The Zodiac War

By Blade

Chapter 11: An Ally Returns

Dawn broke, and the drums seemed to start again to ring in the new day. The party gathered themselves at the meeting fire, even though the flame had long since extinguished the night before. Nanaki was the first to speak.

"You know where you must go, the City of the Ancients, and do not forget the holy will need them to activate another time gate there."

Delita had some questions on his mind, "But I thought we had to find the three bearers of this era, and activate the stones?" He added, "And who is this new ally we'll be getting, and how are we going to get to this City of the Ancients?"

Nanaki looked at him almost mystically, "Soon you will meet your ally, come with me..."

Nanaki walked up to the great white airship known as "The Highwind." on its side. The party noticed a man standing next to a ladder.

Nanaki asked, "may we board your ship?"

The guard seemed more than happy to let them up, "Be my guest Red XIII."

"Red XIII?" Alma asked as they reached the top of the ladder.

"Yes, that is the name I was given by a scientist, but my friends also call me this out of no disrespect."

"Very interesting..." Alma pressed her lips together in consideration.

After Nanaki led them through a series of corridors, up a flight of steps and onto the main deck. They ran into a gruff old airship captain with a blunted cigar in his mouth.

"Well who might you kids be?" said the man.

"My name is Sir Delita, and these are my friends, Ramza, Alma, Zidane, Garnet, Reis, Beowulf, and Agrias."

"My name's Cid, and I'll be doin' the pilotin' just let me know if I'm going a little too fast for you kids to handle seein as Red here told me you guys have hardly ever rode on an airship before."

The party was wide-eyed, "How did Nanaki know?"

"Didn't he tell ya? He's a sage-prophet. He gets told everything."

Nanaki glanced back at Cid and then looked at Delita, "He shall be piloting you towards your destination, your ally is here on this ship, and will aid you through time, but I will say this: Cid is not a brave..."

Delita looked at Nanaki seriously, "Why must I endure these mind games? All I seek is the truth of where to go and what to do..."

Nanaki sighed, "I am only knowledgeable from what I've been told, you must learn from there."

During the conversation between Nanaki and Delita, Ramza heard a door open from one of the cabins, and someone stepped out from behind them. Cid had moved into the main cockpit area and was talking with someone.

"Hey, Cid, we going anywhere like Red told us we would, or is it nowhere in particular today, lately I don't really care where we go."

"Sorry kid, no such luck, we're taking aboard eight new passengers, Red's staying behind, and we're headed toward the City of Ancients."

"Hmm...Maybe I'll fight some aquatic creature and get killed there...maybe then I can rest with her at my side..."

"I don't think so, kid, that Ultima Sword of yours packs quite a wallop, I doubt anybody would go near you anymore to try anything..."

"It doesn't matter anymore..I used to think that fighting could get rid of my problems but I still... feel.... empty...."

"Aw, kid, you're makin' me cry with all that 'angst' stuff," sarcasm was dripping from Cid's reply.

Ramza turned about to see who Cid was talking to, but all he could see was Cid's back leaning up against the frame of a door.

Cid puffed on his cigar and said, "Well, I guess it's about time we went out and met our guests hunh..."

Cid stepped out on the front deck like he had before, and ushered the man he was just talking to up front. The man had a simple Soldier uniform on, more relaxed and casual than a regular uniform, but the spikey hair was unmistakable.

"Cloud? Is that you?" Ramza asked, "Cloud Strife! What are you doing here?"

Cloud crossed his arms skeptically staring straight at Ramza. Then with a surprised look on his face ran towards Ramza like he was an old friend and shook his hand eagerly.

"Ramza?! The question is, what are you and your friends doing here?"

"Oh! That's right, you never met Delita. He's an old friend of mine. You've already met Agrias, Beowulf, Reis, and I think you remember my sister Alma, I'm not so sure about Zidane or Garnet though..."

Cloud nodded "I've met Zidane before in your time's Lindblum area, near a weapon shop. He's pretty cocky for a thief."

Zidane looked at him with slight contempt, "Well you lied when you said you were the best swordsman in the world, I proved that..."

"Liar...that's just 'cause I had to use my materia blade on your ass!" Cloud joked. Zidane smiled, it was going to be another standoff again.

"Enough, Zidane, stop picking fights with him!" Garnet scolded.

" your tied down too huh?" Cloud smirked.

"Shaddap, numbnuts!" Zidane yelled.

If it wasn't for Delita and Ramza pulling Zidane and Cloud away from each other, they would have gotten into a fistfight right there and then.

"Knock it off, you two, you can catch up on old times later!" Delita laughed.

"Okay, okay, I'll calm down now...but first let me kill that scrawny bastard!" Cloud said trying to pull free from Delita's grip.

"That's enough both of you!" Alma yelled.

The two finally calmed down and Ramza was able to explain the situation as to how they got there to Cloud.

"You see," Ramza continued, "we realized we're Zodiac Braves, we don't know why Delita's involved, but he seems to have some significance in the time gates. As for you, we think you may be a Zodiac Brave, but we're not would you mind going along with us to the City of the Ancients...?"

Cloud was silent for a moment, "It's been a while since I've been there, I have many...memories there, so why not?" It's been five years since I visited her there; maybe I'll have the guts to talk to her from the lifestream, he thought.

"Well all aboard that's goin' aboard!" Cid shouted like a rusty old sea captain.

It took less than fifteen minutes for Nanaki to bound off the ship and for the Highwind to jump into high gear, the entire ship seemed to triple it's speed every second.

Ramza wasn't used to any airship, let alone one with the speed. So, he ran over to the side of the ship and ralphed, unbeknownst to him, Cloud was there way before him pouring his guts out too. Alma laughed at the sight.

Chapter 12: Chasing Inner Demons

It didn't take long for them to reach the coral-like place called the City of Ancients. Every time they got one level closer to the center of the city, Cloud seemed to get more and more depressed. Even Zidane tried to cheer him up, but he was still down.

None of the party really knew what caused him to look so sad, especially in such a beautiful place. Only Ramza had an inclination as to what happened to Cloud here...

"You lost someone here, didn't you, Cloud."

The city they came upon was crystalline in form and almost glowed with the coral decor. Deep at the heart of the city was a small central platform with a single ray of light glinting on it. Cloud walked up the little stump steps and stood at the lone platform arms motionless and quiet. He stepped onto the platform and fell to his knees, eyes closed...palms on the floor.

Was he.... crying? A single tear fell and platted against the smooth floor of the platform. He then drew his large Ultima Sword and planted the blade firmly into the center of the platform. Then with a loud, almost inhuman cry he screamed, echoing across the cavernous walls...


The rage and fury Ramza saw within Cloud chilled him to the bone. For the first time, he feared Cloud. A loud clank as Cloud smashed his fist into the floor. Then muffled sobs.

