Chrono Continuum Chapter 51
"Why do I have to help watch him," Hotwire whined.
"Because," Corea replied, "everyone else is busy. Ayla, Frog, and Glenn are out foraging for food, Robo's getting altered by Lucca, Gedd's working on... something, Mom, Gaspar, and Melchior are recovering, and who knows what Dalton and Thanatos keep discussing with eachother. It's just you and me, girl."
"Yeah, but we could be helping. I mean, you'd be a great help to the hunters, and I could work on fixing up Epoch."
"But Lucca already told us that would be useless. Epoch's systems are protected against invasion, and we don't have whatever password's necessary to get in. We can only hope that this guy will." She looked down at the sleeping form of the wizard. It had been two weeks since he'd appeared at the Beginning of Time. He'd been unconscious ever since. Corea herself had only gotten a quick look at the man before he had left to go after her brother, but he looked different even to her. And according to everyone who had known him personally, she was right.
His eyes, when they had finally healed, were revealed to no longer have red irises, but violet instead. Lucca had remarked that they looked like his eyes during childhood. Also, his ears weren't nearly as pointed as they had been. And, ever so slowly, his color had changed from chalky white to flesh-like tones. No one was sure what could have happened to him to rid him of these unnatural characteristics, but Corea was glad. After all, it was creepy enough hanging out in an old abandoned cabin in a place called the "cursed woods". It would be even creepier if they were guarding a vampire-like thing.
Corea had personally voted that they stay in the Prehistoric Time, as they'd have an entire village to defend them, and there would be no demons wandering around. But, she was voted down, because they all knew that the Kingdom could travel even there, and it would be a simple matter to find them there, and no one was willing to risk the lives of the villagers.
In this time, however, the Kingdom wouldn't know where to start looking for them, if they were even in this era. And no one wanted to stay in the Beginning of Time for too long. The golden light got really grating after a while.
At first, Corea had been glad that she could see her mom again, and Gaspar and Melchior, but it soon became apparent that they were exhausted. Time traveling took a lot out of you. So did war. So, they were in the other room, recovering. Her mom had the most real injuries, but Melchior and Gaspar were much older, and weren't in any condition to be waging war, no matter how much they denied it.
She sighed inwardly as she thought of her dad, and her brother. What happened to them? She wished she knew. If they were dead, so she could take revenge. If they lived, so she could rescue them. And that was why she volunteered to watch Magus at all times. So she could learn the truth.
She looked down at him. The damage they'd found him with couldn't have been delivered in the four hours they'd been separated, and if he'd had it when he came, he wouldn't have joined the battle. Or would he? From all accounts, she had gathered that he was rather insane. He ran forward towards whatever he wanted with inhuman determination, and inhuman power.
At one point, he had apparently been a warlord. Corea remembered hearing tales of the war four-hundred years before her time. Led by the powerful Magus. None of the legends had led her to believe he was human... although he didn't look it most of the time, anyway. She also remembered the strange glances her mother and father would give eachother during these tales, sometimes smiling. She now recognized those glances as fond remembrances, or painful ones.
Magus suddenly let out a scream, at the top of his lungs. The two girls put their hands on their ears and looked at eachother. What did this signify? A nightmare? Was he dying? Or was he waking up?
The scream gradually died, and the wizard went into convulsions. He began to shout out things, some of them words. "Aagh... No!... You... uunngghh... Bastard!... Murderers!... Eeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggghhhhhhh," he shouted, seemingly in agony.
At this point, Corea and Hotwire were holding him down. Hotwire pressed a button on her right wrist.
"Lucca," she shouted. "Dalton! Somebody, get here now! Something's seriously wrong with Magus!"
As soon as his name was mentioned, he was still. Then, he sat straight up, and looked around. He was in a cold sweat, and was breathing quickly. His eyes didn't seem to focus.
Corea and Hotwire looked at eachother. He'd apparently awoken. But he didn't seem to be all there.
Corea decided to try to get his attention. She snapped her fingers in his face a few times. He didn't react at all. So, she decided to try something different.
She slapped him. He didn't react in any visible way. So she tried speech. "Magus," she called, but he didn't react. "Magus, this is Corea." Nothing. "Can you hear me, Magus? I'm Corea, Crono's-"
He immediately turned to her. "Crono," he asked, "is it you? Did you escape?" His expression changed, and tears started to come from his eyes. "I... I..."
To the two girls' surprise, he suddenly leaned forward and wrapped his arms around Corea's waist, and put the side of his head against her belly. "Uh... Magus?"
He paid no attention to her, and continued to talk. "Oh, Crono, I'm so sorry. I had to leave you behind. You understand, don't you? After what they did to us all those years, I would have taken you with me if I could, but it was a once in a lifetime chance... But you escaped. How...? No, it doesn't matter, as long as you're all right. Is Magus with you? No, he wouldn't be, would he? He couldn't take it... But you did, right Crono? You withstood it, you can take anything, you're the strongest one among us, I..."
Without letting go of Corea, he suddenly looked up at her face. "Wait. Who are you? You're not Crono..."
He abruptly pushed her away, with such force that her back slammed into the wall on that side of the room, and knocked the breath out of her. She fell to the ground, trying to get air. Magus threw aside his bedcovers, unintentionally throwing them on Hotwire. Anger filled his expression. "Liar," he screamed at the incapacitated Corea, "Impostor! You make your hair look like his, and you think you can fool me? I'm not so easily taken in! And I won't be captured again!"
He raised his hand in the air, and a fireball formed above it. As he concentrated, the ball grew bigger and bigger, until Corea was quite sure it was big enough to blow out the entire wall.
Magus yelled out in surprise as he was hit from behind, throwing him forward, onto the ground. He rolled over, and looked at his attacker. There stood Hotwire, the tip of her spear smoking.
For a moment, he gritted his teeth in anger, and then, in an awed voice, he whispered, "Christina?"
Hotwire faltered for a moment, but then she aimed the spear at him again, asking "How do you know my name, and why are you attacking us, Magus?"
Magus blinked. He looked around, and saw Corea. He looked at her for a moment, and then turned back to Hotwire. "Magus? I'm not the Magus."
Hotwire raised both eyebrows in honest surprise. "Well, in that case, who are you?"
Magus, or whoever he was, wrinkled his eyebrows. "Do you not recognize me? How long has it been since you last saw me?"
Hotwire studied him intently for a moment, and then she gasped. For now, he only wore pants, and his hair was too long, but she did, indeed, recognize him. "Janus," she hissed, through gritted teeth.
The man smiled, and nodded.
Once again, Hotwire aimed the spear. And she pulled the hidden trigger.
"I once lived there, but I was a different person then..."
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