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Chapter 2 - Vol 1: The Need for Coffee

Within the halls of Dissidia Academy, life as a student is an adventure! Follow the Heroes of Final Fantasy as they fulfill the variety of challenges that lie before them, setting the path towards their future! However, underneath the depths of this highly established Academy ... lies a darkness that may throw the entire world into chaos.
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Chapter 2 - Vol 1: The Need for Coffee

Chapter 2 - Vol 1: The Need for Coffee
Warrior of Light climbed up the staircase towards the 4th floor of the Academy, keeping his usual elegant posture and a strong walking pace. In the hopes continuing in setting an example for the rest of the Academy, he refused to allow his body to falter in whatever way.
However, his mind was clearly miles away, staring off into the distance without any focus or acknowledgement of the people around him. He couldn’t help but wonder why Headmistress Cosmos would leave the Academy halfway through the academic year, seeing as the excuse given to him was along the lines of ‘other’ business endeavours.
The true reasoning behind her leave was never brought up during the assembly nor even during their meeting earlier this morning. In fact, whenever Warrior of Light would attempt to delve further in the subject, Cosmos would automatically change the topic before he could finish his question.
He gave out a frustrated sigh, feeling as though the Headmistress was purposely hiding secrets from him and the rest of the Academy.
Whoosh!!!
As he eventually reached the 4th Floor, Warrior of Light was given a sudden startle by one of the students rushing passed him like a speeding bullet.
After a brief doubletake, He realised that it was none other than Cloud Strife – completely flustered and streaming with sweat.
The startled Warrior of Light watched him as he hastily slid around the corner of the corridor and immediately out of sight, wondering why he was in such a rush.
Due to curiosity, Warrior of Light decided to investigate.
He trailed Cloud's direction and slyly peered around the corner of the corridor, uncertain on whether it was wise to approach Cloud directly. It didn’t take him long to find Cloud, who quickly made his way towards the various vending machines near the end of the hall. The faint sounds of panting and gasping could be heard from him, struggling to calm himself as other passing students began to look in his direction with confused expression.
Cloud hastily reached into his blazer pocket, seemingly struggling to retrieve the money he required. His uniform became increasingly untidy as he searched and searched his various pockets, unable to hide the panic that was going through him.
Finally, he had found a coin, glaring at it with wild, anxious eyes. Warrior of Light could hear him muttering to himself silently, although it was difficult to determine what he was saying.
“Come on … come on, please … just one cup of-!”
"CLOUD!" A sudden, loud, familiarly energetic voice abruptly out, causing both Cloud and Warrior of Light to simultaneously leap out of their skin in fright.
For what seemed like a mere second, Warrior of Light caught a glance of Tidus flying passed him towards the shaken-up Cloud, completely oblivious of the Council President’s existence. Noticing his friend’s immediate approach, Cloud threw the coin into the coffee machine as hysteria overwhelmed him.
However, this was hopeless … for his hand was caught by Tidus just before the coin had entered the slot of the machine.
"What are you doing here, Cloud?” Tidus cheerfully wondered, his obnoxiously high spirits glowing from his body. “Homeroom is about to start!"
"B-but I …"
Before Cloud could even answer the question, Tidus locked his grasp on Cloud’s shoulder and dragged him away from the vending machines. Watching hopelessly as the coffee machine gradually moved further and further away from his grasp, Cloud just couldn’t bring himself to retaliate.
Warrior of Light watched the two students pass by him: Tidus seemed to be in his own little world, and Cloud was far too dreary eyed to notice Warrior of Light's presence. Admittedly, there was a sense of sorrow in Warrior of Light’s expression, feeling rather disheartened by Cloud’s despair.
He would hate to be in those shoes right now.
Then, realising the time, he quickly turned back and made his way to his allocated Homeroom. However, just as he casually swung around the corner, he abruptly collided head-on into another student.
Bang!
“Oof-!”
“Ack-!”
The two fell backwards to the floor in surprise, the unexpected encounter throwing them off their course. Numerous sheets of paper flew above them upon impact, catching the air as they descended to the floor.
