The Dream Stone; Our protagonists travel back through time only to land themselves in the midst of a confrontation…
Once again they found themselves in a rather dismal place. Ethereal swirls of mists surrounded them and chilled them to the bone. They did not realize that the end of time was so cold before. It was still the same as ever; unmoving, peaceful, yet incredibly dull all the while. It was the kind of silence that would make a child insane for the want of noise. However, an old man who loved to sleep would never find a thing to complain about. They saw the same old man they had met before sitting in his usual spot on the bench, fast asleep and snoring loudly.
"How are you Gasper?" Marle said sweetly as she woke him.
He muttered in weak surprise, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, "Oh," he started with subdued merriment and a yawn, "so good to see you all again."
"Sorry to wake you, but do you know where…"
"You are looking for a stone to complete the Masamune, are you not?"
The party recoiled in surprise, "How did you know that?"
"I am a very wise man." Gasper said with a humorous smile. He continued, his seriousness returning, "The foundation of the earth; the very mineral that gave life to plants which sustain us and all manner of beasts. There was a time when my dearest friends called it the 'dream stone'." At the mention of his friends, Gasper removed his hat, placed it to his chest, and bowed reverently. He replaced his cap and said, "You will not find it in your time, nor will you find it during the Great War. You will need to travel to the very beginning of time itself."
"Is there a way to travel there?" Robo asked.
An old weathered hand steadily pointed to the glowing pillars. "I imagine the creation of the world is a very sacred thing to see. For a length of time that you cannot even begin to imagine, I have lived here and never even seen a glimpse of it. However, there is a time where the first of the human race were created and multiplied considerably. It is far from the birth of the world, but there is a great chance that you will find what you seek there. It is millions of years before your time and a few thousand years after the creation."
"Very well, thank you." Crono said with a polite bow.
They began to walk their way, but at that moment Gasper stood from his spot and called out to them. They turned around and Gasper motioned to them. "Crono, if you would, may I speak to you?" Crono looked at the others, slightly confused, but finally made his way to Gasper. Surprisingly, Gasper put a warm hand on Crono's shoulder in a comforting manner. Gasper's eyes were a wondrous thing: so gentle and soft when they were merry and then they were so blazingly sober that they seemed to peer deep past the eyes and into the soul. He spoke a little above a whisper and said, "My friend, we all have souls that have been created by the almighty before the earth was even formed. Even before we were formed in the womb he knew us, and gave us stations in life. It was his express desire that we all receive the gift of life, that every soul has a chance to live and be happy. Just because history is altered does not mean those souls will never live. Do you understand?"
A feeling had followed Crono for quite some time, although it would leave in a flighty manner only to come back just as heavy. However, there was something oddly inspiring in those words and Crono found himself feeling lighter, and even happier at hearing what was spoken. He only nodded, a diminutive smile crossing his face that showed he did not completely understand the words, but felt as if he understood the gist of it. Gasper squeezed his shoulder and gestured for him to leave. Crono joined his friends and they went to the pillar.
"Are you guys ready?" Crono asked.
"What did he say to you?" Lucca asked.
Crono shrugged, "To be honest, I don't think I completely know, but there's no time for that right now."
"Right!" Marle shouted gleefully, "It's time to get that material and finish Magus for good!"
With that, they were eveloped in a cloud of white, glimmering embers. In the twinkling of an eye they were gone, swallowed by the fabric of time.
The shining corridor was electric blue but suddenly there was what seemed to a wall at the end of the tunnel. It was sky blue in color and it was rapidly approaching. This way odd, because whenever they traveled through time they could see a part of the world rather than a strange wall. There was a great feeling of uneasiness as they zoomed towards the wall. Crono clenched his eyes shut and braced himself to be hurled headlong into the wall.
