I've been wanting to write out this big reveal when I came up with the prompt in the first place. Now that I reached this point, I can get this train rolling.
Final Fantasy X belongs to Square Enix.
The Broadway Musical Cats belongs to Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Yuna felt a little lightheaded, even with her eyes closed. Using one hand, she felt the ground, only to notice it felt soft like moss. Slowly, she opened her eyes and turned her head to take in her new surroundings. To her right, she noticed a glowing cluster of crystals embedded into the cavern wall. This looked nothing like the Farplane she learned about from the temple orphanage.
Planting her hands on the ground, Yuna sat upright just as her vision finished clearing. She tilted her head to her left and observed a massive gorge. She couldn't help but think how many Mount Gagazets could fit inside this gorge…perhaps five? She leaned to the side and observed the clear water twice as deep as Lake Macalania. Glowing crystals embedded in the ground could be seen through the water surface.
Yuna snapped out of her thoughts when she felt a stray pyrefly brush her cheek. When her eyes followed the wispy ball of light, she observed plenty of pyreflies floating all over the place. When she lowered her head, she noticed Carbuncle curling in her lap. Smiling, she ran her hand along the Aeonling's head.
"Hey," she whispered, "are you ok?"
Carbuncle slowly opened her eyes and yawned before making a glance at the apprentice summoner. The Aeonling shifted into a sitting position as she curled her tail.
"I'm doing well," Carbuncle answered, "I thought I'd at least keep you company until you woke up."
Yuna nodded at Carbuncle before she scanned her surroundings again. The second time she turned her gaze to the left, she spotted Sin in his real form floating in the large underground lake while facing Auron on a precipice while Lulu, Rikku and Kimahri were examining the nearby crystals. That was when Yuna noticed large transparent rootlike veins embedded within the cavern walls at the perimeter of the gorge. She stood to her feet after Carbuncle slid off her lap before she approached the nearest vein. As she examined it, she noted the vein was twice as thick as Sin's arm. The liquid inside glistened in an turquoise hue and pyreflies swam inside. She frowned when she noticed black masses floating inside as well, but much to her confusion, each of them slowly shrunk as the particles from the masses disintegrated. She reflected on what she learned so far since she left Bevelle and started assembling the pieces of the puzzle in her head.
For now, Yuna turned to her left and started walking along the cliff while Carbuncle followed close behind. As she inched closer to the precipice, she noticed Macavity sitting next to Kimahri. Soon enough, Rikku tilted her head towards the apprentice summoner and her face lit up.
"Yunie!" Rikku cheered, waving her hand.
Yuna paused in her tracks when all eyes focused on her. After a moment of silence, she stepped closer to the others while they gathered around her, mismatched eyes locking onto Lulu.
"Lulu, I…" Yuna blurted.
Lulu gently placed her hand on Yuna's shoulder.
"We were worried about you when you vanished," Lulu replied.
Yuna nodded at Lulu before she sauntered towards Rikku. The Al Bhed girl didn't hesitate to pull her cousin into an embrace.
"I'm glad you're ok, Yunie," Rikku smiled, "I didn't think you'd find Sir Auron of all people down there."
While Yuna returned the embrace, she locked eyes onto the legendary guardian. After her cousin released her from her embrace, the heretic's daughter tilted her head towards Sin, yet she couldn't help but shudder. Lowering her head and bringing her hands to her chest, Yuna stepped towards the massive harbinger of destruction and rebirth.
"Sin," Yuna stammered, "I-I can explain…"
"No need," Sin reassured her, "Auron and Macavity told me everything."
Yuna paused for a moment and glanced over her shoulder, locking eyes onto Auron and Macavity before she sighed.
"So Macavity told you about the mastermind?" Yuna clarified.
"Of all the suspects in Midgard," Sin replied, "I suspected Yu Yevon was responsible."
Yuna returned her gaze to her mentor.
"So," Yuna asked, "what is this place?"
Sin lifted his head upwards, locking his multiple eyes onto a large crystal dome.
