"Go back to the room once you’re feeling better. We’ll... investigate."
Tseng said, and left the hut with Elena. Were they searching for the monster? I lay on the ground, as Elena's injection took effect, easing the pain. The drug took effect nicely and the pain had subsided to what could be called a throb. However, there was no sign of it going back to way it was like before, where I couldn't feel anything. So, I relented, getting up while trying as much as possible not to bump my shoulder, and exited the hut. When I looked back in the room, I saw that it was just a small, nondescript office. It had a desk and a chair. There was a phone mounted on the wall. I felt I needed to call Dr. Drake, but couldn't remember his number. I wondered if the doctor had been bloodied up by that monster. There was no doubt that it was my fault. It was all because I needlessly took an interest in that photo of Jenova and remembered it that Dr. Drake suffered. I prayed for the doctor's safety. Then...
I rushed to the inn as fast as I could, almost falling.
When I arrived at the inn, a middle-aged man had dozed off at the reception counter. I walked quietly, trying not to wake him up, went to room 3, and stood in front of the door. I heard a voice from inside. I pressed my ear to the door.
"Hey, let me look inside your ear."
"If you have a mole there, I'll believe you're Kadaj."
"That's a lie. You’ve only been thinking of that other guy this whole time, Kyrie."
"This and that are different things. We're old friends, Kadaj. Of course I'm happy to see you."
"I hate that guy. I want to kill Evan."
"There’s no way..."
A gunshot rang out.
"I’m not letting you do that.."
Kyrie was sitting on the bed when I opened the door. She had a gun in her right hand, and was looking down at the man lying on the floor. It was the unforgettable face I saw for just a moment in the hut. The silver haired boy shifted slowly, drawing his arms and legs to his body.
"How could you... shoot me..."
Kyrie pointed the gun at the boy, and posed again to shoot another bullet.
"How could you shoot the man of your past..."
Kyrie pulled the trigger. The shot echoed through the inn. I could hear footsteps coming from the reception counter.
"Excuse me, guests!" I saw the figure of the man at the reception desk immediately. "What’s going on here!?"
"I’ll kill you."
As boy said that, he stood up with superhuman speed. In his hand was a narrow, sharp sword. The sword seemed to have appeared from thin air. I finally moved from the spot I had been glued to at the doorway and ran into the room to pull Kyrie by the hand, making her stand. The boy smiled a smile that could only be described as sinister.
"Kyrie, we’re gonna run."
I lead her by the hand, and exited the room. The man from the reception desk had come all the way to us, but ran away at full speed. We ran through the hallway after him. I looked back as we turned the corner and saw that the boy was walking towards us with his sword still held loosely in his hand. I pulled Kyrie who was fixated on the scene behind us and exited the inn, then I got my bearings, and ran toward the exit of the village. But then there stood the boy who had arrived there ahead of us. No, it was a monster. It wouldn’t do something as tedious as running ahead of us. It simply appeared in front of us. It could be that running away was futile. Nevertheless, we couldn’t just not run. I turned around and we headed for the north side. When we passed by Icicle Inn, there was a smell of burning. Then, Kyrie stopped moving. Kyrie shook off my hand and crouched with her head in her hands.
I noticed that Kyrie's slender shoulders were exposed. I took off the down jacket, and attempted to put it on Kyrie. Just then, everything around us became dyed in a bright red.
"I'm scared of fire."
Fire? When I looked up, I saw that the inn we had just left was spewing out red hot flames. The flames brightly lit up the area and I could see sparks flying about the village like servants of the monster. The snowstorm had stopped without me noticing.
"Get a hold of yourself, Kyrie."
I went around in front of Kyrie, and forced her to stand up. I held both of Kyrie's cheeks as she childishly shook her head, and made her face me.
"Yes, the fire is scary. But now we're being chased by an even scarier guy. Can't you see?"
Even as Kyrie continued trembling, she nodded repeatedly. Alright, calm down. Calm down, Kyrie. Calm down, Evan. Kyrie looked at me with pleading eyes. I have to say something.
"But, it's okay. I'll do something about this. My father was the founder of the Shin-Ra Company. The Idiot President is my older brother." What the hell am I saying? "I'm sorry I hid it."
"I knew." Kyrie said, sighing. "I heard it from Tseng. But I was worried if I talked to you about it, you would become distant, Evan..."
"I'm still me. But it's different now. Shinra blood gives me power. Yeah, the Shinra know everything.. Just leave everything to me."
This was ridiculous even for me, I thought.. But, Kyrie smiled. This was it. This blood wasn’t what gave me power.
I lead Kyrie by the hand, and started walking. We headed North. I had to keep Kyrie away from the flames. I didn’t want to see Kyrie like that again.
"It's about to explode."
Kyrie said from behind.
"The bomb on your back, Evan."
"It looks cool."
"Did you contact Reno and the others?"
As Tseng finished inspecting the rocket launcher mounted on the bottom of the helicopter, he called out to Elena who was inside.
"Looks like they'll be arriving soon."
"What do you mean?"
“Sooorry, they contacted us while you were out, Tseng, and I accidentally let slip that we were here.”
Elena looked at her boss, dumbfounded. Tseng boarded the helicopter, ignoring her, and looked toward the village. The inn burned, and the sky was colored red.
"Take us up."
As we got close to the hut where that guy changed himself into Fabio, I heard the roar of a helicopter from behind. When I turned around, I could see that it was Tseng's helicopter taking off. It circled at low altitude, lowering its nose when they determined our position, and began to head our way. Before long, the helicopter came to a hover above the village, and started turning slowly.
"Aren't they looking for us?"
"I wonder... Whoa"
I saw the boy come out of nowhere and jump from the ground to the helicopter. It didn't seem real. Immediately after I saw sparks fly around in the window of the helicopter, I heard the sound of a machine gun. It was a powerful, reverberating sound, which was completely different from the sound made by ones we had. The Turks were fighting back. The helicopter soared into the sky with the enemy still on board. It flew in front of the full moon, which had revealed itself at some point. As I looked up at the round moon, I recalled scenes from my past. Memories of when I was seventeen. Those seven days that signaled the world’s destruction. Meteor. The disaster that came from the skies. Or had it been a calamity?
The calamity from the skies wasn’t referring to Meteor. I must have heard those words from someone. Oh, I know.. It was Dr. Drake.
《I don’t blame you for not believing me, but Jenova was the mysterious life-form that the Shin-Ra Company had always been researching. It apparently came from outer space a long time ago. It was known as the 'calamity from the skies'.》
Then, it hit me. This was perhaps the first time I had ever hit upon a good idea. The roar of the helicopter grew, as it flew at low altitude over our heads, heading North. The flashes and sounds of the machine gun that rang out intermittently told of Tseng and Elena’s hard fought battle, or perhaps their confusion. It felt as if the guy was watching and laughing at us as he hung off the helicopter with one arm.
"Kyrie, we may be able to defeat him."
"Yeah." Kyrie answered as she continued staring skyward, following the helicopter with her eyes. And then... "Did you say something, Evan?"
