Thursday, October 8, 2009

Episode Zero: Chapter Four

According to old records, the Strange Ruins of Bowdam have been here for hundreds of years. The old buildings and residences of Cocoon are usually called “historic”, but things from Pulse are called “strange ruins”.
It was probably brought here during the War of Revelations, as materials to repair the places that had been destroyed. It is well know that the fal’Cie would bring in materials from Pulse to maintain the structures of Cocoon. But the strange thing is, in all those hundreds of years it was never used as materials to repair the buildings, it was never used for construction, it was never returned to Pulse. It had just remained in Bowdam, waiting.
Whether there are plans for it, or whether it is being saved for something, no one knows. For the immortal fal’Cie several hundred years mean nothing. No human could understand the thoughts of the fal’Cie.
In any case, it was all a mystery. Perhaps those close to the government knew something more, but a regular citizen like Serah knew nothing.
“No matter how many times I see it, I still think it’s strange....” Serah looked up at the towering ruins. Who could have built this?
Normal humans cannot live on Pulse. Frequent natural disasters and violent monsters running rampant make it impossible. She had heard that the only ones living there were practically barbarians. There is no way they could have built such a large complicated structure. She had heard, also, that on Pulse there is a fal’Cie just like there is on Cocoon. But unlike Cocoon’s fal’Cie, who only visits blessings on the people there, the fal’Cie of Pulse brings destruction.
If that that’s the case, then it couldn’t have been the fal’Cie of Pulse. If it had been built by something as terrible as that, then it would have been dangerous to Cocoon, and Cocoon’s fal’Cie would have destroyed it and used its materials.
But if it wasn’t the fal’Cie of Pulse, and it wasn’t the barbarians, then who had built it?
Many books and papers had been written on the subject. Everyone wanted to know. But no answers were found. It’s an old story, that no one would find the answer is understandable.
Serah became interested in history because of mysteries like these. And because of that her grades in history became much higher. She sometimes thought that if she hadn’t grown up around the Strange Ruins of Bowdam that she wouldn’t have become as interested in history, but she didn’t know for sure.
There was nothing like an unsolved mystery to exhilarate Serah. Even if there was no right answer, it was fun just imagining what it could be. Of course, if the mystery was solved that would make it even better.
“If only I could go inside.”
But there were no entrances to the ruins. There was no information reported about what was inside. Whether there was open space just like any building or not was unknown. Serah touched the outside. It wasn’t made of stone or metal. It was cool to the touch. No, it was probably some sort of metal, just not a kind that she saw everyday. Or at least not one used for buildings.
When it was made in Pulse, it probably felt very different. It has been worn down by the wind and rain of Cocoon for hundreds of years. Probably not only the texture had been changed, but the color and shape may have changed as well.
Serah looked up at the top of the ruins, and slowly walked around it, keeping her gaze at the top. When she did that, it looked as if the ruins were moving. When she was little this was something her sister had showed her. She heard that her father had shown her sister. Serah had been there when he had shown it to her, but she couldn’t remember.
It never changes here, Serah thought. Five years before, ten years before, now. So probably five and ten years from now it will be the same too. Even after I die, she thought, it probably still be here, unchanged...
Then, she felt something strange. On the outside wall of the ruins she felt a change under her fingertips. Surprised, Serah looked at the wall. The outside wall had shifted, and that shift opened up into the inside.
Serah gazed in wonderment at the inside.
“It’s open!?”
Since when? When she had been here a couple of days earlier there had been no change. She had looked at the ruins since she was little. She would never miss even the slightest change, especially not one as big as an entrance.
Perhaps a government research team had finally managed to open it. Serah walked a ways inside.
“Is anyone... here?”
There was no answer. There were no guards, so it probably wasn’t a research mission.
“It will be okay if I look around for a little bit ...right?”
If it were found out that she entered without permission, she would get in a lot of trouble, but in the end her curiosity won out.
She stepped softly inside the ruins. She hoped that she would at least be able to get to the very center. The center of the ruins from Pulse. This was something that came from outside of Cocoon. She was excited, thinking how close she was to finding out the secrets of the ruins. But the farther she went, the more she started to feel she was being disrespectful. The air inside the ruins was so cool and quiet.
The ruins seemed to be far bigger on the inside than the seemed on the outside. There were paths and stairs winding everywhere inside. It was obvious that there were no people here. Not only did she see no one, but heard no voices, not even any small sound. Despite that, the inside of the ruins was bright. There were lights along the pathways. As Serah went in deeper, she wondered what sort of device was used. The lights seemed to get brighter, as if they were showing her the way.
“Oh wow....!”
She had only meant it as a whisper, but it echoed loud in her ears. She put her hand to her mouth. She let out a small sigh, and looked again. The architecture was strange. The floor seemed to be made of stone, but it was completely different from any of the ancient buildings in Cocoon. The floor, and walls, and paths were all made perfectly straight. So it probably made by someone skilled. The lines met together elaborately, and created a beautiful harmony.
“I wonder what is in here?”
She looked upwards. The ceiling far above was bright enough that she could see it clearly even from below. There was a flight of stairs that went up. There must be something there.
In that moment the landing on the stairs brightened. It was like it was saying, “If you want to know more, come.” Serah didn’t hesitate for a moment, and put her foot on the stairs. Her footsteps echoed. The stair steps felt like they were a different height than the were in Cocoon, but not so much that it caused her trouble to walk up them.
