Resounding Rumors

Gossip. From the Housewives' Association of Midgar to the 2nd Class SOLDIERs, no one could escape from the power of gossip. They could either contain the most precious truth disguised as mere rumors or the most disgusting lies velvet-wrapped as promises. Genesis Rhapsodos actually hoped the gossip, or rumor as it was also called, he heard from the secretaries at the Floor 51 was true.

Apparently there was a rumor going around Midgar, which he missed since he just recently returned from Wutai, that there was a well somewhere in the Slums that holds a special type of water. Not the one being processed at Sector 7, but actual water coming from the ground. Genesis doubt the credibility of the rumor, especially when it's latter part went into the realms of superstition; the Slum Guardians 'guard' the sacred well, preventing anyone not worthy of coming close to its miraculous waters, really turned the rumor into an urban superstition.

The secretary who heard it from her friend at the cafeteria of Floor 37, who heard it from his friend who works as a mechanic at the Sector 6 Reactor, who heard it from her cousin who lives at the Sector 5 Slums.

It wasn't hard tracking down the root of the rumors but it was certainly a hassle. However, if the rumor was actually true then everything would be worth in the end.

Genesis was getting desperate. Ever since the day he had that spar with Sephiroth at the Training Room, his wound that would usually heal up instantly didn't close. To make matters worse, he was feeling pain. Pain that can be felt all over his body and the area around his wound had the greatest concentration of all.

Which was strange and very confusing for Genesis. Ever since he was young, he would heal quite fast. The same could be said for his best friend Angeal. And when they joined SOLDIER, any injuries he received would be healed immediately.

And the pain. Genesis was familiar with pain, with him being a 1st Class SOLDIER and defeated countless Wutain ninjas with his arms hurting him from overexertion in the end. But the pain he felt rocked him to his core. It was not just his body that was experiencing it. His soul, if he used his imagination, is being affected as well.

Despite the not-healing wound and the excruciating pain, he went on doing his duty as a hero. Fighting as the Commander of SOLDIERs at Wutai was going fine until the last 'symptom' of his mysterious ailment came.

Memory loss.

It didn't come in an instant. It started with Genesis forgetting the date of his deceased pet dog, the one that he and Angeal raised ever since they were kids but died before they left for Midgar, when one trooper of the Infantry made a joke about dogs and Wutains.

Then came the time when he was to lead the 2nd and 3rd Class SOLDIERs to the battlefront, he forgot the name of that 3rd Class SOLDIER who spent being his secretary ever since he arrived at Wutai for the war, which was 3 months 24/7. Genesis spent 3 months with the 3rd Class SOLDIER, he asked for the name in order to avoid hassles so Genesis knew he knew the SOLDIER's name.

And the final punch to his proverbial gut was the moment he had returned to Midgar and experienced the first ever blackout in his life. It wasn't due to the stress or exhaustion from the war at Wutai, in fact it was even shorter than they expected after Wutai sent all of the troops in a 'Kamikaze' attack a few days after a mild earthquake rocked the entre Wutai Islands.

Genesis just blacked out at the steps of the stairs leading to the SOLDIER Command Room and the next thing he knew, he was in his quarters with Angeal fast asleep on a chair beside his bed. Initially he thought it was stress but when it occurred several times throughout the week, he became suspicious of its origins.

Since Prof. Hollander, his and Angeal's personal doctor ever since they were kids at Banora and who subsequently joined the Medical Division of the Science Department of ShinRa when the two of them joined, was with them at Wutai, taking over the infirmary of ShinRa's troops at Wutai, he had convinced the man to do a check-up on him. The professor made tests on his blood and reflected it to some of his previously stored one at the lad and discovered something was seriously wrong with his body. It was rejecting the Mako Treatments he received as a part of joining SOLDIER on the genetic level.

The human body naturally rejects any foreign substances introduced to itself. Much more if has the tendencies to enhance the natural capabilities of the body, like Mako for example, since the body identifies the changes it went through as something not natural. Mako is then being constantly purged out the body of a SOLDIER, either through sweat secretion, excretion or used as an another fuel source for certain situations.

