Chapter Fifteen ~ Ultimecia's Plans...Completed?!?
Selphie managed to brush off the glass from her body as she sat up. She looked at herself to see if anything vital was cut. Seeing only minor scratches and bruises on her arms, Selphie went to Sakura, shaking her gently.
"Sakura? Hey, Sakura, wake up!"
The young girl stirred slightly and opened her eyes. Her bright, chocolate brown eyes looked around and eventually met Selphie's.
"What happened?" she asked.
"I dunno," Selphie answered as she looked out the open window. "Everything just went kablooee."
Sakura sat up as well, looking around. The entire bridge was covered in glass except for the area where she and Selphie were. She thanked Hyne that nobody else was in the room besides them, but she also felt a bit regretful because they would have to clean everything up. Although everything seemed to be fine, she felt that there was something missing...
"Hey, where's K-chan?" she asked.
Selphie stood up, kicking away someof the broken glass around her. Luckily, the glass shards were so thick that they hadn't been able to damage to controls although some DID puncture themselves into the steel walls. The fact that the furry stuffed animal-like creature who was with them before also disturbed Selphie's thoughts.
"I'm not sure..." Selphie finally replied. "Wasn't she with us before?"
"She was.." Sakura said, standing up as well. "K-chan?"
A seat cushion that flipped over during the blast muffled out a noise. Sakura went over to it and called out again. "K-chan?"
"Mmmmruff..." the seat cushion said.
Sakura flipped back the cushion to find a squashed Kereberos gasping for air. Both Sakura and Selphie blinked a few times.
"Oh, Hyne, I thought I was going to die in there..." Kereberos said, shaking herself back to normal.
The door to the cockpit slid open, revealing a very battled duo of Gene and Irvine.
"What in Hyne's name happened in here?" Gene asked.
"What happened to you guys?" Selphie asked at the same time.
"Where's Atamos?" Sakura added. "And Alex?"
"Hold on a sec, let's answer one question at a time here," Irvine intervened. "First off, what happened here?"
"We heard an explosion," Selphie answered and then gestured towards the glass sharded window. "The shockwave came this way and broke the window."
Irvine nodded in understanding. "Okay. We were in that explosion. The entire island's cut in two."
"Where's Alex and Atamos?" Sakura asked again in worry. Kereberos hovered beside her in case the girl needed some comfort.
Gene sighed, leaning against the doorway. "Alex is on that other side of the island, fighting Phaetos, I guess. And we don't know where Atamos is. He just disappeared."
"Do you think Alex is okay?" Selphie asked.
Gene shrugged. "I doubt that he's going to die. It's impossible to help him out now when those flames are surrounding the island piece. We'll have to pick up the others first and then come back to see what happened."
The earthquake and walls stopped. Lily plopped herself on the ground, taking in deep breaths and letting her Hyperion fall to her side with a clang. Zell didn't dare move from his position. He was comfortable where he was, staring up at the ceiling. The spell over Quistis ended, and she fell forward in exhaustion. Despite being physically brutalized by her attacks, Seifer managed to catch her before she was able to touch the ground. A long silence lingered with the exception of heavy breathing from the three exhausted warriors.
Lily was the first to be able to say something, clutching her ribcage. "Ow..."
Seifer couldn't help but let out a laugh as Quistis slept against his chest.
"You've been practically knocked out to the point of death and all you can say is 'ow'?" he asked jokingly.
"Hey, try to move with broken ribs, old man," Lily retorted.
"I ain't old yet, Pyro."
"Quit calling me that!"
"C'mon, you guys..." Zell pleaded, still in the same position. "You're freakin' family fer Hyne's sake. Can you at least get along for once?"
"We did," they answered in unison.
Another moment of silence lingered. Seifer brushed back a lock of hair away from Quistis' face. Hyne, she's beautiful...
"Hey, Zell, can you move?" he called out to the young man across from him.
"That's a first, you called me by my name," Zell murmured, chuckling. "I think I can move, but damn, my body feels like every bone inside is busted."
"Never mind my asking," Seifer said and turned to Lily who sat against the wall. "What about you, Lily?"
