Hey, would you look't that!? A sequel to Magus' quest! Yay! Just what we've all been waiting for!
Wait a moment... there's something different here...?
Yes, there is. The way I'm telling the story, for a start.
First I tried to write this fused with what Schala had done looking for her little brother plus Lizard's (you know, the green guy, Ozzie's forefather!) story. It might sound like a good idea, but I figured those other two stories would make the major one far too confusing. They'll come later. Maybe. :)
There's another change too. I got the good advice to make the spell chanting a bit more natural (how do you make something unearthly natural, anyhow?), so now there'll be no more "Lightning2!" etc. Instead there be praying for power and then chanting in good ol' Zealan.
But Crono still has his own way of speaking. I think it's pure humor...
And I want to say thank you so much, Natt, for checking my grammar :)
Well, before you fall asleep, here's the interesting part! And since I'm in a strange mood today, I hope the beginning of the story will make you very, very confused... he, he, he... all shall be clear.
Chapter 1 Another life, three other titles
I stand on the Zenan bridge, watching the sinking sun paint a blood red sky. To my right screams and other sounds of battle can be heard. I do not care. I will not interfere as long as there are no bigger problems. Slowly I unclench my hand and look at what I'm holding. It's a crystal, encircled by thin threads of gold. It seems to shine from within. I have this. It's mine. An amulet. But why do I have it?
Why even wonder ? I know who I am.
"We have a problem!"
I look down at a skeleton. It's holding a spear in its bony grip.
"What kind of problem?" I ask.
"There are three warriors coming past our lines," the skeleton screeches, "you better take care of them."
I turn to look, finding that many of the creatures I came with have fallen, and there really are three warrior's advancing over the bridge.
"They are children," I say.
"Well, they're not usual children!" the skeleton says, impatient, "take care of them, they're too much for us!"
It staggers away. I put my amulet into a pocket and await the warriors.
Two young women and a just as young man. He has pointy, red brown hair, is dressed in brown and yellow clothes. In his hand is a katana, which glows in the weakening sunlight.
One of the women has a helmet with big glasses on her head, and in her hand is a weapon unfamiliar to me. It seems to shot small spikes at the monsters. The other woman is blond, keeping her hair in a ponytail. Her clothes are silly, puny and colored in a weak, green color.
She holds a crossbow in a tight grip.
They stop as the monsters move away to let me take care of the three.
"Are you the commander of this pack?" the one with the helmet calls.
I shake my head.
"No. But I am the one who will stop your advancing."
"Don't mess with Crono or you'll be sorry!" the blond one grin.
She's secure in herself. I guess that the young man is Crono. He's not saying anything, but yet it feels as if he asks me who I am.
I unsheathe my sword, ready to fight them back.
"You might have heard of me," I tell them, "I am called the Pawn of the Mystics."
The blond one frowns and nudges Crono's arm.
"Be careful," she hisses to both her friends, "it's that weird magician guy that Leene warned us about!"
"Frog too!" the one with the glasses growls.
I say nothing. There's nothing I have to tell them.
But a skeleton behind me gives a screeching laughter.
"You might have fought many of us back," it sneers, "but here you will meet your end, petty warriors! Nobody has ever been able to defeat the Sword of the great Ozzie!"
"Well, we'll be the first then!" the one with the glasses grins.
She fires a needle at me, but I simply bend my head aside. My speed seems to amaze her, and the few skeletons that are left laugh.
The man named Crono watches me, frowning.
Maybe he's about to say something, but before that another skeleton screeches:
"Just because we're in a good mood today after all, we give you one last chance to give up and get a quick end."
"Oh, cut it out, you freaks," the blond one sighs.
The sound of undead chuckling send claws through the air.
"Silent fellow, isn't he?" the one with the glasses mutters, looking at me with slight disbelief.
I don't move a muscle. Why wouldn't I be quiet, then? Should keep silent, not to irritate...
My thoughts drift away. My mind seems to turn numb somehow, and I don't care. I'm used to it. That always happens when I'm thinking such silly things.
"Then die here!" a skeleton snorts, "take care of them, Magus!"
Somebody's touching my shoulder. I open my eyes, watching the shadow bending over me . And the Zenan bridge disappears at once. As easy as that.
"Schaliya?" I mutter.
"Art thee well, uncle?" she asks, with her young voice filled with worries, "Molor came to get me, to awaken thee..."
I sit up in my low bed, looking down at her in the moonlight. The cold rays of moonlight flowing through the curtain are reflecting on her blue hair and her small, green eyes. Why is she looking at me like that? Why is she always calling me "uncle Janus"?
I will never understand her, I cannot understand...
She knows nothing about me. She doesn't know Magus. She doesn't know whom, what I am.
And she's not asking. And I don't want her to ever know, because that would be even more painful than if her mother would know everything I have ever done.
Yes, she is my niece; Schala and Cered's daughter. She's only four years old, so innocent and fragile...
I put my hands on her cheeks; my fingers are as long as her small face and her warmth is almost burning my cold skin. But she doesn't seem to feel any coldness. I know that I could snap her neck as easy as I take a breath, and that knowledge makes me feel sick. I know that Magus could have killed her without hesitating if he didn't know who she was. And I was him only a few years ago. How many children like her have I brought death? Children... like her...
Schaliya... how can she call me her uncle? How can she dare to give me such a name, or title? I was never an uncle, I wasn't meant to be that... I was Magus.
She asks me to be, and she doesn't even know about it.
I cannot understand...
She is Schala's daughter. Reminds me of her mother. And yet, she is a completely different life force.
I always thought that the only one I'd ever care for except myself would be Schala. But Schaliya is... making me so confused. She is a child. What did I ever care about children?
Why does she always call me her uncle...
I am not an uncle. That's for someone else, anyone but me. It's not my world. And Magus inside of me is shouting that it's silly and stupid that I even mind. Maybe he's right. But...
I can't seem to leave this village anymore. Before Schaliya was born, I traveled around the whole planet with Molor, not searching for something, just unable to get rid of my feeling of agitation. Maybe I dared to do so because I knew that Schala would be fine anyway, and in any case I could return immediately if she called for me. But now... I can't leave. I cannot leave Schaliya. I feel no restlessness anymore. I feel...
Magus is almost roaring at such thoughts.
Fool! What have you become?!
I cannot leave Schaliya. Why I can't explain, not even to myself. But I cannot leave her.
Maybe I'm worried about her.
She's so small and innocent. And she trusts me. How can she do that? Only because she doesn't know...
I never thought that it was possible for me to feel guilty like this. Not even Schala...
Magus watches me in disgust. He cannot understand how I ever could change the slightest and even try to turn my back on him. I try, but I can't. I have all his, no my, sins weighing on my shoulders. And if I ever wished that Schala never would know, it's nothing like what I feel for Schaliya. She mustn't ever get the slightest clue...
She's so innocent. She trusts me. I think that if I took my scythe and charged at her, she wouldn't even raise her hands to cover her face. Because she trusts me. And I cannot understand how she can do that.
"I just had a nightmare," I tell her, putting my hand on her small shoulder, "I'm fine."
"Oh," she says.
She's silent for a short moment. Then she speaks again.
"But when I suffer a nightmare, I always cry or scream because I am so scared."
She can't even speak out R properly. It always sounds like J. And her Ns sound like ng.
"I cannot scream," I calmly tell her, "that's why I don't do it."
"Why then?" she asks, puzzled.
"It's just the way it is," I say, standing up on the floor, "and you should go to sleep, little one."
Magus snorts scornfully as I lift Schaliya from the floor and begin to carry her back to her room. And I cannot ignore him. Why do I have to answer to him?
Because I am you, he says.
I am Janus.
Yes, but he is also lord Magus. You cannot hide it forever. You are the Dark Prince, no matter what you and everyone else says.
I wish that I could kill him. I've killed so many others...
No. I'm done with that. If I ever kill again, it will be to protect others or myself. Schaliya.
She mustn't ever see me kill. Because she believes that I can't do that. And I don't want her to realize that she is wrong. All too wrong.
Little one, resting her head sleepily against my shoulder...
Idiot! Magus growls, she's a danger to you! Look what she's doing to you; turning you into a sentimental fool! Is that what you fought and trained for?
That little Janus who Ozzie found, he never dreamed he would be what he was forced to become. He never wanted to be someone like... me.
But now he is, I am even dreaming about what I could have been.
Pawn of the Mystics.
A Magus who broke instead of rising to his feet.
I live that life, day by day, night by night. In my dreams.
And I hope that Frog will bring that Magus death. Then, maybe, the dreams will stop. He doesn't have a mind of his own, he doesn't even remember what happened before he became a...
I almost shudder of disgust. Because that could really have been me, holding the sword that doesn't fit my hand, obeying the command of a skeleton because I have the orders of... my master.
I hold back a wish to grit my teeth.
Magus. Why didn't you kill Ozzie that day when you threw him from the throne? Why didn't you cut Slash's throat when you defeated him in battle, holding the scythe? Why didn't you concentrate Dark Matter into a final killing blow, finishing Flea off?
He doesn't answer at first, because he hates the dreams just as much as I do, so much that he looses his normally untouchable balance.
To see them humiliated, of course, he finally say, to let them know that their worm became their master.
I open the door to Schaliya's room.
"Now sleep," I tell her and drape the blanket over her small body as she lies down in her bed.
"But what if thou dreamest again?" she asks me.
What can I answer to that? She actually cares for me. Like Schala and Molor do. I can understand why they care.
But never, never can I understand Schaliya.
"Then Molor will awaken me," I say and straighten up, "don't worry."
"Good night, then," she mumbles, still with a trace of worry in her voice.
As I close the door behind me, Molor is waiting for me. The corridor is so dark that someone with less dark sight wouldn't see him at all. I don't even need to see him, for that matter. I can always feel where he is.
