Collectibles Are Fun #4
Hope was used to coming off second best in the popularity stakes. After all, he was up against some pretty stiff competition:
• Lightning was pretty much the poster girl of the Guardian Corps. Recruitment was up 50% with an increase of 75% in the number of young women wanting to join. However, the Guardian Corps had yet to introduce pants for their female members –much to Lightning’s disgust (and Fang’s secret delight).
• Serah was not only cool by association but also because she happened to be a badass schoolteacher who could shoot a bow and swing a sword. She also had the elementary school demographic firmly in hand (along with the teacher-con demographic too… but Hope preferred not to think about that, although it did make him wonder about Snow).
• Snow was a hit with the ladies: tall, blonde, and built. He was also warm, friendly, and he had the whole “rebel” thing going on. The only reason he wasn’t more popular was because Serah had made it very, very clear that any female fan that got within ten feet of him was liable to end up a pincushion.
• Fang had the advantage of being highly attractive and exotic - a potent combination. She also had the kind of swagger that made people swoon. It wasn’t a coincidence that Yun fashion had seen something of a revival. Her accent was just the icing on the cake. The fact that Fang had a thing going on with Lightning actually made her more popular – especially with the photographers.
• Vanille had the exotic thing going on too, but instead of being all sleek, smirking deadliness, she was the cute and bubbly type. She lit up the room when she walked in, and she was a hit with kids, the old folks, and pretty much everybody who met her. She might be a little less popular if people knew what kind of mischief she could get up to, but Vanille was an expert at appearing innocent.
• Sazh had been a smash hit with the older crowd. The women admired his devotion to his son, and the men admired the fact that he was a certifiable bad ass, even if he didn’t act it most of the time. He also came complete with a cute kid and an equally cute chocobo. Really, it wasn’t fair at all. It wasn’t like Hope got a sidekick (he did have an Eidolon… but as cool as he thought Alexander was, everyone seemed to like Bahamut more).
So Hope had learned to deal with coming off second best in the regular popularity polls that the tabloids ran, but this was too much. The latest line of plush toys had come out, and he’d been hoping for something of an upgrade.
See, Hope had a problem. He might – just maybe – have a bit of a crush on Vanille (well, the crush was really more the size of Cocoon but…). He really, really wanted to ask her out, but he needed to practice first. And what better way to practice than by using plush toys.
"Hi, Vanille." Hope held up Plush-Hope in his right hand.
"Hi, Hope." Plush-Vanille was in his left hand, and he’d raised the pitch of his voice in what he hoped was a decent imitation of Vanille. It wasn’t.
"Um… you look really good in that dress." Plush-Hope patted Plush-Vanille on the back.
"Hope… this is the same dress I always wear." Plush-Vanille giggled. "But I’m glad you like it."
Hope did a bit of giggling himself. He could imagine it now. He’d say something silly, and Vanille would laugh. Then he’d ask her out, and she’d say yes, and then they’d go to a restaurant, have something to eat, and head back to her place… and…
And now the two plush toys were making out. But what made it creepy – and what he’d been hoping they would change – was the fact that Plush-Hope still looked like a kid whereas Plush-Vanille looked like a young woman.
"Come on," Hope said, glaring at the plush version of himself. "Haven’t they noticed that I’ve grown up?"
A snicker came from behind him, and he turned to find Snow grinning at him. “You really should just ask her out, you know.” He picked up the Plush-Vanille and put it back onto the shelf where it slumped over the Plush-Serah. “The real Vanille, that is.”
Hope sighed. “It’s not that simple. And you had it easy. Lightning just punched you in the face. Fang would totally spear me.”
"Nah, she’d only spear you a little bit - nothing fatal."
"Thanks." Hope glanced at the shelf and shuddered. For some reason, it felt like Plush-Fang was glaring at him.
X X X
Collectibles Are Fun #5
It wasn’t everyday that Lightning got to see Odin bonking Bahamut over the head. In fact, it wasn’t something she’d ever seen before. Her Eidolon had pulled the dragon into a headlock and was now doing his level best to noogie Bahamut to death.
"Are they okay?" Lightning winced as Bahamut managed to squirm free only for Odin to drag him back into a headlock.
"I’m sure they’re just messing around." Fang was picking through the remains of a burnt out transport.
The pilots had managed to get the ship down in one piece before evacuating as it had come under attack from a swarm of monsters. Fortunately, she and Lightning had been close enough to lend a hand. The pilots were safe, but half the transport had been blown up by one of Bahamut’s attacks.
"Right…" Lightning picked a bit of burnt material up off the ground. "What was the transport carrying anyway?"
"I don’t know." Fang stopped and then began to laugh. "Actually, I think I do know. Look." She held up the charred remains of a plush toy.
"Yep, it looks like it is. It’s a plush toy of Odin." Fang poked several more piles of burnt plush toys with her spear. "In fact… all the burnt plush toys are plush toys of Odin."
Lightning now had a sneaking suspicion about why her Eidolon was trying to shove Bahamut’s head into the still smouldering piles of plush toys.
