FFX-3 Speculation and Developments > FFX-3 Speculation and Developments

~ FFX-2.5 : The Price of Eternity ~ French to English Translation

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CrystalOfLies:
Please show massive appreciation for ChercheurObscur! I have just ironed out the wordings in his translations.

If it were not for him, this thread would have never existed in the first place!

Our goal is to translate the entire novel. Please express your opinions on the novel's contents in the thread called, 'Final Fantasy X-2.5: The Truth' OR 'The Novella: Final Fantasy X-2.5 ~Eternal Cost~'

Have fun reading!

Update (ChercheurObscur) : Please show appreciation for kk too !

NOTE: In order to find chapters, press Ctrl + F and type in the chapter and number.

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Chapter 1
---

Tidus was huddled up and was drifting in the darkness. Pictures were showing themselves in his mind. Was he able to see them, or were they only simple memories? He did not know. He was making out a man; he had a wide back covered by a stream of hairs and a woman was cuddled up against him: his parents. One day, his father had disappeared, and her mother had died of sorrow. As Tidus had suffered when he had understood he would not be able to comfort her, that her only son was insufficient! The pain, intact, woke up in his chest.

Just after, he was facing a huge crowd. He answered the cheering with a euphoric smile. Strangely, all sadness had left him... How was it possible? He gave in to this new sensation of well-being, and the questions which were bombarding him flew by.

A terrible monster had attacked his home, Zanarkand. Overcome by panic, Tidus had run for his life then had got lost.

Do not worry; he had only come to find you.

After spending hours swimming in Spira’s ocean, the young man had got closer to the coast. The scenery which was giving itself to Tidus, so different from his native region, had thrown him off balance. Despite everything, kindness and softness from inhabitants had put the smile back on Tidus' face. He had made some friends, they had travelled together. His sword in his hand, he had hunted down a lot of monsters.

He had fallen in love too. The day they had confessed to each other, Tidus had understood their story was impossible. Although it was a losing battle, he had refused to submit himself to destiny.

He was contemplating a sea made of clouds, memories of the day he had left Spira.

He was looking at himself from the back, on board the aircraft. Shadowing his fear, he had run along the deck before rushing forward.

Suddenly, his chest exploded with pain.

Yuna!

This cry shook his mind.

I am back, Yuna!

His view was not obstructed anymore: the limit between the darkness which was surrounding him and his own body had become clear. He felt pulled from chaos which was wrapping him.

I am coming!

His foot propelled him with all their strength to the world of Yuna.

He was coming closer to a boundary, the limit between "here" and "there". A luminous wall appeared to blink. Was it a call, or the symbol of a radiant world? Tidus was swimming upwards, always upwards. He was a splendid swimmer.

He broke through the wall and the light dazzled him. Then he discovered the white and azure world which was extending beyond the boundary. The air filled his lungs. He grimaced, surprised by an almost forgotten sensation; a smell was tickling his nostrils.

He was surrounded by the huge and endless ocean. Under his foot, Tidus seemed to discern the movement of a massive being. It was the living darkness with which he was part of, just an instant ago. If he was not careful, it was going to claim him back to itself.

I will not let myself be pushed around! I have just come back...

He turned over then discovered an island. A hill was overlooking a verdant triangle: Besaid. The waves were caressing a deserted beach. He whistled with his fingers. Although he received no answer, he felt reassured. His senses did not lie to him, everything was real. Even if nobody was present to answer his call, he was happy to hear this sound.

He started to swim toward the coast. Who was he going to meet first, when will he reach the shore?

Where are you, Yuna?

Just now, a deafening rumble cleared up the sky. Tidus looked up and discovered a sparkling colourful aircraft. Instinctively, the young man tried to get away from it. The aircraft initiated a large circle above him. Then a hatch opened and revealed a well-known figure: Yuna.

Without hesitation, she jumped into the void. Tidus watched her diving in direction of the surface of the ocean. She was wearing bright tinted clothes he had never seen. That is not the Yuna I know, he surprised himself by thinking. But this doubt disappeared when he perceived joy through the eyes of the young girl. She hurried to him in order to embrace him. Just now, he knew nothing else meant to her, and this feeling made him immensely happy.

“Is that really you?” she asked after hesitating.

“I think so.”

He wanted her to answer herself this question. She moved away from him and examined him as if she wanted to be sure about his identity.

“So?”

“Yes, it is really you.”

He let out a cry of relief.

“I am back!”

He clamped his arms around her and held her in his arms. During a short moment, he had been afraid of being rejected.

“I am back,” he repeated in Yuna's ears, again and again.

She embraced him in return:

“It is you, it is really you...”

A voice disrupted them:

“Hey, lovebirds! Are we bothering you?”

Wakka!

Tidus turned around in the direction of the coast. The little cove was swarming with people. He recognized Wakka and Lulu among the crowd of villagers.

