Chrono Trigger: Dare Chapter 3
The world slid back into existence in parts, first the sound of nothingness and the feeling of pain and discomfort, and then the shapeless colors of the inside of the Epoch. Finally, when my eyesight had returned to normal, I deemed it safe to stand up, which is when I discovered my headache. The cliché pounding like a drum would not do it justice. It felt more like my head had been beaten with a meat tenderizer for hours while inside a badly echoing room, then stuffed into a cannon and fired into a cement wall. I rubbed my temples gently as I surveyed the wreckage. The inside of the Epoch was a mess. Metal plates had fallen off the walls, exposing some of the wiring. There were spiderweb cracks in the windshield, and some of the glass had actually fallen onto the control panel. Luckily though, the windshield was triple paned and built to last. I looked behind me and saw more wires falling out of panels. On the ground were the remains of the one pilots chair and the two passenger chairs. Behind the barely recognizable furniture, Marle and Lucca were strewn about the floor. They looked fine, but I would bet my house that they headaches similar to mine. I pulled a grayish-black plant out of my waist bag, careful to keep the shaking to an absolute bare minimum. My waist bag was where I stored any and all interesting objects I find, like a sweet smelling herb or a strange flower. I never know when the things I collect could be helpful. Ive found plants that actually restore vitality, as well as roots that, with simple preparations, effectively cauterized most wounds. The plant I held in my hand, a short, stubby plant, almost a mushroom, released spores that would wake a person up rather quickly. I looked at it disdainfully, then plucked off the roots, stuffing them in my bag. Since Lucca was closest, I held the plant near her nose and tapped its top lightly. Ive learned from experience that too many spores and the victim would lose his or her sense of smell for a good long time. So has Lucca. She woke quickly, sneezing violenty and cursing the day I had ever discovered the plant.
"Pepper weed. Works every time," I grinned.
"Must you? You know it makes everyone start coughing and sneezing like crazy."
"Yeah I know. How else do you think I can wake you up?"
Lucca only glared back at me.
"I'm going to wake Marle up. Not you, me!" Lucca growled.
Lucca walked over to Marle and shook her gently. Marle groaned in reply. Lucca shook her again, this time speaking her name softly. Marle groaned again. After several unsuccessful attempts, she grabbed the pepper weed indignantly from me and, with an icy, yet half smiling, glare in my direction, held it under my girlfriends nose.
"Uhhhh Crono? Wha-AAACHOOOO!" She sneezed loudly, paused, then fell into a fit of sneezing.
I waited until her sneezes stopped, and then I cut in before any of them could say anything.
"Right. Now that were awake and in control of our bodies, do either of you have any guesses as to what happened? And Lucca, can we fix the Epoch?" I asked.
"Sorry Crono. No ideas here," Marle answered.
"If I have the right tools, I can fix the Epoch. I might have some problems though ." Lucca trailed off, beginning to mumble to herself again.
"We might as well go outside. Isn't it getting hot in here?" Marle asked.
I looked around the cockpit and noticed several fires starting from the exposed wiring. Lucca shook her head sadly; this was only another thing shed have to fix.
"Marle, I believe this is your area of expertise," I told her, then stepped out of the way.
Marle pointed towards the fires and cast ice. A chill fell over the room as ice crystals formed all over the controls and froze the fire. She then reached under the paneling and found the familiar button that shut off power to the Epoch. She turned to look at me, then at Lucca, talking without saying a word. Strangely enough, although for us occurrences like these were commonplace, we all thought the same thing. We left the Epoch single file.
It was dark outside, with no moon or stars. The only light was coming from the cockpit in the Epoch. A chill wind blew my red, unruly hair into my eyes. I brushed it away disdainfully.
"Crono Lucca I dont like this place. It scares me." Marle shuddered.
I pulled her close, trying to comfort her. Lucca came closer to me as well. She and I had been friends ever since I could remember. The earliest memory I have is of being with Lucca; I think of her as my sister and I know her as my best friend.
