Chrono Trigger: The Planeswalkers Chapter 34
By Mox Jet
1999 AD, SSAF HQ
She was surrounded by the familiar flames, beating at her body. Their heat was stronger than usual, but she faced it unafraid. She had become to accustomed to the dream to be bothered by it anymore. Up ahead, the same image of Jack, telling her that he'd take care of it and then walking off into the flames. His long blue hair hung down to his waist. He drew the sword from his back and it grew and sprouted those wings. It was the same as it always was.
But, as he exited the flames, it became different. Abruptly the flames disappeared, and they were in a room. He wasn't walking into the fire anymore. He was opening the door to the room and leaving. Where was she? She was here, in a bed. The world outside of the room was quiet. They were not in the midst of Armageddon. It wasn't that time yet. Or, was it after that time? Why was the room so familiar? Could it be that this was a vision of further into the future? A new dream, perhaps?
Then, recognition hit as she realized where the room was. It was her room. It was the room that she was sleeping in. Her unconscious was giving view into the realm where her sleeping form lay. Jack was leaving the room? Was he leaving her? Was this happening now? Was she even dreaming anymore? He heart beat faster and faster as she suddenly felt feelings of abandonment. Jack was leaving, but to take care of what? Why would he leave her?
"The Lavoid!" she shouted inside of her head. And then, she woke up.
Sarah shot up in bed, covered in the same cold sweat that encased her after all of her dreams. She was wrapped in the covers. She looked over to her right. Jack wasn't there. She scanned the room to find him gathering his stuff and pulling his boots on.
"You were leaving, weren't you?" Sarah questioned him pathetically. "You were just going to leave me here."
"You had that dream again, didn't you?" Jack asked.
"More to it this time," She said. "I saw you leave me again. You went to fight it by yourself. That's what you were just about to do, isn't it?"
"Sarah, I "
"You would do that to me?" she asked in anger. "How could you just leave like that with me and the others still waiting here."
"It's to dangerous," he said, closing his eyes. "I don't want to endanger you. I'm the only one who can stop this thing. The rest of you "
"So you're saying we're useless?" she asked sadly. "That we can't be any help to you at all? Didn't it mean anything when we said we'd fight by you to the end? When I said I'd fight by you to the end? That didn't mean anything? Can't you hear me Jack? Can you listen to what I'm saying? Or do you just not understand?"
"Not understand what? I want to keep you from danger," he said weakly. "Is that something so wrong? Aren't I doing the right thing?"
"I want to fight beside you!" she said. "No mater how it comes out in the end, I want to be there with you! Can't you understand? I don't care if I die, if I do it for you. I just want to be with you. I'm only safe and I'm only happy when I'm around you. I'm not trying to hard on you, but to just leave me here for the sake of protecting me is the coward's way out. You're not a coward Jack. I know you."
"Don't you understand what it means when you love someone?" she asked. "It's painful to be torn from the one you love, Jack. Don't do that to me. I don't want to be away from you "
Jack was silent. He walked over and sat down on the bed.
"I'm sorry " he said finally. "I was being selfish." He laid down beside her. "Maybe I could just take you," he said hopefully. "You could cast magic support and I think I'd be fine with just your help. I don't need to put the others in-"
"You can't do that to them, either, Jack," Sarah said. "They want to help you too. To do that to them " He sighed.
"Yeah, I guess I knew that, too." Sarah waited a moment before speaking.
"Come on," she said. "We'll get ready together."
"I had a feeling I'd find you out here," Rayith said. "It seems a place a Knight would go." She had found Aragorn standing on one of the terraces arched out from the main building at SSAF. He had been watching the sunrise when Rayith had found him. She probably just wanted to talk. That was fine. Some people removed the pre-battle nerves by talking. Rayith might have been one of them. Aragorn knew that he preferred silence, but he would help his young comrade for the time being.
"It's awfully pretty," Aragorn said. "The sunrise, that is. I rarely got to see it in peace. Any time we were up before the sun, it was always because we were marching to battle or training for battle. It wasn't often that we actually got to look at it." Aragorn sighed. "I wonder what I'll do now that the fighting is over."
"Are you going back?" Rayith asked. Aragorn nodded.
"I believe so, anyway," he said. "I feel that is my place. I would be there now, but I cannot just let an atrocity like the one Lavos has committed go unpunished. It is part of the Knight's Code that justice be delivered, whatever the cost. But why did you ask? Will you stay in this time?"
