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Nightshift 44: M-A Block Hallway
[stand alone]
girlsandgadgets wrote in damned
[From here, after a certain lady general has passed through the hall.]

The flashbulb came on with a click, illuminating the area. The hallway was empty, as far as he could tell, allowing the light to flood where it could reach. Edgar shined his light one way, then the other. They'd taken stairs in a later hallway, hadn't they? He remembered meeting Kuukaku there- she'd certainly been lovely, even if she was a bit hot-tempered- then traveled upstairs to the enchanted hallway.

Maybe heading up the same set of stairs wasn't such a good idea after all, since there was a chance that hallway was still enchanted. On the other hand, he wasn't seeing extra hallways and doors this night- perhaps the enchantments changed nightly. That could be a pain to deal with.

First things first- he needed to get to the hallway with the stairs, then he could see if there was another way around.

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Celes had walked briskly from Hughes's room, relieved to find the older man asleep and not gone. There were still things to be done, and radio messages to ponder (training? What training? What tomfoolery was the doctor getting at?). Celes knew she had likely concerned the older man, and quietly berated herself for sleeping all day like a layabout.

Her heeled boots click-click-clicked across the dirty tiles of the transformed institute, announcing her as she walked. She was not afraid of monsters, not in the least, and wondered if she'd find any challenge worth her time this evening.

An approaching, unmistakable sound broke the silence in the hallway. For starters, the shoes he and the other prisoners wore padded softly across the tiled floor, while the click-click-clicking was more characteristic of shoes with heels. Perhaps the wearer had another outfit in the wardrobe, as his roommate had. Boots, or maybe ladies' heels. He knew it was the latter, judging by the gait. He made it his business to tell a gent from a lady at all distances.

Second, this particular clicking walk had a strangely familiar sound to it. That was more than unsettling, given what he'd seen the previous night. It seemed the other hallways were enchanted, and perhaps he'd be visited by phantoms of his friends again.

Alternatively, it could be a maiden he did not yet know. That notion was promising. No matter- he'd see what this prison had to throw at him before continuing on his way. Careful not to drop his guard, he turned his flashbulb toward the sound and awaited a figure to come into sight.

Celes winced at the sudden light in the hallway. There were always lights on, usually pointed at the floor politely, or turned off to keep from ruining a person's nightvision. "What in the name of the Triad is this about?" she muttered and blinked rapidly to dispel the floating dots of color that suddenly appeared.

"Sir or Madame, I suggest you point that light elsewhere," she told the figure behind the light.

Edgar certainly didn't feel better once the supposed-specter had announced itself as not only as an actual person, but as a lady. He would have felt terrifically rude if he weren't so surprised by the voice itself, along with the figure who appeared in the beam. The thought had briefly passed his mind that the click-click-clicking did sound a lot like the Imperial footwear worn by someone like Kefka or Celes.

The idea that it might actually be Celes, here, in the flesh, was something he hadn't prepared himself for.

He lowered his flashlight quickly, hoping his ears and eyes had deceived him. He would have preferred this were some sort of trick or enchantment magicked by the man running this place. "It's Sir," he said cautiously. "You have my apologies, milady."

No. There was no way. No bedamned way. Celes wasn't sure if she wanted to laugh or punch him. "Edgar... what... just... what are you doing here?" She was surprisingly cautious, despite her joy. There were tales of monsters who took the form of familiar friends and lovers, appeared before unlucky prisoners and attacked them. Celes felt her little red switch blade digging into her hip.

"You are Edgar, aren't you?" she eyed him in the gloom, coolly, and stepped forward to examine him more thoroughly.

Edited at 2009-10-07 09:23 pm (UTC)

Edgar took a step forward to meet Celes', bringing the two of them closer than caution should have allowed. Despite that nagging notion at the back of his mind that was trying to tell him otherwise, he was fairly certain this was Celes, and not some bewitchment on his senses. If he was wrong, this witch certainly played the part exceptionally well.

"I am," he said, wondering if she'd always been this tall, or if the heels gave her a boost in height. "I have to say, you are one of the last people I expected to see here, and certainly someone I would not have wished this upon. That is, if it truly is you."

He gave her a look over and a light smile. "Not that I'm not happy to see you alive, all things considered."

Celes quirked a brow at him. How dare she ever doubt when he clearly exuded enough "charm" for ten men? Figaro Castle must have been a busy place. "I've been perfectly able by myself for the few weeks, Edgar. And just where have you been?" He didn't seem to remember that he'd been here before. Which, when she thought about it, was well and good.