"If you're asking me to get us out of here, then forget it," Lily replied without even looking up. "My sense of direction is as bad as a cow's."
"I ain't askin' you to get us out of here, I'm asking you if you can move."
Lily smiled. "Yeah, I can move. Why don't you call Quezacotl and it'll fly us outside."
Seifer concentrated on the GF junctioned on him. In a ray of light, the thunderbird appeared, landing softly next to its master that summoned it. Mustering all the strength he had left, Seifer carried Quistis in his arms and walked over to the bird. Lily limped over to Zell and slung his right arm over her shoulder. They slowly made their way over to the GF who cawed softly at it saw the two making their way over. It lowered itself as Lily came over and helped Zell up on the GF's back. Lily finally came up and sat across the bird's neck. It looked at her questionably and she nodded, patting its soft, electric feathers. The GF took off and disappeared to the sky hole above them.
Making sure they had disappeared from view, Atamos stepped away from the shadows. He walked over to his sister's corpse whose eyes stared sorrowfully back at him. She was still alive.
You...were waiting for this day, weren't you, brother? Allundia asked.
"You realize now that I wasn't kidding, sister," Atamos replied unemotionally. "Ultimecia had tried to persuade our tribe, but they refused. She killed them all when I was gone. I didn't know that you were still alive until later on."
I was...I was such a fool in believing her...
"No you weren't, Allundia," Atamos replied. "You just never accepted the face that Ultimecia had tricked you after all she had done to save you. There is always a second chance at life, sister."
Allundia's eyes softened with hope before she disappeared in the light. Atamos stared at the empy space where his siter once lay before smiling and walking back into the shadows.
"I thank you, Lily, for freeing my sister's imprisoned soul."
Sakura cured her party's ailments before they descended back down to Fisherman's Horizon. They were pretty much silent the entire way before Rinoa regained her voice. After that, mother and daughter conversed like chipmunks on their way to the harbor while Kenji and Squall followed silently in tow, too exhausted to utter a word.
Gene was waiting for them once they reached the harbor.
"Wow, you're fast," Rinoa said.
Gene smiled, scratching the back of his head. "Ah, well, had a few problems here and there..."
"How is everyone?" Kenji asked.
"Tired as hell, a bit bruised, the usual," Gene replied. He jabbed his thumb towards the Ragnarok behind him. "C'mon, all I need to get is Alex and we're all set."
"Alex?" Sakura asked. "But isn't he with you?"
"It's a long story. I'll explain once we get on the plane."
With nothing else to do and nowhere else to go, Alex sat down against the castle ruin walls and slept with his gunblade by his side. When Alex had questioned the weapon about its actions, all it replied was:
You may be our master, but you must let us do what we think is necessary on our own will.
He had dozed off for a while until the sound of an engine's boosters came to his hearing. He looked up into the sun where a figure overcast it. As the figure came closer to view, Alex realized it was the Ragnarok coming to pick him up.
About time, he thought, standing and making sure that the gunblade was with thim. The flames around the island died off long ago, but he could still smell the stench of smoke lingering around. He silently thought about the final challenge ahead as the plane landed before him.
Ultimecia opened her eyes and smiled. Everything would soon be over...
Out of the entire ensemble fighting, Alex seemed to be the only one who looked like how he came to the battle. He seemed a bit tired with bits and pieces of his shirt torn, but nonetheless unharmed.
"What?" he asked the gawking company as soon as he stepped on.
"How long have you been sleeping there?" were the first words that popped out of Lily's mouth.
"Sleeping where?" Alex asked.
"Back at that castle."
The boy shrugged. "I don't know...about two hours or so."
"Yeah, around there," he brushed back his hair, looking fairly sleepy. "I'm going to bed. Just wake me up when we arrive at the place."
As he walked away, a nagging curiosity came to Seifer's mind. "You know...we've been destroying the castles and all and...."
"And what?" Lily asked to keep him going.
"Well, since we got all ten castles, where the hell is Ultimecia's? Didn't you guys tell us that once all ten castles are destroyed, Ultimecia's will appear since the seal has been broken?" he asked.
"You will see a sign," Rinoa answered unexpectantly. She was staring out the window, her eyes dreamlike. "Ultimecia will reveal herself once she thinks the time is right."
