Final Fantasy XIII Episode i
Episode i is a special epilogue story that was released with Final Fantasy XIII: Ultimate Hits International.
Author: Jun Eishima
Fan translation: Lissar (-Dilly Dally, Shilly Shally-Lissar’s Translations)
“It’s like… a miracle.” Lightning looked up towards Cocoon, her eyes filled with wonder. It is… Vanille answered, in a voice that could not quite reach reality. To stop Cocoon from falling… they knew that they must do it, at all cost. So many people were there, so many lives. In their hearts, they knew they had to save them. It had been the flash of a moment and forever, then when they awoke both Vanille and Fang were here. It was different from when they had become crystals in fal’Cie Anima’s temple. When that happened everything–including fal’Cie Anima–had fallen asleep. A sleep so deep there were no dreams. Now even though they were sleeping, they could see the world. They could see the beautiful and warm world of Gran Pulse. They could hear the voices of their friends.
Several armored soldiers ran out from the airship. Those uniforms were something they had seen before. Oh, of course. Them. Weren’t they called PSICOM? These men were no longer our enemies. They were working hard to make sure the people from Cocoon were taken to a safe place. No longer would they turn their guns against the citizens. Vanille had no proof of this, but she believed. Their voices screaming out to save the people held no lies.
“We may never see them again, but we can make miracles happen.” Hope said. He looked sad, but his voice was tinged with strength and decisiveness. They had saved the people of Cocoon, surely they could make one more miracle happen. Surely they would be able to save Vanille and Fang. Perhaps that was what he was thinking.
Thank you, Hope, Vanille whispered. But this doesn’t mean it’s the end. We’ll always be watching over you. Even if you can’t see us, we can see you. We can see all of Gran Pulse from this crystal tower. All of you must become happy, don’t let those you love stray from your side.
Vanille watched her friends reunite with their loved ones, her heart filled with joy. She felt at peace, finally the harm she had caused had been undone. It had been all their fault that Serah and Dajh had been turned into l’Cie.
Once the joyful tears of their reunion had passed, Serah turned her eyes towards Cocoon. Her eyes filled with shadows. That is how I looked, long ago, Vanille thought. Our actions brought sorrow to others. We involved people who were not supposed to be involved, and changed their fate. I was scared of our crimes, they were too heavy, I couldn’t face them. I ran. That is how I looked, once upon a time.
I know the pain she holds. I know how she feels looking on Cocoon right now. Then Vanille remembered. Once, on that beach outside Bodhum, Serah had told Vanille “I have all of my friends, they’ll help me get passed this.” Vanille remembered the look in her eyes. Even if the realization and regret of their crimes threaten to bring her down, Vanille knew Serah would be able to stand strong in the face of them.
Vanille called to Snow, standing by Serah’s side. Always stand by her, Vanille said. If you do that, she can stand up to anything. She might feel lost, but she will find her way. I know you will say ‘We can make miracles happen! We need to find a way to save Vanille and Fang!’ But you can’t. You need to stay beside her.
He couldn’t have heard her, but he turned around. As if her voice had really reached him. He looked as though he had whispered, ‘I’m sorry.’
The moment he had her in his arms again, Snow’s mind went white. As if it had been wiped of all his memories. No past, no future. Just the feeling of having Serah returned to him. He had no room for anything else. My mind is a simple thing, Snow thought. There is only so much it can take.
I’m sorry, Snow said, whispering to Vanille and Fang, asleep in their crystal tower. He had seen Serah looking towards Cocoon, and was brought back to reality. His memories came flooding back. There were still two people he hadn’t saved. This wasn’t the time to forget everything.
In the vision he’d had in his cold sleep, he’d seen a future were everyone was laughing together. He knew, he just knew, that Vanille and Fang had been there with them. Which meant it wasn’t over, it couldn’t be the end yet.
“It’s broken now, isn’t? Destroyed…” Her voice brought Snow back to the present. “I am saved… I am human again, and am able to see you and Lightning again. But…” Serah looked up at Cocoon. “I know there is something I must do. It’s not fair for only me to be saved, to become happy. But… I don’t know what to do…”
Serah was right, of course. Everyone had lost their homes. The very tenets of their life were no longer valid. There was an uncountable number of people that needed to be saved. The amount of work that was needed was enough to make him dizzy.
The only thing Snow could do was to stop thinking about it. After all, his brain wasn’t really made for thinking of such things.
“If it’s broken, we’ll just have to make a new one.” A simple answer from a simple man.
