Confused and Lost
... I remember when I first met him...
A dark brown-haired man sat placidly at the table, reading a ripped piece of paper, a short message scrawled over it. That must be Delita. He sat up slowly.
"You've come from Murond?"
"Yes. I was sent by the High Priest." To keep an eye on you.
"Which one are you?"
"Good. I've been waiting for you. The others?"
"We were hit by assassins sent from Vormav. The others were killed." He tilted his head.
"Really? Regretful. I'll send word to the High Priest." You sure don't sound like it. "Your room is upstairs, the one on the left," he continued. "We'll be leaving in a few days, I just need to check a few things here. You can go upstairs and unpack your belongings."
It was always like that, him treating me like a subject, like all his other goddamn million subjects working for him left and right. It wasn't as though he acted like I was inferior—it was just as if I were hired to work for him and nothing more. No relationship even though we spent, hell, every day together. It was that damn princess, that damn princess and no one else. Not even me.
"Ovelia." She turned her head wearily at his voice.
"Delita... Did God mean for this to happen? For myself to become a substitute? How could God be so cruel... all these years..."
"Ovelia, it's all right. No one will ever lie to you again... You can trust me. I won't lie to you... ever." And so he would comfort her, talk to her like a human being—something he never did with me. Only her—only with her. That spoiled little brat of a princess, who thought she had suffered...
I was there. I was there when he promised to her, told her what she wanted to hear. And she believed him. She believed it all.
Ovelia sat on the grass, gazing out... to wherever. Her eyes... so painful. And Delita...
"So here you are. Everyone was looking for you." A pause. "Something wrong?" His voice snatched up a new tone. "Oh, I shouldn't talk to a princess in such a way." He bowed mockingly. "By your leave..."
"...your most gracious majesty." She lowered her head.
"Please stop." She whispered. Her eyes, filled with pain... staring at him.
"Sorry..." he looked away. "I apologize." Oh, so you'd dare say that? You'd lower yourself to apologize? To Ovelia... but never to me. She stopped again. Her voice sharpened with bitterness.
"What are you going to do with me? I'm not Ovelia, you know. I'm worth nothing to you. Not even worth leaving alive." She refused to look at him.
"Yes. You're not Ovelia. We don't know your real name or even if you're a noble or a commoner."
I think it was at this moment, this precise moment when I stopped hating Ovelia. Those words, that came from her mouth...
"What did my life mean all these years...? Raised as a substitute..." A low, sarcastic laugh came from her lips, coughed up as though she was coughing blood. "Amusing, isn't it? A Princess must live her life quietly in a monastery away from the capital. I'd often wondered why only I had to live like that. But if my suffering would to keep Ivalice in peace, then I thought I could endure it." Tears started to spill slowly, dripping down her beautiful face. "What was all the grief and isolation I suffered for?" Her head fell on her arms, hiding her face. Delita answered her. He sympathized with her, told her he was the same. That was how he captured her heart... and kept it in a jar, draining it slowly... until he ripped it apart and killed her and himself. But to think... if not for me, neither of them would have died.
"You and I are the same... Miserable people forced to live false lives." Vicious. "Always being used by someone... Try hard and you'll be rewarded, they say. Lies... Only those close to the top are rewarded without trying. It's the way of the world. Most people have to act the roles given to them... Then again, most of them haven't even noticed they're even acting." Now he seemed to be talking to himself. "No way I'd do that. I won't be used. I'll be the one using! Those who used me must pay for what they've done!"
"What will you do?"
"Trust me, Ovelia. I'll make a country worthy of you! I'll make your life shine! Let me guide you!" His eagerness swept her up in his plans. His voice lost the viciousness, the bitterness, the anger, the eagerness. It became... gentle. Kind. "...Don't cry like that."
"Should I trust you?"
"I won't betray you. I swear by my dead sister, Teta...." Damn you, Delita... how could you—why? "So, please don't cry..." Suddenly she threw her arms around him, and sobbed into his chest. Total trust... he took that trust and used it, used her... you were the one acting, Delita, you were acting the role you gave yourself, and didn't realize it...
And then I met Ramza. He wasn't much compared to Delita... weak, stupid, naïve. But he was his best friend... and Delita had practically betrayed him, using him. I was watching quietly, a shadow, a spectator. They didn't even notice me. But I was there.
