Chrono Continuum Chapter 2
Lucca burst through the huge double doors with all the tact of a bear. Rakin was surprised. He and Corea had to push together to open just one. Lucca apparently had strengths beyond those of the mind. Boy, does she, Rakin thought, eyeing her movements from behind as she walked on, not seeming to notice the guard who had been hit by one the swinging doors.
Corea slapped the back of his head, and when he looked to her for an explanation, her amused smile told him she knew exactly what he had been admiring, and thinking about. He kept a tight rein on his cheeks and refused to let any trace of a blush show. He looked back to the front as he smoothed back the blond hair that had been pushed askew by his little brunette sisters' hand.
Lucca pushed through the doors to the throne room the same way, and almost tripped over the short, fat figure of...
What!? That's not Hozark.\ Indeed, it was actually a blonde woman with Hozark's size and not so impressive build. A parchment that looked identical to the one Hozark had been reading from was clutched tightly in her hands, and she turned with absolute fury to the figure who had intruded on her report.
Lucca merely pushed her aside, said, "Sorry, Shorty," and walked right up the two steps to the king's throne. She stood right in front of the red-maned monarch, leaned towards him and put her hands on the armrests, and said to his face, "Crono, we need to talk."
Rakin's father fumbled for a moment, and finally leaned to the side so he could see the fat woman. "Ah, Hoza, Wooza, ah..."
"Hwozwarshlkina, your majesty," replied the woman, annoyed. Rakin and Corea glanced at each other at the familiarity of that name.
"Ah, yeah, we'll need to discuss these things later."
"But, your majesty," the woman began to protest, but Lucca was already shoving her out the doors. After the woman was out, Lucca closed the doors, and muttered, "His female alternate is, if anything, more annoying than the original." Once again, the two teens glanced at each other, wondering what she was talking about.
Their father stood up from his throne, and walked down the steps. "Lucca, it's great to see you. Still working on that time-displacement thing," he asked her.
"Crono," she began, walking up to him. "We have a problem."
Their father took on a more serious look."What's up, Lucca," he asked the very question that the two teens, now being largely ignored, had been wanting answered for a while now.
"Magus would have said that the Black Wind was howling, or something equally spooky. Crono, we have a problem."
"You already said that. What's up," he yelled, apparently somewhat disturbed by the allusion to "Magus," whoever he was.
"Yeah," Corea piped up, walking toward the two adults.
Rakin followed and finished her question, "Why is there a... What'd you call it? Oh yeah... a Red Omen out there, and what is it?"
At the mention of the Red Omen, his father paled visibly, and Rakin almost thought he saw the unruly red hair droop. This reaction stunned the two siblings, who had always known their father was fearless. Their father looked to Lucca, and asked, "Is this true?"
"Uh huh," she responded, "And that's not all. Didn't you notice the Time Wave?"
"There was a Time Wave," he asked.
Corea, surprised at his lack of knowledge, was the one to respond. "Yeah, Dad, didn't you feel that force pass through you? And your clothes have changed, just like ours." Rakin looked and saw that his sister was right.
Their father looked down at himself and asked, "Are you sure? I think I'm wearing the same thing I put on this morning."
"Dad," interjected Rakin. "Don't you think it a little odd that Hozark turned into a woman in the ten minutes we were gone."
"Are you sure, son? Everything seems fine to me, Dori... Uh, Rakin. Or is it Dorin?" The two teens shared another glance.
Why doesn't he remember any of this, Rakin thought to himself.
"Crono," Lucca reentered the conversation, " You've been altered by the wave." He was just about to respond when Lucca slapped him hard enough to knock him back on into the chair.
He instantly jumped up and looked her right in the eye. He looked really angry, until his expression changed to puzzlement, and he asked, "Since when, Lucca, do your glasses have pink frames?"
She jumped forward and hugged his neck until he nearly fell over, and then she dropped back and told him, "Boy, am I glad you're all right. You gave me quite a scare."
He rubbed the cheek she had hit, and replied, "I don't know whether to thank you, or to go fetch my sword."
"Dad," Corea began. "What just happened?"
"Long story. But first we need to check on your mom. In her state, she could have lost immunity to the wave." He turned, and walked toward the right stairwell behind the thrones. He beckoned for them to follow, his purple cape billowing out behind him. Rakin had always wondered why it did that without any wind.
As they walked up the stairs he and his sister talked about what they thought was going on. Neither of them had any idea, but they hoped their mother, the queen, was okay.
They finally reached their mother's room, but their mother was nowhere to be seen. Their father walked over to the side of the bed, kneeled down, and whispered, "No."
Lucca gasped, and Crono looked as if he was about to cry, when Corea interrupted.
"Ah, guys." They all turned toward her. She was standing in the doorway, looking to her left at the words engraved on the opened door, and she asked, "Since when does Mom sleep in the Chancellor's quarters?"
