Chrono Trigger Invasions Chapter 34
Cid flew out of the gate,causing several people to cry out in surprise. He hit the ground hard, or was it the hard ground? He found that he was lying on pavement, a sidewalk to be exact. The cries continued, showing Cid that he wasn't the only reason for this. Other than the cries, he heard a very familiar sound from all around him.
He slowly stood up off of the ground to look about him. The city. Cars and trucks were racing up and down the street in front of him, the owners of the deafening noise he now heard. Looking about him, he saw that people were backing away from him, obviously surprised by the gate which was just now shutting behind him. He had opened the gate to his own time. If Magus and Marshall were to fight here with their magic--
Then, far to his left, he spotted Magus. The wizard was stalking after somebody with deadly intent, obviously Marshall. His scythe was out, which caused passerbies to give him quite a bit of room before turning and running away in fear. Magus ignored these people, however, he had locked onto his quarry.
Cid looked further to see that Marshall was walking away quickly, not quite escaping since his seven foot body was hard to hide, even in a crowd. He gave several looks over his shoulder, and increased his speed. Why isn't he fighting back? Cid thought to himself.
Cid broke into a run after the two, hoping he could catch up before they started the fight and effectively killed one or the other. He roughly shoved people out of the way, people who had been backing away from Magus and his weapon of death. Cid couldn't see his eyes from his vantage, but if he had been able to, he would have seen the reason Marshall, too, was trying to flee.
Magus was angry.
"Wait, Magus!" Cid yelled, as a new surge of pedestrians blocked his view momentarily, "Not here!"
Magus ignored him and continued, keeping his eyes locked on Marshall's head. Cid sighed and pushed his way through the crowd. As he broke through, he saw Marshall suddenly turn from the sidewalk and try to cut across the fourlane street.
There was the sound of squealing tires from brakes and horns honking as he made his break for it. Marshall ignored these vehicles as they swerved around him, sometimes striking other cars. He continued to cross.
Magus didn't miss a beat, however, and crossed right after him. Suddenly, standing in the middle of the street, Marshall stopped and turned to face Magus. Magus slowed down his walk, but didn't stop.
People were now starting to gather on the sidewalk, watching this strange occurrance happen. Most of the cars continued on, the ones that were being blocked tried in vain to change lanes.
Cid suddenly realized that something bad was about to happen. There were so many innocent people around and if they turned this into a magical conflict--
Then it happened. Amidst the mumbling people and the honking horns came the deafening roar of magic in full force. The sound came from Marshall, who continued to glare at the advancing Magus. Magus stalked a little further, but recognized the noise himself.
A fireball, with a diameter of six feet materialized before the bounty hunter, illuminating his face with a bright burst of light. It came to life and soared toward the wizard facing him. Magus ducked and flattened himself against the ground as the inferno swept over him. Cid, standing on the sidewalk with the onlookers, watched for a quick moment as the flame passed over the wizard and came hurtling toward them.
People began to scream when they realized what was happening and started to run in all directions. Cid, deciding not to struggle against impossible odds, ducked to the ground quickly as he felt the heat reach him. The sudden movement caused pain in his arm, where the crossbow wound was still healing, but he ignored it.
He reflexively put his hands over his head as he felt and heard the blast soar over him, striking the building behind him. There was the sound of shattering glass, as the fireball tore into the convenience store. The glass showered over Cid's form, but he remained down on the ground below the screaming and fleeing people, listening to the sounds of aisles being overturned and destroyed inside.
There was the sound of another explosion as the fireball struck something solid. The ground shook violently as the concussion hit the area and flames raced out of the store's now opened windows. An Open/Closed sign landed next to Cid's fearful face, smoking and smoldering from the heat.
Cid looked up cautiously to see that Magus and Marshall were battling now. The streets were becoming clear of pedestrians quite fast now, the drivers were forgetting their cars, jumping out and running for their lives.
Cid slowly stood up, still shaking. He could feel heat behind him and knew without looking that the building was burning. Cid walked into the street, no longer just an audience. People brushed by him as he ran but he ignored them, he was focused on the battle.
