Fina felt the warm wind whip through her hair as she stood on the deck of the newly acquired ship. Once things had calmed down and peace had settled again over Arcadia, Vyse had given the Delphinus back to Enrique and then he and Aika had bought a ship of their own. Fina couldn't believe that they owned their own ship, that they had their own base of operations and least of all that she was now a permanent participant in their adventures. Vyse and Aika were no longer a dynamic Blue Rogues duo, now they were the legendary trio that had single-handedly saved Arcadia from a crippling fate.
She had never imagined her life turning out this way.
"Hey Fina, enjoying yourself?" A voice called out and Fina turned to find Vyse and Aika making their way toward her. She smiled.
"I still can't believe this is all ours." Fina admitted.
Aika grinned. "I know! Who ever thought we would come so far in such a short time? This ship is way smaller than the Delphinus, but it still handles like a dream. Plus, our coffers are filled with as much treasure as we could possibly carry with us after that last raid!"
"I'm glad I stopped you when I did, Aika." Vyse's mouth quirked. "If you'd kept grabbing more loot, we wouldn't have even been able to fly home."
Aika crossed her arms. "Hey, how else are we going to pay Izmael for the renovations he's making to our living quarters? Someone has to think about the costs. Right, Fina?"
"I'm not sure I want to get in the middle of another of your little arguments." Fina giggled. "I am much more comfortable simply observing."
Vyse's eyes grew wide. "Aika, I think she's teasing us!"
Fina shook her head, bursting into another peal of laughter. "I wouldn't dare tease you two, Vyse."
"Hurry up, you guys!" Aika exclaimed, rushing to the ship lookout and spotting Crescent Isle in the distance. "We're home! Time to get unloaded!"
"And with the amount of treasure Aika stashed away, unloading will probably take us all day." Vyse sighed. Neither he nor Fina could suppress their laughter when Aika shot him a glare.
"I'm sorry, Vyse. Construction is taking longer than I had expected. I'm not sure if we have space here on Crescent Isle for your cargo with all of the hubbub going on." Izmael explained. "You're going to have to keep your goods on board for the time being."
"Oh no, really?" Aika asked. "That means we won't be able to do anymore looting for the time being." She said, a look of pure disappointment on her face.
Vyse placed a hand on Aika's shoulder. "It's alright, we'll just think of it as a well-earned break."
"But, Vyse, with all of the construction going on, we won't even have a place to rest here on Crescent Isle."
"Fina's right! Vyse, what should we do in the meantime?"
Vyse pondered for a moment before his eyes lit up. "I know! Enrique and Moegi have been asking us to come see them in Valua. It's been so long, we might as well take this time to pay them a visit."
"Sounds like a great idea. I am sure that by the time you return the arrangements will be settled here." Izmael nodded. "You can count on me!"
The trio said their goodbyes and headed back to their ship. It was back to the skies, once more.
"Vyse, wait!" A voice rang out.
They found their lookout, Domingo, racing after them.
"I have something important I need to tell you, all three of you, actually." He wheezed.
"What is it?"
"I found this artifact while we were travelling through Mid Ocean, and, well… I don't think I should… I think the three of you would be better equipped to handle it." Domingo explained, swallowing nervously.
When he pulled out the object, Vyse, Aika and Fina all looked on in disbelief.
Domingo held the deceased Ramirez's jagged silver sword in his hands.
Fina gazed at the long, gleaming sword in front of her. The light reflecting off of it almost reminded her of Ramirez's crystalline stare. Filled with cold, calculated anger. Fear.
"What are we going to do with it?" Aika asked suddenly, shooting Fina a concerned look.
"We should destroy it, rid the world of anything that has to do with Ramirez." Vyse announced determinedly.
"Vyse!" Aika chastised. "Ramirez was Fina's friend; let her decide what to do with it."
Vyse and Aika nodded in her direction. This was her right, her duty. Fina swallowed hard, unsure. "I-I don't really know. I just… I need more time."
Vyse took her hand in his and squeezed it gently. "Take all the time that you need, Fina."
