Square Wars: The Return of the Paladin Chapter 2
On That Day, 20 Years Ago
Jenova grinned. They will soon pay for that mistake. With the castle's
technologies she moved it to the swirling sands, where a terrifying monster
awaits in it. There were also the hovering sand ships(like the one in SOM)
that circled the area where the sands swirled. On one of the ships, Umaro,
Cecil, Cid, and Red XIII were guarded by Jenova's men, one who was really
Zack. Inside the castle everybody was partying. The mystics were getting
drunk, and they were gambling their money away, thanks to Cait Sith, who
was appointed a poker dealer. Don Corneo was trying to get Tifa and Aeris
interested in him. But they insisted on watching the supposed execution of
"Hey, I think I'm seeing things here. I think I got my vision back." Cid remarked. Cecil looked at him.
"Look, don't do anything until Umaro, Zack, Red XIII does. I got everything covered."
Cid was skeptical. "You think so, eh? I think we're gonna die in this bloody desert."
"Hey, royal flush! I win again!" Cait Sith cheered himself. He's been winning
games as the dealer. The disgruntled mystics watched as he collected all
the gil they bet. Now broke, they left the table. Robo came over to the table.
"What are you doing here Cait Sith?" Robo inquired.
"Winning a lot of money, what do you think?" Cait Sith answered.
"I think you've been cheating. Besides game time is up. We have to time ourselves for the attack." Robo replied. He walked over to the window.
"Hey, come back here! You just scared off my customers!" Cait Sith yelled at Robo. Robo just stood there.
"You there, prisoners of Jenova, are now going to be the ZoneEater's latest victims. But if you wish to beg for mercy, Jenova is listening now." Robo yelled to the prisoner sand ship. Hearing this, Cid decided to finally stand up to that freak of nature.
"Hey Robo, tell that @#%@#%^#@ she's a @#%@#^%@#^, a #@%@##^2@#^@#, a #@$?$*$%*,
a #$^#$&^#$&, and not to mention a #$^#$&$#&$#&*." he
yelled across the sands. His words echoed pretty loudly.
Inside her goons was saying, "OOOOOOHHHHHH! He called her a @#%@#^%@#^! My, he's gonna get it."
Jenova was not amused. "How dare he calls me a @#%@#^@#^! He'll suffer after Darkheart. Men, push him in." One of Jenova's guard poked Cecil to the platform, where below him the ZoneEater awaited its next victim. He was then pushed towards the ZoneEater's waiting jaws. But unknown to the guardsman, Cecil casted a float on himself. At the same time, Robo launched a Rocketpunch, which propelled Cecil's new Mana Saber into the sky, and into Cecil's waiting hands. Cecil then leaped back on the sand ship, ignited his new Mana Saber, and attacked the guardsman who pushed him. The guardsman fell into the ZoneEater's mouth. Then Zack revealed himself to the others, and started attacking.
Jenova, angered that their execution was thwarted, ordered her men to attack
the ship. They rushed to the roof of the castle, where guns were placed.
They started shooting at the rouge sand ship, as did the other sand ships.
Cecil had finally undid the bindings on Red XIII, Cid, and Umaro. Zack was
handling the last mystic onboard when some blasts hit the ship. That sent
the last mystic into the vacuum of the ZoneEater and Zack hanging on the
rails. Cid rushed to help his friend, but the Turks, using rocket packs,
blasted themselves to the ship.
"Hey, when do those #$%^#$^ get rocket packs?" Cid swore as the three landed. Cecil immediately chopped the Turks' weapons.
Reno got ticked when he saw his nightstick slashed in half. "You're gonna pay, PYRAMID!" Reno encased Cecil in the pyramid barrier. Umaro punched it to bits, and Red XIII his Stardust Ray limit break. The falling stardust activated the Turks' rocket packs, and sent them flying into the ZoneEater's mouth. The Sandworm let out a burp after swallowing those three. Cecil, with his strength, leaped to another sand ship to clear it of attackers.
Inside, Cloud also revealed himself. He then shut down the windows, so the
entire castle was dark. Tifa and Aeris took this opportunity to attack Don
Corneo. "Okay, you pervert, you're are gonna get it." Tifa shouted as she
kicked Corneo in his favorite spot. Tifa and Aeris then proceeded to wrap
him in the chains that he attached on them. Corneo's face started to turn
"Ultros, Flea, attack Cloud!" Jenova ordered. Flea was on one side of Cloud, Ultros on the other side. Flea casted a Fire spell. But Cloud had a Reflect on himself, and the fire bounded of him and it hit Ultros.
