The Children Of Zeal Chapter Four
The Kingdom of Zahl
By Froborr d'Wiggy
Chapter Four Characters:
Crono: Level **
Weapon: Rainbow Sword
Head: Safe Helm
Body: Moon Armor
Accessory: Frenzy Band
Lucca: Level **
Weapon: Wonder Shot
Head: Safe Helm
Body: Prism Dress
Accessory: Gold Stud
Marle: Level **
Head: Safe Helm
Body: Prism Dress
Robo: Level **
Weapon: Peta Fist
Head: Safe Helm
Body: Moon Armor
Accessory: Repair Unit
Lucent: Level 23
Weapon A: Fists
Weapon B: Burst Rifle
Weapon C: Chain Sword
Head: Guardia Helm
Body: Nova Armor
Guardia: Level 21
Head: Lode Helm
Body: Lumin Robe
Ayla: Level **
Weapon: Bronze Fist
Head: Safe Helm
Body: Prism Dress
Accessory: Frenzy Band
Crono! whispered Marle fiercely. Wake up, Crono!
He stood and shook his head, trying to clear it. He was standing in a small pool of light, together with Marle and Lucca, surrounded by pitch black. He looked around, trying to see anything, but other than him and the girls, there was nothingnot even ground.
Where are we? asked Lucca.
The beginning welcome
They jumped. Whos there? demanded Marle.
The voice smiledthey could tell that, somehowand said, I am Gaia I am she who protects your world I will have helped you long ago, in your battle with Lavos And at other times
Are you The Entity? asked Marle.
Yes, you could call me that Ahh. It begins
A star swam into view, very near, almost blinding them. Although there was no feeling of motion, it rapidly grew larger, but no brighter. Then, their view seemed to rotate, and a planet appeared.
Hey! said Lucca. That looks like the world in Aylas time!
Earlier this is the beginning What looked like a massive, swirling Gate appeared, and an enormous ship dropped out. That is the timeship its builders come from another Earth, one very advanced in science they long ago reached a population larger than they could support, and attempted to colonize other stars When that failed, they built the timeships, to travel between alternate realities and find uninhabited Earths and colonize them when the timeship reached here, it had been travelling for long years, and many of the colonists aboard were tired and bored the crew, however, had been born on previous voyages, and had no desire for worlds When they discovered yet another already-inhabited world, this one by the Reptites, the colonists rebelled, killed the crew, and took over the ship but in the process, they destroyed its computer, an advanced machine built in quantum crystal the Dreamstones you know of were part of that machine, and its ability to manipulate space and time is still partially contained in them Without its knowledge, the colonists crashed on your Earth, and were unable to build a civilization they were your ancestors
And the reason Ayla is so primitive is because her ancestors couldnt figure out science without the computers help! cut in Lucca, catching.
Yes however, the computer was not entirely destroyed some of its consciousness survived, integrated into the Earth itself That is I a piece of the great computer translated into a place outside Time my purpose is to guide the colonists descendants until they are advanced enough to rebuild the timeship, so that I may complete my mission, and return home I nearly succeeded with the Floating Kingdom over sixty-four million years of work would have paid off in only another ten thousand years but Lavos and Zeal destroyed the kingdom, and set humanity back by millennia From that point onwards, I worked to destroy Lavos Although I am worried about the events in your time, I am nonetheless glad you found a Gate I needed to speak with you
Why? asked Marle. Whats happening?
There is a being his name is Janala, and he used to work for Lavos He was the one who originally corrupted both Zeal and Janus, turning their hearts towards evil even as he played them against each other He used them to destroy Lavos and Zeal, freeing the Twistor in the process
Whats that? asked Lucca.
The Twistor is a primitive sort of timeship, a kind of super-Gate It allows travel between alternate realities Janala seeks to use it to conquer as much of the multiverse as he can He and Janus are now allied to destroy me and rebuild the timeship themselves
The Magus evil? asked Marle. But he joined us!
Yes a brilliant ploy He realized he was too weak to destroy Lavos and establish himself as the greatest evil force in the world So he befriended the heroes trying to destroy Lavos He and Janala have now kidnapped Schala, and as we speak, are leading your friend Glenn into a trap But you have more urgent matters to attend to a great evil is amassing in your deep past You must stop it, and the Masters
What? Who are Marle gasped as she felt herself sucked away by a forming Gate. Dimly, she sensed Crono and Lucca being pulled in with her, and thendarkness.
