Hope in Love Chapter 2
The Journey to Rocket Town
By Sorceress Fantasia
The group of nine had to travel to Rocket Town without any transportation, which means that they had to go through the tedious winding roads of Mount Nibel. Although they are all skilled warriors, the enemies here were annoying to fight with and sometimes a little of hindrance. Especially the green dragons. Their sharp claws and flames could mean death if anyone was not careful. Even with their most powerful weapons, the dragons there were still a threat nevertheless.
Everyone walked on quietly; even the usually noisy Barret kept mute. They were listening to the surroundings, to every single sound, be it a footstep or anything that could gave slightest clue as to where an enemy was. They had to pay full attention. Being caught off guard by a dragon was one of the worst things to happen to anyone. Yet, the road was quiet. Tifa felt a foreboding about Mount Nibel. She had always despised the place ever since childhood. Adults told her never to wander around there and she had always tried to keep away. But when she did go there, it resulted in a coma of seven days. And then, this was also the place her father had died, after receiving a slash from Sephiroth, courtesy of his masamune. She herself had been seriously injured here too. This place held too many scary memories Tifa and long tried to forget. She knew she shouldnt be thinking of stuff like that right now. But the memories were flooding her mind. A snap of a twig brought her back to reality. She shook her head to try to clear her head of all those depressing memories and concentrated on the task at hand. There were no enemies, not to mention dragons. Something was definitely amiss. But what could it be? Soon, the party was at the entrance of the cave which the materia keeper once lived in. It was covered by an evil aura, just as the same as it was a year ago.
"Not one enemy encounter. Guess the monsters scared o us." Barret suggested.
Cloud, however, felt the other way. The enemies were not scared of them, but instead, they were planning for one huge, massive attack to bring them all down at one go. His instincts could feel it. If there is one thing Clouds better than others, apart from his skills, it would be his instincts. His SOLDIER instincts. They were seldom wrong. Cloud prayed silently to himself that they were for once wrong. Otherwise, it would be a hell of a fight. Just then, a low growl was emitted from somewhere.
" Well, maybe not " Barret finished hesitantly.
Suddenly, 3 green dragons materialized, surrounding them completely. There was no escape. In a split second, everyone was in battle stance. One of the dragons growled, then, without warning, lunged at what seems to be the easiest target: Elena. She jumped aside, the dragon claws barely missing her by an inch. Then, the rest of the dragons started to attack the party as well.
The dragon lashed its whip-like tail at Cloud. He rolled aside and quickly retaliated with a blow of his Ultima weapon. The dragon, greatly angered, dived for Cloud. However, a heavy shot on its forehead made it fall to the ground and cry in anguish and pain.
" Yo, you okay?" Barret asked in concern.
" Sure. Thanks." Cloud answered.
The dragon got onto its feet and cast its special skill, Flame Thrower. Fire gathered at its mouth. The dragon leaned forward, and spat hot burning flames at Cloud and Barret. Cloud rolled out of range, but Barret hadnt been able to react fast enough. The scorching flame licked Barrets left arm. He grimaced, but quickly powered up his own attack. Barret fired at the monstrosity once more, this time for revenge. The dragon dodged the attack easily and attempted to crush Barret with its claws. Meanwhile, Tifa had sneaked behind the dragon and delivered a heavy blow at its foot. The dragon let out another cry, its powerful tail sweeping the area behind him blindly. Tifa was caught by surprise and was unable to duck. The great force of the tail sent Tifa flying into the air, crashing into the walls.
" Tifa!" Cloud shrieked, terrified. He felt his anger build up. Cloud executed his limit break upon the unfortunate dragon. Apparently intimidated by Cloud, it cringed a little.
Cloud swirled his Ultima Weapon, then brought it up to his forehead. The air around him circled to form a small cyclone. He leapt, light surrounding he and his sword. With a mighty swing, six meteors fell onto his foe. The monster howled in pain, then collapsed on the quagmire.
"Way ta go, Cloud!" Barret said in triumph.
Cloud ran over to Tifa. He helped her up and let her lean against the wall. Tifa winced a little and breathed heavily. Cloud immediately pulled out a green orb, "Cure." The healing green mist wove their way into her injuries. Tifa felt a lot better.
"I guess so "
"Hey, Cloud! Tifa!" shouted Barret, pointing in Vincent, Lucretsia and Reds direction. The two understood, and ran towards them.
The dragon slammed its tail on the ground, aiming directly for Red. The attack missed Red, hitting the ground beside him instead. He was flunked into the air but he managed to keep his balance and landed lightly on his feet. Vincent gave the monster a shot in its eye, instantly blinding it. The dragon emitted a thunderous cry and crushed the ground with its claw. The ground shook violently, causing some of them to topple over. Red, eager for retribution, charged at the reptile, slicing it with his Sled Fang attack. Barret kicked the Ice materia in, casting ice 2. A spiky ball of ice sunk into the enemy's skin, and the icy coldness traveled down its spine. The dragon howled in agony. Tifa used her deathblow attack. She ran to the enemy, stopped for a second, then spun around and delivered a strong kick on its stomach. Lucretsia finished the dragon off with a heavy shot of her shotgun.
