The Shadows Chapter 46
By Keith Adams
"I said Guardia, Frog is behind the door listening in. Your problem, not mine. Deal with it."
Frog looked up at the roof; there were ceiling beams not that far up. Taking a breath, Frog jumped, and grappled onto one of the beams, sending a coursing pain through his hands. Frog flipped onto the beams; they seemed solid enough.
Frog looked below, then wished he hadn't; eight legged creatures came crawling out of the oak chamber door, sniffing the air, swiveling their heads around. Guards clad in white uniforms were coming out now, swords drawn. Frog climbed across the beam, to the doorway. The eight leg spider-things were moving slowing; they did not have a clear shot of the door. Frog dropped to the floor and ran down the hallway, down stairs. A pitter patter echoed in the distant, and muffled shouts babbled incoherently in the background, but Frog paid them no mind. There were so many stairs to go, and the pitter pattering was getting louder and louder.
King Agemo Guardia looked at the panel, with a big red button on a gray background, above which read 57:22, and was steadily, precisely, shrinking. Fifty seven minutes until it came down to do or die. There would be no backing down. Agemo began tapping his foot in a harsh, rythmic pattern.
"Your majesty," said a voice from behind him; a harsh monotone, vaguely sinister "The mystics have issued a statement. They have timed their launch to fall ten seconds after their sensor reading of our launch. Do you wish to continue?"
"I don't know," said Agemo, tapping his foot faster and faster "What do you think I should do?"
"Well," said Flint darkly "You have already announced a launch and taken a hard line stance. Backing down now after taking your stand would seem .. cowardly," there was a distasteful twist to the last word "Furtheremore, if you back down now, it looks like Guardia isn't willing to use every means at it's disposal to stop aggression. If we don't launch, the bite will be gone from the growl, and we will be left with empty threats." Flint concluded.
"Yes, yes. Are you sure it will taken only three months to clean up the damage."
"Yes, your majesty," said Flint, smiling.
Thiek smiled darkly; everything was coming together. Robo would hold off Magus long enough for the roster to face the new king of the barnyard. Now, it was a matter of waiting. Thiek stood on his platform, spinning through the endless, lightless gray mist.
Thiek saw a ring of lights at the edge of the mist; fuzzy but present. Thiek smiled darkly; home at last. A new home. Designed by himself, with twelve islands each with a fort orbitting a palace, which had twelve outside towers on its' outer walls, six on the second wall, and three on the third. In the center, miles higher than the rest, a red light glew darkly; this would serve quite nicely.
But not yet. No, first the old order must be destroyed. The current regime is outliving it's usefullness, decided Thiek - perhaps they outlived it a long time ago. Just a few more hours now, thought Thiek darkly. Just one more hour, one more hour before the foundation is ripped out from under the High Shadow. Just one more hour.
"Is the perimeter set," asked the tall, black-clad man.
"Yes," said a younger man "The ll'ran have scouted the area - it seems clear. No sign of our quarry."
"They're here. They wouldn't all just vanish. Some must have survived Lavos' fall. We must deal with them. Can't take any chances - Reptites are not part of the future. We shall deal with them."
The tall man surveyed the area around; a small layer of snow had covered the rock in the area, and the plants were slowly wilting. This time was about to die. The Shadows were here to make sure it did.
Marle eased the Epoch up; the field was right below her. The field was full of gray tubes portruding from the grassy ground. This was where the missles would be launched from. Shooting down three hundred missles - that would be something even Crono would be impressed by.
Frog leaped down the stairs, landed on a landing, and turned around. Three of the black spider things were charging towards him, shrieking as they began to get closer and closer.
Frog calmly unsheathed his sword. They were perhaps ten meters away. Nine ... eight .... seven .... six .... Frog raised his sword ..... five .... four .... just a bit more ... three ..... two ..... one. Frog swung his sword across the creatures bodies, causing it to spew forth black blood. Frog hacked one of the second creatures legs off, causing it to fall to the stairs, dead. The third came quickly; Frog put his swoird up and watched as the thing was impaled by it's own momentum.
Two guards were coming down the stairs. There was no time to waste. Frog leaped into the courtroom. Guards and others milled about, but Frog saw only one person; Leene. She was wearing a slim, elegant blue dress that showed just a hint. Her hair was in a bun, but a few long strands of blonde hair fell across the sides of her face.
"You must leave majesty," yelled Frog; Leene would not fall to her husband "Now."
"Is there something the matter, Glenn?" asked King Guardia, who strolled down the stairs and calmly sat on his throne.
Gaspar paced through the hallways briskly, followed by a single black robed figures. The hallways were lined with wiring and lights, well-illuminated. Gaspar was concentrating on something, thought the black robed figure.
"Sammason?" said Gaspar to the attendant.
"I want you to find Thiek. He's supposed to be preparing Flint's and Ordeth's escape before the bombs fall. They are far too valuable to lose, Ordeth espicially. He should also try to save Mother Brian, presuming it isn't beyond his abilities," ordered Gaspar to Sammason.
"Yes m'lord," said Sammson blankly.
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