“Oh, give us one minute at least!”

Tidus ended up grabbing Yuna's hand in order to drag her down to the beach. A new life was starting for him, a life only dedicated to their happiness. This thought was sending him into transports of joy.

“You are different...”

“I have experienced so many things during your absence!” she answered.

Her proud way of speaking surprised him, but he decided to not care about it. As long as he could run by her side, past was not important.

“I want to know everything!”


*

The villagers have been waiting impatiently for the return of Yuna; she had been gone for a long time. Tidus has known most of people here. They greeted him. There were Datto, Letty, Botta, Jassu, Keepa... What a pleasure to meet his playmates from the Besaid Aurochs once again!

Quite proud, Wakka introduced a swaddled infant in a cover to him:

“I am presenting you Vidina. He is adorable, don't you think?”

“Absolutely. But... may I ask who the mother is?”

“It is me,” a curt voice declared.

Tidus made an about-turn then found himself face to face with an opulent chest... Lulu's, to be precise.

“Well, we know who he takes after in the case of beauty,” the young man declared.

Lulu laughed, then took the infant from Wakka's arms.

“How many times did I tell you to not expose him to the wind of the open sea?”

“This is a child of the coast, what is the matter?”

“You could have waited for the beginning of the tide!”

“But, honey...”

A smile on his face, Tidus interposed himself between the parents:

“Hey, congratulations! You are finally living as a couple? I knew it!”

“Yes,” Lulu conceded. “Nothing extraordinary to be honest, and sometimes I feel like I have had enough of this...”

“Well thanks!” Wakka protested.

She ignored her partner:

“Say, Tidus, will you be staying here for a while?”

“If you want me here,” he answered with a worried tone.

“I see. Don't be mistaken, you are most welcome here.”

Lulu watched around them. The crowd started to leave the beach.

“We should go back to the village too.”

She swaddled her baby to her chin and joined people who were returning home. Tidus understood Lulu’s sudden goodbye since the baby was her priority, but he suddenly felt abandoned.

Wakka gave him a tap on the back:

“Let's go!”


On the road, the members of the Aurochs came to talk with him in turns. They told him about what happened to them during his absence, and the young man had felt like he had never left. Datto and Keepa told him about their progress, and it made him quite proud. New players had moved in on the island in order to join the team – news which touched him deeply. The tournament in which he had participated two years ago appeared to be the triggering factor.

They walked half an hour before arriving at the village.

“Tonight, we have planned a banquet, directed by the elders,” Lulu explained. “Help with the preparations, show yourself in your best light. Make a good impression! But before all that, you can rest there if you want.”

She was indicating the highest tent of the village. Tidus recognized the Crusaders’ dormitory.

“What do they do these days?” he asked.

“These days? Whatever they want. Yuna's room is inside the temple... in the same place as always.”

“Oh oh!” Wakka said teasingly.

He was carrying an armful of wood, probably in order to feed the blaze of the banquet. Tidus' cheeks did not need fire to become red and scorching.

“I know what you are up to, you two!” Lulu said curtly. “I forbid you to go there, Tidus! Your behaviour must not lead to confusion, at least until Yuna presents you to the elders. Furthermore, your attitude will determine villagers' opinion toward you. And since the temple has become useless, Yuna must support an idle clergy. She is not free to act, do not forget that.”

Lulu ended her tirade with a shrug, and her child struggled in her arms.

“Is she not happy?”

“Ask her yourself.”

“What you are telling me is not like her.”

Lulu appeared to agree with him.

“From what I have seen, her feelings are quite lukewarm: she feels responsible for the situation but the village stifles her. Therefore she flies over the region with Rikku and her team.”

“What do they do?”

“You will have to ask her about this too. But meanwhile, do not do something which could harm her.”

“Got it.”

Lulu went back to her own tent, and Tidus met the Aurochs. Yuna was standing before the temple, within reach of voice, however the young man could not talk to her. It appeared that the entire village had something to tell her, with no chance of escape. Of course, she could have come up with an excuse to leave, but she was too polite to do that. Kindness was Yuna's strength, and at this moment, this quality was not failing to irritate Tidus.

“She wants to talk to you too, I am sure,” Wakka declared.

The man tried to negotiate with the elders, but they refused to let the summoner go.

“They are keeping a sharp eye on you!” the young father exclaimed as soon as he came
back.

“Why? I was Yuna's guardian, and I stuck by her all the way. I deserve recognition and respect, and yet no one expresses either of them.”

“If you say so!” a derisive voice declared behind his back.

Rikku just arrived this moment. Because of her tanned body, she seemed stronger than in his memories.

“Hi, Tidus! It has been a long time!” she exclaimed.

She made an about-turn to call someone. A woman moved forward, she had smooth hair, a stern face, and black clothes displaying only her shoulders. The contrast with Rikku was startling.

“This is Paine, a friend. She has worked with Yuna.”

