PuPu's Saga Chapter 6
by Jeremy Chapter
Setting 06: 1730 DAY 12, Trabia
Heath Peninsula Island
"But now reach out
your hand; open my eyes.
And yet I did not open them
And it was courtesy to show
"This has to be the stupidest mission
Ive ever been on," Zell muttered aloud.
Had he known that staring at the
clouds for one and a half weeks was what Headmaster Cid meant by
"checking atmospheric conditions," he would have kicked
Irvine out of the Ragnarok and taken his girlfriend instead. The
thought of his girlfriend made him shut himself up.
"I think I see Venus!"
Zell shouted suddenly, jumping up and down.
Irvine nodded hastily,
concentrating more on what he was doing then listening to
Damn you two little stones!
Zell still hadnt removed the
binoculars from his eyes.
"Come on, trench coat
boy," he goaded, "pay up."
Irvine was getting more
Damn you two little stones!
Still gazing at Venus, Zell
snickered at Irvines failed attempts at starting a fire
with his flint. Not that it mattered since he was the first to
spot anything spectacular in the last eleven day. Irvine owes
me so much Gil
I have it made!
Visibly upset by how things were
going with the flint, he got up and hurled the rocks at Zell. He
was glad that his target still hadnt removed the binoculars
because there was no way he would have been able to guess that
Irvine was a professional sharpshooter based on how much he
Irvine regained his composure,
dusted himself off gallantly, then proceeded to pull out his
rifle, load two rounds of Fire Ammo, and blasted the foliage
amidst his ring of stones to `. Coolly he blew away the smoke
coming out of his gun, and put his free hand on his hip as if he
were posing for a picture. He lifted his head and scoffed
haughtily at the little flames he incited, flashing his best
"Yeah, you know whos all that, you know whos the
bad-ass" smirk. Starting to sway in his victory dance,
Irvine hummed to himself, "Whos your daddy? I am.
Whos your daddy? Its me. Dont you know it?
What is with him and his
marshmallows anyway? Werent they just flour and sugar? Zell
wondered. And why was he so obstinate about having them
toasted the traditional way? Had he taken a moment to look at
the little unconscious jig Irvine was doing, there would
definitely be no limit to how much he could have blackmailed him
Irvine finally remembered why Zell
was so excited. He gave the fire his last "That ought to
teach you a listen" glare and turned to his eyes towards the
hyped up pugilist.
"What did you say?" he
"I said," Zell
pronounced extra clearly through his grin, "youre
going to owe me so much Gil that I wont need my SeeD pay
for a year!"
Irvine spit on the ground,
"You wanna double that wager,
Zelda?" he teased, intent on irking Zell in return for the
last week and a half of suffering his companions presence
had imparted on him.
Zell was in too good a mood to be
peeved by such a low-class attempt at knocking his masculinity.
"Multiplication increases the amount, genius,"
he retorted, "but I guess theyll teach you that next
"So three times the wager,
then," was Irvines answer.
Zell shrugged, saying,
"Its your Gil."
So this assignment does
have its perks. This is a dream come true, Zell thought
"If youre trying to
appeal to my conscience, dont bother. Im not giving
any of this Gil back," Zell cautioned, still gazing through
"You know, Zell," Irvine
began, "if you had half the brain I had, youd
"Hows that? Half
of your wealth? No thanks, jolly rancher fruity," Zell
Turning slightly red, but still
able to endure it, Irvine continued, "Well, youre
going to be twice as sorry, now. How bout we raise the
stakes to loser loses a hand?"
Zell paused, but with him sighting
Venus first, he saw nothing to worry about. Irvine must have
had a hemorrhage or something
I am going too far, taking
advantage of him while hes mentally unstable? he
wondered. Still, its safer to restrain myself.
"What are you going to do
with one hand?" Zell countered. "Think about it,
Irvine, you only have two."
"I dont need but half
of my appendages operational to shoot you dead," Irvine
Zell put his binoculars aside,
turning on Irvine with a nasty scowl. This was about his
skills as a fighter now. The conversation had strayed away from
the bank and into the arena.
"I could whoop you with one
hand tied behind my back right now. Hell, Ill even close
one eye, hot shot!" he sneered angrily.
"I could take your head off
with half a gun!" Irvine bragged.
"Ha! Some sniper you
are," Zell growled at Irvine who just threw his hat on the
ground. "We hired you once and you cant even
hit the open target half the time!"
Irvine was steaming now.
"Its on now, hotdog
trash bucket," he spewed, "well make the wager
Zell was beyond restraint so he
hastily agreed. Well see who is afraid of whom.
