Hope in Love Chapter 1

A Legendary New World

By Sorceress Fantasia

"You took away my hometown five years ago, killed Aeris, and summoned the meteor to destroy the planet. I will never forgive you! Ever! You shall pay for your crimes here!" Cloud spat, his voice changing from a harsh whisper to an angry shout. He rushed at Sephiroth and lashed at him, doing his destructive Omni-slash. Fourteen slashes, each increasing in power. Sephiroth didn’t even let out the slightest wince of pain. It was as though he couldn’t feel anything. Cloud could feel his blood boiling. Before the final blow, Cloud took a final look at Sephiroth, and then . . .



One year later.

" I still can’t believe that we’re being hunted down by some idiots!" said a young female voice.

" Considering the fact that we have absolutely no materia, I believe so." replied a male voice, half-joking and half-serious.

" I told ya not to give that @$#% Yuffie all the materia! Now look at ta f$%#*ing trouble we’re in!" came another man’s voice, tougher and louder than the man before him.

"You did?" The man before laughed, attempting to brighten up the mood.

Escaping in a forest had its pros and cons. The good thing is that your enemies wouldn’t be able to spot you easily, with all the trees and such. Well, the bad thing is, you can’t see your way easily either. The trio, apparently had this problem. It was near nightfall and they had to pass through the Gongaga forest to be able to get over to the other side of the river. There was little light, as the thick layers of foliage had blocked out the many rays of light that could have come into the forest, only sufficient for the people inside to see the tree’s dark silhouette so as not to crash into them. Being trapped inside a forest this late was one bad thing. To be pursued by the most notorious group of professional assassins, the Turks was another. Cloud, Barret and Tifa silently cursed themselves for their bad luck as they quickly scampered across the forest floors. The Turks were hot on their tracks. If they were caught, heaven knows what would happen to them. But it can’t be anything good, that’s for sure. Tifa briefly recalled what happened earlier on that had landed them into this state.

After the destruction of meteor, Tifa, Barret and Cloud settled down in Kalm. She opened up another bar, also called ‘Seventh Heaven’ there and the latter two became her neighbors. The rest of their allies went back to their loved ones in their hometowns. All of them went back to their own lives, but they contacted each other frequently. Occasionally, they would visit them in Kalm or vice versa. All except Vincent. They had lost contact with him totally. Nobody knows where he went or what happened to him. He had simply vanished from the surface of the Earth. The days went by peacefully. Then, one day, Vincent sent them a note out of the blues. In the note, he told them to meet him in that cave where they had previously found Lucretsia, claiming to have some important news to tell them personally. So, after some preparations, the party of three set out on their way. It was a long journey, from Kalm all the way to near Nibelheim. They finally reached Gongaga three days later. Fate, it seems, likes to play a trick on Cloud and party, for the Turks were there too. They had decided to make the little reunion odious.

The trio found themselves cornered, merely a few steps from a cliff. Being experienced fighters, they would never surrender without putting up a hell of a fight. Holding their weapons tightly, they prepared themselves for a tough fight completely without the use of materias. For the first time after the destruction of meteor, Cloud regretted ever giving all the materias to Yuffie. He had never thought something like this would happen, for they had let the Turks go in the Sector eight tunnels and they left quietly.

" Prepare to meet your maker!" Reno cried menacingly.

Just as the Turks were closing in, Cloud heard a familiar voice. One which he had been hearing for days. ‘ Get it, Cloud…Get it…’

‘ Who are you? Stop pestering me already! ’

Cloud was snapped out of his trance by a shriek from Elena. Cloud lifted his head and to his surprise, he noticed something bizarre was happening to Elena’s legs. The colors were faint and her legs looked translucent, and someone could actually see through. It spread upwards quickly; her body started to fade away. Elena was screaming her head off. Reno and Rude looked positively spooked. Reno managed to shout, despite being stunned, "What the f%$#@*^ing hell did you do to her? Voodoo?" Within a minute, Elena had vanished without a trace. Reno and Rude tried desperately to save her, but to no avail. Cloud, Tifa and Barret stared in disbelief. The two remaining Turks turned to face them, and were about to attack when they disappeared too, without any warning.

"We’ll get you for this!!!!!!"

