The War Over Time
After the Warlock had left, Elise started laughing.
"What is so funny, Elise?" Balthasar asked.
"His foresight is as flawed as mine, here! He couldn't tell I was lying!"
"What? You lied? Why? Do you know something about the gate you didn't tell him?"
"No, but I made light of the information he gave us." Elise laughed triumphantly. "It WILL lead to his downfall!"
"I'll explain later. Come with me, were going to the End of Time!"
The gate popped open and Elise and Balthasar rushed out. They saw Robo pouring over a complex machine, Robert looking over Robo, making notes on a pad of paper, and Gaspar sleeping.
"They are in 4000 AD!" Elise declared. "Near Medina Village, in fact."
"Huh?" Robert got up and stared at the duo. "How did you find that out?"
"Balthasar will brief you about it. For now, all of you are to go to prehistoric times. Robo, I think Jason would probably appreciate a healer that he doesnt have to train for combat, and Gaspar, well, you really don't have to go."
"What about me, Elise?"
"Balthasar, you will train with the others. Your training with me is complete." You know everything I do, now, Elise thought.
"All right. What shall you do?"
"Get Janus and Lucca. I wonder if they have made any progress..."
Robert spoke up, "Kino knows magic! Something happened that... well, he can cast spells now, Jason is training him at this very moment, probably."
"Well, I had best get them."
Janus and Lucca were studying, as now usual, seated in the same large cushion leafing through 2 different books. They could barely stand being apart, now.
"How long did you say this will go on, dear?" Lucca popped her head out of her book to ask Janus.
Janus looked at her. "The effect fades slightly after a time from one week to a month. By then, we will be marginally less inseperable." Janus smiled. "And we might even be able to concentrate on other things for an extended amount of time."
"Oh, good. I won't be able to work on anything until then, pursuits of magic or science alike."
Janus nodded. They had gotten almost nowhere in their work since they accidentally triggered the royal amulet of Zeal, making them fall deeply in love, perhaps too deeply for their own good.
"However did they run Zeal right after a new king was named?"
"Lucca, I honestly have no idea."
At that time, a timegate opened up by the two lovers. Elise came out, striding next to Lucca and Janus without giving them any time to react.
"You two will go to the training grounds near Ioka, in the prehistorical age. The location of the enemy has been found, and I want everyone to train for battle, catch up to everyone else.
"By the way, Kino can cast spells, so you only need to worry about Ayla now. Good luck!" And with that, Elise vanished as quickly as she came.
"What in the inferno..." Janus was a little confused. "Lucca, did you get all of that?"
"Yes, we have to go, Kino has magic."
"He must have discovered his own catalyst."
Lucca stood and began forming a timegate, one of the many points of information the two had learned from each other. "They are going to be really suprised at how powerful we have both become."
Janus grinned. "They are going to be suprised at us in the first place, let alone our power."
"Lets just go."
"Schala, it's time. Come with me."
"I am unsure if I am ready yet."
"Don't worry, you will have time to get ready. All you have to do now is see everyone, not least among them Jason and Janus. Perhaps you could get to know them again?"
"Father? He is... still alive?" Schala cluched her head in her hands in confusion. "I'm sorry, my memories while I was... mad... are still a little fuzzy. I could swear I killed him.
She smiled. "Nice to know I didn't."
"All right, let's go!" Elise and Schala left via timegate.
Kino and Ayla were watching the sunset, when the fiery red hues of the sun met with the dark blues of the sky and the white clouds in the distance and created a kaliedoscope of different colors.
"What having magic feel like, Kino?" Ayla asked.
"Wierd." Jason had alreaady started to train him in the use of his power. "Feels like... fire inside, and it come out, and... I throw it!"
"Oooooh, neat!" Ayla responded. "Me hope me get magic soon, too."
"You get magic. Me know you will."
"How you know?"
"Ummmm... it feels... like wild beast trapped inside you. Like Dactyl that want to fly."
Ayla laughed. "I like flying!" She lept into the air as high as she could to prove it.
Robert walked up to where the two were sitting just as Ayla landed. "Come on, lovebirds, back to camp. The others are here."
Kino stood. "Maybe they figure how to get Dactyl out of Ayla!" he jumped up and ran to the camp, Ayla running behind him and both laughing like children given too much sugar.
"What the... Dactyl? I don' wanna know..." Robert mumbled to himself as he walked to the camp.
