Chrono Trigger Dimensions Chapter 36
The bright light surrounding them finally abated. Tentatively, the group opened their eyes and viewed the world around them.
Fiona's Forest was gone. As was the rest of their world. Where they now stood was alien to each and every one of them. Nikades had used his magic to send them to a place of his choosings.
"Where are we?" Marle asked, her voice filled with awe.
There was nothing around them. Blackness stretched infinitely in all directions, including down. They stood upon something, but it wasn't there. Though it was blackness around them, it was not darkness. They were able to see everything even with the lack of light.
"Limbo, Queen Nadia," replied a voice, Dalton; he stated her title in a tone of sarcasm.
The effect was immediate. Swords were suddenly brought out in a display of menace toward the owner of that voice.
Dalton continued, "A time between times and a universe of nothing. Welcome to the End of Time of the 5th dimension."
Far in front of the group, Dalton appeared. He black cloak still clung around him, hiding his arms. His everpresent eyepatch adorned his eye.
"Are we dead?" Glenn asked fearfully.
Dalton laughed, "Not yet. Life in Limbo is far worse than death. Imagine how boring it gets here. Would you care to tell them, Thatos?"
Dalton turned to look at what was beside him. It was obviously a shadow, however it was completely invisible in the blackness that permeated all around them.
A voice came from the area around Dalton, "Long ago, Nikades was banished here. An accident of his own negligence toward his own pupils' powers. His powers gone, there was no way he could return to his world. However, he wasn't alone.
"Limbo is populated slightly by a group of 'demons', called shadows due to their appearance. Nikades was a quiet sort, though and didn't give us much of his time," Thatos laughed, then continued, "Now--"
"Why are you telling us this?" Marshall asked, ignoring Dalton's continuance.
"I was speaking at the time. Please don't. . .Oh yes, I guess you should know that," Thatos replied, "If I tell you what is going on, you will know the futileness in fighting Nikades.
"You will fight to the bitter end of course, unless you know it's hopeless. To get to Nikades, you have to get past me and Dalton. We won't survive a fight with you, I am powerless from taking that Bahamut earlier, and I don't have anything left to fight you with. Plus Dalton's a little wacked in the head."
"Hey!" Dalton said suddenly, aware he was being the target of an insult.
Thatos ignored his rough interruption, "Telling you Nikades's story will allow us to live. You will see that you can't win, hence you will quit."
"We'll see about that," Crono said in response.
Thatos was quiet for a moment, then decided to continue, "Where was I? Oh yes, Nikades was exiled to this dreary dimension, with no ability to return. Time doesn't exist in Limbo, people don't age here. Time doesn't pass. Nikades was forced to remain here in nothing for thousands of years, alone. I must say that he is very strong willed to have lasted that long without going insane. . .
"Then one day, a red gate opened up into limbo. The gate wasn't sturdy, it was incomplete in many ways; however, it would allow transport into another world. Naturally Nikades would want to use it.
"Limbo is, like I said, The End of Time for the 5th dimension. When a timegate doesn't work properly, it leads to the End of Time. When a rip in the 5th dimension occurs and it doesn't work properly, it leads to Limbo.
"Anyway, before he entered the gate, we shadows approached him and struck a deal.
"We would help him reach his goal and he would create a gate for us strong enough to support our 'energies'. He left and two months later, the gate opened. The invasion had begun. We were finally able to leave limbo."
Thatos paused to think.
"What is Nikades's goal?" Lucca asked.
Dalton looked at her, "Ah yes, you. . .Nikades goal, is it? It's quite simple actually, considering so much preparation has been put into it. . .
"Nikades wishes to exist in the 6th dimension."
"What?!" Lucca was slightly shocked.
"The 6th dimension is life and death. To exist in the 6th dimension, is to be immortal; beyond death. I don't know how he plans to do it, but he's gonna do it." Dalton said.
"You can't do that!" Lucca continued, "If you are born to exist in a certain dimension, you can't just 'switch'! It's impossible."
