOU BLAME YOURSELF FOR THIS STEINER!" Beatrix suddenly screamed while standing up from the bed to move away from him. Steiner sat flabbergasted by her outburst but in a pitiful rage Beatrix turned to face him. "Very well, if you so absolutely have to know!" Quickly she reached over for the candle and moved it closer to the nightstand by the bed. Then in haste she began pulling at her gown until it fell to the floor. "Look Steiner, look at what has happened to me!" 

 

Steiner's eyes spread wide as the woman of his dreams spread her legs before him. Although she had been right in that he had not been prepared for what awaited him. Where her tight and neat lipped labia should be was instead a sprawling of angry red flesh that stretched outward from a marred hole between her legs. It was apparent that some degree of reconstructive surgery had been done to repair her urethra but other than that Beatrix's skin looked burned until her flesh was melted to a staggering degree. Unfortunately that was not the worst of it as Steiner looked to where he could openly see into the general's vaginal canal. He found that her loins had been stretched, or possibly torn open, to remain gapped in a permanent spread state. A solid three inches of nothingness hung apart before him that stretched deep within her and from what he could tell the scar tissue was worse yet further inside. 

 

Steiner did not mean to make her feel worse but as he sat there slack jawed he just could not think of what to say. It was clear that having his eyes finally upon her ruined body made Beatrix feel just as horrible as she expected it to. Her lip quivered as tears streamed down her face. "S-Steiner… I'm so sorry." She sobbed. "This is all that I have left. I have sought out a cure but there is no magic that can heal me." Slowly her quivering fingertips slid down to just below her belly button. "I am left barren, Albert. No, in fact the truth is much worse than that. My womb is gone in its entirety. The doctors tell me there was naught enough of it left to save. I will never bare you children nor ever could I even achieve the modest dream of being able to please you with this body." 

 

Steiner had heard her words but still could not believe what he was hearing and what he was seeing. "But… how, my lady? When could you have possibly sustained such a grievous injury?" He blurted without thinking. 

 

Sobbing quieter now she answered, "It t'was by you side dear Albert, during the attack on Alexandria while Bahamut ravaged the city. The mist creatures that we vanquished together through the streets..." The night sky outside was clear and yet there may as well have been a thunder clap that radiated through Steiner's heart. "You were stricken unconscious by the power of the mist and in that time I was overcome." A single heavy tear dropped from his face as he listened to Beatrix speak. "I do not think that the creature's aim was to render me infertile, more likely desiring my heart to have pierced. But it's aim ran afoul." 

 

"I did this…" Steiner gasped out suddenly, which immediately drew sadness to his lady's eyes. 

 

"Albert, no. You are not to blame for the savage ravishings of a monster. Nor are you the villain responsible for calling those things into our fair city in the first place." She assured him while standing close and taking his face into her bosom. She stroked his hair and comforted him softly, welcoming him in against her completely bare skin.

 

What she did not expect though was how the knight would suddenly grab her around her waist and lift her feet from the ground. In a wild swinging motion Beatrix was tossed onto her back upon the bed. She looked up at the darkened silhouette standing before her, legs apart with his manhood brandished erect within the candle light. "Lady Beatrix, tonight I shall bed you…" He said to her with authority. "As is clear to me that you also would desire for it to be so." 

 

The buxom brunette stared up at him with her one good eye and her breath was completely held captive from her. She pulled one knee up on the bed and felt it as her nipples hardened in response to authority he was taking over her. "I would have given you all, Albert." She responded in a flushed voice with her cheeks reddened.

 

With no further delay Beatrix gasped as Albert was upon her. He leaned his body down over hers and kissed her fully on the lips as his hands began to rove across her breasts. She groaned and growled beside his ear, running her nails along his back as his lips trailed their way down her neck while his hands pinched and pulled across the mounds of her chest. Her knees bent in response as her thighs spread wide, feeling the weight of his hips against her pelvis and shuddering from the impactful thrusts that he wasted no time in partaking with her. 

 

Steiner raised her left leg to point up towards the ceiling as he kissed from her knee to along her calf and ankle. Then after running his tongue across the sole of her foot he began sucking and kissing upon each one of her toes. Beatrix screamed, overwhelmed by her surprise of finding Steiner to be such a passionate lover. He left no corner of her body unexplored as his hands bent and delved into curves like a ship navigating through the waves of a turbulent ocean.

