Final Hikari: -deep breath- -shifty eyes- Haha, hello there, my wonderful editor, Dr. Meh!

Dr. Meh: …You're up to something.

-Faize & Lymle wait, eavesdropping, in another room to enter-

Lymle: She's in trouble, 'kay?

Faize: She certainly is…

-back in the computer room-

Final Hikari: -sweat drop- Well, I got Faize's secret epilogue and the following morning I just kinda had my notebook during school…and…um…I just started writing! I was so obsessed with The Last Hope, Faize, and the secret epilogue I didn't get on my first guidebook-less play through, that when I finally saw the real ending, I just couldn't help it!

Dr. Meh: -pointed look- The same way you "just started writing" your five hundred paged projects like All That's Left Behind and Flights of Fantasy?

Final Hikari: -sweat drop- Um, funny you mentioned those!

Dr. Meh: What's the project number on this one? -taps foot- Six? Seven?

Final Hikari: -shifty eyes- I'll count while you watch Faize's secret epilogue on YouTube! Certainly would have saved me a lot of angst if this was posted sooner…

Dr. Meh: -is watching-

Final Hikari: -counting- Let's see…Xenosaga IV: Der Wille zur Existieren, Valkyrie's Favor, All That's Left Behind, Popularity's Down, Tomato Cake, a kiriban, Remember My----

Dr. Meh: -about a minute into the video- Awww! What an adorable little girl!

-In the other room-

Lymle: -sticks tongue out at Faize- She's talking about me! Unless she's actually talking about you…which wouldn't be too far off the mark, kay?

Faize: -.- Who taught you to be do rude to your elders? And it isn't my fault Earthlings judge me by my ears.

Lymle: She's judging you by a lot more than those giant ears, 'kay?

-back in computer room-

Final Hikari: XD Well, at least you approve of my protagonists…and hopefully won't mind being bothered with editing another story of mine atop a stringent school schedule…

Dr. Meh: Mmm, you're on your own for a few chapters though. What's her name?

Final Hikari: -sweat drop- Damn finals. But it's Lymle. Lymle Lemuri Phi.

Dr. Meh: -nods-What's her relationship with Faize? I really doubt he's her grandfather.

Final Hikari: -mother of all anime crashes- He's only 18! Of course not! And that's her grandfather's grave. -.-

Dr. Meh: How was I supposed to know that? I've only seen the pictures and videos you've sent me. Like Reimi shooting at the protagonist. Though I could have done so much better with that scene…

Final Hikari: I know, but I've already told you his age n' stuff…

Dr. Meh: Well, what's their relationship?

Final Hikari: Well, they bicker a lot and Lymle likes to play tricks on him. They're not that far apart in age but since Lymle, physically and mentally, is only six, her excellent symbology surprises him, and she doesn't like him for doubting her skill. There was a scene that lead to an accidental kiss that was hilarious. XD Okay! -opens door- Faize, Lymle, Arumat! Someone do the disclaimer!

Dr. Meh: -perks up- You didn't mention Arumat was around.

Final Hikari: XD Well, he won't be the focus of the story, especially in the later parts, but if someone like me who hated him for replacing Faize grew to like him too quickly, I'm sure his presence will draw some fans in. So! Arumat! Do the disclaimer.

Arumat: …

Final Hikari: Ahem. This is the author speaking.

Arumat: …

Final Hikari: -.- C'mon. Do the damn disclaimer.

Arumat: I'm taking commands from teenagers why?

Final Hikari: -grumbles- Because an author outranks a battleship captain! Now just say the disclaimer so the chapter can start!

Arumat: Outranking a captain? On what planet?

Dr. Meh: -smiles dangerously- Actually, plenty of things outrank a battleship captain.

Arumat: -trademark glare- Like what?

Dr. Meh: -sarcastic- Oh, I don't know, try an uneducated hobo, maybe?

Arumat: -not familiar with Earthling slang- What is a 'hobo'?

Dr. Meh: -pats- The answer is in the mirror, my fiiiine friend.

Arumat: O.O -edges away-

Final Hikari: -bangs head- Meh, stop simultaneously insulting and hitting on my characters! I'm trying to start a story here!

Dr. Meh: -epitome on innocence- There's a fine line between love and hate--- -Faize and Lymle enter room- Awww! –is distracted- What an adorable little girl!

Lymle: -is scared-

Faize: -looks mildly relieved as Dr. Meh begins to fuss over Lymle and not him-

Arumat: …'Hitting on'?

Final Hikari: -face palm- Oh, for the love of--- Faize! You do the disclaimer!

Faize: Certainly. The Final Hikari doesn't own anything from Star Ocean: The Last Hope.