Cloud heaved a sigh of relief. At least the Turks were gone and wouldn’t be able to bother him for quite some time. But at the same time, he was amazed by the sudden disappearance of their foe. What could have happened to them? Where were they now? Who did this? He brainstormed his mind for any answers, but could come up with none. With so many questions in mind yet not one answer, he decided to seek help from his companions.

"Hey guys, what do you think happened?"

Barret shrugged and shook his head. "Dunno. Mabbe this a punishment from god?"

"Now, since when did you believe in those?" Cloud chided. "What about you, Tifa?" He turned to her for a more reliable answer.

"I have…absolutely no idea what happened, Cloud. How could someone just go missing like this! It’s… it’s just like some powerful magus performed a great vanishing trick!"

Barret nodded in agreement. "The gal’s right. They ain’t Sephiroth, ya know. They can’t just ‘poof!’ and go missin’ like that creep." He paused for a while, then added, "Who cares ‘bout them Turks anyway? Let’s just go."

Cloud simply nodded. He’ll ask Vincent and Lucretsia later. Somehow, Cloud felt that they should know something, or even responsible for it. He walked away and motioned for Tifa and Barret to follow. They traveled a little more, then Tifa stopped dead in her tracks. Barret saw her stop and followed her line of vision to see what was wrong. He too, stopped rooted to the ground. Cloud spun around.

"Something wrong?"

Barret lifted a finger and pointed at Cloud’s weapon. Stammering, he said, "Your… your sword…It’s…it’s…"

Cloud removed his Ultima Weapon from its sheathe. He held it in one hand, and placed the crystal-like sword on his other. Flipping it over, he strained his eyes to see what was wrong. Seeing nothing, he looked up, "What’s wrong? I don’t see any…" Cloud nearly choked on his words. He gasped, "Tifa, your boots! They’re disappearing!"

Tifa looked down. Indeed, her boots WERE disappearing. "Wha…What!?" The other parts of her started to fade away. Cloud and Barret rushed forward to grab her hand, in hope that that would keep her here. "Cloud! Help me!" He reached for her hand, but only managed to catch the air. Cloud fell onto the ground. "NOOO!!! TIFA!" Cloud slammed his fist on the ground in anger.

He stood up and called to Barret. It was only then Cloud realized that Barret was also disappearing, and faster then Tifa. Cloud tried to save him, but then he noticed his fingertips were gone. Next, it was his palm, hands, body, head…

" Just what the hell is going on!?" Cloud shouted one last time, before he faded away totally.



"Huh?" When he opened his eyes, he saw darkness all around him, but there was a ray of light in front of him. Then a dark figure stood against the light. The figure’s silhouette made it easy for Cloud to tell it was a woman. Her features were undistinguishable. But her emerald green eyes shone through the darkness. And, her voice carried a certain amount of familiarity.

‘Angel of Zeal…

Rebirth and reborn…

Death and doom…

Get it…

Get it…’

"What? I don’t understand."

‘Remember…This is your fate…This is your destiny…Remember…’

Cloud wanted to ask more, but a terrible headache prevented him from doing so. He felt weighs on his eyelids; an invisible force was forcing him to shut his eyes.


That was the last thing Cloud heard before he finally blacked out.


For what seem like hours, Cloud regained consciousness. He managed to sit up, leaning against the wall for support. He looked downwards, and covered his face with his arm. The light was glaring. He shook his head to clear his mind. Just then, a deep and coarse voice greeted him.

" Hello Cloud. It has been a long time. " Cloud looked up to see who it was. He had to rub his eyes a few times before he could finally see who it was in front of him. "Vincent?"

Vincent merely nodded. ‘He looks the same. Even his attitude’s the same.’ Cloud thought to himself. After the battle with Sephiroth, Cloud started to care and worry a lot more for all his friends. They had, after all, been through life and death together for the planet. Even though he and Vincent were never very close, Cloud still wanted to see him, to make sure that his friend was all right.

He rose to his feet immediately, with some help from Vincent. "Vincent, why am I here? The last thing I remember was Tifa and Barret vanishing…" Then, it came to him. "Have you seen Tifa and Barret? Where are they?" Cloud asked frantically.

Vincent corrected, "No Cloud, you did not vanish. Neither did Tifa nor Barret. You were being teleported. Lucretsia teleported you from the Gongaga Forest." Cloud gave him a puzzled look that held several questions. Vincent answered his silent queries, "She couldn’t teleport you from Kalm because you were too far from here. And Lucretsia didn’t have the energy to do so at that time."

