Chrono Continuum
Chapter 91:
Crippling Loss
1999 A.D.

Ayla jumped to the side, avoiding a sudden blast of electricity. She landed,
and dropped to one knee, allowing Corea's rod to pass over her head, pulling
out a few weak hairs as it passed. She punched with all her strength, trying
to hit Corea in the gut, but the girl brought down the end of  her rod down
on Ayla's wrist, hard, knocking the fist off course. Without pausing to try
to cause more damage to the cave-woman, Corea turned and raised one arm,
blocking the hook thrown by Christina. She backhanded Christina, since her
other rod was still on her belt, and turned again just in time to duck a
spinning kick from Ayla. An energy blast from Lucca's Wondershot slammed
into her back, but she didn't flinch as her electric shield canceled out the
energy effortlessly. She jumped into a back-flip as Ayla tried to sweep her,
and shot a lightning bolt from her index finger at the inventor, knocking
the inventor to the ground.

She landed easily, and aimed at Christina with her fist, which suddenly
began to glow with blue energy. Even as she blocked a punch from Ayla with
her other hand, she released the energy in the form of a blue ball, which
shot towards the thief with amazing speed. Christina managed to dodge to the
side, the ball missing her by inches. But when the thief didn't hear an
explosion behind her, she instinctively dropped to the ground, allowing the
ball to pass over her as it boomeranged. She looked up to see it coming back
again and pushed off from the ground. The ball slammed into the stone, and
the explosion of electricity threw her back about five feet.

Corea sidestepped, a sudden fireball from Lucca to pass by her, almost
hitting Ayla. She took advantage of Ayla's distraction, and kicked her in
the side of her knee. Ayla cried out as her leg collapsed and struck the
cold stone. Instantly, Corea spun around a kicked her in her chest, knocking
her to her back. Corea turned and pointed at another fireball, and it
exploded ten feet away from her, too far to do any damage. She leapt through
the smoke and rammed her shoulder into Lucca's gut, then stepped back and
elbowed her in her face. Lucca cried out, and her glasses were knocked into
the air. Without them she'd be forced to rely on her magic to improve her
sight, and that was draining.

The young princess turned and brought her rod up, slapping aside Christina's
golden fist, and jabbed the fingers of her free hand against the hollow
below Christina's throat. The thief cried out in pain and took a step back,
and Corea reached up, grabbed her by the hair, and brought Christina's face
down into her upraised knee. She pushed the thief away and turned to block a
punch from Ayla. But the cave woman grabbed her upraised hand, turned, and
threw the girl over her shoulder. Corea hit the stone hard, but rolled to
her feet. She began to turn, but was knocked to the ground by an unexpected
punch from Lucca.

Ayla didn't waste any time, and tackled the prone girl, pinning her arms
behind her back. Corea silently struggled for a moment, but soon was still.
Ayla looked up at Lucca. "How we get Corea back," she asked.

Lucca shook her head. "I don't know. We'll have to get rid of the chip,
somehow. But without surgery, I don't think-" Blue energy exploded from
Corea's prostrate body, throwing Ayla and Lucca up and away. They slammed to
the ground ten feet away, smoking and barely conscious, as Corea stood,
picking up her dropped rod as she rose. She stared at her former friends
without recognition as they stood, with the help of Christina. She didn't
notice that her lip was cut and that blood was running down her chin. She
wasn't programmed to notice. Slowly, casually, she reached down and pulled
her second rod from her belt.

Same Time Period

Crono swept his sword around in a wide sweep, and everyone was wise enough
to jump back rather than try to block. Robo, Melchior, Wethreem, and
Geddicus had Crono surrounded, but with his natural skill, along with his
unnatural strength and speed, they had no doubt he could have escaped if
he'd wanted to. Unfortunately, he had no intention of escape, and seemed
perfectly willing to fight to the death. They also knew that he was more
than a match for any one of them, and they avoided being singled out as best
they could. Crono had yet to use any magic, so they'd all assumed that the
use of the suit somehow prohibited it.

