Can Still See the Light
"I ask that you keep the truth about Dark Falz a secret for the time being. The World Ship underground will continue to be referred to as 'ruins' for now. We will announce the deaths of everyone on Pioneer 1 to the public in a week's time," the aging leader of Pioneer 2 said to the eight hunters gathered before him.
"Though we may call upon your services at a later point, your investigation is officially over," he continued. lowering his head respectively, he added, "On behalf of the Council , I thank you all."
The man looked up, turning towards the one who spoke; Lloyd. Looking a little downcast, the boy continued, "We're sorry that we couldn't save your daughter. I'm sure though that she would have wanted you to have this."
Lifting his right arm, the HUmar placed a familiar ring-shaped item on the principal's desk. A red bracelet; the object that gave Rico her "Red Ring" nickname. Principal Dorr took the bracelet into his hand turning it over and smiling sadly.
"There is nothing to be sorry about," He said, still looking at the piece of jewelry, "You did save her; you freed her. She told my so herself."
"…Huh?" was all he could say. The others had similar puzzled looks.
"Thank you for giving this to me, nevertheless."
" 'We will announce the deaths of everyone from Pioneer 1 in a week', huh? Minus any mention of Dark Falz, a ship built by our ancestors, and certainly not that Pioneer 1's government was looking for both of them, nuh-uh!"
After many hours of giving reports and submitting the data they collected on the buried spaceship, the eight had ended their meeting with Principal Dorr, finally being allowed to go to their homes. They were just outside his office, in the lobby near the Hunter's Guild and transporter when Zelos decided to voice his opinion on the matter.
"You know we can't just tell everyone what really happened!" Sheena stated harshly.
"Yeah, I know. If the general public found out that everyone from Pioneer 1 was killed by a sealed demon, they might panic, even though we killed it," Zelos said as if rehearsed, "Light forbid we say that Pioneer 1's government was the one who was snooping around down there looking for said demon!"
"As hunters, we have to follow the orders of our employers, especially the government," Regal stated, "Even if that weren't the case, the people of Pioneer 2 have gone through enough already. It would hinder more than help the situation to tell them the truth now."
"I know, I know. I wasn't about to go and announce to the ship what we found. I'm just saying that it's unfair."
"Yeah…We can't even tell anyone else who lost someone from Pioneer 1 what really happened to them. They might never know the truth," Lloyd said forlornly.
"Only we know…" Genis added in a similar tone.
"Hey, hey, it's not all bad!" Zelos said suddenly, "We still saved everyone on Pioneer 2. Hell, we saved the entire universe! We're heroes! Wait…" With a look of mock anger on his face, he continued all the while doing elaborate gestures, "Ah man! That just makes it worse! We should be getting parades and statues built in our honor! Even my Hunnies can't know that I helped to stop the biggest threat the universe has ever known!"
A few of the others smiled at his attempt to lighten the mood, or at least had the vestige of one. A few of them also rolled their eyes up. Sheena did both, though she tried to hide the smile.
"It's hard to believe it's all over, isn't it?" Colette said, changing the subject.
"It is. Four months have passed since the four of us began investigating in the forest," Raine agreed, "It's almost surreal how fast all those investigations feel right now."
"And now, we'll finally be able to settle on Ragol without fear," Sheena began to say, "Zelos is right for once, we are heroes."
The lights that simulated a sun began to dim in the city as street lights turned on and the hologram meant to emulate a blue sky faded, beginning to reveal the blackness of space.
"Well, it's getting late. Time for this hero to call it a day," Zelos said, stretching out his arms.
"Same here," Sheena said, looking out at the city from the lobby windows. Turning back toward the others, she continued, "Well, we've been through a lot, but I'm glad we did."
The others agreed, thanking the powers that be that brought them together. After a round of farewells, and promises to keep in touch, the unusually large hunter team went their separate ways, Raine, Genis and Presea heading in one, Regal in another, Sheena in yet another attempting to shake Zelos off and Lloyd walking Colette home as their apartment buildings were not far from each other.
So you did get to say good-bye to your father, huh Rico?
