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Chapter 14 - Vol 4: Unintentional Catastrophes

Dissidia Academy: A predigious school for the ambitious and talented, where students strive to accomplish their goals and dreams.

Follow the heroes of Final Fantasy as they tackle the many challenges and tribulations that await them throughout the eventful academic year!

Chapter 14 - Vol 4: Unintentional Catastrophes

Chapter 14 - Vol 4: Unintentional Catastrophes
Zidane Tribal hung silently on the branch of a large sycamore tree with the use of his own tail, watching the world around him from the upside-down perspective. He was overlooking Crescent Lake in its full sun-lit glory, the rays glinting against the ripples of the water as if they were jewels. With not a single cloud in the sky, the atmosphere was perfect for clearing one’s mind. Due to the decent conditions, Crescent Lake instantly became a popular area for visitors, both local and distant.
As time clicked on, many of the visitors passed Zidane, curious eyes wondering to the direction of his position. Zidane wasn’t at all fazed by them; his mind was completely in a daze to care, acting as though he was minding his own business. During the whole time he had been hanging on the branch, he was munching down on a large bag of popcorn. At the rate he was gobbling them up; the crumbs of popcorn flew in many directions, with the majority falling to the ground below – or above from Zidane’s perspective.
It was odd for Zidane to be acting so distant; on a usual weekend day, he would be using the opportunity to be causing mischief towards the people he knew. However, ever since the troubling situation at Dissidia Academy, Zidane had completely lost his motivation.
“H-Hey!” A voice suddenly called out in surprise, causing Zidane to snap his mind back into reality.
He raised his head towards the ground below and noticed what had happened. Children had been playing around the tree he was hanging from and the popcorn crumbs had fallen onto one of the child’s, a girl’s, heads. As the young girl began to ruffle their hair as they tried to get rid of the crumbs, the others had gazed up to find the source. Their large, gleaming eyes were locked onto Zidane, causing him to feel suddenly guilty. In almost a flash, Zidane swung off of the branch he had hung from and somersaulted as he fell to the ground, the bag of popcorn held tight in his grasp. Using his momentum, Zidane had successfully landed with equal balance, instantly swivelling on the spot and approaching the kids. Whilst doing so, he placed the popcorn to the side, out of view.
“Ah! Sorry about that, I was miles away.” Zidane excused himself, helping the girl pick off the crumbs that got stuck in her hair.
The other kids seemed to be too busy clapping and watching with awe to care about what had happened. Zidane then noticed more eyes from the Crescent Lake visitors lying upon him, curious about the commotion going on. Zidane hesitated slightly, unsure if they were glaring to him with scorn in their eyes or something completely different. Whatever the case may be, having more watching eyes from the public was the last thing Zidane needed right now.
Finally, the last popcorn crumb was removed from the girl’s hair, allowing her hands to brush through without any stickiness.
“Again, sorry about that, I’ll be more careful.” Zidane apologised for a second time, stepping back and giving off a cheesy yet innocent grin.
“Can you do that again?” One of the male kids asked out with sudden excitement, his eyes still gazing with awe.
“Yeah, what you did was AWESOME!” Another kid shouted out, ecstatic.
“Err … huh?” Zidane blurted out, completely lost about what they were on about.
“You know! That trick you did when you jump from the tree!” The first kid pointed out.
Zidane’s mind clicked upon realisation, his sight switched towards when he had been hanging from. He then noticed the true reason why the visitors were staring at him; it wasn’t that fact that he had been completely unaware with dropping crumbs below, but it was because they were curious about how he was so seamlessly acrobatic. It seemed most of these visitors were still watching him, curious as to what he would do next. Zidane’s eyes then shifted back to the kids, who were all gleaming with excitement and wonder.
It was at this moment when Zidane had a thought appear in his mind, a cheesy yet cunning grin formed from his mouth as he began to formulate an idea.
“Sure, I’ve got time to spare.” He nodded to the children, his chest puffed up and hands on hips to show his pride and determination to give them a show. “A little word of warning; I am a trained professional, so don’t try any of this at home.”
