It was just like Fina remembered. The walkways made the same funny sound when you stepped on them, and there was still that chill in the air. It was easier to notice now that she'd spent time away.
Vyse and Aika seemed fascinated by the place. "You really lived here?" Aika asked.
Fina nodded. "Yes. There are about three hundred people living in the Silver Shrine. It can't hold more than about five hundred, so we have to be careful to regulate the population."
Aika suddenly looked nervous. "You don't kill people to keep the numbers down, do you?"
"Of course not. We just regulate the birth rate carefully. There's only a certain number of children that can be born per year," Fina explained.
Ad they continued, Fina began to point out the places they'd passed. "Thais is one of the classrooms," she said, pointing to a large, hexagonal room. "I think it's the language room."
"You learned languages?" asked Vyse.
"Several. They're mostly the ones used by the old civilizations, so they aren't very useful now. The main reason for teaching them is so we can read the texts in the library, since so much of what's there is old."
Aika looked at the room. "There aren't any doors," she pointed out.
"We use warp points to get to certain places," Fina said. "These walkways aren't used as much as you'd think."
On the way, they passed several more recognizable places. That building with the gold trim was the library, and the one attached to the ceiling was probably a garden. "There isn't enough light up here for plants to grow, so we had to find other ways to provide for them," Fina told the others. "There's some very advanced chemistry involved, and I don't know the details."
"This place is amazing," said Vyse. "It must be cool to live here."
Fina stopped walking. "Actually…"
She sighed. "Being here again…it's making me realize how colorless it is."
"Well, it is the silver shrine," Aika pointed out.
Fina giggled. "I didn't mean literally."
She looked around the area, trying to think of how to explain it. "Every day was the same," she continued. "Things hardly changed. Everyone did things the same way, and went about their lives without thinking about it. No one really smiled much – or laughed, or made jokes. I never realized it, but now that I've seen the rest of the world…"
Her voice became quiet, and it trembled just a bit as she spoke. "I've seen a world where no two days are the same. Everyone acts differently, leads different lives…even dresses different. It's so lively in the world below. Maybe it's dangerous, and maybe people fight each other. Things aren't always easy, it's true. But most of you still manage to be happy despite all that. I wouldn't have thought it was possible if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes."
There was a moment of silence among the three of them. "Fina, are you really alright with staying here?" Vyse asked. "Once we return the Moon Crystals, you might never have the chance to see the sky again."
Fina nodded. "I think so. I know now that a world like that exists. I think that'll be enough."
She began walking again. "Come on. The Elders are waiting."
Vyse couldn't help wondering if that was really how she felt.