Completion Chapter 15
Crescendo Three: Darkness Rising
Cloud looked down at Elena, her heart was pounding against his chest. No one had really moved. Nanaki, Rovina, and Reno had been gone for over twenty minutes. There was no sign of them returning. The door continued to shake, the supports were starting to crack, throwing splinters down to the ground. He tightened his arm about her, his own heart beating a mile a minute. Tueso?
The holy man finished his prayer and looked over at the blond hero. Yes? He slowly stood on his old legs, shaking in fear.
Is there another way out of here? The door was crackling as if it were on fire. A large chunk of it finally came lose and rested at Clouds feet. He ignored it, thin dusty pieces of the brace had dusted the stone. With every pound a crack down the center widened.
No, there is only the door that is blocked. We are trapped. Every beat made Tuesos heart leap further; from his stomach to his shoes and back.
GOT DAMN IT ALL TO HELL! Cid bellowed in frustration, I did NOT outlive that fight with Sephi-fucking-roth to end up dead because of some psychotic Aeons! What are we going to do Spike?
Fight, its all we can do. Cloud forced himself off the wall, reluctantly leaving the other blonde alone. Take those weapons off the wall, we are going to need them. Tueso, you hang back, stay out of the way. Rude and Yuffie, try to corner Yrene. Vincent your going to take Apollyon with me. Every one else keep us clear of those SOILDJETSI or whatever the hell they are called. Get ready.
My AUNT? Reno questioned Seto. I wasnt aware that I had one.
The wise old warrior chuckled, She is your mothers twin. I think that you will find her more then happy to see you.
How would she know about me? He gave up on looking into the tall mans face, in his current form now it was simply impossible.
Ever have a dream like this? Seto guided them over still, clean hills. They crossed a crystalline bridge over a silent stream. He stopped and looked up into the cloudless sky. It never rained, never snowed, never was below seventy degrees; this land was a picture, unchanging beauty.
The utter perfection was almost to much for Reno to bear. He never had stopped to think about his home before, rolling hills, starry nights, the ever changing life of his planet was missing here. When my mom was alive I had them a lot, I have them less since I have gotten older. Reno watched the fish that were aimlessly swimming about in the still water. They looked bored. Why do you ask?
You Aeons are tied to this world at all times, you can visit in your dreams. Even though Sillian was unable to physically return she could be here in her dreams, like a ghost if you will. Seto looked down to the young creature, Sillian told her sister all about you.
Oh. Whenever you could sleep in that damn roach motel you got to see your family. Reno closed his eyes, it had been almost twenty years since his mother was killed and he had been left with his scars. She had come from this strange, abstract perfection, lived through Hojo, all for what? To die on a hotel bed at the hands of some sick bastard. Reno pushed the lump in his throat back.
Nanaki saved Reno from his thoughts for a while. He was worried, Reno was never like this, dejected and down trodden. Father, what are you doing here? I thought you would be in the lifestream. I admit that I am confused, all of this- he motioned to the world about them, -I read about. But you, how did you get here?
I am not dead yet. I am petrified. Our canyon was the ground site of the Holy Temple of Ifrit many years before even I was born. My spirit can reside here until I pass on into the lifestream. He crouched near Reno, please young one we must move on, you have a lot to accomplish today.
As they continued past softly dome shaped houses and rounded, shining flower beds Seto explained more. About the Ronsi having the same ancestors as the Centra. About how the Ronsi had moved to this world while the Centra remained with the humans. Reno felt this odd familiarity with the town, he knew it. The place was growing on him, but he needed change, his life had thrived on it. It would be a nice place to visit however, calm and relaxing.
We are here. Seto knocked on a double door to a gently sloping house. The little flower bed was in perfect condition. The flowers nearly choked it, a rainbow of sparkling color. Two of the windows were extremely low on the side.
Why two doors? Rovina asked as she smelt the tulip shaped flowers. She could hardly contain her joy. The idea that there may be more of her kind, that the great Seto was here, that it all made sense. It made everything worth it.
Cari is smaller then Reno, but she has many friends who are larger, such as myself. So she has two doors."
A sweet, perky voice came from within. Come on in!
Well Reno? Seto smiled, his tanned face resembling his sons. "Go on."
Arent you guys coming in? Again his large ears laid down, he was nervous.
In a while. I want to catch up with Nanaki and show them some things.
Reno swallowed and pushed open the door.
Tifa pushed Suzanna behind her, eyes on the door. Go into that other room Trigg.
Im scared. She hugged Tifas leg. She looked up to the brunette fighter, dont leave?
