Square Wars: The Return of the Paladin Chapter 3

The Forests of Mua

By WarChild

Sephiroth was waiting in the throne room. Where was his puppet? "That fool. He was supposed to be here ten minutes ago." The Dark Knight finally rushed in.
"Sorry I'm late. But Palmer was lacking motivation." the warrior explained.
"Oh yes. I forgot. We strayed of the script because of Palmer's lack of manners." Sephiroth chuckled. "Now then, what was it I needed you for?" Sephiroth took more time thinking on his next lines. "Oh, yes. I need you to call the entire fleet. Have them on the far side of the planet Mua. They shall stay there until further notice."
The Dark Knight was surprised at the order. "But what of the Rebel fleet massing near Guardia?"
Sephiroth didn't flinch. "Nevermind them. Just get the fleet here and return to the Black Omen, puppet. Also, why don't you send Scarlet and Heidegger to Mua while you're at it."
"Yes, my master." the Dark Knight responded. The warrior then left the throne room.

The stolen chopper has finally arrived at the Meteor's construction site. Cid was marveling at the number of spaceships within the vicinity. The job now seemed tougher the he originally thought.
"My, if this thing doesn't work we might hafta get our @$$es outta dis place!" he swore. A voice came in through the radio.
"We have you on our screens. Please identify."
"Transport Chopper Enterprise requesting permission for passage through the shield." Cid requested through the radio.
"Please then submit clearance codes for access." the voice on the radio crackle.
"36, 10, 59, and 97. Geez, where do they come up with these codes?" Cid muttered to himself as he inputted the codes.
Aeris, who was also in the cockpit, answered, "I heard they were taken from some notes of Professor Hojo."
"Did I ask for an answer?! #$^#$^#$" Cid swore. Umaro growled as they got close to few Mana Fortresses. While Cid was coaching Umaro on how to fly like a Shinra transport pilot, Cecil, also in the cockpit, felt a presence.
"The Dark Knight. He's on one of those ships. I feel I shouldn't been on this mission." he muttered.
"You are just paranoid. He could be anywhere." Cid replied. Then he returned to telling Umaro where to go. Umaro, watch it!" Cid warned.

But true to Cecil's words, the Dark Knight was on the Black Omen. The ship was now monitoring those who wished to pass the security shield. Rufus was looking over one of the controllers. The Dark Knight noticed Rufus and also decided to view on the most recent ship that has appeared.
"What is that chopper doing here?" the warrior inquired. In response, Rufus talked through the radio.
"Chopper Enterprise, state cargo and destination." Rufus requested. Cid's filled the radio. "We're delivering parts and personnel to the Mako reactor on the planet Mua." Rufus looked up the Dark Knight for a response.
"Does this ship have code for passage?" the warrior asked.
"They do. I am going to clear them." Rufus said.
"Then clear them. And leave them to me." the Dark Knight order. He said that because he felt Cecil on board that ship. The emperor was right he had to report this.

Cid patiently, or rather impatiently, waited for a response. Finally the radio crackled to life.
"Sir, the security shield will be deactivated. You can continue on with your current course."
"Thanks." Cid responded. "See Cecil, there's nothing here to worry about." That didn't help Cecil much. The Dark Knight's presence was strong. He was worrying. Still, the chopper headed towards Mua without incident.

Great big trees surrounded the Rebel group in Mua. The forest was very wide indeed. As the small strike team moved through the underbrush, a pair of SOLDIERs was seen up ahead. A set of hoverbikes was nearby. Aeris pondered on the situation.
"What do we do? Summon the Phantom?"
"We have to conserve our resources. Maybe we should walk around instead." Cecil replied.
"I say lets sneak up on them and take them out!" Cid declared. He motioned Red XIII and Umaro to come with him.
"Let's be reasonable about this. We don't know how many are out there." Cecil insisted. But Cid didn't listen. As he tried to sneak up on one of the SOLDIERs, he stubbed his toe.
"@#$^@$*@#%^@#^!" he swore. That got the SOLDIER's attention, as Cid tried to knock him down. Another SOLDIER hopped in one of the hoverbikes and sped off, only to be stopped by a Quake2 casted by Red XIII. As Cecil and Aeris joined the group they noticed two occupied hoverbikes. As those two sped off, Aeris noticed the unused hoverbike and hopped on.

