Pathways Of Foreboding Chapter 16
By Paul Nathans
The black-haired man chuckled lowly as he strode through the Sector 4 Slums.
"And then, over here, we have the Survaillance Group," the SOLDIER spoke. "Its keeping a constant eye on Shinra, checking to make sure their plans don't change, moving through their SOLDIER groups. I hope we manage to establish a contact amongst the Green Ones, but "
Ralyon finished for him. " if that one is caught, they'd know you're good at infiltrating." He rolled his eyes. "I've seen many Spy Networks, but yours is one of the best I think I'll be seeing, at least during this time."
The SOLDIER chuckled. "We're not a Spy Network. Since Kerem made so many mistakes, 'Shinra,' quite frankly, doesn't exist. So, we're dedicated to the task of reestablishing the corporation, and getting our money! At least, that's only part of it! I, for one, would like to see what we could do with specific types of machines."
Ralyon nodded. "So all you need is someone to rally around," he 'guessed.'
The 'SOLDIER' nodded in return. "That's one way of saying it." He stepped inside a small building, the black-haired man following him. "Now, will you kindly tell me what you're doing here, and why you paid me money to take you somewhere secret?"
The other man nodded, and the 'SOLDIER' tried to keep in a nervous breath. He could've sworn he saw the eyes of that man change color from blue to green just a second ago.
"I want the Guardians."
The man's eyes widened. "You expect me to launch a raid on three machines scheduled to go into the Disassembly Warehouse tomorrow? And for only 2,000 GIL!!!!! Are you insane!?"
This time he was sure he saw the other's eyes change color, now a hard gray. "Maybe," he spoke, keeping his voice above a whisper. "Or maybe not. What matters is that I want those Guardians."
"Why?" He fumbled for his Peacemaker.
Ralyon clapped his hands and the gun vanished. The 'SOLDIER' let out a startled cry, quickly-muffled by a monster's hand. He looked up at Ralyon, or what had once been Ralyon, and almost fainted.
What had once been a normal, but secretive, man, was now a shadowy 'thing' with sharp claws and two burning red eyes.
"I really wouldn't try to shoot me?" 'Ralyon''s voice was a whisper of contempt. "I want the Guardians because they give me enough Firepower for me to act without suspicion. I could dismantle this Planet, but I'd be pinpointed and targeted. Together, the Dark Star, that Goddess, Ceile, and Aisha might be able to stop me, assuming they figured out what my purpose was. So I want subterfuge."
"W-What are you talking about?"
"I hate people like you. This is just why we need to start over, to get rid of the greedy fools and those who would take lives. If all goes well, no matter how large the bloodshed now, it will be our last. I want those Guardians because I want Elslumina destroyed. That is my task. The last of those 'traitors' must be vanquished!" He paused. "And as for what I'm talking about, its beyond your comprehension, and I half to be careful. This is like a startled SOLDIER first holding a child, even if its a rescue. I assume your surprise is great, but, hey, you won't worry for much longer. Now give me the Access Codes for the WEAPON Vat and the Guardian Cells and I'll let you return to the Planet." His eyes narrowed. "If you don't, you won't even have a spirit when I'm through with you. You'll be dust."
"Delta-7824-Omega is the Access Code for the WEAPON Vat! Gemini-0091924 is the Access Code for the Guardian Cells! I don't know anything beyond that!"
'Ralyon' grinned. "Its a shame you won't be able to go to this Lifestream, in case you can warn the Planet." The 'SOLDIER' choked. He'd heard a few rumors of this, tourists from Cosmo Canyon, his friend, the guy who'd admonished him for insulting the 'large discus of white Mako Energy' in a rather long sentence, something he did often, he'd he'd heard some, he'd passed them on. Was this thing from Cosmo Canyon? He tried to reach for anything, but found himself paralyzed.
"We'll let you in our 'Substitute' Lifestream, so you can 'live' a bit longer before it all ends for the beginning."
The clawed hands rose, followed shortly-afterwards by a scream, cut short almost-instantaneously.
"Did I miss anything!?"
Cait Sith's lively-voice cut through the minute-or-so silence that had occupied the library, following Cid's short curse. "The last thing I remember was Cloud and that black-haired guy were fighting, and those four beasties were gone! I saw the progress Vicks and his men were making and realized I'd better talk to Barret, I figured out where Palmer probably was. I told them, perfected diagnostics scans on the High-Speeders, and then I ended up watching more beasties get beaten up shortly-afterwards. And then watched the High-Speeders! I think its been a while or so! Those motorcycles move fast, all right!"
Cloud, somewhat-startled by this sudden interruption, spun to face the robot. "What the heck are you talking about!?" He scanned the room. "For that matter, where are we, and where is Tifa, Red XIII, and Barret!?"
"Long story. The others are after Marlene," Cait Sith said. "Although the image was cut short a few seconds ago when some sort of domed-explosion burst from the stone Palmer was holding!"
Cloud slapped his head. "Not another one!" He let his hand drop quickly, annoyance replaced by worry. "How'd they get there?"
"That portal over behind the Bookshelf." The robot pointed, and Cloud followed his gaze to a previously-unnoticed 'peephole.' "That deposits you near the foothills of Kalm Mountains, they're at the center of the are right now, battled Palmer near the southwest section a bit east of Kalm, like a said, those bikes must go fast!!"
"How'd they get there!?" That was Cid.
"Liukhan provided the portal," was the answer. Cloud rose his eyebrows, and he pointed at the unconscious Chocobo Sage no, wait a minute, his 'aura' seemed different, or something like that, a thing he'd picked up from Ivalice
"Cetra!!!!!?????" He spun to the robot. "I want some answers, and I want them right now, Cait!"
"We do, too!" spoke Yuffie. "Like, where the blazes ya' been for the last two months, and who are these people and that whatever!?"
"My species is Byblos," intoned the voice of the purplish thing. "The only one of my kind, created by Elidibs to be his ultimate warrior."
"Again with the Stones!" Cid slammed his spear into the ground. "Mako Energy, Sephiroth, Lifestreams, Entities, Elslumina, this is really getting confusing!!!!!!"
For the first time Ramza spoke.
"What exactly do you know of the Zodiac Stones?"
This was becoming more and more confusing by the second, the spear-holder was right about that. He didn't even know of Mako Energy, Lifestreams, or Elslumina. Why was it that anything that revolved around the Zodiac Stones was this complicated?
"None o' your business!?" he growled. "Who the heck are you guys, anyways?"
"Excuse us for a second," said Cloud, grabbing the man and motioning to the robot, Cait, Cloud had said his name was, the robot had referred to himself in the third person as Cait Sith, and the Ninja Girl, Yuffie, he believed he'd heard her name was. "I think I'd better explain this."
He moved away, letting go of the other, and beckoning for him to follow, as well as the other two strangers. They did.
Ramza sighed, and settled back against the wall, waiting, as usual, for the people to finish their explanation, something he'd done enough times already, and was doing again. He saw the others changing into the same pose, save for Ruass, who was engaging Malak in a discussion on something about their pasts.
A while later a started cry came out. "SAY WHAT!!!!!?????"
"Cid, keep it down, will ya!?" Cloud whispered harshly. "Just listen, and make sure you understand, then I'm going after the other three! They have no idea what they're getting into."
"Yeah, but if they are from the past, maybe they could write a sealed note for people to open at the Rocket Launch Site before Shinra Number 26 launched tellin' Shera to "
"And if you tell them, they'll do something that didn't happen before and the whole Timestream could be damaged! I'm sorry, but they will be told this is another Planet, and that is final!" He'd never had to take this tone before, and was surprised he could. Maybe Aeris and Tifa were right, he did have leadership skills.
"Listen, I don't see how-"
"Okay, picture this! They have the Oxygen Tanks ready, you make a successful Space Mission. There's no Makoro Reactors, maybe, or you don't give us the Tiny Bronco when we need it. Either way, Sephiroth ends up calling Meteor, and Aeris might not have been in the Temple of the Ancients to find out what she needed, or if the Planet called her later! Without her triggering Holy and her manipulation of the Lifestream, we may not have survived!"
"Liukhan said the Planet would'a' called her anyways!" was the response.
"That sounds like a cover-up, and I bet you know it!" Cloud responded. "I'll talk to him later! Listen, Cid, all it takes is one tiny event! One second or so saved our lives numerous times! Are you going to put them all in danger, just for a rocket!"