"Let’s defeat that guy."
Kyrie’s eyes shot wide open in surprised. Then, she put her arms around my neck hugging me, and spoke.
"Evan, you're still the best!"
Still? Oh well. I desperately wanted to be so until the end.
Just going through everything, and something is still annoying me. The spelling of Shinra/Shin-Ra. In World of Final Fantasy, it's just Shinra, so I'm sure that's what they'll go with in the remake. It might be best just to go with that and see what they go with.
Oh, I'm certain they'll go with that. Every official localization of FFVII titles thus far has.
I personally prefer the "Shin-Ra" rendering, not only because it offers a clear differentiation between when referring to the company name and the family name, but also because the company's logo spells it that way in-universe. It's also how you tend to see it transliterated on Japanese websites.
That being said, I say go with whatever you like. If you want consistency with the official localizations, then just do "Shinra."
We pursued the helicopter down the slope, past the off-limits sign, and into the vast snowfield that spread out to the north of the village. Tseng and Elena’s helicopter flew in huge circles around the large snowfield. From where we were, I didn't know whether that boy was still in the helicopter. I couldn’t afford to care. I had to figure out what to do while I still had the chance. I looked around the snowfield. Unexpectedly, there were ups and downs and shadows cast by the moonlight on the snowfield as it gently dipped towards the north. It seemed it would be difficult to find these "holes".
"I guess all we can do is walk around."
I started to walk. Kyrie held my right hand firmly, which made me feel like I could do anything. I had no confidence in what I was about to do. It was nothing more than a romanticized idea. The only thing that was real was the warmth that passed through the hand that grasped mine. Ignoring the mechanical roar I could hear overhead, I focused my mind on the snowy world spread out around us. Then, before long, we found a "hole". It was one of the crevasses that the landlady of the inn told us about. They were chasms that had opened up two years ago, when the lifestream surged. At its widest, it was about as wide as I was tall. Lengthwise, it seemed long enough to fit an entire helicopter.
"Here should be fine."
Side by side, we carefully approached the crevasse. Even though the ground here looked firm, it could have just been snow that was protruding over the crevasse, with nothing underneath it. I didn't know how much of it was safe. Before long, we were close enough to look into the crevasse. Although there was nothing but black when we looked from afar, up close we could see that beneath a two-metre thick layer of snow, it was all ice. Beyond where the ice stretched into the depths must have been where the lifestream was flowing.
"Evan, look." Kyrie was pointing at a gigantic, white wall.
It was a wall of ice. The practically vertical wall of white continued into a sky of twinkling stars. The helicopter came back from behind the wall. It seemed to be trying to shake off the monster, repeatedly rising and falling. It was a dangerous way to fly. Before long, it was approaching the sky directly above us.
"Is he still holding on?"
"No, I don't see him." I looked harder, turning my head with the movement of the helicopter, but then...
"I’m over here, by the way."
He was right in front of us.
"You don't know where Jenova is. You’re of no use to me now. But, you see, now that we’ve met, I thought maybe I would take this opportunity to play with you."
"What made you think this was a game?" I said, as I looked toward the village, still ablaze. It wasn't just the inn, the fire had spread to the surrounding houses. I couldn't see from here, but there must have been a lot of people running around in panic.
"Kyrie taught me."
The monster in the form of a boy, quickly reached out his hand, and grabbed Kyrie's shoulder. Kyrie's whole body shuddered.
I quickly pulled her hand, and took Kyrie back from the monster.
"Kadaj, Yazoo, and Loz. Our old partners in crime."
"The slums were burning."
"I didn't go with them. I refused."
"But you didn't stop us. That's why so many people burned to death. The three of us couldn't escape either. And Kadaj. You liked him, didn’t you?"
I figured there was a terrible incident concerning fire in Kyrie's past. Even now, she still hadn't got over the hopeless regret. The monster was toying with her.
"Shut up!" She pulled her right hand back, and tried to hit the apparition.
Just then, it jumped up, flying over my head, and landed on the other side. The monster stood, with the abyss of the crevasse behind him and flashed a contemptuous smile.
"Please, can’t you forgive me?" I pleaded in a woeful voice. I couldn’t let on to the fact that I saw this as a golden opportunity. I looked away from the crevasse.
"Forgive you for what? For staring at Kyrie's legs?" he said, turning up the corner of his mouth. A fact like that might have thrown me off in the past, but I wasn’t going to let it deter me now.
"...You’re just a brat. A child. You don’t know anything." I felt a sense of superiority over another person for the first time.
The face of my opponent was warped with hatred.
Just then, Kyrie bent low and started running in an attempt to tackle him. Kadaj... I'll call him that... took just one step back, and leaped. Having lost her target, Kyrie lost her balance, and hastily tried to stop.
I stepped forward to grab Kyrie.
Kyrie spun her body, and stopped somehow. Then she reached out toward me. The moment my hand caught hers, the snow beneath Kyrie's feet crumbled. She started falling straight down the crevasse from where she stood.
I put all of my strength in my clenched hand, and put my weight behind me, preparing for the impact. However, it came harder than I had expected. Failing to support Kyrie's weight, I fell face-first. I slipped slowly with the snow that was falling down toward the crevasse.
I lifted my face up from the snow to look at Kyrie, but all I could see was her hand.
I imagined Kyrie telling me to let go of her hand. I wouldn’t allow it.
"I don't want to die."
"I know that!" However, regardless of my feelings, I continued slipping slowly down the incline.
"Need some help?"
I heard Kadaj's voice.
Then, our slow slide down stopped. I didn't know what had happened. My left shoulder was burning. When I twisted my head to look, I saw a slender sword had pierced my shoulder, continuing into the snow. Blood seeped out, staining the snow. I screamed and released my right hand, which was grasping the one who meant more to me than anyone else.
"Chief, over there. What should we do?" Elena didn't need to say it, Tseng had already noticed it.
One of the countless crevasses had formed on the surface of the snow. At the edge of it stood the silver-haired monster. His had stabbed his sword into Evan, who was lying on the ground, and was now looking this way. He was probably laughing. Tseng had believed the boy was either someone with Jenova cells, or someone connected to Jenova. However, it seemed he was simply a being who was searching for Jenova. His identity was unknown. Tseng didn’t know anything anymore. But, the one thing he was sure of was that they could not let him have Jenova.
"We’ll use the missile."
"But Evan's there..."
"...I don't care."
"But isn't he the President's little brother? You know I already shot him, right? I don’t wanna lose my job..."
"Didn't you hear? I said I don't care.”
"Whoa, what the...!" Reno was wide-eyed at the scene on the ground that gradually grew closer. The whole of Icicle Inn was ablaze.
"What about Evan and Kyrie?" Leslie asked, leaning out from the back seat.
Just then, the sound signalling a call came in on the radio. Reno flipped the switch to put it through to the speakers.
"Reno, where are you?" Elena's voice came through.
"We'll be at the village soon. What the hell is—" Reno replied through the headset.
