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Chapter 6 - Vol 2: The Great Globe

Dissidia Academy: A predigious school for the ambitious and talented, where students strive to accomplish their goals and dreams.

Follow the heroes of Final Fantasy as they tackle the many challenges and tribulations that await them throughout the eventful academic year!

Chapter 6 - Vol 2: The Great Globe

Chapter 6 - Vol 2: The Great Globe
Cloud Strife entered the Geography Room with a somewhat cautious pace, his eyes were locked thoroughly on Sephiroth as he felt rather conflicted on meeting the 'Hero' in person.
He – like anyone else – was immediately able to determine that this man was the one of legend: the iconic long, silver hair flowing down to the back of his legs; his sharp, green-iris gaze that drove his opponents into fear; and the tall, powerful stance that many looked up to with inspiration.
As with most of the staff in Dissidia Academy, Sephiroth currently wore a formal dark suit that generally seemed to fit with the intense aura that surrounded him. It was as though the staff uniform was designed with his appearance as a base model.
Sephiroth … he was truly as sight to behold.
It was then that Cloud switched focus … and finally noticed the classroom’s unique design.
The whole classroom was completely redesigned from the floor up, to the point where Cloud was completely caught off-guard.
The first aspect to the room that caught his eye was the object situated at the very centre of the room: an enormous, towering Golden Globe. Calmly turned on its axis, the globe watched over the surrounding desks that were positioned specifically to fully observe its magnificence.
Its appearance was otherworldly.
Shifting his attention towards the walls and ceiling of the classroom, Cloud immediately noticed the several boards that showcased various holograms, all of which were highlighting specific areas around the globe. These holograms were beyond sharp and clear as they were displayed the boards, so much so that it could be considered on a level above 4K visuals. In addition, the holograms included detailed information on the locations shown, giving facts and figures on any events that had consisted around the world.
Cloud was completely in awe; he couldn't think of any classroom he had entered in the past that showed off such imagination or creativity – not even an Art Room. He was unable to take his eyes off from the Globe, finding it an unbelievable sight to behold. It continued to gradually turn on what seemed to be a small spindle-like mechanism underneath, revealing the variety of countries that formed the world.
Sephiroth then stepped up to Cloud’s side, even though the boy’s eyes were still locked onto the Globe.
"Impressive. Is it not?” Sephiroth coolly chucked with a triumphant stance, showing off his pride in a formal manner. “This was something I've been working on for a while now … in fact, I was able to finally finish it all yesterday."
"I-it's unbelievable…" Cloud stuttered breathlessly, struggling to grasp reality as he watched the giant Globe continue its rotation. "How were you even able to get this into the room!?"
"You think I was able to move this into the room all in one go? How amusing." Sephiroth coolly chuckled, shaking his head as he corrected the student. "No. I had built the Globe from scratch with parts delivered externally. I had also programmed all the holograms and data to the Globe whilst the parts were being shipped over."
"I-I see…"Cloud breathlessly muttered, finding this all impossible to grasp.
There was a moment of silence as Cloud continued to observe the Globe and the various boards surrounding the room, his mouth still agape and eyes wide with shock. Sephiroth watched in amusement, crossing his arms and smirking at the sight of the boy taken aback by such a magnificent entity. He then switched to his desk, perching himself on the chair and typing up a document on his laptop.
"I suggest you take a seat, Master Strife. The Lesson will be commencing soon." Sephiroth informed Cloud, reminding him that they were in a classroom and not a museum.
Cloud hastily snapped out of his vacant trance, nodding back in acknowledgment as he only just remembered about the Geography lesson. He stepped over and took a seat behind one of the desks that surrounded the towering golden Globe.
Just as he sat down, a question popped into his mind.
He was hesitant at first; uncertain whether it was the right time to ask the man. Yet, with a push of confidence, he spoke his mind.
"Sir, why did you take a break from SOLDIER?" He asked curiously, hoping to get an answer or two out of the 'hero of SOLDIER' before the rest of Class 13A arrives from their Lunch Break. "And why take up teaching Geography at the Academy?"
Sephiroth glanced back at him in silence, taking a moment to consider the questions set before him.
A dark smirk broke through Sephiroth’s expression as he answered, "Well, I believe it was necessary move because-"
Abruptly, the classroom's door flew open, colliding against the wall at full force. Cloud leapt out of his skin in a fright, bewildered by the sudden interruption. Sephiroth, on the other hand, halted his words as he turned towards the sudden noise.
"CLOOOUUUUD!" A roaring, echoing voice bellowed out as the figure sped through the door.
It was in that instant that Cloud knew who had entered the room … and yet, he was too late to act.
The only thing Cloud could murmur out at this point was a dreading "Oh no…"
Within that moment, an arm caught Cloud by his waist, throwing him completely off his chair and to the floor.
Due to the abrupt impact, Cloud felt the air of his lungs escape in single blow. At the same time, his head collided against the floor. He felt his eyes blur and head grow numb, completely disorientating him.
