Magus's Quest part four
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Chapter 16 Creating a Magus
Frog was confused, really confused. It was very hard for him to keep up with Magus' pace as the knight's head was spinning with questions and disbelief.
Before he knew that Magus was a prince from another time, Frog had never thought about where this human leading the monsters really came from or who he was. Then when the secret was revealed, the knight had thought that the boy's powers had brought the Mystics to their knees. But wasn't it so? That Ozzie ever had planned to keep Magus as a slave was completely impossible, it could simply not be true!
Or... could it?
New illusions appeared before the warlock, and he stopped with a hiss of rage. He tried to make Schala look away, but she just stared and stared. So did Frog, Cered and Molor.
This time, the characters displayed with magic were Ozzie, Janus, and a fat goblin with a red, glowing whip. The blue-haired boy was still dressed in his purple clothing, probably not a day older than he had been in the earlier illusions. He was standing on his knees, shivering and pressing his hands against his pointy ears.
"My name is Janus!" he screamed, "it's Janus, Janus, Janus...!"
His words turned to scream of pain as the goblin hit him in the back with the whip. Schala cried out loudly in shock, Frog felt his throat thicken. He wasn't sure if it was of sudden overwhelming compassion or fear of realization.
"Your name is Magus," Ozzie said, smirking, "are you going to behave?"
"Leave me alone!" the boy screeched.
The goblin raised the whip again, but the scenery dissolved before he hit.
"Janus," Schala harshly whispered with her voice sharp with rage, "I swear that if there is even the tiniest drop of life left in those monsters, I will squeeze it out of them!"
"No," Magus muttered, not turning around, "don't give into it. Not you too."
He hurried on and the others followed. Frog chewed on his lower lip, he tried to grasp this new way of judging the warlock. That Ozzie could be so cruel that he would beat such a small boy... this truth was almost too much to bear.
There was another illusion. This time Janus was a little older, maybe nine years old, wearing a grey shirt and a matching pair of loose pants. He was sitting by a table, studying a book. His green eyes glistened with exhaust, and he slowly sunk down to lean on the book, half asleep.
A whip hit him from behind, he startled and straightened up while clenching his grip of the pages. The grey shirt was torn by the hit, and pieces of cloth fell to the ground as well as drops of blood.
"Don't be so lazy, Magus," Flea said as the illusion of him got into sight, "you must study harder if you want to master the powers that you have been gifted."
"My name is Janus!" the boy growled.
The illusion of Flea put the red whip under his arm and grabbed Janus' hair. The boy clamped his teeth, trying not to moan of the pain.
"What did you say, boy?" Flea asked, soft as silk.
"My... name is Janus!"
Janus' forehead hit the yellowed pages of the book.
"Now keep reading," Flea demanded, "I'm watching you, my pupil."
Frog suddenly recalled something that Magus had said to Magician. That one of the red-skinned monster's family-line would have a most important student... and Magus had known that he'd shed the seeds to this torment?!
Magus just kept walking as the illusion dissolved. But he stopped as soon as a new scene was displayed.
A Janus about thirteen years old was now gulping for air, leaning against the wall. Flea stood beside him, waving with a fine hand.
"Once more!" the evil teacher ordered, "you can do it, go on."
The boy shook his head, about to fall of his exhaust.
"I can't..." he stuttered, "I... I'm too tired..."
Flea sighed, shaking the whip he held in one hand. Janus clenched his teeth.
"How will you ever earn the name Magus if you can't even chant five second-level spells in a row?" the magician asked, "we gave you that name for a reason, you know."
Frog felt a growl of rage rise inside his chest, staring at the staggering boy. Janus raised his hands, shivering, and tried to mumble a spell. But as the first sounds got past his lips, he gave a loud sob and dropped to his knees. The whip hit him, making him fall over and he received another hit over the chest.
"Get up Magus, you're no child anymore," Flea snorted, "and when you're done here you must hurry to Slash, he's already waiting for you."
