Time travel can be deathly dangerous...

Final Fantasy III: The New Returners Episode II

Time Gate Trouble

By Loren Leah

Lucca yawned and stretched luxuriously in her bed, as the first rays of morning light streamed through her window. She got up, got dressed, brushed her hair and her teeth, and was out the door in less than five minutes.

After all, she didn’t want to miss Flea’s pancakes.

* * *

Sabin sat, panting, on the training room floor. “Man, where did you learn to move like that? I couldn’t get a hit on you!”

Magus grinned. He’d barely even broken a sweat. “Oh, nowhere in particular.”

Clyde couldn’t resist. He walked out onto the mat. “Nice,” he said to Magus. “Care to try me?”

“I’d be glad to utterly humiliate you,” said Magus, still grinning.

Clyde managed, without much trouble, to wipe that grin off the little jerk’s face.

When Magus finally got up his lip was bleeding, he looked thoroughly angry, and he was muttering the words of an especially powerful attack spell.

Clyde decided he’d leave in a hurry.

* * *

“Well,” said Marle, “I’m plenty bored.”

“Me too,” said Ayla. “Now Zarok gone, we got nothing do.”

Marle nodded. They were sitting side by side in the cafeteria. They hadn’t moved a bit since breakfast--Flea’s delicious pancakes, with cinnamon and green apples on top.

“What you want do?” asked Ayla. “Maybe go for run in desert? Find Magus, make big boom spell? Or find Lucca, do same thing with machine?”

Marle giggled. “Let’s go find Lucca.”

The two found Lucca in her quarters, sitting on her bed and fiddling with a device that closely resembled a TV remote. “Hi, Lucca,” said Marle as they walked in. Ayla perched beside Lucca on the bed.

Lucca didn’t even look up. “Hi, guys,” she said as she fiddled with the gadget. She worked for a few more seconds, closed an access panel, and looked up. “Finished,” she said. “My Time Gate Generator is finally ready for work.”

“You mean that thing you were showing us a couple of weeks ago?” Marle asked.

Lucca nodded vigorously. “Yeah,” she said, “but it wasn’t quite finished then. Now I’ve finally perfected it, I think. Want to give it a try?”

* * *

“Well, here goes nothing,” said Lucca. “A.D. 2017, here we come!” She pressed a few buttons on the Gate Generator, and a silvery-blue Time Gate opened in front of them.

“Now we go!” Ayla exclaimed, and ran in first.

Marle looked at Lucca a moment before she stepped in. “ I have the strangest feeling that we’re really going to screw something up...”

Lucca grinned. “That’s probably your subconscious reminding you of what always happens when we go on an adventure. Come on!” She grabbed Marle’s arm and dragged her inside.

* * *

Schala lounged on her bed, reading the feared, despised and revered Final Fantasy...

All will know Karadoss, protector of good and bestower of power.
Asgard the mighty flies again.
The time soon comes,
The Guard are ready.
So goes the Final Fantasy.

* * *

Lucca stumbled through the Gate behind Marle and Ayla, holding tightly onto the Gate Generator that was their only ticket home. The three looked around the desert where Figaro Castle should have been, but saw only a dead wasteland. Even the usual desert plants and nocturnal creatures did not seem to be present.

Marle gasped. “What’s going on? Where’s Figaro Castle!?”

Ayla fixed her accusing glare on Lucca. “Lucca machine mess up,” she said. “We even in right time?”

“I think so,” said Lucca, “but there’s no way to be sure. I’ll have to set this thing to take us back.” She began to press buttons on the Generator.


“What was THAT!?” Marle shrieked, drawing her crossbow. Ayla took a fighting stance.

“Uh oh,” said Lucca, putting the Gate Generator into her item pouch and drawing her WonderShot.

The three looked in the direction of the blast, catching sight of a mushroom cloud...

“Hey, you!!” The girls jumped. They turned around to find themselves faced with a dozen soldiers in uniform.

“There are too many. We’ll have to run for it!” Marle yelled. Lucca and Ayla began to back away.

Marle closed her eyes and concentrated, as her body lifted off the ground and her hair began to flutter in a freezing wind. “Vulmenos Freonica!” she shouted and ran, not looking back as her opponents were pummeled with gigantic blocks of ice.

The three ran until they came to the ruins of a huge city. Once they were safely hidden in its dilapidated alleys, they stopped to rest.

“That was close,” said Lucca. “Yeah,” said Ayla. Marle, tired from spellcasting, just nodded.

Ayla looked around. “What city this? It look old. No one want live in this place.”