Where could they be? demanded Lucent as the Epoch hurled itself through time. Crono, Lucca, Frog, Marle every one of them is missing, presumed dead! What could have happened?
I do not know, said Robo. It has become clear that something is happening that effects all times. I suggest that we attempt to locate Ayla. After that If shes also gone, we shall have to proceed alone.
Guardia poked her head out from the door at the back of the Epoch, from the sections that were bigger inside than out. This place is great! she said. Ive been wandering around back there for nearly an hour, and I still havent seen most of it Ive never heard of ANYTHING bigger on the inside than the outside. How did that Guru guy DO this?
Robos long, complicated, and incomprehensible answer was interrupted when the Epoch exploded out of nontime into the air above Earth, circa 65,000,000 BC. Thick stormclouds hung over much of the world, and steady snow fell in all the higher altitudes. What few forests were left had been taken over by hardy winter trees, like oaks and elms, instead of the tropical growths Robo remembered. Everywhere, there were signs of massive diebacks, and far in the north and south, the icecaps were beginning to advance.
Lucent let out a long, slow whistle. What could do this? he asked.
Lavos, said Guardia, in a distant, strained voice. Her eyes were nearly closed, and her face had turned white. Her red hair was decidedly paler than usual, and her lips were compressed to a thin white line. Dont you feel it? Lavos sleeps beneath is, while the destruction he wrecked slowly destroys the Earth She nearly collapsed into the third control chair.
Guardia? asked Lucent. Are you okay?
Her eyes fluttered weakly. Give give me a moment, all right I just need to adjust it caught me by surprise. She paused a moment. Hey! What are you staring at?
I was trying to see if you were okay! snapped Lucent. But I guess its too much to expect gratitude from a little twerp like youespecially from out of prehistory!
Hey! Id like to see your technofreaks build a floating continent, huh? And at least we were at peace!
One, youre not from Zeal, remember? Youre from Truce. Two, at least we dont keep slaves or second-class citizens!
Were here, interrupted Robo, bringing the Epoch in for a landing over Ioka village. Do you think you can get along well enough to both come along, this time?
Still casting poisonous looks at each other, the two came stepped out of the Epoch with Robo and headed for Aylas hut. Surprisingly, she was actually there, and stepped out to greet them.
Raw-boot! Who friends?
Greetings, Mistress Ayla. These are my friends, Lucent and Guardia. How are you doing?
Lucent look strong! Guardia look strong! They race?
Im afraid not, Mistress Ayla. We lack the time.
Oh. Ayla good, chief Ioka, and Kino help. Ayla Kino have baby many months ago. Name Zayla, because me no forget what Azala do. Kino gone now, finding food for tribe. Ioka hunting bad after Lavos fall.
Lucent and Guardia spent a moment puzzling out what Ayla had said. A baby! said Guardia. Great! Can I see her?
Okay, said Ayla. Zayla, come!
What is it, Mother? asked a voice from inside, startling all three of the timetravellers.
Friend Raw-boot here! Friends of Raw-boot, Lucent, Guardia! Welcome friends, Zayla!
Oh, all right Im coming. A girl of about fifteen stepped from behind the hut. She looked a lot like Aylathe same thick, luxurious hair and strong-boned face. However, she was nowhere near as muscularin fact, she was a little skinnyand dressed differently. Like Ayla, she was wearing animal furs, but hers were cut in the style that the subjects of Zeal would later wear. Most shocking of all was her hair, and its pale-blue color.
When you said a baby, I thought you meant how old is Zayla? asked Guardia
Im two, answered the girl. And my friends call me Zahl.
Youre two? gasped Lucent. How
Am I this mature? Funny Id expect people from the future to be smarter. You notice that, but ignore the fact that I have a fully developed vocabulary and grammar foolish. Both are for the same reason, of course. When I was two months old, I accidentally swallowed a Dreamstone. Afterwards, I began developing at a highly accelerated rate, which in the last few days has leveled off to slightly slower than normal. In addition, I have gained a great deal of knowledge, through increased insight, logic, and intuition."
"Uhmm... okay," said Lucent. "I'll take your word for it."
"How very fascinating," said Robo. "If you don't mind my asking-"
"The answers to your questions are, 'No,' 'no,' 'yes,' and 'absolutely NOT,'" said Zahl. "And I'm afraid I don't have time for this--I have a meeting to attend to."
