Life, Time, and Reason Divided Section 2, Part 1
In the year nine hundred ninety-five anno Domini
Medina Village? questioned Melchior, as if speaking the words was a difficult task. You got it, old man, replied the blue imp.
But-but-but, wh-where is the kingdom of Zeal?
Zeal? Never heard of it. The only kingdom here is the Kingdom of Guardia, and thats near one of those human towns uh, Truce, I think, um, on that one island.
Melchiors eyes wandered off to the right. Zeal gone, he realized, feeling great sorrow. He lowered his head and sighed. The kingdom must have been destroyed after Lavos arrived, after we were drawn into the portals Gaspar, Belthasar, and I, and Janus too? Janus was also standing so close. I suppose you were cast in as well, my boy. Believe me, Janus, I would have saved you if I could have, but I was pulled into the gate before I could do a thing, and
Hello? the green imp asked impatiently, trying to get Melchiors attention. Did you hear what my friend here just said? Calling old man: Come in, old man.
Melchior came back to reality. Huh?
The imp uttered an annoyed groan. I said, Did you hear what my friend just said?
What? Oh, oh yes, Im sorry. I was just Melchior stopped in mid-sentence, as a new thought entered his mind. You said that Truce was a human town. What is this village then? And and what are you? He studied the two creatures before him, observing their physical features. If Melchior had glanced quickly and then looked away, he could have mistaken these beings for human children, or dwarves of some kind! He almost cracked a smile just looking at them. How silly and dream-like these midget men seemed! If the creatures standing there surely existed, then what were they? For if they were truly human, their features had been distorted in the most unforgiving way. The abnormally large bald heads they had, the pointed ears, those constant frowns that seemed to be permanently painted on their faces, and those beak-like mouths would easily scream the word outcast in a human society. Even their human-like clothes could not conceal their strange appearances. But something else made Melchior suspicious of these characters. Perhaps it was all of these traits, or maybe the odd color of their skin that told Melchior these individuals definitely werent human. So what were they?
I know you are not human. And you cant be of the Nu.
Nu? asked the blue imp, slightly confused. Of course not. We werent born yesterday or anything.
Melchior shook his head. No, no, not that kind of Nu. A Nu is a large blue creature who um seems to sleep a lot, actually
The blue imp nudged his friend with an elbow. Hey, that sounds like Heckran! he joked. The two mystics giggled.
Melchior let out a sigh. A Nu is a sort of servant creature, he explained. There were many where I came from. Now, please, of what species might you be?
Aww, well, Heckran doesnt serve anyone but himself, the green creature said, the words very much unneeded.
We are imps, the blue imp informed Melchior.
Melchior frowned. Imps?
Yes, the blue imp sighed, seeing Melchiors disapproving stare. He lowered his gaze to the floor. We are the lowest members of the mystic race. So we get to have the privilege of being bossed around by the other mystics. In fact, some of us imps serve Ozzie VIII. So go ahead, snipe away at our very puny existence.
Melchiors jaw dropped. He uttered a cry of disbelief. And why should I? he said, his voice rising. And why should you be treated any less equal to the rest of your kind? You are one in the same. You shouldnt be cast down just because you seem a little different or are smaller or seem to lack a certain ability others have Melchiors eyes dimmed again as he thought about the Earthbound citizens. He shook his head. No matter whom or what you may be, you are still capable of so many things.
Hmm. Well, gee, old man, you sound like you can relate, remarked the blue mystic. But thanks anyway.
I have bore witness to such injustices, Melchior whispered, lowering his face again. He let out a long sigh. A long, uncomfortable moment passed.
Um, hey, old man, would you would you like to go to Truce? offered the blue imp.
Melchior lifted his head. Excuse me?
One of the human towns. You cant stay here.
Well He looked at his green friend, then faced Melchior. The rest of the mystics arent as inviting as we are. Ill assume you dont know about the war between the mystics and the humans.
Well, actually, no.