"Why...........Aeris?" Cloud seemed to ask the walls as if they would answer, "Why did he kill her? What had she done? Why can't I have her back?"

Everyone in the party was astonished as to what happened to Cloud...he never told them before now. But it was time for the truth to be heard. Cloud took a deep sigh and got slowly up back on his feet. As he walked toward his newly found comrades, he began his story.

"I would be lying to myself if I said I was feeling well, ever since that day five years ago, I haven't been able to sleep, not completely. The days just whither up to me; they dwindle and crawl to a halt. The joy of life isn't there anymore, Tifa, an old friend of mine always tries to make me feel better, but she knows she can't. The one joy of my life left me because of some damned blade named Masamune."

Tears began to spill uncontrollably from his eyes.

"I wish that when it impaled me and I threw the bastard who killed her into the reactor, it would've dragged me with it. At least then I would have never met her, heh-heh, but that damned stubborn fool didn't die then did he, in fact, I'm still not sure if he's dead now."

"Aeris.......................God--I wish I could've saved you."

The party was silent...for a long time Cloud sat motionless looking upon the platform. Delita, feelings pricked to the heart, cried a tear, not fully for Aeris, but realizing another Teta was going to be killed in the future. Then he walked up to Cloud and grasped his shoulder, a firm hard grasp, the kind one needs to be brought back into the present.

"Cloud.... we have a mission...remember?" Delita said quietly.

"Yes...let's go..." was Cloud's stiff reply.

In one of the side platforms they found what appeared to be some strange panel and a circular gate which seemed only to lead off the ledge and into the water. On the panel were three circular notches, each apparently with Zodiac engravements and a large panel with a sword slit. The three designated symbols were: Aquarius, Cancer, and Aries.

Ramza asked, "Alma, can you set the stones there and have Delita activate them."

Alma replied, rather puzzled, "I don't think I can tell which holy stone is which, they all look alike."

Garnet said, "Maybe Cloud can help, he might be a brave..."

Cloud stepped forward and was given the three stones. One of the three glowed a crimson, resembling a ruby in its brilliance. The symbol that appeared was Cancer, the Crab. He took this stone and placed it upon the middle notch.

"As far as to who the other two belong to, I'm not so sure...." Garnet said.

"I.... think I may know who it might have been...." Cloud said and submerged one of the stones in a nearby lake; the stone then glowed a deep sea blue, like moonlight being reflected off water.

"Aquarius.....she would have been Aquarius," he smiled softly.

He placed the second and third stones in their proper notches. "I wonder who Aries is?" he thought.

"Bugenhagen said we would find a time gate here... I wonder what time we'll be going to next?" Delita wondered.

"I don't think it will be us who will be traveling...," replied Alma, "I think that with the exception of Cloud, two people will be brought here...see the two platforms over on the ledge by the lake? It looks as though they will appear there..."

Delita drove his sword once again into the console. It activated and the two platforms began to glow. Almost like two bright angels two figures appeared.

When the light dissipated Cloud looked at the new visitors.

"Was it, what?! Is that Aeris?!"

A young woman in her early twenties dressed in a light pink dress and jacket with a small stave at her side stood for a moment, then collapsed, apparently exhausted.

Cloud looked slowly at the other platform. An image formed in his mind. Delita glanced at Cloud...his eyes dilated and his brow was furrowed to such a degree, he looked like his greatest nightmare had returned to haunt him.

His mouth opened with gritted teeth and spoke slowly under his breath. "................Sephiroth..........."

Both persons that had been transported were totally collapsed to the floors of each platform. Cloud was despondent when he saw the black dressed body and the silver hair. He hated that image; he loathed the long sword carried in the hilt. All he could think of was how to kill him. Delita shook him back to reality.

"Cloud, snap out of it!" Delita struck Cloud with a loud slap. "We have to get them back to Cosmo Canyon!"

"I can't--I can't do this again!!!!" Cloud ran away.

The party was totally unable to understand Cloud's actions, and the first thing on their minds was to get these two people back up to the surface.

Chapter 13: An Old Enemy, An Old Friend

Ramza and Delita were the first to go and lift the bodies up. Alma took off her robe momentarily and tied it into a makeshift stretcher to put the woman in. While Garnet cast float on it to make it lighter to carry around. Just for precaution, Beowulf disarmed the man in black and kept his long blade for safekeeping. Ramza and Delita slung the man's arms around over their shoulders and started heading upwards, bringing the three stones with them.

"Hmm....he's Aries alright, but what's with Cloud, why was he like that just now, is this the guy from his past that he hated?"

Delita followed up on Ramza's question, "He looks like the former Marquise Elmdor of Limberry, even the sword too, they used to call him, 'the Silver Ogre' maybe they're related?"

Ramza replied, "maybe, after all, Aries was the god of war, you know."

Reis followed behind them and said, "as far as I can tell Cloud seemed taken with this girl here, in fact, I thought I saw a girl just her age back in Zhargidas Trade City."

"If you want to know what I think," Beowulf said his arms just barely able to balance the ridiculously long blade, "I think we're supposed to help Cloud through this, remember what Bugenhagen said? That he must face his greatest love and greatest hate. Maybe these are those two people..."

"Possible, but Cloud may have had another reason for running away..., we just aren't sure as to what that reason was." Ramza replied.

It only took a few hours to march back up to the surface of the City of the Ancients. The party had been through a lot of emotional trauma, and they needed rest. Luckily, the airship was hovering nearby, and they climbed aboard.

Questions filled their minds, but one thing was constant, Cloud definitely had issues that needed to be resolved. Ramza spoke with Cid as to the whereabouts of Cloud.

"Well, he did climb back in the airship, but he's in the engine room, I suggest you leave 'em alone for the time being, all things considered. The man and woman you brought along with you are his true love and his worst enemy seemingly resurrected. The only reason I trust you guys with that conked-out Sephiroth is 'cause you took his sword and you're Zodiac Braves. That's the only reason I'm takin' that varmint on board with us, if he wakes up and starts up some chaos, I'm gonna throw him overboard y'hear."

"Yes, Sir, Mr. Highwind!" Ramza said, a little shocked as to whom they had carried up to the surface.

It only took them a quick flight back to Cosmo Canyon, and they brought the two bodies and put them in secure huts. Agrias and Beowulf guarded the man Cid had named Sephiroth's hut, while the girl was being watched by Alma and Garnet.

It was later that night when the meeting fire was lit that Ramza and Delita found Cloud standing completely rigid next to the fire, his face hard as stone. Reis ran towards them at full speed and yell, "She's awake, the girl is awake!!"