Soothing the back of his neck due to hitting it against the solid floor, Warrior of Light gradually lifted himself to a sitting position. Although brief, the world around him was somewhat blurry, causing him to become disorientated. It didn’t take long for him to recover and open his eyes, noticing the other student towering above him with a hand held out in assistance.
Warrior of Light raised his head, realizing that the student was in fact a fellow Council member: Firion.
Firion, a silver-haired, strong looking lad with a unique passion for working in the Academy. He was somewhat mysterious in terms of his goals, preferring to show off an approachable, friendly vibe towards whoever he was communicating with. Ultimately, both he and Warrior of Light had a strong, healthy co-operative friendship with one another – although both had a different approach towards their roles as Council Members.
"I'm really sorry about that, Warrior of Light.” Firion apologised to him, showing off a sweet, innocent smile in the process. “I should’ve been more careful."
"Oh, there's no need to apologise.” Warrior of Light answered with a fair tone, accepting Firion's assistance to bring him back to his feet. “I was rather distracted as well."
Noticing the mess, the two began to help one another with collecting the sheets of paper in as best of an organized fashion as possible. From the content of the papers, Warrior of Light could guess that they were Firion's lesson notes from the previous academic year. From what he initially assumed, Firion was using them as revision to help him transition into the new semester of lessons.
"I'm assuming you’ve met my two friends: Cloud and Tidus?" Firion spoke out in a chuckle, collecting up the last batch of sheets. “They’re quite the pair of characters.”
"Yes, they … certainly are." Warrior of Light nodded back, remembering the huge difference between Cloud's and Tidus' personalities. "To think, those two are the leaders of the Chocobo Racing Committee and the Blitzball Sports Club … seems rather barbaric."
"Well, as the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover.” Firion cheerfully responded, a light chuckle escaping his breath as he spoke. "Those two are more reliable than you’d first imagine. On one hand, Tidus is a dedicated Blitzball Champion. He is always seen practising whenever the occasion arises, and his endless enthusiasm is a force to be reckoned with. Many have even gone on to say that his abilities as a team player and Captain could transcend to ‘legendary’ status if he keeps up his game – I would say he gets that from his Father.
“Cloud, on the other hand, has participated in Chocobo racing for quite a number of years, finishing many of his recent races on top of the leader-board. Granted, he does seem to struggle maintaining focus at times, but you give him a job and he’ll have it done without delay."
"Really…?” Warrior of Light murmured in light surprise as he passed the remaining papers to his classmate, chuckling away at this so called ‘revelation’. “Well, let's hope that they put in as much commitment in their class work as they do on their hobbies.”
"Heh-heh … No need to worry, that’s were my job comes in. I’ll be sure to keep those two in line." Firion nodded back to him with a smirk, holding onto his stash of papers. "Anyhow, I best save Cloud before his caffeine needs hits crisis level."
"He did seem rather shaken up for some reason.” Warrior of Light pointed out whilst folding his arms, feeling what he witnessed should be mentioned. “He was attempting to buy a coffee from the machine before Tidus dragged him away."
"I assumed that would the case.” Firion answered back with a sigh, fiddling through his trouser pockets for coins. “I swear, one of these days, Tidus will realise we’re all not early morning people like him … especially Cloud.”
"So be it. Well, I best get to the room otherwise I'll be late." Warrior of Light concluded, time consciously on his mind. "I'll see you there, Firion."
Firion waved to him with a cheery expression and turned towards the coffee machine, counting up his coins. Warrior of Light took his leave and headed towards the room, smartening himself up as best as he could. A slight pain could still be felt throbbing in the back of his neck, however decided to ignore knowing it was only a fall.
 
Class 13A Homeroom, 8:45am…
The Homeroom was filled with students, chatting away about their own affairs and their activities during the Summer Break. The room was lively, the aftermath of the Summer Break still hanging high in the air.
Warrior of Light entered the room, keeping up his appearance as he stepped forward. Straight away, he made his way over towards his designated seat – situated as the 3rd desk in the front row.
