Chrono Trigger: Dare Chapter 14
"This cant be happening! Why is Aire launching an attack on Earth? And what in the name of all logic is Betrise?" Lucca fumed.
"Um Lucca, you know, you might want to try the command option. Ask it for a history and see what happens." Cid calmed Lucca down. He stepped behind her and rubbed her neck and shoulders softly.
"What was that for?" She asked, her voice becoming less and less strained.
"No one can think while stressed out. This ought to calm you down." He whispered in her ear.
"All right, all right, enough of that. Now, lets find the reasons behind this mess." Lucca shrugged Cids hands off her shoulders and typed in a command. The screen showed two options, Earth and Betrise.
"Lets pick Earth first. I want to know why Aire is pickin on poor ol Earth." I tried to lighten the mood a bit, but the attempt failed miserably.
Lucca selected Earth and the display changed. It showed two timelines of all of Earths history. Only a few places on the two timelines were named: 65,000,000 BC, 12001 BC, 600 AD, 1000 AD, 1999 AD, and 2300 AD. The first timeline was called: Corrections Expected by Mostern. The second was titled: Actual Corrections After the Defeat of Mostern.
"Wait a second. Mostern was sent from here to Earth? If I can believe what Im seeing, then whoever sent it actually wanted to change time for some reason. Maybe to conquer Earth more easily," Lucca speculated.
"Lucca, click on 65 million BC in the Actual Corrections option," Marle said.
Lucca complied, and a body of text replaced the two timelines. Lucca read it aloud.
"King Zeal has sent the Mostern scout to Earth. It has landed and has begun absorbing the planets energy. Initial readings from Mostern are all positive. However, its arrival has decimated one of the two dominant species, the Reptites. Also, as calculated, the planet is small enough for its energy to reach the surface, thus slightly mutating the populace. However, the first and most important mutation occurred in 61 million BC, when the dominant species achieved the ability to use true magic, as opposed to the planned mutation of decreased intelligence."
"So, Lavos or Mostern was actually sent to Earth as a scout and as a way of weakening us. But instead he gave us magic. Lets read the next section," Lucca stated. She then clicked on 12001 BC, and another body of text showed up. This time, Marle read it out loud.
"12001 BC: Mostern has taken control of a powerful percentage of the populace. These people have the ability to use magic, courtesy of an older version of the Mammon Machine. Queen Zeal, the Kings counterpart on Earth, rules them. She is close to completing a submerged Palace that will bring the entire population under Mosterns control. A year later, in 12000 BC, the time travelers destroy the Palace, causing mass confusion and the ultimate demise of the Zeal civilization on Earth. This halts all attempts to control Earth until the year 0, when the Mystics evolved out of the last remnants of Zeal. On a side note, one of the travelers, a boy called Crono, was killed in the destruction of the Palace."
"Wow! You mean we stopped the King from taking over Earth? Just wait till daddy hears about this. Weve saved Earth twice!" Marle exclaimed. I grinned and remembered just how much Marles father showered me with praise the first time we saved the world.
"Lets see what happened in 600 AD that was worth mentioning." Cid prodded Lucca along.
"Right. Here we go." Lucca selected 600 AD and we were presented with a short paragraph.
"600 AD: Magus, a sorcerer who was once part of the Zealian Kingdom, tried to summon Mostern. However, he only succeeded in forcing Mostern to absorb more energy than usual and opened a rift in the universe that threw anyone within a hundred feet into a giant time-space gate. Magus was thrown back into 12000 BC and eventually aided Crono in the destruction of the Mammon Machine and the Palace. Magus was the leader of a new species of beings called the Mystics, who were the second attempt to weaken and subsequently conquer Earth. The Mystics were stopped with the help of Crono and his accomplices, preventing Lavos, as it has come to be known, from completing it mission," Cid read the paragraph aloud.
"Nothing really important there. Lets try 1000 AD," Lucca offered. She selected it then read the paragraph.
"1000 AD: This is a pivotal point in the attempt to conquer Earth. This is when Crono, while rescuing the wife of the King from 600 AD, prevents several key things from happening:
"Wait! Who is Nadia?" Cid asked.
Marle looked Cid sheepishly.
"Well, actually, my name is Nadia. But I changed my name. Long story though."
I grinned as the memories came back to me. Marle had used an alias when she first met me because she wanted me to give her a tour of the fair. Even after I found out her true name, I still called her Marle.
"Ok, so far so good, but I wonder what does Zeal have to say about 1999 and 2300?" I asked.
"Lets find out, shall we?" Lucca was about to select 1999 when Ecin stopped her.
"Lucca, cant we skip the history lesson? Cant you just type in the word reasons and find our their reasons?"
"You know kid, youre smarter than you look. Lets try it." Lucca grinned as she tapped at the keyboard furiously. More text appeared on the screen and Lucca, without turning, apologized.
