They warp back down into the Omega ruins, and before they have taken two steps, they are attacked by an Adamantoise.
"This isn't just a rock, is it?" Tidus says.
Spira is changing. Spira, the spiral, the unchanging, the unchangeable, is changing. The proof stands before Lulu in the form of the three teenagers, battling their way through a previously-lost dungeon.
Tidus attacks first but his sword just makes a dull thunk against the giant turtle's shell.
"Ooooh that's not good," Rikku says. "Auron! Get over here!"
They shouldn't be here. A Summoner's pilgrimage is a task better left to those older, wiser. Lulu's first two pilgrimages are proof enough of that.
Rikku jumps out of the way and Auron takes her place.
"I foresee no difficulty," he says.
"Yeah, because you can break through the armor of this thing! Wanna make it so the rest of us can too?" Tidus says.
Auron nods and attacks in such a way that he opens up a chink in the Adamantoise's armor.
These children shouldn't be here, either separately or collectively. But they are, and there seems to be no stopping them.
Yuna then scampers up and swipes a Healing Water from just under the shell.
"Got one!" she cheers.
They are the crest of the wave of change that is beginning to sweep over Spira. And all Lulu can do is try to keep up.
Tidus goes again and does a good chunk of damage on his next attack. But just before Yuna is about to go again, Wakka grabs her out of the way and takes her place.
She doesn't know why she is surprised, really. Yuna is the driving force behind it all, and Lulu has spent the last ten years of her life trying to keep up with the girl. Ever since she arrived on Besaid, newly orphaned daughter of one of the heretic Al Bhed and Lord Braska, defeater of Sin, Yuna has lived up to her heritage of contradictions. Even her very first guardian embodied contradictions: Kimahri, fierce Ronso warrior of the frigid Mr. Gagazet, caring for a small girl on the tropical island.
Just in time too. After Wakka bops it on the nose with his ball, the Adamantoise attacks, breathing its fiery breath across Tidus, Auron and Wakka.
Lulu had never felt so much like a failure as the day Yuna announced that she, over all objections, would be entering Summoner training at the temple. Even the early termination of her first two stints as guardian hadn't produced the same kind of gut-wrenching twist that Yuna's announcement had.
"Gah, that's enough of that!" Tidus says as he attacks again.
"My turn!" Rikku cries, and Auron steps out of the way. She darts up and mugs the fiend, coming away with a Stamina Tablet. "Wahoo!"
Tidus goes after it again, and then Wakka steps out of the way to allow Lulu a crack at the Adamantoise.
"So, how shall we do this?" the mage asks.
"Drown it!" Tidus says.
She realizes now, of course, that there is nothing she could have done. That Yuna's own stubbornness will triumph over everything, including corrupt Churches, unsent sorceresses and Yu Yevon himself.
"A turtle? You want to drown a turtle?" Rikku asks incredulously. "Fry it, Lulu!"
"No!" Yuna calls from the sidelines. "Not fire!"
"Lightning it is, then," Lulu says. "A storm comes!" The bolt of Thundaga zaps the Adamantoise.
That stubbornness is bolstered, supported, and nourished, by Tidus, who has attached himself to Yuna's side with such ferocity Lulu wouldn't like to place any bets on even an Al Bhed machina being able to dislodge him.
"Finish it, Kimahri!" Tidus says, and the Ronso switches places with Rikku.
With a swipe of his Taming Spear, the Adamantoise is captured, and everyone lets out a sigh of relief.
Tidus, the stranger, the other, the unknown. Tidus, son of Jecht, son of one of Lord Braska's legendary guardians. Tidus, star player of the Zanarkand Abes. Tidus, son of Sin. Another bundle of contradictions.
Yuna heals those who need it, and then cautiously, the group creeps forward a little more. As they come around a corner, two large machina robot Defenders appear.
He was taken with Yuna from the first time he saw her stumbling out of the Chamber of the Fayth in Besaid. At first Lulu had disapproved of the match, despite Yuna obviously returning his feelings. Now, though, she considers him the most important member of the group. His unwavering faith - not in Yevon, or the Final Summoning, or even the aeons, but in Yuna herself - and outsider's perspective are what are fueling the change.
