You've Come A Long Way, Baby Chapter 6

By Imrahil

“Okay, so it’s settled. I get Epoch working again, and then we head back to the End of Time, right?”

“I guess, Lucca, but why can’t we sleep first?”

“The sooner we find out what we’re up against, the better, Marle!”

“As I said before, I do not require your help again. I appeared here quite by accident. I just need a way to get back home –”

“And as I said before, Magus, what attacks you, attacks all of us. Even you agreed that we have become more than allies! We are the closest thing you have to friends, Magus!” Crono became calm again. “Plus, I think you’d have already left with that “Answers” tome already if you had really wanted to leave.”

“I do not need friends, and I have never requested your friendship.”

Lucca interjected for a moment. “Magus, whoever these cretins are, they attacked the wrong guy. Accept our help, and we’ll show them a whole new world of pain. It’ll be like old times.” Lucca’s expression suddenly turned to one of longing as she looked at Magus.

“You know that against all four of us, nothing stands a chance. Let us help you, Magus!” Marle added to Lucca’s statement.

“Many things happened to me during my illness. One of them was a revelation. Another was the realization of the fact that I have no need of my past. I suppose…I suppose forgetting my past has helped me understand that you three consider me more than just a temporary ally. …And perhaps I feel the same way.” Magus looked into each of his companions’ eyes as he spoke, looking at Lucca last.

Lucca suddenly jumped up from her table, averting eye contact with Magus. “Er…I’ll get some more cider. I’ll be right back.

“Where are you going to stay, Crono? Uh, you and your mother, I mean…” Marle asked after Lucca had left.

“Well, for now we’ll stay here, at Lucca’s, I suppose.” Crono looked at Marle from across the table, expressionless.

“You, I mean, you two could stay in the castle, if it’s alright with my father,” Marle said while playing with a piece of loose tiling on the tabletop.

“Well, we’ll see after all this is over,” Crono said, smiling.

Magus usually would feel disgusted at this display of adolescent behavior, but lately, he was feeling less and less like an emotionless husk, and more like the person he had used to be, so long ago. In fact, he had begun to feel something he had never felt before: affection for another.

Of course, Magus would never allow these emotions to be seen by others.

It was quite dark in the kitchen, and Magus began to whisper a lighting spell. “Riegar nostr –”

Crono shot up from his chair and jumped over the table towards Magus, stretching to cover Magus’ mouth. “NO! No magic!”

Magus stopped his spell and looked down at Crono, who looked quite ridiculous spread out across the tabletop, sprawling to reach Magus’ mouth. “You did not quite make it over to me, you know,” Magus said almost laughingly. “Explain to me why I can’t cast a simple spell?”

Marle stepped in. “OK. The armored guy who attacked you back in 12,000 BC was not a mage. He used technology to attack you, not spells.”

“I know.”

“And you can’t use magic ‘cause that armored man kinda uses it as a tracking system to find you, wherever you are,” Marle continued, confusing even herself a bit.

“That’s the only thing that makes sense, since he came back only after you started to use magic at my house. Right after you teleported to Porre Docks, that armored guy must have almost immediately appeared at home. After finding you weren’t there, he torched my house and went back to wherever he came from. He’s probably just waiting for you to use some magic again.” Crono was surprised how well he understood exactly what had happened.

“Except he wasn’t wearing any armor. That’s why your mom let him in,” Lucca said as she re-entered the living room.

“Mom said after she told him Magus wasn’t there, the guy, like, grew armor all over himself.” Crono added.

“Like it appeared out of nowhere,” Marle said dreamily. “Oooo, cider!”

“His armor must be extremely compact and flexible, or –”

“He does use magic,” Magus finished Lucca’s sentence.

“Yeah,” Lucca blushed while setting the cider glasses down.

“I’m curious Lucca,” Marle continued as she sipped some of the hard cider, “where have you been hiding the Epoch?”

