Chapter Thirteen

By Scarlet Fever

Fujin held her stomach, which felt like it was on spin cycle. She was sitting in the office of a doctor. Nothing like Doctor Odine. A General Doctor. Maybe she would find out what this bug was that wouldn't leave her body. She felt heat rising to her cheeks, but felt shivers moving down her spine. Raijin had practically dragged her to the doctor, then took it upon himself to take up her duties in the Presidential Security office, along with his own. Fujin would have been glad to have such a doting boyfriend if she didn't feel so ill. It was hard to be glad for anything.

She looked up with her solitary crimson eye as a man came out of the office, smiling, looking healthy. Must be nice, she muttered to herself, her face scrunching up as her stomach turned queasily.

"What's wrong with me?" She whispered to herself. She just hoped that Seifer and Zell were having better luck than she was.

"Ms. Fujin?"

The silver-haired woman cocked her head, looking up as she heard her name. The doctor, a stout, friendly woman with silvery blonde hair and dancing green eyes smiled down at her. "I'm Dr. Nash. Please, come this way..." She motioned with one hand.

Fujin stood, following the shorter woman, her hands clasped over her stomach, as if to keep the contents within where the belonged. She followed Dr. Nash to a small room with a bed covered in one of those medical paper sheets.

"Have a seat. A nurse will come in soon to take urine and blood samples."

"Goodie..." Fujin trailed off, reclining on the papery bed, already feeling light-headed and tired. She just hoped that the doctor would come back before she fell asleep, or before she puked her guts out, whichever one came first.

Lillith was roused from her sleep-like state by a horrible, yet familiar feeling moving over her limbs. Her sleep was more like a death slumber, and anyone would have thought she was dead. She technically was dead. All thanks to Ultimecia, all thanks to Xerampelinae. And, Ultimecia, Xerampelinae, is what she could feel at that moment.

Lillith rose from her bed, from what as may have been her coffin, and placed a long, gauzy robe over her black satin nightgown. She walked through the hallow halls of Xystus, feeling horribly at home. It was truly the replica of Ultimecia's castle, which had also been named Xystus. And, Lillith knew she was horrible for feeling at home in such a place. She was more Ultimecia's daughter than she was Xerampelinae's daughter.

As Lillith walked barefoot through the house, slowly, thoughtfully, heading towards the source of the strange feeling, which was crawling over her skin like insects, she thought of Xerampelinae. It felt like Ultimecia in the air, but it also felt like her Mother. And, that thought frightened Lillith Almasy. There was also something darker that she couldn't really put her finger on. It felt murkier than Ultimecia's power, tainted by rash hatred. It felt like Adel.

Lillith froze on the stairs. The horrible feeling was washing from the lower level of her mansion of death. And, it felt very much like the triumvirate of Sorceresses that were such a frightening nightmare, the trio that had started the Sorceress War, something that the current world was still dealing with the ramifications of. Xerampelinae, Adel and Ultimecia hadn't been together since that time, when Lillith had been just a girl, when Ignus had burned to the ground to appease Adel Viator's anger at the deaths of her children. But, how would they be all together? Xerampelinae and Ultimecia together was understandable, because Lillith's former Mistress had absorbed Xera's powers. But, how did Adel's powers come to fruition?

Lillith sucked in her breath, and the plants in the foyer died. She placed her hands together, and her fire born scythe appeared in her hands. She could see the instant image of crawling black markings on a tired, youthful face. Zell Dincht. Now, Zell Viator once more. Something had happened. Lillith closed her eyes, which were burning sulphur in her sockets. She could feel the slight overtone of regret, and life. If anything, the trace patterns of the power of Adel, Ultimecia and Xerampelinae didn't have life. They had searched out their children, and used those live bodies.

"Dammit!" Lillith cursed to herself, using her powers to open the large, heavy front doors. The old wood creaked. How stupid could she have been! She let two potential threats come into the realm of the dead, and hadn't known until it had been too late. Why hadn't Edea sensed it? This was bad. Lillith knew that it was really, really bad. The awful, hateful air wafted into the foyer of Xystus before Lillith could see any sort of perpetrator. It tasted worse than death. Lillith could almost smell it. She could also taste the bile rising in her throat, which tasted like acidic ashes. It was her power rising. But, not Lillith's alone. It was the dormant, sleeping power of Ultimecia. Rising to meet the rest, like mercury to a magnet.

