Bahamut

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Since I grew up in the Misty Mountains—between the Forests of Baron, and the Kaipo Desert—I'm not versed on the differences in bodies of water; and on the way to Bahamut's Lagoon, I make the mistake of telling this to Rob.

"Alagoonneedssand," Rob says.

"You're slurring your 's's together again," I tell him.

He ignores me, plowing on, "Itsshallow, unlikeabay, whichcanberatherdeep."

"Uh-huh," I mutter.

"Alagunaisbetweenalagoonandabayindepth."

"Okay."

"Thenalaguneisevenshallowerthanalagoon, likealmostapond."

"Yep."

"Apondisthemostshallow."

"All right."

"Ifit'sfreshwater, it'salake."

"For sure."

"Riversareneededforsaltwaterandfreshwaterto—"

"She isn't listening to you," Shiva shouts over her shoulder. Her and Ifrit walk ahead of me and Rob, picking and choosing which redrock slopes we climb, and which we pass, exchanging quiet conversation that I wish I could overhear, except I have Rob in my ear.

When he tugs at my sleeve, I smile at him, confessing, "I didn't really take that all in."

He shakes his tiny bomb-arms at me. "Thenwhy'dyouask?"

"I didn't." I shrug. "I just told you, I didn't know a whole lot about why a lagoon is a lagoon."

He zips in front of me, then stops stone cold, opening his arms as if to block me, but fingertip to fingertip, he's still only about a foot wide. I expected him to grow faster than he has so far—since I threw him at the cockatrice, and he returned in phoenix-down-flames—but he remains as pint-sized as a floating kitten with fire brimming from its head.

He enunciates each word, painfully careful with his hyperactive tongue. "So-let-me-get-this-straight," he quickly drawls. "You-confess-to-not-knowing-something, and-you-also-confess-you-don't-want-the-answer?"

I stand akimbo, quirking an eyebrow at him. "I don't need to learn everything, Rob."

"Th-the-h-hell-you-don't," he stammers, flabbergasted. "You're-the-last-summoner-of-Mist. You-need-to-learn-every-spell, every-formula, every—"

"No she doesn't," Shiva pipes over her shoulder. "She could skip white magic."

"Ifrit," Rob pleads. "Helpme."

Ifrit turns around, and Shiva pauses next to him. Where she is thin, wispy, and tantalizingly cold, he is burly, gnarly, and uncomfortably hot. And he looks ridiculous when his fiery eyebrows scrunch into his narrowing eyes.

"Rydia!" he booms.

Why is it that, even though I know he's that loud, I always duck under my arms?

"You must learn everything!" he bellows. "Except white magic!"

"Ohcomeon," Rob and Shiva jeer in unison, then she adds, "Grow a spine and take a side, you big minotaur."

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