Bizarre Occurances Chapter 6
By Dino Pollard
Cloud found himself in a strange forest. He looked to his side. Sephiroth
was here, too. It ends now. he thought. He reached behind his back, but his
sword wasnt there. His Materia was also missing. Sephiroth seemed to
have the same problem.
Cloud, Sephiroth? a sweet voice said. It was Aeris. She came out from behind one of the trees.
Aeris! Cloud said. Im sorry about what happened back there.
Dont worry about it Cloud, She replied.
I cant. Cloud answered.
Oh? Aeris stated. Then why dont you worry about it a LOT. And let me handle Bizarro-Sephiroth.
Are you insane? Sephiroth asked. He will murder you.
I have no choice. Aeris responded. Only a survivor of the Cetra, like me, can stop Meteor.
What is this place? Cloud asked.
This is the Sleeping Forest. Aeris replied. It leads to the City of Ancients. Thats where Im heading. She turned and ran off.
AERIS!! Cloud shouted to her. He tried to run after her, but to no avail.
Hmnm, shes thinking of interferring? A voice said. She will have to be stopped, wont she?
You!! Sephiroth snarled.
Ahh, hello brother. Bizarro-Sephiroth said. Oh Cloud, thank you for the Black Materia. The time is near. I will stop the girl, then I shall summon Meteor. Farewell. He then flew off.
NOOO!! Cloud cried out. AERIS!!!
Damn man, get ahold o yerself. Barret said.
What? Cloud asked. He looked around. He was lying in a bed, in an inn.
Cloud, Aeris is gone. Tifa said.
Everyones out lookin fer Aeris. Barret said.
Shes at the City of Ancients. Cloud stated.
She went by herself? Barret asked. She outta her @#$%in mind?!?
Only Aeris can save us from Meteor, now. Cloud said.
Theres more good news. Sephiroth said. He sat up in his own bed, across the room from Cloud. Bizarro-Sephiroth is on to her.
We gotta stop him then!! Barret exclaimed.
No, Cloud replied. I...cant. I might lose it again.
What the--? Barret began. Tifa silenced him.
Barret, please. She said. She turned to Cloud. Cloud, we have to go after Aeris.
She is right, Sephiroth said. Tifa winced at hearing that. She hated the sound of Sephiroths voice, especially after what he had done to her father and her hometown.
Awright, if it happens, it happens. Barret said. If ya lose it, Ill go up into yo spikey-ass white head and knock some damn sense inta ya. He walked out. Tifa followed with Sephiroth far behind. He wanted to keep his distance from Tifa and Barret. Cloud got up and started to walk out.
Hey, wait a minute, The Inn Keeper said, stopping Cloud.
Did they forget to pay you? Cloud asked.
No, The keeper replied. I couldnt help overhear. You guys are against the Shin-Ra?
Yeah, why? Cloud asked.
I hate the Shin-Ra. he replied. My best friend, Zack, and myself joined SOLDIER when we were about 14. We got to fight in the last part of the war. Once it was over, we were moved up to First Class. We were to work side-by-side with the great Sephiroth. Zack jumped at the chance, but I couldnt stay with Shin-Ra after all the death and bloodshed I saw during the war. Zack and I had a big fight, and we parted our ways. He stayed and went on to become First Class SOLDIER, working directly under Sephiroths command. As for me, I came back to Gongaga and helped my father run this inn, until he retired. But I heard Zack passed away several years ago. I havent told his parents, yet. I couldnt bring myself to tell them, at least not until I knew the truth. But I want to help you stop the Shin-Ra.
How can I trust you? Cloud asked.
I dont know how to convince you, The man replied. Please, I was in SOLDIER. I can be a big help to you. I even remember some Shin-Ra Protocol.
Alright, Cloud gave in. Whats your name?
Striker, he replied. Striker Kerig. Pleasure to meet you...
Cloud Strife. Cloud said. Ill introduce you to the other members of Avalanche on the way to Bone Village.