“A new Cocoon?” Serah’s eyes grew round.
“No no, not that. I mean something different, instead of Cocoon. We’ll build it here. We can make a new city on Gran Pulse. Together.” Snow had just been trying to say something, anything, but once he said it out loud it didn’t seem like a bad idea. In fact, he thought, there could be no better plan.
“We can build our own houses, and grow our own food. We can do it. We already did it in Bodhum, remember? We made a vegetable garden, and hunted monsters.”
“Just make a new one? That sounds like you.” Lightning said, looking up towards Cocoon. “You know, you’re right. We’ll just have to make a new one.”
“Exactly! From this day forth, this will be our new home!”
“There isn’t even anything here yet.” Lightning retorted, laughing. Serah stifled a giggle.
“Oh… oh yeah. On Gran Pulse, everyone is family.”
Lightning glanced at Snow. You remember? She seemed to say. Snow nodded, of course I remember. What Vanille always said.
“Then this is our home. It has always been our home.” Lightning turned towards the tower and smiled.
“Because it’s their home.”
The days they spent wandering Gran Pulse, holding onto their small hope as they walked towards Oerba. They were friends that fought together, they were family. It was then that this place become home to them. It wasn’t hell, it wasn’t the land of their enemies. Just home.
They heard a breath behind them. Hope. Beyond they could see a group of soldiers wearing uniforms of blue.
“Hey aren’t those… that’s the Calvary.” Hope whispered, then broke out running. Of course, they didn’t yet know if his father was safe. The last they had heard of him, he had been rescued by the Calvary. Perhaps they had some news of him.
“Let’s follow him.” Lightning said, following after him.
“When a friend is in a pinch…” Sazh said, lifting up Dajh.
“What do you mean ‘pinch’ daddy?”
“It means when there is some trouble. Though, I’ve been in quite a pinch for some time now.”
The baby chocobo on Dajh’s shoulder turned around to Snow and whistled at him as if to say Aren’t you coming with?
In his heart, Snow sent another apology to Vanille and Fang. We’ll rescue you soon enough. That vision I had? It wasn’t an illusion. I won’t let it be.
“We should go too.”
“Of course we should!” Serah nodded. She seemed different now, not as sad as when she had looked towards Cocoon. He put his arm around her, and held her once more.
“Excuse me! I’m sorry, but do you know a man named Bartholomew Estheim?” Hope yelled out to the men in the blue uniforms. He thought that perhaps one of them was Rygdea, or at least one of his men. Looking closer, he didn’t see a single familiar face. It seemed his troop wasn’t there. “I know he was rescued in Palumpolum, doesn’t anyone…” Hope felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder, and he spun around, surprised. This man, as he had thought, wasn’t anyone he knew, but he seemed to have information.
“Your father is safe. I’ve seen him myself.”
Hope’s legs trembled, nearly falling to the ground in relief. He had never worried so much about his family. He’d never had reason to. Thinking back to when Bodhum had been closed off, he had watched the news reports everyday. It had never occurred to him that he was really hoping for any information he could find about his father.
“Unfortunately, the most important thing right now is helping the refugees. You might have to wait awhile until you can see your father.”
“Oh. No, that’s alright. As long as I know that he’s safe. Thank you.”
Every single person left alive on Cocoon had to escape. An astounding number. Just leading them to shelter would have been enough work on its own, but food and water must be found for them as well. It was enough that he had taken the time to tell Hope of his father’s safety.
Lightning clapped him on the back and smiled at him. Turning around, he saw Sazh and Snow giving him an encouraging nod. They had been worried about him.
“So what’s the full damage report on Cocoon?” Lightning addressed the soldier. His face became grim. Two thirds, it seemed, went undamaged. Which meant one third was not. People, cities… one third had been lost.
"They say the largest amount of destruction happened around Bodhum. But almost no lives were lost in that area. The Purge you know. Everyone was already gone.”
Whether it was lucky, or ironic, Hope didn’t know. But Bodhum, it was Lightning and Snow’s home. How might they feel about that?
“You know, you’re right. We’ll just have to make a new one.”
Lightning’s words came back to him. Perhaps she had already known what had happened to Bodhum, after looking at the shell of Cocoon. Perhaps she had already dealt with it in her way.
“Um… also, an airship will be landing her soon. One with refugees.” The soldier said in a low voice. “You might want to go somewhere else for awhile. People still might feel that, you know…”
“That we’re enemies of Cocoon.”
