Chrono Trigger: Dare Chapter 11
The Best Laid Plans
This time we didnt stop to sniff the roses. All four of us gathered onto the red ring of magical incantations and were taken to the second continent, where the scientists of Udrin were constantly researching and conducting experiments. The difference between Udrin and Khazdian was that Udrin was completely devoted to science and studying, be it finding a new weapon or inventing a cure for a disease. Khazdian had no set purpose, though it was known as a city of intangible things: dreams and fanciful philosophies. Although Udrin was the bigger of the two, Khazdian held more people. It seemed that more people liked dreaming and philosophizing than experimenting and researching.
The citys designs, I remembered, were just like its counterparts on Earth, which, not coincidentally, was very similar to Khazdians. The entrance and layout for the first two hundred yards was exactly like Khazdians. It was in the back twenty feet that things were different. Instead of a wall filled with books, there were three doors that lead to the main research rooms. People were hustling in and out through the doors, always mumbling something about their experiments. If one were to go inside, one would see white-coated scientists running about shouting orders and suggestions at each other. At Luccas behest, we entered a door on the far right. The scientists, amazingly, were working together and not arguing, which was a surprise, given my experience with Kajar, Udrins counterpart on Earth. They seemed to be conducting an experiment on a really strong type of metal.
"Hello. May I help your endeavor for truth?" Lucca asked. I mentally applauded her for her memory of the right way to join an experiment.
Kain and Cid were about to object, but I stopped them. Once Lucca was immersed in research, nothing short of a bomb blast could stop her. Cid, Kain, and I watching intently as Lucca tested the flame-retarding capabilities of the metal, while others studied its abilities as a resistor. Finally, when the scientists were happy with their findings, they started arguing amongst themselves for uses. Lucca quietly slipped away.
We backtracked to the center of the castle-like city and were surprised to see that no one was around.
"Whered they all go? This entire place was filled, now its as empty as a tomb," I asked myself out loud.
"As eerie as a tomb you mean," Kain said shakily.
We all drew our weapons: me my Rainbow Sword, Cid his Prism Blade, Kain his strange spear, and Lucca her gun, the Wondershot. The silence continued.
"Hello? Hello!" Cid called out cautiously. The walls and the stairs had no answer.
"Spooky. There has to be some scientific explanation for this. Wait a sec. Im gonna go back into the rooms, see if the scientists are still there," Lucca suggested. She ducked into a door, and appeared a few minutes later.
"Thats weird. The guys arent there. Its as if they all evacuated," she reported.
Then, almost as if on cue, armed guards burst in from the walls. Suddenly, but all too late, I remembered the similar rooms hidden in Enhasa and Kajar. All in all, I counted seven hidden rooms, six more than in Kajar, yet at that point in time, the discrepensy wasnt the most pressing thing on my mind. In three seconds, the room was filled with guards. And each of them, ever single one of them was carrying quarterstaves, swords, or guns. And every single weapon they were carrying was deadlier than the first. I was dead sure. I was surely dead.
Kain sauntered over to the obvious captain.
"What took you so long? You were supposed to capture them in Khazdian."
"Get back over to them you traitor! You didnt help any. You were supposed to stall them. But did you? No! Instead, you come to us after we evacuate all of Khazdian, and tell us that these criminals were headed for Udrin."
"But but you said that I wouldnt be charged with anything if I helped you."
"Yeah, much help you gave us. You lead us on a wild goose chase that had us end up here. Youll probably get a lesser sentence, maybe a fast execution and not a hanging or being quartered and drawn."
Kain looked at the captain, then at us. I looked into his eyes and saw betrayal. I frowned and glared at him, then turned my head away. He looked back at the captain, who had now drawn his saber and was pointing it at his midsection. Kain slumped his shoulders, then walked towards us dejectedly. All of us, except for Cid, looked away. Cid stared at Kain with pain, hurt, and anger in his eyes. Kain looked at Cid only once, then never met his eyes again.
I motioned for the others to put away their weapons. There was no way short of suicide that we could win this battle. Not even with our magic and our summons could we win.