"Reasons and all its derivates didnt work. But, you got me thinking, Ecin. If this were such a big thing, there would probably be some logs or something, probably by the leading scientist. Well, thats what Ive found, although it was surprisingly easy. We should take whatever we read here with a bit of salt," she warned. Nodding, I began to read.
"Earth is the second of three planets in the known galaxy that have the rare mineral Gheterium. This mineral is known on each three planets by the same name, Dreamstone. This element is essential in the contruction and maintenance of the Mammon Machines. As a side note, Gheterium, because of its magical properties, is also thought to have given Humans the ability to have hopes, dreams, and aspirations. As such, it is a very valuable element. Aire, about twice the size of Earth and the largest of the three planets, is running short on Dreamstone, yet to feed Ibleess and harness his power, more Gheterium must be mined. End of log."
"Who the hell is Ibleess?" Ecin asked skeptically.
"I dont know. Lets do some research on it, shall we? You guys might wanna take a break; Cid and I are going to do some deep digging," Lucca announced. I shrugged, then took a seat with my back to the wall while Lucca and Cid tapped buttons furiously, looking like two pianists playing a duet. Half an hour of mad typing, whispered curses at awkward keyboards, and long heartbreaking sighs past, and finally, Lucca whooped with glee.
"Got it! Ha! Got you, you stupid two-bit adding machine! You thought you could keep information away from the Lucca the Genius and her brilliant friend Cid, didnt you? Ha! Cmon, you did, and I can prove it! How? Here! Just check out how many logic loopholes I had to find! Ha! No machine can stop me! Hahaha! Stupid programmer probably put you up to this, didnt he? Well, youre both stupid. And Im smarter than you both are! Ha!"
"Lucca, calm down. Do you need a tranquilizer or something? Ive got some right here you can use " I told her only half joking.
"No way!" She spun around to face me, "I just defeated the most buggy program Ive ever seen, and I wanna savor the moment. I also want to get a hold of the designer of Window P.A.N.E. v. 3.1 and "
"Lucca, calm down and tell us what you found out," Marle ordered, sounding more like the princess Nadia than the adventurer Marle. Lucca recognized the tone as well and turned back to face the screen. The only remnant of her past victory was her giant I can take over the world grin, which she flashed proudly at Cid.
"Take a look for yourself. I didnt get to read it; I was too busy gloating at the hunk of equipment that calls itself a computer over there."
Ecin, Marle, Cid, Lucca, and I all crowded around the screen as more pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
"Um is this thing saying what I think its saying? The King didnt create Mostern? He only improved a DNA strand he found on this planet?" Marle spoke, disbelief in her voice.
"Not only that, but the DNA was supposedly part of some type of animal that died around the time Cid said the Sol-harness was flung into space. Thats scary. This guy was messing in Gods domain. It also says here that the DNA was found where Tserns village is believed to be. Maybe Tsern had something to do with it?" Lucca added.
"Amazing! Look here! It says that Ibleess knew some type of archaic magic that no one else had. This magic could be used to reanimate the dead so that they could be under his control. Um theres more. The magic also made whatever thing he cast it on to mutate drastically. And right here it says that the magics this guy had were similar to the ones Tsern had. In fact " Ecin pointed to several places on the screen. "The similarities between Ibleess and Tsern are far too close for comfort. Dya think that they might be the same Lucca?"
"It seems so. Now thats scary! What if Tsern, before he died, used the magic on himself and turned into something far more powerful? Or, maybe he was experimenting with his magic and mutated an organism. What if that organism, after the mutation, became something that killed him?" Lucca seemed to pull the story out of thin air.
"Dont you guys think you might be overdoing it a bit? Maybe nature just allowed the creature to evolve, and the King saw a use in it. Does the entire history of Aire have to revolve around this guy Tsern, whoever he is?" Marle asked skeptically.
"Nothing is stranger that the truth Marle, and thats the truth!" Lucca finished the sentence and started giggling. A giant grin spread out on Cids face, and I couldnt help but smile. Marle chuckled lightly, then turned towards the door and said with great relief, "Im sick of this place. Lets get out of here."
"Yeah, lets go. I think thats about it. The security systems disabled so we can leave relatively peacefully.
We backtracked through the maze-like Palace and finally found our way back to the exit. Excitedly, I ran up to the door that led outside. After it, I could see a long corridor and then the series of caves that spelled freedom for us. But as soon as I came within two jumps of the door, I heard an all too familiar voice.
"Hold it boy. Where do you think youre going?" Daltons mocking voice sounded somewhere in front of me.
"Dalton? Where are you?" I asked apprehensively. I put my hand on the hilt of my sword and everybody else drew out his or her weapons.
