Chrono Trigger: Twins of Destiny Chapter 14
By Mox Jet
Somewhere in Denegrad
Teclis was pissed. Of course, it was as if he wasnt normally pissed, but on this particular occasion he was particularly pissed. Alaria had made the joke that it might have just been his time of the month, but he took it without a smile.
They had been transported (against his will) to the outskirts of a Denegradian city somewhere along the southern border of the dessert. The town seemed to be in reasonably good condition; that wasnt what he was upset about. What got to him was that the only thing that Alaria had been telling him through the last hour was that they needed to make it their top priority to get to Ithilmar, the Nation of the Sky.
This made things more complicated for Teclis. His normal routine of rounding up bandits, stealing some of the treasure, then getting paid for ridding the world of the menace, was now disrupted. In its place was a growing adventure that involved looking into the meaning of silly things like Crystain and Lavoids. That, and he wasnt especially pleased that he needed to go to Ithilmar to do it.
And so now the two young adventurers stood outside of the small Skyport that this town housed, dealing with the issue of getting to Ithilmar. Ironically enough, it was proving more difficult than they originally planned.
Getting to Ithilmar from Denegrad was a difficult task. The two countries were not technically at war with each other, but most of the beefed up security came from fears of Lyons spies finding their way into Denegrad. The fear was not completely unfounded as M-1 agents were actually all over Denegrad; they were just undetected.
Teclis already had experienced a rather unpleasant interaction with one of the skyline representatives as she informed him that he and Alaria did not have the proper identifications and passports in order to fly to Ithilmar. Tecliss argument first consisted of the ever diplomatic: Look at our hair you uneducated simpleton, followed by the slightly more belligerent: I will blow up this entire facility if you do not let us on that plane. Needless to say, he was quickly escorted off the premises, leaving Alaria to make fun of his method of dealing with things.
So they sat outside on the curb of the Departures terminal, a gloomy state of befuddlement sitting around them like a bad odor.
Insulting her was probably not the best way of dealing with it, Tec, Alaria said. Though at lest you didnt use any obscenities
What can I say, Teclis said. Im a natural diplomat. She looked at him with a raised eyebrow moderately upset expression.
Well, now getting there is going to be difficult.
I cant just fly us there with a spell?
No Ive think they have certain shielding on their cities to prevent unauthorized access. I dont think Ive ever even been to Ithilmar, and Im not even sure that the Nisai Ryu have temples there.
How can you not be sure? he asked.
Well sometimes in Nisai Ryu stuff, they take you places and you dont know where you are. Its a training method .ritualistic, too. They just pile a bunch of us in a transport, blindfold us, then fly us somewhere. See, I suppose I could have been somewhere in Ithilmar its actually a pretty big place.
Well, Ive certainly never been vacationing there, Teclis said. And theyre not in a state of anarchy and war, so they dont pay me to keep the peace. He paused in thought.
So how to we get up? Alaria asked. He shot her a glance.
Im thinking, he said, holding up a hand. Give me a moment . He closed his eyes and stood in silence for a few seconds, considering his options. Finally, he lifted a finger in a stroke of epiphany. His eyes lit up and he sprung off the curb.
Follow me, he said, beginning to walk back towards the port. And just dont ask any questions. Alaria did as told with a shrug, knowing that her friend would have a plan of some sort. She just hoped it didnt involve Dragon Slaving the port as he had promised the attendant.
Three hours later, the two runaways were sitting in the cargo hold of a small skyliner that was headed towards Ithilmar. Surrounded by boxes and suitcases of all sorts, they spent most of the time dodging the packages that came loose when the plane made a sudden move. Hitchhiking was always free, though freeloading such as this, and basically sneaking into another country, was certainly frowned upon. Teclis figured that they were already at ends with the law, though, so he was simply taking the easiest path.
The easiest path, as he decided, was by using a few nifty little spells such as Invisibility and Teleportation. As it turns out, casting an invisibility spell makes sneaking past guards really easy and using teleportation makes putting yourself on a plane even easier. As is standard of magic, it was harder to cast buffs (or beneficial spells) on someone that is not yourself. Alarias seemingly natural Lifestream channeling actually conflicted with this casting, but Teclis managed.
Now they waited patiently while the plane made its seven hour trek towards Ithilmar, the Nation in the Sky.
Granted, it wouldnt have been seven hours to get anywhere in Ithilmar. As Alaria had pointed out, Ithilmar was actually quite big. They could have probably flown straight up from the port and found some sort of Ithilmarian settlement. The cities were often above the clouds and even more often concealed by cloaking mechanisms. The only real way to get in was to be on a cleared flight, as you might otherwise just end up flying into the wall of a building or something .if your plane wasnt shot down first.
