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The Lone Ninja

by Casey Gilman

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The Final Chapters: Mechanical Magic

Carnage on the High Seas

It was dawn at Doma Castle. Every single citizen was standing in front of the platform that Clyde Arrowny's trial had taken place on. Now, there was something different about it. A giant wooden beam stood vertically behind the great stage-like platform, and was attached on the back. Another, smaller beam was horizontally attached to the top of the first, and a rope hung from it.

King Cyan Geremonde stepped onto the platform, on the left-hand side of it. From the right, with his hands chained, and escorted by two Doma Sentries, came Clyde Arrowny. Also known as Shadow, he had done some bad things. He had stolen one million gold from Doma's train. He had escaped to Thamasa, and attempted to begin a family. When his wife died in labor, he abandoned his new baby girl. Later, he had become a hired assassin, because he felt guilty using the money he had stolen. Now, Clyde was about to pay for his crimes.

Wearing his brown, leather prisoner outfit, he stepped onto a wooden crate, which was just below the rope. He wanted to kill the two guards and escape, but he knew that they would catch him, eventually. Even if they didn't, his guilty conscience would.

"Time to die, scum!" cried a voice from the crowd. The citizens had begun yelling and cursing at him.

One of the sentries put the rope around his neck.

"I think it's going to be a tight fit," said the sentry, with a malicious smile.

"Step down, now" Cyan told the sentries.

They stepped off of the platform. The crowd was still yelling at him. It was now almost impossible to tell what they were saying. Their profane phrases had become similar to growls and roars. This was becoming too much for Clyde, and he felt a few tears trickle down his face.

"Why are you crying, you wimp?!" asked Cyan,"This is YOUR fault!!!"

The people in the crowd were jumping around like savages, and Clyde thought he saw a couple of them drooling.

"REST IN PEACE, CLYDE!!!" cried Cyan, whose eyes almost looked red.

He flung his right foot forward, kicking the crate out from under Clyde. Clyde's weight dragged him downward, and he felt the rope pull tight around his neck. He started to gag, and then-

Shadow quickly sat up, and looked around. It was nighttime. He was sitting on the wooden floor, on the deck of a ship, belonging to Doma.

Though it had only been a nightmare, Clyde knew that it would soon be a reality. In a few days, they would have Clyde's share of the train's money; almost five hundred thousand gold pieces. Then it would be time for him to be executed; executed due to a crime he didn't commit.

Clyde tried to get back to sleep, but it was very uncomfortable when you had your hands chained behind your back. There were also a couple sentries keeping an eye on him. Nevertheless, he eventually nodded off.

* * *

Halfway through the next morning, Clyde was staring towards the front of the ship. He stood there, with his hands still bound, wondering if they would ever make it to Maranda. It seemed he had nothing better to do than stare out at the ocean. Just then, Cyan approached him.

"Nice, clear day out, isn't it?" said Cyan.

Clyde didn't respond.

"Why did you do it?" Cyan's tone suddenly turned serious.

"Which crime?" asked Clyde.

"All of them," responded Cyan.

"I robbed the train because I was greedy, I became an assassin because I was confused, and needed money," answered Clyde.

"And what about freeing the prisoners?" Cyan wondered.

"I didn't do that," said Clyde,"It was a man in a black vest and pants, about seven feet tall, and about three hundred pounds of muscle."

"I should have expected a lie," replied Cyan,"I guess I did not realize how dishonorable you were."

Clyde turned toward him, and gave him a cold stare.

"I risked my life, helping you save the world, didn't I?" Clyde said.

"I know," Cyan said,"That's why I could not believe any of this was happening, and I still have trouble believing it now. I know what it is like to lose loved ones, and I have sympathy for you, but I do not understand where your loyalties lay."

"Now, and for the rest of my life, they lay on the side of goodness and truth. I came to you, and tried to prove that, but I got blamed for something I didn't do."