'Why her?' I ask him, 'why not you?'
'Better,' he answers me.
We never use many words to communicate. We understand each other anyhow.
'Schala,' I say.
'Not know, better. Too young.'
I have no answer to that. He can enter my mind, I never forbid him to. I can enter his, too. He knows about the humiliation and pain I experience.
'Yes,' I finally say.
I probably won't sleep anymore tonight. But I can't help wondering if Crono, Marle and Lucca could defeat the other Magus at that early rate, when they weren't as strong as they are now.
I hope so.
I want him to die. I have to pity him. And I don't want to live his life every night.
But, on the other hand, who would save Schala, Molor and Cered from Dalton, then?
That Magus would never have been able to help them. It's better that he dies. Maybe Crono and the women can help them in that time stream, while looking for the boy's mother and cats... I have no hopes about that Magus.
Let him die.
Frog, do me that favor. You could not kill the Dark Lord. Then kill the Pawn of the Mystics.
I don't want to sleep. I don't want to dream. But I cannot stay awake forever.
In the early morning light a few birds cross the sky, their silly squeaking being the only sound apart from the whispering of wind in the trees. Molor lies silent by my feet, the light of the sun lazily reflecting in his black scales. My eyes are resting on the houses that lie across the open area around the well, but I'm not really looking at them. Only sitting on the bench by the wall of Schala and Cered's house, resting my back against the wood behind me.
I can't sleep. I don't want to.
From the first moment I close my eyes, I live another life. And there was a time when I used to think that living with the memory of all the pain was torture enough... yet that Magus isn't exactly suffering. He doesn't feel anything. He's nothing at all. Nothing. And I am him, every night.
He might not suffer, but I do. I feel the humiliation and rage that he is unable to experience. I have to live with having masters every time I dream. I have to live with the fact that I'm taking orders from Ozzie whenever I'm not awake.
I can't even remember when I began to dream, neither what the first dream was about. It feels as if I have been tortured by the other possibility forever.
There's some muffled noises coming from inside of the house, and then the sound of a door opening and closing.
"Cered," I say, emotionless.
He comes around the corner, trying to hide a yawn behind his hand.
"Good morning brother, Molor," he mutters.
Brother. He calls me brother. Makes me almost as confused as when Schaliya calls me uncle. Of course, it has grown from "brother in law", which he called me those first two months he and Schala were married. Then even his grip of words gave up for laziness.
But the fact is still that he's calling me brother.
"You're up early," I say, still with no real emotions.
He sits down on the bench too. Molor moves his tail aside, otherwise he doesn't show any greater interest.
It was fine with me to just have my kindred spirit as company, but with all the anger my dreams invoke I'm actually a bit relieved to get something else on my mind.
"Why are you out so early?" I ask, stretching my legs a little.
I wonder how long I've been sitting here... my feet were beginning to turn a bit numb.
"I hath some troubles sleeping," he simply answers.
"And why art thee awake this early?"
"I have also troubles sleeping."
He raises his eyebrows, but doesn't drop a comment.
"I see," is all that he says.
He turns his eyes at the sky, which is still red and purple with the sunrise.
"'Tis a peaceful moment," he says.
It's true... no battles on the Zenan bridge in my wake world...
I clench my teeth.
Molor says nothing. There isn't anything he can say to ease my inner rage.
"Maybe we should train a little some day," Cered says, without any genuine interest.
"Perhaps. At least your magic power."
There haven't been any monsters showing up in a long time. They have finally understood that they better stay away from a village housing three people who are all great warriors and magicians.
"Is my magic called for?" Cered asks with a small smile.
I almost smile back. At least I ease my grim look a little.
"Maybe I'm just curious about what heights you can reach," I tell him.
"Oh, I understand."
Cered is without doubt the most powerful Fire-magician I have ever encountered. He learnt the spell known as Flare hardly five minutes after he was granted magical powers, and even though it's the strongest Fire spell I know he can do it without straining himself at all.
But since then he hasn't learnt anything new except the only thing I was able to teach him, probably because he hasn't been battling enough. Magic is learnt through studies or battle to invoke old, inherited instincts, and studies won't suit my brother in law. In fact, there's nothing I can teach him about Fire and Light; the powers he has in his hands. I can't use Light, and he is beyond anyone in Fire. The only thing I have taught him was the second level spell of Fire magic, simply called Fire2. It's a silly name, come to think of it. But I guess a researcher in Zeal named it and all other second level spells that. Such people have little imagination...
But the thing is that just about everyone who is specialized in a magical element can use one extremely strong spell, which almost no one else can use. I have Dark Matter, Schala has Luminos, Crono has Luminaire.
The fact that Cered can use Flare so easily shows that if he must have his ultimate power still slumbering inside. And if I know him correctly, he will amaze all of us.
I look down at Molor. He hasn't really shown much magic at all. He can spit black flames, and we have our combined spell that I named Dark Lightning. But otherwise... he's still got a few things to bring out.
'Truly, friend,' he mutters to me, with a snake's cold smile.
I send him a similar smile.
"Hey, you three."
All three of us look up at Schala, who stands smiling by the house's corner.
She still insists on wearing her battle clothing. I can't say that I agree to the fullest about it being proper, but I guess she's got the right to decide. And would she listen, anyhow? No, I doubt it. She does what she wants and takes no orders nowadays. So different from the timid and calm sister I used to have back in Zeal. And I'm very proud of her for that change.
"Why are you sitting here?" she says, still smiling, "come on, the breakfast is waiting."
"How come we art all up so early this morning?" Cered says as he stands up, shaking his head.
"That way more day is provided, I suppose," I say without really considering it.
"Wise words, brother. And see here, 'tis my little girl too!"
With a laugh Cered bends down and lifts Schaliya in his arms as she emerges from behind her mother, dressed in her usual, purple dress. She giggles and places her arms around her father's neck.
"Good morning, uncle Janus!" she cheers, nailing her small, bright eyes onto me.
I just can't help smiling when she does that...
"You're spoiling her, carrying her around, dearest," Schala points out, but with nothing but tenderness in her voice.
"The daughter we share, be she not too fair not to hold now and then, sunlight?" Cered smiles.
I silently watch the three of them smiling at each other. I am a part of their family; they are the closest allies and friends that I'll ever find, apart from Molor. But what Schala and Cered feel for each other will never be in my reach. And I don't need it either.
Humph. Glenn and the others just had to tell me about how Ayla healed me after Flea's attack in Guardia castle... but they agreed on never speaking about it in my presence again. Of course, it took a bit of... convincing. Those who once fought me and then fought with me should still be happy that I have such respect for Schala and her opinions.
I prefer not to think about that occasion.
'Stop smirking,' I tell Molor.
'Would I?' he answers.
But he is still doing it.
I look at Schaliya again, resting safely on her father's arm. And an unwelcome chain of thought infiltrates my mind.
I never knew my father. But anyhow, I never needed him. I had Schala. Even after mother died, or stayed alive without her soul, I still had Schala. She and Adulfus, my cat who she saved with the last of her strength from the falling Ocean Palace, together with Marle, Frog and myself, as Magus. Those two were the only ones I had. I lost my mother, and I never knew my father.
On the other hand, no one knew my father.
My father is not Schala's father, because he died five years before I was born.
And at least as far as I know nobody except our mother knew whose child I am. And she never told anyone. I don't know, and I don't care.
I never had any use for a father, and frankly, he obviously never saw any use of me.
I never knew, I never cared. I never minded. But sometimes I can't help wondering. Yet, I can't recall anyone in the kingdom of Zeal who it possibly could have been. My guess is that it was somebody who didn't survive my mother either. Very few good things are left to remember about queen Zeal, and I'm not sure if the fact that she was a true survivor is something for her favor.
Pha! Magus snorts from his lair inside of me, she is dead. She is long gone. Why do you even think about her? Don't you have anything better to do?
And what would that be, may I ask?
Doing something about your growing weakness, for instance, he sneers, and you know well from where that comes. That little girl who you allow to call you silly things...
When he speaks to me about such matters I feel an urge to take out my scythe and end his existence. Even if that would mean ending my own.
He easily sickens me when it comes to Schaliya.
I would rather bow in front of Lavos than break a hair on her small head.
You are a fool.
'No listen,' Molor says, concerned.
'I wish,' I reply, grimly.
'I know Magus too. He would not harm Schala's daughter.'
That is true...
'Then who is he, who would?' I ask.
'Perhaps one last grain of pure evil. But not Magus.'
He's got a point.
But whatever it is, I will still name it Magus. Because that name represent everything that I have left behind.
"Come on, Janus," Schala warmly says, unaware of my inner torments, "there's a newborn day ahead."
The sun is still only rising. And there's a full day in front of me.
To the fullest I value each moment of this life that I live as I am awake. Because I know what happens every night. I loose my life, my mind, my soul, my pride. Everything. And I can't understand why.
Perhaps it's the revenge of all evil powers in this world. After all I am a traitor. It's a hard path to wander. The darkness despises me, and the light fears me. I can use Shadow, the evil magic. But I don't belong to it anymore. I can also use many other spells. But the power I am dedicated to is not mine to the fullest anymore. It's an empty feeling. I can cast Dark Matter and other Shadow spells, but they aren't completely in my hands. Magic can be simply an element to harness power from, but I lived in Shadow for many years. Now I don't. And I'm not exactly missing it, but something is wrong. It doesn't accept me in the same way. It's hard to explain...
Like holding a sword when that is the wrong weapon for you.
I clench my teeth, following my sister, brother in law and niece back into the house.
It doesn't really matter now... I haven't needed to use magic in quite some time and there's a whole day before the next night.
And nowadays I know that there's a morning after every night.
I'm already looking forward to the next dawn...