"I ," Cid swallowed, then resumed his usual grim look. "Fine!"
"Now let me finish, please. I want to go after the others."
Soon enough, Cloud, the 'Lancer', Yuffie, and Cait Sith emerged from behind the bookcases. "I've got to reach my friends now! Let my friends explain!"
Ruass and Malak turned their attention to him, and Cloud bolted towards the thing Cait Sith had explained was a portal and leapt in, vanishing before their eyes.
"I'm Cid Highwind," spoke the 'Lancer.' "The girl is Yuffie Kisaragi, first-class nuisance," this sparked a squawk of protest from her, which the man named Cid, Ramza wondered whether it was coincidence that was the last name of Orlandu, "and the robot is named Cait Sith, controlled by a guy named Reeve."
Ramza whistled. "Mustadio would love this."
"Cloud told us where you're from, and the general purpose of you being here, but you obviously don't know who we are," said the 'rob-ot.' "If you'll allow us to exchange stories "
"Why not?" put in Alma.
He slashed through another beast, and let it fall to the floor, before continuing forwards towards his goal.
(Sephiroth will do well,) Aisha observed. (Even unwilling, he is still our puppet.)
She turned to their 'pet' who had sniffed out and taken a liking two the two almost-instantly, sensing in the the potential for more power, more knowledge.
(Elslumina will be ours, and then we can free ourselves from this prison and destroy as much as we want when we want! We'll tear apart the Dark Star, rip apart Planets, unwind the fabric of the Universe! EVERYTHING WILL BE DESTROYED!!!!!)
Ceile recoiled again. (Have you completely taken leave of your senses!)
Aisha lashed out at her, and for the first time one sibling felt the full powers of another extended towards the other; the one at the receiving end screamed and clutched her chest. Aisha just laughed.
(It has been but an hour since Zralyes has arrived, and our shared knowledge has almost-completely-finished our WEAPON!!!!! I should've realized for the moment what powers we hold! We can become Goddesses, Gods, genderless, all-powerful, controlling everything!! All the others, they'll go, they'll perish!!!!!) She screamed and began lashing out at the emptiness wildly, producing unimaginable-colors.
(Sister, stop!) Ceile tackled her, trying to stop her mad rage.
(Sister!?) She said the word with contempt, and spat in her face. (You're not my sister, you're just another one to torture! I'd never thought it would be this fun, all the pleasure, the ecstasy, of pure torture, of taking lives, of destroying! Not until I tortured that one girl! You're not my sister! I disown everything! Mu, Pureland, this Universe, Elslumina, the Spirit Plane, IT WILL BE MINE!!!!!)
(FATHER!!!!!!!!!!) Ceile screamed, even as another blast of cosmic proportions tore into her, tearing her apart, ripping through every Cell that composed her, burning her, freezing her, electrocuting her, whipping her, tearing into her, crackling and pulsating with a rainbow of frightening powers, and, when it vanished, leaving only soot in her place.
(Run, Sephiroth!) Aisha purred. (Run to your vengeance! Don't worry anymore, for soon there won't be any need for vengeance, any need for anything! Everyone, everything, it will suffer, perish, lose life, fall into pieces!!!!! YOU...ALL...SHALL...BE... MASSACCERED!!!!!" She let out a huge blast with her whip, letting shockwaves pulsate out of the Whorlex.
Then she laughed. She was in command now.
Far away, the Dark Star felt the disruption as Ceile was taken from him. He roared and lashed out at a group of Planets, tearing them apart, before ripping into High-Speed and tearing towards Artesta, destroying all in his path.
(Warning! Unexpected problem!)
Ralyon had disappeared from the abandoed shack in the Sector 4 Slums and was now in the Sector 8 Monster Storage, hacking into the Access Codes that would unlock the Sapphire Weapon.
Now, however, he was alert.
(What is it, Master?)
(We have competition in the form of a Destroyer!)
(What is its destination?)
(Elslumina. Aisha seeks to use its power to become a Master, thinking it will free her and allow her to absorb her father's powers. Suicidal, and useless, but enough of a worry to pose a threat to us, should any of us end up in a decisive conflict in Elslumina.)
(I'll be careful.)
After communicating that, the presence vanished.
Ralyon sighed and went back to work. Compared to some of the things he had encountered along the lines of technology, this system would be easy to finish cracking within a few more minutes.
He stood before twelve large, multiheaded monsters, below him, the endless-green of the Spirit Plane, above, multicolored lights, flashing and creating new shapes, a huge column of energy in the center, stretching up, meeting a nexus of the Spirit Plane of the Planet, and the larger, more-promiment one that stretched through the Planetary System. And there were four more, one that hit the Galaxy, one that hit the Cluster of Galaxies they were in, one that hit the Supercluster of Galaxies that they were in, and probably one that moved through the Universe.
Elslumina could join the greater-path where the lines intersected. He could feel, could tell that only a few Planets in this one system were reachable. Only something had sealed whatever made up Elslumina here, the Gods had already been sealed here by something else.
And he wasn't the only one traversing these planes.
Masamune was at the ready, Magic ready, too. Up above him was some strange, weblike Orb, he could see Elslumina ascend into the Normal Plane, the tangled web was linked to Elslumina, was forced to traverse with it. It towered above the Plane's height, making one pocket, while other 'threads' connected it to other Planes. The same types that linked a large gap in the asteroid belt, which stretched to each asteroid, had another black-and-rainbow orb inside, and both were linked to each other and what had once been the Third Moon of this Planet, just as thick, and that held the Lifestream together as the entrance to this 'true' Spirit Plane.
One of the things, pale-white, came down at him, and a huge blast of flame and lightning tore at him, easily-deflected. The over-presumptuous Tiamat was beheaded, thrice, and at once, and plummeted towards the green of the edge of the Lifestream, on these small web-threads that moved between the Five 'Other' Planes of the Planet and above the other one, each separate. He wasn't in its normal-rainbow, but floating in clear air, the monsters moving about.
Something that looked like a Tiamat and a Dragon Zombie, well, having the appendages of a Dragon Zombie, let loose a Giga Flare. He blocked it and slashed upwards. He couldn't leave the Planet, the will that had given him the strength for one last showdown, where he'd decided to pick off the members of the group one by one, starting with Cloud, his first, and last, encounter during that plan, had been stripped away, but he could move as a floating thing, as someone in the All Plane, or between the Spirit Plane and the All Plane. Rather, the 'Planet' Spirit Plane, and the All Plane, he didn't believe anything but Planets had the other four Planes.
"You must not enter, Lucavi demands it!"
"Then Lucavi will be my next trophy, if he wasn't such a coward he wouldn't face me now, or, rather, so stupid to care for those who could've freed themselves without his help! He should've fulfilled his mission before attempting a normal life, like I do!"
"We can force you away for ages, batter you to the ends of the Universe!," growled the Twin Leaders, huge Dark Behemoths with nine heads each, speaking in tandem. "Every dangerous creature on every Planet can be loosed, not even you could stop them! You cannot reach Elslumina! It must be destroyed, not opened, and not by someone who does not know how to cancel its existence!"
"Enough of this!" He'd learned so much in his travels, such as how to not be pinpointed by those he was sure were searching for him, and various techniques named Sword Spirit that had been on his true mother's line for generations, as well as techniques that could be performed. He knew the Planet didn't appreciate this, but he wouldn't go as far as before when he'd thought the ungrateful thing was resisting his help, when he'd thought he was bringing back the Cetra from extinction.
And there was much more, he was sure.
A head bit him in the chest, and was chopped off. An arc swept off of his sword, destroying all but the two Composed Behemoths that faced him, while tearing into him, closing his wounds and replacing the Spirit Energy he'd lost.
The Composed Behemoths separated, one whipping behind him, spinning, and slashing out at him. He blocked, gasping as the heads slammed their spikes upwards. He chopped the Masamune between them, destroying each, and flipped backwards, before turning to the other one, a strange symbol engraved in its midsection.
"They'll rip you from the Lifestream, you know," the remaining thing hissed. "You can't enter Elslumina! Besides the Haven Teleportation and the Elslumina Shaft, both which you cannot access, for you know not the way to appear as Spirit on any other Plane unless taken there, the Forbidden Land of Eurekia was the only way in! It went down with the Crystal Tower, and the two energies diminished!"