To make matters worse, the culprit of the tackle began to shake his body uncontrollably, grabbing him by the shoulders and throwing him back-and-forth.
“YOU TRAITOR!” The figure's voice roared out in exaggerated fury, his hands tightening on Cloud's shoulders as he continued to shake. "What were you doing with Terra during Lunch Break!?"
Gradually, the air returned to Cloud’s lungs, relieving him from the pained gasps and allowing him to answer back.
However, this was easier said than done…
"I was. Only. Hanging. Out. With. Her!" Cloud answered back as best as he possibly could, beginning to feel nauseous due to the nonstop shaking. "Please. Stop. Shaking me. Tidus!"
As though reacting on command, Tidus halted the relentless shaking. Cloud slumped his head back, the world around him continuing to spin as he lost all bearing of where he was situated.
"‘Only hanging out’, huh!?" Tidus echoed back in dissatisfaction, his voice growling at such an answer, "So, you were trying to snag the cutest girl in our class the moment we were looking away!?"
Woozily, Cloud hastily checked around the room, praying that none of the other students in his class were in the room. Thankfully, much to his relief, the only ones in the room were him, Tidus, and a very bewilderedly confused Sephiroth.
"I wasn't trying to 'snag' her." He then assured his eccentric friend, hoping to clear up the misunderstanding as soon as possible before it got any worse. "You, Firion, and Cecil were all busy during Lunch Break and it just so happened that Terra was free at the time."
And besides, her being the ‘only’ girl in Class 13A has nothing to do with it... Cloud added in his mind, yet decided it wasn't necessary to add into his excuse in fear of being hypocritical.
Tidus shook his head in blind denial, believing none of it, "Yeah … likely story."
Cloud rolled his eyes in frustration, finding this whole situation to be a complete nuisance.
"Look, can we sort this out another time? We're not exactly the only ones in the room right now." He snapped underneath his breath, his eyes veering over to the front of the classroom in an attempt of indication.
Tidus gazed back in a blank stare, “Hm?”
He then gradually turned his head, having only just realised that they were being watched the entire time. Noticing Sephiroth glaring towards them with his baffled expression, he shot up to his feet in surprise.
Feeling the strength return to his body as Tidus released the grip from his shoulders, Cloud gradually recovered to his feet.
"Ah … I-I so sorry, Sir!" Tidus awkwardly apologized, embarrassed by his usual melodramatic behaviour. “I didn’t realise you were there!”
Sephiroth silently nodded in acknowledgement, deciding not to say a word about the whole ordeal.
"You do realize that he's THE Sephiroth, don't you?" Cloud whispered close to Tidus' ear, struggling to hide his smirk as he added to Tidus' embarrassment. “Heh … Way to make a first impression.”
Tidus' body shivered the moment Cloud whispered ‘Sephiroth's’ name, switching to Cloud with waterfalls flowing from his eyes and mouth drooping in sadness.
"Please don't make this worse for me." Tidus whimpered with a soft plea, unable to bear any more of this torment.
Letting out a tired sigh, Cloud began to rub the back of his head, still feeling sore from being knocked against the floor. He then decided to change the subject out of pity and pointed out towards the large Golden Globe, telling Tidus to gaze upon it. The moment the Globe caught his eye, Tidus' mouth dropped agape as complete shock and awe overwhelmed him.
Struggling to comprehend such overwhelming magnitude, Tidus became speechless for the first time in his life.
As Tidus continued to gaze wondrously towards the Globe, Cloud swiftly peaked towards Sephiroth's direction. He noticed that their geography teacher had returned to filing away the forms that were previously scattered across his desk.
Due to this, a slight surge of frustration sparked in the depths of his mind. Cloud was so close to having his questions answered before Tidus' bombastic entrance, leaving him with a sense of indefinite limbo.
He considered bringing it up again, only to be stopped once more.
The bell’s loud ringing echoed across the whole of the Academy, indicating that Lunch Break had officially ended.
As this occurred, the remaining students of Class 13A entered the room; fresh from their much-needed break and prepared for the upcoming lesson. However, as the class stepped into the Geography Room, almost every one of them halted and gasped at the sight of the enormous Globe towering before them.
“What the…”
They all began to comment amongst one another, breathless and at awe with the sight before them
"It's magnificent…!" Cecil Harvey gasped in amazement within the group, most likely during conversation with Firion.
"It's unbelievable." Warrior of Light spoke out formally, standing at the head of the pack as per norm. “I wonder how much time was dedicated in creating it.”
"I'm intrigued by the software used for the holograms.” Onion Knight admitted as he continued to analyse, sparks of enthusiasm in his eyes. “I don't think I've ever seen anything so advanced."
And finally…
"I wonder how they were able to get this big Globe into the room in the first place…" Terra Branford pondered, unconsciously wondering the exact same question Cloud had asked mere moments ago.
Seeing the reactions, Sephiroth stepped forward an appeared before them.
