PLATINUM BATTLE

The wind whipped against the gambler's face, blowing his beautiful platinum hair all about. The Falcon flew faster, higher; farther than it has ever gone. There was no doubt that this aircraft was the best in the world. Setzer almost laughed aloud at the irony of it all. He wanted to be the fastest pilot in the world and now he was, with his good friend's ship and her memories. Of course he missed his friend, the daring Daryl, but her legacy has made him a legend of the skies, all thanks to her airship, not his.

This was freedom, soaring high and free like a bird; like a falcon. Nothing could keep him down, not even gravity. Living life to the fullest, the gambler continued to make adjustments to his aircraft, to make it fly better and higher, until he can reach the heavens. Lost in the moment, the gambler didn't even notice the dark clouds overhead. The shock was completely unexpected. A force of tremendous power burst through the balloon section of the craft.

Sirens started to blare, the controls suddenly became locked. A grin made its way to Setzer's face. Chances brought a feeling of excitement and danger. He lived to test fate and death on a daily basis. Now, will be no different.

He pressed the controls down hard, loosing them but that only sent the airship into a spiral. Now laughter escaped his stomach and he pulled up the controls as much as his arms could permit. The ship's bow came up in time to dig into the earth and slide into the landscape below. The crash landing continued on, dragging through the ground and upturning trees and other foliage. Coming rapidly close, the Falcon slammed into a group of ancient trees, throwing Setzer from the deck.

Luck was with him, as he landed on a gentle moss bed. Flipping off the ground, the gambler took in the sights of his surroundings. The impact of the unknown force, landed him in a thick jungle, deserted from civilization. Upon investigation of his airship, the damage was serious- but not beyond his skills to fix.

"Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing," came a maniacal voice from behind the gambler.

Jumping forward and tucking into a roll, Setzer kicked out and drew his blade. Turning around, a figure walked out of the shadows. Tall and dark, wearing a large cloak and metal shoulder pads stalked towards the rogue. The man appeared to be no more then twenty, but his eyes told a different story. His body was tone as a warrior and his legs glided like a hunting cat. Platinum hair, longer then the gambler's, cascaded down the warrior's back while he stood straight, brandishing the longest sword Setzer has ever seen.

"I've heard that this dimension is recovering from a great disaster," the warrior wickedly smiled.

Taking another measure of the warrior before him, the gambler prayed that he overlooked something in his defenses, some type of flaw. The soldier stood straight, unmoving, and having many possible openings. Setzer shook his head. He knew better. This one wanted whoever he came across to believe that he had openings where there were none. Measuring the length of the long sword, any attempt to strike at the warrior would be easily parried. The gambler had to stall.

"Um… yeah. Kefka could have been called a 'great disaster'," the rogue paused, dusting off his coat, "but he had a nasty fashion sense."

"This… Kefka. He sounds like a genius to have conquered this world so easily," replied the warrior, taking a step forward.

"Insane more like it," commented Setzer, backpedaling to his ship, "but my friends and I managed to stop that threat."

"Ah, so you're that powerful huh? Exactly what I've been looking for," the soldier grinned, lifting his sword to bear.

Crap. Setzer broke out into a run, preferring to battle this unusual warrior in the close quarters of the Falcon. With inhuman agility, the soldier leapt over him and landed eight feet in front, blocking the way to the airship. The long sword bounced comfortably off the platinum haired soldier's shoulder.

"Heh, he. What's your name?" Setzer asked with a weak chuckle.

"Sephiroth. As it really matters," the soldier replied, giving the gambler a cold stare.

No, it doesn't matter. I just need more time. Time was up. Without another thought, the gambler reached into his inner pockets and tossed three darts coated in 'Doom' poison. With a flick of his wrist, the long sword called Masamune shot out and deflected two of the three darts. The lone dart slipped into the soldier's left arm.

Picking the dart out of his shoulder, Sephiroth sniffed the prong and smelled the poison that it was tipped in. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply and thought back when someone was stupid enough to use such a pathetic attempt to kill him so quickly. Hearing twigs snapping, the soldier smiled evilly.

With all the strength in his body, Setzer fled away from the abomination shaking his head all the way. He couldn't believe a human could be impaled by a Doom dart and survive, let alone seem perfectly healthy. Chancing a glance, the rogue looked over his shoulder. No one was there.

Snapping his head straight ahead, the flight ended. Standing only twenty paces from him stood Sephiroth, tapping his sword on his shoulder. Taking his sword in hand, the gambler prepared for the battle he was sure he wouldn't win. The magical sword he held gave him little comfort compare to the creature before him.

Opening his eyes slowly, Sephiroth lowered his Masamune, keeping Setzer in his deadly gaze. His Mako filled eyes narrowed as he waved his hand over a green jewel embedded within his blade. The stone began to glow brightly, the air began to thicken. Then, the materia's spell went off.

All around the gambler, a storm of lightening engulfed him, his sword adding the draw of the electric current. Setzer's howl couldn't be heard over the deafening lightening. He fell to his knees as the spell subsided, shaking uncontrollably do to the shock to his system. He couldn't believe his luck.