"Aeris, what are you doing?" Cecil declared.
"Come on, we're are going on a crazy hoverbike chase." Aeris answered. The Crazy Motorcycle Chase theme cues in. Cecil couldn't refuse. He should at least keep an eye on his sister. So he hopped on, and the two pursued after the SOLDIERs.
Cid, after finishing of the SOLDIER with Tifa's help, finally noticed Cecil and Aeris gone. "#$^#$^#$^! Come back here! I wanna do it!"

The Crazy Motorcycle Chase theme kept on playing as Cecil and Aeris pursued the speeding SOLDIERs on their bikes. Along the way a strange robot with wheels and an exhaust pipe rolled in next to Aeris' bike. "The name's Johnny. I'm the MAN. You can't pass the forest without beating me at a race." the robot declared.
"Go away you stupid cameo from Chrono Trigger." Cecil said, as he ignited his Mana Saber and cut of Johnny's head, and let the rest of the body fly into a tree.
"That wasn't nice you know." Aeris remarked.
"Yeah, but he don't wanna end up redoing this entire scene again just because he beat us in a race. Just make sure those SOLDIERs don't contact their HQ." Cecil replied.

"I already did that, and now I'm going next to that fella over there." As she said that, she sped up, carefully weaving by the many trees until their hoverbike caught up to one of the SOLDIER's. With that, Cecil swung his Mana Saber at the SOLDIERs, forcing him to jump off. Cecil then jumped on the hoverbike. As the two chased the remaining SOLDIER, they passed two more, which joined in the pursuit. Cecil slowed down to go by those two. He swung his saber and knocked a hoverbike out of commission. Cecil started chasing the other one, while Aeris kept on chasing the one ahead of her.

Aeris got close to the SOLDIER. Unfortunately, the SOLDIER got out a laser pistol and started shooting at her. Some of the shots hit the bike and it careened out of control, forcing Aeris off it before it crashed into a tree. In retaliation Aeris used the "????" enemy skill on the SOLDIER, sending him to the ground. With that she fell on the ground, tired from the chase.

Cecil on the other hand tried to get close to the SOLDIER he was pursuing. Yet the SOLDIER kept on speeding sideways away from Cecil. So Cecil tried another tactic. He went way ahead of the SOLDIER's bike and started to ram it. Nevertheless the SOLDIER forced Cecil's bike to go into a tree. Then the SOLDIER turned his bike around and started shooting at Cecil. Cecil reignited his Mana Saber and deflected the shots. Then Cecil chopped off the steering wheel as it flew by. The bike when out of control as it crashed into a tree trunk. With the SOLDIER gone, Cecil tried to contact Aeris with the PHS. Nothing. He decided to rejoin the group.

"Whadda mean you lost Aeris? She was with ya on dat same bike!" Cid swore. He didn't take the news of Aeris' disappearance very much. "Now we gotta find her!" He then started ordering the strike team around. He decided to take Tifa, Red XIII, Umaro, Cecil, Cait Sith, and Robo on the search party while the other party would meet them later at the Mako Reactor. Hopefully, they can still blow it up in time. Cait Sith didn't take this too well.
"Why did I come down here anyway? All that occurs is trouble. I don't like it!" he whined.