I was coming back from a quick scouting and spying trip to report to Delita, at the church in Zeltennia. I saw Ramza there, however, and waited a bit to watch.
Ramza knelt at the altar, where Delita was already praying. He didn't even twitch. I don't know how he knew who it was without even opening his eyes.
"A 'heretic', coming to Church...pretty bold..."
"I have no time...So, I'll ask you straight out. Why did the High Priest send you to Goltana?"
"You came to Zeltennia to ask me that? ...Fine, I'll tell you. My duty is to assassinate Goltana and Orlandu..."
"What...!?" Ramza interrupted. Delita's voice became barely audible. I strained to hear their conversation.
"Shh...lower your voice. This is the real plan... We've trying to incite those dissatisfied with the government to revolt, thereby causing people to distrust the government even more. Both armies will try to put down the revolts, but won't have enough soldiers. Then what? They'll finish things trying to break the deadlock."
"All these recent revolts were the High Priest's plan. And to stop these, both armies are leading to Bethla. Everything is as you planned..."
"Not quite yet. Because... During the battle, Larg and Goltana will both be killed by someone. Of course the leaders will also be killed... Nantens' Orlandu, Hokutens' Zalbag, and Dycedarg... Losing their leaders, both armies will stop fighting and turn to peace..."
"Then, the Church will become the 'mediator'..." Ramza spoke slowly, beginning to comprehend Delita's plans. Stupid idiot. Why didn't he realize before?
"And the people will support the Church entirely. They even threw in the Zodiac Brave Legend." Delita finished for him.
"But the Zodiac Stone..."
"Right now, you're the church's biggest obstacle." Blunt.
"Aren't you trying to get the stones also?" Delita stood angrily. He closed his eyes and shook his head slowly, like always.
"I'm not working for the Church!"
"What do you mean?"
"It means I'll kill you if I have to. Don't worry. Our reasons may be different, but we want the same thing. As long as we want the same thing...we won't be enemies." How emotionless. Aren't you talking to your 'best friend', Delita?
"Come with me..."
"Sorry, I can't. She needs me." Shut up, Delita.
"Prince or Princess... It doesn't matter as long as they are easily controlled. The High Priest's plan calls for a puppet government." WHAT? You swore on Teta, Delita... you swore on TETA! You liar... you damned liar... You SAID you wouldn't use her.
"You're just using Ovelia for your own ambitions?" Casual, eh, Ramza? You must be used to him by now...
"I don't know. But..." his voice became confused as Ramza stood.
"But what, Delita?"
"I would give my life for her." Silence. If you'd die for her, then why the hell are you using her? That's probably what she hates most... being lied to... being used.
"Is that strange?"
"No, I believe you." The silence was interrupted.
"Ramza! The church is surrounded! Come out quietly!" Zalmo... they don't need to know I'm here. I scurried into the back of the church.
"That voice... it's Zalmo!?" Yes, Ramza.
For extra measure I drew my dagger and watched quietly at the window. They were saying something, but I couldn't hear through the thick glass. He was talking to Delita. Since he'd seen Delita, here, with Ramza... Delita was going to kill him. The fight was quick. Agrias and Delita blew most of them to hell with those 'holy sword' attacks, smashing the knights with unnaturally large lightning bolts, a technique referred to as 'Lightning Stab' or forming glaciers and having them enclose around the knights, called 'Stasis Sword'. Of course Ramza was able to pick off a few, Mustadio shot a few in the arm or leg, making two vital limbs useless, and the hired hands helped out one way or another. Seeing them break through the line of knights protecting Zalmo, I rushed outside to see what would happen. Ramza ran up and slashed at him with his sword. The heresy examiner used his long staff to block, but eventually he wore down. Ramza thrust upwards from a lower position and got his sword stuck in Zalmo's gut. The old man sank down.
"Oh, God... please punish the wicked." Later I watched them bury the bodies. I don't know why they bothered. Ramza was already a heretic anyway, and evidence of him killing a few more men wouldn't make much difference to his sentence: execution. But I guess they are still Christians, and considered it a human decency to bury the dead. When they finished, they strolled into the town of Zeltennia. Finding an old road, they waited there to discuss plans and go their own ways. I don't know if Delita even noticed I was missing. He seemed to take it for granted I would come and go on my own, but always come back. I listed into their conversation, hearing snatches.
"...two reasons to come...Zeltennia... See you... Count Orlandu.
"T.G.—Thunder God Cid?"