However, the body also tries to adapt itself if it notices the positive outputs of the foreign substances. The body then tries to accept the Mako Infusions slowly and gradually increases the body's resistance to the negative side of Mako, like deterioration of its cells. If one reaches a certain level of resistance, they are immediately promoted up a Class. But the highest they would reach is 2nd Class for to be part of the 1st Class is a different matter.

1st Class SOLDIERs like him have a very high resistance to Mako and uses the benefits of Mako Infusions with almost no consequences at all. No constant Mako Treatments to prevent the deterioration of those 2nd and 3rd Class SOLDIERs. Though they still have to go under check-ups for every once a month, unlike the others who have to return every week or so.

So to know and have evidence of the rapid deterioration and collapse of his cells, Genesis was shaken. Bad.

And to make matters worse, Prof. Hollander even surmised that his best friend Angeal could suffer this… 'degradation' in the near future once Angeal's healing capabilities fail and initiates the decay. He and Genesis seemed to share a common gene in their DNA that was being targeted by the 'degradation', Prof. Hollander said.

As a concerned friend and someone who has intimate experience with the 'degradation', as Prof. Hollander coined it, Genesis threatened the doctor not to tell anyone, not even Angeal, about the subject. Until they could find the exact reason why his body is rejecting the Mako Treatments and the possible cure of his condition, Genesis wouldn't allow other to know about it.

ShinRa is already treading the thin line between scientific and medical expertise to outright scientific madness. The things that occasionally escapes from the Science Department and the labs at Sector 6 really doesn't convince anyone from think otherwise. Even Sephiroth despise the 'specimens' he, Genesis and Angeal had to kill, and Prof. Hojo is his father. If Sephiroth, who spent all his life with ShinRa and under the watch of his father, fear and loathe of having to do anything with the Science Department, then how much more should he and Angeal fear if word of their condition reach them?

And Prof. Hojo have a very serious rivalry with Prof. Hollander that Genesis believed the current Department Head of the Science Department may play with the idea of taking him and Angeal just to spite Prof. Hollander. The idea disgusts him, honestly.

―――ᴖᴗ―□―∞―◊―●―○―ᴖᴗ―□―∞◊―●―○ᴖᴗ―□―∞◊―●―○ᴖᴗ―□―∞―≡―◊―●―○―ᴖᴗ―◊―――

Taking advantage of the current absence of his fellow friends, Genesis prowled the SOLDIER Floor for the 2nd Class SOLDIER Zack Fair. It was a well-known fact within SOLDIER, the Infantry and the various workers within the ShinRa Headquarters that Zack is a friendly person and his outgoing personality endears him to the public faster than his mentor's, Angeal, charisma.

In fact, some 2nd and 3rd Class SOLDIERs were planning to file a petition to Director Lazard requesting the use of Zack as the brand new poster boy of SOLDIER, usually used in recruiting. Sephiroth was the latest due to his strength and skill in the Wutai War. He and Angeal were featured once, after Sephiroth's first issue, but was soon replaced by Sephiroth's. Favoritism of ShinRa, some people say.

Still, aside from being the potential SOLDIER poster boy, it was rumored that Zack frequently go below the Plate when he's off-duty. Usually on weekends and Wednesdays, the Puppy was said to pack a bag of his clothes and depart to the train station, buying a ticket to the Sector 5 Slums. Genesis' research confirmed Zack always go to the Slums on weekends ever since he came to Midgar.

Chances are, the blue-eyed SOLDIER knew the location of the rumored well of healing water.

Genesis would have an easier time finding the Puppy if Angeal was there but Angeal and Sephiroth were currently at Wutai, overseeing the transition of Wutai's independence over to ShinRa and the acquisition of the site for the brand new Mako Reactor. Angeal would know where his Puppy would be the moment he asked his friend but he wasn't here.

He finally found the 2nd Class SOLDIER at Floor 49 Training Room doing squats, of all things. Based on his mutters of '97… 98…', Zack was here for quite some time. Genesis called the younger teen's attention, Zack turned around to him.

