A Square Deal Chapter 11
Recap: Everyone is gone.... At least from the Final Fantasy Three time frame. Look to the worlds of Final Fantasy Two, and Chrono Trigger. They're there, somewhere.
When the light cleared from the pillar that had run into her, she fell some distance, then Celes found herself face-down in sand. It was not too hot, it was actually comfortably warm, but very dry. She got up, spit some sand from her mouth, brushed it from her face, and looked up. There above her was a dark, star-ridden night sky. She looked around her; she was alone.
"Lo-o-ocke! Gaspar! Anyone!?" she called out. No answer. She checked around for footprints in the sand, but there were none she could distinguish. "They wouldn't just leave me here. Maybe the portals separated us?" She thought. On the horizon, of this, or what seemed to be, desert, she saw a wash of light, and an out line of a castle. "Figaro! That's where I must be! I'm finally free of that End of Time place. They both may have arrived earlier. Gaspar did say that the portals moved people through time and space, didn't he? Or am I taking this out of context? Whatever, I'll go over there just to see," Celes made her way through the sand over to the castle in the distance.
"The place looks different," she noted aloud when she approached the castle. "It must be because it is night. I'll ask Edgar if he can help; I was hoping that I could see Terra, but she has probably gone home now."
Celes went to the front gate and saw the guards who were standing watch. They did not look familiar. Nothing looked familiar. Even the front gate was different.
"This can't be Figaro Castle. It looks too strange," she checked by a wall crease, and rubbed away at the sand. She did not find the metal plates that were the base of Figaro, which allowed it to dive under the sand. No- this was definitely not Figaro Castle. But Celes was tired, and needed a place to rest; Castles were usually welcoming to traveling strangers.
"Who goes there?" said one of the guards when her herd her footfalls. He had a lamp, and he held it up, bringing Celes into view. He looked at Celes.
"Just a wayfaring stranger, looking for a place of refuge for the night," she humbly replied.
"Ah, just a young lass. Sure, missy, you can stay here for the night. We are always hospitable to travelers, and more so now that this region is turning to desert," the same guard said.
"Turning to desert?" she asked, confused.
"Yes. This part of the kingdom used to be a green grassland, but over the last year, it has just turned to sand. It's almost like a magical curse. At least that is what the king thinks it is. Why don't you go in now? It gets rather cold out here," the guard smiled at her.
"I guess I should be going in, thank you!" she sweetly said.
Celes was not a woman who liked men treating her like she was weak. But, at times, being the damsel in distress was good to use to her advantage. Sometimes she just had to remind herself that people were, in fact, simply being polite.
Inside of the castle there were many people walking about. It seemed like the castle was home to more than just the king. It was a hold for the people of the court and others who needed a place to stay. She was even more curious now where she was. She tried to stop someone to ask, but everyone seemed so busy. So, she just wandered around the premises. She found an empty sitting room, and sat on a couch and rested.
"I haven't seen you around here before," said a voice from behind her. Startled, she stood up and turned around. "Oh, no need to be alarmed. I was just wondering."
It was a young man, about the same age as Celes herself. He had shoulder length blond hair, about the same shade as Celes' own. He was dressed in traveling clothes, and had a harp strung over his shoulder, and donned a little cap with a feather in it.
"I just arrived here a few moments ago. Am I intruding?" she asked, cautiously. The man looked her over, approving of her appearance.
"No, no -- not at all. Are you lodging here for the night?" he asked her softly. He had such a smooth voice; like a singer's. Celes remembered that Edgar had a voice like that, which he used to smooth-talk women. She wondered if this guy was the same way.
"Yes, I am. At least I was planning to. Have you seen some other strangers come in today?" she asked.
"We have many travelers here."
"Um, a strange old man with a bowler hat, who was carrying a golden egg, and an adventurer-type young man, about 25, scruffy brown hair, a pouch full of treasure...." Celes stopped when she realized a potential problem.
"No, none like that have passed through this city's gates as far as I know. Are they your traveling companions?" he inquired.
"Yes... oh crud," she said, angrily.
"What is wrong?"
"They have all of my gold pieces. Now what am I going to do. Hmn," she grumped. The man thought for a moment.
"Tell me your name," he said.
"Huh? Oh, I'm Celes Chere. And you?" she said.
"Call me Eddie ... Dacan. Well, now that we are acquainted, I think that I may able to find you suitable accommodations. Come with me," he held his hand out in invitation. She hesitated, but accepted; she placed her hand in his. He led her through the winding halls, and at last, arrived in an ornately furnished room.
"Here. You may stay in this room tonight," he said, gesturing for her to enter.
"Oh my.. This is quite a room," she noticed a crest on the wall. "This is a royal guest room! Why am I allowed here?" she asked.
"I have friends in high places, very close friends. You will find a washroom through that door, and there are women's clothes in the wardrobe. Feel free to take them, for they have remained unused for some years now. If they need tailoring, you may send for a seamstress," he smiled as he looked at her. Celes was wondering about the way he looked at her; it was like he was seeing someone else in her place.
"Why do you look at me so?" she asked, with a bit of her general-style apprehensiveness. He blushed a bit.
"Sorry. You just remind me of someone I knew. I'll be going now; I'm not sure if I shall see you again," he was about to turn and leave, when Celes stopped him.