Janus pressed his hands over his ears, squeezing his eyes painfully shut.
"Leave me alone, leave me alone!" he screamed, "my name is Janus, it's Janus...! Schala! Schala, where are you?!"
Several years of beating hadn't made him loose the grip of who he really was. He was obviously stronger than expected; there was a tiny, bitter triumph in that. But it was far to small to touch anyone's heart.
"Oh, Janus...!" Schala growled, almost sobbing.
Her eyes were glowing with anger and hate, the grip of her staff was so tightly clenched that her skin was turning as white as Magus'.
The warlock stood still for a moment, his clenched fists shaking.
"You couldn't help me," he muttered, "it wasn't your fault."
"I won't let them get away with this!" she screeched, "I will..."
"No, Schala, don't give in to the hate."
And with that Magus moved on, past the dissolving illusions. Cered wasn't trying to calm Schala, his own rage was too overwhelming.
'Why art they showing us this?' Frog thought, 'what kind of profit dost Flea and Slash hope to gain?'
The truth was actually obvious.
'Imbalance, of course,' the knight thought, 'at least Schala will be so deep inside her own pain that she will not be able to fight properly, and Cered will not leave her side. Can I fight? I dost not know, this rage cannot be controlled. Molor? I dost not know that either... and Magus himself? Who knows...'
He looked up at Magus, the cold murderer who had destroyed the life of Glenn a few years ago, killed Cyrus and so many others too. But now... he was still a murderer, and nothing could ever erase his sins completely, but... if he hadn't been put through this torture as a boy, had he become the same man? Frog found that the painful truth actually was yes. Magus' hate against Lavos could probably have created a man lead by rage and wishes of revenge, just as Janus had been torn from his childhood into a life of hate by the Mystics. He had just got a lot of unwanted help to feed the anger. No wonder he had become such a demon. Yet, yet... maybe things could have been different? What if Ozzie hadn't found him first, what if someone like Cyrus had? If Magus had grown up as a human, and learnt to control his hate, turn it into a power of good... dreaming of revenge, not for the sake of revenge itself, but for the wish to save Schala and everyone else from the power of Lavos? If he hadn't been turned to Shadow by force?
'It's useless to wonder, Frog,' Magus' cold voice said inside of the knight's mind, 'it's true that a lot of things could have been different but they weren't, and it cannot be changed.'
Frog wasn't startled or even surprised to hear the warlock's voice in his head. Somehow it didn't seem to matter right then.
'I must judge thee in another way,' the knight thought, 'I am sorry.'
'Sorry?' Magus' telepathic voice said, almost lazily, 'for what?'
'For ever hating thee, Janus.'
At first, there was no reply. Magus didn't turn his head either. Then he finally sent this thought:
'I just wish that Schala shouldn't have seen this.'
'So dost I.'
"You're a worthless worm, Magus! And a thickheaded one, too!" Slash's voice snarled.
Another illusion of Janus entered the tunnel, stumbling backwards out of the wall. He wasn't older than last time, wore the same grey cloths as before. The adjustments were that the outfit had several cuts, and he held a thin sword in his hand. He got to his feet and managed to parry Slash's attack. The two swords created a screeching sound as they were drawn against one another.
"Five blasted years I've wasted trying to teach you something," the swordsman growled, "and nothing stays in your head."
"Janus...!" the boy snarled, "my name is not Magus, it's Janus!"
He ducked and attacked in rage, forcing Slash to draw back a little.
"Good boy," the teacher said with a cold smile, "but you're still not strong nor skilled enough."
"Who said I ever wanted to?!" Janus growled.
He threw his sword at Slash's feet.
"Hit me, then!" he snapped, "you can hit me until I break, but I will never fight for you! Not for you, not for Ozzie, not for Flea and not for any Mystic!"
Slash foot made a tapping sound as it repeatedly hit the ground.
"I grow so tired of you, Magus."
"My name is Janus."
