On the Way to a Smile – Episode:Yuffie

Having escaped from Wutai, the two of them headed south to the place known as the Materia Caves. The area was where the Shinra Company had once planned to set up a Mako Reactor and it was what triggered the battle. Mako Reactor Construction Area. To put it simply, you could say it was a fertile land filled with the Lifestream. Long ago, it was a place that you could only be reached by chocobos that were raised and obtained special powers. However, after the Lifestream burst onto the surface, the geography has changed and you could now get close by foot.

The reason why Yuri wanted Yuffie’s help wasn’t just because she had been around to witness the change. It was also because he had a glimpse of how abnormally attached to materia she was since she was young.

“There should be materia that can heal the Midgar disease too, right?” said Yuri. “Midgar disease” was the name he gave to the illness his mother had.

“I’ve never heard about any, though.”

“I see—Isn’t there anyone that might know?”

Yuri asked as he took out his latest mobile phone. Yuffie had an idea.

“Wait a minute.”

Yuffie took out the PHS she had been using for her entire journey and put it to her ear. There was no answer. She had no choice and double checked the number saved inside the memory. Then she took Yuri’s phone and entered it. Someone picked up not long afterwards.

“Hello? Tifa? It’s Yuffie-chan.”

Afterwards, Tifa could be heard asking Cloud whether any materia that could heal the Midgar disease existed but he didn’t know if there was any. They only knew how horrifying the disease was. Even in Midgar they had yet to find an effective cure. Quite a large number of people have died because of it and people were afraid. First the Meteor and now this disease.

“They don’t know.”

“I see—Any other cures?”

“—Look, there’s a cave. It wasn’t there before. Lets go look for some materia!”

Yuffie returned Yuri’s mobile without looking at him and ran towards the hole that was probably created when the Lifestream burst out.

Together they looked about inside the cave for any sparkling signs of materia for about an hour.

“What is going on here!” said Yuffie without any attempt to hide her irritation.

“There’s probably none here because it’s a new cave. Why did you choose this one?”

Yuri looked worried. Yuffie had no reason.

“If the Lifestream flowed around the planet then it must have moved the materia with it you know!” Yuffie said but in the end, she didn’t know if that ever happened in reality.

“—Sorry. I believe in you.”

His voice was shaking. Yuffie didn’t like how they had to fight monsters as they walked their way around inside the dimly lit cave either.

“Come on! We’ll find that materia!” She said as she tried to get rid of their fear. She was a little scared too so it couldn’t be helped when Yuri was in these caves for the first time. I’ll be nice to him, just a little.

“Lets go outside for now and re-think our strategy.”

She could sense Yuri’s relief in the darkness.

Before long, they reached the cave’s exit but were faced with another monster. At a glance, it looked like a mole but its whole body was covered in needles.

“Piece of cake!” Yuffie cried out to encourage herself and Yuri as she attacked. The shuriken she threw with all her strength hurt the monster. It retaliated, a fireball flying out of its mouth. Yuffie just manages to dodge it as it skims pass her. Yuri who had been standing behind her, also made a dramatic jump to dodge out of the way. The fireball hit the ground between them and exploded.

“Come on, Yuri!” Yuffie shouted at her friend whose attention had been caught by the explosion. Yuri cried out, panicking.

“Sokuhenka Shourai!”

That moment, Yuffie’s shuriken returned to her like a boomerang and she threw it at the monster again. Its blades cut through the monster dead on and the two of them won the battle.

“Come on Yuffie. That was mine.”

“You’re way too slow. Slow and scared. But it looks like you’ve been training yourself.”

“My movements might be slow but I can do something when it comes to techniques.”

“No no. You mustn’t think like that. Speed is fundamental. OK?”

Just as Yuffie was posing with pride about her speed—

“Look, Yuffie” Yuri’s face was gripped in fear. “Look at that!”

At the spot where the monster’s fireball had exploded, a liquid was flowing out of it. Inside the dimly lit cave, they couldn’t tell what it was but it didn’t feel like water. Yuffie ran, her whole body shaking. She could sense an evil presence from the liquid.


Yuffie sped up.

Behind them, the liquid that had started to flow out to the surface slowly, suddenly burst out rapidly. It was hitting the walls of the caves and the ceiling too. Soon, it caught up with them and the liquid was falling down over their heads from the ceiling. They sheltered themselves with their hands and kept running. Yuffie screamed as they reached the exit where she had placed a marker so that they wouldn’t get lost.

Their vision adjusted. They were outside of the cave now. It was bright underneath the moonlight. Yuffie turned round to look. The liquid with the horrifying presense had slowed down now but it was flowing out of the cave they had been in. As Yuffie watched, she noticed something. The water was black.

“Yuri, the water’s black.”

But there was no answer.


Yuffie hesitated for a moment but ran back to the cave. Near the cave’s entrance, she found Yuri lying on the ground. She tried to help him up but even with all her strength, lifting him up by the torso alone was too much for her.

