Magus' Quest
by Weiila

OK, here we go... I've been fooling around with the thought about what would happen when Magus finally finds Schala, and what would follow. This is the result. If somebody thinks that I'm totally screwed up, well... put a curse on me, then! I'm not afraid to break the taboo of "Schala lost forever".
This is my story about how Frog and Magus went on another time-trip. Being from Sweden, I'm not familiar with all English sayings and words, but I've done my best.

Chapter 1 Old enemies and "friends"

The air smelled like dry sand, and the light was strangely grey. The only light-source was a distant hole in the cave's ceiling, way up high.
Walking very slowly, Magus moved carefully forwards on the ledge, watching the enormous, empty cavern below him. There was absolutely no living thing here, except the warlock.
Frowning, he reached for his cloak and pulled out an old, well read book. He opened it and read a few lines. Shaking his head he put the book back and decided to continue a little while longer, though there wasn't much left of the ledge. But... that's a bit strange...
The end of the cave was hidden in darkness, though it looked natural. It took even a trained eye to notice that it was a bit too dark. Magus' lips drew back a little.
'Whoever made up this stupid little joke,' he thought, touching the place in the cloak were the book laid, 'he wasn't an amateur.'
Of course it would have taken a great magician or warrior to even dare trying "the little joke". This could actually be rather interesting, and that was the only reason the dark lord even was in the cave. He moved closer to the end of the ledge, listening closely for even the slightest sound.
Suddenly, a rising circle of dirty light cut through the darkness. Magus stopped and watched as the circle became a big pillar. For a moment the light was steadily rising, then it faded. The pillar was still there, but it looked like it was made of glass. It was ten feet high and inside it, close to the top, a small body was floating in thin air.
"So there you are," Magus whispered, frowning.
It was Frog. He was unconscious and in bad shape. His clothes were all torn and burned; the left leg had an ugly cut, as well as both arms. Outside of the circle lay the Masamune on the cave's floor.
Someone moved up to the circle on the ground, and the watching warlock drew back a little, to hide a while longer. Maybe he'd even keep hiding; saving a Guardia knight, and this one in particular wasn't really his kind of thing. But when a voice spoke, even the great Lord of Darkness found himself a bit surprised.
"Are you going to play until nightfall?" the voice said, irritated, "why don't you just kill him?"
What the...? Magus moved closer again.
"Patience, cutie," another, soft, voice said with a small laugh, "I want him fully awake and feeling."
From the softly red lips came one of those strange voices that are hard to tell whether they belong to a man or woman. The body was the one of a woman, dressed in white clothes and a pink cape, which matched the hair.
But this was no woman. It was Flea, the magician. And the other, irritated voice belonged to Slash the swordsman. He was nowhere to be seen, though. But he spoke again:
"Stop fooling around, he knew he'd lost just as soon as we took his beloved sword away."
'Applause, I give,' Magus coldly thought.
"Kill him now, Flea!" Slash's voice demanded, and it was the magician's lips that moved.
So sharing the same body to stay alive was their secret. They must somehow have escaped the final blow in Ozzie's castle, too weak to stay in the mortal world alone. It was pretty dumb really, two minds trying to control the same arms and legs... yet, if they had managed to beat Frog... applause.
"Alright, alright!" said Flea sourly, "I'll kill him, you funslayer."
"Good, then what are you waiting for?" Slash snapped.
Flea raised his small, right hand and drew a circle in the air, followed by a standing line above it.
Dark smoke came from the magician's finger as he moved it, and stayed in the air even afterwards. It looked very much like a rope. As Flea grabbed it with one hand, a similar smoke rope appeared in the air behind Frog.
"Couldn't you have thought about something better?" Slash asked, bored.
Flea snorted.
"I told you I wanted him awake," he said, "what could ever be worse for this brave knight than this kind of death?"
There was a slight moan coming from Frog.
"Seems like you're lucky after all," Slash said with an evil smile.
Frog weakly shook his head, trying to regain his senses.
"Did you sleep well, little reptile?" Flea mocked, waving at him with the one free hand.
"Thou shalt not escape this vile crime..." the knight whispered, croaking.
"Whatever," Slash snorted.
Flea moved his hand. When the rope that the evil one held was moving, so did the one by Frog. He tried to struggle as he felt the magic smoke around his neck.
"Rats of darkness!" he croaked, too weak to reach up to his throat.
"I'm afraid we're short of scaffolds, dear guest," Flea said with an evil smile, "this will just have to do."
The pillar of light started to disappear, and with it the power which kept Frog floating. He started making pathetic sounds, struggling for air, as his own weight slowly began to strangle him.
Magus stood up in his full length upon the ledge.
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Lightning!" he yelled as he threw himself out into the cavern, snarling the needed spell as he dashed through thin air.
Flea and Slash jumped aside, taken completely by surprise as lightning bolts flew from Magus' chest and hit the ground by the circle. Just as the magic attack came to stop, the dark wizard got a grip of Frog. The rope disappeared as the warlock got a grip of the knight, and the two hit the ground. Magus got up on his feet, glaring at the one he'd just saved. He was both confused and angry, surprised over his own actions. Frog was just as confused, trying to focus his eyes.
"Why did thou cometh to my aid?" he whispered.
"You just shut up!" Magus growled.
He was already regretting his quick decision.
"My, what a sweet reunion!" Flea laughed.
He continued, mocking Frog's way of talking:
"Lord Magus, I bideth thee welcometh! How abouteth a littleth barbaqueth to celebrateth? Powers of the world, lend me the power of Lightning!"
The warlock was forced to jump backwards to avoid the bolts leaving Flea's chest.
The magician had been the Lord of Darkness' teacher. He logically knew about Magus' special defense against magic; that only the last thing he'd chanted could hurt him. The warlock hardly avoided the lightning, Frog's weight gave him some trouble. He couldn't drop his burden either, because the knight would surely get killed if left in his condition. Even though that wouldn't be an entirely bad thing, it would make the foolish rescue a complete waste of time. Magus cursed the short memory of the sweet revenge against Lavos, the thought was all that had convinced him that he should give Frog a hand, just this once. It had felt stupid enough even as he decided to make a move, now the dark lord was getting really mad.
"Why don't you say something, lord Magus?" Slash asked with a mean smile upon Flea's lips, "we haven't seen each other in such a long time, and you don't even greet us?"
"Pha!" Magus growled, "dark powers of the world, I dare to ask of you to lend me strength!"
"Less funny..." Flea muttered as he felt the air thicken by Magus' hasty chanting.
Slash was surely the leading mind when the womanlike body spun out of the way for the two gigantic triangles, one white and one pitch-black. As the white one was swallowed by the dark, all sounds and movement froze for the one split second before a massive wave of pure dark pressure threw every last loose piece of material in the cave up against the shaking walls. Magus lost his breath as Frog was thrown against his chest and the warlock's back hit the wall at the same time. On the other side of the cave, Flea and Slash got their body to its feet again. Everyone was breathing deeply.
"That was not very smart, indeed," Flea said, regaining the breath, "did you leave your brain outside, cutie?"
Magus got up, staggered and leaned against the wall, gritting his teeth. He should have known better than to try to defeat Flea and Slash with only one blow. Flea was a magician, and therefore his body had a strong magic resistance. Dark Matter was a far too consuming spell to use in a moment like this, it had drawn too much of the warlock' energy. Now he maybe could manage to chant a low level spell to keep Flea and Slash busy enough for an escape. Well, it would have been a option if they hadn't been all so far away that they were out of reach for such a puny attack.
And all this trouble because of the blasted knight! Speaking of which...
There was a weak sound to be heard from Frog. His green skin was stretched with pain as he tried to summon the last of his fading powers.
"Masamune...!" he whispered, "cometh to my hand!"
And the sword, fallen by the wall a few feet away, rose up in the air and floated towards its owner.
Frog gripped the hilt and tried to focus his eyes at Magus.
"I can hardly hold it..." the knight whispered, "thou must use this single chance..."
It was not like he threw the Masamune, he moved his weakened arm back a little and let go.
"Powers of the world…" Magus growled.
He hurriedly chanted the spell of fragile lightning, and the bolt hit the falling weapon as it fully hit the ground.
He had no idea how he'd understood what Frog had meant, but it worked. The sword pointed at the enemy as it laid on the ground and that lead the lightning in the right direction. The bolt danced forth over the cave floor, directly towards Flea and Slash. A fry that puny wouldn't hurt badly, but Magus took the chance and retreated as an angry cry filled the thick air.
"You weaklings... aaaugh!"
"You're causing far more trouble than you're worth!" Magus growled as he ran with Frog in a tight grip.
"Why did thee even help me?" Frog muttered, with as much sarcasm as he could summon, "owing thee something… nay, I would rather loose my life in a fight against the late Ozzie..."
"Owing me something? You?" Magus snorted, "what on earth could you ever help me with?"
"Defeat Lavos, for one... ugh..."
Frog's bulb eyes turned, and he fell back into unconsciousness.
'Why did I even bother?' the dark magician thought, irritated, 'it didn't bring me anything, helping this little fool.'
But it was done, so he decided to bring Frog away from the deserted island and leave him someplace safe. Starting to act stupid, Magus thought he might as well finish it.
All of a sudden the Masamune flew up in front of him, blocking his way. Magus hated the sword enough in a warrior's hand; if it had a life of its own he was in trouble. He froze, prepared to duck. But the weapon just moved softly through the air and put itself through the metal ring at Frog's belt. Hanging there, it swung and hit Magus' legs several times as he moved on. He was on his last nerve as he finally reached the surface, and stepped out into the sunlight. The ruins of Ozzie's castle were already, after only a year, beginning to get overgrown with all kinds of climbing plants.
The large amount of power he'd wasted on Dark Matter was starting to concern Magus. Maybe he should have taken a rest two days ago... usually he never had to fight, monsters were often smart enough to step aside, and he had never needed much sleep. But now, he was weakened through a foolish mistake, and he could not take the chance to even sit down while still on the island. It was quite possible that Flea and Slash owned a few bottles of healing potions, and he didn't. So he'd just have to bear it until he had left this island.
All these problems and thoughts made him loose a little attention and he almost walked straight into the twenty Guardia soldiers, lead by a captain in golden armor. There was a frozen moment, before the captain spoke.
"General Frog?" he said in great surprise, his rather wide eyes going between the carried and the carrier, "who are you, stranger, who have found him?"
It figured, really. Most humans who had seen the Prince of Darkness hadn't survived it.
Magus was just about to leave Frog and depart without a word, when the small green knight suddenly awoke and spoke with broken voice:
"What bring thee to our time once more, Magus...?"
Make that '102 reasons to cut the little pest in half'...
The armed men obviously went through a short flashback, recalling all they had ever heard about the evil one. Removing the most wild tales about three heads and similar, they probably recalled the more realistic ones that their own general had provided; blue hair and pale skin, wearing a blood-red cape.
A lot of swords were drawn, pointing at Magus. He found himself standing with the back against a wall. There were no possible exits except straight up, but he was too weakened to try a flight. Frog had fainted again, and was therefore not supplying much help. Speaking wouldn't bring anything since the soldiers surely wouldn't even listen, and dropping the unconscious one would only make them attack. The only reason Magus was still in one piece was the fact that the men didn't want to hurt Frog.
The caught one clenched his teeth. As he was weakened, it wouldn't take the Masamune to finish him off…
There was a small buzz, just in the corner of the mind. A Gate? Magus' gaze swirled downwards, a flame of hope glistening in his dark heart.
The warlock had mastered the Gates, he could easily open one anywhere. But that was when he was stronger than at the moment. He might be able to open one that already was placed somewhere, though.
A sparkle in the long grass, to the right... Magus kicked at it, snarling the short spell. A sparkling, deep blue hole opened by his side. Without hesitating he threw himself through it, the angry yells of the soldiers following him.
As the Gate closed behind him Magus found himself at the same place as before. However, now there were no soldiers there and the crumbled walls were almost gone; broken by the hard wind and rain. After putting Frog down in the sunbathing grass, the dark lord pulled out his timecrystal. He had made it by himself to make the time traveling simpler. It was a small, blue crystal ball, which showed the date and year after going through a Gate.
It said 'March 8, year 701 AD'.
A hundred years, exactly... that should keep even Flea and Slash away. Still it was best to stay on guard, ready for attacks.
Magus turned his thin eyes at Frog. It seemed like the knight would stay unconscious for a longer while this time.
'You've caused me far too much trouble,' Magus thought, irritated, 'this time, I won't let you get away.'

