The Wizard's Quest Chapter 2
Cold waves lapped at the shore. Well, that is, if you could call it a shore. It couldnt be distinguished from the rest of the snow-covered landscape, except for the waves.
Odd things had been washing up on the beach lately. Pieces of metal, electronic boards, even the occasional bodies of monsters. Nobody lived this far out; the Last Village was miles north of the tiny beach. So, nobody knew about the machines, the metal, and the bodies. And nothing lived there.
But, then, on the same day Magus had been on his search, something living washed up. To even the most sharp-eyed observer, it looked like a bundle of violet rags, torn and dripping.
But it was a person. As soon as the waves stopped lapping at her feet, indicating low tide, she began to crawl away from the water. She didnt get more than a few yards before she collapsed. Her mind was numb, shutting down in the unbearable cold. All that had been keeping her alive was the pendant around her neck, throbbing with warmth, as it always had, and as it would until she died. But, she could feel the warmth weakening.
Her last thoughts as she sank into the darkness were grim: in this harsh land, nothing cared if a princess died
Crono stumbled sleepily down the steps of his house to the bottom floor. A knock at the door had awakened him from a nice dream. Marle was there, and they were in a lovely field, smelling flowers Crono shook his head, and rubbed the sleep gunk out of his eyes.
Who he saw on the other side of the door shocked him wide awake. Even in the dark of night, he recognized Magus. The wizard gave Crono a funny look. Bad time? he asked. Crono then realized that he was in his boxer shorts. ONLY his boxer shorts.
Um, gimme a minute.
Crono slammed the door, ran up to his room, pulled on his pants, ran back downstairs, and opened the door. Magus, he said calmly, trying to sound dignified.
Magus stared at him for a moment. I need your help, he said simply. And that of your comrades. For what? Crono asked warily. Magus just stared. I wont take myself and my friends into anything without an explanation, Crono warned.
Help me find Schala, Magus said. Schala? Crono asked. Do you know shes alive?
Magus turned away. Meet me. All of you. In the Last Village. 12,000 BC, he said, and started to walk away. But, I Crono began. Magus stopped. You are the leader of this little Popsicle stand, arent you? he asked. Well, I guess, but Crono stammered. But Magus was gone. Crono swore under his breath, and went to get dressed.
With a lot of pleading, and a lot of squeezing, Crono not only managed to get all five of his friends to come along, he was also able to fit them all into the three-seat Epoch time machine. Even Frog, Magus mortal enemy.
Crono was rather proud of that.
On Luccas insistence, Crono flew the Epoch over his house, to pick up on Magus time Matrix travel residue trail so they could follow him to the exact minute in 12,000 BC he had gone to.
Lucca promised to explain that concept later.
The people in the Last Village were happy to see them, and the Elder himself led them to the hut where Magus was waiting. Good job, boy, he said as they all crowded in.
It doth seem to me, Frog said, that to save a life, we must participate in extreme irony, Magus. Very well, Glenn, Magus agreed. To save a life.
They shook hands.
What irony? Ayla wanted to know. Irony is something that happens that is so ridiculous you have to laugh about it, Robo explained. Ayla stared at him. Irony is like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife, Crono said helpfully. Its like a black fly in your Chardonnay, Lucca said. Its like rain on your wedding day, Marle suggested. A free ride when youve already paid, Robo said. Or good advice that you just cant take. Or
Ah, okay, Ayla understand, Ayla said. Is like kill big ol dino for food, but when eat it, choke on bone and die? Actually, that isnt a bad example, Lucca admitted. All right, social hour is over, magus broke in. Wear these clothes. Theyre warmer. Lucky for us, its stopped snowing. For now. But the wind can still freeze your butts off.
Were going out into the wilderness? Marle squeaked. For Schala, Lucca said quietly, buttoning her jacket. Crono put an arm around Marles shoulders. Ill watch out for you, he told her. Magus rolled his eyes, and they heard Lucca make a loud, gagging noise.
At least Magus pack lunch, Ayla said cheerfully. Everybody stared at her. Lunch! she insisted, pointing at Alfador, still perched on Magus shoulder. Magus put a hand on the cats head protectively. Ayla, for the last time, Robo said, exasperatedly, not every animal is food! Look tasty, Ayla said softly. Good on barbecue. Now, where did she learn that word? Marle wondered.
They set out soon after that. Each of them had on a heavy fur-lined jacket and thick pants if theyd been lacking that article of clothing before. All except Robo, of course.
Ive searched all around the village, Magus said when the wind died down briefly. If shes anywhere, shes south. We should split up, Lucca suggested. Cover more ground. Good idea, Crono agreed. Groups of two. Lucca and Robo, go straight south. Frog and Ayla, south-east. Marle and I will go south-west. Magus, youll be okay by yourself? I have always been alone, Magus mumbled. Crono sighed. Well, okay, whatever. Pick your own direction. If you get lost, yell. Same goes if you find Schala, or any sign of her. Lets go!
Each group went off in their own directions. Crono and Marle tramped through the snow, calling Schalas name every once in a while. How can we be sure shes even alive? Marle asked after a while. The wind was starting to pick up again, and Crono had to yell his answer back. I think youre living proof that she is, he yelled.
No! Marle yelled. I meant, what do you mean? Well, Magus and Schala are the only ones left of that family line, Crono explained. Your family line. And I cant really see Magus having kids.
Marles eyes widened. So, youre saying that, if Schala was dead, Id disappear again? Yep, Crono said.
Wow, Crono, I didnt even think of that.
Crono frowned. Actually, neither did I, he admitted. It was Luccas idea. It would be. Marle laughed.
Marles pendant jerked suddenly, pushing against the inside of her jacket. Crono, wait! she cried. My pendant! Its moving! She reached down and pulled the pendant out into view. It was definitely trying to go somewhere. Isnt your pendant the same as Schalas? Crono asked. Marle nodded. You think they know each other? It might be leading the way to Schalas! Crono cried. "Which way is it trying to go?"
Marle concentrated on the now brightly glowing jewel. "This way!" she yelled, and took off.
They followed the pendant's pull, running through and over the snowdrifts at breakneck speed. They climbed over one particularly tall drift, and fell down the other side.
Marle spit snow out of her mouth, and looked over into a rotting face. "EEEEEEEEEE!" she screamed, scrambling to her feet and backing away. The corpse looked a little like Heckran, but yellowish, and definitely dead.
"Marle! Where are you?" she heard Crono yell. The snow had started up again, and she couldn't see three feet in front of her face. Here, Crono!" she called. She felt his hand on her shoulder. "Are you okay?" he demanded. Marle looked down at the body and groaned, felling majorly nauseous. "You're not helping," she hissed at her pendant, which was violently jerking at its chain.
"We've gotta be close," Crono said. "Though we couldn't see her if she was ten inches away." He took a step backwards, and tripped over something. He fell on his butt in the snow. "What the " His voice trailed off as he looked at what he'd tripped over. It looked like a bundle of torn rags.
Except it was purple.
And it had blue hair.
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