"Well, once you’ve all sat down, I'll answer any questions plaguing your mind." Sephiroth informed them, expressing a small amount of pride in his creation.
Without hesitation, they all decided to take their seats around the globe, whispering and gawking to each other on the fact that the 'Hero of SOLDIER' was about to teach them Geography.
As Cloud witnessed the rest of Class 13A as they sat before their allocated desks that surrounding the Globe, he noticed Squall Leonhart still standing idly and glaring up at the Globe.
His usual non-existent expression was a clear as day; he could not care any less about the Globe’s existence.
"Hmph…! What's so special about it?" Squall muttered coldly, letting out a careless shrug. "…It's only a big, flashy ball."
With that, he stepped over to his designated desk beside two empty seats and purposely separate himself from the rest of the class, deciding there was no point in showing interest.
Leaning back on his seat, Squall glanced out towards the far-off window as he blanked the world around him.
At first, Cloud silently shook his head, finding Squall's attitude towards the Globe rather typical of his character. However, upon noticing the two empty seats either side of Squall, it was to his realisation that the class was short of two students: Bartz Klauser and Zidane Tribal.
A growing feeling of caution began to loom in Cloud’s subconscious, a sense of dread and discomfort rising. Based upon previous experiences, Cloud was able to swiftly determine that the duo was up to no good whenever they appeared late for lessons.
Thinking back, Cloud always found that between the two troublemakers, Bartz was rather misunderstood. From what he gathered, Bartz did not usually get fully involved with the mischief, preferring to assist Zidane in his antics and watch the mischievous events unfold from afar.
Even so, he always seems to get into the most trouble, playing as scapegoat whenever a prank goes awry.
Cloud eventually shrugged, brushing away his recent thoughts as though deciding there was no point in worrying about the matter for the time being. Shifting focus, he noticed Sephiroth step over to the Globe with a calm expression, all eyes now fixed on him.
As he drew closer, Cloud was able to notice that Sephiroth was holding his distinctive katana sword, appearing as if ready to strike down any enemy that would dare to oppose him.
In an instant of noticing the katana, students of the class froze in horror, their eyes wide and the red in their cheeks falling pale. There were even some who diverted glances towards the door of the room or even the window as they considered to options of escape.
However, they ultimately found it unnecessary.
"What’s with all the nervous stares?" Sephiroth wondered curiously at the class, noticing the students fidgeting restlessly in their seats. "I'm only using this as a pointer for the Globe and the holograms."
On that exact moment, every student in the classroom gave out a loud, relieving sigh. Heartbeats were continuing to race uncontrollably, taking a moment to relax as they realised it was a false alarm.
Cloud joined in with the collection of relieving sighs, some of his worries disappearing from his mind.
He then switched focus as he noticed both Warrior of Light and Squall face-palming in frustration, finding everyone's reaction rather unbearable to witness. After giving off a silent chuckle; Cloud shifted back to Sephiroth, who finally began teaching his lesson.
"So, to begin with, I’m certain many of you are aware of my previous employment as SOLDIER 1st Class – or in other words: the 'Hero of SOLDIER'." Sephiroth expressed as he began his introduction, guessing that they had heard of him in some form or another. "Recently I had decided to take a break from the Line of Duty to 'pursue other Projects' for the time being, or so the reports suggest. So, for now, I'll say that working as a teacher in this Academy is part of my so called 'project'."
Cloud hastily listened in, quickly realising that Sephiroth was answering the questions he asked a moment ago.
And yet, to his disappointment, the information Sephiroth had revealed was only what was already known to a certain degree.
"From today onwards, I shall be your Geography Tutor." Sephiroth continued on, his eyes shifting from one student to another.
Using his sheathed katana, he then pointed to the Globe before him.
"This Globe will be the main asset for our lectures. It is a physical, technologically advance system that I had manufactured to convey useful facts and information during the studies.”
A hand was raised.
“Sir, if I may, why go through such lengths in building the Globe?” Cecil Harvey wondered, finding it odd that such effort would be used for simple academic studies.
“A fine question, Master Harvey.” Sephiroth acknowledged, answering the student in honesty. “I felt the Academy deserved the extra 'flare' in their lessons. I believe one of the most important aspects to learning is attention to detail, so why read from the book … when you can see the world in its full glory.
The students all watched on, feeling somewhat hyped up by the motivational speech.
Sephiroth then added, “I’m certain you all will use this Globe effectively and securely during your time at the Academy."
Securely…? Cloud thoughts echoed out, finding the use of the word odd to him. Why do we need to use it … securely?
After he concluded his introductory speech, Sephiroth took no time in progressing to the topic of today’s lecture: Environments and Landscape.
Using his Katana as a pointer; Sephiroth swivelled the Globe and landed on specific points of its axis, discussing about the environment varieties and how they had evolved and morphed over time. The students listened in closely with fixed attention, taking in his facts and information with careful consideration.
The lesson continued … and Sephiroth had the entire class under his control.
