Lavoid Trigger Chapter 2

Initial Encounters

By Nanaki & Paul Nathans

She ran.

         Dagger clutched in her hand, she scanned the streets for someplace, anyplace, to hide. Behind her came two nondescript figures in the blue garbs of the Guardian Special Service. One brandished a silvery-black 'something' that looked like a crossbow; but without the bow. It was a device that had probably fired the metal projectile that would have gone clean through her head if she hadn’t stumbled on a loose cobblestone, and almost tripped forwards. It had shot over her head, though, and stung her hair.

         "Lunari Elea, this is your final warning!!"

         The blue-haired girl spun and glared daggers at the two figures behind her. They’d paused their pursuit for a moment. The few people who were in surrounds were watching with a mixture of fear and curiosity. None, however, was foolish enough to intervene in the confrontation going on amidst their run-down shacks, and cardboard dwellings.

         She stood in the Porre slums, her strength beginning to wear down on her. She’d been dodging pursuit ever since the Guardian Special Forces had intercepted her on her way home from the marketplace, and pulling off all the tricks she knew to attempt to evade those who were after her. Yet they had not been shaken, and she knew she was beginning to run out of options.

         She wore a pair of tight-fitting light purple shorts and a red shirt, her blue hair hanging behind her head in a shimmering curtain, one which fell slightly below her shoulders. An opal pendant, crescent in shape, with a multifaceted red stone embedded in the center was strung about her neck from a light golden chain. Her slender form was tensed, ready to move at a moment’s notice.

         "Warning for what!?" she hissed, brown eyes flashing. “You fire some weird thing at me, you try to corner me, then when I bolt, you chase! Now you're warning me to stop doing something, whatever it is! What the heck are you all talking about!? What did I ever do to anyone other than simply try to live the life all commoners are granted!!??”

         One of the humans; she still couldn't decipher whether it was a male or female, due to its robed garments, laughed, and held out a badge. “We’re Guardian Special Force, Elite Class. You don’t question us, you just come with us!”

         “After you fired on me!!??” She gaped at them incredulously. They’d chased her through the city and only now were stopping to question her!!?? “If you think you’re going to sweet talk me into coming with you now your brains must be in your feet! No way am I coming with you two; no utter darned way!”

         Her ‘exotic looks’ had gotten her in plenty of trouble before. With the Guardian Special Forces… Ones that had been looking for a kick by taking down supposed ‘Native Porrian rebels’. Typical humans. They’ll go after me because I’m different. Since humans fear anything ‘different’ so often to the point where they often lash out against it, these thrill seekers can use that as justification for whatever they wish to do to me. Never before, though, had anyone opened fire on her… Not until now.

         How many times had she been accused of conspiring against the throne by hotshot ‘Government Forces’? How many times had she had to move house because she was placed under quarantine for no utter reason? If that had been what had led to this… She had her suspicions, though. How many times had she had to report being stalked due to her pendant.

         She sighed, backing up slowly.

         The figures stepped forward, keeping in pace with her.

         She fought the urge to scream. This was insane!! The Mayor couldn’t do anything about these people because they were outside his jurisdiction, and there were too many situations like these for all of them to reach the King’s eye.

         She backed up further.

         They can arrest me and come up with justification for it… Now this too. What’s next? Burn my home…? Darn all Nobles!!!!

         She continued to back up through the alleyway steadily, the two people facing her keeping her trapped between their gazes. She wondered why they hadn’t yet attempted to fire upon her… Enjoying her being trapped by their steady forward movement, most likely. They could lunge at any moment and take her out now.

         They were just waiting for her to lower her guard and then they’d do so, she was almost certain of it.

         An idea clicked in her mind. She dropped and scooped up a sharp of glass, hurling it at one of the figures, and rolling to her left, reaching her feet, and throwing herself forwards into another alley. A shot sounded just behind her, but she kept going, resuming her run; ducking and leaping clotheslines and cardboard dwellings, heading towards what looked a ten foot wall at the end of the alley. It quite obviously separated the alley, and what was most likely another alley, on the other side. She emerged in front of it and turned to regard her pursuers, keeping her form partially concealed behind one of the cardboard shacks.

         The two ‘Special Force members’ approached her wearily.

“You're worried that this is a trap so you're trying to lure me out!” she spoke, grinning, and reaching behind a crate to her right, pretending to search for something.

         The 'Special Forces' doubled back reflexively.

         Almost quicker than the eye could follow, she stretched her hands behind her so their palms were pressing against the stone wall, and kicked forwards with her feet, using the cardboard box as a boost. She flipped through the air, twisting around in mid-flip, landing on the top of the wall, and beginning to move to the side.

         She’d expected her adversaries would count on her flipping over the wall and fire at where her head would be. Thus, when she landed, she was counting on moving to the side giving her a decent advantage. Then, if she could drop down to the alley, and be on her way, she might make it.

         Only she was too slow.

         The projectile that had been aimed for the presumed position of her head shot outwards and ripped through her right thigh. Searing pain lanced up and down it as she crashed forwards, dangling over the wall with her legs on the side the figures were on, the rest of her body dangling over the other side.

“We'll take your Dreamstone Pendant now!”

         What? She struggled to conceal her annoyance. They’re after me for my pendant!? That made these people no more than common thieves, then!

         The physical pain that tore through her right leg was nothing compared to her emotional pain and anger.

         Forced to relocate off and on… All because I’m ‘different’! Now this too!?

         These freaks sought to deprive her of all that she had left of her family!!?? All that was left for her in the wretched life she had!! She had no friends, she’d had few friends, and far between… After all, no one wanted to associate with a ‘freak’. Her mother and father had passed away five years ago, victims of a sickness, and left her to fend for herself. And, by herself, the Guardian Special Forces could risk using her. How the heck many times had she had to relocate in those five years!?

         Now they dared to take away all she had left that was precious to her!!!!????

         She was aware one of the Elites was standing over her.

         How'd he/she get here in these few seconds? Darn they’re fast!

         The figure withdrew a katana. "Its mine now, woman!"

         Lunari twisted her head, ignoring the wave of vertigo she got from hanging upside down, and looking up, and backwards, until she was glaring up at the blue-robed figure. Anger flashed in her eyes. “Over… My… Decaying… Form!!” she hissed in response, before she spat in the figure’s eyes.

         “So be it then.”

The person plunged the dagger down, and she kicked it from his hand with his good leg. The figure spun, whipping out a dagger from his boot, and lashing at her. She flung up the pendant to use as a bracer, grabbed the person's hand, and hooked it with that good leg, while twisting, and shoving forwards with that foot, throwing herself up the wall, while moving into a roll.

         Both collapsed down the wall, and she thrust her opponent under her.

         As soon as they landed, she drove her knee into his neck as hard as she could, then grabbed the dagger, lifting up the half-conscious man/woman, and drove the hilt into his head with as much force as she could muster. The figure slumped to the ground, unconscious.

         Briefly she wondered why the other figure hadn’t fired. Then she realized that it would’ve been too risky for both of them to take such a narrow wall at once. The other assassin would be coming soon, though, most likely.

She tensed again. She quite obviously couldn’t run with this leg, she’d be dropped before she was a meter down the alley. She looked around her for an enclosure, and found none.

         I guess there’s no choice, then!

         She clasped the dagger in her hand and looked up.

         The other ‘Special Force’ member had reached the top of the wall, and leapt down before she could lunge. Eyes behind the light blue mask took in her weapon even as she hurled it forwards. His/her own weapon snapped forwards, firing once to her right, and again to her left, in the case she attempted to move that way. The third projectile shot straight at her.

         Lunari screamed as the metal projectile tore through her left breast, through her heart, and out her back, falling backwards even as the dagger she’d thrown, spinning vertically, tore into the Guardian Special Force member’s right hand, gashing it deeply. The figure screamed and dropped the weapon, landing on the ground, even as the young woman collapsed backwards.

         She couldn't breathe, she couldn’t feel anything. She was aware of the blood pooling below her, aware of its sticky wetness clinging to her skin, and back, but couldn’t register much more than that. The stones that she lay on seemed to become smooth and welcoming, and the blue of the sky seemed to become a blazing white. She couldn’t move; she couldn’t focus on anything. An empty lassitude seemed to surround her.

         It registered in her mind that she’d just been fatally wounded, but she couldn’t process that information enough to react to it, even though in the deepest part of her soul she was filled with a sudden chill.

         I never had anything to live for… But I never wanted to… To…

         Her adversary strode forwards smoothly, right foot rising.

The foot came down and connected with her neck, driving into it even as she blacked out. She felt a snap; then she knew no more.




         A fine job she's done…

         Lunari blinked – or would have if she could have. She seemed to be sinking through some form of green matter, interconnecting threads pooling in strange, yet beautiful shapes about her. The green matter parted about her and a funnel of light seemed to form about her, luminescent glowing white orbs that moved downwards even as she floated up. The white orbs of energy shot past her like a beautiful waterfall as she ascended towards a curtain of gentle blue ripples.

         Then she was part of those ripples, interspersed in wisps of constantly changing color, stars, and galaxies floating about her everywhere. She attempted to register where she was, but couldn’t focus enough. Light white substance hovered below and above her, extending outwards endlessly in all directions beyond where her eyesight could take her. She felt more than heard a multitude of voices about her, but couldn’t comprehend what they were at all.

         She was no shrouded in gray wisps, hearing voices speaking.

         The one she’d heard when she’d first ascended here spoke again.

         This is her first reincarnation and she does absolutely nothing at all with her life… Are you sure that she was worth the effort to be brought here?

