The Shadows Chapter 31

Under the Sea

By Keith Adams

Frog nodded grimly. He was right above the ocean palace. But the Ocean Palace had risen, and was destroyed? Unless, of course, the Black Omens remains were located here. There was one way to find out. Frog jumped into the water and began swimming.

The water was dark, murky, here. Frog could barely see the schools of fish swimming by. Frog looked down, but could only see a rocky spire sevreal hundred feet below him. Frog hoped he could survive, and began swimming towards that spire. As he approached, he could see that is was distorted slightly, as if air was surrounding it, and it appeared almost bluish in color.

Frog began to approach it, and could see it clearly; it was the top of the open palace, he approached it, and suddenly he was falling. He grabbed onto one of the spires. So, perhaps it was not destroyed. There was an opening by where he had grabbed on. Frog climbed into it, and saw the black with flashing lights pattern on the floor. He was on a walkway surrounded on the side opposite where he had come by lava. He walked along, and entered a wide, open hallway, greenish in color, with the skull symbol of Zeal engraved upon stone carpets long it. Frog saw a pair of lumps; vaguely rocklike, yellowish, supported by metal bowls. The golem twins, no doubt.

The rocks were scattered in what appeared to be the pattern of a rather large foot. Someone had been here; there was no dust, no evidence of decay on the interior. This place had been abandoned for nearly thirteen millenia. It shouldn't be like this. Parasites and the like ought to have taken over by now. Frog continued walking, a bit uneasy.

Frog passed through a door, and came across a walkway surrounded on both sides by a deep gorge. This was where Lavos had appeared, where Crono had died, where Schala had saved he and Lucca, as well as that traitor, Magus. Magus was irrelevant now, cursed to spending his days in search of someone who has almost assuredly dead, more to be pitied than hated. Frog came across the platform, which in the center back there were stairs leading to the Mammon Machine. No living thing was here.

Frog approached the Mammon Machine with caution, but there was nothing there. Frog climbed across the indecipherable stucture, and saw the hole where the Masamune had been created so many millenia ago. Frog glanced in the hole.

Inside the hole was a swirling mist, like that in the End of Time. Occcasionaly vaguely human figures could be seen; Frog thought he saw an Epoch once, but it dissapeared in a flash, followed by 5 platforms spinning apart and coming back together again. Frog rubbed his head; what did it mean? And there was something else, a feeling of change, or stopping change? A familiar feeling that Frog could not place? Where did it come from.

Suddenly Frog heard a whirling, whooshing sound, that of a portal opening. A figure appeared suddenly in the platform below the Mammon Machine. It was clad in a red jacket, and had curly brown hair and a string running through the back. The figure was lying face to the ground, and bleeding severely.

Frog went down to the figure, and rolled it over. It was Dalton, much more serious, grave even, his face scarred by battle and burnt by fire. He looked at Frog, and tried to chuckle before interrupted by a spasm of blood out of his mouth.

"You? Better than the other, I suppose. I don't like you, but I must survive, and I must tell you this," a shudder ran through Dalton, causing him to wrack around "Put away your sword, Frog. I am dying. The sword, the sword would do you more harm than me; for me, it's a quick death, for you, the death of a world. You must --," Dalton coughed up some more blood "The Shadows, serve some evil power, greater than you may imagine. You must prevent them from preventing --," Daltons eyes were glazing over "You must stop them from stopping the fall of --," Dalton gave out a pitiful yelping sound, and his eyes went dead. His lungs stopped breathing, his heart stopped beating.

"The fall of what? What are they trying to do?" Frog kicked Dalton's body "The one time you do something honorable, you die. How appropriate."

Frog glanced at Daltons body, then decided to pick it up - it was suprisingly light - and fling it into the gorge. The limp corpse quickly dissapeared from sight. Twas more than he deserved. Frog glanced around; nothing more was to be learned here. Now, there was the matter of a traitor on the Guardian High Council to deal with.


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