Chrono Continuum Chapter 93
The Ocean Palace was a wreck. Areas were flooding faster than they could be sealed off. Monsters were panicking, tearing into eachother, trying to claw through the walls. The entire structure shuddered as a new hole opened up, probably a result of the rapidly changing pressure inside. Deep beneath the surface of the planet, the Lavoid went back to sleep, having destroyed the foolish parasites that had dared try to live off its energy.
Thanatos was not afraid as he walked through the ruined palace. The monsters werent a threat to him, especially since hed speeded up his passage through time. All the monsters saw was a blur, he was moving so fast. They seemed to be as still as statues in comparison. Finally, he reached the entrance to the room he was looking for. The room that held the Mammon Machine. He paused for a moment, worrying slightly that he was changing the past. But considering that the past had already been changed somewhat, he figured a paradox must not be about to happen after all. As such, he decided that it was an acceptable risk. Of course, Gaspar wouldnt have liked him screwing with history, but he had no choice. Some things were just more important.
He walked into the room, and let time crash to normal around him. That done, he picked up what hed come here for, and vanished into the Timestream.
Im fine, Crono insisted. This armor promotes fast healing. Really, you should be spending your time healing everyone else. Theyre going to need it. Marle hesitated, but he reached out and stroked her cheek. Dont worry, he continued. Im not going anywhere, except into that shell with all of you. If we ever get finished out here. Times wasting, you know.
Marle smiled and shook her head ruefully. Crono knew everyone else was healed already, and that he had insisted on spending a few minutes getting it done. Really, he was trying to pretend she hadnt hurt him very much, which she appreciated. She just wished hed let her heal him. Fine, she replied, as if she didnt care. But when you start forgetting how to lace your boots, dont come crying to me.
And then Crono hugged her, and for a moment nothing else seemed to matter. She stared into his eyes, and could almost ignore the intensity in them, the pain. Or the scars on his formerly smooth face. Almost. She kissed him, and he returned it. Come on, she told him. Everyone else is ready.
Same Time Period
Im coming, Corea insisted. She wasnt whining or petulant, just... certain. She was going, and that was that. If my father can get up after the hit he took, I can stand a sore forehead.
Lucca shrugged. There was no point arguing. Corea wasnt going to be deterred, and she remembered enough of the fight to know Lucca couldnt do much to stop her. Of course, neither of them expected it to come to that, but... the knowledge was there. And Lucca wasnt sure how she felt about it, or about Coreas determination. Lucca had been told, briefly, about Coreas two years in the Kingdom, so she supposed it shouldnt have been a surprise that Corea was so hard now.
What did surprise her was the news about Crono and Magus: Valiod had apparently found them useful enough that he made them immortal. He had only let Corea keep aging because she wasnt an adult yet. That worried Lucca somewhat, the fact that those two were under the effects of Valiods power. What if he took his gift away? Weeks had passed for Lucca, but those two had been there much longer than the two years Corea had spent. Would they suddenly age rapidly if Valiod was killed? They didnt seem worried, but then again, they usually didnt know when they should have been worried.
Glenn and Melchior also worried her. Melchior had lost his right arm from the elbow down, though thankfully he was able to handle a sword with his left. Cronos memories had been fuzzier than Coreas, and so nobody told him that hed been the one to injure the Guru. Lucca didnt think hed have been able to forgive himself. Glenn was a different matter. He shivered again even as she watched, and his knuckles clenched tighter around the handle of the Frog. He hadnt elaborated on his battle, but she could see the haunted look in his eyes. If Magus had done something to him that he wouldnt get over...
Marle and Crono suddenly joined them. Lucca was glad to see him again, but like Corea he was... different. Sober. She wondered if hed ever laugh again. Regardless, Marle was positively glowing, having been reunited with her husband and her daughter, though the latter reunion had basically been a hug and a kiss before Marle rushed off to be with Crono.
Looks like the gangs all here, Magus noted aloud. Lucca grimaced. He hadnt changed a whit. He continued, Now that thats done with, lets go. Valiods not getting any deader.
