Chrono Shift Chapter 11
Augur had just walked out into the kitchen when Candor looked up from a book to greet him. He had been studying his magic thoroughly because he did not understand the concept of Techs, a form of magic that had been in use only recently. Techs were special skills that when repeated in the same way by the same user over and over, became sort of a signature. That part of it was nothing new, it had been common knowledge for centuries. The new part of the Tech Magic came in a series of discoveries found by the former Guru of Life, who had been deceased for some time. He guessed, correctly, that Tech spells increased in power each time, and actually increased the physical and mental strength of the user. Also, using Techs as a form of reflex testing sharpened all the senses of the human body drastically, caused by an unusual and unexplained reaction in the brain.
Are you reading that book for fun, or is it something you have to do, Augur questioned her.
This? Candor asked. Im just reading it for enjoyment. Its kind of a strange book, though. The longest chapter in the book so far seems more like a side story than anything else. It has absolutely nothing to do with the main characters. I really dont understand the point of it at all.
Augur shrugged, Maybe the author needed a break from the main story and had to write about something else.
Yeah, maybe Candor trailed off. Oh, Augur, this should interest you. Remember the Omega Reaper?
The special task force that was created mostly because everyone thinks I killed the king? The one that was developed mainly so the queen could hunt me down and kill me without anyone knowing about it? Yeah, I suppose I should remember. Whats going on with them?
Well, apparently they just got back from a mission, and half of them are dead. Candor responded. This grabbed Augurs attention. I was just up in the palace about an hour ago reporting to my superior Candor added an asshole to her sentence, but kept the thought about her boss in her head, And I overheard Gaspar talking about how they were going to explain all the deaths to the queen. I think they might have been out on Ridge Mountain again.
Ridge Mountain, again!? this astounded Augur, considering there was a major exposition there not to long ago. In fact, he had been killed as a part of that particular mission of the Zealian Holy Guards. Losing some of the ZHG wasnt too unexpected in dangerous missions, but the Omega Reaper was supposed to be so much better, so much more skilled.
There is definitely something suspicious about that place Candor stated.
There is definitely something suspicious about that place Melchior stated. Queen Zeal wasnt buying it.
How did you manage to get half of my men killed on a damn mountain!? There is nothingNOTHINGthat dangerous on a mountain! How did this happen?
It was Lavos, my Queen. There is no doubt in any of our minds about it. Lavos was radiating something from that mountain, but we dont know what. It made some of our men extremely sick, but strangely, the rest of us felt no effect from it whatsoever. The sickness eventually killed everyone that it had affected. In regards as to what is dangerous on a mountain, some giant ape creature took the head right off of our best fighter. What does that tell you?
The queen trembled with rage. Belthasar? Gaspar? The other gurus nodded in response. Oh, God! What does this mean for us?
Belthasar answered, Well, Lavos has almost as much influence here as he does on that mountain. For us, that means we have a very serious problem, and one with no desirable solution.
What do you mean by no desirable solution? What options do we have? Queen Zeal demanded, not sure if she should believe the things the gurus were saying.
Gasper gave the options, Well, here is every possible solution we came up with. We could stay just as hellbound as we are right now, and eventually, we predict, Zeal will manifest itself into a rotting corpse of land, just like Ridge Mountain is.
Unacceptable, The queen rejected.
Gaspar continued, Number two, we could abandon Zeal, but I suppose thats just as unacceptable. Queen Zeal frowned at the idea. Three, we could destroy Lavos, but evidence suggests that its easier said than done. That would let Zeal crash down into the ocean, so thats no good. Actually, any of the solutions that involve the destruction of the Kingdom of Zeal are probably out.
Dont we have anything else we can do? Zeal demanded.
Way down the list we have a couple, Belthasar sighed. One is to find an alternative power source, which, quite frankly, well be able to do as well as I can lick my own a lets just say its pretty much impossible. The other thing we came up with is to vary the input/output of the use of Lavoss energy. This means that if we can use substantially less energy, we may be able to stay up in the clouds without any harm. Unfortunately this would be just as hard to pull off. Or, we could use what weve agreed is the best solution so far: create a machine that draws great amounts of power from Lavos possibly so much energy that he cant harm us.
Would that work? Zeal asked.
Um, well, we really dont have the slightest idea. If it did work, then we would have infinitely more power to work with. We could effectively become much like gods, immortal and invincible. We could go as far as to say that we could control natures forces, instead of just using them.
The Legend of the Mammon Melchior trailed off wondering about the possibilities. Could it be more than a myth?
There is another possibility, Gaspar said. If we could find a way to filter the energy, to discard the bad and allow in the good, then we could stay floating above the earth, unharmed, forever. Thats about all that we can come up with.
