Chrono Trigger Dimensions Chapter 27
The group washed ashore, near Lucca's house. The sun was gone, only the moon shone overhead. It was slightly past midnight. The house looked like a hideous behemoth rearing over them; and in front of it lay the gatekeeper.
Nikades was nowhere to be seen. However, that was normal at night.
Marshall stood up and shook like a dog, "Your right, that IS bad. Remind me not to do that again."
"I think I'm going to be sick," Cid chimed in.
Cid stumbled around a few feet, dizzy from the spinning of the whirlpool. Marshall however, seemed to at least control himself. The others were well used to this ride, they weren't as affected.
Marle wrung out her ponytail like a rag, "Where's Nikades?"
"Mayhaps he is gone," Glenn said quietly.
The frog had his sword drawn, the Masamune shone with a faint blue glow. Marshall stopped reeling and balanced his sword in one hand, suddenly aware that he was in danger.
Crono likewise held his sword out, defensive over any movement in the shadows. Marle had her crossbow, while Cid and Lucca each held a dagger. Magus held, as usual his scythe, extended. They were a deadly group.
"At least the house is still here," Crono joked, trying to release the tension he was fighting.
"And the gatekeeper," Lucca finished, a voice filled with relief.
The gatekeeper stood stoically in the center of the lawn. Grass had grown vibrantly around it, but it stood out plainly.
"That's three pluses in my opinion," Marshall said, "I really didn't want to meet up with that guy again."
"Too bad," said Crono behind him in a challenging voice.
"Now don't be sarcastic," Marshall said turning to the boy.
"That wasn't me," Crono said, the tension building in him again, "I didn't say anything."
"Sure sounded like you," Marshall pressed.
"Well, it wasn't," Crono said, now defensive.
"Of course it wasn't," said the voice again, this time sounding like Magus.
"You sure?" Marshall turned to Magus.
"Everyone just shut up! It's a trick!" Marle yelled.
A wind was now starting to blow. It whistled as it blew against them. A cloud slowly passed over the moon, completing the darkness.
"Why don't you shut up?" asked a voice that sounded like Lucca.
Marle covered her ears and yelled against the increasing wind, "Quit it!"
"Some game," Marshall said, looking around carefully. He ran his remaining hand through his wet hair.
"I don't like this. . ." Glenn said, the Masamune seemed to intensify its glow as the wind picked up.
"Oh, but you're not supposed to," said the voice of Cid.
"I know that's Nikades," Crono said suddenly, "he used the same trick to lure me and Marle into a trap; used Lucca's voice."
"Like this?" asked the voice of Lucca.
"Everyone, just keep their mouths shut until this is over, okay?" Marshall said, "That way we can ignore the voices."
"Good idea," said the voice of Crono, "Such a large and agile man, yet you have a brain in there too."
Marshall remained silent at the remark. So did everyone else.
The wind was now nearly a gale. The ocean beat upon the coast relentlessly, the noise combined with the wind to create a truly loud noise. The moon reappeared from behind the cloud for a second, then was again hidden.
"Had enough of my game?" asked the voice again, using Marshall's voice.
The group began to slowly step together, not wanting to get separated.
Then suddenly, "Crono behind you!," yelled the voice of Marle.
Crono whirled around sword swinging. Behind him was Lucca. He tried to stop the swing, but it had too much momentum. Lucca, hearing the voice and judging her location, knew what was going to happen and managed to jump out of the way just in time, the sword hit air.
Somewhere off in the distance, they heard a laugh.
Crono looked at Marle for a second and she replied, "It wasn't me. . ."
Crono nodded and turned back to Lucca, "Sorry."
Lucca had a scared look on her face. She had had a brush with death yet again. But she managed a, "It's all right."
"Very well. Then let's play a new game." said the voice again, this time using the voice of someone none of them knew.
"No more games!" yelled Cid.
"Oh, but you know this game. We all play it all the time. It's the game of. . ."