Chapter 2 Revenge

Frog awakened because his nose was about to catch fire. Something smelled awful. With a groan he tried to raise his hands to cover his nostrils. But the arms felt so heavy that he hardly could move them. It was hard to see, too.
The world seemed to be nothing more than big lumps of color. Frog tried to blink everything into place again…
One of the lumps stood up and moved closer, away from a bright, flaming lump.
"Finally awake, are we?" a cold, familiar voice said.
The world suddenly became clear.
"Magus, thee?" Frog gasped.
He tried to sit up but was pushed back, not too softly. Suddenly his whole body was aching, remembering what had happened. He couldn't stop another groan. Magus sat down in the grass.
"Stay where you are," he said, warning, "you've been hurt."
"Why did thee...?"
The dark lord raised a hand, holding an old book. Its cover was of dry, cracked soft-wood and there were pointy shadows on it, which lead to assuming there might have been jewels attached to it once upon a time.
"I found this book in the year 1134 AD," Magus said with a strange, cold little smile, "they've built a big library at that time, containing most of the books written by then. This is the diary of queen Leene."
He opened the book and turned the pages as he kept talking:
"Now let's see, it was on the 10:th of March..."
"Thou should not be..." Frog began.
"Shut up. Aha, here it is... it says here: 'March 10, 601. Today the troop my husband sent to Ozzie's old lair returned, and my heart is still frozen solid with fear as they left their terrible rapport. I should have followed my hunch and not have let Frog lead the expedition! The soldiers told us that as soon as they landed on the beach, the ground suddenly opened and swallowed our faithful general!' " Magus looked up at Frog, with no expression in his eyes at all.
"When I found it, the continued text said 'When they finally found Frog, inside a great cave, he was already dead. At the sight of his body which they brought back, even I can conclude that he had suffered attacks from strong magic. The soldiers also found a message on the cave floor by poor Frog, written in his blood. It said 'Let everyone know that I, Magus, was victorious in the end.' If only I had stopped Frog from going there!' Touching, wasn't it?" the warlock said with a sneer, "since I knew I wasn't even thinking of ever have to see you again, I came to wonder who had dared to kill you in my name. That is the only reason I returned to your time."
Frog tried to say something but the dark lord held him back by continuous speaking, once again looking at the book:
"My appearance obviously changed history a bit; the text is different. It now says this: 'My heart is still frozen solid from hearing the terrible news; Frog was abducted by the undead Magus! I shiver as I think about what torments my dear friend must suffer in those dark clutches, and I can not do anything to help him!' "
Frog tried to sit up again, but his wounded arms couldn't hold him. He fell back.
"I must returneth!" he said with a husky voice, "I cannot leave the queen in such a..."
"You're not going anywhere until I say so."
Magus slammed the book shut. Frog stared at him, with growing unease.
"First of all," the warlock said, "I wasn't planning on saving your neck. But since I did, you caused me a lot of unnecessary trouble."
Frog clamped his teeth.
He had been into situations that could be rated as worse than this…
Together with trusted friends (and Magus) he had after all traveled through history and faced the worst creatures that ever had tormented the planet. He had been battling Lavos; the most powerful beast in the whole world.
But throughout all these perils, he had been in a condition when he could fight and use magic.
This seemed to be much darker than trying to survive Lavos' very core; the ultimate evil.
Frog had no strength to fight whatever Magus had in store for him.
"So," the knight coldly said, "I suppose my next query should be what thou planeth to do with me."
Magus put the diary away.
"I was considering roasting you alive," he said thoughtfully, "but I think I'll bring you along instead."
Frog sat up of the pure astonishment. He fell back with a pained moan.
"I'm still searching for Schala," Magus said with a cold smile, "and you're coming with me."
"I cannot..."
"You can, believe me."
Frog shook his head, in his state it could pass as violently.
"No!" he said, "I simply could not, not ever, do anything like that without the permission from my liege! It would be absolutely inexcusable!"
Magus calmly raised his eyebrows.
"Well then," he said, "you spitted out yourself that you are indebted to me. Tell me, how would you explain to your beloved queen Leene that you have to leave to follow the Dark Lord on his journeys?"
By those words Frog turned away, his eyes burning with anger. Magus didn't waste his breath anymore.
Without another word he went back to the fire he had set up and started stirring the boiling potion, turning his head away to be able to stand the odor. He had found a piece of an old candleholder outside of the ruins as he had looked for a place that seemed safe enough for a rest, and for just once he'd decided to actually try to use his knowledge of potions for something… "good". After a simple fire spell, the broken candle carrier had turned out to work quite well as a small pot for cooking. The smell was giving away that it was something absolutely terrible he had managed to create. Splendid, actually.
Frog used the free time to check what kind of mess he'd gotten into. To his surprise, he found that Magus actually had wasted some time to take care of the knight's wounds. He had cut Frog's own, torn cloak in pieces and used them as bandages. But what was really shocking was that he had assembled some soft spruce twigs and laid his own, blood-red cloak upon the green heap. Then he had put Frog down and spread the red cloth over him, making a simple bed. It was completely astonishing, even a bit bizarre. How could this be, it was something that simply could not happen!
Magus reached for one of the many tiny, hidden pockets in his belt and found a dry, blue herb. It was probably at least ten years old, but as he dropped it in the small pot, the yellowish color became sickly green- brown. The stench became even worse, though it had seemed impossible.
"What on earth is that?" Frog asked, with a trace of horror in his voice.
The warlock didn't answer. He lifted the pot from the fire, still turned away. Then he pointed at the source of the awful smell and muttered in a low voice. A small icicle left his finger and hit the small bowl, which turned frozen white for a moment before it went back to normal burned brown. The stench became a little more bearable, but it definitely didn't disappear.
"It might be a long journey," Magus said as he stood up.
"Yes?" Frog said, frowning.
As the dark lord came closer, there was an evil sparkle in his eyes. The knight felt a cold hand grabbing his heart.
"You're badly hurt, and you've got fever because of the wounds," Magus explained with a cruel smile, "you're in need of a medicine to heal faster, since I can't use that kind of magic."
It was truly amusing to watch Frog's terrified gaze.
"Oh, no. No, please..."
The knight tried to move away, but his wounds kept him bound. Magus put his free hand under the green head and forced his patient/prisoner to sit up.
"I believeth I would feel better with thy scythe through my chest," Frog said, trying to turn his head away.
"I admit I'd probably find that just as satisfying," Magus sneered, "but I'll have you drink this instead. Now, be a... man. Shantara na loga."
Magus gave another wicked smirk as his short spell mercilessly brought Frog's forcefully clenched jaw to bend open.
Terror and disgust flowed in the prisoner's eyes as Magus poured the potion into the big mouth. When it finally was all gone and the knight was allowed to lie back, he desperately gripped some grass and put it in his mouth to help off the remaining taste. The dark lord found himself with a true smile on his lips, even a shadow of laugh in his chest. Frog just looked too pathetic.
"What by the love of God was that?!" the swordsman finally croaked.
"Do you really want to know?" Magus asked, still with a trace of the smile.
"No!" Frog shuddered.
"Surprisingly wise decision."
The warlock went back to the fire, throwing the pot into the forest as he walked. He sat down, watching the flames.
Not a word was spoken for a while.
Finally, after surely half an hour, Frog used his tongue.
"Magus, dost thee even have proof of thy sister not being dead in the Ocean Pala..."
The dark lord turned to look at the knight, and there was a dangerous flame in his eyes.
"She's alive," he said, sharply, "I know she is. Don't ever question it."
Frog sighed.
"Aye, let it be so, then," he tiredly said, "where shalt we search her?"
Magus was a bit surprised over this sudden lack of protests, but decided to watch and see if it was real.
"As soon as you can walk we'll go back to the library where I found the diary," he said, "if there's somewhere written about a blue-haired woman, the chances are good that it can be found there."
"I understand thou believeth that she also was thrown through a Gate, then?" Frog concluded.
Magus nodded.
"Myself and the three gurus were thrown through time as Lavos awakened," he said, "it seems quite possible that the same happened to Schala."
Frog was about to point out the fact that queen Zeal hadn't got thrown anywhere, but found it wiser not to. Instead he said, thoughtfully:
"It comes to my mind, the memory of a thought which once moved into my head..."
"Get to the point!" Magus said, irritated.
Frog didn't take any offence, used to the warlock's ways. He simply continued:
"We easily found proof that the pendant of Marle and Schala is the same, and I once wondered where the princess of Crono's heart had got it from. As I asked her, Marle told me she inherited it from her mother who'd also acquired it from her mother. Therefore I say that it could be wise to search out who was the first of Marle's ancestors to own the treasure, since that might give a clue about where thy sister is."
Magus didn't answer at first, which lead Frog to believe that the dark lord actually hadn't considered that.
On the other hand, he'd never cared about what others did...
"Did Leene have it, then?" the warlock finally asked.
"I dared to ask Her Majesty even though it was most impudent, and she told me that she owned a pendant like that, but never wore it…"
His voice had steadily become more and more hoarse, it was no surprise as he started to cough violently. Magus just watched the fire, considering the different paths. When Frog after a while regained his self-control and once again laid back, the dark lord spoke.
"Looking for paintings probably won't help us," he said, "most of the queens owning it might do like yours."
Frog had to catch up with his breath before he could talk.
"So what dost thee suggest instead, Magus? Shalt we go to different eras and simply ask the queens?"
"It's not very effective either, but it'll have to do."
Magus looked at the knight and smiled coldly.
"You should rest. If you don't recover, I will have to make you some more medicine."
"I am fine!" Frog snapped.
"You better be, I'm not exactly fond of making healing-potions."
Oh, really…
Frog snorted, turned his back at the evil magician, and tried to sleep. But he couldn't. Go figure...
After an hour trying to make the body feel sleepy instead of aching, he sighed and turned around to look at the warlock, who hadn't moved at all. He was just sitting there, watching the fire. Frog was glad to be alive, but this was almost worse than death. He had hardly been able to stand Magus even with Crono and the others around, the knight had a feeling he had a hard time ahead. The chances of Schala even being alive in any time weren't great either. Last time Frog had seen her, she had been so weakened by Lavos that she couldn't even stand up straight. And the fact that the Ocean Palace had been about to fall into pieces as she'd warped everyone else to safety, not to forget that Lavos had wreaked havoc on everything... if Magus was wrong about the Gates, it was most unlikely that his sister had survived.