I hope we find what were looking for, Alaria said offhandedly. She had drawn Crystain blade from her back, her hands examining it carefully, marveling in its precision crafting.
But what exactly are we looking for? Teclis said, his eyes closed and his hands crossed tightly over his chest.
I already told you, she said defensively. Im not quite sure, myself. All I know is that this blade is somehow going to make a difference in the world in ways beyond which I can comprehend. Its just a feeling I have. You know you get those sometimes, right?
.I suppose. He paused. But this hunch was just instilled by your speaking with that Grandmaster fellow.
But as I reflect on it, I really do sense something. Its the Lifestream or something. I just feel this reaction thats going on and she paused.
What? he asked.
And I think youre a part of it too. Her conversation with Hrata about the Avatars came flashing vividly back into her head. She had been considering the possibility over and over again since that meeting. What was wild, though, was that the more she thought about it and the more she thought about everything she knew about Tec, the more is made sense.
What do you mean?
Like well, okay. How much do you know about Griever Sect?
And their books of Prophecy?
Ive read what was forced down my throat in the mage guilds, yes.
And what of the Avatars of Adrekel? Teclis was silent for a moment in thought.
What I know about them? he asked, finally. Or what I think about them.
I know that your Church claims that two men will arrive approximately a year before Armageddon, proclaiming the second coming of your God, Adrekel, and spreading his word so that all those willing have a chance to repent before the Coming. He opened his eyes and looked at her dimly.
What I think is that its a rubbish story made up by the same people who threw that faith together years ago in order to exert control on a medieval population that was looking for direction. You are entitled to believe whatever you want, but it has always been my suspicion that Griver Sect is based more on fiction than fact.
You harness no capacity for considering any of its potential?
Does this have to do with me at all? Teclis asked. Alaria sighed.
No she said. Never mind.
Then what of that blade and what Hrata told you? What does that have to do with me?
Not so much, I dont think. Its more or less that this blade was designed for a purpose which I do not yet know, though it is inexorably linked to something called a Lavoid. Thats why were going to Ithilmar.
Well, déjà vu, Teclis said. Ive heard that before.
You know, you could try to be a bit more understanding? Alaria said. Its not everyday youre entrusted with a quest from a Grandmaster of the Nisai Ryu. Even if not for your sake, consider me?
Am I here?
On this plane?
I dont understand.
Am I here on this plane?
Then realize that I already have. He looked away and closed his eyes again. She half expected him to say something else, but he was silent. She opened her mouth to speak, but quickly found that no words could come out. Then, like a fog setting over a harbor, an eerie quiet filled the cargo bay, only occasionally muffled by the sound of turbulence. No one spoke until the plane arrived hours later and Teclis had to open his mouth to chant the spell of the teleportation that took them out of the plane.
The duo ended up in the back ally behind an immaculately clean docking bay. As they would soon find, everything in Ithilmar was pretty much immaculately clean. There was no room for imperfection here.
Ithilmar was quite a wonder to behold. It wasnt so much that the architecture in the city was especially beautiful. It wasnt designed to be as such. More so, it just appeared to have been sapped of any architectural beauty in a traditional sense in favor of a modern décor that ran through the entire city.
True, this was just one city of the elevated nation. While they were all connected via teleportation devices, the cities existed on their own. The one Teclis and Alaria had snuck into was, of course, Trialia, a suburb of the capital of Renektent. It wasnt as big, and some of the towering spires of Renektent could be seen from their vantage point, yet, Trialia did provide them with enough room to explore.
Everything was white. Roads sidewalks buildings .everything. The buildings were constructed out of materials that seemed to defy the building concept of having a wider base than summit. These building sometimes were indeed widest at the top, crowned with large spheres that housed only God knew what. Some of them culminated in spikes. Others were capped off with longish, cylindrical structures that looked to be apartment complexes of sorts.
Sporadically, there were ventilation exhausts that hung over the streets. It was suspected they were shoot-offs for the generators that kept the city afloat, though neither traveler could afford an explanation as to how that was done.
The cars on the streets were interesting in that none of them bore wheels (hovering seemed the way to go) and they all resembled the mini-style coupes that were gaining popularity in Lyons. Youd be hard pressed to fit a man over six feet tall in one of the two seaters that buzzed around, though there were some convertibles with the roofs down.