Magus raised the shield around him quickly as Marshall threw another bout of flames at him. The fire struck the shield, which held, and died away. Magus narrowed his eyes, then raised his hand.
A single bolt of lightning erupted from the wizard's finger, striking the undefended bounty hunter. Marshall lost his footing and was thrown back, striking an evacuated car. The car took the impact, leaving a small dent in the metal door.
"Leave our friend and you will live, spectre," Magus taunted the downed opponent, slowly pacing toward him.
Magus sheathed his scythe, preferring a magical battle.
Marshall looked up into Magus's face as he slowly stood, then smiled. Another blast of fire came from him, which was deflected by Magus's shield. The smile died, then Marshall was suddenly airborne, waving his arms and legs helplessly as he was hurtled through the air, to smash into the old, brick apartment building behind him. He stayed where he was upon impact, pinned to the wall about five feet off of the ground.
"We did this before, back in my castle. It is safe to say that the outcome will be no different. . ." Magus eyed the helpless figure above him.
Magus continued to look darkly at his opponent as he circled the car. Then, with no warning, he jerked his hand back. Marshall flew off of the wall and once again hit the car. He piled onto the roof of it, denting it as well. His legs swung over the side of it, and he slowly slid off, losing his strength to stand quickly. He struggled to his knees on the sidewalk.
"Now leave him be," Magus pronounced once again.
"Never," Dalack said darkly, as Marshall began to stand once more.
Magus didn't give him the chance, however. Marshall was once again airborne, flying up the sidewalk until he struck a street light. He grunted as pain coursed down his back. Then he fell off, rebounding from his momentum. He landed in a heap. The pole he had hit was bent back.
"Magus?" Cid asked cautiously.
"Stay out of this, Cid," Magus said, darkly.
"You'll kill him, Magus," Cid pointed out.
"And if I do, the spectre will go with him," Magus replied, not wavering one bit.
Cid was shocked at this, but could find no reply. He watched helplessly as Marshall struggled to stand once more. Magus stepped up to the giant, waiting for a more proper answer.
Then Marshall acted. He swung his fist around, striking Magus in the side of the face hard. There was a crunching noise as the wizard's jaw was disconnected from the force and the startled Magus spun around, falling backwards from the blow. He hit the ground hard and lay unconscious at Cid's feet.
Cid looked at the body in surprise for a second, then slowly looked up to see Marshall complete his standing position.
"Guess who's next," Dalack taunted.
Cid started to back away, nearly tripping on the sidewalk dropoff, but regaining his feet. Marshall matched his steps, slowly stalking toward the new prey. Cid remembered his surprises.
"Stop, Marshall," Cid said, pulling out his blaster, "Or I kill you for real."
"You'll kill Marshall, all right, but I will remain," Dalack remarked, eyeing the gun curiously.
"I put some of my own technology into this gun, I would advise you to stop coming toward me," Cid said, the blaster unaimed at the moment, "This uses energy, not iron, lead, or whatever you're used to bullets being made of anyway. They will kill you. Magic and technology, two great worlds, huh?"
"Interesting," Marshall said, not stopping one bit, "Let's see it then, the best of both worlds, as you would put it."
"Don't tempt me. I hold a lot of reservations about killing friends, but not spectres," Cid narrowed his eyes.
"That didn't stop you from trying to kill this man before, did it? Or everyone else for that matter. . ." Dalack taunted.
That pushed Cid over the limit. He glared at the figure for a moment longer, then snapped the gun up, aiming it for Marshall's head.
"Then have the best of both worlds. . . ."
He pulled the trigger and there was a surge in the gun. He felt the gun throw itself back, pushing his wrist and arm back with it, over his shoulder. A ball of energy erupted from the nozzle, small but fast. What looked like a trail of smoke after it was in fact the very air around it wavering in its wake, having been violently displaced by the sudden blast of energy. The ball of energy gave out an annoyingly loud and high pitched buzzing noise as it raced toward the target, the trail of wavering air behind it.
