Furthermore, the following gear will be given as rewards. Males will get Snow's outfit and females will get Lightning's outfit.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Left box at the top of the page:
No idea, seems like some sort of comment by the magazine.
Right box at the top of the page:
She takes her stand to save the people in a world that will be destroyed in just a few days!! Lightning's final battle!!
Text to the right:
The existence of _____ made clear!!* New Product Newsflash!!
*Text is cut off :(. Must not be very important or just something referring to what is on the page, though...
Change your clothes to change your abilities!
Black box to the left:
Getting rich quick at the Colosseum!?
Lightning can participate as a contender at the Colosseum at the "Palace of Amusement" in the City of Pleasure, Yusnaan!! If she defeats opponents on the competition table, she can receive prizes such as "X-Potions"
Your opponents change based on the time of day!!
At the Colosseum, opponents change based on the time of day, so try participating at a time when the opponent you want to fight appears!!
The stronger the opponent the more extravagant the prize!!
When you participate and a broadcast the start of battle!! The prizes you can receive from winning change depending on the strength of your opponent!!
Bottom left box:
A piece with lots of action elements!! You can counter your opponent's attacks in battle, too!!
Blue text unreadable - basically comments about what you can do in battle.
The battles are so intense, too!!
Top middle picture:
A new garb to strengthen magical attacks Black Mage
Text box below:
Change your wear (garments) to get through battles!!
There are two new sets of wear!! "Black Mage" is original to this product, and the "Miqo'te Outfit" is collab-wear from "FFXIV"!!
Battles are finished off with this SEXY POSE!!
Text on Lightning (right):
Transform into cat-eared Lightning!!
Collab-wear from Final Fantasy XIV the Miqo'te Outfit
Well, I'm probably late to the party, but here are some translations of the two page spread on Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII published in the latest Famitsu (July 17, 2013).
Along the left:
Coming soon! Game information◆Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Bewitching enemies with captivating wear!?
Top left image:
The savior dressed in her Miqo'te wear flashing a provocative smile.
We bring you the latest on the collaboration with Final fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, as well as battle and story!
Bottom left paragraph:
『ライトニング リターンズ ファイナルファンタジーXIII』（以下、『LRFFXIII』）は『FFXIII』と『FFXIII-2』の終篇にあたる作品。主人公は、滅び行く世界で人々の魂を導く”解放者”、ライトニングだ。
"Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII" (henceforth "LRFFXIII") is the conclusion to "FFXIII" and "FFXIII-2". The protagonist will be Lightning, the "savior" that guides the souls of people in a world headed for destruction.
今回の記事で最初に紹介するのは、彼女は着用するウェアのひとつ、”ミコッテの服”。これは、FINAL FANTASY GO THERE"と銘打たれた、『FF』シリーズ作品間のコラボレーション計画のひとつ。このキャンペーンでは、『LRFFXIII』、『FFXIV：新生エオルゼア』、そして『FFX/X-2 HDリマスター』の3作品を中心に、さまざまな連携を行うという。
The first thing that will be introduced in this article will be one of the garbs she will be wearing, the "Miqo'te Outfit". This is one of the collaborative efforts between products in the FF series bearing the label "FINAL FANTASY GO THERE". For this campaign, there will be connections centering around the following three products: "LRFFXIII", "FFXIV: ARR" and "FFX/X-2 HD Remaster".
Bottom left image:
In the stead of the viceroy who stays cooped up in his palace and does nothing, you see.
Top middle images:
How to obtain the costume.
The Miqo'te Outfit and accompanying equipment can be obtained after clearing quest(s) within the game.
Miqo'te, the race with large ears and a tail.
Miqo'te is one of the races that appears in "FFXIV:ARR". The Miqo'te Outfit is a faithful recreation of their figure, all the way down to their ears and tail. Furthermore, wearing this garb in battle will cause the victory pose and flourish to change to that of "FFXIV: ARR". Incidentally, arms used in the world of Eorzea such as
a Limsa Lominsan Sword and a Limsa Lominsan crest bearing shield may be obtained at the same time as the garb.*
*They sword and shield seem to be variations of these?
Bottom right image:
Onee-chan, why don't you liberate Snow already. Liberate him from his depressing memories of that dead person.
Wear Miqo'te's Outfit
Bottom right paragraph:
Lumina who calls Lighting her sister.
Lumina, the girl who bears a striking resemblance to Lightning's sister, Serah. Her calling Lightning "Onee-chan" causes one to ask if the fates of Serah and Lumina are somehow intertwined. On the other hand, she makes many critical comments of Sera's fiancée, Snow. However, it seems that Snow knows about Lumina...
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Today I bring news! Good news!
As the title suggests, I have officially started translating the remainder of Final Fantasy 13-2 Fragments After. Currently, I only have pages 4-71, 126-131, and 180-239 (provided by roxas9001 of Gamefaqs), but nevertheless, I think that's enough to start with! Plus, a certain someone has graciously agreed to scan the remaining pages for me in about a week's time, so I've got to catch up!
Now, I will elaborate on a few issues regarding this project.
