The Game by Chris S. Horn
A Final Fantasy
FanFic staring characters from
Cecil Harvey looked up from the throne of the kingdom Baron. He could have sworn he had heard something. There, dancing in front of him, was a girl, barely in her 20's laughing peacefully. And she was transparent.
"What in the...?" said a guard. "Is anyone else seeing this?"
"Seeing whaaa..." Said Rosa, looking up. The girl continued to dance around merrily, like some sort of remnant of the past. "What's going on here? Who is that?" queried Rosa.
"I don't know," said Cecil. "But I'm gonna find out." Cecil then promptly got out of his throne and walked toward the girl. When Cecil was directly in front of the girl, she stopped, looked at him, giggled, and then vanished. Cecil looked around dazed for a moment before saying, "What's going on?"
Edgar Roni Figaro worked quietly at his desk. He heard a knock at the door.
"Who is it?"
"It's me. Sabin. Can I come in for a minute?"
"Yeah, the doors open."
Edgar was used to mid-day visits from his brother, Sabin Rene Figaro, so he saw nothing strange with the situation. Until he saw the look on Sabin's face.
"What's wrong?" Asked King Edgar.
"Well," replied Sabin, "I know this is going to sound stupid, but... There have been some reports of... um..."
"Get it out..."
"Well, there's been reports of... 'Ghost Sightings'."
"Ghost Sightings? What kind of ghost?"
"Everybody is reporting the same thing. An old man. Very old. Seems to be holding some kind of tool..."
"Like something nobody's ever seen before." Sabin looked a little flustered. Ever since he was little, he could remember always feeling like he knew at least a little about what was going on. Now he was completely stumped. "Like something Dad would have had... Only a lot more futuristic..."
"Well, we can't go around chasing Ghosts all day..."
"Edgar, if you tell me that you don't believe in ghosts, I'm gonna have to kill you. Ghosts exist, believe you me. Remember? I was stuck on a train full of 'em."
Just then, a blinding light filled the room. And then, it was over. But it left a man, in his left hand was a gadget that neither brother recognized. In his right, a screwdriver. He looked the brothers over, then nodded, disapprovingly. Then the light returned again, and he was gone, not without saying something first. "C... R... O... N... O..."
"Crono?" Edgar said. "What in the bloody crap is a Crono?"
Crono walked through Leene Square with his friends, Marle and Lucca.
"...And that's when Mom came back with the cat."
"I love that story, Crono!" squealed Marle, in her best quasi-believable voice. From behind Marle's head, Crono could see Lucca miming a gag.
"Well, Crono, that was a lovely story. I liked it almost as much as I did the first time. And the second. And just about every consecutive time." Said Lucca.
"Well, I wouldn't tell it if it wasn't constantly requested..." Marle looked over at Lucca and gave an evil smile. But Lucca wasn't looking at Marle. She was looking at the ground behind her. And then her jaw dropped down to somewhere around her ankles.
"What in the world?" said Lucca, walking past her friends. There was a semi-transparent old man, with a thick white mustache and beard. He sported a long purplish robe, and looked at Lucca square in the face.
"Look harder." He said. Lucca strained, but didn't see anything. "Harder..." he pushed. "You'll see it..." He vanished in front of Lucca, and Crono and Marle, who were now also looking, and behind him, they saw... Nothing.
"That's it! That's what he was telling us to look for! I can't believe I never saw that before!" screamed Lucca, running to the spot where he once stood.
"What? I don't see anything." Said Marle, going to the spot Lucca was so intently staring at.
"Well, of course you wouldn't! You're not wearing my SuperSightGlasses! I've never seen anything of this power!"
"What is it?" Said Crono, now approaching the spot the ladies stood at.
"It's an incredible source of power! It's very similar to the gates, in the sense that it seems to lead somewhere, but the power it's letting off is SO MUCH greater than the gates', that it hardly compares."
"You say it leads somewhere..." said Crono. "Can we find out where?"
"Not without going in. And I'm not even sure that we could go in. If I modified the Gate key, we'd probably break through, but there's no way to find out if we wouldn't be shredded by the power."
"I think we should try." Said Marle. "Don't you think so, Crono?"
"Um... Yeah. Why not? We survived the original gates, why shouldn't we survive these? Lucca, enhance the gate key, and tell us as soon as you think you've got it."
"Right. Just one more thing. Who was that old man?"
Butz sat solemnly at the table across from Leena, playing with his fork.
"I just don't get It." he said.
"Don't worry, Butz." said Leena. "Someday you'll get in there. It's just that, no one is really familiar with you yet. When you come to America, later this year, I'm sure everyone will love you."
"You really think so?"
"Yeah you'll be in fanfics left and right."
"Wow! Thanks, Leena!"
Cloud walked up to the front of the church. He had, of course, expected Barret and Tifa, but not this. Everyone was there. Barret, Tifa, Reeve and his mechanical cat, Cait Sith, Cid, Red XIII, Vincent, even Yuffie.
"Thanks, everybody. It means a lot to me."
"Don't worry, Cloud." said Tifa. "It means a lot to us, too. Aeris was a friend to all of us. Do you really think we could forget the anniversary of her... passing?"
"No. I know I couldn't. Well, are we ready?"
"We're ready if you are." said Cid.
"Let's go in."
They opened the door to the church slowly. On cold days like this one, Cloud sometimes thought he saw Aeris' ghost standing above the flowers when he entered the church. He didn't today. What he did see was a large warrior standing on the flowers. Cloud's first thought was that he had ruined Aeris' flowers. That thought was destroyed when Cloud looked down at them, and saw that they were, indeed, growing through his feet. In fact, the man seemed to be completely transparent.
"What in the hell?" said Barret, putting all of their reactions into words.
"Do you know Terra?" asked the man. "I've been looking desperately for her. I haven't found her anywhere."
"Terra?" asked Reeve.
"Yes. Terra Branford. Do you know her?"
"No... I've never heard of a Terra Branford." said Tifa. "Have any of you?" General nods came from around the group.
"Oh." was all he said. Then, he vanished.
"What in the hell?" Barret repeated, putting all of their reactions into words.
Edgar was seated at the head of the table in the meeting hall of the Returners. This had been their first meeting since the defeat of Kefka, four years ago. Everyone was a little confused when they heard there would be a meeting, but they weren't going to argue. If nothing else, it gave them a chance to see old friends.
