A/N: The slightly revised Chapter 7. Not really a whole lot has changed, just some things here and there.
The forest was quiet,
all of the turmoil of the night fading with the sunlight as it streamed through
the thick forest leaves to brush her face, tear-streaked and pale. Kora laid
still, her back against the trunk of a large tree, where she had collapsed after
running as hard as she could away from that village, and the nightmare that she
had suddenly awakened to.
She had no
recollection of burning the village, for her mind was lost to her captor when he
had taken over. But for reasons unknown, he had in some way lost his grip on her
mind, and for the time being she had control, however limited it might be. She
could not move, her body was fatigued and she had to rest. It was ironic, in a
She could still feel
his presence around her, within her, everywhere; inactive for the time being,
but still there. He was speaking to her, in that voice that she had come to
despise, which hurt her much worse than what he had done. Never had she imagined
she would ever hate him, but she did. Her hatred burned inside of her, like the
village he had just destroyed with her help. And also like those innocent
civilians had been consumed, her anger and bitterness was consuming what was
left of her innocence and purity. Soon she would be nothing but evil, a threat
to the world, just as he had become. His presence was driving her slowly to the
brink of destruction and she could feel herself slipping away, little by little.
cold voice cut through her thoughts, and she remembered that he knew her mind;
nothing was hidden from him now. ‘Soon, now, your soul will be completely
one with mine. For now, we are still separated by the broken connections of this
world and the next. The ones who would send me away from you are soon to
discover the recompense of their treason.’
destroy everything that the people of this world hold dear. You do nothing but
cause pain and suffering. Why would I ever want to have anything to do with
She could almost hear
him chuckle. ‘You forget my dear, not only can I see your every thought,
but I feel all that you feel. My emotions died ages ago, when I was that weak,
pitiful form of a human. I am but an extended form of that man, so to speak; I
remember all that he did, I know all that he did, but I am higher than he was. I
am more. He was nothing, a wandering soul lost in the sea of fragile
was something to me,” she replied sadly.
‘And that is how
I know that you could never leave me. You don’t want to be alone anymore, and
you long for the man you call your husband. You need not want him back, my dear.
I am more than that man.’
“You are a monster.
The man I knew never would have committed acts such as these. You mock what he
He chuckled again. ‘Such
harsh words, spoken in ignorance. He stood for nothing, because he knew nothing.
As for this, the joining of our souls, I do all of this for you, don’t you
see? I want to end your suffering, Kora. I feel your pain just as you feel
“You have done
nothing but cause me pain.”
‘My dear, you
don’t understand. Once our souls join to become one, you will feel no more
pain. You will have no more need for human emotions such as pain, pleasure,
hate, or love. None of those things will matter to you anymore. You will have
attained true peace and immortality.’
“Why, then, do you
cause so much chaos and pain to others if all you are interested in is peace?”
‘You say that as
though you expect me to enjoy it. I won’t deny that yes; I did enjoy
destroying that village. It was the source of unrest, caused by the ones who
“You don’t know
that,” she pleaded. “They were innocent people.”
innocence but a lack of knowledge? This concept of innocence is nothing more
than ignorance. They knew nothing, and will never know anything. These people
disrupted the order that I had laid out for them. It’s not a matter of
revenge; it’s a matter of order. Simplicity. I had derived a simple solution
to their droll, meaningless little lives by giving them what they wanted. They
wanted a higher being to look up to, and I gave it to them. They wanted their
lives to be simple, and they wanted a set of rules to follow. I gave it all to
them. They needed their little religion to keep them hopeful and give their
lives meaning, and all had been going well until they began to question the
validity of their beliefs. I am merely trying to put them back in their
“You have given
them false hope, and false beliefs,” she replied pointedly. “They had a
religion before you. Remember? You are nothing compared to the powers we relied
on back then. The summoners…we had the help of beings that could never compare
are long gone, my dear. They were temporary. I am eternal.’
Kora was silent for a
moment. “You are lying.”
‘Believe it if
you wish. They are gone.’ He chuckled again, and continued. ‘My dear, you are
failing to see the grander scheme of things. Destroying an entire village is
necessary for many reasons. It is to make a statement. A statement to those who
rebelled against me, that the deaths of these people are in their hands. And a
statement to the world, that their treachery will not be tolerated. These people
do not know what truth is even if it were to stare them in the face. They see
what they want to see. I am merely trying to maintain order in this world and
save it from the destruction of these pitiful beings.’