"I know. Kinda reminds me of when we went to the future five years ago. I wouldnt be surprised if conditions are just as bad here," I surmised.
"Oh, I hope not. But, Im wondering something. Why do the domes here and the domes back in our former future look so similar?" Lucca asked.
I could see where she was coming from. In front of us were three massive glass domes, but on two of them the glass was smudged and covered in soot and ash. The glass on the third dome, the one nearest to us, was cracked, giving us a view of the bleak insides. I looked farther into the distance, and saw ruined skyscrapers and factories. Smoke was rising from one of the factories. It really looked like our future, before we changed it at least. The only thing different was that the weather here seemed less imposing. It wasnt the bone chilling cold of our former future, and it wasnt the warmth and comfort of our past and present. It was somewhere in between. There was a definite evil here, but also a prominent feeling of good.
"Well then, lets go explore the domes. Maybe someone will tell us where we are," I told them. "Or maybe well find a people whove lost the will to live," I added in my head.
"You two go ahead. Id like to make sure the Epochs still working," Lucca announced.
"How long do you think itll take?" I asked.
"Im guessing about an hour," she answered.
"Do you need any tools?" I asked.
"I have only the basic tools, but they ought to be enough. However, I still cant repair the fuel leak," she told us.
"You know, thinking about it, I think I have a solution," I offered. Out of my waistbag, I pulled out a small leather bag, no bigger than the first knuckle of my small finger. I handed it to Lucca.
"Inside are tiny leaves that if heated will make whatever they are on water-proof. I suppose theyd stop fuel from leaking."
Lucca looked at the leather bag for a second then pocketed it.
"Itll work," was all she said.
"All right. Cmon Marle, lets go see those domes."
We marched off into the distance, headed for the closest of the three domes. It was basically a city under glass, except that most of the glass was missing, the remainder was cracked in thousands of places. I gazed in awe and sadness as I approached the wreckage. Some buildings were still standing, only leaning towards one direction or another, while others had fallen, their remains still barely visible next to them, while still others looked as if large chunks of them had simply disappeared. Clouds of smog hung close to the ground, obstructing our vision of the seemingly barren landscape. Marle and I entered the dome from the one door that wasnt blocked up with rubble. Inside, the air was thick with carbon dioxide and the smell of blood, sweat, smoke, and the foul remnants of destruction. It was bleaker than what I had seen from the outside. For every one of the cleanly destroyed buildings I saw hundreds of black, smoking foundations where apartments and houses used to be. Lost in my thoughts, I wandered near one and tripped over something that felt like a gigantic, albeit slightly mushy potato. I reached down into the choking smoke and pulled up a human body, a teenager no older than me. His eyes and face had rotted away, as well as some of his chest and arms. In disgust, I quickly dropped the cadaver and shuddered uncontrolably. It reminded me too much of Lavoss attack on our former future. It was familiar. Too familiar
"Marle! I think I know what happened here," I said with great restraint.
Marle sauntered over and gasped when I, with great reluctance and digust fished the body back out of the smoke. I dropped the body again and wiped my hands on my pants.
"Remind you of what happened back ," I asked.
"In the future? Yeah. Ive got this feeling that Lavos is connected somehow," she interrupted me.
"Me too. The damage here looks too closely related to the one back then." I said.
Marle looked scared and jittery. The memories were just too intense. The thought of Lavos infecting this planet too was just more than she or I could bear. I looked around nervously, and noticed a small house that was only half burned, and not badly at that. I sauntered over to it, wondering what had spared it from the flames that had obviously engulfed this place. Suddenly, I heard muffled shouting from inside, then a harsh unforgiving laugh. Marle heard it too, and came running over. At the same instant, the earth started rumbling, not a shaking like an earthquake, but a slow rumble, as if the earth was a hungry stomache. I looked behind me in search of the source, and, finding none, I turned back to see a giant before me.
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