Chrono Continuum Chapter 19
Gaspar sat upright, gasping for air. He blinked a few times, and looked around. It was very bright. At least compared to his normal life at the End of Time. A few moments later, he recognized the area as the basement of Melchior's house. He'd decided to look directly in here during the reforging of the Masamune. Still, light came down from the stairway on the other side of the room. He shifted uncomfortably. Looked down. He had been sleeping on a cot. It wasn't as soft as his bed. As the rest of the End of Time, he had fashioned it out of magic, but tied a spell to it, so it would appear when he began to get sleepy. He shook his head. He didn't have time for such introspection. Time itself could very well be doomed. A voice interrupted this thought.
"Well, well. Look who's finally awake. Took you long enough." Gaspar looked to see Melchior walking down the stairs. As he gestured, a small tray of food appeared in his hands, which he carried over to the cot. The tray was set down on the table a few feet away from said cot. Melchior walked over to Gaspar, smiling, glad to see his old friend alive and awake. He knelt before the cot. He noticed that Gaspar wasn't smiling, and chalked it up to whatever ordeal his old friend had survived. He finally spoke, "Gaspar. It's good to see you. And better to see you awake. Tell me, what has happened to you in the years since Zeal fell. It's obvious by your age that you didn't just come from there. Tell me, Gaspar, tell me." Gaspar looked up at the man, short and fat and sturdy, in stark contrast to Gaspar's thin, frail frame. They'd both aged differently.
Melchior had spent his years living, earning the title of the Guru of Life, and forging swords. Gaspar had sent his learning eveything, his body simply remaining, the only noticeable change his age. He sighed. Come to think of it, he didn't know everything. He'd thought he had, but it was apparent now that he didn't. A good example was the fact that he was here. And that he could be causing a paradox even as he thought it. He decided that no matter what he was doing, things couldn't get worse. Therefore, he could tell Melchior everything, or at least everything important. He had already seen that he wasn't supposed to have left the End of Time in the first place, and yet he had. He almost wished he had died, so he could avoid the paradox he was sure was coming. He wondered if it would be painful for time to rip apart, and how long it would take for it to take effect. He couldn't do any more damage, so telling Melchior important info. couldn't compound the situation.
Melchior was starting to wonder if Gaspar was deaf. He was taking so long to answer. But he was relieved to hear Gaspar speak, in a surprisingly soft voice, as compared to the man he once knew. "Melchior, do you remember my theories that there was an End to time itself? Well as soon as we were separated, many of my theories were proven. Of course no one but Spekkio was there to hear them..."
Crono was bored again. As he often was during these things. Of course most of the requests and problems were now more serious, as they were in war, but some were still petty things that Crono was sure could be fixed without a few thousand gold pieces. With Dalton's help, he had skillfully avoided questions as to the condition of the queen. Actually, he'd done a lot of things with Dalton's help. Dalton was constantly at his side, giving tidbits of information that the king should know, but didn't. He sighed as he listened to another report. The aide warned him that it involved a magic-using human. Crono straightened up. This was about the kingdom. He didn't know why the aide hadn't just said that.
In Medina square, a bright flash alerted everyone to a falling object. It was human. A cone of energy formed around the man, and he hit the ground hard. He still bounced out over the cliff, but was saved. Melchior had been called to idenitify him, and had succeeded, although he hadn't said who the man was. The report had been given that day, and as of then, the man had been comatose. Crono interrupted, and asked for a description of the man. The aide was a lot like Hwozwarshlkin, and didn't appreciate the interjection, but answered the request regardless. Old. Wrinkled. Grey hair. Brown derby was found at the scene, as was a cane. Man was wearing a long trenchcoat. Crono didn't wait a moment longer. He grabbed Dalton's arm, and his sword sheath off the arm of the throne, a habit new to his subjects, and jumped off the throne, draggind Dalton with him. He ran right past everyone waiting to be heard, yelling apologies, and kept on going until he reached the drawbridge. He ordered for it to be lowered, giving Dalton time to straighten up and ask what the hell was going on.
Crono turned to him, excited. "Dalton, can we safely get to Medina?"
"I suppose so... we could get there pretty quickly if we used the bridge." Crono glanced to the drawbridge. It was halfway down.
"Bridge? There's an inter-continental bridge? Huh. Well, we'll take that, then. Hey, where is the Kingdom?"
"It's on the continent adjacent to Giant's Claw island." The drawbridge stopped, all the way down. Crono and Dalton ran out, signaled for a carriage. It came, they jumped in, and Dalton gave the directions. It began to move, and Dalton remembered something. "My lord, why are we going there? Is it because of this man? Is he foe, or friend, or does he have vital information?"
Crono smiled. "He has all the vital information. It's the Guru of Time, Gaspar." Dalton gasped.
"Man. He was old when I Zeal was around. He'd have to be the oldest Everlasting on earth." Crono chuckled.
"My friend, he's seen more in his life than you or I will ever see. And we're going to get him to share a little of it with us."
