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Chapter 11: Disasterpiece Conspiracy

Pull your hands away!
-Slipknow: Disasterpiece

“Great Hyne in Heaven!!!” Squall gasped.

What kind of a sick joke is this!?, Squall thought, No. Not again. There’s no sense! Why!? When will I get to know why Caraway did all this!?

Squall didn’t hear the phone ring. Cid picked the phone up.

“Hello? Oh, hello General Caraway. Yes. Yes, I am aware of the fact that we are in a difficult situation. I think my Commander of SeeD may pay you a visit, alongside with your daughter. Yes. Well, logical steps is his own style of doing things, you know. That... But I-“ there was a brief pause, and Cid let go of his breath “Yes. I understand. You too. Goodbye.”

Great Hyne... Why? So, let me gather everything I know back together. Caraway wanted to assassinate Zell’s mother, Kiros and Ellone. Rinoa comes back with her control over magic totally lost, after I rescue her at Tear’s Point. I find Hynicale again. There are 21 Saints of Hyne, and-

Wait. Why do I remember that there are 21 Saints of Hyne? Anyways, let me pass on...

That wierd passage in Hynicale about “The One Who Grieves” and blood. Hyne... Everything seems to be dealing with either magic or religion. It’s time to seek out information. Yes, I must find out what-

‘Black SeeD’! I must learn what it is! And the martial assassins too! And their meanings. Damn. I keep repeating the same things inside my mind, running blind in circles.

“Squall, where are you going?” Cid asked.
“None of your business.” Squall replied.

Squall walked out of Cid’s office, his rage leaving itself to curiosity. Squall was wondering what was going on more than ever, now that he had a name to guide him: Caraway.

He got on the elevator and pressed on “1F” and the elevator started to go down. Squall thought about it more.

I feel like I am not gonna like the truth when I see what it is. If Caraway really is up to something... Then, it’s a masterpiece- no. It’s a work of disaster, not a master. It’s a disasterpiece conspiracy.

The elevator stopped and the doors slid open. Squall walked into the light of the main hall. He spotted Quistis down at the stairs, crying all by herself.

Deciding to comfort her, as a payback, Squall walked down the stairs and sat beside her.

“Look, Quistis.” Squall said, “I know I haven’t shown you grace. I know I haven’t acted as grateful as I am. I know I have made mistakes. But... The thing is, you had... I’m sorry, but you had never been more than a sister, or a collegue to me.”

Quistis just kept on crying.

“I was honest with you this time. I truly am sorry. But as much love you have for me... It’s less than the love I have for Rinoa; because it can’t be measured. My love for her takes up my heart, soul, mind. There’s no room for another love.”
“I had sworn to myself!” Quistis cried, “Sworn to myself that I wouldn’t let myself endure that empty look on your face! I promised to myself, sworn to myself! And yet, I still-“
“Quistis, do you think I hate you? Do you think it’ll change anything?”

Quistis just stared at his face with blank eyes.

“Yes, it won’t change anything. You’re still my friend. A good friend too. Hyne knows I don’t have many good friends.”
“Squall, you-“
“Now, can you help me?”
“Sure. Anything.” Quistis said, wiping away the tears for a moment, and even managing to smile.
“I’m off to check the Library about ‘Black SeeD’, or ‘martial assassins’. If nothing turns out, we will go to Galbadia, to pay Caraway a little visit. You with me?”
“Yes.” Quistis replied, “You may not love me as I want you to love me... But Ellone was right, you’re truly a hero.”

It wasn’t Quistis who was talking, to Squall. He pulled on his frown and ran to the library, giving Quistis the setting of himself in a hurry cause he had remembered something.

Squall collapsed at the entrance of the Library, and curled up like a ball. He started to sob, as tears of pain came out of his eyes.

...”You’re truly a hero.”

That’s what Sis said to me. But who am I? Am I a hero, a lion? As they say? As everyone says, I was cut out to be a hero?

The world makes heroes... That’s what Cid has told me. World makes people who they are. Then death and blood, violence and depression, anti-sociality and shelterdness, religion and conspiracies have made me what I am?

Or, like Rinoa would say, love and caring, truth and honesty, honour and strength, pride and will made me what I am?

Or am I just standing here in this world, like everyone else, but they point to me, saying ‘He’s the hero’, using present tense, like everything they say is the truth.

I’m sick of it! Great Hyne, help me. Hear my prayers. Show me a sign. Send me something.

A single raindrop fell on Squall’s open palm. As Squall stared at it, it glowed for a faint second, and then, disappeared, leaving no wetness behind.

