(How are we supposed to find the spot the first spell was cast? All of the old tunnels collapsed. I guess we'll have to do it by feel. I hope we don't come across the remains of anyone. They already will leave with a big enough nightmare than they would ever want to see.) She glanced at Reeve. "Do you see anything familiar?"
"Nope," he said, "just the ordinary cold, dark, damp, dreary Northern Craterness. Although I wouldn't call anything about this place ordinary."
"Then why did you?" asked Barret angrily.
"Damn it, Barret! You have to calm down those nerves!" Everyone looked at Tifa after her outburst. "...so do I, I suppose," she said.
"Wh...what nerves?" asked Barret. He looked down at his shaking hand. He held it close to stop the movement. "I ain't nervous," he declared. They came to the first fork in the new tunnel.
"What now?" asked Ruther. Everyone was silent for a moment.
"That way," said Raieyana and Reeve simultaneously, each pointing to a different path.
"Raieyana's right," said Cloud softly.
Raieyana looked at him. (This whole situation is a little too serious to try to win my affection by agreeing with me. This won't be a trivial decision.) He looked right back at her, directly in the eye. (But I don't think that's why he agreed with me. Am I right?)
Vincent nodded. "Has to be the way to go."
"Why?" asked Reeve.
"It's the only way," said Legolas.
"Logical choice," said Red XIII.
"Why?" asked Reeve.
"We can't take any other path but this," said Ruther. No one else had said anything.
"Why?" asked Reeve, for the third time.
"I know it is," said Raieyana.
"If so many of us feel so strongly about it," said Lia, "and no one has any idea at all, I don't think we can sit here and think of a reason. It will just waste our time. If we haul ass, even if they're wrong, it won't be too late to turn around and go Reeve's way." They started down the tunnel of Raieyana's choice.
Reeve's vision came in a flash. ("Did you think you sensed me? You will never feel me...because I'll always be right with you..."
Now he's taunting me. He's wrong, though. I will never lift even a finger to harm Ray. No matter what the hell he tries to do to me.) Cid fell onto him.
"Reeve, you okay, man?"
He nodded. "Fine, Cid." The tunnel ahead divided into three paths this time.
Barret, who had somehow managed to stumble his way to the head of the party, looked up in confusion. "I'm just going to ask those with the 'Sephiroth Positioning Systems' come up here and figure out where the hell we're going to go!"
Cloud pointed to the middle. "That way."
"No," said Raieyana.
"Where, then, Ray," he said.
She closed her eyes, ignoring how he had called her by her nickname and his ugly tone of voice. A soft voice whispered in her ear. ("Go right...and you will find him.") "Right."
"No," said Cloud, "the center path is where Sephiroth is."
"Let's go left," suggested Yuffie, "it's the only fair compromise."
"This isn't something that can be compromised," said Raieyana.
"I think I would know something like this better," he continued.
"Well, you're wrong, Cloud. And it's probably not going to be the last time. He's pointing you wrong on purpose. I also have the urge to go that way, but..."
"Then why don't you," said Blake, "I'm sick and tired of sitting here." He was the only one of the Undorians besides Lia who had gotten up the nerve to butt into one of the party's arguments.
"Because it's a misdirection," said Raieyana, "and I am not going any way except for the path that leads to Sephiroth. And the one that does is the one on the right."
"Cloud, if she feels so strongly," began Tifa.
"Tifa," Cloud interrupted, "I feel just as strongly as she does. Strongly that she's going to die if she goes that way."
(But that's what has to happen, Cloud... So he feels something, too. And maybe even the right vibes.) "Cloud," Raieyana said, "I can handle myself. No matter what is on the path ahead of us. Whatever danger lurks around the bend of that tunnel, we have to face it. If you have worries about me, worry as we head towards them. We're going to have to confront him again. Even if this time it's something we can't see, something some of us can't even feel. There will be risks. I think anyone who isn't prepared to handle them should probably go and walk back the Airship and wait for us to finish what we came to do here."
"I can handle them," said Reeve.
(He answered so quickly. Sephiroth wouldn't let him turn away now, even if he wanted to. Reeve, please be able to handle the aftermath...the consequences of my...) "Anyone else?" she asked.
"We are all going to be able to handle this," said Cloud, "my concern was for your safety."
"I'll be fine."
"Then I guess we're going right," he said. The journey continued, reluctantly, to the right tunnel.
