Chrono Trigger Invasions Chapter 6

By Jerm

Magus shot out of the ocean suddenly, throwing water in all directions. He hovered in the air for a moment breathing heavily. When he had caught his breath he held the unconscious figure in his arms.

Schala was asleep. She had been for nearly three years. Magus didn't understand completely, she would have died of starvation or something else like that in a time shorter than the three years. He had guessed that she had spelled herself before the place came crashing down.

Inside of the destroyed room he had found her, he had seen a dim light from inside. Schala's pendent had formed some sort of barrier around her, saving her from the ceiling's collapse. It had held that barrier the length of the three years she had been down here. Unable to move, Schala had decided that someone would come back for her and had put herself into a deep sleep.

Someone had found her. Magus had found her. Janus had found her. Magus suddenly realized that she might not understand who he was. He shook the thoughts from his head, this was not the time to think about that.

Moments later, he was streaking through the sky toward a small cave he had made his home during his long search. The cave was situated on the top of a mountain that lay on one of the many deserted islands. However, from this mountain's vantage point, he could view, slightly, the small village that the other people of Zeal had created after the fall of the kingdom.

The cave would do for now while he tried to find a way to bring Schala back.

After a while, though unnoticed by the dark wizard, it began to snow once more. The clear day that he had begun with was now cloudy and cold.

* * * * *

"I'm sure glad I'm not claustrophobic," Cid muttered as he wound his way around a corner in the shaft they were climbing through.

"How much further?" Crono asked from behind him.

"I don't know. I don't recall ever using this route before," Cid replied, then continued sarcastically, "Oh, of course I've always wanted to use it. No one would bother me in the halls and if I got stuck and died, no one would notice for days."

"Fine, fine," Crono muttered, then the implication of that statement hit him, "We can get stuck?"

Cid smiled at the fear in the voice, decided that he could use this to make Crono quit complaining for a while, "Maybe."

It had the desired effect. Crono no longer spoke, now using his time to try and make sure he could fit through the tight corridor he was crawling through.

"At least it's not as cold anymore," Marle said gratefully.

"When the air conditioners turn back on, you'll take that back, I'm sure," Cid said, "I just hope I don't crawl over the furnace in the basement. It would fry us to a crisp."

"What?!" Crono was once again agitated.

"Just joking," Cid said, taking another corner, slowly bending himself around.

He looked ahead and noticed that it was a dead end. At the far end of the 'hall' was only a drop. The square hole in the floor led to a vertical passage that led down to the basement levels.

"Back, let's go back," Cid ordered when Marle bumped into him accidentally.

"What's the problem now?" Crono continued.

"Dead end," Cid explained, "I must've taken a wrong direction when you were distracting me."

"So it's my fault we hit a dead end?" Crono asked incredulously.

"No, it's my fault for that," Cid said.

"Okay," Crono said, nodding as he started to backtrack.

Cid continued, "But it's your fault I made that mistake."

"Gee, thanks," Crono replied dryly.

Going backwards was extremely hard for the group. There wasn't enough room to turn around, and Crono could barely turn his head far enough to see where he was going. It was surely a blessing to them that none of them were claustrophobic, they would have gone into fits right then and there.

"How far back is the junction?" Marle asked.

"I think it was about twenty feet back; somewhere around there," Cid replied.

"Funny, I only see a corner behind me," Crono answered.

"That's because it's not twenty feet in a straight line, Crono," Cid reprimanded.

* * * * *

Marshall suddenly stopped. Their pressence was suddenly heading back the other way. Marshall turned around and backtracked along with them, following their move from the hall.

All around him, soldiers and technicians were running in all directions. They didn't seem to have any destination, but they did. Marshall also knew who they were after.

Marshall was getting tired of following the group around, though. Since Carlisle knew they were going after Nabat/Taban, he would be in that room waiting. Marshall berated himself. He should have simply followed the man to their destination. It would have been so much easier than follow these three people like this.

