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 Eight

Yuna was not in the antechamber of the temple when we arrived. One of the acolytes went into the sleeping chamber searching for her but emerged instead almost hysterical. She'd found a sphere in Yuna's possession, and when Tidus activated it we learned that Seymour had murdered his father in cold blood. I couldn't understand why Yuna had agreed to marry him, to go to him alone knowing this about him. Then one of the guado told us that she was in the Temple of the Fayth, alone with Seymour.

Kimahri and Auron were first to race up the steps to the cloister, and we all followed. I hoped Auron wasn't feeling guilty about the moments we stole together outside. If something happened to Yuna while he and I...but there was no way any of us could have known. My rationalisations didn't help, I thought I would be sick just thinking about how I would feel if she was harmed.

The cloisters were avatavatingly complicated, we had to puzzle our way through a series of tests, unlocking hidden doorways and secret paths to find our way. Usually we joked around, and enjoyed meeting the challenges set for us, but this time all of us were impatient and worried. Tidus set the final orb into place while Lulu muttered under her breath "Quickly, quickly." Auron drew his sword and Kimahri readied his spear. When we entered the secret antechamber leading to the fayth Seymour was there alone.

He said that Yuna was within, praying to the fayth and that set our fears to rest for the moment. But when Tidus challenged him he began to rave, revealing his delusory fantasies. Yuna emerged, and told Seymour she had planned all along to stop him. He revealed the depth of his psychosis to us then, proclaiming that death was Spira's salvation, and he would free us from the pain of living. So we readied ourselves for battle.

Yuna cast null-spells on us all to neutralize his magic, and Auron and Tidus both inflicted serious damage on him. I raced in and slashed him with my weapon and rifled his pocket at the same time, dancing away with a valuable elixir. After several attacks his face changed, and he raised his arms calling out to 'Anima', with the word he summoned a fiendish aeon.

It was the living dead, a mutated beast called forth from a forgotten nightmare. It screamed in pain, then sent its nightmare into us with a psychicst. st. I collapsed to my knees while agony tore through my being, leaving me blind and deaf, poison running through my veins. I knew nothing more until Lulu chanted a quick healing spell over me, bringing me back to myself.

Yuna had summoned one of her own aeons in response, an ice maiden who stood eight feet tall but was still dwarfed by Seymour's nightmare creature. But she stood firm between us and it, calling forth a blizzard with her breath, freezing the creature solid then with a snap of her fingers shattering it's flesh. It wasn't dead yet though, and it sent forth another blast of pain, so Yuna released the aeon and summoned another, a mighty winged beast. A dragon that landed with a tearing of claws and blasted Seymour's aeon with a flare of heat and light so intense it threatened to melt the walls of the temple. Seymour's aeon thrashed and moaned, fading out of existence.

After that Seymour fell easily, Wakka smashing him repeatedly with his blitzball. He collapsed on the ground and Yuna ran to him. He accused her of pity, which I thought was a strange thing to say. Crazy to the last I guess. Yuna attempted to send his spirit to the farplane then, and that's when everything began to fall apart on us. The guado burst into the room, took Seymour's body and destroyed the sphere which documented Seymour's crime against his father. We were all now officially traitors to Yevon.

We barely escaped from the temple, the guado chasing us back to the lake. There they unleashed an oade, a fearsome beast which the guado had goaded with magiks and mistreatment. The beast was insensible to any concept of self-preservation, striking out with it's massive fists whenever any of us were in range. Auron caused a great deal of damage to the creature, hewing at it with his sword, and Tidus leapt into the fray with quick slashes to finish off the monster. It fell like a giant tree, crashing into the ice which began to crack ominously beneath our feet. There was no time for us to run for the shore, all was overturned and we slid into the icy depths of the lake.

I'm not sure what happened then. I had a strangely lucid dream. We were all standing at the bottom of the lake, the temple far above us, while green light filtered down from above. The hymn of the fayth sounded sweetly from above like a song from heaven. Yuna was lying motionless, while the rest of us waiter her her to wake from her sleep. Auron stood a little way off from the rest of us, with his back turned. I think in my dream I placed the blame on us both for Yuna's deathlike state, and I was afraid to approach him and see in his eyes that he did too. My love lost to me I decided I would become like Lulu, and in the strange way of dreams I felt a cold frost cover my heart, to hide the pain and loss inside. Kimahri told me I could never become like her. No matter how hard I wished it I would still be myself.

Then the hymn ended and all was quiet, and my strange dream turned into nightmare. We were not on the lake bottom as I had believed, but were standing on Sin's hide. It had been calmed by the hymn but came deceptively to life when silence descended upon us. I knew nothing more until I felt warmth on my back and soft sand beneath me. I woke to find myself alone, lying at the base of a sandy dune in the middle of nowhere.

It could have been mid-morning or mid-afternoon, I had no way of immediately knowing which. I sat and brushed sand off my arms and legs then climbed up the dune to look around. There was nothing but sand all around me, shimmering golden in the heat haze. I began to walk keeping the sun at my back, crossing from one dune to the next, on the lookout for any signs of life. I thought I knew where I was, and my suspicion was confirmed when I climbed my fifth dune and saw a marker half buried in the sand. I hurried over and read the inscription. The signposts were placed throughout Sanubia as a guide to our people. Written in Al Bhed, they offered directions and also marked the locations of emergency supplies to aid lost travellers. I began to dig through the sand below the sign and soon located the supply kit. One box contained a tent, dried foods, a compass and sundry smaller items. The other larger box was full of water.

After erecting the tent I sat within and drank an entire bottle of water, rehydrating myself after having lain for an unknown time in the sun. There was no danger in doing so since the kit contained more water than I could carry and I needed to drink as much as I could in preparation for the long walk ahead.

