Chrono Trigger Dimensions Chapter 35
"That was easy," Cid mused as he viewed the carcass of the dead golem.
"They are much more deadly in pairs," Crono said as he went over to Marle, "Are you okay?"
". . .Yeah, just bruised," Marle replied, "And my leg hurts. Nothing much."
She limped a step or two, testing her foot, "I think I fell on my foot the wrong way or something."
"Let me see it," Lucca said stepping over to Marle and squatting down to knee level.
"Are you a doctor?" Marshall asked curious.
"No, are you?" was all Lucca had to reply with.
Marshall scratched the back of his neck, his eyes darting around him, "Nah. I was just wondering if you knew what you were doing."
Lucca remained silent and continued to inspect Marle's leg. Marle pulled the leg of her pants up to her knee so Lucca would be able to see better.
"Hmmmm. . ." Lucca muttered, then she patted Marle's leg, who winced from the tapping, "Not broken or sprained. It was just twisted and a nerve was pinched or something. The pain'll go away after a while."
Marle nodded thankfully, "That's a relief."
"For how long will the gate remain open?" Glenn asked.
Lucca smiled, "For as long as I want. When Dalton went through it, he relinquished control of it. I used my gatekey to retake control. So I could close it or open it whenever I wanted. As long as it doesn't shut completely," she pointed the gatekey at the gate and pressed a button, "See?"
The gate began to shut. Lucca pressed another button and the gate reopened. She continued smiling, obviously happy that one of her inventions was of some use.
"Ummm. . .Lucca?" Crono asked slowly, "Please don't play with the gate. We don't want it to shut if it will lead us to Nikades."
"Don't be such a spoilsport, Crono," Lucca replied.
"This is serious Lucca!" Crono was now annoyed.
"All the more reason to try and lighten the mood. We can be serious when we face Nikades. This may be our last moment together; let's not part in apathy and such."
Crono shook his head in a mix of disgust and defeat. He kicked at a rock at his feet, "When do we leave?"
"Ayla no leave," Ayla said suddenly, "Must help other villagers."
"Yeah, Ayla. That would be best for your people," Crono said, "I'm sorry this had to happen to you."
"Ayla understand. Not your fault, anyway," Ayla shrugged.
Of course not, said a voice in Lucca's head, it's your fault little girl.
Lucca shook her head, trying to clear it as the laughing voice faded away.
Melchior looked at Lucca, "Something wrong?"
Lucca looked up quickly, remembering that people were noticing her movements, "Yeah, I'm fine," she said quickly.
For the moment only, said the voice in her head.
Lucca ignored it, but it ate at her sanity. The laughter continued, this time unabated.
"Bye all," Ayla said, waving as she stepped away and toward the remains of her village.
"Bye Ayla," Marle said.
The others waved bye, pairing it with their own voiced 'good-bye's'. Ayal turned to walk away.
"Are we ready to save the world?" Crono asked.
Marle finished his sentence, "--Yet again?"
"Why not?" Marshall asked, "Sounds like I could use a break from all of this fighting."
"Aren't you just the master of understatement," Cid said to Marshall, smiling.
"It keeps the others guessing as to what's on my mind." Marshall answered.
"Whenever there actually IS something on your mind," Cid said innocently.
"Are we gonna start that again?" Marshall asked.
"You've got your hobby, I've got mine," Cid said.
"If you say so," Marshall said, ending the conversation.
They stopped to notice that the others were all looking at them patiently. Melchior coughed.
"What?" Marshall asked.
"Right," Marle said, changing the topic, "What should we expect on the other side of that gate?"
"Dalton for one," Magus said.
"Nikades for another," Glenn said.
"With a whole icing of demons," Cid finished.
"And what does that entail us to do?" Marle continued, brushing some of her blonde hair out of her eyes.
"'Run like hell' pops into mind," Marshall said.
"Besides that," Marle said, not skipping a beat.
The others thought. Finally, Crono spoke up, "What CAN we do? We don't even know what time it leads to."
"I'll fix that," Lucca said.
She walked to the gate, inspecting it for a moment. Then she stuck her head into the gate.
"Lucca?" Marle asked uncertainly.
"I don't think she can hear you," Crono replied.
Lucca pulled her head back a moment later. She turned to the group, "I saw the shrine in Fiona's Forest. I guess that Nikades is in our time. But I don't know why."
"He wants that magic from the trees," Melchior said, "since he couldn't get the dreamstone."
"That little. . . ." Marle was suddenly seething.
"What?" Crono asked.
The others looked at Marle questioningly.
"Back before all of this happened, Pret was asking father for some of that forest. I guess this was why." Marle said.
"Although I seriously doubt Nikades told him the reason," Melchior said.
"Yeah, lackeys aren't usually told anything," Marshall said.
"Did you see anything?" Marle asked Lucca, "Demons, I mean."
