Flames erupted high above the Shinra mansion consuming everything in its path. Dark smoke filled the evening sky forming a shadow of death over the peaceful town of Nibelheim. Everywhere, people fled from the fire taking what little belongings they could save. Some fell to their knees and wept at the loss of their homes or loved ones that the inferno has claimed.
Cloud readied his sword. Years of pent up anger and frustration were about to be unleashed. Sure enough in the middle of the burning ruins of the huge mansion, there was Sephiroth. A few of the villagers ran towards him to ask for help, but they all fled when they saw him slashing anything and anyone who got in his way. Some of them had already fallen before his blade.
"That's enough Sephiroth! I'm going to end this senseless carnage right now!" Cloud took off his helmet and threw it at his adversary. Sephiroth sliced the projectile in two and Cloud saw that his eyes were wide with malice and madness. Clutching his sword, Cloud dashed toward his opponent. Sephiroth let his shoulders and arms hang loosely and moved forward slowly at first. Then, letting his body weight fall to the front, he broke into a running charge to answer Cloud's challenge. Waves of pure energy showered the two swordsmen as their weapons clashed. In terms of skill and strength, they were evenly matched. A smile crossed Sephiroth's lips. He leapt back as one of the materia set in his left armlet emitted a faint glow. Recognizing the attack pattern right away, Cloud raised his sword to protect himself just as the Fire3 spell exploded in front of him. After the smoke had cleared, a look of shock registered in Sephiroth's face as he saw that his victim was unharmed. Seeing his chance, Cloud jumped high into the air, the deadly edge of his sword sparkled in flight as he prepared to deliver the deathblow. "No one can survive this, not even you Sephiroth! You won't only be facing my sword, but also the magnified weight of my body as gravity pulls me to the ground." Even as Cloud had said this, he noticed something new forming behind Sephiroth. A dark transparent shadow seemed to be engulfing his entire body. Suddenly as his weapon neared its target, countless tentacle-like projections, snaked from the shadowy spectre, which seemed to draw its power from Sephiroth. Cloud's vision blurred and he lost his grip on his sword as the tentacles hit his body each carrying the force of a well-executed whiplash. Sephiroth laughed in satisfaction as he saw the body of his opponent tumble lifelessly into the ground. Quickly regaining consciousness, Cloud's eyes suddenly flung wide open, he knew he was in trouble. He saw his sword lying a short distance away from him and he ran toward it in a desperate attempt to reclaim his weapon. Cloud now saw how badly injured he was, his clothes were torn and covered in his own blood and his body felt numb all over, his legs gave in and he crashed forward violently. As the adrenaline kicked in, he crawled the last few feet to his weapon only to see Sephiroth running towards him. Sephiroth's Masamune was back in its sheath and he was in a classic Samurai pose. Cloud closed his eyes, knowing that in a few moments he would feel the cold touch of steel slicing through his neck as his head separated from the rest of his body. Then, as if he was put into a trance, Sephiroth registered a blank expression and stopped dead in his tracks. Turning around, he walked slowly to the far exit leading to Mt. Nibel leaving the town of Nibelheim to its fate.
As Cloud's body returned to its normal state, he felt the full intensity of the injuries that Sephiroth's bizarre shadowy minion had inflicted on him. He couldn't move his body at all. The heat of the flames surrounding Nibelheim now felt dangerously close. A million different questions entered his mind. Why couldn't he beat Sephiroth? What was that weird shadow that attacked him? Would he ever return to his own time? Still, all these questions had to wait. For now, he needed to concentrate on getting as far away from this raging inferno as his body would allow. Then, a pair of gentle hands caught hold of him and softly moved him away from the blazes. The intensity slowly drained away from his face and he gave in to sleep.
Little by little, Cloud awakened to be greeted by pair of emerald green eyes, which were very much familiar to him. His body was bathed in a healing light as a pair of hands slowly traveled over him. His vision was still unclear, but he didn't need them much in this situation. Grasping the hand of his savior, he softly spoke " ... Umm ... Thanks for saving me ... Aerith."
Sirea had witnessed the entirety of the battle between Cloud and Sephiroth. Seeing Cloud in peril, she quickly rushed to his aid, taking him away from the flames. Cloud had fallen asleep in her arms and she saw that he was bleeding with gashes and deep wounds all over his body. As she cast the cure spell on him, a serene expression entered his face. Opening his eyes, she heard him call her for the first time by her old name Aerith.
As Cloud regained full consciousness, he saw that the woman whom he mistook for Aerith was actually Sirea. Yet, there was no mistaking those eyes. Before he could speak, Sirea stopped him. "Hush ... Cloud. It's me Aerith. Rest for now, you're exhausted." Sirea let her hand cover the front of his eyes. "Let your mind relax, all will be made clear." So Cloud did as instructed and as he did so, faint images entered his vision. Drawn from his mind's eye, the dream became more vivid and he watched as the lives of countless men, the memories of the planet spanning billions of years were revealed to him.
Chapter 6 | Fanfiction