"I don't know," Rayith admitted. "I've always felt like I've been without a real drive in life. I guess the desire to fight Magus was always there, but even that's gone now. I don't think I have anything to do back in our time. I don't know if Jack and Sarah want to keep me around. I guess they'll go back to school after it's all over. Maybe I could live in this time. I could find a job. The others could help me adjust. This time is more interesting, you know?"
"Are you being truthful to yourself?" Aragorn asked. Rayith sighed.
"I'm not sure. Maybe maybe I just don't want to go back because I don't want to have to worry about being around the spirits of my parents and my townsfolk. Maybe I see this time travel thing as an escape."
"You have to be true to yourself, Rayith. If you're the only one that you're fooling, then you may as well be fooling everyone else."
"I understand," she said. "I don't know what I'll do. Let's make it through the day first, right?"
"Assuredly," Aragorn agreed. "But talking helps calm the mind. Battle requires a calm mind. If the mind is lost in itself, the battle will be lost as well."
"I guess you're right."
"I've had a lot of experience, young one," Aragorn said. "At your age, I already had received war honors and was on my way to becoming a General. That's not the path for everyone, mind you, but my opinions are ones forged from many a year in battle."
"I'll do well to heed them," Rayith said.
"I just hope I can help."
"You will go back, won't you?" she asked again. Aragorn nodded. "I don't want to be alone, Aragorn," she admitted. "I've been alone my entire life, you know? And now, I've finally found companions, friends who can help me. I've found some people that would try to save your life when if it came to that. I've never experienced that before. Going back seems to be a return to how it was. And I like it the way it is now. The past months have been hectic, but there's always been companionship in it. I didn't really worry where my next meal was coming from and who I would have to mug to get it. Those thing just didn't matter as much."
"It's a powerful thing to know you have friends that care about you," Aragorn said. "I lost that feeling for awhile. You would do yourself a injustice to allow yourself to lose it as well."
"I hope I don't lose it."
"Then do what you feel is right," he said. "You'll end up in the place you need to be."
Tristan hunched over the workbench. Glancing at his watch, it read 6:30. On the table in front of him saw the Dreamblade. Or, it was a slightly disassembled Dreamblade at any rate. He was hoping he could do what Jack has asked him to. All that required was replacing the frame and the blade with the polymorphic allow that the fusion guns were made of. This way, Jack would be able to form the blade into whatever form he wished, with Doreen's help, anyway.
"So, Doreen," Tristan said. "You think this will work?"
"Absolutely," Doreen's voice said. "Lathain designed the plan, did he not?" Tristan chuckled.
"So what is it with this guy?" he asked. "Is he suddenly some sort of perfect being?"
"Not quite," Doreen said. "Lathain still has much to learn in his own rite. His abilities have not completely developed yet."
"Uh-huh," Tristan said, somewhat sarcastically. "Well, as long as he can beat this thing, I guess it's okay if he has these 'super powers.' I just hope he knows how to control them."
"How do you think you will fight Lavos tomorrow?" Doreen asked. Tristan shrugged.
"I don't really know," he admitted. "I'm taking a guess that the ability of anyone other than the Great Jack McKlane to damage him will be limited. I'll provide fire support, most likely. Sarah and Rayith can give magic support. To be honest, though, I don't know what Aragorn will do. He can probably cause some damage with that big 'ole sword of his. He'll probably stand on the front line with Jack."
"Make sure you watch out for Jack," Doreen said.
"Huh?" Tristan asked. "Isn't he powerful enough to take care of himself?"
"I mean more or less in a mental way," Doreen said. "When his power does come into full fruition, he will need a lot of mental support. He trusts you. Stick with him. Make sure you give your help in the endeavors he goes through. He'll need your help and probably more than you realize."
"You're an odd one, Doreen," Tristan said. "The scary part is though, I somehow get the feeling that you're right."
Half an Hour Later
Jack walked down the hallway with intrepid determination. The other four followed him, forming somewhat of a V as they traversed SSAF HQ toward the Main Hall where Jack would teleport them directly to the Day of Lavos. He had decided to cut out the middle step of the End of Time, feeling that his power was great enough to get right where he needed them to be. The only problem was that they needed to be in the time after the Jack and Sarah in that time got sent to the year 600 AD. Tristan worried that it might create a paradox if two the same existences occurred in the same point in the time stream. And then, all semblance of a plan would fall into disarray. At that point, Jack knew that it would probably come down to just him and the Lavoid, a fate he had come to accept.
