|Spark of Sedition
Author: Madcap Minstrel PM
Sequel to "Us & Them" and "Life Renewed, Love Renewed". Five years have passed since Avalanche's split. Old friends are reunited, but all is not well in Midgar when an exiled Avalanche member resurfaces with a vengeance. AerisXSephiroth, CloudXTifa, RufusXJessie, CidXSheraRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Sephiroth & Aerith G. - Chapters: 24 - Words: 88,418 - Reviews: 79 - Favs: 24 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 11-08-12 - Published: 09-25-06 - id: 3170508
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 23: Into The Unknown
Cloud, Zack and Sephiroth stared at the strange light coming from the edge of the Northern Crater's opening.
"Mister Veld wouldn't just up and give that freak the pieces," Reno said to Rude, "The guy's gotta have some kind of thing up his sleeve, right?"
"Hope you're right," said Rude.
"Maybe I should scout ahead," Sephiroth remarked, "That light looks bad,"
"Not by yourself!" Aeris protested, "Anything could be there!"
Sephiroth looked at Cloud. "Feel like flying?"
"Huh?!" the younger swordsman exclaimed.
"Give me your hand," Sephiroth instructed. Cloud reluctantly grabbed the older man's hand. Without warning, the two rocketed into the air, bearing straight for the top of the crater.
"That wasn't what I meant…" Aeris muttered as she adjusted her white mage robes, which she had donned once again for the trip to the freezing wasteland.
"Let's keep going," said Zack.
The party set forth on their long climb up the steep hill.
"Yes, I was right, that is clearly very bad," Sephiroth remarked.
"What the hell is that?" Cloud wondered aloud.
"A portal," Sephiroth replied, "But not one I've seen before,"
"No, I don't imagine anyone has seen something like that," a voice called out to them.
Scarlet stood about fifty feet away from the two swordsmen.
"Scarlet from Shinra," Sephiroth said, "You're a part of this?"
"I'm here to make sure you two don't go inside," the woman said, "Fuhito needs time to complete the summoning, and he can't be disturbed,"
"Big talk from one person who isn't even armed," said Cloud.
Scarlet whipped out a walkie-talkie and spoke:
Sephiroth and Cloud turned around at the sound of something large thundering toward them.
"Perfect," said Sephiroth as he unsheathed Masamune.
"Guys!" Reno yelled from the large boulder he stood near, "Mister Veld is here! He's been shot! Elfé's there too! Aeris- we could really use a healer!"
"I'm right on it!" Aeris shouted as she quickly made her way to the rock.
"They've barely got a pulse," said Rude as Aeris knelt down to take a good look at the two.
Elfé's hand was mangled horribly from when Fuhito had hacked the summon piece out. Veld was bleeding, but barely hanging on.
Reno took out a walkie-talkie and began requesting backup for the wounded.
"That ought to do it," said Aeris as she stood up, "Their wounds are closed up, but they've both lost a lot of blood,"
She took out a first-aid kit and began applying disinfectant to a cloth.
A groan came from Veld.
"Take it easy, sir," Reno said to the man, "We've got backup coming to take you back to the chopper. Then we'll bring you somewhere safe while we wait for the president to calm down. He's kinda pissed off at you,"
"Shears…" Veld whispered.
"Did you say 'Shears'?" Aeris asked, "What about him?"
Veld winced as he tried to talk through the pain. "He helped me. Brought me here without getting caught. Saw him go in after Fuhito. He's alone,"
"No, he's not alone," Zack reassured him, "Cloud and Sephiroth went ahead. They're catching up right now,"
"Scarlet's already failed, I see," said Fuhito as he stood on a platform. In front of him stood Shears, ready to fight.
The materia pieces lay behind him, connected by what looked like a live electrical current. The lifestream swirled about them, occasionally lit up by the summoning in progress.
"It's already started, Shears," said Fuhito, "I won't let anybody stop it. I've worked a very long time at making this happen. I even thought it would take me much longer. I figured the Ancient, or Shinra's wife would be the ones who lead me to Miss Veld with much persuasion. Turns out that it was the ninja girl and her little friend that indirectly allowed me to find her. I'd hoped that the boy would lead me to the support piece in Wutai, but he led me straight to the woman herself,"
"Where is she?" Shears demanded to know.
"I've no idea, really," said Fuhito, "She's outlived her usefulness as far as I'm concerned. We all have. It's time to start over now. I only pray we don't make the same mistakes again,"
"This thing's tough!" Cloud exclaimed as he dodged the Proud Clod's fist, which had nearly slammed into him.
"Tough?" Heidegger's voice came out of a speaker. He laughed. "You haven't even seen the Beam Cannon! Here it comes…!"
"Get behind me!" Sephiroth ordered the younger man.
