"For Guardia!" Chapter 24
By Master Odin
Crono and the warriors from his world; minus Lucca, Marle, and Robo; arrived back at the shelter early on the second day after the attacks. The Zecronean Knights and the Sacred Warriors were already there. He found Jeremiah and Norris sitting at the table reading some papers. Jeremiah looked up he heard Crono enter. "Welcome back, Your Highness, fellow warriors. How did everything fair?"
Crono sat down in the chair opposite of Jeremiah. "Fargo, Glenn, and several pirates were injured, but they're nothing serious and should be ready for combat with a few days of bed rest. Fargo lost some pirates in the attack. Robo was badly damaged, but Lucca says that it's nothing that a quick trip to Robo's lab in the future won't cure."
Jeremiah nodded. "I'm sorry to hear about the lost pirates. They were brave men. It's good, though, that those remaining will be in good shape soon." Jeremiah looked over to where Larissa was hiding in a corner. He motioned for her to come over to him. "C'mere."
Larissa reluctantly stood from her hiding place and cautiously walked over to Jeremiah's side. "Crono," Jeremiah said, "I'm afraid that my code as a knight will not allow me to not tell you the Larissa disobeyed you."
Crono looked to Larissa, anger flashing in his eyes. "What?!"
"I'm sorry to tell you, but Larissa left the base after you told her to stay."
Crono stood up and slammed his hands on the table. "How dare you dis"
Jeremiah put his hand up to stop the king's rant. "Before you get angry," he flipped through the papers before him, and brought one from the middle to the top, "maybe you should read this," he said, handing Crono the thick stack of papers.
"What are these?"
"Reports from the Porre Army regarding our attacks. Norris was able to procure them after he delivered the declaration of war."
Crono read over the report, then read the part that caught his eye aloud:
Approximately one hour after we had pushed the pirates back into the sea, a strange flying machine arrived and started attacking the port. It destroyed everything with its light weapons. Forty six men out of three thousand, two hundred fifty survived.
Crono looked up to Jeremiah, who was grinning. "Your Highness, the princess heard that the pirates' mission failed, so she stole the Epoch, and finished the job."
Fargo couldn't help but overhear what Jeremiah had said. "Aye, that's a mighty fine lass ye got thar, Yer Highness," he said as he flicked the ash from his cigar.
"That still doesn't change the fact that she disobeyed me." He turned to Larissa. "We'll deal with this later after your mother returns."
Larissa let out a small squeak, then ran back to her hiding place.
Crono flipped the page and continued reading the reports. He read the first couple with no problem, but as he read the next his expression changed to that of shock and terror. He looked up at Jeremiah, then stood and walked over to the map on the wall that marked where each group was to attack. "A quarter mile in diameter pillar of fire?!" He looked at the map and found the place where Scorpion was to attack. He turned the page and read. "A fifty story tidal wave?!" He found Serpent's symbol on the map. Again he turned the page. "A cyclone?!" He found Cyclone's symbol. Next page. "Massive thunderstorm?!" Thunderer's symbol. Next. "Earthquake and lava eruption?!" The White Dragoon's symbol. Next. "A-a guy plays a violin and the soldiers slay themselves?!" The Sacred Warriors' symbol. Last. "A giant demon?!" Jerome Pryme's symbol.
"We be good!" Scorpion said as he gave Jerome a five.
"We's bad," Jerome said as he returned the gesture.
Crono dropped the reports as he turned back to them and drew his sword. "Wha-what kind of monsters are you?!"
"What are you talking about?" Jeremiah asked as he stood. He made no move to defend himself.
"Only monsters can do the things described in these reports!"
A growl rumbled in Jerome's throat. "You betta watch what ya say, boy!"
"Stand down, Pryme," Jeremiah commanded. He returned his attention to Crono. "Your Highness, we are up against a very powerful enemy in our world. We need powers like this to battle them."
"We've battle against a powerful being before, too, and we did not need powers this destructive," Crono retorted.
Jeremiah leaned against the table. "Tell me, how many times has the welfare of this planet been threatened? There was the Lavoid, right? When was that?"
"We battled it in the year 1999 AD," was Crono's response.
"Okay. You went to the future to battle something that didn't even affect you directly. I commend your for that. Anything else?"
"There was the Time Devourer," Serge answered. "That was two years ago."
Jeremiah nodded. "Okay. Anything else?" He waited a few moments. When no one else answered he said, "So let me get this right. You've had two creatures that threatened the entire planet, almost a thousand years apart from each other, right?"
Crono nodded. "Right."
"And tell me," Jeremiah queried again, "what is your biggest problem right now? It's getting your kingdom back, right?" Crono nodded. Jeremiah slammed his hands down on the table as his eyes started to glow red. "Well it must be fucking nice!"