"Ugh! Not seafood soup again! Flea, you idiot!" The octopus then chased Flea.
Jenova moaned. "Sigfreid, Slash, get him!" Jenova commanded. Slash and Sigfreid appeared before Cloud.
"So you think you are a swordsman eh, SLASH!" Slash shouted, as a beam of white light headed toward Cloud.
"Oh yeah! Blade Beam!" Cloud answered, as he launched his Blade Beam. The two beams hit each other, and it blasted into Slash and Sigfreid's face.
"Nuts! I'm outta here." Sigfreid muttered as he retreated. Slash followed.
"Blast! Where's the Scorpion Army?" Jenova shrieked.
"So if I pull down your arm, I can win all that money?" the boss asked.
"Yeah. I am part slot machine." answered Cait Sith. So the Scorpion boss pulled down Cait Sith's arm. Slots was used. What came up was a seven, a moogle, and a diamond.
"What?! I lost?!" shouted the boss.
"Yeah, in more ways than one! Toy Box!" A Hell House landed on the boss, crushing him. The goons looked over their fallen leader.
"You defeated our leader! You will pay!" one of the goons shouted.
"Yes, you will pay. Just meet our newest robot, uh... what's its name?" the other goon said.
"That doesn't matter if reveal its name, which is Kettle Kin. The important thing is to summon it and crush that droid over there." the first explained.
"Oh right. Here it is, our second hammer robot." Another robot which looked like the original Kilroy robot rode in the area. Before it could do anything, Robo landed an Uzi punch on the robot, demolishing it. The two goons looked at each other and ran off.
Cecil finished off the mystics on the other sand ship. Then he noticed their own sand ship. Zack was still hanging on the railing and Cid was trying to pull him up. He saw the lasers coming from the castle and hitting the ship. Cecil jumped on the castle wall, trying to climb it. As he did, a few laser blast caused Cid to lose his footing and started hanging on the railing, Zack still holding on to him. Zack was getting pretty closer to being the ZoneEater's next meal. Umaro came up to grab on Cid's feet.
Cloud came over to help the girls undo their chains. Cloud quickly did so,
and the girls finished tying up Don Corneo. Cloud looked at the girls, really
noticing how good they looked. "Say, you both look good in those outfits."
he remarked. Both girls promptly gave him a slap, and started carrying the
chained up Corneo. They placed him on the area where the trapdoor is, and
hit the button. Corneo fell with a scream. After being slapped, Cloud returned
to reality, and headed towards Jenova. "You are gonna die!" he yelled at
her. Jenova just shrieked. Her tentacles then took a swipe at Cloud. Cloud
felt his limit meter go way up. "OMNISLASH!" Swing after swing after swing,
Cloud hacked at the evil alien gangster. Jenova fell.
"You are all gonna die. In two minutes I'll cast Ultima, and you can't stop it!" she shrieked.
"Blast! Gotta get everybody out of here. Stupid time limits!" Cloud started to run everywhere, getting Tifa, Aeris, Robo, and Cait Sith, to follow him to the roof. A bunch of mad mystics followed.
On the roof, Cecil was trying to keep the guns from hitting the sand ship
his friends were on. The mystics attack him, forcing him to deflect the shots
aimed at him. On the other sand ship Cid had an idea. "Hey, Red, try to fill
the ZoneEater's mouth so it can't suck us in." he called out.
"How?" Red questioned.
"I don't know. Get a rock in there or something!" Cid shouted. Red check his materia. He had a Contain magic materia, mastered. He used a Break spell on the creature. The rock ended up in the ZoneEater's mouth, therefore removing the vacuum. With that, Umaro was able to pull everybody up. Back on the roof, Cecil finally finished off the gunners. Cloud, Robo, Tifa, Cait Sith, and Aeris, ran up to him.
"Cecil, Jenova's gonna cast Ultima! We gotta get off of this place!" Cloud shouted.
"And how do you propose we do that?" Cecil asked. With that, a golden wire suddenly appeared from the sky, dangling in front of the group.
