Darkness Falls Chapter 18
Oh, its so cool! said Tifa, holding out a sport jacket for Cloud.
You think so? he asked.
A few of the members of Avalanche, as well as Elena, had decided to relax by going to the famous Midgar Bazaar. Newly created in the aftermath of Meteor, the giant mall had been a ploy by Reeve to garner some money for the ailing economy of Midgar. And, in short, it had worked. Now Midgar traded often with Wutai to acquire new items and attractions for the mall. It was almost as popular as the Gold Saucer, which had subsequently joined in and invested some of its assets with the Bazaar.
Aeris, Tifa, and Cloud were currently at a mens clothing store, trying to pick out something nice for Cloud.
He took one look at the price tag before his eyes bugged out, Are you kidding? This is highway robbery!
Aw come on Cloud, said Tifa, its not like you have a shortage of money!
Yeah well, that doesnt mean Im gonna burn through it! The other stuff we picked out is enough anyway!
Live a little Cloud, said Aeris, it doesnt hurt once in a while.
Cloud merely sighed as he went to the cashier with his various items of clothing. The woman smiled at him as he handed her the cash, and gave him a wink before he left the store.
Cloud shook his head and sighed, Why me?
Tifa laughed and snuggled up against Cloud as they walked pass the other stores.
Vincent and Yuffie had gone to eat lunch. Surprisingly enough, the young ninja had convinced the normally reticent Vincent to try the various cuisines of the world available at the food court. Vincent had resignedly shaken his head and allowed himself to be led there.
Elena and Reeve laughed as they caught sight of Yuffie trying to force feed Vincent.
Enough Yuffie! said a dismayed Vincent.
Oh come on! pouted Yuffie, cant handle it?
Even you have to have limit, he looked at her critically, then again, considering your size, you shouldnt be able to eat that much anyway. Certainly not a much as me.
Yuffie simply stared, did you...just try to make a joke or somethin?
Vincent shrugged, and Yuffie started laughing, clutching her sides as if they were going to explode.
Vincent looked at her skeptically, it wasnt THAT funny.
Yuffie doubled over in laughter at his comment.
Lets leave before she drags us into this, grinned Reeve.
Good idea, smiled Elena.
They walked on into the area with the rides and attractions, courtesy of Duo and the Gold Saucer.
I must say Pres-
Please Elena, just Reeve. I hate formalities.
Okay, said Elena, I was just saying that this is quite impressive.
I tried, answered Reeve proudly, needed something to kick-start the economy.
So, which ride do you want to go on? asked the Turk.
Ugh, said Reeve, looking at some of the rides, I dont think Im ready for anything exciting. How about the ferris wheel?
When Reeve and Elena went to buy tickets for the ride, the teller immediately recognized who they were.
President Reeve! the Shinra employee snapped to attention, It is a great honor sir!
Reeve groaned as Elena stifled a laugh, Er...thank you, two tickets please.
Oh no sir, said the teller, I wouldnt dream of charging you and the lady.
I insist, returned Reeve, how much-
No, no, no, said the worker, it is the least we can do for the savior of Midgar!
Reeve began to notice others watching the commotion, at this rate, hed have a crowd mobbing him before they could get to the ride.
Reeve finally gave in, very well, thank you...uh...keep up the good work.
Yes sir! beamed the worker.
Not long afterwards Elena and Reeve boarded the ride.
Wow, said Elena, you seem to be popular.
Reeve laughed, my job has a few privileges...
Ill say, replied Elena, by the way, did Kaede tell you why he wasnt coming with us?
Reeve shrugged, he just said something about checking out some kind of an anomaly.
Anything to worry about?
Not that he could see.
Elena shivered, but it wasnt from the cold.
Elena nodded, Its just that...all this work, what were training for. Those beings, the Drahk, theyre coming for us, and everything could be wiped out.
But it wont, returned the President of Shinra, well stop them.
How can you be so sure? said Elena, staring Reeve in the eyes, I mean, we almost lost when the Sleepers came.