"Where are you going? I apologize for being harsh with you -- sometimes I can't help myself," she said, standing in front of him.
"I am going to investigate what is turning the land in the kingdom into desert. I think it is some sort of malevolent creature or spell."
"Are you going all alone?" she asked, with an obvious incredulous tone in her voice.
"Yes. It is a secret mission, and, I think that I can take care of myself. I have my songs to protect me, even if I do look a bit too well-kept for the normal adventurer," he said in a-matter-of-fact voice.
"Songs?" she asked.
"I am a bard. I have magical songs that work only when sung correctly. I also have a harp that inflicts physical damage upon my enemies. Now, if you would be so kind as to let me on my way..."
Celes stopped him again.
"Let me come with you! I have valuable magic attacks, and I have my runic blade," she whipped out her trusty Runebland, which she and Locke had found in a cavern near Narshe.
"No, I would not want to put an uninvolved person in danger," he said, crossing his arms.
"Come now, any adventure is more fun with companions, and it makes the job easier with two heads," she smiled. "Maybe I can find out where my friends are?" She was using her 'Damsel in Distress' ploy quite well now.
"Well, ok. I guess I could use some help. Yes, quests are more fruitful with companions, I do know that. Then, you go to sleep, and we will leave tomorrow morning."
"You won't leave without me?"
"I give you my word upon this whole land of Damcyan, that I shall not leave without you. I'll return to my place, and be back for you in the morning. By your leave?" he said gallantly.
"Go ahead, I have detained you long enough. Good night," she said with a wave.
"Sleep well, Celes."
And with that he slipped out of the door. Celes thought that he was quite an eloquent man, and she was determined that he did need her help. She found some night clothes in the wardrobe, and found that they fit her well. She jumped into the big fluffy bed, and was asleep in hardly a wink.
Sabin landed with a thud.
He had just gotten to his feet, and the little stars circling his head had disappeared, when he heard a voice call from above him,
"Move thyself, Sir Sabin!!" Sabin had just enough time to look up, when Cyan came crashing down on top of him. The knight's bottom sat upon Sabin's back, and Cyan's feet were at Sabin's nose.
"So sorry, young man, but I could not change the direction that that god-forsaken abomination dropped mine self. Again, so sorry!" Cyan climbed off, and helped the Figaro brother up.
"Where do you think we are?" Sabin asked, taking a gander around the landscape, which was not familiar at all.
"I surmise that the key hath taken us to a different place in our world's history. I know not where we actually are. Mayhap, we should look around?" Cyan suggested.
"It seems reasonable. Let's see where we are."
Sabin found a good lofty rock, climbed it and peered about the local landscape. To the West he saw trees, to the North he saw trees, to the East he saw mountains and trees, and to the South he saw a dinky town, which was adorned with trees.
"What dost thou see?" Cyan asked from below.
"I see trees, trees, more trees and a town. I guess that we should head for the town, shouldn't we," Sabin said, hopping down from the rock.
They found what seemed to be a path, so they followed it. Cyan did not like the idea of wandering around an unknown era, let alone traveling through time and space. But, he did have a notion from the events that had been occurring, that there was something going on that was not right, and it made the travel through time necessary. But he still did not enjoy it.
They came across a copse of trees that had little green frogs dancing around it. Sabin, being rather bulky, could not help but step on a couple, which delighted him because it made a pleasant squashing noise, which disgusted Cyan.
"How canst thou take joy in killing harmless little creatures? 'Tis barbaric!" Cyan admonished him.
"I dunno. I've always liked to step on things and make them squish. Edgar used the same word for me, 'barbaric'." Sabin shrugged, and they went on.
It seemed to Cyan that Sabin was not well endowed in the head nearly as much as his brother was. Cyan surmised that could have been one of the reasons Sabin seceded his right for the throne to Edgar; Sabin did have enough wit to realize that he did not have enough wit to be king. Nonetheless, he still made a loyal friend, and a stellar adventuring companion, despite his lack of cerebrum. This is at least how it seemed to Cyan; Sabin may have been more intelligent than how he presented himself, but he always seemed a bit shallow compared to Edgar. That may well have been just maturity. (Then again, Cyan himself was a bit shallow compared to Edgar, but he would never be caught admitting that.)
While Cyan was going over this in his mind, he wondered what Sabin, in his less complicated mind, was pondering.
"Gee, I wish there were more frogs to squish," was what Sabin had on his mind for a while.
Suddenly, from behind a bush, they heard a loud croak.
"R-I-I-B-B-B-I-I-I-T!" It sounded and echoed throughout the trees. Sabin automatically jumped to fighting position, and Cyan drew his sword swiftly.
"What sort of unknown amphibious creature might it be?" he asked his friend.
"I dunno, but it's soon gonna be a bleeding anffeebey.. whatever you called it," Sabin answered.
"Whatever sort of creature thou beest, come out so that fight thee we may," Cyan said to it. The bush trembled.
Out from the bush leapt a big, giant frog, wearing clothes and bearing a sword. Behind him was a woman with purple hair, glasses and a gun. They both stood their ground before them.
"Of what sort of ilk art ye who cometh and disturbest mine sanctuary?" The frog said with the same sort of accent as Cyan. He stood in front of the woman, as any honorable knight would do, and that he was; a knight. Cyan lowered his sword a bit, slightly daunted by the surprise of the frog's knightly voice.