Cloud heard the news and looked in disbelief; his hard face melted away and seemed to soften even more as he slowly paced toward the hut, with Delita and Ramza following him.

She was not only awake, but also standing in the doorway with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders, holding warmed tea. Cloud looked at her silently as if he saw the perfection of beauty. She looked at him in a most sincere way, "Do...I know you? You...seem...familiar."

"My name is...Cloud...and're..."

She replied, "Aeris, my name is Aeris, I remember....a loud explosion...people...running about in confusion....then I ran"

He followed, "And you.....sold me...a flower...for 1 gil."

Then she looked mystified as if she were lost, "then I woke up I? I'm.....frightened...."

"It's okay..." Cloud walked up to her and held her hand for a moment.

"Hold me...just for a little while...." She embraced him, placing her head on his chest and softly sobbed.

"Shhhhh...." he quieted and comforted her from the trauma. Feeling her hair in his fingers felt like silk and soft spun auburn thread. He could now love again.

Delita and Ramza saw that it was time that they left the hut and went to go look into the other hut near the cave. When they arrived Beowulf and Agrias were standing guard as they had been assigned, no change.

"Beowulf, where did you place the long sword?" Ramza asked.

"Its location is secure, Master Ramza, I secured it with our other belongings which are being watched even as we speak."

"Very well, Delita and I are going to check in on our so-called guest."

Chapter 14: The Warrior Awakens

"Password?" Agrias said.

"Chaos blade..." Delita responded.

"You can enter..." Agrias replied.

The hut was a small, lowly lit area, with just a small mat for the man in black to sleep on. He seemed almost comatose with the exception that his chest was rising and falling deeply, his silver hair draped about the mat like a huge spidery web.

"Did Cloud really hate him that much?" Delita asked, "Like I hated Algus?"

"He'll be awake really soon, so be careful Delita."

Slowly, but surely the delicate seeming eyes opened to reveal an intensely looking man. He rose to a sitting position and brushed the hair from his face. He seemed at first to be in shock at his surroundings, yet he dared not make any sudden moves since he noticed his blade was missing.

"Don't be alarmed, we won't harm you, you've been summoned to fight in a holy war...that's why you're here."

"...last time I was awake...I was defending Midgar from Wutai Ninjas...and now I'm here?...," Sephiroth grasped his forehead, it had a hot throbbing pain. "Unnnnhhh...."

He lay back down with his hand to his forehead, when Reis arrived with a prepared warm washcloth and set it on his forehead.

"He has a fever....we should stay here and let him rest for a few days."

"Okay...but we're going to have to find the next time gate soon, we don't want any of those stones to fall into the wrong hands." Ramza warned.

The night seemed to come and go quickly, as dawn approached, Sephiroth woke up, still with a slight tingle and lightness in his forehead.

Reis entered and had a prepared soup ready in case he was hungry.

"Thank you......Reis?" he tried to remember. She nodded quietly. He then saw Beowulf seemingly watch Reis over his shoulder as he guarded the tent.

Sephiroth looked up, "He....likes you....doesn't he...?"

Reis looked a little wide-eyed, but responded, "Yes, he does..."

"I....never had anyone like me....really....except maybe Dr. Gast...and.....mother."

"Who...?" she asked.

".............Nevermind...." he looked at her, surprising her with his intense blue eyes, "They....told me I was taken from my era....that I was chosen?"

"Yes, you were discovered to be one of thirteen Zodiac Braves, your symbol was Aries...."

"I've....heard of the legend, but it never came true....even here."

"Maybe not now....but soon the war will begin...."

Outside the hut, Zidane was begging Garnet to go into the Gi Cave with him to spy out the treasure he found. After a few tugs on her arm, she gave in. Ramza and Delita were next to the meeting fire, discussing what to do with the two new Zodiac members.

"It seems Aeris is up and about and is going for a walk with Cloud. As far as Sephiroth is concerned, he's making a swift recovery...but that may not be such a good thing. Cloud has such a grudge upon him, and he hasn't stepped one foot near the hut, or even acknowledged Sephiroth's presence."

"We're going to have to deal with it somehow...he's a Brave and she's a Brave, we've told both of them, but I sincerely doubt Cloud wants to believe Sephiroth is a Brave, at least this Sephiroth...." Delita said.

Nanaki walked up to the two and spoke, "It has been given to me the knowledge that the two who have recently arrived are not the same people Cloud has known for whom they are...Sephiroth is not the man Cloud thinks him to be...He is what he was before he knew the truth....And Aeris was taken just after she first met Cloud..."

"So the evil man Cloud thinks is Sephiroth is not who we have here..."

"No...Not yet...he doesn't know who he really is yet....he thinks in his mind he is supposed to fight a war that in this era has ended over 30 years ago..."

"Well, at least he's prepared to fight a war, I just hope he'll help us fight ours..." said Ramza.

Chapter 15: Revenge and Reconciliation

The day was relatively quiet, with little for the party to occupy their minds with...Zidane and Garnet found a chest full of Phoenix Pinions in the Gi Cave, which he used to make a headdress for her...she liked it very much. Agrias and Beowulf found this Sephiroth to be very peaceful, but very reserved and mysterious.

As he gained enough recovery to step out of his tent, Sephiroth looked across the canyons, carved by a river no one ever heard of. When at one of the tops of the peaks he saw a lone warrior standing, arms crossed, a massive purple sword slung across his back.

"....Eh? Who is that?...." Sephiroth asked, nearly startling Reis.

She looked where he was looking, but by the time she looked, whatever Sephiroth was looking at was gone. He himself was intrigued, and thought about the day when he would get his blade back to answer this mystery man's challenge.

It was about midday when Aeris finally spoke with Ramza...

"I...was told by Cloud, that this isn't my that true?"

"Yes...this is his era, we, that is my fellow knights don't belong here either...we come from the past, a further past than your era...."

"I...would like to know more of why I'm here, would you mind telling me sir---?"

"Ramza, call me Ramza, my sister's name is Alma, then there's Reis, whom you met, Garnet, Zidane, Beowulf, Agrias, and Delita, the rest of them with the exception of Sephiroth are from this era."

"As for why you're here, I've already told you that you have been chosen as a Zodiac Brave to fight in the Zodiac War..."

"I'm not so sure I like the idea, but if Cloud's involved I'll help him out in any way I can, he seems to need someone to help him sort things out."

"I hope you can help him...he seems to hate this Sephiroth person just as much as he seems to like you..."

"Oh...!" She blushed, "Well, you seem to need all the help you can get, besides, I'm a Zodiac Brave now, aren't I!" She smiled playfully.

"Hmmm...." Ramza mused, "Maybe we can get those two talking, see if Cloud can try and understand where he's coming from."

