The Aftermath Of Mount Woe Chapter 48
The Ocean Palace
Dalton sat glowering in the throne room. "Phooey! Why is the Prophet allowed inside while I'm stuck with guard duty?" He asked himself, although he knew perfectly well. After his cowardly act earlier, Zeal had sent him up here to guard the only entrance for those Zealians unable to teleport. He wished there was something to ease his boredom. As if on cue, the door whooshed open, and Crono, Marle, and Glenn ran inside. "Ha! There you are..." He grinned fiercely at them. "I let the Prophet go, knowing he'd mess up sooner or later. But I've no use for you anymore. You're history!" All three of them glared at him and assumed a battle stance. Two Arc Impulses later, Dalton was sprawled on the floor, holding his head. "N...nooooo! I'm going to be immortal! I CAN'T be beaten now!" He jumped into the white light just in front of the throne. Not wasting a moment, Crono did too.
They landed in a decidedly unique place. But then, all of Zeal was decidedly unique. The floor was a dark gold color, although bright rivers of energy flowed throughout the floor. The walls were blue, with golden lights flashing rhythmically. Crono spotted Mune by the first door, and ran up to him.
"The black energy grows..." Mune sighed. "Something scary is waking up!"
Deep in the heart of the palace, Zeal was determined to get Lavos to show up again, and claim her immortality. "Schala, raise the power of the Mammon Machine to its limit!" She ordered imperiously. Schala just stood there broodily, making no motion. "Schala! You dare to disobey me?!"
"All right, mother..." Schala caved pretty quickly. 'It'll take a while to reach full power.' She warned Zeal privately, not knowing what she would want the guards who had gathered after the accident to know. She tried to make herself feel rage toward Zeal over Janus' loss, but she was still too consumed with sorrow.
'I can wait a few minutes for immortality.' Zeal responded. Schala stretched her arms out, and a glaring red light suffused the chamber. "Oh... what bright splendor! The incredible power of Lavos!!!" Zeal proclaimed reverently.
"Aagh..." Schala gasped. The incredible amount of energy throbbing through the room was not exactly comforting. For a moment, the prophet almost looked concerned, but then he turned his attention back to the Mammon Machine.
After smashing through hordes of mutants and warrior mages, as well as legions of Dalton's best men, Crono was glad to see Masa perched in the middle of the longest stairway yet. "The ancient Red Rock has been passed down through the ages." He gave them a short history lesson. "From it, a magic pendant, and a knife were made. We embody Melchior's dreams, sealed, within the knife... Now hurry, if you plan to confront the Queen. We're counting on you!"
"We'll get her all right!" Crono grinned fiercely at him, then charged down the stairs.
The Mammon Machine was nearing maximum output, and Zeal was basking in the glow. "Ahh, I can feel it! The pulse of eternal life!!! Ha, ha, ha...!" She was obviously happy.
"D...dark...force...wild energy...! Aughhh!" Schala screamed. While Zeal was thriving in the energy, it was taking a toll on her. The prophet seemed to step toward her for a second, but then restrained himself.
One of the guards obviously couldn't take Schala's suffering as well. It seemed the rumors he had heard about what Zeal had done to her were true. He ran up to Zeal. "The Mammon Machine! Your majesty, it's too dangerous!" Zeal whirled around and sent him flying with a lightning bolt. She was too anxious to take crap from some third rate flunky.
"Mother...!" Schala protested weakly.
"Don't stop Schala! We're almost there..." Zeal suddenly felt the need to encourage her. "Immortality will be ours! Zeal will have the glory it deserves! Mwa, ha, ha... Too long have I waited...!"
'Waited for what? This immortality desire is pretty recent.' Schala wondered to herself. The machine continued to rise in power...
Dalton was holding down the fort not very far away. If he could stop the intruders here, Zeal would never know that he had failed up above. As he had expected, Crono rushed into the room, then quickly drew his sword. "You made it THIS far. Maybe I underestimated you..." He pretended that he hadn't expected this. "But this is the end! THEY will take care of you! Come, GolemTwins!"
