Lesson 6: Expect the Unexpected and Other Useless Clichés

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   "So," Lucca huffed as she dropped exhaustedly to the snow. "Exactly where was the 'greatness' you were talking about, Frog? I saw the 'battle' part, but I don't remember any 'greatness'."

Frog frowned, a little hurt.

   "Why hath we entirely skipped over a perfect opportunity for another battle scene?"

   "Because all three of these battles have been exactly the same, and Rhianwen doesn't have a lot of imagination when it comes to describing a frog, a robot, and a mad scientist beating up a spiky thingy," Robo replied.

   "The rest of the time, however…" Frog began, before trailing off.

   "Way too much," Lucca finished flatly, glaring upwards at the heavens, evidently believing that bad fan fiction authors dwelt among the deities rather than at the nearest anime and comic book dealer, among the role-playing geeks.

   "At any rate, let us continue," Frog suggested briskly as twelve camels ambled past, wearing Hawaiian shirts and shades, and singing a song in a snazzy blues/punk fusion style. "Our fallen comrade Crono wilt not revive himself."

   "Yeah, I guess that's true," Lucca sighed, narrowly escaping tripping over one of the legion of stuffed penguins that had just waddled into their path.

   "Gragh! I'm mad, meow!" it howled as she picked it up by one flipper and hurled it off the side of the mountain.

   "Y'know, it's not imagination when you rip it off from somewhere else," Lucca informed the skies airily, having apparently not read the narration carefully enough.

Which was, perhaps, just as well.

After all, conversation between characters and narration tends to be good for little more than bringing a story to a screeching halt.

At this point, the narrator was compelled to break into a run, in order to catch up with Frog, Lucca, and Robo, where were continuing – rather quickly – on their merry way.

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   "Oh, geez, that weird guy in the tweed jacket and elbow patches is still following us," Lucca muttered to Robo.

   "Dost thou mean the man smoking the pipe and reading from the leather-bound book?" Frog asked, glancing quickly over his shoulder and away with equal swiftness when the man, none other than our goodly narrator, looked up.

   "Yeah, but don't look at him!" Lucca hissed. "He'll think that means we want to be friends!"

   "A truly horrifying thought," Frog shuddered. "Let us hasten with even greater fervour."

   "Tell you what, Frog: you hasten with all the 'fervour' you want. Robo and I will just walk faster," Lucca said dryly as the narrator pouted briefly, and then ambled away to provide his elegant and ever so necessary exposition from a less obvious place.

   "That art basically what I meant," Frog said, hurt.

   "Forget that, Frog," Lucca sighed as she came to a halt before a wall of solid rock in which their path had terminated. "Where do we try now?"

Frog frowned, perplexed.

   "We hath tried every path possible. Art thou certain that there is no trick to this cliff? After all, Lucca, dost thou recall the last time?"

   "Oh, with Moron, right?" Lucca said, nodding wisely and cackling inwardly as one gruff curmudgeon made an annoyed noise from whatever plain of reality he had wandered off to once no longer of use to a fan author with a propensity for gags. "Frog, there was a blue twinkly thing that time. Blue twinkly things always have some secret behind them. But there's no blue twinkly thing this time. So I'd say that in this case, a cliff face really is just a cliff face."

   "Then thou art suggesting that we back-track?" Frog asked heatedly. "We hath no time for that!"

   "I don't like it any more than you do, Frog," Lucca snapped. "The more we back-track, the longer we're out here! Fire innate, remember?" she finished, pointing to herself.

Frog sighed.

   "I apologize, Lucca. I was thinking only of my own troubles."

   "Do you mean the fact that Crono is dead right now, Frog?" Robo asked innocently.

Frog hesitated.

   "Er…well…"

   "Okay, okay, fine," Lucca grumbled. "I get your point, Robo. There are bigger things to worry about than my little feetsies being cold. Like the fact that THERE'S NO DAMN BLUE TWINKLY THING!"

   "Er…Lucca…" Frog called hesitantly as she proceeded to kick the rock wall several times, punch it several more, and then back up for a good head-butt.

