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This article, What Comes Next - Chapter Two: Not-so-smooth Sailing, is strictly property of Dark Seeker Kotsu.

This article, What Comes Next - Chapter Two: Not-so-smooth Sailing, contains harsh language and violence. Read at your own discretion.

I woke up the next morning. It was bright out and I recalled we were leaving today. I got up out of the bed and shucked my old clothes off, putting new ones on and packing the old ones in my traveling bag that Hao had obtained for me. I noticed I had drooled on the pillow a bit. I flipped the pillow to mask all presence of my saliva, then put my shoes on. I was ready to go.

I found a young boy preparing. He was dark-haired and wearing the yellow colored clothes the Besaid Aurochs had taken to wearing outside of the game. I recognized him as Ken'ichi Kyishi, the boy who played right field offense for the Aurochs. We both walked outside together. We were now teammates.

The sun's beams warmed my skin comfortably as I stepped outside. Barku, Callan, Hao and King all stood nearby. Barku was dressed in his out-of-game Aurochs uniform. Callan still wore dark clothes, and King was clad in heavier blue clothes than he had previously worn. Hao wore another set of blue clothes like the ones he had worn yesterday. I noticed a spear in King's hand, a stuffed Moogle in Callan's arms, and Barku held a blitzball. Hao had a small katana strapped to his back. King, Barku and Callan bore most of the luggage, with King wearing both his pack and Hao's. He had his bag strapped to his back and affixed Hao's bag to himself lower. The strong young man was solemn, and didn't seem to mind. Ken'ichi had gone on ahead.

"Hey sleepy, there's something I wanna give you." Barku said. He held out a beautiful sword to me. The hilt of it was standard, but the blade itself was blue and looked like ocean water. It looked almost exactly as though it were crystallized water, but I could see it had a sharp edge to it. A red tassel hung from the hilt.


"Wow...thank you." I said, at slight disadvantage for words.

"That's the sword you gave Rylan." Callan remarked.

"Never used it anyways." Barku murmured back.

"King and I will scout the road ahead, to see how much fiend activity there is. We'll catch up with you later." Callan said. He and King left.

"S'up dudes!" a voice cried out. It was LT. Hao ran happily to the new summoner's side, beaming proudly. The small boy showed LT his katana.

"Look LT! I'm armed." Hao exclaimed, proud.

"Nice, kid." LT said, a genuine grin forming on his face. He put his hand on the boy's shoulder and they joined our group.

"Ready LT?" Barku asked.

"Ready." LT confirmed.


We left the village, taking up formation on the uphill path as we walked. Barku walked ahead strongly, LT following behind him. Hao and I took up the rear together. We heard a roar nearby and a crash of something coming at us from nearby brush. Barku raised his powered blitzball warily, Hao drawing his katana softly, marveling at the shiny surface of it.

My sword was already out when a tan creature appeared before us. It was canine in appearance, lanky compared to some other fiends but it had well developed muscles, particularly in the front area of its body. It snarled at us, blood dripping from its jaw. I recognized it from a book Hao had given me on fiends. It was known as a Dingo.

"Get it Ted." Barku said.

I jumped forward, the blade striking it hard. The creature was down in an instant, turning into small beams of light when I realized I had killed it one hit.

"Not bad. Here's one for me." Barku said as an arrow-headed flying creature appeared. It had a vulture-like body, large light-colored wings, long dangling legs and a tail that was hardly visible behind it. I recognized that as a Condor. Barku threw his ball at the Condor, striking it down in an instant. He grinned.

We continued our trek up the road, which became more steep. I admire how Hao kept up with us, small legs working to propel him up the mountain with us.

Suddenly, a blue blob like creature jumped in front of us. It had a gruesome face and a gaping mouth. Its body was made of a blue gel-like substance, and I could see the red of intestines within it. A Water Flan.

"Looks like trouble." Barku said.

"Watch this." I scoffed.

I ran forward, bringing my sword down hard on the Water Flan, and found it had little effect.

