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1. Ensnared in a Different World
Tuesday in the year 0001 outside Shin-Ra Electric Power Company: Suspended fifty meters above the ground atop a central pillar with many smaller columns, the city of Midgar glows green from the Life-stream that fuels the city—a fuel known as "Mako Energy". On top of a large plate that is divided into eight sectors with their own Mako reactors, the Shin-Ra Electric Power Company rests at the heart of the city in Sector Zero, standing mighty and imposing as Midgar's tallest structure. A train rocketed through the bustling city, heading for Sector Eight. The train sharply decreased its speed to a complete, screeching stop. The Shin-Ra Electric Power Company had dispatched two SOLDIER operatives to assess and secure the situation: SOLDIER 2nd Class Zack Fair and SOLDIER 1st Class Angeal Hewley. Under heavy fire from Wutai troops disguised as Shin-Ra troops, Zack took cover behind a stone wall. "They're sure a persistent bunch..." He took a peek and recoiled as a bullet ricocheted off the stone wall. "Whew! That…was a little too close for comfort. Heh, heh." He scratched his head. "Alright." He gripped his Shin-Ra sword as he grinned and ran out into the open,
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dodging the rain of fire. "Out of my way!" He cartwheels, jumps, and slices his way through with ease. He skids to a halt. Silence filled the evening air coated with steam from the train. He raised his gaze towards the towering headquarters not too far away from where he crouched. The green lights illuminated the polluted sky, creating a strange yet alluring spectacle. Zack smirked as he inhaled deeply, rising to his feet as he sheathed his sword. "Well! That was too easy." His thoughts fled when his cell rang. He dug his gloved hand into one of his pockets and pulled it out. He smiled upon reading the familiar name written in white text over a green screen. He flipped the lid and pressed it against his right ear. "Hello! Zack here. What's up, Angeal? I didn't think you'd call me. Did you miss me?" He smirked. "In your dreams. This is serious business, Zack. Do not fool around or it'll cost us." "Yeah! Yeah! I hear ya." He sighed in surrender, unhappy that Angeal completely missed his innocent jest. "I don't understand something, Angeal." "When do you not understand something?" "Hey now! I'm being serious here, Angeal. C'mon; you could at least give me a break. Sheesh!" He rubbed the back of his neck.
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Angeal smirked. "My apologies, Puppy. Please continue." "Why are Shin-Ra troops here attacking us?" "They're not Shin-Ra troops. They're Wutai troops disguised as Shin-Ra's." "Ohhh, I see. I see. M-hm!" "Be on the lookout. They're not finished yet. Stay focused, Zack. If you hope to be SOLDIER 1st Class, you need to learn to have a clear head, got it?" "Focused?" He laughed. "Yeah, no sweat. I got it. I took care of them, anyway." "Don't get too cocky. I see more on your way." Zack turned his head to see more troops pouring out from behind a building. He grinned. "I'm sorry to cut our lovely conversation short, but I'll have to call ya back. Some uninvited guests arrived and it's time to clean house." He hung up, tucking his cell into his pocket as he unsheathed his sword from behind his back. "It seems you guys just don't know when to quit, do ya?" He laughed in pity. "I'll guess I'll have to teach you, then, won't I?" He began to run at full speed. "Well, give me your best shot because I'll take all of you down and become SOLDIER 1st Class!" He
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jumped high into the air and lunged at them with an arrogant grin tugging on his lips. Tuesday, June 15, 2460 outside Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan: "Love comes to those who still hope, even though they've been disappointed; to those who still believed, even though they've been betrayed; to those who still love, even though they've been hurt before." That was what I believed in my whole life with my entire heart. It's what I followed. Even after all the pains I silently, secretly endured alone, I still hoped, I still believed, and I still love…because I know one day all those efforts and all those pains, tears will not be in vain. I will have found that warm, cheerful, bright place at last, a comforting place. I will finally rest in peace within. I wonder if it was ever the same for Him, too, before he fell. I believe, also, that even for Him he will be loved for being him and for what he has done. Sephiroth will know the Real Truth and be loved and saved thus. Well, that's what I really believe in, anyway… "Hey Elisa! Elisa! Hello?" A girl waved her hands in front of Elisa's face. Elisa Sapphire snapped out of her daydreaming state and blinked, removing her pink ear buds as she turned off her slim black iPod. She wrapped the pink headphones around it before
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clipping it to her alloy grey frock with a gathered, layered bust, ¾ length sleeves, and a pleated A-line skirt. The cute, comfortable dress was enhanced by black leggings snuggly embracing her slender legs. The attire was finished off with cute, black slippers adorning her little feet. "Oh! I'm here!" She raised her hand. "I can see that. Now put your arm down, you weirdo. You're embarrassing yourself." She laughed as she lowered Elisa's arm. Elisa smiled warmly. "I'm sorry. I did not see you." "Even though I was standing in front of your face the whole time… Uh-huh… As I was saying, Miss Daydream, are you sure it would be alright if I leave you?" "Leave?" Elisa blinked, not quite understanding what her friend meant. "Yeah. To the gathering over there." She pointed to a gathering at the Final Fantasy X section. "Oh! Yes, of course you can." Elisa laughed. "You don't need my permission, you stupid. What are you? A child?" She laughed. "Hey, I just thought you'd be lonely. That's all."
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Elisa briefly stared at her friend in silence. "Lonely?" She smiled softly as she shook her head. "Nah. I won't be lonely. I'd be relieved of your annoying ass being gone." She impishly smirked, even though the truth was that she'd feel a tad lonely without her best friend Michaela Richardson at her side. "Ha, ha! Whatever, you idiot!" She playfully kicked Elisa's foot. "Go and have fun. I'll be right here if you need me." She smiled. "Okay. Bye-bye!" She waved as she ran off, disappearing into the crowd of fans and tourists. Well! She sure didn't take long to say her farewell, did she? "Humph." But then again if I was in her shoes and I went to see Sephiroth, I'd react the same way, too. If it meant I could see him, I wouldn't waste a second. Elisa heavily sighed. "Oh well! There's no use in thinking about it right now. It happened already." I should've brought my favorite violin to play upon. What am I to do while I wait for her to be finished? I'll be bored at this rate! Elisa sat down upon a stone bench near an oriental garden. Out of all the stores she had seen in her lifetime, Square-Enix Merchandise Store was truly noteworthy in the fact that it held the
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life-sized replica of Sephiroth and that its structure was a style to marvel at. The building was made of strong glass. Its grand towers ranged from large to small and were shaped like the crystals found in Sephiroth's biological mother Lucrecia Crescent's cave. In the heart of the cluster of crystal-shaped towers rested a large glass dome (the lobby in which Elisa was sitting at) housing various plants, fish, and birds. The year was 2460. The world was renewing itself using Green technology to reverse the tragic effects that were harming the planet and the O-Zone. Green was now the "cool way" of the world. The air in Tokyo was cleaner and the sky was brighter than it ever was in the past, after arduous work for years by the people. The health and fit lifestyle of the citizens had also dramatically improved. With the brilliant sun hanging high above the dome, Elisa pops open her green can of orange juice. She looks up, smiling softly as her thoughts drift away yet again. "The sky's so blue today… If I had wings, I would love to fly up there right now," she muttered happily. She took a few more gulps of her drink. Her eyes shifted to the crystal towers overshadowing the dome. They reminded her of the crystal that encased Lucrecia as well as Sephiroth. An image suddenly flashed in Elisa's mind of Lucrecia pleading to see her son and saying "help him". Elisa stooped,
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holding her head as if she had a horrible migraine. Jenova's face then appeared in seething flames. Sweat began to collect at her temples and forehead. Her heart and bloodstream raced with fear, causing her breathing to become quick, short, and irregular. Then Sephiroth's face appeared as he turned around to look at her. Elisa's heart gave a big pound against her chest as she toppled over. Pain riveted throughout her body as she lay helplessly on the floor, burning up and paralyzed by fear and shock. Her abdomen than cringed in pain and Elisa clutched it as she curled up, gritting her teeth. "What's…happening to me?" She shut her eyes, drifting in and out of consciousness. Black was all she could see…and then a worried, pleading voice echoing. "Elisa! Elisa!" Michaela shook her. "Elisa, please wake up!" Elisa struggled to stir herself from the heavy feeling that pressed upon her. She slowly opened her eyes, the pains and intense vision fading away. She was able to catch her breath and breathe normally, and the burning sensation had also passed. "…Michael?" She stared at her friend as her vision began to focus and return. Michaela sighed heavily. "Thank goodness! You scared me to death." She placed a hand over her chest.
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"What… What happened?" Elisa placed a hand on her forehead as she slowly sat up. "That's what I'd like to know. I saw people gathered around where you sat and muttering. I saw you lying there on the floor. I carried you here to this hallway where no one could notice us. It was embarrassing, you know?" Elisa rubbed her head, trying to understand the strange, sudden situation. Just what did happen to her? "Ah, I'm sorry, Michaela, for causing you trouble." "Don't be!" Michaela shook her hands. "I'm just relieved that you're okay. Just what happened?" Elisa tried to recall as she silently stared at the black marble floor—black…just like the color of Sephiroth's attire. She knew exactly what happened to her, yet to explain just that to her friend would've definitely made her sound like she was suffering from insanity. It wasn't insanity…or so she thought. She was perplexed. "I…had a strange vision." "Vision? A vision of what?" Elisa shrugged her shoulders and lied. "I don't remember…"
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"Hm. Well, anyway, stay close to me, 'kay? I don't want something else bad to happen to you." Elisa silently nodded her head. "Oh gosh!" Michaela abruptly rose to her feet. "What?" "I totally spaced out!" Michaela stood in a determined pose as she pointed at Elisa, grinning. "We came here for the sole purpose of seeing the one and only amazing, sexy, bad-ass Sephiroth—well—you, that is." "Oh… Geez!" She slapped her forehead. "I thought something bad happened. Well—" "There is no 'well', missy!" She grabbed Elisa's wrist and pulled her to her feet. "We—you are going to go see him. We came here to see him, ya know. It would hurt his feelings if we didn't say hi." She dragged Elisa behind her as Michaela paved the way through the crowd. Right. I'm sure Sephiroth truly cares about whether we saw him or not. His feelings would be far from hurt. If anything, he's distant, calm, and indifferent. He keeps to himself and no one else and he's quiet, too, always by himself. "Hey Michaela!" Elisa began to notice the crowd was growing and that her friend was in far too much of a hurry. "You're going too fast."
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"Oh hush! There's no time to waste." "But Michaela… Michaela!" Elisa's hand slipped away from her friend's hold as she was swept away by the excited fanatics. Her friend was nowhere in sight and she couldn't hear her voice either. She looked around. She sighed heavily as she stepped aside so as to not be knocked down by the crowd. "Well, so much for that plan. I don't even know where to look for Sephiroth. There's no way I'd find him in this crowd." She woefully looked around. What a disaster! She's too much sometimes… Elisa sighed heavily again. "Besides, I'm sure he's surrounded by tons of giggling girls." She narrowed her eyes and turned around, aimlessly walking around and glancing at merchandises. Time seemed to have quickly flown by for Elisa. One minute she was trapped in the massive crowd, losing her friend, and the next, she found herself stumbling upon a dark, empty hallway. "What the…?" Elisa blinked and looked around. "How'd the hell did I end up here?" She peered down the dark corridor. It was strangely…quiet and alarming. The floor was of black tiles and the walls were painted black, too. "I'm lost..." Elisa gathered up her nerves and cautiously walked down the hallway. Her footsteps echoed and the air was temperate. A shiver crept up her spine as she clutched her hands over her chest, glancing left and right. It was very odd that not a person was in site—no security, no
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giggling fan girl, no one. It was just her, the silence, and the long, dark, black hallway. She couldn't help but feel something was wrong. "H-Hello? Is anyone here?" She approached a crossroad and tentatively peered around a corner. Elisa saw something black, thin, and sinuous dart across the floor of the hallway. The sound of disturbed water followed immediately after. Elisa's body froze and her eyes widened. "WWhat the hell was that?" She swallowed hard and retreated behind the wall, leaning her back against it as she tried to calm herself. "That wasn't natural," she muttered. "That didn't look natural. There's nothing like that here, right? It's definitely not natural." She tried to laugh in hopes of calming herself. It failed when she heard another water sound. Elisa darted from her spot and ran down the long hallway without stopping or glancing behind her. She didn't know where she was going. She just ran wherever her heart told her to, turning this way and that down many corridors. She could still hear the strange water sound as if it was pursuing her. "Ahhhhh! For heaven's sake, leave me alone! I'm just trying to find my way out! I'm lost, okay?" Choosing a random door, Elisa opened it and ran into the room, hastily closing the door. She was oblivious that the strange
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entity had quietly slipped beneath the crack of the closed door. "Geez!" Elisa panted. "This…is not what I planned at all today." After taking a moment to catch her breath, Elisa placed her hands flat on the door, pressing her right ear against its surface to discern if any life was on the other side. There was nothing but a deadening silence. "Is it…gone?" She took a step back for precaution as she swallowed hard. It was at this moment her exposed skin felt the decrease in the room's temperature. It was cold now. She turned around, discovering that she was in a storage room with no windows. Did they lower the temperature? No… Well, maybe but this—this doesn't feel right somehow. Annoyance suddenly pricked her heart. She was tired with the ridiculous events suddenly happening to her. She narrowed her eyes. "This is stupid! I'm going back." She turned around, walked, and stretched out to open the door but it suddenly locked from the outside. Her eyes widened. "What the…?" She banged on the door. "Hey! Hey! Whoever locked this door, open it up! I'm in here, damn it! Don't lock me out. Hey! Hey!" She banged on the door again. "What a jerk!" she muttered. She kicked the door in anger. "You stupid jerk! Open this door!" Suddenly a gush of water could be heard nearby and Elisa sharply turned around to see black water suddenly streaming in like the taps were being turned on. There weren't any holes, no
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windows, no place for water to come out from, and yet water was somehow pouring in and filling the room. The water was at her ankles and rapidly rising. Elisa tried to open the door again, ferociously banging on it again in hopes someone could hear but there was no one. She was all alone somewhere in the building. "This cannot be good." She turned around and looked about the room. The water was now nearing her waist. Elisa quickly ran through the water as best she could to reach the other side of the room so she could grab something floatable; however, the force of the current was pushing her lightweight-body in different directions, making it difficult for her to get a hold of any object. Yet she kept trying, stretching out her arm and fighting against the water. She managed to grab a wooden lid to a crate. She quickly laid it flat on the water and held it dearly, making sure she didn't apply too much weight to where it would slip out from underneath her arms and betray her. It wasn't long before the water was now to her jaw and the ceiling a foot away from her head. She still couldn't understand how any of this happened. Half of her was afraid and uncertain and the other half was confused and annoyed. She couldn't help but wonder what was to become of her. "How did this happen? Is this some kind of death sentence? What did I do to deserve this?" She rested her head flat on the wooden lid as she allowed herself to flow with the water. The
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room fell still and the water did not rise or fall. The alarming feeling returned to Elisa's heart again. Something was right. Her attention increased as she raised her head. She had to be on her guard. Anything could happen. As for her legs dangling helplessly in the deep water, she knew it was pointless to do anything. She was vulnerable. She could only hope that she wouldn't be dragged under and drowned, but what was in this room that could possibly do that? A black, wispy entity slowly weaved its way towards Elisa, gliding on the surface of the water like some kind of water serpent. Elisa just watched it in silence as she blinked. Her breathing had slowed down considerably. Her breath was quivering now and she began to feel cold either from fear or from being submerged in the water for a while. The strange entity stopped close to Elisa and raised its head a little. Elisa knew that it had a mind of its own, probably sinister by the appearance of it. It almost looked like it was Geostigma but how could that be possible? Geostigma… Ha! That's impossible. There's absolutely no way Geostigma or anything from Final Fantasy VII could be real here. It is just a mere story. The black entity moved closer to Elisa's face. It was as if it was staring at her, trying to see into her soul. Elisa just blinked and for some reason blushed. Maybe it…has to do with Sephiroth? Wait! What am I saying? This is stupid!
