HEre you go, Wil.
Valec: The tips I could give you have already been given by others, so just abide by that and keep improving!
The black, almost screeching portal crackled energy from all over. It was like there was a windstorm coming though the dimentions, its dark mass being thrown out into the large dance hall of the Garden. The portal itself was tall, about ten feet at least, and was verticly oval shaped. The strangest part of it was the young man that was thrown from the other side of the portal into this dimention, into the Garden. It was Squall…
Nobody could quite believe their eyes, he had been gone for five and a half months, when suddenly a portal breaks through into the middle of the Garden’s festival and BAM - there he is once again. His clothes were all ragged and torn, his body bruised and covered with small, still bleeding cuts. His hair was longer than normal, and he had a small, prickly beard growing in that defied his youthful, introverted face. Almost immediatly Rinoa rushed to his side to make sure he was still alive. She couldn’t stand the thought of losing him again, especially like this. Following her steps the rest of the team came as well, and were eventually followed by the curious crowd of students and faculty.
“Squall! Please, wake up! Don’t you leave me again Leonheart!” Rinoa clung to him tightly, not wanting to let go. He gave a soft groan to let them know he was still alive, as he tried to move. The crowd was buzzing with whispers and confusion. The old gang that defeated Ultimacia were all glowing with happiness that their friend had at last returned to them, and didn’t seem to have any fatal wounds. They tried to lift him up a bit, he opened his mouth to say something.
“Rin…oa…everyone…you have to go…Get out of here.” His voice was weak and afraid. Something obviously had him terrified, and it was undoubtedly on the other side of that portal. “He’ll…be here…any second now. We have to…leave…”
“Whoa, slow down there Squall. We need to get you to the infirmary quickly…Wait a minute, you said…Who’s ‘he’?” Zell was kneeling down at his friends side. Squall was forcing himself up dispite the others trying to get him to relax. He backed up agains the wall and was frantically trying to get everyone to safety…It was too late. He stopped dead in his tracks, eyes fixed upon the portal, fear evident in his eyes. They didn’t think anything could unnerve this man, but they were wrong, and they were about to see why. Noticing his fixated stare, they traced it to the portal were slowly something was climbing through, his left leg moving in first. Soon his entire left side was visible, and then he fully stepped out of the portal, eyes fixed to Squall.
This being looked like a male human with white-silver hair spiking back vertically, wearing a black tanktop shirt and very dark navy blue jeans. He also wore black boots that had small chains linked toward the bottom, not unlike Squall’s own boots. He also had thick grey-black gloves that ended a small ways past where the fingers began. The man wasn’t very tall, standing at five foot eight inches at most, was lightly tanned with yellow eyes. His body was wrapped in muscle - not the big, bulky kind of muscle, the sleek, well built kind that didn’t make him seem big, yet not small either. It was the kind of muscle that hid away his true strength, but also granted agility and dexterity when needed. He wore a scowl on his face, an all serious look, as he continued to stare at the motionless Squall and the speechless crowd. He had a youthful, handsome face, but his bright yellow and black eyes showed age and wisdom.
“He’s…here…” Was all Squall managed to say before the man lowered his face, eyes still on his target, and brought up a mocking smirk. “This is a fight we can’t win guys…We have to get him through the portal and try to seal it off or something. There’s just no way to beat him.”
Before they could react, Zell leapt toward the man, yelling back “We’ll see about that!” to his friends. Squall tried to stop him but he just didn’t have the strength, all he could do was yell his name hoping he’d stop. Zell slammed his gloved fist into the man’s face from the right side…he barely moved from the impact, eyes still on Squall, ever unmoving. The young martial artist began to execute a powerful flurry of attacks that would’ve brought down a man three times his size, but still his foe did not budge. Getting sick of his attacks having no effect, he tried his best moves on him, surprised to find the man parrying and dodging them all effortlessly with speed that put Zell to shame.
Zell stopped his attacks, for the first time he knew the terror that Squall faced, he knew the truth - he couldn’t win. Staring in disbelief all were silent, until the man went on the offensive. His every attack connected with crushing force, until he grabbed Zell by the face and slammed him into the wall. Even after letting go Zell didn’t fall from the wall, he was pushed INTO it, unconcious, bleeding from the mouth and nose. They were all afraid to move, even Ultimacia didn’t beat them this badly.
