Categories > Games > Final Fantasy X-2 > Unwavering Symphony

Chapter 7

by animeangelash 0 reviews

At the moment, Shuyin didn't find refuting the other man to be a worthy pursuit. What did it matter anymore if he knew? It really wasn't a secret worth keeping now. Not if Lenne were dead.

Category: Final Fantasy X-2 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance - Characters: Lenne, Shuyin - Published: 2006-06-06 - Updated: 2006-06-07 - 5545 words

Disclaimer: None of these characters or settings belong to me. I am merely borrowing them from Square Enix.


"Okay, I think he's calmed down. Do you have some eye drops? Thanks, thanks."

These words bounced lazily back and forth inside Shuyin's head, warped and echoing, as if he were hearing them from the bottom of a lake. Beyond them, as if from further away, there were other distorted sounds. Bustling, shouting, screaming, frantic footsteps, an alarm . . .

"Shuyin," a resonating voice called to him. "Shuyin, are you awake? Can you hear me?"

"Yasuo?" Shuyin choked out, his own voice nearly inaudible, even as the background noises began to grow louder and more distinct. "I can't see."

"Working on it," Yasuo responded quickly. This was abruptly followed by the sound of tearing plastic, and then a cool, soothing sensation through his eyes, which he now realized had been burning uncomfortably. Almost immediately, he was blinded by a brilliant light, and for several moments he saw naught but white. Then, slowly, shapes began to emerge from the bright mire. One of said shapes leaned forward some, and the features of Yasuo quickly appeared upon it.

"Do you realize how much of an ass you are when you're confused?" Yasuo said, pointing irritably at his eye, the skin around which was already beginning to swell and blacken.

"What?" Shuyin asked, voice crackly and weak. Feebly, he tried to prop himself up, but quickly found himself on his back once again, pain shooting through every limb and an undignified yelp on his lips.

"Careful," Yasuo advised with the manner of a chiding mother. "Don't move around too much. You're in pretty bad shape, especially your head."

Moving a bit slower this time, Shuyin tried to reach his arms back to examine his head for himself and see what Yasuo was talking about. The first one was a no-go; turning it even the slightest amount was agony for him. His other arm however, while sore, was fortunately able to bend at the correct angle. Gingerly touching the side of his head, his fingers met an uncomfortable warmth and tackiness. Groaning, he set his arm back at his side, not having to see the red on his hand to know what it was.

Briefly, Shuyin tossed around the idea of checking the damage to the rest of his body, but quickly realized that that wouldn't be possible, considering that he was all but immobile. This was just as well, he realized, as the memory of the explosion began to return to him in more vivid color. Frankly, he preferred to wait as long as possible to see the extent of his injuries, as well as figure out just why he couldn't feel his feet.

"What happened?" he asked, staring at the palm of his hand, where an untreated wound was beginning to clot.

"They say they aren't going to disclose anything until they're sure," Yasuo answered. "But, I have been hearing things."


"Some Bevelle spies were able to infiltrate the stadium without being noticed. Well, that's not completely true. Somebody claimed that they saw one of them in the hallway leading up to the box seats. Said he was looking for the restroom or something and got off."

"And they set up bombs?"

"Supposedly. One in Yunalesca's box, one under the stage, one in each section of the stands."

Out of the corner of his eye, Shuyin spotted Yasuo curling his knees up to his chest, resting his forehead on them. "And . . . apparently, they set up one in each section of the lobby and outer hallway. That's what those earlier blasts were. They think it was because,"-a pause, the feeling about it a very disturbed one-"because they wanted to make it harder for the people inside to get out, and for help to get in."

Though the lack of effectiveness of digging his nails into the concrete was quickly established, the ferocity that built within Shuyin's chest wouldn't let him quit. "Have they found them yet?"

"No. They're looking though. This entire district's been sealed off to help with the effort. Actually, all of the east quarter has been." Turning toward his companion, Yasuo attempted a lopsided smile. "There's a reason we're not in a proper hospital, you know."

"When are they going to let us go?" Shuyin asked warily, rather sure that he already knew the answer and praying that he didn't.

"Until those guys are caught, or the authorization is given to remove the barricades. That's what I'm getting from all the yelling that's been going on, anyway."

