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Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- is a series of web novellas written by Jun Eishima, depicting the thirteen days leading up to the events of Final Fantasy XIII. New chapters involving Snow, Fang, and Vanille were released in a published Light Novel.
The first part of the series, titled "Encounter", is told from Serah and Lightning's point of view. It is about Lightning's first meeting with Snow, her relationship with Serah, and trying to plan a vacation for her birthday. It's also about Serah becoming a l'Cie and her relationship with Snow and Lightning.
Part three, titled "Treasure -Family-", is about Sazh and his son Dajh as the boy becomes a l'Cie, Dajh being placed in PSICOM's custody as they try to determine his Focus, and Sazh trying to save Dajh from his fate.
Part four, titled "Search", is about Fang and Vanille after they are separated in Euride told from Fang's point of view. It is about Fang worrying about Vanille, meeting Cid Raines and Rygdea, and joining them to find Vanille.
Part five, titled "Friends", is about Hope and his mother Nora on vacation in Bodhum preparing for the upcoming fireworks display, taking a trip to Euride, and Hope's relationship with his friends and family.
Part six, titled "Present -Gift-", is about Snow and Serah as they look for Lightning's birthday present, and Snow slipping away to buy engagement necklaces.
The seventh and final part, titled "Tomorrow -Future-", is about Vanille and Fang becoming l'Cie on Gran Pulse during the War of Transgression, what happens to Vanille after the events at Euride Gorge, and on the two days leading to the Purge.
Weren't we chosen as l'Cie to fight Cocoon?
Vanille and Fang awaken from crystal stasis but Fang has no memory of their Focus. Not wanting more people to get hurt, Vanille pretends that she also lost her memory. Although Fang's l'Cie brand is scorched and unchanging, Vanille's brand is still active. When they go outside it's nighttime with lit buildings all around them. When they look at the sky, they see the lights of a distant city instead of stars and realize they are in Cocoon, the home of their sworn enemies.
Fang and Vanille return to the temple in disbelief. The Oblatorium is the chamber they awoke in where customary offerings of food were left for the l'Cie enshrined in there along with their weapons and equipment. The food is long spoiled and the festival garments and Fang's spear show signs of decay. Fang theorizes that she and Vanille might have slept as crystals for centuries and says they should find food outside.
At dawn Fang and Vanille go to the ocean and Fang easily spears a large fish. This attracts the attention of a passing elderly couple admiring their fishing skills. Questioning the couple's friendliness and whether they would return with friends, Vanille and Fang return to the temple on high alert. They are confused the people they pass by are so unwary. Fang kills a white bird and they pilfer vegetables from a nearby field. Outside the temple, Vanille and Fang use a priest's ceremonial garb and staff to start a fire and cook the fish and the bird, but the food is tasteless. They put out the fire and return inside the temple. Fang proposes they go into the city the next day to find answers and a way to help restore her memory by exploring enemy territory. Vanille reluctantly agrees.
The next day, Fang and Vanille head into the town of Bodhum, now more at ease being surrounded by people from Cocoon. They blend into a crowd and find a shopping district. Vanille starts to think that despite Cocoon stealing many resources from Gran Pulse in the past, and its people, houses, and food being very different from those on Pulse, the people from both worlds are alike on the inside. They are approached by two young men who invite the pair to have lunch with them. Fang and Vanille cautiously join the men at a restaurant. The men say they're from Eden and attend its university.
As they eat and engage in conversation, Fang and Vanille baffle the men with their foreign habits and lack of basic knowledge of Cocoon life but manage to get by. When Fang brings up the temple, the men refer to it as the Pulse Vestige, and say that the fal'Cie brought it up from Pulse over six centuries ago. Fang and Vanille ask if the vestige getting taken caused trouble for the Pulsians and the men laugh. They say the people on Pulse were useless barbarians no better than animals who should be grateful Cocoon is putting their resources to good use. This infuriates Vanille. Fang asks the men to step outside with her and knocks them out.
Fang and Vanille search the men's pockets and find their ID cards. As they try to figure out how the cards work, a large human-like white bird startles them and promptly takes off. Fang and Vanille overwrite the original owners' information and get the ID cards to work. They run at the sound of approaching voices, with Vanille concluding the young men were enemies after all.
Back at the vestige, Fang and Vanille find signs that someone is inside. At the deepest part of the temple, Fang and Vanille find Serah Farron unconscious on the ground of the fal'Cie Anima's throne. While Fang debates whether or not to kill Serah, Vanille finds a l'Cie brand on her arm. They take Serah outside and Fang says that as they don't remember their Focus the girl was chosen as their replacement. Vanille however believes Anima saw through her lies and blames herself for Serah's misfortune.