"So that’s why…" Cloud lowered his head in deep thoughts. He shivered, as he recalled the little ‘vanishing trick’ Lucretsia had performed earlier on, for he felt that it was incredible and perhaps a little unbelievable. Then, he remembered something. "Where are Tifa and Barret?" Vincent pointed to the other side of the cave. Tifa and Barret were coming in. Seeing Cloud awoke, Tifa smiled and quickly sprinted to his side. "Cloud, are you all right?" She asked, her hazel eyes full of concern.

"Yeah, I’m fine." Cloud replied thoughtlessly, as though it was normal. Nevertheless, Tifa looked satisfied with the answer and did not ask more. Cloud smiled, for it felt so good, having someone who was really concerned about him. He then turned to Vincent, who immediately understood this action. "Come, there is much to say." Vincent ushered them into another part of the cave.

The cave was dimly lit with several candles. Lucretsia was resting in a corner, panting a little. ‘She must be tired out by the teleport.’ Tifa thought. Lucretsia saw them and slowly made her way over. She smiled slightly, "It has been a long time. How are you doing?"

"Thank you for your concern. We are doing fine." Tifa answered politely.

"She might be well, but we are definitely not! Let us go!" Reno demanded.

It was only then Cloud noticed that the Turks were here as well. They were however, tied up together by a rope. Reno was obviously very, very angry. It was as though he had eaten some kind of explosive, and was at the verge of explosion, for his face was a shade of scarlet. He stared angrily at Cloud and Vincent. If looks could kill, they would be sporting some serious injury right on the spot. Elena was kicking her legs desperately, struggling to get free but of course, to no avail. Rude, on the other hand, sat still and was rather quiet. He had decided to use his brains rather than waste his energy like what Elena as doing. Cloud tried not to laugh at their pathetic state. ‘So that’s the reason the Turks disappeared before us.’

However, Barret thought the other way and took this golden opportunity to gloat at them. Chances like this didn’t really come by often, from what he had remembered. "Ya know, ya look like three f&$(#ing animals waitin’ ta be slaughtered!"

"Shuddup! You don’t look any better, you f*&#%ing @$$hole!" Reno retorted.

"Whaddya say?! Say that again and I’ll blow you to smithereens!" This time, it was Barret’s turn to fume up.

"That’s enough Barret." Tifa interrupted. Turning to Vincent, she asked about the hasty invitation, hoping to bring everyone’s attention from the little argument back to the topic. "Vincent, what is it that you sent for us so urgently?"

Vincent took a quick side-glance of Reno, then answered, "Something weird is going on. Lucretsia’s been getting strange dreams lately. In her dreams, there was a dark silhouette with a weak voice calling out to her, asking for help." Lucretsia nodded in response, and added, "The voice sounds like that of a young woman. She mentioned something about a magical orb called ‘Angel’ and told me to obtain it. But the problem is, we do not know much about the orb, where and how to get it."

Cloud looked down at the ground for a moment, then lifted his head slightly. He spoke softly, as though he was announcing some really bad news. " ‘Angel of Zeal… Rebirth and reborn…Death and doom…Get it…Get it…’ Is that what the voice was saying, Lucretsia? "

"You… you dreamt of it too?" Lucretsia asked, flabbergasted.

He nodded. The dream was true then. It was too much of a coincidence to be ignored. "I’ve been dreaming of it almost every night. Sometimes, the voice even sounds like Aeris. I thought I was just imagining things or maybe… I just…missed her… too much…"

"What the $##%* hell are ya two talkin’? I don’t get any of it." Barret asked. He then fired a volley of questions at Vincent." What ‘Angel’? Why would Lucretsia an’ Cloud dream of that? What the f$%&^$#ing thing has to do with Aeris? Why get it? "

"I first heard of the term ‘Angel’ when I just became a scientist, during the time when Professor Gast was still alive. According to him, the orb had a special power to it. It worked like magic, yet it wasn’t magic. It was something far more than that. Something a lot more powerful. The professor said it was even rumored that it could revive the dead." Lucretsia answered.

" ‘Rumored’? " questioned a puzzled Rude, opening his mouth for the first time. It wasn’t like the professor to believe rumors. He always said that he would never believe things that was not proven and brought before his own eyes.