"Wonderful," Shuyin spat, knocking his fist against the ground and gritting his teeth at the twinge of pain that ran through it. Laying his head against the grit of the street, he gazed at the sideways picture of hell beyond. For the first time since he had woken, he saw for himself that they were no longer in the stadium. The streetlights-which were what had initially blinded him-shone down upon the street that led to the stadium. At the same time, it illuminated the many bodies that had been spread out across the concrete once they were dragged from the arena. Shuyin let his gaze drift about the scene, trying to find a place where he could rest it without having to look at death. However, he found no such place. Screams and tears and pain encompassed the entirety of the ghastly scene, and without the aid that was so desperately needed, death would become even more prevalent soon.

Out of habit of thought, he momentarily pondered whether or not the summoners would come. The people that had died from the attack would have to be Sent, since it could be certain that most of them would not take to death willingly . . . then recollection hit him as harshly as if he had been kicked in the stomach.

"Has anyone said anything about Lenne?" he said, dropping the nonchalant tone that the subject had entailed in the past. He did try to hide the fear and desperation from his voice though, but it didn't go so well. That foggy image flashed before his eyes once again: the stage support snapping in half before the whole thing went crashing to the ground. There was nowhere she could have gone but beneath it. Not the way it was tilting . . .

For a moment, he could feel Yasuo's gaze boring into the side of his head, and did his best to ignore it. Then, the moment elapsed, and his patience was rewarded with a suspicious, "No. Not that I've heard."

"Right," said Shuyin, eyes turning towards the starless night sky so that he wouldn't have to look at anything else. However, he found no sanctuary there either, for his gaze soon fell upon a fat pillar of smoke, the stadium undoubtedly its source. He then sufficed for shutting his eyes altogether. "Just . . . tell me if you hear anything, all right?"

Another pause. "Sure," came the response. Though the tone was ripe with curiosity, there came no follow-up question, for which Shuyin was grateful. From there, the two fell to silence, leaving them with nothing to do but try not to listen to the screams.

By the time the first grayish rays of sunlight made an attempt to peek past the buildings, several Zanarkand officials could be spotted moving down the rows of bodies, demanding the names of each individual they passed (to the person themselves, or to a neighbor, if the person in question was too far gone to speak). Upon receiving each name, they would scan the directories on the clipboards held tightly in their arms, make a check, and move on. However, on occasion, additional officers were called over, and the person in question would be hauled away, more often than not on a stretcher.

"They're checking identities," Yasuo said offhandedly, rolling a shoulder and stretching his arms out. "Making sure everyone here is a resident."

"And if they're not . . ." Shuyin muttered, watching as a half-crippled man was dragged to his feet by a pair of officials and quickly escorted down his row. He had to have been at least sixty.

Yasuo twitched involuntarily. "Pity them, I say."

Mercifully, with the coming of these officials came a various assortment of mages, alchemists, and even a misplaced summoner or two. They worked with a frantic efficiency, dancing amongst the lines and handing out potions, remedies, and cure spells as they saw fit. Eventually, one of the alchemists-a blunt, aloof woman-stopped beside Shuyin and Yasuo, assessed them, set down a few hi-potions, and swiftly departed.

"Looks like they're saving the X-potions for those guys who are really bad off," Yasuo commented, twisting the corks off two of the hi-potion bottles and handing one to Shuyin.

"Hey, if you're going to whine about it, I'll take yours," Shuyin threatened. "More for me."

"Point taken," Yasuo conceded, knocking his bottle against the one Shuyin held. "Cheers," he said, and downed the concoction, Shuyin following suit.

After draining two of the hi-potion bottles and setting them aside, Shuyin laid back for a few moments, feeling the tonic run through his blood and rush toward his wounds. Soon after, the pain began to ebb away, leaving behind a deadened ache instead of the searing sting that had accompanied his movements shortly before. After checking his hand and finding the wound there gone, he slowly got to his feet and tested his mended-but still fragile-body. The ache was sharper when he moved, running down his bones like fire on an oil trail, but he didn't let it hinder him.

When he had adjusted enough that it was possible to walk with a lesser amount of pain, Shuyin started down the rows at a limp, briefly scanning each form for brown hair and brown eyes, as well as any sort of cobalt cloth.

As he surveyed them, he saw that in addition to having more ghastly wounds than he cared to see, several of them were inflicted with a variety of strange anomalies. They varied from a greenish tinge, accompanied by spastic convulsions; to eyes blackened with an unnatural sort of smoke; to screams stolen from throats, leaving the victim in question only to gasp and cough in wake of their voice; to those immobile and tinted a sickly sort of gray; to those with yellow sparks flying about before their eyes; and lastly, to those whose skin radiating a deep and threatening crimson. Most of those that were inflicted with the last two, he noticed, had been painstakingly strapped down.