Ayla watched, seemingly troubled, as Zahl walked off.
"What about Kino?" asked Robo, then wished he hadn't, when he saw the look on Ayla's face.
Crono, Marle, and Lucca stepped out in a clearing in the midst of a forest. "Where are we?" asked Marle.
"I don'tlook, a Kilwala! We must be in Ayla's time."
Crono drew his sword, looking around warily. Marle and Lucca looked at him, trying to figure out what had made him nervous--then they heard it. A distant, mad giggling noise, almost inaudible, accompanied by a measured, multiple thump, as if an army of giants were approaching. As it grew closer, they began to hear the crashing of massive legs moving through the trees, and heavy breathing noises, accompanied by more giggling, and what sounded like snatches of delirious song.
"What IS that?" asked Marle.
"I don't know," said Lucca. "But I think we'd better hide."
The group rapidly concealed themselves in the brush at the edge of the clearing. Five or six smaller versions of the Black Tyrano staggered into view, obviously exhausted, being herded by a dozen emaciated Reptites. Hovering above the group, seemingly unnoticed by them, was a strange figure wrapped in multicolored neon robes, so that all that was visible of him was his face and hands. His hands were gnarled and grasping, the fingers with two or three heavy rings each. The face was wide-eyed and pinched, with a look in the eyes that suggested total, bloodthirsty madness. Oddly, no-one in the group seemed to acknowledge the figures existence, despite his loud singing.
As the group lumbered past, one of the Little Tyranos collapsed, crushing a Reptite beneath it. The others struggled to help it, but it swiftly died, and the others moved on.
When their lumbering had faded into the distance, Lucca stepped out. Weird, she said. No scavengers have showed up yet. And all the vegetation around here looks pretty sick I think the Ice Age is going to cause a pretty major die-off. At least now we know why there are no Reptites after this.
Yeah, said Marle. This is all kind of creepy
Yes, it is, isnt it? said a high-pitched, nervous voice behind them. They turned in surprise, to see a smile hanging in the air.
Huh? said Lucca.
Im Psychosis, a voice from in the clearing said. Im the Master of Madness The man who had been singing earlier giggled. Its very interesting that you can see me. I guess you must be those people Mommy warned us about, those annoying time travellers. I guess Ill be dealing with you, now He giggled again, and Marle gasped.
She woke up with a start. She was lying in a small bed, in a rough tent. Her face was streaked and dirty, and she remembered some sort of nightmare, something about Crono dyingthen she remembered. Crono she whispered. Lucca stirred in the other bed.
Marle felt a strange sense of déjà vu as an old man walked in carrying her pendant. He said something, she wasnt really listening, and then gave her the pendant. My pendant the one Crono said he would hold for me It was at that moment that it struck her, that Crono was really gone.
I just assumed that the Reptites wouldnt be a threat, anymore. With their cold blood, they cant possibly survive the Ice Age but I guess theyll probably hold on at least another generation. So you say Kino went into the Reptite Lair? asked Robo.
Kino gone long time! He not come back, maybe ever He go find out who new Reptites leader is, answered Ayla.
Hmm said Lucent. I think wed better go after him.
It took a few minutes for the team to get ready, and then they headed off towards the Reptite Lair. They passed through the forest with ease, Robo and Ayla beating off any animals that got too close. Within a half an hour, they were at the mountain of the Lair, and even Robos sensing equipment could no longer pick up the goings-on at Ioka Village.
Muse? asked Zahl. Are they gone?
Yes, mistress, responded a voice from the air. It is time
Zahl smiled to herself. Get the others. We move in an hour. Within a few minutes, a knot of about thirty children, teens, and younger adults had formed in the village meeting square, all waiting to hear Zahls words. Most of them had blue or bluish hair, most of those dressing like Zahl. And all of the assembled watchers had Dreamstones, in primitive jewelry or just held clutched in their hands.
Friends, said Zahl, smiling, the time is finally upon us. The Age of Man could begin, if we would but embrace the changes it entails but our leaders lack the intelligence to see this. The power of the Dreamstones can alter us, give us the intelligence we need to build machines even greater than those of the Reptites but the village elders do not understand this. They refuse to see the change that is coming but now, all that will change. Kino has been gone for weeks, and now Ayla has left as well. The village, for the time being, is leaderless. Now is the time to strike, and take our rightful place as rulers of the village. Brute strength and tradition will no longer stand against our intellect and power! Today, Ioka will be ours. And tomorrow we shall be the new masters of the world!