MAGIC? How the hell could he be using magic? The gambler clenched his hand tightly like his teeth, grunting away the pain. The warrior stalked towards the fallen rogue. A hand shot out and the gambler threw what he had in his hand, filthy jungle dirt. The unexpected soldier cried out in pain, blinded by the cheap trick. Taking advantage of the situation, the gambler pulled out a dagger from his boot and sank it deep into the kneecap of his assailant.

Even after the surprised attack and the advantage Setzer had, he knew that holding ground against someone who could use magic was still suicide. Getting to his feet, the rogue ran off to get some distance between him and Sephiroth. Fates, this is not my day. Feet don't fail me now.

Wiping his eyes, the warrior thought Setzer would press the attack but it seemed the gambler was wiser then he gave him credit for. Grasping the dagger by the handle, he yanked it free from his kneecap. Using a different green stone, his flesh began to mend and his eyes began to recover. A quick flick of the wrist sent the dagger flying… right into a tree only inches from Setzer's head.

FATES! The gambler ducked behind one of the multiple trees in the jungle, searching his coat for some twine. The sounds of footfall were coming his way but not in a hurry. The idea that his soon to be killer was in no rush didn't calm his nerves in the slightest. Finally finding the twine, the gambler knelt down and tossed the ball towards an adjacent tree, which wrapped itself around the trunk. Tightening the other end, the trip wire was set.

"Why?" ask the gambler leaping out from behind the tree, throwing three metal, sharp cards at Sephiroth, "why attack me? I did nothing!"

Parrying with ease at the unusual projectiles, the soldier glared at the rogue but did cease his stalk for a moment. Underestimating his opponents has cost him dearly, almost his life. Giving this man before him any reason why he needed to die was pointless but something in him needed to justify this murder.

"I want power, plain and simple. To get that, I need to remove the only threats to me. After you, I will kill each of these 'friends' of yours," Sephiorth said matter-of-factly.

The gambler shook his head. He didn't know where these lunatics kept coming from but he wished they just stay where they crawl out from. Giving the soldier a cocky smile, Setzer held his sword in one hand and waved for Sephiroth to come at him. The desired action came forth, the warrior charged.

Charged and swiped low, snapping the twine in half. The follow through swing hit the gambler but just barely across his right cheek. The blood was warm and the wound was minor but the pain was somehow far worse than the cut. Clenching his teeth down, the gambler swung his own sword, Illumina, at the ungodly creature. The soldier brought Masamune down and there they locked swords.

They stared at each other in spite and hate. Masamune began to glow a fiery red and Illumina flared to life with a bright white illumination. Locked at the sword, Sephiroth looked into the one eye of Setzer, the one not caked in blood and hated everything he saw in that eye. Faith, hope, and a sense of justice. This rogue could have been him, in another time, or another place. This rogue didn't fear death but only because he loved life. At that moment, the soldier pressed harder, thinking about all that he stood for and his 'mother' Jenova.

Setzer returned the stare ten-fold. Threatening him, maybe even being lucky enough to kill him, was one thing but to threaten the life of those he held dear was a big mistake. Looking into the cold eyes of the soldier, he couldn't believe that there was nothing there. Only anger, envy, and a sense of pride. This soldier could have been him, in another time, or another place. This soldier didn't fear death but only because he hated life. At that moment, the gambler fell to his knees, thinking about the only person he cared about above himself, Daryl.

Then Illumina popped out of his hands as a booted foot kicked it out of his grasp. A searing pain exploded in his body as Masamune pierced right through his body. The blade stuck through the left side of his chest and pinned him in the air as the sword dug itself into the ground below him. With his last shot, he whipped a pair of dice that he held in his sleeves at the soldier. Sephiroth smacked them out of his face.

"Dice?" the soldier slowly and venomously said, "that was your final attempt for victory? No matter, why are you still alive?"

One of the dice landed on the ground, coming up a one, the other flew into the trees overhead. The gambler offered a weak smile as an answer. When he was a child, his mother told him that he was different than other kids that his heart was in the right place. What she meant was that his heart was on the right side of his chest cavity, not the left. No reason to tell Sephiroth that.

The die began its descent down the branches of the trees, one by one, flipping in a random direction every turn. Masamune raised above the gambler's head, pointed directly for his exposed neck that he couldn't guard. He was too weak. The die fell right between Setzer's knees, coming up a six.

"Any last words?" asked the soldier.

The gambler smiled gently and sincerely. He nodded his head weakly but as much as his new found excitement could allow. The warrior tilted his head, waiting for the final words. Straining his head, the soldier thought he heard the gambler say something.

"Speak up!"

Setzer smiled up to the soldier. "Final Fantasy."

"Eh?" Sephiroth asked, completely confused.

The wind began to pick up and the force was even too much for the legendary general. Screaming in denial, Sephiroth flew off, being sucked into a portal of unknown origin. He reached out for a branch but it snapped instantly by that force. Howling all the louder, his form began to fold in shape, into a second dimensional being. The soldier could do nothing more then watch the world disappear, through the jungles, through the Falcon's port bow, and into a board game that folded in on itself as the box to the game simply closed.

"Lady Luck, you sure took your time," the gambler snickered out loud. Getting off the ground he examined his injuries. They were nasty but not life threatening. Nodding, he began to limp back to the Falcon where he kept his tonics. A smile crossed his face, regardless of the pain. Thank you Daryl. It seems our Final Fantasy game is over.