Tempo Trigger Chapter 7

Barada's Fortress

By Nanaki

975 A.D.

"What do you think?" Schala asked him. "Should we go for it?"

"Well, Leopold did say we would have to do most of the work anyway. It might be more reassuring to have him around though."

"Hey, with your powers, I don't think we have anything to worry about." She smiled at him.

"Yes, well, about that." He reached into his pocket, and pulled out the small stone. "I used up all the power in this thing. My Soultech is back to being emergency use only."

"Oh. Well, I think we should be able to handle it anyway." Her smiled vanished though.

"All right, let's go for it. But let's be careful. I don't want to just go rushing in, trying to fight our way to Barada. We'd end up dead for sure."

"All right then. Let's get ourselves over there and see if there's more than one entrance." Tempo nodded, and they slowly walked across the dark plain, ducking at the occasional flash of lightning. It was going to start raining pretty soon, Tempo was sure of that. He wanted to be inside before it did. Even if "inside" was a Viashino lair. The still darkness was oddly creepy though. He just felt like something should be happening. They arrived at the side of the fortress about ten minutes later. The Viashino were all coming and going down one main road that Tempo guessed pointed toward Locorn. He wasn't exactly sure where they were. None of them seemed to be patrolling the sides of the castle. "See any way in?" Schala asked him, feeling the thick rock wall.

"Not really, short of climbing over the side." He frowned.

"We don't have anything resembling climbing equipment." She frowned. "Guess it's up to me then." She frowned again, trying to hard to recall even the most basic telekinesis. What had happened to her powers? She had been feeling them slowly coming back over the past few days, but far too slowly for her liking. Anyway, she couldn't teleport them inside, because she didn't have a mental image. She would just have to create a doorway.

"What are you doing?" Tempo asked, watching her frown as she closed her eyes. She didn't respond. A few seconds later, two of the giant stone blocks in the wall began to slowly grind outward. Tempo stepped backward as they slid to the ground with an extremely heavy thud. A deep gloom awaited on the other side.

"Well, let's get going." She gestured inside. Tempo reluctantly followed her into the darkness. They found themselves in a large, empty chamber. Tempo guessed it was a storage area that wasn't in use right now. They quickly found the door, and stepped out into a dimly lit hallway. "Any guesses on where we might find him?" Schala whispered.

"Not precisely. I would say it's safe to assume that he's somewhere in the main keep though." He slowly worked his way inside, keeping a careful eye out. The halls were deserted. He grew less and less cautious as they discovered nothing but empty space. What had happened to the hundreds of Viashino they had seen going out the entrace? "Where is everyone?" He wondered out loud, almost disappointed.

"Maybe we should check the entrance." Schala pointed in the direction she thought it was. "It seems like they all went somewhere."

"This is too easy." Tempo grinned. "We've been so careless, they could have swarmed us by now. Is Barada really that incompetant? I mean, Berreka seemed to know we were coming, unless I'm totally off the mark. Why would Barada leave this place empty?" He shook his head, smiling. "Ah well, let's get down there." They walked toward where Tempo assumed the main entrance was. As they got closer, he heard someone talking. They slowed down and peered around the corner.

The gates were open wide, and Barada was standing in the middle, giving instructions to a horde of his flunkies assembled outside. At least, it looked like a horde in the brief flashes of lightning. The torches didn't illuminate much outside. It seemed that it was starting to rain, and Tempo could barely hear over the wind blowing through the entrance. "You go on ahead," Barada was saying. "I'll stay here and wait until Berreka gets back, then lead his forces after you. I assume you can handle the trek to Moogoo's castle without my help."

"Yes lord, now that the Soul Knights are gone." One of the Viashino outside replied.

"Good. Then get there with all possible haste." In the flashes of lightning, Tempo saw that most of the horde had already moved off down the road. Barada slowly drew the gates shut, then shouldered a heavy bar into place to lock them closed.

"Is this unbelievable luck or what?" Tempo grinned.

"Don't get overly cocky." Schala narrowed her eyes a little. "But let's go." They stepped out onto the top of a flight of stairs that led down into the entrance way.

"I think you'll be waiting for Berreka for quite a while." Tempo continued to grin. Barada's gaze quickly went up to the top of the stairs.

"How did you get in here?!" He yelled. He didn't draw his sword yet.

"That's for me to know, and you to die before finding out." Tempo whipped out his mace. Schala had her hand on the hilt of her dagger.

"You insolent little punk!" Barada yelled. Then he slowly began to grin as he drew a sword that was even bigger than the one Leopold had smashed. Tempo's smile faded. "I'm gonna kick your ass!"

"Already you're fighting an uphill battle." Tempo told him, looking down at him from the top of the stairs. "I've learned a lot already, and I saw Leopold kick the crap out of you."