The kids gasped with excitement, whispering to each other as they were ready to watch. Zidane ushered them to stand back and give some space, allowing his body to prepare for the performance. The lake visitors had overheard the conversation and approached to tree in equal wonder as the kids. Zidane nodded over to the growing crowd, his mind going through sections of this sudden routine as though they were puzzle pieces being placed together.
It was then that Zidane clapped his hands together with his eyes calmly closed up, his mind instantly at ease. The crowd fell into complete silence; they were ready and eager to watch him. The kids were shaken up with excitement, struggling to contain themselves as they waited.
The Question that seemed to appear in Zidane’s mind was: Why all the attention and excitement? What was so great about him one simple somersault trick? He wasn’t even aware he performed it, only noticing when the kids mentioned it. One thing that he did know had been that the kids had just wanted another somersault … but the entire crowd wanted more.
Positioning his stance, Zidane glanced over to the kids. There was a moment pause, the children wondering why he was glancing over with a dead-serious glare. Suddenly, Zidane gave a large, witty grin and a small wink.
“You wanted me to show you a trick …?” Zidane called out with complete confidence. “Hah! That’s nothing to me! I’ll give you a performance like no other!”
Without a second longer, Zidane launched himself up high into the air, his whole body curving back as he performed his first acrobat. During his backflip, he had twisted his body to aim for the tree, allowing the transition between the techniques feel seamless. Within a flash, Zidane span towards the ground, landing on the palms of his hands with even balance. With this, Zidane did not stop there. He used the momentum of his body to consecutively backward-somersault towards the tree, refusing to halt or even breathe.
The crowd gasped in amazement at the performance, eagerly whispering to themselves and recording with the cameras on their cell-phones. Upon reaching the tree, Zidane twisted himself to land facing it, his sight locked on. With no pause whatsoever, Zidane leapt into a sprint. With enough momentum gained, Zidane was able to lift off from the ground and sprint up the stem of the tree. The audience gasped in disbelief, to witness a gravity-defying skill like this pulled off with such ease was mind-bending.
Zidane heard the reactions load and clear, smirking with glee. He refused to stop, not until the climax. He knew he was showing off … and he was enjoying every minute of it. As he reached the lower branches of the tree, he threw his entire body towards the first tough branch he caught sight of, allowing his body to flow. He grasped the branch with both hands and continued to use the momentum he gained to swing on the branch at intense speeds. After a few consecutive twists, Zidane tightened his grip on the branch and balanced his body in an upside-down position.
With eyes locked-on to him from below, Zidane needed his full concentration on the performance. More visitors where joining the audience as they wondered what the commotion was about.
Imagining as though he was on a tightrope, Zidane continued to balance his body. There was no fault in his position, his body was in complete perfection if one witch inspect from every direction. Placing one hand against the other, Zidane moved towards the edge of the branch, acting rather casual in the process.
Upon reaching the edge of the branch, Zidane turned his balanced body towards facing the audience. With a confident grin, Zidane released his balance, falling with grace from his position. With his grasped still tightly locked in place, he began to swing once again. Speeding up his momentum, Zidane threw out with as much strength as needed. He span up in the air whilst crouched up like a beach ball. It was then that he performed his next move.
Reaching out with his tail, he was able to grasp the branch higher from him. As he was able to hold his momentum, Zidane began to naturally swing on the branch. His arms and legs were crossed as he continued to swing, acting as though he was using no effort whatsoever in the performance.
The crowd began to laugh out, finding Zidane’s expressions amusing. The children were clapping out with joy, loving every trick and movement he made. Zidane chuckled, acting rather laid back. However, his mind clicked whilst his eyes turned serious.
“It’s time … for the FINALE!” Zidane roared out, leaping from the branch higher up into the air; acting as though he was reaching for the sky.
The audience’s expression turned from amazement to shock in a matter of seconds as they watched the final part of Zidane’s performance. The speeds of Zidane’s next movements were insanely fast, causing some of the audience to struggle with keeping up on watching the movements in action. Some even felt out of breath just by watching him.
Zidane used the entire tree at his disposal, leaping towards various sections with no halts or mistakes. He had been spinning, swinging, twisting, flipping, and throwing his whole body around at a ridiculously fast pace, climbing higher up the sycamore tree. It was then that he had gained enough momentum for the final move.
