Road to Peace: Chapter Two



Lessons


au held the sword as if it were a poisonous snake ready to strike. "Gau no use shinning thing." he said, dropping it to the ground. It landed on the soft grass with a small thud, sinking into the earth slightly before settling in the small indentation made by it's fall.

Celes, her right hand clutching the hilt of her own sword, let her arm drop to her side, the tip of her blade dragging across the ground. She sighed heavily, laying both her hands on the top of her hilt, and leaned forward toward the boy. "I am going to teach you to use a sword if it kills me." she said in a low voice. She wasn't sure if what she said was ment more for Gau or for herself.

"Gau no use shinny thing!" This time the boy's voice was louder, more insistent. His hands were folded into fists at his sides.

"You expect to get past my sword with those?" Celes asked, glancing at Gau's clenched fists. "You must learn to use some sort of weapon, or you'll never survive. Kefka's followers are still out there, and they know how to use weapons. How do you expect to defend yourself when they can chop off your hands like that?" Celes snapped her fingers, indicating to Gau how easy it would be to chop of his only defense.

Gau shuttered, but his expression did not change. He absolutely did not want to use a weapon, even if it ment his death.

Celes stamped her foot irritably. "Must you be so stubborn?" She bent down and took the hilt of Gau's sword in her hand. "You'll see." She muttered as she turned away and walked off toward Doma castle. I'll cut his hands off myself if I can't making him use this! She thought, shaking the sword she held in her left hand.

"Gau no use shinny thing!" This time the boy shouted the words at Celes, though she was less then ten paces away. Celes turned about, her boots squealing on the wet grass. She glared at him as best she could, though the sun was in her eyes, forcing her to squint. She had almost decided to walk right back to the boy and give him a good beating before she caught herself. And what would that accomplish? A bruised man is just as fool-headed as a fit one, even if he is young.

She turned away again and walked out of the practice yards at a quick pace, sure that if Gau said he would not use "shinny thing" one more time she wouldn't be able to stop herself from turning back and beating some sense into him. There were few others in the practice yards, and she didn't think anyone would see…. No! It wouldn't help a thing! She had to remember that.

The sound of swords meeting with sharp clangs as others practiced followed Celes out the wooden gate which fenced in the practice yards and into the gardens surrounding Doma castle. Birds chirped in the newly planted trees which stuck up here and there among brightly coloured flowers, and butterflies flitted about amongst the foliage. She took a deep breath, the warm spring air filling her lungs. It was so peaceful here; so quiet. Anger and irritation flowed out of her, replaced by a peaceful calm. Here she was able to forget the outside world. How grey and dreary it still was, even with Kefka gone. But people had begun to rebuild the land as soon as it had accepted their efforts. The earth seemed to crave life now, and new growth was springing up everywhere, even in the middle of the barren wasteland where Doma castle was now located. Most of the new plants had been wilted, seeming dead before they even sprung out of the ground. Plants could not survive in the harsh, dry conditions of the world. But with a little help, it was possible to give the soil the nutrients it needed to support life, and that is what the people of the world were doing. That is what the people of Doma castle had done to the surrounding desert, and what the people of Mobliz had done to the land around their town, and the people of Albrook, and Tzen, and all the other towns which had not been destroyed with the rest of the world. But it would take decades, perhaps even centuries, before the entire world could be the way it had been in the past, and it was still grey and unpleasant outside the gardens.

As her train of thought began to wander through other things, Celes realized with a start that she had reached the large gates leading into Doma. It did not seem as if she had walked the half mile between the practice yards and the castle. She shrugged and walked through the gates, nodding to the guards standing on either side of the entrance, who bowed deeply, as if she were a queen.

But perhaps they believed she was a queen. Perhaps from Figero Castle. Celes had heard half a dozen rumors about Edgar and Gau and all the others, all wrong of course. Few even came close to the truth. A young serving wommon had told Celes she had heard Gau was Celes's son, and was a prince of Figero. Which made sense, because according to the wommon Celes was married to Edgar. Celes had burst out laughing, but had stopped short when she saw the embarrassed expression on the wommon's face, and smiled warmly. "No, I am not married to Edgar, and Gau is definitely not my son."

"Ah, forgive me, Lady Celes. I did not believe it. Not for a second. But I had to ask…"

"It is quite alright." Celes's laugh held a tinge of annoyance, and she hoped the womyn did not notice. She was not in the mood for giving explanations. Let her think me what she wants.

But now Celes realized she did care if someone thought her a Queen. She did not like people thinking she was someone she was not, even if they thought she was someone far more powerful then she truly was. And the more powerful they thought she was, the more she did not like it.

It was just a bow. She told herself as she walked up the grey stone path, the hot sun on her back caused her shadow to stretch out before her, three times longer then her true height. They never bowed before!

Celes stepped through the open doors leading into the castle proper, the smell of spices hitting her like a brick wall. Supper-time already? She had not realized it was so late; and that she was so hungry! Her stomach rumbled agreement.

Walking quickly as if trying to escape the tempting aroma, she turned into a side corridor leading to her rooms and began to head down it. After she had taken only a few steps into the shadowy passageway, a figure stepped out from the darkness not ten paces in front of her. She jumped, bringing her sword up in front of her and letting the other fall to the floor before she realized who it was. "Edgar!" she breathed, letting her sword arm fall to her side. "You scared me half to death! What were you… why are you smiling at me like that?" She eyed the man's face, examining the sly smile spread across it. "You look like a cat that just ate my prize canary. Edgar? Edgar!"

This time it was Edgar's turn to jump. "What? Huh?" An confused expression replaced the odd smile on his face. "Celes? What am I doing here? What…."

"You just stepped out of the shadows looking like you had played a killer practical joke on someone." Celes's brow furrowed. "Don't you remember?"

Edgar touched his head nimbly. "No, I… I… I feel…." He fell to his knees, laying a hand on the floor while leaving the other on his forehead.

"Edgar??" Celes quickly kneeled on the floor beside him. "Edgar, are you alright? Edgar?" She laid her hands on his shoulders. "Cure!" she said, pushing the palms of her hands into his arms. The pressure she used in pushing him, though very slight, caused him to fall back to a sitting position. She took her hands off him quickly, staring at them for a moment as if they had just turned green, and grimaced. "Curses!" she whispered. "I forgot!"

After a moment, Celes pushed herself off the floor, looking down at Edgar, a confused expression on her face. "I'll go find help," she said, and hurried off toward the main hall. Edgar grunt agreement from behind her.


Go To:
Prologue || Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen