Space, Time, and Death Chapter 7
"The inmates are ghosts whose dreams have been murdered."
The morning was soft and tinged with a mood best known by Trigger. There was a tendency towards wistful smiles, towards quieted voices, towards giving up.
Alfador sat on the window ledge, in kitty form, tail curling back and forth as a reminder that she was not a statue. They all felt like failures, she knew. Humans were so transparent. She could see the past and present, but never the minds and hearts of those around her. But who needed to?
All of them blaming themselves. I am the leader, I should have thought... We barely made up! I have failed my tribe. I have failed my Queen. I have failed the others, I am stuck here, they are so sad and there is nothing I can do.
I will be destroyed. No one hurts me-- Or my family! Something is lost... Why so sad?
...I never should have let them.
If she could read that stranger, see beyond his red eyes...
But perhaps that was the problem. Humans were more than flesh, Dreams more than Dream Stone...perhaps this stranger lacked the more. Who could argue with a rock?
Someone scritched around the ruff of her neck, and she absently reminded herself not to use her powers to find out who. She could tell from the ki that it was Glenn--or the smell, or even by turning her head, if she wanted to be all mortal about it.
"Miaau." He'd remembered to take the gloves off, this time.
"'Tis so strange, Lady Alfador..." Glenn shook his head, green locks trailing. "I had ne'er thought of Masa and Mune whilst they were a sword. Now that they once again speak, as well as thy kin, now while Trigger and Epoch coo and murmur as children..." He softened. "I am saddened."
He picked her up, smiling into the fuzz and whiskers. "I said it before, had I not? Thou act remarkably like a cat. And the infants..."
"One can forget they be not human. That... that 'tis true of thou all."
Alfador nuzzled into Glenn's neck and began rumbling.
He chuckled just a moment. "It makes me anxious! Robo we all accept as our own, though I know not of his construction. Should I worry for thy lives, thy souls?"
"If you prick us, we do not bleed," Doreen peeked over Glenn's shoulder, startling him. "If you tickle us, we do not laugh. If you poison us, we do not die. But if you wrong us, we shall get our revenge."
"Doreen, thou art frightening me." Glenn sweatdropped.
"How are we supposed to get our revenge, nee-sama?" Glenn jumped again as the form in his arms was replaced with an elbow leaning on his shoulder.
"Joint assault! Hit him where it hurts! Go for the jugular! Castrate with extreme prejudice!"
"That's not gonna help."
"But it'll make me feeeel better."
Glenn was slowly backing away. Alfador turned abruptly to him.
"I've figured out what memories are, Glenn-sama! I remember my littlest brother complaining that we called him "Wot," I remember Trigger-kun always begging me not to lead you to him, I remember," She thumbed at her sister, "That Doreen has a range of three octaves, I remember when Janasu-sama was a bastard only in the literal sense, I remember having to argue the point of my existence from the moment of my creation and I remember--"
She trailed off.
"...I remember losing that argument." She muttered.
Glenn watched her quietly for a moment. The dreams could not be read by their expressions for their thoughts. They were more foreign than the reaches of time.
"It's no wonder," She finally continued. "Queen Zeal... Janasu-sama takes after her. The way Schala-sama takes after the Ousama. Janasu-sama and I have..."
She shook her head, long violet eartails trailing.
"We've got personalities that don't work together. Janasu-sama and Queen Zeal. Both of them demand respect, and I'm... well..." She gave a grin, honest and sparked by a true memory. Her eyes lit upon Glenn. "Do you know what my first words to him were? 'Come, little Janus, let's see if you can fly!' and then I threw him off of Zeal."
"Schala-sama thought I was joking... 'Oh, she wouldn--AIEEEEEEEEEEEE! JANUS!!'"
Glenn looked like he didn't know whether to be amused or to blame Magus' sadistic nature on this. His shoulders were shaking, though.
