The Thief and the Swordsfrog Chapter 16
By Silent Elegy
Mariel reappeared just as Frog finished off Slash. Once he noticed her, she asked, "Where's Rat?"
"Right here." said a weary voice. Rat staggered through the door; she was panting hard from he chase, and her tail and whiskers were drooping. "Dang thing nearly got me, but Doreen saved me."
"Doreen saved thee?" Frog asked, just a bit disbelieving.
Rat nodded. "She said it'd kill her master if I died, so she saved me. I thought you was her master, Frogger."
"Er.I am." Frog ducked his head in embarrassment.
"Oh, how cute," Mariel exclaimed, reminding them she was there. "Glenn's in love with Rat." She laughed as Frog turned his head, but stopped as she remembered something. "We should go check on Archy." She motioned Frog and Rat to precede her through the door. "Glenn's in love with Rat." she whispered. "But...I've known that since the beginning. They were meant for each other." She wiped away a tear and attempted to put on a brave façade before going after them.
General Archimhan was at his wit's end. Though he had told them the story, the Mystic refused to believe it until they had heard from it Mariel herself. Thus it was that he was overjoyed to see her following behind Frog and Rat. "Milady!" he called.
She waved and teleported the remaining distance. "What's up, Archy?"
"They will not believe me, Milady," he answered. "They wish to hear from you."
She looked out at her troops, most talking amongst themselves, although the ones closest had noticed her arrival and were waiting patiently. She called for silence. "My friends," she called, magically amplifying her voice so that everyone could hear her. "My friends, we have been duped."
An explosion of noise followed that statement. She raised her hands for silence. "Yes, that's right. Slash and Flea were not helping me lead you to victory, but rather to enslavement. They would have seen you chained and whipped, serving the King of Thieves. They are dead. As of now, this war is at an end."
"Izzat true?" Rat muttered.
"Close enough," she whispered back.
"Lady Magus?" someone yelled.
"What about your father? Were they using him as well?"
"Yes, they were." She allowed this explosion of sound to die out on its own before continuing. "You must remember that they found him when he was a child and didn't know any better. I know he used them as well, though, so I'd consider it even." There were nods from the assembled army.
"Listen, although humans were never meant to rule the world, Mystics weren't either. I know for a fact that most of you out there are tired of this constant war and of seeing your friends and comrades killed before your eyes. I have some business to take care of; General Archimhan will lead you until I return." She smiled as the Mystics cried for her not to leave them.
"There is a continent to the east that's completely uninhabited. I want you go there and settle. Learn to be farmers and artisans. Become a race known for its peaceful nature rather than its bloodthirstiness. Live in harmony with the humans, and one day, not to distant from now, they will accept you as friends. Then, we shall live as were meant to."
A cheer erupted from the masses as she stepped back. Frog suddenly understood why the Mystics chose to follow Mariel. It wasn't because she was Magus' daughter. It was because she had such a way with words. It occurred to him that if Mariel wanted to take over the world, all she'd need was her voice. She could have talked a starving crocodile into not eating her, even without her charm spell.
Archimhan caught Mariel as she staggered slightly from her prolonged magic use. As she looked gratefully into his eyes, he saw something he'd been waiting to see since the day they met.
Frog, Rat, and Mariel all agreed not to take an escort with them back to Truce. Although Archimhan argued, saying they might need it, they were determined. "It would'na do to sneak into a thief's hideout with twenty-some-odd guys," Rat said. "They'd pick us off one by one, and then where'd we be?"
"Besides," Frog went on. "They shall see a large party several miles off, but we three can remain unnoticed."
"Oh, very well." Archimhan threw his hands into the air in defeat. "But be careful. If anything happens to Milady, I'm holding you both personally responsible."
"Relax, Archy," Mariel said, standing on tiptoe to kiss him on the cheek. "I am the great and powerful Mariel. No one can touch me." She grinned impishly, though her eyes told a more painful story.
After a hot meal and night's rest, they left. Although Mariel didn't look back, she was well aware of the Mystics watching her, even long after she was out of their sight. "They really love ya, don't they?" Rat remarked.
"Aye, they do," Frog said. "I know they feared thy father, yet, as General Archimhan said, they would follow thee to ends of the earth."
Mariel sighed with contentment. "I belong there. That's all. Once this is over, I'm going to lead us into a Golden Age. We Mystics will rule the world with our art and literature, not our strength and force of arms. That's what I want."
Frog croaked in amusement. "Thou art incorrigible."
"What?" Mariel demanded, laughing. "I am destined to rule the world. The only thing under debate is how I'm going to go about doing it."
"What's in.incor.?" Rat started to ask.
"Incorrigible," Mariel finished. "It means I don't give up anything."
You should never give up your dreams, Doreen said. They're all you really have. Without them, nothing would exist.
"Doreen is quite the dreamer," Frog said.
Indeed I am. Were it not for dreams, I would not exist. I rather enjoy existing.
Rat, ever observant, interrupted them. "Something seem odd about Zenan Bridge?"
"Why, it hath been destroyed!" Frog exclaimed.
"Oh, lovely," Mariel said caustically. She stopped abruptly. "Now what?"
Now, I will help you, Doreen said. But only this once. Just keep going. Don't let them realize you know anything's wrong.
"Are they spying on us?" None of them heard actual words, but they all felt her affirmation. They continued walking, all alert for the slightest sound that might give away their enemy's position, but they heard nothing. None of the animals that lived in the area seemed alarmed at the slightest.
As the arrived at the bridge, the area that had been destroyed shimmered slightly. They could just see the ghost of the bridge in place of the real thing. What a delightful trick to play, said Doreen, her "voice" brimming with laughter. Go across; it's quite solid. Of course, when the spy tries to get across it won't be.
Frog was the first to work up the courage to step onto Doreen's dream bridge. When he didn't fall through, Mariel, then Rat, followed him, although the latter shook as though she was in an earthquake. When they reached the other side, she fell to her knees and kissed the ground.
"You don't like magic much, do you?" Mariel remarked idly.
"Makes me nervous," Rat answered, her voice still shaking. Mariel studied her as she composed herself.
Rather odd.or maybe not, she thought.
Rat swallowed once and said, "A'right, I'm good. Le's go."
Several minutes later, they heard a prolonged yell that ended abruptly in a loud splash. Mariel snickered.
Told ya, Doreen laughed.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, and in no time, they arrived at Truce. "We will have no need for guise this time, will we?" Frog asked without much hope.
"What're you complainin' about?" Rat demanded. "I'm the one what broke me head."
"No, don't worry," Mariel answered. "The King's Ear is right on the edge of town. You can see it right there." She pointed toward a small building that might be better called a shack.
"That's a bar?" Rat asked. "Dang, that place looks like it belongs in George!"
Mariel laughed and pulled her hood over her head; she let Frog take the lead and used her magic to make sure they weren't being followed. Rat sniffed the air, but smelled nothing out of place except for an odd scent she'd learned to associate with Mariel's magic. Quietly, they headed for the back door of the King's Ear.
"Sorry it's been so long. I moved to Washington, and the salt air didn't agree with my computer. I just recently managed to get it fixed because I'm so poor. -_- Sorry, sorry, sorry! Please don't hurt me!"
Chrono Trigger Fanfic