The streets werent paved, but it wasnt as if they were dirt. Instead, they almost felt like plastic. Teclis was able to sense a magnetic field emanating from the area along the curb, potentially an aide in keeping the cars hovering. Stop lights didnt exist, nor did traffic cops. People just seemed to know when to go and when to stop. And, true enough, they would not see a single car accident during their tenure in Ithilmar.
And the people were another spectacle. They also dressed mostly in white. Alaria swore that they were all wearing lab coats, but this wasnt quite the case. Occasional stripes of blue or red adorned the coats. A few had gold bars sewed on to the colors, possibly indicating military (or civilian?) rank. No one wore hats. Occasionally, a female would wear a colored band around her head, but that was about it. This was good though, as it allowed Teclis and Alaria to marvel at another shivering aspect of homogeneity.
It was their hair. First off, all the men had silvery blonde hair, straight, combed back and parted in the middle. The women, in an even more bizarre (yet slightly predictable) trait, all bore hair the color of the travelers: blue.
The shades varied, an aspect of purity among a bloodline, with various modifications in highlights. The shades of the blue hair went from nearly black to almost sky blue. Still, it was shocking enough for the two teens (who had spend much of their life ostracized by their hair color) that they were now amongst people who had nothing but that very hair color.
Well, thats how it was for Alaria, anyway. Teclis, on the other hand, was still unique. As many females as there were that possessed this blue haired trait, he was clearly the only male. Same as always, he guessed, though he still wondered what it meant. He would surely have to find out, and hopefully, the answer would come in their quest for information on the Crystain blade and the mysterious Lavoids that the Grandmaster had seemed so worried about.
They wandered around for a few minutes, gazing up at the buildings in true tourist style. People in the city didnt seem to care, though. They only cared to go about their business. One could say this was odd. In large cities on Old Terra, residents tended to look down upon tourists. Sure, they would occasionally make fun of their large subway maps, but generally not care otherwise. They were used to tourists. It didnt seem to be that these people of the Nation of the Sky were used to outsiders, and so it would strike one weird that they acted as if the tourists were common.
Teclis and Alaria continued to look around and marvel at the buildings, guessing at their function, and generally looking lost.
Its rather bizarre, isnt it? Teclis asked.
All of it.
All the blue haired people?
Quite, he agreed. Its so different than the surface. I dont feel so incredibly out of place anymore. She halted and her eyes wandered up and down as she looked at him.
Then to keep it that way, we should probably get some new duds, Alaria said, finally realizing that they were dressed completely opposite of the residents. Teclis quickly noted this as well.
Excellent plan, Teclis agreed with a nod. Though how are we to find a clothing store? All of the retail buildings look identical.
Thats because they are, someone said behind them. Hands shot to swords in an instant. Spinning around and halfway expecting another bounty hunter, they were surprised to meet a man that was dressed just like the other inhabitants. White, white, silver-blonde.
Excuse me? Teclis said.
You look like youre from out of town, the man said. The names Yiri, he said, extending his hand in welcome. And its your lucky day that I found you. They both stared at him in silence for a solid ten seconds before Alaria managed to say something.
Why is that? she asked, her hand still on the blade concealed beneath her robes.
Because I happen to be in the business of showing people around, Yiri said. With the war and all, you always a few foreigners up here running away from the shit down below, but we had more in peacetime. to cut to eh gist, Im always happy to have some new potential customers.
Alaria glanced at Teclis.
I dont trust him, Teclis said flat out. Too convenient. It wasnt too long ago that we shook a whole band of well, you know and now he shows up.
You know, Yiri interjected. If you want to find your way around on your own, Ill be happy to move on with my business and see yall later. I wont take it personally. he said, starting to turn around and walk away.
Wait, Alaria said quickly. Teclis shot her a glare.
Yes maam? Yiri said slyly.
Whats the fee for your service?
Well, I suppose that depends on what youll have me do. I typically charge about 10 an hour.
Teclis looked at her and shook his head.
Well give you 7, Alaria said.
9, Yiri shot back, instantly.
8, Alaria said, And with that, Teclis here doesnt kill you before you get paid. She grinned. Because you can tell hes itchin to do it. Yiri laughed.
You drive a hard bargain, maam, but Ive got to admit I like your kind. Cut throat, dirt tough. You guys werent Freelancers on the surface, were you?
Damn Im good! Yiri said, clapping his hands in self-congratulation. Well, welcome to Trialia, on the outskirts of Renektent. Moreover, Welcome to Ithilmar, though Id have to guess that you, maam, at least have some family up here.
Distant, she said, not bothering going into it.
And you, Son? Yiri said.
Teclis will do, Tec muttered. And I wouldnt know.
Hard egg to crack, huh? Yiri jokced. Teclis looked to Alaria.