Magus was a lot less amused, from where he observed. Was that it? He had a hard time remembering exactly what had happened in the short weeks--week?--that Alfador had been his tutor. She had made her impression on him, yes. He had learned to fly, when all of those palace idiots said he was magic-less. He floated everywhere for that week. Then Queen Zeal had lost her patience with Alfador's obvious knowledge and her predictions--as well as the Dream's shapely figure, carved by her own husband--and Schala had to lock Alfador within a speechless form, for her own safety.
After that, Janus stopped floating and refused to give any more sign of his inherent, profound magic. The rumors started again. The Queen was incensed, but impotent; her son humiliated her and her throne smelled constantly of cat piss.
Magus at least found a bit of humor in that last bit.
"You should know better than to eavesdrop." A soft voice at his pointed ear.
He turned quickly, but not enough to catch the attention of the sisters and the hapless Glenn, who was again caught in the middle of something. His moment of reminiscence had allowed the quiet figure to stroll right up to him.
"Didn't I teach you better?" She shook her head in a soft, maternal way.
Magus did not know how to respond. He could not act as Janus, he could not act as the Prophet, and ... the Magus had no kin, did he?
Schala stepped forward, to stand beside him. "She really frightened me when she did that." Her lips twitched into small grins and chuckles as poor Glenn was abused. "But when you flew... floated, really... I think I was even more thrilled than you were."
She looked up into his eyes, and Magus found himself averting his gaze. Oh, hell. Even Janus was not this damnedably stupid.
"Janus..." It gave Magus a jolt, hearing his real name, properly pronounced for once, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"What was there to tell?" His cold, coffin voice replied before he could even think.
"That you were my brother." She turned bodily to him. "That the person I care most about in the world was--is alive!"
He had no reply to that. Schala shook her head at him a moment before enveloping him in her arms. It was difficult; he was thick.
Magus stood upright at a pole, trying not to tense or reject his sister, but completely unable to relax. Even if he wanted to get all mushy, he did not know how; besides, he had this idea that Alfador would interrupt the moment with some loud and inappropriate remark.
Schala eventually withdrew, looking into and through Magus' eyes as if for something or someone.
Her lips barely moved. "Janus, what happened to you?"
He took a little breath, fangs showing for just an instant. But how to explain--?
Schala gave him a sad look. "Those eyes and ears aren't even the least bit attractive."
Magus bit his tongue. Schala was laughing at him, with big sister impunity.
"You've been hanging around Alfador too much." He accused. But really, he was thinking... Schala took after her father, yes. And Alfador was also his creation, and perhaps did as well.
As Schala dragged him back towards the common room, he thought he'd have liked to meet King Zeal. To get to know him, understand him, and perhaps strangle him. Yes, strangling would be nice.
These thoughts disappeared, however, upon finding the common room two Dreams short.
The identical bodies bounded across Sleep as if gravity were just a suggestion. Their swords were drawn and flickered like stars in the void.
"How are we 'sposed to find him, Masa?"
"I don't know, but we'd better hurry up. If our sisters find out--"
"They'll flip." Mune made a face. "I'd rather face the mystery prize."
Mune halted. Masa overshot him just barely.
Mune turned, putting them back to back. Glancing around at the void, he grinned.
"HEYYYYY BUDDY! What's with that haircut of yours?!"
Masa gave heaven a glance. Now their sisters would definitely find them. Oh well. He threw back his caution, and also his head.
"The mohawk look was over aeons ago!"
"What's wrong, couldn't afford a shirt?"
"You have B.O!"
"You fight like a girl!" Masa shot him a wild glance. "A... a less threatening girl than our sisters..." He finished lamely.
"Is that so?"
Their swords swiveled for the voice before their heads did. The mystery dream was much younger now, looking about sixteen and a lot less threatening, the muscles born of fighting for one's life thinned to muscles born of play and homework avoidance. The twins felt no hope in this, though; if it were they, halved so many times, they would already be infants.
"I think this look is timeless," he said, leaning against an axe now bigger than his torso. "And I don't have B.O."
