Chrono Trigger Invasions Chapter 32
"Are you sure you're not delirious?" the chancellor asked again.
"Yes, I'm sure! We all--" Nadia indicated her friends, "--saw them quite plainly!"
"I've heard of mass hysteria, maybe--" the chancellor began.
"Quite your joking, this is a serious matter!" Nadia was quite put out with the chancellor at the moment.
"Well, what do they look like?" the chancellor started to get curious when he saw how serious Nadia truly was.
"Black shadows, sir."
The chancellor looked up angrily at the people behind Nadia, trying to match the voice to one of them that had spoke out of line; no matches.
Tristan walked into the room as casual as ever. As he stepped in, he gave a quick bow to Nadia, long and deep enough to show respect, but fast enough to allow him time to get onto more important business, "Welcome back, Nadia."
"Thank you," Nadia tilted her head slightly, then turned back to the chancellor, "He's right. Except we could just drop the "black" part, I'm fairly sure all shadows are black."
"And how would we fight these things?" the chancellor asked, waiting for a shrug.
"We're going to call a war council," Nadia began, "Ga--"
"But we haven't had a war council since your father declared war on the Mystics!" the chancellor was slightly surprised.
"Yeah, I know," Nadia said darkly, "And since we're going to war once again, I would assume we call a war council. Unless you want us to just jump on some horses and go look for trouble without and planning. . ."
"Don't insult me," the chancellor broke eye contact and looked back at Tristan, "It's just. . .well. . .I don't know. Let's call the war council."
* * * * *
The meeting room was almost full that evening. Nadia, the chancellor, Tristan, Crono, Magus, Schala, and eight ranking officers of the Guardian army were in attendance. Cid had denied the offer, saying that he wanted to return to Lucca's house for a while, to get prepared in his own way. Glenn too had denied, pointing out that his appearance made people nervous. They had offered him a cloak to wear, but he had denied again.
The basement of the castle had been the one part that hadn't been damaged by the dark flare several months earlier. It still looked as it always did, and the meeting hall was no exception.
"Where will they attack from?" one of the officers asked, apparently not very happy over this.
Nadia had never liked this man, who's name was Derrik. He was the type to waste as many soldiers as he could in order for even the smallest victory. He claimed to be undefeated, but his only experience was against Medina. More men had been lost under him than any three of the other officers. Even so, he knew what he was doing.
"I'm not sure," Nadia replied, "It would be hard to explain, and even that information won't help."
"I still don't understand, though," another asked, "Who are these invaders and where do they come from?"
The new speaker was mildly old, his hair and mostache was white. His name was Brance, but people under his command called him Gnome. He was short and slouched in his chair, making him appear even more short. Even so, he was a tactical genius and could be counted on in times of turmoil.
Nadia sighed, but continued, "These things are called spectres. They look just like shadows and have the ability to stimulate a person's mind, allowing them to control the person. We won't know what they look like because they could be using anybody. As to where they're from, I said it before, 'It would be hard to explain.'"
The officer groaned, but accepted the answer. Another stood up to ask a question, Solace. This one was wire thin, but seemed to hold an inner strength about him, "What are our plans to take these things, then?"
"We wait for them," Nadia shrugged, "I've been trying to tell everyone here for a while that we aren't entirely sure when the threat will reach us. The spectres have been hovering on our. . .border for quite a while. A chain reaction of events that occurred a few days ago might set them off."
"Why don't we attack them first, then?" Derrik asked, raising his eyebrows at her in question.
"How many soldiers remain in Guardia right now?" Nadia asked, "Do you know the number?"
"Close to two thousand now," Derrik said, smirking, "But we can draft even more."
"Draft people who don't even want to fight, eh?" Crono cut in before he knew he was saying it.
"Boy, you don't know a thing about fighting. We go out there to defend the lives of others," Derrik lectured, "We may lose the lives of soldiers, and maybe the lives of "drafted" people, but in the long run, it will save a lot more lives."
Crono glared at Derrik, "I know more about fighting than you. Where were you when you ordered those six hundred men to attack a fortified Medina? Over five hundred of them died in that before they managed to take the city. Even then, they wouldn't have held it without the reinforcements that Guardia himself threw in--"
"A good commander can't afford to risk himself and his leadership. It's the--" Derrik began, looking as if he was going to jump over the table at Crono.
"Shut up, you two," Solace said quietly, though the hint of anger was there.
"Quite right," Gnome agreed, while others nodded, "What say we talk about something important. . .like saaay, an invasion force?"
