UPDATE: 9/30/2013 - Chapter 21 is up!
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy IV, nor Square-Enix's characters such as Rydia, Kain, Cecil, etc. They belong to Square-Enix. This is just a fan work dedicated to my all-time favorite game. Also, I did not steal any ideas from FFIV: The After Years. This is my own story, written up from my own ideas.
Rydia: Heart and Heartache
As the school bell rang, the door burst open and a congregation of children ran out into the roads of Mist. Rydia let go of the bell's rope and rushed to the open doorway.
"Have a good day, children! Don't get into any trouble!" she called.
Some of her students turned around and waved at her. Rydia waved back, a pleasant smile spreading onto her face. They then turned around and ran into the town. She was very pleased; her pupils had worked hard today, and she wondered which one had that potential inside of them.
Musing to herself, she walked back into the school housewhich was also her homeand closed the door. Her entire home had been remodeled to meet her needs. Her old living room, which had consisted of a small space with a fireplace, had been expanded into a spacious room with many tables scattered around the room.
With her living room expanded, Rydia had moved her private living quarters to the back of the house. A door, which she kept bolted during class, now stood between the classroom and her chamber.
Sitting down at one of the tables, Rydia played with the plain brass ring on her finger. Mother... she thought. She no longer cried when she thought of her mother. Instead, she felt a strange sensation of regret and love, combined into one emotion.
She took the ring off her finger and gazed at it. I hope you're proud of me, mother. I still have your ring. Rydia placed the ring back on her finger, and sighed. Other thoughts that disturbed her entered into her head. Perhaps a stroll down town will help me clear my mind.
She stood up, and opened the door to the house. Ah, nothing like a sunny afternoon. Today is a good day. Running her fingers through her green hair, Rydia walked down the road toward the central square of Mist.
This town has really grown since the Bomb Ring incident. Mist had been simple village when she was a child. Then, a ring had been delivered by a Dark Knight named Cecil, and a Dragoon named Kain. Although Rydia didn't know then that they had not expected the ring to release Bombs, and set the village on fire, as a child, she attacked them in her Summoner rage.
All the Summoners... supposedly died. But Rydia didn't believe it. She knew someone in this town, maybe one of her students, could summon eidolons again.
She shook her head. I thought I was out for a walk to clear my mind. She took in a deep breath and turned her thoughts elsewhere.
The central square was busy as usual. Rydia saw trading caravans from Baron, Damcyan, and Kaipo.
She smiled as she gazed upon the various merchant stands and the great inn that had been renovated after the Bomb Ring destruction.
Thank you, Cecil, she thought, clasping her hands together. This dream of mine wouldn't have been possible without you.
Then, a womanone of the mothers of her studentsran up to her from the fountain with gossiping ladies. Rydia swallowed, she knew what was coming.
"Oh, Miss Rydia! It's so good to see you!" the woman, named Elena, said."My daughter has been talking about you all day since class ended. She's hoping she'll be able to summon a chocobo soon! I'm so grateful!" She clasped her hands together. "You've really brought this town back to life!"
"Thank you," Rydia said with a smile. Good, that subject hasn't come up yet.
"You're wonderful with children," she continued. The Summoner bit her lip. "I know you're young, but you should get married!"
She groaned. Not this again! "I'm only twenty-one years old, Elena," Rydia tried to say as kindly as possible. "I don't think it's time for me to"
"Oh, but Miss Rydia," Elena smiled with excitement. "You've heard the rumors. Prince Edward of Damcyan is interested in you. Surely, a prince must catch your interest!"
Rydia wanted to slap herself in the face. Wrong Edward. "Uh... last I checked, Edward was still rebuilding his castle."
"He's almost finished with the repairs I've heard," Elena persisted. "That is, because our blessed King provided the funds." She gazed at the Summoner with such longing eyes. "Oh, you should get married to him. It would be a great help to our city."
"I'll... consider it," Rydia lied. "Excuse me, I need to continue my walk. I... I'm very tired from my work today. Again, thank you for your kind words, but I must be off."
"All right," Elena said, beaming. She waved good-bye to the Summoner and then returned to the fountain with her gossiping friends.
She sighed, and took a deep breath. It's not like I don't want to get married... I just don't feel ready yet.
Rydia changed her direction from the town and went to outskirts. Many trees lined the mountain side of Mist. She walked over the green field that had slowly been pushed away from the extension of the town. She hoped that it wouldn't go any further.
There was a stump sitting in the middle of field. Rydia smiled. I remember this stump. I came here a lot. She sat down on it, and began to let her thoughts leave her mental state for a moment. Her body and shoulders relaxed, and she let out a calm sigh.
After several moments, not knowing the time that had passed, Rydia came to herself, feeling peaceful and refreshed. She smiled, finally letting go of all her troubles. This feels... good.
Rydia looked down at the stump and patted its roots. "You and I have spent a lot of time together, eh? Remember that day when I brought my students here? It was their first day at my school."
[See link in Description for the rest of this chapter and the story]