Cheers went up from the assembled crowd, and every one of them raised a fist, clutching a glowing chunk of Dreamstone within it.
Where Kino? Where Reptites? demanded Ayla, as the party of adventurers stood on top of the mountain that was the Reptite Lair. Many dino, and flying ape-things, but no Reptite!
A moment, said Robo. Now that we are above the interference produced by the forest, I will scan for signs of them Lucent, have the Advisorcom do a high-intensity short-range scan. I have more range, so I shall check the greater distances.
Right, said Lucent, and began his scans.
Guardia shivered, not just with the cold atop the mountain, although that was pretty bad. Here at high altitude, the effects of the growing Ice Age were most obvious. But far worse than the icy wind was the terrible pressure of the Black Wind. In 4 BC, it had been a distant thing, almost unnoticeable unless she was doing something that required enormous concentration. Here, however, in a world dying from the damage done by Lavos, the Black Wind roared constantly, howling the rage and despair of Lavos until she nearly screamed.
Carried on the Black Wind, she heard Lavos story, endlessly repeated How it had been born on another world, and been drawn here by Azala. Helpless to repress its own urgent need, it burrowed deep beneath the Earth, sucking the life from it. It hated itself for having to endlessly destroy, for lacking the strength to end its own life but it hated all other life even more, for allowing itself to be consumed. And in its hatred, the endless mindless destruction became a pleasureand then it hated itself more for enjoying the death it sowed. Lavos was to be pitied, she wished she could help it
NO!, she screamed inwardly, struggling to maintain her mental barriers. I wont help you get out of my mind! Get out! She hoped desperately that she would be able to leave soon. Her mother had lasted for years with Lavos constant efforts to control her but Guardia didnt have her mothers control. Not yet, anyway. The others didnt even notice Lavos voice, screaming in the Wind. But then, of them all, only Lucent had any magic, and his had been a gift from outside. He probably couldnt even hear the Black Wind, let alone have to fight it. No, she would have to face this battle on her own
Guardia? said Lucent, momentarily turning his attention from his scans. Are you all right? The Advisorcom says that your pulse is through the roof and its picking up some really weird brainwaves that dont fit your normal patterns. Is anything wrong?
N-no Guardia stammered. Its just the Black Wind is so strong here
Lavos, right? said Lucent.
Yes can you hear it, too?
No, said Lucent, smiling slightly. But Advisorcom was picking up weird energy emanations from beneath the Earth and the foreign brainwave patterns appear to be increasing in intensity in sync with it. So I put two and two together
Lavos is trying to control me, said Guardia quietly. The way it did grandmother I mean the way it will grandmother
Lucent laughed. Dont bother trying to keep it straight. He put a hand on her shoulder. You should have said something sooner. If you like, I can have Advisorcom jam the transmissions to your brain it may give you a headache, but you wont be able to hear Lavos anymore.
She smiled, a little bit weakly, while all the while Lavos alternated between all-out assaults and subtle infiltrations, trying to break down her mental shields. Th-thank you, she said, cursing herself for stuttering like that.
Robo beeped. No clear signs of them at long range. What about short range, Lucent? Lucent!? Why arent you scanning!?
As if in response to Robos question, a strange craft rose into view above the edge of the cliff. Weapons along the lower lip of it glowed briefly, and Ayla, Guardia, and Lucent slumped to the ground. Robo, realizing theyd been stunned, immediately opened fire with his laser and plasma weapons.
Marle felt the strange sense of déjà vu again as she, Lucca, and myself stood before the old man at the End of Time, and at the same moment I felt something click into place. You I said. Youre Gaspar, the Guru of Time, arent you?
Well, they used to call me that, longyoung lady, are you all right? he asked Marle.
She twisted away from the group, reeling. This is all wrong! she gasped. Crono isnt dead, he isnt dead!
Lucca reached out and hugged Marle to her. Listen I know this has all been hard to accept but Crono is gone. And theres no way we can bring him back until we accept his death and try to stop it
NO! screamed Marle, ripping herself away. This isnt real, this isnt happening None of this is real! she screamed again.
And abruptly, it wasnt.
I think shes waking up said a voice.