"Genesis!" the teen with spikes for hair exclaimed at the sight of him. "Y-You came back already?!"

Really. No sense of respect whatsoever. Just because he and Angeal are best friends ever since from their childhood, Zack could speak to him with no proper decorum. But then again, the way he always says it meant no disrespect but instead plain camaraderie.

He'll just throw a Firaga at the Puppy later, for good measure.

"You're familiar with the Sector 5 Slums, am I right?"

"Y-Yeah, but why? And where's Angeal and the General? They stayed back at Wutai?"

The 2nd Class SOLDIER was wearing civilian clothes – a plain shirt under a dark purple jacket with matching black pants and shoes, it just screams civilian - and was just wasting his time before he could sign out from the compound. Although they are the elite of ShinRa's troops, SOLDIERs are still classified as employees of ShinRa. Thus they have 'working hours', just like any other employee in Midgar. Genesis, Angeal and Sephiroth are the 'exceptions' for they are the 'Heads' of SOLDIER so they must be available 24/7 in the ShinRa Headquarters.

Doesn't stop them from going around the city when they aren't called in by the Director for their duties.

"They are to oversee the proper protocol of Wutai's surrender in the War," Genesis scoffed. How he loathed that he had to return to Midgar without the two but Lazard's order for him to take a well-earned rest was a blessing. A blessing from the Goddess. "You'll accompany me to investigate a certain subject in Sector 5 Slums. Now."

Zack immediately froze up but it was gone in a blink. Genesis might have missed it if it weren't for his enhanced senses that enabled him to perceive the slight tension in the 2nd Class SOLDIER's muscles. "What's the matter?"

He expected the teen to blurt out about the Well but instead what he got was unexpected.

"Um, Genesis, are you, um, really going to the Slums in that?" the Puppy asked, pointing to his modified 1st Class SOLDIER uniform. "You know that the people at the Slums aren't friendly with SOLDIERs. That's why I'm wearing civilian clothes, Genesis. To hide my job."

Zack smiled slightly and ducked his head, possibly ashamed to admit something. "It was really something when you literally got stoned by the people at the Slums. Mind you I was only a 3rd Class back then but SOLDIER really gets the brunt of their hate."

"Hm…" Well, the Puppy had a point. He had to go in the Slums unnoticed. Genesis was investigating the origin of the rumor and if possible get the said artifact for his own purposes. Being recognized as a 1st Class SOLDIER will just grab unwanted attention to him and it would only hinder his attempts in finding a cure for his condition.

"…Fine. Wait me at the elevators. That's an order."

"Yes sir."

With his back turned away from Zack, he made his way out of the Training Room. He was already out of the door when he heard Zack talk to himself – He's acting strange. No LOVELESS quotes whatsoever. What could be wrong? – but he ignored it.

Genesis doesn't have much time left before his condition worsen. His last resort would be to confront Prof. Hollander and demand him to find a way, and he would be only doing that if he already had exhausted all of his possible options.

From the files he just unearthed when he made a quick stop to the Archives – he didn't get promoted to 1st Class only just for his strength and skill in Materia use -, Genesis suspected Prof. Hollander had something to do with his condition. He just doesn't want to outright tell him.

He'll get his just desserts soon.

―――ᴖᴗ―□―∞―◊―●―○―ᴖᴗ―□―∞◊―●―○ᴖᴗ―□―∞◊―●―○ᴖᴗ―□―∞―≡―◊―●―○―ᴖᴗ―◊―――

Blasting the Puppy with a Firaga happened earlier than Genesis expected. The Puppy had the gall to guffaw on his choice of civilian clothes. What can he do, he was a first and foremost the son of Banora's Mayor. Thus his clothes tend to reflect his social statues.

It only influenced his decision to modify his own 1st Class uniform, which both him and Sephiroth did to reinforce their image on the battlefield. Angeal, that mother chocobo, doesn't see the reason why they decided to modify their uniform. Then again, his Buster Sword was already an icon of himself, removing any doubt it was him if he joins in the fray.