Sitting down, he began to glance around.
He could see the students scattered around different sections of the room in their small groups, continuously chatting about the eventful summer and the announcements in the assembly just a moment ago.
At the far back, he noticed Tidus continuously chatting to the struggling Cloud, who was clearly wishing he had more hours of sleep. Joining in their group was Cecil Harvey, who continued to nod and agree endlessly to Tidus’ non-stop rant. Cecil was like Warrior of Light in basic appearance, with long, flowing silver hair and a tall frame. That being said, the two were strikingly different from one another when it came to personality. Whilst Warrior of Light was formal and orderly, Cecil was known to be very approachable and stoic with those around him.
Moving on – currently standing as the only female student in Class 13A – Terra Branford was happily speaking to Onion Knight – the youngest student of the Class based on his youthful appearance. The two were close when it came to their companionship, with Onion Knight seemingly the only student in this class that Terra was able to become friends with without shyness becoming a major deterrent.
With that said, Terra’s presence within Class 13A tended to light up the atmosphere amongst the other students, her pure appearance and timid personality adding to her endearing nature. With bright blond hair and a face of beauty, she could be seen by many as the angel of the class – if not, the entire academy.
Onion Knight, although being younger than the rest of the group by a few years, had the mind of a genius. He could conquer puzzles and equations of various difficulty with ease, and if challenged by a fellow student on an activity or debate, there would be no doubt that he would overcome his opponent in the battle of wit.
This was something Warrior of Light found questionable, feeling as though Onion Knight’s aura just came off as cocky and self-righteous. 
Warrior of Light’s gaze then shifted onto Bartz and Zidane, who were continuously pestering a moody Squall. He felt somewhat empathetic for the Lone Wolf of the Class, knowing first-hand the chaos those two clowns could ultimately cause if given the chance.
Although he had his issues about his new set of Classmates, Warrior of Light found himself becoming more tolerant of the predicament.  
It wasn’t perfect … but it had its benefits.
Switching back to the front of the Classroom, he decided to begin preparation for the upcoming lessons, taking out whatever equipment he required for the day. As he took out the items of books and other necessities, he attempted to keep to himself and ignore whatever worthless conversations floated around him.
That was the case, until one specific conversation caught his attention.
"From what I hear, Cid of the Lufaine will be visiting the Academy soon." Onion Knight casually told Terra.
"Is that true?” Terra gasped out in surprise, her hand lightly raised over her mouth. “Where'd you hear that from?"
Warrior of Light straightened up abruptly, a sudden surge of exhilaration sparked through his body as he heard the name being mentioned.
Cid of the Lufaine, an inspiration during his youth, was soon to visit Dissidia!?
However, the fact he was not informed by Headmistress Cosmos on the event made him sceptical, unsure if Onion Knight was telling the truth or deceiving people to draw unneeded gossip.
"There’s a huge rumour going around the Academy.” Onion Knight explained to her, his eyes beginning to light up. “Many the teachers were even discussing it in the corridors earlier."
"And … you believe these rumours?" Warrior of Light lowly murmured in interruption, switching round towards their direction.
"Well … why wouldn’t I?” Onion Knight answered with a shrug, feeling caught off by Warrior of Light's sudden involvement in the conversation. “I mean, I would think the teachers would be telling the truth, otherwise what would be the point of bringing up the rumour in the first place?"
Terra didn't say a word, beginning to feel out of place within the conversation as the two locked eyes against one another.
"I personally wouldn't trust rumours, even if they were from teachers." Warrior of Light coolly argued, knowing from previous experiences. "I'll consult the Headmistress about this during lunch to find out if this is true."
"Right … you go do that, I'm certain she'll confirm the rumour to be true." Onion Knight confidently stated in an arrogant tone. "I'm always right with my intuition."
"Sure you are ..." Warrior of Light murmured under his breath irritably.
The two continued to glare each other down with dagger-like eyes, as though they were continuously attempting to one-up each other until the dominant is declared. Terra, watching the two from the side-lines, felt increasingly uncomfortable as the atmosphere between the two became suffocating.