"So, what do we do? I'm hungry for frog's legs," Sabin said, licking his chops.
"You keep your meat hooks to yourself!!!" the woman shouted, pointing the gun in Sabin's direction. Sabin was ready to beat them both up, so Cyan decided to intervene.
"I pray thee, let us calm. We art just travelers through thine sanctuary, sir frog. My friend and I just happened upon thy place accidentally. Forgive us, and trouble thee we shall no more," Cyan said, lowering his sword a bit more. The frog was impressed, and he and Cyan put their swords away simultaneously.
"Art thou of the knight's code as well? I had thought that another like me there was naught," the frog said smoothly.
"That I be. I too, had thought that others like me there wast none. What a coincidence. Since my companion and I bid you no harm, we shall be on our way now," Cyan said, bowing to them both.
"Wait, sirrah. Please, any fellow knight is welcome in my home. Would you like to come down? We were just about to have some tea and cakes," the frog said, croaking happily.
Sabin shielded his mouth to Cyan, "Take it! I'm hungry."
"I'm not sure..."
"Come on, my stomach has good intuition. Remember the Ghost Train? Nobody died from eating that food," Sabin pleaded.
"Hmn. I surmise that it would not hurt if we joined them for some tea. Sir frog, we shall take thee up on thy offer," Cyan said with a smile.
"Smashing, smashing. Come, Lucca my dear, we must prepare two extra spots. Come, I beseech ye," he beckoned them to follow them down.
They found that there was a ladder leading to an underground lair behind the bush. They climbed down and found it rather comfortable down there. The furniture consisted of a straw-matress bed, a small table with four chairs, a few pots, a wood stove and a water pump. Lucca set two more places and fetched a few more cakes. They all sat down.
"If I may ask, and I don't mean to sound rude, but I would like to know your names, and I would guess that you too would like to know ours?" Sabin said, trying to remember his princely manners, which surprised Cyan.
"Yes, we would. I should start. My friend here is Glenn Coleridge, also known as 'Frog.' I am Lucca Isala, from the kingdom of Guardia, the town of Truce," she said, smiling.
"I am Prince Sabin Rene Figaro of the kingdom of Figaro, and this is Cyan Garamonde, retainer to the Lord of Doma."
They shook hands.
"I don't believe that I have heard of thy countries before, past, present, or future," Glenn said to them, after sipping his tea.
"Um, no I wouldst think that you have not," Cyan said with a discreet grin.
"What do you mean by past, present or future?" Sabin asked curiously.
"I guess that you haven't heard about our adventures through time?" Lucca said casually.
"Time? You and Sir Frog?" Sabin perked up. "Maybe they can get us outta here," he whispered to Cyan.
"Do not whisper. It's impolite," Cyan admonished him. Sabin wrinkled his nose in disgust of all of the manners hanging over the conversation.
"Not just Glenn and I. Our friends from all over time came with us: Robo the robot from the future; Ayla Ioka from the ancient past; Janus Zeal, otherwise known as Magus from the magic era, who is responsible for Glenn's current physical state.; Glenn here is native to this time; and Marle Guardia, what was her real name.... oh, Princess Nadia, Me, and most importantly, Crono Figaro from my time, which is 400 years in the future from now. We saved the world a few years back," Lucca said, as if it were no great feat to save the world.
"Crono Figaro... Figaro? Any relation to thee, Sabin?" Cyan asked.
"Wait a minute..." Lucca said, adjusting her thick glasses, peering at Sabin. "Glenn, if you could make him a bit skinnier, adjust his chin a bit, who does he look just like?" Glenn blinked his froggy eyes.
"You just described my...." he was interrupted.
"In the name of Masamune! Thou dost resemble the lad, despite the difference in hair color! 'Tis uncanny. And that you both hath the same last name, one would think you to be brothers," Glenn said, astounded. "What wert thou about to say?"
"I was just about to say that you described my twin brother. He's not as built as I am, and he has a more angular chin," Sabin said gesturing by rubbing his own chin, also noting that he needed to shave. Edgar's chin was one of the ways that he seemed to look better than Sabin; the girls always liked the more angular look. Sabin came to a conclusion that it came from talking too much, which Edgar had always done.
"Maybe your brother is leading a double life?" Lucca said.
"No, he couldn't have. We haven't been able to travel through time before just recently- Oops, I wasn't supposed to say that--" Sabin blushed and sweated a bit.
"Aha! That is why we hast not heard of thine countries before! So how far in the future be ye from?" Frog asked.
"Telling the truth, we do not know from how far in the future, or mayhap past we may have hailed from."
Cyan continued on to explain the events leading up to their arrival: The Empire, The Returners, the Espers, the Quests, their companions, Kefka, the World of Ruin, Magic, Hope, Triumph, their return to normal life, Remembrance Day, Rantacore, The Time Key, The Search for Terra, Summoned monsters and finally, the crazy portals which brought them here.
"... Finally, we dropped down in these here woods, and came across ye. We doth need help to find our missing friends. Lady Lucca, didst thou not say that thou had a Time Key in thine possession?"
