Evolution of Innocence Chapter 6

By Janet Monstwillo

The petite red-headed woman walked through the crowds at the convention, silently laughing at the foolishness that was the masses. (They are all trying to relive the ‘heroics’ of…of…that damn Cloud and Avalanche! They stopped me before, they will not stop me this time!) She sighed. (If only I could have realized who I was before I saw that damn Cloud Strife in an arcade, then my plans would be well in place, and he would have no chance of stopping me.) She stopped walking and gazed over her shoulder.

A tall man with black hair was wearing clothes similar to Cloud’s. Yet, they did not look like any of the cheesy, prefabricated costumes. Also, he was carrying a sword with a huge blade, but it had no decoration at all. It was a standard order Buster sword, issued in the earlier days of Soldier.

(I must get used to this body.) She knew that being a pretty young female would be quite a different type of life than she was used to. (No longer shall I command respect on sight. Perhaps I should make an example of this poor young man. I think I will.) Plastering on a seductive smile, and smoothing the deep blue skirt of her Elena costume, the woman turned around again towards the black haired man.

But he was nowhere to be seen. The only sight that greeted her was a crowd full of fanatics in cheesy costumes.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“What the hell is this, Vincent?” asked Tifa angrily, looking up at the banner.

“Apparently, the ‘First Annual Shinra/Avalanche Convention, Celebrating the Epic Battle Between Good and Evil,’” read Vincent from the sign.

“Thank you for the sarcasm, you didn’t have to include the subtitle.” She sighed. “This is sad.”

“Ah, but if we went in, Tifa, all these people would compliment us on our ‘costumes,’” he replied.

“That doesn’t make what they are doing to us any less sick or wrong!” She started to walk away.

“Where are you going now, Tifa?”

“I’m going to tell Cloud!”

“I hope for your sake, that he isn’t occupied at the moment,” said Vincent.

She paused. “Come with me. We’ll tell Red.”

His steady gaze caught her eye. “Smart woman,” he said softly. They headed back into the main part of the city.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Cloud kept one arm wrapped tightly around Daphne and the other right next to his sword.

“Is all this precaution really necessary?” she asked. “I don’t see anyone that looks dangerous, and besides, we’re the only people I see with real weapons.”

He scanned the crowd. (Perhaps I should have told the others about this “convention.”) He wrapped his fingers around the PHS, then decided against it. (They would just be angry if they found out...and I don’t have the time to deal with that right now. Where is that Derin character, anyway?)

Daphne stopped walking.

“C’mon,” he said, trying to pull her forward.

“Cloud, I’m not going to walk into a display. You can if you want, but let go of me first!” She giggled.

He snapped back out of his thoughts. Right in front of him was a re-creation of the lake outside the building... (In the city of the ancients...the building that had the altar...where Aeris was...was butchered!! Damn you, Sephiroth, I’ll find you today and avenge Aeris once more!)

Daphne gazed at the display, noting the 3x5 card. “Part I--Display 12. Inside this shell structure, our dear heroine was sacrificed on an altar by the evil nemesis, Sephiroth. Continue on to Part II.” (I can only guess at to what this means...) She glanced at Cloud, noticing the pain in his eyes. (...is this the place where I...) She shook her head. (I would swear before now that I never saw this place before in my life. But I know what the inside of that building looks like. In the center, a fish stands guard to a crystal staircase. He will step aside for the Ancient daughter who has the power of Holy...)

Cloud was broken from solemn contemplation and plots of revenge by the clang and clatter of a rod. Daphne had passed out; the sound was her weapon clattering to the ground.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“There’s a what taking place in the old Shinra building?!”

“A convention, Red. Something us humans hold occasionally,” said Tifa sarcastically.

“I know the meaning of the word, dear Tifa,” the lion-like creature muttered. “However,” he said, raising his voice, “the thought of one in honor of our accomplishments ever occurring in my lifetime, let alone yours, never crossed my mind.” His brow furrowed in thought.

“There is something awry here, Red,” said Vincent quietly, “because it appears that there are Shinraphiles among the attendees of this convention.”

“Not only that,” said Tifa, “but some of the people there like the Shinra.”

Vincent supressed a smile. “That is true, Tifa,” he said, amused.

“What? This is a serious issue,” she said.

“Yes it is,” said Red XIII. “Our reincarnated enemy will probably be attracted to this convention. Adorn him or herself as the former persona that was the previous existence. Or the one which is most suited to his or her personality.”

“Then this is the best chance to catch the enemy, and off guard, also,” said Vincent.

“I shall contact the others. Vincent, you and Tifa should get to the convention at once. I trust you don’t need help looking like you belong.”

“Hardly,” said Vincent.

