The Aftermath Of Mount Woe Chapter 46
Only An Epoch Away From The Terra Cave
Crono looked around slowly as he entered the dome, still trying to scrape some of the sewer slime off of his clothes. This was where the old man had directed them. Crono didn't really see how finding some old guy in the future would help them return to the past, but he figured he would, in just a few minutes now. He saw Glenn point at something in front of them. He and Robo followed his line of sight, and spotted a Nu sleeping in front of a computer terminal. Crono walked up to it, then shook it awake. "Hey man, er, Nu, what happened to the old man? We need his help."
The Nu looked up at him with sleepy eyes. "The professor's programming was, in a sense, his own eulogy." Crono and the others bowed their heads, sighing. "Soon, I, too, will be able to sleep forever. But first... There is one thing I must do." Then the Nu remained silent for a good while. He seemed to be wracking his brain for something. "Program error... ..my memory banks have failed..." Then it fell back asleep.
"What the...? It's a robot?" Crono was surprised. He saw Robo's sensors click on, and he nodded. "Well we're in the right place. Let's keep looking." Crono walked around the dome, and soon noticed a door engraved with the crest of the Mammon Machine. "Well, looks like this is the place." He held Marle's pendant up to the door, and it slid open with a low whir. Almost as soon as he stepped through to the other side, many glowing blue sparks appeared on the floor. Upon closer inspections, they looked more like the tabs they had occasionally found around the world, only a little bigger. "Huh...?" Crono wondered what they were for, and soon found out. As he stepped closer, the old man's voice filled the room.
"To those who opened the door... I am Belthasar, the Guru of Reason. I once lived in the kingdom of Zeal. A great disaster in Zeal somehow threw me into this era. To my surprise, Lavos exists here, and, I suspect, in other periods as well." So each spark was a sort of prerecorded message. Crono continued on the trail. "Aeons ago, Lavos descended from the heavens. Burrowing deep into the world's core, he began to consume our planet's energy, and grow stronger. Lavos disappeared briefly when he was summoned away by a mighty wizard who lived in Guardia, in the year 600." That would explain the exceptionally huge gate that had appeared in Magus' castle... "In 1999, Lavos claims this area, and reigns from high atop Death Peak. Lavos continues to replicate...... like a giant parasite, he is consuming our world. Forced to live here, I continued to conduct research on Lavos. But I am growing old. And it's impossible to keep sane in such trying times. So before I lose it completely, I shall safeguard my data, and my ultimate creation... How I long to return home... But I have grown frail..." Crono began to wonder is the message was entirely prerecorded after all. "So you... YOU, who have opened the door! I leave things in your hands. Only by mastering time, itself, do you stand a chance against Lavos. The odds will be against you... But you are true heroes. The world is in your hands. Open, now, the last door, and take what you find there. My last invention... My "Wings of Time..."
Crono walked up to the next door, and used the pendant to open it as well. All were quite impressed with what they saw, and walked around it to take a closer look. "The Wings of Time... I believe I have heard of this device." Robo said quietly.
"This...moves through time?" Glenn found it hard to believe.
"I think so." Crono shrugged. "But, how do we get in?" He didn't see any real way up. But that didn't matter, because there weren't any seats inside of the thing. "Looks like there's some assembly required." He groaned. "All right, let's search the rest of the dome for parts..." They started walking back out of the room, when the Nu popped into view.
"Scared you, didn't I?" It grinned as it pushed three seats into the chamber. "It's me... BELTHASAR. I copied my memory into this thing. What do you think?" Crono shrugged, a little indifferent. "Anyway, there's something I need to explain. Namely, how to transcend time! This is the time gauge." He pointed to a decidedly odd looking device. "Use the steering controls to select an era. Oh yeah! Before you go, why don't you..." Suddenly, he fell asleep. Apparently the body still retained some of its Nu traits. Crono poked him. "...name my time machine!" He exclaimed as if nothing had happened.
"Well, if we're going to be doing a lot more time travelling, Epoch seems appropriate." Crono suggested.
"Hop aboard!" The Nu exclaimed. Crono, Glenn, and Robo hopped into the seats, and they were slowly raised up into the cockpit. The Nu, which was already asleep again, only mumbled.
"We should probably head back to the End of Time first." Crono set the dial. The others nodded. He pushed, the ignition button, and the walls seemed to blur. Then suddenly, they were surrounded by fire.
"What's happening?!" Glenn exclaimed, alarmed.
"Even in my time, we did not have such devices!" Robo said excitedly.
"Epoch's capable of THIS?!" Crono was surprised too.
