Chrono Trigger Dimensions Chapter 32
"This way," Crono said, taking a left and half-running down the hall.
"Sure aren't that many guards around, are there," Cid said observantly, "Since we left the jail area, I've counted a whole zero of them that we've met."
"The place should be crawling with guards, unless they are on break or at a meeting. Even then, there would still be some remaining Marle said.
"Maybe Pret fired them all," Crono said jokingly.
"I smell another trap," Cid said, ". . .and this time, listen to me. Something's not right."
"Yeah, a trap," Crono said, "Think about it. Lietman knew we were going to escape. He even knew WHEN we were going to. I take it that Pret knows we're coming."
"Pret expected Lietman to kill us though," Marle said.
"Well, he positioned the guards to give us perfect runway to the throne room," Crono said, taking another left and climbing some stairs, "I think he is taking a possibility that we survived into action. He is waiting for us."
Marshall laughed, "He probably has all of the guards crammed into the throne room waiting for us to step in."
Cid laughed, "Don't say stuff like that. . .that would be a massacre though."
"You take your death quite lightly, Cid," Magus said.
"Nah, it scares the heck out of me. But I'm not dead yet, so why worry?"
"That's the spirit," Marshall said as Crono stopped in front of the giant double doors leading to the throne room.
"Here we are," Melchior said.
"Now if it is a trap, we run like hell out of this place, ok?" Marshall said.
Crono nodded, "Sounds feasible. Now is everyone ready?"
Cid and Glenn nodded. Marle and Marshall said, "Yeah." Magus remained quiet and Melchior waved Crono on. Crono shrugged, "Okay."
He grabbed ahold of the door ring and heaved. The door swung open, squeaking like a banshee. The others looked apprehensively inside.
The room was empty of guards. The only person inside was Pret. He sat in his throne proudly, waiting for his enemy to enter. He had his regal garb donned, he looked the king.
After all, it was the last day he'd be king.
"Where are your troop, oh might king?" Melchior asked as he stepped into the room.
Pret looked at the old man, "Why would I need them?"
"Then you are going to surrender without a fight? If so then hand the crown to its rightful owner, Queen Nadia." Melchior said, banging his staff on the floor.
Pret stood up and threw off his robes. He then took the crown and advanced toward the others calmly. Marle stood forward and reached out to take th crown.
Then Marshall suddenly yelled, "Wait! His eyes! He's lying!"
Pret blinked and when his eyes reopened, they were pure black. Then his body melded away, revealing a simple shadow beneath. The shadow's left hand grew sharp and it stabbed at Marle.
The Masamune was there to deflect the attack, glowing fiercely. Thatos snarled and melted to the floor, scurrying away. Pret's body remained on the ground.
"What was that?!" Cid asked.
"A shadow creature," Melchior replied.
"Well, where'd it go?!" Cid continued.
"It's gone, I think the Masamune scared it off. Good job, Glenn." Crono said.
Marle bent over and picked up the crown from the ground, "So many deaths. And all over this, a piece of metal."
"It's not the crown, it's the power it represents, Queen Nadia." Melchior replied.
"Please don't--" Marle began.
Pret moaned at her feet. He hands moved slightly, then he was picking himself up. He got to his knees and looked up to face the others, "H..e..l..p....m..e!" he said hoarsely.
"What's wrong?" Crono asked.
Then a hand of shadow shot out of the wall. The arm behind it was impossibly long, stretching out ten feet. The hand grabbed ahold of the back of Pret's head and seemed to seep inside of him. Pret screamed and grabbed his head trying to fight the possession.
"K......" Pret said through mashed teeth.
"What?" Marle asked.
"K..i..l..l....m..e!" he repeated, "E..n..d....i..t!"
Marle stared at him for a moment, "You murdered my father. You deserve this."
Pret reached out to her, but she knocked his feeble hand away. His eyes faded to black, then back to brown.
Then Crono was there. He walked around Marle, raised his sword, and embedded it into Pret's chest.
Pret shuddered for a moment, then fell to the ground with a sigh that sounded like 'thanks'. The shadow flew out of his body like a ghost and into the floor to disappear.
The king of the kingdom of Guardia was dead.
"What did you do, Crono?!" Marle yelled.
"I ended senseless suffering," he replied turning to her.
"But he killed my father!" she yelled.
"No he didn't, he replaced your father. Guardia was killed by a Mystic arrow. Pret did, however, betray this kingdom by collaborating with demons," Crono said angrily, "The penalty of treason is death. I gave that sentence to him."
Marle stared at him for a moment, then was quiet.
"Is that demon still around?" Marshall asked warily, looking around the room.
"Probably, don't let your guard down," Glenn replied.
"It has to find a new host," Melchior said, "Because--"
The throne room doors were suddenly thrown open. A dozen guards streamed into the room. They drew their weapons and charged the group.
