Redemption Chapter 22

By Janet Monstwillo

"Can one of you please tell me something?"

Ishmael looked up. "What is it, Dad?"

Reeve gingerly shifted the shirt of his disguise. "Why is it always grunge?"

Kati giggled.

Tossing a concerned glance at his fiancee, Ishmael grinned. "I don't think that laughing at my dad is the safest thing to be doing right now."

"Aw, what's the harm in it?"

"Well, I'd kind of like to have you alive for our--"

She held a finger to her lips. He read her mind through her eyes. Wait until we've made our announcement, Ish.

He smiled and wrapped his arms around her. Barret and Cid stepped out onto the deck, obviously uncomfortable in their own disguises.

"What's with the paste-on mohawk and all this gold jewelry?" demanded Barret.

"What's with the pipe, glasses, and this odd flappy hat?" Cid snarled.

"Elementary, my dear Cid," murmured Sean, setting off peals of laughter from the others.

"You know," said Reeve, "I've decided that my disguise isn't that bad."

"Is it off to the Shinra building then?" asked Cid, as he squirmed in his beige trench coat.

"Uh no, Cid," said Ishmael, "we're going to the Alcor building."

"Same difference."

"My dad started Alcor!"

"Nice help that is to us now, ain't it?"

"Oh, just hurry up and get your ass down that rope ladder."

Cid glanced up at him. "I like your spirit, kid, but if I weren't about to go fight some idiots, I'd have to beat your fucking ass." He descended down the rope ladder.

"And if you weren't stricken with emphysema, I might actually let you try," muttered Ishmael.

"Son," said Reeve with a tone of warning in his voice.

"I'm joking, Dad!" He turned and was down the rope ladder.

"I sure hope this isn't too hard," said Kati softly.

Reeve looked towards the city, at the high top of the Alcor building. (Me too, Kati.) He then took his turn to climb down from the Airship.

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

"I just can't believe that they wouldn't even let us take out one gold chocobo," said Cloud. "If they had given us that we could've bypassed Junon."

Aeris slapped the reins on the black chocobo that the Undorian stable manager had insisted she drive. "I don't know. We probably could bypass Junon on this one, but it would take forever."

"Yes. I don't know if the shallows have shifted in the past, oh, twenty or so years since I've had to use them." He became aware of how his own words dated him, and how it made him feel like even his hands on the young girl's waist made him a dirty old man. "I just hope my chocobo is safe with Patrick," he murmured softly into her ear, having no idea how well the boy could hear him.

"Oh," she said lightly, "Zuri seems to be doing wonders for his personality. I'd be surprised to see him hurt a fly in her presence. That is, unless that fly bit her or something. Then watch out, buggie!" She grinned.

Even if Cloud had believed in reincarnation, he knew it would have been impossible in this case for the flower girl's soul to be in Raieyana's daughter. (I spoke to her on the other side when Rissy was just a little one...but...she is a lot like her grandmother. So much more than Raieyana ever was.)

Catching up with Patrick and Azura, Aeris called out to them. "We're getting pretty close. We might want to take it down a notch."

Azura shook her head. "The quicker the better. Besides, has anyone thought of what we're going to do with the chocobos on the ship? We'll need them to get to the Canyon."

"Del Sol runs another ferry to the coast outside of Cosmo Canyon. We'll send Blackie back to Undor-Hai, but..." She turned back to Cloud. "What about yours?"

"I'll tell him to go to Cosmo Canyon."

"He's that well trained?" she asked in surprise.

"We're going to see today. If nothing else, I'll borrow a Gold chocobo from the farm and send it back when I get home." Suddenly, the chocobo stopped and Cloud was thrown off of it.

"Oh no!" Aeris hopped down. "Did I not tell you we were close?"

Sitting up and rubbing his head, he raised an eyebrow at her. "You didn't tell me that you couldn't handle a chocobo."

"Oh the Undorian chocobos suck." She giggled.


Patrick walked over to them, leading Cloud's chocobo by the reins. "You wanted to send this guy some psychic traveling directions or something?"

"Sure." Cloud lightly hopped up and patted his chocobo's forehead. "Hey buddy...we're heading towards Cosmo Canyon now. Do you got that?"

The chocobo warked and lightly ran off, towards the ocean.

"Let's hope that worked."

"I'm sure it did!" Aeris grabbed his arm.

He was startled a bit, but regained control of himself and flashed her a smile. "C'mon, let's get in and out of this city as quickly as possible."

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

"Are you sure you shouldn't be resting?"

"I woke up to learn I'd been in bed for days," said Raieyana dryly, "so rest is probably the last thing I need right now."

"Maybe," said Tifa. "But you don't need to be trying to translate anything."

"I'm not." She smiled. "I'm correcting the work you guys did."

"And?" Red XIII leaned forward.

"It looks fine as far as I can tell. Did you guys stay up all night or something doing this?"

They looked at each other guiltily.

"I thought so." She took a deep breath and began to think to herself. These new pieces of information had both raised and answered questions in her mind. It was beginning to seem that everything in her life had been planned, completely. (Well, not to a "t"...) The prophecies had no word of Reno...or of the events with Ryald.

The great cat looked at her with concern in his eyes. "Are you sure you're not tired?"

"Yes." She bit her lip. "But I just wish that Reeve wasn't away..."

"He wouldn't have left if it weren't important."

"Oh I know that."

"Besides, I have the feeling that if he had any idea when you would...recover, he would have scheduled his life around that."

Her eyes opened wide. "I'm not doubting him, Red! We've been married for fourteen years, which takes trust. I just miss him, that's all..." A faraway look entered her eyes and she gazed out the window. "I hope that he'll be okay...with all that mission will take."

Tifa looked at the worried woman and sighed. (I don't envy her anymore. Not now, when I know all that she's been through...and...her son is in the wilderness. Fending both for himself and for Azura, when he's just a child.)

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

Dirk laughed as he traveled down the elevator to the underwater laboratory. He had connected it to the Alcor building... (...but I'm going to cut it off now, for my own safety. Even if those fools manage to recapture their company, I have all the information I need.) He held, in his hand, a computer disk. It was labeled "The Truth About Shinra and the Jenova Project."

He had conveniently taken it from a company lockbox, in Reeve's private office, that his workers had hacked into. Never mind the fact that the lockbox had been legally bequeathed to one Patrick Jordan on his eighteenth birthday.

Or the fact that it meant Reeve had somehow come to possess a copy of Raieyana's abandoned book...


(Soon I will have all the information... ...needed to set my plans into motion...)

Dirk exited into a hallway, then entered a small control room. Entering the necessary codes, he watched on screen as millions of gallons of water flowed into the elevator shaft. The codes necessary for the removal of the water could only be accessed from down below.

(I think it is time that you had some more medicine.)

Nodding, the man left for his personal part of the laboratory. Inserting the disk into his computer, he then walked to a refrigeration unit. Inside lay vial upon vial of a glowing liquid. He removed one and grabbed a cellophane-wrapped syringe from the counter. Opening it, he then slowly extracted all of the liquid into the shaft of his instrument.

Dirk rolled up his sleeve and touched his inner arm, feeling for the vein. As he slowly injected the liquid into his bloodstream, a voice within him gave praise.

(One more puppet for me... The last battle for Pa'at Rich...Patrick...whichever name the wretch goes by. Before I'm done, he'll wish he never had been born. The son of the sun is no match for the Jenn--the Calamity.

As Meteor blocked the sun, so shall I block him. My race transcends time and space. We transcend this Planet and any defense it may call, and through this, bring upon to it its destruction. So was my order, so shall it be done.

Thy will be done.)


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