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Path To The Promised Land (Part 2/3)

Tifa felt like she had just woken up. Where was she?


Where am I? she thought, and tried to open her eyes. They were too heavy to move.

I can't see! she thought.

She finally thrust her eyes open and tried to see as best as possible. She seemed to be floating or sinking, in a light blue atmospere. Ahead of her was Cloud, appearing lifeless.

She suddenly realised she wasn't breathing and tried to gasp for air. Instead of breathing air when she opened her mouth, the soft, cool liquid around her poured into her mouth and she tried to spit it out but found herself helpless.

I am in the lifestream....she realised. Again?

She panicked again, trying to swim upwards, moving akwardly and quickly. Cloud lifted his head and looked at her calmly. Tifa tried to gasp. No, not again! Not back into the lifestream.

"Calm down." came Cloud's voice from somewhere. His mouth didn't move when he said those words. He slowly drifted towards her and reached for her hands. She panicked more. It must be a nightmare.

"Help me, Cloud!" she heard her voice say. Her hand pulled out of Cloud's grasp and covered her mouth. She didn't say that, did she?

His voice reached her ears again, though she didn't see him speak them. "It's alright. You don't need to breath in here. The lifestream won't hurt us."

Cid swam upwards from somewhere. "Y'know," she heard his voice say "This old man still has some life left! I can swim around as if I were young again."

Tifa smiled and heard her voice laugh. Obviously you don't have to breathe or talk in the lifestream. It does it for you.

"Whers are the others?" she asked.

Cid motioned to below them and Tifa looked down. She could make out their tiny figures.

"I guess this is the water part." said Cloud "Let's hope there's nothing here to fight."

Cid and Tifa agreed. They had enough fighting to last for a few months but somehow they knew there was more to come. This isn't like any of the adventures they've gone on before. They're looking for the actual Promised Land! Cloud has said that he had visions about where to go after they had killed Sephiroth.

The three looked down at the others then swan down to see them.

"Isn't this amazing?" they heard Yuffie's voice say. "The lifestream itself! It's so beautiful here. I want to stay here forever!"

"It is rather intriging." agreed Red. "But I can't shake the feeling that it's not going to be this simple for the rest of the trip."

"Well," said Barret "I for one am ready for some major butt kicking." He waved his gun-arm around proudly.

"I wonder what the Promised Land will be like." sighed Reeve, obviously wondering if the whole trip was worth it. He wasn't used to the adventurous life.

"Will we be able to just walk right in?" asked Vincent "I think it may seem to easy for something so great as the Promised Land."

"I don't know." admitted Cloud "I only saw how to get this far. The only thing leading us right now is luck."

"So you mean we'll be wandering around blindly?" asked Barret. Cloud nodded and looked down. The bottom was only less than 100 feet down. At the very bottom was a place where the lifestream parted and formed a little tunnel.

"Look," he said. "There's a pathway down there. I guess we go in there."

They agreed and swam down to the tunnel.

Cloud was the first to reach the tunnel. He landed right beside it and examined it. There was nothing protecting the tunnel. The lifestream just stopped and formed the tunnel itself. Cloud pushed his hand through and felt nothing. When he was sure it was safe, he walked in and found himself needing to breathe again.

Tifa joined him quickly and looked around. There was floral of all shapes, sizes, and colors everywhere in the lifestream. When the whole party was together, they started advancing down the tunnel.
They had walked for hours. Often when someone got too tired, they'd walk outside the tunnel in the lifestream but mostly stuck inside. It wouldn't be there if it wasn't neccessary.

"I'm tired." complained Yuffie.

"Hold it." said Cloud as he halted. Above them was a place where the tunnel widened and widened until it looked like the top half of a sphere. On the oppsosite end of them was large chuck of rock with a large hole to exit the tunnel. In front of the rock, a beautiful woman stood on guard.

"Stop." commanded the woman when they where in the larger part of the tunnel. "What business do you have here?"

"We came to enter the Promised Land." answered Cloud. The woman looked at him softly.

"Your blood..." she said to him.

"I was injected with Jenova cells." said Cloud "How can you tell?"

"I can always tell who carries my blood." she said and everyone gasped.

"J...Jenova?" asked Tifa nervously and Jenova nodded.

"Don't be afraid, dear." smiled Jenova. "I am not as evil as the Jenova you heard about. Many years ago, some of your people found their way here. They took many of our people away, and tried to bring me also. I got away, but they had gotten some of my blood. Apparently when they went back to their land, they injected it into a woman's body who was given the identity Jenova. This woman started believing she was a cetra and became angered at our history, that the humans had taken the land away."

"How do you know all of this?" asked Barret.

"The lifestream tells stories." Jenova replied. "Listen with your heart, you'll hear them."

"Oh yeah?" asked Barret "Give me some proof."

"You have a daughter, a very optimistic and proud young lady. You trusted her to a woman named Elmyra, who took her in as her own daughter. Tifa lost her father to a Shinra member, a monster manipulated by the belief he was my son, Cid loves space travel, Yuffie loves materia, Cloud used to work for Shinra until he had gotten himself thrown out, Vincent was experimented on by Hojo.."

"Stop!" said Barret "You've proven your point."

"I'm glad." smiled Jenova "But I cannot let you pass."

"What?" exclaimed Yuffie "We came all this way and find out you won't let us in?"

"No sweetie," smirked Jenova as she cast a spell on them and they found themselves slowly falling asleep "You just need to pass through examination."

Barret swore angrily as Tifa fell to the ground watching Jenova. After all they went though, they learned that they had come to hate the woman who impersonated Jenova. The original was pretty much the same as Aeris. Then everything faded and Tifa was asleep.

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