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Blessed Forgetfulness By Matthew Perrett Selphie collapsed to the ground, her lungs burning with exertion. As she struggled to catch her breath, the young warrior-in-training eyed the corpse of the creature she had just slain nervously. She had fought the monstrous caterpillars before, but this one had been vastly more powerful than the others. She half expected it to rise and attack her again, but it remained cold and unmoving. A quiet thud behind the monster alerted Selphie to possible danger, and she forced herself to get to her feet. Clutching her nunchaku tightly, she circled the carcass warily. When she made her way behind the remains of the gigantic larva, the cadet's eyes widened with surprise. A small, fleshy sphere lay on the forest floor, which Selphie recognized from her studies. "A Guardian Force," she whispered. Small wonder the beast had been so tough. Apparently the Guardian Force had detached itself when its host – was that the right word? – expired. Selphie set her weapon down and examined the strange ball carefully. Since Trabia Garden didn't sanction the use of Guardian Forces, the few classes about them had covered the subject in a brief and cursory manner. She had seen a few pictures, but never up close and personal like this. Her curiosity aroused, the youth picked up the round creature and examined it closely. She knew from some extracurricular reading that, when junctioned, a Guardian Force could grant the user superhuman abilities, but she had no idea how to go about junctioning one. "Hey," she muttered to herself while idly prodding the orb with her finger, "how does this junctioning thing work?" The globular organism unfurled in the blink of an eye and, without warning, launched itself at Selphie's face. Before she could react, it was on her, expanding rapidly and enveloping her head and upper torso with meaty appendages. Still exhausted from the previous fight, the panicked teenager was too weak to fight off this new threat. She screamed in terror, but the abomination forced tendrils into her mouth and nostrils and she could feel it burrowing under her skin and she couldn't BREATHE Selphie blinked, then looked around. What had she been doing? Spying the body of the dead monster, she rolled her eyes and tsked with annoyance. Spacing out after a battle was a potentially fatal mistake. The encounter must have taken more out of her than she thought. Standing, she noticed that she felt a little lightheaded, but the sensation faded as quickly as it had appeared. Selphie slowly became aware of an odd presence in the back of her mind, as well as an incredible power surging through her lithe frame. She grinned and clapped her hands together joyfully. She had actually junctioned a Guardian Force! She couldn't understand why some

people were against using them – she felt amazing. She almost wanted to skip all the way back to the Garden. The young soldier giggled at the thought. She couldn't wait to tell…tell… Pursing her lips, Selphie struggled to remember the name of her best friend. It was such an airheaded thing to forget. She gave up with a shrug, deciding not to worry about it. The name would come to her later. Picking up her nunchaku, she set off for home with a spring in her step. She was sure having a Guardian Force was going to be an unforgettable experience.

Blessed Forgetfulness  

A Final Fantasy VIII horror story. How does junctioning really work? Selphie finds her first Guardian Force and experiences the junctionin...