Title: Lost and Found
Plot, or Lack Thereof: Magus’ quest for Schala.
Reason for Banishment: Weak characterization, annoying new character, plot holes, and a forced ending.
Lavos was defeated. Magus watched with vindictive joy as it disintegrated after his death blow. Now that he eliminated Lavos and exacted his revenge on it, Magus once again turned his attention to finding his sister Schala—well, step-sister, but one of the few people in his life that actually cared about him—separated from him in time by Lavos. Magus was sure he could find her; even Crono, who had been disintegrated, was brought back to life.
But now, as he bid farewell to Crono and his friends, Magus doubted again: was Schala alive? If so, where could she be? Magus realized that this was going to be even more difficult than looking for a needle in a haystack.
A voice interrupted his thoughts.
“Thou’rt off to find thy sister?” It was Frog.
Magus ignored him and continued to think. Where would he start looking? Would he be able to recognize Schala when he saw her?
“If this be true, then Gaspar, the sage at the End of Time, may be able to aid thee in thine search. And—”
“Good luck. I hope thou findest Schala.” Frog seemed to want to say more, but he stopped, sensing the irritation in Magus’ voice.
“Thanks.” Magus wondered why Frog seemed so eager to befriend him, even though they were once enemies.
“Why don’t you borrow the Epoch?” Lucca, who also came to say goodbye, asked. “I could get you anywhere you’d like.”
“No.” Magus shook his head. The thought of being helped by a human, even though he was impressed with Lucca’s abilities, displeased him. He had agreed to join them against Lavos because it had taken Schala from him. Now that he was looking for her, he wanted to go alone. “This is something I need to do myself.”
“Well, hurry. The time gates are disappearing now that Lavos is dead.” Lucca moved forward to shake Magus’ hand, but stopped when she saw his icy glare. “Good luck!” She called after him
Magus hurried off, scowling, not just to reach the time gates, but to get away from that—stuff. All those syrupy goodbye’s and good luck’s were starting to get to him, and that was the last thing he needed. Why do human beings have to be so—so sentimental all the time? Magus pushed the nagging thoughts to the back of his mind, and turned his attention again to finding Schala.
The Entity watched the blue-haired one jump into the time gate.
Now the chosen time has come.
The End of Time, too, was affected by Lavos’ death. It was in ruins; every once in a while another piece broke off of the platform suspended in space and fell into oblivion. Magus stepped over the broken bricks and gaping holes to speak to Gaspar, the Guru of Time. Magus never thought too highly of Gaspar, since he usually slept constantly and kept awake just long enough to say something obscure. Still, he needed and idea of where to start. When Magus came before Gaspar, however, the Guru was already awake.
“So, young fellow, off to find your sister, eh?”
“Yeah. News travels fast, doesn’t it?”
“Well, she’s definitely alive.” Gaspar paused for breath. “That princess—what’s her name?”
“Oh, yes. Marle. Her pendant is exactly like Schala’s.”
“So?” Magus wished that Gaspar would get to the point.
“Well, there must be some link between Marle and Schala for Marle to get Schala’s pendant, so—”
“—So Marle has to be a descendant of Schala, which means Schala is alive, right?”
“Yes, yes.” Gaspar nodded. “Say, you’re a pretty bright young man.”
Magus exploded with impatience and anger. “I know she’s alive! I just want to know where she is! I want to find her! Do I make myself clear?”
Gaspar sighed. “I don’t know everything. My guess is that she is somewhere in history.”
“Then I’m going to search everywhere until I find her.”
“If you’re really that determined, then use those.” Gaspar gestured towards the time gates. “Remember, these gates are now very unstable; if a gate closes before you can leave an age, you’re trapped in that age forever.”
Magus approached a glittering time gate. “That one is to 65 million B.C., when humans first appeared on the earth.” Gaspar told him. Just before Magus jumped in, Gaspar called to him with a wink, “Good luck, fella.”
“Stupid old man,” Magus mumbled as he traveled through time.
In 65 Million B.C. The people of Ioka village village were rebuilding what the Reptites and Lavos had damaged. Ayla spotted Magus as he wandered aimlessly though the land.
