Sorry about the long wait, I’ve got several chapters finished this underway with the ship, and we went to Hong Kong so everything is all good and kosher. Some of you may have noticed that this is increasingly based around OC’s, don’t worry the focus is still on all stuff Chrono Trigger but I felt that most of the characters had already filed their roles and now they’ve earned their rest. Most of them. Also the chapters are a bit more bite sized now, but will be updated with new ones more frequently until I run out of reserves. Again I don’t own anything square-enix related so don’t sue me please.
Send any compliments/complaints my way, reviews are appreciated, and there are no stops on this flight. Enjoy.
Chapter 3: Getting to Know Eachother
Burning flames of crimson jumped around the room like demons, feeding off the sustenance the furniture and walls provided. Her parent’s lie dead, her father over the body of her mother, and the flames were still hungry. Its’ hunger was not sated, fire never was, but Lana would have thought that perhaps it would have been content with only devouring part of her life. No, it had taken everything and left her alone in the aftermath. How she’d survived she didn’t know or care, evidently the fire had taken pity on the small child; or maybe it only spared her to watch her grieve.
In the end it hadn’t mattered; she was still alone.
The sudden heat brought Lana back to
awareness as the dreams and thoughts fled to her subconscious. The same large
crimson flames of her nightmares flickered only a few feet away and the sound
of sizzling meat crackled in the air. A few more moments of awareness and Lana
also noticed what had been previously dusk was now late night, “Exactly how
long have I been zoned out?”
The angry duo had spent the entirety of the day marching across the sand blasted landscape before arriving at the desert’s edge just as dusk approached. Small bushes and shrubberies dotted the ground and signs of small animal life were about as well. Lana remembered something about seeing a pond around here somewhere but the march and the whole day seemed more like a tired dream than a past reality.
The sweltering heat of the day, coupled with the lack of food or waters stops, had taken there toll on Lana. Everything seemed more lucid, the world just seemed to make sense, but she had a hard time keeping her eyes open despite her clearer outlook. She wouldn’t let Janus have the satisfaction of knowing that he’d wore her out, not in a million years, and so by sheer will alone Lana kept moving.
Across the fire Lana also saw Janus, seated cross-legged on the ground, staring into the same flames that had been occupying her thoughts. His face was wet with sweat, something that, previous to their journey, Lana hadn’t believed him capable of producing. His sweat covered face and arms, dirty and ruffled robe, and disheveled hair made Janus look as worn out as she felt. Something like pity and concern crept into her mind and it occurred to her that Janus was only human after all; someone just trying to do his job and had been through a shitty day. For some reason that made Lana feel worse than she already was.
It had always been easier to think of the intimidating teacher as an emotionless and tireless oppressor. Someone that was always bringing you down, whether you deserved it or not, and seemed to enjoy doing it. He wasn’t supposed to be someone that helped you, wasn’t someone with feelings, or someone that cared. Sitting at the fire and looking at the exhausted warlock, Lana realized he might be all of the above.
He still might be an asshole, smiled Lana,but he’s an asshole that gives a damn.
“Hey, I’m …I’m sorry about what I said earlier”, Lana admitted at last, just loud enough to carry across to her intended target. “You’re right when you said I don’t know anything about your past. I’m sorry if I’ve brought any bad memories to the surface.”
“It does not matter”, responded Janus in a straight-forward manner, “You did not cause them and they would be there regardless.”
“I know it’s not my place, but sometimes it helps to talk about it.” Lana offered. After the fire had destroyed her life she remembered acting much like Janus was now, trying hard not to show her sorrow but coming off as an asshole. The people at The Chronopolis had shown her friendship, even after her attempts to avoid it, and she’d learned that you didn’t have to fight by yourself. Now she was trying to extend the same friendship to Janus.
“No”, Janus grunted. “My past does not concern you. It is mine to bear alone.” Lana was certain she hadn’t been the first person to offer aid to Janus, and she was also sure that he would turn down future offers. Something else she’d learned during her ten years here was that sometimes you had to force someone out of their shell, kicking and screaming, if needed.
Lana switched to her ethereal viewpoint to
take a look at his current emotional state. His normally black aura was a
shadow of itself, more a subdued grey now, but with his emotional batteries
drained the normal shield he kept around himself had also been lowered. With
the obscuring black orb down it revealed a detailed grey globe underneath with
holes and craters; its’ condition was more akin to the site of meteor impacts
and natural disasters.Like old battle scars, she thought in shock.