"I'll do my best!" she gave a goofy looking salute to Ramza like he was some kind of general and left to go see Sephiroth. He looked back at Delita, and they both busted out laughing. Who ever heard of a girl like that becoming a peacemaker?

But it seemed too little too late, Aeris came running back and told them the Sephiroth's tent was empty, and Beowulf said the blade was missing.

This was bad.

Sephiroth walked deliberately towards the valley peak where he saw the spikey haired figure stand. Then, out of the corner of his eye he saw the man. Clad in a dark blue Soldier First Class uniform and a large purple blade slung at his back.

"'re the one watching me..." Sephiroth smirked.

"Maybe...because I've hated you for years..." Hatred spewed from Cloud's words.

"What? I don't know what the hell you’re talking about..."

"The Ancients, Aeris, Nibelheim, don't know those names...not even J.E.N.O.V.A.?"

"Who...?" Sephiroth's memory only struck a chord with the last named mentioned, but he didn't dare say anything.

"I'm sick of hearing your lies, Sephiroth, you go down again here and now! But this time no Omnislash, no Ultima, no Tragic End, no fucking Masamune! Just us, no armor, no gauntlets, no materia! JUST FISTS!"

"Fine...I still don't know who the hell you are or what you hate me for, but I like a challenge, and you seem worthy." Sephiroth cracked his knuckles.

The two faced each other and took off their armor, accessories, and materia. They moved in sync with each other as they drew their swords and threw them aside as well, each blade expertly flung to the ground.

"Get ready Sephiroth, cause you're going to be beaten within an inch of your miserable life!"

The two stood in a stance like prizefighters expertly punching and kicking at each other, almost like they knew each other's moves perfectly.

"What did I do.." THWACK "to deserve your stupid hatred you..." BAM "spikey haired freak!"

"You took my home.." BASH "you killed my family" SPLAM "you killed my only true love...." THOCK "you asshole!"

"Maybe I am" BOCK "but all that stuff about me" THACK "isn't true. Besides, I" STOMP "don't know your name..."

"The name's Cloud Strife asswipe!" KWOCK, "and don't you ever" THACK "ever" CRACK "forget!" CRUNCH

"Yeah-huff-I won't, but y'know-huff-I never really did that stuff, in fact-(sput) I never met you before in my life!"

Cloud looked at the man in black for a second; huffing and puffing with blood splattered all over his mouth, and for once, could tell he was speaking the truth. Cloud wiped his lips and spit the blood from his teeth, then started to walk away.

"You've made you're point! You're not who I thought you were....."

"Who the hell did you think I was anyway!"

"A bastard who killed without remorse, who tortured my mind, stole all the things I hold dear and would just as well destroy a place like this..." Cloud crouched down on the ground and looked over the was sunset and the grass swept across the plain like a tidal wave, the breeze blowing through his hair.

"I'm.....sorry...I'm not the man you thought I was, but I would do anything if it could help you find your peace..."

Cloud thought for a moment, "Heh-Peace, I never would have lived to see the day when that would come out of the man I wanted to kill's lips. But I'm beginning to see where he's coming from now...his time is torn apart by war and factions, he wasn't just a simple bounty hunter like I knew him to be...he wants peace just as much as I do, at least before he finds out the truth of where he came from..."

Cloud stood back up and looked in Sephiroth's still bloody face, "Would you be willing, truly willing to fight for peace? Not my peace alone, but for the peace of all the eras of this world, peace for all time? Would you be willing to fight and die for a simple peace like this?"

All was hinged on Sephiroth's response.

Sephiroth looked at Cloud's almost-pleading eyes, the look he once had when he was very little, a little boy who sat around lonely in a lab, no one his age to talk to. His father never had time for him, nor did he care, his mother took care of him, but that didn't seem enough.

Especially when he acknowledged how brilliant his father was, doing great experiments with cells of some kind. In fact, it seemed as though his father only regarded him as an experiment to be observed but never touched.

Anger built inside of him, like it had Cloud, and the only way he seemed to find or even think about peace was through fighting. Cloud and Sephiroth were the same....

"I would..." was all Sephiroth said.

Sephiroth finally wiped the blood off his chin, which had already started to clot, but neither soldier inflicted any serious wounds. In silence both put back on their armor, weapons, and other accessories, and side by side, strode back to Cosmo Canyon.

Off in the Distance, Aeris, Alma, Garnet, Ramza, and Delita, ran towards the two, not knowing what to expect...but to their total surprise, the two were simply walking together, albeit somewhat banged up like they were in a fist fight, but all right.

Aeris ran to Cloud and looked into his eyes, they didn't have the hatred they had had towards Sephiroth anymore. They still held secrets within them that she was curious to find out, but that would come in time.

Alma gave each man a potion to get rid of the bruises, while Delita and Ramza grinned at each other, knowing exactly what happened. Alma looked at the two and shook her head, thinking how she never could understand men....

Chapter 16: Descending into Darkness

That night, the party sat around the great fire, all fully recuperated and discussing the next day's plans. With Cloud, Aeris, and Sephiroth in tow, the party seemed to be shaping up quite nicely. Cid and Nanaki came by and started discussing where they were to head next.

Nanaki began, "First of all the next area you need to reach is a great white alcove in the Northern Great Glacier, it will get very cold there so prepare accordingly. Since there are currently ten Braves and Delita, you will need plenty of supplies; our huts will give you the necessary provisions to survive up there. The alcove is 50 miles east of the foot of Great Glacier Mountain, but due to the constant weather fluctuations, Cid cannot fly you there completely."

Cid continued, "There's gonna be strong winds up there, plus low atmospheric pressure meaning I can't fly in there for very long, so you're gonna hafta get off quick and foot it the rest of the way."

Ramza nodded in approval, and the provisions were prepared that night. The next day as the party was prepared to leave, Nanaki had some final words with Ramza and Delita concerning Cloud and Sephiroth: "Just because Cloud has accepted Sephiroth does not mean Sephiroth's trial is over, he must face what he will become and destroy it." Ramza grimly nodded and thought about what they would do when that time came.

As the party went up to the airship Nanaki said good-bye to Alma and wished her the luck of the land.

"You will find out that not everything is as it seems up there, look for the truth before you look at distraction."

When the warriors were ready for takeoff, Cid said, "It'll only take a few moments to get up there, so be ready for a quick shimmy down the landing ladder. Or you could just jump, but I wouldn't recommend that..." he smirked.

"Steady as she goes captain!" Ramza smiled, and without a moment's notice, they were up and away. The flight was very fast and short, despite the airsickness both Ramza and Cloud experienced. Before they knew it they were knee deep in snow, with icy frigid winds eating at their clothes.

"Man, I'm glad Nanaki gave us these insulated clothes," Zidane commented, "otherwise I'd be a bravesicle."

