Chapter 3:

Last Angel's Wing

Seifer had been gone for days, and Rinoa couldn't stop worrying. Sure, she was with Squall, but there was still some affection for her first knight in her. The best she could do is content herself with trying to research Sephiroth. She couldn't get him out of her mind either.

Looking far back in history, back before people had learned how to actually junction GFs to themselves, she discovered some interesting history, and a newspaper clipping.

Nibelheim burned to the ground in a storm of fire yesterday. Survivors report seing a man in a long, black trenchcoat, carrying an enormous sword at the scene. This description resembles General Sephiroth, who recently went into hiding...

She also found history on what happened soon after. Apparently, Sephiroth went mad, and cast a spell which was meant to destroy the entire planet. A group of heroes managed to stop the incident with a powerful magical spell of their own, cast by the spirti of a young girl who died at the hands of Sephiroth. This young girl, named Aeris, was the last of a race called the Cetra. The spell cast by the young girl left massive ammounts of latent magic across earth, and as such she is thought to be the "mother" of the Sorceresses by many historians. It is also foretold that Aeris shall be re-incarnated into a young Sorceress.

Riona's heart nearly stopped. Was she the reincarnation of this "Aeris?" She couldn't be, though... could she? She reread the passage over and over untill she was sure her eyes weren't deceiving her. And this Sephiroth... was he supposed to kill her again? Was she supposed to turn him?

Rinoa shouted out loud in the library, "What the Hell is going on?" Quickly realizing what she had just done, she nervously left the room.

Squall didn't know what to do. Not only had Rinoa been acting funny ever since this man showed up, but Seifer had also dissapeared. He had carefully collected the shards of all the various broken swords from the massive battle in his office (Squall was still thinking of it as Cid's, because he wasn't used to the responsibility yet), and placed them in a container next to his desk. He would have to figure out what to do with them sometime.

Sephiroth wasn't gone. Squall knew enough to understand what it meant to have a maniacal murderer with great magical power say "we shall meet again" usually meant it. Now that Sephiroth knew some of Squall's tricks, it would be a harder fight. Squill still didn't know everything Sephiroth could do, so that was against him too. He had to prepare.

Rinoa found her way to the secret spot in the training center that night. She sat, overlooking the area, wondering what was going to happen. Maybe she should go live in the Deep Sea Research Center. Or maybe somewhere like Esthar. She could live with Laguna.

"No," she said to no one in particular, "I can't do that." She couldn't bear the thought of losing Squall, and her other friends.

A dark voice sounded from behind her, "You can't what?" She turned and saw Sephiroth, leaning against a wall. "Don't try and scream," he said, holding his right hand in front of him, "you'll just tire out your lungs and voice. I'm not here to hurt you anyway. Please...I don't know what's going on. All I know is that the truth has something to do with you, Aeris...I'm sorry, I mean Rinoa."

"What do you want with me, if you don't know what to do," Rinoa said hostiley.

"I wan't your help. I seem to black out every so often. Then, when I regain conciousness, I've done something horrible. What happened in that office, when I freaked out?"

Rinoa looked at him suspiciously. She decided to play along, and told him what happened.

"There's something else, too," Sephiroth said, looking down at his hands. "It happened again a few days ago. That man who used to be here, wearing the white coat and crosses on his clothes, met me on top of one of those mountains," Sephiroth indicated the nearby mountain range. "He confronted me, and I blacked out. When I came to today..." He looked at his hands again, and Rinoa saw that they were covered in blood.

"No..." she said, stepping back. "You didn't... He can't be dead!" but she knew in her heart that it was true. Something in her seemed to feel as though she could trust this aspect of Sephiroth. The only problem was that the quiet, depressed maniac seemed as though he could give way to the talkative, sadistic maniac at any moment.

"I'm sorry... I didn't want to," Sephiroth sat, and held the sides of his head as he looked down.

"Did he at least ...die... quickly?" she said, barely uttering the word, fearing she knew the answer.

"No," Sephiroth said. "I don't think so..."

Then Rinoa did something she hadn't done in about two years. She snapped. She rushed at Sephiroth, screaming, "YOU MONSTER! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT!"

Rinoa planted a surprisingly heavy punch into the side of Sephiroth's face. Sephiroth fell to the ground, and there was a palpable change in the air. He stood, slowly. He turned, and faced his attacker, an evil grin on his face. His foot moved like lightning, kicking her in the stomach. As she keeled over, he grabbed her by her hair. He pulled her head up, and she screamed with pain and fear.

"Don't worry," the calm, sadistic voice said. "I won't kill you. You're too important to kill. Besides, I would sooner destroy a stained glass window than cause any permanent damage to someone as lovely as you..."

"Please," Rinoa said, tears running down her face, "let me go...Don't hurt me..."

Sephiroth pulled her head back, so she looked directly into his eyes. "Ah..." he said, "I love hearing women beg. It's so...exciting..." He looked at the tears running down her face, and said, "That's right, that's what I want to see. Just let go..."

He smirked, and backhanded her face, letting her drop to the floor. "I need those swords," Sephiroth said. "And you will get them for me! I don't care if I have to torture you, I'll have those swords. Bring them to me tomorrow night, a mile west of Balamb, or more people will die. I think I'd have to start with lovely Ms. Treppe. After having a bit of fun, that is. The choice is yours, Cetra Sorceress."

And with these words, Sephiroth was gone.