Probably the first thing that I should note is that Blessed Fantasy, is pronounced Bless-ed Fantasy.
Anyways, so this story was made on an inkling. It's sort of fast paced, and though it involves all the terms, happenings, people, and places of the game, the story's different nonetheless. There are many interesting twists and factors that I think the readers will enjoy. ) Reviews are appreciated, have fun.
Every chapter now has a themed song at the end with the labeled artist. The chapters are much more sympathetic with them. If you are interested in the song, I can give you a link to a secure download. - Ammom
Nothing. He wasn't sure if it was because he was seeing nothing because his eyes were closed, or because there was nothing to see. He gave a soft shudder as he felt the hand of someone reach out feebly to clasp his own. His fingers twitched stiffly within that grasp, feeling the frailty in its grip, but also the will to keep it there.
"Shh now," he heard someone coo him softly. The voice was slightly deep, but it had a distinct feminism to it. "Everything will be fine, trust me."
Trust you? You are the reason that I am in this; that I left them. I left all of my friends to come here and save you, and what happens? …
I am not sure. I do not know where I am…
"You're here, with me," he heard the voice whisper, sending a strange wave of relaxation over him. "And I am here, with you. That is all you need, all I need. Our tale will end with us, and that will be all. There will be nothing else, nothing more."And if I do not want to let it all end with me? What if I want to live? What will you do then? To me?
"Strange isn't it?" There was a small serious of giggles that were more insane than humorous. "You, who I have loathed so much for so many years now…
"You, who not only was made to be better than me, to be more powerful than me, proved just that. Though I am older, and I was clearly stronger, you still managed to defeat me."Yes, but you saved us. Why? I thought you loathed me.
"And I did…" There was a pause as if he was considering changing that last statement. "But then I saw what you had been talking about all along. What you had said to him, back there, at that hateful place, and also what your friends said…" He broke off, and the younger man persisted.What? What is it
"I finally realized that everything you said was true. It is through the power of friendship and love, you can get through things."
Yes, but that isn't just it. There is more to it than that.
"Oh? Tell me more."I…
"Please, I do not know how much time I have left."
It isn't something that can be told. It is something that you have to learn for yourself. You can't truly learn anything unless you know both sides.
"And here I thought that I had finally learned what it was that kept you all alive. I thought, at first, that it was your power…"It's not as it seems…
"I know that much," he replied. "I learned that it wasn't just because you were powerful…Even when weak, when you were shut down, and all hope was lost, still you persisted."Are you talking about what happened in the rain city?
"In a sense, yes," he replied slowly at first, pausing in thought. He added with a hint of humor, "There the good general dug your face into the pavement."
Thanks for the reminder.
"I did not mean…" He broke off, and the young man had the distinct feeling that the other was shaking his head. "Yes, you were shut down, cast aside, treated like a rag doll, but what did you do then? You continued, regardless of that incident, and so you did this the following times you faced her, and you made her see what took me to now to see…"
You still don't fully understand it. It is something that needs to be experienced really. And you…
There was a pause, and he knew that he had hurt the dying man. How he knew this he was unsure of, since it was that same man that hadn't thought twice about killing not only his friends, but him as well. How this man - who lay helplessly beside him - had stricken the crystal of its power.
"I know," he said softly. "I have no friends, and thatis only part of it, though it is a big part indeed, I must say." He sighed, and the grip tightened even more. "But I am here now, and though it means little to you…"
You dropped me here, and left me for dead.
"I was jealous…"All this time I thought that I was normal, with parents somewhere out there…
"I did not intend to…"
Waiting for me to find my way back to them.
And now that feeling, that hope, is gone.
"But your purpose was far greater than could be imagined..."
Yeah, some purpose. Destroy a town here, a kingdom there. No big deal maybe to you and the people of your planet, but it is a big deal here. At least, to me it is. To cause others such pain...you must be grieving pretty badly yourself if you're taking everything out on someone else.
"We were trying to restore the people of our planet..."
But that wasn't what you were trying to do, so don't even try to pretend that it was. Do not try and fool me.
There was more silence between them for lagging minutes, and the young man assumed that he fell asleep, because his head swam and his body was numbly responding to the shaking of his hand and arm.
What is it?
"I was thinking about what you said..."
Oh? What did I say?
"You said to not try and fool you, and at first I was unsure of what you were talking about. So I thought about the events that have taken place within the last half year…and I realized that you were right, if only partly.
"I hid what I looked like…because I looked like you. And I looked like them, and that was not what I wanted. I wanted to be recognized for me. Those left behind on that planet - they believed in what I was doing, but only because it is what they also thought they wanted."
No, they knew what their purpose was, and they knew that it was through you that their purpose would be fulfilled.
"They were made to house the souls."
But it wouldn't have worked. Those souls of the sleeping people would be forever lost, and then what? What would you do then with them? Kill them?
"It would not be murdering, because they have no souls. They are mindless beings. They are just vessels."