Where do I put it?
I was debating on posting the translations here directly, but then I thought of how annoying it would be to post an unfinished product. Posting a few pages at a time is a recipe for disaster. Linking them later on would be an absolute nightmare. Editing the same post repeatedly would also, put posts out of order, or leave readers wondering if I've updated or not. Of course, I could upload them AFTER I've finished translating everything, but who wants to wait for that?
Of course, you want to see what I'm working on and make sure I'm still working on it! So this time around, I'm going also going to stick with Google Documents for the rough draft and then post the "finished" product here, just as I've done with Fragments Before.
Personally, I think Google Docs is awesome because it is a platform for collaboration. Any user may highlight sections of the document and insert comments anonymously on the go. There is also a non-anonymous live chat function built into the site which can be accessed, provided you have a Google Account and are willing to reveal your identity to me!
tl:dr: Translations live in Google Docs. Come watch, comment and chat. Finished piece posted here later.
The translation is weird!
Oh, I'm not the only one who thinks that? Good! Well, for Fragments Before I initially tried to stick as closely to the original language as possible, but gradually, I attempted to make things sound a little more natural in English. This time around I will continue striving to preserve the flow of the translation while maintaining the nuances of the original.
Once again, your help in sorting out any mistakes or oddities in the translation is very much appreciated. I saw lots of you lurking and watching me translate Fragments Before, but most of you were all so quiet! I know my English isn't perfect so please do use the Google Docs comment system or chat to contact me if you have any suggestions!
When is it updated?
Well, there's really no definitive answer to that. However, since I am on summer vacation, you can expect to see me a lot. I typically translate any time between mid-afternoon to the wee hours of morning (GMT-8).
I don't think it's really necessary to spam the blog with posts saying 'this is what I did today.' However, I will post project updates on my Final Fantasy Wikia userpage, daily. If you have an account there, you can "follow" the page and be notified by email of any changes I've made to the page.
Corresponding forum thread: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Forum:FFXIII-2_Fragments_After_Translation_Project
#Wikia-FF IRC chat: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Final_Fantasy_Wiki:IRC
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Well, it's finally done! Please keep in mind this is very much still a draft, so there may be grammatical errors, typos and other wording issues. Please feel free to post comments and suggestions below!
Edit: Sorry guys! I forgot to link Part 6 and Part 7 of Chapter 3. They're there now!
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before
Edit: Sorry guys! I forgot to link Part 6 and Part 7 of Chapter 3. They're there now!
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before
Original Concept: Toriyama Motomu, Watanabe Daisuke
Author: Eishima Jun
Translated by: mecorx
Scans: 0chiamano_mimi0 of LiveJournal
Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-
Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-
He didn't know how vast the world was.
He had thought he knew. He'd like to think he knew. Not just of the vastness, but also its landscape and how it came to be.
Outside of the settlement they lived in, the lands stretched unbelievably far into mountains tall enough to pierce the skies, then into the seas lying beyond. The seas were always raging and would swallow up any boat in an instant, he was told.
“But what you learn from hearing things and what you learn from seeing them yourself is completely different.”
The first time he heard of the world, was from atop his grandmother's knee. To his young ears, it all seemed to echo of a dreadful fairytale filled with monsters.
“Grandma has seen the mountains stretching into the skies, but she's never seen the sea. That's why she doesn't know what color it is, what sounds its waves make, or what the sea breeze smells like.”
“It was something grandma had heard from her father, who had heard from his father,” said his grandmother as she looked into the distance.
“But they said you could see the sea from the hill in the village.”
“No. That isn't the sea. It's very wide, so people call it the sea, but that is a lake. If the sea were that close, we couldn't possibly live here. Though it seemed that long ago, there were once settlements by the seashore.”
The people of long ago would live by catching fish in the sea, gathering clams and collecting seaweed. It seemed that living by the seashore was like living next to a large [cache of food]. When the time when seawater became poison to living creatures, people abandoned their seaside settlements.
After that, the seas became a region unapproachable by mankind. The spray of the sea whisked up a fine cloud of poison, which would travel with the sea breeze and eat away at all things living.
“The sea sounds pretty scary.”
“Yes. But I had wanted to see the sea at least once.”
“Even though you could die just by having the wind blown at you?”
His grandmother opened her eyes in surprise and laughed, “You wouldn't just die right away.”
“They say it's just that you would get sick by living there and being exposed to the wind day after day. Plus, people have this thing called curiosity that makes it so they can't not try to take a peek, no matter how scary something is.”
“Everyone says you can't go near dangerous things, you know.”
“Of course a little one like you can't be going near dangerous things. But grandma is an adult, and has lived longer than anyone else in the village. That's why she thinks things like 'I wanted to see this and I wanted to see that before I die.”
The words “before I die” had an ominous ring to it, and it made him want to cry. They had just had a funeral three days prior. Of course it was a villager much younger than his grandmother. A few days before that, a young mother who gave birth to a baby had died. The baby couldn't be saved either.