Cid piloted the Tiny Bronco with exceptional effort. Surely it must have been difficult for him to stay in the shallow waters, Vincent thought to himself. He was sitting in the co-pilots seat, with Sephiroth standing off to the side, his head hung low causing the silver hair to mask his face. His muscular arms were folded across his chest. Vincents eyes went to the black sheathe which held the Masamune Blade, the blade which only Sephiroth could wield. Vincent wasnt sure if the Masamune was custom-made for Sephiroth, or if it was some ancient weapon used long ago. Vincent was amazed at the resemblence Sephiroth held to Lucrecia. She was always so caring, so loving. She would have made a perfect mother for Sephiroth. For any child. Unfortunately for Sephiroth, he seemed to have inherited his fathers personality. Hojo. Vincent hated that man with every fiber of his being. He looked at the golden claw which had once been his arm. Hojos handiwork.
So Vinny, whats the deal with you and Sephiroth? Cid asked. His question had surprised Vincent and broken the silence. Vincent turned his head so that he was face to face with Cid.
His mother and I were in love, he replied. But Hojo was her husband, and she felt she had a commitment to him, especially after she became pregnant with his child. However, she realized that she would do nothing but send her unborn son into a life of eternal damnation if she let Hojo continue his twisted experiment. She made me promise that if anything ever happened to her, I would protect Sephiroth from his father and the rest of Shin-Ra. I agreed. I couldnt be at the hospital when she gave birth, but I heard from an assistant to Hojo that she tied during labor and he was taking Sephiroth back to Nibelheim. I approached Hojo in the basement of the Shin-Ra Mansion. Sure enough, there was young Sephiroth, crying for his mother. Lucrecia would have silenced the cries if only she was there. But she wasnt. So I would have to be the one who helped the child. I ordered Hojo at gunpoint to give me Sephiroth. He refused. A shot rang out, but it wasnt from my gun. My left arm fell limp, and I looked to the source of my pain. Tseng was standing there, holding a smoking gun. He was my closest friend, yet he betrayed me. Before I knew what happened, I was surrouned by four MPs. One of them hit me in the back of my skull with the butt of his rifle. I fell unconcious. When I awoke, I was wearing a red cape and headband. My navy suit was replaced with the black outfit I currently wear. The arm which Tseng had put a bullet through was no more. In its place was this gold claw. As I made my way out, the four MPs blocked me. I quickly killed them and placed each one in a coffin. There was a vacant coffin in the center. That coffin would be my final resting place. I pulled the lid over my head and slept for thirty long years until Avalanche came along. Now I need to keep my promise to Lucrecia and try to help Sephiroth atone for his own sins. That is the connection I have with him.
Cid looked amazed and replied with one word, Damn.
Sephiroth remained still.
Striker observed his new surroundings. The cargo hold of the Tiny Bronco was extremly small, not leaving much elbow room for all the people cramped in it. He was standing near a window with Cloud near him. Striker looked Cloud over for the fifth time and still couldnt believe the resemblence he bore to Zack. The spikey hair, the Mako eyes, the way he walked, his posture, all of it was exactly like Zacks. But Cloud was different. He was always distant. Not as much as Sephiroth, but he seemed more content to be a loner. Zack was never like that. He always had to be the center of attention, and was always ready with a witty remark or response to anything. Striker tried to shake the memory of his friend away. His eyes moved to the floor. Clouds massive Buster Sword lay near his feet. It also looked like Zacks sword. Striker tried to handle Zacks sword once, but could barely keep it off the ground. He was much better with the Hardedge, a sword that was given to him in SOLDIER. It had a flat end and wasnt very long, but the edges were sharp as hell. Striker sighed and decided he might as well make some conversation.
Cloud? he asked his new leader. Clouds eyes moved up to him.
Yeah? Cloud replied.
Can we talk? Striker said. Its about Zack.
Tifa looked around the small cargo hold. Cait Sith was off in a corner and it was if he was deactivated. Yuffie lay towards the back, clutching her stomach. She held a paper bag in front of her face. Tifa couldnt understand how a ninja with such great fighting skills could get sick so easily. Cloud and Striker were standing by a window, and it looked as if Striker finally broke the silence between them. Shen and Ray had decided to sit up above the cargo hold in order to get some fresh air. Red XIII lay sleeping in the center, away from anyone. Barret was standing right in front of Tifa, his arms folded. Tifa sat on a crate and tried making the best of a bad situation by talking with Barret.
