Chrono Continuum Chapter 62
Victory With Loss
Janus cried out in pain as Flite delivered a quick kick to his jaw, knocking him to the ground. Janus quickly recovered, and scrambled to his feet, searching for his staff. He soon spotted it, and ran over to retrieve it. But as soon as he placed his hand on it, a foot came down on his hand. Janus looked up to see Flite standing over him, grinning.
But Flite cried out in surprise as Frog slammed into him, shield first, throwing the surprised Hellbound into a nearby tree. Janus nodded his thanks to Frog, as Corea gave him a hand.
Once the battle had started, both sides had quickly split up. Being the most magically powerful, Frog, Corea, and Janus had taken Flite, while Glenn and Ayla, being the most physically powerful, took on Lilia.
Almost immediately, Flite recovered from the blow, and stood, suddenly dashing at full speed towards the three of them. About five feet away from them, he jumped upward. In midair, he spread his legs, and landed on Frog and Corea, slamming them into the ground with his feet. He immediately jumped off of them, and rammed his elbow into Janus' gut, followed by an uppercut to the wizards chin.
Janus fell to the ground, but on the way down, threw out his hands, up towards the Hellbound. A fireball formed at his fingertips, and flew towards Flite, exploding on contact. Flite was thrown back, but he flipped in midair, and landed lightly on his feet, only a few feet away. As soon as his feet made contact with the ground, he jumped forward, tackling Janus to the ground.
Like before, he straddled the wizard on the ground, but instead of punching him, Flite pulled out a dagger, and stabbed downward toward Janus' chest.
At the last moment, Janus' hands came up, grabbing the Hellbound's wrists. For a moment, it appeared to be a stalemate, but the blade soon began to lower, ever so slowly.
Janus considered casting another spell, but doubted he could spare the concentration to do so without allowing the blade to penetrate his chest. So, he held Flite's wrists as best he could. But it was obvious he was losing the battle.
Flite cried out in surprise as Corea's foot came up from behind him and slammed into the back of his skull, sending him rolling off of Janus.
Janus thanked the girl, and stood up, brushing off his pants, and picking up his staff.
Frog stepped up beside him. "I feareth we art outmatched, Janus. We hath not his speed, nor his strength."
Janus shook his head. "No, but we have two things he doesn't. Intelligence, and magic. He may be a Hellbound, but he's still just a thug. We have to fight smarter than him."
Flite stood up. "Is that the best you weaklings have," he taunted them.
Janus smiled. "No, it isn't," he replied, and raised his arms in the air. Corea and Frog did as well.
Magic power of their individual elements began to flow around them. Electricity flowed from spike to spike of Corea's hair, and down her body, into the ground. A mist engulfed Frog, making the air around him moist and cold.
Janus himself hesitated, before he did as well. A cold chill went up his spine as, for only the second time in his life, he let his Shadow magic flow through his body. Darkness permeated the air around him. He'd tried once before to use the Shadow magic, but it had been too cold, too dark, too evil for him to use. But now, whether he liked it or not, he had to use all the magic he had to survive, including Shadow. He only hoped it wouldn't warp him, physically or mentally, like the Magus.
Janus sneered, exactly like his counterpart would have. "Let's get this over with, Flite."
Glenn hit the ground hard, but he was still lucky to be alive. For most of the battle, the Masamune had absorbed the majority of the magic directed toward him, but the sword could only absorb so much at one time without being released. Already the sword was glowing brightly with its stored energy. Glenn knew that it wouldn't be able to hold much more, without being released somehow. If he could just get in one hit on Lilia, he might be able to discharge some of that energy. He was a bit worried that releasing too much at one time might be dangerous, but he didn't know if he'd have a choice.
Glenn hid behind a tree, trying to think. The fight had been taken into the forest, where Ayla and Glenn, both of whom knew forests well, might have the advantage.
