A Melting of a Heart Chapter 21
By Key Mima
Magus felt his stomach drop to his feet, and heard Lucca take a long, shaky breath. The white-haired girl was Sunev. She had killed that man. She was also quite set on killing them all right now.
"Didn't recognize her, did you, prophet?" Dalton cackled. He looked down at her back, his head lolling to one side. The look on his face was loving, and yet.. critical? Magus couldn't discern that sharp edge to Dalton's gaze. This time, Dalton seemed more composed - sane, to word it best - than their previous encounters. It was as if his insaity pill was wearing off, and it showed in the sallowness of his face. The corner of Magus's mouth twitched into a smirk as it occurred to him that Sunev would be the harder of them to beat.
"Sunev and I have been getting along fabulously well, you know. Although a little while back I got tired of the dark hair and blue eyes. I prefer my women more exotic. So I changed her a little bit. But don't worry, she didn't mind the pain. She just looked up at my face the whole time." He reached a hand out as if to caress her. "But she tends to do that a lot, actually." It seemed as though he were reminiscing to himself more than he was speaking to the group assembled there.
"Oh, God," Lucca whispered from beside him. Magus couldn't even begin to imagine what had been done to Sunev. As he pictured the tests done and never before uttered spells cast on her, he felt pure hate course through his body and mind. All he could feel now was a numbing hate.
Sunev was standing before them, expressionless, ready to strike. But it seemed she knew her master had more to say, so she held off her attack.
"She and I were married a while back, you know. Poor thing, couldn't even stand, you know. So we put her in a chair.. it all worked out eventually. She and I were enthralled, as you can imagine."
"What have you been doing to her, Dalton?" Crono spat from his place on the ground, the wounded Marle in his arms.
Dalton raised his hand and began to answer nonchalantly, but a loud thudding noise from behind distracted him. Robo had come, Glenn close behind him. Glenn looked shocked, but Magus was sure they both didn't know who the girl was. Maybe it was better they didn't find out.
Without a word, Robo's iron fist shot out, striking Sunev in the side. She stumbled to the side a few steps, but didn't appear phased at all.
Magus, without looking back at Lucca, whispered, "Get ready to do it."
"Okay," she replied, seemingly steeling herself.
Sunev swayed slightly but suddenly jumped into the air, landing - directly on top of Robo. There was the sound of crunching metal; Magus could see sparks of electricity. Sunev jumped down, and tossed Robo's eye down at his feet.
"ROBO!" Lucca shrieked.
"Do not worry about me! I am all right, Lucca," he answered. Of course, since he was a robot, the loss of one eye would neither hurt nor hinder him.
"You bitch!" Lucca spat. "Can't you remember these were your friends?!" She reached into her knapsack for another grenade.
"Lucca, the plan," Magus muttered through his teeth.
"Magus, you can't just sit around there after that, can you?" She pulled the pin and chucked the grenade at Sunev, whose face remained expressionless. Once it exploded, Lucca turned to Magus and nodded her head.
"Let's do it!" she said.
And it was then that Sunev's foot made contact with Lucca's head, knocking her to the ground; knocking her unconscious.
Sunev came in to strike again, but he caught her by the arm and swung her before him. Her feline eyes narrowed with hatred, but this time he wasn't shocked or startled.
"I'll say 'sorry' for what I'm going to do now, to the Sunev you'll become once your master is dead," he whispered icily, and murmurered a short spell that sent her flying before she could even struggle to break free of his grasp. She was hit in mid-air by Robo's well-timed punch, and hit the ground with a thud.
He barely had time to look back at Lucca again before Sunev came at him once more. It seemed as though he would be her only target. Ayla and Crono caught her by the arms and pulled her back down to the ground.
As Ayla and Crono fought with Sunev, Glenn took on Dalton. Dalton had been standing, curing Sunev almost constantly until Glenn washed him out of the doorway with a water spell.
For a brief moment, Magus found himself completely unoccupied. Then, his eyes landed on Lucca, sprawled out on the ground. He needed to wake her up.
"Lucca," he called, dropping to his knees beside her and shaking her. "Lucca."
He slapped her cheeks, but her head merely rolled to the side.
He glanced behind him to see what was happening with the others only to meet Sunev's eyes, dead on.
She executed a perfect uppercut on him, and he stumbled over Lucca's unconscious body, gripping his jaw. But somehow, the others knew to keep her away from him.
Robo and Crono grabbed the outstretched arm that Magus had caught en route to his stomach, and proceeded to throw her into the trunk of a nearby tree.
"Magus, help Lucca!" Crono called over his shoulder.
"I'm working on it," he muttered, returning to his position beside her.
He searched his cloak for any kind of tonic or elixir, but he had left his supplies for Robo up on the North Cape.
"Damn it!" he cursed venemously.
He looked around again. He couldn't help her here, not in the middle of a battle zone. He would have to take her somewhere else. Hopefully Sunev would still be there when they got back.