"Order, Order!" said Edgar. Immediately, everyone was hushed. "Now, I know that this was unexpected. Frankly, I didn't expect a meeting this weekend either. However, a situation has come up that I believe requires our attention. There seems to be a ghost haunting Figaro castle."
"A ghost?" said Mog. "Is this some kind of joke? What do you take us for, anyway?"
"You do not believe in Ghosts, my good Moogle friend?" said Cyan. "Well, I've met some ghosts, in a forest long ago. And if I'm not mistaken, they didn't believe in Moogles." As usual, no one laughed at Cyan's futile attempt at humor.
"This is serious, everyone." said Edgar. "Sabin and I can both vouch for the ghosts existence. We've both seen it. And... heard it."
"Heard it?" said Locke. "What exactly did it say?"
"I believe it said, 'Crono.'" Sabin replied for Edgar.
"Crono?" asked Celes. "Like, as in time?"
"I guess," said Edgar, "but I seriously think this needs our attention. I think we should all go to Figaro and check it out."
"You mean," said Setzer, "it wont come to us?"
Then, as if on cue, the blinding light cluttered the small cavern in the Sabil Mountain range, and, out of no where, came the ghost. He said in his almost mystical voice, "You wish to see me?"
"You're willing to talk to us?" asked Terra, spellbound by the ghosts presence.
"Yes. Definitely. What do you want to talk about?" replied the ghost.
"Well," said Locke, "why are you here, Mr.... What is your name?"
"I am known as Balthasar. I am an inventor. I am here to try to get the attention of a young boy named Crono, who I trust. You see, the world is in great peril, and I must tell him of it."
Edgar looked as if a light bulb had suddenly grown over his head. "You mean, Crono is a person? Maybe we can help you find him. What city does he live in? Narshe? Figaro? Nikeah? Don't tell me its Doma..." Cyan shot him a look that could have melted a small shield.
"No," said Balthasar. "I've never heard of any of those cities. He's from a village called Truce."
"Truce?" said Strago, startlingly fast. "I don't suppose that I've ever heard of that town... Nope. Never heard of it. Uh-uh. Nope."
"Strago," said Terra, "you're lying. Tell us all you know."
"Was it that obvious? Well, I guess it couldn't hurt anybody, anymore... Okay, I'll tell you all about the event known as the 'Thamasa Encounter'. You see, one of the Empire's head scientists had heard a rumor about Thamasa's 'Magical powers.' Well, he thought that he could combine the technology under his command and the magic under our command, and make some kind of airship. Well, when it was completed, he took three towns folk on the maiden voyage with him, as crew. One was the Town Elder, one was my friend Gung-Ho, and the other was me. When the crazy contraption finally got started, it shot out these beams of light. They caused what the man called a 'temporal vortex' to appear ahead of us. When we came out of it, we were in a village called 'Truce.' It was a small village, not very much to do. There was a forest, and on the other side, was a large majestic castle. The scientist took some readings of the air and soil, and then pushed us back in the ship, and we took off. When we got back to Thamasa, the man asked us to help him destroy the vessel. As we did it, he told us to never tell anyone about that voyage. I don't suppose it would hurt now. He was quite a few years older than I was, and I imagine he would've kicked the bucket by now. So, that's my story."
"And no one's ever heard of this?" said Edgar. "I find that a little hard to believe."
"I don't." said Balthasar. "Not only did he hit the details of Truce Castle on the nose, but there was also a temporal disturbance close to Truce Village in 975 AD. That was 27 years ago, wasn't it, old man?"
"Old? Look at yourself!" replied Strago. "But, yeah. It was EXACTLY 27 years ago."
"Do you know how he made that ship?" said Balthasar.
"Well, yeah, I know what he did. I don't know exactly how he did it though..."
"I think I could improvise. I'm pretty good at making warp ships myself."
"Warp ships?" asked Setzer.
"Yes. They are ships that can travel to places unattainable by man himself. The warp ship this kind old man mentioned was a 'dimension ship.' It has the capability to warp between dimensions. The one I made, during my time, was a 'time ship.' It has the ability to transcend through time."
"So, why should we have to make one?" asked Edgar.
"Well, if I'm not mistaken, a ghost of your own dimension is probably in my dimension, trying to warn you of the same crisis that I'm trying to warn Crono of."
"How would we get to work on it?" asked Setzer.
"Simple. Using this elderly gentleman's memory."
"Elderly..." Strago muttered under his breath. "Well, if we really want to get to work on it, according to my memory, we were in Thamasa. And I think that was one of the important aspects. I think we should move to Thamasa."
"Good." said Balthasar. "To Thamasa then. What would we take to get over there?"
"My airship." said Setzer, immediately. "You can fill us in with any 'exciting' details on the way."
"A ghost?" started Kain. "You're trying to tell me that there was a ghost here? Who do you take me for? Rydia?"
"Hey!" replied Rydia. "I just think that we shouldn't discount Cecil's opinion immediately. I mean, he's never steered us wrong before."
"Well, I saw it too." said Rosa. "I'm not sure if it was a ghost, but if it wasn't, it was some sort of other transparent creature surrounded by flowers."
"Surrounded by flowers?" asked Cecil. "I didn't see any flowers."
"Well, you just about stepped in them. They were all around her feet. Maybe she was a gardener or something..."
"Or maybe all of you are just going bloody psycho." interjected Kain. "This is stupid. We're actually considering a ghost hunt."
"What's so stupid about it, Mr. Bigshot?" said someone behind Kain.
"Bigshot?" Kain screamed, turning around in his chair. "I'll show you..." When he turned all the way around he saw behind him... the wall. Well, not exactly the wall. Actually, he saw through a young girl, to the wall.
"Who are you!" said Cecil. It was more of a command than a question. Cecil was used to command situations, and tended to lose his temper when he lost control.
"Well," replied the 'ghost.' "my name is Aeris Gainsborough. I've been 'sent back' to tell a man named Cloud that the world is in danger. He's the only one who can save it. Perhaps you've heard of him. His name was Cloud Strife. He lived in Kalm, last time I checked."
"Kalm?" said Edge. "I've never heard of a village named Kalm."
"That means that the old man was right. He told me that if I tried to travel back, that the interference of the structural rift would cause me to catapult into the wrong dimension."
"Old man? Which old man?" asked Rydia.