The three of them had decided to rest while the helmsman took the wheel. It had been a long day and it would be some time before they reached Valua. But Fina was in no mood to relax.
Fina had been travelling long enough with Vyse and Aika to know that they were both deep sleepers. She tiptoed into the cargo hold.
"Quiet, Cupil. We don't want to wake any of the crew." She whispered, keeping her voice as even as possible. She was thankful she had Cupil with her, she was uncertain if she would be able to do this on her own. They had secretly and safely hidden the blade amongst their loot for the time being. She just had to see it once more.
Fina spotted the sword, it's jagged curves catching what little light had filtered into the room.
Ramirez. His face still haunted her dreams, his eyes still burned in her memories. And this was the same sword he had used to destroy thousands of lives. After all the lies she had been told, Fina still couldn't believe that the boy she had grown up with had...
Fina's fingers moved to graze the hilt of the sword. In a flash, she felt heat rush through her body. She heard voices crying out in pain. And she could feel Ramirez's heart breaking.
Fina pulled away with a gasp.
Aika found Vyse and Fina on the bridge.
"Are we in Valua yet?" She asked.
"Soon." Vyse frowned slightly. "I was just mentioning that Fina is looking a little pale. Are you feeling sick?"
"I'm okay, Vyse, you don't have to worry about me."
"Are you sure?" Aika pressed on. "Did you sleep alright?"
"I slept fine." Fina insisted. "It has just been a very long day, is all."
Aika opened her mouth to say something more, but decided against it.
"Enrique and Moegi invited us to dinner at the new Imperial Palace." Vyse cut in as brightly as he could manage.
"Alright!" Aika cheered. "You know what that means, Fina?" She clung to Fina in excitement, who shook her head. "Free food!"
Fina sighed. "I should have known." Aika and Vyse chuckled in reply.
"Vyse, Aika, Fina, it's so wonderful to see you!" Enrique greeted them warmly, Moegi smiling happily at his side.
"Right back at ya, Enrique!" Aika squealed, pulling the surprised Emperor into a tight hug.
Vyse scratched the back of his head and addressed Moegi. "Sorry about that, Aika can get overly excited sometimes."
"It's alright. The four of you have been through so much, I knew that your reunion would be just as intense." Moegi winked conspiratorially at Vyse and Fina. "Besides, there's no need to warn me. We all know how animated Aika can get."
"Hey!" Aika protested, tugging an embarrassed Enrique along with her. "Stop badmouthing me to the Empress! Besides, I heard something about a lavish royal dinner."
Enrique laughed in spite of himself. "Right this way. The dishes are all ready, including some of your Yafutoman favourites."
"Sounds delicious." Aika cheered before she screwed her face into a look of discomfort. "Um, those giant squids don't happen to be on the menu tonight, do they?"
"They are, but I promise you that I will not take any offense if you do not wish to eat them." Moegi offered in amusement.
Aika laughed nervously. "Thanks. I never did get how to eat those tentacle things while using the eating-sticks."
"If I have to hear you talk about the Yafutoman sticks again…" Vyse rolled his eyes. "C'mon, Aika, let's get going. The feast awaits!"
The old friends made their way to the dining hall of the Imperial Palace.
"I heard recently that Don successfully navigated through the Dark Rift." Moegi said.
Vyse nodded. "I'm so happy to hear that he and the rest of the Esparanzans are really turning things around."
"That is incredible." Enrique agreed. "After all, besides the three of you, no one has ever been able to establish a route through the Dark Rift."
"Hey, you were right there with us Enrique, don't sell yourself short!" Aika grinned.
"Yes, but as I recall, Aika, poor Enrique was airsick the whole time." Fina noted.
Aika and Vyse chuckled as Enrique cleared his throat in embarrassment, sparing a quick glance in Moegi's direction. "… Be that as it may…"
"How are the rebuilding operations going, Enrique?" Vyse asked, changing the subject.
"Well, it's a lot of hard work, but every Valuan survivor is working their hardest." Enrique beamed. "Every man, woman and child is doing their best!"