"Get on with it, Fair. I may have been in Midgar for almost 6 years but never have I ever went down to the Slums. You'll be my guide there," Genesis imperiously stated. Zack's frown just went even sourer from his statement.

"Yeah, yeah, and I'm here for only 2 years. Have the guy who just arrived to Midgar make a tour to someone who lived more than 5 years in the place," Zack grumbled. "And here I thought I could go on a date with Aerith."

"Hm…" Genesis didn't make any comment on the Puppy's last statement. Some of the SOLDIERs established romantic relationships outside their job environment so it wouldn't be too unexpected for Angeal's protégé.

He and Zack rode the train that constantly moves between the sectors of Midgar, both Top Plate and below the Plate, to the Sector 5 Slums. Slums isn't the official title for the area below the Plate, which is called Midgar Proper, but it could be when the residents who could afford the price of having a place above the Plate decided to 'settle down' in Midgar at the light-deprived environment of Old Midgar.

Genesis never once stepped down at Old Midgar, not even when he and Angeal arrived at Midgar by train when they're 13. He rented a room at one of the most affordable inns in Midgar during the SOLDIER Entrance Examinations and would have gladly pay for Angeal's room but the prude wouldn't let him. Angeal's honor wouldn't allow himself to be indebted to Genesis.

Angeal was the only one in his small circle of friends who went down to Old Midgar and he was at Wutai with Sephiroth. Zack would suffice in the meantime.

Passing through a tunnel, Genesis saw how different the scenery of Midgar and Old Midgar. Midgar was bright at day and even at night, full of metal scaffoldings at any available lot, large tubes of fresh air, water and Mako, high-rising skyscrapers and elevated highways looping at every corner. The moment the train slipped past the Sector 1 Station, the North Edge Station, darkness immediately enveloped the windows.

The fluorescent light of the tunnel disappeared and was then replaced by the green tinge of the Mako coming from the tubes running below the Plate. Genesis saw how dark Old Midgar was. The train's light illuminated the tracks it was running on and it was the only thing that was significantly bright in the vast darkness of Old Midgar.

Even Old Midgar was divided into the same sectors of Midgar, towering walls separate each sector from one another. Genesis heard they also serve the purpose of stairs for those who couldn't afford the train ticket. ShinRa utilized a credit ticket system for the trains that ran in Midgar, which also had several requirements before it was issued.

One must have a birth certificate registered at ShinRa's City Database and must pay an initial fee of 1000 Gil, 10 tickets worth 100 Gil each. Though each ticket cost 100 Gil, a bit pricy but affordable at the same time, the 1000 Gil fee just to get the ElectroID.

Lazard once complained it to him, Angeal and Sephiroth during their monthly SOLDIER meetings and it had led to an argument whether or not Lazard should file a complaint to the Urban Development Department.

After a few loops around the column of ShinRa Tower and passing through the respective stations of Old Midgar, Genesis and Zack arrived at the station of Old Midgar's Sector 5. There aren't many people around the station, only the assigned troopers to the station were there.

Now that he was on ground level, he just noticed how dark it really was. If he took out the barely noticeable fluorescent lights below the Plate and the green mist of Mako coming out of the tubes from the Reactors, Genesis would admit that Old Midgar really deserved the moniker of 'The Slums'. Electricity seemed to be staple at The Slums, phased out streetlights giving ample light on the crowded streets and the humming usually attributed to the running currents in its bulbs were what Genesis noticed immediately; it was hard not to notice it.

"Where do they get their electricity? From what I heard and researched, ShinRa doesn't provide their services here." The redhead asked as he was led by the teen to the streets of Sector 5. With the lack of his signature red leather duster coat and his SOLDIER uniform, he was ignored by the passersby.

Though Genesis would chuck it up to his white with red stripes hoodie and his stylish looking pants. It really looked so civilian. Zack's comment on his attire as 'A college student going to the Slums just to get drunk hard' must be what the people of Sector 5 saw in him.