Fang darted into the remaining half of the transport before doubling over in laughter. “You’ve got to have a look in there, Lightning.”
Choosing to ignore the squabbling Eidolons, Lightning joined Fang inside the remaining half of the transport. The contents: box after box of undamaged Bahamut plush toys. In a mysterious “coincidence” Bahamut’s stray attack had only destroyed Odin plush toys.
"Really?" Lightning leapt on top of Odin and pried her Eidolon off the dragon. "You’re doing this over a few boxes of plush toys."
Odin had the decency to look ashamed. Bahamut just gave them the dragon equivalent of a smirk.
"Wipe that smirk off your face, or I’ll have you scrubbing toilets." The smirk vanished. Bahamut wasn’t sure how Lightning would get him to scrub toilets - he was an Eidolon, not a soldier - but he didn’t doubt that she would find a way. And it wasn’t like he could rely on Fang for help - the Yun would gladly throw him under the bus if it meant getting into Lightning’s good books. "I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, Bahamut. I’m sure this was all a horrible accident."
Bahamut did his best to look contrite before disappearing along with Odin.
"Can you believe those two?" Lightning sighed.
"Yes, I can." Fang snickered and wrapped her arms around Lightning. "Remember how angry you got when my plush toy outsold yours?"
"Fang… do you want to sleep in our bed tonight?"
"Forget I said anything."
Two weeks later, that month’s sales figures came in. Bahamut plush toys had outsold Odin plush toys… by a number roughly equivalent to all the plush toys that had been destroyed in the ruined transport.
Two weeks and one hour later, Bahamut was summoned to the New Bodhum Guardian Corps facility.
Two weeks, one hour and five minutes later, Bahamut was scrubbing toilets.
X X X
Collectibles Are Fun #6
It might have had something to do with the extra glasses of wine she’d had after dinner, but the plush toy on the coffee table was suddenly the most interesting thing in the world to Lightning. She picked it up and giggled. Her sister looked silly.
"Look at me," Lightning said, waving Plush-Serah around. "I’m Serah Farron and I dress like a school girl." She snickered. "That’s why Snow likes me – he has a schoolgirl fetish."
"In case you’ve forgotten, Lightning, I was eighteen at the time." Serah slid onto the couch beside her sister and took the plush toy away before Lightning could come up with anything else to say. "And Snow doesn’t have a schoolgirl fetish."
"Does he have some other kind of fetish then?" Lightning peered up at Serah. "Because I’m not going to let you marry a pervert, Serah."
"Oh, really? You think Snow is a pervert?" Serah nodded at the Plush-Lightnings on the shelf nearby – there were twelve of them there, a complete set. "Because your girlfriend owns every plush toy of you in existence, along with all of their alternate outfits and weapons."
"That’s not perverted." Lightning sat up. Well, it did sound a little perverted, but she thought it was sweet. "Fang just happens to like collecting plush toys of me."
"Okay, maybe perverted was the wrong word." Serah grinned. "Creepy is probably a better description."
"It’s not creepy – it’s sweet." Lightning tackled Serah, pinning her to the couch. "You’re just jealous that Snow doesn’t own every plush toy of you." Lightning tilted her head to one side. "But Vanille does…"
"…" Serah froze. She hadn’t thought about that. "Uh…"
Lightning yawned, suddenly sleepy. It wasn’t every night that she got to have dinner with Serah. But Snow was away on an expedition and so were Fang and Vanille, so Serah was staying at her house again. She blinked blearily. It had to be the wine – that was the only way she could explain what came out of her mouth next. “Are you and Vanille having secret sex?”
"What?" Serah shoved Lightning off her.
Lightning thudded onto the ground and reached for the plush toys on the shelf. She grabbed one of Serah and one of Vanille. “Do I really have to explain?” She shoved the two plush toys together and made kissing noises. “Are you and Vanille having secret sex?” She paused, adjusting the position of the plush toys. Serah should be the one on top. “Or maybe you do it likes this…” She turned the plush toy of Serah upside down. “Sometimes Fang and I –”
"Please stop talking!" Serah covered her ears with her hands. "Lightning, you’ve had too much to drink. Come on, let’s get you up to bed."
It took Serah quite a bit of effort to get her sister up into bed, but even then Lightning would not relinquish her hold on the plush toys - nor would she stop making suggestions about the nature of Vanille and Serah’s relationship. When Serah finally got Lightning into bed, her older sister promptly pulled her in as well and refused to let go of her.
Great, she’d almost forgotten how clingy her sister was in bed.
And that was how Fang and Vanille found them – Lightning wrapped around Serah with Plush-Vanille and Plush-Serah wrapped around each other too.
"Um…" Serah blinked blearily up at Fang and Vanille as Lightning – who was still asleep – tightened her grip. "This isn’t what it looks like."
"Serah… Vanille…" Lightning mumbled. "No… not on the coffee table. I eat off that."
Fang’s eyes widened, and Vanille giggled.
"I’m not even going to ask." Fang tried – and failed – to hold back her laughter. "But I really need to take a picture."
X X X
The Next Generation In Plush Toy Technology
Welcome to the future.