Using every muscle in his body, he completely tensed up and launched his whole body up in the air. His body flew up high about the tallest point out the tree. The entire audience gasped out, squinting as Zidane reached the height of sun … well, metaphorically speaking.
Time froze from a small moment, with Zidane peering towards the clear blue sky above. He couldn’t help but smile. Ever since the incident yesterday, he had been feeling depressed and unable to act as his own mischievous self. However, with the crowds watching him and cheering, he felt free and able to forget about the problems he was facing, even if it was a only for a short amount of time. It was as though he was able to breathe again.
Zidanes body span in a consecutive, unstoppable somersault high in the air. This continued as he dropped down to the ground, adding in various twists in the process. Upon landing, the timing was impeccable. He was able to place his feet perfectly, no stumbles whatsoever. And to add to this, he instantly ended the performance with a strong bow, lowering himself slightly to one knee and placing an arm below his abdomen. He was only slightly worn out from the performance, feeling as though he could have continued if he had planned beforehand.
The audience roared out with an enthusiastic cheer, unable to contain the excitement. The children ran over to Zidane and circled around him instantly. Zidane rose back up and took a moment to regain his mind. He took in a large meaningful breath and watched to audience in front of him. He didn’t know what to think at this point, he couldn’t even believe the positive reception and reactions the crowd were giving him. It had been as though it was a completely different atmosphere than what he had before the performance.
“Th-thanks.” Zidane responded to the audience, giving a rare nervous grin and throwing his hands behind his head.
… Crack!
Zidane’s eyes widened in an instant, drops of sweat began appear from his brow. His grin completely disappeared; the enjoyment of the attention washed away and replaced by … horror. It wasn’t just him whose expression changed; the crowd – including the children – fell silent instantly and switched their sight to towards what laid behind Zidane.
Zidane regretfully turned around, his mind worried about what was about to happen.
… Crack! Crack-crackcrack!
The large sycamore tree continuously twitched, becoming increasingly more violent in the process. Zidane gulped, sweat streaming down his body. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing, not even once did the tree react during the performance, so why did it have to begin breaking apart NOW!?
… Crack-crack! … SNAP!
Branched began to snap off from the tree, falling to the grass below whilst leaves fluttered everywhere. Large cracks in the wood severed through the tree, causing it to splinter and spat apart. It was then that the worst began to occur.
…Crackcrack-SNAP! … Creak …
“… Oh crap!” Zidane muttered as he watched in terror, suddenly turning back to the crowd. “Get back, everyone! NOW!”
The crowd scattered in an instant, most moving away from the area entirely whilst some gaining distance from the tree. Zidane grabbed hold of the children that stood around him and leaped out of the way. The cracks from the lower area of the tree had connected together and entirely broke off from the roots below. The entire tree began to fall under its weight and head towards the area where the audience and Zidane once was. Finally, with a powerful CRASH, The sycamore tree was no more.
Zidane turned back and gazed with complete disbelief, unable to understand how this had happened. As he slowly approached the fallen tree, the colour in his cheeks went pale and the sweat continued to stream down him. The children with him watched as he approached it, completely silent.
“Well … that was certainly a ‘performance’.” A familiar voice suddenly called out behind Zidane, causing him to jump up and shiver.
He turned and caught sight of the owner of the voice. Onion Knight had appeared from behind him, accompanied by Terra and Bartz, and seemed rather unfazed about the situation.
“H-How much did you see?” Zidane questioned anxiously, struggling to form his words.
“We’ve been here since the beginning.” Terra answered in response, giving her usual sweet smile. “It was very entertaining.”
“Yeah, it was AWESOME, man!” Bartz blurted out as an add-on, excited as usual. “I’ve got goose-bumps from watching.”
Zidane dropped to the floor on his hands and knees with his head lowered and gave out a large sigh, finding this situation a continuous mess.
“…I give up.”
Not long after, the 4 classmates had moved away from the area, just moments before the authorities arrived to deal with the aftermath. Onion Knight led the group to a large social area of the lake, far enough away from the area of the tree incident. Terra and Bartz followed in his footsteps, seemingly calm and cheerful. However, they couldn’t help but look over their shoulders during various moments on their walk, checking up on Zidane who followed a fair distance behind. His shoulders were hunched over, his hands were sitting in his pockets, and his tail was dragging across the dirt ground below. He had even been staring towards the floor, his sight completely out of focus.
