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A Night at the Opera

by MeaPortia

Part 1 (2008)
Part 2 (2008)
Part 3 (2008)
Part 4 (2008)
Part 5 (2008)
Part 6 (2008)

Chapter 5

Draco and Ralse had finished yelling insults at each other and had drawn swords for the upcoming duel scene. In the middle of Draco's dramatic monologue, a commotion from the ceiling drew the cast's attention as well as that of the majority of the audience.

Celes, who was standing near Draco, had an idea as to what was going on. Trouble, with her friends - allies, rather - in the middle.

Next to her, Draco raised an eyebrow. "Aren't they with you?" he asked her, frowning. "You know, you're judged by the company you keep-"

Before the actor could continue, three Returners and an octopus fell twenty-five feet onto the stage. Draco, kind soul that he was, broke the men's fall while Ralse provided a soft landing spot for Ultros. Locke and Edgar slid downstage as Sabin shook his head, dazed.

The audience sat in stunned silence as they took in the scene before them and then began to murmur in disbelief. The Chief ran out on stage, completely oblivious to the danger around him.

"This is horrible!" the Chief exclaimed, his words slurring together ever so slightly. "If the hero and the villain are flattened, who'll win the girl? How will the show go on?"

Celes was not impressed with the concept of being "won." She watched as the octopus - some third party with an axe to grind against the Returners, obviously - drew itself up from its landing spot and looked in discomfort as to where it had landed. Slowly, her three allies began to rise up and realize in horror that they had fallen onto the stage.

Locke looked around the stage, looked back at Celes, and then smiled. "Neither Ralse nor Draco will win the heart of Celes- I mean, Maria!" he sang, his pitch wavering. "It is I, Locke Cole, the world's premier adventurer, who shall take her as my wife!"

A few in the audience chuckled at Locke's attempted vibrato. Celes, the Chief, and the remaining cast unanimously wished that they were invisible. Over in the corner, Sabin snorted out loud at the treasure hunter's atrocious singing and burst out into an uncontrollable fit of laughter as Locke continued to chew the scenery into nonexistence. Edgar too had to laugh at the fiasco the opera had become.

Not one to be outdone, Ultros drew himself up to his full height and gave Locke the most skewering gaze he could muster. "Silence, you knave! You are in the presence of octopus royalty!" He moved to the center of the stage and adopted a battle stance. "A lowborn thief like you could never defeat me! I challenge you and your worthless friends to a duel!"

Almost immediately, Locke kicked his knife up from the stage where it had fallen and caught it in midair. The audience applauded as he and Ultros began to circle each other, Sabin and Edgar joining Locke. The treasure hunter twirled the knife to raucous applause, looking less and less like the "world's premier adventurer" and more and more like a gang member from Zozo.

"We accept your challenge," Locke told Ultros. "Now, have at you!"

Sabin raised an eyebrow. "You're enjoying this far too much."

Locke took a swipe at Ultros's tentacle and shrugged. "Maybe I always wanted to play a hero."

Ultros burbled his laugh again and shot ink at Locke, missing the treasure hunter and hitting Draco squarely in the face. "Is that so? Then consider this your final act, you gutter-crawling cur!"

The Chief, always one to seize on an opportunity, motioned toward the maestro. "Let's make the most of this! Music!"

Celes didn't know if she was amused or appalled.

Near her, Ralse staggered to his feet and wheezed air back into his lungs. "You have some...interesting friends."

Celes watched as Locke and Ultros continued to tear up the scenery, literally and figuratively. "That I do."
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy VI
Version 6
©1997–2019 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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