Yasuo was close at his heels during the entire excursion, occasionally supplying a comment to the effect of, ""Why are you so worried?" or "You don't even know her".

Shuyin, however, remained silent, continuing to check each of the bodies and nursing a twisted stomach after coming in contact with any deceased ones that looked too familiar. He wandered indiscriminately, both praying for and fearing when he would find Lenne. He contemplated what kind of shape she might be in when that time rolled around, which did nothing but bring him very close to being physically sick. The smell of blood and charred flesh didn't exactly help with the unwanted visions either.

Quickly, he realized that the body count was far worse than he had been able to work out from his earlier position. The rows stretched down the street, weaving around corners and continuing on for what seemed like an eternity.

As he followed these rows, pausing every once in a while to ask questions of the conscious and to check those that looked familiar at first glance, he soon found his way back to the stadium. When he saw it, a word quickly came to mind, and he found no other word to better describe it: obliterated.

Almost the entire roof was gone, probably having collapsed in upon itself long before. Only a small piece retained some semblance of its previous shape, and even then the metal that composed it was jutting out at disturbing angles. Bits of debris floated about the water surrounding the building, each carrying the dismal feel of a corpse after a shipwreck. The walls were blown out, leaving a frail skeleton of metal and concrete to support the building's much heavier top end. Truly, it looked as if it might collapse at any moment.

"Bevelle's not playing around anymore, are they?" Yasuo said cryptically as the two stared at the building, which was to some the first sign of a war that had begun long ago.

Shuyin didn't respond, letting his gaze drift up the pillar of smoke that rose from the stadium's open roof, and then back down to the stadium itself, where the shouts of rescue crews could still be heard. Immediately, a wave of nausea hit him as he fell upon the thought of her still being inside the stadium. Again, he thought of the stage, and the fact that she had nowhere to go but underneath it.

He must have unknowingly voiced such terrors, for Yasuo then turned to him, an eyebrow raised, asking, "She who? Lenne?"

Another moment of panic, and Shuyin quickly turned away, forcing himself to calm down. Once again, he didn't answer Yasuo's query, and instead resumed his path down the rows. At the moment, Shuyin didn't find refuting the other man to be a worthy pursuit. What did it matter anymore if he knew? It really wasn't a secret worth keeping now. Not if Lenne were dead.


The day wore on slowly, shadows twisting around and mirroring themselves upon different stretches of pavement as the sun continued its trip across the sky. Meanwhile, the atmosphere of the entire eastern quarter worsened with every passing hour, reaching a point of near intolerability around early afternoon. However, it wasn't until the sun was almost fully obstructed by the buildings to the west that anything was done to solve the problem.

Shuyin paused near a petrified individual, squinting in the bad light to get a better look at the person's features. However, he was once again disappointed-or relieved; he still wasn't sure-to find that the figure was not Lenne. Then, just as he was moving on to the next person in the row, someone gave him an almighty shove. A second later he found himself face down against the concrete, a few frantic individuals nearly trampling him in a desperate attempt to get by. Rolling out of the aisle as to avoid being trodden upon, he slowly got to his feet, stumbling a bit and holding his head in agony. "I already had a headache," he mumbled wearily to himself. This remark was drowned out a moment later however, as the sound of hasty footsteps and hysterical shouting grew to a dull roar.

Lifting his eyes and glancing to and fro, Shuyin saw what seemed to be almost all of his fellow detainees bolting frantically down the street. Some were even carrying those too weak to walk.

A hand latched onto Shuyin's wrist as he glanced about, startling him until he found the owner of the hand to be Yasuo. "They've lifted the barricades!" Yasuo called over the commotion, signaling toward where the crowd was retreating. "Let's get out of here!"

For a moment, Shuyin glanced over his shoulder, eyes tracing a skyline that only hours before had been choked with smoke. His search for Lenne had turned up nothing; not even someone who had seen her or knew of her condition. A picture of the ruined stadium played before his eyes, and paranoia began to twist uncomfortably in his stomach once again.

Then the moment was over, and he fiercely shook the memory away. Responding to Yasuo's exclamation with merely a grunt and a nod, Shuyin dashed into the stream of bodies with the other man close behind, both doing their best not to be tripped and crushed.


