Hope in Love Chapter 9

Up, Up and Away!

By Sorceress Fantasia

"What?! Ya mean Doomsday?" Cid exclaimed.

Grim didn’t answer. He merely nodded sadly. "Maybe. I don’t know yet, we’ll have to check it out."

"But what does it mean by ‘Angel of Zeal’?" Cloud asked.

" ‘Zeal’ is the name of the shrine which the crystal is kept in. In our language, ‘zeal’ means ‘love’ and ‘angel’ is the name of a goddess in Sapphire’s world. She signifies hope. So I guess it means love and hope."

"Grim, please continue with your story." Red requested.

"Right." He continued, "As I was saying, Sapphire created a crystal called ‘Angel’. He himself had the power to make objects float. Thus, to save himself and the Cetras, he created ‘Angel’ and gave it all his powers of levitation. Then, he used the crystal and made a huge piece of land float up, hoping that by getting away from the infected Cetras and Jenova, they would be safe. However, the Cetras refused to leave with him, as they did not want to abandon their friends. So, with a little help from Sapphire, the Cetras finally managed to seal Jenova. After that, Sapphire and his family built a kingdom on the floating continent, which came to be known as the ‘Pacific Kingdom’. He then built the shrine ‘Zeal’ and sealed the crystal inside. He didn’t want anyone to touch the crystal again as anything may go wrong and the kingdom could plunge into the ocean."

He hesitated for a moment, then added, " Sapphire ruled as king of the new kingdom and his descendants inherited the throne. The kingdom gradually flourished and prospered and it became one of the greatest, most powerful kingdom to ever grace this place. Eventually, most people in the kingdom had their own magical powers, although rather weak when compared to the royalties’. However, there were some people who were born without the slightest trace of magic. They were like the outcast of the kingdom. About a thousand years ago, a lunatic planned to usurp the throne. He was one of those who had no magic at all. His name was Uran. He wanted to kill the royalties and all the others who had magic. He wanted to destroy magic so that he could rule the land. Fortunately, his plan was discovered just in time to stop him. In a fit of anger, he broke the seal of the crystal, and as a result, the kingdom plummeted into the ocean. The kingdom, however, survived and was preserved in the ocean, although most of the people died. Some followers of Uran survived because they were banished onto the earth when Uran’s plan was discovered. These people… were your ancestors. They passed on the rumor that you all heard because they hoped that by doing so, the kingdom would never be able to resurface, as the people who live on the earth would hate it." Grim sighed, " My ancestors kinda worked for the royalties, so they were at the shrine when Uran broke the seal. The great pressure that was produced when the seal was forced open threw him into this realm. Since then, he passed on the tale of the kingdom onto us, his descendants and ordered us that we must go back and help the royalties to restore the kingdom. His order is only part of the reason why I want to travel there. I wish to see the kingdom itself. But I can’t get out on my own. I’m trapped here. The only way for me to escape will be to cling onto someone who is leaving here. Then, I will be able to get out along with that person. But the Cyclops here have no intention to leave. So, I’ve been waiting for someone to come and help me. However, not a lot of people come here and there’s only two hidden entrance, so…"

"Fascinating story…I never expected the kingdom to have such an interesting history and story behind it." Red commented. The others silently agreed.

"But how the $@%#^*& do your ancestors know what happened outside when they’re here?" Cid pointed out.

"They saw it. There are windows in this world that allows us to see the outside world. But only in a castle in the middle of this realm can you do that. I saw the miners that were here, the people who came to investigate and you guys too. That’s why I asked the Cyclops to get whatever people they could inside. I was hoping that I could leave with them. However, I guess the Cyclops got a little TOO violent…" Grim smiled bitterly.

"Then our friends…" Rude interrupted.

"Don’t cha worry about a thing. I’ve told the Cyclops to go easy on them. They won’t be hurt."

"Alright, we’ll let you come with us. But you must bring us to our friends and release them right away." Cloud said.

