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DFFOO Fan Fic: “A truth that’s concealed; finally revealed”

Discussion in 'General' started by Epsilon, Apr 28, 2021.

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  1. Epsilon

    Epsilon Mogglesguard GL Player

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    A truth that’s concealed, finally revealed
    Part 1/3

    The forest recoiled as a shockwave violently stripped the leaves from tree branches overhead.

    Dazed, Lightning rose to her feet, squinting against the debris in the air.

    That came from the airship she thought to herself. “Serah!”.

    Lightning took off at a run, darting past others who were still processing what was happening. She burst into the clearing where the airship was docked.

    “Serah!”

    Smoke was billowing from above. Lightning stopped to scan the crowd gathering around the ship.

    “On your guard, beware!” came a now-familiar voice. “I sense torsions everywhere!” It was Professor Shantotto, already holding her staff ready for battle.

    Funny, Lightning thought, how naturally we fight alongside these strange companions of ours now. She took some small comfort from knowing Serah was likely surrounded by other such trustworthy allies.

    Black rifts opened at once in several places around them and above the airship. All around, people were breaking off into small groups as monsters began clawing their way out of the torsions.

    With a thud that made the ground shake, a hulking behemoth dropped from the nearest torsion mere feet in front of them. The beast landed on all fours, it’s bulging musculature tensed. With a mighty roar, the creature broke into a run, baring its scythe-like claws.

    Fwoosh.

    Lightning felt the air sizzle with energy as Shantotto launched a Bio spell at their enemy.

    Unsheathing her blade, Lightning ran to intercept, leaping as the Bio spell burst in the brute’s face.

    As the Behemoth recoiled, Lightning planted her feet on it’s outstretched legs, springing into a pirouette to strike the beast in its open mouth.

    A moment later she landed, as the monster fell, gouging a deep trench into the earth with its weight.

    “Ohoho- oh!?” Shantotto’s cackling laugh was cut off in surprise.

    Lightning looked up in time to see a torsion open directly beneath Shantotto who immediately began to fall.

    “No!” Lightning cried, sprinting towards her, arm outstretched. The torsion was too far and she could only watch as Shantotto disappeared into the roiling blackness. The torsion closed between them with a soft fwup.

    Before long, the sounds of battle began to die down and Lightning felt the tension in her chest loosen somewhat as she spotted Serah, bow in hand, sharing a joke with Tidus and Balthier.

    “Is everyone alright, kupo?” it was Mog, their Moogle spirit guide. He came floating out from behind cover in that eerie way Lightning never quite got used to.

    “They took Shantotto.” she announced, prompting worried looks from those within earshot.

    Y’shtola stepped out of the crowd towards them, an idea glinting in her eye. “Are you able to track her?” she asked Mog.

    “On it, kupo!” Mog scrunched up his face, making a strange sound of intense concentration.

    “Help!” cried another voice from the crowd. It was Tifa. “We need a healer.” She emerged from the airship, amid clouds of black smoke, carrying the motionless form of Vivi.

    Before anyone could approach, Vivi began to sparkle before fading into a cloud of silvery blue brilliance.

    ***
     
  2. Epsilon

    Epsilon Mogglesguard GL Player

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    A truth that’s concealed, finally revealed
    Part 2/3

    An hour or so later, the airship landed in a city Tifa and her friends had identified as Midgar. They disembarked at the foot of a tall conical building surrounded by scaffolding and cranes.

    Mog had revealed Shantotto’s coordinates placed her somewhere within the building.

    Lightning coughed as she breathed in the warm, polluted air, gazing up at the imposing structure.

    “Up there.” Y’shtola appeared at her shoulder, pointing. There seemed to be a window large enough to enter some way above them. “The main entrance is like to be well-guarded.”

    Even from a distance, Lightning could see she was right. Through the glass doors, they could see an army of silvery shapes. Manikins.

    The group was still reeling from the sudden loss of Vivi, though Lightning found the shock only hardened her resolve to save her remaining ally.

    “Let’s go.” Lightning confirmed, and as the main group headed towards the window, she and Y’shtola approached a ladder conveniently propped against the nearest scaffolding.

    The sounds of battle rang out below as they climbed.

    “Why do you think they took her?” Lightning asked, partly to distract herself from worrying about Serah, fighting below.