"Hey, isn't that Barret's golden wire of hope? How did that get here?" Cloud wondered.
"Nevermind that, just grab it and swing over there!" Tifa said. They all grabbed on the wire, and swing aboard the sand ship. Just as they got out the area, Jenova-Synthesis casted Ultima, destroying her castle, her sand ships, and everything in them. In time they were back in space, Cecil and Robo in Cecil's Epoch, the rest of the group in the Highwind. Cecil promised the others that he would rejoin the rebel fleet, but he had another promise to keep.
The Black Omen with its escort fortresses has finally arrived at the site
of the second Meteor of Doom's construction. A chopper appeared under the
Black Omen, with escort ISFs. The chopper finally landed at the Meteor's
hanger. As usual there were SOLDIERs present, only in greater numbers. At
the front, the Dark Knight, Dalton, Scarlet, and Heidegger were standing.
The chopper's back door opened. The first people that came out were Gesthal,
Zeal, and Palmer. They went to the side and kneels, just as everybody out
did. Then they heard his theme. Sephiroth's theme. Sephiroth, the great leader
of this empire, With is six foot sword, slowly walked down the steps to his
awaiting public. He headed towards his most trusted man, the Dark Knight.
"Rise, my puppet." he ordered. The Dark Knight rose, and started walking
with the evil ruler himself.
"The Meteor of Doom will be finished on time." the evil warrior reported.
"You did an excellent job with this place. Now, I presume you want you resume your search for that Darkheart boy?" Sephiroth cackled.
"Yes, my master." the Dark Knight responded.
"After you fought him, he has learned much. He has grown strong. This time though, he will search for you. When he comes you, bring him to me." the ruler instructed. He then laughed to himself. "This things are coming out as I have foreseen." He could have continued laughing, but someone let out something nasty. "What in blazes? Who just cut the cheese?" Everyone turned to face Palmer, who was eating a burrito. He let out an echoing burp. Sephiroth turned to the Dark Knight. "Before you do anything, make sure that stinkin' Palmer goes on a diet!"
"A DIET? ANYTHING BUT THAT!" Palmer shouted. The Dark Knight and a few SOLDIERs
started dragging Palmer to the exercise chambers. Sephiroth resumed walking.
"Where was I?" He flipped through the pages of the "Return of the Paladin" script. "Oh, yes, I keep laughing as I walk until scene changes. Very well then." He then resumed laughing.
Cecil was at the home of his teacher. Cecil looked at his teacher, FuSoYa.
He didn't seem very well. "You don't think me as weak, do you not?" his teacher
"No. Not at all." Cecil insisted.
"Yes you do. You do at all." FuSoYa answered. Weakly, FuSoYa walked to his bed, using his staff for support. "Soon, I'll join the others, those who perished at the hands of the Shinra, and those who died in the meaningless War of the Magi." He coughed weakly as he entered the bed.
"You are now one of the last, Cecil. You are." Cecil looked at his teacher sullenly.
"Master FuSoYa, you can't die on me. I need to complete the training. I must become a Paladin."
"It is not training that you will require. You have taught yourself much. To finally become a Paladin, the Mana Knight of the Light, you must confront the Dark Knight." FuSoYa said, coughing as he spoke. Cecil realized what FuSoYa said. He must ask that question now.
"FuSoYa, is the Dark Knight really my brother?"
FuSoYa gathered strength to answer the boy's question. "Cecil, Golbez, your brother, is the Dark Knight." Cecil was shocked. He thought it was all the lie. A lie to get to him, because he wanted to save his friend from that manic. Now he has been told that he's related to one of the emperor's most powerful henchman.
FuSoYa looked at the boy's concerned face. "I see that you don't believe it, do you. But remember, a Mana Knight's power flows from the lifestream, but beware anger, fear, and hate. Those lead to the path of darkness." Cecil heeded those words. "Beware the powers of the Emperor, for you will suffer your brother's fate." FuSoYa coughed again. "As you know, your family is part of the great guardians of the universe, to them the blessings of Mana are given. Overtime, the numbers had thinned, due to these recent wars. Only a few now have the skills given them at birth. Cecil, there is another Darkheart..." FuSoYa said weakly. Those were his last words. Soon his body vanished, his spirit joining the great lifestream. Cecil, not knowing what to do, decided to go to the crystal chamber upstairs. He needed answers and fast.
