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by Will Church
The little boy looked up from his studies as the door opened.
"What have we here, little Sephiroth?" asked the man he knew only as Reeve.
"I'm just trying to get this dumb history report done..."
"You will like these visitors, Sephiroth," Reeve said. "One has come all the way from Nuzelia to talk with you."
"Oh, like I care about that, Reeve. Get out of my way," Sephiroth replied, pushing past Reeve out of the door.
Reeve sighed. He knew it must be hard for the kid, but he still hated having to babysit him...he was an engineer for God's sake! Couldn't Shinra find some better way to use his abilities? He picked up the room that Sephiroth had left a mess, pausing over the shredded remains of a stuffed moogle doll that Reeve had given to Sephiroth. He heaved another sigh as he left the room after Sephiroth.
Sephiroth stormed into the waiting room to see who had interupted him....and pulled up short. His angry remarks died on his lips when he saw President Shinra and some other man in the room. He settled on a scowl, and waited for the President to speak.
"Sephiroth, my boy! How are you coming along? I trust you are keeping up with your studies?" The President's voice seemed unusually annoying, and it was all Sephiroth could do to keep from snapping out his reply.
"They are going fine, but I could get more done without so many interuptions. Every night that damn Hojo comes in to "test" me. He has taken so much blood from me that it is a wonder I am still alive!"
"Hmm, really," the President didn't seem as concerned with Sephiroth's studies or blood loss as Sephiroth was.
"Why can't I see more of Professor Gast? He is a better doctor anyway," Sephiroth remarked. He knew that Shinra would ignore him as always, but it helped when he could yell, it kept him from exploding.
"Well, maybe when you get back, you can see more of Professor Gast," Shinra said. "You are leaving with this man here tomorrow. It is time to study something more than history" The man arose and held out his hand to Sephiroth.
"My name is Leo Brightheart. I run a school on an island north of here."
"Round Island Accademy, I have heard of it," Sephiroth said, looking a little impressed. He took the man's hand and shook it. "For the improvement of the body, soul and mind."
"That's correct, Sephiroth, and you are our newest student. Welcome aboard."
Sephiroth enjoyed the accademy. Leo was one of three brothers who taught at the school. Leo was over the body, and taught physical education and weaponry. His oldest brother Janus taught the power of the soul, which was black and white magic. The youngest brother's name was Cid, and he took the area of the mind. He trained students in science and alchemy. Sometimes it was hard to tell Cid's student's from Janus's. Both could perform amazing feats that could baffle the eye.
Sephiroth studied under all of the brothers for three years, although he concentrated with Leo. He excelled at all weaponry, particularly swordsmanship and marksmanship. He showed a natural talent for it, surpassing all other students, even those who had been there much longer. Leo took the boy aside one day. "You are ready, son. I think it is time to give you the test."
"The test" was a long held tradition. The Masters would bring the student to an item representing mastery of their chosen subject. A maigcite piece of Crusader was the soul's token, and Kory's Telescope was the token of the mind. Leo brought Sephiroth to the weapon's room. There, imbedded in an anvil, stood Excalibur, the Blade of Righteousness. No blade of Light surpassed it in power. The test was for Sephiroth to take hold of the object, and see if it accepted him. If he could hold it, he was considered a Knight; if he could draw it from its place, he would be ranked a Lord. There were few Lords left on the planet, but Leo was sure that Sephiroth was good enough to become one.
Sephiroth never made it within ten feet of the blade. He simply couldn't go any further. Leo frowned, a puzzled look filled his features. He strode toward the sword, and nothing happened. He tried to pull Sephiroth with him, but the boy simply could not come near Excalibur.
"I don't get it, Sephiroth. I guess the blade does not accept you."
Sephiroth had a deadly expression on his face. He pounded on the invisible barrier that kept him from his destiny. He had pictured himself as a Lord, returning to Shinra with the proud title. He could command the armies of Shinra, even fat President Shinra would look at him with respect. Now, it was all reduced to nothing. His scream of frustration echoed throughout the chamber.
Sephiroth stayed with Leo for another year, training as hard as he could. He was a blademaster, and even helped teach the younger students the art of swordsmanship. His bitterness began to consume him though. He would brood constantly, spending most of his time alone. Leo understood how he felt, and allowed him his time by himself.
