Only Two Things are Certain: Paradoxes and Utter Confusion
After Cocoon turned to crystal and the whole group awoke from their crystal stasis, Lightning asks a PSICOM soldier how many people got out of Cocoon safely, and she gets a grand total of two thirds of the population survived the fall. Suddenly, Lightning turns to see a massive influx of Chaos engulfing her. She tries to warn the group, but they behave as if she wasn’t there. The ground splits and she is dragged down. Serah turns around to talk to Lightning, but Hope approaches her with Lightning’s dagger. Serah remembered that Lightning was there, but everyone tells her that she sacrificed herself in saving Cocoon. She collapses to her knees and cries.
Academy's insignia... how cloak and dagger
Alrighty then. It’s time we talk about politics! So, a year after Cocoon fell, Rygdea and Bartholomew Estheim founded the Academy, a massive research and higher education institute that conduct scientific expeditions. It would quickly overtake the Sanctum, after the Academy publicized the truth behind the “threat of Pulse” that led to the Purge as being a fabrication of Barthandelus. When the citizens learn the truth about the Purge, PSICOM’s reputation was ruined entirely. Hurray for political discourse!
Lightning arrives in Valhalla and begins her journey to Etro’s temple in search for a way to escape. On her way there, she is acquainted with Mog after the latter attempted to battle an Odin that Lightning never met and Valfodr and gets his ass handed to him on a silver platter. At first, she mistakes it for a stuffed toy, but realizes that Mog is a real entity. They do battle in the awesomest, epicest, and süber way imaginable: by playing Rock-Paper-Scissors. I’m not joking—that’s what actually happened. Well, there was one punch thrown in there, but that’s the extent of the battle.
Lightning triumphs over Mog and decides to take Mog under her wing, as he reminds her of Hope: at first, she saw him as a hindrance, but later saw him as a strong ally. Mog agrees to the terms and he informs Lightning of Valhalla, the Void Beyond, etc., along with the most important rule of Valhalla: Rule 34—wait, wrong one. The most important rule of Valhalla is that the weak must serve the strong. That Odin from earlier accompanies them to Etro’s temple after he battles Lightning and loses to her after she uses magic. Apparently anyone can now cast magic, regardless of whether they’re a l’Cie or not. As they get closer to the temple, Lightning sees a vision of herself battling Caius as Etro’s Champion. Speaking to Lightning through telepathy (a trait that all Eidolons have), Odin tells her that he and Mog are forbidden to enter the temple, so they stay behind as Lightning enters.
She battles the throne guardian Bahamut—he isn’t Fang’s Eidolon, mind you— and loses her sword in the process. Knowing that she is going to die, Mog breaks the rules and comes to Lightning’s aid, transforming into a bow. Did I mention that Mog could turn into a bow and a sword? Lightning defeats Bahamut with the aid of Mog and steps forward to see Etro’s throne. She becomes one with Etro and learns that she is fading away from the Unseen Realm, and that the world was doomed to be destroyed—along with every facet of Her life. Etro sees Lightning and her friends as sinners for killing others as l’Cie, as Etro cherishes all life. Ouch. Lightning then decides to stay in Valhalla and fight for Etro. After the groovy transformation, she turns around and sees an illusion of Caius, urging her to leave Valhalla. Her decision is final, and the illusion fades away.
Wait a minute! Why are we moving ahead by 700 years?! Would it be lying if I said that this is where the game really starts? Sadly, this is the truth. So, at this time, the world is dead, and humanity is nearing extinction. A young man by the handle of Noel Kreiss, 18, is chilling with his friends Yanny and Yeul, when a monster attacks them. Caius steps in and slays the beast. At first, Noel hated Caius when he arrived in the village, but he quickly aspired to be as strong as him. Fun fact: Noel was the second-to-last human to be born. But what happened to his parents? Well, his mother died giving birth to him, and his father was out hunting when he was killed. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that… His grandmother raised Noel when he was little, but she died as well, forcing him and Yeul to live with Natarle’s family, another friend of Noel’s.
