Chrono Trigger Dimensions Chapter 24
Time for the next test, Nikades thought with a smile.
They were coming ever so closer now. If he didn't deal with them now, they would reach him. He was not yet ready for such a confrontation. Soon though, if they were stalled, they could be easily crushed when they finally reached him, but Nikades was not a fool. Never underestimate a foe.
Anything could happen, and it always did. Prepare for the unexpected and expect even more.
Better now to deal with them than be defeated in a freak accident so close to his plan's completion.
He sent the instructions to Merjhra. Instructions for the destruction of these people. Banrin would succeed. Though stupid, Banrin was a swift and savage fighter.
Banrin would succeed; if not, Nikades had one more plan up his sleeve.
* * * * *
"How long have I been out?" Lucca asked Cid.
She was still in bed, too weak to do anything more that eat, drink, and talk.
"About six days now," Cid replied. He handed her a cup of water.
She took it, "Thanks," pulling it to her lips, she slowly drank.
"No problem," Cid replied.
He was sitting in a chair next to the bed. Outside the sun was up high, the time was around noon. Marshall had left earlier to look for Magus, who had mysteriously disappeared earlier. It was just the two of them.
"No. Thanks for saving my life earlier. . .back in the castle." she replied handing him the now empty cup.
"You were in trouble, I had to," Cid said, trying to sound calm and collected.
"Thanks all the same. I owe you one," she finished.
"But before you went out, you saved my life too. That would make us even," Cid said, trying to get the upper hand.
Lucca smiled at him, "But you had to carry me all the way out of the castle, didn't you?"
Cid replied, "The castle was destroyed, blown to bits. We had to crawl out through a collapsing cave with a big red dog after us."
Lucca was about to respond when suddenly her vision blurred and she was staring at one of the visions she had had during the nightmare.
Cid standing on a bluff, holding a Chrono Trigger. Marle shooting at him. . .
Lucca awoke suddenly, Cid was shaking her lightly.
"Lucca? Lucca?!" he kept repeating.
"I'm. . .I'm alright," she said, trying to hide her terror.
Cid stopped shaking her, but didn't release her, "You sure?"
"Yeah. . .I just need some rest. I'm still so tired and weak."
Cid sat up, "Whatever you say. Do you want me to close the curtains?" he asked walking over to the window.
"Sure," she said preparing to rest.
But rest was the last thing she wanted. She was afraid the nightmares would return and the reminders of her betrayal would haunt her mind. However sleep did come quickly and Lucca rested.
Cid looked down at her for a moment, wondering what was in her mind.
* * * * *
The next day, Crono and Marle returned with Glenn. Marshall had came back that night, with news of his fruitless search. Lucca had slept through the day and night, Cid sat in his chair watching over her. Now she was awake however, and she greeted Glenn happily.
Cid stared at the frog, trying to tear his eyes away.
"This trip has got to be the strangest thing to happen in my life," he whispered to himself.
He shook Glenn's hand however and didn't flinch or shudder at the wet-feeling skin.
"Where's Magus?" Crono asked finally.
"Don't know," Marshall answered, "he left at about the same time you did and hasn't returned yet."
The others all now knew the Marshall's real name, though it wasn't much of a difference.
"Should we leave without him?" Marle asked uncertainly.
"We'll stay here until Lucca heals completely. If he is still missing by then, then we'll have to wait here. He's the one who has to create the gate for us, remember?" Crono corrected her.
"To think we have to rely on one such as him now. This world is in such a sad state right now," Glenn said shaking his head.
"Then we have no choice but to wait for now." Marshall said, "That damn wizard."
So they spent the rest of the day talking with each other and making plans. None knew what Nikades was doing with the machine, but it could not be good. They had to prepare for the worst.
Magus returned that night.
* * * * *
"Where have you been?" Marshall demanded as Magus strolled inside.
"I have been thinking," was the reply.
"So are we ready to go?" Crono asked from his sitting position against the wall.