"You will never become anything if you don't forget all the rubbish you always go on about, even when you sleep you yell for that Schala and Lavos. Until you forget you will stay the dumb, stubborn child."
"I will never forget, do you hear me?!" Janus screamed, the mere thought driving him into rage, "never! I will never ever forget Schala, or what Lavos did! You can't ever take that away from me!"
The red whip that materialized in Slash's hand wrapped itself around the boy's throat and he was dragged to his knees, struggling for air.
"You are a stupid boy," Slash said as Janus desperately tried to get a grip of the whip, "you don't see the truth of your own weakness. According to your noisy slumber, you wish to kill Lavos, am I correct? Answer me when I ask you a question."
Four voices hissed in rage as Janus was violently pulled up in his hair, his face a grimace of pain. Magus didn't make a sound.
"Do you want to kill Lavos?" Slash repeated, "it's a simple question; yes or no?"
"Yes..." Janus croaked, stuttering.
Slash removed the whip from the thin throat and threw Janus to the ground. The boy stood on his knees and hands, coughing as he tried to regain his breath.
"You say you want to kill Lavos?" Slash scornfully said, "I have no idea who Lavos is, but you're too weak to fight anything. I won't let you enter any battles before you have become stronger."
Janus took a few deep breaths, slowly.
The prince from Zeal stood up. And his green eyes were suddenly different; filled with cold determination.
Frog had to fight back a moan caused by the knowledge that the boy Janus now was dead, murdered by Slash.
Janus reached out his right hand, and the sword floated up from the floor, into his grip. Slash's eyebrows went up.
"I need another weapon, Slash," Janus said, even his voice slightly different, "the sword doesn't fit my hand."
"Is that so, Magus?" the swordsman said, suddenly a lot more interested, "then we'll just have to find you something more suitable."
And Janus nodded, not protesting about the name anymore.
Frog rubbed his forehead and shook his head, silently bidding the poor boy farewell. The illusions disappeared.
"And from that day," Flea's mocking voice said from faraway, "the little pest began to grow into an impressive warrior. My compliment, Slash."
There was another illusion. Janus was now about fifteen, and he wore almost all of his usual clothes, except a couple of sizes smaller and the gloves and cloak excluded. The purple, tight pants, the blue piece of cloth around his waist, the boots, the chest- and back plate made of hard leather. His face had begun to turn pale and his eyes didn't look as green anymore.
He stood straight, arms crossed, glaring resolutely at something. Ozzie stood behind him, smirking.
"My congratulations," the monster said, "you took care of that pretty well."
"Were there any prisoners taken?" Janus asked, emotionless.
"No, as you ordered."
Not even Schala said anything more, there was nothing left that could express the despair and anger of the watchers.
Janus glanced over his shoulder.
"But I still need a weapon, Ozzie," he said.
"I don't know," the monster said and shrugged his shoulders, "it seems to me that you can do a lot with only your bare hands."
"Still, I need one."
"You and Slash have gone through every single weapon there is for at least ten times!" Ozzie said, a bit irritated, "but nothing is good enough for you."
Janus shook his head.
"I know," he said, "nothing seems to suit my grip. Nothing fits my soul."
Ozzie rubbed his fat, bouncing cheeks with a frown.
"I'll talk to Slash," he said, "maybe there is something, after all..."
"Didn't you say we had already tried everything?" Janus pointed out.
"Indeed. But there is one weapon that Slash never would let you try out, because that must be with my permission."
"And what would that be?"
Ozzie gave a twisted, wicked smile.
"Come, Magus, we will take care of this immediately."
Janus turned and followed the green monster as he floated backwards. The illusion changed; this scene had probably occurred only a few minutes after the earlier one. Janus now held a scythe in his hands, weighing and judging it. Ozzie and Slash watched him, almost without breathing.
Janus smiled coldly; the smile which Frog knew too well.
"Perfect," the young man said.
"Lizard's weapon...?" Slash whispered to Ozzie, apparently not pleased with the situation.
"I have a good feeling about this," the green monster sneered, "he is perfect."