"I don't know. He never told me his name. Anyway, I have to find a way to get to my rightful dimension."
"Why?" asked Cecil. "Couldn't we help you?"
"Well, thanks for the proposal, but I'm afraid not. You see, I don't know how to fix it from here. If I were in my dimension, I could guide you to it, but I couldn't here. I'm sorry."
"So, how do we get you back to your 'dimension'?" asked Kain.
"I don't know." replied Aeris. "I truly don't know. Maybe a path will just open up right in front of us..."
Lucca looked up from her bench. "I've got it!" she screamed. She held up the Gate Key Version II for Crono and Marle to see.
"Thats it?" said Marle. "It doesnt look that much different from the first one "
"Well, it is." Said Lucca in defense. "And I would thank you not to criticize it. Ive spent the last six hours working on this so that we can go gallivanting into certain doom. Again. And all I get is criticism. Well, maybe I should just take it apart and "
"No, Lucca. This looks fine." Said Marle, suddenly feeling guilty. "The question is: Will it work?"
"Of course it will work." Said Lucca, once again defending her work. "Who do you think youre dealing with?"
"Well then," said Crono, "maybe we should go and try it out."
"Good. Lets do that. Then maybe SOMEONE will stop harassing me about my good work." Said Lucca, as she went to go get her gun.
"Do you really think well need that?" asked Crono.
"Well, when you went through that first time gate, werent you attacked by imps?" replied Lucca.
"Okay, youve proved youre point." Admitted Crono. "Marle, I think we should go get our weapons, too."
Crono and Marle waited patiently for Lucca to try to apply the new Gate Key.
"Are you done yet?" asked Marle, impatiently.
"Yeah, I think so. Hold on a minute." Replied Lucca. Just then, a bolt of energy swung from the gate, knocking Lucca out cold. Then an explosion of energy came out and enveloped the three. Crono and Marle immediately recognized their surroundings. They were in a gate. Lucca didnt recognize it. She was unconscious. The end of the gate was approaching, Crono could tell, because of the sudden increase of light. Then, they materialized onto a large table. In the room surrounding them were a group of people, all of different shapes, sizes, and colors, the ghost they had chatted with before, and a female ghost, with some flowers.
"Who are all of you?" asked a girl with green hair who was seated at the table.
"Let me guess." Said a soldier in blue armor. "More Ghosts?"
"Shut up, Kain." Said another man who seemed like he was in charge.
"Mrs. Gainsborough. A pleasure to see you again." Said the ghost that Crono and the gang were familiar with.
The girl in green gave out a shriek. Then she began to cry out loud. Cronos first thought was that she was horrified of the ghost, but upon closer examination, they appeared to be tears of joy.
"Tellah?" said the man in charge.
"Hello, Cecil." Said the ghost. "We dont have much time. First we must get Aeris back to her dimension. Then we have to get these youngsters back to their dimension. Then we have to confront Warlock, then we have to "
"Warlock?" asked the man referred to as Cecil.
"Its a long story. We must act quickly. First step: Awaken this young girl. She was struck by a beam of energy from the dimension portal."
"No problem." Said a woman with blond hair who was sitting next to Cecil. "Cure 3!" The air around the woman glowed a pale yellow. Then, from everywhere, a glow of green energy surrounded Lucca. All of a sudden, she woke up.
"Wh what?" said Lucca. "Where am I? Who are you? Crono! Whats going on?"
"Good question." Said Crono.
"Well, Im Cecil." Said Cecil. "This is my wife, Rosa, and my friends, Kain, Rydia, and Edge. This transparent girl here is Aeris Gainsborough, a ghost, and the man is Sage Tellah "
"Yes, Cecil, you sound surprised." Said Tellah. "Didnt expect to see me again after the incident at Zot? Well, Im back, temporarily, and Im here to help."
"My name is Crono." Said Crono. "These are my friends, Marle and Lucca. After Tellah alerted us to the dimensional gate "
"D-Warp." Said Lucca. "Ive decided to call them D-Warps."
"Okay," continued Crono. "After we were alerted of the D-Warp, we entered it, which sent us here. To your table top."
"The problem is, the D-Warp isnt here anymore." Said Lucca. "Its over there. In that corner. Behind Aeris, was it?" Aeris simply nodded. "Well, I dont know how it moved over there, but my guess is that they are highly unstable. The D-Warps, that is. I think that we should learn more about them before we try more travel."
"We havent got time!" Aeris and Tellah said, almost simultaneously.
"We must stop him!" said Tellah. "And to stop him, we have to play his game. And his game is solve the puzzle."
"What type of puzzle?" asked Cecil, finally getting over the fact that his dead friend was now standing in front of him. On his dining room table.
"Well, Warlock likes "
"Wait." Said Cecil. "First, tell us who Warlock is."
Tellah growled. "Warlock is an annoying little demon who thrives on the confusion of others. He loves setting up near impossible situations. Usually, if someone doesnt solve Warlocks puzzle, in a limited amount of time, they get killed. End of story. But not Aeris or I. Or the other two ghosts. We just get the pleasure of going back from whence we came. And you accompany us."
"The other two ghosts?" asked Rosa.
"Yes." Said Aeris. "In the dimension I come from is another ghost. In that ghosts dimension is a ghost from Cronos dimension."
"So," asked Cecil. "Whats the game?"
"Thats the point." Said Tellah. "Until all of the ghosts are reunited with their proper dimension, we dont even get to know what the game is."
"Or who gets to play." Added Aeris.
"In other words," said Tellah. "We have to go in that portal. Warlock created the portals. All of the portals lead to somewhere that we have to go in order to beat the game."
"All right " said Lucca. "Well enter the warp. But if were spread throughout miscellaneous regions of the galaxy, dont blame me. I tried to warn you."
" And thats who Warlock is." Finished Balthasar.
"Yeah, great story," said Setzer, finishing up the new Dimension Ship. "But would you like to help me with this?"
"Youre almost done, Setzer." Said Balthasar. Edgar had filled him in with everyones names on the ride to Thamasa. "All youve got to do is plug in the trilithium canister. Here. You take it. Youve made the rest of the ship. I couldnt help, now."
Edgar noticed that Balthasar was starting to become less and less transparent the more he was socializing with them. "Balthasar." He said. "I cant see through you as well anymore. Do you think that its the time limit that this Warlock placed on us kicking in?"