I want extensive testing done on each idea, and if necessary, combine them. While we ourselves may never be invincible, the Kingdom of Zeal will be.
I wouldnt suggest testing the machine out in Zeal; the results could prove disastrous. Belthasar noted. We need somewhere else to test it out. This brings up a rumor Ive been hearing a lot about lately. Is it true that youve considered building a new palace underneath the waves? Do you wish to extend the reaches of Zeal?
Ive been considering it. Are you saying that we could test this Mammon Machine down in the Ocean Palace?
Yes, Queen, we could try that, but a smaller scale version of the test could be done right here in Zeal.
Two more years passed, and Augur watched as Seraph grew and grew, while he stayed the same age. Candor also began to show signs of her age, now well into her thirties. Immortality, Augur had discovered, had some strange and undesired side effects. Reminding himself for a moment that he wasnt completely invincible, quasi-undead became a better word than immortal. He could still die, just not of natural causes.
Seraph sat at the kitchen table, eating a snack she had fixed for herself. While she had aged five years, from six to eleven, he still stayed the same. Augur watched her curiously. When five more years went by, she would be sixteen, and more than likely dead from the attack that Lavos instigated. Looking back, he was a little amazed that he had made it through the first half of the time he had until Lavos destroyed Zeal. And, careful not to change history, Augur would quietly sit back and watch as everyone he knew died a quick, albeit tormenting death, knowing that he couldnt have done a thing. Then he would sit back, find this magical wizard that Tajj had talked so much about, travel to the bottom of the ocean and prevent the destruction of the entire world by protecting a mystical artifact. The whole thing still seemed farfetched to him, and he increasingly wondered if he had dreamed the whole incident. Lavos would obliterate Zeal, and the Chrono Shift would take out the survivors, and the future would be bright indeed.
Augur, you want any of this? I cant eat it all. Augur looked at Seraph, presenting a piece of the sandwich she had made.
No thanks, Im not hungry. Thanks anyway, he replied. Seraph shrugged her shoulders and proceeded to dump it into the garbage, feeling guilty about trashing Candors food. Seraph was becoming quite a young lady, and would grow up to be something special. At least until shes sixteen, then shell be dead, he thought. Pushing the morbid thoughts from his mind, he looked back to the young girl. Although taller and more mature, she still had the same girlish complex, brownish hair and sapphire eyes that she always did. She would turn out to be a real looker by the time she reached sixteen, but that wasnt a thought that Augur wished to associate himself with at this time.
Seraph, come here. Ive got something for you. Seraph responded by turning around and asking what it was. Augur tried his best to act casual, and said, Sit down. Youll see what it is. Her curiosity got the best of her, and she came over and slowly positioned herself on the floor.
Alright, Im not real good when it comes to words, so his mind racing, Augur tried to find the right things to say. Its just that, ever since Ive come back to this place, you and Candor have been like a family to me. In fact, you have been my family. I guess I just want to thank you. Augur could see that she was puzzled, so he reached into his pocket and pulled out a plain brown box with a ribbon around it. I know I never got you anything for your birthday, so Seraph eagerly tore the ribbon off, and then lifted the cover off the box. Looking inside, she saw a peculiar trinket attached to a necklace.
What is it? She asked unpretentiously.
Its an amulet, with a cherubim on it. It has a protective magical covering that will keep you safe in times of trouble. Augur replied, although he honestly knew that it wouldnt do a damn thing against the evil that would eventually take her life one fateful night in early 12,000 BC.
Cherubim? Seraph questioned.
Seraph, do you know the meaning of your name? Seraph shook her head in response. Augur continued, I suggest when you go home tonight that you ask your father. You might learn something.
Seraph obviously did not know how to react, and this present literally came out of nowhere. She eventually managed to choke out a Thank you, as the atmosphere in the room became slightly awkward. With impeccable timing, Candor burst into the door from the outside, showing signs of distress on her face.
Candor, I take it you didnt have a very good day. Augur stated.
You know that secret project Ive been talking a lot about lately? Candor inquired. Both of her students nodded. I found out what it is today, and Im frankly mortified. Theyve nearly completed a machine that will be used to sap the life force out of Lavos to provide the kingdom with more power. Unfortunately, thats only half of it. Zeal is planning the construction of a new palace, and is going to place it right in the middle of the ocean, possibly so its closer to Lavos when the machine is turned on. Now this is the part that upsets me: they are going to enslave hundreds, maybe thousands, of Earthbounds to do all the labor for the new palace!