When Serah begins to wake up Vanille and Fang retreat to the shadows. When Serah spots the mark on her arm she falls apart and the l'Cie brand evolves, affected by her fear. When Serah walks away crying Fang says they can only complete their Focus in time and return to Gran Pulse, but Vanille says they should forget their Focus. Fang isn't willing to let Vanille turn into a Cie'th because they had promised to always be together.
The next morning Fang and Vanille explore another part of town where beverages and produce are being sold in colorful stalls, but can't stop thinking about Serah. They notice more things Cocoon and Pulse people have in common, and everything is so peaceful there is no reason to fight anyone. Fang starts thinking about their Focus again when they overhear a passing group of older woman talk about a fal'Cie tour in a place called Euride that can be reached by train. Fang thinks seeing a Cocoon fal'Cie will bring back their memory. They get a map, ask for directions to Bodhum Station, and find the right platform.
The following day, Vanille and Fang board the train bound for Euride and sit behind Sazh and Dajh. They take in the sights of airbikes flying by the train, Bodhum's floating islands, and the distant city of Eden. Vanille wishes Cocoon and Gran Pulse didn't have such animosity towards each other so that people could freely travel between the two worlds. She curses her weakness for feeling lost and not wanting to fight, fearing that her past choices and whatever she does here on out will only lead to sorrow for everyone, Fang most of all. The train arrives at Euride and Vanille and Fang approach the energy plant where the fal'Cie Kujata lies.
What did you find? Can you heal him of this... l'Cie thing?
As part of their tour package, Sazh brings Dajh to Euride Gorge to see Kujata. At a pet shop, Dajh says he wants "the yellow one". A panicked Sazh thinks his son wants the big yellow Ectopudding, but to his relief Dajh really wants the yellow chocobo chick. Dajh promises to wait outside the shop and Sazh tells him to stay put, knowing Dajh is planning to play a game of hide-and-seek.
At the store, the baby chocobo makes a bee-line for Sazh when the shopkeeper opens the cage. After paying for it, Sazh leaves the store with the chick riding on his head, but Dajh is nowhere to be found. Thinking Dajh is playing, Sazh pretends to look around and give up, but Dajh still doesn't respond. Sazh runs to the energy plant's entrance and the ground trembles. An emergency siren sounds off and tourists rush toward the entrance.
Sazh tries to push through the crowd and white mist begins to fill the area. When Sazh reaches Kujata he hears the sound of air escaping and discovers Dajh laid out along a resting bench. Sazh finds a strange mark on Dajh's right hand and thinks it's either a sticker or kids' body paint, and begins to carry Dajh out. Soldiers on the security force intercept him and place Dajh on a stretcher to be brought to the first-aid room.
The first-aid room is crowded with tourists either injured or made unwell in the commotion. Now laid on a bed, Dajh wakes up and several PSICOM soldiers march in and declare a state of emergency, with the plant and area surrounding Euride now under their supervision. A young woman with glasses leading the soldiers says the place is off-limits, but a tent in the plaza has been set up as a waiting area for anyone who has already seen a doctor while everyone still waiting for one goes to the first-aid tent. She orders soldiers to separate everyone into groups and have them form a line leading outside.
Sazh and Dajh go to the end of the line for the first-aid tent, but the woman asks if Dajh is the one who collapsed in front of the fal'Cie. She introduces herself as Jihl Nabaat, and asks Sazh to come with her. As she is someone of high position in PSICOM, all Sazh can do is comply. PSICOM pretends Sazh and Dajh are emergency patients and loads them onto an airship. Nabaat keeps saying it was a "lucky accident" that PSICOM was at Euride. They are flown to Eden and placed in the military's medical facility, where Sazh and Dajh are placed into separate rooms. The following day Sazh remains unaware of what's going on, but learns some of Nabaat's history. He figures that what happened at Euride wasn't a mere accident for someone like her to be involved.
Sazh uses a terminal to access the library and find information about the "The Mark of the l'Cie" that Nabaat mentioned before. With the chocobo chick's help he finds an image of old text with symbols and writing carved into rock. Recognizing it as the mark on Dajh's hand, Sazh reads the accompanying text and pales.
Two days later, Sazh meets with Nabaat in a medical observation room, and watches Dajh play with a puzzle on a monitor. Nabaat apologizes for keeping Sazh waiting for three days and tells him Dajh was chosen as a l'Cie by Kujata. Sazh accuses her of joking, and says l'Cie are but an old story. She tells him they were surprised as well since a l'Cie hasn't been chosen since the War of Transgression.
