A Secret Journey (Rikku's Story)

BY : tuatha
Category: Final Fantasy X > General
Dragon prints: 1094
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy X, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

A Secret Journey (Rikku's Story)

Part Fourteen


"Rikku." He shook my shoulder, and I stirred. I must have slipped off his
broad back while I slept because he was sitting beside me and I was curled
in close to his hip. "It's time, let's go."

We dressed silently. I felt strangely lethargic, wondering what the
consequences of my actions would be. When we returned to the control room
and I heard the plan my father had concocted I thought that neither of us
might live to see them.

My brother called out that the machina had zeroed in on Yuna's location. An
image was brought up of her ascending the great steps of the temple beside
Seymour, dressed in white.

I couldn't believe it, after everything Seymour was forcing Yuna to marry
him. He didn't love her, and it couldn't just be his insane desire to be
accepted by all the people of Yevon. I didn't know what he wanted from her,
I just felt sure there was some ulterior motive that none of us had
ascertained yet.

Lulu looked at me, her gaze assessing and at the same time sympathetic. I
knew she was thinking of my father placing my hand in Auron's. Lulu was
perceptive enough to have figured out what had happened between us and worry
about my wellbeing. My father also studied my face for signs of distress,
but I acted cheerfully, criticising his plan.

"You're going to get us all killed."

"Do you have any better suggestions?"

I shook my head. Getting into Bevelle wasn't going to be the difficulty,
despite the fact that we were going to slide down foot thick cables from the
airship while it covered us from the air, landing high on the steps that led
to the topmost spire of the temple. The hard part was going to be gett out out, with the hundreds of guards and temple warriors that would be alerted
by our raid.

I prepared several flash bombs while we were on our approach into Bevelle,
thinking that we might need them for distraction if we were to have any hope
of escaping. Then we discovered that there were fiends on the airship. We had
taken in many survivors from Home before it's destruction and Guado spies must
have made their way on board with them. I was sure my father was about to come up
with another hare-brained scheme to deal with them but I set him straight. I
told him to let us deal with the fiends.

We moved through the corridors, taking care of the monsters we encountered.
When we reached the observation deck a mighty dragon was wheeling through
the sky towards the ship. Auron proclaimed it the protector of Bevelle,
Evrae. He laughed with grim amusement, saying that Yevon's red carpet had
sharp teeth.

We Al Bhed use a special potion that restores health and contains antidotes
to many ailments and I had to use a great number of these while we battled
against the beast. We all fought, but without Auron I believe we would have
been lost. Even weakened by the creature's attacks he was fearsome, his
weakness only steeling his resolve, a grim determination to go on. Finally
the beast's carcass spiralled away, falling like a stone.

Bevelle was in sight, and we were forced to cling perilously to whatever
handholds we could find when the airship dove screaming towards the ground.
She righted herself in a sharp banking turn then the cables shot out from
cannons and slammed into the stone steps. The ship made a fast turn keeping
the cables taut while the temple warriors fired on the airship and we were
all streaming down the wires. I couldn't help feeling a rush of adrenaline
and speed, whatever happened we would all face it together. The ship made a
final manouvre swinging low so that our frenzied descent was slowed as the
wires came close to horizontal, and we all jumped and tumbled onto the staircase
as the airship shot free, leaving us to make a suicide assault on the heart
of Yevon's empire.

Guards came at us from above and below, but we kept on, pressing closer to
where Seymour held Yuna. The guard finally stopped our ascent barely ten
feet from her. Another maester, a repulsive man named Kinoc seemed to take
great deligh our oureat.eat.

His men held bayonetted weapons at our throats and we were forced to watch
as Yuna tried and failed to subdue Seymour. He threatened our deaths and
Yuna crumbled, her staff tumbling down the steps to land near our feet. Mika
continued the ceremony hastily, and Seymour took Yuna's shoulders in his
hands, leaned in, and kissed her. Of all the sights I saw on our pilgrimage
somehow that was one of the worst.

Once he had her powerless he turned towards Kinoc. "Kill them."

Yuna gasped at his treachery, but I was not surprised by his command. This
is it, I thought, and closed my eyes, sending last minute thoughts of love
in Auron's direction but it was not to be. Yuna backed toward the very edge
of the tower, a sheer drop below her feet. She ordered Seymour to stop and
he complied. She gave a beseeching glance at Tidus. "I can fly. Believe."

Then she was arching back, a swan diving gracefully, her arms crossed over
her breast. Although the guards still held their weapons at the ready their
attention was all on Yuna's plunging flight. I fumbled for one of the flash
bombs, then rolled into a backward somersault throwing the bomb as high as I
could. I yelled to the others to cover their eyes, and then we were running
down the steps while the guards blundered around blindly, seeing nothing and
unable to stop our headlong flight. I caught a glimpse of Yuna's aeon, a
flying serpent, a flash of white as her face turned towards us in flight,
then she was circling away far below and lost to sight.