“MAGUS!” She yelled, running toward him.
“Oh, no. Not again,” Magus moaned. The last time Magus had visited Ayla, she almost killed him in a “for fun” wrestling match that got a bit too rough. Ayla apologized, of course, but even now Magus could feel the dull pain in his right hip, which had swelled for weeks afterwards.
“COME TO VILLAGE! EAT! DRINK! DANCE! FIGHT!”
“Please, don’t shout!” Magus winced when Ayla came near.
“But come!” Ayla said, trying hard not to speak at the top of her lungs as she was accustomed to.
“I would like to, but I can’t. I’m looking for my sister.”
“Sees-ter?” Ayla had never heard of the word.
“Yes. Her name is Schala; she is a woman with blue hair, like me.”
“Hmm. Ayla no see blue-haired woman, but will ask others if they see, Come to Ioka with Ayla!”
“Fine, all right.” In hope of some news about Schala, Magus reluctantly followed Ayla into Ioka village.
Ayla called a meeting of all of the villagers that night and questioned about Schala, with no luck. No one else had seen Schala, either. Magus turned to leave, but Ayla stopped him.
“Stay for night!” She pleaded. Magus hesitated. He remembered Gaspar’s words; he did not want to be trapped in this age for the rest of his life. To attempt to explain that to Ayla, however, would be useless; she would probably see Magus’ refusal to stay as an insult to her hospitality.
During the party that night, Magus couldn’t eat. The putrid soup full of bugs was already enough to turn anyone’s stomach; on top of that, Magus worried about the time gate and about Schala.
“Magus no eat?” Ayla asked, offering Magus a gigantic bowl of soup. Magus shook his head and went on thinking. His thoughts wandered again to the humans. Why didn’t the humans submit to his race, the Mystics, when it was obvious that the Mystics were superior? The humans had fought even when victory seemed hopeless. Magus wondered if he would have done the same.
His thoughts were interrupted by Ayla.
“Magus, whatsa ‘sees-ter’?”
“A sister is—” All of a sudden, Magus was at a loss of words. What words could he use to explain the way he felt about Schala? “A sister is someone that you, um,” Magus struggled to think of a word that Ayla could understand. “That you like.”
“Then Kino Ayla’s ‘sees-ster’?”
Magus laughed. “No. A sister is a woman.”
But a sister is so much more than any woman, Magus thought, smiling to himself. That’s why finding Schala is so important to him: she was that one person that he was connected to, that—no, there was another reason he wanted to find Schala: he felt responsible for the whole disaster involving Lavos. Finding her, even if it would not change the past, would at least placate his conscience and ease his mind. Sure, she was family, but so was his mother.
His mother. Magus shuddered. He wondered how much of his personality had been inherited from Queen Zeal and how much was a result of Ozzie’s influence. Not exactly the world’s greatest role models. He thought. He stroked his glimmering scythe; besides a few scratches here and there, the weapon bore no testimony to its bloody work. He remembered the adrenaline that rushed through his veins when he held it for the first time; it felt like when, as a boy, he saw the monster he would later know as Lavos.
I’ve got to stop being so morbid. Magus shook his head. All this thinking is going to drive me insane.
Magus watched the people dance for the rest of the night. Deep inside of him—although he would not have admitted to anyone, not even to himself—Magus was jealous of these people. In their simplicity and innocence they enjoyed life to its fullest. They did not suffer the doubts and struggles that Magus did with himself. They had no worries about the future; they had thrived even when the Reptites threatened to destroy them.
“Unga-bunga, unga-might! Wind people dance all night!” The dancers chanted as they undulated to the music. The rhythmic beat of the drums would have caused most people to dance along with it, but Magus was in no mood to enjoy himself. Bored, he felt his eyes grow heavy.
Magus found himself standing in a barren desert that stretched as far as he could see. The hot sun beat upon him.
“Hello?” Magus called out.
“Hello? Hello? Hello?” His voice echoed around him.
A sandstorm engulfed Magus in blinding sand. It seemed as if the entire desert had been churned up. Magus tried to shield himself.
In the howling wind he heard a voice.
“Janus. Help me.”
“Schala?” Magus couldn’t believe his ears.