"Yeah, well we wanted to tell him that too," Thatos mused, "but since he was offering freedom, we decided to wait until later to break the bad news." Dalton said.
"You mean he can't. All this will be for nothing?" Marle asked.
"No, we were just kidding," Dalton said with a smirk, "Actually he can do it. He will do it. He probably already HAS done it. You see, we've successfully delayed you long enough for him to cast the spell.
"THAT is why your attempts are futile and you should leave now." Thatso said, triumphantly.
Dalton's smirk became a laugh.
"He'll destroy the world, you idiots! He'll destroy you!" Lucca suddenly yelled.
"No he won't. He has much more on his mind than to simply get all of that power, then simply destroy those that would worship him for it.
"You see, he'll become a god. A god to the people of all universes. ALL people." Dalton said, "He won't betray our contracts, anyway. He has honor."
"Honor? Like when he backstabbed Pret?" Marle shot back.
"Pret backstabbed him. Not the other way around. I was there. In fact, I was Nikades's solution. . ." Thatos said, "Trust me, me and my minion's will live."
"We have to stop him. I don't care about the honor of a man who destroys a world. Step back, Dalton, or you WILL die," Crono said, slinking forward toward the former guru, his sword held forward, "And you as well, Thatos. You have much to pay for as well."
"Then I will die. If it will mean the freeing of my 'people'." Dalton closed his eyes and bowed his head forward as if preparing for an execution. Then suddenly, he jerked about. Thatos was possessing him
Crono looked at him for a moment, then stepped back a step to join him friends.
"But I'm taking one of you with me." Dalton said, suddenly.
A black knife appeared in Dalton's hand. It was obviously a product of Thatos, its form was wavery, like a shadow. Dalton jumped forward, toward the backstepping Crono.
Crono raised his sword to swipe the knife away. However, his sword went right through the shadow knife, it was truly a shadow.
The knife struck Crono in the chest. However, Dalton had miscalculated and had struck with the blade vertical. The knife cut into Crono, then stopped as it hit the ribs, it wouldn't go any further.
Crono fell back, the knife falling and landing soundlessly onto the floor of limbo. Crono clutched his wound as he looked up at Dalton.
"You idiot," Thatos said to Dalton, "Do you even know how to use a knife?"
"I got a little excited," Dalton apologized.
Then he stalked toward the fallen Crono. The others ran toward Dalton, preparing to stop him. However, a shadowy wall formed around him and Crono, separating the two from the others.
Magus merely looked at the dome of shadows for a moment. Then he raised his hand. The shadow wall shattered like glass, revealing their target.
Dalton looked around him, noticing he wasn't protected, "Dammit, Thatos, protect me!"
The group mobbed him, they all had something against this man and his cohort. Dalton didn't stand a chance.
Marle bent to Crono quickly, "Are you okay?"
Crono nodded, "I've had worse. . .But help me up, I'm not done."
Marle looked concerned, but she decided that she would listen to him. She hoisted him up slowly and he limped over to Dalton.
A shadow was escaping the body.
Crono pointed at the shadow king and concentrated.
A bolt of white hot electricity burst from his hand, striking the monster. The shadow king suddenly stopped as the lightning caught him. It writhed screaming as it fought to free itself. However, any attempt was futile. Finally, the shadow evaporated into nothing.
Thatos was dead for good this time.
* * * * *
"We've got to hurry!" Lucca yelled, "Nikades is almost done!"
"Hurry where? I don't know which way is up, much less where that sorcerer is!" Marshall replied.
Lucca looked at the Marshall for a moment, then hung her head in defeat, "You're right. It's over, isn't it?"
"Not yet," Magus said, stepping forward and past Lucca.
"Where are you going?" Crono asked.
"To kill an enemy and end a threat," Magus said cryptically, continuing, "You may come if you wish."
"You know where he is?!" Crono asked.
Magus didn't reply. He kept walking toward an infinite horizon. The others looked at each other, then back at Magus. Finally, they ran after him, leaving the body of Dalton behind them.