She claims that a Pulse invasion is under way and explains that what happened at Euride was not an accident, but the work of enemies from Pulse, and it's thanks to Dajh being chosen that little damage was done. Sazh asks what a six-year-old child can do against Pulsian forces. Nabaat says the enemies escaped and are still at large, and there can be another attack, so she asks Sazh to cooperate. She says Dajh is the key to saving Cocoon and will have the Sanctum back him; all they want Sazh to do is watch over his son. PSICOM is investigating what Dajh's Focus might be, as well as what sort of powers he has been given.
In the evening the next day, Sazh is called into a new room with a huge two-way mirror, where Dajh is unable to see him on the other side. Yaag Rosch is playing with Dajh who seems to like Rosch. Sazh believes Rosch either likes kids or takes his duties seriously. Nabaat comments on how Dajh isn't shy and listens to others. Sazh tells her how Dajh has gotten used to playing with other adults, after going through babysitters and child care ever since his mother died three years ago.
Sazh asks Nabaat if Dajh can be cured, and she says it's impossible with human technology. Sazh asks about a skin-grafting procedure, but Nabaat says nothing can be done about the mark. She says Dajh seems able to sense Pulse entities, and can find the fugitive l'Cie and their fal'Cie master. Sazh realizes both PSICOM and the fal'Cie only want to use Dajh, and that he is the only one who can help his son.
As the door to the other room opens, Dajh leaps into Sazh's arms. He wants to see fireworks, with Sazh noticing Dajh is more insistent than usual. Nabaat guesses Dajh is talking about the fireworks festival taking place in Bodhum in a few days. Dajh whispers to Sazh that something is there but doesn't say what. Nabaat tells the boy they will see the fireworks, believing it's worth checking out if Dajh can sense something Pulse-related at the festival.
This is what you are thinking right now. You are a l'Cie of Pulse, and all of Cocoon is your enemy. But there are exceptions to anything, you know.
Fang shakes off pursuit from Euride soldiers returns to the Vestige the next morning. She doesn't find Vanille and the food they had brought back hasn't been touched. Fang thinks Vanille hasn't returned to Bodhum or is still hiding. She assumes Vanille is lonely and crying in her sleep as usual. Fang goes to the shopping mall to get a drink from a vending machine and catches another glimpse of the human-looking white bird. Believing the bird to have brought luck whenever she and Vanille saw it, Fang thinks she can now find her wayward friend, but is quickly discouraged.
Someone tells Fang to pick up the can she had placed on the ground. Fang ignores the voice, but is pursued by a soldier in an unfamiliar blue uniform. She leaves the mall and keeps running until she gets lost. The soldier jumps her, but claims to not be an enemy. He introduces himself as Rygdea, a member of the Cavalry, and asks Fang to come with him. Now surrounded by soldiers holding her at gunpoint, Fang is handcuffed and blindfolded, although Rygdea promises she won't be bound for long.
Fang is forced onto an airship where she meets Cid Raines and her handcuffs are removed. Raines identifies Fang as a Pulse l'Cie, an enemy of of Cocoon, and introduces himself as the Cavalry leader. He claims to not be Fang's enemy even if it is his job to help protect Cocoon. He takes out a wireless communicator to ask Lieutenant Jihl Nabaat of her status, who says a perpetrator is still on the run. Raines tells Nabaat things are also coming up empty on his end. Nabaat says once she's captured, the fugitive is to be delivered to PSICOM headquarters. Raines asks for the details of the Euride incident, but Nabaat says it's classified and under PSICOM's jurisdiction.
Raines turns off the communicator and tells her the Cavalry doesn't agree with PSICOM's actions, nor does the Cavalry align with them. Fang remains unconvinced, believing the Cavalry captured her to get intel on Pulse. She tells Raines that she has no information he could want because she's a broken l'Cie, and that she doesn't have time to help him since she's looking for a friend. Raines says it's up to Fang whether or not she'll help, but says she will be staying with them. Raines asks Rygdea to take Fang to the residential area.
Fang realizes they are on an airship. Despite most of the creatures and people in Cocoon being weak with the exception of a few like Rygdea, it has a vast assortment of technology, potentially making them a worse enemy than Fang and Vanille imagined. Rygdea tells Fang not to try anything since PSICOM has set up barricades around Bodhum. Cavalry had overwritten PSICOM's surveillance system and sent them false info to capture her without PSICOM's knowledge.
Fang is given a room with only a bed and a table. Rygdea says the Cavalry looked at the security footage from Euride, and they could tell Vanille is strong like Fang. Fang is relieved Vanille hasn't been captured, and thinks about how Vanille always cries, wakes up from a bad dream and holds on to Fang begging not to leave her alone, and how Vanille would sometimes laugh at the strangest things, ever since they were children. Rygdea offers to look for Vanille if in return she and Fang don't let themselves get captured by PSICOM. Now believing she can trust Rygdea, Fang agrees to the deal.
