Chrono Continuum
Chapter 90:
Lost Heroes

1999 A.D.

"C... Crono," Marle whispered, her eyes wide. But Crono didn't react, simply
staring through her and the others, as if they were invisible. Nor did Corea
or the Magus react, their eyes devoid of anything resembling emotion. Their
black cloaks flapped in the wind, but the three figures didn't even bother
to blink.

"What do you think, little girl," Valiod's voice returned, taunting. "Not
what you expected, eh?"

"It... can't be them," was all Christina could say. Seeing these three,
nothing human in their expressions, nearly brought her to tears. "It's... a

Valiod laughed softly. "Now, where would the fun be in that? No, these are
the real things. Crono, once proud king of Guardia. His daughter, the
innocent princess. And the Magus, the stubborn sorcerer. They're all mine
now, body and soul."

"No," Lucca rasped. "They can't be. Crono's too strong for that, and the
Magus' too mean. And Corea knows where her loyalties lie."

"I'm afraid you're wrong, at least partially. You're right in that they are
strong. But no matter how strong you are, you can't fight something placed
in your brain. An MC chip to be specific, the last great invention of Janus'
wife. Too bad she's dead now."

"She's not dead," Gedd protested.

There was a pause, then, "Oh well. After you're all dead, I'll find her, and
her traitorous husband as well. But it's too bad she's not here, for your
sakes. She might have known how to counter the chips."

"We can defeat them, you know," Gaspar told Valiod. It pained him to say so,
but he did, and continued, "Altogether, we're powerful enough to kill all
three of them. I suggest you release them, and we might let you live."

Valiod chuckled. "Thank you for the offer, but no. My life's work has been
to sire children, and I don't intend to give that up now. As for being able
to beat them, I doubt you have the power. You see, I took some liberties
with them. You don't stand a chance against the three of them now."

"What did you do to them," Mune called out, his first words spoken since
they'd left the cave.

"I... improved them. In the girl's case, not much was necessary. She's a
natural born warrior, but she doesn't know how to use her magic to its
fullest extent. I released her potential. In raw power, I think she's a
match for any three of you put together."

Ayla nodded. "Yes. Corea strong with magic. But Ayla watch her fight on
teevee. Ayla think can beat her, with help."

"We'll see about that," Valiod countered. "But that's not all. You see
Crono's new armor? I made it myself. It's a mixture of magic and technology.
It makes him stronger, faster, and enhances his senses to an extent. If he
wasn't the ultimate warrior before, he is now. It would take everything you
all had to touch him. As for the Magus, well, that's much more simple. My
father drained his power. So I returned it."

"Damn," Lucca whispered. "We're screwed."

"But surely we canst defeat him," Glenn protested. "He hasn't power enough
to destroy us all."

Masa shook his head. "You don't understand. Before his power was drained, it
took everything the original Travelers had, with our power added power, to
cause him to lose his concentration enough that his spell backfired. In a
true life-and-death battle, they would have lost at that point in time. And
considering how Magus has had a chance to restore some of his original power
anyway, the added effect might be too much for us to handle."

"I see you understand the situation, my little friend," Valiod noted. "Of
course, it's possible that you all might yet prove strong enough to defeat
them, but I doubt it. Besides, you'd have to kill your friends to do so, and
I don't think you're ready to do that. Humans are so predictable, after
all." And he began to laugh as the three cloaked Travelers approached their
former friends.

The Travelers split up into three groups to handle the three threats. Ayla,
Christina, and Lucca surrounded Corea. Glenn, Masa, Mune, and Gaspar
gathered around the Magus. Robo, Melchior, Wethreem, and Geddicus prepared
to fight Crono. And Marle stood off on her own, her eyes full of tears, her
crossbow lying on the cold stone at her feet.

Glenn, Masa, Mune, and Gaspar circled cautiously around Magus as the wizard
stared impassively around, as if completely unworried by the odds. Perhaps
he was unworried, at that. Glenn's sword, the Frog, had lost its power, but
it was still made of Dreamstone, so it was resistant to magic, and had
already been proven effective against the Magus, when it was just the
Masamune. Masa and Mune themselves had perhaps the greatest understanding of
magic in general, and the Magus in particular. Gaspar had experience, and
his skill with magic was impressive. Altogether, it was as good a team to
fight the Magus as any.

It started abruptly, as Masa and Mune charged at the wizard from opposite
sides. Without turning to look at either of them, Magus dropped to one knee
and slammed both gloved hands to the stone. Explosions suddenly flashed out
from the wizard in a circle around him, and Masa and Mune both stopped
inches short of being incinerated in the wall of flame. The fire stood there
for a moment, impenetrable, and then it was gone. Unfortunately, so was the
Magus. The four Travelers looked around warily.

Glenn turned around and whipped his sword up just in time to block a
downward sweep from the Magus' scythe. The sword caught the scythe
underneath blade, holding the tip of the blade an inch from Glenn's face.
But there was no chance to push the wizard away, because he raised one hand,
aiming the palm at Glenn's chest. Glenn dodged to the side just in time to
avoid the dark purple blast of shadow energy that fired from the open palm.
He turned to strike at the wizard, but the Magus had already turned toward
him and aimed his hand at the knight again. Glenn brought up his sword
between them, but it wasn't enough to completely stop the force of the
mental blast thrown by the wizard, and Glenn went flying, hitting the stone
with a pained grunt. Magus gestured, and the area suddenly went dark. Glenn
looked up to see a huge boulder of ice rocketing towards him from the air,
blotting out the sun. He cried out, and Gaspar was suddenly beside him. The
Guru raised his hands, and the air between the ice and the Travelers
suddenly became a shade of dark green.

The ice slammed into the green force-field with a crunch, and held there, in
midair above them. Glenn cried out a warning, and Gaspar moved one of his
hands to block the incoming volley of ice spears being thrown by the wizard
to his side. Gaspar's face was strained in concentration as the icicles
shattered one by one against his shield, and it seemed to Glenn that the
boulder above them was slowly lowering, with Gaspar's attention diverted. He
got up to his feet, grabbed Gaspar, and dove to the side. As the Guru's
concentration was broken, both shields vanished. The boulder crunched as it
slammed into the stone, inches away from the two Travelers. The last of the
icicles shattered harmlessly as the knight and the Guru hid behind the
boulder, until suddenly it vanished.

They both hit the ground together, as a lightning bolt sizzled past, and
they both rolled away from each other as bolt after bolt struck the ground
where they had been a moment ago. The lightning bolts suddenly stopped, and
they looked to see where the wizard had been a moment ago, but he was gone
now. They looked around carefully, but they couldn't see him at all. They
looked up just in time to see two large triangles, white and black, bearing
down on them from above. It slammed into the ground in an explosion of
energy, enveloping the two Travelers.

When it had cleared, there was a small crater there. The Magus stared down
impassively to see the Travelers, all four of them, standing in the crater.
The last minute shield erected by Masa and Mune held against the Dark
Matter, but only barely. The two brothers were looking very tired, but he
had no wish to see if they had enough power to block another spell. The
Magus had never been one to waste time, and now that it was clear how much
power would be necessary to destroy them, he didn't hesitate. He landed
soundlessly, and waited for them to crawl out of the crater. He pointed at
the knight, the one who had the least magical protection. He would be the
perfect test subject for the Magus' newest spell.

His hands made the ritual gestures, and he closed his eyes. "Dark Horizon,"
he whispered.

"But don't you see what this means?"
"Yes. We're going to die."
-Zaphod Beeblebrox and Arthur Dent, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


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