20 Minutes Later…
Sephiroth was close to ending his lecture and shift focus onto the lesson's main activity. Before making the transition, he stepped round to the opposite side of the Globe – to the point that Cloud would need to use one of the holograms to watch Sephiroth continue his speech.
During that very moment, Cloud began to hear rushing footsteps from outside the classroom’s door. The sound gradually drew closer at a frantic rate, becoming ever more rushed and desperate as it approached. He began to focus his attention more on the door in order, wondering what the noise was coming from.
Not long after, he began to hear faint panting and wheezing sounds amongst the rushing footsteps.
All of a sudden, the classroom door abruptly burst open.
Many members of the class leapt in fright, spinning their heads round in order to find out what had just occurred. Sephiroth, on the other hand, continued to lecture on, completely oblivious to the sudden event.
As the door had flown open, Zidane hastily entered the room in a dash, calling out in triumph as he raced onto the scene.
Upon noticing the Globe directly in front of him, he swiftly skidded to a halt. Sliding a considerable distance, he had almost collided into the Globe itself – only stopping at the point where his face was almost touching the metal before him.
After a moment to process his inner thoughts, Zidane took a small, cautious step back to distance himself from the object before him. Sweat breaking from his temple, he felt as though one wrong move would send everything into chaos.
After finally at a safe distance, he gazed upon the enormous Globe that towered over him, crossing his arms as he curiously examined its beauty.
Cloud and the rest of the class – especially Squall – glared towards Zidane with a mixture of expressions, ranging from surprise to utter bewilderment. However, Sephiroth didn't even notice Zidane’s unexpected arrival whatsoever, seemingly concentrating on the current lecture with his eyes locked upon the Globe.
Cloud then noticed the frustrated Squall quickly gesturing to the oblivious Zidane hastily, attempting to catch the oblivious classmate’s attention before the situation gets out-of-hand.
It was a useless attempt.
Zidane seemed far too fixated at the Globe that he grew completely oblivious to the world around him, almost as though he was entranced by such magnificence.
"Whoa … that's a thing of beauty." Zidane stated in a soft tone, amazed by its size and overall design. "Man, I'm glad I didn't run into that."
However, as he finally noticed Squall’s desperate attempt to gain his attention, Zidane felt his body abruptly shift forward with considerable, unexpected force.
Before he knew it, his body had collided face first into the Globe, placing a large imprint of his mug into the gleaming metal.
He then dropped to the floor in a daze, groaning in pain as his face continued to generate a numbing throb.
“Ow … that hurt … a lot.”
As he regained his stance, Zidane switched to the one person who he knew had collided into him in the first place.
"Bartz, you idiot!" Zidane whispered with an agitated sneer, "You nearly made me break the ball-thing!"
Bartz, lying against the floor in a woozy daze, gazed upon his partner-in-crime with an innocent smirk.
“Sorry, Zidane, I didn’t mean to…”
However, his words trailed off as his expression immediately turned from the face of innocence to a horrified gasp. The colour in his skin fell pale, his entire body frozen in place as he watched the situation unfold before his very eyes.
"Err… Zidane!" Bartz answered back in hesitance, his terrified gaze frozen upon the Globe behind his best friend. "I think we just broke it…"
Zidane hastily switched back to the globe, dread and regret swiftly emerging from him.
Cloud and the rest of Class 13A were already reacting to the situation at hand, gasping in fear as they watched the towering Globe snap from the pedestal below and begin to lose balance. It slowly yet surely began to fall off from its axis, heading directly towards the floor below at an unstoppable force.
Creak…! Snap! Crack! Screeeeeech…!!!
Numerous sounds of cracking and screeching echoed as it continued its descent, showing no signs of stopping.
Students who were unfortunate enough to be sitting at the desks directly underneath the the falling Globe – Warrior of Light, Onion Knight, Terra, and Squall – hastily launched themselves out of their seats towards a safe area from the impact zone.
And yet, this did not stop Class 13A from panicking … for the Globe was heading directly towards an oblivious Sephiroth.
Whilst the other students were unable to utter a word from their position, Cloud abruptly leapt to his feet in alarm.
"SIR! GET OUT OF THE WAY!” He roared out to the man in desperation. “SEPHIROTH!”
Sephiroth, having heard Cloud’s sudden yell, turned towards him with an unaware gaze.
"What's with all the shouting?" Sephiroth questioned ignorantly.
It was too late for him.
It was then when he noticed the Globe closing in on him from above.
"Oh … that's why."
The Globe collided right on top of Sephiroth, shattering on impact. Pieces of the crumbling Globe – varying from the small and sharp to the large and bulky – flew haphazardly in numerous directions. The students all shielded themselves from the incoming shards, using their blazers or books to block the sharp pieces as swiftly as possible.
As everything eventually calmed, the whole class gazed wide-eyed at the pile of shards that were piled in front of them.
Sephiroth was nowhere to be seen.
He had taken the full impact of the Globe's fall.