Ironically, sometimes mothers would lose their lives when children were born. Even if they successfully gave birth, their health would deteriorate and they would become prone to sickness, and many of them would not get to see their children grow up. When one person was born, another was certain to die. So on top of that, there was no guarantee that the child would be raised properly.
It was certainly not guaranteed that they would live to adulthood, so being able to see your own child grow up was a very auspicious occurrence. The privilege of having two or more children was reserved only for the luckiest. Then, to live to the age of grandmother, was something hailed a miracle.
“... I don't want you to die.”
Just as he said that, he grew extremely sad, and his tears came falling. His mother had died shortly after she gave birth to him, and even before that his father too went out hunting and never came back.
“I'm sorry. For saying a thing like 'before I die.' They're words you can't just say, aren't they?”
As she gently said this, he started to cry even harder.
“Its alright. Until you become a fully-fledged hunter, grandma will work hard to live long.”
He wanted to make sure by saying “you have to, promise me,” but it was washed away his weeping without ever being formed into words....
When he began his journey, he simply walked without thinking anything. Farther. As far as he could. “Because I don't [lit. didn't] want to think,” he recited like a mantra as he continued to walk.
He walked and walked, but the scenery just stayed the same. Grey skies, white desert, and black mountains. Amidst this meagerly colored scene, it was rather the colors of the monsters' bodies that appeared more vibrant.
Long ago, when the giant living space known as Cocoon had existed, the world had been filled with many more colors. The ground was covered in green vegetation and flowers, and the skies changed colors on a whim. It was said that when the color of the skies change, so too did the color of the mountains and the sea.
Then Cocoon disappeared from the skies, the world lost its color. No, it wasn't just the colors that had been lost, but many lives as well. The majority of people, beasts, monsters, and even the plants had perished.
A living space filled with an array of facilities and buildings as well as people numbering into the tens of millions had altogether fallen to the surface. Due to its own mass, Cocoon and the crystal supporting it shattered to pieces. Many of the residential areas on the surface had been destroyed as well. People, beasts, plants and all were swallowed up.
Even so, there were those who managed to escape, and those living by the sea escaped the worst thanks to the enormous distance between them. Perhaps if what had fallen had simply been stones, and where it had fallen had simply been uninhabited wilderness, then humanity might have met a different fate.
But, what had fallen was a living space. If people lived and existed there, there would be waste. And that waste was not always harmless. The majority of waste products expelled from the energy plant, as well as the multi-purpose production plants too were harmful to living organisms. Also, the place it had fallen on had been a residential area. So, of course there were the same harmful substances there too.
What happens when a massive amount of that completely unpurified waste had all been scattered all at once? A vast region spreading outward from the center of the impact becomes uninhabitable.
The survivors began to fight over what little inhabitable land had remained. They say there had even still been arable land at the time. If that were the case, then people should have banded together to protect what little agricultural land they had left. Nevertheless, people refused to join hands and instead chose to fight. If they could get something to prolong their own lives for the time being, then it was all good. Probably all anyone thought about were such selfish things.
As a result, even more lives were lost. Facilities for supporting life too were destroyed. As they remained in disrepair, the dispersing harmful substances seeped into the soil causing what little arable land left to be lost as well. The number of wild beasts decreased sharply, and the birds that flew in the skies too had disappeared. Trees that bore fruit and grasses grazed upon by domestic animals also dried up, and only moss-like vegetation was to remain.
“This was something that happened hundreds of years after Cocoon had fallen.”
His grandmother said that and then had a slight fit of coughs.”
“Are you alright? Why don't you lie down?”
“That's right, teacher. Your fever was running high just the day before yesterday, wasn't it? You have to rest.”
Lately, his grandmother's health had been well. Even so, saying that since she was feeling well for the first time in a while, his grandmother restarted her “class” that had been on hold for several weeks. It was a tiny, tiny school with one teacher and only four students.
He heard that when his grandmother was young, there had been many children, so she had even taught several thousands of students at the same time, before. The land on which his grandmother was raised had been adjoined by two residential areas, so children from both would travel there.
However, right when his grandmother had married his grandfather, the beasts they lived off of had disappeared. Even though it should have been plenty far away from the sea, it seemed that the pollution had taken its toll without anyone noticing. The people moved seeking places away from the sea and away from the impact. It was during that journey that his grandmother had seen those tall mountains.
His grandmother gave birth to a boy at the place they migrated to. In the following year, she gave birth to a girl, but she died before she knew how to walk. From that land too, the beast disappeared and again, the people moved. His grandfather died on that journey. It is said that he likely died, fighting until the end, to allow the people to escape from a herd of monsters.
This village is the place they had at long last reached. No more than a few years had elapsed before the beasts disappeared. But there was no place left to move. The only game that remained to be hunted was the small monsters.
What threatened the lives of humans and beasts was not just the harmful substances that had scattered with the fall of Cocoon. With each breath, crystal powder that was finer than sand would enter people's lungs and cause illness when it accumulated.
In an age when there were still medical facilities, they might have been able to cope, but now it was hard to even come across decent medicine
That's why they could do nothing other than be kind to the sickly and let them rest. The children all told her to lie down because it was the only treatment they knew of.
