Anything & Everything
By Elise Maxwell
“Do you know the way on land?” Kaeli asked.
“Yeah I figured it out one day while Squall was gone working.” Seifer muttered before turning to his mother. “We’ll get them from both sides then.”
“Yes, I shall meet you there.” His mother nodded. “I will raise myself upon the water in her cave and that is when I want you to help me strike Ultimecia.”
“Alright.” Seifer turned to the other two as his mother made her way underwater. Quistis looked so worried and Irvine nodded understanding. Seifer was grateful that the two understood that they couldn’t help. Magic was beyond them; they would only get in the way. “Don’t come for us. We will win. I don’t care if you wait here or the mansion, just don’t follow me,” he instructed.
Irvine nodded. “We’ll wait.”
“Bring him back,” Quistis pleaded and hugged the blonde.
“I will. I promise.” He quickly kissed her forehead and waved before taking off across the rocks in the direction in which he thought the cave was. As he darted across the rocks he prayed that Ultimecia had been too weak to steal Rinoa’s powers yet.
Seifer slowed down as he got to a cliff and looked it over before approaching it. The entrance had to be hidden or maybe have a trigger to open it. He carefully searched around the rocks, pushing them or pulling them to test them. He stepped back to observe the wall again when the rock he stepped on began to sink and a slab on the wall began to move. Seifer smiled at his dumb luck and snuck in through the opening. He hoped with all his heart that Ultimecia was weak enough for them to beat her.
The farther Seifer made his way through the cave, the darker it became. Suddenly he came upon a light and followed it upward until he found the large hovel in which the sorceress resided.
Ultimecia was sitting on the ground in her mermaid state, leaning on a rock and breathing heavily. Seifer frowned wondering why she looked so weak. His eyes opened in shock when he saw the bloody figures of her lackeys, Zone and Watts, on the ground.
“My power will return soon,” the mermaid said to Vinzer who was standing off to the side. “Theirs were just enough.”
“Good,” the man leaned down and touched her shoulder. “What should I do with the boy?” He nodded to Squall who was slumped against the wall unconscious.
Ultimecia seemed to have recovered and looked up at the brunette. She narrowed her eyes at him. “He seems to have some sort of power.” She shrugged. “No matter. I can steal it from him later if the need presents itself.” The sorceress then sat up and uttered a string of words Seifer didn’t understand—a dark incantation he supposed. His jaw dropped when the spell she uttered turned her fins into legs and she was fully clothed. Where had she gotten that power?
“Get rid of those corpses.” Ultimecia sneered at her former lackey’s bodies. “They are of no use to me anymore.”
“Yes my lady.” Vinzer grinned evilly and began the removal of the bodies. Seifer hugged a dark part of the wall as Vinzer dragged the corpses past and around a corner. He set his jaw and got ready. If at any moment his mother would strike, it would be when Ultimecia was alone, and that was now. Seifer peeked around the wall again to see the sorceress placing Rinoa on an altar she’d set up in the center of the room. He glanced down to see his mother peeking up from the pool at the far end of the grotto. She winked and he nodded, readying his power for the onslaught.
Ultimecia stopped and stood up straight. Shit, she could sense them! He had to strike before she could protect herself. Seifer jumped away from the wall and sent a bolt of power at the sorceress. She put her arms up in defense, absorbing the blow and snarled at him angrily. “How did you get here?!”
Seifer could feel her power building and saw his mother raise herself up on the water of the pool, then send a wave her power at the sorceress. Ultimecia stumbled forward, getting the brunt of the blow, her shields being low at her back. She turned to see Kaeli and shrunk visibly.
“How did you get here?!” Ultimecia demanded again.
“She must be on repeat,” Kaeli said amused and bravely.
“Shut up you!” Ultimecia put her hands out at the mermaid making Seifer build his own reserves up for another attack.
“If either of your hurt the sorceress, Rinoa dies!” Vinzer’s voice rang out in the hollow. Everyone looked over to see him bent over the altar holding Rinoa, a knife at her throat. Seifer froze. He wouldn’t kill her. He couldn’t! Seifer turned his attention to Vinzer and didn’t expect Ultimecia to turn to him and unleash her power though.
Feeling the release of power, but caught off guard, Seifer tried to shield himself from the blow. He was thrown across the room and into Ultimecia’s stash of creatures and potions on the wall. With a resounding crash, Seifer brought the whole wall of shelves down with his impact. Water and other liquids from the containers splashed down on him as he tried to cover himself with his arms.
As the last of the containers fell, he glanced out to see Ultimecia’s worried face, and her hand reaching toward the space beside him. He frowned and looked up to his right to watch one glass sphere teeter on the edge of the topmost shelf and finally start careening toward the ground. Seifer noticed that it was the container holding the small white fish he’d seen the first time he’d arrived. The blonde tried to reach over to catch it, but it was too late. The sphere shattered on the floor throwing water into Seifer’s face, making him look away.
Suddenly, there was a blinding flash of light. Seifer blinked and shielded his eyes away wondering what the hell was going on now. Were Ultimecia and his mother fighting again? The blonde looked over his shoulder to see his mother and the sorceress slack jawed staring off to his right. He frowned and shifted his gaze over only to do a double take. There was a woman standing next to him and she was emitting the brightest white light. He squinted and shielded his eyes against it wondering who she could be and how she got there. Could it be—the fish! The little white fish! Had Ultimecia been keeping this woman captive?