The pain never came. Instead, the coolness and whipping winds that usually came from the corridor turned into a comfortably humid feel. There was still wind and it felt as if he was flying. His eyes jarred open and he realize he was flying, at least until he began to fall. He no longer saw a plain blue wall, but they became various blurs of green, brown, and blue as he tumbled through the air. He could hear a violent crunching and metal scrapping as Robo hit the ground. He suddenly felt a dull blow and he was rolling in dirt down a slope. Trying to stand on his feet was a bad idea, because he began to flip and roll, his back taking the brunt of it all. Finally, he felt his body roll in something soft and far more forgiving than what he had felt before. Finally, he skid to a stop.
He did not get up immediately. He let his body rest from the strange excursion. He let his eyes stay shut for a second while he felt something cool on his back. He opened his eyes and saw what he thought at first to be a solid blue wall. It was a deep blue sky; a deep blue far purer than he had ever seen it. Hovering over him were tropical leave that were wild and untamed. He stood and brushed himself off, walking towards the others who reacted as he had done. He pulled them all to their feet, to which they uttered a quick and silent thanks. He looked upwards and saw a portal upon a cliff face. He could hear Lucca growl.
"Evidently, time travel can be very inconvenient and rude." She massaged a sore spot on her back.
Marle yelled in annoyance, "Why in the world would the portal be anywhere else besides solid ground?"
"Quiet, if you would, please." Robo stated urgently. All turned to him and watched him intently. His green, glass eyes scanned over the thick underbrush.
"What's wrong?" Crono asked, drawing his sword.
"We are not alone. The time portal is far more inconvenient than we thought."
Lucca readied her gun, "Remind me to slap Gasper upside the head when we get back for not warning us."
"Where are they?" Marle asked.
Their surroundings were thick with vines and leaves. They could smell sweet pollen from enormous wild flowers that bloomed in treetops. The ground was slippery with broken, unkempt banana tree trunks; later they realized that was what broke their fall. The constant hum and droning of insects made it very hard to detect any noise and Marle instantly regretted yelling in annoyance. That was possibly the noise that gave away their position. A small, shallow stream trickled in front of them and the water was crystal clear insomuch that they could see the smooth stones that lay underneath as if there was no water there.
A thick part of shrubbery gave way and a creature emerged. The creature was at least a foot taller than a typical man and it was covered in green scales. It had a long snout filled with pointed teeth, which were gnashing menacingly. Its feet was the same color as its body and held only three toes. It looked at the creatures as if it were greatly surprised, but suddenly it roared so loud that it boomed against the canyon wall which lay to Crono's back. They could hear the fluttering of countless birds fleeing from their homes in alarm. They could hear other creatures approaching, crushing the thick vegetation under their feet. A group of no more than twenty creatures like the first emerged from the brush.
Than, something very surprising happened. They spoke. Their speech was throaty as if they were choked with phlegm. "Are they the apes? But their clothing is like unto our master's!"
"Fear them not! Crush them under thy jaws, brethren! Slaves would not have fled from our fortifications! Advance!"
Just as quick as lightning, a group of them ran forward with catlike grace and speed. One nearly crushed Crono's arm in his jaws, but was bludgeoned by the sword. Bludgeoned applies best to the effect, because the sharp side of the sword left nary a scratch, but bounced off the scaly skin. The creature fell back, because the force of the blow was still great. The creature did not die, but collapsed as he momentarily lost his consciousness. Notwithstanding this show of power, the onslaught continued and jaws snapped loudly as they tried to find human flesh.
Crono, Marle, Lucca, and Robo fought valiantly, but they found themselves encumbered by their foe. A pair of jaws almost found its way to Marle's next before a pair of steel hands intercepted them. There was a horrifying moment where the titanium colossus battled the ferocious reptile. The jaws tried their hardest to shut and if Robo's hands were of flesh they would have been scraped to the bone by the constant thrashing. There was a stomach churning moment where Robo thrust himself upwards, shooting his arms further apart. There was a sickening skin deep crunch followed by a howl of pain. The party did not even have to look to know that the creature would never be able to eat anything again, or at least, chew it.