“Yuna talked to me about you,” the woman declared. “Actually, it was more like harping…”

She examined Tidus for a moment, as if she wanted to gauge him.

“Two years have passed,” Rikku said distantly. “and yet...”

The teenager got closer to Tidus until her nose brushed the young man and scrutinized him in her turn.

Two years... Tidus felt his stomach turning into lead. Through his conversations, he had understood that his absence had lasted several months. But two whole years...

“You are the same as always!” Rikku concluded.

He did not know whether to laugh or cry. He ended up giving a faint smile.

“Easy for you to say, look at yourself...”

Rikku leaned and folded her arms under her chest. Tidus caught sight of Yuna behind her back.

“You too, have not changed,” he finished absent-mindedly.

He was worried about Yuna. Her taste in clothing was different, and he was wondering if he was missing something else about her.

“Hey, I am here! Rikku exclaimed pouting. “You are different!”

“You just said the opposite,” Tidus told her.

“I am talking about your appearance. Inside, you are not the same. In the past, you were a bit stupider, but you were nicer at least.”

“Thank you for the compliment!”

They burst out laughing, and she began to narrate the events of the two last years. She told him about the Movement for the Truth, the sphere hunters and the Gullwings... At first, Tidus was questioning them, but he ended up annoyed by this flood of unknown names.

“You had fun, I can tell.”

“It looks like it is bothering you...”

“I don't have anything to talk about on my side, it is frustrating. Two years of absence, and not a single new thing... What might I have gone through all this time?”

“A break,” Paine said.

Her crooked grin made Tidus think she was joking. But he was sure of something: he could not discover what had happened to him these last two years if he stood rooted to the spot speaking.

“In any case, I am happy you had fun. If you had spent your days weeping over my absence, I would have felt guilty.”

He had spoken lightly, but Rikku frowned.

“I have not cried! I was angry. I needed to understand, to know what had happened to you, and why. I ended up giving up, but...”

“Yes?”

“Yuna seemed to take pleasure with the Gullwings' activities. But in my opinion, she made use of her time. She probably joined joyfully in sphere hunting or concerts, but ultimately, her only goal... was you. She wanted to find you again. Or forget you. I don't know.”

"Me?"

“Yes. She left the village when she saw you in a sphere.”

“Excuse me?”

“This boy: Shuyin, and Lenne: the girl he loved, had lived a thousand years ago. She was a summoner and a famous singer. They had experienced many things, but what you need to know is that Shuyin was your spitting image. Yuna has even wondered whether or not it was you. She had believed that she had a chance to find you again.

But after all that, we had found ourselves in front of a thousand-year-old war machine!” Rikku declared.

“Are you serious?”

It was a tall story, and yet Tidus had to admit that the reality often defied common sense. He decided to stay quiet.

“I know, it is unbelievable,” Rikku answered. “but I have seen it with my own eyes, and I must acknowledge that. If I had wondered about this, I would be dead before understanding what was happening.”

In order to illustrate her words, she gripped her hands around his neck and stuck her tongue out.

“The machine was named Vegnagun,” Paine declared. “It was enormous, and would have massacred everyone had Lenne not stopped Shuyin. But he activated her once more, and we had to deal with it.”

She screwed up her eyes and stared at Tidus.

“What are you looking at?” Tidus asked.

“According to Yuna, the Fayth would have promised her your return in exchange for having saved Spira.”

“So I am here thanks to him?”

“No!” Rikku exclaimed. “Yuna went out of her way to find you, not him!”

The other conversations broke off and everyone turned toward the little group. The elders were surrounding their summoner and Tidus felt the heavy pressure of their eyes. His eyes met those of Yuna. He read the words "sorry" and "later" on the lips of the young girl.

He smiled. Then, thinking he had to show his disappointment because of her restraint, he shrugged. Once again, Yuna said "later", enunciating carefully the syllables. An old woman frowned, staring at the young man and the summoner in turns. She reprimanded Yuna, who apologized profusely.

But "later" appeared to never come.

The elders still spoke to her for a long time, then a matron declared that Yuna must change and carried her away inside the temple. On the advice of Lulu, Tidus joined in the preparations of the banquet. Since the entire village was active, he ended up soon having nothing to do. With an embarrassed smile, he ended up joining Rikku and Paine.
They all spoke for a moment. They told him about what had happened during his absence and Kimahri Ronso. They alluded to New Yevon, the Youth League and the Machine Faction.

The more they were enlarging on Yuna's concert, the more they were irritating him. He had the impression that they were making light of the life-threatening adventure they all had.

“What’s the matter?” Rikku asked. “Are you in a bad mood?”

“Of course not...”

“Yeah, sure! You are going too far. I did my best to tell you everything, and you... If that is how it is, fine! I am going back to the aircraft!”

Tidus was asked by Paine to tell Yuna that they were going to leave and that they would come back in a few days. He barely mumbled some words by way of answer.