Rygdea believes Vanille is somewhere in Bodhum. He meets Lightning again and asks of places where teenagers like to hang out, and gives Lightning a vague description of Vanille as an outgoing pigtailed girl who ran away from home. Lightning tells him there is a café by the beach where many young people hang out.
At the café Rygdea sees many tourists and locals but no sign of Vanille. Remembering him from the other day when PSICOM searched him, Yuj offers Rygdea a seat at the counter as Lebreau is making drinks. As she fixes Rygdea something to eat, Maqui appears and asks Lebreau on Snow's whereabouts, to which Lebreau says that Snow just left to meet with Serah. Seeing how everyone around him is acting without a care in the world, Rygdea notes how PSICOM has covered up news of the Euride incident, and how only perceptive people like Lightning know something big must have happened if PSICOM is moving in. Rygdea describes Vanille to Lebreau who promises to inform him if a girl matching his description comes by.
Rygdea later returns to the Lindblum and Fang is not surprised he returns empty-handed. She says Vanille might be near a forest or ocean for food, as she likes cooking even though some of her meals turn out terrible. Fang asks why Rygdea is with Raines, and if it is because something about Raines appeals to him. Rygdea simply calls himself a man who relies not on his feelings, but on whether or not something makes sense, and that he does not fight unless he is sure to win. He says Fang misread him, but Fang disagrees, thinking Rygdea lets his emotions dictate his actions more than he wants to admit. Rygdea rushes to the airship's bridge as PSICOM announces they are lifting the blockade around Euride.
Fang worries how much time Vanille has left as her l'Cie brand is still evolving, and decides to look for Vanille herself. She sneaks out of her room and plans to find the ship used to bring her aboard the Lindblum and escape, but runs into multiple dead ends. Raines appears and says barriers were put up to restrict Fang's movement. Raines offers his sword to Fang, saying she can take it and do whatever she wants to him when his men arrive. Fang takes the sword and follows him to a room.
Raines shows Fang an audio recording of a conversation between Yaag Rosch, Galenth Dysley, and Nabaat concerning Euride and the fugitive Pulse l'Cie. Rosch and Dysley ponder whether it was too soon to remove the barricade, and about the rumors spreading that what happened wasn't an accident. Nabaat says they can use that information to their advantage, but Dysley claims the fal'Cie Eden reprimanded him for hiding the truth from the public. He wants to end the investigation after lifting the barricade so everyone's lives would return to normal. Rosch disagrees since the l'Cie remain on the loose, but as the fal'Cie spokesperson, Dysley can't defy their commands.
An inside man recorded the conversation, which Raines calls "the real Cocoon" where Dysley thinks of the citizens as sheep. As long as Cocoon remains under Sanctum rule the people remain tools of the fal'Cie. Raines believes Fang's Focus is to defeat the Cocoon fal'Cie and possibly destroy Cocoon by extension. This makes Fang think her and Vanille's Focus may not be to destroy the structure of Cocoon itself, but its core. Raines claims that Fang has the power to destroy fal'Cie, and asks her to lend them that power because he wants to destroy the fal'Cie Eden and the Sanctum.
Fang asks if Raines is willing to betray Cocoon. Raines answers he will do anything to achieve his goal, but Fang says she will make her decision about helping him after Vanille is found. Raines tells her about Bodhum's fireworks festival and that PSICOM won't be able to make a move against her if she blends in with the tourists. Fang agrees to stay on the Lindblum until then, though she still hasn't decided on whether or not she will help Raines.
For the next two days, Rygdea continues unsuccessfully looking for Vanille and Fang has no luck trying to recall the missing pieces of her memory. The following day Raines lets Fang attend the fireworks festival as promised, giving her a wireless communicator and a device to give her quick access to her weapon. She returns to the Vestige and sees the priests' robes thrown on the floor and Vanille's weapon, meaning she had been there. Fang folds up the priests' clothing to let Vanille know she is looking for her. She spends the rest of the day looking for Vanille in the areas around Bodhum they previously visited. PSICOM enters the Vestige to conduct an investigation and surrounds it with army vehicles. Believing that Vanille would avoid the Vestige from now on, Fang walks to the shopping mall as it gets dark.
As fireworks light up the shopping mall and beach full of people, Fang looks everywhere for Vanille. Exhausted, she stops at the café for a drink and tells Lebreau, who serves her, about looking for her friend. Lebreau tells Snow that Serah is waiting at the usual place. As he leaves, Fang doesn't get a good look at him but remembers his clothing. Fang describes Vanille to Lebreau who tells Fang about the wishmaking tradition. When Fang leaves, she looks at the sky and prays she will find Vanille. Rygdea tells Fang through the communicator to return to the meeting point as something terrible has happened.
