What If We Don't Exist?
Moises Macias Bustos

The rays of the sun painted the sky with fire, a cloudless scenario that preceded the glory of starlit nights. Vivi Ornitier, a pointy hat as they referred to him in Conde Petie, beholded the view and thought of life, for Vivi had lived and even if he hadn't lived long he had lived enough and his experiences traveling with Zidane and the others were proof of that.

As the sun made its path down to earth in the same way it did day after day, Vivi thought of chaos and order and for him it seemed as if his life had been branded with chaos. He was there standing in the middle of whatever continent in the remnants of some village of an ancient race of summoners because of chaos. It seemed to him as if his life was just a life directed by circumstances and not directed by himself. Since the beginning he found himself following Zidane and the others out of some random encounter in the city of Alexandria and event after event had forcefully thrown him in this endless adventure. It didn't mattered if he chose to go with them for the sake of finding out who he was, he didn't had any choice from the beginning, he had to end the chaos of uncertainty, and this adventure seemed as the only way to do so.

He felt confused and longed for answers, that was why he had been staring at the horizon since the party's arrival to Madain Sari, outside the city was nature, and sometimes nature can lift the spirit, and he who has been lifted can sometimes see the answers from above.

What was to live or to die ? Vivi kept asking himself, thinking of that moment of reflection he had with Mr. 288. Was there really any difference between coming to a stop and dying ? If so, what was the difference ? Vivi thought of all this, feeling deep sorrow, sorrow for his brothers who awaited "death" in black mage village, sorrow for their involvement in a senseless war that brought only pain to the citizens of Lindblum, Burmecia and Cleyra, sorrow for Princess Garnet who had lost her mother in the process and sorrow for all those unanswered questions that had been bugging him ever since he lived with his grandfather Quan in some remote cave.

Maybe if he could do like Zidane and don't think of the problems when there was no way of solving them, he had tried so hard to push his fears aside and come to terms with himself. When he left Black Mage Village to continue his journey for answers he thought he had found some and that there were only a little bit more puzzles to solve, however he had to go back to that moment over and over again, he had to realize what was that he had found that made him feel at ease in that precise moment, and that was what he was doing while staring at nature, trying to understand.

- Are you going to keep staring at the sea or are you going to lend a hand ? - said a childish voice behind him.

Vivi turned around and there stood Eiko, the little girl the group had met recently and that seemed to be another puzzle herself. Vivi thought she seemed so confident, and so sure of herself, he thought maybe he could learn a thing or two from this girl who had no more companions than moogles but that seemed awfully energetic and fiercely independent. - Uhh - Vivi hesitated shyly - sure, what can I do for you ?

- Well, we need more heat for the food - Eiko said - and Quina said that since you are like, a black mage and all, maybe you could use some fire magic.

- Ummm, sure.

- Follow me then and stop being such a kid, can't you talk like a person ?

- But we are kids.

- No, "you" are a kid, Im mature - said Eiko seriously while Vivi stared at her curious.

The house Eiko lived in wasn't much of a mansion but it was the only house that stood in one piece. Most of Madain Sari was in shambles, a once glorious city devastated god knows how, thought Vivi, " Why do things like this have to happen ? Are they random or is it all written ? ", and this thought distracted him, causing him to miss his step and hit the floor, the moogles started giggling.

- Are you alright kid ? - said Eiko with a pitiful look on her face.

Vivi stood up by himself a little embarrased, he took his hat with both hands to make sure it was in the right place and nodded.

- Im alright thanks - he said in a quiet tone - It, it ... would be nice if you called me Vivi.

- Fine Vivi - Eiko said with a big smile - we should now get to work

- Rr ... right - Vivi answered and they continued their way to the kitchen.

As soon as Vivi entered what seemed to be the dining room he was surprised by the degree of order that prevailed in the house. Everything seemed to have it's place. At his right stood a bookshelf, he gazed at the books and then examined them to find clues as to this little girl and her way of life. Several antique plays from Lord Avon stood there, in the top shelve, prevailing as Eiko's literature of choice, he also saw some books of history, of magic and of summoning. Eiko stood next to him impatient but willing to let him look around, she knew that politeness was at hand, after all Vivi had to lit the fire of the stove or she wouldn't be able to impress Zidane.

Vivi thought of Quan and how they used to live in a cave much similar in the type of rocks to those used to build the houses in Madain Sari. They actually weren't so different, Eiko and him, he lived with Quan all alone for some time, he was comfortable with his "grandfather" but quickly noticed that they were not the same, in thought or in species. Eiko lived with her moogles, her family and people long gone. They were both kids although Eiko was not willing to admit that. However, Eiko was so much stronger, so disciplined, she believed in herself.

She surely had her demons - Vivi thought - but she is fighting them all the time, and winning. It seems as if she does not let a single aspect of her life get out of control. At least that was the way it seemed to him, of course he did not knew her that well, maybe he was being rash in his analysis but he just needed an example to follow, he needed to see someone like him in the same circumstances but that was different in action, she had the strenght he felt he needed.

- Hey Vivi, I know Im cute and all but please stop staring at me and help me finish the meal - said Eiko, arms crossed.