Wouldnt dream of it. I just got you back. I just got BOTH of you back Tifa took her fighting stance as the brace finally snapped. Both doors flew open, throwing the broken plank in two directions across the room. The statue almost groaned in protest and the room shook. The SOILDJETSI stumbled into the room. Blood dripped from the formosts hands only to be sucked up by the sawdust. Over a dozen flooded the room.
Then, eyes being seen long before bodies, entered Apollyon and Yrene. He is gone, brother. Yrenes icy voice only enraged the statue more, its eyes began to glow. You held us up.
We would have him still sister, had you not been fooled. Apollyon drew his sword and snarled at Cloud, just make your life easier and give up. You are making me angry.
Cloud said nothing, he leveled the Ultima weapon with one arm at the Aeon.
Yrene saw Suzanna, still behind Tifa. Give her to us and we wont hurt her.
Over my dead body. Tifa hissed at the Amazon.
Territorial are we sparrow? Yrenes green eyes narrowed, her words like an ice pick at the smaller woman.
You could say that. Tifa Lockheart responded.
The door didnt even have a chance to close before Reno found himself tackled under a smaller rabbit-fox like creature. They both tumbled end over end. RENO! she squeaked happily.
What? Who? Reno asked amidst paws plucking at his cheeks and looking at his ears. He yanked his tail back and regarded his gentle assailant. She looked like him, except for a jewel-like center to her forehead. She was a light green color, her long tail waiving with excitement.
My youre a big boy!" She sat up on her haunches as well and looked up at him, then she poked his stomach lightly with a small paw. "Kind of thin though, have you been eating? She didnt give him a chance to really answer, instead she wrapped him in a hug. OH I still cant believe that its you! She held him at paws length, how about some tea dear?
Reno sat in stunned silence. He watched the little green creature as she hopped from stool to stool putting the tea on. His eyes drifted to her modest, tidy living room. She had different sized furniture, high stools for herself and larger chairs for company. He hopped to a stool himself. Not really thinking about how effortless the jump was. I-
You have to tell me about yourself! I dont know anything about you past five! She hopped around and cocked her head at him.
Reno couldn't help but feel welcome by her. "Thank you but really I dont-"
Dont you be silly dear, Im your aunt! Are you married? Do you have a family?
He laughed, she was so much like his mom, just much more excitable. Whats your name?
She put her paws to her mouth, oh Holy! I was so excited to actually see you that I forgot! Im Carbunkle, but you call me Cari. Everyone else does. She immediately wrapped him in a hug again. Now. Talk! she demanded playfully.
Well, I have a daughter-
A DAUGHTER! Cari chirped. Where is she? You have a wife?
No," He rubbed behind his ears and looked at the ground, "I am not married. Shes with my- uhm friend. He wanted to call Tifa his girlfriend, but he wasnt one to jump to conclusions.
Cari nodded, she didnt seem to need an explanation of that. Her mother passed on I assume?
Yeah, he continued to look at the ground, only for a moment more. He was hugged again.
Oh, poor dear. I really don't care about things like that. I know she has to be prefect. I will meet her soon I hope. Dont be sad.
Reno hugged her back this time, very loath to hurt her feelings. He immediately liked her. I will bring her soon. This isnt a social call though.
The tea whistled and she turned about to take it off the burner. I know, I could tell that much. She handed him a cup, start from the beginning Reno. Youll have to catch me up.
Reno related his life to her. From his mothers death on to the fall of Shinra. He then began to get into Yrene and Apollyon.
SHE DID WHAT? The little Aeon bristled with anger. How dare she! She didnt hurt you did she?
No, Reno lifted his paws to calm her. I am alright for now, but I doubt she will be taking no for an answer.
Cari seemed to calm slightly, but her bushy tail still bristled. No, brats like her rarely do. Continue please, I am sorry I interrupted.
No, its fine. He continued to tell her about Cloud, Jenova and Havoc. Then he mentioned that Vincent was around.
You mean Vickaler? Your father? Cari blinked, He is alive?
Yeah thats the same guy. Trigg's the only one that calls him Vic any more. I think his is alive, sort of. Reno rubbed his ear. Hes more like bonded to Chaos-
WHO! Cari dropped her cup. Whatever it was made of didn't break, it simply bounced on the floor. "Chaos? You are certain?"
Reno nodded, "Yes. For some time now. Vincent- err- he and I don't really talk much."
"And, this Cloud you are with. He is bonded to Havoc? Please be absolutely certain "
"Yes, like I told you, they basically told me everything. I am positive."
