Arcadia Power

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21
Chapter 9
Tentative Title:
Of A Fragile Hope
---

(A/N): So, Bria is rather an... acquired taste, to say the least. He's a super awkward character who I have a very difficult time imagining in the casual, peaceful setting of Besaid. Not to mention, most characters don't know how to act around this guy. Bria's like that super negative, cynical person you know in real life who, when engaged in extended conversation with, sucks the energy out of you. Ever know that feeling? It's exhausting. D:

I think Lulu has finally found someone who can rival her dry wit. ;3

*

The storm raged on throughout the entire night.

During the early morning, the depressed moved away at some point to the north, littering the coast with algae, antsy sea critters, and red seaweed. Trudging through debris, the villagers crossed the beach in order to find remains thrown back from the sea. As soon as someone found something, the person would shout, and Wakka or somebody else from the Aurochs would rush up to determine if the fragment originate from The Ace.

The objects which did not pass inspection were gathered near the pontoon in order to be burnt, so that the smoke produced by the sodden wood would point in the direction of Besaid Island to Yuna and Tidus, in case they were lost out at sea.

Apart from that, there were no other means of communication.

The Al Bhed members of the Gullwings thought that maybe the Commspheres had broken down all around the same time because the parts used to create them were discovered at the same level of technology as those salvaged in Bikanel Desert. Wakka did not make this concern public knowledge with the rest of the inhabitants, because he feared that they would lose all trust in the Al Bhed, or perhaps even blame them for the situation.

Bria stood near the edge of the waters, his eyes glued to the eerie, calm sea. He had been the last one who spoke to Tidus, so he felt at part responsible.

“It’s not your fault.” Wakka felt compelled to remind him. “Fortunately, the storm’s over. If the boat is still floating, they’ll come back. If that’s not the case, then I’m sure they’ll find a plank to hold on to. Tidus is strong, and as long as they’re together, Yuna will be okay.”

Bria still sounded doubtful. “Don’t delude yourself. If they’re stuck in the water, their body temperature will decrease more and more with each passing moment, and then--.”

Wakka cut him off, not wanting to hear the rest of that depressing line of thought. “My delusions don’t concern you!”

The man gave him an apologetic smile, comforted by his vocal declaration.

“If only we knew how to fix this damn thing!” Wakka huffed, his eyes fixed on the Celsius. “We could search for them from the sky. But according to Shinra, we can’t repair it.”

At that, Bria snickered.
   
Wakka glared. “What’s so funny?”
   
“The situation. We are dependent on machines. We become more and more lazy, but when it comes down to it, we are incapable of repairing them when necessary. Don’t you see? Our sins are spreading out across Spira, and soon you shall see Sin returning.”
   
Wakka crossed his arms, wary of this man. No one made light of Sin, even after two years after its defeat, the horror of its reign still fresh in everyone's hearts. Sensing the spite and derision in his foreboding words, he knew this man couldn’t be joking. Bria seriously believed the Al Bhed were at fault.
   
He understood how he felt, but he had long since passed that ignorant point of his life.
   
“...You’re talking about the Al Bhed? Cuz if that’s the case, you’re going too far.”
   
“Are you honestly not convinced that this,” Bria briskly gestures to the parked airship, “scrap heap must stay on the ground? To feel helpless that you are not able to search for Yuna? After all, you’ve already tried everything. You’ve crossed all over this beach, gathering wood just to light a fire… That’s all you can do, right? If she stays lost, that’s destiny. Nobody would be guilty for that. You’re not at fault. In fact, if you look at it this way, you’re being prepared to receive the worst news without feeling responsible.”
   
“I can’t believe you…" What he suggested burned like asinine to his ears, and Wakka fought to keep his ire at bay. He wanted nothing more than to punch the fool. "Ever since she was seven years old, she’s been like a little sister to me. What you’re saying is awful!”
   
“Then move on, Wakka.”
   
“I know what you’re saying, but…”
   
He hesitated. Distraught, he shook his head, not wanting to accept the possible truth in his words. Frustrated at himself and this hopeless situation, Wakka thought of a better idea. He would keep believing, even if there lied no guarantee in his hopes being answered. Even though they found no proof that they were alive, they also found no proof they were dead, either. He jumped onto the pontoon, eager to project his voice.
   
“We gotta do more to find Yuna! Does someone have an idea? I’m all ears!”
   
“First thing’s first. If we want to go out looking for them, we have to fix the only remaining boat we have as soon as possible.” An elderly man interjected, not once ceasing his work on the boat in question.
   
“The Port Kilika shuttle is going to arrive soon. We could ask the captain to search for her.” Another one of the villagers proposed. “And if he refuses, we could ask him to solicit the fishermen from Kilika.”
   
“But where do we begin the search? The ocean is so vast…”
   
More voices murmured amongst themselves, echoing their uncertainty.
   
Then Bria spoke, dispelling the tense atmosphere.
   
“All we know is the storm has moved on from the south to the north. You’re all familiar with the currents that move around Besaid Island, right? Then, you’re not completely helpless.”
   
“I know a boy gifted with this kind of calculation.” Wakka piped up, already jogging in direction of the airship. “I’m going to talk to him.”
   