Marle stared at the face that swam into view before her. She sat up suddenly with a jolt. Who are you!? she demanded.
Shh said the person before her. Settle down, youve been out for a long time. My names Lucent, and this is Guardia. Umm, well Im your distant descendant, and Guardias, uhm your ancestor.
Marle shook her head and looked around. They were in a dimly-lit, featureless room, scattered about the floor. Lucent and Guardia were crouched in front of her, looking concerned, and Ayla was unconscious in the corner. There was a pile of metal in the corner, and Lucca was fiddling furiously with it. And, of course, Crono was fast asleep and snoring like a baby in the corner.
Lucca, Crono! yelled Marle. What happened!?
Luccas head snapped up and she blinked sleepily, as if coming out of a trance. Huh uh hey, youre awake! Great! Crono woke up a while ago, but the big weenie fell asleep again almost right away. Are you okay?
I think so, said Marle. But what HAPPENED?
Well, um, there was that guy, what was his name, Psychosis? And then all of a sudden I was having this incredibly vivid dream
I remember! said Marle. It was about Crono dying but as soon as I realized it wasnt real, it stopped! Is that what happened to you?
Well, sort of, except that it wasnt about Crono dying but well Lucca stopped a moment, then turned back to the pile of metal. Only, um, I really dont want to talk about it.
All right, I guess, said Marle. Umm whats that youre working on?
Its General Robo said Lucent, quietly. They dismantled him
What!? said Marle. They can you fix him?
Well, they didnt damage the brain I hope. So yes, I think I can, answered Lucca, frowning and adjusting her glasses.
All right, one more question. Where are we?
Thats a bit of a problem. You see, none of us were conscious when we got here, so we have no idea where here is, said Lucent.
I know exactly where we are, interrupted Guardia, with a shiver. This is the place where Lavos fell The Black Wind here is like nothing else Ive ever sensed
Yes! said Ayla. Lavos smell STRONG! This be Tyrano Lair!
A wall slid open, almost silently, blinding everyone as the room flooded with light. A familiar silhouette stood in the glare.
Azala!? said Ayla.
No, apes. I am Azalas son, Uzulu, lord of the Reptites! Im the one whos gathered you here, so that you can see my triumph and the defeat and utter humiliation of the apes! Now, come, and witness the end of your kind! He screeched triumphantly, and gestured to them to leave the room.
Outside, Marle was startled to see their weapons piled on the floor, surrounded by Tyranos.
Take them, take them! said Uzulu good-naturedly. I have no worries about your trying anything funny in fact, try it! Although Id be disappointed to not see your faces when we finally complete our conquest of humanity, at least I would have the satisfaction of seeing you torn to pieces by thirty Tyranos genetically engineered for ferocity.
The party remained quiet as they gathered their equipment, while one of the Tyranos, under direction from Uzulu, lifted the scattered pieces of Robo and placed them on its shoulder. After a brief argument with Lucca, Uzulu gave her back her tools, and she was also placed on the Tyranos shoulder to continue working on fixing Robo.
Then, the whole party somberly trudged down the halls of wherever they were, and filed into a large room filled with machinery, advanced beyond anything Marle had ever seen, even in Zeal Kingdom or Robos time.
Welcome to the Control Center, said Uzulu gleefully. It is from here that we have run Project Omen, and from here that we will make our move. He turned as a troop of about fifty young Reptites entered the room. As they came closer, however, Marle saw that they didnt look like Reptites, except for the shape, which was almost the same as normal Reptites. However, these were a darker, deeper green, and had smooth skin instead of the Reptites scales. Their faces were also far more human than the Reptites. In all, they looked very familiar to Marle, almost exactly like something she had seen before but couldnt quite place.
The leader of the troop, and the only one with a tail, stepped towards Uzulu. Father, it asked in a voice even more familiar than its form, whats going on? Why did you ask us here? And what are these humans doing here?
Uzulu smiled. Its time for you children to learn your destiny and your origin. Tonight we begin the destruction of mankind. The Repites will again rule the Earth!
Reptite no rule! yelled Ayla. Reptite need warm, world get cold since Lavos fall! Reptites DOOMED!