Final Hikari: -slumps in chair- And, now, for the chapter! I hope no one clicked this and saw this insanely long disclaimer and thought that was just the story…O.O And if you haven't finished the game and don't want the ending thoroughly spoiled, you should probably wait until later to read, I'm afraid…

Utopia

Prologue

Heart Wrenching With Sorrow

A column of light erupted from the haunting yet angelic being that was Satanail as the final slash from Edge Maverick's blade it could endure made contact. The blinding light filled the area and the young fighter instantly stepped back, shielding his eyes with his left arm. Arumat who also stood at the front line backed away, expression impassive.

Reimi didn't lower her bow immediately, but her arms trembled violently, making it obvious she wouldn't loose another arrow. Lymle gladly released her wand, unable to cast another symbol or summon Cerberus another time no matter what the condition was. Using symbology when in her heart, she couldn't fight the adversary they'd been thrust into a state of opposition with pained her as much as it injured the one they fought.

There was another flash of light as a sudden, tornadic wind swirled around the being. Edge took another step back, watching with the others as the Grigori that formed Satanail separated with its victim host. Lymle's eyes widened and she took a step forward as a human silhouette appeared within the light and an agonized scream echoed, somehow reverberating despite the abyss like area.

Reimi finally lowered her bow and placed a hand on Lymle's shoulder. Lymle glanced up at her, surprised, but the older girl just closed her eyes and shook her head somberly. Lymle frowned and turned her gaze to the ground sorrowfully.

Edge apparently had a similar idea and with a tense, determined, though afraid expression he jumped forward and reached out through the whirlwind and into the light toward his friend. He winced as soon as his hand came in contact with the light and was quickly pulled back by Arumat, who effortlessly grabbed his shoulder and dragged him several feet back.

The body of Satanail began to dissolve as the Grigori returned to its original, pre-transformed state. First its many angelic wings evaporated into mist, followed shortly by the rest of the massive creature. Its host still stood, expression distorted in pain, until the Grigori finally shattered. As soon as it did the light and the heartless wind disappeared and the area was once again dark.

Faize Sheifa Beleth, eyes closed, stumbled backward before falling and hitting the stone floor with a sickening thud. Edge was the first to move, tossing his sword away and running to his friend's side. The sound of the blade clattering to the floor was the only thing that broke the sudden silence. Lymle watched numbly, rooted to the spot. She couldn't move even after Reimi gently released her.

Why…? Why did this happen? Y-you were supposed to have been killed…hearing that was far less excruciating than this.

Faize's eyes opened and he stared upward as Edge slowed down. "It seems…," he said quietly, "that I lose… I knew…you were strong, Edge."

Lymle took a hesitant step forward but stopped; unlike usual, her expression betrayed her true feelings. She swallowed with great difficulty, and blinked back the tears gathering in her eyes. She wiped her sleeve over her eyes, willing herself not to start crying so unexpectedly.

Edge closed his eyes and shook his head, speaking with a pained voice. "It was really close… You were strong, too…"

There was another moment of silence before Faize laughed weakly. "It's nice…to hear that…," he paused, breathing shallow, "Because all… Because all I ever wanted…"

Edge knelt down, appearance grim as he said the young Eldarian's name. Lymle walked away from the others slowly to stand at Faize's other side. Edge glanced up, looking a little surprised to see the young girl. Faize, more slowly, also turned his head to look at her.

"Lymle…," Edge trailed off.

"…What's wrong, Lymle? That look doesn't suit you very well."

Lymle returned his gaze evenly, feeling her heart wrench. "…You dummy, Faize. You're just a big, hopeless dummy…"

He was silent, her cold though childish comment foreseeable. "…Yes, I think so too. Though it's a little vexing to find myself agreeing with you."

Lymle paused for a long moment before speaking; even so, her voice was unsteady when she did. "I…lied to you, 'kay…?"

"Lymle?" Faize questioned as tears began to gather in her eyes.

She turned away, unable to continue looking into his eyes. "The truth…the truth is…your cloak…kinda…kinda…," she repeated timidly, voice cracking as the tears threatened to overflow, "did look okay on you… But only…kinda…"

Faize watched, unable to do anything, as her small shoulders trembled and she cried. Edge also remained silent, quickly deciding not to interrupt. She had tried to stop him from leaving her group all that time ago back on Aeos, and she was the first one to recognize him there on Nox Obscurus. Seeing as he'd stopped counting when the insults regarding his cloak reached over a dozen, he decided to give her the only applicable response.

