Crono lay fast asleep as dawn broke over Guardia. The sunlight arched down over the mountains north of Leene Square. Briefly it illuminated the storekeepers and early morning travellers. The light cascaded off Nadias bell, reflecting it out into dimly light areas. The sun bore down on Truce village, shattering the few remaining remnants of the night.
Crono had always been a heavy sleeper, rarely did he ever wake before the afternoon. Now a year on since the defeat of Lavos, he spent most mornings asleep having little reason to wake before noon. The curtains drawn across the windows blocked out most of the light, leaving most of the room still shrouded in darkness. Sensing the fact it was daybreak, Crono pulled the covers up over his head, drifting back to sleep. He heard the creaking of the floorboards outside his door, then handle to his door turning. Instinctively he pulled the covers tighter around him. The door creaked open, breaking what little attempts at slumber Crono was making. The footsteps crossed his floor, muffled through the covers he was certain he heard whistling as well.
They stopped, and he heard his curtains being drawn, filling the room with light. Again the footsteps started again, they got louder and closer. The staccato sound of a heel against the wooden floor, they stopped again. He felt something fighting against his grip on the covers, a harsh pull and his hands were empty. Despite his eyes being shut, light filled his vision, stopping what attempt he was going to make to grab the covers back.
Its too good a day for sleeping, Crono. He heard his mother say.
Keeping his eyes close he heard her leave his room. Crono knew she wouldnt let him go back to sleep, he groaned and pulled himself up. He swung his legs over the side of his bed, lowering his feet onto the floor. Crono shivered at how cold it was, but stood up anyway. Slowly he opened his eyes, it seemed less bright now. He walked over to the dresser and pulled open a drawer. Reaching over he rummaged through its contents, he pulled out a black shirt and pair of red cloth trousers. He quickly he put them on aware of how cold it was in the room. He shut the drawer and pulled open the one beneath it, he reached inside and found what he was seeking the Rainbow and its scabbard. He stuffed it through the belt loop on his trousers, and shut the drawer.
Crono knew if he stayed in the house, his mother would only tell him to tidy his room. He decided to go out, maybe pay Lucca a visit. He hadnt seen her much of late, as shed been busy studying the Epoch. From what Lucca had told him, she was trying to work out how the time travel device worked. Shed been working on it for nearly a year and hadnt got anywhere. Or he could go and see Marle, but she was normally there at Luccas so he probably run into her anyway. Grabbing a comb from the dresser he ran it through his hair, it had little effect as it always maintained the chaotic mass of spikes by itself anyway. He put down the comb and walked out of his room.
Magus sat alone in the entrance to his hut. He was always alone in one way or another, Magus always distanced himself from others. Back in Zeal in his youth he was never connected to anyone but his sister, and she was always dragged away by his mother. His mother, he pitied her. His mother had been corrupted by the power of Lavos, secretly from beneath the planets crust Lavos manipulated her through the energies of the Mammon Machine. Through her command Zeal began the construction of the Ocean Palace, a structure that would bring the Zealians closer to Lavos, and more of his tainted energies. Queen Zeal believed through Lavos, they would gain eternal life, but all they ever got was death because of the outsiders actions. Crono and his ragtag bunch heroes came to Zeal. With the help of Melchior the Guru of Life, they sought to destroy the Mammon Machine after the Ocean Palace became operational. Yet their actions simply awoke the malevolence of Lavos, who reigned down fiery destruction on Zeal.
The floating kingdom Zeal was gone in an instant. What was left was a few islands and a few survivors from the earthbound and the enlightened. This was where he sat on the last remaining inhabited frozen island of the kingdom of Zeal. But it was no longer Zeal, as that Kingdom was gone save but a few traces. Magus laughed his sister gone and his mother dead, he Janus was no longer the Prince of Zeal but now this lands King. And this barren wasteland, his inheritance.
Magus had built his hut on a hill away from the village, he saw no reason to create a false friendship between him and these people. The fires from the village illuminated the icy planes. It cast long shadows of the dancing figures gathered in front of it. He forgot how much time had passed since Lavos defeat and Zeals end, a year since then. They were celebrating their newfound life, the abandonment of magic and learning again how to live without a reliance on such a force. How amusing it was to him, these scarce few survivors celebrating when so many of their kin had perished.