He eventually trains under Caius along with Yanny. One day, on Yeul’s 15th birthday, Yanny and Noel get into a heated argument about prey that they were hunting. The fight ends with Yanny going alone to hunt the beast; he never returns. I wonder why… At some point down the road, all the village adults die and Natarle becomes gravely ill and dies as well, leaving Noel, Yeul, and Caius as the last humans left.
One day, Noel defeats a Behemoth, and heads back to the village to prepare the birthday feast for Yeul. Noel is now an apprentice for Caius, and he returns to him with good tidings of the hunt. Caius tells Noel that he’s ready to become a Guardian, at the cost of Caius’ life. Noel objects to the idea that he has to kill him in order to become a Guardian of the seeress. Caius heads out and leaves Noel to himself. Noel returns to Yeul and they prepare for the party.
He leaves Yeul alone for a while and finds Caius. Noel tells him that he will fight him, but only a fight with no death, since it’s Yeul’s birthday. He continues by saying that they should search for other people out there so that Yeul won’t feel so lonely. Caius is a real party pooper and tells him that there is no one left. He draws his massive sword and attacks Noel, since he will not kill him. Caius defeats him and walks off, telling Noel that he’s not asking him to kill him to make Yeul happy, but to end her suffering by slaying the Goddess Etro.
Noel finds Yeul dying near an Oracle Drive and holds onto her. She dies in his arms and disappears, leaving Noel to be the last Human alive. Crap. On that same day, he learned of the Farseers and their fate as servants of Etro. He proceeds to head out to find Etro’s Gate to become her Champion. Good luck with that, buddy. Noel is nearing death, when he is lifted up to Etro’s Gate.
Lightning steps outside the temple and spots Caius on the shores of Valhalla below. Caius rests Yeul into the water and watches as she disappears before him. He turns and battles Lightning. Caius grabs hold of Lightning’s sword and points it at his heart, but she retracts her blade after seeing his heart glow red. He summons Chaos Bahamut and it strikes Lightning out of the air. She summons Odin and begins her assault on Chaos Bahamut. Chaos Bahamut casts a Megaflare on Odin and Lightning, but the former transforms into its humanoid form and shields Lightning from the blast. Odin disappears and Caius steps in and battles her toe to toe once more. She crushes him single-handedly, and notices that Etro’s Gate is opening. Exiting the gate is Noel, falling out of the gate and to his death. Lightning summons Bahamut and rescues him.
I wouldn't want those claws anywhere near me.
Caius transforms once more into Chaos Bahamut and pursues Lightning and Noel, but he is once again defeated, because he sucks eggs. The two jump off of Bahamut and land on the temple. Lightning instructs Noel to find and deliver Serah to her. She points to a portal that will send him to 3 AF (After Fall). Lightning gives Noel her Moogle as a gift and tells him to give it to Serah. Caius drops in on their conversation and summons a massive meteor to destroy the temple. Noel jumps through the portal after Lightning attempts to stop the meteor, but to no avail, damaging the temple.
Hope enrolls in the Academy at the age of 17 and skipped several classes along the way. He would later become the Academy’s leader at 19. Snow tells Serah that he will leave the village of New Bodhum to search for Lightning, for he believes that Lightning is alive out there. Along with Sazh, Dajh, and Hope, they begin searching for any sign of Lightning. Snow learns that Sazh and Dajh are departing from the Gran Pulse-Cocoon commuter flight route, where Sazh now works. Somewhere down the road, Snow arrives in the Archylte Steppe and finds a “Cactuar school”—what the fuck—and meets the Pulse fal’Cie Cactuar there; if I may add, Cactuar is apparently super small, as Snow is able to hide him inside his coat and return to Cocoon, where he reunites with Rygdea once more in Palumpolum, the new capital of Cocoon. They chat about things and enter an airship, when monsters attack it. Knowing that they won’t reach Bodhum, he takes an airbike from the airship’s cargo and lures the monsters away from the ship, with Cactuar’s help of course.