Irvine smirked triumphantly. That
smug idiot, doesnt even suspect it
"See," he taunted,
"this proves that you only have half a brain, nimrod!
You cant chop off you second hand yourself!"
"That doesnt change the
fact that Ill still beat you to a pulp!" Zell yelled
"Forget that wager, then,
chicken," he taunted, before suggesting, "If you lose,
you can't sneak upstairs to the study hall and tour the online
tutorial for any more Rinoa screen-savers."
Irvine pointed at something behind
Zell while he thought about the new consequence, and then handed
Zell the binoculars just as the boxer remembered to protest
Irvine's slander that carried some ugly insinuations.
"Look again, space boy,"
he jeered, "wheres your Venus now?"
Zell made a face back, rudely
snatched the binoculars from Irvine, and looked through them
"See that red thing over
there? The first interesting thing weve seen in weeks. Pay
up, loser," he gloated.
"I had to turn a few gears in
my head, but I cant believe how great my idea was!"
Zell shouted, pumping his fist in the air, beaming with pride.
"All I had to do to win the bet was whip out the binoculars
and spot things farther than you can see."
Laughing, he clapped his hands
together before pumping both fists.
"Zell, you get a pat on the
back for this one," he said to himself, bringing the
binoculars to his eyes for another look at his treasure.
"What can I say? Im a genius."
Irvine tapped the lens and rapped
Zell on the head, inducing him to go into a fighting stance and
initiate a few jabs. Irvine grabbed the binoculars and turned
"I dont know if they
taught you this in grade school, but most people look through it this
way," Irvine said flatly. "That red thing you saw
would be the Ragnarok."
Zells jaw dropped four
inches before he helped it back up with his hand.
Impossible! Backwards? There is
no way this happening to me! he bemoaned.
"Great idea with the
binoculars, partner," Irvine rubbed in. "What can I
say? Youre a genius."
"B-but it was red!" he
sputtered, refusing to believe his egregious error.
"Was color recognition your only
qualification to pass the SeeD test at Balamb Garden?"
Zell was too embarrassed to mumble
anything except, "I know I saw Venus!"
Irvine lifted his hands above his
head, shouting, "In broad daylight! Are you mad?"
"Did you not know to look
through the smaller lenses, Zell?" Irvine pressed on after
regaining his composure. "Or maybe theyll teach you
that in school next week."
"Okay, okay, I get the
point," Zell conceded grudgingly, "but that
doesnt mean you win."
"No," Irvine agreed,
"but it will make a hilarious story to tell at dinner
parties for years to come."
Zell paled at the thought. Not
again. Stupid, so stupid of you, Zell. Theres
no way out of this one. Better change the subject before he
thinks of other ways to rag on me.
"All right, maybe I wanted
to see something, anything out of the ordinary so
badly that I made it up? Is that okay?" Zell said, feigning
Irvine thought about it, still
shaking with laughter, but didnt add anything else. Come
on, buy it, buy it, Zell repeated in his head.
Seeing as how he had no more quips
left to dish out, Irvine finally shrugged and agreed that they
got stuck with a stupid mission. A thought suddenly struck him
and he lit up like a bulb. I still have a bag of marshmallows
left! Better stop wasting time and tend to them.
Irvine crouched down and started
kindling the small flames, nearly extinguished because he
hadnt fed the fire during their bickering. Damn little
stones, but thank Eden for Fire Ammo, he beamed.
Zell was horror-struck. Sometimes,
I just dont understand him.
"Irvine, how can you sit
there all day long toasting those stupid powder puffs?" he
asked, exasperated. "I mean, couldnt you at least
roast some chicobos or something tasty?"
"Shut up and keep your eyes
open. You might find something," Irvine chuckled.
"Hey," Zell protested,
"why shouldnt you be paying attention to this mission?
Were both responsible for a satisfactory report, you
"I dont think
Cids going to be satisfied with anything after how you
handled those negotiations at Shumi Village," Irvine
Zell spun around, nostrils
"Dont shift the blame
to me, you rooftop weasel! I wasnt the one who stepped over
the chain and sat on the Elders pre-made coffin thinking it
was a bench," Zell shouted, pointing a finger accusingly at
Irvine ignored the comment,
saying, "Lets go back a few days in time, shall we?
What kind of idiot ambassador would drink from the sanctified
Zell held up his hands in defense.
"They offered it to me!"
"To wash your fingers,
monkey-brains. Do you know how many generations of consecrating
and reconsecrating that pan youve destroyed?"
Not to mention how upset you
made the Moomba when it spilled on his tail.
"How was I supposed to
know?" Zell hollered penitently. "I dont know any
Shumi customs! I dont refer to myself in third person! And
I dont identify myself by my profession!"
