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gods of RPGs at SquareSoft
Empathy: Chapter One
The Memories of Others
A Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic by Hika-chan
Ralena swiftly removed her rapier from the body of the last frog as
she looked up to find another opponent. The girl was younger than herself
by at least four years and had what looked to be a large ninja star
strapped to her back. The ninja-girl wasted no time and got straight to the
point. "Hand over your materia now!" she demanded.
"And why should I?" Ralena asked using the conversation to reach out
with her abilities and feel the girl's emotions. She was a obviously little
nervous, but she had done this before, the little bandit, and still seemed
confident in her abilities to deal with Ralena.
"Because... If you don't, I'll be forced to take it from you," the
girl replied taking the star off her back.
"Well you shall have too," Ralena grinned taking up a fighting
The ninja raised an eyebrow at her, "Are you getting ready to fight
"Fighting is dancing girl," she responded wryly, "Allow me to give
you your first lesson." The girl began the fight with a throw of her
weapon. Ralena dodged easily before darting in for a thrust, which the girl
ducked before catching her weapon and throwing it again. Ralena jumped over
the low blow and tried to slash at the girl who blocked it with the large
padding on her arm and kicked her in the side. Ralena stumbled back as her
loose red hair covered her view. She got up in time to see the ninja catch
her weapon again, and she'd be damned if she let her throw it again. She
jumped in and thrust again, getting her rapier in one of the spokes of her
star and cutting the girl's right arm.
"Ite!" The girl pulled back, but Ralena's rapier had a hold on her
weapon keeping the two together. The ninja dropped to her back, put her
foot against Ralena's stomach and flipped the woman over her. When they
both got up Ralena realized she was unarmed. The ninja grinned as she
separated the rapier from her shiruken, "Looks like I win!"
"Not quite, Elies meran, snow of the north come and aid me against my
enemies. Freeza!" As she chanted the words to the second level Ice spell,
the materia on her wrist band shined with power.
"Uh-oh... AHHH!" The ninja tried to run from the spell but failed, as
the ice hit her she collapsed to the ground.
"What a mess..." Ralena picked up her rapier and put it in its sheath
at her side, she looked around at the scene. She looked down at the
unconscious ninja-girl and then at the other dead bodies of the forest
creatures. "Well I guess we better get out of here before some thing comes
around to eat the carrion." She picked up the girl's weapon and hung it on
her belt. Then she brought her fingers to her lips and let out a whistle,
in a few moments a sky colored chocobo came out of the brush. She put the
girl over the large bird, after tying up her hands and feet, and began
leading it through the woods. When she reached the river the sun was high
in the sky. She stopped there to set up for lunch, thinking to catch some
fish to eat. First she took the girl off the Chocobo and strapped a feed
bag around its head. "Good girl Haretia."
When the fish was nearly done the ninja slowly woke, "Ohhh... what
"The second level spell of an Ice Materia," Ralena answered plainly.
"You!? Hey! Why am I tied up!?"
Ralena looked at the girl, she was confidant she'd be ok, but was
still a scared. "I just wanted to make sure you wouldn't try and attack me
That helped her ego, "Of course you wouldn't want to fight me again!
Ummm... now could please untie me?"
Ralena looked at her, "Maybe when lunch is done. So, what's your
The ninja gave her a 'you've got to be kidding me' look and said,
"Excuse me? You've got me hog-tied, laying down in the dirt and you want to
know my name?"
Ralena looked at her, "Yes and your going to tell me."
"And why is that?"
"Because I've got you hog-tied and I'm not going to call you 'ninja
girl' throughout lunch"
"Oh yeah.... sorry, I'm Yuffie, who're you?"
"I'm Ralena, and that," she said gesturing to the chocobo, "is
Haretia. And if you promise not to attack me or try to steal my materia
I'll untie you." Yuffie nodded, and she didn't seem to be lying. "Alright."
Ralena drew her other weapon, a Main Gouche, and cut the ropes at the
girl's wrists and ankles. As she did so she emanated an aura of friendship
and trust. "What?" she asked looking at Yuffie's expression.
"The fish are on fire," She said flatly.
"Oh Shit!" The two girls ran over to the fire and grabbed the
skewered fish and waved them around in a attempt to put them out.
A minute later they were eating the slightly charred fish, "Say
-munch- why'd you take me with you if -gulp- you were worried about me
attacking you again? -munch-"
"Well I figured you'd know the area and I was wondering if you could
tell me where the next town is?"
"Well there's Gongaga Village just off that way-"
"Well not there, I just came from there."
"Oh, well there's a town in Cosmo Canyon and the next one is further
north just before a valley. I think it's called Nibblehelm or something."
"You mean Nicklehein right?"
"No, wait, It's Nibleheim. That's it, I'd probably go straight on to
Rocket Town though if I were you."
"I stopped by there once about a month ago, the people there were
"Really how so?"
"I don't know, for one thing they're not all to hospitable, and
there's this weird mansion up there, I think it's haunted."
Ralena leaned forward interested, "Really? Sounds intriguing."
"Are you nuts?"
"Nope. I'm just weird, but then again who isn't?"
Yuffie just looked at the older woman, "Hey why don't you stay around
here. We could team up you know, I bet no one could get passed us two, and
we could split whatever we get 50-50 whadda ya say?"