At this, as she began to charge forward, Frog caught her by the back of the coat.

   "Thou wilt hurt thyself that way," he informed her sternly when she twisted about in his grasp to glare at him questioningly.

   "That's why you leave things like that to me!" Robo added before charging at the cliff.

   "Robo, wait!" Frog and Lucca exclaimed in unison, foreseeing remarkably similar disaster.

The prophetic natures that, oddly enough, neither possessed did not disappoint.

Barely had they given their dismayed shouts when a massive clang of metal against rock rang through the air, and Robo collapsed to the snow.

   "I suppose I overestimated exactly how many hit points more I have than either of you," he admitted weakly before losing consciousness.

Or before his systems went through automatic damage-control shutdown. Again, whichever my reader prefers.

   "Robo wilt surely require many repairs now," Frog groaned, kicking their comrade once or twice and then grabbing his foot in pain and hopping about most comically. "Ouch…"

   "That's not the part that worries me," Lucca said, eyes growing wide with horror as she scanned the skies anxiously.

   "What art that?" Frog asked absently, trying to pound some feeling that wasn't back into his foot, and finally reflecting that hitting it more – a method generally thought to cause pain – might not be the best way to do it.

   "The massive wave of snow descending at a dizzying rate," she replied pleasantly, hiking her bag up onto her shoulder and grabbing Robo's foot.

   "Yes, I suppose that art a happenstance which goeth contrary to our goal," Frog nodded thoughtfully.

   "Yeah," Lucca agreed. "Now, do you know how we should handle it?"

Frog considered this very carefully.

Lucca promptly lost patience.

   "GRAB A LEG AND RUN, YOU IDIOT!"

Seconds later, once Frog had obeyed, she glared at him icily enough to rival their approaching doom, which seemed to be conveniently taking its own sweet time, almost as though it, too, were anxious to watch the silliness unfold.

   "I. Don't. Mean. My. Leg," she bit out.

   "Er…that shalt cause me severe pain in the near future, shan't it?" Frog asked wisely.

Lucca shot him a sweet, scary smile.

   "Oh, yeah."

At this point, the snowy imminent doom that had begun this situation in the first place decided that these people weren't nearly as entertaining as it had expected, and continued its rapid descent, considerately making a great deal of noise to attract the attention of a certain bespectacled genius beating up a frog, and the attention of a certain frog being beaten up by a bespectacled genius.

   "Heh-heh…uh, let's finish this later, okay, Frog?" Lucca suggested, laughing nervously.

   "I doth be in full agreement," Frog said quickly, making a grab for Robo's leg.

Lucca resumed her grip on Robo's other leg, and the two dashed from the path of the avalanche with surprising quickness, considering their large metal burden.

Adrenaline is a wonderful thing, is it not?

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Robo opened his eyes – or rather, removed the obstructions that were his essentially useless eyelids from before his eyes – to a curious sight.

Lucca was busily, albeit very, very carefully, warming him with controlled, weak fireballs, running them – at a safe distance – over his torso and head. This was not so much the curious sight, although it did explain why his motor oil was having less difficulty running than it might have given the exceedingly low temperature that had previously been causing it to thicken most alarmingly.

The curious sight made itself apparent when he sat up, nearly being punched in the head by Lucca, despite her utter lack of involvement therein.

There, on the other side of the fairly large, flat shelf of space overlooking another cliff and surrounded on all other sides by sheer, nearly vertical cliff face, was Frog, peering closely at something.

This, also, might prompt the question as to why the sight was a curious one.

However, when one considers what exactly Frog was peering closely at, everything becomes clear. Or became clear, rather, in the interest of slipping back into the correct tense.

There, directly within Frog's line of vision, was a massive, rounded, semi spherical, and immensely spiky thing.

   "Are we being attacked by another Lavos Spawn?" Robo asked pleasantly.

   "Don't joke about that, Robo," Lucca growled. "No, this is the one we killed before. But it's not disappearing like the other ones, for some reason."

   "This art a strange turn of events," Frog noted with a frown. "Dost thou think this hast some special significance."

