Chrono Continuum Chapter 53
"So, what is a 'Lavoid'," Hotwire asked.
"The ultimate evil," Frog replied. "A thing more vile than any human, even the Magus."
"In technical terms," Lucca announced, "It's a parasite. As far as we've been able to tell, it feeds directly on the energy the planet gives off. It lives forever, as far as we've been able to tell, so it can take a very small amount of the power at one time, which would eventually build up into enough power to destroy the planet itself, or worse."
"Also," Robo cut in, "While it feeds off the planet, it evolves. It's evolution depends, in great part, on the evolution of the planet's population. For instance, it gave off magical power, which the Mystics learned how to control, until they eventually became a magical species in and of themselves, capable of using magic without drawing from Lavos. Watching this evolution probably resulted in making Lavos, the Lavoid that infested out planet, more powerful, magically. The main goal, most likely, is to evolve into an ultimate being, resulting in better offspring, which, in turn, may even become greater than their parent. These better offspring could more easily take over planets, possibly achieving things like domination, instead of destruction."
"Any way you slice it, however," Marle continued his speech, "They have absolutely no respect for the inhabitants of the planet they inhabit, and have no qualms about destroting the entire planet, if the residents are deemed a threat."
"Well, that doesn't sound so bad, as long as the Lavoid isn't threatened," Gedd reasoned.
Ayla shook her head. "Not true. When make babies, kill people anyway, so people can't hurt babies."
"Indeed," Robo agreed. "According to the planet's timeline, before we set out to stop Lavos, 1:24 A.M., December 24th, in the year 1999 AD, Lavos released a rain of fiery destruction upon the world, devastating every inhabited area over the planet."
"So what does that say about Valiod," Corea asked. "Does this mean he's a Lavoid?"
"I doubt it," Gaspar answered her, "We would have known, had a Lavoid landed on our planet. And the fact that the Kingdom predates the Day of Lavos suggests that Valiod can't be an offspring of Lavos. Unlike the Black Omen, Lavos didn't exist in all periods at once. And even the Black Omen wasn't completely one with time. If you destroyed it in the future, it would be there in the past, but still carrying the damage it held in the future before it was destroyed."
"Not necessarily," Janus spoke up. Everyone turned to him. "You see, the Kingdom isn't... normal."
"You could say that again," muttered Melchior.
"He's right," announced Dalton. "The Kingdom doesn't move through time like it should."
"Yes," Janus continued, "The Kingdom moves outside of time, like Time Travelers. But, moreso." He hesitated for a moment. "I've never had to explain this to another. I grew up there,so I was raised with people who knew all about it. One of the Hellbound, Terala, found me in the Middle Ages as a child. She recognized me, from when she'd lived in Zeal.
"But I digress. Back to the subject of the Kingdom. Now, first off, what you see when you look at the Kingdom isn't really a grand place. What you see is a shell, and a gateway. From any time period, you can enter the Kingdom. Now, say someone in the year 1020 AD and the year 2025 AD entered the Kingdom at the same time. They would meet eachother. This is because the Kingdom, the true Kingdom, exists throughout time, all at once.
"So, if you entered the Kingdom, you could see me as a child, or you could see me as an adult, depending on what you expect, or want to see when you enter. Of course, once you enter, time passes normally. Once you entered, you'd age normally. You get used to the idea eventually, and learn to train your mind to take you to your relative position in time. If you don't learn, then you could appear randomly in the history of the Kingdom, with no control over when you get there.
"However, it works in reverse as well. If you walk out of the Kingdom, you could come into the year 64,999,998 BC, 11,998 BC, 602 AD, or any time period that you'd want to. Of course, you'd have to be careful."
At this point, Glenn interrupted, "So, thou'rt not immortal?"
Janus shook his head slightly. "Actually, most of us are. Valiod has the ability to stop the aging process permanently, or start it back up. He can't speed it up, or simply slow it down, either. It's either on or off. Most of us choose to stop aging at the age of about 25. I chose not to. The cycle of life is something that shouldn't be tampered with. My wife didn't see the problem with immortality, however." Here, he sighed. "Sometimes, I miss her dearly." He looked up. "But, you've got to accept these things. She chose to stay with the Kingdom, even as they turned on me and imprisoned me."
Tears were in his eyes as he continued. "You have no idea what it was like. They did so many things, that I thought no human could stand to do to another human. Even Magus, cold, callous person that he was, had it in his heart to have pity on me when he saw what they were doing to me." He looked up. "And so he did me a favor, risking his life in the process. He escaped from his cell long enough to go to my wife. He tried to convince her to help me, but the Kingdom's hold was too powerful on her, and she tried to have him recaptured.
"So he ran. But on the way, he managed to take something with him." Here, he looked directly at Hotwire. "He took my younger daughter, still an infant at the time. I never did find out what happened to her, but Magus was recaptured a while later."
Hotwire felt a shiver run up her spine. "When you got to the End of Time, you said that I was your daughter. Did you mean that?"
Janus smiled. "I apologize. It's just that you look so much like my other daughter."
But Hotwire wouldn't let it go at that. "Did your younger daughter have a locket? One with a hologram in it?"
