Author's Note: …Hi guys. I don't expect any of you to remember me, but I figured I'd dig this story out again and finish posting what I've written of it. I have another ten or so chapters, not all of which are finished. I definitely won't be writing anything new for a while, but, here. Have a chapter.
Chapter Four – A Somewhat Strategic Discussion
"Yes," Schala responded firmly, hands on hips. "You have to revive Magus, and Frog. Which means the two of them will be at each other's throats the whole time. Well, more so than usual. Tell you what. How about we do our reviving, and then go to Magus' residence to discuss this calmly and logically?"
"How about we remove the Masamune first?" Marle suggested, picking up the sword and handing it to Ayla. "Okay, Crono, we'll revive them at the same time. You do Life on Magus. Frog can have Life2, just in case. Considering he no longer has a weapon."
The two of them got into position. "Ready?" Marle asked.
"Born ready," was Crono's response.
"Excellent. One… two… three."
Magus and Frog came back to consciousness at almost exactly the same time. Frog rolled over and reached instinctively for the Masamune, which wasn't there. Magus jumped to his feet and instantly located his scythe. He glanced around, saw the Masamune in Ayla's hands and smiled. "Still up for it, Froggie?" he called mockingly.
Frog probably didn't hear him. His attention was focused entirely on Ayla. "Thou!" he snarled, getting to his feet. "Give me back mine sword! Thou will surely break mine blade."
"Break sword?" Ayla challenged. "Frog think Ayla clumsy like Reptite? Oh yes! Ayla so clumsy!" She positively hurled the sword to the ground, put on an expression of mock horror. "Oops! Ayla not mean do that," she said viciously.
"At least we could talk properly in the Middle Ages!" Frog snarled, seizing the Masamune and cradling it protectively.
"Oh yes, Frog talketh so properly," Ayla agreed sarcastically. She turned to Marle. "Frog talketh to thee properly, doth he not?"
"You mock me?" Frog demanded.
"Frog drop sword, we fight properly, like Frog talk!" Ayla ordered, bouncing up and down with her fists at the ready.
"Shut up!" Schala snapped. "We don't have time for your silly games! We are all going to Magus' residence and we are all going to have a very calm chat about what you need to do. And shut up before you think of saying that Frog can't come in!" she snarled at Magus before the wizard could speak.
Magus stonily led the way to his residence, although he clearly didn't think much of the idea. It was not Frog to whom entry was denied. Magus took Crono's arm before he even reached the door. "You can't come in here."
"Why not?" Crono demanded.
"Because you'll break something," Magus shot back. "I mean, that hair? You'll knock half the chandeliers off the roof!"
Crono's hand shot out as though it had a mind of its own to fluff Magus' long hair. "You're one to talk, Mr. Fashion Faux Pas!"
The insult, used slightly incorrectly, didn't exactly work because nobody understood what it meant. "What are you talking about?" Magus demanded, as he did not recognise the expression at all. "Is this another little thing from your side trip with Ms. Queen of Sluts to the year 2002, or wherever it was that you went?"
"How dare you talk about Marle that way!" Crono screamed and went for the wizard's throat.
Schala grabbed Crono and jerked him back before he could really attack, then dealt Magus a rather vicious slap. "Stop arguing," she hissed, eyes flashing, "or I may as well kill you all and do this myself!"
Dead silence. Magus was glaring at Frog, because he wasn't stupid or angry enough to glare at Schala when she was in this mood. Schala herself took several deep breaths and closed her eyes. She opened them again, nodded. "Okay, I'm safe for a bit. No, I'm by no means immune to it either," she assured them, entering the house. "I seem to be classified as belonging to this group as well as the Mages, so he gets two shots at me. Not much fun. So." Turning, she gave all of them meaningful looks. "Could we please stop arguing for long enough for me to explain what's going on?"
"Come and sit at the table," Magus ordered coldly and took them into the dining room, which was vast.
"Nice place you got here," Marle remarked idly, studying it. "And I meant that as a compliment!" she added quickly before Magus could take offence.
When they were all seated, Schala began. "Jandegar has all of the other Mages under a kind of spell. We will need them to help us, but before they can, we have to break his hold over them."
"How might we do that?" Robo wanted to know.
"You won't like this," Schala warned. "By challenging and defeating each of them in turn."
"Oh man!" Crono complained, leaning back in his chair. "We have to fight all of them?"
Schala nodded and the others groaned. "I can help you," she offered desperately. "I mean, I can't fight them for you, and usually I wouldn't be allowed to tell you anything, but this situation makes everything a little different. Each of the Mages has a little quirk that will ultimately lead to their defeat."
"Better than nothing," Lucca shrugged. "Out with them, girl!"