"Yeah-huh, you smell like copper!"
"Naw, Masa, copper smells good. Cobalt, say cobalt!"
"Well, this makes things simpler," The young man lifted the axe above his head without effort. "Once I've finished you, it should be easy to reduce the others to Trigger's state."
The twin's eyes narrowed. It was one thing to cut them down to pieces--Trigger was just a single shining piece of dust.
"You going down." said Masa.
"The sword has spoken." Mune grinned. The twins separated and picked their stances. Masa pulled his sword down to one hip, the blade cross length in front of him, a defensive stance. Mune held his between hips, blade in front of him, an offensive stance. The twins shared a glance, then switched stances in a finger snap. Masa attacked.
The stranger brought his axe up sideways to block. It was so wide as to be an effective shield, and as Masa rebounded off it, the axe came down to split him while he tried to dance away. It caught his shirt and split his belt, but the scar was immediately repaired, and the stranger, bent over him, was halved again from behind by Mune. Masa darted forward--now fourths. In an odd dance, the twins hacked around their subject, a frenzy of activity from each of them that never managed to hit his opposite, hacking on the other side. It was quickly over with, the axe reformed and catching one, a fist catching another. They were both thrown through the air, again, without regards for physics.
They withdrew to opposite sides again as they healed. The figure in the center looked thirteen or twelve. Shorter now, he looked ridiculous hefting an adult's axe, but he hefted it with no more trouble than before. The twins narrowed their eyes. He should be a lot younger by now. They were very much at the disadvantage so far as youth; like any sword, they had to be balanced, and he need break only one of them to break them both.
They both took a step back on one foot, sword in front of them, in identical offensive stances at the exact same time. The stranger was starting to chuckle, his spiked hair bouncing up and down.
"You think this is funny?" said Masa.
"You crashed our baby brother!"
"You broke our annoying sister!"
"She doesn't even sing anymore!"
"--And we'd thank you for that,"
"--but you're still going to hell!"
They attacked from opposite sides at the same time, but the axe was up, ready, spinning. It caught them both, taking first Masa's face, then Mune's head. They never landed, this time; a hand caught them each and shoved them back to back, axe disregarded for now, the crimson gashes of their faces searching. The instant of their confusion was the instant the axe fell upon them like upright logs to be split. Skull to pelvis through their blind bodies, against their faceless screams, the axe came down.
The sword, untouched by anything, was cut down its center line, through hilt and blade--
The twins fell over, their left sides shimmering into dust. The axe was coming down again, but never did. The stranger's eyes widened only slightly as he brought his arms down fully to see they'd been severed at the wrist. Doreen darted in front of him, pulling the two boys away, but he ignored them, head jolting to the side, searching out his attacker. There was only the momentary flash of a half-moon sickle and all his targets were gone.
"Know it all..." His red eyes fixed on the direction of the attack, and he moved forward, prowling. "You're next."
Half the blade of the Masamune disappeared, replaced by a young boy with blue hair, familiar to all those present.
Half the hilt followed immediately after, leaving a sobbing green-haired lad in its wake.
The sisters appeared and split up, one going to each. They picked up their dear little brothers, and whacked them both upside the head.
AN: Pricking, tickling and poisoning courtesy of Shakespeare. Ousama means "the Lord King," aka King Zeal. Observations that went into this chapter/my version of Masa and Mune:
When Crono uses the dagger, Masa and Mune both speak. Both spirits are innate to the object from the beginning, and it has nothing to do with them being broken.
Daggers are more balanced in terms of mass than swords; meaning you could have roughly half the mass in the hilt, half in the blade. Blades are not made at the same time as hilts.
Mune likes to slash things. (Wind slash! Whoosh!)
Although the Masamune's blade is broken and not the hilt, both Masa and Mune become children..
I apologize profusely for Masa and Mune's speech. I can't help it, they want to talk that way. At least they didn't say "mundo" or "man" again.
Chrono Trigger Fanfic