Wethreem jumped back as Crono swiped at him, using his wings to help propel
him, but the wings already sported a few cuts, so he knew better than to
rely on them too much. Crono jumped forward, bringing his sword in a
downward cut, and Wethreem only just barely brought up his swords in an
x-shape to catch the rainbow sword. At the same moment, Gedd flew towards
the king, his armored leg extended in a kick. Crono ducked, pulling his
sword out from between Wethreem's, and Gedd simply passed overhead. While
ducking, Crono reached up and grabbed one of Wethreem's wrists, twisting it
so that the fingers numbly released their sword. As Crono stood, he pulled
Wethreem toward him, and head-butted the winged man. As Wethreem staggered
back, Crono raised his sword, the Rainbow Shell-made blade deflecting a
green blast of energy from Robo, who was flying around above. He then turned
back to Wethreem, and batted the sword from his other hand. Crono pulled his
arm back to stab him, but instead brought the sword overhead to block a
swing from Melchior, sparks flying from the contact point of the two blades
forged by the same man.

Crono swung his sword around in a low sweep, and the blade was met in an
opposite movement by Melchior. However, Melchior was knocked off balance by
the force of Crono's attack, and was only saved because Crono had to bring
up an armored fist to block a punch from Gedd. He ducked another punch, and
side-kicked the grey-haired mechanic in the gut. He stood, only to block an
overhead strike from both of Wethreem's swords. As he held the blades at
bay, he drew back his armored foot and kicked Wethreem in the groin. His
legs buckled and his strength wavered, and Crono used that moment to push
the swords away and punch the winged man in the face. Instantly, Crono
leaned forward and straightened his leg backwards in a mule kick, the
armored foot slamming into the gut of Melchior trying to attack him from

Crono looked around, and something was wrong. He looked up and managed to
bring his arms around to cover his face as Robo slammed into him from above,
his rockets driving the both of them into the hard stone with the crash of
armor on stone, and a thunk as Crono's head hit the ground. Crono lay there
for a moment, dazed, and his face contorted in confusion, but then the
moment was gone, and he used both arms to throw Robo off of him. He stood,
just a little unsteadily, as Robo hit the ground. Blood soaked his bandanna,
and his eyes seemed to have trouble focusing. He shook his head slightly, as
if trying to shake off whatever was bothering him. Suddenly, he stood
straight and looked around, his expression apathetic once again. He took in
the four Travelers watching him. Robo was standing now, and the other three
Travelers were staring at him.

"What happened," Wethreem asked.

"It looks as if the damage to his head affected the chip in his brain," Robo
announced. "Or so it seems. Most humans are dazed after head trauma. It
could simply be that."

Gedd shook his head. "No, you were right before. The chip should have
overridden any sensory input he got, unless it was damaged. Head damage is
the key here, which might be a good thing, considering how I'm not sure we
can get through that armor of his anyway."

Melchior nodded. "That settles it, then. We've got to cause damage to his
head. Enough to damage the chip, but not enough to cause permanent damage.
Think we can manage that?"

"It doesn't look as though we have a choice in the matter," Gedd noted as
Crono began to approach them again.

This time, Wethreem rose into the air, leaving the other three to try to
fight him head on. As one, they charged. Gedd was the first to reach Crono,
and brought up one armored hand toward his head in a backhand. Crono's sword
came up, blocking rather than cutting. There was a brief struggle, then
Crono's leg came up and kicked Gedd in his undefended chest. Crono ducked
under Robo's fist as it flew from its wrist, and he grabbed the chain. Robo
tried to retract the chain, but he was too late. Crono lifted the sword, and
sliced downward-

-only to hit Melchior's sword, which deflected the blow to the side. Crono
released the chain, and brought up his sword to defend from another slash.
Melchior knew that the chances of him causing head damage with a sword
without killing the target was nearly impossible, but he had to hold Crono's
attention while the others tried to hit him. He managed to block a reprisal
from Crono, and then deflect an overhead strike.

And then it all went horribly wrong. Crono swept his sword around in a
double-handed horizontal sweep, and Melchior stepped back, just barely
bringing his sword up in time to deflect it. But Crono pulled the hilt
closer to his body, to concentrate the force of the blow on Melchior's
sword. Melchior cried out as the swords collided with a clang, and wrenched
his blade from his hands. It clattered loudly to the stone ten feet away.
Melchior looked back to Crono to see him raise his sword into the air. Crono
swung the sword horizontally again, aiming at Melchior's neck, and Melchior
raised his arms in futile defense. At that moment, there was a grunt as Gedd
tackled Crono, but the rescue was too late. Crono's sword flashed in and out
of the flesh of Melchior's arm, right at the elbow, the blade only pausing
for a moment as it broke through the bone. Melchior cried out in pain and
dropped to his knees as he clutched what was left of his right arm. He fell
to his side, and dimly noticed Marle running towards him very quickly as he
lost consciousness.

"Hesitation can be the end of you-or those you care about."
-Cara, Temple of the Winds


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