Chapter 2 Charash
My head is thrown aside, and I feel blood trickling down my neck. I don't try to dry it.
"I am sorry, master Ozzie," I mutter.
"You are sorry?!" he shouts in rage, "three kids manage to knock you down, you good for nothing, worthless..."
I do not tell him that the kids destroyed half the troops I was sent along with. He hasn't asked me.
"Well why didn't you just blow them away with some magic!?" Ozzie growls at me.
"Because Flea hadn't given me the allowance."
He slaps his forehead, much softer than he just slapped my face.
"Sometimes I believe we beat you up a few times too many, Magus," he mutters.
I don't ask what he's talking about. Have I ever been beaten by master Ozzie? Not as far as I remember. My memory is only filled with obedience. I always obey them. What else can I do? Was there ever anything else? No, no... what would that have been? I shouldn't ask such questions.
What a stupid question. I've always been their servant.
"I think it's the sword," master Slash's voice grumbles, "no matter what I do he can't use it to the fullest."
"I ask for forgiveness," I say.
I open my eyes.
'Fine,' I mutter to him, rubbing my forehead.
Why do I even bother trying to convince him that my mind isn't boiling with rage? I'm about to explode. If Ozzie was still alive, I'd find him and make him wish that he wasn't. But he's dead. Well, he's not even born yet. Pity... a true pity.
I could of course travel in time and make sure that he never will be born. But that would alter history, and after all I have got all my strength from my time with the Mystics. Whether I liked it or not. And indeed, I did not like it.
I sit up, gritting my teeth. My right hand wanders to the leathery plate covering my torso, the plate that hides all my scars.
Damn it all...
My breathing sound like hisses, but Molor says nothing. He knows that I don't want him to. This is my own, lonely battle. And I don't even know how, if possible, I can fight.
It's nothing but torture to sleep nowadays. The humiliation I suffer is cutting through my twisted soul, wrapping itself around my once ice cold heart and trying to make it break of rage.
It takes me a few moments before I calm down and can lie back again. But I have no wishes to sleep again tonight. On the other hand, lying awake doing nothing doesn't sound very tempting either.
I close my eyes for a moment.
Somebody's screaming, outside. I hastily sit up again as Molor rise up from the floor in surprise.
There's another scream, and the smell of something burning reach my nostrils as the whole house shakes by an unearthly roar.
I rush to my feet and reach for the curtain, which is glowing in the growing light of the rising sun. But before I have time to touch it, I hear Schala's voice.
I spin around. She stands in the door, breathing hard as if after a run. Her hair is a mess of blue curls, and she's only dressed in her nightgown.
"What is it?" I ask.
"Janus, you have to come!" she gasps, "it's a dragon!"
At very rare times, I become amazed. It hasn't happened many times, I could probably count the moments on the fingers of my right hand.
But dragons, they don't exist!
I rush out of the room, grab my cloak from the wall and wrap it around my neck even as I follow Schala through the corridor to the stair and then through the kitchen, through the door and... outside.
Half the village is burning, people are fleeing out of the houses and running away from the giant shadow covering the sun.
It really is a dragon.
It's filling up my sight, dirtily blood-red, enormous. Its powerfully flapping wings themselves are bigger than Schala and Cered's house. With a single flaming breath, it lit three more houses, just about ten yards from where I'm standing.
Dragons don't exist, but that one looks pretty real anyhow.
And it's almost ironic.
I know that dragon. I have heard about him, much in the same way I learnt about Lizard, the first king of Mystics. Ozzie grumbled about it once, when the power of the monsters was at subject.
"If those stupid ancestors we had back then had been smarter," he said, "they would have joined forces with the great Charash and crushed the petty humans right there! Then we would have been ruling long ago!"
That was when I lied about "creating" Lavos for the very first time. I needed to work on summoning him alone, without questions and interruptions. The lie spared me a lot of time. But that's irrelevant now.
Schala looks at me, puzzled.
"What?" she says, eager to help out stopping the fire.
"The great dragon Charash," I absentmindedly explain, "but I didn't believe he was real."
"Dost not ponder that now, brother!" Cered says as he rushes past me, holding his katanas in his hands, "we musteth take action!"
"Stop, Cered!" I growl and grab his shoulder, "if it's true what I remember, then magic is useless against him. And I doubt those katanas of yours will harm him when he's up there."
"What canst we do, then?" he grimly asks me.
I shake my head.
"I don't know. I really don't know that."
A thought cuts through my mind.
"I am here, uncle Janus," her young voice says.
Behind Schala, nervously looking at the burning village. My tense mind relaxes a bit at the sight of her, safe.
"Thou wilst not allow the dragon to hurt anyone, will thee?" she asks me and her father.
"Of course not," Cered say, as usual good at sounding steady and calm as a rock.
Unseen to her, he gives me a look that's more or less screaming "well?!". But I don't know. I do not know how to kill a dragon!
How was he stopped due to the legend? I frown, trying to remember.
Brave heroes, of course. I'm very close to rolling my eyes. Always brave, anonymous heroes. And they probably wielded a sacred, magical sword too...
"The Masamune," I mutter, "I have to get Glenn..."
"Look out!" Schala screeches.
An enormous flame is coming our way, turning the air around it into melting waves of heat. I hear Schaliya scream.
"Out of my way!" I snarl at Cered and throw him backwards, reaching for my cloak.
It was some time ago that I used my scythe. The monsters don't dare to come here anymore. Some time... I find that I've missed the grip of my weapon, and a wave of something that I thought I had banished from my soul rise within me. Blood thirst. No creature, fabled or real, will even scare my niece and live on!
Magus within me smirks. Ah, perhaps your weakness can be turned to strength again...
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Water!" I rabble, so fast that I hardly can hear it myself, then begin to hurriedly chant the words in old Zealan.
I leap forward and raise my scythe, its blade turning white with frost. With two cuts, fast as lightning bolts, I cleave the flame in four smaller pieces. The heat is forcing sweat from my forehead and I cannot breathe, but I have to ward off the remaining danger.
My cloak and hair flaps in a tornado of icicles, dancing around my body. The chilly winds force the flames to dissolve.
All happening in a few seconds.
I never experienced intense heat followed by icy cold before. It's not very pleasant.
Gasping for air I sink down on one knee, with my skin and head burning as the two shocks clash.
"I'm fine..." I mutter, getting to my feet by leaning on the scythe.
But I suddenly feel empty.
Something's wrong. I miss something. A part of me seem to be gone... Molor?
Molor isn't here? Where is he...?
I look around, feeling an extremely rare sensation of pure panic. I cannot feel his presence! For the first time in almost five years, I am parted from my kindred spirit. It feels like I've lost both my arms. If I can't feel his presence, then could he be...? No, he was right behind me! But where is he, then?
"Thou say that thou art really fine?" Cered says with a frown, "thee dost not look all well."
I shake my head, still searching for Molor. But he's gone.
He can't just disappear!
"Janus, pull yourself together!" Schala demands in a harsh voice, "we have to stop the fire!"
Fire? Oh, the fire.
I can't even remember how it was to fight without Molor anymore. But now I have to. I have to find him later.
Charash is still flying around above the village. He seems to smirk. Finding it amusing to burn people inside their houses.
You have done that too, Magus points out.
"Powers of the world, I bid of thee to lend me the power of Water!" Schala shouts and begins to chant.
While she calls for a flood, I call for winds. As water starts to flood from around her feet, towards the fire, a strong wind begins to blow. My creation throws Schala's making up above the ground, sending streams of liquid over the houses in a stream that doesn't cease before only smoke is left of the fire.
"I see there are magicians left in this world," a loud, growling voice smirk.
I risk looking up, even though my concentration could shatter. Charash is examining me and the others around me, looking rather amused. But as his cold, yellowish eyes turn at me, the amuse expression disappears. I cannot hold the winds as those big eyes stares at me, measuring. It seems as if he is trying to reach into my mind, and I can by no means allow that. I have to concentrate on putting up a barrier against him, unable to care about the village. The winds falter and disappear.
"Janus!" Schala says in an unsteady voice as she feels me battling the dragon.
Nobody will ever pierce my mind, understand?
He's strong, but I'm not a warlock for nothing.
I have to stop that glowing needle...
"Fascinating..." Charash finally mutters as he realizes that he cannot penetrate my will.
I have to take a step backwards as he leaves. It wasn't easy to fend him off. I'm going to suffer the worst headache of my entire life after this.
"Remember this, puny humans," the dragon smirks, turning to the shivering townspeople watching from the brink of the forest, "Charash, the king of Dragons has come to claim this world for his people."
And with that he shoots upwards, then leaving for the north.
"Janus, art thee alright?" Cered asks, putting his hand on my shoulder.
"I'm fine, we have to take care of the blasted fire..."
I have felt more pleased than this in moments of my life. More powerful too. But I force my mind into focusing, creating new winds to help Schala's water. As the fire finally is gone I'm about to fall. But Molor rushes forward and rises up to give me support.
Resting my arm on his neck, still holding the scythe with the other hand, I look at him in tired confusion.
'Where?' I ask him.
At first, he doesn't answer me. And when he does, it's most unwillingly.
Normally I'd ask him why on earth he'd do that, but it feels as if my head is about to blow up.
I suddenly notice that Schaliya is watching me in a strange way. And I realize that she never in her four years of existence have seen me wielding my weapon of choice, nor seen me fight.
"Something wrong?" I mutter, unsure if I really want to know.
For all the powers of the world, she's a four year old girl! I have murdered, I have been the king of terror, I have without blinking faced the horrifying parasite of the planet; Lavos. But I don't know if I could take the loathing and fear of this small, blue-haired child.
Isn't it ironic?
"Thou wert so brave, uncle Janus!" she suddenly exclaims and rushes forward, since I'm crouching reaching up to throw her arms around my waist.