“Does anyone own a marine map of the region?” Bria said.
   
Letty bolted for the village, citing that he saw one inside the Crusader’s lodge. As if everyone had been waiting on this kind of signal, the others that remained on the beach took up their search again with renewed energy and determination.
   
“You’re used to setting people to work.”
   
Bria turned around to regard Lulu who had spoken to him.
   
“I didn’t do anything.” He shrugged, shaking his head, wanting to take no part in the credit. “Wakka did. A lot of villagers follow him faithfully. Now, I think, he’s beginning to realize just how popular he really is.”
   
Lulu took a moment to observe her husband, who plunged into the water to swim towards the airship. The colossal, red structure stood on the shallows facing the beach, almost as if it were a sentry overlooking the island of busy people. She nodded in agreement, pensive.
   
“It’s been a month since your arrival on the island, Bria. Unless I am incorrect.”
   
“Indeed.”
   
“I believe the time has come for you to explain to us the exact nature of this ‘New Yevon Church’ business, which has sent you here.”
   
“I am a manager of sorts. Aside from the random fiend outbreaks, thefts have occurred in several temples. Because of this, we decided to check all the accounts, taking count of stock and inventory, reimbursing for the losses... That is why I am here. I will surely receive another assignment soon, but in the meantime, I wish to carry on taking part in the chores and caring for the elderly.”
   
“Are you worried about your reputation?”
   
Bria narrowed his eyes, suspicious of her charming smile.
   
“Do you remember your predecessor, the man who was declared missing?” Lulu pressed, folding her arms below her breasts.
   
“Yes. I met him the first day I took up the position.”
   
“Some people have claimed to have seen him haunting the ruins path, in which he had become a monster.”
   
“Is that so?”
   
“According to some witnesses, they go on to say that they can actually hear him lamenting constantly. What’s more, they can even make out a name. ‘Bria, Bria, Bria, Bria, Bria…’” She sang that last sentence in a haunting lilt, testing him, scrutinizing his impassive face.

“Then, they must have been mistaken. Usually, I find that people who come across such creatures suffer from auditory hallucinations.”

“Maybe.” Lulu conceded at that.

But Bria suspected she would not give up so easily, so he decided to play along if not for his curiosity.

“And who would have bumped into this alleged monster? Do you know?”

“Me.”

They exchanged tense smiles, waging a battle of attrition. Before either of them could react, a cry came from the sea. They turned to spot Wakka standing near the Celsius. Neck deep in the water, only his head protruded from the surface. Bria waved at him, and Wakka raised his arms to cross them in the form of an X. Then, he proceeded to pick up an object that had been floating close to him, brandishing it high for everyone to see; a piece of wood painted in yellow varnish. Distress immediately swept across the beach.

Anyone would have recognize the duplicate blitzball trophy that normally ornamented the bow of The Ace.
22
Chapter 8
Tentative Title:
Of Divergent Winds
---

(A/N): So far, this chapter happens to be my favorite dialogue scene in the entire story. Yuna's thoughts and feelings really answered a lot of questions about what exactly did she make public knowledge (and what she didn't), as well as why the heck those grandmas are so strict (bc they be sick and tired of her wishy-washy, shiitake mushrooms). It pretty much throws a lot of annoying and unbelievable details into wonderful perspective.

*

The Aurochs Ace swayed to the whim of the waves.

Tidus did not know how much time had passed since they abandoned the rudder, but grey clouds still hid the light of the moon and stars from view.

He lied on his side, daydreaming, his eyes drawn to the white hood of her summoner garb peeking out from across the room on the sofa, almost glowing in the gloomy dark. He sensed her slow breathing against the nape of his neck, lulled by the warm, comforting perfume of her breath. A few minutes ago, he had turned over to face his thoughts, and Yuna had not stirred from his movements, except to snuggle against his back.

In the dark, Tidus lost all notion of time.

None of their friends, despite their conversation, amiable company, and constant reassurances managed to clear any of his unease, which tormented him. But a single moment by Yuna’s side somehow swept away all of his worry, and he cherished that. However, a heavy gloom still persisted in seeping into his every senses. He felt it encroach upon him like an internal wound, bleeding without an outlet, tightening his muscles and weighing in his stomach. And then he identified the feeling as self-blame.

Why? What caused him to dwell on this culpability?

That helplessness of being gone for two whole years, causing Yuna grief over his choice. He chose to end the cycle at the cost of his existence for Yuna’s sake, without once asking how she felt, and now he wondered if he made the right choice. He had no other choice. The Fayth chose his father for that role, and Tidus had been next in line when Jecht failed. He thought he made the right call…

No matter how many times he repeated it, it didn’t erase the fact: he abandoned her, and she had been all alone. Did he deserve happiness with the woman he loved?

Yuna stirred, and Tidus closed his eyes, feigning sleep.

He could sense her eyes boring into his back.

After a long, quiet moment, she stood up on the mattress and walked over his body, in order not to disturb him in his sleep. He continued to listen to her tiptoe in the dark, feeling her way along the space between the table and bed, eventually picking up the clothes she had left on the floor so she could dress up again.

