Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Japanese cover

Before destiny was decided...

In the futuristic society of Cocoon, all the needs of the people are taken care of by the godlike fal'Cie. The only threat to their comfortable lives is the world of Pulse below, ruled by its own fal'Cie with their own intentions. And should trouble ever arise, the fal'Cie sometimes choose humans to do their bidding-and life will never be the same for these people marked by fate.

Before the unlikely heroes of FINAL FANTASY XIII banded together, each had their own story to tell. This series of short stories chronicles the last few days before their encounter with a fal'Cie, providing a deeper look at the characters of the hit game!

Official description

Final Fantasy XIII: Episode Zero: Promise is a series of web novellas written by Jun Eishima, depicting the thirteen days leading up to the events of Final Fantasy XIII. New chapters involving Snow, Fang, and Vanille were released in a published light novel on December 24, 2009, in Japan.

The book was published in English by Yen Press on April 23, 2019. The book was also published in German (as Episode Null - Versprechen) by Panini on February 15, 2011, and in French by Lumen on August 28, 2014.

The first part of the series, titled "Encounter", is told from Serah and Lightning's point of view. It is about Lightning's first meeting with Snow, her relationship with Serah, and trying to plan a vacation for her birthday. It's also about Serah becoming a l'Cie and her relationship with Snow and Lightning.

The second part of the series, titled "Stranger", is about Fang and Vanille after they awake from crystal stasis, trying to adjust to Cocoon life, and their arrival to Euride Gorge.

Part three, titled "Treasure -Family-", is about Sazh and his son Dajh as the boy becomes a l'Cie, Dajh being placed in PSICOM's custody as they try to determine his Focus, and Sazh trying to save Dajh from his fate.

Part four, titled "Search", is about Fang and Vanille after their separation in Euride, told from Fang's perspective. It is about Fang worrying about Vanille, meeting Cid Raines and Rygdea, and joining them to find Vanille.

Part five, titled "Friends", is about Hope and his mother Nora on vacation in Bodhum preparing for the upcoming fireworks display, taking a trip to Euride, and Hope's relationship with his friends and family.

Part six, titled "Present -Gift-", is about Snow and Serah as they look for Lightning's birthday present, and Snow sneaking away to buy engagement necklaces.

The seventh and final part, titled "Tomorrow -Future-", is about Vanille and Fang becoming l'Cie on Gran Pulse during the War of Transgression, what happens to Vanille after the events at Euride Gorge, and on the two days leading to the Purge.

Story[edit | edit source]

Encounter[edit | edit source]

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Stranger[edit | edit source]

Weren't we chosen as l'Cie to fight Cocoon?

Fang to Vanille

Vanille and Fang awaken from crystal stasis, but Fang has no memory of their Focus. Not wanting more people to get hurt, Vanille pretends that she also lost her memory. Although Fang's l'Cie brand is scorched and unchanging, Vanille's brand is still active. When they go outside, it's nighttime with buildings lit all around them. When they look at the sky, they see the lights of a distant city instead of stars and realize they are in Cocoon, the home of their sworn enemies.

Fang and Vanille return to the temple in disbelief. The Oblatorium is the chamber they awoke in, where people left customary offerings of food for the l'Cie enshrined in there along with their weapons and equipment. The food is long spoiled, and the festival garments and Fang's spear show signs of decay. Fang theorizes that she and Vanille might have slept as crystals for centuries and says they should find food outside.

At dawn, Fang and Vanille go to the ocean, and Fang spears a large fish, attracting the attention of a passing elderly couple who admire their fishing skills. Questioning the couple's friendliness and whether they'd return with others, Vanille and Fang return to the temple on high alert. They are confused about why the people they pass by are so unwary. Fang kills a white bird, and they pilfer vegetables from a nearby field. Outside the temple, Vanille and Fang use a priest's ceremonial garb and staff to start a fire and cook the fish and the bird, but the food is tasteless. They put out the fire and return to the temple. Fang proposes they go into the city the next day to find answers and a way to help restore her memory by exploring the enemy territory. Vanille reluctantly agrees.

The next day, Fang and Vanille head into Bodhum, now more at ease with being surrounded by people. They blend into a crowd and find a shopping district. Vanille starts thinking that despite Cocoon stealing many resources from Gran Pulse in the past, and its people, houses, and food being very different from those on Pulse, the people from both worlds are alike on the inside. They are approached by two young men who invite the pair to have lunch with them. Fang and Vanille cautiously join the men at a restaurant. The men say they're from Eden and attend its university.

As they eat and converse, Fang and Vanille baffle the men with their foreign habits and lack of basic knowledge of Cocoon life but manage to get by. When Fang brings up the temple, the men refer to it as the "Pulse Vestige" and say that the fal'Cie brought it up from Pulse over six centuries ago. Fang and Vanille ask if the vestige getting taken caused trouble for the Pulsians, and the men laugh. They call the Pulsians useless barbarians no better than animals who should be grateful Cocoon is putting their resources to good use, infuriating Vanille. Fang asks the men to step outside with her and knocks them out.

Fang and Vanille search the men's pockets and find their ID cards. As they try to figure out how they work, a large human-like white bird startles them and promptly takes off. Fang and Vanille overwrite the original owners' information and get the ID cards to work. They run at the sound of approaching voices, with Vanille concluding the young men were enemies after all.

Back at the vestige, Fang and Vanille find signs that someone is inside. At the deepest part of the temple, they find Serah Farron unconscious on the floor of the fal'Cie Anima's throne. While Fang debates whether to kill her, Vanille finds a Pulse l'Cie brand on her arm. They take Serah outside, and Fang says that Anima chose the girl as their replacement since they don't remember their Focus. Vanille believes Anima saw through her lies and blames herself for Serah's misfortune.

