The Fallen Chapter 13

By Tiger

The heavy, unstable steps off the lowered plank of the Highwind probably would have been the most enjoyable and welcome of Reno’s life had it not been for the brunette who literally bounded past him, shoving him out of the way and taking a cute little ninja somersault onto the grass, where she preceded to press against it lovingly. “Ground,” Yuffie crowed, nearly orgasmically, “real touchable thanks be to God not moving land. I would fuck it if it had a dick.”

Reno’s eyes strayed to the left, where a particularly long rock happened to be jutting up from a collection of grass, but decided to keep his mouth shut. Whether this had to do with post flying nausea or the desire not to further imagine Miss. Kisargi bouncing on a piece of rock like a whore house employee, he decided not to debate with himself. Instead, he stepped happily onto land, and turned to await the descenst of the three people he hoped would be able to keep him sane on this trip, Rude, Tseng, and God help him- even Elena.

“So, Kisargi,” Tseng spoke with the voice of a true professional, finally off the shaky legs that his temporary skit with death had given him and back in full on business mode. “I believe that Aeris said you would know where to find these weapons?”

Sometimes Reno wondered if his mentor truly was made of ice, but it didn’t seem probable. Ice was so slippery, and so changeable, all it took was a little bit of heat or pressure either way and it would break or fade away. But still cold... dry ice, that was it. Untouchable, so you couldn’t change it, and if you tried, you’d have a hell of time pulling it away when it fused to your skin and held the fuck on.

“I only know of one place on this continent I haven’t been,” Yuffie said without a hint of modesty, “and that’s because its sacred. If you think were going there, you’re crazy.”

“Why?” Reno sneered, unable to hide his disgust for all things religious. Superstitious idiots was definitely one of his red buttons. “Because if we do some big fish will dig its way through the rock and spit water at us?”

“No,” Yuffie asked, the girlish hint leaving her voice and being replaced by cold steel, “because Its my personal responsibility to kill anyone who dares soil holy land. That means you, carrot top.”

Not really concerned with her words or her threats either way- Reno had received much worse and they all damn well knew it- the Turk was in the mood for a bit of entertainment. He cocked an eyebrow, and posed with his hands on his hips in a way he had seen Yuffie herself do more than once when he was feeling stubborn. “Oh come now,” he said coyly, but his voice was laced with venomous barbs, “you’d honestly spill blood of someone as useful and entertaining to have around as myself before he left a foot print or two on grass that’s probably only called sacred because it has exactly what we came to find, now would you?”

Yuffie was having none of his games. “Listen you son of a-”

Having baby sat more frequently then he liked to count through his life, be it child, or merely adults acting as children, Tseng cut in before this could escalate to something truly annoying and time wasting. “Listen!” he said sharply. “I was born here, and I know where Yuffie is talking about. I also know you can get a very good view of the land itself without actually standing on it. Thus, we are going to go look, and if we see anything that could be these Legacy weapons, we go and get them, gods be damned.

“But-” Reno and Yuffie started at the same time, though they each had very different places they intended to finish.

“-understand?” Tseng didn’t allow them the courtesy of completing their thoughts. Both of them stared at him with unconcealed frustration, but they nodded. Just like dealing with five year olds, Tseng thought, and stepped back. The Highwind was taking off, and there was no reason to end this mission early by getting sucked into an intake vent and shredded in one of the cooling fans.

They understood, but they didn’t like it, and the walk into and through the increasingly prosperous town was a quiet one. All three of the male members were on high alert in case they happened to pass a materia or hand gun store, ready to put a virtual leash on either of the weapon and magic obsessive females they toted with them. It wasn’t really a long trip to go from their landing point to the beginning of the mountain path, but Wutai had become a place thriving with commerce, specializing in arming its citizens with anything that could possibly help them if another war happened to break out.

The path up the mountain in and of itself was nothing spectacular except in sheer length, as it would be a trying road to take without break even if it wasn’t on a slow and ever present ascent up. Reno and Yuffie in particular had no such urge to even make the attempt, but when they were a quarter way, and then a half way, Tseng and Rude still surged ahead of all of them, showing no sign of either fatigue or stop. Even Elena, though lagging behind the two front runners, surpassed both Reno and Yuffie, who were forced to gripe at each other by default.

“I thought you grew up here... you’re trying to tell me that in all that time you haven’t found a single damn better way up this stupid hill?” Reno took a shot, but his heart wasn’t in it. His heart, like most of his bodily fluids, had probably been sweated out during the last two hours.

“Your creepy leader up there with the head dot grew up here too, and he doesn’t know any better way. And its a mountain, show some respect.” That last part Yuffie said without much enthusiasm at all, because even the most stubborn of people tend to list on an obviously lost cause.

“He spent twelve years hear,” Reno replied smugly, “you’ve been around for what, at least fourteen?”

“Oh ha ha,” Yuffie muttered, “a height joke.”

“Actually,” Reno corrected her, wiping the glistening sweat from his forehead for what had to be the ninth time in a row. “It was an experience joke. More specifically, your lack there of.”

