Meeting of The Headmasters

She smacked the table and the plate of meat jumped half an inch of the table. She fixed Isabel with a piercing stare. "Please tell me he is still around?"

Isabel shrugged. "He said something about meeting the Headmistress, so I'd imagine he is..." She looked across the ballroom and wondered where the legendary gunbladesman had gotten to...

---

"Headmaster Leonhart," Charon regarded Squall with a nod as he entered her office. "It's always a pleasure to have you here at our Garden. How can I help you?"

"I came to see your new graduates and congratulate you on a job well done. They look promising." Squall said as he stopped in front of her desk.

"They will make Galbadia Garden proud," Charon said. "Hopefully, one day, they will help others forget this garden's hand in the near-destruction of our world."

"That day may never come," came the gruff voice of Trabia Garden Headmaster Voldt. "Many in my country still remember the horrors Galbadia visited upon us."

"Your opinion on the remilitarization of Galbadia, and the reinstatement of this Garden, are well noted, Voldt." Charon said with some venom in her words as the Trabian Headmaster took a seat in front of her desk.

"Your people don't deserve such leeway from the World Council. But then my word means little against the Big Hero here..." Voldt looked to Squall.

Charon smiled. "Headmaster Leonhart's continued support is... beyond appreciated." She looked to Squall. "I think it was you and you alone who convinced the World Council to reopen the Garden. I had thought that allowing the New G Army to be formed would've been the end of it. A lot of people didn't want us having an army, let alone SeeD..."

"A mistake, I feel..." Voldt said. "And given that your SeeDs allowed a known war criminal to escape... I'd say this Garden's days are numbered."

"My Seeds were successful in rescuing those hostages, and returning the prison back under our control." Charon said, her voice raising slightly in defense to Voldt's threats. "Radek will be recaptured in due time. He can't stay hidden forever."

"By the time we do recapture that madman, this Garden will be turned into a shopping mall." Voldt said.

"We need every Garden for what lies ahead..." Squall's brow furrowed. Voldt merely scoffed and looked away from the other two headmasters.

"Is there any word from Rinoa?" Charon asked after a brief silence.

Squall shook his head. "Nothing... Not even sightings. Wherever she is... she's keeping a low profile."

Rinoa Heartilly, one of the "Balamb Six" though not a member of Seed officially, had disappeared some years after the Ultimecia Incident. Her status as a Sorceress had left many fearing and hating her, yet her role in saving the world had tempered these feelings somewhat. Even still... her power was an unknown quantity and after the establishment of the World Council, made up of the representative nations of the world (Balamb, Dollet, Esthar, Trabia, and Galbadia), they had demanded she be surrendered to Esthar for containment and study of her Sorceress Power.

Squall and the other Balamb Garden members were prepared to wage a war for Rinoa. However, before she could be captured she disappeared. Investigations later deduced she had fled, and the Balamb Six were proven to be innocent of helping her evade capture. Though they were heavily watched for some years afterward.

All Squall knew was that she had left to learn more about the Sorceress Power by herself. As he spoke with Charon he gazed at the two rings on his finger, two identical rings with the symbol of Griever, the legendary lion Guardian Force. One had been Rinoa's. He'd found it on his desk on the day she went missing. He felt it was more a promise that she'd come back than a goodbye. For ten years he'd worn both rings, waiting for his Sorceress to return.

"You really think there's something coming?" Charon asked.

"Rinoa believed something was, yes. And I believe her." Squall said. "And I believe that if we're gonna be able to face whatever's coming, we're going to need Galbadia Garden's SeeD..."

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