My scythe hits the ground and Molor bends away as I sit down on one knee and takes her small head between my hands. Should I embrace her? I can't do that. I have only embraced Schala once, in Dalton's fortress, when she finally realized who I was. But I can't embrace her again, nor her daughter. I can't explain why. I just can't. I don't know how.
"Are you alright?" I ask her.
She nods, even though I'm carefully holding her head.
"I am all well, uncle. I thank thee."
Cered's child, from top to bottom.
I try to smile a bit, but my head calls for attention.
"Uncle Janus?" I hear Schaliya call, as if far away.
Feel almost like I did when Lavos blew me away like a fly in the Ocean Palace...
See? Magus sneers within my mind, you have become weak. And it's that girl's fault, can't you see that, you fool?
'Don't listen,' Molor's voice tells me, cutting through the pain and Magus' sneer.
No, you're right, my friend.
Schala and Cered help me to stand up. It seems like the townspeople are approaching to thank us, but I hardly notice.
"Legend," I mutter, "he burned all the towns of the world, then left and came back again. And again. Like a cat, playing with a mouse before..."
Cered places my arm behind his neck to give me support stumbling into the house. Schala stays to take care of the neighbors.
You weakling! Magus snorts.
Damn, he tires me!
Cered leaves me by the low kitchen table (I never really understood what the people of this era have against chairs) and starts to go through some of the cupboards of the room. Schaliya sits down beside me, watching me warily.
"I'm alright, little one," I mumble, trying to sound convincing, "don't worry about me."
"If thou say so..." she says, but she's not sure at all.
Cered places a glass of something in front of me.
"We hath no healing potions for the time being," he says, "I will get some for thee from healer Taron at once. But that will have to do right now."
Normally I'd ask him what this "that has to do right now" is. And I'd also smell it before I drink it, out of habit. But I'm too exhausted after the heat and cold shock, and the mind battle with Charash. So I just take the glass and empty it.
My head almost hits the ceiling.
"Curse you, Cered! What was that?!" I choke.
"I'd say about forty-eight percent alcohol," Schala says, wrinkling her nose as she enters the kitchen.
"Only for emergencies, love," my brother in law says with an avoiding smile.
"I do hope so, dearest."
This isn't going to be remembered as the most glorious day of my life. Good grief...
What? Did you think that I was used to alcohol? May I point out that I am the kind of man who needs his head to be clean and clear all the time. I do not need any mist to fill my mind.
I straighten up, holding my palms on the table for support.
"Take it easy, Janus," Schala warily warns me.
I shake my head.
"I have to go and get Glenn. I'm pretty sure we need the Masamune to take care of Charash."
"You're far too exhausted for time travel!"
I can't hold back a small groan, massaging my forehead. No. I haven't got any time for being tired. The faster I get Glenn, the better.
"Who be Glenn?" Schaliya asks, puzzled.
Hmm. They've never met. I haven't seen Glenn for over four years. Of course me, Schala and Cered have been talking about going to see him, many times. But somehow, it just hasn't occurred. Now would be a good time, though.
"A good comrade," Cered tells his daughter with a smile.
"Oh. What did thee say about time travel, mother?" the child goes on, naturally curious.
I exchange glances with Molor, Schala and Cered. Is this really the right moment?
My sister slowly nods.
She might not understand to the fullest, but it's better that she gets an explanation than just sees me and Molor disappear through a dark, sparkling hole in thin air.
Cered sits down and lifts Schaliya from the carpet, placing her on his knees as Schala begins to tell her.
"This might be a bit hard for you to understand," Schala gravely says, "but me and your uncle, we don't really belong here. We come from many, many years in the past, from a kingdom that was destroyed."
Schaliya's eyes are wide with fascination, but she doesn't question her mother. She's in an age when everything that grownups say must be the truth.
"And you see," Schala continues, "your uncle is really twelve years younger than me, not only two. But we were both lost in time due to an accident, and when we finally found each other he had already grown up."
"How can that be?" Schaliya asks, unable to grasp the complicated ways that the time works in.
"It had to do with the time's flow," her mother try to explain, even though it's very hard to put it into words, "I know it's strange, but anyhow he had become older than me."
"And this Glenn is a man I learnt to know in the era where I was thrown," I tell my niece, "which is in a very distant future. Over five thousand years from now."
"Oh. Who is he?" Schaliya ask, turning her fascination from the wonders of time travel to more personal things.
It often surprises me how... accepting the child is. If we adults tell her something, in most cases she'll believe that it's nothing but the truth, and nothing can budge that belief. She's curious, bubbling with questions. And when she's got an answer that she's satisfied with, she's got another query.
"A brave knight," Cered smiles, "and a great swordsman. Also the guardian of the queen in his time and general of his king's army."
And a frog. At least until not too long ago.
I have to smile at the thought, but don't speak it out. I think Schaliya has got enough for the moment being. Plus, if she asked me, I might even tell her that it was I who turned him into an animal. Maybe when she's older... I could say that it was an argue between him and me that caused an accident. It would of course be a lie, but at least only a half one.
Never mind that now. I have to go and get him.
Since I've been resting a few minutes, I'm strong enough to stand up again.
"Are you sure that you can manage?" Schala asks, rather skeptical and worried.
"I'll be fine."
I raise my hands and begin to chant. Since time travel isn't based on an element, I don't have to ask the mystic powers of the world for power. I just chant the spell.
Concentrate on the year 601 AD, autumn.
That should be a couple of months from when I brought him to visit Schala and Cered's wedding, from Glenn's point of view. I turned him into a human so that he could find a wife and make sure that Crono would be born, and hopefully he hasn't found a love yet. Right now I haven't got the time nor the nerve for arguments about leaving or not.
The Gate opens in front of me, and I hear Schaliya yelp for surprise. I send her a calming smile and then steps into the flashing darkness, Molor right behind me.
It was long ago that I rushed through the strange corridor of time, aiming straight forward not to get lost. Never take another turn. I did that once, a long time ago, and I ended up in Ozzie's clutches.
My lips form a growl by the memory.
Hmm. Now I have time to remember last night again.
I missed the battle with Crono. Some time seem to pass in my dreamed world and its time stream even when I'm awake. And all that Magus could remember was that the three youngsters charged at him. Guess the hit he got in the back of his head robbed the memory. I also assume that Flea or Ozzie teleported him to safety. After all, they have used a good part of their lives to turn him into the tool he is, so they want to keep him alive as long as possible.
The Zenan bridge is crossed. Then it can't be long before Crono and the others have teamed up with Frog to stop the Mystics. Or maybe not? After all, they learnt that I "created" Lavos, and therefore they came to stop me.
I sigh, bitterly. How long will I have to live every night as a damn slave?
But Ozzie's crusade must be stopped. Frog can't allow that villain to run an army as he pleases. I hope.
No. Frog will take action, and Crono and his friends will help him.
That Magus did kill Cyrus, and turned Glenn into Frog. However, all on Ozzie's order. But I know that knight. He might not come rushing yelling only my old name, but he will come. Sooner or later.
And I do hope that he'll bring the Masamune.
'End,' Molor points out.
With a nod I turn my concentration towards the end of the tunnel.
Chapter 3 Wanted; better table manners
I step out in the year 601 AD. And into a snowstorm. Something apparently went wrong.
'Must hide,' Molor growls.
He can't stand cold. I hold up my cloak for him, and he dives into it. When he's gone and safe I reach for my time crystal. But before I've got it in my grip my feet begin to burn, and I have to throw my gaze downwards.
Oh, I forgot my boots in my room in 5300 BC.
What's the matter with me today... these kind of trivial things just never happens to me! Except today. I guess I can blame the loss of sleep I have suffered for a very long time and the sudden battles a short while ago. Still, it's inexcusable!
Growling I chant a spell of creation and simply call forth a new pair of boots, saving my skin from the cold. Now then. Finally I get my time crystal from its pocket and can check when I am.
Calling for a small flame, I study the information the small orb provides.
21 November, 601 AD? I was aiming for autumn! And for the castle, too. Must be getting rusty... or maybe it was the alcohol combined with my exhausted mind. In any case, I made a stupid mistake.
Maybe I should back a few weeks... no. It doesn't really matter, and I don't want to risk more mistakes. It's not good to take chances in time travel; I try not to practice it when I'm irritated. And I am getting very frustrated.
With a snort I hide the crystal in the cloak again and wrap the cloth around me as I begin to walk through the dark forest in the glowing sky's last light. After only a short while I have to summon another flame to light my way.
Well, at least I didn't end up too far from the castle. It's no long walk.
"Halt! Who goes there?" the guards by the castle gate yell as they see me and my flame.
I guess that in the puny light, they believe that I'm holding a torch. I almost smile as I approach.
They stare at me as I come up the snowy stair, allowing the flame to dissolve since there's light spilling out of the window's of the castle. I guess that I look like the grim reaper himself with my cloak dark with molten snow and my hair stuck against my head, behind my pale face. Or maybe something even worse than the reaper.
A funny fact here would be that in Sweden we simply call the grim reaper "liemannen" = "the scythe man", or preferably "the man with the scythe". :) )
"Y-you?!" one of the guards stutters.
It seems as his companion doesn't know who I am, but he's getting nervous of my grim look and his companion's reaction. I have to drop my irritation a little.
"I don't remember storms like this one," I calmly say with a cold smile, "but on the other hand it was a while ago that I was here."
"What... err... what is your business here?" the informed man stutters, about to turn flat against the wall behind him.
I can't help enjoying the look on his face. Not because he's scared half to death, but because he looks so pathetic all in vain. Of course, he cannot be aware that I have stopped killing every human I encounter.
"I wish to see general Glenn," I tell him.
He swallows hard.
"I guess... it would be alright."