With a snort, Yuffie dismissed his insult. “Ask any warrior on this continent if I’m experienced, and they’ll respond-”

Reno cut her off with a smile, as shed walked right into the verbal door he had left open for her. “-that yeah, she’s gotten the bed expertise of the wisest crone, but god knows she fights with two left feet.”

Yuffie shot him a sour look. “I don’t think you should be thinking about me having sex. You’re what, fifty?”

This gave Reno cause for real pause, and he glared over at her. “Excuse me?” he muttered. “I seem to remember you’re about three years younger than me. It isn’t my fault I have naturally rugged features and you’re something out of a pedophiles wet dream.”

“Oh yeah?” Yuffie snarled, realizing that she had talked herself into a bad position, and was now trying to fight her way out of it by reducing their conversation to a two word exchange. Reno, however, did not respond, his eyes seemingly out of focus, and he stared out into the distance at a peak of rocks.

“What?” Yuffie asked after her opening for a duel of yelling had gone unaccepted for far longer than she was willing to cope with. “What is it?”

“...nothing,” Reno said distractedly, and hastily pulled his sunglasses from his jacket pocket and popped them onto his face.

“What the hell?” Yuffie asked, as he continued to stare at the same spot. “Please don’t tell me those are actually prescription glasses. An assassin who needs eye correctional tools?”

Reno resigned himself to ignore her, and then decided to ignore the entire issue that had started her talking again. The wind blowing a few rocks over was nothing to stare at anyway, it probably happened all the time in windy areas. As long as they were prevalent with rocks, of course. Shrugging back his dark blue jacket in hope of ventilating his body a little, Reno picked up his pace to catch up with Elena, who at the very least could finish a sentence without reminding him of one of those stupid cheerleaders who liked to walk through the slums with an entourage of at least fifteen preppy bitch jocks in an effort to look tough.

“So...” he said brightly as he drew up behind her, and then quickly drew a blank on how to continue. Not until Elena gave him the same sort of look he imagined he’d have given Yuffie did he even really struggle in sequelizing his first thought with a second. “Some pretty fucked up shit is going on here, isn’t it?”

“ noticed them too?” Elena acting genuinely surprise.

Now it was Reno giving her the look. “Noticed them? We have two corpses walking around, both of which giving us orders, and only one of which barely felt like listening to even when he was alive. In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t had much time to drink lately, so I am coherent enough to realize such things, yes.”

Haven’t had time to drink? Elena thought with a snort. That was a laugh. It was common knowledge that Reno carried on him the same number of flasks that he did pistols, and while the total wasn’t known to anyone besides the red haired Turk himself, it was common knowledge that the number was higher than two. “I wasn’t talking about *that*,” Elena snapped, though she did allow herself to admit that yes- it was quite odd, “I’m talking about Tseng and Rude. They’re acting like they always do when someone is tailing us!”

Reno blinked. “You know how they act when people are following us?”

“Walk ahead, untuck their shirts so they can get to their guns faster, and keep their sunglasses low so they can look around better. Sort of like you walk, except they do it on purpose, and not just because they’re stumbling idiots.” Elena said simply.

“Ah...” One thing Reno was starting to regret about Elena’s apparent transformation was the rampant bitchiness which was just starting to reveal itself. He continued to walk at an accelerated pack, catching up to both Rude and Tseng, and noticed that indeed they seemed to be prowling with extra caution. Tseng’s eyes never left the path ahead, but Rude glanced at him from the corner of his sunglasses.

“So you’ve seen them too.” Tseng said simply, not a question but a fact. In fact, Reno had no idea who the hell ‘them’ was supposed to be, but he nodded anyway.

“One,” he said, glancing around, “what the hell was it?”

“Not sure.” It was Rude who answered this time, which would have been obvious even if Rude were blind thanks to the quick, halting speech. “Big.” He supplied, which was a sentence filled with colorful description that just wasn’t very common of Reno’s old best friend.

“Uh...” Reno stopped dead, and his hand when straight to the handle of his knight stick, and then dropped away, almost as much as his jaw. “How big?”

“Big enough.” Rude, realizing Reno had stopped walking, followed suit, and turned to look at him. “Why?”

Reno pointed a finger that would have been shaking if it wasn’t for years of practice staying still while hopped up on caffeine pills. Both Rude and Tseng followed his look, until their eyes rested on an unusually high rock formation that they both could have sworn hadn’t been there before. And then they realized it was looking at them, too. The top of it turned a bit to the side, like a human turns its head when deep in contemplation, and then with a shattering thud, the huge collection of rocks sagged down onto the path.

It had to have been the most bizarre humanoid Reno had ever seen since waking up a week after the day that would have been his senior prom- you know, if he’d gone to school- with a girl he affectionately referred to as ‘oh my god...’ since that day. It was formed entirely of rock the same color and type that made the mountain they were walking on, but it was shaped almost like a gorilla, with stout legs, two massive, hulking arms, and a small, narrow head. A hush fell over the five travelers as it slowly raised that head to peer over them, and with growing dread, they turned around.

Behind them, stood a second one.

“Uh...” Reno said, and then repeated it. After that, there was silence, as the two towering pillars of rock simply seemed to be staring at them and sizing them up. There was the briefest of seconds where time itself seemed to stop, and no one moved.


