Reno and Rude arrive at 7th Heaven, Cloud having been hired by Rufus to be his “bodyguard” from the three new foes. The ShinRa President suffers from Geostigma as well and is wheelchair-bound. Rufus has been reconstructing Midgar and searching for any traces of influence that Sephiroth might have left on the Planet, to which he has found none. He now resides at the Healin Lodge, also known as the Geostigma Sanatorium. The Turks report that the three silver-haired youths have brought the children to their headquarters, the City of the Ancients.
Cloud still carries emotional scars from the last time we saw him. Weighed down by memories of loved ones he has lost and his physical condition, he now comes across as devoid of hope. Ever the reluctant hero, it takes much persuasion from Tifa after the children are captured for Cloud to decide to go after them. Perhaps it is only during his dream-like encounter with Aerith on the way to the City of the Ancients that he finally makes some progress. The two meet back-to-back in the flower field, beneath a pure white sky. Cloud struggles to voice his desire to seek forgiveness, to which Aerith says that she already has forgiven him. Consoled but still unconvinced, Cloud sets out on his path of redemption.