"Yes, most probably." Replied Balthasar. "Either that, or all the time Im spending with you guys is sort of breathing life back into me. Im not sure."
"Okay," said Setzer. "I think were ready to fire this baby up and do some dimension traveling. All aboard!" Setzer, after four years of deep depression, suddenly felt as if he had a purpose in life again. Once again, he was piloting through the skies. "Were ready for take off!"
"Good." Balthasar said. "Theres only one problem. We dont know how to aim it for the correct dimension."
"Wouldnt Warlocks borders keep us in the right dimensions?" asked Edgar.
"I dont know." Replied Balthasar. "You see, right now, Im as clue less as all of you."
"Oh, well thats reassuring." Said Setzer. "Prepare for lift off!" Just then, the big ships motors started turning, and smoke came from the engines, and then, they were off of the ground. "Fire up the Dimensional Converter!" screamed Setzer, over the roar of the engines. Balthasar took the handle that would release the trilithium-carbon gas, and pulled it open all of the way. A blue gas came from the back of the new airship, and, instead of falling into a trace of the ships course, the gas jumped in front of the ship, as Balthasar had guessed, and created a temporal rift. The ship was hurled into a blueish nebula of energy that was unbridled. Setzer screamed like a small school girl at the speed and intensity of the ships current condition. The crew, consisting of Edgar, Sabin, Terra, Setzer, Strago, and Balthasar all held tight throughout the journey. But the rift was almost over and they could see a light at the end
Cloud Strife was having problems concentrating on the memory of his dead friend, Aeris. It wasnt that he didnt care about her, it was just that he was having such a strange day, that he found it impossible to think about much else. First, all of his friends showed up out of no where, which didnt bother him. That was a pleasant surprise. Then there was the invisible knight. He hasnt been seen from since, but everybody (but Yuffie) admitted that they had seen him. There was suddenly something going on. "This day couldnt possibly get more strange " said Cloud quietly. He looked up at the center of the temple, where Aeris flowers were, and saw something strange forming. It was ten people. On top of Aeris flowers. No, not ten people. Eight people. And two more ghosts. Cloud stood up, apparently the first to notice the newcomers. But one of the ghosts happened to notice him. And her name was Aeris Gainsborough.
"Aeris?" Said Cloud, as if trying to make her existence more real. At this point, all of the others were looking up to see what Cloud was talking about, and, needless to say, they saw her too. "Aeris is that you?" asked Cloud.
"Yes, Cloud, now shut up." Said Aeris. "We dont have much time."
"Yes," said an old man, who also happened to be a ghost. "Our time is most definitely running out."
The ten newcomers all moved away from the flowers into the center of the church. As they started to make introductions, a large object started to appear above their heads. As they noticed it coming into reality, everyone moved to the outside edges of the room in panic. It was needless panic, though, because the ship remained hovering in thin air. For about four more seconds. The large ship crashed to the ground in a major explosion, however, all of the inhabitants survived. As they crawled out, a look of astonishment came to Luccas face.
"Balthasar? The Guru, Balthasar?" asked Lucca.
"Yes," said Balthasar. "We havent got much time."
"Weve heard " said Cloud.
"Well," said a man who was on the ship, who looked like some sort of overdressed foreign dignitary. "We havent much time for introductions, so Ill make this quick. Im King Edgar, this is my brother Sabin, and these are our friends, Strago, Setzer, and Terra."
Just then another ghost appeared. This was the ghost that had visited Cloud before. "Terra?" it said.
"General Leo?" asked Terra, a little shocked.
"Yes, its me. We havent got much time."
"So weve heard." Said another King looking person.
The introductions were made very quickly, and Cloud learned that this second King was named Cecil. A kid named Crono had introduced himself and his friends. Cecil had introduced his group, and Cloud introduced his own friends. At the moment that everyone was trying to figure out what was going on, a strange man in a black cloak appeared. We was wearing jet black pants and shirt with a blood red vest, covered by the cloak.
"Warlock!" said Tellah.
"Hello, players!" screeched the man, in a British accent that sounded as if the user had acquired it by watching old Dick Van Dyke movies. "I see youve all been acquainted. Thats always good. You see, youre going to be divided into some rather strange groups. And not all of you are going to play. Those of you who arent Youll be the bait." Suddenly, Edge, Yuffie, Vincent, Red XIII, and Reeve (and his Cait Sith doll) all appeared next to Warlock in a glowing purple bubble. "The rest of you will be divided into groups, and all given separate missions. At the end, you should meet each other, and then you can get your friends back, and Ill free you of the maze, and everything will be just like normal."
"Define normal." Commanded Edgar.
"Wow!" said Warlock. "Very good! Youll definitely be a player. Normal is how everything was before I interfered. Well, everyone to starting positions!" Warlock said, and with a snap, everyone disappeared from the temple. Warlocks voice came ringing through everyones ears. "Good luck! Youll need it!"
Aeris awoke with a start. Which really surprised Aeris, seeing as how she hasnt woken up at all in the last couple of years. In fact, she hasnt slept at all in the last few years. She couldnt have. Shes been dead. But now, as she looks down at herself, she sees herself as very much alive. For the first time in years, she cant see through her feet. This information alone was enough to make her throw a small, silent party for herself. Unfortunately, it wasnt silent enough, for everyone else in the room woke up.
"What " said Sabin. Sabin doesnt like to get up. Being woken up is definitely on his bad list. Fortunately for Aeris, Sabin was too befuddled by his new found surroundings to worry about such a thing.
"Where are we, Aeris?" Asked Cecil. "You know more about the situation than we do."
"Unfortunately, I dont." replied Aeris. "Right now, Im in the same boat youre in." and then silently she added, the living boat.
"Aeris?" Tifa said, waking up. "Aeris, is that you?" Asked Tifa.
"Yeah, Tifa, its me."
"Aeris, I had this horrible dream. You had died, and we had stopped Sephiroth, and Everyone had met for the anniversary of your death when this weird guy showed up "
"Tifa, stop right there, hon, because that wasnt a dream."
Suddenly, Tifa sprang up out of her cot, and looked around. Of course, Aeris was right. Those weird people who had popped out of thin air were there with Aeris and Tifa. Tifa groaned silently and sunk back into the pillow before springing up. "Aeris!" She said. "Youre not a ghost anymore! Youre not transparent! Youre alive!"
