The Color of Blood Chapter 10
By Brady Bryner, Bill Shofstall, & Anthony McKinley
Cosmo Canyon, Nanaki's Room 1:21 AM May 27
Nanaki was asleep, still amazed by his father's revival. Seto was sleeping in the observatory, next to the telescope. Nanaki heard a voice in his sleep though. "Wake up, Nanaki..." The voice faded in and out, smoothly.
"Wha'? Go away..." Nanaki rolled over and went back to sleep.
"Nanaki! Get up!"
"What?" He opened his eye and looked around, seeing nothing. He went back to sleep, thinking it a dream.
"Get up! Get up, NOW!" Nanaki repeated the process, but saw nothing. He sat up in his bed and saw nothing. He hoped off his bed and padded outside, still blind to what was calling him.
"Must be a dream..."
"Don't go back to bed..."
"But I wanna!"
"I must be going crazy... How am I going to get breakfast when the devil has taken over my body?" He yawned, totally non-chalant. "Salt on your omlets, Satan?" He turned to go back to bed.
"I don't want to."
"God! Are you that stupid? This is a subconscious thought, conveyed by another being."
"Oh, telepathy. Joyous. Make this quick so I can go back to bed."
"It isn't going to be quick. This is going to be a very long, very slow process. You'd better sit down... Get yourself a drink a' liqour and maybe you'll understand..." Nanaki clenched a liqour bottle in his teeth, and unscrewed it with his teeth.
"I'm just so special..." He tipped it slightly and lapped it as it came out. "They should really make these with me in mind..."
"ANYWAY, you are the last of the three to become a wizard."
"Those two fools are?" He remained collected as he lapped more liqour. "I mean, they aren't stupid, but please don't humor me."
"Believe it. Because you've been lazy, you aren't a wizard yet. You should study your magic more."
"I do, lots. I know all about it. Why aren't I a wizard?"
"You haven't used it... Your brother, he destroyed a small army, and Kianki, well, she turned your father back from being a damn statue."
"You know what? Fuck you, Cait! That's right, go fuck yourself! I can do any of that in the blink of an eye..." Lord Cait Sith appeared in front of him.
"Nanaki, dude, you're drunk all ready."
"I am not... I can handle more than this."
"Lay down, get some sleep, and we'll talk in the morning." Lord Cait grabbed his leg and helped him lay down on his couch. "Okay... I'll put this up..." He grabbed the bottle and screwed back on the cap, which had Nanaki's saliva on it, but did it none the less.
Cosmo Canyon, Anthony's Room 2:45 AM May 27
"Kianki..." Anthony strummed his paw down Kianki's back, slowly.
"I can't sleep..."
"Niether can I..." Kianki nuzzled Anthony's neck. Anthony's paw continued to strum her back, calmly, smoothly, with love and care.
"Kianki, just to see your eyes makes me remember how much I love you, and our sons. What was it like... What was it like to see me after I came back after those few years I was gone?"
"I was so joyous, I cried. I felt more love for you then I ever had."
"That night, maybe you didn't here because you were asleep, but I cried, and kissed your neck. I remember wanting to tell you, to show you, how much I love you."
"Then show me now." Kianki's eyes sparkled with love, but still hidden in his neck. She hovered back to his face, smiling. She was beautiful, incredible, and intelligent. Anthony loved her with all of his heart. Anthony and Kianki found themselves in a seemingly human position, but it didn't matter. They kissed as Anthony kept with instinctive, rythmic thrusts. The two pendants they wore seemed to glow as Anthony rest himself against Kianki, as the seemingly blessed eroticism had finally fell down. Sex like such may seem hollow to many, but to them was a mere part of expression of love. "I love you, Anthony..." She buried her face into his chest, and fell asleep. Anthony remained awake, though, as his heart beat next to Kianki's. He had found his destiny long ago, and never known it.
"I love you too..."
Cosmo Canyon, Cosmo Candle 7:12 AM May 27
Nanaki drudged back and forth in front of the Cosmo Candle. "It is morning ya' know. Stop sulking."
"And stop mumbling!"
"Shu' up. I'm tired."
"Yar' not! You have work to do."
"Damn it! I don't want to work. I'm too tired right now." He yawned a gaping, loud yawn.
"Now, most of this will require you to be bipedal."
"So I gotta go as a human?"
"Yeah, that'll work nicely. Now, I'm going to send your brother and Kianki with you to help, but you'll have to deal with something quite large later, all alone."
