The Shadows Chapter 29
Carousing in All the Wrong Places
By Keith Adams
Crono hit the forest floor with a distinct thud. His pants were grassed stained, and Luccawas rubbing her head. They were in Guardia Forest, a peaceful, benign place, filled with willows and oaks. No mysterious black robed people were anywhere. That was something.
Lucca got up slowly, some of her hair dangling along her face. She smiled somewhat grimly, and tried brushing the dirt off her pants. She failed at that, rather miserably in Crono's opinion.
"We have got to go to Medina," stated Lucca plainly.
"No. We do not have to go to Medina. Those things, those Shadows are in Medina. Not only are the Shadows more numerous and more powerful than us, the only thing we can kill them with was exploded in their base. They are done for," grasped Crono.
"Do you think the Shadows shall not recover? That they will pack up and .... leave? For where? They shall not leave. Beside, I've got a bad feeling," Lucca pulled out the small remote she had before the Epoch crashed into the square in the End of Time, exploding into a cachocony of fire and heat. "Ah, here it is. I programmed the Epoch to capture images from the times we passed. Here is 2300 ad. It should be peaceful; I have to clarify the image a bit .... oh my."
"What?" asked Crono, upon which point Lucca handed the control over to him. He looked at it, then the date. It showed a twisted red landscape, with shattered domes, factories, and skyscrapers littering the countryside. There was a wave of white dust, and a mountain, atop which stood an eerie palace that reminded Crono of what he had seen in the End of Time and in ... Zeal. This was not good.
"You see. The Shadows now dominate 2300 ad, only 3 weeks since we beat Lavos. It wasn't there three weeks earlier," noted Lucca.
"Why don't you check later?" asked Crono, tapping his foot on the forest floor.
"I can't. It seems fuzzy, somehow, as if has not yet happened. Weird. Something very bad is going on," Lucca answered gravely.
"Yet you mock me for making obvious observations, then make an even more obvious one of your own. I'm taking a ferry to Porre. If you need me, I'll be there."
"May I ask why?"
"Whoever these Shadows are, several things are obvious; a) they know more about history than us, b) they are better at temporal travel than us, c) there's a lot of them, d) they are at least or more powerful than us. Does this inspire yo to go and try to _stop_ them?"
"The same good be said of Lavos."
"That was different. Lavos wasn't like these, these Shadows. We can't hope to win against these odds. We don't have the firepower. With a fleet of Epochs, maybe we could win. But for now, I'm going to try to forget as much of this as alchoholically possible."
"A fleet of Epochs," murmured Lucca "Of course. That's how we can beat them," Lucca smiled "Thank you Crono. You have been extrodinarily helpful. Progidally so."
Crono hated boats. More accurately, he hated water. Even more accurately, he hated tossing, wavy water. Most accurately yet, he hated boats moving along tossing, waving water that crashed against their sides at ungodly speeds. The steamboat was slowing, and Crono could see a city along the coast. The highest building was only a few stories, and the buildings were scattered, on the verge of collasping unto themselves.
The boat docked. Crono stepped along the gangplank, walking onto the creaking, unstable, termite-ridden wood boards of the dock, creaking slowly. Crono smiled.
"Ah, Porre. Land of pirates, knaves, thieves, scum, rogues, con men, tricksters, and lots of taverns. Lots of taverns. I feel so .... welcome here. So at home."
Crono threw back his head and laughed as the wind blew across his face.
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