“I'm fine. Thank you for worrying about me. But, let's continue with the class. You've got to study while you can, or else.”
People could only spend all day at home like this only was when the weather was bad and they couldn't go hunting. Otherwise, they had to be the young or sickly who couldn't go hunting.
“The people from the olden days, they were all stupid weren't they?”
“Right? They survived and even had arable land. How could they just let it all go to waste?”
“Aside from that, they should have moved all those dangerous substances somewhere else before Cocoon fell.”
“They should have gotten rid of the residential area right below Cocoon beforehand. And have people evacuate somewhere far away.”
As the four children said simultaneously, his grandmother shook her head.
“You know, that's something we can say because we know what happens. I don't think the people back then knew when Cocoon would fall. If they were told, 'we have to destroy your town to prepare for a disaster that will come one day, so leave your homes now,' how many people would have complied?”
The children were silent for a moment, but quickly opened their mouths again.
“But, they knew it would happen someday, didn't they? They knew it had to happen someday so I think they're still stupid for not doing anything.”
“It's because they were all idiots that we're suffering.”
“Really, it makes me so mad!”
“You might be right.” replied his grandmother with a bit of a smile, but now he couldn't remember what kind of a face she had. Had she smiled wryly at their youthful insistences, or had she just smiled a lonely smile?
Regardless, that was her final “class.” From the next day, the weather turned pleasant so the children and the adults all went hunting. It they were old enough to study, then they were old enough to help with hunting. Then, when the weather next turned bad and they had taken a break from hunting, his grandmother could no longer get up from bed.
He wasn't of the age for crying “I don't want you to die,” anymore. When he started hunting, he had seen people die, as well as monsters die. What he had learned from that was that humans are much weaker than monsters. People died easily. So shockingly easily.
He had seen adults dying, and he had seen children dying. Even if they wish they won't die, even if they struggle to survive, people die...
But, even though he knew this, he couldn't understand it. Even though she had lived longer than others, there was no good reason for his grandmother to die.
“I'm not a fully-fledged hunter yet. Grandma, you promised, didn't you? That you'd work hard to live until then.”
The voice that replied, “I'm sorry” was severely hoarse and weak. Aside from those who lost their lives from being attacked by monsters, a large majority died of illness, so even though he didn't want to, he inevitably knew about how long his grandmother had left to live. He said something useless, and he felt regret for saying that something he really shouldn't have, but it was too late. But, he was still just within the age of being forgiven for saying something so useless.
“People only really die when they are forgotten by everyone. If even one person remembers, then a person won't die. So, don't forget. About me, or the others.”
As if having exhausted her strength from saying everything in one breath, his grandmother fell a into slumber. She never woke up again...
Around when he could still count the number of days since he left on his journey, he discovered the remains of a settlement on the brink of decay. Judging from the number of days that had passed, he gathered this had probably been the village his father was born in.
On another day, when he saw at a building, he expected that perhaps someone had been living there, or perhaps someone who had continued to travel like him had stopped there to escape the rain. But, when he saw them up close, all of them looked as if they were on the brink of collapse, so you couldn't even approach it safely, much less stay the night.
Thinking he had to at least find the remains of where his grandparents and father had lived, he carefully searched them, but it ended in vain. His only [yield] was finding that the water inside the old well hadn't dried up yet.
He didn't really want to drink the water in the stream/river, so he was thankful to have found well water, which was somewhat safe to drink. Though as a precaution, he still killed a chelicerata, roasted one of its legs until it was black and crushed it into powder. By pouring it into the water and mixing well, then letting it sit for a night, and poisonous substances would sink to the bottom with the powder. The clear, upper part of the mixture would be safe, drinkable water.
Although, apparently there were certain types of poisons that wouldn't adhere to the powder, so it was impossible to call it completely safe. Only, if he didn't do anything then it would definitely wear away at his life.
Even though it had become just him, he still thought about staying alive. There was a part of him that whispered, “why don't you just give up,” but on the other hand, there was also the part of him that thought never to give up.
“The goddess opens her gate to those who strive on.”
Who was it that had told him this? It might have been words that someone had said on a dangerous hunt, causing him to remember them without directly being told.
Giving up wasn't an option when it came to hunting. If someone gave up, then everyone there would be put in danger. That's why the first thing adults taught children was “not to give up.” “No matter what, stay alive,” was something that you had to recite continuously, or else you wouldn't be able to defeat monsters.
Though they knew they were living on devastated land quickly heading for ruin, they still desperately tried to live on. If they stopped moving, then death would catch up. The only people who could breathe words of surrender were the sickly. Only those had fallen ill were allowed to feel despair. That was because getting sick was the same as dying.
“They say that long ago, there were people who didn't die even after getting sick.”
“I know. It was because there were people who could cure illnesses, right?”
“They sure had things good, the people from the olden days.”
“I wish I was born three hundred years ago.”
What if I had been born in a different time? That was subject that the children often talked about.
“Why three hundred years?”
