Hello fellow readers, and Happy Valentine's Day! I'm proud to say that I managed to beat this out in a matter of hours, though I'll admit it could use some editing, so please no flaming me. I originally started a few days ago for this one shot, but the story got away from me, so I had to scrap the whole thing and write it completely new today/yesterday night.
Anyway, the point is, this is my first Skies of Arcadia piece, and I hope to write a few more in the future. I just really wanted to get a piece out there. Now I know not a lot of people know about this amazing game called Skies of Arcadia, but I reassure you it's one of the greatest RPG's of all time that was created for the Sega Dreamcast, and later remade as Skies of Arcadia Legends for the Gamecube. If you ever get the chance, play it, it's totally worth it. Great characters, great plot, excellent fighting sequences. :)
Alright, enough about that, enjoy the story. Please leave reviews of things that you see for editing, or if you like something, let me know too. Feedback is much appreciated.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
"Vyse, why are you standing outside of Fina's study room door?" Gilder asked.
Vyse was indeed, standing outside of Fina's study room door, staring at it as if something was supposed to happen. "She's been in there for a week straight," he said quietly, "I'm trying to decide if I should risk knocking or if I should just let Aika do it."
"Well if she's been in there for a week, she won't be…clean?" he searched for the right word.
"…Vyse," Gilder sighed.
"I'm just saying that women tend to be really touchy about smelling good and looking good—"
"—and I wouldn't want to make her uncomfortable by suddenly encroaching on her space after a whole week—"
"—Vyse!" Gilder finally shut him up.
Vyse finally looked at Gilder with a steady gaze, "Just knock. It's Fina, she doesn't care about all that stuff. She's just…your regular run of the mill girl."
"Right, of course she is," he sighed, "Thanks Gilder."
"Are you sure you're alright? You seem awfully nervous for just seeing Fina. Did something happen?"
"Well…" Vyse stepped away from the door and walked a ways away from Fina's study room door. "I've recently become aware of a few things. It all started about…maybe two weeks ago?"
"Are you ready for the huge ball that Enrique is throwing at New Valua?" Aika asked as Vyse looked over the most recent map that had been updated with yet another discovery.
"Yeah! We got an invitation; picked it up last time we got to the Guild. It's to celebrate the two year anniversary since the Crystal War," she held out the enveloped invitation with a smirk, "And we're all invited. Apparently every nation is invited to celebrate for a whole three days in New Valua. But, there's going to be a more private, formal affair for certain special people that we had interactions with during our journey."
"Yup! All of our old crew has been invited; well, those that are still around."
"That's it?" Vyse seemed surprised.
"He might be inviting a few other notable people like ambassadors and officials in the political systems of each continent under the moons. But still, compared to five nations celebrating, it's intimate."
"And you said it's formal?"
"Yup! So we'll have to get some nice proper clothes, well, except for Fina, she always looks proper."
"Yes, she always looks quite pretty," he said off-handedly, his mind trying to think of what he would possibly wear.
"Pretty huh? So you admit she's pretty?"
"Of course she's pretty, why?" he looked at Aika, surprised by her comment.
"Well I don't know, I just thought you might like telling her that once in while."
"What are you talking about?"
"Vyse," she punched him in the arm, "you're a moron. I love you, but you're a moron."
"Wha—what's that supposed to mean?"
"Vyse, how long have we known Fina now?"
"About three years, why?"
"And you don't think that anytime in those three years you might have felt something more for me? Or for Fina?" she pressed.
"Aika just spit it out—"
"I'm in love with you!" she finally shouted at him.
Vyse stood there, stunned at her proclamation, "At least, that's what I would have said a year ago. I realized though, that you don't see me as a love interest; you see me as one of the guys, and I'm okay with that, really. But Fina…she's definitely not one of the guys. And she's really made a life for herself since the end of the Crystal War," Aika crossed her arms and leaned against the balcony table.
"I mean, she's published her first manuscript after two years of study just a month ago, and she's become renowned for her work on all five continents under the moon. Everyone's talking about her work on reconnecting with our roots from the past. You've read it, haven't you?"