"Where's Evan!?" Doyle yelled from the back seat.
"Come to the snowfield past the village to the north. We're going to eliminate the enemy now. Get into attack mode, please!"
"How long until you arrive?"
"We can already see you," Rude replied as he steered.
All of them looked ahead upon hearing his voice. They saw Tseng's helicopter, hovering.
"Reno, prepare to attack," Rude said in a low voice.
"Aye aye." Reno took off his seat belt, maneuvered himself from the cramped co-pilot's seat through the narrow opening between it and the pilot’s seat where Rude was seated to get to the back seat. He opened a storage box that was hidden under the three back-facing seats, skillfully removing the clasp with a *click*.
Doyle and Leslie, who sat on the front-facing seats, watched him work.
Reno flipped up the seat, which doubled as a lid, and took out a heavy machine gun from inside the box.
"It’s been a while..."
"The enemy... who is it?" Doyle asked.
"Hell if I know." Reno took out the machine gun, placed it on Leslie's lap, and then pulled out a pedestal tripod for the gun to be set on. He quickly assembled it, and mounted it to the drilled holes next to the righthand-side door at the rear of the helicopter.
"You’re going to attack without knowing who it is?" Doyle asked.
Reno took back the gun from Leslie's lap, and fixed it to the pedestal he had just installed. He checked that the muzzle could be moved smoothly up and down, and left and right, then proceeded to take out an ammunition belt from the storage box, and set it in the bullet feed port of the machine gun. He lowered the flip-up seat and sat down on top of it, and gazed at Doyle. "Our boss is in the helicopter over there. When there's an order from him, we follow it. That is what you call an organisation."
"That's pathetic," Leslie chortled.
“In your terms, it would be comrades instead of organisation, I guess? They’re similar, right?” Reno got up, approached the door, and put his hand on the release lever.
"Tseng, sir, they're here."
Tseng put on the headset, and positioned the microphone to his mouth. "Rude, head past us to the north, and swing around. Set up a barrage, and cut off the enemy's escape route. We’ll fire our missile right away."
Mixed with the static noise, Rude was heard acknowledging the orders.
Upon hearing his boss's order through the speakers, Reno quickly popped open the door. A gust of wind violently rushed into the cabin. Without flinching, Reno went around behind the gun, and pointed the muzzle out. Outside the door, he was soon able to see Tseng's helicopter, about twenty metres ahead. He could see Tseng sitting in the seat on this side, motioning with his finger for him to go ahead. Rude lowered the nose by pushing the control stick forward, and moved the helicopter forward. Then, after advancing slightly, he spun it around on the spot. Reno focused his eyes, trying to see the enemy below them. He was on the edge of a crevasse that opened up in the surface of the snow. It was a silver-haired boy, with a slim figure. And lying at his feet... was Evan.
"That idiot," Reno muttered.
"What’s the matter? Fire!" Tseng's voice echoed through the speakers.
"Evan's there," Rude spoke for Reno.
"I don't care. He's already dead. Fire."
Leslie and Doyle exchanged glances at Tseng's voice.
"I can't do it, yo."
"Reno!" Tseng's scolding resounded.
"He's our friend."
"I understand. Let me explain—" Tseng's words were cut off.
"It’s broken," Rude muttered as he took his hand off the master switch on the radio.
Doyle craned his neck and looked to find that the switch was off.
"Evan’s alive." Leslie looked out the window, and said in a low voice, "Please, help him."
"Elena, we’re doing this on our own. Keep her steady."
"You're Evan's friend, too?" Tseng didn't miss the hesitation in Elena's voice.
"...No, that’s not it, but Reno..."
"Switch to autopilot. I'll do it."
"I'll do it! I'll steer!"
The pain spreading through my whole body from my shoulder. The anguish of losing Kyrie. It’s driving me to insanity. Just kill me already.
"It’s rather noisy in the sky, isn’t it?" Kadaj's voice sounded awfully distant.
"Evan!" It was Kyrie's voice. I wondered if I had really heard it.
"KYRIE!?" I shouted. I wasn’t sure if I had actually said it out loud.
"Evan." I heard her properly this time. We were alive. As hopeless as the situation was, we were still alive.
"I guess I’ll start over there."
As I heard Kadaj's voice, I felt the sword pull out of my shoulder. I hoped that the pain would disappear, but, if anything, it got worse. If I wanted to be rid of this pain, I had to get moving. Surely, it couldn’t get any worse than it was now? At the very least, I had Kyrie just ahead of me. Using my right elbow and both legs, I crawled toward the hole before my eyes.
Rude watched the helicopter piloted by Elena. She seemed to be struggling to stabilize the nose toward the enemy. He could see that Tseng was looking downward, working on something next to Elena. He was probably fine-tuning the missile launcher. Before long Tseng looked up and said something to Elena. Then they began to ascend and turn back toward the village. They were going to swing back, and head straight toward the enemy to fire the missile. That was better suited for Elena since she was no good at maintaining a hover.
"What’s going on?" asked Reno, who had come back to the two-seat cockpit.
"Tseng is going to do it."
"No, partner. I meant you."
"I don't like Evan."
"I know that, yo,"
"But I don't dislike Kyrie." Rude pointed at the ground through the window of the cockpit and lowered the helicopter’s nose.
Reno looked through and saw Kyrie, wearing a red down jacket, on an overhanging piece of ice, about 3 metres down from the edge of the crevasse. She seemed to be having a hard time climbing the wall of ice. She was wearing boots and her legs were bare; he felt frozen just looking at her state of dress. Above the crevasse, he found Evan, face down, slowly inching forward. Nearby, was the boy they knew as their “enemy” gazing towards their helicopter.
"That kid's the enemy?"
"Since about two years ago, most of our enemies have been kids."
"You said it."
"Rude, take us down a bit," Leslie shouted from behind, surprisingly close.
Reno looked back to find Leslie sitting at the machine gun they had set up.
"All we gotta do is take down that guy with the sword, right?" Doyle said, with his hand on the door lever.
"Rude, hurry. Descend. If we shoot from above, we'll hit Evan."
"Amateurs don’t give orders," Rude murmured under his breath, and lowered their altitude.
Doyle opened the door. The cabin once again filled with wind, and the sound of the engine. Soon, it was mixed with the sound of the machine gun as Leslie shot out.
"Tseng, over there."
"Looks like they’re finally getting started."
"What should we do?"
Leslie's bullets had to have been hitting the enemy. "Is this guy invincible or something?"
The boy stood with his sword hanging loosely, and looked as if he was laughing. He was beyond Doyle and Leslie's understanding.
"Partner, Tseng's charging."
"That guy's coming too!" Doyle shouted from behind.
Rude confirmed that the boy was approaching slowly. He clicked his tongue and took them higher. They were 10 metres above the ground.
There was the "enemy", beyond the windshield of the cockpit. The silver-haired boy stood balanced on the tip of the nose of the helicopter. He grinned, and violently thrust his sword through the windshield. Though the windshield was reinforced, it just shattered like normal glass. The tip of the sword stopped in front of Reno's eyes.
