Oceans of Anger

Kefka Palazzo

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“I know what you’re going to say and I’m going to tell you again why that’s not-”

This argument was going nowhere. For ten minutes, this odd man in an old timey suit kept insisting that he was dead. Him. A god. Maybe the God. Was that blasphemous? Can one god blaspheme another?

He had found himself in a very strange place, that was certain. He stood on a miniature town square, which would have probably not been strange on its own, but it was suspended, alone, in a vast, endless black nothingness.

“You’re not a god, Kefka. That is your name? Kefka?”

The Mad King gasped, clapping his hands on his face. He held the look for just long enough to be awkward, and then sneered, the manic glint in his eye vibrant and wild.

“Is this where I’m supposed to say, ‘how did you know my name’ and suddenly believe you? Everyone knows Kefka Palazzo. Especially dead people.”

The man in the suit chuckled.

“What was that?” the immortally-challenged god hissed angrily. He would have likely resorted to simply striking him, but he’d tried that already. The man took a blow from his morning star like it was a pat on the head. His tacky fedora didn’t even crumple.

Honestly, that was the worst part. An invulnerable fedora? Really?

Kefka hefted the morning star in his hand. Admittedly, he hadn’t questioned where it had come from. It was obviously his. He could tell from the lucky bloodstains. Where did it come from?

WAIT.

“Did- did that albino lizard woman actually blow me up with a stick of dynamite?”

The old man in the suit sighed and pinched the bridge of his noise.

Yes, Kefka.”

“Well, she’s obviously going to die horribly, um, what was her name?”

His name,” the old man corrected, leafing through a notebook he’d produced from his lapel. “Appears to be… hm. My handrwiting’s a bit messy. Furiza? Or perhaps Freezer?”

“That’s a dumb name.”

“Your name is just a blunt nod to philosopher Franz-”

Kefka shrieked. “Do not talk about that dead, bug-fetish-y weirdo. Do not.”

The old man sighed. “Might I remind you that you’re also dead.”

“You said she- he-” he furrowed his brow. “I was honestly certain the lizard was a ‘she’… anyway, he blew me up, right? So perhaps I’ve just been reconstituted somewhere. A sort of… purgatory, of sorts-”

“Okay, you’re not actually wrong, but… look. You died. Freezer blew you up. That is how you died. Because you are dead.”

“I’m dead.”

“You’re dead.”

Kefka seemed to contemplate this for a moment. The old man in the suit seemed relieved.

Well, that’s not fair!!”

The old man sighed.

“I don’t want to be dead!!”

“Well, you are, so-”

Kefka stepped over fast, leaning into the old man’s face. “You don’t understand. I don’t want to be dead. I may not be able to harm you, but if I’m dead, then I’ve got all eternity to make your existence tremendously unpleasant. I’ll start by shrieking directly into your ear-”

“Oh my god, just stop. Technically you’re data. You’ve lost your body, ‘cause, again, it got blown up, but there are ways to reclaim your life. I can open up a portal to get you on your way, somewhere out there in The Dreamscape. It’s volatile out there, and it’s impossible to know what you might find.”
 

Kefka Palazzo

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“The Dreamscape is a wild and warping place, and once you head in, you can’t return,” the Old Man said.

“Not powerful enough to bring me back, eh?” Kefka retorted.

“I wouldn’t want to if I could.”

“Makes sense,” Kefka said, and then laughed his horrible, whooping laugh.

“Now,” the Old Man explained, as a blue pillar of light shone up from one of the corners of the little square. “The Dreamscape is a volatile place, and it’s affected by the people in it. Your presence will distort the Dreamscape, just like the presence of anyone else you might find will also. Aspects of yourself are made manifest.”

“Well, isn’t that exciting,” Kefka grinned, marching toward the pillar. “Enjoy eternity standing around some stupid slab of nothing.”

With a burst of light and a crystalline shimmer of sound, the wild-eyed jester king was gone.

When he opened his eyes, what he expected to see was…

…well, not this.

Stretching away from him in every direction appeared to be a never-ending carnival. Jaunty, organ music played in overlapping, nonsense cacophony, as though a dozen-dozen copies of the same song played with a second’s delay one after another.

The guests were odd, too. All kinds of strange, ghoulish creatures crowded around him. Demons, lizard creatures, some bizarre, betentacled… things… and the staff were even stranger. Everyone appeared to be a strange, living bobblehead. Somehow able to speak, hear, and evidently see, in spite of their giant, ever wobbling, lifeless, plastic faces.

