Chapter 34: The Final Battle

(The Highwind comes to rest at a low hover, docked just outside the North Crater. A crewman marches to the railing and unrolls a rope ladder over the side, offering passage down into Ganondorf's lair.)

Link: I can't believe how much this crater has changed...

Yuffie: Yeah... where'd that big 'ol tower come from?

Tifa: Good question. It wasn't here the last time we were here.

Link: You can thank Hojo for that... Ganon's Tower, huh... It doesn't matter, we can't fail.

Cait Sith: But I ain't gonna forget, no matter what happens. Not about this here trip, or them folks- none of it!

Red XIII: I am Nanaki, son of Seto... I am afraid of nothing... It's all right, all right. I'm Nanaki, the son of brave Seto... I'm not afraid of Sephiroth...

Vincent: Link... Let's get going to that tower! The time for flying is now past. Our battlefield is now beneath the earth... The gate to tomorrow is not the light of heaven, but the darkness of the depths of the earth...

Barret: Heh heh... heh heh heh... Time's got a way of sneakin' up on ya, huh? I'm shakin' all over... Heh heh... I feel sick...

Tifa: Hey, Link... Would you tell me 'It's all right'?

(Link fixes his hat and strikes a pose.)

Link: Everything will be alright Tifa, I will protect you.

(He nods. Tifa claps her hands happily.)

Tifa: Now I feel like things are really going to be all right. Thanks, Link.

Cid: You ever see the play 'LOVELESS'?

Link: Never heard of it.

Cid: Yeah, I figured someone like you wouldn't be much on plays. Anyway, They've been doin' that play every summer since I was a kid. An' I remember seein' it just once... That was when I was in Midgar interviewing to be a pilot. I had some free time and thought I'd catch the play. Now, I'm no big fan of the theater or anything. But this thing put me to sleep, just like I thought it would. Finally during the last scene, the guy next to me woke me up tellin' me my snorin' was too loud. So about all I really remember of that play is the end... The sister of the lead asks her lover,

(He gestures dramatically)

Cid: Do you really have to leave? (He shakes his head) And the guy says, (He gestures again) I promised. The people I love are waiting. (He shakes his head) ...I don't understand. Not at all. But... please take care of yourself.

(He nods)

Cid: Of course... I'll come back to you. Even if you don't promise to wait. I'll return knowing that you'll be here.

(He turns away and taps his foot.)

Cid: I remember thinking when I heard those lines, *&%! What the hell's he talkin' about? But, you know... now I'm not so sure... I think I understand...

(The team climbs down the rope ladder and into the North Crater. A ways away from the Highwind, they reach a steep drop off down into the depths of the cave.)

Link: Looks like we can only slide down. Alright, let's go!

(The team descends into the crater. Sections of the wall fall away inches from their feet as they continue toward the eerie green glow at the bottom. Traversing a long, complex series of platforms and tunnels, they reach a large cavern where the path splits two ways. Everyone gathers there.)

Link: Since the paths split into two, we need to divide up into separate teams.

Cid: Which you gonna choose, Link?

Link: Alright... Tifa, Vincent, Cid, you're with me.

Tifa: Right, let's go.

Vincent: Then, let us go...

Cid: All right! I'm headin'...

(Link looks around at all the others.)

Link: Now don't any of you die on me. ...Gotta get through to Ganon!

Vincent: It's all over now. With this...

Yuffie: Oh man... 'Materia Hunter Yuffie' sounds like the last chapter of 'Materia Forever.'

Red XIII: All life on this planet, indeed the very life of this planet is in our hands...

Cait Sith: I'm so happy to have met you all, really! ...sniff...

Barret: Well... Looks like this is our last big job!

(The two teams go their separate ways.)

Link: This is the end for you Ganondorf!

(Link and his team continue along their chosen path, through a series of platforms, and a deep cave, until they came to another crater deep inside. Golden mist wafts upward from a green glow at the bottom. A series of suspended stone platforms form a path down to the bottom at the entrance from Ganon's new tower. The party approaches them.)

Barret: Yo, we're a bit late?

(Barret appears from another path. He leaps down to join the others. The entire team is gathered at the lip of the final crater in the North Cave. Link stares down into the bright glow at the top of Ganon's Tower.)

Link: This is the center of the Planet...

