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Intermezzo AF (After the Fall )200
The “time” I saw for the first time in my life was of the world in which frozen flower was breaking apart. The petals floated while it gave off an empty light. At first, I thought it was a pretty sight, but something was off. I didn’t really understand why but I was scared.
That was when I started to understand that that scene was something to be feared. Someone was shouting. A large man was reaching out his hand as if to grab something, all the while screaming. Like he was ready to cry at any moment.
I still lived with my parents and had no way to convey the things that I had been seeing. So, it was a short time later when I realized the reason why I had been seeing these things. I saw that man again. Even at that time, he screamed while widely flailing his fully extended arms.
But, his facial expression was surely different from the one he made the first time I saw him. It was when/how(?) he was calling for someone, then I understood. He was looking at a girl. She was dashing across the pure white beach on a chocobo.
The moment I realized the blooming flowers on the roof and the glistening sea I remembered it… The Frozen Flower that I saw for the first time. What was that flower? What did I see? Caius told me that it was a crumbling Cocoon and the scattered floating petals were pieces of scattered crystal. What I, a young girl had seen, was the day of destruction that would happen in the far future.
The flowers that bloom on the ground ease the hearts of people; however, the flowers that bloom in the sky take many lives. For this reason, flowers must not bloom in the sky. Only flowers that can be touched can make people happy…
The time that seeresses see possesses no regularity and the same people or places do not always appear. Of course, the time periods also differ and it was true that I couldn't detect any relation. Even still, I saw that man twice and that woman many times. I wonder if something is fated to happen between the two of us? Why do I see her so much?
There was always a man with dark hair by her side. It seems that he is of the same clan/family as me. His clothes and the design of his ornaments and I understood that above all else he knows how to activate the Oracle Drive. But, it was clear that the woman was not of my clan. They were a weird bunch.
They were always in places with gates. Before long I saw where they were coming out of the gate.
Then I realized that was it. (text blurred on scan) They were traveling across time (?) Was that why I had seen them so many times? (?)
When I told Caius that they came out of the gate his face grew dim( not sure of this line because the kanji is blurred). He punishes those that would disrupt the flow of time. If one disrupts the flow of time, the seeresses see "time" even more. He does not forgive those who would threaten the lives of the seeresses. Caius knew them for some reason. He didn't say much but all he told me was that there was a seeress that traveled to the places where there were gates. Maybe that seeress's life was cut short because she saw them many times. Maybe, their actions and the future that they changed snuffed out her life. Caius say that he would make them pay for their sins in blood. I became very sad the moment I heard him say those words.
I remembered that large man. If she dies, he will most certainly be sad. He was calling out for her like a child and I thought for such a large man, he was very cute. So I thought that I would have see this though. If their actions were unforgivable sins or if they were something that possessed an entirely different meaning. If their flower was that of the land or the sky. Maybe I wished to protect them under this pretense. This could have been because I had seen her so many times but before I knew it, I began to feel some affection for her face. I didn't want to make her out to be a criminal. With this in mind, Caius and I headed for Oerba. Surprisingly, the dark haired man knew who Caius was. Those who make a covenant rarely show their form so there are only a few people who know his face.
Which means, he is either on of the guardians or a follower of the seeress. He talked to me once he saw me, so he may be one of the guardians. If he had been a follower, it was because he never saw the form after they grow up (not sure who "sees" and who matures so this line is a little nebulous to me, sorry). Naturally, I do not know who he is. I gave him a sensible reply "I am not your Yeul." But these words seemed to hurt him. He looked so sad and hurt. I couldn't stand being there. "Sorry" I apologized within my heart. I wish I was your Yeul. You wouldn't have had to make that face. He greatly cherished the Yeul that wasn't me.
Then, he must not be a criminal. Even if his actions are tanamount to unforgivable sin. At Oerba, I learned of his name. I was certain of what they were trying to protect. I felt that I could trust them. I felt that they could grant my wish:
That beyond this moment, the seeresses who are not me, will not see the flower that blooms in the sky.
