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Disclaimers and Notes: Same as before!

When You're Evil and Dead
By: Sforzie

Chapter 14: Tails in the Tree

Kuja awoke from her nap with a snort. Looking around, she was curious to find that the only other occupant of the table was Meow x17. The Gimme Cat was chewing his claws.

"Lookie who woke up, meow," Meow x17 said. He sounded about as bored as he looked.

"Where's Sephiroth and Kefka?" Kuja wondered, sitting up and stretching.

"Sephiroth went off to see his Mommy, or something, and Kefka's at work," Meow x17 said.

"His Mommy?" Kuja echoed doubtfully. The Cat nodded.

"Yeup. Had to get a day pass and everything. He'll be back later."

She waved the waitress over and ordered a drink. "You mean his mother's in heaven?"

"I think so," Meow x17 shrugged. "His parentage is kinda confusing."

"Isn't everybody's."

"Not mine! Botha my parents work down in the petting zoo in the first underlayer."

"Right..."

"And at least you know where your creator is," Meow x17 said keenly.

"Yeah..." Kuja twirled a strand of hair absently around her pinkie. "I bet it'd be nice to have parents though."

"Sometimes," the Cat said. "Other times they're a real drag."

Kuja smiled. "Well, then perhaps they're not too different from just a creator."

"Probably not."

Kuja made a faint noise of surprise as a pair of hands closed over her eyes.

"Guess whoo?" a voice asked in a silly falsetto.

"Hands off the face, Kefka," Kuja said with a chuckle.

"Close enough!" Kefka giggled, pulling his hands away. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before flopping down in his chair. Kuja looked at him curiously.

"Why so chipper?" she wondered.

"Ooh, no reason!" he said, watching as the waitress brought Kuja her drink. "Uwee hee!"

"Good time at work?"

"It was the usual," Kefka said with a slight shrug. "Although..."

Kuja sipped her drink. "Although what?"

"I met someone," he said with a grin. Kuja arched a brow.

"Who'dya meet?" Meow x17 wondered.

"Yeah, who?"

"A nice woman who works at the Hell's Bells Insane Asylum," Kefka said.

"They tried to lock you up again, Kef?" Meow x17 snickered.

"I thought hell was just one big insane asylum," Kuja said. "They have a special place to put crazy people?"

"Uh huh," Kefka nodded.

Kuja pursed her lips. "Then why aren't you there?"

"Because I didn't attack anyone when I arrived in hell," Kefka said. "Otherwise I'd be spending eternity in a nice padded room." He smirked. "I wasn't out-of-control enough to be locked up."

"What a pity."

"Don't you want to hear more about the lady?" Kefka wondered, fidgeting a bit.

"I don't suppose there's anything else to talk about until Sephiroth gets back..."

Kefka grinned. "I thought you might be interested in hearing more about her."

Kuja sipped from her drink again. "Then go ahead."

"Her name's Azera Tribel, and she's one of the key-keepers at the Insane Asylum," Kefka said matter-of-factly.

"Tribel?"

"Mm-hmm. She came into the store to get a new...um...something or other. She's got long white hair, and blue eyes... very pretty. We talked for awhile."

Kuja sweatdropped. "You were hitting on her?"

"No! Of course not!" Kefka giggled. "I talked to her because I thought she looked like you."

"I don't have white hair."

"I know that," he shrugged. "But she had your face... and..."

"And what?"

Kefka leaned toward her with a smirk. "She's got a long white tail."

"A tail?" Kuja blinked. "Really?"

"Uh-huh. And that's not all." Kefka leaned back in his chair. "I asked her where she was from, and when she died, and why... the usual ice breaker stuff."

"You were hitting on her."

"A little. Couldn't help it."

"Anyhow."

"Yes, anyhow! She's from a planet called Terra, and died probably about five thousand years before you arrived.. give or take a few decades."

Kuja looked intrigued. "From ancient Terra..."

"I knew you'd be interested," Kefka giggled.

"I thought the Terrans were all good people though, I wonder how she ended up in hell," Kuja said.

"She said she was one of the last of her people to die," Kefka said. "That she got sent to hell for being a manipulating, backstabbing bitch. And for creating some guy who was supposed to watch some tree."

"One of the ones who created Garland?" she looked at Kefka. "Do you think I could find her somewhere?"

"Azera works at Hell's Bells most of the time," Kefka said. "You should be able to find her there."

"Thank you, Kefka," Kuja said, standing up. She paused. "Would you like to come with me?"

"Sure!" Kefka giggled. "As long as you don't leave me there."

"Leave him there!" Meow x17 called as they departed.

 

Hell's Bells was just a short walk past the far side of the Great Mall of Hell. Considering the massive dimensions of the mall, that isn't something to be taken lightly. But they got there eventually.

"Mr. Palazzo, I thought you were trying to stay away from here," one of the orderlies sneered at Kefka as they entered.

"I'm visiting," Kefka said, trailing closely behind Kuja. He whispered to her. "Don't let them lock me up. They really really want to."

"Right..." Kuja smiled, going up to the desk.

"How can I help you, miss?" the demon behind the desk asked.

"I was wondering if a Ms. Tribel was working now?"

"Yeah, she's down on cafeteria duty," the demon said.

"May I speak with her?"

"Are you carrying anything that can be used as a weapon?" the demon asked, reading off a small checklist.

"Not intentionally."

"Are all your shots up to date?"

"Probably."

"The asylum is not responsible for any damage you may incur while on the grounds. Are you insured?"

"She's dead!" Kefka piped up with a giggle.

"Good enough," the demon shrugged. He handed her a visitor's pass. "Have a nice stay, please don't taunt the residents."

"Right, thank you..." Kuja looked at the pass.