Lucca continued to fire bullet after bullet, but after watching the effect she had given it up and contented herself to enflame the enemy. Marle had reached the same conclusion after her brief stint with the bow. The small area which used to be green was covered in ice, burnt to a black cinder, or covered in blood. It wasn't until Crono summoned lightning from the sky that there was any lasting effect on the creatures. A new strategy was instantly formed and all allies surrounded Crono as he lashed out at each and every attacker. Robo covered from the front, delivering crippling blows into the side of any creature that came near.
They were growing tired and they began to notice that there were more than expected. They were jumping down from above now, trying their best to land on any of their targets. Marle was fortunate, yet unfortunate as she felt a claw deeply scratch her bare back. She fell forward and landed roughly on the loose stone bank. She turned around just in time to see a gaping maw lunge for her head. She screamed, and screamed even louder as the creature quivered violently from electric shock. "Hurry! Get up Marle! Are you okay? There are more coming this way!" She looked towards Crono, stretching arms in different directions, energy flowing through him constantly. A strong look of determination filled his countenance and it made him seem like warriors she heard of in fairy tales. Something burned within her and she rose, fighting just as hard as she did before.
It was still not enough…
The living creatures, if they dared to count, numbered in forty now and it seemed to be the end of their numbers. A large group lay dead at their feet and the air began to fill with the acrid smell of burnt skin. Crono began to lose his footing, but he shouted angrily at himself that he must continue. He concentrated, launching assault after assault until he felt burning pain on one of his arms.He screamed and turned to his left arm. He knew what it was when he felt it, for he could feel the sickening saliva and lashing tongue grace his arm. Tears poured down his face from pain before he yelled a curse and put an arm to the creatures head. In his anger, Crono made sure to punish his offender appropriately. The creature fell to the ground, its eyes wide and glazed over in anguish. Crono fell to his knee.
"No!" Lucca rushed to Crono's side, "Marle! Crono's hurt! Heal him! I'll cover for you!"
Crono jumped to his feet and staggered in place, "There's no time yet! Keep fighting!" He resumed his work, although a sickening feeling came over his stomach.
Even Robo was beginning to gain dents from the blows he received. "Crono, what shall we do? There are still to many of them!"
Crono prayed to himself, hoping wildly that an idea would come into his mind. Fate, at least this time, was incredibly kind to him.
As he continued to fight, the loss of blood slowly draining his energy, he saw a sea of these scaly creatures. Suddenly, he saw a creature fly awkwardly as if he had been thrown. It crashed into the canyon wall with a dull thud and slid limply down to the ground. Another followed and after another moment a large group of the assailants had turned around. They began to hear shouted orders among the gnashing and snapping jaws: "Is that the ape chieftain?"
"It is! She is here! And she is alone!"
"After her! Don't let her get away!"
Crono could only see in between recesses of the many bodies that surrounded him, but he could of sworn he saw a catlike creature run away with at least twenty of the creatures following her. Suddenly, color filled his cheeks again as the creatures realized that they were alone. They began to shake as they saw the dead around them, but something compelled them to move forward. By this time Robo had enough of these monsters and he leapt forward into the group of them. A creature lunged towards him, only to receive a blow to the top of its skull. It staggered for a moment, dazed. Robo quickly took it by the tail and swung it, releasing to Crono's direction.
The creature shrieked as it looked towards Crono. Crono took a wide stance, putting all his weight on his back leg. He swung his sword just as the creature flew towards him. There was enough power insomuch that the sword split the creature in two, leaving it in a messy mound behind him. The reptiles looked at the mess, astounded and a few began to flee. After a few more were disposed of, the rest finally ran as fast as they could through the foliage.
Crono smiled weakly in triumph as he lost consciousness and fell to the ground.
"Crono? Are you okay?"
He looked up, his eyes slowly opening. For a moment the world was spinning, but then it was illuminated by a glowing green light. His vision quickly cleared and he was able to notice that his head was resting in Lucca's lap while Marle attended to his arm. He raised, the muscles in his stomach screaming in protest. His whole body was sore from his constant barrage of spells. He shook his head and everything seemed to come into focus. He looked around. The women sighed in relief before each one took a moment to hit him where it didn't hurt before, "Don't you ever do that again!" They shouted, both sounding shaky.