Warrior of Light was the first to respond, leaping into action by attempting to remove the pile of metal shards. The rest of the students hastily follow suite, assisting in the mass removal of the shattered Globe.
This left only Cloud, Squall, Zidane, and Bartz to observe the crisis that befell them.
Bartz and Zidane were still processing the incident in their minds, frozenin place with the expressions of unfathomable horror strapped across their faces. Squall – as one would expect – refused to watch the aftermath, rubbing his temple as he wondered why he was associated with the two nitwits.
And finally, Cloud frantically stood with both hands on his head, his mind going into complete meltdown.
This is bad, this is bad, this is bad!
"Err … I think we just killed the teacher." Zidane murmured in a stutter, streams of sweat sliding down his face as anxiety took over his consciousness.
"Yeah … and he just so happened to be Sephiroth." Cloud revealed to the two in a low mutter, feeling the need to add to their looming conscience.
Both Zidane and Bartz switched to Cloud in unison, their eyes widened to a new level.
"Wait … so we just killed a HERO!?" Zidane yelled back, unable to hide the terror in his eyes as he realised the hell that was about to descend upon him.
"So … does this mean we have the rest of the lesson off?" Bartz then wondered with a curious glance, evidently unable to grasp the situation whatsoever.
Cloud, Squall, and Zidane all stared at him with bewildered eyes, unable to confirm whether Bartz was joking or serious. Either way, this certainly wasn't the time for Bartz to have such an oblivious attitude.
Just as Cloud decided to assist in moving the various shards, he was met with a loud, abrupt noise echoing throughout the entire room. The rest of the class leapt out of their skins in fright, being thrown completely off-guard by the sound.
To everyone's complete shock, a hand had shot out of from the pile of shards, twitching and raised towards the ceiling.
As the students watched in amazement, the hand tensely pressed down against the pile and began to push out the body underneath. Gradually, the head and torso appeared from the pile as an increasingly fearful dark aura engulfed the body. The being eventually stood up from the pile of shards, muscles tensed up and covered in the dark aura.
Much to his relief, Cloud was able to tell that Sephiroth was fine and well. Yet, what now began to worry him – and the rest of the students, for that matter – was that he could tell that Sephiroth was now in a foul mood. The atmosphere surrounding him was entirely filled with dread, draining the souls of any victim trapped in its shadow.
Cloud hastily whipped his head back towards Zidane and Bartz, noticing their sudden horrified yelps as they watched Sephiroth rise from the pile of shards.
"Well now … I was wondering when you two were going to show up." Sephiroth chuckled as his sudden sinister voice echoed through the classroom, spooking the students completely even though he was facing completely away from them.
With that, Sephiroth gradually began to turn his head around, his eyes glowing with a bloodthirsty glare. Whist turning, his Katana-wielding arm rose up towards the ceiling of the classroom, grasping tightly onto his sheathed weapon with malice intent. His stance now set, he placed his free palm against the sheath itself as he locked his grip in place.
Zidane and Bartz were frozen in terror, unable to escape the hellish glare of their Geography Tutor.
"Unfortunately, it seems that the Globe is currently out of order…" Sephiroth murmured on in his dark, sinister tone, his eyes locked entirely on Zidane and Bartz as though he was ready to strike them down from where they stood. "So, I suggest we postpone the rest of the lesson until it is … restored."
He progressively unsheathed the katana, a flash of light reflecting from the blade the moment it revealed itself. The room was filled with the sound of the blade scraping against its sheath, echoing throughout the room with magnificence.
The students of Class 13A felt shivers crawl up their spines as they watched with awe at the graceful sight of the world-renowned SOLDIER weapon being unsheathed in front of his very eyes.
"Class 13A…” Sephiroth announced clearly to the students around the room. “I would like you all to stand outside the classroom whilst I have a 'word' with Master Klauser and Master Tribal."
Without any need of question, Class 13A nodded to one another and began to leave the room without saying a word in response. Cloud hesitated for a moment as he glanced towards the two soon-to-be victims, feeling rather apologetic for their predicament.
Both Zidane and Bartz were still completely frozen in place, looking as though they were cast under a spell of some kind.
Regretfully, Cloud decided it was best to walk away, feeling unable to prevent their demise. As he stepped out of the door, he could just see through the corner of his eye that Sephiroth was making his way towards the two with slow, deadly steps. The dark aura continued to engulf his body and the Katana blade held in the air, ready to strike down its prey.
The door then closed…
For the next few seconds, all the students on the corridor could hear was silence.
Not even a mutter.
Not a single student of the class dared speak a word, carefully listening in to what was occurring on the other side of the door. Squall, on the other hand, decided to lean up against a far-off wall and kept his distance from the others. His eyes closed as his mind escaping from reality, preferring not to involve oneself in the matter.
Cloud glanced towards him curiously, finding his attitude as typical as ever.
In normal circumstances, others would assume that Squall felt some sort of inner sympathy for his two troublemaking friends. And yet, everyone in his class knew he was unable to care even if he tried.
