Fate Chapter 6
General Cid of Icicle Inn
By Tifa Gainsborough
The single slip of paper was being passed around between the five of us. Shera sat at the head of the table, palms flat on the table. Her chin was resting against her hands, she slowly watched out reactions. Earlier she had brought us the paper. Next to me, Trista was scowling at a picture on the wall. The words in the note had angered her as much as they had saddened her.
Hes crazy, I said slapping the paper Mitsu had just lay on the table.
He is only doing what he feels is right, Shanna said, coming to his defense.
If I remember correctly, Reno said that General Cloud could kick his ass, I commented, remembering my first meeting with the red haired man.
General Cloud could easily kill him, Shera said.
Silence hung in the air as the bitter truth found its way home. In my mind, I could still see the scribbled letters.
I have gone after Cloud.
Do not look for me or try to stop me.
I have my own personal reasons.
Trista, Im sorry.
Throughout our entire meeting Trista had remained oddly silent. I wanted to ask her what he had meant, but I would wait until later tonight.
We have to abide by his wishes and not look for him, Diallo pointed out. Reno can take care of himself. We have more important things to worry about.
A few of us exchanged glances, knowing full well what Diallo was hinting at. It had been nearly a month since our visit to Cosmo Canyon. Since eighty baskets had appeared, with the heads of the people we were suppose to be protecting. With each General defeated more people died. The note attached said the next number would be a hundred.
We have let to much time pass, Shanna said. The Generals are getting confident again.
They always have been confident, Mitsu muttered.
We must defeat General Cid next, Diallo explained. It will take away their major mode of transportation. With the defeat of General Cid we will acquire the Highwind.
Glancing over I caught the look of despair on Sheras face. Elena had explained to me awhile back that Shera had strong feelings for the man.
Glancing up the older woman caught my eye. I wont let my feelings for him get in the way. I know what must be done.
Leaning out of sight for a moment, Shera grabbed a map and spread it across the table. She pointed to a small X higher up.
This is where General Cid is located at. The city has no given name, so we call it Icicle Inn. It was originally thought that he would take control of Rocket Town, Shera explained, pointing to another part of the map.
But that is to close to Nibelheim, where General Tifa is located, Mitsu informed us.
Thats right. Icicle Inn area is very cold and icy. Also there is a mountain side that you must be wary of, Shera commented.
Icicle Inn is also extremely close to the Northern Cave, Trista said, finally speaking. It will be dangerous because it will put us close to Sephiroth and General Cloud.
I felt my eyes widen at that comment. On the same continent as Sephiroth, that could get tricky.
We will have to be fast then, I said calmly. If Sephiroth is informed that General Cid is being attacked who knows how long it will take for him to send reinforcements.
Meaning we risk going up against General Cloud as well, Shanna whispered.
Or even Sephiroth himself.
We slowly turned to look at Trista. She refused to meet our stares, still looking at the picture on the wall. The thought of meeting up against Sephiroth now was too much for me to comprehend. He would kill us for sure.
Then we will just have to move fast, Diallo concluded.
Easier said than done, Mitsu grumbled. We will have to defeat General Cid and get as many people on the Highwind as possible. All in a short period of time.
We can do it, Shanna said, trying to cheer us up.
We will see, Trista whispered.
Reaching out she slipped the paper off the table. Folding Renos note she shoved it into her pocket. Standing slowly, she left.
What is wrong with her?
Shera glanced back at me, hearing my commented. Reno was the one that brought Trista here. He found her on the streets when she was younger. He promised to protect her.
The meeting was dismissed and we all rose to our feet.
Im heading down for something to eat, Mitsu said while patting his stomach. Who cares to join me?
Together, the four of us headed down to eat. We chatted about everything, but underneath it all I could see everybodys worry. I shared the same feelings. This mission could easily be our last.
After checking her room and the sixth floor I decided to try and find Trista. She wasnt in the normal places she went to think. With a quick stop by the Generals cells I headed for the training area. Stopping in the doorway I saw her.
Her back was to me, her spear clutched in her right hand. Gripping the handle she swung it in an upwards motion. Stray strands of hair that had escaped the ponytail floated around her face. Each motion was fluid, her body moving easily. Her right foot shifted slowly, bringing her easily into a new stance.
A conversation I had had with Reeve floated through my memory. He had described fighting as an art. The warrior was skilled at every move, each motion easily executed. It was like a dancer performing to a beat of music. Warriors performed to the beats of war. At this moment I believed every word of it.