Uzulu laughed. Stupid human My father was a brilliant strategist, and he planned for all contingencies. Your attack on him forced him to call Lavos too soon, so that instead of falling on Ioka and Laruba, it destroyed our own lair, and set off the great volcanoes the cloud of ash has settled in the atmosphere, and will bring an Ice Age that nothing short of a planet-wide disaster could stop but my father planned for that contingency. He knew there was a chance that the Red Star would cause an Ice Age so he made plans for the creation of new Repites, ones capable of withstanding the cold, by mingling human and Reptite genes in our laboratories. He smiled. At first, we simply kidnapped humans and took blood samples to do this effective, and also highly amusing. His smile grew wider, and more menacing. We also took blood samples and flesh samples through rather more primitive means. He showed all his teeth. Your friend Kino, for example he showed up after our eugenics program was complete, of course, but was still useful We still have some of the gelatin made from his bones, if youd like a taste.
Aylas furious response was restrained only by one of the Tyranos plucking her from the ground by her hair and holding her eight feet above the floor.
Oh dear, said Uzulu, we certainly cant have THAT youd miss the surprise I have planned for you. Tyranos! Tie them, please, and make certain there are no more disturbances.
Marle was so engaged in trying to figure out where shed seen the new Reptites before that she barely even noticed her hands and feet were being tied. Hey! she said. Stop that, you big meanie! Hel- LO! Jerk. The Tyrano, of course, ignored her.
Lucca, meanwhile, was left free to continue working on Robo, since Uzulu didnt want him to miss the big event. However, no less then ten Tyranos were arrayed around her, watching carefully in case she tried anything.
Umm father? said the leader of the little troop of new Reptites. Are you saying that Im part human?
Uzulu laughed. Oh, no, Ozolo, not at all youre not less than a Reptite, youre FAR more you and your friends are super-Reptites, able to live in the new world that is being born! You will conquer the humans, and make them your slaves and your prey until none are left. You will be the instruments of our revenge!
Um, excuse me, interrupted Lucent. Sorry to break into what must be a LOVELY moment of complete monomania for you, but you said you kidnapped humans AT FIRST what have you done since then?
Uzulu smiled. Since then, weve used volunteers allies among the humans who saw that the Reptites must inevitably triumph, and who wished a higher place in the new world order, and so agreed to help us.
Ayla struggled in her bonds. Who help Reptite!? I pound all who help Reptite!
Now, mother, is that any way to treat your daughter? So violent of you I find it hard to believe I came from such barbaous ancestry. Zala stepped forward out of the shadows near the central control bank.
Zala! screamed Ayla. What you do!?
Its Zahl, mother, not Zala. And Ive taken over The old ways just arent enough, anymore. You normals are too practical, not like the imagination those of us with Dreamstone have You muck about, hunting and gathering, with not one original thought in your life, and so when things change, when the weather cools, you are helpless but we who have seen the light that the Dreamstones bring, we dreamers, we enlightened ones, WE DREAM! We create, and give life to new light, and we have found a way to survive the ice we shall rise to claim the stars, while you and your kind are forever bound to the Earth!
Uzulu laughed. A lovely speech, Zahl, but you have no idea what youre talking about. The Omen is under OUR control, and what we say, goes WE will rise above the clouds, to where there is warmth and light, for our survival, and you humans Ozolo and his kind will rule the world below, and destroy you all! He laughed again. The Reptites will own the skies and the seas and stars, and you Earthbound Ones, you humans, will perish as one! For we own the Omen, and with it, all of time!! He laughed insanely, and gestured at the Tyranos to attack Zala.
Will you listen to these speeches, whispered Lucent to Guardia. Theyre both completely wacko!
Hmm she answered. But have you really LISTENED to what theyre saying? I think were at one of the big moments of history, here
Zahl tossed her hair and laughed. You can try. But the Enlightened Ones have already killed the Reptites on board the Omen we will take control, now. The future
What about the future? demanded Uzulu.
You have no future, said Zahl, as she roasted all of the attacking Tyros with a single Fire spell.
Guardias eyes widened as she saw the spell. Shes got POWER!
Uzulu took a step back. Now Zahl, dear, please, dont do this theres no need for us to fight! We can be allies, comrades, friends just dont He disappeared in a blaze of flame.
Father! screamed the young mutant Reptite, and charged Zahl. She sent him flying with a blow of her arm, and then hurled a fireball after him.
The fireball stopped, hovering, halfway between the two.
Zahl stared. How are you doing this!?
Im not not entirely sure said the Reptite.