"Well…I know what it's about—"
"But you haven't read it, how typical," she rolled her eyes.
"I hardly have the time to read an entire manuscript about ancient civilizations," he narrowed his eyes at her.
"That shows just how immature you still are, not to mention ignorant. Her manuscript is a brilliant piece of writing that chronicles the past as it relates to us today and our future. It's the first volume, and I know she's working on her second volume. Did you think she was just sight-seeing when she went to Ixa'Taka and Nasrad?"
"I know that she was doing research—"
"Yes, research on two current empires in the world of Arcadia. She's been through all of the Silvite Archive and shared her knowledge with us. She's sent her research to Ilchimys on recreating the Silver Civilization – she's actually been able to discover how to bring back her people Vyse!"
His eyes widened – he hadn't known that. Truth be told, he barely knew Fina these days. He saw her, of course, but she kept to herself mostly.
"So here's my real question Vyse: what are you doing with your life?"
"What sort of a question is that? I'm doing what I've always wanted to do. I've always wanted to captain my own ship, have my own crew, discover new things in the world, and have adventures."
"Did you see yourself…alone?"
"No, of course not, I'd have my family—"
"Your family Vyse? What family? You don't have a wife or kids, you're not your father."
He felt the sting of that comment sear hot across his chest. He felt like he'd been slapped. But then, the truth hurt. "You say you want a family, someone there to greet you when you come home, or to take on your adventures with you, like your father did with you. But what are you doing to reach that goal? Who do you see yourself with in your mind Vyse?" she raised an eyebrow at him with a smirk.
A faint blush caressed his cheeks as he thought about the image that Aika had provided. Truth be told, he'd seen Fina as his wife more than once. He knew she'd be a wonderful mother, just as she was a wonderful friend. She was smart, beautiful, and elegant in a way he would never be able to achieve no matter how hard he tried – he just wasn't like Enrique in that manner.
But he'd never had the courage to actually pursue that particular dream the way he had during the time of the Crystals. So, he'd just let things run their course and slowly, Fina had begun pursuing other things besides adventures.
About a year and a half ago Fina had managed to convince Brabham and one of the engineers in Yafutoma to create a suit that would be able to withstand the pressure of Deep Sky and have gone to the crash site of the Silver Shrine to excavate what she could from the wreckage.
She had managed to retrieve many useful items, but the most useful thing she had retrieved was the Silvite Archive, fully functioning despite some damage to it. This was the largest find they could have, because the Silvite Archive had the complete history of Arcadia, how it came to be, and all of the ancient civilizations. But, it was completely in the old language of the Silvites – one of the quirks.
And since the discovery, she'd made it her goal to reconnect the world with its roots – instead of losing all the knowledge from the past, they would use it to remember where they came from, and in turn, it would aid in allowing them to look toward the future.
She had spent the past year and a half learning how to access knowledge in the Archive, and then doing several studies of the Green and Red civilizations. Just a month ago she finished her first chronicled manuscript of those two civilizations and had it printed. And within a month, every continent owned several copies and they were studied by scholars everywhere. All of her hard work and research had given her recognition in the world for something besides the last Silvite, the third member of Vyse's crew, or a remnant of the past – all titles that had been given to her since the end of the Crystal War.
Vyse was glad for her, he really was, but he missed her. Really, honestly, missed Fina. He missed being able to spend time just talking to her about anything and everything, he missed hearing her laugh whenever he did something or said something, he missed seeing her fight, he missed her smile and her presence – she always seemed to act as a calming draught around others, allowing them to relax; and most of all, he wished he was brave enough to tell her exactly that.
Yes, he was completely in love with her, who wouldn't be?
"Just…think about it," Aika finally said to his silence, before she walked off.
"And I have been thinking about it, I can't seem to stop thinking about it, but I haven't seen her for a week now and I'm getting all stupidly nervous and all I'm doing is reminding her of the celebrations starting tomorrow," Vyse finished.