“Janus. Help me.” the voice getting weaker and farther away.
“Where are you?” All Magus could see was masses of sand flying around him.
Magus woke with a start; he realized that he had been dreaming. It was the same dream—or nightmare—that he had been dreaming since he was six years old. Around him, the villagers were still fast sleep, even though some snored loud enough to wake the dead. Tiptoeing around the villagers, Magus left Ioka and made his way back to the time gate. He flew up the cliff, hoping that the time gate was still there. To his relief, it was, glimmering in the darkness beneath him.
He was about to jump into the time gate when he heard voices below him.
Gripping his scythe, Magus descended the cliff and quietly approached the source of the sound. Peeking around the corner, he saw a young woman being surrounded by four or five other people. In the dim light she looked like she had blue hair.
“Schala?” Magus heard himself whisper. The people turned in his direction. Great, Magus thought to himself, what a wonderful time to attract attention.
“Who’s there?” One of the men bellowed. Magus prepared himself for battle.
“The messenger of death!” He hissed as he jumped at the men. In the dark, Magus—wearing a hooded cape and swinging his scythe—did indeed look like Death himself. The men ran away screaming, leaving the woman behind. She shrank away as Magus approached.
“Are you all right?” Magus tried to sound as non-threatening as possible. The woman stared at him, not knowing what to say.
“I-I think so,” The two stared at one another for a few more minutes. Seeing that Magus was not about to harm her, the woman became bolder. “Thank you for helping me, but those men will be back. And they’ll probably bring others as well.”
“Then come with me,” Magus extended his hand towards the woman. She hesitated briefly, glanced behind her, then took his hand.
Magus led the woman up the cliff with lightning speed; below him, the men had already returned and were in hot pursuit. Coming near the time gate, Magus stopped and turned towards the woman.
“Jump,” He pointed to the time gate.
“What?” The woman stared at him.
The men were coming closer, and shouts of ‘There they are!’ and ‘Stop them!’ echoed around the cliff.
“Come on!” Magus urged. The woman still didn’t move.
There was no time to lose; Magus seized the woman’s wrist and jumped.
The Entity picked up two dangling threads and tied them together. So far, everything was working according to plan.
As soon as the two exited the time gate, Magus recognized the area as Truce Canyon, in A.D. 600. That’s funny, he thought, if the time gate didn’t take me back to the End of Time, it must mean that—Horrified, Magus looked back at the time gate. It was was still there. Whew.
Magus turned toward the woman. For the first time he noticed that she had black hair, not blue, but looked familiar; still, Magus couldn’t remember where he had seen her—if, indeed, he had ever seen her at all. She didn’t seem any older than 25—not much older than Schala when he was six years old. There was no way that they could have met before—but why did Magus have the feeling that he knew her?
The woman, after gaping at Magus and then the time gate and back again, managed to speak. “Will you please tell me what is going on?”
“Well,” Magus began. “Do you know what a time gate is?”
“This—” He continued, pointing to the time gate. “—Is a time gate. It links two different periods of time.”
“So, where are we?” The woman asked, confused.
“Not where, when.”
“What do you mean?”
Magus tried to think of a way to explain to the woman what had happened. Hitting upon an idea, Magus picked up a stick and drew a line in the ground.
“This is history. We here here—” he drew a circle near the beginning of the line, “—a long, long time ago. We are now here—” and he drew another circle, closer to the end of the line, “—more than 65 million years after that.”
“Whatever.” The woman shook her head in disbelief.
“Just come with me.”
“Do I have a choice?”
“You can stay here if you want; just watch out for the monsters.”
The woman’s eyes widened. “Monsters? There are monsters out here?”
“In that case, then.” The woman forced a smile. “Lead on, kind sir.”
The two descended Truce Canyon in silence. About halfway down Magus asked: “Who were those men, anyway?”
“I don’t know. I was minding my own business when those jerks grabbed me and took me to that strange place.”
After a few more steps, the woman suddenly stopped. “How rude of me! I forgot to ask you your name.”
“Magus,” the mage answered without a second thought.
The two shook hands.
