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

Part Four


Before we left Guadosalam the others visited the farplane. Tidus asked me
why I wasnít coming with him and I explained that the Al Bhed didnít believe
in the ghosts who appeared there. They are just memories we have, conjured
up by the power of the pyreflies. There are no messages from the beyond, itís
just wishful thinking.

Auron waited too, but he wasnít as forthcoming about his reasons for not
wanting to visit the farplane as I was. Sitting there while Auron brooded
made me feel a bit gloomy too. Usually I could shrug off whatever was
troubling me, but Auron raised questions in my mind even when he wasn't
asking them. I figured the worst he could do was not answer so I let my
curiousity surface. "Why did you say you don't belong there? Aren't you a
believer?"

"Oh, I believe in ghosts." He looked away. "I don't need to visit the
farplane to hear what they have to say."

I digested this in silence for a while. "You mean the promises you made."

His sharp glance seared me again. "You're a perceptive girl. Yes, the
promises I made bind me. But this will all be over soon enough. You can go
back to your life, and I..."

I wanted to know what he would do, but he didn't continue and I didn't push
him. "Well I have no life to go back to."

"Don't say that."

"Why not? I'm a traitor to my people. When my father finds out what I've
done...becoming a guardian. I won't have a home." I sighed. I hadn't really
thought about all this before. "All I have is you."

He looked extremely uncomfortable, and I clarified what I meant, thinking
he'd misunderstood me. "You and Yuna and Tidus, Lulu and Kimahri, even
Wakka, you're my only family now."

"You could do worse. Anyway, don't let it get to you. I was branded a
traitor once, too. You get used to it."

I was surprised by his revelation. "What did you do?"

"It's more what I didn't do. When I was a youth I trained in Bevelle to
become a warrior monk."

"Oh." I hadn't known that about him. "So what didn't you do?"

"Well I was progressing through the ranks, and was slated for a promotion.
Then I was offered the hand of a maester's daughter in marriage. My refusal
would have disgraced her. So the maester trumped up charges against me, so
the marriage proposal could be withdrawn without causing dishonour to the
girl. I had to flee the temple."

"Ohhhh."

"That ended my career in the church of Yevon."

"That's terrible." I thought about it. "Why did you refuse to marry her? Was
she...y tuk?"

He laughed. "No, she was very comely."

"Ohhhh, so there was someone else."

"No, there was no one else. It was just...as your people say, cred rybbahc."

I giggled. "You speak Al Bhed?" I decided to test him out. "Oui sicd ryja
paah jana ryhtcusa drah, vun y syacdan'c tyikrdan du cehkma oui uid."

"No, I think they just wanted to keep it in the family..." It took a moment
for the compliment to sink in and then he did a double take, glaring at me.
"Tuh'd dayca" he instructed me shortly.

I was taken aback. I hadn't meant to tease him, well, actually I had, but I
thought it was true: he was probably very handsome in his youth. Even now he
was distinguished looking and had a great deal of masculine charm, despite
his gruff manner. "Well, it's true, but if you like I'll shut up and stand
here like a statue. Like Kimahri, so I won't bother you any more." And I did
as I threatened to, moving off to stand and stare in the distance, wishing
the others would return soon.

"You know you don't have to be like other people, Rikku. It's good that you
want to emulate the traits you admire in others, but you don't have to change the
way you are.

"I'm sorry I snapped at you."

"Thank you." I didn't know what else to say. He had honed in on my
insecurity and instead of using it against me had reassured me, and his
apology was surprising.

We were interrupted then, as the others came back. A guado spirit emerged,
the spirit of Seymourís father, Jyscal Guado, who had died recently. All the Guado
became frantic about how bad an omen it was. Auron instructed Yuna to send
him back to the farplane and she complied without question but during the
sending Auron seemed to suffer a terrible malaise. He folded in on himself,
as if holding in terrible pain, hiding it from us. I didn't know what was
wrong, but it was over quickly, and he seemed his old self again when we reached the
Thunder Plain.

It was my worst nightmare. Bursts of static and electric charges that
sizzled so close that my hair stood on end. Massive claps of thunder that
deafened the ears, and light so bright and intense that it left me blind for
long seconds afterwards. I was terrified, and all Auron had to say was Ďsee
you laterí. His attitude was the only
thing that got me through it in the end, but at the time I wasnít feeling at
all grateful to him.

We ran from one lightning pole to the next, dodging strikes if we were
lucky, getting fried if we werenít. I was grateful for the armour, it kept
the worst of the buzz off, but unfortunately it didnít help reduce my terror
as I waited for the next strike. That old geezer, Maechen was sheltering
under one of the towers too, and he told us about Bilghen who built the
towers. When he said that the lightning plains were a nightmare to cross
before Bilghen came a I w I wanted to ask him what had changed, but bit my
tongue. It wasnít his fault that I was scared out of my wits, or that I was
so angry with Auron that I could spit.