Aeris shrieked at the sight of the bright flash of light that briefly lit up the peak of the crater. Quickly, she held up her right arm, which contained a few materia on the silver bangle she wore, which covered up the tattoos on her wrist.
"Haste!" she shouted.
"What are you doing?!" Zack shouted as Aeris darted up the mountain, too fast for anyone to catch up.
"Stupid lovesick moron…" Reno grumbled as he watched Aeris zipping away and out of sight.
"Are you guys all right?" Aeris called out worriedly.
"Where are the others?" Sephiroth asked, not taking his eyes off of the Proud Clod.
"I ran ahead!" Aeris informed him, "Does that thing have any weaknesses?"
"Never mind this thing!" Sephiroth warned his wife, "Head to the portal! Now! Shears is in danger!"
"Right!" Aeris sped past the giant assault weapon.
"That kid with the white cloak is getting away!" Scarlet exclaimed angrily.
"She's not important," Heidegger said dismissively.
"Says you! Take over for me," said Scarlet as she threw the switch for the escape hatch. She unbuckled herself and jumped out, running off.
"Gya-ha-ha! Don't have to ask me twice!" Heidegger laughed.
"Scarlet's getting away!" Cloud yelled, "Crap- she's going after Aeris!"
"She'll be fine," Sephiroth assured him as he dodged another beam, "Trust me- she can hold her own against a single person,"
"That's far enough, Ancient!" Scarlet yelled as she pointed her gun at Aeris from a good several yards away.
The Cetra blinked, and then laughed.
"You really think that thing has enough accuracy to hit me from all the way over there?" Aeris scoffed before she began running again.
"Dammit!" Scarlet cursed as she cast a "Hastega" spell on herself. The girl was fast, she had to hand it to her.
Aeris was getting closer to the portal, but Scarlet finally caught up to her, stopping in front of her. The two collided and bounced off each other, falling to the ground.
Scarlet reached to pull her gun out and shoot Aeris once and for all.
"Looking for this?" Aeris asked as she stood up and opened the chamber of Scarlet's gun, the bullets scattering on the ground. "It fell out of the holster when you crashed into me. I really don't like these things, but my father-in-law at least showed me how to take the bullets out,"
Scarlet screamed furiously as she stood up and slapped Aeris' face as hard as she could. The younger woman stumbled back, trying to straighten out her vision.
"I'd rather be able to do that to Shinra's woman, but that still felt pretty good," Scarlet said smugly.
Aeris reached for her sheath, pulling out the stub of her hydraulic staff.
Scarlet's haste spell made her too fast for Aeris to dodge the next slap. This time, Aeris went down.
"Not so tough without your husband around, are you?" Scarlet sneered.
Aeris then swung the stub toward Scarlet, pushing the button. This time, the barbed end shot out, catching the former Shinra woman in the side of the face. Scarlet let out a cry as she fell back.
"I really don't have time for this nonsense!" Aeris huffed.
Scarlet sat up and put a hand to her face, which was now bleeding out of several tiny puncture wounds. Aeris then raised her staff and brought the butt down upon the other woman's head, knocking her out cold.
"Oww…!" Aeris exclaimed as she rubbed her face, "What the heck was that?! Now I'm just so…mad! Ugh!"
She brushed the dirt off of her mage robes, exhaled, and then kept going.
"We're way behind schedule with this political bullshit everyone's been manipulated into," Rufus said irritably as he piloted his personal jet over the Ancient City.
"Fuhito was a brilliant tactician," said Jessie, "but I didn't realize how good he was at manipulating people the way he has. He used Nibelheim to conduct his experiments, and used the anti-Shinra sentiment to get everyone riled up when we got too close to his operation,"
"That was one hell of a smoke screen he put up," Rufus agreed.
"When we're done with stopping that lunatic, we're still gonna have a lot of loose ends to tie up with what he's caused. Maybe we can send Sephiroth and Vincent over to Wutai to straighten things out over there. They haven't forgotten what Sephiroth did for the people there,"
"Sephiroth recently stopped a ritual suicide, though," Rufus pointed out, "I'm not sure they're too happy with him right now considering that,"
"There could be a whole mess of surprises popping up," said Jessie, "I just hope we're equipped to deal with them when we get back to Midgar,"
Tifa gazed out of the window of the van she was riding in. Her father lay in a closed coffin right next to her. A SOLDIER named Kunsel sat up front driving the van, with an MP sitting in the front passenger seat. They hadn't really said anything, given the situation.
I'll make sure you get home alright, Papa…Tifa thought as she put her hand on the coffin…You'll be able to rest right next to Mama…
Tifa was completely numb now, no longer able to cry.
Suddenly, Kunsel slammed on the brakes. Thankfully, the coffin was secured in place.
