Bitterness and Obsession
"Come, let us settle this charade for good!"
The clash of steel upon steel reverberated through the cold air, serving only to quicken the flow of adrenaline in the two combatants' bodies.
Again, the two weapons lashed out, only to connect solidly again, the ensuing sparks lost in the misty sunlight overhead.
"Is that the best you can do, Glenn? I feel the Dark Wind blowing your way..."
Glenn skipped backwards as a the curved blade of Magus' scythe sliced through the air where he had just been. "Claim thy Dark Wind thine own self, Magus! I hath not yet begun to fight!"
"Nor have I!" the wizard agreed, throwing his free hand forwards in what seemed a meaningless gesture. Meaningless for almost anyone else, that is.
Glenn threw himself sideways, even as the earth beneath him tore open and sprayed liquid fire upwards with abandon. Briefly thanking his more agile amphibian form, Glenn lunged forwards, the Masamune drawing back to dispatch the wizard.
Magus smirked, already summoning more magic.
Glenn halted his sword attack, instead bringing his own magic to bear.
In unison, the two combatants attacked. From Glenn's hands, a torrent of icy water came forth, aiming to knock Magus off the cliff. From Magus' hands, white hot fire surged forth, intent on incinerating Glenn to ashes.
The two collided violently, forcing both to shield themselves. Glenn was sent sprawling as the excess fire magic impacted him. Frantically throwing off his burning cloak, he stood again to face his opponent.
Magus was untouched. "You think _I_ have anything to fear from magic? I know magic beyond anything you could dream of, Glenn! You won last time only because you had help! Who do you think made you who you are today?"
"I have only you to thank for _that_!" Glenn retorted.
"You're fighting the one person who might be able to restore you!"
"A sacrifice I shall happily make on Cyrus' behalf!"
Magus launched himself upwards as the Masamune dug into the ground. Glenn ducked low as the scythe lashed out in its owner's steed.
"You are very good, Glenn!" Magus snarled. "Far better than Cyrus ever was. Better even than that fool Crono, I think. But I think you'll find that growing up with Mystics teaches you to fight as well!"
Once again, Glenn threw himself aside as lightning bolts smashed into the ground where he'd been standing.
"Keep running, Glenn!" Magus taunted, still floating aloft and out of sword reach.
More lightning bolts. Glenn dodged again, throwing out his free hand, more ice-water spraying from it. He already understood that he was outmatched in magic by someone of Magus' caliber. The Masamune was his only hope in this fight.
Magus looked with disdain at the magical attack coming his way, unconcerned. More lightning bolts.
Except this time, something went wrong.
The lightning bolts connected with the incoming water magic. Being immaterial, the lightning failed to stop the onrush of water. Before Magus could react to this, the water smothered him. And the lightning spell was still active.
In the blink of an eye, the lightning had surged back through the path of water and into Magus's body. The wizard cringed as the full force of his own spell rippled through his entire body, causing his blue hair to stand on end, his scythe falling harmlessly to the ground below.
Finally the spell wore off, leaving a falling Magus.
Glenn was already moving to intercept.
"For Cyrus!" he yelled.
Even as he slammed into the ground, Magus was rolling, coming around up to face his opponent at the last moment. Even as he located his incoming attacker, he threw his own weaponless hands out to deliver a killing magic blow.
The Masamune plunged downwards.
"I am doing quite well, m'lady."
Leene smiled sincerely. "I'm glad to hear that. You look tired, though. Did you sleep well last night?"
"Only death itself may keep me from doing thy bidding," Glenn hastily assured his queen.
"I know that. But maybe you should consider taking a break, Glenn. You've been pushing yourself hard these days."
"The safety of our wondrous kingdom doth take precedence over mine own whims."
"Our kingdom is safer than ever, thanks to you. I think you need a vacation."
"B-but..." Glenn stopped short of actually protesting. While he was loath to actually _refuse_ his queen anything, he did not think that-
"It is just that..."
Leene raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"
Glenn swallowed. "It is just that... I do not believe I am in need of a... _vacation_." The last word was spoken in a tone of voice normally reserved for treasonous criminals.
"You always say that. Don't you trust the men you've trained?"
"Of course I do, m'lady! I could never ask for finer men! But..."
"Even the chief of the knights needs to rest sometimes, Glenn."
He took a nervous step back. "But perchance disaster were to befall you while I was... resting?"
"I'm not in any danger right now, Glenn. Thanks to you. What if I _order_ you to take a vacation?"
Glenn backed up another step. "Thy word is my creed, m'lady, but..." he wasn't sure what else to say.
Leene sighed sadly. "You work too hard, Glenn. You need to enjoy yourself more. You only live once, you know."