"Cooperation... uncover the church's plot."
"The Germonik Scriptures!"
"When I met Olan..."
"Olan, huh?" I remembered my initial reason to come here. I came out. Ramza jolted and stared for the moment. I shot him a casual look.
"It's ok... She's one of us. Several people were sent from Murond to help me. She's one of them." Wow, Delita. You consider me 'one of us', eh? Wrong.
"Help...?" The word escaped from my mouth before I could stop it. Stupid. "More like to keep an eye on you." I invented quickly. It was true, but he would take it in a different way.
"Hey, c'mon." He turned back to Ramza. "She knows everything. She's the only one we can trust in the Goltana Army."
"You're the youngest Belouve, Ramza, right? My name is Balmafula. Nice to meet you." I shook his hand. It wasn't exactly a fake gesture. I really did feel like greeting him... even though he was a stupid idiot. For Teta. And for Alma.
"And...what do you want?" Why, thank you, Delita. Every time I see you I always have a purpose to do it, don't I? Not like Ovelia... who comes to talk to you for no reason.
"The Hokuten are moving." I replied vaguely, remembering the information I'd been able to pick up near their camp.
"Is Fort Bethla the target?" I nodded.
"Count Orlandu left for Bethla a while ago. Goltana's heading for Bethla... along with your Black Sheep Knights." I recalled.
"A little too late... the battle won't end..." He muttered.
"I'm not giving up. I'll persuade the Count before any more die." Ramza remarked. Delita nodded curtly.
"I guess it's goodbye, Ramza."
"Stay alive, Delita." What is the matter with this guy?
"You too..." Never mind. I meant these guys. They shook hands. Like two formal adults. Not two friends, two kids. Nothing lasts forever, but these two have lost something... too quickly. I watched him disappear into the shadows.
"You're letting him go?" I really did wonder whether Delita wanted to kill him.
"I know what he'll do." I was silent for a moment. Disgusting.
"You even use your friends."
"Shut up! What do you know?" A lot, Delita. More than you, maybe.
"I hate people like you."
"Hurry up and go." I left.
Delita must have eventually become aware of what I wanted. I was always with him, and no one else. Being involved in the entire Delita business didn't allow me to talk with ordinary people... only the people who were 'one of us'. And Ovelia... she made it worse. When we went to Zeltennia's ruins, they would sit there, and talk... and his attention would be adverted to Ovelia. But he must have known what I was thinking... when I looked at him a certain way, he noticed. It must have began gradually, just from being with him so often. But what really boosted it, triggered it... When we camped on Mandalia plains, we'd finished eating and there was still time before the sun went down...
"What are you planning to do with Ovelia?" My abrupt question startled him.
"I'm not going to do anything..." his eyes glared. "I swore to her, by Teta... that I wouldn't use her, that she could trust me..."
"Liar. In Zeltennia church... with Ramza..."
"You weren't there—"
"... 'Prince or Princess... It doesn't matter as long as they are easily controlled. The High Priest's plan calls for a puppet government.'" I quoted mockingly.
"You little bitch, you were listening to us."
"Teta... don't you even CARE about Teta anymore? Delita, you've become so screwed up, it's not even related to Teta anymore..."
"You don't even KNOW Teta! All you know is that she died... was killed by Algus at Fort Zeakden."
"Yes..." I seethed underneath. "But this—killing people, using people, even Ovelia... just so you can become a monarch? Do you even realize what you're doing? You would make a good ruler for Ivalice... but Teta didn't encourage this ambition."
"No..." his voice became vague. "I'm not using her... I'm just asking her for power, 'borrowing' it. I'm not using her... it's not just for the power. There's something else... there. I don't know!" It was then that I realized Delita was a little boy, a little boy who needed guidance and did things he called 'right' because the grown-ups resented it. He wasn't some emotionless, mindless freak, just a lost, confused, child. Who needed someone to take care of him. He wants Ovelia to, but I'm more capable. I rolled over on my sleeping bag and drifted off.
But when he stole my voice... he stole my voice and my heart, slashed it into bits with his sword, just like Ovelia's.
Zeltennia again... Olan was there, being chased down by the knights. Of course Delita went after him. Given the quick information by the sentry by the castle gate, I dashed inside. Lots of commotion. Three knights were walking down the hall, just coming out of Ovelia's room. I saw splotches of blood on their clothing.