Lucca and Janus were the first to arrive, closely followed by Alfador, who had not talked to Janus lately. Most likely giving me my privacy, Janus thought.
Alfador's thoughts barged into his head. Think about my species' mating habits, friend. I hardly care about privacy.
Then why did you leave us alone? Janus thought to Alfador.
Because you and that girl are loud when you are together! I can't even think with all that shrieking and moaning! Alfador mentally exclaimed.
The others had noticed them now. Most had seen Janus' giant cat Alfador, but seeing Janus and Lucca walking hand in hand, now that suprised them all.
"Lucca? You and... Janus?" Crono was shocked to see his best friend together with this... whatever he is.
"How did this happen, son?" Jason was almost as suprised as Crono.
"Yes, Crono, me and... Janus." Lucca laughed at her friend's expression.
"It was the amulet, Jason." Janus took the amulet from within his tunic while talking to Jason and held it forth.
Jason's face skewed in confusion. "Whyever would you want to activate that amulet, knowing its effects?"
Janus chuckled. "Academic curiosity. Ironically, the only thing I learned was that it was useless."
Lucca leaned over to Janus. "Oh, I think it was very useful..."
"You know what i mean. The catalyst for a person such as Ayla or Kino to obtain magic is emotional, not material."
Marle walked up to Lucca. "You will have to tell me all about this!" she whispered excitedly to Lucca. She always leaped at a chance to gossip, whatever the circumstance.
Kino and Ayla showed up, running and laughing like they didn't have a care in the world. Robert came up behind the two, panting. "They have energy like they were 5 years old!" he moaned.
"How did Kino learn magic?" Janus asked.
Kino jumped at the question. "Me get really angry, and shoot Burning Arrow!"
Lucca looked at Janus. "Sounds like an emotional catalyst to me!" she exclaimed.
"Yes, it certainly does." Janus answered.
A timegate opened nearby, and Robo and Balthasar stepped out. "It is nice to see you all again, my friends," Robo said in greetings.
"I am to train under you with the others, Jason."
"Ah, just like old times again, eh, Balthasar?" Jason smiled.
Another timegate opened, and Elise walked through, followed by Schala. "Hello, everybody!" Elise said, her happy mood not yet faded. "We are leaving for the gate in, oh, about a week. Start training!"
Elise walked off, leaving everybody staring at Schala. Something had definetely changed about her, that much was apparent. What, on the other hand, that change was nobody could begin to guess.
Jason started talking first. "Schala, dear, what happened?"
"Oh, Daddy!" Schala rushed to Jason and hugged him, this time taking care not to injure him. "I'm alright now, I think I can fight."
Marle interjected. "So, lets start training already!"
Janus laughed. "Sure, I can show you all the things I have learned to do with fire!"
Robert grinned. "Fire will be ineffective against my improved Magic Wall..."
In groups or alone, they all started to head to the battle grounds from the campsite, the newcomers following the vetrans, with everyone except Balthasar talking about how they had improved.
Ch.43 Battle Tactics
"All right, resting time has ended! Back to work!"
Marle groaned. "Oh, why do I have to battle to much?"
"The healers need to catch up to everyone else."
As everyone got up and ready for more mock battles, Jason mentally reviewed his force. Glenn and Marle are catching up to the others well, He thought. At this rate, they will be ready. He looked over the others. All right, Robert seems to be transforming from a specialty in long-range combat to a specialty in offensive magic, He will be useful, Crono has pushed his skills with his katana to the limit, Cyrus has mastered his magic, and Kino will in a few days, Balthasar is as powerful as ever, Ayla still needs magic, but Janus and Lucca have been working with her, Janus and Lucca can only fight effectively when paired, its just a good thing they work so well together. Jason smiled. I couldn't have found a better daughter-in-law if I tried. Finally, Schala has undergone a comlete transformation in battle. She no longer uses her Shadow power, but rather a new power she discovered in her while she was gone. This new power is very effective for healing, and even has some offensive potential, if Schala did not decide to work totally defensively as she did.
The only problem, Jason thought, is the headache she develops after using her power exstensively. Only time can dissolve it, Ethers can not help. I wonder if this power of hers is really all she thinks it is, and not something more dangerous...
Schala had claimed her power was totally benign, and that her headache was caused by a lifetime of using Shadow. But she was sane, and that was what mattered.