         He seemed to think so. We can always check the timestream and observe for ourselves if you wish.

         Why bother? She shouldn’t have been sent anywhere in the first place. You shouldn’t have given her the chance… Sending us trash, of all the nerve… If I find out its one of the lives he’s going to live in the future he’ll get it from me very badly.

         Common events can interfere...she was supposed to aid those others in destroying that Class C, III Lavoid… Not everyone we send out always hooks on to the destiny Rofellos wishes us to have. My life as Vigo should prove that. I’d probably never have encountered that Lavoid.

         This is her first reincarnation, ‘Vigo’. That outranks poor Rylos' fate...fifth reincarnation and the guy ends up hooked up to one of those Sraphite superweapons. He could’ve used those powers to free himself, if necessary he could’ve compressed reality, and taken out a whole planetary system. And what happens? A Class E decides to use the weapon he’s latched onto for energy. Since the device he’s hooked up to runs by his spirit, the Lavoid actually absorbed his spirit as if it was normal energy, and thus obliterated him from existence.

         This concerns her how?

         If we’re going to take his trash, we ought to see something. She gets taken out by a gunshot and her throat gets snapped. From a human, at that. Ha!

         Lunari couldn’t register the first thing about where she was; her senses seemed to be adjusting to this strange, surreal reality at a very slow place. She could begin to comprehend that this ‘Vigo’ and the other voice she could hear the most were talking about her, though.

         So? You should be thankful she was given a second chance to live… Besides, he was a bit sketchy on the details… He never did say straight out that she’d done nothing at all…

         She’s trash unless she redeems herself.

         Call her that again and I’ll tell him you called someone he personally chose to send here trash. We’ll see how he likes that, eh, my friend?

‘What on Eolsia is going on here!!!!!?????’ she screamed.

         Or rather, tried to. The voice came out from what seemed to be her mind.

         All of a sudden, the white energies swirled about her, and her perception, almost fully focused to the point where she could register what was going on about her, was consumed in a madly-glowing ruby-colored storm.




         "What in-!?"

         The Elite Guardian Special Service Member drew back in astonishment. The Dreamstone had been removed from the pendant efficiently and easily, but as they’d made the mistake of resting the pendant upon the body, near the wound, as they took it out, the Dreamstone had fallen into the wound.

“Oh, great!” his female companion swore. “Couldn’t you have been a bit less clumsy!!?? I am not searching a wound that goes this deep!!”

“No, that’s not it,” the man stammered. “Look.”

         The woman shoved him aside and looked down into the wound, which was pulsating with ruby-colored energies. “What in the name of-!?”

         As they watched, the artifact they knew as Dreamstone shot out of the young lady’s body, and hovered in the air, slowly rotating. A corona of red light was being emitted from the stone, as well as occasional rays of light. Then suddenly the Dreamstone pulsed at a greater intensity, and seemed to remove itself from itself.

         The second Dreamstone fell neatly into the woman’s pendant, which closed itself back up, sealing in its treasure once again.

…The wounds closed, and all the blood was erased, evidence that they'd ever been there gone. The replica and the original of the Dreamstone formed a current of energy as the two got to their feet and stepped back. Energies of a deeper red crackled along the inside of the funnel that had been formed between the two Dreamstones.

         “The heck with this!” the man snapped. “Let’s take the stone and scram!” He grabbed the Dreamstone floating in the air, then shrieked, consumed completely as a ray of ruby energy shot out of the Dreamstone, expanding to become the size of the man touching it, and vaporized him, leaving nothing but ashes behind.

         “What the-!?” the woman cried. The shock of seeing her comrade lose his life was quickly replaced by her own survival instincts as more and more rays began to emit from the Dreamstone floating in the air. She fled down the alleyway, not even bothering to look back behind her.


         The merge went on.

The Dreamstone, responding to instincts older than time, and the universe itself, hovered in the air. Upon coming in contact with the girl’s life-giving systems, it had responded as it had done uncountable billions of years when encountering such an instability. It had repaired all aspects of the woman’s wounds and restored her to how she had been before she had received what the beyond ancient hive mind could only register as an anomaly needing its repair.

         As well as its presence.

         What it did not need was an alien presence, one that it took steps to remove as swiftly, and efficiently as possible.

         The physical manifestation of what was beyond all comprehension crackled madly, channeling down through its twin, and below that twin, into the girl’s body, observing her as it had once observed the ancient anomaly itself. It became knowledgeable of every aspect of her form, her aura, and her spirit, and then was ready.

…The girl lifted into the air and interposed about the Dreamstone itself, floating vertically, eyes closed as if in sleep. A column of ruby energies shot to the ground below it, vaporizing the ashes of the unfortunate agent who had just passed into the afterlife, fully clearing the area of other presences. The transformation then began to take effect.

The Dreamstone reverted to its basic state, in the presence of an aspect where it could not exist as a solid, and became one with the young lady’s aura. Doing so resulted in a corona of ruby light forming about the woman. Strands of her hair changed from blue to ruby, the transformation beginning at the follicles, and moving up to the ends of those strands claimed by a side effect of the Dreamstone’s aura.

         With one last flash of ruby light; the corona erupting in a tiny, yet ultracompressed eruption, and a brief thunderclap of air being forced outwards, the process was complete.

The young woman’s eyes, now green, another side effect of the Dreamstone’s merge, snapped open, and she alighted on the ground below. Lunari blinked confusedly, trying to gather her bearings as she took a deep, rasping breath.

         Then she screamed as the thoughts and the knowledge of billions upon billions of years rushed into her like an onrushing torrent. What the all had seen, the emotions they’d gathered, and shared with the rest of their ‘race’; emotions of quadrodectillions – cencillions – of living beings, and the knowledge of immense powers beyond anything her race should know, made itself aware to her mind. Joy, pain, confidence, horror, agony, ecstasy, comfort, torment – infinities upon infinities of such experiences crashed into the young woman’s mind.

         It was far more than she could handle.

         The living Dreamstone screamed...

…And screamed...

…And screamed.




         Three black-brown lids slowly folded open.

         Where am I?

         The Lavoid could feel earth beneath it, and could see clearly what looked like mountain formations about it. It shook itself blearily, forcing reality to register… And sat stunned upon the soft dirt.

         It was alive!

         It had survived the descent by some miracle of fate. It didn’t even feel any pain, or damage, to its structure… Which was a miracle in itself as well. Too many Class Fs built up too much momentum upon attempting to make a landing upon anything bigger than a meteor. They would crash into the meteor and sail through it, in the process being torn apart by the hard matter.

         That, then… Of course… Was it.

         Despair descended upon the Lavoid as it realized it didn’t have the skill to absorb anything from a planet even while upon it. And it would never be able to get the boost to clear the planet’s gravity field and find something it could feed on.

         The inevitable had only been postponed.

         Then the Lavoid felt it.

         The Planet howled in pain, a mass of voices rising up in indescribable agony, carried upon a dark wind that circled around the podlike creature as fast as a tornado, merging with its being and speaking of sorrows unimaginable, as well as fear. It could almost see the reddish lines of energy, some Lavoid, some planet, some completely different, as they were sucked into one point somewhere far, far south of the place that it was at. The screaming went on for a cavalcade of long, torturous seconds, before finally abating in one last piercing moan.

         So the Black Wind howls even here… Yet it definitely isn’t directed at me.

         The Lavoid was beginning to feel very afraid. It was stranded somewhere that it had rather not be, upon a place which could possibly have sent out something that had possibly been home to someone that had slain a Class C, Type I, Lavoid, and with something skilled enough to tear away the residual energies of Lavoids...


         Curiosity momentarily replaced fear, which was also quickly replaced by an impulsive desire to know why it had sensed the energies of a Lavoid here, when there was clearly no Lavoid on this Planet.

         Regardless of the reason.

         It slowly extended its senses as far as possible, until it could perceive the general layout of this mountain range. Salt water to the north and the east, snowcapped mountains northwest and directly east, a forest southwest of the area, and a… Oh, galaxies… A human population to the south.

         The pod let its ‘eyelids’ close until it could see out of the center pinpoint only. That gave a several second wait until its sight readjusted, but it would offer more protection in case humans had people skilled with sensing mental wavelengths. Again it reached out, this time drawing in an air bubble, and forming it under itself, then shoving against it, while reinforcing the sides, and finally releasing the top. It allowed the column of winds to lift it into the air, where it quickly latched onto an electromagnetic line, one of the many that crisscrossed the poles of the globe, and began heading towards where it could observe.

         Basically, in a generally south direction.




         Crono sat on a chair on the porch front porch, staring out at the quiet surroundings of the relatively open neighborhood he lived in.

         The soft feel of twilight was about him, yet he didn’t notice it… Or the gentle breeze that swept about him. His mind was far away, thousands of years in the past.

         As it had been since the previous morning, save for the sleep of last night… One he was still surprised he’d actually gotten. Crono had simply not been able to fall back to sleep. The nightmare had brought back all of the memories of what he had experienced so many years ago. He could remember every detail of the sullen young lady who had been Princess of the Magic Kingdom of Zeal. From the pale sickness of her skin to her haunted eyes. They’d burned with a resignation and a determination at times that had amazed him each time he’d seen it, especially towards the end, when she’d spoken with them in Algetty before Dalton had taken her away.

         Those eyes reminded him of himself, of the look he was sure he wore so many times when the memories of… He shuddered and forced the past to stay where it belonged… Came out. Of the look he had to wear a thousand times as his eyes rested on his mother. Again he forced the memories away.

