A/N: (2015 Final Revisions):
30 Chapters and 12 years later, Al Bhed Blue is finished. The Epilogue is coming, and I have a feeling you will like it! However, I am being devious and going to make you wait a little bit longer.
There was a long period where this fic was for all intents and purposes abandoned. It didn't seem to matter, though, that some years had passed since my last update. I continued getting emails and direct messages from people asking that I finish the story. It was always a pleasant surprise to see the alert in my inbox that Al Bhed Blue had received a review, even though it might have been years since my last update.
So as we near the end I just want to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone who ever read, favorited, followed, and reviewed this fanfic. A special thank you goes to the reviewers and those who sent direct messages, because I never would have hit chapter 30 without you.
This can't compare in any way to the support I have gotten over (I'll say it again) 12 years, but hopefully it will do. I am going through and doing a Final Revision of the entire work. My intentions are threefold: the first is to post this over at AO3 which I will be doing chapter by chapter as I revise. The second is to go through and clean up formatting so that this piece works as a whole, instead of varying chapter by chapter with layout and the way that the Al Bhed language is used. Finally, the last thing I will be doing is fixing some storyline issues and making little changes here and there that help give the story and overall structure. (Yes, this means I will finally fix my big flub up over how Tidus' mother died to reflect the actual FFX in-game reason!)
To everyone who has ever read this: Thank You.
Original A/N (2003): This fic is based on a big 'what if', which I hope you find interesting:
What if Tidus hadn't gotten knocked off the Al Bhed ship because Sin never came? What would have happened if he stuck with Rikku and the crew? Hopefully a good read…
Note: This story begins where Tidus tells Rikku where he is from and she thinks he had been affected by Sin's toxin.
Al Bhed Blue
1000 years? Sin…Luca…My Zanarkand, a holy place? She's got to be joking… right? This is so unreal. Yet here I was, on the deck of this ship, with people who speak in a different language.
I did the only thing I could; I waited. I didn't have any clue where I was or what an "Al Bhed" might be. Everything was confusing, especially since the only one who could seemingly speak my language was Rikku.
"Welp, I've got good news and bad news!"
I turned to see Rikku standing by the entrance into the ship.
"I uh…pulled a few strings…and I convinced my brother to take you to Luca!"
Okay… uh, so what's the bad news?" I wasn't too thrilled at the prospects of this "Luca", but I guess it was better than the cold metal deck of a ship.
"Well…since we finally got the big prize…" Rikku pointed at one of the common airships found in Zanarkand. It had been hitched up to ship and was being slowly towed along. I noticed there was some kind of logo on its side, there was a big circle with a picture on it. I couldn't quite make it out but I think it was the travel airship of an opposing blitzball team. Judging by the design it was for the C-South Duggles. The Abes' luxury edition Kennet Airship was better though…definitely more roomy…
"…so we'll have to go…hey…are you listening?"
Rikku's comment snapped me out of my thoughts. "Sorry… I was just thinking about the airship… it's the ship an opposing team uses for travel games. I was actually playing against them before Sin came…" I stopped when I saw Rikku's expression. I saw in her face a look of pure confusion with a little bit of excitement underneath.
I smiled at this reaction. "Oh sorry, you probably don't know what I'm talking about. I play for the Zanarkand Abes, that ship belongs to the Zanarkand Duggles, our rivals. You know…blitzball…" I made a kicking motion.
"Wait…you…you've seen technology like this before? I mean…you know how to operate it and everything?" Rikku's eyes were wide open, for what reason I had no clue.
"Well…I dunno about flying it. I mean, occasionally when I got bored I would go talk with the pilot of our ship. He gave me a few pointers on flying in exchange for some blitzball tips. I don't remember a lot. But hey, I can turn it on at least!" I chuckled at my joke; anyone could turn on an airship.
"Fryd? You know how to turn this on? That's impossible! This is the first airship we have been able to get our hands on! A while ago we found a few sketches of some of these machina ships in an old underwater city, we've been looking for one for months!" Rikku began pacing back and forth.
"Whoa whoa! Calm down, Rikku! Didn't mean to get you all excited!"
Rikku turned to look at me. It was then I noticed her eyes were a cool green color, but her pupils were spiral-shaped. It took some effort not to stare. They were… weird, but cool.
Rikku continued on in her excitement. "Are you positive?"
"Yeah, of course. Maybe one day I can show you the Abes' ship."
Rikku flashed a big grin. "Come with me right now!"
Before I could respond my hand was in hers and I was dragged into the ship. I got a lot of dirty looks from the men I passed, but eventually we got to the end of a long hall into a room where the man with tattoos all over his chest sat looking over some drawings or maps or something.
"Brother! Drec ec ehlnatepma! Drec ec cu ehlnatepma!" Rikku shouted, surprising who I now assumed to be her brother out of his intent study.
Brother! This is incredible! This is so incredible!
"Rikku? Fryd ec cu..." He looked in my direction and his eyes widened. "Fro tet oui pnehk drec fiend eh rana?" My mind hopelessly tried to understand what he was saying. I think he called me a fiend but I wasn't sure.
What is so... Why did you bring this fiend in here?
"Dryd'c fryd'c ehlnatepma! Ra ghufc ruf du ubanyda dra yencreb!" Rikku exclaimed. She jumped up and down a bit, motioning towards me.
He's what's incredible! He knows how to operate the airship!
"Fryd? Dryd'c esbuccepma. Huputo ryc ajan ajah duilrat yh yencreb pavuna ic. Ruf fuimt drec fiend ghuf? E tuh'd pameaja ed." Once again, I think he called me a fiend. This was starting to give me a headache.