Nothing worse than to be alone in the middle of a crowd busy with a lot of things. He did not want that, he took refuge under the tent and he let himself fall onto a bed. His mind was full of questions and thoughts as the day was fading. Soon, Tidus thought. He closed his eyes and imagined Yuna's plausible face when she would finally meet him.

Wakka woke him up.

CrystalOfLies:
“The boat is going to return with the catch of the evening. They will need some help to bring fish to the village. Come on, let's go! This is a job for the Aurochs!”

The team made the decision to play blitzball while waiting for the return of the boat. Provocative, Keepa proposed a race to the cove. Tidus accepted and rushed forward on the path with the others. However, he hurtled down the slope with only Yuna in mind, not one single thought for the competition.

She surely wonders where I am. I should have stayed in the village.

“You are slow, Tidus!” one of the boys exclaimed.

He looked around him. He was running as fast as he could, and yet everyone was outrunning him – except Wakka.

“Be careful, Wakka!” the man ahead mocked. “It’s nearly nightfall, you’ll risk falling. Slow down or you’ll hurt yourself!”

“Oh, shut up!” the person concerned replied.

Yet he was laughing as loudly as the others.

“Enough, guys! Stop!” he surrendered after a minute.

Unable to catch up, he had decided to force his team to wait for him. Tidus took advantage of the opportunity in order to slow down, and finally stop himself.

“Well, Wakka, did retirement do a number on you?”

Short-winded, running with sweat, the person concerned nodded before getting going again.

“You remember the tournament in which we have participated in, two years ago in Luca? I had planned to stop playing just after. I had told you about it, hadn’t I? I wanted to become a trainer. But we lost the next match... A bitter failure. It was different from when we were losing every time, but we have suffered from this. After this failure, we have trained every day, with all our strength. The villagers have even released us from our chores in order to let us give ourselves entirely over to the game. And we have improved! I even think we have reached our best level. By dint of watching Datto and Letty, I have wanted to practice again. But at this time, Yuna has started to talk about the Gullwings and to flail around, Lulu's stomach has filled out, and I have been more involved in the affairs of the village. I am as motivated as anybody, I am still young too, you see... well...”

He shrugged, as if he was saying: "You understand?” He was still as indecisive as before, Tidus thought.

“But every day, Lulu reprimands me...”

He scratched his head as if wanting to hide his embarrassment. The rest of the team was now far ahead from them: the two friends were not able to hear them any longer.

Tidus was moving, these two lost years in mind, when Wakka placed his arm around Tidus' neck.

Were we this close before? The young man asked himself.

Busy to seek in his memories, he kept walking, pushed by Wakka. The path they were following was surrounding the island; it was named "The waterfall’s path". Some thin droplets were falling from the top of the cliff, and they ended up soon being soaked. Wakka's fingers trailed up along Tidus' neck with a circle movement, up to his hairs, and started to scratch his head. The situation was getting more strange...

“What the hell are you doing!?” Tidus ended up exploding, while pushing away the hand of his friend.

“Sorry, but I had to be sure...”

Wakka appeared to regret his actions.

“You are really real? You are not an illusion, a spectre from the Farplane?”

“I hope so... Of course I am real!”

“Of course you are real!” Wakka exclaimed joyfully before he burst out laughing, as if making amends.

However, Tidus was not going to forget the words pronounced by his friend, forever etched in his mind. He thought of the other world, this place where the dead could show themselves, in reaction of prayers, and talk with each other... He remembered his first trip to the Farplane. He had thought about his mother, and she had appeared before him. Was he not a ghost as well?

“Are spectres only hallucinations?” he asked Wakka.

“Well… they are kinda like real visions.”

“In other words?”

- Here is how I understand things: the pyreflies react to the mind of the one who goes into the other world and takes shape of the person they want to meet. The conversation is just made up by the living. Therefore the dead can only say what the living wants to hear. If the living wishes for encouragement, the dead will give them some. If they wish for pity, the dead will comply.”

“Really?”

The explanation was lucid – something unusual with Wakka. Abruptly, Tidus understood: since his earliest childhood, Yuna's previous guardian had believed and followed Yevon's teachings. Then one day, he had discovered it was a lie. Without the support of the fayth, he had tried to explain the world which was surrounding him. This is what was hidden behind his so-clear answer.

“But we are on Besaid, not in the Farplane, right? So I am real.”

Then, Tidus pinched Wakka's waist. With a wonderful cry of indignation, the man ran away on the double.

CrystalOfLies:
Chapter 2
---


Besaid's waters overflowed with fish, but the catch ensured only the inhabitants' subsistence. In order to earn money, they produced a textile specific to the island. These last months, they had started to take advantage of the influx of people coming to visit the homeland of the High Summoner Yuna. They had converted a part of the temple to accommodate the travellers.