“The teacher said that was when the largest city in history was built. That means there were lots of people, right? I wanna live somewhere where there's lots of people.”
“I think two hundred years for me.”
“Isn't that right after Cocoon fell?”
“That's precisely why. I'd punch all the idiots who decided they'd have a war at such a critical time.”
“Hey, this isn't about going to another time, it's about being born in another time, isn't it? Since you'd be born then, you wouldn't know that because of the war things would get so bad, would you?”
“Some time even earlier would be good for me. Say, about seven hundred years earlier than that.”
“Before the Day of Ragnarok? Wasn't that when Gran Pulse and Cocoon were still at war with each other?”
“There was a war, and it seemed like Cocoon was going to fall, but the daughters of the goddess saved them, right? It would be nice to be in an era when there's someone to help even when something bad happens.”
“Then wouldn't when the city of Paddra still existed be good, too?”
“But Paddra was destroyed by a war, you know.”
“People just constantly fought, didn't they. They really are all a buncha idiots.”
The reason they kept saying the names of cities and events in history, was because if they hadn't it felt like they would forget. If they had forgotten, then there would be no one left that remembered the history of man. Regardless, much knowledge had already been lost.
After his grandmother, their only teacher, had passed away, there was no one left to grant them knowledge of the past. What they had remembered was everything. That's why they thought they could never forget what they had learned.
That had to be the reason why they, the descendents of the oldest tribe, lived until the very end. It was because they were given the mission of keeping until the end of the very end, what had been passed down in an unbroken chain from the ancient times.
If everyone remembered every last thing they had been taught, then that knowledge would remain. Regardless of whether they were alive or dead, they could leave behind knowledge that could be passed onto the next person. Even if that “next person” weren't ever born...
He left the village that his father was born in, no, simply ruins that had once been a village, and continued walking. Keeping his many memories in mind whilst he continued onward, he thought he would next arrive at the village his grandmother had been born and raised in, but he couldn't find it.
It wasn't as if he had a proper map, so he may have gone in the wrong direction. Otherwise, the settlement might have been fully eroded away, so that not even any remnants were left.
As he walked and walked, only the white landscape continued. A pure white desert of accumulated crystal dust. If he hadn't known that this crystal dust was the cause for fatal illnesses, he would think it a beautiful scene.
It was the first time he had seen what were known as “wind ripples.” The dust had begun accumulating around the village too, but it wasn't enough to be called a desert, and there was still normal sand and rock mixed in. Perhaps it had to do with the direction of the wind and the shape of the landscape, for even though he heard that wind ripples could be made in the desert, he had never seen them near the settlement.
Upon seeing these wind ripples for the first time, he truly realized that what you learn from hearing things and what you learn from seeing them yourself was different. Only, if he hadn't had that knowledge, then he probably wouldn't have known they were wind ripples. He might have mistaken them for some odd patterns someone had drawn and then wasted time wandering around there.
Well, in reality, he had wanted to believe they were drawn by someone. He wanted to carry the hope that there were still people around there. He wanted to be excited about the possibility that he would soon meet someone living, that he would meet some stranger. Having knowledge and knowing can at times become the cruel hammer that crushes hope. That is why, people cannot know the future.
People think that if they knew the future they would be able to pick the best outcome and be without regrets because they don't know the future. If they knew the future, then surely the future would not be their aspirations, but rather their shackles and yokes.
Yet, people want to know the future. He had countlessly heard people lamenting that if only they had known the future, that if only they had known what lied tomorrow.
“I shouldn't have had a fight with him... If only I had known that I wouldn't ever be able to make it up to him, then I would have listened to anything he said.”
One of his companions had lost his father. He was the only person who still had one parent or the other, so his father also fell into that category of people who “lived far longer than enough.” He was of the age where one could accept if he died after falling ill.
But, his father had died falling down a sharp incline. It was a sudden death. That morning, he had probably argued with his father over something trivial. Then, before they could reconcile, his father had died.
Nobody could say anything to comfort him. Everyone knew no matter what they said or how they said it, nothing would bring him solace, nothing would be able to erase the regret that was stabbing into him.
There was no guarantee that they would see the next day with the same people. It was possible that the companion who was smiling next to you when you set out would no longer be there on the way back. The same could be said about yourself. Because death does not come to people in the order of their age.
It would come at no surprise whatsoever if one day you couldn't see someone anymore. That was the type of world they were living in...
After he saw the wind ripples in the white desert, he didn't see anything else new. The world was utterly monotonous. He couldn't believe that there had been a time when you could expect to see a completely different scene just from traveling a short while.
Well, it wasn't that there weren't any changes at all. The number of monsters decreased noticeably. Particularly, he had stopped seeing small monsters altogether. He ended up having to hunt medium sized monsters that were almost beyond his powers. When he encountered large monsters, he would escape before being discovered. It wasn't as if he couldn't defeat them if he pushed himself, but there would be too much food to feed just one person. It would be too much of a waste to allow the leftovers to rot after placing his life on the line to kill it.
