Chapter 93: Surprise, Surprise
The Ocean Palace was a wreck. Areas were flooding faster than they could be
sealed off. Monsters were panicking, tearing into eachother, trying to claw
through the walls. The entire structure shuddered as a new hole opened up,
probably a result of the rapidly changing pressure inside. Deep beneath the
surface of the planet, the Lavoid went back to sleep, having destroyed the
foolish parasites that had dared try to live off its energy.
Thanatos was not afraid as he walked through the ruined palace. The monsters
weren't a threat to him, especially since he'd speeded up his passage
through time. All the monsters saw was a blur, he was moving so fast. They
seemed to be as still as statues in comparison. Finally, he reached the
entrance to the room he was looking for. The room that held the Mammon
Machine. He paused for a moment, worrying slightly that he was changing the
past. But considering that the past had already been changed somewhat, he
figured a paradox must not be about to happen after all. As such, he decided
that it was an acceptable risk. Of course, Gaspar wouldn't have liked him
screwing with history, but he had no choice. Some things were just more
He walked into the room, and let time crash to normal around him. That done,
he picked up what he'd come here for, and vanished into the Timestream.
"I'm fine," Crono insisted. "This armor promotes fast healing. Really, you
should be spending your time healing everyone else. They're going to need
it." Marle hesitated, but he reached out and stroked her cheek. "Don't
worry," he continued. "I'm not going anywhere, except into that shell with
all of you. If we ever get finished out here. Time's wasting, you
Marle smiled and shook her head ruefully. Crono knew everyone else was
healed already, and that he had insisted on spending a few minutes getting
it done. Really, he was trying to pretend she hadn't hurt him very much,
which she appreciated. She just wished he'd let her heal him. "Fine," she
replied, as if she didn't care. "But when you start forgetting how to lace
your boots, don't come crying to me."
And then Crono hugged her, and for a moment nothing else seemed to matter.
She stared into his eyes, and could almost ignore the intensity in them, the
pain. Or the scars on his formerly smooth face. Almost. She kissed him, and
he returned it. "Come on," she told him. "Everyone else is ready."
Same Time Period
"I'm coming," Corea insisted. She wasn't whining or petulant, just...
certain. She was going, and that was that. "If my father can get up
after the hit he took, I can stand a sore forehead."
Lucca shrugged. There was no point arguing. Corea wasn't going to be
deterred, and she remembered enough of the fight to know Lucca couldn't do
much to stop her. Of course, neither of them expected it to come to that,
but... the knowledge was there. And Lucca wasn't sure how she felt about it,
or about Corea's determination. Lucca had been told, briefly, about Corea's
two years in the Kingdom, so she supposed it shouldn't have been a surprise
that Corea was so hard now.
What did surprise her was the news about Crono and Magus: Valiod had
apparently found them useful enough that he made them immortal. He had only
let Corea keep aging because she wasn't an adult yet. That worried Lucca
somewhat, the fact that those two were under the effects of Valiod's power.
What if he took his gift away? Weeks had passed for Lucca, but those two had
been there much longer than the two years Corea had spent. Would they
suddenly age rapidly if Valiod was killed? They didn't seem worried, but
then again, they usually didn't know when they should have been worried.
Glenn and Melchior also worried her. Melchior had lost his right arm from
the elbow down, though thankfully he was able to handle a sword with his
left. Crono's memories had been fuzzier than Corea's, and so nobody told him
that he'd been the one to injure the Guru. Lucca didn't think he'd
have been able to forgive himself. Glenn was a different matter. He shivered
again even as she watched, and his knuckles clenched tighter around the
handle of the Frog. He hadn't elaborated on his battle, but she could
see the haunted look in his eyes. If Magus had done something to him that he
wouldn't get over...
Marle and Crono suddenly joined them. Lucca was glad to see him again, but
like Corea he was... different. Sober. She wondered if he'd ever laugh
again. Regardless, Marle was positively glowing, having been reunited with
her husband and her daughter, though the latter reunion had basically
been a hug and a kiss before Marle rushed off to be with Crono.
"Looks like the gang's all here," Magus noted aloud. Lucca grimaced.
He hadn't changed a whit. He continued, "Now that that's done with,
let's go. Valiod's not getting any deader."
Marle looked about to protest, but Crono simply nodded, and that was enough.