"Just act normal, she clearly has no idea what's going on, you'll be fine."
Vyse nodded and after a quick pat on the shoulder, Gilder kept on his way while Vyse walked back to Fina's study room door and took a deep breath, before knocking.
"One minute please," her sweet voice came from behind the door. How he'd missed that voice!
"Urala have you brought those—oh! Vyse!" she opened the door and looked at him in surprise, clearly thinking that he was Urala. That might explain her manner of dress, or lack thereof.
She was currently wearing a short, form fitting cloth, light blue skirt that showed off her slender legs beautifully, and a crop-top which looked more like just a few strips of cloth tied around her breasts, showing off her flat, smooth stomach. She still wore her arm bands and necklace, but her hair, besides her bangs, was pulled back in a messy bun, with tendrils escaping here and there to glide against her skin tantalizingly. Dammit.
"I wasn't expecting to see you. How are you doing today?" she smiled warmly, completely unaware of the inappropriate thoughts running through his mind. "Would you like to come in? I was waiting for Urala actually, but you're welcome to come in and stay until she gets here if you're not busy. We were going to have tea together since I'm taking a break for right now."
"Sure," he agreed readily, stepping into her study room. She shut the door behind him and moved back to the large desk in the center of the room.
The room itself was quite large so that it could incorporate all of her study materials. She had paper everywhere, with drawings, notes, pages written with who knew what; and all over the room were random items. In one corner she had a container that held the five crystals of the elders she'd managed to excavate when she went down to Deep Sky, and in another corner she had some items, statuettes, jewelry, knick knacks, from Nasrad and Maramba from when she'd stayed there studying their traditions. Spread all over the room was evidence of her adventures in research.
"I've just received word from Ilchymis in regards to my research on creating a whole Silvite Civilization. We can have our own home again! I've been mapping out the lands of Ice and the Palace of the ancient peoples of the Purple Moon. The palace itself is uninhabited, and with our own technological advances, we could really make a home there. It may not be underneath the Silver Moon, but it's a start at least, if we need a place big enough," she immediately launched into her research.
"That's incredible Fina!" Vyse was genuinely excited for her. Since he'd spoken to Aika, he had taken the time to read Fina's first Chronicle and, well, he was excessively impressed with her findings.
"I know. I won't be the last of my kind anymore…it may not be possible for a few years yet, with our limited knowledge on the process, but I'm confident we can get in within the next ten years. Can you imagine the possibilities? Little Silvite children running around, being adorable. Oh, I love kids so much," she smiled in that whimsical way she always did. While Aika would say that and be gushing, Fina managed to make it sound sincere and heartwarming, genuine, sweet, and innocent.
"I'm so sorry, I got carried away, you came to see me," she looked at him steadily, her entire attention on him now, "what was it you wanted to talk about Vyse?" she asked softly.
"I wanted to remind you of the celebration tomorrow, and that you'll want to make sure that you have a formal gown. Now, we've brought back a few items from our last mission that you might enjoy."
"Oh, I've already thought of the celebration, I designed a gown myself based off of an ancient Silvite pattern. I'm so excited for everyone to see it. It's quite unique."
"Wow, I didn't know you did sewing," he admitted.
"I'm getting better at it, but I'm not expert. I sent my ideas to a professional," she admitted with a slight blush, "but I got it back a few days ago and I've been getting Aika to help me get the whole outfit together. It'll be my first time at a large gathering since my manuscript was printed and I'm super nervous. I don't want to make you or the crew look bad at all."
"You could never make us look bad. Fina, you're our family, we'll be there for you no matter what," he reassured.
She blushed a little more, "Thank you Vyse."
A knock on the door alerted them to another visitor. When Fina opened the door, Urala held a tray of hot tea and some biscuits, "Oh, am I interrupting something?" she asked, looking between the two.
"What? No, no, of course not, Vyse was just stopping by," Fina blushed even more.
"Right. I'll head out. You two have fun, I'll see you tomorrow night then. You're coming with us on the Skywing, right?"