"If you think you can take me, you're welcome to try. But you'll make a great addition to Moogoo's army." Then he turned to Schala. "You however, have to die right now, Lavoid worshipper."

Tempo turned to her for a second. "Lavoid worshipper? What's he talking about?"

Schala grimaced. "It's a very long story that - look out!"

"Spearhead charge!" Barada was up the stairs in less than a second. Tempo managed to jump out of the way, but Barada was now up on the landing with them. He swung his sword in a broad arc, and Tempo barely jumped out of the way. If he had parried, it wouldn't have done any good anyway, given the force of that swing. While Barada was facing Tempo, Schala instantly had her dagger in her hand, and then, imbedded in his armor. It didn't cut into him very deeply, but the effect was immediate. He whirled on her, whipping his fist into her face so fast that she barely had time to see it coming, and certainly no time to dodge. She went flying through the air, and her head slammed into the wall. She was momentarily knocked out. Barada began to turn back around.

"Ah-rekka!" Tempo slammed his mace into the big lizard's head as hard as he could. Barada staggered back, steadying himself against the wall. Tempo was breathing hard.

"I see you got a better mace." Barada grimaced. "Too bad that's the only chance you'll have to use it. Spin Slice!" Barada rushed forward again, his sword spinning around in his hand many times just in the fraction of a second it took to get to Tempo. Luckily for him, the blade was beginning to spin away as it connected with his shoulder. A huge gash was opened, leading outward. The force of the impact caused Tempo to lose his balance, and he tumbled roughly down the stairs.

"Ugh..." He reached for his mace where it lay several feet away from him. He felt a little woozy as he saw his blood flowing out onto the stone floor. But he knew that if he didn't get up right away, Barada would proceed to kill Schala. Besides, if he couldn't handle this, how could he possibly take on Moogoo? Quite simply, he had to get up, and right now. Not in a little while, when he was feeling better. If he could do this, victory would be his, he was sure of it. He quickly got to his knees, even as the world spun around him. Then he raggedly got to his feet, and quickly picked up his mace. He didn't even bother to look at the wound. He knew it was bad. The sooner he beat the lizard, the sooner he could go about treating it. He straightened his posture, and looked up the stairs. As he had thought, Barada was going straight for Schala. In fact, he already had his sword poised to stab down into her. "Hey!" Tempo yelled. Barada hadn't expected Tempo to be back on his feet nearly so soon. It got his attention. Now Tempo smiled. "Pal, you just opened a big ol' can of whup ass." He said coolly. Then, feeling lightheaded, he charged up the stairs.

He ducked his head down, trying to keep low. He saw Barada start to swing. If he was going to survive, his timing would have to be split second. But suddenly, he had a burst of inspiration. He swung his mace down into the stairs. The kinetic energy of his charge transferred to the mace, then on into the stairs. He stopped in his tracks, while a shock wave continued on up the stairs, sending broken pieces of stone flying. "Ground Swell!" Barada's swing connected with the shock wave just as it hit him, and his sword shattered. He fell to the floor. Tempo resumed his charge up the stairs. "Ah-rekka!" He ran at Barada. But Barada seized his swinging fist, and stood back up. Tempo winced at the grip.

"I've had just about enough of you kid. Time to end this, because I..." Barada trailed off suddenly, his eyes open wide. Behind him, Schala drew her dagger out of his neck roughly, blood spurting everywhere is she did so. He turned to glare at her. "You... filthy... Lavoid beast..." She said nothing, but her gaze borred into him. "Heh. They think they've won." He said as he sank to his knees. "Those bastards. I'll show them." Tempo got a confused look on his face. He had no idea what Barada was talking about. "You two don't mind if I tell you everything, do you?" Now he was really surprised, but Tempo shook his head. "Heh. I never wanted this position. They forced me to take this job. I told them I wasn't ready. I told them I couldn't handle it. They said that was my problem. Well, it's their problem now. Heh."

"Who are they?" Schala asked him. She was afraid he would die before he got the whole story out.

"Wouldn't you like to know... Lavoid bitch." Blood began to fill his mouth, and he started coughing. "Damn them. Those bastards..." He trailed off, and his eyes closed. Soon, his breathing stopped.

Tempo turned to Schala. "Lavoid?" He politely left out Barada's secondary descriptions of her.

"It's a very long story. It's what Moogoo seems to be fighting, although I have no idea why he would have to fight the Soul Knights to do it."

Tempo's confused look returned. "This is over my head, again. Let's go back to Merido and pick up Leopold, then go after Kazin and the Soul Ring. I must say, I'm glad to get this out of the way."

"Yes." Schala nodded. 'But it wasn't good to kill someone who obviously hates Lavoids as much as I do. What's going on here?'


"Why are you mad? We're friends, aren't we?"
"Get lost! I never want to see you again!" - Algus Sadalfas and Ramza Beoulve


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