The Quistis Files Ch. 3: Forrest Owls

Quistis stared at the pile of student papers and reports on her desk disdainfully, a scorn replacing the usual calm look on her face. Ever since Squall, Selphie and Zell had gone on their first official SeeD mission, she just couldnít seem to focus on her duties as an Instructor at the Garden.

I've got to stop thinking about him! Focus, Quistis. Just because you've lost your job as an Instructor doesnít mean that you are useless. Besides, you have to get these papers done. Get your head out of the clouds and focus on your work.

A knock on the door to her office brought her out of her inner-monologue, and she called for the person to come in. Xu entered, holding a stack of papers to her neatly pressed uniform. She neatly laid the pile next to the already waiting pile Quistis had scattered about her desk.

"Quistis... Headmaster Cid sent these. Their reports and background information on the new students coming in next week. I know your not an instructor anymore, but... well..." Xu trailed off, standing in front of Quistis' cluttered desk. Quistis made a random gesture with her hand as she continued to stare blankly at whatever paper it was she was holding in her hand. Xu studied her quietly for a moment, then spoke softly.

"Whatís wrong Quistis? You've seemed so...detached ever since you got demoted. Are you all right?" Quistis gathered up the papers into a neat pile, then began shuffling through them.

"I'm fine, Xu. A few of my students got promoted to SeeD status recently and are on their first mission.. I guess Iím just worried about them.. and with these new students coming in..." Quistis sighed softly at the thought of only seeing Squall once or twice in the halls now that he had become a SeeD. She had known that it would happen someday, but she had rather hoped that it would be Seifer that beat him to it. It would be nice to see Squall without a frown on his face for once.

"Well, I certainly know how that can feel. Donít feel bad about becoming a SeeD again.. you know that you're going to enjoy it.. I wish Cid would demote me... all that paperwork.. well, lets just say that you got lucky. Now get some rest and donít worry yourself too much. They'll be fine. You'll see." Xu smiled encouragingly and walked out of the room, leaving Quistis in silence with her humongous stack of papers.

I hope your right Xu... I hope your right...

Outside Timber...

"You just had to train first, didnít you? Sheesh!" Selphie swung her ninchaku at the grat angrily, then jumped out of the way as the monster retaliated and swung its long tentacles at her. Zell, angry at being the cause of this commotion, began his limit break, and dealt a five-blow combo before his steam ran out. The grat slumped over to the ground and dissolved.

"Come on. We have to meet the Timber Owls." Squall sheathed his gunblade and walked towards the entrance of the small town, leaving the panting Zell and Selphie behind.

"Hey, wait up man!" Zell waved crazily with his gloved hands and ran to catch up, with Selphie bouncing closely behind him. Soon after he entered the town, Squall noticed a tall thin man walking in circles nervously, periodically clearing his throat.

That must be our contact.. what have you gotten us into Headmaster? A small, unorganized resistance group led by a bunch of teenagers? Great...

The thin boy jumped as Squall approached, and cleared his throat nervously.

"Boy, the wolfs in Timber* sure are loud this time of year." Squall nodded to himself. This was a way of contact that the Headmaster and the leader of the group had agreed on. Because of the invasion of the Galbadian forces, even the resistance groups had to step up their security a notch.

"The forest owls are rather loud as well." The man nodded silently and led them back towards the train station. A badly painted blue train was at the end of the tracks, and he motioned them inside.

Squall looked around the train as he stepped through the squeaking door. Several magazines lay scattered around the floor, and it seemed that there were only a few rooms on the train.

This little group of inexperienced teenagers expects to be able to liberate this town from Galbadia simply with three new SeeD members? Even we are not that powerful..

Another shorter man walked out of what seemed to be a meeting room and looked at the three new arrivals nervously for a moment, while the thin man went and squatted in a corner, clutching his stomach in pain or queasiness.

"Oh, you must be the SeeD we hired to help us. Iím so glad you're finally here! You'd better go talk to the Princess. She should be in her cabin. All the way to the back. Just ask the guys in the second room if you get lost." He smiled encouragingly and motioned towards the back of the train, then walked over to talk to his nervous companion.

Get lost on a train..? I hope their leader isnít as naive as them.. Squall led the way to the cabin, pausing only momentarily to study a poster on the wall explaining the atrocities of the Galbadian President. He entered the room without knocking, surveying it quickly. It was plushy decorated, with a silver mirror hanging on the wall next to a fancily decorated bed and curtains. A bed on which a young woman now slept, unaware of Squall's presence.

It's her... the girl from the dance.. could she be the leader of the Forrest Owls?

Suddenly the dark haired girl yawned sleepily and sat up in her bed, blinking open her large brown eyes. She stared at him for a moment, then stood up and corrected herself.

"Hey... you're that guy from the dance.... what are you doing here?" She looked at him curiously, and Squall quietly suppressed the rising heat in his cheeks. He remembered Quistis looking at him like that many times in class... it drove him crazy! He shook his head to remind himself of his duty, and brought out the contract from the pocket of his pants.

"You recently contacted Headmaster Cid to hire SeeDs for this mission. SeeD Tilmitt and Dnicht are with me to assist you in any way we can to liberate Timber."

"Yes! I knew Cid would help us! I guess Seifer was right about him." Rinoa threw his arms around him, and he stood still, his face a mask over his awkwardly reacting emotions.

Seifer? What does she know about Seifer? Why does he have to be brought into this...?

Rinoa looked around the room, and at Selphie and Zell who had finally come in, looking at Squall and Rinoa in their awkward embrace, and amused look on their faces.

"Is Seifer with you?" Squall shook his head, and she looked down for a moment, a look of almost sadness crossing her round face. He broke away from her embrace and moved back to join his companions, who both burst into quiet chuckles at the pink tinge to his face.

"Oh." She said simply, crossing her arms and tapping her foot for a second. She then nodded to herself, as if coming to a decision, and walked towards the door to her room.

"Well, we'd better get started.. we found out the perfect plan to kidnap the President...."

* note to reader, I haven't played the game in a while, so the password thing that I wrote is probably not correct :-P

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