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by wyvern14

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Part 1 (2008)
Part 2 (2008)
Part 3 (2008)
Part 4 (2008)
Part 5 (2008)
Part 6 (2008)
Part 7 (2008)
Part 8 (2008)
Part 9 (2008)
Part 10 (2008)
Part 11 (2008)
Part 12 (2008)
Part 13 (2008)

Chapter 10

Arms open wide


Her steps were almost on tiptoes, slow and reverent. Everything was the same as when she had left, only she had changed, evolved beyond the timeless realm. While her appearance meant nothing here, the profound evolution of her mind and soul were echoed in her eyes, captured by their stares instinctively. Silence greeted her coming.

Her oldest friend rushed to her, rubbing its beak on her shoulder, crooning softly. The large blue orb shone in joy, softening in comfort for her pain until she passed her fingers through the slick feathers.

I missed you!


Their smiles were coming from balconies, doorsteps, windows and shadows, a silent chorus to the cries of joy and her name rushing to her ears from a thousand voices.

"Rydia! Rydia! Rydia!"

The large bird pranced around her, excited, inviting her to follow it through the maze of the Feymarch. Laughing despite herself, she complied, amassing a throng of followers as they made their way to the seat of the Eidolons' rulers.
In the library's entrance, they stood as humans, composed and regal as any king and queen. The old man beckoned her to them and she rushed to Asura's embrace, tears flowing in the air. Motherly arms enfolded her while she sobbed, seeking solace.

"My child... Welcome back!"

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

"Need I remind you, again, that you have duties to fulfill?"

The sharp reprimand, underlined with exasperation and cynicism, came from Eblan's seneschal. His stringy beard, alive with emotion, rustled with every word he spoke, while his raised arms gave a comical twist of dramatics. Edge grunted, sprawled over the large chair, eyes blinking like an owl. Sighing, the advisor shook him by the arm, trying to get his attention.

"I am talking to you, young prince! Are you even aware of all I'm telling you?!"

The ninja's reply was a scratching of silver spikes and a yawn.

If your parents were still alive, they would never let this pass!


"Hmmm..." the prince growled, still asleep.

"It's been a week since you slipped inside the castle like a thief, vandalizing the kitchens and drinking like a lord. Have you any idea what kind of gossip has been running around since a maid spotted our kingdom's ruler passed out in a puddle of red wine?”

The whiskers flared while he opened the curtains, blasting the afternoon sunlight in the room. Straightening drapes and replacing various items that had fallen off gods know when, he continued his diatribe.

"This is a disgrace!!!!"

"Just... just leave me alone for a while..." Edge croaked, sounding pathetic.

The seneschal stopped his cleaning and sighed.

"Our people needs you right now, they need a figure to lead them through the hard times. We have a realm to rebuild and you cavort in drinks and darkness like a criminal!"

You are not yet ready for this, but Eblan has no choice!

"Listen to me your highness, I know you are troubled by something and wish not to speak about it, but for the sake of your country, keep your tantrums where they cannot see you and force yourself for at least one public appearance."

"Yeah yeah..."

He is not listening. How can I snap him out of it?

"Our forces would like nothing better than train with you; perhaps some exercise would do you some good? Or, for old times' sake, go chase the maids if that suits you better!"

The lump of flesh came to life at the last mention, fixing a withering gaze upon him. His orbs swirled in fury and hurt, shocking the old man. This was definitely something he should not have said, and yet it made light on Edge's recent behavior.

So that's the problem... About time!


"Forget my suggestions young prince, I'll humor you and buy you a few days of rest, but afterward, we'll HAVE to see to the coronation, like it or not!"

Barely able to contain himself, he paced toward the door and left the room. Only when he made it through a few corridors did he allow himself to chuckle. After making dozens of young girls swoon with a word and a glance, not caring for the waves of broken hearts he made, it was his turn to feel the knife in his chest.

Perhaps he would learn something out of it!

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

It had felt like eternity since her radiance graced them with her presence, and yet, Leviathan remained bemused. The mortal had come back to them, unexpected, and showed no signs of a simple visit to the monsters' lands. If anything, she seemed resolved to live with them, away from her fellow humans.

This should not be...


The serpent-eyed elder watched through the small abode's windows, his queen was singing her a quiet melody, caressing her hair to lull her to sleep. She had taken great cares to ensure the young summoner could rest and tried often to make her open up to them. He had grave misgivings for her untold pains, unsure of how to help her, but had entire confidence in his consort.