“Well. This is… new.”

Bewilderment gave way to annoyance the first time he was bumped by one of the ugly passers-by. Annoyance gave way to murderous rage the second time he was bumped. He’d caved the poor demon-thing’s head in the first time he brought his morning star down on him. The next three strikes were gratuitous.

But fun.

The crowd closed on him threateningly, eager for their turn to be bludgeoned, but the ground beneath Kefka’s feet gave way and he plunged down into darkness, the light above him shrinking away, smaller, smaller, smaller, until nothing but darkness remained.
 

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Down, down, down, down, down.

That seemed to be the only direction available.

He’d long ago plunged into freezing cold water, still falling deeper and deeper down, slowly sinking in the water which seemed to possess a uniquely negative buoyancy. His chest burned as he fought to hold his breath, his body fighting against him with pain and instinct, but he held on.

Longer than he’d ever held his breath. Longer than he even thought humanly possible. Longer still.

Desperate, his subconscious overrode his will, and he sucked in a lungful of water. Then, he coughed, and reflexively sucked in another lungful. The burning in his chest had returned tenfold. He couldn’t see, couldn’t swim, couldn’t breathe.

What a shitty way to die.

“You won’t get away from me that easily.”

The voice was familiar. A strange, sickly sweet.

Kefka wanted to ask who it was, but he felt his life slipping from me. He closed his eyes.

With a soft thump, he found himself bone dry. And in a very large bed with silk sheets, covered in… rose petals?

The room danced with the warmth of a few dozen candles. Leaning against the doorframe in a nightgown was…

Was…

“You.”

“Me.”

Kefka narrowed his eyes. “Haven’t you done enough?”

“Oh, come now. It was Dante’s Abyss. The rules are different there, baby.”

“I’m not your baby.”

“Well, not yet, but a girl can dream,” the albino lizard lady retorted, approaching the bed. Realizing his predicament, Kefka scrambled across the vast, silken expanse, clambering to his feet on the opposite side of the romantic furniture.

“No, she most certainly cannot,” Kefka barked, having finally gathered his wits. He may have been crazy, but he wasn’t stupid.

You don’t sleep with someone who tried to kill you. Who did kill you. Unless you want to.

Wait. What was the lesson?

“You’re… Freezer.”

“Yeah, hun.”

“Not your hun,” Kefka growled, untying his morning star from his belt and hoisting it over his shoulder. “But I would like very much to return the favor you paid me that day, when you oh so casually picked me off like the scavenger you are.”

Freezer was inches from his face. Kefka could smell her breath.

“What?”

Freezer leaned in and kissed him. Hard.

WHAT.

He shrieked, pushing the lizard woman away from him and winding up for a swing with his morning star.

“I said no!” Kefka shrieked, bringing his bludgeon down onto her flesh. She shattered like glass, exploding into millions of tiny particles, glittering in a blinding light, and he was gone.

A field. He was in a field. And around him was… more field.

Every direction revealed an identical, empty horizon. Tall grass stood uniform in height, color, and consistency as far as the eye could see and in every direction. He truly was in the middle of nowhere.

“I don’t like being dead,” he huffed, striking out in some direction. With no landmarks of any kind, it was hard to know where he was going. He couldn’t even tell what time it was, as though the sky was bright, there appeared to be no sun there to illuminate it.

The Mad King walked. He walked for hours, passing nothing but endless blades of grass. There was no water, no food. No animals to eat. Heat glared down on him despite the lack of any visible sun.

His breath came audibly. Sweat beaded down his face, stained his clothes, stung his eyes. His feet hurt. His back hurt. He kept walking, searching. He knew he’d need to find water soon. His mouth was parched. He’d been walking for the majority of the day, and kept at it.

Nothing changed.

More tall grass. More nothing. More endless flat nothing.

“Not even a damn mountain to liven up the place,” he growled.

“Hollow, isn’t it?”

The voice was uncomfortably familiar. Kefka stiffened up, his eyes suddenly wide and sharp – swirling madness suddenly sharpened into calculating clarity.

He turned, smiling with his mouth but glowering with his eyes.

“Emperor Gestahl, what an unexpected surprise.”
 

Kefka Palazzo

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“You tricked me.”

Kefka nearly choked. That was it.