"Yes, I do. Your situation seems to be getting larger as each event progresses. Bahamut and Terra did say that there was much more going on with Rantacore than meets the eye. I'll let you use it on one condition," she said.
"And what might that be?" Sabin asked.
"That Glenn and I come along with you. I think that you will need all of the help that you can get. Now, your friends should have ended up in the same general Era that you are in. The thing is, is that I think that you are from a completely foreign time than any of those that we have been to, so I think that they could be in any of the times that I know of. We should get started right away," Lucca said standing up.
All of a sudden, from behind, a portal opened, and out jumped the lizard man that was responsible for marooning them in time.
"Heh heh!!!" it hissed.
"Get it! That's what opened the renegade portals!!!!" Sabin said.
They chased the creature around the room. It doubled back at Glenn, and snatched the Masamune right out of his sheath.
"The Masamune!! Ahh, it will be a fine blade for my master Rantacore." It ran around some more, and just as they had it at bay, it took hold of Lucca, and held the Masamune to her throat. "Come a step close and the woman dies!!"
"Hold! What doth thy master want with the Masamune?" Glenn called out.
"Forget about me!! Take the Masamune!!! He fears it!" Lucca screamed.
"Smart lass you are! But no good your warning does!" and it was right. Glenn would not put her life in more danger.
"Forgive me, Masa and Mune. I must let ye go..." Glenn said solemnly.
"Hah! I win! Suitable hostage is she, keeps the frog at bay she does. Keep her thinks I. Hahahah!" With that, it created another portal, and jumped in with Lucca.
"Glenn!!!" she cried.
"Lucca!!!" he leapt for the gate, but it closed. On the ground he found two items: Her glasses and the Gate Key.
"Glenn, I didn't think that you had such feelings for her. We must find her," Sabin said.
"I fear that if we make an effort, that cad Rantacore mayest harm her," Glenn said, dismayed.
"Brother Knight, I personally shall make sure that not a scratch befalls upon thy Lady. I stake mine honor upon it."
Glenn brightened a bit. He knew the power of a Knight's oath.
"Then, let us be off. Mayhap we might come across thine friends in the mean." Glenn found himself a blade, obviously lesser that the Masamune, but it would serve the purpose. "Let us depart?" With that, Glenn pressed the trigger on the Gate Key, and a portal opened. They jumped in and were gone.
For Terra, the ride through the wild gate reflected it's nature; erratic and uncontrolled. She felt as if she was on a roller coaster that was lasting a few minutes too long. Just when she felt that she couldn't take one more moment of it, it stopped, and she fell a short distance.
She opened her eyes and found herself by a stream of water, her green hair blending in almost to the point of full camouflage with the grass around her. She had on a dainty little outfit that looked a bit like her old magitek riding gear, which consisted of a top, sort of pantie-like things, tights and boots. It wasn't much -- she hadn't planned to go anywhere so soon.
"This place... where am I?" she said aloud. "I sense powerful magic emanating from all around, but it is almost like evil magic, being concealed," she thought.
She sat up and looked around her; the land was beautiful beyond her belief! Lush grasses and trees carpeted the ground, dotted with a blue reflecting stream or pond every now and then. There was one thing wrong; she noticed that there were two other large pieces of land, and they were floating. She stared for a while in disbelief, for she thought that she had returned to the time before the world of ruin.
"No, it can't be... There was only one floating continent," she thought.
She got up and walked to the stream; she was thirsty. As she dipped her hands in, she noticed her reflection in the clean water, and that her hair, which was a good three feet long now and let down, was a mess. Strands were all over and parts were matted. After she had quenched her thirst, she wetted her hair and pulled it back to a ponytail.
"Eeek!!" she screamed, for in the water she saw her hair change colors without warning. She took hold of a strand; perhaps the water as deceiving her. No, it had changed color, it had become blue! She did feel the strange magic about her stronger now, and it gave her a bit of a headache. She picked herself up, feeling heavy and weary. She made her way to a ledge, got down on her knees and looked down. There was nothing to be seen except for clouds and endless clouds.
"Where is this?" she said aloud.
"Miss?" someone said behind her.
She turned, startled. Above her stood a tall man with brown hair, donning a brown cape. He smiled a shifty smile.
"Who're you?" Terra said, almost rudely.
"I've heard that one before. Now come on, Schala, let's go. You're mother has been looking for you, and what did you do with your dress? You know Enlightened women aren't supposed to go around like that," he extended his hand.
Terra was getting bad vibes from him, and she didn't like his voice, so she stared at him, and tried to move away.
"I think that you're mistaken. I'm not Schala, I'm Terra. Have you seen a tall man with blond hair around here somewhere?" she looked around for an escape route.
"C'mon, Schala. Did you find a boyfriend? You know that your mother chose me for you to marry two years ago," he said, playing along with what he thought that she was doing.
"Listen sir, I've never seen you before in my life. Now, could you direct me to the nearest city?" she said, standing.
He crossed his arms and frowned.
"Look, Schala, I'm not playing around anymore. You're going to come with me to go and see your mother!" he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her.
"Hey! Let go of me!" she said, struggling. She thought about using her magic on him, but was afraid to try with all of the unknown energy hanging about. Her magic might backfire, or do nothing at all.
"No. The Queen's wrath is not one to toy with, and you know it darn well," he said to her, while pulling her along towards a mountain cave.