"Where's Olan?" One of the knights shrugged.
"In her highness Ovelia's room... with his majesty, king Delita." I entered. Olan, kneeling, covered in blood. Ovelia was next to him, and Delita in his kingly clothes, standing over him. Typical.
"Please! Don't be rough on Olan!" Ovelia begged.
"Such a foolish thing you did, Olan." Delita knelt at Olan's other side. Olan glared.
"Oh, please. You know you wanted this too. Look around. See anyone who's really saddened? You should thank me for 'killing' your father...now nobody will be after him."
"Stop that nonsense!"
"Why, why did you do such a thing?" Now Ovelia's voice is slightly accusing.
"I told you I'd make you into a real monarch."
"You liar! You're just trying to use me!" A ripple went down my back. Yes, he is trying to use her... have you forgotten that, Balmafula? And he swore on Teta... that son of a bitch. She's realized... and he's hurting her so much...
"You don't trust me?" I wouldn't.
Her mouth twitches, but she is silent.
"Well... Ovelia?" Cut him off, Ovelia. He's draining you... cut him off before he kills you. Don't let him use your trust... to hurt you, use you, kill you.
"I'd like to trust you... but..."
"I must talk to Olan. Go to your room..."
"Please... be gentle with him..."
"Ok. I promise..." Another promise? You have guts, Delita. Ovelia left, slamming the door. Delita and Olan resumed their conversation.
"I don't care. All I wanted was to clear my stepfather. Do it in one deathblow..."
"What are you talking about? I can't have you dead."
"What am I worth to you alive?" He finally lifts his head. Blood drips and splashes on the floor.
"You'll work under me." Olan laughed.
"Don't be a fool. I refuse, even if it means death!"
"You cannot refuse. I'll bring down the Hokuten and build Ovelia's kingdom. Of course I'll kill the high priest. I'm not his dog." Damn, Delita, you kill everyone even if they don't turn on you. You're killing the high priest... what if... someday you kill Ovelia too...No, I won't let you... ever. You've hurt her, used her... but you will never kill her... I don't like her, but she has felt so much pain, like me, and another death, like Teta... it won't happen.
"Are you serious? What the hell...?"
"I'm sure you know I'm right. What I'm planing to do is completely justified. A former squire, now in control of Knights, and restoring order to the world. It's easy to understand. This is the 'hero' the people have been demanding."
"For that, you're going to take advantage of everything?"
"Is that wrong?" You're going to take advantage of Ovelia... I won't let you! You'll never do it. Never. I took a step forward.
"What's the matter? Want to kill me? I know the High Priest sent you as an 'assassin'! And if I betray you, you'll kill me, right?" Stupid idiot... you're dumber than Ramza. The high priest never sent me... I got in touch with his messengers and forged his signature. I wanted to keep an eye on you... because of Teta. He came nearer. I backed away and drew my dagger.
"Go on... Stab me with that dagger." I stopped. It all came back to me... A little boy... lost and confused... with no one but Ovelia to take care of him... "What's the matter?" A little boy... Do I want to be like him? Killing someone who was my friend...And remember what I said to Teta... "Go on... If you don't kill me... I'll kill you!" He was running, running straight at me with a sword in his hand. And as he slashed at my throat with that sharp, glinting edge, I screamed as the blood flew, my blood. But then I couldn't scream. The sound was gone.
Sound. Sound of movement? Feet. A flutter. I want to speak. No. There's no sound, no voice. A voice, but not mine.
"Balmafula." I try to open my eyes, but it's too hard. I can't even figure out where my eyelids are. I'm so tired, I just want to sleep. Silence falls and I become unconscious again.
Later, I woke up, and opened my eyes. It was dark. I could hear someone sleeping in a bed beside me. I moved my head over. It's Olan. I want to speak but my neck hurts like hell. I fell back asleep.
I heard snatches of conversation now—I don't really realize and process what I hear, I just take it in.
"Vocal cords damaged... severe, I'm afraid..."
"Permanent? ...Yes, I understand..." But I'm tired and sleep again. A voice again. Olan's? Yes, Olan's, definitely.
"Balmafula." This time I don't want to sleep. I'm not tired and I'm glad someone has brought me from the darkness. It's a struggle to open my eyes. It's Olan. He's above me. I shift my gaze. I'm in a small room... on a bed, and there's bandages wrapped around my throat. Dark red... soaked in old blood. I say, 'Olan', but no sound comes. I try to clear my throat, but it hurts like hell. I just nod and push myself up to sit on the bed. I feel heavy, but I'm tired of lying down. I feel like I've been lying down for weeks.
