The Next Generation Part 16
Death of a Hero
By Krazy Sam
Stal grinned as Robo left Saris room. Is the curse really lifted?
Sari rolled her eyes. Are you coming on to me? she asked, being intentionally snooty. Stal raised an eyebrow.
What makes you ask that? he asked softly. Sari sighed and slumped back on her top bunk. She closed her eyes and smiled quietly.
Im not talking to you right now, she murmured, her voice barely above a whisper. Stal sighed in exasperation. He fiddled with the aging ring and glanced at his childhood friend.
But, give me a chance ! he pleaded. Sari opened her eyes and glared at Stal.
Why should I, with you coming on to me like some drunkard? she snapped. Her door opened, and Robo stepped inside.
Am I interrupting? Robo murmured. Stal raised his hand slightly.
No, Sari replied at the same instant. Stal frowned.
Yes, you are, he argued. Sari glared harshly at him.
No, he isnt, she shot back. Robo shrugged.
Maybe I should come back later? he suggested. Sari shook her head.
No, youre fine. Have a seat, she offered, gesturing to the computer chair on the other side of her room. Robo shook his head.
I was only here to ask if you needed anything from the store, he answered. Sari leapt off of her bunk and landed softly on the ground.
Stals eyes widened. But Sari ! he murmured. Sari shook her head.
Come along, Stal, but I really need some things, she spoke in her defense. Stal sighed in defeat and lowered his head.
Vince, hows the Epoch coming? Lucca called. Vincent poked his head out from behind a golden machine and shook his head.
Still a few adjustments to make, but it should be fine tomorrow, alright? he replied. Lucca turned to Lana.
Why dont you come back tomorrow? Im going to lend your father a hand in the repairs, so Ill need you to look after Tam! she instructed. Lana groaned.
But Im staying at Maros she whined. Maro raised an eyebrow from the doorway of the lab.
Dont go dragging me into this one, he retorted. Olana giggled from beside him.
Whos Tam? she asked Maro. He sighed.
He's Lanas little brother. Hes four, but he acts like a six year old.
Olanas eyes widened. Really?
Maro grinned. He can already read with the speed of a six year old, can add and subtract, and can even find his way home from Leene Square!
Olana gasped. So why is Lana so hesitant to take care of him? He seems like a dream child!
Lucca continued to argue with Lana, completely oblivious to the conversation taking place behind her. Hes at Guardia right now Lana, take care of your little brother!
But mom Lana whined. Lucca sighed.
Ill pay you, she offered. Lana smirked in triumph.
How much? she asked softly.
Ten gold pieces, Lucca answered. Lana shook her head.
A hundred! Lucca begged. Lana frowned in thought.
A thousand!!! Lucca screamed. Lana raised an eyebrow and grinned.
Thats what Im talking about! she smiled. Luccas eyes took on a wicked glow.
But youre taking care of him until this time tomorrow, and this is not a request, she retorted, lowering her voice. Lana exhaled loudly.
Mom! she pleaded.
Lucca shook her head. One thousand gold pieces for twenty four hours. Im being more than fair, and your time starts the second you enter the castle and get Tam out from the playroom and out of Crono and Marles hair, understood?
Lana lowered her head. Yes, Maam
Kash gazed around the large castle and frowned. This used to be my uncles? He stared in disgust at the darkness of the large fortress. Glenn nodded.
As a gesture of goodwill, he gave it and the surrounding property to me as he left to go back to his original time. It is a little dark, isnt it? he answered. Elena sighed.
Father told me that it was bright until mother died she murmured. Glenns eyes widened and he turned away.
Elena, he scolded, you shouldnt go telling people personal things like that. Kash shook his head.
Its all right; I dont mind, he muttered. Glenn nodded.
Well, then, where is this Nika Ive been hearing so much about? he asked, deliberately changing the subject. Elena shifted her weight to her left foot.
In the garden she mumbled. Glenns eyes widened in shock.
I had no idea you were aware of the garden ! he cried out. Elena turned away.
Its beautiful, and Nika wanted to see the flowers she argued. Glenns face softened.
Youre just like your mother, you know that? he finally sighed. Elenas eyes filled with tears. You both were able to get yourselves out of trouble using the same technique
Father Elena sighed. Glenn shook his head.
Im not cross, he said kindly. Kash turned away from the two.
If you dont mind, Ill go check on Nika, he called over his shoulder as he left the room.
