April 16, 2010: Hope guided Lightning through a passage to an underground complex managed by the fal’Cie Carbuncle. Instead of the cute little rascal you may remember from Final Fantasy VIII, this game’s Carbuncle its a rotating crystal with a creepy face on it.
Light realized something profound after an offhanded comment by Hope—the fal’Cie treat the people of Cocoon like pets. But if any Cocoon citizen became a l’Cie, that care was withdrawn like a spiteful parent.
They worked through the complex to the city square. PSICOM and the Guardian Corps closed in on them from all sides.
Until Snow busted through the crowd of soldiers with the Cavalry l’Cie woman in tow. He summoned Shiva in Gestalt Mode and canvassed the square in ice in a spectacular CGI cutscene.
Suddenly, Snow told Light that there was a way to turn Serah back to normal.
Light was not counting on that. Sometimes, getting what you want doesn’t turn out like you thought.
She shoved Hope at Snow and told him to protect the kid. Light sought to lose herself in fighting again, so as not to deal with the tidal wave of emotions stirred up by Snow’s claim. But the Cavalry l’Cie, Fang, went with her to mop up the soldiers.
Meanwhile, Snow tried to reach Hope’s father’s house. The route was long and took them well into the evening.
Snow tried to relate to Hope. Snow barely got to know his parents before they died. But someday, he wanted to have a big family with Serah.
Hope was offended by how casually Snow told him all of this. As if the man who got his mother killed had the right.
After they were attacked by a PSICOM craft, Snow hung precariously off of the edge of a high-rise building. Hope had a chance to strike. He unfolded the knife and sat on the edge…
…but another PSICOM attack blew them to hell, and the plummeted onto the streets below…
Snow tried to absorb the blows of fixtures in the way. His ribs got injured and he passed out…
Meanwhile, Fang told Light that she and Vanille reverted from crystal form on Euride. Fang and Vanille obviously fulfilled their Focus, but they could not remember what it was!
Or at least Fang could not.
In a flashback, Fang put Vanille on an elevator while he mopped up some enemies, and that was when they were separated.
Light slapped Fang, but she did not take it hard. When they tried to call Snow, they received no response. They knew something was up. They had to find him and Hope.
Snow finally awoke and carried an unconscious Hope for a while. When he woke up, Snow apologized to him and swore to make things right. The words reached him.
When a flying mecha attacked them, Hope covered for the wounded Snow…
Unfortunately, this is one of those favorite battles of mine in an RPG: the unwinnable-boss-fight-for-the-sake-of-the-story-battle (see also: Grandia II). All it amounts to is trying to fight as Hope for a little while before shifting him to a Medic, desperately trying to heal himself away from oblivion.
Thankfully, if you survive long enough, Fang and Light join the fight to provide some much-needed edge.
After they wreck the mecha, they got to Hope’s father’s house at last.
Hope claimed that his father never listened to a thing he said, but Mr. Bartholomew Estheim definitely listened to his explanation of what happened.
Bartholomew said that even though Hope became a l’Cie, he would always be his son first.
When Snow woke up, he gathered with the others in the living room. He apologized to Bartholomew for what happened to Nora. He simply thanked Snow for guarding Hope.
Before the group could agree on what to do next, PSICOM launched an attack on the house. Since Cocoon was afraid of people who even had contact with l’Cie, Light planned to make Bartholomew pretend to be their hostage.
But they did not need to. The Cavalry attacked the PSICOM squad and assassinated Yaag Roche, the one who led the search for the l’Cie in Palumpolum – and authorized fire on the city’s populace.
But the Cavalry could not deal with a Havoc Skytank. That task was left to Fang, Hope, and Light again. They fended the Skytank off on the roof of the house.
Unfortunately, the boss could not be attacked directly, which rendered Fang nearly useless except as a (yuck!) Sentinel. This fight forced me to promise myself to never underestimate the SEN Paradigm ever again.
That Cavalry guy who was with Fang when she captured Snow stepped forward and unmasked himself. Fang warned him to not be “fresh”, but she seemed legitimately happy to see him.
Vanille: “When it comes to home and family, we keep neither as close as we should.”
Chapter Seven came to a close.
I forgot to mention up to this point that the game was divided up into 13 chapters.
“Seasick?” asked Sazh.
“Nope, I’m fine,” replied Vanille.
Chapter Eight opened with them in the Nautilus. It was a happy and bustling place with lots of pretty and colorful holo-boards and gadgets.
They saw footage of the other fighting earlier on a curved screen. Vanille was shocked to see Fang among them. “It’s her!”
The duo decided to watch an Eidolon-powered spectacle, even though it was really just Sanctum propaganda.
A holographic clock counted down to the show’s launch. Discs flew out to the crowd. Vanille caught one of the discs, and a light-blue jester popped out. “It’s almost time to start the show, little lady!”
Dozens of other jesters flew around. Female Eidolons with watery images flew out of a fountain and danced while another played a harp.
Finally, a Pulse l’Cie was represented by a fiery figure that summoned Ifrit in a cameo. An unidentified heroic figure attacked the l’Cie with a Thunder spell. The l’Cie transformed into Ragnarok, which scared Vanille before it was destroyed by the hero.
Sazh wanted to visit the chocobo corall. He promised to take Dajh there one day.
Sazh sensed that Vanille was not her usual self. He asked her to perk it up.
Vanille: “I know we’ll have to say goodbye soon. But I might as well do it with a smile…”
She straightened up a little and sashayed her way to the park.
When they reached the corall, Sazh’s chocobo flew off to play hide and go seek with them.
The corall has giant fluffy chocobos and cute little sheep! They are so precious.
For the first time ever, the game used a classic Final Fantasy theme song, the theme for riding chocobos in past games.
Most of them, anyway.
This version has lyrics, something about how chocobos take us “around the world and back again”.
One thing that has always stuck with me is how Vanille said that she wants to squeeze the sheep until they pop.
Once the chick had enough of playing around, it returned to Sazh’s afro. He thanked Vanille because he could tell Dajh about the chocobos now.
Sazh told Vanille that he planned to turn himself in to the Sanctum. “They execute l’Cie, but they’re not total monsters.”
He thought that the Sanctum would let him fulfill one last request: to talk to his son.
Vanille panicked. She blurted out that she knew what happened on Euride back then. She asked, “What about revenge?”
Sazh wanted to know.
“The l’Cie that ruined your life is… is…”
Gunshots interrupted her. Snipers knew where they were. The chocobos and sheep fled.
Sazh and Vanille ran to the wall. They had no choice but to leave Nautilus.