Everybody stared at her strangely. She turned away from the window and looked back at them in confusion.
"What? Did I do something wrong?" she asked.
"You sounded...kinda weird," Selphie answered.
"Weird? What did I say?" Rinoa asked.
"You don't remember what you said?" Irvine asked incredulously.
The eyes seemed to bore into her body. Rinoa looked at them back with the same intensity.
"No, I don't remember what I said, Irvine," she replied. "I don't think I even said anything."
You'll see a sign. Ultimecia will reveal herself once she thinks the time is right, the words echoed in Sakura's mind. She frowned, recognizing the true voice in those words. Oh, she is SO not going to let Mom get into all that mess again.
Sifting through her jacket pocket, she took out a piece of gum and popped it in her mouth, chewing silently. If Ultimecia tires to repossess Mom's body, I'll do all I can to stop it.
Seifer took a glance at Sakura while Rinoa and the others were still discussing about Rinoa's sudden lack of memory. The way Sakura had leaned against the wall, arms folded across and frowning slightly reminded him of Squall. The only difference was that Sakura was chewing on a piece of gum. Coincidentally, Squall was leaning against the wall opposite of her, but he was more interested observing the discussion rather than brooding.
They sure are related, he thought. Hyne, they even think in the same manner, too.
An alarm sounded in the plane, snapping everyone out of what they were originally doing.
"Gilian, what's going on?" Gene asked the computer.
The computer came down, showing a picture of the clouds above them swirling around as lightning blast through an opening in the sky that was beginning to darken by the minute.
"Something is about to come through the clouds," Gilian replied. "My sensors are indicating abnormal lightwaves and high levels of gas from the atmosphere."
"How high?" Quistis asked.
"Some of the levels are so concentrated, it would be impossible for anybody to breathe normally. That's odd," the computer replied.
"Thos aren't gases," Sakura replied when she took a closer look. Her eyes glowed a dark amber. "Her castle is coming from a different portal in time."
All eyes were on her as she continued to stare at the castle in suspicion. But why is her castle from a different time zone?
Ultimecia sat on her throne, calmly awaiting for her enemies to arrive. She smiled cruelly as she watched time tick by. Time. This was something that her enemies didn't have anymore. Once they entered her castle, time will not exist.
When all thought was a magnificent sight from below, the gang knew better. It was exactly how it was when they encountered it two years ago. Storm clouds circled around it in a threatening fashion, enticing any prey brave enough to enter. The castle looked dull, bleak with no return. Nothing had changed about Ulitmecia's castle. However, what was different were the echoes of lost souls crying out for freedom and guarding the castle walls at the same time.
"What ARE those things?" Rinoa asked.
"Screamers," Sakura replied as her eyes returned to normal. "They're the souls who have been captured by Ultimecia long ago. Both victims and threats."
"They're covering the entire castle, it seems," Lily observed. "How do we get in without them grabbing us?"
Sakura Wolfe shivered despite herself as the cries got louder. She covered her ears. "Those cries are creepy..."
Irvine put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Yeah, I know, Sakura, but don't let them get to you."
Can I open it? Sakura Leonhart asked herself. The plane got closer to the castle. Can I open the wall with the limited power I have now?
"There seems to be no way in..." Squall said.
"....I....I can open it," Sakura replied. "I think I can."
"Sakura, you have to be kidding me," Kenji objected. "You jsut got back to the living realm. Do you think that your body can handle it without being fully recovered?"
Fully recovered? Rinoa repeated the words in her head. You mean, even though you're awake and all, you're not fully recovered, Sakura?
No...it takes time for my body to regain all its powers... Sakura replied as she closed her eyes.
"I'll be fine, Kenji," Sakura replied. "I know what my limits are right now. Besides, how else can we get in? Alex is too exhausted to even move by the look in his eyes, so it's impossible to ask him to open the seal with the little strength he has retained."
When nobody else objected to her reasoning, Sakura headed towards the door. She paused in between the doorway and turned around.
"Gene, fly me to the gate as close as you can," she ordered. "I'll jump off from there."
Then she left the cockpit without saying another word.