The crystals hummed with a soft light. Cecil looked up at the ceiling. He
knew someone would come to answer him. "Hear me. I just can't do it. I'm
not sure I can." he called.
"Ho ho ho ho. FuSoYa and I will be with you, always." a voice rang throughout the room. Then a spirit appeared in front of him. Bugenhagen. "Bugenhagen! How come you didn't tell me the truth? You said it was the Dark Knight who killed my brother." Cecil exasperated.
"Your brother Golbez was seduced by the emperor and the dark side. The man that was once your brother died and was reborn as the Dark Knight. You see, I did tell you the truth, from my point of view. To tell it like it is, you couldn't have handled it." Bugenhagen's spirit pointed out. Cecil understood why. "As you see, Golbez was once a good friend. He was already a skilled pilot who fought in the Magi Wars twenty years ago, two years before you were born. I saw his great skills as a pilot, and my pride got to me. Since he was also part of our great heritage, I thought I could teach him as well as FuSoYa taught me. I was wrong. Sephiroth, a veteran of the Magi War, aimed to control everything. He became a convincing man, convincing enough for your brother to follow him instead."
Cecil, just surprised with this information, asked, "What is it that makes Sephiroth so dangerous? What powers does he have? Is he one of us?" "No, he was a experiment of the Shinra, to create an ultimate SOLDIER. They wanted to a powerful warrior with the ability to use magic without the use of materia or magicite. Since his birth, he was injected with doses of Mako, also known as the spirit energy. Trying to augment him with magic powers is why he went mad. In time, the infusion process made his mind more troubled, more dangerous. His true goal now is to be one with the lifestream, and control it all. In doing so he needs great quantities of Mako energy." the spirit summarized. He had a sad face in doing so.
"The Mako reactors. The Meteor of Doom." Cecil quipped.
"That's right. Those things are actually to help him gather that energy. But he hasn't told everybody their true nature. Shinra was turning into an empire only the purpose of getting these things built. For the people, especially the members ofthe Shinra, were hungry for change and power, and he used that need to fulfill his own. That's why he must be stopped." the spirit added.
Cecil realized what that meant. "I can't do it. I can't fight them." Bugenhagen sensed the resentment in the boy.
"It's your fate, your destiny. You will face the Dark Knight again."
"I just can't. I won't kill my own brother." Cecil said. Bugenhagen looked at the boy. "So Sephiroth's plan will come to fruition. You were our last hope."
Cecil then remembered FuSoYa's last words. "What about the other Darkheart? How could there be another?"
"The other FuSoYa referred to you was your twin sister." the wise spirit answered. Cecil concentrated on that thought. Then he looked back at the time he sought help from the Gondola wire. He had called out to her, and she responded. But why her?
"Aeris? She's my sister?" Cecil guessed.
"Ho ho ho ho. You are quite right. You see after the war everybody was crying for someone to blame. Sephiroth also knew that there would be people after him if he tried anything. We knew his true nature and plans, and we tried to prove that. So he blamed our entire race, ensuring that our words weren't credible. We were all forced to hide our heritage in order to escape his murderous grasp. The callers, the master wizards, and the lore mages, as well as the Mana Knights. He knew if they had offspring, there would be a potential for a warrior that would defeat him. His fears got worse when he converted your brother. He knew if your brother had siblings, he or she would become a Mana Knight, or even worse, a Cetra."
"A Cetra? Aeris?" Cecil wondered.
"Yes. The Cetra our the most special ones of our race, only born in times of great need. They would have the ability to hear the planets and understand them, and feel the auras of everyone. Their magic was greater than others, for an entire planet's energy was behind them. I also knew that when you were born, you would be the only ones who the emperor feared the most. To keep you safe, I separated both of you, keeping your heritage a secret. Your sister, ended up being a part of the rulers of Nibelheim, who agreed to take her in. And I handed you to Duane and Kathryn, good friends of mine. That way you and the others who managed to hide from Sephiroth can strike back at his evil ways. For he has slaughtered many of our race. You are one of the last of the few with the power and training to defeat him." It was all to much for Cecil, yet he knew what to do. This man had destroyed many members of his race and converted his brother to evil, all in part of a mad quest for power. Enough power to be a god. He must stop him and face his brother again.