"Yes indeed, but it's the king's..."
"Nevermind that, none of my family has been able to master it for generations," Ozzie said, "but maybe it can bring us to great victories once more."
"I don't like it at all!" the swordsman shuddered.
"Care for a training round, Slash?" Janus smirked, "I want to know what this can bring."
"Flea is waiting for you," the deep purple monster said.
"He can wait a little longer," he said, "does it matter in which order I have my lessons?"
"You have some nerve..." Slash sighed, "that will never change, will it? Alright then."
The scene dissolved.
"Of course it took him another few years to become our leader instead of pupil," Flea's distant voice said, "but he showed up to be more effective than we ever dreamed about, good boy." Magus pursed his mouth and went on, entering the enormous cavern where he had saved Frog's life a while ago.
"Not to forget," the woman-looking magician's voice said, "this all-time classic event..."
Frog startled at the next illusion. He saw himself, as Glenn, kneeling by a fallen knight in a golden armor. The pointy, chestnut-colored hair moved silently in the wind that also created waves in the grass and made Magus' blood-red cloak flow over his back.
Chapter 17 Magus' last battle
Ozzie was also there, standing beside the Prince of Darkness. What once had been Janus now looked almost exactly like the real warlock, who watched the illusion with a grim look. It was hard to tell how old the boy had become, but he naturally must have been a few years younger than Magus now was. The only thing that was absolutely clear was that he by no means was Janus anymore.
"C-Cyrus! Nooo!" Glenn cried.
"Run, Glenn..." the knight stuttered, choking up a flood of blood which stained his armor as well as his face.
The illusion of Magus waved with one hand, and the friend of Cyrus drew back in shock as the brave warrior was engulfed with flames. The knight was so badly hurt that he couldn't even scream as the fire burned the last of his life. When the heat ceased, the armor had melted and Cyrus' skin had cracked up. He was dead. Glenn didn't move, just stared at the body of his friend, unable to move because of the despair.
"What's wrong?" Magus smirked, "won't you try your luck, too?"
Glenn got up with a stuttering, half strangled cry of agony on his lips.
"Cat's got your tongue, boy?" Ozzie sneered.
The green monster turned to the warlock.
"What do you say, Magus? Can't you give him a more suitable form?"
"Alright, why not?" the Prince of Darkness said with a vile smile, "there's always time for a little fun."
Glenn screamed as he was hit by a small lightning and began to glow in strange, horrible colors. He fell to his knees, pressing his arms against his head, groaning with pain. Then he staggered to his feet, backed and fell out of sight; dropping from the unseen cliff.
Frog shuddered and clenched his teeth. The illusions dissolved.
Flea-and-Slash stepped out of a shadow, smirking.
"It took us almost thirteen years," Slash said, "and the result might not have been what we expected, but we created a Magus."
Schala rushed forward with a growl that sounded absolutely hideous coming from her, but Magus stopped her by raising his arm so that it blocked her path. Even though she could have walked around him she stopped.
"Let me pass, Janus!" Schala screeched, "I'll drink their blood!"
"Is this the Schala who you always screamed about?" Flea scornfully asked.
"Why did you capture Crono and the women?" Magus asked, without any emotions in his voice, "where are they?"
Flea or Slash pointed upwards. Way up high, by the ceiling Crono, Marle and Lucca were twisting in rage. They hung in dark threads, which trapped them so well that they reminded of caterpillars on their way to become butterflies. Not very happy about it, though...
"We only wanted to make sure that you brought the amphibian too, lord Magus," Flea sneered, "your past confused them enough for loosing just enough attention."
The warlock's breath gave away that he was about to say something but fought it back.
"I wonder how many times we actually had to hit him in those first five years before he finally accepted his place," Slash said, mockingly thoughtful.
Magus didn't move as a small hand with pink skin was raised towards him. He wasn't trying to avoid Flea's power, which blew his cloak and leather armor into smithereens. It was as if he had given up the battle of protecting Schala against the truth. Even Molor backed in shock, with a hiss that sounded like a groan.
