Episode Zero -Friends- Chapter 2

This is the second chapter of Part Two: Friends of Episode Zero -Promise- written by Jun Eishima.
The translation below is by Lissar. Because official romanizations of the names have not yet been released, they might be off.

Ewleede Canyon was a very popular tourist spot. The energy plant there had a route set up for field trips and visitors, and it was said that the surrounding scenery was some of the most beautiful in all Cocoon.
The fact that you could see fal’Cie Kujata, the fal’Cie in charge of the plant, didn’t hurt either. The fal’Cie are important, supporting the people of Cocoon’s way of life, but it was not often that regular people got to see them so close.
That is why many of the people who visit the Coastal City of Bowdam also take a trip out to Ewleede Canyon. You could see the latest equipment inside the plant, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and then see a fal’Cie. It was those three things together that made this place such a draw for visitors.
Beside the plant there was a plaza with gift shops lined up, waiting for the tourists. Children on school field trips would meet there in groups, and you could always hear their excited voices. That’s the Ewleede Canyon everyone knew. But today was different.
“It’s completely different from those videos….” Hope murmured. They had finally arrived in Ewleede. The plaza was closed off, with tape stretched across the entrance. Armored soldiers were on guard. There were no places selling food and drink, no places selling balloons.
“It was a pretty big accident. I can’t believe there are more soldiers here than tourists.”
His mother seemed to be having fun, not bothered by any of it, but she couldn’t hide her surprise at how heavily guarded the place was.
“It must be hard for those soldiers from Bowdam. And they’ll be busy with the fireworks festival soon too.”
“No, that’s not their uniform, it’s PSICOMs… I think. But those people over there are regular soldiers.”
“I think so. I saw it in a picture that Kai showed me once.”
Kai’s dream was to become an airship pilot for the army when he grew up, so he knew a lot about it. If Kai were here he would know each type of gun that the soldiers were carrying. Hope hadn’t seen Kai for nearly three years. He had moved because of his parent’s job. Even though it was just to the next town over, their school was different, so they hadn’t really spoken much. At first they had called and mailed each other, but that grew gradually less and less…
“Hey, isn’t that the same pet shop we saw in Bowdam?”
Hope stopped his train of thought to look at where his mother was pointing. The familiar logo was spread across the closed shutter in front of the store.
“Isn’t that the place that was selling those baby chocobos?”
“Yes that one, they had said that their store in Ewleede was all sold out… I can’t believe all that happened here.”
That was on the day they had arrived in Bowdam. After checking into their condo, his mother had said she wanted to look around the shopping mall. Who would have thought then that an accident would happen in Ewleede.
Some children ran passed Hope. They must be on a field trip today today, he thought. No, wait, all schools are on vacation right now, so there’s probably just some sort of special event for children.
“Hurry up! Look, we’re already late.”
There’s a girl like that in every class, one who always tries to get everyone to obey the rules. There had been one in Hope’s class. There was one now. It was probably impossible for one not to be in a class. Just like a Cocoon without a fal’Cie was impossible.
“…. then I went on that nature field trip.”
“Oh, that one in Sanles?”
“Yes, that one.”
He turned at the voice. The girl spoke with pride. She must be talking about the Sanctum’s nature observational field trip, Hope thought. The Sanles Riverside is one of Cocoon’s few nature preserves. Since it is maintained for ecological research, citizens are not usually allowed inside. The only time they are is when the Sanctum has observational trips. They have the trips several times a year, and mostly only let school or other groups participate. The ones who get to go are chosen by lottery, and even if you apply for a trip you most likely won’t be chosen.
Only lucky kids get to go to Sanles. It was no wonder that girl was boasting about it. Kai probably boasted about it at his new school, saying that he went on the nature field trip at his old school.
“What’s wrong Hope?”
His mother had walked a bit ahead of him. She stopped, and looked back.
“No, just these kids that passed by were talking about Sanles. I was thinking about it.”
“Oh right, your school won the lottery on that didn’t they? Was that five years ago?”
When Kai was still there, and Elida. The three of them had always been together. At Sanles they had been together. He remembered running on the path behind them. He wondered if they still remembered the adventure they had there.

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