Chrono Trigger Dimensions Chapter 44
Lucca stared at the form of Nikades that stood inside the diamond like stone. She wondered when he would finally emerge. Would her friends be alive and able to get here in time?
Lucca shuddered, not liking the idea of everyone she knew dying. It would surely be irony if she, the one who started this mess, was the only survivor. Lucca shut her mind on those thoughts, surely the others would make it.
It is almost time. Are you anxious to your new god's arrival?
Lucca thought up a sharp retort, "Anxious, yes. Hopeful, no."
A short laugh echoed around the domed room. The figure wasn't even moving with the laughter, the sound seemed to erupt from nowhere.
"Leave me alone, when the others get here, we can stop you," Lucca shot back bravely.
Not likely. You said it yourself, 'Something this big can't be 'stopped''
Lucca was surprised, "How did you--"
Your mind is telling me all of this. As are the minds of the other three behind me. I know all about their plan to stop me. Believe me, it won't happen
Lucca remained silent. Instead, she sat down on the stone ground, wrapping her arms around her knees. A chair appeared beside her moments later.
Would you like something more comfortable?
Lucca continued to remain silent. She ignored the chair and continued to sit and wait on her friends.
Suddenly, the chair's arms and legs became real appendages, the back of the chair growing into a neck with a deformed and cruel head at the top. The monster struck at her, attempting to bite her neck. Lucca sat still, albiet a little apprehension. The illusion went right through her. Finally, it disappeared.
"I understand you now, Nikades," Lucca said finally, "All of this time, the only magic you used against us was the powers of illusion. Only when you sent your demons after us, were we in any danger. You had no magic, the Masamune drained it out of you. Only petty spells were and are at your disposal.
Lucca continued, "Only when you are finished with this transformation, will there be any threat at all. Do what you like, I'm not moving. . .And, my friends WILL make it here. You can't do anything to stop them. . .except some harmless illusions."
The figure inside was silent for a moment. It seemed to be pondering her words. Finally, he broke out of his thoughts. His voice was almost one of pride.
Very perceptive. You will make an excellent general
Lucca was surprised for a moment at the title he had thrown at her, "Gen. . .eral?"
You are the one who released me. For that, I will spare you. You will be one of my generals, who will send the armies I create at the other two gods. They will try to stop me, the other two, but I am too strong for even the both of them
"What makes you think I would do such a thing?" Lucca demanded.
Lucca remained silent once more.
* * * * *
Crono reached the end of the hallway and pulled open the door. He tentatively stepped out and peered around this new hallway. The right was clear. He turned to look left and found himself face to face with Marle, who was running full tilt toward him. They collided and collapsed on the ground.
"Ow," Crono remarked as he hit the ground and felt the beginning of a bruise on his arm.
Marle jumped up and looked down at what she had previously thought was a demon, "Crono?"
"Yeah, are you okay, Marle?" he asked, rubbing his now injured arm.
"I think so," she replied, "I've been through a lot to get here, though."
"Me too," Crono replied, "Have you seen Lucca, Magus, or any of the others?"
"Everyone's been separated," Marle exclaimed, "I think they're all going through the same things we did."
"I guess we can only hope they're as lucky as we were," Crono said regretfully, "We've got to hurry on, though. Which way were you going?"
Marle pointed in front of her, over Crono's shoulder, "That way."
They both hurried that way, hoping to meet someone else on the way.
* * * * *
Cid stumbled forward, wondering how lucky he was to have found the exit at the last second. It was quite a coincidence, and even though it made great suspense and adrenaline for Cid, he really didn't care for it. It was almost as if Nikades had allowed him to find it at the last moment.
Something wasn't right with that though. Wouldn't it be easier for Nikades if he stopped playing with the competition and just exterminate them? Cid thought about that, though not coming up with anything.
He trudged on through the dark hallways that stretched out all around him.
* * * * *
Glenn opened his eyes as the white light evaporated from around him. He was standing in the throne room of a castle. He then noticed that Nikades was set up, sealed, in front of him. Lucca sat beside the frog, and behind Nikades, stood in perfect stillness Marshall, Magus, and Melchior. All three of their hopes.
Glenn silently cursed the luck he was being presented with. He redrew the Masamune, preparing to fight whatever it was that was holding the other three. "Lucca? Are you ok?"