Someone cried out that Yuna would only have gone to the cloister of trials,
to pray to the fayth, so we continued on our way, finally reaching the doors
of the temple that led to the cloister. When we entered there was another
nasty shock awaiting Wakka. Machina.

The temple of Bevelle defied it's own teachings. There was an elevator that
was operated by a touch panel, and I activated it. It took us deep into the
very bowels of Yevon's main temple, where we found a confusing array of
moving walkways and elevated stairs.

"Wow!" I breathed, and I think all of us were awed by the place.

"Stay close." Auron warned us all. I think he feared that in a place like
this it would be easy to be separated from the others and become lost. We
set out on the first active walkway, finding a pedestal and a sphere
activation point at the first intersection. Then we found an antechamber of
sorts, with runes upon it's walls. A glyph appeared when the next sphere was
in iin it, so we moved on. Each time we continued I felt more and more lost,
twisted up in Yevon's trap. Auron studied everything carefully, looking
around as we continued. Yet another antechamber yielded a glyph so we set
the sphere inside it and opened a secret chamber with a purple glowing
sphere. When we returned to the walkway we all hesitated.

Auron made a pronouncement. "I think if we go on, the walkway will take us
back to where we started. It's circular."

We all looked at each other hopelessly. None of us had a better idea so
trusted his judgement which proved to be accurate. I was nervous, afraid of
what might happen if the temple guards followed us in here, but all was
quiet and no alarm came. I wondered if Seymour was deliberately allowing
Yuna time to retrieve the temple's aeon with her prayers.

During our battle with him at Macalania he had said something that I'd
forgotten, that he wanted the power of Yuna's aeons for himself. That must
be it, I decided. He wanted to control her, and through her the aeons she
commanded.

We finally found our way to a walkway that twisted off to the side, taking
us back up to where we started, only on the opposite side of the temple. We
entered the antechamber of the fayth, finding it empty. Tidus was no longer
willing to wait on the rules of the temples, he went to the door and began
trying to lever it open in his haste to get to Yuna.

He did not have the strength, but Kimahri did and with his aid the door
slowly moved upwards, just enough for Tidus to slip inside. We waited for
his return, Kimahri by the door, then echoing footsteps reached our ears. An
army of footsteps. The yevon guards, no longer blinded, rushed in to the
room with Kinoc in their midst, weapons levelled at us. I called out a
warning to Tidus, but it was too late. He entered the room with Yuna in his
arms, just in time to have her taken from him, again.

We were disarmed and led off to await trial. Auron said nothing to us, but
when we were separated at a crossroads he spoke to Kinoc. "You would do
well, Kinoc, to make sure that none are harmed." He looked pointedl
my
myself and Lulu. I think he felt assured that no one would dare to touch
Yuna or cause her harm, but the rest of us were more than expendable.

Kinoc was smooth in his reply. "You can be assured that all will come to
trial safely. I wouldn't want to deprive Yevon of his due. But the Al
Bhed...you know that spies are dealt with summarily."

"Ohhh." I wailed. I knew what happened to spies who were captured. I clung
to Lulu, but Auron remained implacably opposed to Kinoc.

"The Al Bhed is Yuna's guardian."

There were exclamations of surprise among the guards and Kinoc shot me a
sharp look. "Well."
I couldn't tell if he was disappointed.

"In that case..." he paused and I'm sure he was considering which course to take, to let me be tried and found
guilty, or just execute me without the delay. He gave Auron another glance
and something there must have decided him. "...she will be tried with the
rest of you then." He continued speaking to Auron. "But you are in no
position to make threats, my friend."

"Don't underestimate me, old friend. I will haunt you from the farplane, I
can assure you of that."

Kinoc laughed, a short sharp sound that was anything but humorous. He
gestured then and guards took myself and Lulu down a short passage while the
others were moved on. They opened a large steel door and we were forced
inside. The door slammed shut, leaving us in a gloomy dank box. I sank to
the floor, huddled in on myself.

Lulu seemed calm, walking forward to a ledge that protruded from the wall, a
resting place with just a thin hard matress atop it. She sat there. "Well. So it ends here."

I got up from my place near the door and moved to sit beside her, and we
embraced. She released me and looked into my face. "Is it true what I saw
before we left the airship? You and Auron?"

I nodded, although the thought gave me no comfort. Auron had not spoken
directly to me since we left my cabin, and it preyed on my conscience that
I'd hurt him unbearably. I didn't want to die without the chance to beg his
forgiveness, although I doubted fate would be kind enough to give me a
chance to speak to him before the end. I wondered if the others knew and
asked her.