As Ayla kept the sorceress occupied by dodging magical blasts of pink energy, Glenn concentrated, hoping to find some sort of magic on his part that might help in this battle. He was surprised to hear a feminine voice announce, I'm tired. I want to go home...
He looked to Lilia. Had that been her thought? His ability to hear others' thoughts and see auras had largely disappeared over the weeks, but that might be because he hadn't been using it. Maybe the ability had only been so rampant before because he had just gotten the magic, and didn't know how to control it. Now that he did know how, he'd also figured out how to focus it.
The fact that he'd heard Lilia's thoughts without meaning to probably meant that she had an undisciplined mind, and was incapable of any sort of major concentration. If she was, what sort of magic power would she have?
His thoughts were interrupted as he Ayla grabbed him by the waist, lifting him effortlessly onto her shoulder, and jumping out of the way as a magical explosion filled the area. Once Ayla dropped him, Glenn decided to pay more attention to the battle.
He and Ayla split up, going in opposite directions, as Lilia fired huge bolts of pink energy at them, seemingly without effort. Ayla dodged the bolts with ease, but Glenn was forced to block one with the Masamune. The force of the blast was still enough to knock him to the ground.
He sat up, sword in hand. At glancing at the sword, he saw that it was shining so bright that it hurt his eyes at such close range. He smiled as he got an idea.
Standing, Glenn raised the sword up into the air, and plunged it into the ground. The sword shined so brightly that Glenn had to cover his eyes and back away. On the other side of the sword, Lilia, and even Ayla, on the other side of the sorceress, were blinded. The light soon began to grow, not in intensity, but in area. The source of the light was no longer just the sword, but the area around the sword, including the ground it was imbedded in.
Cans't thou do this, Masamune, he silently asked the sword. He felt the sword respond, agreeing.
Concentrating, Glenn threw his hands out. A bubble formed at his hands, and a simple stream of water burst out of it, towards the sword. The stream disappeared inside the sword's light, and in a moment, a flood burst out on the other side, directed toward the sorceress.
Lilia quickly set up a magical shield, which blocked the deluge of water. Fortunately, this meant that while the water passed right around her, it also passed right around Ayla behind her. Using the oppurtunity, the cave-woman jumped forward, and tackled the sorceress at the waist, slamming her down onto her chest on the ground. The shield dissolved, and the water engulfed them both.
Seeing that Ayla was also caught up in the attack, Glenn ceased his stream of water, and the flood from the sword soon stopped. The Masamune's light died down, until there was none.
Glenn pulled the sword out of the ground, and ran over to help Ayla. When he got there, Ayla was lying on Lilia's back, still holding her in a death grip. Dropping the Masamune, Glenn knelt down, and pulled her off of the sorceress, onto her own back. He put two of his fingers on the vein in her neck, to check for a pulse. It was faint, but definitely there. He placed an ear near her mouth, to listen for breathing. There was none.
He felt for the pulse again. It was even weaker now. She couldn't breathe. She was dying.
"Help," Glenn yelled. He looked around. No one was around, but the unconscious, or dead, body of Lilia.
"Help," he cried out again, louder this time.
He heard the sound of rustling tree branches to one side, off in the dark. Out of instinct, he reached to his side and picked up the dropped Masamune, temporarily forgetting Ayla. His grip tightened on the hilt of the sword as the form stepped out into the open.
He sighed in relief, and called out, "Hotwire! Cometh, please!"
The girl saw him as well, and ran over, her boots squelching in the remnants of the flood. She stopped next to Glenn, seeing the unconscious Ayla, and some woman she didn't recognize. "What happened," she asked.
Glenn knelt down beside Ayla again, and Hotwire followed. He told her, "Ayla hath no air in her lungs. She hath nearly drowned. Dost thou know of a way to help her?"
Hotwire nodded curtly, and turned to Ayla. She put her ear over Ayla's heart, and heard a faint beat. She sat back up, and placed her hands on Ayla's sternum (that area at the bottom of your ribs) and pushed again and again, for about ten seconds.