As Squall got up, he thought; Thank you, Hyne. I will not be brought down easily.

He hastened his steps to the Library, and ignored the “Repairment In Progress” signs. He walked straight in, smiling sinisterly to himself as he remembered he was ‘Commander Leonhart’ after all.

“You can’t ente- oh, Commander Leonhart!” Amy came up to him, and then saluted him.
“At ease, we’re not in a mission briefing or anything.” Squall said.
“What brings you here, sir.”
“But the Library is-“
“I can read.”
“Sir... Okay, what is the keywords? I mean, basically, what are you looking for?”

Squall looked up to her, knowing that, she knew every single book that was on the bookshelves of Balamb Garden’s library.

“’Black SeeD’.” Squall said, “Or the term ‘martial assassin’.”
“Sir, that goes to the bookshelf labelled as ‘The Sorceress War’, but the bookshelf is entirely burnt down.”
“During that day, when Rinoa Heartilly got out of control, she burnt down the whole bookshelf, none of us noticed it, until today.”
“Thanks.” Squall said dryly, and he walked out of the library.

As he shook his leather trenchcoat to make the dust go away, he turned his steps to the Directory, where Quistis was impatiently waiting on his arrival.

“Okay, what’s the result?” Quistis asked.
“Nothing. It seems as if the entire bookshelf that contained similar books or alternatives that can give us a headstart is burned down to the ground on Rinoa’s insane minute.”
“So that leaves us...”
“Caraway.” Squall said, “Yeah, I was planning to pay him a little visit.”

In silence, they walked together to the Airstation. Quistis was basically following Squall’s steps to walk on.

Great Hyne, Quistis thought, I... I don’t know why I feel so terrible. It was what I wanted to say for so long... And yet, I just... Don’t really feel anything. I can’t lie to myself, somehow I don’t feel anything. I expected something at least! But... Nothing. At least nothing visibly present for me.

“Ragnarok! Wait! STOP THE- Slow!!!” Squall’s yelling and casting a spell on the SeeDs who were about to get on Ragnarok woke Quistis up. She got her chain whip, immidiately. Squall was gripping LionHeart by the handle tightly.

“Come on!” he said to Quistis, and then ran to Ragnarok as the slow-motion SeeDs (Quistis chuckled at the sight) were trying to advance. Squall and Quistis climbed on board the spaceship. Squall went to the pilot seat as Quistis sat next to him.

As Ragnarok took off, Quistis stared at Squall.

“Squall, what’s bothering you?”
“I feel like we’re headed to either a tough fight, or our end.”
“H-how did you get to that feeling?”
“Quistis, did I tell you that I was the one who assassinated Zell’s mother and Kiros?”
“Great Hyne in heaven, you-“
“It was me. And guess who our client was?”
“Tell me.”
“And the same client who ordered Ellone dead, by SeeD?”
“No way in hell!”
“Oh yes. And I have a feeling that, he’s up to something.”

Their chit-chat was ended by Ragnarok landing at the grounds of Caraway’s Mansion. Squall got LionHeart, and Quistis grabbed her chain whip. Before they went on, Squall lifted his gunblade, and gave the blade a little kiss- sweet, but intoxiating kiss to the cold steel. Quistis shivered at the sight, but kept her mouth shut.

They walked on to the manor grounds where three Galbadian soldiers greeted them.

“Please state your name and business.” One said.
“A visit.” Squall said, with a sinister smile that gave the message of upcoming doom.
“A visit?” another soldier asked, “To who?”
“General Caraway.” Quistis replied, as an expert Squall observer, knew that these soldiers would either let them pass or die at the tip of his gunblade.
“Why?”the officer asked.
“None of your business.” Squall replied.

A soldier raised his sword-in a wrong move.

Before he even knew it, Squall’s gunblade slashed through his throat. As he collapsed and started to choke, Squall’s swing continued to catch another one in the chest. Squall turned around, took his right foot back. Then, fast as his first move, he took a step forward with his right food while pushing the sword in a stabbing move, catching the next soldier in the chest.

As Squall cleaned his bloodstained gunblade to one of the soldier’s uniforms, he looked up to Quistis with that same, ‘homicidal maniac’ smile.

“Negotiations went as planned.” Squall said, “Let’s get on with our business.”

Not liking this at all, Quistis ran alongside with Squall. They ran all the way to Caraway’s Mansion doors. Leaving a trail of bodies behind, Squall was determined to reach to him, no matter what it cost.

“Squall, we’re clear.” Quistis stated.
“Okay.” Squall said, “I get your back, you bash in.” Squall said.

