Shadow Temple of Zeal Chapter 1
Magus sighed as he looked out over the swamp. Why did he rejoin these children in their petty trip through time? The time, as close as any of them could tell, was 2076 AD. However, since Lavos was destroyed, this time was peaceful and green. Except this large swamp, situated near the base of what was once Mount Woe. Magus rested his folded arms on the banister and sighed. What did he have to do with this useless plot of swamp? Why did Lucca and Princess Nadia feel such a drive to fix this small problem of the future? He remembered back to his childhood... back to when he was not Magus, but Janus of Zeal. He could almost smell the flowers of his home, and sense his loyal cat behind him. He was lost in such nostalgia when Marle approached.
"Hi, Magus! Lucca's almost finished with the Epoch, we should be able to go and fix this mess soon!"
Magus snapped back to real life. For a second, he gnashed his teeth at the girl's high-pitched, peppy voice. Putting on a more passive face, he turned to greet her. "What do you want, Princess?"
"I've told you not to call me that, Magus. You just looked bored here. I wanted to let you know that soon we can leave!" She smiled happily.
Magus snorted. "Why? So we can go and meddle with the past? To try and make this place some shining Utopia? The world will always have some problems, Princess. That is a rule of life." He was in a meditative mood, and she wasn't helping. Why must these idiots continue to speak to him? The only reason he ever came with them in the first place was to help to defeat Lavos. He had hoped that this would have prevented Queen Zeal from going mad, and perhaps his sister...
"Magus! Stop calling me princess! I know your life has been hard, but you have many years left, so make the best of it! I'm tired of your sullen moods and depressing talk!" She furrowed her brows at the surprised Magus. He hadn't heard her so angry in quite some time... not since Crono had been killed at the Ocean Palace.
Magus regained his composure. "I... apologize. I was... deep in thought and you came and interrupted me. I am glad that we may soon leave. This swamp is too... mundane." He shuddered as his thoughts returned to the dirty cave of the Earthbound swine under Zeal. He had never grown to like non-magical humans. He noticed Marle's face soften as he spoke, she was not quick to anger, and held no grudges. She nodded quietly and left.
He was free to return to his thoughts. Staring out over the water, he closed his eyes, remembering how the world was before the disaster. Before Lavos...
"Janus... Janus, wake up!" Shala gently shook her brother's shoulder. She smiled as his only true friend, his cat Alfador, yawned widely and walked off of Janus's stirring feet. He began to clean himself. "Janus, you know how mother gets when we miss our magic schooling." She sighed and clutched at her pendant. :Mother has been acting so strangely recently... I hope that it is just a short phase...: she thought. The idea disturbed her, she shook it out of her mind. Janus was sitting on the bed. He blinked at her.
"Shala? It's too early for Magic. You know how I hate that class. Let them teach it to the Earthbound, they know more of it than me."
She playfully punched his shoulder. "Oh, Janus, don't play so! The Earthbound have no magic, you at least have some... granted, you should have more by now..." She attempted to smile. "However, you know that no one thinks less of you for it." This was a lie. She knew that several of the Enlightened scorned Janus for his lack of skill with the magical arts. Other children his age had wonderfully developing skills, able to conjure up Nu's and promptly recreate any weather as they wanted. Janus had only the most base skills, small flames, light electricity, hardly any ability to cast anything even close to beneficial. She sighed.
"You will learn, Janus. You are just a late bloomer; I'm sure that you will be just as powerful as anyone..." She stopped mid-word as Janus shuddered violently. "A-Are you okay, Janus?"
"I felt wind... But how? There is no wind inside this palace. It felt... dark..." Shala had noticed this before... it was a bad omen. Suddenly, she heard a fanfare. A maid rushed into the room.
"Janus! Shala! Queen Zeal requests your presence int the throne room. A... um... Prophet has arrived, and has foretold something disturbing. You must hurry... you know she doesn't like to be kept waiting." The maid turned and left.
"Prophets? Mother must be losing her mind to accept such vagabonds into her presence. Come, Janus, we must depart..."
Magus snapped back to reality. He looked up the curved surface of the Epoch. Lucca was waving him over. "We have to leave now, Magus! The cause of this swamp has been found to have originated in 2032... Come on!" Lucca turned back to the controls.
Magus sighed again. Wistfully looked back across the swamp, his mind full of regrets. He then shook the past out of his mind, and prepared to travel again to an uncertain destiny. Why had he ever joined these children?
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