During the fireworks festival, one of the low-ranked Cavalry members intercepts information from PSICOM about a Pulse fal'Cie being found in the Vestige. PSICOM seals off the Vestige and most of its forces are heading for Bodhum. The Cavalry and Bodhum's security force are ordered to pull out. Raines thinks that PSICOM is stalling for time before the info gets leaked and will reveal the discovery after they've barricaded the city to contain the panic. Raines gets a call from his inside man and asks Rygdea to step outside, making the latter suspicious for how Raines's demeanor suddenly changes.
After Fang is picked up, Fang unleashes her fury upon learning the Cavalry is going to leave Bodhum. Rygdea assures they will continue to search for Vanille in the regions outside of town. Raines tells her that the Sanctum will Purge everyone in Bodhum to Pulse, and bring them to the Hanging Edge by train before sending them to Pulse along with the Vestige. Raines reaffirms his desire to destroy the fal'Cie and Sanctum, but Fang says she doesn't care about his power struggles, and asks what he really wants. He tells her he wants the people of Cocoon to have rule over their own hearts and live as humans, neither as sheep nor tools of the fal'Cie.
Fang thinks she recognizes the same kind of look in Raines's eyes that she saw in the eyes of those on Pulse whose homes were destroyed by Cocoon fal'Cie. Raines promises the Cavalry will use all of its power to find Vanille, but they can't ignore the lives of the people in Bodhum being destroyed simply for having the slightest brush with Pulse. Knowing the Cavalry would have to make sacrifices to save Vanille from a heavily guarded Purge train, Fang says she owes Raines. She closes her eyes and prays that her and Vanille's Focus is to destroy the Cocoon fal'Cie, and that she is not making a mistake with her decision. Fang tells Raines once Vanille is found, they will help him crush the fal'Cie.
Two days later, on the day the Purge train leaves Bodhum, the Lindblum lands on Lake Bresha's surface. As Fang rides in a smaller vehicle toward the Hanging Edge, Rygdea says the Purge train will arrive in an hour. Fang spots the strange white bird as it disappears into clouds. Now seeing the bird as a sign of luck, Fang smiles at the knowledge the Hanging Edge is close and that she would find Vanille.
Whatever, let's not talk about him. I mean, whether he's here or at home he'd just say the same things anyway. How's school? Are you studying? Nothing else. He's like a.....
Hope and his mother Nora are on a ten day vacation, staying in a beach resort condo in the seaside town of Bodhum for the annual fireworks festival. Having planned it half a year in advance, Nora hopes to use the vacation to try and heal the rift between Hope and his father, Bartholomew. One evening, Bartholomew calls Nora and says he has to go on a business trip but will join up with her and Hope for the festival. Hope is unsurprised and doesn't believe it since his father often neglects him and Nora for his job. Hope resents Nora never blaming his father for breaking his promises and for making excuses for him.
Nora wants to go to Euride the next day as the clean-up operation after the accident three days ago has ended. When Hope says his father is not coming just as he thought, Nora says there is nothing Bartholomew can do about it since the Euride incident affected his job. To change the subject, Hope helps Nora wash vegetables she got from Yuj, Maqui, and Lebreau.
At Euride Gorge the next day, Hope and Nora see the plaza is closed off and the place is full of PSICOM soldiers on guard. Nora sees a pet shop that sells chocobo chicks. Some kids run past Hope and hearing them mention the Sunleth Waterscape makes him think about his school trip there six years ago, and the misadventure he had there with his two classmates Kai and Elida Karmic. He thinks about what his father said about keeping promises no matter how small they are. Hope believes his dad no longer keeps his promises to him and Nora. All Hope can remember about the last time he began a conversation with his dad was how Bartholomew had brushed him aside.
Having seen the fal'Cie Kujata, Hope and Nora return to the entrance. When he was younger, Hope had wanted to become like his father, but he now doesn't wish to become the kind of person that feels work is more important than family. The people passing by were talking about a boy being hurt in the accident, and how the local security force could barely look at his father. Nora hopes the child does not die since there's nothing worse than a child dying before their parent. Hope ponders that regardless, when a family member dies it's still sad for those left behind.
Nora asks if Hope hates his father, and says Bartholomew isn't good at these kinds of things, but many people in the Sanctum depend on him and he wants to do a good job. Hope says he's not mad since his father will join them in time for the fireworks, which is the most important part of the vacation. Hope thinks about talking to his dad on the night of the festival. Bartholomew may not say much, but Hope strives to make his mother happy.
As they approach the plaza, the numerous PSICOM soldiers make Hope feel nervous. Seeing his mother looking worried, he says they should return to Bodhum, and Nora suggests they visit the shopping mall again. Hope thinks about talking to Kai and Elida when he gets back to Palumpolum and tell them about his vacation, making it the first time they've been together in three years.