"No, Tifa. Warlock brought me back to the life for the game. Afterward, Ill be as dead as I ever was."
"Oh " Tifa sunk back down into the pillow yet again when she sat back up. Slowly, this time. "Aeris, do you recognize where we are?"
Aeris looked around. She looked confused for a moment, then it donned on her. "Were in a cell at the security section of the Shinra building!"
"Right." Said Tifa. "But the Shinra building was destroyed quite a while ago. The fact that were here is impossible."
"No, Tifa. The fact that Im here is impossible."
Tifa and Aeris let that sink in for a moment. Tifa looked around the room to see who was with her. Cecil, the King of somewhere Tifa had never heard of, Sabin, some other kings brother, Aeris, her once dead friend, and Lucca, the inventor girl, who was still asleep. Correction. Was waking up.
"Ughhh " said Lucca, getting up off of the floor. "Where are we?"
"You just missed that part of the conversation." Said Tifa.
"Well, thats okay, cause I was there, and I didnt understand it anyway." Said Sabin.
"What exactly is the Shinra Building?" Asked Cecil.
"Shinra." Corrected Aeris. "Shinra is a power company, that had goals of taking over the world. Of course, theyre plans were thwarted, by a man named Sephiroth. He was a madman, though, and tried to take out everybody else at the same time. We appear to be in a cell in the Shinra Headquarters security wing. We found a way out of here before, we can do it again."
"Correction:" said Tifa. "Sephiroth found us a way out. We just used it."
Then the doors to the cell opened. On the other side was a man, in black and silver armor, with long gray hair and a longer sword. He looked at Sabin in the eyes, raised his sword, and swung it at Sabins neck. Sabin, being a martial arts master, wouldnt take that kink of treatment, and promptly jumped out of the way.
Tifa looked wide eyed at the man. "S s Sephiroth?!?" Tifa struggled out before giving a horrendous shriek, that, if it didnt hurt Sephiroth severely, it definitely deafened him for eternity. I did just about the same for everyone else in the room.
"Sefa who?" Asked Lucca, still trying to figure everything out.
"I dont care who he is," said Sabin, "but if hes gonna try to kill me, Im gonna hit him with a Blitz!" At that time, Sabin jumped forward and used just about every martial arts move he had ever been taught on the man he now knew as Sephiroth. Tifa, finally recovering from the initial shock, joined with Sabin and used some of her own brand of martial arts.
While Tifa and Sabin were pummeling him, Lucca pulled out a gun and shot him squarely in the face. Needless to say, that can be pretty painful. Unless, of course, you happen to be Sephiroth. Sephiroth flinched as if all of the painful treatment were merely a bee sting. Cecil, never to be left out, pulled out his sword and used any spare moment to hit Sephiroth across the chest. Aeris, as if just recovering from a bad day-dream, suddenly looked up and saw what was going on. As if she had merely forgotten to before, Aeris screamed out the word "Holy" and a giant stream of white dust came down from the ceiling and sprayed at Sephiroth, causing him to fall down. Sabin, never to be outdone, continued to beat the body, until Aeris said, "Okay, enough all ready, hes dead!" Tifa walked over and checked, and, sure enough, he was dead. Strange, Tifa thought, that Aeris should kill Sephiroth
Lucca turned to Aeris and said, "If you had the power to do that the entire time, why didnt you do it a minute ago?"
Aeris looked down, confused, then said, "I dont know. The sudden effect of being put face to face with my murderer just triggered something. I just started seeing red and had thoughts of vengeance running through my head. Im sorry."
"Dont worry about it." Said Cecil, naturally taking control of the situation, which was definitely not in his control. "Anyone would, I suppose. Not that Ive ever been murdered."
"Anyway," Tifa said, "shall we attempt to find a way out?"
"Yes." Replied Aeris. "Definitely. Now, the first time we were here, I remember there being some vehicles on the first floor. I think we should head there."
The five headed down the stairs for 60 floors, until Lucca came up with the bright idea that they could hot wire the elevator system to ride down the rest of the way. After the quick conflict Cecil had with the morality of hot wiring someone elses elevator, the five rode down to the first floor. As expected, they found the motorcycle, which none of them knew how to drive, and the pick up.
"Ill drive." Said Tifa, approaching the truck.
"A woman driver?" Said Sabin. "Just who do you think you are?
"Youre obviously not married." Cecil said under his breath.
"Well, bigshot, do you know how to drive it?" Asked Tifa. "No? Well, I do. Well get much farther, if we know what we are doing."
"Which we dont anyway." Retorted Sabin.
"That doesnt matter. At least well find out faster."
"Will you two stop arguing?" Asked Aeris.
"Okay, fine." Said Sabin. "But Im not getting into a car with a woman driver "
Moments later, the group headed for the truck, with Tifa at the wheel.
Edgar tried politely not to awaken the others. He had been looking around their chamber for a while now, trying to decipher where they were at. He looked up as he heard a noise from the group. It was Cloud waking up.
"Huh?" Said Cloud "Where are we?"
"I dont know." Replied Edgar. "We appear to be in some kind of cavern. Theres two exits to our room, here. One heading north, the other heading south. I wasnt going to travel either way until everyone else woke up. Right outside the south leading door are a group of fish. They dont seem very happy."
"Fish?" Asked Cloud.
"Yeah. Giant Fish. Unfriendly Giant Fish."
"And youre afraid of fish?" The voice came from behind Edgar, which he didnt expect, seeing as how Cloud was directly ahead of him. After jumping roughly 6 feet in the air, Edgar recognized the voice, and promptly spun around to give Setzer a good tongue lashing.
"What in the crap did you think you were doing!" It was more of a pointless statement than a question, because, as the smile on Setzers face told him, Setzer knew exactly what he was doing. He was scaring the heebie-jeebies out of Edgar.
Edgars sudden outrage promptly woke up the other two inhabitants of the small, but well lit, cavern. The girl, whos name eluded Edgar, looked around quickly, trying to reorient herself. The old man, Tellah, looked to his left and right quickly, seeing all of his companions, his surroundings, and the possible exits.
"Rydia." Tellah said. "Do you know where we are?"
"No." Said the girl, who Edgar still had a hard time pronouncing her name. "I just woke up, too. I have no idea where we are."
"You should." Said Tellah. "Youve been here before. The is the cavern north of Kaipo. Where we first met. I know it was long ago, but I dont think youve forgotten it."
