Chrono Trigger: Dare Chapter 20
So Many Pedfi, So Little Time
The world swirled around the Aeon. The familiar bluish-black temporal haze reminded me of the times before we even had the great ship. The world looked as if it were all blue and black and swirled around a central point. The swirls swam back and forth as we traveled further back in time. As the temporal waves subsided, the world slowly reorganized itself into understandable three-dimensional objects, not fourth dimensional nonsense. Even though it had stopped moving before it entered the time warp, the Aeon seemed to decelerate until it hovered lazily above the planet. I looked downwards through the window. Tirantis had transformed from the red and earthy brown that we had left behind into the lush and beautiful green we saw right now.
"Wow! Its even more beautiful than the forests back in Aylas time! Its a shame that it was transformed from this into what it is now I mean what its gonna be. No, wait I mean um uh " Lucca stammered.
"I know what you mean. Four dimensional speech is tough. I see the lake, so lets go," I ordered. I landed the Aeon next to the water, then got out along with Lucca.
"Look at that! Those turtle things look as if they are having a ball!" Lucca exclaimed.
I glanced at the animals and almost broke into hysterical laughter. Imagine small turtles with very thin shells and very long flippers and a very small Lavos-type beak. Then, imagine them acting like clumsy dolphins swimming in molasses. Then, imagine that every once in a while, two pedfi bump into each other and get into a large, yet harmless slap fight. Now, add greenery and replace the molasses with water. Then, multiply the sight by a couple hundred thousand. That was basically the sight Lucca had pointed out to me.
I bit my lip, then waded into the water and grabbed one of the animals. It bit me with its beak, then tried to slap me. Needless to say, it didnt hurt in the least.
"Um how are we supposed to know whether they have acid sacks or not?" I asked Lucca.
"I dont know. I though you knew," Lucca responded.
"How am I supposed to know? Youre the scient-OUCH!" I dropped the pedfi in surprise, then looked at my hand. I saw traces of a green, slick, viscose liquid. I washed it off quickly, then grabbed another pedfi, and squeezed it hard. It let out a squeal and the green stuff appeared again. I washed it off before it burned my hand.
"Well, I found how out to tell, but theres too many of them to test before the deadline," I told Lucca.
"Let me look at that thing," Lucca grabbed a pedfi and squeezed it, then took out a vial and put the acid in. Throwing the animal back, she shook up the vial, then held it up to her nose.
"Yuck! It smells like rotten eggs. Like sulfur! Thats it! Since its a sulfur-based acid, they can catch fire!" Lucca exclaimed. Grinning sadistically, she pointed her finger at the pond and let loose with her most powerful fire attack. Most of the pedfi on the surface of the water caught fire. The ones that did not have acid in them dove and extinguished the flames. The ones that did, however, flopped about like dying fish. Some of them tried to dive, but only succeeded in lighting other pedfi as well as some acid that had been left in the water. Soon, most of the surface of the lake was aflame, and all of the acid bearing pedfi had died. There were quite a few of the normal pedfi left to assure me that Tsern would be satisfied. The rest of the acid-bearing pedfi were easy to kill, but it took the rest of the day to finish the job. By the end, we were very tired, very wet, but very happy that we had changed the future for the better.
The next day, I woke up with a start. There was something I had to do.
"Crono? What are you doing up so early?"
"I dont know. I have this feeling that theres something missing. Like I have to meet someone or something." I started walking towards a nearby grove of trees.
"Crono! Wait for me!" Lucca shouted, but to no avail. She ran up beside me. "Crono! Where are you going!"
"Huh? Oh I dont know. I feel as if there is something calling me, something from inside that grove of trees. Coming?" I continued walking, this time with Lucca beside me. When we reached the trees, a familiar disorientation struck me. Instantly, the world changed. I opened my closed eyes to find that I was standing in front of a large castle.
"What the ? Lucca?"
"Im here. Where are we?"
"I dont know. But I think were supposed to go inside," I said. Lucca nodded, and we both opened the heave oak door and stepped inside.
"This is spooky. Its exactly like Maguss castle," Lucca said.
I didnt reply. First walking, then jogging, then running full speed, I ran up the stairs and into the only difference between this castle and Maguss: a door at the top of the stairwell. Lucca followed suit. Torches shedding green light on the sides and the back lighted the room inside. Three torches shedding blue light made a small triangle in the center of the room. In the middle of the triangle, a large altar stood silently at attention. Atop the podium, a large book sat open. I walked slowly to the tome, cautious of what might happen.