What? That's impossible. Nobody has ever even touched an airship before us. How would this fiend know? I don't believe it.
"Fro fuimt ra mea? E ghuf! Ra lyh bnuja ed cusaruf...is..."
Why would he lie? I know! He can prove it somehow...um...
Brother gave a cocky smile. That couldn't be good. "Fine. Fro tuh'd fa cruf dra fiend cusadrehk ajah fa tuh'd ghuf ruf du ica. Ev ra lyh ubanyda ed dryh E femm pameaja res. Rao, Jekud! lusa rana!"
Why don't we show the fiend something even we don't know how to use. If he can operate it than I will believe him. Hey, Jekud! Come here!
At this a man came in the room. I was still very, very lost. As 'Brother' began talking to the man who just arrived I moved over towards Rikku.
"Um…Rikku? What's going on?"
Rikku frowned. "I'm not calling you a liar…but you're sure you can operate an airship?"
Yep, that headache was in full force now. "I told you, I can't fly very well but I can do some basic stuff."
Rikku smiled. "I knew you wouldn't lie, I could tell. But Brother thinks you are a fiend, he doesn't believe you. So Jekud-" She motioned towards the man talking to 'Brother', "- is going to bring some machina that even we haven't figured out how to use. If you know how to pilot an airship maybe you can show us how to use some other stuff." She flashed me the grin I was beginning to like.
"Rikku…I told you…I don't know how to pilot the ship I only know how…"
Suddenly 'Brother' shoved me away from his sister and dragged me out of the room. He took me down a long hallway then down another long hallway. We arrived into a dimly lit storage room. Jekud, who had accompanied us, grabbed something off one of the dusty shelves and handed it to me roughly.
I looked at the device he handed to me and tried to make out what it was. It was covered in dust and looked like it was several hundred years old, but no mistake about it, it was an electric razor. A voice activated one, the kind my old man used to have. He'd only bother to shave before a blitzball game, said the beard slowed him down in the water. In the off-season he'd just let it grow and grow.
"Drana. Damm sa fryd drec ec!" Brother exclaimed.
There. Tell me what this is!
I wasn't sure what he said but I figured he wanted me to turn it on. I briefly was worried it wouldn't activate given how old it looked, but handheld electronics like this were usually solar powered and had incredibly efficient energy storage. Why not try to turn it on?
I pushed the button for it to receive the voice activate command. "Uh…'close shave' please," I spoke into it. The blue hand sized mechanism began to make a 'whrrrrrr' sound as it turned on. I didn't have any hair on my face to shave, so I just held onto it.
Brother's face lit up; his eyes were as big as Rikku's on the deck.
I tried to explain. "Nothing complicated... Just a voice activated electric shaver." I made a shaving motion with my hand to try to get the point across. Neither Brother nor Jekud seemed to understand; they were both too busy starting at the little machine.
"Rikku! Lusa rana! Dnyhcmyda vun sa! Ycg res fryd drec ec!" Brother shouted. A few seconds later, Rikku entered the room.
Rikku! Come here! Translate for me! Ask him what this is!
She said a few words to Brother then returned her attention to me. "He wants to know what that thing is." She pointed to the shaver.
"This? This is just a shaver. You know, beards, sideburns, whatever."
Rikku gave a surprised look then I presume translated for Brother. Jekud, who had a small goatee similar to Brother's, grabbed the razor out of my hand and brought it to his face. The goatee was gone in an instant, leaving a nice smooth chin.
Jekud let out an excited cry. He and Brother began rambling on in their language while I just turned to Rikku. "It's nothing really. My dad has one of these when I was little."
She laughed. "I can't believe it. I mean I knew you weren't lying, but I guess I just thought you were delusional or something, or imagined this in a dream because of Sin's toxin. But…whoa…"
"Ruf tuac ed fung? Ruf tuac ed fung!?" Brother asked Rikku.
How does it work? How does it work!?
She turned to me. "He wants to know how it works."
I laughed. I was even starting to like Brother and Jekud. They were like kids in a candy store. Jekud was practically bouncing off the walls, feeling his chin over and over again, as if he was double-checking that the razor really shaved his goatee off. Rikku just continued staring at me with those eyes. I couldn't really understand the look she was giving me. Who knew using an electric razor could get this sort of reaction?
Well, that about sums up how I ended up having a permanent place on the Al Bhed ship. With the help of Rikku's translating I fully explained to Brother how the electric razor worked. We spent some time going through some of the other miscellaneous items in the storage closet; most were just common electronic items you'd find in any normal Zanarkand home. Although I was intimidated at first by Brother's intense looks and his tattoo-covered tough guy look, we quickly feel into an easy repertoire. By the time I was showing him how play a simple game on an old rusty portable video game device, we were interacting like old friends.
Later, at Brother's command Rikku had brought me to what would become my own room on the ship. We talked a bit more and she told me she couldn't wait till they got 'to Home' so I could show them how to use the airship. At that point I simply gave up trying to tell her I had no idea how to operate the thing. Her excitement was so infectious, I started wondering if maybe I did know how to fly it.
Things were looking up. I was no longer sleeping on the hard metal deck of the ship, but I was still very confused. At least the crewmembers weren't still giving me looks of disgust. Actually, their looks of awe reminded me somewhat of some of my blitzball fans.
Rikku tells me the salvage ship is moving slowly given its large cargo, the airship. It will be several days before we reach our destination. I figure that's fine, maybe with some rest and time to think I could start piecing together what exactly has happened to me.
The comforting hum of the ship engines begins lure me to sleep. My last thoughts before I succumb to my exhaustion are not about my current predicament, but about the beautiful girl who just saved my life.