It was at that moment, Class 13A heard Sephiroth mutter the two words that every person imaginable feared.
"Heartless … Angel."
What followed was the sound of a sharpened blade, echoing throughout the distant corridors.
This was then followed immediately with two loud, terrorized screams.
The students of Class 13A gave a moment of silence in respect of their fallen comrades, peacefully praying for their health as they transcended to the afterlife. Cloud suddenly showed off a confused expression, feeling as though this whole situation had become very over-exaggerated.
"Err … Guys, I don't think they're actually dead." Cloud hesitantly reassured to the group. “Guys…? Guys?”
He was conveniently ignored.
In the end…
Zidane and Bartz miraculously survived Sephiroth's infamous attack, much to everyone’s surprise. However, they had emerged from the classroom with soulless expressions, devoid entirely of the personalities they once thrived on.
The rest of the lesson consisted of the class working on the activity Sephiroth had set for them, relocating the lesson to one of the spare rooms in the Academy whilst the Geography room was closed off from use. Acting as though the unexpected ‘event’ hadn’t happened in the first place, the students of Class 13A were fully immersed in their activity, working in pairs as they fulfilled their set tasks.
However, during this time Sephiroth was nowhere in sight, most likely preoccupied with cleaning up the smashed Globe.
As the lesson eventually concluded, Cloud was unable to locate Sephiroth whatsoever, finding it frustrating that he could not get any more answers from the legendary SOLDIER operative.
Brushing the inconvenience aside, he decided to follow the rest of his class towards their homeroom, setting the looming questions towards the back of his mind for the time being.
Once the group entered the Homeroom, Cloud dropped down to his seat in a slump, a relieving sigh escaping him as he was finally able to settle down from the day’s constant chaos.
…Unfortunately, this didn't last long.
"Duuuuuuuuuuude! Geography was freakin’ awesome!" Tidus hysterically shouted out, leaping onto his seat having appeared out of nowhere.
Cloud instantly slammed his head on the surface of his desk the moment Tidus spoke out, unable to bear any more of the insanity.
"What's the matter, Cloud?” Firion questioned curiously as he sat down in the seat in front of the poor soul. “You seem mentally exhausted."
"Urgh … I’m fine." Cloud sighed out in a groan, rubbing his eyes in desperation to stay awake. "It's just … been a busy day."
"Well, at least you made out alive this time around." Cecil lightly chuckled as he sat next to Firion. "The ‘Class Clowns’, on the other hand … may need some intense therapy after their predicament."
As he was reminded of the situation that had occurred not too long ago, Cloud's eyes diverted towards Bartz and Zidane desks on the other side of the room. The two were still struggling to grasp reality after their 'near-death experience', their expressions lifeless and lacking the vibrant emotions that once filled out their everyday lives.
During this time, Cloud also caught an eye of Squall, who was sitting behind them sporting an unusually dark grin. It was as though he enjoyed watching the two in their current state of mind, finding long-awaited relief in their torment.
Sighing away, Cloud returned his gaze to his group of friends, casually leaning back on his seat.
"Well, at least there’s only one more lesson to go.” Cloud lightly suggested, his mind wandering free as he assumed there was nothing else left to do for the day. “After that’s over with, I’m heading home to bed.”
However, the other three had all raised an eyebrow towards Cloud upon hearing his statement.
Cloud noticed the sudden shift in tone, cautiously worrying about what they had in mind. This ‘gut feeling’ was made worse with Tidus' growing darkened smirk, meaning there was some devious plan rattling around in his mind that Cloud was unaware of.
"Now hold up there, Cloud.” Tidus expressed with a low chuckle, showing off his cheeky grin. “You seemed to have forgotten our little 'heist' we’ve long planned for."
"W-what do you mean by a 'heist'?" Cloud questioned cautiously, afraid of what Tidus had in mind.
"Wait, you ‘really’ forgot!?" Tidus then yelled out at full volume, the rest of Class 13A glancing over to his direction with curious stares.
Cloud, suddenly feeling exposed, hastily gestured Tidus to shut his mouth before he drew too much attention to himself. Tidus, however, waved off the rest of the class with the use of a light apology for his outburst.
As the attention died out, Cloud drew in closer towards Tidus as the four quietly continued with their conversation.
"What are you on about, Tidus?" Cloud questioned him in a low murmur, a groan escaping his voice as he spoke.
"You should know!” Tidus answered in a frustrated manner, struggling to keep his voice at a normal level. “We were going to track down Zack and his 'cute' new girlfriend, remember!"
At that moment, Cloud's expression instantly dropped as he realised what Tidus was referring to. The memories of their discussion from the beginning of the day – along with the clear image of Zack with Aerith during Lunch Break – were all flooding back to him at once.
As it dawned upon him, Cloud sat up from his seat, feeling the sudden sense of dread rising within him.
"Cloud? What’s wrong?" Cecil then asked him, a hint of concern in his voice.