"Deal." Grim snapped his fingers, giving a satisfied grin at the same time.


In the ‘cell’, everyone were resting and planning their great ‘jailbreak’. Well, almost everyone. Barret was engaged in a very heated argument with Reno. The two just can’t stop bickering for a second. They managed to argue about anything, anytime, anywhere. It was definitely irritating to the ears, and everybody wanted them to quit but no one dared to risk being snapped at, or getting wrangled in the endless and stupid quarrel.

"You f#&*^&%@$ing idiot!"

"You idiotic @$$hole!"

Tifa was an exception. She decided that she had enough of this charade. "Stop it!" She screamed so loudly that they could feel their ears ringing. "It’s stupid that we are here fighting each other when we should be thinking for a way out! If you two want to stay here, be my guest! But the others and I want to get out!"

Reno knew what was better for him and immediately shut his trap reluctantly. He headed for Elena and slid down beside her. He was about to complain to her when she placed a finger on her lips, requesting him to keep quiet. Reno finally kept mum, but not without a ‘Hmph!’ Barret looked at Tifa, apologetic. He moved over to her side, speaking softly so as not provoke her further, "Sorry Tifa. I was jes’ kinda…frustrated, ya know."

"I…I understand. Sorry that I…shouted at you. I’m just… worried for Cloud." She hesitated for a moment before she admitted, "Barret, I…I’m scared." Her grip on her necklace tightened, hoping that there would be assurance.

"Don’t ya worry. Cloud’s one of the strongest man alive, nuthing’s gonna happen to him. Come on Tifa. Have faith in him. He’ll be fine, I promise." Hearing that, Tifa relaxed a bit, although she was still petrified with the thought that Cloud might be in grave danger. After all, the monster here wasn’t like those in their world. Worst of all, they didn’t even know where this place was!

"Shh! Someone’s comin’!" Reno hissed, bringing Tifa back to reality.

Seconds later, an opening appeared on the ‘walls’ and an odd-looking creature stepped in. "We’ve here." It said, turning to the side, as if talking to someone. Then, its companions entered. Four people filed in.

"Cloud? Red? Rude? Cid?" Cait exclaimed.

"What?" Yuffie jumped up. "You’re all caught too? Heck, there goes our last hope."

Tifa felt tears swelling in her eyes. She was so relieved knowing he was safe and that he was here. She stood up shakily and said, "I’m so glad you’re safe."

"Thanks Tifa." Cloud smiled warmly.

"Err… sorry to interrupt but… who the heck is this little guy over here?" Yuffie asked.

"I AIN’T LITTLE, YOU CREEP!" He shouted angrily. Yuffie jumped back a little at the sudden temper. The creature simmered and introduced himself, "I’m Grim Reaper, but call me Grim for short."

Yuffie wore an odd expression on her face. She wanted to ask him how was it possible that a small creature like him could have such a name. She looked to Cid for an answer, but he only gave her a ‘Buzz off, kid.’ look. ‘Asking Cloud or Red would be more appropriate.’ She thought to herself and decided to ask later. Vincent stepped out, "Cloud, could you tell us what’s happened?"

"The story’s rather complicated. I can’t remember every detail. Grim, you go ahead." Cloud started.

"Well, it’s a long story…" Grim started.


"Well, that’s about it in a nutshell." The others looked thoughtful, all absorbed in their own thoughts. It took them some time to register the story into their minds. Some of them, like Reno, didn’t look as if they were convinced. After all, they had heard another version of the same story and they didn’t know which was the true story. But, all of them decided to believe Grim, for he sounded very sincere when he told them his tale. And he was also their only way out.

"Alright, shall we get going?" Grim asked.

"But, how do we get out? It doesn’t seem like there’s an exit." Lucretsia noted.

"Don’t worry about that. Just come with me."

Grim headed for the door, and motioned for the rest to follow him. They silently obliged. Walking out, the ‘cell’ disappeared with a wave of Grim’s hand. He then continued to lead the way, explaining at the same time, "This realm is in fact, a world of illusions and hallucinations. Things and places can appear as and when you like, and disappear just as easily. But you must have a very strong will and powers to do so."