There was a rumbling noise and the ground started shaking. The wind picked up to hurricane levels and the clouds completely covered the moon. There was absolutely no light.
"Umm. . .What's going on?!" Marshall yelled over the wind.
No one answered him. They couldn't hear him. Then the earth seemed to buckle. The group was thrown to the ground.
The earth finally stopped shaking, however the rumbling was still extremely loud. It sounded as if it was from an extreme distance. The wind also faded away, but the noise of the gusts still remained.
Then the clouds removed their cover from the moon. The wind and rumbling noises ceased. It was completely quiet.
The group looked up at the sky.
"Dear. . ." Marle muttered.
"That's impossible," Cid and Lucca said together, science at a loss.
The moon was no longer what it had been. It now shone with a completely crimson, red light. It seemed to be almost on fire.
"And just what in the hell is that?" Marshall cried out, his head bent back so far to see the moon it looked broken.
"It looks like a red moon to me," Crono answered.
"I know that!" Marshall answered his sarcasm.
"Then why'd you ask?" Crono replied.
"Nevermind," Marshall said, shutting his mouth for the moment.
The red light shone all around them now, the world looked like one giant bloodbath. Even Lucca's hair, once a vibrant, near purple brown, was now a deep red. Two smaller moons reflected in the lens of her glasses.
". . .life and death," the voice of Nikades finally finished.
It was all quiet now, in front of Lucca's house. The rumbling had finally abated, yet the moon still shone with the eerie, red fire. Nikades presence was still there.
"And just what is that?" Cid finally asked, looking up at the moon in amazement and fear.
"It's an illusion made by Nikades. A very powerful one," Magus replied, "this is beyond what even I could do."
"I don't think we have time for an explanation right now," Crono said, looking at the moon, "let's get this over with; then we can talk about the end of the world."
Marshall nodded, "And where is that 'pain'? He's around here somewhere."
"Too right," Nikades' voice echoed from the house, "Come and get me."
The group looked at the house. "Trap," Marshall, Lucca, and Crono said together.
"Do we have a choice?" Glenn asked.
"Why don't we just take the gatekeeper and smash it or something?" Crono asked.
Nikades' laughter erupted again and the gatekeeper disappeared from sight. Only a small area of crushed grass signified its previous resting place.
"Nevermind," Crono said sadly.
"Then let's enter the house," Marshall finished.
Nikades continued laughing as the group all turned ominously toward the house and aproached it, Nikades was enjoying this very much. The house seemed to shift and warp, almost as if it had a life of its own. It no longer looked homely and safe, it was evil. It was almost as if the house itself was doing the laughing, was the embodiment of Nikades himself.
"What do we do now?" Marle asked in a small voice.
"Charge?" Marshall asked, scratching his head.
"Yeah," Crono agreed, "like I said before, 'let's get this over with'."
The group walked toward the house. It was now a red color in the moon's light, which made it more uninviting. Cid looked at it closely as they opened the door and entered the living room. When they were all inside, the door shut behind them.
Glenn turned quickly and tried to open it, but it wouldn't budge. "No use, 'tis jammed," he said releasing the door and turning around to face the room.
"The word is 'locked'," Cid said.
"I sorta expected that," Crono mumbled to himself, thinking of him and Marle being trapped in Lucca's room before.
The room was completely empty. No furniture or equipment of any kind. Up on the balconies stood two of the black dog-like demons. Their red eyes glowed under the black skin that adorned them.
"Two's no problem," Crono said, hefting his sword into a ready stance.
"Don't say stuff like that. If you do, more'll come," Marle said. She had the crossbow out and loaded.
"Just watch their claws, will ya?" Marshall said, likewise raising his sword, "I don't have any antidotes to that venom with me."
The demons bounded off of the balcony they each rested upon and landed in front of the group. The ground creaked with the impact, the demons claws scraped on the wood.
"First test," said the voice of Nikades.
A crossbow quarrel suddenly struck the demon on the left, piercing its ribs and into where its heart should be. The quarrel stuck out of it, but the demon paid it no mind.
