THE CRAVE GAMING CHANNEL
V'lanna
 

Ancient Bloodlines

Theodore Leung
theoleung@sprint.ca


WRITERāS NOTE

I know itās getting old to make FanFic sequels of FF7 coming out and I know itās even older to make FanFics that bring Aeris back, but I added a new character to this, so sit back and enjoy reading this story. WARNING, this story is REALLY long.

Chapter 1: I remember·

My name is Derek. I think about how close we, no, the world was to death. The meteor hit our atmosphere 3 days ago, right over Midgar. Even though I was a 3rd ranking SOLDIER, I quit 3 weeks before the meteor hit. If I stayed, I would be dead right now, but Iām not. Now Iām just resting in Kalm, but even if I look alive on the outside, Iām dead on the inside. This happened one day, which made me resign from SOLDIER when it went on for the rest of the week. I just couldnāt shake the feeling. The only other time I had a feeling like that was 2 weeks before I resigned·.

* * * * * *

I was on guard duty at Shinra tower. I was about to go on guard detail until Hojo gave me priority message to come and guard the lab. I had always hated the lab. It made me feel creepy about how I have to watch Hojo mess up his specimens, as he called them; even if they were human.

I went and was surprised to find a pretty girl in his "prison". It was actually a medium sized chamber with glass walls. I looked at her and she looked at me and strangely, I felt like I knew her. It was like we had a telepathic link but I knew that couldnāt be possible. I had never seen her before, but some nagging feeling at the back of my head said I had. It gave me the impression we met a long time ago.

I looked around the chamber and found no other SOLDIER member or Shinra guards. "That was strange" I thought, there are usually 2 guards for these kinds of situations. I guess Hojo thought one would be sufficient to take care of this "specimen".

"Who are you?" I heard in my head. I turned to look at the girl but that would have been impossible and I shook off the feeling. I looked back at Hojo and he started to mess with some buttons. I knew the procedure. This would activate some sort of restraining device that would keep the "specimen" in place. Clamps activated and held the girl, but I felt I was being clamped too. I guess I didnāt like to see this girl get tortured. Hojo the used a manipulator to poke a needle through her arm. I felt a sting on my arm afterwards. "This is crazy!" I thought.

One hour passed of this "testing" but it seemed like an eternity. Everything that was happening to the girl seemed to be happening to me. Weird.

"You are free to go," Hojo said. I was relieved to know I could get out of there, but something told me I should go back. I went back to my quarters, on the 55th floor of this huge tower. I turned on my computer and began to look up some information about Hojoās latest "specimen". You would expect that these files would have a LV. 8 lock, but I had my friendās ID card. His name was Zack, SOLDIER 1st, and he lent me this card to let me in on some of Shinraās secrets. Last I heard, he went on to a mission to Nibelheim but never cam back. I hope he is okay. Well, this ID can get past anything LV. 9 down, so I was in.

Name: Aeris Gainsborough

Blood Type: O

Age: 22

Specimen #: 16

Reason of Capture: Cetra

What the hell is a Cetra and why does that name sound so familiar? I tried to look it up but you need a LV. 15 clearance, which is the very top. More info on Aeris would need a LV. 11 up. This must be real important and that girl is very special, but I wanted to know more. So I took an extra night shift by myself to guard her.

That night I exited the elevator that took me to the lab. When I entered, Aeris turned her head towards me. I relieved the guard who was on duty and he made a big yawn. That was expected. It was 2:00 in the morning. I picked this time because Aeris and I would be able to talk without anyone knowing it. I got a short nap before hand so I was good until 8:00 in the morning.

For the first 30 minutes we just stared at each other. Aeris was sitting beside the glass wall farthest from me.

"Who are you?" I heard again. I told this thought my name. Aeris seemed to be able to hear, even though the glass made talking to each other impossible unless the intercoms were activated.

"Do I know you?" it asked next

"No," I responded.

"Why are you here?"

"I want to talk to Aeris."

"You are."

"What!" Thatās when it hit me. She can talk to me through her mind, but how. Is it some trait these Cetra have? Can they read minds?

"I can, but only with you."

"I understand," I said, but the truth is, I didnāt.

"You donāt understand and neither do I," Aeris said.

We eventually ended up talking all morning about jokes and funny stuff until Hojo came in the room at 8:30 in the morning. No one relieved me of duty though. He looked at me and saw a small smile, then he looked at Aeris and also saw a small smile. He began to look at me, then her, then me, then her, for 5 times before he got to work. Every time Aeris got poked or picked at, I could feel it a little bit. I just wanted to get Aeris out of there right now. Over the next few days Hojo ordered to me keep on guarding more and more often at the lab and I kept asking for the night security watch for the lab everyday.

One day I actually had the nerve to open the "prison" and Aeris sat beside me in the doorway of the "prison". We talked small talk for little bit then she asked me how old I was.

"22," I said truthfully, which she understood was the truth.

"Why did you join?" she asked

"Itās a long story, but we have all night, I gues,s" and I started my tale·

 

 

Chapter 2: My Childhood Past

The youngest age I could remember anything was when I was 6 and a half years old. I never knew who my biological parents were, so I lived with bar owner in Kalm. He would keep me around as long as could run the bar with him. I was occupied by the hours I had to work, but in my spare time, I had an urge to go out adventuring. Every time I looked in mirror, I would see a green-eyed kid without anything but a bar.

One day, when I was around 12, a pair of guys carrying a big (I mean really big) swords came into the bar. I served them and then stared at them for the whole time they were there. Now here were some guys who had a sense of adventure. The first thing I thought was that. After they finished their drinks, they left. When the bar closed, I went to my room and just kept thinking of the guys that came in today. I eventually ran my brain cells dry and fell asleep.

That night I was awakened by the sound of arguing down below in the bar. I went downstairs to find out what was going on. I saw the bar owner talking to the two guys that came in today. I got close enough to hear their conversation.

"You are accused of helping a resistance group against Shinra by providing weapons to them," one of the guys said.

"I donāt know what you are talking about!" The bar owner responded, with a panicking voice.

"We have proof that you were providing weapons to the enemy." Seems like only one guy was talking. The other guy must have been standing guard.

"Absurd!" the bar owner yelled

"Then who is this in the picture?"

"Well·um·" seems to me that the bar owner was in a situation. All of a sudden, he made a dash for the door. He didnāt make it far. Next thing I knew, there was a sword sticking through his back held by the second guy. He pulled the sword out and carried the body outside. I was too shocked to scream. The second left the bar. The first guy was about to leave but turned around. I thought he saw me, but he left the room after seeing the site was cleared. I just sat there, going through the moments that had just passed. By the time I got out of my trance, it was morning. I went outside and looked around. There was no sign of where the 2 men might have gone. I couldnāt live here anymore. There was no one to rely on to feed me, so I went to the closest city, Midgar.

When I got there I entered through the sector 5 entrance. I walked until I found a church. I entered and sat there for a while. The first thing I noticed was the flower patch. Donāt find many flowers in this area. I sat for a while and then left to look around. I passed by a small town in the area. When I was going through, I had a strange feeling. I felt the presence of a gentle spirit here. That feeling was shattered when I saw a guy with black hair enter the town. He was a wearing a blue suit and looked like he knew where he was going. He went to a house at the north end of the town and entered it. I felt spooked when he walked past me. I left and didnāt want to be around when something went wrong all of a sudden.

I eventually ended up at Wall Market, probably the capital of sector 6. I had to end up stealing money in order to survive. I only stole the bare minimal because I didnāt have the heart to steal money off someone just to allow me to survive. That person may need it more then me.

When I was 19, I heard about SOLDIER. I went to take the initiation test. The test was to see how your physical and mental conditions were. I excelled in both, which was hard to believe on the mental category. I got to go to the SOLDIER training camp.

The course was 4 months long. We were transported to a place called Junon by a plane. There was a huge cannon there that pointed to the sea. No one would dare attack this place by sea. We got to learn about some interesting things such as materia. Materia is able to link up with your weapon to increase your attributes. It could also allow you to use spells or abilities, depending on the materia. I passed all the exams and got into SOLDIER guard detail. I was now officially a 3rd ranking SOLDIER that was assigned to guard Shinra tower. When I passed the test, I was 20. They gave us a mako infusion, I donāt know why, though it clashed with my system for sometime. We also got a big sword, like the sword that guy was carrying when he killed the bar owner.

I always tried to get myself into missions, but I never got into any of the really hard missions, which guarantee a promotion. I kept trying and trying, but they would always be assigned to some one else. I got used to guarding Shinra tower and I never tried for any of the SOLDIER assignments since they were always given to someone else.

The only time something interesting happened before you, Aeris, came along was when one of Hojoās "specimens" broke free while I was on guard duty. It was a big chimera type creature and it must have got real mad with those needles poking around it. It busted the door to the "prison" and slashed one of Hojoās assistants in 3 with its big claw. Then it burned my guard buddy with firebreath. It just disintegrated his body! I was lucky to avoid it. It went to attack Hojo but I was quicker and was able to slice off one of the creaturesā claws. It went really berserk it was about to smash me with itsā 3 heads but 2 dozen Shinra guards ran in and shot the chimera to death. The only thing Hojo said was "It was a waste of a good specimen". Is that all he had to say!? I guess that he doesnāt thank people often.

 

Chapter 3: After my tale

"That just about ends my story," I told Aeris.

"I see," she said. "You said you got a mako infusion, right?"

"Yeah," I wonder why she asked.

"Then how come your eyes arenāt mako eyes?"

I looked at the reflective glass surface of the "prison" and saw that my eyes were green. Mako eyes were supposed to be greenish blue. "Youāre right." I was about to ask her how she knew, but then my alarm on my watch went off. Hojo was coming in 5 minutes! I quickly told her to get back into the "prison". My ass would be cooked if Hojo saw her outside the "prison". She obediently stepped back into the chamber. I was surprised but then realized she could read my mind.

Hojo came and entered the lab. He looked around to see if anything was wrong, then walked to the computer console. He restrained Aeris and he activated some manipulators that had sharp attachments. I could feel the fear in Aerisās mind when she saw them. I was sweating. Hojo started his "testing". He hit a pressure point on her body. I could see the pain in her eyes and her mind. Hojo tried the next one. Same effect. Then he went to the third one. Contact with the object at the pressure point made Aeris scream. I could feel the immense pain in her body. I couldnāt take it. I went up to Hojo and just socked him so hard he went unconscious so hard that he probably forget about this incident. The assistant tried to sound the alarm but I went ahead and fried him by using my fire materia. These SOLDIER 3rd from the hallway outside heard the commotion and ran in. I drew my sword and cleaved one in half. The other one tried to slash me in return but parried that blow. Attack, parry, attack, parry. It just seemed to on like that forever. Then he backed off a little bit. I thought he was going to lunge but he went and hit me with an ice spell. I fell to the ground. The last thing I remembered was looking at Aeris and hearing her say to my mind "Itās okay".

I woke up in the detention area. I was expecting the door to be locked but it was wide open. I looked outside. The guard looked like he was ripped to shreds. I went looking around. I came to the lab and found that it was empty. "At least Aeris escaped," I thought. I went upstairs two more floors, to the president of Shinra office floor. I found him dead, with a real long sword sticking out through his back. Sephiroth, I said out loud, but that wasnāt possible, even if he was the best out of the best of SOLDIER, he was reported MIA with Zack when they went to Nibelheim. I was about to leave when I heard some noises outside. There were two guys out on the balcony fighting. One was an orange haired guy in a white coat carrying a shotgun. The other was a spiky haired guy and looked like he was with SOLDIER, but I couldnāt believe what he looked like. He wore the same clothes as Zack, had Zackās sword and he even was in the same battle stance as Zack. I was enticed by how the Zack clone could maneuver and dodge the shotgun shells. Eventually the shotgun guy ran by jumping onto his helicopter. Then I remembered, the guy with the shotgun was Rufus, son and vice president, or now president, of Shinra.

The Zack look-a-like ran back in and down the stairs. I followed him and he was talking to this girl. I couldnāt hear their conversation but I thought I heard the name Aeris in the conversation. I let them go since they probably came to rescue Aeris. I hoped she would be okay.

It was the 2 days after the Shinra incident. Everything went back to normal, as it may seem hard to believe. Everyone forgot about what I did and I got a really hard job for once with SOLDIER, though it was really easy to complete. The nit happened one night when I was in my quarters. I felt a sudden cry of pain. It was loud, yet distant. I felt like someone had just driven me through with their sword. It was painful. I fell to the ground. Then it stopped. I couldnāt feel any pain, I couldnāt hear any screaming. It just stopped. I couldnāt shake the feeling all night.

For the next week, I didnāt feel whole anymore. Something was missing in my life now, and I didnāt know what. It was so bad I resigned from SOLDIER.

"Reason?" The secretary asked.

"Psychological problem," I responded.

"What type?"

"Unknown. Doctor said I should quit." That was completely untrue. I never even saw a doctor, but this girl wasnāt Aeris so she couldnāt read my mind. The secretary typed on her keyboard a little bit and said I was free to leave.