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Elisa swallowed to keep her fear at bay. She remembered the information about Geostigma and what it fed on. It fed upon fear, despair, hatred, and any other emotions that were dark and negative. If one was cheerful and optimistic, they were safe and immune to its effects. Dwelling upon these thoughts, Elisa felt her control over herself return. She felt determined, anxious, and excited. She intently stared at it. "Either you want something from me or something is supposed to happen. If it is the first, tell me now. If it is the latter, please stop wasting my time." The entity closed in on her, snatching away the wooden lid Elisa was holding. She fell under, flailing her arms and legs about as she tried to reach the surface; however, the more she tried to swim up, the further she sunk. And she couldn't hold her breath for very long, either. She fought with all her might to live but without air, her body and her attempts would be useless. So this is how I will die. I never thought…that my death would be so boring. To die alone…is sad. I have so much to live for yet… Yet I can't seem to move. I'm sinking deeper. Elisa accepted her death. No matter how deep her determination was, she saw that in the end, it would have been She opened her mouth, unable to hold her breath, and awaited the sharpening pain strike her heart as water filled her body. Nothing happened.
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Elisa ceased all movements and stared blankly at the nothingness before her. She blinked. She was still moving. She was breathing! W-What? How is this possible? I should be dead…shouldn't I? "Maybe I am dead…" She gasped and covered her mouth. "What the hell? I-I'm talking underwater! No way?" She looked around in panic. "What's going on here?" She searched for that strange entity but it was nowhere to be found. Elisa relaxed, feeling tired and fed up with this strange day. She fell backwards, floating. "Ugh! This is too much. I don't get it at all…" Her eyes softened and she stared at the twinkling surface above as she felt her body slowly sway in the gentle current. It looked as if she was floating in space. There were tiny white, sparkling dots in the water. It was strange yet beautiful. Elisa raised her hand and touched her hair that floated near her face. It looked like seaweed dancing with the water. She smiled. "What a strange feeling…" Elisa suddenly saw someone swim towards her. The closer the person came, the more Elisa realized the person was a lady. She was beautiful in her war-like gown. Her hair was long and golden and she had great big wings and a large staff in one hand. It was at this moment she recognized this person. She stared in awe as she reached out her hand to touch hers. "Goddess Minerva…" she spoke without conviction. The Goddess embraced her and softly whispered something into Elisa's ear as she guided her out of
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the black water. Elisa blushed as the words filled her head, trying to fight against the urge to shed a tear. Elisa suddenly found herself plunging through a clear blue sky and encompassed by a strange yet beautiful ice blue shaft of light. The Goddess released her hand. "W-Wait! What's going on? Where am I?" The Goddess spoke not a word but only smiled as she raised her staff. Elisa watched her fade away as she fell further and further down. Elisa raised her head and noticed a sea of white clouds coming her way. She sliced through them, unable to see anything for a moment. She then saw a dark desert with a large grey object in the center. The place appeared to be polluted and devoid of life. Feeling light-headed from this sudden, frightening, and confusing ordeal, Elisa drifted in and out of consciousness. Her eyes constantly closed and opened. Her vision was losing focus. She clutched her hands over her chest, accepting her fate, and passed out. Elisa crashed a few miles outside the large metal, grey structure, throwing up a cloud of aquamarine glow from the fresh crater. The shaft of light that had swathed her body flickered and vanished. There, at the center of the crater, Elisa lay dressed in an elegant olive-colored bikini top and a matching gown split at the hips, exposing her slender legs. The flattering gown delicately embroidered and sewn with tiny gold beads lightly fluttered in the breeze. Her long golden hair spilled into wavy locks over her small
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shoulders. Elegant carnelian cuffs embraced just above her elbows, and from them translucent olive-colored sleeves flapped and twirled in the soft breeze. A cloud of dust rolled over Elisa's beautiful, immobile body that now rested in a crater cut into the earth of an unknown, new world. The crater was now outlined by people dressed in black official suits and neck ties—the operatives of The Turks. Behind them, a helicopter gradually and carefully landed. Its sides were marked with the Shin-Ra Electric Company's logo. The sharp, spinning propellers gradually slowed to a halt. A stern man with dark hair pulled back into a short ponytail walked towards the crater's edge. A red dot marked the center of his forehead. He stared, arms crossed, at the fair lady resting below. A female Turk stood at one side of him and a man at the other. The male Turk whistled. "That's quite the sight, boss. She's quite the eye-catcher, if I do say so myself. For an alien, she's quite the temptress." "Oh be quiet, you idiot! We all know what your true intentions are," scoffed the female. "Hey now. That's not very nice, Cissnei. Since when did you become so snippy?"
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"Humph." Cissnei simply glanced at him with a smirk, crossing her arms. The conversation broke when a serious, annoyed voice spoke. "That is enough, you two. We have a job to do." He looked up at the sky and then back at the body. He placed a hand on his chin as he silently contemplated. I wonder where this girl came from. Surely she's not from the sky. That would be impossible. There's nothing up there—no fortress or city…. Who is she? …What is she? "Bring her to the helicopter unharmed. This one is delicate and no doubt of great use. There's much I'd like to question her about." "Who is she, Tseng?" "I don't know. I'm sure this will all be cleared up soon. I'll interrogate her personally. We're keeping this undercover, understood? Just until we figure things out. Whatever we discover, we'll go from there. Go now." He pulled out a cell phone from his pocket and began dialing a number. "Yes, sir." The Turks descended the crater to obtain unconscious Elisa.
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2. In the Hands of the Turks.
Elisa moaned. Voices… I hear voices. Who's there? Her closed eyes squinted. It's so bright… She slowly, hesitantly opened her eyes, blinking as the bright light struck her naked, half-dazed blue eyes. Everything was white to her. She still wasn't fully conscious. "Where…am I?" she muttered as she languidly slid a hand up to her forehead. "Am I…in heaven?" Her heavy stupor began to wear off. Her eyes were fixed on a white ceiling as her focus returned to her eyes. "That's an interesting way of putting it but no, you are not," answered a strangely familiar voice. Elisa slowly shifted her eyes to see who the dark figure beside her was. Her eyes widened. Tseng! No way? That's…it couldn't be, right? I mean, this has to be some kind of dream or a joke, right? Yeah, that must be it. He must be a good cosplayer. "Is…there something wrong? You're staring at me rather…deeply." "Eh?" Elisa turned slightly red and looked back at the ceiling. "No." She cleared her throat and lightly laughed. "You're just…a good cosplayer." "A cos…player?" Tseng raised an eyebrow.
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"Yeah." "I'm…afraid I do not follow you." Perhaps she means I am a playboy. Tseng smirked. "I wouldn't know." "Eh?" Elisa looked at him as if he was a fool. What sort of response is that? In this modern world, how could he not know what that meant? Somehow I get the feeling he completely misunderstood the word. But the longer Elisa observed him, the more she realized by his facial expression that he was perfectly serious when he said he did not understand. Elisa's face fell. Oh no… So he…doesn't know, then, does he? Then could that mean that he's actually the Tseng from Final Fantasy VII? This… What the hell's going on here? Elisa closed her eyes and groaned. "What's the matter now?" "Nothing." She placed her hand on her forehead again. "I just…realized I did something stupid." "I see… It's not a problem." Elisa abruptly sat up. "But it is a problem!" "Whoa! Slow down." Tseng wrapped his fingers around Elisa's arms. "There's no need to become so excited. It might make your condition worse and cause you to pass out." He gently lowered Elisa back down.
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"…Condition?" Elisa's body relaxed. She couldn't help but feel alarmed, worried when she heard that word. She looked at her hands in fear. Am I…an experiment? If I had passed out, did they do anything to me? She looked pleadingly at Tseng. "What do you mean by that?" Tseng sighed as he stood erect. He understood from Elisa's expression the fear and worry that haunted her. "You don't need to be alarmed. Nothing has happened to you. I suspected you might not know. It is safe to say, then, that you have no recollection of the event. Am I right?" "…Event? What event? What do you mean?" "So you don't remember, then. I see…" He placed an index finger on his lips in silent contemplation. This makes it more interesting. She falls from nowhere in the sky, has no recollection of anything beforehand, and her clothes are foreign. Who is she and where did she come from? And why? Elisa slowly sat up again, bringing her legs up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them, resting her chin on her knees. "If you know something about me, please tell me. I have the right to know, if it's about me."
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"I should be asking that question." Elisa looked at Tseng in confusion. "I should be asking you where you came from, who are you, and why you fell from the sky." "Wait; back up. I fell from the…sky?" Elisa blinked. "Yes, according to the reports we were handed. That is all I know about you. You fell from the sky in a shaft of ice blue light." "I did?" Elisa stared dubiously at her feet. I guess that makes sense, since I remember falling and seeing Minerva. I was swimming in darkness, too, I think. I think Sephiroth was there. I can't…really remember. "Everything's hazy." Tseng looked at her from the corner of his eyes. "I'm not entirely sure what happened. In fact, I'm not sure I remember correctly. I have guesses but…I'm fixed on believing they're just a dream—that this whole thing right now…is nothing more than a dream. Yet when I look at you," she turned her head to glance at Tseng, "and this room, the feel of these white sheets, the touch of your hand… I am not certain if everything I thought had happened…was a dream. I'm beginning to believe they were real just like talking to each other feels real." Elisa smirked. "To be honest, I'm pretty damn scared right now. I mean, I have no idea what's going on, why this is happening to me, and if I am really dreaming or not—if I'm actually dead and this is my afterlife."
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Tseng's face fell as he reflected on the conflicting emotions that he sensed was tearing Elisa apart inside. While Elisa appeared calm on the outside, Tseng could see confusion and fear in her eyes. So she really doesn't remember anything. It wasn't a lie. And because there is some kind of gap in her memory, fear is filling those holes. It's only normal to react this way but…it's a little sad to watch. She doesn't remember anything and there's a high chance that she doesn't even know who she is or where she came from. To be unable to know who you truly are…is scary. Tseng smiled small. "I won't ask anything more from you. It would be a waste of time and it would be too much for you to mentally bear right now, considering the state that you are in. There are no doubt a lot of questions you seek answers to…just as I. But I think for now I will release you." "…Release me?" "Yes. There is no need for me to keep you here, is there? You do not remember anything and I do not know anything about you. It wouldn't benefit either one of us if you remained…isn't that right?" "I-I guess so…" She stared at the floor. "I guess I was just surprised to hear that I'd be released. I was certain that I'd be a prisoner for…who knows how long."
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"There is no point in keeping someone who holds nothing of value. It is that simple." "M'm. Thank you, Tseng." "Hm? You…know my name?" Tseng was shocked. "How?" Elisa turned red. Shit! Saying his name just came out so casually. I said it like I was alone. I've long been used to the characters in Final Fantasy VII that I just never thought that something like this would happen. I know he won't believe me if I told him exactly that. He'd likely think I was insane or something. Damn it! Think, Elisa! Think! "Well," she rubbed the back of her neck, "I heard voices when I was passed out. At least…I think I heard voices. I only remember hearing Tseng. I guessed perhaps that was your name, since your voice seemed familiar to me." "Hm." Tseng stared at her in silence for a moment, trying to catch any sign of lying. Elisa stood her ground and just smiled warmly. "Yes, that is my name. At least you remember something. Perhaps as time passes, your mind will slowly gain its memory." Elisa's face fell. "Maybe…" "Do you not wish to remember?"