Lucca looked up at him, surprised at his sudden appearance, then answered, "Yeah, I think so."
I see you've brought the item that sealed my powers so long ago
The Masamune glowed much brighter at its recognition. Glenn held it aloft to better illuminate his surroundings. Nothing came at him. Then suddenly, the Masamune was sent flying from his hands and spinning toward Nikades. It stooped and hovered, point up, in front of the sealed figure.
Much larger than I remember, but things change, I am told
The sword spun away and embedded itself into a wall, inches from Marshall neck. The large figure remained stone still however. He was paralyzed by a spell of some sort, Glenn thought out.
Just making sure you don't try and use it against me. I have some bad memories of that sword
A short chuckle entered the air. Reverberating and becoming louder in the vaulted room. The laughter died away and silence returned. Glenn looked around hesitantly.
"What do we do?" he asked Lucca.
"We wait," she replied, continuing to sit.
* * * * *
Lucca tried to keep her thoughts to herself. Nikades would exploit them and bring them into the open, just to 'rub it in'. She shook her head as she heard Nikades laughter erupt in her head. Looking over, she could see that Glenn couldn't hear it.
Thought over about becoming my general, yet?
'Go to hell,' Lucca thought back spitefully.
Nikades seemed to find this remark funny and laughed again.
Lucca ignored him. She instead thought of when her friends would arrive. Crono, Marle, and Cid were still discounted for. Glenn had arrived however, and that was a good sign that the others might too be coming soon. She held on to that thought and ignored the remarks by Nikades.
Then she heard footsteps behind her. She turned, and saw that Marle and Crono had both made it here. Cid, however, was still missing.
Welcome to the party. Bring me presents?
* * * * *
"What's going on?" Crono asked the others as he and Marle entered.
"He has our trump cards," Marle said, indicating the three statuelike beings that stood behind Nikades' shell, "It seems."
That I do. And you are just in time for the show
"Where's Cid?" Lucca asked.
"I didn't see him; is he the only one missing?" Crono asked, looking around.
He'll be here. But he's a little late
The altar started to slowly glow a pale white, slowly drowning out the image of Nikades. The group looked helplessly as he began to emerge from his cocoon. The two that were supposed to stop him, Magus and Melchior remained frozen.
The metamorphosis was beginning.
* * * * *
Cid heard voices somewhere in front of him. He doubled his efforts, hoping it was the voice of friends. The long hallway passed by him quickly as he broke into a slight run, the side passages now drifting by without so much as a glance from him. He knew where he was going now.
Cid broke out of the mazelike hallways to find himself in a large throne room. He was not alone. The others also stood in the room, all facing the crystal monolith that stood in the center. The altar was permeating a white hue now, which was becoming much brighter.
"We've got to do something!" Crono yelled, shielding his eyes.
Crono was suddenly in motion, drawing his sword and diving at the crystal in a blur of movement. However, the sword merely glanced off of the indestructible matter with a piercing ring. He swung again with the same results. Nikades laughed.
That's a start. But it won't work
Cid quickly ran forward, uniting with the group. Marle saw him from the corner of her eye and turned. When she recognized him, she called out his name in relief, drawing the other's attention.
Lucca smiled at him, despite the conditions they were under, "Hi."
"Hi," he replied.
No 'hi' for me?
The voice was one of mirth and false sadness put together; otherwise known as sarcasm. Nikades laughed again, however, the white light faltered slightly and he stopped quickly.
Oops, almost lost my concentration
"How much more time do we have?" Cid asked, ignoring Nikades.
"Not long," Crono replied, "There has to be something. . ."
Marle ran up to Melchior and reached out to shake him and try and regain his senses. Instead, a quick discharge of electricity erupted from the still body, driving the Queen back. Marle gasped, rubbing her burned hand.
I guess I forgot to warn you about my security system
Suddenly, dark forms began to emerge, entering the room and surrounding the group. They were shadows, dozens of them. They circled the room, but remained where they were. They were only spectators in this event of epic proportions.
Meet my security team
"Can you move?!" Cid yelled to the three behind Nikades. There was no response.
"I think we're in trouble," Crono said sadly, as he prepared for an attack from the shadow-like demons.