Yeah, that's why I never know what to get her. I always think there must be something better out there. But you know? When you see how happy they are with what you've given them, all those worries go away!
In two days it will be Lightning's birthday, so Serah is in the shopping mall with Snow to look for a present, but she can't find one she believes her sister will like. Though Lightning has been like a mother to her, Serah still hasn't told her about being made a Pulse l'Cie, an enemy of Cocoon. She told Snow three days ago and tried to break up with him, but he promised to help her figure out her Focus and complete it. Snow tried asking people what they knew about Pulse or l'Cie, but had no luck. He even thought of confronting the Pulse fal'Cie about Serah's Focus, but she objected because that could make Snow a l'Cie as well as, and endanger everyone in Bodhum.
Serah and Snow had decided to tell Lightning everything on her birthday, but Serah doubts she has the courage. To cheer Serah up Snow points to a large stuffed Carbuncle toy in a store window. Serah jokes Lightning would like a Carbuncle doll, and they move on.
Due to Lightning's job as the raid leader of the Bodhum Security Regiment, Serah thinks of getting her a good-luck-charm. They enter the accessory store Serah bought her cat earrings and Snow's NORA necklace. Planning to propose to Serah at the fireworks festival, Snow looks at rings on a corner table, but dismisses the idea. Serah overhears him, but believes he is thinking of getting a ring for Lightning. Snow moves on to the next display showing bracelets. He considers the ones with birthstones but relents after seeing a middle-aged woman use a bracelet as a collar for her tiny dog.
Snow and Serah move on to the next table displaying earrings. She notices Snow has been acting oddly. He is about to tell Serah to forget about it and help pick out some earrings when a voice from a young couple catches his attention. He sees them wearing two halves of the same set of earrings. After seeing two other couples in the shop wearing them as well, Snow forgets about buying earrings for his marriage proposal since they're so popular. Serah agrees with Snow's suggestion to go to a different store. He says he's trying to find something to show someone how he feels but nothing seems good enough. Snow spots a pair of necklaces in the shop's display window, having missed them when they entered. To stall Serah, Snow makes up the excuse of having to go to the bathroom and tells her to go on ahead.
He calls out to one of the shop attendants to look at the necklaces and recognizes the person as Sonia, a childhood friend three years older than him who was like a "scary sister" to him as they grew up in the same town. When Sonia has another attendant get the necklaces, Snow realizes Sonia has been managing the store for less than a month and it's gotten busy thanks to her work. Since the Sanctum pays tuition, Sonia worked at Palumpolum's main store after graduating from boarding school. This way of life troubles Snow because it means he could take anything he wants from the Sanctum, but instead he and his friends choose take as little as possible by farming, hunting monsters, and doing things their way. Sonia accuses Snow of being unemployed and says he can't go on like this forever. Guessing Serah to be his girlfriend, Sonia tells Snow to get a job or do something with himself for Serah's sake, but Snow declares to make Serah the "happiest woman on Cocoon".
Sonia hands Snow the necklaces, small metal sculptures of Cocoon. Sonia offers to gift-wrap the necklaces, but Snow declines, pays for them, and bursts out of the shop. He doesn't see Serah, afraid she might be looking for him. He thinks about proposing to Serah tomorrow night before wishing for their happiness on the fireworks. Despite knowing that Serah's time is short, Snow decides to believe in a bright future.
Serah has found a present for Lightning, a good-luck-charm she would carry with her: a survival knife whose blade is said to be able to cut connections with evil. As she catches up with Snow, Serah says Lightning visits many places because of her job so she wants Lightning to survive whatever happens and return home safe. Snow assures Serah a survival knife isn't a strange gift, and they enter the weapon shop to buy the knife Serah spotted in a display window.
We'll be together forever... no matter what happens, we'll never be apart.
- During the War of Transgression...
Three priests clothed in red, black, and purple lead Fang into the temple housing the fal'Cie Anima with Vanille in tow. Fang and Vanille leave their weapons and climb the stairs, stopping at moments to pray for a total of 13 times before continuing onward. They reach a door the black priest says will only open for the pure of heart. Fang and Vanille pray, the symbol on the door glows red, and the door opens. Fang says she is the one who will be made a l'Cie, not Vanille, so she has nothing to be afraid of.
Everyone climbs another flight of stairs and repeats the praying ritual. They come to another door of trials and the purple priest says it will open to those who hold strength instead of weakness. Fang and Vanille pray and open the door. Everyone passes the gate of the center and leaves the hallway of ten and three. They stop and pray 13 times as they climb the next flight of stairs. When Fang starts to complain, Vanille scolds her by saying the priests called the process a test. Fang calls the priests weak and harmless.