But Magus had lost much as well when Zeal fell, the only thing he cared about, his sister Schala. She had stayed on in the Ocean Palace as it was being destroyed by Lavos, she had used the last of her power to save everyone else. He had returned here to seek her out. After Zeals devastation he had only two reasons left to live, revenge on Lavos and to find his sister. Now Lavos was gone, and so it seemed was Schala. A long time ago he resigned himself to the possibility she was dead, as his thoughts on this grew so did his callousness. He warred against humanity, simply because he could, if people died along the way what did it matter? After all why shouldnt others experience the same loss he did?
Magus stopped watching them, and went into his hut. He pulled the door shut tightly, using a few magics to warm the room. He walked over to his bed, undressing himself he got in pulling the covers around him. Uneasily he drifted off to sleep.
Harle let out a slow gasp. She shook her head, the bells on her hat ringing. She could feel it all around her, the twisting energies of the universe, she felt its breath rippling against her skin. Then nothing, then it started again but it was different, not the same as before.
Something had changed. He wasnt anything but a child now, so it had to be the other. He was in trouble, and then she felt it. A backlash, the pain surrounded her. Every nerve in her body seemed like it was in agony. She collapsed onto the floor, spasming violently. Harle gasped for air in vain. She lay there twitching. It stopped her body was still shaking. She dreaded to think what it was that caused it, but she was certain something crossed over, something that had been lying dormant for too long.
She stood up and concentrated what little energy she could into one spot. A small blue sphere appeared. The surface of it was laced with black lines circling inside of it. It grew in size, the air crackled around it. The sphere was now a metre across, and the black lines spiralled out its core. She stood there absorbed by its beauty. Harle put one hand into it, she felt hairs on her hand rise up as she touched it. She put another hand, in then forced her upper torso in. Then finally with her legs pushed herself up off the ground, and fell into the sphere. As she fell it consumed her body and snapped shut around her.
Ayla stood atop the plateau of Mystic Mountain. For some time she had been gazing at the landscape, from her vantage point above the canyon floor. She turned her gaze to the east, looking upon the spot where the Tyrano Lair had once stood. All that remained of it was a crater where Lavos had crashed down onto the planet. Despite the fact she had helped defeat Lavos, she knew he was there devouring and feeding off the planets life force deep underground.
She sighed. Her world was now quite boring. Azalas prophecies were slowly becoming truth, the cruel harsh winter was slowly being ushered in. Already a few of the creatures of the jungles were beginning to die out due to the changes in climate. After Lavos landed on the planet and destroyed the Reptites home, they had mostly disappeared and seldom bothered the humans anymore. Ayla longed for some new adventure she missed her friends dearly, she wished she could see them again but as the gates no longer appeared it was impossible.
Ayla shifted her sight back onto the canyon floor, slowly she looked up at the jungle appearing in her vision on the horizon. At the edge of the entrance to the canyon she saw something. It glittered in the sun brightly. She blinked and rubbed her eyes quickly, it was still the shining in the daylight. Maybe it was just a rock, which had caught the light of the sun. Still she was bored. Ayla began to make her way down the mountain, walking at first. Then breaking into a run due to her excitement. She made a good time, making it down the peak in a couple of minutes. Upon reaching its base she paused for a moment, remembering that day over a year ago where she had met Crono and the others. Then she turned and ran down the canyon to where the glittering had come from.
With a shove he forced open the door, when he had time he would fix it but more pressing matters were at hand. Reaching to his right he fumbled for the light switch, he pressed it in. The switch made a pleasant click, but was drowned out by a humming noise coming from the ceiling. The light bulb glowed for a moment, and then illuminated the room. The room was small but was well furnished despite the fact he rarely used it. In one corner was a small wine rack, which still contained a few bottles. The room was lined with plush velvet green curtains, opposite the wine rack was a large wooden bureau, its upper section a glass cabinet containing a few wine glasses and the lower two closed drawers. The centre of the room was adorned with a sleek black metallic table, and two similar chairs on either side.
He whistled to himself, and wandered over to the bureau. As always he was dressed in black a loose shirt, and a tight pair of trousers. He reached into a pocket of the shirt, and took out a key. Quickly he put it into a keyhole in the upper section of the bureau. He turned it, the lock making a dull click as if it had not been used in years, he pulled open a door and reached inside. He took out two glasses, and noticed how dusty they were. He blew on them and wiped them with the tails of his shirt. Holding them in one hand, he pulled open a drawer in the cabinet. He leaned over and inspected its contents, seeing what he wanted a picked out a red tablecloth. He shut the drawer back up and locked the cabinet again, placing the key back in his pocket.