"All right, everyone, this time we pit our couples, Lucca and Janus, Ayla and Kino, and Crono and Marle, against everyone else, Glenn, Cyrus, Robert, Schala, Balthasar, and me.
On one side, Crono, Kino, and Ayla took the front line, while Janus, Lucca, and Marle started to cast Magic Wall, Protect, and Haste on them all.
Cyrus met Crono, Glenn met Kino, and Jason met Ayla in hand-to-hand combat. Initially, Cyrus' and Glenn's sword skills pushed their respective opponets back. After Marle completed casting Haste on her team, however, Crono and Kino used their now-superior speed to hold their own.
Robert and Balthasar were trying to strike the other teams' support magicians with their own spells, but Janus had casted Magic Wall on them, and so the spells had little effect.
Robert grumbled. "This isn't fair. They have all the really good support spells."
Balthasar grinned. "You are right, this isnt fair. They are at a great disadvantage." he folded time and was within the opposing group. He summoned a powerful spell in a few seconds, muttering words of power and flying through gestures, capped with the spell's name. "Stop!"
Marle, Janus, Lucca, Crono, Ayla, Kino, and Balthasar were instantly frozen in place. Jason decided to use this to the advantage of his team. "Nobody attack them, you can't harm them in this state! Schala, heal our wounds, Robert, you have time to cast Magic Wall Plus on everyone, now." Jason went to work casting Safe on everyone. Both had finished, and Schala had healed all the minor wounds of the team, just as the Stop spell faded and all 7 of the afflicted resumed movement from where they left off.
Lucca and Janus finished casting their attack spell before Balthasar could react. "Dark Vortex!" They cried in unison.
A black hole opened up inside of Balthasar. Fire, sent in an inverse trajectory to the hole's gravity field, caused the belly of a very suprised Balthasar to explode with fire.
Janus grinned as Balthasar's spleen slapped into his cloak. "It will require Life 2 to get him walking again, but I doubt his pride can be revived at all." Lucca grinned at Janus. What he said was the equivalent of most person's jumping into the air and celebrating success.
"Don't celebrate yet, theres still five to go!" Marle pointed to the front line, where Crono, Ayla, and Kino were now evenly matched by Cyrus, Glenn, and Jason. The former had greater speed, while the latter had greater defensive power.
"That would make us the deciding factor, everyone," Janus said, appraising the evenly matched warriors.
Lucca agreed. "We need to take out Robert, then we will have a tactical advantage."
Janus picked up Lucca and they flew over the 6 fighters in the middle of the field. Marle watched them go in suprise, but recovered quickly. "Hey! What about me?" She grumbled, then began to cast cure spells on whomever needed it.
Janus and Lucca flew over the 6 fighters, past Schala, directly behind the line, who looked ready to drop from the strain of her healing, and confronted Robert.
While Janus, Lucca, and Robert started throwing spells around, the 6 fighters at the 'front line' were beginning to tire collectively. Marle was running out of power, and so had to resort to healing with her aura, and Schala's headache was almost too much to bear.
From the sidelines, Robo shouted out, "10 Minutes have passed! The fight is over! It's a tie!"
Jason was suprised. "Tie? But I thought Balthasar..." He turned around to find Janus cradling Lucca's body, and sobbing uncontrollably. "Robo, Get over here and revive her!" He pointed to Janus and Lucca.
Robert and Schala, in the meantime, were trying to find Balthasar's body parts, in order to make the life spell easier to cast. "It might take quite a bit of magic to bring Balthasar back," Robert said to himself. "With half a body missing, the power required will be exponentially higher..."
"I found his leg!" Schala shouted.
Meantime, Robo had revived Lucca, who was still in Janus' arms. After a few minutes, Janus managed to compose himself. He rubbed his eyes clear, an awkward movement that demonstrated how rarely he showed his emotions. Lucca stood, and pulled Janus up. Janus turned to his father. "I... I couldn't fight anymore. Even knowing she could be revived, I..."
Jason nodded in understanding. "That was a very powerful magic that bonded the two of you. Worse yet, I am afraid there is no way it could fade enough by the time we enter battle, for real."
"What do you plan to do?" Lucca asked.
"I am unsure," Jason answered. He looked to the sky. It was perhaps an hour into dark, now. "Everyone, get back to camp and get some sleep."
