Chrono Continuum Chapter 27

The Sword's Test

By Cain

602 AD

Glenn dove behind a rock, and braced himself against the heat as said rock shielded from the fireball. He ran further into the entrance, dodging all sorts of attacks from Clairdena. One thunderbolt that he dodged ricocheted off the cave wall, caoming back for him. A hasty transparent shield formed in his palm, and he thrust it against the coming bolt. The lightning bounced off, and went up, through the roof of the cave, blasting a hole for the sun to shine through. Glenn wondered why it hadn't just bounced off the ceiling, but guessed that Clairdena had orchestrated the first bounce, but not planned for the second. She might rectify that in the future. Letting his shield dissolve, he ran at full speed to the stairway. He was there in no time, and halfway up, when he felt a constricting force around his throat.

He collapsed to his knees, and grasped at the force restricting his breathing. He turned, and saw the mage, Ma... Janus at the mouth of the cave, hand outcast. Even he, inexperienced with magic, could tell that he was the source of his situation. Clairdena looked back at him as if to say, I could have handled it. Janus canted his head toward Glenn. When Clairdena didn't react, he asked, annoyed, "Aren't you going to kill him?"

"Why don't you?" Janus frowned.

"It's beneath me, dear woman (and I use the term loosely). So, you do it while I hold him helpless." Clairdena muttered something in a foreign language. Both Glenn and Janus could tell that it was probably a curse. Turning to Glenn, Clairdena pointed at the ground before her. Crystals of ice formed at her feet, and began to form in a straight line towards Glenn, still kneeling. He felt a chill as the crystals reached his knees, and began to climb up his thighs... his waist... his stomach... chest... neck...


Same Time

Drissom stepped forward, grinning. He slowly, but obviously, pulled out his crossbow. To Lucca's disgust, he winked. She pulled out her gun as well, trying to ignore the sounds of combat in the cave. Drissom reached up and ran his hand through his hair, giving Lucca a good look at his face. Only now did she notice something in his eyes. Something that may or may not have been there last time, she didn't know. But she didn't like it. His expression conveyed want, and slight anger, without fear. But his eyes... his eyes showed something beyond merely human evil, evil that existed only in the confines of nightmares. Her eyebrows drew closer.

"What happened to you, Drissom? What the hell are you?" Drissom's smile widened. He chuckled.

"What an accurate expression." And he raised his crossbow and fired.

Lucca jumped to the side, and the bolt sailed out over the cliff, out of sight. Lucca pulled up her own gun, leveled it, and fired at Drissom's chest. It connected. Lucca didn't assume anything, however. She rushed forward, toward the smoke formed by the blast, bringing her gun up to fire again. She wasn't fast enough. Drissom leaped up and over her, smoke trailing his feet, as if they had rocket boosters on them. The glance Lucca caught of him revealed that his clothing was barely singed by the ball of energy that had slammed into him. In midair, he turned, and smoothly reloaded a bolt into his crossbow. He fired as he hit the ground.

Luckily for Lucca, his aim had been thrown by his landing, and she merely leaned slightly to the side to let the bolt pass by her. She was caught off guard, however, by the concussion behind her. She slammed face first into the ground five feet from her standing position. She heard a grunt of effort from Drissom, and quickly rolled onto her back, gun aimed. As soon as her weapon was fixed on the above feet of the Hellbound, she fired. Drissom had no way to dodge, being in midair. It looked as if his jump had suddenly ended as he collided feet first with the ball, and then it move through and around his legs, detonating at the thicker area of his waist. He hit the ground, his pants in tatters, wincing in pain. Lucca smiled. When your best friend was a guy, and a guy who liked to wrestle at that, you learned one or two things about soft spots. It didn't stop him for long, however. He soon recovered, took aim, and fired. Lucca ducked down, and felt the bolt whiz past her hair. She rose up, and took a running leap as Drissom aimed with his second bolt..

Don't hit at. Hit through.

