Chrono Continuum Chapter 10
The King's Chase
I seriously need a bath, Lucca thought to herself. She was dirty and tired. Of course, she wasn't sleepy. The great genius inventor never gets sleepy. She yawned heavily. Yeah, right. And Melchior here is a chimp. Actually, he probably smelled better than she did, although she would never admit it. She'd been tortured, betrayed, nearly beaten to death, nearly blasted to death, killed others, and had nearly died several more times, just for good measure it seemed. All Melchior had done was lose an arm. Lucca knew that the line of reasoning she was along wasn't very logical, but Hell, I've been through enough, haven't I? I can be illogical if I want to, dammit. She was tempted to slap the back of Gaspar's head to stop his snoring, but he needed his sleep as well. He'd gone through nearly as much as Lucca.
She turned her attention back toward the scanner. Lucca and Glenn were finishing up, with him asking questions of her. There would probably be more in the morning. But, at least they were going to sleep soon. That meant more work for Lucca, Melchior, and Gaspar, but at least she would get some rest. She pondered Gaspar's ever-increasing snores. I hope I don't snore. That sound could kill some sensitive animals. Finally, Glenn and Lucca finished up. They went to separate bed rooms, (Obviously. This was Glenn) and Lucca fell asleep almost instantly. Lucky me, or her, or... whatever, the much more exhausted Lucca thought.
Glenn fell asleep soon after. It was good to see him again, even if she wasn't with him. She wondered what would happen between Glenn and Lucca in this Timeline. She shrugged and stretched out as best she could in the small area afforded to her. She looked around and soon found that there was no space that she could sleep in. Gaspar took up the front seat, and she'd have to lie on Melchior's lap if she tried to lie down in the back. Why not? She slowly leaned to her side, until she was on his lap. She made sure to move away from his groin. She was sure she'd recieve comments and jokes about desperation from Melchior in the morning, but she was too tired to care. She very soon fell asleep.
Melchior's eyes slid open slightly. He looked down on the poor girl, or woman, to be more accurate. So young to have been through so much. It wasn't fair to her. Since when has life been fair? He continued to look on her peaceful form, and considered whether or not she, or at least her counterpart, would survive this ordeal. He whispered to himself, "What must be, must be, eh Gaspar?" He watched her breathe, and stir, as dreams began to enter her mind. And, for the first time in quite a while, everyone was at peace.
Corea awoke. And cursed. She felt like someone had kicked her awake. Her eyes didn't respond when she told them to open. She struggled to sit up, as her right arm seemed to be asleep. A low grumble was about the best she could do when it came to speech. A blinding light stabbed into her brain as she managed to half-open one eye. She quickly re-closed it. She usually liked to have sunlight on her face when she woke up, but this wasn't usually.
With monumental effort, she managed to sit up. She opened her eyes to end up staring right into someone else's. She yelped in surprise and brought her left hand around. A loud, resounding smack was heard as her fist came in contact with the unsuspecting person's face. The woman fell straight onto her back and looked up in surprise. Blood was trickling out of the side of her mouth. Corea's mouth moved, but she couldn't manage to get the apology out. She finally got up off of the cot she had been on, and went to kneel by the prostrate woman. She finally managed a weak, "Sorry." The woman in green cloth merely looked up at her. After a moment, she responded, "That good punch." She soon was struggling to get up, and Corea helped her up onto her own cot. The word "Sorry" kept pouring out of her mouth, until the beautiful woman, with the exception of the black eye, put a forefinger to her lip and spoke.
"It fine. Me get hurt worse. You no worry. You hurt worse than me." Corea sat down next to her, and couldn't argue with what she had said, even if she'd had a little trouble understanding her. She took a look at the black eye she had given the woman, and realized, Hey, that was a good punch. The woman stood up, finally, and told Corea, "Me Turga, village healer. This Ioka. Hunters find you outside, save you from Reptites. Bring you to me, me heal you. You sleep two days. Had big fight? Tonight, when better, you tell story. You rest now. Me get food." She smiled and walked to a cloth hanging on one wall. She moved the cloth aside, and snow came blowing in from the hole the cloth had covered. She walked out and let the cloth fall in place behind her. The snow that had blown in quickly melted. This led Corea the realization that she was cold, and there was a fireplace with a fire in one wall of the hut.
She quickly stood and walked over to it. She sat down in front of it to get closer, and was surprised to feel dirt on her backside. Surprised because, (1) this was a dirt floor, and (2) she was apparently naked if she could feel the dirt. She scanned the hut ( Hey, I'm in a hut!) and saw her clothes in a pile against the opposite wall. Well, they weren't really her clothes, but her counterpart's. Oh well. She put them on, but left the arnis sticks on the ground. She probably wouldn't need them for a while. She didn't know how she knew how to use them, but it could be knowledge gained from the time waves. Good to balance the bad. It didn't really matter, since she was glad to know how to use some kind of weapon. She walked back and sat in front of the fire, and let the warmth spread through her. Now she let her mind begin to wander.
