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Interlude: Aurnion, the Land of Hope

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“It looks familiar, right?”

Flynn heaves out a sigh, turning his gaze from the horizon to the sky above. The edges of the Adephagos disappear in the ink-dark night, but the core of its long funnels pulses purple-red. It makes him queasy. “It does.”

“Guess it makes sense. It’s all just aer gone out of control.”

“I never thought we’d see anything like it again,” Flynn murmurs. “I thought it was just…”

“Some freak accident, yeah.” Yuri turns to the north, where far beyond the looming mountains Scizontania lies. “You think Garista was working for Alexei? I mean, that must’ve been a Hermes blastia, right?”

“It would explain why Alexei was in no rush to send us aid.” The memory leaves a bitter taste in Flynn’s mouth. He had been so sure that the Commandant was right, that he had his reasons even if Flynn couldn’t see them. Where had that blind trust got him?

He can still vividly see Niren’s resigned smile, his arm hanging from his body by a tendon as the aer ate away at him. Is that the fate that awaits all of Terca Lumireis if they can’t defeat the Adephagos?

“Hey.” There’s a nudge at his shoulder, and Flynn turns his head to meet Yuri’s eyes. “You’re getting in your head again.”

“How are you not?” He says it softly, careful to keep his tone free of any judgement. With the end of the world looming over them, he finds that arguing with Yuri is the last thing he wants to do. They’ve wasted so much time fighting.

“I try not to think too hard.” Yuri smiles, and Flynn resists the urge to lean into him, close his eyes and pretend they have nothing more important to worry about than where to get breakfast in the morning. “Hey, we beat it once, we can beat it again, right? Guilds and knights together, just like last time.”

“Of course.” To think he ever wondered how Niren could be friends with a guildsman. Flynn reaches over to intertwine his fingers with Yuri’s, and waits a beat until he has the other man’s full attention. “I believe in you, Yuri. If anyone can do this, it’s you and Brave Vesperia.”

Yuri clears his throat and looks away, and though the moonlight is too weak to tell, Flynn knows his cheeks are flushed. “Yeah, well, you better make sure we’ve got somewhere to come back to. With the barrier blastia gone…”

He trails off, and Flynn shakes his head, still blown away by the enormity of that simple statement. With the barrier blastia gone. Their entire way of life for centuries is about to be wiped out. “We’ll do our duty,” Flynn promises. “Just…”

Come back, he doesn’t say. You have to come back.

Yuri squeezes his hand, and Flynn thinks he heard him anyway.

(The next morning, Ioder bids him go with them, and Flynn steels his resolve. They’re not losing anyone this time.)