That was one of many sage pieces of Crono's advice that Lucca, the scientist, knew she'd never use. She smiled. As she came down at Drissom, she took aim and fired. The crossbow was blown out of his hands. His arms were thrown back, and he was left wide open. Hit through. Lucca came down on his chest, shoe first, and Drissom cried out involuntarily as he was thrown back, down to the ground.

Lucca landed roughly, and trained her gun on the apparenly unconscious Drissom. Her heart beat heavily in her ears, and her own breathing seemed equivalent to a marching band. She stared at Drissom, aiming, in case he got up. Still. Still. Still. Lucca lowered her gun. Her breathing slowed slightly. She turned to the cave prepared to go in and help Glenn, but a voice stopped her.

"You know, that kick gave me a great view up your skirt." She dove forward instinctively, and felt something swish by her. It thunked into a nearby tree. She landed in a roll, and brought her gun to bear on the jerk.


Same Time

Frog waited patiently as the man, Ledune, stepped forward. He watched as the man slowly and silently drew his plain sword out of its scabbard, and stabbed it into the ground. He was apparently unconcerned about dulling the blade. Ledune sank down to one knee, lowered his head, and reached out his arm. He stuck his finger in the soft dirt, and began to move it, drawing a line. At the line's termination, he made a connecting line. Patiently, he made three more, chanting in a low tone. When he stopped, he placed his handprint below the symbol, pulled his sword out of the earth, and stood. Frog looked at the symbol. It was five lines, intersecting to make a five-pointed star with a five-sided figure on the inside. One point faced Ledune, and that point touched the tip of Ledune's handprint. Using his sword, Ledune cut his finger, and poured the trickling blood over the lines in the star, ending by placing his hand again in the palm print, leaving a bloody stain in one finger's area, and possibly infecting the cut, altuogh that didn't seem to concern him. He rose, grim as ever. Frog stared down at the symbol, and looked back up to his opponent.

"What is that symbol?" The man's expression didn't change, and Frog could barely discern the movement of his lips as hs spoke in a quiet, gravelly voice.

"A Pentagram." Frog waited for him to elaborate. He didn't.

"And what, pretell, is't used for?" The man smiled.

"Sacrifice." He raised his blade. "Prayer." He stepped into a fighting stance. "Victory," he whispered harshly. And then Frog found himself on the ground, scrambling to raise back up. He jumped to the side as Ledune jumped forward, blade flashing in the fading sunlight.

Strange, thought Frog, I didn't notice that the sun was setting 'til now. As Ledune dashed again, Frog jumped up in the air, over his head. As he landed, a burning pain in his side notified him that he was hurt, although he didn't remember it happening. Ledune was that fast. In fact... Frog landed obviously opposite the cave wall, counting on Ledune to see him. As the wiry man turned, Frog cast out a jet of water, harmless, but fast. Frog wanted to see if this man was fast enough to dodge it. Frog lost him. His mouth opened in surprise. One moment he had been standing prone to the jet of water, and the next he was out of sight. It wasn't teleportation. Frog would have recognized that. This was simply speed. Mind-blowing speed.

Instinctively, he jumped to the side, evading a slash too fast to follow. Ledune spoed off out of sight, and Frog turned to him, but not before seeing a stalagmite getting sheared off by the slash with the man's small sword. For the first time since he'd fought Lavos, he wondered if he even stood a chance. And then Ledune made the fatal mistake. He tripped over a root, rolled, stood, and began to run again. But Frog knew what to do now.


Same Time

"No more playing around." Clairdena grinned viciously, and the ice rose up and began to engulf Glenn's head. As the cold increased, the magical hold on his throat decreased. He sould have smiled, had his mouth not been frozen. He hadn't been able to fight the magical hold. But he could fight cold. He concentrated, and an envelope of water appeared between his skin and the ice. The water pushed out against the ice, and cracked it in several places. But Clairdena sealed them back up, the power of her spell holding the ice, and consequently his body, in place. Spell. Body. He had a plan.

