Principles of Paradox Chapter 1
King Guardia the 31st woke up one morning, with the sun in his eyes.
Now this, you must understand, is very strange, because normally King Guardia the 31st wakes up with the sun to his back, or perhaps off to the side, as it streams in through the open doorway, and the blue glass window in the hallway outside. Never was it to fall on his face, as that could be quite unpleasant for one who so adores and reveres sleep like King Guardia does.
This morning though, was different. The door was indeed open, and the sunlight was indeed pouring in through the open frame, but now, it came to rest on his eyes, which, worn as they were, struggled to fight it out.
"Damn servants! I told them never to move the bed, even the slightest! I loved it where it was."
And, indeed, the bed had moved from where it lay the day before, or at least, the King thought so. It was turned so as to face the western wall, and the headboard was lined up directly with the southern entrance. The King got up slowly, and, cursing his servants under his breath, got up out of bed, and changed groggily into his work clothes.
"I guess I must not have noticed they moved it last night," he said to himself, trying to shake the lines from his worn and thin face. The night before, he remembered almost painfully, was full of papers, papers, and lo and behold, more papers. Recruitment forms, tax laws, court reformations, and even plebiscites for another exhibition like the Millennial Fair. All of them had been stacked on his desk for far too long, and Chancellor Green had been on his case for just as long of a time to finish them off. Such was the day the King had enjoyed previously, but he was almost glad to have completed them all, as it left nothing to do today, besides the usual bureaucratic nonsense and mundane jobs associated with being King. Still, all things considered, this was quite the moment of relaxation for the King. If only he could've woken up without the sun in his eyes
"I'll have to get someone to change that back, I guess."
The King headed out of his room, haggardly dressed, yet refreshed and rejuvenated by the morning sun. His main servant, Johnson, was awaiting him outside, smiling like always, but dressed in slightly different clothes than usual. They were more alive, exuberant - far more.
"Going for a different look today, Johnson?" The King playfully asked, smiling widely under his curly white mustache.
"Not really," the youthful-looking, often confused Johnson replied, his eyes almost caught between two strange thoughts.
The King caught a hold of this, and stopped before allowing his servant to robe him. "Is there something wrong?"
"No," Johnson replied enthusiastically, his eyes suddenly wiping themselves clean of any worry. "I just I don't know. It's weird, almost like déjà vu, but not at all."
The King regarded the younger man strangely, before chuckling and slipping his arms into his royal cape. "If you say so Johnson." The two headed down the hallway, then cut to the left towards the dining room.
* * *
At the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table of the royal family sat a number of people, all different shapes, sizes, genders and races. Mystics and humans, men and women alike, sat there, discussion abound as the cook each brought them their morning meal.
Princess Nadia, or Marle as she was known to her close friends, was half-heartedly nibbling away at a piece of well-cooked pork, staring blazingly at her still full plate, and thinking anxiously of nothing in particular, yet someone very particularly. Her mind had all too often rested on him for quite a while now, and even when she was around him she had begun to regard him in a different manner. Now, more often than not though, she found herself wondering if he thought the same way.
King Guardia came down the stairs just as Marle was beginning to daydream, his steps easily picked up with the thunderous patter that shadowed them. Arriving with his normal entourage of soldiers, counselors, servants and the Chancellor, he came to the table clamorous as usual.
"King Guardia, we must send an army to crush those monsters in the forest near Porre. We've received three complaints in the past week!"
"King Guardia, we have to get this next exhibition funding immediately! The Millennial Fair was such a huge success!"
"King Guardia, the treasury is overflowing! I need your approval in order to spend enough to cut down a portion of Guardia forest and rebuild the old cathedral to the southwest!"
Guardia merely walked through his groupies, unwavering and staring at the table to which he resigned himself every morning. Every single one of the King's servants knew that when he sat down at such a table, they were quiet. It was one of the few unwritten rules of the land, but one they all observed closely.
After seating himself across from Marle, and allowing a short period of time for his taskforce to disembark, he set himself on the meal laid before him, ravaging it hungrily and thinking little of anything else - savoring both the food and the moment.
Before long, however, he noticed Marle's blank stare, as well as her full plate and empty hands. He regarded her strangely for a moment, then asked in as subtle a tone as he could, "something wrong?"
