Darkness Falls Chapter 13

By Gemini83

Explosions could be heard far off in the distance, tainting the peace and quiet.

“Dammit man!” shouted Barret, “What the hell is that?”

Kaede got up, carrying Aeris in his arms, “It is obvious that the Drahk want Aeris. I sense that the Sleepers are near.”

“What happened to Aeris?” asked Reeve.

“I...don’t know,” said Kaede.

“Maybe it has something to do with her connection to the planet,” suggested Reno.

The others looked around uncertainly. The explosions came faster now, from the direction of the Ancient Forest.

“Okay people,” said Cloud, “it’s time we put our training to use.”

“Those explosions seem to be coming from the forest,” said Yuffie.

“Are there any cities near here?” asked Kaede.

“Yes,” answered Red, “my home, Cosmo Canyon.”

“Well then,” said Kaede, “we had better get to the forest before anything happens.”

Kaede put Aeris back inside the ship, hoping that whatever was happening to her would pass. The rest of the group trekked the rest of the way to the Ancient Forest. A few meters out, they could all see figures slowly snaking out of the hills near the forest. Kaede sensed the foul energies of the Sleepers.

The group stopped walking, standing in the valley below the hills. This was as good a place as any to make their stand.

“Okay,” said Cloud, “let’s get ready.”

Everyone drew their weapons and assumed their ready stances as they prepared for battle. That was when shrouded figures began to appear from the mountains. There must have been thousands of them, with more probably still hiding in the mountains.

Barret cursed under his breath.

“Oh man,” groaned Cid, “not these shrouds again!”

“Great Planet!” shouted Tifa, “How many of these guys are there?”

“I can’t tell,” said Kaede, “I‘ve never seen so many at once.”

“Are they as powerful as the one’s we fought before?” asked Vincent.

“Some are,” conceded Kaede, “but many are not.”

A tall Sleeper towered over his brothers, and come forth to look at those on his path. His face was gaunt, almost skeletal. The emaciated visage was painted red with blood, metalwork protruded from his body, talons grew along his hands and arms. The man could barely even be considered human, if he ever had been. He was a monstrosity.

His voice sounded like a thousand evil voices, “Get out of our way, we seek the Cetra.”

“You can’t have her!” shouted Cloud.

The monster laughed, “Ah, but we already do...”

“What do you mean?” asked Kaede, eyes narrowing.

“Well, well,” sneered the monster, “we did not expect a Planeswalker here...may we have the pleasure of your name...before we kill you?”

“My name,” answered the warrior coldly, “is Kaede, remember it, for it is the sound of your doom.”

The monster laughed, “I remembers that name, you are the traitor, the weakling. Now I, Xizor, master of the Sleepers, shall put an end to you.”

“I’ve heard of you,” Kaede grinned coolly, “you call me a weakling? Funny, I seem to remember being a general, but I found better things to do.”

“Enough talk!” snapped Xizor, “Now you die!”

“Let’s take ‘em!” shouted Yuffie.

Masses of Sleepers came at the small group. The small band of warriors unleashed tidal forces as they battled the roiling masses of black.

Cloud cast ultima on the first wave, causing a huge explosion to decimate the terrors. The others backed him up with various other attacks, casting fire and ice spells, meteors and quakes, the very powers of the elements themselves. Mighty elementals raged against the Sleepers, as Shiva, Ifrit, and a multitude of guardians decimated the small army. The spells were increased in strength by the weeks of training, never had the planet seen such a powerful force.

However, no matter how many they destroyed, always more would come to replace the fallen Sleepers. Soon, the group began to run out of room. They pushed their limits as each of them tried to use attacks that would hit multiple targets. Even with their training, the enemies were just too close, and too numerous.

“Curse it all!” spat Vincent, “For every one we kill, two rise to take its place.”

Xizor yelled loudly, halting the attack. The army of Sleepers backed off, giving the small group room again.

“Why’d they back off?” asked Cid.

“I trust you can see the futility of the situation,” Xizor laughed, “but I am a sporting man, so I offer you a special challenge, a gift from the Drahk. Which of you is brave enough to accept?”

Everyone was dumbfounded.

“What are you talking about you sick bastard!?” shouted Barret.

“Why don’t we find out?” snickered Xizor.

Cloud stepped forward, “That’s it, I’ve had enough games-”

He felt a restraining hand on his shoulder. Cloud looked around to see Kaede.

“No Cloud,” said he, “let me...”

Kaede stepped forward before Cloud could protest, “Very well monster, what is your challenge?”

“You accept?” asked the Sleeper.

“Do I have a choice?” returned Kaede.

Xizor laughed again, maniacally, “Here it comes now.”

An intense blast of energy threw Kaede through the air. He slowly managed to get on his feet. The others rushed to help him.

“Get back!” he warned, “stay back!”

Smoke rose from where the blast had landed. Kaede and the others could see a silhouette within that smoke. A great energy tinged the air a bluish hue as the smoke began to clear. The Planeswalker could sense it was a powerful being. Yet, strangely, it also seemed familiar.

“Enjoy your challenge!” said Xizor.

Energy seethed through the air as a torrent of lighting crackled in the skies above.

“Let me handle this!” said Kaede, “its power is enormous.”

“Beat his ass!” shouted Yuffie.

Xizor simply smiled complacently.

Kaede drew himself into a battle stance, preparing for whatever enemy he may be facing. The power was awesome, barely contained, straining to be released.. Kaede breathed heavily in anticipation, while his instincts screamed at him to run away. Then the wind finally cleared away the last of the smoke, revealing the hidden figure.

Kaede’s eyes grew wide as he saw his opponent. Cloud and the others gasped, disbelieving.

“What the hell?” shouted Barret.

Whatever he had been thinking, Kaede hadn’t been prepared for this. Intense, green eyes stared at him, glassy and full of rage. Kaede’s heart sank to his feet, and shivers ran up his spine...

...For in front of him, daring him to fight, stood Aeris Gainsborough...


Author’s Note: What the heck’s going on here?! Aeris fighting against her friends? To protect the Drahk? Didn’t I tell you you’d hate me for this chapter? And if you thought this was bad, you’ll really despise me later on. I really wanted to see Aeris in Cloud’s predicament with the mind games. Always wondered what would come of it if the roles had been reversed. Anyway, you’ll see my take on it next chapter. Next chapter, I beat the tar out of Aeris, and a certain dark hero. Oh the humanity! Is nothing sacred?! In addition, I fulfill my need to portray a kick-butt, no-holds-barred, raging-demon side to Aeris. She’s not a weakling and now she’ll prove it! Mwahahahahah! Thanks for reading, and keep sending me feedback! I’d really like a reply before I post again!


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