Finally, they had reached their destination, choosing a circular bench to sit on that was suitable for their needs. They perched themselves on one that had been overlooking Crescent Lake and away from any crowded visitor spots. Onion Knight gave out a mannered cough, placing his hand in front of his mouth as he cleared his throat.
“So then, now that we are away from the unfortunate ‘mess’ …” Onion Knight began formally, however caught sight of his fellow classmate who was still hanging his head. “Zidane, staying depressed about what happened isn’t going to get you anywhere.”
“Mm…” Zidane groaned as he placed his head on the bench table.
There was a moment of silence between the 4 at the point, Terra and Onion Knight glanced towards each other with uncertainty. Due to this, Onion Knight couldn’t help but sigh out; this wasn’t exactly the type of mood they wanted to find Zidane in. Bartz gazed towards his friend with a somewhat sorrowful look, understanding the situation more than the other two.
“Thinking about, this is just like what happened during the time we broke Sir Sephiroth’s Globe-thingamajig.” Bartz commented in opinion, relating the fallen tree to back when the two had collided into and smashed the Great Globe during their first lesson of Geography.
Both he and Zidane’s bodies then shivered, remembering the consequences that came from the small fiasco.
“I … didn’t need to be reminded of that, Bartz.” Zidane murmured out as he glared back to his friend in frustration, lifting his head up from the table slightly so he could move it.
“A-ha … sorry.” Bartz nervously apologised.
“Anyway … that’s not the main reason for why I feel like this.” Zidane sighed out, feeling that it was time to open up his thoughts. “It’s more of the fact that whenever I do something with good intention, all that seems to happen in return is everything gets screwed up and I’m the one that gets the blame … unless it’s not serious then I just pass the blame over to Bartz.”
“Wha-!? Hey!” Bartz blurted out to complain, becoming thrown off by the sudden jab.
Zidane gave a subtle smirk to show that he still had his cocky side, even if only for a short while.
“I see … so first it was yesterday’s ‘assault’ incident, of which you had been wrongly accused of; and now this ‘fallen tree’ incident, where you had been entertaining the visitors without realising that the tree was actually fragile.” Onion Knight gathered up to summarise, crossing his arms in the process. “Well, I can certainly see the dilemma you are having … however the ‘Globe’ incident was entirely a consequence due to you two’s lateness to class.”
“Argh! Will you people stop bringing that up!?” Zidane groaned in annoyance, covering his ears to show he refused to hear anymore comments on the Great Globe. He then decided to change the subject, “Anyway … I heard from Bartz that you guys were spending the day investigating the case. How’s that going?”
Suddenly, Onion Knight shot a leering glare towards Bartz in instant reaction. Bartz, in retaliation, nervously leaned back on his seat.
“W-what are you looking at me like that for?” Bartz stuttered, bracing himself for some reason.
Onion Knight then shook his head, deciding to go with the flow. “Well, I would say it was starting off well, but …”
Flashback to Dissidia Academy Entrance Gate, 3 hours previous …
“Now, why in the world would I tell you any details about my end of the case?” Warrior of Light sneered, showing off a disgusted expression. “The whole idea of it is absurd!”
Onion Knight, Terra, and Bartz had approached Warrior of Light at the Entrance Gate of the Academy. As part of Onion Knight’s plan, the first stop of the investigation had been to receive update of the case from Warrior of Light … however, Onion Knight had a distinct feeling he wouldn’t be able to co-operate. It made complete sense that Warrior of Light wouldn’t co-operate; he was the opposition of the case and as part of his role, was not allowed disclose any recently surfaced information about the case until the court trial. In addition to this, the two were bitter rivals.
Even so, Onion Knight couldn’t help but approach him.
“Just as I thought, you are as stubborn as ever.” Onion Knight murmured with a disappointing sigh. “Maybe I should reword your statement into ‘nothing has surfaced whatsoever’.”
