Parasite: Part 3, Chapter 4


By Glarryg

“That should do it,” the princess announced, “But be careful with it for a while, just in case.”

Meridio regarded his previously broken arm with genuine wonder. “How is it that you can use Magic to heal injuries?”

“It’s just part of me,” she answered with a shrug, “Like how fire is part of Lucca. I guess we’re born that way.” Nervously tossing a glance to the floor, she inquired, “Was that voice really your fath--“

Jabbing an upwardly-pointed finger in front of her face, he interrupted: “Do us both a favor and keep the rest of that thought to yourself.” When she nodded hastily, he lowered his hand and flashed her a discomforting smile. He stood, and an awkward silence ensued before the man took the Guardian heir by the arm with a jolt of realization and stated, “Before we go any further, you have to show me how to perform the Shigenki Technique.”

Standing and cautiously pulling herself from his grip, Marle explained: “Well, it’s hard to say exactly how I did it. I simply took the pendant in my hand…” Repeating the action, she continued, “…And did what Melchior said.”

“Channel your energy through the pendant and back into yourself,” Lucca paraphrased.

“Right,” the young lady replied. Releasing her hold on the talisman, Marle reflexively shook her hand under the influence of an object sticking to the oil in her skin. With an ugly clang, the Sun Stone core from the middle of her Shigenki charm fell to the floor of the alcove, leaving a hollow Dreamstone casing behind.

The young scientist stared at the gemstone rolling across the dusty stone floor. “It fell apart,” she observed in mild wonder.

Marle cupped a hand across her mouth and seized the rest of the pendant for inspection. “I didn’t do anything to it,” she attested in shock. “What will we do now?”

“Don’t worry,” Meridio responded somewhat absently. “All we really need is for me to be able to do it. You can take Lucca’s and show me how.”

Frowning, the inventor tossed the old chain over her helmet and lifted the Shigenki pendant to her friend. Marle heaved her broken jewelry to the floor and carefully placed Lucca’s ornament on her own shoulders, apologetically declaring: “He did say that he made them in a hurry.” Putting the talisman in her hand, she copied the stance that had helped her focus her inner energies in the proper fashion.

After a moment of meditation, the princess opened previously shut eyes and appeared to pulsate rapidly. What was, in reality, a distortion of the air around her made the heir difficult to discern from the shady stone walls of the castle. As if to try and fix that, a brilliant blue aura rippled through the waves that enveloped her. Lucca stared at the eye-straining display in amazement; Meridio pensively studied the way the young lady stood. Keeping a tight-lipped expression, Marle looked at if she was fighting to contain the energy she had channeled. Staggering backwards, as if the Shigenki power truly was shaking her as much as it appeared, she shot her palm forward and threw a blindingly white beam of energy diagonally into the ceiling of the alcove, smashing through a fancy roof on the outer edge of the building.

As the aura left her with the ray of energy, she heaved an exhausted sigh and breathed, “It’s kind of hard to control.”

The man looked out the crumbling hole in the fortress with a greedy awe. “Really?” he whispered.

“Now, now,” a familiar voice echoed loudly through a nearby hallway, “I just had this castle built. You’d better not destroy it before we meet up.”

“Ozzie,” Lucca identified as she stood from her seat.

“Let’s not keep him waiting,” Meridio added coldly as he started towards the source of the taunt.

“Wait a minute,” the scientist halted, “Maybe we still have time. Maybe we can find Helminthes without confronting Ozzie yet.”

“Better to take care of all of the Mystics while we’re still here,” the mercenary argued.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Lucca pursued. “You sound like you’re still angry; maybe you should let that thing with your father pass--“

“We’re going now; stop arguing with me!” the man barked irately, bending his face into a furious snarl. Without another word, Meridio stalked down the darkened hallway that harbored Ozzie’s voice. His companions raced after him, and almost missed the opportunity to duck out of the way of a burning object flying down the passageway at them. As all three rolled out of the cartwheeling projectile’s path, it spun past them and embedded itself into the floor of the hall. The instant it landed, an army of torches lit along the walls of the corridor.

The mercenary wrenched his mouth into a disappointedly expectant scowl. “Not another one,” he pleaded.

“I hear you’d like to ‘take care of’ the Mystics,” a figure at the end of the hall stated in a barely recognizable voice. “Maybe you’d like to start by ‘taking care of’ me first.”

“Fine, Tzuris,” Meridio called as he remembered the name of the Mystics’ general. Readying his mace, the man declared: “You’ll be the second today to see Hell by my hand.”



Since his friends departed, the boy found that he was sleeping a lot less soundly than he had become know to do. It only took one word from his mother to jolt him awake. He jerked to a sitting position, and was quickly punished by a seizure of pain shooting through his back. She stood at the top of the staircase, looking somewhat worried.

“How are you feeling?” she asked with an almost apologetic expression.

“I’m fine,” he replied optimistically, trying to hide his own apprehension about the fact that he may have hurt himself after trying to stand on his own earlier that day. He had definitely never been injured as much as he had been by Helminthes that day without actually being killed. Even considering the healing that had been bestowed on him after the attack, he seemed to be suspended in a state of damage. As his thoughts drifted to what might have happened while his friends were trying to help him, his mother again interrupted him.

“Crono, are you well enough to have a visitor? One of your old teachers is here to see you.”