Al Bhed frequently visited these outposts and checked the supplies, so if I wanted to I could sit here and wait for someone to arrive, but I didn't know what had happened to the others. If they had also been carried hend lnd left somewhere nearby they would have no way of knowing the significance of the signs.

I decided I would take the compass and begin a spiralling search pattern using this signpost as a base. Hopefully I would find the others before it was too late. Satisfied with this plan I helped myself to some rations. The sun was setting, so it made sense to wait until dusk to set out. At night the desert became clearer without the glaze of heat and I would be able to both see and hear better. I just hoped the others had the sense to rest until the sun had set, so I would lose little by waiting here until then.

I was planning how much water I could carry and how far I could travel before heading back for more supplies when I saw them. I waved, relieved that they were alright, even if they hadn't been sensible enough to wait out the heat of the day.

When they arrived I handed out water bottles. Everyone was here but Yuna, but I had a feeling I knew where she was. I moved to sit inside the tent and Tidus asked me what I was doing.

"We need to go find Yuna."

"I know where she is."

"Why didn't you say so?" Wakka exclaimed.

I was beginning to lose patience with them and I snapped at him. "If you'd sit down and shut up for a minute I would!"

The tent was little more than a lean to, open at either end so any stray breeze would cool its occupants. "You should all drink as much as you can." I advised. I pointed at the box of supplies. "We'll take all the water we can carry, so drink up."

"You know where we are?" Auron asked me. He sat facing me, and had thrown off his cloak. He was still wearing his armour, and I thought he should probably remove it to avoid heat exhaustion, but I had a feeling he didn't want to be that exposed in front of us all so I said nothing about it.

I nodded. "I also think I know where Yuna is." I decided to be open about my dilemma. "My people have taken her Home. The thing is, Home is a secret known only to the Al Bhed. None of you would find it without my aid. I could guide you there, but it is forbidden to do so. No outsiders."

I looked around me. They were all listening intently. "I can guide you there, but if I do I will become a criminal to my people. To lead outsiders Home, it is punishable by banishment." I sighed. In a place like this banishment equals death, but they probably didn't realise that.

"So, we will have to find Yuna and then fight our way out. And I will only do that if you promise on your life that you will never reveal our home's location to anyone else."

Everyone agreed readily except Wakka. I didn't think he would betray us, but he was still upset about what had happened at Macalania temple and wasn't thinking clearly. I wouldn't budge though until I had his explicit promise.

Eventually the others brought him round and he agreed to abide by my conditions. "Good." Tidus made to get up to leave and I stayed him. "Tidus, wait." He turned and I gestured to his place. "We'll leave at sunset."

Tidus looked around and Auron nodded agreement so he sat down again. I handed out more fresh bottles of water, and stowed the empty ones back into the box. Then I unwrapped one of the parcels of food. There were tydac, ybneludc and baylrac, all semi-dried but luscious and sweet, and strips of lyldiyn, a fleshy succulent that was a staple in the diet of my people.
We feasted on this plenty and more of the water. It was cool and refreshing due to being stored under the dune, and I wanted us to be full to bursting like the lysam, a beast native to the desert that my people used for transport and as a beast of burden. These creatures would drink their fill at an oasis, storing the precious water, and then be able to travel for many days and nights without requiring more. We needed to do the same.

Auron quizzed me while we ate. "How long will it take for us to travel to your Home?"

"Three nights journey if we travel fast. On the third morning we should reach Home." He chewed thoughtfully on a piece of baylrac, and I guessed he was mentally calculating how much water we would need, how much we could carry, and coming up short. I reassured him. "There are other caches between here and Home. We should reach the next half way through our second night, but should take all that we can carry from here anyway. To be safe."

"And what if someone has done as we have, and taken the supplies?"

"My people check these outposts regularly and restock them. If we have to though we'll continue on to the next one after that."

Wakka was listening to our conversation and butted in. "Will we make it? If we get lost out here and run out of water..."

He was under strain and showing it clearly, but I still found his doubts obnoxiond bnd became angry. "We won't get lost! And if we can't make it to the next marker we'll just wait for the next Al Bhed group and get Home with them."

I turned to Auron. "Dnicd sa, E ghuf ruf du kieta oui ymm cyvamo Rusa. E bnuseca fa fuh'd kad mucd ykyeh."

He stared at me for a long moment. There was no warmth in his gaze, he had become again the stranger I had first met so long ago beside the Moonflow, thinking only of the pilgrimage and his role as a guardian. I had brought this on myself. Auron had warned me, but I had been blind to his reluctance. Now I had to salvage some pride.

"E bnuseca." I insisted.

I took a deep breath and let my mind return to practical matters. The azure sky was deepening to a velvet hue as the sun dipped below the horizon. Jahic, the brightest star now glowed brightly in the sky. It would set within the hour but by then other stars would be visible and would guide us on our way. It was time to go.

I distributed water and food among the others, and then pulled down the tent, folding it with my share of the water to carry. I was worried about Kimahri, and asked him whether he would need more water, but he shook his head. "Ronso fur keep out cold, keep out heat too. Kimahri fine."

When we left I took the compass and various other items as well. Most of them I wouldn't need if everything went to plan, but one of the others might if we got separated. I checked the sign once more then we set off for Home.

End of Part Eight

Al Bhed primer and translation guide:

Dnicd sa, E ghuf ruf du kieta oui ymm cyvamo Rusa = Trust me, I know how to guide you all safely Home
E bnuseca fa fuh'd kad mucd ykyeh = I promise we won't get lost again

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