She could feel Yuffie's excitement, and loneliness, though it hadn't
been made a major priority in her life yet. "No... it doesn't seem like the
right job for me."
"Trust me, I'm an empath, I really wouldn't feel right."
Ralena sighed and thought, 'I can't believe I just told her that!
Well I may as well explain it to her now.' She finished swallowing the food
in her mouth and asked her. "Do you know what a telepath is?"
"Isn't that someone who can read minds and stuff?"
"Yeah, see an empath is kind of like that only I can feel other
people's emotions, and I can make them feel mine?"
Ralena smiled at her amazement, "The problem is it's hard for me to
block, I can keep other people from sensing my feelings but it's a little
harder the other way around. Also it kinda works almost... I guess you
could call it post-empathic."
"Well when I go to a place or touch something I can feel the stronger
feelings that might have been felt at such places, sometimes I even get
quick visions of what happened. It's actually pretty scary sometimes."
"How'd you get to be able to do these things?"
"I don't really know, I've had them as long as I can remember but I
don't know anything since before I was about fourteen."
"Oh my god... that must suck."
Ralena laughed a little, "I suppose it does. How far is Niblehiem
"About five days by foot."
"And to Cosmo?
"a day, maybe... day-and-a-half on foot."
"Maybe I can make it by dark on Haretia. But only if I leave soon."
She stood up and checked the gear on her chocobo.
"Yeah. It was nice talking with you Yuffie," she said while getting
on Haretia, "Maybe you'll try and mug me on my way back."
She had stayed a breif night in Cosmo Canyon, leaving at sunrise. It
had been a gorgeous sight to see the sun rise over the red rocks and jagged
peaks, the light made the colors seem even more vibrant. An interesting
adventure would begin for her soon she could taste it. The town of
Niblehiem was about 3 miles away when the sun began to set, but she had to
push Haretia pretty hard to get there. She stopped the large bird and
dismounted not far from town, "Well girl you stay safe? I'll find you and
check on you tomorrow ok?" The chocobo squawked in response and lovingly
nuzzled against her shoulder. "Don't worry, I'll be fine, stay close by so
you can here the whistle ok?" The bird squawked again. "Good Girl, now go."
When She stood at the entrance of town she saw a man appear with
white hair. "...I don't have a hometown so I wouldn't know. So how does it
feel?" He was talking to one of the three men behind her.
"What about your parents?"
"My mother, Jenova, died after I was born. My father..." He almost
started laughing then, "It doesn't matter." The man then disappeared and
she entered Niblehiem.
She walked into the town and immediately got a sense of secrecy, she
went into the inn and asked how much it would be to stay the night. She
knew she was instantly regarded with suspicion, which the innkeeper then
wrote off as coincidence. The price was one hundred gil, she paid it and
took her things upstairs.
She woke up in the middle of the night, something was wrong. She
threw the sheets off, they were on fire as was the rest of the room, she
looked out the window. The whole town was going up in flames! Suddenly she
noticed something, everything was on fire.. but she wasn't hot. She took a
deep breath, realizing it was a flashback. Still looking out the window she
saw a man in black, with long white hair and a wicked looking curved blade,
smile and walk off into the fire. As he faded so did the vision, she
shuddered and held herself. Just the image of that man sent a chill down
her spine, especially his cold eyes, though they were hard to see from this
distance. Slightly shaken, but still tired she decided to go back to sleep.
"Hey, Hey Cloud wake up, come on man we gotta get going." She woke to
the past, apparently she had slept in the same place as this "Cloud"
person. She got up and the vision faded much quicker than last nights. She
took off her nightshirt and put on her white button down blouse, followed
by her green pants and then her black vest, she went over to her pack and
pulled out a brush, trying to get the tangles out of her long red hair. She
took a moment and thought about the visions, it was odd for her to have two
in the first twelve hours of being anywhere without purposely trying. 'Ah
well,' she thought, 'I must be letting my guard down.'
She concentrated more on keeping out the feelings and memories as she
sat down on the bed and put on her boots that were just above her knees.
Then she strapped her weapons around her waist and headed out to check out
that "haunted" mansion Yuffie talked about. "Excuse me?" she asked as she
walked up the front desk.
"Yes young lady?"
"Has this place ever been on fire?" Boom up went the man's suspicion
like a rocket.
"What makes you say something awful like that?"
"Oh nothing, I just had this really weird dream last night," she
lied, "The hotel room was on fire, but when I left the room and came back
everything was normal. Oh well, dreams don't ever really mean anything
anyway." Yep.. that did it, his suspicion had gone down, but not
completely. Regardless the man just smiled and wished her a good day.
She walked outside and stopped a to look at a well, suddenly there
was an image of two kids a boy and a girl. The boy, a blonde looked to the
girl, smiling as he stated his future plans, "I'm going to join SOLDIER.
I'll be the best there is, just like Sephiroth." then they faded, she
smiled slightly. Every memory of children warmed her heart. It always gave
her some sense of her lost childhood. Then she turned seeing the large
mansion that Yuffie had spoken of, but first her hazel eyes drifted over
towards the store next to the inn. 'Well I guess I better get some food
before I check out those ghosts.'
She walked into the building, once again being greeted by that same
"it's a stranger" feeling, but the people inside acted like they didn't
regard her as such. "Hello young lady, and what is it I can help you with?"