"This guy’s a monster, yo!"
"Amateurs in the back! Jump out!" As soon as he said it, Rude tilted the aircraft heavily to the right.
“What are you trying to do?!" Doyle and Leslie protested, they removed their seat belts, and fell through the open door.
"I’m taking us up!" Rude rapidly took the helicopter higher. The "enemy" who should have been right in front of them had disappeared.
"Where did he go?"
Reno looked back to find the "enemy" was sitting in the back seat.
"This is fun."
"He’s playing all on his own, yo."
Reno and Rude opened the left and right doors at the same time, and jumped from the helicopter.
"Firing!" Tseng confirmed that his subordinates had finished their reckless escape, and pressed the launch button.
"Go!" As Elena shouted out, a missile was fired from the launcher on the bottom of the helicopter. A trail of white smoke and flames followed the hurtling missile, which lodged itself inside the helicopter carrying the “enemy”. And then came the explosion. The airborne helicopter became engulfed in flames, and fell, spewing out black smoke.
Thank you is not good enough for what you all have been done with this project... but THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
I´m collecting all the chapters in a word document, but do you think it´s posible to reunite all of them in one PDF? I don´t know how to do it!
OMG! I´m super excited about the audiobook! *_* <3
I slowly slid my way into the crevasse like an expiring serpent just as the explosion occurred nearby. The area shook and that was all it took. As I fell downwards, I cursed the fact that my efforts had been wasted. A few metres into my fall, there was an overhang made of ice. It was where Kyrie was standing. I wanted to scream as I landed on my shoulder.
I stood up and tried to to ease the anxieties that Kyrie was no doubt stricken with. Just then, the ice nearby made a cracking sound. In anticipation of what would happen next, I gave up trying to stand, and reached out my right hand to Kyrie. She took it and I pulled her with all of my strength. She dropped to her knees in confusion, and sat next to me. I let go of her hand, ignoring the severe pain, then shifted my right hand to the back of her head, and drew her close. Seeming to understand my intentions, Kyrie buried her face in my chest.
"It's alright now." In this worst of situations, this was probably the best thing I could have done.
A dreadful sound could be heard as the ice platform we were on broke from its base. We slid from the slanted platform, and flew through the air. I knew if I stayed under her, I would be able to break her fall to some extent. I wondered what would happen to me. Perhaps I would hit my head and fall unconscious. Perhaps I would just die right then and there. I waited for the impact as we fell.
But it never came.
With Kyrie still in my arms, we were enveloped by something soft and warm. We were in a pure white world. Even as I closed my eyes, I could see the whiteness through my eyelids. It was neither cold, nor warm. I was in a state of confusion, unable to make sense of what was going on. When I opened my mouth, "something" entered with force. Before long, I heard voices. No, I felt them. They were muffled, like what you would hear if you plugged your ears in a crowd. A multitude of words mingled, and made no sense at all. It was just noise. It wasn’t unpleasant.
Eventually that sound also faded. Deeper and deeper, we continued falling. I found that Kyrie was clinging tightly to me. In response, I hugged Kyrie with both my arms. Both arms? Yes. My left shoulder wasn’t hurting at all. I tried turning my shoulder to check it. The pain was gone for real.
Then I was convinced. We were in the lifestream. It accepts all life, heals, purifies, and creates new life. The other form of life. It felt as if all that had been vague and incomprehensible had suddenly fallen into place. We were connected with the planet. I felt sleepy. An unbearable drowsiness. I was falling. Continuing endlessly deeper.
I woke up with a tingling pain on my cheek. Kyrie's face, with her eyes closed, was right next to mine. I could hear her breathing softly. I stood up and looked around. There was a hole, about 3 metres wide, in the surface of the ice. It seemed that was where we had emerged from. The edge of the hole appeared to continue smoothly into water. The walls that gently extended from the ground, as well as the ceiling, were both made of ice. Perhaps this was the path taken by the Lifestream two years ago. We were in a passage of ice.
"Kyrie?" When I called out to her, Kyrie grimaced with her eyes still closed, but soon opened them.
"Kyrie." I pulled Kyrie, who was now sitting up, into a hug. The ridiculousness of the situation got to me and I started to laugh.
“All we’ve been doing is calling for each other and hugging each other.”
But that was enough.
"Ugh. My feet are cold."
"In there..." I pointed to the hole leading into the lifestream, "It was warm, wasn’t it? Why don’t you try dipping them in?"
"Well, it wasn’t warm, or cold either. It just... just felt comfortable."
I put my hand into the hole. But the water was skin-bitingly cold. I boldly submerged my arm up until my shoulder. Then I realised that around my fingertips it was warm.
"The lifestream... right?"
"Can you read it?"
"Don’t be ridiculous."
"It's completely different than I imagined."
"But it saved us, didn’t it?"
"Right." As she said that, Kyrie hugged her own body. "Ughhh, it’s cold."
"Let's look for a way out. We’ll freeze if we stay here."
If it came to it, it might be good idea to dive into the lifestream again. Though, there's no guarantee that we'd be saved like that again. We were taught two years ago that the lifestream wasn’t always kind. It just wasn’t angry right now. That's how it felt.
"This was the path of the lifestream. So there should be an exit somewhere. The one from two years ago, that is."
"Yeah." Kyrie nodded with a laugh.
"It’s like you’re a different person now. You're not messing around anymore."
"Well, that’s just who I am..." I started walking, pretending to be angry.
Kyrie chased after me and entwined herself with my left arm. "Ah, I did it again. Sorry..."
"Nah, it's alright. It's cured."
"The lifestream sure is amazing."
"Being a nice person pays off." It was Fabio’s catchphrase.
"Do you think Fabio was there too?"
"Yeah, I'm sure he was."
We walked hand-in-hand. Neither of us said anything for a while. I felt guilty for being happy that I had survived. Even after dissolving into the lifestream, becoming part of the planet, and understanding that it was another form of life, death was still hard to accept. Much less the death of a friend.
We walked for about an hour. The cold was aggressive. Never mind me, it was Kyrie's bare legs that seemed to be getting the worst of it. The inside of the passage was surrounded by a transparent layer of ice, but it appeared that it was so deep underground that light from the surface couldn’t reach it. The patches of ground that did glow were being illuminated by the light given off by the lifestream flowing further beneath us. When it grew brighter, we came across a hole leading to the surface, much like the one we had gone through when we got here.
I had figured we could jump into the lifestream again if we ran out of options. Would it be life or death that awaited us on the other side? It didn’t matter either way. If both of us wound up in that state of mind, that’s what we would be doing. I had passed those crossroads several times so far. Each time I thought that it would be the same either way, so I simply came up with a reason and picked a path to go with it. Was I right or wrong? The fact of the matter was that I wouldn’t be able to answer that even if I tried. All I could do was continue walking. What drove me to despair most was the hole in the ceiling. The crevasse. Sure, it was connected to the surface, but we had no means of scaling the walls of ice.
