Chrono Continuum Chapter 52
Trusting the Traitor
Author's note: Before you read this chapter, you might want to read one of Nanaki's fanfics, as I make a reference to a term used therein. Don't worry, he gave me permission.
Janus rolled to the side, just in time to keep from being blasted by the blast from Hotwire's spear. The floor where he had been a moment ago was now but a crater. "What are you doing," he shouted.
"Trying to kill you," Hotwire replied coldly.
When she fired again, Janus was ready, and had his hands up. The ensuing bolt of electricity simply bounced off the invisible shield formed at his hands. "Stop it! I'm not your enemy!"
"Really," Hotwire asked, "I could have sworn you were the guy that destroyed my home city, and led the army of demons to charge straight at my friends." She aimed again.
"No," he pleaded, "stop. You don't understand. You're right. I did try to capture the boy, and I led the army, but things have changed. I know things that you need to know. And... I've realized where my true loyalty should belong." He sighed when she relaxed her aim. "I've actually known for a long time, that what I was doing, and whom I was serving, were wrong, but I refused to accept it. I was fooling myself. The Kingdom is intrinsically evil. It's not my place, or anyone else's, to decide the fate of the world."
Hotwire seemed to consider this for a moment. "Very touching speech," she told him. Then she aimed her spear at him again. "But I don't really care."
"Hotwire," Corea yelled, having regained her breath. "Stop. We don't know what's happened. Maybe he's telling the truth. Maybe he's changed sides. I haven't met him before, but he seems sincere to me."
Janus could do nothing but look up at her hopefully, while Hotwire decided. Finally, she lowered the spear. "Alright, explain yourself. But this had better be good."
He smiled thankfully. "Thank you. I suppose your distrust is warranted." He stood up, slowly, and made his way back over to the bed, and sat on the edge. Hotwire walked over to help Corea up, and they faced him, keeping a safe distance away from him.
At that moment, the door burst open. Glenn, Frog, and Ayla ran in, prepared for any kind of trouble. Needless to say, they were surprised to find the wizard sitting quietly on the bed with his head bowed.
"What wrong," Ayla asked the girls.
"It's over, sort of," Corea answered. "This guy isn't who we thought he was."
At this point the man on the bed looked up at the three intruders. Glenn immediately recognized him, and stepped into a fighting stance, drawing his sword. "Janus," he announced.
In a moment, Frog recognized him as well, and got into a fighting stance, his sword already drawn. "Prepare to defend thyself, Villain!"
"No, it's all right," Corea told them. "It's okay. I think. Apparently, there's more to this story than we know. He seems to only want to talk. Except for a period of temporary insanity..."
Frog glanced at him suspiciously. "Methinks his words have none but falsehoods in them."
"My dear knight," Janus began, tiredly, "you have every right to suspect me, but you must listen to me. Please, I beseech you. Hear me out. I have things to tell you."
Slowly, Frog sheathed his sword, and so did Glenn. Ayla glanced between the two of them, and shrugged.
Janus sighed. "Thank you, dear sirs."
"If what thou must say is truly of import," Glenn told him, "then speak thy peace now, 'lest mine patience wear thin."
Janus nodded. "I agree. But, perhaps you should bring all of your allies here as well. This story might concern some of them, especially the Queen Nadia, or Marle, as Crono called her."
"What do you know about my father," Corea asked, interested.
"I'll call them," Hotwire volunteered. She pressed a button on her wrist, and announced, "Everyone, listen up. The emergency's over, but something else has come up. The man we've been watching for weeks isn't the Magus. He is Janus, one of the highest ranking in the Kingdom, and he claims that he has something to tell all of us. He also claims he has news about the King's fate, so I think that those of you recovering should also come." She cut off the transmission, and waited.
They waited a few moments. Suddenly, a tearing noise was heard. A gate appeared inside the room. Out stepped Lucca, Gedd, and Robo. Most of the people already there were surprised to see how different Robo looked. He was shorter, more like his original form. But the shoulder cannon was still there, as were the rocket boosters. Lucca and Gedd were both dirty with oil.
Lucca smiled at everyone's surprised expressions as the gate closed. "Cool, huh? I made a new Gate Key, and rigged it up at the Beginning of Time, so that we can make a gate to any place, anytime. Of course, it can still only hold three people at a time, but it means that we can take everybody with us, by opening a few successive gates." She tossed a device to everyone in the room but Janus. "Strap it on your wrist. I'll tell you how to operate them later.
Now she turned to Janus, who was looking up at her with a raised eyebrow. "Well, everyone, what's he doing here?"
"You know, Lucca" Janus spoke up, "it's impolite to talk about someone in the third person when they're around."
Lucca glared at him. "You be quiet. You're lucky we don't kill you right here and now." She paused. "And how do you know my name?"
He had no response for that. He stayed quiet. Everyone did, until they heard a knock at the door. Glenn opened it, and the rest of the Travelers walked in. None of them looked happy to see him. When Marle entered, it was apparent that she wanted to know what information Janus had about Crono, whether he was an enemy or not.
However, they soon discovered that the small bedroom wouldn't hold all of them. Janus saw this, and remarked, "Perhaps we should take this outside."
Everyone agreed, and they filed back out of the room, into the living room of the cabin. After they'd found the cabin, Thanatos had left, and returned with enough chairs for everyone, plus one extra... Just enough for all of the Travelers, and Janus. Did he know, Lucca wondered to herself.
Janus situated himself in a chair, and waited for everyone to do the same. When they had, he tried to smile, but it came off nervously. It was obvious that he didn't like the fact that all of these people wouldn't hesitate to kill him if they saw one wrong move. But he began anyway, "I know that you all have good reason to suspect, and even hate me." He turned to Marle. "After all, I led the army that charged your son, your husband, and the Magus." He turned to Lucca. "I tried to kill you, Frog, and his counterpart." He turned to Hotwire. "I destroyed the only home you had ever known."
He looked off into space. "But I'll show you all that I'm trustworthy. Marle, I'll tell you what I know about the fate of your husband. What I destroyed, Christina, I'll shall make up a hundredfold. And instead of causing your doom, Lucca, I'll put everything I have into aiding you and your companions. And if you don't like what I have to say, then kill me. Will you postpone your judgement of me, until I've told you my story?"
Everyone looked to Lucca. In the absence of Crono and Rakin, and with Marle in such a rough state, Lucca had become the makeshift leader. She thought for a moment. "Tell us your story, wizard."
Janus nodded. "Very well then. The first thing you must know is the Almighty One's name, because his title is quite undeserved. His name is Valiod."
Lucca froze. "...What did you say?"
Janus raised an eyebrow. "Valiod. Does this name have some significance to you?"
Lucca nodded. "In a way. The name itself I've never heard before. But that's because it's not a name. It's an anagram, a spelling puzzle. If you switch the "L" and the "V", and the "O" and the "I", you get..."
"...Lavoid," Marle finished for her.
"Doesn't this just beat all?"
- Rei, Breath of Fire 3
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