Sari sighed. Which bat is stronger ? she muttered in thought. Stal furrowed his brow.
How about that black one? he asked. Sari lifted it from the shelf and hefted it a few times.
No, that wont do she murmured. She turned to the right, and a silvery blue bat caught her eye. Hello, whats this? She lifted it, and grinned. Its heavy!
Stal smiled. How heavy?
Sari handed him the bat and he immediately dropped it, surprised by the weight. Pretty heavy, dont you think?
Stal nodded in embarrassment. Yes. He turned to a bow an arrow set. This looks interesting, he remarked.
Sari nodded. Take it. Ill pay
Lana sighed. Twenty-four hour torture beginning now Hi, Tam, how are you doing?
Marle grinned. He was a perfect angel. So, I heard about your task. Ill make sure that you take good care of your little brother.
Maro knelt down and touched Tams nose. How are you, squirt?
Tam giggled. Maro! He gave Maro a big hug and beamed. Olana sighed.
Hes adorable, she murmured. Tam pulled away from Maro and gazed up at the newcomer.
Who are you? he asked softly. Olana knelt down.
My name is Olana. Im a friend of Lana and Maros, she introduced herself. Tam smiled.
Im Tam. Lanas my big sister. Lana couldnt help but crack a smile.
Yeah, she muttered. This might be easy after-
Take me to the park, Tam demanded. Lana rolled her eyes and sighed. She hated the park! All she could do was make sure that the other children wouldnt beat up on Tam, and that was a hard task, considering that all of the little children his age picked on him.
Tam, remember how your nose began bleeding the last time you went to the park? Lana argued, trying to talk him out of going. Tam shook his head.
But Lana, things may be better, and I want to play in the playhouse, Tam pleaded. Lana sighed again. The playhouse was the one place that every child Tams age wanted to play. Maro rolled his eyes.
He has his heart set on the park, Lana, Maro murmured, fully aware of the danger. Olana raised an eyebrow.
What happens in the park? she asked softly. Maro shook his head.
Only the small fact that jealous children like to pick on him, he answered. Lana groaned.
Tam, she begged, why dont you come with us to the market? We might just get you some candy!
Tam brightened. Candy?
Marle stood up and stepped forward. Oh, no you dont! she interrupted. Supper is in two hours. Tams appetite will be spoiled!
Olana thought for a minute. How about a nice book? she offered. Tams eyes brightened.
Book? he asked tentatively. Lana turned to Marle.
Thats okay, right? she asked softly. Marle nodded.
Thats a wonderful idea, she voiced. Tam jumped up, clapping his hands.
Yea! Book! Im getting a book! he cried. Olana laughed and Lana sighed in relief.
I owe you one, Olana, Lana breathed.
Nika grinned and sniffed a blood-red nose, deeply inhaling the sweet scent. She sighed with pleasure and moved to a group of violets.
Nika! a voice called. Nika whirled around and smiled.
Kash! she called, You smell these? Smell good! Kash grinned and moved over to her. Stopping in front of the rose bush, he bent over, breathing in the aroma.
Youre right he murmured. What is this called? We dont have it in my world Nika shrugged.
I dont know, she answered truthfully. I wish I could have it on my land.
Kash moved around the garden, sniffing plants and stroking the velvety petals of colorful floral arrangements. These are so beautiful My uncle never would have enjoyed having these on his land, but it brightens up a dreary atmosphere, he murmured. Nika raised an eyebrow.
Who your uncle? she called. Kash glanced at her and went back to the flowers.
It doesnt matter. Hes a cold, dark man, and I never wanted anything to do with him until now. Well probably never visit him during this quest, and I dont care right now, he replied coldly. Nika shrugged.
But he family, she pointed out. Kash shrugged.
He may be family, but hes treated me like an insect. He thinks that Im a throwback, and that my values are too old-fashioned, he spat. Nika cocked her head.
What a throwback? she questioned. Kash faced her.
Lets say that the human race develops wings, right? Nikas eyes widened.
Human will grow wings? Like bird? she asked in disbelief. Kash shook his head and chuckled.
No, lets pretend that they did, he replied, still laughing. If a baby is born like an ancient human- that is, without wings, he would be considered a throwback. Nika nodded.
Am I throwback? she asked. Kash shook his head.
No. Youre a better form of the human race of your time. Youre smart. Theres no way that you would be considered a throwback, Nika.
Nika smiled. I smart?