Zack gave him a grin and answered. "They don't, Genesis. Well, not officially. ShinRa gives free electricity to the people here, even ventilation. See those large vents under the Plate?" The teen pointed towards the barely noticeable underside of the Plate. Genesis, however, saw several ventilation fans above the metal grates. "ShinRa also does the ventilation of The Slums. Kinda hard for people to breathe if the air doesn't move right?"

"Then what about the rest of their utilities?" Genesis asked, noticing that there are shops selling merchandise commonly found above but at a lower price. He went to inspect a soda drink from one of the stores – with a filthy façade, it's a wonder people would buy from this store – and gaped at the lack of expiration date.

"Well, it is a common fact that people here steal water from above by rerouting water lines at the pillars. Food is, well, food is actually bought and being resold here at a lower price," Zack admitted, glancing around for something or someone. "Almost expired goods from Sector 1, Sector 3 and Sector 5 are being sold here. Also phased out stuff gets sold here. Just like they say, Genesis, nothing really gets wasted here in Midgar."

"Hmm…" He did wonder where the expired goods usually go, aside from being used a food for the animals at Sector 5 Experimental Farms or being recycled at Sector 1 Scrap Metal Factories.

―――ᴖᴗ―□―∞―◊―●―○―ᴖᴗ―□―∞◊―●―○ᴖᴗ―□―∞◊―●―○ᴖᴗ―□―∞―≡―◊―●―○―ᴖᴗ―◊―――

After arriving at what Zack said to be the center of Sector 5, Genesis repeated his orders to the 2nd Class SOLDIER. At first, the teen's expression was scrunched up in confusion but soon understanding dawned to his face. Angeal's Puppy was the best choice in his endeavor.

Despite not having any idea of the Well of Healing Water – 'The what? That's the first time I heard of it. And It's here in Sector 5?! The Church is really the only interesting thing here in Sector 5.' -, Zack was able to endear himself to the people in Sector 5 Slums and was successful in getting information on the rumored Healing Water.

"So that's a thing. One said she was led by some dog to a well where there's water. She was sick from food poison, she said," Zack said as he bit on a piece of burger he bought from a stall in some back alley burger shop. Genesis didn't order a thing, he doesn't know where the meat even made from.

"She was coughing mad and really, she should have gone to a doctor or had someone cast Esuna on her, but then again, Materia here is pretty high. Emily was stumbling down the path around 5 blocks away when the dog led her to someplace." Zack bit on his nasty looking burger. Again. "The dog, which was white for some reason, pushed her to drink the water, I don't know how she knew but she just did. She scooped with her hand and drank. She said she was thirsty anyway, but when she drank it, she felt amazing."

"She then went to tell the others but she couldn't find the place again." The teen then gulped down the accompanying soda drink he bought along with the burger. Genesis sat only there, staring at the sheer foolishness his friend's protégé was doing. "Then there's this old lady who was feeling quite bad but she was then given by a Gaelicat of a bottle. A bottle of the said water. And there this-"

"Stop, okay. Stop. Let's go to the last place this… Emily last seen the dog. I need to find this rumored Well or else…"

"…What's wrong Genesis?"

"Nothing."

He almost blurted out his condition to Zack. Zack who was Angeal's protégé. Even if he made the teen swear he won't tell to Angeal, it would be useless since Angeal is first and foremost his mentor.

Standing up from the makeshift table of the back-alley burger shop, with Zack tumbling the other table behind him and throwing off the condiments on it -clearly an attempt to imitate a restaurant at above the Plate -, Genesis left the place and went to the direction Zack said the white dog was seen. Zack, who was running away from the angry burger lady, quickly ran after Genesis.

"Hey! I know where this place is, its near to the place where my girlfriend always hangs out. I better tell her we're coming by," Zack said as he pulled out his PHS and called his girlfriend. "Hello? Aerith? It's me, Zack. Hey, my friend is searching for a rumored well in Sector 5 and apparently the place our lead left was near the Church. Is it alright we pass by there? Hmm… Really? Thanks a lot."

With a beep, Zack closed his PHS and smiled. "Aerith is at the Church now and she's fine in meeting you. Maybe she had an idea of the rumor too with her living in Sector 5 ever since she was young. Aerith may also knew where this Well of Healing."