They had nearly forgotten. The people of Cocoon didn’t know what actually had happened. To them, it was the Pulse l’Cie who had destroyed Cocoon. It was the l’Cie that had driven them from paradise.
“Yes of course… if they were to see a l’Cie in front of them right now, there is only one action they’d think to take.”
They remembered that day in Palumpolum. They remembered how they had been treated. Like enemies.
“Alright, we’ll do that. We don’t want to cause any trouble right now.”
“Sorry about this. You’ll only have to hide for a little while. Once everyone knows who the real enemy was, they’ll be able to trust you again. Just wait until then.”
Hope wondered if that were really true. They had killed soldiers. They had only done it to survive, but still, they had killed so many of those in PSICOM. Those men and women in PSICOM must have families. It wouldn’t matter, in the end, what the truth was. They would still feel they were the enemy. He didn’t want to forget what those soldiers had done to him. He didn’t know whether or not he had the strength to forgive. But he wouldn’t run away. He couldn’t run away.
There was probably nothing he could do for them. What could he do, now that he had lost his l’Cie powers, now that he was human? But he didn’t want to return to the way he was. Helpless, always running away from his problems. Now he knew what it was like to be afraid that you might lose your family. To actually lose them.
The soldier had already turned away, returning to his duties.
“Um… is-is there anything I can do to help?” He yelled, running after him.
PART 4 **
“Hey, uh… excuse me? Do you guys have enough pilots?” Sazh asked the soldier. The moment Hope asked if there was anything he could do to help, it occurred to Sazh that there must be something he could do as well.
“With how many people we have to evacuate, the more pilots the better.”
Sazh looked towards Cocoon. Even with one full third of Cocoon being lost, he wondered how many trips it would take to evacuate the entire population of Cocoon.
“Well, that’s true, but…”
“Alright then. As long as you stay in the cockpit, you won’t have to worry about anyone seeing your face.”
Airships weren’t just being used to fly straight from Cocoon to Gran Pulse. Inside Cocoon there were avalanches, buildings being toppled over, and people inside them that needed to be rescued. For that you needed the smaller ships that could reach them. As well as pilots to drive them.
“Actually… the truth is that we need more people than we have right now.”
“At least PSICOM has stopped all that fighting. I guess some good as come of all this.”
Below the crystal pillar, the blue uniformed soldiers worked together with PSICOM. Hauling much needed supplies, doing whatever they could to help. They were all working towards making sure the citizens of Cocoon were safe. Yet one more miracle, Sazh thought.
“So where’s your license?”
“No, if he can fly then we’ll take anyone.”
Officially, he was only allowed to pilot civilian craft, but in an emergency like this one no one would be so bone headed as to say it was against regulations for him to fly a military ship.
“Of course… Also, I have my child with me. I’d be grateful if you could give me a ship with a lot of room in the cockpit.”
Sazh wasn’t about to let anyone else take care of Dajh right now. Once everything was back to normal he would work, and let Dajh go to daycare. But right now things were different. Right now he didn’t want to let go of him for a moment.
It had been the start of everything, that day at Euride. For just a moment, he had taken his eyes of Dajh. He had grown careless, he had felt that his son was old enough that he didn’t have to worry about him all the time. What a disaster. That was one road he had no plans on traveling again.
“So Dajh…” He said, lifting the boy to the ground, and kneeling beside him. “Your father’s job is a pilot. What is your job?”
“Um… eat lots of food, play a lot, nap, get in trouble, get yelled at, say I’m sorry…”
Every morning before they left they had this same conversation. Then, when they arrived at the daycare, he would say ‘Look, here’s your work place,’ and he would take him inside.
“That’s true. But today it will be a bit different.”
“Today your job is to watch your father’s job. You will sit beside your father and be a good boy. Can you do that for me?”
Dajh’s face grew bright and cheerful. He had never seen his father piloting from that close up.
“You can’t stand up, or run around when we’re up there. Understand? It’s a job where you have to be still. That means you too.” Then he looked at the baby chocobo. “And you. No flying around, got it?” The baby chocobo chirped its agreement.
He took a moment to hug Dajh again. Soon, he wouldn’t be able to hug him so easily. Children grew up so fast. It wouldn’t even be ten years before Dajh was the same age as Hope. Every moment of that time was precious.
Then, once Dajh is an adult, he will tell Vanille and Fang ‘See, he’s become a fine young man. All that stuff that happened in the past, it’s nothing. Who cares that he became a l’Cie when he was just a kid?’ The day will come when they’ll all be able to laugh about everything that has happened. No matter how far away in the future that might be.