Warrior of Light always found Onion Knight irritating with his big-headed intuitions and omniscient complex, even if he was also a fellow member of the Student Council. Onion Knight, on the other hand, found Warrior of Light's continuous attempts to set examples for the Academy and overbearing personality to be a general nuisance.
Their rivalry had always been mutual, clashing constantly ever since the beginning of last year’s 1st Semester, with the two always trying to contradict each other with opposing opinions.
“Tch…!”
“Hmph!”
After a few moments of glaring silence, the two broke away from the staring contest with spite, carrying on with their own businesses.
Warrior of Light began to think through this so called 'rumour', taking in the likely possibilities and contradictions. The idea of Cid of the Lufaine visiting the Academy caused Warrior of Light to feel cautiously uplifted. And yet, the fact that this was currently a large, baseless rumour circling round the Academy sent him into a spiral of doubt.
SLAM!
At that very moment, the door swung open, silencing the room in an instant.
The Class began to hear footsteps but could not see anyone enter the room. Warrior of Light lifted his head as high as he possibly could, his curiosity rising. He could only catch a glimpse of fair-blond hair bobbling across the end of his desk, seemingly tied up in two short twin-tails.
"Now then class.” A soft but strict voice commanded to the group, echoing around the classroom as though there were loud, surrounding speakers hidden within the walls. “You’d best listen to everything I have to say, or so help me, I will turn you all into strands of hay."
Suddenly, a high stool appeared directly in front of the classroom, causing a few students to instantly jump out from their seats. Soon after, a small, dwarf-like figure leapt up onto the stool in swift motion and faced the class with an elegant pose.
"I am your homeroom teacher: Professor Shantotto.” She stated proudly to the class, giving out a haughty pose. “Oh-hoh-ho…!"
"YOU'RE our homeroom teacher!?” Bartz burst out in hysterics, swinging back on his chair as he let out a booming laugh. “PHA-HA-HAA! … You're so small!"
Shantotto glared back with absolute distaste, watching Bartz continue with a piercing gaze. His excessive laughter caused the entirety of Class 13A to gasp in horror, bracing themselves for the worst. Warrior of Light awkwardly hid his face in the palms of his hands, wishing he could remove the ignorant fool’s mouth permanently.
After what felt like forever, Shantotto finally blinked.
"Well now, it seems we must go through some ground rules…!” She pointed out calmly, yet her tone of voice grew severely intimidating. “Rule number 1!"
Unexpectedly, a sceptre appeared in her right hand. She began to twirl it around with relaxed motions, feeling the flow of the sceptre move through the fingertips of her tiny palm.
And then, like a flash, she jabbed it in Bartz's direction.
Whoosh…!
“WHAT THE-!?”
CRASH!!!
A large whirlwind instantly caught Bartz by total shock. He had been thrown completely off his seat and collided against the back wall due to the sheer force.
Once the whirlwind had disappeared, Bartz was left slumped to the floor – groans of agony escaping his lifeless mouth.
"One shall not insult another in this class … otherwise one may find their next breath to be their last.” Shantotto coolly stated, her sceptre disappearing from her grasp. “Do you agree, Master Klauser?"
Bartz struggled and murmured as he lifts his arm from the ground, just being able to give a thumb up in approval.
"Good. Rule Number 2: we must respect each other's ambitions and wishes, and help each other towards our successes … Am I clear?"
"YES, PROFFESSOR SHANTOTTO!" Everyone answered in sync.
"And, Rule Number 3: We are a family in this group, and this will continue in a loop."
"*Sigh…!* What a pain…!" Squall moaned under his breath, glancing away in distaste of that 3rd rule.
BANG!
Unexpectedly, a loud slam echoed throughout the room. Every student – who were already on edge after their Homeroom teacher’s display of discipline – jumped up by the surprise, including Squall himself.
Gradually and cautiously, they all shifted round towards the direction of the abrupt noise. To their complete surprise, it was Cloud – his head unresponsively laying against the desk.