“You are trying to
maintain your status as a god,” she retorted sharply. “You are nothing but
an evil demon.”
A moment of silence
passed before she heard him say quietly, ‘We shall see whose side you are
on in the end.’
She did not reply. In
the end, she would have no choice, and she knew it.
However she still could not resist biting back, “You may force my body
to do evil, but my heart will know the difference.”
He said nothing in
return, but his silence was less than comforting, even if he did insist on
torturing her with his words.
However, at the
moment, she did have a small hope that she had discovered a sort of means of
stopping him. She was beginning to formulate a plan involving the two men she
had seen in the village. That entire encounter had left her confused, but in
awe. They had power, extreme power, to have communicated with her on such a
level; a level that few had ever had the ability to do. They had extended their
consciousness much like she had in the ruins when she communicated with Omega.
She knew that they did not realize they had this power; it had happened by
accident, which was something that she could not figure out.
And she also knew
that he had been lying about the fayth. She had heard them! Their singing…in
her dark prison beneath the earth…she had heard them singing. Even in her
dreams she had heard them. They couldn’t be gone…could they? It nearly
ripped her heart into pieces to think of them as gone. They had been their only
company. Had he destroyed them, somehow?
She would find out.
She also wondered if
he had seen what she had, how the two of them had come to her. He had not
mentioned it, though she knew that he most likely saw them. It was indeed quite
odd. She found it even more odd that she could read their thoughts, and see
their memories. It had been a shock to regain her consciousness and find herself
in the midst of fiery carnage. But then to see those two boys, who looked so
lost and confused, appear in front of her, was something that shook her
entirely. Even more shocking was that their thoughts, their memories, and their
pasts were completely laid out for her like an open book. Memories and pasts
that were hidden from them. And because of what she saw, she knew then that if
there was indeed a higher power, truly she could believe in one now.
For if they were not
able to help her, she knew now what could. She remembered something that had
happened long, long ago…something that she had forgotten. But she could not do
anything about it until she knew for certain that they were as she thought;
until then, she would have to find a time to talk to them again. How, she had no
idea. But she would find a way.
When Chappu and Tidus
both strode into the hotel lobby the next morning, looking like they’d been
run over by a herd of chocobos, the others were waiting for them. Rikku was
fidgeting with one braid of her hair, looking bored. Yuna was standing next to a
window, looking pensive with a small smile on her face. Wakka had his back
turned to them, pretending to look at the row of books lined against the wall.
Lulu was sitting in a chair, her legs crossed and a slight frown on her face
that clearly read that she was wishing she could be anywhere but there.
All eyes looked up to
see them walk in, staring at them with hesitant expectancy, as though they were
supposed to give a speech or something. With an eerie likeness, Tidus and Chappu
unanimously raised their hands in a somewhat nervous greeting, grinning their
lopsided grins and said, “So…uh, good morning, all.”
Yuna said, smiling at them warmly. “Did you two sleep well?”
Chappu rubbed his
head. “Not really.”
Tidus added. The two of them exchanged a knowing glance.
“Ah, I’m sorry to
hear that,” Yuna replied, concerned. “Are you ok?” she asked Tidus.
“And you, Chappu?
Do you need anything?”
He smiled. “No,
I’m…ok, I guess.”
Rikku jumped up out
of her chair and glared at them, pointing a finger at them accusingly.
“I should hope
you’re ok! We’ve been sitting here forever waiting on you two!” she
announced. “We thought you two were going to sleep all day! Geez, it’s about
time you got up. I’m hungry! Let’s go get some breakfast!”
“The café down the
street told us that we could eat there for free!” Yuna exclaimed as she took
Tidus by the arm and led him through the door. “Come on!”
Yuna was out the door
in a flash, dragging poor Tidus behind her, who was protesting loudly because of
An awkward silence
fell between the four of them left standing there. Wakka cleared his throat,
looking very much like he wanted to say something to Chappu but didn’t quite
know what or how to say it. Lulu seemed frozen to the floor, caught between
walking out as fast as she could and staying there. Chappu also looked like he
wanted to talk, but he looked deathly afraid of speaking. He could feel the
anxiety in the air as thick as it was last night, and he had a feeling that
anything he said would set either Wakka or Lulu off. But he decided to try it
he said, offering to shake hands with Wakka. The older brother regarded him
silently for a moment before taking his hand and shaking it. A smile formed on
“Morning to you,
Chappu then turned to
Lulu, who stared at him with a look much like a chocobo caught between two
chocobo eaters. He grappled for the words; there was so much he wanted to say to
her. But instead, all that came out was, “Good morning to you, Lulu.”