"I am most content, my Queen. And I regret nothing that I am presently doing in this life."
"That's not the point. What about the banquet tonight?"
In celebration of the defeat of Magus and the Mystic army. "I shall indeed be there."
"But wouldn't you enjoy yourself more with a young lady at your side?"
Glenn swallowed. "Methinks t'is would be a crime to request that a maiden be forced to endure my lowly company for an entire evening. I am but a common man."
Leene giggled. "A common man? Glenn, you're the Chief of the Knights, the Legendary Hero, holder of the Masamune, and one of those who saved this world from Lavos. You're _hardly_ common! Why, you make me and my husband look common!"
Glenn looked aghast. "Not even in jest, your majesty!"
Leene's smile only faded a little. "Regardless, you're a long way from common, Glenn. And you know it too."
"Irregardless, it would not be seemly for myself to be distracted from my duties."
"Glenn! You know full well there's not going to be any trouble at a banquet."
Leene silenced him with a gesture, taking a step forwards.
Glenn involuntarily backed up. His queen was getting _that_ look in her eyes.
The one that made her look _exactly_ like Princess Nadia of the future. And that usually led to her _acting_ like Princess Nadia of the future...
She gave Glenn a mischievous smile. "I'll bet that _you're_ just scared!"
"I protest, my Queen! T'is not the tiniest inkling of fear in my heart!"
The look was _still_ present. "Then... you think you're too good for the young ladies of our kingdom?"
Once again, Glenn looked aghast. "Again, I protest! Indeed, methinks the young ladies be of higher standing than myself!"
"So what on earth could keep you from asking for the company of one of our young ladies? I'm sure any one would be delighted to accept. I daresay you know most of them better than _I_ do..."
"I am but courteous as my title dictates."
"_Very_ courteous. Are you _sure_ you're not just scared?"
"My queen, if thou wouldst have me escort a maiden to the banquet, thou need but command..."
"I'd never order such a thing, Glenn. But you're only young once, right? It would be a shame to waste it. I understand that you want to protect me. But I don't want you obsessing over it."
Glenn took a deep breath. "I... shall ponder thy words, my queen."
It was with a weary sigh that Glenn closed the door to his quarters behind him. Queen Leene had a heart as radiant as her outer visage, and he knew she meant well at all times. But couldn't she understand what she was saying to him? To do anything, anything at all, that might result in a lack of attentiveness to his duty of protection...
...was inexcusable. Cyrus's final request had been for him to protect Leene. And protect her he would do until his dying breath had come and gone. Anything else was a distant second place to that directive.
Obsession? Perhaps. If that was what was required, he had no qualms.
So he would endure Leene's occasional nudges and prompts. He appreciated her concern for him, but had not the heart to tell her that it was misplaced. Her child, now three months of age, was no doubt partially responsible for the motherly streak she had been displaying recently. Perhaps it was just as well that the child occupied the majority of her time these days...
He surveyed himself in the mirror. He didn't look a great deal different than he had ten years ago. His brown hair was tied back loosely behind his head. His fairly slender frame was somewhat stockier all around, a testament to the rigorous training he had subjected himself to for ten years, followed by the even more rigorous battles he had fought alongside his friends in the name of destroying Lavos. Though he was approaching 33 years of age, he looked considerably younger, only a few years older than he had ten years ago. It was his guess that his amphibian form had been less prone to the effects of time.
Two thin scar lines were faintly visible on the left side of his neck, a permanent result of being unable to completely dodge a shower of ice shards. And a reminder of the most satisfying fight of his life. The fight that had laid his sworn enemy to eternal rest, Magus.
The fight he still dreamed about, even now, after more than a year had passed.
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, noblemen and maidens. You are all most welcome here at this feast of celebration. For indeed, this is a most memorable celebration"
A murmur of consent echoed quietly around the banquet table in response to King Guardia's introduction.
The King continued. "It is with sorrow that I mourn the passing of so many noble individuals, all who gave their life in defense of our kingdom. Let us toast to their glory and honor..."
As one, the individuals raised their goblets of wine in respect, each whispering their own quiet words of respect.
"...to the fallen..."
"...to the departed..."
"...to our protectors..."
"...To thee, Cyrus," Glenn whispered.
Next to his right, Leene placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "For Cyrus," she agreed.
It had been a long bitter war by any measure, and there was scarcely a person present who had not lost someone close. If the whispers were not evidence enough, the empty far end of the table, the noticeable absence of noblemen, and tears upon some women's faces were.
The King cleared his throat, a soft smile upon his face. "And another toast to the peace and freedom our land can now prosper from, the ultimate treasure, given to us by those people."
A second time, the goblets were raised in respect.