Chapter 3 The discovery

"I am all well, we can leave!" Frog snarled.
Actually he wasn't fully fine; the arms were pretty much healed, but the wounded leg still ached as he moved it. But another day lying down, watching the silent warlock and trying to fall asleep would make Frog go mad.
Magus hadn't said much for two days, his speech the first day had been enough for a normal week. Now he stood up, shaking his cloak to get rid of all the twigs before he put it on. The wrapped, red cloth once again swallowed his neck and shoulders.
The awful potion had actually worked, Frog had to admit it. His wounds had healed so fast it must have been some kind of magic or medicine helping.
Magus silently watched the knight as the green one held up a hand.
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Water," Frog grumbled.
The meaning of the words that he chanted was veiled to him, but he knew them through some blessing he had been granted by Spekkio; master of War. There was surely somebody throughout history who knew what the words meant, but Frog had actually never had the… ah… time to investigate it further.
The stars that fell over him were few, and only seemed to give him a little more energy. He hadn't enough strength to recover his body to the fullest.
He straightened his back and looked at his torn clothes.
"Absolutely out of the question... na matala sela…"
The holes after cuts and lightning upon the shirt healed, covering the bandages. But the bandage around his thigh reminded, since it was tied over the pants too.
"Finally done?" Magus scornfully asked.
"Thee can make it next time, if that wish is thine," Frog coldly answered.
The warlock just snorted and held out his hands, mumbling in a low voice. The knight quickly guessed ol' scythe-carrier was opening a Gate, since there was a dark sparkle in the air in front of Magus. The sparkle started to grow steadily.
Then all of a sudden, the magic-user bent aside. A stone at the size of a fist missed his head with an inch.
Frog instinctively reached for the Masamune. There was the sound of metal against metal as he unsheathed it.
"'Tis surprising to see so many Freelancers on this deserted island. Mayhap they seek old treasures within the ruins?"
"They can do whatever they want as long as they don't interrupt," Magus snarled.
Frog watched the armored half-birds move slowly, on guard, out from their hiding in the forest.
Although they weren't known for being strong warriors, the monsters were about forty and Frog's leg was giving him a serious warning-signal. Many of the bird warriors held stones ready to be thrown; they didn't need to get close to Magus' scythe and would have time to back for his spells.
"Mayhap we should proceed into the Gate and leave these warriors to enjoy their charming company for themselves?" Frog suggested, wisely calculating the odds.
Magus was maybe about to say something containing the word "weakling", but instead he had to duck again. With a short growl he opened the Gate and grabbed Frog's arm as he stepped through, more or less dragging the knight along.
Leaving a rather cloudy day behind they stepped out in blessing sunlight, on a hill. It was full summer, the hill was a blooming wave in a sea of flowers. The meadow was wonderful. It reached far; didn't stop until trees, surely 200 yards away marked a new kind of terrain. With a look over the shoulder though, Frog found that the forest was much closer on the other side of the hill; only about ten yards.
"When is this?" the knight asked, as he returned the Masamune to the metal-ring at his belt.
Magus pulled out a small crystal ball from some hidden pocket and looked sharply at it. He frowned.
"I hate it being disturbed as I chant," he muttered, giving Frog a cold look by a certain memory, "I was aiming for 500 AD, but this is 11992 BC."
"Eight humble years has changed the winter lands so thoroughly?" the knight said, unable to hide his astonishment.
It was hard to believe that this could be what had been left of the magic kingdom of Zeal after Lavos' awakening.
"Obviously," Magus said, without greater interest.
He turned around and raised his hands again, preparing for departure. He started to mumble again.
A shadow covered the sun.
At first, Frog thought it was a rain cloud. Then he looked up.
"Oh my... Magus?"
"Don't disturb me, you pest!" the warlock growled.
Frog watched the black thing floating high up there, and shook his head.
"Wouldst thou please find time to tell me that my eyes simply art trying to fool me?"
Magus turned around, very irritated. Then he looked up, too.
They had destroyed the Dark Omen eight years ago (according to the era's inhabitants, at least), and what the two men now saw was anyhow smaller.
Could somebody in this time actually been mad and forgetting enough to assemble some major pieces of the Black Omen and put them together? And manage to make it fly?
Well, obviously that was the case.
"Who could ever have accomplished that?" Magus said, frowning.
"Are you nuts!? Run!"
There was a young woman standing by one of the close trees, glaring at the warlock and the knight.
As they didn't response fast enough, she continued:
"Don't just stand there, you fools! Don't you see that Dalton's coming back again?!"
Then she shuddered and ran for cover, deeper into the forest. Frog and Magus exchanged glances.
"Dalton?!" they exclaimed at the same time, for once agreeing in the anger.
"Be that foul rat still alive?" Frog growled.
"I've got some things to settle with him!" Magus snarled, watching the floating fortress.
It was lucky that he kept an eye on the dark piece; it probably saved both his and Frog's life. Magus saw it coming, grabbed the knight's arms and jumped aside. The next second there was a burned hole in the hill, right where the two had been standing. Smoke softly floated from it.
"He's got some enormous power source," the warlock said as another beam, as thick as a tree trunk created a second crater, "but without the power of Lavos, I have no idea where he receives it from."
"Wouldst thou save thy breath for later use?" Frog suggested as burned pieces of flowers and grass where thrown in all directions by a third blow.
Magus hurried into the forest, his feet not even touching the ground. There were a few more attacks, but then they ceased, and the fortress disappeared up through the few clouds in the sky.
"Couldst it be that he need to restoreth his resources before he can attacketh again?" Frog said, thoughtfully.
Both him and Magus were watching the clouds through the branches.
"Quite possible," the warlock admitted, "I would like to know how he managed that."
"He never died," Frog recalled, "he was sucked into the portal through which he sent for his golems, and therefore escaped our vengeance. However, he must have found a path leading out."
"Are you mad?!"
They turned around at the angry call. It was the same young woman who had told them to run earlier.
She was about sixteen, and looked very frustrated.
"It was pure astonishment which made our feet stand still, young lady," Frog said, not angry.
She placed her fists on her hips, shaking her head.
"Astonished? For seeing Dalton's blasted castle?" she said, "where have you been the last five years?"
"We hath been... elsewhere," Frog explained, "could you inform us about what Dalton hath been doing, and how he accomplished that fortress?"
Magus completely ignored the girl. He was staring at nothing, deep into his own thoughts. But the young woman didn't notice it, too busy with Frog.
"Elsewhere?" she repeated, "where would that be?"
"Far away, young lady. What hath been Dalton's doing?"
The woman shook her head again, but spoke:
"He returned about five years ago, and started collecting pieces of Dark Omen. Many of his old soldiers returned to him, as well as others who were scared. But at least he left us alone back then. Just a week ago he started terrorizing everyone."
"Dost thou carry any knowledge about his source of power?" Frog asked.
The woman snorted and looked at the sky.
"We lived in peace," she growled, "why did that damn Schala have to show up?"
Frog could almost feel Magus stop breathing. The knight didn't even consider turning to look at his companion, staring at the girl.
"What, Schala?" the knight said, knowing that if he didn't make the young woman say something wiser fast, she was as good as dead.
But she went straight on, upon a path covered with poison needles.
"Yes, that blue-haired freak who all the elder people started cheering about. They said she was our queen, what nonsense."
"Where is she now?" Frog hurriedly asked.
By now he hardly dared to look at Magus. The woman snorted again, and pointed upwards.
"Where she is? Up there, with Dalton! He came down and brought both her and her friend with his creepy pet away..."
"'Why'?! Don't you even know that?"
"I am sorry, I hath not acquired that wit..." Frog said.
He was amazed the young woman didn't feel the air get thicker and thicker. She sighed and spoke once more.
"It's simple," she said, "Dalton knows that all the older ones think she is our queen, so he tries to force her into marrying him. And he attacks us to convince her! Me and all the others with brains left agree she should give up to spare us the pain, but..."
Frog fell aside as Magus moved forward, so fast that the eye had no chance to recognized it. All of a sudden the young woman was struggling for air, since the warlock was lifting her from the ground by her throat. He was mad. Very mad. All the self-control and cold planning was gone.
"I'll tear you bloody apart!" he roared, his eerily red eyes shooting hot needles of hatred.
The terrified woman tried to scream, but not a single sound passed her pale lips.
"Magus, put her down!" Frog shouted, angrily, "she did not know!"
"Shut up!"
"She is innocent! Pull thyself together, we must save Schala!"
"We will," Magus growled, suddenly extremely controlled again, but with his eyes burning with rage, "in a few moments!"
A second time in a (at least in Magus and Frog's view) short while, there was a sound of metal being drawn over metal.
"Let that innocent woman go, otherwise I will feel honored to cut thy arms off, dark wizard."
He had to raise the Masamune before the woman dropped to the ground, gulping for air. Frog touched her shoulder to calm her down.
"Thou couldst not be aware that Schala is the sister of this man," the knight explained, calming, "but thee better depart."
She quickly took his advice and fled without a single word. Frog still hadn't looked at Magus.
"We should also be on our..." the Guardia general began, not turning around yet.
He turned, but not because he wanted to. He found himself above the ground, in a grip similar to the one that the woman had experienced. The Masamune fell from his hand as he fumbled for the warlock's wrists and merciless fingers.
"One day," Magus growled with a voice that could have belonged to the Reaper, "when you are too old to fight anymore and your damned sword has rusted, then I will come to you and make you suffer by my hate, believe me."
He dropped Frog beside the Masamune. The knight got up, picked up his sword and put it back where it belonged, all the time coughing and gasping to regain his breath. He wasn't surprised, and therefore not very mad either (at least not more than usual when in the warlock's presence). He actually felt that Magus had let him get away pretty easy for once. But the warlock had other things on his mind at the moment, coldly watching the sky.
There was a flame in Magus' eyes; he wasn't thinking as clearly as usual. The rage against Dalton brought off the edge of the dark lord's sense of planning every step in enemy territory.
Like this, even the great warlock could fall into a trap... they didn't even know if the woman had been right about Schala being Dalton's prisoner!
"I'll get us up there," Magus said.
He raised a hand and pointed straight up.
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Wind! Blos shana loen…" His cape started flapping violently as the soft breeze became stronger until twigs and leaves flew around, dashing into the shaking trees. The warlock's feet left the moss, and he grabbed Frog's arms. Soon they were above the forest, steadily rising. The wind kept following them, helping Magus to float higher
and higher. Frog had been about to protest against the foolishness in this front attack but watching the ground way down, knowing that Magus' hands were all that kept him from falling, he remained silent. It seemed wiser at the moment.