"And the Yafutomans are offering us some of the resources they can pass along to aid us."
"That's great, Moegi!" Vyse smiled.
"I think everything is going to be just fine."
"Of course, Enrique. There was never any doubt that Valua would get its happy ending." Fina mumbled. "The Valuans were always an opportunistic people."
Enrique gaped at Fina. "I didn't – I mean… did I say something improper?"
"Of course not, dear Emperor. Every word you speak is the truth here in Arcadia."
"Did Enrique offend you, Fina?" Moegi asked. "If so, we really are very sorry."
"An apology won't fix anything." Fina scoffed.
"Fina, what's wrong?" Aika exclaimed, concerned at her friend's uncharacteristic behaviour.
Fina glared piercingly at Enrique. "Because of you, my people are all dead!"
"Fina, wait –" Vyse reached out towards her, but she turned and skulked off.
"Please, just leave me alone!"
Ramirez's hands were warm and light, working diligently on the airship model. Fina had known he had been perfecting it for days and weeks and months, but nothing compared to the brilliant smile that played on his lips when he finally let her see it. Her heart felt full and neither of them felt alone.
Suddenly, his calloused hands were wrapped around a silver hilt and flames of destruction licked at his back. His wide smile held no more warmth, his words dripping with forgotten blood.
Fina shivered at the vision. No matter how much she remembered, it was never enough.
She needed to see him, just one more time...
"I feel terrible." Moegi said.
Enrique placed an arm on his wife's shoulder. "It will be fine, Aika will cheer Fina up. I am sure it was all just a misunderstanding."
"I hope so." Vyse muttered. Fina had been acting so strange lately. He had never seen her so angry, yet, he couldn't help but consider the fact that her outburst had felt so… familiar.
Aika rushed into the room. "Fina's gone!"
Vyse, Enrique and Moegi stood in surprise. "Are you sure?"
"She's not here in the palace; she's not even on our ship, Vyse. She… she didn't even take Cupil with her!"
Before anyone else could get another word in, a small figure made their way into the dining hall.
"Emperor, Empress, forgive me for interrupting, but I have urgent news for you."
"There is no need to apologize, Emissary Marco. What is it?"
Marco glanced momentarily at Vyse and Aika. "The Delphinus has been stolen. Fina – she took some of our soldiers hostage and she's taken control of the ship."
Moegi and Vyse stared on in disbelief and horror.
"She wouldn't do that! Fina would never hurt a soul. Why would you say something like that, Marco?" Aika cried.
Marco lowered his head. "I'm sorry, but it's the truth."
Enrique turned to Vyse and Aika, immediately serious and ready for business. "We need to take your ship and find her before it's too late. My men will never accept a hijacking without putting up a fight."
"I can't believe this. Enrique, I am coming with you." Moegi said.
Enrique nodded. "Marco, make sure that no one else hears of this incident. I do not want the people of Valua panicking unnecessarily. We will return as soon as we can."
The group made their way to Vyse and Aika's ship, confusion and fear gripping ferociously at their hearts.
The Delphinus looked the same as it always had. The same streamlined shape, the same steel-hardened exterior. The same scorched mark that Ramirez's mangled, inhuman body had left on the deck.
Fina gripped Ramirez's sword tighter in her hand, staring determinedly at the ship's permanent scar.
Sent to a world, completely alone, unable to understand all that was around him.
Fina had been so scared, so confused.
Finding joy, acceptance, a family, only to have it ripped from him in one fell swoop.
They were nothing at all like her people, but Fina knew better than to expect any similarities.
Corruption, greed and malice filled Arcadia, driving his innocent heart deeper and deeper into oblivion. He was no longer the son of the silver moon, simply the child borne unto hatred and death.
Even the Elders had betrayed Fina; how could she ever trust another again?
His hands were stained and his heart was –
Fina struck out, her blade slicing the soldier's armour in two. Behind her, a Valuan Guard cowered.
"I warned you. Don't test my patience further." Her voice was clipped and authoritative. She didn't need to say anything else.