(He speaks to each of the other party members.)

Cid: Let's just get this over with!

Tifa: This is it.

Barret: Here, Link.

(He hands Link a Guard Source.)

Red XIII: Link, I found this...

(He gives Cloud a Mind Source.)

Cait Sith: Hey Link, I found this.

(He gives Link an Elixir.)

Yuffie: ...Wh... what?

Barret: Oh yeah, Yuffie, didn't you find somethin'?

(She shakes her head.)

Yuffie: Oh, all right. Here, Link.

(She gives Link a Last Elixir.)

Yuffie: But I'm the one who found it, so you better give it back to me when you're done with it!

Barret: Awright, this's the last dance!

Red XIII: We finally made it here.

Cait Sith: Well, shall we get goin'?

Vincent: Hmm... Being with you all is not so bad.

(Link prepares to follow the path of stone platforms down into the crater.)

Link: All right, everyone, let's get going.

Cid: Damn! Again! Stop sayin' it like a wimp! Can't you say 'Move out!' or somethin'?"

(Link rubs the back of his head, then vehemently gestures with his fist.)

Link: Lock an' load!

(The sound of roaring monsters comes from above.)

Barret: What?

(The party looks skyward)

Red XIII: Look at the number...

(They assume fighting stances.)

Cid: %#^! They're comin' out in force!

Barret: Link! You go first!

(Link shakes his head quickly)

Link: I told you I ain't runnin'. I'll fight here with you!

Barret: Shu'up! It won't do us no good wit' everyone back here!

Cid : Barret's right. You take two of us with you and go first. The rest'll catch up with ya later.

Tifa: Is this like a practice run before the real thing?

Cait Sith: Yeah, a major practice run...

(Yuffie does a little fighting-dance.)

Yuffie: Heh heh, I'm fine with that. 'It's probably more fun than fighting Ganon down there'.

Vincent: Hmm, this might be fun to pass time.

(A pause. The monsters' roar above suddenly sounds, closer.)

Red XIII: They're coming! They're already on the floor next to us!

(A deafening roar.)

Barret: Link! Hurry up and make up your mind!

Link: All of you! Alright...

(They turn to look. Link waves.)

Link: See ya on the flip side!

(A pause. The monsters sound closer than ever.)

Barret: Yeah, later.

(Link descends into the crater. Leaping from one stone platform to another and fighting massive enemies along the way, finally arriving at the bottom. He arrives on a strange crystalline platform seemingly made up of cubes and triangles leading to the upper stories of the Tower. The green mist howls along the edges.)

Link: Where are we?

(They hear an inhuman howl.)

Tifa: What!

(Jenova, a serpentine woman from the waist up and a huge skull from the waist down, appears from the mist.)

Link: is that... Jenova?

(They assume fighting stances as Jenova-Re-dead-SYNTHESIS rushes toward them. They quickly dispatch it. After the battle, the cubes and pillars that make up the platform begin to break up, rocketing skyward past the party with Link and his team on it. As the last of the platform disintegrates, the party falls down toward the green glow, absorbed in it, landing on the top floor of Ganon's Tower. Link falls in slow-motion through blackness. The only light is from a glowing white sphere in the center of the tower floor. It pulsates with energy as though it were a beating heart. Link continues to fall toward it.)

Link: Li...ght... A light... Is this... Is this light... Holy?

(He falls into the light. The Tower falls into the core of the Planet. In the undulating green glow is a round, red stone structure. It forms tendrils, almost but not quite concealing what is inside- a pulsating white sphere. The structure is surrounded by many smaller stone platforms. The entire party rests unconscious on these. After a moment, Barret stands.)

Barret: Oww... damn, man!

(Link gets to his feet.)

Link: Barret!

(The rest of the party comes to.)

Barret: What...? So everyone's together again...?

(Suddenly, a ring of white fire shoots from the center of the sphere. The party is levitated, struggling, into the air.)

Everyone: Uuuugh...!

(Ganondorf's face flashes in the fire a for a split second. An eerie dark theme begins to resound as he vanishes, only to reappear, materializing from the center of the sphere.)

Link: (Dramatically drawing the Ultima Buster) Ganondorf!

(Another ring of white fire emanates from the sphere, driving the party further from Ganon.)