He forced her onto a glowing pad, and he followed. A light washed over them, and Terra found herself whisked away to a different cave. After a few of these rides, they arrived at a large building. It was about the size of a city. Terra could feel wild emanations of magic coming from inside the structure; her headache became stronger.
"You go in ahead of me now," he said to her.
She decided to go along with him, for she had nowhere to run. They entered the main gate. Inside was a center of activity: people going here and there, selling, buying, chatting, researching. They were all adorned in bright colors of clothing, and she felt magic within each of them.
"Where are we going?" Terra asked after a little while.
"I told you; your mother wants you. I never know the Queen's bidding," he said, sounding annoyed.
Before long they arrived in a throne room. There were many people in there as well, Terra assumed that they must be the court. There were three men standing before the throne at the end of the hall, and Terra could make out a woman sitting in it. That must be the Queen. The man led her down the hall, where in the rows of standing people there was space for two people. Those spots must have been for the man in brown and Schala, whoever she was.
"....The Ocean Palace is almost finished, my Queen. But..." one of the three men said.
Terra saw the Queen; she looked rather young for a Queen, about Clyde's age, and pretty, with flowing blue hair and a petite figure. She felt that the queen had very strong magical powers, almost as strong as her own powers.
"But what, Guru of Life?" the Queen asked, looking irritated.
"The Mammon Machine will overload down there. I'm afraid that it might awake Lavos, and destroy Zeal," he said, apologetically.
The Queens pretty face sported a horrible frown.
"Melchior, you old fool, Lavos would not destroy us, but lift us up to the highest level of consciousness, and our immortality would be obtained! The Mammon Machine will be moved as scheduled. Belthazar, how is the Blackbird coming along?" she asked, with tolerance.
"The Blackbird is near completion as well, your Highness. If I may say, I do agree with Melchior: The power is too much!" the old gentleman said. The Queen ignored him.
"Gaspar, what do you have to say?" she said, a malicious smile curling her lips.
"I cannot lie to you, my Queen. They tell the truth."
"Hmph. Haven't you anything to show me?"
"I... I don't, Majesty," he said.
Terra saw his fingers crossed behind his back. She giggled a bit, unable to stifle it. The Queen brought her attention in Terra's direction.
"Dalton! It's about time! Bring Schala over here at once!" she dictated.
Dalton, who was the man in brown, led Terra to the throne. Dalton bowed, and Terra copied him; she didn't know what to do in front of such a regal Queen.
"Schala? My Daughter, what have you done with your clothes? This is not appropriate for the court," the Queen said, gesturing to Terra's clothing.
"Uh...?" Terra could not think of a good excuse.
"My, Schala, I feel that your magic is in an extremely proficient state today! Have you been practicing, for I have never felt it this high before!" the Queen commented, with an almost jealous look upon her face.
"Yes, I have, my mother," Terra said. It seemed that Schala was the princess.
"Good. Assess for me the truth about the Mammon Machine and Lavos."
Terra did not have a clue what she was talking about, but went on with it anyway. Terra concentrated on the two words together, and then she received an image: A solitary island, calm water and a black ship in the sky. She relayed it on to the Queen, and afterwards, had a big headache.
"I see nothing bad in that. The Ocean Palace is going to fly, and we shall destroy the land below, making us a pure race. You may go now, Schala," the Queen said, satisfied. Dalton led her out, and towards her room.
"Good job, Schala. You sated the Queen well," he smiled.
Terra looked at him again. The only way she could think to describe him was deceptive.
"I think that what I saw was not good. I got bad vibes from it," she said.
"Huh? You must rest -- I'm sure all of that has used up quite a bit of your energy, and the Queen will probably want you to do some more visioning tomorrow," he turned and left her.
She walked on. She found that this part of the palace was less foreboding then the rest. She walked on, looking for her room. She found one room, and went in. Inside was a young boy with blue hair, blue clothes and a blue cat.
"Oops! Wrong room. Sorry," she said, but the blue boy ran up to her with a smile.
"Schala! How did you get over there? Where is your dress?" he asked her. When he got closer to her, she felt a familiar essence radiating from him, but she could not place a finger on when she had felt it before.
"Wait a second...." he said, drawing out the 'a' in 'wait.' He ran to a spot by his bed, and opened a door. "Schala? How can you be in there and out there at the same time? Whaddya mean that I'm lying? See for yourself!" he came back, and out from the secret door came a woman, dressed in blue, with blue hair, who looked exactly like Terra.
She took a good look at Terra, and her eyes widened.
"You must be Schala? I'm Terra. I've met your mother already, and Dalton. They all thought I was you," Terra said to her doppleganger.
"You're real? But how -- you look just like me..." she came closer.
"I thought the same thing, except for the hair. Mine is green... at least it usually is. The strange magic here turned my hair a different color," she said, with a bit of a frown; she liked her hair the way it was.
"You met mother? You helped with the hearing?!" Schala said, exasperated.
"Oh, yes. I just did what your mother told me to do, and it pleased her. You must have strong magic if you can usually channel thoughts. It gave me a headache."
"You channeled the whole thought?! I usually am only able to get a scattered image of what it is supposed to be. I.. .I sense a terribly strong magic emanating from you. It's about as strong as Lavos', but it is clean magic..." she closed her eyes.