* * * * *
Nikades stood before the finale of his dreams. A crystal altar, reflecting his visage on its surface, rested before him. It jutted out seven feet into the air from nothing. It was simply an altar, rectangle in shape with a top that formed a point.
But soon it would be much more than just an altar.
He reached out and ran his hand along its surface. Not cool, not warm. It had no degree of temperature emanating from it. Almost as if the nerves in his hand could no longer sense temperature.
But his nerves were okay. They were running on overdrive in the anticipation of his godhood. He slowly drew back his hand and smiled. Dalton and Thatos would only be able to stall for a moment. He would have to hurry.
Nikades reached out to the altar once more, this time with both hands. He grasped the crystal and closed his eyes.
Then he released the energies of Lavos, stolen from the monster and infused with Nikades own power. The energies were not released instantly, but in a controlled manner. Slowly they seeped into the altar, melding with it and forming the all powerfull spell he was about to cast.
Red tendrils of energy flowed from his fingers and seeped into the crystal. Lavos surely did not die in vain, Nikades thought to himself, smiling again.
"We made it!" he heard a voice behind him.
"Shhh!" said another.
"Stop, Nikades!" a third voice, Magus, shouted, "This will come to no good end!"
"Ha! You know nothing of what I am about to do. What would you know of what is 'good' for me to do and what is not?" Nikades replied.
"The others will destroy you! Do you not understand their jealousy of power? They won't allow you to become one like them," Melchior pressed.
Nikades heard a metallic noise behind him, Magus was releasing his scythe.
"Do you think me a fool, I know of their wrath. And I have prepared," Nikades replied.
He felt the sorcerer closing in on him, trying to stab him in the back. Nikades willed part of Lavos's energy to strike forth. The energy flew out of his back. He heard a grunt of pain a moment later, Magus was stalled for the moment.
He heard the ringing of steel echo in the void around him tenfold. The others had all deemed it wise to arm themselves. I must have angered the masses somehow, Nikades thought with a smile.
"Is this any way to treat a deity?" Nikades joked.
"You aren't a deity yet Nikades," Marle replied, "and you will never be."
The spell finished itself. Nikades smiled to himself, they were much too late. He concentrated on the spell and its effects began.
"You ARE too late," he boomed.
Glenn gasped and leapt ahead of the others, bounding over Magus's still form and toward the dark sorcerer.
Nikades and the altar were both engulfed in bright red light. They were unseeable, Glenn stopped and shielded his eyes. Nikades's laughter erupted above, below, and all around them.
It was no normal laugh. They listened to it intently, knowing that Nikades was venturing on the edge of sanity. The price of power always seemed to be one's mind.
Then the light died away to reveal Nikades. He stood encased inside the crystal of the altar. It had become his cocoon. He would enter a human. However, his metamorphosis would create a god.
His voice faded from the cocoon, "Three days from now, I will be much more than I or anyone else ever was. You will all bow to me to prevent your destruction. Three days form now I will be a god."
"No. . ." Lucca whispered.
Glenn ran forward and struck at the encasement. The magic sword--that had once split mountains--didn't even make a scratch. It bounced off of the mineral and flew to the side. Glenn corrected his stance, preparing for a reaction.
Nikades did nothing. He was now asleep in a form of hibernation. Unmolested from events of the outside. To return to the world only when he was ready.
"It's impregnable," Glenn said darkly, "Tis no way to get to him."
"Then what can we do?" Marle asked, hoping that they weren't out of options.
"Nothing. Nikades will slowly draw the powers to become the god he covets," Magus said, rising from the 'ground', "In three days he will have completed this absorption. Then the world will end."
"Who are the others?" Cid asked.
"Who?" Crono queried.
"The ones who will try to stop Nikades," Cid clarified.
"The other two gods," Melchior said, "but they won't be able to get to him until it's too late for even them."
"Then we have no hope?" Marshall asked, "Three days, then poof, we all die?"
"We will not simply die. We will simply cease to exist. Nikades will have control of life AND death. He will destroy the living and the dead. He will rip the fabric of time and the essence of the universe, destroying every trace of all existence until there is nothing but him." Magus replied, "Nothing else will survive."