In space the rebel fleet massed and gathered over the planet Guardia, home
of Nadia, a.k.a. Marle, one of the leaders of the rebellion. Inside the
rebellion's main ship a briefing was to be displayed. Many pilots lingered
around. Cid and his friends were there. Aeris and Tifa was glad to be back,
just so they could return to their normal clothes. Currently Cid was
congratulating Cloud for his new position. "Well, General Cloud Strife,
apparently they think you are worthy pilot enough to lead the attack on Meteor."
"Well, somebody must have told them about the number I did in Junon." Cloud replied. Cid raised his hands.
"Don't look at me pal. I didn't do anything, except tell them you were a very good pilot. Even better than me." Cloud grinned. They went back to their respective places, as Marle begins the meeting.
"After months of waiting we feel that the time to attack the Meteor of Doom is now. Thanks to Returner spies we have pinpointed the exact location of Meteor." As she speaks, the holographic projector in the center of the room beams out an holographic image of the Meteor orbiting the planet Mua. Some of the pilots were whispering to each other.
"How is it they hidden the plans?" one whispered.
"I heard it was in the FF8 demo." another replied. Marle continued her briefing.
"With most of the Shinra fleet spread throughout the universe, the battle station is quite unprotected. And the most important thing our spies had told us that the emperor Sephiroth is also on board that station. Many Returners died to bring over these things." Now there was great murmering within the room. The great Sephiroth, inside the Meteor? The possibility of his death was quite great. "Barret Wallace, will you speak now?" Marle motioned. Barret Wallace stood up.
"You betta be not 'fraid of that last explosion, because the next one is gonna be bigger! Even though dam' Sister Ray isn't workin', the Shinra built another one of their planet suckin' reactor on the planet Mua, so they can put a blasted' shield o'er it! So we can't 'tack it without blowin' the reactor." The planet disappeared from the holograph, and the battle station was enlarged. "When we got the dat down, we gonna go inside and make the station's main reactor go BOOM! Remember, this is the last dance!" Barret pointed to Cloud. "General Strife has volunteered to lead our fighters." Then Barret pointed to General Celes. "General Celes Chare, its your turn." Celes stood up.
"We have stolen an Shinra space chopper, and disguised it as a cargo ship. Using a sercret code, the strike team will bypass the shield and head towards Mua. From there, they will attack the Mako reactor before the fleet arrives." Aeris was amazed by this. She knew that going to attack the reactor was going to be tougher than destroying the space station. Celes faced Cid. "General Highwind, is your strike team ready?"
Aeris was surprised, as well as Tifa. This wasn't the Cid they knew of, at
least in the game. "I just need a few more members. I already asked the members
of FF4, FF6, FF7, and CT and that wasn't enough. I need more." Umaro growled
in response, signaling his willingness to join. Red XIII, Tifa, and Aeris
followed. Then Cecil came in.
"I'll join you Cid!" he declared. He came over to Aeris and hugged her. Aeris noticed Cecil's sad face.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"Ask me again. Now is not the time." he answered. As he did so, Robo volunteered himself.
"General Highwind, I would like to join you." he said.
"Bah! Enough with the general stuff. Just call me Cid!" Cid answered. Cait Sith looked at Robo.
"What are you crazy? Why do you want to join this?" Cait Sith asked.
"We must do it, if we are to have a future. That's why we're going." Robo answered.
"If that's so, I'm going just to keep am eye on you." Cait Sith replied. Marle looked at the active crowd.
"YES! If we work together, we won't be beaten by a bad buy!" she declared.
Cloud and Cid walked together in the hanger, remembering the dogfights they
had in space together. They walked by the Highwind.
"Tell you what Cloud, why don't you use the Highwind? We both know its one of the fastest ships in the fleet. You'll need it for your attack." Cid suggested.
"Well, I would have trouble with flying the newer ships. The Highwind is the ship I know so much about. Hopefully it should survive the battle without any scratch." Cloud laughed. The two shook hands. Cloud then hugged Tifa goodbye, as Aeris did with Zack. Cecil also shook hands with Cloud and Zack. Those two then embarked on the Highwind, as did many others. The Highwind now has a full crew, thought Cid, as he led his strike team to the stolen chopper. With no trouble he got the chopper started, and it blasted off into space, not knowing what they are going to meet.