"Schala, I like her. Why does she look like you?" the boy asked.
Schala looked at Terra.
"I think we need your help. Can you change your looks so as to not scare Janus?" Schala said telepathically. Terra nodded.
"Janus, it was a joke, look," said Schala, gesturing to Terra. Terra changed her looks by magic, so she resembled a different woman. "Go to bed, Janus. Alfador will keep you company." Schala picked up the little blue kitty and placed it on Janus' bed.
"Good night Schala, good night Terra," he said.
"Good night, Janus," Terra smiled.
"Good night," Schala said, closing the door behind her.
Locke was awakened by a soft touch to his face.
"Oooh, a man after all these years..." a feminine voice said above him. Before he opened his eyes, a wet, warm kiss came down on him, and he knew it was not Celes. He sat up very quickly, and the woman slid off of him.
"Who're you?" Locke said, flustered and confused. How had he gotten here? Oh yeah, the light pillar. He remembered just as the light subsided, he had fallen, and hit his head on the ground.
He rubbed a bump on the back of his head, and the woman stood up. She looked like a buxom nymph; she had long purple hair that went down to her knees. She had no shoes on, and she looked like she was in a pair of blue pajamas. She leaned over to look at him, and Locke could tell that she was not wearing any underwear.
"I'm a woman who hasn't had a man since she left Remia. C'mon, baby, I'm a woman, you're a man; let's do it!!" she jumped on him again, wrapping her legs around him, and planting kisses on him.
"G-get off! I'm engaged!" he said, standing up and peeling her off of him.
She jumped backwards lithely, and landed with a cute pout upon her face. Where was Celes?
"Oh pooh. Just my luck," she said, sitting down. She scrawled a doodle in the sand with a small letter-opener knife that she had pulled out of a pocket on her PJ's.
"Who are you anyway?" Locke said, wiping a bit of cold sweat from his brow. She looked up at him again, and smiled.
"I am Nivea J. Tag of Remia. I am a Lunar Remian, betrothed to Zemus. Are you sure you don't want to do it?" she said again.
"NO! You said that you were betrothed. Wait a minute... Remians? Lunars? Zem-! Have you seen an old man with a bowler hat around here anywhere?" Locke asked.
"What's an old man got in interest for you? I can be more interesting than any old fogie..." she prowled up to him again.
"Stop it! Did you see him?" he said, adamantly. Nivea gave another cute pout.
"He's over there, taking a leak in the next cavern," she pointed.
Locke finally realized that he was in a cavern illuminated by a series of torches. He walked in that general direction, and came across Gaspar coming back in his direction.
"Gaspar! Where are we? Where is Celes?" Locke said, with the woman behind him.
"I believe that we are in the first Era after Remia, but I am not sure if it is during or after the time of Zemus' mischief. Celes? She didn't arrive with us, but she should be around this Era somewhere, for the portals at the End of Time have a failsafe to send all people to the same Era when a malfunction occurs. It's just a matter of finding her," he said.
"Zemus? What did he do?" Nivea asked.
"Oh, we'd better look for her. Gaspar, this is Nivea. She's a Lunar Remian. I don't know how she got here... I woke up and.. found her here. She says that she is betrothed to Zemus."
"Actually, I don't even remember what I saw in the creep. Maybe it was because he was powerful. Hey, old man, are you married?" Nivea looked at him closely.
"It must be because Zemus had control over your mind. He's dead now, so you have nothing to worry about," Gaspar said, ignoring Nivea's last statement.
"I don't care about that. If I don't get a sc...."
Gaspar cut her off.
"I think that we have a reason to be here. Whatever has been setting the gates off has probably put us here to do something. Shall we be out of this cave now? There is probably something awaiting us," Gaspar said, starting to go on his way.
"Oho! Maybe there's another guy out there somewhere!! Whoopee!" Nivea said with a leap of joy. She hastily followed the old man.
"Whew. What's next?" Locke said, shaking his head.
They proceeded to the entrance of the cave, and found that it led out from a big range of mountains that seemed to curve around a valley for miles, then disappeared from sight behind a nearby forest. Locke gazed around the peaceful valley, and off in the distance he spotted a sign of civilization: the tops of castle towers.
They approached the place by nightfall. They found that it was a kingdom, with a town right below the castle. They headed in, looking for an inn. Inside the town there were still many busy people bustling through the streets. The town itself was a sight to behold even at dusk; there were many intricate water-ways, with shrubberies and grassy fields surrounding them. As they walked through the streets, Nivea turned her head to look at every man that passed by her, assessing which one would be the right one for her.
They found an inn, and went in.
"What town is this?" Locke finally asked a man in the inn. The man looked at him as if he were very hard to see.
"Were you raised on a farm, son? This is Toroia, the most beautiful city in the entire world!" the man said, then emitting what sounded like a donkey's bray as a laugh. Locke walked on to Gaspar, who was in the process of arranging a room. Locke looked around for their third member.
"Where's Nivea?" he asked the old man.
"I don't know," he said, and continued to hassle with the innkeeper.
Locke looked around the crowded lobby. He saw a flash of purple hair, and found her, right in front of a tall, muscular man. He had long, brown hair, and worn clothing. His face was tanned, but handsome. They didn't look bad together, he looked young, and Nivea definitely had not aged in her sleep. Locke was satisfied that she has found someone. He let her be. His thoughts turned to his own love life. He hoped that they would find Celes soon.
