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The Return

by Nathan Bounds

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Chapter 13

Strago sat in astounded fear, wondering how Kefka could possibly still be alive. Finally, when he regained his voice, he asked Kefka what was going on.

"You're going to help us," Kefka replied.

"I will do nothing of the sort," Strago declared strongly.

"But you see," said Kefka, circling Strago's chair, "you have no choice. You are bound."

"What do you want?" Strago inquired in a savage tone that he hadn't used since he had first fought the Hidon.

"I want to leave."

"Leave?" Strago asked, puzzled.

"Yes. Leave. You see, I cannot leave here, nor can they. Do you know where you are old man?"

"No."

"You are in the realm of Dark Espers. Where the Espers of the Darkness abide." He screeched the same demonic laugh he always had.

"I am their leader," he continued. "I am the most powerful Dark Esper. We are led, of course, by Cid. Not the bumbling fool who didn't have enough brains to create Magicite, but a Cid from millions of years ago, when people had been around no long than a few thousand years. Before the Para Qua."

The same word that had been inscribed on that stone in Ebot's Rock.

Kefka continued explaining about Cid. "The land of Simalakus was losing a war, despite the recent invention of the airship. Simalakus's enemy had built a fleet as well. So the king called in his chief scientist, who had built the airship. He was Cid. He ordered Cid to find something new to fight with. So Cid tried to think of something. But nothing would help. One day, he was walking in the woods and saw a cabin. He went in, and saw an old man sitting in a chair.

"'Who are you?' the old man asked. Cid explained all about Simalakus and the war and trying to find a new weapon. The old man told him that he could find a new weapon.

"'It is in the center of the lands of the earth, exactly one thousand miles from here. There you will find a tower, built by the Creator, where all the energy of the world is focused. That tower holds the earth together. When you enter the tower, you will be attacked by the eternal guard. He cannot be destroyed with your weapons. Thus, you must run past him to the center of the room. There you will see eight crystals in a circle, four bright, four dark. Within the circle, there will be a pedestal. On the pedestal will be an edible tablet. Chew it up in your mouth. When you do, it will be the worst thing you have ever tasted or ever will taste. But after that, you will gain great power.' So Cid took a small army to see if this was true. Every word of it was. When he ate the tablet, he was given the Para Qua, and destroyed the eternal guard, the army that came with him, and Simalakus's enemy all at once. He then returned to Simalakus to tell the king of his power.

"The king was delighted until Cid killed him and took his place at the throne. Cid then claimed the world as his own. He was eventually destroyed by a young steel smith named Aegis."

"What is the Para Qua?" Strago asked.

"It is loosely translated as 'Great Evil.' However, they does not begin to convey its true meaning. It is the source of Magic, the Dark Espers, and the Dark Crystals."

"What do you intend to do with me?" Strago asked.

"You will release us. As a magical being, when you die, you will become an Esper. However, you will not stay here. You will go to the Light Esper world. We will hold on while you go until we are on the earth again. Then we will reclaim it for Cid."

Kefka pulled out a knife, and Strago screamed, with such fear that the emotional reverberations went through everyone with Magical ability when Magic was restored. That was the very moment that Sabin felt that something was lost, the moment that Strago died and Kefka returned.

Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy VI
Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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