"See that crack in the pass," Ramza shouted over the wind, "I think that's an underground passage, we can get to the Time Gate without having to deal with the wind chill."

As the party trudged up to the crack, a very narrow passage seemed to go down into a deep cavern.

"We can go down there, the cave will be warm." Delita said between frigid breaths.

Agrias was cautious, "There may be monsters down there so be careful."

As the party walked down into the alcove, they found the walls like reflective mirrors--of ice, and strangely, it was particularly much warmer down here than expected.

In response to this, Delita signaled that they lighten their loads by carrying their heavier clothes around their waists.

"We'll be able to travel faster this way." he had remarked.

Marching out into a large spacious area of the cavern, they came up on a forked area with three paths.

"Okay....," sighed Ramza, "where do we go now..."

"We split up into two groups of four and one group of three." Delita thought aloud, "Zidane, Garnet, Agrias, and Ramza take the left path; Sephiroth, Cloud, Aeris, take the middle path, Beowulf, Reis, Alma, and I will take the right path."

"That's all fine, Delita, but what if any of the parties gets lost in the cave or they end up in a dead end?" Alma asked.

"I have a feeling...," said Delita "that if we pull out each of the stones and exchange them with other party members, that the stones will glow when that member is nearby. Also each party's leader or the one with the brightest Zodiac stone keeps theirs, so that as long as the stone is in their hand they have a source of light to guide the way."

"Good thinking, this way we can track each party without actually getting lost ourselves, and cover more ground at the same time." Alma said.

So the parties exchanged stones, save the most luminescent stones which were reserved for people who would be taking point in each party, they deliberately made sure each party had at least one stone from the other two parties to see if they were nearby.

So it was settled, the party would then break up, with the brightest stones glowing to light up the cave. Agrias stone was the brightest so she took point in the first party, Cloud took point with his stone which seemed bright enough to light up the whole cave, and then Alma's stone lit up the path for her party.

As the parties seemed to drift further and further apart from each other, the stones they each held seemed to dim, but there were points in the paths where the stones were very well lit and a certain party was nearby.

Since Agrias took point in the first party, the path was a little less interesting, still Zidane had much to talk with Ramza about, "So how did Cloud's bout with Sephiroth go huh? Did he beat the crap out of Cloud? I would've loved to see the bruised face and ego of that spikey-haired punk."

Ramza replied, "I wouldn't say that so loudly, Zidane, these caverns have echoes you know."

"And besides," chimed in Garnet, "you wouldn't want me talking about you behind your back WOULD YOU!?" she raised her staff to hit him in the head.

"N-n-no No! Of course not! Heh---!" Zidane's grin wouldn't be believed for a second. Ramza sighed as they went further down into the icy cave.

Agrias ran into a wall of stalactites and stalagmites, which seemed like imposing teeth to the party. This didn't bother her in the least she simply drew her sword and cast thundersword on the whole blockade, which blasted into charred fragments, making the path open again.

Zidane noticed the stone that Sephiroth had given him started to glow. He said, "Cloud's party is nearby....uh-oh maybe I shouldn't have made those cracks before about him getting beat up."

"We warned you...." Ramza smirked.

Meanwhile Cloud's party was quite silent except for the occasional attempts at conversation on Aeris's part.

"So...Sephiroth, do you have a family back home?" she asked.

"................" Sephiroth had nothing to say about that subject.

"Hmph...the rat's close by...." Cloud looked at the stone Zidane gave Aeris. He only just recently called Zidane that whenever he tried to hit on Aeris.

Aeris said, "You really shouldn't call him that, you know, he's one of the Braves like us, and we're going to need him in the upcoming Zodiac War."

Cloud looked at her sincere eyes, he missed them so much; but he realized that the last time he saw her, he was 21 and she 22, she was still 22 now, but he was 26, whereas Sephiroth told Cloud admittedly that he was currently 20 years old, making Cloud feel the oldest of the group. Which was disconcerting enough, but he also felt somewhat separated from her, not used to her being younger than he. But he tried as best he could to do whatever she asked; he owed that much to her, he figured.

"........Alright, I'll stop calling him that..."

Aeris put her arm in Cloud's arm as he held his Cancer stone, which was a bright crimson hue. Overcome with her kindness, Cloud became a bit nervous, and to some extent his hand trembled. Aeris noticed this and put her hand on his to calm it down, her soothing touch seemed to seethe up inside him like a warm heat. Quietly, with Sephiroth drifting somewhat behind, Cloud spoke to Aeris.

"You know, in this era, there was a time when I had lost you, you could no longer be with me, I hated myself and everything around my anger I was blind to the fact that I had friends to help me..."

She looked at him seriously, with an odd intensity and said, "Come what may, fate plays an important role in our lives, someday I will leave this life, and so will you, hating yourself will never get rid of the pain, and now you've realized that. Right now, I'm just getting used to the fact that I may never see my home until this war is over, but I deal with it and get on with life."

Cloud smiled weakly in response to her statement, but he knew it was true, and the smile grew stronger.

There was something in Cloud that made him seem completely content around her. Like all things were fulfilled, that his whole life was complete somehow. He wished moments like these would last several lifetimes.

Sephiroth wandered up and said, "the stone Beowulf gave me is getting pretty dim, I think their going down deeper than we are..."

Chapter 17: Falling Off the Edge of Night

Delita's party seemed to be going downhill, very steeply downhill. With the exception of Alma's bright stone, it was very dark down there. Delita took a good two steps ahead of Alma and almost slipped.

"Lookout! There are holes down here! One wrong step and we could lose you!" Alma warned.

"Everybody stick close to Alma that way you don't fall victim to the pits..." Delita said, but just then his foot slipped on a slope and started to skid away into the darkness. "Oooof!!!!" luckily he collided with stalagmite.

"It's okay, I'm alright...I'm lucky to have a bump on my head than being lost in the dark with a broken leg or worse."

Alma and the party followed to where Delita's voice trailed, and found him clinging to a stalagmite which was just near the edge of a deep abyss.

"I sincerely doubt lucky is the word to describe you...Sir Delita!" she said scoldingly, "Stay in the light so we can see you!!"

"Hey....I'm just trying to be a good leader here! Cut me some slack huh!"

Alma looked about and all she could see were a series of large pits, and a wall.

"........Dead-end...." she sighed.

"Not necessarily," Reis said, "--point your stone up by that large rock above us by where Delita landed."

Alma did so, and what she saw seemed like a large platform that led into one of the other two passages. She looked dismayed, "But there's no way for us to climb up there--it's a straight shot up above us, we could never swing a grapnel at this angle!"

"Maybe not, but I can jump up there! And I'll use my spear and the grapnel rope and drive the spear into the rock platform above us and tie the rope to the spear so you three can climb up there."