How could Aeris run off like dat on her own? Barret asked her.
I dont know, Tifa replied. But I just hope we get there before something happens to her.
Even if we could, how da hell we gonna stand up ta Bizarro-Sephiroth?
Well, weve got the real Sephiroth on our side, she began. Not to mention the rest of Avalanche. We have to stop him before he summons Meteor. Barret nodded. Tifa looked out the window and bit her lip. Hold on Aeris, she thought to herself.
Shen enjoyed having the wind blow through his hair. It was such a great feeling. He sat in a meditative-like position, yet he was fully awake. He looked across the wing to see Ray. His boots were at his side, and he allowed his feet to travel through the water. Rays odd sword lay at his side, but it was one Shen had never seen in his life.
What is the name of your weapon? Shen asked him. Ray looked up at him.
Oh, its the Star Sword, he replied. The only one of its kind. Its all I have left of my father. He died when I was very young, but he left me in the care of the elders at Cosmo Canyon.
So that is why you are more in tune with the planet then Aeris, Shen said. Ray nodded. You have feelings for her, dont you?
Ray looked up in surprise. Ummm, I dont know what youre talking about.
Shen snickered a little. You cant hide it from me, Ray. I saw the way you looked at her in the Temple when we first met. I know what that look means.
Ray couldnt help but blush. Youre right. But theres no possible way shed be interested in me.
Oh? Shen asked. And why is that?
Because its fairly obvious that Cloud has feelings fer her, and I think Sephiroth does too, he replied. Plus, Im only 17.
Dont give up hope, my friend. Shen replied. He looked off to the distance. We are approaching Bone Village. We should be there within a few minutes.
You say Zack was in SOLDIER? Cloud asked Striker.
Yep, Striker responded. He visited Gongaga about 5 years ago, saying he was going on a big mission to Nibelheim. But we didnt speak. I heard it from his parents.
Nibelheim? Cloud asked. Thats my hometown. I was sent there 5 years ago. Thats when Sephiroth went insane.
You went there, too? Striker asked. Thats weird.
Why? Cloud asked. Striker opened his mouth to speak until he saw Tifa looking at him. Her eyes looked as if she was pleading with him not to tell Cloud.
Nothing, Striker said. Cloud shrugged his shoulers. A few seconds of silence remained until Cid popped in.
Get off your asses, he ordered. Bone Village is up ahead.
Cid pulled the Bronco up to the mainland. With some help from the rest of the team, they were able to get it up on the beach. Cid cursed at the thought of leaving the Bronco on a beach in a strange land.
That must be Bone Village. Cloud said. He pointed to the large skull on top of a small plateau. He turned to the others. This supposedly leads to the Sleeping Forest according to this map. Well go through here, and well find Aeris. He led them into the small town. A man greeted them. His clothes were a little dirty, and it appeared as if he was digging.
Welcome to Bone Village. he said. A town for nature lovers.
How do we get to the Sleeping Forest from here? Cloud asked.
The Sleeping Forest? the man repeated. Its right up that way. But I wouldnt go in there without the Lunar Harp.
Lunar Harp? Cid asked. What the hell is that?
Its a harp that awakens the Sleeping Forest. the man replied. But if you go in there without it, the Forest will swallow you up. Its just a legend, but I wouldnt take the chance. Anyway, a young woman in a pink dress went through there.
A pink dress? Shen asked. What did she say?
I warned her not to go in the Forest without the Lunar Harp, but she just smiled at me and kept on walking. the man said. Another guy in a black cloak with long, silver hair also went into the forest. When I warned him, he nearly drew his sword on me!! I HOPE the Forest swallowed him up. Some people these days.
Where can we get the Harp? Red asked.
It should be around here somewhere, the man replied. We could dig for it. Ill lend you some of my staff.
How much? Cloud asked.
100 gil for a search. the foreman replied. Cloud gave him the proper amount of gil. Thanks. You can rest here while we dig. In the morning, Ill give you what we found. Cloud nodded and the foreman led them into a sleeping area.
Sephiroth walked out of the small inn and looked up at the sky. It was still dark out. He climbed the ladder to the top where a man was digging.