Barret: Ugh...! Is this... the true power of Ganon?

Cid: My... my body... I can't control my body... Uuugh!

(Ganon draws the party nearer with his mental powers, only to torment them with another fire ring.)

Red XIII: My front legs... my hind legs... my tail's about to tear off!

Cait Sith: This is definitely not good... He's way outta our league...

Yuffie: I, I don't know if I can... go on...

(The area flashes and the party spins in the air like toys.)

Tifa: Link... Link...

Link: Urrgggh... (Again.) ...there... It's... there...

Tifa: Link...?

(Again.)

Link:...Holy... Holy... is there... Holy is shining... Aeris's prayer is shining...!

Tifa : Holy... Aeris...

(Again.)

Link: It's not over... NOT YET! This fight has ONLY BEGUN!

(Link assembles his party and prepares for the final battle. Ganon unleashes a final fire ring that drives away everyone who is not with Link.)

Tifa: ...We're not gonna lose!

(She floats up above Ganon.)

Tifa: Aeris is here... everyone is here... Link is here with us! There's still many things for us to do... I'm not giving up!

(Cid floats up alongside Tifa.)

Cid: Hoo-ok...! I can't be foolin' around in the bottom of this hell hole... I still have lots of stuff to do with my life!

(Link floats directly in front of Ganondorf. The Ultima Buster hefted and leaning on his his Shoulder.)

Link: Aeris's memories... Our memories... My memories of Hyrule. We came... to tell you... our memories... Come Planet! Show us your answer! Ganon! You will fall HERE AND NOW!

Ganondorf: GAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... COME FOOLS! SHOW ME WHAT YOU'VE GOT!

(The area flashes. The rock structure and green haze begin to waver, undulate, and finally collapse in on themselves, leaving the party and Ganon suspended in darkness. Ganon draws the party in to him and transforms.)

Link: (charging his sword with the power of Twilight) GANON!

(As Bizarro Ganon goes down, he transforms again. The battlefield fades to black, then reappears as a spinning, wavering backdrop of bright purple clouds.)

Ganondorf: MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Fine, Come to me Sephiroth! Jenova, GIVE ME POWER!

(Ganondorf shows himself as he descends from the heavens. He is Seraph Ganon. The final opponent. The One-Winged Angel. An unseen, heavenly choir begins to chant ominously, resounding a heavy metal Gerudo Valley theme as the ultimate battle for the Planet commences)

Noli manere, manare in memoria

Noli manere, manare in memoria

Ganondorf, Sephiroth

Saevam iram, iram et dolorem

Saevam iram, iram et dolorem

Ganondorf, Sephiroth

Ferum terrible, ferum fatum

Noli manare, manere in memoria

Noli manare, manere in memoria

Ganondorf, Sephiroth

Mi fili, veni, veni, veni, mi fili

Mi fili, veni, veni, veni, mi fili

Mi fili, veni, veni, veni, mi fili

Mi fili, veni, veni, veni, mi fili

Mi fili, veni, veni, veni, mi fili

(Qui mortem invitavis)

Mi fili, veni, veni, veni, mi fili

(Poena funesta natus)

Mi fili, veni, veni, veni, mi fili

(Noli nomen vocare)

Mi fili, veni, veni, veni, mi fili

(Ille iterum veniet)

Sephiroth, Sephiroth ….Ganondorf!

(As the team has Ganon's attention, Link charges in, jumping high into the air, using his high impact Triforce Smasher to deliver the final blow to Seraph Ganon. With a great flash of light, his body begins to break apart. Rays of light emanate from his body as he disintegrates into tiny particles that are absorbed into the purple clouds behind, above, everywhere. Ganondorf had finally fallen. Link falls to the ground, exhausted, Tifa comes running over to him.)

Tifa: Link! You did it

Link: (slowly sits up) 'panting' No … WE did it!

(Everyone gathers near the stone pathway at the lip of the final crater. All are exhausted from the stress of the journey; Barret leans against the far wall, Yuffie lies panting on the ground; Cait Sith is drooped over his stuffed moogle; Red XIII rests, his head on his paws; Vincent stands in his usual Vincent pose, arms crossed, distant; Cid sits, leaning forward, dozing. Link gazes down into the green glow of the crater. Tifa stands behind him, watching him.)

Link: It's all we could do...