"Are you sure?" Asked Rydia. "I remember it being much larger "
"Well, of course you do." Replied Tellah. "You were very young."
"Okay," Said Edgar. "Now that you know where we are, why dont you share that information with us? I mean, Ive been looking around for the last hour, and I still dont know where to go."
"Well," said Tellah, "thats because youve never been here before. We have. The exits to the north, and if Im not mistaken, there should be an OctoMammoth waiting there for us."
"An OctoMammoth?" asked Setzer. "Let me guess. Were supposed to kill this thing, right?"
"Yeah." Replied Rydia. "But if my memory serves me correctly, that shouldnt be a problem."
"Thats unlike Warlock." Said Tellah. "He would usually place a near impossible obstacle in front of us. Not something simple like an OctoMammoth."
"Well," said Cloud, "maybe he likes us. Maybe hes giving us an easy route out."
Thats when the lights went out.
"For heavens sake!" screamed Tellah, apparently annoyed. "Sight!" screamed Tellah, the a glow of white energy surrounded Tellah, then the cavern was filled with light. Again. When the lights came back on, they had been joined been some unpleasant company. Specifically, Edgars Unfriendly Giant Fish. And, upon closer observation, they were also unhappy.
"Watch out!" Screamed Rydia. "Lit 3!" Large bolts of lightning feel from the ceiling, electrocuting the fish. Then, the fish evaporated.
"That was weird." Said Edgar, staring at the spot where the fish once were.
"No," said Rydia, "it was magic."
"I know that it was magic," replied Edgar, "what was weird was that they just sort of evaporated. Didnt you find that weird?"
"No, not entirely." Said Tellah. "You see, anything is possible, right now. Warlock wouldnt have us tripping over fish bodies. That would extend his game time. And Warlocks impatient."
"So, Tellah." Said Cloud. "Tell us more about this Warlock."
"Okay." Said Tellah. "Warlock is an omnipotent being. He can do what he wants, when he wants. And he usually does. What he wants right now is entertainment. And were supplying it for him."
"So, where just pawns in his game?" Asked Setzer. "I dont think I like that position. Were gonna have to teach this Warlock that he cant mess with us like that."
"Agreed." Said Cloud. "So, how would we get out of here?"
"Wed head north, if Im not mistaken." Replied Tellah.
The group headed north, with minor interruptions from some more unfriendly fish. But, ultimately, found their destination in a waterfall, that Tellah had said contained the exit.
"Now," Tellah said, "if Im not mistaken, that waterfall also contains an OctoMammoth."
"Well, then," said Setzer, "Why dont we take it on?"
They all entered the waterfall when eight huge tentacles surrounded them. And pushed them skyward. They landed on a small ledge, which neither Rydia nor Tellah knew existed. In fact, it might have not existed. On the ledge, was a man in a long purple cloak. Rydia scowled as she saw the man.
"Zemus " she said. "What are you doing here." It was not a question, but a demand, which was strange coming from the lips of Rydia. Zemus, as usual, didnt talk much. In fact, right now, he didnt talk at all. He merely grabbed a staff and used it to hurl a small magical ball at Rydia, pinning her to the ground. Edgar couldnt handle that. No one was going to attack his companions, regardless if he could pronounce their names or not. He reached into his Big Bag O Stuff™ and pulled out his Chainsaw. He then proceeded to use it to hack at the side of Zemus. Setzer must have come to a similar conclusion about Zemus attack on Rydia, because he had pulled out one of his decks of razor cards and promptly hurled some at Zemus face. The attack was continued by Cloud, who used his sword to lash at Zemus. Tellah mainly stayed in the back, but attacked none the less with a barrage of spells. When Rydia got up, she summoned the Knights of the Round Table, who quickly finished off Zemus. And, like the fish before him, Zemus vanished.
"Well," said Tellah, "if we go down to the waterfall, we should get to the exit."
So, the group jumped down into the water, and headed for the exit.
Rosa and Terra had been up for a while, discussing how they could get out of here. Terra had told Rosa about General Leo, one of their fellow inhabitants of the small mountainside. Terra had immediately recognized where they were at, and informed Rosa of their location. Their companions, Leo, Barret, and Crono, were not yet awake. Feeling that they should continue on, Rosa and Terra started to wake up their companions, though they were especially careful with Barret, because, even though they didnt know what it was, the thing on his arm looked rather dangerous. With all five of them awake, they started to plot on how to get out, and win the game.
"I know this place." Said General Leo. "This is the cave of the Espers, by Thamasa."
"Espers?" asked Rosa.
"Dont worry about it." Answered Terra.
"I think that if we retrace our steps, go in the same path that we did the first time, we should accomplish our mission." Said Leo.
Everyone silently agreed (Except for Barret. He freely told everyone that he didnt trust them, and that he was only going along because he didnt know where he was at.), and followed Leo to the heart of the mountain. Inside were some Espers, who Terra and Leo remembered as being friendly, and after meeting them, the group should go to Thamasa. Unfortunately, the Espers werent quite as friendly as they were remembered. They immediately attacked the group, with no warning. A Bahamut type Esper started spitting his flames wildly at the group. Being intelligent human beings, they ran out of the path of the flame. Barret, not one to be attacked, pulled up his cannon and started firing at the Espers. Despite popular belief, Espers are not a peace loving race. When they saw Barrets cannon, they attacked. Harshly. Some took a defensive approach, healing others. Others went for a straight out attack. Rosa stood in the back of her teammates and healed those who were hurt, and using the spell of white whenever possible. Barret just started firing aimlessly toward the general vicinity of the Espers. Leo shocked the Espers, while keeping a some what defensive stance. Terra went for an all out attack, using what ever magic she still had, as well as her sword. Crono struck the monsters with continuous lightening and his sword. Before long, all of the Espers were defeated.
"Well, that was strange." Said Terra. "Espers are supposed to welcome peace, but those Espers attacked us."
"At any rate," said Leo, "lets get back to Thamasa."
As the group approached Thamasa, there was no one there. No one but one severely twisted man. And his name was Kefka. He didnt let out his horrible horse laugh as they approached, which Terra was thankful for. However, he did raise his hands in the air, and from his fingertips came white beams of energy. And they were directed toward Terra. Terra was knocked down briefly, but she quickly got back up. Leo seemed covered in rage, and struck at Kefka with all that he had. Kefka, of course, fell down dead, as anyone would do under Leos full wrath.