"Lucca, come here. I cant read this writing. Its in an ancient language. It looks like Zealian," I told her.
"Lets see." Lucca moved me aside and read the writings.
"Its a spell! Its called Final Fortune. But it needs seven people to use, and one artifact. Two water wielders, one fire user, one physical magic fighter two lighting users, and a shadow user have to be gathered, and they all have to focus their energies onto a ring called the Gods Tear. Other magics can be added to increase the effect, but those are the bare minimum required. Um it says here that it can be used only once, and I quote, for the checkmate. Crono, this is a very powerful spell stronger than Dark Eternal or Omega Flare or Grand Dream!" Lucca said excitedly.
"Is there anything else in the book?" I asked nervously.
Lucca leafed through the book but kept her finger on the page.
"Nope. Just this." Lucca pursed her lips, then stepped back.
"Lucca! Watch out! Youre gonna " I shouted, but it was too late. Lucca tripped on the loose tile that I had seen seconds earlier. Instantly, she fell back into my outstretched arms. I righted her, then heard a mechanical grinding coming from above. I looked up to see a large hole open up in the ceiling, and a small shimmering ring fell from the hole. I picked it up and dusted it off. It was more than simply a ring. A large, multi-faceted jewel was embedded in the fine metalwork. From whatever angle, the jewel seemed to shimmer with all the colors of the rainbow. Sharp edges showed that parts of it had been chipped away.
"A ring? I think this is the artifact it was talking about," I thought out loud.
"Let me see it." Lucca grabbed it from me.
"It looks like it could be related to the colored rocks we found back on Earth. You know, the ones that gave us Omega Flare and the like?"
"Yeah, I know them. So this is the artifact. It looks like itd fit your finger or Marles. You wear it for now," I told her. She nodded, then slid the ring on.
"Now lets grab the spell and go," Lucca said as she ripped the page that held the spell from the otherwise blank book and put it in her pocket.
"Not so fast." A voice spoke out of nowhere.
"You have to earn the ring. Lets see if you deserve it " The voice rang out again. Out of the same hole the ring dropped from, a humanoid appeared. He was a few inches taller than I was, and the similarities ended there. He was a few inches taller than I was, and the similarities ended there.
I have never been able to figure Nus out. Simply a blue torso with four blue limbs, Nus never looked like anything special, and yet at the same time were incredibly so. Part of their strangeness rose from the fact that they bore no resemblance to any animal at all, alive or extinct. The moment I looked at the beast ahead of me was the first moment I saw anything that resembled a Nu.
It was as big around as it was tall, with wrinkled, fading blue skin covering its Nu-like body. Two eyes stared back at Lucca and me, gleaming with intelligence and yet dulled with age. It flexed its three fingers tentatively, then relaxed them. For some reason, I desperately wanted to believe that this creature was the origin of all the Nus. Though I wanted to ask it a series of questions, I was slightly too shocked at seeing fall through such a relatively small hole to voice them.
"What the hell is that thing?" I asked, forgetting any diplomacy I might have had.
"I am the guardian of the Gods Tear, that ring that you have on your finger. My job is to make sure that no unworthy hand will ever use the Gods Tear. I sense, however, that my job will finally be over. Prepare to be tested."
I took out my sword, the Deus Moon. The blade shimmered brightly as it was unsheathed, almost as if it were ready to battle. Lucca took out her Wondershot and started to aim. But before the guardian could realize what was going on, Tsern spoke.
"Crono! Use your magic on the sword. This sword is holy, and if given any magic power, will turn it into a powerful attack!" He ordered.
"What? Lucca, did you just hear something?" I asked.
"No. Hear what?"
"Never mind," I said as I began casting lighting. The bolt struck the sword with a brilliant flash of light, and I could feel the sword begin to pulse happily. I saw Lucca shield her eyes from the light, and the guardian seemed to be suffering from a mild shock. I took advantage of the situation and charged the creature, slashing at its fleshy chest. As soon as my sword cut into the skin, it erupted in light. Every time I inflicted a wound, the sword would explode with a brilliant flash of power. One, two, three, four, five slashes, and then I missed, giving the guardian a chance to recuperate. Luckily, Lucca fired her gun, hitting the thing in the chest. It howled in pain, then staggered back. The guardian recovered a lot faster this time, and cast its own spell. Instantly, a choking black fog descended upon Lucca and me. Suddenly, I couldnt breathe. I gasped for air that wasnt there.