"Do you think she'll be all right?" Rinoa asked worriedly.
"Who knows..." Lily replied.
As the gate of the Ragnarok opened, Sakura took a deep breath. In all reality, she wasn't really sure if she could pull it off. Kenji had seen right through her, but she BSed it all. The cold rush of air heightened her senses. She looked down at the bottomless ground below her and took another deep breath before jumping off.
She immediately called her wings forth. They spread in its magnificent beauty of pearl, keeping her afloat as she plunged herself into the wall of souls. Fighting her way through the crowd of groping hands, Sakura finally reached the center of the wall. Her eyes shifted to Griever's and concentrated all of her powers into the spirit of the wall. It screeched and groaned in agony as a white light began to surround its form.
"Whoa..." Zell murmured in awe as he and the others saw the wall beginning to crack.
"The cries are getting weaker..." Seifer added.
As soon as he said that, tiny rays of light seepd through the cracks. The cries of help soon turned to screams of agaony as the rays got bigger and brighter. Everyone covered their ears as the plane shook.
"Damn, you just jinxed us," Lily muttered.
"Hyne, it WAS."
The plane shook again as if a strong gust of wind hit it.
"It's cold!" Selphie shouted.
"It's becuase of those souls are being freed!" Kenji explained. "They're blind, so they don't know their ways out!"
The light got even brighter as bits and pieces of the thin wall broke apart.
"How much longer utnil they all leave?" Quistis asked through the screams.
Her question was soon answered as an ear piercing scream echoed across the sky and the wall completely shattered like a mirror. The light soon faded around Sakura's figure as she flapped her wings. The others took their hands away from their ears and stared in awe. Sakura's skin was so white it looked transparent in the sun. Her pearly white feathers on her wings glowed in pure innocence. The amber eyes weren't cold and hard like Grievers. Instead, they were soft and yet had a twinge of sadness inside. Her short brown hair seemed to be weightless as she bade them to follow her.
"She's..." Zell murmured. "She's...Sakura's...turned into an...an..."
"An angel..." Squall answered, remembering back to an answer that Ellone had once told him when he was little.
"Hey, Sis! Do angels weelly exist?" he asked.
Ellone nodded. "Uh huh, but you can never see 'em unless dey're alive."
"Alive? But Sis, aren't angels not alive?"
"Uh uh. Some can be alive. They just never show themselves to us."
"So, can anybody be an angel?"
"Den I'm an angel, too!"
Ellone giggled. "You're silly, Squall. You can be an angel if you're good enough."
"But I did..." Squall counted his fingers and held up three of them. "But I did twee good things today! Does dat mean I'm an angel??"
"Squall, yoo gotta be an angel for the rest of your life!"
"How long is dat?"
Alex, a growling voice said to him. We have arrived.
His eye snapped open in the darkness, glowing a dark amber then fading back to his original sapphire. He sat up and looked out the tiny window. Finally, we're here...
The gang reached the entrance of the castle where they met Sakura. She was still in her angel form, a white aura emanating from her body.
"How did you do that?" Rinoa asked incredulously.
"It was easy," she replied as she returned back to normal. "The wal was created recently, so the spirit complied to my requests."
"That's pretty cool, but dang, could it get any louder?" Zell asked while cleaning out his ears. "I think I lost part of my hearing."
Sakura smiled. "I think we all did."
A sharp pain went through her mind and she went to her knees, clutching her head. The others rushed towards her.
"Sakura??" Rinoa asked.
"...I think I used too much of my energy," she answered.
Cyncial laughter echoed in the air as the surroundings around them shifted like a hologram. Everyone looked around for the source of the laughter.
"Ultimecia..." Alex said.
"Hahahaha, fools, you are too late! Too late!" Ultimecia's voice shouted. "Time Compression will fully commence! You will soon be nonexistent! Hahahahahah!!!"
Their eyes widened in shock as human bones surrounded their area. A storm was beginning to roll in as Ultimecia's laughter continued to ring in all of their minds.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Have Ultimecia's plans really been completed? Have they?? Stay tuned for the final chapter of: Angels.
WHAT'S TO COME: Chapter Sixteen ~ A Battle to the Death: The finale that you have been waiting for!