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Swords For Hire: Will of Elder Topa
by Doc Shinryuu

"All right," shouted Ramza to his small, rather tired, army, "We'll be pulling into Goland Coal City tonight. We've been on a long journey so far..."
He paused for effect,
"...So we'll take tomorrow to rest."
After less than a second's pause, the entire army went into an uproar. Even the Chocobos seemed to be cheering.
"I'll be at the bar if any of you need me." Ramza tried to shout over the din.
The caravan sped up so quickly, one would think someone cast a big Haste2 on all of them.


"Man..." said a Wizard sitting at a Goland bar, "What a day! All rest, relaxation, and fun!"
"I don't know what YOU call fun, Stanley," responded a Priest sitting next to him, "but I agree, it certainly was a nice day."
"That's a BIG understatement, Melissa." Said a Ninja on the other side of Stanley, "Something seems missing, though..."
"Maybe it's CASH, Silphy." Stanley said to the Ninja.
Oh perfect, here we go... Melissa thought.
"All we need to do is think up the perfect scheme to-"
"Sorry, I couldn't help but overhear that you need some money." The Barkeep interrupted, "An old miner by the name of Topa died recently. A section of his Will said that he wanted a hidden mine shaft he found excavated. Nobody living knows what's in there. If you three want to go there, I can get you a map..."
Stanley quickly jumped up from his seat, "How much do you want!?" He shouted.
"8,000 Gil for the map and equipment."
"No, but think of the value what you could find there. There could be an unknown metal there. There could be hidden ruins of a long-dead civilization. Who knows!" The barkeep said in a mysterious tone of voice.
"Hmmm... I don't know." Stanley muttered, "Hey, Ramza!" Ramza, sitting at a nearby table turned to listen, "Do we have 8,000 Gil handy?"
"Hold on." Ramza checked the pockets on his armor, walked out of the bar and, a few minutes later, walked back in with a large bag of Gil. Then, he took out a notepad and muttered as he wrote, "Note to self: Always carry at least 8,000 gil with you at all times."


"Well, here we are." Said Silphy, peering into a dark cave in front of her, "The darkest coal mine in Ivalice."
"So, are we going in?" Stanley asked.
"It's frightening. We don't know what's in there." Melissa said with a slight shiver, "This shaft's been abandoned for so long, who knows what monsters could be in there!"
"Melissa," Stanley said, "Did you notice that there were NO monsters on the way up here?"
"There you go. No monsters out here, no monsters in there."
"They could ALL be in there!"
"If you can name all the monsters that could be in there, I'll admit that you're right"

"There could be Ghouls, Behemoths, Dragons-" "Okay, so you studied the Encyclopedia Bestiaria. So what. We're going in anyway, right Silphy?"
Silphy was already far ahead of them.
"H-hey! Wait up!" Stanley shouted after her.
"W-wait! Don't leave me out here alone!" Melissa yelled.


Deep in the abandoned mine shaft, Stanley, Silphy, and Melissa...


"WHERE ARE WE!?" Silphy shouted.
"If I knew, I'd tell you." Stanley said calmly.
"We're lost, aren't we?" Said Melissa
"WE'RE NOT LOST!" Stanley yelled, "We just don't know where we are on the map."
Just as Stanley finished his sentence, the trio came face to face with a dead end.
"Oh really." Melissa muttered.
"Wha? I followed the barkeep's directions exactly..." Stanley said under his breath.
"Hm? It looks like there's some sort of markings here. Looks like an arrow."
Stanley's attention snapped toward Silphy. "Where's it pointing?" He shouted frantically.
Silphy pointed to a slight indent in the wall. "Right over there." She said. Before she finished, Stanley was already there.
"I'm supposed to cast a fire spell in THERE?" Stanley said, "I'm not that accurate!"
"Ahem," Melissa cleared her throat, "Just WHERE did you get all this information?"
"Umm..." Stanley faltered, "The barkeep told me. He said he inspects all his propositions before putting them to the public."
Melissa sighed, "All right, I'll believe you for now."
"Thank you." Stanley said, "Silphy, can you throw a Fire Ball in that hole?"
"I'm way ahead of you, Stanley!" Silphy said as she was winding up.
The Fire Ball went right in, and the wall dropped down, revealing a huge chunk of ore. Everyone was speechless. It was the biggest ore chunk they'd ever seen.
Stanley ran up and hugged it, "WAHOO!!! This thing must be worth MILLIONS!!!"
"And how," Melissa said skeptically, "Are we supposed to get this out of here?"
"This." Said Stanley, taking out a small cylinder.
"And that is..."
"A Spatial Compression Capsule. Mustadio made it for just such an occasion."
"Ugh, that Mustadio..."


"8,005 Gil." The appraiser said.
"THAT'S A RIPOFF!!!" Stanley shouted.
"Sorry, that's what it's worth."
"Okay, just give me the money."
Stanley walked out of the appraisal office with a bag of money in hand.
"So?" Silphy said, "How much?"
"WHAT!?" Silphy and Melissa shouted in unison.
"Well, at least one thing went right." Stanley said
"Like what?" Silphy said. Melissa would've beat her to it, but she was on the ground, crying things to the effect of "And after all that work, too!"
"At least we made a profit."

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