"No...." Lillith tried to whisper. It just came out as a shunting of breath, as a motion of lips. "No..." She almost felt like she was going to cry. That black pit of power, that had been pushed down, killed, neutralized, was growing like a black hole in Lillith's body. She also noticed something else was wrong. Her body felt stiff. Like she was going through Rigor Mortis. Did this mean that her curse was broken? That since Ultimecia had found herself again, in the home of a new body, that Lillith would waste away to death, like she should have done twenty years ago?

"Yes... Yes...." A voice melodically called. It sounded horrible, familiar, yet alien. It sounded like two voices speaking as one. The deeper echo of a male voice, with the throaty, accented, rich voice of Ultimecia herself. "You know that it's me...." The voice wafted into the foyer, just as the ugly energy had, coming ahead of the new home for Intervigilium, of Ultimecia.

"Kill it, Seifer..." Lillith whispered, gripping the handle of her scythe tighter.

There was a laugh, and it made Lillith's body curl away from it in disgust. She felt her skin crawl, trying to move off her bones. It wasn't familiar. The house of the laugh entered the door, a wicked smile on his youthful face. The laugh was so horrible because it sounded so cruel, and the sad fact that Zell's laugh, which was so bubbly and happy sounding, was mirrored with his mother's cruel cackle, and it broke Lillith's heart. Zell was still inside there, suffering in the dark sea of his mother's anger.

"Kill it?" Zell asked, crossing his arms over his chest. He smiled widely at Lillith, and she could see the rows of fangs that belonged in Adel's mouth. She could also see the swirling crimson just under the surface of Zell's icy blue irises, trying to dominate, but being pushed down by what little resolve Zell must have still had.

"Seifer... She's going to kill you from the inside out!" Lillith exclaimed.

Seifer came in, standing beside his lover. If Lillith didn't know better, both blondes would have looked exactly the same as they had when they visited her earlier that day. Something sick hit Lillith. She normally had to invite people into the realm of the dead. How did Seifer and Zell get in?

Zell smiled his laughing smile, which looked so familiar, but it was so hard on his face that it was noticeably wrong. "Who do you think put you in here?" He asked, in his own voice, gravely and playful sounding. But, Lillith knew that it was Adel that was forming those words. If she could control Zell's body that well, it wasn't good.

Lillith's eyes looked to Seifer, who was looking at her calmly. Briefly, it was a scantily clad woman with black, feathery wings, long silver hair like a metal waterfall, arms crossed over exposed cleavage. That vision turned back to Seifer, who was standing with his arms folded over his long black trenchcoat, which buckled up rather than buttoning over his broad chest. The eyes remained the same, however. Those horrible yellow eyes, that she knew were flashing in her sockets, as well. It was Ultimecia's power. Lillith could feel it just under her skin.

"You've always wanted to be rid of your punishment, dear Lillith," Seifer cooed. "And, now, you kan have your wish..."

Lillith tried to open her mouth to reply, but no voice came out. Only a shaking shunting of breath. Her death rattle. The stiffness that she'd found invading her muscles was becoming greater. She found that she couldn't move her hands on the long handle of her scythe. She could also feel the power that had once been so great in her dwindling.

"Hyperion!" Zell called, his voice a perfect mimic of Lillith's own. The bird came to the sound of his Mistress's voice. Zell caught the inky black bird in a wind born of Sorcery, and caught the Raven in his hands. "Can't have the navigator to this world wandering around, kan we, darling?" Zell smiled sweetly at Lillith, who was slumping on the floor.

"I want what's mine, Lillith darling..." Seifer trailed off.

"Please..." Her voice finally found its way out of her throat. "Seifer.... Zell.... She... let a kor... korpse... she let... a korpse... rape you...."

Seifer flinched, and Lillith smiled into her hair, which was splayed all around her as she fell completely to the floor. "She....made....Zell....watch....."

Zell sniffed in his air, an angry frown coming over his smiling lips.

"She.....stole....your...you.....your.....she stole...she stole your time tog....ether...."

Lillith looked up when she heard a small noise come out of one of their throats. Out of Seifer's throat. He was still in there, and thinking about Ultimecia's past injustices against him, against him and Zell, hurt. She could see it in his eyes. The yellow that burned of hatred faded away, leaving only a sad aqua sea.

Zell looked over. "Seifer....?"