"Well I was hoping I could get something to eat." After a reasonably
priced breakfast Ralena was ready to check out that building. She found out
the abandoned building was called the ShinRa Mansion, apparently owned by
the corporation in Midgar. She didn't know much about ShinRa, only that she
didn't like Midgar, it was too polluted and too crowded.
She pushed open the old gate to the mansion and started up the walk,
getting a brief flash of a man in a suit with short black hair walking up
the same path when the house was still in good condition. She slowly
reached for the handle and braced herself, usually when a house was
deserted, something dramatic had happened to cause it. She opened the door
and stepped in.
She was no where near prepared to deal with the flood of emotions and
memories that overcame her. Brief flashes of things that had happened
overlapped each other. One starting before the previous had stopped. It was
like a dam had burst in her mind. Her hands grasped at her head, she needed
to find something to vent on, anything. She forced herself to look around,
then she saw what would do it. She stumbled into one of the rooms, a grand
piano sat there, some old music covered in dust on the ground and on the
stand. She made her way to it, almost slipping on the paper that was on the
ground. As soon as she sat down her hands flew across the keys, pounding
out an unwritten song that seemed to put the visions in order. It was a
tune that spoke of joy and forbidden love, which flowed into betrayal then
revenge, then joy again of a return home, followed by curiosity, a
realization of a false truth, then insanity.
Then as it came down off a crescendo she heard something behind her.
She stood and turned quickly, weapons drawn, to see and odd creature
hanging on a rope above her. It had no feet but what looked like a blade
below its waist. It didn't take much to realize this thing wouldn't be very
good on the ground, so when she jumped up to attack she aimed at its strong
arms. When she got it on the ground it tried to reach for the rope but she
was able to kill it before it got back up. She sheathed her weapons, before
looting the creature's body. Thankfully after the fight and the piano most
of the emotions had gone through her system.
She walked back out into the foyer where she looked up at the stairs.
And there at the top of the stairs was a young woman holding a white haired
child. She looked down behind Ralena, who turned to see the dark haired man
who walked up to the house earlier. "Vincent!" the woman greeted him
happily, "How are you?"
"I'm great, and yourself?"
"I'm wonderful," she said heading down the stairs carefully. They met
at the bottom of the steps.
"And how's Sephiroth?" the man smiled, reaching a hand up to mess up
the boy's hair.
The boy made a face and reached up to get Vincent's hand off. The
woman smiled, "I'm glad you could make it."
"I always have time for you and Seph, Lucretia... always." His eyes
met hers and they looked at each other till she uneasily broke contact. The
love and tension she felt was so thick Ralena felt like she could cut it
with her blades.
"Umm, well you know I asked you to come and take care of Sephiroth.
Hojo has actually taken a break from science and wants to go out tonight."
"I see... Of course I'll...." The image faded then and Ralena knew
what it must've been between those two, just by the brief look they shared.
The forbidden love of her song. She then walked up the stairs running her
hand along the banister and getting a hand covered in dust for it. She
wiped it off on her pants and looked back down into the foyer. She glanced
into a room with a safe and then walked across to the other side where
there was a large stone structure in the corner. She was slightly confused
as to it's purpose, then another flash came to mind as there was now a man
in a ShinRa uniform sitting in the chair as another man in uniform with
blonde hair came up. They greeted each other, the blonde being Cloud, the
same one who had been woken up in an earlier flash. Then Cloud went to the
stone structure and pushed something opening the wall.
Ralena grinned "Sometimes I'm actually thankful for these abilities,"
and then pushed the same panel as Cloud did, and the door opened. She went
down the old wooden stairs carefully, one of the stairs gave out on her way
down, but she caught herself and continued down. She raised a brow at the
skeleton she saw in the corner and walked further down the hall and found a
library. Then she saw Vincent, once again in the room apparently
threatening another man dressed in a lab coat, she was able to read "Hojo"
on his name tag. Hojo then pulled out a gun and shot Vincent, Ralena
gasped, and almost ran to Vincent's aid, only to remember an instant later
that it already happened. Then Vincent and the laughing Hojo faded,
replaced with a worried Cloud as he looked at the same man she saw
disappear into the flames. She held her breath, hoping she would not have
to witness another murder. Thankfully it didn't happen the vision faded too
quickly for anything to happen, but it was enough for her to get the
identity of the white haired man, Sephiroth.
She heard something else, as she turned she was beginning to think
the number of flashes she was getting was about to border on ridiculous,
when she realized it wasn't a flash. Her eyes widened as she saw some odd
creature behind her, it was gray with two heads. She decided she wanted to
end it quickly. "Fabure, Burane, I call upon the fires of Advan and the
sun, strike down on the fools before me. FireRain!" She was a little
disappointed that it didn't kill the creature, and even more so that it
seemed to have no effect. It took a while but she finally destroyed one of
the heads, luckily it was the one that casted the Bolt spells. She smiled
when she felt her body reach its limit, she decided to use her "payback"
ability. All the un-healed damage done to her by the creature would be done
to it. When it was over she took a minute to wrap up her wounds and look at
some of the books that Sephiroth had apparently stacked up on the floor
some time ago.
".... Hmm... The Jenova Project..." she flipped through a bit of one
of the books and then went further back into the library and glanced at
some of the papers lying on the table. She wasn't a scientist, but she got
the idea that whatever "jenova" was it definitely wasn't good what Hojo had
done with it. "My god... this couldn't be a good thing." She picked up a
picture of Jenova. "He put the cells of THAT into people!" She dropped the
picture and looked around again, "What a lunatic."
