Episode Zero -Encounter- Chapter 5

This is the fifth chapter of Part One: Encounter of Episode Zero -Promise- written by Jun Eishima.
The translation below is by Lissar. Because official romanizations of the names have not yet been released, they might be off.


Lightning thought she would just walk around aimlessly for awhile before heading to work, but found herself at the shopping mall.
Every year tourists come from all around for the fireworks festival in Bowdam. The festival had been around since ancient times, and there were quite a few legends surrounding it. The most popular being, “If you pray to the fireworks, your wish will come true.” Just that. Nothing else required. All you have to do is pray. Probably because it was so simple it had been believed in for decades, possibly longer.
Everyone has wishes. No matter how happy you are, there will be something that could make you happier. That’s why on the night of the festival Bowdam’s gates swell with many times the usual number of people. With that many people gathering together all at once, accidents are bound to happen. So on festival night Bowdam’s security force are out on patrol. That night Lightning would be responsible for the area between the shopping mall and the beach.
It’s probably a good idea to check out my area beforehand, she thought. I can figure out where each store is, decide where I will assign my soldiers, and what I should move to prevent accidents. For example, I should put a lot of people around this accessory shop. Or at least tell them that they should be on guard. Any shop with jewels in it would be in danger of robbery.
She looked in one of the windows and something caught her eye. A large pendent hung from a delicate chain was on display. The pendent was of Cocoon and some sort of strange shaped object. Lightning didn’t know much about jewelry, but it looked like something Serah would like.
Walking around and looking at all the things in the mall made Lightning realize how long it’s been since she’d window shopped like this. Probably since the last time she went shopping with Serah. It’s been a long time since the last time we went shopping together, she thought. Ever since I joined the army.
She suddenly felt guilty. After joining, she thought that once she got used to her job she would make it up to Serah. But then a year passed, and she got more responsibility. She got even busier. Before she knew it, not only were they not going out together but they were hardly speaking with each other.
When she joined, Serah was still in middle school. She was probably worried about what she would do after school or her relationships with others. Everyone has problems when they are that age. She probably wanted to ask Lightning’s advice on a lot of things. But no, Lightning had been too busy at work to listen.
Serah had probably been lonely. She probably just wanted someone to talk to… that’s probably how she got drawn to a show-off like Snow. If that’s the case, she thought, then this is all my fault. If only I had been there for Serah. Even if I was busy, I could have made time for her. Why didn’t I? I swore before our mother’s grave that I would protect her, but I only made her feel lonely, so much so that she got in with that horrible man. And it’s all my fault….
“Oh, how cute!”
Lightning turned at the merry voice. A mother and son had stopped in front of a transportation container at the pet shop.
“You like this kind of thing mom?”
“What? But you used to like these too. You’d always stand in front of the store crying, saying ‘I want one, I want one!’”
“And how many years ago was that?”
“Not too long ago… only ten years.”
Mother and son were both looking into the container. Even from behind you could tell they got along well. The son’s hair was cool silver, while the color of the mother’s hair was much warmer. Even though their hair color was different, their faces looked alike. They say boys usually look like their mothers. His height made him look about fourteen or fifteen years old. The bright orange jacket he wore made him look even more that age. I was that age when my mother died, she thought a little sadly.
“These are really good with kids. They’re clever, and become easily attached to their owners.”
The pet shop owner told them as he took a small bird from the container and put it into a cage. It was a chocobo chick.
“These are sold out everywhere right now. Our shop in Ewleede just got some the day before yesterday and already they’re sold out. We’re going to have to send them replacements soon.”
When we were children they weren’t as popular as they are now, Lightning thought, but a few people in her class had baby chocobos. Serah had a friend that she would often play with that had one, and her eyes would always sparkle when she would talk about it.
“So would you like to buy one?”
“Oh no, unfortunately we’re on vacation. It would be too far to take it all the way to Palumpolum.”
When she heard the word “vacation”, that gave Lightning an idea. A vacation. That might be a good idea.
It would be a good way to make it up to Serah for making her so lonely. She could take Serah away somewhere. Though she wouldn’t be able to take a long vacation, if she put a bunch of her days off together, they could go on a short trip. Once the festival was over with their schedule would probably be more flexible and she could put in for some time off.
On my birthday, she thought, we could talk about it. On Lightning’s birthday they always spent it by making dinner together. Then Serah would give her a present that she had put a lot of thought into. This time she would be able to say thank you for the gift by telling her they would go on vacation. Just the two of them.
While they were on vacation she would listen to anything Serah wanted to talk about. To make up for all the time they hadn’t talked. They would have a fun time and eat delicious foods. Of course when they got back from vacation she would make enough time to talk with Serah. She wouldn’t let her be lonely anymore. If she wasn’t lonely anymore, surely she’d open her eyes and realize that she’d almost been duped by that horrible man. And then, she’d go to the university in Eden. If she made a lot of new friends, and saw new places, surely she’d completely forget about Snow.
Lightning decided it was an excellent idea. It was all thanks to that mother and son who gave her the idea. She turned around wanting to say thank you, but they were no longer in front of the pet shop. She saw them walking away together in the crowd. They had looked so happy, it made her feel warm inside thinking about them.
Thank you, Lightning thought, I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation.


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