Three quick rounds fired from the tip of Rude’s Desert Eagle. 45, smashing with a dull ping sound into the rocky heads of the creature they had seen first. A few puffs of dust flew into the air upon the impact of each one, but other than that no visible effect did the bullets have on the creature- save one. That one was it made it very, very mad.

With a loud grating sound, the beast leapt forward, clearing a remarkable distance in a short amount of time. Its sudden movement seemed to snap the Turks back to life, and three pistols joined Rudes and blazed with fire. Yuffie, who knew her metal chakram would have even less effect on the monster than the bullets were, began to sort through her bag in search of any type of materia that might be helpful. Fire would be useless, Ice would bounce off...

Meanwhile, even after the clips of the Turks guns had been emptied and the barrels to their pistols were smoking and red hot, the creature advanced still. The four scattered as it came nearer, and it ended up barging through nothing but thin air, but turned easily to face them once again. Behind it they could see the second monster, which was advancing at a much slower rate, apparently not as enraged as the first that the humans had dared shoot at him. Reno fumbled for his night stick and tripped, landing hard on his back in the dirt even as he ripped the weapon loose.

The rock beast used this time to raise up right about the red haired men and raised its granite arms high above its head, at the same time as Reno pointed the Magna-Rod at the spot where its eyes should be. He thumbed the trigger all the way back, and a powerful jolt of electric lashed from the top and struck the beast with a force that would knock out any man and kill most of them. For a moment, the creature froze, and looked like it was going to collapse.

And then it shrugged its shoulders, and prepared to strike.

“Right...” Reno muttered helplessly, immeasurably disappointed in the effect his weapon had delivered. Bracing his hand and knee hard on the ground, he shoved and rolled out of the way of the downward strike, which had enough force to actually put a large crack in the path itself. The second one had reached him by this point, and utilizing its slightly longer legs than the first, reached back to kick him just as the second went for another arm shot. Rock smashed against rock in a horrible crunch, and Reno took advantage of the resulting dust cloud to quickly dart off the side of the path and dive behind a particularly large boulder that he just hoped wouldn’t come to life and try to play soccer with him.

Instead, much to his disgust, was Yuffie, though for once in her life she wasn’t talking. Her eyes were firmly closed, and though her lips moved, no sound came out. In her hands, beginning to flicker with an inner green light, was a small materia orb.

Back on the path, visibility became an option again, though there was very little for the two rock monsters to see. One of them now had an arm that was two feet less, and the dry remainder of the limb lay useless and limp on the path. Where the other Turks had gotten to Reno had no idea, but he was glad that they too had managed to disappear, at least for the time being. He allowed himself a few short breaths as he observed the creatures slowly look around, realizing that they apparently did see from something, as they were turning to get better views.

A sudden shadow fell over him, and he rolled over in shock, expecting to see a Size 32 rock sneaker ready to grind him into jelly. Instead, something huge and black whipped past his head and continued going, only to be joined by a half dozen others. Several loud crashes came from the path, and turning around to catch the remainder of the action he’d just missed, Reno was rather surprised to see the Rock monsters on their backs, covered in what appeared to be several tons of rubble. Realizing what had happened, he shot Yuffie a dark look through his sunglasses.

“Comet materia?” he asked in disbelief. “On big things made out of rock?”

Yuffie shrugged at him. “It worked, didn’t it?”

Reno sighed and walked tentatively out from his hiding place, beaten to the punch by Tseng and Elena, who were already approaching the limp bodies of the monsters. Rude was quick to follow, and last of all Yuffie, and the five gathered around the fallen beasts. Reno, as usual, made the first observation.

“What the fuck?”

Tseng raises a skeptical eyebrow at him, but Elena didn’t manage to restrain all of her laugh and barked the second half of it out. All right, thought Reno, maybe there is an upside to the loss of the whole helpless rookie persona. No one seemed equipped to answer Reno’s question, which is actually why he had asked it, and why he was both surprised and annoyed when Yuffie opened her mouth.

“Guardians.” She said simply.

Tseng turned his attention on her now. “Excuse me?” he asked, sounding very annoyed that she possessed a vital piece of information that he did not.

“Of the sacred land,” she elaborated, as if it should be obvious.

Leveling her with his gaze, Tseng was looking just as disbelieving as before. “Do you know that, or are you just guessing?” he asked firmly.

“There’s never been a Mako Reactor on this continent,” Yuffie responded sharply, with equal firmness. “What else could make something like that, if not the Planet itself?”

“ you sound like Aeris...” Reno muttered, but was promptly ignored.

“Well they didn’t do a very good job, did they?” Tseng asked, and prodded the leg of one with his toe. Almost instantly, the leg jerked, the whole group of five began to back up hastily as the two of the monsters began to stir, shaking off the gravel and larger chunks of rock off their immense bodies. Yuffie, for her part, looked completely taken aback.

“What do we do??” she asked, sounding panicked.

Rude provided one of his ever succinct answers. “Run.” he said simply. “The other way.”

They wasted no time in doing just that.

Chapter 14

Tiger's Fanfiction