Written by Anna-mathe
All rights reserved, for I have none.
This fic is independent of any other FF tales, and takes place about a
year before the game begins. Before Cecil can become the Captain of the
Redwings, he must pass one little test . . .
Cecil had never realized just how frightening the hairy man
could be when he tried. However, his position forbade him to display any
crude emotion such as fear, even if his pride did not, so he stood at
attention without wavering as his tormentor paced back and forth before
him, grinning demonically and mumbling observations periodically to one
of his assistants, who was trying in vain to keep up with him.
“So,” Cid finally said to Cecil, coming to a halt just in
front of him and glaring him down, “the King thinks you should command my
Airships, eh? Well . . . *chuckle chuckle* . . . do you feel up to the
challenge, Mr. Dark Knight?”
Cecil suddenly felt more insulted than nervous - after all,
he was surely more than a match for this bumbling old fool he’d just met
- and glared back.
“My orders stand,” he declared defiantly. “What you or I
think has nothing to do with it.”
Cid chuckled some more.
“I get it. You’re looking at this as a promotion. That you,
leading the Redwings, will automatically become one of the most powerful
soldiers on this planet. Well, that’s all fine and well . . . if you can
“Pardon?” Cecil was still glaring defiantly.
Cid’s sinister grin darkened and grew.
“Did His Majesty tell you about . . . the driving test?”
“The . . . driving test?”
Lightning flashed again.
Evil laughter came from the engineer.
“You think you can just jump on board an Airship and take
off? Oh, no! First you have to prove to me that you can fly one of them
safely, observing all traffic rules and regulations.”
Cecil thought. That didn’t seem so bad.
Cid laughed some more, seeing the slight relief on his
“And, of course . . . you have to pass Serpentine . . . and
Lightning flashed, and somewhere, an organ began to play.
Cecil, noticing all these strange abnormalities in the
weather, wondered if it was a sign.
“Well?” Cid inquired, raising an eyebrow. “Ready to try your
hand at flying an Airship?”
Cecil swallowed, set his jaw firmly, and nodded.
A wiry old man named Ferdinand informed the Dark Knight that
he would be his driving instructor. Cecil hated him instantly.
“This is our flagship, the Adversity,” Ferdinand told him.
“You can look, but that’s all you’re going to do for now. Dark Knight,
before you begin to learn the controls of this craft, you must complete a
six-week book-work course . . . in three days. Here.”
Cecil numbly held out his hands and received two large books
which his teacher held out to him.
“This is your Driver’s Ed. workbook and a book with the
traffic laws for the country of Baron. By tomorrow, you’ll have to have
read and memorized all the laws and completed exercises for chapters 1 -
11 in your workbook. Tomorrow you get the traffic laws for Toroia and
Damcyan, the next day you get Fabul and Eblan, as well as minor
independent territories like Silvera.”
“But . . . how can there be all these traffic laws?! No one
else has even heard of an Airship!! We’ve only just invented them!!”
Cecil suddenly grew suspicious. “Is Cid just making all this up to give
me a hard time?”
Ferdinand slapped him in the face with a ruler.
“You have detention, young man! Go stand in the hall until I
come for you, and think about what you’ve just said.” He turned away
then, mumbling about how kids these days thought they knew everything.
Cecil swallowed, feeling a shame he hadn’t felt since
grade-school, turned, and went to stand in the hall.
Long into the night, the Dark Knight sat at his desk in his
tower quarters, filling out pages and pages in his workbook while
repeating the Baronian traffic laws to himself quietly until he thought
he was either about to go insane, or was already gone.
A light knock on his door startled him back to awareness.
“Yeah, waddya want?”
The door opened a crack and Kain stuck his head in.
“Do you have any glazed donuts?”
“NO, we don’t have any glazed donuts!”
“Do you have any jelly donuts?”
“NO, we don’t have any jelly donuts!”
“Do you have any Bavarian cream-filled donuts?”
“NO, we don’t have any Bavarian cream-filled donuts!”
“Do you have any bear claws?”
“ . . . wait a minute, I’ll go check.”
For a moment, Cecil stared at the papers in front of him,
wondering what on earth he was talking about. Then he jumped to his
“NO, WE’RE OUTTA BEAR CLAWS!!”
Kain stepped in and tapped his spear against the floor.