Marshall ducked quickly, then rolled out of the way as the bolt of death raced past him. The shot continued for a moment longer, before it hit a now abandoned car. The energy shattered the windshield effortlessly, then continued inside of the car to strike the seat. Having been prevented from forward movement by the car seat, the kinetic energy of the blast erupted in every other direction.
It was a detonation, the car was shattered from the white sphere of pure energy. The doors of the vehicle flew outward on both sides, spinning vigorously away, as the whole rear side, back seat and all, of the car was torn from the front half. It was hurled several feet back to strike another car, which skidded back from the impact. The front half of the car, with the roof still attached flipped foward, revolving over its bumper and smashing into the ground where Marshall had been before he had rolled out of the way. Sparks flew from the impact, then more sparks as the upside down front half slid to a stop with an annoying scraping noise.
Cid lowered his gun, examining Marshall rather than the extensive damage he had just caused. Smoke was billowing out of the building Marshall had scorched earlier, and Cid could faintly hear the sound of sirens, though he wasn't sure now if they were police or firemen.
He had attacked a friend.
Marshall slowly rose to his feet and grinned at Cid, "That the best you got?"
"One free refill, coming up," Cid remarked and aimed again.
And he would do so again if need be.
He then found himself in emmense pain as he was roughly ripped from the ground and hurled back, spinning in the air. He lost his grip on the gun, which clattered loudly on the pavement so far below him. He then felt more pain as he landed on the hood of a small, red car. He bounced, was airborne once more, then hit the pavement hard beside the car.
He heard footsteps as Marshall approached him. . .No, his gun. Cid reached out and grabbed the tire of the car beside him, dragging himself off of the metal drainage cover he had landed on.
"Nice weapon. I see you have done something to it. Quite--" the voice was cut off as Cid heard the sound of another struggle.
There was the sound of another blast of lightning, then Marshall yelled briefly. There was then the unmistakable sound of someone striking a car. They were all over the street, empty and dead, it was hard to miss one. Cid pulled himself up high enough to peer over the hood of the car he had hit and saw the Magus was up again, though in obvious pain. Marshall was recieving a bad beating for the broken jaw, obviously.
Marshall stood awkwardly, then raised both of his hands and spread them out beside him. Suddenly, a large wall of flame appeared around Marshall, wavering and forming into something. It continued to mold itself, finally forming into the image of what looked like a flaming wolf. Standing at eight feet tall, the elemental bounded over the surprisingly powerful Marshall and ran toward a thoughtful Magus.
Magus raised one of his hands, calmly, though apprehensively. There was a brief rumbling noise, then a manhole cover under the approaching beast was thrown into the air. It arced through the elemental, giving no harm.
However, the blast of water that erupted from the sewers below was enough. The waterblast struck the surprised beast with an avenging force, tearing it in two as the monster was extinguished. The wolf howled in pain, then flickered away as it extinguished.
Magus allowed a small smile as he then took hold of the water and sent it in a flowing course right for Marshall. Marshall quickly concentrated his energies on the ice, on its molecular level. He grabbed ahold of the atoms and stopped them, quitting their energy production. The lack of energy dropped the temperature around the water and it instantly froze, two feet from Marshall's chest. He then quickened the atoms in the air above the ice, forming a large quantity of energy that became another fireball, which arced toward Magus, only to hit his shield.
Cid now heard the sirens very distinctly. They were very close and this battle was getting nowhere. He watched as Magus took his free time to grab his jaw and give it a wrench. There was an excruciating pop as the joint was snapped back into place. Magus grimaced, but held his ground, facing Marshall once again.
Cid began to look for his blaster, but it wasn't anywhere to be found. He started to sigh in despair, when another idea hit him. He grabbed the door of the car he had been leaning against, but found it was locked.
Great. How did the driver have enough time to lock the door before running? Cid though, disheartened.
Cid had an idea, however. He reached back down to the grate he had landed on and pulled it out of its position. It was free with a groaning noise. Hefting it like a weapon, Cid swung it at the window of the car. The glass shattered easily, piling into the passenger seat. Cid reached inside, opening the glovebox.