When Tidus arrived at the cove, the setting sun was dyeing the sky in orange, but the boat had not shown itself yet.

“What is this small boat?” the young man asked.

He was indicating a skiff moored at the pontoon. Wakka stood up straight:

“I am presenting you the Aurochs Ace!”

Since his return, Tidus had heard talk of the training boat of the team, the one in front of him, a lot of the time. He had imagined it bigger. The figurehead, which looked like a commemorative plate, probably symbolised a blitzball trophy. Unlike the original, always made of golf, this reproduction was only painted in yellow. The ensemble cut a sad figure.

“Thanks to this boat, the Aurochs have made considerable progress!

The shallow water surrounded Besaid. It stretched out so far that it was difficult to train here. In so little water, jumping was dangerous. Here is why the Aurochs lacked strength when they had to dive or to rise to the surface. Thanks to the Ace, the team could re-join from now on in deeper areas. In this way, they had adopted tactics using the whole sphere pool, like the "deep and shallow kick".

It has revolutionized our game,” Botta summarised, sticking out his chest.

Tidus patted the pectorals of his friend with a smile of approval.

“Originally, it was used for a little goods haulage, at Port Kilika,” Wakka explained. “We have restored it by ourselves. We have financed the purchase and the restoration work thanks to the villagers' donations. From now on, we must not disappoint them.
They started to warm up, under Letty's orders. With Datto, Botta, Jassu, Keepa and Rash, the new recruits Mesker and Karam, Wakka and Tidus, there were now ten. Wakka started to form two teams. Letty whistled with his fingers, and the match commenced.

They were following the rules of half blitz, a version which forbade players to disappear under the surface, with or without the ball, subject to penalties. Tidus received two already. He found it hard to control his movements.

“It is no big deal, don't worry!”

The cheering from his playmates was depressing him. Formerly, a level difference existed between a star player and a team from the countryside. Had the Aurochs improved so much, or had Tidus regressed that far?

“Beclem Clash!” Botta shouted suddenly.

The ball hit Tidus in the face.

Beclem, the previous trainer of the team, was famous for his severity. This unknown technique, taught by someone he had never met, shook him up definitively. In order to turn this stinging setback into a joke, he played dead. He was drifting on the surface of the sea, arms and legs flabby, when he heard a voice declaring:

“We are going to end with this: the team that scores the next point win the match, okay?”

Tidus stood up straight and noticed Keepa near himself, who was bearing a forced smile and added:

“The night is falling; we are not going to see the ball anymore.”

The long-awaited boat returned to the port, lit by powerful lamps. The Aurochs helped it to moor and unloaded the freight. The wooden crates were overflowing with fresh fish. Players and sailors moved the catch in bags that they shared out and put on their backs.

“And me?” Tidus asked. “You are not giving me something to take to the village?”

“Sorry,” one of the fishermen answered. “It was not a good day...”

The man, of around forty years old, broke off to stare at Tidus. Displaying an impressive stature, he had a luxuriant moustache but his skin was very pale.

“My name is Tidus, nice to meet you.”

“Bria.” (Note: Bria is Briah in French.)

He handed him a trident.

“Carry it for me, would you?”

“You fish with this weapon?”

Amused, Bria shook his hand:

“With a net. This is to protect myself.”

“Against monsters?”

“Do you have a moment, Wakka?” Bria asked point blank.
 
The two men drew away. Tidus could not hear their conversation, but Wakka's expression was enough for him to understand. Just after, the Aurochs, who were discussing the best way to cook fish, returned to the village, leaving Tidus and Bria behind in the cove.

Under the moonlight, the ocean was calm. Gelatinous and translucent creatures were crossing the beach without worrying about the men, to finally disappear in the trees. Monsters were still there, Tidus thought. Could he still fight them? Did he have the strength to do it? Or was he just a shadow of his former self, as the blitzball match had shown him?

“I had forgotten...” Bria murmured, while staring at the blitzball which was lying at his foot.

“Throw me a pass!” Tidus exclaimed.

He hoped to start the conversation again, but the fisherman ignored him and just stared at the young man, who returned this attitude in equal measure, for lack of anything better.
Bria's long hairs were waving because of the night breeze. With a closer look, he appeared to be younger than what Tidus had thought. His moustache made him look older. But the most striking was his eyes: they were a faded blue and brought to mind two pieces of glass polished by the waves.

“These eyes...” Bria began.

Surprised, Tidus drove the trident in the sand and rushed to the ball.

“These eyes have contemplated too long the distance.”

“Excuse me?”

This declaration was quite enigmatic and needed an explanation, yet the fisherman became silent again.

Tidus hit the ball, which rose above his head. He caught it with his right hand and moved it in his left hand with a smooth movement. Knee, head, shoulders... The sequence was deeply fixed in his muscles.

Since his interlocutor was staying quiet, Tidus changed his approach:

“You were not living here, two years ago.”

“No. I came to live near the High Summoner.”