When Serah begins to wake up, Vanille and Fang retreat to the shadows. When Serah spots the mark on her arm, she falls apart, and the l'Cie brand evolves, affected by her fear. When Serah walks away crying, Fang says they can only complete their Focus in time and return to Gran Pulse, but Vanille thinks they should forget their Focus. Fang isn't willing to let Vanille turn into a Cie'th because they had promised always to be together.

The next morning, Fang and Vanille explore another part of town where beverages and produce are being sold in colorful stalls, but they can't stop thinking about Serah. They notice more things Cocoon and Pulse people have in common, and everything is so peaceful there is no reason to fight anyone. Fang starts thinking about their Focus again when they overhear a passing group of older women talking about a fal'Cie tour in a place called Euride that can be reached by train. Fang thinks seeing a Cocoon fal'Cie will bring back their memory. They get a map, ask for directions to Bodhum Station, and find the right platform.

The following day, Vanille and Fang board the train for Euride and sit behind Sazh and Dajh. They take in the sights of airbikes flying by the railroad, Bodhum's floating islands, and the distant floating city of Eden. Vanille wishes Cocoon and Gran Pulse didn't have such animosity towards one another so that people could freely travel between the two worlds. She curses her weakness for feeling lost and not wanting to fight, fearing that her past choices and whatever she does here on out will only lead to sorrow for everyone, Fang most of all. The train arrives at Euride, and Vanille and Fang approach the energy plant where the fal'Cie Kujata lies.

Treasure -Family-[edit | edit source]

What did you find? Can you heal him of this... l'Cie thing?

Sazh to Nabaat, about Dajh

As part of their tour package, Sazh brings Dajh to Euride Gorge to see Kujata. At a pet shop, Dajh wants "the yellow one". A panicked Sazh thinks his son wants the big yellow Ectopudding, but to his relief, Dajh wants the yellow chocobo chick. Dajh promises to wait outside the shop, and Sazh tells him to stay put, knowing Dajh is planning to play hide-and-seek.

At the store, the baby chocobo makes a bee-line for Sazh when the shopkeeper opens the cage. After paying for it, Sazh leaves with the chick riding on his head but can't find Dajh. Thinking Dajh is playing, Sazh pretends to look around and give up, but Dajh still doesn't respond. Sazh runs to the energy plant's entrance and the ground trembles. An emergency siren sounds off, and tourists rush toward the entrance.

Sazh tries to push through the crowd, and a white mist begins to fill the area. When Sazh reaches Kujata, he hears the sound of air escaping and spots Dajh laid out along a resting bench with a strange mark on his right hand. Sazh thinks it's either a sticker or kids' body paint and begins to carry Dajh out. Soldiers on the security force intercept him and place Dajh on a stretcher to bring him to the first-aid room.

Tourists either injured or made unwell in the commotion crowd around the first-aid room. Now laid on a bed, Dajh wakes up, and several PSICOM soldiers march in and declare a state of emergency, with the plant and area surrounding Euride now under their supervision. A young woman with glasses leading the soldiers declares the place off-limits, but they set up a tent in the plaza as a waiting area for anyone who has already seen a doctor while everyone who is still waiting for one goes to the first-aid tent. She orders soldiers to separate everyone into groups and have them form a line leading outside.

Sazh and Dajh go to the end of the line for the first-aid tent. The woman asks if Dajh collapsed in front of the fal'Cie and introduces herself as Jihl Nabaat. She urges Sazh to come with her. As she is someone of high position in PSICOM, all Sazh can do is comply. PSICOM pretends Sazh and Dajh are emergency patients and loads them onto an airship. Nabaat keeps saying it was a "lucky accident" that PSICOM was at Euride. Nabaat flies Sazh and Dajh to the military's medical facility in Eden and has them placed in separate rooms. The following day, Sazh remains unaware of what's going on but learns some of Nabaat's history. He figures that what happened at Euride wasn't a mere accident for someone like her to be involved.

Sazh uses a terminal to access the library and find information about the "mark of the l'Cie" Nabaat had mentioned. With the chocobo chick's help, he finds an image of old text with symbols and writing carved into a rock. Recognizing it as the mark on Dajh's hand, Sazh reads the accompanying text and pales.

Two days later, Sazh meets with Nabaat in a medical observation room and watches Dajh play with a puzzle through a monitor. Nabaat apologizes for keeping Sazh waiting for three days and tells him Kujata chose Dajh as a l'Cie. Sazh accuses her of joking and says l'Cie are but a fable. She tells him they were also surprised since no one has become a l'Cie since the War of Transgression. She claims that a Pulse invasion is underway and explains that what happened at Euride wasn't an accident, but the work of enemies from Pulse, and that little damage resulted from it thanks to Kujata choosing Dajh. Sazh asks what a six-year-old child can do against Pulsian forces. Nabaat says the enemies escaped and are still at large, and there can be another attack, so she asks Sazh to cooperate. She says Dajh is the key to saving Cocoon and will have the Sanctum back him; all they want Sazh to do is watch over his son. PSICOM is investigating what Dajh's Focus might be, as well as what sort of powers Kujata gave him.

In the evening the next day, Sazh is called into a new room with a large two-way mirror, where Dajh is unable to see him on the other side. Yaag Rosch is playing with Dajh, who seems to like Rosch. Sazh believes Rosch either enjoys kids or takes his duties seriously. Nabaat comments on how Dajh isn't shy and listens to others. Sazh tells her how Dajh has gotten used to playing with other adults after going through babysitters and child care ever since his mother died three years ago.