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"I'm…afraid of what I might remember. I'm afraid I might not like what I will remember." "I see…" Tseng frowned. He sharply turned around and headed to a side table next to the room's entrance. He picked up a green bag and shifted his body to where he could look at Elisa. "I believe this belongs to you, yes?" "Yes, that is mine." "It was found beside you. The contents in here…are strange. I have never seen them before. You must have come from somewhere far away, somewhere…remote and unknown to many." Elisa tried to smile as if she was happy to hear that, as if she was happy about her world. I guess you could…describe Earth that way. Heh, heh. "I suppose that's one way of describing my home, yes." She lightly laughed. "Here." Tseng handed Elisa's messenger bag over to her. "Thank you." She swung the strap over her shoulder and head. "You didn't take anything out of it, did you?" "No." "Good. Considering…I'm foreign, I think it only best that my things stay with me…for the safety of everyone else and of this city."
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Tseng firmly nodded. "That was precisely my notion." Tseng dithered on whether to ask this or not. "May…I ask what your name is?" "Elisa. My name's Elisa Sapphire." "Elisa…" He smiled small before placing his hands on her shoulders. "Listen to me closely to what I will tell you next and listen well. I will only repeat this once. If you fail to listen or you forget it, do not expect the same courtesy I showed you today." Elisa felt alarmed by this but she hid it away. She firmly nodded. "I do not know how or why but somehow you came here through that ice blue shaft of light in the sky. I can tell that you posses something…great. I don't know what that is but somehow you know about me and I suspect other things as well. There are people in this world that would use that to their own selfish advantages. No one knows about you except for Cissnei, me, and my men that were with me the time I procured you. They will not disobey me if I tell them to keep silent about you. Before I leave, please, for your safety, I advise that you stay low. Leave this place. Don't come back here again. If you do, you bring your own peril upon you and I will not save you again." "But I'm not afraid of—"
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"It's not a question of if you're afraid or not, Elisa!" Elisa was shocked at the sudden exclamation. Tseng noticed this and cleared his throat, blushing slightly as he adjusted his necktie. "It's a question of if you want your powers—whatever they are—to be in the right hands or if you want them to be in the wrong hands. Whatever you choose, the fate of this world, I feel, will follow." Elisa blinked in horror and shock. "W-What do you mean? Powers? What powers? I don't have any powers. Y-You must be crazy." "Maybe I am but when I took a sample of your blood while you were unconscious… Well, let's just say it's unique." "And the blood sample—what did you do to it?" She grabbed Tseng by his jacket, shaking him as she looked into his eyes with a pleading look. "I destroyed it." Elisa released him and sighed in relief. "Thank goodness… I'd hate…to find out I was an experiment of some kind." "…Experiment?" Tseng's ear twitched and he stared suspiciously at her. "Why…would you think this?" "I guess…it's just some fear I always had since I was little. I always feared that one day I might wake up and be different than
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the rest of the world—that I'd posses something bigger than myself. It's scary….just to think about that." "I see…" Tseng frowned. "You're not an experiment so do not worry. Enough. Time is running out." A knock sounded and Tseng pressed a button beside the door. The door slid open, revealing a redheaded female Turk. "Cissnei, what is it?" Cissnei leaned forward and whispered into Tseng's ear. "I see. I'll meet him right away. Do not say anything. Go." "Yes, sir." Cissnei bowed and left. Tseng turned his head to look at Elisa as he stood framed in the door way. He stretched forth his hand. "Come." Elisa rose from her bed and slowly walked over to Tseng. He was looking down the corridor both ways in caution. He grabbed her arm and whispered, "You may not know this but your arrival has stirred some rumors in the city. People claim that you are an angel that arrived from that blue shaft of light. You've suddenly grown popular somehow, although no one has seen your face. I was informed they call you 'Angel of Light' and 'Heaven's Tear'."
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"I-Is that…so?" Elisa sheepishly smiled. I guess that's cool, although I think Sephiroth's own titles are far cooler than these. "Do not ask me how the people thought of that. Perhaps it has something to do with the light coming forth from the heavens. I do not know. Here," he dug into his pocket and handed Elisa a black object. "You might need this." "A gun?" Elisa blinked. "What for?" "It never hurts to be prepared for the unexpected. It might come in handy when you've nothing else at your disposal." "Right." Elisa tucked it into her messenger bag. "I…do not know my way out…nor do I know this city. I am not accustomed to this…place." "I wish I could help but I've helped enough. You'll have to fend for yourself. I'm sure you'll bump into someone who will help you." "I…hope you're right." Elisa lowered her head in hopelessness. She heavily sighed before looking up at Tseng. "Well, thank you." She held out her hand. Tseng stared at it for a moment, hesitating, before firmly shaking it. "You're welcome. Now go before it becomes too late for you. Don't look back, don't come back. You keep on running,
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do you understand? If you don't, I'll have to apprehend you as if none of this happened and you will be a prisoner. Leave before I change my mind about this!" "R-Right!" Elisa quickly bowed and ran out of the room and down the long white, sleek corridor. Tseng silently and solemnly stared at the white metal door. He smiled small. "May we meet again, Elisa." Elisa kept running just as she was told yet she couldn't resist the urge to look behind her. She ran past a red square upon a wall that looked familiar to her. She skidded to a halt and took a few steps back. "Shin-Ra? This whole time I was in Shin-Ra?" Elisa collapsed to her knees in shock. "Unbelievable… So this isn't a dream, is it?" Elisa placed a hand on the wall and rested her forehead against it. "I'm not on Earth anymore, then. I'm—I'm not home anymore." Her heart suddenly felt sad. "Michaela, mother, my family… What happened to them? What…happened to me?" She fought to restrain herself from crying but she couldn't hold it in. Elisa was frightened, lost, and confused. Everything was happening too fast. Everything around her was so new, including the people. She felt horribly, coldly alone. Somehow in a flash everything she knew…had disappeared. It was at this moment that she knew her new life in a new world had begun and that she only
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had two choices to make: she could either fight to belong in this new world or she could give up hope, falling under the weight of darkness and being crushed by it. There was no time or room for her petty grievances and complaints. She decided to endure and stay strong.
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3. First Step to a New Life
Elisa, weary from the day's tumultuous, intense events, gathered herself together and slowly stood up. "I can't dawdle here. I have to keep going no matter what…just until I know I'll be safe. Just a little longer, Elisa…" She took a deep breath and ran again, turning this way and that. She did not know where she was going but her brain seemed to confidently point out directions to her. Although she did not know how, Elisa found herself outside ShinRa Headquarters and was greeted by a deluge of rain."Oh come on!" she moaned. She peered through the curtain of rain to find some place she could escape to or hide. She knew too well that if she lingered any longer, someone would assuredly find her. And not knowing the works of this world in great detail, she would assuredly fail and be captured. Watching regular civilians passing to-and-fro from ShinRa's lobby, Elisa spotted some Shin-Ra troops walking her way. She sniffled and quickly turned around, leaning her back against a pillar near the entrance as she lowered her head, trying her best to blend in with the crowd. She cautiously watched and waited until the Shin-Ra troops passed. She quickly looked around. I know that the only ways to get out of here is through the underground rail passage or through Wall Market, only…I do not know the way to Wall Market and the rail passage sounds too much of a hassle. I
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need to decide quickly! She tapped on the shoulder of a man. "Excuse me, sir." The man turned around and smiled. "Ah, hello, miss. What can I do for you?" "I seem to be a bit lost. I'm…trying to find a friend of mine who told me to meet her at Wall Market, but…" Elisa played a cute, innocent girl as she faked a blush. "I do not know how to get to Wall Market. Do you think you can help me?" Hell, that wasn't a compete lie. I need to somehow fit in this city, and the only person that I can think of who would help without question would be Aerith Gainsborough. I need to find her. The man beamed. "Help a pretty lady like you? 'Course I will! Follow me. It's right this way." "Oh, thank you very much, sir!" She bowed. She waited until the man was a good distance away from her before she quickly smirked in victory. And he falls for my trick… Talk about a gullible fool! Ha, ha! Excellent! She followed the man. They went this way and that until they finally reached Wall Market in Sector 6. "Well, here you are, miss." "Thank you again." She bowed.
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"Oh no." He lightly waved his hand in the air. "It was my pleasure to be of help to such a kind lady. Be careful here." "Hm?" She raised an eyebrow. The man lowered his voice. "This place is a bit dangerous—full of men with carnal notions and the like." "Ohhh, I see." Elisa felt disturbed hearing this from him. She began to wonder if he had ill intentions for her as well. She had to get away as quickly as possible and leave this place. Time was truly of the essence. "Thank you again! Good-bye!" She quickly waved at him as she ran, leaving the man perplexed and shaking his head. Elisa kept running, refusing to look back. She couldn't believe what was happening. She had no idea what to do, yet somehow she had been able to surpass danger and get around Midgar with ease as if she had lived here her entire life. It seemed her knowledge of the videogame from Earth had benefitted her greatly. Elisa halted in an alleyway, panting heavily. "Jesus! WWhy the hell…do these things…always happen to me? It's not… It's not fair. Stupid piece of crap!" She looked up at the dark sky. "I'm glad… I'm glad my memory of the game…has not failed me. Heh. Who would've thought the famous videogame was a real world?" She discouragingly looked down at the end of the
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alleyway. "I have a long way to go to reach Sector 8, and then I need to take a train to Sector 5, and then I need to find Aerith..." She heavily sighed. "This…is going to take awhile." Her quicktemper flared. She kicked the brick wall in irritation. "Damn it! I know I shouldn't complain but…I don't want to waste time finding my way out!" She clenched her fists and angrily stared at her feet. "I want to see Sephiroth and chat with him." Suddenly her gaze was drawn to something alluring and bright. She looked to see what it was. A strange ball of sea-green light danced in an aimless circle. She blinked. Isn't that…a spirit? What's it doing here? Maybe…someone died just now or perhaps it's…lost? She curiously approached it. She raised her left hand and poked it. A bright light flashed, blinding her as she stumbled backwards and fell. She shielded her sensitive eyes from the light. "W-What the hell?" "Is it too bright?" inquired a genial, heavenly voice. Elisa blinked. Well, that's strange. I didn't expect to hear a voice. "It's just a little bright, yes." The light dimmed and Elisa slowly removed her arms from her eyes, looking around. She now found herself sitting on a transparent floor amidst what appeared to be outer space. She quickly rose to her feet. "What's the meaning of this? W-Where am I?"
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"You're in my realm." Elisa looked to the source of the voice. Her quick-temper was doused when her eyes fell upon a beautiful lady. She felt as though she was staring straight at the heart of the Life-stream. She felt honored to stand before the mighty Goddess Minerva. Elisa couldn't help but to bow her head in deep respect. "I believe…I met you before. I can't remember when but…I think you saved me." Elisa slowly raised her head to look at the goddess. The golden-haired lady dressed in her white and golden full battle armor smiled. "I did." Minerva's large—what almost looked like wings to Elisa—made her look all the more grand; however, instead of white angel feathers, white sheets trimmed with blue lines waved in the current of the Life-stream. "You whispered something into my ear, too…didn't you?" "I did." There was a moment of silence as Minerva stared into Elisa's light blue eyes. "There is doubt in you." "…Yes." Elisa felt a bit humiliated in having admitted that. "I know…why I'm here. My heart knows why, yet I guess… I guess I just can't understand, out of all the other females in my world, why I was chosen. I doubt I'm the only one who holds this knowledge—"
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"Your heart and its feelings are genuine. Many hearts that I have seen are tainted with desire, infatuations, greed, selfishness— not a shred of true love to be found." Minerva shook her head, grimacing in disapproval. "But when I looked inside of you, your heart shone brightly. It is pure. It is with this…that many great things will be done. You are here to complete a task. Your will is not yet accomplished." "…My will?" Just what is my will? What does she mean? I can barely think right now. My mind is scrambled. Elisa sighed heavily, rubbing her tired eyes. "I'm but a mere girl. I have nothing special and I am certainly no warrior, Goddess." "You are wrong." Elisa looked at her in shock. Minerva stared at her with gentle eyes. "I have seen something within you that is powerful and pure. You have a great capacity to love, no matter the person or what secrets he may hide. You love the person for being himself. You love with every ounce of your heart, even towards your very few enemies. Your love is genuine and has saved many souls. This I have seen. You are not aware of it now but soon you will awaken and all things will be clear. You will know what path to take." Minerva raised her large, ornate staff and a golden light flashed behind her as a light breeze blew through Elisa.