I didn't want to see anything. I never wished for that.
Those two must be stopped. They must not be allowed to go. That is the only thing that I can do.
Please, answer. Heed my voice.
Don't go ahead. Don't fight that person. You must not kill... the Goddess. Everything will fall to pieces.
You will suffer too if you fight.
You will hurt too if you change time.
Why? I don't know. But, all that lies beyond the fight is regret and despair, a never ending darkness.
Who is the one who regrets?
Who is the one who despairs?
Or that person?
Me? Who am... I? What was I trying to say?
Help. Help me. Help us.
Can you save us?
Can you (plural) save us?
Will you not let go of my hand?
Will you stay by my side?
Can I trust you (plural)?
I don't want to see anymore. I don't want to see the people lamenting, the people mourning, the people dying... Or the end of the world. So...
I thought, "Does this place also have a horizon of land and sea?" In Cocoon, there isn't a slight curve that distinguishes sky and sea or sky and land. One cannot measure Cocoon's sky with his/her eyes. Although, there was certainly airspace for birds to fly and for air bikes to be flown back and forth. After fleeing to Gran Pulse, I saw a sky that was liberated from the land and sea for the first time. What was above my head was not a continuation of land or sea but the sky itself. The blueness that hurt my eyes was the color of hope. As long as I was under this sky, there was a way. That's what it seemed like. There was a sky in this place also, just like Gran Pulse. However, the color was cold and oppressive. What I thought of for the first time I looked up at that sky was the people that I cherish. I wonder if Serah's okay? Well, Snow is probably protecting her without a doubt. I wonder if Hope's okay. I wonder if Sazh and his son have been separated? I wonder if Fang and Vanille, the crystal pillar, are not hurt? What of the people of Cocoon who are supported by the crystal pillar...?
Engulfed by a strange anomaly and waking up to find she had drifted to the shore of an unknown place, Lightning's biggest concern was everyone's well-being. After that, she pondered of where she was. She realized it was useless no matter how hard she thought after endlessly walking along the beach. No, it may have only seemed like forever. Even though she had trudged through the unforgiving sand she felt no sign of fatigue. She did not feel hunger nor did she thirst. It was strange. Obviously her perception of time is going berserk. She could measure the time she felt relatively accurately. This was because she was a soldier and had been trained in this way. It was strange of her to wonder and not know how much time had passed. Maybe this bizarre sea is the culprit? It does not give off any sound and heedless of the color of the sky, its deep black stretches as far as the eye can see. At first she walked along the beach and she thought she would try to search for an estuary. She could head inland while staying alongside the river without getting lost. Don't lose sight of your current position, such is the inviolable rule when in a foreign land. But she changed her mind. "I should get away from the water."
Furthermore, while walking she noticed that this place was dense with fog. Again, she wondered if she should define this as "fog" but she had seen something that seemed like ruins and now it was masked by something. Although this "something" had the form of fog its color was different. It was a dark color, not black and not grey. Even so one could see, even from far away, that it was not something like soot or smoke. It kind of looks like "that," Lightning said furrowing her brows. The black entity that coiled around her whole body at that time. It did look like fog but when touched one could feel a strange power. She did not want to think that "that" and this drifting fog was the same thing.
pg 20 (cont.)
Lightning shook her head and dispelled the thought. Using her experience and common knowledge as reference, she thought she probably shouldn't move away from the beach. She can't measure time or range and she also can't make a landmark of anything, so she would just be left bumbling her way through only to become lost. Also, she had a feeling that she had to go somewhere. She has no idea of her destination. She doesn't understand but this beach is different. She felt that she should believe this intuition. She started to walk with her back to the sea. She walked as fast as she could, but she did not run. For if she ran, her stamina would be consumed needlessly. But she did rush as if she was urged on by something. She would be lying if she said that she did lost lose heart because she was all by herself. However, she thought that it was better that she was here by herself. There were many times that she lost her way in places as bizarre as this. Also... "No, stop thinking. I don't want to think what's beyond that." She walked as if she was running from something. She kept telling herself to not think of unnecessary matters. More importantly, she had to find some sort of clue. Just where in the world is this place? The thought that she had to find a way back never occurred to her. She could presume that this wasn't a place where one could just go back that easily. Looking over her shoulder, she could no longer see the water anymore. The entity that resembled fog enshrouded her back.