"Don't....let...her.....don't....let her win..." After Lillith spoke those words, she couldn't close her mouth. The Rigor Mortis locked her jaw in its position. Even if Lillith wanted to move, she couldn't. She even felt her mind slowing down. She was free. Despite the awful threat of Ultimecia completing herself, she was happy. She was free.

"Zell... Where are we?"

Zell's lower lip shook in confusion. "Xystus...."

"This is not Xystus!" Seifer ground out, the harsh grating returning to his voice. "This is a cheap abomination." He looked at Lillith, frozen on the ground. "My power will kome back to me."

Zell licked across his lips. "Seifer...." He felt a tear fall down his face. He tried to reach out to touch his lover, but his body wasn't listening to his commands. His body was listening to Adel. Listening to his mother.

Please... Why are you doing this? Why Adel?

Zell internally screamed as he heard an angry wail in his head. Outside, he was smiling, his tongue running over his smirking lips as he watched Seifer close his eyes, stretching his arms out.

The fact that you kall me Adel should answer that question, Zell.

Because I don't call you Mother?

Because I hate Esthar. Because I hate Laguna Loire. Because Ultimecia needs my help.

Your lover?

Adel's cackle covered Zell's psyche like a blanket. Just as you love Seifer Almasy, child of Xerampelinae, I love Ultimecia. I love her power.

She loves yours. She uses yours.

We use each other, just as I am using you.

Why?! Zell cried into his mother's mind. You'd torture your own child?!

There was a brief pause. They tortured you. Don't you remember how much everyone made fun of you.... How much Seifer made fun of you? He may have done it out of affection, but they didn't. Seifer always loved you. They didn't. Why do you kare if they're harmed.


Zell felt Adel take over more of him, making him feel smaller and smaller in his own body. But, what?! Zell cringed away within himself. Her voice was so harsh, so angry. Even when you fought to stop Ultimecia last time, they looked at you like a liability. Squall didn't even choose you to fight me. He didn't have confidence in you!

NO! Zell cried angrily. His outer facade didn't give away the mental war he was waging with his mother. Squall's my friend.

He wants Seifer.

No.... Zell repeated, but much more quietly.

Yes, my pet. He wants Seifer for himself. He always wanted Seifer. That's why he purposely destroyed his relationship with Rinoa. He's trying to steal Seifer away from you.

Squall.... No.....

Oh, Zell.... My precious angel. I'm your mother, I wouldn't lie to you. I've missed you....

No..... Adel....

Are you just going to let Squall steal Seifer from you. Look at him....

Zell blinked, and it felt like he was looking at Seifer for the first time that day. The regal lines of his profile, the soft, beautiful veneer that surrounded him, that was like gossamer over his masculinity, giving a soft air to it. His golden hair, like a shining halo. His long lashes, framing large, aquatic eyes. The muscular planes of his body. Zell remembered the way it felt to be touched by Seifer, the way it felt to have Seifer say I love you.

And, you would give that all up? You would let Squall steal your sunshine? Your only happiness?


Squall will take it from you. Quistis doesn't want you at the Garden. You're just a bumbler. Seifer's the only one who really cares. I'm the only one that cares.


You know I'm right....

Zell closed his eyes, and it felt like he was going to sleep in warm blankets. Seifer.

Oh, Zell.... My angel. You know I'm right.

I can't lose you, Seifer.

And, you won't.

Squall can't have you. You're mine.

Adel laughed quietly, and it echoed out of Zell's lips. It was Zell's laugh, through and through. They were also Zell's eyes, icy and familiar, but they looked a little closer to purple, the undercurrents of red flowing behind the frozen irises. His strong hands stroked the feathers of Hyperion, keeping a tight grip on the bird, but it was Adel that was controlling the hands. Adel in Zell's body, just as she wanted. She truly had her son back, and he would help her get revenge against those that had separated them.

Seifer parted his lips, breathing in, as if sucking the air of the entire room into his body. In a way, that's exactly what he was doing. Ultimecia was taking the energy from Lillith in, adding it to her own, furthering herself towards completion. She was also bringing the dead energy in, adding it, making the black hole that threatened to totally engulf Seifer within his own body, bigger, larger, all consuming. With taking Lillith's power, relinquishing her deathly curse, Ultimecia could take control of the dead energy, the power that she'd wanted for so long, but couldn't totally achieve. Seifer couldn't help the almost orgasmic shudder that passed his lips when all this power joined Ultimecia's already bubbling, flowing energy in his body.

