Child of an Ancient Chapter 3
By Shigan Lee
Tifa woke up late the following morning, but she looked a lot better in Cids opinion, even if she had lost some serious weight. She greeted him with a cheerful smile, chewing on a sandwich as she climbed up to where he stood and handed him one. He murmured a thank and went back to the controls. They was over the northern continent now, Bone village was already in sight as they finished their breakfast and prepared for landing.
Cid looked over at Tifa, he didnt want to think of what they would do if they didnt find Cloud today. If the trail was been false: They had followed to many hopeless trails those past days, to many disappointments and fakes. So many that not even Tifa was as optimistic as she used to be. They didnt say anything to each other as he put the airship down, two men was waiting for them on the ground, both was dressed in those blue suits that was the mark for employees of Reeve Inc. They greeted them with polite smiles and bows as they led them to the bunker where some of the workers where resting.
Cid got impatient as the blue-suits talked to the workers, he wanted to go, now. Without a bunch of tiny details and planning, he glanced at Tifa and could tell that she was as impatient as he was. One of the workers got up and walked off.
The man returned after a few minutes with a frail looking boy in his early teens. The boy introduced himself as Kevin and he would show them to the place where they had seen the strange man. Cid wasnt too happy with their guide, the forest was a dangerous place, and the kid didnt look much for a fighter. He didnt say anything though, the main mission was to find Cloud, not to worry about some kids ass.
Tifa felt a hard feeling in her stomach as they entered the forest surrounding the Bone village and the City of Ancients. She was afraid, what if they didnt find Cloud here? This was almost the only choice they had left; they had covered the most of the planet now, even Lucrecias falls. What should she do if they didnt find him? She felt how the sobs made their way through her throat again. She forced the tears back with a sharp breath.
She had to find him. Since both of them still had lived in Nibelheim, she had felt something for the shy boy who never approached the rest of them. It was only when they were alone that he would talk to her, mostly about his dreams and ambitions the. She could still remember the light in his eyes when he had talked about to get famous, he had seemed so sure, so filled with life and energy. They could talk for hours, sitting on Mt Nibel or at the well. During all this time they were separated, she had hoped that she might find him again and that he would fulfill their childish promise.
She had found him at the end. They had sorted him out and almost got killed in the progress as she noticed that he had changed. There had been so much of him that she hadnt seen before. That all his years during their childhood, he had done things to only to impress her, trying to get her attention and notice him. She had never seen it then and had ignored him more than once for other boys, and when she had finally realized that, his heart hadnt belonged to her alone anymore.
The name gave her a bittersweet feeling of guilt and sadness. The mysterious flower girl of another race who had touched their lives, marked them and left them as hasty as she had came. Tifa had envied Aeriss easiness around Cloud, her way to see straight through his thick walls was something she lacked completely. The girl had won Clouds heart with her innocence and kindness, just as she had won everyone elses.
Get a grip on yourself Tifa, you are jealous over someone whos dead.
She tried hard to not; Aeriss death had affected her just as the rest. She missed her friend deeply. But her sorrow had come as her second concern when Cloud had fallen depressed, blaming himself completely for everything.
It had almost taken her a year to get him over their loss after their adventure. She had gotten her chance again, to have him for herself and tell him. Finally after all those things that had kept them apart for so many years, fate seemed to give her a chance.
She stumbled on a root when she increased her speed to keep up with Kevin and Cid. She had to find him; she must have her chance. Shinra had taken her hometown, parents, friends and she had almost lost Cloud too; she was not losing him to the experiments they had performed on him now. That was at least her theory about his sudden disappearance, some flashback from one of the experiments that Hojo had pulled with him during his time in Nibelheim.
She noticed that Cid was looking at her with concern in his hard eyes, she smiled in response to him and concentrated on their mission instead.
Just concentrate know, think later.
They searched through the area, without finding anything or even a trace of that someone had been there. Kevin helped them the best he could, the kid looked a little pale, but he had endured the battles better than Cid had thought that he would. His martial arts were a little rusty but Tifa had saved his butt the times his skills had lacked. His eyes had shone with pride when he had killed one of the monsters on his own. Cid just hoped that the monster hadnt made the kids head swollen up, he had a bit left until he could claim a black belt from an instructor.
The sun had almost set and they had almost closed the circle they had been searching in when Kevin suddenly bent down, studying the grounds with careful examination
Sir! I think I found something!
Kevin kneeled down to inspect the grass, his eyes traced marks that went unnoticed by the two Avalanche members eyes. The villagers hadnt been kidding about him, this kid was a treasure in the fine arts of tracing. Not a leaf went by those brown eyes.
There is something that I think is footprints in the grass, but its quite faint.
Better than nothing, get your ##&%#% butt in gear.
Sir, dont you think it would be better to wait until dawn? The light will be better then.
Cid turned to Tifa who had spoken, she had been very quiet all the time during their search. He was worried, heck he was. Her eyes had had this weird look since this morning when they had entered the forest. It was a haunted look mixed by exhaustion, sadness and great worry. He could make a good guess at what she was thinking. If this trail lead them to Cloud, well, she would be happy. But this place was also a place where the most of them absolutely avoided, a place that reminded them off the terrible events a year ago that had taken one of their comrades and given her a far to early death.
Cid felt his stomach knot when the scene that he had tried so hard to forget played its cruel show inside his brain again. The pink dressed girl on the altar, praying to the ancient spirits of her ancestors for the salvation of her planet. The black shadow that fell towards her from above, the glittering blade of Masamune, the altar that had been bathing in holy light that suddenly had been turned into a slaughtering-block as the white crystalline stone was stained with blood
The pictures played in front of his eyes so fast that he almost lost his balance as the reawakened sorrow hit its impact on him. Hell, Tifa must be feeling helluva more than he did. She had lost so much here. Her friend, rival and almost Clouds heart.
He looked into Tifas eyes and saw the determination in them. Heck, he didnt want to be the one to stop this girl when she had made up her mind.
Didya bring the flashlight?
I have them sir.
Well, what are we waiting for then? Lets go, we will continue until the batteries are burned.
Kevin went on, trying to make the most out of the last light of the sun. The traces became clearer and clearer as they headed straight into the heart o the forest. Freshly broken branches and sticks lay on the ground as they passed, grass that had been torn up from someones shoes from running, leafs still freshly green laying around.
We got him nailed sir!
The boys voice was filled with excitement as they strode on. Cid felt his heart sink lower and lower as they continued, a quick check on their map confirmed his suspicions. The trail they followed didnt go in a winding way you thought that a mentally unstable man would go in. They were heading in a straight line towards the center of this forest.
They were heading straight for what he had dreaded most that this trail would take them, the City of Ancients.
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