“Alright, shall we go?” Sazh looked up at the crystal tower, and saw it shining in the sunlight. The place where two of his friends slept. ‘We’ll meet again one day’, he whispered, and followed the soldier as he lead him away.
She felt as though it had been a long time since the last time she had seen a child like that. Laughing, happy. It was strange. After she had woken up on Cocoon, she must have seen so many of them in the Bodhum shopping mall or on Euride.
Fang thought perhaps it was because she herself had changed.
Or not changed, but returned to the way she had been. Back to the person she had been in Oerba, watching the children laugh and play.
All children had the same face when they smiled. On Cocoon, in Oerba. It was such an odd thing.
Of course, Vanille laughed. Children are children on Cocoon or in Oerba. It doesn’t matter where they’re from.
Of course you’re right, Fang replied, returning to watch Dajh’s smile. She didn’t think she could ever get tired of it. He was human again, not a l’Cie bound to the Sanctum. When she saw the l’Cie mark had disappeared from the back of his hand, she had felt such a wave of relief.
“What happened to Dajh wasn’t your fault. It was my fault that I hadn’t been watching him. Just think of it that way.”
When Sazh had told her that, she had not said anything. Those words had saved her. The weight she carried on her shoulders had lifted, just a bit.
But she still felt that it was all her own fault. They had gotten an innocent child involved. That was unforgivable, even if that child was a child of Cocoon. The voice in her head could not stop reminding her.
She had thought that the only way she could forgive herself was not if Sazh forgave her, but if Dajh himself had forgiven her. That was what she thought. But it hadn’t been true. It wasn’t his words, but his smile that finally allowed herself to forgive her own crimes.
Fang turned her eyes on one other person she wished to forgive her. Serah.
“I’ll let Serah decide whether or not she should forgive you.” Lightning had said to her, when they were hiding out in Palumpolum.
Will she… forgive us? Fang wondered.
It’s alright, Vanille whispered. Serah is kind, and strong. She will.
Well then… I guess our job is finished. We completed this stupid Focus, we destroyed Cocoon. Now all the l’Cie are back to normal.
But no, it wasn’t quite finished yet. They still had to hold up Cocoon. Although Fang didn’t not really feel that this was much of a job. They would just sleep a deep sleep, and waste away a long, long time. That was enough for her. Vanille was beside her. She had no more worries about when they might turn into a Cieth. They could just waste away forever together.
Then they felt someone smiling at them.
Vanille called out as Fang herself turned around. They knew this feeling. Long ago they knew it. Perhaps somewhere in their forgotten memories.
Vanille whispered the name of the goddess. Of course, Vanille still had all of her memories. So she knew the owner of this smile. Yes, of course. Now I know everything. This is what a miracle is. She felt as though a tight knot were unraveling. Her memories hadn’t returned, but she felt as though a fog had lifted.
Fang looked at all of her friends, one by one. Sazh would be busy raising Dajh. Hope was not yet an adult. But Snow and Lightning… they would be a problem.
Don’t you dare think about saving us. About taking us back. Only think of yourselves from now on. Or else.
Well, you know how they are… Fang sighed, and gave a bitter laugh.
Lightning saw an image of Fang, in her mind, yelling that they should leave them be, and not try to rescue them. She shrugged, slightly.
You know it’s not in us to just leave you behind.
They had fought together long enough that they all knew what each other were thinking, what they wanted to say. She was sure the others wanted to bring them back. But it would be too much for mere human hands to bring a crystallized l’Cie back to life, and if they broke the pillar that held up Cocoon…
Could they release them without breaking the crystal pillar? Or could they destroy the pillar without there being more destruction to Cocoon? Either way, it would be more work than current human technology could handle.
She would have to go and search for it instead.
There might be something that could help, some technology, sleeping somewhere in Gran Pulse. Or perhaps some hint written somewhere.
When they first came here, they had been searching for some way to rid themselves of their l’Cie marks. But they returned to Cocoon empty handed.
There were still so many places that they hadn’t seen yet, hadn’t traveled to. If she searched there, she might find what she was looking for. The only thing was, it was dangerous now that she was no longer l’Cie. Gran Pulse was filled with monsters of all kinds, handling them would be no small thing. It would be a long trip.
In any case, she could not let Snow go with her. His job was to make Serah as happy as possible. Lightning turned her eyes on the couple, walking in front of her.