“Get up, Yuri! Get up!”

“I can’t. Yuffie, go. If you stay here you’ll—”

“Idiot! I can’t look after your mother for you, you know.”

Yuffie turned Yuri round so that he was facing upwards and tried to pull him along by his sides with all the strength her arms could muster.

“Just go—”

A black liquid came bubbling out of his mouth.

* * *

“Shall I give you some help?”

She turned round and saw Red XIII.


“Can’t you call me Nanaki?” said Nanaki, displeased at the name.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m on a journey to see the world. I’ve just started, though.”

Nanaki walked on easily with Yuri on his back. He lay there face down on his back like some washing hung out to dry and Yuffie had her hand on him so that he wouldn’t fall off. Nanaki told her how he had planned to go to Wutai as his starting point and then go east from there. He chose Wutai because it was at the borders of the Western region. Yuffie had told him that Wutai was the center of the world, isolated by the seas and stretched out to the east and west – Just the kind of world view one would expect of someone raised in Wutai. Yuri’s back was shaking. Yuffie was afraid that he was having convulsions. But when she looked at his face, he was smiling. The black liquid from his mouth had eased.

“Tell me something interesting, Nanaki,” Yuffie began to speak in a small voice.

“Hmmm—” Nanaki thought. “Oh yeah. I got a new mobile phone. I was told the PHS was really dated. When I returned to Midgar with Cloud and the others, they gave me one. It should have been paid for but the manager at a phone shop was giving out all the ones he could for free. He thought people would be too worried if they couldn’t contact anyone during these hard times. He’s a nice person.”

“Hmmm. But can you use a phone?”

“Of course. It takes a while but I can if I put it to the ground and use my claws. I can use it with a bit of effort,” replied Nanaki as he looked at Yuffie with a worried face. “I’m not giving it to you.”

“Give it over!”

Yuffie went round in front of Nanaki and he stopped.

“It’s better if I had it. Now where is it?”

She was looking all over Nanaki.

“You’re serious, aren’t you.”

As Nanaki said that, Yuffie noticed the belt around his neck, hidden away by his fur. It seemed the belt was only long enough to circle around his body once—She squatted down and peeped close to Nanaki’s throat. There she found what looked like a hard wearing small pouch made from some kind of skin.

“Heheheh, I found it.”

“Yuffie, I’ll remember this.”

“Sure. Don’t ever forget me.”

Nanaki looked like he had given up as Yuffie stretched out her hand towards the pouch on his side.

“Yuffie, I’ll give you mine.” It was Yuri. “I got one too. From Midgar.”

“What do you mean you got one too?”


Blood was boiling inside Yuffie’s head as she learned what happened.

“You scumbag!”

“I’m sorry. I think I’m the one who brought the disease to Wutai. Then it immediately spread to my mother. Then from my mother to all my friends—I thought maybe we could find a cure—Let me down a moment. Thanks, Nanaki.”

Together they sat in the grassy plains as the wind blew by—Nanaki lay sprawled out—when he listened to Yuri’s story.

Yuri had learned that his mother was ill many months ago. It was an illness that was common amongst the adults. His mother became very weak-willed and always said she was going to die soon. He wanted to help her somehow. Remembering Yuffie who he had used to play together with, he decided to do what she did and leave to find materia. However, Yuri didn’t have the courage to explore the borders for materia and went to Midgar to ask for Shinra’s help. It was just around the time when Meteor appeared in the skies. He visited the Shinra building many times but at the tip of all the chaos there, they wouldn’t listen to him. Some of the staff had pity for him but in the end, the materia he needed wasn’t for sale because it was equipment for Shinra soldiers.

“And then that day came. I waited at a cheap hotel in the slums for the Lifestream to finish passing by. Everyone was taking refuge from the upper plates but I went against the crowd and travelled upwards. There were many people that had caught the illness there.”

After that, Yuri rushed back to Wutai. When his mother asked where he went, he replied that he had been having fun at the Golden Saucer.

“I couldn’t tell her that I tried to bring back materia to heal her but failed.”

“Well, I do understand how you feel.”

Of course, it was needless to say he became a refugee himself but nothing could be done about it now.

“Hey, you know,” interrupted Nanaki. “Materia is also said to be the crystallization of the Ancient’s knowledge.”

“Yeah, I heard about that.”

“Maybe the Ancients didn’t manage to heal the illness your mother has either. Maybe it never existed during the Ancients Era. So maybe there is no materia to heal it,” said Nanaki.

“Hey, Nanaki! You can’t say that. Maybe we just haven’t found any yet.”

“But think about it. If that kind of materia really existed, there wouldn’t be so many people infected—Ouch!”

Yuffie pinged Nanaki’s nose with her fingers. She thought he maybe right. And that made her angry. Nanaki’s reasoning meant that there was no materia in existence to counter the disease that was making people suffer, pushing them to their deaths as black liquids flowed from their bodies.

“I hate you, Nanaki.”


* * *

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