The Aftermath Of Mount Woe Chapter 28

The Soul Kiss

By Nanaki

12,002 B.C.

Schala stood silently in the wind, admiring the handiwork of the construction team she had "borrowed" from Melchior. Unfortunately, she had not been able to place the teleportation beam at an angle. Everything would have to be beamed directly to the part of the planet directly below where the beam was housed. Since keeping a job like this covert was a lot harder than she had first thought, she had moved the place from it's intended sight of the southern shore of the great lake, all the way over to Enhasa. Well, that's what she told the construction crew, anyway. But the fact that it was so near to Greven had also been a big incentive. Still, during the three days of near constant work, she hadn't gotten to see him very much.

Now she turned around, expecting to see him coming over to check their progress. The path was empty. 'Funny, my reflecting on that should have been his cue.' She sighed mentally and physically. 'Ertai!!'

'Yes ma'am?' The young voice responded.

'Send Greven over here. We're ready to go and I'm tired of waiting for him.'

'I'll get right on it.' Approximately three seconds later, Greven appeared at the odd structure, his eyes wide with surprise.

"Well that was unexpected. But I guess you're just full of surprises."

"Oh, you can count on that. Now where have you stored all the supplies?"

"In my room, and in-"

"No, I need a mental picture."

"And I would give you that how?"

Schala did her flustered toe hop thing again. Greven smiled. "All right. Just relax, and I'll pull it out of your head."

"You can do that?"

"Of course! Now just hold still." Greven relaxed as much as he could. Schala concentrated slightly, then frowned. "You must have a thick head."

"I would have thought you already knew that."

"Shh." Greven closed his mouth. Schala concentrated deeply. "Okay, I can see it. That's good enough. Greven, help me break it off."

"How? I don't know anything about this. Besides, I kinda like it."

"Just picture yourself breaking contact! Its not hard. Hurry, put up some resistance, or we'll create a link!"

"A link? Sounds intriguing."

"No! You don't know what that means! What it does to people!" Schala's voice was starting to sound desperate. "Hurry! End it now!"

"All right, I guess I better..." Greven tried to do what Schala had said, but the subject was apparently just a little too abstract for him.

"We're too late." Schala said very weakly. "Three seconds to impact."

"What impact?"

Suddenly, both their brains were filled with brilliant images, each flash causing tremendous pain. The flashes died down, and then they could both simultaneously see two women, both in labor. One calmly pushing, the medic being the only one at the bedside. The other, squeezing her husband's hand, but screaming in agony anyway. Then, the flashes started again, and they lost all contact with reality.

* * *

Through the swirling void, a man appeared, standing on the edge of a cliff. Three huge monsters - Weapons - appeared. A giant fireball formed in front of one of them, rushing forward, obliterating the man, and the cliff. Agonized screams erupted from dozens of sets of lungs, but were drowned out by laughter from the Weapons. The leader's laugh grew louder and louder, until it seemed that the laugh was all that existed, and all that ever had existed. He grew in size until the great blue armor stretched upward, out of sight.

But then the armor collapsed, forming hundreds of small yellow drops, which turned into Golems. They swarmed over everything, destroying all that it was possible to destroy. But then, a beam of fire shot out of the ground, obliterating a Golem where it stood. Another followed, and another, each taking out one of the Golems. Soon they were gone, and the ground was nothing but a scorched wasteland. A needle like structure began to rise out of the ground. Many more followed, until they were nearly uncountable. Finally, an odd, round shell emerged from the ground. It opened to reveal a glaring blue eye, and then a totally inhuman scream erupted from some unseen vocal cords. It grew loud enough to blur vision, until the sight finally faded away completely, and so did the sound, dying off in a sickening burble, as if someone's throat were being cut.

* * *

Now there were two boys climbing up a cliff face. When they reached the top, a red Nu bounded forward, bestowing a glowing light on them both. Confused, they ran away, toward a cluster of buildings. The Weapons were there again, apparently in some kind of civil war. At some unseen cue, the boys joined the rest of the people in attacking the leader. Now Zeal stepped forward to finish him off. As a giant blue explosion engulfed the landscape, the other figures vanished, leaving just her.