Sazh asks Nabaat if Dajh can be cured, and she says it's impossible with human technology. Sazh asks about a skin-grafting procedure, but Nabaat says they can do nothing about the mark. She says Dajh seems able to sense Pulse entities and can find the fugitive l'Cie and their fal'Cie master. Sazh realizes both PSICOM and the fal'Cie only want to use Dajh and that he is the only one who can help his son. As the door to the other room opens, Dajh leaps into Sazh's arms. He wants to see fireworks, with Sazh noticing Dajh is more persistent than usual. Nabaat guesses Dajh is talking about the fireworks festival taking place in Bodhum in two days. Dajh whispers to Sazh that something is there but doesn't say what. Nabaat tells the boy they will see the fireworks, believing it's worth checking out if Dajh can sense something Pulse-related at the festival.

Sitting on an airship heading for Bodhum, Sazh watches Dajh run up and down the length of the passageways playing with the chocobo chick. When Dajh tires himself out, father and son try to think of names for the baby chocobo, but Sazh sinks into depression, knowing Dajh is on borrowed time. Dajh points out the window at Bodhum's famous ruins and says he wants to go inside, making Sazh believe Dajh is sensing something of Pulse origin. Nabaat appears beside them as though she had been listening and asks Dajh if something is inside the ruins. When he answers yes, Nabaat pats Dajh on the head and says she will have a team investigate the ruins for the chance of finding a Pulse entity. Sazh yells out in denial at the possibility but calms himself after startling Dajh.

Near the festival's end, Sazh and Dajh are approached by Nabaat, who previously waited on the airship for a report from the investigation team. She says the team found a Pulse fal'Cie inside the Bodhum ruins. Dajh pulls on Sazh's arm and says he wants to go to Nautilus Park. Fearful that Dajh may sense Pulse l'Cie at Nautilus and that he will turn to crystal, Sazh asks if something is there. Much to his relief, Dajh only wants to see the sheep and chocobos there. Rosch appears and tells Nabaat they've made a decision, and Sazh listens to them as he takes Dajh away. After the festival's end, they stay in a security force garrison. They were initially meant to return to the medical center in Eden but plans changed under the belief that Dajh sensed something else from Pulse in the town.

The following day, the decision Rosch had talked about is revealed to be placing Bodhum and its residents under lockdown. The investigation team Nabaat had sent into the ruins last night never returned, and PSICOM lost their position after they sent a wireless transmission alerting Nabaat about the Pulse fal'Cie. After ordering the blockade, the ruins were sealed off instead of sending in a rescue team. After breakfast, Dajh wants to watch the TV program he always watches before going to daycare. However, all the channels depict PSICOM soldiers at a blocked off Bodhum Station. A female newscaster's voice talks about the fal'Cie's discovery and Bodhum's quarantine, saying the Sanctum has revealed Pulse l'Cie as the cause of the Euride incident.

Looking out a window, Sazh sees military ships above the station, possible tourists rushing towards it, and soldiers pushing them back. As Sazh turns the TV off, Nabaat tells him they will be leaving since the Sanctum is deporting everyone in Bodhum to Pulse. She says they must find the Pulse l'Cie, but Dajh's safety is still a top priority, and that they will leave as soon as the airship is ready.

Sazh and Dajh leave the garrison on the airship. Dajh spots a strange flying object out a window, and Sazh sees the military pursue a high-speed airbike to the ruins. The airbike is hit, and Serah jumps from it near the ruins' top. As she holds her hand out to the ship, she is sucked into the ruins, and the airbike she rode on disappears. Sazh tells Nabaat to go rescue Serah, but she says they don't have to do anything since PSICOM will take the ruins to Pulse, and Serah was probably a Pulse l'Cie. She believes that since Dajh was interested in the ship that carried Serah to the ruins, it's probably best that they're sent to Pulse.

Something snaps inside Sazh, believing that Dajh can't complete his Focus and will become a Cie'th if PSICOM sends the ruins to Pulse. Nabaat states that Cocoon will be free from the menace of Pulse, asking if anything can be more important than that, and the furious Sazh clenches his fists. In an ice-cold voice, a smiling Nabaat says it's her job to protect Cocoon's people from the threat of Pulse and that Sazh should consider Dajh before he yells again. Seeing Dajh climb over seats, oblivious to the conversation, Dajh sinks into the chair behind him and holds his head as he hears Nabaat leave, thinking there is nothing he can do. He knew from the start that PSICOM and the Sanctum saw Dajh as a tool for them to use and that to them, one child's life doesn't matter as long as Cocoon is safe. Feeling that Cocoon could go to hell as long as Dajh is safe, Sazh deems it's now up to him to fulfill his son's Focus for him.

Back at the Eden medical center, Nabaat places Sazh and Dajh in separate rooms. Dajh holds onto Sazh, not wanting to be separated even though Nabaat tells the boy there are more tests to be done and that he can play with his father tomorrow. Planning to have Dajh ask him for something to have an excuse to leave and return to the ruins, Sazh says he will buy something for Dajh once he finishes the tests. Dajh still insists on going to Nautilus Park, so Sazh promises they will go there together after completing the tests. Dajh runs back into his room, and Nabaat thanks Sazh for his cooperation. He tells her he wants to go to Palumpolum to buy a toy or picture book for Dajh and be back by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. Nabaat agrees to the idea and suggests that he use a military airship for transport, confirming Sazh's belief that they will keep monitoring him. Still, he knows he can shake them in a crowded city like Palumpolum, so he accepts the offer.