Augur became just as upset as Candor, but for a much different reason than the enslaving of the Earthbound. Zeal was planning on building a palace that would sit on top of the ocean. The artifact was supposed to be in a palace at the bottom of the ocean, so that meant that either the creatures in the Afterlife were slightly off, or that this new castle somehow got to the bottom. Maybe Zeal was planning on building the structure on top of the sea, and then would drop it under the waves when it was completed to extract the energy from Lavos. If this was the right underwater structure that the gods in the heavens were referring to, and he didnt know of any others, then it meant that the Kingdom of Zeal either already had the Chrono Shift in its possession, or they would gain the possession of it sometime in the future. If he could find it before they did, he could avert the entire crisis.
Construction of the Ocean Palace is supposed to begin next week, and this machine, the Mammon Machine, is supposed to be done at the end of the month. Candor finished her speech.
Wait, Wait, Wait the Mammon Machine? They named the machine after the heretic in the legend?
Possible, Augur, but Id say its named after the legend itself, rather than the evil that was pursued and eventually destroyed in it. I will admit, the name of the machine is still rather peculiar, Candor reflected.
Augur believed he knew the true reason behind the name of the Mammon Machine. Someone important in the kingdom knew that Lavos wasnt all the populace had him built up to. Someone knew the truth. Lavos was a parable to the evil power in the Legend of Mammon, and this machine was the equivalent of the opposing holy force that destroyed it. The Mammon Machine would control the forces of Lavos just like the forces of nature were controlled in the legend. If this machine produced more power, then the Kingdom of Zeal could make its citizens like gods, the way the warriors of the fable did. Too bad Augur didnt remember the specifics of the myth, because he was sure that many more parallels could be formed. Of course, since he knew the future, he knew that the assumptions were made out of idealism, and never quite panned out. The more Augur thought about it, the more he wondered if Zeal had instigated the attack from Lavos.
When Augur gave up exploring his thoughts, he noticed that Candor and Seraph had struck up quite a conversation, and decided to listen. It didnt take him long to realize that the exchange was another one about magic. It had always bothered Augur that Seraphs powers had exceeded his, even though she was significantly younger than he was. But they werent talking about their own magic, or unusual magics that they would like to explore, or anything that usually related to their discussions on the topic. Instead, Augur discovered, they were talking about the magical powers of Schala, the royal princess.
Ive never seen anyone with as much magical potential as she has. It goes beyond everything Ive ever dreamed of, Candor stated. Seraph became slightly jealous, considering that the two were the same age, but tried her best not to let it show.
What about Prince Janus? Seraph asked. What kind of powers does he have?
Hes only three, so there hasnt been much extensive testing done. That usually doesnt happen until the child turns five, but since he is the prince, theyve been paying special attention to him. From what Ive heard, some people think that he has no magical abilities whatsoever, but I think its too early to tell.
So do Schalas powers exceed the queens? Augur interrupted.
Queen Zeal is only a slightly above average magic user, really has nothing compared to what the king did, even though he never used his power. He had servants to do everything for him, Candor replied. I cant believe that Im actually saying this, but I think Schala has even more magical ability than I do maybe even more than the gurus powers.
Wheres Mommy? the prince demanded. Schala laughed.
Shes working. She has that project shes been working so hard on, and since its almost done, shes had to work even more. Janus put on an upset face and stuck his thumb into his mouth, trying to look sad. Still laughing, Schala added, Stop that, youre three years old! You cant suck on your thumb forever. How are you going to lead everyone when you become king if your thumbs always stuck in your mouth?
Miss Schala, you dont have to give him such a hard time, The maid in the room suggested. I remember a certain little girl who sucked on her toes for a very long time, and compared to that, sticking a finger in your mouth isnt so bad. Schala blushed in embarrassment, and Prince Zeal began giggling uncontrollably.
Hahahahaha! Schala sucks her toes! Schala sucks her toes! Schalas embarrassment turned to irritation.
I DO NOT!!! Come here, you little brat! Ooh, when I catch you, Ill The royal children ran around the room, pestering each other, until Schala finally managed to detain her brother. Say your sorry and Ill let you go.
Ow, ouch, Im sorry, Im sorry. Janus pleaded. When his sister let go, he shouted out, Toe sucker! The maid in the room quickly grew tired of this display, and ended it. She pointed out that children of royal blood should not be so rancorous, and made them both apologize. No more than two minutes after the maid had made peace, another argument broke out, and the whole process repeated itself.
Excuse me, but the queen requests your presence, a voice from the doorway insisted. All three of you. The person that had entered was another servant of the queen, a male, unlike the maid in the room. He led all of them to a secret hall that none of them had ever seen before. They passed through a couple sets of guards, and then entered a newly built hallway. At the end of the hallway appeared a single door, which the prince and princess were taken through. Inside the room, the three gurus, Dalton, and a few other people that Janus and Schala had never seen were surrounding a large object in the center of the room. The object consisted of a giant cylinder with a peculiar figurine-type statue in the center.