Squall moved to a position to act as soon as possible if someone came out to attack. Quistis opened the door and barged in, and Squall lunged in after her. The door shut behind them, and locked itself.

They both looked around. It was the living room of Rinoa. The place they had planned to kill Edea. The place they had chosen their leader, got trapped as the gateway team.

“Squall... Ri-Quistis.” Caraway said, turning to them. He looked in good shape, considering his hair looked freshly-gelled.
“General Caraway.” Squall said, saluting him.
“At ease, Commander.” Caraway said.
“General Caraway,” Quistis interrupted, “We are here to use Galbadia archives.”
“Oh? And may I ask what you will be searching for?”
“’Black SeeD’ or ‘martial assassins’.” Squall replied, expecting a change. Basically knowing the story, Quistis expected a change in the expression of the general at the least. But nothing happened.

“Sure.” Caraway said, as he went over to the bar and took a glass. He placed the glass inside the hands of the woman statue that led to the sewer passage. But he pressed harder until it clicked for a second time.

“Down there.” Caraway said.
“You’re not coming?” Squall asked.
“I’m afraid I have business to take care of. But you are free to search for whatever you want.”

Shooting Quistis a curious look, Squall led Quistis downstairs. They went down and down, under the soil more and more. When the downhill-pathway ended, Quistis took a relieved breath.

“That’s it?” Squall asked. There was a round room made entirely of steel, and a computer unit right in the middle of it. As Quistis stared at it, it turned on.

[Search For]?.........................[Search]

Quistis typed in Black SeeD and clicked on [Search]. Then, she read aloud.

Information About:“Black SeeD”

The first form of [SeeD], the anti-sorceress faction known to the world at the present time. Black SeeD was made of hired soldiers that were used at [The Sorceress War], as part of a series of assassinations that happened in both [Galbadia] and [Esthar] governments.

Black SeeD soldiers are known by their incredible loyalty to their contracts, so it apears [SeeD] of the present time. As an addition, Black SeeD members were well-trained in [martial arts], regardless of the weapon they used.

Black SeeD members were known to be religious, and would only respond to their leader. Their laws were basic interpretations of [Hynicale], and they were known to be applying it word by word. Knowing not of the free will or greed, this unit also named themselves as [Sinner Saints Of Hyne], a metaphor for their religiousness to their ultimate purpose; to kill the [sorceress].

During [The Sorceress War], the faction Black SeeD dealt with massive losses of life on their behalf. It was known that, unknown to them at the point, they had found [Guardian Force] ornaments to help them. What these [Guardian Force] ornaments may be, stands to be a mystery as the ornaments were destroyed during [The Sorceress War].

Alternative Search Criteria: [Martial Assassin].

Quistis stopped and stared at Squall.

“What the hell?” Squall asked, “Black SeeD? We’ve been dealing with our own kind? Black SeeD? SeeD agains the sorceress and they are applying the rule based on Hynicale? What kind of a madness is that!?”

Squall lunged at the computer unit and tossed Quistis aside, furiously typing in Revival Blood, and clicking on [Search].

Information About:”Revival Blood” (Alternative Criteria:The Ritual Of Revival Blood”)

Mentioned in a passage inside [Hynicale], The Ritual Of Reviving Blood is known to be a well-known and achievable goal during [The Sorceress War].

The Ritual Of Reviving Blood is known to be performed as follows;

What is required is a [sorceress] that has the powers of three other [sorceresses]. Done with [The Sacrifical Blade] and [Demon’s Tears], the Reviving Blood is to be let to flow down onto the soil, thus, giving birth to a higher and darker version of another [sorceress].

The only condition that was hard to achieve within the boundaries of The Ritual Of Reviving Blood; the [sorceress] that is to be sacraficed must be sacraficed by her father.

Squall froze.

“Wh-what?” Quistis asked.
“Great Hyne in heaven!” Squall gasped.
“What is it, Squall?” Quistis asked again.
“Rinoa!” Squall said, “Caraway is going to sacrafice Rinoa!”
“Say, what!?”
“Yes. I remember seeing something in a chapter of Hynicale-“
“Hynicale? How?”
“A Hyne church in Esthar had a copy. I read something named ‘Revival Blood’. It seems that, a sorceress who has the power of three sorceresses must be sacraficed by her father.”
“But Rinoa-“
“Adel, Ultimecia and therefore, Edea. Three sorceresses! It fits!”
“But what about the assassinations?” Quistis asked.
“I don’t know yet. Let’s ask.”

