The bright lights of Deling City offered no protection from the horde of gawkers as Seifer walked through the streets. They gasped and pointed as he passed them, but he held his head high. He did, however, avoid looking directly at anyone. Of course, he would always be Seifer, and he still had his pride, but he couldn’t stand the accusing looks they gave him. The little man following him with a camera was the most bothersome. With every click of the camera, Seifer grew more and more irritated, until he could no longer control himself.

He spun around to face him. “What do you want?” he demanded.

The man looked startled for only a moment before he slowly lifted his camera and snapped a photo of Seifer’s sneering face. With a defeated sigh, Seifer turned back around. He spotted the Galbadia Hotel and smirked.

“Sorry,” he said and pointed at a sigh that said, “no paparazzi.”

He ducked into the hotel and immediately headed for the bar. The dim lighting and relaxed atmosphere would make him feel more comfortable and hidden than walking the brightly lit streets. He trotted down the stairs to the bar and scanned the room for an empty booth. He spotted one beside a pair of men wearing army uniforms he didn’t recognize. He slipped in and leaned back to relax.

Seifer was nosey by nature, but even if he wasn’t, the two soldiers were very drunk and very loud, making it easy for Seifer to overhear their conversation. Besides, the fact that Seifer couldn’t recognize their uniforms intrigued him, and he began to eavesdrop as they spoke.

“I’m going,” the fatter of the two men said as he took another gulp of his beer. “I mean, not right now.” He laughed a heavy laugh. “But I’m going to go get it.”

“How do you know it’s really there?” the slimmer man asked.

“I’ve been paying attention to the rumors. It’s the only thing that makes sense. I’m going to tell Captain Kaller about it, and we’re going to go get it. You should come too. We’ll get promotions for providing this kind of information.”

“I’m not so sure it’s actually there,” his friend replied. “I thought Garden possessed all the known GFs. Didn’t their SeeDs find them all?”

“All the known GFs. This one isn’t known. Its name has been lost for centuries, but I figured out who it is, and you can believe that it’s there, and it’s more powerful than any of them. With it, we can finally be stronger than SeeD.” He finished his drink and stood. “Come on, let’s finish this in my hotel room, away from prying ears.” He glanced at Seifer as he spoke, but he was so drunk that he didn’t recognize him as the infamous Seifer Almasy.

Seifer watched the two men stumble up the stairway and head for the elevator. When they were gone, an argument raged inside his head. Finally, the part of him still loyal to Garden won out over his pride.

“Shit,” he muttered and pulled out his cellphone. He scrolled through his contacts until he found a familiar name. “Rinoa.”

The phone rang for only a few seconds before Rinoa answered. “Seifer? Is that you? Where have you been? I’ve been trying to get ahold of you forever.”

“Are you with him?” he asked. “I have to talk to him.”

On the other end of the line, Rinoa fell silent.

“I’m not a jealous ex-boyfriend right now. I have something serious to tell him,” he said. “How big is your ego?”

“Okay, okay,” Rinoa said. “I just wanted to make sure.”

In the background, there was mumbling and quiet arguing. Finally, Squall’s voice came in over the phone. “Fine, Rinoa! Hello?”

“You have a problem,” Seifer said. “Maybe it’s nothing, but maybe it’s something, and since I overheard it, I can’t just ignore it.”

Squall didn’t answer right away. He mumbled something to Rinoa. “I’m relieved. I thought you were drunk dialing.”

Seifer laughed. “I don’t think so. Believe it or not, I actually have something important to tell you. I may not be with Garden anymore, and I may have fought against you all, but it was still my home once.”

“The information?” Squall asked.

“Business as usual, eh?” He chuckled. “I overheard these two soldiers talking about a powerful, unknown GF they found. They claim they need it to become stronger than Garden and the SeeDs.”

There was only one reason someone wanted to be stronger than Garden. They were preparing for a fight. Squall wasn’t surprised. Garden had been receiving more threats than usual lately, which confused Squall. He assumed after they defeated Ultimecia, people would be more gracious toward them. In addition, a lot of the threats seemed to be about Rinoa, something that Squall hadn’t mentioned to her yet. He shrugged the treats off as nothing, but perhaps there were more to them than he thought. If these soldiers were behind the threats, there might be more to the story than Squall realized.

“What army were they with?” he asked.

“Don’t know. I didn’t recognize their uniforms. I’m in Deling City at Galbadia Hotel, but they definitely weren’t Galbadia soldiers. They’re upstairs in one of the hotel rooms.”