He was completely unconscious.
It seemed that his over-tiredness finally got the better of him, causing him to give into his desire for rest.
His fellow Classmates continued to gaze towards him in confusion and shock, wondering how to handle the situation. Warrior of Light sighed as he watched Cloud's slumped body lean against his desk, his lower half almost losing the balance on his chair below.
Following immediately after the event, the door to the room suddenly opened up.
Firion entered the room, holding two cups of hot, fresh coffee.
"Sorry I'm late, I was just buying a coffee for Cloud and-!”
Firion straightened up in shock as he noticed Cloud's motionless body.
“…Ah! I'm too late!"
Warrior of Light awkwardly lifted his hand, "Err … Professor? I suggest we bring Cloud to the Medical Room."
Without speaking a word, Shantotto gave the nod of approval.
Slip … bang!
As she did this, Cloud’s body slip from the desk and onto the floor.
 
Moments Later…
Warrior of Light and Firion carried Cloud across the hallway, his feet lifelessly dragging against the floor of the building.
Warrior of Light knew the Medical room was situated on the 1st floor near the Academy Reception, so he opted to direct the path. Feeling somewhat responsible of the situation, Firion joined him with carrying his friends’ body to medical care.
With both realising the strain they were about to endure, they took in a long, meaningful breath and commenced to descend the staircase. Unfortunately, they could not take the elevator that was situated on the other side of the Academy, realising that it was currently ‘out of order’.
"So … why were you so late?" Warrior of Light decided to question Firion, feeling the strain from Cloud's deadweight body hanging from his shoulders.
"I got … caught up with something." Firion answered hesitantly, most of his concentration on carrying Cloud.
"Caught up…?” Warrior of Light echoed oddly. “What do you mean?"
"N-nothing!” Firion smiled and laughed weakly, his voice roughened up by the continuous strain. “It's nothing."
Warrior of Light glanced at him with a confused expression, wondering what he was hiding. However, he decided to keep quiet for the time being, knowing to keep out of the business of others.
They continued their struggle down the staircase, gradually passing each floor as they made their descent. Finally, they reached the 1st floor of the Academy, almost collapsing the moment their feet touch the Ground Floor.
Panting and wheezing in agony, Warrior of Light and Firion heaved Cloud over towards the Medical Room, desperate to be free from the burden. The two heard Cloud murmur inaudibly, as though attempting to either awaken or talk in his sleep.
…It was likely the latter.
They eventually reached the door for the Medical Room, almost dropping Cloud along the way. Both Warrior of Light and Firion glanced at each other, simultaneously counting to three before opening the door. As they hit zero, they suddenly lurched forward, almost losing balance as they passed through.
After a moment to regain their postures, they examined the surrounding room. This room was a first for both Warrior of Light and Firion, who never needed to visit the room during their time at the Academy.
To their surprise, the Medical Room was large and spacious, with many beds situated in an orderly fashion: some of them with closed-up curtains, whilst others were open and vacant.
And then, a young lady – seemingly around the same age as the three – emerged from one of the closed curtains.
"Ah! Hello, may I help you?" She politely asked them, her soft voice echoing throughout the large room.
"Err … yes! Cloud here had fallen unconscious during Homeroom, we reckon it’s due to Over-Tiredness." Warrior of Light explained in detail, dazzled by the young lady’s beauty.
"Oh, that's unfortunate! Well, the Head Nurse is away on an errand, so it’s just me for the time being. I'm a Student Nurse, so I’m able to help out in any way I can." She smiled calmly, before pointing to one of the vacant beds. “Here, we can use this bed.”
"So, you should be fine with taking care of him?" Firion questioned her in turn, equally mesmerized by her beauty.
"Yes, of course." She nodded cheerfully with a beaming smile.
Without delay, she assisted the two as they dragged Cloud over to the allocated free bed. Carefully, they laid him down on the mattress, ensuring that no accident would occur during the transition.