"Actually…I will be taking my ship to New Valua instead. I have a few last minute things I need to finish up with so I'll be a bit later than you guys."
"Oh…well then, I guess I'll see you there."
"Okay," Vyse waved as he left the room. He sighed, collected himself, and moved away from her study room to finish preparations for tomorrow.
Urala waited until Vyse was gone, then turned to Fina, "What was that about?"
"I'm not sure, he just showed up out of the blue to tell me about the party tomorrow. I was so surprised, I completely forgot my state of dress."
"I'm sure he appreciated it," she winked and Fina blushed.
"You know he doesn't—"
"You know he does look at you that way, even Aika says so. Come on Fina, wake up and smell the tea, he likes you," Urala insisted.
"Then why won't he do anything? Why doesn't he tell me how he feels?"
"I don't know, but he's such an idiot for waiting so long."
Fina sighed, "Let's just enjoy the tea."
A lot had changed since the end of the Crystal War two years ago.
The sky rifts and barriers separating the lands had disappeared, though the Dark Rift still stuck around. The skies, while being more peaceful due to the disappearance of the Old Valua, still maintained its dangers.
Of course, there were a lot of changes that had been made to the world's leading power as well. Nasrad had been decimated by Ramirez so long ago, but all the people under the Red Moon had banded together and rebuilt their capital city. It no longer had a Nasultan, but an Oligarchy, with a small band of military generals as the rulers of New Nasrad.
Although Nasrad had been rebuilt and reestablished, they were no longer the center of trade. Maybe of exotic goods, but not of main trade; that title fell to New Valua, under Enrique and Moegi's rule.
Unlike the Valua of the old days, New Valua was a thriving economy. They didn't have large fortresses keeping them separated from the rest of the world, and they no longer had a high class and a low class. Everyone was calling it the Golden Age of the world, not just in Valua, but everywhere. Yes, there were still many monsters, and Black Pirates, and other unknown dangers, but after what everyone had gone through with the Moon Crystals, they were more than happy to have a fair trade with all nations.
New Valua was like a large-scale Sailor's Island in a way. No longer was it just Valuans, but everyone who felt that they didn't have a home somewhere else, settled in New Valua. People from Yafutoma, Ixa Taka, Nasr, and all over were welcome in Valua. Ilchymis had a thriving business once again in Valua, happy to provide medicine and philosophy to anyone who came to his door. Enrique encouraged ingenuity and intellect; he truly was a great ruler.
So the celebration tomorrow was a huge deal not just to them, but to every nation under every moon. All were invited to New Valua to celebrate. From what Moegi had said to Fina on her last visit, people were opening their homes up for friends, family, and even strangers so that everyone could take part in the two-day celebration.
Fina, having looked forward to it for about two months now, had designed a gown based off of ancient Silvite craft, and some of her own ideas from Yafutoma.
The dress was the traditional thick, white material of the Silvites, with gold trim at the bottom of the dress and on her sleeves. But, instead of being straight and angled like their clothing tended to be, she had blended the flowing design of Yafutoman Kimonos into the design.
The top part was strapless, and the neckline of the dress shaped around her breasts, holding in place, but giving a nice, but still somewhat conservative, look at her chest. The edging was gold trim and she had a gold sash that was tied around her waist. After that, the dress flowed and hugged her body rather than puffed out, and it had a large slip running all the way up to just below her waist, giving a good glimpse of her leg. She did have on a pair of white shorts, but they were short, and meant to merely provide some modesty. The dress still maintained the Silvite design with all of the symbols, and in fact, more were sewn into the cloth for a flourish. Her arm sleeves too, were designed in a similar fashion.
Urala and Kirala were going to help Fina put her hair up in a traditional Yafutoman hairstyle. Her bangs would be left down, as she wanted, but her hair would be pulled back into a stylized bun, and she would have several hairpieces – all designed to match the angular sketches on her dress, so they had to be specially made. But they had beads that hung on the side of her hair and she always felt more elegant wearing the hairpieces.