“I see.”

“I take care of the temple, under monks’ authority. A month ago, I was transferred here from Bevelle. Did you hear about the members of New Yevon?”

“Yes.”

“A bloody bunch of chickens in my opinion!”

Tidus answered with an awkward smile but, deep down, he was applauding the fisherman’s words.

“Really? And what do you think about the Youth League?”

“Minus habens.”

“In other words?”

“All stupid.”

“You are quite strict. And what about the Machine Faction?”

Focused on the ball located on his head to prevent it from falling, Tidus was waiting for Bria's answer.

“I saw you coming.”

“Excuse me?”

Not really sure if he understood, the young man turned in the direction of the ocean. The ball fell in the sand.

“At midday. We heard of Yuna’s return thanks to the radio, and I followed the villagers. I saw you emerging from the ocean. How did you reach this place?”

Tidus did not feel like answering his question at all. An ill-conceived explanation could produce a disastrous impression. If he got into trouble with this man, linked to the religion of Yevon, who knows what consequences it could have for Yuna?

“Two years ago, you came from Zanarkand. Not from the ruined city we know, but from a fast-growing city. Nobody believes this... but I am willing to trust you.”

“Uh... Thanks!”

“How did you get to Spira back then?”

Tidus stayed quiet.

“According to the rumour, Sin carried you.”

“I don't know what to say.”

“Do you think he could have sent you back to Zanarkand?”

Once again, he did not want to answer his question. Anyway, Yuna had defeated Sin: he did not have a way to confirm this hypothesis. Yet Tidus was certain about one thing:

“The city I had known does not exist anymore. It was the one from the Summoning...”

“I would like you to tell me more about it.”

Tidus shrugged, without obligation.

“Sin had spread chaos across Zanarkand. How could the city have survived such a disaster?”

“It does not matter. Recently, I have perceived a lot of signs... I think I will be able soon to resolve the mystery which has kept me busy for a long time.”

“Which mystery are you talking about?”

“The greatest of all.”

The man burst out laughing, and Tidus lost his temper:

“Are you making fun of me? What do you want? Did you come to live near Yuna or have you been transferred from Bevelle? What do want to tell me? What is the true motive behind your presence?”

“I beg your pardon if I hurt you. My life is a bit too complex to be summed up. Humans try to introduce causal relationships, but the truth is that, these links, we invent them a posteriori."

“I hate these unknown words you speak in!”

Tidus immediately regretted his words. Bria said good night to him and left.

“Sorry,” the young man murmured.

To his utter astonishment, the fisherman waved to him: he had heard him.

Tidus thought he had just gone so far as to deny Auron, to whom he owed a lot. Bria was right: the lives of some people were too complex to be summed up within a few words. And when such a person wanted to hand down the fruit of its experience, it probably expressed itself like him.

Maybe will I find myself in the same situation one day?

Remaining alone on the shore, Tidus ascended the pontoon and laid down on it, his face turned in the direction of the sky. Oppressive clouds were hiding the stars. The wind was picking up, and the water lapping against the pillars of the pier appeared to accentuate itself.

Once the Aurochs drop off the fish at the village, the banquet would begin, and Tidus could not talk to Yuna. Was it a punishment? Had someone managed to prevent the young man from seeing her? If Tidus ran into the one behind these goings-on, he would shrug it off and finally talk to the young woman. It would be so enjoyable...

"Humans try to introduce causal relationships, but the truth is that, these links, we invent them a posteriori."

Frustrated, Tidus let out a cry and tapped his foot on the boards of the pontoon. The wood returned a dull sound, but another sound, more high-pitched, metallic, answered him.

The boy stood up straight to look around him.

Vestiges of antique mechanisms remained in various locations of the island. Tidus doubted that someone knows about their initial purpose. Some of these ruins were erected near the cove like chimneys, their orange paint faded by age. A big gull was perched on the vestige nearest to the water. It was holding something between its legs and was pecking fervently at the object. The strange noise had come from it.

GONG, GONG, GONG!

Reassured, Tidus laid down once again and closed his eyes. By association of ideas, his mind opted for the Gullwings. Yuna had spent the two last years with this group made of young people, who seemed nice to her. To think that life had continued during his absence, and that his friends – Yes, even Yuna – had fun, made him feel uncomfortable. He saw again the smile of the summoner and the coloured clothes she wore from now on. She was no longer this shy seventeen-year-old, oppressed by the ordeals, that he had met two years ago, but a blooming woman.

He sighed. Would he have preferred her weeping over his disappearance? If someone had asked him the question, he might have given a positive answer... and he hated himself for that. On edge, he started to shake on the wood of the pontoon.


It was night-time, the fish was ready, yet Yuna was not there. Unsurprisingly, several elders were missing too.

“The old ladies got mixed up together once again,” Wakka murmured quietly, in order to not be heard.