"Good. Why don't you show me the way?"
He's too afraid to say no. As we enter the castle I call Molor out of my cloak.
'Funny?' he smirks at me.
I just can't help it. The sight of the guards nervously backing away brings me no feeling of guilt, only slight amusement. Only when it comes to Schaliya I feel guilty.
"Your Majesties, there's a visitor..." the guard before me rather hoarsely announces as he enters the throne-room, almost walking backwards in fear that I'll strike him from behind, "for Sir Glenn..."
King Guardia XXI and queen Leene rush from their thrones, staring at me with a mixture of surprise and shock. Glenn, who was talking to the queen as I entered, looks around in surprise. He's the only one who smiles, a bit surprised but still he does it.
"L-lord Magus?" the king gasps, almost causing a pair of less informed guards to recoil through the walls.
"Good evening," I say with a twitch of my lips, "this time it is extreme circumstances that brings me here."
"And that would be?" Glenn says, smirking in his special, friendly way, "what is it that thee cannot compete alone?"
I give him a cold look, but it's not honest straight through. It's refreshing to hear that impudent little warrior's voice again. Oh, he's not small anymore, of course. But I'm still half a head taller than him.
"This," I say and snap my fingers.
An illusion isn't very hard to create. I don't even have to chant.
Charash is standing on the floor, not as big as he is in reality; only as long as Molor from nose to the tip of his tail. Still he is impressive. Like a statue, and yet very alive.
"But that's a tale!" a soldier stutters.
"So was my belief," I say, "but he is tormenting the time where I'm dwelling. He almost killed myself, Molor, my sister Schala, her husband Cered and my niece Schaliya."
"Thy what?!" Glenn almost chokes.
They are all staring at me with disbelief, and slightly surprised I realize that I find that even more amusing than their unnecessary great fear for me.
"My niece," I repeat with a snort and sarcastically continues; "it's what you call the daughter of your sibling."
In the corner of my mind I notice that Molor refuses to look at the illusion I've created. His behavior puzzles me. It almost seem as if he fears the dragon, but he doesn't want to tell me why. Somehow I want to believe that it's because they both are reptiles, but a nagging feeling of doubt tells me that that's not it at all. But I can't force him to talk. There are places in his mind closed to me. He can't enter all parts of my mind either.
I haven't got time to ponder those things now.
"Getting back to the subject," I sharply say, "as I remember a group of heroes, who's names are lost, banished the beast from our world. But magic cannot harm the dragon Charash. And, I understand, not regular weapons either."
"Oh, I see..." Glenn says with a small smile.
He turns to Leene and sits down on one knee.
"My liege, I ask of thee to allow me to go," he says, lowering his head.
She heavily sighs before she gives her answer.
"I don't want you to leave on such a quest, but I guess I cannot stop you, Glenn."
"No, no, my liege," he smiles as he stands up, "never would I go forth without thy permission."
"Wouldn't you?" I sneer.
"I dost not recall that thee recently hath saved my life, dark wizard."
With another smirk Glenn touches the hilt of the Masamune, hanging by his belt.
"Shalt we leave, then?" he says.
I nod and dissolve the illusion of Charash before I open a Gate. Without a word I enter the corridor of time, followed by Molor and Glenn.
As they step out of the Gate behind me, I'm already examining the time crystal. Hmm, I managed to get the date right this time. Except that now it's evening. And we're on the road north of the village, not in the house I left. Oh well, it's not a long walk, I can see the rooftops of the village from here. Those that burned have almost stopped smoking by now.
"Thou look a little different than I remember thee," Glenn says behind me.
"It's been nearly five years in my point of view, to be honest," I absentmindedly say.
"No," he smirks, "I was considering the fact that thou art wet all over."
I had forgotten that the snowstorm had left me rather dripping. Good that my reputation is one that's not touched by such minor things.
With a snort I snap my fingers again.
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Fire..."
My clothes and hair dry in a warm tornado dancing around me. There.
"Come on, we have to get going," I say and begin to walk without looking around.
He falls into my pace, smiling absentmindedly. I guess that he's looking forward to see Schala and Cered again. And to meet my niece.
I'm almost about to chuckle.
Magus really despises me in such moments, but for once I'm able to ignore him.
"Tell me, my mind wishes to recall that the people of this era were protected by dragons..." Glenn says.
I nod. Yes, that's true.
"So it is," I tell him, "but those are better ones. Charash is different. He exists, for one."
He nods without a word.
There's no people outside of the houses, and those that have burned stands dark and silent. But candles shine in the windows of the homes untouched by the fire.
"I see thee hath suffered greatly," Glenn says.
"He hit and left," I grimly mutter, "playing."
I show him the way to the right house and push the door open.
"Schala, we're back," I call.
Seems like they've taken in some of the people that lost their homes. There are two men and women sitting by the kitchen table, and I recognize them as married couples. But right now I'm not in the mood for caring about names. I've had enough for today, and I've only been awake for about one hour.
"Welcome back," Cered smiles, leaving the table to come over to me and my companions, "and thou art truly greatly welcome, Glenn."
"'Tis been some time since we last met, my comrade," Glenn smiles back and takes his hand.
Schala puts the teapot down and also walks over the room to greet us.
"Thou seem to be well, my dear friends," the knight from the seventh century warmly says as Schala grabs his hands with a smile.
"Thank you for coming," she says, "we canst really use your support."
Glenn throws a glance at me and chuckles.
"Thou speaketh about it as if I hath a choice."
I snort, but can't help smiling.
"Go and have some tea," Schala says, "I'll tell Schaliya that you've returned, Janus."
With a nod I go to sit down by the table. The four guests look a bit nervously at me, but they don't say anything. Well, I am the mysterious magician, the silent and eternally pale brother of Schala. The man who talks with the great black snake. Humph.
Glenn sit down beside me, talking with Cered while my brother in law offers him a cup of tea. The general from the future is just taking a mouthful of the liquid as Schaliya rushes in, only dressed in her softly blue evening tunic.
"I was so worried about thee, uncle Janus!" she exclaims and runs over to me.
And if there hadn't been a wall in the way, Glenn's tea would have ended up on the other side of the village.
"I am -cough- so -cough, cough- sorry -cough-, Schala -cough-," he chokes and takes the scouring cloth from her hand as she approaches with a smile dancing on her lips.
"Be that the comrade that thee left to find, uncle?" Schaliya asks after placing herself on my knees (I can't stop her), a bit disbelieving.
Glenn makes a sound similar to the choking of a man getting strangled, and his knuckles turn white above the cloth. Cered and Schala exchange amused glances, and I feel Molor smile in his cold, silent way. But myself, my left eyebrow move a little. Nothing more. Even though I'm surprisingly close to laugh.
The four visitors watches the knight as if he was slightly mad, but he doesn't care about them at all.
"Is something wrong, Sir?" Schaliya asks, puzzled.
Glenn looks around, with a twitching smile.
"No, I am all well, young lady," he says, "but I bid of thee to excuse me for a moment."
He leaves the cloth on the table and crosses the room, opens the door and exits out into the deepening evening. But even though there's a wall between him and we who are left in the room, all of us can hear him laugh.
After half a minute I sigh and pass the puzzled Schaliya over to her mother.
"I'm just going to turn him into a mackerel," I say and leave the room, "I'll be right back."
Me and Molor find the great swordsman leaning against the wall of the house, shaking with laughter.
"Are you going to fool around the whole night?" I ask, managing to sound cold.
He grins widely at me.
"'Uncle Janus'!?" he exclaims between two explosions of laughter, "that title be thine to carry? God, my stomach..."
I don't have to tell Molor to do anything. He just hisses in a way that sound like a question, and I know what he serves me.
"No, I don't think he's healthy to eat," I say, "we'd need to cook him for a few hours..."
Glenn snorts and attempts to pull himself together. He manage after four tries.
"Oh, there be no need for thee to prove thyself..." he gasps, now working on regaining his breath, "I knoweth well that thou art rotten to the core, and nothing shalt touch that belief."
"Much better," I say with a cold smile that twitches a little.
My amusement dies.
"But one word about Magus to Schaliya," I grimly say, "and I shall hang you from the branches of five different trees."
He nods, still smiling though.
"I understand, Janus. My lips art sealed."
"Truly? If I could only believe 'tis true..."
I clear my throat, and his smile grows again.
"Living in this era isn't healthy," I mutter, "come on, let's get inside. And quit giggling."
"One more word and Leene will find herself with a very scaly and drenched guardian."
"Oh, I am truly shivering with fear."
As we step back inside the four guests have left the room, certainly to sleep. I can hear some low sounds from the living room, to the right of the stairs when you leave the kitchen. Schala and Cered must have hastily remodeled that room into one suitable for guests when these circumstances arose.
Schaliya is looking at Glenn, still confused.
"What was it that thee found amusing, Sir?" she asks.
He manage to smile and keep the laugh down, not allowing it to break free again.
"Thou art truly Cered's daughter, young lady," he says with a smile, "and thou may name me Glenn. And for the amusement, 'tis a matter between thy uncle and me." "Oh."
She tilts her head, probably mimicking somebody she knows.
"Art thee truly a warrior of the future?" she wonders.
Glenn and myself sit down by the table again; Molor lies down beside my feet. He seems willing to rest for a while after this peculiar day. I feel the same. One hour, and I'm exhausted. Seems like my mind took a fair hit from Charash.
No, Magus snorts, you're just loosing it completely. Weakling.
Shut up. I am not weak.
Really? What you have experienced today is nothing in compare what you used to take with only a snort earlier.
I silently sigh. Maybe he's right. But that won't stop me from trying to get rid of him permanently. I am no longer Magus.
'Not listen, friend,' Molor concernedly say.
'Trying,' I reply, unable not to sound a bit bitter.
