Chapter 31 – A Peaceful Trip, and Reminiscence

Translated by Mecorx, Proofread by Crashouch

I drove the car, stopping to take short breaks in between. It was nearly noon now. I hadn’t realised that, even though this was a wasteland, there would still be road markers. There was evidence of the comings and goings of people, which served as replacements for signposts. If we drove until night, slept, and resumed tomorrow morning, we’d reach Under Junon by evening at the latest. I made vague plans like these as we drove. It wasn’t without its problems. The frequency with which unidentified objects, not just the wind, blew into the car was far higher than back in Edge. To shield myself, I copied Kyrie and drove with goggles and a cloth covering my face. Naturally, we had to talk pretty loud. At first, we eagerly shared our impressions every time we saw a new landscape but our voices didn’t carry, because of the cloth and the sound of the wind. The “huh”s and “what”s we exchanged grew more frequent and eventually, we stopped talking altogether. When Kyrie saw scenery she wanted to show me, she’d let me know by tapping me on the arm or shoulder. And I did the same. In the end it reached the point where I was looking for landscapes as an excuse to touch Kyrie. Evan. Evan Townshend. I gathered every bit of self-restraint from my whole body.



“You must be hungry.”

Oh. Well, now that you mention it. I stopped the car and removed the cloth from my mouth.

“Why don’t we eat Marle’s bread?”

“But, the scenery,” Kyrie looked around regretfully.

There was the green from the grass, the light-brown of the dry soil, and the blue sky with white clouds. In these past two hours, we had grown accustomed to a world that was divided up by these four colors. Kyrie let out a sigh, looking defeated as she opened the parcel of bread. She tore off an end and ate it. She said it was delicious, tore off a piece from about half way and handed it to me. I lifted it to my mouth straight away and bit into it.

“This bread is delicious. So rich!”

“I know, right?”

A slightly sweet loaf. On Midgar’s plate it was pretty common. I wondered if Marle grew up on the plate. I tried imagining her life. I recalled the photos I saw at Corneo’s. The life I imagined ended up not being very pleasant. The only silver lining was the radiant smile she had when she was with Leslie.

“You should get her to teach you how to make this.”

“That might be a good idea, but I don’t think I could make it.”

I remembered Leslie telling me that Kyrie couldn’t use the fire. “No problem. Leave it to me.”

“Oh, well I’m glad I can count on you!” Kyrie put another piece in her mouth. She chewed quietly, looking into the distance. She seemed like she was looking into the future. Kyrie’s cheeks slackened. I wonder if she saw me there, making bread. I took another bite and looked straight ahead. The indistinct road of the wasteland stretched into the distance. I hoped I wouldn’t lose sight of it…

“Think we should get going?”


Kyrie sat in the front passenger seat, removing and inserting the magazine of the machine gun. Occasionally, she would say “maybe like this” and pretend to shoot at stuff ahead of us.

“Why don’t you try shooting it?” I said out loud.

Kyrie hesitated for a while, but eventually leaned forward and squeezed the trigger. Nothing happened.

“It’s broken!” she said, turning her body, and returned the machine gun to the back seat. She picked up another one, attached the magazine, and pulled the trigger. “This one’s broken, too!” Kyrie slowly lowered her head in disappointment.

So far, there hadn’t seemed to be any sign of monsters, so I hadn’t really thought about it. But now that we didn’t have a working machine gun, I suddenly began to worry. But there was no use in getting worried all by ourselves.

“I have the gun I got from Rufus ShinRa, so let’s use that.” I took the pistol from my jacket pocket and handed it to Kyrie.

“Hey… I gave this to Dr. Drake.”

“He ended up just giving it to me.”


It was too long a story to yell out loud. “I’ll tell you later.”

Kyrie seemed to understand. She pointed the gun forward and put her finger on the trigger. Kyrie’s arms shook up and down in sync with the vibration of the car. There was no way she would hit anything like that, I was sure of it. I prayed that monsters wouldn’t appear.

Before long, dusk fell. I looked around for a place to spend the night. But this was a wasteland. We’d have to sleep in the car, of course. I pulled over to a lee under a rocky outcrop we had spotted and turned off the engine. There was no evidence that the surrounding area was safe. But it was no different to how I usually slept. I had a habit of sleeping against a wall.

