Hope in Love Chapter 3
By Sorceress Fantasia
"Missin! Yeah right! Like its possible." Barret chided.
"Dont mess around with us, old man. We need to get our materia back. She couldnt have ran away cause she knows were comin?" Cid stated.
"No! Yuffies really gone missing!" Godo cried. He was perspiring.
Everyone looked at Cloud for an answer. He phrased his words carefully and politely, so as not to provoke Godo even more. "Could you tell us exactly what happened? Go slow now and dont worry."
Godo calmed himself a little, then started his story: " You know about the materia cave in Wutai? About a week ago, when Yuffie was around, there were reports of a monster there. No one was sure. The townspeople only heard occasion noise from the cave. I sent many people there to investigate. However, none returned. Thus, Yuffie went to check on it. I thought she would be powerful enough to fight off the monster there, or at least provide us with some information once she sneaked back. She was after all, the best fighter in Wutai. So I waited for her to return. But then, shes still not back even until now."
" Wait a sec. How big is that damn materia cave? I remember goin in and it was so pathetically small! How the heck do these f@%$#^*&ing idiots get lost inside? Cid asked.
"No, that cave has lots of mineral. We had miners working there before the whole incident. Its size has been increasing rapidly," Godo paused for a moment, " So after waiting for a week, I sent more people to look for her. None of them returned either. So I went there personally. I didnt find anything except for Yuffies headband and the corpse of a man. The corpse showed signs that it was brutally beaten and covered in a pink jelly sort-of-thing. " Upon finishing, Godo sobbed.
"Could Yuffie be " Barret suggested.
Godo was already on the brink of tears and cried out loud. "Barret!" Tifa hushed.
" Lucretsia, do you think that the monster could be a Cyclops?" Everyone was startled and searched around for the voices owner. It was Vincent. He had been so quiet that everyone almost forgotten that he was with them.
" There is a high possibility "
"Umm, Vincent, Lucretsia, could you two elaborate?" Cloud asked.
" Well," Vincent started, " Cyclops are a rare type of monster. They despise other living things, especially humans. They are very dangerous and territorial. When an animal tries to invade a Cyclops territory, they response by killing it." Lucretsia continued, "Although they usually fight with their claws, but they will also spit a pinkish jell-like substance which is very toxic. One could die from the poison."
" Ive also heard that they like to reside in caves where they put their treasure in. Or sometimes, they guard a certain something in the cave." Red XIII added.
"Something like?" Cloud prompted.
"Im not sure, but I know its something very important."
"Quit all that babbling an lets go find that kid!" suggested Cid. Cloud had to agree; there wasnt an alternative.
Finding the cave wasnt a problem, since they had been there once. But entering the cave was. Although Yuffie may not be the best fighter in the team, she was still rather powerful, being able to fight off a SOLDIER first class single-handedly. Now, even she got caught, everyone had to wonder how powerful the monsters were. Throughout the journey there, Elena kept mumbling, " Dont be afraid Im a Turk "
Once they were there, everyone made a final check on their gears.
"Ready?" Cloud asked. Everyone looked at him and finally nodded. Although it didnt show on their faces, they were all worried.
" Hel---------lo! Anybody there?" Barret couldnt take it anymore. They had been walking for at least five hours (or at least thats what he thinks) and there still wasnt sign of anything.
" Damn! Are there any monsters, or rather, anything in this f$#%#%ed cave at all? Weve been walkin for so long!"
"Sure, theres stones, sand, rocks " Cid stated as-a-matter-of-factly.
"I mean somethin alive, a livin thing." Barret interrupted.
" Well, aint ya one?" Cid chided.
" Grrr "
" Patience. Barret, patience." Vincent replied.
Barret just grumbled, "Yeah right." Tifa sent him a side-glance and Barret finally kept mum.
"Actually, Barret does have a point. If there were Cyclops in this cave, they shouldve attacked us already. Vincent, didnt you say that they were very territorial?" Cloud asked.
"Correct. However, there maybe exceptions or perhaps "
"Theyre not even here." Reno finished.
Cloud was a bit shocked. The Turks had been so quiet that he had forgotten that they were with them.
"What now? I mean, what do we do now? The monsters might not even be "
Then, a soft growl was emitted from inside a cave, which was just a little ways to the north. "Well, you got your answer. Lets check it out." Elena answered.