After repeating this process for a few seconds, Hotwire leaned back as Ayla suddenly began to cough and sputter. She and Glenn helped Ayla onto her hands and knees, and Ayla coughed up quite a bit of water, mixed with a small amount of blood.
They helped Ayla to her feet. She managed, "Ayla... Okay..." before collapsing again, Glenn and Hotwire catching her. Together, with Ayla's arms around their shoulders, they made started walking back towards the cabin.
Lilia's body was left where it was. None of them were there when she began to cough, and took a breath.
Flite jumped to the side, just barely avoiding a thunderbolt as it struck the ground, creating a small crater. Perhaps it hadn't been such a good idea to take on all three of them at the same time.
He stopped as Janus suddenly appeared dropped down in front of him, almost glowing with dark energy. Flite was surprised to see that the wizard's eyes were now red, as opposed to their previously violet color.
Wordlessly, Janus raised a hand, and placed it against Flite's chest. Before the Hellbound could react, a wave of dark energy swept into him, throwing him away, like a child with a rag doll.
Flite stood, panting, and looked around. To his left was the girl, electricity flowing all around her, her hair almost straight up in the air. To his right was the frog, small geysers of water popping up in the ground around him. And in front of him was the wizard, dark energy flowing around him, begging to be released. So he did what any respectable Hellbound would do.
He ran away.
He looked back at the three surprised magic-users, snickering. He looked back to where he was running. I'm almost to the forest, he thought with satisfaction, knowing that they'd never catch him before he disappeared into the foliage. He'd seen Lilia and the other two go into the forest, so all he had to do was meet up with his sister there, and they'd live to fight another day.
But Flite ground to a halt, and dropped to the ground, ducking under a thin beam of light coming from the forest. He looked up to see the knight, the cave woman, and some girl who looked a lot like Schala walk out of the forest. The girl's hand was still smoking from the beam she had thrown. Flite looked around. The other three were closing in, and the three from the forest were blocking his escape.
Abruptly, he reached into a hidden jacket pocket, and pulled out a small metal orb. The knight and the frog both cried out, "No," apparently knowing what it was. It didn't matter. They weren't fast enough.
He threw the ball to the ground. The flash blinded everyone but him, and a bright white gate formed. He quickly jumped into it before they could do anything about it. But his plans were different than they might have thought.
Janus leaped at Flite, but was too slow. The man disappeared into the gate, and it soon closed after him. They'd almost had him. But they'd find him again, and when they did-
Janus spun around as he heard a scream from behind him. He was greeted by the sight of of Corea, being held by the neck by Flite from behind, a dagger poised at the girl's temple.
Flite smiled. "No one make a move, or this girl gets an unsightly hole in the side of her head. And I know you all wouldn't like that, would you?" He laughed, and gave Corea a quick kiss on the cheek. Corea tried to get away, but Flite's arm held her throat tightly. She began to turn blue.
"Let her go," a new voice called. Everyone turned to see Marle, Melchior, Gaspar, and Dalton run up to join the group. Marle continued, "If you don't, I'll personally gut you."
Flite just continued to smile. "Oh, I doubt that." He looked towards the forest, and yelled out, "Lilia! Come here!"
An explosion was heard deep in the forest. For a moment afterward, nothing happened. Then a bright ball of pink light flew overhead, until it was directly over Flite. It then faded away, revealing Lilia inside, her hair hanging limply from the water. She dropped down, and landed next to her brother.
Flite laughed. "Hey, Janus," he called out. "Do you remember what I said my mission was supposed to be?"
"You said that you mission was to capture us."
Flite nodded. "Mission accomplished."
"No," Marle cried out.
Corea reached out, and shouted, "Mom," before she, Flite, and Lilia disappeared.
"Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is
to grow strong by conflict. "
-William Ellery Channing
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