Chrono Continuum Chapter 94
Whatever theyd been expecting, it certainly wasnt this.
Rakin was older, maybe by two or three years, and that time looked to have been spent in training; he looked every bit as muscular as Crono. The clothes hed been wearing were gone now, replaced by a simple robe, like Valiods, but Rakins robe was white, and had the symbol of the Kingdom on the chest. Rakins hair had grown out, reaching down to his lower back, and was held in a ponytail. His nose was very slightly crooked, as if it had been broken and healed incorrectly, and there was a small scar on his right cheek. He favored his left leg slightly, as if avoiding an old ache in his right leg. Most surprising, however, were his eyes. They were still green, but they were cold, so very cold. They stared out at his friends and family, not with hate, but with something perhaps worse. It was as if he didnt recognize them, or care what happened to them.
Marle, however, noticed none of this. Rakin! she screamed, and immediately began to push her way through her fellow Travelers, trying to get to her son. Rakin! She didnt even notice that he wasnt reacting until Crono and Corea managed to forcibly restrain her from going any further. She didnt shed a tear, but she called his name again. And again. Please, Rakin, she pleaded, Say something!
Marle! Crono reprimanded her, his gaze never leaving the green eyes of his son. Marle! Stop it. Cant you see? Look at him. Look at how hes dressed! Look at how hes standing. He and Valiod are standing the same way.
Indeed, the two were standing in the exact same stance, including the favored leg, but while Rakins face was calm and unfeeling, Valiod smiled as if amused. Very good, Crono, the monster in childs form congratulated him. Youve a sharp eye. Yes, Im afraid dear Rakin, here, isnt in control.
An MC Chip! Gedd snarled, his hand only an inch away from the button that would bring his armor.
Valiod chuckled darkly, which sounded disturbing from a child. Im afraid not, mechanic. No, its much, much worse. Hes not under some devices mind control.
Wethreem shook his head in denial. Shining heavens! Youve... youve... possessed him!
Valiods smile widened. Indeed. He is mine, now, body and soul. He would do anything for me.
Including destroying all of you, Rakin finished for him.
Robo blinked. That is strange... He speaks with his own voice, but the inflection is wrong. Its as if...
As if Valiod was just speaking through him, Christina spat. Her face, like her voice, betrayed the fury she felt inside. Its just another of Valiods little tricks. If we kill him, we can get Rakin back. She leveled her spear at the child.
No! shouted Lucca. You cant! If Valiod dies, we have no way of knowing what could happen to Rakin. He might die, too.
Marle held her husband tightly as she looked up into his eyes. Crono...
Crono stared into her eyes for a moment, but she saw nothing that gave her hope. Crono, the carefree boy, was dead now. Crono, the King, looked into his sons eyes, and said, Better dead than a slave.
Valiod suddenly laughed, and Rakins mouth turned upward in a tiny smile, like a reflection of his masters mood. You act as if you all have any choice in the matter, Valiod told them. The simple truth is, Rakins going to humble every one of you, and then Im going to keep you for myself. Once youve been given immortality like Rakin, Crono, and the Magus, all of you men will make grand bodies. And you women... You shall learn to serve me as well. Ill get you to cook feasts or something. The little boy smiled wickedly, and turned around. Rakin stepped aside to allow Valiod to leave, and then blocked the exit again, arms crossed defiantly.
Damn it! Magus exclaimed. You idiots spent too much time talking! Quickly, before Valiod gets too far, weve got to-
What!? Lucca asked. Kill Rakin? Thats what you were going to say, isnt it?
Magus eyes narrowed. Hes in our way. Besides, hes not really Rakin! And in case youre curious, I was about to suggest we subdue him.
We cant, Corea said quietly. Rakin wont let us. Hes too good.
What are you talking about? Marle asked. Hes only one person.
The right man in the right place can hold off an army, Melchior told her. Youre sons the right man, and hes in the right place. As long as hes in that doorway, we cant surround him.
It is worth noting that Rakin doesnt have a sword to defend himself with, announced Robo.
Rakin doesnt need a sword, Rakin suddenly announced. Everyone else fell quiet. Thats right. Were beyond swords, now. Valiod has released this bodys true potential. Behold...
Rakins eyes suddenly blazed with golden energy, and he raised his hand toward the closest target: Christina. Energy gathered at his palm, growing brighter and brighter. Christina didnt move. The floor beneath them shuddered very slightly. Some of the Travelers started to move forward, but Christina held out an arm to stop them. She would stay at the front. The energy now was brighter than the sun, brighter than anything ever seen before. It twisted and turned on itself, as if trying to escape from Rakins open palm to destroy everything in the area. Christina didnt move.
A smirk altered Rakins face, though not his eyes. You are brave, girl. But stupid. This body has enough power to destroy you all in one stroke, and yet you stand there. Do you not understand what you are up against? We... I am the Almighty One. You stand no chance of victory.
Without saying a word, Christina simply took a step closer. Her eyes never left his as she took another step, and then another. She didnt stop until her chest was less than a foot away from the tumbling energy.
