Chrono Trigger Invasions Chapter 18
"What's going on?!" Morlis demanded of Dalack as the two met in the halls, yells and shouts all around them.
The sounds of battle were coming close, but they were alone for the moment. Adijem, Amey, and Storimae were missing, most likely already dead or having fled the area. Either choice meant they didn't have any back-up at the moment.
"Have you seen Lanon?" Dalack asked.
"Of course not, he was sent away for Bastion. Don't you remember? Now what's going on?"
Dalack ignored the question, "If Lanon isn't back, then why is Bastion?"
"He's what?!" Morlis stepped up to face Dalack directly.
"Apparently Lanon is dead," Dalack predicted, "Bastion might be a little annoyed. So are the 'rabble' from what I hear down the hall."
"Where did you see Bastion?" Morlis demanded, looking over Dalack's shoulder as if he could see him himself.
"I didn't," Dalack admitted, "But if you listen closely enough, you can hear people yell out his name every now and then."
"Follow me," Morlis grabbed Dalack and dragged the spectre behind him.
The group of angry spectres came dashing around the corner suddenly, right behind the two. They turned their fast walk into a dead run as the mob howled after them. Bastion was unseen at the moment, but they didn't spend too much time looking back for him.
They headed for the council hall. Their guard, if any remained, would be gathering there. If not, there were back passages that the two could use to escape.
* * * * *
"Who else do we need to pick up before we start planning?" Marle asked as they left the forest.
"Let's see. . ." Crono thought, "There's Melchior, does anybody know where he is at the moment?"
The group shrugged, "He moved his old home after the Mystics turned antagonistic," Marle said, "I'm not sure where to, though."
"So we shouldn't waste time looking for him?" Cid asked.
"I don't think we can afford the time," Marle shook her head, "He would be so useful, but there's no helping his absence."
"Who else?" Marshall asked.
The group thought.
"I wonder if we could find Robo. . .Oh wait, nevermind," Crono corrected himself, "That time frame is already wiped away."
"I can't think of anybody offhand," Marle admitted.
Marshall made a quick headcount, "Just the seven of us. Not that many. Considering we had eight when going against Nikades."
"If only Lucca were here," Crono mused, "She was good at coming up with plans."
"But she's not," Cid said coldly, "because we left her behind."
"Let it lay, Cid. There was nothing that we could do. She's dead," Crono shot back.
"You hope that she was dead, you mean," Cid said, "so that you can alleviate some of your guilt at leaving her behind when she needed help."
"I'm getting tired of hearing that, Cid," Crono said warningly, "She was a friend of mine, as well. Don't bring back that moment like that. It hurts all of us."
"I doubt anybody could tell you were friends. Friends don't leave friends behind!" Cid shot back.
The group had stopped moving, but no one seemed to notice. Crono was seconds away from drawing his sword. Cid seemed to notice this, but didn't seem to care. He was still unconsciously plucking at his bandages.
Marshall was edging forward, preparing to throw himself between the two if swords were drawn. He was quite an imposing figure, and surely he could stop a fight it need be. After all, he was a bartender for a lot of his odd life.
"Arguing isn't getting us anywhere, you two," Marle warned them, breaking off the staring contest, "Walking will. Can we continue?"
Cid and Crono glared at each other, but after a moment, backed off. The trek continued.
In the back, Schala edged toward Magus and spoke for the first time in a while, "Are they like this often?" she whispered.
"No," Magus shook his head, whispering back, "Something's wrong."
* * * * *
"What's going on?" Storimae asked as Morlis and Dalack broke into the room.
"Bastion isn't dead," Dalack said, turning to shut the door.
"Lanon is," Morlis added, "We're in trouble. Bastion just told everybody about what we tried to pull."
Storimae nodded. The other two waited for a response, maybe some advice or a plan, but he remained silent.
Behind them, the door was struck. Once. Twice.
"If you have something to say, now's the time," Dalack said warningly.
"How many?" Storimae asked.
"About two hundred. That's about 90% of the number of spectres in this outpost. I double we can gather enough to help," Morlis said.
"I vote we flee," Dalack said quickly as the door was struck again.
"I as well," Morlis added, "There's no way we can win unless we return to our home and gather reinforcements."
"I vote to stay," Storimae said suddenly, ignoring the next, much stronger impact against the door.
The door splintered. It would have been gone already if any of the spectres outside had been using magic. Apparently, they were saving it for the battle royale that was assumed to occur inside. They were using brute force to break it down.
It gave those inside time to leave. That was enough condolence for those of the council.
"You're crazy," Morlis said, running to the wall to hit the switch for the passage, Dalack followed.
"Both of you stay," Storimae commanded, "The council isn't unanomous."
The other two stared at him as if he was joking. Then Morlis turned back to the wall and struck the switch. Storimae raised his hand and summoned energy to his palm, "If you so much as lean in that direction, I will destroy you."
Another impact struck the door.
