Tempo Trigger Chapter 2

Viashino Sand Stalker

By Nanaki

Previously Unencountered Time

"I say again, what the hell is going on here?" Tempo scratched his head. "This place looks like Locorn valley, but something is different..."

"Your guess is as good as mine. Better, most likely." Schala shrugged. "Before you woke me up, a man... mentioned something about time travel. That could be what happened here."

"Time travel? If that's true, which I don't doubt with everything I've seen, then we are still in Locorn, in a way. The trees are a lot thicker, and..." Tempo trailed off as he heard a muffled scream. "What happened to Silva?!" He quickly glanced around.

"There's something moving in the trees over there." Schala pointed to the northwest. "Who's Silva?"

"She's my girlfriend, I suppose." Tempo pulled out his whip. "Do you know how to use a whip?"

'Girlfriend?' Schala was crestfallen. 'Damn it!' "I don't need a whip." She smiled thinly, then reached behind her back. The thin smile quickly turned into a frown. "The Masamune! It's gone! Damn it again!" She kicked the ground, then looked up at Tempo dejectedly. "You don't have a dagger on you, do you?"

"Sorry. Let's get going, if you feel up to it." He tossed the whip to her.

"All right." Schala ran after him as he charged toward the trees at a surprising pace. But whatever was in the trees soon noticed and ran out to meet them. They both gasped as their adversaries turned out to be a group of humanoid lizards, about seven feet tall. She hesitated for a second, but then continued to charge forward. Tempo hesitated a moment longer, but plunged in after seeing her continue on. Schala snapped the whip at the nearest one, but it didn't seem to do much good. Tempo jumped up and gave it a good whack on the head with his mace, but the lizard hardly seemed affected. 'Forget this!' Schala thought. 'Star magic, now!' She stretched her hands out, but nothing happened. 'Oh come on!' She forced herself to calm down as Tempo and the lizard continued to swipe at each other. Other lizards were fast approaching, although she could see they were much slighter in build than the one Tempo was facing off with. That probably meant it was the leader. 'Maybe I have to conciously recall the words. I am a little rusty. All right, star magic, shier... Shier what?' She stretched her arms out again, but still nothing happened. 'I don't believe this! Why can't I remember?' Tempo cried out in surprise as the lizard clocked him on the side of the head, knocking him to the ground.

"Uh, a little help here Schala?" He groaned.

"Sorry, are you okay?" 'What happened to my powers?!'

"I suppose, but nothing ever hits back this hard in training!" Tempo sprang back to his feet, then jumped at the lizard, which remained in a fighting stance. He smashed the mace down hard on top of its skull. To their amazement, the lizard actually tilted its head back and laughed.

"Foolish peasant! You can never hope to defeat the elite guard of Moogoo!"

It was Tempo's turn to laugh. "The guard of anyone named "Moogoo" can't be elite! Take this! Ah-rekka!" Tempo charged forward, swinging the mace in circles in midair. He drove it downward hard in a swing which the lizard managed to avoid. But, he quickly swung it around again and the mace smashed hard up into the creature's chin. It went flying through the air and impacted into two other lizards, sending up a cloud of dust. "I thought so." Tempo grinned.

"Great! Now can you manage to do that about twenty more times?" Schala groaned as more of the lizards surrounded them. Tempo tensed, ready to spring again. Their spirits sank as the lizard Tempo had waylaid slowly stood back up. It wiped off the blood trickling from its mouth with the back of a wickedly clawed hand and glared at them.

"A point for you human, but we are the obvious victors. Lay down your arms or we will be forced to harm you." Tempo and Schala again took a look at the number of lizards around them, and reluctantly threw down their weapons. The lizard looked back into the forest, and shouted. "Take the other human back to the castle fast! I don't want to have to tangle with any Soul Knights." Then it looked back at them. "On second thought, I think I'll hurt you anyway." All of the lizards charged forward.