I left through sector 5. When I reached the town, I couldnāt feel the gentle presence I had felt earlier. I kept on moving. I passed the church. Actually, I stopped at the church. I stared at it. There was a hole in the ceiling. Wonder where that came from? I entered and sat down. Then I prayed by the flower patch. Then something beckoned me. I stared up and saw nothing. I stood up and turned around to leave. It happened again. I turned and saw Aeris. She looked as beautiful as ever but something was different.

"You noticed," she said.

"Are you okay?" I asked

"Depends on your definition of okay."

"Are you fine?"

"No," she said in a sad voice.

"What happened?" I asked.

She sat down beside he flower patch. I sat beside her. "I donāt want to tell you."

"Why?" I wondered.

"Youāll feel guilty about it."

"Try me."

"Okay." She told me about all her adventure with Cloud, the name of the Zack clone, and his companions. She was getting to the end but abruptly trailed off. I asked what was wrong. She said it was Cloud. He was like her old boyfriend. He walked and talked a like. I asked for his name.

"Zack," she said. I was astonished.

"I donāt believe i,." I said. " He was my friend. I said the exact same things about him when I saw him fighting Rufus on the balcony of Shinra tower." We both giggled at the experience, but we both felt the loss of Zack.

"I miss him," she said.

"Yeah." I thought for a moment and then asked "Why donāt you tell me what happened when you went to the ĪCity of the Ancientsā?"

"Do you know what a Cetra is?" she asked.

"No, no I donāt."

"A Cetra is an Ancient," she said. "An Ancient is the original race of people who inhabited this world. Eventually the Ancient was wiped out like a plague because of a place known as the Promised Land. The remaining Ancients made machines called Weapons to defend the place. If the promise land should ever be threatened again, the weapons will awake." I absorbed all the information. "I am a Ancient." she continued. "The last of my kind." Sephiroth has threatened the planet. He wanted to merge with the planet by destroying it. I was the only one that could stop it but·" I didnāt like the sound of that.

"Yes, continue." I said.

"I canāt tell you. You wouldnāt be the same."

"I can take it!" I said. I tried to touch her but my hand went right through her hand. I tried to hold her but I went through her. I couldnāt physically touch Aeris. I kept trying and trying until it hit me. She is now·.

 

"I·. am·dead," she said, her voice trembled when she said that. "That is right. Sephiroth ran me through with his sword." I just went pale. She continued "I am not gone though. That is what you felt a few days ago. It was me dying at the hands of Sephiroth. I now reside in the lifestream. When someone dies, they go to the lifestream, waiting to be reborn into another body. I will always be with you." I couldnāt take that as an answer. She understood that and left me there. I stood there and stared at her for who knows how long.

"Good bye, Derek," she said.

"Wait!!!!" I screamed, but her spirit had already disappeared. I screamed and began to weep on the patch of flowers. Three hours passed and I knew she wasnāt going to come back. I took some flowers in memory of her. I went back to Kalm and stayed at the inn.

The meteor came, like Aeris said, but something happened and, what I believed to be the lifestream stopped it. I wouldāve gone and looked for Sephiroth and ripped out his lungs with my bear hands, but I was too devastated to do anything, until now·

 

 

Chapter 4: The Quest

It was 3 days after the meteor almost destroyed the world. The lifestream came and saved us all. Aeris said she was the only one who could save us. She must be alive! How though? I couldnāt go to Midgar and look through its enormous collection of data. It was ran on Mako energy and all the reactors had lost their power when the meteor ripped up Midgar, so where? I went to the bar (yeah, a new bar owner bought the place yesterday). I sat down and thought really hard. Where could I go?

"May I take your order?" I looked up and saw the new bar owner. She had long dark brown hair with brown eyes. She wore a short black skirt and had a white shoulder less shirt with suspenders. Now why the hell did she look so familiar?

"Something strong." I said. It probably would help me drown out Aeris for a little while. She returned and I asked her where I could find a place with information on the Cetra. She stared at me for a little bit. I wonder why? She finally said Cosmo Canyon and pointed out how to get there. I drank down my drink (it WAS strong) and paid her. "Thanks" I said.

I left town the next day. I followed the directions to a chocobo farm. I entered and asked the guy inside on how I could get to Junon from here.

"Junon? Why do you want to go there?" he asked, surprised.

"None of your business," I responded.

"Okay." He thought for a moment and said I needed to go through the mithril cave to the south. I left the farm. He tried to stop me but I was too absorbed in my own universe about Aeris that I didnāt hear. I continued south until I reached a swamp. I could see the cave on the other side. I continued without a care in the world. That was a big mistake.

All of a sudden, a giant snake appeared right out of the swamp. I was taken aback and fell into the muddy swamp. It opened its huge jaws and tried to swallow me whole. I quickly reacted and avoided his assault and rolled to the side. I pulled my sword out and stabbed it in it neck. It got really mad then. It lifted itself and I fell back again. I got back on to my feet. It stood up and started to whack me with its tail. I tried to avoid the attacks but I got hit and went flying 4 meters. I got up and used my restore materia to heal my wounds. It charged me but I avoided the attack. It stood up again. Thatās when I made my move. I charged it, right to the belly. My sword went as far it could go into the body. Then I ripped my blade, pulled a grenade from my pouch, pulled the pin, and threw it through the hole I had just made. I ran as fast as possible from the snake. 5 seconds later BOOM. Blood was sprayed everywhere. I got some on me, but I was glad to be alive.

That afternoon, I got out the other end of the cave. It was long and I was tired after that battle. I walked south until I found a reactor on a hill. I entered the place. There was a rope that I climbed. After, I was exhausted and just fell to the ground.

* * * * * *

I found myself waking up in a bed in some sort of cave. I got up from the bed and stepped on the floor. I found my clothing, sword, and pouch on the table at the other end. I realized I was just in my underwear. I quickly ran to the table and put my clothing on. A man walked down the stairs beside the table.

"Youāre up. Goo,"he said, "Iām happy to see youāre fine."

"What happened?" I asked.

"I found you unconscious at the entrance of the reactor. You were bloodied, so I took the liberty wash your clothing for you."

"Do you know how to get to Junon from here?"

"Sure, go east against the south coast until you come to a place leaning on a hill."

"Thanks."

"No problem stranger." He left me alone. I checked my equipment. My materia was still there and I still had 3 days of food left. I checked my inventory and was sad when I found out I had used my last grenade against that giant snake. It doesnāt matter.

I left the reactor. It was mid morning when I left. When I reached Junon, I noticed the cannon wasnāt there. Then I remembered. The cannon that was here was moved to Midgar so it could shoot the barrier protecting the North Crater. That was where Sephiroth resided when he was killed. The cannon was probably destroyed with Midgar when the meteor ripped it up.

I entered Junon. I needed a boat to get to where I wanted to go next, and Junon had it. I entered the elevator that would take me to Junon. I had to bribe the guard for a 100 gill to get him to let me in. I went up the elevator to the upper town area. I looked up at the tower and saw a hole that looked like it had been ripped out. "Weapon attack," I guess. I headed for the dock.

A guard was standing there. I asked if I could get on to get to the other side of the ocean.

"Canāt do thta."hHe sad.

"Why?" I asked.

"Mayors orders. No one on the boat without his permission."

This was stupid. I went to the mayorsā office. The waiting room was empty. I asked the secretary if I could see the mayor. She stared at me. I think see was actually staring at the sword.

"Go right in." Her voice sounded shaky. I think the sword had spooked her.

I entered the mayorsā office. He was looking out a window.

"What do you want?" He turned his head towards me.

"I need passage to the other side of the ocean," I responded.

"Canāt do that."

"Why?"

"The engine for the ship broke down."

Great, I thought, just great. Now I wonāt be able to get to Cosmo Canyon.

"There is a way though."

"How?!" I jumped at the chance.

"The mechanic can fix it, but he needs some parts from the underwater reactor."

"Okay." I didnāt like the idea. It was probably one of the few places where there are mako monsters. I thought about it and it was probably worth it to see Aeris again. I left the exit and headed for the elevator to the reactor·

 

Chapter 5: In the Underwater Reactor

The elevator to the reactor was long. I was anxious to pull this job off. I didnāt want to be in this reactor longer then necessary. I thought about Aeris. I thought about the Cetra, and how Sephiroth killed her. I didnāt want her to die. I wanted her to have a happy and long life.

The elevator door opened. I stepped outside and looked around. The glass tube tunnel that led to the reactor was cracked a little bit. I hoped I got out of here before that glass cracks. I walked down the tunnel, but stopped mid way. I looked out at the ocean. It was a beautiful sight. I wish Aeris were here to see this. I stared for a couple of minutes then continued on my way. I opened the sealed door to the reactor. The mayor gave me a card to open the door.

I jumped back. Something had come to me when it opened. I quickly went for my sword, but then realized it was just a corpse that just fell to the ground. The corpse belonged to a Shinra soldier. I could see the terror in his eyes. His body was all ripped and thrashed up. Iām going to hate this job. I searched the guys pouch. 5 grenades were in it. Not bad, but I might need more. I checked his gun. The clip was empty. Either there were a lot of monsters swarming him, or there was a really tough monster in there. Either way, I didnāt want to know.

I walked down the entrance hallway in the reactor. I had my sword in my hand in case of a sudden monster appearance. I came to a fork in the road. Left or right? I pulled out the map the mechanic drew for me. Left was the way to go. I headed left until another fork on the path. I noticed a huge pair of scratches on the wall. Donāt want to meet that monster. Map directions told me to go right. I walked down the hallway. A door blocked my path so I tried the key card but it didnāt open. Power must be off on this section of the reactor. I pried the door open with my sword. It opened all the way. Suddenly a monster came jumping through the door. It rammed me and my sword fell to the ground. I fell to the cold metal floor. The creature tried to jump on me, but I evaded the attack. I grabbed my sword and got a look of the creature. It was a small monster, about the size of my body and a height up to my waist. It may have been small, but it was fast. I kept trying to slash it, but it kept evading. It bit into my arm. It hurt! It just hung there, sucking my blood. I tried to shake it, but it hung on. I smashed it against the wall until it finally fell off. It was also stunned long enough for me to slice it up. What was left of it was a pile of minced meat. I used my recover materia and healed my wound. I kept going, but this time more cautiously.

I eventually got to the place where I wanted to be. I opened the door, and drew my sword into fighting position. No one was in the room. Good, I got the parts and left at a quick pace. I got back to the entrance hallway, but a LOT of those small creatures blocked off my passage. I hacked some of them, but they just kept on coming. I was forced to retreat to a door and seal it. I checked the map and realized that where I came from was the only way out.

I thought of my situation for a while. I looked at my inventory, then got a wild idea. I opened the door a little bit, monsters were pilling up behind the door. They scratched me, but I paid no attention. I pulled the pin on one of the grenades, tossed it into the crowd, then I quickly closed the door. I heard an explosion. I opened the door and found the passage empty, except for a few monster corpses. That was way too easy. I entered the hallway and went for the glass tube. All of a sudden, a bunch of the monsters jumped me. They were all over me. I knew it, They had probably been hiding somewhere. They began to pile up. I was going to die, I thought. I thought of Aeris. I wanted to see her again. The pain swelled in me, both from the death of Aeris and the pain the monsters were inflicting. I just wanted to see Aeris, was that too much to ask for? Maybe this is their way of allowing me to see Aeris. No, I canāt die, I canāt! I felt of surge of power within me. I got up and all of a sudden, everything around just got burned to ashes. I fell to my knees. What happened there? I checked my materia. There was a restore and fire materia attached to it. I couldnāt have burned them all like that, could I? I used my restore and ran for the elevator. I could hear the monsters coming back to kill me. I was at the elevator doors. I got in, but stopped. I dropped 3 of my grenades on to the floor of the glass tube. I pulled the pin on the forth one and dropped it right beside it. Hopefully, this would cause enough of an explosion to destroy this tube. I entered the elevator. The door closed and I went up. I felt the rumble of the explosion. I was safe now. I fell to the floor. That was close.

I reflected how close I was to death. Those monsters almost killed me. I thought how close I was to joining Aeris. Maybe I should get killed, I would be able to see Aeris again. No way, I donāt want to do it that way. I will bring Aeris back to this world.

 

Chapter 6: The Sea and Beyond

I got back to Junon and gave the mechanic the parts. After, I went to see the mayor. He congratulated me for taking care of the monsters and for being able to get the parts. No one could get them with all those monsters around. They could also repair the reactor now, he said.

"No can do," I responded coldly.

"Huh?" The mayor sounded shocked.

"First of all, the monsters are still there, you jerk! Iām not your monster killer, you a**hole. Iām not going to do your dirty work! Go send someone else to die! Second," I just was in pure anger," I blew up the tube. No one can get in any more!" I could see the mayor heat up in anger.

"How could you!?" he screamed. "We might need that energy to keep this city running!"

"Tough," I said.

"Oh yeah," he countered, "I guess your not going on that boat."

That really steamed me. I pulled my sword out and stuck the blade 2 inches from his throat. "You want to get on my bad side?" He gulped "I guess not, so donāt!" I shoved him against the wall and left the room.

* * * * * *

I went to the docks the next morning. The mechanic there said the boat was okay. I entered through the cargo bay. This place was filled with supplies. I went up to the bridge and asked when we were to set sail. The captain trembled a little but said we could leave after some special cargo was delivered.