“Well in that case . . . in that case, what do you have?”
Cecil rubbed his temples. It appeared that Kain had come by
just to annoy him. Again.
“I have a headache, Kain, that’s what I have.”
The Dragoon blinked.
“What? No box of one dozen starving crazed weasels?”
“Kain, shut up!!”
For a moment, the visitor stood there silently, watching the
agonized Dark Knight pace his room.
“I saw your light on, Cecil. You are aware, aren’t you, that
it’s three in the morning?”
“Is it? I wasn’t paying attention.”
“Obviously!” Kain glared at him. “What’s up, Cecil? Rosa
said you’d stood her up for dinner and didn’t even send a message. She
was worried that she’d made you upset . . . but I guess it’s not her, is
“No, it’s not her,” Cecil sighed. “It’s just . . . “
“ . . . “
“ . . . “
“ . . . “
Then he got sick of waiting.
“Just what, Cecil?”
“I’m only on chapter 3!”
With a relieved frenzy to be venting his frustration, Cecil
explained the predicament he’d found himself mired in since his meeting
with Cid that afternoon.
“ . . . and I still have 8 ½ chapters to go! I’ll never get
this, Kain! Then what can I do - go to His Majesty and say, ‘Sorry,
Sire, but you’re going to need to find someone else to captain your air
force, because I couldn’t pass Driver’s Ed.’ Something tells me that
wouldn’t go over too well with him!”
Kain frowned, deep in thought.
“I agree. Well, that only leaves one other option.”
Cecil gawked at him.
“What other option?”
Grinning slightly, the Dragoon turned and left the room,
calling over his shoulder, “Do your homework, Cecil! I’ll see you
tomorrow! Er, later today, I mean.”
Cecil watched the door slam shut, sighed, attempted to rub a
kink out of his neck, and went back to his workbook.
The next day, he appeared in Ferdinand’s office with all the
enthusiasm of a dead cow and handed in his assignment.
His teacher glanced at the papers appraisingly.
“You really need to work on your penmanship, young man.”
Cecil bristled. Just who did this guy think he was? Cecil
was not a child - he deserved better treatment than this.
“Now, it’s time for your examination on the laws you were
instructed to have learned for today. You may begin.”
Cringing inwardly with what little energy he had left from
the overnighter he’d just pulled, Cecil began mumbling about the speed
limits within castle zones during daylight hours, when Ferdinand suddenly
keeled over, completely unconscious.
This was not expected.
He felt a light touch on his shoulder and turned to find Kain
standing beside him.
“He won’t wake up for several days. You have plenty of time
to learn your stuff.”
“What did you do?!” Cecil exclaimed, horrified.
Kain threw a quick glance around to make sure no one was
watching, then replied nonchalantly, “I drugged his honey bun this
morning. Rosa managed to get me put in touch with this great stuff that
“You drugged him?!”
“Sure! Why not?”
Cecil looked again at the snoring heap of tyrant asleep on
“Cool! Now, excuse me, I’m leaving.”
“Where’re you going?” Kain asked.
Cid was flaming mad when he found out, but Cecil bore his
venting with good humor, knowing that there was nothing the Engineer
could do about it.
Finally, Cid regarded him with glazing eyes and said,
“You obviously can’t complete the course until he wakes up.
I suggest you use your time wisely.”
Hearing the seething edge to his voice, Cecil could only just
barely suppress his laughter.
The Dark Knight had no reason to have contact with the
Engineer or any of his people during the following week, for during this
time Ferdinand remained thoroughly unconscious. Using his time wisely,
Cecil managed to, using his good study habits, learn every traffic law on
the face of the Earth and still maintain regular sleeping hours. He
decided to do a very big favor for Kain someday.
When the day came, nine days later, that Ferdinand had
awakened, Cecil was not as undisturbed about it as he’d intended to be,
however. He knew the hardest part of the course was yet to come.
Ferdinand stood beside Cecil at the wheel of Adversity.
“You checked your fuel?”
“Your landing gear?”
“All lights and signals?”
Ferdinand glared at him harshly.
“What about your blinker fluid?”
Cecil blinked, feeling a sudden panic.
“My blinker fluid?”
“Yes. Did you check your blinker fluid? Did you, or didn’t
Cecil swallowed numbly.
“I . . . didn’t think of it, Sir.”