In Palumpolum, Sazh evades the PSICOM watchdogs and moves nonstop, jumping from trains to rental airbikes. Making it back to Bodhum the next day, Sazh says his wife and child are in town and that he wants to be with them to go to Pulse as a family. PSICOM doesn't bother to check Sazh as they have orders not to let anyone out, and therefore wouldn't suspect anyone trying to get in. Grateful for how much the bird had helped him and Dajh, Sazh tries to part ways with the chocobo chick, but it attacks him, not wanting to leave. The only moving train at the station is bound for the Hanging Edge at Cocoon's farthest end. Unlike what he saw on the news yesterday, the people in Bodhum aren't opposing the soldiers, having fallen in despair, resigned to their fate as they prepare for their last train ride. Looking at his feet like the rest of them, Sazh lines up and approaches the station entrance. Despite knowing it may be a one-way trip, he is determined to get to the Pulse fal'Cie with the chocobo chick alongside him.

Search[edit | edit source]

This is what you are thinking right now. You are a l'Cie of Pulse, and all of Cocoon is your enemy. But there are exceptions to anything, you know.

Cid Raines to Fang

Fang shakes off pursuit from Euride soldiers and returns to the Pulse Vestige the next morning. She doesn't find Vanille, and the food they had brought back is untouched. Fang thinks either Vanille hasn't returned to Bodhum or is still hiding. She assumes Vanille is lonely and crying in her sleep as usual. Fang goes to the shopping mall to get a drink from a vending machine and glimpses the human-looking white bird. Believing the bird to have brought luck whenever she and Vanille saw it, Fang thinks she can now find her wayward friend but is quickly discouraged.

Someone tells Fang to pick up the can she placed on the ground, but she ignores the voice. Pursued by a soldier in an unfamiliar blue uniform, Fang leaves the mall and keeps running until she gets lost. The soldier jumps her but claims not to be an enemy. He introduces himself as Rygdea, a member of the Cavalry, and asks Fang to come with him. Now surrounded by soldiers holding her at gunpoint, Fang is handcuffed and blindfolded, although Rygdea promises she won't be bound for long.

Forced onto an airship, Fang meets Cid Raines and has her handcuffs removed. Raines identifies Fang as a Pulse l'Cie, an enemy of Cocoon, and introduces himself as the Cavalry leader. He claims not to be Fang's enemy, even if it is his job to help protect Cocoon. He takes out a wireless communicator to ask Lieutenant Jihl Nabaat of her status, who says a perpetrator is still on the run. Raines tells Nabaat things are also coming up empty on his end. Nabaat says they will deliver the fugitive to PSICOM headquarters after capturing her. Raines asks for the Euride incident details, but Nabaat says it's classified and under PSICOM's jurisdiction.

Raines turns off the communicator and tells her the Cavalry disagrees with PSICOM's actions, nor does the Cavalry align with them. Fang remains unconvinced, believing the Cavalry captured her to get intel on Pulse. Fang tells Raines she has no information he could want because she's a broken l'Cie and doesn't have time to help him since she's looking for a friend. Raines says it's up to Fang to choose if she wants to help but says she will be staying with them. Raines asks Rygdea to take Fang to the residential area.

Fang realizes they are on an airship. Despite most of the creatures and people in Cocoon being weak except for a few like Rygdea, it has a vast assortment of technology, potentially making them a worse enemy than Fang and Vanille had imagined. Rygdea tells Fang not to try anything since PSICOM has set up barricades around Bodhum. Cavalry had overwritten PSICOM's surveillance system and sent them false info to capture her without PSICOM's knowledge.

Fang is given a room with only a bed and a table. Rygdea says the Cavalry looked at the security footage from Euride, and they could tell Vanille is strong like Fang. Fang is relieved Vanille hasn't been captured and thinks about how she always cries, wakes up from a bad dream, and holds on to Fang, begging not to leave her alone, and how Vanille would sometimes laugh at the strangest things, ever since they were children. Rygdea offers to look for Vanille if, in return, she and Fang don't let themselves get captured by PSICOM. Now believing she can trust Rygdea, Fang agrees to the deal.

Rygdea believes Vanille is somewhere in Bodhum. He meets Lightning again and asks of places where teenagers like to hang out, and gives Lightning a vague description of Vanille as an outgoing pigtailed girl who ran away from home. Lightning tells him there is a café by the beach where many young people hang out.

At the café, Rygdea sees many tourists and locals, but no sign of Vanille. Remembering him from the other day when PSICOM searched him, Yuj offers Rygdea a seat at the counter as Lebreau is making drinks. As she fixes Rygdea something to eat, Maqui appears and asks Lebreau about Snow's whereabouts, to which Lebreau says that Snow just left to meet with Serah. Seeing how everyone around him is acting without a care in the world, Rygdea notes how PSICOM has covered up news of the Euride incident and how only perceptive people like Lightning know something big must have happened if PSICOM is moving in. Rygdea describes Vanille to Lebreau, who promises to inform him if she sees a girl matching his description.

Rygdea later returns to the Lindblum, and Fang is not surprised he returns empty-handed. She says Vanille might be near a forest or ocean for food, as she likes cooking even though some of her meals turn out terrible. Fang asks why Rygdea is with Raines and if it is because something about Raines appeals to him. Rygdea calls himself a man who relies not on his feelings but on whether something makes sense and that he does not fight unless he is sure to win. He says Fang misread him, but Fang disagrees, thinking Rygdea lets his emotions dictate his actions more than he wants to admit. Rygdea rushes to the airship's bridge as PSICOM announces they are lifting the blockade around Euride.