Half surprised by her father's sudden interjection to what had been a nice foray into dreamland, Marle's eyes whipped to face Guardia's. "Oh," she answered back, suddenly at first, before calming a moment and returning to a boorish state, "no, not really."
Guardia saw through his daughter's feigned innocence without even the lowliest of efforts, but before he could patronize her, he recalled a moment they had once shared, when change had been promised - a promise he planned to keep. "Ok," he replied, simply, before going back to his food.
Marle lazily gave up on her food, leaving it on the table as she got up from her chair, walked around and kissed her father gently on the cheek. "I'm going out for a while now. I'll be back for lunch probably." Guardia just nodded, smiling at her as he chewed silently on his food. She smiled back, before heading for the stairway to the main floor. Before she could begin the climb though, she halted in her tracks, whirled around, and asked with strangely newfound joy, "Can Crono come over for lunch, maybe?"
Guardia turned to face his blonde-haired daughter, and a smile lit up on his face, as he nodded slightly, and held onto his promise for a moment longer. "Of course, dear Nadia."
Marle's eyes went wide with delight, and she grinned wildly as she exclaimed, "Thanks Daddy." Then she headed up the stairs and left behind her father.
Little did she know, however, that this would be the last time she would see her father, ever again.
* * *
"Please, Lucca, help me!"
"I can't mommy, I don't know the password."
A sickening crunch. A scream, and the surge of power gone, as the machine steamed, giving its last dying life to Lara's legs.
Lucca rushed around the corner of the mammoth device, and saw her mother writhing in agony, screaming helplessly, blood shooting out of too many places to comprehend. Lucca fell then, as a knock rang on the wooden door.
A knock shook Lucca from her dream. A knock on her door. "Lucca, wake up! We gotta try that new water-compressor you made last week!"
It was her father, Taban, calling from the steps below her bedroom. "Alright, I'm up. I'll be there in just a while," she called back down, slowly rubbing the sleep from her eyes, and reaching for the glasses on her nightstand.
Why these dreams? She questioned herself as she rose out of bed, her head pounding and her face drenched in a cold sweat. Why now? She slipped into a fresh pair of clothes, patting her purple hair down as she stretched her joints, letting them crack in sweet satisfaction. I changed time. The accident never happened. Mother still has her legs, she can still walk. This she was sure of. How many times she had just watched her mother in awe, she did not know. So differently had the accident shaped her. Lively and outgoing her mother appeared now - enjoying life to its fullest at all times. In the other world, the other time, she was so quiet; reserved to the end, and always thinking in terms of "what if" and "maybe". No longer. This new Lara, Lucca had long since decided, was one she quite enjoyed being around - one she could no longer think of going without.
She wiped her glasses clean on her sleeve for a moment, and then headed down the small flight of stairs, where she found her father anxiously pacing the narrow hallway outside. "Dad, what're you so anxious about today?"
Taban looked at her quickly, a thin smile creeping up on his face, "Me? Oh, nothing really. I'm just, you know, kind of restless. It's been so long since you and I just went inventing. You know, you were gone for a while there, and ever since you got back, you haven't been as excited about inventing things."
Lucca sighed, but smiled reflectively at her father, "I know, dad, it's just that after saving the world and everything, inventions don't seem that important. After all, the people in 1999 and later all seemed to have stuff we've never even thought of. I don't know if we make any huge contribution to the scientific community anywhere in history."
To this Taban smiled, always ready for a challenge, "well then perhaps we can change history, can't we?"
"Yeah," Lucca replied, something about the off-handedness of the remark striking her as strange. "Maybe we can."
Taban then headed out into the main lab room of the house, and Lucca reluctantly followed.
* * *
Deep below even the loudest rumblings of the Earth, slept a creature too awesome for imagination. A creature powerful and amazing in essence. A creature whose fate was intertwined with that of the Earth's. A creature, who by all intents and purposes, was cosmic and infinite in his sheer control of the world.
A creature who was doomed.
His fate was chosen, breaking away slowly from that of the Earth. His own mortality was quickly becoming apparent to him, and even the limitless knowledge he had accumulated of and about the planet Earth, would not save him from this fate.
Fate though, was not everything, he had learnt. And it would not be so for him. He would not let it be.
Here, the creature stirred.
* * *
Melchinor looked out into the vast expanse of blue sky that surrounded his small hut, and for some reason, he felt that something was wrong.