Tidus watched Cloud with a confused gaze, wondering why he was acting odd so suddenly. Firion, on the other hand, showed off a curious expression, wondering whether something had happened since the morning homeroom registration.
Cloud began to consider his options carefully, wondering whether it was worth admitting to his friends of the revelation he had stumbled upon.
Or to follow through with the plan, keeping the secret to himself for a moment longer.
A part of his mind was desperate to reveal the identity of Zack's date, wanting nothing more than to end this nuisance once and for all. However, the other side of him wished to keep the secret hidden and allow Zack to reveal her identity in his own time.
With the nuisance frustrating him immensely, Cloud finally gave into temptation … to an extent.
"Well, I can certainly say that she’s … 'cute'." Cloud awkwardly murmured underneath his breath, diverting his gaze from the group.
"Hold up…! YOU KNOW HER!?" Tidus abruptly bellowed out, leaping up to his feet as his voice reverted to its usual loud, boisterous tone.
Cloud hastily leapt up and blocked Tidus' mouth with his hands, physically forcing him back down to his seat.
"Will you stop that!?" Cloud spat out in his aggressive whisper; his teeth anxiously grounded as he refused to release Tidus until he complied.
Tidus nodded back to him in response, his eyes wide with innocence and his hands held out to show his innocence.
"I was only able to catch a glimpse of her during Lunch Break." Cloud then admitted, gradually releasing his hands from Tidus in the process. “She was at the Entrance Gate with Zack … talking.”
"But … didn't you say this morning that Zack was on a mission in Wutai?" Firion interrogated, crossing his arms as he glanced at his friend with uncertain eyes.
"I don't know how he was able to finish so early, but I can guarantee you he was there with her at the time." Cloud confidently assured, turning to face Firion with an honest gaze.
Noticing Cloud’s firm expression, Firion decided not to pursue further questions out of satisfaction.
Perching himself back on his seat, Cloud continued to convince them, "Anyway, I suggest we wait until he’s officially introduced her. Snooping on them behind their backs would be outright wrong ... let alone cause far too many issues in the long run."
"Dammit Cloud … you're such a killjoy." Tidus pouted as he turned away in disappointment, expressing his dissatisfaction without any subtlety. "We were so close to executing the perfect heist, as well."
"For the last time, will you stop calling it a ‘heist’!” Cloud bared his teeth irritably, holding himself back from yelling at his obnoxious friend. "Listen, we don't know where they’ll be going or if they're even going out together after Academy hours. We just cannot take that risk!"
However, it was then when Cloud began to hear Tidus chuckling away, causing him to feel even more on the edge.
"Oh, I'm sure we'll track them down somehow." Tidus whimsically assured, showing off his upbeat smirk as he returned a glance.
"How are you so confident?" Cloud murmured in annoyance, losing hope of control for the situation.
"We already know that Zack isn't on his mission right now, so he shouldn't be too hard to track down." Tidus continued to suggest in confidence, his cheesy grin gleaming at his friends. “Also, the date is more than likely set already. I mean, think about it, he took time out of work to go and visit her! Surely the two lovebirds will wish to see one another before the day is over.”
"Yeah … I'd love to see you try." Cloud smirked back competitively, feeling amused by Tidus' declaration.
"So, does that mean you’re going to get involved with this, Cloud?" Cecil smoothly diverted the conversation, slyly returning to the original topic.
Cloud's eyes instantly shifted towards Cecil, becoming further agitated after almost escaping the subject entirely.
Unable to escape the anticipation of his friends, Cloud decided to answer.
The door to the Homeroom had abruptly burst open … followed by the sounds small footsteps.
Class 13A hastily turned to face the front of the classroom, knowing that their Homeroom Tutor had made her entrance in the most ‘vocal’ way possible.
"Sorry I am late." Professor Shantotto announced to the class, giving off an unamused tone mixed in within her usual rhymes. "This bumbling fool got herself stuck at the Gate."
Class 13A glanced at one another with confused expressions, wondering what in the world she was talking about.
However, this was immediately resolved…
"Argh, hell!" A suddenly loud, boisterous voice yelled out in a sulk, "Why do you always make me feel like the idiot in front of everyone!?"
A being of normal height then stepped into the room, carrying with her a stack of large, hefty boxes.
Although she was mostly hidden behind the stack of boxes, the students were able to catch a glimpse of some aspects to her appearance: Her long, smooth, lavender hair flowing down to her lower back; along with her darkened skin seemingly pure and soothing.
However, the class then noticed of the girl’s pointed ears, breaking through the strands of her hair in clear, open view.
Class 13A commenced to gossip with low whispers amongst one another as they had laid eyes upon the girl, wondering as to ‘who’ and ‘what’ she was.
"Could that girl be an Elvaan?" Terra whispered in wonder to Onion Knight.
"What could someone of her species be doing so far across from the East?" Firion wondered as he commented to the group.
Admittedly, Cloud was also taken aback by the sudden appearance of the Elvaan girl, yet what caused him to become more curious was Warrior of Light's unexpected reaction.