         He’d thought that time of his life past.

         He still wasn’t sure how he’d managed to stand it. At times he thought of himself as two separate people… One, the silent, simple young man who lived a pointless life, treading from one day into the next. He’d had Lucca, but that hadn’t been enough. When he was alone with his family all he had was chilling emptiness… Nothing could replace it, nothing could remove it. He was all but lifeless to the world. Yet when Marle had gotten herself in danger… When he’d seen the reason for the cause of the devastation the planet had undergone… He’d found the strength to become someone else, if only for a point. He still wasn’t sure how, though. When Marle had gotten lost he’d found that strength and focus by himself, and had managed to maintain that focus until he’d returned her home. He’d maintained that focus, similarly, when he’d had to fight for his survival… Him and then Lucca and then Marle again. And when he’d found out about Lavos, Marle had served as a guiding beacon to give him the focus to use the anomalies they had stumbled upon to confront the gargantuan creature. He’d hated the misery he’d seen in the far future era, but he hadn’t been the one to come up with the idea of trying to change that fate. At times, he’d taken head of the situations they’d wound up in, but after all had been said, and done, he’d just… Reverted.

         Had he only done what he did because he plain didn’t have a life? For focus?

         Unless you’ve got something to occupy your attention, or you’ve got friends around you, you’re nothing. That’s not living.

         What had it been like for Schala? He’d never truly compare himself to others, but he’d have to say she was probably a lot worse off.

         Yet life wasn’t so depressing anymore. At least, not for him. He had Marle as well as Lucca, and Marle was someone very special. The dreams, and the memories they brought back, though… He’d needed Marle’s presence more than anything; and yet he hadn’t been able to go to her then. It had been late summer cleaning time, and he knew better than to leave his mother alone during any big house projects like those.

         He forced the memories away again.

         The isolation was becoming unbearable.

         He took comfort in that he’d have the next day free. He’d go see her and most likely Lucca as well then, and by the end of the day the dream would be nothing more than yet another in a series of others he’d had that had revolved around the people whom he had encountered four years ago.

         Yet none were this vivid.

         He forced himself to focus on the present, to try to once more immerse himself in the gentle breezes they’d been getting for the past two weeks. Yet somehow he knew that he most likely wasn’t going to succeed.

         He saw her then, appearing over the horizon, clad in her usual traveling gear… White shirt and white lower garments… In this case shorts, due to the fair climate. He squinted, to make sure his mind wasn’t playing tricks on him, and watched as she crossed the distance towards his house at a hurried pace.

         Something’s wrong, he realized in an instant.

         She picked up her pace when she noticed him, and was on the porch before he realized it, heading over to him, the same hurried stride in her step as when he’d seen her appear over the horizon to the south, before she’d sped up.

         All of that vanished when she came close. Her gaze, which he hadn’t been able to decipher, changed to one of concern, and she knelt down beside him, taking his right hand in hers. “Crono?” she asked softly. “What’s wrong?”

         Marle’s voice startled him out of the half-stupor he’d gotten himself into. He gripped her hand with his left and pressed it down harder on his own, drawing as much comfort as he could from her gentle touch. “Why are you here?” he responded, her sudden appearance leaving him feeling almost ashamed to have been found so distressed.

         “I was coming to get you to ask you to come with me to meet Lucca at the plains north of Truce,” she answered him. “I went to get her first, she’s waiting by the southeast bluffs.” She brought her other hand up and rested it on the one he had on top. “Now tell me what’s wrong.”


         Marle’s eyes flickered with emotions he couldn’t read. “I’ll explain once we’re as far away from civilization as possible. This is something I can’t risk others overhearing.” Crono at last took note of the sack of quivers strapped to her back, her bow resting inside as well. “Yes, that’s why I’m armed. We all know not to travel to far outside human civilization without a weapon.”

         Crono nodded.

         “Now please tell me what’s wrong.”

         He sighed and closed his eyes. She squeezed his hands reassuringly, and he opened them to meet her concerned gaze once more. This is stupid! Just tell her! “I… Had a dream…” he began slowly. “The night before last. A very bad one.”

         Marle mentally kicked herself, regretting that she’d been kept so occupied despite that there was really no way she could’ve known. She couldn’t be with him all the time.

         Crono closed his eyes and took a deep breath, mustering the strength to continue. Marle moved her right hand up to give him a gentle squeeze on his shoulder, then dropped it back down on top of his left hand. He opened his eyes. “I don’t know what it was, but… It had to do with Schala.”

         Marle’s eyes flickered again, her concerned gaze becoming a lot more concerned. She knew as well as he did how much the blue-haired woman of Zeal had affected them all. She slipped her left hand out from between his and brought it up to stroke his cheek. He grabbed the hand and held it there. “What was it about?” the blonde-haired girl questioned, keeping her hands where they were, but moving around the chair to settle gently in his lap. She brought her other hand around to his left shoulder and squeezed it as well. He smiled briefly, thankful for the attempts at comfort.

         “I was being crushed and burnt at the same time by a huge hand made of lava.” He tried to keep his composure at the memory of the all-consuming pain. The pressure of the hand on his shoulder increased slightly, and he didn’t bother to keep his composure anymore. He didn’t need to around her; he never needed to with her. He let the shivers from the nightmare run through him. Marle fell forward against him and wrapped her arms around him tightly, resting her cheek against his. She brought one hand up and ran it down the back of his hair, all the way down to the middle of his back.

         “It was just a dream,” she whispered. “Don’t worry about it.”

         Just like they both knew that the pain would eventually go away. That didn’t mean the Princess was going to be any less caring about it.

         “And…” He stopped momentarily, and Marle gave him a nod to continue. “I was remembering… Or dreamed I was remembering… What Schala must’ve been like before her mother was… ‘Taken’…” He blinked, surprised to feel tears form. Marle ran her hand down his hair to his back again, sending a soothing wave of comfort through him. “It was incredibly vivid, like I was actually living the whole thing, though. And what was worse was how I viewed her then… Could you imagine a life without anyone in it to ever care for you, to ever lift your spirits?”

         Marle winced, and Crono brought his hand up to run it down her own cheek. She shook her head. “Its okay. Imaginable, yeah, but definitely not something I’d like to experience.” She brought her head back and looked him right in the eyes. “You had to see something that real as if you were there?”

         Crono nodded.

         Marle nestled her head back against his and held him more tightly. “Oh, Crono, that’s horrible!” She twisted her head to give him a light kiss on the cheek, in an attempt to give off more comfort. She rested her head against his own once more, biting her lip as she found herself at a loss for anything to say to give meaning to that gesture of comfort. She settled for a simple, although cliché ,“Its over now. You’re not alone. You have me and Lucca, and you have a mother who loves you as well. If you’re hurt or in pain, you know you can always come to us.” The rest flowed in easily. “Whoever you dreamed you were… That won’t happen. If I have to, I’ll personally ensure it doesn’t happen.”

         “I know. Its just… Frigtening to even consider.”

         “Don’t consider it, then. Don’t worry so much about what you might not have that you lose sight of what you do have.”

         She didn’t want to tell him now. Right now, the last thing he needed was the knowledge that the world might have just become a lot less safer place. She remembered how deeply the devastation of the far future era had cut into her, and how shattered her own world had been when the destiny that they were all to meet stood revealed. Her own dislike of the bounds her station in life had given her had paled in comparison to what she’d felt then… Even now the thought of something so awful happening and everyone powerless to change it chilled her soul.

         Crono picked up on her distress and returned her embrace, running his hand down her back as well. “Memories?” he asked understandingly. Marle nodded. He brought her head around and kissed her on the forehead. “Don’t worry about it. The past is just what it is. The past. That’s all behind us now.”

         “I know,” the blonde-haired girl responded. “Its just… Hard.”

         Crono ran one of his hands across her forehead comfortingly. “That’s something I know as well.” He moved his hand around to her back again, her presence enough to lift his spirits as it always did. Distraction… That new doubt flitted away. The happiness accessible in the present wasn’t just as distraction; it was one of the things that made being alive worthwhile. The happiness and love possible to experience in life… It was real… It existed; it wasn’t just a blockade. And even if he hadn’t had a life before… With someone as gentle and caring as Marle was, he certainly had one now.

He smiled, a genuine one this time. “Come on. Let’s go talk with Lucca and figure out what to do with what’s troubling you.”

         Marle swore inwardly. If she backed out now it would only worry him. Better to just tell him, and then work through this together. She nodded. “Very well.”




         “Are you quite sure of this?”

         Lucca gazed at her blonde-haired friend inquiringly. Crono Triggara stood off to her side, his Rainbow Sword was sheathed at his side; it was always safer to carry a weapon when traveling long distances. The wind swept through the grassy plains, ruffling the young man’s hair. He pushed a stray lock out of his eyes, and crossed his arms, mind reeling from what he’d just heard.

         The bubble he’d just formed around his life had shattered into a million pieces.

         It had been one thing to not know of the existence of Lavos. Once he had, though, he doubted he could’ve gone through his life without having done something about the being. Not when he knew that their fates were sealed in devastation, that their world was destined to be laid waste to. To go through life and to know everything you did was all for nothing, that no matter what you accomplished in your lifetime it was all doomed to end in misery… He hadn’t been able to take that now.

         To take even the possibility again… He shuddered.