“You’re allowed to complain, you know.”
"If I talk, the warm air inside of me will come oooouuut, uuugh!" Kyrie crouched down with a strange groan, and started rubbing her legs.
Just then, a gust of wind blew. Pushed by the wind from behind, Kyrie nearly fell over, and I took a half step forward.
“That one just now was pretty big, huh.”
"Hey, is it still blowing?”
Though the first gust had subsided, a breeze certainly continued.
"It’s from the hole in the ceiling, right?"
“It’s not a matter of where it’s coming from, but where it’s going, isn’t it?" Kyrie stood up, and started walking. "There has to be an opening for the wind to escape from over there."
We started walking, feeling the wind of hope at our backs.
"The storm is picking up again," Tseng said, overlooking the snowfield.
"...What should we do?" Reno listened with an uninterested expression.
"Elena and I will return to Under Junon. We'll start again from there. Come with us, Rude. We’ll drop you off at Healen."
"Helicopter 3 is there. You can come back with that to pick up Reno and the others."
Reno and Rude looked suspiciously at their boss.
"You were gonna stay and look for him anyway, right?"
Tseng spotted the figures of Doyle and Leslie ahead of him, walking through the snowfield with a long rope they had gotten from somewhere.
We walked for about an hour, feeling the wind on our backs. There was a hole leading to the lifestream, similar to those we had seen several times before. Past the hole, the path turned into a gentle incline. I was filled with the hope that we might be able to reach the surface if we climbed up. However, perhaps our climb had taken us away from the underground light source. It had become considerably darker all around us.
"Oh." Kyrie, who had gone ahead of me, made a sound and stopped.
I rushed to catch up to Kyrie.
"Looks like it’s a dead end." She sounded disappointed.
I discovered that the path came to an end fifty metres ahead. There was a hole in the ceiling. That was probably where the wind was escaping from. It wasn’t as if we could become the wind.
"Let's go back." Being here made me feel like I was going to lose what little hope I had left in me.
"Evan, look." At the wall of ice in the corner where Kyrie was pointing there was something strange. I counted twelve of them. The darkness made it hard to tell, but there lay twelve black things, about the size of humans.
"Wanna go take a look?
We started to walk cautiously toward the corner.
The black, human-sized things that lay there were exactly that. They were corpses of people wearing black, hooded robes. There were men, women, and even children.
"People dressed in black..."
I had heard of them.
Oh yeah. The landlady at Icicle Inn had mentioned it. "They’re the people my mother went after. The ones she was trying to protect."
“She’s so beautiful.”
“I’m sure… it’s because of the cold.”
I said, “Yeah?” while turning my eyes away from the bodies to look at Kyrie.
With her eyes still fixed further ahead, she reached out towards me and grabbed my arm. I followed Kyrie's gaze. I squinted my eyes, and peered into the darkness.
In the innermost corner was my mother. She was wearing the same red down jacket as Kyrie. She sat with her back against the wall, and knees drawn to her body. Her left hand was around her knees and her right hand lay limply on the ground.
It looked like she was just sleeping. Kyrie pulled my hand, and started to run. Even as my arm became fully extended, I didn’t budge.
I didn't answer, all I could do was shake my head.
"You okay with this?"
"You can't be okay with this!"
"Mind if I go see her first?"
When I didn't respond, Kyrie slowly approached my mother. Then she crouched down in front of her. "Nice to meet you, Evan's mother. I'm Kyrie Canaan." When Kyrie finished her greeting, she touched my mother’s right wrist, which was drooping to the floor. A few seconds later, she sighed heavily.
Unable to bear the sight any longer, I cast my eyes downwards. My heart ached when I thought about when my mother came here. She must have fallen into the crevasse and wandered around before eventually arriving here in despair.
Did she quietly wait for death here?
"This..." Before I knew it, Kyrie came back, and held out an envelope.
It had the Shin-Ra Company logo printed on it. It was addressed to Nick Foley in my mother’s handwriting. When I tore the seal, there were a couple pieces of paper folded inside.
Shin-Ra Company, Operations Department Nibelheim Response Office Chief, Mr. Nick Foley
I am reporting on five of the subjects who errantly strayed from Nibelheim and headed for the north, whom I have secured. Note that all were deceased upon their discovery.
End of list.
They have been secured beneath the snowfield, north of Icicle Inn. The area beneath the snowfield is labyrinthine in nature, and each of the bodies was located in a different place. It is unclear how they arrived at this place. In addition, the whereabouts of Rick Fergus, Lisa Tutti and Senna York are currently unknown. I have also found the bodies of seven people, who seem to be subjects, during my search. It is believed that they came from places other than Nibelheim.
End of report.
Fourth Colonization Corps #005 Annette Townsend
To Mr. Nick Foley,
This is addressed to you, Nick, as a friend. I abandoned my duty once. As a result, I may have let those people die. But it’s unprecedented for those people to leave Nibelheim, isn’t it? I believe I did the best I could as their caretaker. I beg that you ensure the money gets passed to Evan. I feel ashamed for always talking about money, but I truly need this. I appreciate your assistance in this matter.
I rushed to my mother, and hugged her close. She felt much smaller than the mother I had remembered. She looked beautiful, as if she were alive. Her blonde hair began to thaw and was soft against my cheek.
"Evan?" As Kyrie called me from behind, I looked back.
"There's another piece. It was in her jacket pocket."
I took it, sat down next to my mother, and started reading.
『Dear mom, it's been about 10 days since Meteor disappeared. At noon every day, I will stand at the station in the slums for just one hour. I’ll also try to be at the station as much as possible at any other time. Evan.』
It was the note that I left at my house two years ago. I pressed the note against my face trying to contain the wave of regret that swept over me.
"There's something on the back, too..." Kyrie said, sitting next to me.
I flipped the note over. Unlike the letter addressed to Nick, the words were written faintly and tended to fall into disorder.
First of all, the most important thing. You still remember when you had the heart surgery, right? That surgery was a success, but then, a hematoma was discovered in your head. It was something that would grow bigger as you aged, and would soon take your life. Surgery was needed as soon as possible, but I couldn't get the money together and ended up letting so much time pass by. I'm truly sorry for that. But with the money in the house and the money I get from this job, you should be able to have the operation. I’ve repeatedly urged Nick regarding this matter, so I’m sure it will be alright. I know you don't like Nick, but do bear with him. There's a doctor called Dr. Dimitri in Junon. I met him recently and persistently asked him for this as well. Make sure to have the surgery done, okay?
Next, here’s just a bit about me. I’ve kept this a secret, but when I was younger, I worked for the Shinra Company. I was the President's Secretary. It was a sought-after job for a girl back then. I got carried away in my elation. And I did something very stupid. Even though I knew it was stupid, I couldn’t stop myself. When it came to an end, I fell into despair, and thought I was ready to die. But I was blessed with you. I was able to get back on my feet because of you. Thank you, Evan. I can’t appreciate you enough.