Fully armed, each person in the group tried their hardest not to show the fears they were dealing with on the inside. If one showed the slightest bit of uncertainty, the others might lapse into it as well. Confidence was the key to mental victory. Aragorn had told them all that at one point.
They walked through the white hallways, rounding a corner and passing under a large archway leading into the large main room of the HQ. It was a room about ten stories high with a large atrium on the top. The archway, which they had just passed under, was on a landing about four stories up, the connecting point of two large staircases that spread out from either side, climbing down to the first floor. At the base of the staircases, what was probably the remainder of SSAF stood gathered to greet the time travelers. There was a semi-wide path which they would walk through before entering the final time gate.
As they progressed down the stairs and came into the path formed down the middle of the SSAF Assembly, the entire group saluted the Travelers. Walking through and past the group, the five of them stood in a small clearing near the main entrance. Jack, realizing that some sort of oration was in order, turned around to address the crowd.
The crowd grew silent, knowing he would speak. He waited a moment, trying to formulate his speech. He turned briefly to look at Sarah who nodded to him. He would go on with it. They needed some to hear him talk. They all knew about him and his power at this point. He was the only human with the Force Tech degree of over 50. Information spread quickly. He looked back at the crowd, and began to talk.
"Fellow survivors," he said. "We stand before you today with our world on the brink of destruction. Our cities have been destroyed and our populations forced into poverty. Many lives were lost on the day Lavos attacked, and even death may have seemed a better option than the conditions we live in now. We have suffered heavy casualties against a beast which, until this day, we have been unable to fight against."
"He has pushed us into submission. We have keeled over before him. All that we held dear to us was destroyed. Looking into the numbers, the general survival rate of the population was about a mere 8%. What took us thousands of years to build up has been out and out destroyed by an attack that took a total of three minutes from start to finish. We have been unable to fight him because of his overwhelming power, both magical and physical."
"But we are going to fight against it anyway, now. It is not a fight for supremacy or control of land. These things are what we have fought for in the past. This is not a battle for this. This is a battle against extinction. Should we fall here, the human race stands little hope and will only be greeted by a dim future. Such is the fate that destiny has dealt us. We had no control over what happened. The only thing we have control over now is what will come."
"And what will come is what will come. All will be decided not by you all, but the few of us that you see before us. I understand that you all will only be able to wait until something comes bringing news of the fight which is about to unfold. Only when we come back alive or dead will you be able to know."
"But fear not for us. We are the only ones who can fight it, the ones who possess magic. But also be not apathetic towards a fight which you cannot participate in. Rather, lend us your spirits and your hope so that we may grow stronger. We are fighting for this world. Without the world and the people that inhabit it, we would have nothing to come back to, victory or defeat."
"So let your voices and hope remain with us, for humanity will not bow down calmly into the night. We will not fall prey to an alien menace that enters our world and takes over without retaliation. The time for such retaliation is now in order. Cast him down unto the pits of hell. No longer will we stand for submission. The history we have been dealt will be rewritten and destiny's sullen mockery of us shall be wrought with destruction! We will not submit! We will fight on! We will fight now! We will fight for the future!" Jack exhaled loudly in exhaustion and the crowd exploded with voices. They began chanting.
"Victory, victory, victory," came the cheer from the crowd. Jack closed his eyes and slowly turned around to face his comrades.
"How was that?" he asked them.
"You have a knack, I would say," Tristan said. "Just don't go developing any desires to go our of your way to make over dramatic speeches."
"I guess not," Jack said, fiddling with the Dreamblade a little tentatively.
"Are you turning red?" Sarah asked. She looked at him closer. "You are! You're embarrassed!"
"I've never spoken like that in front of so many people before," he said.
"You did well," Aragorn said, patting him on the back. "We could make a speech maker out of you, yet."
"We're gonna look really bad if we lose and then come back."
"That's not an option, Tristan," Jack said morbidly.
"And we can't lose to some bad guy!" Rayith said.
"Such is my hope, Ray," Jack said, waving his hand and causing the time gate to appear behind them. "Such is my hope."