Aeris finally woke up. As she looked around to get her bearing, she noticed a patch of flowers. She smiled. She hadn't seen many flowers since she left her home. She enjoyed them, planted them, much to the dismay of her royal parents who said that only the royal gardener could plant flowers. But for her flowers is much of life as leading a rebellion. She kneeled down to take a closer look. But behind her a figure approached. Mog the moogle was patrolling the area for humans. Noticing Aeris, he decided to give her a poke with his spear.
"Hey, who did that?!" Aeris spun around and saw the moogle pointing a spear.
"Kupo. You go away. Leave place now!" the creature insisted.
"Hey, you are a cute little fella. You can talk too." Aeris rubbed the moogle's head. Mog jumpped back in response, not knowing what to do with this human.
"No. You bad like others. They hurt forest. Built evil stuff that bring bad air. Make allies vanish into thin air." Mog responded.
"Whoa, wait a minute. What allies? How they vanish into thin air?" Aeris questioned. The moogle kept point his spear at her.
"All Sprites gone. Stuff suck Mana. They have Mana blood. They disappear for lack of Mana. Humans cause this. Moogles no trust humans." the moogle explained.
"Look, not the entire human race is bad. I'm part of a rebellion group that is fighting the Shinra. They are the ones who are behind the bad stuff. Look, I just need to find a way to my friends and..." Aeris tried to say.
"Me no trust you. Kupo. You go now." The moogle tried to cast a spell, but it didn't do anything. He had a lack of MP. The moogle shook his head. "Kupo. Me stupid. Me waste magic." Aeris saw this as an opportunity as to prove her goodness. She pulled out a can of Turbo Ether. She opened it and gave it to the moogle.
"Here, take it. It'll give your magic back." Aeris said. Mog refused.
"Me don't trust you. Me think it's poison." Aeris, seeing the refusal, realized that she had to prove this was good stuff. So she took out a cup, poured some of the Turbo Ether in it, and drank it. The moogle saw nothing bad happened to her, so he drank it too. It was good. He felt his magic powers coming back. Maybe this lady wasn't lying. Then he noticed the necklace with a white stone on Aeris.
"Kupo, what's that?" The moogle pointed to the necklace on Aeris.
"Oh this? This is materia. More importantly it's supposed to be my real mother's, as I've been told. I really don't see anything good about it." Aeris answered.

"Ooooooooooo." the moogle looked in awe at the strange stone. Suddenly a few shots rang out. The moogle dived in the flowers. In time SOLDIERs surrounded Aeris. Aeris noticed that nearby two new hoverbikes were in the area. She had to avoid being captured. As the SOLDIERs took her away, Mog decided to help his new friend. He jumped out of his hiding places and stabbed one of the SOLDIERs. That allowed Aeris to knock another one with her rod. To prevent the other SOLDIERs from escaping, Mog summoned Ramuh to stop them. The motorbikes were fried, and the SOLDIERs taken care off. Aeris decided it would be best to move on. Mog insisted that she follow him to the Moogle village. But unknown to Aeris, her necklace has fallen off during the battle.

The Dark Knight went to the throne room again. He must tell the emperor of the Rebel's presence. He with stride walked up to the emperor. But Sephiroth was not amused.
"I ordered you to stay on the command ship, puppet." he declared.
"But a rebel strike team with my brother has bypassed the shield and entered Mua." the warrior responded. Sephiroth was surprised.
"Are you sure you felt him, for I haven't." Sephiroth demanded.
"I have felt him. And he's felt mine." the Dark Knight answered.
"If that's so, then go the Mako Reactor on Mua, and wait for him there." the emperor instructed.
The Dark Knight was skeptical. "He will come to me?"
"Yes, my puppet. He will. Soon he will join us." Sephiroth cackled again. This will be the pinnacle of his victory.

Cecil looked around. He saw a bunch of charred bikes. Then something glittered in the grass. He looked down and found it. "Aeris' necklace, with the white materia." he muttered to himself, as he picked it up.
"Hey Cecil! Get your @#%@#% here!" Cid shouted. Cecil rushed to where Cid was. Another destroyed hoverbike was found near a tree.
"Apparently there were more scouts then we thought. But she did leave this..." Cecil showed the necklace, with the white stone shining. Robo and Cait Sith also reported their lack of luck with the search.
"Our sense materia picked up nothing. Nor did Robo's sensors." Cait Sith said, shaking his head. Yet Red XIII smelled something.
"She was here alright, as well as few other beings. But something smells odd..." Red XIII started tracking the scent. The group followed, hoping that it might be a clue. Instead, all they found was a giant piece of meat hanging from a tree.
"EEEEWWWWW! It doesn't just smell odd, it smells like @#%@#%@#%!" Cid complained. But Umaro didn't care. The taste of dried meat didn't appeal to him anymore. An animal recently dead, was now in reach. He grabbed for it, only to entrap him and the others in a very large net. "Great @#%@#^@#^@#%! Umaro, you do nothing but think with ya bloody stomach! @#^@#^@#^&*%^*!" Cid started swearing.