"Never mind. Concentrate now..." Nanaki concentrated, focusing his mind on one form. That of a man. Nanaki did so, and fell on the ground. He had dark black hair, and a body with well toned muscles. Obviously, the muscles were attributed to his many years of physical training. Nanaki was still missing an eye, a dark black and gray scar over the patch of flesh where his eye had been. "Now, put this on." Lord Cait hurried to get Nanaki to put his robe on. "And take this." He handed Nanaki a gun. He saw Vincent, and various others fire such weapons many times before, and thought it easy.
"Where'd you get this?" Nanaki put on a hat and Lord Cait helped tie the cape around his neck. When he let go of the knot, Nanaki fell to the ground, clutching his head. Nanaki stood back up, and fired the gun at a rock, missing it by far.
"Umm... You'll learn. As for me, I've got somewhere to go. I'm worried about a few things. See ya' later!" Lord Cait disappeared.
"But... Damn..." Hours later, the other two were dressed in their garbs, and Nanaki, being a quick learner, was slightly better with his aim. Anthony strapped on the Claymore, and Kianki was carrying a large pack of darts and a smoke bomb.
"So boys, what have you two planned for today?" Kianki giggled.
"We're going to Cetralin, back to the temple."
"Oh... I don't want to go! That freaky lady was there and she tried to rip my flesh off! Not going. Nope nope nope."
"Whiskey after we get back. Ten shots an hour, I'm buying."
"You two are so pathetic!" Anthony looked at Kianki.
"Who'll take care of the boys while we're gone?"
"Cait Sith is on his way. They're not doing much right now anyway. Just reading."
"Um... I dunno. Cait Sith..."
"We can trust him. He loves those two. He'll take fine care of them."
"Okay... You'd better be right."
"I am! Am I ever wrong?"
"Dear God help us."
"Come on you two." Nanaki shook his head and walked out the door, waving after him. "HURRY UP!"
"Shut up man!" Anthony ran out the door after him with Kianki walking slowly behind. She turned at the door and looked at the observatory.
"And if we don't come back...it'll be liquidated. Maybe we should bring Seto."
"Way ahead of you. Now out!" Nanaki grabbed her by the arm of her robe and dragged her out. Seto was waiting at the entrance to the town.
"I arranged for you to get a transport to Destilian in seven hours at...uh... What is it called?"
"Yes, yes! Thank you Nanaki."
"Thank you father. We'll return in about ten days."
"Okay. Don't get hurt to badly. When I was that young, we didn't need to worry about getting hurt because we always knew that we'd win because we were the best fighters ever..."
"I know..." Nanaki smiled and walked out of town. "...but you have a tendency to drag on about it." Anthony and Kianki said partings and followed after, and they began the long trek to Rocket Town. Nanaki had made arrangements for five chocobos to be waiting for them. He found them, just as he wanted. Three were strong riding chocobos, the other two were fat chocobos for carrying their materials. Not much was required though. Two bags of food so they wouldn't have to buy any, and two of vital materials such as various curative devices, and several pieces of materia. It also had Kianki's extra darts and more bullets for Nanaki. The two chocobos barely noticed the weight, and were all strung together by the reins with long, thick pieces of rope.
"Nooner nooner nooner..." Anthony looked around, bored as they walked slowly along, the chocobos going at a faster pace then the three would be able to. Anthony slipped on his shades and slid the hood of the cloak off. His hair was now brown, despite having red fur. His brown eyes were well shielded under the thick shades. His light, ghostly white skin, however, was being hurt by the light, so he raised his hood again. Kianki spent much of the time she would go about in human form in the sun, and had peach colored skin, and red and blond hair, making her seem to have orange. She was, by all description, a very pretty young woman as a human. The only way she could be told apart from a normal human was the fangs she had, and the various tattoos that were used religously by her species. As they rode along, they met with little conversation, but saw several of other similar creatures walking along. They nodded, and sometimes might say a few words, but otherwise remained silent.
"This isn't very fun..." Kianki stared at the back of the chocobos neck, and rubbed along its feathers.
"It isn't supposed to be!" The other two stared at Nanaki.
"You know what? You really suck the fun out of everything!" Anthony crossed his arms and slouched on his chocobo. "Pompous asshole." He picked a book out of his saddle bag, one of the few possessions he carried on his chocobo. He began to read it, a horror novel.
"You have a book and didn't tell us?"
"What? Am I supposed to cut it into sections and share?"
