For the moment, the deck of the Falcon was the quietest part of the ship. Relm was trying to teach Gau a game involving a drawing pad, but they weren’t too noisy. Below the deck, Celes, Strago, and others were discussing the next step in their quest to defeat Kefka. Further below, Setzer and Edgar were discussing something about the engine. Cyan wasn’t able to help much with either group. He also wanted some time to wind down after getting stuck in that nightmare, so being here was good for focus. Gogo was out here too, but they weren’t one of the noisy ones of this eclectic crew.
He had a new katana as well. Holding it up in front of him, he looked along the edge. He’d thought the swords of Duma were best for his style. Was this one, lost at some time? It was the best katana he’d handled, with an edge so sharp that it cut through the breeze blowing across the deck. Cyan could feel it blowing across his cheeks, but not on his nose. Although, it made this sword more dangerous than any other that wasn’t cursed. He didn’t see any problem using it against Kefka, but it ought to be put away once that task was done. Other katanas could handle everyday business just fine.
The two kids laughed over something they’d drawn. Cyan closed his eyes; he shouldn’t do any serious training with the two of them around. Still, this felt nostalgic. The kids in Duma Castle were allowed into the training grounds at times. It pointed out which of them were most interested in starting their own training. While Owain had been too small to use the practice blades, he had tried imitating him with sticks.
From the back of the Ghost Train, Owain had waved and promised to take care of his mother…
“Excuse me,” a muffled voice said.
“Hmm?” Cyan opened his eyes and looked over.
Gogo had silently made their way in front of him. Perhaps that loudly colored clothing was good for something. “I have been attempting to determine something. From observing your observations and noting your grip, I would guess that you first handled a sword at age seven.”
“A wooden practice sword, but that’s correct,” Cyan said. “You can tell just from observing?”
“Certainly,” they said, shifting their poise to mimic him. If they had a sword, they might be mistaken for someone with real training. “Observation is merely one part of mimicry, to know what it is one is copying. Along with that goes empathy, feeling as your target does and briefly knowing as them. I have progressed far, but it helps me to be sure that what I think is so is truly so, such as if you needed distraction to regain your focus.”
Then that was purposeful. Cyan nodded. “Thank you. Now you’ve got me curious. There is a trick that we used as a testament of skill, somewhat boastful but it wasn’t easy to learn. Could thou mimic even that?”
“If I see it, then I will be able to mimic it,” Gogo said.
Smirking at that, he nodded and said, “Excuse me, Gau?”
The wild boy looked over immediately. “Mr. Thou?”
“I would appreciate some assistance,” Cyan said, producing a pink striped apple that he had been keeping around for a snack. “That is, if thou art nimble enough to catch this apple before it hits the deck, without getting in the path of my blade. You may have it if you can.”
There were many things that Gau didn’t know about, but he would have enough sense for that. “Ooo, Gau catch!” He scurried over nearby; Relm picked up her drawing book before following him. Gogo stepped back although they were already outside range.
“One thing that a swordsman must know is when the right moment to act is, and then act on it swiftly and precisely. One may seem slow, but,” Cyan tossed the apple up, quickly got his katana held two-handed, then sliced four times through the apple’s fall.
Gau dove to the deck, snatching the apple before it fully dropped. As he brought it up, it collapsed into a neat ring of eight apple slices. Gau and Relm were both wide-eyed at the trick. “Ooo…”
“Wow, I could barely see your sword doing that!” Relm said.
Gau looked over the slices for a moment, then offered it to Relm. “Share food, friend.”
She broke into a grin as she accepted a slice. “Thanks, it smells good!”
“Then can you do that?” Cyan asked Gogo.
Producing their own apple, striped pink just like the one Cyan had cut, Gogo nodded. “Most certainly.” They tossed the apple up, got a two-handed grip on a sword that wasn’t there, then sliced four times through the apple’s fall.