She had found, when in Yafutoma, that the culture had really been something she connected with more than the lands under the Red Moon, and so she had begun adapting some of their cultural aspects to her own life. That's why she was so excited about the dress – it mixed her own heritage and that of Yafutoma.
Fina hadn't shown anyone the gown yet, and she didn't intend to do so until tomorrow, when the celebration began. That was part of the reason why she wanted to show up in her own ship – to give the element of surprise. She hoped that Vyse liked it.
Vyse looked around the hall from the side, a cup of some fruity punch in his hand, surveying all of the guests. Not everyone had yet arrived, but it was good to see how many he knew. Already he'd had several people walk up to him and catch up with him on old times.
Aika was in the middle of a group, laughing while she talked about some weapon or something. She looked very beautiful tonight.
Her dress was a light blue color, and it was shorter than most, but still looked elegant on her. The top part had a rounded neckline and it was a simple, plain, yet stylish dress with thin straps at the top that held it all together. Her hair, instead of out to the sides in braids, had been left down and it was curly. She really had the eye of all of the men with her outfit tonight, and it made him chuckle to see Vigoro trying to get her attention, as usual.
Fina had yet to show up however, and Vyse was a bit nervous. He wanted to know what she would look like, designing her own dress and all.
The doors to the hall were suddenly thrown open and in stepped Fina. The place grew deathly quiet as everyone looked at her. Vyse felt the breath leave his lungs as his gaze raked her figure.
In simple terms, she looked like a goddess. The slit in her dress gave a luscious peek at her skin underneath, and the low, form-fitting neckline gave a peaking hint at her ample chest, but still looked classy. He had never seen such a gown before, but no one could have looked more perfect in it than Fina.
She smiled warmly, "I'm sorry I'm late, I couldn't find the hall," she admitted with a sheepish smile.
The whole place finally seemed to wake up. There were whistles, cat-calls (close friends and old crew members), and that's when Vyse realized that the gaze of every man in the hall was on his Fina.
Aika was naturally the first to greet her best friend and Fina smiled happily as they spoke, before she was set upon by nearly every male in the hall. First, was Daigo, of all people.
"Fina, you look stunning," he grinned, "I always thought that Yafutoma style fit you perfectly."
"Oh yes, I quite like the style from Yafutoma. It's so unique and fun to design with."
"You designed that?" one of the ambassadors from Nasrad commented, breaking into the conversation.
"Yes. I designed it based off of Silvite design and Yafutoman design. I merged the two styles," she said proudly.
"I don't think anyone could have pulled it off better," another man, some sort of Ixa'Taka trader, entered the conversation.
Vyse watched as Fina made her way, ever so slowly, to everyone in the room. She was asked often about her research, and instead of gushing like she had with him, she gave a neat, small explanation that sufficed for their curiosity at the moment. She seemed to know everyone, even the ambassadors and traders, that were in attendance.
He felt himself slowly getting more and more irritated as man after man after man engaged her in lengthy conversation, finding any occasion to try to impress her with money, stature, or whatever else he thought might work.
Fina was flattered by all of the attention, and was glad when they had properly appreciated her dress, but she didn't want to speak to every single male in the room. Sure, she wanted to greet a few close ones, but not all of the dignitaries and ambassadors that she had met on previous study trips.
All she really wanted, was to see Vyse and see if he liked what she was wearing, but she hadn't seen him and she'd been at the party for an hour now.
Finally, she managed to get away from a large group and go to the refreshments table to get some fruity drink from Ixa'Taka to refresh her parched throat. As she finished her first sip, her eyes caught movement against the wall and she focused more on it.
To her astonishment, there was Vyse, heavily ensconced in a conversation about one of their adventures, and looking as handsome as ever.
Instead of his usual swashbuckling clothing, he wore a suit. It was a new design in New Valua, the suit. Enrique had gone on about it on her last visit, talking about how wonderful of an invention it was for men.
His hair was a bit messy, but that was just how she liked it. She was about to walk over to see him and say hi, when someone stepped in her way. "Daigo?" she asked with surprise.