Rinoa began throwing spell after spell at him, but they just seemed to bounce off him like drops of rain as he slowly walked her way with a smirk. Selphie, Irvine, and Quistis were unarmed, but threw themselves at him in defense of their beaten comrades. Still he dodged and parried their every attack as if they were nothing to him, until he brought his arms up wide and some sort of magical force threw them in all different directions. He continued his slow, menacing walk toward Rinoa and Squall, until a mis-casted spell from Rinoa hit the portal, dispeling it. It wavered back and forth until it finally collapsed.
“NO!” The white haired man yelled, reaching back toward the portal in vaine effort. He suddenly grasped his midsection screaming in pain as he fell to his knees. His destructive aura was weakening. “Damn you, woman! You destroyed the portal…I hope you enjoyed that, because it’s going to cost you your life!”
He stood up and began moving toward Rinoa, when Irvine got in the way and threw himself again at the man, this time it had more of an effect. It didn’t change the end result though, Irvine did some damage to him but was soon beaten bloody and thrown aside. While he was distracted though, Rinoa had time to cast a pain spell which almost immediatly stopped the attacker. It seemed without the portal to his home world open, he was weaker than average to magical attacks.
He grabbed at his head, his whole body wracked with the pain of poison and darkness. A blue magical aura surrounded him as the area began to shake a little. He stood up, using his magic to draw upon the lifeforce of everyone in the room to not only heal himself completely but dispell the sorceress’ magic. It was all for nothing though, she had just finished casting a spell that would end his reign of terror. He looked up in time to see it coming, then got hit with it full force, lying motionless on the floor.
She and some others began casting healing magic on the wounded. Zell was conscious now, half-heartedly mocking the fallen man as he stood over him. Squall tried to warn him it wasn’t a good idea, but Zell didn’t think anything of it…until a gloved hand had him by the throat. The man wasn’t as dead as they had hoped.
“STOP! Release him right now!” The man looked at her as if he were about to break out laughing at her pitiful attempt to stop him when he felt his hand break it’s hold and fall back down onto his leg. He jumped up as fast as he could, and stared at her with a mix of surprise, confusion, and hatred.
“W-what have you done to me!? Tell me now!” He was beside himself with anger, how could anyone control his actions? He was too powerful for that, or so he thought. He moved toward her once again and was face to face with her…she wasn’t backing off like he’d hoped.
“You’re under my control now. You must obey everything I command, even if you don’t want to. You are to bring no harm to anyone here, understand? Now help me get Squall and Zell to the infirmary.” She was acting so casual, as if she was completely ignorant to everything that had just happened.
Even as he was helping Zell up he was livid, yet intruiged by this woman who had managed to best him. They expected him to carefully pick Zell up, according to Rinoa’s orders, but she didn’t actually specify as to how she wanted him brought along. Picking him up by the seat of the pants he dragged a half-upside down Zell behind his new “mistress” and Squall, his face burning red with embaressment.
In a matter of days Squall and the others were feeling well again, but the man, who Squall claimed was named ‘Valec’, was stuck in the Garden’s prison area. It was rarely used, but made for exactly this kind of situation. The group gathered up in the headmaster’s office to discuss the fate of this, Valec.
“Sir. To be honest we have bigger issues than Valec heading our way. Now that he’s lost the majority of his power, we can beat him. I’m sure of it.” Squall continued on. “When I was in that other world, there was yet another sorceress controlling his kind. I’m certain it is an alternate form of Ultimacia, perhaps even her true form. Maybe the one we fought was just a puppet? I can’t say for sure, but I do know she sent Valec to kill me as soon as she found out I was on that world.”
Cid listened intently, with a worried look on his face. They were all considering what they had just been told, it seemed too unreal to be true. Could she be that powerful to enslave an entire race like the one that cut them down so easily? It was simply mind boggling.
“I see…Well…You would know better than I, Squall. I’m just not sure what to do anymore. We took a big risk in defeating Ultimacia last time, if what you say is true I…I just don’t know how we can destroy something like that.” He sat back on his desk. There was a moment of silence, when suddenly Quistis spoke up.
“Rinoa, how strong is that spell you’ve got on Valec? And how long can you hold it for? If we can get some information out of him, that’d go a long way in itself but…perhaps we can get him to fight for us? Surely he knows about this sorceress, maybe we can beat her by using him.”
“I don’t know…It was actually an experimental spell I was developing earlier. I have no idea how long I can hold it, but I don’t think it’s broken yet. He should still be under my control.” Rinoa was as uncertain as the others.
“Umm…guys? You said the sorceress enslaved his race right? Wouldn’t he want to help us if we could win back their freedom? Maybe we can use that to our advantage.” Selphie spoke up. Irvine and Zell agreed.