(He looks up. Barret stands.)

Barret: Wait! What about Holy? What's gonna happen to the Planet?

(Link turns to look at him. He shakes his head.)

Link: Don't really know, but that's for the planet to decide.

Tifa: ...You're right. We've done all that we could do.

(Link looks at her for a moment, then looks around at the others.)

Link: All right, guys. It's no use thinking about it. We'll leave all our worries here.

(He raises one fist.)

Link: Let's go home, proud of what we were able to accomplish.

(He lowers it. The others all rise wearily and begin to trudge back to the exit of the crater. Link and Tifa walk together for a few steps when the area flashes white. Link stops in his tracks. Tifa turns.)

Tifa: What happened?

(He lowers his head.)

Link: I can feel it...

Tifa: What...

(The area goes white, longer this time, with the sound of rushing wind. Link shakes his head.)

Link: 'Him' … He's still here!

(Again. Link falls to the ground, clutching his head, the shadows again trying to over take the twilight in his body.)

Link: Still...

(The area goes white.)

Tifa: Link?

(It fades. Link is in tremors, still tightly clutching his head.)

Link: He's... laughing...

(The shadows rise out of his body, and float away into the distance. The area goes white once more.)

Tifa: Link?

(Link soars headfirst through a strange tunnel. The very air moves out of his way as he shoots faster and faster. The walls of the tunnel seem to be intangible; made up of air or steam or thoughts. Link can almost glimpse past memories as he travels; for split-seconds he hears the sweet sounds of Saria's Song or the heavy metal cords of an electric guitar of Gerudo Valley. The tunnel ends and Link floats through a vast black space; bright blue tendrils of whatever untouchable stuff this world is made of waft past. He enters another tunnel, this one of stone, then water, then air. As the tunnel ends, Link opens his eyes, no longer in his green and black battle suit, but in his traditional hunter green tunic and sees exactly who he had expected. Ganondorf. He narrows his eyes and prepares to square off against his archenemy in the depths of his subconscious.)

Link: You just wont give up, will you?

Ganondorf: (Lifts his fists, showing the glowing Triforce of power) Ahahahahahaha, You won't get rid of me that easily! NOW DIE WORM!

(Ganon and Link face off. Link, leaning forward, his sword-gripped tight with anticipation. Ganon, shirtless, holding Sephiroth's Masamune at eye level, catlike. They stare down each other, their eyes filled with hate, and their swords at the ready. Link's inner energy steadily climbs until his Limit is prepared. He leaps into the air and summons a Limit he hadn't known up to this point- the Twilight-Shredder. Ganon barely moves as Link comes screaming down at him, his sword dealing five, ten, fifty, then a hundred blows, twilit-fire burning behind each and every hit. With one final stroke, Link leaps back into the air, gathering energy. Light then streams into the sword, reaching a pinpoint, and Link brings it down. Ganon stumbles, Shadow and darkness emanating form his forehead crystal, he then falls to his knees. His piercing, hateful eyes continue to stare at Link as his body slowly dissipates into nothingness.)

Link: 'breathing hard' Now... You're finished!

(Ganondorf, bloodied, a expression of shock and horror on his face, rises, flailing, into the air. Rays of white light emanate from his body, increasing in intensity for a few moments before he disappears, somewhat anticlimactically, in a small shower of shadowy embers. Link watches onward as his rival vanishes, panting from the intensity of the battle, a slight smile of victory on his face. His attention is abruptly removed from the now empty air to the area around his feet. Green tendrils and droplets of lively energy snake upwards around his body as he watches with wonder, raising his hands in an attempt to touch the intangible green. A second presence, a imp-like twilit being, joins the green as they coil themselves around Link, the only light to be seen in the darkness. They bring more and more of themselves reeling inwards, forming a tight sphere of brightness around him before they dissipate, leaving only streams of green weaving into a column around him. Link watches them as they waft upward.)

Link: Where...? Is this ...Hyrule?

