The Final FantasybyIMRIOTSTAR©
Chapter 1: Need More Gil
Cloud needed money badly but he was tired of fighting for it. Most of his competitors lost under a minute even when he didn't use his sword. That money had felt dishonorable in his hands and he was tired of hurting people for his own survival. There weren't many fit jobs in Midgar, but the pains in Cloud's stomach moved him to fighting once again.
After winning another fight and collecting his Gil, some kids ran up to Cloud and asked the same questions the young always asked him.
"Excuse me sir, where did you learn how to fight?" Asked one small child, just barely over Cloud's padded knee.
Another, not even allowing Cloud to answer, interjected, "Isn't your sword heavy? Why, it's even taller than you!"
Cloud smiled, everyone who had the courage to ask that question did. "It's not that heavy, I exercise everyday and I've gotten used to it by now."
A third, chubby child, asked, "Why are holes in your sword, sir?"
"To put Materia in. Do you know what Materia is?"
All the children laughed and the youngest spoke for all, "Everyone knows what Materia is! It's magic!"
Cloud smirked to himself, "Close enough."
"Why don't you have Materia in the holes then?" Asked the confused chubby child.
Before McCloud could answer, the small boy said, "Because it's too much money, you dummy!"
McCloud finished counting his money. There was only 350 Gil, 150 less than last time. Cloud had been fighting in sector four for a while and people stopped betting against him.
"Hey ringleader!" Cloud shouted to the stout man counting his profits on an empty barrel. "I want the rest of my money."
"You've got your money, now go before I tell my crew to make you go!" The ringleader's crew looked at Cloud; worried they would taste a sample of the fighting they'd seen so much of.
"I don't know if you should depend on your crew for that."
"What?" The ringleader turned his head to his crew and sensed their freight. "Humph, I'll give you fifty gil more and then I'll ask you to stay out of my face, forever!"
Cloud walked a few feet more to the ringleader, ground his teeth and barely audibly said, "Make it a hundred and I'll take my leave."
The ringleader pursed his lips and became flush from neck to brow. "Here is your hundred gil, now get out, I warn you."
Cloud turned and left with his three little companions following behind jumping and hollering at how tuff Cloud was and what a great fighter he is. All the time, they could hear the ringleader cursing at his crew for being so cowardly.
Up and down alleyways and streets the three youngsters followed the fighter through sector four until they ended up at a small diner on the corner of a street.
Cloud sat himself on an empty stool and waited to be served. There were two empty seats near Cloud, one on the left and another on the right. The smallest child, whose name is Brandon, climbed onto the stool to Cloud's right and then looked up at Cloud in awe, smiling the whole time with a ridiculously wide grin. The other two children fought over the other seat but Richard, the plump one, won over and laughed a childish laugh.
"What are you going to eat, Cloud?" Asked Richard.
"Oh, I don't know maybe a chicken sandwich and some fries."
"Mmm, that sounds good," said Brian, the child who had lost the seat battle.
"Meat and potatoes is a heap better than a chicken sandwich, why don't you get that cloud?" Bellowed Richard.
"A chicken sandwich would be lighter on my stomach."
An old waiter came over to the counter and asked, "What can I getcha?" He eyed Cloud's sword with momentary interest and then turned his attention to his pad. "Drinks first."
"I'll have a pint, give these kids some juice. Do you all like berry juice?"
The children were ecstatic, "Yeah Cloud, that's great! We love berry juice. Thanks Cloud!"
"Three berry juices'."
"And to eat?"
"Two chicken sandwiches with fries, one plate of beef and potatoes."
"Mashed or whole?" Asked the waiter.
"Mashed please! Cried Richard."
"Add some dinner rolls with that. That's all."
"Alright, that'll be fifteen gil.
Cloud handed the money to the waiter.
"I'll be back with your food right now."
"Wow, thanks Cloud, you're a real nice guy," said Brandon while spinning around on the stool.
"That's ok, I've got some money that'll last me for a bit. Food is one of the best things you can spend with your money."
"Are you going to buy some Materia with your money, Cloud?" Richard asked wide-eyed.
"Don't get dull Materia, Cloud!" Warned Brandon.
"You're dull, Brain! You've never even seen Materia."
"So! You've never either!"
"It doesn't matter, I don't have enough to buy any Materia anyways."