"I hath some skills in battle, indeed," Glenn smiles at Schaliya.
"My uncle and my father and mother art also strong warriors," the child proudly say, "and Molor too, but he is a snake."
Glenn smiles, and so does Schala and Cered. I have to follow, even though my lips don't move as much as theirs. Molor chuckles in his dry, silent way.
"I hath experienced the joy of battling by their side," Glenn nods, "thou speaketh the truth about them, young lady."
Schaliya smiles broadly, but then she yawns and leans her head on her mother's shoulder.
"It's late, little one," Schala softly says, "can you sleep now that your uncle is back?"
The small girl nods sleepily. Her mother also nods and leaves the room, carrying the small girl in her arms.
"My best wishes," Glenn smiles at Cered, "and so young but yet so skilled at speaking..."
"I believes that 'tis something she hath inherited from both sides of the family," Cered grins and gives me a glance, "is that not true, brother?"
Glenn's eyebrows make a hasty journey.
"I hath to ponder if I will ever dare to drink something in this house," he calmly says, "only luck held back another disaster."
"I wonder what I was thinking when I got the idea to bring you here, pest," I mutter.
"Never would I enter the dark paths of thine mind," Glenn grins.
He clears his throat and turns away from joking.
"Well then," he says, "let us leave the games. How canst we find and fight this dragon?"
Molor, who has kept his head at the same height as my hands until now, suddenly lie down on the floor. Resolutely, somehow. He doesn't seem willing to have a part in this battle. I won't ask him, because I sense that he doesn't want me to. I trust him to have his reasons.
"Do you know anything about the legend about Charash?" I ask Glenn, "I can only recall that he was terrorizing the population for a while before a group of heroes banished him from our world again. And that magic was worthless against him."
Glenn rubs his forehead, trying to remember.
"Lend me a moment..." he mutters.
"He said something about that he was the king of Dragons, didn't he?" Schala says in a low voice, entering the kitchen and sitting down again, "and that he had come to claim this world for his people."
"As if it didn't have enough problems with Lavos..." I mutter.
"He came for a bride of royal blood...?" Glenn suddenly says.
We all look at him.
"Pardon?" Cered says.
Glenn shrugs his shoulders.
"'Tis very long ago I heard the story, and 'tis surely not the real one considering how much time that hath passed. I canst only recall that phrase."
"But what is the meaning?" he asks, "there be no female dragons here, neither royal nor plain."
I just shake my head. I've had enough for today.
On the other hand, sleeping doesn't feel very tempting either.
What a dilemma...
"I guess we can't do anything right now since we have no idea where Charash is," Schala says, "we'll have to wait for him to show himself."
"Not a pleasant way to face battle," Cered says with a frown.
I stand up.
"I have to rest," I say, "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Are you alright, Janus?" Schala asks, frowning.
"It's nothing," I say even as I cross the floor, "just tired."
I go up the stair, leaving them. Cered and Schala will tell Glenn about all that happened this morning, and they'll be talking about everything else that have happened in these four years. I'll leave it to them to tell the knight. I'm not the kind of man who bothers about such things even when I'm in a better mood than now.
My brain feels as if it's made of rotten wood. Charash managed to do something when we battled, I have to face it. I don't make so many mistakes as I've done today if nothing is wrong.
Molor crawls on beside me, silent.
We pass Schaliya's room, to the right. Facing her room is Cered and Schala's. My and Molor's room is just a few steps away, in the end of the corridor.
I blink. Thought everything seemed strangely blurred for a moment...
Slowly I raise my hand and rub my eyes. I notice that Molor is watching me, with something that can replace a frown for a snake.
'Know wrong?' I ask him, with a feeling that he knows a lot more than he wants to admit.
'Nothing,' he resolutely mutters and crawls into our room.
It bothers me. He's never been acting like this. He's my kindred spirit, but suddenly I can't understand him. I doubt that anyone can understand how it feels, and I cannot explain it properly. Maybe loosing a part of the own soul is the only thing close enough.
I enter our room to find him in a silent tower of one single muscle. He doesn't want to talk.
Clenching my teeth I throw my cloak on a chair and sit down on my bed, placing two fingers from each hand against my forehead. I must find out what Charash did as he tried to examine my mind. He did something else, and it's lightly said important that I find out what it was.
Whispering I begin to chant.
My body falls aside on the bed as my mind turns into one glowing sparkle, standing in the stained bubble that is my soul. I hear a hiss, and Molor appears beside my mind.
'What wrong?' I ask him.
He doesn't reply at first, and small grey spots immediately blemish the already partly dark bubble around us as I become even more concerned.
Molor shakes his head.
'No worry,' he mutters, 'tell later, friend.'
The spots disappear. I trust him.
I look around. There is something that is wrong. I have to find it; fast.
Molor's mind follows mine as I float forward, passing short memories stored in my soul. Some darker, some lighter. I try to ignore them all, not concentrating on any of them. I cannot risk getting lost, not even here. I'm not looking for memories, I'm searching for whatever Charash did...
Pulsing, as the beating of a heart...
The bubble has a blue tone, but there's angrily red threads... they shouldn't be there. On the outside of the soul, not trying to infest it. Reaching out to what's around it.
Grey spots appear again, I hurry on. Molor keeps following me.
The pulsing sound becomes louder as we move forward.
It looks like a partly black heart, flaming, infected red. It hangs on the wall of the bubble, pulsing and growing more and more threads for every beat.
None of the threads reach for my soul, only for...
The grey spots are growing to stripes.
'What is this, Molor?' I sharply ask him.
No reply. He only watches the dark heart.
'Charash?' I ask him.
He seems to sigh.
'His doing, friend,' he grimly answers.
He slowly shakes his head.
The grey stripes explodes.
'What?' I silently shout.
'No cure,' Molor says, looking away, 'forbidden.'
'What is?' I ask, 'why?'
'It's a gift,' he says, emotionless, 'give you chance.'
'To live when humans die.'
I look down at him, very confused. I have no idea what he's talking about, and I don't like any of what he has said. He seems to sigh again.
'It's your soul, friend,' he grimly says.
'What about my soul?' I ask.
He suddenly hisses in rage and attacks my mind. I have no possibility of defending myself, taken off guard and at first too shocked to understand what he's doing.
But his powerful mind hits mine, which is left defenseless of shock and is forced backwards. Away from the dark heart.
My eyes fly open and I stare up in the cold, yellowish snake eyes of my kindred spirit, still too shocked to even move.
'Forgive,' he whispers in my head, 'I must protect you. Sleep.'
From his mouth a black thread crawls, disappearing into my forehead before I have time to react.
'What are you...!' I try to scream at him, but my mind is fading away.
I am falling, I cannot hold on...
A growl grows inside of my chest.
Let me handle this! Magus shouts inside of me, for a moment dragging me from the abyss.
It's tempting, if I only...
No... not even Magus can fight Molor. I can't fight him, not in any way. I'd rather fight Schala. Why is he doing this?
'Friend,' he says, from somewhere above, 'trust me.'
Chapter 4 Freedom for the Pawn
Sunlight hits my eyes, and I open them slowly. For a moment I can't even remember who I am. My head feels completely empty. Then it all crashes down on me, burning lumps of realization.
He raises his head as I sit straight up and look down at him.
I can hardly produce the mere thought.
He doesn't give me the answer in words, but by giving me a piece of his own memory. I see my own mind's shocked look through his eyes, feel his hate for his own actions; the actions he had to go through with. He gives me the knowledge that he has done what he can about Charash's gift, even though it's strictly forbidden. He doesn't tell me why it's forbidden or how he could know how to cure it just a little bit. But I now know that he had to drive my mind out of my soul and place me in a suspended mode so that he could work on the infection. He has no regrets, but he's definitely not proud. It took him a lot of strength to attack me, so much that I'm amazed that he managed. For him it was like committing suicide.
He takes his experiences back again after showing them to me.
My trust in him weakened for a moment.
He knows. He understand.
It won't happen again. But...
'What is gift?' I ask him.
'Done too much,' he says, bitterly, 'no tell. Forgive.'
At first I don't answer him. But in the end I have to accept his will.
He's done what he can. I don't know what he has done or why he can't tell me the whole story, but I have to trust him. I never warned him when Flea and Slash unveiled my progress growing to Magus, forcing him, as well as Schala, Cered and Glenn through a painful shock. But he never accused me for not giving him a smoothening warning. We have to trust each other.
There's a knock on the door.
"Janus, art thee awake?" Glenn's voice call, "Schala wanted me to tell thee that the breakfast is awaiting."
"We're coming," I answer and hear his footsteps leave on the other side of the wood.
Slowly I rise from the bed, all the time watching Molor from the corner of my eye. He watches me too. But we don't say anything to each other. There's nothing to say.
I take my cloak and wrap it around my neck. Yes, I do sleep in my clothes. And I do have things to change to now and then.
But I seldom remove the leather plates that cover my scars. You should understand my reasons.
Molor follows me down to the kitchen. Only my niece and my sister are there. Schaliya smiles broadly as she sees the two of us, and she sends a piece of bread flying through the room. My kindred spirit catches and swallows it. That's another thing that's a bit peculiar about him; he eats human food. As far as I know, snakes normally only eat things they have killed themselves.
I silently sigh. My trust in him is still damaged; I'm even wondering about his normal behavior. But I have to accept what he think is the right thing to do.
And considering his behavior... I doubt that anything could be my kindred spirit and completely normal.
"Good morning, Janus," Schala says, trying to smile even though she obviously is worried, "you're a bit late..."
"I'm fine, Schala," I calmly say.
I don't know what it is that Charash have planted in me, and I don't want to scare her nor Schaliya. Maybe when I know what's happening I can tell my sister... at least something. Schala will hopefully understand and keep from asking anything further.