She went up a bit more, and came upon another straight path, but that path became another stairway shortly after. The stairway was long, but she didn’t feel tired. Everything was so much more interesting than any museum that she had ever seen. The geometric walls, the square patterns of the floor. Serah was in a trance as she made her way upward.
The paths and stairs were fairly complex, but she never got lost. Like before, the way before her became brighter when she reached it. Showing her the way perhaps, but it helped her go higher.
What was this place made for, she wondered. Questions she had thought about many times over the years came to mind. It didn’t seem that this place was made for anything evil. She couldn’t feel anything malevolent in the air.
“But... I am a bit tired. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the top...”
She had already passed through many stairs, paths and small rooms. She rested herself against the stairs for a moment, and looked down. She wasn’t even half way up. Of course this was the same ruins that she always thought nearly touched the heavens. It wouldn’t be easy to get to the top of this place.
“Just a little bit more...”
She thought if she’s going to go back down anyway, she might as well go to the midway point. Her feet were tired, but she carried on. She was breathing heavily, going slowly up the stairs, when something caught her eye.
“How beautiful!”
On the edge of the next landing there was a pillar of light. Different from the lights on the pathway, it was a soft, green light.
“I’ll rest over there. That light probably means it’s a rest area.”
When she got closer, she saw that there were more pillars of light further up. The light washed down over her, erasing her weariness. Yes, this must be a rest area, she thought, as she leaned against the pedestal.
Suddenly there came a rumbling from inside the ruins. Surprised, Serah jumped up. The floor and walls in front of her began to move. She realized she must have been to optimistic about those pillars of light. They didn’t mark a rest area, but some kind of transporter.
Worried, Serah looked around. Stairways were made flat, pathways turned into walls, the whole inside of the ruins was changing. On the floor below, a huge cylinder fell down with a groan. I wonder if that’s a power source, she thought.
Suddenly, the stairway in front of her disappeared. She thought it would become a straight path like the others, but no. There was nothing there. It turned into a dead end.
“Now what’ll I do...”
The rumbling stopped, and everything became quiet again. She only had a brief moment of relief before a strange red pattern floated in the space before her. It was the same strange pattern that she had seen on the lower floors. Except, she thought she had seen it before, before she ever came here. Where have I seen it? she thought.
The red pattern suddenly let out a burst of bright light. Serah covered her face. A strange board appeared in the air. Not really a board, more like a floor that floats in the air.
“This is... like an elevator, right? An ancient one.”
She had seen ancient elevators, when she had visited one of the historical sites of Cocoon. But this “elevator” was far different from the ones she had seen before.
“I guess I’ll just have to ride it and see.”
Serah jumped on the platform. She didn’t even think that it might be dangerous. Like the lights on the pathways and stairs before, the elevator grew brighter too, leading her on. She was right, the elevator slowly started moving upward. Serah felt satisfied just that it would take her to the top.
The ceiling grew closer. The light became so bright it hurt. Finally the elevator stopped. Have I reached the top floor? Serah wondered. The air here felt cooler than it did on the bottom floor.
“Are these... crystal particles?”
Floating in the cool air were millions of tiny twinkling lights. Rather than think it beautiful, she felt, somewhere deep inside her, that it was holy. She straightened her back, and walked through the sparkling particles floating through the air. It’s times like this that make you want to pray, she thought.
The doors opened, like they were telling her that they will soon answer her every question. She went in. It was dark. She started to worry that this might not be a place she should be entering. But the path brightened. It wasn’t as bright as the path she was on before, but neither was it dark. This must be the right path, she thought.
Serah continued on, and the light grew slowly brighter. Yes this is right, she said to herself, I’m on the right path.
“Is something... there?”
She couldn’t quite see in the faint light. There was something ahead of her, something huge. Something alive. And it’s moving. Inside of it, a cold light gleamed.
“A crystal!? But, but why?”
In the next moment a bright burning light burst forth. It was a pure white light, so bright that she had to close her eyes. But a picture formed in her mind. It was big, and horrible.
What... What is it!?
She screamed but nothing escaped her throat. The large, horrible something raised itself up and writhed. There was a cry, but she couldn’t hear it. No, no I can hear it. It’s a song. Someone is singing. What song is this? What does it mean?
Then, she could no longer think. Everything grew dark.

7 comments:

SilentBloodShed said...

:3 im startin to like serah more n more :P! she'z so brave lol..btw this was a really interestin chapter @.@!! i want this game so badly :3!

Silentg said...

Wow, this is the best chapter so far! This is so exciting!!

Anonymous said...

This wasn't as good as previous chapters... This was even a bit boring. Awesome translating anyways!

Gameskyjumper said...

This is getting interesting.
When I read the story, I open another tab on Internet Explorer and go the the Final Fantasy XIII Japan official website. Then I can listen to the wonderful musics and enjoy the story at the same time.

Arashi said...

In that moment the landing on the stairs brightened. ... The stair steps felt like they were a different height than "the" were in Cocoon, but not so much that it caused her trouble to walk up them.

..than "theY" were in Cocoon,...
A little Typo =).
Thanks for the great translation!

Anonymous said...

Holy crap Serah got turned into a l'Cie! OMG that was so intense!!

Minchenator said...

Great translations! :)
Serah went all Lara Croft lol xD

 
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