Lucretsia gave a slight nod. She knew what the Turk was about to ask. "Yes, ‘rumored’. There was no way the professor could experiment or even see the orb, because it was not even proved to exist."

"Revive the dead? Does that mean that we could also revive Aeris?" Cloud asked avidly.

"It all depends. But we might be able to. But right now, we need to get some information regarding the orb and perhaps, the revival process. This is not an easy quest. We will need to enlist more help."

"Wait, you need help, right? I’m very sure we’ll do a great job." Reno cut in suddenly.

"What!? Forget it! I’d rather have Yuffie or Cait with us!" Barret snapped.

"Why? Why would you do that?" asked Cloud, curiously.

"Because we want to revive Tseng." Elena answered icily. "And we don’t exactly have what is needed."

Cloud considered for a moment. The Turks are good fighters, although not as good as them, but still, they have a way with machines. After all, they did work for Shinra, a huge company with tons of computers, machines and whatnot. They would most probably be of great help. But then, he remembered something. Barret bears a grudge against the Turks, especially Reno. He would certainly make a big fuss. He looked at Barret hopefully. Tifa seemed to have thought of the same problem and did the same. Barret saw them and tried to shrug it off, pretending that he didn’t notice. Then, he realized Vincent and Lucretsia were also staring at him, expecting an answer from him. Barret finally gave in.

"Awright. But don’t come cryin’ ta me if sumthin’ happens." Barret said, wryly.

A slight grin lit up on Cloud’s face. "Thanks, Barret." Then he answered the Turks, "Agreed."

Rude said solemnly, " We will join you this time, but we are not your allies-"

"Especially yours you blockhead," Reno interrupted. He added, "This just happens to be a special case. We will settle the score after this whole operation."

Barret steamed. He headed for Reno’s direction and was about to drive his fist into his jaws when Cloud pulled him aside.

Tifa diverted the attention back to Vincent and Lucretsia, "So, how are we going to get the information we need?"

"Red XIII may know something about this."

"Red…" Tifa recalled the at-first enigmatic ally.

" Alright then, to Cosmo Canyon!" Cloud and Barret said in chorus.

* * * * * * * * * *

From Lucretsia’s cave, the group of eight only had to travel a little ways south before they arrived at their destination. Norito (that guy who’s always at the gate) greeted them politely, "Good day, Cloud. Are you looking for Nanaki? If you are, please head for the observatory. He should be there." Cloud nodded slightly, then headed straight for the observatory, leading the gang. Cloud hadn’t been here in ages, yet, he was too excited to look around. His mind was full of thoughts, wondering about how the orb looked like, whether it would work, and busily picturing the scene of Aeris’ revival. Before long, they were at the door of the observatory. He was so lost in his thoughts that he nearly crashed into the door, but thankfully, Barret snapped him out just in time by bumping into him. Cloud opened the door, and found Red XIII lying on the floor, reading a rather thick book. Red XIII was so engrossed in his reading that he didn’t notice that his former allies (excluding the Turks) were at his doorsteps. It was only when Tifa called him that he noticed, to his surprise, his friends and the Turks’ arrival.

"What brings you all here? Is anything of a problem?"

"Well, we were hoping that you could provide us with some information regarding the process to revive Aeris." Cloud replied.

" Revive Aeris? Is it possible?" Red XIII asked, confounded. Then Vincent tells him of Lucretsia’s dreams and how they all met up again. He listened attentively and stated flatly, "I’m afraid to tell you that I have no idea that it was possible to revive someone, let alone any information on the topic. But I think there might be a chance that the books here might provide some answers. Come, I’ll lead you to the library." Barret and Reno moans at the mere mention of the word "books" and grumble to themselves.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Red XIII led everyone to a chamber. The place looked as though archaic as it is very rundown and dirty, as if it were built hundreds of years ago. It is so dusty that everyone wanted to sneeze, but they tried not to as the ceiling threatened to tumble down at the slightest provocation. However, this chamber housed an astonishing number of books. Books were everywhere. On the ground, on wooden shelves, on the tables. ‘There must be at least thousands of books here.’ Tifa thought. Barret was already experiencing a terrible dizzy spell. Reno looked as if he could die if he needed to read all these books. A good Turk he may be, but reading was definitely not one of his hobbies. Red turned to face them. "I stumbled upon this room only a few weeks ago, thus I was only able to read a few of the books. The books here are extremely thick. I suppose we’ll have to browse through all of them." Everyone nodded.