He knew they had waited impatiently for the return of Yuna. All the villagers older than the young woman, Wakka included, had contributed to her blossoming, and it made them quite proud. Orphan of the High Summoner Braska, she had spent her childhood at the temple, surrounded with people with unshakeable faith. As to answer the elders' prayers, she had followed the path of her father. She had defeated Sin and had brought the long-awaited Calm back to Spira. Then the truth about Yevon's deception had been fully exposed, and the Church had collapsed.

Despite everything, elderly people continued following Yevon's teachings. "Everything they taught us is not wrong," they esteemed.

From now on, everyone was free to believe whatever they wanted. Yet the elders showed very little tolerance towards the others. To their eyes, the youth was mistaken about the way in life and had too much fun. Since always, the village had worked like a family, and the gap which was growing wider between the generations was breaking Wakka's heart.

The oldest were incapable of getting used to these disruptions. Young leaders, like Nooj and Baralai, embodied the change. Their influence had extended very fast, even to territories as distant as Besaid. A piece of information which reached villagers three days earlier was already outdated. This new era was disconcerting the elders, who had always known an immutable world.

Fortunately, Yuna had not forgotten what she owed them, and, in these vague times, they could trust the young woman.

“I wonder what they plan to do with her,” Wakka murmured.

He headed for the temple and filled his lungs with the familiar perfume, mixed with the smell of the damp stones that the building was releasing. He was happily reminded of his era of childhood.

A gift of Yevon...

CrystalOfLies:
Chapter 3
---


“There is something on the roof!”

The man let the woman, who was pressed closely against him at the higher level of the first air duct, separate from him bluntly. Holding their breath, they kept their ears open. Once again; the same noise, as if something hard was hitting metal. The sound was coming from above and was resonating through the wall on a regular pace. GONG, GONG, GONG...

“What is it?” Kush whispered. (Note: Kush is Kushu in French.)

 “A bird,” Valm answered. “A gull, judging from the strength of the knocks.”

Evidently reassured, Kush laid down once again on the cushions, showing expressly her wish to laze a bit more. But Valm rose and put on his light armour. The young girl was looking at him adjusting the leather pieces on his chest composed of flexible muscles.

“How do vous know that this is a gull?” (Note: ‘Vous’ is a plural/formal French term for ‘you’.)

“Only birds and monkeys can get up there. Thanks to the sound, I guess an animal quite big is hitting metal with a hard object. Why imagine a monkey with a tool rather than a bird with a strong beak? In this place, there are only gulls.”

“Vous are correct. But what does it desire?”

“Maybe should you ask it?”

“Yet again, vous are correct.”

When she was a child, Kush had been chosen to take a summoner training course. She only knew the Bevelle haven and this island. Her lack of knowledge was astounding. Here is why she came round to Valm's opinion.

When they met for the first time, three years earlier, he had thought she made fun of him. He despised her silently, convinced to deal with a too spoiled child. Once enlightened about her personal history, he had been seized with sympathy for the young woman and, to his astonishment, his affection turned into love. Never, before Kush, would Valm have thought to love a summoner.

These people were sensitive to pyreflies, that is, the deceased. Formerly, Valm imagined them ominous, obsessed with death. However Kush, like all her comrades, felt the same emotions than the others. She was no different from Valm. Despite everything, the authorities had gathered people gifted of this talent and had created an elite corps subjected to strict instructions.

None of them were volunteers: summoners were so uncommon these could not refuse. Kush and her fellows sacrificed themselves for the government. In exchange, the serenity of their close family was guaranteed, to twenty five years after the death of the summoner.
Kush seemed noble: she was always dressed to the nines, yet she came from a poor family; which reassured Valm, coming from the same background. He had never left the island, but his oath had rescued his kind from poverty.

“I am going to go downstairs first,” he declared. “The Bedohls must have had enough of waiting for me.”

“Could we not see each other without them the next time?”

“Why? Do they annoy you?”

“Not at all. I would like us to meet, just the both of us.”

“And who will support your palanquin?”

She laughed gently.

“I can walk as well as vous. No, better.”

“Probably, but venomous insects introduced by the enemy have increased, and I fear that...”

“Are their bites dangerous?”

“Infernal.”

She laughed:

“Oh, Hell does not appeal to me at all!”

He knew what she was referring to. When he was a child, his grandmother was used to talking about this in the evenings. It was a place of endless throes where those who had dared to defy gods were sent, dead or alive. He who wanted to avoid it must obey his whole life. After his death, he would be reborn in the form of a flower in the other world, as a reward. Hell or flowers... When he was young, Valm considered these two fates were equal, but his grandmother knew so many anecdotes to justify every rule that it was futile to question. From now on, he understood the old lady was entirely devoted to the authorities, which embodied gods in the tangible world.

“Is it not possible to avoid the insects without resorting to the Bedohls?” Kush asked.

“Probably. I could carry you in dangerous areas.”

