The Sweet Child of Heaven
Zeal, the queen of insanity, darted her eyes madly about the room as she stood upon the giant instrument of evil, known as the Mammon Machine. Blinded-so by rage, she had to scan the room thoroughly to find three people, who were directly in front of her. At finally sighting them all, she became angrier, and started to strain furious gasps through her teeth, sending a sharp hiss in all directions around her.
Her breath heavy; she vacuously sucked inward, sounding a swell of undigified fury. Then exhaling, a fiery demonic force of gale. The deep, loud, growling gasps she made echoed through her own head, drowing out any thoughts of civility she might have wished to consider. She bared her teeth as a wolf might, and heaved her bosom mightily.
In her tremoring breath, she managed to smile; like the Jackal.
Zeal's eyes then rolled upwards into her head as she cleanly uttered a three-word chant, conjuring a swirling bath of dirty orange smoke at the top of the towering room.
Her smile released, and her eyes fell down upon the crowd, along now, with a torrential rain of fire.
Two of the figures below, cowered in defense. Covering their heads before the red rain of fire had it's chance to touch them. But the third person, a little girl with shining blonde hair, fearlessly raised her arms and began to float upwards, becoming surrounded in an opalescent blue aura that reached out and covered the other two figures still on the ground.
The fire landed deftly on the shield of foggy blue light, and steam arose in swirling tendrils.
Several of Zeal's unwitting guards, however, were still in the room at the time, standing idly like the half-witted morons they were; not realising that magic, when released in a room, usually afflicts everything inside. They burst into flames like bundles of straw when the fire touched them... Screaming helplessly, they flopped around on the ground like suffocating fish, to contemplate their follies for not exiting earlier, until they died.
On the ground now, the three people who had survived, brought themselves together for a planned attack.
One, a slimy toad of a man, turned towards the enraged queen and addressed her, "Madam! Thou must give it up! I shall not harm a lady who doth surrender peaceably!"
The gentle blonde haired girl known as Marle placed her hand down onto the Frogman's shoulder after his chivalrous plea, "She's absolutely bonkers, Frog. She isn't going to listen to you."
The amphibious eyes on the creature squinted at the painful truth. "Fine." he croaked.
The third person in the group, a young man with chiseled musculature and excessive red hair, waved to the others for a moment, catching their attention. He pulled out his sword, stained red from participation in an almost constant rate of killing up to this point, and pointed to the queen.
Zeal, completely deaf and blind to their actions. Began to formulate another, more deadly spell in her mind. She crouched down in her postition on the machine and sharpened her already razor-like persona with a screamed threat.
"YOU WON'T TAKE IT FROM ME!! IT IS MINE!"
Though, this screaming was not so much screaming, as it was merely a crazed harpish exhalation of shrill sounds. The queen stood with a painfully angry face atop the Mammon Machine, as frothy lines of drool now hung from her clenched jaws.
But immediately following Zeal's proclamation of insanity; Schala, the sweet child of heaven, burst through the doors at the back of the chamber in a flowing flurry of soft blue hair. She ran clumsily toward the altar where the cursed machine of evil was resting.
She sought only to talk reason into that which was without.
"...Stop it mother!" Schala cried, her pleas landing on ears, deaf with rage.
"Mother! Please stop it now!" She cried again, tears began to lightly stream from the corners of her angelic eyes as she cringed, like a scared little girl, into the thick sleeves of her silken garment.
"..." Zeal's fangs of psycoticism retracted upon hearing her daughter's words, but simply long enough for Zeal to glare mercilessly upon Schala's frightened figure.
The Jackal came out of Zeal once again. She bared her teeth to the scared girl in some semblance of a smile, and then looked down upon Schala.
"You are not my daughter." She spoke loudly, clearly and with a venomous pride to the meek child.
Schala's eyes, wet and swollen with tears, opened wide, as her arms dropped limply to her sides. Her heart pounded with a choking sadness as silently, streams of warm tears poured down the sides of her face.
Schala's mother no longer existed, there was only the machine now.
Schala stood helplessly in the cold rain of emptiness as Zeal's eyebrows creased into the most hateful of bends. Zeal shot her hand outward, unleashing a drilling blast of lightning and fire at her forgotten daughter, Schala could only stand and cry softly as the giant bolt of energy forced it's way through the air toward her.
"Mother...." Schala whispered from a throat choked with tears.
