On the Way to a Smile, Episode: Shin-Ra [Revised]

Mutten Kylegate struck Rufus, who could not move, three times.

“I can’t tell you something I don’t know.”

“Tell me the new code!”

“Someone must have changed it. I only know the emergency—”

Mutten struck him again without waiting for him to finish. The blow was hard and accurately, exactly as he had been trained.

“I see. So you’re a soldier—”

“You’ve passed by me countless times. But to you, I’m just another one of your troops, right?”

“—I’m sorry,” Rufus sincerely apologized. But at the same time he thought to himself, If this house belonged to Mutten, he had to have either come from a very rich or a very renowned family. According to company policy, preferential treatment of socially better off soldiers was prohibited, but in practice it was a different story. In this Mutten’s case though, there must have been other problems that prevented him from being promoted. And this tastelessly furnished room was perhaps an indication of this problem.

“You have flunkies, right?”

Mutten suddenly changed the subject.

“Where are they?”

Mutten’s choice of words appeared to Rufus another indication of the lack of intellectual depth.

He must have a very unrefined mind if he can refer to people as lapdogs, thought Rufus.

“I was taken away while my subordinates weren’t present. They don’t know where I am, and I don’t know where they are.”

“I see,”

Mutten seemed to believe him, but he still decided to hit Rufus. But before he could land the blow, someone knocked on the door.

“What is it!?”

“You have a visitor,”

It was the voice of the woman who had been taking care of Rufus.

“A visitor? Who could… Never mind. I’ll be right there!”

Mutten went to the door, and once again turned to Rufus.

“This morning we began construction of the new town. My people and a lot of volunteers are involved in the works. You should have seen the crowd that gathered at the east of Midgar. I can hardly wait until my city is finished, Mr. President. I’d really like to show it to you, but probably not.”

* * *

Ultimately, Mutten would never see this new town, which was given the name ‘Edge’. Shortly after he left the room, the angry voice of a man could be heard. The voice was familiar to Rufus. Then he could hear gunshots and the woman screaming. Suddenly he could smell burning, and the crackling of flames could be heard, as well as the sound of people screaming, trying to escape.

Rufus tried to get up from the chair he was sitting on, but his body wouldn’t obey, and he fell to ground. With his ribs aching, Rufus looked around the room. Outside, a vulgar voice could be heard.

“Mr. President, where are you!”

Rufus recognized it as the voice of the man who had pointed the hunting rifle at him in Kalm. What exactly that meant was unclear to Rufus, but he assumed that something must have caused a rift between the two men. Either way, it didn’t appear that the man had come to rescue him. He didn’t know what the situation was, but most likely they had some dispute amongst themselves. In any case, it didn’t seem like help had come.

Rufus decided to hide himself under the bed. He quickly crawled along the floor.

“—” Rufus felt a sharp pain, and grimaced

His ribs ached again, he wanted to cry out in pain but he suppressed it by firmly biting his lower lip.

What do I do now? If he sees the chain on my foot he’ll know where I’m hiding.

Rufus rolled onto his back and looked at the bottom of the bed. There were two metal hooks on which several whips were stowed away. Just the thought of what they were used for made Rufus shudder. He took one of them in his hand and gripped leather-bound handle.


The door was brutally kicked in and a man came into the room. From where Rufus was hiding, he could only see his boots. The man walked over to the bed, noticing the chains, and tapped them with his foot.

“Heh, hiding under the bed huh?”

Come on. Closer.

He did exactly as Rufus expected, and cautiously approached the bed.

Come on, peek down. Lets see your face.

But the only thing that the man revealed to Rufus was the silver muzzle of his hunting rifle. Immediately, Rufus grabbed the gun barrel with his left hand and pushed it upward against the bed.

“What are you doing!”

A shot went off and pain flooded through Rufus’ left hand. He let go of the gun barrel and rolled out from his hiding place in the direction of the man. He no longer felt the severe pain in his side. He used the momentum of his roll, kicking the man below the knee with his leg cast.


The man staggered back a few steps. Rufus got up and swung the whip in the direction of the man. The whip wrapped itself around the man’s arm, and he dropped his rifle. Fortunately for Rufus, it fell right by his feet. He quickly stooped down and pointed the rifle at the man’s chest.

“I win.”

Suddenly, smoke started filling the room.

“You stupid F-! Come on! Fire! You’ll be burned to death anyway! How are you going to free yourself from the chains!?”

Rufus had no choice but to let the man live for now. He quickly considered how he could reason with him.

“You killed Mutten?”

“Yeah, I did. We grew up together! He’s always been treating me like s***! ”

“I see. Then he only has himself to blame.”

“Don’t try to draw me to your side. I haven’t forgotten how you humiliated me!”

This must be karma, thought Rufus. He couldn’t have possibly guessed things would turn out like this. That moment, a shot rang out and the man collapsed. Rufus looked at the rifle in his hands. At first he thought he had accidentally fired it himself. But the next moment, he noticed another person had entered the room.

* * *


The front garden of Kylegate’s mansion, which was located in the outskirts of Kalm, was completely overcrowded with refugees from Midgar. The fire had been started in the kitchen. The four Turks arrived shortly after the property had burnt down.


The Turks frantically searched for Rufus amongst the emaciated refugees. Soon, they received a vital tip-off.

“Someone saw a middle aged man carrying out a man in a white suit that had his head and feet in bandages,” said Elena with a worried face.

“That must be the President,” Tseng said.

“Who could the middle aged man be?” asked Reno.

“We need to question the refugees! “said Rude.

“Just one question, Chief, “Reno said, eyes narrowing. “Can we do this the Turks’ way? They all hate Shin-Ra anyway.”