"Would you mind accompanying me for some fresh air?" he offered.
"Um…" she tried to think of a reason to stay but couldn't think of any, "…sure," she took his proffered arm and followed him out of the hall and into an adjacent room that had a balcony.
"This isn't working, they're missing each other every single time," Aika sighed in frustration to Clara and Polly, who were watching the debacle of Fina and Vyse unfold as the night carried on.
"We've got to do something to intervene."
"And you're sure that Vyse will tell her?"
"I'm pretty sure he will. If he doesn't then so help that boy…" Aika grumbled.
"Alright, I'll see if I can distract Daigo, Aika, you get Vyse to a place where he's by himself, Polly, when I get back with Daigo, go and tell Fina where Vyse is – I know she's wanting to see him."
"Okay," they all agreed.
"...so what do you think?"
"I think it's a lovely idea," Fina replied to Daigo's lond-winded explanation for a new fountain in Yafutoma.
"Daigo," Clara walked up to them, "I believe that Moegi wanted to ask you something important, could you go to her dear? It's a bit urgent."
"Of course. I'm sorry for leaving Fina."
"It's alright, we have later when we can talk," she smiled at him. He nodded and took off, Clara on his heels telling him where to go.
"I hope that everything is alright with Moegi," Fina said sincerely.
"Oh, actually, Clara lied. I'm here to tell you where Vyse is," Polly appeared in the doorway and Fina laughed.
"I see. And where is Vyse?"
"With Aika, down a hallway, in a bedroom."
Fina sobered quickly, eyes widening, "Where?"
When Fina got to the bedroom, Aika was leaving, "He's all yours," she winked, leaving Fina at the door.
Fina blushed, but took several deep breaths, trying to calm her nerves, and finally opened the door. Vyse was standing at the balcony, overlooking New Valua and the celebrations below, going on in the city. "Vyse?" she said quietly.
"Fina?" he turned at the sound of her voice and she smiled at him, walking out to the balcony where he was at.
"How are you this evening?" she asked as a starter.
"…it's not really my type of event," he admitted. "But I don't mind coming to an event like this if you dress up like that. You look absolutely beautiful Fina."
"Thank you Vyse, I've wanted to hear…I mean…I'm glad we have a chance to talk."
"Fina…I need to say something, please hear me out before you say anything or do anything, okay?"
She nodded, looking at him steadily, giving him her entire attention. "I…am a coward."
"A coward? Vyse, you may be many things, but never a—"
"No, I am a coward. I…love you. I'm in love with you. Completely, irrevocably in love with you Fina, and I have been for a few years now."
"Then why…didn't you say anything?" she finally asked when the surprise set in.
"Did I not just say I was a coward? I was afraid of what would change between us if you didn't feel the same, but I can't see myself sharing a future with anyone else. Aika's been…enlightening these past few weeks," he said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head, "and I'm glad she's such an awesome friend.
"But I won't run away anymore. I'm sick of it."
"I'm…relieved to hear that," she put a hand over her heart, hardly believing the words she was hearing. She'd dreamed of hearing these words for three years now, and finally here they were, and he was saying exactly what she imagined. Well, minus the admition to being a coward. She laughed inwardly at that thought.
"I love you too but I didn't know if you felt the same because of Aika and your history together."
"I can see that. But I promise, you're the only one I…feel this way about."
"Vyse, will you…hold me, like you did that night before the final confrontation two years ago?" she blushed as she made the request, but Vyse grinned and put his arm around her, pulling her into his chest. She laid her head on his shoulder and buried her head on his chest.
It was silent for a good long while as both individuals tried to take in the sudden change in their relationship as they enjoyed each other's presence. "So does this mean that we're courting?" Fina finally asked.
"If you want, or we could just get married right now," he winked and she blushed, but her bright smile indicated that while slightly embarrassed, she wasn't appalled at the idea by any means.
"Not yet but…maybe soon," she agreed, wrapping her arms around his upper body and burying her head in his chest again.