"You are insane," Dalack said, backing from the passage.
Morlis didn't budge, "What are you doing, Storimae?"
"I plan to take control now," was the reply.
The other two would have laughed were it not for the situation. They glared at him suspiciously. "They would not accept you, you fool," Morlis stated, "You are one of the people they are trying to overthrow and kill."
"I have a surprise here that will change their minds," Storimae spoke as he raised his other hand, "I was hoping to be able to save it for much later, but now is as good a time as any."
He stepped away from the door, walking to the far chair. This chair had stood empty since the death of Thatos months ago. It was the chair designated for the ruler of the spectres. The 'one' ruler.
Storimae sat in the chair, extinguishing the flame in his hand and using that hand to aid the other in the summoning of the power necessary for the next spell.
The door cracked loudly as it was hit again and there was a roar of approval from outside. Another hit struck seconds later, breaking the door and allowing those outside a glimpse of those inside.
Only three of the council stood inside. Easy odds for a mob of so many.
Another cheer erupted and the door was literally tore off of the hinges as they surged into the room. The door fell to the floor and was trampled and stomped by the massing flow of spectres that poured into the foor.
Storimae watched as they entered the room and released his spell.
The room went black.
Spectres were accustomed to pitch darkness, however it was still hard to see in this magic darkness. Morlis had a chance to run down the passage, but didn't notice his moment. He was staring at the figure that was materializing from the blackness.
Dalack backed involuntarily to stand next to Morlis. Both stared at the figure as the appearance completed itself. Even the crowd had stopped.
The figure had its head bowed as it appeared. When the shifting was complete, it raised its head. Reaching down, it drew a sword from a scabbard that hung at its waist.
The blade was black, blacker than the magic darkness that permeated the room. It took only a moment for those viewing it to realize that that sword was what was causing the darkness.
The figure held the sword out and glared malevolently at those around it. No one moved.
"Bow down to your new leader," Storimae said, not moving from the 'throne' he was perched, "I will replace this empty seat that was once filled by your former leader Thatos. For too long we have been plagued by the council and their disputing. Now is the time for a new leader."
No one bowed at the moment, they seemed to be sizing up the situation, wondering what to do. Someone in the back of the crowd pushed his way to the front. Bastion stood before Storimae and the figure defiantly.
"You were part of the conspiracy to have me killed. We won't bow to a corrupt ruler," spoke Bastion, which caused some murmurs from the crowd behind him.
"You can live by my word, or die by this sword," Storimae recited, indicating the armed figure beside him.
"We'll see," Bastion replied, raising his hand and summoning fire, preparing to defend himself.
Storimae and the figure remained passive as the bolt of flame shot toward them. It flared and writhed in a life of its own as it neared its target. As the fire approached them, however, it seemed to slow, to warp and weave itself. Then it altered direction and flowed into the black sword. The fire wrapped around the sword, then seeped into it, feeding it its magic. The sword had consumed the spell.
Bastion stood dumbfounded, not thinking, not bothering to try again. Storimae smiled. Then he stood up and leaned on the table, "I was unable to get the Masamune, as you all know. However, a while back, I was promised another weapon, just as powerful. The events that led to my capturing of this beauty will remain in my confidence, however."
The figure finally moved, it advanced toward Bastion. Bastion stood his ground, hoping that those behind him would help. After crossing the room, the figure stopped, standing before Bastion, sword held out in front of it.
"What is it?" Bastion asked, examining the black sword.
"The Murasame," Storimae replied, "But you may simply call it your doom."
Storimae nodded suddenly and the figure attacked. Bastion yelled for an attack and pulled up a shield around him hastily. He then prepared another magic to counterattack with.
The Murasame struck the barrier, then sliced into it. The shield shattered, the magical pieces flying in al directions and fading away. Bastion stopped his spell and flinched back as the sword continued, stabbing into him.
Then he screamed and began to flow into the sword. It was consuming him. The figure watched stoically as Bastion's last moments were flashing by. Then the spectre was gone, becoming part of the dark sword.
The group of spectres that had stood behind Bastion remained motionless. This was too much for them to contend with. Slowly, one by one, they began to bow to Storimae.
The figure walked back to Storimae, then turned to the people and resumed its motionless stance. Storimae smiled as the rest of the group of people finished bowing. Then he turned to Morlis and Dalack. The two spectres were still staring at the events of the room.
"Now's your chance to bow or share Bastion's fate. I trust the choice is an easy one to make. If you choose to bow to me, I will make you two generals in my army that will be used to conquor this world."
Dalack slowly bowed, hardly hesitating, but stealing a glance at Morlis. Morlis seemed almost to turn and run down the passage open behind him, judging the reaction time of the figure and its sword. Then he sighed and followed Dalack's example.
The figure nodded and faded away. Its use was gone for the moment. It would be needed again, but for now it needed to rest. Formerly planned as a surprise, the outcome was no different and just as satisfying.
Storimae had gained control.
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