"Can you speak?" He asks. I notice scars on his face, quite new. Most are big and ugly. From Zeltennia. I touch my neck gingerly and shake my head, no. "I thought so." He continued. "The doctor said your throat had been cut severely and there was very little chance that your vocal cords were not permanently damaged. It's lucky that you lived, but after Delita attacked you he just left, after Ovelia. And he already told the knights to leave. So I just picked you up and brought you to the inn in the nearest town. Where we are now. You'll be fine. We're leaving as soon as you're ready to travel. It's probably not a good idea to stay here. I think Delita will leave us alone, but we might still be hunted down a bit." I try to speak, and remember. No voice. Delita stole it. Delita. I try to ask about him, and Ovelia, but I remember again. I mime writing on a piece of paper, and he brings me a sheet and pencil.
-What happened to Ovelia and Delita? I scribbled.
"I don't know," he said bluntly. "I heard they're getting married soon, but I haven't heard anything else.
-How long have I been unconscious?
-What about Ramza and his crew?
"Nothing. He's supposed to be a 'heretic' so if they had any information about him, they wouldn't make it public anyway. And my father can take care of any unnecessary rumors." He paused a moment. "Do you want to sleep some more, or are you hungry?"
-I'm not tired. I'm hungry.
"It might not be a good idea to eat something that's tough and takes a lot of neck muscle to swallow. Come on, let's go to a restaurant. I've got a lot of money anyway and it'll take too long to prepare the food ourselves." He leads me out of the room, and I carry the pencil and paper with me. I touch his shoulder for a moment and wave my hand around my neck.
"Yeah, you can take it off now." I peel the hot, restraining bandage off. I feel my neck. It hurts. I fold the bandage neatly and throw it on the table.
Zeltennia was quiet, not bustling and busy like Zarghadis or Dorter. It felt like Goug—very few people seemed scattered on the streets. I was grateful. We must have looked strange, Olan with scars on his face, and me with a gaping gash on my neck, just recently healed.
We entered a small, neat building. It really a bar, but because of the variety of food choices, it became a 'restaurant'. We sat at a small round table and looked over the choices. I stared at the menu. I was so damn hungry, I wanted to order something solid—steak, bread, and a damn salad, but I felt my throat and reconsidered. Instead I pointed at the barley soup and—I think I was crazy—milk. Ale burned my throat too much for my liking.
"Don't you need more than that? Remember, it's all liquid and you haven't eaten in four days." Thank you, Olan. I pointed at the oatmeal and the tomato soup as well. A neatly dressed waitress came to take out orders.
"One barley soup, one tomato soup, an oatmeal, one milk, one ale—and the discount steak deal." She noted everything down and flounced off to the kitchen. It was very awkward. I didn't feel like writing, because it was such a tedious way of conversation, and Olan couldn't talk without making it a one-sided conversation. We sat in silence. Soon a steaming tray was hauled to our table.
"Two soups, two drinks, an oatmeal and the discount steak meal—that's 50 gil." Olan pulled out a silver coin and dropped in the waitress's hand. Food. I reached for the bowls and ate the oatmeal first, being the most solid. It was a little watery but I was so hungry I didn't care. Olan took the plate with a hunk of meat—too ugly to be called a steak—and a roll, with some vegetables on the side. He ate slowly, as though he were thinking.
I wondered what plans he had. We could probably go anywhere. Delita wouldn't bother with either of us. We were bugs. Two tiny bugs against the power of a human. At least it would mean he'd leave us alone. I decided to talk to him later. It was too difficult to write while eating.
When we were done we walked back to the inn. Back in our room I wrote another message:
-Can we leave today?
"Sure, if you're ready for it."
-I want to go to Orbonne.
-There is something I need to see.
He shrugged. "Fine."
I stood before the looming church silently. Orbonne... where I met Teta... Olan looked at me.
"You've been here before?" I nodded.
"When?" I pointed to myself and showed ten of my fingers, then seven. I'd become accustomed to using signals.
"Delita said you're 22, so... five years ago..." Another nod. "Why did you want to come here?" I pulled out my writing pad and a pencil.
