The War Over Time

By Indon

Ch. 21 Teacher

“We are here, Balthasar.”

“Where is here?”

Elise and Balthasar stepped out of Elise’s timegate into a clear, green field.

“We are in 1999 A.D., Balthasar,” Elise Explained, “Your time.”

Balthasar narrowed his eyes. “I see no reason why we are here.”

“We are here, Balthasar, so that I may teach you the art of time manipulation.”

“I have already learned the art, serving in the government in a secret project. I was once a time soldier.”

“So you were. But I am not speaking of such piddling tricks as you are capable of. I speak of…”

“Piddling tricks? I am the master of a high art!”

“All right, Balthasar, show me your ‘mastery’. Spar against me.” Elise walked about 5 meters away, and stood there, waiting for him to make the first move.

Balthasar laughed. “All right, but I warn you- not even you can sense the true depths of my power!”

Balthasar then reached his consciousness deep into the time streams, tracing his mind forward and backward through time and even into other time streams, to look for the mind of a powerful sorcerer. He found one, and extracted the knowledge of a powerful ice spell, the best he could conjure up. Best not to go easy on her- she is probably nearly my equal, Balthasar thought.

Balthasar gathered the energy for the spell, and casted it.

“Ice 3!!!”

The energy flew at Elise, reaching to engulf her. It reached where she was standing, and…

Elise vanished. The spell flew into the place where she was standing and encased it in a block of ice, condensed instantly from the atmosphere. After a few seconds, the brittle ice shattered under it’s own weight and dissipated.

Balthasar heard a voice behind him. “A nice try, that was. But used against our enemy, it would get you killed rather quickly.”

Balthasar spun around to face Elise, who appeared totally relaxed and nonchalant. Wow, Balthasar thought. She’s good. He again reached into the time streams and withdrew one of the many martial arts that man has designed throughout the aeons.

After a few seconds, he had drawn enough knowledge to be a black-belt. He charged at Elise at breakneck speed, and prepared to strike…

Abruptly, a wave of energy slammed into Balthasar, knocking him back a few meters. He could feel a rib snapping. I’m too old for this.

“Cure 2.”

The spell Elise had just cast slid into his body, revitalizing it. The defeated Time Soldier said gruffly, “All right. Touche.” He addressed Elise, “You win. So, what’s the first lesson on?”

“Oh, we just had it. The first lesson is on how to eat Crow.”

Ch. 22 The Training

“Look out!” Jason yelled.

Crono dived out of the range of the Carnisaur’s sharp claws, a second before the blow fell. Crono rolled to his feet, pivoted so that he faced the monster, and yelled “Ayla! Volt bite!”

Crono zapped Ayla with a bolt of lightning. Ayla, however, was not hurt. Instead she glowed a bright yellow. She flew at the enemy like a mad tiger, inflicting great damage. The electricity she was charged with also served to weaken the lizard’s defenses.

But the monster wasn’t dead. They all knew that this monster was barely slowed by such an attack, and that it would take many powerful strikes to annihilate this nemesis, and just like all the Carnisaurs, Raptors, Giant Frogs, and Ultra Apes, this monster could take a lot.

Cyrus attacked the Carnisaur, Yelling a mad war cry. Cyrus practically flew as he ran circles around the monster, attacking four times. Cyrus darted back just in time for Marle and Glenn to move in.

“Frigid Blade!” Glenn yelled and leapt into the air, his great agility aiding him. At the height of his leap, Marle hurled a blast of ice magic at the Masamune. The power struck the blade and Glenn thrusted the now-enchanted weapon into the head of the Carnisaur. The power and precision of the attack overwhelmed the Carnisaur and it disintegrated.

All this time, Jason was hanging back, watching the battle with the eye of a military commander. After every battle, Jason would scrutinize the performance of the group and suggest new techniques or tactics in battle.