He realizes that they arrive in what was left of Bodhum after Eden fell on top of it. Fun fact: the remaining fal’Cie of Cocoon aren’t dead; they’re hibernating. His airbike suddenly loses power and begins to descend. The two are mysteriously teleported to the Coliseum, where a trail of Chaos leads them to the Arbiter of Time, aka Valfodr. They are told to leave, for mortals are not allowed to enter until the end of days arrives. They leave and end up in a loop in time, where Snow sees and hears different events in time, but cannot be seen or heard. He sees Serah die before him and witnesses Cocoon’s crystal pillar shatter. They eventually land in the ruins of New Bodhum. Knowing that he doesn’t have the power to stop this, he asks Cactuar to make him a l’Cie. His Focus: to meet Serah and fight alongside her in the fated battle.
They eventually land in the Sunleth Waterscape, where he rests for the night. In Snow’s dreams, Lightning converses with him and warns him that Flan are appearing in the Sunleth Waterscape that will eat away at Cocoon’s crystal pillar. She asks him to do this to help Serah, and he agrees. Hundreds of years later, Cactuar disappears after an attack by Flan.
Serah is sleeping on a bed in New Bodhum, Gran Pulse, when she sees images of Lightning battling Caius in her head. A chunk of the massive meteor from earlier travels through the portal and crashes near the village, startling Serah. She is gifted the Eyes of Etro, along with the powers to fully harness Chaos, and awakens to discover that she’s wearing clothes that make her look like a slut. She steps outside and sees that the village is gone, but it quickly changes back to the present day, where the village is being attacked by monsters from another time. Noel arrives and assists Serah and everyone in NORA with dispatching the monsters. Don’t worry, Serah had been training with weapons the moment she settled on Gran Pulse.
After cleaning up the aftermath, they head out and investigate the crash site. As they get closer to the site, Cocoon suddenly disappears and a monster named Gogmagog appears and attacks the group. After slaying the beast, Cocoon reappears in the sky and they proceed to investigate the site. Serah learns that Noel is actually from the future—700 years, to be precise. He tells Serah that they can find Lightning together, but Gadot cries foul and think he’s full of shit. Noel touches the meteorite and it transforms into a time gate. Guess he was proven wrong. Everyone heads back to the village and Noel enrolls everyone in Paradox 101 class. Long story short, an object disappears and/or changes from one timeline and appears/changes in a different timeline. Congratulations—you graduated Paradox 101!
The next day, they search for an artifact to open the gate. They find a mirror inside Serah’s room that was never there in the first place, and find an artifact in the mirror. They head back to the crash site and activate the time gate. As they enter the gate, Caius and Yeul watch from above. Since calling Yeul “Yeul” will make things more difficult, this is simply the Yeul who liked to travel—it’s an easier way to identify different Yeuls, for the sake of the Sitrep.
Noel and Serah step out of the Historia Crux—a rift in between time periods—and arrive in the Bresha Ruins to witness Atlas, a war machine, come to life through a Paradox. Only its arm and hand are visible. As they battle it, military airships arrive and send Atlas running with its skirts down. The military turns on Noel and Serah and they surrender without a fight. They are taken into custody by the Academy. A woman named Alyssa Zaidelle bursts in and busts them out by telling the guard that they’re V.I.Ps. They decide to take care of Atlas in order to help Alyssa with her research.
Alyssa Zaidelle, 19
They find that Atlas’ body has fully emerged out of the Paradox and is wreaking havoc on the ruins. At the same time, a strange device appeared from within the ruins. They use the device and it weakens Atlas, allowing them to topple Atlas and stop the Paradox. Just past where Atlas stood is a tombstone with an epitaph listing individuals who died during the Purge. Alyssa arrives to look at the list, and finds the name of a friend named Neena Stein on the epitaph. Alyssa reveals that she’s a survivor of the Purge, and begins to question whether she really died and her life is a lie or not. They find the artifacts and make their way to the next gate, when Serah sees a vision of Cocoon collapsing on Gran Pulse. She doesn’t make a big deal out of it for the moment.