Beginning of Time
"He's dense," Valnius said bitterly. "We doesn't he listen to you?" he asked Topik.
"Because he's to headstrong," Topik admitted. "Hopefully, the others will beat him to the Lavoid."
"They took their Time Machine," Hal confirmed. "They'll be contacting Lavos shortly. That should block Lathain from getting to close."
"And hopefully his life will be saved," Jal added.
"It would be such a waste of such power if it is not," Topik said. "He must come out alive and he must come to recognize his place in the world. He must come back and learn to use his power."
"You really think he's The One," Fenreir said.
"He will free the others of his kind," Topik said. "The other Planeswalkers. He'll help them. He just has to avoid direct contact with the core. He'll be able to resist as long as he's outside of the shell. Once he gets close enough to the core, though "
"We prey for his safety," three others said in unision.
"We all do," Topik said. "And so should the rest of the universe."
1999, Day of Lavos
The air fluctuated with the heat as the group appeared in 1999, three months before, when Jack and Sarah had originally been thrown through time. It was the same clearing that they had been defeated in before, and Lavos was already awake and up for the second match.
Lavos had surfaced already. Having bored through the earth, it had already created a small crater of earth, pushed up on the outer rim where he had pierced the surface. From a viewpoint high above, it just looked like a mass of organic spikes shooting out of the ground. It wasn't until you came to the ground that you saw the thing that was the most haunting feature, ringed by the tri-prong shell: The Eye.
The Eye of the Lavoid, or rather, the viewing window of the Lavoid to the world. Looking outward in such a bizarre, apathetic manner that it could only be described as sickening. The swirls of color inside what could only be the iris seemed to move as you looked at it. And the pupil. The sickly thing was never seemed to fluctuate from its central point. It just looked at you, piercing through anything you may use to protect yourself. You see the eye of the Lavoid and all you feel is penetration. Nothing is hidden. The ages of wisdom, sealed in the eye, see all and know all. The devil himself, utter source of destruction, a window to Chaos, all looked out of that eye. That eye! How it could destroy you just by looking at it! There was no avoiding it though. It was the only way to the core. The eye had to go if the core was to be destroyed. The eye would have to be faced.
The beast was somewhat in the distance, its giant eye open and surveying the territory. It was only a matter of minutes before it probably would release its final attack: the large set of beams that decimated both The Kingdom of Zeal and the Country of Guardia in their respective times.
Feeling slight trepidation, Jack waited a moment before beginning the attack across the clearing. He looked at the beast, seeing it for the first time since that night in Zeal. If possible, it was more gruesome in person. The eye stared ahead now at the group, knowing very well that the attack was coming. But, he was not afraid. Lavos had never known fear in his life. He had no reason to fear. Truth be told, he did not even know what fear was. Maybe Lavos himself did not understand the power that had been imbued into his own son. Or, could it be that Lavos already knew that Jack would be helpless when so close to his source of Lavoid Energy?
"You die now," Jack called out to him simply, pulling his glittering blade from its sheath. He pointed the sword at the beast. "You die right now." Jack didn't want to wait for the others, simply moving at a pace not noticeably by human eye. To the others, it looked as if he had merely teleported right in front of the Lavoid.
The Lavoid let out its trademark cry as it prepared to for attack. A few of the spikes towards the front arched over and moved to point towards Jack. This was the signal that the attack was coming.
"Play time's over, planet killer!" Jack shouted, readying the Dreamblade. In the background, he could here the sound of his companions screaming at him to wait for them. Their voices were muffled, though. It wasn't he sound of the beast itself that was drowning their voices out. It was his own ears that were phasing their sound into its muted tones. He didn't want to hear them. Now was his time to be greedy for the first time on the journey. Now he would get his revenge.
He jumped. He was going right at the eye, raising a deflective shield to defend against the oncoming blasts. The Dreamblade flared as he disconnected it from the metal part, silently placing the physical blade in the sheath. Black waves pulsed through it. He was about to hit the eye. He was so close now. All he would need to do was to channel pure energy though it. He knew he was strong enough. He knew it was time. He never saw the flash behind him as the Epoch materialized in the distance
Scorching forward at colossal speeds, the Epoch tore through the sky. On the insides of it were the boy, Crono, and his allies, the Frog and the Robot. They planned to bore right through to the core, using the energy generated by their light speed time travel to careen through the biological armor. The energy was sufficient, to. There was a wave of energy that surrounded the craft as it met the shell, only a millisecond before Jack did
Jack never saw it coming. The explosion that followed the contact between the ship and the shell sent him flying backwards from the explosion. The Lavoid let out a monstrous cry as the ship tore through the shell, being ripped to shreds as it did. Jack looked up from the ground to see the entire shell move and shift from the pain as the foreign craft worked its effects. The Lavoid's eye closed as it cried in torment.