It hadn’t been too long ago when she considered it her own job to protect Serah. She remembered the days when she would hold Serah’s tiny hand as they walked here and there. Now it was time to pass on that responsibility. No, that time was already long past. Snow had already taken it. Only she hadn’t noticed it.
At first, she thought he was nothing but words. Before she knew it, she found that those words of his encouraged her, made her go forward when she felt like giving up. Because his words held truth, they could move people, make them stronger.
Snow was the only one she could leave Serah with. Who she could trust. They would survive in cruel, vast land.
Please be happy, Serah.
Lightning whispered, and smiled. One more responsibility was finished. It felt good. And yet… somewhat sad. But even the sadness had a tinge of contentment.
Sazh was walking with the soldiers to the airship landing point, hold Dajh to his chest. Dajh turned toward Lightning, and gave her an exuberant wave. Such a kind boy. She waved back and he smiled.
Sazh would be busy raising Dajh from now on. That was his responsibility. There was no replacement that could be made for a child’s parents. Lightning knew, having lost both of her own. She wanted those two to be happy together for as long as they could.
And Sazh would be busy working as a pilot. Gran Pulse was far larger than anyone on Cocoon could imagine, and airships would be a big part of people’s lives here. Sazh’s abilities would be in demand. He would not be able to go with her to search for a way to release them.
Neither would Hope. While he had been strong as a l’Cie being able to summon Alexander, now he was a normal boy.
While people’s lives would be upset for now, that wouldn’t always be the case. Eventually schools would open again, and he would be going to school, and playing with friends… that was the life that awaited him.
She had wanted to grow up quickly, to protect Serah. But she wanted Hope to enjoy the short time he had left as a child.
To ease the pain of losing his mother.
Then that’s it then, she thought. The only person who can find a way to save them is me.
And she really hadn’t thought that once she had saved Serah, that it would be the end. Of course, at the beginning, that was all she had thought about. Only that she wanted to save Serah.
When had that changed?
Perhaps when she had stood on Gran Pulse, looking up at Cocoon. When she first saw her world from the outside. That the world she had thought was so huge, could seem so small she could hold it in the palm of her hand.
Compared to the wide open sky, Cocoon was so tiny. But inside many, many people were living, with as much happiness as could fill it.
She would never forget the surprise and wonder she had felt that day. It was probably then, that something changed inside of her.
To save Serah, to survive along with everyone else. Not just the other l’Cie she had come to know as friends, but all the people of Cocoon. She began to dream of a day when they could live along with everyone else.
That hadn’t changed. No, not even just the people of Cocoon. But the people who, like Vanille and Fang, might be surviving somewhere on Gran Pulse to this day. She wished to protect the future of all the people living on this world.
That is why my fight is not yet finished…
She knew she had to leave quickly. She didn’t know why. It was some feeling she had. And suddenly, she was running.
Why? What is pushing me on like this? What… what is this?
Of course, I knew. Of course I already knew what had happened. But seeing it with my own eyes, I felt… confused. Lost. To really know that it was real.
But, because it’s real I know now that I can do things. I can change things, not just watch them happen. I felt strength then, and courage. Serah lifted her head, and looked at Cocoon, broken and crumbling. And the crystal that supported it.
What sort of dreams does Vanille dream now, I wonder? Like when I was a Crystal, watching everyone… is she watching us now?
Her memories after becoming a crystal were confused., but she remembered everything after what had happened at Lake Bresha. Snow had stayed beside her. She had felt so helpless, but Snow had been there. Perhaps it was because he carried that crystal tear that she could hear his voice, and see what he saw.
Everyone who turned into a crystal saw different dreams. It seemed that boy, Dajh, had dreamt he was playing with many, many chocobos. Perhaps that baby chocobo had given him that dream. Or was it his father, what was his name? Sazh? Who had wanted to show his son many fabulous dreams.
Perhaps it was true. Because Snow had wanted her to be with them so badly, she had seen the dreams she saw. And perhaps, a little bit because she wished it to be true herself… though really, she couldn’t know the truth of it.
Being beside Snow in her dreams had helped her, steadied her. If she had remained in such a cold, lonely sleep for such a long time, her heart would have broken before she had a chance to awake.
She hoped Vanille was seeing wonderful dreams. Even if it was only in their hearts, Serah hoped that everyone could be together.
“We’re uh, going on a long trip. So we’ll be going now.” Sazh’s voice brought Serah back to reality. Dajh was laughing, and holding Serah’s hand.
“Bye bye! See you!”
“Goodbye Dajh. I hope to see you again soon.”