He swung, his opponent dodged, and he swung again, sending out another ray-beam. The Composed Behemoth shot upwards and blasted downwards, slashing him across the face before spinning and clubbing him with its tail. "Troublesome excuse for a puppet! Those who made Jenova are out there, their Master travels this plain and destroys others! Why not take them!?"
"Liar!" The beast exploded, and Sephiroth rocketed towards Elslumina again, clutching his head as he was thrown backards by some invisible barrier that pulsated out of the column of energies. He growled and tore up through the oval-pocket, whizzing around the column, afterwards tearing closer from behind with a slash, and was again forced back, barely-conscious.
He seemed to see some sort of Elslumina, a vision of the past, as twelve people moved behind a glowing pyramid that suddenly pocketed forwards, even as behind then, a rock-shaped throne leapt up into the sky and split into a huge, glowing, cloud-like gate of destruction, or, rather, it blasted out from the pyramid, tearing upwards, above the area. The figure the others were facing again, in the pyramid, rocketed up to watch in amusement, the throne the shape of a replica of the gate, only composed of the same essence of the tower, below. And the pyramid grew, 50-times the size of the humans, into a tripartite creature, while above, the blonde-haired, clown-like man laughed as it strode forwards and attacked.
The creature seemed to be some sort of mockery of Elslumina, as did the gate, the fool was obviously challenging the Gods, well, mocking them. They were quick, though, and as the vision sped, they jumped up the sections of stone suspended behind them, faced down the creature, and continued up, taking it down slowly, before moving to the pin-point of the meeting 'claws' of the gate. Whatever it was had rocketed into the sky, absorbed a bluish-white light from its throne, and transformed into some sort of angel/demon.
And as he fell, the two gateways did, and the throne moved back in on itself.
But during the battle he'd summoned the head of 'something.'
(Why are you telling me this?)
The Planet didn't answered, only gave him a name, which at first he ignored. He wouldn't be someone's puppet again!
No, they were informing him that the head had appeared, focused, within the thing, and together cast something as strong as a Supernova, and that the other agents of the thing...it was true, he wouldn't be a spirit should he contend against this might, it was so much stronger than him.
He growled again and moved backwards, sitting in the 'Elslumina Plane: Suburbs,' Masamune back in its sheath, Spirit Plane/Lifestream and Spirit Plane meeting here.
They wouldn't stop him! Eventually, he'd find a way in!
Ralyon clicked on a small panel, then another, continuing until he'd finished pressing the dials.
'Blood Cells do not match that of those who have clearance!' Red and green lights began flashing. 'Intruder in Sector 8 Vat! Intruder in Sector 8 Va-!'
Ralyon sent forth a huge blast of green-and-blue hurricanes, forming into multicolored patterns as they split, before they blasted into the roof of the place, shutting off the Loudspeakers.
Three doors blasted open. Ralyon spun, and saw a Golden MagiTek Suit lumber out of each, all three with complex guns, and special, bent structures, along with very-strong armor. Poor Leo had discovered just how strong in Thamasa, these things were nearly-indestructible. He was standing on the uppermost walkway, above huge pulleys, in front of a huge device. Behind him, or rather, behind the Sapphire Weapon, enclosed in a vat, positioned on the two pipes that made up the side of the room, the complex of stairs and pipes below untouched by all but sections of the folded-up tail, was one of the Guardians. Below him another door slammed open, to the side of the entrance to the subways, and a final opened to his left, on the opposite side of the entrance from the Plate above. There was no reason to be subtle now, so he just warped the thing out of here, leaving the wires holding the thing here and pulling DNA from it to fall to the floor below, some snapping loose.
The one below him spoke, porbably through a microphone. "Congratulations from Reno of the Turks. You're the 401st idiot to attempt to take the Sapphire Weapon by subtlety, and the 1st to manage to Warp the thing out of here! You're about to become the 402nd to feel the bite of our bullets, and will be responsible for whatever damage the beast causes upon its landing! Thank you and have a nice last few free minutes, or few minutes alive!"
The one opposite him spoke over its comm, although Ralyon could hear that. "Reno, don't be rediculous! This guy could warp us out of here easily! Use caution! You too, Rude!"
"Sure, Elena!" That was the other voice, obviously Rude. Reno gave an affirmative seconds later, and the comm clicked to another channel.
So, Reeve had actually tricked him! That made him the 9th in the last 4,000,000,000 Years. He rubbed his hands together. It was time for some fun!...
...Reno drew in a sharp breath as their adversary began to change. Where there had once stood a man in red-and-gold robes now stood, or rather, floated, a giant, at least 50-times their size, not the Guardians they rode.
Its face was shadowy, full of galaxies and other-such things, while its claws each held a type of star, some, Black Holes, other, whirling galaxies. Each showed a beautiful, yet dangerous, scene, in some wisps of energy sailed alongside the galaxies, in some, energies pulsated inside the centers of the galaxies. It had no wings, but star-matter dripped off it, and it certainly seemed to have the glare of what was inside.
So, it could glare, transform, and warp! That didn't mean it could fight, although judging from the reports of how much damage Eurodertlana had done, at least, he thought that was the name of what the late Shinra President had become, this 'thing' could demolish them with words.
"Attack, Master of Commandments! Zodiac!!!!!"
"Shields up!" Elena snapped, kicking in the rockets on the thing's feet and moving forwards. Rude and Reno hastily-complied, seconds later enormous beams of pure white-light crashed down on them, tearing through the shields and causing portions of the Guardians to buckle and crackle.
"Sigma Alert! Sigma Alert!" He could hear Elena shouting. "We have a Magical Psychopath in here!"
"I'll save the firepower for later!" The thing boomed. "Let's play!" The 'whatever' gestured, and the doors slammed shut behind them. Seconds later it clapped its hands and smiled wickedly.
Reno swore. He wasn't fond of big monsters; he also wasn't fond of being looked at like that. He'd work on a Mission for *free* if he lived through this, just as long as it didn't involve monsters!
Reeve tried to access the Video Cameras that looked in on the Sector 8 Dump, and found the power was out even on his batteries. First, the sky darkens, then, the power of Midgar is turned off, and battery-run objects are as well. He let out a curse.
Cait Sith wouldn't be much help in this situation, if any.
His eyes opened, and he looked up at a shimmering globe.
Nanaki tried to rise to his feet, only to fall back. He let out a low moan and attempted to rise to his feet again, this time, successful.
"Are you my Grandfather!?"
"Look around you, Nanaki," was all the floating male answered with.
He did, noticing the myriad of colors surrounding them. The Planes of a Planet, bridging at the Spirit Plane, which was what they thought was the Lifestream, the gap between each Plane. Another Spirit Plane, alike theirs, yet not alike theirs, twisting through the Lifestream, interconnecting with the being of each cycle they were part of, touching only some Planets in a special place, a larger one, winding around the whole Universe. The places it touched had strange pinpoints on them, the altars they had seen before. Each Planet had its Spirit Plane, the only things the others shared. They interconnected into one of the Planteray System, which hit all the Planets, but especially looping through the ones with Altars, and through the Star, one of their Galaxy, one of their Cluster of Galaxies, and one of their Supercluster of Galaxies. The brighter one was interconnected with each, of the Universe. A strange 'pocket' with an orbiting 'pocket' could follow the paths through the Universe, but of their Planets, only could reach the ones with the Altars, it could also reach their Star. Coincidence?
There had been more, but they'd reformed. There had been a Planet with a Single Moon before, both had detonated into asteroids, while the Third Moon of Artesta disappeared. He could see how they formed a single Planet with two moons their, while the moon of the Planet itself drifted off. They'd divided, a second Planet forming inside the 'pocket' dimension, he saw evidence it had reemerged, before separating again. The Altars had shifted then, then again at the Supernova Sephiroth had caused. He noticed another 'pocket dimension' just north of the island that held the remains of the Temple of the Ancients, another inside it, too. The All Plane, the Central Plane, he could see its type truly now, Truth Plane, but no, that wasn't its name. And the Base Plane. Of course, their Spirit Plane, as well. He was now facing their Planet again.