I think I can still write a little more. I have a request for you. There are a few people who have helped me a lot. Please give them my thanks if you happen to meet them. Vincent Valentine. When I returned to Midgar from Icicle Inn, he helped me. Cid Highwind and Barret Wallace. When I came to Icicle Inn from Midgar, they took care of me.
Hey, Evan. You probably won’t get to read this letter. But I couldn’t help writing it, just in case. There is something your mother has learned through this “adventure”. This world is full of goodness. It was thanks to that goodness that someone as naive as me was able to make this journey. That same goodness will bring this letter to you. I just know it. See you soon. Good night.
I heard Kyrie sobbing. I wouldn’t cry. I didn’t want to cry in front of my mother.
"Let's go, Kyrie. We're gonna live."
Kyrie got up slowly, then I stood up. I looked at my mother again, thinking that this was it. Then, I noticed that below the chest area of my mother's jacket there was an odd bulge. I crouched down, and lowered the zipper of the jacket. She was wearing a yellow sweater underneath. At her stomach, I found a package wrapped in a checkered handkerchief. The handkerchief looked familiar. It was one that my mother used often. I reached out to pick it up.
"I don't know."
I didn't really know why, but I wondered if it kept my mother warm until the end.
"Mom, I’m borrowing this."
So that the one most important to me wouldn’t freeze. I took the wrapped parcel from the jacket, and handed it to Kyrie.
"Are you sure?" Kyrie hesitated.
"It’s kinda creepy since you don’t know what it is, I guess."
"Don't say that."
I smiled at Kyrie, who protested, and started walking. I told myself I wouldn’t turn around again.
"Found ya." I heard a voice immediately behind me.
The moment I heard that voice, I became filled with rage. From the bottom of my heart, I thought it was unacceptable for such a black stain to exist in the world my mother said was full of goodness. I turned around and immediately threw a punch at the owner of the voice. The first shot connected with the cheek of my opponent. I was met with a sensation I had never felt before.
The boy staggered back with a surprised look, and fell down.
"What do you want with us?!"
“The feelings you have for your mother… for each other… for your friends...” The boy’s face twisted – like he was about to cry, perhaps – as he strained to get the words out. As I thought that, he stood up like a wild animal and from the air – from thin air – he pulled out a sword. “I just can’t stand you guys.”
"Evan, get away from him." Kyrie, took me by the hand, and started running.
"You can't escape."
We kept running. We had to run carefully so as not to slip on the ice. On top of that, I could see no way for us to escape, either. We just ran and ran. Before long, I could see a hole leading to the lifestream.
"Kyrie, let's jump in. The lifestream will protect us." That had to be the source of all that was good. I was sure of it.
"Ah!" Kyrie was about to fall. She flailed her hands and feet around like she was doing a dance. As Kyrie fell, the checked handkerchief came loose, and the contents flew out and fell to the ground.
Just as I rushed to Kyrie to help her...
"Evan, look." Kyrie pointed at the contents of the package that slid slowly onto the ground.
I looked and saw what appeared to be a weird piece of dried up flesh... It had to be the mummy that I had seen in the the photograph.
"There's no use trying to esca—" The voice coming from behind us stopped part way.
When I turned around, I saw he was looking at the mummy. The mummified remains of Jenova.
"Mother... MOTHER!?" The boy stumbled towards the lifestream.
I rushed to the piece of the monster lying there, and kicked it toward the hole in the ground. It rolled, as intended, and fell into the hole.
"What have you done!?" The boy slipped through us – literally slipped through us – and chased after Jenova.
Jenova floated on the surface of the water for a moment, but soon sank.
"MOTHER!" the boy screamed, and dived into the water. "Ugh!" A look of agony spread across the boy's face. He had been submerged up to his chest, and struggled to get out of the hole.
I approached, and kicked his shoulder. "Disappear!"
The boy glared at me with a terrifying look. Just then, the water around him started bubbling up, and completely covered the boy's body, as if it was alive.
"You..." The water on the boy's face and hair shone white and occasionally green – he was being covered with the lifestream. Before long, the boy was engulfed in light, and his body began to give off tiny particles of light, like he was evaporating. “I swear… I’ll become stronger… I swear…”
I'll be back. That's probably what he meant to say. But without finishing saying it, he dispersed into particles of light, and disappeared. The light drifted up to the ceiling, brightly illuminating our surroundings, and then faded like embers.
"We did it..."
"Yeah. But I kinda feel sorry for him."
“If you say something like that, he’ll come back again. I’m sure he was... a lonely person.” I, too, knew what it felt like to be someone searching for their mother. You became drawn to kindness and gentleness. I was accepted by others. That’s how I was able to change. He had nothing, Perhaps that was all that set us apart.
"Hey, Evan. I was thinking, how were you planning on defeating that guy?”
I was thankful Kyrie hadn't asked that until now. This was because it sounded so ridiculous when I put it into words that even I was shocked.
“I figured the lifestream would take care of things that were too much for us humans to handle.”
The situation hadn't changed all that much. All we could do was walk around. The only difference now, was the fact that we had stopped looking at the holes in the ground entirely, and began calling for help whenever we came across a hole in the ceiling.
We alternated, and shouted together from time to time.
Then, when we did the same thing again at the fifth hole, it happened.
"Evan!?" Unbelievably, I heard Leslie's voice.
"I'm here, too!"
"Just stay right there!" It was the voice of the Mayor.
"We did it." Kyrie and I exchanged glances, and hugged each other tightly.
"Hey, get a room." It was Reno's voice.
Kyrie and I separated, and looked up at the hole in the ceiling.
"Over here, yo."
As I looked, Reno was leaning against a wall a few metres away, watching us.
He took a deep breath, and exhaled. His breath was white. "Man, it’s cold."
"Whose fault is that?" As soon as Kyrie asked, we pointed at Reno, and Reno pointed straight back at us with both hands.
Even though most of the houses had burnt down in Icicle Inn, not a single person was killed.
I couldn't really say that it was a silver lining, when I thought of the people who lost their homes in the bitterly cold village. Our group... Kyrie, Leslie, Doyle, Reno, myself, and Rude, who came to pick us up in the helicopter, left the village like we were fleeing. On the way, we shared information with each other. Then, we went to Under Junon, where we reunited with Tseng and Elena. Elena apologized for having shot me in the shoulder, but as before, it was reluctantly. I doubt we’re going to become BFFs. Tseng addressed me in a formal manner, more than ever. However, when I spoke about my illness and surgery, he not only introduced me to Dr. Eugene, but he also provided the payment that my mother should have received.
"But, I thought that wasn't gonna be enough. I spent the money my mother had saved..."
"I’m sure you can make things work out with someone who’s a former Shin-Ra doctor. Let's go."
Dr. Eugene, of course, was that doctor from Under Junon.
“You know, I think I’ll pass.”
“You’ll die if you don’t get the surgery, won’t you?”
“My mom worked hard not to use her connections. She probably only relied on them once when I was five. In exchange for my life, she bowed her head to someone she couldn’t even bear to look at. I think mom saw that as a failure. So..."
