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Meeting The God
by Sir Jecht

I stood silently, fighting back my tears as Aeris’ lifeless body sank to the bottom of the pool. I got a strange feeling – an empty feeling, like I’d lost a part of myself. The same thought kept going through my head: Sephiroth won’t get away with this.

“Cloud, you should get some rest.” Tifa whispered. Nodding, I followed her and Barret back to the old house we were staying in. As I lay in my small, hard bed, the night’s events played back in my mind. How Jenova tried to make me kill Aeris, and how Sephiroth had dropped from the sky to do it himself. He had crossed me once too often. First he had burnt down my hometown, now he had murdered the one woman I had any real feelings for. He wasn’t the Sephiroth I knew. He was insane.

I slowly fell into sleep’s sweet embrace, and I dreamed of the first time I met him. It was six years ago. I was fifteen, and had reached first-class in SOLDIER. This was rare, so Sephiroth congratulated me personally. He’d just come back from the war in Wutai, and much of his long, silvery hair hung over his face. He was sweating a lot, but not bleeding. Sephiroth never bled or cried. Although he smiled as he shook my hand, his green eyes were cold. He had never been fond of ceremonies and speeches. That would change.

“Welcome to the top Strife.” He said.

Suddenly, my viewpoint changed. I was standing to the side, and a boy with long, black hair was in my place. Sephiroth turned his head and shot me a disgusted look as I fumbled with my rifle. Rifle? Where was my Buster Sword? That boy had it! Why?

My dream skipped in a white flash. I was in an army truck with Sephiroth and some Shinra soldiers. Judging from the jerky movements of the vehicle we were off-roading. We ground to a halt. One of the soldiers made a sickly face, and I chuckled at him. Then I had a strange feeling of sympathy for him. I’d never had motion sickness, so why did I feel that way? Before I could work out this enigma Sephiroth stood up and briefed us:

“We believe there are some Wutai soldiers hiding in the cave ahead.” Wutai…our first mission together. I’d been thrilled; Sephiroth was my idol. “Our mission is to smoke them out and destroy the weapon they have. Cloud, don’t forget your Materia.” I hurriedly inserted my first ever Materia orb into my sword. It glowed purple briefly, and my senses exploded. I could feel every footstep on the ground, hear the breathing of the nearby birds, and I could even sense the life force of my companions.

“Pre-Emptive Materia,” I told the confused grunts. “It taps your senses into the planet, allowing you to actually sense enemies coming.” It always gave me a comforting feeling of superiority explaining things. I ran my hand through my spiked blonde hair and added, “Let’s move out.”

Another flash; we were outside a cave. A huge green dragon stood in our way. I could feel and smell it’s hot, smoky breath. I stepped up beside Sephiroth and drew my sword, ready for battle.

“Unnecessary Cloud,” he said confidently. Drawing his five-foot Masamune blade, he focused his power. A circle of icicles appeared from nowhere around the monster. They shot towards it, and merged into a huge block of ice around it, before shattering. Sephiroth then lunged forwards and cleaved the dragon’s head off with one stroke. Blood and smoke poured from its neck, stinging my eyes. When the smoke cleared I stood dumbstruck, staring at my hero. The dragon had long since disintegrated, as dead monsters have an annoying tendency to do.

“Ice magic’s ultimate form. Perhaps one day you’ll be able to do it,” he commented uncaringly. Sephiroth’s strength was unreal. He owned the only Master level Materia in Shinra, and only he was strong enough to weild Masamune.

As we entered the cave, Wutai ninja attacked us from the shadows. Luckily, my Materia did its job, and I struck at one, taking his hand off before he even drew his weapon. A shuriken flew from the darkness and cost us a soldier as it sliced into his neck. I had a moral problem just taking that hand, but Sephiroth took on five ninja at once, and sliced them all apart at the waist without a second thought, their blood-soaked halves falling to the floor like leaves in the fall. Looking back, it makes me sick that I once admired and desired such strength. He often told me I should never hesitate to kill, or I might be killed myself. Sometimes I almost took it on board, and the thought scared me a lot.

We had lost our cave exploring expert, so we faced a long, difficult trek. The two soldiers still alive were made to hold the flashlights, and I took the rear. Although I always knew what we had just passed, the darkness unnerved me, and I kept expecting tentacles to grab me from behind and drag me to my death. Any monsters we did meet were dead and disintegrated before I even got a glance; such was our leader’s ruthlessness. The cave’s tunnels twisted, turned, and branched so much a man could die just trying to find his way out, but somehow, Sephiroth knew exactly where he was going, and never doubled back. I was amazed, but I never once thought it suspicious.

I completely lost track of time. We could have been in the cave for days before we found our target. Eventually, we came across a large, round room with glowing green walls, due to the high level of Mako energy in the cave, the precious natural resource that gave the world electricity. The same effect was seen in the eyes of SOLDIER members’ eyes from Mako infusion. In caves like this, there was often powerful Materia, and this one was no exception. It was deep red Summoning Materia, and a large, dangerous-looking ninja was holding it. He had a wild look in his eyes as if he was a wild animal, and his black hair was bloodstained and unevenly sheared. His armour looked ancient, and he wore a torn, faded kimono.

“So, this is the Great Sephiroth! What a disappointment.” His voice was every bit as gruff as his appearance. Sephiroth said nothing; he just drew Masamune and smirked. Mystic runes hovered around the ninja, and he disappeared. In his place a huge, silver, six-winged dragon appeared, and destroyed the roof of the cave. So this was the fabled Summoning power I had studied so long ago. I silently thanked it for showing me sky.

“BahamutZERO. Impressive,” Sephiroth remarked. BahamutZERO eyed him unimpressed; then leapt into the sky and shot a beam of light at Sephiroth from its mouth. The force threw the Summon Monster backwards, and as the beam hit Sephiroth, it caused a huge explosion, which knocked me out cold.

I suddenly awoke and sat up, back in the City Of The Ancients. Barret was calling me from outside.

“Yo Cloud! Get off your skinny white ass, we’re leaving!” Even the tragedy of the night before hadn’t changed his crude speech. How could he be so callous? He knew what Aeris had meant to me. Still, I suppose it wasn’t really him I was angry at.

“Sephiroth, you’ll pay you monster,” I muttered as I joined the others outside. I glanced back towards the hidden chapel briefly. “Not just him,” I thought. “Jenova too…whatever she really is. And Hojo for creating my nemesis.” I shouldered my sword and left the city, ready for revenge.

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