Thirty minutes later, the ship set sail and we left the port. I went to the supply deck to take a look at this special cargo. I opened the crate and saw that it was full of materia, all of them with a green color. I looked at some and took 2 of them. No one would notice. I hooked them onto my sword and left the cargo hold.

* * * * * *

We got to Cost-Del-Sol 1 hour later. The placed was packed. I looked around. Nice beach, great hotel, lots of shops. This must be a resort town. I went to the beach and looked around. I guess I could relax for a little while. I was about to leave for the hotel when 2 guys in blue suits blocked my way.

"Excuse me," I said politely.

"You want to be excused, tell us your name," I looked at them. One was bald and wore sunglasses and the other had spiky red hair and was carrying a rod.

"Who wants to know?" I said coldly.

"Do you know we are?" the red head responded.

I though for a moment, then it hit. These guys were from the same organization from the guy that I saw in sector five 11 years ago. They worked for Shinra. "Youāre the Turks. Youāre Reno..." I pointed to red, "·and youāre Rude." I pointed to Mr. bald.

"Do you know what we do?" Reno asked.

"You do all the dirty stuff for Shinra. So who sent you to get rid of me?"

"Donāt you know?" Rude responded.

I thought some more, "The mayor of Junon sent you."

"Bingo," Rude said.

"You want me, you got to kill me."

"Thatās the idea." Reno said. Before they could say anything else, I kicked Rude in the stomach and punched Reno in the face. Everyone on the beach started to run out of the battlefield and left us all alone.

"Youāre going to regret that." Reno said. Now would be a good time to test my new materia. I pulled out my sword and concentrated on the first one. A barrier surrounded me. It was a barrier materia, cool. Before I could use the second one, Rude jump kicked me. I dodged but Reno got me with his electro-rod, but my barrier took the hit. I retaliated and slashed at Reno, he avoided, but not fast enough so I wounded his shoulder. Reno quickly healed that with his restore materia.

We kept trading blows, but I kept my barrier up, though Rude kept healing himself and Reno. I eventually tried out my new materia. I used it and my movement was twice as fast. It was a time materia. Neat. I charged Rude. Before he could react, I punched him 3 times, smacked him with the hilt of my sword, and kicked him right in the stomach. He went unconscious after that kick. I then charged Reno. I slashed my sword at him, but he blocked with his rod. I kept slashing, but he always blocked my attack. I swung really hard and I managed to shatter his rod. I quickly elbowed him in the head and kneed him in· well, you know. He fell right to the ground.

"Maybe next time boys." I said to their unconscious bodies.

I left town right after. I didnāt want to leave a trail when those boys came back to the real world. The only place to go to right now would be Mt. Corel. I entered the mountain through the only place possible. I quickly ran up the trail to the mountainside. It was rough from there, but I was able to get to the broken Corel reactor. It was abandoned, as expected. I followed the train tracks all the way to North Corel. It was a desolated place. Everyone there was poor. I asked one of the storeowners how to get from here to Cosmo Canyon. He gave me directions on where to go.

I went south from North Corel to a desert. Standing in the middle of the desert was a huge gold pillar. I could see some abandoned houses at the base of it. I wasnāt too keen on finding out what that was in those houses and continued west. I eventually got to a winding canyon that went up. I walked up the canyon until I came to a place where there was an observatory on a ledge on the rock side. There was a long stairway. I went up the stairway into Cosmo Canyon·

 

Chapter 7: Cosmo Canyon

I went up the long flight of stairs and ended up on a high ledge. I could see caves around the place and huts in the ledges of the canyon wall. I turned my head right and saw a fire burning there.

"That is the eternal fire." I turned my head and saw a red, dog like creature. He had a tail that looked like it was a light bulb. I saw a tattoo of the Roman numeral 13 on him. He looked very familiar.

"Your one of Hojoās Īspecimens," I said after some thought, "You were specimen red 13."

"That is correct," Red said. "How would you know?"

"Iām from SOLDIER and Hojo got me a lot to do his guarding. Iām just here to find information on the Cetra."

He gazed into my eyes for a moment, then walked off. "Follow me," he said. I followed him up some stairs and into a cave, up more stairs, and up a ladder. I didnāt know how he climbed that with paws. I followed and we were at the entrance of the observatory. He opened the door and walked in. I followed him into the observatory. After the first step in, I was grabbed and thrown against the wall. Someone grabbed my neck collar and lifted me up, smashing me against the wall, and holding me off my feet.

"What the hell do you want with the Cetra?!" He said. He sounded really pissed. I got a look at him and gasped.

"Why do you care?" I said coldly, while I was looking at Cloud, or the Zack clone.

"Why donāt you answer the question first?" I looked around the room and saw that the bar owner from Kalm was there too. That was whom I saw at Shinra tower. I went back to looking into Cloudās eyes. They were mako eyes.

"Why are you so interested?" I asked him.

"How would I know? You might be one of Sephirothās flunkies to find a way to bring him back!" He responded in a bitter manner.

The Sephiroth rose my anger level very high. "The only @!#%ing reason I would bring Sephiroth back is to rip out his lunges and slice him in half!" I yelled into his face. That mustāve stunned him because he dropped me right on my butt.

"Who sent you here?" He asked, with his back turned to me.

"I came here myself." I responded bitterly.

"Why?" He asked next.

"That would be my business." I told him.

"Tell me!" He pulled his sword out and stuck the blade 2 inches from my throat.

"I wonāt. You wonāt kill me either, because you wonāt find out what I want and because youāre a F!#%ing clone of my friend in SOLDIER!" I could see that hit a spot on his brain. His hand and the sword he carried it on were trembling.

"What the hell do you want with Sephiroth?"

"I want to kill him if he is still alive."

"How do you know Iām a clone?"

"Because·" I responded bitterly "anything you do is a what my friend, Zack would do. Even your fighting style is the same as his!" That really hurt Cloud because he dropped his sword after and fell to the ground holding his head. The bar owner ran up and knelt beside him while Red stared at me. Red explained to me how Cloud was a Sephiroth clone and that he never made it to SOLDIER. It was a childhood dream to do that to impress Tifa, the bar owner, when they were little. He failed at that and became a Shinra guard, and he was part of the mission to Nibelheim. Everyone died going on the mission but him and he assumed the past and identity of Zack so he could forget the moment and impress Tifa. He eventually became himself again and continued with his life, and defeated Sephiroth.

"How do you know my name anyway?" Cloud asked when he recovered from his shock. I told them about Aeris and how they met, and why he wanted to revive her. I also told them about how Aeris told me about Cloud and his friends going to defeat Sephiroth.

"Well·" Red said, "Iāve been reading this revival process for the Cetra. It is written in the ancient text, so I only translated some of it, but it mentions a certain holy power that can do that.

"Holy materia," Tifa said. "That was lost when Aeris died at the City of Ancients. It fell into the water. How do you know of Aerisās death anyway, Derek?" She asked me. I told here how I felt her death from Shinra tower. Everyone looked surprised.

"What did I say?" I asked.

"The City of Ancients·" Red said "was on the other side of the Earth from Shinra tower." I gasped at that response.

"How is that possible?" Cloud asked.

"Iām not sure·" Red answered. "But I think we better find a way to get the Holy materia."

"We need an underwater materia," Cloud said.

"Donāt you have it?" I asked

"Used to," Cloud said, "Yuffie has it now."

"Whoās Yuffie?" I questioned.

"Someone in Wutai," Tifa responded, "She is a sneaky person who wanted materia to help her town prosper."

"Wutai is on the other side of the ocean." Red said

"So we need a ship," I said

"Or an airship," Tifa said.

I thought for a moment, "I thought the Highwind was stolen," I said.

"It was," Cloud responded, "We stole it. Cid has it now" I needed no explanation about Cid. He was known for his hot mouth swearing and for his expertise piloting ability.

"Whereās Cid now?" I asked.

"Rocket Town," Red said.

"Iām going then," I was about to walk out the door.

"Wait," Cloud said, "Iām going too. I want to see Aeris again."

"Iām going with you." Tifa said. We looked at Red.

"I guess I will come too," he said, " I want to learn more about this process." We left the room together.

 

Chapter 8: To the Highwind

We began out journey to Rocket Town. We walked down the other side of the canyon to Nibelheim. Nibelheim was your basic town. Cloud and Tifa were from here. We decided to rest up for the journey through Mt. Nibel so we stayed at Tifaās former house. It was abandoned, thankfully, so we didnāt need to kick anyone out. I went into Tifaās room. I stared out the window, staring at Shinra mansion. It was on the hill at the north of town. Cloud came into the room a few later. I know because I saw faint reflection of him off the window.

"Hi" I said to him.

"Hi." He returned, "How are you?"

"Fine."

"Nice view."

"Yeah. I thought this place was burnt to the ground."

"It was." Cloud sounded spooked, "It was burned but Shinra rebuilt the place and used it for its lab experiments. Anyone that lived would have been used for an experiment. I was one of those."

"Thatās how you got Jenova cells."

"Yep. Thatās also how I got to a Sephiroth clone." He sounded sad when he said that.

"You know·" I started, "Aeris and I had a link with each other."

"I know" He responded.

"I thought that was a trait the Cetra had, but now you tell me you were never linked to her. I wonder what is there between me and her."

"Donāt know·" He said, "but you were special in some sort of way. Aeris told me once that someone in Shinra tower was kind to her and that this person was special in a way she couldnāt comprehend. I think that someone would be you."

"Yeah, I guess."

"Listen, itās getting dark. Go get some sleep." Cloud left me alone. I stared at Shinra mansion some more and went downstairs. I was elected to sleep on the couch tonight.

The next morning we left and headed for the mountain. We had to take the long way through the mountain since the bridge was broken. We got through without any problems until the last cave. The Turks were waiting for us. Reno, Rude, another female Turk; whose name is Elana if I remembered correctly, and a giant tank with a Shinra guard driving it blocked our path.

"Hello, again." I started, "Want another beating?"

"That was then." Reno started up, "Now were at full force and can take you and your friends down."

"You got to be kidding." Cloud said. "Didnāt you learn your lesson on the Midgar train tracks?"

"Probably." Reno said, "But now we have artillery power too." He was right about that. The tank couldnāt use its turret in here, it might collapse the whole cave, but it had twin linked machineguns attached to it. Those could rip us apart in seconds.

I went for the tank, Red following behind me. That left Cloud and Tifa to take care of the Turks. The tank unleashed its machine guns on use. Red and I took cover behind a rock formation. I could see Cloud and Tifa engaging the Turks. Reno took on Cloud while Rude had a fistfight with Tifa. Elana stayed back and healed any one injured for the Turks.

"We have to do something with that tank!" I yelled over the barrage of fire.

"I can outrun the gunfire for sometime, diverting attention." Red yelled back. I considered the options. Frontal attack wouldnāt work. It would rip us to shreds. It was probably materia protected, so forget that option.

"Okay." I responded. I casted a haste spell on Red to increase his speed and he ran out. I took a glance t how Cloud and Tifa were doing. Reno was holding out against Cloudās onslaught, though he was getting worn down. Rude on the other hand was seriously injuring Tifa. Elana just casted another bolt spell on Tifa. I quickly healed Tifa up with my materia and gave her a barrier for extra protection. I looked now at how Red was doing. The guns were trying to follow him, but Red kept dodging the shots. I jumped out of my spot and jumped onto the turret. I sliced off one of the machine gun barrels, but the turret rotated and I lost balance. I fell but was able to hang on the barrel of the turret. I climbed back up and sliced of the other one. Red, seeing the threat now over, hurried to help his companions in battle. He jumped Elana and she fell to the floor.

I went back to the tank. The hatch opened and the guard tried to point his shotgun at me. I quickly decapitated him with a clean slice and his body slumped to the floor. I jumped off the tank and joined my companions in combat. Cloud had broken Renoās rod and he was forced to retreat. Tifa, without getting pounded with bolt spells, managed to get in a punch combo that knocked Rude back. Red had taken care of Elana without much difficulty. Some, all the Turks were forced to retreat. I went back to the decapitated driver and took his shotgun. Never know when it might come in handy. I also got his 3 grenades he was carrying. When I think back, all my grenades come from the pouches of dead Shinra guards. I slung the shotgun over my shoulder and we left the mountain. We walked north and came to Rocket Town, which was bustling with activity. The Highwind was parked in front of the rocket launch pad. We enter to find Cid.

 

Chapter 9: Rocket Town

We entered Rocket Town. It was called Rocket Town because this was where Shinra launched their rockets, though only one made it to space. We went to Cidās house at the East Side of town. Cloud knocked on the door. Shera, Cidās assistant, opened the door.

"Hi," Cloud said.

"Hi," Shera said, "What brings you guys back to Rocket Town?"

"We need to borrow the Highwind. Where is Cid?"

"At the launch pad. We got several investors that want us to build another rocket. Cid, of course, is going to pilot it. Now heās just supervising the construction."

"Thanks, Shera," Cloud finished the conversation and we left for the launch pad. We walked to the launch pad. I looked up and was in awe. It was only a few days and the crew already had the engines done.

"No, you piece of crap! That part is suppose to go there and that one there!" I looked at where the voice was coming from. A guy wearing a blue jacket that had goggles on his head, blond spiky hair, and was smoking a cigarette was shouting at a crew worker.