Fang worries how much time Vanille has left as her l'Cie brand is still evolving and decides to look for Vanille herself. She sneaks out of her room and plans to find the ship used to bring her aboard the Lindblum and escape, but runs into multiple dead ends. Raines appears and says he put up barriers to restrict Fang's movement. Raines offers his sword to Fang, meaning she can take it and do whatever she wants to him when his men arrive. Fang takes the sword and follows him to a room.

Raines shows Fang an audio recording of a conversation between Yaag Rosch, Galenth Dysley, and Nabaat concerning Euride and the fugitive Pulse l'Cie. Rosch and Dysley ponder whether it was too soon to remove the barricade and about the rumors spreading that what happened wasn't an accident. Nabaat says they can use that information to their advantage, but Dysley claims the fal'Cie Eden reprimanded him for hiding the truth from the public. He wants to end the investigation after lifting the barricade so everyone's lives would return to normal. Rosch disagrees since the l'Cie remain on the loose, but as the fal'Cie spokesperson, Dysley can't defy their commands.

An inside man recorded the conversation, which Raines calls "the real Cocoon," where Dysley thinks of the citizens as sheep. As long as Cocoon remains under Sanctum rule, the people remain tools of the fal'Cie. Raines believes Fang's Focus is to defeat the Cocoon fal'Cie and possibly destroy Cocoon by extension, making Fang think her and Vanille's Focus may not be destroying Cocoon's structure but its core. Raines claims that Fang has the power to destroy fal'Cie, and asks her to lend them that power because he wants to destroy the fal'Cie Eden and the Sanctum.

Fang asks if Raines is willing to betray Cocoon. Raines answers he will do anything to achieve his goal, but Fang says she will decide about helping him after finding Vanille. Raines tells her about Bodhum's fireworks festival and that PSICOM won't be able to make a move against her if she blends in with the tourists. Fang agrees to stay on the Lindblum until then, though she still hasn't decided whether she will help Raines.

For the next two days, Rygdea continues unsuccessfully looking for Vanille, and Fang has no luck trying to recall the missing pieces of her memory. The following day, Raines lets Fang attend the fireworks festival as promised, giving her a wireless communicator and a device to access her weapon quickly. She returns to the Pulse Vestige and sees the priests' robes thrown on the floor and Vanille's weapon, meaning she had been there. Fang folds up the priests' clothing to let Vanille know she is looking for her. She spends the rest of the day looking for Vanille in the areas around Bodhum they previously visited. PSICOM enters the Vestige to conduct an investigation and surrounds it with army vehicles. Believing that Vanille would avoid the Vestige from now on, Fang walks to the shopping mall as it gets dark.

As fireworks light up the shopping mall and beach full of people, Fang looks everywhere for Vanille. Exhausted, she stops at the café for a drink and tells Lebreau, who serves her, about looking for her friend. Lebreau tells Snow that Serah is waiting at the usual place. As he leaves, Fang doesn't get a good look at him but remembers his clothing. Fang describes Vanille to Lebreau, who tells Fang about the wish-making tradition. When Fang leaves, she looks at the sky and prays she will find Vanille. Rygdea tells Fang through the communicator to return to the meeting point as something terrible has happened.

During the fireworks festival, one of the low-ranked Cavalry members intercepts information from PSICOM about finding a Pulse fal'Cie in the Vestige. PSICOM seals off the Vestige, and most of its forces are heading for Bodhum. The Cavalry and Bodhum's security force pull out as ordered. Raines thinks that PSICOM is stalling for time before the info gets leaked and will reveal the discovery after they've barricaded the city to contain the panic. Raines receives a call from his inside man and asks Rygdea to step outside, making the latter suspicious of how Raines's demeanor suddenly changes.

After the Cavalry picks her up, Fang unleashes her fury upon learning they will leave Bodhum. Rygdea assures they will continue to search for Vanille in the regions outside of town. Raines tells her that the Sanctum will purge everyone in Bodhum and bring them to the Hanging Edge by train before sending them to Pulse along with the Vestige. Raines reaffirms his desire to destroy the fal'Cie and Sanctum, but Fang says she doesn't care about his power struggles and asks what he wants. He tells her he wants Cocoon's people to have the rule over their hearts and live as humans, neither as sheep nor tools of the fal'Cie.

Fang thinks she recognizes the same kind of look in Raines's eyes that she saw in the eyes of those on Pulse, whose homes were destroyed by Cocoon fal'Cie. Raines promises the Cavalry will use all of its power to find Vanille, but they can't ignore the lives of the people in Bodhum being destroyed simply for having the slightest brush with Pulse. Knowing the Cavalry would have to make sacrifices to save Vanille from a heavily guarded Purge train, Fang says she owes Raines. She closes her eyes and prays that she and Vanille's Focus is to destroy the Cocoon fal'Cie and that she isn't making a mistake with her decision. Fang tells Raines once they find Vanille, they will help him crush the fal'Cie.

Two days later, when the Purge train leaves Bodhum, the Lindblum lands on Lake Bresha's surface. As Fang rides in a smaller vehicle toward the Hanging Edge, Rygdea says the Purge train will arrive in an hour. Fang spots the strange white bird disappear into clouds. Now seeing the bird as a sign of luck, Fang smiles at the knowledge the Hanging Edge is close and that she would find Vanille.

Friends[edit | edit source]

Whatever, let's not talk about him. I mean, whether he's here or at home, he'd just say the same things anyway. How's school? Are you studying? Nothing else. He's like a.....