The next hour or so passed as if in a dream. Vaguely, Shuyin recalled reaching the blockade, his body laden with quite a few more bruises than he had had previously. Bestial screams rang in his ears, only to be lost as they reached his confusion enshrouded mind. His head had started bleeding again at some point, most likely from the frenzied pushing and shoving of the rest of the crowd. He also recollected being held against a wall, pinned there by those much more eager and driven to escape than himself.

However, both he and Yasuo eventually made it through without being completely trampled, by some fortunate twist of fate. Once they'd accomplished that, they split from the crowd as quickly as possible, doing their best to avoid the roads that led to the hospitals. And, to Shuyin's dismay, not once during the tiresome trek from B-East to Yasuo's flat in D-South did he spot even the slightest trace of full cobalt.

That however, didn't keep Lenne out of the conversation once they were away from the upheaval.

"So," Yasuo started, sprawled out across his makeshift couch and lazily spinning a blitzball on his finger, "why exactly were you looking for Lenne?"

"You saw what happened to the stage," Shuyin commented, partially succeeding in keeping the uncomfortable wringing in his stomach down, so that it was hardly noticeable in his voice. "She could have gotten really hurt."

"Right." Yasuo commented offhandedly. "Which is why you're also so worried about her back-ups, right?"


"And not to mention the people in the crowd. I could just see your conviction while you sifting through them."

More silence.

"Oh, and Yunalesca. I can just tell you're horribly worried about what happened to her, her being the empress and all . . ."

"Please shut up," Shuyin finally responded, holding his head in one hand. He was in no mood to argue, with the worry and fatigue lying as heavily as it did upon him. "I don't need this right now."

While the plea did bring a more complete silence to the room, it didn't work for very long. After a few seconds' pause, Yasuo cast a knowing smile in Shuyin's direction, tossing him the blitzball to get his attention. "So, is she just as cute up close?"

His shoulders rigid, Shuyin turned to Yasuo and narrowed his eyes in a near-livid glare. Though later the man would sarcastically claim that while under that gaze he heard the sound of a solar system imploding, at the time he casually turned his eyes toward the ceiling, giving Shuyin the leeway to direct his gaze back out the window.

Beyond the glass, the city lights were even brighter than usual. However, there were not celebrations to be had there. People were hiding in those buildings, blazing artificial light their only means of escaping the dark that until now had not threatened them. In others, he knew that some were trying desperately to save the lives of their friends and family, though the sentence for those poor souls had probably been given hours before.

Meanwhile, in the streets, shouts of fear and rage were commonplace, as if the city were inhabited by rabid animals instead of people. Leaning forward for a better look, Shuyin could immediately tell that the people that dotted the roads were not about to act passive. If he had to guess, they were angry not only about the attacks on the stadium, but at their own city for the detainment, and for leaving them with no information in regard to what was going to happen to them next.

"Do you think it would be worth it to chance a visit to the west quarter?"

"Oh sure," said Yasuo, the couch creaking as he got to his feet. He stopped beside Shuyin, glancing out the window himself. "If you're willing to ask those rioters to kindly move aside for you. You might be able to crawl there after they beat you into the concrete."

"Smart ass," said Shuyin venomously, brushing past Yasuo to filch the man's place on the couch. Plopping down and facing the cushions, Shuyin muttered a command to wake him when the crowd dispersed, and set in to surrender to a restless sleep.


Lenne was an absolute mess. She hadn't slept a wink the night of the attack, instead devoting her time to the frantic casting of white magic spells as a means of aiding the fallen. After casting two cura spells on her back-up singers and thanking them fervently for their help in escaping the stage, she was off into the crowd, tripping in her haste.

The rest of the night was spent under the glare of the blazing streetlights, her every action executed as the situation demanded. For the first half of the night, she could be found casting cure and esuna spells as quickly as her staff could swing. Then, when there were no more ethers and spell casting became impossible, she resigned to comforting those still waiting for aid.

In addition, she was also presented with a far graver task: performing Sendings whenever the circumstances called for it. Though she knew it was her duty as a summoner and performed it without question, she couldn't help but feel her stomach clenching in painful fear whenever she was given the order to do another. This was not only because it signaled another meaningless death, but also because she knew that at any time, she could find herself sending Shuyin.

This fear stayed with her throughout the entire night, arriving with each new soul she was to Send, puncturing her guard and ruining any immunity she thought she had built up against it. Every time it came however, she forced it back, using her duty as both a distraction and motivation.

The same was so the following day, though the Sendings became fewer as aid began to arrive. There were even a few occasions when she had the time to interrupt one of the officials checking for identification to question them.

