“Hey. Hey, Aza. Hey. Hey.”
“Mnghfffm…” Aza reluctantly stirred at the insistent prodding between his ribs, squinting his eyes open to see Bluebird looming over him in full plate armour – which was bizarre considering she was a rogue by trade. “Bwuh?”
“You gotta suit up,” the Au Ra said, straightening up and hefting a barbute over her head, “The Chocobros are coming.”
Aza stared in blank incomprehension.
“You know, that new FC that moved next door three months ago.”
Oh, those Chocobros.
“Wh… why are they…?” Aza asked around a yawn, sitting up and trying to get the kinks out of his back. Judging by the orangey glow seeping through his curtains, it was still nighttime – so not that long since he crashed into bed after their FC party, “Bluebird, it’s night.”
“Perfect time to strike,” Bluebird said, bending down to pick something up off the floor. It looked like… a repurposed Machinist musket? “They think they could take us by surprise but I have contacts. We’ll ambush them when they infiltrate.”
Aza closed his eyes and asked for divine strength.
“Bluebird… I’m not drunk enough to deal with this right now.”
“That’s okay, I have rum with me.”
“No, I mean…” Aza opened his eyes and stared at the musket in Bluebird’s grip again, “Is that a paintgun?”
“Well, I’m not going to actually shoot them.”
“…give me the rum,” Aza huffed, swinging his legs over the edge of his bed, “And a gun.”
“Got ya covered, Azzy.”
So the story was this.
While Aza had been busy touring Doma and Ala Mhigo to fan the flames of rebellion, Bluebird had gotten into an intense rivalry with a new FC that had set up shop next door to them in Mist. What began as Bluebird taking offence to them trimming a shared hedge between their properties ended up escalating into pantry raids and paintball fights on a near nightly basis. Personally, Aza thought Bluebird had gotten bored housesitting and wanted to stir up some drama. Well, she certainly got it.
Aza was just amazed she managed to hide this from him for so long. Granted, this was the first night he spent in their house ever since burying Zenos in Ala Mhigo’s back garden a week ago, but still.
“I’ve never leaving you in charge of base again,” Aza said flatly, not at all pleased to see their communal area upheaved into a defensive position. Other FC mates were already suited up and ready, swinging their paintguns around with experience.
He was so annoyed. How many paintball fights had he missed? Why wasn’t he invited until now!?
“Aw, don’t be so sour, Aza,” Bluebird cooed, patting him on the shoulder, “You were busy with important Scion stuff, so I didn’t think you needed to worry.”
Aza huffed sulkily, aware that he didn’t even have paintball armour! Well, okay, he had his usual tanking gear but he wasn’t going to have that stained by paint. He practically sold his liver to Rowena to get that gear!
“You still could’ve told me,” he grumbled, “Given me highlights. Y’know.”
“Well, you know now,” Bluebird said with a shrug, “Anyways, you’re not gonna wear any armour? These guns got a lotta kick, y’know.”
“I’ll be fine.”
Bluebird shrugged, her armour rattling from the movements, “Your funeral. Alright,” she turned to the FC as a whole, surveying their defences with a critical eye, “It’s almost time. Let’s get ready to fuck some Chocobos.”
“Uh, Bluebird. Phrasing.”
“Let’s go in dry!”
The Chocobros didn’t go for a full frontal assault – they broke in through the second floor windows.
“Sneaks!” Bluebird shrieked when the infiltrators attacked their rear via the kitchen, taking cover behind an overturned sofa, “Cowards!”
“You’re a rogue!” Someone yelled over the cacophony of Machinist muskets belting out paintballs.
“It’s fine when I do it!” Bluebird yelled back, fiddling with something at her belt. When Aza looked over, pinned down behind a loveseat, it seemed to be some kind of crude, homemade grenade, “Anyway; FIRE IN THE HOLE!”
A second too late, Aza realised what it really was, “BLUEBIRD! NO!”
Too late. With a powerful swing of her arm, the grenade went sailing over the sofa, arching high into the air and – exploded into a blinding flash of glitter. A pity for those who had been looking up at it at the time because, ow, glitter in the eyes!
“ATTACK!” Bluebird roared, vaulting over the sofa in the confusion, followed by her incensed FC mates. Aza peered over the loveseat, almost in physical pain at seeing the glitter coating everything. It made a pretty backdrop for the battle currently being waged in the living room-kitchen boundary though.