"I'll show you where the cafeteria is!" Kefka said, holding her by the arm and dragging her off down a hall.

"You've been here before?"

"A few times. I have to come in every once in a while to make sure I'm still not worthy of being committed."

"How comforting." Kuja followed him down the hall. "Why do they have a cafeteria if there isn't any food?"

"They're crazy, they don't know there isn't any food," Kefka said with a shrug. Kuja muffled a laugh.

The cafeteria was brightly lit and painted in annoying shades of green. Kuja cringed as they entered, but got over it. Long tables were full of people, most of whom were staring at empty plates. The rest were drinking orange juice.

"That's right folks, eat it up. You're not getting any saner," a haughty female voice called from the opposite side of the lunchroom.

"That would be Azera," Kefka grinned, steering Kuja off in the direction of the voice.

Azera Tribal was about the same height as Kuja, wearing a tight dark red nurse's uniform. Her white hair was pulled back into a ponytail, except for a smattering of white feathers that were brushed back against her head. And true to Kefka's word, a long white tail curled out from the woman's backside.

"Well, I can see why you were hitting on her, she's wearing your favorite color," Kuja said to him. Kefka giggled.

"I promise, I wasn't hitting on her!"

"We'll see about that."

"Well, what do we have here?" Azera said as the pair approached. "If it isn't Mr. Uwee-hee."

"Hello, Miss Tribel!" Kefka waved cheerfully.

"Who's your lady friend?" Azera looked at Kuja keenly.

"This is Kuja," Kefka said with a smile. "The one I was talking about earlier."

"Oh yes," the white-haired woman smiled. "So you're from Terra?"

"I was," Kuja said.

"Ooh, orange juice!" Kefka hopped off. Kuja shook her head slightly.

"He's...uh...somewhat easily distracted."

"I see." Azera looked around to make sure her charges hadn't broken anything, then offered Kuja a seat. They sat at the table. "So, what brings you here?"

"Kefka was telling me about you, and based on what he said I thought I might benefit from talking to you..."

"Peterson! I told you not to chew on the glass!" Azera shouted over Kuja's shoulder. She looked back at her. "Yes, well... do you have any specific questions?"

"Kefka said that you were one of the people who created Garland?"

"That's right," she nodded and smiled. "The last of us created Garland, so that he could work on restoring Terra."

"Yeah... that restoring thing..." Kuja blushed for a moment.

"How is it going, anyways?" Azera wondered. Kuja drummed her fingers on the table.

"It...uh...isn't."

"What? Why not?!" Azera pounded a fist on the table, which was mimicked by several other people nearby. "I didn't sacrifice myself and donate my genes to the project just for it to be stopped!"

"It wasn't my fault! Not totally..." Kuja looked away for a moment.

"I've been here a long time, Kuja," Azera said. "Tell me what happened to Terra."

She looked at the table. "I happened."

"How's that?"

"Well, uh, you probably already knew that Garland was going to create Genomes to become the homes of Terra's sleeping souls, right?" Azera nodded. "Well, the planet Gaia was being cleansed of its souls so that it could become Terra. But the process wasn't going fast enough for Garland's liking, so he started work on the Genomes early. He used one of the earlier models to become his angel of death for Gaia... me."

"There were five of us that left our genes to be used to create the Genomes..." Azera looked thoughtfully at Kuja and smiled. "I admit, I see a bit of Sethe in you..." She smiled wistfully, then shook her head.

"Kefka said that I looked like you," Kuja said. "Except for the hair color, of course."

"Well, I was always a bit of a freak," Azera laughed. "I think that's why I was one of the samples." She squinted at Kuja. "Yes, I suppose I do see the resemblence."

"Well, Garland almost immediately decided he needed a better model of Genome, so he fiddled with the older versions until he came up with his final one. "They had blonde hair, shorter tails, and no feathers..."

"How dreadfully dull," Azera said. Kuja nodded in agreement, looking over her shoulder as Kefka returned with a glass of orange juice. He sat next to Kuja.

"I got some!" he giggled.

"Yes, the tranquilizers will do you some good," Azera said with a smirk. Kefka looked at the glass and shrugged.

"Well, when I found out that I was being replaced, I got upset, and kinda freaked out."

"Major freak out," Kefka grinned. He took a gulp of the orange juice.

"What did you do?" Azera wondered.

"I sorta blew up Terra."

"You what?!" Azera's shriek echoed off the walls of the cafeteria.

"Oooh, nice echo!" Kefka giggled. He finished the glass of orange juice, and looked around. "Hey, are you gonna finish that?"

"There's still a husk left," Kuja said, surprised at how sheepish she sounded.

"I can't believe this!" Azera glared at her angrily. "I can't believe Garland would be dumb enough to create something that would destroy the very purpose of its creation!"

"I was upset!" Kuja shot back. Both women glared at each other. A hint of red was appearing at Azera's hairline.

"Uh oh, I know where this is going," Kefka said as he finished his second glass of orange juice. He hiccupped. "Now, uwee, don't go blowing shtuff up again, Kuja-doll."

"There's nothing here to blow up," Kuja said with an annoyed sniff.

"I think I can find something worth blowing up," Azera said, digging her nails into the table.

"I think you need shum medicashun yershelf..." Kefka said, his voice becomming slurred.

"And I thought just having a creator who thought I was a worthless doll was bad," Kuja said with a sneer.

"Kuja-doll..."

"I think you two are both completely insane," Azera hissed slowly, standing up. "I'm going to have you both locked up."

"Not that...." Kefka squeaked faintly and slumped against Kuja.

"You can't lock us up! We're just visiting!"

Azera smirked. "Just watch me."

----

end chapter 14