Trista held the spear away from her body, pointing to the left. Swinging it in front of her, her free hand grasped it below her left hand. Slowly it sunk to the ground and with a twist of her wrists, rose into the air. Her feet moved, leading her in different directions. No movement was jerked or abrupt. I wished I could handle a weapon like that. Like it was simply another part of my body.
Its amazing, isnt it.
Looking over my shoulder I spotted Shera approaching. Quietly we continued to watch Trista practice.
You said General Cid had a spear, I asked. Where his movements like that?
Shera nodded. He had excellent control of it. Tristas moves are flowing, like an artist. But I have never seen another who could compare to him.
Do you have any regrets over what we are about to do, I questioned wanting to know.
Glancing over at me, Shera gave a slow smile. On the last night I saw him he asked me to make him a promise. That if anything happened to him, I wouldnt let him suffer. He didnt want to live if he had to live under Sephiroths control. I intend to keep the promise I made to him.
Shera, once we defeat Sephiroth he will be back to his normal self. But even I sounding like I didnt believe it was true.
Nobody is certain what will happen once Sephiroth is defeated. It is simply, she paused for a moment, a waiting game.
With one last glance at Trista, Shera left. Watching her go, I felt her words sink it. She was right, nobody knew what was going to happen when and if Sephiroth was defeated. What if they never went back to their old personalities? What if Sephiroths defeat causes them to die?
Turning back I spotted Trista staring at me. Sweat glistened on her forehead. Strands of hair crisscrossed her face. With a steady hand she brushed the hair off her face.
How long have you been standing there?
To tell the honest truth, I have no clue now long I had been here. Im not sure.
Leaning down she picked a towel up off the ground. Wiping the sweat from her face she draped it over her shoulders.
What are your thoughts, I asked as she approached me.
Im not entirely sure what to think now. I know facing off against General Cid will be dangerous. We arent ready to go up against General Cloud and especially Sephiroth, Trista said coming to join me.
Wrapping my arm around her shoulder I gave her a soft hug. She leaned into me with a sigh.
Im sorry about Reno.
Tapping the blunt end of her spear on the ground she said nothing at first. Finally, He made his own decision. I have to respect it. I just wish he had let us go with him.
I agree, we have to respect his wishes.
Nodding, she resumed tapping her spear against the ground.
What if we do have to face General Cloud, I asked, curiosity overtaking me.
We die, a voice behind us said sharply.
Jumping slightly, we both turned to see Shanna standing behind us. She gave a slight wave and laughed. Trista made a grab for the older girl, and she easily avoided it.
Dont sneak up on me like that, I snapped trying hard to sound mad.
Okay, next time Ill come screaming down the hall, she laughed stepping around us.
Where are you going, Trista asked, turning to watch her go.
Have to feed the starving Generals, Shanna explained with a wave over her shoulder.
Go with her, Trista ordered, shoving me in her direction.
I could always use the help of a big strong man, Shanna teased hearing us.
With one last glance at Trista, who crossed her arms and gave a menacing glare, I chased Shanna down. Our walk to the lower level was quiet. Waiting on the other side of the door was a table topped with trays of food. A riffle, that Shanna leaned over and grabbed, was propped up against the table. I grabbed the first tray and followed her to General Yuffies cell.
Wheres that other girl, General Yuffie asked calmly, looking us over.
She couldnt make it, Shanna said tossing me the keys.
The familiar sounds of the cell unlocking echoed down the hall. Shanna leveled the gun on General Yuffies head, ready to kill if she tried anything.
So who is next, she asked, making small talk.
Why do we have to tell you, Shanna sneered.
I could feel Shannas eyes on my back but I ignored her. I didnt see anything wrong with telling them, they had no way of communicating with the outside world.
Backing out of the cell, I shook my head. Now that I wasnt going to tell her. Swiftly, we repeated the process with the next two Generals. Finishing we headed back up the stairs.
I cant believe you told, Shanna hissed.
What harm could it possibly do?
The bitter wind slapped at our faces as we walked. Each of us was shivering, the cold air cutting us like knifes. I really did hate this weather, snow had never been my favorite thing. Next to me, Diallo was swearing angrily. He had grown up in Coast del Sol so he really wasnt use to the snow.
I hate this, Diallo snarled, kicking up snow. The wind caught it and blew it into our faces. Damn it!
Just calm down. We are almost there, Mitsu reassured him. Raising one gloved hand, he pointed. Look, there is the village.