“Do I look like I belong?” asked Tifa, worried.

Vincent took the opportunity to scan Tifa from head to toe. “You look very...Tifa-like,” he said cooly.

“I’m probably not cheesy enough.”

“You’re cheesiness factor is acceptable, considering the circumstances. Next time we go out, you may have time to enhance it.”

She tossed him a curious look. “Next time we go out?” she repeated.

“Unless we kill the enemy today, I’m sure we will be required to go out of doors together at some point. What did you think I meant?”

“Nevermind.” Tifa shook her head to get rid of the strange idea that had formed in her head. (Like Vincent Valentine would ask anyone out...before hell froze over.) “See you later, Red,” she said, heading out the door.

“Goodbye,” said Vincent.

“Vincent,” said Red XIII with a concerned tone, “Tifa is fragile. Don’t be an insufferable companion. We have enough to deal with.”

“She makes for an insufferable companion herself, anyway.”

“Still, treat her with a little compassion.”

“I am, in my own way. I shall take leave of you now.” He walked out the door.

Red XIII sighed and turned on the PHS. (I wish that the humans’ personal problems were less of a soap opera. It interferes dreadfully with our duties.)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

(“The Planet watches over me, the Planet shall guide me, for I am its child and my cries will not be forsaken.”


“The Shadow will come, the Meteor will pass within a breadth of the Planet, but the Planet shall overcome the darkness with light. Purity will wash over the vile and the children of the Planet will be baptized in truth, faith, and hope.”

“Your prayers are pretty little pieces of drivel, but they cannot save you from your end, they will not save you from my blade.”

Aeris looked up from her prayer. “One day you will repent. One day those you have transgressed against will surround you with fire and light and you will burn in your soul. Until then, I will face whatever may come. For if the Planet dies, all here will certainly perish. If I can save others by dying myself, let it be so.”

“You can do nothing by dying.”

“I can do more in death than you will in either the land of the living or the world beyond.”

“Ah...here comes my puppet. You will now learn that you are wrong.”

The Planet watches over me, the Planet shall guide me, for I am its child and my cries will not be forsaken.”)


“The Planet watches over me, the Planet shall guide me, for I am its child and my cries will not be forsaken,” whispered Daphne. She opened her eyes.

“Are you all right, kiddo?” asked a face with dark eyes and dark hair.

“Zack?” she murmured in confusion.

Derin almost dropped her. “Th...that’s my costume,” he spit out.

“Cloud?!” She sat up fast, in a panic.

“I’m here,” Cloud said. “This nice guy here caught you when you passed out.” He cleared his throat. “Wouldn’t set you down until you woke up, he told me.”

She put a hand to her head and groaned softly. (What was with that dream? And why did I say Zack?) She wasn’t the only one confused about her slip of the tongue.

Derin chuckled. “It’s okay about the costume thing. I thought no one would recognize me!” His mind was racing though. (Did she recognize me, my costume, because she was semi-conscious? Is it the ghost-like representations of places from her past?)

Cloud looked at her, concerned. “Can you get up, Daph? Should I take you to the doctor?” (How the hell did you know this shady character was supposed to be Zack?!) He felt like smacking himself for letting her fall into the hands, literally, of the person he suspected was their foe.

She slowly got to her feet. “I’ll be okay, I think.” Giving Cloud a weak smile, she picked up her rod and turned to the man who had been holding her. “Thank you for your kindness--”

“Derin. My name is Derin,” he said, taking her hand. “And the pleasure was mine, I assure you. It would have been terrible for a pretty lady such as yourself to crash to the ground in a pile, when I was there to prevent it.” Giving her a wink, he asked, “So you are an Aeris fan?”

“Aeris?” she asked, confused. “Oh, not really.”

“That costume becomes you, like it’s your everyday outfit.”

“Thank you, Derin, but when I decided to come here today, Cloud went and chose it for me. He has the keen eye, not I.” She smiled at Cloud. “It was a pleasure to meet you Derin, but Cloud and I should probably be on our way.”

“Oh? I was going to see if you and Cloud would like to have coffee with me over there in the faux Seventh Heaven across the way.”

“I don’t think so--” Daphne began.

Cloud interrupted. “Thanks for the invitation.”

She gave him a puzzled look.

“I think you ought to sit down for at least a little bit, hon,” he said.


Putting a finger to her lips, he lowered his voice to a near whisper. “I can do some people watching there and you can recover a little.”

“Okay. Cloud, buy me a mocha, then,” she said with a laugh. (I thought Cloud would be jealous. But he wasn’t...he’s...wonderful.)

Derin started. (I have heard it said a laugh comes from the soul. It must. She laughs with Aeris’ voice...the voice of an angel.)


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