Hero Undone Chapter 6
The Shadow in the Light
"It seems odd. To be standing on nothing and not fall, to be unable to
see but not be blind. I try to open my eyes, but nothing happens. I reach
forward, and my hand touches something there. Something solid, very smooth,
and vertical. I still can't see. I try to open my eyes again, and they finally
do. I wish they hadn't. Before me stands a twisted, miserable creature. It
stands and stares back at me as I trace it's wretched lines. My gaze stops
when I reach its eyes. What has happened to this thing? Its soul is so empty
I see no reflection, no light within. Then memories flood into my mind. Memories
I don't want. I am this miserable creature, this man. I remember. Schala.
Schala! Schala, where are you?!?"
"I'm here, Crono."
"What has happened to me? Where are we?"
"You died, Crono. We are both in the Underworld, forever damned by our actions."
"What? That's not possible! We saved the world! We stopped Lavos and saved humanity! How can we be damned for that!"
"But we did much more than that, didn't we? I was a terrible person until you came along, and you were a terrible person after I left you."
"All I did was try to find you!!"
"You did more than that. Killing Lavos over and over didn't help me, it helped you. Helped you get over my leaving-"
"Leaving? Lavos threw you into a Gate! You say 'leaving' like you chose to."
"I did. I could have escaped the Gate that Lavos opened."
"Why didn't you escape? Why did you leave me?!?"
"I had to leave. The Elders demanded it."
"The Elders. They are the living embodiment of the Past, Present, and Future, Crono. They are the things that keep the world in balance. They are what told me to leave you. They are what brought you to me in the first place, in the year six hundred."
"How do you know this?"
"I heard them call my name when Janus threw me into the Gate when I was a child. They wanted me alive. They needed you, and I was the best motivation for you to do thier bidding."
"I did no one's bidding! All I wanted was you back!"
"Exactly. You killed Lavos, all of him, ensuring the creation of the Time Devourer. A few years later, another boy will be chosen, to destroy the Time Devourer and bring balance to our world."
"Then your feelings for me were just lies?"
"Yes. I had to follow their plans. My own feelings were unimportant."
"Then why the hell are you here now! Get away from me! Leave me again, forever! I don't want to look at you ever again! You lied to me. I loved you, and you said you loved me. Now you tell me that none of what we had together meant anything to you? None of it?!?"
"They would not allow my own personal feelings to interfere with-"
"Fuck them! I didn't go along with any plans! I just wanted you back! Nothing else mattered to me!" My fist feels cold as it smashes through the mirror before me. I see several deep gashes, yet they don't bleed. I look at the mirror again, a great hole where my head should be. I watch the cracks extend, further and further. I lose sight of them, and the mirror shatters, shards raining down on me. The light shatters and tumbles away with it. Schala shatters too, like a glass statue struck by a stone, leaving me alone in the dark. So alone.
"Crono. At last we meet! Then again, I knew you would make it here."
"Who are you? What do you want?" It seems two voices, harsh and gentle, but they speak as one.
"Who I am is of little importance. What I want is for you to live, Crono. Live."
"I don't want to live anymore!! You heard what she said, didn't you? She was all I ever cared about, everything we had was a lie! If I am truly dead, then I do not want to be cursed with life ever again."
"You don't have a choice, Crono. The sooner you realize that, the better off you'll be. I need you to live because I must be free."
"I always have a choice."
"Such foolishness. Crono, you can traverse the planes of this planet. The Underworld is merely another plane."
"I don't care."
"You should. Do you think you're the only person to gain such power? In all the planes' history, are you really foolish enough to think that you are unique? The Elders' manipulation of your heart comes as no surprise to me. They have done it before. They will do it again. In fact, they have done it again."
"How do you know these things?"
"I know them because I created you. I created your world, and all of its planes. I set this world in motion, filled it with life."
"Then why are you here? Shouldn't you be somewhere else, somewhere.....better?"
"My place has been usurped by the Elders, and they have trapped me here."
"Why should I help you? I don't care what happens anymore."
"Don't you, Crono? You don't care about all the people you've met? All of your friends?"
"All of my friends are dead."
"Yes, damn you! These fucking 'Elders' took them all from me! They wrapped their lies in love and gave them to me like presents. They used me, then discarded me here!"
"Do you not want vengeance? Do you not want to make them suffer as you have?"
"I wanted revenge on Lavos for taking Schala from me, and look what happened! What is the point of avenging a lie?"
"Things are not as complicated as that, Crono. You wanted the love they gave you, even if it was a lie. You must make a decision, Crono. How will you progress from here? Will you abandon your destiny over these setbacks? Wouldn't you rather strike back at those who've hurt you than surrender to them?
"Good. Then you will help me."
"I will not be forced into anything. I will choose whether or not I help you."
"I see. Crono, you know you cannot bargain with death."
"Then you are Death, aren't you?"
"Yes, and no. I am life, I am death. I am light, I am dark. I am the balance of this world. Help me and all humanity, all life will be free to choose it's path, no matter what it is. You will be free to choose your own life. Only if you help me now."
"And if I do, I will be free to live my life as I see fit?"
