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"Kindness. Generosity. Not just destruction and tearing down the civilized places of the world."

"I hardly tear down civilization when I encounter it," she laughed.

"But you aren't kind. You weren't nice to me when you had the power to control me. You were monstrous."

"Can you fault me for what I've become?"

"Yes. I can and I do. I overthink everything that comes my way. You could do the same."

"I should be panicked and indecisive?" She asked.

"I would be if I were you. If I didn't know the Cetra thing to do in a given situation. I would be losing it. I'd have to wonder if this was all I had now. I'd truly wonder."

"I can't afford to be paralyzed."

"You will be worse once I'm done with you. You'll be in a much worse state than just paralyzed. And you know what?"

"What's that?"

"You brought it on yourself."

She looked away at my words.

"I tend to do that. First with Ozma. Then with you. I bring horrors close to home and hold them tight to my chest. It's my fault I'm immortal and doomed to this Remnant."

"How so?"

"When Ozma died I begged the gods to revive him. I tricked them and they cursed me. I brought armies to them to try and tear them down to our level. They left me here. It was they that destroyed the moon. All I had for centuries was the war with Ozma and I could feel myself losing pieces of myself to time. The wind went by and I lost track of the most important things. Family. Friends. I lost them all. And then I got your sisters and yourself. And I lost so much of myself by then that I did what I thought was best and tormented you and them both."

"Do you regret it?" I asked.

"Not really. Perhaps that's the most monstrous thing about me. I don't really regret it. Can't be bothered to. It happened so far in the past."

"Not that long ago," I disagreed.

"What's time?" She asked.

"Time is what a clock reads," I answered.

She laughed. "That doesn't sound like an empty statement to you?" It did a little to be perfectly honest. "Anyways my clocks are all a jumble. I spend a little time in this Millenium. Then that one. Then a third. They matter little. Your sisters and yourself are the biggest break I've gotten in eternity. And I ruined it. With you at least. I did."

I couldn't really argue that point. If she'd wanted to be a mother to me she could have been. She decided not to. That was her fault. She deserved to hold that.

"You could have been a grandmother to my children. You decided to abuse me. Make me kill my friends. I don't feel anything for you but hatred and pity. You could have been there for me. You weren't and while that hurt me very badly I don't need you now. It's time for you to go. To go to sleep. For a very long time. You'll be someone else's problem. That's the best gift I can give to the world. Look how far you've fallen while you sleep. Stare up at me from the abyss. And know that I have risen above you. Look what I have overcome."

"That's why I'm proud of you…" she whispered. "Look at what you have risen above."

"In a way I ought to thank you. If you hadn't become my enemy who knows what I could have done. Would have done. Would be. In a sick way you balance me out. There was a time in my life where I was a monster and killed for sport. You helped bring me back. So while I won't exactly thank you for what you've done or forgive you I do accept it."

"You're welcome. This little dance we have done has been the most fun I've had in millenia. And I'm sorry I'm not sorry. I lack the capacity. After all this time."

"You lost the right to be my mother."

"I will always be your mother. Never forget that," she repeated.

"You never delivered. In the times when I needed you you undermined me."

"I'm still your mother."

I scoffed. "I suppose you have a better claim than anybody else. I prefer to think of myself as motherless. Everybody but me has one. Especially my sisters. They love you. But that's because you twisted them up. I hope after I sufficiently destroy you they'll be free."

"You will never truly be free of me."

"I know I won't. I'll always carry the scars of what you did to me. Always. But this world will be better without you as a waking part of it."

"If you can pull it off. If you can put me to sleep."

"I can. I shall. I have no choice. You've given me no choice."

"I suppose that's true enough. I had hoped… I had hoped you would see me as more. More than someone who tormented you."

"You are more than that. You're someone who tormented me for years."

"Then what are you waiting for?"

"The right moment. And understanding. I want you to understand. I want to understand."

"I thought I was too alien."