-Memories. Olan gave me a questioning look but did not ask. I ventured into the monastery. Everything was the same—the first room, with the altar, and the stained glass windows. The library, the bookshelves... The little girl, with the dark hair, the commoner... I was flooded with memories. One of them stood out in my mind.
I was watching, a spectator watching some of my peers, and some my juniors torment a young girl—a fifteen-year old.
"The princess favors me," bragged one. "I'm so rich, I could be a princess. I bet you haven't got a third of the money I do, peasant girl."
"Your dress looks torn and dirty to me. It won't matter if it gets a bit filthier, does it, farmer girl?" She ground some dirt into her dress. They closed around her. She backed into a wall.
"Daughter of a farmer? With the PIGS? You must have slept with the pigs, you smell so much." Another girl sneered.
"Commoners are stupid. Why are you in this school? Leave! You'll never get a decent education." Rage ripped through my heart. I myself was a commoner. None of these girls needed to know. How lucky I was, my adoptive parents were never given much information about my former life. In some way I was able to maneaver myself to parents who were part of the nobility, even though they weren't respected and well-known, like... well...the Belouves.
"Shut up! Leave, all of you. Get away from her." They turned to me.
"Oh, it's BAL-MA-FU-LA, isn't it. You have the shittiest name in the world."
"I didn't know you'd lower yourself this much. Don't you know this girl is a commoner?"
"Go away. Now." They started to come near me.
"Make us. Make us. Make us." All these faces, these ugly, twisted faces... I screamed and jumped at one of them. I shoved her down. All the others got on me. This was an educational and religious school, and none of us had ever had any military training, but we were vicious in the land of Ivalice. They all started hitting me with their fists and kicking me. Teta joined in at some point. I fought back and rolled over. Then one girl punched me in the eye.
"Damn you..." I reeled back and whipped out a dagger. The other girls screamed. While I was living on the streets, before I'd gotten myself adopted with a lot of skillful convincing and persuading and inventing, I'd had to carry around a weapon. I held it in front of me and swished it around skillfully. I absorbed their fear with smugness. But then Simon came in...
"It's me, Teta. From yesterday. Do you remember me?"
"Thank you for saving me. You're one of the seniors, right?"
"No, I'm only 17. I'm a secondary senior."
"Oh. I'm 15, a junior."
"First year? You better look out. Some of the others can be vicious."
"Are you a commoner too?"
"...yes. I don't let the others know." She sat next to me.
"My parents were farmers. They were killed by the black plague... I don't remember it. I was only five." The smell of the rotting bodies... and my mother and father, lying there, wasting away...The few apples left rotting on the shelves, because they had been violently sick and couldn't eat... and they were lying there, still, their skin darkened by the sickness.
"So were mine." I said steadily.
"My brother, Delita, and I were adopted by the Belouves."
"Is it bad?"
"Not really. Their father is kind, but one of the brothers, Zalbag, is very indifferent, like there's a line that separates us. The oldest, Dycedarg, ignores us altogether. But Ramza and Alma, the youngest children, play with us all the time. Alma's the same age as me. She's at this school."
"Does she know what the others do?"
"Yes, but she's... too shy. She doesn't really... know what to do about it."
"Mmm." She sounded like a wimp to me. The bell rang. "I need to get to class. Talk to you later."
"Balmafula..." It's Alma. "Thank you for helping Teta. She's been having difficulties at this school... the other girls pick on her because of her rank." I nodded to her acknowledgement. "I know you two are friends... can I be too? I'm picked on a bit... because I'm friends with Teta."
"Balmafula! My brother and Ramza have been assigned to protect Igros." Her eyes shone. "I'm so glad my brother is doing well. I love him so much. He's the only family I have left. I saw him recently. I hope he's careful. Guarding a castle, they probably won't get any real action, but if there's a fight I'm afraid he'll get injured." She sighed. "Well, Ramza looks out for him, so..."
"You really care about him, don't you."
"Yes. Balmafula, can you promise me something?"
"Well, you're very...capable. You know how to take care of yourself. And... if I'm ever not there... you'll take care of Delita for me, right?"
"Don't worry, I will."
"Good. I need to keep an eye on him. He's a bit reckless. He needs it."
"Yeah, I promise."
"Balmafula!" I jerked my head up.
"She's been kidnapped by the death corps. My brother and Delita have just gone after her."
"What? You can't be serious... not Teta." She shook her head.
"Come on. We're going after her too."