Lucca smiled and giggled. “There, and there, and there, and…” She pointed to large sheets of white metal that were leaning against the walls.

The other three were completely astonished. The familiar curves of the Epoch were apparent in almost all the large sheets of metal Lucca had pointed to. Crono spoke first. “It’ll take you forever to get Epoch back in one piece!”

“Actually, it will probably take me about two hours.” Lucca beamed.

“Two hours? How?” Marle asked.

“Just leave it to Lucca the Great. Sit tight, I’ll get started and show you. Lemme just take this out back” Lucca got up and tried to pick up one of the long sheets of metal. Unfortunately, it was a little too heavy. Lucca managed to lift it off the ground, but it became apparent she was going to drop it. Crono jumped up to help, but Magus was there already.

“Let me lend a hand,” Magus said slyly. He was about to mutter a spell to make the metal float itself outside, but remembered his “problem” and decided to just simply carry it out.

“Thanks, Magus,” Crono said, and he sat back down. “Let me get the rest of this.” Crono picked up other identifiable parts of the Epoch, and helped Lucca and Magus get them outside. After almost everything was in Lucca’s back yard, Crono sat down at the table with Marle. Magus had insisted on staying outside with Lucca in case she needed any help.

“He’s really changed, hasn’t he?” Marle asked once Crono had plopped down across from her.

“Magus? Yeah, he’s…different. Still spooky, though.”

“I think Lucca likes him, you know? I watch her when she talks to him, or when he talks to her, and she looks…oh, I don’t know.”

“Hmm, I haven’t noticed. I sure didn’t trust him at first, and I probably still don’t. He’s been a real jerk, up until now. I guess getting beat up cleaned up his act a bit.”

“I don’t think so. I mean, Magus has taken a thrashing before. Something else made him change. Maybe it’s what he was talking about earlier, you know, his ‘revelation’.”

“Hey, he left his cloak and gloves in here. That’s weird.”

“Yeah, I’ve never seen him without them.”

“I have…” Crono laughed as he retold the story of Magus in striped pajamas. The two talked into the night while Lucca and Magus worked outside on the Epoch.

“How can I help you further?” Magus asked Lucca after all the parts of the Epoch had been brought outside.

“Well, just hold this light right where I’m working. I should be able to get the hull together fairly easily.” Lucca handed Magus a flashlight, and began to fit pieces of the Epoch together.

It wasn’t very long until Lucca had made the Epoch look like its old self again. She was now working on the inside, and Magus had continued to hold the flashlight over her shoulder. It was very dark outside, now.

Lucca had taken off her hat, and her purple hair seemed to glow as she worked on the interface consoles of the Epoch. Magus watched her work. She seemed so passionate about what she was doing. Perhaps that was the reason Magus was drawn to her. He had never met anyone that cared so much about anything besides self-preservation.

“Stop! You are becoming weak!” Magus thought violently. After his dream, his will had been ebbing, and now everything that Magus used to be was realizing it was losing control. He saw Schala in his mind, falling to the bottom of the sea, cursing his name.

He clenched his fist so hard, his fingernails dug into the palm of his hand and drew blood. Magus watched himself in his mind, cutting down the knights of Guardia with no mercy. He watched himself hurl a small sphere of lightning at a group of soldiers. The electricity completely cooked the first knight who had taken the full brunt of the blast, but it didn’t stop there. The knights’ armor acted as a conduit for the lightning, and the blast jumped from one knight to the other, until they all lay dead on the ground. Ozzie had come up from behind him.

“Hah! Those humans can’t mess with my boy, can they? Bwahaha –”

Magus had had tears in his eyes as he looked down at all the lives he had just destroyed. Who knew how many children were now fatherless. Then Magus looked closer at the men he had just slain. They were not more than thirteen or fourteen years old. He had murdered children. Magus spun around towards Ozzie and grabbed his throat.

“No more orders, fat man. You listen to me! We are going to leave Guardia and withdraw behind Zenan Bridge, got it?”