There you are! Ive missed you two, Schala and Janus turned around to see their mother, and Janus immediately embraced her. Schala greeted her with a simple hello, since she was at the age where it wasnt considered cool to give your parents a hug.
Whats going on, Mom? Schala inquired.
Kids, this machine here is the future of our kingdom, and it will lead us into a new age of prosperity and superiority. Ive decided that I want you to witness it. Queen Zeal responded. Melchior, is everything ready?
Yeah, believe it or not, we actually got this thing done ahead of schedule. Its a first for us gurus. Tonight, were celebrating by doing some experiments with magical plants, if this doesnt kill us all, that is.
Zeal frowned at the man in disgust, I dont understand why you guys do that stuff. You, of all people, should know whats bad for your body. And dont give me that Expanding the mind crap that you did last time you brought this up.
Alright, gotcha, none of that stuff tonight. Anyway, everything is all set up, so well through the switch whenever your ready, my queen. She nodded to give him permission. Belthasar, Gaspar, lets do it. Belthasar fiddled with an oversized control panel while Gaspar inserted objects that resembled some type of key into slots in pieces of the machine. The cylinder holding the Mammon Machine filled with water, and the liquid quickly began to boil as the metal heated up. Melchior traveled over to a separate control station and played with a few more buttons, and slow, deliberate energy waves immediately encompassed the room. Shockwaves spread throughout the area, and a mysterious force began penetrating its way into the souls of every person in the room. A golden aura accompanied the energy waves, illuminating the spaces unoccupied by other objects in the room. The Mammon Machine whirred as the power levels increased.
This is incredible! Zeal cried out in exhilaration. Oh my God, yes! Do you feel that, children? Its the essence of Lavos, pushing its way into us. The godly verve seeping out of the machine overwhelmed everyone, and they came into a nirvana beyond anything that any of them had ever dreamed. As the glow of Lavos increased, so did the sensations that came with them, and Lavos further burned its dark influence into the spirits of everyone in the room.
Somewhere in the middle of the confusion, the rapidly firing neurons inside the brain of one of the servants in the room came across a change. The chemicals emitting from the Mammon Machine soaked their way into the nervous system and caused an undesired intransigent impulse in the white matter of the cerebrum, and the reactionary feedback caused the servant to lose total control over his body. A mere second later, the servant lost all control over his mind as well, and something inside of him snapped. The man lost all conscious thought, and the being known as Lavos instigated his control over the mans mind, body, and soul. The servant of Queen Zeal had become a servant of Lavos, a slave in every sense of the word, and he no longer had any say as to what his actions were.
A few feet away, another servant in the room, who had worked with the gurus as an apprentice while they constructed the Mammon Machine, succumbed to the darkness of Lavos as well, giving up his soul to the dark demon. He had lost control over his body so rapidly that he did not even realize that he had lost his will until it was too late. His last conscious thoughts were ones of greed, desire, and self-pity.
One by one the servants began to fall victim to Lavos, until every one of them were under his control. Dalton felt the dark presence next, and not understanding it, he swore in rage and confusion. Already mentally unstable and quite anemic, Queen Zeals highest guard could not fight the evil lore that Lavos pushed upon him. He gave in nearly immediately and completely, elevating his insanity to an altogether higher and more dangerous level, and Dalton became no more than another slave to Lavos.
After Dalton succumbed, all that remained were the gurus and the royal family. Queen Zeal felt a strange sensation occurring in the top of her head, and a cold, lonely feeling overpowered her will. Soon she realized that something wasnt right, and tried using a magic power to force the unwanted energy out of her. As the darkness reached across her body and surrounded her, she managed to choke out a muffled scream that alerted the Schala, Janus, and the Gurus.
Somethings wrong! Belthasar shouted. Turn the machine off! Something is seriously wrong!
We cant turn the machine off now Theres too much power flowing through it. We could destroy the entire kingdom, Melchior reasoned.
Well all be dead if we dont do something about this! Shut the machine off! Gaspar commanded. Shut it off! Shut it off now!
If we slowly bring the power down, we should be alright, and that way we dont kill everyone in the kingdom, Melchior retorted.
Gaspar continued ranting, SHUT THE GODDAMN MACHINE OFF NOW!!! If you dont shut if off, Ill blow it to hell! As he said this, he pulled a small explosive devise out of his pocket, and fiddled with it in an attempt to eke out some magic to light the fuse.
Jesus, man, what are you doing with a bomb up here? Belthasar ranted angrily. Youll blow us all to hell along with that machine. Burning, rotten corpses save no lives, Gaspar.
Well all be corpses anyway, if we dont turn this thing off! Gaspar shot back.