   "Well, it's no blue twinkly thing," Lucca replied, gazing at the shell, one hand held to her chin in consideration, "but I think it might."

   "If it's not too much trouble, could you two come help me?" Robo called.

Frog and Lucca turned in the direction the summons had come from, and stared, rather surprised, at the sight of Robo struggling to dislodge the Lavos Spawn's massive shell from its position in the middle of the clear area.

   "Uh…Robo?" Lucca ventured, certain that she would regret it. "What are you doing?"

   "I believe we have solved the problem of where we are supposed to go next," Robo replied cheerfully. "There's a path just up there, at the top of the cliff. If we simply move this large object with convenient foot-holds, over to the cliff, we can follow it."

   "That art very intelligent planning, Robo," Frog said, highly impressed. "Shalt we go aid our comrade, Lucca?"

   "No; let's just stand here and let him struggle with it alone," Lucca shot back sarcastically.

   "I would actually prefer that you didn't do that," Robo put in. "I do not believe that I'll be able to move the shell very far on my own."

   "Do not fear, Robo," Frog said, amused. "Lucca art merely being sarcastic, because she art highly annoyed that she was not the one to make thy brilliant discovery."

   "Oh, shut up and get over here," Lucca commanded in a grumble, stalking over to Robo and the shell.

Fifteen minutes of heavy exertion later, three highly disgruntled warriors leaned, huffing and puffing, against the shell.

For a brief moment, anyway.

Before the two that possessed nerve endings to register pain realized exactly why leaning against the carcass of the creature that managed to poke several painful holes in them was not the wisest course of action.

   "Everyone ready to go?" Lucca asked, rubbing her sore arm gingerly and glaring at the spike that had made it that way.

   "Verily," Frog replied, similarly glaring at a different spike and rubbing his sore forehead.

   "Is it really that hard to just say 'yeah'?" Lucca asked testily, rubbing the bridge of her nose beneath her glasses, which were once again becoming woefully frosted over.

Frog shrugged defensively.

   "Everyone hast a different manner of speech," he reminded her.

She had just begun to reply when he caught her by the waist and swung her up onto the shell. Through her startled and angered exclamation, she admitted to herself that this was certainly a creative way of signalling the end of the conversation.

   "Thanks, Mr. Caveman," she grumbled, glaring down at him.

However, Frog was given to know that her resentment and annoyance wasn't as great as they might have been, as her glare melted into a wry smile and she offered him a hand before turning to follow Robo the rest of the way up the shell to the top of the cliff.

   "Hmph. Perhaps things art 'looking up', as they say."

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Two and a half minutes later found Frog quickly and thoroughly changing his mind about that.

The three weary and increasingly annoyed travellers stared in horror at the narrow path of ice-encrusted rock stretching over a vast, deep canyon.

At a time like this, there was really only one thing to say, and Robo, Frog, and Lucca said it in unison, in utter defiance of characterization.

   "Oh, bloody hell…"

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   "Oh, bloody hell," an oldish man in a tweed jacket with elbow patches echoed from atop another cliff from which he was watching the party and documenting the action, muttered as he flipped through a bundle of papers marked Chrono Trigger: Script. "I do believe we've cocked up on the sequence of events. The treacherous ice-encrusted…thing was supposed to come ­before climbing the Lavos Shell. Ah! I have an idea!"

With this proclamation, he whipped out a thick black marker, and scrawled something into the margins, with a thick black arrow pointing to just before the bridge that Robo, Lucca, and Frog were trying at that moment to summon up the nerve to cross.

    "Hopefully, they won't notice one little, tiny extra Lavos Spawn battle…"

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End Notes: Heh-heh-heh…ugh. Yes, the little snippet with the Narrator at the end of this chapter was a bloody cop-out to compensate for the fact that someone doesn't read game walkthroughs quite carefully enough before she sets about writing fan fiction about in-game events. Still, hopefully no one minds too much. If so, I will go back and correct my notable error. Until, however…well, let's just say that a good writer would rewrite the chapter to correct their error, and this is the sort of thing that separates good writers from people like me. :o)