His teacher sighed in an exaggerated manner and gestured
sharply to the edge of the Airship.
“Go check it. Now. You’re wasting my time.”
Cecil got up quickly and ran to the side, not wanting to
admit that he had no idea where to check the blinked fluid.
One of the crewmen walked by just as he reached the edge and
bumped into him. Hard.
For one sickening moment, Cecil felt himself falling through
the air, then felt the painful thud as he hit the ground from the top
deck of the Airship.
Moaning slightly and sitting up, he looked up.
“Sorry!” called the crewman.
Ferdinand then appeared over the railing.
“You fool!” he yelled. “There’s no such thing as blinker
fluid! You should know better! That was the oldest trick in the book!
Get back up here!!”
Cecil glowered darkly, but complied.
“How’d it go?” Rosa asked intensely over the small table
where she, Kain, and Cecil were eating in the village Inn.
Cecil shuddered and poked at his plate of meat.
“I . . . didn’t hit anything,” he hopefully told his friends.
Kain blinked, then realization dawned on him.
“You scratched the paint, didn’t you?”
A shudder ran through the Dark Knight.
“I . . . I . . . I didn’t see the tree! Honestly, I . . . I
thought I had plenty of space! It was in my blind spot! No, it swerved
into my lane! I . . . “
Kain held up a hand to silence him.
“THE TREE JUST JUMPED UP AND BIT ME!!!!!”
“Relax, Cecil. It was your first time on the road.
Accidents happen. Cid should just be glad no one was hurt.”
“Cid tried to wring my neck. Only he couldn’t manage to dent
“I don’t see why they’re all being so rough on you,” Rosa
primly declared. “After all, what do they expect you to do? Show up and
instantly be a model driver? They should know that these things take
“I guess life isn’t always fair,” Cecil sighed. “Anyway,
they made me paint over the scratch in the paint, then I had to endure a
lecture on paint expenses, both financially and to the ecosystem.” He
frowned and looked up. “What the heck is an ecosystem?”
Kain and Rosa exchanged a glance.
“Sh!” Kain told him. “It’s a secret.”
“No, really. We’re living in a medieval society. We have no
knowledge of the environment - just that we use it however we feel like!”
“Cecil,” Rosa told him, “Cid would just use anything he can
think of to get you into trouble.”
Cecil sighed, knowing she was right.
Two weeks later was the big day.
His driving test.
Cid took his place beside Cecil at the wheel and told him to
begin when ready.
Cecil swallowed, started the engine, and pulled out.
So far, so good. Nothing had blown up yet.
The driving portion took a little over an hour - Cid gave
directions, Cecil followed them. He observed all traffic signs, signals,
stayed within the speed limit, and made observations for “conditions.”
Everything was going fine.
Then for the fun part.
The other four Airships were deployed into positions in a
straight line, high up in the air, along with a few blimps so that there
were seven objects in all.
“You’re familiar with the procedure, I should hope?” Cid
Cecil swallowed and nodded. Simply weave through the line of
cones, reach the end, then weave back. Backwards. He’d done this
before, in practice with Ferdinand. He’d done it well. He could do it.
“Begin when ready,” Cid bluntly told him.
Cecil nodded and eased the Airship toward the awaiting line.
Forward . . . turn . . .brake . . . forward . . . turn . . .
turn . . .
Before he even realized it, he’d pulled Adversity to a stop
with its hind bumper even with the last cone, which happened to be the
Airship from which Ferdinand was observing the test. Pointedly ignoring
him, Cecil clinched his teeth and shifted the Airship into reverse.
Backward . . . turn . . . backward . . . turn . . . don’t . .
. stop . . .
Cecil heaved a deep sigh of relief. It was over. He’d done
Cid peered over the nose of the Airship, noting that it was
exactly even with the cone. Cone, as it was. He nodded and grunted.
The other four Airships then changed formation - making up
the great aerial rectangle Cecil was so dreading. A single blimp moved
to the front for the fifth cone. It was time.
A shudder ran through Cecil, making a faint clang in his
“Pull up even with the cones, then proceed when ready to the
Cecil gnashed his teeth. Of course it would be to the right
- the right was his weaker side. Oh, why couldn’t it have been to the
He pulled the Airship even with the first two cones and
Kain’s advice came back to him like the breeze of summers
“Don’t worry so much. If you screw up, you can just throw
Cid overboard and be done with it.”