Fang, Vanille, and the three priests climb stairs and pray 13 times until they come to another door. The red priest says the gate of endings will open for those full of honor. Fang and Vanille again pray together, the door opens, and everyone continues onward.
At the top of the final set of stairs stand ten priests with spears guarding the entrance to Anima's Throne. Vanille can't go further, and Fang is led up the stairs. The thirteen priests surround Fang and lift their arms in prayer, chanting that she is the chosen one who will stand against Cocoon. As the door to the fal'Cie opens, Fang shakes off the priests holding onto her and yells at Anima for turning countless people into l'Cie when only a fal'Cie like itself could possibly destroy Cocoon and Lindzei. The priests try to hold Fang down with their spears, but she shakes them off, takes one of their spears, storms into Anima's chamber, and continues yelling at it.
The priests chase after her, but Fang defeats them with her spear before continuing towards Anima. Fang says she will become Anima's l'Cie and destroy demons, but hates that the fal'Cie sits around doing nothing. The red, black, and purple-clad priests shield Anima from Fang, who says human lives are nothing to the fal'Cie. The priests claim the human lives Fang speaks of are nothing but orphans cared for the purpose of being made l'Cie, which is the only use they have. The red priest calls Fang a fool unable to see the true intention of those who cared for her, and the enraged Fang stabs him. She defeats the other two priests and faces Anima, announcing her intention to destroy the fal'Cie for it being the cause of her friends becoming Cie'th and the Cocoon fal'Cie doing as they please.
Fang charges at Anima but its hands throw her to the floor. The ten priests rush into the chamber, surround Fang, and point their spears at her prepared to kill her for her traitorous actions. Vanille runs in and covers Fang with her body, begging the priests to forgive Fang, but they claim her sins for insulting them and Anima are too great. Vanille asks the priests to let her atone for Fang's crimes and asks for both she and Fang to be turned into l'Cie to fight Cocoon. The priests gather together to discuss while Fang begs Vanille not to go through with it. Being next in line anyway, Vanille had decided ever since entering the temple that she wants the two of them to be together. She says they might be orphans, but they were raised together as a family and will protect everyone together. The ten priests surround Fang and Vanille, raise their arms in prayer that they be turned into l'Cie. Vanille says they will be together no matter what happens.
In the present day...
After Vanille was separated from Fang following the Euride incident, the station has been closed off. People demand the soldiers to free them, but are told they will be put on the next train to Bodhum after going through an ID check. People complain, but follow the solders' directions and wait in the tents that were set up in the plaza. Vanille nervously hands a soldier her stolen ID card and it gets accepted. She takes the next train back to Bodhum and waits for Fang on the platform, but there is no sign of her.
Vanille returns to the Pulse Vestige, but cannot sleep and decides to visit the mall to look for food. After seeing the strange white bird again, the nervous Vanille gets the courage to enter a store and make purchases with her stolen card. Over the next four days, she begins to feel more at ease and see Cocoon as a peaceful paradise, but is still haunted by the guilt she feels towards Serah and Dajh, the girl and boy dragged into her and Fang's problems. The guilt Vanille feels is like a thorn in her chest close to overwhelming her until she meets Serah on the beach.
Three days later in the afternoon when Vanille is at a rest area in the shopping mall, it's announced on the news that a Pulse fal'Cie has been discovered in the vestige. People panic, and it is announced Bodhum will be barricaded for Cocoon's protection. Worry turns into anger as some confront the PSICOM soldiers, who begin threatening them. A frightened Vanille flees, but finds all roads leading to the vestige blocked and the structure surrounded by military vehicles.
Regretting she had left her weapon behind in the vestige, the sight of approaching soldiers makes Vanille return to the mall. As she thinks about Fang she walks around aimlessly and finds herself at Bodhum Station. Vanille guesses she might find Fang back at Euride and runs toward the station only to find the walkway blocked off. In front of the station she sees tourists arguing with soldiers, among them Nora begging for Hope to be allowed to return home. Vanille returns to the shopping mall and tries to stay in populated places away from soldiers.
Another announcement is made that everyone in Bodhum will undergo a Purge to Pulse and everyone goes quiet. Vanille watches in amazement as the fear of Pulse causes everyone around her run around screaming and crying with fights breaking out. It's announced that the Pulse fal'Cie will accompany the Purge train and be returned to Pulse. Vanille realizes if she stays in Bodhum she will be Purged with everyone else, and if she returns home to Gran Pulse, then she won't be able to complete her Focus which will remain unchanged. She slumps to the ground, holds her knees, and remains this way until night falls.