"Only magic works on those." Hao murmured.

Just as the creature had almost attacked Hao, a lightning beam hit the blue gel creature before us. The creature screamed before turning into those balls of light. It had been defeated.

We turned to see the source of the lightning in front of us. It was Callan, whose renowned skill in our group was his use of dark magic.

"Easy." Callan said, smiling. We grinned back at him.

We continued our uphill trek, Callan joining formation by taking a place beside LT, allowing Barku to remain in the lead. We were on the top of the mountain now. I could see the village spread out perfectly below, and the beautiful green of dense forestry around it. I could even see the beginning path we had taken. My eyes enjoyed the scenery, taking it in and finding it refreshing.

LT stood, watching the village. Callan joined him in this pursuit, while I followed Barku and Hao over to a strange statue. Both were crouched near it, heads bowed.

"It's an ancient custom. People leaving the island pray here for a safe trip." Hao explained calmly.

"Rylan didn't pray that day. Said he'd miss his boat." Barku explained. He made a face.

Callan and LT were behind me now. LT crouched over on the ground, praying long and hard, showing the first sign of disciplined behavior I had observed in him thus far. Callan prayed while standing up, merely bowing his head.

I then joined them, making the proper gesticulation associated with prayer, one I had previously known as a blitzball sign for good luck. We then continued.

Hao tripped then, skinning his knee badly. LT stopped immediately, taking a seat on the ground beside Hao.

"You! Ted! Scout ahead for us okay? Come running back if there are more fiends headed this way. Barku and I will stay here and watch LT while he tends to Hao." Callan said. I nodded, and took a road that dipped slightly, and evened out. A large structure was before me, possibly once machina. I walked down the path beneath it.

Jut then, a figure dropped down the structure, letting out a cry I assumed was a war cry of sorts. I recognized it as King. He struck me with his spear, drawing a bit of blood, but not much. I winced, and raised my sword. I raised my sword to him, preparing to attack. He raised his spear and we pressed them together, trying to match our strength.

"That's enough!" Barku yelled. He and the others had caught up. Barku came between us and I backed off at once. King glared at me, then stalked off, grumbling under his breath.

"What's with that guy?" I panted, catching my breath from our encounter.

"King. He's human, but is very strong because he was raised by the Ronso tribe. He's learned the fiend's way of fighting." Callan explained.

"That's not exactly what I meant." I replied.

"Dunno." Barku muttered, shrugging, looking as puzzled as I did.

"King doesn't talk much. But he's protected me since I was little. He likes to keep to himself." LT pointed out.


We continued walking together. As we did, a large tan pterodactyl-like creature descended on us. It had razor sharp teeth. Barku, Callan and I had taken up the front line.

"LT, you're in." Callan said, moving backwards from the front line to allow LT in.

"Summon Zeus." Callan commanded. LT nodded.

"Right bro. Uhh...c'mere Zeus!" LT yelled. He surrounded himself with an aura, shooting a beam up in the sky. Zeus plummeted down from the heavens and settled beside LT, who stroked the fur on his neck. Zeus then took to the air again. He flew over and attacked the creature, which Hao whispered was called a Garuda.

I watched as Zeus took the Garuda on like a veteran, flying over and attacking with talons and also using Sonic Wings. Zeus finally performed an Energy Ray under LT's instruction, shooting a concentrated beam of energy that downed the Garuda. He then vanished.

We all applauded LT's performance and Callan rearranged our formation, with Barku and I in front, Hao and LT in the center, and Callan himself and King taking up the rear.

Another Garuda appeared, and Barku used his dark attack. Callan cast Thunder on it, a powerful bolt of electricity hitting it. I ran towards it, jumped up and sliced. It was Barku's turn again. Barku hit it with his blitzball. The Garuda took its turn and swooped at me, but I artfully jumped back, the ease of swordplay sinking in. This was incredible...it was natural. Callan cast Fire on it this time, the Garuda taking considerable damage. I got to slice it again. The creature tried to attack Callan next, who carefully dodged the attack. Callan then cast Blizzard on it, and I dealt the creature another blow, this one killing it. I proudly brandished my sword, grinning.