"And you obviously
didnt see how every officer there dipped their fingers or
flippers into the holy water," Irvine reminded him.
Stupid, so stupid of you, Zell.
Just like that time you gave away Gardens name in front
of the cameras at Timber.
"I can see the announcement
to all the Trabia Garden workers now," Irvine continued,
framing the image he saw before him with his hands, "Balamb
Garden student Zell Dincht unilaterally brings all Nova Trabia
Garden construction funding to a halt."
"Whoa, hold your horses,
cowboy," Zell pressed. "Just remember you where you
tossed all your empty marshmallow bags. Im sure the Nest
Mother was thrilled that you thought her baby cradle was fit to
be a wastebasket."
stupid," Irvine admitted, "but nothing compared to what
you did to the Artisans hut, smart guy. Can you even
imagine how many years hes worked at the request of the
entire village on Lagunas statue, that same one that was
crushed by the ceiling? Youd better hope they send the next
months credit instead of the repair bill or Cid will hang
"At least we got out of there
with our heads still attached to our necks," Zell said
"You have to give the Shumi
credit for their intelligence," Irvine went on. "After
all, they finally did figure out that kicking Zell out as soon as
possible would be the best way to save Gil."
contemplated after reconsidering, if they were really bright,
they would have killed us to protect their investment in
Eden knows what Zell could do to the new
Gardens foundations if he had leveled the Artisans
hut on accident.
Zell frowned, crossed with their
situation and annoyed that the elevator taking them back up to
the surface and out of the village seemed to move a lot faster
than the initial trip down into the village.
Irvine licked his lips hungrily,
only paying attention to not overcooking his snack. His partner
looked over at him, half-annoyed at his disconcerting fetish for
"I still cant believe
you put together so many bonfires. Do you know how its a
capital offense in some of those districts to start a brushfire
even on accident?" Zell asked.
"Every place we went to there
was always someone who had done it there before I did. I was just
following their example," Irvine pointed out.
"One burnt patch of grass
does not make the entire frigid field a
marshmallow-toasting reservation!" Zell practically
"Nobody seemed to mind on
Mandy Beach or in the middle of Kashkabald Desert. There
wasnt any danger of starting brushfires in those
places," Irvine offered.
"Nobody toasts marshmallows
on the beach or in the desert, thats the point! It
therefore cant be a federally sanctioned
marshmallow-warming site, just like this cant be,"
Not content with standing around
impatiently while Irvine was enjoying his favorite pastime, Zell
was just itching to add, "How many packs have you eaten
Instead, he tried, "Look what
youve done for the fourth time!"
His eyes a bit tired of the
sporadically glistening sparks, Irvine finally took the time look
up away from his business and inspect the ground around him. Zell
crossed his arms and stood back with a self-satisfied air. They
were standing in the middle of a field littered with burnt
patches of grass left by Irvines random blazing.
Shrugging and squatting back down,
Irvine assured Zell, "This is the last bag, which means
well have to head back soon and restock. Weve been
out here too long and we havent come up with anything new.
Sooner or later theyre going to start wondering where we
are since the Shumi flop was happened last Monday."
Zell threw his hands up in the
air, yelling, "Get with the program! We cant go back!
We flunked this mission, doofus. We have nothing, after eleven
days, to report. Nothing at all!"
Zell held up his hands by
Irvines face and wiggled his fingers, whispering,
After some consideration, Irvine
suggested, "You know, if you lightened up a bit, youd
realize that Cid thought enough of us to let us check out all the
marshmallow-toasting grounds rather than all the
Zell glowered, reflecting
bitterly, Yeah, right. Cid thought enough of me to team me up
with Irvine instead of any of the girls.
"Youre not helping our
cause," Zell said after a moment. "Should we pack up
and head for the hills?"
"What? And leave the Ragnarok
here? I think not," Irvine scoffed.
Zell pondered over Irvines
"Youre right," he
decided after a moment. "There would be nowhere to hide the
Irvine laughed, but quieted
himself when he saw Zells pupils widen in agitation.
"Or," Irvine said
slowly, "we could try what we should
"Dont you get it?"
Zell hollered, unable to contain himself. "We have nothing
"We could tell them the
intelligence we gathered from Laguna," Irvine proposed.
Zell had turned bright red.
"Hand it over, Irvine,"
he ordered, "whatever youre using thats
affecting your judgment. Im not kidding."
Irvine held up his hands
"Im not high on
anything, Zell," he stammered.