The boat pitched all of a sudden, startling him enough to open his eyes, catching her own.

“Sorry. Did I wake you? I’ll be right back.”

She leaned in with a smile, kissing him on the lips, and Tidus blushed.

He resolved to leave his somber thoughts, because nothing justified in having them. He sat up, swinging his legs to sit at the edge of the mattress, and stood to follow the retreating hem of her white dress into the gangway. Climbing halfway up the stairs, he heard a loud, dull thud right above him, and he dashed up the stairs two steps at a time until he finally reached her.

He found her grasping the rudder wheel, as if she caught herself in mid-stumble, balancing herself on one foot, peeking outside.

“It’s hard to see. So dark, ow…”

“What was that noise? Did you hurt yourself?”

She gave him a sheepish smile, combing her fringe out of the way to show her swollen red forehead.

“That’s not funny!” Anger rose from worry, and it surprised him when he couldn’t close the lid on it fast enough. “Don’t look so peaceful about it. If you’re in pain, you have the right to complain. Whether the pain is physical or something even much deeper, don’t hesitate to tell me about it. I’m here for you.”

She stared, startled by his outburst. “...okay.”

“I came back for this reason, you know.”

“Very well.” She smiled, thoughtful. “You know, we won’t be able to whistle anymore.”

“Huh? What d’you mean?”

“To call for each other. If we’re together all the time…” Yuna trailed off, becoming shy now in his presence.

“Oh. Huh. That’s right.” The thought made him smile, and then silence fell between them, motivating him to step closer.

Yuna frowned, reluctant to stay close, and then she stepped back, averting her eyes, wringing her hands in that old nervous habit of hers. “Forgive me, I… We need to talk about something.”

“Ah…” In order to hide his embarrassment, Tidus stepped back to stand in front of the porthole, gazing out into the dark horizon. Only the seafoam stood out in the blackness. Couldn’t this thing have waited until after they had time to settle down and relax together? They didn’t have much longer to enjoy their quality time together before Yuna must return to answer for her disappearance.

“The elders have been asking me about everything that occurred in the temples… Learning that the Grand Maester was an Unsent; that he didn’t want happiness for Spira, but only to ensure the continuation of his cult… That Yevon’s teachings to defeat Sin were in fact a way to bring it back to life…”

“Yeah?”

“I’ve remained silent on the subject for a long time. I’ve never told them the full truth behind my role in those events. I’ve never said how exactly I had defeated Sin for good, nor how I believed that Yevon’s teachings were just a pack of lies or that the Church had become a parasite of our world. I’ve never mentioned these subjects. Not with most people, at any rate.”

“I can imagine. It’d be quite a shock for the faithful.”

“Yes. Some people may become mad at me, or even hate me.”

“I see.”

“Because of this, after the death of Grand Maester Yo Mika and the appearance of the Movement of Truth, the Yevon clergy decided to reform into a political faction known as New Yevon, with Baralai…” She trailed off, creasing her brow in thought, the shadows of an unspoken sentiment flitting across her eyes. “Oh, that’s right, you don’t know who Baralai is…”

“Rikku and the others have told me about him. He’s very close to Nooj and Gippal, right?”

“That’s right. Where was I?”

“But what’re you trying to say?” Tidus pressed, impatient.

“I kept most of these events secret because I was worried. But the elders wanted to know everything. They have begged and cried, and even have accused me of egotism. Remaining silent for so long, for fear of what others would think, apparently that is vanity. They insisted that if I explained it to them, they would understand, and they wouldn’t hold a grudge against me, so…”

“So? Tell them! Tell them about how the old crook Mika kept the machina all to himself. Tell them about what that bastard Seymour did--!”

“I’ve told them. It has taken some time, but I’ve told them everything.”

“And?”

“They listened to me without interruption.”

“Well, that’s great! All the better!” He smiled, relieved. For such good news, he didn’t know why Yuna didn’t sound so excited about that. He couldn’t even figure out where this conversation was leading them.

She shook her head. “No, that’s not good.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“Afterwards, they asked me: ‘Now to whom will we be able to trust in order to guide us in our lives?’” She quoted them, morose.

“They can decide for themselves, can’t they?”

“They’ve asked me if they must forget Yevon’s teachings.”

“Of course! It was a sham!”

Yuna lowered her eyes, shaking her head.

Tidus became wary all of a sudden. Did he say something wrong? “What?”

“I’ve followed the teachings, too. Admittedly, it contained despicable lies, but the rest of it wasn’t all bad. After all, I’ve led a happy life, and I met you.”

“Yuna!”

Surely she’s not going to call their fateful meeting “a gift of Yevon,” too. That’d be laying the gratitude thick. And to keep up the spirit of the argument, Yuna decided to use his previous words against him.

“And what’s wrong with the elders wanting to believe in the teachings? It’s their choice.”

At that, Tidus forced himself to concede. “You may be right…”

“So I must go back tomorrow.”

“What?”

“I promised I’d join them in order to find a new prayer text.”

“But why do they need you?”

“It’s my fault that they’ve lost their faith.”

“But don’t you think you’ve done enough for them?”