"But she went to work for Shin-Ra again in the end."
“She was trying to do honest work, not make use of connections.”
“So you’re saying you’d take a payment for honest work, too?” Tseng asked.
I didn’t like that he looked like he was suppressing a laugh, but begrudgingly responded ‘yes’.
"Then, let’s call it a payment for the work."
"What did I do?"
“Let’s see....hostile forces appeared, potentially posing a threat to the President's life, but you drew the attention of the enemy, and the President survived without incident. Let’s say you acted as a stand-in.”
"Alright, let’s go with that." Kyrie went and made the decision for me. "Anyway, we better go to the doctor ASAP. Evan, just because you’ve been alright so far, doesn't mean nothing's gonna happen tomorrow, you know?"
"Guess I have no choice, then."
Even I didn’t want to die.
The facts conveyed by Eugene Dimitri spoke of the worst. When Tseng and I went to the clinic to explain the situation, the doctor nervously went in and out of the examination room, before he eventually forced a smile, and said. “I didn’t expect the Turks to be with you, too. I guess I won’t be able to talk myself out of this one.”
"What do you mean?"
"I was the surgeon who performed the operation on you as a child. I heard you were President Shinra's illegitimate child, and figured I had struck gold. After the surgery was completed, I told your mother that you had a brain disorder, which likely only I could treat, and that it would be rather expensive to operate on. I remember now. I believe she collapsed on the spot, and had to stay in bed for 2 or 3 days. I thought maybe I had gone too far."
I was left speechless. Tseng asked in my stead. "And then?"
“Well, back then, I sometimes did things like that. I was always dissatisfied with my salary, after all. But I had forgotten what I said to your mother for a while. Until she contacted me around two years ago, that is. Your mother asked whether the promise back then was still valid. About the cost of the surgery. Prices on goods had changed a fair bit, so no doubt she was worried. Then, she said she knew how to get the money, and wanted me to perform the surgery. That was as far as it got, though.” He said it was like it was my mother's fault.
"You mean, I was never sick to begin with?"
My mother was deceived, and as a result, she worked tirelessly and ultimately lost her life. It was all because of the man who stood before me.
“I did something terrible to you and your mother. Although, it’s quite rare for someone to stay deceived for this long. Well, I do hope you forgive me. I’m asking you in earnest.”
The doctor lowered his head. I clenched my fist, and tried to approach the doctor, but I was stopped by Tseng.
"Was a young man named Fabio involved in this matter?"
“No… I can’t say I’ve heard of him.”
"What about a doctor named Drake?"
"Oh, Drake. That guy was my assistant for a long time. He contacted me a few days ago. Who would have thought a kid we performed heart surgery on would show up as a patient, all grown up. We were just reminiscing, you see.”
“Maybe… you spoke about my head? You know, that condition I never had in my head.”
“I guess so. I might have told him to send you my way. This clinic isn’t all that profitable,”
I held my head in my hands. Fabio had heard that from Dr. Drake, and looked for me so he could take me to Under Junon. That was why he had tried to get his hands on the helicopter, and ended up dying.
“Dr. Eugene. It was nice of you to tell us this.” Tseng said in a monotone voice.
As I stared at the linoleum floor, I thought to myself, I can’t just go back like this, but what could I do? Just then, glass and metal clashed, producing loud crashing sounds. When I looked up, the doctor had just fallen from his chair. It looked like Tseng had hit him or something.
“Wh-What are you---” It was the doctor's frightened voice.
What followed was the dull sound of Tseng's shoes being driven into a human body. Over, and over. I heard a low groan. Then, I realized I felt joy over hearing his pained voice. Chills ran up my spine. This was not a world I belonged in. This wasn’t the world my mother believed in.
“That's enough! Please, stop!” I yelled at Tseng’s turned back.
“I’ll get Rude to take you. Get out.”
Just as I was about to quietly make my way toward the exit of the hospital, I remembered and reported that I had seen a Jenova-like object, and that I had caused it to fall into the lifestream beneath the snowfield. I felt I had a duty to do so.
"Is that so?" That’s all Tseng said, then fell silent.
I left the clinic, hearing the doctor beg for his life behind me.
In the Turks’ absence, the monument had mostly been finished. Even without the supervision of the Mayor or the Turks, the volunteers seemed to have pushed ahead steadily. They weren't weaklings who clung to on Shinra for survival. They were determined and capable individuals, who had gathered in support of the monument.
We bid farewell to Reno and Rude, who were thanking the volunteers for their work, and went to Dr. Drake's clinic. People who had been under the care of Dr. Drake were gathered in the clinic, nursing him. Apparently, the doctor had been discovered, collapsed in a pool of blood, by a visiting patient. He had stopped the bleeding by himself, and it even looked like he was preparing sutures. Dr. Drake really was one hell of a doctor. Upon hearing that, doctors from all around Edge came to treat him. His life was saved, despite the severity of his injuries. I was so relieved.
For the time being, I settled down in Fabio's house, and lived together with Vits. Leslie and Marle used my home, and I figured Vits would be better off in his own room, I decided to consult with my friends. Vits had fallen into a deep depression with the loss of his brother, and his Geostigma symptoms remained the same as before. I was worried that this child might end up dying, as well. As all this was going on, Kyrie would visit almost every day. When Vits begged her not to leave, she ended up staying the night. After just a few days of this, she came with a big bag of clothes, and started only going back to her house once in awhile. The room, which was all green, started to be filled with vibrant colours.
One day, Vits, who was delirious from a high fever, suddenly said in a clear voice, that he was going to the church in the slums. Kyrie and I were at a loss as we tried to calm Vits, who was attempting to go out in the rain that had suddenly started to fall. As evening approached, Leslie visited with the unbelievable news that the Geostigma would be healed if we went to a miraculous spring that formed in the church in the slums. Apparently, the Church was packed with people who had heard the news. Remaining skeptical, we headed for the slums with Vits on my back. The rain had stopped.
On the way, we passed the central square. The monument had been destroyed, and was gone. We heard that an incident---where a monster known as a summon had destroyed the monument and a partially completed building---had occurred in the square. I hadn’t realized this at all. The square was filled with people, but I saw no sign of the Turks. I was shaken by a complicated mix of relief and disappointment. Surely, the ruthlessness that Tseng displayed in Under Junon on the day we had parted was also present within Reno, Rude and Irina. At times they were fun and seemed like real friends. Well, there must have been moments where we were friends, too. Also, I felt like I wanted to see them. But, I couldn’t right now. I would have to gain the fortitude to overcome my fear of them. With Vits and, of course, Kyrie by my side, I now believed that this was possible.
"Think we'll see them again?"
Kyrie said, looking toward where the monument was.
"You want to see them?"
"Of course. I get all sorts of angry when I think about them. I just have to give them a piece of my mind."
Yeah. Kyrie was strong. I was impressed
"No making friends with the Shinra," said Vits, on my back.
"Yeah, I know."