“It’s best to question them,” Squall said. “I’m actually quite close to you on the Ragnarok. I’ll be there in about a half hour. Do not let them leave. We’ll question them when I arrive.”

Seifer grinned. “Will do.”

 

Squall hung up the phone and handed it back to Rinoa. Rinoa, Quistis, Zell, Selphie, Irvine and himself had been on their way from Balamb Garden, which was currently resting just outside Dollet, down to Winhill to meet with Laguna, who claimed he had something important to discuss with Squall. Squall already knew what Laguna was going to tell him, which was why he brought all of his friends, but in reality, he didn’t want to hear it at all just yet, so Seifer’s news was a welcome diversion.

He turned to Selphie, who sat in the pilot’s seat. “Change of plans,” he said. “We’re going to Deling to meet with Seifer.”

“Seifer!” Zell exclaimed. “I don’t want to see him. Tell me we are at least going there to kick his ass.”

“Zell, calm down,” Squall said. “He has some information. I think it might have something to do with those threats we’ve been receiving.” He gave a significant look to Quistis, and she nodded. She was the only one he had told about the threats being about Rinoa.

“I’ll contact Laguna and tell him we’ll have to move the meeting again,” Quistis said and sat down at one of the computers.

Selphie turned course, and within twenty minutes, they were landing just outside Deling City.

“Rinoa and I will go alone,” Squall said as they headed for the lift. “She’s the only one he trusts, and I kind of have to go. I don’t want him seeing everyone, becoming defensive and turning into a smug ass.”

Nobody argued, and the two left. They hurried into Deling city and hopped on the number eight bus toward Galbadia Hotel. As they stepped off the bus, they were greeted by a hoard of people standing outside the hotel, clamoring to get a better look.

“What’s going on here?” Squall asked.

“They say Seifer Almasy is in there, and he’s taken two men hostage,” a girl answered.

Squall rubbed his forehead as if it hurt. “Of course he did.” He glanced back at Rinoa. “Stay close.” Together, they squeezed through the crowd of onlookers.

Luckily, the inside of the hotel was nearly empty, and the Galbadian soldiers hadn’t caught wind of Seifer’s activity. Everyone was too busy watching, hoping they might get a glimpse of insane Seifer to actually report the incident. Squall made one stop at the front desk to inquire about Seifer’s location, and then he and Rinoa hoped on the elevator. When they emerged from the elevator, Seifer’s voice echoed down the hallway. They followed it to an open door and peered inside. Seifer stood with his back to the door, and the two soldiers sat in chairs in front of him, tied up. Seifer shouted at them, demanding they tell him everything they know about the GF.

Squall rushed into the room. “What did you do?” he demanded.

“Good to see you too. They were trying to leave.” Seifer shrugged. “You said to keep them here.”

“Just untie them,” Squall said. “Who are you two? What army do you represent?”

The two soldiers looked directly at Rinoa as they spoke.

“I am Private Logan Torres.”

“I am Private Kal Rivers.”

“We are soldiers in the Anti-Sorceress Amy, dedicated to wiping out all sorceresses. You did our job for us with Ultimecia, but now you keep an enemy within your ranks. You have been corrupted by the evil sorceress, and must be destroyed.”

“Evil?” Rinoa asked. “Me?”

“Good grief.” Squall laughed. “They’re idiots.”

“Idiots?” Logan shouted. “You’re a fool. We’ve been around longer than your little Garden.”

“Then why hasn’t anyone heard of you?” Seifer asked. “Do you really suck that bad?”

“We have been on a secret mission. We have people all over. We were even crucial in the capture of Sorceress Adel. We are everywhere and nowhere.”

“Are these guys serious?” Rinoa asked.

“Laugh all you want, but before your little man came up here and tied us up, we contacted Captain Kaller. As we speak, he is uncovering a GF that is more powerful than all your GFs combined: the forgotten GF Anima.”

“Shit,” Seifer said and stumbled away from them.

“You’ve heard of Anima?” Squall asked.

Seifer turned to face Squall. He wore a grim and serious look. “Ultimecia spoke of him often. He was lost to the ages, and she wanted him, but she didn’t have time to look for him and work on time compression. If these guys really have Anima, your Garden is screwed.”

 

Seifer paced the hallway of the Ragnarok nervously. He never thought he would ever be aboard Squall’s ship. In fact, he never thought he’d see Squall or anyone else from Garden for that matter. He had planned on disappearing. Now, he was about to face everyone he had betrayed.

