Chrono Trigger Invasions Chapter 33

By Jerm

"How are we going to stop them without killing them?" Crono asked, as he looked at the carnage occurring at the castle's gate.

"The best we can do is to injure and not kill or maim," Marle shrugged, "We can count on the people not being very good at fighting, at least."

"But the spectres may be, and they're the ones in control," Crono pointed out, "And if we don't kill the spectres, then they can simply find another host until we're all 'injured.'"

"Wait," Marle grabbed his arm, stopping his progress, "I've got an idea. Use your magic on any spectre trying to escape, let the guards do the sword work. We're the only ones who have magic, and aparently it's our only shot at killing one of these things."

Crono sheathed his sword grudgingly, "Good idea, let's get going before we lose too many."

They stepped up to the gates as the officers reached the fighting and the battle intensified.

* * * * *

"Stay back here," Magus said to Schala, pointing back in the empty throne room.

Schala looked briefly at the throne room, obvious not happy about that choice. She turned back to him, and attempted to change his mind.

"Why?" Schala pleaded, "I can fight just as--"

"Where's your weapon?" Magus cut her off; Schala shrugged so he continued, "How much has your magic rejuvinated since your ordeal?"

Schala bowed her head, "Not fully. . .Fine, I'll stay."

"Good," he remarked.

Magus looked at her for a moment, expecting her to change her mind. When she remained, he quickly turned and ran out the double doors, his scythe flashing briefly as it was extended.

After he was gone, Schala stood in the throne room for a few moments. When she was sure he was long gone, she walked out of the room, preparing her magic.

"At least I'll stay for a few moments," she said, finishing her delayed statement.

* * * * *

Marshall turned as the spectre-owned citizen approached him. The person looked vexed as he spoke, "Where are the reinforcements?"

Dalack shrugged and shook his head, "Looks like Storimae had a lot of faith in us. I take it we're on our own for this part, let's at least take the castle, then we can wait for the help to arrive."

The spectre sighed, but nodded and turned back to the battle. Marshall continued his march toward the castle when the spectre was gone, a path that led straight to those that killed Morlis.

The fight was ugly now, though the castle guards were taking the most deaths, the spectres were taking casualties as well. Aparently the magic users were up to some new tricks. Flashes of electricity followed by screams of death proved this train of thought. Something must be--

Then, suddenly, he was barreled over. Marshall tumbled about, finally finding his feet and standing again. He looked for the antagonist, but found no one. He growled and started to rejoin the battle. If he found whoever did that, he would do worse than kill him. Marshall turned back to the castle and began to advance once again.

Something followed him.

* * * * *

Cid was startled when he saw what had happened to Truce. Most of it had been razed. Some of it was still standing and there were frightened people wandering the streets and trying to fix everything.

What had gone on here?

It looked like a riot had occurred. Cid stared at the carnage a moment longer, then ran for the castle to break the news to the others.

He didn't need to worry however, they already knew.

He struck the path and continued to run, breaking off of a moment later and hitting the forest moments later. At his hip, Lucca's blaster hung. He had modified it quite a bit, adhering some of his own technology into it. He had a couple other surprises there as well, he was prepared this time.

* * * * *

Crono spotted a shadowy wisp escaping the body of a downed citizen. Immediately, he homed in on it, preparing his magic. Then he let loose with a small discharge, which grasped the now writhing spectre. He altered the magic, carrying the spectre up into the air and away from the combatants below. Then, when it was high enough, he let loose with a blast of energy, which struck and annihilated the demon.

That job done, he looked back to Marle, "Four down, how many for you?"

Marle shook her head, "I've got two; but just because I can't do anything to bring them out of the fight so I can hit them hard like you're doing."

Crono shrugged, looking innocent, "I try."

Marle smiled and started to target another spectre. Then she stopped, looking hard into the fray. "Wait, Crono. . .I think I see Magus."

"Where?" Crono followed her line of sight, but saw nothing.

"He's going in and out of my vision, but I think he's moving left. He's heading right for Marshall! Marshall's with them!"

"He's what?" Crono now looked more seriously into the chaos, "Oh great, now we've got some trouble."

"I don't think so, I think Magus can handle it," Marle shook her head, "At least I hope."

"Me too."

"I as well," Schala said, stepping up beside the two to watch the fight.