         Even if it was a false alert, he knew he couldn’t just go through life as if nothing was wrong. If the Lavos hadn’t burrowed below ground yet then they could stand back and let the people who knew what they were doing handle it. Still… Knowing that they had at their access skills that might make a critical difference in such an encounter… Might aid in keeping the casualty rate low, or dealing with wounds… Darn it, he didn’t want to go through something like this again! It should’ve ended with the eradication of the parasite itself, but there’d been a good deal of mopping up to do. After that, it really should’ve been over. Now, though.

Yet the situation was possibly worse. Chances were, though, the Lavos was already below ground, and so far below they could do nothing about it. What did that leave then? No choice but to take the Epoch, go talk to Gaspar, and find out when this one was going to emerge from hibernation… Presuming that no one else dealt with the beast… And take it out.

         When did the world become our burden, though? This isn’t fair!

         Then again, since when did he ever have any life anyway?

         Or could he take another choice? Attempt to live out his life and leave the possibility of a danger in the far distant future or in the present if this Lavos was somehow different up to others to handle. Things could’ve been different if people had actually paid attention to Lavos… Maybe if the warning was passed down through the generations and wasn’t lost in history, a warning to watch for dangers from without, and within… Maybe that would work. Yet could he leave something like this up to chance, knowing he could’ve made a difference? What was the best thing to do?

         Since when did you have to worry about the world? Let others handle it… You don’t have to be some savior or martyr to the rest of humanity.

         Yet if he didn’t then–

         Darn it, don’t do this to me!!!! Please!!!!!

         Marle squeezed his hand softly – she’d obviously been watching him for his reaction. He met her eyes, and the silent apology there. “Don’t worry about it,” he said softly. “You did what you thought was right.” He gave her a smile he didn’t feel, and he knew Marle recognized as a façade as well. She gave a tentative attempt at giving one back, then dropped the effort, dropped Crono’s hand, and turned to Lucca.

         “I’m pretty sure,” she replied. “What else would provoke such a violent reaction from my pendant?”

         Lucca sighed. Her loose green shorts and red-purple shirt fluttered in the breeze. She pushed her glasses up below her bicycle helmet, letting them drop back to her eyes, and settled into a thinking pose. “Okay,” she spoke, running her hand through her deep brown bangs. “Okay. How does that involve us anyway? I hope you’re not suggesting we go out on a Lavos hunt or something.”

         “That’s why I’m bringing this to you,” Marle answered. “We need to figure out what we’re going to do.”

         “Hold it, hold it,” Lucca responded, forming a ‘T’ with her hands. “First of all, who says ‘we’re’ going to do anything? Last time we couldn’t exactly go to the King and warn him. Yeah, we had an advantage… Magic… But who’s to say that a couple hundred of the army’s best couldn’t have Triple Teched that thing to oblivion?”

         “Without herbs or ointments like Megalixirs and the like? We have them. Plus I’ve got healing magic, as does Crono. What would’ve been the chances of any army against something that powerful without a decent way to heal?”

         “I don’t know.” Lucca was not too amused with the fact that someone was asking her to turn her life upside down already. Once was enough… She suddenly saw her friend as expecting that they would go after every type of potential threat that large. And that was something she didn’t want to do. “Our lives… We can’t let a possibility govern our lives.”

         “Don’t be so selfish!” Marle snapped, the similarity of Lucca’s words to her own doubts, and fears as to what Crono could have been worried about, ignited by those words – and with no other channel to unleash them. She realized what she’d done and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. That’s not what I meant.”

         Lucca didn’t even hear the apology. Marle noticed Crono had paled, and bristled inwardly, kicking herself mentally as hard as she could. “Its not selfish,” the inventor retorted. “Its human. Since when did anyone ever say we needed to be some symbol of self-sacrifice? No one should have to do that.”

         “So we should just let another of those monsters pulverize all life on this world?”

         “That is not what I meant!” Lucca was bristling herself now. They didn’t even know if this was real… If it’d been a Lavos the whole entire mountain would’ve been destroyed, and they’d have been dealing with an enormous crater. Maybe it was something similar… Or a smaller one, true. They didn’t know how restricted Lavoses were to size. That didn’t matter though. She forced herself to calm down. “Marle, you’re implying that each time something like this pops up we should drop everything in our lives and risk them to dispatch it. Do you want to live a life like that?”

         “No!” Nadia snapped, apalled at what Lucca seemed to be suggesting. “That’s not what I meant in the slightest!”

         “If you’ll sit back and look at it, you’ll see where I’m coming from.” Lucca brushed back another lock of hair. “If this is so important, why didn’t you come see us earlier today, instead of this late?” she queried, in an attempt to lighten the tension.

         “Senator Endrolson and his complaints about the situation with the Guardian Special Forces in Porre,” Marle answered. “This has been happening way too much lately. I’m about ready to march down there and drag both the current Native Porrian head and and the current Special Forces Commander up here by the hairs on their heads. I don’t know why these situations are springing up all of a sudden, or whether we really are just dealing with a bunch of hotshots, but I’ve about had it with them. I want to get to the bottom of this and now!

         “I spent the whole morning composing a delegation to send to them both, then debating with my father whether, or not I could handle it. As it is, I finally got the time arranged for a meeting a month from now… If they accept, that should end this.”

         Marle took a deep breath, obviously composing herself. “And I’m sorry, Lucca, but I really can’t see where you’re coming from. I can’t just stand aside and let billions of lives suffer because you don’t want to have your life disrupted.”

         “That’s not it!” Lucca snapped back. “We can’t go chasing around something without proof anyway. And even if we do, and take this one out, what if another shows up? What do we do then? We can’t fight them all… I don’t even want to fight now. Maybe we could do some analysis on their structure… If they have some sort of weakness and we can find it, then we give it to the people in charge, and let them deal with the possibility.”

         “And what about if they don’t? What about that they burrow underground?”

         Lucca shook her head in despair. She didn’t know whether she really just was being selfish, and refused to accept that their lives were shattered. Yet at the same time the appearance of what could possibly be another provided her with the knowledge that Lavoses might turn out to be a standard danger to any planet. Something had to be put in effect. Yet if nothing was… She couldn’t devote her life to a cause she didn’t want.


         Crono couldn’t take it anymore.

         Yes… Lavos. Planetary menace… Nothing to stop it but him and his comrades, they were the only ones skilled enough to do so. The ruined futures of a thousand different possibilities stretched out before him and the meteor showers that were not meteors laughed him as they fell in his mind’s eye. The monster that had given him something out of whatever wretched life he’d had. Empty… Pointless… Walk through one day just to get to the next with nothing to do or to bother with and no reason to continue on doing so… Looking forward to things he could enjoy, like the Millenial Fair, but knowing they would just fly away into the breeze, and he’d be left with a house with a pointless life, and a mother he could share nothing with. His life was cursed, impossible to change, a reality of anguish that could never be altered. What was the point of that?

         Yes… He’d spend his entire life hunting down Lavos after Lavos and ignore the trash world that he lived in and the empty houses filled with people that he could never talk to and a world that had nothing and hunt down those monsters and the heck with anything else and he’d spend his life and waste everything and throw away family and become a lousy fool with a farce existence and sleep in the dirt and wear himself down traveling the world and the timestream and take out every last one of those monsters in the universe and starve and waste into a soulless husk with no purpose and nothing which he’d never had in this insane world and never had anything after all and become half-sane like his mother and go through life detached and barely relevant of the world and lose all the memories of his friends and family and lose everything dear to him by knowing nothing and letting everything slip his mind and fall through his grasp and never feel the warmth and comfort and friendship and love and soothing vioce Marle gave to him or his mother’s gentle gaze and he’d go through life a near blank living in wastelands of nothing that was around him because he couldn’t comprehend it wastelands wastelands–

The grassy fields around him vanished to be replaced with a rickety old house, a staircase he was staggering up, his sword colored by the blood of thousands of Lavoses. He reached the door and knocked on it only to find it crash open before him. His mother was sitting in the chair, eyes half open, desperately staring at the door.

         “Cr…o…no…” she wheezed. “Wanted… to see… y-ou one last… t…ime…” Her eyes closed and the knitting she’d had in her hand vanished. Crono crossed the distance to reach her, holding her softly, tears in his eyes from seeing her like this.

         “Mother?” he asked her. “Mother, what happened?”

         She took a shallow breath, smiling behind her closed eyes. “I’m… sorry… You didn’t show up for so long… Gone for so many years… Had to find you. Couldn’t let you wander off alone… What if…?” She lapsed into a hacking cough. Crono’s eyes brimmed with tears. “Couldn’t let you…” She went. “I grew careless. I didn’t… pay attention… to the food in this house. The bills… Everything. I didn’t have time… I just bought what little I could as time went on… Couldn’t give up.

         “Too weak to move now… All I could do was try to walk to the food storage, and back here. I’ve spent every last moment here… Save getting my food and drink… Hoping you’d arrive. Sleeping… I tried to keep from sleeping. I refused to give up hope you’d never… Come… back…”

         Crono was already carrying his mother down the stairs, preparing a Life Spell. Her aura manifested and he saw it wouldn’t do much good, she’d wasted away too much. He’d picked up his pace. “Mother, no…” he breathed. “Hold on, please, hold on, I’ll get you to the hospital… Please hold on…”

         Tears were falling down his cheeks openly now.

         “Can’t open my eyes anymore…” his mother went on. “Thank you… I’ve been afraid of falling asleep before for fear I’d never wake up… Can rest now at last… Don’t know if I could’ve held out any longer anyway… Its so peaceful here, Crono. So soothing… Why don’t you come here with me?”

         Then her breathing stopped.

