The Ball And The Special Guest

I'm just... Well, you know! We've finally made it! Do you think they delivered the uniforms to the dorms already? Oh my god I'm just so excited!" And she bounced some more, trying and failing to shake off the excess energy that was coursing through her body.

Isabel shrugged. "I'm sure they'd want us to arrive in our SeeD uniforms for the party later tonight." The started towards the dorms and gestured for Lily to follow. "How about we check?"

It seemed Isabel was correct, boxes had been delivered to the graduating SeeDs containing their SeeD dress uniforms. Isabel showered and put hers on before meeting back up with Lily. She smiled at her friend as she looked over the uniform with pride.

"I'd say we look pretty good!" Isabel beamed at her friend. "Now, let's go tear up that dance floor!"

The main hall had been converted into a ball room with tables of finger foods and drinks for the party-goers to enjoy at their leisure. People were dancing in the center of the room. A band was playing an older piece known as "Waltz For The Moon" that Isabel recognized.

Isabel opted to grab a glass of sparkling cider made up to look like champagne and went to the balcony to look out at the beautiful night as people spilled out into the main courtyard to enjoy the cool air. She didn't notice Instructor Terre who took a spot next to her on the balcony.

"Enjoying the party, Corona?" Purvis asked with a smile.

Instinctually, Isabel snapped to attention and regarded the instructor with a salute. This caused Purvis to laugh.

"You don't have to salute me, Corona. You're a SeeD now." Purvis nodded to her. Isabel returned to gazing up at the stars. "I'm proud of you, Corona. And Zabac and Winters and even Evermoore. You all make a great team. I'm hoping they don't break you guys up when issuing missions. You work best together."

"Lily would have a fit if we got separated. We're good friends." Isabel said.

"I'm sure it won't come to that." Purvis smiled, then he sighed. "You all don't know how important you are... to this garden... you're the first batch to be inducted since the garden was reinstated. We've got a very dark history to atone for..."

"We'll do this garden proud, sir." Isabel said firmly.

"I know you will..." Purvis nodded to her again and started back into the main hall. "I better make my rounds, I've got more congratulating to do. You know where your friend Zabac got off to?"

"If I know her, she's stuffing her face at one of the tables." Isabel chuckled. Then she bid the instructor a good evening and returned to gazing up at the stars. Again, drifting into her mind to the point she didn't notice someone had taken up the spot Purvis had occupied.

"Nice view..." the stranger said. "Reminds me when I first became a SeeD."

Isabel snapped out of her fugue and turned to see Balamb Garden Headmaster Squall Leonhart standing next to her. Shocked and surprised that her idol, the man who inspired her to take up the gunblade, was standing next to her she nearly spat out her cider.

Squall regarded her with a friendly smile. "So you're the gunblade specialist that just graduated?" He asked her.

"I... uh.. huh..." was all Isabel could get out.

Squall could tell she was star struck. "I was just curious. Not a lot of us gunblade masters around to talk and discuss techniques after all..."

Isabel nodded. "It's not an easy weapon to master. But you know all about that. I mean, you're... you..." She felt like a stupid fangirl now. "It took me a long time to get used to it."

"You have a 'Desperado' right?" Squall asked her. "I heard that was a tough one to use, designed to integrate 'flip-cocking' into attacks for subsequent trigger blasts."

Isabel wasn't surprised he knew about her gunblade model, but the fact she was discussing it with THE Squall Leonhart was like a dream to her. "Yeah! I nearly cut my head off learning that style! But once you get the hang of it, boom!" She started getting giddy again.

Squall nodded. "The Desperado is a powerful weapon. The problem is that you trade consistent blasts for a more powerful attack. My Renzokuken style is meant for an automatic firing gunblade, your style requires racking another round into the chamber every other swing. That's why a lot of people dislike the Desperado."

"They just don't know how to use it." Isabel said.

"I dunno... Even my old Revolver could dish out more damage..."

Isabel frowned at him. "With all due respect, Headmaster... I could wipe the floor with my Desperado better than your relic of a gunblade could..."

Squall smirked. "You remind me of an old friend I used to train with... But be careful not to let that temper get the best of you."

Isabel stammered. "Sorry, sir. I didn't..."

"It's fine," Squall chuckled. "You've got spirit. That's what counts."

Suddenly Isabel wondered something. "...What brings you to Galbadia, sir?"

"I wanted to see the new batch of SeeDs your garden just instated..." He smiled again. "And I'm rather impressed so far."

Isabel felt her heart swell with pride. "Thank you sir!"

"At ease," Squall said. "Enjoy the party. I've got business with your headmaster."

"I will sir. And I hope you have a pleasant night as well, sir." Isabel said. Still giddy.

Squall nodded to her and retreated into the main hall. Isabel was still high from the rush of meeting a living legend. The man who destroyed Sorceress Ultimecia and saved the world... She decided she had to go find Lily and tell her about it so he went inside to look for her...

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