Love, Cannibals and Evil Cats
By Brandon Rice
Disclaimer: Not mine. Seriously.
Quick Note: To Lone Gunmen, who left the first review, yes I am a fan of LuMa, and I'd be happy to email you. Only one problem, FFnet's being bad and I can't see the picture box with your email in it. All I get is that annoying red x box. Anyway, as soon as FFnet stops being such a pain I'll send you that mail.
Oh, and I need a beta. If anyone's interested just let me know in a review, or email, or IM or whatever. Seriously, I NEED a beta.
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Lucca's eyes opened. Not that it made any difference, since she couldn't see. The only thing she saw was a large, brown blur. Her glasses were obviously someone other than their rightful place on her eyes, and it irritated her. Being conscious without her specs would give her a terrible headache in a few minutes. It was like her entire brain was out of focus without her sight. Grunting she tried to sit up, but found that that only caused a pain to shoot from her thigh down to her toes.
"Shit." Lucca breathed quietly, lying back and closing her eyes. Memories had flooded back to her by now and she was well aware that she should be thankful she even survived. Questions like 'Is Epoch okay?', 'Where am I?', 'What was that statue?' and, though she didn't know why 'What happened to Magus?' were swimming in her head right now. Though she wasn't even going to attempt to answer them. She noticed that she was not wearing her own clothes, either; rather she wore some insulated pajamas. Wool. She hated wool. It made her itch horribly – and the split-second she thought of this she began to itch all over.
It hurt to move, but she managed to get the wooly shirt off. Why did she have to be in wool? True, she'd probably freeze to death without it; but that was a small price to pay. She'd rather be cold than itchy. Had she known that Magus was sitting about three feet away on her right, she probably would have gone with itchy.
"And what is this supposed to be? If you think you're rewarding my saving your life by going topless, think again little nerd. Flea's more attractive than you."
Lucca dove beneath the blanket so quickly it hurt her leg once again. She glanced around the room till she saw a pale, blue-haired blur and then she glared at it. Magus laughed in the rudest, most obnoxious voice she'd ever heard. Lucca would have liked to say something, but she was trying to hold back the tears of pain from the dive to safety. She knew her leg must be broken, or sprained, or something.
"Where are we?" Lucca finally muttered.
"It's been twenty-two years since Zeal fell. This is the second largest human settlement in the new world. Uncreatively they named their town Second. It's sad, really. People this stupid don't deserve to live."
Lucca glared again. "What –"
"Epoch crashed." Magus said, already guessing the question. "It demolished a house they were building for the Mayor. They weren't too happy with us until I demonstrated my magic to them."
"You mean threatened them."
"I guess you really are a genius." Magus must have taken delight in sarcasm, because Lucca almost never received a straight answer. "Epoch is fine; except it can't fly and every time I try to time jump a little red light comes on."
Lucca groaned. "The battery must be dead."
Magus frowned, though Lucca couldn't see it. "Super, considering we're stuck in this God-forsaken land. Look, I found out the dirt. There's a town to the North that they built with the wreckage of the Blackbird."
Lucca looked rather excited. "If we could get to the old Blackbird engine we could recharge Epoch's battery and jump far enough ahead in time to repair it!"
Magus shook his head. "Whatever. We'll deal with that later. You get your rest."
Lucca nearly fainted. "W-what? Why?" Magus couldn't be concerned for her health, could he? That wasn't like him. He was mean, and evil, and cold; and not the caring kind.
Magus must have read her facial expression again because he laughed in that same obnoxious way and said: "Don't flatter yourself; I need you to fix Epoch. Now sleep, and keep your clothes on this time."
About Seven Hours Ago.
Magus watched as Lucca smashed into the icy ground. He hoped she wasn't dead, since that would mean he'd never repair Epoch. Looking to his side he soon realized he had more immediate problems than a crashed time machine. There was a pillar of smoke stretching all the way to the sky, black and inky. A wooden house was burning and Epoch's remaining wing could be seen within all the dancing flames. He didn't really care about that. He did care about the several people running towards them carrying large, pointed weapons."What the hell are you doing boy!?" An older man with shaggy gray hair reaching halfway down his back yelled as he arrived. He held a spear close to Magus's visage.
"Put that away." Magus warned.
"Who are you people?" A second man, this one younger with brown hair and a matching mustache bellowed. He held a sword, though it looked to be made of rock and not metal.
"Put that away." Magus repeated in a much icier tone.