"I can fight! I'm not some... useless noble. Oh, I'm sorry. Just..."
"I understand. I can't help much... but my magic may be useful. I'll come with you. And I'm going after Teta. She's MY friend!"
"She's mine too..." I whispered.
We arrived at Fort Zeakden at the same time as Ramza and Delita. We took a different route so we hadn't met them on the way. It was a shorter route, and besides, we weren't held up like they were, fighting the Death Corps. Teta... her hands were tied, and she was on the bridge. Golagros was holding her hostage, having grabbed a fistful of her hair, her beautiful dark hair.
"Get out of here now! What if something happens to her?" He tugged on her hair cruelly. "And don't do anything funny! There's tons of powder inside the fort! More than enough to blow all of you to hell and back! Got it? Then, get out!"
"The Hokuten will never be threatened by you!" Zalbag, with Algus and his troop of soldiers. Algus... I seethe even at the name.
"Brother! Algus!" Ramza.
"Teta!" Delita looked up at her, beseechingly.
"Delita!" She leaned over, seeing him.
"Get out! Now!"
"Go on, do it!" Do what, Zalbag?
"Yes, sir!" Algus pulled out his crossbow... and aimed it at Teta. He shot her. He KILLED her! Damn him! Damn Algus!
"What's this?" Golagros sounds bewildered. I'm not. All I feel is the pain... the anger. Algus shot him too.
"Delita..." Teta... is she alive? God, please spare her...
"Teta!" But a Hokuten knight came.
"General Zalbag, more enemies are on the mountain path! There are about fifty of them. I've been informed one of them resembles Wiegraf!"
"Alright, I'll be right there. Take care of the rest, Algus."
"D... damn it!" Golagros muttered weakly. He dragged himself into the building.
"Teta!" Delita cried heartborkenly again.
"Where are you going?"
"Algus! You bastard!"
"You want to fight? Fine then, let's go." He whistled. A whole troop came out. I keep staring at Teta. She's not moving. She's dead. I know it. As they fight, they all scream at each other.
"Why, why are you doing this? Algus, why!?" You know damn well why, Ramza.
"It's your brother's orders. Please don't ask why. Besides, would you sacrifice the Hokuten pride, all for a common girl!?" Yes... I would.
"Teta is Delita's sister!"
"It's about time you learned about 'difference'! Different birth, totally different life! It's fate! Neither should've been here! Should've been flower sellers somewhere! And what about you, Ramza? Why are you arguing with me? You're a traitor to Hokuten!"
"B... but, but, this is inexcusable!"
"You're such a spoiled child! How could someone like you be a Belouve?"
"Algus! You murdered Teta! I'll kill you! I swear it!" this must have been where Delita became screwed up... but only because of himself. It wasn't Teta, or Algus. It was his own lies. Ramza stabbed a knight. When he pulled his sword free, the knight slumped to the ground, dead.
"I didn't have a choice!"
"You're such a baby! Don't pamper yourself! Belouves are leaders of warriors. You have certain responsibilities as a leader! There are many things that only you can do! You must do them for those who can't!"
"I don't want to live life just being used by others!" Already so naïve... Ramza...
"Just being used? Don't talk rubbish! Belouves are used because of who they are! We ourselves have survived under their wing, used their protection! That's right. It's a give and take relationship! That's how you survived! Just being used? You've been using your 'best friend', Delita!"
"Me? Using Delita?"
"As a Belouve, surely you know our mission? Your mission took precedence even when I was attacked on Mandalia plains!" Now he turns to Delita. There is a loud clang as Delita's sword hits Algus' shield.
"Angry, Delita? Angry because you're so utterly helpless? Know your limits! Commoners don't have power to change things! That's right, get angry! It's all you can do!" He gasps out a laugh, but it is a venomous one. "You deserve it!"
"Is that it? Is that all, Algus?" Delita snarls.
"Don't be mad, Delita. You'll join her soon!"
"You won't confuse me! Nobody uses me!" He slammed his sword down on Algus's shoulder. He cuts through the shoulder blades, the collarbone, everything. A deep, mortal gash runs down his shoulder, into his chest. He fell on the snow, the blood staining the pure white snow red.
"Damn you... how could I be beaten by weaklings like you?" Delita dropped his sword. Slowly, he climbed up to the bridge, where Teta was lying. His arms wrapped around her. I can hear Alma sobbing beside me. I feel nothing. I am crying... no, I'm not. Why? Why?