"Thank you, Lymle…," he paused as she turned to face him. "It makes me…kind of happy…to hear you say that…"

A small, pained smile crossed his expression. The grave feeling it'd be a sight she wouldn't be able to forget hardly had time to set in before a tremendous quake in the ground beneath them caused the floor the lurch violently. Most of the group stumbled but quickly regained their balance.

Meracle meowed, voice suddenly panicked as she glanced around frantically to see what was happening. "What's going on?"

"It would seem that Nox Obscurus has begun to collapse," Bacchus reasoned, "I would assume because the energy supply cannot be maintained now that Mr. Faize has been defeated. Or to be more accurate, now that the Grigori that merged with him has been destroyed."

"That makes sense," Myuria agreed, "In other words, Nox Obscurus doesn't have enough energy left to hold itself together any longer."

"I believe that analysis is correct, Mrs. Myuria," Bacchus affirmed.

"I imagine the analysis can probably wait," Arumat interjected sarcastically.

Meracle look up at him and glared. "You're wasting time too, Arumat!"

"We have to go!" Myuria said as she and the others started toward the door to depart.

Reimi, on the other hand, didn't move. She stood unmoving, watching her childhood friend. Both he and Lymle still waited by Faize's side, in no hurry to leave. Myuria glanced back at her, expression slightly intolerant.

"…Edge!" Reimi yelled, as her wrist was grabbed by Myuria.

"Hurry!" the older woman demanded as she began to pull her along.

The floor continued to shake and cracks were starting to form on the far sides of the massive stone platform. The rate of the tiny lights falling like rain seemed to accelerate as the others hurry down the pathway to the freestanding door back into the Palace of Creation.

"Come on," Edge said, "Let's go home."

"Edge…?" Faize questioned as he reached down to help him up, pulling his arm over his shoulder.

Lymle blinked back tears and wiped her sleeve over her face a second time to dry her eyes. Faize struggled to stand, even leaning heavily against the taller Earthling. They both looked exhausted, though like any loser, Faize was in far worse condition. She looked up to the both of them, reluctant to leave.

Edge looked over to her, expression confident and composed once again. "You go ahead, Lymle."

She felt a pang of fear fill her mind as she stared up at him. "Edgie…but…," she objected, eyes settling on Faize then not moving.

He returned her gaze evenly and nodded reassuringly to her. His expression was blank, seemingly doubtless. She cast them one final sad look before hurrying off in pursuit of the others. It's okay…they'll both be coming back. They'll catch up with us, we'll get out of here, and we really will all be together again. Just like before Mattie showed up… They'll come back. They have to…

She closed her eyes tightly, trying to make herself believe; and to hold more tears back. She ran as quickly as she could, determined not to look back. A crack formed in the stone beneath her feet as she hurried toward the door and broke apart in an instant. She felt her heart skip a beat when she began to fall, gasping before a strong mechanical hand grabbed on to the back of her dress and pulled her back over solid ground.

She looked up in surprise and relief as Bacchus lifted her up and placed her on his large, robotic arm. She blinked as a thought occurred to her, this one irrelevant to her own safety. She turned looked over her shoulder then across the chasm that divided them. Faize and Edge stood hardly an inch from the rim of the abyss.

"Mr. Edge!" Bacchus called, expression and voice serious as ever.

"We'll be fine!" Edge shouted back, "Take care of Lymle!"

"But…!" the cyborg objected concernedly.

"Just do it!" Edge commanded, taking a step away from the rift.

Bacchus turned away and took a step toward the others, though Lymle didn't take her eyes off them. He stopped momentarily and glanced back at them one final time. "I believe in you, Mr. Edge."

Edge and Faize continued the progress to the portion of platform that was still intact, though it was slow between Faize's condition and Edge's increasing breathlessness. Bacchus' quick pace made hearing their conversation all but impossible, but one comment reached her ears.

"Edge… Tell me… Where did I go wrong…?" Faize questioned, pausing for a long moment. He continued, but she couldn't discern what he said.

Her gaze dropped to the floor as they caught up with the others. "Baccie, put me down," Lymle requested quietly.

"Are you sure? Will you be able to keep up?"

"I'll be fine," she replied as he stopped and lowered his arm, allowing her to hop off.

Where…did he go wrong? What could he possibly have done to deserve this? She wondered, contemplating the question as she hurried to keep up with the others. She found herself becoming winded as well, but didn't slow down. When did this start? When did things start going bad?

…Alternate Earth.

That other version of Edgie and Reirei's home…then we had to go to Sarrie and Merry's planet. And he met that girl who gave him that stupid cloak. But her and that entire family were sacrificed right before we saved Sarrie. He and Edgie argued about leaving for the Purgatorium before morning. If Edgie wasn't afraid to make another mistake like what happened on the other Earth…she wouldn't have died.

