As the sun neared the horizon, Makenshi left the coliseum and walked down the northern road, between the stadium and chocobo ranch, as he headed back to the residential district. He crossed his arms and held his head down, deep in thought about what he'd just heard Hein and Julius discussing. Eyes closed, he heard a voice calling to him from his left.
“Well, that was fast,” Vata noted as he leaned on the ranch's fence. “I just saw you enter the coliseum like, fifteen minutes ago. Was Garland not as entertaining today?” Vata had slicked back, light brown hair, and wore a long, green and white coat with no undershirt, baring his torso. He also wore red pants, red shoes, and white gloves.
Vata of the Wind, from “Final Fantasy Dimensions”, was one of the Avalonian Empire's generals. His village was destroyed by the Empire when they stole its Crystal, so he joined them in the hopes of one day exacting vengeance. Such an opportunity never arose, even after attaining the highest rank, so he spends his days slacking off and relaxing, screwing over his superiors in secret whenever possible. Vata is brash and unpredictable, often appearing lax and overly friendly.
“No, he's fighting just as hard as he always does,” Makenshi answered. “He never tires out, that one.” Makenshi had spiky, white hair and bright green eyes, wearing a steel veil to filter the Mist he exhaled. He was very thin and wore an all-white suit with a white cape. Around his waist was a belt carrying a few clear, plastic bottles, each containing some of his breath. He wielded a white longsword called the Maken, which could transform into a greatsword when needed.
Makenshi hailed from a world called “Misteria”, one of the worlds that made up “Final Fantasy: Unlimited”, where he was one of two princes, the other being his older brother Madoushi. His world, along with several others, was one of many that were destroyed by Chaos and absorbed into Wonderland. With the hope of finding a weakness in Chaos, Makenshi swore allegiance to Earl Tyrant and his forces, and later was promoted to one of the Four Lords of Gaudium. His race, the Misterians, exhale Mist, the gaseous form of spirit energy that can produce monsters when left unchecked, requiring him to wear a steel veil that filters it. Near silent, Makenshi is apathetic about most things, caring only about information that interests him.
“So what's the deal?” Vata asked. “Even Garland can't entertain you now?”
Makenshi crossed his arms and closed his eyes again. “I... overheard Hein and Julius talking about something.”
“Hm? Oh, THOSE two. Mr. 'I-Don't-Believe-In-Spirits' and Sir 'Spirits-Are-Actually-Water'. It figures those two would get along. Couple of kooks, if you ask me.”
“I'm not so sure.” Makenshi turned away from Vata to face the sunset. “I am personally responsible for the deaths of numerous worlds. In figuring out how to destroy them, I had to learn a lot about how they worked. In one world I destroyed, spirits were most commonly found in the soil... and in many others, spirits not being utilized existed only in parallel dimensions."
“Woah, really?” Vata stood up from the fence and placed a hand on his chin. He never had the open mind to consider other methods of spiritual physics. “Maybe they're not so weird, after all.”
“No, that's precisely what's so strange. All of us that were brought here have some kind of Lifestream in our homeworlds. I even sense spirit energy in Hein; he just isn't aware of it. But the planet we're on now has absolutely no such thing. The trees, the soil, none of them have any detectable energy. So, why were we brought here?"
"Didn't that Landlord guy say we were just here to be studied? What does it matter? Just kick back, relax, and he'll return us when we're done. That's what he said, right?”
Later that evening, Golbez arrived at the local seafood restaurant, Gizamaluke's Grotto. Being a themed restaurant, the building was made to look like a cave, and the front entrance had a gold bell hanging above the door. The interior was fancy and spacious, with small, automated waterfalls lining each side of the dining area, and tables of blue-tinted glass. The Maenad behind the lobby's counter acted as hostess.
“Dining in or picking up?” asked the Maenad.
“Actually,” Golbez corrected as he examined the anonymous note he had brought with him, “someone asked to meet with me here. I don't know who.”
The Maenad flipped through a small notepad she had tucked into her shirt pocket. "Ah yes, he is expecting you. Follow me, please,” she beckoned as she grabbed a menu from the counter.
As Golbez followed her, he felt inclined to ask, "So, do you Maenads not know all of our names?"
“We're supposed to know,” she answered. “But we really couldn't care less.” The restaurant was relatively busy, as every business in town tended to be. Their guests never had to pay, so there was no reason for them to cook for themselves. Ra Devil, an alien that once tried to take over Planet R, and Nag'molada, a Kuluu bent on ridding himself of the Emptiness, were among tonight's guests. As they slipped between the tables, Golbez and his hostess very quickly reached where his anonymous summoner was already seated. “Here's your seat, sir,” said the Maenad as Golbez looked on in disappointment.
“Ah, Golbez. There you are,” greeted Zemus. “I'm glad to see you showed up. Truly, I am.” Zemus was a Lunarian, the same race as Golbez's father, though he looked drastically different from his kin. He had blue skin and glowing, yellow eyes. He was bald, and wore a long, black robe that tapered off at the bottom. He had no visible feet, instead floating like a ghost.
When the dying Lunarian race sought a new planet using their moon as a vessel, they found one already inhabited by humans. Deciding humans were not yet advanced enough to live alongside of, they opted to wait until that day arrived. But Zemus grew tired of waiting, and used his psychic powers to manipulate the planet's inhabitants, causing wars that would free up the land for its alien occupants. Zemus feels that sympathizing with an enemy is foolish, and although his own kind will hate him for it, he has no qualms with killing the innocent to protect his race.
“Would you like anything to drink, sir?” The Maenad asked Golbez as she offered the menu she was holding.
“No, thanks,” Golbez declined as he turned away. “I will not be staying.”
“Wait!” Zemus cried as he reached his hand out. “You know my mind control powers are ineffective on this planet, don't you? We have no reason to argue. Please, I just want to talk. It's important.”
Golbez quietly looked back. He didn't trust Zemus with the time of day, let alone a conversation. But he had a point. Mind control powers were suppressed here. Several other villains had tried to use them before, only to fail. Golbez sat down, but he remained wary.
Many moments of awkward silence passed. Neither side said a word until their wine was finally served to them. As the Maenad waitress left, Zemus rotated his glass in his hand. “I couldn't help but notice,” Zemus began, breaking the tension, “that you've kept the name 'Golbez', even after spending so long here. Does 'Theodor Harvey' just not have the same ring to it?”
“I...” Golbez stuttered. “When I was under your control, I committed countless atrocities. But, when I myself manipulated Kain Highwind, it became clear that those powers don't completely overwrite their victim's mind. No, a part of them has to WANT to be controlled, to be freed from responsibility. When I finally regained my senses, I was initially just filled with hatred toward you. But at some point, I realized I was partially to blame for all that transpired. So I decided I would remain on the moon, with the other Lunarians, hiding from those I wronged."
"Do you think that's why the Landlord saw fit to bring you here?"
"I've actually thought about this a lot myself, and that's the only conclusion I can come to. It was always lurking in the back of my mind; I just refused to accept it. I am a villain... because I gave in to temptation and never paid for it."
"Hmm... You have learned much in your time here. I see this will be easier than I anticipated."
"What will be easier?" Golbez asked, looking up and tensing his fingers. "Do you think I'll join your side again? Do you think I have a penchant for evil?!"
"Evil? You may call it evil, but I call it taking action to preserve my species. And besides, that has nothing to do with why I asked you here. Golbez,” Zemus paused as he pointed upward, “have you ever taken a good, hard look at this planet's moon? Surely, you must have noticed more than a few similarities..."