"Stop! It's me, Nadia!" Marle yelled to the royal guard, stepping forward.
"Nadia, step back!" Melchior yelled, "They aren't human."
Marle gasped, and jumped away from the advancing troop. Then the royal guard stopped.
There was a shriek behind the group and they turned to the throne to see a giant winged demon. It was a black dragon. Standing at twenty feet tall, with a wingspan of thirty, it filled the room, its head mere feet from the ceiling. It shrieked again.
"Looks like it found a host," Cid gulped.
"We killed your master!" Melchior yelled, "Give up and return to the world you were spawned! This is not your world!"
The Dark Bahamut laughed and peered down at them, "Nikades lives, you fools. His false death was just a ploy in his dark plot. To turn you from him so that he might freely complete his work. And now you are too late to stop him." the voice echoed off of the walls and ceiling of the room loudly, "the Dreamstone is in his reach. You are too late to stop him, but you still must die. You have. . .annoyed him so much."
The Dark Bahamut flared his wings, stretching the thirty foot wingspan to its fullest. Then black fire began to buildup in the area just in front of its wings. There was a whining noise as the power was collected and buit up forming a horizontal ellipse of black fire.
The castle started shaking from the sheer power that the force was generating.
Then it was all quiet. Dark Bahamut/Thatos stood with his wings spread open looking at the group. The guards behind them were motionless. The black fire seemed to flow in the area it was trapped. Almost as if its container were about to burst.
"Get down now!!!" Marshall yelled suddenly.
He reached out and grabbed Cid and Marle with each of his hands and threw them to the ground as he too ducked. Glenn, Magus, Crono, and Melchior followed suit.
Then the energy was released.
Cid looked up in awe as armageddon occured. The fire flew all directions filling the room with itself. The walls were blown away from the black shockwave. The rubble was thrown through the outside walls of the castle, crashing into the ground outside the home of Guardia's king. The outside walls of the castle collapsed from lack of support, shuddering with their fall into the earth. Several towers of the castle toppled over, breaking apart in midfall.
The royal guard were disintigrated where they stood as the dark flare overtook them. Their ashes were blown back out the door they had entered.
The ceiling was torn off of the castle, flying up near a hundred feet into the air with dark flames erupting from the new hole.
The dark flare had missed them barely. They were numb from the sheer force that had been generated by this otherworldly creature. The dark flame was still everywhere, eating the castle from the inside out.
Cid stared at the spectacle as the Dark Bahamut shrieked again. Then suddenly one of the castle's towers came crashing into the destroyed throne room. The Dark Bahamut was crushed under it, its shriek fading away.
The dark flare slowly faded away, but its effect was left. The crumbled castle was burning. Real fires had erupted all over the remains. Smoke was billowing up into the air.
The group looked up at the smoke as a face seemed to meld from it. It looked down at them laughingly. Then the smoke face dissipated as it climbed into the air.
The group climbed to their feet quickly, looking around.
"Let's get out of here, now," Melchior said.
* * * * *
Ayla emerged from her tent sleepily. She had heard a noise and decided it deserved investigation. She stretched as she looked at the sun. It was morning, the pastel colors of the sunrise still apparent.
Then she heard the noise again. It was the sound of a fight. She looked south across the bridge to see smoke billowing from the far homes.
"What?" she asked as she ran to the bridge that crossed the river separating her village.
Ayla reached the far bank to witness the destruction of her village. Bodies of the Ioku were littered across the ground, all of their homes on fire. Several of her tribesmen and tribeswomen were still up and fighting.
The giant, black doglike demons were everywhere. The superstitious villagers were panicking from the sudden appearance of their worst nightmares. And at the far end of the village was a man.
A familiar man. His brown cloak matched his long brown hair. He stood laughing as he watched the murder of his ancestors. The black eyepatch was clearly visible.
Then Dalton stopped laughing and faced straight at Ayla.
Ayla was flared with anger. She broke into a run toward her adversary. A demon got in her way, but she simply vaulted over it; landing gracefully and continuing her advance.
"Why you burn village?! Kill people?! We no harm you, dead man!" Ayla yelled as she closed on Dalton.
"You have something I want, animal," Dalton said, his remaining eye glaring at her, then he looked thoughtful, "Dead man, huh."
"What so important you need kill people for?" Ayla said, confused.
"Hand me the dreamstone and your village will still be half of what it used to be," Dalton said, not answering her question.
"You want red rock? That what so important? You need kill people over stone?" Ayla stopped her advance, standing ten feet from a past antagonist.
"That is something an animal like you doesn't need to know," Dalton said, "Now give me the dreamstone."
"If you want rock so bad, you fight Ayla for it," Ayla said.
"I thought you'd never ask," Dalton said, preparing his all too familiar magic.