The boy in question turned his attention toward Colette. They were about half-way to Colette's apartment building and the street lights had already fully turned on. Looking concerned, she asked, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," he replied, looking a little puzzled.
"You seemed lost in thought. Were you thinking…about your father?"
"…About my dad?" The HUmar blinked after a momentary pause.
Colette lowered her head, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought it up."
"No, no, it's okay, Colette. To tell you the truth, I was thinking about what the principal said. He sounded like Rico went to see him before she really left."
The blonde nodded. There was a moment of silence before she spoke,
"Do you wish you could have seen your father one last time, too?"
"Well…I would have liked it if I did get to see him one last time. To tell you the truth though, I'm more relived than sad. At least I know what happened to him and to everyone else from Pioneer 1. By killing Dark Falz we made sure that no one else will fall victim to it again."
"But you still miss him, right?"
He nodded, lowering his head a bit, "For seven years, I haven't seen him. For two-and-a-half I was anxious to see him again. And now…" He lifted his head back up, "But, I'm not the only one. The Professor, Genis, Presea…hundreds, maybe thousands more won't ever see someone they lost. Only the council and us knows what really happened to them. It's a shame that we can't even tell anyone else…" Lloyd trailed off, shaking his head, "No. I don't care what the principal said. I have to at last tell my mom. She deserves to know as much as I do."
Colette nodded in understanding but she still had an uncertain look on her face. Noticing this, Lloyd said,
"You don't have to worry about me. Just talking to you about it is enough."
The girl finally allowed a small smile, "I'm glad I could help you in some way."
Smiling, the HUmar looked up at the ceiling, the glass dome showing Ragol along with the blackness of space.
"It shouldn't be long now before we're finally able to live on Ragol," Lloyd thought aloud.
Looking up at the beautiful planet that they had spent months exploring, Colette couldn't help but agree, "Not long at all, I'm sure of it.
Oh for the love of…! I still can't believe I took so long writing this! Well, it didn't help that due to circumstances beyond my control, I was computer-less almost all summer, but I really could've gotten this chapter done earlier…I suppose it was also a mixture of writer's block and sheer laziness.
I'm sorry if this epilogue seems a bit choppy. I figured I should leave any major conclusions and every-character's thoughts and reflections for Episode II. I felt though that it was necessary to focus on Lloyd's feelings about Kratos since I hadn't touched upon it much recently. This isn't really an end so much as it is a temporary pause. Or if you'd like, you can chalk it up to me just trying to finish this once and for all. XD
Ah yes, I suppose this was never openly stated, but it's true. Kratos is dead…for the moment. Will he somehow show up alive and well in Episode II? Will he somehow be involved in a bigger conspiracy? Will he just never be mentioned again because he's one of the character's I least understand in ToS? Read and find out! XD
Oh right, it should help if I reveal Episode II's real title! Officially it will be called "Tales of Phantasy: Gal Da Val Saga"…Yeah, I've never been one for originality with titles… I'll still be calling it "Episode II" for short. Well anyway, it takes place two months after the end of Episode I. The team is called upon to participate in a hunter exam by a lab. If they pass, they will send them to the Island of Gal Da Val, where a message was recieved from someone from Pioneer 1...long after he/she has allegedly died. For anyone who has already played PSO Episode II, I will not go into detail on the VR areas. Instead I will focus more on the characters and their thoughts and interactions for the first few chapters. The VR areas are just Episode I condensed anyway...
As I said in the last chapter, I will not be working on Episode II right away. The muses have been bugging me to write other stories. If anyone reading this likes Baten Kaitos or Sword of Mana, you may want to check them out (see my profile for more details). I'll probably start on Episode II sometime in November, or if I'm lucky, late October. We'll just see how things go.
Speaking of Baten Kaitos, why did I feel inclined to listen to it and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicle's soundtrack in additions to three versions of "Can Still See the Light" while typing this… Xo
Er, anyway, this is where I say good-bye, dear readers. I hope you enjoyed reading this slightly unusual story of mine and look forward to Episode II. This being the last chapter of Episode I, I hope it will spur a few more of you to review…