“I don’t belive it!” Alphinaud cried out in disbelif. After he and Cleo arrived in Wright and was to get the fruit that Alphinaud had purchased, the mystel woman named Mosha Moa explained that she already had given it to his lackey.
“Someone must have listened to our conversation,” Cleo said desperate.
“How did this lackey look like?”
“Mystel lad, blue short hair,” Mosha explained.
“You can’t miss him with that blue hair!”
Cleo started to run toward south of the village while Alphinaud ran toward the west. The lad couldn’t have come very far. Cleo looked through the area, searching through the landscapes. Then she noticed someone with blue hair running toward the lighthouse.
“Hey, you!” Cleo shouted as she started to run again when he turned around and saw her. The lad was quicker than she thought. She was tarting to feel tired. She had been walking around almost the whole day. Not to mention her pregnancy, there would be a time where the women would start to feel more exhausted…
Not wanting to lose sight of him, she grabbed her staff and tapped it on the ground. A trail of ice made its way toward the lad. He slipped on the ice and landed on his back.
“You got him,” Alphinaud cheered to Cleo as they approached the mystel boy.
“I would appreciate that you gave back my harvest willingly!”
The mystel lad teared up. He crawled up on his legs and groveled before them.
“Please, please forgive me,” he cried.
“But I have to get into the city. My friends are waiting for me inside there!”
“Do you really have to?” Alphinaud asked with his arms crossed over his chest.
“The Crystarium may not be the heaven, but at least they’ll pay you for honest work!”
“No,” the lad said.
“My friends and I promised each other that we would live togheter in paradise. They’re the only family I have!”
His voice was desperate.
“No matter what I do, no one will call out my name. I’m so tired and so hungry!”
Something, there was something with the boys words that made Cleo starting feel sad. She looked at the boy. There was something about him that reminded her of Nanaki.
How old were they then back then? Eleven or twelve summers at least. It was a time while the garleans invaded the forest with their weapons and machina. It wasn’t much wild life for the Fang tribe to hunt back then. Everyone had tried their best to get whatever they could find to eat. Nanaki wasn’t the best hunter, and no matter what he did, nothing was good enough. Likewise it was for her. Cleo had managed to get a fish, but no one dared to share her catch, afraid of raising Elder Sumayah’s wrath.
Cleo looked at Alphinaud who considered what to do with the mystel lad.
“What is your name?” he finally asked.
“Kai-Shirr,” the mystel sniffeled.
“Listen carefully, and I will tell you my plans for the buisness and how to best arouse the Eulmore’s interests!”
Cleo smiled as he started to explain Kai-Shirr where to meet the Ondo. She would have done exactly the same thing.
“That was kind of you Alphinaud,” Cleo said after a while as she sat down on a rock resting.
“I was just giving him a chance, nothing more,” he replied.
“But was it for the best? We’re trying to save this world, to save countless lives, especially your own.”
He crossed his arms again wondering.
“If it came at the cost of one mans life, should I have forged on regardless?”
“No,” Cleo said after some thinking.
“That’s not who you are.”
Alphinaud smiled by her words.
“Were Estinien here, he would most likely scoff at my softheartness. Same old Alphinaud. Ever the slave to sentiment!” Alphinaud said mimicking Estnien, which made Cleo burst out in laughter. She had to dry away the tears after laughing and as she looked over at the beach, she saw something or someone lying at the sand.
“Alphie,” Cleo said with a worried voice and pointed toward the beach.
“Oh goodness,” Alphinaud said. They both started to run toward the beach.
“Pockets, I said I was sorry for just leaving you back at the Crystarium,” Skan said through a linkpearl. Pockets were clearly angry for not being asked to join.
“Look, I’ll make it up for you later! But can you actually do something for me? Or rather do something for Cleo and Kroh?”
“What do you want me to do?” Pockets asked with a sigh after a long while.
“Can you try to find out what happened with the Warriors of Darkness we met at the Source?”
“There, there. You’ll be alright soon,” Cleo said to the trembling hume man. Both she and Alphinaud had made a fire to warm the man who almost froze to death. Cleo had taken of her cloack and placed it over Tristol’s shoulders.
“Th-thank you m-miss,” Tritol said with shivering voice.
“Can you tell us what happened?” Alphinaud asked.
“I was to work as an artist in Eulmore,” Tristol began.
“A wealthy couple took me in, but quickley kicked me out on the street when my art wasn’t to their liking!”
“That’s not fair,” Cleo said.
“Sadly, that’s how things are working there,” Tritol continued.
“When I wasn’t able to get a new patron, I was brought before lord Vauthry. The ruler of Eulmore. When he asked me what I intended to do, I said I wished to leave the city. He granted me my wish and in the next moment, they tossed me over the balustrade into the ocean.”
Both Cleo and Alphinaud stared shocked at him.
“And no one was stopping him?” Alphinaud asked with shock and rage in his voice.
“No one cares,” Tristiol said.
“Lord Vauthry’s word is law.”
“We must find a way to get inside the city,” Alphinaud said as they escorted Tristol away from the coast and to the village nearby.
“But how?” Cleo asked. Tristol looked at both of them.
“I don’t understand why you wish to enter that city, but maybe this can help you!”
Tristol searched through his things and found a paintbrush.
“They will surely seek a new artist soon,” Tristol said. He bade them farewell.
“We should hurry then,” Alphinaud said as an idea formed his head.
“I know at least how to paint pictures. And you will be my model!”
“Wha…?!?” Cleo replied with shock. She sighed annoyed.
“You’re not painting me naked!”
“Can’t promise anything, I’m afraid!”
They both reached the sacked village again and just in time as the silly junglers appeared with their loud horns.
“Ladies and gentlemen! Your attention once more!” the juggler in red said.
“What a day it's been for the folks at our door!”
“We've welcomed a peddler who made pearls from a plum, and now we've a place for a painter of aplomb,” the one said.
“So come along and don't be slow! It's time to let your colors show!”
“Now’s our chance,” Alphinaud said to Cleo.
“I can paint. Portraits, at least. Landscapes and still lifes are so rarely commissioned these days...”
The jugglers looked at Alphinaud.
“Oho, I thought I spied some new faces in the crowd. What fortune that you should feel at ease around an easel!” the blue one said.
“What proof have you of your prowess? Any masterpieces on your person?” the red one asked.
“I have my paintbrush and my sketchbook,” Alphinaud said and handed over one his sketches. It was the sketch of Cleo with a big belly. They both looked at the sketch and at Cleo. They looked at her stomach.
“Not yet, but in some months it will show!”
The jugglers seemed to ponder if they should allow Cleo to join.
“A parasite, then,” the blue said. Cleo had to control herself to not explode of this insult.
“We shall leave her fate in the hands of your new employer─it matters not a whit to us.”
“And having filled our latest vacant space, we retire to Eulmore's sweet embrace!”