She remembered when she first woke, it had been this boy’s smile that she had first seen, and his innocent chatter that she had first heard. She had taken his hand, and they had step onto the land of Gran Pulse for the first time. Walking back into reality. Thank you, Serah whispered, and smiled.
The solider called out to Sazh to hurry up. “Come on, daddy has to go.” Sazh said, hurrying away.
“There they go…” Hope whispered, standing beside her. Then, a different soldier came running up to them.
“Hey, we found your father. He’ll be arriving on the next plane, one of the supply ones.”
“Yeah, he’ll be here in a few minutes.”
Not many knew that Bartholomew Estheim–Hope’s father–was the father of a l’Cie. But people who knew were out there. He had probably been put on a supply plane so he could avoid seeing anyone who might recognize him.
“Once he lands, we’ll arrange it so you can see each other somewhere out of the way.”
“Thank you… thank you so much.”
“You don’t need to thank me, but we need to hurry. We need to take advantage of the confusion at the landing site so that you can both escape.”
The soldier hurried him off, and Hope finally left them. He had no time for words of farewell, only meeting their eyes and giving them a brief nod.
“They’re all going away so quickly…” Snow said, a little sadly. He always hated to be alone.
“Yes, it’s sad but… they’re going to be with their families now.”
“Yeah… I know. Hooray hooray.”
Even though everyone is going their separate ways, nothing can change the fact that they traveled together. No matter how far apart they are, they’ll always be connected in some way. Like with Vanille and Fang, asleep in the crystal.
“But you know, it’s not the end.”
No, it was a beginning. Everyone would start down their own path, holding the hands of those closest to them as they walked towards their own future.
Yes… even I have something I can do.
“Um, Snow… I’ve been thinking. I think… I want to become a teacher.”
“You want to be a school teacher?”
“Yes. Of course there’s no schools right now, not even any houses… but there are so many children. We’ll need schools and teachers.”
She had thought long about what it is she could do. If she could really make something in place of their lost paradise. This was her answer.
“When I’m teaching them, I need to be able to tell them… why Cocoon fell, what exactly happened…”
They had lived just accepting what the fal’Cie had given them. They had lived without thought of their own lives, not questioning their false paradise. That was a mistake. Serah wanted these children living on Gran Pulse to think for themselves, to stand on their own feet.
“After ten or twenty years, all these children will be adults. They will be able to help build our new city. We’ll only be able to build a small one at first, but with their help it will grow.”
“Hm… I think it would fit you.” Snow nodded, smiling. “You want to make the future.”
At least a few of the children she would teach would go on to be teachers themselves. Then they would teach children who would become teachers, and on and on into the future.
“Alright! I’m going to build a huge school for you. One this big!” Snow said, holding his arms out wide.
“A city with a big school, and lots of houses… we’ll need that soon, won’t we?”
If you continue to believe your dreams will come true. Serah dreamed of huge city spreading out across this now empty land. Long after she was dead, in the far, far future, perhaps the day Gran Pulse was called a paradise would come. Not a false one, but a real one made by their own hands.
“Hey, Lightning…” Serah started, wanting to see if she agreed. But then, she had a strange feeling. Like something was surrounding her in a way she had never felt before. As soon as she felt it, it was gone.
Lightning wasn’t there, where she had only been standing a moment ago. Serah felt a premonition… no, not that, a bad feeling.
“What?” Serah looked back, and opened her eyes.
The crystal tower seemed further now than it had been. She was sure she had been walking towards it. Perhaps it was because she had only just awoken that she felt so strange…
“Where… are you?” She said, her voice trembling. Serah ran her fingers down her cheeks, confused.
A dark sea spread out before her.
Or more, it was like a sea. The rolling black waves were soundless, and had no smell of salt. It was as though a deep darkness undulated through the night. It was nothing like her own sea.
Not just the sea. This place was like nothing she had ever seen. There were things, perhaps monsters, in the distance. But no plants, no animals. She felt no life here.
There was no sound, no color. Whether this was simply silence and darkness, or her own five senses failing her, she didn’t know.
Time itself seemed to have become hazy. It felt as though months and years were passing, and yet all in an instant. As if she were experience forever and a single moment all at once.
Oh, perhaps that’s why.
Slowly, slowly she had accepted this place for what it was. This was no place she could fight. A world with nothing, and… everything. To put it into human words… nothingness and chaos.
But still she walked forward. Perhaps, because she still had something to look for.
“Where? Where am I trying to go?”
There was no answer. Only the stillness, at once a moment and forever, swallowed her voice.