The next day, Lia came with weapons for all of them. Tifa was studying the exquisite detailing on the Adamantium Claw, while Barret tried out his new Nuclear Reign, which not only shot out large bombs, but doubled as a short-range weapon. Red XIII was examining the capabilities of his Mars Clip, which always attacked with a Fire-Elemental combination. Yuffie received a set of six ninja stars and the Spiral Blade, which basically had a sharp, spiral blade. Cid got the Sepulchre Lance: plain and white, but contained a hidden chamber of poison released when an enemy is pierced with the point; Vincent received a pair of uzis. Cloud had a new sword, the Lowlellean, which had an astonishing eighteen materia slots and amazing attack power. Finally, Lia handed Reeve a pair of thick knives.
"That's all?" said Barret, "Hahahaha!" Vincent promptly slapped him on the back of the head.
(Am I the only one around here who doesn't drink?)
"Sure, these look like plain ordinary knives," said Lia, "but when you push a button on the handle, they emit a powerful poison. And it catches enemies off guard, because they really don't look like much of a threat, but in the hands of the well-trained fighter, these things can be more effective than a sword."
Reeve took the knives. "Did you choose these weapons for us?" he asked.
Lia shook her head. "No, Raieyana did."
Reeve examined the knives a little more closely. (She really does have great insight.)
"Why does Reeve get the cool weapons?" Yuffie whined, bringing on a slap on the back of the head from Vincent.
(She just has a bad attitude.) Vincent spent much of his time, in fact, contemplating Yuffie's bad attitude and how he could correct it. He had come up with nothing so far up to this point, besides the ambiguous concept of back-of-the-head-slapping. It wasn't working on Yuffie. Really hadn't worked on anyone at all, for that matter.
A young girl walked into the room. "Lia? Raieyana has come back...with a few friends. What should I do?" she asked.
"Send them up here, of course! And tell Ray we appreciate her taking her sweet time getting her butt back up here," said Lia.
Blane and Ishmael received new-and-improved versions of their Soldier staples, but Lia had to go back to the stockroom for Ruther, Legolas, and Denmae. Denmae was a real enigma, with short strawberry-blonde hair and brown eyes so dark that they looked almost black. Lia returned with their weapons.
"So Ray," she said, "have you told any of your friends why they are here? I'm sure they'd like to have a slight idea."
"Well," said Raieyana, "the first thing I need to do is notify everyone that Aysta is president of Shinra, Inc. I knew she'd been planning this for some time; she was trying to get to Rufus and I guess she convinced him to leave her the company in his will. The 'sleeping your way to the top' concept. I'm sure you're all familiar with how that works. He probably didn't think he was going to die for a while, so..."
"Wait a goddamn minute," said Cid, "who's Aysta?"
"Aysta is Aula's daughter, therefore, Ray's cousin as well," said Ishmael, "the four of us, Blane, Ray, Aysta, and myself, we all grew up together."
"Aysta, Lia, and I have been translating Ancient texts on Resurrection for some time now. It's probably not a coincidence that Shinra started looking for the White materia right after Aysta has, for all practical purposes, vanished. She always talked about taking over Shinra, doing some good, but I think she has her own plans to take care of now," said Raieyana.
"Resurrection?" said Cloud, "resurrect who?"
"Take a wild guess," said Raieyana.
"Not Seph..." said Red XIII.
Raieyana nodded. "Yes Sephiroth," she said, "and to do this, she needs the six White materia: Hope, Spirit, Renew, Holy, Mercy, and Faith. And she needs a Black materia."
"Meteor?" asked Tifa. "No, not that. Mutate. But don't get me wrong, Mutate can be just as bad, or even worse if it's in the wrong hands. And it definitely is in the wrong hands," said Raieyana.
"So what can we do about it?" asked Legolas. Lia lifted up a large black sword with the stars and the moon etched on it.
"Aysta never stuck around to finish the translation," she said, "otherwise she would have known exactly how we can stop her. We're not totally finished with the texts yet, but if we can't prevent her from getting the materia..." She handed the sword to Raieyana. "...we can prevent the Resurrection spell from completely working by destroying Mutate." Raieyana displayed the materia slots. There were six in a star shape, all joined to one in the center. The six White materia surround Mutate. Cloud looked at the Lowlellean, obviously dissatisfied.
"Can I trade?" he said, "I want the better sword."
Raieyana said, "I'm sorry, but no. You see, I'm..."
"...the only one who knows how to use it," Cloud said with her mockingly. Vincent would have slapped him on the back of the head if he wasn't all the way across the room.
"So what are we gonna do about this?" asked Barret.
"Well," said Raieyana, "we could look for the White materia ourselves. After all, we all know where Holy is, right?"
"Wait, wait, wait!" cried Yuffie, "before we decide to do anything, I'd just like to inform you all that we don't have our Airship!" Everyone stared at her. It was the most intelligent thing they had heard her say in two entire weeks.
Cloud groaned. "It's in Junon, for repairs."
"Six of us are wanted in Junon now," said Blane.
"And we can't be sure that Shinra hasn't taken claim of the Airship for themselves," said Reeve.
"So what are we going to do about my Airship?" asked Cid.
"Ishmael and Denmae still have their Soldier uniforms with them," said Raieyana, "and I suppose a couple more of us could go in disguise with them..."
"I nominate Raieyana and Reeve," said Red XIII.
"Why us?" they asked at the same time.
"Well," he continued, "Reeve grew up in Junon and so did you, Raieyana, so you probably know the best way to get to the airport inconspicuously. Any disguise stuff Raieyana has is probably for herself..."
"That's true," she said.
"...and if Reeve changed his outfit the slightest bit, no one would recognize him."
"What do you mean by that?" asked Reeve.
Red XIII shrugged, which looked very odd. "You're always wearing a business suit," he said, "if any of us passed you on the streets in, say a grunge/punk outfit, not a one of us would know it was you. No one."
"So," said Cid, lighting a new cigarette off of his old one, "we'll wait for you at Ft. Condor, while you..." He took a drag. "...go get my Airship and bring it back."
He flicked the old butt across the room. It landed on one of Lia's potted plants and caught it on fire. Lia ran hurriedly to another room and came back with a bucket full of water, which she dumped on the plant.
"There goes any hope of tea for me this winter," she said.
"In my opinion, loss of tea isn't much of a loss," said Cloud, "maybe he did you a favor."
"You could have told me, Cloud, that you didn't like tea the last time you were at my house. I yelled at Shera and you don't even like tea?" Cid was rather angry.
"Umm," said Ishmael, "we're leaving now. Better be at Ft. Condor when we get the Airship."