    “Brilliance?” Y’shtola ventured, starting to sound slightly out of breath. “Her magic?”.

    “A trap?” drawled a sardonic voice, as the ladder exploded beneath their hands.

    Lightning leaped and rolled, landing on a metal platform part way up the structure, her ears ringing from the magical blast.

    Mere feet away, Y’shtola clung to the remnants of the ladder, The Emperor levitating menacingly towards her.

    A cruel grin spread across his face as he gathered electricity into the point of his staff, ready to strike.

    Lightning kicked off from the ground hard, swinging out with her blade.

    The air sizzled as she triggered a magical trap, throwing her backwards. Lightning was dimly aware of her sword flying from her grip before she hit the ground, hard.

    “Uwaagghh!” The Emperor cried out as a whirlwind collided with him in mid air. Zidane landed on the metal platform nearby.

    “That was close!” he called out, his face uncharacteristically serious as he helped pull Y’shtola up.

    “You worm!” The Emperor cried, rage written in every line of his face. “You have not won this!” He raised his staff once again, ready to strike.

    “Indeed.” said Y’shtola. “I would say the same of you.” she launched a Stone spell that collided full force, knocking The Emperor away from them.

    Lightning staggered to her feet. “Together!” she cried, running toward the edge of the platform, even without her sword. She leapt into the open air towards The Emperor, Zidane leaping beside her.

    Spinning in the air, she caught a dagger from Zidane, before landing feet first on his chest, and plunging the dagger down to the hilt. Zidane, hooking his tail around The Emperor’s legs, used his momentum to spin himself around and do the same from behind.

    With a cry of pain, The Emperor began to fall, Lightning and Zidane using his body to launch themselves back to the platform.

    “Not bad.” smirked Y’shtola, readying a healing Medica spell.

    Having retrieved her sword, Lightning continued to climb, Zidane springing ahead and Y’shtola at her side.

    By the time Lightning reached the window, Zidane was already examining the frame for a way to prise it open. He turned his face away as she approached in a failed attempt to hide his anger and grief.

    Y’shtola was a way behind, panting for breath from the long climb. I need to say something Lightning thought.

    “I’m sorry. Your friend-” her words of comfort cut off in her throat as she looked through the window.

    At the far end of the clinical looking room beyond the glass, a metal door slid open.

    Two otherworldly manikins entered, their expressions blank. Behind them stood...

    “Vivi!?”

    ***
     
  3. Epsilon

    Epsilon Mogglesguard GL Player

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    A truth that’s concealed, finally revealed
    Part 3/3

    The window exploded outward in a fiery blast. Zidane and Lightning were thrown backwards.

    Landing on all fours, Lightning braced herself to strike, despite the smell of burning hair and the taste of blood in her mouth.

    The two manikins began to emerge from the shattered window. One was clearly recognisable as Cloud, while the other-

    “Damn it.” Lightning muttered. Bracing herself. The second manikin was Serah.

    “We fight.” Y’shtola declared, enveloping the three of them in her healing magicks.

    Zidane sprang into action, whipping his twin daggers vertically towards the manikin-Cloud, who met them both with his Buster sword.

    Manikin-Serah aimed her bow, her gaze fixed on Lightning who barely managed to deflect the attack with a swipe of her sword.

    Meanwhile, Vivi emerged from the window, spinning his staff, causing a flaming meteor to appear, ready to crush them all and the scaffold beneath their feet.

    Y’shtola spread her arms, tail rigid as she summoned Holy magic to counter the meteor.

    The magicks collided with a blinding explosion, causing the scaffold to sway perilously to one side.

    The manikin-Cloud exploded into brilliance as Zidane landed a telling blow, launching it into the air. Meanwhile, the manikin-Serah stumbled, thrown off balance by the angle of the scaffold.

    Instinctively, Lightning reached out, but was too slow to catch her before the doppelgänger careened over the side.

    “Lightning!” Zidane called from the window, helping Y’shtola climb inside as the scaffold continued to lean sideways.

    Fueled by rage, Lightning sprinted as the ground pitched upwards managing to dive through the broken window just as the structure gave way cutting off their exit.

    Cries could be heard from below amidst a cacophony of crashing metal.

    “Enough!” Lightning cried, wheeling to face Vivi. “Explain yourself!”