He did, just outside their Planetary System, a huge dark orb hovered, another 'pocket dimension,' inside of it. His vision was moved to the 'hidden' Planet, between it and its 'hidden' counterpart. More 'life' had destroyed, no, blocked, the entrance of something else. He could see the Universe once again, for an instant, the thing that made it up was at the fringes, crackling and pulsating, swirling, stretching to what ended 'reality.' That was trying to get in. 12,682,113 things were at its center, the entrance, merged with this Mu, that Yuffie had told them of. Behind their Universe, one Mu also flowed around, was another, composed like theirs, named Pureland, the Planet in the center home to humans, too, and other things. Above them, something crackling, a strange thing hovering between Mu and Pureland, above the Central Planet. He couldn't understand much more of the system before his view changed again.
There was where Elslumina Haven was, below the southwest section of the Central Continent, the hallway stretching to the entrance, their section of the Library, the other stretching outwards. He could see the, oh, this could be interesting, the Elslumina Falls, where Lucrecia had been, the opened shaft, the one connection to the huge pillar on their Plane, three branches, off to floating things, keeping the place shut, inside the column, inside the first layer, yet connected to that small column at the front. He could not see farther. At the bottom of the shaft, gathering energies, shards of crystals. How many were there? Five, no, the fifth had become five. They were now shards now, they'd fallen through the Lifestream there. They were similar to the Eight Crystals on their Second Moon, no, nine, that were in pieces, the ninth above some sort of seal in the center of a large room. They'd split from the one that had split, too. Replicas were on the 'Hidden' Planet, four on each. But these ones...
...'We are Dwelvanese, the last of them.' That was what he thought was Grandfather. 'You are from Dwelvanise and a non-human tribe. You are Half-Cetra, as Yuffie is One-Fourth-Cetra. None can communicate with the Planet, but she has four of her own abilities. While you have none but a special way to see the Planet, you need to use it. You're truly matured, understood. The Planet needs you there, all shall be unveiled at the shards, all that can be unveiled, that is.'
Before he could speak, he heard a command.
He moaned, and looked up.
Tifa had finished tending to an unconscious Barret nearby. What?
Schrisorz! He was up, ignoring the pain that shot through his legs, looking around. No enormous crab, good! No Palmer, either, and lots of lifeless Shinra SOLDIERS.
"Oh, Nanaki!" the girl exclaimed, turning towards him.
"What has happened here?"
"An unconscious Barret, no Item Sacks for either of us, the Materias are working again," was the answer. "I wonder why."
"This is just a theory, mind you," the warrior began ,"but if Materia is truly condensed Mako, wouldn't it take something close to destruction to shut them down completely? When they dim, we use Ethers and the like, have we left them to see what really happens to them?"
Tifa nodded. "I checked pulses, the only survivor is the guy named Vicks. Marlene's been teleported away somewhere, Vicks and Barret probably won't recover for a while, but any wounds they've had have been dealt with." She turned to him and muttered a quick "Full Cure," closing his wounds quickly. She looked over him quickly before speaking again. "And I see your Item Sack is still intact!"
"A pointless notification! Grandfather spoke to me, we must return to where Liukhan is immediately! We need to go somewhere, I'll explain its details along the way! The Planet showed us something that its actually entrusting us to do, instead of a WEAPON! We need to go!"
"And Barret and Vicks!?"
Nanaki motioned towards the Motorcycles. Two remained, one halfway-destroyed, another fine. "I'd say that should be sufficient to carry Barret and Vicks, although I wouldn't recommend High-Speed, unless you want to risk damaging the victims," he replied dryly.
A knock came on his Office Door.
Reeve growled yet again. From what he'd heard before the power went out, Mayor Domino, Hart, Shreelin, Ensalin, and the other, the guy who's name was hard to remember, were dealing with just as many.
"Come in," he whispered.
Instead of a quiet entrance, the door was flung open with a blast. He grabbed his pistol and pointed it at the door
to see a black-haired man walk through.
"Who the blazes are you!?" There was something about him that was familiar of course, from Elslumina Haven! There was no need for this 'Zack' to know about that connection, though.
The sky was dark, as usual, there were no more strange flickers of light. He couldn't see the lights of the city below, either. This was bad.
"Are you Peace Director Reeve Stendorn!?"
"What if I am?" He let his eyes flit over the shoulders of the man. If this fool had just strode into the 50th Floor unnoticed, well, people would be checking on the area, but if not, if he'd dispatched the guards. He growled again.
He gestured towards the nearby doorway. "The Zodiac Stones, please!"
There were guards in there! He hid a smile and dropped his gun. "So you're the guy the contact sent to retrieve them and move them to a safer place! About time you got here, ya' slowpoke!"
He searched the face for a flicker of uncertainty, could find none, but the relaxation of the man's shoulders told him that his 'guest' was about to try to put on a ruse, attempting to 'fool' him.
First, he brushed his hand over his forehead. "I was beginning to think that I'd wandered into the wrong office, what with all the SOLDIERS panicking and shoving me away, so I hoped I hadn't disturbed what would've been the 19th Executive today!" He sighed in 'relief.' "Sorry for the entrance, but I decided if I was going to be embarrassed I'd get the whole thing done with!"
Reeve strode up to him. "Don't worry, Mister "
"Zack Tangrene!" The man smiled, extending his hand. Reeve shook it.
"This way, please." He turned towards the door to the side and slid his keycard in. At least that worked, the cards didn't work on electricity, they slid to the side and hit a small switch that slid backwards along a pole, yanking the door open slowly. It was designed to look like electronics, though, there were guns above that could be activated if necessary.
He entered the corridor, striding briskly ahead, performing his 'trick' on each successive door, grinning inwardly once again. He could imagine his opponent thinking that he was lucky to have stumbled into this situation. He might have doubts, but they'd be dispelled shortly, along with the rest of his thoughts. They could go where the rest of the Spirit Energy went.
One last door, and he could see the SOLDIER-1sts inside. 'Shoot my guest as soon as he enters,' he mouthed. 'Don't acknowledge, just do it!'
He turned towards Zack quickly, and motioned for him to go in. "They're in here," he said. "I'll be behind you."
He could see Zack's brow furrowed as he reached for his pocket
Bullet-shots rang out, puncturing the flesh of the man, causing him to whirl and fall down the stair into the room, his mouth open, startled. Reeve reached for the man's pocket, taking out a stone, and, in case this had been planned, searched his other pocket. Nothing. Good, no plans.
He fired his own pistol into the head of the man several times just to make sure the work was finished before turning to the four SOLDIERS around the case. "Congratulations on a job well done!" was all he said, before looking down. "Search him, if you see anything that looks suspicious, take it!"
The ceiling switched positions, now where the wall was, and he felt his head collide with something metal, realizing what had happened. He looked up to see a SOLDIER get shot in the head, the ground explode below another.
He scrambled to his feet and shot the gun out of Zack's hand. "How did you-?"
"How would humans understand what we're capable of!?" He grabbed Sagittarius and placed it in a chest-lock in the armor. The wounds disappeared almost-immediately. "Once you join, you're joined, your true body is the truth, not this 'mockery' unless you lose your Circulatory System directly, a full-severing."
The two remaining SOLDIERS aimed and were blasted through the wall, his gun snapped in half. "Actually, that was a lie, we're as mortal as you are, in a way, we were prepared for these tricks! Traps were expected, and I can take bullets! As for the ones in the brain, you can't sense a Magic that is Self-Generated and doesn't disrupt the Planet! You dolts never lost Magic, its always there, for those who have it passed down! Oh, and I'm not explaining what that means, find it out when you return to the Planet!" He aimed
an MP tackled him and sent him falling out the window, two more had him and dragged him out of the room, slamming the door shut as the other backed out, even as Zack somersaulted back in, and his stone began to glow
"Shaddup and fight, ya' moron!" snapped Reno, keying in a quick signal. Two Anti-Matter Cannons Online, one Ionization Ray. His sensor flickered, telling him it was the same for the other WarMechs. He kicked in the rockets in the feet of the thing, springing upwards once again, and blasting out at the huge thing, letting two Anti-Matter beams send out streaks. Another switch was flipped, Rocket-Launchers opened and grenades flicked out, ripping into the thing, only affected by the AntiMatter.
Those portions of the body regenerated, replaced by hissing snakes, which slashed at the Guardians, rebounding off the shields. He keyed an Electric Discharge Generator, hoping the thing was prone to electricity. The snakes were, but it wasn't. He swooped under and launched a Pulsation Beam into the empty thing, which roared and moved backwards.