         Crono bent down and immediately tried to feed her air. The time flew by as he desperately but controlledly forced air into her lungs, pressing down on her chest, willing her to breathe breathe breathe breathe breathe!!!!! The twilight was casting its shadows about him by the time he looked up and realized it wasn’t doing any good.

         Chills claimed his heart. “Mother…?” he asked tentatively. The chills became an icestorm as every pore of his being was suddenly swept through by a biting cold. He collapsed over his mother’s lifeless form, sobbing uncontrollably, cursing himself for ever leaving her. “Mother, answer me – motherrrrrrrr!!!!!!!”

         He looked up and found himself kneeling before another of those monsters. He cried out and instinctively gathered together all eight lines of Lightning Magic. Yet he didn’t unleash them; he continued to compress them and compress them until the very air was pulsating with so much lightning energies it was affecting the air and burning his arms and legs and linking his blackened form to them and he still kept building it and building it and compressing the lines – not even fully aware of what he was doing or of anything other than the insanity whirling about him as the electricity was ripping throughout reality – compressing the lines compressing the lines until they could go no farther and then unleashed them, a tornado of lightning tearing out through the hole, and into the monster, blasting back into him, and punching a hole in his chest. He collapsed to find himself looking into Nadia’s face, much older… Arms extended, carrying a child for him to hold. He reached for it and a Lavos needle fell through them both, spraying him with their blood. He cried out and appeared in Marle’s lap; when he didn’t know, and he couldn’t turn his head to see. He was looking up at the stars, the gentle feel of his hands on her face, her legs beneath his head.

         “Its pointless, Crono,” she whispered. “There’s no end to this. When will this ever end… So we can actually have a life? We’d hoepd for so much… How long until the next landing? Lucca sighted over a thousand this time around. I’m so sick of this… Everytime we think we can make a life for ourselves we have to go out and face another of those beasts. I’m weary of it… Weary of this neverending struggle. Father’s sick again, he may not recover this time… I can’t even walk around my own hallways without expecting it all to end again. What happened to our hopes and dreams?

         “Did we confine ourselves to this fate to save others from it? Is there another way? Please… I’m so tired… So tired… Yet I can’t give up. Everytime I think of possibly doing so… Choose for me, Crono, please. I’m so tired I don’t know if I can go on thinking. I don’t want our dreams to vanish… Please… Can we ever have anything?”

         Then he was standing on a hilltop, overlooking flowery fields. Lucca was standing there with a hang glider, Marle had her arms outstretched, a huge picnic table had been set out for a party. The view shifted and he saw himself walking through the streets, hand in hand with Marle, his other hand held by his mother. Two toddlers, blonde-haired with bangs flopping over their heads, trailed along behind him, scampering in front of his mother, and laughing. “And then we’ve got to buy some short-sleeves for little Else and Estan wants a new ball. Crono, you promised you’d be the one to play volleyball with him this time, remember?” Marle turned and smiled at him, a vibrant smile filled with life. He found himself drowing in that smile, in the warmth, and family, and happiness, and love around him, the grass suddenly filled with sparkling dewdrops, and new life. He laughed, not one of amusement, or happiness like he might feel in a game, but of a joy so incredible he had no words to describe it. His throat tightened and his eyes brimmed. Marle went on. “And then we finally get to take the kids to see the playhouse Lucca erected in Leene Square… We’ve all been looking forwards to it, but me especially. Maybe we’ll have a clear night and can watch the stars together then.”

         At those words, the sky darkened.

The stars were all red.

         Reality shattered in front of him like a lightning bolt. He screamed in agony and collapsed to the ground, unable to take anymore, too exhausted to even cry. He pressed his face against something and tried to immerse himself within it.

         He could stand no more.

         A soft footstep caused him to look up, and rest his gaze on Schala. Her face was haggard and her blue hair was a mess. Her skin was even more sickly than he’d seen before, and she looked absolutely emaciated. Her face was sunken, there were dark circles under her eyes. She looked as if she barely had the strength to move.

         A ruby dagger was clutched weakly in her right hand.

         “I guess this is the end, huh?” she asked weakly.

         He suddenly realized they seemed to be standing on a wasteland. He looked around to find himself floating on an island in the middle of the blue timestream, drifting endlessly. There was no one there but him and Schala. “Where… are we?” he asked.

         “This is all that’s left for anyone in a life where you’re helpless to ever change it for the better. No matter how hard you fight, no matter what you do, you simply end up completely alone. There’s nothing left to it anymore. Fight however you want… There’s no purpose for it.”

         She turned the ruby dagger around, pointing it towards her heart, and with a start, Crono realized what she was about to do. He grabbed her hands. “No, you can’t!” he cried. Whether it was from fear of being totally alone or to prevent her from doing this to herself he didn’t know and didn’t care. He couldn’t let her take her life; he just couldn’t!!

         “Why not?” Her words came slowly. “Alone here or alone in oblivion… There’s no difference. Why cling to a life that has nothing in it? Why bother with a world that will only come back and slap you in the face time and again? Give me a reason why.”

         Crono found himself at a loss for words.

         Schala closed her eyes for a moment, opening them, and let tears brim. Pain-filled green eyes stared out at the world that spoke of a misery so deep and cutting that it stabbed into his heart like a hot knife just to see its surface. “There is no reason. No reason save to walk through life with nothing to comfort you and nothing to love you. To look around you and see others happy and as free as birds and to never manage to achieve what they have. To never feel the warmth and comfort coming from just knowing someone loves you, to never walk through the flowey fields with your parents, and your children. To never just rest in someone’s arms and let the cares of the world washed away. To never experience the simply joy that comes from helping someone else, or the happiness that comes from having a meaning in your life. Why bother with those?”

         “You can’t just give up, though!” he cried.

         “I lived on an island where it was as if I was flying,” she responded weakly. “Life shattered everything I had, and left me with nothing. I tried to spread my wings and fight back at life countless times. I failed every last one of them.” She took her hand out of his and stepped back, suddenly at the edge of the island. He broke into a sprint, heart pounding as he attempted to reach her. The blue-haired young woman closed her eyes; a wistful, peaceful smile settling on her face. “Its time for this broken bird to spread her wings one last time.”

She plunged the dagger into her heart and spread her arms, closing her eyes; that same wistful, peaceful smile never leaving her face as she toppled backwards, over the precipice just as he reached out for her. She fell down into the bottomless emptiness as he stretched out his hands to grab her, his mouth open in a silent scream, her blue hair falling about her like a shimmering, luminous curtain.

         It was only when she disappeared from his sight that Crono found the strength to scream again, his throat torn hoarse by its force. He screamed for the woman’s loss and for his own pain, a total aloneness that was fully manifest. He screamed for the futility of his life and the utter emptiness around him and the broken spirit he’d just witnessed before him. He screamed and screamed, each cry building upon the last, not caring if anyone heard him, not caring if someone was to come up behind him, and slit his throat then, and there. He wrenched his sight away from where Schala had vanished and pressed his face back against the ground, wrapping his arms around himself, and holding himself tightly, trying to will away the feel of the stone; of all of reality.

         He couldn’t bear it anymore.

         He just wanted it to all vanish.


         He snapped out of the dreamlike state he’d gotten himself into with such instinctive force for a moment he felt as if his mind had erupted into, and been consumed by fire. He was looking into Marle’s eyes, and she was shaking him gently, but forcefully, worry in her eyes. “Crono!! Crono!!” she was calling over, and over again.

         He collapsed into her arms, wrapping his own arms around her body, unable to do anything but sob quietly into her chest. The blonde-haired young woman was filled with a mixture fear and concern, stronger than anything she’d felt in a long time. She’d never seen him like this before, and his breakdown gripped her heart in a sudden dread that she could not describe, but could only experience. She wrapped her arms around the young man and held him gently, not sure what else she could do.

         Lucca walked over to him, concern showing in her eyes as well. She rested a hand on her friend’s back, fixing Marle with a scared look. “What’s wrong with him?” she asked, all thoughts of Lavoses, or selfishness gone from her mind, just as it was from Marle’s.

         “I don’t know,” Marle whispered, her own voice just as frightened, if not moreso, as Lucca’s voice. Guilt plunged into her heart like a dagger.

         It was her fault he was like this, that much was obvious.

         Why is it that its often the ones you love the most you hurt the most?

         All threads of thought vanished as impossible pain erupted within her.


Crono was jolted out of his depression by the sound of Marle screaming. His head snapped up even as she released him and collapsed to the ground, eyes wide as she gazed at some unseen terror. Her pendant was glowing with supercondensed energies, shaking and pulsating as if it was about to explode. All the while she was still screaming.

         Crono was kneeling on the grass at her side in an instant, Lucca on her other side. All thoughts of his dream-vision vanished from his mind; his sole concern the agony that the Princess was in. “Marle, what’s wrong!?” he asked softly, although sharply. She didn’t answer, just gazed up at him with wide, unseeing eyes. “Marle!” he shouted, a desperate plea in his voice. “Answer me!”

         She screamed again and brought her hands away, as if they had been burnt. Crono noticed the pendant glowing a dangerous red and snatched it away, flinging it across the plains as far, and as hard as he could before it could burn her further.

         She collapsed in a heap, sobbing.

         He instantly gathered her in his arms, and she clung to him fiercely, stroking her hair, and her back soothingly. Lucca immediately took off her tan jacket and spread it across the girl’s shoulders, burnt by the pain of the pendant. Crono continued to stroke her hair and her back, but she didn’t stop sobbing.