“That would be wonderful!”

“Great. Now, dress up.”

He headed for the spiral staircase, in order to go down and talk to the Bedohls. Just before he set down his feet on the first step, he glanced behind his shoulder. Kush had stood up straight to look at the outside through the opening. Her body was as slim as the one of the goddess Luchera, except for her hips, which were rounder. Valm was nearly surprised she did not have wings. The delicate item of clothing she had put on had slipped, which revealed the mark ornamenting her lower back, on the right. An adorable heart-shaped mark.

“There is someone at the water's edge!” Kush whispered.

He rushed to her side. The moonlight was allowing them to make out the details of the landscape.

“Over yonder, on the pontoon.”

A young man was standing near a shabby boat which was rocking with the waves.

A refugee, Valm thought. But why sneak inside the island? This is suicide.

Without taking his eyes off the unknown person, he hurried her to dress up. Then he raised his forefinger and his thumb to his mouth, in order to call the Bedohls. But it was not the time to whistle. The man, apparently nervous, was unloading a bag from the boat. After a moment of struggling to unknot it, he brought out a round object.

A ball?

The unknown person put the ball before him. Valm did not know what to think. He understood that a refugee might have drifted to the island... But what did he intend to do? Play? It was absurd.

The man turned in the direction of the tower and raised his eyes to Heaven.

A ruse! He knows I am gazing at him.

With a nonchalant step, he mowed away from the ball. He was a good actor, Valm had to admit it.

“That is a bomb!” he cried out.

He took Kush by the waist, snatched her away from the window and pushed her against the pillar in the middle of the room. He was pulling her down the stairs when the device exploded. Valm lost his balance. Instinctively, he held the head of the young girl against his chest. His back hit the angle of the stairs, and he let out a whine of pain. The back of his head bounced on a hard surface. He recognized the smell of gunpowder. He was going to faint, he could not avoid it. But as soon as he would regain consciousness, he would go kill the murderer. He would not let this island fall into the hands of the heretic mage.

CrystalOfLies:
Chapter 4
---



   The Celsius was ripping slowly through the night air. It could not fly more slowly, else it would have run the risk of stalling and crashing.

   Inside the c*ckpit, Paine was listening to Rikku's, Brother's and Buddy's conversation. At his post, before his monitor, Shinra was turning his back to his comrades, focused on his task. Maybe was he making essential calculations for the flight, or maybe was he killing time with a puzzle. Behind his glasses and his mask, his facial expression remained inscrutable.

   “Is the storm approaching?” Paine asked, as she took advantage of a pause in the conversation.

   The Al Bhed, who expressed themselves in a different language from hers, spoke too fast, and she did not understand half of their conversations.

   Rikku was keeping a close watch on the radar.

   “A huge depression is approaching Besaid on the south,” she announced. “It is going to blow hard.”

   “We must inform them of this.”

   “The radio does not work,” Shinra answered, detached.

   Brother yelled, but the pilot contented himself with a shrug.

   “It’s working less and less, and not only with Besaid.”

   “Why?”

   “I do not know, I am just a kid you know.”

   The boy sometimes seemed annoying, but nobody knew machines better than him. Paine held him in high regard thanks to his skills; quite the opposite of Brother, who poured out ranting. Paine did not know what their leader was saying, but his shouts and his gesticulations were irritating her at the highest point.

   “In this case...” she began.

   Nobody listened to her.

   “Shut up!” she yelled.   

Brother stopped brusquely, standing in a ridiculous posture.
   
“Yes?”

   “Should we not hurry to reach Besaid before the storm? The village is made of hessian: we have to inform them of this.”

   “If the wind takes the tents, the inhabitants will lose everything,” Rikku acquiesced.

   Brother seemed about ready to cry. They had left Besaid at top speed, like thieves in the night. They had nowhere to go, but Buddy had preferred not to let their leader too close to the lovebirds, Yuna and Tidus.

   “After all, this is just a storm,” Paine reconsidered. “The inhabitants have overcome worse situations.”

   Their leader was pathetic. Nobody respected him.

   “You think so?” Rikku asked. “According to the radar... Oh! It went off!”

   “She may have had her days,” Shinra declared. “End of the road for her. After all, this is a millenary device: a breakdown is not nonsensical.”

   “Can you not build a new one?”

   “Let me think... Why not? After all, the Al Bhed are comfortable with the machines. But we only know how to use them. Of course, in order to exhume them, figure out their function, recondition them and understand how to operate them, we have developed knowledge and a certain dexterity. But we cannot build new ones. Sometimes, I wonder why. Don’t you find that strange? Even though Yevon loathed them, we have contributed to their use, but we have not retained a single plan in order to build them. Admittedly, we rediscover some rules and forms of calculation, but only when it is necessary. Our ancestors have left nothing. Why? Here resides the greatest mystery of the history of the Al Bhed.”

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