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Love & Peace

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Dear readers,

I must assure that I did not intend to go on like this for four hundred pages. It was all Quisty's fault! Really! But I'm glad she prodded me to produce all this. At first, I merely meant to occupy myself during a dark time. But I believe it was the part of me that could never really give up hope that took over. Perhaps I subconsciously desired to gain some insight into myself; writing down so much about myself has certainly forced to me address the troubles that haunt me. But, alas, I'm already meandering way off-topic. I have such a tendency to do that, don't I?

As I meant to say, I certainly did not first put pen to paper intending to chronicle everything that has everything recently here at Garden. But... well, Quisty was certainly right when she said I was a born writer and once I finally put aside my doubt, it was hard to stop. (But then, she usually is right, isn't she? Thanks, dear.) And I could hardly leave this story unfinished, could I?

Sometimes I must still ask myself why anyone could possibly be interested in the ramblings of a slightly eccentric twenty-something suburban workaholic. Aside from the fact that I simply could not keep these words inside me, I can't single out one overriding purpose for writing this. Perhaps it will lend some additional insight to those who are curious about me or my trials. Perhaps it will serve as an inspiration or a comfort to those facing challenges of their own. Perhaps it will simply entertain you.

Though I will warn you, dear readers, that these were certainly not the best of times at Balamb Garden. Parts of this tale may feel more like a swift kick in the gut than anything else. But I must beg of you to withhold your judgments on our world until the pink mouse sings. Because though our way was often shrouded and our faith tested, I think everything worked out in the end, and I would hate for anyone to miss out on the happy ending. That, I suppose, is no different from life. Hang on, my friends; it is worth it.

And I think it is only through struggles such as mine that the fundamental goodness of our existence can be revealed. An untested universe, in which everything is given to us by default, is one that is hard to appreciate. It is only after we lose it all, only after we think we cannot go on but find we can, that true faith can emerge. Yes, my road to hell may have been paved with good intentions, but so was the road out of it.

Of course, I would not be where I was were it not for the support of numerous people who I am blessed to have in my life. First and foremost, I need to thank my beloved Quistis - not only for your constant encouragement and advice in producing this volume (after all, it was your idea to begin with, my dear), but for all the light you have shown me in every area of my life. I would say that I can only hope to give to you what you gives to me every day, but I know that I already do. I love you. And my dear friend Miang: you have taught me so much about myself and the world. Thank you. And everyone else whose lives appear between these covers: both for your willingness to help me compile this tale and for your constant bravery and love. The world would be nothing without people like you.

So never give up hope, though you may see only futility in the world around you. Never lose faith, though you may be surrounded by fear and uncertainty. Never stop loving, though you may be pained beyond your expectations. Strive to find the courage to change that which you can, the serenity to accept that which you cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference. Tell all your loved ones how much they mean to you; you might never have another chance. Carry no grudges. Sing. Dance. Do not take to heart the words of those who tell you are cosmically insignificant, but be patient with them, for they are human just like you. Use your mistakes to improve yourself. Refuse to accept human nature, for it is only human habit. Respect the world around you, but do not forget your own needs. Respect yourself, but do not forget the world's needs. Forgive those who have wronged you. Be kind to the generations behind you and ahead of you. Believe, though you may not see. Keep learning, but do not fault yourself for your ignorance; we all have to start somewhere. Do one thing every day that scares you. Remember that our world cannot be saved, only discovered. And trust me on the sunscreen.

Love and peace.

Your loyal author,
Xu Mengshi

Next chapter: Innocence