"Crono! Hold the sword in the air! It will absorb the magic. But be careful. It can only absorb Shadow magic." Tsern's voice thundered through my head again. I did as he ordered, and the mist started to spiral around my sword. I saw the blade turn pitch black as it absorbed the cloud. With each second, I found it easier and easier to breathe. Finally, the last of the mist spiraled into the blade, turning the metal darker than coal. I looked at the guardian, then charged him again. He sidestepped my first slash, but my second and third strikes cut deep gashes on his chest. This time, with every stroke, darkness flashed instead of light. The guardian was now gushing blood from multiple wounds.
"Peace. I call a truce. I need to see that sword." The guardian implored me. "You have my word, I shall not attack you, nor harm this sword."
"I think its ok."
"All right here you go." I handed the sword to him. He grabbed it greedily, then pressed the flat of its blade to his chest. Instantly, all the wounds closed up. All the blood seeped back into his body, making it look as if the fight was being played in reverse.
"I thank you. This sword is the Deus Moon! The last person to hold the Deus Moon was unworthy. How did you get it from him?"
"Unworthy? He gave it to me. Tell me about the sword."
"It is one of the triple keys. You now have two. The Deus Moon, and that ring, the Gods Tear. You are missing one more key, the Aegis," he spoke. His voice sounded tired.
"Wait a minute what keys? And what in the world is the Aegis."
"The Aegis is an armor that surpasses all armors. It is an object of light, just like the Deus Moon and the Gods Tear. However, only a person of pure heart and soul can use its powers. This armor is the only thing that can activate the Gods Tear."
"What can you tell us about the other two?" Lucca pressed on.
"The Deus Moon is this sword." He handed it back to me. "It was forged by Malak, my creator, as a weapon to be used in the "endgame". The Deus Moon the only thing that can activate the Aegis. The Gods Tear is what its name says it is: one of Gods Tears. More legends say that God shed this tear to be used as the focal point of the Final Fortune. That is the spell that you have right now. The Tear itself was originally larger than this, but it was splintered into 6 different parts. 5 of them were discolored and smaller. This is the fifth and largest part, and by far the most powerful."
"Crono! I was right! The rocks we found back on Earth are parts of this thing! But I wonder why all of them got there and this one stayed here?" Lucca exclaimed.
"Ages ago, two beings, fighting against each other, tried to take possession of the Gods Tear. I was, and still am, not nearly powerful enough to defend it from both, and so I created creatures in my image to guard and hide pieces of the Tear. I then sent them far, far away. The smaller Tear no longer offered enough of an incentive to come battle me, since neither being could use the Deus Moon to defeat me easily. But in any case, some of my creatures must have strayed from their tasks after a few millennia. That is how the rocks, as you call them, fell into your possession," the grandfather Nu explained.
Lucca nodded curtly and turned to me.
"So what do we do now?" She asked.
"I dont know. Lets think about it on the way to the Aeon." I turned and left the room. Lucca was about to follow me, but then turned around quickly.
"Hey, thanks. Wait a sec whered he go?" Lucca asked.
"Its a Nu. Theyre all strange. Besides, the world wouldnt be interesting without a few mysteries," I said.
We backtracked through the spooky hallways and out through the door. I took one last glance at the castle that was so similar in design to Maguss. It almost made me miss the original. I grinned and shook my head, then walked blindly forward. The world spun around clockwise and then the heat and humidity of the past hit me.
"Whoa. Good thing the Aeon has climate control. Cmon. Last one in is a rotten pedfi!" I ran towards the giant, metal bird with Lucca on my heels. Literally. She and I tripped over each other and landed at the base of the Aeon.
"Looks like its a tie." Lucca laughed as she got off me. "Now, lets get back to Marle and the others."
I barely heard her. I got up dizzily, and then stared blankly at the bush I had landed on. Some of its thorns were dipped in blood. Mine. It took a few seconds for me to realize that the plant was poisoned. My hand went to my side where the thorns had cut into me.
"Crono? Are you ok? Crono!" I heard Lucca say. Her voice sounded far away and muffled. She noticed my hand and quickly inspected the wound. Even though my eyes were beginning to close, I saw her brow furrow.
"Lu lu cca " I tried to say her name.
"Dont talk Crono. Ill get you to a hospital. She comforted. She opened the door to the Aeon and helped me inside. Just before my eyes closed, I saw her get on to the ship herself, a sample of the bush held lightly but firmly in her hand.
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