Greven, at his present age, reappeared in front of her. They seemed to be discussing pleasantries, until Greven erupted in anger, launching a magical spell at Zeal. She began to glow with an angry red light. Suddenly, she vanished from sight, to be replaced by Lavos. The scream erupted again. Greven in the vision rushed forward, planting his fist square in the blue eye. A black mist erupted from the eye, and the vision vanished.

* * *

Both of them felt as if they were just waking up, but Schala realized they were still in the odd link world, just slightly more aware of things. A light came on behind her, and she turned to look. Through this hazy window, she saw herself, smiling gently. Two children raced into the picture, latching onto her legs. She saw herself smile down at them, reassuring them. In the background, she saw a man standing, but he was in the shadows, and she could not determine his identity.

Greven, who had also been watching the proceedings, turned back, expecting to see something pertaining to him on the opposite side. The wavy swirling remained dark, showing nothing. Schala's vision faded out, and they seemed to be accelerating.

* * *

Now they were even more aware of their surroundings. This time, visions opened up on both sides. Each had already seen what was happening, and turned to watch the other.

Greven saw Dalton stroll into Schala's room, angrily demanding something. When Schala obviously didn't comply, he picked her up by the neck, from all appearances prepared to kill her. She was saved by two well timed kicks from Janus. Both of them were sent to the floor as Dalton left the room. Everyone involved landed in bad shape, and Dalton left.

Schala saw Greven approaching two soldier types and a middle aged man with a beard, standing in front of a cave entrance. The man immediately yelled when he saw Greven, and the soldiers stepped forward to block his way. Greven yelled back, and heated words were exchanged for a few moments. Then, the white glow of teleportation filled the area, and Greven ran from the scene. Dalton strode toward the cave entrance now, looking even angrier than he had earlier. He argued with the man for a moment, then sent all three people flying with small fireballs released from his hand. He continued to stroll arrogantly into the cave.

The visions faded, then everything, including themselves, seemed to disentegrate into a green mist. The two thick clouds that had been Schala and Greven swirled together, starting a large tornado funnel that pulled all the remaining mist inside. Inside, at the heart of the funnel, all pretense ended. All hopes, dreams, and fears were laid open to the wind, and both souls were laid bare. All emotion degenerated into a wonderful, terrifying chaos, temporarily throwing sanity and self control to the wind.

* * *

True reality slowly came back to Schala. She refused to open her eyes, afraid of what she would see. In fact, her whole being was overwhelmed with a sense of fear. She felt that she was leaning against something... no, someone. Behind tightly shut eyelids, her mind instinctively threw up every shield it knew how, far too late for them to do any good. Even she had not conciously known some of the secrets her soul had just freely given to someone else. As a last ditch effort, her mind clung faintly to the hope that this was all a bad dream. She finally opened her eyes as she felt someone running their fingers through her hair, then squinted against the sunlight.

"Schala...?" Greven asked weakly.

"Yes?" She replied just as weakly, some of her fear dissipating.

"I-I'm sorry. I guess. I don't know what to say."

"So don't say anything." Schala slowly slid up and kissed him. They both closed their eyes, losing themselves in it, trying to forget some of what just happened. But unlike before, Schala could not really concentrate. Her mind kept drifting back to some of the things she had seen about Greven, and she didn't like them. She reluctantly broke off, then rose to a kneeling position. "Twenty seven different girls?" She tried to find a shallow subject, to mask the emotional shock she was still feeling.

"Well, yeah. But can we discuss that later? What just happened?"

"Like I tried to warn you, a link. You can see why I wanted to avoid it. Traditionally, two people only link on their wedding night, but I guess no one ever bothered to discuss sophisticated telepathy with you."

Greven shook his head. But, since he knew Schala pretty well after what had just happened, he knew that wasn't all that was bothering her. "Despite the extreme nature of that link, I get the feeling something even more important happened in there that I didn't recognize."