With the leather and cloth gone, nothing could hide that Magus' back and chest barely had any skin at all left.
There were only scars, slowly healed soars left by hundreds of whips.
"Good gods..." Schala whispered.
"Can you still believe in that, little angel?" Flea scornfully asked, "after all you've seen today?"
"Leave her alone," Magus slowly said, with a growl in his voice that was the beginning of something terrible.
"Alright then, lord Magus," he said, "if that is your wish."
He waved a little with his hands. Schala gave a shout filled with anger and surprise as black threads caught her waist and wrists, pulling her up to Lucca's side. Magus spun around, just in time to see Frog, Cered and Molor get abducted in the same way.
"Janus, look out!" Cered yelled as he was lifted upwards, struggling wildly.
Magus threw himself aside, and a red whip hit the ground.
"Did you know that a dog which have been kicked always will fear the boot, boys and girls?" Flea cheerfully said.
The prisoners watched in horror as the warlock drew back, his body remembering the small, scared boy. Instincts will sometimes be the worst of foes, they told him that he couldn't fight, while his mind knew that he do could. It made him too confused. The whip hit his left arm, the one that held the scythe. There was a clonking sound as the weapon hit the ground, and blood fell on the blade. Magus was hit over the chest as he tried to pick his scythe up again, and he staggered backwards with a hoarse growl. Though it was said that only the Masamune could break his steel skin easily, it seemed as the contraption that had tormented him as a boy could do the same thing.
"Stupid boy, Magus," Slash sneered as if talking to the child, "do you expect us to feed you when you never obeys?"
"My name is..." the warlock growled between his clamped teeth, "my name..."
But he never finished the sentence. Instead he moved his hands in an attempt to use magic against his enemies, but his concentration shattered as the whip hit him again.
"Ozzie was a fool to let you have the weapon of Lizard," Flea sneered, "you are too weak again, boy!"
Magus growled and leaped forward, knocking the two-in-one body to the ground. But as the gloved hands reached for the fine throat, Flea teleported. His and the swordsman's whole equipment appeared again, standing behind the warlock. Magus hadn't time to react before his back received a bleeding wound. He managed to roll aside and got up, but his strength was fading quickly.
"Damn it," Lucca snarled, "if only I could point at them...!"
Every one of the prisoners were twisting madly to get their hands free, forgetting about the height.
"Molor, do something!" Cered yelled.
But the snake's mouth was bound with the threads, as well as Marle's, Schala's and Crono's.
Slash's sword appeared in the shared body's free, left hand.
"I feel that it's time to end your pitiful life, Magus," the swordsman coldly said, "traitors and weaklings cannot be accepted."
The warlock jumped aside to avoid the blade, but the pain of the many soars made him slow. He growled something, but his voice was so thick with anger that it was impossible to hear what it was.
'He will not survive!' Frog desperately thought, 'if only he could concentrate enough for chanting a spell, if only he hath his scythe!'
But the weapon laid on the floor, many yards away from Magus, and as he couldn't use magic for the moment, he couldn't call for it.
'His scythe...?' Frog thought.
A mad idea formed in the knight's head. It was so hideous that he should have been burned by the stake simply for thinking of it.
Frog lowered his head and sent out his long tongue, ripping something from his chest and bringing it into his mouth.
"Janus!" he yelled and spat out the small object, "catch it!"
A tiny, glistening projectile fell through the dry air, and Magus caught it in his left hand as he jumped aside again. He froze for a second, staring at what Frog had sent him. Then his eyes went up to the knight, who grinned in an almost insane way.
"Masamune!" Frog called, "go forth to his hand!!"
And the sword left its metallic ring and soared through the air. Time froze completely for a moment.
Then Magus' right hand gripped the hilt and he spun around. Before Flea and Slash had been able to react they had received a cut from the left shoulder down to the stomach. Without a single sound they dissolved, carrying a look of outmost surprise and shock.