"Well, I guess death kan die..." Zell murmured, toeing Lillith's body, which was already beginning to turn to dust.

"This house will disappear...." Seifer trailed off, his voice still mingling with Ultimecia's, still trying to fight her for control of his body. "Xystus dies with Lillith..."

Zell looked down at the bird in his hands. "Once we leave, and with Hyperion in our hands, nobody can come back here..." Zell cocked an eyebrow, stepping closer to Seifer. "You'll be the only one who can connect to this power."

Seifer smiled distantly. "Zell...." A sad flicker passed over his eyes, which had become horrible ochre in his sockets once more. He knew that he was looking at his lover, but not. It may have been Zell's body, but Adel was in control.

Just as I'll be in kontrol of you soon, Seifer. Just like I was in kontrol before... I will be again.

No..... Seifer gritted his teeth.

Zell smiled his hard smirk, which looked more wrathful than the usual teasing glint. He leaned in, kissing Seifer's trembling lips. Zell's breath washed over Seifer's mouth, sending a wave of pure anger over those lips. "Our task isn't done yet, my love."

Squall stretched his body, finding that he did it again, just to enjoy the hot trail that moved up his spine. Not really pain, but a tangible reminder of what he'd done, what he'd discovered about himself. Squall knew that in the eyes of most, what he'd done would be considered slutty and sort of gross. Well, more than sort of. But, he didn't really care. He knew that people like Seifer, Zell, or Quistis, Selphie, Irvine and Xu wouldn't think less of him. Hell, he was one of the most self-denying people in the world. He had the right to fuck strangers. Although, Squall could think of one person who would frown at him, and put her hands on her hips. Rinoa would think less of him. But, didn't she think less of him already? He did slap her, after all.

Squall slowly got dressed, weighing his own thoughts in his mind. He couldn't ignore how good it had felt to be fucked by another man. He wouldn't call it sex, he couldn't call it lovemaking. It was pure fucking. Almost impersonal. And, that's the way that Squall had wanted it. No attachments. He'd made attachments to Seifer and Zell, and look where it got him. He couldn't be in a room with them for prolonged periods of time without imagining them pinning him down and having their way with him. And, that made Squall feel badly. He felt like he was coming between them.

"Fuck..." Squall muttered, rubbing his face with his open palms after he'd pulled on a pair of leather pants with buckles up the calves. He wished he could talk to someone about this. He knew he should have talked to Seifer and Zell themselves. But, he just couldn't bring himself to discuss that with them. He could barely tell people what he thought of trivial things, so talking about wanting to be the third man in the bed was hard to bring himself to divulge to anyone.

Squall looked up as he pulled on a very tight black t-shirt, a knock at the door interrupting his mental lamentations. It was so form fitting that it made his nipples look like small bullets trapped under the fabric, and clung to the rangy muscles of his stomach, which he'd gotten more than one compliment on the previous night. The guy, who was still nameless to Squall, who had sucked his dick, then fucked him after Botany had been done, couldn't stop talking about how 'hot' Squall's stomach was. Botany had complimented Squall on his cock while Squall had fucked him, all the while being fucked by the cock sucking guy. But, Squall wasn't daring enough to show that off.

"Come in," he called, briefly wondering if it was going to be Seifer and Zell on the other side. Hoping it would be them.

"Hello, Squall...." Edea greeted, stepping into his room. "Have you seen Seifer and Zell since last night?"

Squall sort of blushed. "No... I was... out."

Edea cocked her head, noticing the way Squall stammered, and blushed ever so slightly. "Out, huh?" She smiled knowingly. "Did you see Rinoa?"

Squall snorted. "No. No, I did not see Rinoa...."

Edea then frowned. "But, you have an after sex kind of look about you...."

Squall's eyebrows shot up, and he flushed a deep red. "Matron!"

She laughed. "I'm not as old as you think I am, Squall. So, who was she?"

"Well...." Squall trailed off sheepishly. "Not really a 'her' per se."

Edea pursed her indigo lips. "A man?"

Squall laughed nervously, pulling his coat on. "Well.... Sort of."

"Squall, there are only two choices here. Man or woman." Her amber eyes glittered.

"Well, men....." Squall mumbled, already pushing Edea to the door. "We need to see Seifer and Zell!"

Edea looked at Squall, very surprised. "You surprise me, Squall."

"I surprise myself...." He muttered. "So, why are you looking for Seifer and or Zell?"

