Nanaki and the Fallen Angel Chapter 15
Death of a Hero
By Brady Bryner, Bill Shofstall, & Anthony McKinley
Rocket Town, Ruins 3:04 PM Sept. 29
Cid sat in the rubble of his home. Shera was alive, thankfully fleeing the squads of troops that annihilated the town. "Ca... Captain?"
"Call me Cid, damn it." He sat on his knees, the Venus Gospel beside him. He thought of asking Shera to forgive him for all he had done. Hurting her they way he did, but she didn't show it. Too strong.
"Yes, sir... I mean, Cid."
"That's better. Sh... Shera, this has made me think. I... I want to..."
He stood up and threw his arms out in front of him as he walked closer. "God damn it! I want to say I'm sorry!"
"Don't gimme that shit. Shera, you're tough. I know you have to be pissed at me...somehow! Can you honestly say I haven't hurt you?"
"Don't lie to me, please..." His look turned sad. "All my friends are dying slowly, you're the only one I can trust anymore."
She pursed her lips and let a tear fall. "Th... Thank you Cid. Yes, it has hurt, but I owe you my life!"
"No! You don't owe me your life. I saved you, you saved me."
"But your dreams..."
"I got em'. And I got some new ones. And you're coming with me, just as soon as I can get the gil. We're going to build a new rocket ourselves, a better one. We're going to the moon, Shera. I want you to come with me."
"Of course I will! Cid, your dreams have been the same as mine for years. I was always too afraid." She lifted her face and met his.
"No you weren't. You let them go unrealized. Not anymore. I promise you." Cid kissed her forehead. "Now come on, lots a' work to do if we're gonna get this place in order. Get the tools and some bricks and boards." She looked at him confused. "And hurry up, god damn it!" She turned with the same confused look that turned to a smile when he couldn't see anymore.
"Yes, captain..." She walked off to find materials and salvagables. Cid went back to looking through rubble for survivors.
New Continent, Ancient Castle 4:59 PM Sept. 29
Nanaki walked around, still pondering the presence of Sephiroth, and his odd disappearence when he had awaken. Cloud had come in, to assist Nanaki. Reeve's personal airship was now overhead, having been completed. The Eckard was a large airship, a fourth larger then the Highwind, but slower. Its design was based on a luxury airship that President Alexander Shinra had used six years before the development of C-class freighter airships, like the Highwind, were developed. Reeve stepped out of the white and red frame on a large steel platform with two rails on each side. Reeve had already sent Cait with the Mustirio to deal with the Emerald WEAPON while he dealt with issues at the ancient city. Cait was having many problems of his own though.
Ocean, Coast of Junon 5:23 PM Sept. 29
"DAMN IT! FIRE!" The Emerald WEAPON was weakening, but still coming on strong. Cait's attack was hindered by a large spider creature lumbering toward them. It grabbed the Mustirio and shook it, but then launched at the WEAPON and began ripping it apart, piece by piece. Cait looked out his window. "Holy..."
New Continent, Ancient Castle 6:54 PM Sept. 29
"SHIT! Why didn't you just tell us you saw Sephiroth?"
"He wasn't posing a threat!"
"That's great Nanaki! Why didn't you kill him?"
"It would be dishonorable."
"Who cares? He stabbed a young woman through the back. He murdered her!"
"I KNOW THAT!" Nanaki snapped at Cloud. "I AM NOT AS BARBARIC AS YOU THOUGH! OR AS HE! I WILL NOT BRING MYSELF TO THAT LEVEL!" Nanaki barred his teeth at Cloud. Cloud, however, remained advancing at Nanaki.
"Quit whining about honor. Honor is nothing."
"It is to me..." Nanaki turned his back to Cloud.
"Why?" Cloud shook his head at him.
"Because it was to my father."
"Who gives a damn!?!" Nanaki leapt at Cloud, pinning him to the ground. He slowly scrapped his claws to his neck.
"Cloud, whatever possesses you say such things of MY father, I do not know, but say them again, and I'll kill you..." He stepped back, Cloud standing and rubbing his neck.
"God damn... What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"You blame me for not killing a sleeping man. A defenseless man."
"But he wa..."
"I don't care who he was!" Nanaki's eyes blazed with anger. Cloud had never seen him so angry at him. Angry, yes, but in such a rage was unheard of. "He was asleep, so he lived."
"He killed Aeris." Nanaki turned and shut his eyes, teeth clenched.
"I know that. You wish not to know that yet you remind me with every waking second that we talk about that man. Cloud, it wasn't Sephiroth."