Whoa! he shouted in surprise when he saw Sephiroth. Im still digging. I think Im getting close to something. Sephiroth nodded. After several minutes, the man looked back at Sephiroth. Ive hit something!! I think I found it! He reached his hands in and pulled out a strange-looking harp. This must be it. He handed the harp to Sephiroth. Sephiroth examined it for a few minutes then climbed back down the ladder and stood outside by the inn, waiting for the others to awaken. Shen was the first to come out.
Sephiroth? he asked. Youre up bright and early.
They found the Lunar Harp. Sephiroth replied. he handed it to Shen.
Perfect! Shen said. Ill go wake Cloud and the others.
The Lunar Harp was worth the money Avalanche had spent for the dig. It successfully awoke the Sleeping Forest, and now they made their way through the thick woods.
MATERIA!! Yuffie cried out. She lept for a small red orb, but it vanished. OUCH!! Whered it go?!?
The Materia floated near Vincent who grabbed it. He equipped it on his armlet.
HEY!!! Yuffie cried out. NO FAIR!!! I SAW IT FIRST!!!
Quiet child, Vincent stated firmly.
I am NOT a child!! Yuffie protested.
Both of you, shut up. Cloud ordered. Theres some sort of shell-type city down there.
It must be the City of Ancients. Ray said. I never thought it existed. He ran ahead of the group towards the city.
The City of Ancients looked as if it was underwater at a time.
Aeris is near, Sephiroth said. He is, as well.
You mean your brother, dont you? Vincent asked. Sephiroth nodded. He didnt want to refer to Bizarro-Sephiroth as his brother, but it was the truth.
Follow me. Sephiroth ordered.
No chance in hell, Cloud said. Sephiroth glared at him.
If you want Aeris to live, you should do as I say,
It sounds more like youre going to kill her yourself, Cloud snapped. Sephiroth turned away from him and continued on. Cloud began to protest, but when the rest of Avalanche reluctantly followed, so did he.
Sephiroth led the team to the largest shell houses of all. It stood above a magnificant lake with crystal clear waters. Once inside, they saw a path leading to a large staircase.
Come on, Sephiroth said as he walked down the stairs.
The stairs led to a beautiful crystalline city. At the very center was an altar surrounded by water. There were several blocks of wood jutting forth from it that led up to the altar. Cloud stepped up to the first one. Red was about to follow, but Cloud motioned for him to stay. He jumped from one to the other until he reached the altar. Aeris was on her knees in a position of prayer. Cloud walked towards her but stopped suddenly. He gripped his head and fell to his knees. When he got back up, he was surprised that he had drawn his sword. Stepping up to Aeris, he lifted the weapon above his head and was ready to strike.
NO!! Ray cried out to Cloud. He was halfway up the steps when he saw Cloud draw his sword. Now he moved as fast as he could. He wasted no time and rammed into Cloud with all his strength, causing him to fall to the side, dropping his sword. Aeris looked up and saw Cloud and Ray on the ground. She turned and looked at the rest of the team gathered around the altar. Cloud looked at her and stood. He tried to walk over to her, but he couldnt move!! The only thing he could do was look upwards to see a figure plummeting from a pearch above them. Bizarro-Sephiroth had his sword ready to strike Aeris down!!
In another second Bizarro-Sephiroths sword would slide through Aeris spine.
Bizarro-Sephiroth looked up to see the face of Sephiroth, his teeth clenched and hatred in his eyes. In a last ditch effort to save Aeris, he blocked Bizarro-Sephiroths sword with his own!!
How can this be? Bizarro-Sephiroth thought. They were all frozen in place!!
All except for me, Sephiroth answered his brothers thought.
How did you-- Bizarro-Sephiroth began.
--read your thought? Sephiroth finished. It must be the fact that you are a copy of me.
Youre wrong, brother, he replied. It is you who is the copy. But Mother is willing to forgive you. Join us, and together we will become one with the planet!! We will become gods!! Just kill her, and all will be forgiven. He motioned to Aeris who already began to move away from the brothers.
FOOL!!! Sephiroth snapped. Jenova isnt our mother!! Lucrecia is!!