“That’s not a reason for me to cross my arms and do nothing.”

“Yuna…”

In his moment of disbelief, the words he wanted to say tangled in his throat, he noticed the ornament which hung from her ear, the full length of its blue cylindrical beads shrouded within her brown hair. He hadn’t seen her wear it in the cabin. When did she take the time to put it on again? Since Tidus had met her, she had always worn it, a present probably from Kimahri going by its tribal yellow design, but the color had never faded.

‘It's like... I’m the only one who’s changed.’

“Yes?” She called out out to him again.

“It’s nothing,” he said, loudly, to dispel his thoughts. “I understand. Let’s hurry back to the village. We just need to find the right direction.”

“I’m sorry.”

Now he felt guilty that she felt the need to apologize. It’s not what she said, but the fact she refused a kiss from him in the first place, that put him in a bad mood. They hadn’t seen each other in so long, two years since they were last intimate, that Tidus did not understand why she still wanted the distance.

“It’s all my fault,” he said, hoping that would absolve her of self-blame, and proceeded to turn his back on her to hide his unease.

“I noticed, a bit earlier…” She spoke up after a long, heavy silence, her voice ringing clear in the salty air. “That we aren’t very good at apologizing to each other. During the weeks we traveled throughout Spira, climbing Mt. Gagazet, fighting Sin and then eventually Yevon… And during the two years we were separated, with no letter or news-- my feelings have only grown stronger. And then, this morning, you came back to me, just like that. Now, I know who you are and who I am. I know we can make an effort to understand each other. Hey, are you listening to me?”

“Yes, of course.”

He tried to stifle the tears threatening to burst from his eye sockets.

“When I met you, I was seventeen years old, and I’d fallen madly in love with you. Now that we’re together again…”

Unable to handle not looking at her, he turned around to face her, spellbound by the sight of her swinging her hips in a gleeful manner, her cheeks pinched pink in a shade of flattering crimson. She looked so radiant and beautiful, he could already sense his anger melt away.

“From now on, we’ll have to face life everyday, and above all, make no mistake-- I still love you. I don’t want to leave you anymore.”

“Ah…” Now she had gone and done it. He couldn’t fight it anymore.

She quirked an eyebrow, amused, but more so startled by his lack of reaction. “‘Ah’...?”

He fought to control his voice, even when it broke under the weight of his emotion. “I love you, too.”

“What a relief!” She beamed.

Yuna looked like she wanted to say more, but then gave up on it. She turned around and started using the console sticks, the ones near the rudder, and for a few seconds, they could only hear the noise of the buttons she pushed, the stretch of foreboding silence.

“We may have a problem,” she said, nervous. “I can’t use the radar. We can’t establish our position.”

Just afterwards, the mini Commsphere that Tidus never noticed before sitting atop the control panel did not work either. They were stranded somewhere in the middle of the ocean, with no means of contacting the outside world.
23
Chapter 7
Tentative Title:
Of An Incoming Storm
---

(A/N): This is as far as I got, as far as completed chapters go, but I'm close to finishing the next one. If I push myself, perhaps I can finish that one tonight and post it by tomorrow. I'll try my best to work on this every day, hopefully get this done before next semester of school starts. Wish me luck!

*

The Celsius finally reached Besaid, parking at the entrance of the cove.
   
As soon as Wakka boarded, desperate to meet with them, hoping they knew anything of Yuna and Tidus’s whereabouts, he walked straight into an argument. Not their usual wacky bickering, but something far more a cause for concern, echoing within the cockpit and bounding off the walls in rapid-fire Al Bhed.
   
Everyone with the exception of Barkeep and Calli were present, the official members of the Gullwings, but Wakka couldn’t make sense of anything they were saying. Even Rikku, who usually made the gracious effort of translating for her Yevonite friends, stood front and center.
   
“The fuselage may be damaged,” Paine said, sparing him from his own insanity.
   
“You can’t fly anymore?”
   
“No. We don’t know the exact cause, let alone how to repair it. Perhaps if we continued to Luca, we could have asked other Al Bhed, maybe some of Gippal’s guys, to help us, but…” She sighed. “Coming here was a mistake, and that’s what they’re arguing about. The conversation’s lowbrow, trust me.”
   
“Why’d you come back, then?”
   
“To let you know that a bad storm was coming.”
   
“If that’s the case, then why didn’t you use the Commsphere?”
   
Before Paine could answer, Shinra broke away from the group to speak in the common tongue. “The island’s Commsphere was already down. I meant to fix it, but someone here just couldn’t wait to leave.” He turned his head in Aniki’s direction. “And now, ours is in the same state."
   
“Ya could have said so sooner!” Wakka exclaimed, frustrated to the point of panic. “I came to use your Commsphere. Yuna’s disappeared!”
   
At this news, everyone fell silent.
   
Aniki glared at Wakka, mouth hanging open like a fish out of water. “Yuna? Missing?”
   
“Yes. She said she wanted to board a boat with Tidus-- ‘to catch up on lost time,’ she said. We thought they were on the other side of the island, but…”
   
Aniki screeched in distress, about read to tear his crazy mohawk out.