Rikku darts forward and mugs one of them, coming away with a pair of Lunar Curtains, but the machina still stands.
"Sorry! Too big for me!" she says.
"Auron, Wakka, we're going to need some help here!" Tidus says, and he and Yuna switch places with the two older men.
Yuna drives, Tidus fuels, but the spark is brought by Rikku.
They each do an Armor Break on the robots, and the shattering of metal echos around the dungeon.
Kimahri jumps in and mugs the second Defender, coming away with the same spoils as Rikku had.
Rikku is their third bundle of contradictions. An Al Bhed guardian. That right there is contradiction enough.
He pays the price, though, as both Defenders attack him.
Wakka steps out of the way to allow Yuna to heal Kimahri, who in turn stands aside for Lulu.
Lulu had known of Yuna's heritage, and of Rikku's existence, for years. So she wasn't terribly surprised when the girl joined their group as a guardian. Rikku's devotion to her cousin couldn't be questioned, and she seemed to take the view that if Yuna was going to continue on this insane journey of hers, the least she could do would be to go along and try to keep her safe.
"Enough of this," she says. With a flick of her hands, both Defenders are hit with one Demi and then another.
"Alright, Lulu!" Rikku cheers from the side.
Both robots falter, but neither one falls.
What did surprise Lulu was how well Rikku fit in. Tidus and Yuna were effectively joined at the hip by then, and the addition of another teenager - particularly an attractive, female teenager - could have spelled trouble. But far from a rival or even a third wheel, Rikku neatly slotted herself into the group as the younger sister, the comic relief, and another source of unwavering support for Yuna.
"Focus on one," Auror says, and attacks the first Defender.
"I've got this," Tidus says, and jumps in front of Yuna to attack.
She, along with Tidus, is the voice in the wind, the one asking "why" to all the assumptions the Yevonites were brought up to take as truth.
The Defenders, apparently sensing the source of the greatest threat, both attack Auron. He takes the hit from the first one and counters, leaving it in pieces where it stood.
It has been hard for Lulu, letting go of so much of what she was taught to believe. But slowly, she is coming around to Rikku's and Tidus's way of thinking; that faith in Yuna, faith in themselves will be enough to see this through to a successful end.
Before Yuna can heal Auron, the remaining defender attacks him also, but once again Auron lands a counter attack.
"Woah, nice job, Auron," Tidus says, clearly impressed.
Which is why she finds herself battling through a previously-lost dungeon, guarding the backs of three contradictory teenagers.
Auron steps back for a moment, to catch his breath, and Rikku jumps into the fight again.
"I want some more of those Lunar Curtains," she says, and proceeds to swipe a couple more.
A summoner who ought not to exist. A young man from a Zanarkand that doesn't exist. And an Al Bhed guardian. They are the ones who will break the Spiral, who will force change upon the unchanging.
"What for?" Tidus asks, as he tries, but fails, to do the same.
"I bet I can whip up something really good with them. They seem like a pretty good restorative."
"Less talk, more attacking," Auron says, as he returns to the fight, taking Lulu's place.
And so all Lulu can do is ride this crest of change along with them.
He winds up and heaves a mighty swing, connecting solidly with the Defender. It wobbles mightily but doesn't quite fall apart.
Auron growls in annoyance.
It will be fun. Almost as much fun as surfing down the anchor chains of an airship to sack Bevelle.
"My turn!" says Yuna, and she jumps in front of Rikku. She gives the Defender a good solid thwack with her staff and it falls apart instantly.
The rest of the group stares at their Summoner, mouths hanging open.
"Yunie!" Rikku scolds.
"What?" she protests, her eyes wide and innocent. The corners of her mouth, however, twitch.
That's all it takes for everyone to start laughing. The sound rings off the walls of the desolate ruins as they carefully make their way deeper and deeper, unearthing secrets that have been buried for centuries.