We walked along a path that had bridges that ran alongside a small waterfall. Barku stretched out, letting the water run down over him and shaking it off. I did the same, grinning. The path was easy.

The next encounter was a Condor, a Dingo and a Water Flan. I attacked the Dingo, bringing it down. The Condor attacked Callan, the dark mage wincing at the blow dealt to him. Barku cried out and threw his blitzball powerfully at the Condor, killing it. Callan merely zapped the Water Flan with Thunder and the battle had ended.

We finally made our way down a narrow path. From there, we reached the beach with ease. We were showered with gifts; I was chosen to receive them. I received a Remedy, a Seeker's Ring, three Phoenix Downs, an Ether and 400 gil. We boarded the S.S. Liki. The villagers watched as we departed, and LT made the sign of prayer towards them. A small boy sobbed as he waved to us.

"Goodbye." LT said, and the boat began to depart.


I had spent a short bit of time on the boat. We ate breakfast on it if we chose to, and having an appetite like mine, I chose to. I ate a very flavorful and hot dish which reminded me of Cookie; the half Al Bhed boy had brought me food with a flavor similar to this.

Along the way, I ran into a strange fellow. He was dressed in odd clothes and had snow-white hair. His eyes were looked closed, or were almost closed.

"Who are you?" I asked, eyeing his odd clothes.

"Fear me not, boy. I am Shao Law." he explained, smiling.

"..."

"I am from a line of priests, monks, and summoners. I myself am merely but a wandering vagabond of a monk." he said, pulling a teabag out of his pocket.

"...I...see."

Hao explained how we were stopping by Kilika to pray at the temple and rest a bit before taking the S.S. Winno to Luca. I decided to finally approach a congregation around LT.

"Word is, that summoner's got noble blood." one man exclaimed.

"I heard he's Lord Braska's son." another added.

"Ya don't say?" a third said.

I walked over to Barku.

"So is LT's dad famous?" I asked.

"Yup. His dad was Lord Braska, a high summoner." Barku said.

"Was? So he's not alive anymore?" I cried.

"No. He gave his life fighting Sin for us. He succeeded in giving us another ten year Calm." Hao explained from nearby.

"Calm?" I asked.

"The Calm is a ten year period of peace without Sin after a high summoner defeats Sin." Barku explained.

I met my new teammates on the boat. Ken'ichi Kyishi, the small right-fielder from earlier, was practicing handling the ball with Shinji Rao, a taller young man with dark hair. I also met the team's goalkeeper, a young guy named Janem Branegan. We had a "secret weapon", which turned out to be seven year old Ryraisen Kanassan. He was to be our midfielder.

"Y'see, the Goers are used to us being considerably big. But by getting a talented player like you, and a small guy with skills like Ryraisen, we're bound to win this year!" Janem explained happily.


I joined LT on the front deck of the boat. He was calmly watching the ocean.

"The wind here is nice, isn't it bro?" he asked.

"Yeah." I replied, enjoying the breeze.

"You're that blitzball kid from Zanarkand, huh?"

"You hear that from Barku?"

"Yeah bro."

"Barku doesn't believe me at all." I replied.

"Zanarkand's real big. Lots of lights. They hold great blitzball tournaments, and the stands are always full." LT said. I gaped at him.

"How do you know that?" I asked.

"A man named Jecht told me when I was little. He was my dad's guardian." LT said.

I turned away, shocked, muttering "Jecht" under my breath. My Jecht? Had LT met my Jecht?

"My father's name is Jecht." I finally managed to say.

"Whoa, really bro? We must have been meant to meet or something." he said, walking over so he was beside me.

"It sounds like him...but it can't be him. He died. Ten years ago, off the coast of Zanarkand."

"Sorry bro." he said in a low voice.

"He went out to sea for training one day...and never came back. And no one's seen him since."