She walked back out to the first room of the library, only to hear
Hojo's laughter again. She followed it out and saw him in a room, which she
hadn't noticed there being a door too. She saw Vincent, after having been a
victim of Hojo's experiments. "And here, Vincent, you shall sleep here as
penance for your sins," he grinned evilly. She started to walk into the
room to get a better look at what was going on, only to walk into the
actual wall and cause the flash back to end. "Damn," she muttered rubbing
Then she noticed a lock in the wooden beam, the next thing she knew
she saw a hand withdrawing a key from the lock. Hojo grinned walking up the
stairs, the key in hand. Curious as to what was in the room she followed
him to see what he did with the key, careful to go over the broken step.
She followed him out of the secret passage, opening it up as he did, and
out to the room with the safe. Ralena wrote down the combination as he
opened it realizing what a pain it would be to open in twenty seconds. She
saw him place it in the safe, noticing as well the red materia within. Then
he placed a tube in it with some weird little creature inside, undoubtedly
another of his twisted creations. "Hojo..."
"Have you seen Vincent?" from there the vision faded again. She
couldn't quite place it but she knew something was different about
Lucretia. She was obviously fatigued, perhaps even sick. Had the vision
continued she might have gotten something out of it, but as it was she
She then considered her options, she could very well open the safe
and get the key, but chances were that creature Hojo put in there had
grown, if it had lived throughout however long it had been since that
happened. She took a moment to check her Materia, putting in a 'time' one
in place of the 'all', believing there to be only one monster inside.
It took her several tries but she opened it only to be pushed back as
a large half purple and half red creature pushed the door open. 'My god...
how did that thing fit in the safe?' The first thing she did was cast
"haste" on herself then drew her weapons and thrust and cut at the
creature. After a few exchanged hits the red half of the creature hit her
with a lightning spell. "This thing knows magic!?" She seathed her weapons
again and cast a healing spell, only to get hit again. "Why you
lousy...Ivisa, poisona, killer and bane of life now take your next victim,
Bio!" She then pulled out her weapons again and struck it again, then the
red side dissapeared. "Well I guess it's half over," she hit the creature
again, realizing the physical attack didn't affect it as much. "Great," she
muttered putting her weapons away, "I hate having to use spells too often."
She then cast another healing spell, griting her teeth in breath pain as
her flesh knitted itself back together. Next she used a fire spell followed
by an ice one. The creature was still up but staggering, "Dammit just DIE
already!" Just then the bio spell finished off the creature and it fell to
the ground dead. "Well... thank you."
She stepped over to the safe and picked up the key and the Materia
inside. As well as some other thing which looked like a barette that she
couldn't identify, and probably couldn't use, but she took it anyway. "Gee
he must've left in a hurry to leave materia behind." She put the key in her
belt pouch and leaned against the outside of the safe, exhausted from the
fight and casting so many spells at once.
She glanced at the knocked over table as it was suddenly back up as
another vision made itself present. She really didn't feel like it now but
she didn't have the strength to block it out. Then in walked Lucretia,
followed by a pre-experimental Vincent, "Lucretia please."
"No, Vincent! I'm married to Hojo, I made a vow, 'for better or for
worse'... even if he is the worse."
"But Lucretia I love you," he pleaded.
Lucretia looked up at him, "I know Vincent, I... I love you too but I
can't just leave. What about Seph-"
"Lucretia, do you know what Hojo is doing to your son?" The vision
disappeared again and Ralena cursed to herself, 'Why do they always do that
when it's just getting good!' She stood up slowly and pulled out a vial and
downed the potion within it. "-Ugh- these things always taste awful. Well
time to see what Hojo's got in the basement."
She made her way back down to the basement, downing another potion on
the way. I wonder if he's still alive, she thought, that thing in the safe
sure lived a long time on it's own, of course this guy's human... or was
anyway. When she got to the hidden door she stuck the key in and started to
turn it, it took a little work since rust had set in. Finally the lock
clicked and she slowly pushed the heavy door open.
The air was stale, and it seemed obvious that no one had been in this
room for years, In the middle of the room there were two large cases that
looked like coffins more than anything else. She went over to the sealed
coffin and knelt down beside it. "Hmm... now how do I open this thing?" She
moved her hands around the edge and located two latches. She undid them and
pulled open the case. The Coffin gave a hiss and some of the air came out,
blowing back her hair a bit.
When the mist settled she nearly lost her breath at the sight of the
man inside. She didn't expect him to still look so young, since she had
already seen images of the child he took care of as an adult. She assumed
that it had some kind of device that kept him from aging in the coffin. His
long black hair was spread over him like smooth black tendrils. A red cape
covered his clothes and there was a red piece of cloth wrapped around his
forehead. He certainly was a handsome man, but his features were sad and
brooding, even in sleep (or was it death?). She reached over to brush some
hair out of his face when his right hand shot out and grabbed her wrist.
She gasped as he opened his blood red eyes and looked at her.
"uhh... Hi, I'm Ralena," she stuttered with a nervous smile, "Vincent
"Why did you wake me? What are you doing here?"
Her expression turned from one of surprise to confusion. "Don't you
want to be let out?"