"And if I choose to die rather than live?"
"It will be your choice how you spend your life, but you will not die again."
"You are immortal now, as are the other planeswalkers. I gave you this gift to explore the worlds and better yourselves."
"Then you have damned me! I don't want to live, not now, not ever again, and I have you to blame!"
"I understand your anger-"
"No you don't! How could you!?!"
"You think you are the only creature who has lost everything that they love? The Elders took my world. The world I worked so hard to bring into being, and they took it all. You and I are more alike than you think. You are merely selfish."
"What are you?"
"You desire to see me for what I am?"
"If I show you, you will help me?"
"I will choose whether or not I will help you."
The shadows swirl before me. On my left a faint light begins to glow, growing larger, changing shape. A great cloud of blackness begins taking shape on my right. Both materialize before me. On my left is a woman, tall and slender, garbed in a shimmering white war-stole. Her golden hair is held back in a simple ponytail. In her hand she grips a great staff, adorned with several large, glimmering pearls. No, not pearls, eyes. Each one stares at me. The woman steps forward. "I am death. I am the shadow in the light." Her sad blue eyes seem to bore through me as she turns to the blackness. Out from it steps a massively muscled man, his dark skin barely able to contain the cording muscles beneath. The armor he wears from his boots to his waist glimmers like onyx, but seems to be part of his skin, flexing as he turns to me. His hand grips the shaft of a massive black staff, at each end are arms. One holds a sword, the other a book. His purple eyes are full of rage and hate. The man speaks now. "I am life. I am the light." They speak in unison. "This is the only form I have that you would be able to comprehend. I have kept my end of the bargain. Now, will you?"
"I agreed to no bargain. I will choose."
"And what do you choose?"
"I will help you, but you will not control me."
"How will you know what to do then?"
"Give me the goal. I will do the rest."
"It is not that simple. You will see things, experience things you will not be able to comprehend without my help."
"If I need your help, I will ask."
"Very well. You may, or may not, come into contact with the other planeswalkers from your world. Some of them will help you, the others must not stand in your way."
"Nothing stands in my way."
"I know. I made you that way. You are the only planeswalker able to traverse the time stream, but you are unable to travel to different worlds. I wanted my world to have a guardian."
"What about my armor and Masamune?"
"The armor you may use, but the Masamune has been corrupted by Lavos' energy. You must hide it away, where no one can find it, but it must be hidden in the world you last visited. It plays an important role there."
"Then what will I do for weapons?"
"Choose whichever you wish." The woman sweeps her staff to one side, and rack upon rack of weapons appear. Swords and mauls, pikes and poignards, weapons of every type, all seem to cry for my touch. I walk among them, picking a few up, the music within them filling my head. At last, I arrive at a decision. A massive axe, it's upswept double heads razor-sharp and deadly. Motes of black power trace their way up my arms as I lift it. The axe sings to me in my hands, songs of blood and life. It must weigh fifty pounds, but it seems oddly light in my hands.
"This will do."
"Very well. When you travel back to your armor, it will change."
"It will be a part of you now."
"Then I will never be able to leave my armor?"
"You misunderstand. You will still be able to leave it, but it will not truly leave."
"You're speaking in riddles now. Tell me!"
"You will see when you get there."
"What about the people on that world?" Memories flood into my mind again. They wanted my friendship. They cared for me. Why? An image flashes into my mind, and a name. Lucca. Why is she crying? Why have they gathered? Why are they so sad?
"You miss them, don't you?"
"They sought to befriend me, despite what I had done. What are they doing?"
"They mourn your passing, Crono. You are dead, after all."
"But if I am immortal, then I cannot be dead!"
"True, but you must want to live again, Crono. Live for us both."
My mind reels. They care for me? Why? "What of my magic? It came from Lavos, and his spirit has corrupted my Masamune."
"Much of it must be replaced."
"With magic of what type?"
"What type should replace it?"
"I don't know."
"Your magic will be your own."
"What does that mean?"
"He is the master of war on the last world. Visit him. He will know what to do."
"And you don't?"
"You do not want my help, remember."
"I see. "
"I thought you would."
"I think I'm beginning to understand, but what will happen to the people on that world? They seemed so happy." All of them were happy. Even the idiot Magus. Why was everyone in that world so happy, and I was left so alone? Not everyone was happy. Lucca wasn't happy, even if she hid it well from the others. I could see it. She was just as alone as I was.
"They will want to go with you. They seem to always crave adventure, even after all that they went through."
"They have gone through nothing."
"Not so. They have been through more than you think, more than you can know."
"Then I should take them with me?"
"If you wish, but not all of them will survive if you do."
"Who among them will die?"
"I do not know. Only those strong enough to survive will survive. The rest will die. There are others in that world's future that will be able to help you as well."
"What if I don't allow any of them to come with me?"
"But you will, Crono. You will because you will need them, need their strength to help you. You must go. Go and stop The Elders from destroying my world. Avenge us both."
"I will." The man reaches for me now. I take his hand and everything fades away......
"To be forgotten is worse than death."
-Freya Crescent, Final Fantasy IX
Chrono Trigger Fanfic