What time is this? Obviously a much simpler one. And I wonder if Dad and the group ever came through. If so, someone might recognize their names. Her thoughts were interrupted as Turga came back into the hut, with what looked like a deer leg slung over each shoulder. She gave one to Corea, and they cooked them over the fire. It wasn't exactly gourmet cooking, but Corea was starved and ate every last scrap of meat on the bone.After they finished, Turga told her that she should go and rest on the cot. But Corea tried to strike up a conversation with her instead. Corea began, "So, have you ever heard of someone named Crono?" Turga looked slightly surprised at the question and replied, "Yes, all here know Crono. Two years since he came. He help us fight Reptites. Chief and him good friends. You no know Crono?" Corea was rather surprised as well. Two years? That can't be right. Well, maybe. Corea decided that the best way to find out would be to talk to the chief who had supposedly been a friend of his.
"Could I meet with the chief? I want to learn about Crono." Turga considered this.
"Me guess so. But you rest first. See chief tonight. Go sleep now." And that settled it. Corea didn't bother to undress. She got onto her cot, lied down, and slept. Turga went to fetch some snow to put on her eye.
Crono stopped a moment to rest. Things weren't going well. Not at all. Each time wave had brought worse and worse lives. Each one brought the Kingdom a little more power, and Guardia a little less. And this "Almighty One" was in every one. Obviously a descendant of the one who was altering time. In one Timestream he had been dead. In a recent one, he had never married Marle in the first place, and so wasn't king. That one had passed, luckily. This was the worst one yet, however. He had been sitting in his wife's room, looking at her thoughtfully, when another time wave struck.
The castle all about him warped, and he found himself right in the middle of a Kingdom camp. Guardia castle (if there was one) was apparently elsewhere. Crono wondered if he was ruler in this Timestream. He checked his clothes. They looked regal enough, even if they were torn. He'd run from the encampment, with Marle in his arms. He'd managed to reach the forest, but soldiers were combing it at that moment. He'd probably be caught. But he'd die before he let them have Marle. He'd die first.
The sound of a snapping branch alerted him. He placed Marle on his shoulder and drew his katana. He spun and sliced before the soldier could react. A thwip sound came through the air as he sliced the man's hand off. He was about to scream in pain, but Crono kicked him in the face. The soldier was knocked onto his back, out cold. Crono sheathed his sword and continued running, shifting Marle back into his arms. Hope he doesn't bleed to death. But Crono couldn't afford to worry about things like that at the moment. He had a comatose wife in his arms, several dozen soldiers (probably) on his case, and chances were that no one would be coming to help him. He briefly considered blasting a path through the forest with a blast of magic, but decided against it. For one thing, all the soldiers would probably figure out where he was. Although he might take out a few in the blast. Damn the luck.
A flash of blue between some trees told him that he was near the river at the south end of the forest. Forget what I just said. He ran that way, and burst through the brush. He landed on his feet several meters from the river. He looked left and right for the bridge across, and found it, off to his right. A few seconds of running and he was up and across the bridge. He looked back and saw some soldiers in pursuit. A second or two of concentration, and an explosion obliterated the bridge. The soldiers were thrown back. Crono smiled with satisfaction and turned his attention back to his course. He soon saw a path and ran onto it, making a sharp turn to follow it. It would most likely be where they searched for him, but it might be the only escape route. Besides, he could fight. He wasn't old yet. He stopped suddenly to avoid slamming his face into a carriage as it pulled up onto the path in front of him. The door was thrown wide open and a deep voice yelled, "Get in!"
Never one to argue, Crono jumped in. Crono reasoned, If it was an enemy carriage, soldiers would probably Have already jumped out. Or maybe he was just tired. Once he jumped in, he saw a man standing in the carriage. The curtains were pulled, so he couldn't see who it was. The man pulled up the top of one of the seats to reveal a hole big enough for two people. He told Crono, hurriedly, "Jump in, my lord. We've not much time" Crono didn't ask and jumped in, with Marle. The man closed the lid, and in a few moments the carriage began to move. It was a bumpy ride, but Crono didn't see fit to complain. After a few minutes, they stopped. Crono could hear voices outside, and the carriage door open. He could hear a woman's voice, "Sir, you'll need to step outside." The man who had hidden Crono replied, "Why, certainly, madame." The woman's voice returned, "Jorks, search the carriage." He could hear several people leave the carriage, and "Jorks" searching the carriage. It went on for several minutes, during which time, Crono was terrified that they would find him. He had to admit to himself that crammed in here, he wouldn't be able to put up much of a fight. When Crono was sure he couldn't stand it anymore, he heard a woman's voice say, "Come on, Jorks. He's not here. Sorry to bother you, sir."
"No trouble at all, my dear lady," was the reply from Crono's benefactor. Crono soon heard the carriage begin to move again. He waited for a sign to come out, as he was getting rather cramped, and a few minutes later the seat rose up. He heard the deep voice, "You can come out now, milord. It should be safe." Crono sat up, and after a little maneuvering and twisting, he managed to get himself and his wife up onto the seat, Marle's head on his lap. The man bent forward.
"What's wrong with Queen Nadia?" Crono looked up at him.
"Would you mind opening the curtains?" He left out the fact that he wanted light to see who this man was. The man nodded, "Yes, my lord." He reached over and pulled a string. The curtains slid open, revealing the man. A strong chin, with a very rough stubble. Long, brown, curly hair, reaching down to his shoulders. A golden cape, with somewhat regal clothing. And a black patch, covering one eye. Crono's eyes opened in surprise. He hadn't expected this! The man looked concerned.
"What is it, my lord?" Crono's mouth move up and down, until his name came forth, a name that Crono held below dirt, that he despised.
"Curiouser and curiouser..."
Alice, Alice in Wonderland
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