"My name is Janus," Janus growled, grimly staring at the place where his past teachers had been standing.
He looked down at the Masamune.
"Frog, you are a madman."
"Most true," the knight kindly said, "would thee please bring us down from here?"
Janus put the Masamune and the hero medal on the ground before turning around, raising his hands.
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Lightning!"
As the black threads broke the warlock carefully lowered his hands, and the freed prisoners were slowly sent to the ground. As soon as her feet touched the ground Marle rushed over the floor and swung her arms around Janus' neck, not minding that his blood stained her clothes and skin. He stumbled backwards of her momentum and the complete surprise.
"Janus!" she yelled, as if revolting against everything that she had witnessed, "Janus, I'm so sorry I thought you were nothing but a monster!"
"Marle?" Janus said, almost dumbstruck.
Schala walked over to her brother and the princess, also catching him in a warm embrace.
"I love you, little brother," the woman with blue hair whispered, "I always have and I always will. Forgive me, I couldn't save you."
"There's nothing to... Lucca?"
"I thought you were the worst scum of this world even when we fought together," the inventor said as she wrapped her arms around his neck, "I should really have studied you better, Janus."
He had to sit down, the three women's weight became too much. Molor crawled over the floor and rubbed his head against Janus' cheek. Marle shuddered a little at the snake, but then pulled herself together.
"I thought that even though thou were the brother of Schala, thou were a coldhearted man," Cered grimly said, "I dost now see how wrong I was. I am most glad to become thy brother in law."
"So am I, Cered," Janus said with the shadow of a smile, "I am sure that you will make a good husband for Schala."
Crono reached out and somehow managed to touch the warlock's shoulder, despite the many arms that still were kept around the pale throat. Janus and the young man with pointy hair watched each other for a short while. Then the warlock simply nodded. He turned his head and looked at Frog.
"I cannot forget what thee hast done, Janus," the knight slowly said, "and some things cannot be forgiven. But much of it can, I see that now."
Janus suddenly smiled a bit.
"But having me wielding the Masamune," he said, "can my sins be compared with the crime of making up such an idea?"
Frog laughed and picked up his two artifacts, the sword and the medal.
"Aye, I believeth that it will bring me about three hundred years more in the Holy Fire of Melting Sins before I can enter heaven as everyone else."
"I guess I'll be waiting for you then."
Janus stood up, and was released from the three pairs of arms.
"Now then," he said, "what shall we do next? Any suggestions?"
"Let's start with a double dose of healing magic," Marle warmly said.
Frog nodded and raised his hands. The bleeding wounds healed and Janus' leather armor returned, as well as his cloak. He straightened up with a smile. The magic stars even brought away the stains on Schala, Lucca's and Marle's clothes.
"Much better," the inventor smiled, however she continued bitterly; "but Janus, we..."
"I would like you to not make my past concern you," Janus said, "there's nothing that can be changed."
He suddenly smiled in a strangely revolting way.
"There is something I'd like to add, actually."
"What?" the others said, surprised.
"On that day when I got Lizard's scythe in my hands, and I made Slash test me..."
Janus grinned, shockingly.
"... I beat the crap out of him."
"Thee... beat the..." Frog slowly said.
Then he smiled broadly. He could almost see the scenery before him, as another illusion; Slash being brought to his knees by "the worthless worm", Ozzie's shocked gaze and Magus' triumph. What had followed that event didn't really matter for the moment.
"Well done," Cered smiled.
Schala put her hand on Janus shoulder with a small laugh.
Janus turned to look at the snake, frowning.
"Sss... tsstss!" Molor whispered, nodding at Frog.
"Indeed, yes..." Janus slowly murmured.
"What is it?" Marle wondered.
Janus put his fingertips together and started to mumble. By his chanting, the cave became more and more unclear.
"Where are you teleporting us?" Schala asked.
"Guardia castle," Janus answered, "I have a sin to make up for."
