Though Xineerauqs was a small planet, with its only city taking up about one percent of its total surface area, it still maintained the usual day/night cycle its residents were used to. The days were bright and cloudy with blue skies, while the nights were dark and starry, its sole moon radiant. That night, in the huge, black castle in the center of town, the Landlord was hard at work in his tower. His was one of three small towers that surrounded the enormous, central one.
In his room at the top of his tower, the Landlord's keyboard clacked and his mouse clicked, as he hurriedly looked over his status reports so he could get to bed as early as possible. “Everything seems to be running smoothly,” he noted to himself. “The residents have been mostly docile of late.” The Landlord had chin-length, brown hair and wore dark sunglasses to conceal his eyes. He wore a long, black coat decorated in belts and chains, and from his shoulders grew two, gold-colored horns.
Nothing was really known about the Landlord, only that he was working together with the Final Fantasy villains' Creator. He had brought them all here under the pretense of studying them, claiming to be interested in how they'd socialize in an artificial environment. Finding themselves unable to fight back due to the Landlord's infinite army of clones, the villains conceded and settled in.
Another clacking sound, more ceramic than plastic, could be heard coming from the tower's spiral staircase. One of the clones, one of the Maenads, had arrived with a tray full of hot tea. “Your evening tea, sir,” she offered as she arrived. The Maenads were an army of all-female clones, each with long, cyan hair and light brown eyes. The standard attire was a flowing, white dress, but this often changed depending on the individual's job. They were mass-produced by the Creator, and can send and receive messages to and from him telepathically.
“My thanks,” thanked the Landlord as the Maenad approached. “Tell me, has your master sent you any messages that I should hear?”
“If he had, I would have already reported it.” The Maenad carefully set the tea tray on the Landlord's desk, next to where he was seated.
“He hasn't been very talkative lately. Do I need to go upstairs and speak with him in-person?”
“The Creator isn't very happy with you right now. In fact, he's growing quite impatient. You've failed this mission four times so far, and he's beginning to think a fifth attempt won't be enough.” An image of four small, destroyed planets crossed the Landlord's mind, a reminder of his past failures. “He's losing faith in your abilities.”
“Is THAT a message from him?”
“It's a message from US,” she replied, referring to the Maenad army as a whole. “He's growing weak. If this mission lasts any longer than it already has... soon, he'll have no more use for you.” Without another word, or even a farewell, the Maenad climbed back down the stairs, her task for the evening complete.
The Landlord sat alone at his desk, contemplating what he was just told and tapping his fingers. “Yeah...” he mumbled to himself. “We wouldn't want our friend the Creator to get upset... Now, would we?”
Morning dawned, and the sun rose over the great wall that divided Domus Facina from the forested regions to the east, while the moon disappeared over the horizon closest to the ocean. Some villains never slept, others lived their lives in the dark, preferring the night life, and others were just waking up.
In his tiny, makeshift castle, Mateus was greeted to a new day by the beams of sunlight shining through his bedroom window. As he arose in his king-sized bed, complete with silk drapes, he yawned deeply and groaned, never really being a morning person, but knowing that a good emperor always rises as the sun does. Having collected his thoughts, Mateus placed his hands together and lightly clapped twice.
As though he had gotten up much earlier and waited outside his master's door for the sound of clapping, a short, portly man came barging into the room, carrying in a breakfast tray. “C-coming, Your Majesty!” Borghen was only about four feet tall, though he often seemed shorter due to his rotund appearance. His hideously disfigured face had no eyebrows, a bright red nose, huge moles, and terrible teeth. He wore a red and black general's uniform, complete with black cape and a plumed hat.
Borghen placed the breakfast tray over Mateus's lap as he laid in bed. Today's breakfast was the standard, consisting of two eggs, two strips of bacon, one apple, and coffee. The tray also had a small flower vase for atmosphere. Borghen stood straight and still, doing his best not to move nor glance at his master while he ate. Borghen himself had, of course, not eaten yet, for nobody eats before their emperor does.
The rest of the morning was the standard routine. Borghen helped Mateus brush his teeth, get dressed, and applied his makeup, all in a timespan of fifteen minutes. Any longer, and Borghen would pay for it. His beauty reclaimed on yet another morning, Mateus stood in front of his window and looked down on the town, glaring at the sunrise as Borghen knelt behind him in his shadow. “Blasted sun...” he cursed. “If any entity is fit to shine, it is I.”
“Of... of course, Your Excellency!” Borghen reluctantly flattered as he winced, taking the opportunity with his master not looking. “Your brilliance should be what awakens these peasants each day!” Borghen, also from “Final Fantasy II”, was once a general in the kingdom of Fynn. When he saw how powerful Mateus was, he betrayed his homeland and shared its military secrets with the Palamecian Empire. He turns on those who trust him in favor of getting on the winning team's good side, caring for naught but his own welfare.
“Such a small planet,” Mateus observed. “It must rotate very slowly to maintain 24-hour days. A result of its artificial nature, no doubt. It almost makes me wonder if its even worth conquering. Speaking of which...” Mateus paused, having faintly noticed the near-silent sound of slithering in the shadows behind him. “Do you have anything to report?”
Not knowing what Mateus meant, Borghen looked about to see if he might be speaking to anyone else. Sure enough, Borghen jumped slightly at the rare presence of the Lamia Queen, but remained silent. A lamia is a creature with the upper body of a beautiful woman, and the lower body of a snake. Their queen, having been in the employ of Mateus since before their arrival, had bronze, tanned skin, hair that was purple and wild, and blue, snake-like eyes. She wore no clothing other than various accessories in her hair, including her insect-like crown.
“Forgive me, master,” she apologized in a seductive voice, as lamiae were wont to do. “The other residents waste their time with daily recreation, and the Landlord rarely shows his face.” The Lamia Queen, as well as her sistren, swore loyalty to the Emperor, along with several other demons and monsters, when he made his pact with the devil. Being a Palamecian spy, as well as an undercover agent, she once disguised herself as the princess of Fynn so that the real princess could be kidnapped. She consumes those too weak-willed to resist her sexual charm.
“You'd think after spending so long here,” Mateus deduced, impatient for results, “that the other residents would start to feel homesick. Mayhaps I shouldst do some personal reconnaissance.” Mateus approached the door to his bedroom, planning to leave and make progress in his secret mission himself. Waiting for him by the door was a knight, holding Mateus's scepter.
As his emperor approached, the knight knelt and offered the rod. “Your scepter, my lord,” said the knight. The Dark Knight wore a full suit of dark purple armor that covered nearly everything, save for his ankles and wrists, likely for mobility's sake. He wore a red cape, and his horned helmet showed two glowing, red eyes through its slit., though unlike with Garland, this was just an illusion.
The Dark Knight was formerly a POW from the siege of Fynn. After his capture, he shifted his loyalty to the empire and quickly climbed its ranks. He now serves as the emperor's right-hand man, firm in the knowledge that his new master cannot be defeated. Though he will carry out any order given to him by his superior, he is kind and merciful when he can be.
Without saying a word of thanks, Mateus took the scepter in his hand, and the Dark Knight opened the doors for him. As Mateus went downstairs, past his personal throne room and out the exit, he muttered, “I'll free all of these fools from their fantasy.”