"Okay, let's do this..." Delita said as he handed her the rope.

Reis gauged the height of her jump and got a firm grasp on her spear with the rope tied firmly on the end of it.

Reis bent her knees in what she realized would be her highest jump thus far in her lifetime, and then with a quick smile she glanced at Beowulf, saying, "Don't worry, we'll get out of here..." With that, she jumped, only slightly lower than she calculated, causing her to grasp at the edge of the platform.

"No worries" she thought as she swung herself over onto the platform.

During all of this the three below her became very nervous as she was barely hanging onto the edge of the platform bridge, but when she pulled herself up, they sighed in relief.

The first part of this was over; the next part was a little more difficult. Reis drove her spear lengthwise into a cluster of firmly planted rocks and tugged on the rope, which was swung over the edge.

Alma was first due to the fact that she wore a white mage's robe and it might be a difficult climb for her. Delita came next to support her from underneath, then came Beowulf.

Beowulf wasn't exactly thrilled with heights or climbing considering his weight and gets nervous in such situations.

Beowulf got nervous and his arms tensed, which at this point kept his arms locked in position.

This whole process was slowed considerably due to his weight, but they were able to hoist him up enough so that he could reach the ledge and they could pull him over. One problem though, his arms were locked in place, and because of the strain on the ropes, the binding was weakening and going to snap.

"Come on, Beowulf, grab the ledge!" Delita said.

"The rope's weakening, you don't have much time!" Alma shouted.

"My arms---can't move them--" Beowulf struggled.

Reis blurted out, "Do it for me, Beowulf--I love you!"

Just then the rope snapped, and for a split second Beowulf hung on the rope, but just an instant he reached out for Reis....

The party grabbed Reis as she lifted him over the ledge,  both exhausted...

"Did you...huff....really...huff....mean that?" Beowulf asked.

"Yes.....huff....I do mean it, I--Love you Beowulf,....huff....and I'll do anything to keep you with me...."

"As I....would you Reis..."

Alma said jokingly to Reis, "Remind me never to bring Beowulf on a rock climb ever again." They all laughed.

After a brief rest Beowulf pulled out the Zodiac stone Ramza had given him, and was surprised to see it glowing, "Looks like we're on the right track...."

Ramza and company were the first to find out that they had encountered a well-lit greenish cave. Ramza looked about and said, "Glowing phosphorus, hmm...that's funny, phosphorus only glows when it's exposed to light, regular solar light, not magic light. So...."

Zidane was following his idea, "Either there's an opening to this cave, or something with a lantern came this way..."

Agrias didn't like the sound of that, "The only creatures I know that carry lanterns are....Tonberrys..."

"Ulp...!!" Zidane gulped.

Ramza tried to calm them down, "Well then, let's hope we don't run into any alright?"

Cloud's party was very quiet, and actually getting tired of all the walking. Glancing around, Cloud noticed that a path near theirs had just merged. Sephiroth and Aeris noticed that both their stones had a feint glow, compared to the total blackness they had seen before.

"I think one of the parties is ahead of us, and one is behind us, because whenever I point my stone back where we came from, it always seems to glow brighter."

"You might be right," Cloud said, "but maybe we should focus on finding a way out first.."

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!" Aeris screamed as a giant two headed Schizo-Dragon grasped her in one of its giant maws and was prepared to fire Icy-breath at Sephiroth and Cloud if any dared follow.

Aeris fainted as the creature tramped off with her. So there was no way for them to chase her screams.

"Why that dirty rotten--!!" Cloud was prepared to drow his sword.

"Don't panic, Cloud, from the looks of this path, I'd say it's pretty straight, we're bound to catch up to the monster!" Sephiroth grabbed Cloud's shoulder.

"You'd better be right, Sephiroth...I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm going to trust your judgement this time."

The two ran off in the darkness after the beast, Cloud's stone lighting up it's tracks. Along the way they encountered a large cave opening with some odd greenish glow to it, but they were too concentrated on catching up to the dragon to notice.

"Hmm...." said Reis, "Aeris's stone is getting really dim and fast."

Alma thought for a moment, "Something must have happened, they must have lost track of her or something...."

Delita was worried, "I hope they find her....if anything, Cloud is looking for her right this very minute."

Alma after choosing a plan of action, said, "Then we try and catch up as fast as we can!!!"

Beowulf nodded, "I think I may know what's got Aeris," he said, as he pointed at the large limestone tracks. "And I think I can pin-point it's location based on where our parties are," he stated looking at Ramza's very dim stone.

Beowulf continued, "From what I can tell here, Ramza's party is further than ours or Cloud's but they're moving at a slow pace, that's why the dimness is consistent. This combined with these regular foot tracks tell me we're not too far behind Cloud's party...."

Delita commented, "Ramza's party must not have encountered the monster yet, otherwise their stones would be fluctuating as well, right?"

Beowulf said quickly running ahead, "then we should be able to track them easily, and see if Aeris is in danger. Come on, follow me!"

Chapter 18: Everyone's Grudge

Ramza's party was currently distracted at the moment, keeping their eyes open for a light source outside of the cave, when Zidane stopped for a moment and said, "Do I hear.....water?" Sure enough, a loud rapid dripping sound was echoing off both sides of the cave wall, but due to the echo, it was hard to locate where the sound was coming from.

As they walked further down the path they discovered an enlarged opening in the cave. Down the middle of the cave floor a river was slowly flowing to some odd location, there was enough phosphorus here to light up the whole cave. And something else, a low gleam caught the corner of Zidane's eye. "What's that light?," he wondered. Then as they walked along the river to see if there was a way to cross it, they saw some strange reeds poking out of the ground, in very odd patterns...

"What are these?" Garnet asked as she pulled at one.

Zidane glanced in horror and said, "Wait a minute, I've seen these traps before--don't pull th---!!!"
In a second, the party was trapped inside a large reed cube cage.

"Don't pull the reeds, damn Tonberry traps, I should've known..." he slapped his forehead.

The cube was then hoisted mechanically in the air.

"Well, at least these aren't spike traps...." Ramza said dryly.

An army of little lanterns floated underneath the cube they were suspended in. Then one light lit up to show a very large greenish creature with a little crown on the side of his head.

"Tressssssshpassssssshersssss...," said the Tonberry King, "how very annoying, we don't like to ssshee people here, we hate people, yesssssssh!"

The ground was filled with hissing and clanking of Chef's Knives, and a chant, "Kill, rip, tear, sssssshkewer, sssssssshhhisssssshhkabob them!"

The Tonberry King said, "You hear them? Thisssssssh isssssh what we do to tresssssssshpassssssshersssss....."

Zidane was really nervous with all the knives around, "Heh-heh---can't a deal with you...?"