"Oh shit!" Tempo stepped closer to Schala, trying to protect her. He really only had one choice now. It would cost him at least five days of his life in the long run, but that was a lot better than dying now. "Activating Soultech!!" He folded his arms across his chest, and a green glow surrounded both Schala and himself. It grew brighter every second. The lizards piled on top of them, but couldn't manage to do any harm.

"That kid's a Soul Knight!" The lizard Tempo had tangled with, who did indeed seem to be the leader, shouted. "Put him down fast, or we're all toast!"

"You're right about one thing." Tempo grinned. "You're all toast. Gale Storm!" At that shout, high winds roared across the valley, driving thousands of beams of blue energy. The beams slammed hard into the lizards, blowing them apart, while the green glow protected Tempo and Schala. As the winds died away, Tempo's grin faded fast as the leader and four other lizards popped up from underground, where they had evidently found refuge. He hadn't seen them leave, but now they were back. The leader charged forward just as their green shield faded. Schala managed to duck out of the way, but Tempo went flying through the air, the landing knocking him out.

'I've got to draw them away from him.' Schala quickly realized. "What's you're name?" She shouted at the leader. "I'm going to need something to carve on your tombstone."

"Barada." The lizard bared its sharp teeth. "Not that you'll live long enough to care." It bent down and picked up Tempo's mace, then charged at Schala so fast she had no time to dodge. Barada brought it down hard on her skull, and watched with satisfaction as her skull burst open, spilling her brains into the dirt. The body collapsed in a heap. "All too easy." Barada turned and tossed the mace away.

"Sir look!" One of his soldiers pointed excitedly. Barada whirled around to find an oozing black liquid quickly gathering up the pieces of Schala's brain and skull, and reassembling them with fair speed. When her compromised cranium competely reformed, she stirred, then quickly stood back up.

"You're going to have to do a lot better than that." Schala grinned. "I could do this all day. How many times can you afford to die?"

Barada seemed speechless. "You..." He pointed a trembling finger at her. "You reek of the touch of a Lavoid! You'll bring an end to yourself soon enough." He turned, then quickly walked away. "Come on troops. We must report this to Lord Moogoo at once."

Schala let them go, knowing she couldn't do much to them at the moment. She hurried back over to where Tempo was lying in the dirt. She slapped him on the face lightly. "Wake up, O soul I never travel without." 'At least, according to a freaky dream I had once, that's who you are.' She amended to herself.

"Huh?" He slowly began to stir. "They're gone?"

"For the moment. I guess they figured knocking us out was enough." Schala shrugged, not telling him the whole story.

"That's odd. They seemed geniunely afraid of people with Soultech powers. You'd think they would have finished me off, at least."

"Well that I can't explain." Schala shook her head, then took a good look around. "Is there any habitation close by? Preferably inhabited by humans?"

"If I remember my history lessons, which I don't, really," Tempo looked around as well, "the old Locorn castle should be a few miles beyond those trees." He pointed straight north.

"Sounds good to me." Schala turned and started walking, without a second look at the lizard bodies.

"You know, I get the feeling you've fought often before." Tempo began as he followed her through the trees.

"Not exactly often, but I know a thing or two about battle, yes. Something seems to have drained my powers though."

"Any idea what might have caused that? My powers were fine when I unleashed Soultech."

"I use straight magic, is the difference. I do have an idea about what caused it, but I don't think you'd believe me if I told you. And I really don't know where my sword might have gotten to."

"Wait a minute!" Tempo exclaimed. "Humans can't use magic!"

"We've just traveled through time, and you doubt the existence of magic? Please!" Schala turned to give him a quizzical look. Then her eyes became troubled. "Say, how is it that you speak my language anyway?" Then her eyes widened. "Forget that! How is it that you're even human?! I'm not surprised critters like those lizards were hanging around!"

"What ARE you talking about?!" Tempo demanded. "What's up with you anyway?"

"I'm not from this planet." She said succinctly. "I'm surprised to see humans here. And I'm very surprised that I can understand what you're saying."

"I don't know what to tell you, or whether or not to believe you." Tempo shrugged.