Chapter 4 Sibling reunion

It got colder as they floated higher and higher. The summer that Zeal once had enjoyed couldn't exist without the Mammon machine's power.
Magus passed through the clouds, and there it was, the fortress. He flew over to it and landed on the black roof. Frog had to take a relieved breath as he felt something under his feet again, it felt much safer than hanging in the warlock's grip.
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Lightning!"
The roof melted after a few bolts. Below was a corridor, covered with the gold-like metal which had been everywhere inside the Ocean palace and the Black Omen. On the floor was a long, red carpet. A couple of guards blinked stupidly at the hole in the ceiling. Magus jumped inside, and Frog had no choice but to follow.
"Who the..." one of the guards began, but the sight of Magus' scythe made both him and his friend draw back in fear.
"Is it true that this fortress was created by Dalton, queen Zeal's general?" Frog asked.
He really had no clue what kind of title the blond know-it-all-wannabe had owned, but the point made it through.
"Yes, that is true, His Majesty once was the queen's right hand, and he built this..." the second guard whispered, shaking.
"And Schala the princess, she is here as well, held captive?"
"So it is... please don't..."
"Our wish is to meet Dalton," Frog calmly said, "where is he?"
Both the men swallowed hard as Magus' fingers started tiptoeing on the scythe's hilt when the reply wasn't immediate.
"In the throne room," the first one whispered, "err... we'll show you."
"That would be a good idea," Magus emotionlessly said.
The guards showed the warlock and knight down the corridor, so nervous that they almost walked
backwards to watch what Magus did. The four men passed a few other guards, but none dared to interfere.
The walls was almost covered with red cloth and by every fifth meter, there was a big, black D painted on the curtains. It was laughable, even for being Dalton.
They turned left, into a wider corridor. It ended by a big portal, made of the metal that maybe was gold.
There were five guards standing by it, and they were a bit braver than the first two.
"Who are you?" one of them called as the four people came closer.
"Intruders," the warlock answered, still with no feeling in his voice.
"I bid thee to respect that they are all humans, Magus," Frog warningly said in a dangerous voice.
"Humph. Powers of the world, lend me the power of wind!"
All the guards were knocked out as they were thrown at the walls by Magus' tornado. Then the portal suffered harder attacks.
Frog swiftly wondered if Magus had shown mercy because of that he had respect for the Masamune, or if he just was saving his strength for Dalton.
The two halves of the portal fell into the room with a great crash, and the two invaders stepped inside.
Dalton's throne room was much like the one of queen Zeal, only four times as big. It was dark, and the stair leading up to the throne's platform was facing the entrance. Several men and women that probably were servants were pushing their backs against the walls, scared half to death. But "His Majesty" just stood up from the throne, smiling calmly.
"Well if it isn't our lost prince and his slimy pet!" he sneered, "you sure took your time, so to speak."
"Dalton, where is Schala?!" Magus roared.
His Majesty held up his hands, almost like he wanted to seem friendly.
"Calm down," he said, "she's unhurt. Why doesn't anyone go fetch the little poison-lily?"
The last he said was an order, looking at the servants. A couple of them took the chance to escape through a back door.
"Why are you so angry, Janus?" Dalton continued, turning back at the intruders, "are you mad because I found her before you did?"
Frog grabbed Magus' arm and hissed:
"It seems he knows a lot, we should proceed with care!"
But the warlock just shook free from the knight's grip, holding the scythe with both hands. He just didn't want to listen.
"Now who could ever have believed that the sour little boy would grow up to become such a great magician?" Dalton said, mocking, "and make such terrible things just trying to avenge the fair Schala? Tell me, aren't you afraid that she will despise you, Janus?"
No answer, but Frog saw Magus' grip on the scythe tighten. Could it be that there actually was a drop of doubt in the warlock's frozen heart?
The door that the two servants had disappeared through opened again. Schala entered the room, walking between the two shivering women. She was dressed just the same as last time Frog had seen her, in a softly purple dress and a cloak in the same color. Her hair hadn't changed either; blue curls fell like a waterfall from her head.
But there was something about her that had changed, she moved differently. Before there had been a feeling of overwhelming carefulness and courtesy; now there was an inner power, a flame of courage that burned inside of her. She stopped, looked coldly at Dalton and spoke.
"What do you want now, then?"
The voice was very calm. Yet there was a slight anger in it, so controlled it was almost impossible to apprehend. But it was there.
Frog carefully looked at Magus. He seemed to have stopped breathing again.
"Maybe I should make everything clear for everyone," Dalton said, smiling, "as you might have concluded, our little flower Schala has changed a bit, due to her journeys."
"Her journeys?" Magus repeated.
Still not a trace of emotion in his voice.
Schala turned to look at him and Frog, a frown appearing in her smooth forehead.
"Haven't I seen you before?" she slowly said, then fixed her eyes on Magus with the frown growing deeper, "aren't you that prophet?"
"Ah, yes, that little joke... the prophet," Dalton sneered, "Schala dear, why don't you tell this 'prophet' about your quest?"
She turned to look at him, with a mixture of loathing and confusion.
"Why then?" she said, "why would he care about what I've done?"
Dalton started laughing.
"What's so funny?" Schala snapped.
"Oh, this is just too silly!" Dalton sighed and covered his mouth with his hand to mockingly hide a smile, "for three years you've been running through time to find him, but when you see your brother you don't even recognize him!"
Schala spun around, and her eyes met Magus'.
No one and nothing moved for a frozen eternity.
Then the princess spoke again, with a voice that hardly kept still:
"Janus, is... that... you?"
The scythe fell from Magus' hands, and clonked upon the fallen portal. He didn't care about it at all.
Frog hardly believed his eyes as the two long lost siblings met halfway through the room and embraced each other, looking like they were determined never to let go again. (What? Hey, you must agree there must be some kind of reaction, even though this is about the Prince of Darkness from Chrono Trigger! author's humble note)
"Oh my God, Janus!" Schala whispered, almost sobbing, "you've grown so much, my little brother..."
"I've missed you, Schala!" Magus muttered.
His voice finally sounded alive, but it was hard to place what he felt judging from it.
Schala bent her neck back a little, so that she was able to look at his face.
"You are really him, aren't you?" she said, calmly, "you are the dark lord, Magus."
She… knew?
Magus slowly lowered his head, without responding. Schala put her hand on his pale cheek.
"It's alright," she said in a low, soft voice, "I read so many things, and I hoped that it wasn't you on the few pictures... but I know you were bitter and angry, I can understand that you was a easy prey for the evil."
He looked up at her.
"But if you could journey through time, why didn't you come to the Middle ages?" he asked, not accusing, just wondering.
Schala's eyes flashed cold, and she turned her head at the throne. Dalton sneered.
"Ah, yes, I kept her from going there, that is the cruel truth," he said, "I didn't want to risk her spoiling my plans of getting rid of you both."
Magus' eyes became two thin scars of hate and he let go of Schala, moving in between her and Dalton. "His Majesty" just smiled scornfully.
"I plan to rule this era," he said, "and therefore I don't want the two true heirs running around as they please. It's rather confusing to investigate the world's history, but you'll learn a lot from it. Even though some pilgrims don't notice they're being followed. Adding and replacing, I've been wandering through time for several years, while letting this fortress being built here in only five. To find Schala and spread that I wanted to marry her was just a trick to lure you here, Janus. I'm actually a bit disappointed that you fell into such a simple trap."
"I'm growing tired listening to you," Magus said, colder than ice, "I'll..."
"Kill me?" Dalton sneered, "well then, try to. But I'm afraid you'll find it more painful for your beloved sister."
He pulled out a dagger from his cloak, held up the free, left hand and cut himself over the palm. But no blood appeared on him. Instead Schala hissed and grabbed her left hand, and red liquid fell to the golden floor. Magus froze.
"A very effective little curse," Dalton said.
"Why you...!" the warlock roared.
"Always above everyone else, aren't you, Janus?" His Majesty sighed. He sneered and pointed at the dark lord with the dagger.
"You were a stupid, spoiled little boy, and you are a foolish man."
At Dalton's words two thick, red glowing tentacles appeared on the floor by Magus feet. Before he could move, they had straightened up and tied their ends around his wrists, still with one end attached to the floor.
Completely taken off guard Magus tried to tear himself free, but the tentacles had frozen; impossible to budge even for the strong warlock.
"Let him go!" Schala and Frog yelled in unison.
The knight rushed forward, drew the Masamune and tried to cut the right tentacle. But the sword moved straight through the red light, without any result. He almost hit Magus' leg instead.
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Fire!" Magus roared.
For a moment as he chanted he was hidden behind a huge, flaming ring. But just as little as he was hurt by his own magic, it helped him to get free.
"Power of Lightning!"
The bolts just went straight through, just like Masamune had done.
The whole room crumbled as two gigantic stones of ice hit the tentacles and then disappeared. Surprise, surprise, it didn't work...
"Dark powers of the world…!"
A dark cloud appeared, rushing at the left tentacle. Frog had to clumsily jump aside to avoid the Dark mist. It went through the tentacle as well, gnawing a half an inch deep hole in the floor around Magus before he made it dissolve into thin air.
"Tired and out of ideas?" Dalton asked as the warlock tried to regain his breath.
Magus almost gulped for air, he had used too much power trying to break free.
"Release him!" Schala demanded, her eyes burning with anger.
"Sorry, my dear, I can't," His Majesty sneered, "as you can see, he's a danger to the community. He's far more powerful than anyone of us could have guessed back in Zeal."
"Release him or I'll..."
"You'll what, Schala? Attack me? Pha! One can really tell you two are related."
He sighed, mocking.
"Aye, the way of the powerful... I'm really sorry I have to kill you too, my dear, you were so innocent and obeying back then in Zeal. But we both know that you're no longer that little flower, and therefore I can't let you, nor your brother leave here alive."
"Dalton, you can't kill Janus!" Schala screeched, and there was a peculiar scent in her despair.
Of course she was despaired because of her brother's faith, but there was… something strange about the way that she called out to the so called king. Something sharper than regular hopeless anger.
But even as Frog wondered about it he wasn't sure if it simply had been his imagination.
"Can't I?" His Majesty scornfully smirked, "dear, we already discussed this."
Schala's voice was hardly even a hiss.
There was a sound from Magus, a sigh? Frog couldn't see his face.
"The black wind..." he muttered.
Schala looked around at him again, clenching and unclenching her fists.
"Yes," she said bitterly in a low voice, "the black wind blows."
"Such drama..."
Dalton snorted.
"Well, then," he said, "how to proceed?"
He pointed at Schala with the dagger.
"It's easy enough to kill our fair princess, I only have to stab my little knife at my own chest, but you, Janus, is well known for having a very strong defense. I can't use magic myself anymore, which is a true pity... and even more pitiful is that the power I do have probably would refuse to harm you, Janus. So I have to think of something else."
Both Schala and Magus remained silent. Frog didn't utter one single word either, but his heart contained a flame of anger. He could not stand this scene, even if it was the Prince of Darkness who was held captive.
"Many soldiers in 600 AD found out the hard way that you're also gifted with a skin that even can resist cold steel," Dalton continued, thoughtfully, "what to do, what to do?"
He shrugged his shoulders.
"Ah, well, I guess that not even the great lord Magus can survive forever without food and water... though that would be a terribly painful death. But I suppose there's no other options, since there's only one weapon in the world's history which can be dangerous to the dark lord, and that is the Masamune."
He raised his eyebrows, smirking.
"Oh, I forgot, it's right here in this room. Pity that only one person can use it; that green knight over there."