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Elisa took a step back, clutching her hands over her chest as she lowered her head. "But…those times—my love you speak of was just me being myself. I was just being kind, nothing more." Minerva hovered closer. "There is much you do not know about yourself; however, in time you will discover them through the eyes of the one you love. You have nobility and bravery within you. The deep, genuine capacity to love and your earnest to protect those you love were seen by the consciousness of this world. It has heard. Within you lies a brave warrior strong enough to counter the impossible. Thus I have chosen you, Elisa Sapphire, to be His savior. 'Tis my will and your will breathing as one to bring an end to the despair that is growing. I feel it turn and ache in the soil, in the air, in the water… It cries in pain. Danger haunts my dreams." Elisa frowned. She must mean the Planet. She must mean that it is…suffering. She senses disaster approaching. She isn't wrong. I know what's approaching…and I want to be there to stop it or…at least lessen its impact. She tightened her fist and looked determinedly at Minerva. "I understand. I know what I must do, then, though…I'm afraid to do it. I'm afraid…that I might be disappointed in the end—that my efforts will be in vain." "But it will not have been in vain, for what was the purpose of your efforts? Is that purpose…worthless?" Elisa silently shook
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her head. "Then your efforts will never be in vain. ''Tis better to have tried than to regret never trying at all.' Isn't that what you once muttered to the night, Elisa?" Elisa looked up at her in shock. She couldn't believe that Minerva knew what she had muttered to the night. Minerva smiled. "I have been watching you. I have been listening. You are not alone. Believe in yourself, Elisa, and it shalt be done." She raised her staff. "I will lend you powers to aid in your quest. What you do with them is up to you." A beam of light shot upward from Minerva's staff. Elisa backed away in alarm and uncertainty. "But wait; what if I don't see him? What if I can't find him or get to him? And w-what if he doesn't love me?" Elisa watched the beam of green light fly high into the air before it suddenly made a sharp turn, aiming for her. The green light struck Elisa on the forehead, knocking her unconscious. She floated in midair and was swathed in green light. A satin-finished sterling silver bracelet of seraph's wings appeared on Elisa's left wrist and a matching anklet appeared on her right ankle. The necklace of Sephiroth's one wing that Elisa had purchased from her world graced her neck. Elisa's attire had also changed, revealing an innocent, gauzy spaghetti strap dress with contrasting layers, smocked back, a graceful handkerchief hemline, and a print of lavender blossoms. Soft, glass-clear vinyl slippers with 2" heels graced her tiny feet. Within
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her left hand appeared a fine violin instilled with her new powers. Ornate carvings marked every section of the violin, including the bow itself. Goddess Minerva stood near unconscious Elisa and placed a hand gently upon her forehead. "With your heart and your love for violins, darkness shalt be exonerated." It was at this moment Elisa had become not only her will to save Sephiroth, but she had also become the will of Minerva. Both wanted to see a grave misunderstanding and error corrected. "You will know what to do, if you listen to your heart." The bright light dissipated and all was silent. Elisa slowly opened her eyes and moaned as she stared dubiously at tiny sparkling balls of green light that gradually faded. She placed a hand on her forehead and noticed the violin within it. "Eh? Since when did I get this?" She blinked. "It…looks so beautifully crafted and antique." Her hand slid across the surface of the violin, feeling it like a merchant appraising the finest silk. "I wonder how it sounds..." She was about to try it out when she realized something else: her dress. She quickly rose to her feet. "What? I have a new dress, too? No way!" She laughed. "If Michaela could see me now! She'd throw a fit." She grinned. Her voice saddened and lowered. "She loves these kinds of dresses..." She smiled softly upon remembering such a memory. Loneliness began to seep into her
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heart. She looked up at the sky, wondering if Earth was somewhere in the vast sea of space. "I wonder what you're doing right now, if you're worried about me. I'm okay. I'm in Midgar now. Can you believe it, Michaela? I'm in the city Sephiroth lives in..." A single tear involuntarily rolled down her cheek. She dabbed her eyes with the back of her left hand. "Jesus... I'm crying. How stupid of me." She meekly laughed and smiled. "There. Now let's see…" Elisa looked around. "How did I end up in The Slums? I'm sure I was in Sector 6 and then…in space, floating…wasn't I?" Elisa groaned and smacked her forehead. "This is too much… I must be going insane. I don't get this anymore…" "Don't get what anymore?" spoke a light-hearted, pure voice. Elisa jolted, surprised to see that someone was around in what appeared to her to be an empty, cheerless place. But it then occurred to her that the people were merely hiding from a nameless fear. Elisa turned around to see a petite lady with her hands clasped behind her, staring at her with green eyes. Her brown hair was beautiful and long, braided from top to bottom. A white ribbon adorned it. Elisa immediately knew who she was. She beamed, wanting to tackle her in joy at having found Aerith at last. But Elisa restrained herself. She remained calm. She smiled and laughed. "Oh no! It would seem I was caught thinking out loud
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again. Oopsies!" She forced another laugh as she scratched the back of her head. "Oh, don't worry. It's fine. I sometimes think out loud, too." "Really?" Elisa realized how excited she sounded. She cleared her throat in embarrassment. "Ah, I see. I'm glad I'm not alone." Aerith giggled. "You're strange." "Oh…" Elisa looked confused. "Thank you…I guess." She mildly laughed. "I hope I didn't startle you." "No, not at all." Elisa frantically waved her hands. "It's fine." "I couldn't help but notice you standing here." "Oh? Am I in the way? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to—" "Oh no! You are not in my way." Aerith warmly smiled. "Do you live here?" "Nope!" Aerith laughed. "But this is my garden." "Ohhh, your garden…" Elisa looked behind the girl at the closed wooden double-doors of the old stone church. That's right.
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That church belongs to Aerith—the church in The Slums. That's where she grows her yellow lilies. "M-hm! Do you want to see it?" Elisa smiled. "I'd love to, if that is alright with you." "It is. Follow me," she cheerfully said. Aerith opened the door and the two entered the church. Elisa couldn't help but feel a great fondness for the church. The sunlight that shone through the hole in the roof was beautiful. The church was peaceful and secluded, brimming with nature— something Elisa loved the most. And there at the center of the church under the floorboards, yellow lilies grew. "Wow! They're amazing!" "Do you like them?" "Of course! They're beautiful. I love flowers very much." Elisa sat down, gently running the tip of her index finger underneath one of the lily's petals. "The color is refreshing and happy, too. Yellow… It kind of warms the heart." Aerith giggled. "I think so, too. I watch over them every day, you know. I'd like to think I'm their mother. I'm Aerith, by the way. Aerith Gainsborough. I think we're going to be great friends." She smiled brightly.
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"Yeah, I think so, too." I knew long ago that I would be her friend if the chance ever came that she and the whole Final Fantasy VII story were to become real. But I never thought it would happen and certainly not this soon. Now that is has become real, here I am sitting with Aerith in her garden becoming good friends. This is…pretty cool. "So," Aerith sat beside Elisa, "do you live here in The Slums, too?" Elisa shook her head. "No. I come from—" She stopped herself in time. No, I can't say that I come from the planet Earth with a mission to save this world and the fate of a single man. It would be disastrous if I spoke about it too early. No, I must put on an act again. I must act woeful, lost, and in pain at not knowing where I come from and that I lost parts of my memory. From now on I need to play along with the story like this. I know I'm creating a massive lie but…it must be done. Elisa frowned. "I…have never easily spoken about this before to anyone. Every time I try to speak about it, a part of me…kind of hurts." She placed a hand over her heart. Yes, I think I'm doing well. I suck at acting but I think it's believable. I think it is working. "I don't have a home. I don't really remember where I come from. I don't remember much…almost as if someone tampered with my brain and removed certain memories."
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"Oh no! That's terrible!" "M-hm! All I seem to recall was that a lot happened too fast, leaving me confused, lost, and constantly wondering about me, what is around me, and questioning if any of it is real. And then…something happened. I don't' know what happened but I found myself…on the steps of your church with my violin in hand." "That's weird," giggled Aerith. "I know." Elisa exhaustedly sighed. "I think so, too." She looked back at the hole in the roof. "But…I think I'm destined to do something great. I don't know how to explain it, but I get this…strong, confident feeling in my heart. It's warm. It feels like I'm supposed to do something meaningful soon. It calls to me sometimes and I just know that somewhere out there, something or someone is waiting for me—the point of my destiny." Aerith looked up at the hole in the roof as well. "I know that feeling well. I get that sometimes, too, like when I go to bed. I hear voices at night or when I tend my garden here. I feel like something deep is speaking to me, that I'm destined to do something or protect something like a mother protects her child." Elisa knew precisely what Aerith was talking about. The voices she was hearing were the voices of the Life-stream and the
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Planet speaking to her. She was certain that Aerith, although she appeared to be oblivious, was aware that she was a Cetra. Elisa knew exactly what her destiny would be. "I guess we're similar, then, friend." Aerith giggled. "I guess so." She looked curiously at the wooden instrument Elisa held in her left hand. "What's that?" "It's a musical instrument—a very beautiful one, in my opinion." Elisa smiled softly at it, thinking about her love for violins. "Would you like me to play a song? It might make the flowers happy." Aerith beamed as she sat erect. "Oh, I would love that!" Elisa laughed as she stood up. "Alright, then. Let me think of a favorite one—I have so many favorite violin pieces." She silently contemplated, searching for a deep song that spoke her heart's feelings. "This one is called 'Pastorale' by an artist called 'Secret Garden'." Elisa stood with her feet in the shape of a "V". Keeping her right foot in place, she took a small step with her left foot, keeping it facing the same direction. She placed the violin on her left shoulder and rested her chin on the chinrest, keeping the violin slightly pointed to the left and parallel to the floor. She slightly lowered her head, closing her eyes as she placed the bow between the bridge and the fingerboard. Elisa took a deep breath
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and exhaled, releasing any distractions within her mind. Wherever you are, Sephiroth, I hope you hear my heart's song. May this reach you… Elisa began to slowly glide the bow across the strings, creating a leisurely, beautiful sound that echoed throughout the church. She poured her heart and her deep love into the bow. The strings vibrated gently and emotively in reply, sending the message in the form of a beautiful violin sound that flew through the air. Although unbeknownst to Elisa, the music reached far and wide across the city, catching the attention of many people. It moved and calmed the weary souls, instilling it with warm, tender feelings—the feelings Elisa bore for Sephiroth. Elisa felt her body grow warm and her cheeks tighten as she blushed, feeling the heart of the song intertwine with her feelings for Sephiroth. She lost her consciousness to the violin and was unaware that it was glowing a soft pink color and that little balls of pink light floated and sparkled upwards to the sky. Some danced upon the petals of the lilies. Aerith gazed in awe. She noticed that the flowers were reacting to the beauty of the song. They seemed to glow in joy as if the music gave them a boost of life. "A magical violin…" She clasped her hands over her heart as she closed her eyes, feeling the
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emotional song move and embrace her heart. "It's a beautiful magic," she muttered to herself. The song continued in an even tone for a while before it gained intensity, still retaining the slow pace. Elisa swayed her body along with the passionate, emotional song. Can you hear me, Sephiroth? This is my song for you—the song of my heart. She smiled. This is for you. After a moment had passed and the piece crawled to a slow, beautiful end, sweet silence and a feeling of magic filled the air. Aerith blinked. "It's…over?" "M-hm!" "O-Oh! I did not know. It was so beautiful, so moving that I did not know it ended." She clapped her hands. "Beautiful! It's truly beautiful." "Is it a worthy piece for your flowers?" "Oh, it definitely is!" She laughed. "You must play it again for me. I love it." Elisa happily smiled. "Perhaps later in the day, yes?" "M-hm! That would be lovely. You can stay at my house, since you have nowhere else to go."
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"Oh no! No, I couldn't impose on you like that." "Silly! It's fine. You won't be a burden to me. And you can play your violin there as much as you'd like." She smiled. "Besides, it's often…lonely at my house. Elmyra isn't around too much. She's always busy. I'd like to have someone to talk to when she's away…and to hear you play." She sheepishly smiled. "Well, since you put it that way, I guess I can't refuse, can I?" "Nope!" Aerith winked. "Come on; I'll show you my house. It's not far. It's in Sector Five. It has a lot of flowers, too." "Really? That's strange. Flowers grow only here and at your house?" "Yup! I know. I think it's strange, too. I don't know why they do." "Well! Perhaps the flowers love you." "Perhaps! Oh, I just know you'll love these flowers, Elisa," she giggled, grabbing Elisa's hand as the two walked to her house, becoming the best of friends that day.