"After all the other weird stuff you've seen, it shouldn't be too hard to accept, right?" They both stopped talking as they left the cover of the trees and came into view of the castle. The mighty center of Locorn kingdom was composed of six towers that rose two hundred feet into the air, and a larger central keep that had to be at least three hundred feet. Surrounding those were walls that appeared to be fifty, seventy five, and one hundred feet high. There was a wide moat beyond the outer fifty foot wall. "What now?" Schala asked, slightly awed. The architecture was nowhere near as inspired as the Zeal Palace, but you just had to respect anything that big.

"I suggest we go inside." Tempo walked up to the moat, and they circled the castle until they came to the drawbridge, which was lowered. "They must be fairly confident." He observed offhand. He walked up to the closed portcullis more slowly, in case there were any bows trained on him. "Hello there!" He called up to the parapet.

"Who goes there?" A bored voice responded.

"We are weary travelers from very far away. We come as friends, and I know how to use the powers of the soul, in case that's a requirement to get in."

"Hold on a minute." The voice responded. In a few minutes, the two inner portcullises were raised, and Tempo could see a man waiting behind the outer one as it finally went up. He was dressed in silver armor, although a few things were missing from it, notably the helm, that indicated he wasn't going into battle at the moment. He had very short, but spikey, blonde hair.

"Greetings, travelers. I am Sir Leopold, Soul Knight of Locorn. Who might you be?"

'They sent a knight just to meet us? What's going on here?' Tempo wondered. "I am Tempo, a Soul Page, I think. This is my companion Schala. Another of us was captured by some large lizard creatures."

"Sounds like Barada's on the hunt again." Leopold frowned to himself. "Ah well, come inside the castle. No one has ever successfully penetrated its defenses. You'll be safe here." He turned and began to walk back through the main entrance.

"Pardon me sir." Tempo broke in. "But may I ask why a knight was sent to meet two lowly travelers?"

"We don't get many unknown people with soul powers around here." Leopold grinned a little. "I'm in charge of investigating any unusual circumstances around here, and believe me, I have a lot of questions to ask you. But I'm guessing that if you ran up against Barada, you'd like to rest first."

"Barada?" Tempo asked.

"What is he anyway?" Schala inquired.

"He's the leader of the Viashino around here. They seem to be in an alliance with Moogoo at the moment."

"And who's Moogoo?" Tempo asked.

"You'll find out soon enough, I'm sure." Leopold grimaced. "I'll have someone show you where the soldiers' barracks are. As for you lady, if you'll follow me, I'll have the servants prepare a guest room for you."

"Well well." Schala smiled. "Thank you sir." 'This kind of treatment could make a person wish their body was alive...'

* * *

Vigo: Huh? Oh Gren, you're back.

Gren: A little sooner than I would have liked, but yeah.

Vigo: I take it that Zeiram is toast again, for now.

Gren: Yes, again. I died from my injuries right after the fight though. That sucks.

Vigo: Any word on when Arthur's coming back?

Gren: Not any time in the near future. World War III's escalating, and England still needs him.

Vigo: Figures. Lousy Brits.

Gren: Anyway, what's been going on with Schala and Lord Elan?

Vigo: He's Tempo now, remember. Not too much yet, although they ran up against some creatures that bear a remarkable resemblance to Sraphites.

Gren: That's impossible! The Sraphites never went anywhere near that system.

Vigo: Maybe it was a long, long time ago. Legend says that the ancient invasion force fragmented after they destroyed Draconus. If some landed here and never left, that would explain it.

Gren: Replay the scene for me.

Vigo: All right.

Gren: Hmm... They seemed to be afraid of Schala when they found out her Nooze was Lavoid powered. Perhaps they've had contact with Sraphites, at least.

Vigo: But why would they be afraid of Lavoids?

Gren: Perhaps... Perhaps they actually want to make up for the mess created by the whole Lavoid project.

Vigo: I don't think Sraphites could possibly have that much feeling. It's a theory though. We'll have to keep an eye on these "Viashino..."


"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." - SemiSonic


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