The next day was much like the last, with a series of mock fights and battles, a few people developing new powers, most notably Kino, who learned 3 new fire spells, and Crono, who with Robert, developed no less than 5 dual techniques. It was odd how Crono, an often quiet, humble swordsman and Robert, an egotistic, talkative man who seemed more like a mercenary than a trained soldier, could get along so well. Robert also became friends with the two knights, and apparently, soldiers in 1999 followed their own code of honor, however modified.
For example, women were not simply objects to be protected, but equal to men. And in a world where almost everyone had some small amount of magic, innocents did not need so much protection as they once did. Finally, since the mystic and human populations had integrated long ago, the emnity for humans to the so called 'monsters' had faded almost totally. The army, in 1999, was mostly called upon to deal with natural disasters or civil disorder. When Cyrus asked what Robert felt about 'monsters' in the army, Robert laughed.
"My commander is a Gold Dragon," he answered. "In a battle, there are few beings who could better guard your back than a dragon!"
That got Cyrus laughing, and realizing that Mystics were better people, er, beings than he thought.
At first, Crono felt rather uneasy about his best friend and a former enemy as a couple, but after yesterday, he realized that Janus would rather end his own life than harm Lucca.
After a full day of training, while walking to the camp, Janus asked Crono a question.
"That spell you used during battle that one time... where did you get it's name?" Janus said curiously.
"Final Lightning 5." Janus didn't see any logic in that. "If there were 4 Final Lightnings before it, then none of them are really 'Final'. What is the point?"
"Janus, asking Crono the workings of his own mind can be dangerous..." Lucca, beside Janus as usual, joked.
"Hey. Well, you see, I thought at first that the Final Lightning spell would be my best one. But the moment I perfected it, I started finding ways to improve it. Before long, I had Final Lightning 2, then 3, then 4, then, well, 5!
"But don't worry," Crono said. "This one is the last."
Lucca leaned close to Janus and whispered in his ear. "How much you wanna bet he gets past 10?"
Janus answered, "Nothing. The odds would be overwhelmingly in your favor." They both laughed, and Crono shot a puzzled look over to them.
They returned to the camp. Most went to sleep, anticipating another long day tomorrow. Jason is one who didn't. He went to the cliff where Ayla and Kino had watched the sunset, only to find Elise already there.
For a while they both watched the night vista in silence, Elise sitting cross-legged, and Jason satnding behind her.
She doesn't look like a very powerful person, Jason thought. She didn't wear a dress or robes like most women did, but rather a loose shirt and pants, both of a very dark red. In the darkness, with only the light of the stars to illuminate her, she looked almost sinister. Yet, in the meditative way she sat, there seemed to lie a knowing innocence...
"You can sit beside me if you like, Jason." Elise said, breaking Jason's contemplation.
Jason came up next to Elise and sat beside her, looking out to the horizon. "What am I to do about Janus and Lucca?"
Elise looked at Jason and smiled. "All you can do. Keep a healer near them and don't put their lives in too much danger."
Jason nodded. "They would work well as cavalry. They have a variety of fast, powerful attack spells, and when they combine their auras, they can fly at a good speed, if not with great maneuverability.
"So why are you up here?"
Elise sighed. "When we go and battle, I...
She took a deep breath and seemed to steel herself on the inside. "I am going to die."
Jason looked at her incredulously. "How can you know?"
"Simple. I see the future. I am going to be weakened from a battle, and then I can't see the future past there. I don't even get to see how I die!" Elise obviously wasn't very accustomed to being afraid.
"Elise, what if you didn't participate in the coming battle?"
Elise looked at Jason. "If I do not fight for what I believe in, I could never forgive myself, no matter how long I lived." she smiled then, a sad smile.
Ch.44 Dark Interlude
"Sir, you gave away our location?" Magus said.
"Oh, we are ready for them, now." The Warlock said to his 3 elite troops. "Let them come."
Crono was slightly doubtful. "Sir... um, there are only 3 of us..."
The Warlock laughed, a strong laugh of genuine humor. "Oh, but I am afraid none of you have seen me use all of my powers. None of you.
"By the time the enemy gets here, you will all have an army of monsters at your command, plus there will be a fourth army to guard me and the gate while I finish unlocking it!"
Prometheus jumped up into the air and shouted. "Whoopee!" Magus looked over at the robot and rolled his eyes.
"So Elise did give you the secret on how to open the gate."
"Not exactly, Magus. Rather, she gave me the inspiration, the idea, the spark! I know where to look now, and how, if not exactly, to open the gate." The Warlock gestured to the fields surrounding the gate. "Go rough up that terrain. I don't want the heroes getting to me too easily..."