Other than papers, it was empty. Cid slammed it shut, not caring that it didn't shut, but rebounded from the force and opened back up. He quickly ran to the next car, still holding the grate.
The sirens were very loud now. Not a minute away from the scene of destruction. The fight had lasted about five minutes, the police or firemen were making very good time today.
Magus and Marshall faced off. None of them made the first move this time, preferring to stay on the defensive and counterattacking. Magus once again drew his scythe, while Marshall was unarmed.
"I ask you a final time to release our ally," Magus repeated, slowly stepping toward Marshall.
"I would bother answering that, except you've heard it before," Dalack answered preparing another spell.
"You'll die in the end unless you end this, spectre," Magus said, "I'm sure you want to live."
"Your shoes are untied," Dalack replied, retaining his good humor.
Magus ignored the remark. He stalked forward preparing the scythe.
"Never seems to work. . ." Dalack muttered, Marshall still smiling.
Cid broke yet another window, the fourth car he had searched. Wasting only enough time to discover that it was unnecessary to break a window of a car with unlocked doors, he pulled open the glovebox.
And found what he had been looking for.
Cid pulled the gun out of the compartment and hauled it out of the car, dropping the grate. Checking that the safety was off, he turned back to Marshall.
* * * * *
Cid's blaster lay far off in the middle of the street. It had been thrown far away after Marshall had been attacked by a rejuvinated Magus. It now lay unused and unnoticed.
A police car suddenly came hauling around the corner, tires squealing. When the policeman driving realized that there was heavy traffic on this street, he hit the breaks and spun the wheel. The car slid sideways, slowing down but not fast enough. It slammed into the tailgate of a truck, denting in the driver's side door. The policeman on the passenger's side was able to get out, easily, but the driver was forced to crawl across the seat and pull himself out of the other door.
Behind them, a much more carefuly driven car came around the corner. It braked to a stop, driving right over the blaster, which broke under the weight with a crunch. Gone.
Two more policemen armed themselves and ran to the street toward the sound of battle.
* * * * *
Cid aimed the gun at Marshall, "Okay, Marshall. . .Freeze!" it was the only word he could think of.
Cid was standing behind the bounty hunter, so Marshall couldn't turn to face him without giving Magus an opening. He kept an eye on Magus while he answered, "Or what?"
"I'll shoot you dead," Cid said.
"You seem very persistent in killing an ally," Dalack mused.
"We would get you too," Cid replied, "Marshall would have wanted it that way."
"Then shoot me or I'll kill you before you or Magus have a chance to stop me," Dalack taunted once more.
Cid knew that if the spectre was so optimistic, then certainly his shot wouldn't work. Still. . .
Cid pulled the trigger.
An audible click sounded.
Cid suddenly realized that the gun wasn't even loaded. He gritted his teeth and almost threw the gun down. Marshall chuckled, "Drat. It seems I don't get to find a new body after all."
This voice was new. I had a force in it that hadn't been present in Cid. Cid, Marshall, and Magus all turned to face the small group of police officers that had piled up at the intersection of the street. A dozen to be exact. Cid slowly lowered his gun, waiting for Magus or Marshall to do more magic and make the problem disappear.
"OKAY, ALL OF YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!" the lieutenant yelled as the patrol walked into the street, weaving around cars.
Cid sighed and dropped his gun, but Magus held onto his scythe for the moment.
"Now put your hands in the air where we can see them and no harm will befall you--" the lieutenant continued.
Marshall, despite the orders, walked toward the group of cops. Guns were quickly trained on him, but he continued.
Cid suddenly realized what the spectre was doing. He watched, frozen with something he didn't understand, as the standoff intensified.
"Stop right there or we drop you!" the leiutenant yelled.
Marshall smirked and cocked his head to the side. Suddenly, a blade of ice materialized in a sweeping movement toward the lieutenant. The icicle sliced into the man's throat, throwing him back against a van behind him and digging itself into the door. He began to cough blood as he tried to give the order to fire, but failed, as he slumped to the ground.
No such order was needed.
