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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, '11, 6:37 am
Hello? Oh, why it's you, my favorite grandchild. Come to visit your ole' Grampa Gryz, eh? ...Oh, you did, huh? Well, good for you! Tell you what, I'll tell you a story as a reward.

...What's that? My hearing's not so great anymore... Oh, the story about how I defeated the man who destroyed Molcum? Nah, you've heard that story so many times... I know, but there are so many other great heroes out there who deserve to have their tales told, too. ...No, not the one about the Eight-Stroke Warrior. I have a special story that I've been saving for when you were old enough.

...Why was I saving it? Because it's a special story. It's the kind of story where it'll tell you just as much about yourself as it does of the people who partook in it. A story about my friend, Chaz, and his wife, Rika. They were good friends of mine, really nice people. ...Oh? Yeah, I'm sure they'd be happy to see you if they stop by to visit- it's been years since I've seen either of them.

...Where was I? ...Oh, right. Now, Chaz and Rika were part of the group that fought the evil that was so powerful that it even controlled the god Zio worshiped. Through all the trials they had withstood together, they had come to love each other, and only a few months after I began rebuilding my hometown, I got an invitation to their wedding. ...Yeah, I went with my sister and grandfather. You should've seen him, downing a handle of liquor by himself and dancing on the tables. He always held a demeanor of wisdom, but give him a drink and you'd think he was celebrating for a hundred men!

...Huh? Oh, no, that's not the story, just some background for you. Anyway, I told you they were hunters, right? Good. Now, one day Chaz had this big job to bring in some criminal or another.... Yeah, hunters do more than hunt monsters; they do almost anything a reputable person is willing to pay for so long as it's worth their trouble. Did I tell you the time Chaz got hired to hunt down this dog named Rocky?

...Nah, I'll save that for another time. Anyway, Chaz and Rika had this big job, but Rika wasn't feeling very good. She was a little pale, felt queasy... she just wasn't feeling ready for the day, so after the two shared breakfast, she bid Chaz to continue on the job without her so she can recover at home.

...Hang on, I'm getting to it! Hold your rappies, child. Anyway, it took Chaz a week to find the convict he was hired to capture, but when he came home, he found that something happened to Rika.

...Where the hell did you hear that?! No, I swear to you that not all physically attractive Palman women sleep with whatever slick-haired man pitches a cheap pickup line her way. And don't tell your mother I had to tell you such a thing- we'd both get in trouble. Now, when Chaz came home and walked in, he was concerned that his wife didn't come running into his arms. He was then horrified when he came into the kitchen and saw her collapsed on the floor.

"Rika!" he shouted. Repeatedly he cried her name, trying to rouse her, not stopping until the city guards came in wondering what was going on. As members of the Hunter's Guild, it wasn't hard at all for Chaz to enlist the best doctors in all of Motavia to find what mysterious illness had befallen his love. Much to his chagrin, however, nobody could provide an accurate diagnosis for her- it seemed as if her body was simply trying to die.

Now, I forgot if I mentioned this earlier, but Rika wasn't an ordinary Palman. It could be argued she is a biomonster, except she doesn't eat people for dinner. She's actually very friendly, really. ...Hey, stop laughing, that's not what I meant! Are you feeling particularly juvenile tonight?

...Anyway, she isn't a normal girl, and she was made by a fancy machine-thingy that nobody probably knew how it worked. That's an important detail. Chaz knew this, but since the machine that made her blew up, he was stumped on what to do. What did he do? He came and found me, of course! I'm not terribly smart, as you probably know, but I'm willing to do anything to help a friend in need, and after he had explained what happened, the two of us talked late into the night, desperate for a plan to save Rika.

...Yes, of course I was the one who managed to come up with a plan. We decided to break into another large machine place called Nurvus and break stuff until one of the caretakers came down to talk to us. That's the plan I made. Of course, things don't always work out the way I plan, and well, the moment I broke the front door with my axe, we were swarmed with some very angry machines with guns. ...How could I tell they were angry? They attacked us, of course! Not very many people attack you with love in their eyes, do they? ...Well, besides in those types of stories.

So, here we were, two guys standing against over a hundred murderous metal machines, ready to rip our throats out. We were both very skilled warriors, and after glancing at each other, we chose a perfectly honorable option: we bravely ran away. ...What?

Now, as we beat a red-faced retreat, making our way across the desert sand as fast as our legs could go, trying to dodge the bullets whizzing by us, we saw a large spaceship coming down for a landing nearby. Without any other option, we changed course towards it, and when we reached it, we dove into the open door right into the arms of an android. ...Oh, an android is a machine that looks like a Palman. ...Ooh, that is a good question. I don't know if there are any Motavian androids.... But back to the story.

"It seems there is a likely correlation between the security alarm at Nurvus and the fact that you two were running from a platoon of security robots," is the thing the large person said as the machines suddenly lost interest in us and returned to the place they came from.