* * *
As we marched towards the Palace, I tried to remember if I had seen the Captain of the Guard before. He was extremely familiar, as if he and I had known each other quite well before. Quietly, I went to Lucca for help.
"Lucca, do I know that guy? The captain?"
Lucca looked closely at him, and her glasses slipped a bit. She wiggled her small nose a bit and put them back into place. Lucca frowned for a second, then a look of surprise and recognition came across her face.
"Ill give you a hint. Think: Golem," Lucca smirked.
My eyes went wide. Lucca nodded.
"But, I thought you said he was dead!" I asked her urgently.
"Well, I thought he was dead. Actually, what happened was that when he tried to summon GolemBoss, he was sucked into his own portal."
I looked at the man again. It was hard to imagine that he hadnt aged a bit. The last time I saw him however, he was wearing an eye patch and his trademark: a yellow cape that covered most of his body. Now, he was wearing a red tunic, red pants, brown leather boots, and the same worn eye patch. His hair, which used to be long, blond and well combed, was now short, cropped, and black. Somehow, this man looked physically better than the man five years ago. Still, he still could be Dalton, so I decided to test him.
"Say what happened to Golem?" I asked him coyly.
The man I assumed to be Dalton spun around on his heels.
"How do you know about Golem? Speak!" He ordered.
"Five years ago, back on a place called Earth, in the Zeal Palace, you first summoned Golem, then the GolemTwins. Remember? Now think back do you remember the young redheaded kid with a dangerous sword? How about the intruders whom Schala saved? The" I was interrupted.
"Stop! I know who you are. But you died! I saw you perish with my own eyes!"
"I was revived using Gaspar's Time Egg. You know, the Chrono Trigger?"
Dalton stared at me blankly, and I watched amused as recollection dawned on his face.
I turned to Cid, and spoke quietly, "Was the man Klab talked about called Dalton?"
Cid nodded slowly. I could have screamed.
Dalton was the Queens right hand man, and they were the only two people who had the ability to summon. Dalton's favorite summon was a monster called the Golem. But, Dalton couldnt summon the Golem directly, he had to create a portal then summon it through the portal. The Golem was a monster capable of copying a persons magic attacks, then using then against that person. Lucca, Marle and I defeated the Golem three times. However, I "died" before I was able to defeat the Golem Boss. Lucca and Marle took him out on their own. When Dalton tried to summon the Golem Boss again, something went wrong, and he was sucked into the portal the Golem Boss was supposed to come out of.
"Dalton! But, I saw you vanish into the summon portal! Howd you get here?" Lucca asked.
"The portal lead here, to the land of summoned monsters. Im surprised you didnt figure that out. Youre supposed to be the genius," he told Lucca, then he added, "Now that you and the other girl are here, I can finally pay you two back for the insults and the injuries you gave me. And you " He looked at me, "you will be an added bonus."
At that moment, Dalton let out a chilling laugh. My fears were assured. If Dalton was a general here, then this place had more similaritiesand pitfallsto Zeal on Earth than I thought it did. Dalton was Queen Zeals right hand back on Earth, and I was pretty sure he held the same status with King Zeal.
"This doesnt look good," I thought to myself.
An hour later, I was shoved in an already occupied cell. Cid and Lucca were thrown into a cell of their own, and Kain was given his very own first class cell, as Dalton had called it. Dalton had taken all of out weapons and locked us within walls strong enough to withstand a beating from the Epoch.
The occupant of my cell seemed sad and alone, so I decided that I might as well make a new friend. I walked up to the figure lying crouched in one corner with his or her back to the wall. Because of the shadows, I couldnt tell anything about the person. Once I approached, the person lifted up her head. The face that presented itself made my heart skip a whole set of beats. Although her face was grubby and laden with trails of tears, and although the clothes were dirty and torn, I recognized her. Although her hair was dirty and messy and her clothes tattered, I recognized her. Although she lacked her usual aura, I recognized her.
"Marle," I said.
She was already up and in my arms before I had spoken. I gave her a big hug, spinning her around me. At that moment, I could not care if the world had gone to hell and taken Dalton with it.
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