“So, what were you doing there?” Jana asked as the two resumed their journey.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, if what you said was true—that we were in the ancient past—what were you doing there? You don’t look like a caveman to me.”
Magus chuckled. “No, I’m certainly not a caveman. I’m looking for my sister.”
As friendly as Jana seemed, Magus still couldn’t trust her enough tell her everything about himself. After all, she was a total stranger. (Jana noticed this from Magus’ tone and decided to mind her own business.)
Before Magus entered the village, Jana stopped again.
“Well, since I don’t know where, um, I mean, when I’m supposed to be, do you mind if I tag along until I get, well, ‘home’?”
Magus considered this. He could use some company; having someone to talk to might keep those disturbing thoughts out of his head. Besides, Jana did need his protection until she returned to her own time.
“Not at all.” With Magus in the lead, the two entered the local bar, where Magus was sure he could hear news of Schala if she were here. Unfortunately, none of the people of the bar wanted to talk to Magus or even get near him. They all either avoided or ignored him. Even the bartender was uneasy about his new customers. Magus was annoyed by the fear and animosity the people showed. He was not about to harm them; he was not the evil Mystic that his past or his appearance suggests. Then again, Magus realized that the people were justified in fearing him; after all, he did have the power to do what he wanted with them, and who—or what—was to stop him?
Hoping that the King would be more reasonable, Magus paid his bill, got up, and motioned to Jana.
As Magus had hoped, King Guardia and Queen Leene—unlike the other humans—were genuinely glad to see Magus and eager to help him in any way they could.
“We are sorry,” Queen Leene answered when Magus inquired about Schala. “We have not seen or heard about your sister; our knights, who live throughout the land, would have reported anything unusual to Us immediately.” Disappointed, Magus left Guardia Castle and made his way back to Truce Mountain.
“Poor guy,” the King said to his Queen as Magus left. “We hope he finds her.”
“OH —!” Magus barely kept himself from cursing; the time gate had disappeared in his absence. “This is great. Just great.”
“What’s the matter?” Jana asked. “What was so important about that glowing dot, whatever it was?”
Somehow Magus managed to answer without shouting.
“That ‘glowing dot’ was our only way out of here. Now we’re stuck in the worst place possible!” Magus had no intention of living with a people who feared him so much.
“Well, isn’t there another one of those things here?”
“No—wait! There is! In Guardia Forest. Quick! Let’s get out of here!” The two ran as fast as they could back into Guardia Forest.
Elsewhere, the Entity opened a gate where there wasn’t supposed to be one for another four hundred years.
Just as Magus remembered, there was a time gate in a small grove near the Castle. “After you,” Jana looked at him, raised an eyebrow, then shrugged.
“What the heck.”
The two appeared at the Telepod Device in Leene Square. Jana stared in amazement at the new surroundings.
“Well?” Magus asked. “Do you believe me now?” She didn’t answer.
Once again, Leene Square was filled with people, rushing about to set up their colorful tents; the King had extended the Millennial Fair to celebrate the placing of Nadia’s Bell. Magus could even hear the sounds of merry laughter and light music and smell the sweet aroma of spices and food from where he was standing. All motion stopped, however, when Magus and Jana stepped into the main square. For a moment, Magus thought that he was the cause of the silence, but then he saw that King Guardia had arrived at the same time. Two of his knights rang the new bell, sending its peals echoing all around. After three rings, the King announced the official reopening of the Millennial Fair once again. The people cheered as fireworks went off, then returned to their respective displays.
Walking across the square toward the town, Magus almost collided with someone hurrying in the opposite direction.
That person apologized, wiped her glasses, then gasped in surprise when she put them back on.
“Magus? What are you doing here?”
“Oh. Hello, Lucca.”
“Gasp! Are you actually being polite, Magus?” Lucca asked in mock horror.
“Don’t push your luck,” Magus pretended to look stern, but couldn’t help smiling. “You haven’t seen my sister, have you?”Lucca shook her head.
“The first thing we did when we came back was to search every inch of this place for her, but we found nothing.”
“In that case—” Magus began.
“It’s not really your fault,” Jana interrupted. “What’s important is that you tried.” Lucca scrutinized Magus’ companion, then gave him a puzzled glance.