"Please, Wren, you have to help me! Rika, she's...." Chaz chokes on his own words, and I wind up telling our mutual friend about the girl's condition. After all this excitement, the android finally agrees to come with us to Aiedo to see what's wrong with her.

In Chaz's house, he looks over Rika, a strange look on his face that I assume meant his eyes were seeing something we couldn't. After an hour, he finally turned to Chaz, "It appears that Seed made a mistake when he prepared the metabolic code for Rika. It was supposed to decelerate after she hit adulthood to improve her longevity, but instead it's shutting down completely. Without a metabolism, Rika can't make energy to live and so she will remain comatose until she dies."

Now, Chaz is very tough, and he's grown a lot spiritually since I first met him as a fiery teenager, but he actually broke out in tears when he heard his wife's grave prognosis. Crying worse than he ever did when his mentor died, he grabbed onto Wren's armor plating. "Is there anything I can do to save her? I can't stand watching her die right before me...."

"I have a chemical compound in storage on Zelan that may be able to restore Rika's metabolic rate to approximately equivalent to that of a normal Palman. However, it is a very rare compound, and while it is easy to make, I require several types of materials that will cost a large amount of money to acquire. I leave it in your responsibility to gather the resources, Chaz." With that, this crackling noise comes from Wren followed by a voice. It was this android I know called Demi, who basically tells Wren that he needs to go back to wherever he came from. ...Zelan, she called it? Yeah, it's not on Motavia. With that, Chaz and I watched as Wren headed off towards his ship, but not before the big android gave us a huge list of scientific-sounding junk to get.

...Yeah, at this point I went back to Tonoe to search the warehouse for anything that might resemble that junk we needed while Chaz went off to Piata to talk to this guy we knew named Hahn. Unfortunately, it seemed that everything my grandfather had stashed precluded any of the items Chaz needed, and after a month, I received a message beckoning me to his house in Aiedo.

...Rika just... she, uh... I'm sorry, this part is just... the state she was in still haunts me. Unable to be roused to eat and drink, she was just wasting away in that bed, her life was just slipping away right before our eyes. Even as she was becoming nothing more than a ghost of the exuberant youth I knew back in my fighting days, I could tell Chaz still loved her with all his heart.

I asked him how much luck he had tracking down the supplies Wren needed, and he just started crying. "To get everything I need to save Rika, it'll take more than I make in a year. I really don't think she can hang on that much longer...."

Now, we spent the rest of the evening talking, and without any good plan in the end, I suggested to Chaz that we should consult Wren for advice to try to keep him busy enough to keep living. ...Yes, I honestly believed that he would've killed himself if he surrendered to the reality of Rika dying at that point. You'll understand this better once you're older. A few days later, we head down to this machine place near Krup to contact the android, and he agrees to take us back to Zelan to talk.

After we had been there a while, fruitlessly attempting to convince the android to allow us to replace the compound over time as we get the money, Chaz suddenly got up from the table. "Hey, is it okay if Gryz and I step aside to speak?"

"If you wish, Chaz," is the android's response, and almost as soon the words reached our ears, the hunter pulled me out into one of the deserted corridors of the space station. Instead of talking, however, he led me through the hallways instead, searching every container he could find. After nearly an hour of searching, the Palman finally opened a crate that contained a syringe beside a vial of this strange brown junk.

"What are you doing?" Is my first reaction as I grabbed his arm. When I pull his hand away from the compound he spins to face me, and I'm surprised to see that he had been silently crying the entire time we'd been wandering Zelan.

"Gryz, I just have to save Rika. I have to. If it means alienating Wren or even provoking him to hunt me down, it's worth it if I can see Rika smile one more time...." He reaches back into the chest, and hands the package to me. "If it's on me when we leave, Wren will be able to tell...."

Now, normally I would refuse to do such a thing, but given how desperate Chaz was, I agreed to stash the compound in my robes. As expected, Wren was suspicious of the hunter, but after a search of him came up empty, he allowed us back onto the spaceship and he took us back to Aiedo.

Oh, when Rika first opened her eyes... I thought Chaz was gonna smother her how tightly he hugged his wife. I don't think I've seen anybody quite that passionate about their love in my life, and you know you've been around the block a few times when your fur's turning gray. When Rika heard the story of what Chaz did to save her, though, she went silent and, unable to get out of the bed, rolls away from us, a pillow over her head so we couldn't speak with her. Later, she told me she felt that it was wrong for Chaz to steal the cure for her disease, and it was ingrained in her that this was wrong to the point that it took nearly a week for her to simply recognize Chaz's presence in the room as she began to regain her strength.

They did get back together, renewed their wedding vows and everything, and while this issue came up once in a while, they still loved each other and eventually put aside this incident as only a simple point where they disagree on something, kinda like this wooden sandworm sculpture Chaz insisted on keeping on display at their home.

I said at the beginning that this story can tell just as much about you as it does about the people who partook in it. My question to you, child, is this: By stealing the cure to save Rika, did Chaz do the right thing? And why do you think that?

Author's Note: I modelled this story on the Heinz Dilemma if you are curious on the background of it.
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