The Dark Storm Chapter 6

By Martin Berglund


The day after the incident.

”No, no! Don’t touch anything!” The king said. ”Once I get my hands on that... wizard... Then I’m gonna force him to rebuild the castle all by himself!”
The workers backed off.
The king, the chancellor and a few other was standing just outside, what had been the Guardia castle. Right now, it looked more like a pile of junk. ”How could this happened?”
No one answered him.
The sun had just reached it’s highest position, but clouds could been seen by the horizon.
Scouts had been sneaking around the castle all morning to make sure Shadin was far from here.
”Inform everyone that it is a price on that wizards head.”
The chancellor looked up.
”How much?”
The chancellor nodded and walked down the castle stairs.
The king shook his head.
This had been the royal castle in generations.
Survived severally of wars, and never been in real danger.
Now, a man destroys it by saying: ”scorch earth.”
The king had watched the ruins in almost twenty minutes, when a soldier came.
The king turned around. ”There you are! Now, how many died?”
”None, sir!”
The king looked supriced at him.
”None?!? No one died?”
”No, sir. Just a few wounded.”
The king looked away. ”That’s something to be happy about.”

* * * * *


”It’s my fault!” Crono exclaimed.
”Perhaps...” Lucca answered.
Marle looked at her. So did Crono.
”Eh...” Crono started. ”Shouldn’t you say something like ‘no it’s not’?”
Lucca smiled.
”That’s what you want, huh? Someone who feel sad about you.”
Crono nodded.
”It helps.”
They were all sitting in Crono’s house, and had been here since yesterday, when Shadin destroyed the castle. Crono had promised Marle that she could sleep here, and she accepted it, since she had no better alternative. Her dad was going to sleep in the mayors manor.
Marle looked out of the window.
”I wonder what’s taking so long? They should have been back by now!”
Both Crono and Lucca remained silent.
Marle sat down again.
”You don’t think Shadin showed up?”
Crono shook his head.
”Oh, no! Then there should be raining chancellors by now.”
Lucca laughed.
Marle didn’t.
”Oh! How funny...”
As they talked, Crono’s mom came down from Crono’s room.
By some reason, she had volunteered to fix their extra bed.
”It’s done.” She said.
Crono turned around.
His mom nodded and walked to the table and sat down.
”I moved your desk to the right and put the extra bed on it’s place.”
”Nice of you to do it.” Marle said.
”Yeah.” Crono said. ”Thanks mom.”
”Oh, that was nothing.” Crono’s mom replied. ”That’s what moms and dads are for.”
Crono smiled. ”Yeah.”
”Now, what were you talking about?” Crono’s mom said.
Crono looked at Lucca and Marle.
”Nothing special.”
His mom smiled. ”You’re not going after that... Shadin, are you?”
Crono shook his head. ”No.”
His mom nodded.

* * * * *


”You worthless idiot! Now everything is destroyed...”
”I thought you were asleep at this time of the day...”
”Very funny.”
The stranger entered the house, and closed the door.
”Forget about all this... I have to start all over!”
The house owner shook his head.
”But... Just because he... mistreated the castle, doesn’t have to mean that he’s out of your use.”
The stranger looked at him.
”Let’s me handle the thinking. And I say it’s all destroyed.” He turned around and opened the door. ”Don’t make anything stupid.” he shouted over his shoulder.
”You have to pay of your debt some other time.”

* * * * *


The chancellor put map on the table, and the spectators looked closer.
One of them was the king.
”You may start.” He said.
The chancellor nodded.
”As you all know, we are having problems with a mysterious man, known as Shadin.
He has shown to be very dangerous, and asks first and attacks later.
We know that he is for the moment NOT in Porre. By intensive scouting, we can also treat these areas...” He pointed at the west forest and the south Truce. ”as safe.”
”It’s the north forest,” he continued, ”who is the most believable hiding place.
No one has volunteered to scout there. Any questions?”
There was a silence again in the mayor manor. The mayor of Truce pointed out Leene square.
”Is this area safe?”
The chancellor nodded.
”No one has seen him there, and he usually don’t show up in populated areas. It should be safe.”
Again, everybody was silent.
After a few minutes, the king cleared his throat.
”What do you suggest me to do? I’m in urgent need of advises.”
”From who? Me?” the chancellor said.
”I mean all of you.”
Again, silence.
”I’m aware of that you have set a price on that man’s head... Is it true?”
The king nodded.
”Yes, I did. But I shall cancel it. This is my problem and not any... bountyhunter.”
One of the men looked up.
”Perhaps it not your fault either... Think of who started this mess...” but he got interrupted.
”And you think blaming this on Lucca would solve all problems?” One of the women said.
”No, but...”
”Then shut up!”
The silence fell over the house again.
”Let’s wait.” the woman suggested. ”And see what he does next.”
The king nodded.
”Yes, Mearla. That’s not a bad idea... At least it’s all we can do for now. Chancellor?”
”Yes, your majesty?”
”Cancel the reward for Shadin. And do it now.”
”Yes, your majesty.” The chancellor answered and left the room.
After a while, the king brought up the discussion again.
”If we only could foreseen his next move... He is so unpredictable!”
No one answered.
”Anyone have a suggestion? Kaerl? Mearla? Niquea? Fritz? Grefther? Hyynth? Eilea? No one?”
”Well, then ladies and gentlemen’s. I declare this discussion finished. Let’s wait for a while and see what he’ll do next.”
They splitted up and walked away in different directions.
But suddenly, a scream echoed from the north forest.
”I...” Fritz started, ”You know... I got a funny feeling we won’t have to wait that long...”

