The Aeon felt Yu Yevon's cold touch brush against her soul.
She felt her limbs become numb, and then lifeless, as the Possessor of Aeons took control of her body. She felt a chill pass across her skin, as her form altered to reflect the evil Presence worming its way through her being. Glancing down, she saw a drab, mottled greyness sweeping away her glorious yellow colouring. She tried to sigh in sadness, but It now owned her voice, and no sound came forth.
Without warning, her wings began to beat, lifting her clear of the ground. Hovering without trying was a peculiar sensation, as if someone had grabbed her by the scruff of the neck. With a sudden lurch, It forced her to turn around, her stinger now pointing towards her mistress. Her head snapped around, and she looked directly at her lady summoner, who simply stared back at her, her face unreadable.
Through her eyes, Yu Yevon took aim.
Unable to resist, she gasped silently as her stinger spat a torrent of tiny bullets at the summoner. She breathed in relief as the blond swordsman leapt in front of Yuna, his shield absorbing the full force of the Passado volley. She sighed soundlessly as he fell to the ground.
Her expression unchanging, Yuna raised her arms heavenward. The little Aeon gazed at the beautiful pearls of Holy light which descended from the sky and danced around her. She braced herself as they gathered momentum and hurled themselves in her direction.
Although her resolve was iron-strong, she was physically the smallest and youngest of Yuna's divine guardians. Nothing could have prepared her for the effect of a Holy spell upon a possessed body.
Not expecting the excruciating pain now engulfing the little girl, Yu Yevon momentarily released Its hold upon her. For a second, her limbs were hers to command. For a second, her rich golden skin shone with all its glory. And for a second, her anguish found a voice.
* * * *
Yuna had watched unflinchingly as Bahamut, the dragon king, had fallen to the ground. She had said nothing as Yojimbo, the master swordsman, had breathed his last. She had even retained her composure as she struck down Valefor, her first and favourite Aeon, who had rescued her from Seymour at Bevelle. And she had been relieved to have freed the tormented soul Anima from the unending pain of its own existence.
Shiva, the ice princess, had even smiled as she collapsed, permitting herself one last finger-snap as Yu Yevon released her from Its hold. Yuna had allowed herself to smile with her, sharing the Aeon's relief.
They had all died silently.
But Mindy was different. Mindy was not silent. Her scream tore a hole in the summoner's heart.
Unable to maintain her composure any longer, Yuna choked, a single tear trickling down each cheek.
Trying to put Mindy out of her mind, she turned towards Tidus, crouching on the floor, nursing his left arm and grimacing in pain. The force of the Passado attack had shattered both his shield and his forearm. She took a step towards her beloved, wanting to at least cast a spell to ease his discomfort, but was stopped by a gentle blue hand on her shoulder. As she glanced around at Kimahri, he shook his head and motioned towards Mindy before stooping down to gather Tidus up in his arms and carry him from the battlefield.
Yuna turned back towards the child Aeon, who had begun to struggle back to her feet. Her gossammer wings had been shredded to tatters by the impact of the Holy orbs. Her right arm hung at her side, limp and useless. Drops of blood oozed from her nostrils. Yet, in spite of everything, the look of determination in her eyes spoke volumes about the little girl's inner strength.
Two more warm tears ran down Yuna's face. Unable to stand the sight any longer, she dropped her head towards the ground, her face cradled in her hands.
* * * *
Although the pain in her abdomen was indescribable, Mindy was glad that Yuna's first attack had destroyed her stinger. Without Tidus to protect her, Yuna would not be able to survive another Passado. However, the child Aeon had more weapons at her disposal, and it was only a matter of time before It found them.
Mindy's heart ached as she looked upon her mistress. She knew Yuna to be a woman of compassion above all else. She knew that the priestess could not stand suffering in any form. She knew that it was her distressed cry that had broken the summoner's resolve.
The girl became aware of a sensation besides excruciating pain. She detected power building within her. It had found her Flare magic, and was learning how to use it.
She knew she could not resist Its will. She knew she could not prevent It from using her to attack.
But maybe she could resist Its hold over her voice.
It had allowed her to scream. Maybe It would allow her to speak.
Its attention was entirely focused on gathering power for the attack which would kill the lady summoner. If there was any chance at all, Mindy had to take it now.
The little Aeon concentrated as hard as she could, her agony forgotten. No need to try to completely break free of Yu Yevon's thrall; no need even to try to prevent the Flare spell; just enough to get a few words out —
Yuna missed a breath.
“End the suffering!”
Raising her head, the summoner looked Mindy in the eyes and nodded determinedly.
Realizing Its mistake, Yu Yevon delayed Its attack for a moment, reaching out to touch Mindy's voice. It reacted too late. Steeling her gaze and raising her hands once again, Yuna called forth Holy power.
The shimmering pearls fluttered around the little Aeon. Unwilling to endure another Holy assault, the Possessor released Its grip, and Mindy accepted her fate — pain upon pain, agony upon agony, the pure music of the Holy orbs lost in the child's tortured screams.
This time, Yuna forced herself to remain composed; this time, she resisted the instinct to cover her face and look away from the wretched scene. She stood bolt upright, stoicly observing her last Aeon's final moments of life. She watched every blow, and felt every scream.
Finally, the last pearl pierced Mindy's heart, and it was all over.
As the little Aeon's soul drifted slowly upwards towards the Farplane, Yuna fell to her knees, and the tears flowed freely.