Glenn glanced over at Leene, a small smile coming to his face. The Queen was alive, and would live out her days in happiness if he had anything to say about it. Cyrus' sacrifice had not been in vain.
"So quick to rejoice, aren't you?"
The words cut through the silence like dull shears through silk cloth.
As one, the entire table turned to face the approaching voice.
Glenn momentarily forgot how to breath as he focused upon the new arrival.
It was a woman. Dressed in a pastel-blue gown, with a purple cloak draped elegantly over her shoulders, she carried herself with an grace that spoke of royalty. Her slender figure moved with a silence that spoke of an apparition, with a fluidity that bordered on hypnosis. Her face was seemingly fashioned of marble, cut and polished beyond what the finest of artists might imagine possible. Platinum-blue hair cascaded down the sides of her head and over her shoulders like a living waterfall, rippling gently in the draft from the overhead sunlight. Blue eyes, deeper and richer than the ocean itself, seemed to affix each and every of the room's occupants in their place.
After a moment in eternity, Glenn managed to find his voice. "Schala!!!"
Despite the absence of moment, he immediately felt the paralyzing gaze come to focus upon him. Even as he stood in his spot, he could feel himself being analyzed and segregated for inspection. For what, he couldn't begin to imagine.
Like a wraith, she circled the table until she was before him, sapphire eyes level with his own. "I know you," she stated quietly.
"I am Glenn!" he agreed, finding his voice again. "Thou'rt alive, Schala!"
A maelstrom of emotions surged beneath the surface of her pale face. "Are you... the one who killed... Magus?"
"Indeed, I was," Glenn agreed slowly.
Once more, Schala's face became unreadable. "Prepare yourself for the void."
Glenn's eyes opened wide. "Schala?"
Without warning, Glenn was sent hurtling backwards, the wind rushing from his lungs as he impacted the back wall. Slumping to the ground, he forced himself to his feet, hands groping for the Masamune. He didn't understand what was happening. Why was Schala-
Fixating on his attacker, he gaped in disbelief. Schala was literally aglow, a brilliant aura of red power surrounding her form. Her eyes were locked on him, no longer blue, but glowing red.
"Schala, what madness is this?" he demanded, the Masamune finally resting in his hands. Yet to attack...
"You're a simple person, Glenn," she hissed. "All the kingdom knows of you. And the one whom you value above life itself. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth..."
Panic surged through Glenn's body. "Schala, desist-"
"...And a life for a life!" she shouted, throwing out her left hand.
With an shudder that reverberated through the entire room, a pulse of red energy departed from her fingers, lancing across the room faster than the eye could follow.
The blast smashed into Queen Leene, picking up her form like a leaf in a hurricane, and tossing her back against the stone wall. A chorus of audible cracks were heard on impact, silence as the lifeless body collapsed to the ground.
Glenn was already at her side. "My queen! Speak, I beg of you! _Leene!!!_"
"She's already dead," Schala stated plainly, her face expressionless. "Farewell."
Glenn watched dumbstruck as she quietly exited the room, her silence a stark contrast to moments ago. "Schala..."
"What madness is this, Sir Glenn?"
He looked up to the frantic face of his king. "My l-liege, I do not understand..."
"Is she alright?"
The question faded away into empty silence. Leene's body was lifeless upon the stone floor, her neck at an unnatural angle, blood only now beginning to seep beyond the confines of her white dress. The answer was plain to be seen.
"W-why..." the King gasped in horror.
"I..." Glenn's knuckles whitened around the Masamune, even as his vision reddened. "I shall avenge!!!"
Glenn paid no heed as he charged out of the room.
Like a man possessed, Glenn charged down the castle's steps, stumbling occasionally, but quickly righting himself and continuing downwards. Occasionally, he would pass by the unconscious forms of guards, but he paid them no mind. Only one thing containing relevance now. Avenging the death of his queen.
The front gates were wide open, a pool of molten metal cooling on the ground in place of the locks. A blue-haired figure could be seen to be slowly leaving them.
"HALT!!!" Glenn ordered.
Upon hearing the voice, the figure turned to face him. Schala's face was still expressionless. "My business with you is finished, Glenn."
"Thy life is forfeit!" Glenn snarled.
"Art thou insane? For the death of Queen Leene!"
Schala raised an eyebrow. "You act surprised, Glenn. Why?"
Glenn gritted his teeth. "If there was indeed ill-blood between us, then thou should have to taken it up with myself! Leene never did harm to you! Nor have I, to mine knowledge!"
"I thought I told you before, Glenn. A life for a life. You killed the one who I held most dear. So I have returned the favor."
"I hath done no such thing..." Glenn's voice trailed off slowly as realization dawned upon him.
