Space, Time, and Death Chapter 4
"Reality is the best possible cure for dreams."
"Like Skywalker, gotta big hunch. Hey, that's my lunch. Yoda's a really, really old guy. Gonna get a set a' better clubs. Gonna find the kind with tiny nubs, just so my irons aren't always flying off the back-swing," Doreen bopped, her short silver hair trailing. With Schala gone, her odd choice in music and her singing had both returned. "Gotta get in tune with Sailor Moon 'cause the cartoon has got the boom, anime babes that make me think the wrong thing--"
"...I don't even understand half of what she says anymore." said Masa.
"I need to slice something. Wind slash! WHOOSH!" said Mune.
"Urge to squish... rising..." added Epoch.
The place known as Sleep had no formal definitions. The inhabitants shaped it to their will, and since none of the dreams had any human predilections, it remained mostly void. Doreen's vicinity was always marked by odd reflections of other worlds that the others' could not identify, and that Doreen never bothered to place. Because of this, it was completely impossible to gauge her sanity at any point.
She hopped from one foot to another, her hems trailing. She slowed on the next hop, catching the flare of an odd identity. Had Alfie brought Schala back--?
Mid-step the blow caught her. Sliced from collarbone to hip, her severed right arm disappeared into red dust before it hit the ground. The edge of the wound looked almost like red gelatin--but that was a human impression. A more astute, less biased eye would have compared it to laser-cut ruby.
It matched the stranger's hair and eyes. He smiled.
"Your duty is fulfilled. The era of dreams is over."
The smile was promptly cut off along with both his arms--from twin slices from twin blades. Masa and Mune shook the red dust off and matched stances again.
"Doreen!" Alfador's arms caught her sister from behind and threw her into the void, away from the fight. Turning back, she barely dodged a stroke from the monster, who had healed himself and seemed to have barely youthened.
"Pay attention to US!" chorused the twins, attacking from opposite sides. To quiet them, the stranger caught Mune and smacked Masa away with him.
"Fall back!" yelled Alfador before disappearing into the void with Trigger in her arms.
Masa and Mune looked up from where they were piled like puppies, only just catching the red glint of eyes growing near. Mune raised his sword to block, but the eyes fell short.
Epoch, youngest but strongest, had caught an ankle. With a gigantic heave, the stranger joined the sky. By the time he recovered, the dreams were nowhere in sight.
Alfador turned on Magus, catching him by the collar.
"She's broken! We distracted him but--!"
He gave her one hard shake to knock the terror out of her eyes before it could infect him. He then let her go on at a slower pace.
"Someone... someone... someone's in Sleep! He... he attacked out of nowhere, he... he broke her easily, he... we distracted! We distracted him but.... Doreen's not a fighter but... he broke her." She whispered the last words at him, horrified. "He must be a dream, no one brought him into sleep, and... and..."
"But he can't be..." Her voice was soft as a light breeze and her train of thought was just as fickle. "He can't... he used .... he used his powers, we can't... do... we can't, not in Sleep!"
Her voice had reached panic again, and he started dragging her towards the others, eyebrows firmly knit, his mind methodically going over all he knew about dreams.
So far as he know, only the Kingdom of Zeal had ever created dreams. They were simply what they were named: dreams made flesh. The rare dream stone could be crafted to a shape and infused with a person's power and their intent, were both strong enough. The rock would then fulfill its duty depending on how strong the skill, power and intent of its creator were.
The only ones who had ever managed it were the royalty and the gurus of Zeal. Even then, Melchior had to make his dream in two parts, resting in between, in order to get the job done.
Now that Zeal had fallen, the method of creating dreams should have fallen as well.
But if it had not--the only person with the power to fix a broken dream was its original creator. Of the dream's five creators, two were still alive.
Magus hastily explained things to the group while Alfador clung to Schala, disappearing headlong into the her long, blue hair. He had not quite finished when he was interrupted by the tell-tale shattering of time which heralded Epoch's appearance. The ship cast a dark shadow over them, and begun to land despite the lack of room--but mid-way it disappeared. Their eyes, blinking into the sudden light, caught on a young man with golden hair and angel's wings, instead.
"Nee-chan!" The figure folded his wings and bolted straight for Marle, snatching the pendant from her. The group stared at him, jolted out of their silence by Alfador's voice.
"Everyone, human forms!"