Would this still…have happened? He wasn't himself after that…but he never said anything! Why did he tell us? I knew something was wrong, but…

The floor below them gave another violent tremor before a tremendous amount of the bridge in front of them collapsed. Arumat stopped short, but Meracle's reaction was slower and she leaned dangerously over the edge. His scythe slipped from his hand when he pushed the young half-cat back onto the platform. It plummeted into the abyss, blade glinting when it spun before disappearing. Nevertheless, one large door remained stationary, levitating in the air with no apparent support.

It was the door that lead back into the Palace of Creation; their only exit was cut. Lymle whipped around, scanning the area for Faize and Edge. She caught sight of them but held her breath as she watched the ground fall out beneath Faize's feet. Edge, who was still on solid ground, stumbled as the young Eldarian's hand slipped from his grip.

"No…," she whispered, though it was unheard by all.

Faize went to push Edge away as he began to fall, so they both didn't plummet to almost certain doom. Edge jerked forward, grabbing Faize's wrist and landing on his knees painfully. He winced upon impact, feeling his tired muscles strain to hang on to his friend's weight.

"What should we do?" Sarah questioned, looking around frantically.

"Look!" Meracle exclaimed, pointing to the far corner of the area as a green, circular glow appeared.

The glow intensified as symbols on the ground and the form of a single person appeared. The person who materialized it, Giotto of the Morphus, waited patiently for them inside. He was turned away from them and looked up, taking the situation in quickly.

"It's a transfer symbol," Myuria added.

"Run," Arumat commanded, hanging back to push the others along.

Both Reimi and Lymle hesitated as another hellacious crash sounded. More of the doors, connecting bridges, and seemingly endless stone paths broke apart. Bacchus quickly lifted her up and followed the others in the direction of the symbological circle.

"Wait!" Myuria said, "I thought we couldn't use transfer symbols where?"

"I imagine we're able to use them because the connection between Nox Obscures and the Missing Procedure has been severed," Giotto explained.

Reimi turned around and gasped, also summoning Lymle's attention. Edge hung precariously over the ledge, struggling not to fall. Her eyes widened with terror and she began to run from the symbol's perimeter. It was only a few steps out of the transfer circle when the ground collapsed beneath her feet. The Featherfolk in their group was the first to react and ran after her.

Reimi squeezed her eyes tightly shut as she began to fall, but was almost instantly caught. She reopened her eyes slowly when she felt herself levitating with arms around her waist. She looked over her shoulder to see Sarah, struggling to remain airborne, with her wings flapping violently.

"Let me go!" she exclaimed and started to struggle against the Featherfolk's hold. "Edge…Edge is still back there!"

"No, there's no way I could let go of you now!" Sarah said breathlessly as they gained height.

"Over here! Just a little more!" Meracle urged as Sarah neared the edge.

"Come on, come on," Myuria said impatiently as they landed.

As soon as Reimi's feet hit the ground, her right arm was grabbed by Myuria. Arumat reached out to grab her left but she broke free of Myuria's grip before he had the chance. She whipped around, screaming Edge's name. She tried to run forward again but was quickly restrained by Arumat and Myuria.

"No!" Myuria objected, grabbing her arm with both hands. "Reimi, stop! Calm down!"

Bacchus placed Lymle down gently for the second time within the transfer circle's glow. She ran over to Giotto and grabbed his hand, shaking it frantically. "Faize and Edgie are still inside, 'kay!?"

No one seemed to notice the order in which she listed their names as the air grew ever tenser. Reimi continued to strain against her captors and yell, voice cracking, as Arumat dragged her back effortlessly. She managed to slip from Myuria's grip another time, but even then, she couldn't break free of Arumat.

"We can't wait any longer," Giotto explained, meeting the younger girl's gaze. "The symbol might be caught in the collapse!"

Two more massive portions fell away from the ground, only widening the chasm that divided them from Faize and Edge. Reimi shrieked his name a final time, voice hoarse from screaming. Lymle released his gloved hand and looked to where Faize and Edge remained.

She watched in dismay as his fingers scraped against the smooth ground. His boots slid across the floor as he struggled to haul himself into a kneeling position, where he could more effectively pull Faize up. The accomplishment would have seemed feasible if it weren't for the critical time limit until their demise was certain.

"No…," Lymle whispered to herself a second time.

