On the Way to a Smile – Episode:Nanaki


Translator: Xcomp

Oh, Gilligan please begone. Just who are you? Nanaki who was also known as Red XIII faced the moon and howled as he tried to spit out the pitch black monster that had nested itself inside him. His howl echoed across the cold plateau of the night. The burning flame at the tip of his elastic tail lit up the red fur that covered his entire body as he shook and howled.

There was nothing around to answer Nanaki’s distant howl. It had always been the same but just this time, he thought there was a sign. It was one that told him he will most likely have to resolve this problem alone. Gilligan was inside him and was his enemy alone.

It was just a few days ago that he realised its existence. Gilligan was born after Nanaki was— Or so that was the order it happened as he thought back.

* * *

After the journey with Cloud and the others to defeat Sephiroth and save the planet ended, Nanaki returned to Cosmo Canyon. The people of the valley warmly welcomed the return of Nanaki who helped end the battle and listened to the story of his travels with deep interest. Nanaki was filled with pride.

Then Nanaki went to see his father, the brave warrior who fought the Gi Tribe and now stood petrified watching over the valley.

“Father, you and mother were fine warriors who watched over this valley. That’s why I tried to protect it just like you did. And I think I managed to do it. That’s why I will be travelling again, father. This time it won’t be about fighting. I will look at life around the world. Chocobos being born, trees withering and hmmm— I don’t know what else but, I’ll look at all sorts of things, everything. Grandpa told me. He told me that it’s my errand to continue watching such things, remember it all and tell my descendants all about it. Oh and—” Nanaki’s gaze ran over his father looking at his petrified eyes and ears as he thought, “And I will tell you everything too, father. Yes, I’ll do that.”

Nanaki then told the people of the valley the very same things. That he was going to obey the last words of his deceased grandfather Bugenhagen—And make “the journey to record the world” his new errand. They all encouraged him saying it will be very meaningful. And reassuring him that they will always be here for him, they saw him off.

Leaving the village through the plateau, Nanaki looked back after going down a steep path. The people of the valley were still waving to him. In answer, he sat back and raised his front legs, head high in the air and howled. Farewell. I will be back. Take care. With that, he ran down the rest of the path in a single breathe. Before long he arrived at a crag. It was the spot he would always stop to look back whenever he left the village. After he leaves it, the village will be out of sight. Just like those times he looked back up—but he couldn’t see it. A giant boulder that he was sure wasn’t there before blocked his view. Ah yes, Nanaki thought to himself. The lifestream passed through here. That must have caused the boulder to fall down from somewhere. When I made my way back here, I noticed the geography has changed in many places. At the very least when he went to check nearby, he found layers of rocks and parts that had once protruded out of ledges had all collapsed. It can’t be helped, thought Nanaki. The changes weren’t troubling anyone. When compared to say Midgar’s reconstruction and its destroyed cities, this was nothing. Nanaki leapt off a small boulder and moved on. He took care as he walked on his feet. He took one step. Then another. Then he realised something was wrong. It had nothing to do with his surroundings but his body—No, inside his heart. Nanaki stood still and closed his eyes. He looked deep into his heart. There it is. This must be it. How to describe it, thought Nanaki. This was the way Nanaki looked at and tried to understand matters. This was—pitch black. It was as if a hole had opened up in his heart. No it wasn’t a hole. It was like a black “soul of memories” sitting there. Something was attached to his heart very firmly. Before long he could feel it starting to vibrate violently. He believed it was changing shape. I wonder what’s it changing into—Just as the thought came to mind, Nanaki trembled all over with fear.

“—” He shuddered so much he couldn’t even make a sound. Nanaki grit his teeth and tried to endure it. No, he couldn’t endure it. Letting out a deep breathe he turned round and ran back towards the village, leaping over the cliff.

The people of the valley who had just saw Nanaki off were surprised to see him again and gathered together.

“What’s wrong, Nanaki?”

“Hmmm—” he started. He knew the black soul had disappeared.

“Don’t tell us you were already missing your home,” someone jeered. The others laughed.

“Yes, that maybe so.”

“Nanaki, you have to be firm with yourself! It’s not like a brave warrior at all!”

“Yes, you’re right.”

For a while, Nanaki exchanged words with the poeple of the village. Then once again, he said his goodbyes and started his journey. He could have went a different way but he challenged himself to go down the same path again. He thought it was necessary to ascertain whether the reason for the fear he had felt was because of that very place. However, nothing happened.

* * *

Nanaki named the “something” that suddenly appeared and struck him with fear, “Gilligan”. There was no meaning to the name but by giving it a name, he won’t forget about it at the very least. Names were what reminded him of various matters. And so it was, Nanaki continued to raise this Gilligan as he travelled. Sometimes when he remembered about it he would think about finding out what it truely was but every time he did, he would be gripped with fear. Until he could deal with it calmly, he thought he will leave it for the time being.

* * *

Leaving Cosmo Canyon, Nanaki made a rough plan of his journey. First he will go west where Yuffie’s hometown Wutai is and then he will travel around and see the long narrow islands to the north south. After that, he will go east. On a big island there was Rocket Town where Cid is, Barret’s hometown Corel and, Tifa and Cloud’s hometown Nibelheim. Then he will try going north. He’s also thought about visiting the uninhabited borders as well as every nook and corner which was going to take a lot of time but, Nanaki wasn’t worried about that at all. To Nanaki whose tribe has a lifespan of five hundred or even a thousand years that no human could ever have, what meaning could it have?

“Being rash is forbidden. I will be living on much longer than everyone else after all.”

* * *

Wutai was Nanaki’s destination . If it was possible, he planned to go see Yuffie. Yuffie would always come to him and treat him as if he was her pet but, Nanaki accepted it thinking it was Yuffie’s way of being friendly with him.

“It’s easy to understand what Yuffie’s thinking,” thought Nanaki. Surrounded by comrades who were older than her, Yuffie would always be challenging them. Outside of being in the same battle together, she would insist the difference in age didn’t matter. Nanaki understood those feelings very well. She was probably referring to one’s psychological age. However, he had very mixed feelings when it came to not understanding the fifteen or sixteen year old Yuffie’s behaviour very well even though he has lived for close to fifty years but, because humans matured in a different way than he did, he just had to give up in understanding her better.

As Nanaki reached close to Wutai, he found Yuffie by coincidence. Mischievously he was planning to give her a fright and pretend she was being attacked but, looking at Yuffie from the plateau, it didn’t seem like a good time for that. Her back was facing Wutai as she dragged a young boy around her age by his ankles. She’s probably been doing that for a long time. A long trail was made behind the boy in the grassy field. He didn’t know whether the boy was still alive but Yuffie was desparately speaking to him. Before long, Yuffie stopped. Just as Nanaki thought she was taking a break, Yuffie lifted up the boy and was somehow trying to get him on her back. However, Yuffie wasn’t strong and it looked like she was having some difficulty.

“Guess it can’t be helped,” said Nanaki to no one in particular and headed towards Yuffie. The feeling of going to help someone who wasn’t expecting any help didn’t feel too bad. Nanaki quielty crept towards Yuffie who didn’t notice him at all and asked:

“Shall I give you some help?”

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6