His identity assured, for the moment, Celes dropped her guard slightly and crossed her arms. "If your answer is acceptable, I promise to keep myself from braining you."

"Weeks?" he asked, genuinely surprised by what she was saying. "Please tell me you've not been trapped here since the Cataclysm. That would certainly explain your whereabouts, but what of the others?" He liked to think the rest of the party could take care of themselves, but his natural instinct knew better.

They were more capable of handling trouble than the people of Figaro, at least. He had a feeling he wouldn't be leaving anytime soon if someone as clever as Celes had not yet escaped.

Then again, maybe she had a reason for staying.

"What Cataclysm?" Celes questioned firmly. "What happened to the others?" This was news - and the marked difference between this Edgar and the one who did not remember his first stay here. The last one had been incredibly closed-mouthed about what was going on.

Much like "charm" no one else could quite do "infuriating" like a Figaro. "I've been here a little more than three weeks. Nearly a month. The only cataclysm to occur was that awful plan to take Gabbiani's airship." Especially for her.

Ohhh, how horrible. Wherever that gown was now, she hoped it was being eaten by moths.

Edited at 2009-10-07 11:14 pm (UTC)

"The Cataclysm," he answered with gritted teeth. "Or have you been trapped here so long you've forgotten when Kefka destroyed the world by moving those damnable statues out of alignment?" He looked away from her, aware he'd lost his composure- the wounds opened that day were still fresh.

"My apologies," he said awkwardly. "You're the only one I've seen since that day. I've not even been able to make it to Figaro Castle- I've heard rumor it disappeared beneath the sands on that day and never resurfaced. Most say it was wiped off the face of the planet by the Light of Judgment, but I refuse to believe that."

"Edgar, with all due respect," Celes began, her expression completely bewildered and unlike her. She'd... there'd never been mention of any of this! "I do not know of this cataclysm you're speaking of. Allow me to tell you again that the last thing I remember is the kidnapping at the Opera House." She held herself stiffly.

If there was one thing Celes hated, it was being caught unawares. "So tell me, my lord, what happened?" If he said it was as, well, as cataclysmic as Figaro Castle disappearing, there was only one answer. "Did we fail?"

Edgar paused, feeling foolish as a realization hit him: he'd been told earlier that the prisoners here were brought from different worlds and times. If that were true, there was a good chance Celes truly didn't know of the Cataclysm, Kefka's Light of Judgment, or even of her own supposed betrayal. The lies that spewed from that clownish cur's mouth were enough to make the blood boil.

He looked to the floor, trying to think of how to tell her of the Flying Continent and its fall, of the End of the World, of the destruction of towns of innocent people by the Light of Judgment, of Kefka's rise to godhood.

"Maybe..." he started quietly, his eyes rising to meet hers, "This isn't the best place to discuss such matters, given the nature of this place. Perhaps we should go back to my room? Or save it for the morning?"

"Perhaps tomorrow," Celes murmured. She would need time to prepare herself, and Edgar had all but thrown her off for the evening. At least then she wouldn't need to worry about anything until the morning. "I've other things on my mind tonight, unfortunately." Like his sudden appearance, and her choice of duties for the evening.

"Would you care to join me, or have you some other plan tonight?"

"I haven't any other plans that can't wait for another night," Edgar said, thinking it better he not tell Celes of the pressurized tank or what he'd intended to do with it. He'd put enough on her mind for one night.

"If you don't mind, I'd be honored to accompany you this eve," he added. "Traveling with a familiar face is a quite a blessing, given the variety of people here. Where are you headed?"

Celes pointed down, "There's a basement I intend to find the entrance to myself, but it would be in both of our best interests to have better weapons before going down there. I've this... little knife, but I doubt highly it will do much in the long run."

She shrugged. "So, for now, I think it shall be we two going upstairs. There's a better chance of finding a makeshift weapon up there."

Edgar grinned widely, thinking of his activities the night before. He was sure his companion for the evening would be less likely to pick a fight with complete strangers, at least. Knowing he had an ally in this place was indeed a comfort.

"I trust you'll not be surprised to hear I've already started some weapon designs based on what I've found during my short stay," he said. "We found a toolkit during the previous evening, which will surely aid in those endeavors."

He made a motion toward the exit. "Ladies first, milady. I'll cover you, should something attack from behind."

"I'm sure you shall," Celes replied only half-amused as she started ahead of him.

[To here]

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