"What did you do to the house?" The gray-haired man, who appeared to be the leader, asked once more. All of them wore badly knitted clothing and large fur cloaks over it. All of them except for the mustached man who wore a white silk robe with a silver cloak draped around his shoulders. It was the outfit the old Enlightened Priests used to wear.
Magus decided it was time they respected him. And as both his mother and Ozzie had taught him, respect can only be earned by fear. So in one swift motion Magus called his scythe to him and grabbed it from beneath his cloak. He swung it twice, once to cut the pole of the old man's spear and once to slice the rock-sword in half, and then held it loosely at his side.
The entire group flinched and took a collective step backwards. Magus's smirk, which had appeared at his victory, waned. He had noticed the large pool of red snow collecting around Lucca's unconscious body. Maybe she was dead. No, he could see her chest rise and fall slowly with each shallow breath. Although her shorts were torn and a large gash went all the way down the side of her leg.
"I am Magus." The wizard said to the crowd. "I am a mighty wizard who commands the magicks of the world. If you do as I say, I shall grant you power and fortune. If not I shall slaughter the lot of you and leave your bodies for the monsters that inhabit this world. Now, take my companion to someplace safe and see that she is treated for her wounds!"
The crowd didn't look convinced. Magus's right eye twitched out of annoyance. Hadn't they all seen Epoch fall from the sky and crash into their stupid hut? Wasn't it enough that he showed them he could slice them all into cadavers with his scythe? Well, it hadn't been enough for Queen Zeal and he was stupid to expect any better from these idiots.
"You take us for idiots?" The gray haired man laughed. "Magic died when Zeal fell. Unless you're from the Omen." At the mention of the flying Omen in the sky, everyone shuddered and Magus flicked his eyes up to his mum's palace.
"Show us some 'Magic', Mr. Wizard!" One of the men called out before laughing to his buddies.
"Fine." Magus growled. He made a quick gesture with his gloved hands and then pointed a finger at a large boulder that lay in the snow some feet away. A thin beam of black light shot from the tip of his finger and wrapped itself around the mass of earth. Then it all exploded in a burst of black inferno. This time the people all gasped and quickly ran to carry out Magus's orders. Magus grinned once again. It had been much too long since he had servants.
Magus spent his first hour learning the basics. Zeal had fallen twenty-two years ago and the world had united at the Last Village. Then one day, about two years after Zeal's downfall, Dalton had appeared with those who survived the Blackbird wreck and announced that he would be creating his own Kingdom, and any who came to serve him would be rewarded. The hunting had been bad and the blizzards worse, so nearly everyone went with him. Dalton had built a grand castle with a large statue of himself on top (Magus had swore very loudly at hearing this) and he'd used the Blackbird's remains to build a great ship that traveled with the same power as the airship, and contained a devastating laser canon; the last weapon of Zeal.
For about ten years things had been good. Then their food ran out. Most of the people followed a new leader – Rexham Gershwin – and gone south. They built a new home for themselves and called it "Second" since it was the Second City. Dalton had started a brief war with them to destroy the "traitors" but it was during that time that "they" appeared. Strange monsters that looked like small, purple kittens. That is until you got close enough for them to show their true form and devour you. (Magus had always wondered where his mother had gotten him the odd colored cat, and now it looked like Alfadore not only wasn't a cat, but wasn't one of a kind.)
Because the cat creatures lived in the only road between Dalton's City and Second, the war was called off. Rexham was old now, almost sixty-seven, so his son Maxx led the hunters. Second was divided into four kinds of people. The Hunters, which was every man and any strong woman, who's only job in life was to hunt monsters for meat. The Villagers, which was anyone too young, weak or old to fight. They spent their time making items from monster remains and the few herbs that grew in the caverns. The Explorers were all former hunters who, rather than hunting, traveled into the mountains to find spices and herbs and plants for medicine and food. And lastly the Leaders, which was Rexham Gershwin (the Mayor) and a few of his aids.
The old man who'd tried to spear Magus was Rexham Gershwin, and the man with the mustache was his son Cecil. Cecil and Maxx were brothers, but with one big difference; Maxx was a hunter and Cecil was a villager. Cecil was the local priest and healer in the town. He knew how to make the strongest medicines, so he was allowed to stay home from hunting.