Oh. Well, the mystics are still bitter over their defeat many, many years ago hundreds of years ago, in fact. They still hold a grudge against the humans, against any human at all. And you are no exception.
Not much difference from the experimenting-turned-tyranny of Zeal, sighed Melchior.
The green imp gave his friend a strange look. There goes that Zeal word again, he muttered, raising what would have been an eyebrow.
Melchior looked at the two mystics again. You mentioned a leader? he asked.
Who, Ozzie VIII? the blue creature said.
Oh. Ozzie seems to be the boss of this town, answered the blue imp, rolling his eyes. Just because his ancestor was this famous mystic, he thinks he can just order us around!
Yeah, threw in the green imp. Just because youre related to someone important doesnt make you special or anything! I mean, yeah, what an honor it must be, but if we were going to take orders from anyone, it should be from a descendant of Magus.
A look of confusion covered Melchiors face. Magus?
Yeah, answered the blue mystic. His face lit up. Magus was the leader of the mystics, like, four hundred years ago, not Ozzie. Ozzie was Magus general.
Melchior seemed intrigued. Magus? A wizard?
And he had no offspring?
Thats just itnobody knows. No one knows what happened to him. If he does have any children, they sure dont live around here. But there is one thing we remember him bya statue erected in our towns square.
A statue? Melchior was quite curious. Why why am I so drawn to that name? He wondered. May I see it? he asked.
The imps exchanged looks once again, then looked back at Melchior. Um I dont know if thats such a good idea, the blue mystic told Melchior. I mean, you really should get out of this town as soon as possible. You are no match for a horde of bitter Henches.
Yes, I realize that, said Melchior. But I would like to see the statue if I could.
It was silent for a while. Mmm uh um well I guess I guess we could go with you, said the blue imp reluctantly. Perhaps we could make up a story about you.
Humans hanging out with mystics is definitely not a common thing, let alone an acceptable thing.
Melchior nodded. I understand. They exited the room. Then, as they began to walk away from the house, Melchior suddenly stopped them to ask them something. Hey, wait, he said. You already know my name, even though you choose not to call me by it.
Oops, sorry, old man, chuckled the green imp.
Whats your point? asked the blue imp.
Well, I want to know your names. So I can actually call you by something.
Both imps looked down again. Well, started the blue imp, the thing is, we arent considered important enough here to have names of our own. Usually the Henches or Ozzie just call us by our color. So I guess you could call me Blue and you can call him Green. He uttered a dry, bitter laugh. Its so funny, those Henches, he scoffed. I mean, they see it important enough to classify us imps into two groups, and yet they dont see any point in giving us names. He kicked a lone pebble lying on the ground. Sometimes I hate being an imp.
A pause. Melchior gave them a sympathetic look. I see, he finally said. Well, I dont want to call you by something you hate to hear.
Silence. And then, Melchior detected a noise in the background, a somewhat muffled sound. Low, steady voices carrying on a chorus of indistinct words. Um, what is that noise? he asked, looking around him.
A never-ending chant of worship, answered Blue. He beckoned the old human with a tiny hand. Come on, youll see it.
That chanting gets louder and louder Melchior observed the pale yellow brick walls of the towns square. Hmm these walls are quite primitive to the building structures of Zeal, he commented. In fact, most of the culture here is behind that of Zeals. The imps, who were walking alongside Melchior, stopped. Blue turned to face Melchior, a mixed look of hurt and confusion on his face. Well, geez, mister, if youre just going to insult our culture he started. Melchior looked down at the imps. What? Oh, I am sorry, he said, his face growing warm. I didnt mean it that way. I just meant--
Yeah, we know, the imp responded. He turned his head and looked straight ahead. Oh look, there it is. He gestured to the statue.
So that is who is performing the chanting, Melchior realized, staring at the group of five creatures circling the statue in an eerie march, carrying on their chant. Melchior fixed his gaze upon the statue. How strange, he thought. The man in the sculpture stood there in a strong, confident pose. The majesty of the finely sculpted figure was enough to captivate ones mind, to mesmerize ones soul. The way he held firmly his sharp, gleaming scythe, the way he seemed to look down on his worshippers and admirers, the way his long hair appeared to slowly hover about him his darkened countenance almost concealed that certain sadness in his eyes, that lost look of sorrow.