Then suddenly they were out of it, sitting just below the dock at the End of Time. "Hey." The old man called to them immediately. Crono ran over to him. "Interesting. So he actually finished the Wings of Time. In fact, gave his life for it!" The old man mused. "Why not put that device to good use? Take it to the ancient Land of Magic!"
"I have no problem with that!" Crono smiled. He ran back down the dock and jumped into the cockpit, then set the dial to 12,000 B.C. and fired it up.
The Epoch phased in not very far from the cave where they had appeared the first time. They all made a dash for the skyway through the blowing snow. But once they were inside, they found that the glowing purples runes no longer propelled them upward. "Looks like someone locked the door." Crono grimaced. "Well, is this the only skyway?" Robo and Glenn shrugged. "Let's get searching then!" They raced back past the Epoch, and soon spotted another cave. It didn't look like a skyway, but as the gusts lowered for a second, Crono saw a floating mountain chained to the ground across a narrow strait of water. "Whoa! I have to find out what's up with that place!"
The team hurried inside the cave, and found a village of sorts carved into the dark recesses. The people there didn't seem overly happy. One man Crono spoke to summed it up best. "The Queen put the Mammon Machine in the Ocean Palace to absorb Lavos's energy. Is that safe?" Then high sighed, and looked even more miserable than he had been looking. "She locked the Guru of Life up on the Mountain of Woe for opposing her. The situation's hopeless."
After him, Crono ran into a man who seemed to be the elder of the village, who provided a little more information about Zeal kingdom. "The Guru of Life said that Sir Janus has stronger powers than even Miss Schala! Janus must be using her and the Queen to get to Lavos..."
Most of the people in town complained of similar woes. Their complaints boiled down to several basic points. They didn't have magic, so they couldn't live in Zeal, only Schala and the Gurus ever talked to them, and finally, Zeal was taking most of them away to work on her Ocean Palace. Crono could sympathize with them, but he began to wonder why they just didn't clam up and do something about it. He had talked to nearly everyone, and was beginning to get bored with the place, when he ran into a small boy near the bottom of the cave system. "The Beast's nest is dangerous." He pointed to a gaping, dark cave at the very bottom of the town. "Better stay away, okay?" Glenn saw Crono's eyes light up at the challenge. They raced toward the cave, but Crono stopped to check with a guy standing by the entrance in case the kid had been pulling his leg.
"This hole leads to the Beast's nest." He nodded. "Through the nest you'll reach the place of chains, which anchors the Mountain of Woe."
"That's all I needed to hear." Crono grinned at the others, and they raced inside. Almost immediately, two large yellow beasts ran forward to challenge them. Crono was a little wary of the horns on their heads, but he had expected something a little more fierce. He changed his mind real quickly when one of the beasts charged forward and trampled him into the ground. Robo and Glenn nailed it with a Blade Toss, and it collapsed. Crono and Glenn used Spire on the other, and it collapsed as well.
Upon hearing the commotion, two other beasts charged forward. Crono zapped them with lightning, but that only served to make them mad. One charged him with it's horns, but Crono counterattacked, slashing it right between the eyes. Glenn and Robo Blade Tossed again, putting the final beast down for the count. Crono quickly scanned for any more. "That was it?" He demanded. Then he noticed a set of stairs carved into the rock, leading up to yet another dark cave. "Well, well. It looks like people used to live here. I wonder what happened." The others shrugged. Crono slowly walked up the stairs and into the next cave. He saw two more of the beasts sniffing around. But these two seemed special. One had a shocking orange coat of fur, and the other, an icy blue. They didn't seem to notice him, until an imp, of all things, slid down a huge chain behind them.
"You can't pass through here!" It screamed at them. Crono almost laughed, until it kicked a rock at the orange beast. It charged forward, knocking him on his back. Crono and Glenn used Swordstream on the orange beast until it bit the dust. Then they all worked down the other one with their regular weapons. The beasts were quite fond of charging, but fortunately, their fur color did not seem to indicate any special abilities. Finally, the blue beast collapsed as well. Crono sighed and leaned back on his sword, until the imp kicked a rock at him.
"You have to be kidding me." He laughed. The imp threw another rock that nailed him in the head. "Ow!! Fine then, let's Triple Raid the little goon!" Crono, Glenn, and Robo all smashed into the imp at the same time, and it quickly expired. Crono looked up the chain, and his eyes widened. "This is the chain holding that mountain in place. I think we can climb up." Without another word, they all began to scale the chain up to the Mountain of Woe.
"Can you prepare for the unexpected? No. You can prepare only to be surprised." - Teferi
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