"What happened?" Tifa asked, startled.
"What the hell is that?!" Kunsel exclaimed, looking out the window.
"I don't know, sir!" the MP answered worriedly, "Those aren't Shinra choppers!"
Tifa looked out the window and saw half a dozen helicopters flying by.
Kunsel immediately picked up his radio unit. "Sir! Several unidentified helicopters seem to be headed in Midgar's direction! Over!"
"Roger that! We're looking into it right now! Keep heading toward Junon! Over!"
"Yes sir! Over and out!"
"Once I have you out of the way," Heidegger said as the Proud Clod shot at the group, "We can take over Midgar. A group of Ravens are headed for Midgar right now. And they're armed with a little present from Scarlet,"
"Y'know, that guy talks even more than Elena ever did," Reno quipped as he and Rude rolled out of the way.
He and the others had finally caught up with Cloud and Sephiroth, and the battle seemed to be moving in their favor now.
"Have some respect for the dead," Rude scolded his friend, "Don't put the two in the same category,"
"Yeah, you're right," Reno acknowledged as he launched a bolt spell at the giant machine.
Sephiroth flew onto the weapon's shoulder. "Pathetic," he said, "You really think this is about taking over Midgar and overthrowing Rufus Shinra?"
The Proud Clod swatted at Sephiroth, but he jumped onto its other shoulder.
"You're all so easy to fool," Sephiroth taunted Heidegger, "If you win, the joke's on you. All life will be wiped out, to start anew. I'm sure that wasn't part of your plan,"
"Now you're going to resort to stupid lies?" Heidegger scoffed as he swatted and missed again.
"I wouldn't expect you to believe me," Sephiroth said menacingly as he flew in front of the Proud Clod. "Because you are…"
He stabbed Masamune straight through the Proud Clod, and Heidegger.
"…a puppet," he finished.
He yanked his sword out, and hopped off the giant weapon, right before it fell over.
"God, that guy always gives me the creeps when I see him fight…" Reno whispered to Rude.
Fuhito and Shears turned around to see Aeris pointing her staff, panting, and looking furious.
"Yeah, you!" Aeris snapped, "Did you really think people were just going to sit back and let you press the 'reset' button on the world?"
I definitely spent too much time with Jessie on the estate…she thought briefly.
"Scarlet is really letting me down today," Fuhito sighed.
Aeris touched her cheek, which was still smarting. "Would that be the blonde lady who tried to challenge me to some kind of cat-fight? Because I'm not too impressed myself!"
Fuhito closed his eyes, exasperated. That second was all Shears needed. He quickly cast a "stop" spell, freezing the madman in place. Whipping out a switchblade, he quickly stabbed Fuhito in the chest.
Aeris' hand flew to her mouth in shock.
"I thought you prided yourself on your hands and feet," Fuhito grunted as he sank to his knees, the spell instantly broken.
"Guess a guy's gotta think outside the box when it comes to an asshole like you," Shears said coldly. He turned to Aeris. "Y'know, I never liked this guy, but I never thought he'd take things this far,"
"Did you really think that killing me would stop everything?" Fuhito wheezed, "That you could just take the pieces back and things would be back to normal? The summoning will still happen! I'll just see the world reborn from the lifestream instead of right here…If it means I can save this world, I'll do anything…even if it means…giving up my life…"
"You never had to do that…" Aeris said sadly.
Suddenly, the ground began to tremble. A familiar pain shot through Aeris' head, and she fell to her knees.
"NO!" Aeris screamed as she clutched the ground, "STAY PUT! I COMMAND YOU TO STAY WHERE YOU ARE! WE WILL HANDLE THIS!"
Gradually, the ground stopped trembling.
"It was said that a young woman had commanded WEAPON five years ago," Fuhito mused, "It would figure…that you would be that woman…Aeris Gast…last of the…Cetra…"
He then went silent, his expression blank, as he toppled over and lay flat on the ground. He did not move again.
"Are you okay?" Shears asked as he helped Aeris up.
"Yeah…" Aeris shook her head vigorously, as if to clear it, "I'm really not in any condition to be doing this…story of my life…"
Shears and Aeris turned around to see Sephiroth, Cloud, Zack, Reno, and Rude running up to them.
"God, that maze was a pain in the ass!" Zack exclaimed.
"Is he dead?" Sephiroth asked as he pointed toward Fuhito.
"Yeah, he's done for," Shears told him, "But the monster's still coming,"
"So we take him out, right?" Reno asked.
"Seems like a good idea to me," said Sephiroth.
Everyone then froze as the room seemed to get brighter.
"Here it comes…" Cloud said as he braced himself for the inevitable.
A/N: Next, the final battle! I know I'd said earlier that the end was coming sooner, but I decided to break up the large chapters.