"Truly," Glenn replied, wishing he still had his sword.
"Are you going to do anything?" Marle asked Lucca, trying to get the other girl to stand.
She's having an attack of conscience right now
"Just shut up!" Marle yelled, continuing to try and get Lucca up.
Lucca remained adamant in her seated position, however, and Marle gave up and turned back to Nikades, "How can you do this?"
Marle continued, "No joking around, how can you simply destroy all existence?! You are going to ruin the lives of so many people! Why?! Is there a reason, or are you completely insane?!"
I do what I will. Mortals like you should not question my judgement
The voice was no longer joking, it was a serious voice. It echoed through the room, causing several of them to shiver involuntarily. The echoes died away, and silence returned. The shadows continued to stand where they were, waiting for the birth of the god they had helped create.
Then the white light brightened emensely, drowning out Nikades from sight. The crytal looked like a giant lightbulb, and the light continued to expand and grow, igniting the whole room with itself. The shadows drew back, now standing out perfectly in the light.
Witness the birth of the newest god! You are a special few, whom may view this moment that will change the lives of so many!
The voice was now strained, as if the person or god the voice emmitted from was in emmense pain. Then there was a scream that was a piercing to the ears as the light was to the eyes. The group flinched back as the noise echoed and intensified in the throne room.
The members of the group that could move, gathered around each other, as if seeking protection from this thing that would possibly destroy them all.
The screaming died down finally, only to be replaced by a cracking noise. The crystal was splitting from top to bottom like an egg. The white light seemed to flow out of that crack. Inside that light was the silhouette of a figure, made black in contrast to the blinding light. The figure slowly began to pull itself out of the shell.
My spell is complete. I have drained the energies of this world and now have enough to be a god
The crystal altar seemed to shrink as the figure stepped out of it. It was now smaller than Nikades was. Nikades reached out and seemed to mold the object in his hands. The altar shattered suddenly, the fragments flying in all directions in a slow movement, as though they were in water. The white light died instantly.
Once again, the room was gloomy and dark. The shadows were once again invisible to the eyes of the others.
Nikades stood in his godly splendor. It was no longer a simple human. Its once pale skin was now a normal contrast, though it seeped an unholy aura that radiated around the god. Its eyes were now pitch black, indicating the infinite powers trapped within. Adorning the god, the black robes were the same as always, though they seemed to share the aura that erupted from the body of the god.
Nikades stepped forward, toward the group. He looked at Crono.
Crono suddenly found himself without control of his limbs. His body stepped forward, at the irresistable command of a god. He stopped right in front of Nikades. He struggled vainly to move, but his feet wouldn't budge any further.
Crono tried to reply, but couldn't talk. Suddenly, he was thrown into the air, landing on the flagstone floor of the castle far from where he had so recently stood. He tried to stand, but was unable. Marle tried to rush to his side, but she too couldn't move. Everyone was unable to budge.
Then the god turned toward Lucca. It peered down at her, she glared back defiantly. Nikades, reached out and held its hand out palm forward.
Come with me
Lucca stood up slowly, doing its bidding for she was unable to do naught else. Nikades turned its back to everyone and began to walk away. In front of it, a raging black vortex opened up. The gate seemed to suck at everything in the room with a powerful force, yet nothing moved.
Lucca trudged behind Nikades as it approached the swirling circle. Nikades turned back to the group, looking at each of them in turn. Then it indicated Marshall, Magus, and Melchior. The three vanished, only to reappear by Crono, though still unable to move.
Nikades laughed at the omnipotent power it now held. The other two wouldn't stand a match against the newest god. It faced Lucca once more, who had stopped in her tracks to wait for it to move once more.
It gave her the ability to move and talk once more. Lucca sagged to her knees, unprepared for the sudden release. She slowly stood up and continued to look in its black eyes with a look of definace. Nikades laughed deeply at her, wondering if it could ever tame her enough to become a general.
The rest of the group remained still, unable to move. They hoped that Lucca would have a better fate that this. There was nothing they could do now, though. They had tried to stop the unstoppable, and naturally failed. Without Magus and Melchior, everything would fail.
It was over.
Are you ready to become my general now?
"Never," Lucca replied.
