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I consider this one of my worst stories, but I'm posting it because....actally I don't know why. This didn't turn out the way I wanted and the ending kinda sucks. Oh well, read it at your own risk.

(please keep in mind I have no idea how Cloud knew how to get to the Promised Land after they killed Sephiroth, so I made that "tiny" little detail up)

Path To The Promised Land (part 1/3)

Cloud hacked through a large vine bush and stood back to rest.

"How much longer?" whined Yuffie from somewhere behind him. Cloud felt too tired to say anything and was relieved when Barret started yelling at her.

"How the **** would any of us know? Where's yer paitence?" he shouted but Yuffie didn't reply. in fact, she jumped back a bit down the small pathway that they had already created.

"Here." said Tifa as she handed Cloud a bottle of water. Though they didn't have much water left to spare, Cloud looked exhasted from both the heat and the cutting.

Cloud slowly accepted the bottle and couldn't help but smile. Out of everyone in the group, Tifa was the one who played mother hen, watching to make sure everyone's alright.

Yuffie started her whining again. "Are we gonna get to the promised land at all this year because I for one am not willing to stand around in the heat all day!" Barret popped a bullet into his gun-arm and Yuffie stepped back a few more steps.

"Yuffie, in order to get to the Promised Land, you need paitence." explained Red. "We're only about halfway done. Cloud said that we need to pass through all elements; land, air, fire and water. We've done air, that was in the Highwind, and we're nearly done land, I hope."

"Fire?" asked Yuffie. "I ain't going through no fire."

"The exit's right behind you." smirked Cloud as he motioned to the way they came. "Go right ahead and face those monsters by yourself if you wish."

Yuffie paused. Those monsters back there were incredibly strong. For a while it seemed like they weren't going to survive.

"I-I think I'll keep going, to protect you guys from any danger. If I weren't around who knows what kind of trouble you'd get into." said Yuffie.

Cloud nodded knowingly and picked up his sword. Although he'd never admit it, Yuffie was right. They'll never get anywhere by just sitting there.

After a few minutes, Cloud thought he saw something fall right in front of him. He cut a bit more, and he found a shredded piece of blue material with some blood on it.

"What is it?" asked Tifa. Cloud felt the material. It seemed familar. He turned it over and it was the logo of Shinra.

"They were here." he said.

"Who?" asked Reeve, who decided to come instead of Cait Sith for once.

"Shinra." muttered Cloud

Cid and Barret swore in unison and everyone felt sick to their stomachs.

"But how?" asked Tifa "They didn't know where the Promised Land was. That's why they kept searching for it. That's why they kept chasing after the Cetras until they killed them all. That's why Aeris is dead."

Cloud threw the cloth down on the ground and looked to the sky. They had known Aeris for such a short period of time, but she left a large impact on them. She gave her life, without any thought about her safety, to stop Sephiroth.

"They must have found it by accident." said Vincent "And had just forgotten where to go afterwards."

"There's blood on it." said Tifa "Maybe some monster caught a Shinra member and just dragged him or her out here."

"I don't like either suggest'ns." muttered Barret.

"Me neither, but that's not going to stop us." said Cloud as he raised his sword, hacking away with anger leading him on. Why a member of Shinra was here, he was sure that he's not going to like the reason why, finding it out or not.
Two days later......

Cloud lightly pushed the sword against the vine, feeling near exhastion, when it suddenly broke open, abd he fell to the ground in surprise.

"We made it through!" cheered Reeve as Tifa helped Cloud up and into the open. It was night time, and the air was refreshing and cool.

Red looked around after they had all piled out. "Now what about the water or fire?"

"I wish you hadn't asked." said Cid as he pointed to their left. They gasped at the site. Lava was gushing out of the ground like geysers, postitioned everywhere and shooting the lava in almost every direction.

"Beautiful." sighed Yuffie.

"Yeah," said Barret sarcastically. "For scalding hot liquid that would burn right down to yer bone if the smallest drop hit ya."

Yuffie hesitated and looked back into the tunnel they just carved out, almost as if she'd prefer those monsters to the lava. Barret laughed and turned to Cloud.

