Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chapter 8 - memory & hope: Part 1

Pages 190-195 translated by Hakurou.

Part 1

It was as if a sudden wind had whisked away the light.

The moment that man appeared, the smiles vanished from the villagers' faces. The village was preparing a magnificent celebration to commemorate the thirteenth day since the seeress' birth. Regardless, the village was bustling, preparing for the festival.

He thought that it was like the face one makes when he/she sees a detestable or scary object. But, he knew at the same time that everyone in the village had respect for that man. It was very similar to the facial expression that people showed the most powerful hunter of the village.

Who could that man be?

The young Noel could not comprehend the villagers' reactions; however, the man was even more incomprehensible and enveloped in mystery.

The man had paid no mind to the villagers and just now had entered the house from which Noel had just exited. Noel had been asked by his grandmother to deliver get-well gifts to Yeul's mother who was in confinement for childbirth.

What could he have come to do?

Yeul's father died without seeing his firstborn child. The only adult inside that house was Yeul's mother. The villagers were taking turns helping but there was a slight lull at the present moment.

Noel felt uneasy and turned around. He couldn't help but feel anxious about the newborn Yeul. He cautiously approached the house and peered inside. His tree climbing prowess rivaled even that of the older children, so he had no trouble climbing up to the window.

Before he could get a glimpse of what was happening inside the room, a sound assailed his ears. Yeul's mother raised a piercing cry. "Get out!"

"This child has just been born!"

Her voice reverberated outside of the house. Yeul's mother had gotten up out of bed and was glaring at the man. Unlike the villagers, there was only hatred and disgust in her eyes. Noel could feel his hands shaking as they clutched the window frame. That's how much Yeul's mother made her rage clear.

The mysterious man approached the bed and Noel saw that he was saying something, but he could not make it out. Noel tried to push his ear up against the window in order to hear.

Suddenly, Yeul's mother opened her eyes. Her face changed into what anyone else would call an expression of surprise and she looked up at the man. Then, tears started to fall from her eyes. She still appeared to be surprised, but tears fell from both of her eyes in large drops.

"He said something mean to Yeul's mother!"
In a rage, he jumped down from the window and ran into the house. He stood in front of the man so as to keep Yeul's mother at his back. To a three year old Noel, this man was as big as a monster, however, he was not afraid. He was intent on protecting the newborn Yeul, nullifying his other emotions.
"No, Noel."
A soft voice fell upon his back. It was the voice of Yeul's mother, who seemed like a different person than before. Surprised, Noel turned around.
"I wasn't told something mean, Noel. I was crying because I was happy. Thank you for worrying."
Yeul's mother smiled while drying her tears, an ebullient smile covered with incessant tears. It was incomprehensible to Noel that the two could exist at one time.

It was strange to cry at a time when one was neither sad nor in pain.

