A Melting of a Heart Chapter 16

A Kind of Torture

By Key Mima

"Well, my dear, how does it feel to be brought together with your soul mate by destiny? I personally feel very priviledged." It was the first time he had spoken to her since she was brought to this big open room, where work was being done of the Epoch to make it fly. He had never spoken to her, yet he had stared at her intently for long periods of time between his short periods of interest in the Epoch.

"Oh, yeah," Sunev said, nodding, although her hands were tied behind her back to the chair she was sitting on. "I was waiting for this moment since I was born."

"How sweet!" Dalton cried, slapping one of his guards on the back, maybe a little too hard. The guard shot him a glance of poison. "So, where would you like our marriage to take place?" he asked, setting a chair down in front of her and reaching out to play with her hair.

"That's pretty tough," she conceded, although the act of not being frightened was getting a little less fun with him touching her like that. Her eyes narrowed slightly, and she tried to think of another subject. "Well, since Zeal's gone, I don't think there's any good places around, actually..."

Dalton paused in his caressing for a moment to consider this.

"That's true, but then we could probably just get hitched right here, on the Blackbird."

"Oh, I never considered that..." she muttered, as his hands began their trek around her face again. Had Dalton been this crazy on Zeal? She wondered this as she studied him, and decided maybe it was the catastrophe that had made him crack.

She studied his face, and suddenly wondered what his other eye looked like beneath that patch, and what happened to it. His other was wide with interest in what he was doing. Yeah, he had definitely lost something in Zeal.

"Guards, please leave. Stand guard by the door, I'm sure they'll come for her," Dalton said, waving his hand at the three guards that surrounded the door. The nodded and left, and through their helmets Sunev could see that they looked quite relieved.

"Why'd you make them leave?" Sunev asked, suddenly more uncomfortable.

"What right do they have to know of our marriage plans?"

"I suppose, but-"

Dalton moved from his chair to straddle her lap, holding her face in place to look straight at him. If she averted her eyes, what would he think? She met his eyes as calmy as possible. What was he doing?

"Your heart is beating fast," he stated as he placed a hand to her breastbone. "So is mine."

Oh, my God, Magus, help me..

Sunev wondered why she thought he wouldn't do this. She couldn't use her power now; after dying it had begun to hurt like the fury of hell whenever she tried to use it, and she didn't want to die again.

As his mouth descended to her neck, she finally couldn't stop her body from freezing in fear and anxiety.

"What's wrong?" he asked, his face coming up to hers. His breath was hot, and smelled oddly sweet. Her frown was apparent, and she tried to hide it.

"I've just... never-"

"I see," he replied with a smile. "I'll be gentle."

Oh, my God...

"How did you get so experienced?" she asked, trying to postpone the inevitable. What if they never came? Would Crono and the others come to save her? Did they even know she was gone? And did Magus know where she was?

"Me?" he repeated, settling back into his chair for a moment. Sunev sighed in relief. "Well, you know, someone as charming as me, with as much charisma, always gets what he wants. None of the girls could resist me, actually."

"Since they were tied to chairs?" she cracked, and then wished she hadn't said it. But he apparently hadn't taken the insult seriously.

"Oh, you want to be untied, right? I'm so sorry. Being in a chair really does complicate everything, doesn't it?" He grinned at her and he undid the ties at her feet, and then the ties at her wrists.

She pulled free before he was finished, and sprinted to the door.

"What's wrong?" he asked, standing there with the rope dangling from his index finger. He looked hurt, but she really didn't care at the moment.

"You've changed, Dalton. I think you're more fucked up than you were before this all happened." His eyes eyes widened, and the corners of his mouth turned down eventually, as the words hit home. She began to pound on the door.

"Are you saying you don't want to marry me?" he asked quietly, his voice filled with frighteningly quiet rage.

"I'm saying I never did!" she cried, pushing on the door as it became more obvious the danger she was in.

"You little chit!" he closed the space between them in seconds, and her grasped onto her hair, which he had played with so gently just moments before.

Not caring about the consequences, she put up a mental shield between them, which twisted his hand unnaturally as it separated them. He cried out in pain, Sunev doing the same, as it hurt too deeply to keep the shield up. But it did afford her enough time to run, her head in her hands, around the room to find an air duct to crawl into.

Magus sat in the shaft with his chin on his knees, wondering what was happening in the other room. Dalton couldn't be trusted alone in a room with a woman captive, much less Sunev. The more time they wasted, the more danger she would be in.

He sighed as he realized that he had been waiting nearly thirty minutes for Glenn's party. He wanted to leave, but he predicted that Dalton would have many guards with him. He didn't want to take any stupid chances. His encounter with Lavos had taught him that he wasn't invincible, or even very strong.