He wandered over to the table, and laid out the tablecloth. Using just one hand he laid it out so it was, equal on each side. Carefully he placed the wine glasses on the table, and walked over to the wine rack, he eyed each bottle individually, and after a couple of minutes pulled out a bottle. Holding it towards the light, he studied its label. The light shone down across the contours of the bottle, revealing it to be a dark red wine.
Fifty six, a good year He mused.
He went back over to the table, and placed the bottle in between the two glasses. He reached into another pocket, and took out a silver cigarette case. Opening it he took out a cigarette and placed it in his mouth. Touching the tip with his finger it shone for a moment, and he let out a breath of smoke.
Well, I hope she appreciates it. At a guess shell be her soon Ardetsky said.
He took another drag from the cigarette, and waited. It had been such a long time since hed had guests.
Foolishly the humans had grown comfortable with their victory in the war with Magus. Yet after Magus defeat and disappearance his generals Ozzie, Flea and Slash had risen to take over his mantle and rule over the Mystic race. Then the Magus returned but not to reclaim his throne, he had changed he was just another human. A human, that was all just another human to be added to the genocide.
Yet despite their hatred and disgust with the Magus, they were unable to defeat him. All three perished in the attempt. No longer did the Mystics have a voice to guide them, no one tell them where their hatreds should lie. The Mystics were plunged into bloody anarchy, they were unable to decide who should now lead them. This civil war cost the Mystics dearly slowly it ended. With no one able to decide on a new leader, the Mystics split into factions. Alliances were formed and broken, most often at the mere speaking of the wrong word. Violence between the factions was seldom but every so often a battle would spark between different groups.
Calrissia stood upon a balcony of what was once Ozzies fort. His father had been the greatest swordsman of Maguss army, the great Slash who had served Magus and the Mystics loyally. Then after his usefulness to him had come to an end, Magus had thrown away his fathers life as if it was as meaningless as a humans. When the civil war had broken out Calrissia had brought together a group who were still loyal to the generals ideals that the humans should be wiped out. His renown as Slashs son had helped him bring them together, but he had also followed in his fathers footsteps and taken up the sword and was considered to be one of the greatest fighters in Mystic history.
He watched the sunset in the distance, amazed at the beauty of the mixture reds, yellows and oranges as the sun dimmed in the horizon. He looked down on the village below him, the approaching darkness broken by the lights coming from the houses. His thoughts turned back to the reports from earlier that seven Mystics from rival factions had died in a brawl earlier. The continuing fights between the factions made him tired. The killings were futile and unnecessary, if the humans wanted to attack they could easily as the Mystics were too distracted by each other to see any other threat.
Calrissia longed for a way to bring the factions together, he knew that a war against the humans, the greater threat could unite them. But the majority of the other faction leaders disagreed they were too concerned with fighting the others to do anything. Those that agreed knew that something should be done about the humans, but rebuilding their own power as of the greater priority. He would be the one to bring his people back together, and he would be victorious where the Magus had failed, he would annihilate the human race. Most of all he wanted revenge, he would kill the knight who had slew his father. He would wage war on the humans, and at the end of it he would place Frogs head on a pike outside of his court as warning to all those who would defy the Mystics.
Somewhere, something was aware of what was happening in the Middle Ages. It laughed darkly, and then it was gone. A shadow moving rapidly across the planes.
Silently the Nus systems clicked back into life. It opened its eyes, confused at these new sensory readings it was receiving. It realised its vision was shrouded for some reason, and it failed to see where it was or understand why it was there. The Nu moved a hand up to its bulbous face, to find it covered by a shawl. Gripping it tightly the Nu pulled the cover from its face, it surveyed where it was. It was a small room, the right hand side lined with shelves, and in a corner of the left of the room a mop and bucket. The Nu realised that the room was a storeroom, where it was it was uncertain.