 

Yet all the while as his teeth nibbled her toes and his hands squeezed her buttocks, he pounded. Steiner thrusted and impacted against her hips until her breasts shook. While he used every part of himself from his hands to his chest and even his knees to grind against her beauty, he humped within her. Beatrix's eyes lulled aimlessly as her breath fled her feeling as if Steiner were orchestrating poetry and her skin were his lyrics. Her neck arched back into the bedding as his tongue sailed from her navel to up to the tips of her heaving mammaries as his loins continued to collide with hers. But for all that she wanted to disappear into his mind shattering embrace, it was that same rhythmic motion that swayed her breasts and depressed her hips into the mattress which brought her to tears. 

 

Steiner froze as the love of his life suddenly erupted into the loudest most heartbreaking fit he had ever heard. "Why does my lady cry when it is so clear thou enjoyeth my touch?" 

 

Looking up and sobbing inconsolably she cried out to him, "I am undone by your passion for me Albert. Nay hath any fable nor promise of demon hope to compare to the passion which you have enveloped me with. You are a man beyond belief my Albert who has taken the kindling of my heart's fire and run it like a raging inferno through my loins! I burn for you Albert! I dare do profane like a youth succumbed to their desires that I love you Albert! … But I cannot feel you!" She wailed and brought her hands to her face as she sobbed now that much harder. 

 

Steiner knelt there, hip deep within the woman as his manhood was sheathed inside her femininity. Not openly but to himself he accounted that her wounds did leave her feeling quite loose and yet as he thrusted himself in he could still grind his circumference against her walls to feel the friction he needed well enough. "My lady, forgive me. I don't understand." 

 

"The nerves are dead Steiner! I have naught to feel your passion with!" Beatrix screamed at him through her tear stained face. "Your kiss and your touch are delightful! The way you ignite my body to swoon and embrace me from my mind to my toes is like a dream! But where it matters most and where I would be most eager to take you, I cannot even sense that you are within me." She whimpered, looking down and adoring the sight of how he penetrated into her. "I long for this my dear. I yearn to feel you, to feel anything." While staring longingly into his eyes under the candlelight she sobbed to him, "I hath tried, believe me I have! Like some fiend overcome with depravity my fingers hath run between my legs desperate for some satisfaction. But try as I might there is a yearning which drowns me that I am unable to quench. Not even a spark of touch is availed to me. I hath even sinned, mounting myself upon the unforgiving handle of Save the Queen until I bled. But still any sensation be it pleasure or even pain would not bequeath itself to me." 

 

Beatrix felt like her heart would burst from how overwhelmingly romantic Steiner could be as he held her cheek gently and said, "You are not a sinner for seeking only that which was robbed of you." Closing her eyes and sniffling she leaned her face into his hand. But as her lover contested her beliefs she sighed accepting that he would only discover the truth by fire, just as she did. "I shall not give up on you achieving what you wish so easily." She nodded, though fruitless in her opinion she agreed to allow for him to try what he might. 

 

Beatrix closed her eyes tight, trying not to sob even harder as she saw her beautiful man slide down between her legs and overtake her shame with his mouth. She grimaced in agony of knowing how wonderful he probably would have made her feel but all the same she shook her head that whatever his mouth was attempting had failed to reach her brain to satisfy her. "Tis pointless Albert. Please, let us return to the passion you had shared with me. Your touch upon my neck and chest and down to my toes will serve as pleasure enough. I accept the torturous fate of having a fire in my loins driving rne mad but to which there can be no avail. Though you needn't be bothered the same way by a body that cannot hope to please you. Now lay back and let your woman give you relief. I swear by the stars that my mouth will learn to bring you to bliss and that I shall never complain about you partaking of my throat. And should it be necessary, the defilement of my bowels I will accept as penance for being unable to satisfy you in the way that a woman should." 

 

Steiner though had still refused to give up as he had continually been lapping at her insides hoping to find some spot or some angle in which she could still feel him. "One way or another I am GOING to pleasure you!" He growled while crawling up on his hands and knees to adjust his position and try something different. 