"I want to believe you, Clyde," replied Cyan,"But a man who can smash holes in stone walls, and rip iron doors off of their hinges is very hard to believe."

Clyde turned his attention back to the tossing waves of the sea. Cyan walked away.

King Geremonde hoped that he was doing the right thing. Clyde had been a friend to him, but he had also done some horrible things. Cyan had lost his wife and son, yet he didn't go around killing people. He knew in his mind that this was the right thing to do, but he wasn't sure if he felt that way in his heart. He stood on the opposite side of the ship, and stared over the ocean.

* * *

Not too far south, another ship was sailing on the high seas. This one had people from Doma aboard as well; prisoners of Doma. It had a crew consisting of members of the Cult of Kefka. One of these members was a man named Krugg, who was seven feet tall, and was pure muscle.

"That looks like one of Doma's ships!" exclaimed Krugg,"Gimme a telescope!"

One of the robed men approached him, and handed him a small, metal telescope. Krugg peered into it, and recognized the man he saw. It was the new king of Doma, who was also a Returner.

"They must be after us," Krugg thought out loud,"The king might make a great hostage. I'll take him back alive, and my master will reward me well."

Krugg had already killed two of the Returners, or so he thought. Shadow had tried to stop him when he freed Doma's prisoners, and Krugg assumed that he had killed him. He had also thrown Gau across the Veldt. Besides that, Terra and one of her kids were his prisoners. His master would definately reward him well.

"Move in on that ship!" Krugg commanded.

* * *

Shadow wad heading toward the entrance to the ship's cabin.

"Where are you going, Clyde?" asked Cyan.

"Some place with something different to stare at," replied Clyde, who had a little difficulty opening the door with his hands bound.

Cyan let him go, and continued to stare out over the ocean. Then he noticed another ship, heading straight toward them.

'I wonder who that might be,' thought Cyan.

The ship got closer, and Cyan realized that it wasn't going to change it's course anytime soon. They were now within earshot of each other.

"Greetings!" shouted Cyan to a man he saw on board,"Where are thou from, and where are thou going?"

There was no answer.

'Maybe they are not within earshot, after all,' thought Cyan.

He waited until they got closer.

"Greetings," he said again,"Where are thou from, and where are thou going?"

"We're on a direct course to your capture, pops!" a fairly large man on the other ship cried out.

"We can't move fast enough to get out of their way," declared the pilot of the ship.

"Then we shall have to fight them!" cried Cyan, drawing his sword. All of the sentries, except for the pilot, drew their swords as well.

The opposing ship anchored itself, with it's bow perpendicular to the side of Cyan's ship.

"Take 'em!" cried the gigantic man on board the other ship.

Cyan was shocked when he saw men wearing the outfit of the Cult of Kefka, jumping onto the deck of his ship. The air rang with metal hitting metal, as they drew their swords, and began battling the sentries. Cyan was even more shocked when he realized that the man he had been shouting to was seven feet tall. The entire ship rocked, as the man leapt onto the deck, in front of Cyan. Before Cyan could defend himself, the man picked him up in his monstrous right hand. Cyan dropped his sword.

"We're headin' back to Zozo now!" bellowed the man, leaping back onto his ship. The other cult members, who had done a fine job slaughtering the sentries, made their way back to their own ship. The enemy vessel quickly headed away from Doma's ship.

* * *

Clyde thought he had heard something up on deck. When he got up there, he saw nothing but dead bodies strewn about the deck. He noticed Cyan's was not among them. He also noticed that the helmsman was still alive.

"What happened?!" cried Clyde.

"A giant man, and the Cult of Kefka, killed everyone, and captured the king!"

"Any idea where they were headed?" asked Clyde.

"They said something about Zozo," answered the helmsman.

"Take us back to Doma," said Clyde.

"Why should I listen to a criminal like you?" asked the helmsman.

"Because," said Shadow,"I need help before taking on that giant."

The ship turned around, and headed back for Doma.
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy VI
Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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