The Wizard's Quest Chapter 3

By PonkyBL

"Never underestimate the
potential and power of the human spirit."


Lucca rubbed the fog off her glasses with one sleeve, and tugged on her helmet, trying to cover her ears better.

The sight of Robo walking smoothly, not even shivering, made her feel irritable, even though she knew it was stupid to feel that way.

"Anything on your sensors?" she asked. Robo's electronics clicked and whirred. "I sense Magus, eastward," he said. "And Frog and Ayla farther in the same direction. Crono and Marle to the west. But, nothing else with a body temperature at or over ninety-seven point three degrees Fahrenheit, Frog's amphibian body temperature."

An idea popped into Lucca's mind. "Look for body temperature at around ninety-five degrees," she suggested. Robo stared at her. "Humans cannot function at a body temperature that low," he pointed out.

"If Schala's been out here for as long as we think she has," Lucca said, "then she isn't in good shape. And probably hypothermic." "Yes, I understand," Robo muttered, rapidly calculating. "When humans become hypothermic, heart rate and blood circulation slow, lowering body temperature down to at lowest ninety-five point seven degrees Fahrenheit. Adjusting sensors…"

Lucca shivered, rubbing her hands together for warmth. She suddenly felt Robo grab the back of her jacket. He hoisted her up onto his shoulders and started running westward.

"Say what?"

"I have detected a living being," Robo told her. "It is very near to Crono and Marle. It has an approximate body temperature of ninety-six point three degrees Fahrenheit. My emotions told me that we need to get there as soon as possible. Am I wrong?"

"What, are you nuts?" Lucca asked. "Go faster! And yell for Ayla, Frog, and Magus while you're at it!"


Crono froze, his muscles still as stone. He looked helplessly at Marle. "What are you staring at?" she cried. "Move!" Crono jerked backwards and rolled out of the way.

Marle knelt down, and her pendant jerked her. Schala's came up to meet it. As they touched, the blowing snow slacked off and cleared away. As soon as the snow cleared, the pendants fell apart, as lifeless as they should have been before.

Marle grabbed Schala's cold shoulder and turned her over onto her back.

Schala's lips were as blue as her hair, and tiny bits of ice clung to her eyelashes. Her skin was cold to touch, and her hair was wet, plastered flat to her head. The only warmth on her was a tiny spot on her chest where the pendant had lain.

"Oh, Crono, this is bad," Marle whispered. Crono stood up. "Stay with her," he said. "I'll go get the others."

"No need," Robo said from atop the snowdrift behind them. He and Lucca came sliding down, and Lucca dropped to her knees next to Marle. "Yep. Hypothermia," she said, examining Schala's face. "She's a long ways into it, too. Robo, monitor her body temperature. Tell me if it goes below ninety-six. Are the others on their way?"

"Did you find her?" Magus demanded from the top of the drift. His eyes focused on his sister. "She's alive, Magus," Lucca said. "Though for how long is questionable if we don't get her warmed up." "Well, do something!" Magus yelled desperately.

"Well, well, well," Frog said, coming up behind the wizard. "Dost the stone-hearted one hath a weakness?" "Shut up," Magus snapped.

Ayla skipped down the drift. "Need take Schala to village," she decided. "As soon as possible," Robo agreed. Ayla nodded slowly. "Okay. Ayla take." Before anyone could move, the cave woman grabbed Schala and, holding her like a doll, jogged away towards the Last Village. It took all the others about a minute to get up and follow.

Elder Rollo poked at the fire with a branch. "Don't know what those people think they're gonna find out there," he grumbled to himself. He jerked in surprise as the curtain covering the doorway was yanked aside.

"Move, grampa!" Ayla ordered. Rollo scrambled out of the way, and Ayla put Schala as close to the flames as possible.

"No, no!" Lucca cried as she and the others arrived. "Move her away from the fire!" "What are you saying?" Magus snarled. "She has to get warm, or she'll die!" "She's too cold," Lucca retorted, bravely facing the much taller wizard. "Her circulation is down to a crawl. If she warms up too fast, her blood flow will speed up so much that her arteries might explode.

"Think of it this way: have you ever had your foot or hand fall asleep? You know how that'll tingle, hurt a little? Now imagine it a million, two million times worse. Pain so great you want to cut off your extremities just to dull it. Do you want to put her through that? Either she'll wake up, or she won't. There isn't anything else any of us can do about it."

Magus glared. Lucca glared back. The air between them seemed to crackle with tension, and Crono's hand strayed to the hilt of his sword.

After what seemed like hours, Magus nodded, so slightly that Lucca wasn't sure it had happened at all. He turned around, scooped his sister up in his arms, and walked as far away from the fireplace as possible. He gently laid Schala down on a pile of bedding on the ground. Then he turned to look at the others.

"Contrary to popular belief," he murmured, "I am not as cold and demonic as Glenn there has led you to believe. I…thank you. All of you, for helping Schala and myself. You may return to your lives as you will. I…we will be fine."

Lucca rolled her eyes, and Marle giggled.

"You find me amusing?" Magus demanded. Lucca looked surprised. "Did you honestly think we'd accept that?" she asked. "Not to insult you, Magus, but I doubt that you have any idea what to do to make sure Schala recovers. First off, she'll never warm up in those clothes. Do you want to change her all by yourself?"

Magus almost blushed. Almost.

"You know," Marle said thoughtfully, "I think we'll stay, at least till Schala's well enough to take care of herself. We can program the Epoch to take us back to our times so nobody notices we were gone."

Everybody stared at her.

"What, you think that, spending all the time I have around Lucca, I didn't pick up a single thing?"

"All boys out!" Ayla yelled suddenly. "Ayla, Lucca, Marle take care Schala. Lucca say, need change clothes. Boys no see that."

"I am a robot, so incapable of…" Robo began.

"She's MY sister…" Magus started to yell.

"Like I haven't seen naked girls before," Crono muttered. Then he looked up. "Uh, did I say that out loud?"

"Why yes, Crono, I believe you did," Marle told him in a false sweet tone of voice. "So where was it, exactly, that you picked up this…experience?"

Not surprisingly, Crono led the way out of the hut.


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