The Nu stopped and processed this new information. The last known memory was of the running that program, it wondered what had been the result but that was irrelevant right now. One interesting piece of data came up, the identity of the one known as Magus. It cross-referenced this possibility with the memories, which had been stored in its head. A positive result there was a eighty five percent chance there was a link between Magus and Prince Zeal. This thought process ended and was archived for later research, the Nu wondered again why it had been activated, its programming and use should have been terminated after the Death Peak scenario.
It surveyed the room again, the décor and its content was unfamiliar. It ran a check for such a room against the schematics of Keepers Dome. No such room was on record, so why was it here. Either it had been moved or the timeline had been realigned. There was a five percent possibility of this, but further research into its surrounding would be need to confirm such theories. The Nu moved over to the door, and noticed how much its legs hurt due to movement. Most likely caused by a long period of inactivity, it further noticed the high amount of dust that had gathered on its body. The Nu began to turn the handle of the storeroom door, it considered that Keepers dome was now populated.
Since the sunny break of day a few hours earlier, the skies over Guardia had darkened. Crono walked slowly away from Truce village ignoring the drops of rain landed on him periodically, he could see Luccas house in front of him. Getting closer with each step. Soon he stepped onto the bridge, his footsteps drowned out by the water splashing against its underside. He crossed it slowly the sounds the water made calming him slightly, reluctantly he crossed over to the other side. He walked around the house, round to the front door, which faced away from Truce.
He paused and then knocked on the door. Crono stood there waiting for a couple of minutes, until he heard someone opening the door. It creaked open, and Taban stood in place of the wooden door. He smiled at Crono.
Hi Crono, Luccas in the workshop in the back. Shes busy working on the machine again, but I guess she wont mind you interrupting her busy schedule Taban grinned.
Still working on the Epoch? Crono replied, guessing correctly at what Taban meant by the machine.
Taban stepped to one side and beckoned Crono into the house. Crono stepped in, and shut the door behind him. Crono headed towards the workshop, which was behind the Kitchen. He noticed, Lara busy preparing something by the stove. He waved to her while going past, Lara replied with a smile. He opened the door to the workshop, and stepped inside, shutting the door on his way that went unnoticed.
The workshop was the largest room in the house, the majority of it was filled by the Epoch. Before their adventures the workshop had been just another room in the house, where Lucca and Taban worked on their inventions. After the moonlight parade, It had been expanded tenfold to house the Epoch. In one corner of the room, stood the two telepods. Contained in a glass cabinet, lay the sunstone still brimming with energy. The cabinet had been put in the path of the window, so the stone could still gather energy, which Crono considered to be a rather pointless decision as last time it had taken several thousand years to fully power the stone. The workshops roof was made up of a large glass panel, which normally filled the room with a fair amount of light. Today the room was quite dark due to the clouds blocking out the sun, some lighting was coming from the Epoch where no doubt Lucca had some portable light source.
On top of the Epoch, Crono could make out Lucca knelt down. Where she was most likely conducting research into the time machines inner mechanics.
A year on, and youve still got nowhere. Crono shouted.
What! A startled replied, came down from the Epoch.
Im surprised youve not given up on it yet. Crono shouted back.
Crono! Lucca replied with a less surprised tone.
He saw her stand up and walk over to the edge of the Epoch. She jumped down and landed with a light thud. She turned to him and grinned. Lucca was dressed in a tight pair of grey overalls, complete with stains from various greases and oils. She wandered over to him, the sun catching on the lenses of her glasses as she walked.
Your mom, not letting sleep in again? Lucca asked.
Yeah, shes got this strange idea that I should do something other than sleep in the day. Crono joked.
I dont know what you mean anyway, Im starting to actually make a breakthrough on how the Epoch effects time Lucca replied, changing her subject.
You say that every time, I come round. Youve been working on the Epoch for nearly a year, and your still no further in working out just how Balthasar made it work Crono said bluntly.
That was a little harsh, Crono. Yeah, theres just something about Zealian tech that I cant work out. But if I keep on working at it, Im certain Ill find out how all the pieces fit together Lucca said The wings are the only piece Ive managed to fully analyse.
But, thats not surprising seeming as they were added by Dalton and not Balthasar. Crono suggested.
Yeah, theyre good work as well. Considering Dalton most likely had them constructed and fitted as quickly as possible. They seemed to be made of an alloy of some unknown metal, which responds very well under pressure too Lucca commented.