- Sorry ... yes - Vivi said embarrased.

They kept walking and reached the kitchen, one half of the location was under a ceiling and the other half was in open air. The kitchen also was in perfect order, the moogles like an army moving all over the place, choping ingredients, or fishing and Quina oddly enough waiting patiently in the middle of the room.

- Black Mage use fire so we all eat - Quina said.

Eiko smiled at Vivi and pointed at the stove, Vivi did the trick and from then on Quina took over and Vivi watched. Quina, that same rude being who could not speak proper language and could not move gracefully or act gracefully was the most graceful cooker he had ever seen, aside from his grandfather Quan who was of the same race as Quina.

Everybody has his skills - Vivi thought - and those skills have a place in the world, I thought that my black magic served only to hurt others, but today it helped us cook, and now that I think of it, it has helped us defend ourselves, me and my friends. Maybe we, Black Mages also have our place in the world.

- What are you mumbling Vivi - said Eiko, relaxing from all the cooking she had to do prior to Quina's arrival.

- I was just thinking - Vivi said.

- You think too much Vivi, I also think a lot because Im sooo smart but sometimes it's wise to not think and just live, sometimes your senses help you understand the world a lot better than your mind. If you become too much involved with your mind you won't see and feel the real world therefore you will be trying to understand all the time a world you don't live in. You would be going in circles then, I say to you, feel and then analyze the feeling. Don't just analyze your analysis.

- Maybe ... maybe you are right - said Vivi upon reflection - never thought of it.

- You are not as dumb as you look Vivi - said Eiko in a wide smile - you are just inside yourself and that's why you act so weird. It's odd though that you didn't knew about the feel/analyze thing, you have to start thinking the basics kid, don't just jump to complex thinking like that or you will get all wrapped up.

Vivi found funny how Eiko patronized him. Talking to him like she was some sort of all knowing old lady. Now that Vivi thought of if. Eiko did live with her grandfather and he passed away, another thing they had in common. Maybe he would try to follow her advice and see how it went.

Time went fast and soon the table was served, Zidane and everyone all helping themselves to the delicious food Quina and Eiko had cooked. Quina was delighted by her cooking and ate a lot, she seemed happy, Vivi always thought that Quina was not dumb but rather had a life philosophy focused only on food and she seemed happy about it. Wasn't happiness the whole point of living ? Zidane and Eiko talked a lot, Vivi noticed that Eiko was extremely nice to Zidane and he also noticed Garnet quite upset about that. Zidane was always smiling, and little did he noticed Garnet's jealousy or Eiko's attentions. He just wanted to know about the sanctuary, the place Eiko referred to as the Lifa tree.

The meal soon ended and Zidane tried to hit on the princess but since she was mad at him, his attempts were to no avail. Eiko watched that carefully as if thinking of the craziest plan. Quina went for a walk to see what kind of food she could find, the moogles organized several games amongst them. It was to be a long afternoon.

Vivi watched as Garnet walked around Madain Sari, and saw in her face a expression of concern, of doubt, her eyes focused on the inside.

Everyone has a way of dealing with things - Vivi thought - but certainly there is no intelligent being who is not harassed by questions regarding himself, or by fears. Alas we are not alone, we are all the same deep inside.

Time progressed slowly and Vivi used that to his advantage, staring at the sea, reflecting of events past and recent, searching for answers, finding truths, prevaling over "Chaos" for every truth he found. He didn't even hear Zidane as he aproached.

- Take it easy Vivi - he said in his usual joyful tone - your brain is going to melt if you force it like that.

- Hi Zidane - said Vivi, speaking more comfortably with his old buddy and leader.

- You are trying to figure stuff out, right ? The big why's ?

- Yes, at least Im trying to ...

And they kept talking for what seemed like hours. Vivi thought Zidane was such a strange guy in the way he was nice to everyone, or in the way he always knew the right thing to do, he always understood others and kept his cool. He cared for the right things and didn't worry too much for things he couldn't deal with. He was so confident and tranquil, for Zidane if there was a way, he would find it. He had his priorities straight, " No one harmed the people he cared for". Zidane said so many wise things to him during their conversation Vivi couldn't help but feeling safer with him, feeling at home.

At the end of the day, Vivi realized that all of them, Zidane, Garnet, Quina and Eiko were right. Each one of them in the way they dealt with things. Zidane said to him " It's a matter of choice, you either do it or you don't", Eiko told him to feel the world he was analyzing, Quina told him indirectly to be happy and to enjoy life, and the confused Garnet told him also indirectly that we cannot escape who we are, and that we will always look for answers. And Vivi finally understood what had happened in Black Mage village, what he had understood at that moment. " He was not alone " Vivi had a family in Zidane and the others, he was useful to them, he had a place in the world were he was valued, he was a part of the team, but he was a part because he himself was a worthy individual, had inner potential that he could use for the sake of others.

The questions will remain, - Vivi thought - there will always be chaos, but it really doesn't matter as long as I have my balance. And he looked up at the sky, the stars questioning him and he was willing to answer each one of them.