The Thief and the Swordsfrog Chapter 17
By Silent Elegy
The King of Thieves scrambled around his office, attempting to collect his things. He had heard a crash as Frog, Rat, and Mariel had broken through the door, and he now trying to get away before they finished off his guards. He had sent Garret on ahead of him the day before, something he was glad he done now. The big man would only have been in the way.
He froze as he heard someone banging on the door. "Hey! Open up!" yelled Mariel. The door rattled as she tried to open it. "Open the door before I blow it up!"
His Highness pulled open a hidden door in the floor under his desk and jumped down, then disappeared into a portal he had hidden there.
Seconds later, a loud explosion rocked the building. It brought down half of the tavern, but the door refused to budge. Mariel cursed. "It's protected somehow."
"Here, let me," Rat said, pulling her lock picks out of her vest. "Ya gots to be delicate with this kinna thing." She expertly turned the picks around inside the lock and was rewarded with a satisfying click. The door swung open. Mariel ignored Rat's smug expression as the three of them entered the room.
"It appears that the villain hath absconded," Frog remarked.
"He escaped," Mariel translated as Rat opened her mouth.
Rat wandered around His Highness' desk. "Hey, check it out!" she exclaimed. "What'd ya s'ppose that is?"
"Looks like a dimensional distortion of some sort," Mariel answered as she saw it.
"Tis a portal, or a gate," Frog clarified. "The King of Thieves must have used it to flee."
"Then we gots to follow it." Rat jumped into the hole.
"Wait!" Mariel called, but Rat had already disappeared. She shook her head. "And here I thought she didn't like magic. Well, come on, Glenn. We'd better follow her." She jumped through as well.
"Last I saw one of these was in Zeal," Frog muttered. "This doth not bode well."
The room on the other side was made of some silver metal that Frog had never seen before. He looked around. Rat was leaning against one wall with a paw over her eyes. Mariel stood nearby, snickering.
"Ain't none a' you said that was magic," Rat accused.
"Well, dear, think," Mariel laughed. "It's a portal that takes you to another place. What are the odds it isn't magic?"
"What is this place?" Frog asked rhetorically.
Mariel answered anyway. "I don't know, but I do know that unless I'm missing something, there's no door."
"Oh, there isn't," said a voice from out of nowhere. "You see, I planned for this eventuality. Of course, I hadn't planned on all three of you, but who cares, right?" He laughed maniacally for several minutes before cutting off the communications.
"That voice." Frog muttered. "It soundeth disturbingly familiar."
Mariel put both hands against one of the walls and closed her eyes. "I can't destroy it," she finally said.
"So what?" Rat squeaked, obviously nervous. "We jus' gonna stay here 'til we starve?"
"Nay. We are getting out of here." Frog began exploring the perimeter of the room. "There must be a way."
Rat sat curled in a ball in the middle of floor. "I don't wanna die here!" she wailed. "We're gonna die, and I's never gonna see Gerald or nobody again!"
Mariel slapped her, startling her into silence. "We're not going to die here. Now, calm down."
Mariel went back to helping Frog find a way out as Rat continued to sniffle. She would never have admitted it, but she was terrified. Magic didn't just make her nervous; it scared her, and she couldn't understand why. She had a vague memory of pain associated with magic, but she couldn't imagine what could have happened.
Here, thrown by a magic portal into this seamless, metal box where a person's voice came from the walls, she was out of her depth. She longed for the ale-drenched atmosphere of the Broken Knife, and the late night run-ins with the law or the Thieves' Guild. She would've given anything right then to hear the commander of the City Watch yell for her to halt, or for the old widow on 7th Avenue to call her a filthy vermin. Those things she could understand. She jumped as she felt a light touch on her arm.
"Rat, I understand," Frog whispered. "I once feared magic as well. But it is just a tool. Tis nothing more than a strange kind of lock pick."
Rat sniffed and grinned at him. "Ah, I ain't scared," she lied. "Thanks, frogman."
Mariel watched them with a slight smile before interrupting them. "Hey, I think I know how to get out of here."
"How?!" Rat yelled. She jumped to her feet and rushed over while Frog followed at a more sedate pace.
"Well," Mariel said with an odd smile. "This wall. It's so weak; I could probably break it down with my bare hands. It's really very poorly made."
"It is not!" His Highness exclaimed. Mariel grinned; obviously, she'd been expecting this response.
"Well, of course it is," she told him. "I mean, listen to this." She tapped the blade of her scythe against the wall so that it made a metallic "tink". "You really think solid walls are supposed to sound like that." She motioned Frog and Rat to keep talking.
"I made that wall myself, you little witch!" His Highness yelled.
"That explains why it's so poorly made, then," Rat said. She watched curiously as Mariel put both hands against the wall and closed her eyes.
"How dare you?! You're nothing but an overgrown mouse!"
Rat hissed. "'Overgrown mouse'? I'll show you 'overgrown mouse', you son of a hairless monkey!"
"Oh, really! Well, I'd like to see you try!"
As Rat and His Highness continued to hurl insults at each other, Mariel began chanting softly. Frog, the only one still paying any attention to her, didn't understand the words, but he recognized the spell from his time with Magus.
Magus had been bored sitting in the End of Time, so he decided it would be amusing to make the floor disappear under Frog's feet. Fortunately, Frog caught him before he finished the spell.
Mariel was casting that spell now. Slowly, she pulled her hands back from the wall and began to weave them in arcane patterns. After some time, she opened her eyes and said, "Vanish!" As she said the final word, the wall shimmered and disappeared. She ran through as Frog grabbed Rat and followed close on her heels. The wall returned to normal just as they got through. They were now standing in a large, empty room, facing a hallway.
Mariel leaned against the box they came out of. "That was tiring," she breathed.
"I thought ya said ya couldn't destroy it," Rat said. Mariel nodded.
"I didn't. I just.moved it for a few seconds. Dang, but that's a hard spell." She stood. "Let's find the King of Thieves, shall we?"
"I'm afraid I can't let you do that," said a man as he stepped from the hallway. "His Highness mustn't be disturbed."
"I recognize thee!" Frog exclaimed. "Thou wert with."
"With who?" Mariel asked.
Frog ignored her. "Is he here?"
Garret nodded. "Of course. After you sent him through the golems' gate, he ended up in a barren land. One of the golems brought him here, then came after me. I was the only one still loyal to him after you and those girls attacked us. The rest just ran like the foolish cowards they were. But I'm smarter than that. I'll never abandon my King."
Rat nudged Frog to get his attention. "Frog, who're ya talkin' about?"
"A very evil, very insane man by the name of Dalton."
Chrono Trigger Fanfic