"You can read it out loud you know." So Anthony began to read it aloud to the two, which provided enough entertainment until they reached Rocket Town, as it was a very long book. Anthony looked at his watch, which he had stolen, like most of his possessions, and read the time. "Just on time. Got seven minutes." They hurried to the dock, which was only two years old, and boarded the transport ship. Nanaki went to his room and turned back to his true form and walked around the ship. He saw several of his own kind, but one in particular caught his attention. She was striking to him, and smiled at him warmly. He almost collapsed he felt so weak.
"Hello..." He fell over and sat back up with his paw over his face.
"I... I..." She just laughed. "I didn't mean to do that..."
"I know... So what are you doing here?"
"No you don't."
"I'm looking at the most beautiful creature I've ever seen..." Nanaki bit his tongue. "I... I mean..."
"It's okay." She smiled and giggled again. "My name is Haktoi."
"My name is..."
"My name is Nanaki." She dropped her jaw. "What?"
"Son of Seto?" He nodded. "This is incredible! I never thought I'd see you again!"
"I still don't know who you are."
"Haktoi, daughter of Berl. You don't remember me?"
"Can't say I do."
"Alright. You stumbled into Bugenhagen's observatory that one time when you were little and your parents got so mad because you played with the machines. I was there because I was looking at the other stuff, like the telescope."
"I remember you... You look so much different now."
"I gained one-hundred and twenty pounds. I would look different. I'm almost forty-seven years older. I'm fifty-two, almost fifty-three."
"I know. I don't forget."
"How is your father?"
"Alive and well, still in the cave." Nanaki remembered the waterfall cave, with the room made of gil, and the incredible views of the land and jungle.
"Well, I must be going. Maybe I'll see you again sometime."
"Maybe. I'm going to live in Destilian. If you ever are in the city, I'll be there." She winked and walked away from him, back to her room. Nanaki sighed and smiled, padding back to his room, already making plans to visit Destilian in later days. He dressed back into his clothing and loaded his gun. He wrapped a thick mask of cloth around his face, exposing only his eyes. He looked much like Vincent had when they found him, except Nanaki had no claw.
"Les' see here..." He slid the hate down lower over his face. He walked out of his room and saw a room well packed and left open. He looked left and right down the hall and entered the room, finding a bag full of materia orbs. He scratched his head and began searching through them. He found one that caught his interest. A materia called Ryu, a powerful dragon spirit like Bahamut. He didn't know that Ryu was currently a soldier for Bahamut, and was a very, very powerful dragon. The dragon had great tusks like a mammoth, four wings, two legs and two arms, two heads, and one huge tail with blades like axes lining it. Nanaki didn't care at the moment. He had rudely rooted through some one's bag, and stolen some materia. He had realized that it was a subconscious compulsion that linked him still to Yuffie. He shook his head, realizing it wasn't his fault. He ran back to his room, and laid down on the bed. He took his hat off, not having a hood like his two brethen. He rolled over and fell asleep, dreamless, rare to Nanaki. Constantly his dreams were filled with nightmares.
Outside the Temple, Cetralin 5:43 PM May 28
"Well, this is shitty as ever." Anthony looked at temple in the crater of his destruction. "It's like... It's like an itch. Scratch, and you think it's gone, but next thing you know, the damn thing comes back. 'Cept, I don't use all the forces of Hell and creation to get the itch to stop." He scratched his head and looked around the area. It had taken them seven hours of walking aimlessly to find the temple.
"We'll camp in the first chamber of the temple, where it is safe."
"So long as the psycho bitch isn't there." The three set up a small tent in the chamber, and Nanaki studied the symbols on the wall as Anthony had done. The large face symbol in the middle of the room was once again there, and the two coffin in the wall that had the bodies of Edgar and Sabin of Figaro were gone. Nanaki searched for hours for a way to open a passage to another room, but the message revealed little. Anthony was admiring the Claymore, and Kianki was playing with a small mechanical memory game which Anthony had also hidden in his bag. Nanaki shook his head.
"I... I don't see it. I didn't get anything like you did, but I get the same cryptic stuff... Death and destruction, evil. Joyous..."
"Yeah... You see Nanaki, since we were all good little morons, and got picked to carry on magic. The translation is 'Get screwed over every five minutes and have fun getting shot, stabbed, impaled, and blown up by the very people you're trying to save.' Isn't it fun?"