"Thatās Cid?" I asked Cloud and pointed to the guy.

"Yep," He responded, "Hey Cid!" he yelled after. Cid looked in our direction.

"Cloud! Tifa! Red! How are you?" He walked towards us. He shook Cloudās hand and slapped him on the back. He looked at me after. "Whoās the new guy?" I introduced myself.

"Nice to meet you," Cid responded, "Now are you good as with that sword as Cloud is, or are you just another piece of crap that wants to be a clone too?"

"You want to find out?" I asked, sarcastically pretending to take my sword out.

"Hey, I was only joking." he said and pulled back a little. Everyone else laughed. "What brings you guys to Rocket Town?" Before Cloud could respond, we heard an explosion and smoke started to pour out from somewhere behind Cid. "@!#% !" Cid said and ran off. "Tell me later!" he yelled behind him. We all stared at each other.

"Is he always like that?" I asked.

"Always," Tifa responded.

After the incident, we met at Cidās house. We explained to him our reasons to borrow the Highwind.

"Well," he said, "I can lend you the Highwind."

"Great," Cloud said, "Thanks"

"There is, of course, one regulations. NO ONE pilots the Highwind but me. I donāt want any screw-ups at the steering wheel." We gazed at each other.

"Okay," Cloud responded.

"When can we leave?" I asked.

"We can leave tomorrow," Cid responded, "Rest in the Highwind for now. Get reacquainted with the Highwind. Youāll be all air sick when I start driving that beauty." He left us to go to his rocket, and we went to the Highwind. It looked like 2 pods attached together with wings attached to it. It looked different last time I saw it. The 2 pods were the cockpit and the command center. There was also a deck. We needed to climb a rope ladder to get up to the entrance at the deck. It still amazes me how Red can climb ladders with paws. We entered the Highwind and walked down the entrance stairs. We reached the upper floor of the Highwind. We walked down to the lower floor. There was a room with giant double doors, which led to the command center. A little beyond that was the chocobo stall, where we could hold a chocobo. A pit was where the engine was. A catwalk over it led to the cockpit. A door on the upper floor led to the sleeping areas. Tifa let out a big yawn.

"Iām tired," she said, "Iām going to my quarters and to bed. Good night" She left us. I guess getting hit by so many lightning bolts was rough.

"Iām going to bed too," Red said, "Good night." He left us alone.

"You tired?" I asked Cloud.

"Nope," he responded.

"You want to do some sword practicing?" I asked.

"Sure," he responded. We pulled our swords out and started to fight each other. One hour later, Cloud told me he was tired and left me alone. I went to deck and stared at the stars.

"Did you see the Highwind?" I heard Aerisās voice in my head, "Do you think we could ride it one day?" I touched my head and felt the presence of Aeris near by.

"Hey," I heard. I turned around and saw Cid, "Shouldnāt you be asleep?"

"Wasnāt tired," I responded.

"What where you thinking?" He asked.

"Aeris."

"Her. Thought so. Cloud told me how you treated her at Shinra tower. I guess you belong in her heart somewhere."

"Yeah."

"What is it?"

"Huh?" I asked in a questionable voice.

"Something is bothering you. What?"

"I thought I heard Aeris in my mind about wanting to ride the Highwind."

"Yeah. It was Aeris who really wanted to ride the Highwind. She couldnāt fulfill that wish. I guess that may be one reason I want to come along. I want to give her a spin on the Highwind."

"Hmmm," I thought about what Aeris said to me about the Highwind.

"Listen," Cid said, "Get some sleep. We get up early tomorrow. I might just go ahead and unexpectedly go full throttle and you would get airsick." We chuckled at that and I left the deck to get some sleep.

 

Chapter 10: Wutai

The next morning, we left Rocket Town to head for Wutai. It was a real short trip. The Highwind can go very fast. We landed 100 meters from Wutai, and walked the rest of the way. We entered Wutai and looked around.

"This place has more citizens than ever." Cloud said.

"Whereās Yuffieās house?" I asked.

"At the back." Tifa responded.

"Letās hope that little @#!%er doesnāt steal our money." Cid commented. We made our way to the back of the town. I looked to one end of the town and saw a big mountain. We eventually came to two giant houses. We went into the one at our right and knocked on the door. Yuffie opened the door.

"What are you guys doing here?" she asked.

"We want our materia back," Cloud said.

"I thought we agreed that I could keep all the materia after our adventure with Sephiroth was over," She countered.

"Yeah, we also agreed that we would get it back if we needed it again," Cloud retorted.

"Okay, okay," she went inside and came back out with a box, "Itās all here." Cloud opened the box and looked in.

"Sure looks like theyāre all here but one," He commented.

"What that?" Yuffie asked.

"Whereās the underwater materia?" Cloud asked.

"Um·" Yuffie thought, "Well, I um· sold it."

"What!" I said.

"Hey, whoās the new guy?" she asked.

"Thatās Derek," Cloud said, "And where is that materia."

"I sold it. I didnāt think we would need it anymore, so I sold it for a million gill."

"Why you little @!#%er·" Cid started.

"Hey, why would you need it anyway?" Yuffie questioned. Red told Yuffie about our quest to revive Aeris, but I left before he could finish.

"Great," I thought. Now we wonāt be able to get the Holy materia. I went up the mountain and climbed to the highest point. I stood up and stared at the sky.

"Hi," Yuffie said behind me.

"How did I know it would be you that would find me first?" I asked.

"Maybe its because Iām the only one who could get up here, aside from you." She continued. "Listen, Iām sorry for selling the materia. I never knew they would need it again. Here, take this." I turned around and Yuffie threw me a materia.

"What is it?" I asked.

"It was a materia I found after the battle with Jenova at the City of Ancients. Maybe you should have it. It might remind you of Aeris." I looked at the materia. It was yellow and shone really brightly.

"Thanks." I said. She walked up to the edge with me.

"Cloud said you were a sneaky thief. I wouldnāt believe that after this event, but·" I grabbed her arm in my pocket and pulled it out, "·I donāt like it when someone tries to steal my money."

"How did you know? No one ever did that to me before."

"I grew up stealing," I said and started to climb down.

"Hey, wait for me. Maybe you could teach me some tricks?" She followed behind me and we reached the road. We turned the corner and found the Turks waiting there for me.

"You guys donāt give up," I said to them.

"So, we have you now." Reno said, "We have you out numbered and you guys donāt have anywhere to run." That was true. That ledge was so narrow that only one person could be on it. So the battles would be one on one, and they had the advantage of healing.

Rude ran in and went for a right punch. I dodged and gave him a punch in the stomach and pushed him back. Reno came along and charged with his rod. I pulled my sword out and parried the blow. I kicked him backwards. All of a sudden a lightning bolt shocked me. Elana had fried me with her materia. I pulled the shotgun out and shot her. She jumped away but not far enough and the shot grazed her foot. Yuffie stayed back. What was she doing? Rude got up and made a powerful shock wave. I fell to the ground. He then jumped into the air and tried to land on me. I did a backward somersault and tripped him when he landed. All of a sudden, a huge serpent popped out in front of me with its back towards me. Yuffie pulled me back and all of a sudden a huge tidal wave came and swept the Turks away.

"Did you do that?" I asked.

"Yep," she responded proudly. I looked around and the Turks were nowhere to be seen.

"Think theyāre gone?" She asked me.

"No, they donāt give up easily," I responded. I got up and we left the mountain to find our companions.

At the base of the mountain, we found everyone rushing towards us.

"Where the @!#% did you go and why the @!#% do you look all beaten up!?" Cid questioned in a loud voice. I told them everything and we went back to Yuffieās house. We sat there for a minute.

"What do we do now?" Tifa asked.

"I guess we go back to where we are needed." Cloud said.

"Go to the City of Ancients." I heard.

"What?" I asked.

"What, what?" Cid asked.

"Did you guys say anything about going to the City of Ancients?" I asked. They shook their heads.

"Hmmm·" I thought for a moment, "Iām going to the City of Ancients. Something beckons me there," I stood up, "You guys could drop me off and go your separate ways."

"Hey, if youāre going, Iām going." Cloud said. "I want to see this."

"Iām going then," Tifa answered, "I go where Cloud goes."

"I will come too," Red responded, "Derek may have an ability for the Cetra we donāt, and I want to know about it.

"Iām going along." Yuffie squeaked in. We looked at her. "No one goes anywhere with my materia without me. Also I want Derek to teach me some tricks in stealing."

"Okay, Iām going too." Cid said. "Youāre going to need me to transport all of you back after this anyway."

We left the house and headed for the Highwind.

 

Chapter 11: Northern Lands

We took off on the Highwind to go to the City of Ancients. We would have landed by the City of Ancients but there was no place to land beside it. We landed at the grass patch on one of the southern tips of the continent. We got off the Highwind and I looked out towards the sea.

"Nice view." I commented to Cloud, "Where do we go from here?"

"Icicle Inn." he responded, "That is a town close to the City of Ancients·" He cut off abruptly.

"Whatās up?" I asked.

"That was where Aeris was born." he told me.

"Hmmm·." I thought to myself. We left the landing location and headed north to Icicle Inn. We entered the town and Cloud pointed out Aerisās birthplace. I entered the house alone. There was something familiar about this house that nagged at the back of my head. I went down stairs. The place was in a mess. I looked around and saw a safe with a number keypad lock. I walked up to the safe and tried a combination on keypad lock.

"Access denied," it responded. I tried another. Same response. I probably should have given up there, but then I tried my 4-digit Shinra code, which you would select when you join Shinra. It opened up, cool. I looked inside. There was a sword in a sheath and a disk shaped item. The disk shaped item had a materia slot in it, but when I tried to put in one of the materia I had, it was to big to fit, but I felt the urge to keep it with me. I put it in my pouch. I took the sword and unsheathed it. It was a fine blade that was 4 feet long yet thin. The blade was able to carry 8 materia but there was a hole that went through the hilt that puzzled me. What the hell would that be for? I kept this blade and left my SOLDIER blade here. I took all my materia from it and hooked it on to my new blade. I also hooked up the materia I got from Yuffie onto it. I went upstairs and found Cloud staring at the sky through a window.

"Hi," I said.

"Hi," He responded. He turned around and looked at me, "Thatās a new blade you got there. Where did you get it?ā

"From that safe downstairs," I said, "I just punched in my Shinra code and it opened up. I found this blade and decided to keep it."

"Okay. We leave for the City of Ancients tomorrow bright and early. Be prepared." He left the house. I went back downstairs and lay down on the bed there. I thought of what would happen tomorrow. Would we get the materia, or was it just some stupid idea of mine to go there in the first place. All this thinking put me to sleep.

* * * * * *

It was dark. I was on a hillside, staring at the stars. Aeris walked up beside me.

"How are you?" She asked me.

"Fine," I responded, "You?" I asked after.

"Fine," she responded. This conversation didnāt last long. All of a sudden I was dragged away from Aeris. I couldnāt stop. I tried to yell, but it didnāt work. Before I lost sight of her I saw some Shinra guards come and take her away. I heard her cry. I wanted to go there and help her, but I was still being dragged along. Soon I came to a stop. The invisible force let me go. I saw Aeris, praying on an altar on top of a pool of water. I looked at her, but then I felt the presence of another; an evil presence. Before I could react, Sephiroth came down and killed her, driving his long sword through her stomach. I tried to kill him but an invisible force stopped me. I could see Aeris on the ground, surrounded by a pool of blood. Sephiroth was looking at me. He laughed at me and said something. I couldnāt make it out until he vanished·

He said, "You abandoned her." The invisible force let me go and I ran up to Aeris. She had her eyes closed. I abandoned her? No I couldnāt have. I left her with Cloud, but I didnāt abandon her.

Maybe that was how I abandon her. I wasnāt there to protect her. I couldnāt save her. I could hear Sephiroth laugh at me.

* * * * * *

"NOOOOOO!" I screamed and sat up. I was on the bed in Aerisās house in Icicle Inn. I looked around, in shock over the dream. No one was there. Everyone was sleeping at the inn. I looked at my watch. It was 3:00 in the morning. I abandoned her? What Sephiroth said in my dream kept cycling through me. I got up and went upstairs. I looked out the window. I felt a presence, the same as I had felt in my dream. It was gone now, but it shook me.

I went outside and left town. I wonāt risk anybodyās life for my battle. I went down the hillside of the village and entered a cave. This was the way to the City of Ancients. I felt the force guiding me there. I went through the cave and entered the city. There were shell type structures everywhere. There was a temple of sorts in the middle of the town. I entered the temple and followed a long passageway. I came to a pool of water with a shell structure on it. There was a bridge over that led to that shell. I crossed the bridge and entered the house. There was a crystal globe on a stand beside the entrance. I touched it.

"One of our kind has died in this sacred place." I heard in my head. I shook it off and went up an incline to some spiral stairs going down. I was about to go down, when something tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and saw Cloud.

"What the hell are you doing here?" we said simultaneously.

I responded first, "I came because I didnāt want to endanger your lives for my cause."

"Your cause?" Cloud responded, "Iām doing this because I couldnāt save her when I had to."

"I donāt care. Iām going down." I said, "You coming?"