And why am I so drawn to him? Melchior wondered. Theres just something about him something uncannily familiar
The five mystics continued with their chanting. Melchior could barely make out what they were saying. He focused on the imps near the statue. There were three of them just standing there in front of the statue, not circling it, but also doing a chant of their own.
Hut! Sir Magus Their child-like voices, however, were dominated by the mighty Henches powerful, deep bellow.
Melchior stepped dangerously closer. One of the marching creatures, a diablo, finally noticed the man, and stopped dead in his tracks. Gargoyle-like in appearance, his entire body, except for his violet bat-like wings, was a deep shade of grey. His pointed ears twitched in surprise at Melchior. A second mystic, a Hench, kept walking along behind the diablo, and accidentally slammed his large mass into the creature, almost knocking him over. Both mystics grunted. The Henchs helmet went flying off onto the ground, revealing a bald, sickly orange head. The monster began to growl as he bent down to retrieve his blue cap. Placing the helmet on his head, the Hench turned to face his friend, a scowl on his face. Whats wrong with you? he demanded, brushing off his blue shirt. Whyd you stop?
The diablos piercing eyes refused to leave Melchior. Human! he hissed. Hearing that word, the rest of the mystics broke away from their chant and rushed over, forming a semicircle around the old man, even the three imps. Expressions of utter contempt and disgust covered their faces. With the stench of hatred in the air, a very unpleasant moment passed. Finally the first diablo spoke up.
What are you doing here in our village, human? he asked coldly.
Even though Melchior had been used to such treatment, he was still quite threatened by the creatures unfeeling words. His face turned slightly red. Uh, um, I-I-I, uh, I j-just wanted to see the statue, he stammered.
If the diablo had an eyebrow, he probably would have raised it. A statue? This is no mere statue, despicable human. This is a monument dedicated to our almighty leader Magus.
Yeah, a Hench added. And since you dont seem to know jacky about Magus, Im gonna be a good mystic and provide you with a nice little history lesson. You see, four hundred years have passed since Magus commanded the Mystics, and waged a war against the humans. When Lavos is awakened, all humans are doomed! He let out a maniacal laugh.
Melchior uttered a frightened gasp. L-L-Lavos?!?!
Realizing that the name alone scared the old man, the other mystics decided to contribute their share of comments, deliberately overusing the name of Lavos. Yeah, a diablo added. Long ago, the all mighty Magus brought forth the all-powerful Lavos. And since you humans are nothing but insignificant ants to him, we worship him as well. And, another Hench started, As soon as Magus creation, the mighty Lavos, awakens from his long sleep, the human race is doomed. Doomed, I say! So start praying, human! The rest of the group, excluding the two imps acquainted with Melchior, broke into a hideous laughter.
Melchior, momentarily conquering his fear of the mystics, instantly became outraged. No! he shouted, fuming at them. This is madness! You must stop this at once!
The laughter died down immediately, and Melchior found himself staring into the angry faces of the mystics again. Another silent moment passed. You dare to oppose us? snarled a diablo, the beady eyes burning into Melchiors.
With the fear sweeping back over him, Melchiors heart was now pounding in his throat. Er, uhh
A feeble human like you?! one of the Henches threw in, snickering. You want a piece of us? Because we definitely want a piece of you or better yet a sickening trail of drool began to trickle down his chinpieces of you for our meal tonight! The mystics chortled again.
Melchior let out a gasp. Wh, wha ?!
You heard us, growled the Hench. He turned to his friends. Come on, he beckoned to them. Help me prepare this human, hehehe The other mystics obediently advanced towards Melchior. Melchior only stood there paralyzed in fright.
No, dont do it!