Edgar landed in a tree.
"Agggh?! Oof! Oh! Ow!" he shouted as he fell down through it's weak branches. He landed on the ground with a resounding thud.
"Ow...." he said, waiting for the pain to shoot through his bottom. "Ach... That's gonna leave a bruise.." he said to himself, rubbing the landing spot.
He slowly got up and looked around him; there was nothing but grass and rows of grove trees, and the Time Key. He picked it up, and examined it; it was still on the fritz, so he dusted it off, and placed it in his pouch. He would have to wait until it cooled off to fix whatever went wrong.
He could hear the sounds like music and laughter off in the distance. He walked towards the sounds. After making his way through many trees they abruptly opened to a park, no, a square. There were many people walking around, looking at booths set up around the square. There were games, and even a small carousel with laughing children riding on the painted, wooden horses. It seemed to be a benevolent setting, and no cause for alarm.
He walked into the crowd, observing their attire and ways. He had never seen a place like this back in his own world, so he figured that the Gate must have taken him to a different place in the time/space continuum. He wasn't sure which one that he had transcended, time or space, maybe both. The people there were not too much different than Edgar, so he assumed that he would blend in with the rest of the people. So he walked around, and it occurred to him that he had not arrived with Terra, Sabin or Cyan.
"Where are they?" he thought, "They should be somewhere in this same... whatever it is. I shouldn't stray far, for they may be looking for me as well," he continued to look around the square. He came up to one of the vendors, looking at weapons.
"Are you going to buy or just look?" the vendor said after a while. Edgar looked at him a bit blankly, not sure if he should answer. "Well?" the man looked at him again.
"No. I don't think I should; budget. I do admire your wares though, good sir. They are very well made," Edgar was doing his usual buttering-up. "Do you do appraisals?" Edgar inquired, tapping the hilt of his sheathed weapon.
"I do some. Do you wish to sell it?" the man asked him. Edgar shook his head.
"No, I just would like to know what sort of metal it is made from."
"I'll give it a shot, for ten gold pieces."
"Sure," Edgar dug into his pouch and found them at the bottom. He handed them to the man. "And here is the sword," he swiftly and deftly drew the light sword from its scabbard that hung on his belt. The swirling colors flashed in the sun. Edgar gently placed it down on the table, and the vendors eyes widened. He picked it up, and looked at it from every angle.
"Hmn. All's that I can tell you is that it is an extremely hard and beautiful substance. It is not full metal, but it is an alloy," the vendor looked at Edgar again.
Edgar's appearance was different than it used to be. In the place of his old ponytail which had been so lovingly chopped off by Terra, was simply his hair let down in the back, and the sides clipped up to the back. He had a few clumps of fly-away spikes as makeshift bangs framing his forehead that needed to be brushed back when they fell into his eyes. And, to his slight embarrassment, he was dressed in 'casual 'clothes, namely a tank top with a pair of ratty jeans, and his favorite boots. How he hated being caught in public dressed so crudely. At least he had the boots...
"You look familiar... Have you come to this booth before?" the vendor asked.
"No. This is my first time in this place. actually, I don't even know what the occasion for this festival is," Edgar admitted, taking his sword back.
"This is the Youth's Festival. It happens every other year, in honor of the young heroes who saved the world some five years ago. I thought everyone knew that..." he stopped, for he had noticed the name inscribed on the bottom of the hilt. "Melchior! Melchior made your sword?" the man was amazed.
"Er, I guess. That's the name on it. Who is he?"
"He is the greatest weponsmith around. Of course, his items are rare, for he does not often make weapons anymore. He could tell you what this sword is made out of."
"And where might I find him?" Edgar asked.
"He's here at the festival! He was visiting his friends, the ones who saved the world. He's very good friends with Janus and Crono especially...! That's who you look like! Crono, who is betrothed to the princess. Come to think of it, your sword looks a lot like Crono's sword..."
"Yeah," Edgar was getting tired of his talk. "Now could you be so kind as to direct me to this Melchior?"
"Oh, yes. He's up near Nadia's bell, in the central square. Have a good day, sir!" the man said to him.
"He's awfully friendly, maybe a bit too friendly. So where is this Melchior guy?" he muttered to himself as he walked through the crowded festival. He wanted to get out of the crowded areas where people would see him dressed like this!
He went up to the bell square. He looked around, and there was no one there.
"Fine directions he gave me," he went off to the right to see what was there. He passed a soda-guzzling game, and a bunch of dancers, but no one by the name of Melchior.
He found another place where people were watching a magic show.
"Oh, this ought to be funny," he thought, "Considering all of the magic I know myself." He sat down in the audience waiting for the show.
Out from the curtain of the stage came a short, mousy looking old man with a black cape and top hat. He did all of the cheap parlor tricks: pulling rabbits from hats, sawing the woman in half, making the egg disappear and so on.
"I'd like to now pick someone from the audience," the 'Magician' scanned the audience, and looked straight at Edgar. "You! The tall young man with the blond hair! Come on up, you're not afraid of a little hocus-pocus, are you?" The old man yelled at him.
