If I told you I'm not terrified, I'd be lying.
But I like to think I manage a half-decent facade of courage when I realize I'm in Leviathan's slime-coated stomach. I clamor onto my feet, take a one-eighty turn to inspect, then see the sylph before me; she's my reflection of height, yet hardly my reflection of panic.
Determination glistens along her wet face as we stare, eye-to-eye.
She is glittering and green, porous and reflective—like a lime—and she's stark naked, yet also fully clothed, her iridescent wings wrapped around her like my mother used to fold her robes, her four dragonfly petals beneath her arms, then over her shoulders, up and behind her neck.
Mind you, when Leviathan swallows me, I am seven years old.
"Hello, Rydia," she says. "Welcome to the trial of your life."
I wipes the salt-sting from my eyes and look beyond her, into the maw of the sea serpent's stomach. Everything still descends down, further down.
Last I remember, Cecil and Edward were shouting to me from the bow of the ship as a whirlpool pulled me in, deep in; down, deep down. I have to remind myself again about Leviathan's jaws, swallowing me whole. I have to replay the memory to make sure it happened, to realize I'm alive but should be dead.
"Do you plan to die?" the sylph asks. "Or live?"
I curl my upper lip. "Uhh. I choose live, Stupid."
She doesn't like that. As Leviathan inhales, and wind pushes me forward and her back, she opens her wings and forfeits herself into the tunnel, into barely penetrable darkness.
I shake my head. One of my ears is waterlogged. When I peer long enough, and openly enough, into the foggy hall of this sea god's stomach, I don't just see the twinkling of the sylph who fell in, but the shadowy edges of another person—of many people—like an entire city of dwellers in Leviathan's body.
I see them but don't see them, you see.
Mom always told me when we see and don't see, we're peering into another world, and as the Summoners of Mist, that's exactly what the Crystals always meant for us to do.
Now that I'm the only Summoner of Mist left alive, I have to see what I see and I don't see. And I'm hungry. This is a stomach; surely there must be something undigested somewhere.
I whisper, "Fire," and a flame leaps forth from my cupped hands. Then I hold them out like a lantern, and I wander further inside.