[Warning: This chapter contains spoilers for the game.]
The train slipped from Bodhum station as though gliding on water. It began with the people on the platform slowly moving off into the distance, then soon the entire city began rushing passed.
“Wow...” Vanille and Fang both leaned against the train window, watching the city rush by them. Soon they were out of the city and hugging the coastline.
“Look at that! That island is floating!”
They felt eyes on their backs and turned, to find the other passengers staring at them in surprise. Vanille and Fang hastily returned to their seats. They hadn’t even realized their faces had been pressed to the window. You could still see the fog left from their breath.
Someone sniggered. Vanille turned red and looked at her feet.
Glancing out the window again, Vanille saw the ocean sparkling with the sunlight that fell across it. Suddenly the train swerved, and the lead car came into view. Vanille was shocked. There were no rails underneath the train. Look at that! Vanille mouthed, covering her mouth with her hands so no one could see what she was saying. She didn’t want to draw attention to themselves again, but she couldn’t contain her excitement. She pulled at Fang’s arm, pointing out the window at the floating islands. Fang nodded.
“The technology they have on Cocoon is just amazing.” Vanille whispered in Fang’s ear. Maybe, if they searched every corner of Gran Pulse, they could find something like this. Though it was unlikely that they would ever find a train that could flying through the air.
One of the floating islands was coming up near their window, but as soon as it was there it rushed passed and behind them. The train was weaving among the islands like a thread in cloth.
“Look! It’s an airbike!” The voice of a young boy squealed from the seat in front of them. Vanille craned her neck to try and see what he was talking about. There were three vehicles just outside the train. These must be the airbikes that woman had told them of yesterday.
“Their so fast! Daddy, which is faster? An airbike or your airship?”
“Of course my airship is faster.” Unlike the young boy, who was too short to see, they could see the top of his father’s head. His hair was like a bird’s nest, it almost seemed as if a little bird would come poking it’s head out at any moment.
“There are lots of islands.”
“The city of Bodhum is made up of lots of islands. ” He explained to his son. His voice sounded kind.
“Is that Bodhum? That place that floats up really high?”
“Really high? No that’s not Bodhum. That’s a place called ‘Eden’. And Eden isn’t an island.”
Her ears perked up when she heard “Eden”. That was the place those two men had talked about the other day. But it seemed it wasn’t a mountain or a valley. It was a high place, but not a floating island? Then what was it?
“Daddy? Have you ever been to Eden?”
“Of course I have, I’m a pilot. I’ve even been to a place called Palumpolum. They have more stores than any other city in Cocoon.”
“Do they have a toy store?”
“And a chocobo store?”
“They have lots of pet stores.”
“No! A chocobo store!”
“Well, I don’t know about that...”
They weren’t talking about anything important, but Vanille enjoyed listening to them. This is probably what it was like to have a family. They continued talking about all the places his pilot father had been. There was a place where they kept monsters and let them roam free, a city that was filled with games and other fun things...
Vanille began to realize, as she listened to them, how many different places Cocoon had, and how many people must live here. If only they weren’t enemies, if only the fal’Cie of Cocoon hadn’t stolen so much from them... they could go to and from Cocoon and Gran Pulse freely. What a wonderful world that would be.
She didn’t want to fight. Not with this father and his son, or that young mother they met at the station yesterday, or that group of elderly women. She didn’t want to hurt a single one of them. But I’m probably wrong, Vanille thought. I’ve always been told we must fight. But... I’m weak, so I don’t want to fight. Fang would never feel like this. Never feel lost. She would fight no matter what the cost. But....
Fang doesn’t fight because she is strong, though she is quite strong. She fights because she is kind. She can never forgive those who hurt the people she loves. But that is why I can’t let her fight, Vanille thought. Fang would never forgive herself if she hurt someone who was innocent.
“Your mark is still alive. If we don’t complete our Focus, you’ll become a Cie’th.”
Vanille remembered the words Fang had said the day before. It didn’t matter which path she chose. To fight, or not to fight. Whatever path she chose, and all the paths she has chosen in the past, only leads to Fang’s sorrow.
“Hey, what’s up?”
Vanille looked up, surprised. She had gone off into her own head, and had not realized. She looked out the window, and noticed they had stopped. They were at a station.
“Where... what station is this?”
“The last stop. Didn’t you hear? They said it was Euride Station.”
All the passengers were standing up and forming a line down the aisle. The father and son who had sat in the seat in front of them were already gone.
“I’m glad I didn’t ask how many days the trip would take...” Vanille said, sighing.
Slipping into the line of passengers, they exited the train. They had no worries of getting lost, as all the passengers were walking in the same direction.
A plaza stretched out in front of the station, and beyond that was a building that looked something like an energy plant. The plaza had stalls selling balloons and candy, and was as noisy and filled with people as the shopping mall in Bodhum.
There were people taking pictures of themselves in front of the energy plant, young couples walking hand in hand, a group of young boys, an elderly couple... all of Euride had a very festive atmosphere.
One corner of the plaza had a group of students listening attentively to their teacher.
“This plant is maintained by fal’Cie Kujata, and it creates most of the energy that is used in the cities close to Euride. All of the things that make our lives easier run on the energy created in this plant. Do all of you understand?”
“Yes!” The children screamed, their voices excited. The adults walking beside them smiled.
“I can’t believe these people.” Fang whispered. “They know nothing about how their fal’Cie took everything from us.”
“Yeah... they know nothing...” But was ignorance a sin? Vanille wondered. Even if they did know, it would be a sin. Then no matter what they were in the wrong. Both paths led only to sorrow.
Hey Fang? Can I choose nothing? Can I turn my eyes away from all of this...?
It’s okay to run, she whispered to herself. Looking at Fang, she knew this was something she would never be able to say to her.
“Once we complete our Focus, we can leave all this behind. Right, Vanille?”
Instead of answering, Vanille grabbed Fang’s hand. Just like when they were children, together against a world of enemies. So long as they were together, they could stay alive. So long as the were together, it didn’t matter where they ran...
“We will get home. We will.” Even if it went against Fang’s own wishes.
The energy plant where fal’Cie Kujata awaited was just in front of them. Vanille tightened her grip on Fang’s hand, and allowed them to be swept along with the crowd of people.
Friday, February 19, 2010
[Warning: This chapter contains spoilers for the game.]