"And you could be," I said. "And you could be," I repeated. "But I want something more. More than the chaos you left behind. I want order. I want the truth. This is our last conversation. This is my last opportunity to get my hands on the truth. Whatever that may be."

"You're so sure you can put me down. I'm unconvinced," she murmured.

"Pain. Agony even. Suffering if you will. Torment for those so inclined. I'd spare you. Wouldn't it be sweeter to be cast adrift and sleep? I'm not the monster you are. Or the monster you would have me be. I'm here to save you in a queer way. You're welcome."

She laughed. "So it's a matter of mercy? Not a matter of whether it's possible?"

"You are unique. But you are in pain. I can save you. A long time. Since I've seen you but I've been thinking about you every day. And I know you've thought of me. Run away. Run away from the pain I know you can't take it anymore. I bet you were once an angel. But no longer. I can make it stop. And I will. It's what I've come for. But before I do. I have to know. How did I end up at Beacon?"

"Does it matter? I should have had you brought here to be raised with your sisters. You would have been older than them but not impossibly so."

"I would have been too different. We were different batches. I know they wouldn't have seen me as different but I would have. That would have been too much. This is all sweet talk to my ears. How things could have gone down. But you sent me away on my infiltration mission. As a sleeper agent."

"I did. I expected you to fail and be caught and destroyed. No longer my problem. No path back to me. Instead you succeeded in the most miraculous ways. You got your hands on a relic. You became powerful. And you've only grown since those days. You are mighty now. So mighty you may just stand a chance at putting me to sleep."

"It's thanks to you in a queer way."

"Yes. This is the path I started us down. The end of the line. I set things up with Merlot for you to infiltrate Beacon. He was willing in exchange for some tissue samples. He was easy to buy. And it was his experiments into the Grimm which first piqued my interest. It was the creation of new Grimm which made me trade some tissue samples in the first place. Those samples which became you. And look how big you've grown. You're a man now."

"You forged me into this. A living weapon. I bet you never expected me to turn on you one day."

"Not in the early days. No. But eventually it became an inevitability. You grew away from us. It was only a matter of time until you would confront me. All I then needed to do was wait. I'm very patient. I didn't use to be. But I am now. One of those things I've gained over the millenia."

"It sounds to me like it's just another piece of yourself you lost."

"Just so. Something gained and something lost. Yin and yang. Push and pull. There's a balance to it if you know where to look. It's subtle but it's there."

"Even with how you've fallen you talk about balance? The hypocrisy."

"Examine yourself. You rose to face me. You're something I gained and something I lost. And now you're here to sufficiently destroy me. Whatever that means. Sufficient for what? Might I ask?"

"I'm here to tear you apart so you sleep. Instead of waking and being a part of this world. That's what I mean. You won't be dead…"

"But I won't be completely alive. I see. And you really well and truly believe you can pull this off?"

"I do. The relic of knowledge implied it was possible. When I asked it about you. One day out in Mistral. It was one of my lowest points. I'd just killed to kill. For the sake of killing. I'd never felt closer to you. I was disgusted myself. And I had to know how to defeat you."

"One of the relics?"

"You can ask the lamp any question and receive a full and true answer. But there are limits. Three questions every century. It also can't answer questions about the future."

"Most useful…"

"It is."

"I should like to have seen it myself. But alas."

"But alas," I echoed. "Alas You must be destroyed. Today."

"My flesh can be penetrated by a weapon but I heal. When you cut me you shall have to sever me completely. Least I shall heal."

"That's the plan," I agreed. "The plan is to cut your head off. And then to leave before you can fully heal. You won't die. You may even dream. That's why I keep calling it sleep. You will finally be at peace."

"Peace…" she trailed. "Peace isn't an option for me."

"It is. You can. You lack the support. You can't end your own life but this isn't death. It's rest. And I know you are tired. I've thought about it every day. Every day. I know how tired you are. Because I know how tired I would be. I would spare you this fate. My cruel Mother. Nobody deserves what happened to you. The gods are cruel. You deserve to sleep even if you don't deserve to die. And I believe you do deserve to die. Everyone deserves to die. My own children deserve to die. For all that they are precious to me."