"But...that's like...the day Jecht came here, bro." LT said, sounding perplexed. "I met him ten years and three months ago bro. That was the day my dad left. The date fits, right?"

"Yeah but...how would he get here?" I asked.

"Don't look at me bro. You're the one that got here." he said.

I stopped and stared. That was true, if I had gotten here...did my old man get here the same way?


The boat jolted suddenly.

"What the fuuuuuuuck maaaaaaaaaan!" LT yelled as he slid towards the end of the boat. I grabbed a hold of him quickly. Barku was doubled up against one end of the ship. Shinji Rao was sent rolling to the left side of the boat. Callan clung to a support beam. Hao screamed. Shao Law somehow maintained his balance, merely folding out and raising an umbrella out over himself.

I watched with awe as a giant fin-like thing appeared before me.

"SIN!" Shinj Rao yelled. Two man prepared the harpoons.

"NO!" Barku yelled. "Stick a harpoon in it, and we'll all get dragged under."

"It's going for Kilika! We have to distract it!" one man yelled.

"Our families are in Kilika." the other explained. "Forgive us Lord Summoner."

LT nodded.

They shot the harpoons. One missed, but one dug into Sin, dragging out boat erratically along for the ride.

I jumped up to my feet as three Sinscales that had shot off of Sin. I saw King and LT doing the same. Barku had slipped and fallen. Sin turned, and the boat tilted, Hao sliding to the right side of the boat. As I swung my sword down on the last of the three Sinscales on the boat, three more arrived.

"It's no use!" I yelled. "They keep coming!"

"King, Kotsu, Hao. Use melee attacks and fight the Sinspawn. Barku and I can use ranged attacks and will attack the fin. LT, help in any way you can!" Callan yelled.

I watched Callan cast Thunder at the fin, doing some damage. I bit my lip, continuing to hit and attack as much as I possibly could. King was fighting alongside me now, and before long he and I were back to back, slaughtering as many Sinscales as we could manage while Barku threw his blitzball at Sin and Callan shot Thunder. Hao went to help other passengers safe in the deck below. Shao continued to watch the battle, resting beneath his umbrella. The umbrella had proven futile, all of him was soaked in water, save his hair.

Callan yelled for us to stand back as LT summoned Zeus using his overdrive, Grand Summon. Zeus then charged a very intense series of blasts and shot them at Sin. It looked like overkill.

The harpoon went flying off, pulled off by Sin's force. As it did, I lost my balance and fell in the depths below. Something large passed by me, and I felt sharp pain as it did. I noticed this jagged, odd shaped cut I had gotten on the top of my hand started glowing, and then as it did, the cut reopened.

Small water Sinscales attacked me, and I had began to feel light-headed when Barku arrived, curing me with a Potion. I swam over to him and he gave the thumbs up, but then, we sensed something in the water near us.

A sinspawn was before Barku and I, Sinspawn Echuilles, I called it. It used Drain Touch on Barku. I decided then that it was time for my overdrive, Swordplay. It dealt a great deal of damage. It then used Blender, which made Barku and I wince. Barku used his Dark Attack, and from there, only a few more slices took care of it.


"I will defeat Sin. I must defeat Sin." LT vowed as the ship reached a newly destroyed Kilika. We disembarked, and LT was called to perform a Sending.

"What's a Sending?" I asked Callan.

"Are you sure it's only your memory that's the problem?" he asked. I shrugged.

"The dead need guidance. Filled with grief over their own fate, they refuse to accept their death. They yearn to live on, and resent those still alive. You see, they envy the living. And in time, that envy turns to anger, even hate. Should such souls remain in Spira, they become fiends that prey on the living. The sending takes them to the Farplane, where they may rest in peace." Callan explained.

LT walked out on the water and began swinging his rod around. The villagers cried as he did, and from the coffins in the water below, round orbs of light began flying.

"Pyreflies." Hao explained to me, gesturing at the lights.

When it was over, I knew one thing for sure.

I never wanted to see a sending again.

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