"That " Terra started, "was too easy."
"Dont you be going and complainin about in bein easy, stupid." Said Barret. "We got an easy path, and I rather appreciated it."
With that they left the town.
"So, what do you propose we do, old man?" Asked Kain, just waking up. Apparently, everyone else had already been awake, so Kain felt a little defensive, but made a clear point not to show it. He didnt know any of the people in the room with him. He didnt pay attention during the introduction period, because he hadnt seen much point to it. Now he did, but that do much good.
"Well," said Balthasar, "I think we should get out of here. Marle should know the way out."
"I should?" Asked Marle.
"Yes. Youve been here before, we havent. Wheres the exit?"
"Umm I dont know. In fact, Im not really sure of where we are."
"Yes you are." Said Balthasar. "You just dont remember it. This was where you and your friends met Lavos. This is 1999 AD, before you and your friends saved time."
"Oh. Um I dont remember there being a way out Oh yeah! The Epoch! Thats our way out. It should be over here." Marle said, leading them to a patch in the forest. Strago was the first to follow them. Kain and Cid stayed in the back, as if cautious to the others actions.
"So," asked Cid, "who are you?"
"Im Kain Highwind." Replied Kain. "Leader of the Dragoons of Baron. And who are you?"
"Im Cid Highwind." Said Cid. "A pilot. Did you say your name was Highwind?"
"Yeah. You did too. How weird " said Kain, quickly losing interest in the topic. Cid went forward following the group. Kain followed too. He wanted to make sure he was in the back. He glanced back quickly to make sure they werent leaving anyone when he noticed a giant porcupine like creature. "Hey, guys! You might want to check this out!" Kain said, looking only at the creature, and ignoring the fact that all of his companions were at his backside.
"Lavos!" squealed Marle.
"Well," said Cid, "were killing it, right"
"Yes." Said Balthasar. "Were killing it."
Kain and Cid simultaneously performed a Dragoon Jump at the head of Lavos, which confused the both of them to a great degree. Marle used whatever power she could muster to hurl bolts of ice at Lavos head. Strago tried to use whatever magic he had left. Balthasar, however, stayed in the back. Not being much of a fighter, there wasnt much he could do.
Lavos, strangely enough, was no problem what so ever. After the quick defeat of his head, the large shell seemed to evaporate.
"Huh?" asked Marle. "I remember him being much, MUCH, harder than that "
However, the rest of the group saw no problem in the ease of their task, and continued on to the Epoch.
Aeris, Tifa, Sabin, Lucca, and Cecil boarded a truck sitting on display at the front of the Shinra Building. Strangely enough, when all of the inhabitants were aboard, the truck started itself. It went onward without the consent of Tifa, who was in the drivers seat. This didnt really surprise any of them; after the day they had led, not much would surprise them. Tifa merely tried to steer, which was a futile attempt, the car didnt like her steering. The truck went where it wanted, which just happened to be the front of the building, and it went through the window. The passengers didnt complain too much (except for Sabin, who was profusely complaining about Tifas bad driving), even though they received minor injury from the broken glass. The thing that they were most focused on, was the large blinding light in front of them. As the truck entered the light, the five passengers disappeared from the truck. Which was okay, seeing as how a moment later, the truck hit the ground and promptly exploded.
Tellah and Rydia led Cloud, Edgar, and Setzer to the waterfall. Little communication spread between the group as the headed toward their final destination. The waterfall seemed strangely brighter to Rydia, which didnt bother her, seeing as how this was an imaginary world anyway. The brightness did bother Setzer, however, for he was complaining rather loudly. After a good flogging from Edgar, he was rather quiet, actually, but the group didnt think anything of it. Until they looked at the sight he was gawking at. The large glowing white light at the other side of the waterfall was blinding, to say the least. However, with the day they were having, the group saw nothing wrong with entering the light. So they did.
Terra and Leo had opted that the group would stay in Thamasa for a while. Despite sudden frustration from Barret, who didnt want to sit around on his lazy butt, the group did stay and rest. With their "scenario" completed, they felt that they didnt have much to worry about. Besides, that hideous glowing light at the end of town didnt seem too welcoming. The group decided to stay put. And they did. Unfortunately, the glowing light didnt like that decision. The light had already decided that they were done, and they were going to enter the light. So, it chased them. Leo and Terra were the first to be caught by the light, followed by Crono and Rosa. Barret felt the need to run, and he did, for a short while, until the light had him trapped up against a house. Barret then decided that it would be a rather smart idea to shoot the light. Being an amorphous glow of energy, the light didnt mind Barrets sudden attack very much. However, the light took the chance and swallowed Barret. The group, unwillingly, had entered the light.
The Epoch seemed to be glowing with a supernatural light. It was more than any of them had ever seen. However, they had decided that it was just showing them that it was their goal.
"We have a problem here " said Marle. "There are five of us, and the Epoch only seats four "
"Well, two of us could sit on the wings." Suggested Cid.
"Wings?" questioned Balthasar, looking rather confused. "The Epoch doesnt have wings. It is a time pod. Flight on the Epoch would be impossible."
"Not quite " said Marle. "We, um, sort of had wings put on there. It flies great!"
"I dont know if thats quite safe " replied Balthasar.
"Sure it is!" Exclaimed Marle "Thats how we used it for quite a while. Come on, its perfectly safe."
So, the group decided to use the Epoch as their method of completion of the mission. But this started the debate of which people got to ride inside.
"I will." Said Marle, jumping into the cockpit. Once inside, she vanished.
"What?!?" Asked Balthasar. "This isnt right at all."
"Actually," replied Strago. "It probably is. This is probably just how we complete our scenario."
Agreeing with Strago, the remaining four entered the Epoch, and subsequently vanished.
Twenty people suddenly popped out of nowhere. Aeris, Balthasar, Barret, Cecil, Cid, Cloud, Crono, Edgar, Kain, Leo, Lucca, Marle, Rosa, Rydia, Sabin, Setzer, Strago, Tellah, Terra, and Tifa all appeared in some sort of large crypt. At the other end, were their friends, the bait, trapped in the same large bubble. In the center of the room was a man in all black, with a red vest and a pitch black cloak. And he was clapping. It was a sarcastic applause, they could tell by the expression on his face.