Hope to Nora about his father

Hope and his mother, Nora, are on a ten-day vacation in a beach resort condo in the seaside town of Bodhum for the annual fireworks festival. Having planned it half a year in advance, Nora hopes to use the vacation to heal the rift between Hope and his father, Bartholomew. However, Bartholomew has to go on a sudden business trip, promising to join with her and Hope for the festival. Hope is unsurprised and doesn't believe it since his father often neglects him and Nora for his job. Hope resents how Nora never blames his father for breaking his promises and makes excuses for him.

As the clean-up operation after the accident three days ago has ended, Nora wants to go to Euride the following day. When Hope says his father isn't coming just as he thought, Nora says there's nothing Bartholomew can do about it since the Euride incident affected his job. To change the subject, Hope helps Nora wash vegetables she got from Yuj, Maqui, and Lebreau.

At Euride Gorge the next day, Hope and Nora see the plaza is closed off, and the place is full of PSICOM soldiers on guard. Nora sees a pet shop that sells chocobo chicks. Some kids run past Hope, and hearing them mention the Sunleth Waterscape makes him think about his school trip there six years ago and the misadventure he had there with his two classmates, Kai and Elida Karmic. Hope thinks about what his father said about keeping promises no matter how small and believes Bartholomew no longer keeps his promises to him and Nora. All Hope can remember about the last time he began a conversation with his dad was how Bartholomew had brushed him aside.

Having seen the fal'Cie Kujata, Hope and Nora return to the entrance. When he was younger, Hope had wanted to emulate his father, but now doesn't wish to become the kind of person who feels work is more important than family. The people passing by spoke about a boy being hurt in the accident and how the local security force could barely look at his father. Nora hopes the child does not die since there's nothing worse than a child dying before their parents. Hope ponders that when a family member dies, it's still sad for those left behind regardless.

Nora asks if Hope hates his father and says Bartholomew isn't good at these kinds of things, but many people in the Sanctum depend on him, and he wants to do a good job. Hope says he's not mad since his father will join them in time for the fireworks, which is the essential part of the vacation. Hope thinks about talking to his dad on the night of the festival. Bartholomew may not say much, but Hope strives to make his mother happy.

As they approach the plaza, the numerous PSICOM soldiers make Hope nervous. Seeing his mother looking worried, he says they should return to Bodhum, and Nora suggests they revisit the shopping mall. Hope thinks about talking to Kai and Elida when he gets back to Palumpolum and telling them about his vacation, making it the first time they've been together in three years.

Present -Gift-[edit | edit source]

Yeah, that's why I never know what to get her. I always think there must be something better out there. But you know? When you see how happy they are with what you've given them, all those worries go away!

Serah to Snow

It will be Lightning's birthday in two days, so Serah is in the shopping mall with Snow to look for a present, but she can't find one she believes her sister will like. Despite Lightning being like a mother to her, Serah still hasn't told her about being made a Pulse l'Cie. She told Snow three days ago and tried to break up with him, but he promised to help her figure out her Focus and complete it. Snow tried asking people what they knew about Pulse or l'Cie but had no luck. He even thought of confronting the Pulse fal'Cie about Serah's Focus, but she objected because that could make Snow a l'Cie as well as and endanger everyone in Bodhum.

Serah and Snow had decided to tell Lightning everything on her birthday, but Serah doubts she has the courage. To cheer Serah up, Snow points to a giant stuffed Carbuncle toy in a store window. Serah jokes Lightning would like a Carbuncle doll, and they move on.

Due to Lightning's job as the Bodhum Security Regiment's raid leader, Serah thinks of getting her a good-luck-charm. They enter the accessory store Serah bought her cat earrings and Snow's NORA necklace. Planning to propose to Serah at the fireworks festival, Snow looks at rings on a corner table but dismisses the idea. Serah overhears him but believes he is thinking of getting a ring for Lightning. Snow moves on to the next display showing bracelets. He considers the ones with birthstones but relents after seeing a middle-aged woman use a bracelet as a collar for her tiny dog.

Snow and Serah move on to the next table displaying earrings. She notices Snow has been acting oddly. He is about to tell Serah to forget about it and help pick out some earrings when a voice from a young couple catches his attention. He sees them wearing two halves of the same set of earrings. After seeing two other couples in the shop wearing them too, Snow forgets about buying earrings for his marriage proposal since they're so popular. Serah agrees with Snow's suggestion to go to a different store. He says he's trying to find something to show someone how he feels, but nothing seems like enough. Snow sees a pair of necklaces in the shop's display window, having missed them when they entered. To stall Serah, Snow makes up the excuse of going to the bathroom and tells her to go on ahead.

He calls out to a shop attendant to look at the necklaces and recognizes the person as Sonia, a childhood friend three years older than him, who was like a "scary sister" to him as they grew up in the same town. When Sonia has another attendant fetch the necklaces, Snow realizes Sonia has been managing the store for less than a month, and it's become busy thanks to her work. Since the Sanctum pays tuition, Sonia worked at Palumpolum's main store after graduating from the boarding school. This way of life troubles Snow because it means he could take anything he wants from the Sanctum, but instead, he and his friends choose to take as little as possible by farming, hunting monsters, and doing things their way. Sonia accuses Snow of being unemployed and says he can't go on like this forever. Guessing Serah to be his girlfriend, Sonia tells Snow to get a job or do something with himself for Serah's sake, but Snow declares to make Serah the "happiest woman on Cocoon".

Sonia hands Snow the necklaces, small metal sculptures of Cocoon. Sonia offers to gift-wrap the accessories, but Snow declines, pays for them, and bursts out of the shop. He doesn't see Serah, afraid she might be looking for him. He thinks about proposing to Serah tomorrow night before wishing for their happiness on the fireworks. Despite knowing that Serah's time is short, Snow decides to believe in a bright future.