That was right! Why was he so worried?
Suddenly infused with a new energy, one that flowed from deep
within his spirit, Cecil gunned the engines and eased forward at an easy
speed, checking his mirrors and looking over his shoulder for possible
oncoming traffic, which might cause an aerial wreck. Finding his way
clear, he progressed to the right, steering carefully around the Airship
to the front right and coming out even with the blimp that was serving as
the fifth cone. He stopped and glanced at Cid.
The Engineer was scribbling something on his clipboard. He’d
been doing that for most of the test. It was driving Cecil crazy - was
he really doing so badly?!
Steadying himself against a sudden rush of anxiety, Cecil
began to progress backwards the way he’d came.
This part was slower - more careful . . .
Straighten out . . . straighten out . . . STRAIGHTEN OUT -
The Airship rocked with a sudden jolt.
Cecil slammed his eyes shut.
Cid glowered at him darkly, triumphantly.
Cecil had hit a cone.
It was all over for him now.
Kain was waiting for him on the ground.
“Well?!” he asked adamantly when Cecil got off the Airship in
a daze. “Cecil? What happened?”
Cecil looked at him with somber, hooded eyes.
“I failed maneuverability,” he murmured in barely more than a
For a moment, Kain didn’t seem to know how to react. He
shook his head.
“Man . . . I’m sorry, Cecil. Maybe . . . maybe next time,
you’ll get it . . . “
Cecil couldn’t meet his eyes. The shame he felt was too
overpowering. He couldn’t bear this any longer.
What could he do? He’d be denied his command of the Redwings
now - he’d failed his driving test. Surely His Majesty would not look
upon this lightly. Cecil would now be seen as a failure: a disgrace to
the crown. He’d lose his position as Dark Knight. He’d be demoted to a
common soldier, or even expelled from the army altogether. If not, he’d
resign. He had to. The shame was too great - he couldn’t show his face
in Baron ever again. Even his friends, Kain, Rosa . . . they’d now look
upon him with pity and contempt. He’d have to take a self-imposed
exile. What would he do? Where could he go from here?
Cecil had failed his driving test. It was the absolute end
of his life.
Cid came over to them, gloating.
“You could repeat the course,” he told Cecil. “Ferdinand
would be delighted to have you as his student again, I’m sure.
Otherwise, you can just go to the King and tell him that you couldn’t
pass your driving test. I’m sure he’ll be . . . understanding.” He
chuckled darkly. “And just for the record, you can tell your Dad that
this is only the beginning of my revenge!”
Cecil blinked, too startled to say anything.
“I’m Kain, the Dragoon. What’s all this about Cecil’s Dad?”
“He should’ve known this was coming, that old fogi!”
Kain’s frowned deepened. And Kain could be quite
scary-looking when he tried. And he was trying.
“Mr. Cid, Cecil is an orphan.”
Cid’s grin vanished abruptly.
“What?” he asked in a choked voice.
“I’m an orphan,” Cecil emphasized in as tiny a voice as could
still be heard.
Cid turned a fierce glare on him.
“You’re not Cecil, son of Torlah?”
“No. I’m Cecil, son of KluYa. The late KluYa.”
Cid turned bright red, then a deep purple.
“Oh. Euh . . . excuse me, Cecil, I seem to have mistaken you
for someone else.” He turned from deep purple to a sickly green. “I . .
. euh . . . crud. My mistake.” He shook himself and returned to a
normal color. “Well, Cecil, we seem to have gotten off on the wrong
foot. Sorry about all that turmoil I put you through. I’m sure we’ll be
good friends from now on.”
He turned to leave, beginning to change color again. His
embarrassment must have been great.
“Wait!” Cecil called after him.
Cid stopped and turned slowly.
“What about my driving test?”
“Oh, that. Never mind. I’ve no objection to your becoming
Captain. Report for duty tomorrow, Cecil.”
And he was gone.
For a long, long moment, Cecil and Kain stared at where he
had gone. Then one of Cid’s assistants came up to them and handed a
small card to Cecil.
A driver’s license.
Cecil looked up with a sudden resolution.
“Kain, I’ve gotta go.”
“Where are you going?”
“To find Cecil, son of Torlah, and kill him!!!!”
Cid: Painfully Defeated . . . for now!
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