Chapter 5 A knight's honor

Magus froze, Schala raised her hand to her lips in horror, Frog snorted.
"Thou art saying that I should do thee that favor?" the knight said, despising, "I could never, never go through with such a vile crime."
He returned Masamune to its ring, to make his point absolutely clear. Magus looked rather amazed; surely he had been sure that the knight gladly would have slaughter him right now, when he had the opportunity.
Dalton raised one hand to cover his mouth as he smiled.
"Such honor!" His Majesty said, "you have no intention to hurt a defenseless man, then?"
"Not ever."
Frog looked at the warlock, who watched him with disbelief.
"Not even thee, Magus. As a knight of Guardia I can only take pride in fair battle."
But he froze at Dalton's next words.
"Fair battle? Was that what took place in… let's see, was it 598 AD? When your best friend Cyrus died and you were turned to what you are today? Was that fair battle, Glenn?" Frog clenched his fists so hard that they started shaking, nailing his eyes onto the floor.
"You still hear the words that Magus spoke, don't you?" Dalton said, "at Ozzie's suggestion he decided to 'have a little fun' by giving you a new form instead of sending you after Cyrus. I know; I watched it happen well hidden."
Frog closed his eyes and gritted his teeth.
"He saved my life as Flea and Slash intended to kill me," he snarled.
"And why on earth would he do that, except because he thought you could serve as his helper in his search? Ah, it even touched my heart to see the poor queen Leene burst into tears when she heard about your abduction."
Schala reached for Frog's shoulder, but stopped and let her arm fall before she had touched him.
"Please don't listen to him," she pleaded, "don't let Dalton make you do this..."
Frog said nothing at all.
"Of course I can kill him myself," Dalton said, "I only give you this offer to revenge all those who died. And there's also another thing. Haven't it made you wonder why this cold planning wizard hasn't turned you back into a human, since you probably would be a much stronger fighter in that form? Why wouldn't he think of that? The answer is quite simple, why don't you tell Glenn the truth, Janus?"
Frog looked up and saw something impossible. There was a tiny spasm in Magus face, only once, but it was there. He looked straight forward, not moving his eyes the slightest.
"What is it that he is talking about, Magus?" Frog asked.
No reply.
"Don't want to talk, Janus?" Dalton said in the back, "then I'll tell him. The reason is that he can't reverse the spell, Glenn. The only way you could ever become human again is that the spell caster dies. You can return to your time for all I care, I know that you can't control the Gates."
"Is that the truth, Magus? You cannot maketh the spell undone?" Frog asked, harshly.
The warlock's lack of reply answered the question.
At first Frog didn't move. Then there was a slow sound of metal being drawn over metal.
"No, don't!" the prisoner's sister exclaimed.
"Get out of the way, Schala!" Magus hoarsely snarled.
His face was even paler than usual as Frog put both hands around Masamune's hilt.
"I am a knight of Guardia," Frog growled, "and I hurt no innocent or helpless. But thou art neither!"
Despite his wounded leg he jumped, raising the Masamune for a hard cut. Magus tried to draw back by instinct, but the tentacles kept him trapped in the same place. In the next second he staggered, but not because he was dying. Hitting the warlock's chest with his feet, Frog turned and flew towards Schala. With all his might he hit her waist with Masamune.
There was a short, shocked silence before Dalton screamed in pain and fell to the floor. He became quiet almost instantly, and the red carpet he laid on turned dark with blood. Schala and Frog hit the floor as well.
The princess gave a relived laughter; she was unharmed.
"The curse worked the other way around!" she said with a big smile, "you were the only one who thought about it, thank you!"
Frog was about to answer, but felt a familiar hand around his throat. It seemed like the tentacles had disappeared by Dalton's death.
"Don't you ever do that again!" Magus almost croaked and released Frog.
"I see thou art fine, Magus," the knight just smiled, "did thee really believe I would do the despicable crime Dalton asked of me?"
Magus snorted, meaning "I'm never sure about you, pest".
"Janus, he saved both our lives," Schala said, "shouldn't you say something more suitable?" Frog had to laugh.
"Oh, no, lady Schala, thou should not try forcing him into that!"
"Then I say thank you for both me and my brother."
"Lady Schala?"
The servants approached slowly.
"What shall we do… Dalton is dead, and we're trapped up here..." one of the women nervously said.
"One thing at the time," Schala said, calming, "does any of you have any ethers or mid ethers?"
The men and women looked at each other.
"No, not here," one of the men finally said, "but I can go and get some... ethers, anyway."
"Thank you," Schala said with a kind smile, "better make that three or four. My brother and his friend seem to need something to strengthen them."
The man hurriedly left, while the brother, sister and Frog got to their feet.
Schala turned to Magus again, and firmly took his hands. There was a sparkle of confusion in his eyes. After many, many years, somebody showed him some true caring again. He wasn't exactly used to it.
"I'm so sorry I couldn't find you, Janus," Schala said with a bitter voice, "you shouldn't have had to grow up in such pain and hatred. I failed you."
Frog didn't ever consider pointing out all pain that the dark lord had caused. That would have been cruel beyond compare.
Magus looked away before he could speak, too unfamiliar with the situation. He spoke words that didn't really fit in his mouth, but at least he tried.
"It wasn't your fault, Schala, Lavos caused all the trouble... you couldn't do anything."
'Well done,' Frog found himself thinking, to his own amaze.
"But if I only had opposed mother..." Schala began.
"You couldn't, you just... couldn't. It wasn't your fault. I..."
Magus lost his loose grip of these unfamiliar words, and fell silent. Mostly for Schala's sake, Frog decided to help.
"I believe what thy brother is trying to say thee is that some things must happen. Without his help we might have been unable to defeat the monstrous Lavos."
Schala turned to Frog at that.
"I'm sorry," she said with a small smile, "we were never introduced, but it seems you know the story anyhow."
She frowned, trying to remember.
"I think... weren't you in the Ocean Palace when Lavos awakened and that boy Crono..."
She became silent at the memory of the young man's sacrifice, and there was pain in her beautiful eyes.
"Carry no sad thoughts," Frog hurriedly said, "for Crono was resurrected, also with the help of thy brother."
Schala smiled, relieved.
"That's wonderful to hear!" she said, "it's been tormenting me for so long. Oh..."
She held her hand forth.
"I'm Schala. Nice to meet you... Glenn, was it?"
Frog smiled a little and put his smaller hand on her.
"My name used to be Glenn, yes," he said, "alas, I am known as Frog."
"I am sorry that the spell cannot..." Schala began, but the knight shook his head.
"No, no. Dalton did not study enough, if he had done so he would have been aware that I enjoy this form."
Well, he had said that before. It was true… at least partly.
There were moments when he was going crazy about not being human, mostly when people looked at him like that and he could feel their whispering as he left the room… but most of the time he enjoyed his ability to jump and the muscles he had acquired.
Schala looked a bit disbelieving, but if she wanted to say something it was interrupted by the servant's return. He carried four small, yellow bottles, which he handed over to the princess. She gave two each to both
Magus and Frog.
"Here. Especially you could use an ether or two, Janus."
The warlock nodded and opened one of the bottles, emptying it after a quick sniff at the yellow liquid. He always did that; never trusting any potion not to be poisonous. Frog didn't worry, after Magus' medicine he felt he could withstand almost anything. Feeling the warmth spread through his body from his stomach, he felt better than he had done in several days time. Finally...
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Water! Na matala sela!"
And at last his leg fully healed.
"Ah, just what I needed. I thank thee, lady Schala."
"You're welcome," she smiled, "please, just say Schala."
"Now, how do we get this thing down?" Magus said.
"That's no problem at all," Schala said, "but first we need to find my friends, who are imprisoned."
She looked at the servants, who all got the point and showed the way through the corridors. Magus picked up his scythe and put it back into his cloak before leaving; it disappeared into the red cloth without leaving any trace at all. On the way through the corridors, which turned several times, the wanderers picked up many confused soldiers. Thus assembling quite a crowd.
"What have you been doing, looking for me, Schala?" Magus asked as they walked.
"I've been traveling back and forth," she told him, "together with Cered and Molor. They are both from 5300 BC. That's where I ended up when thrown through a Gate in the Ocean palace."
She looked thoughtful.
"I was aware that somebody worked on changing the flow of time to the better, I just didn't know who. It was you and those other persons, the blond girl, Crono... wasn't it?"
"Yes," Magus and Frog answered at the same time.
They exchanged irritated glares until Schala began speaking again.
"You destroyed the Dark Omen fast, and Lavos awoke at that. Then he went to sleep again and was sleeping until almost 2000 AD, right?"
"1999, we killed him then."
Once more the warlock and the knight spoke simultaneously. Schala nodded.
"The Gates crumbled at that time, it was hard and dangerous to examine it," she explained.
Her eyes turned cold.
"But in the search for Janus, me and my friends found out that though Lavos slept, his presence caused... let's call it dark waves, which never were corrected. We have been trying to mend them while looking for you, brother. And also, Lavos had children."
"The Lavos spawns..." Frog said, "in Death Peak and in the Dark Omen."
"Yes," Magus said, nodding, "we killed four of them."
Schala sighed.
"I'm afraid there were more," she said.
Frog put a hand on his forehead, Magus pursed his mouth.
"How many, do you know that?" the warlock asked.
"Me and my friends have already killed five, but I'm afraid there's at least ten more. I'm not sure, though."
Walking to the end of a corridor they reached a door, which was tight shut. The two guards escaped into the crowd, as nervous as everyone else except Frog and the siblings.
The door was made of some black metal, and there was a small window with iron bars in. The room on the other side seemed not very well lit up, rather dark. Schala sighed as she saw the heavy padlock.
"Dalton had the keys, I forgot," she said, irritated, "oh, well..."
Both Magus and Frog were about to offer their help, but they were astonished by what Schala did.
There were a couple of tall candleholders standing by the wall every tenth feet in the corridor. The princess grabbed one of them, blew out the candles and threw them away. Then she raised the candleholder and hit the padlock once. It broke and fell to the floor.
"Much better," Schala said and put her extremely bent weapon down.
She turned around, feeling the eyes.
"I understand you are surprised," she said, a bit sadly, "but Dalton was right. My journey has been dangerous and I have been forced to start fighting, I'm afraid."
There was a moment's silence, before Magus smiled a little. The smile looked very strange upon his lips, since it wasn't very cold nor sneering.
"A little strength is never bad," he said.
Then he looked down at Frog and continued:
"Well, almost never."
"I almost liked thee better when thou were the Prince of Darkness," Frog snorted, "then at least I knew who thee were."
But he couldn't help smiling a little.
"Lady Schala," one of the guards said, warning, "don't go down there, the monsters guarding..."
"Nothing to worry about," Schala said with a smile, "my brother and our friend is helping me, right?"
Magus nodded, and this time his smile was cold.
"I will gladly lend a hand," Frog said, "but I am not a friend of thy brother."
Schala raised an eyebrow.
"But you saved his life," she pointed out, carefully, "and you traveled here together, didn't you?"
"I could not let Dalton continue with his vile deeds," the knight explained, "and I traveled here for the one reason that Magus saved my life a while ago."
"Ah, well," Schala said with a small smile, "I suppose that's better than nothing. Come on, but we need to stay on guard."
She pushed the door open. Magus moved past her and brought out his scythe.
"You don't need to worry about me, Janus, I can..." she began.
"Yes, I understand that you can fight," he interrupted, not harshly, "but you seem to lack a weapon. You
better stay between me and Frog."
"My, what flashback," she smiled at that, "Cered once said something similar..."