Marle was asleep against his shoulder and Crono shook her awake as Magus replied, "Yes. The gate will be at Denadoro Peak."
"Why there?" Crono asked, confused.
"It is the place with the most magical energies since my castle was. . .corrupted. And also, we're leaving right now."
"Denodoro Peak? Izzat where you've been all of this time?" Marshall asked, leaning against the wall opposite Crono's.
"Yes. Most of the time. I had to make a side trip to my castle also. Now no questions, we must leave now." Magus said walking out of the room and into the night.
"Are you strong enough to walk now?" Cid asked Lucca from his chair beside the bedside.
"Yeah, no problem. But I'm going to need something other than this," she replied plucking at her gown.
"Oh yeah! I almost forgot about that," Cid said, jumping out of his seat and rummaging through a sack piled in the corner.
He produced a handful of clothing, "Here. We all got new clothing when we got into town, because the military garb was becoming annoying."
She took the clothes from him, "Thanks. . .now if you all don't mind, I'd like to change."
The others got up apologetically and left. She donned her new outfit after the door had shut. As a finishing touch she grabbed her sword and was about to belt it when another vision came to her.
The godlike Nikades stood before her.
"You'll need more than that to kill me," he said, laughing a hideous laugh.
She shook her head trying to free herself from the image. She closed her eyes, but she still heard the fading voice, "You set me free, so I won't make you suffer in your evernearing death."
She huddled on the ground, the sword clattering on the floor. However, when she opened her eyes, it was all gone.
My fault, she thought sadly, it's all my fault.
She picked up her sword and belted it as she ran out the door, trying to catch up to the others.
* * * * *
"Why do we have to be so secretive about this?" Crono asked for the hundredth time.
For the hundredth time, Magus ignored him. He continued his watchful progress through the night toward Denadoro Mountains.
Seeing that no one was going to answer him, Crono sighed and remained quiet. Beside him, Marle shivered in the night's chill. Crono put an arm around her shoulders to warm her a little.
She murmured her thanks and plodded on.
Behind them was Cid and Lucca, whispering about whatever mechanical or electrical thing came to mind to each other. Behind Cid and Lucca still, bringing up the rear, were Glenn and Marshall. They both had their swords drawn and were wary about whatever had Magus so uneasy.
If Magus was uneasy at all, he didn't show it however. He continued quietly in his march toward his destination.
An hour later, they reached the foot of the mountain. It was almost midnight and the stars shone brightly overhead.
"So now can you tell me why we are being so secretive?" Crono asked, with a bit of spite in his voice.
"I was followed," was the only reply.
"So? From where? And are we still being followed?" Crono asked, looking behind him, as if he could actually see what Glenn and Marshall hadn't been able to.
"From here, boy. And yes, we are still being followed. I hoped to lose them, but it appears that they aren't so easily thrown. Now if you would shut up and let us continue, we might reach the gate before they find out what is happening." Magus said, a bit of sarcasm in his voice.
"I ain't stopping you. Continue if you like," Crono said with a waving gesture toward the mountain, "I'll be right behind you."
Magus made no reply. Instead, he turned and began his ascent, not looking back to see if the others were following. They had no choice but to continue, no matter how tired they were.
A half hour later, they had reached their destination. They were standing on a cliff's edge. Across from the cliff was a sparkling waterfall. The waterfall began about fifty feet above them and it dropped so far that its bottom couldn't be seen. Only darkness below. It was fairly obvious that if you fell, you were dead.
The group looked in wonder at the sparkling waterfall they now beheld. It was beautiful in the halflight.
"Wow," Marle voiced her opinion, "I'd almost forgotten what it looked like.
To their left was the cave where Masa and Mune had been found two years earlier. It looked no different except for the fact that it was now empty.
Glenn looked around at the spot where Cyrus had been murdered. He glared at Magus hotly, "Why here?" he demanded.
