a mini-series by Dot
Sabin sat down in the ancient library of the castle and breathed in the smell of old books, as if their knowledge wafted from their ancient pages the same way their aroma did. That musty fragrance always helped calm his mind somehow, so when he was still living at the palace, he often went here to think. It was in this same library that Sabin had once found his brother Edgar during a chain of events that, in the end, lead all the way up to Kefka.
Sitting down among books that were written well before he was born, Sabin wondered about his brother’s suggestion. Open a training hall? Sabin doubted that there would be any people interested in the martial arts nowadays. Not now, after the world had just pulled itself back from the brink into which it had been pushed–no, dragged–by Kefka. From his travels, Sabin noticed that most people were content to live as normal a life as possible, as if by doing so they could avoid another cataclysm. That was the way people acted when he was still a young, rash, stubborn sprout of a man, when the shadow of the Empire still loomed over everyone. Unlike the majority, however, Sabin had not been content to live a peaceful life even when his father was alive. Therefore, when he had the chance, he left the throne to Edgar, because he knew that under the mask of the womanizing playboy was an able ruler, and, as he later discovered, a compassionate brother.
But maybe there were still idealistic, energetic young people who wanted to make something of themselves. As someone who had hands-on experience in saving the world, Sabin would be able to point them in the right path, or at least give them the ability to defend themselves in this still savage world.
Sabin got up from his seat. He had a little visiting to do.
Few people knew of the strange little hermit who lived in the woods. Of those, even fewer knew who he really was–Duncan Nimurad, creator and master of the Nimurad Barehanded Arts.
However, Duncan didn’t mind the isolation much, as it gave him plenty of time to keep his body in shape. Of course, he always looked forward to the times when his wife would drop by and give him something to eat, an extra set of laundered and mended clothes, and a peck on the cheek.
As he worked out in front of his cabin, he heard footsteps approaching, and he recognized who they belonged to at once. “Ah, Sabin,” he greeted, smiling and turning to face his student. “Back again so soon?”
Sabin blinked. “You call two and a half years soon?”
Duncan chuckled. “I hadn’t expected you to show for at least another two or three. What brings you back to your old master?”
“Well,” Sabin began. “I was thinking that the world may be at peace now, but it won’t be for long, and we might not be around by the time that things go to pot again, so–” He took a deep breath. “I’d like to take in students and teach them, like you did.”
“Is that it?” Duncan laughed. “I thought you wanted to get married and was bringing me your girlfriend for my approval!” Sabin blushed at that. “Go right ahead!”
“Really? You’re giving me your blessing?”
“Of course I am! The world needs more young folks like you.” Duncan placed a hand on Sabin’s shoulder. “Passing on the Art was what I had been training you for. So go out and do it!”
Sabin bowed. “Thank you, Master.”
When Sabin returned to the castle, he found his twin floating through the halls.
“Are you all right, brother?” Sabin asked, half guessing what was the matter.
“I met the most beautiful woman today,” Edgar sang out, dancing around Sabin. “I think I’m in love.”
Sabin snickered. “Give my deepest condolences to the poor lady in question.”
Edgar shook his head. “Someday, brother, you’ll understand.”
“Maybe,” Sabin answered. It was at times like these that he wondered where the heck Edgar the Wise Ruler disappeared to whenever Edgar the Flirt was up and running. Probably squashed in “Flirt’s” subconscious somewhere, Sabin thought, snickering to himself.
“Oh! I almost forgot!” Edgar the Wise Ruler returned with a vengeance. “The Republic is going to send some representatives over for a dinner in a week or so. I’ll need you to hang around and keep an eye on things for me while I entertain the ‘guests of honor’. That all right?”
“Not a problem.”
Sabin severely disliked suits, even ones that were altered for his large size. After putting on the dress shirt and buttoning the suit over it, he felt like he would explode out of his clothes if he sneezed. That, plus the tie that bore a disturbing resemblance to a noose, convinced him that the suit was first designed as a torture devise.
Edgar, seeing the expression on Sabin’s face, put a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “It’s not that bad, is it?”
Sabin shifted uncomfortably. “Worse. I’m beginning to regret this.”
Edgar smiled. “It’ll only be a few hours.”
Those ‘few hours’ felt like a few decades to Sabin. He couldn’t decide which was worse: the stifling suit or the even more stifling official interaction. What was rather surprising, though, was that Edgar was behaving himself quite well despite the pleasant-looking lady who was one of those representing the Republic.
“So, Sabin,” the lady began. Sabin turned his attention to her and tried to remember her name. “I heard that you and your brother had a very unusual method for settling who would succeed your late father.”
Edgar coughed, and Sabin chuckled. “Well, you could say that, Miss–?”
“Tina would be fine,” the lady answered, taking a sip from her glass.
“Er, right. Tina.” Sabin prayed to whomever might be listening that he hadn’t sounded that stupid. He forced himself to stay calm. “I never really thought that I was cut out to be a ruler. After Father passed away, the matter of succession was the last thing on my mind. I was convinced that foul play had been involved and wanted to find those responsible. Edgar didn’t like the court life, either, but he also knew that one of us had to stay behind and watch over Figaro.” Sabin smiled, relishing the memory of that night. “We decided to toss a coin. If it came up heads, I could choose whatever life I wanted, whereas if it came up tails, Edgar could go his way.” He grinned at Tina. “And the rest is history.”
As soon as the dinner ended, Sabin made his way to his room and removed the offending clothing, changing into a short sleeved shirt and pants. Then, he made his way out into the clear night air.
“Much better,” he sighed to himself.
“You look like a fish that’s been put back into the water,” Tina remarked, walking up to Sabin from behind and almost giving him a heart attack.
“What are you doing out here?” Sabin asked after he had recovered from the sudden surprise.
“I needed some fresh air, too.” Tina took in a deep breath and even Sabin could tell she was much more relaxed. “Besides,” she continued, playing with her glass, “there was something you didn’t tell me.”
Sabin groaned to himself, remembering the lecture Edgar had
given him a long time ago about not putting every emotion he felt on his face. “Was I really that obvious?”
Tina smiled. “Not at all. Your brother, on the other hand, looked like he was about to die.”
Sabin laughed. “You shouldn’t have told me that. Now Edgar will never hear the end of it from me.”
Tina laughed as well, a rich, throaty laugh. After a while, she regained her poise, although her eyes still sparkled with amusement. “So, tell me Edgar’s deep dark secret, one that could make him look as miserable as he did.”
Sabin told her.
Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
The secret, in case you aren’t familiar with the game, is that the coin Edgar used was double-headed. In other words, he gave Sabin the life he always wanted and took on the mantle of responsibility because he’s nice like that. Or at least that’s what the game is trying to imply.