Chapter 6 Cered and Molor

They started walking through the small corridor. It seemed to lead down, and slowly become less narrow. Frog drew the Masamune.
"Schala, hast thee any knowledge of Dalton's evil guardians?" he asked.
"He'll never change," she muttered, her movements giving away she was prepared for almost anything, "plain, red and blue scouts would be my guess, the human ninjas was almost wiped out totally as the Blackbird crashed. There, look out!"
She ducked as a small bat-like body flew over her head, missing her hair with an inch. The corridor had now turned into a room. There were big empty cages standing by the walls, and the puny light came from dirty lamps on the wall. Several scouts flew around, the single, enormous eye on each one's head blinking as they prepared an attack together. It was too dusky to see which color their bodies had.
"We cannot attack without wit about whether they are red, blue or normal," Frog growled, "the wrong magic wouldst only strengthen them."
"We know that!" Magus snapped, "could you for once give a suggestion instead of meaningless babble?"
The scouts moved faster, they were about to attack. Magus and Frog watched their movements, ready to at least fight them back the old fashioned way.
"A flame would surely make the yellow and blue ones dive into the fire and get stronger," the warlock muttered,
"the similar for lightning."
"I'll take care of the darkness," Schala whispered, "then I can use lightning if there are any plain ones."
"I will then use water-magic against the blue pests," Frog muttered.
"Alright, I'll burn the red," Magus said in a low voice.
"Ready?" Schala whispered, "alright... now!"
She raised both her hands and exclaimed:
"Powers of the world, I bid of thee to lend me the power of Light!"
Magus and Frog turned their eyes at her in surprise by that last word. Schala didn't look back, concentrating on chanting a short spell.
Between her hands a glowing ball appeared. Its light shed over the dirty room, revealing all that the darkness had hidden. The two men in her company just had to push their surprise away in order to fight.
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Water!" Frog yelled and managed to hit two of the three blue scouts with only one bubble.
"… Of fire!"
Magus made a round movement with his hand as he growled his spell, creating a flaring circle that floated before him. With a forceful wave of both his hands he sent it dashing through the air, only hitting the five red bat- monsters.
"… Of Lightning!"
The two plain scouts fell to the floor and disappeared just as the other hit ones had done. Frog took care of the last blue one and then, just like Magus, turned to look at the shining ball that Schala had created.
"What kind of magic is this?" the warlock asked, "I've never seen anything like it."
"I have discovered the power of Light," Schala said, and made the ball dissolve, "I sort of stumbled upon it…" Her voice trailed of, as if she didn't want to talk about how she had found out about the power.
"Now that's completely new, you know," Magus said with a raised eyebrow, moving away from the uneasy edge of Schala's voice.
"Yes, indeed," the blue-haired woman nodded, "it's very powerful attack-magic, but strange as it may seem, it cannot heal. At least what I know about, I'm still not sure what kind of powers slumber within me."
"A new kind of magic?" Frog said, "thee should better talk with master Spekkio in the End of Time about it."
"I find that is not any of the usual rubbish the frog talk," Magus agreed, "it could be dangerous."
They started walking again, towards the open door in the other end of the room. There was yet another corridor.
"What is the End of Time?" Schala asked as they moved onwards.
"'Tis the place where thee end up if thee travel more than three people through a Gate," Frog explained.
"I've never done that," the princess thoughtfully said and smiled a little, "but if it concerns you, we should go there later."
They entered another room, and this one was empty. There were no other exits than the door they had entered through. But there was a husky voice, which startled Schala.
"Who goes there?"
"Cered, is that you?" Schala called out.
"Schala?" the husky voice exclaimed, with a lot of new hope, "down here!"
There was a hole in the middle of the floor, just big enough for a grown man to pass through. There were more crossed iron-bars blocking the way down/up, and in the darkness below chains clinked. As the three non- prisoners moved closer to look down a big, dark head violently hit the bars from below, hissing angrily. Then it disappeared down into the darkness again.
"What was that?" Frog almost gasped, and even Magus seemed a bit surprised.
"It was Molor," Schala calmingly said, then kneeled by the hole, "Cered, are both of you alright?"
"Yes, we..." the voice began but then suddenly rose to a shout, "look out!"
Magus spun around, almost cutting the brown imp in half. But it avoided the attack, laughing mockingly as it jumped back to its companions.
"Three mud imps?" the warlock snorted, "how very violent."
"Master Dalton said not to let anyone get close to the prisoner," the left imp squeaked, "so we can't allow that you stay here!"
"Dalton is dead," Schala said as she stood up, "it's useless to fight."
The imps shrugged their shoulders.
"It doesn't matter, orders are orders," the middle one smirked.
And with that, they started to grow. Their fists became huge and cracked, and their teeth grew into fierce jaws.
From being called after the dirt, they turned into beasts of stone.
"Golems," Magus muttered, "how typical."
"Two of them were bad enough," Frog said, holding the Masamune in a tight grip, "'tis not good."
The three gigantic monsters edged closer.
"They can copy our magic," Schala muttered, moving her feet so that she got a more defensive stance, "how should we proceed?"
"I am always protected by a spell which can absorb all magic except the one kind I last chanted," Magus muttered, "but it only works on me. I can use Magic Wall to give you a little protection, though."
"Will you be alright if they cast the right spell?" Schala asked.
"I'll cast random spells, we have to take that risk."
"I am uncertain about our chances in a long fight," Frog warned, "but after victory, we might be in need of some remaining power, therefore we should better not giveth all we hath stored in one blow."
The golems were preparing a simultaneous attack, time was of the essence.
"Magus," Frog suddenly said, "dost thee remember the attack that we called Spire?"
"As you might have noticed, I am certainly not Crono," Magus snapped.
"But it could work, could it not? The only task thee must accomplish is to send a strong lightning through the Masamune."
The golems raised their fists.
"Work together, for God's sake!" Schala cried, raising her hands for a spell of her own, "powers of the world, lend me the power of Light! Chela ta luon yleqie!"
Silvery stars shot out of her hands and cut deep into the golems. It made them back a little, but more of surprise than by the princess' power.
"Alright, I'll do it!" Magus snarled.
Frog nodded, took a great leap and landed on one of the golems' head. Before it could knock him off, the knight had stabbed Masamune as deep into the stone-neck as he could manage, though that wasn't more than a scratch for the giant. He jumped back on the floor, leaving his sword.
"Now, Magus!"
"Powers of the world, lend me the power of Lightning!"
Violently sparkling bolts flashed out of Magus' chest. As he moved his hand upwards they obediently went straight up and melted into one. That fused beam turned at the golems by the warlock's command and hit the Masamune, being lead straight into the golem. It roared in pain and cracked to pieces, at the same time as Schala finished yet another spell unfamiliar to her companions. With a hiss she turned her palms at the two remaining golems. Several glowing, spiked objects left her hands and dashed towards the two remaining monsters, cutting deep into their stone-bodies. It didn't affect them very much, though.
Frog ducked forward, grabbed the Masamune from the heap of rocks and turned to the foes.
"Magus, let us try again!"
Without waiting for reply, he took an almost desperate leap, aiming for the next golem. However its companion raised its hand and hit the knight. He was thrown into one of the walls, avoiding getting killed by the own sword by more luck than skill. While he was still trying to regain his breath and get up, the two golems gave proof of their skill in copying, as they turned their gigantic palms at their small enemies while chanting a familiar spell. Sharp stars flew towards the dizzy Frog, but Schala moved faster than anyone could ever believe. She ran over to the knight, grabbed his shoulders and jumped aside. The stars hit the walls, thrown with such power that they buried completely in the wall.
"Are you alright, Schala?!" Magus called.
He threw his hand in her and the knight's direction with a few unintelligible words leaving his lips.
A yellow light covered the two, an armor for extra magic resistance.
"We're alright!" Schala answered, getting to her feet, "look out!"
The golems shot stars in one direction each. Magus jumped aside, not in the mood for experimenting on whether his protecting magic could handle Light or not. Frog, on the other hand, chose to try something else. As the small missiles closed in, he raised the Masamune and swung it. The stars that were hit were sent back at the caster, but a couple of them reached the knight. His left shoulder and arm got hurt, but the magic wall saved him from any really bad wounds.
"Are you hurt?" Schala asked, worried.
"Dost not fear about my condition, my friend," Frog muttered, "powers of the world…"
The curing spell made the wounds heal instantly.
"We must now hurry to thy brother's aid," the knight said with a small, ironic smile as he pondered what he was saying.
Schala turned to the rest of the room.
Magus didn't seem in need of aid, however. Somehow he had managed to get up on the right golem's head.
Thereby he fooled the other to hit its friend, while the warlock jumped to safety. Only one giant was left in one piece after that.
"Frog, we'll do the blasted Spire again!" Magus called.
"Cherish this one moment I follow thy order!" Frog yelled as he leaped forward, "because it will have no brothers!"
"I would enjoy it, if I could believe you finally got something behind that green forehead of yours! Powers of the world…!"
All three of the warriors gave relieved sighs as the last golem cracked up.
"Interesting stars you had there," Magus said, checking his scythe for cuts in the edge.
"I call it Sacred stars…" Schala explained, working on her breath after the intense moments.
"Is anyone hurt?" the voice from the hole called, worriedly.
Schala hurried back to the hole.
"No, we are alright, we'll get you out of there immediately!" she told the darkness, still trying to catch her breath.
"What happened to the rat Dalton?" the voice asked.
