FFXIII Episode i Part III

This is Part II of Final Fantasy XIII: Episode i written by Jun Eishima. The translation below is by Lissar.

"Excuse me! I’m sorry, but do you know a man named Bartholomew Estheim?" Hope yelled out to the men in the blue uniforms. He thought that perhaps one of them was Rygdea, or at least one of his men. Looking closer, he didn’t see a single familiar face. It seemed his troop wasn't there. "I know he was rescued in Palumpolum, doesn’t anyone…" Hope felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder, and he spun around, surprised. This man, as he had thought, wasn’t anyone he knew, but he seemed to have information.

"Your father is safe. I’ve seen him myself."

Hope's legs trembled, nearly falling to the ground in relief. He had never worried so much about his family. He'd never had reason to. Thinking back to when Bodhum had been closed off, he had watched the news reports everyday. It had never occurred to him that he was really hoping for any information he could find about his father.

"Unfortunately, the most important thing right now is helping the refugees. You might have to wait awhile until you can see your father."
"Oh. No, that’s alright. As long as I know that he's safe. Thank you."

Every single person left alive on Cocoon had to escape. An astounding number. Just leading them to shelter would have been enough work on its own, but food and water must be found for them as well. It was enough that he had taken the time to tell Hope of his father's safety.

Lightning clapped him on the back and smiled at him. Turning around, he saw Sazh and Snow giving him an encouraging nod. They had been worried about him.

"So what’s the full damage report on Cocoon?" Lightning addressed the soldier. His face became grim. Two thirds, it seemed, went undamaged. Which meant one third was not. People, cities… one third had been lost.

"They say the largest amount of destruction happened around Bodhum. But almost no lives were lost in that area. The Purge you know. Everyone was already gone."

Whether it was lucky, or ironic, Hope didn't know. But Bodhum, it was Lightning and Snow's home. How might they feel about that?

"You know, you’re right. We'll just have to make a new one."

Lightning’s words came back to him. Perhaps she had already known what had happened to Bodhum, after looking at the shell of Cocoon. Perhaps she had already dealt with it in her way.

"Um… also, an airship will be landing her soon. One with refugees." The soldier said in a low voice. "You might want to go somewhere else for awhile. People still might feel that, you know…"

"That we’re enemies of Cocoon."

They had nearly forgotten. The people of Cocoon didn't know what actually had happened. To them, it was the Pulse l'Cie who had destroyed Cocoon. It was the l'Cie that had driven them from paradise.

"Yes of course… if they were to see a l'Cie in front of them right now, there is only one action they'd think to take."

They remembered that day in Palumpolum. They remembered how they had been treated. Like enemies.

"Alright, we’ll do that. We don't want to cause any trouble right now."

"Sorry about this. You'll only have to hide for a little while. Once everyone knows who the real enemy was, they'll be able to trust you again. Just wait until then."

Hope wondered if that were really true. They had killed soldiers. They had only done it to survive, but still, they had killed so many of those in PSICOM. Those men and women in PSICOM must have families. It wouldn't matter, in the end, what the truth was. They would still feel they were the enemy. He didn't want to forget what those soldiers had done to him. He didn't know whether or not he had the strength to forgive. But he wouldn't run away. He couldn't run away.

There was probably nothing he could do for them. What could he do, now that he had lost his l'Cie powers, now that he was human? But he didn't want to return to the way he was. Helpless, always running away from his problems. Now he knew what it was like to be afraid that you might lose your family. To actually lose them.

The soldier had already turned away, returning to his duties.

"Um… is-is there anything I can do to help?" He yelled, running after him.

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