Chrono Trigger Prophecies Chapter 16
"What is this?" Janus demanded, finally turning away from the illusion.
Vili was out of sight, but he continued to speak to Janus. His voice erupted from some point, but the echo made it impossible to pinpoint him, "Do you think I would lie to you? I made a deal with you and you performed your part. This is my half."
However, Janus wasn't overjoyed. Instead, he was angry. He spun around, looking for Vili, but not finding him.
"You knew about all of this all along," Janus accused, "You helped put Magus on the pedestal, then set up something that would tie me down so he could live on unhindered."
"Naturally," Vili replied, no emotion in his voice, "Would you prefer to exist in the darkness, your life becoming so boring that you go insane? I am offering you a way to still 'exist' despite your new handicap. Do you accept?"
"I won't accept," Janus sneered, "I want out."
Janus turned about slowly, still trying to find the elusive Vili. However, there was nothing but the castle walls, the darkness, him, and Schala. But still the voice replied, "You can't escape, we've gone over that before. Create a world around you to exist in; illusional or not, it's all you have now. I ask again, do you accept?"
Janus turned back to look at Schala, who was patiently watching him, not moving an inch. She wasn't real....
But in his mind she could be. Everything could be. Here was his chance to exist in a utopia of his own devicing, only to end when Magus's life did. He had an odd feeling that Vili was right, he had no hope to escape. He was up against two others, separate his equals, together his master. There was nothing more left to him but his mind, why not use that to replace what he had lost? Including his sister.
But was it worth it?
"Yes," Janus finally replied.
"So," Crono said finally, hooking his newly bought sword into his belt, "Are we all ready?"
"As ready as I can be," Marle nodded, her face still appearing fatigued, "Still wish I had brought my crossbow with me, though."
"I wish I had something, too; but yeah, I'm ready," Lucca agreed.
"Remember though, that it's Glenn who'll be doing the damage," Crono reminded the two, "He has the Masamune, which is what'll block Magus's magic. This sword," he patted his blade, "won't do much of anything except defend myself if Magus gets physical. And that's unlikely; he'll keep this magical and that's where you'll be as well."
"Yeah, I know, I know," Marle shook her head briefly, "But I miss my crossbow."
"From the time the person saw Magus by the woods up to now, I'd say he's halfway to the castle already. We're going to have to be a bit in order to catch up with him," Crono continued.
Lucca finished his thoughts, "If we can get to him before he reaches the castle, good for us, if we're too late, good for him. If we're going to win this, we need the help of the castle, too. We can wedge him between us and the guards, that'll be our best bet to win."
"Right," Crono nodded, then smiled, "Any questions?"
This had been a rhetorical question, he had not expected anybody to miss a point. However, Glenn had one, "Do we kill Magus, or render him unconscious so that we might be able to identify the affliction that has caused him to become malevolent?"
Crono and Marle turned to Lucca, who shook her head, "I hate to say it, but we'd be safest going for the kill. If we find a way to take him out nonfatally, good. I just know there's something wrong here, I could see it when he went nuts in the Cursed Woods. But in the end, killing him outright would be the safest way."
"Okay," Crono said, trying to sound neutral, "Then we'd better start. One casualty is enough, but I don't want to see a whole castle dead, too."
The boy calmly walked through the halls, passing richly dressed people who barely noticed him. Behind him, his cat followed obediantly, quietly jogging. The cat was greyish purple, its color matching the hair upon the boy. In fact, matching most of the hair of the people him. Other creatures were dotted about the rooms and walkways of the building, round blue creatures. However, the boy paid as little attention to them as he did the people. He had a destination in mind.
Janus, age eight, turned a corner and began to climb a small set of stairs, heading up to the main rooms of Zeal castle. He reached the top, then walked past two unmoving guards into the room they were set to keep watch on. Alfador, the cat, stopped momentarily to curiously sniff one of the guard's foot, then turned and bounded after the departing Janus.
Janus knocked on the inside door, waiting for a response. Inside, he heard a faint 'come in' and did so. Keeping the door ajar so that Alfador could come in after him, he quickly hopped up the stairs and turned to his room to face Schala.
"Hey, are you ready?" he asked curiously.
Schala faced him, trying not to let the confusion show on her face, "Ready for what, Janus?"
"You're taking me down to the city today," he reminded her.
"Oh yeah," she acknowledged, "Sorry, I almost forgot."
"That means you aren't ready, doesn't it?"
Schala laughed, "Just for the moment, give me a second."
She walked to the closet and grabbed her cloak, draping it around her, "Just remember that mother needs me later today, in about five hours to be exact."
"Yeah, yeah," Janus said sulkily, "But we still have time."
Schala followed him to the door, giving a small look back to see if she had everything she needed. Content, she turned and walked out the door, shutting it behind her.
Janus was reliving the happier moments of his life. Before Lavos, before the destruction, and before the loss. Maybe it wasn't so bad after all, to be able to live a lie. A lie that, in the end, brought joy rather than pain. Was that really so bad?
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