A particular injury that piqued her interest was a large gash that ran across his aura’s length; it looked less like a gash to Lana and more like a large fissure that one would find torn into the ground. The gash, along with the others wounds, gave it a battle worn feel; it reminded her of dented armor or a chipped sword and the sight of it astounded and horrified the mage hunter. She hadn’t even known you could damage an aura.
As much as she was horrified, she was also curios.How did he get a wound like this? How come I’ve never seen wounds on any other aura’s I’ve viewed? Does it hurt? Does he even know it’s there?
Her curiosity outmatched the need for caution and soon Lana was reaching out through the ethereal to Janus. It was a trick learned long ago, back before the fire, and she hadn’t used it since her parent’s death, for a variety of reasons. Using it after all these years was hard, requiring a momentous amount of will, and Lana could feel herself encounter a great resistance to her efforts. She didn’t give up though, didn’t lose without a fight, and Lana pushed her will against the resistance and felt it shatter under her redoubled effort.
Blue haired swirled around a golden frame and soon her vision was lost in a sea of clouds. Nu’s merged with old grey bearded men that sat around desks and mumbled to one another. Amazing feats were common place and the common was unnecessary, it belonged on the surface. Golden coated walls meet with ebony marble floors to create a place to dream while others dreamt of dreaming. The dreams made reality and reality shaped the dreams, dancing voices asked questions dared not asked by those not dream-stuff.
Tubes ran around the great machine as it powered the dream kingdom. Fear and pain were its’ source of power, tainting the kingdom built by the warmth of the sun. People welcomed the fear and pain in the guise of ease and comfort. Pain eroded warmth; fear cowed the masses. Soon the dreams ended and the kingdom did as well. Blue hair swirling around a golden face vanishes in a hopefully destructive light.
The last thing she saw before being pulled into the rush of new memories was Janus rushing over to steady her flailing form. Then all flew away into colors and voices.
“Gasper, my old friend, to what do I owe this visit?” Pleasantly asked Belthasar when he found Gasper standing at his door step, bottle of old Zealian wine in one hand and his ornate chess board in the other.
“I needed someone to play chess with,
someone good. Spekkio can’t sort out his knights from his pawns”, smiled Gaspar
as he removed his old boulder hat, exposing a balding head, before entering
Belthasar’s room. It was the largest of the living quarters, after all he was
head of the Chronopolis, but was not nearly as lavishly furnished as one would
Belthasar, beyond all things, was a man that liked order and function; he didn’t delegate much space to anything that served no purpose other than be pleasant to the eyes. The back wall of his room had been converted into a giant ebony timepiece that told the time with hands instead of LED’s. The rest of the walls were strung with paintings of Zeal, painted by Belthasar and therefore exempt from his strict no-useless-pretty-things allowed rule, and were so detailed that Gaspar swore he was looking across his beloved homeland every time he visited his friend’s room. A large bed, fridge, table, robotic Nu, and computer workstation rounded out the rest of the room.
As the two walked further into the room his hand built Nu powered on, its’ movements robotic and stiff, and it offered a seat to both of the Guru’s as they approached the table. Belthasar assured him that they did not need to be waited on at the moment and the blue Nu shuffled back to his corner.
“Yes, yes I do not doubt he more oft ends up eating the pieces”, joked Belthasar. “He has the curiosity and magics of a Nu, but certainly not the intelligence or attitude. I always have wondered where our dear Spekkio is from”
“Some things even I don’t know”, answered Gaspar as he poured them both a glass of the wine. The bottle, older than either of the two, was magically enchanted so that it was never empty. If Gaspar wasn’t so picky as to whom he’d serve the delicate wine, he’d be the richest bartender of all time. “I think he simply exists because he wants to; birthed from an unusual concept and nurtured by good humor”, whimsically explained Gaspar.
“Born from irritation, more likely, and existing to plague great chess players throughout time”, laughed Belthasar as Gaspar set the chess-set down and both players organized the pieces to their corresponding squares.
“Now, old friend, perhaps you’ll tell me the real reason for your visit?” Belthasar asked, continuing after seeing mock surprise on Gaspar’s face. “You wouldn’t have brought the wine if it had been just chess you were after. I always did talk too much after a few drinks.”
