"PISS OFF!" A voice boomed over the village Twine.
"LEAVE ME BE!"
"Stubborn arse!" Thancred hissed as he, Cleo and Minfilia stepped out of the tavern followed by Thaffe, one of the local miners of Twine.
"It didn't go so well?" Jeryk asked concerned. With him was Urianger and Krohman. Just hours ago, the group had met the two humes after getting directions from the Mords in Garik. There they explained their need to journey toward Nabaath Areng. They had already gone throught that it would either be by gondola, airships from Eulmore or a trolley by the local miners. Airships was out of the question so they all decided that the trolley would be better than a gondola. From there, the two humes escorted them to Twine and presented them to their boss, Magnus.
"It was out of the question!" Thancred said angry.
"And especially not for a frail mother and her little girl."
"He said that?!" Urianger asked surprised. When one thought about, one could easily belive that this young Minfilia was Thancreds daughter. Thancred looked at Cleo and Minfilia akwardly. Minfilia looked down blushing while Cleo just looked in another direction avoiding Thancred. Cleo hadn't spoken a word since they departed.
"Cleo. Minfilia." Krohman said trying to end the awkward silence.
"Why don't you go and get some rest while we look at this talos?"
Cleo just nodded and she and Minfilia went toward the tavern buying some water.
"Thancred," Urianger said sternly with his arms crossed.
"Art thou truly content to stand witness to fate's course and take no part?"
Thancred sighed heavy.
"This isn't a matter of fate, Urianger. It's about choice. And I've had years to decide where I stand." Thancred replied while looking after Cleo and Minfilia. "Minfilia has spent too long in chains already. I would not shackle her again by making my hopes known. It is for her to choose what shape her destiny will take. It is for me to stay silent. To protect her, teach her, and stand by her. That, at least, I can do for her."
"...So be it." Urianger said.
"And what of Cleo then?" Krohman asked.
"You really need to talk to her!"
"I know," Thancred said sighing again.
"It's just... I don't know how!"
"Just admit that you were stupid saying those things!" Krohman nearly roared. Both Urianger and Thancred nearly backed away from him, sensing his anger.
After several attempts trying to make the Talos up and alive again, it was plain that the heart of the talos was the problem. And the heart couldn't be made of just any stone. It was from Thaffe they learned that was the reason which costed the life of Magnus's wife. After some consideration, Urianger decided that Thancred and Cleo would go and try finding it.
"Though he wouldst be quick to deny it, his heart is in turmoil, and his thoughts clouded. 'Twould be unwise to ignore his distress. I prithee attend Thancred and keep him occupied with the task at hand." Urianger had said convincing Cleo to join Thancred.
But what of my distress? Cleo thought as she lit up a fire with her staff while she and Thancred ventured into the mines. The huge cave were shaking from time to time, causing dust to fall on both Thancred and Cleo.
"No wonder the caves here collapses," Thancred said while looking around.
"If they had some kind of security around here, the cave wouldn't have collapsed in the first place. A square set timbering! That's what they should've made!"
"Didn't know you knew about securing miners," Cleo said with a flat voice.
"That idea belonged to Minfilia," Thancred hurried to say. There was a silence between them again. Thancred sighed again.
"All those things I said back at the Crystarium... I was a complete idiot! I am sorry."
"You're sorry?" Cleo said feeling the rage boiling in her.
"You think that sorry is gone make me feel better about everything?!"
"Everything? What's that supposed to mean?!" Thancred asked with anger in his voice.
"It wasn't just about you thinking the baby isn't yours that made things pour over for me!" Cleo said angry.
"When you fell in slumber, it was then I learned I was pregnant. And when the news spread to some people, you know what they called me?! They called me a coward! A selfish slut! That I was trying to avoid combat just to save my own skin!"
"Wha...?!" Thancred said shocked.
"People really said that?!"
"They did!" Cleo cried. Somehow, it actually felt good to explode. Letting out her feelings for once. She then placed her hand on her belly.
"And each calling... it was so painfull. I was so scared to lose it."
Therefore this enchantment! Thancred realized. Thancred then saw that Cleo started to cry and her voice lowered.
"Am I really so selfish? That I just want to give our child something I never had? A father to protect, to love... to comfort?"
Thancred looked up as they both heard the cave shook heavy.
"Look out!" Thancred cried dragging Cleo closer to him. They both fell on the ground as the rocks blocked their way back. They both coughed as the dust settled. Thancred sighed.
"Great! Now we're stuck!"
Thancred sat next to Cleo.
"You've said how you felt, so I guess it's my turn then!" Thancred said.
"Looks like it!" Cleo said looking around. Even though their way was blocked, Cleo could still hear the sound of wind somewhere, so they had air at least. Maybe it was fate that decided that they had to make it up each other this way?
"There are lots of things I'm not proud of. Remember that I told you the story of Minfilia back at the Source," Thancred began.
"Truth is... a part of me have always felt guilt. Her father's death was my fault... and I couldn't make it up for it!"
Thancred started to look up.
"Back in those days, I spent most of my time in the Quicksand or some other tavern, loosening tongues and gathering secrets. Occasionally, I'd catch a glimpse of Minfilia in the street, on her way home after another hard day's work. I always a wave of relif when I saw she'd come back safe... along with a pang of guilt at the fact I wasn't there to support her as I should've been. Simply speaking with her more than once ina blue moon would've been a good start, but I could never seem to bring myself to it."
Thancred sighed again.
"So instead, I threw myself into my 'work' an became every drunkards best friend."
"I wouldn't have felt so proud if that was me either," Cleo admitted. Thancred chukled.
"F'lhaminn has never let me live it down," Thancred said.
"But that was a lifetime ago. Here and now I have another chance to do things right, and I will not squander it again."
He looked gently at Cleo.
"But you're so different from any other," he said gently.
"You've never mocked people because of their past. Instead you try seeing the best in everyone... even in me."
He leaned closer to her and for the first time ever, he placed a hand over Cleo's belly.
"Considering I never had parents, I don't know what to do... I'm a bit scared to make huge mistakes," he said before looking up at Cleo.
"But with you, I know I can do it. That we can do anything together!"
They both hugged each other and leaned to the wall before Cleo winced in pain.
"What's worng?" Thancred asked worried.
"Did I hurt you?"
"Something's poking my back!" Cleo winced. There was some stones that where stuck at the cave wall. Thancred looked a bit before he started digging.
"Suddenly, I had a hunch that we've found what we're looking for!" he said filling his pockets with those stones.
"Cleo!? Thancred!?" they heard Krohman cry. He was standing nearby the the blocked way.
"Krohman, we're here!" Cleo cried.
"Better find a safe spot!" Krohman cried.
"I'll get you both out of there!"
After finding a safe spot, Krohman used his strength to punch the blocked path. After some crumbling, the rocks turned to dust and the way was cleared. He looked worried at them when the dust cleared.
"Better than ever!" Thancred grinned.
"You just came at the perfect moment!"
Krohman led Cleo and Thancred out of the mine and they showed him the stones. Krohman stared at one of the rocks and grabbed it.
"There's something carved here," he said while studying it. His eyes then grew wide.
"Look at it!"
Thancred looked at it and read it out loud.
"To my beloved Magnus and Skuli."
All three of gasped. Magnus's wife had indeed found what she came for before she died.