She could not hear the roar of the sea so she couldn't tell how far she was from the sea. "Just have to keep moving onward, I guess..." She tried to cheer herself up with positive words, no matter how useless it may have been. Even still, she could not see the "onward" that streched before her that well. "Maybe I should wait for the fog to clear? No, this may not be the type of fog that clears when you wait..." More importantly, she did not want to stop. For if she stopped, she would start to think of unnecessary matters. Yes, for example:
Could I be dead?
That entity appeared out of nowhere. I was arrested by that entity that resembled by darkness. Then I was pulled into that fissure that ran across the land. Did I not die at that time? It would be coherent to think that way. The fact that I don't see anyone that I know means that they are all alive and that I'm dead. I mean, I can't perceive time nor do I fatigue or hunger. No! I'm alive! I won't accept it... I'll never accept that." She walked along at random. She would not get tired no matter how much she walked, so she put her all into walking. She didn't know how big this place was but if she walks from corner to corner she could no longer say that the place was "unknown" to her. Possessed by this thought, she focused only on moving her feet... How much time had passed? She found something that was a bit out of place where she currently stood.
i <3 you
"A stuffed toy Moogle? They used to be piled in mountains and sold in toy stores for a period of time. They have a gargantuan head and a stomach that bulges with stubby arms and legs along with skinny eyes and a perfect circle of a nose. One couldn't say it was adorable but there was comical and easy to love about it. They were popular with children. Which means, could people possibly be living here? What's more, that includes children that could harbor love for a stuffed toy. However, the toy was very damaged. It was face-down and seemed to be abandoned; it was a bit sad.
"This is mean, even for a stuffed toy."
She thought as she reached out her hand to move the moogle to a more suitable place.
"Mog isn't a stuffed toy, kupo!"
The thing that Lightning thought was a stuffed toy sprang up suddenly. The wings on its back fluttered and its circular form soflty floated in the air. Up until just now, did she think that moogles were fictional beings but it seems that she had been wrong all this time. The summoned beasts of legend actually existed so it wasn't miraculous that moogles existed either. Seeing it move like this proves that it is indeed a living creature. She felt that the hue of her surroundings had changed. A sort of warm, nostalgic, feeling of relief. Then the moogle's wings started to droop and it fell back to the ground.
Lightning panicked and called to it. This creature had warmed her heart that had been frozen over by this bizarre place.
"Are you hurt?"
When she looked at it, one side of its wing was a little bent. Maybe it fell from somewhere? Or maybe, it couldn't tell where it was going in the fog and crashed into something?
"Are you okay? Let me see."
She then extended her hand.
"Duel with me, kupo!"
The moogle got up. Although it's voice was cheerful, it was suffering a deep gash; Lightning could see that it's leg was swaying loosely. Just by the soft motion of the wings it looked like a dangling old dish rag.
" A duel? You can't do anything with that gash..."
"It's okay, just duel with me, kupo! That's the rule of Valhalla, kupo!"
Was it talking about this place?
"You don't know the rule, kupo? The weak abide by the strong. It's a rule established by the goddess, kupo."
Who could that be?
Could it be a god as it says or maybe some person or monster just playing god?
"So, when two people happen across each other they have to fi-"
The moogle's body was shaking violently. He spoke bravely but he was just barely standing.
"Get a hold of yourself."