The policemen opened fire. A shield appeared around Marshall, clear but strong. Bullets struck and rebounded off of it in all directions. Marshall continued to smile as he tore another policeman apart with his very mind. The two halves fell to the pavement, pooling blood.
"He's using too much power," Magus whispered to Cid, "The shield won't hold. . .He's using way too much power. . . ."
Cid merely stood frozen with wonder. He knew that he should be doing something, but found he couldn't.
The shield continued to hold as two more policemen went down. One had their face smashed in from a blast of magic, another had shot himself in the temple when his hand was suddnely compelled to turn the gun around.
"Too much power. . ."
Marshall continued to smile, something Cid knew he would have nightmares about in the future.
If he had a future
A fifth policeman's head was twisted completely around in a three-sixty degree circle, making a sickening cracking noise as it completed its spin. Marshall turned from his latest victim, eyeing another.
"He must be doing this on purpose. . ." Magus suddenly realized what was going on, "He wants Marshall to die."
"Do something Magus!" Cid yelled, "The cops aren't on us anymore!"
Magus broke out of his trance at these words, realizing that he was still compelled to save this half ally/half enemy. But why, when they intended to kill the spectre as well, despite the cost. . .
They could find a way to remove the spectre, couldn't they?
The shield failed.
And Magus realized he had stalled too long.
Marshall glanced around him for a moment as he noticed this, then the bullets struck him. The first hit his shoulder, causing him to wince in pain. The five remaining policemen were falling back madly, firing just as madly. Marshall was riddled with the shots, holes appearing all over his torso, quickly filling and overflowing with his blood.
"Don't--" Cid began, knowing that he wouldn't make a difference.
"Use the timegate, now Cid!" Magus hissed as he waited for the spectre to release itself.
Cid bowed his head in mourning, but did as he was told. He pulled out the time machine and set it back to the eleventh century. A blue gate appeared near them.
Marshall had been a friend from the beginning, well almost the beginning. Yet, because of a simple spectre, they were going after him with death in their eyes. Why? Even Cid had seen him as a spectre and not the friend he knew. His mind had been clouded with saving people, he had become a merciless killing machine--
"Let's go, Magus, we can't do anything else." Cid pleaded, still sorrowful over the death, his mind becoming troubled quickly.
"Oh yes we can," Magus said, then pushed Cid in to the gate, "Hold it open for me."
"Wha-" Cid began, then he yelped in surprise as he fell into the gate.
Magus glared darkly at the policemen as they examined the corpse. Then one of them jumped back in startlement as something black and ethereal flowed into his gaping mouth.
That would be the target.
The policeman began to writh and twist, causing the other four to fall back in amazement. Then the spectre controlled cop smiled and faced Magus. He raised his gun, aiming for the wizard, "Good bye, my friend."
Magus nodded, hate in his eyes, then let loose with his energies he had been building for the last few moments. A torrent of electrical bolts erupted around the startled policeman. He shuddered, dropping his gun and falling to his knees. The spectre inside him was trapped by the flowing energies, unable to flee. The lightning lanced into the metal frames of the two cars that were sitting side by side around the policeman. Acting like two conductors, the lightning arced back and forth between them, flowing into the policeman and the spectre in rapid succession.
Magus raised his shield and waited until the spectre was surely dead. The shield made use of itself moments later when the policemen began to open fire. Magus ignored this as he walked to the spot of the dead Marshall.
More shots. The shield held.
A good deed. . .
He walked right up to the policemen, bending over his once foe. The police realized that they couldn't win this if they pressed their luck, turned and ran back for the car. Magus ignored them and picked up the body, heavy but carriable.
. . .for a life gone awry. . .
Magus turned and walked back toward the gate as he heard the police on the radios callling for reinforcements. He ignored this as well.
Magus slowly and sadly turned and stepped into the gate.
. . .and a death all too soon.
As always, the gate shut. In its wake, lay a destroyed street that had been the battleground for the two most powerful people in the world. The police could do nothing than gather their wounded and dead. Rebuilding was their only option.
And to search the city for the two survivors of the fatal conflict.
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