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.

Title: A Secret Journey (Rikku's Story)

Summary: The story of the pilgrimage told in Rikku's words, and what she learns on the way.
Classification: FFX fic, AU, Rikku/Auron relationship, story, romance
Rating: PG13, higher rating (up to R) for future instalments
Disclaimer: The characters in this story belong to Squaresoft, but the story
is mine. (actually Rikku's, but you know what I mean. : )

Feedback is welcomed at tuatha@caloundra.net

Part Two

I don't know if anyone expected me to be useful in a fight, but our first
battle on the way to Guadosalam really surprised them. We Al Bhed know a lot
about ymgaso, the properties of different substances and how they react with
each other. It seems like magic to a lot of people but really it's very
scientific. The Al Bhed pharmacopia includes more plants and animal species
than you can name, fast and slow acting poisons, and the properties of a lot
of different types of earth from all over Spira. So when I blasted that
fiend out of existence I'm pretty sure the others were impressed. I know
Wakka was, but he doesn't know what I am, that Iím an Al Bhed.

Auron said very little on our way to Guadosalam, while the others speculated
about Seymour Guado, the newest Maester of Yevon. Yuna looked worried, I thought she was afraid that he wanted to stop her pilgrimage for some reason, although she didn't say that outright.

Wakka told me that Seymour had authorised the use of the machina for the
operation, but I knew that none of the maesters had been involved with the
planning with my people. The crusaders were a separate body with their own hechy chy and leaders, it was they who had been co-opted to take part. The Yevonites should have been completely unaware of what was taking place.

It made me wonder if the failure of the plan wasn't entirely bad luck too, but I had no way to ground such suspicions in fact. I didn't dare speak of such things with such devout Yevonites anyway.

Wakka told me about Seymour's actions both before and after the battle, in fact he
filled me in a good deal about events within the Yevon temple. If I'd been
on a spying mission I'd have stuck to him like glue. As it was it was
troubling news. Many friends of mine had been involved in the operation and
I had no way of knowing their fate; who had survived Sin's attack, and who
had perished. Wakka was a font of information, but he just didn't know
enough about the Al Bhed to tell me what I needed to know.

After we reached Guadosalam Tidus and I talked. I showed him how our weapons
and armour could be imbued with additional properties by using parts of the
monsters we defeat. I know he's glad I've joined the group, I can help us
succeed, I'm sure of it. The funny thing is I don't think he realises what
we're up against. I told him I wanted to hsavesave Yuna and he acted as
though it was as easy as strolling down the highroad. I don't know if he
realises how dangerous a summoner's journey is. Maybe he thinks we'll find
his magical city at the end of this journey instead of the ruins that exist
there now. I wish it were true, but everyone knows that some terrible fate
befalls all who journey to the end. I only have to look at the one person
who returned from such a journey to know that.

Guadosalam is a strange place, and the people there even stranger. They pay
lip-service to ideas of equality, but you can tell they feel superior to us.
It's pretty obvious when someone six feet tall gazes over your head as
though you don't exist when you're trying to talk to them.

We stayed at the inn our first night there and Wakka and Tidus went off to
talk to the Guado blitzball players. We were invited to attend Seymour at
his palace the next night, which I thought was a not very subtle insult,
making us wait on him after he practically begged Yuna to come here. Yuna
went into her room for awhile, I thought she was sleeping, but she came back
into the main room later and looked pale and even more tired than before. I
wondered if she felt ill, and I thinku wau was concerned too. She put her
arm around her and they spoke quietly for a long time together. Kimahri
seemed to like the Guado ale, I think he was the only one of us who found
something to like about the place. He stood at the bar, silently watching
Yuna, and drinking his beer.

My conversational options were pretty dismal. I tried not to look as down as
It, bt, but it was hard, I think we were all infected by a sense of unease
about Seymour's motives. Auron stood withahriahri for a while, watching Yuna
and Lulu as they huddled together against the back wall of the inn. He
didn't seem to notice me at all, like Kimahri his attention was on the
others, but after awhile he came over to join us at the table.

I had no idea what to say, so I kept silent, and he stared at the table and
said nothing either. We continued in an uncomfortable silence for a few
minutes but Lulu broke it up before it took on a life of it's own.

"Yuna and I are going to bed now. Goodnight, Sir Auron. Goodnight Rikku. I
know we don't have a big day tomorrow, but don't stay up too late anyway."
The last was directed at me, and I smiled back and promised I would come to
bed soon. Yuna smiled tiredly and wished us both a good night as she and
Lulu headed toward the curtained hallway that led to the bedrooms.