Marle glanced over at Guardia. The younger girls eyes were tightly shut, and she was muttering to herself, obviously concentrating deeply. Suddenly, the suspended fireball burst in a shower of sparks, which flew together into a bunch of smaller fireballs, which burnt through the partys ropes. Finally, they coalesced back into a fireball, which killed the last remaining Tyrano in the room, the one carrying Lucca. She barely noticed as she and Robo slid down its back to the floor.
There! she said. Hes fixed hey, whats happening now?
The young Reptite ran for the largest of the rooms many control panels, and began pulling levers and punching buttons, while everyone stood and prepared to fight Zahl. She turned to face them, and hurled another fireball, apparently her only spell.
Guardia caught the fireball, absorbing the enormous magical energy it contained. Lucent! she gasped, barely controlling the flow of energy. Here! She let the energy flow into him, relieved to have the dangerous overload out of her system.
Lucent leaped into the air, a blade of pure light extending from his hands, and slashed Zahl, sending her staggering back to avoid his stroke. Even so, the edge of the blade caught her arm, slashing a line across her clothing.
Zahl screamed in pain and fury, and flames exploded from throughout the room, energy crackling from the equipment.
Robos eyes snapped open as he came online, and an alarm began to blare from his sensors. Warning! Uncontrolled temporal burst in vicinity! he screamed, as a ripple passed through the air, through the party of terrified young super-reptites.
They vanished without a trace.
Everyone, quickly! yelled Lucca. We have to get out of here!
Marle gestured, and giant ice crystals smashed themselves in front of the door, putting out most of the flames. The party rushed out, leaving Zahl desperately trying to bring her anger-driven spell back under control.
Listen, said Lucent, as they stopped panting in an alcove, watching Enlightened Ones racing towards Zahls control room. We have to get back to the Epoch, and get out of here!
I have a terrible feeling about this said Guardia. We have to leavesoon!
Marle pondered for a moment. But isnt the Epoch to small for all seven of us?
Six, said Ayla. Me no coming me stay to punish daughter!
Ayla, Zahl has powers you cannot even begin to started Robo.
No! Ayla stay and fight, Ayla no run! Ayla fight Reptites, and now Ayla fight Enlightened Ones!
Marle reached over and hugged Ayla. I understand goodbye.
Robo shut down his optical sensors, and turned his other sensors on full power. I have determined a path to the Epoch. Follow me, please.
Marle wondered how they would all fit in, but shrugged and chased after him, while Ayla headed off in another direction. Eventually, the group reached an exit from the base, and found the Epoch parked right outside. Four of Zahls Enlightened Ones were guarding it, but they proved no challenge to the party.
Marles question was answered as she, Lucent, and Guardia went through the hatch in the back into a large store-roomone far larger than the Epoch itself.
She glanced around. Cool!
Zahl stood in the control room, watching her followers repair the damage she had inadvertantly done, and smiled. She walked over to the window, and looked out across the cracked and broken landscape, watching the volcanoes belch in the distance.
Your Majesty? said one of her followers, her subjects, and she smiled as she let the title roll around her mind. The preparations are complete.
Then let it begin! cried Zahl.
Ayla rushed from hut to hut in Ioka, getting everyone out to talk with her, yelling and punching people in her rush to form a fighting group. And then there was a terrible roar as the distance volcanoes belched flame, and the earth rumbled beneath her feetas the continent began to rip in two.
65,000,540 years later, Ozolo, son of Uzulu, son of Azala, listened to the last of his troops report in. It was lucky they had been modified, given smooth skin capable of retaining heat and warm blood, merged with the humans this new world was far colder than the old had been, and overrun with humans, who had a strong government ruled by someone called King Guardia. In the calendar of those humans, the year was 540 Ozolo had no idea how far in the future he was, but it had to be farno memory of the Reptites remained.
And thats about it, Ozolo. These humans are just as weak and foolish as the old oneswe can easily take over, and rebuild the Reptite Empire!
NO! cried Ozolo, startling them. We are not Reptitesthe Reptites are dead, and we are at least part human we are nothing these humans have ever seen before, a complete mystery so we shall call ourselves the Mystics. And I! I shall no longer be Ozolo from this moment onwards, call me Ozzie the Great, future ruler of the world! And he laughed
Zahl laughed as the ground beneath her trembled, the fantastic devices assembled by the Reptites engaging, merging with the webs of magic laid by her Enlightened Ones.
And the Kingdom of Zahl rose into the air.
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