Her appearance startled the two, who had thought she was going to remain in the castle. It was her choice in the end though, they couldn't do anything about it. They decided not to say anything about it, either.

* * * * *

Dalack felt a familiar presence as he advanced. He started to assume that it was simply the two that stood on the bridge, but soon realized that it was coming from another direction, his left.

And it was coming fast.

Marshall quickly turned just in time as Magus broke through the crowd, swinging his scythe at the bounty hunter. Marshall displayed a look of shock for a moment, then jumped out of the way. The scythe dug into the ground, just behind the fleeing giant. Magus ignored the buried scythe, releasing his hold and preparing magic.

Marshall smiled at the wizard as he stood back up, then pointed at him, "Everyone! Kill him!"

The spectres that heard and weren't in battle at the moment, turned to his call. They began to advance on this threat, the wizard Magus. Magus quickly formed a shield around himself as he realized that he might be in trouble.

"Don't think I hold the same reservations over killing these people, spectre," Magus said, glaring at the bounty hunter, "You'll just be wasting men on me."

"It'll be enough to weaken you so I can take you out, at least," Dalack replied, shrugging.

Then another figure broke out of the forest, running like a madman toward the fight. He was sweating hard and breathing twice as much, but he was not under any spectre control. Cid had made it. He immediately noticed that something was wrong, as people were cutting each other down and obviously fighting.

He then saw Magus and Marshall, standing at the back of the army, locked in a struggle as more citizens advanced on Magus. He had to do something. . .Cid altered his earlier plans to run to the castle, it didn't look like he'd make it anyway.

Cid reached into his pocket quickly and pulled out the time machine. This wasn't one of his surprises, but it would work. Cid ran, despite his tired state, and reached the two.

Marshall whirled to him, but had to retain concentration on Magus. Then, there was a blinding light as a gate suddenly appeared behind him. "Magus, push him in!" Cid yelled.

"What is this?!" Marshall bellowed, then Magus reached out and grabbed his shirt and jumped forward.

Both men spilled into the gate.

Cid stared at the gate for a moment, that wasn't what he had intended for Magus to do. The dispersal of their leader caused a small ripple of disturbance among the spectre ranks, but they seemed to be holding at the moment. Cid realized that they might take it out on him. Thinking to help Magus, he jumped into the gate as well, which closed behind him.

* * * * *

"What was he thinking?" Crono gasped as Magus threw himself and Marshall into the swirling blue vortex.

Cid jumped in next.

"What was he thinking?" Marle repeated, indicating Cid.

Schala looked at the spot where the gate had now shut. She was still curious about Magus, and hoped he would live through this. Despite his cold behavior, she felt something familiar about him. Unexplained at the moment however, it would be waiting even longer now. Schala turned from the scene and returned to singling out spectres.

A few minutes later, the spectres broke rank and retreated back to the ruins of Truce. The castle was secure.

The castle had lost quite a large number of men, not nearly as much as the spectres had. True, Guardia had a lot more to spare, but in the long run, the spectres would win out. Another tactic would have to be used.

The victors turned back inside the castle as the medics took the field to tend to the wounded and dead.

* * * * *

"Why didn't you open the gate?" Storimae asked angrily at the stoic figure which stood before him.

He had nothing to fear from the Murasame, he was in control. The figure would not attack him if provoked, that was part of the deal. Storimae continued to glare at his minion.

The figure remained silent, shaking its head slightly. It stared back defiantly at him.

"You were in charge of sending in reinforcements, don't tell me a mere boy chased you off!" Storimae yelled angrily.

The figure didn't even flinch. Instead it seemed to give a cold look to Storimae, as if it itself was angry. This made the spectre even angrier. He stood up from his seat, fire in his eyes, "You will lead the reinforcements yourself. If we lose because of this delay. . ." Stormiae tried to think of a punishment, but nothing came, he changed tactics, "Don't fail me."

The figure nodded, still angry. Then there was a red tint dancing behind it as the gate was opened. The light didn't even go near the figure, however. The Murasame's black energy seeped and swirled around it, blocking any vision that would allow discernification of the figure.

It turned away, and with a small army of creatures--victims of the spectres possession--walked into the gate. The assorted beasts filed in behind it.

Storimae frowned, however. He felt as if he was beginning to lose touch with his minion. The sword held it, but still. . . .


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