"Think about it,
bullet-brain," Zell told him. "If you tell Squall about
any of Lagunas Im going to be that father
figure that he never had stuff, Squall will flip out. If
you tell Cid about what Laguna said about the cow missing from
Winhill, Cid will flip out. Were supposed to be monitoring
the weather, remember? We have nothing to report!"
Irvine scratched his head,
shifting his hat ever so slightly. Apparently even the tiniest
bit of jostling was enough incentive for Irvine to carefully
adjust his headwear back into its original position instead of
offering a solution, much to the annoyance of his company.
Zell could feel the hot vapor
jetting out of his ears. That stupid hat of his. He's been
fiddling with it for a minute and it still looks like it's in the
same place. It's just like Rinoa combing her hair.
"We could tell Cid about Mr.
Monkey," Irvine suggested after he was done moving his hat
Zell checked to make sure he heard
right, then checked to see if his partner was being sarcastic.
He'd heard correctly, and there was no sarcasm. Zell's immediate
reaction was to kick some sand in Irvine's direction. Do you
know how retarded you sound!?
"He'll have us demoted 27
levels to a Lv 4 SeeD!" he cried. "What the Ifrit are
intelligence," Irvine piped happily.
Zell rubbed his temples before
responding, "Irvine, you have none and we have none. You
know, I can't believe you can't even find the right shore. How on
earth did you mistake Obel Lake for Mandy Beach?"
Irvine colored slightly.
"So I couldn't tell the
difference between the compass north and true north. At least we
didn't wander too far from Timber," he said, tipping his hat
apologetically. What are you going to do? Shoot me?
"And to think you actually
had a conversation with that sea monster," Zell scorned.
Irvine shook his head.
"I was just being
polite," he explained. "The least we could do was help
him find Mr. Monkey."
"Do you know how crazy that
sounds?" Zell retorted. "He probably just made that up
so you'd stop humming and go away."
"My humming was nothing
compared to you chucking rocks into his lake," Irvine
"Well," Zell parried,
"in case you didnt notice, I was trying to drive him away
from the shore, not to attract his attention like some
raving idiots I know, who shall remain nameless
In his mind though, Zell was
actually starting to regret not helping that sea creature out. At
least then some good would have come out of the trip.
Had we actually gone to Dollet
or leafed through the entire forest and found that fur ball, this
wouldn't have been a total waste of our time. Now Cids
going to string us up and feed us to the Blobras in the training
"We have zilch to report
then," Zell huffed.
Irvine smiled, lifting the stick
with his browned marshmallow from the fire.
"Well," he put forth,
"as my mom used to say, If you have nothing to report,
you should at least have something in your stomach."
"You just made that up!"
Irvine shrugged. So maybe I did.
What are you going to do? Shoot me?
Irvine snickered at the thought,
and offered, "It could be worst." Dammit,
knock on wood.
Zell had already put his
binoculars away and was packing the rest of the camp up. Irvine
looked up and asked what he was doing.
"You got the keys?" Zell
asked, brushing off the question.
"I thought you had
them," Irvine replied honestly.
funny," Zell played along, but resumed the straight face.
"No, its not. You were the last one driving, so what
did you do with them?"
Irvine had stopped fanning off his
steamy marshmallow, sensing imminent trouble.
"I dont have them,
see?" he said, patting his pockets.
Zell could feel himself freaking
out. He tried to jump around and release all the anger in him
that wanted to blow its way out. It was a given that the
show-off driver would not have a sense of direction and would get
lost, but I didnt think the keys would too.
"Irvine," he said so
calmly that it worried the addressee, "remind me again why
we even need the keys to pilot the fingerprint-scan-initiated
Irvine tried to swallow before
answering, but either his mouth was too dry or the swelling lump
in his throat was blocking the passage.
"Laguna had the Esthar
mechanics modify it to key-ignition mode because he was afraid we
might burn off the skin on our fingers while toasting
Zells face froze for a
second before he let out a series of profanities that called the
name of every GF. He was breathing hard by the time he finished,
muttering to himself, "The irony is sickening."
Thats the result of years
of suppressing your feelings right there, Irvine thought,
lifting both eyebrows. I wonder if Squalls outburst
would be stronger than a dose of Omega Weapons Terra Break.
Zell took a deep breath, letting
the anger flow out of him.
"Irvine," he said,
"start crawling around and look for them. Ill go
search every inch of the ship."
Irvine was about to argue that it
was unfair since there was more surface area to cover on the
field than in the ship, but he wisely held his tongue. As Zell
hurried off, Irvine threw his marshmallow aside with a sigh, and
looked sadly at the turf around him.
"Its not in the
ignition, Zell, if thats where youre heading
first," Irvine called after him.
Well probably all laugh
at this someday in the future.