Gau quickly shoved the rest of the apple slices into Relm’s hands, then dove after the other one. Just like Cyan’s apple, it appeared whole when it landed only to split into eight even slices. While Gau took that as a bonus of one apple all to himself, Relm was even more surprised. “Huh? But you don’t even have a sword, Gogo.”
“True, but I borrowed the spirit of the one Cyan holds,” Gogo replied. “The apple is just as real, you can be sure of that.”
“Let’s see if they taste the same,” Relm said to Gau, then brightened. “Oh, but I’m sure there’s some peanut butter in the galley. Come on, we can get some to dip our apples into!”
“You two go on ahead with that, they’re yours,” Cyan said. Once the kids were heading down, he looked back to Gogo. “Your mimicry seems not as powerful at times, but you’re certainly skillful.”
“Skill means a great deal to both of us,” they said with a thoughtful gaze. “I felt a deep pain in that, a hole in the heart.”
Nodding, he said, “I last showed that off to my son. I know they want me to move on without them; their souls are at rest. But even after escaping the nightmare, my soul is not entirely at rest. I want to move on, but the steps remain painful.”
“There is no need to be ashamed at feeling that way,” Gogo said. “Yet do not forget that we are surrounded by friends on this airship. They wish for you to find healing as well. When you fell victim to that nightmare, only a few went into your mind to rescue you. But we all dropped everything else we were doing to help you.”
None of them could replace the ones who he’d lost. But then, he didn’t want to replace the people he loved, not even friends as trustworthy as the others on the airship. They were all precious in their own ways. “I won’t forget that, not when I was lucky enough to get swept away with this group. Although, something I’ve wondered for longer is why someone such as yourself who takes pride in mimicry would be living a hermit’s life as you were, especially from within a giant worm.”
“The Zone Eater as not intentional, I assure you of that,” they said. “But I accepted the challenge when it occurred. It was not as difficult as it seems to live within a giant worm, certainly not as difficult as the challenge that I set myself apart as a hermit for. You see, one of the great conundrums of mastering the art of mimicry is the question of, how does one properly mimic oneself?”
“Is that so?” Cyan asked, finding it a strange question.
Nodding and shifting one of their mantles, they explained, “Remember, a mimic must observe another to perform mimicry. To mimic oneself, one must observe oneself. One would be doing nothing but observing. Seemingly, the proper mimic is to then do nothing but observe. Doing nothing is something, but also nothing so it is not fully in the spirit of mimicry. However, if one were to somehow do something while observing oneself, the mimic could then mimic what they had just done. But since observing for mimicry was a part of that something, the mimic would then have to mimic the mimicked action and observation, and continue with the same action because they have observed it.”
“What?” Cyan asked, trying to sort this knotted train of thought.
Gogo then shifted their mantle again. “To mimic oneself would mean either eternally doing nothing or eternally mimicking the same action. While both courses are technically correct, are they truly proper mimicry? They are certainly foolish mimicry.
“I can agree with that much, at least,” he said, rubbing his head.
“Ah, then you would be on a course of wisdom if you were a mimic as well,” Gogo said, sounding impressed. Whether they were sarcastic or sincere was impossible to tell. “Yet that still does not answer the original question of how to properly mimic oneself. One good thing that did come out of living within Zone Eater is that I was able to comprehend the answer to that question. That is, if I think on how I would act and speak, and then act and speak accordingly, then I would surely be mimicking myself precisely just as I can mimic your precision cut apple. That is the wisdom that I found.”
“That sounds like common sense to me,” Cyan said. “But if it satisfies you, then it’s good.”
“What makes common sense isn’t commonly agreed upon,” they said. “Yet as long as your common sense makes for the common good for you, I will not question it.”
“Well I’m not sure how much longer I can follow this conversation with you,” he said, which made them chuckle. “Since the children are away, what does thou say to being my practice partner for a time? I’d like to get a better feel for this sword before I need to use it; I won’t use the deadly edge on you.”
“I say, that sounds intriguing,” Gogo said. “We should have time for that.”
As it turned out, they could even mimic not using the more dangerous edge of the sword.