A/N: Okay, since two people have brought this up... (skip this part if you don't care about time frames)
Yes, I realize that the Perfect Guide says that the gameplay took place over two years, and that the end scene takes place a year after the final battle (Or at least, that's what people have been telling me. I don't have the guide, nor can I read Japanese).
Even though this guide is supposed to be offical, I just don't see how it works out to be two years. Based on two different pieces of evidence from the game, I don't see how the gameplay could have taken more than a year.
First: At the very beginning of the game, Guy mentions that the kidnapping (as well as Luke's birth) happened seven years ago. Right before the final boss, Luke comments on how he's only seven years old. If the game spaned over two years, wouldn't Luke be eight or nine at the end, or five or six at the beginning?
Second: The date given after the Absorption Gate is Gnome-Redecan 28, ND2018, which means that the first half of the game took place over seven months, and that there are four and a half months left 'til the end of the year. Since at least half of the first part of the game is done without the Albiore or prior knowledge to the location of cities and dungeons, it can be assumed that this part took considerably longer than the last half of the game, where you pretty much always have the Albiore, and the characters know where almost all of their destinations are. For this reason, it is reasonable to believe that it only took four and a half months or less to get to Van.
Of course, this is relying on Guy and Luke being right about the time of the kidnapping, and considering that they're not the brightest characters... And also, this is based off of the English version of the game, which may have translated the dates differently from the Japanese version.
Well, whatever. If I'm wrong, it doesn't change the story very much.
Turned heads and excited whispers followed Asch as he made his way to the castle. Some people approached him and asked if it was really him, but he ignored them. Right now, he wasn't interested in idle conversation.
When he made it to the castle gates, he asked the guards if they knew where Natalia was. The guards just stared at him dumbly, trying to decide whether or not he was an illusion.
Asch sighed and continued into the castle to seek an audience with his uncle, the king.
When Ingobert saw him enter, he gasped. "By Yulia…Is that you, Luke?"
Asch smiled. "Yeah, it is, though I'm not the one you're probably thinking of. I'm the original that went by Asch."
"And what of the other Luke?"
"He's here, but he wandered off somewhere…" Asch closed his eyes and focused on what he had come to do. "Is Natalia here? I really need to see her."
"I'm sorry, but you just missed her. She left on an airship about a half an hour ago."
"What?!" That meant that Natalia would have left right before Ginji landed. Asch couldn't believe his luck. "Do you know where she went?"
"I believe she went with the others to Tataroo Valley."
"But that's where…Dammit!"
"You can wait in a guest room until she returns, if you'd like."
"Thank you, Uncle," Asch mumbled. He stormed out into the hall and immediately opened up the channel he shared with Luke. You bastard, why did you give me some cryptic message about selenias instead of telling me what you were doing?
Huh? Luke was confused. Ginji was just about to land the Albiore between the ruins of Eldrant and the opening of the valley. All I meant was that I was going to pick some flowers for Tear for when I come back to Baticul…
You idiot, no one's here! They're all in Tataroo Valley!
What?! As the Albiore's engine died down, Luke could hear a song echoing out of the valley. "Tear…"
Luke rushed for the exit off the airship. "Ginji!" he called back, "If I'm not back in twenty minutes, go ahead and leave without me!" And with that, Luke took off down the valley.
Before long, Tear's song ended, and Luke began to hear the others' voices. They sounded close, so he allowed himself to slow down. Then, just as Luke came up a hill, he saw them. They were leaving. Luke was about to start running again, but Tear turned around and saw him.
Their eyes locked. They moved forward, just staring at each other.
…I'm closing the link now…Asch said, but Luke didn't even hear him.
"Why are you here?" Tear asked.
Luke smiled and looked around. "This place has a nice view of Hod. And because I promised someone."
And then Tear started to cry. In all the time that Luke had known her, he had never once seen her cry. She rushed over to him and collapsed into his arms. She was shaking and kept repeating, "You idiot…"
Luke looked up to see that Guy, Anise, and Natalia had also come up to greet him.
"Hey Tear," Guy said with a smile on his face, "Quit hogging the hero." Tear moved to the side for the others, but she wouldn't let go of Luke's hand.
Luke could tell that Guy and Anise were excited to see him, as they wouldn't stop talking. Luke learned that Guy was now the pilot of the Albiore V, and that Anise was now in the final stages of becoming Fon Master.
But Natalia remained silent. Even Jade had finally come over and given Luke a warm welcome. Natalia, however, just stood there with a forced smile, not saying a word. She seemed to be on the verge of tears, and Luke knew why.
"Can we go back to Baticul now?" Luke asked.
"What's the rush?" responded Guy.
With the most convenient timing, Luke's stomach growled loud enough for everyone to hear. Luke grimaced. "I haven't eaten since this morning…"
Everyone but Natalia laughed.
"C'mon, I'll show you my piloting skills!" Guy said.
"Like how you almost crashed into the ocean yesterday?" Jade retorted.
"That wasn't my fault! Mieu kept jumping on the controls!"
Luke put his arm around Tear as they made their way back to Guy's airship. Hey Big Brother, I'm bringing your girl home to you. Asch didn't respond, but Luke felt a rush of relief flow through the link.
As soon as they made it to the palace grounds, Natalia wished everyone a good night.
"But we're gonna have a party at Luke's house!" protested Anise. "Don't you wanna come?"
Natalia looked down. "I'm sorry, but I'm not feeling well right now. I should probably get some rest."
"But Natalia—" Guy started, but Luke cut him off.
"It's okay," Luke said, "We'll see you tomorrow, Natalia."
Natalia waved goodbye and then walked to the palace doors. As soon as the doors were closed behind her, she dashed for her room.
"Your majesty!" and excited servant exclaimed, "You have a visitor!"
"I don't care!" Natalia shouted back as she slammed her bedroom door. She then collapsed onto her bed and sobbed into her pillow.
She heard a knock at the door. "Go away!" But the door opened anyway. "I said go away!" Natalia screamed without even lifting her head.
"That wasn't the welcome I was expecting."
Natalia gasped. She rolled off her bed and turned to see Asch standing in the doorway.
"And why are you crying?" he asked with a soft smile. "Weren't you glad to see one of your friends alive?"
"Of course I was!" Natalia desperately tried to wipe away her tears. "It's just that I thought it was you. When I realized it was him, I…I…"
"It's alright." Natalia looked down. Asch moved over and lifted her chin so that she would look at him. "We're grown up now, so let's change this country together."
He then kissed her in the moonlight that streamed in through the window, the same light that glimmered in the ring that was now on Tear's finger as she kissed for the first time the man who had given it to her.
I hope you enjoyed reading :)
Now allow me to fill in a few plot holes that weren't addressed in the story:
1. Where the hell is Mieu?
He's at the Manor. After the whole Coming of Age Ceremony, he fell asleep. He is just a child, after all.
2. Aston mentioned something about Noelle going to the Ceremony. Why isn't she with the others in Tataroo Valley?
Well, right now, due to some…er…"complications," she's trying to avoid flying for a while. (It's Guy's fault. :p) She's still in Baticul, helping Mrs. Fabre clean up.
3. Wait, Tear and Guy didn't go to the Ceremony, they just went to the Valley without Natalia and the others. So how did Natalia, Anise, and Jade get there if Guy had the airship?
The ones who went to the Ceremony took the royal family's private airship (The Albiore VI). When they met up with Tear and Guy, they told the pilot to leave without them, since Guy could fly them back.
4. What was Luke doing in Sheridan?
Oh, and someone drew me a fanart!: http://www. deviantart. com/deviation/55683616/ AWESOMENESS!