Chrono Trigger: Dare Chapter 24
I blinked and saw the familiar hazy, nebulous room in which we fought the first Lavos. Instantly, I reached for my sword only to find that I couldnt move. Growling with frustration, I relaxed and watched the scene unfold before me.
"Ayla! Look out, lass!" I heard Frog yell before I could see him. I turned my head, the only part of my body I could move, in time to see the humanoid Lavos Core backhand Ayla across an ethereal plane and into an invisible wall. I looked to my right and saw Magus swing his scythe at a floating ball of flesh and bone, splitting it in half.
"Finally!" He growled. "Robot! Do something!" He shouted to Robo, who was lying in what could be called a corner, unmoving.
"Useless machine. The last blow must have shorted something," Magus said just before he was struck in the face by the right bit.
"Bad beast! Ayla no like!" I head Ayla let out a ferocious battle cry. She leaped for the hulking Core and gashed at its eyes. It let out a terrifying scream and grabbed its eyes in pain. Ayla hopped off and ducked just in time to avoid being hit by the right bit. Unable to stop in time, it crashed into the Core.
"Want Crono here NOW!" She yelled at no one in particular.
"Courage lass. Hell be here. We just have to take his place for now." Frog said as he knelt down to examine Robo. I saw him fiddle with something, then heard a mechanism within the robot hum into life. Robo stood up with a start.
"Thank you. But we now must assist Magus " He pointed towards the sorcerer who was writhing inside an energy bubble generated by the right bit. The pain was evident on his face as the more he twisted, the more electricity shot through him.
"Calculating done. Miss Ayla, please give Sir Frog a hand, " Robo whirred mechanically as he ran behind the orb. Ayla picked Frog up and threw him towards the right bit. Just as he passed, Frog slashed with his sword, leaving a large bleeding gash. Robo caught him and used Frog and the Masamune as one long blade to spear the right bit again. The acorn-shaped orb convulsed on the sword, let out a final scream, and then went limp.
"I believe that is it weve killed it. I only wish the lad Crono were here," Frog said as he looked at his sword. "Tis strange how the Gates opened up again," he said as an afterthought.
Fate started clapping. "Well, thats that. They win. But thats enough for now. I believe Ive made my point," Fate talked down to me as if I was a kid. In a flash, the old log cabin returned and I found myself standing side by side with Tsern. Fate resumed his position at the chess table.
"Did you tell him his destiny?" Tsern asked.
"Oh how silly of me. I forgot. You wanted a prophecy," Fate said. Malak turned to me, then spoke. "Presently, after you give Tsern the ring and the sword, he will send you back to Aire. Unfortunately, Marle and the rest will be captured. You and Lucca will try to save them, of course, and of course, the attempt fails. You will then be executed, as well as the rest of your gang. And when you die, Tsern will be able use the artifacts, thus becoming strong enough to kill Ibleess in his present state. Im sorry. I hope you enjoyed your life while it lasted." With that, he turned around and, almost absent-mindedly, moved several pieces forward. I couldnt tell who they were.
"Oh. I almost forgot. If you dont hand him the sword and ring..." Malak let the sentence hang as he considered how to proceed. "Actually, I think you might want to see what happens." Malak whispered. He waved his hand as if shooing off a fly, and the world disappeared all over again.