The large green creature thought for a moment, then with a smile said, "Sssssshorry no deal!!!"

"Aww c'mon, we were just passing through!"

Garnet said in her sweetest voice, "Pretty please?"

"Hmmm....., your female is very pleasssshing, but......nope, we're having human sssssshtew tonight!" the monster licked his lips in pleasure.

"Your roundnesssssh, the sssshchizo-dragon issssh coming!" said a servant, "we musssssht flee!"

"Great....." Zidane said with a false grin, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire."

"Dragon-fire that is..." said Ramza with a smirk.

"Shut the hell up! I'm trying to cut us free!" Agrias said sawing away at the reeds with her sword.

"You sure you want to do that...considering the fact that all the tonberries cleared out of here because of one thing: a schizo-dragon?" Zidane asked sardonically.

"I've fought several schizo-dragons before--what makes you so sure about this one being different?" Agrias said.

"Umm--lemme see, oh yeah, IT'S FRIGGIN BIGGER THAN A HOUSE!!!" Zidane pointed behind her, "take a good look Xena-Warrior-Princess..."

"Oooookaaay...." Ramza said wide-eyed, "We're in BIG trouble now!!!"

"There, I've cut us loose--now let's get out of here!" Agrias said.

"Better idea.....RUN LIKE MAD! IT'S SEEN US!" Zidane yelled.

The large blue and red beast stomped after them splashing large waves in the river. It wasn't that hard for them to see where they were running to as each of the monster's fiery and icy breath attacks lit up the whole path, but for some reason it only seemed capable of firing it's fiery breath, and Ramza saw why: inside the blue half of the dragon's maw was Aeris!

Ramza made a quick turn about and drew his sword--he wasn't about to let an ally be made dragon food. Agrias followed suit, while Zidane readied his Tower, the twin thief's blade. Garnet cast a shell spell around the party to protect them from the fiery blasts. Ramza and Agrias attacked consecutively, each swatted away like flies, leaving Zidane to protect Garnet.

"Come on! Let's rock! You sorry excuse for a siamese twin!" Zidane taunted.

As the dragon was about to strike, a water spell hit it's fiery side, making it spin about in confusion.

"Who was that! Cloud is that you!"

"Sorry, Schizo, you can't have my girl! You're gonna pay for taking her!" Cloud said as he drew his tremendously large Ultima Sword, which seemed to gleam even in total darkness.

Rage built up inside of Cloud and was channelled through the sword, and he quickly performed a cross-slash, paralyzing the creature.

"Let's finish him off, Cloud, you strike left, I'll strike right--!!" Sephiroth said quickly.

The two teamed up to perform a cross-up slash attack which an instant after it was performed slit the throats of both the dragon's heads. When the ice head of the dragon dropped Aeris, Cloud caught her in a heartbeat.

She was unconscious, but breathing and unharmed....

"....thank God......." Cloud breathed, as she opened her eyes, now fully awake.

"Thank you, Cloud, you saved me." Aeris said as she stood up.

"It...wasn't just me, I couldn't have done it without Sephiroth," Cloud winced, he couldn't believe he had just said that.

Ramza got up and brushed the dirt off his mantle, no serious injuries. Agrias had a slight dent in her armor after being swatted by the beast, but no worse for the wear. Zidane and Garnet also breathed a sigh of relief as they saw with amazement the giant dragon being killed by two men in two slices.

"No wonder Cloud hated the evil Sephiroth, this guy could really do some damage..." Zidane thought.

Cloud and Sephiroth looked at each other knowingly, they knew exactly what they were capable of. And Cloud, for the first time in his life, was able to trust Sephiroth. The two sheathed their swords and looked at Ramza for what to do next.

"Well...," Ramza scratched his head, "two of our parties found each other, now it's just a matter

f time before we find Alma, Reis, Beowulf, and Delita, and get to the white cavern and get out of here."

Chapter 19: Of All Possible Futures

Garnet got a good look at the party, and used Prostasia to fix any armor, and Curaga to heal any wounds inflicted, although none seemed to need it.

The two parties heard clomping from the cave they came from, and were prepared to draw their weapons when they realized that it was only Alma and her group, having followed them.

"What did we miss?" Delita asked Ramza.

"A two headed dragon getting sliced up..." Ramza said, non-chalantly.

"Darn, how come you always seem to fight the cool battles?" Delita whined sarcastically.

"Wasn't me...." Ramza replied.


"Just Cloud and Sephiroth doing something called X-strike, killed the dragon in two blows."

"Oh yeah, just that quick huh? They're good."

"Yeah, cool huh?" Delita imitated Zidane with a smirk.

"Whoa, not cool," Zidane interrupted as a swarm of Tonberries seemed to seethe back into the main cave area, faster than anyone could react.

"Sssssho, you people....have killed the Sssssshchitzo Dragon for ussssssh," the Tonberry King said, "He wassssh sssssshuch a nuissssshance, what can we do to repay you?"

"All we ask," said Delita, "is that you lead us to the Great White Cavern, we wish to go there."

"Hmm...., the Time gate, eh? Very well, I ssssssshall sssssshend one of my ssssshcouts to lead you there, but be warned, if you ssssssshould crossssssh here again, you ssssshall be executed on the sssssshpot."

The cavern was very lengthy and tedious, but the little Tonberry knew exactly where to lead them, avoiding all the pitfalls and traps his tribe set up along the way. Eventually they came to an icy crystal cavern which seemed it would have been freezing cold, but it was actually quite warm.

"Thissssssh issssh the place...." the scout said, "now leave and don't come back!" the creature ran away.

"Well, he was sure friendly," Zidane said sarcastically.

"It's time," Alma said, "Everyone return your exchanged Zodiac Stones to the people you traded with."

The group did so, and began to stand on each of the corresponding platforms that represented their symbols.

Delita stepped into the middle of the circular platform and drew forth his Zodiac sword Legend, having a perfect blade and hilt, elegant in its design. "The very key to time travel, I won't abandon this blade in any battle."

As each stood on the platform they raised their symbolic stones, and trusted the stones to carry them toward their destinies. Delita, with a firm resolve, drove his sword into the anvil that would send them to another time.

The blue light seemed to glow even brighter than the last time, almost a white color, but a bit dimmer.

As each member of the party stood up and looked into the light, they realized, they were out in the open somewhere. A set of highly technical buildings surrounded them, and they found themselves standing on a platform hoisted high in the air by a series of statues. Looking down was no problem for Ramza, but getting down was another problem altogether.

"I'll get us down," Alma said.

"In newest day and darkest hour remember your part, though few may, we shall now ever depart, Warp!"

In the instant she chanted, the party was transported on the ground. Looking up, the buildings seemed to be transparent, but no one inhabited them, nor did anyone seem to find an entrance.