Dalton disappeared, and a huge black portal spit out two snarling Golems. Crono didn't take time to plan a strategy. Just Luminaire, Glacier, Arc Impulse. In that order, stopping every now and then to heal themselves. The Golem on the right expired first, but the left wasn't very fierce without the other. Before very long, two piles of yellow armor lay on the floor.
"They beat the GolemTwins!?" Dalton really couldn't believe his Golems were so ineffective. "All right, this calls for the GolemBoss." He stretched out his arm, but suddenly, red light filled the room. "W,what's this strange force?" He quickly regained his composure and put on an act to confuse Crono. "Could this be...Lavos's energy?! ...I've got a bad feeling about this..." It was obvious Crono did too. "All my work will be in vain if I expire before I'm immortal! This is your lucky day!" He taunted them. "Bye-bye!" With that, he teleported back out of the palace.
Without pausing, Crono charged forward again. Once inside the hall, he found a Nu cowering in the aisle. "This is the hall of the Mammon Machine..." It whispered, afraid. "Now is the time to turn back, nu..." With that, it jumped over the edge.
Crono shrugged again, and walked quietly forward toward the Mammon Machine. Marle spoke up first. "Schala! We're here to save you, c'mon!!"
"We shan't allow thee to meddle with Lavos, Queen!" Glenn shouted.
Schala whirled around, a hopeful look in her eyes. "You're-!" She began, but her voice was cut off as a power surge from the Mammon Machine surrounded her. She was surprised to find that it actually caused pain in her, where nothing had for so long. "Help!!" She cried out.
Magus couldn't stand it any more. "Schala...!" He cried out as well. Would Lavos show up before she died? He was beginning to feel afraid, for her, at least.
"What are you doing Schala?!" Zeal demanded. "I need your help here!"
"Crono...! The Red Knife!" Marle shouted urgently.
"Crono, use the old man's knife to stop the Machine!" Glenn was also urgent. Crono drew out the knife, and it flew into the air of its own volition.
"Here we go Mune!" Masa's voice came from the knife.
"Ready, big brother!" Mune said excitedly. The knife rushed up, then slammed down hard, embedding itself in the Mammon Machine. Huge bolts of Lavos' energy coursed through it, elongating it, until it was a genuine sword, and a fairly famous one, at that.
"T,'tis... ..the Masamune?!" Glenn could hardly believe it.
"Th, the Mammon Machine!?" Zeal was afraid it wouldn't be able to reach full power now.
"It's coming...!" Magus felt the undeniable presence of Lavos nearing the place.
"N,no stop!" Schala screamed. "That sword alone can't stop it!" Zeal felt relief. In that moment, the Mammon Machine reached full power. The room was bathed in a white glow, and everyone's eardrums throbbed with Lavos scream. Crono, Marle, and Glenn rushed forward to challenge him. Zeal let them go, knowing they had no chance. Huge beams of fire shot out of Lavos' back, and landed on the three heroes. Marle and Glenn collapsed immediately, but Crono still stood on shaky feet. Gathering all his remaining strength, Crono launched himself at Lavos in his Confuse maneuver.
Lavos seemed unaffected by the supreme effort, and quickly cast Zone Chaos. When he saw that, while Crono's sanity might be in question, the boy was STILL alive, that tore it. He launched two huge needles at Crono, and the boy collapsed in a bloody heap. Lavos roared victory, pleased with himself. Even the mightiest of these humans was so weak...
Suddenly, the prophet appeared on the scene. "I've waited for this..." He said gravely. Magus threw of his hood, and all pretense. "I've been waiting for you, Lavos. I swore long ago... that I'd destroy you! No matter what the price! It is time to fulfill that vow. Feel my wrath, Lavos!!"
Lavos was amused by the puny creatures rants. 'Go ahead and try.' He thought. 'Didn't you see what I just did to that other guy? But if you want to die too, go right ahead. Just more DNA for me...'