“You got me”, sighed Gaspar; making the
starting move in the game. “I was just wondering why you gave Janus his gate
access back. You and I both know what happened last time, and I for one don’t
want to repeat it.”
Belthasar looked at the game-board deep in thought, before making his move. “It’s just a test to see if we can put him back in the field”, he finally replied, “I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.”
“Last I remember”, responded Gaspar as he quickly made up his mind and moved his piece, “You distinctively said that it’d be a cold day at Enhasa when he’d get a chance to even look at the Gate again.” Gaspar drank his glass of wine and filled it again from the bottomless wine bottle. “What convinced you to give him a second chance?”
“I…had a change of heart”, explained
Belthasar, taking the next few moments to plan his next attack. “Looking back I
can understand his actions. I myself still feel guilty about Schala’s death,
after all I designed the Ocean Palace. I had to keep order here, though. I want
him to find other matters to occupy himself with besides going to your bar
every other day and causing a scene.” He moved his knight in direct range of
Gaspar’s rook, an obvious mistake on Belthasar’s part and Gaspar, after review
of the situation, decided to take it from him.
This wasn’t like Belthasar, thought Gaspar, I remember a time when we’d spend hours fighting for the lively hood of each and every piece.
“This reminds me of old times”, thoughtfully said Belthasar as he stroked his beard in thought. “Remember when we used to play chess like this at the Palace. Masa and Mune running about and causing havoc as we played while Melchoir chased them”, he sighed, “Always interrupting our game to ask a silly question. Those were the good grand days”.
“Long in the past old friend”, reminded Gaspar as he brought Gaspar into check-mate in only 4 moves. “Your mind drifts away from the game Belthasar. Don’t make me say that Spekkio outlasted you.”
“It’s nothing just, well, my mind is occupied with thoughts of home”, sighed Belthasar clearly homesick.
“Look around you”, Gaspar tried to liven up the conversation. “We’ve got it pretty good here. Anything we desire is just a thought away”, he continued.
“It is not the same Gaspar”, sighed
Belthasar again, “I just wish we could have saved it. Zeal was something
beautiful and functional, with its’ faults no doubt, but such grandeur cannot
be replaced”.Or forgotten, he said softly to himself. The aged guru
gazed into one of the paintings lining his walls, a view of the continent from
when he’d first flown the Blackbird, and was lost in the scene.
Zeal stood out from the blanket of clouds like a diamond in the rough; alone, magnificent, and totally unexpected. Tall and pearly white towers stood over the greener lands below where exotic ferns and fauna flourished. The large, magically refilled, lake glistened in the midday sun as its’ waters were drained to the earth below, falling harmlessly into the sea. Belthasar could feel the wind in his hair as the Blackbird sailed through the skies, yet another triumph over nature, and he breathed deeply of the fresh air. It refreshed him like a midday nap, energized him like a good rejuvenation spell, and awakened in him a sense of adventure.
“Let us get off this depressing subject”, prodded Gaspar, snapping Belthasar from his euphoric day dream. “We’ve still got hours to burn and chess to play”.
“I’m not much in the mood for chess tonight”, Belthasar coughed and sipped at his glass of wine. “I should get back to work; I have reports to write and time to keep track of. We’ve had a surge in time crimes lately. There’s no rest for the wicked they say”.
Gaspar laughed, prepared to argue, but from the almost dreamy look on his friend’s face he knew he wasn’t going to get anywhere, “Well, I look forward to a better game next time”.
“I deeply appreciate your visit, though, come by another night and perhaps this old man can find time to win back his chess status.” Belthasar dismissed Gaspar and then settled down for a long night in front of his paintings.There he was again, sailing above the clouds.
The earthed carved dwelling suited Geon’s
need perfectly. It was away from prying eyes and busy intersection; no
interruptions meant less time sent doing this menial torture assignment.
Despite her thrill at hunting and killing it did become rather inconvenient to
stop in the middle of a torture technique just to dispose of a peeper. Second
the ground did a commendable job of soaking up the blood that eventually
resulted from slowly and painfully killing a person, or a frog in this
instance. Geon wasn’t one to need or desire a sense of cleanliness, but pooled
blood often drew scavengers, one of the few things that offended the proud
If she had a sense of irony, Geon might have found it ironic that she was torturing Frog in what used to be his home. Now though it would serve as a painful hell, and eventual grave.