“Seifer,” Squall entered the hallway, startling Seifer. “I want to thank you for contacting us about this information. I haven’t told anyone except Quistis about this, but those threats we have been receiving have been about Rinoa.”

“You think it’s the same people?”

Squall nodded. “I do. Come on. Let’s go up. Laguna is upstairs on the monitor, and he believes he has some information about Anima’s possible location.”

Seifer hesitated. “Up there? With everyone?”

Squall motioned for him to join him on the lift, and they headed up to the cockpit. Everyone was huddled around the monitor, listening to Laguna jabber about something unimportant. However, as soon as Squall and Seifer emerged, they spun around and stared at Seifer as if waiting for him to give a speech.

Zell was the first one to finally speak. “You better not do anything stupid!”

“Zell, that’s enough,” Quistis said. “Welcome aboard, Seifer.” She turned to face the others. “I know having Seifer here is kind of a big deal, but we have a serious mission ahead of us. Let’s try to focus on what’s important right now.”

In that moment, Seifer appreciated her for the first time in a long time. He regretted calling her a mediocre instructor and wanted to apologize, but he couldn’t find the courage to do it.

Squall approached the monitor. “So what do you know? We have two soldiers tied up, but they aren’t talking.”

Laguna laughed. “You’re all business, Squall.” He paused and looked at someone off-camera for a moment. “I hope after this, we can finally have that meeting. I really want to tell you something.”

Squall resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “Yes, I know. We will still talk.”

“It is important,” Laguna said.

Irritation overwhelmed Squall and he spoke without thinking. “It’s waited nineteen years. I think it can wait a few more days.”

Laguna looked morbid for only a brief moment. Quickly, his happy-go-lucky smile returned, masking his pain. “Well, let’s get to business.”

Seifer leaned into Rinoa. “What’s he want to talk about?”

“He’s Squall’s dad,” Rinoa said.

“What!” Seifer shouted.

Everyone looked at him. They hadn’t heard what Rinoa said. All they heard was Seifer’s strange outburst.

“Um, sorry,” he said. “Please continue.”

“Okay, so Anima,” Laguna said. “Dr. Odine had a lot to say about that one, but I’ve narrowed it down to just the facts.”

“Somehow, I doubt that,” Squall said.

Laguna laughed again. “Really, I did. Okay, so Anima is just another GF, but she was the most powerful GF. A sorceress faced her, trying to gain Anima as a GF, but she ended up dying. Somehow, she managed to transfer her powers to that GF.”

“That’s not possible,” Irvine said. “Is it?”

“It’s never been heard of except for this one time,” Laguna said. “Odine thinks it might be because of how powerful the GF was. He thinks that the GF didn’t just defeat the sorceress. He thinks Anima was powerful enough to rip the sorceress’ powers from her, killing her in the process.”

“That’s horrible!” Rinoa exclaimed.

Squall looked back at her. He couldn’t let that happen to her too. “If that’s the case, Rinoa will have to remain here when we face Anima.”

“Squall, you can’t do that,” Rinoa said. “You know you need my powers, especially now that none of us use GFs.”

“When did that happen?” Seifer asked. “I’ve missed some things.”

“Squall decided it was too dangerous to keep using the GFs because of the damage they cause to our memories. Dr. Kadowaki and Odine even agreed that they might affect other parts of our brain too,” Quistis explained.

“Oh, so that’s why Zell’s such an idiot.” Seifer smirked.

“What the hell!” Zell clenched his fists

“Zell, calm down,” everyone said in unison.

“I am going in with you,” Rinoa said.

“Rinoa, we’ll talk about it later.” There was no way he would let her put herself in danger like that.

“I don’t want to talk about it later,” she said. “Can’t you see I’m not the damsel in distress anymore? I’m more powerful than all of you, and I can help.”

“Rinoa, I know that,” Squall said. “I know you are, but I don’t want to lose you.”

Rinoa blushed and looked down. “I know. I just don’t like being left out.”

Seifer looked around at everyone, but no one seemed shocked by Squall’s confession about not wanting to lose Rinoa. Things had definitely changed since he’d been away, and he wasn’t sure how he felt about it. They had all become such good friends, and Squall was actually a normal person now, but Seifer felt left out. He regretted that day he went with Ultimecia in Dollet, but he couldn’t admit it. He wanted so badly to apologize and admit he was wrong, but it just wasn’t in his DNA.

“Let’s just get on with Anima’s location,” Seifer said.

“Wow,” Laguna said. “You and Squall are a lot alike.”

“No, we aren’t,” Squall and Seifer said.