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4. A Fairytale Gift
Night fell upon Midgar, although its presence went unnoticed. Midgar had long been shrouded in the darkness of ShinRa's pollution day-by-day. It was night every day, all day. The citizens have grown quite accustomed to the darkness. Even the spirits of the citizens became prey to the dreariness and despair of the dark. They had forgotten the beautiful sight of plants, the white clouds drifting across a sea of light blue, and the bright, golden sun. Elisa stared out from a bay window at the green glow emitting from the Mako Reactors that surrounded the towering Shin-Ra building in the distance. Her mind daydreamed about Sephiroth. She lifted a fine porcelain tea cup to her small lips, taking one last sip of her tea to finish it. She placed it gently on the plate and lightly sighed. "Aerith?" There was no response. She turned her head to see Aerith sleeping soundly on the dining table. "Ah, I see." She smiled and let out a quiet laugh. "Sound asleep, are we?" Elisa rose from her seat. "Well, I wouldn't blame you. You were busy all day today." She quietly placed her tea cup on the table. She looked around for a blanket, finding a thin one sprawled atop a wooden chair. She walked over to it and picked it up, placing it around Aerith's back. "She looks like an angel peacefully sleeping, doesn't she?" she muttered, smiling. Elisa
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turned her head to look at the night sky again. I wonder what I can do to be of use. Surely there's something I can do to help Aerith. Tending to her garden is out of the question, for she tends it well on her own. Then Elisa's mind drifted to the Shin-Ra lobby she had only briefly seen through the glass door of the entrance. She placed a finger to her lips in contemplation. Perhaps…I can play my violin there and earn some money from the regular citizens there. Yeah! That's a splendid idea! And maybe I'll finally see Sephiroth, too, and he'll listen to my music. I'll be happy, even if he just listens to one song. That would be more than enough for me. Having confidently made up her mind, Elisa climbed upstairs to her bedroom where she pulled out a fine black leather violin case from underneath her bed. She tossed it on her bed, unlatching the lid and revealing an interior of purple velvet in which her violin safely rested on. Elisa carefully took out the bow and strode over to her floor mirror. "Now…for something cute yet fantasy-like. Um…" She silently thought. "Ah-ha! Now this is just a guess but…maybe it'll work. Aerith told me as we walked that my violin is magical." Elisa stuck out her tongue in disbelief, meekly laughing. She shrugged her shoulders. "There's only one way to test that theory." She took a deep breath, closing her eyes. She lifted her bow, gracefully twirling it here and there about her body as she envisioned a small, multicolored polyester dress with
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falling scarf-like folds that flowed like flimsy wings. The top was shirred and elasticized. Her feet were graced with cute olivecolored ballet slippers. She opened her eyes and gasped. "Oh-ho! No way!" She laughed in victory and excitement. She couldn't help but grin. "Oh, this is just too cool! Oh, if my world could see me now! They'd be so jealous that I'm in a magical world." She smiled as she observed herself, sighing happily. "This…is just like a dream." Elisa turned on her heel and placed her bow back into the case, shutting the lid and latching it. She grabbed her olive messenger bag that had her other essentials and swung it over her shoulder. She grabbed her violin case with her left hand. She smiled, feeling her heart race in excitement and nervousness. Her eyes burned with determination. "Let's do this!" She walked out of the house and made her long walk to Sector 0 and then to the entrance of Shin-Ra Headquarters. Considering how it was nighttime, Elisa had a confident belief that the lobby would be empty. Her heart felt slightly disappointed as she realized this too late. If this was the case, then her travel would have been meaningless. She quietly cursed herself for not thinking ahead. She was too excited in her notion that she failed to think rationally about the possibility that no one would be at the lobby to hear her play. However, when Elisa walked through
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the entrance and stood in the lobby, she was amazed to see a fair amount of regular citizens relaxing, eating, socializing, shopping, and browsing the Exhibition Room. One would think they had stumbled upon a mall and not Shin-Ra Electric Company. She quietly laughed. On both sides of Elisa were two help desks. Each desk had two people sitting behind them. A few people were sitting in blue couches that were scattered alongside the lobby's walls. At the center of the lobby a directory-like information panel glowed. Two mirror-image staircases led up to the lobby's upper level that had several bistro tables for guests and an elevator shaft. Two doorways beside the staircases led to the Exhibit Room that displayed vehicles made by Shin-Ra Incorporated and a large photo of the airship Highwind. To the right of the entrance and near the right staircase stood two aqua-colored tubes—the elevators that took people to all seventy floors of the building. Any floor that was higher than four were reserved for Shin-Ra employees only, and floors sixty and above required a special keycard. The second floor housed shops and included a large video screen that showcased Shin-Ra products. The third floor was fairly bare, save for a set of elevators that granted access to the 59th floor.
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"Excuse me, young lady," said a sweet, light-hearted voice. Elisa turned her head to see a young lady sitting in a purple chair and waving at her from behind a help desk. Elisa timidly walked up to the desk, fearing that perhaps she was in trouble. Maybe she thinks my violin case holds some kind of deadly weapon or something. I hope not! I came here to play for Sephiroth. "Yes?" "Can I help you with anything?" Elisa shook her head. "No, I'm fine." Elisa threw a pleasant smile. "Thank you, though." "Do you have any questions?" …Questions? Elisa pondered this. She did have questions but they were questions this lady, or anyone for that matter, could not answer. She wasn't even sure those questions would ever be answered. Only time would tell, she figured. Elisa placed a finger on her lips. "Well, I think I have one. Um…" Elisa nervously fidgeted. "This might sound stupid but are citizens allowed to, say, play an instrument or…sell things?" "Indeed!" The lady cheerfully smiled. "Visitors are allowed to sell items, relax, eat, socialize, and anything else they wish to do here, as long as it does not disturb the peace of the building or the
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people within it. As long as one's actions do not pose a threat or danger to Shin-Ra and its people, it is permissible." "Ah, thank you!" Elisa beamed. "Thank you very much!" She bowed. This really is like a mall back on Earth. It's kind of…cool the planets share similarities. "I am glad to be of service. Please enjoy your visit here." Elisa turned around and slowly walked towards the right staircase. She stared in awe at her surroundings, losing her awareness. The place was larger than she had imagined. The game made the interior look so blocky and small to her, in her opinion. To see the interior of Shin-Ra Headquarters in all its glory and power with her naked eyes was truly incredible. She couldn't believe this was reality. Here she stood in the lobby of Shin-Ra, the very building Sephiroth worked in and treads about everyday of his life. Elisa snickered as she thought about that, slowly ascending the staircase. I'm in Sephiroth's work place, the only girl from Earth who has ever done this. I'm making history. Elisa was caught in such a deep, dreamy daze that she paid no heed to anything around her. "This is so awesome…" Elisa halted at the middle of the staircase. The bistro tables were now in her line of sight. Many people were sitting in them and eating while others were standing and huddled in a group
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chatting about the day's events or waiting in a line to purchase foods. Regular citizens and some employees of the company mingled here. This is so exciting. This ought to be a good spot to play. "You," spoke an impatient, calm, indifferent voice from behind her that froze Elisa to the core. Elisa inhaled her gasp as a shiver ran up her spine. That voice… It sounds so sexy. She began to nervously quiver despite her efforts to remain calm and still. She tightly clutched the handle of her violin case with both hands to relieve herself of some of the nervousness. "Y-Yes?" she timidly asked, feeling afraid of being struck for being stupid. "How long do you intend on standing there? You're in my way." Elisa blushed in embarrassment and sharply turned around as she frantically bowed. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to!" The man heavily sighed as he squeezed the bridge of his nose, shaking his head. "If you didn't mean to, please move, then." "Right!" Elisa was so flustered, so nervous and embarrassed that she didn't bother at all to look at the man. In fact, she was afraid to look at him for fear of seeing his expression. It
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would be too much for her to see that the man had thought of her as the world's greatest idiot. The only glimpse of him that she got was of his polished black leather boots and black pants. She had to quickly get out of his way to avoid his wrath. Her worried, nervous mind was spinning in circles and her body was burning. Oh no, I'm feeling light-headed. This is too much. Dizzy… I feel dizzy… "Hey!" The man caught Elisa as her foot slipped off the step. Everything was happening so fast, yet when the man's strong arm wrapped around her waist, time suddenly seemed to slow in Elisa's eyes. She inadvertently wrapped her arms around his neck. She saw long silver hair mingling with her golden hair. The man's short bangs were parted to either side of his face. The tall man—probably about six feet in height—stood before her, tightly holding her in his left arm. He was dressed in a long black leather coat with silver pauldrons and his exposed muscular chest was covered by crossing leather straps. Elisa's azure eyes stared into a pair of intense cyan eyes with cat-like pupils. His gaze was deep and powerful that she felt it pierce her heart, causing her to blush. Her body relaxed as her dreamy stupor returned. Her hands lost their grip on the violin case and it tumbled to the foot of the stairs. "…Sephiroth?"
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The man's eyebrow twitched, wondering how on earth a complete stranger knew his name. He quickly released her, silently grumbling to himself in his mind for being forced to rescue a reckless girl. "You're a clumsy idiot," he coolly said. Elisa blushed, thinking, did he really have to be that blunt? Geez! Sephiroth turned around and ascended one step before slightly turning his head. "Your interference is toxic." He continued his way up the stairs. Elisa clenched her fists in anger. Her face was red with embarrassment. That idiot! He's so cold! I knew it but I didn't think it'd be like this! He's supposed to be nice at this point, right? He could've said it a little nicer... Geez! Elisa struggled to be calm inside even though she felt eyes were upon her. That idiot… How can I play now after this embarrassing scene? I'm so stupid! How could I be so stupid? She couldn't contain her irritation towards Sephiroth any longer. She hated him for embarrassing her like that and throwing such cold words at her. Her face turned red as she glared at Sephiroth's back. She yelled with all her fury, "Go jump in fire, you jerk!" Elisa turned around and hastily descended the steps, grabbing her violin case. I'll just have to go somewhere for a while and wait until things settle down. Humph! He thinks he's so cool for messin' with me like that... She strode towards the entrance but
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stopped. She looked at the directory panel, heavily sighing. He didn't have to be like that. Honestly… Her face fell as she tightly squeezed the handle of her violin case. "I need to be strong," she muttered. I can't afford to be an idiot in his eyes right now. "You," spoke that same proud, indifferent, calm voice. "Ach!" Elisa's heart jumped right out of her chest as she jolted. She quickly smacked her chest with her right hand to calm it down. "What do you want?" she snapped as she quickly turned around, staring irritably at the man. Sephiroth blinked at her as he stood in silence. There were no expressions on his face. "I'll ask someone else. You seem too angry to help someone you wish to burn." He turned on his heel and began walking towards the staircase. "Ask me what?" Elisa said in annoyance, giving in to his will. Sephiroth halted but did not turn around. He smirked with pleasure. He slightly turned his head. "I need something to write with." Elisa blinked in confusion. Something…to write with? Huh? Of all the things to ask, he needs something to write with? That's not…natural, is it? I mean, that doesn't fit with him…at all.
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Sephiroth turned completely around, raising an eyebrow in displeasure as he noticed there was no response. Elisa was clearly lost in thought. "Is something wrong with what I asked?" "Eh?" Elisa snapped out of her thoughts. "O-Oh no! No, of course not!" She forced a laugh. "Nothing's wrong here," she said as she frantically waved her hand. She narrowed her eyes at him. You're just pouring more salt on my wound, you stupid jerk... "I see…" Sephiroth looked at her as if she was an idiot. I'm an idiot. I really look like an idiot to him, don't I? This is hopeless! There's no turning back now. To deny that I'm an idiot would only make me a bigger idiot in his eyes. Elisa heavily sighed in defeat, lowering her head as she grumbled, "I think I can help." She gently placed her violin case down and unzipped one of the pockets on her messenger bag. She rummaged through the various spare pencils, pens, and mechanical pencils. She pulled out a crimson mechanical pencil with a black grip. This ought to be a suitable one for a bad-ass, striking man like Sephiroth. She smiled at the thought. "Here you are." She held it out, smiling at him. Sephiroth looked at it as if it was something foreign, and indeed it was foreign to him. He had never seen a writing device like this before. He had seen wooden pencils and pens but not this plastic, strange crimson item that was before him. He hesitantly
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took it. He observed it and narrowed his eyes in annoyance. "What is this? I said I need something to write with." "That is something to write with!" Sephiroth again looked at Elisa as if she was an idiot, raising an eyebrow. "Why is it so…strange?" Elisa sighed and laughed as she approached him. She found this all too cute and hilarious to see the know-it-all Sephiroth having difficulty understanding a simple, tiny object. I guess even the greatest of men do not understand the simplest of things. It seems even fault can be found in the great minds of great men. "Where I come from we call it a 'mechanical pencil'. It's much like the common pencil, except that it's made of plastic (and not wood) and it comes in various colors and designs to match a person's taste." She proudly smiled as if that was some great accomplishment of her planet. Sephiroth curiously stared at the object, slightly appearing fascinated by it when he heard Elisa's description. "There's nothing." Elisa turned Sephiroth's hand to where the eraser portion of the pencil pointed upward. The touch of her soft, warm hand caused Sephiroth to feel disturbed, although he did very well to appear otherwise. It was nothing more than a mere passing, trivial
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thought in Sephiroth's mind. "You press this a few times and the led comes out…here." She pointed at the opposite end. "That's how you write. When it runs out again, repeat the process." "I see…" Sephiroth pulled his hand away and coolly looked at Elisa. "It's trivial. Your home is strange." Elisa narrowed her eyes as she shifted her gaze to the side. "Well, sorry for being born in a strange home, Mr. I'm-Too-CoolFor-Everything," she grumbled. Sephiroth smirked. He was impressed to see that she had retaliated unlike the previous time. Perhaps there is strength in that idiot after all. "I will use this." Sephiroth turned back around and ascended the staircase. Elisa heavily sighed as she placed a hand on her forehead. "This…has become the strangest day I've known." She picked up her violin case and walked out of the lobby. Standing beside the entrance and leaning against a wall, Elisa looked around. She still felt a heavy stupor pressing down upon her. Her mind still hadn't been able to comprehend and absorb the reality of her encounter with Sephiroth and taking her first steps in the Shin-Ra Headquarters. "Is this real?" She looked up at the sky. "Minerva?" Elisa heavily sighed. "This is too good to be true," she muttered. "Heh." A smile emerged. Although I have
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to say, exchanging that pencil with Sephiroth felt like a fairytale. There's a girl from a different world and a man with a dark past. He's strong and handsome and the girl truly loves him. The two collide by total accident! They apologize and the girl gives him something so he can remember her by. She fills that gift with love, too. The two become nervous and feelings of love sprout! Elisa beamed and dreamily sighed. Her thoughts were dashed when she realized a cold, hard fact. "Ah! But he didn't…sprout any feelings of love." She lowered her head and moped. Her eyes narrowed in anger. "Or rather he was as cold as ice. Geez…" Elisa sighed again and looked up at the sky, tapping her foot as she waited for things to calm down inside. She smiled softly. "At least…he holds something that belongs to me. That's pretty cool." She blushed. "It is a gift from my heart…to you, Sephiroth. May it help you." Elisa pushed herself off the wall and stared through the glass doors at the lobby. Sephiroth was not present or rather he was too far from Elisa's line of sight. She sighed and decided to head back home. It was probably late. She was certain Aerith had awoken by now and was worried about her. She decided to leave and not be a burden to Sephiroth. Perhaps another day will come when she would meet him again. Even though the day did not play out as Elisa had hoped and her heart was slightly hurt by
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Sephiroth's cold frankness, she left Sector 0 with a happy, fulfilled heart. She had no regrets. She would sleep well this night. Sephiroth walked out of the lobby and looked around as if searching for something he lost. He held the crimson mechanical pencil in his left hand. "She's gone…" He glanced at the sky and then to the pencil in his hand. "Humph." He tucked it in a pocket of his coat and turned around, returning to the lobby to take an elevator to the SOLDIER floor.