"What do you think you can do?" Zeal echoed his sentiments. Zeal teleported herself and Schala onto the scene. Magus looked extremely pissed, but said nothing. "Hmph! A false prophet... You'll be a snack for the great Lavos!"
"Mother, please stop!" Schala stepped in front of her. "This power can only end in ruin!"
"Get away from there, Schala!" Zeal yelled.
'Get away from what?' Schala wondered.
"The almighty life force of Lavos lives in all of us... You are a part of it! You cannot change fate now! Oppose me and I will destroy you also!"
Schala wanted to say, "I think you've got Lavos confused with the lifestream," but before she could, Zeal jolted her with a bolt of Lavos' energy. So all that actually came out was, "Heeelp!"
Magus was momentarily torn between battling Lavos or Zeal, but he was saved the trouble when she jumped to what could be considered Lavos' shoulder. "Come Prophet, feel the power of Lavos!"
The same type of energy that had so recently damaged Schala surrounded Magus. "Ungh! Aaah!! My powers are being drained!" He struggled to break free. "Unghh... I won't... be beaten! I survived the darkness to defeat you, Lavos!" He succeeded in standing up, and the energy dissipated. Zeal looked surprised, to say the least. "Take this, Lavos! Aaugh!!" Magus charged forward, smashing into Lavos' front pod with his scythe. A blue light flashed, then a red glow lit up the odd zone. Suddenly, a wind began blowing out of Lavos' pod. "Wh,what...? It doesn't work?!" He couldn't believe it. Then, a blue light shot out of the pod, and he was sent flying through the air, landing hard. "Aughhh!!"
"Foolish one!" Zeal gloated. "Your measly power can't touch Lavos! This is from me to you! You shall enjoy eternal life... ..as part of Lavos! Uwa, ha, ha, ha...!"
Marle managed to raise herself to a kneeling position. "Can you move, Crono?" She called to him. "Please help Schala!"
Glenn regained consciousness also. "Magus! Thou art mine to defeat!" He shouted, but could not manage to stand.
Crono staggered to his feet, and ran over to Schala. "P...please escape... Crono!" She whispered pitifully. "Humans can't hope to defeat it."
"So! You are Crono." Zeal exclaimed. "Why don't you do as Schala says, and run away, yelping in terror? Isn't your life precious to you? Mwa, ha, ha!" Zeal baited him.
"S,Schala... Are you all right?" Magus called weakly.
Glenn automatically responded at the sound of his voice. "Aack...! Halt... Magus!"
"Crono... We can't leave Schala here." Marle called to him.
Crono noticed that they were all being pulled slowly toward Lavos' gaping maw. He could think of only one way to help everyone here. He slowly walked forward and stared Lavos in what resembled an eye.
"Haven't given up yet? What do you hope to do? You challenge Lavos with that battered body of yours?" Zeal laughed at him. "Mwa, ha, ha... See the power of Lavos and feel his wrath!" Crono began to float up in the air, a look of grim determination on his face. Something about that reminded the human deep inside of Zeal of Vigo. She wished what was about to happen wasn't going to.
Crono was about to launch into a Luminaire, when the same type of energy that had surrounded Magus surrounded him. Crono didn't give it up.
"Crono!!" Marle yelled, worried now.
"Desist Crono!!" Glenn pleaded. Crono paid no attention. A white light filled the room as Crono struggled to overcome Lavos' trap. Suddenly, the blue light that had thrown Magus erupted again. But since Crono was trapped in the strands of energy, it didn't throw him to the ground.
It blew him apart.
The pendant flew from his neck as he disintegrated, and everyone's world faded to black as Schala struggled to pull them away, too late.
"Crono...?" Marle called softly. "Crono...!"
They reappeared in front of the Mammon Machine, minus Crono, which was shaking violently now. "I can't... beat him." Magus cursed. "Lavos...!"
"Crono?" Marle called softly. "Where's Crono...!? NOOOO!!!"