This time, when The Warlock laughed, it was more like the shriek of a monster than a noise a human would make.
Finally, the day had arrived.
Everyone is ready, Elise thought, everyone at their full power, ready and primed for battle, everyone works together, and the only problem...
The only problem is that Ayla still can't cast magic. Elise sighed inwardly. Oh, well. No use crying over spilt milk, as the adage goes.
Alfador emerged from the nearby forest. Do we go to battle? the great cat thought.
Janus turned from where he was standing in a line with the other heroes to address Alfador. I go to battle, Alfador. Not you.
Friend, you may end up needing my help.
You have never been trained for battle, Janus returned mentally. Besides, you lack magic, which is the primary requisite for this undertaking.
That's unfair. The cavewoman lacks magic, and she can go.
The cavewoman should have magic. You are a cat, you shouldn't. Be satisfied with what you are.
Bah! I cannot help you as I am!
Exactly. This is why you may not come. After hearing that in his mind, Alfador stalked away.
For the past hour, Jason had been inspecting the heroes, making sure that each was in the best of condition and spirits. Now, finally, he had finished his evaluation and went to report to Elise.
"Everyone is ready, Elise. All we need is the transportation."
"All right, Jason. Go back to the others and wait." The Warlock did not think she had mastered the power to travel through time, despite disturbance, but she had. The trick lied in a complex matrix of fourth-dimensional energy, and came easily to her...
I know I disavowed this legacy long ago, Elise thought, but if this power can be used for good, then who am I to abstain my aid, when only I can provide it?
Elise reached into herself, into the core of her being. She knew that the only way to open a gate with disturbance was to open it simultaneously on both sides. However, she wasn't there on the other side to open it... or was she.
In one way, the solution was simple. She was on the other side, she got there by taking the gate she had already made and traversing the timeline. She then created the gate she went through. It was simple, to Elise. Impossible, to the great majority of the universe, but to Elise, paradoxes came naturally.
Thus, the gate opened before her. A gate filled with swirling energies of a deep red color, symbolizing the fact that the gate shouldn't have existed, yet, due to a paradox residing in the fourth dimension, does.
The rushed everyone through the gate, then followed. She closed the gate the same way she opened it: from both sides. She dared not close the gate by denying the paradox, the energy backlash from that method would kill her instantly. In fact, it could kill anything instantly.
The land they saw was devistated. What looked like a former grassy plain now was a rugged, rocky ground. Land was upheaved in chaotic formations, and jagged holes and hills dotted the landscape.
Jason looked around with the professional eye of a military commander. "They did this to disorient us." he said softly to the group. "Keep your footing, and watch for likely places for an ambush." He turned to Elise, to speak privately with her. "It doesn't look like he has an army of monsters," He whispered to her.
"Don't worry, Jason, they'll be here all too soon." Elise whispered back.
Her words may well have been prophecy, for a few minutes after she uttered them, the first wave of monsters assaulted the group from all sides. Creatures of all kinds, monsters, disfigured Mystics, enourmous animals and carnivourous, mobile plants, and an array of incredibly powerful machines intermixed with them, all attacked the group of a mere thirteen.
The group was prepared for this. A blast of dark fire signified the end of the creatures facing Janus and Lucca, the claps of thunder eminating from Crono and Cyrus, accompanying the lightning they were throwing, added to the chaos of an already confusing battle.
It was too loud for Jason to shout commands to the others, but they were already doing great. Marle, Glenn, and Schala were each assigned to different teams of 3 people, and they all kept their charges quite healthy. The teams were working more smoothly then Jason could have imagined. Janus, Lucca, and Schala were cleaving into the monsters attacking them, Janus' and Lucca's offensive powers more than making the difference for Schala's pacifism, Cyrus, Crono, and Glenn were cutting into the enemies in the direction of the gate, making for a very good driving force. Marle, Ayla, and Kino managed to win their battles with a relatively small amount of magic, but Kino was always there when a particularly tough creature threatened their triad. Finally, Elise was helping Robert, Balthasar, and himself to watch the group's collective backs.
"I see the gate!" Crono cried, as he sliced through a tide of monsters.
"Aye, tis' huge!" Glenn saw the gate a second after Crono.