She nodded slowly,
and looked down at the floor. “Good morning…Chappu…”
Rikku regarded the
three of them with barely contained interest and amusement. It was so obvious
that there was something going on between Lulu and Wakka, and now that Chappu
was there, it just added to the complications.
It was too much for Rikku. Oh
well; if they weren’t going to start talking, they were keeping her from
breakfast. Without another thought, she grabbed Chappu’s arm and dragged him
out the door much like Yuna had done to Tidus.
“Knock it off,
people!” she exclaimed, irritated. “You can do this later! After
Wakka and Lulu stared
after Rikku in astonishment, and silently thanked her. Until they realized they
were the only two left. Lulu found this even more uncomfortable than before.
Especially because of the way Wakka was staring at her.
“What?” she asked
finally as they both walked out the door, following the others. “Why are you
looking at me like that?”
because I don’t believe what I’m seeing.”
“And what is
that?” she asked, indignant.
“What do you
think?” he snapped, a bit more harshly than intended, and winced when he saw
her flinch at his words. “I can’t believe you aren’t happy to see him.
He’s here, Lu. He’s not a dream, ya know.”
“Of course I know
that! That’s why it’s so hard to…” her voice broke off, and she looked
“What do you mean?
Just last night you said you’d be happy to see him and now you’re not?”
“I AM happy to see
him…I suppose. Last night I would have never in a million years believed that
he’d ever show up looking just like he always did! Last night I actually
started to…oh never mind, you wouldn’t understand. And besides, you really
don’t seem overjoyed that he’s here, either. I find that just as
“Of course I’m
happy that he’s here!” Wakka retorted.
“Then what’s the
He sighed. “It was
just such a shock to see him. As much as I wanted him to be alive, I gave up
hope of ever getting him back, you know? And maybe…maybe I started to
think…” he stopped, and shook his head. “No…it’s nothing. I guess we
just gotta get used to him being back, is all. It was different when Tidus
returned; it wasn’t three years since he…you know…”
She nodded silently.
He scratched his
head, and dared to ask the question that had been on his mind all night long.
“So…what are you going to do now?”
She met his eyes, and
replied sincerely, “I don’t know.”
Breakfast, for the
most part, was quiet, all of them content to merely eat and keep their thoughts
to themselves. Little minor conversations went on in an attempt to keep the
atmosphere feeling normal instead of awkward. Rikku had tried many times and
failed to start a conversation with Chappu, who seemed lost in his own thoughts.
However, she had learned at an early age to be persistent, compliments of her
“So, Chappu,” she
began, for the sixth or seventh time; she’d lost count. “Tell me, has anyone
told you about how we defeated Sin this time around?”
He nodded. “Yes, I
believe it was him who told me,” he replied, pointing to Tidus, who was
rapidly stuffing his face.
“Oh he told you
already? So you know about Yu Yevon and all that?”
He nodded again, not
really feeling like talking about that subject, or any subject for that matter.
It reminded him too much of that strange dream he’d had. He and Tidus had
agreed not to tell the rest of the group about their dreams for fear of causing
unnecessary apprehension. “Yes I know all about Yu Yevon and his
deceptiveness. He told me that, too.”
“So you know that
he was evil instead of the god that everyone though he was?”
“Bevelle is in
turmoil now because of it. They’re not quite sure what to think of all this. I
personally believe that the maesters knew about it all along, but of course I
don’t know that for sure.”
He nodded again and
stared at her meaningfully. Translation: Get to the point.
“So that means that
the Al Bhed were right all along. I’m Al Bhed, you know.”
“Yes I know. Your
eyes are Al Bhed.”
His calm response
took her by surprise. She had been expecting him to launch into a speech much
like Wakka would; the older brother was currently lost in his own thoughts, as
well, and said nothing. Chappu stared at her, wondering what she was trying to
get out of him.
“Look, uh…” he
began, and grappled for her name. “Rikku, is it?”
“Rikku, right. You
might think I was against the Al Bhed, but I wasn’t. I did join them once a
long time ago, and the Crusaders…in an operation to defeat Sin…” his voice
trailed off, and he looked down at his plate.
She swallowed hard.
“Oh yeah…I forgot about that. Sorry.”