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5. The Approaching Night
In the middle of the following day, Elisa awoke and descended the stairs to find that the house had been empty for a good few hours. Elisa yawned as she stretched. "I wonder where Aerith went…" She noticed a folded piece of paper tucked under an empty tea cup. She shuffled over to the table covered with a white linen cloth. A lovely pot of pink flowers stood at the center of the table and a fine tea set was beside it. She picked the letter up as she sat down in a wooden chair, unfolding the paper to reveal fancy lettering that said:
Good morning, you late riser! You looked sound asleep that I didn't want to wake you. I went to take care of my garden, so don't worry your pretty little head about me. I'll be back. I left a tea cup out in case you'd like some tea as well as a small snack for you. I hope you're enjoying your stay. It's really nice having you around. Don't let me keep you from practicing your violin! I'd love to hear more sometime soon, okay? Keep smiling! Your friend, Aerith Gainsborough
"Hm. She's always so cheerful. She knows just what to do to raise a person's spirit." She smiled. "She's such a dear…" She folded the paper, tossing it on the table as she leaned back in her chair. She sighed heavily as she poured herself some tea. She grabbed her cup and took a sip as she observed the small octagonal
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room. This was the first time she had taken the time to closely observe Aerith's house. It looked very much like what she saw in the videogame, only she personally thought this beat the game's blocky image by a large margin. The room was cozy, beautiful, and simple. It was decorated with fine wooden furnishings, all of which had a pot of flower somewhere on top of them. Her eyes continued to scan the room. There was a separate little room in the back that looked to serve as a kitchen. The ornate octagonal rug beneath her feet felt soft and lush against her bare feet. She contentedly smiled as she took a few more sips of her tea. She stared outside the window across from her. A soft aqua glow filled the entire Sector 5, giving it a magical sensation. She could see the many yellow lilies that grew wildly on the ground. Elisa quickly rose from her seat as her mind suddenly thought of a wonderful idea. She quickly ran upstairs to Aerith's room. The two shared the room, each having their own charming bed. And as one would expect, Aerith's room was filled with flowers. Elisa knelt down, reaching for her violin case underneath her bed. She dragged it out and stared at it, smiling. She fondly rubbed the leather surface of the case. "It's hard to believe…that Goddess Minerva gave this to me. And to have played upon it, too, is something I won't forget. Maybe today Sephiroth will finally
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hear and see me play." Her mind wandered into yesterday's past. Her eyes softened as she blushed. "Even though he said things to me that weren't exactly…kind, to be able to be in his presence and look upon him…felt like the greatest gift in the world to me." Elisa grabbed the handle and stood up. She picked up her messenger bag that rested near the doorway and swung it over her shoulder. She opened the door and headed downstairs and outside to a nice patch of lilies. A river gently flowed by and Elisa thought that this would be a lovely spot to practice on her violin. She inhaled deeply the lily-scented air. "Ah! There is no other place in Midgar worthy of my violin! It is peaceful and pretty here. This will do." She knelt down and opened up the case, pulling out her violin and bow. She stood up and placed her chin on the chinrest. She properly adjusted her feet and placed her bow between the bridge and fingerboard. She began to play Secret Garden's "Illumination". The sweeping, slow sound awoke and floated through the air, echoing with longing, remembrance, and a warming hope. Like a blossoming spring flower, the song bloomed in all its beauty and tenderness. Elisa quickly lost her consciousness to the moving piece that felt like a refreshing spring rain bringing life. Her mind and heart intertwined with the song, working as one large entity. As the piece began to build in emotion and tender intensity, her
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violin began to glow a shade of gold as her love for Sephiroth spilled onto her violin again. Tiny glowing orbs of gold floated and sparkled around her. The music drifted through the breeze that swept through Midgar, reaching the ears of those who took notice of its melodious beauty. Sephiroth was talking to someone on his cell phone just outside the entrance of Shin-Ra Headquarters when he heard the beautiful violin. He looked up at the dark sky as his mind fell empty. "That sound…" Sephiroth recognized it from hearing it once before. "So that's the plan, eh?" There was no response, for Sephiroth was focused on the music echoing through the city. "Uh…hello? Sephiroth? Are you there, man?" Sephiroth unconsciously hung up. "It's here again..." He glanced at the people near him who had also fallen into a calm trance. He, too, felt something warm and soothing. He took two steps forward and closed his eyes. What is this? Why is it…that I hear it again? Where is it coming from? He opened his eyes, suddenly feeling determined to solve this strange mystery that unexpectedly appeared before him. "I must find the source of this…" Sephiroth was about to leave when his cell rang. He looked
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at it and sighed, flipping the lid open and pressing it against his ear. "What is it?" he said brusquely. "What do you mean 'what'? You hung up on me! What was that all about?" Sephiroth sighed. "My apologies. Did you hear anything?" "Did I hear…what?" So he heard nothing, then. Is it only certain people who heard…or is it just me who heard? "Nevermind, Zack. Meet me in the lobby." He hung up, not caring in the least if Zack had said anything afterwards. Sephiroth turned around and opened the door, quickly walking through the lobby to reach the left staircase. He didn't want to linger too long, for he did not want to waste time with idiots and frivolous females but he had no choice. He had to wait for Zack. He leaned against the wall, crossing his arms as he lowered his head. He kept silent and hid in the shadow of the staircase, waiting and listening to the violin reaching its climax. That sound… I heard it before. It aggravates me—this bothersome, trivial feeling. But…I want to hear it again, for some reason. He opened his eyes, irritably staring at his feet. I don't understand it.
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Elisa lowered her violin, smiling in satisfaction as she released a light sigh. "I think that was well played." She packed away her violin and picked up the case. She glanced up at the sky. "I think I'll try again. Maybe I'll see Sephiroth again." Her face beamed with hope. "Well then! There's no time to waste." She turned around and ran down the dirt path on her way to Sector 0 again. Rather than feeling hopeful and excited like she did a short while ago, Elisa instead felt angry and unhappy. Her heart ran away and she hated herself for it. I can't go in after all. Damn it! Elisa clenched her hands, gritting her teeth. I couldn't forget about yesterday's encounter. Her face reddened as she gazed through the glass door of Shin-Ra Headquarters. Elisa wondered if Sephiroth was on the lobby staircase again. From where she stood, she couldn't tell at all. The stairs were out of her sightline and many people were running about like confused ants, obstructing her view. "If I go in I'm going to be ridiculed again, won't I?" she muttered to herself. She groaned. "Tch! This…sucks." Elisa opened the door and strode through the lobby. Her eyes were fixed on the right staircase—the very one she met Sephiroth on. I won't be beaten by him! Once he hears me play my violin, I just know he won't laugh at me anymore. I'm going to show him just how strong and great I can be that he'll respect me!
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I'm not an idiot and I'm not useless! She resolutely smiled. So far there were no signs of Sephiroth or rather Elisa was too focused on her fiery determination to prove Sephiroth wrong that she had failed to notice him idly standing to her left. She passed him and quickly ascended the stairs. Elisa stopped at the top and closely scrutinized the people sitting in the bistros. Her shoulders relaxed and she sighed in relief. Her quick-temper was doused. "He's not here. Good." But even as Elisa said that, even as she tried to fool herself, a small part of her was sad. She was so confident, even anxious to prove Sephiroth wrong. Elisa stepped aside when she saw a female scientist and her friend walk towards her. She smiled and politely nodded her head. "Hello." "Hello, miss," the lady spoke gently with a smile before descending the stairs. She turned her head to her friend, whispering, "I thought I heard something lovely, too, but I wasn't sure." Elisa blinked. …Something lovely? She closely listened. "Oh, you're not going crazy. I heard it myself, too. It was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I felt like it was healing me from within." She placed a hand over her heart as she fondly reflected on the feeling.
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"That's ridiculous," laughed the scientist. "But it's true! And I heard some people say that if you hear it—the sound of the Goddess, it means that she has chosen you and you will be in the Life-stream when the time comes." "Do you believe that?" The girl shook her head. "I think it's just rumors. It seems to me that the sound is only heard when it seeks to share emotions, usually when night approaches." The scientist laughed. "Oh, now that's just silly talk! You're too gullible and too old to believe in such silly things like that." Elisa glanced at the ladies behind her before looking at the people in the bistros again. They're not talking about my violin, are they? If they heard it here…and I was playing in Sector 5 outside… Elisa gaped. Impossible! My music can be heard throughout Midgar? No way! But…then it makes sense. Elisa placed a finger on her lips and looked at her violin case. This violin really is magical. It glows like Aerith said, I can use the bow to change into any outfit I want, it gives off a healing effect, and it seems its sound can be heard from far away regardless if I'm indoors. Interesting… I wonder what else it can do.
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Elisa despondently sighed. It seems a lot of people heard— a lot of people except Sephiroth. I guess it's pointless to be here…if he's not here. After all, he's the one person who I want to hear my music. She frowned. He'd probably laugh at it, now that I think about it. It's just something he would do…because he is him. With a discouraged heart, Elisa turned around and sullenly descended the stairs. She cursed at herself for raising her hopes so high only to see them quickly dashed. She knew better than to hope for such impossible things, yet she couldn't stop believing that it would come true. And now that it didn't come true, Elisa felt foolish and dispirited. Making a slight turn on the stairs, Elisa raised her head and sighed. It was at this moment her azure eyes caught sight of a tall, silver-haired man dressed in black leather. He was leaning against the wall of the opposite staircase with arms crossed and his head down. Elisa immediately halted and blushed. "It's Sephiroth…" Her eyes widened when they met his cyan eyes. He's looking at me. He noticed me! Move, Elisa. You need to move! If you stand here any longer, you'll become a prey to his embarrassing ridicule again. Move! But no matter how much her mind ordered her to move, her feet were glued to the marble steps. It was as if his gaze was powerful enough to silently command someone to remain
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still—like his will became her own. Elisa couldn't move or blink and her breathing escalated. She was nervous again. Sephiroth unfolded his arm and casually walked towards Elisa. He was grinning at her, clearly remembering yesterday's event. He halted near the foot of the staircase. "I see you're still having issues standing in the way of people on the stairs. You truly must be an idiot." He impishly smiled. Elisa glared at him. Why, that stupid jerk! He's still having fun from yesterday! She clenched her fists and finished descending the stairs. She stood next to him, forcing herself to stare coldly into his intimidating, captivating cat-like eyes. "Only an idiot would call another an idiot." A smirk briefly tugged on a corner of Sephiroth's lips. He crossed his arms. "And only an idiot would put blame on someone calling that person an idiot." Elisa opened her mouth to counter the attack but she closed it. She quickly realized where this was going. She irritably sighed. "This is going nowhere." She shook her head. "If you'll excuse me, I have somewhere to go." She narrowed her eyes. "'Your interference is toxic.'" She turned on her heel and confidently walked away. She couldn't help but brightly smile in triumph. She had taken Sephiroth's words and threw it back in his face. Ha!
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Take that, Sephiroth! I can be tough, too, if I choose to be. I'm not as stupid as you think. Take that fine dose of your own medicine, mister! Ha, ha! "I wanted to return something to you." Elisa halted and for a moment her heart stopped. His words were unexpected that they took her off guard. For some reason she felt flattered when he spoke those words, but Elisa quickly denounced it as foolish. There was nothing special that he'd want to give to her of all people. He wasn't the type of man to do such things. And on top of that, they hardly knew each other. Sephiroth never wastes his time with anyone, unless they're someone he respects or is a friend he has known for a long time— friends like Genesis Rhapsodos and Angeal Hewley. Elisa couldn't help but wonder what it was Sephiroth wanted to give to her. Elisa turned around to see Sephiroth standing a foot away from her. Her face turned red but she fought to maintain an indifferent, resilient appearance. "What is it?" Sephiroth held out his hand, revealing a crimson mechanical pencil lying in the center of his gloved palm. "It is broken." "…Broken?" Broken! What did he do it? Was he fighting with it? Geez! Does he always have to be so forceful in everything
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he does? I can't help but wonder if he's forceful when it comes to sex…Elisa's face turned bright red upon realizing what she just thought. She squeezed her head. Agh! What horrible thoughts! How did that get in there! I can't believe I thought that! Why? Gross! Elisa, you idiot! She glanced at Sephiroth to see what expression he had upon his face and it was just as she suspected: he was looking at her as if she was an idiot. Elisa heavily sighed and laughed. "Silly, it is not broken. Here…" She dug into one of the pockets of her messenger bag and pulled out a small, thin pencil led container. She slid the blue lid open and took four pieces out. She slid the lid shut. "Hold it vertically for me, please." Sephiroth was confused and distrustful. "Why?" "Just do it, please. Trust me." Sephiroth raised an eyebrow at the mention of trust. His face looked as if it was saying "why should I trust a complete stranger?" This girl…is very strange. This thing—pencil…is even stranger. I want this to end. This is foolishly awkward and wasteful. He did as he was told and held the pencil vertically. Sephiroth blinked with curiosity at what was transpiring. Elisa removed the tiny black cap and the eraser, being careful not to lose them, and dropped the skinny pieces of led into the little white tube inside the pencil. "This is how you refill it."