"It is the spot with the most energy. Gates take a lot of energy to create. Too much for me alone. There is enough from your sword's resting spot to use to create one safely."
"Are we there?" Crono asked, breathing heavily.
"Full of questions, aren't we?" Lucca asked jokingly, with a look of serenity at the peaceful view.
"And why aren't YOU breathing hard?" Crono asked, "I would think that you would, considering you've just recently been able to leave bed."
Lucca shrugged. "Who knows? I feel great, and I'm enjoying the view."
Finally, Magus replied, "We are there."
Everyone was about to sigh with relief, when suddenly, Glenn answered ominously, "And so are they!"
Marshall turned from the waterfall to look into the darkness. He peered where Glenn was looking to see pairs of red eyes peering back.
"Damn. . ." he muttered, then yelled, "I hope you can get that gate up quickly Magus, or we'll be in big trouble!"
Magus didn't answer. He closed his eyes and spread his hands out to the side, palms up.
"I'm waiting for the black wind. . ." he murmered.
"And what does that mean?" Marshall asked indignantly.
Crono smiled at him, "You'll see."
A gust of wind suddenly picked up, whipping Magus's bluish hair around. His cloak likewise swirled in the new wind, flapping and billowing.
Marshall was nearly caught off guard; if it wasn't for his size, he would have been thrown to the ground.
Crono, Marle, and Lucca were prepared however, and held their ground. Lucca grabbed Cid's arm so he wouldn't be swept away.
"Gee, thanks kid!" Marshall yelled over the howling wind.
Crono smiled as the wind died down to a breeze.
Another howl, a beastly howl broke them from their reverie. The group minus Magus turned to the threat.
The demons exited their hiding spot and stepped forward about ten meters from the group, who were now quickly arming theirselves.
Cid drew his knive and threw Lucca's, which he had been holding for her, to her. Crono, Glenn, and Marshall all had their swords already drawn and were now at the ready. Marle was holding her crossbow, with a new supply of deadly bolts to use. Magus, however remained in his stance, a look of the utmost concentration on his face.
However, there were only two demons. They paced back in forth like giant cats, waiting for an opportunity.
"Two shouldn't be too hard," Marshall whispered to the others.
Then another monstrosity stepped out of the darkness.
"Dear. . ." Marle began.
The monster was about a foot taller than Marshall, and about twice as wide. It had two inhumanly large arms and hands protruding from its large bulk. Dark brown skin stretched over it, its muscles shown clearly inside the layer. It's black eyes were slightly squinted as it surveyed its prey.
"You're next," it said in a high pitched, screeching voice, "Master Nikades says that since Banrin did such a good job last time, Banrin get to have more fun."
"The bigger they are--" Crono began.
"Please don't say that," Marshall said, "It's bad luck for me."
Crono laughed, "Sorry. . .Well, let's get to work."
The two demons started to advance ahead of Banrin. The group awaited the attack as the two monsters snarled and paced, looking for an opening for attack.
Then suddenly Banrin surprised them.
"No! Mine! They are Banrin's!" he yelled.
With a sweep of his arm, he sent the two surprised demons flailing off of the cliff and plummeting down, screaming to their demise.at the bottom of the abyssal drop.
Marshall advanced on Banrin, muttering, "I hate backstabbers. . ."
"Banrin's first victim?" Banrin said bending over somewhat and dancing side to side, preparing to pounce.
Marshall continued to advance, "No. Banrin's first lesson," Marshall corrected.
Banrin pounced slamming his hand at Marshall. The bounty hunter nimbly dodged to the side as the hands smacked resoundingly against the ground.
"Lesson number one, don't underestimate." Marshall said cutting into the beast's left arm with his sword.
Banrin didn't scream in pain however. Instead, he raised his arm with surprising agility and backhanded Marshall. The seven footer was thrown into the air to land sliding a few feet from the cliff's edge.
Banrin advanced on the remaining group. A crossbow quarrel hit him in the shoulder, but he continued as if nothing had happened. Marle hastily reloaded.