But we didnt, we won, answered he, not gazing away, and well keep on fighting, because we have to...
Elena looked down, trying to brush off her fears. Reeve hugged her until she was calm again, Its okay, dont worry.
She looked up into his eyes again. The way he held her...it made her feel safe just to be with Reeve.
You see that out there? asked Reeve, gesturing out the window.
Elena looked out the window, and nodded.
Reeve whispered in Elenas ear, Thats why well win...to protect our home.
Elena laughed slightly, you are as charismatic as they say you are.
Reeve shrugged, I only speak the truth.
The Turk looked up into Reeves eyes, and saw there determination and hope. The two drew close together, as the lights and the fanfare continued to thrive outside...
Wow Tifa, thats awesome! said Aeris, looking at Tifas new attire.
Tifa looked at herself in the mirror, checking out the blue dress.
I dont know, said Tifa as she spun around, what do you think Cloud? Cloud?
Tifa turned to look at her husband, who simply gawked at her.
He finally managed to catch his breath and say, wow...
The brunette laughed, Im glad you like it, it think Ill take it.
Once they were outside, Cloud smiled at Tifa.
What is it Cloud? asked she, whats with the funny look?
Cloud simply shrugged, oh, nothing, just wondering what your new dress will look like when you wear this with it.
He raised his hand, and in it, Cloud held an astonishing diamond necklace.
Tifa and Aeris stood speechless, simply staring at the breathtaking jewelry.
Cloud! said Tifa, her eyes growing wide, you shouldnt have!
Why not, smiled Cloud, only the best for a savior of the planet!
Dont give me any of that! grinned Tifa, poking Cloud in the ribs.
Does that mean you dont want this? asked Cloud, holding up the necklace.
Tifa simply drew him in close for a kiss as Aeris laughed.
After a while, Aeris grew nervous, excuse me guys, but you really should breathe.
Cloud withdrew, gasping for air.
Does that answer your question? grinned Tifa roguishly.
Cloud shook his head to clear the momentary haze, he barely even remembered what he had asked, I...uh...heh...I really have to do this more often.
Aeris laughed at their antics, come on guys, I want to get something for Kaede!
Tifa gamely nodded, okay. So, what do you want to get him?
Aeris thought for a moment, Hmmm, well, I saw that he had a chain around his neck the other day...
A chain? blinked Cloud, I never noticed it.
On the beach, I felt something and saw it through the tear in his shirt, said Aeris.
Tifa smiled slyly at her friend. How would Aeris have felt it...underneath Kaedes shirt?
The Cetras face turned red as Clouds eyebrow raised itself, asking a silent question.
Aeris coughed, come on guys, I want to get him something to put on that chain.
Cloud shrugged, Okay, lead the way...
Hours (and a considerable amount of gil) later, they had found the perfect thing for Kaede. It was a large silver ring, stylized in the shape of a raging river, or perhaps flames. In its center was placed a crystal, with blue streaks of lightning along its aquamarine surface. The vendor that had parted with it was well-known for his works of art, for no two pieces were ever alike.
These kind of remind me of his eyes, said Aeris.
Cloud and Tifa gazed at the impressive artifact.
Its something special alright, said Tifa.
I cant wait to get this to him!
Miles away, above the waters between Junon, and Costa del Sol, the Kitana hovered above the churning ocean. Along its side, a giant balcony protruded, and a figure stood on the deck. Those familiar blazing eyes surveyed the seas below.
This is where you sensed the anomaly? asked Kaede.
Yes sire, said Bahumet, it took us a considerable amount of time to sense it, or we would have returned sooner.
He looked down into the ocean, where the Cetra device was supposedly concealed. Kaede remained deep in thought, trying to remember as much as he could on Cetra lore and technology. He accessed the ships records...nothing. No records on anything of this type, although he was sure there was a Cetra artifact down there.
Think Kaede! he told himself, youre part Cetra yourself, this should be easy for you!