But that is where you are wrong, and that is why you can't understand. They have souls, whether you realize it or not. All living beings have a soul, and feelings and thoughts of their own. That is why they talk, and walk, and breathe. They have souls, and two souls cannot occupy the same body. So those of Terra would have just floated around, never able to move on. You would be murdering your own people, and those vessels as well.
I'm not sure that I want you talking to me right now...
"But I will anyways..." He squeezed Zidane's hand, and Zidane felt an awkward feeling flow through him. "Because you need to know, to hear what I have to say..."
And if I don't care? What if I don't listen?
"Then my words will be lost, and fall on leaden ears. But here, this is the place that memories are made and kept because it is here that souls flow through. And it is here that my words will flow through the branches of people's memories, and they will join those of everyone else's."
But no one living will hear them.
"That may be, but you're hearing what I am saying, am I right?"
It's like I said...
What if I don't listen?
"Then those after you who come here will hear them."
Do you really believe more will come?
"Yes," he replied softly. "Because it is here that everything takes place. You saw for yourself the being that watches this place, the real being. The one that sorts the souls here, and defends everything that should be and is."
It said something as you helped us.
"What was it?" Zidane paused for a moment.
'This is not the end. I am eternal...
'As long as there is life and death.'
"And it is right. That thing, it cannot die, but it cannot live either. It is just there, like a machine that can never be destroyed. It is as sure as life will lead to death. That is the only truth of this world, and it is something that we must all face...I understand that now, though I fear it's a little late..."
It's never too late. You understand it now, and you came to the conclusion that most people refuse to face.
"But I refused it as well," he responded quietly. "When I should have expected it. Of course I was going to die. I gave him way too much hate, and I loathed him. And when you were made, I turned all of that onto you, because you were made to be better than me, and I wanted all of them to acknowledge me, not you..."
You wanted their respect. Everyone wants that. But you didn't know how to get it any other way than to bring to them what you knew they desired.
"But it was more to it than just that. There was something else that I wanted from them, and I didn't realize it until just now. No, I knew what I wanted – I refused to believe that it was what I really wanted."
What was it?
"It was their love."
There was more silence, and Zidane felt the grip on his hand loosen. He wasn't sure if the other man had fallen asleep or finally passed away, or had just gone into his own deep despair. But Zidane felt his heart begin clutch painfully at his soar chest.
"Do not worry," the other man whispered softly. "I am still alive..." Kuja squeezed his hand weakly, and Zidane released a relieved, but exhausted sigh.
I thought that you were...
"Not quite yet..." Kuja trailed off grimly, as if wishing his companion would say no more. After a moment, his breath catching, the youth decided to try anyhow.
What is it? What's the matter?
"Zidane, why did you come?"
I'm actually not all that sure. You saved me, back there, and my friends. I felt like I had to do the same.
"What you said..."
"'You don't die on me, you hear!'" Zidane didn't respond to this; he didn't know how. "You said that, despite everything that I did to you, you still wanted me to live. Despite the fact that I took away from you and your friends so much, you still wished that I lived. Why did you change your mind so quickly?"
When we were on Terra, and when you discovered that you were going to die soon...
I felt sorry for you...
"Why? Why would you feel sorry for me when I could have given it no thought if it was you with the life span?"
Because I knew then that you had had a troubled life, and that despite that exterior, and despite the way you acted, and the things you did, you cared, and you had feelings. You said that you didn't want to lose your soul, and I knew then that you shouldn't have to, not for that reason.
"You're indeed intriguing, Zidane. First you wish to kill me, and then not to, and then you do, and then you came here to save me. And as we talked, you hated me, and when I stopped talking, you called out for me desperately. Are you aware of how much you contradict yourself?"
Yeah, but it's hard to decide whether I hate you or not. I hate you for the things you do, but I don't because you're like me in some ways, and seeing you forces me to face my problems. And I suppose that that is what I really hate.
But now I am no longer sure what to make of you, or my past, or even of myself. I have changed a lot since that trip to Alexandria, and since I found out who you really were, and how you and I are connected to one another.
"I have changed as well."
Yeah, yours is a good change I feel, but I turned on my friends, and that is something that I can't believe that they actually forgave me for. I pushed them away, and I didn't care if they died or not right then.
"And then you did. You did care, Zidane. You were trying to hide it."
He took away my soul...
"No, he didn't," Kuja snapped softly, gripping his brother's hand faintly. "Because it is like you said. All living things have souls. If they breathe, and they walk, and they talk...then they are alive. But though plants don't walk or talk, they need food, and they need warmth...just like everyone else does. You were alive, and that is why you were still stronger than me. Because your soul is stronger than mine."
There is something that I don' quite understand though. Why is it that everything that everyone else saw in that place, I saw too? Those memories...
Some of them weren't even mine.
"They didn't have to be. You didn't have to be there, because in a sense, they were your memories."
I don't understand.
"You will soon enough."
Zidane wasn't sure what to say. After all what could he say to this man? This total stranger? He didn't know Kuja that well, if at all, and he wasn't sure if he was glad that he didn't, or if he was sorrowful.