Rikku peered outside through one of their portholes, terrified by the state of the storm. “The sea looks scary destructive out there… I hope they’re alright…”
24
Chapter 6
Tentative Title:
Of An Ancient War
---

(A/N): Re-reading through this chapter more times than I care to admit, I finally realized that there was this very annoying and awkward POV shift between Valm and a nameless Zanarkand soldier. I rectified it accordingly, but dang. Was it just me, or was I the only one who did not immediately register that they were two completely different people?

In other news, happy holidays!

*

Valm exhausted all the ammunition and grenades he had in hand, slaughtering several of the enemies which were encroaching upon them, oblivious to the dramatic shift in weather until he left the island. Forewarning signs, such as oppressive dark clouds and suffocating strong winds, always arrived before a storm, but blinded by the fear and excitement of battle, he had noticed nothing.
   
When people are in a constant struggle for survival, they never stop to think about the consequences, he reflected.
   
The rain fell so heavy, he found it difficult to see in front of him; the gusts were projecting sea spray into his face, stinging his eyes. The small, flimsy boat kept him afloat somehow, but it kept pitching violently, compromising his balance. Uttering a string of curses that would have made his mother faint, he attempted to re-gather his composure.
   
‘Calm down, calm down…’
   
He wanted to leave this dreadful place as soon as possible. ‘After all, I completed my mission.’
   
Valm spotted another target on top of the air tower, and he squinted, trying to distinguish the distant figure. The man seemed young and built, but... that couldn’t be Johit. He had dark hair, not flaming red… Maybe Meroh? It had to be. Valm recognized his Guards, along with someone else, probably a prospective Aeon Core. It must be a member of his family or a beloved one. The more links between a Summoner and their Aeon Core, the stronger the bond, the more powerful the entreated creature produced.
   
Valm hoped the bomb had killed the remainder of his enemies.
   
But then, he spotted a conspicuous lone figure, and his eyes widened. “No…”

(POV shift)

If he could eliminate the mage at least, that would be fortuitous, for he proved the most dangerous; the others present around him were easy to dismiss.

This war between the two major cities seemed to wage on forever, even though he had sworn to give his life to end it. Yes, he chose to sacrifice himself for peace. The blind devotee lowered his hands from his prayer, raising his eyes to the empyrean. The wind stung, whipping his body with volatile ferocity, bringing the salt from the chaotic sea to hinder his sight.

“The truth…”

He never stopped to consider the outcome of this war, only Yunalesca-- the Summoner Princess and how he would live by her side, to be her most loyal servant. He looked back on the sacred ceremony over the course of which he had taken an oath, and she graced him with a kiss. The sweet smell of her hands came to mind, and the memory appeased him.

(POV shift)

Valm crawled through the shallow water, spying the pious murderer who appeared to have finally calmed down. Only the upper half of his head protruded from the surface, his eyes glaring in the dark of nightfall. As he approached, he made out the face of his enemy. He still looked to be a teenager. Had the Sage brainwashed him, or did his sorceress daughter bewitch the poor fool with her seductive spell?

The young man turned around, as if sensing him by his bloodlust alone, and Valm leapt, landing inside the small boat. He grasped him by the black hairs of his head, wrenching him closer to knee him in the stomach. This caused the enemy to double over in pain, vomiting all over himself. Valm tossed him aside and stood above him, unsheathing his sabre. Dragging him up by the neck, he pierced his back where his heart would be, and the boy let out an inarticulate cry.

With his task complete, Valm attached little importance to the pyreflies of his victim, whose soul already began to vanish. He went about surveying the ship, rummaging for anything useful. The spoils of war, as one would say. No weapons were found aboard, but a small boat equipped with a working engine could turn out to be salvageable. He wanted to call out to his comrades, but then reconsidered it. Maybe a fire as a signal… No. None of these solutions were efficient, considering nobody would be able to hear or see anything in this terrible squall.

Shading his eyes from the rain, Valm turned in direction of the island’s peak, reciting the words of faith, finding comfort in their divine nature.

“O Luchera, Goddess of War! Grant us your blessing, and protect us with your outspread wings!”

~

Hidden underneath the ground, a man-made bunker built at the center of the island, the Board of War’s South Division lied isolated from outside noises. The majority of the stationed troops had gathered inside the stateroom. Silence prevailed the spacious room, only disrupted by the echo of stifled tears.

An altar decorated with multiple rows of tropical flowers distinguished itself at the center of the room. Kushu had just finished her Sending, and Sloan, the brother of the victim, still knelt before the woman, his shoulders heaving with sobs. She stepped closer to him, and place a hand on his broad back.

Anli, whose real name used to be Pohlan, lied dead on his wooden casket, but his beautiful, young face looked so peaceful that he appeared to be sleeping. The Summoner was still a teenager, but even so his soul had already departed for the world beyond.

Alb, the team leader, approached them, and spoke with a voice that belied his old age. “What happened to the man responsible, Sloan?”

“It was a young girl. I already eliminated her.”

“What about her soul? Do you think she’ll come back to exact her revenge?”