That was all it took. The group was used to oddness, the unbelievable, the spirit world, even. But their cherished objects jumping from their hands and into human form--that was a bit much for anyone. Alfador took a moment to name everyone--Doreen, Masa, Mune, Trigger and Epoch.
"He's still there," Alfador said, her voice cold. "He's still in Sleep. He can find any of us at any moment, there'd be nothing we could do."
"We should fight him!" said Masa, now whole and an adult with green hair.
"We were made to fight!" added Mune, his twin but in blue.
"You barely survived the last time," Alfador said.
"We can risk Masa and Mune," said Magus. "Melchior's still alive to fix them. The same is true of the Chrono Trigger--"
"Trigger-kun's useless. He's already been shattered to nothing by Crono's revival." Alfador picked up the infant Trigger, swathing him in his long hair.
"My being brought back... did that to him?" Crono stared at the child, who was gurgling, untouched.
"When we are broken, we take the power of the largest piece... he was shattered into such tiny pieces... but he's alive, because you all believe in him."
One figure stood alone, identifiable at a glance by the skin tone she had adopted, a dark one from another world. She looked up for the first time. She was a young teenager now, irreparable because of Queen Zeal's death.
"He said the era of dreams was over." Doreen's appearance, although youthful, was that of a wingless butterfly. "...no need for dreams in the world anymore."
"What?!" Epoch's wings mantled. "He wants to get rid of us all?"
"Wouldn't he go after us then?" Magus' strict, deep voice for once had a calming, rather than a frightening effect. "The only way you can be destroyed is by destroying us, isn't it?"
Marle started. "Why--why would anyone--?!"
Alfador smiled softly. "You all believe in us..."
"We can't remove ourselves from Sleep entirely... eventually he'll find us." said Doreen. "We have to attack first."
"That's our job!" said Masa.
Mune nodded rapidly.
"....I should probably go too," said Epoch. "I'm not a fighter, but I should be pretty strong."
"Hold on a moment!" Crono stepped forward. "Aren't you forgetting something? We battled Lavos, whoever this guy is, we can take him!"
The dreams looked at him sadly for a moment.
"Humans don't have any power in Sleep." said Doreen.
"Unless he decides to come out here and attack you, there's nothing you can do." Alfador was bent, her hair, tied up though it was, managing to obscure her face. "We can't even use our special abilities in Sleep, so we have to hope that we have more pure power than this guy..."
"...why..." Alfador was barely heard. "...why would a dream want to rid the world of dreams? Who could've made him... who would've... why?"
"If this is his entire purpose, his ability may be to use his dream abilities in Sleep."
Alfador raised her head to Magus, eyes wide.
"We're going to take care of this, Alfador." Magus' eyes were cold. "We'll find the creator and put a stop to this right now."
Alfador brushed her hair away, eyes glistening with what couldn't possibly be tears. Dreams didn't cry. She wiped them away nonetheless, smiling. "Janasu-sama..."
The world silenced, then screeched to a halt as they processed that.
"Ack! Janasu-sama, I'm so sorry," Alfador was on her knees, bowing rapidly to the ground. "I didn't mean to! I just forgot, it's your name and-- and-- I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I swear, I just didn't--"
"Get up, Alfador." He sighed heavily. "It's not your fault. Just a matter of time, in any case."
"So that's why..." Schala smiled softly. She had not been smiling a moment ago, but Alfador's antics covered that. Schala was inclined to wonder if that were purposeful, but she let it go. "I'm glad you're safe, Janus. But... we have to take care of our kingdom's children now."
Magus and the dreams raised an eyebrow at that. The dreams owed their loyalty to their creators--not vice versa. But Schala was just the sort of person to see everything topsy-turvy.
Fortunately, the world's saviors were just the sort of people who would agree.
His crimson mohawk and its trailing tail swayed left and right as he trudged. It was not a tired trudge, a trudge through swamp or sticky ground. It was the mechanized trudge of a toy robot, slow but exact. His footsteps beat out the time; he had all the time he could possibly need. His bared hands tightened around the axe already shimmering with red dust. His loose pants coiled and uncoiled to his motions. His uncovered muscles relaxed and contracted as if they were real.
There was an S carved in sharp angles on his belt. He was still smiling.
Notes: The song is "One Week" by Bare Naked Ladies. "Nee-chan" is a familiar way of saying older sister. If you're finding the dreams' powers at all confusing, this would be a good time to read "In Sleep." My apologies for the lack of the original cast in this chapter, but 'twas necessary. If you like, leave me a line?
Chrono Trigger Fanfic