"I'm sorry," she had said to one of them, bowing some, "but might you know the whereabouts of a man named Shuyin? The blitzball player?"

However, the official had curtly replied that he knew nothing of use to her before swiftly walking past. The reaction of the one that followed him was unfortunately the same, as was the third. By the time the blockades were lifted and she was able to return home, she was none the wiser about Shuyin's location, condition, or if he was even alive.

These thoughts were her lullaby as she sat upon her bed, brushing the tangles from her hair to keep herself busy. By then, the exhaustion had gotten to her. Though she fought it for a while, her eyes itchy and her head bobbing lazily with the pull of her brush, she eventually gave in, sliding back onto the cool blankets and letting the brush fall from her hand.

That has how she was when she awoke rather abruptly the next morning. Blinking in the faint light that managed to pass through her curtained window, she sat up, groaning quietly. She could feel her nest of hair against her back and shoulders, and could only imagine what sort of mess it was. The rest of her body ached horribly from the strain that had been put upon it, and she could swear she had knots in her shoulders the size of blitzballs.

Glancing about for whatever had woken her and finding nothing, she sighed deeply and groped for the blanket, intent on crawling beneath it and letting sleep claim her for another hour or so. However, just as she was turning away from the window and lying down, the sound of a sharp knock-probably the sibling of that which had roused her-reached her ears. Almost immediately, it was followed by an unmistakable voice calling her name.

Her eyes shooting open, Lenne all but threw herself from the bed and bolted from the room. Hitting the front door at a run, she turned the handle and all but threw the door aside, looking out into the hall with a sort of fearful anticipation.

And there he was, blistered and bruised and more than a little panicked, but nonetheless alive. He was turned away from her, his hands at his temples in a gesture that implied terror beginning to set in. Apparently, after two knocks without a response, he had thought she wasn't there. In the next instant, before he could even fully turn around, she quickly pulled him into a hug, relief threatening to collapse her knees.

"You're okay," he said a bit needlessly, lost for words as he returned her embrace.

"You too," Lenne replied with relief, pulling back to get a better look at him. Besides the aforementioned blisters and bruises, he appeared to be in fairly good shape. Given the circumstances and the various other outcomes she had envisioned, she really couldn't ask for more.

"I thought you'd gotten hurt," he said, his strained voice suggesting that whatever he had thought, it was probably worse than that. After scanning her for injuries just as she had done to him, the two became quiet, unsure of what to say. Then, quietly, Shuyin asked, "Lenne, what happened?"

"Well," she replied, lacing her fingers together and stepping back into the apartment. "It's a long story, and I want to hear your part of it too. We probably don't want to stand out here to tell the whole thing."


For the next half hour or so, they both occupied a comfortable spot of their choice-him the couch and her a chair from the kitchen-and recounted events to the best of their knowledge. Shocked and fearful looks were commonplace during both retellings, and more than once Lenne found herself looking Shuyin over again to see if she'd failed to spot a missing arm or something to that effect. During her recollection-more specifically the part about how her companions had helped her reach the stairs to the stage and escape-she received the same sort of look from him.

"So you got away with just this?" Shuyin asked as Lenne finished her portion of the tale. He gestured to her arm where it lay idly at her side, a scar running from her wrist to her elbow.

"Oh, yeah," Lenne said, glancing at the scar herself. "I guess I didn't get a potion to it quick enough."

With the tale completely told, the two fell to contemplative silence, pondering again what the other had told them. Sounds of the outside wafted in from the now open window, and even then it was still unnaturally quiet. The riots that had dispersed in the night had apparently not returned with the coming of the sun.

"What's going to happen now?" Shuyin said, leaning back, hanging his arms over the back of the couch, and looking up at the ceiling.

"Well," Lenne stared, scratching her chin in thought, "Emperor Yevon should be making a statement about the incident sometime soon. He'll probably announce his plan of action then."


"I would think so. There's too much unrest amongst the people for him to wait very long."

"So now we just have to wait, right?"


Nodding, Shuyin glanced vaguely about the apartment, gaze moving slowly about the cluttered floor. As per usual, Lenne's apartment was still rather messy; discarded clothes, paper, and other such objects littering the carpeted floor. Briefly, she remembered how embarrassed she had been when she had first invited him over for a visit. She'd been in the other room when the knock on the door had sounded, she remembered. Then, when she called that the door was open and walked into the room to greet him, she'd spotted him still standing outside, checking the number on the door to make sure he had the right apartment. Thankfully, he'd become accustomed to it by now, and only resorted to teasing her about his apartment being neater every once in a while.