         “Wind… Howling… Energy...” she murmured into his ear. “It was… Oh, Crono, help me, please!!!!!” She collapsed into another sobbing fit.

         His chest felt like it was being twisted and torn at the same time. He couldn’t stand seeing her in so much pain, and that he could do practically nothing to ease it only increased that feeling.

         Once again he heard a scream, one that chilled his bones to the core.

         But it wasn’t Marle this time.

         It wasn’t even a human scream.

         Several meters to the north of them, a thing resembling the shape of Lavos’ Shell’s pod-face slammed into the ground, actually falling the last few feet with a speed typical of someone performing a polevault. It had apparently used a cushion of air, as the wind forced outwards nearly bowled him over.

         Marle’s gaze was now locked on the thing, eyes chips of flint, hatred clearly engraved upon them. She slipped out of his arms, standing so fluidly he wasn’t aware he’d let her go.

         “Lavos,” she hissed in a feral undertone.




         The Lavoid began to descend as soon as it had felt the presence of the blue-haired human that it finally decided to term ‘Huntress’.

         Only it wasn’t the Huntress, but a group of three humans, one with deep brown hair, one red-haired, and the final, the one that had attracted its attention, blonde-haired. The red-haired one held an aura akin to that of the Huntress, but in a completely different way than the blonde-haired one. Blonde-hair seemed almost exactly like the Huntress, it was her who had been sensed, while red-hair held an aura akin to that of the Huntress’ that was infamous among the Lavoids. With such similarities, memories of its brief encounter with the woman came back, and it was surprised it hadn’t noticed that aura in the Huntress until just know.

The red-haired young man was one of those pesky so-called ‘Heroes of the Ages’. It snorted, the term still not ceasing to amuse it. More like ‘Barbarians’ or ‘Butchers’. They appeared out of some high-level plane as yet not pinpointed in a way through which it could be accessed by any of its kind and attacked Lavoids with intent to slay them; looking upon them as monsters and evil freaks for no other reason than they wished to live. So far none had succeeded in slaying a Lavoid, but the fact that there was one here, no, two, brown-hair carried a much fainter aura, plus the fact that there was no Lavoid on this Planet, like there should be, and blonde-hair knew its name, told it that at least one had lost its life to the attempts of these freaks.

         Two females, one male, two ‘Heroes.’

         It couldn’t avenge Jenora, but it would avenge whatever Lavoid these things had brought their evil to.

         It opened its eyes and channeled a tripartite blast of elements out of the three lids; forming into a raging pyramid of shifting energies known as a Delta Storm and exploding amidst the trio, scattering them amongst the grasses. The Lavoid landed on the grass and began to gather together the threads necessary to form another Delta Storm, one that ought to finish off the humans. One of them, the red-haired one, cried out “Darn it!” The young man hissed, standing up. The Lavoid’s translators wobbled a bit as they kicked in, but the words registered. “Not now!!”

         Before it could get off its follow-up attack, its world became a yellow-golden dome of light as the red-haired Hero gathered the eight lines of Lightning Magic together, and unleashed a Luminaire. It quickly hooked onto an electromagnetic current and shot up before the eruption of pure energies entrapped it and vaporized it. The Spell compensated and moved upwards and outwards until it exceeded its limits and exploded. “Haven’t you done enough, Lavos freak!?” the blonde-haired female growled. “Its your fault that Crono…” She clenched her fists in rage. “Darn you!!”

         The Lavoid growled. That was just like humans! Blaming someone else for something that had most likely been a fault of theirs because they were too cowardly to take responsibility for their own actions. The Class F decided it had had it with the monsters known as humans bashing its kind around.

         The Lavoid quickly sent out a mental probe wavelength, and found the frequency of speech she used for her thoughts. It wasn’t enough to actually speak in her language, but it was enough to communicate with her in a decent method.

         [I never did anything to you!] it hissed angrily. [I don’t know what you’re talking about! But since you’re in a conversational mood, perhaps you can tell me what happened to the Lavoid that occupied this planet prior to my arrival.]

         The blonde-haired woman was at first startled, but then regained her composure. “You’ll join it soon enough!!” she snarled, reaching over her back, and taking out an ivory bow, stringing an arrow to it.

Brown-hair had reached the side of the angry blonde-haired female, curiosity shining in her eyes. “Did I just hear that thing ‘speak’?”

It made sure to broadcast its voice clearer so all three, no, four of them, red-haired ‘Hero’ had a visitor, could ‘hear’ it more clearly this time. [Yes, I spoke. Does it surprise you that an nonhuman can ‘speak’? Are you humans really that stuck-up and arrogant as to think you’re the only beings capable of communicating on such a level?]

         “What?” The brown-haired ‘Hero’ took a step back. “Stuck-up? Arrogant? What do you mean by that?”

         [Why don’t you figure it out for yourself. You took out the Class C, Type III on this planet, didn’t you? You did so and you expect me to answer your questions. You don’t deserve to know it if you can’t comprehend it. Figure it out yourself. It seems you humans aren’t only selfish monsters, but nieve fools as well.]

         The brown-haired woman took another step back.

         The Lavoid ignored her, focusing on blonde-hair again. [I’ll ask you again. Were you one of the ones responsible for the eradication of the Lavoid that should be living right now on this planet?]

         “Darned right I am!” She had her bow pointed at him.

         “Marle, wait!” brown-hair shouted, running in front of her. “This appears to be a lot more than it seems!” Lucca tried to make some sense out of her racing thoughts. Not only were these Lavoses… No, Lavoids… It had used the term ‘Lavoid’ beings that simply wished to survive, but the way it had spoken of humans.

         “Don’t stop me, Lucca!!” Marle snapped in response.

         The Lavoid’s momentary surprise at the brown-haired lady’s actions was replaced by annoyance as it realized that the other lady was most likely not going to listen. The red-haired young man had gotten to his feet and had rejoined his companions, but seemed to be unsure of what to do.

         Using a simple levitation grasp, it wrenched the sack of arrows off of the blonde’s shoulder, its strap snapping. It also grabbed up the bow she had in her and, as well as the red-haired one’s katana. It removed the brown-haired lady’s gun from her holster, and brought all of the weapons up to hover above it, out of reach of the humans.

         “Give those back!!” the one named Marle cried indignantly.

         [Shut up and cease your whining. You’re all going to pay for your actions. I already failed to avenge Jenora, I won’t let another’s loss go unavenged!]

“I think that ends the conversation,” Marle snapped to the brown-haired woman, Lucca, shoving her aside, and forming an enormous glistening shard of Ice above its head. That was quickly recognized as an Ice 2, and was just as quickly evaded by quickly darting backwards. Having no shell to weigh itself down, the Class F, Type III discovered with delight, definitely had its advantages.

         “Please stop!!” the one who went by the name Lucca shouted.

         “Its just trying to get inside our minds!” Marle cried. “Don’t let it, it can do worse. Remember what happened to Queen Zeal!?”

         Lucca stepped back; doubt and uncertainty in her eyes.

         [You think I’ll stop!] the Lavoid retorted. [Not until I have my revenge.]

         It snapped its eyes shut, then open, for emphasis; and launched a small, yet intense, beam of firey enegies from the center of its eye. It smashed into the blonde-haired young lady, knocking her backwards, and the Lavoid again began to gather its auras together into a Delta Storm.

         “Darn you!!” the red-haired young man cried. “Just leave us alone!!”

The young man clenched its hands into a two-handed fist, as if he was holding something and built up his speed. The motion was so fast the thing didn’t have time to react, nor ride the current higher into the sky. Red-hair leapt straight up, pummeling it in the eye. It responded by snapping the lids shut, forming a mental picture of the surroundings while launching a white beam out of its eye. At the last second it released, allowing the energy to flow through the boy’s two-handed fist, and straight into its body. He screamed and fell to the ground as the electricity coursed through his body, hopefully charring it beyond repair.

         CRONO!!!!!” Blonde-hair had gotten back up. Eyes blazing with rage, she tackled the Lavoid, which realized it had lost connection with the electromagnetic spectrum when it had focused its energies upon electrocuting the male hero. Blow after blow landed in its face. The thing hissed and quickly formed an air barrier between them, then inversed it, and attempted to blow her backwards.

         She wasn’t moved, but it used that moment to find the low-hanging electromagnetic line. It opened its eyes and launched a small orb of shadow-star energy, a brilliant cosmic detonation that hurled her away, although wasn’t really ferocious enough to do much else. Then it found the electromagnetic line it had losses and latched onto it once more, whisked back up into the air in an instant.

         It had forgotten about the weapons that it had held in levitation, now on the ground. A crossbow bolt headed straight towards its eye moments after it stopped ascending, slamming into the inside of the eyelid. Although it barely penetrated, it did sting. The Lavoid vaporized it with a simple Fire, and swore. It noticed the kinetic energy from the impact of the arrow had cast it to the ground once more, and pulled together a small celestial wavelength. The Lavoid snapped it above their heads and contracted it – a shower of meteor-size comets descended towards the two women, forcing them to move away. The brown-haired one, who’d been hesitating, sighed, and began to walk towards her fallen gun, seeming almost… reluctant.

The Class F forced all thoughts of ‘why’ pertaining to her actions out of his mind, and began to pool together a higher concentration of celestial magic, forming a tear in reality that, when opened, would bombard the humans with hundreds of meteors.

         The wavelength dispersed as the Class F’s concentration snapped, the red-haired boy shoulder tackling into it, and forcing them both backwards. For a moment it was surprised. This human must have been through a lot to have developed enough resistance to take such heavy electrocution.

