You've Come A Long Way, Baby Chapter 20

By Imrahil

“Guys—how the hell are we going to get home?” Lucca suddenly yelled with wide eyes. Everyone began to talk at once, suddenly enlivened by the simple question. Alex, completely surprised by the sudden noise in the room, turned away from the punching bag he was practicing on.

“Hey—hey! What’s going on?” Alex asked loudly, trying his best to speak over the discord in the room.

“With all the parties that have been going on lately, we barely noticed that we didn’t have a way back home!” Lucca answered. “There’s no way to make it back to our own world.”

“Oh no! We’ll never see our old friends again! Frog, and Robo, and Ayla, and—and Father!” Marle had tears welling up in her eyes. She grasped Crono’s hand.

“Calm yourselves; I am sure the opportunity to return home will present itself. Is that not exactly what Gaspar assured us?” Magus stood calmly beside Lucca, who was sitting in a chair facing the couch where Crono and Marle were sitting.

“Yeah; has Gaspar ever failed us in the past?” Crono suggested hopefully.

“No, but—well, it’s been two days since we knocked off Poe. Shouldn’t we have found a way back by now?” Lucca asked.

“How’d you guys get here?” Alex asked. He was desperately trying to get into the discussion; he was starting to feel like an outsider among his friends.

“Gaspar sent us through a gate—he told us the way back would ‘present itself’,” Lucca said. “But there’s nothing here that would send us back to our world—especially to our world 1290 years ago!”

The room went silent. The companions hadn’t fully realized how far they were from home.

Alex scratched his chin. “Yeah, that is a problem. Hey, maybe if we go back to the place where you guys first appeared here, we’ll find a clue about how to send you back.”

“Quite doubtful,” Magus said skeptically.

“Yeah, I don’t see how going back there would help at all. I mean, we landed right behind that warehouse where we fought Poe. There’s nothing there.” Lucca shook her head sadly.

“What other leads do we have? We have to go back there!” Marle said shakily.

“What do we have to lose?” Crono added.

The group departed from their room in a Hope Layer condominium and quickly made their way to the ‘historic’ sight of Poe’s defeat. The warehouse was looking sadder than ever. Not a single window was intact, and there were large gaping holes in certain portions of the walls. There was a fine ring of debris in a circle around the large warehouse, and several piles of broken crates were scattered on the ground.

The group walked down the length of the warehouse until they reached the alley in which their adventure had begun. Everything on this side of the warehouse looked the same as before. It was as dark and dank as before, with the same small tepid puddles of water scattered on the paved ground. Yet there was one distinct difference. A huge gate was hanging above the alley; its swirling colors blinding the companions.

“Yes!” Marle shouted. “I don’t believe it!”

“This is just too convenient,” Lucca said, ”Gaspar must have sent it to us.”

“Who cares! We can make it back home, now!” Crono yelled while picking Marle up by the waste and spinning her around in a circle.

“You people know what this thing is?”

The companions looked toward the voice. There were two policemen underneath the gate, in front of a roadblock construct. They seemed to be guarding the gate.

“Yes. This is the means by which we travel from place to place. Why are you guarding it?” Magus inquired from the cautious policemen.

“A few children discovered this thing a few hours ago. One lost a shoe to it. We’ve been instructed to keep everyone away from this thing. It’s carnivorous.” The young officer who said these words sounded extremely worried, and his companion nodded vigorously after he was done speaking.

“Carnivorous? Gates aren’t alive!” Lucca laughed.

“Nevertheless, it sucks in whatever you put in front of it. We’re waiting for the captain to come back with orders as to what to do with it.”

“That’s fine. Just let us through so we can be on our way,” Magus continued.

“I’m afraid that’s impossible. Our orders say—”

“You do know who you’re speaking to,” Alex said, incredulous, ”we’re the people that saved your asses from the Rebels!”

“We know who you are, but our orders say…”

“You’ve got to be kidding! Let us through!” Alex yelled.

“We’re leaving. Tell your captain that the ‘heroes’ of the war have departed for their own world. Have him inform Jacob Lehns of our egression, and assure him that we will return if the notion suits us. Move aside.” Magus waved his hands, and the two policemen deftly moved out of the way.

The companions all walked toward the swirling mass of the Gate, and each jumped through. Magus, the last one, paused for a moment before he entered it, and he turned toward the policeman closest to him.

Magus quickly pulled his arm back and landed his gloved fist into the surprised face of the officer, causing him to fly backward into the alley wall. Before the other policeman could react, Magus spun around and kicked the side of his head with deadly accuracy. The other police officer fell into unconsciousness on the ground.

Magus stood still for a moment, surveying his work. A smile crept across the dark mage’s face as he looked at the first officer he had attacked. The man was sitting on the ground rubbing his face. He was quite dazed. Magus walked over and crouched in front of him.

“Don’t take it personally, friend. I have not been able to…express myself for a while, and you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.” The police officer nodded quickly, a hint of fear in his eyes. Magus was speaking eerily, causing the policeman to believe him quite unbalanced.

“Have you ever had a woman, friend? No, I suppose you haven’t. It changes a man, you know? Can’t go around…expressing oneself at will,” Magus said, grinning at the helpless police officer. “It has been difficult for one such as I. But enjoyable, as well.” Magus paused and looked up at the blue sky of Hope Layer.

“Anyway, perhaps I will just have to take advantage of all the moments away from…her. I mean, I can’t be expected to completely change myself, can I?” The policeman nodded again quickly, whimpering slightly. “I thought as much. Stand up, good man.”

Magus took the arm of the police officer and assisted him to his feet.

“Everyone on the streets told me you were the strange one, but I guess, er, you’re not such a bad guy,” the officer said nervously as he tried to brush the dirt off his shoulder plates, quite unsuccessfully.

“I appreciate that. And I’m quite sorry.” Magus plucked his large scythe out of the air, and twirled it around his body.

“Oh crap! Unnnh…” The officer sucked in his breath as Magus swung the scythe over his own head and down toward the policeman’s face.

A trickle of liquid made a quiet spattering sound as it hit the concrete ground of the alley. Magus had stopped short directly over the policeman’s head, and the sharp curve of his blade was still precariously positioned over the officer. The officer looked up at Magus, quivering from fear.

Magus stood still for a moment, and then allowed his blade to disappear. The mage laughed. The sound was quite disconcerting.

“Thanks for giving me that taste of nostalgia, friend.” Magus stopped chuckling and sighed. “You shouldn’t let men push you around, you know. See you.”

The mage stepped through the Gate slowly, and the police officer wasn’t completely relieved until all of Magus’ dark cape had disappeared through the swirling mass of white color. The Gate closed immediately after the mage’s exit, leaving a strange absence of sound in the air.

The officer looked down at his soiled pants, and then back up at the place where the Gate had been. He rubbed his face and cursed himself for being so cowardly. He was a police officer for chrissake!

Suddenly, a strange object on the ground caught the man’s attention. Upon closer inspection, he found the object to be a small book. The title was printed on the dark brown cover, but it was in a very strange language.

Without warning, the bizarre letters on the cover shifted and blurred, and the policeman rubbed his eyes. When he looked again, the title had changed; it now read “Answers”.

“Hmm,” the man thought, “I could have sworn that the title said something else. Oh well, one of those aliens must have dropped it.”

The officer bent down to pick the tome off the ground, but a sudden gust of wind blew the book open, revealing the dirty, yellowed pages within. A few words caught the man’s attention: “How to Obtain Your Revenge, Or, A Lesson on How to Intimidate Your Intimidator”.

The officer looked up at the sky in thought. “Hmm,” he said to himself.


The End


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