Rakin shook his head slightly. What do you think you are doing? This energy could blow you in half from a mile away. At this range, there wont even be ashes left if I halfway try. Do you think to shield your friends with your body? It is a futile effort, if so. It will go straight through you. Or do you plan to surrender?
Christina simply stared into the green eyes.
Rakin frowned. What is she up to, Voice? Voice? Answer me! Tell me! He snarled. Fine! I dont need you anyway! His expression darkened. Youve sealed your fate, girl.
Christina smiled. You sealed your own the minute you let Rakin into your mind.
Rakin blinked, surprised. What? What are you talking about?
Whos the Voice, Valiod?
Rakin looked taken aback. How did you know about him? He appeared not to have known hed spoken aloud a moment ago. Answer me!
Whats the Voice told you, Valiod? Has it given you information about us? Has it given you glimpses of the future, maybe?
Rakin paled. How... How could you know this?
Abruptly, Christina laughed out loud. Oh, Valiod. You are a fool. You never even considered the most obvious answer. She shook her head. You thought you were in control, didnt you? You thought your mind was so grand and advanced that no mere human mind could match it. Well, now youve found your match, Valiod, and hes already inside your head.
Valiod screamed in rage through Rakins mouth. The light left his eyes, and the energy escaped from his hand with a roar, and then there was darkness.
You! screamed Valiod, furious. Youre the Voice?
Who else, Valiod? Rakin replied, his voice expressing a smugness, tinged with worry. What had happened to the energy? Had anyone been hurt? You knew I was special. But it never occurred to you to think that the Voice might not be from your own mind.
But... but you cant be here! I walled away your mind when I possessed you!
You did. And it was a strong wall. But any wall can be walked around, with enough time and patience. And immortals like you and I have a hell of a lot of both.
Valiod shrieked in rage. How... how could you? Youre only human!
Rakin laughed. Only human, Valiod? Yes, Im human. But you of all people should know how far only human can go. Ive read your memories. Does the phrase Shi Kari mean anything to you?
You... you... Invaded my memories! How!?
Simple. I watched you do it. Anything you can do, Valiod, I can do better.
No! Youre human! Only human! I am a Planeswalker-
Not even close. Maybe if youd grown up a little, you might have been close, but now youre an eternal pre-pubescent.
Valiods voice went wild with fury. Ill kill you! Ill kill you right now!
Dont think so. This connection is severed as of now.
Air filled Rakins lungs as he gasped. He immediately lapsed into a coughing fit, but he would survive. Valiod had nearly killed him, but he was free now. He was on his hands and knees. Slowly, his breathing stabilized, and for the first time in years, his body was his own. It was something he was going to have to get used to again.
Now that the blood was no longer rushing to his head, he realized he could hear worried murmurs and... crying? His pulse quickened. Nobody was gathering around him. What else did they have to be muttering and crying about?
A white-hot blade seemed to stab into his skull as he got up. His legs shook, but other than that he showed no reaction. There was no time for pain. The room spun for a moment, but it soon settled down into some sort of sense. He didnt flinch as his fathers sword came up to his throat; that wasnt what he was afraid of. The king studied his eyes for a moment, weighing, but soon sheathed his blade and stepped aside.
Rakin knew (No, no, I dont know!) what he was going to find. But that didnt stop him from dropping back to his knees when he finally saw. He wanted to run, run away, but nonetheless he crawled forward. His mother said nothing as she laid Christinas head, (still attached to the body) her face pale and her eyes staring, on his lap. Rakin couldnt stand looking as she struggled to keep the last shreds of life from leaving her, but he couldnt look away, either.
She had no stomach. The blast had gone clean through her and cauterized everything on the way out. It had even gone through her arm, the one that had once had a metal hand, leaving nothing below the elbow. She must have tried to defend herself with her arm. Her breathing was one continual wheeze. Hed never seen anybody injured this badly. He doubted anyone could survNo! Shes going to live! But one look at his mothers face told him she thought differently.
Rakin ignored her; pessimism would accomplish nothing. Hold on, he whispered into Christinas ear. Her eyes flickered in recognition at his voice, but no words came from her. She was struggling just to breathe. The day you die, Rakin told her seriously, This world burns. She coughed.
He didnt even look up as the other Travelers were suddenly ambushed by Hellbound.
Same Time Period
Valiods breath burst back into him like a cold breeze on a hot summer night. Trying to kill the boy had nearly killed him too. Or maybe it had just been the shock of losing the bond. Hands tried to help him up, but he waved them off. He was a Planeswalker, dammit. He was! And he certainly didnt need any help from them. With some hidden effort, he stood. His mouth twisted in anger. He could no longer feel the boys power, could no longer use it for himself.
Trying to forget about such a loss, he turned toward the spectacle in the center of the room. Absently, he muttered something to the Hellbound about defending the room, but he didnt notice as they walked out to meet the Travelers. They were failures, all of them, and he paid them no attention.
What he watched were his children, still fast asleep in their cocoon. Soon, he knew, they would awaken. And then they would give him power, power enough to lay a planet to waste, power enough to give him a proper body. Power enough to make his place in a universe in which hed never really belonged.
Power. He laughed, and nobody sane would not have shuddered at that laugh, coming as it did from an innocent-looking childs face.
I will create a monument to non-existence!
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