         The red-haired boy had its hands around its sword, clenched together as if before, and brought it around in the beginnings of what looked like a whirling slash. The Class F latched onto the electromagnetic fields, but instead of using them to move away, used them like a swing, crashing forwards into the boy with the force of a freight train, and sending him flying backwards once more, to collapse a safer distance away.

         The blonde-haired woman had been in the process of channeling together another Ice 2 wavelength together, and suddenly found the Lavoid whirling around her, using its three-pronged eyelids like knives, gashing into her sides, chest, abdomen, and back, altering height ever so slightly to continue to add gashes. The Lavoid couldn’t get too close or it would risk a collision, and thus couldn’t do much more than superficial damage, but the pain she had to be feeling would hopefully distract her long enough for it to finish channeling together the wavelengths necessary. The young woman screamed and threw herself to the ground, somehow managing to gather together an Ice, and mentally throw it upwards. The Lavoid was sent tumbling back, its eye stinging once again from the impact. It spun, sensing the Lightning 2 wavelengths being gathered behind it, and overlapped them with a pooling of water auras, which it left to disperse. The Lightning 2 activated – then caught onto the pooling of water and became a storm of electricity that resulted in the red-haired ‘Hero’ throwing himself forwards reflexively.

         The young man noticed he was a bit too close to the monster, and didn’t have its weapon ready. A triangle of white energies with cosmic auras in the center collapsed around the boy and inversed inwards, simultaneously releasing a conical blast of starry energies. Or rather, collapsed around where the boy would have been had he not rolled to the side. A quick invisible slap of air hurled him backwards in midroll, and another snap stunned him. The Lavoid pulled itself up into the air and moved above the stunned young man, gathering together the wavelengths necessary for a Dark Matter.

At this range it could pinpoint the thing’s occupant, and grinned as it remembered one of the Lavoid’s tales of the Hero matching this particular aura having been thoroughly humiliated and then impaled by a bunch of Lavoid Needles.

         [Nice knowing you’re still around, Raled!] This time the thought was directed solely at the Crono person’s occupant. [I thought when Cintor punched holes in you ole’ Rofelly might decide to teach you a lesson in humiliation.]

         [Actually, he’d just been seeing how well I could perform beginning another life seconds after another, as a test for credibility against a Class A,] came the response. [I got a bit of a rest and redirected to a weaker one than had been originally planned, but still a Class A. Sorry to disappoint.]

         The boy was in the air before it, three quick slashes of its blade cutting into its thick armor, the fourth driving right into the center of its eye, a rainbow katana cutting deeply. It shrieked in agony and unleashed a quick series of yellow plasma orbs, hurling the boy backwards yet again, but then throwing him backwards farther, and farther – before he could hit the ground – with each successive impact. When he finally crashed to the grass, he was a large distance away.

         Already in mental contact with the ‘Hero of the Ages’, the Lavoid decided to continue its conversation.

         [And what are you doing here?]

[Why does it matter? I’m in transferral now, but I had an opportunity here that I couldn’t in good conscience pass up. That’s all you’ll find out from me.]

[Since when did you butchers ever have a conscience?] The vision of the spirit in its mind’s eye stiffened, obviously angered at the audacity of the accusation that had just been placed before him. [I hope the Class A properly showed you what true pain was like.]

         Raled definitely winced, or would have, if that was possible. [Yeah, you could say that.]

         [Painful failing your master twice in a row, eh?]

         It decided to end the conversation there, latching onto a current that moved right through the head of the boy – who was in the process of getting up groggily – and would carry it down and through him at such a speed it wouldn’t have a chance in the world of surviving.

         Scratch one human; two to go.


         Lucca had her Wonder Shot in her hands.

         She supposed she could have cast something, but was reluctant to even open fire. This all seemed like some type of misunderstanding… Stepping into a situation like the type she’d wandered into when she, Marle, and Robo had confronted Atropos-XR. She still had some doubts about arming herself, but having almost been directly nailed told her she should at least try to defend herself.

         She saw the ‘Lavoid’ cyclone about Marle, and heard the woman’s screams as she collapsed to the ground. The Lavoid was hurled up and away by an Ice, and out of her line of sight. She ignored the thing and raced over to her friend, crouching at her side, looking upon her many wounds, and pushing aside the sudden fear that came.

         Marle struggled to her feet. “It looks worse than it is, most likely,” she panted. “We’ve built up quite a resistance to situations that would damage a less skilled person. Nevermind this one’s only superficial.” Then she looked Lucca right in the eyes.

“Aren’t you going to help?”

         Lucca opened her mouth to respond–

         Only to realize she didn’t know what to say.

         “Lucca, this isn’t the time to worry about motives!” Marle shouted. “Besides, I’m not going to trust one of – of them!! Not after what we’ve all seen their manipulations do!! Crono’s lucky to even be here now; nevermind the whole world! What about Zeal!!?? And the Earthbound ones!? And Queen Zeal and Schala and Janus and Gaspar and Melchior and Balthasar and all the lives that have suffered due to what they went through and the repercussions of what happened to various of them!!?? Lavos took out the worlds of the Zealians and the Earthbound Ones alike with its actions, and would have laid waste to the planet, for real, nine hundred ninety-five years from now if we hadn’t stopped it!

         “Nevermind all the damage its done throughout the uncountable millennia itself by manipulating the process of evolution itself… By altering genetic codes, or whatever you called them… To suit its needs!

         “And how did it destroy two respective worlds? How did it set off a chain reaction that consumed so many more thousands of lives!? Through its mental manipulations! Don’t even try to emphasize with it, or try to look at its side!”

         Lucca’s initial reaction to Marle’s accusation of its mind control had been of indignance. The Guardian Princess was one to be prejudiced against Lavos’ kind. Yet now… With all the evidence piled up against her… She suddenly began to question her thought patterns. Still, it was with reluctance that she began to turn, pressing her finger to the trigger of her Wonder Shot.

         Marle’s cry of ,“Crono, watch out!!” cut through her awareness, and seeing the battered state her closest friend was in – as well as the path that the Lavoid was sailing down upon – washed all her doubts from her mind and replaced them with a forced determination.


         The ‘Hero’’s voice was dry; amused.

         [Twice, yeah, but not in a row. Cintor’s still alive, and I didn’t do much good against Lavos… I was assigned to the Lavoid on this planet… But the Class A I confronted is a whole different story.]

         That had not been the response it had been expecting. Its shriek of surprise turned into one of pain as the shard of an Ice 2 slammed into its head, rocketing it into the ground with enough force to nearly send a slim crack through its pod.

         Three Lavoids gone? A victory for a ‘Hero’ was usually a Lavoid deprived of a shell and an Inner Self, with the Cores stranded, and in hiding on whatever planet/star they’d been stuck on until they were rescued. It swore again as it realized that that couldn’t be true. If the Cores were intact they could’ve repaired the ‘armors’ and/or the shell, or at least found some methods of surviving, and reproducing.

         …Which meant…

         The sudden sense of superiority that the Class F had felt towards its kind smashed into shards as it realized just how many casualties had been exacted among their kind. Shock and horror permeated its mind in a vast scope.

         The ‘Hero’’s tone was smug, he obviously had sensed that thought through the mental connection the Lavoid had established.

         [Nice doing business with one of the Class Fs. If you live, you’ll find me with the blue-haired woman who sliced your girlfriend in two.] Then the connection snapped shut.

         The Lavoid bristled at the figure’s words, moreso that he would dare to insinuate a Lavoid would sink so low as to– Its reality became pure energy and it snapped its eyelids shut as a Luminaire erupted about it, the insides of the storm of ultra-powerful lightning magic ripping into its armor, and leaving deep scars. The energies continued to build and build as the dome increased, while its senses were flooded with incredible pain both from its podlike armor-flesh, and from its clenched eyelids. The Lightning aura at last erupted, chipping away at the sides of the pod. An eruption of widly pulsating ellipses of roaring red fire – a Flare – smashed more chunks of armor-flesh out of it, its eyelids shrieking in agony. That Flare was followed up by a second, the second Flare coalescing about the Lavoid in the place of the first. The pulsations of reddish-orange energies almost fracturing its eyelids. The Lavoid forced the pain away and focused upon the electromagnetic currents, rocketing out of the remainders of the firestorm, and far enough out of the way of the humans that they wouldn’t be able to touch it with spell, or weapon.

         It also forced away its shock.

         This battle was no longer just for vengeance, although that vengeance had become ever more important. It had suddenly become one, moreso evident to it than the simple knowledge that it could lose, and had to watch out… That took on new meaning. A manifest symbolic of the very survival of its kind.

         Its focus now much more than it had been before, it could suddenly see in ways that it never had before. Its very determination to make these three humans into that symbol… Two ‘Heroes of the Ages’ brought to justice at the hands of a Class F who had no use to its race, as well as another human who had been involved in their demise... Everything about the struggle it was engaged in took on new meaning in that way, feeding the Lavoid a focus, and a determination that gave it new strength.

         And with that strength of will came the inner reserves to mold wavelengths in ways it had never before been able to touch.

         It shot downwards and ripped forwards in a descending swoop.

         Auras that had been prepared for attack, and had been held firm – the humans obviously hadn’t been sure whether it was retreating or was renewing its attack angle, emerged, but the Lavoid was in tune with the reality about him to the point he could sense their respective pathways, and stopped short, leaping over their point of emergence, and sailing onwards towards the humans with Ice 2, Luminaire, and Flare behind it. A burst of energy came out of the brown-haired one’s gun, and vanished, decomposing into the air as a slim cone of antimatter sliced through it.

