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Forest Nocturne

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The Falcon was anchored. Dry and deadened grass crackled underfoot. Terra’s gaze wandered over the withered landscape, her memories painting in the lush grass and scattered trees she remembered from before the world fell to ruin.

The time before that was only a void with brief and terrible flashes of Vector. This wasn’t home, but their old world hadn’t felt much like home either. What would their world become when Kefka was gone? Would it recover? Would there be time to learn and to settle? Would that world start to feel more like home?

She stared toward the horizon and the eternally red sky. It hadn’t all been bad. She cherished her time in Mobliz and she would return to the children. She cherished this time with her friends just as much. It was only difficult to stop wondering what would become of their world even as she clung to hope that something better had to come.

“Kupo!”

Terra jumped, startled by the bright and cheery sound in such contrast to the dreary world and her uneasy thoughts. Mog stood by, pom-pom bobbing gently. She couldn’t help a smile. Nothing ever seemed to bring the moogle down.

“What’s wrong, kupo?”

Was she that obvious? “Nothing really. I was just thinking.”

“Do you miss the old world, kupo?”

Terra stared. “Yes, I suppose I do.”

“Home?” Mog asked and she felt as though she was being studied intensely though she couldn’t claim to understand why.

“I’m not sure I know what home is,” she confessed. “What about you?”

Mog tilted his head, pom-pom waving back and forth. “Just caves. It’s more fun with you guys, kupo." He seemed to stare at her for a long moment. "Do you wanna see the old world?”

“What do you mean?”

“Just watch!”

Mog’s foot tapped: one two, one two, one two three. Then he hopped and twirled, feet still tapping out a rhythm. It was a dance, but not just any dance, Terra realized. Grass burst forth around them, lush and green. She’d seen flashes of this before in combat, but his dance this time went longer and seemed more involved somehow.

She gasped as trees sprung up around them. Mog cast out a paw and tiny flowers sprouted and dotted the grass. Moss covered some of the trees and soon they found themselves in a tiny forest glade.

Everything was so… alive. Terra had glimpses of such magic from the moogle before, however it was always short-lived. There was hardly time to appreciate it. This was more. Mog slowed though one foot still lightly tapped against the grass.

“It’s beautiful,” Terra breathed out. She tentatively lowered herself to the ground. The grass even felt real, soft and cool under her hands.

“Kupo-po!”

Mog leaned onto his foot raising himself onto the tips before spinning around in a faster livelier dance. Birdsong reached Terra’s ears, quickly followed by a small flock of blue birds. They settled around her and one landed on her knee, tilting its head with a small chirp. Terra let out a delighted laugh.

When had she last felt such a simple unfettered joy like this? For a short while it was easy to forget the withered world just past the trees, that the ground was dry and barren around their lush haven. A little moment of peace and beauty just for them.

It couldn’t last and before long the grass and trees started to fade. The birds flew away, a lovely sight in their own right. The real world returned, but Terra knew she would hold onto that peace for a long time to come.

“Thank you Mog. I think I’d almost forgotten what we used to have. What we… maybe could have again.”

Mog twirled and gave an unmistakable if stubby bow. “Kupo-po-po!”

They didn’t have that anymore. Not now, but in the future who knew? She felt a hope swell in her heart. The grass, the light, the warmth: it would come back. She knew it.

 

Later…

“Mog?” Terra frowned. The airship wasn’t that large. Where could the moogle have gotten to? He wasn’t on the deck, in the cabin or central rooms.

She made her way to the engines and met Cyan nearby, passing the opposite way with a muttered ‘preposterous.’ She blinked, wondering what that was about, but she had a mission to focus on, so she continued on.

The moogle was easy to spot against the whirling mechanics of the engines.

“Looks easy enough to me, kupo,” he said.

On second thought, Terra wondered, maybe this was all something she could leave alone.

“There you are, Mog.”

Mog twirled around with a cheery kupo.

“I wanted to thank you for… well for everything. Saving me in Narshe and cheering me up a few days ago. I have a gift for you,” Terra said. “It’s not a lot, but I started to learn while in Mobliz with what we had. It’s hard to get material now, but I’ve gathered what I can when we stop in towns. It can get so cold these days and I suppose that wouldn’t bother you as much, but... well, here.” She offered the small bundle, suddenly nervous.

“Kupo?” Mog took the bundle and unraveled it into a red scarf.

Terra waited, hands clasped and suddenly doubting the whole idea while Mog ran his paws over the fabric. Then he abruptly slung it around his shoulders and neck and struck a pose.

“Snazzy! What do you think, kupo?”

Terra held back a sigh of relief. “I think you look lovely.”

“Thankupo!”

He padded up to her and slipped a paw over her hand. “Everything’s gonna be just fine, kupo! Come on, let’s get away from these smelly engines. I’m hungry, kupo!”

And with a small tug, they walked together back into the corridor to join the others.