They changed directions again, and Marshall turned around, huffing loudly. The noise startled a tech that was jogging by him and the man jumped to the side. Looking back, he saw nothing, so he continued on his unknown errand.

Marshall smiled. He loved to have reassurance that his spell worked. He continued on his way, following the zigzag pattern the other three seemed to have adopted.

* * * * *

Nabat handled the knife carefully as he spliced the tip of the wire he held. After doing so, he slowly sifted the wire into its rightful place on the circuitboard. He clamped the holding pin down, the wire was in place.

Satisfied, the inventor slid the circuits back into the large machine in front of him. He shut the panel and turned the knob, locking it. Dusting his hands off, he stood up on numb legs. He had been sitting down for quite a while.

But it was worth it. He grabbed the plug-in device for the machine and walked to the socket in the wall.

Then he heard the sound of knocking. For a moment, he thought it was the door. Then he recognized the noise as being metallic. Either someone was knocking on his door with a pair of brass knuckles, or that wasn't the door. Either way, however, he didn't feel obliged to open the door.

Then the knocking occurred again, killing his thought that it was his imagination. The knocking was constant now, a steady drum. He tried to pinpoint the noise.

It was coming from the air vent.

"Strange," he mumbled to himself.

He walked over to the vent, peering inside.

"Hi!" Cid said from inside.

"Cid? What are you doing in there?" Nabat was startled.

"Judging from the commotion outside, we decided that these would be more peaceful," Cid supplemented.

"Commotion? There's commotion outside?"

"Yeah, can't you hear it? They've got the sirens and everything after us."

"Sorry," Nabat apologized, "All of these rooms are sound proof because of some of our sound-sensitive experimenting."

Nabat turned from the vent and went to his tool box lying by the machine he was working on. Digging through it for a moment, he produced a screwdriver. He walked back to the vents and prepared to use the tool, "What have you done, Cid? The army really wants you."

"I'll talk after you let us out. The AC is back on and it's really, really cold," Cid replied impatiently.

Nabat stopped for a second, "'Let 'us' out'? Cid. . .who else is in there with you?"

"Just some friends," Cid replied, "We really have to hurry, though. Carlisle knows I'm around and I think he'll be coming here in a few moments."

"What? Then why'd you come here as well?" Nabat whispered harshly, even though he didn't need to whisper, sound-proof room and all of that.

"You're the reason I came back," Cid said, "Like I said, we don't have much time. And we have a lo--"

There was the sound of a door being wrenched open suddenly. Nabat turned from the vent quickly, unaware that the screwdriver was still in his hand.

Carlisle and two guards stormed into the room. "Where are they, old man?" the former demanded.

"I'm hardly older than you, you little perk," Nabat said testily, "And I want to know why you'd come barging--"

"Shut up. I came in here on military orders. Cid's back and he'll be coming here sometime soon," Carlisle said, shutting the door behind him.

Nabat decided not to move, to continue blocking the vent, which had two of the four screws already out. He absently fingered the screwdriver in his hand.

Carlisle noticed that, "What are you doing with that?"

"This, oh nothing," Nabat tried to think quick, "The vent was rattling, so I tightened it in."

"You normally don't tighten things by taking out the screw, Nabat," Carlisle said, stepping toward the man.

"I was--" Nabat began.

"--hiding criminals?" Carlisle finished.

"No, I was--"

Carlisle pushed Nabat roughly out of the and looked inside. Peering back at him was Cid, inches from his face.

"Oops," Cid said, then started to backtrack down the vent shaft.

Carlisle grabbed the loose top half of the vent and bent it down, snapping the two screws at the bottom. The vent broke and fell to the ground loudly.

"You little bastard," Carlisle yelled reaching inside and grabbing Cid's hand.

Cid jerked the hand away before Carlisle had any kind of grip, and he was shimmying down the tunnel quickly now.

Carlisle turned quickly to the guard, "Get me a flamethrower!"

"But, sir, we don't--" one of the guards began.

"This building makes weapons for the government. DON'T tell me we don't have any of those," Carlisle began dangerously.

"We do, sir, but we don't have authority to take merchandise."