"Okay," We advanced down the stairway. It was a long glass stairway that led into a small city. There was a shell house that the stairway entered into and ended. We exited the house. I saw an altar standing up in the middle of a lake of water. I went jumped from pillar to pillar sticking out of the water until I reached the altar. Cloud was right behind me.

"Whereās the materia?" I asked.

"It fell into the water over there," he pointed to the spot beside one of the pillars. "We donāt know how deep it is down there. We probably would run out of air before we even reached the Holy materia."

"Yeah," I commented. It seemed hopeless. I felt the presence again. I looked up and gasped. I tackled Cloud out of the spot he was in.

"What the hell was that for?" he said. He looked at the spot he was just at and gasped. We both saw Sephiroth.

"How?" He stammered. "I beat him at the crater!"

"Humph." Sephiroth said. "You can never beat me. All you really did was stop me from containing Holy. The black materia makes my power infinite. I was just over confident and lost to your rage." He looked at me. "Who are you?"

"Iām Derek and Iām going to slice your head off!" I charged him. I pulled out my sword but Sephiroth raised his hand and hit me with some sort of power. I went flying back wards and landed at the edge of the altar.

"You canāt stop me," he said. He lifted his hand and both Cloud and I went flying over the altar and onto the platform that held the shell house. "Derek, is it? Zack told me about you. You were a fine SOLDIER and were probably going to become a SOLDIER 1st. Yes, I remember now." He raised his hand again and Cloud and I went flying another 15 feet. Cloud managed to stay on the platform but I fell off it and into the water. The blast knocked my senses and I began to sink with all the equipment I was carrying.

"Iām a goner·" I thought.

* * * * * *

Cloud was looking up at Sephiroth, then at the spot where Derek fell. He looked back at Sephiroth.

"Why you piece of S!#$!" he yelled and he charged Sephiroth full fury, with his sword. Sephiroth raised his hand and hit Cloud, but he kept on coming. Cloud slashed at Sephiroth. He moved out of the but not before the sword made contact with his arm. The slash left a long straight flesh wound on the arm.

"Youāll pay for that," he said. He lifted his arm and Cloud was then suspended in air with a bubble around him. Cloud tried to bust it, but it wouldnāt break. The bubble slowly got smaller.

"I guess I go down now·" Cloud thought.

 

Chapter 12: Going beyond the beyond

I woke up on solid ground. I was laying flat. I stood up and looked at the floor. There were a lot of tiny pebbles there. I looked at my surrounding. The place was full of pillars.

"I must be dead," I thought." I looked around. Something caught my attention. There was something in the distance that was white. All the pebbles and rocks around were greenish brown. I walked towards the spot, but my movement was slowed. I looked up. I could see a ripple of the sun. Then I saw a fish. What the hell? I looked around. I could see fish swimming around. I was underwater. I pulled out my sword and looked at it. The yellow materia was glowing brightly. This materia must be an underwater materia, but I thought Yuffie had sold it. I thought for a moment and then continued my walk to the white rock. I walked for sometime and found, to my surprise, the Holy materia. I took it and attached it to my sword. It wouldnāt fit into any of the slots. It was too small to stay in the slot. I put the materia into my pouch and prayed for a way to revive Aeris. Now I got to figure out how to get out of here·

* * * * * *

Cloud was suspended in mid-air in this bubble. Slowly, the bubble would shrink until it crushed every bone in Cloudās body. Sephiroth was laughing at him.

"You stopped me from my plan, but I will still have my revenge." Sephiroth told Cloud. He laughed again. All of a sudden, a shurinken flew out of nowhere and hit Sephiroth in the leg. Sephiroth lost his hold over the bubble and it popped. Cloud fell to the floor. Sephiroth looked up at the shell house. Yuffie was standing there holding her shuriken. He looked back at Cloud. Tifa, Red, and Cid were standing beside him in fighting stances.

"You donāt @!#%in die!" Cid yelled at Sephiroth.

"You can never stop me!" Sephiroth told them, and blasted everyone with his power force. Everyone went flying back. Sephiroth swung his head back and laughed. Tifa and Red recovered the fastest and charged at Sephiroth. Tifa went flying in with a jump kick, but Sephiroth avoided the attack and grabbed her leg. He swung her around and threw her into Red. Both went flying back to Cloud. Cloud, Cid, and Yuffie concentrated their power. Cid casted Comet on Sephiroth, Cloud did Ultima, and Yuffie summoned the giant serpent. Comets impacted on Sephiroth, then a green cloud of explosion, then a huge tidal engulfed him. When the tidal wave dissipated, Sephiroth was standing there, surrounded by a clear force field.

"You think your pitiful spells can hurt me?" Sephiroth laughed at them and hit them again with his powerful force.

"We canāt hold out like this forever·" Cloud told everyone.

* * * * * *

I was walking around at the bottom of the pool. I could see the walls of rock surrounding it. I saw a flash and looked up. There was a green cloud up there, then it disappeared. They need me up there! I began to go around as fast as possible. I saw a cave. That was my way out·hopefully. I began my walk out and came to another section of the pool. Great, just great. I looked up. The surface looked even higher. I began to walk around, until I saw a little bit if pink in the distant. I walked there and gasped. I found Aerisās body. I went up to her as fast as possible and knelt beside her. I could see the sword wound in her stomach. Now I was really mad at Sephiroth. I took the Holy materia out, closed my eyes, and prayed for her to come back. I opened them again, but she still lay there, eyes closed. It didnāt work!

"Go to your friends." I heard in my head. I looked at Aeris but she didnāt budge. The Holy materia began to shine pale green. I looked it at for a moment, then I found myself in the shell house where the underground city was. I heard an explosion outside and realized Sephiroth was still there. I ran outside, and found everyone barely able to keep themselves up. Sephiroth hit them again. Now pure anger just boiled in me.

"Sephiroth!!!" I yelled out and charged him, full fury, with all the force I had. He took one glance at me and backed up. I slashed at him, but he parried with his large masamune. I never gave him the chance to counter attack. I attacked again, but he still blocked. We continued that pattern until I was so burned with anger I cracked his sword into 2 pieces.

"H·H·How?" He stammered. I took one swipe at him, but he disappeared. I looked around. I couldnāt see him.

"I seemed to have underestimated your rage again." I followed the voice and looked up. He was floating there. He muttered a few words to himself. "Now you will all burn." He laughed and disappeared.

"What does that mean?" I asked Cloud.

"Supernova," he said, in an exhausted voice. I looked up and saw this wave of heat heading towards us.

"Itās over," Red said, lying on the floor.

"We lost," Tifa continued.

"Get out, Derek, while you still can." Cloud said to me. I looked at him. I was the only one who had enough energy to get out before it came, but I didnāt want to leave any of my friends behind. I looked for the Holy materia. I couldnāt find it. I didnāt have it anymore! I looked at all my friends.

"I canāt leave without you guys." I told them. "Weāve been through so much together. I canāt abandon you now. I canāt live knowing that every friend I make will die soon afterwards. Iām staying." Cloud looked at me and was about to object, but he thought it over and let my decision be.

The wave came closer, and closer, and closer, until I could feel the heat it gave off. I sat beside Cloud.

"Why?" He asked me.

"I canāt keep abandoning my friends. I have to make a stand now." he accepted my answer and we sat there staring at the wave that·

 

 

 

Chapter 13: Returning favors

I looked up at the wave. It was coming slowly, but coming nonetheless. Everyone was too exhausted to even stand up let alone run from the wave.

"This is how it ends?" I asked Cloud.

"I guess," was all he said. I took my sword out of the sheath and held it up. I looked at it and found my reflection. I saw a green eyed kid who met his end because of his craving for adventure. I moved the sword a little and was astonished at what I saw.

"Never give up hope," the voice said in my head. The wave hit. I didnāt have time to turn around and confirm what I saw.

The wave impact might have lasted 3 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. The flash from the impact hit me. I was blinded with a white glow. Then it was over. I could see again. I looked up and gasped.

"Weāre still alive?" I could hear Cid say.

"How?" Cloud asked me, but he found me not paying attention. He went and looked at what I was staring at and gasped too. In turn, everyone looked at what we saw and in turn, they all gasped.

"You wanted to, and you did," I heard in my head. I saw Aeris, arms in the air, looking at the sky. Aeris put her head and arms down and looked at us. I smiled at her, and she smiled back.

"I did, didnāt I?" I asked her telepathically.

"Thank you," she said. I got up and walked to her. We looked at each otherās eyes, then embraced each other. I let go and found Cloud standing beside me.

"You saved us, didnāt you?" he asked.

"You saved me once, Iām only returning the favor," she told him.

"How did you come back?" he asked next.

"Derek fell into the water. He had a materia that allowed him to breathe underwater. He found the Holy materia and found my body at the bottom of the pool. He prayed for my return. It succeeded, but the effects were not immediate. I had him teleported to help you guys against Sephiroth." Cloud looked at me, then her, then smiled. He went up the stairs. Next to talk to Aeris was Tifa. Tifa looked at Aeris.

"Is it really you?" she asked.

"What a silly question to ask me," Aeris said to me telepathically. I giggled at that and Tifa turned her head to me.

"What?" she asked. Neither of us would tell, so she just left. Red came up next.

"Itās good to see you again," he told her.

"You too," Aeris responded, and knelt down to tickle him under the chin.

"Thereās more to Derek then meets the eye," he told her, and left. Yuffie went to talk to her next.

"Nice to see you again," Yuffie said.

"Thanks," Aeris responded.

"Oh, Yuffie," I said, "Here." I threw her the materia she had given me. "Keep it. It helped me bring Aeris back." She smiled and ran off. Cid came last.

"Still want that ride on the Highwind?" he asked.

"Sure," she said. Cid left and we were alone.

"Take this," Aeris told me. She took something out of her vest pocket and put it in my hand. It was the Holy materia.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Take it. You might need it sometime." I put the materia in my pouch and we walked out of the area.

"How did you save us?" I asked her on the way up.

"I set up a giant barrier between the wave and you to stop it," she told me. We continued up to the shell house in the temple. Everyone was waiting there.

"What took?" Cid asked.

"They had to have a nice long kiss together," Yuffie responded. Everyone laughed. I gave Yuffie a glance and we left for the Highwind.

* * * * * *

On the Highwind, I was standing on the deck staring at the stars. It was night, and the ship was on autopilot. I looked and felt depressed a little.

"Whatās wrong?" I could hear Aerisās voice. I turned around and looked at her.

"Nothing," I responded.

"Thereās something wrong. I can feel it."

I looked at her for a minute. "I abandoned you back then," I finally said.

"You may have abandoned me once·" I heard in my head. She was talking telepathically again, "But you came back for me in the end." I looked at her again.

"I guess your right," I told her telepathically. She walked up beside me and we both looked at the stars. We were enjoying ourselves when we saw an explosion in the distance. It emitted a powerful shock wave and rocked the Highwind crazy. Aeris and I fell backwards.

"What was that?" she asked. I gave her the "donāt know" thought and we ran to the cockpit of the ship. Everyone was there, probably woken by the shock. Cid was at the controls.

"Where did that wave come from?" I asked. Cid was working hard at the controls.

"It was from Kalm," he responded. Weāre flying over it right now. Everyone looked out and was shocked at the sight. Everything at Kalm had been decimated. Buildings where on fire, bodies littered the streets. We landed the ship and we all ran to the burning town. Tifa headed for the bar and was surprised to find Barret there. He was kneeling over somebody. Tifa ran over to him. She looked at the body and found that it was Marlen.

"What happened?" Tifa asked Barret.

"Sephiroth came and put the town to the torch," Tifa could tell by the voice that he was shaking. "I tried to stop him, but·"

"How is Marlene?" She asked next.

"Sheās dying. I canāt do anything about it." Aeris ran over to Tifa. I was following right behind her. Aeris looked in Barret in the eye, then concentrated her power. A blue glow surrounded Marlene, then disappeared. Marlene opened her eyes.

"Marlene!" Barret said, and embraced her. Tifa left, and Aeris and I were right behind her.

"Who was that?" I asked.

"That was Barret," Tifa responded, "He helped us take Sephiroth down. That girl, Marlene, was his daughter." I took a look at Barret and ran off to help put out the fire.

* * * * * *

When the fire was out, we were all resting back in the Highwind. We were in the command center and we all sat at the table. Cloud explained to Barret the story so far. Barret looked in awe when he finally realized Aeris had come back from the dead.

"Thatās it," Barret said, "Iām going to that crater to blow off Sephirothās @!#%ing head once and for all!" He raised his gun arm grafted to his right arm and was going to leave.

"Hold on!" Cloud said, "Arenāt you forgetting that you probably couldnāt take him down. The 5 of us taking him on couldnāt beat him."

"Heāll torch another town if we donāt stop him!" Barret countered.

"I think·" Red started, "He only torched Kalm, where Barret was, to get to us."

"Thatās true." I said, "but we have to do something or else he gets even more powerful." We all thought about it, but it seemed hopeless.

 

Chapter 14: Never give up hope

We just sat there, thinking about what to do. Eventually, the silence got to Barret and he left the room. Then it got to Cid, then Yuffie, and so on. Soon, it was only Cloud, Aeris, and I in the room. I was thinking about taking Sephiroth on by myself. I was the only one who did any real damage to him.