Even if it meant to be able to stay alive where others would die? You would become immortal, as I am
"I don't want to live if it meant that I would betray my family, my friends, and people I don't even know," Lucca continued to look into its eyes.
* * * * *
Lucca looked in the eyes of her enemy. Images that had flashed through her mind so many times were now being duplicated, though in her eyes now, not in her mind. She saw before her Nikades as a god. Eyes glowing black with arcane powers.
Other images flooded her mind. Guardia castle destroyed. Her parents dead. Nikades standing before her as a god. Herself being engulfed in flames. And Cid, standing atop a mountain peak being shot by a crossbow being held by Marle. All but the last two had been fulfilled now.
However, Lucca understood one of the remaining two. She reached into her pouch and pulled out the object she had spent so long creating when she had locked herself inside of her room.
* * * * *
What do we have here?
Lucca held the round object up to the face of the god, "A bomb."
Nikades seemed to start laughing at this for a moment, then though better of it, instead cocking its head to the side to examine it.
You aren't going to use that to blow me up, are you?
There was mirth in the statement, Nikades wasn't taking her seriously. Lucca however, was dead serious. She twisted the sphere, "You now have 5 seconds of existance left."
Nikades laughed. She couldn't expect to destroy it with a simple show of pyrotechnics. That was foolhardy. The seconds counted down.
Cid struggled vainly against his imprisonment, knowing that Lucca could not possibly survive an explosion that close.
* * * * *
Lucca tensed herself against the explosion that was about to occur. She had started this, now it was her duty to end it. She would expect no less from herself.
3 seconds left.
Lucca looked back for a moment at the others, her friends. She stared at Cid for a moment longer, wondering if he would ever understand this. She sighed deeply and turned back to the god.
1 second left.
Lucca felt an emmense weight lift off of her suddenly. Her conscience had relieved her of her guilt. She was free, finally fully happy for the first time in months. The voices that had warned her what would happen, were now gone; replaced by her own thoughts and beliefs.
She looked into the black eyes that peered back at her with mirth.
"Good bye," Lucca said, the statement not to Nikades, but to everyone else present, the friends she would save.
* * * * *
The sphere was suddenly shattered as the contents inside of it forced their way out in the form of fire. The explosion blew around the two figures that stood around it, causing them to disappear for a moment. Then Lucca was flying out of it. She was flung lifelessly through the air, to land on the hard floor twenty feet away from where she had stood previously. She slid across the floor, hitting the wall and stopping.
Cid tried to scream, but no sound was emmitted from his trapped lips. He stared as the smoke dissipitated from the god, who remained untouched and unyielding. Nikades started to laugh.
My, my. Looks like I need a new general, doesn't it?
Then the black gate behind him started to shift in color. Nikades stopped laughing and turned alarmingly as his spell went suddenly wrong.
The group suddenly found themselves able to move, and they stood up quickly. The Masamune escaped the wall it was embedded in and came to Glenn's outstretched hand. The frog held the weapon out, waiting for an attack from the shadows or the god.
The shadows were in a panic. They didn't know what was going on either, and were milling about, muttering.
Nikades felt himself being drawn toward the gate, which was flowing with all of the colors of the rainbow. The colors within it swirled and mixed, as the gate began spinning like a whirlpool. The vortex reached out for the god hungrily.
The castle suddenly began to warp and twist, its creation being disturbed by Nikades loss of concentration. Then it started to shake and collapse. Chunks of rock came cracking from the ceiling to land roughly on the ground. Magus raised his hand and formed a shield around the group. Rocks crashed against it, but the shield held.
Nikades suddenly shrieked as he felt his body being painfully altered. He felt as pieces of himself was torn away, as he was suddenly ripped into the existance of the 5th dimension. He was no longer a god, existing in the 6th dimension but a mortal of the 5th. He shrieked again as the pain intensified. He was being shifted into the existance of the 4th dimension. He could no longer see all of the dimension. Only the past, present, and future of limbo.
"What the hell's happening!?" Marshall yelled, over the din of the collapsing castle.
"I'm not sure," Melchior replied, "I think this is Lucca's doing!"
Cid looked over at her body now, finally being reminded of her death. He started toward it, hoping she may still be alive.
Marshall grabbed ahold of him, "Let her go, she's dead Cid! Don't kill yourself getting to her!"