"...Delita." Ramza again. What will you say to him now? Delita is silent. The building behind begins to shake violently. "What was that? An explosion? Delita, it's dangerous! Come over here, quick!" He tumbled over, knocked by the next explosion. Alma begins to edge away. I don't budge. I want to see what happens.
"Delita!" The base blew up. I watched Ramza run, and I did too.
"Balmafula?" I turn. Olan has come in. "Are you done? What were you doing here?" I shrugged.
-Just thinking. I wrote. We exited Orbonne.
-Let's stay here a while.
Have I looked out for him? I don't really know. Teta isn't here anymore... and Ramza... it won't be the same anymore. Never. So am I the only one left? Is the obligation left on me? I pondered this. No. There's still Ovelia... I can leave him alone. She'll do the job.
We strolled into town and ended up in the bar, as always. It was a good way to find rumors. We sat at a table in the middle of a crowd of people. Small snatches of conversation flitted our way.
"...You heard about Ramza Belouve?"
"You mean that heretic?"
"I heard he was killed." Olan and I jerked up. Now this was interesting information.
"Yes, and his sister, Alma, as well."
"I don't know, but they're going to bury them soon. They're looking for the bodies now. As soon as they find them."
"And what have you heard about the king?"
"His majesty Delita? ...he's married, to Queen Ovelia."
"Good. Finally, the Lion war is over... and we have a ruler. A good one."
"The king will take care of things. Ivalice is pretty much settled down now." Olan and I glanced at each other. Leaving the bar swiftly, we headed to our encampment by Orbonne. I gave it one last, regretful look and began to pack my things.
We arrived just after the funeral. The last mourners, two men and two women, were leaving. Two simple crosses marked the graves. Now I've lost Alma too... and Ramza. Just like Teta. I've lost all of them.
"I'm sorry I'm late... Alma, Ramza. I wanted to come earlier, but it was too dangerous... Too risky..." Olan stares at the two graves.
I wish I could say something. But I can't. Delita has stolen my voice. Instead I place flowers on Alma's grave. Olan talks to the corpse of Ramza, under the ground.
"Delita married Ovelia. A commoner brings peace to a chaotic kingdom, marries the Princess, becoming King. A legend that will be passed down for centuries. Delita may be a good person as you said... He made it look like he killed her then let her go, when her identity was clear. I guess he identified with her, having been used by Vormav..." Who is he talking about?
I point to our chocobos. We bought them for faster travel, so we wouldn't miss the funeral... but we missed it anyway. He nods and I leave to tend to them. They've been running for a long time. I can hear Olan talking while I take care of them.
"Did my father die fighting heroically?" He shook his head. "...I'll come back again. Bye..." He begins to walk away, but stops.
"Are you really dead? I still can't believe you're really dead... I mean... you know..." He turns to walk away again, but stands, staring, rooted to the spot. I follow his gaze. It's Ramza and Alma... they're riding chocobos as well, but it's them.
"Wait! Ramza! Alma!" I wish I could yell too. They disappeared. I walked over to Olan. "...He's alive! Alive!" We stared after them. "...Thank you. Ramza."
I went to Zeltennia later, alone. I wanted to see him again... and Ovelia. Even though I would only be able to look on his face, I wanted to see.
Ovelia's on the stone wall, looking away. Delita comes, carrying flowers. I sigh in relief. It doesn't look too bad.
"Here you are... everyone's been looking for you." He gets off his chocobo and brings flowers out from behind his back. Still she does not turn around. Strange.
"Today's your birthday, right? These flowers..." She whirls around and runs at him. I watch, contented. But I sense something wrong when Delita's face changes. Shock... and anguish. She steps away. A handle protrudes from Delita. I know that handle... the handle of a dagger.
"You use everyone like that! Now, you'll kill me just like Ramza...!" I can't move. Only a part of me, a small part expected it. She's finally realized, like you wanted her to, Balmafula... she realized he was using her. And she killed him... before he killed her. Delita pulled the dagger out of his abdomen and ran at her, stabbing her as well. She falls, on the ground, her hair flying behind her. I am numb. He killed her. He was just using her. I knew it. He stepped away, then dropped the dagger, falling on his knees. Only one thing escaped his mouth. It was the words of a small boy, confused and lost.
"Ramza... What did you get? I..."