The swordsman gave a guarded affirmation that he was willing to see a guest, but could not recall any teacher that would actually want to visit him.

At the woman’s beckoning, a stout figure ascended the stairs. His small, dark glasses and bushy moustache instantly gave away the Guru of Life.

“Thank you, madam,” he responded politely, and patiently waited the awkward moment before she left the room. “So you had an accident?” he queried to the boy.

“I fell off of a roof,” the boy replied, somewhat sarcastically, as he leaned back against the headboard of his bed.

Pausing at the odd reply, Melchior cocked his head for a moment, then ignored Crono’s comment. “Your friends left, did they?” he asked as he pulled the chair from Crono’s desk and positioned it near the bedside.


“To fight Helminthes, perhaps?”

“In the past,” the ronin informed, casting his eyes in the general direction of their departure.

“Hmmm. This makes things harder,” the weaponsmith observed.

Sitting up farther was all the boy had to do to prompt the elder to continue.

“You never told me how you knew about the Shigenki Technique,” Melchior casually reminded as his gaze wandered out the desk-side window.

“The Guru of Time.”

“Really,” the man acknowledged, unaware as to how they could have met the person in question. “Well then, I have a confession to make. You see, the Shigenki Pendants are fake.”

Crono narrowed his eyes. “But… they worked.”

“Well, yes, and at the same time, they did nothing. There is nothing to be gained by combining Dreamstone with Sun Stone. In reality, the Pendants are merely decorative, although they would have been more so if I had had more time to make them,” the elder trailed off.

The boy’s narrowed eyes turned into an annoyed glare. “Then why did we have to make them?”

Standing and wandering along the width of the desk, the Guru of Life continued. “The Shigenki Technique is incredibly difficult to master. One has to keep his energy channeled into his very soul-- instead of his body-- as he attacks. It’s hard enough to try to imagine directing energy inward while expelling an attack, let alone actually perform such a feat. I saw men die from exhaustion alone while trying to perfect it.

“But the reigning King Zeal and I found that we could help soldiers master Shigenki if we gave each one a talisman and had them focus on it instead of themselves. Results came faster and were almost the same, if not slightly weaker. The pendants gave the Elite Guard the confidence it needed to accomplish the feat, and that was all that Zeal wanted at the time.

“I suppose the Guru of Time was only looking out for you when he sent you to make the pendants; I know I was when I went along with your wishes. It was not my intention to deceive you, however.”

Having finished speaking, Melchior looked to the boy to see his reaction. Crono’s face had turned forward towards the flight of stairs, but the angry gaze persisted. The swordsman appeared to be contemplating something weighty. Finally, he glared back to the elder and pronounced:

“What are you doing here?”

“When I heard that you were seriously hurt, I thought you may have tried the Shigenki Technique and failed. Had I heard sooner, I could have helped you and your friends learn it while Helminthes was sleeping for the moment. But they seem to have left without you.”

Crono allowed the half-scowl to subside, but punctuated his mood with a shallow sigh.

“Before I go, there’s one more thing you need to know about Shigenki,” Melchior persisted, stepping towards the boy insistently. “It’s been thought that the technique has powerful regenerative abilities among Magic-users. Mages reported being physically restored by summoning the Shigenki and channeling their element through their spirits at the same time. I was told once that a one-armed man regained his severed limb after performing the maneuver… but that story is only conjecture,” he added, stepping aside and rubbing his chin.

The ronin cocked an eyebrow and remained silent. Waiting for a reply, the elder cleared his throat and scratched the back of his head. As awkward a minute as he could stand passed before he finally gave up on receiving a reply:

“Well, I’d best be going,” he confessed in embarrassment as he inched towards the stairs.

Watching him the entire time, Crono allowed the man to reach the top of the stairwell before saying: “Thanks.”

Melchior paused and smiled at the lad, then shuffled his way down the staircase and out of the boy’s house.

Crono was about to lay back down when his mother ascended the flight. “Did you have a nice talk with your teacher?” she asked. The lackluster nod from the boy seemed to satisfy her. She smiled and watched her injured son ease himself for more sleep. His painful expression ended up mirrored on her own countenance; she forced herself back to the stairs to allow him rest.

“I hope you’ve learned your lesson,” she rebuked as calmly as she could. “I just can’t bear to think of you putting yourself in danger with crazy stunts like that.”

He tried to smile reassuringly to her, but she started towards the kitchen by the time he managed to force his mouth to curve upwards. He dropped his head onto his pillow, no longer bothered by the intense vertigo that once accompanied any swift movement, and let his gaze fall back to the familiar object that had been left on the middle of his desk, reflecting the spear of sunlight that snuck through the curtains of his room. As he stared at the thing, his mind wandered to the day he had been brought back to life.

With tearful eyes, Marle had recounted everything that she and the rest of his comrades had done in order to bring him back. At the time he only took a moment to recognize all that they had gone through. Thinking about it later, he knew that he had missed a good deal of their adventures. The entire group of them seemed to have grown noticeably in the short time it took them to prepare for his return. Now he was missing more of their trials, the difference being that the last incident had been his own fault, whereas this situation was caused by…

Angrily pulling himself up to sit, he resigned that he had to do something. There was far too much at stake to allow to happen as much as he had.


Chapter 5

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