" Two down, one more to go!" Tifa cried delightfully.
At the other side, the Turks were still battling their foe. Rude drove his punch into its tummy and Reno added a shock of electricity with his deadly nightstick. The injured creature made a last attempt and swiped its claws at them, the force was sure to tear them into pieces if they were hit. As the attack was more targeted at Rude, Reno was able to roll away without much effort. The claws struck Rude, but the power had decreased by half as Rude had jumped away. Elena stayed behind, and threw a bottle of hi-potion over to Rude. Next, she cast barrier on her companions again as the previous barrier spell had just wore off. She was running out of potions and hi-potions. Damn, I gotta buy some later. She made a mental note to herself. Cloud went to their aid even though it was clear that the Turks wouldnt neither need it nor would they appreciate it. Cloud thrust his huge sword into the dragons torso, and pulled the sword upwards, leaping into the air. "Climb Hazard!" Tifa and Red advanced from the side and each gave the huge green reptile a heavy blow. Vincent aimed his weapon carefully, and fired a shot. Lucretsia followed up and shot the dragon with the same speed and accuracy. Despite his unwillingness, Barret held an enemy-skill materia. "Trine!" A white pyramid appeared, and swirled around the dragon. The last dragon soon closed its eyes for eternal.
"Cmon, lets leave this place as soon as possible. There might be other dragons around and I dont really feel like fighting them now." Cloud noted. The rest silently agreed. They quickly headed for exit the Materia Keeper had once guarded and left, in such haste that they failed to notice someone lurking in the shadows. The person grinned devilishly.
After another days journey, Rocket Town was soon in sight. Nothing had changed apart from the missing Shinra no. 26. The gang made their way to Cids house and upon reaching it, they could hear the sound of machinery. Cloud pushed open the door and said, "Cid, are you there?" Shera came in from the backyard and exclaimed, "Cloud? Oh, how nice to see you again." Then, she greeted the rest of the party just as politely.
"Shera, is Cid in the house? We need some help from him." Cloud asked.
"Well, hes in the backyard. Hes been busy with the Highwind lately."
Cloud thanked her then headed for the backyard. There he saw Cid standing at the side of the airship, with a screwdriver in his hand. He was perspiring heavily. He caught sight of Cloud immediately and said, excitedly, " Hey Spiky! Whats up? " He ran up to them and ushered them into the living room, then asked, " Shera, serve our guest some tea and be quick alright?"
"Well whatda ya know! The tough boys gone soft!" Barret teased.
"Shut up, Barret!" Cid shouted back, blushing a little. Although he hated it, he had to admit he had been a lot more polite to Shera after he came back from the northern crater. Sheras sacrificed a lot for me and helped me in a lot things and problems too. So, being nice to her is just my way of expressing my utmost gratitude towards her. No, nothing else. Nothing romantic there at all or whatnot. He convinced himself. The pilot was so excited seeing his friends that it was only then that he noticed the Turks presence. Surprised, he grabbed his Venus Gospel which was beside him, and went into battle stance. Cloud understood his actions and quickly stopped him, "Stop! The Turks are here with us because of the revival of Aeris!"
"Correction, its the revival of Tseng." Reno said coolly.
Barret gave him a stare but Tifa held him back. Vincent went on to explain about the happenings earlier. "So we need the Highwind to get to the kingdom of Pacific."
Cid nodded thoughtfully then replied, "You came to me at the right time. Ive been getting rather bored recently. I need another adventure." He thought for a while, " Wait a sec. Do you mean the Turks are gonna ride on my Highwind too?"
"You can always teach us how to sprout wings. Well go there ourselves." Reno sarcastically remarked. Elena quipped, "Yeah, and remember well need flying lessons as well." Rude merely kept mum.
"You!" Cid felt like piercing the three Turks with his spear and barbecue them.
"Cid, theyre right. They havent got another faster way to travel around with us." Cloud reminded.
"Cid, you will have to tolerate a little." Red added onto Clouds statement.
"Yeah, yeah, I get it." Cid scowled.
"So do we head for Pacific now?" inquired Vincent.
" No. We need to get our materia first." Cloud replied.
"What!? Ya mean we gotta go to Wutai and meet that brat? No way!" Barret protested.
Tifa gave him a You should understand why look and Barret finally agreed after some grumbling and cursing.
"Alright then, Cid, take us to Wutai when youre ready." Cloud said.
"Anytime youre ready, Cloud. The Highwind is at your command." Cid replied. Cloud announced, " Well then, lets mosey!" Then he noticed the look on Cids face and corrected quickly, "...er I mean Lets move out!" Cid grinned and muttered, " Gee, the boys learning fast!"
With the Highwind, getting to Wutai wasnt a problem at all. In less than an hour, they were there. Wutai had become the biggest and busiest town after Midgar collapsed. Traders and visitors crowded the place, so many that the locals themselves had difficulties getting around. Cloud elbowed his way gingerly and the others did so the same. It took them at least ten minutes to arrive at the pagoda. They were about to enter when someone bumped into them. It was Godo, with a look of weariness and worry.
Cloud wanted to reply but was cut off by a flustered Godo, " Cloud, have you seen Yuffie? Shes been missing for a week!"
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