Then, in a flash of yellow light, Ayla, the cavewoman companion to the group of adventurers, dropped in from the ceiling, and knocked Schala out of the way of the destructive force. then glancing nimbly out of the way of the speeding wave of death mere seconds before it struck the ground Schala and she had previously occupied. The impact of the magic with the ground left a smoldering, charred crater. Ayla sighed in relief.
Schala slowly pushed herself up from the ground in waning tears. Only to see that Crono and Frog had already taken off from their positions to attack the queen and her giant machine.
"No!" Schala hoarsely cried as she stumbled forward a few feet.
"Don't kill her!" Schala tripped on her own dress and fell to her knees in a new fit of sobbing.
"She doesn't know what she's doing...
....It's the machine..."
This did not stop either Crono or Frog, however. Frog raised his massive Masamune blade up and leapt high, toward the queen standing atop the Mammon Machine, while Crono dropped his bloody sword entirely, and instead removed the shining ruby dagger from his belt. The wiseman, Melchior had given him the dagger in knowledge that it was the only weapon capable of actually destroying the Mammon Machine.
While paying attention to Schala, Zeal had neglected to note the attacker's advance, and she was struck in the side by the flat of Frog's blade.
Zeal fell sideways off of the giant machine, landing with a magic-softened 'thud' on the hard ground below. And at the second she fell, Crono jumped high into the air, raising the small jewel dagger above his head. Then coming down on top of the Mammon Machine with bone breaking force as he jammed the dagger into the head of the giant golden structure of evil.
"NO!" Zeal screamed and pointed at Crono from her position on the floor. "YOU... YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE THAT!" Her voice echoed off of the walls in triplicate, as to match her furious maniacal rage. She levitated herself up to standing position, and stood, stock-still in front of her machine. With shown-fangs, bleeding at the gums from mandible compression, she shot a glare of pure odium at Crono, who held fast to the dagger buried in the head of the machine.
"I... will KILL you.... for that..." Zeal spoke in between shallow, angry gasps escaping prodigally from her lungs.
In the meantime, lightning had begun to course from the wound in the head of the Mammon Machine. Crono attempted to release the handle of the blade once he had successfully inserted it, but found his hands stuck-fast to the hilt of the small, inconspicuous weapon. He grit his teeth and tried to separate his hands from the dagger handle again, only to obtain a sickening dose of black energy from the heart of the machine. He cringed in chills as the machine began to slow down it's evil production, and speed up it's chaotic rattling of self-destruction.
Ayla had then already jumped on top of the machine to help Crono with her simian strength. her hands clasped around Crono's wrists as both he and she attempted to pull free.
The knife's blade finally separated from the hilt with a glassy snap. Sending Crono and Ayla flying backwards away from the machine, which was now rumbling out of control. Ayla landed perfectly on her feet, while Crono landed flat on his back and slid, hitting his head on the ground several times and compressing his ribcage with a few painful cracks. The impact of the fall also jarred Crono's bound hands open, as unbelievably enough, the hilt of the dagger fell idly to the floor. He sat up, rubbing his head, and gazed, puzzledly at his hands, but for only a second. He then stood up and turned his attention to the machine once again.
The shining hatred shook uncontrollably for several minutes, firing a spray of green sparks and white-hot electric death in all directions, causing the adventurers to back away quickly. The machine then began to emit a horrible, high-pitched whining scream, that caused everyone in the room to cover their ears, save Zeal, who was walking, mesmerized, toward the machine in a motherly manner. The machine began to glow red with magical unrest as Zeal neared it; eyes wide like a child's. Everyone in the room contemplated grabbing Zeal to keep her from killing herself, if she weren't already too close to the machine to be helped. At the end of several slow, hovering steps, Zeal reached a youthful and fearless hand out to touch the base of the giant mechanical beast. Zeal's hand reached further and made contact with the machine, stopping it's shaking and wailing instantaneously. In the infinite silence that held afterward, Zeal's hand began to gently and slowly caress the shining plates of the beautifully constructed evil.
She stood in silence, whispering motherly phrases of love to her new child.
"It will all be okay soon, master..."
"Is it dead?" Marle asked meekly after a silent minute had passed, brushing back a strand of golden hair from her face.