"I am here to atone for my sins, now go away and leave me be." He let
go of her hand and reached over to close the lid once more.
She gave him a perturbed look and shoved her hand up on the lid so he
couldn't close it. "And how can you atone for anything just lying here in
some form of living death? Dead men can't right wrongs," she told him
seriously. "The way I see it it's Hojo's fault, not yours."
She pulled her hand away from the top and he sat up and narrowed his
eyes at her, "How do you know about Hojo?"
She grinned and stood, "Well at least I got your attention. To make
it simple, I have powers and I saw some of the things that happened here.
And I know you did nothing to deserve this."
"But that is what I did wrong, I did nothing," he responded without
showing any emotion.
She stomped her foot in frustration. "Dammit what is with you? How
can you feel such despair? It's making me depressed!"
He stood and pointed toward the open door. "Then leave me to my own
hell here and go." He was a little more than a half head taller than her,
the clothes her wore under the cape were black, and his left hand was still
lost in the folds of the cape.
"Argh! You don't understand do you? It's not your fault Hojo is some
mad scientist! It's not your fault he put cells of that… that THING in
people! And it's not your fault Sephiroth went nuts because of it!" He
turned to her at the mention of Sephiroth and she noticed his expression
was almost one of surprise. "Now listen, the way I see it you have two
chocies. One- you can come with me, when can find this Hojo guy and
dispense some indiscriminant justice, and maybe even find Sephiroth, or Two-
you can stay in this tomb and ROT!" As she spoke she used her powers to
make him feel a little more curious about what had happened to Hojo and
Sephiroth. It seemed to work.
"Hojo is still alive?"
She shrugged, "I believe so. I heard he works in Midgar for Shin-Ra,
but I'm not really sure I haven't been there in at least five maybe six
years. I didn't like the place, too polluted.
Ralena thought a moment, "Well, the last vision I had of him was when
he looked in his mid twenties, this town was burning down around him, and
he was enjoying it. Creeped me out honestly. I tried asking a few people
here about it but they just act like it never happened and got really
"How do you know?"
"I can sense people's feelings. The people here are keeping a secret,
but I don't know what." She looked up at Vincent who seemed to be thinking.
"If... umm," she started, "If your wondering about Lucretia-"
He cut her off abruptly, "I'm not."
At that moment she decided to change the subject, "Well are you
coming with me or not?"
Vincent looked passed her then looked down at her, "I am not sure I
belong in that world out there any more. Hojo has turned me into a
monster." As if to make his point he pulled his left hand from his cloak
revealing to her that it was a gold claw and made a fist with it.
She looked at it with little concern, and wondered what all the fuss
was about, "I don't see what's so bad about a metal hand."
"My claw is not what I speak of but... I will go with you."
She grinned at her small victory, "Well then is there anything you
need? A weapon perhaps?" He turned and bent over the coffin he had been in
and pulled out a gun. "Well I guess that settles that."
As they headed up the stairs she pointed out the broken step.
"Do you know what I'm feeling?"
She turned a moment and looked at him and then flashed him a little
bit of smile before heading back up the stairs. "Well, since you asked. You
have hope again. It's not much, but it's there. And you're a little scared,
I'm guessing it's because of what you see yourself as. I only sense
emotions not the thoughts behind them." Vincent digested this silently, as
they headed down to the foyer. He was so distracted he didn't hear the rest
of what she said. "As soon as we get some lunch and supplies I say we get
outta here. The people in this town give me the cre-"
Suddenly she stopped and Vincent nearly ran into her on the steps.
"What is it?" She carefully moved herself towards the railing and grasped
onto it with both hands, her now green eyes wide. "Ralena?"
Ralena felt the adult Sephiroth pass her more than she saw him. The
emotions running through him were so strong. The insanity, the need for
vengeance, the lust for power, and the malicious desire to destroy. "So...
much," she whispered through trembling lips, "...such... strong..." She put
a hand to her head and nearly collapsed. Had Vincent not been there to grab
her she probably would have fallen down the stairs. She took in a deep,
shaky breath and closed her eyes once again. Then she stood and placed the
hand Vincent had grabbed back on the railing. "I'm fine now," she said
reassuringly, "It's over."
"Remember I told you I had powers?" He nodded. "Well I'm not just an
empath when I visit a place or touch something I can see what happened
there, or to it sometimes, and I feel all the emotions associated with the
event as well." She paused a moment longer to take another long breath, "I
just never... experienced anything like that."
"Sephiroth. He just walked down these stairs and out the door. It
must've been just before he burned down the town." She then started heading
down the stairs again, faster than before. "I have to get out of here
before I go crazy." She opened the door and looked at Vincent as he
continued to walk towards the door. She looked at him, annoyed, "Can we
hurry it up please?"
When she was outside she saw the image of several people walk up a
path. "Vincent where does that lead?"
"That path goes up to Mt. Nibel."
"Come on, let's go!" She turned and looked at Vincent who hadn't
moved and looked at her oddly. "Just trust me," she grabbed his hand and
ran up the path with him.