Elena was repeatedly-firing her own Ionization Cannon, into the open spot of the thing, which kept on releasing blast after blast of tremendous energies. They piloted the Guardians over, below, besides, betwixt each, not hesitating to deliver a physical punch, letting loose with sharp lasers; some fluids were flowing from the thing now.
Another flick of a button and a concentrated thermonuclear raybeam tore into one of the openings in the thing. It clutched at it and reeled backwards, roaring, staring at them in disbelief.
Reno flicked to an open-broadcast.
"It ain't called AntiMatter, and thermonuclear for nothing, you poor excuse for a Constellation Reject!!"
"And this isn't called an erupting galaxy for nothing, either!" his opponent growled in response. "Out of the depths of the Cosmos and the Quasars, destroy with the wrath of a Grand Supernova!!!!! All-Ultima!!!!!"
Reno tore to the side, seeing another Summon Spell, well, like it had been when they'd first dealt with Ultimate End at the hand of Cloud and AVALANCHE in the Sector 8 Sewers. Only this time he could see a searing Quasar. One section of it exploded, sending ripples throughout the Universe, followed by the entire galaxy, before it shot downwards in an enormous bright light, between the planes, so as only to effect this small space. A tiny little pinpoint of the enormous beam, at least 10,000 Light Years in diameter, the full width of the beam being 50,000 light Years in Diameter, impacted into the Guardian, tearing open its left side, causing an enormous dome to erupt in midair. The rest of the energy collided, the only ones of that area of the Plane though, in the center of the inferno, bursting through the room, destroying shields, tearing apart circuitry, the walls and ceiling had already melted, and portions of the Sector 8 Slums were crashing down around them. Finally, there was one last detonation.
If these hadn't been Guardians, they wouldn't have survived.
"Attack, Master of Commandments! Zodiac!!!!!"
"Not again!" Reno dared not exit the Guardian, the heat outside was tearing away at what little protecting-circuitry remained at this thing, the whole area wasn't a complex of planks, it was now a melted, flowing river of sliver-grey substance, or what hadn't been vaporized was.
Above, a breach in reality appeared, the size of the enormous Quasar, actually, larger, 100 Times as large, far away, but they could see it. A purple-and-green beast flew out, composed of an intertwined-tail attached to four bat wings, with a serpent head, the energies around it howling. It let loose with a furious blast, and energies twice the strength of the attack they'd just received, but focused only on target, blasted into them. The Guardian was now missing a leg, and he found the viewport cracked, the river of melted metal, well, his Guardian was in it. He activated rockets and streamed upwards, the machine was slashed into by another raybeam.
"All-Ultima is hundreds of times stronger than Supernova, Zodiac, the Ultimate Summon Spell, is twice as strong as that!" It was the creature again. "If you're wondering how unarmed people survive the former two, well, it has to do with specific magical resistance as the result of being targeted by a Spell, the body resists the Spell Element, if it has built up to a sufficient capacity, to Zero Percent, but notices it, thus, rarely, resulting in survival! Now, would you like to give the Guardians up, or perish!"
Reno shut off his Comm and let loose with another thermonuclear barrage. Outside, those who had been lucky enough to survive the initial barrage of energies and immense heat, not many, actually, those who hadn't bolted immediately, did now. The monster unleashed its own Ionic-Pulse, shorting-out the power of their MagiTes, causing them to fall. Reno let loose with one last blast, one he'd managed to get out, as Elena launched a last group of AntiMatter Tek Missiles and Rude sent out one last Ionic Pulse Beam. The monster roared again
before bursting out laughing.
"Valiant and idiotic!" was all it said. "Playtime's over, though!" He moved his wrists, and the Guardians were no-longer piloted by the Turks. The 'creature' shrank back to the size of a human, watched the three fall into the inferno below, not caring whether they survived or not, they had a very slim chance, they were good warriors, he could tell that, though.
He chuckled again and warped away, sending off a brief thought to Zack. 'Game point!' was all it was.
They rode on.
Up above, the starry sky sparkled calmly, yet in a chilly way. Lifestream Poisoning, Zodiac Stones, and now this, the Whorlex, Jenova's Origins, Meteor's Origins. The Hades Loophole, Ajora, Lucavi, what did it all mean?
Tifa blew a strand of hair away from her eye and sighed again. A half-hour ago, or around that time, at least, to her reckoning of time, she'd seen some interesting displays of light in the direction of Midgar, which meant the half-demolished city was in more trouble, but could feel no cries from the Planet. And what about a rebirth, and Shards of 'The Crystals?'
"With each new answer comes many more questions." That was Red XIII, almost as if he had read her thoughts. Tifa sighed again. Red XIII's explanations hadn't helped. They'd aided that Planet, now it seemed to expect them to behave like WEAPONS. For perhaps the first time she understood what Cloud meant by 'not fighting without personal reasons.'
She blinked back the tears, and sighed again.
"By my calculations, we should be an hour away from the foothills, and the portal back to Elslumina Haven, although we still haven't decided what to do with Vicks." Nanaki again.
That meant they'd been riding for longer than she thought, which would explain why she was hungry. She looked at the sky again. 'Billions will be before the end of the next two months, if this darkness continues. Without Sunlight, how can crops survive?'
"Approaching figure ahead," the warrior said calmly.
Tifa whirred the Cycle to a stop and leapt out, followed by the creature.
The figure seemed to stop for a second, then pick up pace. There was something rather familiar about his gait, but she couldn't make it out yet. She squinted, trying to get a better view, and tried to discern any features that would tell her who this person was.
Something she drew in a sharp breath as her heart leapt.
Blonde-hair shaped in spikes, and a very-familiar way of running. Seconds later, she could see him.
"Cloud " she breathed.
Then she was racing towards him, followed by Nanaki, barking joyously, racing across the plains, even as he picked up speed. None of the three knew which collided first, but when they did, the mood quickly exploded into a joyous cacophony of hugging and laughing, while Tifa had to blink back more tears, this time of joy.
Well, to be exact, at the end. Cloud and Tifa were embracing tightly, Nanaki was crouching to the side of the 'SOLDIER.'
Red XIII let out a low growl of contentment before Cloud bent down and scratched behind his ears. He wasn't a dog, but he carried some traits of that species.
Finally Tifa ended her embrace, holding him away from her, both arms on his shoulders, smiling, as were the other two.
"Where were you?" she cried out.
"Long story," he replied, grinning. "One that portends a lot. Where's the Cancer Stone, Barret, Palmer, and Marlene?"
"I've got the stone! That Palmer idiot-!"
"I know!" the other interjected. "Or, at least, some of it! Right now, though, I need to be filled in on what's going on, and I've got a lot to tell you two!" He broke free and turned to the bike. "Is that yours?"
"In a way," she responded. "I'll explain while we're on, let's go!"
Nanaki nodded and bolted away, while Tifa turned back to her childhood friend. "And don't ever do that again! Put me-us through one more time or worrying about you and we won't do anything about it!"
Cloud grinned lopsidedly. "No intentions!"
"Good!" she responded. Then she lowered her voice. "Don't put me through anymore worrying, please," she whispered. She let one last tear fall, embraced him quickly again, before turning towards the Motorcycle. That silent exchange was all they had needed, for now. Neither needed to use words yet, if ever.
Cloud was right behind her.
The power was back on, although that wouldn't do much good! He'd dropped the Cait Sith Controls in the Zodiac Chamber, where a blockade of guards were. The horse-demon had been forced out the window again, opting to drop to the ground and burst in through below. He'd grabbed the controls, but they were damaged, for now, which meant Cait Sith would've powered-down.
The Elevators had been locked on the upper floors, and SOLDIERS were clustered around strategic-locations in the floor, in case the thing tried bursting through the ground. Right now it was climbing through the elevator shaft, or so he could see, laughing and grabbing whatever neared it, crushing the head of the thing, and hurling it away, sometimes biting its 'prey.'
With that situation in a pattern, at least for now, he glanced at the damage to Sector 8, and let loose with a very long stream of swearwords.
He keyed his Comm. "Get a rescue crew into Sector 8, if that hasn't already happened, do it, now!" He turned the Comm off and turned back to the viewscreen. The beast was now entertaining itself in crushing two Grosspanzers together and throwing them through the 27th Floor, decapitating various people. Two AeroGunners dropped down from above, the thing that had been Zack fired a large beam upwards, grabbed a propeller, and threw it towards a group of SOLDIERS, each of which shattered into pieces. Reeve clutched his throat, trying to control his food.
