The Aftermath Of Mount Woe Chapter 47
The Guru On Mount Woe
The Mountain of Woe seemed like a mountain being punished for some unspeakable crime. Through the cold fog, the exceptionally green grass and wild flowers were plainly visible. But the peak was rent into many pieces, held together only by huge, ugly chains. It wasn't that far to the top, but since there was no direct route, the climb required a lot more chain walking. Amid the chains were hordes of Mystics, and it took a fair effort to constantly repel their attacks. Toward the top, Crono began noticing some of the rocks looked like they had been blown apart with a strong fire. He used the gate key to replace Robo with Marle, in case they needed to unleash Arc Impulse.
When they reached the top, it seemed to be a good thing that they had. The top of the mountain was shrouded in dark, forbidding clouds. But the top was actually a crater. It looked at though a huge explosion had hollowed out the core of the mountain. But there was evidence of past human habitation. Their was a small set of stairs leading up to a podium, upon which sat what looked like a gigantic block of ice, but all three felt some odd magic flowing from it.
"The Guru of Life's trapped in here." Marle realized. As Crono stepped forward, the block began to glow, and slowly fade away.
"'Tis disappearing!" Glenn cried. As soon as it faded from view completely, an exceptionally large creature rose up from out of the crater. It had huge, spiked armor on its shoulders, and its head looked vaguely like a bat.
"Oh, this is gonna be trouble." Crono gulped. Almost as he spoke, two large blasts of fire launched from each of the monster's arms. That was followed immediately by a very odd Shadow attack. Crono had had just about enough of that kind of treatment. He drew six magical waves together, and merged them into one huge lightning explosion. The huge creature was surprised, and a look of recognition seemed to form on its face. While it was staring at them, Glenn jumped up in a Leap Slash, and sheared off its right arm. Its left reached menacingly for Marle, but Crono buried his sword into it just as Marle cast Ice 2. The arm fell off. Crono waited for the monster to keel over, but it never did. "All right then, if that's the way it's going to be." All three concentrated, then leapt up in the devastating attack known as Arc Impulse.
The monster just sat, glaring at them. Then the ground shook, and the arms were back! The fire attack came again, but this time, it seemed the creature aimed it specifically at Marle. Glenn and Marle cast Glacier on him, and Crono cut loose with another Luminaire. The arms vaporised again, and the three set up for another Arc Impulse. As Crono buried his sword in the creature's skull, it glared fiercely at him, then exploded into many red and white sparks, which slowly drifted back into the crater. As they faded from view, the ice like structure came back into view on the podium. It began to fade again, but this time it revealed a figure inside.
"M,Melchior?!" Marle stammered.
Melchior groggily rubbed his eyes, then spoke. :Indeed, I am Melchior. Have we... met before?" He didn't give them time to answer. "More importantly, can you tell me anything about the Ocean Palace?" Crono shrugged, then told him everything that he thought could be related to the subject. Melchior's expression turned grave. "I see...the Queen has degenerated to that degree..." He remained silent for a moment, then spoke to them again. "The more energy the Mammon Machine absorbs, the further the Queen degenerates. Her spirit has been stolen by the infamous immortal, Lavos." The look on their faces told them they already knew plenty about Lavos. Suddenly, the mountain began shaking violently. "We must flee! The seal has been broken! The mountain will collapse!"
Indeed, as he spoke the words, Melchior felt the Weapon magic that bound Shivan to the mountain snap, creating a magical backlash that swept over the land, obliterating the shield on the Time Gate. Without any power running through them, his chains broke like twigs, and the mountain began to sink toward the ground. Crono felt it, and he pulled Melchior over to one dangling chain.
"Get going, as fast as you can. If there's no ground at the end, just let go. We'll be right behind you." Melchior gulped, but quickly slid down the chain anyway. He sensed this wasn't the kind of man to argue with.
Even the people down in the Terra Cave felt the disturbance. "Elder! The Mountain of Woe is about to crumble!!" A man ran into the elder's cave, then rushed back out.