Genesis only nodded in reply. With Zack leading the way to the Church, an establishment he never thought would exist in Midgar, Genesis spent the time walking thinking of his next actions. The Puppy already exhausted the people who had an idea of the rumor and this girlfriend of his, a resident of Sector 5 for her entire life, would be the last one Zack haven't asked. Tomorrow, Angeal and Sephiroth would be coming back and he wouldn't have the time to investigate on the rumor anymore.

Honestly, he began to doubt that this healing water even existed as every person in they met testified with only their experiences as evidence. They couldn't even pinpoint the exact location where they found the well, what the surrounding area of the well and – the strangest of them all – where did the Gaelicat, of all things, had gone after giving the bottle of water to the old lady.

Gaelicats are native to Cosmo Canyon and some parts of the Kalm Region. They are cats that have the ability to fly and if there's one in the Slums of Sector 5, almost everyone would scramble to find it. Yet there's no trace of the Gaelicat whatsoever. Except for the blurry picture the grandson of the old lady took. The Gaelicat was wearing a pink ribbon around its neck.

And honestly, Genesis was getting tired already. Both physically and mentally. Not to mention, he dared to say it, spiritually. He already lost a lot of his memories from the degradation and he doesn't want to reach to the point where he would only be a husk of his former self.

He's Genesis Rhapsodos, a 1st Class SOLDIER, The Crimson Commander of SOLDIER, the rival of Sephiroth and the Strongest Mage of the Planet. He who dreamed of living past beyond the islands of Mideel and be an actual hero deserving of the title. He who planned to be an artist in Midgar if he didn't pass the SOLDIER Exams. He who realized the fantasies of Banoran people of having the Banora White as a famous and well known fruit.

If the degradation continued on - and by the rate of things are, it will be escalating soon - his memories of himself will soon degrade. What would he be in the end? Some punk who's obsessed on LOVELESS and nothing else? Would he be so single-minded in the end that he would even think of reenacting the epic in chances of it becoming true?

… The degradation is already affecting his mind. He's more than this. More than just a plain SOLDIER, he's the one who is blessed by the-

"Genesis, here!"

The Puppy's yell broke his thoughts. Shaking his head, as if to shake off the things plaguing his mind, he followed where Zack's yell came from. In his reverie, he was walking in auto-pilot, following the path the 2nd Class SOLDIER took.

He was approaching a clearing. A clearing of the twists and turns of the Slums he became accustomed to in such a short time. At the end, he found a church. No, The Church. Based on the Puppy's word earlier, it was implied to be the only church in Midgar. Only at towns like Banora and Kalm had churches, a remnant of a religion that used to be so prevalent in the world. When people used to believe in a higher power, used to believe in the Goddess.

Many people still believed and have faith, including Genesis due to a part of his heritage and primarily of his own ideology of a higher power above him, but religion is becoming a thing of the past fast.

The Church stood tall and proud, just like any church should be, and wasn't surrounded by any rubble, clutter or any garbage that was found at the Slums. There was a young woman who was wearing a light pink sundress and her hair tied up in a ponytail. She had flowers on her hands and was busy trying to put a flower crown on top of the Puppy's head.

Genesis was surprised by the sight of flowers. He was then reminded by the flowers he had unfortunately trampled on at Wutai in the middle of the war. He was reminded of the flowers that bloomed for a short while before they became the Banora Whites he loved so dearly. To see them in Midgar was something he didn't expect.

"Hey! Genesis! You're here! Aerith," the Puppy said, gesturing to him. "This is Genesis Rhapsodos, best friend of my mentor, Angeal. Genesis, this is Aerith, my girlfriend."

The young woman smiled at him and slightly bowed her head. She then handed out a bouquet of white flowers. "I heard from Zack you were coming so I had to rush in making my gift. Here, I hope you enjoy it. I think the flowers are called bird's nest or wild carrot. Really, they aren't close to carrots."