He knew that how and what you hunted would change depending on whether or not there other people. Even though there wasn't much difference between having dozens of people and just a few. It was just that hunting would become a little more difficult. If there was excess meat, then they would preserve it by drying, and then go hunting again when there wasn't enough. It had been a repeat of that.
But, when was it that things started to get tougher and tougher each time their numbers decreased by one?
“It's real tough without him around.”
“He was the best at going for their weak points.”
“Things were pretty easy thanks to him.”
They had begun to talk about things like that. Before long, there was even no more of that, and he started having to go out to hunt by himself. Even so, when he returned from hunting, he wouldn't be alone. They would smile and greet him with the words, “welcome home.”
To him, she, who had been three years his junior, was the first “stranger” he had met. Up until then, there had only been people he was acquainted with in the vicinity. There was not one single person he didn't know within the village. It was because everyone had been born before him.
That was probably why he remembered the day she was born. Even though he had was only three years old.
“Ah, so it was her...”
“Those are definitely her facial features.”
“To be blessed with her birth in an age like this. We are fortunate."
While many of the adults bore looks of relief, only her mother looked slightly rueful. It was just too strange to him.
In the few years following, babies had been born on occasion, but all of them died before they could speak. Eventually, there would be no children born at all. Henceforth, she would always be “the smallest girl.”
The girl, who had a cheerful disposition and often smiled, was loved by all of the villagers. They would make her laugh by telling her little jokes, and do anything that would make her happy. Everyone cared for her greatly and sought to protect her. The one whom his dying companions worried about was always her.
“I'm leaving her in your hands.”
“Please take care of her.”
His older companions died, leaving those words. If he died, should he too say that to someone? Would someone protect her after he died? When he thought of those things, he felt depressed. Well, rather...
What if she died before he did?
He was afraid of thinking that, more than anything...
He didn't know how long he had been walking anymore. No matter how long he walked, there was nobody in that white desert. Before him, the plane of white simply continued. Ahead of him there laid not even rocks, much less ruins.
He gave up on the desert and headed for the mountain range. It was those black mountains. He didn't have any idea if it was habitable, but even if there wasn't anyone there, it was possible that he would meet someone if he made it to the other side of the mountains.
Why, it could just be that they hadn't visited because these mountains obstructing them, and there would be a settlement when he crossed to the other side.
Even if he didn't meet anyone, there could be fal'Cie. He had never seen a fal'Cie before, but he knew of them. They're powerful beings who play the role of turning humans into l'Cie and giving them Focuses.
He thought if he was able to meet a fal'Cie, he would ask it to turn him into a l'Cie. He hoped it would give him the Focus of finding those who were still alive, that it would give him the power needed to fulfill that Focus.
It was said that l'Cie who failed to complete their focus would be turned into monsters known as Cie'th, but he was fine with that. If he was going to die alone, it wouldn't make a difference if he did it as a human or as a monster.
Then again, if he was going to ask already accepting that he would become a Cie'th anyway, then he thought he would ask for it to give him a more extravagant Focus. For example... to alter fate of extinction, or something.
Maybe things would be fine if he could change the few hundred years that followed the fall of Cocoon. Maybe fate would change if people stopped fighting and worked together at the point when agricultural land still remained. He had heard that there still remained a few factories at the time, so instead of using them to produce weapons, there could have done plenty of other things, such as manufacturing devices for curbing pollution or conducting research on how to decontaminate the ocean water.
Rather, it might be more effect to return to the time before Cocoon had fallen to formulate measures including vacating the land below, or emptying out the inside of Cocoon in advance. No, he would return to a time even before that. To before the crystal pillar and whatnot were created. If only that hadn't existed, then neither would this white desert. If there wasn't any crystal dust drifting around, then there wouldn't be people who died of lung diseases, either.
If that was the case, then it would have to be even before the Day of Ragnarok. If he had altered things from then, the world would be different from now. There would be skies of blue and lands of green. Lots of people, and lots of living creatures. There, everyone would be smiling, and live together as a family as if it were common sense...
He thought, it was like a dream. That it was like a miracle. His grandmother, who had lived longer than anyone else, had been called “a miraculous person,” but a real miracle wasn't something like that, he thought. It had to be something so big that it was unbelievable, and filled with wondrousness.
Would there be a fal'Cie who could grant him such a miraculous Focus? It occurred to him that he hadn't talked to anyone since he left on his journey. Because he had continued walking without saying a single word, he had no idea how his own voice had become.
“It really is... just me.”
There had been two until he left the village. He left on his journey when he became all alone. He didn't want to stay in the village just by himself. If he was in that village that he had grown accustomed to, he would remember even if he didn't want to. Of his companions who had died, of the precious girl he lost at the very end.
While she had been there, even if he remembered his companions, he didn't feel sad. They had been able to talk to each other, and share the sadness and loneliness with each other. He would strangely feel as if they were there.
“People only really die when they are forgotten by everyone. If even one person remembers, then a person won't die.”
He had finally understood the meaning of his grandmother's words. Thats why, so as not to forget anyone, he had constantly brought them up in conversations. He had done this or he had a habit of doing this. He would dig up these memories no matter how trivial they were and say all there was to say.