"Will you stop swearing and figure out of this net?" Cecil responded. But Robo was already using his Laser Spin technique, which made many cuts in the net. The group soon realized that they weren't along in these woods, for a swarm of moogles surrounded them. They were either on the ground, on a chocobo, or flying in the sky. They brandished their weapons, pointing them at the group. As they got closer one of them made a grab for Cid's spear.
"Hey! $#^%#$^#$&*%^(! You already got a spear! So let go of mine!" Cid and the moogle started a tugging match for the spear. To calm things down, Cecil insisted that they turn over their weapons until they know what's going on. As the group stood up, one figure stood out in the group in the moogle's point of view.
Cait Sith has made his appearance. "Ouch! Umaro, you better lose some weight!" he sputtered. With his appearance, the moogles gasped and chattered among themselves. They surrounded this strange moogle-like figure, bowing before him. "Hey! What are you doing?" Cait Sith demanded.
The chief moogle, who was in the front, said, "Kupo! You be the moogle god! Kupo!"
Cid, hearing this, asked Cait Sith, "Well great moogle god, why don't you set us free?" Unfortunately, being declared a god inflated Cait Sith's ego.
"Puny humans. I do not listen to you." Cait Sith declared.
"Kupo. I agree. Besides, you be sacrifices in moogle god's honor." the chief moogle said.
"Oh $#^#$^#$&$%*#$!" Cid shouted.

That didn't matter, for the moogles dragged Cid and his friends to their village in the trees, except for Cait Sith. They carried him on a makeshift chair, till they reached the village center. There, Cid, Cecil, Umaro, Red XIII, and Tifa were imprisoned in a cage. Robo was tied up elsewhere. To start the fire for the sacrifice, a group of moogles started dancing. The dancing ritual was stopped when Mog walked in with Aeris. As she walked in she asked, "What's going on?"
"Uh oh! I'm in trouble." Cait Sith mused to himself. He knew he would let his friends be freed at the last minute, but her appearance hastened that need. "Okay. Okay. Stop the ritual now. I command you." he told the moogles. The moogles shook their heads, and returned to the ritual dance. Cecil decided to take matters to his own hands.
"Cait Sith. Why don't you tell them you'll use your magic if they don't do what you say?"
"Well, I don't want to hurt them, but alright. Hear me my moogles, spare my friends, or I'll use my magic." The moogles kept shaking their heads. Cecil closed his eyes and concentrated. The makeshift chair Cait Sith was siting on was beginning to float. In the air the chair spun around. Amazed and frightened, the moogle chief ordered the prisoners freed. With that, Cecil returned the chair to its rightful place, with a shaken Cait Sith. With quick speed, Cecil rushed over to Aeris. Hopefully, the moogles would listen to them now.

And they did. Later that day Cait Sith explained why he was "sent" from the beyond. He told the story of the rebellion and the Shinra. He explained it was the Shinra who caused the evil acts on the planet Mua. He declared he was sent with rebellion friends to free the world and the universe from their tyranny. The moogles were amazed. This strange moogle god had explained why these bad humans were on the planet and he brought friends to stop them. With that, they declared they would help the friends of their "god" and free their planet. It was became a celebration. But Cecil wasn't in a party mood. He left the village center, Mana Saber in hand. He knew what had to be done. Aeris, noticing Cecil's departure, followed in to the outskirts of the village.

"Cecil, what's wrong?" Cecil stopped and faced her. He must explain all.
"Aeris, do you know your mother, your true mother?" It was quite a personal question, she thought. But it was the only way to find out way he's acting like this.
"Not much. Except she supposedly gave me this." She pointed to her necklace. "But frankly, I keep having visions about her. I hear her say I have a great power, but I really don't understand. I'm not anything special. But why you ask?"
"My own parents. I hardly knew them. I never really knew much about them." he replied. This was getting nowhere, she thought.
"Really, Cecil. What really wrong here?" she insisted. Cecil took a deep breath. The truth must be told.
"It's the Dark Knight. I feel his presence on this planet. I can't stay here any longer. If I do, I'll endanger the entire mission. Beside, I'll have to face him." he answered sadly.
"Why is it you have to do this? Why you must face him?" Aeris pressed on. This is it, Cecil thought.
"Well, he's my brother." he finally answered. Aeris was shocked.
"Your brother?! That can't be! How can it be?" She was in denial, but Cecil remained calm.
"There is more to explain. But hear me out. If I'm not successful you are the alliance's, no, the universe's last hope from evil. You are." Aeris wouldn't believe it.
"I don't understand this. You have powers within you. I don't have any." But Cecil knew the truth.
"You are wrong. Your mother was right. You have a great power. I come from a family with a great heritage. A heritage tied to Mana and the lifestream. All members of my heritage receive a blessing from the lifestream. My brother did. I did. And so did my sister."