Everyone laughed, except for Squall and Seifer, who simply stared at Laguna, waiting for him to get on with providing Anima’s location.

“So, we don’t know where Anima is exactly, but Dr. Odine did track down the last place this sorceress was seen. She was spotted in a town that doesn’t exist now, but it was located pretty much right where Timber is today. Near Timber, there is a deep cave that is rumored to be the home to Ultima Weapon.”

“But we defeated Ultima Weapon,” Squall said.

“Exactly, which means Ultima Weapon isn’t in that cave, but the rumor somehow started,” Laguna explained.

“Oh!” Rinoa exclaimed. “I know that cave. I completely forgot about it because no one goes there, but there was a rumor that Ultima Weapon was there.”

“There’s one more thing,” Laguna said. “This GF isn’t like other GFs. Because she took that sorceress’ powers, she became part human.”

“That’s freaky,” Zell said.

“Because of that, Dr. Odine thinks Anima has been asleep. He feels that if she was awake, she would have the desire to conquer, like most humans with power,” Laguna said.

“Understood,” squall said. “And you’re sure about the location?  “We only have once chance to beat this Anti-Sorceress Army to the GF. I don’t want another war. They made it perfectly clear they aren’t just going after Rinoa. They’ll be taking down Garden and all SeeDs because we’ve been working with her.”

“They seem to be under the impression we are Rinoa’s army,” Irvine said.

Rinoa laughed. “I love that.”

“Okay, Selphie, set course for Timber. Rinoa, you know where the cave is?”

“Yep!”

They landed in a small clearing surrounded by woods. It was near enough to the cave to reach it quickly, but far enough away to avoid detection.

“Selphie and Irvine, stay here. If we need a fast retreat, I want the ship ready to go as soon as we board,” Squall said.

“Yes, Sir!” Selphie said.

Squall, Seifer, Rinoa, Quistis and Zell left the Ragnarok, but outside, Squall stopped them.

“Rinoa, I want you to head for Timber. Stay there, and watch for anymore soldiers that might be arriving,” Squall said.

Rinoa opened her mouth to protest, but she stopped. It was pointless. He was never going to let her go, and part of her was a little afraid of what Anima could do to her. “Okay,” she said and scurried toward Timber.

“Let’s go,” Squall said after she had disappeared.

Squall, Seifer, Quistis and Zell crept through the woods toward the cave. They stopped on a ridge that looked down on the cave to get an idea of what they were about to face. The Anti-Sorceress Army was already there.

“Quistis, take Zell and head around to the other side of the cave. Create a distraction to draw some of the soldiers away. Once you’ve incapacitated them, come back, and we’ll move inside. There’s probably more in there, but we can’t waste any more time.”

Quistis and Zell crept away. Only a few moments passed, when shouts sounded in the opposite direction. Over half the soldiers headed toward Quistis and Zell, leaving the cave poorly guarded.

“They’re dumb,” Seifer said.

Squall scanned the scene, formulating a plan, but a deafening scream through the trees interrupted his train of thought. Both he and Seifer recognized the voice at once.

They looked at each other. “Rinoa!”

Squall jumped to his feet, but Seifer grabbed him and pulled him back down. “Wait for the right time.”

Squall and Seifer watched as a handful of soldiers dragged Rinoa toward the cave.

“We found her just outside Timber, alone,” a soldier said. “Crept up behind her and slapped one of those Odine bangles on her to suppress her powers.”

“Let me go!” Rinoa kicked at the soldier, but he held her tightly.

“There’s no way she could be alone,” another solider said. “She’s always with SeeD members.”

“She said she’s visiting old friends here, alone. Captain, Kaller, what do you want to do with her?”

Kaller reached out and seized Rinoa by the arm, squeezing it painfully. “We’ve finished excavating the site to Anima’s resting place. We’ll use her as a sacrifice. Perhaps if we offer Anima another sorceress, she will join us willingly.” He disappeared inside the cave with Rinoa. A few soldiers followed, leaving only a handful to guard the cave.

Squall looked around, but Quistis and Zell hadn’t returned yet, and they didn’t have time to go get Selphie and Irvine. “We can’t wait for the others. We’ll have to go in after her,” Squall said.

“This is stupid,” Seifer said. “Going in now to save her will compromise the whole mission.” He groaned. “But there’s no way I’m letting her die either. She may be your girlfriend, but she’s still my friend.”

“Glad we agree,” Squall said and raced down the hill toward the soldiers.

Seifer immediately followed him. “We usually do, whether we like to admit it or not.”