“Maybe.” Squall spoke softly. "I’ve gotten to know a little bit about Valec while he was hunting me down in his world. There were other humans, slaves, there who gave me some information about him and the others, among other things. I don’t think he’s all that bad by himself, but when he’s got a powerful, mad sorceress whipping at his heels he doesn’t really have a choice…Your plan just may work, Selphie. But I think we need to offer him something in return for his help, after all, why would he want to help any of us? He was a slave in his world, and basically, he’s a slave here because of Rinoa’s magic.
“We should give him his freedom in return for his aid. If we can gain his trust, it may prove to be a stronger bond than magic.” Squall finished. At first thought they couldn’t believe they had gotten him to speak that much at one time, then his words sunk in. He was right, and they all knew it. With a sigh, Zell started toward the door.
“Well the sooner the better I suppose. We should go on down the dungeon now if we hope to gain the early game advantage.”
“Well, well, well. So you haven’t forgotten about me after all? I’m touched, really I am.” Valec was leaning back against the cell wall, arms folded across his chest. Even though his comment was dripping with sarcasm, the look on his face told them he was in no mood for games. There was splattered food and broken trays throughout his cell, appearently he didn’t like the food here. It had been a week and it looked as if he hadn’t eaten a thing and barely slept - although he still looked as fit as the very first moment he stepped out of the portal.
“Valec…We’re willing to cut you a deal here. Before you interupt, please, just hear us out.” Squall spoke in a well-meaning voice, that really didn’t suite him. Valec’s eyes narrowed, he wanted to say something but he decided to hear about this ‘deal’. “Would you be willing to help us kill the sorceress in your world if we free you of the spell on you?”
“Kill the sorceress you say?” Valec didn’t need to hear any more from them. He knew exactly what the deal was and why they wanted it, as well as almost everything else they were going to eventually tell him. He was very good at reading people, both what was said and unsaid. Instead of agreeing right off, he decided to have some fun with them. “Now why would I want to do something like that? You know as well as I do you can’t hold me here forever. That girls spell will wear off soon, and these pitiful excuses for guards are bound to do something stupid around me. It’s only a matter of time before I’m free again.” He finish with a soft, mocking laugh.
The others were silent. They knew he was right, but they were trying to come up with some sort of incentive to aquire his help. After a few moments of silence, Valec gave an annoyed groan and lifted himself off the wall he was leaning on and walked to the door of the cell. He looked them all over carefully, then began to speak.
“I tire of these games. Idiots. Just how do you expect to beat her? Just pop on over to my world and fight her? Real simple huh? Bah! She’s got agents even among my people, that’s how she found you, Squall. Every one of my kind are incredibly powerful there, augmented by the witches power. I myself am only two ranks above average, so you can imagine how effective you’ll be there.” He turned and began pacing back and forth in his cage. “Besides that, how were you planning to get there anyway? Just click your heels and wish for the portal to open again? WRONG! You carelessly destroyed the one hope I had of getting back to my world.”
He was getting worked up just thinking about it. He punched the wall with enough force to push his fist into it. Before they could respond to his ranting, he found his way back to the door and began once more.
“Even if we somehow manage to get there, what makes you think my people will help you? You have to admit, a lunatic sorceress with unimaginable power is scarier than a few teenagers with a mission in hand. Further more, what makes you think I’D help you?? Give me one reason why I should care about a group of little brats?”
This time he had gone too far. Selphie didn’t like to be called a little brat, she reached into the cage door and grabbed Valec by the shirt and started threatening him. Before he could get a hold of her though, Irvine pulled her out and calmed her down.
“Why would you NOT want to help us!? Do you and your people like being controlled by her like you’re her lap dogs?? Listen to us Valec, we have one thing in common, and that’s the need to eradicate the sorceress. By doing this we ensure the safety of our people, our world, as well as yours and your freedom. Damn it! We need your help!” Quistis was getting fed up with this idle talk. She felt like going in and attempting to beat some sense into him.
Valec considered this carefully, walking around a bit. He shared the same sentiments with her. Not just the destroying the sorceress, but he too wanted to reach out and beat some sense into the others.
“Haven’t you been listening to me!? You people are as thick as these damnedable walls! FINE! I’ll help you damnit. Fat lot of good that’ll do you, with us being stuck in this cursed world and all! Now leave and figure out how to get me to my world so we can get this over with.” Squall was about the thank him when he was quickly silenced and shrugged off. Valec retreated to the shadows where they couldn’t see him, and sat down with a sigh, trying to come up with a plan of his own.