Lucca nodded. “I know. I’ve been trying to figure all this out. This looks so much like that other future...” She shuddered at the thought of the time period they’d found Robo in. “What in the world could be going on?”

All of a sudden, someone yelled, “Stop right there!” They jumped, but the shout wasn’t directed at them. Two guards chased someone right past the alley the girls were standing in. As if by mutual agreement, all three silently followed.

The person the guards were chasing proved to be tall, wearing a long black cloak with a hood. The person tripped and fell, and the guards quickly caught up. One of them brought out a pair of shackles.

Ayla snuck up behind one of the guards and caught him in a headlock. Marle got two through the heart with her crossbow, and the other three screamed in agony as Lucca’s Flare roasted them.

The stranger got up and pulled down his hood; he looked very surprised--in fact, almost horrified. Although he did show some signs of aging, he looked basically the same, and all three of them were sure of his identity.

It was Magus.

* * *

“How could we let him TELEPORT!?” Zarok yowled. Nefan sat on the floor of the inn; his hot-tempered partner had broken all the furniture and nearly incinerated the whole building.

“You ought to calm down,” said Nefan. “After all, we’re talking about a Zealot here. After teleporting such a long distance, he’ll be weak as a kitten for months.”

Zarok glared down at him. “I don’t think you quite know who you’re dealing with here, Nefan. He’s been trained by the Grand Master.”

Nefan stood up abruptly. “Seriously?”

His companion nodded. “You know how that goes... He could be on his way to kill us as we speak.”

“But wait.” Nefan wasn’t quite convinced. “How could you tell he was trained by...?”

“It’s as plain as the smirk on his face,” said Zarok. “Only Dahren’s pupils are that smug. He’ll either come to face us now, or get away while we’re still sitting around here.”

Nefan’s face took on a grim look. “And then...my chance for freedom is gone for good.”

Zarok cackled. “Well, can’t let that happen.......”

The two laughed evilly as a plan began to form in their minds...

* * *

Magus’s jaw dropped, but he composed himself quickly. “You... You’re alive!!?”

“Magus!” said Marle. “What in the world is going on?”

He attempted to hide it, but there was no mistaking his bitter amusement. “You three disappear for thirty years, and you have the nerve to ask me what’s going on? If you don’t know, I couldn’t tell you anyone that does.”

“I do know,” Lucca spoke up. “We just went traveling with my Time Gate Generator, here” --she took the little gadget out to show him-- “and ended up ten years later than we should have. I guess it isn’t working right.”

He rolled his eyes. “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.”

“I’d still like to know what’s going on,” said Marle. “Who were those soldiers? And why were they chasing you?”

“I’m a wanted man,” Magus said simply. “Galf, in Zarok’s body, raised a huge army and basically took over the world. The New Returners are all fugitives. And that only took twenty years.”

He glanced around, showing his nervousness for just a moment. “In fact, we should probably leave. For all I know, a whole regiment of troops could have tracked me to this very spot.”

He pulled up his hood and walked away. They followed.

Magus grinned to himself.

* * *

“Bye!” Edgar waved as the Falcon made its departure. “It was nice seeing Relm and Strago again,” said Terra, standing beside him. He nodded.

They sat down, just enjoying the view from the top of Figaro Castle’s highest tower.


“What was that!? Terra shrieked. They both scrambled to their feet.

A gigantic hawk was flying right toward them!

* * *

They walked for what seemed like hours in the dim, dank sewers. A horrible stench filled the subterranean air, and rats scurried away as they approached.

“Yuck,” said Marle, who was in front, just behind Magus. “How much longer till we get out of this sludge?”

“Not much further,” said Magus, who continued to concentrate on the path ahead of them. He turned left, into a giant duct.

The duct led into a mostly dry chamber. Magus walked up onto a wide platform, and they followed.

Magus glanced around and placed his hand on a spot in the wall. The panel glowed with recognition, and a secret elevator carried the four down into the darkest depths of who-knew-where. The elevator shaft was so dark that none of them dared move, for fear of touching something they might not want to touch.

They emerged into clean brightness...

Surrounded by soldiers.

* * *


Terra thought fast and dove on top of Edgar, sending both of them hurtling to the ground. The hawk landed on the tower in front of them.

Terra quickly got up again, along with Edgar. She unsheathed her sword.


Terra couldn’t help but shriek. “What was that!!?”

TSSEEEEEER!!!!! the hawk cried again. I, ASGARD, HAVE SPOKEN!

Edgar’s eyes opened wide. “It’s that giant hawk! Terra, put down your sword!”

Terra reluctantly returned her sword to its scabbard. She stared up at the hawk. “So...um... Asgard... Who are you, and what are you doing here?”