'Someone was here not long ago,' she thought, 'and they were
As they walked through the interweaving caves, Vincent began to
wonder if Ralena wasn't already insane, but she did seem to have a good
heart. Nonetheless he would keep an eye on her, she seemed to know a little
too much, and he wasn't sure if he believed she had powers. After they left
the town she had pulled out a materia and used it to amplify her voice and
whistled, soon after a Chocobo came by and she talked to it a bit and it
went off again. As he watched her back ahead of him he thought about how
strange she was, he found it odd how she had been so ready to help him, as
though she had decided to do it before hand. 'But can I truly be helped? I
am a walking nightmare with no family, no friends, and barely a soul. Is
there anything that can be done for me? Or is this just a useless chase to
raise false hopes?'
"Is something wrong Vincent?" She asked turning to him once again.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." She looked at him as he passed her and then she walked up
after him. It was then he realized he had yet to ask where they were going,
or rather why. "Ralena, why are we heading up to Mt. Nible?"
She thought a moment, "Didn't I already say?"
"Oh. Well just as we left I had a vision of some people who came up
this way about a day or so ago, they were after Sephiroth." He turned to
her in silent response and she continued. "I figured at the least we could
find out why they were after him and what they know."
"Who did you see?"
"A blonde guy, with spikey hair, a big guy with a gun attached to his
arm, and..." she bit her lip a moment as if she wasn't sure what she saw.
"A cat holding a megaphone riding a stuffed mog?" she answered in a
way that asked if he believed it. His was response was a look that
questioned her sanity.
When they got to the Mako Reactor she went pass the image of a girl
crying over her dead father, declaring her hatred for the ShinRa, Sephiroth
and SOLDIER. She followed the girl who ran up the steps to Sephiroth ready
to kill him with his own sword, but he slashed at her gut and she fell down
the stairs. Sephiroth went into the room with "JENOVA" written above the
door. A spikey haired Brunette was the next to face Sephiroth only to be
cut down after sticking his sword into Sephiroth's back. The white haired
SOLDIER then limped down the stairs with Jenova's head, pass a young blonde
boy in a ShinRa uniform who had moved the girl. The blonde, who she
believed to be the same one who she saw traveling up the mountain, what was
his name?.... Kyle, Clyde... Cloud! That was it. Cloud chased after him
with the other man's sword only to have the Masamune stuck through his
torso. Ralena gasped in amazement as the boy grabbed the sword's blade and,
using his body as the turning point, picked up Sephiroth on the other end
of his sword, and tossed him and his bloody masamune into the Mako pit.
Vincent watched her and followed her silently while she narrated the
vision to him. "From what I can tell he thinks Jenova is his mother." she
paused a moment then said, "Not long after..." she concentrated a bit more,
"some ShinRa soldiers, probably under Hojo's orders, came and took the rest
of Jenova. She squinted again picking up distant emotions. "… There's
something near here."
When they got back outside Vincent heard a distant battle with his
keen senses. "There's a fight, this way." He led the way, and they had just
seen the three people (if a cat riding a stuffed mog counts as a person)
she previously mentioned fighting a dragon, when the large man with the gun
arm shot out a grenade at the creature they were fighting. That wouldn't
have stopped them but the avalanche that the explosion caused did.
"Damn... Guess we have to go around. At least we can get some
supplies on the way."
When they had bought the supplies, she carried the large pack out
into the plains that spread out before the town of Niblehiem. "I suppose
you're wondering how we're going to carry all this, after I let my chocobo
go." she let out a loud whistle. He looked at her somewhat confused, "Well
just give her a second." Soon Haretia came running up to her, Ralena pulled
out some greens and gave it to her, and then put the harness on. "Hello
girl, told you I'd be back for you." She put the pack over the chocobo's
back and climbed on, then she pointed to her new companion. "Haretia this
is Vincent." Vincent looked at her like she must've been crazy before she
let him out of the mansion again. The bird tilted it's head and looked at
him and back at Ralena then it walked over to him, tilted it's head to the
other side then squaked at him. Ralena laughed, "She likes you."
Vincent looked up at the bird than back at her as if to say, "Are you
"Oh don't worry about it come on," She offered her hand so he could
get on. He took her hand and did so. As soon as she started riding Vincent
mentioned that the way to Midgar was the other way. "I know, but I want to
go to Rocket Town to get some more Materia. Besides Sephiroth probably
headed that way."
They decided to go straight through to the mountains on the other
side of the forest and then follow the mountain around to Rocket Town. "At
the latest we'll be there by tomorrow," she said as they entered the
forest. "Haretia's tired, let's get off and walk while we have the shade."
Vincent agreed and got off. They only got into one fight on their way
through the forest, each time Ralena had commanded Haretia to stay back.
Halfway between the forest and mountains they got into another fight
against six large insect-like monsters. As one of the creatures hit Vincent
again he doubled over, alarmed Ralena ran over towards him to defend him.
"Stay back!" he shouted. Too busy with the other two monsters not to obey
his command she did so. She glanced back over in time to see the third
ready to strike him. "VINCENT!"
She shouldn't have worried, just then she saw why Vincent felt he was
a monster, at that moment he transformed into a purple horned beast with a
red mane of hair. "Oh. My. God." She could feel the blood lust of the
creature he had become, and watched as it tore apart the monster that had
been attacking him. Then it turned towards the two she fought, her eyes
widened and she quickly jumped back just in time to avoid being fried by
the flames that exploded around the creatures.
She nearly froze in terror as the beast turned on her. It stalked
towards her, sensing its hostility she dropped her weapons. It helped calm
him, though not as much as she would've liked. She let out feelings of calm
and peace, and talked easily to him. "Vincent, it's me. Remember? Ralena?
