He felt the ground tremble slightly. It wasn’t a dramatic shaking. It was a marginal and irregular vibration. It was like a Cocoon long past its lifespan struggling to stay alive, thought Hope.
Tomorrow, a new Cocoon would be born. Their old cocoon would cease serving its role and return to the land. In order to conduct a final inspection, Hope travelled to various areas inside Cocoon. Here, Bresha Ruins, was his final destination. Although, the Academy’s research facility had been shut down, and most of the the equipment inside the ruins had been removed.
Cocoon’s interior had already been uninhabited since a few hundred years ago. It was because there was the need to purify various facilities and the waste that came out of them. He had been informed by Noel that the hazardous materials that would be dispersed from Cocoon would pollute all of Pulse and drive humanity to the brink of extinction. He couldn’t let history repeat itself.
“Oh, so this is where you were. We were searching for you.”
A researcher came running over. True to her words, she was breathing hard as if she had been running all over. With each breath, the ID card around her neck jostled back and forth. As the card which read ‘Aina Stein’ slipped into his vision, he felt something cross his mind.
“Has another danger spot been found?”
“No, that’s not it…”
His words had trailed off there because Hope himself hadn’t been sure either. Why had he come this deep into the Bresha Ruins? He was here before he had realised.
“Could this be a grave, perhaps?”
Aina pointed a finger at the stone peering out amidst the thick weeds. How long they must have had been exposed to the wind and rains, for all of the stones that were lined up looked the same. Perhaps they had been proper grave markers a few hundred years ago.
“I’m not sure why myself either, but I just wanted to come here one last time. Before Cocoon fell,”
Halfway through saying it felt as if he was forgetting something important, Hope stopped speaking. He thought he had heard someone’s voice.
His fingertips that inadvertently reached out as if seeking something, only drifted through the air. He felt as if he had done something like this long, long ago. When had it been? Judging from the fact that he hadn’t been able to recall right away, it must have been an old, old memory.
“What’s the matter?”
That was the wind… not the sound of someone’s voice.
“It’s time. Let’s go back.”
After briefly informing Aina, Hope started to walk.