 

"Albert, please… I would rather focus on what we can enjoy than tary on what will neve-Aughhh!" Beatrix suddenly gasped as a startling sensation lurched through her lower abdomen. Instantly her head snapped back and her fingers clutched at the bedsheets until her knuckles were turning white. "What are you-?!" She gasped out in a labored breath as a pained feeling stretched throughout her loins. However despite what would normally be the unpleasantness of being hurt in such a sensitive area, Steiner had given her something to feel and that made her look down at him with fiery pleasure in her eyes. 

 

"Forgive me my lady..." Steiner commented as he leaned toward her harder eliciting a pained whimper from the otherwise frothingly aroused female. "But you are a mighty warrior and it is my belief that you can handle this." 

 

Beatrix had to blink several times in disbelief when she saw exactly what the man was doing to her. There between her legs the knight captain had forcefully inserted the full of his freakishly large fist inside her. With his left hand he gripped her hip to hold her steady but with his right hand he plunged his closed fist inside, both filling as well as stretching the already gapped open passageway. 

 

Beatrix screamed as he shoved again, punching into the void that was left behind in the absence of her uterus. But as her legs snapped shut around his wrist and her arms darted out for his shoulders as she looked at him with an amazement she could hardly comprehend. "How… can this be?!" 

 

"You feel this?" Steiner asked and was pleased when she gave an excited nod.

 

"It hurts, but to feel anything is a joy to which I cannot describe." She groaned and used her nails to tug him tighter within her. As he slowly pushed farther her mouth fell agape but then her lips curled into a smile before a sultry gaze was granted by her eyes. "What manner of fate is this that I should receive such a wound, to have left me split as the river is wide… but then find myself in bed with a man whose hands are like mountains that can shut pressure to my gates once again?" 

 

"So I take it that my lady is pleased with these ol' haymakers of mine?" He asked with a confident smile but then looked down in concern at noticing a slight bleeding coming from within her.

 

Before he could react though her own dainty hands clutched violently around his arm to hold him tight. "Albert don't stop! Don't, stop, ohh… I am going to…"

 

Without even letting her finish Steiner nodded and then began pummeling her insides back and forth. Beatrix's body fell limp as she collapsed onto her back and writhed. Her knees began to rise and fall as her breasts swayed heavily upon her chest. Her screams of bliss echoed off the walls as her toes curled into the bedsheets. 

 

Steiner did not stop until it appeared his beloved could no longer breathe. A thick gleam of sweat made her body look radiant like the stars in the sky now that the faltering candle light was at wicks end. Her chest rose and fell with labored panting as her fists stiffly released from the bedding as if too sore to easily unclench. "Uuhhh…. Mmrrnnnggmm… f-... Full Cure…!" Beatrix panted out before there was a glimmering light shining around them. 

 

Steiner removed his hand as a myriad of smells released from her body. A sweet succulent nectar seemed to drip from his fingers while the stark, bitter, metallic scent of blood was marred across his hand. "My lady…" 

 

Beatrix was quick to silence him before he could speak further. She lay back in the bed not out of exhaustion but out of satisfaction. She smiled, finding herself in a sense of nirvana accompanied by a series of emotions she did not expect to find. "I have achieved bliss, Steiner… and it is all thanks to you." 

 

"You mean…?" He asked and she nodded to him quite happily.

 

"I was able to orgasm… vaginally, from that… for the very first time since that beast from Kuja nearly laid me under. I had not thought this were possible for me any longer and yet somehow, Albert you wondrous and unassuming man, turned out to be a sex god of the kind which was exactly to my needing…" 

 

"Beatrix!" He stammered, unknowing how else to respond to such praise. 

 

For Beatrix's part though, she knew exactly how she felt at the moment while reeling in delight before him on the bed. "Steiner… would you have me? Would you take me to be yours, forever? To allow me to belong to you and you alone for all time?" She asked him without even the slightest hesitation to her voice. 

 

"My lady, but of course! Though please, consider your words before behaving so hastily. To have you and to hold you would be beyond a dream but tary to consider perhaps am I truly worthy of one such as you?" 

 

Beatrix smiled, nearly rolling her eyes as her cheeks flushed for him. "Tis a higher power I fear that bringeth us together my love. For I am as of now bound to you. I admit that fate's curse for my wounds had me lacking in spirit, but now I find that through you and no other may my personal satisfaction ever be achieved. I need you in my life Albert, my body needs you… for there can be no bliss in my purse without you." Slowly and seductively she ran her foot across his knee and up his thigh with desire. "But more than that do my affections dwell. Even aside from a body's yearning, my heart was swept away long before my pride would ever admit." 