“Let’s try here.”

“You think it’s okay?”

I thought we would manage so long as we had fuel, so I hadn’t even considered bringing anything else. I didn’t even think about food for the journey. There was no way I could say if everything would be alright.

“Want me to drive? It looks easy compared to the Turks’ truck. It’s practically a toy.” Kyrie, who had been silent, said to me.

It was actually pretty easy to drive, but it still hurt a little.

“I can drive tonight while you sleep, Evan. And we can switch in the morning. How about that?”

I said yes, but then hesitated, thinking it might be better to swap from time to time. But, in the meantime, Kyrie had gotten out of the car, and come around to the driver’s side. I reluctantly switched.

“First, the key…”

“Shhh!” Kyrie turned the ignition key to shut me up. The engine rumbled.

“Now, reach down with your left hand…”

“Shhh.” Kyrie looked under the steering wheel, and released the handbrake lever. With an “aha!”, she stepped on the accelerator. “Easy-peasy!”

“When there isn’t anyone around, yeah. Try the square in Edge…”

“Don’t worry, I won’t drive anywhere like that.”

And brake.

“Now, go sit in the back.”

“I’m fine here.”

“But you can’t keep your mouth shut, can you?”

I lay down on the back seat, which, at some point, had become like Kyrie’s room. I had my head on the passenger’s side, so I could see Kyrie driving. As we drove through the darkness of the wasteland, I thought of more and more things to warn her about, but I kept my mouth shut.

“Go to sleep already.”

“Alright.” I closed my eyes, holding the broken machine gun to my chest.

“Hey, why did we leave Midgar at night? Wouldn’t you normally leave during the day?” Kyrie said after a while.

I didn’t know what she was talking about, so I inquired further.

“Well, you know, the day we met. The headlights reminded me of that…”

“Oh, back then.”

“Sorry, I shouldn’t be talking to you. Sleep.”

* *

But, it was already impossible for me not to remember.

* *

Two years ago. For seven days after Meteor was destroyed by the lifestream, I just stayed put, expecting my mother to come back. I even got angry with her for not returning, despite how much I worried. It was such a selfish sort of anger. I heard rumours that Midgar would collapse, and that an evacuation advisory had been issued. The neighbours had fled quickly, it was so quiet in Midgar now that the hustle and bustle of just a little while ago seemed like a lie.

By the fifth day I had eaten all of the food in the house. I was drinking the water that had collected in the toilet cistern, because the water supply system had stopped functioning. Even though it was an emergency, it was nonetheless a horrible experience. I only drank it when I really needed to. But, still, I had nearly gone through all of it, and that would be it. I went to sleep thinking I would leave the next day, but when I woke up, I thought about Mom again. The hunger was unbearable, but I still couldn’t decide. This time, I’m going. I’m leaving tomorrow, for sure. I told myself that I could just come back.

So, on the seventh day, I finally decided I would try taking a look outside. I had intended to go back inside right away, so I just packed what I could get my hands on in the shoulder bag I got for my birthday. It was around two o’clock in the afternoon. That was the time Mom would usually come home from the cafe for a late lunch, before she disappeared. I decided to wait a little while, despite knowing that wouldn’t happen. I casually picked up a nearby book, and started turning the pages. It was the first book in the “Escape from Wutai” series, which I had read many times since my mother left. When I read up to the part where the stupid man in question died, I noticed that the room had became dark. It was already evening. I had missed my chance again. As I contemplated doing it tomorrow, my stomach rumbled. It seemed to be protesting my decision. I felt like I could put up with the hunger, but the thirst was unbearable. I had put the last of the water from the cistern into a bottle, but if I drank that, I was done.

I finally left. It was dark. As I illuminated the surroundings with my flashlight, I scoured my memory for any public places where I could find water to drink. Since there were many abandoned houses, it occurred to me that I could try sneaking in, but they wouldn’t have running water, either. There was no way I was drinking water from someone else’s toilet.

Then I met her. Bare legs stretched out from cream-coloured shorts, sat by the roadside. Her right knee was covered with blood. When I pointed the light at her, she shielded her face from the brightness with her arms.

“Sorry.” I turned off the light, and was just about to leave.