Everyone stopped to look at the being that had made the outburst. Blue ran to Melchiors side, as if to ward off the evil-natured group. The imp had no idea as to why he had come to the humans defense, considering it was forbidden for man and mystic to be friends, or at least by mystic belief. But for some reason, he felt he had a duty to fulfill, even if it was for a human.
The five large monsters glared down at the imp. Why are you trying to save this human? a Hench demanded of the tiny creature. A drop of sweat trickled down the side of the imps head, and he swallowed hard. He knew he had to think fast. Oh, um, well, because because Heckran will be mad if you kill this man, he hastily explained. A look of cynicism crossed the Henchs face as he coldly asked, And why would Heckran be mad? Uh b-b-because the human is a sacrifice for him and the human wanted to see the statue of Magus, which was his final request we granted him, Blue spat out. Melchior almost fainted, but realized the imp was up to something.
The group eyed the imp suspiciously. Um okay, the Hench reluctantly agreed. Hurry up and get this thing out of here. You and Green here have a shift at Ozzies soon, so you cant be gone too long. Ill personally be escorting you to the cave to stand guard, so dont even try any funny stuff. GOT IT?!
The imp wanted to leap for joy, but knew he had to hold himself back. He gave Melchior a look, and Melchior nodded once to indicate he understood. Then he, the two imps, and the Hench turned around, exited the square, and began their trip to Heckran Cave.
Aww, quit stalling around already, human, the Hench complained. Walk faster! I dont care if youre walking with a cane, either. Blue, go check on the old man. The imp obediently hurried to Melchiors side, relieved he had the opportunity to explain to Melchior his plan.
Melchior looked down at the creature. So are you going to tell me what youre trying to do? he asked, quite curious. The imp nodded and lowered his voice to insure the Hench trudging a safe distance behind could not make out his words. Ive got a plan, old man, began the blue creature. You see, theres a secret passageway to the other island in this cave. At the end, you have to jump in the water, and seconds later the current will pull you to Truce. Dont worry. You wont drown or anything. But we have to get past Heckran, and I can only pray hes sleeping now Melchior waited a while before answering. Well, even if this plan fails, I thank you anyway for making the effort to help me, Melchior told him. You truly are valuable beings. Um, thanks, old man, said Blue, surprised at the compliment. He then looked behind to check on the grumpy looking Hench. Uh we have to speed up here before that guy gets really mad, the imp informed Melchior. Hes already having a bad day. Oh, yes, Im sorry, said Melchior. Ill try walking a little faster, but its hard walking with this staff. Melchior picked up his pace, almost tripping over the cane at times, the imps giving him occasional sympathetic looks.
At the entrance of Heckran cave
Okay, the large, grouchy mystic said to the imps. Ill be standing here. If youre not out in ten minutes, Im coming in there to claim my dinner. Now scram! The imps and Melchior practically scurried into the cave. But as soon as they entered inside
Eh? Human! a voice yelled. A gasp was heard. Huh? a second voice shot from the dark. Where? A short pause. Oh I see it. The human, the second voice growled. The first voice turned menacing. Any human that dares enter this cave will pay with his life! the infuriated being snarled. Death to the Mystics enemies! Melchior only stood there once again frozen in fear as the two individuals stepped out of the darkness to show themselves. Two Henches. How do you want to die, human? the first threatened. He and his friend laughed uproariously as if the offer had been a joke.
Melchior felt a sudden stab of pain in his chest. Too frightened to cry out, he only shut his eyes and prayed it would be over soon. Ohh my poor heart, he thought. I hope you can hold out. My God, I dont know how much more of this I can take
W-wait! stammered the blue imp. You gotta let us through! This humans for Heckran. The Henches glared at the imp the way the other mystics had in Medina Square. Hmph, said the first Hench. Ill tell you what. You give the human to us, and well take him to Heckran.
What?! roared the first Hench. Why not?! Are you trying to say you dont trust us, you scrawny little imp?!
Blue swallowed hard and uttered a nervous laugh. Um, H-Heckran wants us to do it, he mumbled, his voice unsteady. H-h-he kn-knows we wont try to e-eat him. Both large creatures looked at each other and laughed again. Hehehe, thats right! chuckled the second Hench. If we took the human wed be tempted to kill im and grill im! He looked down at the imps, an ugly grin on his face. All right, hehe. Go ahead.