The thing morphed back into human-form long-enough to slash its Samurai-Sword into a small hole in the approaching FleetGunner, a flying GrossPanzer which also looked like a Guard Scorpion, at least with tail and head features, but was grey-silver, as most of the Anti-Aircraft WarMechs were. He tore apart the cables before morphing back into a demon and reconfiguring them, next chucking the now-explosive thing at the floor, detonating several stories.
A laser-blast punctured its back. The thing turned and sent out a punch, destroying the Helicopter, before roaring and disappearing.
"All survivors on alert at Zodiac Chambers!"
Nothing. Instead, the horse-thing appeared in front of the newly-restored Shinra Headquarters Sign at the upper floors, tearing it off, teleporting again, now arriving in front of the 45th Floor. He threw the disk like a frisbee, cutting through the main sections of the floor before exploding, causing parts of the building to topple.
Shreelin's voice came on the Open Comm. "10,000 casualties and mounting, 10,000 and mounting of our 13,350 WarMechs, Plate Patrol is here!"
Reeve slapped his head. "Concentrate on defensive measures, do not engage the thing unless in Omega Alert, make sure the Zodiac Chambers are defended at any cost! Get some Revive Materia up here, some may be able to be saved!"
"I'll see if any are available, but I doubt that any will be, most are either in pieces or have crushed heads!" That was Ensalin. "Something like this, on a lesser-scale, was reported to have happened a long time ago, when three of these things attacked a single castle, one, a ram-thing, after the general fighters attempting to thwart their purposes, the other two after the Lord Benlintin, or something, who'd managed to shoot one, and was thrown off the roof by allies of the others! Out of the two after the Lord, both survived, the ram was finally vanquished, not by the Knights, but its unknown how! We need 1st Class Snipers, if I could suggest anything!"
"That means pulling them out of their strategic locations, but with the Turks MIA, they're all we've got for now!"
"The Turks are what!?"
"MIA! They were in Sector 8, which is now pretty-much a molten river, at least the area they're in!"
Reeve flicked on the other Comm, and relayed the suggestion.
In around ten minutes he heard a roar of annoyance, as if one was being pestered by a fly. He detected an energy-signature just before the viewscreens showed the majority of the Snipers end up on a platform, hardly any off before it rocketed into a 'sky.' That would be a Giga Flare.
Where the blazes was the Citrine Weapon when they actually needed it!?
Yuffie looked at the portal as four figures stepped through; Cloud and Tifa, carrying and unconscious Barret, and Red XIII. Having just-barely finished exchanging stories, their usual luck, no time for relaxation now, it seemed, the others were back.
Barret moaned, and was set down. "W-What in-!?"
"You're safe now," Cloud replied quietly.
Barret shot up. "Izzat' you, ya' jerk!" he growled. "What the blazes happened!?"
"I'll fill Barret in," answered Nanaki. "I think you two need to exchange a bit more of your stories, and get some introductions in order." He turned to Barret, who was moaning, and motioned towards a far corner behind a bookshelf.
He nodded groggily, and both were behind the bookshelf before the cry of ,"WHERE'S MARLENE!!!!!?????" rang out.
This time the stories were exchanged quickly, well, as quickly as possible, occasional shouts from Barret interrupted the conversation. Since it was only a small story, and Nanaki was giving Barret a summary, he emerged after another half-hour.
"So, where the blazes do we find Marlene!?"
"When do we eat!?" interjected Yuffie.
Barret shot a glance at her that warned her to shut up, and turned back to Cloud. "We're goin' to find Marlene now, you'd better know where she is!!"
"Barret, I told you-," the warrior began.
"Shaddup!" he snapped, before turning back to Cloud. "WHERE TH' DARN IS SHE!!!!!?????"
"The answer lies below!" The deep voice of Liukhan caused all thirteen heads to swivel in his direction.
An hour had passed, Reeve had managed to finish a small dinner. An hour since he'd assigned the Snipers to their position. More protests, more complaints, but not that many lives lost. He'd managed to get Cait Sith back online, and was downloading any data he'd overheard into a private recorder. All he'd noticed in that one instant, 32:56-minutes-ago, was Cloud, Tifa, and unconscious Barret, and Red XIII stepping back through a portal. He risked a quick glance, saw that the newcomers and the group were facing the Cetra, awake once again.
The door, locked and bolted, burst open to reveal a very-angry monster.
"Hand them over or I'll let you be my first subject in finding out the results of destroying the spirit of a being while leaving the body intact!" 'Zack' roared.
"Never a WEAPON when ya' need one!" Reeve muttered.
'Zack' overheard. "He's Ralyon's now, along with the Guardians, and the Sapphire Weapon! Now HAND OVER THE HOLY STONES!!!!!"
"Take a hike in the firepits of Wutai!" he snapped back before punching in Omega-X4-8Y into his keyboard. A rubber vest slapped down over him, clear, so he could see, but protecting him from the electricity that now enveloped the room. He had enough sense to lift the Cait Sith Controls and tape off the desk first, dropping them in a pocket of the suit. Next came ten rapid shots of Tranquilizer Darts, each carrying enough fluid to knock out a Behemoth, which also had little effect.
A Sniper burst into the room, pumping the back of the thing full of bullets.
It turned and punched the thing in the face, crushing it, letting the SOLDIER fall backwards. Seconds later, it advanced at Reeve. There was no more electricity, no SOLDIERS in the area.
Cait Sith was out of luck.
"Whad'd'ya mean, 'The answer lies below!?'" Barret shook his fist.
Well, that was who he thought was Barret. Ramza looked on, still not knowing when to interject a word. Was there really a reason he was needed here?
He sighed, and Meliadoul placed a comforting-hand on his shoulder.
"The Shards of the Crystals!" He waved his hand and the portal to Kalm Mountains disappeared. "Go, now, you fools, when you choose the place you leave to, you'll end up at the Chocobo Farm! GO!!!!!"
"Not much time I must fulfill my end of the bargain!"
The next second, they were enveloped in a white, flickering wave, the following-second they were in a small room, a grotto, really, greenish-white light shining through cracks. In the center, pulsating, were glowing shards of something.
Obviously the shards of the 'crystals.'
He hadn't lost his friends, though.
A Green-Clad SOLDIER jumped through the door and tackled the thing to the ground. He got up, punched at him, and missed. The SOLDIER whirled and blasted him through the left lung with a laser-beam set to high-accuracy, activating a MegaBarrier from a Materia and letting it take part of the impact of the incoming blast, the other which he dodged.
A vice-like grip clamped on one wrist, snapping it. The SOLDIER spin-kicked his opponent, dodging another punch and getting kicked in the stomach. He panted, now in an annoyed state of mind, and slammed right into the monster, flipping back, allowing its Mako-Cells to add into the blast from the gun. A point-blank, rainbow-colored shot sprang from the front of the pistol, this time penetrating the left lung of the monster. 'Zack' fell to the ground, attempting to activate a warp.
A Dispel slammed into him, halting the warp, as another of the Green Ones, commonly-known as the Green Edges, entered. He let-loose with a Fire 3, connecting with their adversary. He wasn't fighting now, he was crawling towards the door leading to the Zodiac Stones.
Crawling, then springing. Two more of the Green Edges were below him, and slashed him across his wounds. He kicked them aside, bashing through doors in a desperate run, pulsating with energies, trying to break free from the effects of the Dispel, something that he should've done long ago.
About to tackle the thing, Reeve was blasted off his feet, the front of his suit scorched somewhat, as rainbows of power ripped out, blasting apart all opposition. He'd been moving around, trying to make a subtle approach, indeed, he'd done that, Reeve hadn't been able to call an alert, now he'd used the Dispel to his advantage. He lunged for the case and disappeared a septosecond before being impaled with an explosive Glow Rod through the lung, which would've ended his life.
He'd have to report this to the others, at least Cait Sith was working now.
"Darn it!" he swore, spinning and stamping away.
"Where are we!?" Malak gaped in awe at his surroundings.
'Welcome to the home of the Knowledge of the Planet.' The voice was soothing.
"Wha-the crystals!?" Meliadoul looked down at the shards in amazement, which rose into the air and connected. Well, four of them did, the others stayed apart, in the form of a Crystal.