“Are you from around here?”

“Um, yeah.”

It was our memorable first conversation.

“Do you have any water? I’d like to wash out this wound.”

“Yeah, here.” I approached from the darkness, taking the water bottle out of my bag, and held it out to her.

“Thanks.” She looked up as she opened the lid. “Oh, is this the last of your water?”

Her long, straight, black fringe framed a small face with big eyes and soft, smiling lips. For a moment, I forgot about my problems.

“Can I use about half?”

“It’s okay, use as much as you like.”

“Sorry.” She poured the water into the palm of her hand, and quickly started washing her knee with it. “I have to get the dirt out at least.”


“Alright, I think this is good enough. It’s stopped bleeding.”

She stood up and took a step towards me with her right foot, but staggered in pain. Toward me, no less. I quickly caught her by the side.

“Aw man. It still hurts.”

“Want me to carry you?”

I think the correct response would have been to lend a shoulder. But what I said was that I would “carry” her.

“You don’t have to go that far…”

Usually, a girl wouldn’t let a guy she just met carry her over a bit of leg pain. But, I didn’t even think of that.

“Actually, could I ask that of you?” Limping, she started moving behind me. I quickly turned my back to her.

“Sorry about this.”

As I lowered myself down a bit, she put her hands on my shoulders. Soon, I felt her weight in my legs and her softness on my back. I quickly held her bare legs in place.

“Where are you heading?” I asked her nonchalantly.

“The Slums.”

“Gotcha.” I understood, but it was unexpected. From the way she was dressed, I figured she was from this area. “Leaving Midgar?”

“Something like that.”

“Actually, I am, too.”

This was probably around the time I decided to descend from Midgar. It was thanks to this encounter, coloured by lies.

“Heh, it’s pretty uncommon to be leaving at night.”

“Could say the same for you, right?”

“Oh right.”

“Oh, I’m Evan Townshend. You?”

“I’m Mireille Dudley.”

How many lies had she told me in that first, short conversation? Of course, I had no reason to suspect her at the time.

“Hey, Evan. We’re pretty far from the Slums, so let me know if you’re tired. No use pushing yourself too far.”


“Can I hold myself close to you, like a kid does? So, you know, it’s easier on both of us?”

“Oh, right.”

And her thin arms wrapped themselves around my neck. The light from the flashlight bounced wildly.

Then, we slowly made our way to the station. There were quite a few others there, most of them hesitating a bit before going down onto the tracks. They were going down to the Slums on foot. Maybe they’d never return to Midgar again. Anyone would hesitate. But I didn’t stop. I simply used the stairs at the end of the platform to get onto the tracks. I wanted the girl on my back to think that I was different from the others.

I made my way down the tracks, spiralling around the central pillar, minding my step. I had no idea how far we’d have to walk. A few times along the way, she suggested that I take breaks, and said she could probably walk on her own now, but I refused and continued walking. Of course, that was just down to vanity and pride.

“Hey, Evan? Want me to carry the bag?”

“I’m alright.”

“It’s not that. It’s hitting against my foot, it’s sore.”

“Oh, I didn’t notice.”

“I’ll take it off you, then.” She moved skillfully on my back, and pulled loose the strap of the bag, which I had wrapped around my shoulders.

My knees almost gave way several times. I regretted leaving home just like that, despite having spent so much time thinking it over. But, regardless, we ended up arriving at the station at the end of the tracks.

The station was jam-packed with people who had evacuated from Midgar, but had nowhere to go. A foul smell lingered in the air. It was one that I hadn’t smelled before. I immediately realised that it was the smell of burning corpses. Geostigma…

It was an unknown, mysterious disease at the time. It didn’t have a name. They were burning the dead near the train station.

“Thanks.” Mireille jumped off my back… Kyrie, that is. “You know, you should have taken a little break.” She said jokingly. “Huh?” Kyrie said, and pointed behind me. “I think someone just called your name. Evan, they said. Did you hear a woman’s voice?”

In my surprise, I looked in the direction she was pointing, trying to find where the voice was coming from.


A woman who called my name? It could only have been my mother. I looked for her as I waited for a reply.

“Mireille, where is she?”