Schala sighed. "What happened at the end... that isn't part of a normal link. In theory, it happens very rarely." She sighed again. "Its called a soul kiss. It supposedly means that the two linking people are perfect for each other. But, again in theory, it also means that they won't be together very long."

Greven's eyes narrowed in concern. "Schala, that second vision... warp... uh, place, we were at... I didn't get anything. Mine was blank. Please tell me that links aren't always entirely accurate."

"Sorry. They usually are. As Gaspar is fond of saying, "Whatever must be, must be." Links seem to prove predestination."

"Okay, this conversation is getting boring." Schala and Greven whirled in the direction the voice was coming from. Their hearts froze as they saw Dalton standing at the end of the beam housing. Schala cringed backward, but Greven, remembering what he had seen Dalton do to Schala, managed to stagger to a standing position on his wobbly knees.

"What do you want?" He snarled.

"Such gratitude." Dalton walked around them in a circle, like a vulture waiting for his prey to collapse. "Considering I just saved both your hides."

"Why should we believe a word of what you say? You've tried to kill both of us, you know." Schala said, very worried about where this was going.

"Please. Neither of those were real attempts. I was merely-"

"This isn't a game!" Greven snarled. He wanted to lunge forward, but his head was still reeling so much that he had to keep still.

"Only to those who don't know how to play." Dalton dismissed the complaint. "And you two definitely don't know how to play. Your lives as you know them would be over right now if I hadn't intervened."

"Fine! I'll accept that! Just tell us what the hell you mean!" Greven shouted.

"Schala, you seem to know a fair amount about links." He said, to let them know he had been there the whole time. "But there's one point you forgot to factor in. They're exceptionally loud you know, on every telepathic level. That's why people who link usually have someone stand by to block them out. But, as usual, you assumed you knew everything-"

"That wasn't a planned link." Schala said quietly.

"Really? How absolutely fascinating!" Dalton looked at Greven in a new light. "What a trick man, what a trick! I must admit, that's one way to get what you want."

"What ARE you talking about?!" Schala demanded, even though she knew what he was insinuating. "It affected him as much as me."

"Whatever." Dalton dismissed her argument. "Anyway, I blocked you out. If I hadn't, this area would be swarming with imperial mages by now, Greven would be dead, and you would be in solitary confinement."

"So why did you do it? Just so you could gloat like this?" Schala was getting tired of his smug expression.

"It would have been a pity for the game to end so soon. I want the final play to be much more interesting. And it looks like it will be."

"You blocked us..." Greven started. "Does that mean, you could see...?"

Dalton just grinned ambiguously. "He could. There's some kind of connection between us." Schala groaned.

"My future... was blank. You didn't mess with us, did you?" Dalton, who was expecting an entirely different sort of response, was taken aback. "I'm not the easily embarrased type, you perv."

Dalton burst out laughing. "Sorry kid. No one has the power to change what's in a link! Enjoy your life, while it lasts." Dalton turned to walk away. Suddenly, he turned back, grabbed ahold of Greven's armor, hoisted him up, and hurled him full force into the beam housing. "And its not going to last long. Get on with the game. I'll be watching." With that, Dalton teleported away.

Schala wanted to run to Greven, but she still couldn't get to her feet. "Just what I needed after an unplanned soul kiss." She groaned, her voice shaking. "Are you all right?"

"Oh yeah. I'm great." Greven called from his upside down position on the stones. "We better get moving before he raises the alarm."

"He won't." Schala said calmly.

"You can't believe a word that sleazebag says!"

"Greven, I can't move yet." Schala held her hands up. They were shaking badly. "Besides, I think he wants our demises to be in a much more spectacular manner."

"So what are we supposed to do now?" Greven demanded in a strained voice.

"How about a nap? I'm exhausted."

"Sounds all right to me." Greven said. He rolled off the stones, over to where Schala was already stretching out. She rested her head on his shoulder, and was asleep in a few minutes.

'But its not all right.' Greven thought. 'I'm going to have a short life? But I want... a life with her...' "One thing's for sure Dalton." He whispered out loud. "If I go out, I'm taking you with me."


"Words aren't the only way of telling someone how you feel." - Tifa Lockhart


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