Sephiroth wandered around the accademy during most of his solitaire jaunts. On one such occasion, he came to a room he had never seen before. It had a rusty old lock on it, which didn't seem to fit with the rest of the fairly modern building. Curiosity finally got the best of him, and he broke the lock off with his bare hands. Striding into the room, he was suprised to see himself in the testing room. A sword sat imbedded into the anvil, and everything else was mostly the same, but the room had a shadowy quality to it which threw off the balance.
"Take the sword, Sephiroth."
The sound startled him, and he looked around for the speaker.
"Take the sword, it is yours. Can't you feel it?" Sephiroth peered into the shadows where the voice was coming from. A man in a dark robe stepped from them.
"Who are you?" Sephiroth asked.
"I am...an old aquaintence of Leo's," the man replied. "We used to be generals in the Imperial army."
"The Imperial army? What on earth is that?" Sephiroth was curious, he had never heard of such of thing.
"We served the Empire...it was quite some time ago...you wouldn't have heard of it," the man said. "Way before your time, kid."
Sephiroth bristled at the word 'kid.' "What do you want?"
"You recognize the sword, don't you? It is the most powerful sword in the world. The blade of black. The Masamune."
Sephiroth drew in a sharp breath. He had heard of the Masamune, the sister blade to the Excalibur. He looked sharply at the man. "It is mine? Why?"
"You are the only one worthy. I have watched you for sometime, the blade is yours...all you have to do is take it."
Sephiroth considered this. He might have been rejected by the Excalibur, but he would be able to weild this blade, he could feel it. Even from the edge of the room where he stood he could feel it calling him. "What is the catch?" he asked.
"None...just take the blade."
Sephiroth strode across the room to where the blade lay embeded in the stone. Behind him, the man leaned forward expectantly. A cruel grin crossed his face as Sephiroth reached for the blade. His robe dropped to the floor; underneath was colorful armor. Sephiroth grasped the sword with both hands and pulled...the sword sprang free.
"At last, I will be able to rule again!" Sephiroth whirled to face the man, barely catching his downward slash on the Masamune. He jumped backwards, trying to get away from the crazy knight.
The knight's eyes gleemed maniacly as he advanced on Sephiroth.
"Give me the blade, young fool, and I will kill you quickly."
"I don't know what you think you are going to do, but I am warning you..." Sephiroth began.
"No, I am warning YOU, little one! I once ruled this planet, and your paltry skills are not going to be able to keep me from that sword."
Sephiroth decided further words were useless and launched himself at the knight in a slashing frenzy. The knight easily parried his blows.
"You are pathetic! I can't believe that Masamune has chosen you for its wielder. I will take the sword from your dead body."
The knight sudenly lunged at Sephiroth, catching him off guard. His sword slashed through Sephiroth's shoulder, pinning him to the wall. Sephiroth didn't cry out, but instead jabbed the knight in the face with his fist. The knight's head rocked back from the blow, and Sephiroth delivered another punch to the knight's stomach. The force was great enough to dent the armor the knight wore. His next strike was a kick to the arm that held the sword pinning him. As the knight stumbled back, dazed by this unexpected flury, Sephiroth tore the sword out of his arm and hurled it at the knight.
His aim was perfect; the sword would have ripped through anything it struck...had it had the chance. Instead, the sword was turned into molten slag as flames sprang forth from the knights hands, consuming it. Then icy blasts froze the slag as it fell to the floor. It shattered as it struck.
Sephiroth held the Masamune ready. This was obviously no ordinary man he faced...he was as adept with the sword as Leo, and his magic abilities rivaled Janus's. He retreated slowly as the knight strode forward.
The knight's eyes held the gleam of madness once more as he stalked toward Sephiroth. He drew another sword from his sheath, and beckoned to Sephiroth. "C'mon, let's see what you have!"
Sephiroth leaped toward the knight with a deadly slash. It cut through him as if he wasn't even there....
Sephiroth spun around instantly...he realized he had just attacked an illusion. But where was the man?
"Fool...you merely struck my shadow...die!" The knight came hurling out of the shadows to Sephiroth's left, cutting downwards with his blade.
What happened next took place quicker than can be described. Sephiroth fell backwards, away from the blade, at the same time tossing the Masamune behind his back. He caught it with his left hand and brought it up to block the blow. As he took the force of the blade on the Masamune, he let its momentum spin him around. He came up behind the knight, and tossed the Masamune back into his right hand.
