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Hoshi wo Meguru Otome (星を巡る乙女?), roughly translated as The Girl Who Travels the Planet, and commonly known to fans as The Maiden Who Travels the Planet, is a novella written by Benny Matsuyama that relates the events occurring in the Lifestream from Aerith Gainsborough's point of view since the time of her death up to the ending of Final Fantasy VII. It was published in the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega.
The novella expands on the meaning of existence in the Lifestream and its role within the Planet, giving it a dual-role similar to Heaven and Hell based on the actions of those who die–those who led sinful lives must exist with the knowledge of the crimes they committed, those who led good lives are allowed to be absorbed into the collective of the Lifestream.
The novella was written by Benny Matsuyama of Studio Bentstuff, the same company that releases the Ultimania guides. Before the release of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Tetsuya Nomura had approached the staff of Bentstudio and said he wanted a new book made for Final Fantasy VII so that fans can enjoy the game once again. This became the Ultimania Omega, and included in it was the novella Hoshi wo Meguru Otome. It was never translated into English, although several popular fan translations exist online.
The novel takes place from the viewpoint of Aerith and is divided into seven chapters. Beginning immediately after her death, Aerith meets the spirits of the dead characters from Final Fantasy VII, including Jessie, Biggs and Wedge, Dyne, President Shinra, Professor Hojo, and Zack Fair. To some of these spirits she is able to console them and help them move on, while others cling to their deeds in life and cannot be helped.
Throughout the novella, Aerith philosophizes on her relationships with the various characters and the nature of life, and watches the effect Sephiroth is having on the Lifestream. As the novella ends, Aerith commands the spirits of the Lifestream to emerge and help Holy push back and destroy Meteor, saving the Planet.
It is a matter of debate if the novella is or is not canon. In other Ultimania guides which list other Final Fantasy VII media including the On The Way to a Smile series, Hoshi wo Meguru Otome has been consistently omitted. However, several events in the story closely match with mentions in other Compilation entries.
Aerith is seen with Zack in Advent Children, while Case of the Lifestream White says that she can retain her individuality in the Lifestream and heal spirits by virtue of being a Cetra, and Crisis Core reveals that Zack knew a move similar to Omnislash, Octaslash, before Cloud did. Square Enix has offered no statement one way or the other.