They wouldn't question her, not anymore.
"I have no idea where she could have gone." Vyse admitted through clenched teeth.
"Maybe she's headed for Crescent Isle?" Moegi suggested.
"The Delphinus cannot be hard to track. There are very few ships like it." Enrique noted.
Cupil watched from afar, gloomy and distant. Vyse shook his head in disbelief at Fina's actions.
Aika grabbed Vyse's shoulder. "Hey look, up ahead!"
Vyse clutched the wheel of the ship and peered into the distance. There was a ship, but it most certainly wasn't the Delphinus. It looked like…
"The Claudia!" Enrique announced. "Perhaps Gilder will help us in our search for Fina."
Gilder scratched his chin. "Now that's not right. That doesn't sound like Fina at all."
"I know!" Aika agreed. "We have to find her and at least get a chance to talk. I don't think I could take it if anything happened to her."
"Hey, it's going to be alright, Aika. We'll find her." Vyse said reassuringly.
"Wait a second, you said she took the Delphinus, right?" Gilder asked. "And that she took some Valuan soldiers as hostages?" The duo nodded. "When I was last at Sailors' Isle I heard a rumour about a young girl dressed in white carrying a jagged sword. They made her sound more like a bounty hunter than –"
"A jagged sword?" Vyse gasped, looking at Aika.
"You don't think she…"
Vyse and Aika rushed to the cargo hold, with Gilder and Enrique following close behind, only to find Ramirez's sword missing.
"I can't believe it, I just can't!" Aika sank hopelessly to the ground. "All that stuff she was saying about being alone…"
"Ramirez's blade is dangerous, we all know it. She could hurt herself, or worse." Vyse's voice quivered with the shock. "We have to move quickly."
"As of now, the woman is said to be around South Ocean closing in on Esparanza and heading further south." Gilder explained. "If we knew where she was going maybe we could get there first."
Aika looked dejected. "But the only thing south of the South Ocean is…"
"…the Dark Rift." Vyse finished.
Enrique placed a hand on his shoulder. "Before you make any drastic moves, Vyse, you should ensure that you ready your ship for the possibility of battle. The Delphinus is highly-fortified, whereas your ship is fairly new."
"You think that Fina would attack us?" Gilder asked in bewilderment.
Enrique gave Vyse and Aika a mournful look. "I think that we should prepare ourselves for the worst."
Ramirez stood before the Valuan Admirals. He gritted his teeth, willing himself not to look at Admiral Galcian. After their last heated exchange, he was certain that he had been summoned to be reprimanded.
"Ramirez, Admiral Mendosa holds you in very high esteem." Galcian announced. Ramirez simply nodded. "You have been a powerful ally to the Valuan Armada and for this reason the Empress offers you a gift."
Ramirez looked up in shock at the lithe, sharp sword displayed before him.
"You are the best swordsman we have and so this shall be your reward for your efforts. See that our benevolence does not go to waste." Galcian commanded.
Dumbfounded, Ramirez grasped the sword in his hand. "Yes, sir."
So this was their way of keeping him in check. This was how Admiral Galcian operated, by keeping his enemies close. Ramirez lifted the blade to eye-level, examining the magnificence of its design.
Out of the corner of his eye, Ramirez spotted Galcian studying him, judging him, calculating just how much he was worth.
Ramirez felt a flush of sheer power ignite his soul. And in that moment he knew that Galcian had spoken the truth.
"Power will never betray you." Fina whispered into the night.
They decided to take a quick stopover through Mid Ocean to Pirate Isle, allowing time for their ship to be given a quick tune-up. Vyse's parents had been more than welcoming.
Gilder settled in at the underground tavern. "Give me your strongest loqua." He requested in a gruff voice. The bartender slid a large glass his way.
"How much do I owe you?"
"You look like you could really use it, it's on the house." The bartender replied.
"Thanks." Gilder grunted.
"And just who are you, stranger?" The woman seated to his left asked. "Are you one of young Vyse's friends?"
"I am. And you are…?"
