Things Left Undone Book 3, Chapter 2

A Small Matter of Sacrifice

By CuteLucca

They were escorted back to the main chamber that they were in originally. The room was not dimly lit with only a few torches, as before, but was blinding to be in because of the large blue-hot bonfire in the middle of the room. The walls, which they only now realized were made of solid diamond, reflected the light and bounced it into the farthest, darkest corners. The whole mountain was aglow with cold blue light.

The four stone slabs that they were strapped to before were gone, in their place was a large chair. Seated in this chair was a red-robed Karandian. The two yellow-robed Karandians sat on the floor to his right and left. Crono, Marle, Ayla and Glenn were dragged to stand in between the fire and the throne, facing the three robed Karandians.

The red robe removed his hood, and glared at the four companions. His face was deformed. His head was lacking the thick stringy hair that the other Karandians had in abundance, and one glaring yellow eye was swollen closed. The strangest thing of all, though, was his skin. While the other Karandians had shiny black skin, his was a dark, drab green. "Does my appearance shock you?" His voice was deep, soft, and melodious.

"Please tell us what we have done to arouse thy anger." Glenn said, firmly and steadily.

The red-robe looked at him with a sardonic glint in his eyes. "I know full well that you know nothing of your coming to be here. I also know that you don't remember the last few days, and I know many other things about you. Crono, why do you not get along with your lovely wife?"

Crono's jaw dropped. "How... What... I..." He glanced at Marle. She looked just as surprised as Crono did.

"I can read your minds, you fools. That's how I know. I have traced your childhoods, adolescence, and teenage years. Ayla, you have a lovely son. I hope you are able to rescue him from Pharos. And Glenn, I have seen that you secretly long to return home and start a family. You are angry at being thrown into another adventure. But Marle... You love Crono, don't you?"

Marle nodded slightly.

"Yes, you do. But you are angry at Crono because he is too restless. You want him to relax and not get himself killed."

Marle was silent, and she looked away from the intruding red-robe. The red-robe turned to face Crono and smiled. Crono glared back.

The red-robe laughed, a sound not unlike wind whispering in the grass. "You love Marle, as well. You are restless, though, because you want adventure. You are one born and raised for adventure. You want to fight, challenge your wits. Wander and rescue people from evil. Therefore, you cannot find the will or desire to settle down. You want Marle to join you as you wander, but she stubbornly refuses. And that is the cause of your problems." The red-robe looked smugly at them, and crossed his olive-green hands over his chest.

Crono and Marle were silent, staring at the floor. Ayla was quietly sobbing, worrying about her husband and nine-month-old son. Glenn was mad. "How dare you probe into our personal thoughts! You good-for-nothing, pig-brained pus-leaking lout!!" He strained to get free of his Karandian guard, but he was held fast.

The red-robe laughed. "Wu-hell. Aren't we eager to die. You see, there's still the matter of your sacrifice. Trrankil does not like it if his sacrifices run away. You must be fed to the beast!! Yahgrem, fetch Rexus."

The Karandian named Yahgrem bowed to his red-robed superior, and jogged over to the dark niche in the far wall. He leaned around the corner into the cave, and whistled. Seconds later, he came jogging back, the gray fire-breathing beast that ate Marle in hot pursuit. Once he had gotten back to the place where everyone was, Yahgrem turned around and signaled to the beast. "Sit, Rexus." The beast sat.

Yahgrem bowed to the red-robe and returned to his place in the crowd.

Then, the red-robed Karandian stood up from his chair, apparently with some difficulty. He limped over to Rexus and with several suggestive gestures, told the beast to eat Crono, Marle, Ayla and Glenn. Their four Karandian guards released them, and went to join the crowd.

They were left alone in the arena-like cavern, with the bonfire blazing in the center. The crowd of Karandians stood cheering on the balcony above.

Rexus' six lumbering legs carried him around the four sacrifices, who stood huddled backs-together. The Karandians forgot to relieve them of their weapons, however, so all was not lost.

Rexus lunged at them and whipped out a long snaking tongue, which snared Glenn and brought him to the creature's mouth. Glenn did not hesitate to give the giant monster a jagged slice across its face with his Masamune. Rexus dropped Glenn to the ground, and he landed on his feet, running back to the others.

Rexus pawed at his wound with its elephantine front legs, and flapping its puny wings in despair, it let out a roar that shook the very mountain. With slitted eyes, it sprayed a white-hot jet of flame at its dinner.

Sensing that the fire was coming, the four rolled out of the way just in time to avoid burning to death, although more than one of them emerged with singed hair. Marle jumped to her feet, and loading the Valkyrie crossbow with one of its deadly silver bolts, she took aim and fired... The shot sunk deep into the skin of the creature's chest. It roared in pain, and she dashed out of the way just in time to avoid Rexus' snapping jaws.

Meanwhile, Ayla and Crono had paired up. Ayla, using her massive strength, lifted Crono into the air, and with a grunt, flung him straight at the offending beast. Crono flew by Rexus' face, and left a giant gash in his wake.

Ayla, attacking immediately after sending Crono into the air, ran to the creature's neck and sunk her teeth and fingernails in. Rexus roared, and shook his head. Ayla was dislodged and fell to the ground.

The four of them got together again, just in time to notice the jet of flame heading straight at them. Marle thought fast and used an Ice spell on the monster's flame, absorbing it. Then, harnessing all their strength, the four ran at Rexus, attacking as one. Finally, overcome by their ferocity, Rexus fell to the ground.

With a final slash from Crono's Rainbow sword, the beast exhaled in a shuddering gasp and died. A thin trickle of black monster blood reached the feet of the red-robed Karandian.

"You killed the blessed Trrankil's ambassador to Karandash!! Now I, Jas-chu, vow to kill you and send you to whatever hellish afterlife you believe in!!!" His eyes glowed red, and his olive-green hands glowed with power. His red robes billowed around him as would a sail in a storm.

Thinking it wise to get some energy back before fighting Jas-chu, who just now looked all-too formidable, the four victors beat a hasty retreat. They ran to the front door, which, until now, was blocked by Karandian guards, and barreling through it with Ayla's strength emerged into the outside world which they hadn't seen till' now. They weren't impressed.

They couldn't take too much time observing the scenery, being chased by angry cultists, but the ankle deep mud that made dreadful sucking noises with every step and threatened to separate boots from their owners coupled with the fact that the air made one's head swim and stomach churn made them aware enough that this wasn't a pleasant place. The greenish-black cloud cover shaded the land so they could barely see more than a hundred yards.

Ayla's yell "Dry ground here!!" brought their attention back to where they were going. Sure enough, dry-looking brown sand welcomed their mud-stained feet. Looking back, the glow of torches showed them that the nasty weather was not going to discourage their pursuers.

But, of course, at the moment, they had a bigger problem.

"Quicksand!!" Glenn yelled.

"What!?!" Crono looked down at his feet. Sure enough, the sand had buried him up to his calves. "Just... Just don't struggle!! We can find a way out of this!!"

Thirty seconds later, they were all buried up to their hips and had just about given up. Marle sighed. "All that trouble to get out of that place and now we're being buried alive!! Just great..."

The only thing that the Karandians saw when they arrived at the pit was a limp hand, disappearing into the drifting sand.


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