And here's a quick chapter for you guys. Thank you for all the heart-warming reviews, I love reading them and I do my best to reply to each and every one of you.

And here's a special mention to TheArsenalRisen. Get well soon, alright?

EDIT: Because I somehow forgotten this, Lightning is in her GC uniform. Only her weapon is changed.


-II-

The whole village quietened to a hush as Lightning was escorted to the village. She felt stares boring into her. Some were accusing, some were grieving. It burned her. The only sign that was bordering to peacefulness was the glances of curiosity from the little children of Oerba. Soon, there were some movements. People clearing away from the roads, creating a clear path to let them through. Others were urging the children to run home, and the rest were passing the news of a 'captured vipers' around the village.

Lightning slowed down for a moment as she glanced around, taking in the expressions of the villagers. There were scowls directed to her, but they faltered when Lightning's gaze fell on them for a moment. She finally saw for herself the Oerban viewpoint of the people from Cocoon. They did not want the war, they did not like the pointless losses.

They were scared.

She paused for a moment with the sudden realization. Both sides of the war were blind. During the days leading to the fall, Fang and Vanille had attempted to express the situation of the people in the village. But as the saying goes, 'seeing is believing'.

The hand pressed on her back increased its pressure. Lightning turned her head back to look at the owner of the offending hand. The expression on her escort's face was something she was not used to. Fang was grim and solemn. But it was expected, knowing the unpredictable war. One day, you may be alive. The next, you cease to live.

"Let's not keep the chief waiting."

Lightning nodded as she started moving again. Before long, she was in front of a building. It shared the same reddish-tint of rust with most of the buildings in town, but it was a lot larger in size. Vanille stepped in front of them to push open the door as Fang gently herded her in. She was led to a room where a group of men were huddled around a central table. The purpose of the room was obvious. A war room.

One of the man noticed the trio's approach. He quickly straightened up and cleared his throat, calling for the attention of the rest. He tilted his head as he stared at Lightning, sizing her up. Lightning merely stared back at him, full of calm.

"Yun Fang. Who is this?"

"Lightning Farron. Captured Viper."

Murmurs soon broke out after the report. Even the man looked a little surprised himself. He paused in consideration for a moment before gesturing to the others to quieten down. He placed his hand to his chin, eyebrows furrowed as he considered what to do with the captive. He dropped his hands to his side when he finally came up with an idea.

"Yun Fang. You are to be her warden. Make her tell you what the Cocoonian's are planning and all their secrets. Everything, and anything. When the time comes, I'll put her to… good use. This is our first live captive since the start of the war, so no harming her." His face was adorned with a smile, but it was that of a maniacal one, a disturbing scheming smile. By now, it was obvious who was the chieftain of the village.

"Yes, chief."

The chieftain nodded as his face returned to its neutral expression. He rested his hands back down on the table, satisfied with her answer.

"Good, make your father proud."

Fang visibly stiffened before nodded, gesturing at both Lightning and Vanille to follow her back out. Fang only relaxed when she was out of the building, her shoulders slumped down and the cold expression gone from her face. She gave a sigh before running her hand through her hair, facing Lightning.

"Guess yer' stuck with us. Let's go to a quieter area. And remember, yer' still a viper and a captive, so no funny business."

Lightning nodded, having no intention to argue with the Pulsian, Vanille finally piped up after being a silent observer for so long. "Maybe we can go to the beach?" Fang smiled at the suggestion and nodded. The girl excitedly skipped ahead of the two, not bothering to wait for them. Fang then turned her head to view the captive walking alongside her.

"Yer' a L'Cie, aren't you?" Lightning gave a wry smile as she shook her head.

"No, I'm not."

"… How can you use magic, then?"

Lightning just shrugged as she walked down the steps to the beach, watching Vanille who was walking along the shore. Fang sighed from behind.

"You Vipers are so hard to handle. Beggars can't be choosers. Ever heard of that?" Fang scoffed as she followed her down, rolling her eyes. She did not really like the idea of being Lightning's warden, but there was nothing she could do. Perhaps it was better have an extra hand in her job, provided her captive was co-operative. As much as she disliked the vipers, there was something different about Lightning. It was like a subconscious feeling within, telling her that this person would change the whole situation, the pointless stalemate in the war.

Lightning stood by the shore before taking a seat on the soft fine sand, near the gentle lapping of the waves. She gazed out, seeing the memorable windmills of Oerba. Their source of power. She could see why the Pulsians looked down on the people of Cocoon. Unlike them, the people of Cocoon were sustained by the Fal'Cie. From energy to food to weather. They were overly dependant. To see it working was weirdly nostalgic to her. She could almost feel the sadness Fang had when she returned to the destroyed and ruined Oerba. The beauty and the serenity of the village tarnished by the War of Transgression and the whole mess of the Fal'Cie.

She couldn't help but to give a sigh before letting a soft smile adorn her face. She could see Fang take a seat next to her from her peripheral vision.

"Likin' the view?"

Lightning nodded wordlessly, her eyes still on the school house and the windmill, the scenery complimented by the crystalline sea.

"See? Gran Pulse ain't all that bad."

"I know that. The wilderness and beauty is nothing compared to that of Cocoon."

"Oh?"

Lightning turned her head over to Fang, but she didn't seem to see the Pulsian. She seemed to be viewing something inside the Pulsian, instead. Fang merely sat there as she held her gaze, curious, but she said nothing, not wanting to disturb Lightning. The soldier gave yet another wry smile before turning back to the view before her.

"…A friend told me about Gran Pulse."


Hope you liked the chapter. I can't really see Fang and Vanille being overly harsh on Lightning due to the fact that they can't waste much time dealing with her during the war. Plus they knew how she could fight, and she's too precious to endanger. Might as well make her feel welcome and let the information come willingly.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I had quite some fun describing the windmills. It makes me really... heartbroken when I saw it in game. Wanted to bring it in and point out how Fang might have felt.

Do leave a review, a thought, a comment, anything. I love them!

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Cheers!