Lightning extended a finger to the moogle's back in order to help lift him up. She was surprised by the warmth. It was beyond a doubt the warmth of a living creature. The suspicion that she had been dead was completely blown away. That little bodily warmth of that little creature assured her of that. It assured her that she also was living, that without a doubt she was living in this place. She then picked the moogle up, shocked by how light it was. The moogle slipped through her fingers. Although it slipped from her fingers, it couldn't stay airborne so it fell to the ground headfirst. Even still, it raised its body with a start.
"I... haven't lost yet... kupo."
There's so much fighting spirit contained in this little body. Even though the moogle's feet were shaky, it stood and started to make its way toward Lightning. For some reason, she saw a bit of Hope, at the time when she met him, in this moogle. The fifteen-year-old who was determined to lived on and grow strong during that arduous time of escape.
"This is my fate, huh?"
At that time, Lightning herself was being pursued and she had flung harsh words at Hope. She couldn't take it. She thought that she would try to make up for it right now, once more.
"Okay. Come at me."
As if cheered on by those words, the Moogle rose into the air. She saw that its wings were still drooping, it seemed like it wasn't using its wings at all to fly.
"Now, en garde, kupo!"
The moogle brandished what looked like a wand with a clock attached and came at her. The moogle tried to attack her from the front, but its power was not into it. Even so this was all the moogle could muster. Lightning could not bring herself to hit or hurl this sad moogle. But she would not go easy on an opponent who was this serious. The brooding and fretting Mog said thus:
"Now it's your turn! Hurry up bring it on!"
While looking at those slender eyes and that large forehead, her childhood memories came rushing back. There was a boy, of similar countenance, who was bothering Serah.
"Don't make Serah cry!"
She got mad and poked the boy on his forehead. As if scared by the single poke and Lightning's enraged voice, the boy never bothered Serah again.
"Maybe I'll pull poke him as hard as I can, just like that time," Lightning thought as she flicked her index finger. Maybe it was just her, but the reaction was the same as last time. Except, unlike the bully who ran way half-crying, the moogle didn't run. It just fell to the earth with a flop. "It was just a forehead poke, but maybe I overdid it," Lightning thought. But upon closer glance, the moogle, who had fallen face down, moved his pom-pom. Lightning let out a sigh of relief. It's hard to think that anyone would lose to this moogle. There is certainly no place as cruel as this in which a creature as weak as a moogle must fight as soon as it meets someone.
"Have you been fighting like this all this time?"
"Of course, kupo," answered the moogle weakly.
"If you run away before meeting someone you don't have to fight, right?"
"Of course not, kupo. Rules are rules."
He became as beat up as an old dust-cloth as the result of protecting the rules in earnest. He probably realized how weak he was. Being knocked about this badly, he had no choice but to realize it. He stood and fought knowing that he would lose in the end. That foolish honesty and innocence. She thought that she couldn't just leave him.
"How long do you intend to sleep? Hurry and get up. Let's go."
The moogle looked up to Lightning looking surprised.
"I can go with you, kupo?"
"But," the moogle hanged his head in shame, " I'm the weakest in all of Valhalla. I'm so weak and useless that no one ever wants to be my friend."
Lightning came to a vague realization: In this world where which the division between the weak and strong is so defined, those who are assigned to the lowest rank are deemed hindrances and cast aside. The strong demand those who serve them to be strong. They can't run, even though no one cares. This moogle was fighting a solitary battle here all this time.
"The weak serve the strong. That's the rule here, isn't it?"
With one more "Let's go" from Lightning, the moogle sprang up energetically. The wings on its back, which didn't even give the slightest flutter, beat strongly as if they regained their power.
"Are you hurt? Can you fly fine now?"
"All illness comes from the mind, kupo!"
"Why you sneaky little..."
While giving a bitter laugh, Lightning acknowledged that that might be true. She now understood all too well the strength one can receive from not being alone, and having someone to talk to.
Woah, nice job & thanks. :)
" Serah, Lumina, and Vanille playing "Triple Triad" together. " - Romangelo
"Master... I'll follow you until the day I die, kupo!"