 

Steiner now seemed nervous but transfixed. His smitten eyes showed the effect that her seduction had upon him and now in his anticipation he sought to share his feelings with her. "Can it be true? As you have addressed me, could I be your love so easily?" He asked as if nothing else could have made him happier.

 

It was with a hearty laugh that she smiled at him. "There is nothing easy about it Albert as your performance has been simply divine. Your loving expertise has left me breathless. I swear should any ask me of your talents I shall lie and label you the bumbling fool in fear they else wise to the truth that Albert Steiner is the world's leading Casanova of our age." As humble as Steiner was even he couldn't resist the prideful smirk that her words filled him with. Although he smiled for a different reason as her delicate hands reached out to take hold of his rigid cock still straining towards the sky in front of her. "I am yours, Albert Steiner, should you wish for me or not. I would be thine and allow for you to take me as your wife. Even still should you cast me aside, I will take no other and bear no fondness till the day I die least it be for you." 

 

"Nay! Never I say shall that come to pass." Steiner assured her but was distracted as her hands began stroking with remarkable tension. "Uhhh dear… I of course… for you… to wife, and..." He moaned which only made Beatrix smile wider, feeling accomplished at her task. 

 

"You have done the impossible at giving this crippled harpy her due. Now I believe that it is time you received what is expected from love making at the very least. Name what would be thy pleasure and I assure you will not be denied. Should I bow to swallow thy might and be graced by your warmth down my throat? Or would you have me by my backside, enjoying the thrill of having the mighty General Beatrix pulled at the hair like a sultry tavern wench?" She smirked, showing that she had no small amount of excitement in offering him anything that he wished.

 

However, when Steiner grabbed her by the arms just below the shoulders and kissed her it left her surprised and staring at him anxiously awaiting his word. "Though it may be selfish to ask, knowing it will be for my pleasure alone…" 

 

"Anything, my love. Should your heart desire something deviant then I shall not think less of you for it." She assured him, fully prepared to hear out whatever strange sexual request he might propose to her.

 

"Be you barren as you say, I would nevertheless seek to seed the field of the woman I love on the night of our first embrace." Steiner said to her with a straight face full of determination.

 

"Oh!" She gasped, bringing her fingers to her smiling lips as her eye almost teared up at such a touching request. "Albert… here I offer you the freedom of all things lewd which a man may dream of… and still your greatest yearning is to make love to your woman in the traditional sense. You will make me weep from the sensibility of it my dear." She giggled. But then with a nod she leaned herself back and opened her legs invitingly to him. "Should you desire this wretched ugly body of mine then I shall give it to you with the lust of a thousand hearts and shall never deny you." 

 

Without missing a beat Steiner leaned over her saying, "What madness hath taken you, my love… You are beautiful." 

 

The kiss that she gave him after that was so deep it was if she could not breathe without his lips upon hers. And even though she could indeed not feel it, she wrapped her thighs tightly around him as he penetrated his depths to his delight. "Tell me that you can feel this Steiner… tell me that my body does not fail to us both." 

 

"You feel wonderful, my love." He whispered beside her ear and she threw her arms around his shoulders as if she had been falling. 

 

"Then have me! Have me Albert! Take me as you desire. Do not hold back or tary on pride to show me the withstanding of your endurance! Take your pleasure from me and seed my fields so that they may be drenched to your satisfaction!" 

 

It was not long before the two here huffing together as Steiner rocked his sizable mass in against her lithe frame. Beatrix prided herself on her injury now, coveting the lack of feeling which would allow her to withstand any roughness from him that he desired even until the bed frames cracked and shattered beneath them. She clung to him letting him feel her grasp as she toyed with his hair. Then she squeezed in tightly, mashing her swollen bosom against his chest for his delight. The sensation of sex without pleasure quickly became a novel interest to her as she was now free to concentrate on so many more ways to please Steiner without the distraction of her own enjoyment. She would never have an orgasm from his cock, she knew… but he had found a way to bring her to orgasm nonetheless which she had no longer believed to be possible. And for that she would devote herself to becoming the most pleasurable lover her newly betrothed could ever hope to desire. 