They arrive in the Yaschas Massif to find the fal’Cie Fenrir has blotted out the sun, casting an eclipse over the area. They arrive at an Academy facility inside the Paddra ruins, when a monster attacks it. They are about to be dragged into the monster, when a grown up Hope Estheim jumps in and actually saves the day! Aaand then Alyssa trots in from behind shortly after that. They talk about stuff like Lightning and everyone else in the group that have suddenly disappeared, and they make their way to the center of the facility and activate an Oracle Drive. There, they see the events in Valhalla unfold. Hope hands the group an artifact and they head out to another timeline.
The duo arrives in Oerba to discover that the village has been engulfed in a massive Paradox. They resolve the anomaly and discover an Oracle Drive. Yeul steps in out of nowhere and orders them to stop, but Serah activates the Oracle Drive and witnesses a small piece of the event that occurred the day Lightning disappeared. By the way, this is the Yeul who liked flowers, just to make things more confusing. Caius appears and attacks the group for altering the timeline. Caius prepares to execute Noel, but Yeul intervenes and tells him that the timeline has already changed. She then says that if you change the future, the past is rewritten to ensure that the events of the future make sense. They depart and leave behind an artifact. Serah and Noel leave to take on another part of the timeline.
They travel to an altered Yaschas Massif (hint: it’s the “X” in 1X AF) and learn that Fenrir is no longer there. They head back to the Academy facility, when they find that the Yeul who liked to travel is waiting for them. She vaguely informs Serah that they are very similar to one another. They meet up with Hope once more, but this time, he behaves as if they have reunited for the first time (hint: them resolving the anomaly in the future changed the past). There, they see a vision in the Oracle Drive of Cocoon’s crystal pillar breaking and falling to Gran Pulse, destroying Cocoon in the process. They find an artifact, activate a time gate with said artifact and blah blah blah. As they enter, Caius and Yeul watch from afar, as the latter dies on the spot from seeing the changes to the future.
Serah and Noel exit the time gate and approach a locked door that takes them to Serendipity. Since they can’t enter, they leave. While we’re on the subject of Serendipity, we might as well learn what happened to Sazh and Dajh. To sum it up in only a paragraph, Sazh and Dajh were flying one day, when they are sucked into a vortex. Sazh lands in Serendipity and learns from the owner that him and Dajh are between life and death, and that the latter is not with him. In order to find out whether his son is alive or not, he must amass a large amount of Fortune Medals. He plays a lot of poker, wins a lot of Medals, reunites with Dajh, and learns from the owner that the timeline is being distorted. He asks the owner if he can send the two of them to a time where he can be of assistance. He complies and sends them along.
Noel and Serah arrive in the Sunleth Waterscape. She sees a vision of Snow being crushed by a massive Flan monster and runs off to rescue him. Suspicious, Noel gives chases after her. They encounter the gargantuan Flan, and Serah saves Snow from being destroyed. They weaken the Flan and retreat while it’s regenerating. They have a long chat about what both parties are doing in the Sunleth Waterscape, and the duo learn that Snow was protecting Cocoon’s crystal pillar from the Flan, as it’s releasing a gas that slowly corrodes the crystal bit by bit. Noel doesn’t like Snow’s behavior, as it reminds him of a friend of his, Yanny’s cousin Rigo, who died from taking on an Adamantoise on his own. You could say he was… crushed. That was terrible, I’m sorry. They also believe that the massive Flan is a Paradox, and they proceed to find two artifacts to do the usual jazz to fix the anomaly. Unfortunately, Snow is unable to travel with the group, as he’s bound to stay in the Waterscape.
They arrive in the Archylte Steppe and help out the locals with some problems. They activate a weather-controlling device and find a monster that’s swallowing large amounts of Flan. See where this is going? They head out and attack the monster and claim an artifact for their troubles.
