Dark Winds Chapter 6
The Storm Breaks
The doors opened with a heavy fwoosh, the musty scent of mildew and rot catching Janus' nose the moment the Gholem dragged him into the throne room. Janus had to fight his senses, believing his eyes to be deceiving him. Once thick, the long red carpet was worn thin by time, mildew and the tread of too many feet. Yet he knew it as well as he knew his own boots. He knew it would lead down the length of the throne room, ending at the stairs before a small dias, before the throne. The dias was held back in shadows, revealing only the shadowy figures sitting atop the gilded seat.
This was his throne room.
The mysterious figure, his tormenter, his captor, sat in silence, only a slender, delicate hand showing in the light to briefly dismiss the Gholem. The doors shut behind him, puffing his cape out as the air stirred around him. "Who are you?" he asked, as at last the two were alone. Gods, how he wished he had his magicks!
"Ah, Magus, at last we have our reunion," the voice chuckled. The sound was familiar and his mind raced to mind it within the storage of his memory. "Oh come now, surely you remember me... oh tell me you haven't forgotten me, my dear old friend."
The figure rose from the throne, stepping slowly into the light. The shadows melted away, revealing none other then his old lieutenant, Flea, yet she was changed, aged past the beautiful prime she kept herself in. A long scar dripped down the side of her face, forever marring the perfect features. Vaguely, Janus smirked wryly. Her petty preening had always annoyed him. How fitting it was to see her like this, her powers were obviously lacking if she no longer possessed the ability to keep herself youthful.
"Flea, my goodness, how long it's been. My, where has the time gone," he chuckled lightly before continuing, "Do tell, whatever happened to your face?"
Turning nearly purple with chagrin, Flea grit her teeth, her fists clenching. Janus' eyes popped open in surprise as an unseen hand closed around his throat, nearly choking the air from him in a heartbeat. An impentrable force lowered him to his knees. Struggling for breath, he glared at Flea darkly.
"That, my dear Magus, will teach you your place. Stripped of your powers, you are nothing, do you hear me, nothing!" she shook her fist at him in rage before turning to pace back and forth in front of him. He felt the hands around his throat lift, at last allowing him to draw in air.
Silently the minutes passed, Flea no more then pacing in aggitation. Finally she turned, grinning, "Well, Magus, I had thought there would be something more to this... but it does appear that I was wrong. It's time for you to die now. It's too bad really, you, we, could have been so much more. But you gave it all up, for some petty human emotions... now my dear... this won't hurt... much."
Crono hadn't expected to see Delora again, especially not so soon. Her appearance startled him, simply walking through the dungeon wall as if it were no more then an illusion. She placed a finger to her lips, quieting him before he could ask anything of her. Holding out her hand, she dangled a key ring and pointed to his cuffs. Lifting his hands, she unlocked the shackles, letting them drop to the dirt floor.
"Quiet," she whispered, "The guards aren't aware of me. This all counts on surprise. Now, if you wish your friend Magus to live, you will do exactly as I say."
Crono nodded in agreement, rising to his feet, testing his legs and arms tentatively. Turning, she tapped the wall twice with her finger and a portal opened before them both. She gestured for him to follow and immediately disappeared into the hole, the blackness swallowing her whole. Crono swallowed and closed his eyes, stepping in, trusting Delora. There was a faint moment of dizziness, of surreality, of unreality, and then his feet were again on solid ground. Opening his eyes, he realized he and Delora were on a small dias that held a single throne. Down below, Janus sat on his knees, the look of anger and utter humiliation painfully apparent on the arrogant man's face. The figure before him seemed familiar, yet it wasn't until she turned to regard the two that he actually remembered her. Flea!
Eyes narrowing, Flea snarled at the two, "Delora... how dare you! I who raised you! I who cared for you! You dare to betray me?"
"You never loved me," came Delora's darkly calm response. "I was nothing more then a tool of revenge for you."
Flea whirled around, "Then prepare to die, child, and everyone dear to you with it!" Flicking her arm backwards, Janus suddenly jerked painfully, his body spasming. Everything seemed to go into slow motion, Delora's cry of anguish echoing on forever as Crono drew his sword with surreal slowness. Janus crumpled to the ground, blood pooling around his body, the viscous liquid crimson against the gray stone.
And then the world exploded.
(To be continued...)
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