"We are in the core of Midgard," he answered, "where some of the roots of Yggdrasil connect it to the other nine realms."
"Yggdrasil," Yuna repated.
Yuna's eyes lit up as she recalled her first trip to Asgard. When she tilted her head upwards, she examined as multiple colors seemed to float inside the crystal, images of natural habitats glistening in each facet. She then shifted her gaze towards the nearest rootlike vein and approached it, standing next to Auron.
"And these roots?" Yuna paused.
Auron raised an eyebrow and shrugged.
"It seems Sin has collected contaminated particles all over the world," Auron replied, "refining it into an essence only he can use."
"And how does he collect these pollutants?" Yuna asked.
Auron and Yuna exchanged glances.
"Perhaps it's why Sin attacks the towns and cities in Spira," Auron said.
Yuna lowered her head.
"But," Yuna blurted, "the Calm…"
"It is pointless to try to eliminate the symptoms first instead of finding the cause first," Sin pointed out.
Yuna quickly snapped out of her thoughts and glanced over her shoulder. She tried to think of something to say, but couldn't form a word at the tip of her tongue.
"I thought," Lulu mentioned, "you were our punishment for our crimes, and if we atoned for our sins, you would…"
Lulu paused for a brief moment while she made a glance at Yuna. While Kimahri swayed his tail side to side, Sin shook his head.
"Just because a corrupt handful of humans in power tainted the planet through war and exploitation," Sin objected, "doesn't mean you need to shoulder the blame for it."
Rikku clasped her hands behind her back and shifted her weight to one leg. Yuna knelt down and lifted Carbuncle into her arms while Auron turned on his feet and focused his eye on the destroyer.
"Furthermore," Sin added, "if those contaminated areas are left untouched, the toxins in the earth can kill any living being within the area."
Lulu placed a finger on her chin.
"And the temples in Spira are the most contaminated?"
"I guess so," Yuna nodded.
Sin's multiple eyes locked onto his protégé.
"I, too," Sin told her, "have gathered answers over the course of a thousand years, save for the times the four summoners destroyed me."
The next thing she knew, a nearby rootlike vein started glowing the instant the last of the blackened particles disintegrated. When Yuna glanced over her shoulder, Auron noticed as Sin's eyes started glowing.
"Now," Sin informed them, "this'll take a minute."
With that, Sin reached his clawed out towards the flashing rootlike vein while Yuna, Rikku, Auron, Lulu, Macavity and Kimahri stood out of the way. The instant his claws touched the vein, swarms of pyreflies gathered around his arm and the essence inside the root dispersed across the terrain. The apprentice summoner shifted her gaze back to the crystal dome and watched through its facets as many landscapes torn by the extinction event in the Machina War witnessed some improvements, such as a river in some forest she never heard of purify under the essence while the sand in a desert became purified of its remaining toxins. A tropical sea's waters made its return to a stable temperature which allowed several coral eggs to settle into the seafloor to start a new reef. Yuna even saw wild chocobos racing along the barrens as displayed in a facet.
Over a minute later, the root stopped glowing and Sin withdrew his arm. While it seemed Midgard continued on, Yuna noticed as her heart felt heavy. What she just witnessed was far in contrast to how the Teachings of Yevon portrayed him. No longer did she see Sin as the menacing harbinger of destruction. Sure, she knew the collateral damage from his demonstrations of power was why the people of Spira feared him, but maybe the reasons were complicated to the point even the Maesters of Yevon wouldn't understand. To think she used to believe the teachings until now made her lower her head in shame. She gasped softly, only to notice tears welled up in her eyes.
"Yuna?" Lulu raised her eyebrows.
Yuna brushed a finger along her cheek, and watched as a teardrop trickled down her hand.
"S-Sin," she stuttered, "I-I had no idea…you had a cause you were fighting for, and we treated you so badly."
As all eyes focused on Yuna, including Sin's, she staggered closer to her mentor and stopped until she was inches before his head. Carbuncle jumped out of her arms and took a few steps back.