“If she comes back, fiend or Unsent, I’ll take her down!” He shrieks, his voice shrill with rage and grief. “I’ll cut her down again and again and again until she wishes she stayed dead!”

Alb opened his mouth, his eyebrows creased, but the sudden arrival of Valm, soaked from top to bottom and emanating a murderous aura, prevented him from speaking further. “What happened?”

Valm chose not to answer, staring at Anli’s corpse. After a long moment passed, he made his way over to Sloan and clasped his shoulder firmly.

“I will never forgive them…” Sloan swore, his voice cracking.

Valm agreed with a somber look that rivaled his grieving comrade.

“We’re short on people,” Sloan said, turning towards Alb, rising on one knee. “When will you be able to deploy the mechanical Bedohls?”

“We’re currently encountering multiple problems, but in the near future I expect very soon.”

“In the near future? You’re so vague! If you desire more guinea pigs, leave it to me.”

Alb sighed, folding his arms. “We already talked about this. Must I repeat myself? Aside from restricting the number of Bedohls, this entire thing is pointless. If you want to waste my time and waste the amount of Bedohls available to us, then go right ahead. But force will not solve anything.”

Sloan snickered. “You’re complaining to the wrong guy. You should say that to the heretic Sage!”

“Alb.” Valm spoke, intervening on their argument. “You appear to be having fun tinkering around with your Bedohls in the name of ‘research.’ But we’ve been eagerly anticipating the day when they’re finally going to be of actual use to us. We need reinforcements, fighters who will work as long as one of our enemies still live. We must protect the Summoners and their Aeon Cores at all costs. Forever.”

Every time someone mentioned the future, Kush always looked ready to cry, anguish flashing in her eyes.

Sloan turned back around to gaze upon his dead brother, raising his voice. “Let’s search the island, but we must proceed with caution. The enemies may still be upon us with more.”
25
Even though I know several of these threads are dead and fading away, I at least want to leave my retrospective thoughts behind...

So! Going through this novel, I honestly enjoy the interlude (Bria and Kush centric) chapters the most; I virtually fly through those! But once I return to Tidus's POV, it's like I'm trudging through the marsh of terrible writing while dredging up what's salvageable. I mean, it's not that the present story is uninteresting to me at all, because it really is! It's just... the writing style does not fit Tidus's voice. At all. If the entire novel was written in Bria's POV, alright, I wouldn't mind it, but not when Nojima retains the same style for every different POV. It's frustrating as a writer; sometimes it makes me wanna pull my hair out!

I plan to, once I'm done with rewriting the entire thing once, to rewrite it again but with a style or melancholy buoyancy that matches Tidus. I hope I'll have some willing, enthusiastic critics when I'm done and perhaps we can edit it together! :D

(Honestly, though, who would care to read or even want to read a restoration? Anyone? I need some moral support here. XD)
26
Chapter 5
Tentative Title:
Of Lost Love Found
---

(A/N): Oops, I got the order of the chapters all wrong. Because of the way I outlined my version, I combined chapters 5 and 8 together into a Chapter 2 (a lot of the other short scenes, I put them aside as Interludes). So, yeah. Here's the official chapter five. My bad, guys.

Also, the setting details for this boat really confused me. Like, was there really a random ball sitting around until it dropped, rolling to the stairs, or was that the description of the trident/hatch/mechanism/thingy, I don't know. I'm just working with what I got. XD

*

Tidus decided to wander in the Aurochs Ace to explore the boat and kill his boredom. He imagined the old combustion engine in charge of transporting the team from coast to training area, even without the wind, a powerful machine necessary to see the job through. On the deck, near the stern, he found a hatch, which revealed the glaring engine in question. A ladder allowed him to reach it, but he didn’t feel motivated to check it out right now, having no real interest or knowledge for mechanical things in general.
   
Near the bow rose a little hut that took up two thirds of the deck’s space. This narrow area housed the rudder wheel and a console with the buttons and sticks that controlled the engine. There must be a radio somewhere, Tidus mused, surveying his surroundings some more. ‘Would they even have a radio? Did someone even invent it, yet?’

He took a closer look at the trident situated against the wall; pulling it down, Tidus watched as the knob he gripped dropped down, swerving in direction of the hut, stopping close to the partition facing the rudder, bringing to his attention a flight of stairs, which led down below deck. Descending into the cabin, Tidus crossed the door to enter a furnished cubby hole comprised of a double sofa, a bed, and a little table. Both of the walls behind the sofa and bed had a round porthole that oversaw the waterline, allowing people to enjoy the landscape. The moonlight filtered inside, illuminating the entire cabin and its modest, cozy furniture.

Tidus plopped down on the bed, falling back to fold his arms behind his head to heave a sigh. The Ace might not be in its prime anymore, but this room still adorned a state of consciousness. Apart from the handwoven Besaidian fabric covering the walls, decorations worthy of a hotel in the capital ornamented the ceiling; although the exact level of comfort intended kind of confused him. The boat could transport a total of ten maximum, but this cabin could only shelter seven of them -- if they closed up. But even then, in order to enjoy it on a decent level of relaxation, two people the most could exploit it.
   