(They too float lazily outward, dissipating, leaving only green spheres, dancing around Link. The air above, around him, in him, takes on a bright green-white glow. Zelda's Lullaby begins resound softly out of nowhere. Link gazes upward, the green dots still bouncing happily. He raises his hand to meet that above him. Suddenly the green light begins to pour down around Link from above, a perfect column until it washes out along the ground at his feet, as if it were solid. One fragile, graceful hand reaches down from amidst the source of the light, toward Link's hand, Link smiles broadly in his joy, at last united with with his family from Hyrule, Midna and Zelda. Tifa stretches her hand toward Link, perched on a narrow ledge on the wall of the Northern Crater. Massive boulders and debris crumble from the walls around her as the Northern Crater begins its collapse. She is too far away. Link falls. He snaps to his senses as the tiny rock ledge he is balanced on slips further, cracking beneath his feet, inches from tumbling to the green Mako ocean at the bottom of the crater. Tifa falls. Her platform crumbles away, sending her plummeting headfirst towards the sea of green. With lightning speed, Link rushes toward the wall of the crater, his feet somehow finding the tiniest footholds, leaps toward the crater wall, catches Tifa by the waist as she falls past, and grabs a handhold at the lip of a larger rock ledge, leaving him dangling precariously by one hand, Tifa held tightly by his side.)

Link: I think I get it now...

(Tifa looks up at him.)

Tifa: What?

(She holds on tighter and leans her head against his chest.)

Link: What the planet wants to tell me... I think I can meet them... again.

(Tifa looks up at him, then closes her eyes and leans her head back down.)

Tifa: Yeah, let's go meet them... in Hyrule.

(Link begins to pull the two of them up to the ledge. The Mako pool begins to glow white, shifting colors. Link and Tifa make their way up and sit down. Link looks at her.)

Link: Hey, where is everybody?

(Tifa and Link look down to see Cait Sith, Barret, Cid, and Red reclining on another ledge across the crater. Barret looks up and waves.)

Barret: Heeeey!

(Tifa happily waves to them.)

Tifa: I'm glad you're all safe!

(Barret looks at Cid.)

Barret: They all seem to be safe, too. But... now what're we going to do?

(He looks out across the crater. Red rises to his feet.)

Red XIII: Holy should be moving soon, and that means this place will...

(Cid stands and looks up out of the crater.)

Cid: Oh, Lady Luck don't fail me now...

(He gapes and his cigarette falls from his mouth. Link and Tifa, then the rest of the party follow suit and look up to see the Highwind come crashing down. It shoots nose-first into the crater, crashing into the walls and dislodging more rocks and debris before finally coming to a stop, wedged between the stone walls, the bikini-clad woman painted on the side still winking and smiling vacuously.)

Link: Hehehe.. hahahaha... Well, ask and you will receive, Cid!

(Later, everyone enters the highwind. The Mako inside glows, grows, and explodes from the crater, sending a circle of energy outwards as it blasts skyward in a perfect white column. The force of the explosion propels the Highwind out of the crater, spinning wildly. The camera moves to the deck to show the party as they slide this way and that and struggle to hold on to the railing as the ship flips in the air. Cid catches hold of a steel pipe bolted to the floor.)

Cid: Shit!

(He pulls himself up and stretches to reach a lever marked 'Emergency.' He pulls it and the Highwind transforms again into a sleek craft resembling a jet plane more than a blimp. With the extra control, the ship rolls out of the Mako explosion and screams off toward the horizon.)

Link: That was too close for comfort!

Barret: Yeah, no kiddin'!

The view is blocked by fog, suddenly receding to reveal a birds-eye view of Kalm village continuing downward, swinging to show the lone window in the tower, the tallest building in the city, the shutters closed. Inside the that room, Marlene is seated at a small table. The table is clear except for a single mug and Marlene's hands. She stares at them, twisting them in worry. Suddenly, she looks up.

Marlene: The flower girl?

She turns and looks inquisitively at the shutters. She rises and swings them open to see red fire consuming the world. Meteor hangs low in the sky. It has almost reached the earth, so close that its fire is beginning to scorch the land. In Midgar, Meteor slowly falls as tornadoes of flame begin to touch down. They sweep through the city, mercilessly smashing massive metal structures like so many straws. Shinra headquarters is no exception. The columns of fire cut swaths of destruction through the metropolis, razing filthy slums and upper-class residential zones alike. Holy comes. At first merely a white pinpoint in the distance, then growing, accelerating toward Meteor, a mighty wave of white magic. It rushes in between Meteor and Midgar, clipping the tip of what used to be Shinra headquarters. Marlene, still watching from the window in Kalm, squints and holds up a hand to the blinding white light. Even in Bugenhagen's observatory, Meteor and Holy appear so huge as to be visible even from here, the other side of the world.