Finally, both Warrior of Light and Firion felt relief as the burdening weight lift from their shoulders. The two instantly began to stretch out, feeling the aches and strains gradually disappear from their bodies. As he did this, Warrior of Light took another glance around the Medical Room out of mere interest, noticing a few students on the beds with different injuries and illnesses.
"May I ask your name?" Firion politely asked the student nurse, feeling gratitude was in order.
"My name is Aerith." She answered back with a confident, bright beam. “Aerith Gainsborough.”
"Well then, Aerith, thank you for the assistance.” Warrior of Light told her politely, realising the time. “It was a pleasure meeting you, please let us know when Cloud is at full health."
She bowed back, showing her sweet smile, "I understand. I'll look after Cloud until he fully recovers."
 
And so, Warrior of Light and Firion bid Aerith farewell and made their way back out to the main area of the 1st Floor. Still stretching out the remaining aches and pains, the two lead the way towards the staircase in hopes to returning to Homeroom in time. As they approached the staircase, they began their ascent up the steps, dragging their feet as they dreaded the excruciating effort back up to the 4th Floor.
However, Warrior of Light halted.
Just as they began the climb, he caught a sudden glimpse of a hulking figure standing idle on the Academy Grounds outside. He froze, glaring through the far away window with a mixture of confusion and horror.
And then, the moment he blinked, the figure swiftly disappeared out of sight.
"Are you okay?" Firion questioned worriedly, noticing his Classmate frozen in place.
Warrior of Light leapt up with surprise, returning to reality. Shaking his head, he wondered if the figure was just a figment of his imagination.
 
"Err … Y-Yes! I'm fine!” He hastily commented as an excuse, glancing back to the place where the figure initially stood. “I … just remembered, I need to go see Headmistress Cosmos."
Warrior of Light hastily leapt up the stairs in an abrupt motion out of Firion's sight.
"Oh … okay, see you then." Firion muttered as he watched Warrior of Light disappear, left awkwardly on his own.
 
The Headmistress’ Office…
Sitting in front of her desk, Headmistress Cosmos was preoccupied in reorganising some old files on her desk, disposing whatever documents that took up unnecessary space.
During this moment, she heard a sudden, rushed knock.
"Come in." she commanded formally, her goddess-like voice echoing out in direction of the door.
Without delay, Warrior of Light stumbling into the office, gasping for breath.
"Warrior of Light? Is something the matter?" Cosmos wondered in surprise, unexpectedly halting her folder and document organisation as she tended to the student.
With many questions in his mind he desired to bring up, Warrior of Light took no time in explaining himself of his rude intrusion.
"I-I’m sorry to disturb you, Headmistress. I had to take Cloud Strife to the Medical Room and needed to stop by.” Warrior of Light commenced to excuse himself, regain his usual posture. “I've come to ask about this rumour I heard-?"
"You wish to ask me if Cid of the Lufaine is visiting the Academy?" Cosmos finished his question for him, reading him like a book.
"O-oh … Yes, that’s correct." He nodded after an initial hesitation, caught off guard by the Headmistress’ accurate guess.
"Well, to answer your question…” She began addressing, smirking away. “The answer is ‘Yes’, he will be visiting the Academy by the end of this very week, in fact."
"So the rumours were true!?” Warrior of Light blurted out in shock, unable to hold back. “Why was I not told about this, Headmistress!?”
"I didn't wish to spoil the surprise." Cosmos jokingly answered back in amusement, a sweet giggle escaped her mouth. However, as she continued to speak, she became slightly more serious towards Warrior of Light. "I'm just having a wild guess here, but I assume Cid’s visit isn’t the only reason you visited my office in such haste. What’s troubling you?"
Feeling as though he was exposed, Warrior of Light hesitantly began to reveal his ‘other’ reason. "Just a moment ago, I spotted-!"
Knock, knock!
However, just as he was about to reveal the name, another loud knock was heard from the door behind him.
Creak…!
It immediately opened without the need of Headmistress Cosmos’ consent.
During this time, Warrior of Light finished his sentence in a low mutter, his eyes fixated on the hulking figure that entered the office.
"…Garland."






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