Cloud took the lead, as usual, with the others close following behind him. What they saw inside was totally fascinating. There were at least a dozen treasures chests, with their tops open. Other than that, there was another pile of treasures sitting in a corner. Jewels, gold coins, gold bars and too many other treasures to name. Some were so rare that no one knew what it was. Even the walls were shimmering with little diamonds. They sparkled as if they were stars in the night sky. Never had any of them seen such a wondrous sight.
"Oh wow! Would you just look at this?" Both Tifa and Elena ran forward. Lucretsia was also attracted to the jewels and walked towards the treasures.
"Women," Reno groaned, "they never change. Right Rude?"
Red slowly stepped forward, and began digging in the pile.
" What the #@$% ya doin?" Cid asked.
"Nothing, just curious. For all we know, there might be some good stuff in here."
Before long, everybody was digging in the pile of treasures. Tifa was busily searching when Cloud called her, with a slight smile on his face.
"Hey Tifa, here. Take this." In his hands was a necklace: it had a thin golden chain and a pendant that looked like a key. Pearls, rubies, diamonds and other precious stones covered the key-like pendant; it was simply breath taking. Tifa was shocked for a moment but quickly regain her composure. " Its so beautiful."
"I found it in that pile." Cloud replied, pointing to a chest. " I thought it suited your hair and eye color. So, do you like it?" Tifa nodded in reply, heart climbing up a few notches. How long has it been since Cloud gave me a present?
"Come, let me help you." Cloud offered. Tifa nodded her head and handed him the necklace. He placed it around her neck carefully and locked it. Tifa turned to face him again and Cloud smiled, "You look great." Tifa blushed. Cloud seldom praised anybody. Then she noticed an even snazzier necklace in Clouds hands.
"Oh Cloud, that necklace youre holding. Its its "
"It looks great, doesnt it? I thought Id give it to Aeris when we get her back."
Tifas heart plummeted and she felt a pain. It was like a needle had pricked her. No. Not one. It was as though a thousand pins and needles was pricking her. She was worried. She was sure her feelings for Cloud were stronger than anyone elses, yet, she wasnt so sure of Clouds. What if he doesnt love me? I know Im in his mind, but what about Aeris? Is she somewhere deeper in his heart? Somewhere more important? More sacred? Red XIII and Vincent soon interrupted her thoughts.
"Cloud, come over here." Cloud walked across the room over to them with Tifa in tow.
"Look at this." In Vincents hands (or claws) was a chest. It was about half the size of the other chests and had a lace of gold around the rim. It didnt even have a lock, unlike other chests. It was in a shade of dark brown, but part of the chest was a lighter brown. Judging from its color and the amount of dust collected on its top, it was definitely an antique.
" Why is this chest here? It doesnt fit in." Cloud noted.
"Strange isnt it? All the other chests look so new. Yet, this one looks so old, so ancient. Apart from that, this chest doesnt have a lock either. All the other chests do." Red XIII replied.
"And look at this." Vincent added, taking out a piece of cloth.
"This Isnt this the type of material Yuffies clothes are made of?" Tifa remarked. She had sewn Yuffies top before when she tore it in a battle.
"Could this be what were looking for?" Lucretsia suggested. By this time, everyone had gathered around the chest, each giving his or her own opinions. While the team was engaged in a heated discussion, Elena felt a foreboding about the chest. Then suddenly, to her horrors, she caught sight of a pair of eyes, fearfully blazing like fireballs, staring out.
"AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!" Everyone turned to her, surprised.
"What happened?" Reno asked. Although he was one who would not express his feelings openly, anyone could tell he was concerned about Elena and of course, the Turks.
"Theres someone ga gazing out from that chest " She answered, her voice trembling.
Cid was rather amused by her, "You mean theres someone inside? Yeah, maybe the chestll start to " He was interrupted by a low growl. " growl?"
The chest started to shake violently, as if it was about to explode. Stunned, Cloud threw it onto the ground. It shook even more violently. The tremors seemed like a virus, and spread to the cave itself. The ground soon started to tremble as well. The tremors kept on going, each time worse than the last. Soon, the entire cave was vibrating. The walls threatened to collapse and small stones, sand, and dust fell from the ceiling. The ground was tearing apart. It was just like an earthquake. Growls could be heard constantly. Then came a deafening roar. Everyone had to clap their hands over their ears to prevent their eardrums from bursting. The ground cracked. An invisible force pressed everyone down onto the ground.
"Help! Someone! Cloud!" Tifa screamed.
Then, just as sudden the tremors started, it subsided.
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