"Donāt," Aeris said.

"What?" Cloud and I asked.

"Donāt think about taking Sephiroth down by yourself, Derek. It would be suicidal." I forgot about that. She could read my mind. I went through my pouch. Grenade, grenade, grenade, what was this I felt? I took it out and it was the Holy materia.

"Canāt you use this to take out Sephiroth?" I shone the materia at Aeris.

Aeris looked at the materia for a moment, then said, "Maybe. Iām not sure, but I donāt want to try." I could feel the fear in Aerisās mind about dying again. Last time she used it, it had dire consequences. "I understand." I told her telepathically. I looked at Cloud and it seemed like he understood too. We thought about it some more.

"Youāve taken down weapons, right?" I asked Cloud.

"Yeah. So?" he questioned.

"How did you kill them?"

"We used a special red materia," Cloud took out a red materia from his sword, "The materia we used to kill weapons was Knights of the Round."

"So why donāt we use that on him?"

"Because Knights of the Round requires a lot of concentration to use and a person usually only has enough energy to use it once, if ever."

"Itās worth a shot, right?"

"Yeah, I guess." We went and told everyone the plan. They seemed to agree on it, since it would probably be the only thing that could hurt Sephiroth. We agreed we would go to the north crater the following day and that we should rest for the time being.

* * * * * *

It was 6:00 A.M. I was standing on the top of the hill by Kalm. I had my arms crossed and I was looking at the sky. What a tranquil night. So quiet, so peaceful. The wind blew through my brown hair. Dawn was approaching, and it would come soon. I got up at 4:00 A.M. and couldnāt get any more sleep. I came out here to relax. I felt a gentle presence near.

"Couldnāt get back to sleep?" I asked her.

"No, I couldnāt," Aeris responded quietly. She walked up beside me and leaned on me.

"How come?" I asked mentally.

"I donāt know," she responded mentally in return, "Maybe Iām not used to sleep after I felt the void. You?"

"I was afraid Iām just going to get everyone killed in this hunt for Sephiroth."

"Donāt feel bad about it," that didnāt convince me, "I know this doesnāt convince you·" she continued, "·but they all want a piece of him, one way or an other. Youāre not sending them to their deaths. Youāre going for your own reasons, as they are," I understood that.

"I havenāt figured out why we have this link still, have you?"

"I have no clue." We laughed at that, but Aeris and I really want to know about this link.

"Never give up hope," I said.

"Yes, never give up," she responded, "Hope is always around, as long as you can find it." I turned my head towards Aeris. She was shivering. I hugged her to give her some warmth.

The sun is coming up now. The light shone against our faces. I looked her in the eyes, as she did to me. Green eyes meet. We embraced each other. Our lips met and we just stood there, kissing.

"What a touchy moment," Aeris and I let go and followed the voice. We looked up and saw Sephiroth floating there.

"Sephiroth!" we both said at once.

"Yep," He responded, "Like what I done to Kalm?"

"Why?" I asked, anger building inside.

"Maybe I just needed to get something off my mind from the City of Ancients. You did break one of my swords, and that was inexcusable," he raised his hand, and his power sent Aeris and I flying back 15 meters.

"You okay?" I was the one to recover first, and asked her.

"Yeah," she said after a few seconds.

"Not for long!" Sephiroth said from afar. He hit us again and we went flying another 15 meters, sliding hard on the ground. We were on a cliff now, with a long fall to the ocean depths if we fell. I looked at Aeris.

"One more shot like that, and weāre gone," I said.

"Maybe I should kill you now," Sephiroth said, "No, that would be too easy." He raised his hand and Aeris went flying. She fell of the cliff. I dove and grabbed her, but she was dangling over the edge. I could see the waves smashing against the cliff at the base. I could sense the fear and panic in Aerisās mind at the very moment.

"Donāt panic," I told her. She nodded.

"Panic!" Sephiroth yelled, "She has every right to panic. Sheās hanging over a cliff with a 20 meter drop," he teleported beside Aeris floating in the sky, "Sheās about to see the void again, and you tell her not to panic! What a smart thing to say!" He laughed at me. He teleported beside me. "Think you can save her?" he said. He put his foot on my back, and pushed hard. I felt pain, but didnāt let go of her. I began to pull her up, but Sephiroth stepped on me harder and I almost lost my grip. Now the anger built and built.

"Get off me!" I yelled at Sephiroth. All of a sudden, Sephiroth was blasted back 5 meters. I lifted Aeris up and looked at my hands. Nothing special was noticeable.

"You wretched boy!" Sephiroth yelled. He raised his hand and shot his next blast. I would have thought we were dead at that moment, but a green barrier reflected the shot back at Sephiroth. He went flying back another 10 meters.

"What the heck?!" I said and looked at my hands again. They were dimly flashing green, then faded. I looked at Aeris. She was staring in disbelief.

"How!?" Sephiroth yelled. He was about try again, but he thought it through. "Next time," he said, and disappeared.

"What was that?" Aeris asked.

"That·" I said, "was our glimmer of hope, though I have no clue what it was." We laughed at that and headed back to the ship.

Chapter 15: The crater

We landed the Highwind in the north crater, the place where Sephiroth resides. We walked to the deck and a rope ladder was thrown down. Cloud went down first, then me. Everyone else followed after. When Cloud and I reached the bottom and landed on the rocky surface, I could feel the presence of Sephiroth everywhere. I touched my head and tried to shake the feeling.

"Whatās wrong?" Cloud asked.

"I can feel him," I told him

"Sephiroth?"

"Yeah, heās everywhere," I told Cloud. Soon everyone was down. I could feel how Aeris was reacting to this, being engulfed in evil energy.

"You okay?" I asked her telepathically.

"Yeah," she responded back telepathically.

"You donāt feel safe around here, do you?"

"No, I donāt," I walked up beside Aeris and looked at her.

"Donāt worry, Iām here." She gave me a nod. Cloud walked down the pathway first. Barret was walking beside him.

"Brings back memories, right Cloud?" Barret asked.

"Yeah," Cloud responded without much tone.

"Whatās up?"

"I donāt like it here. Itās too· creepy."

"Yeah." They continued to walk down in silence. The path was a circular own that rotated around the edge of the funnel like camber, slowly going deeper and deeper. We eventually reached the bottom of this funnel type room. We entered another chamber, with a long winding passageway and another near vertical passageway. We decided to take the near vertical since everyone who had been there had already climbed it before. We slowly made our way towards the bottom where we entered another part of the cave.

"How long is this cave?" I asked Cloud.

"Long," he responded. We eventually made it to the bottom of this passage and came to a split in the road.

"Which way?" I asked

"Left was faster last time," Cloud said.

"Left it is," I responded. We began to walk down the hallway but we heard footsteps. We all stopped. The steps got louder, and began to sound more numerous.

"I donāt like this," Tifa said. Then we saw what was making all these footsteps.

"@!#$" Cid said and went into a battle position. Everyone followed his lead. Cid, Cloud, and I took the front. Tifa and Red were behind us. Barret, Yuffie, and Aeris took rearguard. The army of skeleton warriors was seen, slowly advancing, but we couldnāt even see the end of the line. Aeris, being the natural magic user, cast a barrier on everyone. We gave Aeris most of the strong materia. Barret and Yuffie started to destroy skeletons with their machine gun fire and shurikens. The first few fell. Cid ran up and jumped really high, then landed with such tremendous force that the shock wave destroyed most of the front. Cloud and I took that as a cue and ran up to join the fight. Tifa and Red ran up right after.

Cloud and I began to hack skeleton after skeleton up, while Tifa decimated her foes with bone shattering punches. Red ripped apart his undead adversaries. Yuffie and Barret continued to pump out indirect attacks, but the army of undead never seemed to end.

"Gangway!" Aeris screamed at the back. Everyone knew what she was talking about and ran back out of firing range. A green cloud engulfed and the cluster of skeletons at the front and soon all the skeletons were nothing but pieces of broken bone but the army still kept on coming. Red and Tifa took the next frontal. Red ran at sonic speed and ran through a bunch of skeletons, while Tifa ran up and grabbed on of them and threw it against the coming onslaught. Cloud continued his attacks by making a huge storm and blowing some of the skeletons off the road into the bottomless pit below. Yuffie summoned her serpent again so some of the skeletons were swept of too. Barret charged up a shot and blew away a cluster of skeletons. I opened my pouch and tossed the 3 grenades I had in there. Each impact wiped out a bunch of skeletons, but the line seemed infinite.

"Clear!" Aeris shouted. A bunch of fireballs erupted from her staff and decimated groups of skeletons into charred bones.

"This is hopeless!" Cloud said to me.

"Nothing is hopeless!" I told him and we both ran back into the fray to slice up more skeletons. Tifa punched so hard that a skeleton turned into a flaming mass, crashing through an aisle of skeletons. I was knocked over and one of the skeletons was about to slice me with its sword.

"Itās over," I thought. The sword was about to strike me, but then the arm was sliced of, and then the head. I looked at who that was. I saw Cloud standing in front of me. I got right back up and we continued fighting.

"Thereās too many!" I could hear Cid scream over the clashing. We were slowly pushed back to where Barret and Yuffie were firing their onslaught. Barret, knowing the time to be in close combat, took out a chainsaw attachment to his gun arm and attached it. He ran in to the fray, full fury, and started to chop up skeletons like butter.

The battle continued to clash. We were slowly losing our energy. Cloud, being extremely close to combat, used a yellow materia he had. A large flame came out of it and burned everyone in its the path. Cloud started to swing it around and roast bones. Cloud got a large group of skeletons before he was completely exhausted. Aeris was continuing to burn and Ultima the skeletons, but it was to no avail. The army kept on coming. Soon we were all extinguished.

"Itās over now," Cloud said. We all nodded. The army of undead was slowly advancing to our position.

 

Chapter 16: Sacrifices

His laughter was heard throughout the cave. It was no surprise he would show up. Sephiroth appeared in front of our eyes. The army of undead was behind him.

"You damn coward!!" Barret shouted at him. Sephiroth took a glance at him for one moment, then diverted his attention to me. I looked straight into his eyes. I was barely standing up, with the support of my sword. Everyone else was lying on the ground.

"I donāt need my servants help to take out the likes of you," Sephiroth said to Barret, "But you·" he pointed his finger at me, "·you, you are something different. You are not human. I cannot safely take care of you. You have foiled my attempts to destroy your party every time. I will not take that chance again. My ranks of undead shall add your bones to my army!!!"

"NEVER!!" I screamed out, "I will not let it end this way! No, I wonāt!" The charge of energy powered me. I stood straight up. "You will not kill my friends!!"

"I will DESTROY you now!!" Sephiroth yelled back. He raised his hand and shot me with his power. It never made contact. The shot deflected off a green barrier and hit the ceiling. The green barrier protected the whole party. I outstretched my hands. A red ball of light began to emit from my hands. The power was beyond comprehension. The surge flowed through my hands and into the sphere of light.

"DIE!!!!!" I yelled. The ball of red energy erupted from my hands. It blasted at Sephiroth and his ranks. The explosion was so great. The power surged through the ground. The earth shook beneath my feet. The light lit up the entire cave so the glow could have been seen from outside. The super powered energy disintegrated the bones of Sephirothās undead army. Sephiroth took the most from the impact. He was smashed against the wall and was being drilled into it by this power.

"NOOOO!!!!!!" he yelled out before his screams were swallowed by the energy.

* * * * * *

Cloud was the first to wake after the energy erupted through the cave. The power gave out enough force to make everyone unconscious, even those protected by the barrier. He looked around. Everyone was lying on the ground. He tried to find Sephirothās body. He looked at the wall and saw his body implanted in it. Then he looked at Derek. He was laying there. Cloud walked over to him. Derekās eyes were opened. He looked at Cloud.

"Everything okay?" he asked in a slow and shaky voice.

"Yeah. Sephiroth is in the wall over there," Cloud told him.

"Good," Aeris was the one to wake next. She looked around, then walked to Derek also.

"You okay?" I asked her mentally.

"Yeah," she responded in my mind.

"Good," The voice of Derek was hard to interpret to Aeris. It was soft and sounded weak.

"You okay?" she asked Derek out loud.

"Yeah." His voice shook even more and was softer then ever. Soon everyone was up.

"Youāre not okay," Aeris told Derek. Everyone heard that and ran over to Derekās body. Everyone looked and analyzed Derek to see what was wrong. Aeris broke the silence.

"Heās·. heās·.heās·" she couldnāt finish it, but everyone guessed.

"Dying," Red finished for her. Aeris couldnāt take it and began crying on Derekās body. Derek raised his hand and touched Aeris on the head. She looked up at him.

"Itās okay," Derek said, then his head fell to the ground and his eyes closed.

"NOOO!!!" Aeris screamed out, and tried to use one of her healing spells. It didnāt work. Aeris began to cry over his body again. Cloud walked up and knelt beside Aeris.

"How did he die?" Barret asked Red.

"He used up all his life energy to fire that blast," Red told him, "He sacrificed his life to save us all."

"Noble deed." Everyone looked at the direction the voice came from. Sephiroth was standing there. He was all bloody and was barely able to stand, but he was there.