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

Asura chanted in low tones, speaking of dancing fairies and hidden wonders, delicate hands massaging her scalp with tenderness. Smiling contently, Rydia opened her eyes, gazing at her surrogate mother with love. A wink answered her, the beautiful creature falling silent and tracing the mage's face with circles from the tip of a finger.

"I want to stay here, forever, with you."

Control restrained her expression, yet the noble lady felt a pang inside her chest. She had hoped this would not happen. Had they erred in their teachings when they adopted the young, scared girl that the King of the Seas had brought back?

Our cocoon hampered your humanity, and now you wish to flee it?

"Dear child, it is good to see you again here, with us, but we thought you were merely visiting, thinking you would return to your own kind..."

Every summon creature loved her, wishing nothing better than helping her, showering her with smiles and small tokens of affection, yet she was not one of them. Could she sacrifice the presence of humans, the bright sun, the caress of a lover, the joys of children, her friends and memories to escape the hurts of the world?

Rydia's brow creased in a frown, her eyes filling with tears. Asura wiped her cheeks with the hem of her robe, hugging her fiercely. The girl's shoulders shook with painful sobs and the queen held on, murmuring in her ear.

All you ever knew was magicks and battle, all you lived for was destruction and war. Life is much harder and we cannot walk with you on this path that waits.


"We love you, and you brighten our twilight realm like all the stars in the skies. Yet, it is because we adore you so that we cannot have you remain here. We'll always be by you, Rydia. You need but call us and our spirits will fly to you, no matter if you require aid or simply want comfort."

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

The caves had darkened slightly, her skin dried, leaving faint rivers of salt on her delicate features. Letting out her anguish had calmed her heart, soothed her soul. The green mane framed her shoulders, resting on the wall where her small cot laid, one of Asura's multiple veils covering her.

"So you feel betrayed by this young man?"

The soft voice broke her thoughts. It had taken more than an hour to tell all that had happened on the moon. The eidolon probed her with many questions, eyes aglow with fierce interest at their battle prowess, although sometimes seemingly amused for unknown reasons that made Rydia perplexed.

"Well... I..."

She was at a loss for words. Head hanging low, she tried to consider an acceptable answer, the serene visage in front of her visibly expecting something from her. Minutes passed and she shifted under the intense gaze, uncomfortable.

"I... I don't know. He ran away, he fled, he ignored me and hid somewhere, and he left me alone..."

The queen cupped her face, smiling impishly.

"My dear girl... Don't you realize why you feel this way, why you're so hurt, despite all this misunderstanding?"

A blank, confused look was her only reply.

"You’re in love Rydia."

Love...

Her thoughts flew to Cecil, Rosa, Kain, her eidolon friends, whom she all loved deeply. Cid, Edward, Yang; all comrades she cared for, that she would protect anytime and die for. Her chest swelled in warmth at the thought, strengthened by their bonds and affection. And then...

His eyes... his burning eyes...

His image brought something completely different, vivid memories bursting forth. Him, rushing forth to help her keep balance on slippery floor. Him, watching her back as she poured her soul into rushing elemental currents, raining death on the battlefield. Him, touching her, holding her furiously, kissing her like the world's sake depended on it.

Her breath caught in her throat as emotions welled up inside her, reddening her cheeks. Rydia's body shook with tension and the reaction was not lost to Asura.

"If you did not feel this way my child, why would it affect you so? He would not be disturbing your thoughts and anything he could have done would be long forgotten."

The queen smiled in resolve, knowing her case was won when the mage fixed her.

"This is something that belongs to the upper world, to humans. You cannot come to terms with this among us and we cannot teach you the weave of emotions like your kind can. Only by living amongst them will you learn to love and express it."
.....................................................................................................................................................................

Leviathan turned around, hearing the door open in a wooden creak. He had expected his paramour to come to him, but not the thin figure in green to do so. Sea green eyes met his, decided, and he knew at once what had happened. He stroked her hair, saddened yet relieved she had accepted the best path.

"I will miss you, beautiful Rydia."

She blinked back tears, embracing them both fiercely, nervous. They returned the hug, the three of them holding close, tenderly.

"Come, I will bring you there myself."

Raising a kelp-adored sleeve, he draped her in his vast ropes, expanding. Blackness engulfed them, then a rush of cold. He opened reptilian eyes and roared at the sunlight, his massive bulk dancing on the waves of the ocean while she stood on his neck.

Foaming water crashed on his scales as he swam toward the castle on the horizon, Rydia looking ahead, green satin whipping in the breeze, arms open wide.
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy IV
Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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