Warrior of Light’s eyebrow twitch in reaction to Onion Knight’s comment, “Oh I see, so it seems you have nothing to do today so you decide to spend your time acting like a little brat and ticking me off in the process. Well, just to inform you, my short foolish classmate; that we both have important jobs to do and so … you should be ON YOUR WAY.”
“WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT MY SHORT STATURE!?” Onion Knight bellowed out in sudden fury, losing his composure in the instant he heard the ‘trigger’ word. “I DARE YOU TO SAY THAT AGAI-!”
“Onion Knight … now is not the time.” Terra swiftly intercepted, standing between the two. “Same goes for you, Warrior of Light.”
Even though she spoke in her usual soft voice, Onion Knight could just about notice a hint of irritating breaking through from deep inside. Hastily, Onion Knight took a moment to breathe out and calm down, allowing for his mind and composure to return to normal. Warrior of Light, on the other hand, looked away in disdain, finding the whole encounter pointless.
“Listen, we’re just as desperate as you to find the truth, so any piece of new info and clue would help all of us dearly.” Onion Knight admitted in a serious tone, abiding to the atmosphere Terra had just giving them.
“Well, unfortunately for both you and myself, I have none to give.” Warrior of Light spitefully answered back, cementing his earlier statement.
Onion Knight sighed out loudly in complete frustration, unable to find a way to come to terms with his rival. In the end, however, he gave up on pursuing this any further. Signalling Terra and Bartz, the 3 began to leave the area.
“… I couldn’t even find a scrap of evidence or any witnesses.” Warrior of Light lowly admitted, unable to hide it any longer just as his three classmates were leaving.
Onion Knight froze up, causing both Terra and Bartz to almost walk into him by accident. Onion Knight almost couldn’t believe what he had heard; Warrior of Light, the Prosecutor of the case and the most stuck-up Class and Council President in the Academy, admitted to finding nothing more on the case!
Onion Knight switched his sighted back towards his rival, stepping back to the place he previously stood.
“I’m surprised.” Onion Knight jabbed, crossing his arms.
“What do you mean by that?” Warrior of Light awkwardly questioned, finding Onion Knight’s sudden change of expression somewhat unexpected.
Onion Knight gave a small grin, “You’re the Prosecutor, part of your role is to track down witnesses and evidence in order to seek the truth and back up your accusations. And yet, no one has approached you since the conclusion of yesterday’s trial?”
“Where is this going?” Warrior of Light sharpened his sight, wary about where Onion Knight’s statement is leading.
“… You must have scared them off due to your intimidating presence.”
“-OW!” Onion Knight clutched the top of his head in pain, moaning out as he soothed his cranium. “THAT HURT, YOU EGOTISTICAL PRICK!”
Warrior of Light struck down with a tough fist against the top of Onion Knight’s head in annoyance, his eyes squinting and muscles tensed up.
“Maybe you should keep your thoughts to yourself then.” Warrior of Light answered back in a spiteful tone.
“Anyhow, what I should have stated was that we have until Monday to find evidence and witnesses for the case and yet you are already acting as though you have failed in the role Headmistress Cosmos had bestowed upon you.” Onion Knight continued on after brushing of the pain, “Our roles are certainly not simple and easy; it takes time and an additional amount of preparation. Giving up so early would only mean that the Headmistress made a mistake in granting you the role of Prosecutor.”
Warrior of Light hesitated for a moment; he had taken in what he was being told by his rival, even if he refused to admit it.
“I-I knew that already! You don’t need to tell me about the importance of my role!” Warrior of Light spoke out, showing signs of weakness.
“The Headmistress has put an extensive amount of faith in us, we cannot let her down.” Onion Knight then warned, his eyes firing up with passion in his words.
Warrior of Light fell silent, unable to argue back. Onion Knight took a short breath as he finished his speech, feeling rather refreshed. He nodded over towards Terra and Bartz that they were leaving. Silent, Onion Knight took the lead of the trio and began to make his way towards the direction of the city. However, he had halted once more upon hearing Warrior of Light speak out directly to him.
“Onion Knight, there is one question I wish to ask you.” Warrior of Light began, showing a truthful expression to show he was completely serious in what he was about to ask. “Do you have any pieces of evidence that you haven’t told me about?”