"Lesson number two. . ." came a voice.
Marshall suddenly dropped from the ledge above Banrin and landed on its back. He raised his blade making to stab the monster in the neck.
". . .expect the unexpected," Marshall finished.
Banrin flailed at Marshall, but couldn't find a hold. Crono and Glenn rushed up and began poking at the demon with their swords, which aggravated the monster even more. Lucca and Cid came around behind the demon and began stabbing its legs with their knives.
Marshall brought his sword down, but it broke when it hit the demon's backbone. The shaddered shard spun in the air, landing several feet away and throwing up a small cloud of dust. The demon had a boney ridge down its back that Marshall hadn't noticed before. Then suddenly, he had an incredibly large, brown hand around him.
Marshall was thrown throught the air again. He landed semi-gracefully and rolled, before finally finding purchase and rising to his feet. He grimaced in pain, he had sprained his wrist in the tumble.
Banrin swept his arm again and hit Crono. Crono was thrown back and he hit Marle. The two fell to the ground in a tangle.
Glenn ducked the next swipe and dived at the monster. His sword sunk into Banrin's hide and red blood poured out of the wound.
Then Marshall was standing by the demon once again, "Lesson number three--"
The demon didn't care what the lesson was, of course. Banrin swung his arm at Marshall, aiming to knock the giant off of the edge this time. However, the bounty hunter ducked the attack and reached into his cloak. He pulled out something and snapped his good wrist. A thin cord of wire sprung from his hand and flew toward the demon. It wrapped around the monster, making several loops before running out of slack. Marshall then tugged the taut wire. Banrin was caught off balance and was sent stumbling past Marshall. The cord broke from the weight, but it was too late. Banrin teetered on the edge, then fell.
Crono and Marle stumbled up, "Did we get him?" Crono asked.
"'Fraid so, son. You missed all the fun," Marshall said, tossing his broken wire to the ground.
"Banrin will have last laugh," cried a familiar voice from below.
"That little. . ." Marshall muttered, "That voice is so annoying."
The group ran to the cliff's edge to peer down. Banrin was still there.
His large hands had found purchase on the rocks behind the waterfall. The falls cascaded down on him, but the demon didn't even notice. Instead he was slowly climbing back up.
Cid turned to Magus, who was still concentrating, "You done with that yet?"
There was no reply.
"What do we do now?" Glenn asked, a look of puzzlement on his face.
Then Marle stepped forward, "Allow me."
She raised her hands and began concentrating on the water, "Let's hope I can still do this," she muttered.
Banrin was now laughing incoherently below as he continued his ascent. Magus was still not moving. The wind was still blowing, though it went unnoticed in the fray.
Then suddenly, Marle jerked. A circle of blue energy shot out of her body in all directions. A perfect sphere of light. The water turned to ice wherever it was touched by the energy. The falls stopped in its tracks, it had become one long icicle.
Marle stopped and looked down. She was smiling like a giddy kid, "It worked!" she said, jumping up and down in excitement.
Below them, Banrin was now encased in the iced waterfall. He struggled, but couldn't move at the moment.
Crono hugged Marle, "Good job. Now we just have to wait for Magus to finish--"
There was the sound of cracking below. They looked down to see Banrin's arms freeing themselves from their prison.
"Can't have Banrin so easily," the monster said as it started to pull itself out of the ice.
"Sure we can wait. . .but I doubt he will." Cid said sourly.
"Well, what now?" Lucca asked, eyeing the demon with disgust.
"You think ol' Magus has enough time to finish?" Cid asked.
"Doubt it," Marshall replied, "heck, with our luck, he'll finish and open his eyes to find Banrin eating the meat off of our bones."
"Well, what do we do?" Cid asked.
Marle aimed another bolt at the beast, but upon impact, the dart didn't even faze the monster.
Cid picked up a small rock and tossed it over the edge. It struck Banrin between its eyes. Blood dribbled from the cut, but Banrin continued as if nothing had happened.