“No need for you to
be sorry,” he said. “So you probably thought that I hated the Al Bhed
because of Yu Yevon, is that right?”
know, I mean your brother – “
“My brother is my
brother. I’m not him.”
Before Rikku could
reply, Yuna stood up and cleared her throat to get everyone’s attention. All
eyes and ears turned towards her as she began to speak.
been a rough time for all of us,” she started slowly, fidgeting with the cloth
of her sleeves. “And I want to thank you for your support. I know that some
things have happened that we can’t explain, such as the return of Tidus and
Chappu, but let us welcome them both back equally. I know I can say without a
doubt that I am truly happy to have both of them here with me.” She blushed
prettily, and smiled at Tidus. “I never would have made it through without
you…” She then turned to Chappu and smiled just as warmly. “Chappu…I
know it must be hard for you to be here. It…it’s somewhat hard for the rest
of us,” she admitted. “Your…loss, it was very painful for us.
But it is in the past. For whatever reason, you’re here now, and I’m
glad. Welcome back!”
Chappu felt his
throat tighten, and said nothing. He could only nod his thanks, briefly
remembering how little Yuna, who had always been as close as a sister to him,
always had a way with words that could reduce him to a weeping baby in seconds.
She smiled and
continued. “So…what I guess I’m getting at is that the future is ahead of
all of us. We have so many new opportunities and possibilities now open to us,
and I don’t even know where to begin. I must admit that…I never thought this
far ahead. What choice did I have at the time? I just wonder what the rest of
you are planning on doing now that the threat is finally over, and we can return
to our lives as normal.”
Rikku spoke up, her
voice pleading. “Ohhh, don’t leave yet, Yunie!” she cried. “I don’t
want anyone to leave yet! I’m having too much fun here.”
Yuna giggled. “I
don’t know that anyone’s leaving so soon, Rikku,” she replied.
here,” Wakka announced. “I want to practice with the team, ya know.” He
made a slight glance at Lulu, who was staring at her half-eaten breakfast.
“So, Lulu, what
about you?” Yuna asked.
The raven-haired mage
looked up and shook her head. “I…I don’t know just yet…”
understanding. “Rikku, did you have any plans in the near future?”
The young Al Bhed
shrugged. “My father wanted to look for a new site for Home. He’ll be back
sometime when he finds one, but until then I’m free to tag along with whomever
me, Tidus and…Chappu,” Yuna finished, glancing at the latter. “I have
given it a little bit of thought, and considered going back to Besaid. I don’t
know if I want to keep living there…I think I might. It’s such a nice
village, and I have lots of fond memories there.”
realized someone was missing. “Hey, Yuna…where’s Kimarhi?”
Yuna sighed sadly.
“Kimarhi has gone to Mt. Gagazet, to mourn the his tribe. He was deeply
affected by their loss. It’s a great heartbreak for him, so I told him to go
and participate in the mourning ritual of his people. I don’t know when he
will be back.”
Chappu nodded. He
hadn’t known Kimarhi very well; not many people did except for Yuna. “How
were they killed?”
insane man named Seymour,” Yuna replied. “His story’s an entirely
thought about what you want to do?” Tidus asked Chappu, changing the subject.
“Not really, I
Suddenly, a frantic
voice came over the sphere monitor, interrupting Chappu and immediately gaining
the attention of nearly everyone in the city of Luca, including the café.
Everyone stopped and turned to look at the frazzled-looking woman holding a
piece of paper, her hands shaking violently.
We’ve just received word from a Kilika cargo ship. The village of Besaid has
burned to the ground! I repeat: the village of Besaid has been burned to the
ground. The cause is unknown at this point. Please remain calm. We do not know
if this was an attack or an accident. There are two survivors, both unknown at
the time. Our deepest grievances for the families and friends of the victims of
this horrible, horrible tragedy…”
The silence that fell
over the café was deafening. Not a word was said, all trying to determine in
their minds whether they had really heard that right. Surely an entire village
wouldn’t be destroyed…especially not anymore, since Sin was defeated. Things
like that just didn’t happen when Sin wasn’t around. Even if the person had
told them to remain calm, there was no remaining calm…not when the reality of
this sank in.
The reality was
sinking in for both Tidus and Chappu as the two of them exchanged fearful
glances. That both of them had witnessed, in their sleep, the actual destruction
of Besaid was a bit too much to comprehend. How in the world were they supposed
to deal with this information? Both felt panic rise within them. This was
Tidus’s arm, in desperate need of support. “I…didn’t just hear that, did
I?” she whispered. “Please tell me I didn’t just hear that…”
“I heard it,
too,” Wakka mumbled, in shock. “I don’t believe it. I won’t believe it
until I see it.”