Auron was looking at me when I turned back to him. "Would you like some
cider? Kimahri recommends it."

I was startled by his consideration, but didn't want to deflect his overture
of friendliness so I agreed readily, even though I don't usually drink cider
or ale. He made his way to the bar and spoke to the pynsyet. I watched as
Kimahri put down his cup and wandered back down the passage, saying a brief
word to Auron as he left. I guessed he would continue his guard duties long
after the rest of us were sleeping, he seemed to have that kind of devotion
to Yuna.

When Auron came back with two steaming mugs of cider he didn't sit down with
me again. "Come out into the garden. I want to talk to you alone." It
sounded like an order instead of a request, but I didn't think there was
much point to objecting, so I followed him outside. If I refused he could
tell Yuna I was no longer her guardian and I would be left behind, so I had
little choice, but his attitude still rankled.

The garden was dark and cool, a pleasant oasis in this city. The leaves of
the trees that sheltered this little alcove rustled gently in the night
breeze and I would have enjoyed being there under other circumstances. We
sat on a wooden bench against the wall of the building, and he leaned back,
stretching his legs out in a relaxed pose. He handed me my mug and I cupped
it in my hands, breathing deeply the warm spicy scent that rose from it's
surface, then sipped at the sweetness of the liquor within.

He seemed in no hurry to question me, so I chanced a glance sideways at him.
He was gazing up at the stars that wavered and shone beyond the rustling
leaves above, and there was an intensity of longing in him that frightened
me. He seemed so far away, as though he wandered out there somewhere between
the world and the void.

"What happened, when you went to Zanarkand?"

The question seemed to filter into his consciousness slowly. He turned
towards me, and his focus became earthbound once more. "My life ended then.
So did Braska's and so did Jecht's, but that's another story."

I thought he was speaking metaphorically. I didn't realise that a person
could hold on to being if they believed in something strongly enough. Even
after we learned the truth about the maesters of Yevon I didn't put together
his words and understand until the end what he meant.

"But what you found, can't it help us save Yunie?"

He studied me for a long moment. "To arrive at the destination one must
complete the journey." He spoke like a riddlemaster, truths couched in
banalities and truisms, but I could understand what he meant. I told him as

"You're going to reveal what we need to know, when we need to know it." I
smiled brightly at him. "Not now when worrying about the end of our journey
would only distract us from getting there."

He laughed at me, but his voice sounded approving. "We'll see when we get

He sipped his cider appreciatively, and I drank a little more of my own
before it cooled too much. "Now I want to know, why did you decide to become
Yuna's guardian?"

I was taken aback by his question. He wasn't pulling any punches, but I
guess I deserved it since I'd just done the same thing to him.

"You know why. To protect her."

"The Al Bhed defy Yevon. To them it is the embodiment of Sin's power,
perpetuating a belief that Sin's destructive power is eternal. To become a
summoner's guardian goes against everything your people believe in."

"I know." I was still uncertain, not of my choice to join Yuna on her
pilgrimage, but how to explain why I was sure I was doing the right thing. I
turned to him, and tried to find the words to express my feelings. "I wanted
to stop her, and I tried. But when I looked into Yuna's eyes I
realised...she intends to stop Sin forever. Even if she fails...if we
fail...she believes she can turn that dream into a reality. If anyone can,
it's Yuna. She'sstrostrong...I have to let her try...and I have to try too."

I wasn't sure if what I said made sense and I was a little ashamed by how
passionately I felt. I held my cup in my hands and leaned over it, hiding my
face to cover my embarrassment.

I shouldn't have worried, since he seemed content with my answer. We both
finished our drinks in silence, a more companionable one this time compared
to earlier, and theneaneeaned back and watched the stars with him. I wanted
to ask him what he saw out there, but I was still feeling shy after my
earlier outburst.

It wasn't long before my eyelids began to droop. We had spent several hard
days on the road getting here, and I was looking forward to the soft bed in
the room I was sharing with the other girls. Auron asked me if I was
finished with my drink, and took the cup from my hands. He didn't wish me
goodnight, but told me to go to bed, as though I was a child who'd stayed up
past her bme. me. Unfortunately I was too tired to complain, and slept
dreamlessly and soundly that night.

End of Part Two

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