"You shouldn't tease the evil monsters, Cid," Lucca teased him.
"Will have you, I will," Banrin repeated.
"Guess rocks won't work," Marshall replied, kicking another off of the edge. It flew and hit the ice, two feet from Banrin, rebounding and flying off into the darkness.
Crono looked at his sword for a moment then made his decision.
He strode to the edge of the cliff and looked down, calculating.
"Looks like it's my turn," he said, and, before anyone could object, he jumped off.
"Crono?" Marle began as he walked to the edge, then as he jumped, she yelled, "No!"
Banrin looked up in surprise as Crono descended on him. His arms were yet to be completely free, he could only stare up stupidly at the quickly dropping boy and his sword. The sword struck his head and entered the skull. Banrin jerked back in a death spasm as the blade shot out of his neck, followed by the monster's blood. His hand raised weakly to grab Crono.
Crono swung his sword, cleaving the hand off. It fell down into the abyssal darkness of the waterfall's bottom.
Banrin screamed in pain and thrashed about. Crono stabbed the demon repeatedly, until finally, it stopped moving.
Crono huffed, spent from the fight.
"Crono?!" Marle yelled down to him in a frightened voice.
"I'm alright. I'll be back up in a moment," he said with a smile.
"Hurry! The ice's melting!" Lucca yelled back.
Crono's smile evaporated and he quickly began climbing the ice. He used his sword as an ice pick, hacking it into the ice and pulling himself up. Luckily the water had frozen unevenly and he was able to find foot holds to help his sword. Water was running on his hand now, telling that the ice was indeed melting. And melting fast.
"Crono, look out!" Marle yelled again.
He looked above his recent handhold to see a small crack appearing and enlarging two feet above him.
"Dangit," he muttered and leapt up, digging the sword deep into the ice, just a couple of inches above the crack.
Then the ice gave way. The fifty foot icicle fell with the dead Banrin still encased in it. It seemed to fall forever.
Crono was left suspended, hanging onto his sword which was stuck inches above where the ice had split.
"Crono?!" Marle yelled.
"I'm. . .I'm alright," he said, petrified by what he had just survived.
"Damn, boy! Hurry up," Marshall said, beginning to pace back and forth.
Below, the ice hit the ground. It sounded like a thousand glass jars being dropped and broken simultaneously. The noise was horrendous and Crono almost let go of the sword to cover his ears. Then moments later, the noise abated.
Crono pulled himself up until he was able to get ahold of the ice with his other hand. Then he continued his climb. Pretty soon, he was able to use his feet again.
He was now climbing quickly, he was about ten meters below the others, and the distance was closing rapidly.
Below him, more of the ice collapsed and fell. It too shattered on the earth so far below, though not as loudly.
Then he looked up as he heard a snapping noise begin.
"Not again," he said despairingly, and continued with a doubled effort.
He was now even with the others, they were across the chasm from him, about ten feet away.
"Jump, Crono," Marle pleaded, looking up at the top of the waterfall, where cracks were appearing.
"Too far," he said and continued his climb.
He climbed ten more feet up, with the ice now half water, which cascaded down like the waterfall it had originally been. Another snapping noise caused him to look up.
The ice was almost at its breaking point. He checked his height. It would be a close jump, but it would have to do.
The ice cracked and began to fall as he released his handhold and pushed off of the icy column with his feet. He released his sword, he couldn't afford to lose momentum pulling it out of the ice.
The ice made a final crack and fell, the waterfall, now restored, followed it down into the abyss.
Crono flew through the air toward the edge, where the others now perched with worried looks.
He reached out and grabbed the edge. He slammed into the cliff's face and grunted with pain, but didn't release the hold.
Below, the ice crashed to the ground in a ear splitting shattering noise that lasted much longer than Crono had wanted it to.
Then huge hands enveloped his, and he was pulled up by Marshall.
Go To Chapter 25
Return To CT Fanfic