Kash shrugged. For the future standards of the human race, you wouldnt be considered smart, but for the people of your time, you would be considered a genius.
Nikas eyes widened in confusion. What a genius?
Naimo purred softly and wound himself around Saris legs. She giggled happily and set the plastic bag of purchases aside to give the small black-and-white cat a hug and kiss.
You missed me, huh? Youre such a cutie, Sari cooed. Naimo mewed again and purred loudly at the attention. Stal smiled.
Hes cute. How long have you had him?
Sari stopped suddenly. Nine years Stal lowered his eyes.
Since I disappeared he murmured with understanding. Sari nodded.
Robo picked up the pushed-aside bag and began to carry it upstairs. What did you all buy? The weight is astonishing!
Sari smiled. Dont worry. She turned to Naimo and began to communicate telepathically. Naimo, follow me.
Naimo mewed, but picked up on the signal. Why?
Sari smiled. I bought you a present.
Naimo shook his head quickly. Not another toy
Sari shook her head. Okay, is it food?
Sari laughed out loud, and Stal raised an eyebrow.
What? he questioned. Sari smiled.
Just talking telepathically with Naimo, she explained. As if to back her up, Naimo mewed loudly. Stal grinned.
Fine, he sighed. He began to climb the stairs, with Sari and Naimo on his heels.
Outside of Guardia castle in 1024 AD, a cloaked figure stroked a shiny, clean dagger and waited. He saw Crono enter the castle, and he slipped in behind him. A sleeved hand pressed against the persons forehead, and the figure was no longer seen. It followed Crono all the way into the playroom, where Marle, Lana, Maro, Olana, and Tam were talking. It could only make out a few words, like book, candy, and park, but he knew the time wasnt right. He stepped aside as the three teenagers and child exited, and Crono entered. Its hand pressed its forehead once again, and it became visible.
Who are you? Marle cried. Lana whirled around, and Maro followed suit. Olana covered Tams eyes, expecting the worst.
Who I am doesnt matter, the cloaked man said. Crono pulled a katana off of the wall, and aimed it at the man.
Security! Maro shouted. He heard the pounding of footsteps, and as the cloaked man heard this, he drew his dagger. With lightning speed, he dashed at Crono.
Everything seemed to go in slow motion. The footsteps grew louder, and the attacker drew closer and closer. Crono turned his sword to the man.
NO! Maro shouted. He began to run at the man, and dove for his ankles.
Crono! Marle screamed. The assailant avoided the outstretched katana and plunged the dagger deep into Cronos chest as Maro grabbed his ankles. The assassin went down, but suddenly disappeared. Maro gasped as Crono began to fall. His eyes rolled up in his head, and as the blood poured from the wound, he slumped into a stone corner.
Father! Maro cried out, crawling to the wounded king. Lana rushed forward, choking back a sob. Marle also did the same, crying loudly.
Maro Crono whispered. Maro grabbed the dagger and pulled it out, causing Crono to wince in pain.
Are you all right? Lana called. Olana stood, rooted to the floor. Tam attempted to move out of her grasp, with little success. Cronos head rolled upward, and he coughed violently, sending out a torrent of blood. Maro shrieked and jumped back. Marle turned away and sobbed again.
Dearest Marle, I love you Crono whispered. He coughed again, sending out more blood, and the guards rushed inside the playroom. Maro, take care of your mother and Lana he coughed once more, soaking the surrounding floor with his blood.
Your Majesty! the Knight Captain cried. He knelt down and closed his eyes. I have failed
Crono looked around. I he gasped once, and then slid down the wall, silent.
FATHER!!! Maro screamed. He spun around to Lana and clutched her tightly, sobbing. Marle turned away.
Crono ! she cried out. Suddenly, behind her, the cloaked man appeared once more. He drew a long sword, and drove it through Marles back. Her white dress ripped open at the back, and a small trickle of blood appeared near the wound. She didnt scream, didnt cry, just fell forward and onto her side. Maro stood, wide-eyed, as the attacker disappeared once more.
MOTHER!!! he sobbed. He buried his face in Lanas shoulder and sobbed loudly.
Aunt Marle Uncle Crono Lana whispered. Tears streamed from her eyes, and she quickly shut them, wrapping her arms around Maro. Olana still stood, her eyes wide and frozen with fear.
Maro spun away from Lana. Where are you? Show yourself!!! He sobbed once more, falling to his knees. You bastard! He hiccuped and pressed his face to the stone floor, drawing in a deep breath. You bastard
Sari drew in a deep breath and held it, trying to hide her tears.