Janus raised an eyebrow. "I don't know about a hologram, but Valiod gave my wife a locket as a gift when the baby was born. We decided to give it to the baby. Why do you ask?"
"One last question. Was there anything different about how Magus was dressed when he was recaptured?"
Janus looked down in thought for a while. He looked up and snapped his fingers. "Yes, actually. His cape was missing. Why?"
"Because," Hotwire replied in a scared whisper, "I think I'm your daughter."
"Well, well, well... Look who's back," Valiod noted aloud. He smiled. She'd returned. He knew she'd succeeded. Nonetheless, he asked her, "Did you succeed?"
Parsa nodded. She held her hands behind her back as a symbol of servitude. "Yes, my lord."
" 'My lord'? Why so formal all of a sudden," Valiod asked, curious.
She hesitated to answer, her eyes glancing down at the ashes on the floor before his throne.
His eyes followed her gaze. "Oh, that? Well, the man angered me."
She raised an eyebrow, and took a step closer. "How so?"
Valiod gestured, and one of his other bodies stepped up from the shadows of the hall. Like a machine, the body walked over to the pile of ashes, sweeped it up, and walked away. "He notified me that he'd lost one of our prisoners."
She took another step. "Prisoners? Since when do we have prisoners?"
"Ah, yes, that's right. You wouldn't know, would you? You went comatose as soon as you returned from your mission. You're lucky you escaped from the enemy camp when you did, you know. I had no way of knowing where you were, so you were quite close to being obliterated by a horde of demons. That's when we captured our prisoners."
"Really? You captured the Travelers?"
"Not all of them. We captured Janus' counterpart, the leader of the original Heroes, and the boy."
Her eyebrows opened in surprise. "Really? That's very impressive. Those three are probably the strongest of the group. So, which one escaped?"
"None of them."
"So, who escaped?"
"Janus? Why was he one of your prisoners?"
"That's not important. What is important is how your mission went," he prompted.
She hesitated, glancing away from him. "Well... ummm... I did succeed..."
"So, you are now the mother of the boy's children," he asked. As if he didn't already know.
She stared down at the ground. "Well, actually... No." She waited for him to respond. He didn't. So she continued, "Well, I couldn't get him to... accept me. But, I managed to get to his father. Please, master, I beg your forgiveness." She looked up at him, and was surprised to see that he didn't look angry at all.
"I see. So you got the next best thing, eh?" He stroked his chin. "But you still failed. Come here. It's time to recieve your punishment."
"My punishment?" Her lip trembled attractively. She could see that look in his eyes again.
He licked his lips. "Yes, your punishment. It will be relatively painless for you if you come up here now, but if you hesitate, it'll be much less pleasant."
She nodded, and started walking closer, her head bowed, her hands still held behind her back. He knew that she liked it, to some extent, but only to that extent. The threat of very rough treatment was enough to set her straight.
Finally, she'd reached him. When he gestured, she sat down on his lap, and wrapped her arms around his neck. He grabbed her by her hair, and pulled her face into his, giving her a long, rough kiss. She could taste blood in her mouth. Her lip had split from the force of his teeth against them. His other arm wrapped around her waist, and pulled her closer.
Suddenly, his eyes opened wide. His hand released her hair, and his other arm fell limp. His face fell away from hers. Blood seeped from the side of his mouth. But it wasn't hers. It was his.
She slid off his lap, expressionless. Reaching up with her sleeve, she wiped her mouth, cleaning it of her blood, and his. She watched, with satisfaction, as his eyes rolled up into the back of his head. He slumped forward. Her dagger was embedded to the hilt in the base of his neck.
She smiled, and smoothed down her dress. "So, sorry, 'master'. It looks like you were the one to recieve the punishment. You made a mistake ever exposing me to your power. Now, I will be the mother of the universe's greatest beings. And not only that, I shall rule this world, until my children spread out. They will give me the universe, and I shall lay waste to it. And thanks to your power, I'll be able to enjoy it for eternity."
She raised her arms into the air. Her clothing suddenly caught aflame, and burned to ashes. A circle of light appeared above her, and began to lower. As it passed over her body, it changed the color of her hair to light blue, and left regal clothing above the skin that it passed. Once it reached the floor, she was fully clothed, in a dress fitting for her new station.
She began to laugh. "Introducing the new and improved Zeal," she announced. Her laughter carried throughout the hallways as she walked away, passing Valiod's other bodies, now devoid of life. She blew away a few of the dead bodies, reveling in her power.
The throne room was left in silence. Someone stepped out of the shadows. "Oh, my dear Parsa. It's too bad. But, what did I expect from a call girl, as Crono put it." The person began to chuckle. "You actually believed that you killed my true body. Foolish girl. The idea that I would waste my true greatness on a slave girl. But you'll get what's coming to you. And it will last a long time. You'll beg to die when I'm done. And then I'll grant you that request, because you were so very good in bed. But until then, I suppose I'll just stay in the background, and see how well you do. I, and my last extra body."
He turned to another form, waiting silently. "Come. We have much to prepare for. Maybe if you cooperate, I'll let you have your mind back for a few minutes, just to watch what I'll do to all your friends."
And they faded into the shadows.
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared
to what lies within us."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
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