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She put the black lid and eraser back on the pencil. "Now push down on the eraser." Sephiroth pushed down on the eraser. He stared at the pencil with annoyance. "Nothing's happening. Like I said, it is broken." "No, you have to push down a few times until you see the led come out. Go on," she goaded. "Try it again." Sephiroth looked at Elisa. Why is she smiling? Is she truly an idiot? There's nothing to smile about right now. She's goading me like a little excited child. How annoying. Sephiroth rapidly pushed the eraser down and a led emerged from the other side. "There it is!" Elisa excitedly said as she pointed at the pencil. "I told you so!" She smiled at Sephiroth. Sephiroth turned his head away, a manner of his to conceal his embarrassment and look awesomely calm. "Humph. I still have no use for it." He grabbed Elisa's right hand, taking her by surprise, and placed the pencil within it. A rejection? No way! I won't have it! No, I will have him keep it. I gave it to him. This is alright. Nothing's lost. Elisa shook her head. "Keep it. I have plenty of spares. Besides, you'll never know when you might need something to write with again." She
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smiled at him as she quickly removed her hand. His touch… His touch was so warm. Elisa felt her cheeks burn as she gripped her hands. Sephiroth glanced at the pencil. "I see…" "Oh! And here…" Elisa gave him the entire led container. "You'll need these for when you run out. I have plenty of these, too." Sephiroth raised an eyebrow as he hesitantly took it. "Why do you have…so many spares? Are you an idiot?" Argh! There he goes again, calling me an idiot! Stop calling me that! Elisa laughed as she sheepishly scratched the back of her head. "Um…I guess it's because I like to always come prepared, you know?" "You're a strange girl." Elisa smirked and didn't feel fazed by his words. She placed her right hand on her hip. "Well, you're a strange man." "Humph." Sephiroth tucked the items into a pocket of his coat. He suspiciously glanced at the strange case Elisa was holding. "What is that?" "Hm? This? Oh! It is—"
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"There you are!" A SOLDIER with black spiky hair and Mako-infused eyes wrapped an arm around Sephiroth's neck, pulling him slightly down due to the difference in their height. "Did ya miss me?" He winked at Sephiroth. "Zack!" Sephiroth glared in displeasure at him and tightly grabbed his arm, quickly unfurling it from around his neck. "You truly are a puppy…" "Heh. And proud of it!" he said as he confidently pointed at himself. He noticed Elisa standing in silence as she stared with confusion at him and Sephiroth. Zack leaned over and whispered to Sephiroth, "Hey, who's that?" "A woman." "I know that! I didn't know you had a girl. Sephiroth, you sly bastard…" He playfully nudged Sephiroth on his arm. "Do not flatter yourself!" Sephiroth turned his back to him, dusting his right arm as if Zack's physical contact was a disease. "Unlike you, I do not spend my time on wasteful things." Elisa couldn't help but feel heartbroken upon hearing those words come out of Sephiroth's mouth. While the two believed she didn't hear them, she heard every single word of the conversation. She now knew what Sephiroth saw her as: a waste. It was no
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surprise and it shouldn't be to her. Elisa knew Sephiroth's character very well, down to the finest and last detail; however, even that knowledge was not enough to protect her heart from sadness. She was a simple girl from Earth—a simple, "idiotic", "strange girl" as Sephiroth put it. In his eyes, she was nothing special. He didn't respect her. She was sure he never could, no matter how hard she tried. She lowered her head. I see… Yet again I placed my hopes too high…and found them broken again. I knew better… Zack noticed Elisa's head drooping. "Hey, you shouldn't say such mean things to girls." He walked over to Elisa. "Humph. It isn't my fault they're weak," muttered Sephiroth as he made his way to the elevator shafts. Zack held out his hand and smiled. "My name's Zack Fair. What's yours?" Elisa raised her head and looked at him. Seeing his cheerful, goofy face made her feel at ease. She smiled, lightly shaking his hand. "Elisa. Elisa Sapphire." "Elisa… It's as beautiful as you are." He smiled. "Zack! Your mission!" spoke Sephiroth in an abrupt, serious tone as he entered the elevator.
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"Oh! R-Right! Um…sorry to call our meeting so short, Elisa, but I have to go. It was nice meeting you!" He waved at Elisa as he ran past her. Elisa briefly watched Zack before looking to Sephiroth. Her body couldn't ignore the coldness that Sephiroth was silently emitting. No one else felt it, no one else noticed it. It was just Elisa who did...as if Sephiroth's coldness was aimed specifically for her. She had hoped he'd look at her or say something before the elevator went up but he did nothing. Elisa sighed. "Of course he wouldn't. He's Sephiroth, after all, and I'm…just a 'strange girl' as he put it." Well, I'm a strange girl that won't give up. Do you hear that, Sephiroth? I won't give up. I'll make you get use to being around this strange girl. Somehow…I'll find a way to mean something to your heart, to earn your respect. Elisa departed Shin-Ra Headquarters yet again, since it was deemed useless now that Sephiroth had left it. She spent the rest of the day contemplating in her bedroom about how to capture Sephiroth's attention and to somehow change the way he currently saw her. To him she was just a useless, love-struck, clumsy, wasteful, strange idiot.
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6. Midnight’s Beauty
Elisa was unable to fall asleep ever since she returned from yet another failed visit to Shin-Ra Headquarters. She was feeling annoyed, angry, and dejected, keeping her awake. Elisa sat up, sighing heavily, and looked over to Aerith, who was peacefully sleeping. She smiled softly and whispered, "at least she's able to sleep. I can't no matter how hard I try. She needs it, though, since she has a far greater burden than I." Elisa reached under her bed to grab her violin case. She quietly walked across the wooden floor to the other side of the room. She slowly turned the smudged handle and opened the door, glancing one last time at Aerith. "Sleep in sweet repose, my dear friend," she whispered. She slipped out of the room, closing the door quietly behind her, and left the house to head for the fields of yellow lilies. Vigilantly glancing about, Elisa quickly knelt down and opened her violin case, pulling her violin bow out. She gripped it against her chest, closing her eyes. "This…is all I am able to do," she lamented. "I hope it will help in some way." Elisa stood up and twirled the bow about. Wisps of glowing light and sparkles danced and floated around her. Her nightgown disappeared, replaced by a white crinkle-textured dress with bell-
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shaped, lace-trimmed sleeves spilling from the elbows. The dress was shirred and elasticized around the black bodice, finished off with two-tiered, lace-trimmed skirts that trailed from the back. Her small feet were clad in a pair of ruffle-edge, white satin shoes topped off with a black velvet bow at the instep and a 4" heel. Her small hands were graced with black fingerless gloves. Her violin case had also transformed into that of a light-weight, smaller version which hung off her belt behind her. She easily slid her violin and bow into it. Not only was the dress cute, but it was versatile in that it was light-weight and short, allowing her legs to freely move about. It was a dress fit for fighting. "I'm ready now." Elisa smiled with satisfaction. "I may not be a SOLDIER and I may not be able to help Zack and Sephiroth through Shin-Ra, but I can still help them in secrecy. I will!" Her eyes burned with anxiety and determination. Her will to be of use and to earn Sephiroth's respect had exponentially increased. She could feel a burst of energy flow throughout her body. She felt confident and strong, and any fragment of fear she had inside her was slaughtered. Elisa dashed at a great speed, heading for Sector 0. She could feel energy coursing through her veins as she ran. It felt so wonderful running swiftly. It felt almost natural to her, even though she hadn't a clue what to do and how to do it. Her body
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acted on its own as if it was carrying out a routine that was done for so long. I don't know if Zack and Sephiroth had returned but it's worth a peek. I'll only peek, nothing more. It's not worth it to linger there for so long. That's been proven already... Her eyes saddened as the memory of her second encounter with Sephiroth replayed in her mind. Hurling into the air with all her might, Elisa landed on a tall building that gave a good view of the city. She was breathing heavily, for her body wasn't use to this extreme athleticism. She could feel her body beginning to complain; however, she knew she mustn't stop for such petty things. This was her only option. She had nothing left to do except this foolish whim of hers. Being in a magical world, she figured why not test her theory out at least once? And so here she was putting that theory to the test. Elisa continued leaping on the rooftops and gliding in the air to reach the entrance of Shin-Ra Headquarters. She quietly landed in a dark alleyway. She suppressed her heavy panting, fighting to gain control over it and her body. Things were serious, now, and if she made any mistakes, it would cost her. Whatever her body or mind felt, she would have to endure it. She couldn't afford at this point to be weak or careless. She swallowed hard to calm her nerves before entering the point of no return. "So it begins…" She quietly reached behind her back with her left hand
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and slowly pulled out her violin bow. She tapped her right palm with its tip and a black velvet mask appeared. Its right side was decorated with a pretty black rose detail with silver beads, ribbons, and sequin threads pouring out from it. Immediately after Elisa slid the mask over her azure eyes, she could feel a sudden deep change sweep throughout her body. She felt calmer, less afraid, more confident, and wiser than her previous self. It was as if she had become a completely separate person with a completely opposite personality. She was far more sensible than her old self and she felt a feeling of sternness and persistence burn in her heart—something she didn't show before in her old self. She grinned in excitement and ran, sheathing her bow. Elisa, hugging a wall, peeked to see if there were any patrolling Shin-Ra Troops. There were two standing and conversing as two others were pacing about. "Humph. Just as I thought…" If I waltzed in like a regular citizen like before, I'd be in trouble in this getup. I'd stand out too much. No, I'll have to sneak in. Sneak in… Ha! This is something I've never done back on Earth. She smirked and leapt onto the roof of the nearest building. She quietly maneuvered atop the rooftops keeping vigilant of the Shin-Ra Troops patrolling the perimeter.
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At last Elisa found a safe spot to intrude the grounds. She quietly jumped down and dashed for the wall of Shin-Ra Headquarters. She waited under the protection of the shadows as her eyes constantly darted in all directions, watching for any signs of incoming danger, listening to every sound. Hugging the wall, she approached the entrance. Low voices muttering in secrecy could be heard. She listened in on the conversation: "Can you believe Genesis and a few other SOLDIERS deserted Shin-Ra? I didn't think it was true until I heard rumors about it." "Yeah, it shocked me as well when I heard about it. I wonder what made him decide that…" "Ah, so that's where the story is at right now," muttered Elisa. "I had wondered where on the timeline I arrived at. That makes sense, then." Elisa placed a finger to her lips in contemplation. That time when Zack had to leave in a hurry—that must be because he was leaving for Wutai. A vision flashed into her mind of Angeal and Zack talking about dumbapples and carrying out the mission they had. Sephiroth then appeared just as she remembered it from the game, slaying a summoned creature. Her consciousness returned and she was breathless for a short moment. "I understand. I will have to go to Wutai and quick!"
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Elisa turned around and dashed through the darkness. It's on the western-most continent, if my memory of the game serves me correctly. Tch! How the hell can I get there in time? And there's only one way to get in there, too. Elisa irritably grumbled as she jumped across the rooftops to reach Midgar's perimeter. I'll first have to take a boat across the ocean, then reach the beach on the southern tip, and then go all the way northward through dense forests until I reach Wutai. She heavily sighed. This…is no easy travel. How in hell did those guys do it? They make it look so easy… She moaned. I wish there was some swift way of getting to Wutai… Once those words fell out of her mouth, Elisa was swathed in a sparkling sky blue glow that emitted from her violin. "What the…?" Elisa was caught off guard, forgetting that she was in midair, and fell down, crashing into the cement ground. As Elisa remained flat on the ground, smashing her right arm that ached in pain from the impact, she found herself in a dense forest. She raised her head to see a large, familiar mountain in the distance. "Da Chao Mountain…" Elisa winced as she tried to move her right arm. "No good," she spoke through gritted teeth as she slowly sat up. "Damn!" She frowned at her right arm sprinkled with cuts. "I'll have to use it gently." Elisa observed her surroundings. "Just…how in hell did I get here?"She glanced at her violin,
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catching the last of the sky blue glow disappearing from it. She blinked. "So that's how..." This must be another fragment of my power that Minerva gave. Elisa heavily sighed as she squeezed the bridge of her nose. "Such randomness isn't…healthy, you know. No matter…" Her fiery determination and fearlessness returned to her eyes. "I have a duty, now. I will help him." She rose to her feet. Elisa heard a rustling sound nearby and instinctively pulled out her bow and violin from behind her, wincing as her right arm screamed in protest. She forced herself to ignore it. Now was not the time to focus on her arm when danger is near. She placed the bow between the bridge and fingerboard, looking alertly at every direction. Her mind was spinning in confusion. She still couldn't grasp how she arrived in Wutai so quickly. But she was here and she had to force herself to flow with it somehow. When a silhouetted figured emerged out of the trees and bushes, Elisa faced it and impulsively played a rapid, shrill sound in hopes to scare off whatever it was. The violin glowed a shade of crimson as a fireball shot out from her violin, taking Elisa by complete surprise. It smashed into a tree, startling the man. "Whoa! Hey! Watch it!" The man lunged to the other side of the dirt path.