He reached out of the ice, not with his body, but with his mind. With his magic. He couldn't see things or feel hot or cold, but knew magic. He could see two forces, two essences, apart from his own. One stronger than the other, but not being used. He knew which was Clairdena. The Masamune beckoned from the other direction, but he concentrated on the woman, and the line of magic leading from her to him. He went inside her, through her mind. In his purely magical search, anything in her mind unrelated to magic was unseen, including memories, emotions, everything except that with which she used her magic. It was a simple matter afterwards to cut the flow. To seal up that part of her mind, and stop her control of the spell. He put a shield, impenetrable from the inside, around her magic, and forced her out of her own spell.

Holding that shield in place, he pushed out with his water bubble, and the ice cracked. He was back in his body, freezing, and running out of air. And he pushed. He pushed wit all the magical strength he could muster while holding Clairdena back, and the ice exploded outwards, into shards that flew all around the cave. The first thing he saw was the surprised expression of Clairdena, but he didn't stop to see Janus' expression. He turned to jump up to the platform, and saw the sword, buried almost to the hilt. He grabbed it, and with a yell, pulled as hard as he could. He could feel Janus' magical fingers creeping around his throat again, but ignored them. The sword came up, inch by inch. The fingers tightened and tightened, and he coud hear Clairdena running up the stairs. With a *shink*, the sword came free. Janus' grip disappeared. Glenn turned to Clairdena as Masa and Mune agreed to express their displeasure with her and her blue-haired wizard.


Same Time

Drissom charged fiercely, and punched Lucca in the stomach. She doubled over in pain, and he quickly pulled out his whip, coiling it about her neck. She reached out to pull it away, but it was too tight, and... choking... her world began to fade... A thump surprised them both, and loosened Drissom's grip, although he still had her at his mercy. Standing at mouth of the cave, the flash that occurred next half-blinded them. Lucca's glasses protected her somewhat, however, and it was a good thing, too. Taking advantage of Drissom's surprised state, she punched him in the stomach. He let go of the whip, and she jumped away from the cave. Just in time.

Drissom's vision cleared just in time to witness as the cave flooded with brilliant white energy. He screamed as the cave blasted the energy out like a cannon, and blew him out over the cliff, and further. Lucca soon glimpsed two other forms flying out of the cave in a similar manner. She hoped one of those wasn't Glenn. When she looked over to Glenn, she could see him getting kicked in the stomach, and fly five feet to land on his back at the edge of the cliff. Ledune backed up, but saw that he wasn't going to get up. He ran forward incredibly fast to deliver the killing blow. Lucca screamed.


Same Time

He heard her shout out, "Frog," as the man ran toward him. Frog made sure to look completely unconscious until the last moment. It wasn't long. He hastily raised a bubble around himself, hopefully too clear for Ledune to see. As he watched, the blur that was Ledune ran forward, and hauled back for a kick. His foot swung forward, but didn't stop as it hit the bubble. Instead, it kept moving forward, and Ledune followed, right over the cliff that Frog was on the edge of. He turned as he fell, and bellowed in rage, until he dropped out of sight into the mists of the water fall.

Using his Masamune as a cane, Frog rose and walked over to Lucca. The girl was still as tough as ever. They stood by the entrance to the cave, and both turned to see Glenn walking out, clothes soaked, Masamune in hand. Lucca smiled. So did Glenn. Lucca slapped Frog on the back. He collapsed. Glenn and Lucca both gasped, and Lucca knelt to check on him.

She turned him over, unonscious. He was cut in many places, and his blood was flowing freely.

"Lucca," Glenn began. She glanced at him in acknowledgement. "Is his blood usually purple?" She looked at Frog and saw that his blood was indeed purple. She looked to him.

"No, it's red. But I do know what would make someone look as if they were bleeding purple." Glenn's eyes opened.

"No..." Lucca nodded.



"War is hell."
- Anonymous


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