Road to Peace: Chapter Nine


fter continuing the discussion with Dromier, with no one truly paying attention to what was being said, they left the dinning room and filed down the long corridors toward the room in which Edgar had been placed. Setzer stayed behind for reasons of his own, and in some small feat managed to convince Gau to also stay behind with a simple glance.

Strago left for his rooms, saying it wouldn't be right to have everyone suddenly burst in on the poor man during recovery. He pulled Relm with him, not without a few harsh words put on him before the child was finally hushed.

So, Locke was left to wander the halls with only Celes and Cyan at his side. At length Cyan halted beside the engraved wood doorway and shoved it ajar, letting his two companions squeeze through before closing it again with a small thud.

Beyond the doorway, the room was quite the same as it had been that evening, a single candle flame dancing in the far corner. Locke had not expected the room to have suddenly flared with light and joy now that Edgar had recovered, yet he had to admit, he had expected a bit more cheer.

Sabin was hunched over beside the canopied bed again, and Locke could hear faint voices floating from that direction. He stepped forward, touching Sabin's shoulder as he moved up beside him. Sabin looked about, and grinned, standing and offering the chair to Locke. He took it with a smile and dropped into the seat.

Propped up against a multitude of red silk pillows, Edgar lay with even his neck supported, as if every muscle in his body failed to work. His white face was drawn, eyes nesting in shadowed cavities, his cheeks hollow and sagging. Locke was amazed by how old the man looked, as if twenty years had suddenly been fed into him. Even his hair seemed white.

A thin-lipped smile seemed to take all the energy Edgar could muster, and yet his eyes sparkled like black diamonds. Black, had his eyes always been black? Perhaps it was simply the dim lighting that made them look strange.

"How are you?" Locke asked in a quite voice; whispers seemed appropriate, somehow.

Edgar's smile seemed to suddenly find humor in something unknown. "Alive." He said hoarsely; even his voice sounded old and ragged. "They say I've been sick for over a month." Locke nodded, and he continued, though it seemed a strain for him to speak. "Tell me, what has happened beyond these walls. On the outside of this… prison." He grimaced, glancing about the room.

Locke blinked. These words did not sound like Edgar's. The man has been sick for who knows how long! Let him recover, you idiot! Somehow, berating himself in this manner was reassuring, and he took his own words to heart.

"Don't worry yourself on those things now, Edgar." Locke replied softly. "Wait until you've recovered a bit more. You're fever has just now broken."

There was a gleam in Edgar's eye; rage, hatred, Locke did not know, yet it faded so quickly he wondered if it wasn't simply his imagination. He tried scolding himself again, but it seemed only seemed to let show his own foolishness once, not after being reviled as an effective method.

"Your right, of course." Lifting his hand shakily, Edgar patted Locke's knee, and nodded slightly. "Thank you for coming, Locke. It means a lot to me that you should take the time in traveling this long way." He looked away suddenly, his brow furrowed as if he were reviewing his memory, in search of something. "How is Terra doing?" He asked, his eyes still turned elsewhere.

Locke's own eyebrows lowered, but in confusion. Not for his question, which was simply friendly concern, but for the way he was acting. Berating himself still had no effect. "Not well. She hinds in the dark, speaking to no one." He sighed, shaking his head. "How I wish magic were restored."

"How true, how true." Edgar closed his eyes, and seemed to begin taking more to himself then Locke, unaware of his surroundings. "What the world could achieve with the revival of magic. What feats could be done. Now, so much effort is necessary were so little was before. Power is bestowed only on those who's father's father reserved it. Magic was the core of my being, was the core of us all; oh, how lost I shall be without it. Just as Terra, that little Esper girl, was dependent on her powers, so too was I. What magnificence was possible when—."

Celes had begun to peer over Locke's shoulder, and he stood to let her sit. He was bewildered at Edgar's odd ramblings, his continuous reminders to himself that the man had just hours before been near death were fading. They did not help anyway.

Someone pulled at his sleeve, and he looked about to see Sabin watching him anxiously. When he saw he had Locke's attention, Sabin gestured toward the door, indicating for him to follow as he heaved it open and squeezed through.

Outside, the cool breeze running down the hallway brought fresh air to Locke's sweat-dappled forehead, and he breathed deeply, relieved of the terrible stench beyond the now tightly shut doorway.

"Something has happened, Locke." Sabin said suddenly, hid forehead pressed against a great sun etched into the door. "Don't tell me you didn't notice. I heard him say things to you. Strange things. The fever has done something terrible, Locke. I know it."

"Let him time to recover." Locke replied, leaning against the cold stone wall. He stuck his hands in his pockets, and, feeling the golden ring which he had completely forgotten lie there, pulled it out.

"What is that for?" Sabin asked, now turned in Locke's direction with one broad shoulder positioned against the wooden sun.

Flipping the ring in midair before snatching it up and stuffing it back in his pocket again, Locke sighed, staring down the shadowed corridor. "Happiness, my friend. Happiness." Ignoring the queer look Sabin gave him, he walked off down the hall with no destination except that which left the horror behind, for once.

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