Struggle for Happiness

Written By: Dark Creation

Chapter 1: Magus

If you could have told her that she would be travelling with me 5 years ago, she would've blown you off like you were a crazy old man telling stories. She was always very headstrong. She knew what she knew and anything else couldn't be correct. It was very hard to deal with her sometimes, because she knew a lot. For this reason, it was hard, often times, to be civil to her when we traveled. She knew I was of above average intelligence, but hers was a brilliance that she would not allow to be equaled. My knowledge differed from hers. Where she could oust me any day in a duel of machinery and technology, my knowledge far exceeded hers in the way of magic and survival.

It's not quite clear to me, right now, where it all started. It was about 5 years ago and I have many important memories that I cannot afford to forget. If I remember correctly, I had somehow managed to return to the year 1000 AD and was still on my quest. I needed to get back to my own time. I had not yet mastered a spell of tearing open gates and the only method of transportation through time was the Epoch time machine, the masterwork of the great Guru of Reason, the late Belthasar. I attempted to speak with the princess first, knowing she would be the most likely to help me. The two guards at the castle doors approached me and immediately attempted to engage in a battle against me. A small display of my power proved to knock the guards speechless and I entered the great castle of Guardia, a symbol of the kingdom that I tried to destroy 400 years earlier.

As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by the chancellor. He was much more polite this time, probably because he truly was the chancellor and not the Yakra monster that the princess, the boy, and I defeated 5 years ago. I never thought I would be fighting a monster whose ancestor swore loyalty to me 400 years ago, but that's how things go for me. Anyway, I was soon told that the lady had left on a vacation to the Choras continent. I gave my thanks and left. I knew Crono was probably with her, so I had only one chance to leave the era within a week.

I made my way to her house. I always liked the location of her home. It was solitary and surrounded by water. The surroundings weren't crowded beaches, either. Tall cliffs and sharp rocks scraped against the sea. I probably would have built my Truce outpost there, had my forces made it across the bridge. My only problems with her home was that it was a little too cozy in most of the rooms and it was littered with different machines and broken projects that she and her father had worked on in years past. The Ashtears were the worst packrats I had ever known, outside of Ozzie and Slash, who kept every piece of armor and weaponry they could get their hands on.

I knocked on the door and as I waited a gruff voice came from behind a small opening.

"Who is it?"

"I'm a friend of Lucca's." an acquaintance would be more appropriate. I didn't have any friends.

"Oh, alright, come on in." the voice said. I heard many clicks waiting to be let in. When I entered, I realized that the clicks I heard were at least a dozen locks. I wondered what the Ashtears were doing that required so much security. When I looked around, I saw a large muscular man, working on a piece of machinery. It could've only been Taban Ashtear.

"I don't seem to remember you, who are you again?" for a genius, Taban was very forgetful.

"I'm Janus." I decided to use my old name until I got out of Guardia, even after 400 years, people can be vengeful.

"Nice to meet you, Janus. Say, you don't look to healthy. You oughta eat somthin. Would you like to stay for dinner?" his comments on my appearance were somewhat insulting, but after thinking about it for a second, I probably didn't look that good. I hadn't eaten in 3 days and I am naturally pale.

"I suppose a good meal would be nice. I haven't eaten in quite a while." Taban smiled at me and nodded. He turned and headed through the door in the back to the room.

"Lucca, someone's here to see you!" he shouted. His voice was gruff and loud, but I was even more surprised by the voice I heard next.

"WHO IS IT!?" a female voice shouted over the stairs as though as she was having trouble hearing herself. Before Taban could answer, there was an explosion and a figure, black with pitch and grease, and accompanied by assorted metal debris slid, head first, down the stairs. She quickly took out a handkerchief and wiped the pitch from her glasses. Two big, brown eyes stared at me for a moment. I could see her mouth open in surprise. After all, it had been 5 years and I was never one to be social.

"Lucca, you know this Janus?" Taban asked her, as if he was unsure I was a friend. I didn't blame him, I wasn't exactly a regular in Truce.