"What do you mean? You lied?"
"No. It was Sephiroth, but it wasn't. Not the same. He was the man, but not the demon that killed so many. He was silent, his face actually had the look of pain and remorse on it. Innocence."
"Innocence? Nanaki...he's a mad man, a murderer."
"Maybe so, but that wasn't him."
Cloud sighed. "Nanaki... I trust you with my life...but this..."
"Do what you must, Cloud. I'm going to find out about him." Nanaki began to rush into the forest.
Cloud cupped his hands around his mouth as he called after. "What if he kills you!?!" Nanaki turned his head but kept running.
"Then I'll see you in hell!" He disappeared into the forest. Cloud turned, dropping his arms toward the ground, shaking his head.
"Never thought how serious that could be." Cloud looked up and saw a man. No face, or even a body, just his outline.
"Who the fuck are you? How do I know your voice?" The figure stood, and the whole area turned dark. Cloud suddenly fell onto the ground, in front of a mansion. The Niblehiem Mansion.
"Long ago, something very bad happened here..." Cloud looked up, seeing only the mansion, no sky, or ground or anywhere else. The voice changed to an evil, demon-like voice. "...won't you come in?" Cloud pulled out the Masamune. Still there. He rushed through the door, and saw the mansion, clean, and many people walking around. A fat man laughed as he lit a cigar, while talking to several men in suits.
"Alexander, you throw the greatest parties ever." A stocky thin man with a smooth accent commented President Shinra. Cloud looked around more and saw a young man, no more then twenty or so. He had a goatee and pale skin, but that wasn't what drew his attention. The man was hiding, or so it seemed. He sat alone in a corner, smoking a cigarette slowly. Alexander looked at him.
"Reeve, muh' boy, whats wrong? Party not to your liking?"
"No, it's not that, sir."
"The house! I assure you, it's the best possible."
"I know, sir. I just don't approve of the placement."
"Ah... I see. You always had a good eye for building, Reeve. Thats why this is your night. You're here by promoted to Executive Architect of the Shinra Electric and Power Company. Of course, we won't tell them that until the ceremony."
"Yes, sir." Reeve talked to himself as soon as he could. Thinking out loud. Cloud walked closer, no one taking notice "Why'd he build this place on this poor town's cemetary, and on the memorial of Mr. Strife? The people won't stand for this, I'm sure. Oh, they'll be hell to pay." All the people vanished, except Cloud.
"What the fuck does that mean!?!"
"Your father! He died a traitor! Alexander Shinra had him assassinated because he came too close, like you are now... He almost found the secret of the Cetra, with the Masamune. He hid the Masamune though, because it was made by a dwarf, a Cetra. If Shinra had it, they could find the Promised land. If Sephiroth had it, he could find it as well, and claim the universe as his own. You didn't see the vision, Cloud. It does not belong to you! It belongs to the GOD! IT BELONGS TO SEPHIROTH! LORD OF ALL CREATION! HELL, HEAVEN, AND EARTH!"
"I heard it all before. You done yet?" Cloud set the Masamune into the ground, remaining calm, despite his amazement about his father.
"For your failure to see the vision, the vision of truth, you must die. But, I'm not totally malvolent. I'll make you a deal. Just give me the Masamune." The man appeared again, covered in heavy black robes, Cloud now seeing him. The robes only though. An arm extended, still not visible.
"Please Cloud!" Aeris appeared. "Please!"
Cloud grabbed his head. "It isn't real! It's an illusion! Stop it! Damn you! Stop it!" But it didn't.
"It ain't no fuckin' illusion, boy. Not this time." The hood of the robe was thrown back, revealing a skull. He looked like Hades. But it was Arkon. Cloud knew. "Give me the sword! She will die!"
"She already died!"
"But her soul, Cloud! Don't you want to save her soul?"
Aeris looked at him, her courage back. "Don't give him the sword, Cloud."
"Give me the sword!" A skeletal arm grabbed her by the neck and picked her up, jamming his bony fingers into her throat, making her bleed. "If she dies now, she'll go to hell, Cloud! Do you want that? Cloud..." The eyes burned blue. "I'm a man of business. All you do is give me the sword, and she is yours. I can give her back, Cloud! All you do is say the word. Just give me the sword, take the girl, and walk away. It's all it takes."
"But..." He looked around, he was inside the ancient castle now, the two still there, Aeris bleeding. "How do I know you aren't lying?"
"Here..." He threw Aeris to Cloud. Cloud held her around the stomach and kept her up. Aeris whispered in his ear.