The Amphibious knight had regained use of his limbs several hours ago as the paralysis that her venom induced had reached its’ time limit. Too late for the skilled swordsman to do anything but wait and suffer. Suffering was the only thing he could do besides making an annoyance of himself.
The aforementioned knight could be found tied proficiently on top of his own floor. For extra measure, and to fulfill the duty placed on her by Ozzie, several stakes pierced flesh and bone and nailed him further to the firm earth. Torturing wasn’t her main function, but rather a skill acquired during time spent with her most current master. Frog should consider himself lucky, Ozzie was much more thorough that Geon.
A pained gasp escaped Frog’s large mouth as Geon twisted yet another steak through his body and into the warm hard earth. Despite the pain Frog had yet to beg, a slight annoyance; prey was suppose to squirm and plead when faced with death at the hunter’s hand. It was just the way it was suppose to work.
“Foul fiend”, painfully Frog continued his verbal accusations, “At what time shalt Magus make his visage present to gloat?” Still no answer was forthcoming from the perfect hunter as she went about making incisions along Frog’s skin that would be used as openings to stick other sharp implements in his body later down the line.
“Nay, the mage would hath shown his presence by now”, he continued, refusing to give into the pain that wracked his body. Geon had no way of knowing that, although it was painful, her torture was nothing compared to having your whole being shaped and mutated while you were conscious.
“Perchance you fear to provided resolve to mine questions?” Frog laughed, some blood coming up with the act and it followed the red path its’ forefathers had lain down the side of his mouth.
“I fear nothing”, stated Geon, “I am the hunter and you are the prey; fear is only for the prey”. Frog scoffed at her statement, twitching ever so slightly as she continued making long lines in his skin with her sharp claws.
“Hence thy delay springs from ignorance”, laughed Frog, the blood-loss was making him delirious, already, but Geon knew he had a long way to go before dying. “Where doth thine master cower, fiend, where is Magus?”
“I do not know”, truthfully answer Geon. This was a question she had asked herself many times over the centuries. Where had her creator gone, why had he abandoned her? Was she not to help him to fulfill his dream? These were all short lived thoughts in the hunter’s brain, she was meant to kill, not to think upon silly notions such as hurt and abandonment.
“Prey does not question the hunter”, stated Geon as she clamped his mouth shut in preparation for the needle and thread to follow. Maybe, once his mouth was sewn shut, she could resume her duty un-interrupted. It was going to be several long days before she’d let Frog die, the slow and painful death Ozzie had requested, and Geon looked forward to it with as much enthusiasm as she did everything; None.
Lana seemed to be breathing regularly,
noted Janus as he ceased the casting of the last rejuvenation spell. Granted he
didn’t know many, healing wasn’t something the dreaded warlock from the dark
ages was used to doing. Still it was best to be prepared for anything, even the
off chance that he somehow received injury. Now it came in handy for his
current apprentice/student who was neatly laid into her make-shift sick bed,
constructed of mostly blankets.
He had placed a damp rag over her head, hoping to calm her high fever, and a large wool blanket was placed over the rest of her body. Janus had brought many things with him inside his seabag, a bag that not only floated alongside its’ master but also disobeyed the laws of storage-to-size ratio, but among them had not been medical supplies. Chiding his own lack of foresight, Janus made due with what was available.
It didn’t seem like it would be enough though. He had no idea what was wrong with the strange girl, aside from the fever, nothing seemed amiss. How was he to know the cause of her sudden screaming and fits? Lana didn’t have any diseases or conditions in her medical record, in fact it was a bill of perfect health, and he highly doubted that a lack of food or water would send someone into any kind of convulsions.
Still, Janus thought, what if? What if it had been his fault; that somehow the past few days had affected her as such and now see was in a coma? What if she had strained herself using the strange talent she possessed? All because of the way he’d been treating her.
He was half tempted to teleport them both back to the Chronopolis’ sick bay; that is until he was reminded that Schala’s future depended on his success. He couldn’t have another failure to report. He had to succeed to get his gate access back, so, that after this training period was over he could go back to his own personal mission. Still, thought Janus again, what if?
Second guessing myself isn’t going to cure her ailments, angrily said Janus to himself, banishing his own doubting thoughts to the distant recesses of his mind. Maybe all she will need is rest. I will wait till morning; if her condition remains unchanged, then I will try some of my more…creative healings.