The scene moves back to above Midgar. Meteor continues its slow, slow descent toward land. As it reaches Holy, dots of ember and tongues of flame lick upwards along its red-hot surface and Holy glows pink around its edges rather than white. On the ground outside Midgar, looking up at Holy, from the remnants of homes and buildings below A red spot forms on Holy's underside as Meteor brushes it. Then, all of Holy begins to burn red and a huge, perfectly round hole opens above Midgar. Its diameter is exactly the same as that of the city. The air begins to burn red and the last framework of Shinra HQ begins to explode as Meteor's wrath pours through.

(The Highwind continues to circle at a safe distance from Midgar. The party, assembled on the bridge, watches the

destruction through the bay window. Link and Tifa stand together near the panel. Barret comes over to stand behind them.)

Barret: Wait a damn minute! (He looks over at the rest of the group.) What's going to happen to Midgar?

(He slams his fist down.)

Barret: We can't let that happen!

(Cait Sith begins to gesture frantically.)

Cait Sith: I had everyone take refuge in the slums, (He looks down at the floor, shaking his head.) but the way things are now...

(He wipes a tear with the back of one of his white cartoon gloves. Red comes forward, the red fire below further reddening his coat.)

Red XIII: It's too late for Holy. Meteor is approaching the Planet.

(Meanwhile Meteor and Holy are still decimating Midgar.)

Link: Holy is having the opposite effect.

Red XIII: Forget Midgar, we've gotta worry about the Planet.

(The Highwind continues to circle. Cid is working frantically at the control panel, Link is sitting on the railing in front of the window, his back to the destruction outside, as Tifa continues to watch fearfully. Link looks at her. Her eyes widen in surprise.)

Tifa: What's that!

(Suddenly in the mountainous area of the eastern continent. A tiny pinprick of green light is visible in one dark moor. The green light grows and one bright tendril of the Lifestream worms its way out from the ground. A large hole opens in the ground around the stream, revealing the Lifestream boiling just below the surface, one thread escaping into the air. In another location in the mountains. Another strand of the Lifestream is emanating from the ground curving gracefully in Midgar's direction. It shifts again. Two more. They grow. Then three. Then four. Then five. Back on the bridge of the Highwind. Link, Tifa, and Barret are gripping the railing at the very front, watching with wonder as more and more arms of green burrow out from the ground.)

Barret: What the hell IS that...

(Link holds an empty expression on his face.)

Link: ...Lifestream.

(The Lifestream emanates in three more spots, twisting together as they move along the ground. In Kalm. a light comes on in one window, then another opens, and another. Within moments, every soul in Kalm is leaning out one window or another, watching silently. Marlene leans on the highest windowsill in the town, her eyes wide, but expressionless.)

Marlene: It's coming.

The Lifestream continues to rush from the earth. It is streaming from nearly every spot on the ground now, turning the earth into a massive pool of green. Midgar continues to crumble. A tidal wave of green closes in on the city, arms of Lifestream swaying and undulating gracefully, marching along. The air is nearly a solid mass of green. Up, past Meteor, chunks still dislodged from its surface from its encounter with Shinra No. 26 become viewable. The entire continent spews Lifestream from every crack and pore, a thousand-mile-wide net of green light covering everything, closing in on Midgar, Holy, and Meteor. Barret. Red XIII. Cait Sith. Cid. Marlene. Tifa. Link. All squeeze their eyes shut from the sheer power of the blinding green-white light. The Lifestream surrounds Meteor, adhering to it, dissolving it. The world was now safe. The new Hero of Twilight had fulfilled his promise.

2 years later...

Tifa: Link, Hurry up! Everyone's waiting for us at Cosmo Canyon!

Young Cloud: Yeah, dad! Hurry! Don't wanna keep Uncle Barret waiting.

Young Zelda: Daddy, Come on..!

Link: Ok, ok, I'm coming. This sword isn't as light as you think.

Tifa: Hee hee, that's only an excuse!

(The children laugh, then run into the other room dragging Link out by the arms.)

Link: Whoa!

Tifa: Now let's go!