I dont like him, he said. I may kill him yet.
Woah, there, take it easy .umm what was it? Tethils?
Right. Teclis. Just hold your horses. I guarantee youll get your moneys worth.
You can start by directing us to the nearest cloths outfitter, Alaria said.
You got it, Yiri said. Just follow me, he jumped in front of the group and started walking down the street. A moment later, taking their cue, Alaria and Teclis followed after him. Yup, just follow me and youll have this town down in just a few days.
Then, Teclis said under his breath. Maybe then Ill kill him .or at least severe his vocal chords.
What was that, Techlic? Yiri called back. Teclis sighed.
Nothing, he said. Nothing at all. And so they walked, following their newfound guide, and hoping to all hell that he wasnt leading them into an ambush.
I want to find a library, Alaria said. Or whatever you people around here have that holds stores of knowledge.
Library is doable, Yiri told her. Weve got a right good one in town, too. I can show you guys where to get a bite to eat, though, first, if youre hungry.
The Library will do, Teclis said. After we acquire new clothing, anyways.
Ah .so you fellas arent up here for tourism, I take it? Yiri said with a mischievous grin.
No, Alaria said. Thats certainly safe to say .
The air sat stagnantly at the docking bay. Oddly enough, the large form of the transport ship swooping in created no stir in the atmosphere. Things just seemed to hang there as about three hundred and fifty M-1 soldiers stood in rank and file, waiting for the arrival of Commander Darius.
As the ship slowly pulled into docking position, the last few stragglers lined up in rank and a few higher officers wandered up and down the ranks in inspection. A loud hiss came from the ship, indicating that the magnetic docking mechanisms had locked into place. On the left side near its base, a door slid open and a entry plank came out from below the door. The air then seemed to finally move a little as Darius stepped out of the transport wearing a black officers jacket and a silver beret over his blue hair. To his right and left walked two armed guards, though as he made his way towards the lines of troops, he waved them away. They flanked to the right and marched around back. More men then poured out of the ship, forming into ranks that would follow Darius from a distance.
Darius walked through the gauntlet of assembled troops, pointing towards two officers as he passed. They quickly marched into step and caught up with him, each taking one of his sides, slightly behind him.
Gentleman, Im going to be frank and to the point with you, he said. All I want to know is how one boy managed to escape the monitors of the most state of the art tracking system on the face of Celes. I mean, in all honesty . He took a moment to gaze at each of them out of the corner of his eyes. What the hell went wrong?
Saidair interference, we think, sir, the first advisor said. Our tracking models picked up the images of about five bodies exiting the battlefield. Two of those account for a live Tyrion Mandrake and Lina Esvenvi, his partner. How they escaped further detection, though
Do you know how they got away from us to begin with? he asked them, not letting up pace. They both shook their heads. Darius managed a mild smirk. Well, then let me tell you. You see, when those boys were born, their mother, the Queen, was somehow able to break out of the binds to which Geminus had tied her. That woman, while for all practical purposes is nothing but a gibbering slave of Lord Geminus, was actually able to break her bond with him for but a few minutes. Do you know what she did?
Again, they shook their heads.
She gave them each a piece of Dreamstone jewelry that had been enchanted to prevent us from detecting them. Then, in a mindset almost completely detached from what she had become, she sent them away...sent them to the surface. No one knows who took them there or how they got there, but we just know that they were gone. For eighteen years, those boys must have carried those stones in close proximity to them, completely scrambling our sensors. As a result, they were completely out of our reach.
Now, it just so happens that one of them happened to give his stone to a girlfriend as a present, and for the first time in his life, we were finally able to detect Tyrion. Brilliantly swaying the boy to our side by making it look like Denegrad murdered this said girlfriend, we were days away from the data we needed to begin the testing that needs to be done. And .then WHAT happens??!! he screamed the last sentence, halting his march and spinning around.
We didnt see it coming, Darius, one of them said.
I dont care what you saw coming. I care that what Ive been trying to accomplish for the last eighteen years what Ive been laboring over in order to undo the treachery of that witch of a woman .my forces supposedly the most powerful military organization in the world cannot do their job!
Their technology cannot be that sophisticated, one said in a fearful whisper. We will have it cracked in no time.
Gentlemen, I hope so .for your sake. He spun to face away from them. Now get this unit assembled. Ill be awaiting the good new .then Ill be going down to deal with the boy myself...
It is my experience with religion that what a holy text says is never completely true or completely false. They are naturally based on fact, but also naturally edited to appear either more powerful or palatable. Griever, like comparable religions on Old Terra, was just as predictable. Jack McKlane
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