"Okay, Lucca. Here we go," he said, slipping his fingers beneath her, into the snow. Her back and arms were completely frigid.. She wasn't..?
He took her small wrist in his hand and pressed down. He breathed a long sigh of relief when he detected a pulse.
He lifted Lucca in his arms and started toward the cover of the woods.
But Magus made a mistake as he stumbled toward the trees. He looked back once behind him, to check the situation.
He looked back once behind him, and caught the eye of Dalton.
"Oh, no you don't!" Dalton screamed hoarsely, thrusting out a hand.
Magus tried to outrun the spell, but it hit him straight in the back. He dropped Lucca and collapsed on top of her.
His face covered in cold, white snow, Magus rose slowly and turned to face his enemy.
"Where are you going, prophet?" Dalton called mockingly as he avoided the blade of Glenn's Demon Hit again.
Magus could tell that Dalton had no inkling that he and Lucca might have found a way to break the spell. Otherwise, he'd be fighting twice as hard.
"Darling!" he called to Sunev, who had Marle in a head lock, even though she was injured and had not been fighting. "He's open..! Get the prophet!"
Sunev turned to look at him, and released her hold on Marle, who choked, but was silenced again - Crono had brought her an x-potion, which he helped her down.
For a moment, their eyes met, red and yellow. Never had Magus seen the kind of malice he saw in the eyes of the once cheerful, funny girl he had fallen for.
He stumbled backward and tripped over Lucca's outstretched arm, falling by her side and nearly landing on her face. When he tried to gently move her to the side, a wall of bright bright red flames erupted around the area, licking the sky hungrily.
"You're not going anywhere!" Dalton laughed. "Once Sunev and I have defeated you all, I think I'll bring you all back with me and use you as slaves. I can use you, prophet, as a test subject for new spells!" He thought for a moment, then casually murmured, "For the first one, I'll think of a spell to give you eyebrows so I can stand to look upon your face!"
Magus found the time to chuckle and shake his head.
"It doesn't matter if you can stand to look upon my face, Dalton. You'll be lucky if you leave today with eyes in your head." He lifted his scythe from the frozen ground and brought it forward, and without any hesitation, knocked Sunev out of the way and made a dash for Dalton.
"Come on!" Dalton shrieked, throwing his arms open with an arrogant grin. "I've been waiting patiently for a chance to fight you!"
Magus rushed forward and jumped onto the Epoch, thrusting his scythe out at him. Dalton jumped from his place on top of the Epoch, landing below, and sent a fire spell up at Magus, who only had just enough time to move out of the way.
Up on the Epoch, he was an open target and at a disadvantage. He quickly murmured a lighting spell - it would not only be hard to dodge, but it would temporarily blind his enemy. The sounds of the battle going on around him were surreally distant as he jumped down to crouch behind one of the Epoch's wheels.
The spell hit its mark, and he heard Dalton spit a curse and watched him spin around, confused, from his vantage point behind the large wheel.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are!" the large, one-eyed man called, spinning around. But in his moment of disorientation, the frog and the robot decided to step in, giving Magus a chance to chant a longer spell - Dark Matter.
He watched Dalton fend them off with his magic and brute strength, but noticed a dagger at his hip. With any luck, he wouldn't even be able to use it.
He finished the spell and rushed out from behind the wheel. "Robo, Glenn! Get away!" They scattered quickly.
As he ran away from the spell and from Dalton, he murmured another spell, which he timed to hit just as Dark Matter completed its course. He ended the spell, turned to see where he was going, and bumped into Sunev, who wasn't looking where she was going either.
They both toppled over, and Magus found himself perched awkwardly on top of Sunev. She looked just as surprised as he did for a moment, and he opened his mouth to say something to her. The her surprised expression made her look more like the old Sunev, but then her hands shot up to encircle his neck tightly.
He momentarily felt panic run through him, shocked by her unseemly strength. But as he looked down at her, a surreal, calm feeling came over him, like he could end all of this easily if he just rid himself of his inhibitons. Snap her neck. Again, the thought ran through his mind, with such urgency he found his hands twitching just to do so. It would be so easy.
Her fingers tightened, and he choked, the lack of oxygen making him light-headed. Finally thrust his hand up into her chin with such force she had to let go. He kicked her aside, eyes wide, and staggered away from her. Snap her neck? The cold urgency of the thought - more like a command - made his insides turn to ice. The old Magus would have done so without a second thought. Had that command been a vestige of his old, merciless self? He shivered.
The whole ordeal with Sunev had taken mere seconds, and Crono and Marle had reached them in just that.
"Sunev!" Marle cried, as Sunev's small but hard fist shot out to crush her face. Crono pulled Marle aside, and caught Sunev's fist, throwing her to the ground. "Sunev, why don't you remember us? We're your friends!"
"Oh, I remember you." The sound of Sunev's voice shocked everyone in the clearing - all turned to look at her. Out of the corner of his eye, Magus noticed Dalton grinning expectantly.