The guards startled and drew back in surprise, queen Leene and her husband rushed up from their thrones as the air suddenly started to sparkle and produced a group of unexpected guests.
"What the...?" king Guardia XXI gasped.
Then the lightning bolts ceased, and the travelers were to be seen.
"Frog!" Leene exclaimed, with great relief.
"Sir Crono?" the king said, "miss Marle and Lucca... err, lord Magus?"
"I have to admit there aren't extreme circumstances which brings me here," Janus said with a peculiar smile, "but still, I have to take care of something. Frog."
Most of the eyes resting upon him were filled with distrust and uneasy questions. The man with blue hair looked at the knight.
"Frog, will you trust me just once?" the warlock asked.
The knight didn't have any eyebrows, otherwise he would have done as most people in this story had done before him, and raised them. But because of his... situation, he couldn't.
"Trust thee? Probably nay. Yet I will listen," he said, having an uneasy feeling that this could have something to do with the only way to reverse a certain spell. He wasn't really in the mood for killing a warlock.
"I would like you to give the Masamune and the hero medal to Cered for a moment. Otherwise they might disappear," Janus said.
'What is he planning now, then?' Frog thought, frowning.
'Wait and see, you pest,' Janus' telepathic voice said inside of the knight's head.
But the last two words no longer carried the usual sneer and scorning, instead almost as a call of a frie... no, that was still beyond honor. And yet, somewhere along the way, it had become true, even if it was of a very twisted sort.
"Just for this moment, then, I will trust thy word," he said.
Cered carefully took the holy sword and the medal, just as bewildered as everyone else. Frog turned to Janus, wondering what awaited him. The warlock raised his hands.
"This won't hurt a bit," he said with a smile, "I promise."
"Huh?" Frog gasped before the eerie, black-purple light surrounded him, trapping him inside a glowing bubble which floated up a few feet above the ground. The whole thing was familiar...
"What are you doing?!" he heard Leene yell, shocked.
The voices that also called out in surprise and accuse were as distant as the queen's; the magic didn't allow much sound through.
"Calm down," Schala warmly told the worried crowd, "there's no need for fear."
Frog caught Janus' gaze through the strange light, and the warlock moved his hands. Last time the knight had been exposed to this spell, his skin and flesh had been healing backwards, returning his wounds most unpleasantly. This time, however, there was no feeling of falling apart. Instead Frog felt that he became longer.
His arms and legs grew, his face felt as if somebody smoothly reformed it like soft mud, the back and top of his head tickled as an army of thin threads grew from it. Even his skin felt different, changing color and type. His hands and feet became longer.
The bubble of light broke, and he fell to the floor, gulping for air, filling his suddenly bigger lounges completely.
There were a lot of running feet, yet Janus was the one who grabbed the knight's hand and helped him to sit up.
"How do you feel, Glenn?" the warlock asked, investigating, yet almost, almost kindly.
"Tall," Glenn answered after a moment of trying to figure the sensation out.
He reached up and touched his spiky, chestnut colored hair, looked down at the same clothes that he had been wearing on that awful day when he had thought that his life had been smashed into pieces forever.
"Skin and hair... such a fantastic sensation," he murmured, mostly to himself.
He looked at Janus.
"Thee reseteth my body, as thee did once before?"
"Yes. Molor came up with it. He is a good companion."
"I thank thee both."
Molor hissed triumphantly and somehow congratulating. And as Glenn reached out and touched his head, his whispering purring didn't become warningly.
Epilogue (You never thought this would come, did ya?)
Four months later.
Glenn was in the training-quarters, working on his sword skills together with other soldiers. He still had the knowledge he had acquired as Frog, yet his body lacked the same resources. The reversing spell had snatched several years of training, but Glenn didn't mind. He knew that he could build it up again, the feeling of being human again made it all worthwhile. Even if he was most glad about once more being a man, he somehow missed being Frog sometimes. He had grown used to it, it had been his life for some time.