I cannot understand why you have allowed yourself to be duped by their lies, brother. Bizarro-Sephiroth replied. Very well. Mother has something she wants to say. Now I will travel over the snowy fields to reach the Promised Land. With that, he flew off.
Then it happened. Jenova-LIFE appeared.
Oh shit!! Cid shouted as he readied his spear. What the hell is that?!?
Jenova, Sephiroth said the name like a curse.
Well my son, Jenova said. You have disgraced your mother.
You are NOT my mother!! Sephiroth spat. Lucrecia is!! He drew his sword and immediatly rushed towards the creature, and began to slash at it.
Bout damn time we had some action!! Barret shouted. He fired an almost endless stream of
bullets into Jenova.
You have ruined many lives, Vincent said. He began to transform into some sort of creature as he spoke. NO MORE!!! Vincent vanished and in his place is a strange, purple, winged demon. I am Chaos Jenova. You will feel my wrath!! The ground underneath Jenova seemed to become a skull!! Its mouth opened and dozens of flaming skulls attacked Jenova!!
NOW do you think it was a good idea to let him have the Materia? Yuffie asked. She drew her arm back and flung her shuriken right at Jenova.
Too late now, Shen said as he joined Sephiroth in the onslaught on Jenova.
I got an idea!! Yuffie said. She pulled out a yellow orb and began to concentrate. Cmon, Trine. Her spell works as Trine is casted on the creature.
ARRRRRGGGG!!!! Jenova cried out in pain. It used its Waterlung attack on the team.
ENOUGH!!! Sephiroth shouted. He leapt into the air and drove his sword right through Jenova.
NOOO!!!! It shouted. You have not seen the last--the last of--of me.... Jenova-LIFE vanished with that.
The next morning, Cloud stood before the team.
Everyone, listen, he began. Im Cloud Strife. Ex-SOLDIER, born in Nibelheim. I came here to settle up with Sephiroth, but he turned out joining us to stop Bizarro-Sephiroth. Im not so sure I can control myself. Theres a part of me I dont understand. That part gave the Black Materia to Bizarro-Sephiroth and almost made me kill Aeris.
Dont worry about it, Cloud. Aeris said, reassuringly.
Cloud shook his head. Let me finish. I have to stop Bizarro-Sephiroth before he summons Meteor. I have a favor to ask you all. Will you come with me, to make sure I dont do something like that again?
Im staying, Striker said. But not for you. I need to know if Zack is really dead. And this is the only way I can find out.
Were with ya, Cloud. Barret said. Sides, someones gotta make sure yer spikey-headed ass don screw things up.
OK, Cloud said. Where is Bizarro-Sephiroth going?
Over the snowy fields, Sephiroth replied. Icicle Inn.
If we hurry, we can get there before dark. Shen said.
As the team walked out, Striker stopped Aeris.
Youre Aeris Gainsborough, right? Striker asked.
Yes, she replied. You must be the new member of Avalanche. Striker, right?
Yeah, Striker Kerig. he answered. My friend Zack had a girl he cared for. Her name was Aeris, too.
Did you say Zack? Aeris asked him. Striker nodded. I havent seen him in 5 years. I met his parents in Gongaga when we first travelled there on the way to Cosmo Canyon.
Cloud says that he went on the same mission as Zack did 5 years ago, Striker said. But that cant be right.
Cloud.... Aeris repeated. Striker, do me a favor. Dont tell Cloud about Zack. Not yet.
Sure thing. Striker promised. We better hurry to Icicle Inn. He went out the door with Aeris behind him. Sephiroth and Vincent hung back to wait for them.
You ready? Vincent asked Aeris and Striker. The two nodded. Good. The others are already on their way to the Corral Valley Cave. He began to walk in the direction of the others, followed by Aeris and Striker with Sephiroth at the tail end.
AUTHORS NOTE: Surprised? Thats why this story is called Irony, because Sephiroth saves Aeris rather than killing her. I think its a nice little touch. Right now youre probably thinking that Avalanche is about to burst at the seams from its size. Well, dont fret. That problems gonna be solved soon. In the next Chapter, Avalanche goes to Icicle Inn for another surprise.
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