Chrono Trigger Invasions Chapter 36

By Jerm

"This is going to get a little out of hand unless we can get our defenses up fast," Nadia said, running back inside of the castle, "Brance!"

There was no answer to her yell, so she began to stalk to the guard room. Crono and Schala went after her while Cid remained, keeping an eye on the possible enemy commander.

Though he could see the figure, it seemed like he couldn't make out the details. There seemed to be a permeating blackness around it. Cid had a feeling that he had seen this thing before.

"Brance?!" Nadia yelled against as she quickly stepped down the stairs, "I need you up here, where are you?!"

The officer quickly got up out of his resting seat and bowed, "On my way, Your Majesty!"

"Good, where are the other seven?" Nadia asked, as the other two piled in behind her.

"Raymond, Trent, and William are dead. Solace and Karl are injured right over there," Brance quicly pointed to the infirmary beds, then continued, "I don't know where Derrik and Perry are, though. I would guess outside."

"Okay, so we're five down," Nadia scowled to herself, "And just our luck, one of the survivors just happens to be Derrik."

"He's a good officer," Brance reminded her, "We'll need him."

"Yeah, but we could do without his mouth," Nadia admitted, turning to leave, "Follow me, the invasion's happening again, and this time we've got problems."

Brance sighed and stood up to leave.

* * * * *

"When are they going to attack?" Crono asked, returning back to viewing the invaders, this time from the parapets.

"I'm almost positive we'll see them tonight," Brance shrugged, "I don't think I could prepare for these, never had much experience fighting monsters. Hell, I don't have any experience."

"I've had skirmishes, but not battles," Crono shook his head, "Nothing here either."

"It is possible to think out their tactics, though. They will be using brute force this time, what with all those big beasts roaming around down there," Brance finished.

Crono nodded, agreeing. He turned back to Marle, "Marle, did you ever get that messenger to go get Glenn?"

"Yeah," Nadia nodded, "It's probably too late for him to help though. We can only hope."

"They're moving. . ." Brance noted calmly.

The calmness in his speech caused both of the others to misunderstand what he had said. But it took just a second for them to realize the implecations of what he had told them. They both turned back to the parapet's edge.

Slowly crossing the field, the demons and other monsters possessed of the spectres were indeed coming their way.

"Time to arm ourselves," Crono noted, walking back inside of the castle to get his sword, this time he would be joining the fray.

"Sounds like a good idea," Brance turned and began to walk after the boy, limping slightly from an old injury.

He was unfit to fight anymore, but he was a msterful tactician. His command would be needed just as much.

"I'll tell Cid and Schala," Marle called behind them.

* * * * *

"Get to the far end of the drawbridge and form a tight wall!" Brance yelled at the soldiers as he ran out of the castle, Crono right behind him.

The soldiers hastened to do as he told, while others ran out of the castle, having just been woken up, to join in the defenses. After a moment, it was obvious that they weren't merely forming a wall of the bridge, there were now too many of them. Instead, it was a mass of soldiers standing at the entrance to the drawbridge.

"That won't do. . ." Brance mused, trying to alter plans.

The mass of monsters continued to charge, apparently planning on just plowing over the obstacle. Many of the soldiers on the front row were becoming edgy at this, some of them even going so far as to try and push their way to the middle of the ranks.

"Too late, I'm going to join the battle, now," Crono said, "We'll just have to make this up as we go along."

"I'm going, too," Marle said behind him, walking out of the castle with Cid and Schala trailing behind.

She was holding a sword.

"Absolutely not," Crono argued, "You don't know how to use a sword very well as it is. Stay on the parapet with your bow--"

Marle cut him off, "Do you know how effective a bow'll be from that distance against the scales on those dragons?"

"Still. . ." Crono pressed, not very happy with this.

"Besides, I'm the ruling monarch of this land and I'm supposed to help defend it. Now let's go down there and help them a little, huh?" Marle answered, very persistantly.

"I'll come, too," Cid said suddenly, scanning the area around him, "Anybody have a spare sword?"

"Now I'm most definitely not going to allow that," Crono said, "You've still got that broken hand."

"I might be able to swing a sword left handed," Cid mused.

"Forget it. Go back to the parapets. . .You, too Schala. We need you to have a good view of the fight so you can use your magic on spectres that have revealed themselves."

Schala nodded, "Okay."

Cid looked helpless for a moment, then straightened up his face and turned to walk back into the castle. Schala went behind him, quietly. Then the wave of spectres struck the defenses and the battle began all over again.

* * * * *

Crono ran quickly to the nearest of the monsters, a red dragon. He could see plainly the eyes of the beast, obviously contaminated by a spectre's will. But these things weren't human, he held no reservation against killing the dragon to get the spectre.

A group of ten soldiers were trying to hold it off, but weren't doing so well. One of them had had an unfortunate accident, and had been simply crushed under the monster's foot. The dragon had yet to raise the foot, from which a single armored arm protruded. The scaled monster roared, the noise oddly quiet in the sounds of battle around it, and snapped its head forward to bite another of the soldiers.

The soldier being targeted panicked and waved his sword in front of him, striking the dragon. The head lost its forward momentum as it drew back in pain, blood drawing away from its maw. Its tail flicked irritably, knocking down another soldier.

More soldiers were joining in, but there were too many demons to distribute the men very well.

"Concentrate on a few at a time!" yelled the voice of Brance behind them, "Don't divide yourselves so thinly!"

Hearing this, many of the soldiers were able to consolidate themselves into larger groups, but it was hard for many. The demons were driving a hole right through the middle of the mass of soldiers, heading right for the castle.