The Chocobros were like their namesake – Chocobo suit wearing people now covered in a layer of glitter. Their Fat Chocobo masks protected them well from the glitter barrage, and were putting up a ferocious fight against Bluebird’s charge. Paintballs were being fired at close range, someone had repurposed a paint-roller into a deadly paint… dagger (?) and was whacking anyone wearing glittery yellow. It was carnage.
Aza unscrewed the cap off his bottle of rum and took a swig. He really wasn’t drunk enough for this yet.
It took thirty minutes to repel the Chocobros from the kitchen and into the back garden.
An unsaid ceasefire was called then. As the Chocobros set up a temporary defensive position behind the stables, Bluebird shored up their defences in the kitchen. Sometimes she would scowl out of the window, a streak of paint splashed across the front of her barbute.
“The space is too open to charge them,” Bluebird grumbled, “Anyone got any ideas?”
“We can pull out the Boomstick,” Crisp suggested, sitting at the breakfast counter looking very much like she rolled out of bed and into an armoury box. None of her armour matched, with bright garish colours that made Aza’s eyes hurt to look at it. She was also covered in numerous paint splotches that just added to the fashion nightmare.
“No, that’s our last resort,” Bluebird said, “Plus we haven’t solved that killing people problem yet.”
Aza was almost afraid to ask, but… “Boomstick?”
“We got our hands on an old Bertha cannon,” Crisp said cheerfully, “Managed to make it fire out paint – only, it does it at speeds that will kill a man.”
“…when did you guys start making these things?”
“We have a whole other life you don’t know about, Aza,” Bluebird said flippantly, “Don’t worry about it.”
“Anyway, short is: we can’t use it to oust the Chocobros out of our garden without being arrested for murder,” Crisp said, “Or, maybe we can if we hide the bodies well enough.”
Aza peered at the bottle of rum in his hand. It was empty and he still wasn’t drunk enough for this.
“I have an idea,” Felyx cut in. He was a Miqo’te that joined via Bluebird. Aza really didn’t know much about him: only that he was an omnicrafter, obscenely wealthy, and dressed up like a Moogle on the weekends. Aza didn’t judge but neither did he ask; “How about we go under?”
“Go on…” Bluebird asked, clearly intrigued.
“We have that illegal moonshine factory in the cellar, right?”
“We call it a bathtub storage cellar for plausible deniability but yes, go on.”
“Well,” Felyx continued, “How about we just… tunnel out from there, under the stables, and take them from behind?”
“Oh, I like that plan!” Bluebird said.
“Sounds like a lot of effort,” Crisp cut in.
“We don’t have shovels,” Aza pointed out tiredly.
“I’ve got explosives!” Another FC mate yelled in response to that.
“Perfect!” Bluebird clapped her hands together, “We can do it in style too.”
“Right, okay,” Aza was washing his hands of this, “I’m going back to bed. You guys tell me how the war goes in the morning. If you’re not all arrested first.”
“Don’t worry,” Crisp yelled at his retreating back, “We’ll be sure to tell the Yellowjackets it was your idea!”
Aza didn’t go back to sleep, despite crawling back into bed. He determinedly closed his eyes when the house rumbled with a low, muted ‘boom’, and ignored the sounds of battle directly outside his window. He heard one or two theatrical deaths – as well as Bluebird’s maniacal cackling as she mercilessly routed the Chocobros out of their garden and over the hedge into their territory.
And the Scions thought Aza was crazy.
He must’ve managed to drowse off at some point, because he woke up to Bluebird nudging the paint-wet barrel of her gun against his cheek.
“The Chocobros have been repelled, Aza.”
“That’s nice,” Aza said groggily, deciding that from now on he was going to camp out in Ala Mhigo until this rivalry was settled. It would give him an excuse to stay in Aymeric’s bed more often, “Win anything?”
“Nah. We’re gonna mount a panty raid on them now. You want in?”
He still wasn’t drunk enough for this.
“…what would I do with their panties?”
“I dunno. I don’t judge.”
Aza considered this.
“Okay, fine. I want their Chocobo suit anyway.”
“I think there was a Miqo’te your size we could rob it off.”
So, the night ended like this.
Aza’s FC mounted a successful panty raid. Their spoils were one Chocobo suit, a pile of underwear, half of the Chocobro’s fridge and an elephant statue the size of a large Roe. They put the statue just past the threshold of their gate, a mocking middle finger to their foes. Truthfully the statue was too big to get through their front door and heavy to boot so they just dumped it in the garden.
All in all, after the drama that was Ala Mhigo and Doma, it was nice to have a fight with such low stake spoils.
Still. Aza wasn’t drunk enough to do this every night.
Just once a week.