Then he remembered the White Materia. Before he had left, Kaede told the others that he was going to investigate a possible Cetra device. Aeris had given him the orb, hoping that it might help him uncover something about the Cetra monument.
He brought out the orb, Its worth a try.
Kaede noticed that the White Materia began to glow with a greenish tinge. He felt a burning sensation at his back, and drew his sword. It was lighted as well.
What the hell?
What is it sire? asked Bahumet Zero, flying above the balcony.
Im not sure... said Kaede, deep in thought.
Then he remembered the records of the Ancients the Cian had given him. In an effort to help, Red had allowed Kaede access to all of the scrolls in his observatory. The experience, to say the least, had been most educational.
Kitana, said Kaede, run an analysis on the Key to the Light scriptures among the Scrolls of the Ancients.
Immediately Kaede saw the scrolls message before him in holograph. He touched the area of the scriptures that were illegible.
Run a reconstruction of these letters, he ordered, pointing at the odd scratches beneath the scripture.
The strange words became apparent, but were still in a strange language that even Kaede didnt understand. Yet there was something oddly familiar about it...
Then something clicked in his mind, something that his sensei had taught him.
Remember the arts of subtlety, even the smallest grain of evidence can unlock the entire puzzle, he had said.
Sensei had then been referring to the hiding secrets in the open, so that the answer would be apparent to those who knew how to look for it. And in many cases of espionage, various simple languages had been amalgamated into a complex code, and used to conceal secret messages. Kaede immediately began searching through various languages, looking for matches. He finally came across what he was looking for. Surely enough, the words had been scrambled together, using this planets main native characters, mixed with its Cetra and Planeswalker equivalents, to create a devious, yet simple, message.
Kaede immediately began to recite the strange words, AISHIMANTE .... ELGORATHAL .... HURASHAB .... KAIHARUSA .... ELENDONEAL .... ZAZMUTALMAT .... KISKHARUDOLCI ....
The rest of his words were an enigma, even to the brothers Bahumet, who simply watched on with curiosity.
Kaede then raised his voice, still in chant, I call upon the powers of this planet, help us in our time of need. Unlock the Gates of the Ancients, that we may receive the blessed light of the Promised Land...
A great column of light shot forth from the ocean, rising high into the air. The White Materia, as well as Kaedes sword, glowed with blinding intensity. Wondrous rainbow hues mixed with the sunset and the glowing aquamarine of the waters below, bathing the ship and the dragons with light. Something had awakened deep within the recesses of the ocean.
Well, said Kaede, time to see what this is all about.
What in the Planets name? said Neo Bahumet, astonished at the dazzling display.
Did he say the Promised Land?, asked Bahumet Zero.
The eldest King of Dragons nodded.
Deep down in his heart, Kaede knew this is what the Drahk had been after. This was why he had come here, why Aeris had been given the White Materia and held so much power. The source of those answers was coming, literally rising from the depths of obscurity. Here was the key, now it was only a question of finding out those answers.
We will know soon enough, answered the Planeswalker.
Authors Note: Events are beginning to unravel very quickly. I never even planned them, but the last two chapters have quickly become my favorites in terms of plot development. If everything goes as planned, we should be 3/4 of the way done with this story, unless something major crops up. Let me know if you have any questions, I would love to hear your comments (just try not to be too harsh!).
One more thing, if any of you need an explanation about the next few chapters, please e-mail me, I won't mind. The next chapter moves kind of fast (although it took me forever to write) and I don't want my readers to get lost. And if anyone thinks I should redo the whole 'Kaede resurrected thing' and wait till later, I can do that too. I thought it was a little quick, I should have made y'all squirm a little more, but I have grwon attacked to the guy and need him to fill in holes that no other character would be as good at.
You know, I think Ill stop informing you about how far Ive gotten in the writing, lets take this chapter by chapter, its been confusing enough for you guys as it is! Anyway, stay tuned for the next installment. Theres big trouble brewing, and its not what you expected (or at least I hope not)!
Go To Chapter 19
Return To FF7 Fanfic