"I'm Mabel, the raider around these parts. Pleased to make your acquaintance…?"
"Gilder." He shot her a sly look. "And the pleasure is most certainly all mine."
The less he had to think about Vyse, Aika and especially Fina, the better. Mabel the Raider sidled closer. Gilder was going to take all the distractions that he could get.
"Hey Vyse." Aika said, joining him atop of Lookout Island.
The two of them remained silent for a few moments.
"I'm so sorry." Aika muttered.
"What for?" Vyse asked.
"If I had just listened to what you'd said, about destroying Ramirez's sword while we had the chance…"
"Aika!" Vyse took her hand. "You know that no one is to blame for this."
"I know." She couldn't meet his eyes. "I'm just so scared. I can deal with taking on the entire Valuan Armada, but Fina? She's our best friend, Vyse, we can't fight her!"
Vyse sighed. "But we have to. For her sake. We can't let what happened to Ramirez happen to her."
"I don't know." Aika covered her face with her hands.
"All we have to do is get her to stop before… Fina would never harm us." Vyse explained gently. "But as Blue Rogues it's our duty; we have to deal with her. No matter what."
"Right." Aika said, feeling a little more confident. "We're going to bring her home, where she belongs."
"I am going to go with Vyse and Aika, I need to help them stop Fina." Enrique told Moegi, his voice quiet.
"Let me come with you."
"We can not risk it." Enrique's eyes flashed. "If anything happens… You are the only other person who knows of the legends. If something happens to me, it will be your responsibility as Empress to finish what has been started."
Moegi lowered her head. "I understand, but, Enrique… please, be careful."
Enrique pulled his wife closer, resting his chin on her head. "I will, my love. If the ancient scriptures are true, I may be able to stop Fina and save Arcadia."
"You will be successful, Emperor." Moegi looked at him, the determination strong in her eyes. "I will pray to the moons for your safety."
"Everyone ready?" Vyse asked, looking toward Aika, Enrique and Gilder.
"Ready." They all nodded.
Vyse sighed. "Ok." He turned to his parents. "Mom, dad, we'll be home soon."
"May the moons bless you, Vyse." Dyne gave his son a solemn look.
"Bring Fina home safely, dear. She's like a daughter to me, just like Aika is." Vyse's mother cupped Aika's face tenderly, giving her a soft, sad smile.
"We will, mom." Vyse promised.
Within moments, the four of them had already set sail, ready to take on yet another impossible mission.
Fina awoke suddenly, as if falling out of a trance. She quickly took in her surroundings and was shocked to find herself on the Delphinus.
To her left, a sliver of light caught her eye. The sword's blade drew her out of her confusion, pulling her back in.
Her fingers brushed the hilt – Ramirez – and she sucked in a breath. The power was incredible. Fina felt it surging through every vein.
Without warning, she heard thundering sounds coming from the deck. Intruders. Fina gripped Ramirez's sword in her hand. She would have to move quickly, she was running out of time.
"Where is she?' Gilder asked as he, Enrique, Vyse and Aika landed onto the Delphinus.
"Oh no, look over there!" Aika exclaimed, pointing towards two Valuan soldiers who had been tied up.
Enrique made his way to them, freeing them from their bonds. "Are you alright?"
"We are fine, Emperor, but the girl –"
"I should have never assumed that you four would mind your own business." Fina mused, appearing on the deck with Ramirez's sword in hand.
"Fina!" Vyse cried. "Are you hurt?"
Fina smirked. "I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. Now I ask that the four of you leave. I am simply borrowing the Delphinus and will bring it right back when I am done, Enrique."
Aika gasped. "Oh my gosh, Fina!" Fina's eyes flashed suddenly, darkening in colour. Her hand shook as she attempted to maintain her grasp on her sword.
"The sword, it's affecting her." Gilder shouted.
"Fina, you need to let it go!" Vyse insisted.
Fina laughed weakly. "This sword is the key to my future; I will never give it up!"
