Chrono Continuum Chapter 88

Shared Destination

By Cain

1999 A.D.

Janus' eyes were closed. He was sleeping, but not peacefully. His eyebrows were tight with fear, or anger, or pain, and he was jerking back and forth, making it very hard for Marle to successfully heal his broken arm. Christina stared down at the two of them solemnly for a moment, just to make sure that her father was going to be all right, then turned and left the cave. She came out into the open air and took a deep breath. It was good to be above ground again. Christina was beginning to think she might be getting claustrophobic, and didn't intend to reenter that cave or any other as long as it wasn't strictly necessary. She’d certainly never live in another sewer, like before. Besides, now that it was somewhat cheery outside, and it was no longer raining, she preferred to stay out.

She looked around for a moment, feeling the warm rays of the sun on her skin, and walked over to join the others, who were discussing their present situation in serious tones. At the moment, Wethreem and Robo, being the only conscious Travelers who could fly, were reporting on their reconnaissance mission. As she joined them, Glenn handed her a small vial, presumably a restorative Potion bought before they'd come to this time period. He looked rather upset, she noticed, presumably because of Frog's imprisonment, or the loss of the sword's power. Or Lucca’s injury. Probably all three. Masa and Mune were standing close to him silently. She drank, and listened.

"There's a ball of blue energy down in the crater made by the explosion," Wethreem stated bluntly. "It's like nothing I've ever seen, but Robo says it's a lot like the energy put out by Lavos, so I think it's pretty safe to assume that it's where the Lavoid spawn are."

"Of course they’re inside the crater," interjected Melchior. "Otherwise it would be too easy, wouldn't it?"

"We decided it would be safer to come back and get the rest or you," Robo continued. "We're much stronger together, and we really don't know how powerful these Lavoids are. We've fought spawn before, but we don't know how many there are, or their relative power levels. The sphere is big enough to contain several hundred spawn... or one full grown Lavoid. And my sensors can't penetrate it."

"So... How shalt we get in?" Glenn asked. "To have survived an explosion such as what we witnessed... Suggests frightful power. And we know naught about it, or what lies inside it."

"True," agreed Gaspar, "but we'll just have to deal with it when we get to it. I'm much more worried about something else."

"The fact that the Time Stream hasn't changed, even though Parsa's dead," Lucca asked, her harsh voice catching everyone off-guard. By the time Marle had tried to heal Lucca, her vocal chords had been permanently damaged, but she was ready to fight nonetheless, and her mind was no less sharp. "The Kingdom should have vanished when she died, but it's still there. Which suggests either that Janus was misinformed as to the nature of the Time Bubble, or that there's another source of power sustaining it."

"Perhaps the spawn," her alternate suggested. "Whatever the case," Gedd said, "we still need to destroy those spawn. If we need to destroy the Kingdom ourselves later on, then that's another mission. Right now we need to concentrate on what we're doing."

If we hurry," Wethreem told them, "we can make it there in about an hour-and-a-half."

Christina cursed quietly. "Adom said that the spawn would wake up in about four hours. That was a little more than two hours ago. We've got a serious time limit here."

Gaspar nodded, absorbing the news soberly. "Thanks. I'm sure we're all very reassured by that. We're just waiting for Marle and Janus to join us-"

"Janus won't be joining us," Marle announced from the mouth of the cave, startling everyone. She looked tired, but determined. There had been a lot of healing to do, and she was obviously drained. "He used up so much power to escape that he's just about comatose. I'm almost surprised he's not dead, but he's apparently just as stubborn as the Magus."

"That settles it," Lucca, Christina's mother, announced. "I'm staying with him. He's my husband. Besides, I don't have any magic. I'd probably just get in your way." She looked around to see if anyone disagreed with her. None of them tried to talk her out of it (they'd tried often enough to win arguments with their own Lucca, and knew the futility of it) but Christina knew that they were losing two of their most powerful members, one magical, and one physical. Nevertheless, neither she nor anyone else said anything as her mother walked past Marle, into the cave.

Once she was gone, Marle continued, "I'm ready when you all are. Who knows, maybe we'll find out what's happened to... everyone." She tried to smile, but it didn't come off quite right, looking more like a grimace.

Gaspar nodded grimly, and everyone looked toward him. In the absence of Crono, Rakin, Magus, Corea, and Thanatos, Gaspar was the closest thing they had to a leader. "All right," he announced. "Let's get moving."


Same Time Period

Valiod smiled.

They'd done all of the work for him, not only breaking into the Red Omen, but destroying it, and revealing the hiding place of his children in the process. He was walking now, moving steadily closer. He could have flown, but he'd seen no point in wasting valuable energy on something as simple as travel. Besides, there was no need to rush. The Voice had told him that the Red Omen would be destroyed, and so it was. The Voice had told him that Parsa would die, and he had felt her agony come to an abrupt end in the explosion. So when the Voice warned him that it would be wise to call for backup, he agreed, and did so. Now, as he walked along, four figures followed closely behind him. Wordless, mindless, they'd give their lives for him. And that was what they were here to do.

Valiod wasn't really frightened of the Travelers, but it never hurt to be prepared, and when the Voice was there to tell him what would happen anywhere from hours to days ahead of time, it was easy to out-think and out-plan any enemy. Still, it bothered him somewhat how resourceful they were. Even now he could sense them starting off on the long walk to his destination. He was, of course, a good fifteen minutes ahead of them, and they couldn't sense him, so they had very little hope of reaching his children before he did. Of course, if they did, it probably wouldn't do them any good, as Valiod had placed defenses there, but Valiod wanted to be there to make sure they didn't figure out some way to harm his precious children. After all, they had proven remarkably powerful, no to mention clever, and he was better off safe than sorry.

"The time is close," he announced. The four figures behind him didn't respond, but then he hadn't expected them to. He was talking to the Voice.

There was a pause, and then the response. Indeed it is.

"You still haven't told me anything about what happens when we get there yet."

Are you worried?

"I'm curious, that's all," Valiod replied, indignant. "What do I have to fear from a dozen or so humans?"

What indeed?

"Stop being mysterious and tell me, damn you," Valiod yelled, getting angry. But there was no response this time. "Voice?" Again, nothing. Valiod's eyes narrowed. "Damn it, tell me! That's an order!" Once again, no response. This time Valiod shook his head. "Fine. I don't need you, Voice. I don't need anyone." Valiod walked on, head held high, angry and unafraid. And if he suddenly started walking a little faster, his four servants didn't notice. They didn't notice anything, except that the enemy was close.


Same Time Period

The cloaked figure stirred. His prey was close, so close! Its latest form was falling apart, but that didn't matter. It could survive for a day without a body, and it would take far less than a day. Then its mission would be over. Then it could rest. The thought of the 'other' bothered it somewhat, but it couldn't be deterred so easily. The other would not be able to interfere.

It also considered the demon. The demon had left the planet soon after the explosion, off to cause death and destruction on some other planet. It shrugged. This was the only planet that mattered. And its prey. Rakin.


"There are no short cuts to any place worth going."


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