She shook her head, "I'm proud of you, being so clever. But make SURE this Cloud fellow and Vickaler never meet-"
"What? Its too late for that!" Reno could feel panic in his voice. "Why, how do you know them?"
She leapt from the stool, "Come on, we have to go! I'll explain later."
"No, what is wrong? Please, my daughter's where they are!"
She halted and turned her red eyes up to his. "Oh, Holy Reno, Havoc and Chaos hate each other. They will stop at nothing to kill each other." With that she tore out the door. "Hurry! Follow me!" They dashed out the door.
Yrene wasted no time, with a snap of her long fingers the SOILDJETSI rushed forward in a stumbling, mindless troop. Elena began the retaliation by pulling her death penalties and firing. Tifa used the little bought time to push Suzanna with Tueso into the relic room. The brunette pulled a pair of katana's off the wall and threw them to Rude.
While the main force was making an effort to keep the SOILDJETSI at bay Cloud circled with Apollyon. The two combatants said nothing, their eyes locked. Then three shots rang out. The Aeon ducked, but was hit by three bullets from Vincent's weapon. As Apollyon whirled on the ex-Turk Cloud attacked. The Aeon had to spin and catch the blonde's blade to the side. Vincent scored deep on his arm with his claw as Apollyon spun. The Aeon snarled in agitation. He jumped up and grabbed Vincent's shoulder. Apollyon jumped over Vincent's head, at the last moment he threw hard, casting the ex-Turk under him and into Cloud.
Cloud fell, just out of the way of Vincent's claw, both men hit their backs. At the same moment Apollyon's sword hit the stone in between them. The Aeon swung his sword in an arch forcing the two further apart. Leaving Cloud alone for a split second he centered on Vincent. The masume blade came down yet again, with a shower for sparks and a squealing of metal Vincent caught the blade in his claw. They spun in a half circle, Apollyon trying to force the blade down and Vincent holding.
The Aeon snarled, he lifted his blade and swung it like a bat, both of his strong hands on the blade. Vincent twisted, using his metal arm to tip the blade. The flat of the masume hit the ex-Turk on the side of the head, throwing him over. He lifted Vincent and threw the dark man against the wall. The stone cracked slightly as Vincent's head connected. The ex-Turk slumped down against the wall, conscious but his head spinning.
Cloud attacked from the side, feinting to the left. He grunted as the blades cracked against each other. They passed each other three times, the taller Aeon continuously attacked downward making Cloud keep the heavy ultima weapon above his head. The blonde's arms began to tingle, his muscles bunching up in knots. Sweat fell from his hair into his face, stinging his eyes. They danced back to the doors of the chamber. Apollyon ducked swiftly, scooping up a handful of sawdust and he threw it into the blonde's face.
When Cloud flinched the Aeon dropped his sword, and grabbed him. He bent Cloud's wrist back forcing the blonde to let go of his blade and lift his other hand to the Aeon's arm. Cloud hissed in pain and tried to break the Apollyon's hold. The blonde kicked out to trip the Aeon. He failed, instead he was spun about, both of his wrists trapped in front of his body by one of Apollyon's hands. He felt the Aeon's nails dig into the back of his neck. Apollyon's voice rang out " Sentio obscurum ortus, oscuritê, Ascensore dentro. Permissum is sicco , deprehendo vos!"
Cloud was thrown to his knees, his vision blurred. Suddenly there was a stinging within his veins. He was used to pain, Hojo saw to that. Pain of the body was something as familiar as his own face, but this burned. This consumed him. Cloud closed his eyes, his muscles started popping, his left arm felt like it was on fire.
"Cloud!" Elena watched him hit his knees and rushed over to him. She touched his shoulder and gasped at the heat she felt. He clenched his teeth and then, with no exclamation of pain on his part, a single dark wing sprang from the hero's back. It extended with a loud crunching sound, blood flew from it and was soaked up by Cloud's now torn tee-shirt. Elena worked her mouth, but no words came out, she let go of his shoulder and stared at her hand. His blood dripped from it. A bestial snarl came from deep in his throat. She touched him again. Elena was so intent on looking at Cloud's face that she didn't notice the claw that had formed on his left hand.
The blonde stopped shaking, he turned navy colored eyes up to the ex-Turk. Elena found herself lifted into the air and hauled backwards. She looked over her shoulder to see Rude.
The bald ex-Turk had possibly saved Elena's life. Cloud's newly clawed hand was buried into the stone floor where Elena had been sitting. With another snarl he ripped the claw out leaving a hole. He rose to his feet slowly, the leather wing outstretched with more loud popping. Then his navy eyes looked over his body. While the face and most of the body was still Cloud's the voice was from some outer region of hell. "Apollyon! What the hell is wrong?" He ignored the heroes and strode to the Aeon, "Vos no a travisare tu pazzo!"