Annoying psychic chic?" She thankfully noticed the recognition in its eyes.
She cowered as it threw back its head and let out a roar, when it finished
Vincent was on his knees panting. Ralena ran to his side. "Vincent are you
"Now you see what kind of monster I truly am," he responded wearily,
"I understand if you want me to leave."
"You've got to be kidding me." She whistled for Haretia and told him
to get on.
"You're not scared?"
"Terrified," she grinned, "but no more so then you probably are."
"Probably?" he asked getting on the bird, "I thought you could read
"I can, but I usually try not to violate other peoples lives like
that." Ralena then said something to the bird. She started a slow run,
little more than a jog, which Haretia easily matched. "What are you doing?"
"Running. What's it look like?"
"Get on the chocobo with me, you'll tire yourself out."
She laughed, "I can run like this all day. Besides it's Haretia, not
'the chocobo'," the bird squaked in agreement. She ran for another half-
hour before she gave into his parenting tone. Though she didn't show it,
she was happy that he seemed concerned about something other than his
They found a cave to sleep in that night, "You want first or second
or third watch?"
"Third? Who else is there?"
She gave him an annoyed look, "Why do you ask so many questions?"
"Why are you always so optimistic?"
"Hey, I'd rather be an optimist and a fool then a pessimist and
He gave her a blank look and repeated his question, "Who is the
"The bird?" he asked incredulously
"Yes, we've done it before. She is very smart, she always wakes me
when she hears or sees something." She heard Vincent mutter something under
his breath. "What was that?"
"Nothing, I'll take first watch." He sat down on the opposite side of
the fire. Ralena took off her boots and vest and pulled out a blanket. She
walked over to the chocobo who was already sitting in one corner and laid
down putting her head against her pet.
"Well, wake me up in a few hours for second watch. G'night."
Not long after they left Rocket Town was in sight she took the
equipment off Haretia and sent her off before they entered. They approached
the town from the back of a house where a plane was parked, and a fat man
was messing with it. Next thing they knew Cloud and two Brunettes, both
women, came out. A few words were exchanged and then they started fighting.
"Aww gee," she looked around wondering which side to take. Her eyes lit up
as she saw something. "Vincent help them, I have an idea," she said running
"Where are you..." He trailed off as she ran around the house. He ran
over and jumped the fence before shooting at the fat man.
He squealed in pain as the bullet hit, "Ohh, why you," Palmer than
shot Vincent with his Mako gun, pushing his limit. Cloud and his friend's
weren't sure who he was but they seemed to appreciate the help, needless to
say they were surprised when he doubled over, Vincent looked up enough to
give the fat man an evil, red eyed glare, before once again transforming
into the Gilian Beast. His opponent and the ones he was helping all stepped
back. The beast roared and fire burst around Palmer. As he continued to
whimper Vincent pounced on him and got a shot to the gut several times for
As soon as the beast let go Palmer began to run away, unfortunately
for him Ralena had found a truck and hit the man with it. "Wow I think he
bounced..." she muttered before looking out to where the battle had
previously taken place. "Oh no, Vincent!" She ran out of the cab to his
side, as the beast knelt on the ground.
"Who are you?" one of the girls asked.
"I'm Ralena, I'm here to help you," once she answered she turned back
to Vincent once again using her powers to calm the injured creature.
"Vincent... it's all right" with a low moan the creature changed back into
her traveling companion.
"The plane isn't stopping!" Cloud yelled, "Quick get on!"
Tifa reached to help Ralena and Vincent who was still weak and
bleeding from his side. Then she saw a ShinRa soldier come around the
house. "Go on without us, we'll be fine."
"I'll meet you at Gold Saucer if we ever get away, just GO!"
"Tifa Hurry!" Cloud yelled.
"Good Luck," Tifa said to them before running to the plane.
"Same to you," she whispered. Ralena watched them as they flew into
the sky and saw another man jump on the plane before smoke came from the
It wasn't long before soldiers surrounded her and Vincent, and a
blonde man in white approached them. "Miss you do realize it is a crime to
steal a vehicle in order to use it to hit a ShinRa executive don't you?"
She looked back up from the injured Vincent to the man, "And who are
"I'm Rufus, President of ShinRa Inc. And you are under arrest."
As they rode the Tiny Bronco near land Tifa turned to Cloud, "Cloud,
there was something weird about that women's eyes."
"What is it Tifa?"
"Well they almost looked like Mako Eyes, but there was something
different about them."
"Hey!" Yuffie called from the land, "What's up?"
"Two people just helped us get away from the ShinRa, we think the
girl had Mako eyes."
"Really what'd they look like?"
"Well the man was very creepy, he even had red eyes, and the girl had
red hair and hit Palmer with a truck."
Yuffie turned to Aeris, "Did she have a white shirt and green pants?"
"I know her! I meet her not long before you guys, her names Ralena
"As a matter of fact it is." Yuffie was about to say more but then
several ShinRa soldiers came from across the bridge with guns.
Vincent slowly opened his eyes to see the metal ceiling, he had
passed out not long after they were arrested. He felt something under his
head and tried to sit up but a wave of dizziness hit him, the pain in his
side was still there as well. Just then he heard the door open and another
person was tossed inside was tossed inside. "Ralena?" he muttered.