Edgar just went along with it, trying to put aside his self-consciousness and went up to the stage.
"What's your name, son?" the man asked.
"Edgar. What's yours?" Edgar said sarcastically. The audience chuckled.
"How would you all like to see this handsome, virile, young man disappear in a puff of smoke?" the guy said to the audience, and they cheered. The old man took him aside.
"I have a spell that is supposed to backfire off of a person's soul aura. Since it reacts to magic powers, it only makes a puff of smoke on normal people like you. Then in the resulting cloud a trap door will open under you, and you will fall through."
That alarmed Edgar.
"What would it do to someone with strong magical powers?" he asked, uneasy.
"Just explode bigger... and maybe some unpredictable side effects. Now stand here. That's where the trap door is," he turned to the audience, "Now, I, Melchior the Great will make him disappear!"
That's who he was!
"Wait, I was looking for you--" he was interrupted by the magic words.
"Boomo doomo mooho magico refiro-do!" And the spell was invoked.
A very loud kaboom noise could be heard all throughout the kingdom of Guardia.
Relm found herself on the ground. She realized that she was not in the same place as she had been before, for the trees were different, and the mist was gone. She looked around, noticing that no one was with her.
"Dad? Strago? Grandpa Roland? anyone??? Hello!!!!" she called out. The only thing that she heard was the echo of her own shout. "Oh! I have the Birdie Flute! I can call him from anywhere!" she said, and quickly went to fetch her pack from her shoulder, and it was gone. "Oh no, I must have lost it in the portal! Oh crackers, now I'm lost in a strange land all alone and without supplies. Not even paper and pen," She knew that she was up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
After about an hour of wandering about aimlessly through the forest she had found herself in, she got an idea. She knew that her magic powers allowed her to bring elaborate paintings to life, that maybe she could slightly animate a crude picture. She drew a picture of a compass in a slab of birch bark with a white rock.
Then, with the final mark, she said, "Compass, show me the direction to the nearest human person." She thought real hard for a moment, and then the needle of the picture-compass moved sharply in one direction. "It worked!!" she yelled and immediately went off in that direction.
She kept on moving for what seemed like hours. It was getting dark, and she was hungry, not to mention tired. She checked her compass again; it still pointed in the same direction. She continued until she couldn't see the compass well, and rested.
She had her chin on her knees and began to cry.
"I'm never getting out of this forest! I'm hungry, and I want my dad. Why did that stupid tree-woman send me here to starve in the cold." She thought as she sat. What she didn't notice in the dark, that the compass had moved, for the person it had honed in on was getting very close. Relm was just about to fall asleep when she heard a rustle from behind. She stood up, and tried to look into the darkness. All that she could make out were shadows. Then one thing turned up in her mind; magic!
She didn't know any light spells, nor did she know how to invent spells the way that Terra had, so she thought of the next best thing.
"Super triple valence fire!!!!" she shouted, pointing her fingers to the sky. A rather large burst of flame brightened the sky to near daylight. The spell took a few seconds to fizzle, so she glanced to where the sound had been, and saw a man's figure standing there. She could not make out any detailed features, but it was a male figure, tall and lanky.
"Who are you?" she asked when the noise from the fireball ceased. The man walked closer, and turned on a lantern he had in his hand.
"I thought that you were a Rogue, but when I saw the magic, I knew that you weren't," he said with a smile. Relm now realized that this was no man, but a teenage boy who looked hardly older than she was. That helped her relax. "I guess you must be a Mysidian too. I thought I knew everyone in town. I'm Palom Regor, nice to meet you. What's a girl like you doing way out here?" he said, finally pausing.
"Hi, uh, I'm not a Mysidian or whoever they are, and I'm trying to find the people I was traveling with," she said, getting a good look at his face, which was about the only thing that she could see clearly. He was cute.
"Not a Mysidian and you have magic like that? Are you a Black Mage from Baron then? I've heard of Baronian parties hanging around here, because of the monsters. Speaking of which, we should head towards town. You don't want to meet up with any of these new monsters, or have to face a Rogue. They're brutal, and there's no telling what they'd do to a pretty girl like yourself. Come on," he said, beckoning her to come closer. Relm noticed that he talked too much but it didn't matter; he called her pretty! She followed him, and continued talking.
"I'm not from Baron either. I've never heard of any of these places that you have spoken of. I'm from Thamasa, the town of the Mage Warriors. Ever heard of it?"
"No, I never have. You look like you could use a new set of clothes," he said, looking at her.
Relm looked down at her own clothes; the material was shredded in parts, and dirty in others. Her blouse collar was torn, so her neckline plunged to the lower cleavage. She pulled the torn edge up to cover what could be seen down into. They continued on.
"Have you seen any people going through your town today?" she asked.
"I wouldn't know, since I've been out all day. I could ask around when we reach Mysidia. Who was in your group?"
"My father, Clyde, my grandfather, Roland, old man Strago, the butler, Sam, my dad's dog, Interceptor, and my pet.. uh.. Mana Dragon, Birdie. They would be hard to miss, especially with Birdie around," She told him.
"Ok. I'll go, while you can get some new clothes. we'll be there in a few minutes." he said, pointing to a lighted tower that could be seen above the trees.
Relm sighed. She was hungry and tired, so she calmed the conversation as they headed into Mysidia.