The Aeon was gripped by the collar and dragged nose to nose with whatever Cloud had become. "We can fix it, just get the girl." Was that fear in Apollyon's voice?
He dropped Apollyon and took a deep breath through the nose, senting the air like an enormous wolf. Another low growl escaped his deep chest and he lunged to the relic room. He didn't need another wing to fly it seemed, he cleared the distance in one bound. The door flew open.
Suzanna ran out ducking under the ultima weapon, which only barley missed her. With a snarl the monster rushed after her. She hit a wall and spun around, pressing her small back against it. "Who- who are you?" She stammered trying to scoot even further back into the stone wall.
"Deliverance." The deep snarling voice echoed off the walls.
Her green eyes narrowed, the little girl reached down into her boots and pulled out a butterfly knife. She had been taught how to use it well. Reno saw to it that she could protect herself. She ducked under the blade again and ran to the monster, it hadn't expected this. It's dark eyes widened as she cut down it's side and then darted the other way. She didn't score deeply, but the wound drew blood.
It howled in anger and clawed at the child as she ran away. "Meretricis!" It cursed. It slashed again, this time catching her with it's talons and throwing her a few feet. Sword drawn, it leapt at her. Suzanna rolled into a sitting position, the sparks from the blade hitting the stone singed her. The little girl was frozen in fear and badly hurt, she couldn't run any more. Tears fell down her face, blood came from her cheek, neck and arm where the claws broke the skin. She was shaking, her wide emerald eyes pleaded in vain.
Whatever Cloud had become lifted the ultima weapon above its head. It then fell to the side. Navy eyes widened in surprise. With another snarl it looked up at Tifa Lockheart standing in front of the girl. "You want to fight I will give you one." The brunette proclaimed.
It stood slowly, sheathing Cloud's sword and popping the wing out again to relieve a kink. Once the wing was folded again it laughed sending a chill up her spine. Cloud's hair drooped slightly, touching his broad shoulders. "You humans are pitiful, girl. Getting yourself killed over a child that isn't even yours."
Vincent shook his head, Chaos' voice beat into it like a storm. HAVOC kill him! Kill him! Kill him! Vincent had no power to stand, he sunk to the floor and let Chaos have his way.
With a gross snapping of bone and flesh Chaos took over the body. He slammed into the other demon in a hissing rage.
The monster's eyes widened, "Chaos ." It whirled drawing the blade and slashing.
"Havoc!" The demon's red eyes flared as it caught the sword and pulled, "still to weak to fight on your own pup?"
With another snarl the beast let go of Cloud's sword and threw his shoulder into Chaos. The demon hit the wall, cracking the stone, and creating an indentation. "I dont need a blade to hold you off you old fool." He noted that Tifa was trying to sneak away with Suzanna and threw a roundhouse to her.
Cloud before Havoc's bonding was more then powerful enough to break bones. This raw power was unbelievable. Tifa twisted, taking the blow in her ribs. She felt them crack as she was thrown to the next wall. Both the little red head and Tifa smashed into the wall with force. "Did I tell you to move girl?" Suzanna whimpered in response and hugged Tifa's unconscious form.
Chaos flew up from his indent in the wall and snarled. "Sto slake," he murmured, waving his claws. A skull formed below Havoc, who flapped his single wing and launched himself into the air. The stone floor crackled to powder, more skulls began to form around the ceiling. They smashed through an alter, the doors, the walls and the floor.
"Nice try." Havoc hissed. Once again the two demons clashed, snarling like a cat and a dog. The temple itself cried and shook, stones falling. They hit the walls, the ceiling, the floor, paying no attention to the SOLDJETSI they crushed or the other combatants that had to dive out of the way. Havoc pushed off from above the statue of Leviathan and bailed into Chaos. Rude and Yuffie fell backward, leaving Yrene to be slammed into by the raging demons. They hit the already broken alter reducing it to ornate, sparkling rubble. The Aeon snarled, she kicked back hard with her legs, freeing herself from the rolling demons.
Apollyon stood behind her, "Interesting don't you think sister?" He looked about the demolished temple. His eyes found the heroes, regrouping in a corner. Tifa was slowly coming around. Elena and Rude stood guarding her as Cid and Yuffie saw to Tifa and Suzanna's wounds. The blonde looked up and daylight entered the temple through a new hole in the ceiling. She then looked at the statue, hurry Reno
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