Cid fought against the hands that held him, but Marshall was too strong. He slumped and began to cry.
Nikades finally understood what was happening. The bomb hadn't been a bomb. It had been a device that would reverse his spell by causing a strong disturbance in the field of energy. The explosion would be enough to activate it. Instead of going from the 3rd dimension to the 6th, he was being drawn back. Nikades yelled as the pain wracked his now frail body. He entered the 3rd dimension. The past and future were shredded away from him, and he was now a simple man once more. He fell to his knees wondering if it would end.
Then he felt the pain overtake him and he began the transformation into the 2nd dimension.
"Dear god," Marle muttered, as she saw the sorcerer slowly flatten into a 2-d figure.
The raging rainbow vortex behind the once god was now howling madly, drawing at Nikades as if in anger. Its force was causing the castle to shake more ungently. The roof started to fall to pieces much faster, and the walls were beginning to crack.
"We've got to get out of here, now!" Crono yelled.
"The kid's right," Marshall said, grabbing a new handhold on Cid as he tried to break free once more, "Magus, can you hold that shield while in motion?"
"Yes," Magus replied, stepping forward toward the exit of the room.
The shadows were trying to exit the castle, most however, were being killed by the debris that was collapsing from the ceiling and walls.
Cid tugged against Marshall once more, "Let me go! She may still be alive!"
"She's dead damn it!" Marshall yelled, "Can't you see that! Trying to get to her will result in what she wants least: You dead as well!"
"Don't be irrational, Cid!" Marle yelled, "There's nothing we can do!"
Cid slumped and gave up. He ran behind Magus with the others, giving a last look at the motionless body of his first friend. Dead.
As they left the room, Crono gave a last look back at the sorcerer. He was now entering the first dimension, his body seeming to melt as it flattened into a line. Nikades' screams had long since died away, either from the lack of voice or being covered up by the deep rumbling that accompanied the collapse of the castle.
Then they were out of the room, running down the corridors alongside the fleeing shadows. The shadows ignored them however, intent on escaping rather than dying trying to fight for a now futile cause. They turned down a side path, following the flow of demons, when suddenly the wall collapsed in front of them, crushing half a dozen shadows under it. More rocks came tumbling after the wall, sealing in that exit.
"Back!" Melchior yelled, as they turned around to try and find another way out.
Magus stopped them however, "Wait, I can handle this."
He raised his hand and pointed toward the blocked exit. Nothing seemed to happen for a moment, then the rocks seemed to pick themselves up and move aside, forming a free path. Not stopping there, Magus continued to move the rocks on up ahead, causing the walls to break apart and slide to the side, forming a straight path to the outside of the castle.
"Go, hurry! Before I lose my hold on it!"Magus yelled with a strained voice, the shield around the group fading slightly in an indication of his fading strength.
The group ran as he instructed. The demons also turned back to the passage, and the large mob continued to flee. The castle continued to collapse.
* * * * *
Nikades finally shifted into the 0 dimension. His matter lost all form and he became a nonexistant dot. Then the metamorphosis continued, and his reversed spell finished itself. The pain finally left him as he left his existance.
Moments later the spell was complete. Nikades no longer existed. Life and death held no position for him, he was no longer there at all.
With Nikades gone, the magically created castle and lands around it started to fade away.
* * * * *
The group emerged from the hole in the castle and Magus dropped his spell. Dozens of the shadow demons were still trapped inside, however, their screams went unheard for the rest. The group broke away from the fleeing demons and toward where the gate had been.
"Who has the gate key?" Marle asked, hoping that it wasn't Lucca.
"I do," Crono replied, holding it aloft, "Lucca told me to keep it. . .now I know why."
"Poor Lucca," Marle muttered, "She knew all along that this would happen, didn't she?
". . .Yeah," Crono replied, operating the gate key, causing the red gate to open.
Then an ear splitting scream erupted from the castle.
The land around them started to disipitate along with the castle. The group quickly entered the gate, leaving the world that was the source of so much pain for them. The gate closed behind them as the world continued to fade away.
The shadows however remained. After the world was gone, and the blackness that had dominated Limbo for so long had returned, they gathered. Now only a quarter of their forces were left. Plans would have to be made.
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