Lucca began to laugh, and Crono soon followed, but Rakin and Corea were just wondering what the Chancellor's quarters were doing on the opposite side of the castle. Crono soon stood, after his and Lucca's mirth subsided, and led the way to the Chancellor's former quarters, where the King and Queen's quarters now were.
Upon entering, they saw the queen lying on the main bed, where she had been since she became sick. Lucca immediately went to work. She halfway unzipped her own shirt, to everyone's surprise, and Rakin's interest, and pulled out several devices, two of which were pink, inducing an annoyed expression from Lucca.
So that's where she keeps the tools that don't fit in her tool belt, Rakin mused.
She promptly rezipped her shirt, looked oddly at the pink instruments for a moment, and began attaching things to the unconscious queen's head and chest. Rakin wondered at the anxious look on his father's face. What was going on?
Finally, she replaced all her instruments back in her shirt, save one on the queen's head, and turned to the three royalty. She looked at Crono, specifically.
"Well," Lucca announced, "She'll be okay, as long as that instrument stays powered."
"How long will that be," Crono asked, desperately.
"If we leave it as it is, two days. But if someone gives it a small jolt of electricity now and then..." Lucca finished, apparently making a suggestion which the king solemnly nodded to.
"Well, in that case, Lucca, it appears you'll have to go alone to fix whatever glitch in history."
"Hope I can handle it."
Corea yelled out, "We'll help."
Rakin didn't know what they were volunteering for, but he nodded confidently. "Yeah, we could help out if you need us. Of course you'll still have to tell us what's going on first, but..." He left it open-ended.
Lucca looked to his dad and spoke his name. After a moment, the king nodded his permission, and Lucca jumped straight up with a fist in the air and let out a whoop. "Kids," she yelled excitedly, sticking her fists on her hips as she smiled. "Welcome to the most exclusive group in the world!"
They both smiled confusedly, still without any idea what they were volunteering for. Corea found herself wondering if it would be dangerous, the mission they were undertaking. Rakin found himself hoping Lucca would jump up like that again. (It would be dangerous, much to their future terror, and she did jump again, much to Rakin's present delight.)
"Clean your weapons and wax the Epoch, we're outta here!"
"Okay," Rakin began, after they had all found seats and were sitting in a circle. "Start from the beginning."
Lucca looked at Crono and said, "I wonder which beginning?" Crono merely smiled and shrugged, and Lucca sighed. "Thanks for the help. Now then, where to start. Ah, yes. Your father, mother, and I are time travelers."
Both teens looked at each other, looked at Lucca, and asked, "Huh?"
Lucca leaned forward, affording Rakin a limited view into her shirt. Lucca didn't notice his smile. "Okay, about twenty years back, when most of us here were seventeen-"
"You're thirty-seven?!" interrupted Rakin, shocked. "You look so...uh, young."
"Yet another advantage of being a genius. Made a device that slows down the aging process by one-fourth. I wear it as I sleep. Anyway, I made this teleportation machine. Yes, Corea, I know you've seen it. There was a fair going on, and your dad met your mom there. They came to my area, but an accident made a portal form and envelop your mom. Crono here went after her. It took him to the year six-hundred. This was the beginning of a long adventure throughout six eras.
"Anyway, what's going on is that someone is changing the past. This causes changes in the present. We, however, we aren't affected because we have been outside of the timestream so much that we've become mostly immune to changes within it. It appears you've inherited this immunity, although something like disease can get rid of it.
"Your dad was partially affected, and that's why I could bring him back. Your mom is in such a deep sleep that the changes made to her mind hadn't even started, so I could hold them off. We need to go back in time and find out who's causing the changes, and stop them. All clear, everyone?"
The expressions on the faces of the two teens could best be described as bewildered. She'd said the entire thing in twenty seconds.
Crono leaned toward Lucca and said, "Why don't you give them the Time River metaphor?"
Lucca sighed, and said, "Okay, imagine a river. It only goes one way. Now a fish gets out, and starts goes the direction opposite the river flow, until he gets back in at an earlier point. Now, that river is time, or the Timestream..."
Corea and Rakin gasped in awe as Crono pulled the tarp off of the strange machine in Lucca's basement. Lucca jumped in the front seat, and Rakin was disappointed to find that he couldn't sit next to her, only behind her, with Corea. Lucca pressed buttons seemingly at random, and the bird-like contraption whirred to life as the siblings climbed in.
"How do we get this thing out of here," Corea asked.
The thing raised up, and Lucca's roof opened a hole that shut soon after they were through. They looked out in awe as they saw their father run out of the house and look up at them.
"Wow," was just about all Rakin could think to say. Lucca looked back at him, her long pink hair covering half of the back of her seat.
"You ain't seen nothing yet."
Crono watched as his children and friend zoomed out of existence. He waited about five minutes. He squinted, and muttered, "She's probably gotten them into a life-threatening situation already."
"A small stone may make a ripple at first, but someday it will be a wave."
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