While, the gurus yelled at each other, Schala and Janus became absolutely terrified, and clutched each other, hoping that everything would turn out all right. Janus bawled in fear, wishing for his mother, and sucked on his thumb. Schala did the best that she could to comfort him, but she, too, allowed a tear to stream down her check and drop to the floor, where it splattered the stone tile. Soon, she was sobbing just as much as her brother.
Queen Zeal was being taken on a psychedelic journey as she fought desperately to maintain her sanity. Lavos brought her to the brink of mental chaos and continued to push farther, wishing for her to give in and let him take control. The evil thoughts twisted inside Zeals head, and when she pushed them out, more evil flooded in to replace it. She became wickedly frail, and her fragile soul was slowly devoured from the inside out. Her thoughts broke apart, and she knew that she had been pushed over the edge. Her scrambled memories fell apart, and she gave in, allowing the power of Lavos to overcome her. As she slipped into eternity, she moaned some barely audible sounds from her mouth, and she couldnt form the words she wanted. Her last thoughts were, Forgive me forgive me for what I am about to do forgive me for my failure Janus Schala please forgive me Im sorry
Schala screamed in horror as she felt a dark presence attempt to push its way into her brain. She did not know what the evil was, nor did she know where it came from, but she certainly wasnt going to let it stay in her body. She said a silent prayer and her spirit instantaneously enriched itself with virtue. The holy spell threw the evil force out of her mind, but less than a second later, it returned with even more strength. Schala cried in desperation and prayed again. Shuddering and casting every holy spell the gurus had ever taught her, she tried to pry the evil away from her brain once more. Unfortunately, the evil had become much stronger, and she soon realized that she was powerless to defeat it. Slowly and deliberately, Lavos began to devour Schalas soul, and every passing second, she felt colder and darker. She began to see things that she had never seen before, and experienced things so horrid that she could only wish that they were part of a bad dream. But the nightmare that Lavos had given her would not go away, and it only worsened with each instant that went by.
Janus was also beginning to suffer the consequences of dealing with the satanic iniquity, but his mind hadnt been built up to guard against such forces, as Schala and the gurus had done with theirs. All he could do was sit and pray that things would turn out all right, and wish for the torture to end. The first attack on the prince destroyed a small part of his mind, a part of the medulla, which inhibited his ability to feel positive emotions and enhanced his ability to use negative ones. This would leave him depressed and angry for the remainder of his life. Janus cringed in fear and Lavos lashed out at him again, trying to take away even more of his spirit.
Melchior, Im telling you, either shut this machine down, or were going to do it for you, Gaspar informed. He counted three seconds off in his head silently, and when he didnt get a reply, cast a spell to light his finger on fire. He moved the fuse of the explosive in his hand closer to the flame, threatening Melchior.
Put that son of a bitch down, youre gonna kill us all! Melchior screamed. Ill shut it off, but I need you guys to help. Get to your stations and slowly put the power input into reverse.
Melchior, we dont have time anymore, were going to have to take it as far down as we can as fast as we can, Belthasar told him. Look at everyone in this room, theyve become zombies, probably succumbed to Lavos. If we hurry, maybe we can save them. Melchior finally agreed, although apprehensively, and everyone rushed to their appropriate control panels and scurried to shut the Mammon Machine off. Fifteen seconds passed, and everyone finished their jobs, but the machine only gave off more power.
It didnt work! Its still going, Melchior yelled.
Were no longer in control, and I dont think we can shut it down anymore, Belthasar sniveled in despair. Gaspar, however, thought on a completely different level.
The hell we cant shut it down. Watch this! Gasper took the explosive out from his shawl once again, but now he wasted no time lighting the fuse while screaming, Get back and cover your heads! He threw the bomb directly at the head of the Mammon Machine and turned around, immediately diving backward.
YOU IDIOT!!! Melchior bellowed. Why did you a deafening roar caused by the explosion of the bomb cut the Guru of Life off in mid-sentence, and the thunderous boom caused his eardrums to pop. The explosive had gone off several feet in the air, and just a single foot away from the oversized glass cylinder that housed the Mammon Machine, and a blast of shockwaves instantly jolted the room. A white flash flickered at ground zero, and it would have blinded anyone who had been looking at it. Soon a fiery orb expanded from the small point where the explosion had occurred, and faster than any of the gurus could realize what was going on, flames enveloped the machine that had been designed to draw out the power of Lavos. The Mammon Machine was pummeled with a barrage of tremors, and the glass surrounding it vibrated aggressively until small cracks appeared in the smooth surface. The glass probably wouldve held out, had it not been for a second patch of gunpowder from the dynamite igniting as a result of the growing firestorm around the bomb and the machine. This caused a second explosion, and before the brilliant orange could even illuminate the room, an ensuing shockwave expanded in a sphere shape, driving itself right into the weakened cylinder, and pushing the fractured glass apart. The entire cylinder shattered, and the fragments were blown away from the blast, flying up against the far wall at a lightning fast speed. They were traveling rapidly enough to pierce the solid metal that made up the room, and continued into the next room, where they dropped to the floor, and for another hundred feet, skidded like rocks skipping over the surface of water.