Taking Quistis, they almost ran upwards to the light. When they reached the living room, Caraway was standing there, his back turned on them. He sipped some wine out of the glass he had in his hand.

“Just what’s going on, Caraway?” Squall asked.

Caraway smiled to himself. This had come along sooner than he had expected. He turned around to face them.

“Squall...” he said, “You got me.”

Galbadian Soldiers stormed inside, armed with rifles. They took their positions and they surrounded them, their rifles aimed at their heads.

“What?” Squall asked.
“You didn’t think I was going to let you get away with that information in your hands, did you?” Caraway asked.
“I WANNA KNOW WHY!!!” Squall screamed.
“Very well.” Caraway replied, “Then, I will explain to you, why I did such things.”

He leaned on the table and started to explain.

“Not many of you know that, during The Sorceress War, Esthar and Galbadia had collaborated. Oh yes, after all those assassinations, we still could. We sealed in, probably the most dangerous, hostile-and powerful sorceress in the whole war- Sorceress Lichia.”
“Lichia?” Squall asked.
“Her name came from a combination of leech and Alicia.” Caraway replied, “Now don’t cut me off, let me finish.” Squall didn’t reply, he just shot a confused look at Quistis.

“Tear’s Point. Rings any bells?” Caraway asked rhetorically, “You never wondered why Galbadian soldiers were inside Lunatic Pandora the day you stormed inside to rescue my daughter and slaughter Adel. You never wondered why Lunatic Pandora went straight to Tear’s Point. You never wondered why Lunar Cry landed straight on Tear’s Point. All had something to do with Lichia. You see, Tear’s Point isn’t a plateu of memories. It’s not a pretty place. It’s not a graveyard or archive. It’s a seal. A seal for Lichia, the place we managed to seal her in. Using Angel’s Tears, that’s why those statues are angels.”

He sipped his wine glass and went on.

“So, we come to the present where the only sorceress alive is my daughter. And I needed to get on with myself. It was getting more and more difficult holding Timber in my palms. So, I decided to seek help from the only other sorceress that’s present; Lichia.”
“What does that got to do with all those assassinations?”Squall asked.
“You see, I’m a smart man. I knew Ellone had helped you defeat Ultimecia, when she was so close to achieving her goal. Ellone had to be taken out to avoid such risk. Unknowingly, it put Laguna out of business more- that was the purpose of the assassination of Kiros. And as for that poor Jenna Dincht, well... I had to make sure you could do anything for me. Anything.”
“So you-“
“Let me finish.” Caraway said, taking a lazy sip out of his glass, “And Cid had to accept them. Because I am posioning him at every breakfast and neutralising the poison every dinner. He only knows the first part, so he has to obey me. To make it look nice, I paid in advance. But I had made a mistake- it didn’t look nice, it looked suspicious.”
“So-“Quistis started,
“Let-me-finish!!!” Caraway snapped.
“No, not before I ask my question. So you hired Black SeeD?” Squall asked.
“No.” Caraway Replied, “They were acting on their own behalf, I’m afraid. But I think you might wanna know what has been happening to Rinoa, that went as far as attacking you with a razor-sharp knife in the middle of the night, yes? She’s getting possessed by Lichia. That was the one thing that came to my luck-the brief, little crack on her seal allowed her to export her power through an existing sorceress!”

Squall bent his head down. So all the hell he had been through was only for a lunatic trying to gain more power? Because he had left his commander defenseless?

“And that’s where you come to me with your own to feet!” Caraway said in passion, “And I will keep you. You have put so much trouble in my way in the past!”
“Adel! Ultimecia! Seifer! Who financed them? Out of whose hand Seifer was eating? Mine! Who was Seifer serving, alongside with Fujin and Raijin? Me! Who could take Galbadia Garden without my authorization? No one, but Seifer took it! Yes! They were all funded, supported and mobilized by me!”
“You’re a monster!” Squall said, “All this just to kill your daughter and get more power!?”

Caraway snapped his fingers. As Squall shut his eyes, gunshots whipped the disturbing and tense silence of the living room. As Squall slowly opened up his eyes and looked around, he saw the wincing body of Quistis, covered in blood.

“Quistis!” Squall shouted, looking at her, “NO!”
“You see, that’s what I’m capable of.” Caraway said.

Squall took her bleeding body into his arms and embraced her.

“Squall...” Quistis said, “You’re truly a hero... Truly a hero...”

... ”You’re truly a hero”.

Galbadian Soldiers dragged Squall down to ‘the dungeons’(as Caraway had stated) as Squall stared at Quistis, who was dying there.

As the thoughts of failure sunk in.

Chapter 12

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