Parasite: Part 2, Chapter 4
Youre not focusing! Spekkio accused. The Nu-shape leapt around the War Chamber with an eerie nimbleness as Frog tried desperately to land a decent blow.
Leaping into the air, the amphibian pointed his sword downward and descended upon the Master of War. An instant before making contact with his blade, however, the swordsman saw Spekkios form blur and vanish. Frog landed clumsily on the hard floor of the chamber. Cursed deviltry, he swore under his breath.
Stop putting all your faith in your weapon, the shape-shifter commanded. You have to use the power within your being. Remember what Masa and Mune told you.
My mind, the knight errant recalled.
Not just your thoughts, Spekkio continued. You have to use you entire essence.
Essence? Mine soul?
Soul, spirit, chi; call it what you will, its the intangible part of you that guides your physical movements. If your essence isnt behind your every motion, then you wont be fighting at your best. And your sword wont guarantee you anything, the Nu-shape lectured.
Bracing himself, Frog drew his sword behind his head and closed his eyes. The words of the impish Masa and Mune ran through his head, and he concentrated on what it was that had ensured his victory in previous battles. He had done nothing to earn the Masamune, per se; Crono had found and repaired the sword, as well as reclaimed the Hero Medal. But the spirit of the sword had entrusted Frog with its use. Why had that been? Why not Crono? At Cyrus grave, the fallen knight had professed to be proud of Glenn. Why? He hadnt tried to restore Cyrus legend, or even take his glory, like Meridio had charged.
No, it was because of why he had been fighting that Cyrus was proud. He knew that he fought not for glory or for the memory of another. He fought for the same ideal that had guided Cyrus and made him the true Hero. The make of a hero was not the want to win a battle, but rather the want to do what is just. It was when every fiber of Cyrus being had been entrusted to this end that the legendary knight had succeeded in battle. This was the essence that Spekkio wanted to see. Not the strength of battle, but the strength of
The Masamunes blade had acquired a fierce blue aura; it all but trembled in the swordsmans hand, as if it could not contain the energy within his own person. In an instant, Frogs eyes flashed open and he caught the dead stare of the Nu-shape, slouching at the opposite end of the room. Sending the blade in a diagonal arc, he slashed through the air towards Spekkio; an immense wave of blue energy blasted towards the War Master, far too quickly for Spekkio to react. The entire End of Time shook fearfully as the wave tore through the shape-shifter, slamming him against the wall of his chamber.
As the shockwave dissipated, Frogs jarred eyes focused on the sight of the Master of War, cleaved diagonally across his wide Nu face. An awkward pause ensued, as the swordsman was not sure whether he had killed the shape-shifter or not. Slowly, the halves of Spekkio inched closer to each other and sealed together with an unharmonious gurgle. Heaving an exhausted sigh, the Nu-shape declared:
Yeah, I think you got it.
Meridio threw open the door of the War Chamber to inspect what had happened, and eyed both occupants of the Chamber with unguarded suspicion. Another brilliant flash of light distracted him as the Epoch materialized at its port. The three children leapt out, and a fourth figure clamored onto the stone courtyard. Frog curiously exited the War Chamber once Meridio had moved away from the door, and followed the group. As it was lead to the side of Gaspars lamp, the metal-covered man recited, in an unnaturally friendly, deep voice:
Twelve hundred years ago, a man named Calu, who descended from a line of inventors from Truce, proposed a method for dealing with the aberration known as Helminthes. The Mobile City system was integrated into Guardian society within the decade. When Helminthes ceased to hibernate underground, it was Calus great-grandson Victor who developed the plans for the Subterranean Mobile City. Since the year 1197 A.D. human society has lived underground in a structure of armored caverns beneath the surface, as we live today. March 27 is the official Inauguration Day of the original Mobile City, and is celebrated as Calu Day throughout Inner Earth.
The young inventor, who had begun removing various plates of the androids covering, said absently, So thats what happens to the future.
Yes, Im afraid so, Robo admitted. Other than this recording, I cannot give you much information; my memories are still a little mixed up between the two histories.
The future does seem a little more hopeful than last time, Marle offered as she leafed through the pamphlet that she had recovered from the New Karotus information booth.