"Vincent! You're alright!" She walked over beside him, her hair
shadowing her face in the dim light of the cell.
"That," he groaned, "is quite debatable."
She noticed the injury he had still wasn't taken care of. "Oh here
let me take care of that, take off your shirt."
He did so then asked, "Where are we?"
"We're in the ShinRa HQ, somewhere around the 60th floor, I think."
She looked at his wound, the Mako gun had not only gone through his flesh
but it also left burns around it as well. She sucked in a breath through
her teeth, "Ohh this looks bad." She took the sheet from the bed and tore
part of it off. She got it wet at the sink and began cleaning the wound.
She looked up at his face and noticed a slight grimace. 'Damn the ShinRa,'
she thought, 'If only they hadn't taken all our materia this wouldn't be a
problem.' It took a little while but she had finally cleaned it out, the
whole time Vincent remained silent. "I'm going to have to rip up the rest
of the sheet to use for a bandage."
As soon as she finished wrapping him up she suddenly stopped and
looked towards the door. Vincent looked at her confused, seeing nothing.
"Here's another one for you," she heard a soldier say, "Go on in."
Just then a little girl with red hair, who couldn't have been much
more than six, came in holding a stuffed Chocobo. "And who might you be?" a
woman asked, she had long brown hair and wore a red dress, though she
looked extremely tired.
The girl held up the doll, "This is Haretia." Ralena looked shocked
at the name of the girl's chocobo.
"Oh I see, and how did you come up with that name?"
"Mommy told me that, her mommy was my gardening angel, so I named it
The woman smiled and pointed to the bed where a young girl slept,
"That's my daughter, Aeris, but she's taking a nap right now, and my name
is Ilfana." The young red head looked over to the bed then back at the
woman. "Are you going to tell me your name or do I have to ask Haretia?"
The girl looked down at her feet and mumbled something. "What?"
"If I tell you, do you promise not to give me shots like that one man
The woman looked at the girl, now very concerned for her, "I
If she had not been kneeling beside the bed Ralena would have fallen
to the ground, "Oh my god," she whispered hoarsely. She brought her hands
to her mouth and repeated, "oh my god."
Vincent put his hand on her shoulder, "Are you alright?"
She turned to him with wide eyes, "Vincent I've been here before!"
His expression told her he didn't know what she meant, "You've been
"No, you don't understand, I must've been five or six at the time.
Before now I never knew anything before I was fourteen. Just one day I woke
up, somewhere in the slums, and I didn't know anything, all I had was a
necklace with my name carved on the back, I lived there for about a year
before deciding to leave Midgar." She reached into her shirt and pulled out
the charm, it was on a long string so that it hid under her shirt. It was a
smoothed green rock where the leather string looped through a hole in the
charm. "For the longest time, this was all I had..."
She shook her head, tearing her eyes away from the stone charm around
her neck, "I'm ok Vincent, I'm just tired. I hardly slept the whole way
back from Rocket Town."
"Take the bed," He offered.
She refused, "No you're injured, I'll be fine." As she turned he
caught a glimpse of her face and grabbed her arm. She winced and let out a
small yelp. "What?"
He pulled her down and pushed the hair out of her face, his eyes
widened as he saw the bruises. "I'll be fine." she insisted again.
"It's nothing," she pulled herself from his grip, putting her head
down so her hair blocked her face again, "They just got done... asking me a
few questions is all. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go to sleep."
"What time is it?"
"I don't know, but I'm tired." Not long after that Ralena was fast
asleep leaning in the corner at the foot of the bed. Vincent looked at her
silhouette in the corner, he noticed that he was actually angry that the
ShinRa had beaten her. 'No,' he thought, 'I would be angry if those
creatures had beaten any woman.' He lay back down and soon found himself in
his nightmares of sleep.
Vincent awoke again, It must have really been night now, because the
lights were off in the hall. Then he realized he heard something in the
corner. He slowly sat up and then noticed that Ralena was crying quietly.
"'Fana," she seemed to be talking like a child, "'Ris.. I want to talk to
'Fana." He got off the bed and kneeled next to her. "It hurts 'Ris...
Where's 'Fana?" Upon closer inspection she was curled up in a fetal
position, as close to the wall's corner as she could be.
"Ralena..." He kneeled down beside her, not sure what to do.
"That man, 'Ris… he used some lights on me. 'Ris... it hurts. It
hurts in my head, and it hurts in my chest."
Not sure if it would make a difference he asked her, "What man
"Th… the man who gave me shots, the one with the white coat and
glasses" She started crying again. Not sure how to comfort her. Gently he
reached out and put his hand on her shoulder, he uneasily pulled her closer
and she cried into his shirt. "'Ris, I want my momma. It... it hurts."
"Everything will be alright Ralena," he whispered, "Don't worry, Hojo
won't hurt either of us ever again." His red eyes glowed in anger, "I
Hika-chan: Hey Ral
Ralena: *eyes her suspciously *Yeah?
Hika-chan: Could you say it?
Ral: What? No, it's stupid.
Hika-chan: Do it or I'll make your life a living hell.
Ral: Too late for that.
Hika-chan: *superior grin* I can always let Hojo keep you
Ral: You wouldn't.
Hika-chan: wanna test that theory?
Ralena: *mutters* I see dead people....
Ralena: *sighs, sweatdrops* -_-'