"Um, yeah dad, he's a friend of mine, when I went on that adventure, remember?" she told him, trying to assure him I was not a robber or a murderer, both which I have been on previous occasions.

"Alright. Why don't you two go talk in your room, Lucca. I've got some stuff to do down here and you probably don't want me to hear your conversation anyway." That was the one thing I admired about Taban, he was always trying to get something done. Which was more than I could say for most of the people I had met in my 32 years up to that point.

We headed up to her room, dodging the debris from her recent project. As I walked through to door, I noticed multiple fire extinguishers along the right wall and a burnt patch of floor. She closed the door behind her and immediately began speaking.

"What are you doing here?" She went straight to the point. Her tone of voice gave me the impression that it would be very difficult to convince her to help me.

"I'm not exactly sure. I need you to help me." I said, trying to be as polite as I possibly could without seeming too helpless.

"What do you want, Magus?" she used the name she knew me by. After the defeat of Lavos, I began to dislike the name more and more, but I knew I could never go back to being Janus. Too many people know what Magus has done.

"I need the epoch. Do you still have it?" after I said the name of the time machine, a look came upon her face that told me I was in for some bad news.

"Magus....I disassembled it. We weren't using it anymore and the three of us agreed it would be too big of a risk to keep it functioning."

"Dammit." I knew this would be a long day. "How long will it take to fix?"

"I don't know. If I can get some help, maybe a month or two."

"WHAT!? No, unacceptable. I need it now!" I was acting childish, but in an intimidating way. I never thought I was acting childish until I looked back.

"I don't know what to tell you. The reconstruction alone will take 3 weeks, at least."

"DAMMIT!!!" I was getting louder and louder, out of frustration. Somehow, I managed to calm myself down. "Fine. I'll help you."

"What?" she seemed confused, it was one of a few times I would ever see her like that.

"Well, what did you think I would do. Give up and live my life here in misery, dying slowly of boredom. I need out of this era. When do you want to begin." she looked at me like I said I was moving in, and in order to get the job done, I would have to.

"Um...tomorrow. Where are you going to stay?"

"I don't know. I don't have enough money to spend a month or two at the inn. I suppose I'll sleep outside." I don't know if I sounded like I wanted pity when I said this, but for some reason, I got it.

"No. You'll be my guest. You can sleep downstairs, just don't touch anything." she was about to say something else when an older female voice erupted from the room below.

"Lucca, dinner's ready!" she didn't have the offensively loud and booming shout that her husband and daughter shared. Lucca quickly rushed down stairs. I thought she would fall down again.

By the time I arrived at the table, Lucca and Taban had already begun to mow through their meal. I politely sat down and waited to be served. The woman, around middle age, looked at me strangely from time to time. It didn't bother me, I wasn't exactly normal looking.

"Here you go, an ear of corn, a you want a breast or a drumstick?" she asked politely.

"Breast, please. Lucca," I tried to grab her attention away from the corn that she was devouring, much like Ozzie used to eat human limbs, although Lucca's meal was much easier on the eye, "when do you want to start tomorrow?"

"Dawn. You want this job done, right. We'll work from dawn until midnight, taking off only 3 hours for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Does that sound good?" she didn't wait for an answer. She practically dove back into the corn. Taban was pulled away from his food for a moment.

"What are you two doing tomorrow?" he asked.

"We're gonna start rebuilding the Epoch. Mag...Janus is going to stay with us for a few weeks, okay dad?" this time she ripped into her chicken after finishing her question. Taban just shrugged and began eating again. Lucca's mother was a little more attentive than Taban and spoke up.

"Lucca, I don't feel right about this. I mean, no offense sir, but a young man, living here for a few weeks? That might be the start of something a know..." she wouldn't say it in front of her daughter, but Lucca and I both knew what she meant.

"Mom, he's twice my age and besides, he's going to sleep downstairs." Lucca tried to reassure her mother, but Mrs. Ashtear still kept a watchful eye on me the rest of dinner. After dinner, I went straight to bed, knowing I'd need the energy for the next few days.