"Fina, please!" Aika called out, lunging forward. Fina raised her arm in one swift movement, slicing through the air. Aika fell back in shock. The blade had grazed her, cutting through part of her ponytail. Gilder and Vyse rushed to Aika's side.
"Next time you will not be so lucky, Aika. If any of you stand in my way, then I will have no choice but to do the needful." Fina's eyes glowed an eerie shade of silver.
"F-Fina, Aika is your best friend, you can't –" Vyse was at a loss for words.
Enrique stepped up behind Vyse. "Where is the Delphinus headed, Fina?" His voice was strangely calm.
Fina barely blinked. "We are on course to the Dark Rift."
She hesitated. "He – Ramirez – his voice…" Fina clutched her head, trying to understand. "It's calling me."
"Please, Fina, turn the ship around and we can talk this out. No one here wants to hurt you. We all care about you." Vyse pleaded.
"How could any of you care about me? Foolish human greed is what brought me to Arcadia in the first place. Your people's troubles are the reason the Elders are gone. You killed Ramirez without one shred of regret. How can you care about me when you never once spared a thought for my people?" Fina seethed.
"You're hurt, Fina, we understand that, but we never for a moment stopped caring about you. But you left without a word, without sharing your burden with your friends." Aika held back her tears. "You left me, you left Vyse, and you even left Cupil behind!"
"Cupil…" Fina whispered.
"The Elders need me to complete my mission. For the sake of the Silvite legacy, I must go down to the world below and find the Moon Crystals, Fina."
"Ramirez, I don't want you to go…"
"Cupil will take care of you while I'm gone. Share all the love you have in your heart, Fina, and Cupil will always be by your side, no matter what."
She smiled, holding Cupil close to her chest. "I will. I promise."
Fina's heart wrenched, new memories spilling into her mind. She had been so fixated on the plight of her people, on the pain in her heart, yet in the end it was she who had betrayed her closest companion; Cupil had been there with her through it all and was the only one she knew she could always count on.
Fina had betrayed that trust.
"No…" Fina shut her eyes, blocking the world from her sight.
"Fina, please." Vyse touched her gently, certain that she would not harm him. "Come back with us. Come home."
"It's too late!" Gilder exclaimed, watching the scene in front of them in horror. "We're being pulled into the Dark Rift!"
Fina screamed in pure agony. Torment.
And everything went black.
Gilder opened his eyes to find Fina writhing on the ground, her grip on Ramirez's sword tightening.
"Fina!" He called out. "What's going on here?" He mumbled.
"It is the Sword of the Dark Moon." Enrique said, his voice deep and serious.
Aika slowly awakened. "Enrique, do you know something?"
"Not much." Enrique grimaced. "After we travelled through the Dark Rift that very first time, I took it upon myself to learn all I could about it by reading through the Valuan archives. Legend has it that many years ago, long before the Rains of Destruction, there lived a people who were ruled by the Black Moon."
"The Black Moon?"
"They were enemies of the Silvites. While the people of the Silver Moon indulged in advanced technology, the people of the Black Moon dabbled in sorcery and black magic instead, the dark sciences." Enrique continued. "But the power was too much for them to contain and it destroyed them." He nodded towards the unholy blade. "Ramirez's sword seems to be the last remaining artifact of the Black Moon. It has properties that react strongly with the Silvite people. Fina does not have much time, else she will suffer a similar fate as Ramirez."
Aika grabbed Enrique's arm. "How do we stop it?"
"In the Dark Rift there lies the only remnant of the Black Moon. It is the only thing in Arcadia with the proper energies to destroy the sword."
Vyse's eyes widened. "You mean the Black Moon Stone?"
"… Please…" Fina choked out. "… Help me…" She pulled the sword up high, pointing it toward her own chest.
"Fina!" Vyse and Aika rushed to her side. The Silver Moon Crystal within Fina's chest glowed brightly as the blade pulsed in her hand. Her green eyes were hollow. Dead.
A single tear trailed aimlessly down her cheek.
"Vyse…Aika… forgive me…"
Fina watched the crew work tirelessly on Crescent Isle, laughing, teasing, demanding, believing.