“SeeDs!” A soldier shouted, but they were much too slow.

Seifer and Squall unsheathed their gunblades. Before the soldiers could even brandish a weapon, Squall and Seifer sliced through them. They hit the ground, and blood sputtered from their wounds, but Squall didn’t have time to wait for them to die before continuing. He and Seifer pressed forward and entered the cave. Inside, they slowed their steps, unsure what to expect.

“It’s empty,” Seifer whispered as they slowly crept through the foreboding cave.

The air of the cave was heavy, and unlike most caves, it was hot. With every step toward Rinoa, Squall found it harder and harder to breathe. An unpleasant odor permeated the entire cave.

“What is that smell?” Seifer covered his nose with his sleeve.

It smelled like a mixture of rotting corpses and vomit. Squall had to breathe through his mouth to keep from gagging. As they moved further and further toward the cavern ahead of them, the stench intensified, and they heard voices.

“Let me go!” Rinoa demanded and kicked a soldier in the shin hard. She attempted to flee, but the soldier grabbed her and threw her back. She stumbled over a rock and fell to the ground.

Squall couldn’t wait another moment. He sped into the cavern, Seifer trailing right behind him. Together, they felled the first few guards before anyone even realized they had arrived. Now all that was left was Captain Kaller and the two guards holding Rinoa.

“I suggest you let her go.” Squall pointed the tip of his gunblade at them, menacingly.

“I’m terrified,” Captain Kaller said. He turned to the soldiers holding Rinoa. “Summon Anima and offer the girl.”

“No!”

Squall raced forward, but when he was only a few feet from Rinoa, the solider tossed something into a giant, black pit. A flash of energy erupted from the hole, pushing Squall backwards. He tumbled to the ground beside Seifer. The ground began to shake, and the cave grew hotter as a creature emerged from the hole.

“I think we found the source of the stench,” Seifer said.

Squall could only stare in horror. It looked like no GF he had ever seen. Other GFs looked tough, but there was a kindness to them. This GF just looked absolutely disgusting, like some kind of mutant hybrid. It possessed a face that resembled a human, but the eyes were black, empty holes, and the mouth was literally stretched from ear to ear and contained sharp, brown teeth. The body was what really made Squall sick. It was a slimy blob, much like a slug, but it possessed tiny arms that dripped with goo and constantly flailed about as if Anima had no control over them.

“Anima!” Captain Kaller said. “I am the one who has awakened you from your long slumber. I offer you this sorceress. Take her and become ever more powerful. In return, I only ask that you serve me as my GF in my quest to conquer all SeeDs, the slaves of sorceresses.”

“Oh, that’s all,” Seifer said. “Sounds like a fair trade.”

Anima stopped flailing her hands. She glanced at Rinoa but then turned her attention to Captain Kaller. Slowly, she crept closer to Kaller, leaving a trail of black ooze behind her. Kaller tried to step away from her, but he was frozen. He stared into the black holes that where her eyes, and like a bug looking into the light, he was mesmerized. Suddenly, her eyes flashed red, and Kaller toppled over, instantly dead.

Squall stared at Seifer, alarmed. “Don’t look into that things eyes.”

“Already one step ahead of you,” Seifer said, his face lowered.

Upon seeing their captain killed, the two other soldiers released Rinoa and fled the cave. However as they did, Anima summoned two random monsters, which successfully decapitated the soldiers with ease before disappearing again. The soldiers’ heads rolled along the floor, only stopping when they ran into Squall’s boots. Squall stared down at them in horror and then back at Rinoa.

“Rinoa!” He rushed up and seized her. He dragged her back and shoved her at Seifer. “Get her out of here, now. This thing is more powerful than we thought.”

“No, I can help too.” She held up her wrist, showing the bangle. “Just get this thing off me.”

Squall looked back at Anima and then at Seifer. “Can I do this alone?”

“No,” he said. “You need both of us.”

“Shit, fine!” He removed the cuff from Rinoa, unsealing her powers. “Do not look that thing in its eyes, and if I tell you to go, you go whether you want to or not.”

“Okay.”

Squall wasn’t sure how they were going to defeat Anima. In fact, he didn’t even know if they could. They didn’t know what abilities Anima had or how powerful she really was. All he did know was now that Anima had been awakened, she wouldn’t go back to sleep peacefully. She’d begin raining havoc down on innocent people. She was part sorceress: part human.

“Seifer, Rinoa, back me up,” Squall said.