"Sleep…"

"Aren't you tired, Mother? I can feel your desire to rest. You want to know if I can really pull this off. I can feel it."

"What would you have me do? Not fight back? Against my own destruction? I'm afraid that's not in my nature."

"I didn't think so. I thought it was worth a shot however. I had more than that. I deserve better than that. Still I shall fight you. I am ready for a fight. I came ready for a fight with you."

"And so you did. But will it be enough? Are you enough? At the bottom of yourself? Are you true to form? Sometimes the truth is just your point of view. Not just the truth. And not what is real. Are you at the heart of all reality ready for me?"

I drew my sword. I reached over my shoulder and brought it around nice and slowly. She dumped her tea on the ground and stood from where she sat. She slowly pointed her fingers at me. I could hear a rushing noise. I looked out the window behind her. There was a massive fireball in the sky. It was slowly descending on us. Smaller meteorites burst through the window in my direction. They came through the roof and the walls along with the big one looming much further behind her. It was coming roaring at us.

If it hit me I would die. A pea sized piece of rock struck me and it was enough to send me spinning. I took off from where I was going and hovered over the surface of the ground. Salem slid one hand to the left like she was playing a musical instrument. I was struck by a telekinetic wave that knocked me to the side. Clawed hands poured out of her body and across the ground towards me. They wrapped me up and talons bit deep into my aura.

I shook off the wall of Grimm hands and tore them apart with my sword. A meteor struck me in the chest through the roof. It rocked me back through the castle. Salem hovered after me.

I activated Limit Breaker. I ducked under a meteor in the atrium. I flew up the steps of the castle to where Salem malignly hovered. I sleeper my sword into her shoulder and tore off her arm at the apex. I tossed it down the steps. It flipped and flopped and black tendrils extended from it and her shoulder but they were searching for one another blindly to rebind the arm.

I stabbed her through the chest. She only slightly gasped. She back handed me with her remaining hand across the room. She was unbelievably strong.

I shook it off and got up. I spent Limit Break.

I tore her leg off. She started to fall. I swept my blade in an arc and severed most of her head. Those same black tendrils appeared and pulled her head back into position where they erupted from her flesh. I side stepped a meteor. I split my sword into one of it's multi formed parts. Now I had a sword in each hand. I stabbed her through the stomach with both and pulled into two directions like I was going to pull her in half. I started and mostly succeeded. But those black tendrils pulled her body back together. I took off her other arm and swept her other leg off. I butchered her in several terrific swings. I swept my sword back together and brought it down on her vertically. I split her in two.

Then I shook her head off. I grabbed it by the hair before the black tendrils could heal it and pull it back on. Her mouth was split in two and healing rapidly. Her eyes looked around dazedly in their sockets.

Her lips twitched and choked on those black tendrils. They were everywhere. Searching for body parts and trying to pull her back into one piece. But they were blind where I struck with action. I pulled a bag from my side and stuck her head inside. I took off just as the big meteor hit and outran the explosion on a pocket of air.

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(Sometime in the distant future)

A man with a broadsword flips onto a train and looks forward. His name is Cloud Strife. Soldier first class. He sprints along the length of the train and it shudders through Midgar. The largest city on the planet.

In another part of the city a girl named Aerith kneels in prayer. She has a flower basket under one arm and she can feel the planet's energy around her.

In a third part of the city there is a bar called 7th Heaven and a red eyed girl bartends behind a counter with a cloth in one hand wiping down the bar. Her name is Tifa and she is a good friend of Clouds and she just met him after many years apart.

They don't know it but they will soon travel to the northern crater and unlock its secrets on a continent once called Ayan. They will battle against the demigod known as Sephiroth who calls a distant alien being Mother.

Cloud flips off the train as it screeches to a stop. He takes his first steps forward with the members of Avalanche around him. They swiftly kill two Shinra guards.

Their mission is to blow up the powerplant destroying the planet. But they will soon learn more about the world and about themselves.

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-WG