Faize… Faize, you have to come back…you…you're too terrible of a liar not to! Just a moment ago, your gaze was too even when you nodded at me. But if Edgie doesn't hurry…you'll…you'll both…

You'll both die. She thought in a petrified moment, the image of him attempting to push Edge away when the ground first started to break apart returning. But you…already see that… All but instantaneously, Edge tensed abruptly before left arm went limp. He straightened slightly and froze. Lymle held her breath as the gravity of the situation finally hit her.

She felt her heart in her throat, her knees going limp, and the faintly burning pain behind her eyes return as Edge yelled Faize's name at the to top of his lungs. She watched, mind blank, fully aware of what happened despite not having seen anything.

The freestanding door that lead to the Palace of Creation, which was undoubtedly disintegrating just as quickly, finally collapsed. It tilted to the left before sinking down and dropping. Edge leaned back and stood up slowly, more portions of the ground detaching as he turned around. The chasm between him and the symbol was far too large for him to jump.

Nevertheless, that fact wasn't enough to silence Reimi. She ceaselessly yelled his name, telling him to hurry up, as their gazes met for a fleeting moment. His fist clenched as he looked toward Giotto and took a single step backward. The Morphus, expression fearful for the first time any of them had seen, turned to look at him just in time to see his resolute nod.

Giotto returned the nod solemnly and reached up into the air, activating the symbol. The glow intensified and began to envelop them as Reimi jerked her arm from Myuria's hold a final time and reached out to Edge. Myuria looked down, not bothering to try holding her back. She jerked one final, futile time against Arumat's steely grip but accomplished nothing.

"He's going to die! Edge! Let go! Edge! Edge!"

They began to disappear and the cool air of Nox Obscurus faded. The vision of the dark abyss before them also receded as they began to return to the unnaturally balanced climate of the ships. The transfer was in effect, but in the last moment the hellish place remained before their eyes, a single thought pierced through Lymle's frozen mind as the final piece of platform below Edge fell, taking him along with it.

This…is the "happy ending"…we were searching for…?

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Final Hikari: -has Xbox360 controller in left hand and right hand on laptop keyboard- -sniffles- -watching the ending of The Last Hope- Wah! It's so sad! That ending chokes me up every time! -cries and glomps Faize- I hate to agree with Lymle twice regarding the negative things she says about you, but you're so stupid!

Faize: I would say that's one of the warmer greetings I've gotten from an Earthling, but you're remarkably similar to your sister with that love/hate disorder…no offense meant…

Final Hikari: None taken. But it's so heartbreaking! And I had to type a script of it all pausing every other word and abusing the dot dot dot in ways I have never before submitted unto! And then you fell and then with the Sol…

Faize: …But I'm right here.

Final Hikari: And the dot dot dots! A gross overuse of dot dot dot! It's very tempting and looks good and meaningful in the game, but it's hell for the novelization author to reproduce in animation-less text form and still make cool…

Faize: Couldn't you just take out some of them?

Final Hikari: …The point of painstakingly taking a script and pausing every other word is to get every word, every grammatical error, and every bit of bad punctuation correct.

Faize: Couldn't you just have used that "YouTube" website you Earthlings favor so fanatically?

Final Hikari: Not really, but that's a long story. I also had the damnedest time writing about a character named Edge walking along and hanging over…well, hanging over an edge! That epic scene was hell to write. X.X Even with my much beloved Microsoft Works Thesaurus it was difficult to recapture the drama. I hope I did the scene justice. T.T

Lymle: -pats- It's fine, 'kay?

Final Hikari: XD Thanks. -clears throat- Now, back to my theatrics! The final boss was simply terrible! Forcing me to fight my favorite character! -turns to Arumat- And you! Your incredibly kickass special attacks, 4,000 ATK power, 35,000 plus HP, and just overall kickassness made it possible to beat Faize easily!

Arumat: -.- There is nothing good about dealing with little fangirls like you.

Final Hikari: -sniffle- I still hate you, Arumat! Especially after you invaded my dreams and became the first TLH character I ever dreamed of! No matter how many bosses you make a pushover to defeat, I won't forgive you for that. -.-

Arumat: …How could I possibly be held responsible for a figment of your subconscious imagination?

Final Hikari: X.X -mutters- Because if I wasn't so thoroughly corrupted and completely unable to resist a really good looking character voiced by Kyle Hebert with really hawt abs on display all the time, I'd have dreamed of Faize before you…

Arumat: …Excuse me?

Final Hikari: -.- None of your business! And you're wasting time again making the disclaimer go on far longer than need be. If I rant too much it might scare people off. XD Anyway! -turns to the readers- Thanks for reading and please review! I'm aiming for an update every two weeks, save an unexpected events. And feel free to point out any stupid typos you see. XD Until Dr. Meh is out of school I'll be proofreading myself. Final Hikari over and out!