Lucca shook her head, "None. I think Nikades is in the shrine."
"How's that?" Cid asked.
"It looked a lot like my house did when he was in it." Lucca finished.
"Then the demons shouldn't be a threat. We can take Nikades before he can fully gather his power," Crono said excitedly, "C'mon, if we hurry, we can--"
"You're in too much of a rush all of the time, Crono," Marle said, "Dalton is still there and the demons COULD be a threat. We don't know if Nikades is using them or not."
"But we just can't sit here," Glenn said.
"Right. But let's try and make this an orderly assault." Marle said.
* * * * *
"I can't shut it!" Dalton said furiously.
"They've gained control of it, guru," Nikades said calmly.
Dalton looked at Nikades, "Then what do we do? We can't beat them right now. We need a diversion. . .which would be too late, I might add."
"Isn't there anything left in you?" Nikades asked the shadow beside him.
Thatos looked at the wizard, "You don't expect me to take control of a dark bahamut and just walk away, do you?"
"No, probably not. But. . .I did expect you to kill them back at Guardia castle."
"You seem to forget who these people are Nikades," Thatos said warningly.
"I forget nothing, shadow king," Nikades said.
"Then don't forget another thing. We are in a coalition, not a master-slave group. You get what you want and I and my minions get free reign to this world. I am not your servant."
Nikades looked darkly at his partner. The sun hung high in the sky, indicating noon time. Yet the trees blocked out most of the light. The small beams that did penetrate the cover seemed to have no effect on the two, as if there was no light at all. Only the blue light from the gate illuminated them.
Earlier, the girl had peeked through the gate. She had been unable to see them due to their dark coverings. Dalton had been on the other side of a tree at the time, so she had not seen him either.
"A deal is a deal, and this deal's real," Nikades said, "if you don't betray me like that fool, Pret."
"I am nothing like a petty human, sorcerer." Thatos said hotly.
"Neither am I. Soon I will be far above these humans," Nikades said.
Dalton looked at the two for a moment, hoping that they didn't do any of said backstabbing right here and now. It was not the time.
Nikades turned from the others swiftly, striding toward the shrine. He spoke softly but clearly to the two behind him, "Delay them. I'll be there to help later."
Dalton nodded stiffly as Nikades entered the shrine. Delaying would be no problem.
* * * * *
The gate whirled briefly, then suddenly figures rapidly emerged from it. Armed and ready, they had reached Fiona's Forest.
Dalton, hidden in the shadows, smiled. They were entering his and Thatos's trap.
Then the group broke into a dead run toward the shrine. Dalton's smile faded as he saw his quarry escape, his plan fail, and his orders on the verge of being neglected.
"Halt!" he boomed, stepping out of his concealment. Time for another plan.
One of the group looked over his shoulders to see Dalton. "Keep going, we're almost there!" he yelled and turned away.
"Damnit," Dalton said, then faded away.
He reappeared in front of the charging group, standing between them and their target. "I said, 'halt!'" he repeated.
Marshall looked at the man as if he was joking, then he turned to the others, "Who wants the honors?"
"You aren't taking me seriously," Dalton continued, "that annoys me."
"Well, you're starting to annoy me as well," Marshall admitted, "Could you step out of the way before we hurt you?"
"Before or after you hurt me, what's the difference?" Dalton said.
Dalton nodded and Marshall was suddenly hurled from his feet. He landed painfully, ten feet from where he had been standing. Marshall quickly returned to his feet, cursing.
"Then let us fight," Glenn said.
The frog leapt forward, bringing his sword down at Dalton's head. Dalton faded away and reappeared clear of conflict. The door to the shrine shut, making sure they wouldn't use his absence to do a little 'breaking and entering'. Or 'entering and breaking' as was the case.
Glenn whirled to his left, where Dalton had reappeared. He prepared for his next attack. Though there was little light, the Masamune glowed brightly.
"I could do this all day, you know," Dalton said.
"Then we'll get you tomorrow," Marshall said, "You threw me down and I won't forget that."
Dalton waved his hand, sending a fireball at the large man. Marshall dove to the side, the energy flying past his evading form. Marshall struck the ground and rolled. He huffed fiercely, sending a cloud of dust to fly from the ground near his face. Then he was up again, "Won't forget that either."
Crono flanked Dalton, but the guru once again disappeared. He reappeared back at the door to the shrine, behind Glenn. Glenn whirled, swinging his sword, but Dalton ducked the waste high swing. Dalton straightened himself from his crouch, his fist rising high, striking Glenn in the jaw with a fierce uppercut.
Glenn collapsed, the sword clattering loudly as it flew from his hands. Dalton smiled at the offer of a weapon and he bent to pick up the Masamune.
As his hands were inches from the blade however, the Masamune suddenly shone white hot; the light blinding. Dalton shrunk back in pain.