“How dare you – urk!” Magus tightened his grip around Ozzie’s throat. Dark energy flowed from his eyes. “I am the mystic leader! They follow me, not you – ack!”

“Not anymore. I’m their hero. They will follow me, especially since I defeated Cyrus. Let’s go.”

Magus dropped Ozzie and began to walk towards the mystic horde. “You can’t do this, boy! I raised you; you will do as I say, not the other way around!”

Magus turned around to face Ozzie. “You dare defy me, the Magus?” He made sure the mystics could hear him. Magus wished to make an example out of Ozzie. “I am the true leader of the mystics – and let it be known that you fell at my hand!”

Ozzie got up and flashed his crooked grin. “Fine, junior, if it’s a fight you want – Slash! Flea!” Ozzie’s two henchmen appeared from behind Magus.

“Sir Magus, we are at your service,” Slash said while bowing to Magus.

“What would you wish of us, my liege?” Flea curtsied.

The two warriors knew how to identify the winning side, and it looked as if Magus was going to succeed Ozzie as the mystic leader. Ozzie was completely dumbfounded. He knew he couldn’t hope to defeat the Magus alone. So he wholly succumbed to his former protégé, and this was the beginning of the rule of the Dark Prince.

“You were weak, even then.”

Magus had changed battle plans. Instead of advancing upon Guardia, he took a long-term defensive position behind Zenan Bridge, where instead of attacking, he defended. This seemed to help Magus cope with the deaths he was causing. Plus, he had removed himself from the battlefield; allowing him to forget what was happening to the humans only a few miles away.

“And now look at you! You are still weak! These were the three who helped dethrone you! They are your enemies! Forget past alliances, those were imperative at the time, but they mean nothing now! Leave these weaklings to themselves, and defeat your enemies alone!” Magus kept mentally attacking himself in this way, but nothing he heard in his mind seemed to matter. He watched the light from the flashlight dance on Lucca’s beautiful hair, and all he could think about was how much he wanted to protect this girl from any harm, forever.

Magus felt a part of himself slip away, and the harsh voice in his head went silent.

Lucca turned around to Magus. “Could you hand me that soldering iron behind you…Magus? What’s wrong?”

“Excuse me…?” Magus realized he had been staring off into the distance with a very strange expression on his face. “Oh, I was just thinking about…old times. Here.” He handed her the tool.

Lucca thought she saw tears in Magus’ eyes, but decided she was wrong. However, his face was full of grave sorrow. She wanted to comfort Magus, but she didn’t know how. “Yeah…old times.”

* * *

“Done and done!” Lucca appeared in the entrance of her back door. Crono and Marle had been talking over a candle the entire time. “Y’all wanna come see, or what?”

“Alright.” Crono got up and followed Lucca out the door, with Marle not too far behind.

“Just like new, eh?” Magus jumped out of the shadows, looking very unlike himself without his cloak. Behind Magus was Epoch, fully rebuilt and looking grand. The strange craft seemed to be beaming with pride, as if alive.

“Wow, it looks great! Does it work?” Marle asked while running her hands over the smooth contours of the time machine.

“Yep. We can leave whenever we want,” Lucca said, grinning at her handiwork.

“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go!” Crono jumped into the cockpit, motioning the others to follow.

“I wonder how that old fool Gaspar is,” Magus said as he jumped in beside Crono.

“It’s about time we visited Spekkio!” Marle said as she landed on Crono’s left side.

“I’ll just be glad if we get off the ground,” Lucca said under her breath as she plopped down in the pilot’s seat. Lucca grabbed the controls and set them for the End of Time. “Did you put the armor and equipment in the trunk, Magus?”

“Just like you asked. Let us be off,” Magus answered.

Lucca flipped a few switches and a blue fire burst from Epochs’ rear exhaust outlets. The magnificent ship rose straight into the air, and with a sudden flash of light accompanied by a thunderclap, the craft disappeared into the night.


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