His present life hadn't changed, except that he was a human and everybody was so happy for him that it was almost embarrassing. He was still queen Leene's guardian and general of the Guardia army (a position he'd been more or less forced into in the first place, to be honest).
Of course he had spent some time thinking about why Janus had reversed the spell, but had decided that the idea of a wife could wait at least until he was in as good shape as before. One thing at the time. He looked at the corner where he had left the Masamune for a training sword of wood, smiling at the memory of all he had gone through with the sword in his hand. The door opened and a servant carefully peeked into the room, ready to duck for anything that somebody could send flying from a lost grip. As all seemed clear, the man spoke:
The called one lowered his wooden sword.
"There is a visitor for you... in your room. Err, he is... eh..."
The fading speech of the servant gave away who the visitor was, and Glenn hurried out of the training-quarters, up the stairs to his own room. He didn't even mind that he forgot to bring the Masamune with him. When he pushed the door open, a blood-red cloak moved by the wearers movement standing up.
A big, black head rose up from the floor, and the forked tongue danced in a hissed greeting.
"Art there extreme circumstances to attend, Janus?" Glenn asked, with a smile.
"More or less," the warlock smiled, "Schala and Cered are getting married, so they sent me to bring everyone to 5300 BC. Are you coming?"
"I musteth of course ask my liege for permission."
They went down the stairs, to the main castle.
"Great party!" Ayla happily howled.
"Miss Ayla," Robo said, "be careful not to drink too much of that..."
"Tin-friend pipe down and have a toast!"
Lucca had almost been crying as Janus had brought Robo from a clean, healed future. The warlock had faced a bit of problem, since Robo never had been fighting in this mended time-stream and therefore never had met his friends. However, a time-spell similar to the reset-magic had brought everything back to Prometheus of the R- series.
"My, my," Gaspar smiled, "I almost feel young again..."
"Indeed, my friend," Melchior nodded, "I hope Belthasar sees this from the heavens."
"Ye think that he would miss this for anything in the whole time?!" Spekkio (in the form of Toma the explorer, don't ask why...) laughed.
"How did thee make them leave the End of Time?" Glenn hissed to Janus.
"It wasn't easy..." the warlock said and shrugged his shoulders.
Marle sighed with a dream-like smile, sitting close to Crono and with his arm around her.
"Schala is so beautiful..." the princess of Guardia mumbled, giving Crono a kiss on the cheek.
He softly squeezed her shoulders, smiling warmly.
Schala really looked like a nymph of heaven in her white, flowing dress. She danced with Cered, in the middle of a circle of the many other smiling couples. The married two had their own space, though.
Cered wore something that looked like a uniform for "special occasions", mainly the same as always, but with softly red and green bands on every edge of the clothing, and around his waists.
Lucca watched the dancing for a while, then she stood up so fast that she almost was jumping. She turned to Glenn with a slight blush and a most resolute look.
"Will you dance with me?" she asked.
He didn't even get time to answer before she had grabbed his hand and dragged him into the crowd.
Janus removed the meat from a chicken's leg and gave it to Molor. Then he turned to Crono and Marle.
"And when will you two send me to fetch the others for you wedding?" the warlock asked.
Crono smiled warmly.
"Oh, so soon?" Janus said with the shadow of a small smile, "I better start preparing already, then."
"Just enjoy the moment right now, oh pale friend of mine!" Marle laughed and emptied another cup of something.
"Crono, keep her away from that drink from now on," Janus sighed.
But he smiled.
The celebration went on all night, and even as the sun began to shine. On the brink of "real" morning, the time when the most early people normally would have got out of their beds, there was a shout. The loud yell almost made the whole village's houses crumble, and all the birds which had praised the new-born day became silent and fled to the trees. The shouting one was Janus, and his words were followed by almost hysterical laughter from several lips. What shook the air and scared animals was this:
"Ayla did what to heal me?!"
The sequel to this is named "Another life" and concerns Janus' alternate past, a huge, flying lizard and a four years old, blue haired girl… ;) Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or be posted on the RPGC Media message board.