They climbed a jagged hill, slowly, winnning every foot by cleaving at a wall of creatures, a flood of misshapen forms that seemed to never end.
"He is trying to wear us down!" Elise called. The generic beasts and mutants could never hope to defeat them, but they could not fight indefinitely, and the hoard obviously could. "Kill them all now!"
They changed formations. Cyrus, Ayla, Kino, Elise, Balthasar, and Glenn formed a circle around the others in the group. The last spell the group had learned was not a very powerful one, compared to the others they had all learned, but it was strong enough to kill these beings, and it covered a very great range.
Janus, Lucca, Crono, Marle, and Robert each gathered all of their powers together into a single spell. Janus and Lucca combined their powers of Shadow and Fire, Marle and Robert summoned Shadow and Ice and combined them, and Crono drew all the lightning energy he could summon, and stored it in himself. Janus and Lucca directed their energies into Crono, at the same time Robert and Marle did the same. For a split instant, Crono was a ball of magical energy waiting to explode.
Crono shouted at the top of his lungs, "Disintegration!" which was the agreed name for that spell. This gave those fighting off the monsters warning, and just enough time to get down before Crono unleashed the power of the spell on the countryside.
A massive wave of force smashed into every member of the dark hoard. The mixed powers of Shadow, Fire, Ice, and Lightning were too much for the weak creatures to handle. Those that did not melt in a flash of light were flung far away.
The group having taken shelter, nobody was harmed by the spell. As a body, without anyone speaking, they rose and started towards the gate, across the now-empty land.
They reached the end of the broken ground about 5 miles from the gate. However, the way was no longer clear.
A man stood a way from the group, and was walking toward them. The man had hair like Crono's, and his face was very similar to the teen warrior. But there the similarities ended. Where Crono was 17 or 18 (Time travel can really screw up when birthday parties should happen...), this man was at least into his late 20's. His skin was a dark tan, and a scar lined his left cheek. His clothing consisted of loose pants and a thick vest, which looked to be armor. He reached within 20 feet of the group and spoke.
"Turn back now, and I will not have to kill you." The man said, with a confident voice that seemed strong enough to be able to back his words up with actions.
Elise went to the front of the group to speak. "You can't beat us, no matter what your leader may have said. You are only a delaying tactic, a pawn to be sacrificed. Don't you realize that?"
The man smiled. "Yes, I realize it."
"Then why not ally with us, and save yourself along with the world?"
The man looked at Marle, who was clutching to Crono as if he might dissappear and become this man any second. "Marle..." He said, his eyes turning from determination to sadness. "Marle, you wouldn't accept me the way I was, simply because I wasn't perfect, you passed me by..." his face now turned to a visage of rage, like a window into hell.
"Humanity does not deserve to be saved!" He cried, drawing his sword and charging straight at Marle.
Crono moved into the way, and their swords met in a flash of sparks. Crono was fighting better than he had ever fought before, but he was still losing ground to the faster and more skilled Image of himself that he faced.
The Image executed a complex maneuver, and Crono's sword was ripped out of his hands. Just as the Image's killing blow fell, however, his sword was met by that of Jason. Jason threw his weight into his blade, and Crono's Image was thrown back. Jason went to the attack, but the Image had recovered already and held.
For a while, it was a stalemate, Jason and Crono's Image evenly matched.
"You just don't understand..." the Image said to Jason.
"Oh, yes I do. The woman you loved rejected you. Why? You don't care. You were broken by the hardships you faced. You are not the man rejected by that woman... You are a shadow of that man!" a wave of contempt washed over Jason, and it showed in his voice. "A broken will is a weak one. You lack the strength in your soul to overcome even yourself, let alone me!" Jason pressed his body to it's limit to fight the Image, and pushing him back.
Around the two combatants, Elise and the others were watching closely. Crono got his sword and whispered to Elise, "Shouldn't we be helping him?"
Elise shook her head. "No. I sense that Jason has... personal feelings about this fight."
Crono crossed his arms. "Yeah, and trying to kill my future wife doesn't matter..."
Elise hushed Crono. "Maybe you could learn something from Jason right now, Crono."
Jason was unleashing a swift barrage of sword moves towards Crono's dark Image, and it was all the Image could do to stay alive.
Abruptly, the Image raised it's hand. "Hold.
"I forfeit." the dark Crono stepped back, admitting defeat.
"Good for you," Jason said.