We will remember these brave souls, not only as the King and Queen of Guardia, but as the saviors of our planet the minister droned on a day later, at Crono and Marles funeral. The castles church was packed with sobbing people, some poor, others from the upper class, but all mourning the passing of their beloved rulers.
Sari are you okay? Stal whispered. Sari lowered her head.
Maro sobbed loudly and Lana put her arm around his shoulders, rubbing his back.
Its okay, Maro, she whispered. Elena turned to her father, who was sitting erect, his dark eyes glazed.
Father ? she asked softly. Glenn turned to her.
Will you be next? she asked, her voice tinted with fear. Glenn shook his head.
No, he whispered.
Lucca stood up and moved to the front of the room. She tapped the minister on the shoulder, and he stepped away.
May I say a few words? she asked softly. The minister nodded.
Certainly, he answered. Lucca stepped forward, and drew in a deep breath, her eyes wet.
I want everybody to know, that Crono was my best friend since childhood. That isnt important now, though. We may be different people now, but in the end, were all the same. Royalty, like Crono, or Commoner, like me, we all end up in the same place in the end. Just because of who we are in life should be no reason to be murdered. Crono and Nadias attacker is out there somewhere, and were going to find him. If youre here now, I want you to know that were going to hunt you down and rip you apart, piece by piece, little by little. You wont get away with this! She spoke softly at the start, her voice squeaking softly, but her voice gained strength at the end, ending as a call, not a speech. Slowly, Maro stood up.
I just want to say, those people were my parents. How does a person think that a child feels, watching both of their parents die in front of him? This will not continue! If that man is still out there, he will die by my own hand! he cried.
Lana gasped. Was this the Maro she knew? The funny thing, though, was he was right. She stood up, also. Same here! We were like family! Ill help Maro hunt this maniac down!
Slowly, Glenn stood, and then Robo, Vincent, Kash, Elena, Olana, Sari, Stal, Ayla, Kino, Nika, Zala, and Janus. Lucca smiled as a tiny black and white cat stood up on his hind paws.
Naimo Sari whispered, theyre not supposed to know that youre here! Stal chuckled.
Too late for that now, he murmured. Sari blushed and Naimo mewed loudly.
Well all lend a hand. We wont rest until justice is served! Glenn cried out. Lucca began to weep, thankful that her friends were ready to assist her.
The rest of the service was a blur, but soon, people were pouring out of the castle, leaving only the heroes of the past and the teens ready to join them.
Maro looked at the wooden coffins, his eyes wide. Were his parents really in there? They cant be gone
Its hard to believe theyre really gone, Lana murmured, looping her arm around Maros waist. He nodded.
Yeah, I always thought that they would be here to see me grow up, marry his voice cracked, and he burst out crying again. Lucca placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
You can stay with our family, she murmured. Maro sniffed and smiled softly.
Thank you, he whispered. Sari moved forward.
I hope you dont mind that I brought my cat she muttered. Maro smiled softly as Naimo placed his front paws on his knees.
We all needed a little bit of cheering up, and thats what Naimo brought, he replied.
Amen, Lana agreed.
Maro tossed in the unfamiliar bed that night, still thinking that he was in his own room. He cried softly, wiping his nose on the sleeve of his sleepshirt. Suddenly, a soft knock was heard, and the door opened. Maros eyes went wide and he ducked beneath the covers, afraid that the cloaked man was back. He quivered with fear, and as a hand touched him, he whimpered. The blankets were pulled back, and the face slowly came into view.
Maro, its just me, Lana whispered. Maro sat up and threw his arms around Lana. She staggered forward and toppled on top of him in surprise.
I thought that you were the assassin! Maro whispered, his voice breaking. He cried openly now, pulling Lana close.
No, its just me just me just me Lana repeated soothingly. She pulled herself up and hugged him back. Im not going to hurt you
Maro kissed her neck. Youll help me, right? Youll help me murder he who killed my parents?
Lana paused. Murder? Maro kissed her neck again, and his hands moved down her back.
Please, I need your help, he insisted, kissing her again. Lana pulled away.
No! Theres so much death already, and
What if hes out to get us, too? Maro whispered. He moved forward so that his lips were almost touching Lanas. He might be plotting to kill us right now. His lips moved forward and brushed Lanas.
Lana shivered. He had a point All right.
Go To Chapter 17
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