Melchior sat on a chair, riveted to the sound of Gaspar's voice. As he had gone on, it had become clear to him that the story would be going on for a long time. He had gotten a chair. Gaspar's food sat untouched. He listened intently as Gaspar described life at the End of Time, seeing everyone's life unfold, end, and become legacy, meeting the Timestream Travelers, (Now Melchior could remember meeting them in Zeal.) and what had been happening to him recently. He told Melchior, "What I saw is very different from what is going on now. I had seen that this would be a relatively short adventure, resulting in the death of no one. It was Lavos, killing key people in history to destroy those who would destroy him in the future, as he would know, quite probably. Of course the heroes were immune, and sent Rakin, Corea, and Lucca to stop it. After some small adventure, they solved the problem by building barriers around the villages in the Dark Ages, our time, before Lavos could kill them.
"But what's happening now is different. The End of Time has somehow been destroyed, or at least the area we lived in. I'm certain that the End of Time still exists. I've been thrown here, and I'm guessing that everyone else has either landed in this era, or in different eras. And I have no way to get there. What bothers me most, however, is the possibility of a paradox. I saw the events to happen, but they don't exist. But if they don't exist, I couldn't have seen them. But I did see them. So this can't technically be happening. And yet it is. So, somehow, time will unravel and destroy itself, and us in the process. So we're all doomed." He finished that simply. Melchior was stunned. He stuttered for a moment, and managed, "But wouldn't it have already happened? And from what you've told me, you all changed time, and none of you were affected. So, you don't know what's to happen. But there's no paradox. Time wouldn't have been made in the first place if it was destined to unravel. Predestination does not exist."
"Ah, but it does. The Timestream didn't unravel twenty of your years ago, because I saw what would happen. I saw that they would alter time before they came to me to do so. And that's why it happened. If I hadn't seen it beforehand, it wouldn't have happened. The statement of my most recent theorem. 'An event that is witnessed must happen.' That's a simplified version, but it's the essence of it. We're doomed. I just hope that we can prevent needless suffering before no one is around to care anymore." He turned, surprised at a sound from the stairway. Clapping.
Melchior turned as well to see a man in regal clothing descending his stairs. If Melchior's sword hadn't been enough to show his identity, his spikey red hair proved it. Crono smiled. "Not the most pleasant forecast, but I think we can change it. Hello, Gaspar." Melchior stood, and walked over to Crono, shaking his hand as soon as they were close enough to do so. Crono was disappointed to see that Gaspar didn't even bother getting up. Didn't nod. Didn't even blink. He seemed not to care. He was about to say that he agreed with the last line of Gaspar's speech, when Melchior yelled, and jumped back, looking up at the staircase. Gaspar, however, simply blinked as Dalton came down the stairs, glancing around. Dalton gasped in surprise.
"The Guru of Time, and the Guru of Life? Whoah." Melchior reached for his sword, but Crono raised his hand.
"No, Melchior, it's alright. Dalton's okay. He's my advisor in this timeline." Melchior looked surprised, and unbelieving, and then sighed, apparently accepting the possibility that Dalton may not be the same son-of-a-Golem that he used to be. Crono moved aside, allowing Dalton to step in the room. He moved his hand out for Melchior to shake. The Guru looked down, seeming to consider it, and then reached out and shook the hand. Dalton went to do the same with Gaspar, but that Guru simply looked up at him past his hand, and asked, "Weren't you supposed to be in Hell?" Dalton looked surprised, and decided to take his hand back, nodding.
Crono walked forward, and began, "Gaspar, it's been so long for me. Although probably not so long for you. I heard quite a bit of your speech, and I'm disappointed at your predictions. But, as I said, I hope that we can change them. Since we're not all obliterated, I tend to think that that para-whatever won't happen. And I think that since you survived, the others might have as well. Therefore, I'm asking you and Melchior to come back to my castle, so you can be of help if any of us regain access to the Timestream. Come on, we need you, both of you. What do you say?" Melchior nodded, and Crono looked to Gaspar. The Guru was staring off into nothing. They all glanced at eachother nervously. Finally, he spoke, his voice cracking.
"For once... this is the... only time in as far back as I can remember," a tear slipped down his cheek, "that I have had to actually make a choice without knowing which is right." He broke down, sobbing. Melchior reached down to him, worried, but stopped at Gaspar's voice, whose hands were now covering his face.
"One of you will have to help me off this cot. I'm weak." Dalton reached out and lifted him by the elbow. He led Gaspar to the stairs and up, and Melchior followed. Crono stood alone, looking around the room, if it qualified as such, being mostly dirt. He could see vague forms, four of them. Two moving back and forth.
Lucca... work on this... Dreamstone.
Harder... I thought.
Whatever the... leave it... me.
The forms faded, and Crono sighed. "Man. I really hope he's wrong." And he turned and moved to the stairs.
Only time will see how it all ends.
Balthasar, in his book in Zeal
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