For decades, plush toys have been stuck in the past. Today, at Dia Industries, we are proud to welcome all of you to the future – the future of plush toy technology.
Starting with our latest Lightning Farron plush toy, each of our plush toys will incorporate a number of revolutionary, next-generation features:
• Unmatched interactivity. Each next-generation plush toy contains an advanced processor capable of storing hundreds of different phrases. Our advanced processors are also capable of recognising each other, allowing the plush toys in your collection to modify their speech based on which plush toys you own. Do you own a Fang and a Lightning? You can look forward to teasing, flirting, and witty banter.
• Unparalleled expressiveness. Our next-generation plush toys have the ability to alter their expressions based on your behaviour and their surroundings. Tired of the same, boring expressions? Then poke your Lightning plush toy in the stomach – it will give you an authentic Lightning scowl. Want to put a smile on your Fang plush toy’s face? Then put it next to your Lightning plush toy on the shelf.
• Unbelievable ruggedness. You’ll never have to worry about breaking one of our next-generation plush toys. Each toy is made of materials specially designed to withstand burning, electrocution, freezing, chemical attack, stabbing, slicing, and explosions. Nothing short of an angry Eidolon has the firepower to take down one of our toys!
• Unrivalled upgradability. All of our next-generation plush toys are designed to receive upgrades to their software via our company’s website. You can look forward to bigger vocabularies, more complex behaviour, and more authentic expressions.
• Unbeatable combat ability. Worried about your kids? Well, worry no more. Our next-generation plush toys are combat ready! Simply set them to ‘protect’ using the parental lock codes provided with each toy, and our toys will fight to the death to protect your children. For extra security, you can also purchase some of our scaled-down, advanced weaponry – we have everything from miniature (but deadly) gun blades to tiny (but effective) spears.
Stop living in the past. Live in the future. Buy one of our plush toys today.
X X X
Product Recall Notice: Sergeant Lightning Farron Model #250-X
It has recently come to our attention that our Sergeant Lightning Farron plush toy (Model #250-X) may be defective. In the interests of customer safety, we are issuing a product recall notice. A free product repair service will be made available to all owners. Until you have had your toy repaired, please be aware of the following defects:
• Due to a programming error, the Lightning toy may become overaggressive. Several owners have actually reported being assaulted by their toy. If this occurs, do not panic. As a plush toy, the toy lacks the capacity to inflict serious injury. Simply pick up the toy and put it in a strong, closed container (e.g., a box). Under no circumstances should you allow the toy to gain access to our specially designed brand of weaponry. Although the weapons sold with our plush toys are carefully calibrated to minimise the risk of permanent injury, we cannot guarantee that the toy will not upgrade them. Do not allow the toy access to knives, forks, or any other objects that can be used to stab, slash, hack, or otherwise inflict injury.
• Due to another programming error, the Lightning toy may develop a predilection for foul language. Under no circumstances, should the toy be left alone with young children. Not only is it likely to glare and threaten them (see #1 above) but it is also likely to curse at them using at least fifteen different swear words and phrases. Do not gag the Lightning toy, as this will only provoke a hostile physical response.
• Due to another tiny programming error, the Lightning toy may develop overprotective tendencies. If this occurs, the toy will begin referring to an individual as its “sister” before attempting to drive away everyone else. Do not attempt to separate the Lightning toy from its chosen individual. Attempting to do this will result in the Lightning toy entering “Army of One” mode. This is a very, very bad thing. And Dia Industries hereby accepts no responsibility or liability for any injuries, property damage, or deaths that may result (note: reading this product recall notice constitutes agreement to these terms).
• Due to a manufacturing error, one in ten Lightning toys is not composed of the standard materials. These toys are instead composed an exotic metal-ceramic-crystal compound that is impervious to virtually all forms of chemical, physical, and energy attack. If your Lightning toy is defective in this manner, please return it immediately to one of our licensed suppliers. Do not get it angry. And do not lend any credence to the rumours of these defective toys being prototype military models. We do not make weapons. We make toys.
Here at Dia Industries, we take your safety seriously. If you have any further questions or problems, or if your toy begins to show signs of homicidal rage, please contact us either via email or through the hotline number provided below.
X X X
As always, I neither own Final Fantasy, nor am I making any money off of this.
Here is the second installment of vignettes. All of these appear on my tumblr first before I gather a few of them up and post here. As you can see, things over in plush-toy land have taken an awkward turn. In typical fashion, Dia Industry’s attempt to conquer the toy market has led to a few mistakes… like killer plush toys. But that’s the fun part, isn’t it? Hehehehe.
Buy a piece of the future – buy a killer Lightning plushy toy today!
I also write original fiction. If you like my fanfiction, I’m sure you’ll love my original stuff too. You can find it here
. If you like fantasy, give The Last Huntress Series
a try. I’ve also recently released my first novel-length original story, Durendal
. And this Sunday 27th April (Pacific Standard Time), The Last Huntress will be available for free on Amazon. Check it out! You can find a link to it in my profile, and I’ll post a bigger, more obvious link on the day.
As always, I appreciate feedback. Reviews and comments are welcome.