The Image turned and walked out of the circle of people that had formed. Before he could get 10 feet, however, an enormous lazer beam lanced through the broken man, ending his misery. The dark Image of Robo, Prometheus, walked up to the charred corpse of his former comrade, and laughed, a sound of metal grating. "Ha, ha, ha! What a weakling! Now, it is my turn..."
Schala saw this heartless act and dashed out to the front of the group. "Wh... Why? You had no reason to do such a thing!"
"Oh, yes I did, young lady." Prometheus sounded like a father explaining the obvious to his daughter. "I was instructed to kill Crono... er, our Crono, if he failed to kill you and did not die in the process. My master thought it the most likely outcome." Prometheus grinned, or at least looked like it did.
"But now, I get my chance to kill a few of you..."
Prometheus charged at Schala, engines gunning for the kill. Robert skillfully leaped in the way, however, and launched a blast of dark force at the robot.
Promethius was blasted back maybe 15 feet before it gained it's feet. The dark robot then commenced throwing electric shocks at Robert in an attempt to fry him.
Everyone besides Jason, Crono, and Robert were still in 1 group. Elise shouted, "Come on people, this is a melee, not a duel! Help Robert!"
Crono dashed in for close quarter battle, as did Jason and Ayla. Janus and Lucca detached themselves from everyone else and began summoning magical power, while Marle, Glenn, and Schala each prepared to start casting healing spells. Kino and Robert promptly began to distract Prometheus with bullets that seemed to drink light,(Robert had designed a spell called Shadow Bullet, inspired by Kino's idea of putting an element into a projectile) and burning arrows.
Under attack by multiple people simultaneously, the robotic enemy nonetheless seemed bored. It struck Jason and Crono with a dark laser, knocking them into Glenn and Schala respectively. It blasted Robert with a powerful Shock, rendering him unconsious. The bullets and arrows that struck it barely made scratches in it's powerful armored shell. It grabbed Ayla's foot right before it struck, and hurled Ayla at Balthasar. Before Ayla hit him, however, she dissappeared and reappeared behind him, where she hit the ground with a groan.
In an instant, Balthasar had vanished, and teleported behind Prometheus. He gestured, and a wave of water struck Prometheus from out of nowhere.
All that happened was the robot being cast forward a pace or two, then rolling and emerging on it's feet, none the worse for wear.
"Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin', eh, old man?" Prometheus said as it successfully launched it's fist at Balthasar's jaw, causing the old time warrior to fall over in pain.
In this short time Janus and Lucca already had a spell at the ready. "Hand of Black Fire!" They shouted in unison.
A giant hand appeared from out of nowhere, a hand about the width and height of a small boulder, constructed of smouldering black flame.
The hand swept down and slammed into the evil robot. Promethius flew back about 20 feet before landing and rolling to its feet. The hand made another pass, but this time Promethius leaped over it. It leaped clear over to where Janus and Lucca were meditating, concentrating in order to maintain the spell, and it's mettallic fist slammed into the side of Lucca's head. Lucca flew quite a way, then landed, unconsious. It swung around and hammered Janus square in the gut, a blow so powerful he was thrown up and back. The robot's fist flew out of its arm again and struck Janus' chest, causing his already airborne body to go even higher.
Marle had dashed over to where Ayla was, and healed her somewhat. As she ran off to administer much-needed healing to others, Ayla got to her feet and saw her opponent.
At that moment, she saw Kino blasting Promethius with a Flare, funneling all his power into the spell in a futile attempt to harm the robot. Promethius was laughing from within the ornage-white flames of the spell. Ayla saw that the enemy was charging for an incredible lightning bolt to strike Kino with, although she wasn't quite sure how she knew. She was sure, however, that if she didn't save him, the bolt would kill him, and destroy his body beyond any hope of revival.
Ayla had to strike the Rawboot, and she had to do it NOW...
But she was easily 30 feet from the rawboot, and in the split instant she had to move, her chance will be gone. Even she couldn't move that fast, and she knew it.
I have to move faster, but I can't! Ayla thought. In her entire life, Ayla had never encountered a challenge she wasn't sure she could overcome, never let even the most horrible circumstances overwhelm her. But she knew she could not save Kino, beyond a doubt.
But Ayla couldn't understand impossibility, it was too new to her. "Kiiiinnnoooo!" She screamed, and leaped into the air, foot flying to a destination she would never reach in time...
Chapters 46-47 & Epilogue
Chrono Trigger Fanfic