Terra looked puzzled. “Who’s this Last Prince?”


“Find who?” Schala asked, climbing up to the tower. When she saw Asgard, she gasped.


Schala sighed. “I’m sure I know what you want, sky lord, but the Last Prince is nowhere to be found. I’ve looked everywhere.”


Schala smiled widely. “I’m sorry, love, but I’m afraid I’m...uh...needed here. You know what that’s like, after all.”

YES. WELL, I WILL BE OFF. FAREWELL! Asgard flapped his wings and lifted off, and with one last TSSEEEEEER!!!!! he was gone.

Edgar and Terra turned around, both staring at Schala.

“I know it’s on your lips... ‘Where did I meet him?’ ” Schala sighed. “Well, he’s just an aquaintance of mine, from Zeal... That’s all I can say right now.”

Terra left, while Edgar continued to stare. Finally, with a “Whatever...” tossed over his shoulder, he left too.

Schala sighed. She couldn’t keep this secret for much longer.

* * *

Marle couldn’t stop herself. She screamed.

Magus took down his hood, and the soldiers immediately stepped back. He looked at her in that odd way he had.

“There’s no need for screaming,” he said. “Thanks to you, I’ll be prematurely deaf.”


One of the soldiers looked skittish. “Uh, sir... Who are these people?”

Magus frowned. “Friends, of course. Why else would they be here?”

The soldier nodded, and the large group quickly dissipated. Magus started walking, and Crono and company followed.

Marle looked around the place. They were in a strikingly clean area, well-lit by fluorescent ceiling panels. They kept at a brisk pace down the busy white-tiled hall, which looked to be the main hall. Many people walked past them at the intersections.

Finally they reached a giant, roughly round room, full of people.

“This is the rally room,” said Magus.

“Hey! Where’s Ayla!?” Crono cried.

Magus frowned at the noise. “Don’t worry about her. She’s....perfectly safe.”

Marle kept her sneaking suspicions to herself.

I don’t like this one bit...

* * *

“I have to go,” Magus said to his sister. “You’re welcome to come too, of course, but I must leave now. You know Nefan and Galf won’t wait..... I’ve got to get that Demonsbane.”

Schala sighed. She could see that she wasn’t going to win this one--and she had to admit that her brother had a point. “All right,” she finally said. “I won’t come....Asgard, you know....but get somebody to come with you, please.”

He smiled at her, and for just a second she had the unnerving feeling that he’d hunted Demonsbane before. She tossed the thought aside, thinking that he wouldn’t be so stupid as to try it alone. “All right,” he said. “I’m sure getting someone to go with me won’t be a problem.”

She sighed as he walked away. At least that one was easy. I hope I’ll be finished with this horrible duty soon.

She smiled to herself, a slow, tiny smile. Yes... No more secrets... That will be nice.

* * *

In the dark of midnight, in his familiar black costume, Clyde pulled the Quicksilver out of its sheath. It glittered brightly, even without any light save that of the moon. If he hadn’t known better, he would have thought it to be not a Dirk but liquid metal.

He zipped, faster than time and space (after all, that was the power of the Quicksilver), to the castle’s perimeter. Now that Relm was safe on her way home, there was nothing to prevent him from carrying out his mission.

Now, if he just knew which room that Princess slept in...

* * *


I’m going to be Queen?

Schala sat on her bed, absentmindedly petting Alfador, thinking about what Father had just told her.

But...I’m not ready!



Schala sat up in bed; the dream hadn’t been that scary, but she found her palms were sweating anyway. She looked around and realized it was still the middle of the night.

“Sshhhh...” She jumped. “Who...who said that?” she whispered.

A figure seemed to materialize from the darkness.

“Shadow...” she whispered. “Don’t do that, please... I nearly wet myself.”

“Sorry,” he whispered back. “I’m done with it... You can have it back now.”

She got up, adjusted her nightgown, and walked over to him. He handed her the Quicksilver in its sheath.

“Thanks,” she said. “I suppose you need to be going.”

He nodded, and with that was as invisible as the shadows once again.

She paused for a moment, and sighed. “Clyde... You can’t keep this up forever, you know,” she said to the darkness. “Sooner or later, somebody’s going to find out--and it’ll most likely be sooner.”

He heard her, of course.

* * *

Ayla looked around. The crowd of soldiers had separated her from the group, and now she couldn’t see any of them.

She heard some sounds behind her, and turned around to see the soldiers charging their laser weapons.

This didn’t look good...

* * *

Dawn broke on Figaro Castle. The sun sprayed its crimson and gold rays across the horizon, causing the clouds to display a plethora of colors.