         [This is for every last one of my race you freaks of nature have slain!!]

         The Lavoid’s eyelids snapped back open, its line of sight opening up fully again, and a tornado of spinning blue-white orbs ripped out of the ‘eye cavity’ within, smashing into the three monsters, and tossing them backwards like ragdolls before they could respond with another wave of wavelengths.

         The Lavoid had already taken notice of where their momentum would take them. It shot forwards, rocketing into their midst, and came down amidst them, its auras already merged together by the strength of its drive. As it descended it formed a corona-sphere of blue-white flames about it that shot down into the ground, dissipating above it, and fading into the rest of the sphere as it vanished, giving more energy to the circular blast that erupted from the ground below the humans, tossing them through the air, and back to the ground in a heap.

         It snagged a lower-hanging line, and rocketed upwards, curving around to descend towards both, forming a horizontal discus of supercompressed energies,with itself at the centerpoint. Blue-white concentration roaring about it, it shot towards them, a living discus that around it that would cut through them as if they were nothing, and vaporize their heads as they fell on the discus. It flipped up again, but was caught in mid-movement by red-hair, its sword glowing with ice auras, obviously supplied by blonde-hair, descending towards it.

         The discus was flipped to one that was vertical. The sword cut through most of the Magic, icicle energies halving through the discus, but the smash of the sword against the top of its shell didn’t do more than throw it to the ground yet another time. The Lavoid landed, stunned by the blow, but its newfound focus enabled it to bring together the wavelengths necessary for a Delta Force faster than it had when it had held the clarity of surprise aiding it. It erupted among the two ladies, throwing them both back. The blonde-haired woman, already bruised badly, and cut by many wounds, sank to her knees, while the other woman managed to stagger back to her feet.

         It sensed the ‘Hero of the Ages’ charging behind it, its aura reacting with its sharper focus before it even neared.

         It lurched forwards and grabbed ahold of an electromagnetic field, swinging backwards, and smashing down with the full force of its body on the ‘Hero’. It spun, saw the young man clutching his chest in pain, and hurled him backwards through the air with an invisible slap of air. He tumbled backwards through the air and collapsed face-first into the ground. He did not get up. A burst of energy smashed into one of its wounds, and the Class F, Type III Lavoid shriek-roared in indignation. It spun on the brown-haired lady, the only one still standing, and channeled out a quick green plasma burst from its eye cavity. The woman whipped out a grenade and whirled its knob, the equator sliding open, and a spurt of flame erupting outwards from it, meeting the plasma, and causing it to react. The Class F activated another, sending it arcing somewhat. Again the toss of flames met it and it detonated. The third arced low and was met with the flames, detonating; the fourth went to the left, meeting a fourth flame spurt, detonating; the fifth to the right – at the same time as a secondary plasma burst emitted behind the fifth, shooting straightforwards. The spurt of flames consumed the greenish plasma burst but the woman could not whirl the grenade to take out the sixth blast. It met her and hurled her backwards in a thunderclap.

         She did not get up, badly burned, lying on her back.

         It noticed the positions they were in through its aura senses… Three points of a triangle. If it could have smirked, it would have.

         It began to gather together energies for a Delta Storm, making sure to forcus them so the trigonal column would erupt with the bodies at its centerpoint. Already badly burnt, the blonde-haired woman bleeding from countless wounds, as well as the others possibly bleeding in points, all three bruised beyond belief… They could not get up, they were too weak to muster the strength to rise.

         The Delta Storm would rip their forms to ashes if it connected, and the humans, provided any were conscious, were too weak to dodge.

         “You freaks wipe out living things by the billions!” the one known as Marle cried, forcing herself to her hands and knees. “I won’t… Let you… Hurt… Anyone!!” She began to gather together her wavelengths, and the Lavoid idly praised the strength that was keeping her from losing focus entirely.

         It didn’t matter. It was too late for them.

         The wavelengths finished forming into what the Lavoid intended for them.

         [And this is for the innocent Lavoid you freaks assassinated!]

         It ignited the Delta Storm.


         Nothing happened.

         The Delta Storm simply ceased to exist, as if it hadn’t been there, washed away by the appearance of the presence of something else.

…Something that defied literally every law of the universe.




         Crono cracked open an eye. Just the strain of trying to get back up off of the ground had caused him to collapse; the world spinning around him. The sudden appearance of the unfathomable aura had sent him into a brief state of unconsciousness, he realized.

         He waited again, slower, until he was sure his senses were gathered, and forced himself to his feet just as slowly, keeping his magical senses on the Lavoid, while letting his eyes trail up the bluffs to meet the figure that stood at the top of the precipice before them.

         The woman who stood on the precipice was captivating. Unbound blue hair, offset in a way he couldn’t comprehend from this distance, cascaded down the back of her slender form, blowing off to the side in the wind kicked up by the energies about her. A corona of ruby energies roared about her in a storm that spoke of such enormous power his mind shrank from it reflexively.

         “Elan… Lavoid… Who are you… Why have you come?”

         Her voice was amplified somehow, obviously through wavelength manipulation.

         His mind seemed to open up in some fashion that he couldn’t understand, and snippets of experiences he couldn’t even begin to comprehend flooded his mind, gone before he could grasp them. He moaned and held his head, and behind him he heard Lucca cry out, yet he didn’t register it. The brief moment in which those memories lanced through him was like a current, detaching him from reality, and leaving him feeling adrift even as he settled back into it.

         He was aware there was something he ought to be paying attention to, but couldn’t focus his thoughts long enough to think what it might be.

         “Who are you?” Lucca breathed, stepping up beside him.

         The figure seemed to stagger. “I… I…”


         Lunari began to breathe heavily, the sudden overwhelming chaotic emptiness crashing back down around her. Her comprehension was so chaotic she could make nothing out of it… The presence of Elan had become a beacon that she had responded to instinctively, seeking solace from the blazing screaming starkness of insanity that whirled about her. With the question the brown-haired Hero of the Ages phrased to her, the calmness she’d grasped about her like a bubble from that beacon snapped.

         She screamed and fell to the ground, the nothingness everythingscreaming blasting back into her and immersing her in an insanity so vast that she plummeted into another depth of madness simply from the featherlight brush against her. Colors so infinite and there and not there that description was impossible expanded outwards in all directions yet were not there and were there and were all colors and hues and once and weren’t and they writhed about her and the sensations and th emotions writhed about her in a mad dance and crackled in whip currents crackling screeching at incomprehensible speeds whirling roaring about her at an impossible velocity everything and nothing all screamed about her roaring shrieking not there there sensations flooding black and white planes flowed about her shimmering words voices all so incomprehensible she couldn’t describe them seared her tore her she was ripping to pieces and cycloning in a twister of that insanity wildly uncontrolled screaming screaming vast shards agony screamingwhirlingscreaming whirling shrieking colors merged flowed about her and roared about her at faster than light the world everything all combined collapsed imploded colors absence of all fly to pieces shatter scatter to bits fly to pieces fly to pieces fly to shards fly to shards fly to shards fly to shards fly to pieces fly to pieces everything everywhere nowhere all at one infinity so vast it was beyond incomprehensible whirling roaring about her at past impossible speeds lightheaded agonized ecstasy infinitely beyond infinitely vast consuming her utterly everythingnothinginfinityallconsumingagonyness.


         The woman collapsed to the precipice, clutching her head, scream upon scream oscillating into the air at pitches he would have thought impossible. She ripped into the air and gyrating insanly; spasming and shaking and jerking about wildly and screaming shrieking continuously.

         His heart twisted with pity.


         The Lavoid fought to control its racing consciousness.

         The human woman that stood before them was something that was an impossibility, something that simply could not; should not exist. Not within any of the laws of the universe.

         What it was…

         The Lavoid was filled with a fear more overpowering than anything that it had ever encountered before. *JARIA!!!!!!!!!!!!* it shrieked in the silence of its, mind, hurling the name over, and over out of its mind, silently begging the Lavoid Queen to hear, while latching onto an electromagnetic field, and ripping up, and away from where it was as fast as possible.

         It wouldn’t do much good though.

         If the insane woman lost control of her powers she could annihilate the entire planet with one simple mental command. There was really nowhere to hide if the woman unleashed even that tiny pit of her true potential, but if she didn’t unleash anything of that power – it was determined to be anywhere but where it was now. All thoughts of vengeance, of its kind, of the humans… All vanished from its mind, to be replaced by a single focus:



         The woman continued in her insane spasming.

         “No… You’re not… Getting away!!” Crono spun back to see Marle, on her feet, although obviously still unsteady, running forwards to try to tackle the Lavoid even as it rocketed upwards.

         Crono shivered, the knowledge that that was what he’d forgotten about slamming into him, as well as the knowledge that the Lavoid could have wiped them out easily if it had so wished.

         Why didn’t it then?

         The Lavoid swooped upwards, flying blindly into the skies until it had vanished from his sight.

         Crono could think of only one reason, and that chilled him even more. He turned around, his gaze drifting back to the blue-haired lady that had so frightened the Lavoid, still in her insane shrieking, and writhing.

Suddenly, she stopped for a single moment, her eyes brimming with tears that she could not see; trembling weakly. “Help… me… please… So… alone…”

         Then she vanished in a sharp, thunderclap ruby-red concussive detonation that destroyed an enormous portion of the bluffs upon which she had been standing.


“There will always be a hunter, my son. And there will always be the hunted.”-Duncan


                                                                                               CITY OF STONE, PART II


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