Sister? Was he implying that she was really his sister? Yet maybe he was right, as well as her mother. "I felt your presence. Stronger than any of the others. I never told this to anyone but I listen to many voices. A lot of voices. One keeps declaring itself as the planet. How is it I can speak to a planet?"
"That's because you are a Cetra. A special magic user born in time of crisis. A rare one. You were designated as the universe's last hope. Now you know why I must do it. My brother, he's still in that heartless warrior. I must save him while I can." With that Cecil gave a goodbye kiss to Aeris, and went off, using the lifestream to find his way. Aeris sighed. This was too much for her. Then Cid and Tifa walked out.

"My, are we in luck. We got our weapons back, extra supplies, and a even better path to the Mako Reactor. We have hit a bonus." Cid declared. But Tifa noticed Aeris crying and that Cecil was far away. She decided to comfort her friend.
"Aeris, what's wrong? Where's Cecil?" she asked. Aeris gulped. She couldn't tell the whole story. She should tell what Cecil's doing at least.
"Cecil said it's something personal. He says he has a score to settle. A great score to settle." she sniffled.
"Wow. Just like Tellah and Golbez in FF4, and Cloud and Sephiroth and Vincent and Hojo in FF7. Apparently there's been a lot trauma lately." Tifa remarked.
"Well, you could say that." Aeris replied. The three looked out at the horizon, not knowing if Cecil should ever return.

In time, he found the hidden Mako reactor on the planet Mua. We walked up to it and surrendered himself. He knew they would take him to his brother. In time, the security guards let him inside. His brother was waiting.
"What do we have here?" the dark warrior inquired.
"We found him outside the reactor. He surrendered to us, yet he has declared he's the only one here. I request permission to search the area for more rebels." the guard replied. The other took out Cecil's only weapon, and handed to the Dark Knight. "This is his only weapon, my lord."
The Dark Knight looked at Cecil, then to his men. "Good work men. Leave him with me. You are allowed to carry on with the search." he instructed. The two SOLDIERs bowed and left. Now brother and brother were the only ones left. "The emperor has been expecting your arrival." the warrior spoke.
"I know, brother." Cecil responded. It would have seemed the boy accepted the truth.
"So, you have finally accepted the truth about me..."
"I only accepted the fact that you were once my brother Golbez..." Golbez. He had no use for that name anymore.
"I have no need for that name now." Cecil was in denial about that.
"Yes you do. It's your true self that you've forgotten. There's still a conflict within you. The emperor hasn't driven it from you fully. That's why you won't kill me, or take me to that mad man." Cecil tried to search his brother's soul. Something was in that part-man, part-machine figure. Nevertheless, the warrior ignited Cecil's Mana Saber, and inspected it.
"It seems you gotten yourself a new Mana Saber. This proves you are a powerful warrior as the emperor has seen." He extinguished the saber, looking at Cecil for a response.
Cecil tried to reason with his brother. "Don't follow the emperor, brother. He has deceived you. Everything that he's told you about him is all a lie. You have no need for him. He's just using you. There's more to him than what he had said to you."
"He's my master. And I follow him. And now, he's your new master." the dark warrior ended. Cecil looked at the warrior's face. The helmet has covered every last bit of humanity in that man.
"So, my brother is truly dead." Cecil remarked. A few SOLDIERs come in, and escorted Cecil and the Dark Knight to his chopper. Sephiroth would be very pleased.


Chapter 4

Crossover Fanfics