Now in an empty mall, Vanille slips past the soldiers and walks down the beach where the fireworks festival was held the previous night. She whispers goodbye to the floating world she had come to like, and turning back the way she came, Vanille comes across the field where she and Fang stole vegetables from the day they awoke. Thinking she will never see Fang again, Vanille cries herself to sleep.
The following day, while walking along the promenade, Vanille looks out into the ocean and sees the Pulse Vestige in the distance, surrounded by army vehicles and Cocoon soldiers. Remembering the promise between her and Fang that they will always be together, Vanille apologizes and reminisces about what happened after Euride eight days ago up to her encounter with Serah. While she's lost in her thoughts, Vanille feels a PSICOM soldier's gun at her back and she fearfully apologizes. He lowers it and softly tells her to hurry since everyone is checking in at the station. Vanille runs to the shopping mall and doesn't look back.
Unlike yesterday, there is no commotion in the mall and Vanille sees a line of impassive people heading towards the station to board the Purge train. Realizing everyone sees being sent to Gran Pulse as a death sentence, Vanille wishes she could show them the things Pulse has to offer, and that they could live there if everyone worked together. Vanille apologizes for she and Fang waking up being the cause of everything happening to the Purgees.
Once Vanille enters the station building, she hears soldiers calling out instructions on megaphones ordering everyone to stay in line and that their baggage will be returned once they reach Pulse. The sight of the soldiers' weapons makes Vanille uneasy and gives her the impression that everyone is being escorted out of the city by force. Someone yells and the line of people shifts as though someone tried to run away. Gunshots ring out and the people panic, but quickly revert to their quiet state when soldiers point their guns at them. They are demanded not to leave the line for their own safety and the line continues moving.
Vanille sees Lightning talk with a soldier. Though she notices she looks like Serah Vanille thinks her guilt is making her see things. She sees Lightning give the soldier her weapon and line up with Sazh standing behind her, and sees a baby chocobo pop out of his hair. As Vanille begins to laugh she doesn't look where she's going and bumps into Nora. After making sure Vanille is not hurt, Nora and Vanille talk about where they're from until Nora stops asking questions. Vanille thinks it's because Nora has other things to worry about, and sees Hope silently looking down at his feet and shaking. After debating whether to stand behind Nora and Hope or behind Lightning, Vanille settles on the former because she wants to be with kind people if she's going to be treated like a prisoner.
Soldiers explain that everyone would arrive on Pulse today or tomorrow. Vanille thinks of helping everyone adjust to Pulse and apologizes to Fang for breaking their promise to stay together. Reflecting on Serah's advice from four days ago to face reality later if it's too much too deal with, Vanille reflects on how Serah's words saved her. Thanks to Serah telling her to look at her problems from a distance to find a way to get through them, Vanille has resolved to run from her Focus to avoid hurting more people even though she'll become a Cie'th. Vanille knows Fang is not in danger of turning into a Cie'th and can look after herself although she will be upset. As soldiers begin directing people onto the train, Vanille feels worried, but tells herself she will soon be back on Gran Pulse with people waiting for her who will be happy to see her.
A special edition drama CD was released on January 27, 2010, a CD only available through buying/ordering the limited edition version of the Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack. It features Part 1 of the web novellas.
The CD consists of seven chapters with characters including, Serah, Lightning, Snow, Hope, Nora Estheim, the members of NORA, Lightning's former superior in command, Amodar, as well as Lightning and Serah's mother.
Each chapter lasts approximately 1–6 minutes.
- Chapter 1: Lightning meets the members of NORA, including Snow, Serah's fiancee. (5:50)
- Chapter 2: Serah and Snow have a brief talk about Lightning and her birthday. (5:25)
- Chapter 3: Lightning remembers conversations she's had with her late mother and Serah. (1:47)
- Chapter 4: Serah enters the Pulse Vestige ruins to explore and is made a l'Cie. (4:05)
- Chapter 5: Lightning walks around town with Serah in mind. She encounters Hope and Nora at a store, looking at chocobos. (1:43)
- Chapter 6: Serah wakes up finding a strange mark on her upper left arm: her l'Cie brand. She recalls the legends about l'Cie and fal'Cie, and realizes what she has become. (2:29)
- Chapter 7: Lieutenant Amodar and Lightning talk about two strangely dressed women (Fang and Vanille), and the fireworks festival. Lightning also thinks about Serah. (2:26)
The Drama CD is under the name Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Alpha. The first pressing includes a script booklet and a limited edition sleeve case. The CD was released on September 15th, and includes a bonus story titled "Real -Reality-". Another Drama CD under the name Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Omega was released November 17th in Japan also priced at ¥3,000 including a bonus story titled "Departure -Starting-".
There are a few people on the web translating Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero, an example of such being here.