Rikku jumped to her
feet, holding her head with both hands and shaking it in disbelief. “This just
isn’t real!” she cried. “This isn’t supposed to be happening. We killed
Sin, didn’t we? Sin can’t come back, can it?”
Her voice rose to a higher pitch with each question, as she was going
down,” Lulu said firmly. “Of course Sin can’t come back now. We defeated
it for good. It could have been an accident. A very…unfortunate accident…”
Rikku didn’t look
convinced. “Are you sure? What could have destroyed an entire village like
Silence fell over
them once more, surrounded by the frenzied talking of the other people in the
café. Yuna began to cry quietly, her arms around Tidus, who didn’t know what
else to do besides gently pat her on the shoulder and let her cry.
His eyes searched the table, and was instantly met with Chappu’s gaze,
a single question within both identical pairs of eyes.
Chappu shook his head, ‘no’, which conveyed enough of an answer to
Tidus. Neither one of them wanted
to mention their dream…no matter how frighteningly accurate it was, and
neither one wanted to admit that they were truly not surprised by the news.
That dream had been entirely too real.
Lulu shook her head, fighting back her own tears over the village that
had been her home most of her life. She
wasn’t afraid of crying…she was only afraid that if she started crying, she
wouldn’t be able to stop. And she
was afraid…perhaps a bit irrationally, but still afraid of both Wakka and
Chappu trying to comfort her, and she didn’t want another fight.
As surreal as everything seemed at that moment…Chappu sitting just
inches away from her, looking alive and well…and now the news that her
childhood home had been burned to the ground, she felt completely and totally
lost. She didn’t really know what
to do. Or what to say. And that also made her feel incredibly helpless…something
else that she loathed.
Wakka felt numb. None of
this should be happening, his mind tried to reason.
His mind seemed to be going in ten different directions.
He hadn’t even had time to dwell on the fact that his brother just all
of a sudden showed up as though he’d never been dead, not to mention all of
the repercussions that had run through Wakka’s mind the instant that he’d
seen Chappu standing there looking as though he’d just been for a casual swim.
He’d also felt extremely guilty that he had been so short with Chappu,
like he wasn’t happy to see his own brother…and truthfully, Wakka really
didn’t know whether he was or not, which just made it worse.
And now this. What in the
world was he supposed to worry about? It
was too much. Just too much.
Finally, after a long, dreadful silence, Rikku was the one to speak.
“So…what are we going to do now?”
Yuna brushed the tears from her eyes.
“We…we go to Besaid. It’s
only right that I send the people there to rest in peace.
After all they did for me…”
“Are you sure, Yuna?” Lulu asked.
“We can get another summoner to perform the sending.”
“No,” she replied firmly. “I
must do this last thing for them.”
Lulu shrugged. “It is your
right to do so as you wish, Yuna,” she said softly.
“We will go with you.”
Yuna smiled. “Thank
you.” She then turned to Rikku.
“Will you call your father and have him pick us up in the airship as
soon as possible? Please tell him
that it’s an emergency.”
“Sure thing!” Rikku replied, and ran outside and back to the hotel,
where she had left her communications device.
Yuna then addressed the rest of them, her hand gripping Tidus’ as she
spoke. “Everyone…I don’t know
what has happened to Besaid, but we will find out.
After I perform the sending, I want to go to Kilika, where they will have
taken the survivors. We need to
talk to them. They may be able to
tell us what, or who, caused the fire.”
Lulu looked concerned. “What
if it was simply an accident?”
Yuna shook her head. “It’s
very possible that it may have been an accident.
But something tells me that it wasn’t.
Perhaps…perhaps I’m being paranoid, but I want to find out for
“Yuna…Sin is gone,” Wakka said in a low voice.
“It isn’t coming back.”
“I know,” she replied. “But
I just have this feeling.” She
looked to Tidus for support.
He squeezed her hand. “Well,
we’re in this together, so whatever happens, we’ll be there for you!”
She smiled at his enthusiasm. “Again,
thank you so much.”
“Hey, what are we here for?” Wakka asked, his own enthusiasm seeming
to come back. “Besides, if it wasn’t an accident, we gotta make ‘em
Tidus raised his hand. “Ya
– I mean, of course!”