Step 46: Despair
Step 46: Despair
"Thank you," Cloud's words were sudden, breaking the silence of the Forgotten City as we walked back to Cid's airship. "If it wasn't for you, I would still be..."
I don't feel like saying anything.
"You're an inspiration, worthy of being admired; even after all the difficulties you must have gone through, you still went on. I know what its like to be weakened and trapped," I'm not like you Cloud. "In many ways, you and I are the same," no we're not.
"Can you really say that to this face?"
"I know you look like Sephiroth, but it doesn't matter, you're not him and I know it."
"And if I was?" I'm so tired of hiding.
Cloud shakes his head, "don't worry, I have no doubts. You can't be Sephiroth because he's a traitor, I looked up to him and he destroyed everything!" I suppose it hurts more to be betrayed by someone whom you admired, but you were only another cadet, another human to be jealous of when I thought I wasn't human.
"Don't take it so personally..."
"I know, it's not like Sephiroth knew I existed, that bothers me even more, he probably looked down on me all the time."
"He couldn't look down on you if he barely noticed you at all."
Cloud pauses and looks thoughtful, "you're right, he doesn't deserve to be given so much importance even in memories; he doesn't even deserve to be acknowledged." That's not what I'm saying at all, "thanks for telling me that," I didn't!
"Sephiroth was a hero before the Nibelheim incident. Do you remember Angeal?" He shakes his head in confusion and I continue, "the one who trained Zack, he must have mentioned him. Angeal and Genesis were both friends of Sephiroth, the high ranking generals who ended up disappearing. Don't you remember at all?"
"Angeal..." I can tell Cloud is searching deep in his memories, "Angeal, yes, Zack did mention him and I remember seeing all the generals from afar, Angeal, Genesis, Sephiroth, but why do you say this?"
"I don't even know where I'm going with all of that," this is the truth.
"Inspiration?" Cloud suggests, "the three top ranked soldiers and Zack, they all influenced each other I guess, but Sephiroth was... What ever happened to them?"
"Why would I tell you? You won't properly honor their memories," this conversation is over.
"I honor Zack's memory and I don't remember much about Angeal, but I will honor the tiny pieces I have, he was a good person, Zack said so."
"You don't even know their story..."
"How do you know it?"
"From," my bother? I can't believe I'm still lying, maybe it's best to say, "my other self."
Cloud's eyes widened, "Sephiroth? You and your brother were connected? I see, you got all the negative effects of the experimentations while he got stronger, the sacrificial twin. But that wasn't all; you also got memories from him."
"The twin who was sacrificed..." sacrificed to pain, to despair, to doubt, that's one way to say it. Metaphorically speaking, it is as if the different eras of my life are my other selves. I do remember having other selves, fragments that I feel have returned to where they came from, to me, so why not say it like that? "The part who was sacrificed, the part that existed, back then."
Cloud looks uneasy, and finally reassured, as if something that has been bothering for a long time has been resolved. "I think I understand, the legend and the hero; that was you, the evil one was the other half, the half created by Shinra, by Hojo, if that half wasn't there, it would have been you, all the time, the good half... I don't feel so bad anymore, thinking that I once looked up to a monster, the one I looked up to was someone else, a hero, it was you all along." Great, that's just what I need, I want to punch him.
I shake my head, "I don't understand it," and neither does him, but maybe most if not all people have different sides to them, different selves. "Either way, I'm here now," and I feel like I have a mission to defend this world from the calamity.
"Are you two getting on or what?" Cid calls out from the airship; we reached it and just stood outside talking. We get on and he takes off.
xoxox xox xoxox
While on the way back to Edge, I communicated with the Turks and the news is bad. In the background I can hear Reeve blaming himself for wanting information, though it doesn't make sense until Tseng explains that the calamity attacked the WRO and obtained a secret list of the undercover Turks, which the WRO had previously demanded from Shinra. They were being hunted.
Edge had fallen to chaos so we regrouped in Nibelheim, hoping to find some form of clue in the data kept at the mansion, even if it had already been analyzed before.
I entered the mansion along with an uneasy Cloud, who was soon hugged by Tifa. We were all there, Rufus, Tseng, Elena, Rude, Reno, Cloud, Tifa, Vincent, Yuffie, Reeve, Barret, Nanaki, Shera, Cid and I. Blaze, Marlene and Denzel were there as well, seeing as Edge wasn't safe.
The girl from the databases no longer wore her scientist disguise, instead dressed as a Turk, her previously black hair now black and blue, she doesn't look scary anymore, though to any normal person the fact that she is recognizable as a Turk would make every mental alarm scream out 'deadly'. She seems to be doing alright and has made it here, so her mission at the secret core of Shinra's mainframe system must be over, or maybe she was called because we need all the help we can get.
There are also a few others here I only barely remember, I must have caught glimpses of them in another time, or should I say another life. Some I have forgotten, but some I recognize. The woman with red-brown hair who is tending to the children while Tifa is busy reassuring Cloud, I hear them call her Cissnei. She commented something about feeling the need to return; perhaps she left the Turks and didn't come back until recently.
There is a blond woman resembling Elena, but her expression is quite different, much more serious. Elena and her glance at each other as if holding some sort of sibling rivalry. I would guess they are sisters given the resemblance.
There's also a man with an electro-rod having a play fight with Reno, I don't remember him, or maybe I never knew him, I can't be sure. It seems not all the undercover Turks in the list were hunted down by the creature, the strongest have gathered here, for I have no doubts they must be the best of Shinra to have made it here alive.
The army has gathered and if we do not head into battle soon, the number of casualties will continue to increase, but we don't have a battle plan. How are we going to defeat that creature? How will we even know where it went?
I feel a sudden pain and a cry for help, though many are speaking among themselves, none of them are crying. It sounded like the voice of a child, but the children are composed, though I can tell they are not ignorant to the gravity of the situation. This is no time to be hearing voices in my head, I thought that was over.
This voice, it's not trying to control me, it's calling out to me, crying for help, beginning for protection as if the child was in turn also protecting something precious, as if the fall of this child means the fall of the precious thing that is protected by the child and that is why the child cries so intensely for help.
'Sephiroth... please... help me, save them, that thing is killing me, it hurt so much, it hurts in the same place as before, it hurts so deep and strong!' This voice is not evil pretending to be helpless; it is not from the calamity. I feel it, I know it, I understand it; it is the planet itself. But why is it talking to me? I'm not an ancient, is it because I've been in the life stream before?
"Sephiroth..." That is not the planet; someone else is calling me, "Sephiroth!"
"This is no time to space out, we need to face that calamity, it's on the attack and it will hunt us down. We'll discuss the battle strategy now," Tseng explains.
"No, there's no more time to plan, the planet is crying out for help, I don't know how, but I can hear it. The calamity is injuring it, she's," in the same place as before. There was no huge crater near Icicle when the new calamity landed, so why is the Northern Crater there? I don't think the crater was created when Jenova landed, it must have been later, that must have been a wound she inflicted on the planet. If she gets to the center, the wound will be mortal, I just know it. "The Northern Crater, that's where the calamity is, she's digging deep, trying to kill the planet."
I don't really understand why, but everyone believed me, they had faith in this strange newly discovered ability to hear the planet. Maybe it's something that I could do since I was revived, but I was unable to focus enough to actually listen; I didn't know how to listen. Maybe it's because I understand myself better and came to terms with who I am that I'm really discovering what I am, though I wonder what I will become...
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII. The hour of truth is upon us... one more chapter to go! Since I'm almost done with this story I'm reviving my one-shot collections so there will be more updates for "Missions", "Deliveries" and others! :D