"Use my damn authority. Tell them it's part of an experiment. Hurry!"

Nabat grabbed Carlisle, "You're insane. You're going to kill him."

Carlisle drew his hand away, "They simply said they wanted him. There was no mention of 'dead or alive'. You're under arrest as well for trying to help him. If I were you, I'd step back before you get toasted."

Nabat pushed Carlisle out of his way and stood before the vent, blocking any attempt.

Then the soldier returned. He was carrying a backpack canister in one hand, the other hand held what looked like an elongated gas pump nozzle. The two were connected by a rubber hose.

"Here sir," the soldier said, shouldering the backpack.

The other soldier grabbed Nabat and pulled him out of the way. Nabat fell sprawling to the floor, glaring up at the soldier who was only doing his job.

"I want you to toast those people in there. Don't stop until the air blows their ashes out," Carlisle said, stepping away from the point of 'ignition'.

The soldier sighed, and pulled the trigger. A spark snapped from the tip of the nozzle as the gas came billowing out. The gas ignited as it was thrown into the vent. Flames came rushing through, using the small space to carry more distance.

* * * * *

"Hurry up, Crono," Cid said, "They'll be after us in a moment."

"How could they?" Crono asked, "They're too big to fit."

"Just hurry, I don't like being in here," Marle complained, "It's getting cold again."

Suddenly, at the far corner in front of Cid, the edges of the shaft were beginning to turn a crimson shade of red. Curious, Cid cocked his head and examined what that was. His mind wasn't working very well right now due to the excitement, and he couldn't tell what was occurring.

Then an inferno of flames slammed into the corner, turning with its momentum and racing toward the group.

"I hear something," Crono said, "Sounds like roaring."

"BACK!! HURRY!!" Cid yelled.

"What's wrong?" Crono yelled.

Marle noticed the pyrotechnics moments later, "BACK, CRONO! THEY'RE FLAMING US OUT!"

"What?" Crono asked, but he quickened his pace considerably.

The fire was coming quickly, it had already carried a third of the distance between the fifty feet they were from the corner it had come from. Now it laced forth with fury toward them. There was no way they could get back to the storage room in time.

"What the hell?!" Crono suddenly said, "It's getting warm in here."

"Shut up and hurry!" Cid yelled.

Then Crono was able to make out the flames beyond the two that had originally been blocking his view. Marle suddenly noticed that there was a lot of room between her and Crono. He was scampering madly down the shaft. Marle doubled her efforts and managed to catch up with him.

Cid's mind was finally running again, "Find a side exit quickly!"

"What? I can't hear you!" Crono yelled back.

The impact of their hands and knees on the metal was making much more noise than the fire. It was hard to hear anything. Marle translated for him, "He said find a side tunnel!"

Crono looked behind him, there WAS a side tunnel. It was quite a ways away from them. He turned back to Marle, "Feel like breaking some records?!"

"What?!" Cid yelled back.

"Nothing!" Marle yelled to him.

Cid looked forward once more. The flames were a mere twenty feet away from him now. He wished that this shaft wasn't so constrainting. He would love to get up and run full tilt.

Crono stumbled slightly, his right arm giving way for a moment. He spilled on his side, saying something Cid still couldn't hear. Then he was back up, crawling away on one hand.

They reached the side passage and Crono turned into it quickly. Cid looked forward to see the flames coming closer. Marle dived in feet first, scurrying back to give Cid room.

It was going to be close. Cid ducked inside as the flames whipped by him. He could feel the hairs on his arm singe away as the fire passed by a mere foot from his face. The metal under him was getting unbearably hot, so he backed away, shuddering from his brush with death.

As the group backed away, the fire continued. After several minutes, it died away. The shaft was glowing a deep red from the intense heat. They wouldn't be able to back that way.

Crono turned the corner behind him. "Hey, guys. This is just great!"

"What?" Marle asked, "Did you find a way out?"

"Remember that dead end with a passage to the basement Cid found earlier?"

"Great," Cid muttered.


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