"Is it really possible to live through that?!" Cloud asked. Aeris got up and was charging an Ultima spell, but before she got it off, Sephiroth disappeared.

"We should go after Sephiroth now!!" Cloud told everyone.

"Shouldnāt we bury Derek?" Aeris asked, tears still on her cheek.

"Sephirothās current state allows us to kill him easily, hopefully. We cannot lose this opportunity." Aeris seemed to agree with this, but she still glanced at Derek.

"Listen," Barret started, "Weāre deep underground. I think Derekās considered buried down here, right?" Aeris seemed to take that answer.

"Letās go." Cloud said and walked down the pathway. Everyone followed. Aeris was last. Before she left the room, she took one last glance at Derek.

 

Chapter 17: ????

Cloud and his team walked down the pathway to the center of the planet. Everyone was depressed with the loss of their comrade. This burned the incentive in each member to take Sephiroth out. They walked until they finally reached the final chamber.

"This is it," Cloud said, "now we just go down."

"How?" Aeris asked. She was looking down the huge green pit in the center of the room.

"By jumping the floating rocks," Yuffie said.

"What rocks?" Aeris questioned. Everyone looked down now.

"HEY!!!" Cid yelled, "Where the hell are the @!#$ing rocks?" Everyone thought the same thing. Sephiroth destroyed them.

"Now how do we get down?" Tifa asked.

"Like THIS!" Everyone heard Sephirothās voice. Suddenly, the platform they were working on broke off and everyone fell into the pit below.

* * * * * *

It was quiet. The bridge that spanned over the gap was intact. Skeleton bones littered the floor. One body was lying there. Derekās body was motionless at the bridge. A pale green light glowed through his jacket pocket. The pocket opened and the Holy materia rolled out. Something shone in Derekās pouch. The pouch opened and a shiny disk like item rolled out. The Holy materia and the disk were beside each other. The Holy materia shone brightly, engulfing the entire room with pale green light. Derek eyes opened, then blinked.

* * * * * *

Cloud found himself on a floating platform when he woke up. He looked around. Everyone else was there and was starting to regain their consciousness. The area was surrounded by a green flow of light.

"Uggggghhhhhh·." Cloud heard Tifa moan. He walked up to her.

"You okay?" Tifa gave a glance at Cloud.

"Yeah, Iām fine," she responded. Tifa and Cloud looked at the distance. Sephiroth was floating there. He looked completely recovered. He shot a smile at Cloud and Tifa.

* * * * * *

Derek was sitting up, his eyes were wide in disbelief. He picked up the disk. The holy materia was embedded in the disk. Derek held it up, staring at it.

"Is it possible?" he muttered under his breath. He took out his sword and looked at his reflection. He took a long glance at himself. "Is it?" he asked again. Derek felt pain go through his body. "Aeris!" he shouted out. He got up, put the disk in his pouch, and ran down across the bridge. "They need me!" was all he said to himself before he disappeared down the cave.

* * * * * *

Cloud was lying on the ground. The beating Sephiroth gave them was too much. He looked to his right. Tifa was kneeling there. To his left, Aeris was on all fours, breathing hard. Everyone else had probably fallen unconscious. Cloud looked back up. Sephiroth was standing there. He was holding the masamune over his head, ready to cleave Cloud into two. The sword was about to strike.

"SEPHIROTH!!!" a voice shouted in the distance. Sephiroth looked up then jumped back. His eyes widened with disbelief. Derek was standing there, defending Cloud.

"You want him?" Derek said, "You go through me!"

"Gladly," Sephiroth said. All disbelief was wiped off his face and he charged Derek. Derek parried the attack, and countered. Sephiroth blocked the attack and the blades were locked together. The combat was raging between the two. Derek attacked once again. Sephiroth blocked, kicked Derek, punched him, then cut him with the masamune. Derek staggered backwards, then fell to the ground, holding his wound. Aeris ran up beside him.

"You okay?" she asked.

"No, not this time," Derek responded. Aeris went down to one knee and began to pray. Blue light surrounded Cloud, Derek, Tifa, and Aeris; then all four of them were surrounded by a yellow glow. Each member was rejuvenated. Tifa, regaining her strength, charged Sephiroth. Sephiroth tried to slice her, but the yellow glow protected her from the masamune. Tifa unleashed a barrage of punches, somersaulted and kicked him, tripped him, threw him, and then smashed him in with a fiery punch. Sephiroth staggered backwards.

"OMNISLASH!" Cloud screamed out, and charged Sephiroth in his weakened state. Cloud unleashed a barrage of quick and powerful sword slices, then jumped and sliced down at Sephiroth. Sephiroth was still standing.

"Heās not going down!" Aeris yelled out.

"Allow me," Derek said, then yelled out, "CETRA PLANET STRIKE!" Derek charged Sephiroth and gave him 3 slices.

"ICE SWORD!" he yelled out and sliced Sephiroth with cold blue steel. "FIRE STRIKE!" he yelled next, and burning red steel burned Sephiroth. "BOLT SWORD!" The blade was now glowing yellow and fried Sephiroth with a surge of electricity. "EARTH SLASH!" Derek smashed his now brown sword into Sephiroth, hitting him with the power of an avalanche. "WIND BLOW!" Derekās blade became transparent and slashed Sephiroth with the power of a tornado. "WATER SLASH!" the blade became dark blue and smashed Sephiroth with the power of a tidal wave. "GRAVITY STRIKE!" the blade now became black and hit Sephiroth. Sephiroth felt like his body was being torn apart. Then, Derek gave one clean slice to Sephiroth, "Thatās for my friends!" He gave Sephiroth another slice, "Thatās for me!" Derek pulled his sword back, "And this·this is for Aeris·my sister! ULTIMA FINISH!" The blade glowed green and the power of Ultima was charged into the blade. "DIE!" Derek screamed out, and sliced Sephiroth. Everyone was blinded with bright green light which then slowly faded. The masamune lay on the ground.

"Is it over this time?" Tifa asked, after a long moment of silence.

"I hope so," Cloud said, "I hope so·"

 

Chapter 18: Surprise, surprise.

Aeris and Derek stood beside each other. Derek was holding the disk and the holy materia. They were outside, on the hillside by Kalm. The sun was rising, and Aeris was pondering what Derek said in the crater.

"Sister?" she said, still unable to comprehend that she was his sister.

"Yeah·" Derek responded. He held the disk up and stared at it. "Here," Derek said, handing the disk and the Holy materia to her. "Place the materia in the slot. Youāll find the truth then." Derek began to walk away to Kalm. Aeris stood there, holding the disk and materia.

"The truth," she muttered under her breath. She headed back towards the Highwind.

* * * * * *

Derek was sitting at the bar in Kalm. The place was still in ruins, but the citizens of Kalm were rebuilding the place. One of the first places to be rebuilt was Tifaās bar. He took his sword out of the sheath on his back and looked at the reflection of himself.

"Cetra·" he muttered.

* * * * * *

Aeris was in her room on the Highwind. She placed the Holy materia into the disk and set it on the floor. The disk shot off a spark, then a full sized holographic image of Iflana appeared.

"This message is to my beloved daughter, Aeris, and a friend, Derek," the hologram said. "If you are listening to this Aeris, you should have now meet Derek, for he only has the key to open the safe that this disk resides in, and you only have the key that could activate this disk. The safe that contained this disk could only open when Derekās fingerprints were confirmed on the keypad, and the disk only opened when the Holy materiaās unique size and power was placed in the opening."

"A question that should be answered is why you two have a telepathic link. The reason for this is because Derek is Aerisās brother and Aeris is Derekās sister. You two are twins. Aeris is the one that holds the Cetra power of healing and Derek is the one that holds the Cetra power of destruction. Shortly after you two were born, both showed the potential of these powers. Gast, your father, and I decided that Shinra would find us soon and had you two separated so Shinra could never have all the Cetra in their hands. Derek was taken away by a friend of Gast to hide from Shinra. We never told you because we didnāt want to endanger Derekās life as well."

"Now you two are reunited. Stay together and always look out for each other. Your father and I are probably now part of the lifestream, but we love you both. Good bye." The holographic image disappeared. Aeris was looking at the disk, a tear ran down her cheek.

* * * * * *

"You okay?" Tifa asked. Derek looked up. Tifa was standing across the bar.

"Yeah, Iām fine," he answered and placed his sword in his sheath. "Give me something hard." Tifa walked away for a few moments and came back with a drink. "Thanks" Derek said and gulped the drink down. Aeris walked into the bar.

"Hi," she said. She looked at Derek and sat down beside him.

"Feeling alright?" I asked her mentally.

"Yeah," she responded telepathically.

"So, are you two really brother and sister?" Tifa asked, leaning on the bar. Derek and Aeris looked at each other.

"Yeah," Aeris said first.

"Itās true," Derek said after.

"Cool," Tifa said, "I should go tell everyone else."

"Yeah, you go do that," Derek said. Tifa walked out of the bar.

"Whatās wrong?" Aeris asked after a long moment of silence.

"Why do I have the dark half of this power? I donāt think I can live with this power the Cetra gave me."

"You have it because we are the two remaining Cetra in the world, one of with healing and one with destruction. It is the nature of things."

"But it makes me feel so evil with this power."

"How can it make you feel evil? Youāve been using it for good so far."

"I donāt know, but I feel like I would harm my friends with this power." Aeris gave much thought to this response Derek gave.

"Then donāt use your powers," she responded, "unless in a life or death situation."

"Thatās easy for you to say!" Derek yelled out, "You got the healing powers. You can use it any time without worrying about hurting your own friends. Me?! I can hurt them if I canāt control it and I donāt like that risk!"

"Derek·" she said, but couldnāt think of anything to say. After a moment of silence and thought, Aeris figured out what to say.

"Derek·" she started, "You are my brother·my twin brother. I trust you like how you trust me. I trust my friends, but not how like I trust you. Now I trust you that you will not hurt anyone with this power. It may take sometime to control this power, but you will control it. I believe in you. Do you believe me?" A tear flowed down Aerisās cheek. Derek turned his head towards her and looked. Another tear fell down her cheek.

"Yeah," Derek said softy after a few moments of feeling sympathy for her, "I believe you." Aeris burst into tears and hugged Derek with all her might.

"Thank you," Aeris said softly.

* * * * * *

The next morning, Derek got out of bed at the inn; which was also rebuilt; and walked downstairs. Aeris was standing there, looking out the window.

"Good morning," Derek said telepathically.

"Good morning," she responded cheerfully telepathically. Everyone was soon downstairs.

"Now what do we do?" Barret asked.

"We go our separate directions again," Red responded. Suddenly, Aeris and Derek sensed a dark presence.

"Whatās wrong?" Cloud asked, wondering about the sudden silence from the united family.

"Is it possible?" Aeris asked.

"It couldnāt, could it?ā Derek responded, trying to answer Aerisās question.

"What?" Tifa asked. Before anyone got a response, Derek and Aeris ran outside.

"What the @!#$?" Cid asked. Everyone ran outside to follow Derek and Aeris. They all gasped. Sephiroth was standing there, holding the masamune out in a fighting stance.

Chapter 19: Sephiroth Returns

"No way!" Yuffie yelled out.

"Humph!" Sephiroth muttered, "You can never comprehend the power of the materia! This time I shall have to use full power! WEAPON TRANSFORMATION!" Sephiroth stretched his arms out and was then engulfed in black light.

"What the @!#$" Cid yelled out.

"This is not good!" Derek yelled out. Derek and Aeris could feel the power of Sephiroth increase, just like in the north crater.

"We canāt fight in here!" Cloud yelled out, "The town would be torched again!" Everyone agreed to that and began to run out side the town area.

"You guys go ahead!" Derek yelled out, "I got to do something!" Derek stopped running and faced the black matter.

"DEREK!!!" Aeris yelled out in the distance, but Cloud went and dragged her farther away.

"I trust what he is going to do," he told her. Aeris gave him a nod.

Derek outstretched his arm and a ball of fire appeared. "DAMN!" he muttered, "I need to get stronger materia." He released the ball of fire at the black matter and ran backwards to se the effect. The ball hit the matter, then a few seconds later a huge explosion was heard and a pillar of fire shot out from the top of the matter. Derek turned around and ran forward to the rest of the team.

"That wonāt stop it," Derek said, catching his breath from the run. Everyone was standing at the entrance of the Highwind.

"Then how the @#!$ do we stop that thing!?" Barret yelled and pointed to the direction of the black mater. Everyone looked at that direction and was stunned in horror. The black matter disappeared and was occupied by a 10 foot high WEAPON. The feet were huge and claw-like and the big white legs connected to the body, which wore the armor of Sephiroth with a white ball of light in its chest. The left arm was a large red tentacle and the right arm was an arm carrying a big masamune. The head had long silver hair and had a visor on it.

"Sephiroth WEAPON," Tifa muttered.

"How do we stop that?" Red asked.

"Nothing can kill Sephiroth," Derek said, "I already hit him with my most powerful spells and attacks, but he keeps coming, unless·." Derek rummaged through his pocket and pulled out a materia. Everyone looked at the materia, then at Aeris. Aeris gave a fearful look. "Please?" Derek asked her telepathically. Aeris looked at him.