That was all the mighty Gestahl could muster. He stared the man who murdered him in the face, and he said ‘you tricked me’. Kefka felt suddenly exhausted. Still the same, old idiot.

Kefka whooped his devilish laugh, dramatically wiping a tear from his eye.

“My dearest Emperor, I didn’t trick you,” Kefka’s eyes lacked their usual frenzy. He seemed focused, lucid. “I simply studied harder than the rest of you. I took the time to understand the powers you planned to meddle with.

You were all satisfied with the very basics of the Goddesses, but I took the time to understand them. I learned about them. The Warring Triad. You thought what I did on the floating fortress was reckless. A product of my broken psyche.

I want you to understand and know that this was the product of years of careful planning. I knew exactly how the Balance would tilt. I conquered life

“That’s treason!”

“Treason?! You want to talk about treachery?! ‘You’ll be the first of the Empire’s mightiest heroes’. You said that, do you remember? When you convinced me your Magitek Knight program would be ever so vital to the cause.”

You knew the risks. I was good to you- you had been vital-”

You made me. You wanted bloodlust. Rage,” the Mad King snarled. “’Good’ to me. You needed me. Leo may have been your best tactician, but I was your sword. And you expected me not to rise to my station? Usurping you was necessary, have you not seen that yet? I became God of Magic! And I still fell. Does that not tell you all you need to know about the impermanence of life?

All things, good, bad, grand, and small, all… everything… insignificant.”

Gestahl sighed. “But why seek to snuff it out?”

Kefka laughed again, a cold, awful laugh.

“It would be a monument everlasting to the futility of life.”

“Kefka…”

The wizard rolled his eyes.

“You’re a monster.”

That I am,” Kefka hissed, before ruthlessly swinging his morning star up and into the Emperor’s chin. The crunch was satisfying, and the spray of blood and teeth was positively the icing on the cake. His old master collapsed, twitching and gurgling, before simply… fading away.

“…What?”

Well. Back to wandering aimlessly.

He turned back in the direction he’d been heading, and-

“Well, that wasn’t there before.”

In front of him, in the distance, stood a grand, opulent palace. Even so far away, it shimmered and sparkled like a finely cut jewel. A wide, perfectly paved road stretched out completely straight ahead, all the way to the great palace.

Trees flanked it on either side, arranged in careful pairs the entire length of the road. Between each set of trees were lamps to illuminate the way at night.

He shrugged, and he walked down the road.

The journey was boring and uneventful, and before long, he found himself beneath the gaze of the magnificent palace. It was marvelous, utterly marvelous. The walls were made of glistening marble, pillars of jade, windows framed with sparkling metals and tinted to shimmer in the light. Decadent banners and decorative fabrics adorned the building.

And yet, no guards. No activity whatsoever, in fact. Kefka walked up the front steps and straight to the great main gates. And pushed one of them open easily.

The Mad King stepped into the palace and found it just as extraordinary inside. Rose glass ran the length of the peak of the enormous, vaulted ceiling, bathing everything inside in a cozy warmth. Paintings, busts, relics and artifacts were everywhere. On the walls, on pedestals, some so big they simply stood on the floor, like a giant lion carved from opal.

Luxurious purple carpets with woven with gold and precious metals lined the grand, gleaming hall, leading far, far, far ahead in the cavernous room, to a set of stairs, at the top of which stood a gleaming, golden throne.

Kefka warily looked around, searching for anyone at all. Perhaps somebody hiding. Watching. He couldn’t see anything, drained as he was of his might.

Finally, he accepted that the only way was forward, and made way for the throne. As he strode through the hall, past rows of pillars, he noticed halls on both sides of him stretching away before splitting off at more intersections, and on, and on.

The immensity of this building seemed to be emphasized at every turn – the architect (or it’s inhabitants) might have been compensating for something, Kefka thought.

Though, he’d used the power of magic to build himself a gargantuan tower. So perhaps those who live in enormous, phallic constructs shouldn’t throw stones.
 

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What’s the point of all this?!” he shrieked, tugging at his colorful hair. “This castle is far too nice to be abandoned, and that means it must have inhabitants. Unless someone’s waiting nearby, hoping to spring their trap. Or, I guess, built an entire castle as a-”

Diversion!!” and then that greasy space lizard burst upwards through the floor, the glorious marble heaving up in a tremendous swell of glamourous rubble. Frieza raised up a bundle of lit dynamite charges in both hands. “Hahaha.”