'You would know of us as the Ancient Crystals. The latter ones, created after the collapse of the Mana Tree long ago.'
"You's the knowledge bank!" Barret rolled his eyes. "Ancients!" he groaned, before facing them again. "All right then, where's my daughter Marlene?"
'We do not know, we need to pass on this knowledge before we shatter. Do not stall us, or you may lose your daughter. The knowledge can help you, we have been entrusted to give it to those who come with a just cause. I sense the last of the Fallen Cetra amongst you. Yuffie Kisaragi, Nanaki Asulai, step forward.'
"W-What?" Yuffie backed up, and was promptly shoved forwards by Malak, who was beginning to either like or hate this girl's manner.
"Whad-d'ya' want?" she stammered.
"Please indulge us as to what we need."
'We know that you are not a danger, for you have Cetra, we can sense they are not forced into this situation. We must deliver our final message.'
Tifa covered his mouth. "Listen!" she growled. He resisted the urge to snap back at her, before sighing once again and stepping back.
'You know of Lucavi?'
"Indeed." Nanaki again.
'Then you know where he goes his influences are many, and his stories.' Nanaki nodded again. 'This is not the only world he has gone to.' Rafa rolled her eyes, as if to say 'No, really!' silently. 'Nor Ensconce, or their master, Ralyon. The energies flow through the Cosmos.
'We may be the only 'danger' to the Planet, as soon as we shatter it will be stabilized once again. But you must know of Elslumina, and of the Lunarians. Elslumina and the Big Whale may hold the only key to victory.
'So you must understand the origins of Elslumina, and for that matter, that of the Nothingness. No more false names, Mu is a Criyorti, Shatter Class. That means a conjunction of souls that are nothingness, once it reaches a certain number. If it gets one more it falls into place.'
The voices seemed to let out a moving wisp of air, a slow sigh.
'40,000,000,000-Years-Ago, that which made up Reality, which was Nothingness, coalesced. It could not support itself, time did not exist there, your perceptions know nothing of it. No, it was but a second as Reality finally became Mu, from what, not even Criyorti, Piece Class would know. Nothingness became two Universes, the smaller orbiting around the larger, that's where what you all know as scientific-processes began. I trust you all understand it.'
'Cloud's group' nodded, while all but Ruass stared at the shards questioningly.
'Superheated energy exploded outwards, over the billions of years forming the substance of what would become Atoms, by the end of 5,000,000,000 Years forming Galaxies, Stars, Planets, while the Universe still expanded. Its simply science at work, going down to basics, it would take hours to describe, it is unnecessary. Just remember that it exists, and is no permanent fixture, we will lose this Star, but young, in 6,000,000,000-Years, at least as it is. When its LifeCycle ends, Lifestreams cannot sustain Planets against forces like that.'
'Forces that pale in comparison to what began 27,000,000,000-Years-Ago. We know the Cosmos, but not all, all we know is that then a being appeared for no reason and began destroying, it had a purpose, it wasn't mindless, but is not discernible. Its name is Ralyon, over the next 1,900,000,000 Years it was joined by two others, Lucavi and Ensconce.
'Mu had an existence, so it had created other existences, what we call Gods and Goddesses, with the Universe, ones that were born and grew 30,000,000,000-Years-Ago, when 'stabilization' was reached, by now lived. They challenged these things, and were sealed away by servants of the Trio, twelve demons, which entrapped them in a Plane named Elslumina, but entrapped themselves in something called the Hades Loophole. Both sides lost, the seal could not yet be broken, both drifted around the Spirit Plane of the Universe, the Hades Loophole orbiting Elslumina.
'24,980,000,000-Years-Ago, an accident created an incredible being, with power equal to that of Mu, which flows around our two Universes, and which had been accessed numerous times since soon-after 30,000,000,000-Years-Ago, when Planets began to form. The being held its own Lifestream, it wasn't intended to live, but let it out. It experimented with its powers, just having fun, only to find that it could destroy itself and the Universe, it wanted to do what it wanted, didn't care about destruction. His Separated-Lifestream took the form of a 'Goddess.' It reasoned with him enough to persuade him to stop, he agreed, although there was fighting, and began working covertly. Through an experiment he bore two daughters, who were named Aisha and Ceile, when he found out about them, he convinced them to come with him, leave their home, tutored them. They didn't want to destroy, so he trapped them in a way that forced them to, and they moved from Planetary System to Planetary System, to try to stop the Universe from expanding so it could be destroyed.
'Their 'vessel' is a two-layer orb, Craxyold, the Outer Layer, and Whorlex, the Orb Itself. Their weapon was Meteor.'
That meant Schrisorz was telling the truth! There were muffled expressions from the others, not counting the 'newcomers' who were still listening quietly.
'Around the same time, in the other Universe, a similar accident took place, in a Quasar, creating one named Xagor, of the nature of destruction, as strong as the other, who is known as the Dark Star. It rejected its Lifestream in a way it was destroyed, continuing onwards to cause immense destruction.
'Elslumina entered our Planetary System as it was being formed, resulting in it becoming trapped here, quite by chance. Around the time the Planets finished being formed was when Lucavi tried to free the demons. He failed, sealing himself in the Hades Loophole, each demon being 'part of him.' Those in Elslumina, seeking to preserve their own lives, formed structures to keep them sealed-away before the counterproductive-energies took their lives, forming Altars and Generators. One for each Planet they could flow to, and some sort of system along the edges. As long as Elslumina stands, though, there is a final obstacle in what Ralyon and his servants may be seeking, also thwarting the others. Yet it gave the Planet need to create Cetra only on this Planet, not on all ones that could be populated. So more bad has come of it, at least, in a way.
'The Zodiac Constellations may or may not actually be galaxies, Ralyon, or something in allegiance with the thing, created them as a way for Lucavi to exit his prison. Elslumina moved through the Planets, when the Stones appeared, well, Elslumina was able to stop. The beings inside forced it to out of desperation, so they would survive more energies. The Zodiac Stones are a means of an exit, no matter how far away they are. As for Elslumina, you know it is here now. Aisha and Ceile lost their Black Materia at this Planet, another accident, it intersected with a Mu Disaster. Over centuries, they created Jenova, and sent her down to retrieve it. I can sense now you know the rest, I can start to know what you know. As for the White Materia, it was created to counteract the Black Materia, which was sealed in the Temple of the Ancients. The 'Dark Star,' father of the sisters, is still out there. Xagor, well, he fell, attempting to try out a strange form, that is part of the story of the Big Whale, though. It comes up next.
'I can see how you know of what passed between the time of the Jenova Crash up to the construction of the Crystal Stabilizers, and since that is where the story of the Big Whale begins, we can start there.
'The two disasters that Lucavi had caused on this Planet beforehand created more dark energies, along with the last of the Lifestream Poisoning Jenova had made happen, and because it intersected with what the Planet created to counter Chaos and Creator as they began to be formed, a trio of female spirits, it became alive even as the Continents shifted. The Crystals were misused by the creatures it seemed to exert control over, the same way many forces in the past have had some control over certain creatures. Most of the Planet became flooded, the Crust was damaged, something came into being in an old structure, named the Forbidden Land of Eurekia, a name perhaps others have inherited. It means something, but it was the true thing, it almost intersected Elslumina, did, somewhat. It was destroyed, the Planet's course had been damaged though, the Crystals shattered. They merged into a Supercontinent and two other Continents.
'The main portions of the Path of Spirits entered one place on the Planet, Cetra helped with the newest restabilization, one become something known as the Mana Tree. The Continents were content, once again, Kingdoms rose and fell.' The 'Crystals' seemed to indicate 'Ramza's group.' 'I believe you know how much strife the Paramegia Empire caused, and what has recently-happened.' It stopped indicating them then. 'The self-proclaimed Vandole Empire, great architects and explorers, attempted to claim the Mana Tree, and were defeated after a war. 30-Years-Later, when another Empire attempted to claim it, the Planet knew the Mana Tree wouldn't work. Not that we had much choice, the son of the current Tree Cetra ended up in a deep coma after attempting to protect the Universe. The Pureland Universe was at war, it began to damage this Universe, he managed to close it.
