Pyrrhic Victory

BY : terpfen
Category: Final Fantasy Games > Final Fantasy VI
Dragon prints: 1453
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy is owned by Square-Enix. I make no claim of ownership nor profit from this work.

"I return, my liege."



A brown-uniformed soldier knelt down on one knee, displaying the proper respect for the Emperor Gestahl. The old man was seated at a large piano, absorbed with the task of keying a melody. The tune was vaguely familiar, though the soldier could not quite place it. Perhaps... opera? No, though it certainly sounded as if it derived from opera. The stirring sound somehow reminded him of General Celes.



"Ah, well met," the Emperor acknowledged finally over the somber notes. "Rise, Yan. Tell me of your mission."



"At once," the soldier assented as he rose. "It was a total success, Highness. The false invasion plans given to the General Celes have made their way into Returner hands. Planting them as if they were legitimate was... not an issue. Her soldiers now despise her, viewing her as an incompetent at best. News of her collaboration will instantly topple her, were it to get out."



"Hm. Excellent," Gestahl brooded. "Yes, excellent indeed. Perfect. I have heard of your rather... interesting methods."



Yan hid a gulp. Did the Emperor disapprove?



"I... yes, Liege, the situation required a form of creativity."



Gestahl seemed to pause, as if deciding his response. Finally: "Hm. Distaste in the pursuit of success is tolerable. You did well."



Phew.



"What are your next orders, majesty?"



"She leaves for South Figaro soon, yes? Now the critical phase begins. Ensure that she plays out her role as I have ordained." Gestahl paused, his piano play ceasing. "She cannot be allowed free reign for much longer."



The soldier blinked, eyes hidden under his helmet. Free reign? It was worth asking...



"Highness, may I ask why the General Celes is being... discarded? Has the Empire not invested years of training and technology in her?"



Gestahl closed his eyes, a hint of frown appearing on his aged face. "The incident in Narshe. The details are unclear, but a magic-user was involved somehow. I worry that perhaps our experiments to infuse magic into humans have... undesirable side effects. Kefka stands as testament to the... fragility of the process, but his particular aggression serves me well. But for a magic-user to turn on us... it could be disastrous."



He's afraid, the spy-soldier realized.



"And the General Celes, as a magic user--"



"Yes," Gestahl interjected. "In light of recent events, she is no longer an asset, but rather a ticking bomb. Her deviation would be a disaster: an Imperial general, a magic-user, losing control of her abilities? It would set us back years. I will not risk it. She must be... pre-emptively dealt with."



"But why frame her, then, majesty? Surely a sword is more appropriate a tool than a stack of papers..."



Gestahl chuckled. "Yes, normally. But one must always think many steps ahead. The Returners know we are invading the north. They could be... problematic. A 'leaked' invasion plan from an Imperial general... they would have no choice but to believe it. Not only will they be taken by surprise at South Figaro, but they will be unable to commit to the defense of Doma. And when it becomes known that Celes gave them the information..." Gestahl paused, allowing himself a self-congratulatory smile. "... Well, no one would care about details like accuracy or truth."



"Ahhhh," Yan gasped, recognizing the scope of the Emperor's scheming. "And then she'll be arrested for treason by an army already displeased with her... truly, the Emperor Gestahl is a shrewd planner."



"Yes..." the old man egotistically agreed. "Now, begone. Arrive at Figaro before Celes does. Inform Kefka of the situation. He shall handle everything. Riches will be yours after the success of your mission."



"At once, my liege!" Turning, the spy left, a smirk adorning his face as the soft sounds of the piano followed in his steps.



Riches, eh? Jidoor would be a nice place to live...



***



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