They return to the Sunleth Waterscape to learn that the giant Flan has not been affected by the changes in the Archylte Steppe. They take a different time gate to try and fix the Paradox.
They step out of the Historia Crux and enter the Coliseum to meet the Arbiter of Time. There, he tells the group to leave, for the Coliseum is not to be entered by mortals until the end of time comes. He also mentions that he houses a time-shattering omen, and Noel barters with the Arbiter to acquire this item, in exchange for their dismissal from the Coliseum. He agrees, and hands them an artifact. Man, I thought it would be something more amazing than that. As promised, they leave the Arbiter’s domain.
They return once more to the Sunleth Waterscape and learn that the Flan has shrunk in size, and see that Snow has fought it, but still cannot defeat it. You are so useless, Snow. They take it down for good and Snow begins to disappear, because they have resolved the Paradox in the timeline. Serah runs up to hold onto him, and notices that he is a Pulse l’Cie. He disappears completely and the duo is once again alone. Don't worry, Snow lands in the Coliseum, where he awaits the end of days with Gilgamesh, Omega, Ultros and Typhon, etc. They find an artifact lying around and… you know the rest. As usual, Caius and Yeul are following their every step. They must really like stalking them.
They arrive in the Void Beyond and find two artifacts needed to progress forward. They then head back to the time gate and head out to another timeline. Shocking, I know!
They arrive in Academia, and bare witness to a Proto fal’Cie transforming everyone in the city into Cie’th. Oh the humanity! They fight through the horde of Cie’th and automated security forces, when they find Caius approaching them from behind. He tells the group that two hundred years ago, they learn of “the forbidden history”, and were trapped in a tower as a consequence, and that they somehow escaped their fate. He then proceeds to summon a group of Cie’th from the Proto fal’Cie and saunters off. They deal with the threat and chase him down the Cie’th infested streets, but keeps disappearing before they can deal with him. Caius destroys a bridge, forcing them to take an alternate path to a time gate.
They find Yeul being attacked by Cie’th, and deal with the threat. This is the Yeul who liked to sing, btw. Noel begins to converse with Yeul, but is interrupted by another Cie’th that stabs Yeul in the back and throws her aside. You bastard! They kill the Cie’th and rush to aid Yeul. She saw her own death appear in that moment and was unable to defy her mandate, as it would bring forth a massive Paradox that would destroy a great many lives. She tells the group that the Caius they met just now was never in the city. Whaaaa? Yeul dies in Noel’s arms and leaves behind an artifact for the group. Of course she would have one on her. Just ahead of them is a conveniently placed time gate for them to use that shiny new artifact.
Serah and Noel arrive in the Augusta Tower, a massive information processing facility built by the Academy, and learn via terminal of the Proto fal’Cie project that the Academy worked on. Noel is noticing that he’s starting to lose his memories of his past (hint: they’re changing the timeline). They leave the room they were in and spot Caius walking about. They pursue him, but are quickly stopped by a bridge that cannot be raised. So they travel to an Augusta Tower from the future to fix it. After doing that funky jazz, the bridge is now operating and they cross it to discover a mechanized clone of Alyssa appearing before them. They learn that Caius and Yeul are making their way to the top of the tower. They come to the conclusion that they’re trying to seal away the true timeline.
They head to the top of the tower, when the group sees a recording from 187 years in the past of Hope and Alyssa being killed by the artificial intelligence in the tower. The fake Alyssa vanishes and are ambushed by said AI. The fake Alyssa appears again and tells the group that they’ve now seen the forbidden history. Aw sheeeeeit!! They reach the top of the tower and find the Yeul who liked flowers (aka, the one in Oerba). I know it’s super confusing, but I’m at least making it easier to associate one Yeul from another. Anyway, she hands the group an artifact and tells them that they’ve been correcting the timeline all this time. They also learn that a sentient machine created the Caius that appeared in Academia, and that the one in Augusta Tower is the real deal. They activate the time gate and head out, while Yeul sees a vision of a future where everyone is smiling, then dies. Way to die on us, Yeul.