Marle looked about to protest, but Crono simply nodded, and that was enough. Magus suddenly lifted up into the air, and after a gesture with his gloved hands, so did everyone else. There was a slight crowd as everyone tried to float to the hole in the Lavoids shell at once, with Crono, Marle, Corea, and Christina at the head of pack, but after a moment they shaped up into a line. Christina somehow managed to get in front, and floated through, her hands unconsciously clenching and unclenching around the haft of her spear. One by one, they floated through, and Lucca went last.
She wrinkled her nose as the smell hit her again. It was a smell shed forgotten over the years, but now it was fresh and alive again as she floated into the green corridor, and slowly lowered to the floor. It smelled of magic, but also of... blood. And fire. And salt. Perhaps it was more a mental impression than a smell, but it was definitely the smell of Lavos. There was no smell of rot, but in this time period, it had only been days since the Lavoids death.
The hall was different now, she realized. It was wider to begin with, and the walls curved around towards the opposite end, stopping about five feet apart, so that they were in a room with an exit leading to another chamber, the heart of the Shell. But if it had only been days since Lavos had died, how could the hall have decomposed enough to widen? The answer was disheartening: someone had done this. Someone whod needed more room. Christina suddenly gasped, and Lucca automatically brought up her gun, realizing that the girl must have seen something in the rooms exit. What she saw completely surprised her.
A child stood there, smiling, as if amused. He looked to be about eight or nine years old, and wore a red robe. His hair was drawn back into a ponytail that reached his lower back, and the hair itself crimson, with a blue stripe running straight back from his widows peak. His eyes, though, were what disturbed Lucca. The irises were red, and the rest of the eyes were dark blue. And they were cold, so very cold.
Bravo, the child spoke into the sudden silence. Still smiling, he raised his little hands and clapped them in applause. Im impressed. I would have thought theyd have held you longer. He raised a disparaging eyebrow. But Im disappointed in you, Magus. I give you back the power my father took from you, and you dont even kill one? Not very impressive, even for a failed Planeswalker. There was a flash of contempt or jealousy in those eyes for a moment, and then they were cool again.
Valiod, Magus spat. You should have known better than to show up. You wont escape my vengeance.
This... Valiod? Ayla asked incredulously.
This... Valiod?, the child mimicked the cave-woman, even down to copying the sound of her voice. Of course Im Valiod. Surprised?
Crono slowly and obviously drew his sword. Dont any of you be fooled. He may look like a child, but Ive seen him kill with his own hands.
Gaspar shook his head. Of course... You use others bodies... Because your own is-
Young, Valiod finished for him. Yes. The gift of immortality. Ive given it to many, but I gave it to myself first. If Id known I couldnt reverse it, I would have waited, but... He shrugged. Though he acted nonchalant, the subject was obviously a sensitive one. Wishing wont change anything. At least, not until my children are born. His eyes took on a fevered light. And then they shall cleanse me of my humanity, and give me a more perfect form. And they shall set me high above others. I will be a true Planeswalker, and more...
Shut up, Christina interrupted. Her voice was ice. I dont know what a Planeswalker is, and I dont give a damn. You took Rakin. Give him back, or Ill go home with your head for a trophy.
If anything, Valiods smile became amused. Ah. So you care for the boy, do you?
I... Hes my friend. Maybe my first friend. Her expression hardened. But whatever my reasons, I want him back. Now.
Very well, Valiod agreed. He stepped to the side and raised an arm towards the exit. Here he is.
There was absolute silence as Rakin stepped forward from the shadows.
Same Time Period
Janus suddenly sat upright, breathing heavily. His wife was immediately at his side, calling his name. Janus nodded absently and looked around. Where is everybody?
They all left, Janus, Lucca told him. You werent in any condition to fight, and I-
Weve got to... He paused as he tried to rise to his feet. With her help, he succeeded, and continued, Weve got to go to them. I just felt... a tremendous amount of magic. I know Im not in the best shape, but... Ive got to do what I can.
Lucca stared into his eyes for a moment, and then put his arm around her neck. Lean on me, she told him, and together they began to walk towards the shell of the dead Lavoid.
Same Time Period
The thing smiled. Its prey was here, finally! Rakin was here! It looked forward to a mission soon to be completed, but decided to practice patience. The boy would be weaker after what came next, it was certain. And then its mission would be complete, and it could rest.
You want chaos? Ill give you chaos!
-Rico, Judge Dredd
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