The hardened knot in Melchiors chest finally relaxed. He let out a sigh of relief. Green, startled at the noise, whirled around to face the old man, mouthing the words, Are you okay? Melchior nodded at the imp, and the Henches stepped aside to let them through.
Along the way, the trio encountered many an agitated monster. Blue had to help fend off the little octoblushes, to keep them from attaching their round pink bodies, and all eight sticky legs, to Melchiors head. The cave bats were also a problem, behaving in a similar manner as the octoblushes. The armadillo-type creatures, tempurites, did not attack Melchior, but rather, buried their sharp needle noses into the ground, stabbing at the dirt with their mantis-like appendages, furious with the fact that there was a human being in the area. Large roly-poly creatures occasionally charged toward Melchior, only to be blocked off by the green imp. Even the two tan-colored vases, the Jinn bottles, swelled up to immense proportions to show their disapproval. Towards the end of the cave, Melchior was amazed he had made it through alive.
Now we just have to walk through this shallow stream here, the blue imp explained to Melchior. There is only one path leading to the end. They turned and zigzagged through the waters, following the crooked path, finally coming upon a small set of stairs. But as soon as they reached the top
Oh man, its Heckran! Blue choked out in a panicked whisper. Melchior almost gasped himself, but held himself back for fear of announcing his presence to the giant dangerous-looking creature. Green stepped up to the creature. Hey, wait, guys, he said. Its okay. Hes sleeping. Blue, who had been holding his breath, exhaled. Oh, good. He turned to the old man. Come on, we gotta hurry. The exit is right through there. He pointed at the opening, which supposedly lead to the next room. Melchior took one last glance at Heckran, who was curled tightly in a ball next to the entrance, and shuddered. As if to answer Melchior, the large blue mystic grunted, and he tightened his claws into fists. All three entered through the opening.
There it is, the blue imp whispered. Now you have to jump in there, and youll end up right on this little island, where I think this one inventor guy lives. They walked up to another opening, where a whirlpool was. Okay, now you jump in. Melchior hesitated. The imps gave him an odd look. What is it, old mauh, Melchior? Blue asked, confused. Dont you want to get out of here? Melchior nodded. Yes, he said. Its just that I dont know how to thank you. Ahh, you can thank us by hopping in here, but one thing, you can never return, answered Green. Oh, Ill return, Melchior informed them. I will find a way to come back if I want. In fact I may want to stay nearby, I dont know. Something about this place makes me want to stay here. Well, not in this cave, but near it. The green imp cast Melchior a strange look. You have lost your mind, he remarked, sighing. Well, okay, old man. If you want to come back, then youll have to take a ferry here. It costs extra, but if you really want to come back, thats the way. And if you dont know what a ferry is, then ask around town when you get there. Melchior nodded again. Thank you both so much. I dont know how Ill ever--
Aha! I knew you little twerps were up to something!
Get going, old man! Blue commanded Melchior, wide-eyed, not needing to face the individual to know who had yelled at them. Melchior clutched his staff and slipped in. He instantaneously disappeared from view.
BLUE! GREEN! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOURE DOING?! shrieked the Hench, running up to them. His jaw dropped. He then glared down at the two imps, fuming. Why you littleOOH! If Ozzie didnt need you now, Id have Heckran clobber ya! Now lets get going! He reached down and grabbed a hold of their ears, leading them out of the area in that fashion. The imps wriggled in pain. Oh, stop your struggling, said the Hench. Youre only making it worse for yourself.
A loud yawn. The Hench and the imps found themselves facing the giant Heckran. Wh-whats going on here? Heckran mumbled sleepily. I found these little guys sneaking a human out of here, trying to pass it off as a gift to you, explained the Hench. WHAT?! Heckran was shocked. He stared at the imps coldly. Grrr thats the last time I ever sleep out here!
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