Disclaimer: All characters in this fiction are from Final Fantasy 7, an epic RPG by Square Soft. I did not create them and therefore make no claims of ownership. This fiction is simply written for my own and other's entertainment.
A New Beginning
By Wingless Demon
For months the floor of the northern cave had remained quiet. No one would ever be able to guess what awesome powers had clashed within its icy walls. It now appeared to be little more than a pile of fallen rocks and great shards of ice.
But in truth the icy crater was a quiet grave. It was the shared grave of the fallen monster JENOVA and the man whom had been possessed by it, Sephiroth.
Had anyone been present to witness what was about to happen, they surely would have fled the scene quickly in a fit of panic and fear.
Cloud Strife looked over his small, quaint yard and nodded with satisfaction. The place actually looked halfway decent now, and he was happy to finally finish his spring-cleaning. He had little else to do, and all that seemed to matter anymore was keeping his home and yard in good repair. On occasion, one of his few friends from the whole Shinra and Sephiroth ordeal would pay him a visit, but such encounters were becoming few and far between.
When he felt lonely he would often hike through the nearby woods or take a stroll through town, hoping to get at least a little bit of hero worship from the people that crossed his path.
He walked up his porch and looked over the bright, red potted flowers near his door. The sight brought his memories of Aeris to the surface and he gave the plants a sad smile before opening the door and walking into his home. His loneliness was getting the better of him lately and Cloud knew he was slipping into depression. He was running out of things to keep himself busy and he seemed to dwell on times past.
"You save the planet and nobody cares," he said to himself, "strange gratitude."
*tap tap tap*
The former mercenary was startled out of his thoughts by a soft tapping on his door. Cloud bolted back to the doorway without a second thought, only hoping that it was company and not another irritating solicitor.
He opened the door, eager to see whom his uninvited company was, but was only greeted by the sight of his empty porch. "What?" he said, slightly perplexed, "I could have sworn I heard someone knock."
He turned around to go back into his home, but froze in his tracks at the sight of his door.
Stuck in the white, wooden door was a sword; a sword straight out of his nightmares; the sword of Sephiroth; "Masamune."
Cloud seized the sword and pulled it from his door with one violent tug. The long blade came out with ease under his strength.
"What kind of sick prank…" he cursed through his clenched teeth.
He carefully looked around his yard several times, hoping to spot the individual responsible for placing what at least looked like Sephiroth's weapon into his door and fleeing.
Cloud stalked back up his porch and returned to the inside of his home, slamming the door loudly behind him in frustration. He made his way into the living room and plummeted down onto his favorite chair.
The sight of the sword at his side brought forth memories of its former owner. "Sephiroth," Cloud said out loud. He had idolized the man as a hero before he joined the Shinra military, and he witnessed that hero turn into a monster. In those days, his friend Zack had become what he had wanted to be at the time: Sephiroth's right hand man, and a first class SOLDIER.
Even after all that had happened he still wished he had the chance to know the legendary swordsmen as well as his friend had. He wished he had known "the real Sephiroth," and not the corrupt lunatic that was driven by JENOVA. In the end it was still difficult for him to kill his former idol, even after all he had done.
The next morning Cloud awoke early as usual. He went through his normal morning routine: A shower, a quick peak at the TV news, and a filling breakfast.
He stared at the sword resting against the nearby wall as he ate his last slice of toast. His bright, blue eyes roamed up and down the long blade, searching for some sort of visual defect that would give the weapon away as a counterfeit, but he found none.
Cloud stood up and decided to move on through his morning errands. After tossing aside the remainder of his breakfast he set out to check his mail. Usually the only thing the ex-mercenary ever found in his mailbox was bills, advertisements, or most commonly, nothing at all. But to his surprise and delight he found a small package awaiting him in the usually empty confines of his mailbox. He eagerly tore through the cardboard packaging without a second thought, intent on discovering its contents.
The only item in the box was a photograph. Curious, Cloud held it under the sunlight for a better look, and froze in shock at what he saw.
Pictured in the photograph were Tifa, Sephiroth, and himself standing in front of the old Shinra mansion in Nibelheim. "What the?" he cursed, "This is impossible!"
"This photograph never actually existed," the former hero whispered in disbelief, "accept for in my imagination." He knew he was right; it should have been, without a doubt, Zack standing in his place in the photograph.
Somewhat disturbed by the image, he flipped the photograph over, only to discover writing on the back. Written in dark red ink were the words "Find me!"
That was the last straw; Furious, Cloud tore the photograph to pieces and discarded its remains onto the ground. He was going to find whoever it was that was playing these little mind games with him, and when he did, he would make them regret it for the rest of their life.
After stuffing his backpack with the last of his rations, Cloud was finally ready to leave. He decided to include a few elixirs in his bag, even though he doubted he would need them. At the very least this annoying little hunt was giving him something to do.
It had been over half a year since he had been on any kind of adventure, and this would at least give him an opportunity to get some fresh air and exercise. With the giant blade that had been stuck in his door on the previous day resting over his shoulder, Cloud headed down the winding path towards the nearby town of Kalm. Being the only nearby city for miles, it seemed like a good place to start his search for this irritating pest.
The trip to Kalm was uneventful. The only other travelers that crossed Cloud's path were small animals parading carelessly through the wilderness. When he finally arrived at the small yet busy town, the sun had nearly set and night was fast approaching.
Cloud walked through the town square, only offering a quick nod in response to the townsfolk that greeted him. He sat down at a vacant bench in the Kalm plaza to collect his thoughts and watch the last traces of sunlight vanish from the sky.
"Good evening young man," an elderly man said who was sitting on the other bench across from him.
Cloud just nodded at the old man, acknowledging the greeting.
"That's quite the sword you have there my friend," the old man offered cheerfully.
Again Cloud simply nodded; as usual he was not feeling very chatty. "Thanks," he answered simply.
"As a matter of fact," The old man continued, peering up from his thick book, "I saw another man with one that looked just like it the other day."
Cloud's glowing mako irises suddenly widened with interest. "Just like this one?!" He asked impatiently, "What did the man look like??"
"Well, I can't really say," the elderly man responded, "You see he had quite the concealing cloak on and he did not seem too talkative when I greeted him."
"I see," Cloud replied nodding. This mysterious individual had to be, with little doubt, the person behind the sword left in his door and the strange photograph in his mailbox. "Where did you see him last?" the blond warrior demanded.
"Well," the old man said, scratching his gray beard as he thought, "I think I saw him again this afternoon, but without that fancy sword. He was heading for the inn and I have not seen him since."
"Gotcha!" Cloud whispered triumphantly to himself. It had been much easier to track down the prankster than he had expected. Now all he had to do was confront this irritant and this brief retreat would be over.
End of part I
Return to Archive | next