"Y-you. Do you even know what these meant?" Genesis asked. Flowers have meanings, Angeal had drilled them to his head ever since they were young. Comes with the territory of being the best plant grower in the entire Mideel Islands.

"Of course, I do. Why else would I even give those to you specifically?" the young woman answered with a small smile on her face. "Come inside the church and-"

"Aerith! I'm here and check out all of these cool things I bought for- Zack?! You're here too?! You should have called! I would have saved a bowl for you and… Who's that?"

"Oh dear," the brunette sighed. "I should have told him earlier. He will overreact for sure."

"Who? Ver?" Zack asked.

"Aerith, Zack, who is that?"

The voice that interrupted Zack's girlfriend came closer to them. Genesis turned around and saw a teen, quite younger than Zack and his girlfriend, with a plastic bag full of what he assumed as take-out. He was wearing black shirt with a red jacket and white pants with red boots. He also had a pair of bracers and fingerless gloves on both of his arms and hands.

Green eyes stared straight at him a few meters away from the doors of the church. "How did you get past the…? No. Zack let you through, thereby bypassing the Enemy Away Effect. What is your purpose here?" the teen with black hair asked him. "Are you here for Aerith?"

"No, Ver! He isn't-"

But before Aerith could finish what she had to say, Zack pulled her into the church. A huge chunk of ice was hurled moments earlier at Genesis, to which he and Zack noticed before it came to them. Given that it was slower than any magic attack, it was evidently a warning for him and a signal for the girl to take cover.

Zack soon entered the church but when Genesis tried back off towards the church doors, a translucent barrier formed instantly, prevent him to enter. His hands couldn't get pass through but Zack could, when he tried to pull Genesis in.

"You aren't going anywhere until you answer me right now!"

"Dammit. What's with Ver today? Why did he launch an attack to Genesis? Genesis, of all people?!" Zack asked incredulously. "I'm sorry Genesis but-" A fireball went to Genesis, to which he ducked, only for it to hit the translucent barrier and dissipate instantly. "I guess you are on your own."

"Genesis," the ponytailed girl called out to him. "She said someone is coming here to find some guidance. A sanctuary for himself. The water you need is in the church." At this, Genesis' eyes widened in shock. "I would give it you right now but…" She reached out her hand and the barrier stopped her hands. She then tried to push the flowers she had on her hands but it also hindered by the barrier.

"I guess you have to convince Ver to let you in. Don't worry, I can heal you afterwards so please do your best. Ver is pretty strong in magic so please don't take him lightly. You are a friend of Zack so I believe what you desired is not against Her wishes."

Genesis had no idea what Zack's girlfriend was talking about but from what he could understand from the girl's words were…

He was to defeat the teen. Beat him until he's weak enough to collapse the barrier surrounding the church. Simple enough.

Aerith, as if she realized Genesis was thinking about the church, widened the doors prompting Genesis to see a well inside the church beside a patch of flowers. Now that he noticed the flowers, Genesis just realized that the Church in Sector 5 was significantly brighter than the areas he had been. Looking up, avoiding a fire ball while doing so, Genesis saw a hole up at the Plate, letting the sunlight from above the plate to the area it was found. Most likely the large and widely ignored hole in the middle of the Food Production Plant, the one he and Angeal found during one mission at the sector.

With his goal within his reach, Genesis had no qualms on the prospect of property damage. The kid was launching numerous elemental attacks at him. As if he was sure his attacks won't affect the surroundings nor catch the attention of people at the area.

Good thing he chose to bring his collection of Materia with him, equipped in two bangles on his wrists. He heard from Angeal and the other SOLDIERS below him that the Slums are infested with monsters, both from outside Midgar and escapees of whatever machinations ShinRa's Science Department did.

Countering the next fireball thrown at him with a hasty conjured slab of ice, Genesis grinned. He may have felt the beginning of the more severe symptoms of his condition but it won't stop his battle instincts from jumping into action. Besides, Genesis surmised, beating this obviously magically competent teen would be good exercise for him. Having a weapon to use wasn't much a hassle since Genesis was first and foremost a very skilled magic user.

Time to stretch out his magic muscles.