"Trust me," Crono said with a feeble chuckle, "I don't ever want to do that again. Was I out long?"
"Only for a few minutes." Lucca answered. "We better look for this stone and leave before those things think about coming back."
They began to walk, but they heard something that made them sigh in irritation. A sword was drawn as well as a bow and gun. They looked towards the brush as it shook in place. Slowly, a foot, a leg, a waist, and a body came into view. What Crono saw made him blush a deep crimson, before looking away embarrassedly.
It was a very beautiful woman. In fact, it was the same woman that had lured away half of the attackers from before. She was strong and very well built. Her stomach was toned and her body was tan. Crono and the group were able to see these characteristics because she wore animal furs in such a way that it would give any chaste woman vicious palpitations. Her hair was full of golden curls that went down to the middle of her back. Her face was stern and seemed as it could be fierce if it wanted to, but at the moment it was smiling brightly. The group sheathed their weapons and the woman eyed her with disgust as the woman seemed to stare at Crono.
"Um…" Crono began clumsily, but he never finished his sentence.
In the blink of an eye the woman ran towards Crono. Even more surprising was the fact that she did so on all four appendages like an animal. The weapons were drawn in an instant save for Crono who looked at the approaching figure with a stunned filled dread. The woman was laughing as if she sounded amazed, or as if she had heard the most hilarious thing possible. She tackled Crono into the canyon wall, or at least that what it appeared to be. After a few moments the girl realized with white hot anger that this strange woman was embracing Crono, kissing him full on the mouth!
Crono squirmed but eventually succumbed just as any man. In all honesty, most men would be worried if Crono had not. Finally, the woman parted and she began to speak so fast and frantically that he nobody could understand what she was saying. However, Marle and Lucca stepped forward and said heatedly, "Hey! Hey, you! What are you doing? Get your hands off him!" The blonde woman turned away and smiled brightly, waving to the group of them before turning back to Crono and pinning him against the rock in a tight embrace while asking him frantic questions.
"Sino ka? Paano nagabut ka di? Ngaa lain ang ginasuk-suk mo? Eh? Ngaa wala ka nagabalos? Nakatchiende ka?"
"Wha-what?" Crono began awkwardly.
The woman did not even seem to notice, "Abaw! Kusog ka kaayo! Daw naghaboy ka sang koriente! Ngaa wala ka naghumbal pa? Apa ka?"
"I don-um-I don't understand you!"
Suddenly, the woman seemed stunned as if the full weight of what Crono said entered her mind. She began to make sense, "Who are you? Why speak you the language of the enemy?"
She spoke with an odd accent, albeit a very cute one. She still leaned against Crono and the women were becoming more infuriated every second. Although Crono felt awkward, there was a part of him that didn't mind this too much. Finally, she stepped back and he slid from the wall and back onto his feet, but the woman still kept very close to him, or at least kept contact with him at all times. His blush became even deeper as the women gave him accusing glances. He could already tell that Marle and Lucca hated this woman by the way they both stood with their brows furrowed and their arms crossed in disapproval. He tried to ignore this and answer the questions as best as he could understand them.
"This is the language we have always spoken." Crono said with surprise.
"Oh," the woman started, looking at him sympathetically, "you were slaves and you escaped?"
"What? Slaves? No! We are not slaves."
"Then why do you speak the enemy language? Where have you come from?"
Crono scratched his head and groaned within himself, "You wouldn't understand what 'the future' is, right?"
"What? The 'few-sure'? Are you not sure where you have come from?" The woman curled her hair around her fingers.
Crono laughed in amusement as well as the woman, "No, no…Let's just say that we live far away from this place."
"What do you wear? What are those strange…how is it said…cloth?"
"Clothes, you mean?" Crono asked carefully.
