The Shadows Chapter 9
Those Who Forget the Past
By Keith Adams
Crono lurched out of bed with a headache that seemed to envelop his whole body. His joints ached - it hurt even to move. Crono tried to remember what he had done last night, but it was a blur. He felt seasick. He remembered having a fancy dinner at the Snail Stop in Porre, where that one lovely girl was playing a tune at the piano with a Kilwala, and after that, stopping by Porre's Tavern, where he bought everyone a round. Why would he feel seasick - then Crono remembered. The quickest way to Truce from Porre was by ferry, and he needed to be here for the arrival of the ship Magus from Medina, a historic occassion, and if he missed it, Lucca would flaunt it in his face for the rest of his natural life.
He opened his white drapes, having a bright light fill the room. He checked the wooden dish of cat food on the floor by his oak desk, finding it full. He took the stairs down from his studio-apartment, whereupon he found 6 cats laying on the pink couch by the door. He waved good bye to his mom, and headed out the door, unto the cobblestone roads of Truce. Crono lived in the more affluent district, and had to walk quite a ways before coming to the riverfront quarter. He stopped by the large, two story inn. It was a tall yet narrow building which extended fairly deep into the neighboring wharehouses. Entering it, Crono was greeted by the smell of doughnuts.The twenty tables were all empty save one, which was occupied by three members of the Guardian Security Forces (nicknamed staid's by some or "useless incompentents by Crono), who were all drinking cups of Jaharonis, a Hench coffee. At the Piano was the same pretty, short blonde-haired girl dressed in a brown dress as always was. Behind the counter, in front of a series of open boxes with keys, sitting on a high stool, was the Innkeep. The waitress, who had always complained of not being able to go anywhere under the slave hours she had, appeared to be absent, at the arrival perhaps. Crono walked up to the Innkeeper.
"What've you got to drink," noting the Innkeeper's puzzled look at his condition, Crono added; "No alchohol. Maybe some Jaharonis with double the usual amount of affugar."
The Innkeeper raised an eyebrow, but reached below the counter, took out an elongated metal cup with lid and poured out the liquid, a black substance, into a cup engraved with the seal of Guardia. Putting back the metal cup device, the Innkeeper took out a glass cup filled with white and black particles, and for about 3 seconds, poured it into the cup of Jaharonis.
"Here you go, Crono. I'll put it on your tab - with the interest you're going to owe me, this will seem piddling by comparision. At my last count, you've racked up a 2300gp bill in the last two weeks.," noted the Innkeep with a smug staisfaction "And with the amount of money you have, it's not that much."
Crono ignored the Innkeeps comments and sat down at a table by the Piano player. The Piano player took note of this, got off her bench, and came to sit by him - she and Crono pratically grown up together in Truce, along with Lucca, although in his current state Crono was having trouble remebering his own name, much less anothers. Suddenly it clicked - her name was Janice Aisien.
"Rough night last night Crono?" asked Janice in a mildly superior tone "Looks like you've aged a year in the last three weeks. I haven't talked to you for, what, a month now?"
"I've been a tad busy in the last couple of weeks," Crono replied, trying to keep a straight face.
"Gambling and drinking in Porre?" replied Janice acidly.
"Well .... that too, but I've done a lot to improve to world in the past few weeks," Crono answered in a playful tone.
"By putting more money into circulation?" retorted Janice, who was covering her mouth with her hand to hide a bemused smirk "At any rate, Lucca said she'd gotten seats along the pier for all of us.. Your new friend, Princess Nadia, and her arrogant, incompetent father are going to meet the Mayor of Medina along that pier.Tickets are reputedly 1000 gold a pop."
Crono ran his fingers through his hair, thinking about Marle's .... Nadia's ... unhealthy fascination with him. She liked him a great deal, but she mildly irritated him. She was spoiled, and not good for anything,, with little pratical skills, nor a great deal of tact and skills that would go with being a member of the royalty. He was grateful she, Magus, and Lucca had rescued him, but one did not have to like someone one's grateful too. True, he had saved her life a few times, but it wasn't anything he wouldn't do for anyone else. He was too alturistic - that was his problem. Crono made a mental note to be more selfish form now on.
"Are we going?" Janice had put on a leather jacket that covered the upper half of her body "I hope it's worth the price of admission."
Crono nodded, and they strolled out. It would be a good three hours before the Magus arrived. Crono wondered why the Mystics named their flagship after the arrogant, callous wizard who never really cared about them. The Mystics didn't know Magus on a personal basis - to them, he was a great freedom fighter, but one who had lost. They never would imagine he was a mainpulator who sought only vengeance against a great world shattering force; Lavos. Crono remebered him, Magus, and Luca battlling that alien invader - that, more than anything else, was why he had been drinking so much in the last few weeks.