One of Queen Zeals servants in the Hall of the Mammon Machine was unfortunate enough to be standing between the wall and the glass cylinder. The fragmented spades cut through his body like a machete through an angleworm, and not even the thick bones of his skull could slow down the projectiles. Dozens upon dozens of these flying shards riddled the servant, ripping through his brain, chest cavity, and gastrointestinal tract. His appendages suffered no less, and his arms and legs were bent in many more places than they were supposed to be, most in angles that would have made Satan himself cringe. The man collapsed, dead to the world, in a reddish heap of mush so disfigured that his own mother would not be able to identify him.
Belthasar looked over his shoulder to see if Gaspars explosive device had shut the machine down. His ears still bleeding from the high volume of the blast, he could barely hear the whir of the Mammon Machine, but he could tell that it hadnt been destroyed. The Guru of Reason forced himself to his knees as he watched the fire eat and consume the mechanism, and circuits from it were starting to short out, but it kept on feeding the flow of the lavaes energy into the room.
As Belthasar contemplated with method he should use to shut the power off, a third explosion tore through the area, and the rushing air knocked him clear off his feet and hurtled him against the side of the room adjacent to his current position. The third bang had come from inside the Mammon Machine itself, as apparently the fire had finally reached far enough inside the infernal contraption that its core had ruptured, triggering the detonation. As the machine malfunctioned, a familiar radiation that Belthasar had felt on Death Peak surrounded him, and a brilliant glow that could only be the power of Lavos encompassed the Mammon Machine. Beams of brightness slashed their way into every niche of the hall, and the door that separated the room from the passageway that led to it was blown off, smashing its way into a sidewall and tearing a hole in it. The illumination flooded the hallway as well, burning the very souls of the guards standing outside of it.
Schala had managed to resist Lavos up until this point, but the sudden burst of energy ripped through her body, and a severe burning sensation made her shriek in absolute horror. It felt as if she were a target that Zealians used to practice their magic on, and she had been hit with the magic of every citizen of the kingdom all at once. Lavos tore her fragile, childish body apart, consumed her soul, and took over her mind. Schala had a single conscious thought as she stumbled over her personal cliff, and tried one last time to push the evil from her spirit. To her surprise, it actually worked, and Lavos stopped fighting to consume her mind and released whatever control he had on her body. Schala was relieved, but not left unharmed. Although she was free from the evil entity, her willpower had been broken. Her brain had been damaged as well, and she lost her strong-minded and free willed passion that she had for life. She was damaged, and badly beaten, and it would leave her in a state of somber defeat and wallowing self-indulgent pity that would last for the rest of her life.
Belthasar kept his eyes glued to the Mammon Machine as every last bit of energy poured out of it, and slowly the details of the room faded, and an eerily haunting white glow continually grew until a blinding, everlasting flash was all that remained visible. The sound of rocks crumbling surrounded the guru as the building around them fell apart, as if the winds of a hundred tornadoes had all collided in the same location. Belthasar became sleepily fatigued, while the back of his head subconsciously told him that he would more than likely not make it out alive. As he faded out of awareness, the last fixation he could concentrate on was a sound. This sound was unlike any he had ever heard, horrible and earsplitting, it reminded him of legions of the dead returning from the netherworld to reap their revenge on the ones who had betrayed them. The painful, tortured scream could only have come from one place, and he knew that they had awakened the ultimate power. Lavos angry cries drown Belthasar as the radiation from the beast seeped into his every pore. Lavos had awakened, and was going to destroy the kingdom with his power.
Augur, Candor, and Seraph were walking down the path that led from Enhasa to Kajar when Lavos struck. Everyone in the entire kingdom felt the giant earthquake, and when the three looked back at Enhasa, they watched in shock as the largest, tallest building in the city suddenly collapsed under its own weight. An intrusive cloud of smoke and debris filled the air, covering the magical city, and blocking out the noontime sun. The dirty brown smog blanketed the ground and darkened the sky. Augur praised whatever gods there were that he hadnt been in the metropolis when it disintegrated.
A scream filled the air, drowning out all other sounds in their vicinity. This scream was angry and terrible, most definitely not human, and caused the entire floating island to rumble even more severely than it had before. Augur dropped to his knees and covered his ears to block out the sound, and Seraph did the same. Candor looked confused, and obviously did not know what to do under these strange circumstances. She gasped, panicking, as she gazed into the atmosphere and saw an entire flock of seagulls drop to the ground, dead. The grass on the ground turned an ugly brown before shriveling up, and small ground animals dashed from their homes in hope of finding shelter.