Schala stood behind him. Schala couldn’t participate in battle, Jason sensed it was all she could do just to simply watch the violence and not become hysterical.

“Nice move, Cyrus.” The group had been learning from each other for the time they had been there. They had been picking up each other’s moves easily. Crono, Cyrus, and Glenn, for instance. Each of the three swordsmen had learned practically all of the techniques of the other two. Marle had four different versions of ‘Ice Sword’, each with a different person, including ‘Cold Strike’, where Kino’s arrow substituted a blade. Crono had learned to imbue his own blade with electricity, and made an advanced version of Spincut. Ayla hadn’t learned any new techniques, but her fighting skill and strength had been increasing dramatically. Cyrus had learned to float on a thin layer of air, thus letting him move faster, and Glenn had been developing ‘Heal 2’ which seeing as every battle usually hurt them all significantly (not all were as easy as that battle with the Carnisaur), would be very helpful once finished.

Everybody had become much stronger. Except, of course, Schala. And Jason himself. He made the mistake of entering the first battle. He was hit, and Schala emitted a horrible scream and fainted. She was hysterical continuously for hours. So Jason didn’t enter the battles.

When Jason could, Jason tried not to think of this woman as his daughter. It was too painful. On a more professional note Jason saw the danger of having a mentally disturbed member of the party. He thought of sending her away, but he wasn’t sure that the strain of being separated from her father again would not knock her full past the line into insanity. He thought about sending her to her brother, but Janus was not even close to the same person who was Schala’s friend long ago. Why, he couldn’t think of…

That’s it! Melchior! Jason had a flash of inspiration, and thought of the Zealian wise man. Schala idolized Melchior. And he wasn’t named Guru of Life without reason. No one cherished life like that man…

“4 horns!” Ayla called loudly after she had checked the body for tradables, knocking Jason from his thought. Not that it mattered. Jason knew what to do…

Without warning, a scream rent the air. Jason switched his focus from the completed battle to Schala. Schala was screaming, eyes focused onto something only she could see, pointing and screaming as if she was too afraid to breathe.

“That’s it, she snapped,” Marle said. Jason felt an almost overwhelming pang of sadness, unrivaled by any he had ever felt except for when he discovered his love betrayed him. All focus was on Schala, and her hysterical screaming.

Glenn turned to where Schala was pointing, to find a Diadactyl swooping down on them. “Watch out!”

Everybody hit the ground in time to dodge the rush of the monster, except Jason. One of the giant claws struck him in the back, tearing and rending his flesh.

Schala saw every second of this. Her eyes, wide with a thousand conflicting emotions, narrowed and focused. She released another scream, but it was more a primal, enraged scream of an animal than it was the scream of a human experiencing fear. She raised two trembling hands to the Diadactyl, who was now turning to finish the job by killing the rest of them.

Suddenly, the air around the enemy darkened. The reptiles scales started deteriorating, as if acid had been poured on them. The being’s flight faltered, and it began to plummet to the ground. As it fell, the last of the scales melted away, and the flesh and muscle beneath started bubbling and boiling. By the time it hit the ground, there was nothing but a mass of bleached bones. The thing looked as if it had been dead for years.

“Die.” Schala whispered.

A few seconds after the fact, all the group began turning to Schala, one at a time. Soon all eyes were on Schala. Schala was staring at the body of her father.

Then, in that instant, Schala threw her hands up and rolled her eyes back into her head. She rattled out a series of words in Zealian, all invocations of mighty powers. A black void formed around her, a void punctuated only by her own body. She dropped her hands, fell to her knees, and let the darkness enfold her.

In that instant, Schala was gone.

Ch. 23 Dark Interlude

“So! Back already, are we?”

Prometheus, Magus, and Crono had returned from wherever the former two were training the latter. They stood before the Mage now, as he scrutinized them with an inhumanly attentive eye. The Mage looked them over. Impressive, he thought, Crono is much stronger and more confident. He will be very good for future assignments. Those two did a very good job.