"Hmm...where in the world did we end up....?" Delita asked in confusion.

"Are you lost, or just touring the place?" asked a seemingly friendly voice.

"And who are you, lady?" Delita asked.

"Oh...I forget sometimes to introduce myself, I apologize, I am Ambassador of the nation-city of Esthar, a.k.a. the tourguide, my name is Ellone Loire...." the young woman said with a smile.

She continued, "And this strange place is called Tears' Point, mainly because it's the source of all the lunar cries."

"Lunar cries?" Aeris asked, confused.

"The moon is filled with monsters, which we could never hope to exterminate, but every year when the moon is closest to the planet, the monsters attempt to blast holes into our world with their energy...they hate us such that they will try to destroy anything, even simple objects."

"That..." Aeris said, "Truly is a tragedy..."

"It is a phenomenon that has been occurring for over a millennium, we have yet to discover how to prevent it from happening. Yet I digress....didn't you people need help getting somewhere, especially in those silly medieval costumes of yours, perhaps you do plays?"

"Well....not exactly.." Delita said, thinking about the fact.  We must definitely be in the future, but where and when?

"I believe what my friend here is trying to say...." Ramza interrupted, "is that we need transport to the nearest City...if you please..."

"Esthar is the only city in this region, but it is also the largest and perhaps highly technological city on the planet. I do have a land-rover, but I doubt all of you could fit in it, I'll radio for back-up...."

"Thank you Miss--" Delita fumbled.

"Call me Ellone, and your welcome, Esthar is by far one of the greater places to go in this area. Also, do you have any gil for shopping? Because there are many shopping centers there..."

"Well, we do have gil, but it's uh...." Ramza wasn't quite sure if his gil was the type for currency in this era.

"Hmm that's odd...." Ellone looked at his money, "your gil is very old, you may have to go to our mint and have them examine them to give you a value price."

"We'll um, have it examined..." said Delita rather sheepishly.

Chapter 20: Life in the City

Ellone used an object Cloud said was a radio and talked to someone a long ways away from where they were, and about an hour later, two strange moving carts that seemed to fly hovered over to them.

“These are your drivers, Biggs and Wedge, they'll take you to wherever you need to go in Esthar. In case you don't know where to go, they'll give you a tour of the place free of charge.”

"Free?" Cloud said a little confused.

"Well, we do get bonuses for every tour we give and--" Wedge explained.

"Shut up, dummy, they don't need to know that!" Biggs interrupted.

"Oh--sorry!" Wedge jumped.

"Okay--everybody hop in, those who don't fit or can ride on the top of this jalopy'll have to ride in wit' Wedge there.." Biggs boomed.

"Before we go--we should agree at a place to meet up at." Delita suggested.

"Don't worry, sir, we will all meet up on schedule in front of the Presidential Estate, President Loire has asked we invite all newcomers to his home for a tour and to meet him personally." Wedge stated.

"P-President?" Cloud stuttered in shock.

"Wait a minute," asked Ramza, "His last name is Loire, could he be related to you perhaps, Ellone?"

"You figured that out did you? Oh well, I guess I should tell you he is my step-father." Ellone said, "He likes it very much when new people come to Esthar, and tries to find time for each new visitor. First can I ask you your names?"

"Well," said Ramza, "These are my friends, Delita, my sister Alma, Cloud, Sephiroth, Agrias, Beowulf, Reis, Aeris, Zidane, Garnet, and I'm Ramza."

"Well, Ramza," she said, somewhat impressed, "I'll let the President know you're coming."

"Wait, will we get to see you gain, Ellone?"

"Don't worry," she said with a smile, "I'll meet up with you at the President's Residence..."

Everyone got into the hovercars and took off. The place they left, Tear's Point, seemed tiny in comparison to the large desert before them, but even that seemed eclipsed by the large highway city that loomed before them.

"Well, there it is, the biggest city on the planet!" Biggs said proudly.

Wedge wasn't much of a tour guide considering the oohs and ahs from the group of five girls in his car, despite Agrias who was pretty silent the girls did all the question asking.

Wedge jumped as Biggs radioed him, "You better get to the Residence on time, otherwise I get in trouble, Wedge!"

"Yes sir! No sir!" he stuttered.

"So...Wedge," Aeris said playfully, "Where can we get into trouble in this town..."

"I-I'm afraid I have to concentrate on my driving you to your destinations ma'am."

"'re no fun!" she poked fun at him.

"I don't care about having fun," Agrias said bluntly, "I just want to find the rest of the Zodiac stones and get this war over with."

"Agrias, you mean you've never taken a break from being a holy knight? All this time and you never even take time on leave for yourself?" Alma said rather surprised.

"I swore fealty to the Church, and I am bound by my oath..." Agrias replied.

"I don't get it Agrias," Garnet said, "Beatrix and Steiner always have nights out on the town together, you've never done anything fun before?"

"I don't believe in having fun...." she said now grumpy.

"That's it! Agrias! I'm taking you, Reis, Alma, and Garnet shopping!" Aeris announced, "Driver, to the nearest clothing shop, please!"

"Sighhhh" was all Agrias would say.

In Biggs' car the conversation wasn't about having fun, but more of what was in Esthar.

"So what exactly do they use for transportation in Esthar, Biggs," Delita asked.

Cloud hoped it wasn't a train.

"Well, we use hoverpads that move to various points all over Esthar, you just have to sit on the panel and you're there."

"What I wonder," Delita asked Ramza, "about our gil, I mean, is how she could say it was old, I thought we had minted this money a few months ago."

"Well, apparently we're in the future, so of course they'll think of it as old, but just for curiosity's sake, why don't we find a coin collector's shop there? Is there one Biggs?"

"Yup, I'll take ya there."

Sephiroth and Cloud weren't that interested in coin collecting, or sightseeing for that matter. This was just another town to them.

"It's the future, isn't it?" Cloud said abruptly, "I wonder what kind of weapons they have in the future, and maybe even armor too.."

Sephiroth replied, grasping the hilt of his sword and retying the threading, "Weapons are all the same to me, they either hurt me or someone else."

Zidane wasn't even interested at all in weapons or money, "I wonder what Esthar girls look like? Maybe I can go out with one! Hoo-hoo! Hot chicks here I come!"

Ramza commented rather dryly, "We'd better get a leash on that animal..."

Beowulf wasn't quite sure what he wanted to do, all he could think of was something to get Reis, maybe a decoration for her Javelin?

The two cars suddenly got into a form of lift which shot them high into central area of the city. The lights illuminated the whole city. Even at night, the lights caused the city to glow.

Each party when their separate routes and would later meet up at the Presidential Residence as agreed. The girls were the first to get to their destination.

Blade's Fanfiction