"What that?" he mumbled, putting the Dreamblade back it its sheath as his allies finally made it up to him. He quickly climbed to his feet and examined the scene in front of him. Smoke was rising from the point of impact of the Epoch and the eye-pod of the Lavoid was closed tightly. The trees around were now ablaze, lit from the explosion.
"What happened?" Sarah asked. "It looked like something crashed into it."
"Yeah," Jack said, rubbing his head. "And it certainly wasn't me."
"Well, what was it, then?" Rayith asked. "The thing doesn't look like it's in a mood to fight anymore."
"And the fire on the battle field creates for less than desirably battle conditions," Aragorn conceded. Jack looked ahead at the monster.
"I'll take care of it " he said bitterly, lifting the Dreamblade back out of it's sheath. The blade glimmered in the light from the fire, displaying a red tint on metal blade. He brought it in front of him and the weapon began to shift, just as Sarah had seen it shift so many times. From the hilt, it sprouted projections that looked like wings and the red glow began to consume the entirety of the blade as energy surrounded it.
"Cool new feature," Jack said to Tristan, referring to its new capability to morph shape. Tristan nodded, thinking to himself how perfectly he had assembled it. Jack, taking Tristan's feeling of success to heart, walked forward, past some of the flames and towards the Lavoid.
"Jack?" Sarah said, walking out to catch up to him but feeling Tristan's hand hold her back.
"Let him do what he has to do," Tristan said. Sarah sighed in concession.
Jack walked to within two feet of the Lavoid. He listened closely, reaching out his senses, and in his head he could hear the battle that was happening inside of the shell. He could hear the others fighting it, fighting the thing which he was supposed to kill. At this moment, he wasn't sure it he was jealous or not. Something was bothering him about it though. All that time, Topik had told him that he wouldn't fight the Lavoid. Was he right? Was this written in destiny already?
Jack drew the Dreamblade back and made a wide, powerful cut at the Lavoid's shell, but was met by a pulse of black energy that deflected the blade away. He looked at the Lavoid and cursed before attacking a few more times. Each time, the blade was decisively parried and no dent was made.
"It's some sort of shield," Jack said, putting the Dreamblade away. "It's probably due to the power being generated by the fight that's happening in there."
"We can't get through?" Tristan asked. "Not even if we blast it?"
"Be my guest to try," Jack invited, waving Tristan ahead while sighing heavily. Tristan went and tried his fusion gun, but the pulse of energy was fizzled on contact. Not even his energy weapons would work.
"And that would also imply that magic is out of the question?" Rayith asked.
"The Dreamblade isn't having an effect," Sarah pointed out. "So magic is probably useless as well."
"Damn it," Jack finally said. "Why can't we go in?" He shouted up to the heavens. "Why!? Why do you mock me!?"
"Jack!" Sarah yelled, running over to him and grabbing him. "Get a hold of yourself. We may not be out of this yet." Jack sunk to the ground.
"Nothing is good enough, Sarah. Nothing is good enough."
"Do we retreat and make a new plan?" Aragorn suggested. They sat in silence for about a minute before Jack spoke.
"I don't know," Jack said. "For the first time in the past few months, I really don't know. It seems that everything we've been leading up to is being thrown back in our faces, a mockery of destiny. Everything that we did to get here was without meaning. All that was told to me about not fighting the Lavoid came true. Someone else beat us to the punch, ladies and gentlemen, just like Topik told me would happen. I didn't believe him. I thought he was being a fool to think he could see down the path of time. Now look who's the fool who time has laughed at and destiny has defeated."
His sullen demeanor blocked out the sudden rumbling that began to come from the Lavoid. The others heard it, but he had blocked it out. It wasn't as if it mattered anymore. A ripple began to form in the middle of the Lavoid's core. Something had happened that had changed history. He just didn't care, though. At that moment, he didn't care about anything. And then, the Time Wave hit.
"And nothing else matters...." - Metallica
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