Aika placed an arm on her shoulder from behind; Vyse offered her a sweet smile.
A beautiful moon watched over them in the sky.
"I hurt you all so much. I caused you all to worry, I-I attacked you." Fina whimpered. "And now, because of me –" Her hand trembled, the blade pressing into her skin.
"Fina, your negative emotions are controlling your actions!" Vyse shouted through gritted teeth. "Don't let the darkness take over!"
"We all care for you deeply, Fina." Aika's words were adamant. "Nothing is ever going to change that!"
"You're stronger than this, we know it." Gilder agreed.
Enrique took a step forward. "All you have to do is pierce the Black Moon Stone. This will all be over!"
Fina clenched her eyes shut, feeling the power fade and the hope slowly return. She had friends, loved ones, a family she could call her own. She did not need revenge. She did not need false strength.
She did not want the memories.
Fina gathered all of her willpower and the last of her might, striking the stone with the keen tip of her blade.
Fina's heart felt empty, light. Unburdened. A stream of brightness flowed through the window, stirring her from sleep.
"She's awake!" Aika's voice was unmistakable.
"Vyse? Aika?" The scene was reminiscent of the first time they met, a moment that was so long ago, but one that she still cherished.
"We're here, Fina." Vyse smiled, relieved. "How are you feeling?"
Fina sat up. "What happened? The Dark Rift, I r-remember…and we almost –"
"The sword, the Dark Rift, the Black Moon Stone, they're all gone." Aika said in disbelief.
"What? I don't understand."
"When the four of us came to, it was all gone. Only you were left, unconscious." Vyse explained.
"I can't believe it." She lowered her eyes. "I feel terrible for everything that I've done."
"What you did, little missy, was help restore balance to Arcadia by ridding it of the Black Moon Stone." Gilder noted, making his way into the room. "The people of Esparanza are already identifying positive changes to the meteorological systems in the area."
"You also cleared a path between Valua and Yafutoma." Enrique smiled from the doorway. "You have no idea how pleased Moegi is about that!"
"Then… none of you are angry?" Fina asked.
"No way!" Aika flung her arms around Fina. "We're just glad to have you back with us, safe and sound."
Fina hugged Aika back, looking at the cheerful faces before her. She felt whole in a way she had never felt before.
4 months later…
"Hey, what are those huge bulky cannon gunners doing talking to Fina?" Vyse asks warily, glaring under the heat of Maramba.
One of the gunners leans forward and stares Fina down. "I'd better go help her." Vyse moves to rescue Fina.
Aika grabs Vyse's arm. "Stop it! This is the perfect way for her to become an authentic Blue Rogue, by learning the art of intimidation." Aika tilts her head in thought. "Fina's a big girl, she can take care of herself."
Vyse relaxes, conceding Aika's point. "You're right."
"As usual." Aika teases.
Within moments the gunners are on their way and Fina walks back to Vyse and Aika.
"What did they want?" Vyse asks.
"They were wondering where I got Cupil's eye patch. They have a huskra onboard their ship that they would love to buy one for." Fina beams. "I told them that Osman probably would be willing to sell one to them and I apologized in advance for any over-pricing they would no doubt have to encounter."
Aika blinks in astonishment as Vyse muffles his laughter by covering his mouth behind Aika's shoulder.
"What is it? Aika? Vyse? Did I do something wrong?"
Aika sticks out her tongue at Vyse. "See? I told you that she's just fine all on her own."
Vyse sighs. "Yeah. Aika, you're the one who should never be left alone."
Fina pulls Aika and Vyse back. "I don't like seeing you two fight." Cupil agrees, crossing its stubby arms and glaring fervently in Aika's face.
Aika giggles. "Sorry Cupil, but Vyse is just so silly sometimes, don't you think?" Cupil nods in agreement as the girls snicker and Vyse's face twitches in embarrassment.
Fina covers her mouth with one hand and laughs.
No matter which moon is hanging in the sky, she feels safe, she feels at home.
She finally belongs.