Our paces increased as the buildings grew taller. Trista suddenly stopped, spotting something. Shanna came to a stop next to her and stared.
General Cid, Trista explained. Hes waiting for us.
Squinting, I could see a figure standing at the entrance to the town. A spear was pointed in our direction, like a sick welcoming sign.
How did he know we were coming?
Glancing over her shoulder, Shanna pointed to Diallo. Perhaps his yelled tipped him off to our approach.
Sorry, Diallo apologized.
We began to pick up our pace, almost running to reach the town. I couldnt figure out why we were so happy to get there quickly.
Why are we running, I asked.
If he knew we were coming, General Cloud could already be on his way, Trista explained.
Shit, could things get any worse for us? A movement caught my attention and I came to halt. Stepping around a building was a blonde man. In his right hand he held a huge sword. I recognized the man from his wild hair.
General Cloud is already there, I gasped, pointing to the blonde general.
This is bad, Mitsu whispered. Very bad.
Well, what is the plan now?
We split into two groups, Trista started. Conlan, you come with me and we will take on General Cloud. The rest of you take care of General Cid.
I couldnt keep the look of shock off my face. I wasnt ready to face up against General Cloud. Are you sure that is such a great idea?
Diallo nodded, agreeing with me. You two could get killed.
Turning, Trista addressed us with a stern look. We cant take them both on at the same time. It would be too dangerous. Defeat General Cid and get to the Highwind. Conlan and I can distract General Cloud long enough for the three of you to defeat him. If we can get away, we will rendezvous here. If we arent here, head back to Neo-Midge and we will try to contact you.
The look in everybodys eyes told me they werent to sure of the plan. But it was the best that we could do under these circumstances. As we entered the town, we split into two groups. Glancing one last time as Trista I felt my fear begin to dissolve. The look on her face was one of determination.
We can do this, I whispered to her.
Just dont die on me.
The sound of gunshots ripped through the quiet air and I forced myself not to turn and look. I couldnt give him an opening that would allow him to rid my body of its head.
General Cloud, Trista addressed him.
Conlan and Trista. So very pleased to meet you finally, the man said with a sweeping bow.
Trista and I exchanged glances. He knew who we were already.
I see from the troubled looks on your faces that you are curious as to how I know your names, General Cloud said, his sword still pointed at the ground. Fear can bring much loyalty to the opposing side.
Blinking, I tried to figure out what he was getting at.
You are saying there is a spy within our faction, Trista asked.
There was a spy in AVALANCHE, he said. Why cant there be a spy in Kibo.
The feeling of betrayal that grew within me was shattered as General Cloud attacked. Raising her spear, Trista quickly blocked his attack and I jumped back. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Shanna advancing on General Cids back with a blade. Her gun was lying in the snow a few feet away. Grabbing my sword in a better grip I mirrored her attack. But unlike General Cid, the man I was attacking knew I was coming.
Shoving Trista away with sheer force he spun and blades clashed. Stepping back he attacked again. His sword passed my defenses and opened a gash on my arm. Swinging again blood splattered the ground from a wound on my other arm. Our blades locked, our bodies pressing together. Over his shoulder I could see Trista advancing.
Leaning back slightly his foot lashed out and caught me in the abdomen. Every move we make he is always one step ahead of us.
Blood splashed against the white snow. Stumbling backwards, Trista clutched her left thigh. Her leg gave out and she collapsed to the ground. That huge sword rose into the air and swung down for a killing blow. Sprinting I crushed the snow under my feet, trying to reach her in time. Ducking low I swung around him and caught his sword with mine. My arms burned with the effort it took to keep his blade from dropping lower.
The roar of engines filled the air. Glancing over, General Cloud gave a yell of rage. The Highwind was slowly beginning to raise off the ground. Shoving me away, General Cloud watched with anger as the Highwind took to the sky.
Using the opportunity to my full advantage, I grabbed Tristas arm and we ran.
My whole body was shaking by the time we collapsed on the deck of the Highwind. Trista sat next to me, breathing heavily.
I dont believe it! Shanna screamed, running onto the deck to join us. You two survived.
Dropping to her knees, Shanna wrapped her arms around Trista, giving her a hug. Trista returned the embrace and Shanna moved on to me.
Barely, she confessed. If you hadnt pulled away with the Highwind when you did, he would have killed us.
Hes amazing, I said. Always one step ahead of us. Its going to be hard to beat him.