"How's the village doing today?" I ask, absentmindedly reaching for the small basket of bread.
"Rebuilding," Schala answers, "Glenn is helping healer Taron to take care of the injured ones. And Cered is working with the buildings together with almost everyone."
I could say something about that there's no real point with rebuilding, because Charash will come back to destroy even more. But they'll rebuild anyhow, and I don't really want to plant any feeling of hopelessness.
"I think somebody should be on watch out for Charash," Schala says, "maybe that's something that you could take care of."
I shrug my shoulders. Why not...
A short while later I leave the house, just after eating a piece of bread. The whole population of the town are out to work on the damage. I see Cered over by Shadarak's wasted house.
Being on "watch out for the dragon"? Have you no pride left at all?
Shut up, Magus.
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of wind," I mutter.
Molor disappears into my cloak as it begins to flap in a sudden whirlwind. My feet leave the ground and I float up high above the trees surrounding the village. From up there I can see miles around. There's almost nothing but forest to the east and north, cut through by broader roads. To the east are hills, and to the south is the ocean. And Charash went to the north.
I really doubt he'll return today, but it's best to stay on guard.
Molor says nothing. Neither do I.
As I float high above everything else, I can't help starting to think about my dreamed life. I missed one night of it thanks to Molor. Even though his attack was far much worse than my dreams...
Come on, Frog. Come! Take care of that Magus' miserable existence!
I have enough to do in the real world.
No enormous body passes the sky, and after a couple of hours I cannot keep up the wind-spell any longer. Slowly I return to the world. Molor does the same. Schaliya is sitting on the bench by the wall of Schala and Cered's house, swinging her short legs and silently touching her right ear with her fingers. As I come closer with Molor by my side she looks up for a moment, smiles hesitantly and then looks down again. I sit down by her side. She keeps swinging her legs and examining her ear. My kindred spirit silently lies down on the ground.
None of us say anything for a while.
Then Schaliya suddenly realizes that I've grabbed her hand, the one that was by her ear. She looks up at me. I look back.
"Well?" I say.
"Why are my ears strange?" she asks.
Sometimes she is able to at least partly leave the way of speaking that is used by the people here and talk as I and Schala usually do. My sister has begun to become more and more influenced by Cered at times. I fight my battle to stay civilized.
"It's your ears," I say, "there's nothing strange about them."
She pushes her hair away with her free hand, revealing the pointy ear.
"But Sean said that they art not normal," she says.
Note to me; one boy with webbed feet ordered.
"You shouldn't care about what Sean says," I gravely tell Schaliya, "you should never care when anyone says something like that."
I point at my own ears, which my hair is unable to hide.
"I have the same kind of ears as you, and your mother too."
"But thee are the only ones," she says, "and father does not carry such ears."
"In the time from which me and your mother come, almost everyone had these kind of ears."
I lean back against the wall.
"The people back then used magic everyday, and that changed us," I explain, "it's just like it is with my eyes being red."
"Art we half-elves?" she wonders.
I shake my head.
"Elves only exist in fairytales. At least on this planet. They might very well exist in other worlds."
After all, Charash was also a fairytale for all that everyone knew until now...
"Why would you wonder about that?" I ask her.
Schaliya seems relieved.
"So we don't snatch babies, then?" she says.
I raise one eyebrow.
"Did Sean tell you that too?" I ask.
She looks at her swinging legs.
"Anar and Garod did."
"And they were together with Sean when they said it, didn't they?" I say, emotionless.
She looks up at me, gravely.
"Could thee turn them into tadpoles? Just for a while?"
I am well aware that my lips are twitching.
She knows that I can use magic, but it's the first time she ever asked me to do it for her. And something like that? Tsk, tsk... and somehow it's still innocent. "Just for a while".
"I could," I say, "but I'm afraid that your mother would be angry with both of us."
She looks at her legs again.
"'Tis too bad."
"Yes," I nod.
I release her hand.
"Of course," I say with the shadow of a smile, "I am able to turn them into anything. But they don't know that I don't want to anger your mother."
She looks up at me and grins, catching my point. I send a small smile back at her.
"The next time anyone picks on you, come to me or your parents immediately, understand?" I say, "because nobody is going to think that they are any better than you just because they are a couple of years older and have plain ears."
Her smile dies and she turns back to her legs.
"They will just call me a crybaby..." she mumbles.
"Then let them call you that," I say, "what others think of you isn't that important."
She looks a bit puzzled.
"But should I not bother what thee and mother and father thinks of me, then?" she asks me.
What questions she delivers. To me, of all people of the whole wide world.
And why is Magus suddenly quiet?
"You should only bother about what people that you like think of you," I explain to her after a moment of pondering my words, "if you don't like someone, why even care if he doesn't like you?"
Why on earth do I have to explain these things to her? What do I really know about it?
I'm only good at killing feelings and ignoring others.
Or maybe I've lost that profession.
Be quiet, Magus, I warn you.
But he falls silent.
Schaliya stops swinging her legs as she contemplates what she has heard. I somehow believe that it's a good sign. She seems less concerned.
Finally she comes to a conclusion.
"I understand, uncle."
"Good. And don't go too far now."
"I will not!" she calls over her shoulder, smiling broadly as she runs off.
I lean backwards against the wall, watching the sky.
She makes me so confused...
I am not what she thinks I am. But somehow her belief has some power over me.
It's simply amazing.
How can I handle it?
Molor says nothing. He seems constantly concerned nowadays. I have a few clues why, and I don't like any of it.
"Good night, uncle," Schaliya says with a smile as she disappears into her room.
I nod at Cered and Schala, then continue to my own room.
The sky that was burning a few moments ago is turning dark. The nights always come so quickly when I want them to stay away. They have entered in a hurry for a long time now. I don't even remember when I started to dream.
No attacks today. There was just peaceful rebuilding and cleaning up after the dragon's visit.
But now I'll have to sleep. Again.
For all the powers of the world, Frog! Make your move!
'Ironic, not?' I tell Molor.
That I'm hoping that the green one will kill me, that is truly ironic.
May it finally happen tonight. I am so tired of being that Magus.
I stand in the great hall. There are sounds of battle sneaking up through the floor.
How could the three children come past all the guards? Even though they managed on the Zenan bridge, this is surprising.
"This is your last chance, Magus!" master Ozzie snarls, "Slash and Flea will be with you, and you will do no mistakes now, understood?!"
"I understand, master Ozzie."
He teleports away. I can already hear the steps from the corridor.
It's the blond woman, the man named Crono and a new warrior. Oh.
I recognize him.
"Ha!" master Flea laughs, "it's Sir Slime!"
The big frog growls, unsheathing his broadsword.
It's that young man I turned into a frog by master Ozzie's order, that day when I killed the hero Cyrus to protect my master.
I unsheathe my sword.
"Where be the scum Ozzie?" the frog growls.
"You'll have to beat us before you get to see him!" master Slash sneer, holding his thin sword.
"Very well. Come, my comrades!"
He leaps forward together with the young man, aiming for master Flea. I move into their way, parrying their weapons. It's hard, but I manage.
"I will not allow you to harm my masters," I say.
The young man looks at me. He's asking me why I, a human, serve the monsters.
"Why wouldn't I?" I snap and throw both of them backwards with a massive wave of fire.
"Take this, you creep!" the young woman shouts and my back explodes with pain; I am thrown down.
Something heavy and cold makes it impossible for me to stand up again. That young woman knows the powers of Water...
"Get up, you idiot!" master Flea snarls, muttering a spell of Fire.
The ice melts, and I hurriedly get to my feet. Slash is battling the woman, and Crono runs to help her. I have to take care of the frog while master Flea is preparing another spell.
He is a better swordsman than I, that's easy to see. I could never use the sword as good as master Slash, and the frog is just as good with his weapon as my master. But I have my magic, and the warrior has to watch out for what I do with my fingers. He should have watched out better. I throw him to the floor with a lightning bolt and raise my sword. He is ready to parry.
"My pendant!" the woman shouts in rage.
The sound of a stone and a chain hitting the floor rings in my ears. The sword falls from my hand.
I am aware that the frog is staring at me in surprise, but what do I care about it? That is... something...
"Magus! What are you doing!?" Flea shouts.
I walk past the floor. Slash is still battling Crono, unaware that I have left my mission for the first time ever. The woman stares suspiciously at me, holding something in a clenched grip. A thin chain, cut by a sword, hangs between her hands. Falling out between her fingers.
"May I see that?" I ask her.
"Why?" she warily says.
"Magus!" master Flea shouts.
Then his shout turns into a scream of rage.
"Why you little...!"
"Thy life ends here, magician!" the frog shouts.
I hear them battle, but I don't care much about it.
"Let me see it," I say to the woman.
She watches me for a moment. Then she very slowly unclenches her hands and shows a pendant. It looks as if it's made of a single big pearl, surrounded by a few threads of silver. There's a few tiny runes scratched into it, but you can only see them in certain light. The pendant isn't shining from within, but I know that it once did.
I reach for a pocket and bring out my amulet, holding it forth to the pendant. For a moment both of them glisten. Sending a hot ray of pain cutting through my soul.
No... no! No!
My whole body is burning, I fall to my knees, pressing my hands against my head. I have to...
"Schala! Schala!!" I scream.
What is that name!? Why do I have to scream it... who is Schala? Who am I?
My head is a flaming twister of confused thoughts, parts of broken memories trying to get a grip on my tortured mind.
She is my... she is... my sister... who was... and mother... Zeal... Lavos... Janus!
My name is Janus! Janus, Janus, Janus, Janus... they took it from me... they...
"You!" I growl, stumbling to my feet.
They are all staring at me now. I point at Slash, almost shaking of my rage.
"You..." I growl, "you took my name!"
"Oh dear," Flea says and rolls his eyes, "I think the little worm is having a flashback. Now is not the time, Magus."