I dont know, Lucca responded distantly, paying much more attention to her inspection of Robos inner workings. Removing as many parts as she could while keeping the robot activated, the frustrated scientist confessed:
Robo, your weapons are all messed up inside here. Some of them dont even look like they were meant for defense. What happened to you?
I apologize, Lucca. I guess there was less of a use for them in the alternate timeline. I was made to be a service and maintenance robot.
Sitting down beside her android friend to think, the inventor mused as she fiddled with a metal plate from Robos side: I think I remember how they were set up. I can restore them, and maybe make them stronger, but it will take some time.
She looked up at Crono for approval just as Gaspar snorted himself awake. The five human gathered around the light pole jumped in surprise, and Lucca dropped the plate she was holding. Attracted by the sound, Gaspar turned and regarded the crowd behind him.
Well, I see youve recruited another friend, he observed, referring to the automaton.
We thought his Shadow powers could help us fight Helminthes, Lucca explained, But he was built differently in this timeline. Its going to take some time to rebuild him properly.
I see, the Guru of Time assented, turning slowly away from the fighters. After a pause, he announced, You know, there are other ways to combat that monster.
Weve tried fighting it head on, Marle said, But it absorbs all of our Magic. Our combined strength cant beat it.
Yes, the elder agreed. But it is possible to attack it with an energy that cannot be absorbed.
How? Crono inquired.
Keeping his back to the crowd, the old man heaved a hesitant sigh and clarified. Nearly a generation before the discovery of Lavos, the kingdom of Zeal was threatened by an evil force that had the ability to extract energy from the people. Zeal prevailed by discovering a fighting technique called Shigenki. Using the Shigenki style of fighting, the Zealian soldiers were able to keep their enemy from extracting their battle energy. The fighters who were able to master the technique became the Zeal Elite Guard. When Queen Zeal discovered Lavos, however, she disbanded the Elite Guard, and the secret of the technique was lost to the ages.
So if we can learn this fighting style Crono began.
Your ability to use Magic should compound the effectiveness of the Shigenki technique exponentially, Gaspar construed. The Guru of Life can help you to learn the Shigenki technique. But in order to correctly perform it, you must have the Shigenki Pendants.
Where can we find those? the princess asked.
You should make your own rather than look for the belongings of others. The Pendants combine Dreamstone and Sun Stone in their core, and only the Guru of Life knows how to forge them, the elder said.
Well, Crono, what do you say? the Guardian heir queried, facing the young swordsman. Crono bowed his head in thought, crumpling his brow and exhaling forcibly through his nose. He looked to his scientist friend; Lucca had resumed her inspection of Robo, but was proffering the remaining Sun Stone that she kept in her pouch without looking at him. Frog simply returned the boys questioning gaze when Crono turned to him.
Meridio approached the ronin from behind and gave him a vigorous jab on the shoulder. If its the only way left to us to beat Helminthes, I agree with Marle, he stated encouragingly, taking the Sun Stone from Lucca.
Crono eyed the mercenary for a moment, then extended his hand to receive the Stone.
Its settled, then, Meridio declared, retaining the Sun Stone and heading for the Epoch. Now, where can we find the other stone?
Needless to say, the mercenary approached the Iokan village with apprehension. Still largely unaware of the Epochs capabilities, he eyed the new surroundings suspiciously and kept his hand near his mace should the need to use it arise. Crono and Marle walked a few paces more quickly, as they were quite familiar with the setting and not clothed comfortably enough for the dramatically colder weather. The boy, however, wore a grim, almost angry, expression that in itself seemed to push his stride faster than he might have walked otherwise.
The princess became aware of some sort of mood change in the young swordsman by his rough pace. Is something the matter? she inquired.
Responding first with a hesitant grunt, the lad mumbled, Were always running after something.
But Gaspar said that these pendants will help us fight Helminthes, the young lady defended.
Catching up to the two, Meridio piped up. Shes right; the elder knows what hes talking about. Hed never send us in the wrong direction.
Crono blinked and nearly dropped his stride, allowing the other two to pass him. There was something very odd about what the man said. It was not as much the fact that he barely knew the Guru of Time as it was the convenience of his defense of what Marle had attested.