Edea frowned deeply. "I can't really put my finger on it, but I've had an odd feeling all night."


The Sorceress nodded. "Like a gnawing feeling. I thought it was indigestion or something, but it feels far... Darker than that."

"When did it start?" Squall asked, stopping in front of Seifer and Zell's door. He knocked, waiting for a response.

"After we visited Lillith...." She wrung her hands in front of her belly.

"Could it be the reaction of Ultimecia's power within you?"

"I think it might be.... I'm worried about Seifer..."

Squall furrowed his brow, knocking again. "Where are they?" He looked at Edea. "Maybe they went out for brunch or something..." He narrowed his stormy eyes. "Or, they want us to go away..."

Edea frowned even more deeply. "The feeling is worse..." She put a hand on the door, snatching it away like it was burning hot. "No...."

"What?" Squall asked, seeing the dread in Edea's amber eyes. He tried the knob, and his own breath caught in his throat when the door opened easily.

Edea came into the room, and slumped immediately, her head spinning. "No..."

"What is it?" Squall asked, coming in. He knelt beside Edea. He could feel something heavy in the air, but it really wasn't noticeable. The room looked the same as Squall's own, and nothing looked out of place. He could feel that heavy air, which slightly smelled of blood and sex.

"They were here...." Edea used Squall's shoulder as a brace, pulling herself off the ground. She had to lean on the auburn-haired SeeD, because the awful Sorcery in the air was making her weak.

"Who? Seifer and Zell?" Squall asked, his fear rising. Edea looked so frightened, so ominous. He also noticed that her eyes were burning slightly, looking like they did in the parade in Deling. "Edea... Your eyes...."

"It's Ultimecia's powers. They're rising to the energy in this room...."

"What energy?"

"Ultimecia and Adel...."

"Adel?" Squall asked. His eyebrows shot up dramatically. "Zell....."

"There is no doubt that Ultimecia and Adel have resurrected themselves. I cannot ignore this energy."

Squall looked around the room. He noticed a small bloodstain on the sheets. "So, what happened to Seifer and Zell?" He looked at Edea poignantly. "Are they still alive?"

Edea nodded sadly. "Oh, they'd still be alive. Ultimecia and Adel lost their bodies...."

"So, they need new ones," Squall finished. "Oh, no." He bit his lip sadly. "So, where would they be? And, are they dangerous?"

Edea sighed sadly. "Oh, highly dangerous. Ultimecia and Adel can go wherever they wish now. And, with Seifer's new power, Ultimecia became that much stronger."

"But, you have some of her powers... I mean, she's weak because she separated herself. But, wouldn't Seifer and Zell fight them?"

Edea nodded. "Please, let's get out of this room.... I can't...."

Squall ushered his Matron out of the room. She immediately felt stronger once they were in the hallway. "Yes, they would fight, but Ultimecia and Adel would use mind control on them. Both are very good mental manipulators."

"What would they manipulate?" Squall asked, alarm rising in him.

"It would be easy for Ultimecia to gain control of Seifer. She knows his body, his mind so well already. And, he still harbours so much guilt over what happened during Ultimecia's last try at Time Compression."

"And, what about Zell?"

"Well, Adel would probably use her anger to fuel his own. Ultimecia is far more calculating than Adel. Adel runs on anger and the thirst for revenge. She would play on Zell's anger...."

"Anger about what?"

Edea shrugged. "Only Zell and his mother know."

Squall hit the back of his head against the wall in frustration. "We have to find them.... What should I do? Should I call Quistis, or maybe my father...."

Edea placed a hand on Squall's shoulder. "We'll find out more first... Once we know more, we can go to Quistis and Laguna with full reports, and maybe an idea of what to do, how to defeat them..."

"Defeat Seifer and Zell?" Squall asked weakly.

Edea sighed sadly. "If what I believe happened is true, they aren't really going to be Seifer and Zell anymore, and killing them would be better for everyone..."

"Matron, how can you say that?!" Squall exclaimed angrily. "I can't kill them!" He balled his fists, calming his anger. "Where would they be?"

Edea thought for a moment. "Ultimecia would want to collect her power again...."

Squall looked hard at the Sorceress. "So, would you be in danger?"

"Not yet...." Edea trailed off. "With her power separated, Ultimecia is far weaker than me. I'm the most powerful living Sorceress...."

"Is Lillith stronger than you....?" Squall interrupted, his breath catching in his throat. "Lillith."