After learning all of these things Magus had overseen the recovery of Epoch. Rexham had ordered many people to help dig Epoch out of its grave of snow and house wreckage. Magus had to wait nearly five hours for it to be done. When it was he had been disappointed to learn it wouldn't take him to the future, or past, or anywhere. So with nothing else to do he went to check on Lucca.
"Moon Stone? Never heard of it. Now get lost!"
Crono and Marle stood in the living room of the Mayor of Porre. He was a mean, chubby little man whose home smelled like pepper and jerky. The shelf beside the couch the mayor sat on was glowing silver, just as Magus had been when he held the Moon Stone, and neither of the time travelers was going to buy his story."We can see the sparkles!" Marle insisted.
"What sparkles? I ain't no fairy."
"Could've fooled me." Marle muttered before changing her approach. "Look buster, I happen to be Princess Nadia Guardia of the Guardia Kingdom! And if you don't hand over that Moon Stone right now I'm going to have my father put you in prison!"
The Mayor began to laugh very hard. By the time he was done he was lying on his side, clutching his chest with his pants now damp. The time traveling duo took a step in reverse.
"Sure you are. And I'm Toma the Explorer!" He called when he finally regained enough composure to speak. Marle looked both sickened and outraged as she reached around for her Crossbow, but Crono quickly grabbed her by the arm and pulled her out of the Mayor's earshot.
"Marle, no! He's just a mean unhappy little man. We're not going to kill him." Crono said in his leader voice. "Hey, the house smells like jerky. Maybe we can buy some jerky, give it to his ancestors, and teach them the value of generosity."
Marle sighed. "I guess you're right."
"Hey, Princess!" The Mayor called sarcastically. "Maybe I'll give you the Moon Stone if you give me some –" As the man gave his request, Crono's eyes lit up with rage "How about it baby?"
"C'mon Crono, let's go get that jerky and get out of this perverts house!" Marle snapped. But Crono wasn't paying attention. The spiky-haired hero had drawn his katana and swung it with a vicious passion. The blade easily split the mayor's table in half and caused the mayor to soak his breeches once more.
"T-T-Take it!" The Mayor screamed, literally throwing the Moon Stone at them. Marle caught it and smiled. Crono returned his sword to its proper place before leading Marle out of the house with all due speed.
(C'mon, 9,900G for Jerky? Who hasn't wished you could just do this instead.)
The second time Lucca woke up something was different. She looked over to her right and saw a young man with rich russet hair and a matching mustache bending over her bed. Lucca gave a squeak and jumped backwards. As soon as she had done that she realized her leg wasn't hurting anymore, which drove away the idea that a strange man was next to her."Calm down Madam Lucca." The man said in a deep, soothing voice. "You are in no danger. I am Cecil, the healer of this town."
Lucca suddenly remembered the entire ordeal. Epoch, Magus, this strange town. "Oh." Then something else. "Hey, how'd you know my name?"
Cecil blinked. "Lord Magus informed us that you were called 'Lucca'."
Lucca settled back down into the bed. "Oh." And then. "Lord Magus?"
Cecil nodded. "Indeed. My father, Lord Gershwin, has instructed us all to treat Lord Magus as we would him. And that includes noble titles."
Lucca knew how egotistical Magus was and she would hate to see how this was all going to his head. Then again, Magus was the rightful heir of Zeal, so in a way he really was their ruler. "Well, I don't want a title. They bug me."
Cecil looked very nervous about this (it actually reminded her of when she had told Robo the same thing) but he offered her a smile and agreed to treat her formally. At least when his father wasn't around.
"Did you fix my leg?" Lucca asked.
"I did what I could. I mended your bones and gave you a special tonic that should take away all feelings of pain; but I could not seal the gash."
'Gash? I have a gash? Great, as if I wasn't ugly enough. Lucca thought miserably to herself. She grabbed the blanket and threw it off her. She was pleased to see her wool shirt was back on (it appeared the tonic also kept her from itching, since she didn't feel itchy at all) but she wasn't as happy about the rest of her. She wore pajama pants much like the shirt she had on, except the entire right pant leg was missing. Instead she saw her bare skin, and the deep red scar that went from her hip to her ankle. Lucca winced just thinking about it. She must have hit something on the way down, she figured, to make that kind of scar.
She looked over to Cecil, who was rummaging through a large black bag that appeared to be sitting on a chair. She still had a hard time seeing, so she couldn't quite tell what he'd removed from the bag.
"Lord Magus informed us of your eye condition as well." Cecil told her. "These are the only glasses I could find, you should wear them."