“What the f-!!” the Mad King was obliterated before he could finish his thought.

He opened his eyes, finding himself standing across the square from the Old Man in the void.

Kefka grabbed at his hair much harder this time. “Howww…”

“You’re back,” the Old Man sighed.

“I’m back,” Kefka returned the sigh. “Frieza blew me up again. I hate not being immortal!”

“Just stop thinking about him.”

“What do you mean?” Kefka narrowed his eyes.

“Your consciousness manifests-”

“Right, right, right,” Kefka put his hands up to cut him off. There was not enough time in eternity for another one of his long-winded explanations of how the afterlife – or whatever, it still wasn’t clear – worked. “Fine. So, how do I get back to …life? I can’t just think my way to existence, can I?”

“Nope.”

Kefka waited expectantly, his face screwing into annoyance when the Old Man did not reply. “Well?

“Well, what? I answered your question, didn’t I?”

“Tell me how to get home!!” Kefka growled.

“You know, there’s supposed to be an element of finding yourself as you-”

“Haven’t you been here forever? Aren’t you supposed to know everything? You expect someone like me to find himself? You don’t think this is who I truly am? Have I ever hidden my nature?”

The Old Man rolled his eyes. “I’m gonna send you straight to the trials you were supposed to discover on your own.”

“What trials?”

“Nope, you gave up the right to know that when you decided to skip over the entire point of this exercise to escape death in order to go back to being just as horrible as you ever were, I’m almost certain.”

Kefka chuckled. “Guilty as charged.”

The Old Man took a breath but said nothing.

“You’re still going to help me, even though you know what I’ll do?”

“Yep. I’m not the arbiter of life and death. I’m obligated to help those who need guidance. Even if they’re less deserving of help than others.”

At this, Kefka giggled and shivered with excitement. “Ooh, it bothers you, doesn’t it? That I’m going to be given a second chance, and you have to help me.”

The Old Man gestured behind him, where a new pillar of light appeared.

“I do what is required.”

Kefka threw his head back, his laugh a whipcrack of mockery. “Oh, it definitely bothers you,” he giggled, before laughing out loud again, stepping into the pillar. “I’m going to rise to godhood again, old man. You’ll see. And I’ll be sure to visit.”

The world around Kefka faded away, slowly replaced by-

Really?

The jail cell was cramped and filthy. There was no bed, just a hole in the corner to serve as the bathroom facilities, and a scattering of rat droppings and dirt over… everything.

Water ran down one of the walls and everything was damp. Mold and moss grew everywhere. A thin gleam of light made its way through the tiny barred window.

“When I’m a god I’m going to unmake that ancient old… loiterer,” Kefka paced the tiny room, seething both at his current predicament and his inability to come up with a better insult than ‘loiterer’.

“Hello?!” he shouted. “Guards!! Anyone!! If I’m not released this instant, I will kill absolutely everyone I find!!”

Kefka slammed his hands down against the cell door and found it to give way. Unlocked. Unbelievable. He stepped out of the cell, and into a tiny corridor. One right turn later, and he found himself at the base of a steep, long stairway. Daylight streamed in from above.

“Trials,” he scoffed, climbing the million-billion stairs. As if this wasn’t a trial. It should be a trial. Kefka snarled. It better count as a trial.

Finally, he made his way to the top of the stairs, opening into an arena. No fans, no stands, just a great big fighting pit.

As soon as the fallen god of magic stepped into the arena, a huge metal portcullis slammed closed behind him, nearly skewering one of his silk scarves in the process.

Kefka strode forward, finding his trusty morning star sticking up out of the dirt, as if waiting for him. He hefted it up, giving it a little mock swing.

“Trial by combat?”

He grinned. Finally, something fun.
 

Kefka Palazzo

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Kefka strode to the center of the fighting pit and stopped short. Something wasn’t right. He looked down at his boots. They were scuffed.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, and when he opened them, he found himself face-knee with an utterly tremendous man, all muscles and bushy, wild hair. A Giant. There could be no question. Kefka grinned.

“So, what? I kill you and I gain my freedom?”

“This… not trial,” the Giant replied. “I am… judge. Your trial is here.”

Four glimmering, green women appeared inside the pit. They were beautiful, and each of them seemed to wear matching amulets which seemed to bend and distort the light around them.

“You… earn amulets. This not pit. This… gate. All four amulets send you to life.”