Magus suddenly lifted up into the air, and after a gesture with his gloved
hands, so did everyone else. There was a slight crowd as everyone tried to
float to the hole in the Lavoid's shell at once, with Crono, Marle, Corea,
and Christina at the head of pack, but after a moment they shaped up into a
line. Christina somehow managed to get in front, and floated through, her
hands unconsciously clenching and unclenching around the haft of her spear.
One by one, they floated through, and Lucca went last.
She wrinkled her nose as the smell hit her again. It was a smell she'd
forgotten over the years, but now it was fresh and alive again as she
floated into the green corridor, and slowly lowered to the floor. It smelled
of magic, but also of... blood. And fire. And salt. Perhaps it was more a
mental impression than a smell, but it was definitely the smell of Lavos.
There was no smell of rot, but in this time period, it had only been days
since the Lavoid's death.
The hall was different now, she realized. It was wider to begin with, and
the walls curved around towards the opposite end, stopping about five feet
apart, so that they were in a room with an exit leading to another chamber,
the heart of the Shell. But if it had only been days since Lavos had died,
how could the hall have decomposed enough to widen? The answer was
disheartening: someone had done this. Someone who'd needed more room.
Christina suddenly gasped, and Lucca automatically brought up her gun,
realizing that the girl must have seen something in the room's exit. What
she saw completely surprised her.
A child stood there, smiling, as if amused. He looked to be about eight or
nine years old, and wore a red robe. His hair was drawn back into a ponytail
that reached his lower back, and the hair itself crimson, with a blue stripe
running straight back from his widow's peak. His eyes, though, were what
disturbed Lucca. The irises were red, and the rest of the eyes were dark
blue. And they were cold, so very cold.
"Bravo," the child spoke into the sudden silence. Still smiling, he raised
his little hands and clapped them in applause. "I'm impressed. I would have
thought they'd have held you longer." He raised a disparaging eyebrow. "But
I'm disappointed in you, Magus. I give you back the power my father took
from you, and you don't even kill one? Not very impressive, even for a
failed Planeswalker." There was a flash of contempt or jealousy in those
eyes for a moment, and then they were cool again.
"Valiod," Magus spat. "You should have known better than to show up. You
won't escape my vengeance."
"This... Valiod?" Ayla asked incredulously.
" 'This... Valiod?'," the child mimicked the cave-woman, even down to
copying the sound of her voice. "Of course I'm Valiod. Surprised?"
Crono slowly and obviously drew his sword. "Don't any of you be fooled. He
may look like a child, but I've seen him kill with his own hands."
Gaspar shook his head. "Of course... You use others' bodies... Because your
"Young," Valiod finished for him. "Yes. The gift of immortality. I've given
it to many, but I gave it to myself first. If I'd known I couldn't reverse
it, I would have waited, but..." He shrugged. Though he acted nonchalant,
the subject was obviously a sensitive one. "Wishing won't change anything.
At least, not until my children are born." His eyes took on a fevered light.
"And then they shall cleanse me of my humanity, and give me a more perfect
form. And they shall set me high above others. I will be a true
Planeswalker, and more..."
"Shut up," Christina interrupted. Her voice was ice. "I don't know what a
Planeswalker is, and I don't give a damn. You took Rakin. Give him back, or
I'll go home with your head for a trophy."
If anything, Valiod's smile became amused. "Ah. So you care for the boy, do
"I... He's my friend. Maybe my first friend." Her expression hardened. "But
whatever my reasons, I want him back. Now."
"Very well," Valiod agreed. He stepped to the side and raised an arm towards
the exit. "Here he is."
There was absolute silence as Rakin stepped forward from the shadows.
Same Time Period
Janus suddenly sat upright, breathing heavily. His wife was immediately at
his side, calling his name. Janus nodded absently and looked around. "Where
"They all left, Janus," Lucca told him. "You weren't in any condition to
fight, and I-"
"We've got to..." He paused as he tried to rise to his feet. With her help,
he succeeded, and continued, "We've got to go to them. I just felt... a
tremendous amount of magic. I know I'm not in the best shape, but... I've
got to do what I can."
Lucca stared into his eyes for a moment, and then put his arm around her
neck. "Lean on me," she told him, and together they began to walk towards
the shell of the dead Lavoid.
Same Time Period
The thing smiled. Its prey was here, finally! Rakin was here! It looked
forward to a mission soon to be completed, but decided to practice patience.
The boy would be weaker after what came next, it was certain. And then its
mission would be complete, and it could rest.
"You want chaos? I'll give you chaos!"
-Rico, Judge Dredd
To Chapter 94
Back to Cain's Works