Shades is a one-shot, canon story in the Clouded Horizons series' Eighth Realm. The story takes place at an undetermined time after Destine's defeat, and features Ben having a discussion with Manes about their reason for existence.
One dressed in blue and white, trusted by those who know him.
Another dressed in black and white, unknown to all but a few.
Exact opposites in every way...yet more like each other than they will ever admit.
“You always said I didn’t have it in me to be a hero.”
“As if you ever will.”
The figure in blue chuckles.
“What if you’re right?”
“Admitting the facts. I do a lot of things...I try to protect, keep people out of harm’s way...but if you really stop to think about it? How many times have I ended up doing the exact opposite without realizing it until it was too late?”
“Doesn’t sound very heroic, does it?”
“Maybe. But if I’m not a hero, I’m even less a villain. That’s your job...and why? Just why do you do what you do?”
“It’s who I am. I’m everything you hate about yourself...everything you’re not. Everything you strove not to be...I am. I’m your anti-existence. You know that.”
The figure in black smirks. The figure in blue remains calm.
“I know why you exist. You exist to make me miserable. That’s a given. But...where do we fit in? We’re certainly not perfectly good...but we’re not evil.”
“There is no place. We merely exist.”
“All existence has meaning. And yet you claim ours doesn’t?”
A scoff from the figure in black.
“Ask yourself this. You stop a hundred villains. You stop a million villains. Then you die. Have you really saved anything at all? Does your existence have meaning past the surface? Good and evil are eternal. It’s a simple fact. We’re both merely pawns in the eternal struggle.”
The figure in blue smiles.
“You’ve just proven that our existence has meaning.”
“Enlighten me, then.”
“We may be pawns. I could kill a million villains and more would come. You’re right about that. But I can feel better about the fact that I tried. The reason I’m here may be as simple as making sure someone doesn’t fall from a second story building and die. It may be saving the entire universe. The reason I exist is to find out. We make our own paths. If it means being a mix of good and evil...then that’s it. That’s existence. Like it or not, it’s who we are.”
The figure in black nods, strangely calm.
“For once, you may have a point.”
The figure in blue smirks.
“Your turn to admit defeat.”
“First time for everything.”
The figure in blue turns away, his face shifting back to a calm expression.
“I never thought I would say this...but thanks. Somehow, this made me feel better.”
“I wouldn’t get used to it.”
Another smile from the figure in blue.
“Of course. That would be too easy.”
Nothing more is said, as both figures simply vanish without a trace.
|1st Realm - 2nd Realm - 3rd Realm - 4th Realm - 5th Realm - 6th Realm - 7th Realm - 8th Realm - 9th Realm - 10th Realm|
|Final Fantasy X: Destiny's Call - Final Fantasy X-2: Eternal Requiem - Final Fantasy VIII: Dimensional Legend - Final Fantasy IX: Runic Legacy - Clouded Horizons: Halcyon - A Question of Honor - Affinity - Breakfast at Powell's - Casualties - Duty - Family Rites - Foreshadow of Memory - Guardian - The Heiress - Judgment - Memoirs - Nature - Negotiations - Of Thieves and Emissaries - Origins - Ought - Sanctuary - Shades - Subtleties of Honor - Trial by Fire|
|The Balance - Crystal Path - Diviner - Planeswalker|
|Character Themes - Jazz Café - Lore - Soundtracks - Tropes|
|Project Creators / Administrators|
|Darius DeValle - Benji Powell - Daniel Rydell|