Beautiful... This world is very much alive.

Karadoss wrung her slender hands.

And with the help of the New Returners, it will stay that way.

She spread her arms wide, broadcasting her message far and near.

BEINGS OF VEHS!! Rise up against the menace! Provide my servants with your strength!


* * *

BEINGS OF VEHS!! Rise up against the menace! Provide my servants with your strength!


Mog shook his head, trying to get that thought out.

Where did that come from? his ever-inquisitive mind wanted to know.

And what does it mean?

* * *

Marle and Lucca followed Magus as he walked through the crowded rally room. People respectfully stepped aside as they passed, and they noticed many of their friends. Everyone waved to them.

Lucca stayed close to Marle. “This is creepy,” she whispered. “It’s all a little too perfect...” Marle nodded her agreement.

They walked up to the main platform, where they assumed someone would be speaking, considering all the people. But also considering the weird circumstances, they weren’t very surprised when they were herded up onto the platform.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the great Marle and Lucca!” said Magus. “Speech! Speech! Speech!” the crowd began to chant.

Marle looked very nervous. Lucca looked out at the crowd, trying to decide how to begin, when finally her fears were cemented.

Percy was standing in the middle of the crowd.

Marle frowned as she, too, noticed him. She gave Lucca a warning glance. Unfortunately for her, the crowd could see her every move.

Magus glared at them as the chanting died down. “It would appear I’ve been found out,” he said, his voice as cold as a Narshe winter.

He gestured, and everything faded into nothingness. The people, the building... All that remained was the three of them, floating in an endless void.

And Ayla. She appeared next to them in the nothingness, floating lifelessly. There were precision laser blasts through her stomach and heart.

Magus smiled, an icy, sinister smile. “As you can see,” he said, sneering, “I’m a very good shot.”

Marle looked hurt, surprised, angry, and curious at the same time. “Why did you do this? And how could you have...”--she glanced back down at Ayla-- “How could you have done...that...while you were with us?”

He grinned. “Simple, really. Everything you just saw, and walked through, was an extension of myself, created out of the things I observed from your own minds. I controlled the guards who shot your friend down. Of course, I shouldn’t really have to explain... You’ll get to see it for yourself.” He cackled.

Tears streamed down Marle’s cheeks, and Lucca empathized. “But you’re our friend!” Marle shrieked. “Why!?”

He grinned again. “Surely even your pitiful human mind should have worked it out by now,” he mocked her. “Do you remember some years ago, when Galf nearly possessed your friend Magus?”

Magus howled with evil laughter. “Well, I finally DID!!”

Both Marle and Lucca looked shocked. “B--but he didn’t give you the chance! He teleported, and you didn’t dare come into Figaro Castle because of us!” Lucca exclaimed.

Magus/Galf looked quite smug. “And now that you are trapped here, in the future,” he said, “Nefan and my past self have him ripe for the picking!”

Lucca wasn’t convinced. “But what about...”

“The others?” Magus/Galf finished for her. “A simple matter of stealth, my dear Lucca... You are, after all, the most attentive of your little group...”

Lucca frowned. Now that they’d gotten the whole story out of Galf, it was clear what they’d have to do. Saving Ayla, which had been her biggest concern, would have to wait. She stealthily pulled the Gate Generator out of her pouch as Magus/Galf continued to gloat.

She punched in the numbers they would need. “Marle, now!!!” she shouted as the Gate began to form. They escaped through the familiar blue portal.

“NOOOOO!!!!” they could hear Magus/Galf shouting.

Lucca grinned in spite of herself.

* * *

“Uh... I guess. Yeah, I’ll come with you.” Terra’s cheeks glowed like roses after a long workout with Sabin. Magus had caught her coming out of the martial artist’s room, and had asked her to help him find the Demonsbane.

Frankly...she didn’t want to see him get hurt. But of course, she didn’t want him to know that.

Terra walked off to her room, and a welcome shower. Magus started to walk to his room, when he heard a peculiar sound coming from the closed door of Lucca’s quarters.

“Strange...” he murmured to himself. “Sounds almost like a Time Gate opening.... Nah. Must just be my imagination.”

He walked on toward his room, unaware of the two fearsome shapes turning around and starting to fly away from the castle, high up in the sky.

* * *

Well, ladies and gents, now things start to get interesting... Read ‘Destiny,’ coming soon, as this stagnant series finally gets to the point! By the way...do you see now why I killed off an original character like Percy? I needed something to tip Lucca off about Galf’s plot!


Final Fantasy III: The New Returners


Episode III

Crossover Fanfics