"My name isn't Magus!" I growl at him.
With one single move with my hand, I send both him and Slash flying into the walls. The three warriors stares at me, blankly.
"I am not Magus," I growl, raising my hand to give them a taste of how much I appreciated their leadership.
"Wait, who are you then?" the woman calls.
"I am Janus of Zeal," I say, without even turning around.
"Zeal? You're the one!"
I turn to look at her, slightly puzzled despite my rage.
"The one who?" I ask her.
"We are traveling through time," the frog slowly says, "and some time ago we entered to the era of 12000 BC, then we hope to save the future that is cruelly battered by a being named Lavos. We were told that a key to that beast canst be found there."
As this Magus was unable to "create" Lavos, our heroes must have found the way to the dark age without first being thrown to 65000000 BC after the great beast's half awakening in the middle ages. Umm... that was confusing, I guess. Ahem. Here they got to Zeal before battling the Mystics, anyway. Kay-o?)
I just stare at him.
"But no luck," the woman say, "the queen would have killed us if princess Schala and her brother... hadn't..."
She falls silent and stares at me. So does her friends.
My head keeps spinning with all the memories that I sealed off to keep fairly sane. Hours of pain, the whip that hit me over and over again... forget, forget, forget... but before that, Schala, Adolfus... and I remember these people now. Schala let them out and asked of them to find Melchior. They promised to try, and then fled.
They never returned, though. Or did they? My memory seem to split up...
"Thou art that urchin?" the frog say, disbelieving.
"I was thrown here by Lavos," I say in a low voice, "and Ozzie found me. They took everything from me, all my memories... brainwashed me and turned me into this."
With disgust I point at my own chest. Now I straighten up.
"But that's over," I growl, "why did you come here?"
The young man named Crono tells me that it was because an old man in some place called the End of Time told them that there was somebody in this time who knew more about the kingdom of Zeal and Lavos.
And that one is I. He asks me if I want to help them.
They are time travelers... I have to save Schala. Maybe I can even save myself. I have to try. I swore to kill Lavos. Yes.
"I'm going to..."
"You're going to what, my little pupil?" I hear Flea's voice say, soft as silk.
My world catches fire as my back is hit. That pain is unbearable... no, leave me alone...!
No, I will never forget again! Never! I am not that weakened child anymore!
"Stop!" the frog and the woman shouts.
"Hey!" Flea snarls, and I hear a thump.
As I turn around, I find that most of a glowing, red whip is lying on the floor by the frog's feet. He has cut it. But why?
"This isn't your battle!" I snarl, getting to my feet.
The frog looks at me for a moment. Then he nods and backs off.
Slash is also getting to his feet.
They never knew my full magic strength. If I had all of that now, I should be able to blow up the whole castle without harming myself or these three people who actually helped me. But my head is still turning over itself with all the returning memories. I cannot focus properly.
My sword is lying on the floor. I know I could call it to my hand, but it's worthless to me. I can use it, but not as good as I'd need to in order to defeat Slash.
Well then, we'll just have to do it in another way.
I wave a little with my fingers, and my amulet rise from the floor. It comes to my grip, and I clench my hand around it.
Stop spinning. I need to concentrate.
The flow of memories is pushed back as I put up a wall against it, focusing on how the artifact's sharp edges are cutting into my skin.
"Powers of the world, send me the power of Fire to burn this worm!" Flea shouts, pointing both his fine hands at me.
I jump, higher than anyone could believe possible, to avoid the flames. The heat still burns my legs, and I'm almost unable to land without hurting myself gravely. Slash still hasn't charged, I guess he thought that Flea would finish me off.
A cold smile grows on my lips. They made me strong, whether I liked it or not. Maybe I should thank them. Indeed...
"Dark powers of the world!" I roar, "I dare to ask thee to lend me strength!"
I am using evil powers to achieve my goals; to kill those who tortured me. Would Schala think that was reason enough?
I cannot ask that now. There are things that I must do.
"You're mad!" Flea screeches as he hears my chanting, "you cannot use that!"
He recognizes the spell, and he doesn't like it.
I could never master this before. But I didn't have a mind of my own then.
Schala. I have to use darkness. I was turned to it, I must do the best of my... gifts. I hope that you will understand.
Crono, the frog and the woman lent me a hand to regain my senses. I mustn't allow my powers to kill them too.
My hands seem to move by themselves, painting runes whose meaning are long lost as my mouth speak their meaning in a just as lost language. But I can read and understand them, they are Zealan. Like me. And Schala. Now I know what I am saying.
I smile coldly at Flea's terrified eyes.
Farewell, my hated teacher. You were wrong. I can use it.
I could call them masters one last, ironic time. But I won't. I have more pride than that.
The whole room seem to dissolve around me, in blinding light and engulfing darkness. And that darkness reaches out for me, wants me to join my soul with it.
No. Never again. I use it, but I'm not a part of the darkness. I'm not going to be deceived again.
The darkness roars in anger and sends out tentacles for me, but I back off and it cannot reach me.
Another cold smile move my lips. The spell has drained me so much that I feel like a moldering leaf, but that won't stop me.
The darkness draws back, cursing me.
And I open my eyes.
They are watching me.
"Art thee well again?" the frog ask.
I sit up, without any help.
"Can you stand up?" the woman ask me, "we're going for Ozzie next."
"No. I'll take care of him," I tell her.
Crono says that he and his friends will help me. I shake my head.
"I won't share his death with anyone," I grimly say, "he's mine only."
"But he'll have the whole army standing between himself and you!" the woman points out, "and just look at your state."
"I'll make it. You don't have to care for me."
The frog snorts.
"First Cyrus dies, then the mere tool who caused his death also wish to perish," he say, "'tis a real shame and waste of life."
I look at him, frowning. By Ozzie's order, I destroyed his life. Yet he doesn't want me to die. I cannot understand it... why would they care? It somehow bothers me.
"You should cherish it," I coldly say, "because only if I die can you become a human again."
He stares at me, almost taking one step backwards. But then he shakes his head.
"'Tis the price?" he say, calmly, "'tis far too high."
I am amazed, but it's only shown by a small twitch of my eyebrows. He'll never be a human if I don't die, and still he's not willing to kill me? How can anyone think in such an avoiding way? It's illogical.
"Let us go," he says, "we must make our move before Ozzie hast time to plan his strategy."
They all look at me. I am silent for a moment, wondering about my chances against Ozzie's troops on my own. Plus, if I refuse their offer of help they might not help me get to Schala.
It seems I have no choice.
"Very well," I finally say, getting to my feet with a dry smile, "but you'll have to let me take care of Ozzie."
"Alright!" the woman smiles, "I'm Marle, this is Crono and Frog."
"How ironical," I say, looking at the amphibian, "wasn't your name Glenn?"
He seems a bit amazed that I remember. If he only knew... I remember it all. Every detail and every hit.
I can feel Ozzie shiver somewhere deeper inside of the castle. Stay right there.
I'm coming, master...
"For the time being my name is Frog," the knight finally says, emotionless.
I could tell him that I only followed Ozzie's order. But he apparently already knows that.
"I am Janus," I say.
"And you don't look too good," Marle say and exchange a quick glance with Frog, who nods, "one moment. Powers of the world, we ask of thee to lend us the power of Water..."
Both of them begin to chant softly. I do not recognize the spell, but I can understand the words in old Zealan.
As they point at me, a shower of soft stars rain over me. I am covered in a warm light, filling me with new strength. Is this healing magic? I haven't ever been exposed to that earlier.
I do not understand why they care, but I feel grateful. I have my memories, and I have my life back. Even if it's a life torn apart, it's a life with dignity.
Now then. I am... no, we are coming, Ozzie.
I simply nod at them as the light disappears.
"I'll show the way," I tell them.
"Very well," Frog says.
I lead them over the floor. Nothing is left of Flea and Slash. A black lump of molten and burned metal is all that's left of my sword. I never wanted it, anyway. It doesn't matter at all.
For a moment I ponder that it's peculiar that Flea should have died by on single magic blow, even though it was extremely powerful. But I have no patience wondering about that. My hate is focused on Ozzie. He found me, he brought me all the pain. He will pay tonight.
We enter a corridor, and I see the shadows of the statues. I hold up a hand.
"There are goblins here," I warn my allies in a low voice, "they are hiding behind the statues."
Crono smirks that it shouldn't be too much of a problem. I nod, and we begin to walk again, ready to surprise those who are preparing to surprise us.
But before anything more happens, I awake.
Slowly I sit up in my bed, hearing the whispering sound of Molor's movement as he rise from the floor.
'Fascinating,' he says.
I have to smile in the weak light of dawn.
Frog didn't kill that Magus after all, as I wished that he would.
Fascinating. Seems like it's my destiny to fight together with Crono and the others.
That Janus is weaker than I was, and a lot less cold. Even though he's got better reasons to. I see that relief and freedom are more powerful than I ever could imagine.
Maybe my sleep won't be such a torture from now on. What I just experienced was a truly unexpected twist of the plot. It might even get interesting.
The smile on my lips fades.
Well, at least one problem down, in my dreams. But what is left within me in my real life is still a concern. I don't really want to examine how Charash's gift has been working so far, if Molor's help has run out of time yet. As I understand, it was very little he could do to stop the process.
It's not a pleasant situation. I have this urge of wanting to know what's happening to my own body.
'How long until I know?' I ask Molor.
Sooner or later I'll find out what's happening; at least I can ask him to tell me when.
His answer takes a moment to come, and he doesn't like to say it.
'Don't know, friend. Day, week, month. Don't know.'
I wish that I could persuade Molor to talk. But it would be like trying to make me talk when I don't want to. And that's quite impossible.
I'll just have to bear it, I'm afraid.