As Crono and Janice strolled along the cobblestone pathway, Janice wondered about what Crono had really done before the Moonlight Parade. She couldn't find him anywhere, and he was only in jail for three days, and he only went to Porre twice, and didn't spend much time there. He went to Fiona's Shrine once, and Choras once. He didn't appear to take the ferry either, and was often in the company of ... odd ... individuals. Crono didn't look up to answering any questions, and Jaharonis took a considerable amount of time to kick in. They stumbled unto the wharve by the dock where the Magus would be docking. Along the dock itself, on each side there were Guardian Security Officers, in perfect lines, Auto Guns at the ready. The Gusif's remained absolutely still, not even moving their eyes. In a circular formation around the place where the dock met the ground were a series of tables. At one was a purple haired young lady and an odd mishmash of yellow parts that vaguely resembled a human.
"Come over here you two," shouted Lucca, the young woman.
Janice and Crono walked over to the table, which had four chairs. Lucca had on contacts which made her eyes appear purple. The metal device she had had arms, legs, a torso, and a head, along with exposed wires running all over it.
"H-e-l-l-o C-r-o-n-o y-o-u j-e-r-k," spelled out the Robo.
"Isn't he cute?" asked Lucca, compressing her lips.
"What's he called Lucca?" asked Janice.
"I a-m d-e-s-i-g-n-a-t-e R-007," replied the Robot "P-l-e-a-s-e d-o n-o-t s-p-e-a-k t-o m-e a-s i-f I w-e-r-e n-o-t h-e-r-e. R-o-b-o-t-s a-r-e p-e-o-p-l-e t-o-o."
"Why do you spell things out?" inquired Janice of R-007.
"I c-a-n-n-o-t s-y-n-t-h-e-s-i-z-e w-o-r-d c-o-m-b-i-n-a-t-i-o-n-s y-e-t. I a-m o-n-l-y t-h-r-e-e d-a-y-s o-l-d."
Lucca raised an eyebrow, then took a drill like contraption and put it in a hole in R-007's head. She pressed a button on the handle, and R-007's eyes glowed brightly.
"That did it, I observe. Enough data has been processed for me too ...," R-007 said brightly before he was interrupted by Crono making choking noises, grabbing his neck, and having his eyes nearly pop out, with pulsating red veins in the eyes.
"By the light ...," cursed Crono "That's .." Crono eyes seemed to shrink back to normal size, but he started shaking "What was I tihnking?"
"You were hung-over and not thinking properly," replied Janice acidly "That kicked in quicker than I thought it would ..,"
"What would?" interrupted R-007.
"Jaharonis with double the usual amount of affugar," answered Janice.
"Is he insane?" asked R-007.
By this point Crono had collasped unto a table, and was snoring loudly. Severa; tedious hours passed before blaring trumpets announced the arrival of King Guardia and Princess Nadia, who were surrounded by guards, passing through the tables unto the dock, and simentaeneously, a huge black shape appearing at sea, with masts the size of small houses, giving off huge pillars of steam into the air. The ship must be at least the size of a small mountain. It was approaching at incredible speeds, arriving at the dock less than a minute after appearing on the horizon.
Up close, the ship made Lavos seem small. The ship was long, from Lucca's perspetive nearly five miles long, and nearly a mile wide. It rosea hundred feet above the water, at the least, and it's black masts rose so high they seemed to touch the sky. The ships top seemed to be completely enclosed save a small path around the top. The sihp was draped in a black metal of some kind. The kind of resources required to build this ship would tax Guardia's ability, and would take years, if not decades to build. On the the outermost tip was a statue of Ozzie with his arms extended, a smile on his face. No one would build this ship for peacetime - it had cannons all along the hull, and would be capable of transporting huge numbers of troops, enough to destroy the Kingdom of Guardia. The Security Officers had lost some of their confidence, and many were looking at their autoguns with inadequacy.
About ten feet above the dock, an opening appeared in the hull of the ship. A gangplank fell from the black hull, a gangplank with a huge, sharp hook that nearly collasped the whole dock. A small Blue Imp appeared out of the door, appearing tiny in front of the gargantuan dreadnaught of a ship.
"Greetings friends. I am Lkihhiganis Morisoni, an Imp. I am here to announce the Mayor of Medina. Everyone here clap," the Imp said, and everyone began clapping "For the self-styled leader of Medina, Ozzie the 8th."
A huge, blue demon appeared out of the opening in the hull, stepping unto the gangplank. A gasp went up from the audience. Ozzie the 8th was not the Mayor of Medina - everyone knew the Mayor of Medina was a cute little imp. Ozzie the 8th was an eight foot tall obese blue demon, clad in black robes.
"You may know that the Mayor of Medina is an imp. He still is. The Mystics are in a period of Civil War. Any intereference in the war will be considered an act of war, as will any trade with either side," proclaimed Ozzie.
"Destroy that creature," shouted King Guardia at his security guards. The guards quickly drew their autoguns and began firing at Ozzie, yellow pulses of light emanating from the autoguns at incredible speeds, flashing into a circular ball of light ten feet in diameter as they struck Ozzie, obsruing the demon. Some of the pulses hit the ships hull, but those flashed harmlessly and did not discernable damage.
"They won't be enough," said Lucca "Normal weapons are ineffective against Ozzie Kin."
A huge, whooping laugh erupted from the Mystic ship. Suddenly a huge glacier appeared in the middle of the dock, sending the docks remains and security guards flying into the water.
"Kill them all," laughed Ozzie the 8th.
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