Edea nodded. "Lillith is truly strong, for she controls all of the world of the dead, but...."

"But, what?" Squall asked, already going to his room. "What about Rinoa?"

"Rinoa may be dead..." Edea murmured sadly.

"I'll call her and see if she's alright. If she is..."

"Then, Ultimecia and Adel probably went to Lillith first."

"Why?" Squall asked. "I mean, Rinoa is a far weaker opponent than Lillith." He picked up the receiver of the phone.

"Yes, but Lillith would be easily defeated because Ultimecia was the one who held the curse over her. Once the curse was released..."

"Lillith would die," Squall finished, dialling Rinoa's number.

"Hello?" A male voice answered. Squall didn't recognize it, so it must have been a servant.

"Is Rinoa there?"

"Yes, one moment."

Squall drummed his fingers, relieved. He looked to Edea. "She's there."

"Hello?" Rinoa greeted cheerfully on the other end.

"Rinoa? It's Squall."

There was a pause. "Squall...."

"Look," Squall began. "I know you don't want to hear from me right now, but we've got problems..."

"Problems?" Rinoa asked hollowly. She could hear the clipped tone in Squall's voice. "Look, we're broken up, what problems could we..."

"This isn't about us!" Squall snapped.

Rinoa gasped into the other end at the forceful tone in Squall's voice. She could also hear dread causing his normally commanding voice to shake. "What's wrong?"

"You're okay, right?"

"Yeah...." She narrowed her eyes. "Why?"

"Have you felt strange at all? Like, last night or this morning?"

Rinoa paused, thinking about the hallucination of Ultimecia and Adel outside her house. She shook her head. Squall would think it was stupid. "What do you mean?"

"Like... Strange. A gnawing in your stomach?"

She nodded, then realized Squall wouldn't be able to hear that. "Yeah, a little this morning... I thought I was coming down with something..." She paused. "How did you know about that?"

"We think that there are big problems... But, I can't really go into it right now. Have you seen Seifer and Zell today?"

"No..." Rinoa trailed off. "Why, are they in Deling?"

"We all are," Squall muttered. "Look, if you see them...."

Rinoa blinked as Squall's voice trailed off. "Hello?"

Dead air.

"Squall?" She looked at the receiver. "What the Hell happened?" She hung up the phone, picking it up again. There was no dial tone. "Dad?!" She called.

The shape of General Caraway came into the doorway of Rinoa's personal study, where she'd been talking on the phone. "Yes, Rinoa?"

"Something's wrong with the phone...." She hung it up again. "There's no dial tone..."

He picked it up. "Hmmm, I'll call the phone company from my cellular phone."

She smiled. "Thanks..." When her father left the room, she looked at the phone, wondering why Squall had been so upset. A brief flash of burning amber eyes entered her mind, but she laughed it away. It was foolish anyway. "I wonder if Seifer and Zell will come to visit me... I hope so."

"Shit!" Squall exclaimed, slamming the phone down. "The phone went dead...."

"Not all by coincidence, I imagine...." Edea trailed off.

Squall stood. "Look, I'm going to take the Ragnarok to the Tomb Of The Nameless King. Why don't you go to Rinoa's?"

Edea crossed her arms over her breasts. "Do you think that wise? I mean, if I'm with Rinoa, and Seifer and Zell come, that's the two of us holding the rest of Ultimecia's power, together in one place..."

"I know... But, they could go there.... Can't you feel any energy?"

Edea closed her eyes. "I'm a bit flustered, so I can't right now... I'll calm myself..." She tilted her head upwards, her arms crossed over her shoulders. "I can feel something distant. If they were in Deling, I would feel them much more strongly."

"So, the tomb?" Squall asked, already heading out the door.

"I should come with you!" Edea exclaimed. "I'm more prepared to fight a pair of Sorceresses."

Squall grumbled, relenting. "Fine... Come on, we don't have much time..."

In the time of two minutes, Squall and Edea were already in the air, flying quickly towards the Tomb Of The Nameless King.

"I don't know if I can hurt them..." Squall trailed off.

"I will know right away if indeed Ultimecia and Adel have poisoned Seifer and Zell. And, if they have, they won't be Seifer and Zell anymore. You're going to have to face that!" She frowned. "Just like when you fought me and Seifer in Galbadia Garden."

Squall nodded distantly, almost jumping out of his seat when the phone in the Dragon Ship rang. He pressed the button, for it was a no hands phone. "Squall Leonhart."