Red picked up a book that was lying on the ground and started to glance through. He got absorbed into the book almost immediately. Tifa headed for the table where a book with a red cover had caught her eyes. ‘Lifestream? This might just be what I’m looking for.’ She blew off the dust that had collected on the cover and opened it. Barret was frowning while he tried to make out the smudged words on the book that he was reading. ‘Is this ‘Cetra’ or ‘Matra’? Vincent stood at a corner, salvaging everything he could find while Lucretsia read like a scientist (which she is), professionally, taking note of every single detail. Elena read between the lines, word by word. She would not want to miss the slightest information that might save Tseng. They were, after all, friends and Elena harbored feelings for the man. Rude was pretty much the same, reading the books quietly. Occasionally, he would remove his shades, wipe them clean, and then put it on again. Reno was going nuts trying to figure out what the hell the book meant. ‘Damn! What the heck does this mean?’ He gritted his teeth in frustration. The entire place was in complete silence except for the occasional cursing and grumbling of Barret and Reno. Cloud walked to a corner of the chamber and pulled a book out of a shelf. He flipped through the pages gingerly. It was all in an ancient text. He was about to put it aside when some papers slipped out. Bending down to pick the loose pieces of papers, he noticed the papers were yellowish and rather torn. Returning to his original posture, he stared hard at the papers. It was in his language. Suddenly, Cloud’s face went white. It was as though his blood had been drained from his face.

" Red, Vincent, Lucretsia! Look at this!"

"What did you find?" Barret and Reno said in chorus. When the two realized that they had said exactly the same thing, they each gave a disgusted look and Reno stuck his tongue out.

Cloud handed Red XIII the notes, finger pointing at a certain line. The red beast read it once through, " I always thought that this was just a legend… I never thought that it could be true…"

"What legend?" Elena questioned.

" There’s a legend in Cosmo Canyon that has been passed down from one generation to the next. Legend has it that there was a kingdom that floated above our land. The kingdom of the mighty Pacific. It was able to float due to the magic the place held. The ‘Pacifists’, or what you may call them, had the ability to use magic without the aid of materias. Their magic was very strong, especially the royalties’, whose magic could perhaps be comparable to the huge materias, or maybe even stronger. Thus, they looked down on us, whom they called the ‘Earthbounders’. Our ancestors were looked upon as nothing more than trash. And they often went into war in order to conquer more land."

" They don’t seem to be pacifists to me." Barret snorted.

" Barret," Tifa reprimanded, "Red, please continue."

Red nodded, "However, the entire continent of Pacific disappeared mysteriously one day. It was said that the kingdom sank into the ocean as the ‘Pacifists’ lost their magic suddenly," Red sighed, then continued, "Grandfather told me that we are the descendants of the ‘Earthbounders’. We took over as rulers of the land merely because the ‘Pacifists’ died. Otherwise, we’ll still be under their rule. This is part of the history of the planet. It’s very sad, isn’t it?"

"Were there any survivors?" Vincent asked in a flat monotone voice.

"No, I don’t think so. It doesn’t really matter. Anyway, the notes say that the orb ‘Angel’ is located in a holy shrine in Pacific. The floating continent is on top of our world, yet not above our world."

"Don’t beat ‘bout the #&% bush! What do ya mean by the $##%%&*^ kingdom’s on top of us but not above us?" Barret inquired with his usual way of swearing.

" I’m not exactly sure, but perhaps it means that entrance to the kingdom is above us, in the skies, but the kingdom itself is not in the skies. I suppose the kingdom is in the ocean, as the legend had said."

"If the entrance is really in the skies, then we’ll need the Highwind and Cid." Cloud stated quietly. The others only nodded in agreement.

Author's Notes: Hey alright! I copied the idea of Zeal of CT and even used its name. No, I would say 'inspired' rather than 'copy'. And yes, I couldn't think of a better name. But trust me, this story has absolutely nothing to do with Zeal of CT. And by the way, I've always welcomed C & C, so please! Flame me or bomb me. Although I would much prefer compliments... ^_^


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