As if on-cue from the virgin innocent's comment, the Mammon Machine shook one last gout of violent tremor, and then began to torse and twist in almost lifelike strain at the solid-gold fittings that adorned it. The red and dark-green stone that formed everywhere the gold was not, began to crack and powder as the entire machine itself looked to be in mortal agony, as if it were possibly trying to get up and run away from it's pain.
"Master?" Zeal questioned, "Master... please stay calm..."
The Mammon Machine, however, did not see things Zeal's way, and with one mighty heave, knocked the queen down like a domino. At the second Zeal fell, a giant bolt of darkness was shot from the top of the Mammon Machine, punching a hole in the chamber ceiling, and shooting a shockwave through the supports that laced the ceiling and walls of the room. The shockwave damaged several of these supports heavily, causing them to now jaggedly crumble on their own. The entire room began to quake.
Schala, dragging her face upward to look at the spectacle, stifled her tears and forced herself to grow strong within. She stood erectly and yelled a warning to the adventurers in the room.
"Run! You must all leave now!"
Schala then began to run forward, slowly under the bulk of her weighty garments, to reach her mother, who was spilled-over backwards by the base of the unruly Mammon Machine, quite unconscious. Crono and Marle approached from behind, careful of the swinging mechanical nightmare, offering to help.
Schala looked behind herself and addressed the two youth softly, "I... cannot leave my mother... She still has good inside... I can see it within her..." She turned around again, and scooped her mother's sleeping head into her arms, cradling it gently.
Crono took a step forward in protest, aiming to grab Schala and drag her out with them against her will, but Marle stayed him with a gentle hand and a glance of purpose. Crono's advance halted, and he and Marle then backed up in unison to gather the rest of their comrades.
Schala sat at the base of the monstrosity of hatred, and wept softly for her mother.
"Crono, we go. NOW." Ayla pulled the distracted Crono away from his hapless watching of Schala and her "reasoning to stay behind." Crono looked away from Schala only when a horrible tremor shook the entire chamber, spilling a few small chunks of rock down from the distant ceiling. With a salute of good-luck, Crono followed his friends out the door, leaving the chamber empty now, except for the machine, Schala, and Zeal.
Zeal began to stir out of unconsciousness. As Zeal woke, Schala's eyes brightened, "Mother! Mother, are you okay?"
"Schala..." Zeal mumbled semi-coherently.
"Yes mother! It's me! Schala!" Schala happily chimed back to her mother.
"Schala?" Her mother asked, now fully aware of her surroundings. "Schala? Is that you?"
"It is!" Schala whispered sweetly. A silent moment of calm passed over the two.
"...That is good." Zeal said plainly, breaking the silence.
"What?" Schala's eyes widened a little in question. Zeal sat straight up, and placed a hand on her daughter's shoulder. Turning her head to look at Schala, Zeal spoke two words...
Zeal, at that second, conjured a magical force that kicked Schala backwards, sending her sliding across the floor of the chamber.
"Mother!?" Schala scrambled to her feet as quickly as she stopped sliding.
Schala looked in confusion to her mother, only to meet with a pair of eyes, narrowed down and glazed over in snide hatred. All of the sounds of the collapsing fortress around Schala and Zeal, ceased to be heard as an instance of dead silence drew between the two.
"I have no daughter." Zeal spoke, as plainly and honestly as the day itself.
Zeal held a hand up, and in one heartbreaking instant, disappeared.
Schala's heart stopped beating entirely. Tears streamed at full force from her eyes, she let out a gasping cry of anguish as she slunk down to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably.
"....Mother.." She squeaked, her face sore from crying.
She dropped her head down limply, and gasped in a crying spasm, as she stared at the floor of the chamber through eyes clouded with tears. The tears fell down from her eyes and pooled on the ground. Which was now shaking in near mortal agony. On that groud, the Mammon Machine stood. Proudly crumbling, now revealing something other than what it was.
And the rooms, the halls, the entire palace now crumbled in terminal measure; giant boulders fell from everywhere and crushed the residents at random, as support pillars collapsed and sprays of sharp rocks and shattered glass exploded from the walls and windows; shredding the flesh of those unlucky enough to be caught in the way. The superstructure of the palace breached, sending in countless gallons of freezing seawater, immersing both the halls already filled with bodies, and the halls with the living still residing. This palace, a center of power for the Zealians, would now become nothing more than a tomb.
And in that tomb; Schala, the scared, sweet little child of heaven, cried for her mother.