Chapter 21 – Count on Tifa

Chapter 21 – Count on Tifa

by December 28, 2014

Chapter 21 - Count on Tifa

Translated by Mecorx and Pixel

It would appear that fuel could be obtained in Wall Market in the slums. However, driving around the slums in a car seemed pretty difficult, and it was likely the car would disappear if I parked it. I’ll park in a safe place, and head to Seventh Heaven first. Now, as for where to park— a safe place immediately came to mind. It was something stupid and not without risk, considering how I came to be driving around in the first place. However, it was worth a try. I drove slowly— something also needs to be done about this wind hitting my face fast— and pulled into the main square. A Shin-Ra truck was parked near the monument. I managed to maneuver my way through the crowds, trying to ignore their angry stares, and parked next to the truck. The guys hanging around the steel frame watched me. I ignored them, and got out of the car. Reno was glaring at me. I approached, staring straight at him.


“—You didn’t get my message?”

“I got it.”

“Well then, whaddya want?”

“I heard, so I came to apologise. Sorry about yesterday. But big bro—” Big bro, huh? “He was the one who said to do that.”

Reno looked at me with his mouth agape. Before long, a smile spread across his face.

“I knew it! I was right! I thought it was strange. ‘Coz the President should’ve had a gun.”

Watching Reno’s speaking cheerfully, my sense of guilt at calling Rufus Shinra my big brother deepened.

“Anyway, I’m sorry I betrayed your trust. I just wanted to say that.”

“It’s all good, yo. So, how was it? Meetin’ your big brother for the first time, that is.”

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet.”

“I see—. Well, I guess that’s how these things are. Anyway, you should go see him once in a while. If you do, I think you can get to know each other.”

“Sure, when things get settled.”

Yeah. That’ll work. I’ll just allow myself to lie a little, until things calm down. I’m a mass of secrets and lies. I can’t change just like that. My mother’s whereabouts has top priority. If I just discover that, I’m sure I’ll change.

“Can I leave my car here for a while?”

“Sure, I’ll look after it. But, what’ll you do with a car? You don’t need one in Edge, do you? Planning on goin’ somewhere far?”

“Yeah. I felt like goin’ on a trip.”

Reno furrowed his brow. Did I make a mistake?

“Are you sure about this? There are quite a lot of monsters.”

“I haven’t gotten that far yet. I’m still just gettin’ ready.”

“Well, anyway, think it over and then decide. I don’t really recommend it.”

I’m nothing but a chicken, anyway. However, I thought well of Reno for not just outright saying that, so I offered him my thanks and headed toward Seventh Heaven. As I walked, and casually glanced at the monument, I realized Rude had been watching me from beside it. He gestured like he was cracking his neck to the left and right. It felt like he was scowling at me behind those sunglasses.

Seventh Heaven was empty. To me, it was great to be in the city. Tifa greeted me with her usual smile. I took a seat at the counter for the first time.

“Is it alright if I sit here?”

“Of course.”

“Is it just you? That’s unusual.”

“It’s like that sometimes.”

“Would you like some black tea?”


Tifa started preparing the tea. It felt unexpectedly uncomfortable sitting at the counter. I didn’t know how to act.

“Actually, there’s something I want to ask you.”

“What is it?”

“What’s the best way to get to Nibelheim?”

Tifa stopped what she was doing, and stared at me.

“Why are you asking me?”

“Because, you’re—” As I said it, I realised I already knew Tifa was born in Nibelheim. When did I learn that? Oh yeah, I remember. “I heard it from Johnny. Weren’t you born in Nibelheim?”

“Oh, Johnny.” Tifa looked embarrassed. “How much did he say?”

“Not much— just that you were born in Nibelheim.”

“I see—” Tifa had a complicated expression that was hard to describe. “A lot of things happened.”

“Yeah. Everyone has their own story.”

If I said that I wasn’t interested in Tifa’s past, I’d be lying. But looking into her eyes as she lowered them, I gathered it was something I shouldn’t ask about.

“Why are you going there?”


“Do you know what kind of place it is?”

Tifa stared at me. It was an determined stare that urged me to tell the truth. I couldn’t seem to resist it. Well, to be honest, I wanted to tell the truth. Maybe that’s it. I had told too many lies. How sad am I? I sincerely thought, “Just tell the truth”. I took the photo of Nibelheim out of my shoulder bag, and placed it on the counter.

“Truth is, I want to go there to search for someone—”

Tifa leaned forward and examined it. I pointed to the smiling face of the female on the far left of the group photo, opposite Gould Arde, who was laughing in the front row on the far right..

“That’s my mother. This is Nibelheim, right? It was taken two years ago. My mother was definitely in Nibelheim. But I don’t know where she went after that.”

“Two years ago—”

“I think it was a little before Meteor.”

Tifa’s expression became clouded. It was a different expression from when I was talking about Johnny.

“There’s no telling if she’s still there, but maybe—” She may already be dead. “But, if I don’t go to Nibelheim, I can’t go on. That’s how it feels. Actually, a few things happened, so I wanted to get away. Maybe searching for my mother is just another excuse. I don’t know. But I’m useless the way I am now.”

“I see—” Tifa gently set the tea down in front of me. “Well then, you have to go.”