The knight spun around to face Sephiroth, only to have his hand separated from his wrist as Sephiroth's cut sliced through it like butter. He only had enought time to bring his other arm up in a feeble attempt to block the next slash before the Masamune cut it off as well. The knight was grabbed by his neck and thrown across the room. Sephiroth lept after him. He brought the sword across the knight's chest, opening it up to the heart. The next strike severed his jaw from the rest of his head, and the final blow cut him in half. The two section spilt apart and fell to the floor.
Sephiroth wiped the blood off his sword, and put it in his belt. He wasn't even breathing hard. He remembered being wounded in the shoulder, but when he checked, he could only find a small cut, that was barely noticable. He shrugged and exited the room...
...and came to an abrupt halt as a sword point came to rest two inches in front of his throat.
"What is the meaning of this? Sephiroth, what have you done?"
"I drew the sword, Leo, I have passed the test. I am a Lord," Sephiroth took in the situation. Leo had Excalibur, and there were two other Knights with him, Lance and Damon.
"You have drawn the blade of the darkness, the evil Sword! I am sorry, Sephiroth, but we must protect the Light! I cannot allow you to leave here with that weapon of evil. Set it down, Sephiroth, and we will get you help." Leo's eyes smouldered with fury and betrayal. How could his prize student fall from the path of Right?
Sephiroth was amazed. "You mean you want me to surrender my one chance of obtaining Lordship? Never!" He attacked so quickly none of the others had a chance to react. Lance went down, with his throat slashed and Leo stumbled back against the wall bleeding from a wound in his arm. Damon remained untouched, and now he chalenged Sephiroth. He never knew why his pary failed. Sephiroth's blow had been so hard, he cut right through Damon's sword, into his face and brain. As Sephiroth yanked the Masamune free of Damon's head, he felt a sudden strength...the blade was tuning itself to Sephiroth's soul, and likewise, his soul was tuning itself to the blade...he smiled as he watched Lance stagger to his feet and hold out his sword in chalenge. He didn't even bother to slash him. He ripped the sword from Lance's weakened grasp with his bare hand, and tossed it away. Lance didn't give up though. He swung a feeble punch at Sephiroth's head. Sephiroth caught it, crushed Lance's hand, and punched him in the chest. The blow crushed Lance's ribs against his heart, killing him instantly.
Leo stood up, and held the Excalibur in his hands. "I am sorry, it has come to this, Sephiroth, but I must kill you. The sword's evil has consumed you...I am suprised I did not see this earlier. You were such a promiseing student. You were my best, but don't have any misconceptions. I am still your better. En Guarde!"
Sephiroth fell to his knees, the sword swinging loosely in his hand. "I am sorry, Leo...I, I don't know what came over me...I just had this sudden urge to kill...it has passed now. Lance, my friend! What have I done?!!!" Sephiroth's whole body shook as he sobbed.
Leo shook his head and walked toward Sephiroth. "Now, look son, I know what has happened, and it is inexcusible. But, you can be helped. Just give me the sword, Sephiroth." Leo held out his hand toward Sephiroth.
Sephiroth looked up from where he had been lying. "If you want the sword, take it." He stood up and handed it to Leo. "I am sorry, old man....but you are getting in my way!"
Leo's eyes narrowed as he realized he had been tricked, but it was too late. His arm had already gone numb, and it was spreading to the rest of his body. Excalibur fell from his hands as they lost the ability to function.
"I told you, Leo, Masamune is mine alone to hold. No one is going to take it from me," Sephiroth said coldly as he watched his teacher writhe on the floor in agony. "But just to show you I don't mean you any harm..." Sephiroth reached down and yanked the sword from Leo's cold hands. "Let me put you out of your misery." Sephiroth plunged the sword downward into Leo's chest. "Good bye old man." Leo shuddered once, and lay still.
Sephiroth strode out of the accademy with the Masamune dripping with blood. He headed for the boat which would take him to Junon. From there he could get back to Midgar. He wasn't sure what he would do next; maybe join SOLDIER or someother organization. He could do what ever he wanted, after all, he had the Masamune.
The boat left Round Island, carrying Sephiroth to his future.
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