 

"You have to tell me!" She urged to him as his groaning deepened. "You have to say the words or else I won't know when! I won't be able to feel it Albert, you have to say it!" 

 

"Yes! Urrnnngghh! Now! Now my love, I- Arrghhhh!" He groaned while clenching his teeth. Immediately she squeezed upon him with all of her might. Years of battle experience and honing her physical condition were now put to a different use. Her legs enwrapped behind his ass locking him in place as she was sure his balls were emptying inside her. She clung to Steiner with her thin but toned arms allowing him to feel her desire as he groaned and gyrated in spastic release. 

 

~ ~ 

 

Several minutes later once their passions had concluded, the two lay together in the dark not asleep but resting blissfully. They each smiled together illuminated in the afterglow of their bodies rather than by the candlelight which had long since burned itself out.

 

"You were wrong, my love." Her deep and sensual voice whispered out as she stared at his naked body in the moonlight. 

 

"Hmm? What? What was that?" He grunted, lifting his head from below her breasts where she had cuddled him.

 

"I said that you were wrong, about seeding my fields being only for your pleasure." She smirked as he held onto her all the tighter after that. "Please take no injury to thy pride when I say that I find you to be beautiful, Albert. The intensity of your growls, the tightening of your muscles… I experienced much pleasure from having you discover your climax within me." Eagerly she guided his head back to her tender abdomen and stroked her fingers through his hair. "And I would allow you to again. As often as you wish. There can be no danger to it as sex will be without consequence; and with magic you cannot hurt me despite the lengths in which are required to provide me with pleasure in return. But know that my fire burneth brighter for you with every passing second that I look upon you. I am yours, from this day to my last." She told him before he leaned up to become lost within her kiss once more. 

 

- Some time later ~ 

 

Dagger's coronation came and went without interruption. Now Queen Sarah Garnet Til Alexandros XVII sat upon her throne as the ruling monarch to the recently rebuilt Alexandria. Garbed in a white dress and sitting in the same place Queen Brahne sat in when the Prima Vista last arrived before her adventure had begun; Dagger awaited the start of that very same play, 'I Want to be Your Canary.' 

 

From behind her both Steiner and Beatrix walked into view; Steiner on the left, Beatrix on the right, flanking the throne from behind. However now with more than just pride of fealty in their hearts, the two wore engagement rings bound by a chain around their necks so as not to interfere with their raiments used to protect the crown. 

 

Though Dagger lamented the occasion of the theater ship's return, bringing back far too many memories that were both fond and painful.

"The theater ship will arrive any minute."

"It's been so long..."

"I can't wait to see everyone."

"But..."

"It'll never be the same..."

"I have to let go of the past..."

"I have to move on, just like he taught me."

 

With the stage fading to black, clapping was overheard from around the city. As identical to the last Theater Ship performance, Baku was once again garbed in his King Leo uniform; walking on stage and bowing before the audience.

"Ladies and Gentlemen!"

"Tonight's performance is a story that takes place long, long ago."

"Our heroine, Princess Cornelia, is torn from her lover, Marcus."

"She attempts to flee the castle, only to be captured by her father, King Leo."

"Tonight's story begins when Marcus and Cornelia decide to run away together."

"And now, Your Royal Majesty, Queen Garnet, Lord Steiner, Lady Beatrix..."

"...noble ladies and lords, and our rooftop viewers, Tantalus proudly presents 'I Want to Be Your Canary'!"

 

When the performance began Princess Cornelia is seen running across the stage. "Marcus?" She calls out as a man garbed in a black cloak, complete with black hood, walks on stage. "Sweet Marcus, I fear I love thee more than I should!"

 

Speaking deeply the actor playing Marcus replied, "Princess... Wilt thou be happy, married to a lowly peasant such as I?"

 

Cornelia called out deeply while standing before him. 

"Prithee, call me 'princess' no more!"

"Marcus, wilt thou truly cherish me, the king's only daughter?"

"Or is such a desire too dear to wish for!?"

"After our nuptials, shall I become no more than a puppet?"

"A mindless puppet, never to laugh, never to cry?"

"I wish to live my life under the sky. At times I shall laugh, at other times cry."

"For no life is more insincere than that lived as a masquerade."

 

The determination in Marcus' voice rang clear.