They are taken to a different part of the Augusta Tower and confront the “sentient machine”: the Proto fal’Cie—who looks like a reskinned Anima. They defeat it and quickly learn of the chicken-and-egg paradox: the Proto fal’Cie ordered the creation of itself once more in order for it to continue living, even after its death. Confusing, I know. It appears once more and takes on the group, but is defeated yet again. It reappears yet again to take on the group. GOD DAMNIT!! Serah curses Hope for building the Proto fal’Cie and charges it head on, when it disappears and almost sends Serah falling to her death. Serah sees a vision of a future where Caius destroys Serah and Noel. They proceed to head out to another timeline.
He looks familiar...
Noel and Serah arrive in a less shitty version of Academia and are kindly greeted by Hope and Alyssa. Wait a minute. How did they move ahead 390 years? They were in suspended animation inside a time capsule, duh! They arrive at the Academy HQ and learn from Hope that he saw a vision of Serah screaming out at him about the Proto fal’Cie. After that, they discontinued the project to develop an artificial fal’Cie. Hope tells the group of their plans of elevating a new Cocoon after Cocoon falls—and believe me, it’s drawing near now. They need a couple of Graviton Cores, thrusters that can lift an Ark into the sky, in order to lift the new Cocoon. They travel to previous time periods and find the Cores they need.
They return to Academia and Alyssa awards the group with an artifact. After claiming their prize, they head out, when Noel tries to remember something before he arrived in Valhalla, but to no avail (again, them changing the future is affecting his memories). They activate a time gate and say farewell to Hope and Alyssa. As they’re traveling through the Historia Crux, it begins to collapse around them. Serah and Noel are separated from each other as they enter the Void Beyond.
In the Augusta Tower, Hope and Alyssa notice that there’s an intruder in their systems. They were investigating in separate areas, when they hear a gunshot inside the facility. Hope hears Alyssa scream and follows a trail of blood all the way to the 51st floor where it ends. He tries to access the system access panels, but finds that some features, such as communication lines, have been wiped from the system. He traces the source of the disturbances in the system and finds a file of his findings in 2 AF and beyond. The file contains notes of paradoxes, gates, Alyssa and Hope’s excavations on the changes in the Paddra ruins, the book of prophecies, and meeting a Serah F. and a Noel K. at Paddra. He checks the database for mentions of Serah and Noel, but learns that they are not referred to by name. Knowing that the intruder’s goal wasn’t to prove that they know everything about him, Hope ducks just in the nick of time to avoid a gunshot from a duplicate of a scientist he once worked with. He disposes of him and learns that all the system access panels on the 51st floor have been destroyed.
Continuing his search, he heads to the 52nd floor and is relieved that the access panels are intact. He’s about to use one, when he hears Alyssa scream again. He heads towards the scream to find duplicates of her that try to kill him. He destroys them and finds every panel unusable. He steps in the elevator and heads down, when controls of the elevator stop functioning and it stops on a different floor. A thought of who the intruder is pops in Hope’s head and finds Alyssa’s diary on the access panel. Who can’t resist a good read of someone’s diary?
It starts in 5 AF with the appearance of Atlas. It continues to discuss how every one of their findings has only led to bad things happening to her, and how she’s only alive because of a Paradox, and that she hates Serah, Noel, and Hope for attempting to fix the Paradoxes to kill her. In it, she tells about how she was hiding with others during the Purge, when the ceiling above them collapses and kills her. After Lightning and company were freed from their crystal stasis, Alyssa was brought back to life. She also writes about how she sided with Caius after waking up from the time capsules. Caius gave her a false artifact and tells her that giving it to Serah would close off a door for them.