Schala smiled, giving Magus a warm look.
"Janus came to help me, Cered," she said.
"What, Janus?" the voice said, disbelieving, "get me out of here, please!"
"Allow me," Magus said and raised his scythe.
The iron bars couldn't take many hits and fell into the darkness, which gave a hideous creature in return. Both Frog and Magus stepped backwards of the pure astonishment as a black, scaly body seemed to continue coming up from the hole forever, hissing wildly.
The result was that a twelve feet long, black snake suddenly lay on the floor. It was a sight that would bring most people a sudden loss of consciousness without further notice.
The beast rose up, hissing happily at Schala.
"Hello, Molor," she smiled and stroke the spear point-shaped head, "I'm glad you're alright."
She looked at her brother and Frog, especially noting that the knight seemed very skeptic as the snake turned its cold eyes at him.
"There's nothing to be nervous about," the princess said, calming, "Molor is completely tame, he won't get any strange ideas."
"I do wish he will not," Frog muttered.
Magus put his scythe back into his cloak, with his eyes nailed onto the snake. Frog looked up, saw the warlock's gaze, and had to fight back a groan. Molor turned to the dark prince, and there was a sparkle in the eerily dead, yellowish eyes.
That was the only thing Magus said. He then reached forward and touched the black head. Molor patted back, making a noise surprisingly similar to a cat's purr. Frog had a bad feeling this was the start of a lifelong friendship, and he didn't want to stay too close to it.
"Schala?" the voice from the hole called, as if Cered believed he was forgotten.
She turned around again.
"Yes, Cered, I'll be down there in..."
"I will go," Frog said and turned away from Magus and Molor with a shudder. He couldn't stand the sight of two such creepy figures together.
Schala nodded and gave Frog her hand to help him get down. He climbed into the dusk and hung for a moment in her hand, without seeing anything but darkness until Schala conjured another ball of light.
She let go, and the knight landed on a dirty floor. It was a small room and in one corner, on a small heap of moldy hay a young man was sitting. He couldn't be older than a couple of years past twenty, chained to the wall by his wrists and blinking at the sudden light. His clothes were all dirty after the captivity, but below the dust and mud he wore a pair of light brown pants and a similar colored shirt without any sleeves. His shoes of choice were sandals, and his dirty hair had a red-brown color.
Frog suddenly felt that there was something familiar about this young man, but couldn't pinpoint what it was no matter how it pecked at his mind.
Cered's eyes finally got used to the light; now he blinked as he saw Frog.
"Err... wha...?" he said, dumbstruck.
"I am a... knight traveling with Schala's brother," Frog explained, calming.
His tongue had almost slipped onto the word "friend".
"For a moment I carried the belief that thou were a monster," Cered said.
"Nay, I am a human, but I am also the product of Magus', who thou call Janus, wicked sense of what is amusing."
Frog's brain finally caught up with something he'd just heard. And he found his wide lips moving into a smile.
"Wait a moment," he said, "what was it that thou said as thee saw me?"
Cered looked at the giant frog, confused.
"I said that I thought thou were a monster..." he said.
"Thou said 'thou'?"
"Yes? Is there a problem?"
Frog grinned.
"Problem? On the contrary, my friend. Wait one moment, I will free thee from thy chains."
He drew the Masamune and used two powerful slices to cut off the connected metallic rings.
"Thy sword is truly granted with sharp edges," Cered said as he stood up, smiling gratefully and a bit surprised.
He put his hands together and bowed from his waist, still with the iron-rings with their remaining, swinging pieces of chains on his wrists.
"I thank thee," he said with a smile, "my name is Cered, guardian of the emperor's peace. I cometh from the empire of Garadia, and trusting Schala, the era in which I was born is 5300 BC. And thou art?"
"My name is Frog, and I have the honor of being general of the king of Guardia's army, in the seventh century," the knight replied, friendly.
Cered bowed again. Frog was still trying to remember where he had seen the man before...
"Thou are certainly a great warrior, owning such a title," Cered said, impressed.
"Alas, fate has brought me there," Frog said with a friendly smile.
"I see you two get together quite well," Schala smiled, "that's truly nice, but we should get you out of there. Janus, would you lend Cered a hand?"
"Certainly, Schala."
After that Cered had grabbed Magus' hands and got lifted out of the prison, Frog jumped out without any help.
Just as he reached the above floor, Schala's friend bowed to greet Magus.
"I am very glad to finally meet thee Janus, who me, Molor and the fair Schala has searched for so long. I also thank thee for helping us out of this captivity."
Magus very slowly raised his hand and pinched himself over the bridge of his nose as he heard the "thee". Frog had to look away to keep from laughing.
The warlock let the arm fall and looked at Cered, frowning a bit.
"I thank you for that you have helped Schala," Magus said, "but haven't we meet before?"
"I thought so too, but I do not know where that would be," Frog said.
Cered shook his head.
"I am afraid I dost not believe I have ever seen any of thee before," he said, "I am sure I would have remembered that."
"Probably," Frog nodded with a glare at Magus.
Cered looked at Molor, who kept at the warlock's side.
"I see that my companion hath becometh a friend of thine already," the man from 5300 BC said with a smile.
Magus just looked at Molor at that, who looked back with a friendly hiss. The warlock actually smiled a bit, astonishingly enough.
Schala reached for Cered's right wrist.
"We need to get those awful rings off," she said, concerned, "let's see..."
She began to mumble in a low voice, and by the chanting her hand started to glow. As she touched the metal it melted. It didn't seem to hurt Cered at all, though. When Schala let go of him he started to massage his soar wrists.
"Thou art truly my light," he said with a smile.
Schala smiled back, but then she gave him a closer look.
"Oh my... what have they done to you?" she said, frowning.
"Just given me too little food, I will be fine," Cered calmingly said and then looked at her with a warm sparkling in his eyes, "these small wounds art nothing, hath thou forgot what happened when we fought the fourth Lavos spawn?"
Schala shook her head.
"Cered, please don't talk so easily about it, you could have died that time!" she said.
"Nay," he said in a low voice, "I say thee again, I cannot die yet. Not before..."
Schala reached out, putting her fingers on his lips and he became quiet with a nod. Frog had a feeling there was a lot that these two had left to tell, but now was certainly not the right time.
"Frog," Schala said, turning to him, "could I ask of you that you heal Cered?"
"Of course. Powers of the world…"
Cered straightened his back as the stars fell on him and for a moment covered him with light. His thin, pale face became much more healthy-looking, too. Frog frowned. Now it was really bugging him, he did recognize Cered from somewhere.
But where?
"What was that?" the guardian of the emperor's peace asked, astonished looking at his hands, "was it healing magic?"
"Yes," Frog friendly said, "I command the power of Water, which includes healing."
"I thank thee."
Cered smiled and touched his forehead, which was mostly hid behind his thick hair.
"Where did my headband go?" he said, thinking aloud, "my fringe is almost hiding my eyes..."
There was a ripping sound as Schala tore off the edge of her cloak.
"Use this, I need new clothes anyhow," she said, "I can't fight in this stuff which Dalton forced me to put back on."
"I thank thee, Schala."
Cered took the piece of cloth and tied it around his head to keep the pretty long hair away. Then he stuck his hands into the dirty crown and shook around a bit.
"Much better," Schala said, and Cered smiled.
Frog and Magus stared, however. The red-brown hair was now pointing in all directions, held up by the headband.
"Oh, my," Frog said, "Cered, thou art..."
"Crono's ancestor," Magus ended the sentence.
"Who is Crono?" Cered asked, raising his eyebrows.
"That will be revealed in time," Frog said, suddenly remembering where they all were, "but for the moment we must haste to land this fortress."
"Yes, that's right," Schala said, "come on, let's go."
They hurried back through the corridors. Molor seemed to be fine, despite the time in prison. But on the other hand he was a snake, and he looked like the kind of creature that enjoyed darkness.
The servants and guards were very relieved to see everyone back in one piece, especially Schala.
"Now we'll get out of here," she calmed the men and women, "where's the machine room?"
A few minutes later Schala and her friends stood in another dusky room. It was empty except for the cylinder, which stood in the middle of the room, connecting the floor with the ceiling. The cylinder was glowing with an eerie, green light, and there was a soft buzz coming from it. Schala stepped forward and put her hands on the source of the sound and light.
"Yes, it's me," she whispered to the cylinder, strangely calming, "now do as I tell you. Land this fortress somewhere not too far from the human town, carefully."
The buzz increased. Somehow it sounded happy.
"Good work, be careful," Schala said with a kind smile.
Frog could feel how the fortress steadily sunk to the ground, but he couldn't explain how he felt it.
After about half an hour of waiting, the room (and probably also the whole fortress as well) crumbled as the ground was reached. But surprisingly enough, everything kept in place; it had landed just right to keep balance.
"Good," Schala said to the cylinder, then turned to Magus, "Janus, could you break the glass for me?"
As the scythe sent pieces of glass flying through the half room a small, glowing stone flew out of the cylinder with its thin chain as a tail behind it. Schala took it in her hands, smiling. It was her pendant.
"Yes, I have missed you too," she said and put the chain over her head.
The magic stone glowed one last time, somehow pleasant, and then stopped to shed light.
"So that was Dalton's source of power," Magus concluded.
"Yes. And that is why he couldn't use its power to harm you, Janus, my pendant wouldn't have allowed that. Me, Molor and Cered returned here to look for it, that's why we were captured by Dalton," Schala explained, "I thought that if I gave it to someone who could pass it on to their children, it might help you find me if you also were looking."
"You still need to leave it to someone," Magus said, "it must be owned by the queens of Guardia to let history close."
Schala nodded, a bit sadly.
"I'm aware of that. Now then, let's get everyone out of here."