"So much consideration thou hast given it! But worry not!"

Then the two embraced in each other's arms on the stage.

"Cast away thy trappings of royalty, and I shall swaddle thou in a gown of pure love!"

"Never again will I part from thee!"

"Pray, my love, make me thy canary to keep forever in the cage of thy bosom!"

"Let us embark on the first ship tomorrow, before dawn can tell of our elopement!"

 

Cornelia pleaded to him devotedly.

"All my fortunes at thy foot, I lay, and I shall follow thee throughout the world!" Meanwhile Beatrix turned to give a heartfelt nod to her betrothed who fumbled and blushed to her in response making her chuckle.

 

Marcus swept his arm through the air confidently.

"No cloud, no squall shall hinder us!" Then turning in place the actor walked off stage.

 

Cornelia was left alone to express her thoughts in serenity.

"O, love is the sweetest joy and the wildest woe."

"All I wish is to be by my sweet Marcus's side."

 

However then Blank appeared on the side of the stage, eavesdropping. 

"Fie! It shall be war again unless this marriage is stopped."

"Ne'er will I let their plan come to fruition."

Walking upon stage as if to introduce himself he calls out.

"Good day to ye, Highness."

 

"Good day..." Cornelia greeted the stranger. 

 

"Wist thee of Marcus?" Blank asked her.

 

"Marcus!? What news dost thou bring?" The naive princess shouted with excitement.

 

"This!" He punched her in the stomach.

 

"Ugh!" Cornelia shouts as she falls into his arms; the stage fading to black as would be her consciousness.

 

At the next scene Marcus stands still in hood before the rising of the sun.

"The time for our departure is long past."

"Where is Cornelia?"

 

Cinna walked on scene as a concerned cohort of Marcus.

"Marcus, the ship soon embarks!"

"Board ye the boat alone, and peace could come to both kingdoms, as Blank so said."

"Speak, Marcus!"

 

Lamenting the fate to which Cornelia's absence would make most obvious Marcus called out to himself.

"She told me that she could not live without me."

Stepping further upstage, a section of the sky illuminated overhead with several stage pictures of birds flying above.

"So, the sun is our enemy, too. The eastern sky grows bright."

"Will we not spread our wings, as yonder birds in joyous flight?"

 

Cinna shouted in desperation for his compatriot.

"Hark, Marcus! They cannot wait any longer!"

"The ship departs!" Then off stage he fled depicting his urgency.

 

Though without his beloved to flee beside him Marcus' feet held fast.

"Could she have betrayed me?"

"Nay, ne'er would my love speak false."

"I must have faith!"

"She shall appear if I only believe!"

"As the sun lends me no ear, I pray instead to the twin moons!"

"I beseech thee, wondrous moonlight, grant me my only wish!" However to the startlement of all, as Marcus threw off his robe and spun around, he faced the queen in her royal seat to reveal that the actor was in fact the long missing Zidane.

"Bring my beloved Dagger to me!"

 

Freezing only momentarily out of shock, she quickly jumped out of her seat and ran toward the door. Steiner and Beatrix stood with arms blocking her path; only to have them open the doors for her. Dagger looked to Steiner who smiled warmly and to Beatrix who bowed, neither one of them ever having intended to bar her from her love that was clear.

 

The two guardians of the realm joined beside each other hand in hand as they watched the queen tear her way through the unexpecting audience of nobles. Beatrix laughed as Steiner could not contain himself to order the Pluto Knights to retrieve the kingdom's pendant when Dagger had dropped it in her haste. 

 

Nudging her betrothed before he missed the scene, the two watched as Dagger jumped onto the stage and buried her face in Zidane's chest. He smiled stroking her hair, even as she beat upon his chest with tears in her eyes for him having vanished for so long. The crowds all cheered from the nobles to Zidane's personal friends; even as well as the multiple Vivi's which the original had heired. 

 

Steiner and Beatrix lifted the Save the Queen overhead, dual sword arting together to cast a brilliant light over the scene. Dagger and Zidane embraced each other with the crowd cheering in the background but even as the theater performance came to an end, that was far from the ending of the story for these characters. With General Beatrix and Knight Captain Steiner's wedding planned for less than a fortnight away, the couple were sure that a new engagement of royal status was likely not far away.

 

But dreams of that tale… are for another time…

 

...The end.



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