The Quest

By: Theodore 'Blitz' Leung

blitzbit@hotmail.com

It has been three 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 couldn't go to Midgar and scan its enormous collection of data - it ran on Mako energy and the meteor destroyed all the reactors. So, where could I look? Unable to find any sort of solution, I headed for the bar (yeah, a new bar owner bought the place yesterday). I sat down, my mind continuing to scream for an answer: 'Where could I go?'

"May I take your order?" I heard a female ask me. Looking up, I 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… Why the hell did she look so familiar?

"Something strong," I replied, shaking the feeling off for now. The drink probably would help me drown out Aeris for a little while as well. When she returned, I questioned her about where I could find a place with information on the Cetra. She sort-of stared at me for a little while, causing me to possibly take back my question. However, she finally answered.

"Cosmo Canyon," she told me, giving direction on a map. She still had that strange glare, a sort of untrusting one.

"Thanks," I answered calmly, downing the powerful drink in one, choking a little, but not showing it. I placed a few Gil on the table and left, preparing for the journey on such a small, possibly unreliable, lead…

* * * * * *

I left town the next day, following the directions to a local Chocobo farm. I decided to ask the owner inside on how to reach Junon from here.

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

"Nothing of particular interest," I responded nonchalantly.

"Okay…" He thought for a brief moment, scanning me for a moment as well, for some reason or the other. Finally, he answered, informing me that I needed to go through the Mithril cave that was located south of here. I thanked him and left the premise. He tried to stop me or warn me, but I didn't hear it totally - I was too absorbed in my own thoughts about Aeris and the mystery that surrounded her.

I continued my trek south, approaching the edge of a large swamp. On the other side, by the mountains, I could faintly make out the entrance of a cave. Figuring that was my destination, I headed in that direction without a care in the world. Maybe if I listened to the Chocobo farm owner, I might have avoided this certain disaster…

Out of nowhere, a giant snake leapt out of the murky depths of the swamp, causing me to fall onto my back in surprise. It opened its huge jaws and tried to swallow me whole while I say in a momentary daze. However, I quickly recovered, rolling to the side to avoid the assault. The next instant, I leapt at the giant monster, pulling my sword out and stabbing it in it neck. It reeled back in pain and anger, throwing me off. With another quick recover in the swamp; I glanced back up towards the monstrous foe, seeing its tail about to crush me. I evaded the tail effortlessly, but was caught when it the tail followed me, swiping at me and knocking me a few metres away. The distance allowed me a small breather to use a Restore Materia on my already weary body. It charged at me, quickly closing the distance between us. I easily dodged the snake, but it slithered back around, standing tall and towering over me. That's when I made my move. I lunged at the snake, right towards its belly. My blade pierced the skin, digging as far as it could go into the body. With one hand, I tore my blade out of its body, pulling a grenade from my pouch with the other hand. Clenching the pin in between my teeth, I pulled the pin, throwing it through the gash I just made on its body. It recoiled in pain, slithering in circles in utter confusion, ignoring me completely as I ran. Five seconds later: BOOM. Blood splattered everywhere, adding a faint red tint to the swamp as well as my clothing.

I balanced my body against my sword, using it as a support with the blade in the ground, trying to catch my breath. Slowly, I pulled myself to my feet, replacing my sword onto my back and continuing on, leaving the mess behind.

* * * * * *

I reached the end of the cave near the end of the afternoon, exhausted after the long travel as well as the battle fought along the way. Heading south, I found a reactor complex situated on a hill. Curious, and looking for a place to rest, I entered the worn down building. A dangling rope greeted me, leading deeper inside. As much as my weary body protested, I climbed anyway. Reaching the top was the limit for my body, however. I collapsed onto the hard ground, darkness ensnaring my senses.

* * * * * *

I found myself lying in some sort of cave, on a rather comfortable bed, or perhaps that was an illusion created by my weary body. Groggily, I sat up on the bed, letting my legs slide off the side. Clearing the daze from my head, I scanned across the room, finding my clothing, sword, and pouch on the table at the other end of the room beside a set of stairs. It was at that moment I realized I wasn't wearing very much. A tad embarrassed, I quickly ran to the table and put my clothing on. A man walked down the stairs while I was changing, with a faint sigh of relief.

"You're up. Good," he spoke with a relieved tone, smiling. "I'm happy to see you're fine."

"What happened…?" I asked curiously, beginning to remember some of the details during the day before, recalling the climb before passing out.

"I found you unconscious at the entrance of the reactor. You were bloodied, and I was worried you weren't gonna make it, but the doctors here said you were going to make it." He glanced towards the table, seeing the clothing gone and on the body of the wearer. "And I took the liberty wash your clothing for you."

I smiled, nodding my head. "Thanks…Hey, I don't suppose you know how to get to Junon from here?"

"Sure," he answered, touching his head with his fingers for a moment to think. "Go east against the south coast until you come to a place leaning on a hill. It isn't very hard to miss."

"Thanks," I replied gratefully, returning to my equipment for the moment.

"No problem, stranger." He left me alone. With a quick check of my equipment, I found my Materia was still there and I still had three days worth of food remaining. However, I expended my last grenade against that giant snake. I would have to remember to make restock later.

I left the reactor, leaving some Gill on the table as my gratitude for the help.

* * * * * *

When I reached Junon, I noticed the cannon wasn't there, distinctly remembering its appearance during my training. Then I remembered: the cannon was relocated to Midgar so it could shoot the barrier protecting the North Crater in order to reach Sephiroth. The cannon was probably destroyed with Midgar when the meteor ripped it up.

I entered Junon, looking for a boat so I can reach my destination. Bribing the guard with a hundred Gill to allow him to let me use the elevator up to the base, I headed up towards the upper town area. The first thing that caught my attention was the hole in the tower, and I figured it had something to do with a WEAPON attack. Ignoring it, I continued on, heading towards the port.

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

"Can't do that," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"Mayors orders. No one on the boat without his permission." I cussed softly, offering him a hundred Gill for him to just ignore, but he stubbornly refused, much to my disappointment.

I headed to the mayors' office to get this 'permission'. The waiting room was empty when I arrived. I asked the secretary if I could see the mayor. She stared at me with a strange look of disbelief and fear in her eyes. I think see was actually staring at the sword.

"Go right in," she told me in a shaky tone. I think the sword had spooked her.

I entered the mayors' office. The mayor was looking out a window for a moment after I shut the door behind me.

"What do you want?" he asked impatiently, turning his head towards me.

"I need passage to the other side of the ocean," I responded, crossing my arms, not at all intimidated by the mayor.

"Can't do that."

"Why?"

"The engine for the ship broke down."

Great, I thought, just great. Now I won't be able to get to Cosmo Canyon. Well, that would also explain why the guard wouldn't take the bride, I wouldn't be going anywhere anyway.

"There is a way though," he continued, surprising me.

"How?!" I exclaimed, jumping at any chance I could get.

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

"Okay." I didn't like the idea. It was probably one of the few places where there were Mako monsters still lurked about. However, I thought about it, finding my curiosity to see Aeris again overridding my sense of self-preservation. Finally, I fully agreed. I left the office and headed for the elevator to the reactor…

Fin