Quickly Shanna helped Trista tie a makeshift bandage on the wound in her leg.
Somebody betrayed us, Trista explained, moving to help me stop the flow of blood from the wounds on my arms.
I looked up at Shanna, not surprised at the look of shock on her face. General Cloud told us. That was how he was there so quickly. A spy.
Leaving Shanna and Trista to figure things out I took a tour of the Highwind. I was amazed at how big it was. The air ship we had used to get to Wutai was half the size of this baby. No wonder General Cloud was so angry to part with it. Coming to the cockpit I found Diallo and Mitsu hovering around the pilot.
Great job man, Diallo said, slapping me on the back.
Hey, you three did a good job in taking care of General Cid.
Mitsu laughed and Diallo tried to force all the credit onto Mitsu. Finally they began to tell the story of the battle. How Mitsu had distracted General Cid long enough for Shanna to find a knife and attack. Looking through the giant windows Neo-Midgar finally came into sight. It was a sight I was all to happy to see.
Trista emerged from my bathroom, a towel wrapped around her hair. We had been back in Neo-Midgar for three days now. Things were finally starting to settle down again.
What are you looking at, she snapped tugging at her tank top.
Nothing, I laughed.
Pulling the towel off her head she threw it at me. The sound of pounding at my door dragged our attention away from each other. Trista walked over to answer it while I dug a shirt out of my drawers.
Hey Trista, Shanna greeted when she opened the door. Im missing a gun. Know where it is at?
Shanna, you have tons of guns, I called, pulling my shirt over my head. You cant tell me you are upset because one is missing.
I left to the training area and when I came back it was gone. I had my door locked, Shanna explained. Somebody got into my room and took it.
I was just out in the hall ten minutes ago, Trista explained. I didnt see anybody.
Joining Trista and Shanna at the door, words echoed through my mind.
He didnt want to live if he had to live under Sephiroths control. I intend to keep the promise I made to him.
Shera had told that to me when I talked to her before we went against General Cid. But she wouldnt actually follow up on that, would she?
Where is Shera?
Shanna shrugged. Last I saw her she was talking about wanting to see General Cid.
Shit, I swore loudly. She took your gun.
Pushing the two girls aside I sprinted down the hall. I could hear their footsteps beating the ground as they followed. Racing down stairs, I headed for the entrance to the lower level.
What are you talking about, Conlan? Trista asked as she caught up with me.
She told me that she made a promise. That if General Cid had to live under Sephrioths control, he didnt want to live at all, I explained, fumbling with the keys for the lock to the lower level. Finding the right key card I opened the door. Shes going to kill him.
There was a silence as we ran down the stairs. Rounding corners we found a group of guards waiting by the last door to the cells. Shoving past them we reached the door.
Shera wanted privacy, a female guard explained to Shanna.
The doorknob felt cold against my palm as I pulled it open. Walking in Trista and Shanna followed me.
Wait there, Shanna ordered, slamming the door.
I told you I would keep that promise, a voice said.
I recognized Sheras voice instantly. This time it sounded strained though, like she was fighting hard not to cry. Rounding another corner we spotted her. She was standing at the last cell, General Cid was pressed up against the bars.
You stupid woman, why would I ever want you to keep a promise to me, he sneered.
Captain, Im sorry.
Two gunshots pierced the air. General Cid staggered backwards, blood blossoming on his chest. All we could do was watch and General Cid collapsed in his cell. With shaking hands Shera slowly raised the gun and pointed it at her right temple.
Turning, she looked us over with a soft smile. Forgive me. I had to keep the promise.
The left side of her temple exploded outwards, red blood splashing the wall. Shanna screamed at the sight that fell before her. The gun clattered to the floor and Sheras body collapsed.
Help her, Trista yelled running to the fallen womans side. Dropping to her knees Trista checked for a pulse. Shanna! Shes still alive, go get help!
Shanna turned and ran for the stairs, searching for anybody who could help. I reached her side and dropped down next to her.
How can she still be alive?
Shaking her head, Trista grabbed my hand and pressed it against Sheras left temple. Hold pressure there. Some people survive. The part of the brain that keeps you alive isnt located there.
I could feel blood pulsing through my fingers. I shuddered, swearing I could feel other things trying to escape her head. But my head just wouldnt accept it, not wanting to put a name to it.
Come on Shanna, Trista pleaded, holding Sheras other temple. Hurry!
Looking at Sheras blank expression I fought to not cry. Dont die Shera! You cant die!
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