A few days ago my friend Pete and I were playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 on my save. The atmosphere was jolly, the drinks flowed a little. We were hunting for some monsters that look a bit like shoe people only made out of flowers, as GameFAQs seemed sure that once we found one of them we could level it up and then eat it to learn the ‘Raise’ skill. We took a quick break from trying to find the shoe people to do some housework, eat some other monsters, level up this and that, redefine some paradigms based on the new upgrades and so forth.

As anyone who’s ever muddled through the insanity of a FFXIII-2 Optimised Levelling guide will tell you, there is a delicate and confusing art to upgrading main characters Serah and Noel in a correct fashion. After spending all of Serah’s points successfully we moved to Noel, whence there was some degree of debate over whether it was more appropriate to level up a small crystarium node with the Synergy or the Medic role.

Now I like to think of myself as a fair and just man, but that is my Noel. What I say goes. In my flat especially. Pete is an alright mate I suppose, or at least he was before any of this nonsense occurred, but frankly it is insubordinate of him to even question my authority. After I made him bagels. And gave him crackers. The good crackers with black pepper on, not the plain ones. But once it was clear we were at an impasse over the medic/synergist issue, Pete apparently went mad.

He assigned the small node to the Sentinel role.

SENTINEL?! WHERE THE FUCK DID THAT COME FROM? And then he just grinned at me like a big long stupid chicken, looming into my face, delighted with his betrayal, excited by my stunned silence. How dare he un-optimise my Noel? In my flat, with a stomach filled with my bagels? Okay, so the time I gave him the bagels was about a month previous, but still.

That is Pete on the right, making the same face he made when he stained my Noel.

He said he liked those bagels. He appeared grateful at the time. I didn’t detect anything sick in him; there was no soulless emptiness behind his eyes as you may have suspected from someone so readily corrosive. Yet one short month later, here he was defiling my Noel for his own sick fun – hardly the actions of a grateful man. Barely the actions of a human man, as you can see in the image above.

Noel has since moved on from his ordeal, but I haven’t. Every time I look at him, I know what was done to him. My Noel is no longer perfect, and a man I once trusted is now a stranger to me.

I write this post not to make Pete feel guilty, although he should certainly feel that. WE HADN’T SAVED IN ABOUT THREE HOURS, PETE. No, I write this post to preserve his foulness forever, and to pledge revenge.

If Final Fantasy games have taught me anything, it’s that if you believe in a dream it will come true. Well, I believe in the dream of revenge. One day Pete will have a Noel of his own. It might not be called Noel, and it might not look like a reject from a Kingdom Hearts game and be voiced by a small child hooked up to an overclocked ECG device, but I will identify it as a Noel. And when I do, I will introduce the tiniest, most annoying flaw into it and then I will laugh like a big stupid long chicken and see how he likes it.

All that remains now is waiting. Waiting and plotting, and eventually: striking.