"How the **** are we supposed to go there?" he whispered. "What is going to get us through?"

Cloud took another sip of his water bottle and glanced at the geysers. "By luck" he said.

Barret frowned. It was obvious the only thing they could do is run for their lives in between the geysers, looking for gaps between the lava.

"Hey look what I found!" called out Tifa. She found a diary of some sort and opened it up. After reading a few pages, her face went pale.

"What is it?" asked Red.

Tifa read out loud. "One entry says 'Today is both a happy and sad day: My wife Infalnia has given birth to a little girl, but I am not there to help her celebrate. I am on my way home from the most amazing journey. We had just gotten through the fire pit and now are sitting outside the vineyard, which has overgrown since last time. I will be home within a week or two and will be able to join my wonderful family, with whom I will be spending a beautiful future with.'"

"His wife, Infalnia?" asked Vincent. Tifa nodded and her words came out, choked.

"This is Prof. Gast.......Aeris's father!" she said. She flipped through a few pages. "something happened during his last entry." she said, holding it up so that everyone else could see. "Right here, where the writing stops in mid-sentence. The pen had slipped off track. Look, there's blood on it too!"

"I think both Vincent and Tifa were both right." said Red. "I think they did find their way here and a monster of some sort had attacked them."

"Anyone else beginning to hate this trip as much as me?" asked Yuffie. Reeve nodded.

"Well," said Cloud. "Let's not get settled down. We're still on this journey. Now let's mosey."

Cid swore but grinned. "I thought I told you way back there in the North Crater to stop sayin' it like a wuss!"

Cloud shrugged.

"I'm not going through that lava!" declared Yuffie.

"Suits me." said Cloud as he and everyone else but her began heading to the geysers.

"Hey wait!" shouted Yuffie as she ran to catch up.

They followed Cid and Cloud through the geysers nearly unhurt. Cid and Cloud were chosen to be the leaders because of their abilities to make quick strategies, Cid learning it from years of piloting, and Cloud from his training in SOLDIER.

Suddenly Tifa was splashed in the arm and screamed in agony. Yuffie pulled out a heal materia and used it but for some reason, it wasn't at it's full standards.

"It's broken!" shouted Yuffie as they were still running.

"Something must be around that affects the materia." decided Reeve from behind Yuffie. "Are you alright?"

"Yes, I will be." said Tifa "The materia helped a lot. Thanks Yuffie."

"This trip is getting worse and worse." muttered Yuffie.

"Remind me to fire our travel agent." smirked Cloud.

Tifa smiled weakly and held her arm protectively. She had lied that her arm was alright but she couldn't stop the group now. Her arm wasn't as bad as before but it still stung. She'd just have to wait until they were out of the fire.

They reached the end of the geysers and had all lain down on the ground.

Cid rolled over onto his back and stared at the sky. Ever since the vineyard, he'd noticed that there was no sun nor moon, just the darkness and the stars. What he wouldn't give right now to be into outer space again. Where on the planet had the path led them anyhow?

He sat up and looked around. The group had settled down in their own spots to get some privacy. Another thing Cid noticed was that they had finished three of the elements, earth, air, and fire, but where was the water? Even though there was no sun, he could see almost perfectly in the cool night. There was no lake, no river, pond, or even the smallest puddle.

Before he even finished that very thought he noticed that they started sinking into the ground.

What the... he thought. The ground was as steady and trustworthy as his good old Tiny Bronco a minute ago. Well, before it was shot and became a sea plane. But now wasn't the time to think about the Tiny Bronco, he was sinking!

He watched in horror as Barret, Yuffie, Reeve, and Red went under.

"Cloud?" he called out but got no reply.

"Cid?" shouted Tifa. "What's happening? Where's Cloud?"

"I can't see him Teef.." said Cid then he found himself under, swearing a blue streak. Tifa began panicking even more. She was up to her waist and her arm was stuck. She tried to pull it out, but it pulled her down. She screamed and was plunged under.

To be continued. (go to chapter 2)

get this gear!
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