The earth in front of Augur began cracking, and the two plates were pulling away from each other as the crease grew into a canyon. The trio all turned the other way and ran from the split in the land, trying to get away from the devastation. As they ran, Candor looked back and saw a large boulder fall off the side of the crack and fall into the crevasse. Before it had even disappeared completely, a wall of magma spewed out of the gorge, and the boulder took wing, high into the air. Unfortunately for Augur, Candor, and Seraph, the rock was headed straight toward them. Candor grabbed her students and pushed them to the soil, diving on top of them. The flying stone flew right over their heads, dropping rock fragments on top of their bodies and draping them with thick dust. The boulder forced its way into the ground barely in front of where they lay, forming a giant crater as it pushed inward and kicking up dirt as it went along.
The pressure from the gorge that had came out of the earth behind them had built up, and while much of it escaped in a giant wall of geysers separating the two sides, the magma wasnt pouring out as fast as it needed to. The underground openings could hold no more, and the land surrounding the disturbance buckled and rose just like the tall lava geysers. A large area uplifted, and the entire circumference resembled bubbles in boiling water. These land bubbles, like their liquid counterparts, filled with too much magma, and burst, throwing their contents onto the Kingdom of Zeal. Large rock pieces and the hot volcanic emission spurted in all directions.
Candors first reaction was to place a protective barrier around herself to save her from the incoming missiles, and she expanded the shield to guard Augur and Seraph soon afterward. Augur placed a large ice shield to stop the flying debris, but no sooner than it was intact, an enormous chunk of granite smashed into it, shattering the ice crystals, and showering the three Zealians with them. The granite crushed a small ground squirrel when it landed between Augurs and Candors heads, and its blood sprayed both of them in the face. Fragments of the shattered ice and the soaring boulders pierced the ground beside them, digging neat tunnels into the dirt. These droppings plunged directly onto the humans as well, but when they hit the magical barrier that Candor had placed, they bounced off, making them no more painful than a needle prick. The magma gave everyone slight burns, but Seraph cast a healing spell on the party to remove the wounds. Augur let his thoughts drift away from the situation. This is 12,005 BC; nothing is supposed to happen for another five years Lavos cant be destroying Zeal now
Thankfully, Candors security barrier held up sheltered them from the flying stones and magma, but as more and more pieces of the exploded earth plummeted on top of them, they were soon buried under so much rock that they couldnt move. Seraph was able to turn her head to the side just in time to see the geysers die down, and she realized that an entire chunk of Zeal, including Enhasa, which they had only recently departed, had fallen off, becoming a separate floating island. After that, she blacked out, along with her companions.
Two days later, with the entire kingdom being in an uproar, Melchior, Belthasar, and Gaspar barely found time to get together and discuss what the events meant. Their first reaction was that the Zeal dynasty had to end, or at least Lavos could no longer be used. The problem was, Lavos had somehow linked himself directly to the Mammon Machine, and it seemed to the gurus that it was secreting its power out of it, using it as a tool to control not just the people that had been in the room, but all of Zeal. Despite the fact that the floating island had been split into four smaller sections, and the various caves had all collapsed, and the cities had crumbled, killing thousands, no one had taken notice. There were very few complaints, which meant that something had to be controlling their thoughts. Indeed, it had taken no more than a couple hours to figure out that Zeal and Dalton had given into Lavos, and they had both changed drastically. Oddly, the three of them had not been affected by the surge of energy, but the queens children were having problems. They were a strange case, and it seemed that instead of becoming lazy and uncaring pawns, easy to control, they had become more defiant, but noticeably hidden in despair.
There were some that had escaped the clutches of Lavos, and the majority of them opted to take up residence in Algetty, the Earthbound Village. The others were staying behind to rebuild the cities, which, strangely, appeared to be a priority of Lavos.
Its a trick, a cruel trick that thing is playing on us. Theyre all staying on the island because Lavos is telling them to, and I figure that were going to pay for it when hes tired of us, Melchior stated.
Zeal wants Enhasa and Kajar rebuilt, new skygates installed, the elemental weapons sealed, some sort of magical security system, the Moon Stone locked up in the Sun Palace, and is working on her Ocean Palace project all at the same time. Ive never seen so many Earthbound, not even in the caves, and theyre all working to rebuild the kingdom that has forsaken them, Belthasar complained.
Gaspar was looking over notes from his time research, but stopped for a minute to add, Thats slavery for you. After pausing, he included, Do you think that its possible for time to fluctuate?
Really, Gaspar, we have more important things to take care of right now, Belthasar accused.
No, seriously, our best research indicates that Lavos is indeed a living creature, at least by all estimates. That thing has already disproved so many theories of ours, and we all know that my time investigations say that things like time travel are possible in theory
What are you trying to say, Gaspar? Melchior demanded.