Crono gave her a blank look, the one he always gave when Lucca got too techie when talking about how things worked. Having known her since childhood, Crono had had several years to develop this look into quite a sneer, in some strange way he was quite proud of it on occasion.
Well, I think its interesting anyway Lucca said responding to Crono expression.
Cronos eyes suddenly filled with a bright look of recognition. You know, what day it is? He asked.
No, why is there something special about today? Lucca replied.
Todays the day on which we first met Frog a year ago Crono told her.
I completely forgot, Ive been so busy working on the Epoch. I didnt realise just what day it was Lucca responded.
I wonder what hes doing now, what with the Middle Ages enjoying peace. I suspect hes getting bored now.
I wouldnt surprise me if he took back the position of Leenes protector
With the respect he got in return for defeating Magus, it might happen
I wonder what the others are doing right now.
You know, Lucca we do have a time machine. We could go and find out
The room began slowly to brighten as the sun moved from behind a cloud. The new rays from the sun, reflecting off Luccas glasses obscuring her eyes from view. Crono had to turn his head to one to avoid the glare from her lenses. In doing so he failed to notice the pigments over her eyes turning to a milky white.
The equilibrium of fate is atop the tip of a blade, the possibility of paradox is too great. Space and time should not be used as a childs toy. Only those who hold the cards of destiny should play the hand of change. Lucca mouthed.
Bemused by what Lucca had said, Crono turned his gaze back to her. Only to see Lucca slouch forward and collapse onto the floor. He shifted forward and knelt down beside her prone form, he placed his hand on her forehead. It was strangely warm, but he was still puzzled by what she had said, even though it was Lucca who spoke she had sounded different.
Cronos thoughts were interrupted by the door closing behind him, he craned his neck to look round and saw Marle stood in the doorway smiling at him. Realising what was happening her smile changed to a look of concern.
He fell for what seemed like an age. He would have cried out or screamed but he failed to see any urgency or danger in his situation. The ground appeared below him, laid out like some ethereal grey painting below him a boring mixture of drab colours. A small voice in the back of his mind suggested that an impact at this speed would most likely be fatal, but just like everything else he was experiencing he paid it no attention.
His body crashed into the floor and he landed in a crumpled heap on his back. The landing woke him from his daze, for the first time he seemed to realise his situation. He craned his neck from his horizontal position and tried to take in his surroundings. He glanced around himself slowly, the entirety of his vision was matted with a dull grey, which made up all of the landscape in every direction he looked. He shut his eyes quickly as it began to sting if he stared it for too long.
He tried to pull himself up and found that he couldnt, strangely he realised that he couldnt feel his legs at all. He strained his neck forward to look down at his legs, his left was lying completely straight but his right was bent into an angle that he was certain that wasnt possible. Great a broken leg, he thought, but it didnt hurt which was strange. He turned his attention to his arms, unlike his leg they seemed fine. He tried moving one of them and found that he couldnt.
He lay there wondering what had happened to him. Then he realised what it was, the fall must have broken his spine and severed the nerves. He felt something swelling in his throat, and leaned forward as he started to cough. He tasted blood and instinctively spat out what was in his mouth, it landed on the black shirt he was wearing a healthy mixture of phlegm and blood.
Great, Ive got no idea where I am and Im crippled from the neck down. And all because of that bastard kid and his friends Dalton swore.
Lost in his own musings Dalton failed to notice the shadows circling around him. They flew around him like vultures about to pick the flesh off carrion. He looked up fearfully as he heard one of the shadows let out a dread cackle. Two of the shadows swooped down beside him, pooling on the ground beside him. His fear rose as it started to take form, two bony hands extended from the shadow connected to two arms slowly rising. The arms were joined on each side by the shadows torso, it roughly looked like the chest of a male human but at the bottom two spindly legs jutted out roughly. The two legs grew in size until they were about a metre in length.
The shadow was now whole, Dalton looked on in horror as a solitary translucent eye opened up in the middle of the torso. He could just make out the pinprick of a pupil in its centre but his gaze was broken as he was shunted forward sharply. He looked down to see two black hands gripping his waist, lifting him off the ground.
We should kill him right now, if it wasnt for him
Hush, the master has uses for him, he may still make amends
What use can master possibly have? Hes broken
As if too emphasise the point the shadow shook Dalton from side to side, not being able to resist Dalton complied with the creatures wishes. Now silent the two creatures started walking off in an eastern direction.