Do you ever wish that we...that we ever got to know each other?
"I dropped you on a planet I was going to destroy, Zidane."
Yes, I know. But you didn't kill me when you had the chance, did you? When I was just little...
"Zidane, I myself was fourteen. Ten years has passed since the night of the destruction of Madain Sari, and the death of the summoners. You were so young...you were six, and I had those years to get to know you, and I ended up hating you."
How come I can't remember? The only familiar thing to me was the blue light. I used to think that it was an ocean. I remember that I once left my adoptive family to find that ocean and my parents...
Of course, I didn't...
"I don't know why you can't remember, but it might have something to do with what happened that night. I dropped you off of the Invincible and I placed you in the summoner village because I knew that he would be destroying it soon."
I...lived in the summoner village? With her? Why don't I remember something like that...
Wait...is that why I saw her memory? Because I was there? But what happened to me? Was I in the boat with her? No, I couldn't have been, because I would have ended up in Alexandria, not Lindblum.
So what happened to me?
"I don't know," he replied softly. "I was there, but I didn't see what happened to you, or where you went. It was confusing. There was smoke, and ash, and fire..."
That was caused by him. All that pain, all that suffering...
"I won't make excuses for me, or him. There are none. But it's the way things are, and we can't change what has already happened."
I know that, but that doesn't mean that I can't wish that it didn't.
"I was watching you for a while though. When you were down there in that village, and I felt a stab of jealously at the way you were treated – the way they acted towards you, and I encouraged Garland to act – to destroy the village sooner than expected. It was during this that I left Terra for good, and didn't return until recently."
"From what I could see, yes. They didn't think you were all that different, since they had horns, and you had a tail. They thought you too just had some special gift hidden inside of you, that's all."
I bet I loved being there. I bet it was nice, and someone even considered me their son. I probably had a family, and lots of friends...
Zidane felt a sense of calm wash over him. He had had a family, and that family had been kind and nice to him. Perhaps that was why he felt like there was a special bond that connected him and his two summoner friends; because they had all been there in that village, if only two of them at the same time.
"You should be leaving, Zidane."
I can't even see. Besides, I'm not leaving you here to die.
"I deserve death after everything I have done. I told you that before."
You may have done some pretty rotten, low things, but you can do better. I know you can. We'll get out of here, and return to the place outside, and—
"And then what?" he hissed softly. "You're friends have left, and you have no way of communicating with them. So how are you going to get back, if the tree even lets you out?"
You are the one telling me to leave.
"Because the tree has become docile. It is at calm, and at ease, if only for now. If you leave without further discussion, then you should make it out before it can do anything."
What about the world out there? There was thick mist everywhere, and terrible creatures. What will happen?
"I'm not sure. Everything has gone wrong. I wasn't trying to restore the mist, because it has no real purpose anymore, at least not to me at the time, or even now. Its original purpose was to intone the will and lust of battles into people. Make them more vengeful, more hateful towards one another."
And it did just that. When did the mist first appear?
"I'm not all too sure, but it was several hundred years ago I expect. Now listen to me. Leave now before it is too late. My time is about up..."
"There is just one thing..." Zidane, who had been about to move away, felt Kuja keep him there as he tightened his grip on Zidane's hand, making it throb. "I want you to live your life to the fullest, and please try to understand what I did, and how I acted...I treated you so awfully.
"I hated you and loathed you without really knowing you, and I dropped you here on Gaia because I thought that you deserved to die, and to be miserable. But when you lived...
"I knew that there was something that I had to do that you wouldn't. I destroyed your home that I gave you, and I took away from her – the one you cared for so much – her Eidolons, and I threatened her life. And I made her suffer as well...
"And though I don't deserve it, and I shouldn't ask you, I wish for your forgiveness..."
Kuja, I already have come to terms with what you have done, and the truth that you have opened my eyes to. But I can never forgive you, because if I do that, then I know that is like making an excuse, and saying that it was alright that all those people died, when it isn't.
He let his hand drop, and as Zidane sat up, and opened his eyes, he turned his head away; not paying attention to his surroundings. His eyes were narrowed in his sorrow, and he knew that though what he said was true, that perhaps it was best he hadn't said it.
I'm sorry, Kuja...
There was no response, and Zidane looked to his left, his right elbow on his knee, his other leg bent as he fought to stretch his tired limbs. He watched the older man as he looked back at him with understanding in his eyes as they slowly closed. Kuja's right hand, which had been resting on his chest for the last few moments, went limp and opened a little, revealing the three pieces of the crystal. Kuja's mouth hung loosely, his chest coming to a slow halt.
Zidane felt anger and sorrow welling up inside of him, but as he reached over to take the three remaining pieces from Kuja, he felt everything go numb. He wasn't sad, nor was he happy or hateful. And as he stood up, and looked back at Kuja over his shoulder, his words were soft, and they remained forever as a memory that floated around the inside of Lifa Tree, meaning nothing to no one except the one soul that was meant to hear them.
Themed Song: "It Doesn't Matter" by Alison Krauss