"Right here boy." Dalton faded into existence about a meter ahead of me. He was wearing his trademark yellow cloak and tunic, as well as a new addition, a gleaming and strangely thin broadsword that was strapped to his belt. His gloved hand was resting on the pearly handle of the weapon. I gazed at my enemy as he chuckled softly to himself.
"We meet again. But this time, youre not going anywhere." Dalton snapped his fingers and three guards flashed into existence next to him. Each one held a gun similar in shape and size to Luccas Wondershot, except for the fact that all of them had a targeting laser pointing directly at my heart.
"And I really shouldnt forget your friends now, should," Dalton said nonchalantly. He snapped his fingers once more and six guards appeared behind Cid, Lucca, Ecin, and Marle.
"I think that about covers it?" Dalton said, almost as if it was no effort whatsoever.
"Wait a minute! Howd you appear like that?" Lucca yelled out indignantly.
"Ever heard of personnel cloaking? Every Special Operations soldier in Zeal is outfitted with a personal cloaking device."
Although I didnt show it physically, mentally, my shoulders slumped. Five people had no chance against thirteen with cloaking and magic skills, no matter how good those five were.
"Looks like you could use a hand!" A somewhat familiar voice echoed throughout the room. I looked up and saw a ripple in space behind Dalton. Dalton looked around, the confusion evident in his face. The ripple then leaped up in the air and landed right in front of Dalton. The moment it landed, a blinding explosion flung me away from the door. Dalton and his friends were also thrown around like rag dolls. Sitting up painfully, at stared at the source of the explosion in shock and confusion.
Kain. He stood holding his spear in preparation for an onslaught when he saw me sprawled out on the floor.
He ran up to me and offered his hand. I took it hesitantly.
"Why?" I asked.
"They wanted me to help hunt you down. I figured that if Dalton and the King wanted you dead that badly, there must be something really important about you. Besides, they betrayed me."
"And you betrayed us," I said as I helped Marle to her feet.
"But they wanted to kill me!"
"So will we when were done with this," Marle said. "We wont be able to tell if youre being sincere or not."
"But I saved your lives!" Kain said, following me as I strode over to Ecin, Cid, and Lucca.
"Everyone ok?" I asked. They nodded, but refused to look at Kain.
"Dont ignore me, Crono," Kain said threateningly. I turned to him.
"Listen Kain. I appreciate the fact you saved us. But I cant forget that you betrayed us too. Right now I cant make up my mind about you." I headed for the door, Kain doggedly on my heels. I took a deep, calming breath and made up my mind. Most people deserve a second chance but arent given it. Some people are given a second chance but dont deserve it. The odds were with me, but my life wasnt something I liked leaving to chance. I took another deep breath.
"You can stay with us, but watch your step. Do everything I tell you to do. One wrong move and Ill send you gift-wrapped to Zeal. Got it?" I said, loud enough for my friends to hear.
Kain swallowed and nodded grimly. I nodded back, then stopped before the door, making sure all my friends went through before I did.
"Crono!" I heard Dalton shout suddenly. I looked to where his voice came from and saw him running towards me. I tried to move out of the way too late; he tackled me and we both fell in a heap of body parts.
"Go! Make sure the others get out. Ill be with you in a minute," I shouted to Kain, the only person left in the room. He had stopped to wonder whether to leave me or not. With all my strength, I threw off Dalton and pushed Kain out the door.
"I told you once, Kain! Now go!" I shouted angrily, then shut the door, my last glimpse before it closed being of him running quickly to catch up.
I turned to face Dalton. He had gotten up and brushed himself off. I noticed that all the guards had been knocked unconscious from the blast. I mentally, though grudgingly, clapped Kain on the back; he had targeted his attack perfectly. I looked back at Dalton, suddenly aware of his eyes on me.
Dalton ginned maliciously and nodded at the door. I heard a sharp clang behind me and spun around to see the source. The door was now covered in a thick sheet of metal. There was no way I could break the door down before Dalton attacked. I turned around to Dalton, my eyes thinning to slits.
"This is it Dalton. Once and for all." I gripped my sword readily.
"Oh sure. But first, theres someone I want you to meet," he called back calmly. "You can show yourself now," he almost whispered the words.
Beside Dalton, I saw another ripple in space. The ripple became a wave. The wave became a tsunami. And then the world flashed. A man appeared where the ripple once was. Dressed in a dark red tunic and blue pants with gold embroidery running across both, he looked almost like a human Mammon Machine. His flowing blue hair, the trademark of Zealian royalty, was pulled back in a ponytail and tied with a leather strap. Sharp features, decorated with a myriad of sword scars, a testament to his victories, focused on me with intense hatred and disgust. Two hazy, misty blue eyes peered at me below thin eyebrows, seeming to burn right through me.
"Crono, Id like you to meet King Zeal," Dalton said with an air of fanfare.
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