When the girl died and he became alone, the pain of remembering anything at all had become too much to bear. Above all, just recalling her smiling face made him feel as if his heart would be torn to shreds.
Unable to bear it any longer, he bolted out of the village. He walked as if trying to escape from something. No, he was more or less running. He would run until he couldn't catch his breath, then rest for a while and continue running. He repeated that process waiting for the sun to set. When the sun had set, he would collapse on the spot and fall asleep. When he awoke, he would get up and continue running.
A few days had passed before he was finally able to walk normally again. When he was able to walk again, he gradually came to his senses. What he remembered when he finally regained his composure were the words he had once said, “Let's go and look. There has to be a ton of people who are still alive, somewhere.”
He had completely forgotten about it because it would bring back the things he didn't want to remember. Therefore, he had shut them out of his mind together with his own words. He should have remembered them sooner.
There were still people alive somewhere. A bit of light shined on his heart which had been blackened with sadness and anger.
Yes, he would go and find them...
He had thought a mountain was probably a larger version of the cliffs and inclines near the village, but up close, it was completely different. The mountain surface that looked flat from far away was, up close, a heap of rocks that were so large his arms couldn't be wrapped around them.
No wonder no one had tried to go to the other side of the mountains. It had been difficult to walk in the sand where your feet would sink, but climbing heaps of rocks would be even more so. It wasn't just that they were difficult to scale, but there were also rocks that threatened to break just from being stepped on, as well as rocks that were unsteady, so there was also an abundance of bad footing.
But, at the same time, it also gave him hope. He had thought the fact that nobody had come from beyond the mountains was because there had been no one living there. He was also told that the land across the mountains were near the ocean so they were inhabitable.
However, maybe it wasn't that nobody was living there, but just that no one had tried to cross the mountains. It was that terrible a path. If even one of his companions had still been alive, then he probably wouldn't have exposed himself to danger just to climb over it.
Of course, it could be as his grandmother and the villagers had said, and there weren't any people living on the other side of the mountains. However, that too was but a possibility. Since it wasn't as if a single one of them had crossed the mountains to make sure.
He climbed the perilous path filled with rocks, walked along inclines that mimicked sharp cliffs, and then climbed more rocks. Due to the fact that it was a terrain he hadn't been used to walking and the fact he couldn't make much distance due to the quickly changing weather, no matter how he climbed and climbed, he couldn't see the apex.
If he saw a monster, he had no choice but to hide himself and let it pass. It was because the footing was so bad that he had no hope of defeating them.
On top of that, it would become much colder at night. Even when he hid behind rocks and tried to curl into himself as tightly as possible, his teeth would chatter. Because he would be squeezed into unnatural positions, his joints ached severely when morning came. He regretted, thinking he had done something reckless, but the base of the mountain was already far away. When he thought about how he had spent days to climb there, he hesitated to turn back.
Before long, the rations he had on hand had run out, but he didn't find any monsters that looked defeatable on such bad footing. The majority of monsters that had appeared were winged ones and impossible to hunt. He had finally gotten past by staying along the rocks. If he hadn't found a water spring on the way, he might have collapsed before he could cross the mountains.
He had long since run out of the powder he had obtained from roasting a chelicerata leg, so he simply drank from the water spring. Perhaps that had been bad, or the fog he was surrounded in was laced with poison, for as he drew closer to the summit, his head started to feel a splitting headache come on. He would run out of breath just walking short distances and would have to rest several times. He knew the apex was already close, but his feet wouldn't listen to him.
He was probably unable to muster any strength because he hadn't eaten anything, but it might have been the same even if he had food.
He felt so nauseous that he couldn't even drink water anymore. Even so, he continued climbing desperately because he wanted to meet even one living person. Even if he couldn't meet them directly, he wanted to ascertain that there were still settlements with people. He would be able to see far into the distance at the summit of the mountain. Maybe he would at least find one inhabited home.
Half crawling, he arrived at the peak. The fog had cleared up.
“So that, is the ocean...”
It was a dark color that was neither green nor grey. The ocean that arced widely and stretched into the skies was not at all beautiful. Why had his grandmother wanted to see a thing like that?
From the base of the mountain to the ocean there simply continued to be wilderness. He strained his eyes in search of any traces. Looking in the distance, he could tell that this land was even more in ruins than the land he had lived on. It was the same as that which his grandmother and the others had abandoned, that white desert where he had met no one.
By the time he realized, he had already been sitting down on the spot. That was impossible, there was someone on the other side of the mountain, there were people who were still alive, they weren't just some futile hopes...
However, try as he might to resist, there was something that sought to crush his hopes.
He should have known from the start. That people couldn't live near the ocean. It was because there had been these tall mountains to obstruct the ocean winds that their village had remained until the end. It was the land that was at last reached by those who migrated seeking a place that was even just a little safer. That was where their village was.