"But. . .why?" Lucca asked in a frightened voice.
"He will then recreate the world. Making it in a form for himself, a world appropriate for him," Melchior said, "As a guru, he used to wonder what it would be like to have created the universe. I think he will now get that chance."
"Oh my God," Marle moaned in fear.
"And we can't stop him!?" Cid asked incredulously.
"If the other gods cannot, then how could we possibly do so?" Magus said.
'It's all your fault, Lucca', the familiar voice said in Lucca's head once more.
Lucca tried to ignore it, but knew it was right. She bent her head over and whimpered in despair.
"Lucca?" Cid asked tentatively.
Then the world around them started to waver and change.
Nikades was no longer awake, but his subconscious was always there. He was beginning to draw the energies needed to become a god and his subconscious was using those energies.
His mind was changing limbo into the visage of his kingdom. The darkness seemed to grow a life of its own. All around them, stone walls were appearing, dark in the lack of light.
A black castle was forming around them out of the ether.
"We have to get out of here!" Marshall yelled.
"But what about Nikades?!" Crono yelled back.
"He's not going anywhere, Crono! We have three days to make a plan before he wakes up! Let's live to make that plan!" Marshall yelled, running away from the altar and down the quickly forming stone halls.
The others quickly followed suit, Crono was lagging behind due to his wound however. Marle trailed back and grabbed his arm, pulling him along with her.
They left the area of Nikades, which had become a large auditorium style room, and entered a maze of hallways, half complete.
They reached an intersection where the hall split off left and right. Both paths were still forming, the halls appearing quickly away from them.
"Which way?!" Crono yelled over the noise of the magic being used.
"Left!" Marshall said, not breaking stride and continuing.
Lucca grabbed his cloak and stopped him, "No, right!" she said.
"How do you know?" Marshall said, offending that she would question his great guessing ability.
"This," she replied, showing him the gatekey she held.
"Fine, right it is!" he replied, turning and heading down the said corridor.
The castle's creation was complete. Then the monsters began to come into existance.
Plagiarized straight from the mind of Nikades, they were the most twisted and dark creatures he could manifest. They were beyond description, writhing and shrieking as the were given life. They had been formed from a mind of a half-god, a mind with no limits, and they were the most hideous things to ever tread the worlds.
They were created with instructions to destroy the ones who would attempt to stop Nikades.
The creatures shambled forth, hot on the trail of their prey; more were being created, each different from another, but each equally deadly and malicious. They continued to appear as Nikades was not yet finished.
Lucca ran ahead of Marshall, holding her gatekey in front of her like a compass. Its pull was still strong, they were going the right direction. She took another right and ran forward, the others behind her.
Also behind her were inhuman shrieks of evil and malevolence. She ran faster, trying to reach the gate before the monsters reached them.
Then she broke free of the castle. She looked around to see the creation of the wasteland world around the castle. It was a dark and foggy deadland. Gnarled trees dotted the area, most being concealed by the dark grey fog. Far above them, a pale sun shone on the lichen infested world.
Far ahead of them stood the gate. Not so far behind them, the howls of death continued.
Lucca was roughly pushed foward by Marshall, "Hurry! Ladies first and all that, but if you stall any longer, I'm gonna break tradition."
Lucca nodded and ran forward toward the gate. The voice echoed once again in her head, 'All you know will soon look like this. The people--friends and family--will have to exist in a world like this. They will blame you, Lucca, for it is your fault.'
Lucca roughly shook her head and continued. She would stop this. It was her fault this would happen, then it would be her that stopped it.
She reached the gate and looked back for the others. They were quickly sprinting along the dead earth toward the gate she stood before. Beyond them stood the castle, wavering in the dark world with the power that resided inside it.
Shadows seemed to seep out of the castle's entrance, the monsters were exiting. Lucca knew that viewing of these creatures would drive her insane. She turned from the land she created and jumped into the gate, followed by the others.
The red gate closed, leaving Nikades and his dread creations to their own devices.
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