The people were about to panic as the rumbling increased. Since the beasts had been cleaned out, many of them ran to the Place of Chains. "Mommy, the mountain's gonna fall!" The first boy who reached the scene reported. The townspeople gathered under the opening to watch the goings on.
Outside, the wind stopped for one brief moment. Then the main chain binding the mountain snapped, and it slowly sank into the Ocean. Mount Woe was no more. After 18 years, Enhasa was again joined with the planet.
Melchior paced back and forth in the Elder of Algetty's cave, still trying to calm down from his extremely rapid descent. Crono, on the other hand, seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed himself. "Lavos sleeps deep underground, while consuming the energy of this planet." He explained to them. "If the Mammon Machine is brought closer to him, he may awaken! We must hurry before it's too late!" The elder seemed to share his concern.
The same man who had reported the mountain's falling burst in. "Elder! Schala is here!"
"What? Schala's here?" Melchior smiled. It was good to know she seemed to still be on the side of the Earthbound. As the man left, Schala strode into the cave in a much more confident manner than he remembered from the last time he had seen her.
"Miss Schala... why have you come to such a miserable place?" The elder broke the ice.
"Stop degrading yourselves!" She immediately scolded him. "We Enlightened Ones were once the same as you. The only difference is that we are under Lavos's control..."
Janus was bursting with pride inside. She was confident, cynical, and talking like a regular person. She was back! He didn't know what had triggered this, but he was grateful to whoever was responsible. Then he noticed two of the people he had seen earlier, along with a humanoid frog. He took an immediate dislike to the frog, and decided that with all these people here, he couldn't show how happy he was. He turned around, then proclaimed, in his usually cranky way, "What a filthy hovel." Schala didn't pay any attention to him.
"Melchior... After the Mountain of Woe fell, I thought I would find you here!" She smiled at him.
Inside, Melchior was feeling much the same as Janus, but he had to test her on this. "Is is safe for you to leave the palace?" He asked in a concerned voice.
"That no longer matters!" She waved that concern confidently aside, then her face turned grave. "The Ocean Palace is now operational!"
'My god, that was fast!' Melchior thought. "Then all is lost!" He said out loud.
She shook her head. "But without me, the Mammon Machine won't work. I have turned my back on that evil device!" She remained silent for a moment, as if that had taken some effort. Then she turned to Crono. "I've kept the skyway open. Hurry! You must stop... my mother!"
So she still didn't want to fight herself... Melchior was pleased with this turn of events, but he figured he could help speed things along. He reached behind his belt for Vigo's dagger. Maybe the sight of it would prompt Schala to accompany them.
"Why don't we keep it right there..." A voice drifted into the chamber.
"Dalton!" Schala backed up, and felt her will disintegrating.
"Tisk, tisk my dear. Your presence is required elsewhere!" Dalton arrogantly swaggered into the room.
Melchior had grown used to not having Dalton around over the past year, and he wasn't ready to start putting up with him again. "Dalton! Leave her alone!" He ordered.
"Ah! The geezer speaks!" Dalton laughed. "Silence, old man!" In case Melchior wasn't going to comply with that order, Dalton also sent him sprawling to the ground with a well timed fireball.
"Argh!" Melchior cursed. While he was temporarily out for the count, Dalton rushed forward and forced Schala to her knees.
"You'll come to the Ocean Palace with me." He ordered. Then he glared at Crono and the others. "Do anything funny, and Schala's dust. Got it?"
Janus obviously did not get it. "Schala!" He charged at Dalton with all his six year old fury. Dalton sent him sprawling into the wall with a massive punch.
"The Queen's children all seem to have a problem with authority, don't they?" He joked to himself. Crono had had just about enough of Dalton's arrogance, and he whipped out his katana. Glenn drew his own sword, and Marle levelled her crossbow at him. "Stay back. The life of this woman means nothing to me!" Crono grimaced, but quickly sheathed his sword.