Amy ran over to him. "Calm down, hun."
"Shut up, Amy!" He turned back to Crono. "You want to hear about us!? The first threat that we know of came in the year 1997, where the Demno Empire conquered Terra! We were able to win our freedom, though, thanks to these powers! Then, not even a year later, both Demogyth and Gylas attack! We barely got out of that one alive! And then there was the Mother Brain! We wouldn't have even defeated it without the help of some outsiders, namely you and your friends! And then, when we're not protecting the Sacred Planet, we Knights have to go about and make sure that NightFire isn't pulling the same stunts on other planets!
"And to top that off, I have to make sure that my son, my son, isn't off just killing millions of innocents! That and the guilt of knowing that none of this would be happening if I, me; Jeremiah Michael Aran the Third, boy genius and heir to the Aran Tech corporate empire; hadn't sent that GOD DAMNED SATELLITE INTO SPACE!" He lifted the table over his head and threw it at the wall. It splintered into several pieces upon impact. He walked over to Crono and stared him straight in the eye. "You better thank whatever god you pray to, because he's been very nice to you."
Crono looked at the warrior, and saw tears streaming down his cheeks from the glowing red eyes.
Jeremiah took a deep breath. "I need to go for a walk." With that announced, he left the shelter. Dr. Wisenburg followed him out.
Crono watched him leave, his mouth gaping open. He turned to Amy. "I-I'm sorry. I, I didn't know...."
"It's not your fault," Amy said as she looked to the entrance. "This has been building up for some time, what you said was just the straw that broke the camel's back. We've been fighting against NightFire for almost twenty years now, and it's taken its toll on all of us."
"Our bro has suffered the most out all of us, I think," Scorpion added. "All of us lost something in the war against Demus, but Jeremiah lost almost everything he held dear, short of some friends and his fortune, but that wasn't much comfort. He lost his home, his family, most oh his friends, his trainer and mentor, his lover," he looked over to Amy, "at the time, that is." He shook his head. "He even had to watch his own sister being killed before his very eyes. She was his true best friend. I don't think there were any secrets between them."
"And then there's the guilt he carries about Kain and that he thinks this all his fault," Amy continued. "He doesn't talk of it very much, but I know he thinks about it often."
"I see," Crono said as he crossed his arms to think of what was said.
Meanwhile, Sean exited the trunk of the great tree and saw Jeremiah enter the forest behind it. It wasn't long before he could hear Jeremiah cursing himself and the sounds of small trees being cut down. Sean shook his head. "And I thought I fuckin' had anger management problems."
He followed Jeremiah into the woods. He found him in a newly cleared patch, cutting down the last small tree within his reach with the Earth Edge. "Yo, Jeremiah."
"Now is not a good time for one of your lectures, Dr. Wisenburg," Jeremiah announced as he twirled the sword onto his back before it vanished.
"Listen, I know I've probably've given you the most grief about what has happened, but you remember Alexander's Prophecy, right?" Sean asked as he cautiously approached his one time rival. "What's happened was bound to happen. If it had been someone else he probably would've tucked his damn tail between his legs and ran, but you had the balls to take responsibility for your actions and do something about it. If it had to be anyone to lead Demus to earth, I'm glad it was you."
"That's not very comforting."
Sean shook his head a little. "Look, I know you lost a lot during the Demno Occupation, we all did. At least you could look at the bright side. If that hadn't happened then then Maria and me would've never gotten married. Mario would've never met Rebecca. Jerome would've never found his father. Chris would've never met Lorivette. Ben would've never met Lt. Kinder. Then there's you. You would've never discovered your lineage, and you never would've met Amy, marry her, and have two beautiful kids together." Sean grinned. "Junior's an arrogant ass," he paused for effect, and to await the angry look that Jeremiah gave him, "just like his old man."
Jeremiah smiled. "Sean? Dr. Sean Isaac Wisenburg, looking on the bright side of things?" He started to walk away.
"Where are you going?"
"To make a phone call."
"Who the hell are ya gonna call around here?"
"Satan. I need to see if Hell has frozen over."
Jeremiah walked back into the shelter and made a beeline for Crono. He extended his hand to him as he said, "Your Highness, my apologies for losing my temper with you earlier."
"It's understandable," Crono said as he stood and took Jeremiah's hand. "Amy and Scorpion explained what it was all about, and you're right, we have been lucky compared to you and your friends." He looked down and shook his head. "I'm sorry as well. I had not known the trials that have been set before you.
"Thank you. Just, next time, when you guys are in trouble, give us a call. We're always ready to help out a friend."
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