She nodded enthusiastically, "Yes! Yes!" She began to massage the smooth tunic that Crono wore. Marle and Lucca gnashed their teeth, each one warning the woman with their eyes that if she did not remove her hand from Crono's torso she would lose it. "It is very pretty."
Crono blushed, "Um, thanks." He rubbed his chin and his eyes went wide as if he had remembered something important, "Hey, do you know where we can find a red stone?"
The woman looked puzzled, "Stone? Why do you want stone…er…I mean 'a stone'. There are many stones here."
"Heh, well, we are looking for a specific stone."
"Spa…cific? Pacific? What is the Pacific?"
"What? No, I mean we are looking for a special stone."
"Ah! You need a good stone! We have many good stones! You must come to the village! We must maghawit for what you have done!...I mean, cell-e-brate, for what you have done!"
"There's a village around here?"
"Yes! Yes!" She smiled broadly as the thoughts of food and joyous dancing filled her mind. "It is decided! You will find your special stone and have fun! I command it! I am the chief!" She folded her arms as if it were final and began to walk downstream. "You may follow! Do not fear the reptites! They have fled!"
Everyone gave each other puzzled glances. In the end, they all shrugged in unison and walked down the wobbly path of river stone. They were allowed during this time to notice the prehistoric beauty of this place. Birds chirped noisily in a chorus that was almost deafening and the bubbling brook sang from underneath them. It was quite therapeutic after such a horrendous ordeal. However, this place was beyond humid. They could see how this girl was so fit and slim. The humidity causes any sugar or fat in the blood to seep out through the pores and leave the victim basking in a pool of their own sweat. Combine that with the annoying mosquitoes and scorching sun, the pleasantry of this time was quickly lost on them.
Although Marle and Lucca felt it was still greatly exaggerated for their tastes, they learned why this woman showered Crono with such adoration. She spoke about her strength and they derived from her pride that being strong was the main motivator for attraction in her strange culture. She had watched Crono defending his friends as well as felling the opposition without a strike from his fists. She also mentioned that these particular beasts had been plaguing her small village for quite some time, stealing cattle and ruining their farms all the while. She had been searching for them after a particular episode, but expressed her relief that she did not have to take on so many alone. The twenty that followed her had fallen into various traps she had set up beforehand until there were a number she felt confident in approaching.
The conversation became so interesting that Crono began to ignore the hot sun and the insects, conversing with this woman enthusiastically. The women became very bitter, feeling that he began to ignore them as well, and perhaps he was unintentionally doing so. Marle and Lucca whispered behind the pair, pledging upon their newfound loyalty to somehow make Crono realize that this woman was an exhibitionist and he was perverted for becoming, what they have deemed, ensnared by her "charms." Humorously enough, they became so engaged in their topic of mutual anger that they forgot the insects as well, leaving Robo, who was immune, free to repair his dents as they walked. Time quickly passed as a result and they stood in front of a large wooden gate fashioned out of logs bound together by thick rope.
"Ay! Ayla! Ikaw na?"
"Kamusta! Ay Ako! Buksan, palihog!"
The gates opened and the group of five walked into the village.
Author's note: Hope you enjoyed it. The translation for these phrases are as follows…
Sino ka? – Who are you?
Paano nagabut ka di? – How did you get here?
Ngaa lain ang ginasuk-suk mo? Eh? – Why are your clothes so weird? Huh?
Ngaa wala ka nagabalos? Nakatchiende ka? – Why aren't you saying anything? Can you understand me?
Abaw! Kusog ka kaayo! – Wow! You are so strong!
Daw naghaboy ka sang koriente! – It was like you were throwing lightning!
Ngaa wala ka naghumbal pa? – Why aren't you saying anything?
Apa ka? – Are you mute?
maghawit – Will Celebrate
Ay! Ayla! Ikaw na? – Hey! Ayla! Is that you?
Kamusta! Ay Ako! Buksan, palihog! – Hello! It's me! Please open up!