Tifa told me to wait, and disappeared into the back of the store. I flipped the photo over, and looked at what appeared to be the name and phone number of a man. Nick Foley. The number was for my house in Midgar’s Sector Six. Nick Foley used my home as a starting point to search for the families of people in the photo. I don’t know why he used our home. Maybe it was because when he returned to the ruins of Midgar, the Shin-Ra Company, his employer, was technically not in operation, or perhaps there was something else that barred him from doing it through the company. Anyway, Nick’s Foley was using my home phone number or, in other words, counting on me. Even though that was how we met and parted ways.

Eventually, Tifa came back, with a large, opened map. She put it on the counter, and then—

“The latest route should be marked on here. Did you know that the terrain changed in places all around the world two years ago?”

“No. Oh, because of the lifestream?”

“Right. But there aren’t any accurate maps yet, because nobody’s investigated it properly. This map has actually been plotted, so it’s quite valuable.”

Tifa said proudly.

“Did you plot it?”

“Of course not.”

“Okay, so here’s Nibelheim. I wonder if it’s become a little easier to get to than before.”

I looked at Tifa’s fingertip on the map. It was certainly marked as Nibelheim, but—

“Midgar is here, right?”


I traced my finger across the map from Midgar to Nibelheim. I’d ended up at the ocean, no matter what way I went.

“I have to cross the ocean. I guess the car is useless.”

“Well, I think a car would make quite a difference.”

I looked at the map again. I hadn’t seen a comprehensive map like this since I was a child.


“First, when you get out of Midgar, head south. Towards the southwest, that is. If you follow the coastline you’ll reach Junon, see? There’s a small fishing village right below Junon called Under Junon. You can get a ship from there.”

“A ship?”

“To cross the ocean, of course. In the old days, it was hard to even get to Junon. You had to go all the way around to the east. That alone took days.”


“Don’t want to go anymore?”

“That’s not it, it’s just that I’ve never gone travelling before. I just thought it’d take a lot of effort.”

I answered while checking the location of Nibelheim, sipping my tea.

“Did you grow up in Midgar?”

“Yup. Born and bred. I’ve never— left before”

You couldn’t call what we went on with the Turks a journey.

“I wonder if everything will be alright.”

I looked up suddenly, because it seemed Tifa was teasing me with the way she said it. Her face seemed serious, unlike the tone of her voice. It seemed like she was telling me not to go. I recalled Reno’s words in the square.

“Why was your mother in Nibelheim?”

She changed the subject when she saw I had fallen silent.

“I thought she went off with a man, and abandoned me. But, by chance, I got my hands on the old photo from before. You saw my mother, didn’t you? She was laughing. I was angry at first. What was she laughing at?” Yeah. I was angry. “But, then I realized. Maybe she was smiling because she was thinking of me. Mom thought that I would be coming soon. That’s why she was able to laugh. Yet, I—”

I realized I had spoken too much. Men going on and on about their mothers are the worst. When I timidly looked up at Tifa, she was looking at me with that same serious expression.

“Actually— I went to Nibelheim once around that time. But—”

“Was my mother there?”

Tifa stared at the ceiling, and returned her gaze to me.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t tell you.”

“That’s the face of someone who knows something”

“The town had completely changed, and the people living there were all strangers. I don’t know if your mom was among them. Sorry. I shouldn’t be saying such dubious things.”

I showed Tifa the photo again.

“I’m sorry. I’m not sure.”

“Is that so—”

Silence. Tifa muttered an excuse me, and began working at the other side of the counter. This was probably the end of that discussion. I put the photo away and looked at the map. I planned on memorising the route.

“Hey, Tifa?”

I called out to try to clear the air. The topic— anything will do.

“This Gold Saucer is the Gold Saucer, right? You know, the amusement park. I wanted to go at least once.”

“I think it’s closed now.”

She seemed relieved that the topic had changed.

“What about you, Tifa—”

“I have been. There, that is.”

“On a date… perhaps?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know.”

“Sorry.” I noticed Tifa’s faked smile. “I’m being persistent.”

“It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. People have asked a lot worse. Hey, have you ever been to Costa del Sol? It’s a lot more fun than Nibelheim.”

From the way she said it, I realized that Tifa was still trying to deter me from going to Nibelheim.

“Why don’t you go with your girlfriend? It’ll be hard to get there, though.”

“If I had a girlfriend.”

“Huh? Did I get the wrong idea?”

She must be talking about Kyrie.

“Oh, she’s just a colleague.”


Tifa stared at me with a forced “doubtful expression”.

“Would you mind if I make a copy the map?”

“Go ahead.”

I put my hand in the backpack, and without looking, tore a piece from the paper bag, which the rolls of bills were in, and took it out. I roughly copied the route onto the piece of paper. While doing it, I began to wonder whether I could make such a journey.

“This really does seems difficult—”

“While I don’t think it’s going to be easy, there are guides and people with the necessary vehicles in most places. Of course, nothing comes for free.”

“If it’s a matter of money then I can make due.”

“Oh really? Could it be that you’re a wealthy person?”

“Just a little, for now. Business is booming.”

“What kind of a business is it?”


“You must be pretty good”

“I’ll give you a discount.”

“Thank you. I’ll think about it.”

I drank the cold tea left at the bottom of the cup, and thanked Tifa. As I went to pay—

“You can pay next time.”


“That means, you’d better come back alive.”

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