There was no reply. When I looked around, I saw Mireille running off. My bag was bouncing on her back. It was unbelievable. When I took a step forward, my knee gave way, and I lost my balance. It was as if I had lost all sensation in my leg. All I could do was sit my ass down, right where I was. It was then that I finally realised the situation I was in. But I couldn’t bring myself to blame her. I just felt ashamed and embarrassed for being taken in by my own stupidity.

“What’s wrong with you? Are you sick? Hurt?” Half a day had passed since I arrived in the Slums. I had been crouching down for a while, when a tall, bearded man called out to me.

“No, I’m alright. Just resting.” My stomach rumbled.

The tall man laughed and threw something right in front of me. “You came from the plate, right? Eat that and start working. Forget all about your life up on the plate and get used to living here. You’re going to have to start living like a stray cat. ‘Cause there’s nobody who’s going to want to keep you around.”

I stared at the chocolate bar that had landed in front of me, and listened to the guy bellowing at me. I vaguely remembered Grey. In the same way he was our cat, my mother also took care of me. I felt strange for having worried about Grey so much. Tears flowed. I closed my eyes tightly, and when I opened them, the chocolate bar was gone.


Just then, I heard her voice. The girl who screwed me over. I was practically lying on the ground, so when I looked up, I noticed her bandaged leg straight away. I guess the wound was the only thing she wasn’t lying about.

“Come with me.” She took my hand and helped me up. We walked through the Slums for a while. It was my first time in the Slums, but there was no time to look around. She looked back apologetically at me from time to time, saying sorry. Eventually, she confessed to being a piggyback robber. She would pretend to be injured, ask to be carried and tire her victim out before finally holding a small knife to their throat and stealing from them. In most cases, they would be too exhausted to resist. She said she would target middle-aged men who didn’t seem in good shape. I guess I just got caught up in it. In fact, I volunteered. How stupid of me.

“I didn’t intend to do that this time. Since everyone disappeared from Midgar, I heard from my friend that it was a free-for-all… then I really got injured… since you were nice to me, Evan, I kept debating about whether or not to go through with it the whole way… sorry.”

Well, at least she didn’t pull a knife on me. I decided to leave it at that.

“Why did you come back?”

“I was scolded by my grandmother.”

Before long, we arrived at a house. It was the house that would later become the Mireille Detective Agency. The walls had random wooden boards fixed to them, it seemed they were pretty poor. There wasn’t even glass in the windows, they were plastic, and so clouded with dust that you couldn’t even see inside. It was exactly what I imagined a Slums house to be like. As soon as she opened the flimsy-looking door, we were greeted by a tiny living room. But all of the walls were covered with cream coloured fabric, so, despite the outward appearance, it felt cozy. There was a prominent glass cabinet in the middle of the wall on the right. Its shelves were lined with expensive looking porcelain dolls.

“Booty?” As I asked, she cast her eyes downward. That was my first, and last, jab at her.

The door to the back room opened, and a short, fat, old lady came out. She approached me with a gentle smile, and suddenly hugged me. “I’m sorry, please forgive my granddaughter. I told her to observe her targets well before deciding who to take from, and she usually does exactly that. But, you see, she was all tired-out this time… really, I am so sorry,” said the old lady in one breath. “You can have this back, of course,” she held out the shoulder bag to me. “You mind checking the contents?”

I did as I was told, taking the bag from her, and checked the contents. I couldn’t remember what I had put in there in the first place, so I was surprised when I looked inside. I kept pulling out items associated with my mother. Mom’s book, her handkerchief, the photograph I had taken with her…

“The person in the photo is your mother, right?” The old lady asked.


“Is she doing well?”


“You know, I knew it. It would be terrible to rob someone of those memories. The only ones you should be targeting are those dirty old men, full of ulterior motives.”

I fidgeted in embarrassment.

“Please forgive Kyrie.”


“Oh, my real name is Kyrie. Kyrie Canaan.”

“How about it? Do let us atone for our wrongdoings, alright? We steal for a living, so if we don’t make amends for the bad things we do, we’ll really turn into bad people. Won’t you give us a chance?”

Even as the old lady stood before me with both hands clasped together, I couldn’t understand her concept of good and bad. I smiled unintentionally.

“Thanks, Evan.”