Lucca was going to argue that they may not even be her prescription, but as she slipped them on her sight suddenly became perfect. Cecil noted her shock.
"The Enlightened Ones used to wear those, before the collapse." He explained. "The glass is enchanted to change with the wearers needs. Most of the things from Zeal were ruined, or devoid of magic with Lavos-Power gone; but these still seem to work."
Lucca smiled and thanked him. Then she looked at her surroundings for the first time. She was in a large bed with silk sheets. It seemed off that they'd be made of such an expensive material, but it was a million times better than wool. The room itself was just a basic brown wood, but she noticed that the walls were covered in bookshelves full of novels and vials of liquids.
"This is my home." Cecil explained. "As I told you, I am the Town's Healer and Priest. It was best to bring you here since I have full access to any medicine you may need."
"Thanks." Lucca responded, though she had more questions. "Hey, where's Magus?"
"I believe he went out with my brother on the hunt today. I shall send him to see you once he returns at nightfall."
"Kay." Lucca responded before falling back into her pillows and drifting off too sleep. Cecil had neglected to mention that his potion would make her incredibly sleepy. Though it kept her from feeling the agony of her leg, so it was a fair trade. Cecil covered her back up with the sheet and then sat down in the chair Magus had once occupied and went back to his book.
"My lord.""Yes?" Dalton responded tiredly. Dalton was older now. It had been twenty-two years since his thirtieth birthday and that was quite a long time. Still, he had the fear and respect of everyone in his Kingdom. His face was practically unchanged. Only a few gray hairs and a handful of wrinkles told the passage of time. He had not received Queen Zeal's promised immortality; but he had been around Lavos-Energy enough to slow down the aging process. Slow down, but not stop.
Dalton was in a bad mood today. Several hours ago, in the morning hours, something had crashed into his statue. A large scar was now spread across the "Grand Imperial Salute of Emperor Dalton" statue's face. It did not improve his mood when he saw the wing that was recovered. He knew what it was at once; a wing from the Aero-Dalton Imperial. Someone had his ship! Even after all these years, Dalton loved that ship. (Despite the fact it was never "his" to begin with.)
"We have confirmed
reports of a strange man with blue hair in the traitor's village.
He calls himself Magus and claims to be a wizard."
Dalton's single eye flicked open at this. "Are you certain?"
"Quite." The underling responded as he bowed low before the throne of Dalton. "Our spy saw him!"
The Emperor's face split into a devilish smile. Magus? Wasn't that the name Janus had always used whenever he played pretend? Yes, Dalton still remembered those days in Zeal. Janus was an annoying boy with an annoying cat and no real talent for magic. Schala had pitied him, but Dalton never did. Whenever he saw the boy pretending to cast spells at night when he thought no one was watching – oh how Dalton hated those times!
"The spy also claims the blue-haired one had powerful magic." The underling's report continued.
"What!?" Dalton shot up in his seat. Everyone in the room flinched as he did. "No, impossible!"
"Shadow Magic, Lord Dalton." The underling informed him. Dalton cursed and leaned back.
"Send word to our spy to keep an eye on this 'Magus'. But my orders are not to break cover! As soon as we have more information we'll decide on how best to proceed."
If this blue-haired master of magic was indeed 'Magus', and if Magus was in reality Janus, then that was a problem. Dalton's engineers were close to solving the feline dilemma; which would mean his war could continue! Even after ten years, the idea of having Rexham Gershwin's head on a plate was too fine to pass up. And if he could have the head of Janus Zeal while he was at it, then praise the kingdom of Dalton!
The Inn in Porre smelled of jerky and pepper, as did everything in this town. Crono was lying on his bed looking up at the ceiling. He and Marle had had a long day. Lucca had dropped them off in Porre to find a boat that could ferry them across the ocean so they could check on the Sun Stone. She could have dropped them off right at the cave, but then if it was there they'd be stuck on that island until her return; and Marle wouldn't sleep on the floor.
Luckily enough they'd found the stone in Porre not long after being dropped off. The morning was still young and they had acquired the stone, returned it to its proper place and returned to Porre by the afternoon. It was almost nightfall and since Lucca didn't return they decided to get a room. Which led them to their current places; Crono lying on his bed bored as hell while Marle's off-key singing could be heard from her place in the bathroom.