Although it was difficult to see from where he sat, Cloud was able to catch Warrior of Light’s already upright posture suddenly lurch at the sight of the ‘Elvaan’ girl.
Just then, the girl dropped the boxes amongst a nearby free corner of the room, stretching out as she felt the freedom from the sheer weight flow through her arms once again. She swiftly swivelled round and faced Professor Shantotto, giving off a light, hearty smile.
The class was finally able to see the Elvaan girl in full view, struck with awe at her unique beauty: She had navy blue eyes, the bangs of her hair reaching down towards the crux of her nose; she sported a large, ecstatic grin that would be able to compete with Tidus; and wore what seemed to be a lab coat similar to Professor Shantotto's own.
Underneath the lab coat, she was wearing fabric that originated to her culture, consisting of a black and purple top with frilly sleeves along with black shorts that covered the top half of her legs. She also wore what seemed to be durable, tanned boots, giving off the impression that they would be able to withstand any level of environment throw at her.
"Phew…! All the boxes are now in the room, Doc!" The Elvaan girl called over to the Professor with a care-free expression, "What do you want me to do now?"
"First of all, stop calling me by such a name." Professor Shantotto moaned back, hopping up to her desk chair, "You know all too well that it is a complete bane."
"Ah! S-sorry, Professor Shantotto!" The girl apologised back clumsily, scratching the back of her head with an awkward chuckle.
"Secondly, I request for you to introduce yourself to the class." The Professor then demanded, indicating to the students that sat before them in the room.
Without further ado, the Elvaan girl immediately switched towards the class with a curious grin, acting as though she found the students a rather interesting group. She then abruptly threw out a peace sign towards the class as she gave off an immense cheesy smile.
"Hey there! The name's Prishe!" The Elvaan girl began to introduce herself, giving off a tomboyish, rowdy tone. "I'm the Doc's – Err … I mean Professor Shantotto's – Assistant in errands and experiments. I hope you all treat me well!"
As Homeroom concluded…
The students gradually began to pack up their bags and scanned over the information for their next lesson.
During this time, the Elvaan girl – Prishe – was pre-occupied with Professor Shantotto's continuous errands, preventing her from enjoying any free time to mingle with the group of students.
Warrior of Light, unexpectedly, seemed to look rather ill and oddly out-of-place, unable to keep his concentration after witnessing Prishe enter the room. He was watching Prishe darting in and out of the room in a daze, as though struggling to comprehend her existence.
Shifting focus, Cloud was examining his timetable in assurance of the last lesson for the day, mentally preparing himself.
"Oh Man! What a drag!” Tidus groaned out in frustration, abruptly catching the others off-guard with the complete switch in emotion. “We've got P.E. with my Old Man!"
“Is that so…?” Firion lightly murmured, wondering why he was making such a big deal on the matter.
"He's going to be non-stop nagging me and pushing me around!" Tidus continued to complain, ignoring Firion’s curious tone.
"The way you say it, he sounds a bit like a bully." Cecil suggested to him nonchalantly, wondering what the relationship was between him and his Father.
"I wouldn’t say that … he just tries to act all cool in front of everybody because he thinks he’s the essence of ‘manliness’." Tidus grumbled as he turned his head away, hiding his pout. "He goes out of his way to embarrass me! Seriously, he's a total nightmare!"
"Sounds … rough." Cloud commented with a small shrug, lacking any care in the world. "I bet he's completely strict as well."
"Hmm … if Blitzball is on the agenda, then maybe I can tolerate it." Tidus then admitted, flexing the muscles in his body as if to prove he was just about ready for the challenge.
Cloud’s glared at him with bored-like, half-open eyes.
“Why am I not surprised…?”
The group rose from their seats and pack up their equipment, preparing to make a move to the changing rooms located on the Ground Floor of the Academy.
However, the moment Cloud stood up, Tidus decided to speak his mind.
"Well then, Cloud. We'll be meeting up after the lesson at the Entrance Gate of the Academy Grounds." Tidus informed him oddly formally, giving off his usual mischievous grin. "Once we've all grouped up, we'll be tracking down Zack and his ‘date’. Our mission will be to acquire details on his ‘girl’ and the purity of their relationship."
Cloud gave out a loud, irritated sigh, finding it impossible to sway Tidus no matter what he did.
"What's your answer, Cloud? Will you join the ‘Dissidia’ Heist Team?" Tidus queried in his upbeat tone, giving a sudden name to the group. "It's your choice in the end, Dude!"
Cloud continued to glare at his friend with his agitated gaze, taking his time to answer.
The two parts of his mind were still fighting against one another with no sign of stopping: One part was refusing to join in due to already knowing her identity; whilst the other half was curious about their relationship.
Cloud then let out an inaudible groan.
Much to his dismay, it seemed that his answer was already finalised for him.
Cloud finally drew in a deep breath and answered the question, although his regret loomed within the depths of his mind.
"Fine … I'm in."


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