Crono turned from the bleeding dragon as it was being torn apart now by the two dozen soldiers. He spotted a smaller demon, the victim of a weaker spectre, and targeted it out. The thing turned to face him, hissing a strange noise, but them screamed in pain as it was torn apart from behind by Marle's sword.

"Hey! He was mine!" Crono yelled, though he was happy for the help.

"Sorry, I had a clear shot though!" Marle yelled back, "If you want, you can have the next one!"

She pointed her sword at one of the larger dragons, bearing down on a small group of soldiers. Crono smiled, shrugged and went to help, Marle behind him.

* * * * *

"My stupid hand just happened to get hurt while I was being stupid and hitting that stupid wall!" Cid said in frustration as he watched the fight unfold, "Now I have to miss out on this stupid fight. Man, am I stupid. . ."

Schala seemed to smile at his tirade, shaking her head slightly, but she kept her concentration on the battle below. Moments later, her eyes seemed to lock onto something, then magic was erupting from her hands and falling far below. Cid peered over the edge curiously to watch as the blast struck an ethereal shape, trying to free itself from the carcass of one of the dragons. In a short amount of time, the spectre was gone.

"Got one of their good ones that time," Cid praised her.

Schala nodded.

Cid hit the top of the parapet with his good hand, "If only I hadn't been so stupid and lost that stupid blaster."

* * * * *

Crono stood over the body of another of the smaller demons, his third victim, and looked around him. Scanning the battle for the leader in this raid, he looked for a quick end to the war. He couldn't see anything other than the normal demons and dragons, however.

Marle was once again beside him, "I think we might pull through this one. The tide's shifted to our side for now."

"Yeah," Crono nodded, "Did you stop their leader yet?"

"No," Marle shook her head, "Cid said he saw it earlier, but I never did spot it."

"Maybe it's--" Crono snapped his head toward her, "Look out!"

Marle instinctively ducked as she felt a pressence behind her. She hit the ground and Crono took action of his own, parrying the attacking claw from the antagonistic dog-like demon. The beast roared in pain as its claw was severed and flinched back. Crono took the moment to cut off its head while it was dazed.

Marle slowly looked behind her to see what it was, "I never did like those things anyway. . ."

"That's four," Crono said, turning away from the corpse and back to her.

"I've got six," Marle smiled.

"If that's counting the one you stole from me. . .I'd say we should have been even," Crono reminded her, smiling back.

"I didn't steal it, I. . .borrowed it," Marle giggled.

"Then I'd like it back--"

Then a noise erupted from the forests. It sounded like a horn of some sort, but in a much more deeper note than standard war horns. Crono and Marle both turned to the noise, wondering what was happening.

The soldiers and demons continued to fight, though they both seemed to be doing so halfheartedly. The soldiers were anxious about what was in the woods around them, the spectres were awaiting something.

Crono knew though, "So that's why their leader wasn't here. . .It's been waiting with the reserves."

"More? There's more?" Marle stared at the forest with apprehension.

A solitary figure stepped out of the forest. The light from the castle's torches and such illuminated the clearing it stepped out on. A black sword hung at its waist, illuminating the area around it with blackness, masking the owner of it from the castle's own illumination.

* * * * *

"It's. . .It's that. . .person again!" Cid said suprised and excited at the same time.

He seemed to be almost falling off of the edge of the parapet as he strained to get a better view. Schala cautiously put her hand a few inches above his shoulder, preparing to grab him if he fell.

"Don't lean so far, Cid," Schala said, reminding him he was close to thirty feet off of the ground.

Cid pulled back from the wall and drew away, "Sorry about that. I guess I got a little carried away. . .Damn, I wish I had some binoculars or something to see that thing!"

Schala shook her head, "You can't see it, even if you were three feet from it. I don't like this thing at all. It seems. . .evil."

Cid nodded, "Something like that. Anyway, I had a run-in with it earlier. It seemed to be on the verge of attacking me, but then suddenly it just turned and ran off. It seemed to fear me or something. . .--Not that there's any reason to fear me," Cid said, adding the last part quickly.

"Of course, Cid the Merciless," Schala replied.

* * * * *

"Is that all?" Crono was taken aback at the shortage of reinforcements.

"I hope not. . ." Marle said, then when she realized that Crono misunderstood her, she added, "I would fear something that thinks it can destroy an army singlehandedly much more than another army."

"Maybe. . ." Crono replied, eyeing the figure with curiosity.

There was now movement in the forest, but nothing was stepping out behind the figure at the moment. Eyes glowed from the blackness of the treeline.

* * * * *

Magus quietly stepped up to the gatekeeper. The half-moon in the sky above did little to add light to his surroundings, but he didn't need any of that for the moment. Peering around for possible ambushes, he slowly drew out his scythe.

The spectres were not supposed to be here. . .

He spotted nothing, but the scythe remained out. He slowly stepped to the small pedestal in front of the gatekeeper, examining the machine now instead of his surroundings.

But now they were, and the war the wrought had been drug to his homeworld. . .

Reaching out carefully, he pressed a button on the machine's control panel, selecting one of the options. Something in the back of the machine shifted to the side, making a grating noise. The noise stopped instantly, and Magus looked for the next selection.

By taking it here, they had made it personal. They had tried to take him as well, but failed. . . .

Another button was pressed, another switch set itself. Magus pulled one of the levers, causing a buzzing noise to emit from the machine. A small red hole was beginning to open in the center. It quickly grew to its full size, throwing red light on all around it.

They had taken the war to his world, but now Magus intended to take it back to theirs.

He stepped in and the gate shut behind him.


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