* * * * *


”What will happened next?” Lucca asked.
”Who knows?” Marle answered. ”Crono are you coming?”
Crono turned around. ”Yeah. I just thought I heard something...”
”Really? You got to teach me that sometime.” Lucca said sarcastic.
They were walking on Taban’s bridge, who connected Lucca’s island with the main continent.
The clock showed 13:04 and the sun shined. But at the horizon, dark clouds gathered.
Lucca opened the door and walked in.
”I’m home!”
First, no response, but then Lucca could hear Taban’s voice from the kitchen.
They walked up on her room. Lucca throwed herself on the bed, while Crono and Marle took a chair each.
”Any theories?” Marle started.
No answer.
”Well... I got one.”
Lucca looked up. ”Let hear.”
”Perhaps he is from Choras, and therefor not known to us.”
Lucca released her eyes from Marle.
”Then why didn’t we meat him when we were there?”
Marle thought.
”Perhaps he hide himself. Just like now.”
”It’s a theory. And the only one we got this far...” Crono said. ”But I can think of an other.”
Lucca looked at him. ”Well?”
”When I first met him, I noticed his weak language. He made a few mistakes, who normal people wouldn’t. Perhaps he is from another continent, far from here.”
Marle nodded.
”He could be. But why did he destroy the castle? And why does he act so strange?”
Crono shook his head. ”Don’t know. Your try, Lucca”
In that moment, they could hear Taban come up.
”Hi there.” He said.
”Hi Taban.” Marle and Crono said.
”Are you hungry?”
Marle and Crono nodded, but Lucca shook her head.
”We’re in the middle of an important discussion!”
Taban smiled.
”Too important then to eat? My new power-meal machine is sure awesome.”
Lucca looked around.
”Well, I don’t know... Half of me is hungry, but the other half of me wants to continue discuss this...  Wait a moment! Yes, of course!”
Crono and Marle looked supriced at her. ”What?”
”Thanks dad! Your a genius!”
Taban frowned.
”Does that mean you will come down?”

* * * * *


”Who was he?”
”Kerinan Thornes. A bountyhunter.”
The king nodded.
”How did he get here?”
The chancellor shook his head.
”I don’t know for sure. Some witnesses said he came down from the sky. From nowhere.”
The king turned to the guard commander. ”You can let the people in now. Leene square is a free place.”
”Leene square...” the chancellor thought. ”Hrmf... If things continue like this, we could make a fortune of opening an airfield here.”
The guards carried away the dead body.
”That’s ONE live he have cost us.” The king said.
”Like my mother always said...” The chancellor replied. ”Thinks can always get worse.”
”Yes, it could be worse.” the king said. ”If I only could foreseen his next move.”
”I think that’s the problem.” the chancellor answered. ”He never plan his moves, he just act.”

Three hours later.

”You know his location?”
”Yes. Some fishermen saw a black caped man on one of the cliffs near the north ocean.”
The king rose up from his chair, and as he walked towards the stair, so did the chancellor.
”One hour ago. I’ve sent boats to patrol for him. But I have given them orders not to go close.”
”Yes, that’s wise.” the king said.
They walked downstairs.
The guards had a big map there, with possible locations marked.
The king removed a few marks.
”That makes it easier.”
”Let’s hope he keep the same position for a while longer.” the chancellor said and walked away from the map.
”Why?” The king shouted after him. ”We’re not taking any actions!”

A lot of hours later.

”You don’t have too...” Marle started but...
”Sure I do. We got a lot to talk about.”
Lucca turned around.
”I’m following Crono and Marle home!!! Be right back!!!” Lucca shouted.
A few moments later, she could hear Lara saying: ”Okay.”
They walked out and Lucca shut the door.
”So... You think it will work?” Marle asked.
”Let’s hope so.” Lucca answered.
”What makes you think it will work?” Crono said, a little bit worried of Lucca’s plan.
Lucca looked at him.
”You want the technical details?”
”No please.”
”Good. We’ll see if it works, sooner or later.”
”Yes, but...” Marle said. ”...What makes you think he will drink it?”
”I told you.” Lucca answered. ”His brain’s scattered. He’ll drink it.”
They crossed the bridge and entered the town.
Crono looked at Truce inn, where the lights were still on.
As they walked in town, the clouds came closer.
They stopped outside Crono’s house.
”Thanks for joining us, Lucca.” Marle said.
”Your welcome.”
They stood there a long time.
Finally Lucca turned around.
”Well, that’s it. Goodnight.”
 Marle waved to her. ”Goodnight.”
Lucca walked few meters.
”And...” she turned around.
”Take it easy tonight...”
”Hey...” Crono said. ”We got Shadin to think about. Right?”
”Right.” Marle confirmed.
”Okay. Goodnight.” Lucca said and walked away.
Crono and Marle said goodnight once again and then walked in.

”Marle...” a voice said, coming from Crono’s bed.
Marle slowly lifted her head and looked at the dark corner.
”You’re worried about the plan?”
”Yeah... Aren’t you?”
”Maybe... A little... But you saw his resisting handmoves.”
Marle put her head back on the pillow.
”I guess we have to hope for the best.” Crono said.
”That’s all we can do for now.” Marle said.
Crono looked out through the window.
The dark clouds were closer now then ever.
”There’s a dark storm coming ahead.” he said.
”No.” Marle answered. ”It’s already over us.”


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