What Im saying is that I thing Lavos might have the ability to control time, Gaspar said. A long silence ensued, and no one said anything until Gaspar finally decided to continue, Maybe not control time as much as to witness it. Look over our design notes for the Mammon Machine, and tell me that theyre not perfect. Everything about that invention reeks of perfection, yet something went so horribly wrong. If Lavos witnessed the future, he could have used that knowledge to cause great havoc, and create complete chaos. We would have controlled the power of Lavos, he foresaw this, and he didnt let it happen.
He could have just read our minds, Belthasar suggested.
Impossible, Melchior commented. I would have known I can tell when someone tries to probe my mind.
Time is not absolute, and there are infinite possibilities, and when bridges are placed in the right way under the right circumstances, the laws of gravity, and our entire universe, begin to break down. Ive already proven this. To think that someone could create a gap in a space-time continuum is not unreasonable.
Which makes Lavos the perfect enemy, not just predicting the future, but knowing it, Belthasar thought aloud.
Which means it can change it, Melchior said. He pulled out a scrap of paper and scribbled some notes all over it until the page had filled. We have to go against the queen. If we cant destroy the Mammon Machine, we cant escape Lavos while were living on the island. If the queen truly is gone, then well have to relieve her of her duties.
Gaspar gasped, In her current state, thats the same as suicide
Still, I have to do something, but Ill be careful and patient with it. I might have to wait a few years, but Ill do it.
Augur, Candor, and Seraph were discovered by a search party the next day, and were nursed back to health. They had all somehow escaped the mind control power Lavos had unleashed on the land. In the next year, Zeal, under the influence of evil, improved the Mammon Machine, brought the kingdom back to a better than perfect state, and began construction on the Ocean Palace. A newly discovered race of strange blue creatures was also enslaved to help around Zeal, and their bizarre magical quirks helped the kingdom greatly. These creatures, known as Nu, were well compensated for their help, unlike the Earthbounds, who were beaten. Many Earthbounds died in construction of the new palace, and they were simply cast aside and forgotten. Also, three strange humanoid beings appeared in wake of the disaster that had occurred, and many believed that they were some sort of angels, sent to protect the world. The two smaller ones, Masa and Mune, were twins, and were taken care of by their big sister Doreen. The creatures, which did not have a name for their own species, were simply regarded as members of the kingdom. The gurus took a liking to both them and the Nu, and they worked alongside each other constantly.
An excavation in the collapsed tunnels of Zeal, led by Belthasar, uncovered fossil remains of creatures millions of years old. It appeared that the Nu animals had been around since the dawn of time, and research regarding their magical abilities completely rewrote the beliefs of the gurus about the origins of life and the evolution of the planet. Belthasar even believed that Nues had been a primary aspect on life existing in the first place, and hypothesized that the end of all things, in the far and distant future, would be related to them. Melchior opposed the queen, but not before forging a mighty blade and pendant from the same rare red rock that had been used to create the Mammon Machine. He entrusted the pendant to Schala, in hopes of granting her power greater than her mother and bringing an end to Zeals increasingly demonic rule. Melchior entreated the ruby knife to the protection of Masa, Mune, and Doreen. Zeal discovered Melchiors plan to overthrow her, and sealed his body and spirit away, high atop the Mountain of Woe. Scared by this occurance, Gaspar fled the kingdom, fearing that Queen Zeal would soon do away with him as well. Living alone on a secluded continent of the world beneath the Kingdom of Zeal, he devised a plan to prevent the incident with the Mammon Machine from ever occurring. Putting all his theories on time travel and the space-time continuum in general to the test, he began developing a Chrono Trigger, or time egg. The premise behind it was ridiculously complex, and it involved rotating a single point of super-gravity around a miniature black hole, creating a rip in time, and crossing through the planes and infinite distances that make up alternate universes. If he succeeded, he could stop the event with the cursed machine from taking place, saving the kingdom.
Belthasar also felt as if he was a target for Zeal, and built secret rooms in both Kajar and Enhasa. In hidden tunnels, he kept out of sight from anyone except for some Nues that be had brought with him. Even Zeal believed that he had simply dropped off the face of the earth, and Belthasar conducted his own research on life, time, and magic. He had secret contact with Gaspar often, exchanging research materials in hopes of breaking the seal to solving all of their problems. Eventually, as a result of Lavos controlling everyone, and without the Guru of Life, Time, or Reason to guide them, the incident that had nearly destroyed their planet was completely forgotten in less than a year.
Except for an elite few, who would eventually gain the power to change the world and save it from the clutches of evil. The evil, however, had a stronger grasp on the earth than anyone could have ever imagined.
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