“You have my permission. But do not harm the volunteers who are helping with the construction, clear?”


“The plan to rebuild the city is most likely the President’s idea.”

* * *

Just moments ago in the cellar of the burning mansion, a middle aged man was pointing a gun at Rufus.

“How do you feel, President Rufus Shin-Ra?”

It was the doctor who had examined Rufus.

“…Not so great.”

“Then you should throw away your gun. It’ll just make things worse for you.”

Since they both held rifles, the doctor’s words irritated Rufus a little, because, really, he wasn’t in any worse position. Rufus felt uneasy at the doctor’s words.

“Doctor. If you throw yours away, then I will do the same.”

The doctor just smiled and pointed his gun barrel directly to Rufus’ face. Rufus watched as he tightened his finger on the trigger slightly. Without hesitating, he pulled the trigger of his rifle, which was aimed at the doctor’s chest. Other than a quiet “click”, nothing could be heard.

“Mr. Shin-Ra. You didn’t know the man who possessed that gun. He hated Mutten. All Mutten did was make him do all the dirty work, while he reaped the benefits for himself. That’s why he emptied every last round into Mutten’s body, venting his years of frustration. Except for one last shot, which I guess went off down here.”

Rufus sighed as he looked at the corpse on the floor.

He never did think about the consequences did he?

“My Name is Kilmister. When I was younger, I worked for the Shin-Ra Company. Well, I was only an assistant to the assistant of Professor Hojo.”

He’s one of Hojo’s staff — I have a bad feeling about this.

“Now throw away that gun.”

Rufus saw no alternative, and threw the gun to Kilmister’s feet. Kilmister took out a small vial from his pocket and handed it to Rufus.

“Take a sniff of this. It will make you unconscious for a moment. If you don’t, I’ll shoot. I’m going to need your help, so I won’t kill you, but that doesn’t mean I won’t hurt you,”

As Kilmister finished, he handed the vial to Rufus. Rufus took it, and when he opened it, he recognized the smell right away. It was the same drug Mutten had given him in Kalm.

* * *

When he came to, Rufus found himself on the back of a truck. Besides himself, there were nine other people . Five young men and four women, all around the same age. They all looked exhausted, crouching with their arms around their knees. That wasn’t the only thing they had in common. At first he thought the people were just covered in dirt, but on closer inspection it was clear that their skin was covered in a black liquid. Even their hair was covered by the sticky substance. Their occasional groaning was a clear indication that they were suffering. The young woman next to Rufus lost her balance and fell into him.

“…I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“You— You don’t have the disease,” she said in a sorrowful voice. “I’m really sorry if you get infected.”

Rufus broke his ribs when he slid down the shaft from the top floor of the Shin-Ra Building. Then he was held captive and tortured. Not to mention that he had been threatened with a weapon. After all of that, would it be this disease that finishes him off? Rufus laughed at the thought of it. He didn’t know anything about this strange disease, but he definitely didn’t need anymore brushes with fate. Stuck here on the back of the truck, there was nothing he could do about it. Even though the road conditions weren’t the best, Kilmister put his foot on the gas and the truck bounced more the faster drove. Rufus considered whether he should dare to jump off the back, but Kilmister’s words came to mind:

“I’m going to need your help, so I won’t kill you.”

Kilmister probably wouldn’t actually kill him.

I doubt my life’s in danger. Wherever it is he’s taking me it will probably be better than passing out in the wild here.

* * *

Kilmister stopped the truck in a rocky inlet near the coast in front of the entrance of a cave. Just like when he was taken to Mutten’s cellar, Rufus had been unconscious for most of the trip, so he had no idea how far away they were from Kalm. The fact that they were at the coast meant they were no more than three to four hours away. Even uninjured, that distance would be difficult on foot.

Kilmister pointed his rifle at the patients and gave them instructions. But even without threatening them, it didn’t look like they had the strength to fight back. The young woman Rufus had spoken to earlier, helped him off the truck bed. Since he had no walking stick, he had to support himself on her shoulder until they reached the cave entrance.

“I hope we both get better soon,” said the woman.

Indeed I hope so too, thought Rufus.

As soon as they entered the cave, there was a steep drop. There was a 5 meter long ladder placed almost vertically against the cave wall. Rufus had difficulty climbing down. Once he reached the bottom, he tried to look up, which, with his whiplash, caused severe pain to his neck. The slope was too steep and slippery for them to climb without a ladder. As expected, Kilmister removed the ladder once everyone reached the bottom.

“Inside, there are several passageways, all of which lead to dead ends. Choose one and make yourselves at home”

“What about our treatment?” asked a young man.

“If I call you, you come here. No harm will come to you,”

Kilmister answered in a calming tone and then disappeared.

To their surprise, they found enough beds for everyone, even hospital gowns were laid out for them. Each of the patients brought their things through one of the passageways and settled there, as they were told. Out of habit, Rufus chose a place to rest, which was deepest into the cave system, and a fair distance away from the others.Not long afterwards, a teenager, whose symptoms weren’t quite as bad as the others, went around distributing food – bread, cheese and water.

“Was everyone threatened with a gun and brought here?” asked Rufus.

“No. We’ve all been Doctor Kilmister’s patients since we were children. He’s the local doctor in Kalm. When he said that he would cure our disease, we trusted him as always. I and a few others helped him bring stuff here to this hospital.”


“Yeah. We all have to be placed in quarantined. He told us that if we stayed in the town we’d eventually be chased out…”

The boy looked nervous as he spoke.

“He only has the gun so that you don’t try to run away.”

“I’m a patient too, but… It looks like he doesn’t trust me. By the way, where exactly are we?”

“He told us not to tell you.”

Looks like this stay won’t exactly be the most pleasant, thought Rufus.

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