"Cut the sarcasm, dwarf," Derrik said, still angry, "We know what this meeting's about."
"Then what say we talk about it, huh?" another officer, Trent, said, "Let's leave the fighting for the battlefield."
"Wherever that is," Gnome finished.
"This meeting isn't about a battlefield, it's about preparations," Nadia finally cut in, "We need to set up everything. Store provisions, see that the troops are well trained, and all that stuff."
Magus suddenly realized that he heard a faint thumping noise above. He tilted his head to the side a bit, clearing the noise a bit. It was slowly getting louder, then. . .
"Sir. . .I mean sirs. . .I mean sirs and ma'am!" a guard came rushing down the stairs madly, "I mean sirs and Your Maj--"
"What is it?" Nadia cut him off as the group all turned to face the messenger.
The soldier leaned against the wall, breathing heavily, he looked very tired. Then Derrik called from his seat, "Soldier! Stand to attention at this instance!"
The soldier stiffened quickly, but still appeared very tired. Nadia glared at Derrik once more, then looked back at the messenger, "What is it?"
"A group of people from Truce just went ballistic or something! They started to trash and burn the town, then they broke off from that and started to head this way! I ran here as fast as I could to tell you."
"A rebellion now of all times," Trent muttered, "Why now?"
"The spectres aren't wasting any time, it seems," Magus said from his seat, eyeing the officers darkly; he now realized what the thumping noise was.
It was a small army marching toward the castle.
* * * * *
Cid stepped off of the bridge and began to circle Lucca's house, heading for the front door. He had decided that he could use some of her stuff and prepare for the coming battle. Having lived there for a few months, he was quite sure that she had the proper equipment for such devices and wanted to make good use of them.
He rounded the house, then froze when he saw something by the gatekeeper.
It was now almost completely night. The stars and moon were partially hidden behind clouds, making it even harder to see. Even so, he spotted quite clearly the figure standing in front of the gatekeeper.
"Who are you?" he asked suspiciously, slowly advancing toward the sillouette.
The figure turned quickly towards him, startled for a moment. Cid continued to walk toward it, "What are you doing here?"
The figure was now over its shock and it seemed to be glaring at him. Cid slowed down a little, unsure now. Then the figure drew a sword.
Cid stopped in his tracks, staring at the sword. Even in the darkness, it was pure black. It seemed to be darker than the night around it, almost as if it was radiating the dark itself. It was also pulsing with energy, energy Cid hadn't seen in a sword since the Masamune.
"Who are you?" Cid repeated, fumbling for his blaster slowly, so as not to attract attention.
The figure pointed the sword at him and it began to quickly glow darker and build energy. Cid suddenly realized that he didn't have enough time to draw the blaster, he was going to die.
Then the figure stopped. The sword's power suddenly dimmed, returning to normal. The figure stared at him for a moment, it was actually beginning to visibly shake. Cid took another step.
The step was the breaking point. Like a rabbit, the figure turned and hit something on the gatekeeper. A bright red gate flew open, briefly illuminating the figure. Cid, hoping he could see something about the intruder, was disappointed. The blackness of the blade was indeed radiating out, making the figure nearly invisible in the light.
The figure jumped into the gate, which shut behind it. Cid ran toward the gatekeeper quickly, but was too late. He quickly checked the dial on it, looking for a way to trace it. Nothing. The figure was long gone.
"Great," Cid sighed.
* * * * *
"We aren't enough to beat all of these men," a spectre remarked to Dalack, after viewing Guardia's army.
"Relax," Dalack said soothingly, "Storimae told me that there would be reinforcements later. The 'heavy artillery' so to speak."
Dalack laughed briefly, a small chuckle. The spectre smiled with him, then turned away and ran to join the battle.
When the spectre was gone, Dalack looked back behind him, still waiting for the promised reinforcements; where were they?
He sighed and turned back to the fight, preparing to join. He was waiting for the right moment however. . .
The spectres were massing on the bridge. The guards didn't want to hurt common citizens, but the spectres had every intention of doing so. Many of the people that were held by the spectres did go down, however. The guards were trying to injure now, instead of kill. However, once down, the spectre would leave the citizen and enter the body of a downed guard.
Casualties on their side were very low tonight.
Dalack turned from the fight to look closely into the castle. They were there!
Crono, Nadia, and the others were joining the battle now. That was his cue. With one last look over his shoulder for the missing reinforcements, he stepped into the battle, swordless, but still tearing a wide swathe through the opposition with his magic. The Marshal was very strong indeed.
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