After reading through the diary, Hope yells out to Alyssa, telling her that he can help her in finding a way to live. Feeling a gun pressing against his back, Hope turns to see it is Alyssa. She tells him that the only way for her to live is for him to die and to get rid of Serah and Noel. She then tells him that she has dealt with Noel, while she works on Serah. She begins to squeeze the trigger, when she fades away completely. If she killed him, he wouldn’t find a way to save her, and if he died, then Alyssa wouldn’t exist. Talk about a mindfuck.
Noel battles Caius, but is ultimately defeated by the latter. Serah arrives and finds one of the Farseers lying about. This is a Yeul from ancient times. She disappears and a new one appears, this one being the Yeul from 3 AF. She converses with her and is informed that they are both servants of Etro. She disappears once more and a different one appears. This one is from an unknown future. She tells of the day they were freed from their crystal stasis, and how it was Etro who saved them, but in doing so, she warped the timeline and was too weak to mend it. Yeul once again disappears and Serah moves on ahead.
A different Yeul appears ahead of her and is shrouded in Chaos. Caius appears and battles Serah. He tells her that Noel is now in a better place. No, he’s not implying that he’s dead—it gets resolved quickly. Caius freezes time around the Void Beyond and lands a fatal blow on her. He tells her of his plans to save Yeul from her suffering as a Farseer by killing Etro, and stabs Serah in the back.
She is rudely awakened by everyone in NORA and quickly learns that she’s back in New Bodhum. What? Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t you be dead after being stabbed in the back from a massive sword? Anyway, she quickly catches on that there’s something wrong with New Bodhum. One, the meteorite never happened, two, Snow and Lightning are in the village, and three, they’re now married. Knowing that this place isn’t real, she runs away and finds that everyone is disappearing around her. She spots Lightning out by the bay and slowly moves towards her. Knowing that she’s merely looking at an illusion of her older sister, the fake Lightning emits a cloud of Chaos and blinds Serah.
She sees a glimmer of light and breaks off the Chaos around her and the fake Lightning disappears. She hears a voice in the distance and follows it to find Vanille. Uh, what? She tells Serah that she’s real, but it’s inside a dream, and that she’s still inside the crystal pillar. Then, out of buttfuck nowhere, Fang appears. Ok, what in Sam Hill is going on here?! They explain that she’s in a never-ending dream, and that she’ll be in there forever—unless they help her escape. Fang creates a rip in time and the duo disappears. She enters the gate to rescue Noel from his dream.
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She arrives in Noel’s timeline, where humanity is nearing extinction. She witnesses Noel’s time before he is taken to Valhalla. Serah grabs hold of Noel’s arm and breaks through Noel’s dream. Gogmagog appears in its complete form, but Serah and Noel beat it to a pulp. Noel realizes that Serah has the same gift as Yeul, and is concerned about her safety. She tells him to not worry about it. You’re going to die at some point, but ok. They find a rip in time and enter it to reach the end of days.
They arrive in a desolate New Bodhum, where they find another rip in time. They activate it and the real Lightning steps out. She explains what happened when they awoke from their crystal stasis, and how she chose to fight to protect Etro. She then explains Caius’ plans to kill Etro and release the Chaos into the Mortal Realm. She tells the group that they have to battle Caius on two fronts: Valhalla and in the Mortal Realm. Serah and Noel would battle Caius in the Mortal Realm to prevent him from destroying Cocoon, while Lightning combats him in Valhalla to stop him from killing the goddess. Serah’s Moogle opens a rift that reveals a time gate. Lightning departs from the Mortal Realm and the two find an artifact to open the gate.
Lightning's legs are just... Mmmmmmm!
They land in Academia before the crystal pillar holding Cocoon shatters. Everyone has been evacuated, and the new Cocoon has already been constructed. Chaos has seeped through the world and has manipulated the area around them. Yup, sounds like doomsday to me. They reach a point where they hear Yeul’s voice echoing in their heads as the Chaos sweeps under their feet. It tells the group that they cannot continue, for if they do, Etro will die. They continue onward and hear her voice again, along with the Chaos. It tells them that their path will lead to a world where there is no future. They press on, regardless of the warning and hear sirens going off; it is the alarm that Cocoon will fall soon. Caius appears and transforms into Chaos Bahamut and flies out of Cocoon. Hope arrives and the duo hops on an airship that’s being piloted by the one and only: Sazh Katzroy!