"Yu..." Kianki was mesmerized by the device. "DAMN!" She threw back at Anthony's bag. "It cheats! I knew where it all was, and it cheated!"
"It's just a game! Giad..." Anthony rolled his eyes and turned back to Nanaki. "I got an idea..." Anthony felt along the wall. "Find an imperfection in the wall!"
"Oh yeah. That's real easy. There are only eight-million runes up there."
"No no... Not a physical imperfection. Sense and listen. See if you find a hollow spot." They pressed their ears to the wall, tapping and using magical concentration. They found nothing.
"I know... Tony, Kianki, sit with me in a triangle, facing toward the walls. Meditate. By raising our chi, maybe we can find an imperfection."
"You've been reading way to many books on Zen stuff."
"Shut up and do it." They sat and meditated. Nanaki felt lightheaded. Anthony felt odd and looked behind him, seeing Nanaki wasn't there.
"What the... Nanaki? Kianki, look for Nanaki." They began to get up.
"Hold it!" They saw a soldier dressed in a blue uniform. "Who are you two and what are you doing here?"
"We're studying something."
"Shut up. You're under arrest until..."
"Knock it off! I know these two!" Cait Sith walked into the room.
"What are you doing here!?! You're supposed to be in Cosmo Canyon! Why you little..." Kianki picked him and began strangling him.
"Put him down before I'm forced to shoot."
"Shut the fuck up before I'm forced to jam that gun up your ass!" The soldier looked around slowly.
"I got Hargo to watch them!" She dropped him.
"Damn right you are. Where is Nanaki?"
"We don't know, he disappeared."
"Tim, Joe, you two said you have a device that can sense alternations in the atmosphere and on a molecular basis, right?"
"Yeah. Tim, you little crack head, get the Serifor."
"Why can't Matt do it?"
"Cause he's drunk in his tent!"
"Hey Cait, what are you doing here anyway?"
"I came looking for you guys, making sure ya'll didn't get hurt."
"That's sweet, but it wasn't your job to follow us." She smiled.
"That's okay, always a pleasure." Tim ran in and set the device in the middle of the room and turned it on. It made a neon light appear where Nanaki was. It outlined his body, but he wasn't there. Kianki waved her hand through it, and hit nothing.
"This is so...wierd..."
Unknown, Unknown N/A Eternity
"Wha'?" Nanaki looked around. "What's going on?"
"Hello, Red XIII." Nanaki turned around, seeing a very thin, almost skeletal man with black hair. Hojo.
"You... What do you want? And how do you..." Nanaki found himself in his true form.
"My precious specimen..." Nanaki saw something wrong with Hojo, besides his usual insanity. Hojo had no eyes. Holes Black holes where his eyes had been. "You... You were perfect. Why did you want to leave me? I could make you perfect. Why did you leave?"
"Hmm... You jammed me full of needles, experimented on me, cut me open, altered me genetically, and last but not least, tried to get me to mate with a young woman. Twisted old man."
"Good bye... Nanaki..."
"What!?!" Nanaki couldn't move. It was a recurring nightmare. His heart raced as needles jammed into his legs, sides, and neck. He screamed. "Stop! Make it stop!" He began to cry. "Please... Please make it stop!" He heard a clicking sound. Electricity. He knew this test. He was electrocuted. "GYAAAAAAAH!" His eyes poured tears. Eyes. He could see with both eyes. "What is this!?! Stop it! STOP IT!" The sparks hit him again. "GWAAAAA!" He squeezed his eyes shut. "It isn't real... It can't be... It isn't real!"
"No, Nanaki, it isn't. But this is." Hojo jammed a surgical knife into Nanaki's side.
"BWAAAAAAH! No... None of it! It isn't real! You lie!"
"If it isn't real, how can you tell where the real world stops and your nightmare begins?"
"Your nightmare has begun, Hojo." Nanaki calmed himself. He found he had one eye again. "Your nightmare, Fellim." Fellim. Lord of Nightmares. This was his test. Beat Fellim at a simple game of imagination. "That nightmare shall plague me no longer..." Nanaki jumped up and landed on the ground. "Goodbye, Fellim." Nanaki began to glow, rays of light shooting out.
"No... Nanaki... You need me!"
"I don't need the excess fear I gain from your twisted perversions of my history." He howled, and found himself, covered in his robe, in his true form, on the floor of the temple. In a distant voice, he heard "Congratulations, Nanaki." He wasn't sure whether that was real or not, but it didn't matter. He had completed his training.
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