A Secret Conflict Part 3
Into the Ravaged Metropolis
By Hyper Angel
(Heh, the most insightful installment yet)
They arrived at the Sector 5 gateway around noon. Vincent knew this from the blistering heat that shone down from directly above them.
"Damn, " Barret cursed aloud. "Really makes a helluva difference without all've Midgar's climate control systems." He muttered a few more words under his breath and wiped the sweat from his forehead.
"Least we made it here without melting " Cloud added in an equally strained tone.
With the use of the key card Cloud had unearthed in the Bone Village of the Northern Lands, they entered the city with no problem. It was of no surprise to find the streets surrounding the entrance were deserted as usual. Despite the disasters that had struck the city, the crime rates were still holding strong contrary to them.
Pieces of debris, some Vincent recognized as once being located several sectors away, lie scattered awkwardly around the deserted dirt streets of the small sector. Barret led the way, pausing only to turn a thoughtful gaze to the decrepit looking church that still adamantly stood amongst the rubble
"What'd ya know." Cloud muttered in a hushed tone. "It's actually still here "
Tifa continued, her voice a low whisper. "Brings back memories, huh?"
"Yeah ." Cloud sighed, lowering his head. A long, uncomfortable silence followed the soldier's terse reply. They all knew the church had once been her place. Even where Cloud had met her. Vincent looked to the large hole in the roof of the cathedral upon the thought. The details Tifa had told him long ago were sketchy at best, but he had a good idea what happened.
He would have smiled if he still had the ability to. Another side effect of that damned three decade sleep. Yet for a second Vincent wondered if it was the sleep that had caused his emotions to simply vanish or his own will.
"We'd better get moving," Tifa quickly announced after a while. "Elmyra's probably waiting anyway.
The others nodded silently in agreement. It was at that moment Vincent wished he had known Aerith a little better, then maybe he could understand the church's meaning to the others. Yet all he could rely on was the stories that others had told him of their journeys prior to his awakening. Vincent once again silently cursed himself for being such a naive fool all those years ago.
Tifa slowed her pace in the time he spent reminiscing, joining him behind Cloud and Barret. For a while she said nothing, occasionally sneaking a quick glance to him from time to time. He made no attempt to start a conversation, nor ask what her intention of walking along side him was. He made more of an attempt to avoid talking than anything else. Yet he knew Tifa could sense the immense anxiety that was hanging over him like some sick, thickening fog.
And still, Cloud and Barret talked on and on about days before his time of awakening, thus still earning little of his attention. Vincent trudged on silently, disregarding the others with a subtle annoyance. Tifa took a few steps closer to him, so that her shoulder brushed up against him as they walked. He moved away slightly, but gave no returning gesture.
"Vincent ." She whispered. He turned his gaze to her to acknowledge. "Are you sure .you want to-"
"Tifa, I know you're worried about this after what happened last time." His words were fast and hushed, almost slurred together. Though still he continued, "But Hojo is gone, you were there, so it's no problem." He turned his gaze away again and picked up his pace. "Just don't worry, I'll be fine."
Tifa walked on in silence, now furthest behind the group. After a short while, she ran to catch up to the others. Stealing a quick look of uncertainty at Vincent, she took Cloud's hand. Though it didn't matter either way, for Vincent knew they were both equally worried
Once again, he choose to focus his attention to the scenery than to the rest of his small group. Which was what he had always done before on their previous journeys, giving little effort for support or conversation. To get revenge on Hojo was his main ploy in that adventure, that just happened to include Sephiroth due to his twisted relations to the sick professor and Lucrecia.
Midgar had changed quite drastically since their last visit to stop Hojo's crazed plans of using the Sister Ray mako cannon to provide power to Sephiroth. The sky was visible from the slums for once, which had resulted from parts of the upper plates being torn away in the destruction from Meteor.
Huge chunks of metal and streets lie scattered all over, making the Sector 5 and 6 roads hard to travel through. The four carefully climbed over and around most pieces, yet the wrecked sights along the way proved to be more distressing.
"Damn man," Barret finally muttered aloud. "Hate to see what'd be like if Meteor wasn't stopped then."
Cloud shook his head at Barret's remark. "But it kinda makes you wonder " He sighed. "If Holy and the Weapon's purposes were to destroy the forces that threatened the Planet, then would that mean this was the cause of all the suffering-?" He monitored his hands indicating all the wreckage of Midgar around them.
Vincent casually sped up a bit from behind the others, slowing once he walked just behind cloud and Tifa. "Perhaps " He agreed to Cloud in his usual melancholy tone, not bothering to add what he had really assumed of Holy's purpose. For he knew, that humanity could quite possibly be what had threatened things all along. For it was the humans, once the Cetra, who had long since lost their connections to the Planet, and maybe things were destined to fall to chaos from there. Vincent quickly shook his head at the thought. Even he, in all his indifference to the subject, didn't like the thought. Yet the thought of humans being the threat, and the chaos that had befallen reminded him .was he still human himself?
He felt a ripping sensation coarse through his body, to which he frantically tried to hide as he walked. Taking a few staggering steps forward, he forced himself to try and regain his composure and continue on as if nothing was wrong. Sweat was dripping down his face from the sudden jolt, but as long as he remained behind the others, they hopefully wouldn't notice his fatigued looks.
It seemed that ever since he had acquired the Ultimate form known as Chaos from Lucrecia, he had experienced the odd feelings from within. Maybe it had made him even more unstable than he already was, or maybe he was actually losing control.
Vincent winced at the very thought. Yet no .that couldn't be it. There was no way. He shook his head to dismiss the thought and silently walked on.
They reached Elmyra's house easily enough, Vincent was awed by its oasis like qualities it held in the bleak city of Midgar. Flowers consisting of a spectrum of color and style flourished around the house.
A babbling waterfall and stream flowed from what seemed like out of nowhere. The sheer beauty surrounding the Victorian style house captivated him, and stranger still such a place could exist in such a drab, lifeless place such as Midgar. This was no doubt Aerith's handiwork, Vincent realized.
"Ah, welcome!" A cheerful feminine voice greeted to them. A woman stepped out of the villa's doorway. The look in her face appeared overjoyed, but somehow a shadowed sadness lurked beneath the woman's carefree looks.
" Hey, Miss Elmyra!" Barret called back to her, waving broadly to her with a wide grin. "How are ya?"
The woman named Elmyra smiled, though still the same subtle woe loomed over her gentle face.
"Well there's no sense standing around here all day," She chided with a quick wave of her hand. "I'm sure you're tired from the trip over here. So please, do come in!"
The group all nodded in unison, heading to the door in a single file. Vincent followed last of all, stopping for a short moment to observe the serene surroundings. He smiled thoughtfully and followed the rest all in.
To Be Continued
Go To Prelude 2
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