He said, “How was it? Prometheus! Report.”

“Sir, We journeyed to various places across this world. Crono has gained power exponentially, and he has a new weapon, the Shiva Edge.”

“Very good. How about you, Prometheus?”

“I am stronger, yes. But of our group, I strengthened the least.”

“How about you, Magus?”

Magus stepped forward. “I have gained great power, and I expect it to rise faster and faster with time and experience. I have meditated and studied the power of Shadow deeply. And I have an interesting discovery.”

“Yes?” The Mage sat up in his throne, as whenever the Magus, the greatest magician ever to serve him, has found something interesting, it was almost always of use.

“Earth is non-existent here.”

“Huh? Oh, you mean the element Earth, don’t you. Well, I sensed something along those lines, but I doubt that that would explain it. I mean, destroying an element on a world would create an enormous imbalance, probably destroying the plane the world inhabited, and all the planes near said world.”

“No, it wasn’t destroyed, it was sealed away.”

“Even so,” the Mage said, “The very act of binding it would create enough disbalance to tear the world apart.”

“Not if it’s power were magnified before it was sealed, as sealing an element will not subtract power, but cut it down.”

“But Magus, there is no way to magnify the base power of a whole element. That would be totally impossible…”

“Oh, yes, there is. If you were to bind the element to the fifth force, spirit...”

“What???” The Mage leaped down to face Magus, and stared at him in disbelief. “That is the same technique I use…”

“To give a magician the power of Shadow. Yes. Some being, at some point in this timestream, replaced Earth with Shadow!!! Not simply within one person, as you did with me, but with an entire WORLD! As a result, Spiritual power within this realm is decreased greatly. Those who have skill with Shadow,” Magus’ eyes narrowed and his lips turned up in a twisted grin, “have their powers greatly magnified.”

“Hmmm… Very interesting.” The Mage walked back to his throne and sat down.

“So, sir,” Prometheus spoke, “What is our next assignment?”

“There are no assignments for any of you at this time.” The Mage took a deep breath, “I have used my power and found many things.

“First, all the heroes have grouped together. It would be too risky to strike now, not after our preemptive attack failed.

“Second, Ayla and Kino are alive, due to another hero’s actions. A man named Balthasar arrived and healed the two.

“Third, one person has followed us from Danin, the world where we were last.” The three collectively cringed, as the defeat their armies suffered was nearly total. Millions of Soldiers, Thousands of Anti-Heroes, and 27 Anti-Hero Time Soldiers died there, in the war over that world. The only remnants of those mighty forces now, were three Anti-heroes and their fallen leader. The Mage had come here as a desperate gamble for the power of the Aeon Gate.

“That person is Elise.” Elise was the commander-in-chief of the Time Soldier army that went against them, the result of an alliance between hundreds of worlds, led by Danin. Nobody knew what world Elise was from.

“Sadly, she is my equal in power, so I can’t afford to use much of it. The second I strain myself, She will sense it and attack… and win. Fortunately, she is alone, and can only use a fraction of her power herself, for the same reason. She is no great threat to us here and now.

“However, I think it best for you to train here. We need to aim for defense, and an offensive at this point would be rather futile. So, I want you to stay in the area and hone your skills. If they attack before I open the Aeon Gate - And chances are they will, the heroes aren’t stupid - you will need them.

“Now, go. I need to think.”

Ch. 24 The Enigma

“Well, any ideas?”

“Hmmm… what was the problem again?”

“Simple. The Barbarians…”

“Stop calling them that, please,” Lucca interrupted.

“All right. The problem is that the… um… Ayla and Kino can not learn magic, because magic didn’t exist in their time.”

“I still can’t believe it’s that simple. There has to be something more to it…”

“No, it is that simple, but I’m sorry if you wanted a greater challenge. This problem lies in imbuing magic into two people who were born incapable of casting it.”