Tidus sighed. He must be bored if he felt compelled to contemplate the mysteries of this boat, a piece of man-made heaven for an underdog team of champions. Closing his eyes, he dozed. Many questions filled his mind, making it difficult for him to drift off completely, for example…

‘What?’

He awoke with a start, nauseated by a sudden falling sensation that made him stumble forward on his feet and almost retch. At some point, the boat started to oscillate from top to bottom courtesy of the swell. Even the wind picked up, worsening the violent motions.

“Did I fall asleep?” Tidus wondered aloud. ‘How much time passed?’

He did not know, but moonlight no longer illuminated the cabin, making way for shadows to creep inside the darkness. Maybe clouds had rolled in to cover the sky and moon, and he rushed to gaze out into the porthole, only to realize he couldn’t see the coast anymore.

“You gotta be kidding me!”

Leaping over the table in his mad dash to the other side, Tidus pressed his nose right up against the other porthole; the darkness revealed nothing. It’s official: The Ace had left the cove. Unless proven otherwise, Tidus could have sworn it had been moored…

“Oh no, it can’t be…” ‘Was I set adrift?’

He stood straight, and immediately banged his head. Swearing in anger and pain, he started to feel his way to the exit, and found it where his forehead collided into the doorframe. Holding one hand over the brand new bump on his head, he grumbled on his way back to the upper deck, climbing the stairs one cautious step at a time. He stopped all of a sudden when he found someone standing at the helm.

A white hood hid her face-- he could tell it was a woman going by her petite frame-- wearing a dress ornamented with red patterns at the billowing hem, which reached as long as the back of her leather boots. Tidus picked up the scent of perfume in the wind, and it reminded him of Besaid Temple, its cloy incense.

“Yuna!” His voice **** in joy and disbelief. “Yuna…”

She turned around, lowering her hood as she did so, stepping forward to stand in front of him, hovering in concern. She brushed her gloved fingertips over his forehead, massaging the swelling bump. “Maybe I should have brought my staff, or a sphere even. I didn’t think you’d be hurt…”

“Don’t worry about it! It doesn’t hurt anymore.” He shook his head with such vigorous energy, Yuna burst out laughing.

“Sorry I kept you waiting.”

“It was terrible! I thought…” He felt the urge to cry, surprised by the waterfall of emotion rising in his throat.

She put a gentle finger to his lips, silencing his remark with a sad smile.

“In my case, I’ve waited two years.”

Tidus nodded, remorseful. A day of sadness and neglect couldn’t compare to two years of grief, and so he reined in on his complaint. “Sorry…”

“It’s okay.” She smiled, lowering her hand.

Tidus stared at her, still processing the fact that she stood before him, and he took a shy, tentative step forward, reaching out for her. “Yuna…”

And then she turned her back on him, cutting through the solemn air with forced enthusiasm. “Departure of the Aurochs’ Ace is a go! Commence the private cruise!” She announced with joy despite the shaky hand she used to activate the stick, and then after a quick, awkward pause: “Do you know the other name for this boat?”

“How am I supposed to know?” he said, sounding more curt than he wished to. He hadn’t expected her to rebuff him like that, and the rejection stung. ‘Does she not want me around anymore?’

“The Aurochs used to call it ‘The Buddies.’” She giggled at that, turning around to smile at him. “Tonight, I let them know that we embarked; just you and me.”

She looked so radiant, beaming at him, that he couldn’t stay mad at her anymore. But then she broke eye contact, bashful, looking like the ghost of her old self, shy and proper, and he felt the odd tickling from the thought that maybe he dazzled her, just as much as she did for him. They were finally alone, unsure of how to act around each other now. They hadn’t been alone since that night at Macalania Woods, in the water spring; with the cozy little cabin waiting down below, Tidus sensed his cheeks grow scorching hot.

“We’ve just left the port.” Her voice brought him back to the present, and he gulped, regathering his wits. “Do you mind if we row along the coast for a bit until we reach the other side of the island? The wind’s gotten stronger out of nowhere, and we need to find a good place to drop anchor…”

He shrugged. “If you want. I don’t care about the wind.”

Moving closer to Yuna, Tidus placed his left hand on the rudder wheel, directly over her own. His metal gauntlet clashing with her white glove. He felt her tense for a moment, and to his great relief she leaned back against him, allowing him to push the stick forward with his right palm. Underneath their feet, they sensed the vibrations of the engine as the noise heightened, and The Ace accelerated at a gentle speed.

“Do you know how to steer?”

Tidus threw her a wounded look. “What’re you talking about? I was practically born on a boat!”

After that boast, Tidus recalled all the times he spent on his father’s boat. His skills now were tuned enough to steer, but as he looked back and tried to remember everything he knew about navigation, his mind drew a startling blank. ‘How did I forget…? I used to know so much. Now I can’t think of anything.’

He couldn’t think straight, not with the scent of Yuna’s perfume mixing in with the strong, salty air. Yeah, that had to be it. She smelled so nice, and she felt so warm, it was enough to distract him.

“You wanna go down?” He pointed to the cabin, eager to lie down and cuddle with her.