("Ray, you okay?"
Just fine. I have to be strong. There will probably be more setbacks. We'll have to handle them, no matter what happens.
"I would take you by the hand and lead you to him if I could..."
I know you would, Ish. But that's not possible.
Raieyana noticed that Yuffie had fallen back a little from the rest of the group. She glanced at Vincent. (Trying to talk Cid out of having another cigarette.) She walked back to Yuffie. "Yuffie, what's wrong?"
She grimaced. "I feel sick again. I just want to be able to duck around a corner and get it all out without anyone else hearing. Don't want to make them sick, too."
"Yuffie, it's not safe for you to be so far back. There were some pretty dangerous things in here last time. I don't doubt that they've multiplied."
"Raieyana," Yuffie said, "I don't think many things could have multiplied while you've been away."
"They are mutants. You really never know with mutants. They might spawn. Or divide. Those methods allow for rapid multiplication..."
Yuffie wrinkled her nose. "You're not helping..." She held her stomach.
"Is there a problem?" The two girls looked up and saw Vincent. "Yuffie, are you sick?" he asked, concerned.
"Just probably a little bug," she said. She glanced at Raieyana, who looked at her, expectantly. Her look was saying "oh excuse me, I thought you were going to tell him what the problem actually was." "Vincent," Yuffie started reluctantly, "actually, it's not a bug."
"Then what is it?"
"To put it in layman's terms, I suppose that I might be--" They were interrupted by several growls.
"I hate wolves," said Raieyana.
The entire group was surrounded by a group of about forty wolves. However, that number was increasing rapidly.
"It looks like we're a free fry day at Burger King for them!" said Ruther. One wolf leaped into the air, aiming for Lia.
"Carnivore!" she yelled. Then she cut off its head with the blade of her axe. She headed towards another one. "The only blood you'll be tasting is your own!" Everyone else was busy killing and chopping and dicing wolves of their own.
A small pack had Yuffie cornered. She swiped with the Spiral Blade, but she was obviously ill. "Go away before I puke on you," she groaned. Raieyana noticed this and was just in time to block a wolf from attaching to Yuffie. Unfortunately, Raieyana accomplished this with her shoulder. There was a loud ripping sound. She turned to face the wolf.
"That was a brand new sweater," she muttered. She looked at it vengefully. The wolf started to whimper. "Yeah, I'd be running just about now if I were you," she threatened. "Oh, darn. You've waited a little too long. And I'm just too impatient, I guess." Everyone saw the flash of red.
"Who's having a Limit Break?" asked Barret, pulling out a bag of popcorn from his bag.
"Raieyana," said Cid, grabbing a handful.
"And this one obviously came from the Sephiroth side of the family," said Tifa, wincing as five more wolves went down with loud yelps.
"Neat," said Yuffie, "but she's goin' so fast it's making me motion sick." Raieyana suddenly snapped out of it. She shuddered and dropped the carcass of the wolf she had just decapitated with her bare hands.
"I hate wolves," she said sheepishly, "and it was a brand new sweater... Well, what are you staring at? Haven't you ever seen a Limit Break before?"
"Remind me to stay on her good side, Drake," Camilla whispered.
"Let's get going," said Cloud. They carefully stepped over the dead, bloody bodies of the wolves and continued.
"So, Yuffie," said Vincent, "what was it that you were going to tell me?"
"I'm--God, don't hate me, Vincent--pregnant."
"Don't hit me for saying this, Yuffie, but I was afraid that something was seriously wrong with you. Life-threatening. This is a relief."
"So you don't hate me?" said Yuffie.
"No. If I hated you for this, I would have to hate myself...and I just stopped hating myself, so I'm not too anxious to go back to that... But, Yuffie, you shouldn't have come here."
"I knew you'd say that. That's why I didn't tell you before we left. I couldn't just be left behind to wait. And Raieyana, she said something like she'd be the only one doing anything dangerous, so she thought I would be okay. I didn't expect to get sick. And the wolves..."
"I wonder why she said she'd be the only one doing anything dangerous... Well, I'll tell you what," Vincent said, "you stay and come along with us. I'll protect you. And we'll just avoid saying anything about this to anyone else for the time-being."
"Are you ashamed?" asked Yuffie.
"No, they'll just make me take you back to the Airship. I don't want to miss out on anything, either."