“Seems easy enough,” Kefka replied, heading toward the nearest of the green ladies.

She started toward him as he approached. She’d opened her arms to him and he was upon her in a blink. Kefka drove his elbow into her nose, then seized her amulet in his grip, tearing it from her neck. The dazzling glow around her faded, and she fell backwards onto the dirt.

Things went white for a second and Kefka found himself airborne and with tremendous back pain. The giant had raced up behind him and punted him hard. The Mad King slammed into the dirt floor, chest burning for air, unable to breathe.

Finally, he took in a sharp, gasping breath, just in time for the giant to scoop him up in one of his massive hands. His grip crushed the wind out of him, and Kefka’s face began to turn red.

Earn amulet!”

You- didn’t- say- I- couldn’t-”

The giant chose for his rebuttal to hurl Kefka across the arena, where he tumbled harshly along the dirt. The fallen god of magic screamed. His clothes were positively filthy now, and the giant was the one to blame.

Kefka rose to his feet, his feral glare piercing up at the giant. He readied his blood-stained morning star. His lips curled into a nasty grin. The giant didn’t say anything about killing him, either, so, at this point he wasn’t actually breaking any rules.

With a gleeful whoop, he charged his much, much larger opponent. Kefka leapt through the air, smashing the giant’s knee with the business end of his morning star. A basso scream and a burst of vibrant red both escaped the giant, who dropped onto his good knee, clutching at the wounded one.

Kefka hardly wasted a moment, leaping up and bringing his savage weapon down with both hands, slamming the spiked head into one of the giant’s eyes. He yanked back hard, dragging the spikes across the poor giant’s cornea.

A pale shriek of agony rang out and the giant scrambled away from Kefka and up to his feet. A massive palm covered his wounded eye, blood seeping out between his fingers. His bashed leg shivered, straining under his weight.

“Trial, supposed, be peaceful,” the giant hissed. “You intruder. Not welcome here. You go.”

Kefka chuckled. “Come now, my ticket back to my life is right in front of me and you want me to go?

He stalked toward the bleeding hulk, seemingly oblivious of the staggering size difference between them.

“You go, or I… kill you.”

“Oh, ho, you’re more than welcome to try,” Kefka replied, twirling his weapon around in his hand. “But let me warn you, I fully intend to return to my life, and I have no reservations about taking your other eye.”

The giant seemed to shrink away for a moment, but then stood tall, lowering his hand from his face, exposing his bloody, puffy eye, useless and swollen shut.

The giant put up his gigantic fists. Kefka grinned.

A burst of bright color, and Kefka easily danced his way through two mighty, clumsy swings. His awful weapon slapped and crunched against the giant, smashing bone and tearing flesh. He prepared to bring it down on the giant’s head, but before he could complete his coup de grace, the giant smacked him with a Kefka-sized backhand, tossing him across the pit and back into the dirt.

“Oh…” he groaned as he lay, spread-eagled, in the dust and the dirt. Filthy and bloody, now. His whole front stung from the reverb of the humongous bitch slap. His weapon had clattered off… somewhere. He was sure he’d heard it over the ringing in his eardrums.

He didn’t need to touch his ear to know they were bleeding. He could tell from the queer wetness streaming down the sides of his head and collecting in his hair.

He could feel the footfalls as the giant ambled toward him. His head jiggled annoyingly against the ground with every step. Soon, it would be upon him and he’d be crushed, unless he moved. But try as he would, the fog would not leave his mind, and his body would not respond to his urging.

“Hey, giant!” he shouted. The thundering steps stopped. Good. He could just… lie there for a moment. “What’s… what’s your name?”

“Name… Vikram. Why?”

“Oh, just… if someone actually hurts me,” Kefka replied, struggling to his feet. “I prefer to learn their names before I kill them.”
 

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Vikram laughed. It wasn’t a sinister laugh like Kefka’s, rather, it reverberated with a genuine amusement. He looked down at his tiny opponent, beaten and bloody.

“You persist. You… surprise,” he said.

“Do I?” Kefka responded, slowly shuffling to his left. He’d spied his morning star, spikes embedded in in the dirt. He gestured dramatically, keeping Vikram’s massive eyes on him, and not on the tiny weapon off to the side. “And what do you find surprising? Aside, I’m sure, from my grace and beauty?”

“Your… arrogance. I smash you, yet it endures. You have my respect. It is an honor to kill one whose will does not bend.”