No, there was still hope. Even if he couldn't meet anyone, even if he were the last person alive, he just had to seek out someone who would change their fate. He couldn't give up. The goddess opens her gate to those who strive on. He wouldn't give up until the gate was open to him.
He hesitated on which side of the mountain he would descend, but he full-out decided to go down toward the ocean. What he was was trying to search for was a miracle. He wouldn't try to revive the dead, but instead he would change fate in such a way that wouldn't have died in the first place.
Since he was asking something so outrageous, it would altogether be better for him to travel the dangerous lands. It might eat away at his life if he were to tread lands uninhabitable by people. However, what difference did it make?
If his wish could be granted then he was fine with dying. He didn't care if he disappeared without a trace, if he forgot everyone, or even if he ceased to have existed at all. If there could be a future where his companions, where the people from the village, where more people were still living.
He strengthened his resolve and stood up. Encouraging his weakening legs, he descended the craggy incline. His headache and tinnitus remained as they were before, and he would be winded just from walking a short distance. He was plagued by the worry that he wouldn't be able to descend to the base in his state.
He couldn't let himself become weak-spirited. A weak mind meant a weak body. He would continue his journey until the goddess opened her gate. No matter what, he would continue living.
It was as he took a decisive step after telling himself that. Unexpectedly, his vision shook wildly. He was impacted from all sides. The rock beneath his feet had crumbled.
It was a feeling of being dragged along. He realized he was probably falling down the incline. He momentarily tried to stretch his arm out. He thought he had grasped something. But, he didn't stop. He was being pulled down by an enormous power and it felt as if he was being punched senseless.
For a moment, he felt his consciousness leave him. When he opened his eyes, he could see the sky. It would seem as if he had stopped falling. When he tried moving his left leg to stand up, an intense pain shot up from it. When he tried to grit his teeth, he realized that he could taste blood.
He panicked thinking his eyes had been done for when the skies appeared abnormally dark. It wasn't that. It was evening. He hadn't just lost consciousness for a moment, but rather it appeared as if he had been out for quite some time.
Now he tried moving his right arm. Somehow, it moved. But his left leg just wouldn't. Before, extreme pain had radiated from it, but now it had become numb and he couldn't feel anything. When he moved just his eyes to looked up, he saw that the mountain peak was far. A cold shiver now ran down his spine as he realized just how far he had tumbled.
Putting his weight on his right leg, he slowly righted his body. It took even more time to stand up. Each time he breathed in, his chest and back hurt as if they were being constricted.
But, that was it. Even if he could stand up, he couldn't take a step. His knees buckled and he fell back on the rocks. He should have been in a lot of pain, but he couldn't even let out a groan.
He couldn't die at a place like this. He hadn't been able to meet anyone living, or even find a fal'Cie. He couldn't, yet. He hadn't been able to fulfill a single goal of his journey.
Besides, if he had died then there would be no more people who remembered his companions, his grandmother. If these memories disappeared, then this time they would actually die. And above all, she would die.
“The smallest girl” loved by everyone in the village, the girl who had been more precious than anyone to him would forever disappear.
He didn't want to die. He didn't want to die not having fulfilled a single one of the wishes entrusted to him by his companions.
“Why, does it have to be me... Why am I... the last one... remaining?”
He thought it was unfair. The ancient Oracle Drive he had secretly looked at projected blue skies and a green landscape. It was filled with vibrantly blooming flowers, and a great many children. It wasn't some fairy tale, it was reality. There was definitely an age where people were naturally able to live long lives.
Yet, why had they been born into this age of destruction? How many times had he heard bitter voices saying that they didn't want to die? How many times had he seen people suffering without being able to put it to voice?
It wasn't that he was seeking a special kind of happiness. He wouldn't ask more than for everyone to be able to live. That alone would be plenty.
“Why... did it have to be... us...”
He desperately clung onto his consciousness that threatened to be sucked into oblivion. If he lost consciousness there, then it was over. When he could think no more, he would die.
He couldn't see anything. Even though the sun shouldn't have set yet, it was cold. His limbs gradually grew colder. That's right.
That's how the warmth disappeared from her body. This was what it was like to die...
No, he didn't want to give up yet. He didn't want to meet his end... like this!
It was at that moment. Suddenly, everything before his eyes lit up. His body was being enveloped by something warm. He desperately tried to force open his lead-like eyelids to see what had happened.
The gloomy skies were glowing. No, it wasn't the sky, but something that had appeared in the sky that was shining brightly.
He knew. What this warm light that appeared in the evening sky was. She who had seen that had told her. At last, the goddess had opened the door to him.
He breathed a sigh of relief. The constricting pain he had felt until now had disappeared. The left leg he had lost all feeling in could now easily be moved as well.
With that, destiny would be changed. From a future of destruction to a future where everyone could live in, he thought. He wouldn't let this chance bestowed upon him by the goddess go to waste.
The door came closer. A dazzling light filled his vision. He knew his body would be pulled in. He could hear the voice of the goddess. He could see his companions' smiling faces in the light.
As Noel Kreiss returned their smiles, he gave himself to that warm strength.
To be continued
FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 Fragments After