This time, when the world reformed itself, I was standing in a large room, dark except for the ray of light in which I saw five motionless figures. I moved in nearer, but couldnt get closer than the shadows around the light. As my eyes focused, I saw who they were. One was I, sword unsheathed but at my side, and numerous wounds and abrasions and bruises colored my skin. I was staring blankly at a strangely disconcerting humanoid. On my right was Marle, equally injured, but with her crossbow steadily trained on the figure at which I was staring. A few feet further to my left stood Cid with his sword ready to defend or attack. Multiple burn marks ran up and down his face and arms. On his right, Lucca stood proudly, emanating an aura I had never felt from her. She too was hurt just as badly as the rest were and had her gun out, but at her side. And across from us was a man so awesome that I could feel my knees weaken. From the waist down, he looked more or less normal, except that was floating several inches off the ground. His stomach and chest and arms, however, looked as if they belonged to some bodybuilder who had spend the last eternity training. But the one feature that threw me off and sent me into shock was his wings. Two pairs of translucent wings sprouted from his shoulder blades and spread outwards for several feet. They radiated a cold, penetrating energy, piercing into my soul and chilling me to the bone. He looked like some angel-turned human. The light illuminating the man seemed focused on his wings, not on him, and they reflected it shamelessly and brutally. The more I stared, the more they reminded me of prisms that bent and twisted light without any misgivings. Strangely, I noticed that none of the light that came from his wings pierced the darkness behind the man, whereas the light bouncing of Cids glittering sword brightened the area behind him. Suddenly, as if it were a movie, the people sprang to life. My other self righted his sword and rushed Ibleess with Cid. Ibleess didnt flinch, but simply swung a wing at them. As a wing touched them, they froze in midair as if suspended on strings. Then, in a brilliant flash of light, they turned pitch black against the brightness of his wings and vanished. By this time, Marle and Lucca had fired off several shots, none of them having any effect. He turned to the girls solemnly. Lucca fired once more, but the man brought his hand up and reflected the shot back at her. She moved out of the way of the bullet, but into the way of one Ibleesss outstretched wings. In another flash of dark and light, Lucca vanished as well. Marle tried to cast a spell, but before she could finish, Ibleess had grabbed her by the neck and lifted her off the ground.
"Say hello to Crono for me in the afterlife. And tell him that this was fun while it lasted. Goodbye Marle," he said cruelly as he crushed her neck like a twig. He dropped her lifeless body on the ground, then kicked it away.
"No! That cant be!" I whispered, the lump in my throat preventing any further comments.
"I think youve seen enough," Tsern said, suddenly appearing at my side.
"No! I cant she cant we," I tried to speak, but my brain couldnt form any sentences. The ray of light dimmed, and with it, all hope.
"Lets go!" Tsern shouted this time. I ignored him and tried to run to Marle, but I couldnt make it past the still functioning barrier.
"No. This cant be," I mumbled.
"Lets go. Theres nothing else to see," Tsern said as he grabbed my arm and dragged me away. I turned my head to look at Marle again. Before the light vanished completely, and right when Tsern waved us away, I thought I saw Marle get up, accompanied by three other figures. I couldnt be sure at all, but the vision re-lit a small spark of hope that I guarded preciously. The glimmer of hope seemed to vanish, however, as the bleakness of Tserns room replaced the blackness.
"Now, give me the artifacts," Tsern commanded. His voice resounded off the walls and the ceiling. It shook the world with its authority. There was no hope. The only people who could help me were dimensions away. And suddenly, I remembered Ramuh.
"No. Remember that the future can change like a weathervane in the wind." I heard Ramuhs voice and hesitated.
"Well? What are you waiting for?"
"No. Never. Ive survived against impossible odds before. Fate might be against me, but that doesnt mean Ill lose," I said. I fanned the spark of hope. Without it, I was nothing.
"Amazing. You know youre doomed, and yet you Dare fight on. I guess thats what being human is. A pity that being human also means being pitifully irrational."
I could hear the capitalization in the word. I knew he meant far more than challenging him; he meant do I dare fight fate and my destiny.
"Of course I Dare. Its also human not to give in to adversity." My eyelids narrowed into slits.
"Then prepare yourself Crono. This time, you die for real, and no amount of effort will be able to bring you back "
* * *
"Beboop beboop beboop beboopbeboopbeboopbeboopbeboop."
"Oh my God! Nurse! Come quickly! We might have a problem here," Lucca shouted.
"Whats going on?" The nurse asked.
"Cronos hear rate. Its increasing rapidly!"
"It must be a dream. Dont worry. If it doesnt taper off in a few minutes, call me," The nurse said reassuringly.
"I dont think its a dream. But what can I do?" Lucca thought. She looked at Crono with affection. "Please dont die on me now " She thought again. "I wouldnt dare think of a world without you "
Chrono Trigger Fanfic