What was wrong, he could not say, but undoubtedly something was wrong. The air was shifted, almost jaded and exposed - like it was being revealed as something it should not have been. Melchinor sat down on an old chair by one of his windows, took one of the blades he was working on with the remnants of the Rainbow shell, and watched the sky.
Yes, something was quite wrong. And time, Melchinor was accustomed to knowing, would soon show just what it was.
* * *
Marle bounded down the stairs from her room, freshly clothed and looking in far better condition than normal. Her hair was neatly combed and tied back, and her face was still tingling from the droplets of water she had splashed on it. Her eyes shone their bright hazel color, her inward joy exposed outwards. So excited was she to see her beloved, so powerful was his intoxication in her. She sighed lightly as a smile towards Chancellor Green spread across her face. Strangely, the Chancellor did not smile back, though he had obviously seen her gesture. His eyes were intent upon her, but his face was rigidly set, almost painfully so. Marle just regarded him strangely, walking quickly out of his line of vision, something about the hollowness of his eyes frightening her. Ever since he had been set free by Marle and Crono, the Chancellor was usually quite fond of them, so it seemed bizarre to her that he would now give her such a cold stare. Perhaps he's just worried about something, Marle thought reluctantly as she headed towards the main entrance.
"I'll be back in a couple hours," she told the entrance guards as she went to pull open the doors. She did so, and upon releasing them, she was flooded with the sounds and sights of the brilliantly fresh outdoors. The valiant greens, the serene blues, even the open browns of the dirt and bark. The whites of the clouds, the yellow of the sun, the black
Ah yes, the black. Indeed there was black there in front of Marle as she stood in the open doorway. Two powerful, magnificent spheres of black. They were eyes. Eyes belonging to a person who stood directly in front of Marle, looking at her intently.
Marle nearly jumped backwards, as the young man that stood in front of her merely rested in place, looking onwards with those black eyes. Her heart was pounding as she looked back at him, for the first time getting a glance at the one who had so strangely eluded her attention.
His eyes, as she had witnessed, were black. However, they were also very much more than that. He was tall, not overly so, but just the right size, perhaps as tall as Crono, or Magus had been. His skin was dainty and white, but full of a fresh and pale rose color that accentuated his features. His clothes were dark and elegant, and he wore a long, thin sword sheathe at his side. His hair was thick and black, but tinged purple so as to reflect perfectly the rays of light that shone down on it. His entire face was rather narrow and pleasant, but somewhat disconcerted by two powerful features. Marle found herself staring into those eyes for several breathless moments as she stood in the doorway, while he awaited her outside it.
"Excuse me?" He asked, his voice delectably soft and hesitant.
"Hmm?" Marle replied, still looking headlong into his eyes.
"This is the main entrance of Guardia castle, correct?"
Marle did not respond, but instead felt something rise inside herself as she gaped at those eyes. So dark, so black, so deep and alive. These, she quickly decided, were eyes as they were meant to be.
"Bow! Come right in!"
It was the Chancellor, calling from behind Marle, and rushing towards the entrance with as much speed as his tiny legs could muster. "Come in, come in!" He brushed past Marle and took the much younger man by the arm, dragging him into the castle. "You must be tired from your long journey from Porre. Please, feel free to go down to the knight's room, and get some rest."
Bow, the young dark-haired man, smiled, "No thank you Chancellor, it wasn't much of a walk at all. I'd actually like to get started as soon as possible."
The two walked straight past Marle, who turned to watch them go, as they talked furiously.
"We'll get you set up into a knight's uniform before you know it. You're a very welcome addition to the Knights of the Square table."
"Thank you Chancellor."
"I can't believe you're willing to come and protect the kingdom at such a young age. Barely older than our very own Princess Nadia, indeed."
At this Bow took a backwards glance at Marle, and flashed her the eyes she had been so fixated on, as well as a smile nearly bright enough to light up the room. He's very handsome, she soon realized, and that sword he has on his side, it looks so familiar. Like something Crono would wear
With stupidity running high on the list of things to call herself, she hurriedly closed the door behind her, and headed out into the forest ahead of her, rushing quickly to make up on lost time. Even as she tried recalling how long it had been since she'd seen Crono, the pair of eyes she had just witnessed protruded into her mind time and time again. True eyes, she soon labeled them, very true.
She left the castle forest quickly, and then began to head towards Crono's home to the east.
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