I don't deserve to be called master.
"Anyway, tell me, you referred to this place as 'Valhalla'?"
The moogle nods. He titled his head to one side dumbfounded because it's rare to find people that don't know about this world.
"I don't know anything about Valhalla. Just where is this place? Are there no other humans?"
"Did you not see anyone else that looks like me?"
After thinking for a bit, the moogle swayed his head from left to right.
"I didn't see any here, kupo."
"But," Mog added as if remembering something, "I think I saw someone while I was coming here, kupo."
"Where!? Where were they!?"
Was it not my home world? Moogles were known as fictional beings so wouldn't the world in which we lived be counted as a part moogle territory. (?)
"I'm sorry. I don't know, kupo..."
The moogle became dejected. It's pom-pom atop its head and the wings on its back faced downward.
"I don't really remember what happened before I got here, kupo. I was drifting along the Void Beyond for a long time and when I woke up I was here."
"'The Void Beyond?'"
"That's what someone called it, kupo."
Drifting for a long time... That means that this place is exceptionally vast, beyond a doubt. And continuing to drift through the void beyond, he ended up here.
"I think I may have passed by a hu-man back in the Void Beyond, kupo."
"So could that mean the Void Beyond be tied to the place I was?"
That is a possibility. As long as the moogle didn't mistake a human being for something else.
"You didn't duel that person? Isn't the rule of Valhalla to fight? Oh, is the Void Beyond a separate place other than Valhalla?"
"The Void Beyond is a part of Valhalla, kupo. But, it's not a place in which you can fight, kupo. It's a place where you just keep getting swept along, kupo."
A place where you just keep getting swept along... which further increases the possibility that it's a path that ties my original world to here.
"How do you get to the Void Beyond?"
If I can go there, I may be able to find a way back. No, I should be able to.
But the moogle said "It's impossible, kupo."
"It's not just a place you can go to when you want, kupo. The only way to get there is when the goddess opens the gate or you just happen to get there, either one of those, that's it, kupo."
"You don't know!?"
The moogle took an exaggerated step back. It seems that aside from not knowing the rule, not knowing the Goddess is unheard of.
"The one who made the rule... that's the Goddess, huh?"
The moogle nodded with a "Kupo."
"Valhalla is under the dominion of the Goddess Etro."
It was a name I never heard before. This Goddess Etro wasn't even in any of the tales told in all of Cocoon.
"Where is Etro?"
If the Goddess Etro is the only one who can open the gate to the Void Beyond, I'll just have to talk to her directly."
"Over there," pointed mog with his wand. Even so, the surroundings were covered in fog.
What's more because she had been walking at random, Lightning lost her sense of direction. She thought that it might have been that structure resembling ruins she had seen from the shore.
"Do you want to see the Goddess, kupo?"
"Yeah. Show me the way."
"But, there are strong ones within the temple, kupo. They're also around the temple, kupo."
Seeing as how it's a temple, it should at least have guardian monsters. Taking that into consideration, how would one go about fighting them? I don't have any L'cie powers so how long could I stand against them?
"Looks like we have to run before we run into them. Even though that's breaking the rules..."
"You don't want to fight, kupo?:
"I would if I could."
"Oop, too late now, kupo. There's a strong one right there, kupo."
There's something moving where the moogle pointed. It's covered by fog but Lightning understood as well. Anyway it was "right there."
"How about speak up faster next time!"
"I'm sorry, kupo~"
She clutched her weapon. It didn't help that she was still in the equipment she was in when she fought the Fal'cie Orphan. It seemed that the knife she received from Serah had fallen somewhere. She approached slowly while standing readily. At this range, she's most likely already been noticed by her opponent, so there was no luxury of running. She then thought of immediately closing the distance between her and her opponent after getting a bit closer.
On the other side of the fog, she saw a faint form disappearing and reappearing; just by this she knew what it was. It was the Eidolon that had fought together with her just moments ago.
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