"We'd prefer it if you went weapon shopping somewhere else," the voices drifted from nowhere, but it was obviously Masa and Mune.
Dalton grabbed his temples as the light drove him away. Then he screamed.
Dalton stumbled to his knees, his hands falling to the ground. His good eye glowed fiercely. Dalton slowly stood. He laughed again, as if nothing had happened. The group looked at him, knowing that he was indeed insane.
Lightning flew from him in all directions. It struck each and all of the group, sending them to the ground. Dalton continued to laugh, even as the electricity faded away.
"It has begun," Dalton said to the others lying on the ground, "You'd better enjoy the show because it's free."
"What are you talking about?" Marshall asked.
The group slowly stood up. The lightning had merely stunned them, no permanent damage had been done. However, it was all Dalton had left in him.
"He means we're too late," Melchior said slowly, letting his words seep in.
"There is not enough energy in this forest to duplicate such power! He can't!" Magus said in disbelief.
"No, there isn't, prophet. BUT, the power of the forest can be used to reach a much stronger magic," Dalton chuckled, "Witness the end of all, my friends."
"He's bluffing!" Crono said, "H--"
Then there was a surge of energy. The shrine seemed to glow with an arcane energy, the energy of the forest.
"Oh dear. . ." Marle said.
Then the shrine was blown away. A red half sphere of pure and whole energy surged and expanded from within where the shrine had once been. Wood, marble, and iron pieces flew in all directions; behind them, the energy pulse continued to expand.
From within the red vortex, Nikades could be seen. His arms were outstretched and his head tilted back as he chanted unknown verses. Untouched by the destruction.
The group stood fixated, unable to move as the sphere of energy reached and enveloped them.
However, instead of killing them, it seemed to nurture them. Feeding them its energies. Everyone felt a tingling as the energy surged around them. Then the red sphere reached the trees.
It seemed to seep into every tree it reached. It continued to expand until it had become part of every tree in the forest. Then it stopped and faded away. However, all of the trees continued to glow red with their new energy.
The energy seeped from the trees, seeming to flow away. It dropped, falling into the ground and flowing into it. The red energy left the trees void of magic, instead transferring it into the ground.
Nikades stopped and looked at the group. He smiled at them. They stared back, unable to speak from what had happened.
They were too late. But for what?
Dalton broke the silence, "Witness the beginning of the end of all, my friends," he repeated, "because you obviously won't survive to the end of the end of all."
A shriek erupted from the distance. Though it came from far, it was still loud. And very familiar.
"NO!!" Crono yelled, "You can't!!"
Far to the north, the town of Dorino witnessed its last moments. Then the ground broke and split out from under it.
Houses near the crack collapsed, the pieces from them scattered and slid down into the abyss that had appeared in the middle of town.
People ran into the streets, screaming in horror as the rift opened wider. Some lost their footing and fell in, yelling at their fate.
The famaliar shriek returned, much louder this time. It came from within the rift.
Something slowly emerged from the hole. All around him, houses and other buildings were collapsing among fleeing and screaming people.
"This isn't supposed to happen," Lucca said to herself, "It can't."
Cid looked at Lucca. He grabbed her numb shoulders, "Lucca, what the hell is that?!" he yelled.
"Cid. . .that. . .THAT is Lavos," she looked away from the destruction to look into his eyes, "What nearly destroyed the future."
Cid let go of her and stumbled back slightly, "That is Lavos?" he shook his head, "Oh God, we can't stop it, can we?"
"We did once, we should be able to again," Lucca said, unconvincingly.
Then suddenly, Lavos stopped. It seemed to turn, twisting in its hole. It turned to face the forest. The movement caused the rift to shift, more buildings came sliding into its abyss.
Nikades laughed, then he raised the sunstone and rainbow shell. "Good-bye my toys," he said in a sing-song voice.
Then he crushed the artifacts in his hands. Their magical essences flew from their broken containers, entering his body and mixing with him.
Nikades pointed at Lavos.
A sharp beam of light, pure black, flew from his outstretched hand. The energy crackled with its power as it arched toward the destroyer of the world. Lavos was miles away, yet he was visible from so far away, such was his size.
Lavos shrieked as he witnessed his fate steaking toward him. The beam struck the face of the monster, ending the shrieks. Lavos writhed in the grip of the magic, unable to free himself.
The beam still existed, one end attached to Lavos, the other fixated to the hand of Nikades.
A pulse of energy burst from the body of Lavos; Lavos' life essence.
The pulse trailed along the black beam, heading back toward Nikades. Nikades raised his other hand and invoked a spell.
He spoke the last of the spell at the moment the pulse struck him.
The group were all stunned, unable to move or say anything.
The world was awash with blackness. The only noise was Nikades' laughter.
The darkness washed over the group, giving blindness to them all.
But they could still hear. Nikades laughed at his near victory.
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