'No!!' Schala called out to them mentally. 'I'm not alive! He can't do anything to hurt me! Come on!' She tried to break free of Dalton's grip. It soon became painfully obvious that none of them had any powers of telepathy.
'Is that a fact?' Dalton asked her in a smug tone. She felt him do a quick magical scan of her body. 'I see you used the pendant to charge up your Nooze. Unfortunately, that's all Lavos energy.' Suddenly, Schala couldn't see. She could no longer feel Dalton's arms restraining her. She couldn't move at all. 'You want to even simulate anything close to living, you better come with me. Believe me, I know of ways to hurt you.'
"Shall we get going, Schala dear? Your mother awaits!" He said out loud, then teleported them both away. Janus immediately jumped up and ran out of the room. He wasn't going to let Schala lose what she had so recently recovered. If he could do something about Dalton, that would be a bonus too...
"Melchior!" Glenn exclaimed, concerned.
"I'm all right." Melchior rubbed his back. "But we must save Schala, or else..."
"Impossible!" The elder gasped. "Even though it's coming from YOU, Melchior..."
"If the Queen is allowed to fulfill her scheme, all life as we know it is doomed!" Melchior shouted, exaggerating a little. Crono immediately stepped forward, shaking his head. Melchior looked up hopefully. "You're willing to challenge the Queen?"
"You better believe it!" He smiled, nodding. "Besides, that Dalton guy needs a good ass kicking."
Melchior smiled. He would be willing to bet this young man could do it too. "You've done so much for us... ..and I don't even know your names!" He exclaimed.
Marle burst out laughing. "You'll find out soon enough!"
"What ARE you talking about?" Melchior scratched his head.
"Crono, let us be on our way!" Glenn proclaimed.
Melchior held up his hand. "Wait, take this with you." He drew Vigo's dagger out from behind his belt. "It's made from the same red stone as the Mammon Machine. With it, you can destroy the Machine!" 'I hope.' He amended to himself.
The elder looked especially depressed. "What's wrong?" Crono asked him.
He sighed. "Schala's been abducted. But without Sorcery, we can't do a thing."
"We'll take care of it." Crono assured him.
Everyone looked sad as they left Algetty, but one small boy pretty much summed up what they were feeling with his cries. "Aaaahhh, Schala... Schala...!!"
Another boy wandered around quietly, saying, "Miss Schala, where have you gone?"
'Those sound like the lyrics to a song.*' Crono thought. Well, he was about to change all those sad expressions. He quickly ran out of the Terra Cave, heading toward the skyway, and trusting that the others were following him.
Melchior watched them go, then sighed to himself. 'What a pity they can't teleport. They may be too late.' He stared at the ground for a few minutes, then sent out a call. 'Gaspar! I'm back! Could you tell me where the Ocean Palace is!'
Gaspar was slow to respond, as if he was just waking up. 'Melchior! Glad to have you back! What's the trouble?'
'There's hardly time to explain. Do you know where the hall of the Mammon Machine is in the Ocean Palace?'
'I believe so...'
'Good. We need to go, now.'
"Well Schala, I'm so glad you decided to join us!" Zeal's learing face greeted her as the world reformed before her eyes. "We need you to start up the Mammon Machine. And I would suggest you not try to teleport away. I've got a shield on the palace, and Dalton and I know how to track you. Now get cracking."
Schala bowed. It didn't look like there was any way out. Suddenly, all three of the Gurus appeared just behind them. "That's far enough Zeal!" Melchior shouted. Dalton jumped forward, knocking all three of the old men to the ground.
"Your arrival couldn't have been more timely, gentlemen." Zeal smiled wickedly at them. "Schala, as insurance for your cooperation, if you try anything funny, they're all dead. Got it?"
"We do still have quite potent magic you know." Melchior glared at her. "Don't think we'd just be pushovers."
"Pushovers no." She admitted. "Defeatable, yes. Hurry it up Schala."