What up, my home boy!
They leave the area and battle Caius’ Chaos Bahamut. After the airship takes a heavy beating, Caius transforms back into his human form to eliminate the two for good. A massive wormhole appears and Caius turns into Chaos Bahamut to enter the gate first, followed by Serah and Noel. Sazh turns the airship around and begins leaving Cocoon to prepare for the fall.
We’ve had our fun with Serah and Noel, but let’s see what Lightning is up to. She’s battling Caius in Valhalla (what a surprise!), when Caius disappears and casts an illusion of Serah before her, distracting her. Caius reappears behind her and strikes her down. You son of a bitch! Lightning is safely transported by Etro’s Chaos and awakens from the fatal blow. She gazes at Serah’s soul engulfed in Chaos as Yeul’s voice appears, telling her that when the world ends, Serah will die with the other Yeuls. She disappears and Caius appears once more. After battling him and his Chaos Bahamut, Lightning summons Odin and rides off to find him, when a Yeul covered in Chaos appears and places a blanket of Chaos under Odin, causing them to sink.
Noel and Serah arrive in Valhalla and Odin appears to save the group from falling. Caius fires a blast that sends Odin away, sending the duo to the ground to face Caius once more. Caius channels a large quantity of Chaos into him and attacks. They defeat him and, using every ounce of Chaos within Valhalla, transforms into Jet Bahamut to deal with the group once and for all, sending them into a bottomless abyss under the rolling waves of Valhalla’s Chaos. Lightning appears and saves them as she takes them to the battlefield where Jet Bahamut awaits, along with Garnet Bahamut, and Amber Bahamut. They defeat the Bahamuts and are sent back to Valhalla, where a weakened Caius lays before them.
Nothing adds more tension than a woman dressed in a swimsuit.
Desperate, Caius tries to convince Noel to kill him, but Noel is smarter than that. He then tries to convince the group that Lightning was dead by his hand before they arrived in Valhalla. Bitch, she brought us to you! They know that he is lying, and Caius attacks Serah, but Noel disarms him, leaving him wide open. He is about to plunge his blade into his heart, but stops just short to tell him that he won’t do it. Caius grabs hold of Noel’s sword and plunges it into his own heart, killing himself in the process. SUICIDE! KILLJOY! Caius’ dead body fades from existence and they both leave Valhalla via a fading time gate (they resolved the last Paradox—the Paradox being Caius) to be reunited with Lightning.
Back on Gran Pulse, Hope and everyone in the Academy begin the launch of the New Cocoon. Sazh rescues Fang and Vanille’s crystal forms and escapes before the crystal pillar collapses, sending it crashing down on Gran Pulse. They activate the Graviton Cores and lift the New Cocoon up. Hope calls the New Cocoon: Bhunivelze. Ok, apparently he knows of an existing entity that is not mentioned in human recordings. Sounds legit. Serah and Noel leave the gate and land on Sazh’s airship. The gate closes and Serah’s Eyes of Etro appear. She collapses in Noel’s arms and dies. Then, the Moogle died. Anyone but the Moogle! So, remember how at the end of Part 1, where the Heart of Chaos is linked to Etro? Well, the Heart of Chaos inside Caius was destroyed… The area grows dark and Chaos rushes out to transform Gran Pulse into a new Valhalla—otherwise known as Nova Chrysalia.
Back in Valhalla before this happened, Lightning finds Serah’s soul and cries, knowing that it was her fault for her demise. Serah’s soul disappears and Lightning gazes up at Etro’s throne. Knowing that Etro has died, she climbs up to the throne, sits down and turns to crystal, knowing that the two realms were fusing together and would have affected her crystal-less form. There, she awaits the day when she is awakened for her final task.
Who in Bhunivelze's name divided by zero?