Schala must have seen it too. "Do you understand now, Glenn? You killed Janus. MY little brother."
"T'was not Janus I killed! Your brother was long-dead, replaced with the visage of Magus! And methinks the Schala I did know is dead as well!"
She approached him. "What's wrong, Glenn? You can't understand how the Schala you knew before could do something like this?"
"T'is utterly beyond my comprehension!"
"It shouldn't be. You're about to follow in my footsteps, just as I followed in my brother's. Just as he followed in his mother's."
"That's right, Glenn. First, my father died. Then mother began to change into the woman you faced before, one obsessed with defeating death. Then Janus was thrown into this time era. Growing up with Mystics, without his sister to comfort him all those years, his hatred towards Lavos... and you wonder that he became the man he did, obsessed with defeating Lavos?"
"Regrettable, but inexcusable!" Glenn shot back, his anger beginning to surge up again.
The aura of power around Schala's body intensified. "And then myself, searching for so many years for my brother, only to finally learn that he was killed by someone I had saved before! Do you have any idea how I felt? I swore to avenge myself against you! I almost killed myself in the process of creating a time gate to transport myself here!"
"Better that thou had never made the attempt!"
"And you say you don't understand how I was able to kill that woman, Leene? Look at _you_! Her blood hasn't finished drying, and you are already determined to kill me! How you will you feel once your bitterness has festered for ten years? Twenty? So go ahead and kill me. If you're prepared for The Void..."
Glenn leveled the Masamune at her meaningfully. "Thine invitation is accepted in full!"
Schala smiled coldly, beginning to focus the red power around her. "Just remember, Glenn. You killed Janus. He was never evil. He wanted nothing but to destroy Lavos. He hated Lavos for taking me away from him, just as you hated him for taking away that man, Cyrus. The way I hate you for taking Janus away from me. The way you hate me now for taking away Leene."
Red lightning began to surge around Schala's body. "Come, let us settle this charade for good!"
Glenn met her intense gaze with equal strength. "Your brother's very words. A charade indeed. One that must end..."
"Have you any more loved ones?" Schala inquired. "I have none. Then let this be the end of the charade."
A metallic rasp echoed through the clearing, as Glenn's sword slid back into its sheath. He lowered his head. "Spilling your brother's blood did not bring Cyrus back. Nor will spilling yours bring Leene back."
The aura around Schala did not waver. "Is _that_ your answer, Glenn?"
Glenn averted his eyes towards the ground. "Leene did say with concern that I obsessed over her welfare. Perhaps she was right in the end. In her absence, I find little else of value in my life. Kill me if it will appease your inner demons. But I can find not the desire to stain this sword with the remainder of your family's blood."
The magical aura around Schala slowly faded away, her arms falling limply to her sides, her face suddenly weary. "You're a better person than I am, Glenn."
Glenn shook his head, beginning to walk away from the castle. "I think not. T'was not till the second time that I did learn."
"Where are you going?"
He glanced back at her. "I find nothing else at this castle that would keep my heart. I may yet find something else that will and redeem myself. Until then, I shall mourn what I have lost."
There was a brief silence until Glenn spoke again. "What of thyself?" Schala shook her head. "As you say, I will mourn what I have lost. And perhaps I'll find something else to care for. I wish you luck, Glenn."
"And I. Fare thee well, Schala."
The End. And it's not a case of writer's block. I _do_ have several ways that I could resolve everything just wonderfully. I simply don't think they would go with the rest of the story. Yes, things still suck. But in my opinion, that's how revenge works.
As far as continuity is concerned, I didn't forget that Marle is Leene's descendant. Marle is still going to be born. But it seems that Leene's child is going to grow up motherless. Hey, revenge sucks.
Freaky, man. This came to me after reading another fanfic that had Magus killed (albeit, brought back to life). At any rate, the idea got me thinking. I mean, there's a million and one fics about Magus searching for Schala. But surely Schala would be searching for Magus too? And what if Frog had killed Magus when he had the chance? This story is an accumulation of those two thoughts.
The other thing that prompted this story was irritation at Schala's lot in fan fiction. Every story I read seems convinced that she's a goddess given human form, now simply sitting on her ass, waiting for Magus to hurry up and find her. *Ahem*. Okay, maybe that's a bit of a generalization. And she seems like a pretty nice girl overall. But honestly, is it so hard to accept that she might not be a perfect angel? I mean, _a lot_ of problems could have been avoided if she'd had the guts to stand up to her mother, instead of wussing out and activating the Mammon Machine.
BTW, I seem to recall that Glenn's hair was green at the end of CT. Go figure. But I seem to recall him having brown hair before getting turned into a frog. Am I seeing things? (???)
C&C - Bring 'em on, I dare ya! ^_^