If you’ve been following Lightning Returns, you’ll likely know that Hope Estheim will be assisting Lightning on her adventure.
Hope watches over Lightning from his base in the Ark, guiding the savior as she tries to carry out all-mighty Bhunivelze’s divine mission. As Lightning’s trusted partner, Hope provides key information throughout the quest.
Mysteriously, Hope is no longer a grown man, but has instead turned back into the boy that Lightning first met.
The area known only as “The Ark” lies at the core of New Cocoon, built by Hope in times past. Hope guides Lightning in her endeavors from this space, within which time has ceased to pass. Within the Ark you can get various kinds of information from Hope and also re-stock on items to prepare for the journey ahead. Within the Ark grows a mysterious tree known as Yggdrasil. Also known as the “Tree of Life, when bestowed with Eradia it will grow and prosper, in turn extending the life left to the world (to a maximum of 13 days). Every day when the in-game time reaches 6:00, Lightning will be returned to the Ark. Once there she can gift the Eradia earned during that day to the Yggdrasil tree.
The story starts with the time left already considerably reduced and it will run down even further as the days pass. This time is the very life left in the world and is the time that Lightning has available to achieve her mission. No matter what anyone does, the world has no more than 13 days left before the onset of the apocalypse. When Lightning first returns, the time remaining before the end is even shorter. As she progresses on her journey she must strive to extend the life left in the world.