Crono loved Marle, he
really did, but he prayed he'd never hear her sing again. The
shower had drowned out most of the sound but not nearly enough. Just
like his ruby vest hadn't blocked enough of Spekkio's flare
attack yesterday during his training. Oh well, he wasn't going to
bother her. Instead he'd just stay in bed and rest. Tomorrow would
be a big day. While Marle, Lucca and Frog had been busy on Death
Mountain trying to revive Crono; Magus, Ayla and Robo had gone to
Giant's Claw and obtained the Rainbow Shell. It was still stored at
Guardia Castle; but since Crono was revived they had forgotten to go
and pick it up. After they had the Sun Stone they were going to swing
down to Marle's home and obtain whatever new goodies they could
This was not going to happen, however.
At that moment the hotel room door burst open and several men came barging in. All of them instantly scowled at Crono and he wasn't sure if it was because of dislike for him, or for his taste in music. Each of the men wore black pants and matching shirts, as well as masks that covered their entire faces. Crono would have thought they looked like Ninjas if not for their choice of weapons. Two held hatches, another had a sickle (which was no where near as scary as Magus's) and the last two had pitchforks. A sixth man, who was short and chubby, held a miniature crossbow in his hand.
"Get him!" The Mayor of Porre's voice cried from behind the mask of the chubby sixth guy. Crono cursed.
Crono jumped backwards as the man with the sickle slashed at him. The scythe cut the bed sheets and ruined his pillow; but didn't touch the lightening imbued youth at all. Crono drew his katana – the Swallow – and slashed once with thunder-quick speed. The blade drew blood across the man's legs just behind his knees and he went sprawling to the floor with a moan.
"GET HIM! KILL HIM!"
The Mayor shouted.
The two men with hatches ran forward now. The small hand axes were great against trees; but lousy against Crono. Crono slashed his sword across once and cut the hands of the men holding the hatches. They both dropped the axes as they let out cries of pain (still not enough to drown Marle's shower song, though). Crono then kicked one of the men in his happy place and hit the other in the forehead with the hilt of his blade.
"Oh for crying out loud! KILL THAT BASTARD!"
The first pitchfork user thrust his weapon like a spear. Crono held the Swallow out in front of him and caught the fork. The sword was in-between the two rusty points on his enemies weapon and since Crono was much stronger, he held him in place. Crono pushed the foe back and then let fly with a lightning attack. The poor fool was shocked, dropped and unconscious in seconds.
It was the Mayor's turn now. He raised his mini-crossbow and fired three dart-sized arrows into Crono's chest. Crono raised his sword to strike, and then fell down asleep.
"Sleeping Venom." The Mayor laughed to his companion.
A moment later Marle exited the bathroom. She was dressed once more and just fastening her pendant around her neck when she realized what was going on. Too late; the Mayor shot her as well and she fell asleep quickly. Then the mayor started walking towards her with a mean look in his eyes.
"What'cha doing boss?" the remaining pitchfork henchmen asked nervously.
"Well I ain't giving her flowers." The Mayor laughed. "This one's too cute to pass up."
"But boss! That really is Princess Nadia! My brother works up at the castle; I've seen her before." The henchman was nervous. He knew his boss's reputation, and if he did that to the princess it would be enough to get all of Porre destroyed.
The Mayor cursed as fluently as an angry sailor, but suddenly stopped and turned to look at the unconscious Crono. The henchmen shivered, misunderstanding his boss's intention."C'mon boss, not the guy, that's nasty."
"No you retard!" The Mayor snapped. "I've got a plan. Tie the Princess up, put her in a sack full of jerky, and send her to the ship that sails from the port at sundown."
The Henchmen's eyes widened behind the mask. "That ship sails to the Mystic Village."
"I know, idiot. She'll be killed when the Mystics find a hidden human. Tie the boy up and send him to Guardia Castle with a note saying we saw him murder the princess. We'll get a big fat reward, and they'll both die for what they did to me!"
The Mayor laughed a long, loud laugh just like he had back at his house during his first encounter with Crono and Marle. And just like at his house, a damp spot appeared. The henchmen ignored this and obeyed the order.
Hey! Wow, I got two reviews on FFnet, and one on MMorg. Awesome. Thanks you guys, it's really nice to know someone's reading it. Here's chapter two, hope you enjoyed it. I know, no LuMa yet. But if I rush it, it'll seem OOC and mushy. And I don't want that. Next chapter we'll see Magus blow stuff up, A village girl mistakes Lucca and Magus's relationship, and Crono winds up in jail . . . again.