One hour later all the humans were finally out, and a few scouts had also left the fortress. The five time-travelers were left alone at the beach, as everyone else ran away as soon as possible.
"It must be destroyed, 'tis a foul contraption," Cered said, gravely watching the silent fortress.
Its flashing light had stopped, the lamps had surely also been powered by Schala's jewelry.
"It's nothing," Magus said with a thoughtful sneer, "I will be able to take care of it when I've had some rest."
"Magus," Frog said.
"What is it now?"
"Thou indebted me to help thee find thy sister. May I now return to my own time?"
Magus coldly smiled down at the amphibian.
"Would I stop you from going? I'll be glad never to see you again."
He raised his hands to open a Gate.
"Wait," Schala said.
"What is it now?" Magus and Frog said simultaneously.
"To find you, Janus, was the greatest victory I'll ever experience," the princess said, "but Lavos' presence still causes problems through history, and there are a lot more of his spawns left to be killed. What I'm trying to say is that at least mine and Cered's journey must continue, and I would like to ask both of you to join us."
"Of course I'll come with you," Magus said, concluding.
Frog hesitated.
"I would gladly lendeth thee my help, Schala, but my liege need me. Thy brother's former comrades might attack in my absence. And anyhow, I could not leave for such a quest without permission. At least not unless some vile warlock forced me to."
Magus ignored the glare. Frog shook his head.
"My wish is to help thee, but first I must seek out Flea and Slash, and ask my liege if I can leave."
"Then we will help thee conquer thy enemies," Cered said.
"I thank thee, but I could not ask of thee to interrupt thy journey..."
Magus snorted.
"This will take forever. We don't even need the reptile, so why discuss it?"
"But he is a strong warrior," Schala pointed out before the fighting had time to begin, "and he seems to be the only one of us who can use healing magic. You have to admit that, Janus."
Schala turned to Frog again.
"Look, if you want to help us, of course we want to help you," she said with a warm smile, "you've already done a lot for me, Cered and Molor without asking anything of us. Allow us to at least return the favor."
Frog smiled.
"'Tis an honor that thy wish is to help me, Schala."
"Yes, yes!" Magus said, irritated, "we'll all help each other, let's just settle it!"
"My, thou art impatient today," Frog smirked.
"You're just getting on my nerves, even more than usual."

Part two