She seemed to have misunderstood my smile. Kyrie smiled next to her.

The third night after I came under the care of Kyrie and Mireille, Kyrie rushed back from “work”, and told us to look as she placed two banknotes on the table.

“What kind of a person did you get these from?” The old lady asked.

“No, no, not that.” Kyrie seemed excited. “I met with Fabio today. He told me to help out because there was good money in it, so I went with him to the Sector Seven Slums. You know, the junk heap.”

The old woman nodded. I could only imagine such a place.

“It seemed an old man who used to live on the Sector Seven plate was searching for something, and asked Fabio and I for help. He promised to reward us if we found what he was looking for. The amount he offered us was huge! We were determined to do it, so we called Leslie, and then he called some friends. I think we ended up with six in total? The six of us searched until nightfall before finding it. It was a large safe. The old man was overjoyed, and thanked us by paying us these.”

“There was this much after dividing it between the six of you?”

“Yup, it was a sweet deal, and it made him happy. I love making people happy!”

That was the start of the Mireille Detective Agency. I was also invited to join in due time. I declined the offer at first, but decided to join under the condition that I was able to quit whenever I wanted to.

The next day, I went back up to the Midgar plate with a big bag that I borrowed from Kyrie. The long walk up the tracks was a pain, but I wanted to leave the house with closure. Of course, there was also the issue of my mother. When I got there, the house had been ransacked. It seemed to have been broken into by thieves. I immediately checked that the money was still in the ceiling. It was safe. Then I walked around the house, checking the damage. The TV and phone were gone. Other stuff might have been stolen too, but I couldn’t bring myself to check. I was more angry that the rooms had been disturbed than I was about the stuff that had been stolen. I took time to tidy things up, while cursing the thieves. I boarded up the window that the thieves had broken with tiles I took from the ceiling. Then I finally got to work choosing what to take with me. I had lived in that house since I was born. Every item brought back feelings and memories. I couldn’t bear to choose just a few of those things to take with me. In the end, I simply took the money from the ceiling and a few articles of clothing. I wasn’t getting rid of this house, I was just going away for a while. I could come back anytime, as long as the tracks were connected.

Finally, I left a note for my mother. Since I didn’t have a stable residence or a means for giving directions to Kyrie’s house, I just wrote that I would be at the station in the Slums every day at noon for one hour. Then, I bid farewell to Midgar.

Back in the Slums, Kyrie had come to collect me from the station. She was with two men of around the same age. The grey haired guy brushed his hair back as he looked me up and down, as if appraising me. The chubby guy looked at me through the thick lenses of his glasses and chuckled. They were Fabio and Leslie, I had only heard their names until then. They were introduced to me as partners who would do detective work with us. I felt kinda uncomfortable listening to the old friends bantering. I guess it felt like I was being assaulted by a need to get to know them quickly, as well as the sense that it was a mistake for me to even consider living in the Slums.

“I know of an empty house, but it’s not really in the best area. It might be tough for someone who was raised on the plate.” Fabio said.

“Sure, I was raised on the plate. Don’t go looking down on me, though.”

Kyrie and Fabio looked at me, wide-eyed. Leslie turned away and stared at the ground. Thinking back to it now, I’m sure he was just trying not to laugh.

And so, my life in the Slums began. The environment of the vacant house that Fabio recommended was the worst. Unsavoury characters lurking all around. Leslie introduced me to each and every one of them. Actually living there, I didn’t really get much trouble from them. I now know the reason. It’s all thanks to Leslie.

The detective business we started took off surprisingly well. Since the orphans had a monopoly on finding things, working for pennies and candy, we decided to focus on searching for people. We offered our services to the people running around in confusion near the station, finding family and friends who had become separated, for a reward. In many cases, it wasn’t that difficult, since they were usually found not too far from the station. Refugees from the plate tended not to move too far from the station.

We were good at finding clients. We found and spoke to the well-dressed. Everybody was looking for missing family, friends and acquaintances. I was no good at talking to strangers, but I did my best, knowing that I had to if I wanted to live. I only waited at the station, as I had written in the note to my mom, for the first three days. Besides, I was having enough trouble with just finding a place to belong. After a month or so, I had that full-fledged stray cat feeling.