There was a moment of silence in the area, Onion Knight glancing over his shoulder towards his rival. After this past, Onion Knight turned to face Warrior of Light from the distance, eyes locked onto his opponent. It was then that he answered, a hand placed against the pocket of where he held what could be the most important piece of evidence to the case.
“Unfortunately, I do not.” Onion Knight smiled, showing a pure and innocent expression. “It is just as you said: I have none to give.”
Warrior of Light nodded sincerely, not needing to speak further. With that, the trio of classmates left the area, leaving Warrior of Light to his lonesome.
For the next 2 hours, the trio had spent their time wondering around the city in hopes for finding fellow classmates or anyone currently associated with the Academy. During their travels, they had met up with Arc and Refia. The two had been asking around about any elevating rumours relating to the case, also researching for anything that could assist in the investigation. Unfortunately, there had not been any success. Onion Knight attempted to brush the negative thoughts and comments aside in order to stay positive and keep to the words he had given to Warrior of Light.
Onion Knight, Terra, and Bartz continued their investigation, leaving Arc and Refia to investigate on their own. They asked about the various areas of the city, questioning any noticeable students for possible witnesses or clues. However, as each moment passed, the trio’s optimism began to dampen. Aside from the small scraps of details that came up, the common phrase that came up was a resounding “No.”
Present Time …
“I gave Warrior of Light all that optimistic speech, and right now all I seem to be doing is eating my own words freshly baked in disappointment and failure.” Onion Knight groaned at the end of his recap to Zidane, sulking with his own face pressed against the table this time instead of Zidane. “So, to answer your question … our investigation is falling to pieces at this specific time.”
Terra sighed out, feeling somewhat the same as Onion Knight in this particular situation, although keeping her emotions hidden.
Zidane sighed, scratching the side of his head in order to think up anything that could be of use. Bartz had been switching his sight constantly, acting somewhat clueless to the atmosphere of the table.
“Well, all you can do right now is to follow your words to the end of the line.” Zidane shrugged in response to Onion Knight’s final statement. “If you keep following that line, I’m certain something will come up. Surely there are already a few leads that you have had set up.”
At that moment, Onion Knight’s body twitched, his head raised off of the table slightly. It was then that it occurred to him that Zidane was correct; Onion Knight had leads on the case … and one of them was sitting on this very table. Onion Knight swiftly straightened his body up, showing off a formal posture. The other three caught sight of this sudden change of aura from Onion Knight, however unsure what to make of it. The sudden change was so abrupt that it threw the three completely off-guard. Onion Knight had something one his mind, and he was ready to share it.
“… That is the core reason as to why we’ve met up with you, Zidane.” Onion Knight then truthfully explained, his eyes glaring with sudden motivation. “Aside from checking up on your well-being, we wish to ash you a few questions related to the case.”
Both Terra and Bartz reacted with surprise; however, Terra understood that this would need to be addressed eventually, whilst Bartz began to fidget uncomfortably. Zidane raised an eyebrow in curiosity, finding Onion Knight’s sudden change of aura and request rather unexpected. He became cautious not to make any mistakes or miscommunication in his words during the upcoming conversation.
“Fire away, O-Knight!” Zidane coolly called, acting as though his had just accepted a challenge. “You already agreed that I’m innocent so what is there to ask?”
Onion Knight locked eyes against Zidane’s, no expression shown whatsoever. Any emotion that Zidane was showing had completely disappeared the moment this interrogation began. Terra sat silent on her seat, her mind clear as she was ready to take in what was about to happen. Bartz, on the other hand, couldn’t help but feel uneasy in this situation. The serious tone felt as though walls were slowly caving in around them, the world around the circular table disappeared completely from their minds. Bartz despised this feeling; the serious atmosphere was close to choking him. However, he decided to endure, knowing this was for Zidane’s sake.
Interrogation: Zidane Tribal
“Zidane, in order for us to fully succeed in this case, we cannot hide anymore information that could greatly concern the incident.” Onion Knight began, concentrating on the classmate/client in front of him and shutting out the rest of the world. “It is to my knowledge that you have been giving vague answers whilst being questioned, whether it was Warrior of Light or to your own close friends. So, why all this secrecy?”
“… I have my reasons.” Zidane shrugged, his eyes deviating slightly.