"Is there…a way you can forgive us?" she cried softly.
Sin's expression softened in his eyes as he let out a soft trill. Yuna leaned forward until she rested her head on his, her hands perching on the underside of his jaw. She lost the strength to hold back her tears as she sniffled. Sin brought out his tendrils from his mouth which caressed the back of her head, her shoulders and her back as she wept. She shuddered, yet the softness of the tendrils soothed her.
"I was taught to fear you all those years of my life, and I never questioned it," Yuna bleated, "I should be afraid of you, but…I just can't."
Sin didn't mind as teardrops landed on his head and trickled off the edge of his mouth. He simply smoothed a tendril through her hair. Observing Yuna as she allowed herself to be vulnerable before him relaxed his tense muscles, as he worried over her whereabouts since yesterday. The thought of losing her all of a sudden honestly terrified him more than facing each Final Aeon in the Calm Lands. After a few minutes passed in silence, Yuna wiped her tears with one hand and stared into Sin's eyes.
"If the temples in Spira are connected to Dream Zanarkand somehow," Yuna asked, "would it unravel if the Aeons were freed?"
Sin gave her a slow nod even as his eyes wriggled.
"Are you intending to change the objective of your Pilgrimage?" Sin clarified.
Yuna slowly closed her eyes for a moment.
"Yes," Yuna nodded, "I promised the Fayth I would put them to rest, and now they're counting on me."
Sin withdrew his tendrils save for one which he held out before his protégé. Yuna paused for a few seconds before she gently grasped it.
"Then I suppose you have a much better chance at dealing with the sources of decay in the temples," Sin told her, "once you are ready, you might need a guardian."
Yuna blinked twice and glanced over her shoulder, locking eyes onto Auron, Kimahri, Lulu and Rikku. The Al Bhed girl grinned and gave her a thumbs up, eliciting a smile out of her cousin. When a thought popped into her head, the apprentice summoner scanned her surroundings once again. Something's missing…
"That reminds me," Yuna paused, "where's Tidus?"
"The son of Jecht?" Sin clarified.
"Oh," Rikku chirped, "I can show you where he is!"
Yuna and Sin locked eyes onto Rikku. She watched as her mentor blink once before she followed her cousin along the cliffside of the crevasse. As they passed by a root, Yuna noticed an indigo salamander-like creature, a Mistander, as it stretched out its mane of tendrils. After passing another large root, Yuna and Rikku stopped before a pod the size of a Ronso. Inside, they watched as Tidus floated inside, encased in a fluid which somehow allowed him to breathe while he was still in his slumber. Thin tendrils tended to his chest and his head while restraining his ankles so as to keep him from bumping his head into the edge of the pod.
"What will happen to him now?" Yuna pondered to herself.
Yuna turned her head to her right just as Auron approached the pod.
"It'll be a few weeks before Tidus can evolve beyond his state as a dream of the Fayth," Auron answered, "like Sir Jecht, he'll become fully human."
"Sin told you this?" Yuna clarified.
Auron let out a sigh.
"It wouldn't be fair for him to fade after the dream ends," Auron added.
Yuna nodded at Auron before they and Rikku made their way back to the precipice. Just then, Sin formed something out of his body and with his clawed arm, deposited a Sinspawn Ammes near the pod.
"Until the time comes for him to awaken," Sin informed, "he will need my protection, even if it's from a distance."
Kimahri folded his arms while Lulu tilted her head sideways.
"Interesting," Lulu mused, "maybe you can tell us more about your Sinspawn after we head back?"
Coming up, Yuna and Sin hopefully take a breather from the recent event and continue on with Yuna's training in magic. Who knows what kind of excitement awaits her? Stay tuned!
Feel free to leave a review, because the Aeons are counting on you!
I'm also seeking a Final Fantasy 10 themed Discord server, so if you know one that exists, feel free to PM me the link to it on Tumblr or on Twitter.