Serah has found a present for Lightning, a good-luck-charm she would carry with her: a survival knife whose blade is said to be able to severe evil. As she catches up with Snow, Serah says Lightning visits many places because of her job, so she wants Lightning to survive whatever happens and return home safe. Snow assures Serah a survival knife isn't a strange gift, and they enter the weapon shop to buy the knife Serah spotted in a display window.

Tomorrow -Future-[edit | edit source]

We'll be together forever... no matter what happens, we'll never be apart.

Vanille's promise to Fang
During the War of Transgression...

Three priests clothed in red, black, and purple lead Fang into the temple housing the fal'Cie Anima, with Vanille in tow. Fang and Vanille leave their weapons and climb the stairs, stopping to pray a total of 13 times before continuing. They reach a door the black priest says will only open for the pure of heart. Fang and Vanille pray, the symbol on the door glows red, and the door opens. Fang says she is the one who will become a l'Cie, not Vanille, so she has nothing to fear.

Everyone climbs another flight of stairs and repeats the praying ritual. They come to another door of trials, and the purple priest says it will open to those who hold strength instead of weakness. Fang and Vanille pray and open the door. Everyone passes the gate of the center and leaves the hallway of ten and three. They stop and pray 13 times as they climb the next flight of stairs. When Fang starts to complain, Vanille scolds her by saying the priests called the process a test. Fang calls the priests weak and harmless. Fang, Vanille, and the three priests climb stairs and pray 13 times until they come to another door. The red priest says the gate of endings will open for those full of honor. Fang and Vanille again pray together, the door opens, and everyone continues onward.

At the top of the final set of stairs, ten priests stand with spears guarding Anima's Throne entrance. Vanille can't go further, and Fang is led up the stairs. The thirteen priests surround Fang and lift their arms in prayer, chanting that she is the chosen one who will stand against Cocoon. As the door to the fal'Cie opens, Fang shakes off the priests holding onto her and yells at Anima for turning countless people into l'Cie when only a fal'Cie like itself could destroy Cocoon and Lindzei. The priests try to hold Fang down with their spears, but she shakes them off, takes one of their spears, storms Anima's chamber, and continues yelling at it.

The priests chase after her, but Fang defeats them with her spear before continuing towards Anima. Fang says she will become Anima's l'Cie and destroy demons but hates that the fal'Cie sits around doing nothing. The red, black, and purple-clad priests shield Anima from Fang, who says human lives are nothing to the fal'Cie. The priests claim the human beings Fang speaks of are nothing but orphans being cared for to become l'Cie, which is the only use they have. The red priest calls Fang a fool unable to see the real intention of those who cared for her, and the enraged Fang stabs him. She defeats the other two priests and faces Anima, announcing her plan to destroy the fal'Cie for it being the cause of her friends becoming Cie'th and the Cocoon fal'Cie doing as they please.

Fang charges at Anima, but its hands throw her to the floor. The ten priests rush into the chamber, surround Fang, and point their spears at her, prepared to kill her for her traitorous actions. Vanille runs in and covers Fang with her body, begging the priests to forgive Fang, but they claim her sins for insulting them and Anima are too high. Vanille asks the priests to let her atone for Fang's crimes and requests that both of them become l'Cie to fight Cocoon. The priests gather to discuss while Fang begs Vanille not to go through with it. Being next in line anyway, Vanille decided ever since entering the temple that she wants them to be together. She says they might be orphans, but they were raised together as a family and will protect everyone together. The ten priests surround Fang and Vanille, raise their arms in prayer that they be turned into l'Cie. Vanille says they will be together no matter what happens.

In the present day...

After Vanille and Fang separated following the Euride incident, the station has been closed off. People demand the soldiers free them, are told they will be put on the next train to Bodhum after going through an ID check. People complain but follow the soldiers' directions and wait in the tents set up in the plaza. Vanille nervously hands a soldier her stolen ID card, and it is accepted. She takes the next train back to Bodhum and waits for Fang on the platform, but there is no sign of her.

Vanille returns to the Pulse Vestige but can't sleep and visits the mall to look for food. After seeing the strange white bird again, the nervous Vanille gets the courage to enter a store and make purchases with her stolen card. Over the next four days, she begins to feel more at ease and see Cocoon as a peaceful paradise, but still feels haunted by the guilt towards Serah and Dajh, the innocent girl and boy dragged into her and Fang's problems. The guilt Vanille feels is like a thorn in her chest, close to overwhelming her until she meets Serah on the beach.

Three days later in the afternoon, when Vanille is at a rest area in the shopping mall, the news announces that a Pulse fal'Cie was discovered in the vestige. People panic as Bodhum will be barricaded for Cocoon's protection. Worry turns into anger as some confront the PSICOM soldiers, who begin threatening them. A frightened Vanille flees but finds all roads leading to the vestige blocked and the structure surrounded by military vehicles.

Regretting she had left her weapon behind, the sight of approaching soldiers makes Vanille return to the mall. As she thinks about Fang, she walks around aimlessly and finds herself at Bodhum Station. Vanille guesses she might find Fang back at Euride and runs toward the station only to find the walkway blocked off. In front of the station, she sees tourists argue with soldiers. Among them is Nora begging for Hope to be allowed to return home. Vanille returns to the shopping mall and tries to stay in populated places away from soldiers.

Another announcement states everyone in Bodhum will undergo a Purge to Pulse, and everyone goes quiet. In amazement, Vanille watches as the fear of Pulse causes everyone around her to run around, screaming and crying with fights breaking out. It's announced that the Pulse fal'Cie will accompany the Purge train and be returned to Pulse. Vanille realizes she will be Purged with everyone else if she stays in Bodhum; if Vanille returns home to Gran Pulse, she can't complete her Focus. She slumps to the ground, holds her knees, and stays this way until night falls.