“Shouldn’t we wait until we drop the anchor? It’ll be safer…”

He dismissed her concern with a wave of his hand. “What’s a little wind gonna do? Blow us away into the sky? There’s nothing to worry about. C’mon, let’s go down.”
27
FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by Danko Kaji on December 24, 2016, 10:25:41 pm »
Hello~ [echo echo echo...]

Nah, we didn't move to a new host. Or at least, I don't believe so. Many of us have trickled away and moved on to other sites, such as Tumblr and stuff. My reason, I've always meant to return, but life got in the way, and my personal lack of motivation for anything (that's really on me, tho), but behind the scenes I have been re-reading those translated chapters and slowly been rewriting them.

It's definitely nice to see you've liked the novel, at least! Or making the best out of a crappy situation. XD

Thank you so much for swinging by! I really ought to do the same. I would love for this place to bloom again, but who knows, right? :3

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
28
FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by Izunia on December 24, 2016, 07:05:39 pm »
If I shout here, will I hear my own echo?
Seems like this board isn't very active since September 2015. What happened here? For me, the board seemed very active. Or are you moved to a new host?


Well, anyway, there is a chance this here won't read anyone. I just registered to send you my best regards for the translation. I currently read your translation and I actually enjoying it, the translation, and the story (surprise). Of course, as somebody who own a Blog about Literature with a focus on translations, I will always prefer a translation direct from the source of the original language the book was written in. I'm from Germany, this is also my native language and most translations from the japanese here are coming direct from the japanese version, unfortunately, there are still publishers who are translating from english source. And I'm not the biggest fan of official english translations, cause most of them are translated pretty liberal.

Reading your translation from French to English is, however, pretty fluid, not over the top and it's a pretty quick read so far. I really envy you because, we most likely never see an official english or german translation. I spotted the french translation on Amazon, I was happy till the moment the description told me this is French, and the last time I had something to do with french was in 7th grade, gosh, feels like an eternity, I'm turning 30 next month.

I was really curious to read X-2.5. I never played through X-2 but I have quite the overview of the story, plus, there is a summary in X-2.5. For over 2 years now, I'm looking for a fan translation, but never found one. I thought, it can't be so hard to find something like that because the Novel is quite short. Your translation is finished since last year if I see correctly. It took me a lot of different search queries and pages via Google to find this board here. I almost gave up and it was absolutely random that I have found you. And it really seems like people were deeply turned off by X-2.5, maybe because of many false information that were spread by emotional people who actually learned a little japanese through Karaoke Clips.

Since I'm away pretty often I created a PDF and sent it to my Kindle, of course not without to give you guys credits. But since I'm the only one reading this, this wasn't even necessary, but I still felt it was the right thing to do, even if only I read this PDF.

My post is coming to an end. Thanks for your effort and the translation. Nice holidays and a fine ride in the year 2017. I would love to see this board blooming again, count me in for contributing to fill the now empty halls with content.


Best regards,
Chancellor Izunia
29
FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by behindthewheel on September 26, 2015, 09:16:29 am »
Hi everyone!
I know this is all old news by now but I've been out of the loop for quite some time.
Had a flash of nostalgia a few weeks back and googled for some FFX related stuff and one of the first suggestions are "Tidus Yuna break up", so of course I had to look in to this further and found this site.
Been lurking a few weeks reading the novel and listening to Will.
Massive amount of work done here with the translation, thank you very much for all of it!

I kind of have to side with those not too fond of the novel. A lot of it having to do that I am a huge sap XD
But I also have a realistic side and I could've taken T & Y growing apart in time but killing him like right after she gets him back is just rude.
I also find it interesting that he is seems weak already before he dies, and is really bad at blitzball all of a sudden, and then in Will he is a star again, even though he is weak still and seems sick (well dead). I'm not sure how they put those pieces together.
I also have such a hard time coming to terms with Yuna going back with Yevon, after all she knows and went through. Even if it is for the elders or finding out more about her summoner powers, there must be another way than re-joining the church who kept everyone in the dark for 1000 years.
Yuna acts so strangely in Will, even more stiff than in FFX, that I'm wondering if she is possessed.
She also says that the final aeon is the only way to beat Sin, which we all know isn't true. Why would she of all people claim that?
And that Kurgum(spelling?) all of a sudden proclaims his love for Yuna, someone he just met, makes me think more of the possession-theory.

I read now in the end the post about Ifahnal killing Tidus and the reasons why, but I still don't see why he would have to die for Ifahnal to use him and Yuna for his purposes. It just remains a gimmick -_-

However it is quite exciting who would beckon Sin, and some of the other parts of the stories, I feel that it is quite cliffhanger-y but at the same time the ending of a new game would be either similar to X or X-2, it would be very much of a repetition, I think.
Sorry for the long post but I just really needed to get some of the stuff out.
Have been rageing for weeks about my OTP and all but this didn't turn out to screaming haha
30
FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by CrystalOfLies on September 11, 2015, 12:41:51 pm »
I just realised: If Chuami really is telling the truth about being Auron's daughter... she's technically the only living relative Tidus has left if Auron had filled out adoption forms.

His only family is his adopted stepsister. Such tragedy. Many angst.
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