    Vivi was already on his back covered in dirt. His staff lay some feet away and Y’shtola brandished her own weapon at him in warning.

    “That’s not Vivi!” cried Zidane. “He wouldn’t- it’s a manikin!”

    Despite his words, Lightning noticed Zidane lower his daggers a fraction.

    Vivi made a pitiful display of clutching his hat down low around his face but still said nothing.

    Lightning felt her rose coloured hair whipped from her face as a torsion began to open in the room drawing a strong gust of wind into it.

    “Ohohoho!” from within the portal, Professor Shantotto emerged, her laugh grating on the last of Lightning’s frayed patience.

    “Is everyone alright?” she snapped, in no mood for Shantotto’s eccentricities.

    Shantotto smiled her shark’s smile before singing in her lilting voice “Such a crude greeting, to precursor your beating!”

    Before they could react, Shantotto knocked each of them off their feet with balls of Aero magic.

    “What the hell!?” Zidane exclaimed, nursing a bruised head.

    “Are you yet to catch on? Then don’t deny me my fun!” Shantotto cackled again, as the air pulsed with energy.

    “Prepare yourselves!” Y’shtola warned, launching her own magic at the Professor.

    Shantotto easily deflected the attack, her sandy blonde hair fanning out behind her as she rose into the air, readying another spell.

    “Why are you doing this!?” Lightning demanded aiming a feinting slash at her midriff.

    The diminutive mage reeled back, as Zidane struck a whirling blow from the side. Shantotto fell to her knees before addressing them again.

    “This is at my behest, I’ve a theory to test.” With a speed that belied her chunky frame, Shantotto launched her staff at them. Zidane somersaulted out of the way while Lightning parried the staff away.

    Y’shtola meanwhile readied another Holy spell, which threw Shantotto from her feet. Landing catlike, another wicked grin spread across her face as she used her magick to change the direction of the staff, which suddenly arced towards the cowering Vivi.

    “No!” Zidane yelled as the staff made contact with a sickening crack. Vivi was thrown against the wall, where he crumpled motionless.

    The four of them watched, waiting for the usual release of brilliance that signals a manikin’s defeat. None came. Vivi lay prone.

    “There’s a truth that’s concealed.” Shantotto began. “The fact is... we’re not real!” she struck again with the staff and finally, Vivi burst into a larger explosion of brilliance.

    Zidane fell to his knees, his hands outstretched as Vivi’s brilliance dissipated.

    “There’s no need to despair. For your friend... is there.” the door opened and Vivi entered.

    “What are you saying?” Lightning demanded. “What the hell is wrong with you!?”

    “What I’ve learned from these clones... We can never go home.”

    “By the Twelve!” Y’shtola gasped. “You mean to say you created this perfect copy of Vivi with your will?”

    Zidane looked up hopefully.

    “Your theory...” Y’shtola continued “is that we are not our real selves... we’re copies created by the gods, or the crystals of this world...”

    With a significant effort, Shantotto focused her will and the brilliance reformed into Vivi.

    “Zidane!” Vivi said, as the two Vivi’s stood side by side.

    A look of intense relief spread across Zidane’s face but was soon replaced by anger.

    “This means we can’t go home...” Y’shtola added, lost in her own thoughts. “We can’t return... because we were never there.”

    Lightning caught on. “We weren’t summoned, we were created. That explains the discrepancy in our memories.”

    “I-is that true?” one of the Vivis asked hesitantly.

    Shantotto nodded. “Brilliance is the fuel, the product of our duel.”

    Zidane looked at Y’shtola for an explanation.

    “She’s saying our battles produce brilliance. This brilliance can be shaped by a strong will. It can produce manikins, monsters, the slices of our home worlds we have visited.” Y’shtola paced, stroking her chin in thought.

    “You’re saying we are brilliance too... more concentrated than the manikins we fell, but in essence the same?”

    “It doesn’t matter.” Vivi interrupted, suddenly resolute. “Even if we can’t go home. We are real. We’re here, living our lives. That makes us real. Just because we didn’t do the things we remember, that doesn’t make us any less ourselves. Right, Zidane?”

    The six of them looked at each other in silence.

    Lightning thought of her friends below. Of Serah, possibly having been crushed by the scaffold. Could they be reborn purely by force of will?

    “... right?”

    -END
     
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