In a now-empty mall, Vanille slips past the soldiers and walks down the beach that held the fireworks festival the previous night. Vanille whispers goodbye to the floating world she had come to like, and turning back the way she came, comes across the field where she and Fang stole vegetables from the day they awoke. Thinking she will never see Fang again, Vanille cries herself to sleep.

The following day, while walking along the promenade, Vanille looks out into the ocean and sees the Pulse Vestige in the distance, surrounded by army vehicles and Cocoon soldiers. Remembering the promise between her and Fang that they will always be together, Vanille apologizes and reminisces about what happened after Euride eight days ago up to her encounter with Serah. While she's lost in thoughts, Vanille feels a PSICOM soldier's gun at her back, and she nervously apologizes. He lowers it and softly tells her to hurry since everyone is checking in at the station. Vanille runs to the shopping mall and doesn't look back.

Unlike yesterday, there is no commotion in the mall, and Vanille sees a line of impassive people heading towards the station to board the Purge train. Realizing everyone sees being sent to Gran Pulse as a death sentence, Vanille wishes she could show them the things Pulse has to offer and that they could live there if everyone worked together. Vanille apologizes for she and Fang waking up being the cause of everything happening to the Purgees.

Once Vanille enters the station building, she hears soldiers call out instructions on megaphones. They order everyone to stay in line and that PSICOM will return their baggage once they reach Pulse. The sight of the soldiers' weapons makes Vanille uneasy and gives her the impression that the soldiers are escorting everyone out of the city by force. Someone yells, and the line of people shifts as though someone tried to run away. Gunshots ring out, and the people panic, but quickly revert to their quiet state when soldiers point their guns at them. They are demanded not to leave the line for their safety, and the queue continues moving.

Vanille sees Lightning talk with a soldier. Though she notices that Lightning resembles Serah, Vanille thinks her guilt is making her see things. Lightning gives the soldier her weapon and lines up with Sazh standing behind her, a baby chocobo popping out of his hair. As Vanille begins to laugh, she doesn't look where she's going and bumps into Nora. After making sure Vanille isn't hurt, Nora and Vanille talk briefly about where they're from until Nora stops asking questions. Vanille thinks it's because Nora has other things to worry about and sees Hope silently looking down at his feet and shaking. After debating whether to stand behind Nora and Hope or Lightning, Vanille settles on the former because she wants to be with kind people if anyone will treat her like a prisoner.

Soldiers explain that everyone would arrive on Pulse either later today or tomorrow. Vanille thinks of helping everyone adjust to Pulse and apologizes to Fang for breaking their promise to stay together. Reflecting on Serah's advice from four days ago to face reality later if it's too much to deal with, Vanille reflects on how Serah's words saved her. Thanks to Serah telling her to look at her problems from a distance to find a way to get through them, Vanille has resolved to run from her Focus to avoid hurting more people even though she'll become a Cie'th. Vanille knows Fang is not in danger of turning into a Cie'th and can look after herself, although she will be upset. As soldiers begin directing people onto the train, Vanille feels worried but tells herself she will soon be back on Gran Pulse with people waiting for her who will be happy to see her.

Drama CD[edit | edit source]

Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Alpha.

Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Omega.

A special edition drama CD was released on January 27, 2010; a CD-only available through buying/ordering the limited edition version of the Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack. It features Part 1 of the web novellas.

The CD consists of seven chapters with Serah, Lightning, Snow, Hope, Nora Estheim, the NORA members, Lightning's former superior in command, Amodar, as well as Lightning and Serah's mother.

Chapters[edit | edit source]

Each chapter lasts approximately 1–6 minutes.

  • Chapter 1:' Lightning meets the NORA members, including Snow, Serah's fiancee. (5:50)
  • Chapter 2: Serah and Snow briefly talk about Lightning and her birthday. (5:25)
  • Chapter 3: Lightning recalls conversations she had with her late mother and Serah. (1:47)
  • Chapter 4: Serah enters the Pulse Vestige ruins to explore and is made a l'Cie. (4:05)
  • Chapter 5: Lightning walks around town with Serah in mind. She encounters Hope and Nora at a store, looking at chocobos. (1:43)
  • Chapter 6: Serah wakes up finding a strange mark on her upper left arm, recalling the legends about l'Cie and fal'Cie and realizes what she has become. (2:29)
  • Chapter 7: Lieutenant Amodar and Lightning talk about two strangely dressed women (Fang and Vanille) and the fireworks festival. Lightning also thinks about Serah. (2:26)

The Drama CD is under the name Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Alpha. The first pressing includes a script booklet and a limited edition sleeve case. The CD was released on September 15 and had a bonus story titled "Real -Reality-". Another Drama CD under the name Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Omega was released November 17 in Japan also priced at ¥3,000, including a bonus story titled "Departure -Starting-".

Releases[edit | edit source]

Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-
Language: Japanese
Published by Square Enix
Published on December 24, 2009
Pages: 320
ISBN 978-4-7575-2770-6
Final Fantasy XIII Episode Null - Versprechen
Language: German
Published by Panini
Published on February 15, 2011
Pages: 320
ISBN 978-3-8332-2240-5
Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-
Language: French
Published by Lumen
Published on August 28, 2014
Translated by Cécile Sénaux
Pages: 356
ISBN 978-2-3710-2012-2
Final Fantasy XIII: Episode Zero: Promise
Language: English
Published by Yen Press
Published on April 30, 2019
Pages: 208
ISBN 978-1-9753-8240-7

External links[edit | edit source]

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