Noel thought about this all the way home. "Adults cry when someone dies... because they're sad... We kids cry when we get a scratch... because it hurts. Oh yeah and when we're annoyed we wanna cry. But is it normal to cry when you're happy?"
So, as soon as he got home, Noel told his grandmother the whole story and assaulted her with questions.
"Who's that man? Do the villagers hate him? Why was Yeul's mother so angry? Why did she cry? Is it normal to cry when you're happy?"
Noel's grandmother, who was listening to everything, sat Noel on a chair , saying "Hm, where should I start?" From the time Noel had turned three, he did not listen to the important things she had to tell him while atop her lap, rather he would listen while sitting in a chair.
"That man is a Guardian."
"A Guardian has an important job: he protects the seeress."
Noel had already learned that Yeul was the seeress. On the day Yeul was born, Noel heard many people say the word "seeress" so, as would be expected, as soon as he and his grandmother got home, he asked her what the term meant.
"But the villagers, they hated him."
"That's not quite right; There's only one Guardian who fights to protect the seeress, so he's very strong. Stronger than any one of the villagers."
"Does he act all tough 'cause he's so strong?"
If so, then that'd make him a jerk. No wonder the villagers would hate him. However, his grandmother laughed while shaking her head.
"That's not it. Everyone cares for him. Traveling and protecting the seeress is a very important job, you know. One mustn't be rude to a person with such an important job, right?"
"He's going to travel with Yeul?"
"Yes. But not right after she has been born. When the time comes. When she can speak and foresee the future..."
Noel's grandmother explained to him that the seeress can see the future, that people live away from her so as to not provoke people into using her power for bad deeds, and also some rules concerning the seeress.
Noel was satisfied. He understood why out of all of the villagers who were excited about the birth of the seeress, Yeul's mother was the only one who was depressed.
She grieved, for in a not too distant future, she would have to part ways with her daughter.
"Yeul's mother was mad because she thought that the man had come to take Yeul when she was still not big enough to travel."
He remembered the shrill voice when she said "Get out!" and her scream when she said "This child has just been born!" as she glared at the man. "So that was it," Noel thought.
"So, is Yeul going to go away from the village?"
Noel flustered as he realized this truth. Much like the adults, the children were also excited, for they would have a new friend.
"No, I don't think that'll happen. Yeul's mother was crying happily when she spoke to you, no? When people cry tears of joy, it's when they haven't been that incredibly happy until that moment. What do you think would be the happiest thing for Yeul's mother, Noel?"
"That Yeul doesn't go away?"
"Yes. I'm positive the Guardian came to tell her that. For a guardian to appear right after a seeress has been born, that just doesn't happen."
As Noel let out a sigh of relief, he had a sudden suspicion.
"Is it okay to break the rules?"
The seeress possesses the ability to see the future. Long ago there were people who tried to use that power maliciously or who despaired at her words; these were the people who caused war.
Much blood was shed and it is said, the seeress, of her own volition, established this rule and chose to lead a life apart from people.
"Won’t something bad happen if we break the rules?"
"Hmm. We have to protect the rules, but..."
After thinking for a second, Noel's grandmother opened her mouth once more.
"I don't think there are any people in this village who would use the seeress' power for something bad. So, the Guardian probably thought it okay for her not to travel and live here with everyone in the village."
"So, if the seeresses up until now were born in a village without bad people they wouldn't have had to travel?"
"I suppose... so."
Something about his grandmother's answer did not sound right.

"Maybe granny did understand."

Serah replied with a "What, Noel?" When you talk about something, there are questions and answers. Thanks to that, you can get some closure. This is what traveling with a partner means, thought Noel deeply.


They were currently heading toward the final battle with Caius. Noel and company were travelling through the Academia of AF500 in search of Caius who was probably aiming for the moment when the man-made Cocoon would be launched. He didn’t want to face the battle whilst still bearing doubts and concerns. That’s why he was thankful for Serah’s request; “Tell me about Caius.”

“You see, my Yeul was the last seeress.”


His grandmother lived longer than anyone and was privy to the birth of three seeresses. She likely bore witness to the polluting of the land they had been settled in, and then the rapid decline in population, too. One could have easily guessed something like how there would be no next seeress. But she probably couldn’t bring herself to inform the young Noel of this.

“Well, granny told other lies too.”


“That he wasn’t hated and that everyone was just being mindful of him.”

It was true that people were mindful of him, so it wasn’t necessarily a lie. But, it was true that many of the villagers bore hatred for Caius.

He was the man who took away the still very young seeresses. An expressionless, mysterious, and eerie man. Yet, he wielded great strength so not a single person could go against him. People harbored animosity for him and began to find the sight of him unpleasant...

“I too thought he was probably a bad guy from the start.”

“Really? But the Noel and Caius I saw in that dream seemed to get along well.”

“Rather than having gotten along well, it was more that I trusted him. Because I thought there was likely no man more suited to be the seeress’s protector.”

That is why he wanted to be Caius’s equal. He thought he’d surpass him someday.

“But, at first I had nothing but a sense of distrust.”

His first impression had been as bad as could be, but the impression he had when they reunited wasn’t a very rosy one either.

“To me it was an involuntary, or rather disgraceful reunion, anyway.”

It had been something that happened three years after Yeul had been allowed to remain in the village.

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