My arrogance? You’ve already presumed you’ve won, and I haven’t even-”

“You are going for your spiky club. I will kick you if you do.”

Kefka side-eyed his morning star. He could make a grab at it now, but… getting kicked by Vikram the Giant could be fatal. Or… well, not fatal, he supposed. Not anymore. Unpleasant, at the very least.

“You are perceptive. You’ve separated me from my weapon and with it, my best chance for victory. Unfortunately,” Kefka continued, striding away from his bludgeon, one hand tilted up for him to inspect his delicately painted fingernails. “Sometimes, even after making every correct decision, life just goes and burns you anyway.”

Kefka grinned and flicked his manicured hand vaguely toward Vikram. Out of the tips of his fingers, a tremendous deluge of searing fire exploded outward, washing over the giant and two of the lovely green ladies who’d hidden behind him.

The demented God of Magic cackled delightedly as Vikram and the ladies thrashed and shrieked, their flesh cracking and sizzling beneath the impossible heat of his magic flame. Kefka’s clothes and hair flapped madly in the sudden windstorm that had sprang up to fill the vacuum of air vaporized by flame. The Mad King’s hand did not fall still until what remained of his victims was nothing but thoroughly charred bone.

His mouth was like clay, dry and parched from the heat. The air around him was heavy with heat, which now lifted rapidly, with no flame left to sustain it. The arena was scorched with a widening black cone, whose focus now seemed to cradle the three blackened skeletons within its sooty dimensions.

Magnificent.

He looked at the two remaining green women. Well, the one remaining one that he still cared about. The one who still had her amulet. She was trembling, fighting back tears. Made sense, he’d just killed two of her… friends? Cousins? And what was the giant? A pet? …A lover?

Kefka shuddered.

Before he could remember his station, the girl took her amulet from around her neck and tossed it to the ground at Kefka’s feet. He smiled. Maybe he wouldn’t savagely beat her to death once he’d recovered his morning star.

But then again, he did have to test it to make sure the spikes weren’t dulled by the dirt floor it was now stuck in. After all, his weapon was nothing without proper maintenance. That was basically the first rule of morning star ownership.

His gloved hand wrapped around the nice, leather-bound handle of his favorite killing instrument. He hefted the nasty weapon up and out of the dirt, striding toward the burned skeletons. He could see their gleaming amulets resting on the dead girls’ ribcages. Smashing them as he picked up the amulets was probably unnecessary, but then again, anyone saying so should have seen the faces on the surviving girls.

Nothing like desecrating the corpse of a loved one for an easy laugh.

“Oh my Me,” Kefka snickered. “Hilarious.”

The Mad King took up his weapon and strode to the center of the arena. The survivors of his fiery wrath fled, and he let them go. You need the occasional survivor; cults don’t get started without at least a couple of eye-witnesses. You want them to know you can rain fiery death on them at all times. It’s how you show you care.

Every second they’re alive is a second gifted.

“My word, I’m a generous soul,” Kefka said to the half-charred giant. “I barely tortured you, even after you drew blood.”

Granted, he was in a hurry.

Still. You have to make time for torture. Like smoking meat, it was a thing that needed to be drawn out over time to be done right. But he had a life to return to and an apotheosis to undergo. Yet. Again.

He dangled his fistful of glittering amulets in front of him. Maybe he should have kept one of those green ladies around, to explain how the things worked. He narrowed his eyes at the amulets.

“How do you work, my little dearies?” Kefka tilted his head as he gazed at his prizes. “Quae mando tibi ille me resuscitet!

He glared intensely at the amulets.

Quisquiliae,” he hissed. The amulets began to hum with a strange resonance. The vibration was so intense it traveled up the necklaces in his fist and up into his arm. It was an uncomfortable oscillation. It felt as though his teeth were chattering even with his mouth open. His brain itched.

In an instant, everything fell away, and he was back in the vacant town square with the Old Man, in the literal middle of nowhere. Of nothing. Not anything.

“Oh, what the absolute hell!”

“Yeah, I’m not exactly thrilled about it, either, but the last people who could’ve helped you return to life were burned alive. Now, I’m sure none of us know how that happened, so I’m not going to be reading into it. You got the amulets; great job,” the Old Man grumbled as a much larger, more vibrant pillar of light appeared beside him.

“This is your ticket to life. Now, please, get the hell out of here.”
 
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