"With Kelke, all you have to do is wear him down," began the Mage. "His strategy, as I'm sure you remember, is out-and-out attack, and his only real defence is the black pool. You just have to survive the attacks and he'll do the rest himself, completely unintentionally. Don't attack him, and if you do, make it individually. He's been having… trouble with his magic lately, and he can't use it for extended periods of time," Schala admitted uneasily. She was giving away major trade secrets here and every word she spoke was a betrayal. She didn't really like the Mages, but she didn't want to betray them all. "That's why he gave up the first time you fought him. He is easily tired, and without magic he can't do anything. Kerrelei and Jhyskar you'll have to fight together. Don't give me that look! It's a weakness, not a strength. Jhyskar has amazingly strong defences, but he has little control over his element, fire, and so his attacks are weak. Kerrelei more than makes up for that, but her defences are not strong. Once you've defeated one, I'd say Kerrelei, then the other won't do anything against you. Whatever you do, do not use fire or water on either of them, because the other will turn the attack around, make it stronger, and get you with it. Who else is there?"
"Tarkyn," Marle supplied.
Schala considered. "Tarkyn will use any water or ice attacks you throw at him but is extremely susceptible to fire. His attacks are more status-related, not life-related."
"So he won't kill us but he'll make us crazy," Magus clarified.
"Exactly," Schala nodded. "Ciaruse, um… well, Magus, Crono and Frog are sitting that one out, because if provoked, she will sing at you. She can use water, lightning and something you haven't yet encountered, wind. She's fairly slow and her defences are weak against shadow. Uh-oh."
"What?" Magus demanded.
"Her defences are weak against you, and I think it's only you, but you're not fighting her," Schala told him firmly. "She'd sing at you and then you'd be fighting for her, against us. She… has a weakness other than her speed, or lack of speed. I'm fairly sure she does, but I can't think of it. I'll get back to you."
"What's the bet it's useless Ciaruse who kills us all?" Marle muttered darkly.
"Tarreiz blocked my hearing when we went to the Island of the Sirens," Crono remembered. "Can we do that? I mean, I want to help, and if we need Magus…"
"That could cause dangers in itself, but it's something to remember," Schala agreed. "Good thinking."
"And on the subject of Tarreiz, what's her weakness?" asked Crono curiously.
"Um…" Schala began apologetically. "When I said 'all of the Mages have a quirk', I really meant 'most of the Mages have a quirk'…"
Marle's voice was dangerously calm. "Tarreiz doesn't have a weakness, does she?"
"Well… considering that I can't even find her, I'm kind of… hoping we don't have to fight her," Schala admitted.
"If we do, you know, hypothetically speaking, what are we up against?" Crono asked her. "I don't want her taking us by surprise."
"Basically… you're up against me, but with maybe a little less power and more cunning," Schala told them. "Sorry," she added in response to their expressions of horror. "Whatever you do, do not go into Jeraska. I know you hate the place anyway, but it's her capital city. If she shows up anywhere, it'll be there."
"Schala, is it that you are also under Jandegar's spell?" Robo queried. "Usually I would not ask, but we have no wish to fight you, and if we do, then I believe it would be better to form a strategy now."
Schala considered, playing with her pendant as she thought. She glanced back at the robot. "I don't think I'm in his power, but I might end up there. I am more powerful than he is. I guess I'm more powerful than Tarreiz, but our power is… different. If you do have to fight me… then use Janus. Put him in everything. Not even in someone else's control will I ever be able to harm him."
"That's so sweet," Marle sniffled. Magus rolled his eyes but said nothing.
"I can transport you to their territories, so you won't have to walk too far," Schala told them. "The bad news is that I can only take you to the outer edge. I'm not allowed to enter. There's only one Mage who can go traipsing around as he pleases, and that's Kelke, because they do their best to ignore him anyway. That's why you have to fight, and free, him first." She glanced around at the others. "So will you do this for me?"
"Of course," Crono said instantly. "I mean, I've been getting bored, sitting around the castle and not having any adventures…"
"You were bored?" Marle demanded. "Well, if you'd told me that, I could have found you something to do!"
Crono, realising he was getting himself into trouble, said placatingly, "It was a good bored…"
"Yes, I'm coming," Marle assured Schala before turning back to Crono. "How bored, exactly?"
"Let's go sort these nasty Mages out!" Magus said firmly. "I'm all for it!"
"Well, it would be nice to start doing things again," Lucca admitted. "Frog?"
"I do not wish anyone to remain under the control of Jandegar," Frog stated. "I will go."
"Ayla fight!" Ayla put in enthusiastically.
"I agree with Frog," Robo said. "To remain under control of someone is a sad thing."
"Meow!" Alfador agreed.
"Good," Schala smiled. "I knew I could count on you. So shall we go now?"
"Wait," Magus cautioned, holding his hands out. "What's the weather going to be like there? I mean, which season is it? Aren't their seasons, like… cold, very cold, cold, and slightly warmer?"
"Well… yes," Schala allowed. "The last time you were there, it was cold, going into slightly warmer. The slightly warmer season has already passed, so it's cold."
"Going into very cold?" Magus clarified. Schala nodded and the wizard sighed. "The things I do for you, Schala…"
"Lucca will keep you warm," Schala said happily and transported all of them directly to the Black Citadel.