"For you," she said telepathically, "I trust you." Aeris walked up to Derek and took the Holy materia. Then she headed up to the Highwind.

"Someone needs to drive me to the City of Ancients," she said. Cid walked forward, then stopped in mid-stride.

"What happens if Sephiroth decides to follow us?" he asked.

"Weāll distract him," Cloud said, "for as long as possible." Cid gave Cloud a salute and walked aboard the Highwind. After a few seconds, the Highwindās engines started.

"Later," Derek told Aeris telepathically.

"Later," she responded.

* * * * * *

Aeris closed the hatch and made her way to the cockpit. She looked up and was surprised at who she saw.

"Vincent?" she asked in surprise. The gold armed man in a red cloak stood there.

"Yeah," Vincent responded.

"What are you doing here?" she asked next.

"Well, I was resting in Nibelheim, when I saw Cloud and his friends walk through with some new guy. I followed their trail the next day in curiosity and found out they left on the Highwind. Taking this information, I began a trek to Kalm, hoping to ask Barret about whatās going on. So, I see the Highwind and board it to see if anyone was home. To my dismay, no one was there, but when I was about to leave the cockpit, Cid bumped into me. He told me he was in a rush and headed for the controls."

"Nice story," Aeris said. She could feel the vibrations of the Highwind in the air headed for the City of Ancients.

"Just wondering, how did you get resurrected?" Vincent asked. Aeris was about to give him a glare but realized that Vincent was never there when she got resurrected. She explained the story to him. By the time she finished telling him, Cid had landed the Highwind beside the City of Ancients. Cid had installed new landing gears so they were able to land closer to the City then before.

* * * * * *

Cloud and Derek were recuperating from the last attack. Everyone else was battling Sephiroth.

"Cloud," Derek breathed out.

"Yeah?" Cloud responded.

"Give me·.. your strongest·.. green materia," Derek said. Cloud was about to question that, but then Cloud remembered Derekās ability with materia. He handed Derek 3 materia.

"One is ice, one is earth, and one is bolt," Cloud said. Cloud picked up his sword and ran in. "Later!" he screamed out. Derek attached his materia to his sword and concentrated really hard. "Cetra Lightning!" Dark clouds erupted over Sephiroth and were surrounding him with a barrier of lightning bolts. Derek stretched his hands out and a blue glowing ball appeared. "Cetra Ice!" He shot it a Sephiroth. Before impact, the bolts that surrounded Sephiroth struck him, then a large thunder bolt hit him on the head. Soon after, the blue ball hit him and Sephiroth was frozen solid in a pillar of ice. Derek took his sword, held it in the air, and then struck the ground with it. "Cetra Quake!" A huge explosion was heard and the pillar that surrounded Sephiroth was thrown into the air by the seismic earthquake. Ice shrapnel scattered everywhere. Before Sephiroth landed, Derek again stretched his hands out and a ball of fire appeared. "Cetra fire!" the ball flew from his hand and a pillar of fire in surrounded Sephiroth mid-air.

Sephirothās WEAPON body fell to the ground, then the one of the arms rose and he pulled himself back up.

"@!#$" Derek said under his breath, and ran into the continuing battle.

* * * * * *

Vincent, Cid, and Aeris stood on the altar of the underwater city.

"I guess I start praying," Aeris said. She kneeled down and placed the Holy materia in front of her. She began to pray.

"Now what?" Cid asked, impatiently to Vincent. Vincent looked at the entrance of the place and his eyes widened.

"We take care of that!" Vincent yelled out and took a shotgun from his belt. An army of skeletons was approaching the pillars. He fired once and the first skeleton lost his head.

"Iām not going hand to hand with them again," Cid said. He took Aerisās staff, took a green materia from it, and placed it on his spear. He concentrated. "ULTIMA!" he yelled out, and a green cloud wiped out the front line of the skeletons. "@!#$," Cid cursed, "Iām not cut out to be a magic user."

"Here," Vincent said. He took a backpack out from under his cloak and dropped it at Cidās toes. The bag had a label for each pocket. One read "Shotgun shells" while another read "Pistol clips." The final one said "Grenades." 2 shotguns, 4 pistols, and 2 grenade launchers where attached to the side of the bag. "I use the guns·" Vincent said, blowing off another skeletons head, "You reload the guns." Vincent tossed Cid the now empty shotgun. Cid fumbled with it but then caught it. Vincent took another shotgun and began to destroy more skeletons.

"Man, Sephiroth doesnāt want us to use Holy," Cid commented under his breath, and unclipped the pocket that said "Shotgun shells" on it.

* * * * * *

An hour passed by, and Derek and his friends were still taking on Sephiroth. Sephiroth tried to slash Red with his sword but missed. Sephiroth slid the sword and hit Red with the side. Red went flying 15 feet. Sephiroth turned his sword so the side was facing up and lifted it. Derek jumped onto his sword and ran up the side of it. Before Sephiroth could react, Derek was on his shoulder. Derek slashed Sephirothās neck, but the armored shell prevented any damage.

"Damn!" Derek muttered. The tentacle arm hit Derek and sent him flying to the ground. Before he hit, Derek cast a barrier that softened his fall.

Derek was on the ground, Tifa beside him. Tifa used a healing spell and Derek was back up.

"Thanks," he said and got back up to fight Sephiroth again.

* * * * * *

Vincent was destroying skeletons with explosion after explosion of grenades. Cid was reloading grenades now, but he had time to occasionally launch a grenade or two at the skeletons.

"I wish Aeris would HURRY up!" Cid exclaimed.

"Just concentrate on reloading the damn gun!" Vincent yelled at him, then blew another group of skeletons into pieces.

"Weāre running low on grenades!" Cid yelled back.

"Get the pistols ready then!" Vincent told him.

"What the @!#$ can these pistols do?!" Cid screamed over the constant explosions, reloading the grenade launcher.

"Youāll see!" Vincent said, and then blew another group of skeletons up.

 

Chapter 20: Cetra twins

Vincent was continuing to blow up skeletons with his grenade launcher. It was still a mystery why these pistols were so powerful to Cid. Cid was about to reload the grenade launcher, but there were no more grenades.

"Thatās all the grenades!" Cid yelled out.

"Load the pistols with the red clips!" Vincent told him. Cid took two pistols and unclipped the bag pocket that said, "Pistol clips". Inside were red clips and blue clips divided by a divider in the pocket. He loaded them with the red clips and tossed them to Vincent. The shotguns and grenade launchers were behind Vincentās feet. Cid loaded the other two pistols and prepared to toss them to Vincent. He took a glance at Aeris.

"Hurry up!" he muttered under his breath. He heard an explosion. He looked at the skeletons and saw that they were being blown up. "What the @!#$" Cid exclaimed. Vincent tossed him his empty pistols. Cid, out of the trance, tossed him the loaded guns. "What was that!?" Cid yelled while reloading the two pistols.

"Explosive bullets!" Vincent told him, blowing up a small group of skeletons. "I made them. I made these weapons. This is my personal weapon collection. RELOAD!" he yelled out at last and tossed Cid his now empty pistols.

"I hope Cloud can hold out longer·" Cid thought, taking the guns to reload.

* * * * * *

Cloud examined the situation. Yuffie and Red were down. Barret was unloading laser shots at Sephiroth. Tifa was running around healing wounded team members. Derek ran up to Cloud.

"Our weapons canāt get through that tough armor," he told Cloud.

"Keep him distracted," Cloud said, "We canāt have him go after Aeris."

"Why do I need to go after Aeris?" Sephiroth said out loud. "My army of undead can handle it." Sephiroth then laughed demonically.

"No·" Derek said under his breath.

* * * * * *

"Hey, Vincent!" Cid yelled out

"WHAT?!" Vincent yelled back.

"Youāre running out of red pistol clips," Cid responded.

"@!#$," Vincent cursed, "How many clips do we have left?"

"Two," Cid told him.

"Fine, give me the guns." Cid handed Vincent the guns and Vincent used them.

"Weāre dead now," Cid said.

"Not yet," Vincent told him. He took a shotgun and a grenade launcher from the pile.

"WHAT THE @!#$ ARE YOU DOING NOW?!?!" Cid yelled in Vincentās ear. Vincent took the handle of the shotgun and inserted it into the barrel of the grenade launcher. He did the same with the other one. He opened a hatch on the two grenade launchers and attached the two together. He then opened two other hatches on each grenade launcher and placed a barrel of a pistol on each one. He took four blue clips and loaded the pistols with them. The process took less then 10 seconds. Vincent took the unusual gun and fired it at the skeletons. Two beams of blue light emitted from the barrels of the shotguns and disintegrated two lines of skeletons. "What the hell?" Cid exclaimed.

"THIS·" Vincent fired another burst, "IS MY·" another burst, "MY CUSTOM·" another burst, "SECRET·" another burst, "WEAPON!" Vincent fired another burst.

"Why didnāt you use it earlier?!" Cid yelled at him.

"BECAUSE IT TAKES·" another burst, "TWO DAYS·" another burst, "TO RECAHRGE·" another burst, "ONE BURST·" another burst, "FROM THIS GUN!"

"Why didnāt you use it against Sephiroth in the crater?!?!" Cid yelled at him.

"BECAUSE·" Vincent tried to fire, but nothing came out. He ran to the bag and took another 4 clips. "I hadnāt built it then!" Vincent continued to fire bursts at the oncoming army. "IT WAS... BUILT· THE DAY· BEFORE· I LEFT· NIBELHEIM· TO FIND· CLOUD!!!"

* * * * * *

"NO!!!!!!" Derek yelled out and rushed Sephiroth in rage, forgetting that no weapon could harm him. Derek took a slash at Sephirothās foot with his ice sword, but it didnāt even dent the armor. Sephiroth hit Derek with his tentacle arm and sent him flying 30 meters. Derek hit the mountainside of Kalm and was about to black out.

"Forgive me Aeris for·not being able to ·see you·again" was all Derek said before he blacked out.

* * * * * *

"NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Aeris screamed out, opening her eyes. Cid turned his head and looked at her.

"Aeris! Whatās wrong?!" Cid asker her. Vincent turned around to get more ammo.

"Hey, Iām running low here!" he yelled out and continued to fire his ammo.

"Derek·" Aeris muttered. Tears welled up in Aerisās eye. The anger built up. "SEPHIROTH, IāM GOING TO KILL YOU!" she yelled out. Suddenly, the Holy materia emitted a blinding green light. Everyone covered their eyes. When the light was over, Aeris opened her eyes. The Holy materia was floating in the sky. All traces of the undead army vanished.

"Whatās·.happening?" she asked. The Holy materia shot into the sky and disappeared.

"Now what?" Vincent asked, taking apart his secret weapon.

"We go back to the battle field," Aeris said softly.

* * * * * *

The holy materia flew through the sky, looking for its target. It flew over Kalm and stopped. He then plunged to the Earth. It stopped before it hit and hovered over Derek. The materia shot a green beam at Derek, and he opened his eyes. Derek got up, took his sword, and looked at the materia.

"What is happening?" he asked to the materia. The materia began to whirl around Derek and went beside his sword. It then attached itself to the opening at the hilt of his blade. A blinding light emitted from it and Derek had to cover his eyes. When the light finished, Derek opened his eyes and looked at his sword. It was glowing crystal white.

"Holy·" Derek said, "No, Holy sword." Derek looked at the sword for a few minutes, then heard the engines of the Highwind. He looked up and saw the Highwind floating in the sky. "Thank you, Aeris·my sister," he said and rushed into combat against Sephiroth.

Sephiroth was enjoying himself. The only person left standing was Cloud. He was going to enjoy this.

"SEPHIROTH!!" Sephiroth looked in the direction of the voice and saw Derek running to fight him.

"Youāre such an annoying boy," he said and fired a red beam at him. The beam was about to hit, but a green barrier was eructed and deflected the shot into space. Before Sephiroth could respond again, Derek jumped high into the air and chopped of Sephirothās tentacle arm. Sephiroth yelled in agonizing pain.

"SEPHIROTH!!!" Derek yelled out. "I " Derek jumped into the air, "WILL·" he sliced of the arm holding the masamune, "NOT·" he landed back onto the ground, "STOP·" he jumped and sliced off Sephirothās right leg, "UNTIL·" he then sliced off Sephirothās left leg, "YOU·" Sephiroth fell to the ground, "ARE·" Derek raised his sword, "DESTROYED!!!" Derek stabbed his sword into the ground. He drew a circle in the ground with his sword. Then he wrote a C in the center. "HOLY BARRAGE!" Derek yelled out and slammed the tip of his sword into the center of the circle. The circle began to glow green. Then a pillar of green light engulfed Sephiroth, lifting him into the sky. Green balls of light began to appear from the Holy materia in the hilt of his sword, and were fired at Sephiroth. Sephiroth felt extreme pain, like he had ever experienced before.

"NOOOOO!!!" he yelled out. Derek took his sword, jumped at Sephiroth and stabbed it through the visor on his eye. He then took the sword out and cleaved Sephirothās body into two. A blinding light was shot from his body. When it was over, nothing of Sephiroth was left.

"Itās over," Cloud said to Derek.

"Yeah," Derek said. He looked at the Highwind. "Itās over," he told Aeris telepathically, who was on the deck, smiling at Derek.

 

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