"Cloud... Don't give him the sword... If you do, he'll kill you..."
"But Aeris... Your life... Our lives..."
"Cloud, I was meant to die, let it go. Don't...please. I have to go back to the lifestream. Cloud..." She looked at his eyes, tears welling. "I love you, but let me go..." She was pulled back to Arkon.
"Do we have a deal?"
Cloud's eyes squeezed shut. "Yes..." He picked the Masamune in a hand and gave it to Arkon.
"Cloud! No!" Aeris disappeared.
"Where'd she go!?!"
"Back to where she belongs. Don't worry, you'll join her soon."
"What!?!" Arkon took the Masamune in his fingers, clenching the bones around it, and jamming it through Cloud's heart. Cloud screamed, found he was sitting in the street, looking at Arkon, covered in flesh. Nanaki was there, looking at him, mouth open, screaming. Cloud coughed up blood, as Arkon smiled smugly as Cloud's eyes closed. But Cloud stood, only to recieve a blade to the stomach. Cloud's heart stopped. He had died.
"NO!" Nanaki leapt at Arkon, getting the Masamune through the shoulder.
"You have had your chance! He has died because of you, Nanaki!"
"NO! IT ISN'T TRUE! NO!" The Masamune was pulled from his shoulder.
"Yes... Nanaki, it is true." Arkon threw the Masamune into the air, it vanished. "But you may live on... Ignore it all. We'll handle that fool, Rufus."
Nanaki growled and leapt again at Arkon. "I ripped your throat out once, I'll do it again!" He pinned Arkon.
"My life has served its purpose! Kill me if you must! Do it!" Nanaki's claws turned red and jagged, and he began ripping Arkon apart, blood spraying all over the street. His rib cage was fully exposed. Nanaki could see Arkon's heart, still beating. He ripped it from the cage of bones, cutting off the viens. It was still beating.
"Die! Please God! Die!" Nanaki crushed the heart, blood spraying everywhere. He ripped Arkon's organs out, the stomach, intestines, anything that manifested the ribs. Finally, Arkon died. Nanaki sat, drenched in blood. He looked at Cloud, dragged himself to him, and laid down. "No... This isn't happening... NO!" Nanaki sat up and howled at the moon, many hours having passed. He once again laid down, seeing Cloud's stomach split open, but he covered the cut up with torn robes, from Arkon. He cried onto Cloud. "Cloud. You were my friend. A great friend. You saved my life. You saved my soul. I couldn't save you. This is all my fault... It always is... GOD DAMN IT!" His screaming could be heard throughout the city. "I'm sorry, Cloud... I truly am. Rest in peace, sir..." Nanaki ran to get Reeve.
Ancient City, Cloud's body 4:45 AM Sept. 30
"Where is he!?!" Nanaki looked for Arkon's body. Reeve looked at him like he was insane. "I'm telling you that bastard was right here! I slaughtered him! Look at the blo..." Arkon's blood was gone. "What about the robes on Clou..."
"Nanaki... There aren't any robes on Cloud. Nanaki...are you sure you weren't drunk?" Reeve was trying to be calm.
"I WASN'T DRUNK, GOD DAMN IT!"
"Calm down? Calm down!?! My best friend is dead, and you want me to calm down!?!"
"I know Cloud's dead, but...but there isn't a body... I think you may have... on accident..."
"I DIDN'T KILL HIM, GOD DAMN IT! ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME!?! I'm going to explain this slowly Reeve. An archon is a demon. An arch-demon. ARKON was named after the archons. He IS an archon."
"Nanaki? Thats impossible. He's just a clone."
"He is NOT just a clone, Reeve. I did not kill Cloud."
"Alright, you didn't kill Cloud, but we're no closer to Arkon."
"Maybe not, but he exists, and I'll fuck him up myself."
"Nanaki? I know I think you're going crazy..."
"...but, I'll come with you."
"But what about Shinra?"
"Cloud is gone. No fucking way I'm letting his killer get away. I'm not that fucking shallow."
"I know..." They both sucked their bottom lips, looking at the ground.
"We'd better go..." He turned around. "Who's the coroner?" A man looked at him solemnly. "Ta... Tag... Tag the body, get him to the morgue. Send the body to Ni... Ni.. Ni..."
"Nibleheim." Nanaki looked at him.
"Yes, sir. I'm sorry." Reeve nodded at him and shut his eyes.
"What do we do now, Nanaki?" They walked toward the Eckard.
"We go on... We make funeral arrangements... We kill..." Nanaki nodded. "The only way..."
"I agree, Nanaki... I agree..."
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