"Oh yeah, one other thing. . .the demons don't have a circulatory system or whatever. Aim for the brain or appendages," Marshall said as an afterthought.
Then the demons charged. The demon on the right came at Magus and the other charged Crono and Glenn.
Magus almost seemed to yawn as he raised his scythe over his head. Then as the demon jumped at him, he swung it down in a deadly arc. It sliced and imbedded itself into the monster's neck, throwing the demon back onto the ground. The scythe continued, exited through the bottom of the neck and into the floorboards, pinning the demon to the ground.
The demon continued to struggle, and began to pull the scythe out of the wood. Magus, his face calm and impassive as usual, pointed at the demon's head and concentrated.
The demon's head exploded. Bits of it was showered everywhere. The demon went limp immediately and Magus was allowed to free his scythe.
Crono sidestepped the lunge toward him. The demon turned quickly to face him and swung with a clawed hand. Crono backed away, the blow missing by an inch. The demon then swung his other claw at him. Crono raised his sword and parried the strike with the sharp end of the blade. The claw was severed by the demon's arm's momentum. It spun through the air to land on the floor a few feet away.
However, the demon was still game. It limped toward Crono, preparing to bite his neck. Another crossbow quarrel embedded itself into the monster, this time in the cheek. The monster ignored this however and continued to advance. Crono stepped back, matching the monsters every move.
"Duck!" yelled a voice.
Crono didn't need to be told twice. He fell back, landing on the ground, holding the sword so it wouldn't cut him. Above him, he could see Glenn's sword arc through the air, beheading the surprised demon.
The monster clumg to life a few moments afterwards, but finally collapsed to the ground. No blood pooled onto the ground.
"Thanks," Crono said as he stood up, dusting himself off.
"Thou art welcome," Glenn replied, inspecting the still clean and sharp Masamune.
Marshall was standing over Magus's demon, "You know, that was just a little excessive. Just a little, mind you."
"What would that be?" Magus asked, not really caring what the answer was.
"A simple blow to the head would have done it. I was goint to do that for you. But before I could get here, you go and blow the whole damn thing off!" Marshall shook his head in disbelief, "Man, that's grisly."
"Whatever you will," Magus replied, looking around him, "but the demon no longer stands."
The group gathered back together, preparing for the next challenge. Then Nikades's voice came down to them from above, "Up here, children."
"He's in. . .my room," Lucca said quietly.
"Yeah, let's go," Marshall said, walking toward the door that led to the stairway.
"So this is your house?" Cid said in a wondering voice, " I sorta thought there'd be furniture or something."
Lucca acually laughed, that was good in her recent state, "It wasn't always like this," she said looking around. She almost didn't recognize it.
Marshall opened the door and the group piled into the small hallway. "Which way?" the large man asked.
Not surprisingly, the door shut behind them. No one ventured to try and open it.
"To the left," Lucca replied.
The group started to climb the stairs. Then a voice entered Lucca's head, "Got a surprise for you in the kitchen, little one."
"Wait!" she yelled.
The others stopped and turned toward her. "What?" Crono asked impatiently.
"You go ahead. I'm going into the kitchen," she said starting to turn around.
"Now's not the time to eat, Lucca," Marshall said slowly.
"Why?" Crono asked Lucca.
"Does it matter? I'll catch up to you in a second."
"Can't do that. We need someone to go with you," Marshall replied, "Don't like separating in the first place, but I trust your judgement. Who'll go with her?"
"I will," Cid volunteered, not surprisingly.
"Very well. Let's go finish this." Marshall said, waving the others up the stairs, leaving Cid and Lucca alone at the base.
"Thanks," Lucca said to Cid as she prepared to open the door.
"No problem," Cid replied, he had his knife out and was ready for a fight.
* * * * *
The others stepped into Lucca's room. The room was also empty, but it was also pitch black, no light whatsoever. The door shut and locked behind them.
"Welcome," said a voice they all knew.
To be continued...
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