He’s already trying to dodge the question. Onion Knight bit the side of his lip, noticing the subtle clues in Zidane’s expressions. He’s severely holding back. Something must be preventing him from allowing him to co-operate. What, or even who, did he see during the time of the incident? ...This may be more difficult than I first imagined.
“Zidane, I cannot express enough that we’re trying to help you prove your innocence.” Onion Knight pressured the tone in his voice, showing that he cares for his classmate. “Hiding crucial information would only delay the inevitable, or may even cause this whole case to backfire against our favour. Please reveal to us, did you see the identities of either culprit who was there at the incident?”
“I … might have.” Zidane slurred, showing hesitation.
Onion Knight took in a deep breath, keeping himself calm and refusing to allow his emotions to get the better of him. Terra switched her sights between Onion Knight and Zidane, analysing the confrontation thoroughly.
“Zidane, you may not be the culprit, but you are still an important witness to the case.” Onion Knight continued to emphasise, his mind throwing about various different approaches to tackle this. “You may try to hide the information from us, but the moment you enter the stand in court on Monday, you will be torn apart by Warrior of Light of even the High Judge Gabranth!”
“That isn’t a problem, Light already failed to take information from me during both of his questionings.” Zidane brushed off without a fuss, giving his cocky smile. “All I need is to give them my side of the story with honesty and consistency. That is all it takes.”
“But that will only-!” Onion Knight halted his argument at this point, suddenly freezing his body with an expression of realisation.
I must change the route of the discussion! His mind called out, noticing that this argument would only head to a dead-end.
“Fine, let’s try something else for the time being.” Onion Knight huffed, closing his eyes for a miniscule moment in order to reshuffle his approach. “During yesterday’s trial, Bartz had explained during his ‘second’ Testimony that Rydia’s scream was heard after you had left the 4th Math Room and entered the room that the incident had occurred in. Within part of the testimony, Bartz had expressed that you had told him to ‘hide’ and directed him to the 2nd Math Room. What was happening at that specific moment?”
“…” Zidane didn’t respond to this question, droplets of sweat beginning to crawl down his skin and his eyes beginning to slightly quiver.
“Zidane … What happened?” Onion Knight echoed his questioned, noticing Zidane’s expression breaking apart slightly.
“H-he … was about to …” Zidane struggled to answer, feeling a heavy pain in his heart. “… Attack us.”
“Wha-!?” Onion Knight gasped in shock, almost lifting from his own seat.
He glanced over to Terra, who was just as surprised as him. However, upon glancing towards Bartz, Onion Knight noticed a peculiar expression appearing from him … he was glancing towards Zidane with uncertainty.
“Zidane, what happened after that?” Onion Knight questioned, snapping his sight back towards his classmate. “You didn’t receive any injuries from how I see it.”
“He … he just …” Zidane shook his head, showing signs of distress. “I-I can’t … he w-would NEVER …!”
Onion Knight’s eyes widened, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Not only was Zidane refusing to give information; he was close to having a panic attack!
Terra, having caught sight of this a moment before Onion Knight, swiftly took action. Moving around the bench, Terra placed a hand on Zidane’s shoulder in order to try and comfort him.
“Zidane, stay calm. We’re here for you.” Terra spoke out to him, keeping a low comforting tone of voice.
Bartz had closed in to his best friends side, worried for is wellbeing. Onion Knight rose from his seat, his eyes directly locked on Zidane.
“Zidane … what happened in that room? What did the culprit do!?” Zidane continued to question, unable to find any other approach.
Zidane’s eyes began to flicker, his fists clutching the table tight whilst his body began to shake. He began to breathe heavily; sweat seeping down his skin at a fast rate.
“I-it wasn’t him … I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT WAS HIM!” Zidane roared out, his mind breaking apart completely.
Suddenly, Zidane leapt out of his seat, pushing both Terra and Bartz aside.
“Zidane!” Terra called out in concern.
“Wait, Zidane!” Bartz shouted out, reaching out to his friend.
Within seconds, he had disappeared from sight.
Interrogation: Zidane Tribal … UNSUCCESSFUL!