For now, I had no choice but to say that. Seeing as Vits was someone who made no effort to hide his hatred for the Shinra Company, I would need to sit down and have a good talk with him. Given my relationship with Shinra, I didn't think things would go smoothly. But, I chose to believe. I was sure there would come a day when we are able to see eye to eye.
The area around the church was filled with joy and hope. We lined up in a queue, and waited. We heard cheers coming from inside the building. Just then, I heard a voice calling my name.
"Oh, the Strife Delivery Service!" I raised my voice unintentionally.
"Er, sorry. It's Cloud, right? Of course, I remember."
"The kid has Geostigma?"
"Yeah, he does."
“You heal it in the church, right?” Vits confirmed with Cloud.
“Yeah, you do.”
"See, that’s what I’ve been telling you. Evan and Kyrie didn't believe me," Vits appealed to Cloud.
“Well, that’s not very nice.” Cloud's expression seemed relaxed. It was a gentle smile. Then, he looked at me. "Did you go to Nibelheim?"
"Yeah, thanks to you."
"I figured it would be too tough for you. Sorry about that."
“You gotta say stuff like that, or else nobody will know.” Vits said in a grown up tone.
“Oh, the kid on my back, who seems too well for someone with Geostigma, is Vits. He’s my friend’s little brother.”
"This is Kyrie." Vits introduced her. "She's Evan's girlfriend."
"Ehhhh..." Kyrie denied it cheerfully. Without knowing her intentions, I looked at Kyrie. Then, she turned to Cloud...
"We're already family. We're not related by blood, but we're family."
"Cloud, let’s go home!"
A child's voice called to Cloud. A blonde boy. He was probably about the same age as Vits.
"Oh, you must be Denzel!" I said with certainty. "I talked to you on the phone before... you don’t remember, huh?"
"...Yeah. I'm sorry."
Denzel hid behind Cloud, I guess out of shyness.
"Oh, the detective people! Evan and Kyrie."
Next was the voice of a girl. It was Marlene. Marlene, who was looking on from outside the store, seemed just like an ordinary child, it was strange.
Then, Tifa appeared.
“Oh, eh, h-hi.”
As I stammered, feeling somewhat embarrassed, Kyrie snuggled up to me. Tifa gave me a teasing look.
“There’s so much I wanna ask you. Come by the shop again some time,” she said, giving a smile to both Kyrie and I.
"Oh, but not today." Marlene butted in. "It's reserved. My dad said he was going to drink all the liquor in the store."
Marlene's dad? I must have had a puzzled look on my face. Cloud, who had stayed silent this whole time, spoke.
"We're not related by blood, but we're family. Just like you."
"Well, see you soon." Marlene said goodbye with childlike impatience, and pulled on Cloud's hand. Once Cloud gave us that ‘see ya’ look with his eyes, he surrendered to Marlene and turned around.
"Today’s special. Even Vincent said he was coming," Marlene reported to Cloud.
“Well that’s a surprise,” Cloud replied.
"Hey, Evan. That Vincent she was talking about just now…”
Vincent. It was the name in my mother’s letter.
"Yeah. But it's not exactly an uncommon name."
"Wanna go check later?"
“But, they said it’s reserved.”
“We can always just barge in. Have you counted how many times you’ve lost a chance by putting things off?”
A large hole had opened up in the floor near the center of the church, and filled with water. Aha, it was a spring. The water was crystal clear, you couldn't see the bottom for some reason. I couldn't tell how deep it was, so I held Vits with my hands on both sides, and lowered him into the water. My hand got wet, too. Then I thought, yeah, this will heal him. Before my eyes, Vits' Geostigma disappeared, without a trace.
"Wow! Evan, Kyrie, look! Hey, Evan, lift me out."
When I lifted him out of the water and set him on his feet on the floor, Vits rolled up his shirt, and showed us his back.
Vits ran around, weaving through the masses around us, yelling, ‘Perfect!’ over and over.
"Hey, Kyrie. Try touching this."
I held out my right hand, which was still wet from the water in the spring. Kyrie touched it. She raised her eyebrows and opened her eyes wide, then crouched in front of the spring, and put her hand in.
"It's the lifestream..."
We left Vits with Leslie, and went to the Mireille Detective Agency. Both of us got into the bed in Kyrie’s room, and wrapped ourselves up in the blanket. My new jacket hung on the wall. It was a simple jacket, made of a soft material.
Kyrie cheerfully picked up a letter from the bedside. She had already read it many times, but it seemed she was going to read it again. The letter had come from Tyran Arde, letting us know that he was contacted by his son, Gould Arde, and that they would be seeing each other again soon. Then, there were words expressing his gratitude and thanks to Mireille Detective Agency. It was what he had pushed through the gap in the door, along with quite a lot money.
"He said to give him a call. I think he wants to treat us to a meal."
"We’re taking payment, plus a meal? Wonder if that’s not too shameless."
“That just tells you how happy Mr. Arde is, right? Joys are meant to be shared with everyone!”
"Well, maybe soon, then."
"I've already called."
"That was quick."
"Lunchtime tomorrow. He said we could bring Vits, too."
We still hadn't returned the cellphone we borrowed from Tseng at Icicle Inn. They hadn't said anything, either, but maybe it was bad idea to let Kyrie hold on to it.
"Also, I actually called Reno, too.. He was at Icicle Inn."
I sat up in surprise. Kyrie protested, pulling the blanket to her body.
"Don't be so surprised. I'm sure he was helping out in the village."
"No, I meant why did you call him?"
“...Well, um, the day Reno and Rude first came to your place, it was your birthday, right?"
“I had remembered, but things happened and I wasn’t able to congratulate you. So, I was like, maybe it would be nice to have a party or something some other time.”
"You were going to invite the Turks?"
“Well, Turks as in your brother, Evan.”
“...I can’t believe you thought of that, Kyrie.”
"Reno was delighted. Then they gave me a call back. It was from your brother himself, of all people."
“Stop it with the “brother” thing. It sounds weird. Anyway, what did he say?”
“He said he’d pass because it was too much trouble.”
“He would say that”
“Then, he said, “It’s not because I’m jealous or anything”. I wonder what that means.”
My belly twitched, and I burst into laughter. Maybe it would be nice to go and see him some time...
I think maybe it means he is jealous of Evan's life, especially his freedom, and maybe also his health. It might also be intended to mean, as a kind of joking flirtation, that he is jealous of Evan for having Kyrie. But I really think it means he's jealous of Evan's life.
I think maybe it means he is jealous of Evan's life, especially his freedom, and maybe also his health. It might also be intended to mean, as a kind of joking flirtation, that he is jealous of Evan for having Kyrie. But I really think it means he's jealous of Evan's life.
Said Kyrie, who seemed to be searching for the right words. Then, she whispered to me saying, “Evan, let’s go,” and quickly exited the lodge. I had to say something too. The right words. I had to say something about our relationship, as well as something along the lines of a farewell.
"I don't envy you."
As I thought about how childish it was of me to say that, I waited for Rufus' reaction.