Not any were paying much attention. Nobody was in a mood to listen to anything, so everyone kept mum. A lot had happened. A little too much. Even Barret was quiet. For a moment, the atmosphere that surrounded them was rather depressing. They just walked on, immersed in their own thoughts. Tifa stole a glance at Cloud. He was apparently in some sort of trance. Cloud seldom told her what he was thinking of and what he was feeling. His answers to her when she asked him were blunt and fake. It hurt Tifa sometimes, as she always had the impression that they were good friends who grew up together and thus she knew a lot about him. Ever since she traveled into his subconscious, she found out that there were many things she did not know about. Dark secrets she never knew. Until that occasion. She didn’t know him as well as she had always thought. Sometimes, Tifa felt a huge gap between them. He was so…distant. It was as though he was another person. Someone she never knew. A stranger.

Although she had never told anybody, she once had a nightmare that made her bolt up from her bed, crying. She had dreamt that Cloud was getting married. She saw he and a woman with their backs facing her, stroll down the red carpet hand in hand, laughing. Tifa wanted to see who the bride was but was unable to move an inch. It felt as though her body was frozen. A priest who looked like Barret then declared them husband and wife. Cid, Cait, Vincent, Lucretsia, Yuffie and Red were all dressed up formally and stood by the sides of the aisle of the church, which resembled the one in Midgar. Tears cascaded down her cheeks. She shouted, she screamed, asking the wedding to stop. ‘Stop all this, please! Cloud! Don’t do this to me!’ However, everybody ignored her desperate pleas as though she never existed. Then, the couple turned to face Tifa. To her surprise, the bride turned out to be Aeris!

‘I want to know what he is thinking.’ She told herself silently. ‘I need to know.’

Yuffie soon broke the uncomfortable silence. "Oh my gosh! How the heck did I miss such a gigantic building while I was wandering around?" She slapped her forehead in frustration.

Everybody turned to look at their destination. It was a rather large building, as Yuffie had just mentioned, and it was completely white. It looked like an ancient castle, with tall towers and huge wooden gates. The castle was surrounded by a peaceful aura. Grim uttered something under his breath, and the gate slowly creaked open, as if protesting the lack of oiling. He then stood aside, "Step inside." Everybody walked inside. After the last person was inside, Grim went in himself. Then he uttered something again, and the gate gently shut up. "This way." Grim said, and showed everyone into a chamber nearby. The chamber was luxuriously decorated, with marble floors and the sides were filled with many beautiful jewels and ornaments, some of which was seemingly made by pure gold. What was really unique about the room was the ceiling. It looked like an ordinary piece of glass at first, then an image of Upper Junon appeared on the glass. Seconds later, the image was replaced by another image of a small fire in Wutai, then another image of someone drowning in a river. The images appeared continuously, one after another.

"This was the place I was telling you about. The most important place in this entire realm. It is located in the middle of this world, with pinpoint accuracy. It’s very hard to get here. If you guys wanted to get here without my guidance, it would be impossible. That is why that girl with the shuriken was unable to arrive here." He pointed to the glass pane, "Using this screen, we can see what’s going on outside. We will be using this to get out." He walked across the room over to the other side and carefully placed his hand on the wall. He pushed the wall slightly and a circle of carvings and words surfaced onto the marble floor. "Step inside the circle." Grim ordered. Cloud stepped inside and stood in the center. The others followed suit. Grim then stepped in. "Cloud, hold me in your hands, otherwise I can’t leave." Cloud nodded, and proceeded to carry him up. Grim placed his hands together at eye level and started to chant, " Trisha, lord of time and space, open the gates and let your travelers through!"

A beam of white light shot from above and shone onto the circle. The circle started to glow a pale blue and it rose up, fading slowly. The light then wrapped them like a piece of cloth and soon, they were out.


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