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"You mean your entire city revolved around a crystal?"

Lightning and Noctis had ended up travelling together as they fought under Materia's banner. With the world of the conflict still quite barren, conversation had proven the most effective method of passing time as they journeyed between gates - and their homelands had proven the most amicable topic of conversation. Noctis had spoken about the reason for the journey in which he had travelled back home.

"That's... an oversimplification," Noct observed, in response to Light's query, "but... not totally wrong." Then, when her expression became pensive, he asked, "You mean you had something like that back home?"

"Sort of," Light confirmed. "Powerful creatures with hearts of crystal shaped everything about the world of Cocoon. The body of one of them was an entire city."

Noct didn't think that was totally plausible. "A creature with a heart of crystal?"

Light remembered what she knew about the fal'Cie, and how Pulse and Lindzei had made them. "Well, they're not exactly natural beings," she admitted. "They're divine servants. The crystal heart is a sort of... gift from the maker."

"A crystal given from the gods," Noct observed, recalling how the crystal of Eos was a gift from the Hexatheon.

"Gods, plural," Light caught.


They walked without speaking for a moment, both contemplative.

Lightning was the one who broke it. "Did... did one of those gods give humanity a gift?" Her mind was on Etro, on the chaos that formed human spirit. "That sort of... shapes humanity as a whole?"

"Yeah," Noctis confirmed. Shiva had told him about Ifrit giving humanity fire. "This is getting weird."

A gateway opened before them; Light leapt in, and Noct jumped after her.

Manikins in small numbers were unthreatening foes, but still foes enough to glean bounty; crystal imitations of Golbez, Kuja, and Jecht were felled in a courtyard with a fountain topped by a phoenix, and power born of battle was earned from it.

Noctis, whose mind had been on Ifrit the whole time, spoke up once he was sure the area was empty. "Did you have a couple of gods who used to work well together, and then sort of... fell out?"

Lightning remembered how Lindzei had been created to help Pulse... and how Cocoon and Gran Pulse had waged war against each other. "Oh, yeah," she confirmed. "Fall out doesn't even begin to describe it."

The exit rift appeared, and they made their way through; once they were sure no champions were waiting to ambush them, Light made a query. "A god who turned against someone better than him, and all the world suffered for it?" She was thinking of Bhunivelze and his matricide.

Noct was thinking of Ifrit and the Astral War. "Yep." As they started walking, he realized there was one member of the Hexatheon he hadn't met yet... or even heard of being in Eos, physically. "A god who's above all the others and doesn't really exist in the same way as they do?"

"Uh-huh," Light confirmed, remembering how Bhunivelze had slept in crystal. "A god who's generous, and that generosity backfired in a really big way?" Etro giving Caius the Heart of Chaos had ended terribly for everyone involved.

"Oh yeah," Noct asserted, recalling how Ifrit's anger had started with Solheim turning on him. "...A god whose death resulted in catastrophe? Just from being dead?" Shiva's giant form dying had caused blizzards in a desert.

"Um..." The paradoxes on Gran Pulse had resulted from Etro being unable to prevent them, but she wasn't sure if that could really be considered 'death', considering how she had ended up in Valhalla in the first place. But if Caius hadn't... "The death could be reversible under the right circumstances," Light suggested.

Shiva's incarnation in Gentiana certainly qualified as coming back to life. "That counts," Noct conceded.

Light thought about her own time in Valhalla. "An assigned role from a god that hurts like hell in the long run?"

"Yeah," Noct conceded, thinking about his father's tenure as king, how much he had struggled... and how much peace it had brought while it lasted. "But it's worth it, in the end."

"Assuming nothing goes wrong," Light argued. Her chance to reunite with Serah had been snatched from her when Caius had killed off the goddess for good.

Noct nodded. "That's a good point." Niflheim's false treaty had left Regis with no way out. Trying to think of something more pleasant, he remembered the island off the shore of Caem, and what had happened last time he tried to go there. "A place out of reach of everything else, with a divine purpose?"

Valhalla was a land of the dead, surrounded by seas of chaos. "Big time," Light confirmed. Her mind was on that tide now. "A... a darkness that creates monsters?"

Something told Noct the darkness that was shortening nights on Eos had something to do with daemons. "Yeah." And now he was thinking about daemons. "A way for... for humans to become monsters?"

Light had a horrible flashback to her first run-in with Cie'th. "Yeah."

Quiet for a long moment; neither wanted to risk talking about gods any more, with the unpleasant memories that had been woken from it.

Lightning broke it. "Did you have to go through trouble to-"

"To ride a chocobo?" Noctis asked. "Yes."