* * * * *
Crono looked up at the area where the ceiling should have been, but wasn't. It was all too surreal. Guardia castle had been blown to bits in just a matter of one minute. Now it was just a burning ruin.
"Crono! Hurry!" Marle yelled waving to him and breaking him out of his shock.
"Right," he said shakily and dashed off after the others.
There was a loud crash behind him. The roof had finally landed. Then there were several more crashes, indicating that the roof wasn't one piece anymore. Like the rest of the castle, it had been blown to bits.
A large chunk of rock crashed in front of him like a meteor. Crono danced around it and sprinted after the fading from view Marle. That was too close for comfort.
They reached the portcullis, or at least where it had once been. Now it lay across the moat several dozen meters into the forest. All around the castle were toppled trees, blown over from the blast.
"Geez," Cid said in awe.
"The drawbridge is gone," Marshall said observantly.
"No kidding," Marle replied, "How do we get across now?"
"Do we swim?" Glenn asked uncertainly.
"Can't," Marle said, "the water level is about six feet below the ground, which is straight up. We could get into the water, but not out."
"Then how--" Crono began.
Another tower, the last, toppled over. It crashed noisily against the front of the remains of the castle, not fifty feet from where the group stood. The tower struck the crumbled wall which collapsed under it. The tower continued its plummet, hitting the ground and reaching across the waters to the land across from the castle.
Making a nice little bridge.
"Let's move!" Marshall yelled, making a sprint for the tower before it fell apart.
The others followed behind. Marshall jumped and grabbed a handhold for himself, then pulled himself up on top of the cylinder shapped bridge. He reached down and grabbed Marle's hand, pulling her up as well. The others followed, one by one.
"Now run across!" Melchior yelled.
The tower was starting to crack, the group needed no such encouragement. Then bolted for safety as the tower began to split.
They reached the end of the tower, its top as the foundation of the middle finally gave way from the fall. It shuddered, then broke apart. The end they were standing on started to raise up as their half of the tower began to fall into the moat. Quickly, they jumped off of it. There was a loud splash behind them as the tower, embedded itself into the moat, the tower's top poking up over the moat's edge. The bottom half of the tower still poked halfway across the moat, but it wasn't needed now.
"Where do we go now?" Cid asked, always the questionaire.
"Do we return to the camp to the west?" Marle asked.
"No," Melchior shook his head, "It won't be there. We underestimated the enemy very badly. The demons have complete control of the castle," he looked at the ruins, "What's left of it. . .and Nikades is still in control."
"I know I killed him. I stabbed him right in the heart." Marshall said.
"Maybe when we meet him again, you can ask him how he performs his tricks," Crono said, "but we had better get to Lucca's house. If Nikades is alive, he'll be wanting that gatekeeper pretty bad."
Cid swore, "She's all alone in there! We have to hurry."
Marshall shook his head, "That's the way it is. Everywhere we've been going, we've had to hurry. . .Oh well, let's go."
As they began their journey toward Lucca's house, Marshall filed in beside Melchior and Magus. "Could either of you tell me what the hell that was back there that baked the castle?"
Melchior shrugged, "I know of it. But not much other than that.
"It was a dark bahamut. A demon."
"It looked like a dragon to me," Marshall said.
"It was. . .of some sorts. But a demon is just a creature from another dimension or universe. It's not a monster. There are just as many good or neutral demons as there are bad."
"Then how come we've been just running into bad demons?" Marshall queried.
"Nikades is doing the recruiting, not us. I doubt a good demon would agree to what he has in mind. . .whatever that is." Melchior finished, slightly sarcastic.
"Couldn't we recruit good demons for ourselves. To help?"
Melchior shook his head, "Do you know any 'residents' of any other dimension. We wouldn't know where to look. We could open up a dimension full of evil monsters and they could escape."
Marshall looked scared for a moment, "But Nikades is--"
"He knows what he's doing. Remember, he was banished to another universe millennia ago. He knows the 'territory'."
"Was that dark bahamut one of those 'evil monsters'?"
"Yes. And it was extremely powerful. But it was the shadow demon that was in control, not the bahamut. We're lucky to have killed the shadow demon like that. If it had lived, it would have gotten a much meaner monster. Something that could tear this planet apart with its HANDS."
"Nothing's THAT big," Marshall said unconvincingly.
"Nothing that you've seen before." Melchior replied.
"Why'd the shadow kill itself?" Crono asked, eavesdropping.
"I don't know," Melchior replied, "Maybe its job was complete. Maybe our death was all it was needed for."
"Or maybe it was making sure that we died. Whatever could kill it, would surely kill us. We just got lucky. Marshall thought quickly, and we all ducked the attack," Crono said.
"Maybe," Melchior said, then went silent.
They had reached the bridge to Lucca's house.
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