Schala looked desperately for some way out, but there was none. "All right." She reluctantly began the incantation to start up the Mammon Machine. After all, even if she was willing to sacrifice the Gurus and herself, the Lavos storage batteries up in Zeal would run out of juice before too long, and a whole lot of innocent people would be killed. A red light filled the chamber, and the Mammon machine began to whir. But something was wrong this time. Lightning also coursed out of the machine, and the red light began to pulsate erratically. Odd images began to form in the depths of the machine. Dalton quickly exited the room.
Despite the danger, Gaspar leaned forward intently. "Hmm...! A dimensional warp!" He exclaimed.
"This power is beyond human control!" Belthasar shouted above the noise.
Melchior viewed the energy with growing unease. It seemed to be reaching out toward them. "No...! We'll be dragged into the warp!" Spekkio happened upon the scene at the mention of a dimensional warp, but quickly shrank back into the shadows. To get a better look, he transformed himself into a small blue spark, barely noticeable, and drifted toward Gaspar.
As if the situation wasn't chaotic enough already, Janus ran into the room, Alfador following close behind. "SCHALA!!" He shouted upon seeing the machine.
"No Janus!! Stay away!" She waved him back urgently.
"B,but!?" He protested, unwilling to give up. Suddenly, the machine lurched. They were all transported to an oddly warping zone, and the monstrosity known as Lavos appeared where the Mammon Machine had been. But no one really had time to be afraid. An odd black circle appeared under Melchior's feet.
"It, it's a...!!" And then he was gone.
"A Timegate!?" Gaspar exclaimed, as another circle swallowed him. Before it closed, Spekkio rushed forward and followed him in. This place was getting a little too dramatic for him anyway.
"No!!" Belthasar shouted simply. Then he, too, was gone.
Even Janus was not immune. "S,Schalaaa!!" He cried desperately, then he disappeared, leaving a stunned cat behind.
"Janus!!!" Schala shrieked. She had expected herself to be a casualty, not Janus. Her spirits sank further as she realized that Lavos was not about to oblige her by spiriting her away too. Then Lavos screamed. The same blood freezing scream that had been haunting her in the link, and in death. Any spirit remaining in Schala broke again at that point.
Ertai tried to remain inconspicuous as the Zealian guards raced past him. After Dalton had survived his assassination attempt, he had decided it was too dangerous to go back to Belthasar's secret room in Kajar. He had disguised himself as an Earthbound One, and had been summarily forced to work on the Ocean Palace. He just hoped no one would ever bother to scan him magically, or he would be toast.
As he finished replacing a blown warning light, he heard a scream behind him. Whirling around, he saw one of his fellow workers being sucked into an odd, black portal. He began slowly backing away, when he heard an odd whirring noise behind him. Turning around, he found himself facing the same type of portal. "What the hell?!" He shouted. Then, he was sucked in.
Gaspar landed in the middle of dark, swirling mists, not noticing Spekkio landing beside him. "Th, this is..." He stammered. "Hey. Nothing here... This must be... ..the End of Time..."
Magus walked slowly into the hall of the Mammon machine, almost overwhelmed by the sadness that hung over Schala. "Where is everyone? Was there an accident?" He asked Zeal, knowing full well that there had been. He hoped she wouldn't ask him for any more predictions. From here on, he was living everything for the first time.
"In a way." She conceded. "But Prophet, it was glorious! I met Lavos, in person! I don't know why he left, but I pray he will be back soon."
'He better be.' Magus glowered angrily. 'He has a date with death.'
"At this rate, you too, will meet a hideous fate." - Janus
*Nanaki: Well, how 'bout it, any poetically oriented people out there? If anyone can come up with a good song or poem from that theme, I'll ask Icy to post it up in my section. Hell, I'll be lucky if I get any song or poem. Also, anyone who can tell me why Giga Gaia concentrated his attack on Marle will get special mention in the last chapter of my next story, since I'll probably be done with the last chapter of this one in about four hours now. Talk to you later!
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