"Bravo." Warlock said. "Youve deciphered my ever so challenging games. I hope you enjoyed it. I didnt. You already knew what you were doing. I should have grouped you differently. Oh well. My gaffe. You know, you were of no entertainment value what so ever. Of course, I havent lost hope yet. You could still entertain me to a great degree. Say, you all know how to fight Why dont you fight each other? That would be rather entertaining indeed! Of course, you wouldnt do that willingly, and Id have to force you to do it, so it would be as if I were entertaining myself. I know! You could fight me! I wouldnt lose, and I would stop our little game after a while, without killing any of you No. It would be pointless. Ill tell you what. If you can find a way to entertain me, not only will I let your friends go, but Ill put all of you in your own dimensions. Deal?"
"No." said Edgar. "No deal. That wasnt part of the bargain. You said that if we finished your little challenge, then we were free to go. So put us back."
Warlock laughed a hideous ugly laugh. "You dont get it, do you, little man? I dont have to follow your rules. Hell, I dont have to follow my rules. I do what I like, when I like, and I can do that, because Im omnipotent."
"Youre also smug, and intolerable." Said Aeris.
"And annoying." Said Rosa.
"Oh, Im so hurt." Replied Warlock, in his most smug, intolerable, annoying, and sarcastic voice. "Youre harsh words are going to hurt me to the greatest extent. I dont know what Im going to do!"
"Youre going to shut up." The voice came from behind him, which he didnt expect. The one who said it was a man who was even uglier than Warlock himself. He was dressed in all black, much like Warlock, but didnt sport the vest or cloak. "Youre going to come back home and youre going to leave these poor humans alone."
"Oh, but Wizardyne!" Warlock pleaded in a voice even more annoying than before. "I didnt HURT them, I was only playing with them. Besides, I made the bosses of their little quests so simplistic and the least annoying that I could."
"That doesnt matter." Wizardyne replied. He had a half New York, half Los Angeles accent that was almost, but not quite, as annoying as Warlocks. "The treaty of Magenicitine says that we arent even supposed to interact with humans. Not live ones, anyway. And whats this? You brought dead humans back to life? Thats giving the humans false hope. They dont know that a revived human could only stay alive for a few hours." The last statement brought a tear to the eye of Aeris. Her second life seemed to be shorter than her first. The sage Tellah was taking it like a man, as was General Leo. Balthasar merely nodded as if he already knew the news. "I should punish you severely for your actions." Continued Wizardyne. "And I am definitely going to tell your parents."
"But Wizardyne!" Warlock squealed once more, before the two vanished. This sent a sense of confusion through out the group of heroes. Cloud looked over at Aeris, as she looked back. But even now, she was already turning a little more transparent. At that moment, the being known as Wizardyne reappeared in front of them.
"I am sorry for Warlocks actions." Began Wizardyne. "He was acting of his own will, and should have known better. I will correct any problems that he caused." With that, Wizardyne raised his left arm, and the group in the bubble were returned to their comrades. "Im afraid that your dead will have to return to that state. I could do it now, it will be less painful "
"Yeah." Said Aeris. "Itll probably be better that way."
Wizardyne raised his right arm, and the dead were dead once again. "Once again, Im sorry." Said Wizardyne. "I will now transport you back to your respective realms. If you need anything else, feel free to ask. Right now, I am at your dispense."
"No." said Cloud. "Sending us home will be repayment enough."
Wizardyne looked a little puzzled. He had never known what it was like to have enough. But, with frank acceptance, he snapped his fingers, and the group of twenty-one Final Fantasy alumni all vanished.
Crono, Marle and Lucca all appeared in Leene Square, very close to where they had left from. Lucca immediately ran to the spot where the D-Warp was to see if it still existed. It, in fact, did not. They decided to keep their adventure to themselves, and go on with life as usual. As they walked out of Leene Square, Marle jumped out ahead of the group, stared Lucca in the face, and asked Crono, ever so politely: "Will you tell me the story of when you got your cat back, Crono?" And with a groan from Lucca, and a pleasant laugh from Crono, the three decided the life had indeed returned to normal, and the newest adventure was over.
Cloud and his seven friends looked forlornly at the flowers that their friend, Aeris Gainsborough, had planted at this church ever so long ago.
"To your memory." Said Cloud, and the rest of the group raised their glasses in agreement. The group spent the rest of the day, not in mourning, but in celebration, for, one way or the other, the group had been reformed. For the briefest time, even Aeris had rejoined them. The eight decided that every year they should meet, not just in memory of Aeris, but also in the spirit of friendship.
Edgar was having a horribly hard time believing that the ship which stood in front of them actually traveled through the dimensional barrier. The main reason for this was that the ship was now smaller than his head. He looked at it, and looked at it, but couldnt figure out how he and his friends had boarded the vessel and rode it through the dimensional rift. He didnt have to understand that, however, the thing that he had to understand was that Setzer, a grown man, was playing with the miniature ship.
"Pppppprrrrrrooooooooooomm!" Screamed Setzer, thrusting the ship through the air. He was, of course, getting strange looks from his comrades. That didnt bother him. He was having fun. And if he learned one thing in all of these adventures, it was that you never know when its going to end, so have fun while you can. However, under a completely different motto of If he can get away with it, I can, Sabin joined Setzer. This was the singular most idiotic thing that Edgar had ever seen in his entire life. So, he joined them. As did Locke. And Mog. And eventually, everyone joined, in the spirit of having fun.
Cecil was very happy to be at home. With the mess finally over, he felt much more relieved. He and Rosa returned to the throne of Baron. Rydia returned to the cave of monsters. Kain returned to his post as the chief Dragoon of Baron. And everyone was happy. Except for the chief guard of Baron, who, as always, was posted at the end of the throne room, so he could guard the king. But he still didnt know who the transparent girl was that was in there the other day. And he couldnt get an explanation out of anyone. Rydia had left too soon, and Kain, as always, played his rank card, telling the guard to return to his post. Whenever he would ask the King or Queen about it, they just turned to each other and laughed. With major frustration, he merely ignored the subject, and stayed at his post.
"There, you see?" Asked Leena. "You probably didnt want to be in that fanfic anyway."
"I guess youre right." Replied Butz. "The plot was a bit shallow, and the over-crowdation of characters was simply annoying. My addition would have further ruined it. Thanks, Leena!"
"Dont mention it." Leena replied.