"Argh...!" Glenn cursed. "We must plan our escape! The Palace crumbles!"
Schala stepped forward. "The last of my pendant's power will send you to safety. I know you can't forgive her but... ..please don't hate mother, or our kingdom." She looked down at where Marle was weeping on the floor. "I'm so sorry! Now, off you go!"
Magus stepped forward, about to protest, but he realized he had nothing to say. He submitted to the teleportation. There would be another chance to kill Lavos. He just hoped there would be another chance for Schala.
Schala watched them go sadly. "Crono..." She whispered. 'What made you do that? Did you sacrifice yourself... ..for her?' Then, she stared down at the pendant. It was still glowing brightly. "Well, maybe being hit with Lavos' magic has an up side after all. In this case, I've got a revenge to plan too!" Schala began to teleport herself away, but before she could complete the process, a beam fell from the ceiling, crushing her skull. The Nooze worked frantically to reassemble her, but more of the palace was caving in now. Schala's body was buried under a sea of cold stone and, well, the sea, as water poured in the sides of the broken palace.
'Now that I've taken care of all these pesky critters, what is this thing sucking on my powers?' Lavos wondered to himself. 'That's just a little too much at once, I think. Where's it all going?' He quickly blasted a tunnel up to the surface to have a look. 'I see, it's all being poured into that big floating thing.' A pulsation in the Mammon Machine caused him to wince. 'Ow! Okay, you've been getting too many freebies.' He told any humans who were listening. 'Rent is due.'
Once again, huge beams of fire shot out of his back, and up into the floating islands that made up Zeal. The North Palace was the first to go. Almost every item inside was blown out, and scattered across the world, although the heart of the palace where the Swallow was stored remained intact. Then the beams of fire nailed the rest of Zeal, causing massive fires and explosions. The kingdom slowly blew apart, and began sinking toward the ocean.
This event did not go unnoticed in Algetty. The regular messenger ran into the elder's cave, screaming his head off. "A tidal wave!" Was all he could say.
Indeed, as what was left of the main continent of Zeal fell, Ocean levels across the world increased thousands of feet, burying all but the highest peaks. The Earthbound literally headed for the hills, as most of the world died, and Vigo's dream along with it.
Marle drifted in and out of an uneasy sleep. "Hmm... Uh... Crono... Crono...!"
Glenn too, had troubled sleep. "N... nooooo! Crono..., Crono...!"
Marle sat up, gasping. "Crono!!"
The elder of Algetty was there watching over them. "Um! You're awake! You were delirious."
"Crono!!! Where's Crono?" She asked desperately.
"We found no one else..." He said apologetically.
"So it wasn't a dream." She sank to her knees.
"Be this the Earthbound Village?" Glenn stood up.
"This island was the only refuge left, after the Ocean Palace disaster." He explained.
"'Tis a pity..." Glenn bowed his head. "Whither hath old man Melchior gone?"
"People say when the disaster struck, and eerie, black portal materialized. Melchior tried to save Janus, but he was also dragged in."
"A "black portal?" Glenn exclaimed. "A GATE!!!" He calmed himself down. "That maiden, Schala... Whither hath she gone?"
The elder shrugged again. "I don't know. No one has seen her since."
"Epoch! What fate hast befallen it?"
"Your ship is quite sturdy and safe. It's almost as if it followed you here..." The elder reassured him.
"Crono..." Marle couldn't bring herself to say anything else.
"Marle..." Glenn bowed his head again. "Thou hast lost thy friend before thine eyes. No words can comfort thee..." She remained silent.
"Oh, this must be yours." The elder placed an object in her hands.
"My... pendant. The one Crono held for me."
"Young lady, I found it on your shoulder, almost as if it were guarding you." The elder smiled gently.
"Crono..." She whispered again.
"Take all the time you need to rest. I will be in the commons."
"I like a man who comes to do his own dying." - Gerrard
"You didn't make him die!" - Daria
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