What was it that was driving him on like this if he knew he was weak? He was stronger than most, but certainly not stronger than Lavos, his mother, or even that brat Crono. But something inside him snapped when Sunev was in danger, and it drove him on, made him able to fight one more battle. She even made him want to become stronger than he was. He looked up at the grey metal ceiling and puffed out a breath of air.

Crono's face appeared at the far end of the shaft.

"Hey, you waited!" he cried, nearly ecstatic.

"What took you so damned long?" Magus asked coldly, as he immediately took off toward the room he knew Sunev was in.

"Hey, we had no weapons, we had to beat robots with our bare hands. I'd like to see you do that in a half hour."

Magus shot a warning look at Crono, replying, "I've killed living things with my bare hands. Robots are no problem."

Crono gulped visibly, and said nothing more.

"Hey, don't tease the lad. 'Tis not good for his spirit," Glenn scolded from behind the nervous boy.

"I'll do what I like. I'm a bit on edge at the moment."

"I see," the frog muttered, but didn't press the matter. The rest of the trip was spent in awkward silence, with just the noise of leather creaking, and armor scraping on the metal floor.

He heard her before he reached the door that had three anxious-looking guards with their ears pressed to it. He reached out, slamming two of their heads together, knocking them out. Crono brought his sword down on the back of the last one's neck, and Marle finally joined them, panting.

Sunev was screaming, pouding on things in the large room; Magus could hear her, and it twisted his heart in ways he didn't fully understand. What was happening? He cast a quick spell on the door, melting it, and looked into the room.

The screaming had stopped. Dalton was on his knees, cursing, holding an obviously painful broken hand. Sunev was on the floor, panting, her eyes closed.

His first thought was to get to her, but he knew he had to take out Dalton first. The man was now sitting cross-legged on the floor, his hand partially healed. He was laughing. Frog grunted in disgust behind him.

"You've got quite a little bitch there, prophet. Not a bad actor, either. Who knows, maybe she's just using you, too!" he called out as Magus approached, barely able to hide his excitement.

"What has become of you, Dalton?" he asked as Crono passed by him on his left, to secure Dalton in place with some rope he had found.

"Me? Oh, who cares anymore? Let's see what becomes of Sunev." At that, he exploded into laughter, falling backwards onto the floor.

"Sunev? She's fine, just apparently tired from your harassment," he replied, calmly, although he couldn't keep his eyes from her barely moving form.

"Oh, no. She's not fine, silly!" Dalton cried, looking up at the ceiling now with great wonderment. "You see, I used to be very close to Queen Zeal. She and I were very close, even when King Zeal was still around." He laughed. "She taught me a thing or two, back in the day, before she lost all her marbles. I know much more magic than Zeal now, maybe even more than Schala. I'm a collector of things, you see. Women and power."

"What did you do?" Magus seethed, not wanting to hear any more of the man's dribble.

"Oh, I just... Well, you know. Modified her personality. The spell can be broken, but I doubt you could ever do it. I'd never tell you."

"Modified it how?" Magus asked quietly, watching Sunev rise to her knees and vomit. He winced.

Dalton laughed again. "Well, mainly, she has a little disorder. She hates you. She hates your friends. She hates people. And the only person she really cares for is me. She's very strong, too, I like her like that. Back when she had all that power... Wasn't strong enough to fend me off today, it was a shame."

"Sunev," Magus called, as she got to her feet, stumbling.

"Sunev!" Dalton repeated, giggling. "Sunev, come here and untie me!"

Her head snapped up, and she burst into a sprint, landing on her knees by Dalton's side. Crono jumped away, eyes wide. Magus covered his mouth and looked up at the metal ceiling, taking a deep breath.

"Please, Magus, don't worry about it. The girl wasn't that great anyway, was she? She could never have been to you what she is now to me. My soul mate." He rested his head on her chest as she undid the ties.

"Thou hast no right to do this! No right!" Glenn cried, unsheathing his sword.

"Oh, now please don't fight!" Dalton said, waving a hand. "I'm not the one who'll be fighting back, and I'm sure you don't want to fight your friend here." He ran two fingers down her cheek, and she nearly purred at the touch. Magus tried to calm his heart, and he realized his hands were very, very cold.

"Come now, Sunev," he whispered, kissing her on the cheek. "Let's get out of this place, okay?"

She nodded, giving Magus a blistering glare before she turned away from him, taking a gentle hold on Dalton's hand.

"Goodbye, prophet. I guess we might see you around." Dalton called, waving from the cockpit of the Epoch.

"You will." Magus whispered, and turned away, leaving the room.


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