Any further thought would have to wait, as the trio had already entered the village of the Ioka. Without hesitating, Crono and Marle headed straight for the chiefs hut, with Meridio now close behind them, surveying the oddly-clothed people that moseyed through the dirt paths of the primitive town.
Walking quietly into the sizeable teepee, the group was met with a large crowd of citizens gathered around a seat near the back of the hut, alight with activity and primitive conversation. Many of the people recognized the ronin and the Guardian heir upon seeing them and hushed themselves as they made way for the group. Seated on the fur-covered chair was a blonde-haired woman wrapped in dark, almost purple, animal skins. Crono and Marle recognized Ayla immediately despite her increase in clothing. Standing behind her seat was Kino, the male chieftain; he nudged his mate when he saw the trio approach.
The prehistoric monarch lifted her head to her friends. Instead of leaping our of her seat and happily tackling the young swordsman, as she would tend to do, she simply greeted her visitors with a wide smile. Crono, Marle. Ayla happy to see friends.
Hello, Ayla, Marle cheerily responded. Crono, easing his tension at the sight of an old comrade, nodded politely to the ruler of the ancient world. Meridio smoothly shoved his way past the boy and took Ayla by the hand.
Greetings, madam, he said glibly. I am Meridio, hired champion to Guardia.
Blushing slightly, she smirked and remarked: Look strong. Ayla like strong people.
From behind his queen, the as-yet disregarded Kino glared at the man, then spoke to the other two guests. Good to see Crono and Marle. Come to visit Ayla?
Ayla have many visitor, the monarch stated.
We cant stay long, Crono apologized. Wed like to compete to borrow some more of the red stone, if we can.
With a contented sigh, the queen replied. Ayla give stone this time. Crono prove strong many times. You win stone; no fight today.
She started to rise from her seat, but Kino gently held her down and left to retrieve a piece of Dreamstone from a crudely weaved basket a few yards away. He handed them a chunk of stone nearly the same size as the one Crono had earned previously.
Take with thanks, he said, For keeping Ayla safe.
Crono received the rock with a short bow and turned to leave. Marle, slightly puzzled at how things had turned out, followed him with a furrowed brow. Meridio paused long enough to sneak a wink at the leader of the Ioka, then coolly started after his companions.
So long, Crono and Marle, Ayla called happily. And Meridio.
The last thing Crono could hear was a pair of angry, forced coughs from Aylas mate.
As they neared the outskirts of the village, Marle caught up to the swordsman and inquired, Why didnt you ask her to come with us?
She wouldnt have come, he answered plainly.
He slowed his pace and glanced over his shoulder. Couldnt you tell? Shes expecting.
The meaning of the words did not hit her initially. Wait a minute; you dont mean that she has a Then, she thought of the crowds lavishing Ayla with attention, and the calm, almost drowsy air about the usually rambunctious Iokan ruler. Finally, the monarchs refusal to participate in a physical competition sunk the thought into her mind. Thinking about what Kino had just said, she deduced that Ayla had to have been with child before they had battled Lavos. Nearing tears of joy, she turned back to the ancient city and folded her hands, beaming with pride.
Meridio approached her curiously. Whats the matter?
Theyre my ancestors, she explained.
Your ancestors must be important people, he deduced.
Of course, she stated, Theyre royalty.
Meridio squinted his eyes for a moment, then stepped back and cuffed his forehead in surprise. I dont know how it escaped me before! Youre the Queen! Instantly, he dropped to one knee and took the young ladys hand. Your Majesty, Leene, I should take you back to the castle immediately. This quest is far too dangerous for you.
Marle regarded him in confusion for a split second. Then, quickly recalling her resemblance to a closer ancestor, she blushed and said:
Im not the Queen. Im just related to her.
Still not completely aware of how time travel worked, the mercenary stood slowly and pronounced, But if you are related to her, I still owe you my protection, as an employee of the Guardian kingdom.
Thank you, but Im doing fine with she began, trailing off as she turned her gaze and noticed that Crono was nowhere nearby. He had already reached the Epoch and was forcibly throwing the hatch to the time machine open.