"Squall? It's Quistis...."

"Quistis..." He greeted hollowly, giving a meaningful look to Edea. She shook her head. "What is it?"

"You guys are in Galbadia, right? Some people reported something strange happen yesterday..."

"Strange?" Squall asked. Damn straight something strange was happening.

"Yeah, something about the ocean?"

"Oh...." Squall trailed off. "That was Seifer using his powers...."

"What?" Quistis asked. "I had reports from Selphie and Irvine saying that they could see it in Trabia."

"Yeah, it was nothing..." Squall trailed off, seeing the Tomb Of The Nameless King in his view.

"Squall, I know you... Something's wrong." Quistis's voice sounded very stern. "Where are you?"

"Look, I can't talk about it right now.... I have to go...."

"Squall!" Quistis exclaimed before he hung up.

"She knows something's wrong..." Squall muttered, landing the large ship.

"Quistis was always very intuitive," Edea said, standing. "I can already feel it...."

Squall and Edea quickly got out of the Ragnarok, and jogged towards the entrance to the Tomb. They both froze. Even Squall could feel the power washing over his body, and he didn't have any mystical powers to be empathic with.

"They're still here, or just recently left...." Edea whispered. "Oh, God... Ultimecia."

Squall hugged his own body, sadness filling him. Seifer and Zell were possessed by Ultimecia and Adel? What if Squall had to fight them, to kill them? And, was Lillith already dead? "What about Lillith?" Squall asked.

Edea shook her head sadly. "I have no feeling of her. Squall... She's gone..."

"Fuck!" Squall swore.

"That means that Ultimecia now has her own power growing, and she controls Seifer's powers, Lillith's, and the realm of the Dead...."

"And, with Adel's power...." Squall shook his head. "And, Lillith said that Adel junctioned Iudicium, right?"

"And, what Lillith said about herself could very possibly be true. She could now exist as Bahamut, or Shiva exist, and even as Iudicium exist... As a GF..."

"Junctioned to Ultimecia, just like Griever was...." Squall murmured.

"Lillith would be a far deadlier power to harness than Griever," Edea noted. "It seems we are too late, Squall. But, maybe we won't be too late to save Rinoa...." Edea suddenly shivered. "My power is rising..." She closed her eyes. "Ah, Ultimecia.... You aren't strong enough to battle me yet."

Squall's head spun around when he heard the ghostly caw of a Raven. "Hyperion?"

"Probably under their control now."

"Seifer..." Squall murmured. He gasped when he heard an angry laughter in the air. It sounded so wrathful, and directed at him. "Did you hear that?" Squall breathed.

"I did..." Edea frowned. "Cowardly to the last, Adel." She looked at Squall. "They're still here."

"How could this have happened?" Squall whispered, feeling tears come to his eyes. One fell down his cheek, and he almost screamed when he felt a breeze caress his cheek, wiping the tear away. It was far more substantial than a breeze. A finger tracing the trail of his tear.

Squall grabbed Edea's wrist. "We have to stop them before the get to Rinoa!"

Edea nodded, her own eyes burning like lava. "They're leaving...." She looked around, and Squall noticed that her eyes smouldered back to her normal golden brown. "I can't feel Ultimecia's power within my body reacting anymore." She followed Squall to the Ragnarok. "It's true that Ultimecia isn't strong enough to get her power out of my body. But, once she gets her power out of Rinoa...."

"We have to stop them," Squall grated out, running the rest of the way to the ship, Edea at his heels.

"Seifer..." Squall murmured.

Zell laughed angrily. He was standing so close to Squall. He could kill the SeeD right now. Seifer, Seifer.... He whispered internally, his anger rising. So, Squall had wanted Seifer all along, huh? The laughing smile on his lips grew further when Squall gasped at the sound of his laugher.

"Did you hear that?"

"I did..." Edea replied. "Cowardly to the last, Adel."

Zell sneered. He and Seifer were cloaked by invisibility, Zell still clutching Hyperion. He'd planned on crushing the bird in his hands, but found he liked the one eyed animal.

