“Was I able to keep them safe…?”
Snow clapped his own cheeks with both his hands to keep himself from getting discouraged.
“Everything’s fine. We defeated that huge flan. Serah was stronger than I had ever expected, and that Noel guy was strong, too.”
He had continued fighting with the gigantic flan, and eventually, the Cactuar had been knocked somewhere by a single blow from the creature, leaving Snow alone and in a tight spot. Just as he was getting beaten like an old rag doll, Serah had showed up. He was stunned. He almost thought he was having a hallucination from being on the brink of death.
“Man, that Noel guy’s words were right. They really hit the spot.”
If you don’t care about yourself then the people you’re trying to protect will be the ones who get hurt, he said. Noel probably had someone who was precious to him, too. As well as someone he couldn’t protect. His voice on that day, was that of a person who had felt the regret and heartache of not having been able to protect someone.
If Serah hadn’t been there that day, then I might have said that I was the same as you. I couldn’t protect the people I cared for. I had seen that future. I was fighting so that it would not become a reality, I would say.
If I gave up then Serah would die. I wouldn’t be able to save her. So there was no way I could just quit. You’re like that too, right? You fight to protect your loved ones from dying without any regard for your own safety, don’t you? Don’t you…
But, there was no way I could say those things before Serah, herself. Instead, I said, haven’t you been protecting Serah, too? That was all I could manage. Noel probably didn’t understand what I was trying to say.
If he met Noel again someday, if they were both able to protect their loved ones, if they could arrive at such a future, then he would tell him. Everything. He would lay his cards on the table.
“But, before that…”
Snow turned his eyes to his feet. That ‘hazy blackness’ had wound itself around his legs.
“Yeah, I got it. I promised. I’ll stick around until you’re satisfied.”
The ‘hazy blackness’ creeped up Snow’s body, as if to say, really? While it did look rather eerie, it felt as if he was being clung onto by a child, no, a little girl. Somehow, this melancholic feeling to it made him imagine a silent and lonely little girl.
Like before, there was still no means to communicate, but judging by how the Cactuar wasn’t putting up any defenses, it probably wasn’t anything that bad.
“But anyway, who knew we’d end up back here after getting separated from Serah?”
Perhaps, it was because the temporal axes had realigned after they defeated the gigantic flan. Snow had been torn away from where Serah and company were. When he came to his senses, he found himself in that puzzling space where the “Arbiter of Time” was.
However, unlike before, he had discovered the purpose of this place.
“Who would have thought that this was a coliseum?”
It was dark when he last visited, but now a spotlight shone in the center and the circular stands too, were lit brightly enough for spectators to watch. “When the day is come” had likely meant when the arena started its operation as a coliseum.
“Hey. So, you wanted me to defeat all of the opponents here?”
There was no answer. Yet, he had a feeling it wasn’t that. What the ‘hazy blackness’ desired was something different. After having thought that far, something occurred to him.
“Could it be, that you know too? About what Sis and I both saw,”
Was that why it didn’t want to leave his side. I don’t want to see the end of the world, so make it stop, save me. Was that what it was trying to say?
“Well if that’s the case, then everything will be fine… Though, I guess you don't understand what I’m saying.”
He thought that he would tell it, if they were able to convey their thoughts, someday. About how he protected the crystal pillar, about his companions who were fighting to change the future.
The problem was, he had no idea when such a day would come.
“Oh well. All I can do now is fight, anyway.”
In this moment, at this place, all he could do was use all his strength. Even if he didn’t yet know the reasoning behind it. At the end of these struggles, there would lie the answers.
“Oh. My bad. Sorry, to keeping you waiting.”
It would have been more accurate to say “them”. A bunch of light-blue colored creatures had gathered around Snow’s feet. According to the Arbiter of Time, they were “guests from another planet”. The yellow receptor-like decorations on their heads and their smooth bodies made them rather different from any of the monsters from Cocoon or Pulse. For some reason, these strange creatures that were supposed to be Snow’s opponents, had also grown attached to him. Of course, this was after quite the battle had taken place, though.
His new opponent let out a warcry, having grown impatient. He was equipped with a number of weapons all at once, and looked to be quite the formidable foe. It seemed he would be a good match.
Snow approached slowly, and raised his fists.