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Kelly St. Clair
Was it like this the last time, when Mideel was swallowed up by the Lifestream? I can't remember; I was lost in Mako madness back then. That long lonely nightmare that I could not awaken from...
Still I fall. A tunnel of light forms around me, guiding me... but I don't know where. It twists and turns as I rush through it, headlong.
Somehow, he's behind this. He's still alive - I can feel it. But we just killed him. Twice. Or we thought we did.
What will it take to finally defeat him?
Half-heard voices babble at me, but I can't understand them. The walls of the tunnel are a blur as I'm swept along. It all seems unreal, like a dream. Maybe that's what this is. Maybe I've been hit on the head during the escape from the crater, and I'm just dreaming this.
Without warning, I emerge from the tunnel into a huge open space. I am plunged into a midnight ocean. I float amid darkness and sparkling bubbles that rise toward the shimmering surface. Through it, I see a pale golden orb hanging in the sky - twin to the angry red eye of Meteor, yet so unlike it. Its soft radiance shines into the depths around me. I stare, feeling no need to breathe.
Is this, also, Holy?
The moment of peace ends just as suddenly; I am sucked down into another corridor. Faster now. Colors vanish, leaving me with shades of grey. I hear a wailing noise... is it the wind, or something else?
I fall. I fly. The tunnel bends and dissolves into bright streaks of neon that swarm about me. Beyond their greenish glow, all is blackness.
Then I see him.
He wears his old body, bare-chested, as I saw him frozen in crystal. At his side he holds a long ribbon of steel with a razor's edge: Murasame. The blade that killed her. The blade that almost killed me.
As I descend toward him, he smiles, and his green eyes - Mako eyes, like mine - shine with anticipation.
We stand, facing each other, in a place that does not exist. Our swords are raised. Our gazes are locked.
Neither of us speaks. We do not need to.
This is the realm of the spirit. Only spirit matters here. Mine against his, a final test.
The moment stretches into an eternity. His bright stare probes me for weakness. It finds none. I am his puppet no longer.
I feel the anger growing inside of me, at what he has done, at what he has made me do. It fills me, as it did when I held her lifeless body in my arms and wept hot tears. But this time, instead of letting it consume me, I control it. I focus it.
And then, at just the right instant...
I release it.
My lunge carries me past his guard as if it wasn't there. My sword flicks out and I feel the edge bite into his flesh.
Before he can react, I strike again, and again. Each blow struck is a wrong avenged. The rage carries me along on a lunatic high.
Now he is the puppet, jerking on his strings as I flay him, hurting him for all the hurt he has caused. For making me his tool.
A slash leaves a red line across his forehead and sends silver strands fluttering to the ground.
I slice upward, laying him open from hip to shoulder.
I thrust through his ribs.
As he reels drunkenly, I take a step back, then launch myself into the air for the final blow. The one that will - that must - finish him.
For the Planet!
The blade comes down with all of my weight and force and feeling behind it. It cleaves his spirit-body completely through.
Bleeding from all his cuts and the last, mortal wound, he staggers backward. He struggles to lift his own sword for a counterattack, but Murasame slips from his grasp and vanishes.
He stares at me, and I see in his eyes something I haven't since that day in Nibelheim, years ago:
Then light bursts from his wounds, and he is gone... absorbed back into the Lifestream at last. The anger has vanished, too; I feel only peace.
It is done.
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