She watched as he stretched his leg out, turning over a wrinkled shirt with the toe of his shoe and looking under it. "Do you have any cards?" he asked casually, looking up at her. "I could teach you to play Viliraj, if you want. It'll pass the time."


For the next few hours, the two did their best to forget the troubles that had befallen them, surrendering to the sound of the cards as they rubbed together and click against the table. Though Shuyin had originally thought it would be interesting to bet a few insignificant bits and pieces to see how Lenne faired, he quickly regretted this decision when his sword, armguard, and both of his shoes sat at on the table at Lenne's elbow.

"You're pretty good at this," he commented forlornly as he stared at his hand of cards, which was no better than the twelve or so previous.

Lenne smiled sweetly in response, rearranging a few of her own cards. "Well, I sort of had an affinity for fortune spheres when I was young."

"Hey, that isn't fair!" Shuyin whined, pointing at her accusingly. Lenne couldn't help but giggle at that, leaving him to drop his head down upon the table in resignation.

Suddenly, a strange crackling sound came in through the window, followed by a curious squeal. Immediately, Lenne's laughter subsided and Shuyin lifted his head, both of their gazes locked on the window.

"White noise," Lenne commented, letting her cards drop to the table and pushing her chair out. She reached the window with Shuyin right behind, the woes of losing his possessions gone for the time being.

The white noise continued for a few seconds more, then cleared away, replaced by the words, "Citizens of Zanarkand,"

"It's the emperor!" Lenne said, placing her hands upon the windowsill and leaning forward some.

"Due to the events of two evenings past, our dear city's involvement in the war with the martial city of Bevelle can no longer be denied. The borders of Zanarkand were breached with disturbing ease by six Bevellian emissaries, allowing them to devastate the B-East blitzball arena. In the process, they attempted to harm the hundreds of innocent civilians within, and unfortunately were met with appalling triumph. Even now, their plan is succeeding with each new death caused by this horrendous act.

"The Bevelle Empire has made a bold statement. They have not only brought harm upon the citizens of Zanarkand, but also the royal family, and our populace's moral. Worse, it is not likely that this will be their only assault upon our city. Unfortunately, as it stands now, it would not be in Zanarkand's best interests to take an offensive stance. Therefore, a new plan of security is being put into effect:

"All non-citizens or residents that have held citizenship for two years or less are to be deported immediately. The deadline for departure will be posted accordingly in the days to come. If anyone residing in Zanarkand after that date is found to have obtained citizenship less than three years previous, they will be taken into custody.

"As of today, Zanarkand's borders will be closed and all related transactions barred. No non-citizens may enter Zanarkand, and no citizens may depart without express written permission of the royal family. All shipments will be inspected thoroughly before they are allowed passage. This rule also applies to any mail that is to be received from or sent over the border.

"If any non-citizen makes persistent attempts to enter Zanarkand, and ignores warnings by the posted guards, they will be subject to immediate execution at the hands of the guards. Similarly, if a citizen makes persistent attempts to leave Zanarkand, the guards will make every effort to secure them and take them into custody. However, if this becomes impossible, the citizen in question will likewise be subjected to immediate execution.

"These measures have been put in place to protect Zanarkand until peace talks can be arranged with the Bevelle Empire. Until then, the cooperation of our citizens is vital to maintaining a safe and ordinary environment so that life may continue to function normally. Hold true, proud citizens of Zanarkand, and we will prosper. Now I, Emperor Yevon, bid you good evening."

The white noise returned for a brief moment, and then nothing. The metropolis Zanarkand, home to millions of people, was almost completely and utterly silent.

Slowly, Shuyin and Lenne turned to face each other, each finding their own look of horror, shock, and disbelief mirrored on the other's face. After a few seconds of this, her breath becoming raged and her eyes fearful, Lenne reached up, her hands tugging at her hair a fearful gesture. "Oh no," she whispered, using the sill for support.

As Shuyin rested what he hoped was a comforting hand upon her shoulder, trying to think of something to say or do that wouldn't reveal his own fear, sound began to once again drift in from outside. Though it started as a whisper, it slowly began to grow, until it became an ominous rumble, then an angry roar of nearly simultaneous protest.

The both of them knew then that it wouldn't be long before the previous night's riots began anew.

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