The waiter came with their drinks and set them on the counter. " 'Ere you go. Drink up."
The youngsters drank their juice happily as Cloud gulped down a mouthful of ale. The drink shaved a shred of gloom hanging over his head and then he took another mouthful. "Why are you kids still out? My mother would beat me if I'd be out this late at your age."
"It's only a couple of hours pass duck! We're always out at this time," said Brandon.
"Besides, there's plenty of Shinra around," added Brain.
"Yeah, but all they have is stupid batons. They don't have swords like Cloud!" Brain ended his comparison with a ball of laughter.
The waiter came with their food and then left to serve the other customers. The kids stopped talking and dove into their food. Cloud stared at his glass of ale, thinking about the future. The patrons spoke loudly, talking about present things and present cares, blinded toward future worries and concerns. Cloud began to eat though his appetite failed at least he wouldn't be hungry later.
"That was great Cloud! Thanks for the food!" Brandon joyfully decreed.
"Really Cloud, those were the best potatoes I've had in a long time, thanks!" Richard nodded.
"I wish I had some Materia on me Cloud, I'd give it to you, really!" Brain said wishfully.
"I'll be fine. Do you know what I like to do when I've eaten a good meal?"
The children looked at Cloud curiously.
"After a good meal, I like to sleep a good nap and so should you, it's late now."
Brandon rubbed his eyes at the mention of sleep. "I am getting tired, what about you guys?"
Richard and Brain agreed with Brandon. "Yeah."
"Have good dreams young men." Cloud started walking down a dark street; he could hear the youngsters calling out to him.
"We hope to see you again, Cloud!"
"Have a good night, Cloud!"
"See you later, Cloud!"
There was 485 gil left in his pocket. A room for the night, at the cheapest, would be at least thirty gil. Finding a cheap room for the night was the smallest problem in Cloud's mind. Bigger and better things waited for him but he didn't know where or when. Destiny burned in his bones but without a trail.
As Cloud walked the nearly empty street he could hear the footsteps of approaching feet. By the sounds of the shuffling there were two people. The steps were brisk and heavy. Shinra guards.
From around some building a couple of Shinras appeared. Carrying their batons in their hands and boisterously walking the ill lit street. Cloud could barely make out their green uniforms and heavy black boots. To avoid trouble Cloud crossed the road, the soldiers noticed and eyed him. The Shinra wouldn't dare make trouble with such small numbers, not while armed with his sword. They kept on and didn't say anything. Cloud was too weary for battle; he needed good rest.
Two blocks ahead a glowing sign flickered on and off. A place to sleep! Good. I'm so tired now. Thoughts about the future would have to wait, Cloud made his way to the neon sign.
The door to enter was open and Cloud walked to the front desk. A bald fat man was sitting down looking at a monitor connected to the building's wall. The monitor was tuned to an informant program and the economy was being discussed. The bald man ignored Cloud and stay grimacing at the program.
The volume wasn't that high but Cloud could still hear what was being said.
"…Rations of power have been short due to lack of Materia in the region. New mines are opening up in different territories but some worry not soon enough to stifle rising prices."
Cloud didn't bother to listen to the rest. The informant programs always brought the same news anyhow. Prices go up, up, and jobs go down, down.
"How much for a room?"
The bald man looked on at the program for a moment longer and then turned to Cloud. His head waved back in surprise at Cloud's weapon. "How do you carry that thing, huh?"
"Special metal. Light as a feather. How much for a room?"
"Um, forty five gil."
"I'll give you thirty."
"Fine," the man pulled a key from behind the front desk and handed it to Cloud. "Be out by midday tomorrow."
Cloud left to retire to his room. As he walked upstairs to room twenty-seven he could hear other people in their rooms. Some people were screaming, others cursing, a few were singing, drunkenly.
When he reached his room he unlocked the door and entered quickly. He laid his sword on the floor alongside the bed. A few more feet and the sword would be as long as the bed. After turning the lights off, Cloud rested on the soft mattress. I can't even put a decent piece of Materia in my sword! … That's it! … If I do anything from this point on it'll be to put some good Materia in my sword, from there I'll worry about something else but for now. I have to have a goal. … I need something to concentrate on, besides my poverty. Cloud closed his eyes and the comfortableness of the mattress drew him closer to slumber. Things will turn out well, tomorrow.
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