“I’m hungry, when is Alfador coming back?”

Janus focused for a second and followed the psychic bond. “He’s off a mile to the North-Northeast, following the trail of an Elk. Be patient. Anyway, you had a perfectly good meal this morning. Why are you so hungry so soon? This is the third time today you have asked for Alfador’s progress.”

“Well, I’m not like you and your overgrown cat. I happen to enjoy eating food on a daily basis. And besides, I hardly call melted snow water and leftover scraps of undercooked deer ‘a perfectly good meal’.

Lucca took a deep breath. “Oh, I’m sorry about that. I got a bit frustrated, that’s all. But seriously, I’m hungry.”

“Tomorrow, Lucca, remind me to teach you how to control your metabolism. If you keep forcing Alfador to go hunting like this without rest, Alfador just might treat himself to a side of Lucca to appease his own hunger.”

“All right, no need to rub it in. And while you are at it, teach me how to ignore this cold. I’m freezing!”

“Well, you have never complained about that before.” Janus was a little surprised. But after a few months of living in the cold wilderness, the fact of the cold just slipped his mind. He never even thought about it…

“Hmmmm… I have an idea,” Janus took off his cloak and gave it to Lucca. She promptly wrapped it around her person, wasting no time in her warming.

“Thank you. What’s the idea?”

“Well, on the nature of magic… Magic is everywhere, right? So if we…” Janus thought for a second.

“Damn! It won’t work.”

“Why not? What was your idea?”

“Never mind.” That was my fourth idea that died before it was born, Janus thought, I need more information.

“Lucca, we need to know more before we can solve this problem.”

“Funny, I remember saying the same exact thing to you yesterday.”

“Yes, you did. However, I doubt your collection of books you left at your residence would be of help. I speak of my private study, at what used to be my keep.”

“But the people in my time found only two books in the entire keep, the ones you wrote.”

“I left them outside my study the day I summoned Lavos. My library of books contains practically every work of magic, written in almost every time period… before 600 A.D, that is.”

“Really? Hmmm… I could move all of my books to your study, if I knew exactly where it is.”

“It is the room directly above my throne.”

“That’s all I need to know. I’ll see you at your study.”

“All right.” I wonder how she plans to carry all those books, Janus mused in his head. Maybe I should help. After all, she is a fellow scholar.

No, she can fend for herself. Janus answered his own question. That settled, Janus began the process of creating a gate. Alfador popped out from behind a bush, sensing that they were leaving. Janus’ mind turned to the task at hand, although there was this one thought in the back of his mind…

Ch. 25 Solo

Schala was alone.

Not as if that were a unique occurrence.

She had, like Jason, known that her mental health had been rapidly failing. She had sat by and watched, not having a reason to do anything but watch. With what happened before, she realized the danger that her being there posed to her father, and to the group. She had also discovered something else, that in her madness, her magic power had grown to an incredible magnitude.

It was scary.

So, she left. She did not know where she was going, and she still didn’t know, even though she was already there. She sensed nothing, felt nothing. She knew she was alive, she did not feel the cold that the void had to offer. She almost, but not quite felt warm. It almost, but not quite, felt like everything at the same time. Hot and Cold, Bright and Dark, Blue and Yellow and Red and every color all at once.

‘Where am I?’ She did not know if she was speaking or just thinking it, as she couldn’t feel her mouth moving and her ears were just as unresponsive.

A second thought came, but dissipated before she knew what it was. Something about the place, where-and-whatever it was, seemed to steal her thoughts before they reached her, an eternal, unbroken apathy brought on by the medley of near-emotions rolling through her. She felt her consciousness slipping away, and knew that if that left her, it may never return. Schala thought she might have a reason to think, to get up and leave this place, but she couldn’t remember it at the moment. ‘No matter, I’ll remember soon…’ And her mind dipped below the level of thought, and did not resurface.


Chapters 26-30

Chrono Trigger Fanfic