"I remember each and every one of you, clear as day. How could I forget? Do you want to know what I remember? Marle, let's see.. Oh, yes, Marle. What do I remember most about you? I remember not seeing you anywhere near any of our battles, even when we were in sore need of help. I remember your complete absence in any task, whether easy or seemingly insurmountably hard. Yet I remember that despite that, you could still carry on with everyone as though you actually held your own in anything we did! I also remember your high-pitched, mind-numbing giggle. I remember seeing you and Crono that night in the monster cave, before everyone set off to fight Queen Zeal. I went walking because I couldn't sleep, and there you two were. You must know what I'm talking about. All in all, I remember you like someone remembers an old wound - you were disgusting, and I'd have gladly forgotten you if it weren't for the scar of you in my mind!"
"Who else wants to hear what I remember of them? Please, waste my time!" she called, looking around. Her large, golden eyes fixed meaningfully on Magus, and she held his gaze for a long while, a small smirk floating to her lips. She didn't say anything.
Magus broke their eye contact to look at Marle. She looked completely dumbfounded, and had covered her mouth with a shaking hand. Tears welled in her eyes. Those words had done their deed. Crono held Marle's waist with one arm, looking murderously at Sunev.
"I hope now you all realize that fighting for possession of Sunev is a hopeless endeavor," Dalton finally called, his voice booming through the clearing. "Who would want her? Unless you break the spell, which I doubt you can, she'll be like this forever! Who'll want her but me?"
Dalton continued his self-righteous speech, but all went silent in Magus's mind when his attention was drawn to a thin, wavering figure across the clearing.
Lucca was back.
Everyone in the clearing was still, listening to Dalton speak - harshly, he could tell, by the violent gestures he was making while he spoke - and no one had noticed Lucca stand at all. His words must be extremely potent, if he could command everyone's attention so effortlessly.
This was his chance. He darted across the clearing, only catching the others' attention when Dalton faltered at the sight of him running.
"Lucca!" he called. Their eyes met, and a single, unsaid sentiment passed between them. I hope this works.
He nearly crashed into Lucca, catching her in his arms, and their mouths met in a single, hard kiss. The emotion behind the kiss was real, almost palpable - relief, expectance, urgency. She pressed her mouth to his, gathering his cape in her hand, and holding it tight. Everyone in the clearing stood, slackjawed, as he pulled back and kissed her again, this time on the side of her mouth, then again on the lips. There was no sound - until an unnoticed spell hit Magus on the back.
They fell to the ground, Magus on his stomach and Lucca to her knees. The spell had burnt his back, but he barely noticed - Sunev was screaming.
It was the most awful thing he had ever heard. Continuous, shrieking screams, so loud and anguished it was almost unbearable to the ears. He rolled over and sat up, to see Sunev on her knees, one hand clenching her hair and one hand flat on the ground. Dalton was rushing toward her, plainly angry, plainly panicked, and plainly defeated.
With one last, long, terrible scream, Sunev fell face-forward into the snow.
It had worked. Magus looked up at Lucca, but her eyes were on Dalton, her face frozen in fear. When he looked back, he could see exactly why. He sprung to his feet, wincing from the pain of his new injury.
Dalton had pulled out his dagger, and was merely seconds from reaching Sunev. Without even thinking, Magus pulled a dagger from his boot, and hurled it at him.
Magus had never been good at archery in his youth. They would line targets up on the edge of the south face of the main floating island, but most of his arrows would miss their target entirely. He used to enjoy watching them streak off into the endless expanse of sky. But any doubt that his past archery lessons had given rise to vanished as Magus watched, as if in slow motion, the dagger speed toward Dalton, piercing his side with a sickening noise.
Dalton fell to his knees a few feet from Sunev's unconscious body, and felt the hilt of the dagger with disbelief, looking straight into Magus's face.
"If I can't have her, no one will," he gasped almost imperceptibly, but his words met Magus's ears.
To everyone's horror, despite Magus's dead-on hit, Dalton lifted the dagger to bring it down on Sunev's back.
He stopped short as a shot echoed through the clearing, and his hand was shot clear off. Magus looked up at Lucca, who held her gun tightly and unwaveringly with both hands.
Dalton fell onto his back, eyes wide with shock and pain. He tilted his head to the side to see his own hand, and the dagger, a few feet away.
Magus walked toward him slowly and deliberately, stopping by his side. Dalton was clearly on the brink of death. Blood seeped almost endlessly from the stub of his hand, and leaked from the wound in his side. His eyes moved wildly around, almost in disbelief. He made as if to speak, but all that came out was a choked cough. Blood dripped from the corners of his mouth.
Seeing any other person hanging onto the last threads of life would have aroused some pity in the new Magus, but he could feel nothing but contempt for this man. As Dalton gasped for air and his body seized with the last movement of life, Magus made sure to spit in his face before he turned away to leave him to die.
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