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That voice… It is familiar. No! I can't be distracted! This is not the time to lose focus, Elisa. She suspiciously stared at the figure. "Who are you?" "…A female?" he muttered. What on Earth is a female doing here? Maybe she lives here. "That's what I'd like to know." "Speak! I'm warning you!" she threatened as she moved the bow back in between the bridge and fingerboard, standing with alacrity. He threw up his hands as if surrendering. "Zack! My name's Zack! Just…please put that thing down. I mean you no harm." "…Zack, you said?" Elisa blinked. "Zack…Fair?" "Uh…yeah, that's me. How did you know?" Elisa smirked. "I knew from a vision." "…A vision?" Zack was dumbfounded. "Yes. Since you are Zack Fair, I have no grudge against you." Elisa lowered her violin and relaxed her body. "Eh?" Zack scratched the back of his head, not quite understanding. "No…grudge?" Have I met this girl somewhere or
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something? It's like she knows me…somehow. "You're just going to…let me walk away that easily?" "Yes. Do you have a problem with that?" She raised an eyebrow at him. "U-Uh, no! I don't. It's just that…I thought you'd kill me or something." "I can arrange that for you, if you wish it." "N-No!" He frantically shook his hands. "That's okay. Heh, heh!" "Very well." Elisa slid the bow and violin into her case behind her. "Then do not question the reasons behind my motives any further." Zack observed the contours of Elisa's silhouetted figure. Huh. She seems like the kind of girl who's cheerful, innocent, and careless, but she's kind of like…Sephiroth, in a way. She's stern, calm, and frank. And just when I thought I got away from that, too… Zack submissively sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. "So…what's your name, if you don't mind me asking?" Elisa approached Zack. The shadows that veiled her disappeared as she stepped into the moonlight. Her sensual yet cute attire stunned Zack to the point he couldn't stop gaping at her. He
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did not expect to see a beautiful girl standing before him let alone wandering about in a place like this during the night. Even though all around her darkness reigned, in Zack's eyes, Elisa somehow seemed to glow as if she was night's only pure light. He rubbed his eyes, thinking perhaps it was some strange illusion, but when he looked at Elisa again, she looked just as unknown, mysterious, and beautiful as before. Perhaps it's the dress she wears…or the moonlight. Still… Just by standing there she looks like an angel. I'm sorry for lying, Zack, but I can't very well use my real name. "They call me many names," Elisa coolly said. "Uh…so what do I call you, then?" Elisa smirked. "Whatever you deem fitting." "Fitting, eh? Hm." Zack quietly pondered. "How about…I call you Midnight's Beauty?" Midnight's Beauty? What, I wonder, propelled him to think of that name? "Then I am thus." "You're…not a SOLDIER or a Turk," he said as he observed her outfit. "Your clothing is different. Are you some kind of secret branch that works for them?" Zack put a hand on his blade that hung on his back, gesturing his head towards the two dead bodies.
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Elisa shook her head and kept a steady gaze. "No, I do not. I work for no one." "…No one?" Zack blinked. "I work for myself. I am my own boss." Zack removed his hand from the hilt of his sword. "Huh. Why are you here, then?" "Something large is happening. It has already begun. Desertions and betrayals choke the air." "Say what?" Zack was taken aback by those last words. How'd she know about desertions in SOLDIER? If she's not at all connected with Shin-Ra, how could she know? Just who is she? "It has happened already. Genesis has left, has he not?" "Gen—but how did you know about that?" Elisa smirked. "Night and all its mysteries can sometimes bring interesting things to a person in the form of dreams." "…Dreams? You mentioned visions before—that's how you said you knew me. So…does that mean that is also how you know about Genesis?" Elisa nodded. Zack felt skeptical. Just hearing that sounded strange and suspicious in and of itself but
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Elisa's face was completely serious. He saw it in her eyes. "You're serious, aren't you?" "If I wasn't, I would not allow myself to waste my breath and time on worthless things." Zack was suddenly reminded of Sephiroth and he laughed. "Alright. I meant no offense. I was looking for someone—a friend but I can't seem to find him anywhere." "…Angeal?" "No way! You know about him, too? Did you also have a vision of him?" Elisa nodded. Her face fell grim. "Yes. You will not find him here." "…I won't…find him here?" Zack blinked. He started to feel alarmed by those words. "What do you mean?" Elisa felt a sudden change in the air. The air was still and quieter than before. Something was not right. That alarming feeling she had felt at times had returned. She pulled out her violin and placed her chin on the chinrest. "We are not alone." Zack unsheathed his sword and ran towards Elisa, standing back-to-back with her. He glanced briefly at the strange object in Elisa's hand. This girl…is really strange. Just who is she and
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where'd she come from? And just what is that thing she holds? She's really weird. "Well, I don't know where you came from or what intent you have, but you seem to be a good person." Elisa blushed at this but spoke not a word. "Just don't harm me or get in my way and I'll do the same for you." "Understood." Elisa noticed two men appear with guns in hand. "Here they come!" Zack noticed an orange orb in the air. "Hey! Who called out a Summon? You've got to be kidding me! Hey, take care of things here, okay? I'll handle this." "Right!" Elisa ducked, dodging a gunshot. Damn! I don't know what the hell I'm doing! I can feel my body weakening and my right arm is killing me but I can't stop. I need to hang on a little longer. I'm no soldier yet I have no choice. I can't go back. I already made my decision. I will do what I can for Zack…and for Sephiroth. I will do my best! Elisa stood firmly and straight as she closed her eyes. She began to rapidly and vigorously play the violin. Antonio Vivaldi's "Storm" echoed through the night air, giving off a sense of burning intimidation and toughness. The violin glowed crimson again as the sound picked up in tempo and intensity. I don't know how things in this world work, but if it's true that this magical violin
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answers to my will's call and there is such a thing as power in music, then I want these enemies before me to burn! I want to protect and be of help! Elisa's eyes slammed open as she uttered in aggression a single word she had remembered from the videogame back on Earth: "Fira!" Bright, ferocious flames burst from her violin, rapidly swirling and weaving its way towards the men. It struck them with merciless force, instantly killing them. Elisa, although she barely moved, was panting as if she had been running endless laps. She wanted to collapse from the exhaustion and pain but she refused to fall. She suspected this had to be the consequence of using her violin and exerting great force in a short span of time. The crimson glow on her violin faded and Elisa lowered her arms. Her ears heard a large "thump!" nearby. "…Zack?" She turned around to see Zack standing motionless, facing a man taller than him with long silver hair and a long sword clutched in his left hand. Elisa felt apprehension knocking on her heart's door but she refused to show any signs of distractions. She fought to maintain a resolute appearance. She toddled towards the two, breathing heavily as she tried to keep her balance. Just…hang on a little longer, Elisa. Just a little…longer…
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Zack was blown away by the sheer ease Sephiroth had in killing the Summon with one fell swing of his sword. He was even more breathless to see the famed Hero standing before him without notice. "…Sephiroth." Sephiroth didn't reply and only walked past him to the two dead bodies. He knelt down and unmasked one. "Genesis? No way! He's the missing 1st Class SOLDIER, right?" "M'm." Sephiroth unmasked the other one. "What the…?" "Humph. Genesis copies. It's just as I thought." "You thought what? Wait; what's going on here?" Sephiroth shifted his body to look at Zack. "Have you seen Angeal?" "Uh…no, I haven't." He scratched his head. "I've been looking for him but I haven't seen him at all. I thought maybe he was fighting around here but there's no sign of him." "That's because it is as I told you," interrupted Elisa in a delicate voice as she took four steps forward. The two men turned their heads to look at her. Elisa forced herself to bear up her body's pain, now that she stood before Sephiroth. She absolutely refused to show any sign of weakness and pain to such an admirable SOLDIER that she loved.
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Sephiroth narrowed his eyes in suspicion as he rose. The notion of a complete stranger appearing out of nowhere and listening in on their conversation, appearing to know something about the situation at hand, alarmed him. "Who is this?" he asked with cold hostility. "Uh…she helped me out. We sort of bumped into one another. She goes by the name of Midnight's Beauty." Sephiroth looked at the girl in silence, briefly examining her. He looked at Zack, raising an eyebrow. "What foolish name is that?" Elisa narrowed her eyes in displeasure. Well, excuse me if Zack chose that name for me... Geez! He's as blunt as ever. I should've known better than to expect anything short of nice form Sephiroth. Stupid jerk… "Hey! I chose that name, you know." "…Chose?" Sephiroth looked at Zack as if he was an idiot. "Yeah. I thought that one suited her." Zack scratched his head. Sephiroth disapprovingly stared at Zack. "You're too gullible and naïve, Zack." He turned around and began to walk away.
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"What's wrong in believing she's not our enemy?" Sephiroth halted, closing his eyes as he heavily sighed. "Many things…" Sephiroth's cyan eyes threw a cold glare at Elisa that pierced through her heart, freezing her where she stood. WWhat an immense gaze, Elisa thought. "You! What is your purpose here? How do you know about Genesis?" Elisa was caught off guard by this question. She sensed doubt and hostility behind Sephiroth's question. He doesn't trust me…and rightfully so. Keep your cool, Elisa. You must make him trust you. Do whatever it takes to make him respect and trust you. She tightened her grip on her violin. "If I told you that I wasn't following the both of you, it would only make you more suspicious of me, wouldn't it? Even so, the truth stands: I am not following you." I…do not like having to lie but it's not like they'll know it, especially if I play along with my notion that I have "visions". Hell, that's not completely a lie, anyways. "I arrived here awhile ago. I was searching for what I saw in my visions— searching for Zack, Angeal, and Genesis, even you." "What?" Zack was shocked to hear her mention Sephiroth. He glanced at him, wondering what on earth Elisa saw that involved him. Sephiroth coolly asked, "Why?"
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"I came to tell that a great change has begun, beginning with Genesis' disappearance. He is like the drop that causes a ripple effect in the water. The waves will grow bigger. They already began. It will affect many people who are connected with him and Angeal. You will not find your friend here, Zack, for he has left." "Hey, what are you implying?" asked Zack. Interesting… So she has come to the same conclusions as I have, then. This all seems ridiculous. I don't believe in her "visions" yet…they somehow fit with the situation. But the question still remains unanswered: who does she work for? Sephiroth narrowed his eyes and spoke through clenched teeth, "she means that Angeal…has betrayed us." "What? N-No way! No! That's impossible." He backed away from Sephiroth. "Th-That can't be!" Sephiroth glanced at Zack, not saying a word. He, too, did not want to believe it. He wanted to believe that it was a lie. Elisa looked at Zack in pity, clutching her violin against her chest. "I'm afraid…it is true. He's in the hands of a familiar…friend." Sephiroth turned his head to her, knowing fully to whom she was referring to. Elisa noticed the look in his eyes. "It
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would seem that you have figured it out on your own, Sephiroth. I, too, have known this…through my visions." "B-But…" Zack was at a loss for words. This news was too much, too fast. "Angeal's not like that!" Sephiroth glanced at him. "Angeal would never betray us!" Elisa frowned as she witnessed for the second time Zack's heart being torn apart by this awful news. She knew too well from the game just how close he and Angeal were. It hurt her to see the same scene happen again. Even Sephiroth believes that, Zack. Sephiroth, though he seems calm on the outside, is very torn apart inside. I can feel it, see it… Both of his only close friends…betrayed him, and so out of anyone else, Sephiroth is the one who is suffering the greatest. She glanced at Sephiroth. Their eyes met and she blushed. Sephiroth…what can I do to ease the misery? Sephiroth slowly walked towards Elisa. She wondered why he was approaching her. She thought perhaps he had somehow read her mind."You spoke of visions. Is that true?" Elisa firmly stared into his intimidating eyes. "Yes." "And how do I know you're not trying to deceive us? I don't believe in a single word you said."
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"I never expected you or anyone, for that matter, to believe me. Whether anyone does or does not changes nothing. I still stand with what I said." "Humph. Such overflowing confidence. I'd be careful." Even though Elisa was fully aware of Sephiroth's capabilities in fighting, she felt an overwhelming desire to continue prodding him with her fiery words. Elisa smirked. "Oh? Giving advice to a complete stranger to whom you distrust? Interesting…" Sephiroth narrowed his eyes. "Like I said before, 'such overflowing confidence. I'd be careful.'" "I only know what my visions choose to show…and they told me that Genesis had vanished, Angeal would also vanish, Zack would be here, and that you would arrive without notice. There is no point in lingering here." "Your 'visions' are incompatible and you are alone... That leaves room for doubt. Just who do you work for?" He skeptically stared at her. Elisa was beginning to feel annoyed that Sephiroth still didn't believe her, but at the same time Elisa perfectly understood why. "It's just as I told Zack. I work for no one. I am my own boss."
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"Oh?" Sephiroth smirked as he tightened his grip on the hilt of his sword, feeling a desire to test just how bold she truly was. "I'd like to see how good of a boss you are." Sephiroth's gaze was swiftly taken away by the violin in Elisa's hands. A familiar, strange feeling filled him. That thing… It draws me so strongly. Why? Could it be…? He guardedly stared into Elisa's eyes. "What is that?" "A violin." "A…violin?" Sephiroth raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, she saved me with that," interrupted Zack. "I don't know how but…fire came out of it. It killed those two copies. I guess you could say that was our introduction," he joked as he chuckled. "And the sound it made was—it's nothing that I've ever heard before." …Sound? This peeked Sephiroth's curiosity. He wondered if there was a connection between that and his speculation. Could this…sound Zack heard be…that sound? Sephiroth wanted to assess it and learn about this strange, powerful object to confirm his suspicion; however, he suppressed that desire. This is futile. This is deterring us from the true situation and Zack doesn't realize it. His lack of focus is…annoying. He closed his eyes. "Zack, your
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imagination exceeds its boundaries." He began to walk away from the two. "O-Oi! Wait up!" Zack ran after Sephiroth. "Hey, I didn't get to say thanks to her for helping me out." Sephiroth muttered, "How petty." Elisa let out a sigh of relief. What was…up with that? Why was he…staring at me like that? She shifted her body to look at the two walking away. She sighed. "I guess…I 'm in Sephiroth's Okay Book. I hope so, at least." Elisa smiled as she wavered. "I…did too much but it's…done now." Elisa collapsed to the ground, falling unconscious. Her violin glowed again and she was back in Midgar on the roof of a building.
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