As the light faded, Seifer let his hand drop and watched as the woman took a deep breath and her eyes fluttered open. By the gods… Raine… The woman looked toward him and blinked surprised. Had he said her name out loud?
“How do you know my name boy?” she asked, a serious and angry look taking over her face.
“Every child of the merfolk was taught it High Priestess Raine,” Seifer replied afraid of what she might do should he answer her wrong.
The black haired woman set her mouth in a thin line. “You are not of merfolk.” She glanced at his body. “But you will explain that to me later. First I must deal with,” she turned her gaze to Ultimecia, “You.”
The sorceress backed up against the opposite wall as Raine advanced on her. She began to babble all sorts of apologies and explanations, but it didn’t seem to appease the anger that resided in the other woman.
“Seifer.” Kaeli forced the water to set her down on the floor near her son. “Don’t look.” She put her hand over his eyes as the room was enveloped in white light and an agonizing scream filled the air. It seemed to go on forever…
“Is… she dead?” Seifer asked as the light faded and the hand was taken away from his eyes. He looked past his mother to see Raine kneeling on the floor—obviously exhausted—next to an unconscious, mermaid Ultimecia. Seifer reached for his mother’s hand, awe of Raine’s power replacing the fear he’d felt earlier
“No.” Kaeli pulled him into a hug. “Her power has been sealed away,” she told him then pulled away. “Are you alright?”
“Not a scratch.” Seifer smiled and looked around. His eyes caught on Vinzer who was trying to sneak away. He was just passing the waking Squall when he turned back to see Seifer’s gaze on him. The older man’s eyes went wide in fear and he glanced around as Seifer tried to get up. If he even touched Squall…
“Don’t move.” Vinzer threatened and drug the brunette to his feet, a knife at his throat. Squall looked thoroughly confused but stood still as instructed.
Seifer’s hands balled into fists as anger flowed through him freely. “Let him go.”
“Not a chance in hell!” Vinzer yelled back and pulled on Squall’s hair revealing more of his neck to sink the blade into. “He’s my ticket out of here.”
“He’s no one’s TICKET!” Raine’s voice echoed in the cave. “Let go of MY SON!” Her arm flew up and a wave of power was released from it right at the older man. Sound seemed to cease, filled with a silent scream as Vinzer disappeared.
Seifer stared in shock as a little puffer fish hit the ground with the knife beside Squall. What power Raine possessed! No wonder everyone talked so much about her when he was a child.
Squall glanced down at the fish on the floor. He promptly lifted his boot and let it stamp down on the little fish, crushing it effectively. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” he said with hint of amusement.
The brunette’s grey eyes snapped up to rest upon his mother, Raine. Her hands clasped together at her chest as a warm smile abruptly invaded her face.
“M-mother?” Squall looked her up and down in complete shock. “Is—is it really you?” He took a hesitant step forward as Raine nodded and stood. The brunette then rushed to his mother, taking her up in the tightest hug he could manage. Seifer looked away at his own mother when he heard Squall openly sobbing.
“Hey ma,” he murmured as he leaned down and plucked her off of the floor.
“Such the prince you are son.” Kaeli smiled and kissed her son’s cheek. “Why didn’t you cry when you saw me?”
“I always knew you were alive,” Seifer told her as he walked toward the other couple across the room. “And I was far too angry to cry at that time.”
“You always were a hero,” she told him. “Your father would be very proud.”
“I know he is.” Seifer put his cheek against his mother’s and bumped into the other mother and son embracing.
Squall pulled away from his mother and gasped. “Oh my god, Seifer! What happened to you?”
The blonde blinked as he realized he was still sopping wet from the containers on the wall. He chuckled self-consciously. “Freak rainstorm,” he joked.
“No,” Squall whispered and reached to the other boy’s forehead. “Your face…”
“Oh that.” Seifer set his mother down on the altar next to Rinoa, who was still unconscious, and turned back to the brunette. He reached up and traced Squall’s scar and let the brunette touch his. “We are connected, you and I.” Seifer laughed when Squall smiled and hugged the blonde happily, leaving Raine to look confused.
“Squall.” Raine plucked her son away from the blonde. “You haven’t introduced me to your friend. Who oddly happens to know merfolklore and is carrying one of our mermaids around.”
The brunette looked bewildered at his mother. “What?” he asked, finally realizing the peculiarity of the situation at hand.
A pretty hand covered Raine’s mouth. “Oops.” She turned red in embarrassment. She obviously wasn’t supposed to tell any humans of her origins and had just slipped one of the most carefully held secrets.
“Mother? Are you saying…”
Raine smiled awkwardly and giggled uncomfortably while scratching the back of her head. “Oh dear. You weren’t supposed to know.”
“What’s going on?” Rinoa groaned and lifted herself up from the altar she had been laying on.
“I healed her,” Kaeli told them all.
“Kaeli!” Raine exclaimed, shocked to see her sitting there. “I didn’t know that was you!”
“This is sheer and utter chaos,” Seifer muttered as his mother giggled.
“I agree.” Squall nodded to his lover.
“Let us all go back to the beach and sort this all out,” Kaeli suggested and everyone agreed unanimously.
“What about her?” Seifer asked nodding to the sorceress still out cold on the floor.
“She is no longer a threat to us,” Raine said triumphantly and smiled.
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