'As the Tectonic Plates snapped once more, the Planet's Core starting to be effected by the strife, Crystals were recreated. Not many desired monarchies anymore, small, self-governing villages were erected in many places. Many didn't like this, but would have to deal with it later. For as the Crystals were put into effect, Chaos made his move, his creation was a being that hasn't yet gotten a name, only that of the Dark King. The highest-tower on the Planet became his base. The three spirits from the Planet arose, they ended up with the names of Poltergeist, Goddess, and Doom. As children, they experimented, a Crystal-Like Sage was created, he attempted to withstand the dark web or treachery the 'Dark King' wove along with monsters he managed to create. All that was accomplished was a victory for that time, of proportions that disturbed the Crust again.
'Those who wanted monarchies acted then, starting Kingdoms. Technology had not been abandoned, but it jumped at this time. A large section in the crust was carved, the Dwelvanese migrated there, Miss Kisaragi has explained that, or so it seems. What she said about the shapes of that time was true. People did manage to communicate with Summoned Monsters. That was the time when Enuos appeared.
'I am the Crystal of Light, the Crystal of Fire, the Crystal of Earth, the Crystal of Wind, and the Crystal of Water are the others.' Nanaki raised his eyebrows. 'The Cetra, ourselves, and the Base Plane used our Third Moon and the Fifth Planet to 'move' them, with some people so they would not grow suspicious, they were a dangerous race, we missed some, it turned out we'd overestimated most, the ones that survived here degenerated into beastlike-beings. That caused the people of that Planet to evacuate, they ended up forging a colony on our Second Moon. I, the Crystal of Light, was damaged, I managed to conserve myself by using analogous methods, knowing my wisdom might help others. I became the Crystal of Flight, which ended up on the Second Moon, the Crystal of Lava, the Crystal of Ground, the Crystal of Air, and the Crystal of Ice, also known as the Dark Crystals. Similar ones appeared on the Moon, including a Crystal of Energy. We could see how they set them up.
'One of the vessels of the Lunarians was named the Big Whale. It was a prototye, useless, until it was given the Crystal of Flight. Thus, some of those people migrated to Artesta, many joined with the Cetra, transportation through space then was common.' Cid whistled. 'Many Cetra ended up on the Second Moon, they are called the Lunarian Tribe.
'Technology boosted again, many had absorbed so much Magic that what you know as 'Crude Materia' wasn't needed any longer. Magic had come-forth once-before, when we first witnessed the Zodiac Constellations, in that manner, but had seemed to fade in strange ways afterwards, after the Lucavis were taken down, and hopefully are gone permanently. Alas, that is not so, I can see.' Rafa rolled her eyes again. 'That may be why it was ingrained in latter events.
'Greed for power caused a disaster again, undone in what is known to legend as the Lunar War, when those entangled in the web attempted to do what was right, and found out something that led them not only to victory, but to, at last, the end of Chaos. He combined with the mastermind of the plot, named Zemus, creating a creature named Zeromus, sensing his potential, and a way to grow, as well as using the element of surprise. That was on the Second Moon, the Big Whale served as transportation for those who traveled then.
'The continents entered a gentle-shifting and healing, disturbed by the Moon leaving. They hadn't really before, when the Third Moon left, because of their violent swings in shifts, it may have prevented total-collapse. The Underground was crushed. The Kingdoms continued their cycle, when the Second Moon left, it seemed to the people like the true end of the disasters they'd hoped for.
'The Goddesses said otherwise, they began experimenting with people, giving them Magic, false promises, not seeing it as wrong, just reactions. By the time they did, most Magic was embedded in themselves, they gathered it to themselves, managed to convince the Espers to go elsewhere, setting up a 'Pocket Dimension' beneath mountains, hidden from others, and petrified themselves, taking most Magic with them. That is what the First War of the Magi was, why we lost Magic.
'People moved back to the 'Crude Materia,' and the fate of the Second Moon is intertwined with what Yuffie, I know, has told you, and the others have told the 'newcomers.' It is true, Creator did manipulate the Focus Tower/Tower of Babel, it became the Celestial Towers, many more Cetra perished, the Second Moon ferried those who had occupied other places back here. Magic, it was still here, in a way, it was accessed when Xagor made a mistake, experimenting with the powers of a mortal, while not keeping his true body for back-up. The two Universes opened, there was so much destruction. Between the time of the Moon's Return and the Second Pureland War technology made another jump, another took place afterwards. So the Kingdoms of before were founded, and technology moved in a constant-basis.'
The Crystals seemed to glow.
'Completion of the rest of this story should be useful. Remember the Enuos, on this other Planet, thought to be 700-Years-Earlier on it, one of them did gain access to Mu. The fool was destroyed, Mu couldn't be. The Base Plane split those worlds. The people had by then forgotten about this Planet, they managed to craft Eight Crystals, which was useful in confining what the evil energies created over that amount of time. It came forth 30-Years-After, the Planets were merged again, Mu was accessed, it split, Exdeath, the being's name, was cast into the Mu, to cut it off again, the Planets split again. They couldn't see their counterparts, although they could see two other of our Planets, but they were so far away.
'Here, when the ambitions of humans attempted to restore Magic, this was sometime after the problems there, after the Continents settled yet another time. It led to the resurrection of the Goddesses, the Cetra neared extinction when making sure the Planet wasn't destroyed. In the ensuing struggle of Magic and Technology, Magic was wiped away, no-longer a source for any. The Espers ended up in Elslumina, Magic was gone completely. This was the Second War of the Magi, ending with the Continents starting a movement of correcting themselves. This was around 500-Years-Ago, by the end of Approximately-100-Years, they were the shape of old. The humans, taught by the latest lesson, knew they had to try to keep the peace, monarchies fell, in truth, all threats here were eliminated. They'd known before, the real factor was not that there was nothing to seek-out, it was that the last catastrophe had shown them how far they could truly go when wanting power. On that other Planet, composed of two names, neither the truthful one, for both mean Resontor, when combined, well, outside entities caused more disaster, we do not truly know what it is, but that link was closed, all was well in both 'sections' of this Planetary System.'
"Until Shinra!" growled Barret.
'Aisha and Ceile have lost both their tools, another is being-crafted. It seems to have attracted the attention of Ralyon, his Elite, along with the Dark Star. Somehow Mu is in it as well; Xagor, too, and the 'Dark Star.' Together they could complete a Criyorti. Criyorti, Shatter Class, that is in truth what Mu is now. Cryorti, Piece Class, the 'Dark Star.' Finally, Criyorti, Twisted Class, Xagor. It would need two supports, one for each Universe, Criyorti would be complete.'
"And Criyorti, along with 'Whatever'-'Whatever' Resontor has what to do wit' Marlene!?"
'We know not more, we have completed our mission. The rest, you must find out for yourself.'
Cait Sith 3 whirred, speaking. "I'll have to check what this Robot recorded before, I don't really know what's been going on, then I've-what the blazes!?"
The Crystals burst apart again, rainbow-lights flowing outwards, shimmering into dust-like particles, which fell to the ground and disappeared. Each could almost feel a sigh of contentment, a small shudder. Something Tifa remembered. The Planet, all those energies she'd felt building up, were gone.
The old was away, if the stories, put together, were right, the 5,000-Years, well, maybe 5,001, give or take a few, of the suffering was the Planet was over.
They just faded from the room instantaneously.
(Phase 'R' and 'M' are complete.)
Ralyon looked up. (The Planet is restabilized?)
(Indeed. We have our Set-Up in Pureland, in a 'Pocket Dimension,' as some of our adversaries seem fond of calling things like that. From Dark Murond, to Esperville, destroyed during the Second War of the Magi, to Elslumina Proper in its current-state.)
(More of an opposition? Lucavi and Ralyon, if not the rest of the puppets, will deal with them, Master.)
(Just watch your back when taking Elslumina! Pass the word to Lucavi that if he doesn't have Altima alive again by the end of this month I'll personally-revive one of his precious family, make them a mindless zombie, and have that member give him a wound that won't heal for countless years! Oh, and Ensconce needs to know I want him to get rid of that pesky Zeklanto Planet! The next of our Wisps that fall because of the agents of those nuisances will become a sword to hurt it!)
(We still have no 'Set-Up' here, Master.)
(I'll handle that personally! I've waited 30,000,000,001 Years for this, I can wait a few more weeks! Go now, Ralyon!)
The creature bowed his head. (Yes, my Master.)
He disappeared silently.
(No more, my Children! I have promised you each year you wouldn't suffer anymore, at last the time when you shall be saved draws near!)
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