"How could this have happened?" Squall whispered. It was very quiet, but Zell heard it because of how close he was standing to Squall. Zell looked over to Seifer, who was leaning against one of the crumbling walls, watching Edea with hungry interest. Zell knew that Seifer wanted that power. Adel could see the anger and want in Ultimecia's eyes. Zell almost laughed with glee when he saw a tear trail down Squall's bisque cheek. Such and elegant face. The pretty, beautiful face of a backstabbing whore. The perfect face of the one who could destroy Adel and Ultimecia's plans. The angelic face of the bastard son of that stupid asshole President of Esthar. The demon offspring of Adel's mortal enemy. And, now, the total threat to Zell's relationship with Seifer.

Zell reached out, tracing the tear that had escaped Squall's eye. He saw the shock and fear on Squall's face, and loved the shudder that he could feel under his finger.

"Let's go..." Seifer commanded. "We still have to pay a little visit to an old friend."

"We'll meet again, Squall....And, you'll shed many more tears when we do." He knew that Squall wouldn't hear it, and laughed angrily. He would kill Squall, kill Laguna, and take back Esthar.

"Why didn't we just go to that fool Rinoa Heartilly beforehand?" Zell asked. He and Seifer walked towards Deling, letting their new powers sink in, still under the cloak of invisibility. "She's a much weaker enemy than Lillith was..."

"But, Lillith was under my kurse," Seifer replied, arm looping through Zell's, which were still around Hyperion. "You do not need to hold the bird. He's under our kontrol now..."

Zell narrowed his eyes, letting Hyperion go. But, the bird didn't fly away. True, now that they had the power of the Dead, Hyperion was tied to them.

"Lillith may have been a superior Sorceress, but I had that power over her..." Seifer narrowed his eyes. "That fucking SeeD, Skwall Leonhart, will make the battle for my power within Rinoa Heartilly much more daunting." Seifer took Zell's hand. "After that, we'll deal with Edea."

"I want Squall to cry more...." Zell purred, smiling at Seifer. "I want him broken and bleeding. I want him dead."

"Oh, don't worry, we'll deal with Squall..." Seifer trailed off, his own voice coming to him. Ultimecia's control was becoming stronger. "He thinks he defeated me...."

"I want to kill him.... That bastard son of Laguna Loire."

"You deal with Laguna, and let me worry about his troublesome boy." Seifer leaned in, kissing Zell's lips hungrily. They laughed against each other's lips, and the whole world shuddered.

Rinoa sighed. She felt like a little nap. She still had her date with Clark for the Opera. She couldn't wait to get dressed up in her new gown. She liked dressing up, and wearing her mother's jewellery. It made her feel closer to her deceased mother. She closed her eyes, and instead of seeing black, she saw blood red, running over the floor. Running from the portrait of her mother, like oily blood. Running on the hallway floor. Just running... Endless blood.

Rinoa was walking down the hallway, hearing that ominous knock at the door. Without opening it, Rinoa knew what she would find on the other side. She would have to stare into the wrathful bloody eyes of Adel, have to face the burning gaze of Ultimecia. But, she couldn't stop herself from walking, couldn't stop her hand when it touched the knob. Angelo was barking, almost a pleading whimper not to open the door. But, she did, and as soon as she did, a black hole of Sorcery sucked away Rinoa's life....

She opened her eyes, saddened that she was having these visions and dreams. It made her feel stupid. Ultimecia and Adel were dead. Briefly, Rinoa wondered why Squall had been so upset on the phone. But, she shrugged it off. Squall had been acting strange lately anyway. She didn't know him anymore. Maybe she never knew him.

Rinoa gasped when something materialized from her dream into real life. The sound of Angelo barking. It was that same scared type noise, the type of barking that Angelo had used whenever there were monsters approaching them. Fighting alongside Squall and the others, fighting monsters with Angelo's help seemed like such a lifetime ago, so far away, like someone besides Rinoa Heartilly had lived it.

"What is it?" She asked her Border Collie.

Angelo barked, going out into the hallway. She heard a knock at the door, and almost screamed. Dread rose in her when she realized that her father had gone to lunch with a few associates. She was alone. The servants, who didn't live at the Caraway Mansion, had gone home. Rinoa was alone. But, the knock didn't sound like the same ominous knocking in her dream. It was gentle, almost friendly, if a knock on a door could be friendly.

She shook her head, blowing up into her jagged ebony bangs. A brief shudder passed through her body when she passed the portrait of her mother. She slowly opened the door, knowing that nightmares couldn't come to life. A grin spread over her face when she didn't see the horrible eyes of Ultimecia and Adel. Instead, she was staring into the familiar icy gazes of Seifer and Zell.

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