Onion Knight fell back to his seat, his eyes wide and blank with shock. Terra and Bartz both regained their footing, gazing towards the direction of where Zidane had ran off to. After a moment processing the situation, Onion Knight took in what he had witnessed. Terra turned towards Onion Knight, giving a rather angered glare to him. However, Bartz was unable to sit by whilst seeing his friend in pain.
“I can’t see him like this.” Bartz murmured under his breath, fidgeting on the spot. “I have to find him.”
“Bartz! You can’t-!” Terra hastily argued as her heart raced.
“Don’t stop me!” Bartz shouted out with motivation, already leaping into action.
Before Onion Knight and Terra knew it, Bartz had already disappeared towards the direction of where Zidane ran off to.
“Don’t follow him, if that’s what he wants to do, so be it.” Onion Knight persuaded her, shaking his head.
Terra twisted her body back towards him, showing an infuriated expression.
“I cannot believe you, Onion Knight!” Terra shouted at him, scowling. “You KNEW Zidane was becoming distressed with questions, yet you just HAD to press more onto him!”
“It was necessary.” Onion Knight reasoned, his eyes showing no signs of wavering.
“What does that mean!?” Terra argued, unable to keep her own composure due to her increasing worry.
“Did you not see his face, or hear how he spoke during the questions?” Onion Knight then questioned out, his mind circling various theories behind Zidane’s sudden panic attack. “He was completely out of character the moment we began questioning him. He barely even answered any of them.”
Terra glared, she knew Onion Knight long to be open to him about her thoughts when necessary, to the point that she almost brought herself to slapping him for being so uncaring to Zidane’s feelings. However, she was able to halt herself as she noticed what Onion Knight meant. Zidane had never shown such emotions for as long as they both have known him (or of him through his pranks); and even if he had shown them, his expressions and body language would be completely different to how it had been just now.
“I knew that something was preventing him from giving us the answers we need, but I never expected him to break like that … and so soon.” Onion Knight thought out load, trying to find puzzle pieces of answers in his mind.
“What do you think happened to him?” Terra then wondered, sitting back down on the seat in front of her. “Do you have any ideas on who he saw during the incident?”
Onion Knight breathed out, concentrating all of his thought on the situation. There was a moment of silence between the two, Terra waiting for an answer whilst Onion Knight threw his mind about to find reasons. It was then that it clicked in, causing Onion Knight to almost jump out of his seat in realisation.
“There are some possibilities, I’m sure of it!” Onion Knight slammed a hand against the table as he spoke, eyes flaring up. “It may be the case that either the culprit – or culprits – that Zidane saw were so close to him that he couldn’t bring himself to reveal their names or he had been forced to keep quiet against his own will … or even both.”
“But then … who would the culprit be that is ‘that’ close enough to Zidane to the point where he would act out in such a way?” Terra asked out, seemingly confused. “And if it was the latter of what you said, was he told to keep quiet about the situation … or was it a spell? I don’t understand it.”
“I don’t understand it either. However, the person Zidane had been referring to during that whole scene was male.” Onion Knight analysed, flashing back to the points where Zidane stated the word ‘he’. “If it was someone very close, I could think of ‘one’ person of who that could be.”
Onion Knight then placed a hand against his pocket, feeling the packet that held the evidence consisting of the brown strands of hair.
“However, if it was ‘him’ … then my previous suspicions were correct.” Onion Knight murmured underneath his breath, thinking hard about the possibilities. “… But could it truly be him? What would be his motivation to cause such the incident in the first place?”
“Who are you talking about?” Terra queried, looking lost with Onion Knight’s constant murmuring. “You need to speak clearer when discussing this.”
“Ah, sorry.” Onion Knight apologised, showing some positive emotion through his smile. “I think it’s time we see Firion about the updated situation.”
“You’re leaving already?” A sudden, light voice spoke out over the two, causing them to jump out in fright. “How disappointing; after all the commotion that’s been going on recently, I was hoping to speak to you two.”
Terra and Onion Knight turned towards the direction of where the voice had been coming from. To their surprise, they caught sight on someone they would not expect to see. With a tough expression and powerful stance, the two knew who it had been in an instant. Onion Knight knew her from being a part of the Student Council, whilst Terra knew her as a very close friend.
“Celes?” The two blurted out in unison, thrown completely off-guard.


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