He ran up to Anima and swung his gunblade. Either started by the sudden attack or just not afraid, Anima didn’t defend herself. She accepted the blow. His blade collided with her gelatinous body and bounced back, leaving her unharmed.

“What the hell?” He retreated to Seifer and Rinoa. “She’s immune to physical attacks. We’ll have to rely on magic. What did you bring?”

“All the good stuff,” Seifer said with a smug smile.

Anima cast another spell, obliterating both Seifer and Squall’s stock of magic and eradicating Seifer’s smugness.

“What just happened?” Seifer asked. “All my magic is gone.”

“I hate that spell,” Squall said.

“I still have powers,” Rinoa said. “One good thing about being a sorceress.”

Seifer glanced at Anima and then back at Squall. “It’s all her now, Squall.”

Rinoa stepped forward. Squall tried to pull her back, but she pushed him away. She held up her arm and cast her most powerful spell: Shadow’s Judgment. A hole in the cave ceiling opened, and a shadow appeared. It enveloped Anima in darkness. When the darkness had vanished, however, Anima looked just as strong as ever.

“That’s the best I got,” she said.

Squall and Seifer looked at each other. “We can’t defeat her,” Squall said. “Rinoa, you’ll have to put her back to sleep.”

“A normal sleeping spell isn’t going to work on her,” she said. “I’ll have to make it a doozy, and that will take a lot of time to prepare.”

“We’ll keep her occupied,” Seifer said.

Seifer ran one way while Squall ran the opposite. Together, they continued to bombard Anima with their gunblades. Although the strikes never caused any damage, they did keep her attention on them and away from Rinoa. Squall jumped toward her for another attack, but without warning, her tiny arm sprouted from her body, becoming massive. It seized Squall in its slimy grasp and lifted him into the air.

“She’s using her powers to try and force me to look at her eyes,” Squall said as he tried to resist turning his head. The more he resisted, however, the stronger she pulled.

Seifer lunged for her and tried to knock Squall free, but he ended up being captured by her other hand. Both men were now trapped, helpless as Anima slowly forced them to look into her eyes.

“Keep your eyes shut!” Squall shouted.

“I’m trying, but she’s pulling at them too,” Seifer said.

“I know, but try.”

On the ground behind Anima, Rinoa tried to concentrate, but it was difficult. Her friends were in danger, and her desire to help them was becoming more of a hindrance than a help.

“Rinoa, anytime now,” Squall shouted, his gaze nearly on Anima’s eyes.

“I don’t think it’s ready yet!” she shouted.

“Just do it, damn it!” Seifer shouted.

“Rinoa, I trust you. It’s strong enough. I know it.” As soon as he said it, Anima gave one last tug, and Squall found himself looking directly into her soulless eyes. An overwhelming desire to give up and die overcame him, and he began to give in to it.

Rinoa gave the spell one last oomph and then cast it. It hit Anima, but nothing happened.

“I’m sorry,” Rinoa said.

Suddenly, Anima dropped Squall and Seifer. Quickly, they rolled away from her. She turned around to face them, her eyelids dropping and nearly shut. Finally, after one last struggle to keep them open, they shut completely. She tumbled backwards, and fell back through the dark hole from which she had emerged.

“I did it!” Rinoa shouted. She threw her arms around Squall. “I put her back to sleep.” She pulled away, now covered in slime. “Gross!”

“I knew you could do it,” Squall said.

Seifer patted her back and grinned. “Maybe you could have done it before that nasty thing touched me.”

“I got some on me too now,” she said.

Seifer smirked. “Not enough.” He grabbed a glob of goo and wiped it on her hair.

“Seifer, you’re terrible!”

Squall looked at his girlfriend with a disgusted look on his face as the slime dripped down her face. “I think we should go.”

“Ah, you don’t want a kiss from me?” She laughed. “An ooey gooey kiss?”

She attempted to kiss him, but he placed a hand on her face, blocking her. “Maybe after showers.”

“Squall, Seifer, Rinoa!” Quistis called as she and Zell caught up to them. “Oh, gross.”

Zell plugged his nose. “Dude, you all stink.”

“Did you defeat her?” Quistis asked.

Squall shook his head. “No, Rinoa had to put her back to sleep. She’s too powerful.” He motioned for them to follow him as he headed for the exit. “Come on, we need a shower.”

Squall pretended that everything was perfect as they left, but inside, his mind raced with what he needed to do next. They still knew nothing about Anima, including how to defeat her. Eventually, someone else would come along and try to wake her. When that happened, Squall was going to be ready.

THE END

 

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