Prologue: Old Friend, New Enemy.
Shadic the Hedgehog
Disclaimer: I don't own anything other than my manga and games
Its been ten years since Lucca and I had gotten married, and things had gone smoothly. Contrary to the dream that I had had after the fight with Magus, I did have a job as the new head of the Square Table guards, while Lucca made special equipment for us to use. Though, there really wasn't anything we had to use them for, as most criminals in Guardia wouldn't dare cause trouble.
The closest we came to such a problem was when a strange cat-like Mystic tried burning down the house Lucca and I lived in. He had brought some strange monsters I'd never seen before with him, but as I was the reincarnation of the Avatar of Fire, I just put out his fires and ripped his weird lava monsters to shreds. I didn't have to transform to use the powers, thanks to extensive magic training with Spekkio. After I broke the cat Mystic's neck, I thought I had sensed a dragon nearby, but it vanished as I went to look.
When I said I was the reincarnation of the "Avatar" of Fire rather than "God" of Fire, was because a few more of Barog's memories had awoken in me, despite having not transformed for nearly fifteen years. Turns out that I was wrong on a few aspects of the "Invincibles," as I had called them. One of the main ones was that their actual over-arching title was "The Avatars of Reality," and each was referred to as the avatar of their element, as opposed to a god. Tailz and Tobies, while actually still the "Reason" and "Power" of Tailies, were usually referred to as the Avatars of Yang and Yin, respectively.
The Mystics of Medina had never heard of the cat-like one, nor had they ever seen anything like the lava creatures. As we hadn't gotten the names, Lucca had started work on a new type of Sight Scope that would give more information than just the vitality of the creature it scanned. Unfortunately, the closest she had gotten was one that would reveal a creature's name and give a strange colour, potentially related to the element of the creature, but no vitality information.
In any case, Crono and his mom had both moved into the castle with Marle and King Guardia, though at this point, Crono and Marle were officially crowned King and Queen of Guardia, with their own daughter, Princess Schala. Magus was touched by his sister's namesake, and visited us and Crono and Marle whenever the people of the Last Village would give him time to. Unfortunately, he couldn't find her in any time period, not even what was once known as the "Age of the Apocalypse."
Speaking of children, Lucca and I had a son, David Taban McCord, to keep going a McCord family tradition, and start a new one. For the four generations before me, the oldest male of the family would alternate the name "Joseph" and "David," while the tradition I was attempting to start was to have the father-in-law's name as the child's middle name.
In any case, it was the night of the Fifteenth Starlight Festival, the annual death-scream of Lavos having already passed by that day. Lucca and I were greeting people at the entrance to Leene Square, as it was our year to do so. Ayla was continually being challenged by my guards to arm wrestling, and was winning every time, while Kino watched with a smile. Crono and Marle, or rather, King Crono and Queen Nadia, were watching the children playing, Ayla's son, as always, dominating their game of tag. Or hide-and-seek. Or whatever they were playing at the time.
Magus was at the bar, having learned to enjoy alcohol at the wedding reception, where I got him so drunk I managed to persuade him to turn Glenn back into a human. After he had passed through a few other forms, anyways... Glenn himself was patrolling the grounds for trouble, though there hadn't been a whole lot through the years, one couldn't be too careful.
Robo had had to arrive in the Epoch every time, occasionally bringing Doan with him (though he said was getting too old for the journey), so we left it with him. Belthasar felt that it would be best for him to remain in the "future," especially as he had joined the Chronopolis Science Academy, where they had been studying the Eye of Time. He promised he wouldn't tell them the actual origins of the device, but would help them study how it works.
Spekkio was around somewhere as well, though Gaspar decided to remain at the End of Time, and he was most likely playing games with Norstein Bekkler. Apparently, they were old friends. How, I have no idea, as Bekkler never says anything about his past, and Spekkio would always tell me that it was a secret.
As the swarm of people pretty much stopped, Lucca and I got ready to head in to enjoy the festival as well, when one last person approached wearing a pure-black outfit, wearing sunglasses. I turned back to welcome him, but he spoke first.
"It's been a long time, McCord," he stated. His voice was in the medium range, but he sounded as though he was trying to make it sound deeper for intimidation purposes.
I glanced questioningly at Lucca for a moment before replying. "Do I know you?"
"What a pity. It seems you've forgotten me." He reached into his coat with both hands. "I was hoping to hear you say my name with your dying breath." He whipped his hands out and all I saw was a brief glint of metal before a pair of gunshots rang out.
Here's where things get fuzzy for me, so I have to hand the story over to Crono for a bit.
Marle and I were watching the children with Atropos when we heard the shot. We told the kids to stay with Atropos as we raced for the entrance, where the sound had come from. We had our weapons with us, as an official part of our formal wear, so we made sure to draw them as we ran. Along the way we were met by Glenn and Magus, who also had their weapons, and by the time we reached the entrance, everyone was there, along with Spekkio.
I stopped short on seeing Joe and Lucca laid out on the ground with blood almost pouring from the wound on their chests, but Marle wasn't stopped by anything as she reached Lucca's side to begin casting cure spells, Spekkio assisting Joe. I faced the strange man in black and demanded to know who he was.
"That is no concern of yours. My fight was with him," the man said, pointing harshly at Joe's prone form with one of his strange-looking guns.
I retorted, "And you just attacked one of my best friends without provocation. That makes it my concern." That's when I heard a strangled gasp from behind me. I glanced back and saw Joe's son, David, behind me.
"Mom... Dad..." he whispered, before crying out. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
As he did, a bright green light appeared at the feet of the man in black before expanding into a U-Gate. As the man disappeared he gestured at David, crying out "Damn you, child!" But the U-Gate didn't stop there, expanding until it had engulfed all eight of us, plus Spekkio. I was caught up in the swirling energy of Gate travel when I lost consciousness.
"Each betrayal begins with trust."
A/N: And so begins my next big story. Hopefully, this one won't take me as long to finish. The POV returns to Joe next chapter, as he wakes up on a beach in a place he's never been...
If you can guess who the "man in black" is, I'll see if I can figure out a way to give you, or a character of yours, a cameo in a chapter somewhere in the story. First person to guess wins!
And, yes, the person did appear in "A Step Onto Chronos."