When we finally reached the travel inn, I broke down and begged to stop for
a little while. I think Auron would have walked off and left me there but
Tidus relented. He has a good heart. I donít remember who asked me, but I
told them how my phobia began, how my brother struck me with a lightning
spell when we were at the beach. Lulu pointed out that it was a good idea to
use lightning on water fiends. I agree with her, I just wish my brother had
aimed a little better. But somehow when she makes a statement about the
obvious itís comforting, whereas when other people do itís just insulting. I
shivered for a while in the main room, but it was obvious that we werenít
staying for the night, and it had also become clear that the lightning storm
wasnít going to ease any time in the next century at least, so I admitted
defeat and we got ready to leave. Auron said something cutting about my not
really expecting the storm to ease. I was glad he was feeling better since
we left Guadosalam, it meant I didnít have to feel guilty about hating him
again.

We were almost at the end of the nightmare, the strikes had begun to lower
in intensity and frequency, although not enough for me to relax at all, when
Yuna decided we had to stop so she could tell us something. I would do
anything for her, but I thought she had lousy timing. When she dropped her
bombshell our collective jaws dropped so hard you could have heard them over
the thunder. I couldnít imagine what had possessed her to change her mind about marrying Seymour, but I couldnít think in that place, I just wanted to get on with it, I think
we all did. I donít know if she waited until then so our resistance to her
announcement would be lowered as I donít believe she was ever capable of being
so calculating. When Auron said she could do anything she wanted as long as
she continued her pilgrimage I wanted to strangle him, and I wouldnít have
minded staying in that place long enough to do it either.

I didnít think I could forgive him on this plane or the next, but Tidus was
having more trouble with his attitude than I was, if that was at all
possible. I knew Tidus was in love with Yuna then. I felt dreadfully sorry
for him. The girl he loved was going to kill herself in an attempt to bring
peace to Spira, and if that wasnít tragic enough she was also going to marry
one of the maesters of Yevon before she died, just in case she failed.

That was when I began to doubt the wisdom of our journey. I hated our world
and how it twisted peoples lives like confetti in a tornado. I
wondered if Tidus and I were only two people deluding ourselves that there
could be a happy ending at the end of this journey, living in a dream
Zanarkand that for all I know never existed. At least Tidus had his toxin
dream as an excuse for his fantasy, I had nothing but my own foolish heart
to blame.

When we left the plains and finally found the path to Macalania I was so
blinded by tears all I could see before me were endless arrays of glittering
crystal that swirled and flickered like that mythical lost city. I had no
hope left, and I thought Iíd lost my mind as well.

I pulled myself together as best I could. Yuna was brooding over her
decision and everyone else was lost in their own worlds, so fortunately no
one noticed my breakdown. If they had I would have shrugged it off as my
terror at our journey through the thunder and my relief at finally escaping
from it.

There were many nasty beasts and fiends lurking through this forest, and we
were all alert and ready for danger. When we rested we had to take turns
keeping watch, and we were ambushed more than once. It was exhausting and I
longed for an inn and a little time when I could think about what had
happened, and why everything suddenly went so wrong.

We met a trader on the way, he had some good equipment and we wanted to
trade some of our old weapons for newer and better stuff, but his prices
were astronomical. We were literally walking away when he relented and
offered them for more reasonable prices. Not that they were cheap, but we
could afford to outfit ourselves with the things we needed to keep going and
get out of this damn forest, so we were grateful, and left him in better
spirits.

Auron stopped a little further along, and said there was something we needed
to see. After the last revelation I think we were all reluctant to face
further bad news, but he insisted, so we cut a way into a grotto and came to
a spherimorph pool. It was without a doubt one of the most beautiful and
magical places I have ever seen, but an evil fiend lurked there, a kind of
mimic beast. It took the form of the sphere itself, and morphed into
different elements. Each time we learned its magical alignment it would
change again. I was grateful that Yuna was able to cast null spells,
especially against Thunder. After the fiend was defeated Auron found the
sphere that Jecht had left behind ten years before.

In it we saw a glimpse of the past. Lord Braska, Sir Jecht and Sir Auron all
faced this same journey so long ago. He looked so young and inexperienced.
Untested. Now he looks as though he has been through every trial imaginable and many more
beyond imagining. He had been through so much hardship, endured a pilgrimage
like this before, and even though they succeeded in bringing the calm, he
lost his friends, and was injured so badly that he barely survived himself.

I realised it wasnít surprising that he was cold towards us, not letting
himself form attachments or friendships to people who might very well die
before the end. People canít keep giving out their feelings only to be
crushed again and again. We form defences, hard shells to keep ourselves
from feeling. It hurts less that way.

Once again I found my feelings toward him seesawing wildly from one extreme
to another. Every time I felt I understood him a little better, and I was
determined not to let my reactions blind me to the understanding Iíd
reached. I felt a little better. There was more on the sphere, a message to
Tidus, from Jecht to his son.

It made me want to cry, thinking of Jecht loving his son so much but not
being able to tell him so. When the message had ended I left quickly, hoping
to fend off my feelings. Soon we finally left the forest, and entered the
frozen lake area around Macalania.

End of Part Four

Al Bhed primer and translations:

y tuk = a dog, (ugly)
cred rybbahc = shit happens
Oui sicd ryja paah jana ryhtcusa drah, vun y syacdan'c tyikrdan du cehkma
oui uid =
You must have been very handsome then, for a maester's daughter to single
you out
Tuh'd dayca = Don't tease


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