"No. Wakka asked what had just happened and Tidus speculated that your
father was just being protective, telling Auron to take care of you. So your
secret is safe."

She stood and moved away, facing the door, but I'm sure she was seeing
something far distant from our current prison.

"Lulu...I..." I began, not sure what to say.

"We all have so short a time. Be thankful for the little happiness you've
grasped."

When she turned she realised I was not as stoic as Wakka, or as resilient as
Tidus. She returned and held me while I sobbed, my hands over my face, and
despite her coaxing I couldn't speak of what troubled me. After a time she
gave up and drew me down onto the slab, and we lay there for a long time.

When no more tears would come and I quieted she began to speak. She told me
how Chappu had wooed her for years, and despite her resistance had never
given up, and she had finally agreed to marry him. Even though they had
vowed to marry one day she kept herself apart from him, until one day he had
gone on a mission with the crusaders, never to return. She cried a little
then and it was my turn to comfort her.

The door clanged open and light flooded the room, making me blink after the
darkness. A guard stood in the doorway, his gaze lingering unpleasantly on
our bodies, making me glad for Sir Auron's intercession. He pushed two trays
across the floor. "Pleasant eating, ladies." He leered, then stepped back
while the door was fastened with a heavy sound.

We sat and I went across to the trays. There was a runny slop, the main
ingredient of which seemed to be water. It had small traces of meat and some
vegetable. I sniffed at it, then tasted a little, letting it run slowly down
mroatroat, but there was no bitter aftertaste so I shrugged and set to. It
was pretty terrible, but it wasn't the worst meal we'd eaten on our journey.
The tray also held some mandragora, boiled to a soft consistency and almost
flavourless. I mixed it into my stew which made it easier to scoop up with
my fingers. Lulu followed suit.

Once my stomach was full I had to pause frequently, trying to force the rest
of the vile gunk into myself since who knew when we would be fed again. My
thoughts kept turning to Auron, his grim visage as he was forced away from
us. I didn't know if talking about it would help, but Lulu had told me her
story at last, and I felt I owed it to her to try.

"Auron and I...we had a fight. After...after we left the control room...I
didn't know what to do. He thinks, he keeps telling me that he won't survive
after we reach Zanarkand, that Sin will destroy him."

I could feel unhappiness welling up in me with the retelling, but I kept
them at bay, needing now to finish the tale. I wiped my eyes free of
moisture and continued. "I hurt him, and now I don't know if he'll forgive me."

"You hurt him?" when I nodded she frowned slightly. "Forgive me, I thought
that he hurt you."

She eyed my slight frame critically, I think she thought that I couldn't
possibly have harmed a great man like Auron physically. "I said something
terrible to him." I turned to her, desperately. "How will I ever forgive
myself, if he can't?"

She closed her eyes tiredly, letting the empty tray slip to the floor, and I
did likewise. Then she spoke. "If he did the same to you, would you forgive
him?"

"Yes." I replied instantly, without doubt.

"There is your answer then."

She sighed and lay down again, and I took the trays and placed them near the
door. I didn't want the guards to have any reason to come closer to us than
necessary, then lay beside her on the cramped ledge. The door opened and the
trays were removed without comment, then we were in darkness again.

Our imprisonment lasted for two more days, cramped in the little room, with
only ourselves for company. There was a commode and water was brought
morning and night, but there was little left to wash with once we had drunk.
Food was brought at regular intervals, none of it rising much above the stew
we were given the first night. We talked from time to time, Lulu telling me
more about Chappu and her feelings of guilt after his death, and I spoke of
my fears about Auron. I think we both achieved a measure of peace, preparing
ourselves for the farplane.

Finally on the third morning we were taken out into the light, given a few
moments in a room with running water and a mirror, then we were led into an
assembly room that was also a courtroom.

The trial was a sham, demonstrating the mockery that was Yevon's idea of
justice. Maester Mika showed scant patience with Yuna's questions, finally
admitting the fearful truth. They were all dead, all except the Ronso
maester who had fled the temple of Yevon. Like cackling ghosts that refused
to give up, they feasted on the living like fiends, and claimed it their
right to leave all ignorant of their true natures. Poor Yuna, her face took
on a ghastly pallor, and I remembered her telling us that we must submit to
Yevon's justice. It seemed a long time ago now.

No justice. We were dragged away, and I cast my eyes toward Auron. He looked
grim as ever but he was fixed on Yuna, who was being taken out another
entrance to the rest of us. It seemed our sentences were to be carried out
with undue haste, to make up for the delay while our trial was organised. We
were lined up while the guards decided our ultimate fates.

End of Part Fourteen


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