“This is Jana,” he simply answered. He stopped Lucca when she opened her mouth to ask more questions. “I really have to go.”
“Well, I’ve got some tinkering to do myself. Bye!” Lucca ran off, knocking down several people as she went.
Magus and Jana weaved through the crowds and was about to leave the Fair when he was spotted by Marle.
“Hey, Magus!” She called, running over to him. Crono, who was accompanying her, soon followed. Magus couldn’t believe that the young man standing before him was the same one who had traveled through time, saved his life, and fought Lavos. He looked so—well, for lack of a better word, normal. “Did you see the bell?”
“It was named after me,” Marle continued. “I had a little trouble with it, though.” She giggled, remembering what had happened. All of a sudden, the four heard a loud crash, and sounds of glass breaking. They hurried to the source of the sound, and soon discovered what had happened: Lucca had forgotten something ‘really important’, and in her rush to retrieve it, smashed into a glass vendor setting up his wares.
“You really should watch where you’re going, Lucca,” Marle tittered. “This is the umpteenth time this week that you’ve created a near-disaster.”
“It wasn’t my fault that he was in my way!” Lucca pouted. “I need the Telepod fixed fast; it’ll be part of my display.”
“You’re not trying that thing on me!” Marle exclaimed. “Father is going to have a fit if ‘that’ happened to me again.”
“But I need someone to try it out.” Lucca turned to Crono. “Crono? How about you?” Crono gulped; to his relief, Magus stepped in.
“I hate to interrupt your little chat, but if you have no other information to give me, I’ll be leaving.”
“Well, goodbye, and good luck!” Marle replied.
“Bye! Good luck!” Echoed Lucca. To her surprise, Magus was not upset over their display of their ‘icky sentimentality stuff’ that he had always complained about.
In fact, she was sure she saw Magus smile.
“Bye!” Called Jana as they left.
“Who was the girl that was with Magus?” Lucca asked Marle after he had left.
“I don’t know, but I swear I saw her somewhere before.”
“Me, too.” And I know how to find out for sure, Lucca thought to herself. ‘If my invention works, of course.’
“Lucca, you’re not planning anything, are you?” Marle saw the conspiring look on Lucca’s face.
“Who, me?” She answered, the very picture of fake innocence. “Of course not.” She turned to Crono. “Now, about the Telepod.”
“Wait a minute,” Jana said as she and Magus neared the time gate in Guardia Forest. “Didn’t we just go in there?” Magus sighed.
“No. We’re in a different era.”
“So?” Jana asked, bewildered.
“It’s really hard to explain, ok? Just go already.” Magus did not want to lose any more time; he had already wasted most of it talking and thinking.
“Ahh. I don’t know about this.”
Something inside of Magus snapped. He was not about to allow Jana—whom he had protected, even though she had nothing to do with him, and a liability besides—to delay his search for Schala any further.
“Fine,” he spat. “Stay here for all I care.” He jumped into the time gate without even looking back. Jana blinked in surprise, then started after him.
“Hey! Wait up!” She called. What a grouch, she thought. What’s he in such a big hurry for anyway?
“Hold it right there.”
Jana froze in her tracks; she had heard that voice before. “M-Magus?” She gulped. Please, not him, she prayed. Anyone but him.
“So Magus was the one who rescued you?” The owner of the voice, a man with a patch on his eye and a cruel smile on his face, stepped out of the shadows; three other men followed. “You two have given us quite a bit of trouble.”
No! No! A voice inside of Jana screamed as the men drew near. Please don’t make me go back there!
The Entity whispered a silent apology to the frightened girl.
Forgive me; there was no other way.
The time gate took Magus to the Bangor Dome, or what was left of it; the humans were dismantling it and using its pieces to rebuild Arris Dome. The humans stopped working when Magus appeared; he was beginning to feel uncomfortable from their staring when Robo, who was helping them, came to his rescue.
“Hi, Magus!” Seeing that Robo was amicable toward Magus, the people relaxed and resumed their work.
“What happened here?” Magus asked Robo as they walked toward Proto Dome, not quite believing the desolation that he saw. “Wasn’t Lavos stopped before he could destroy this place?”
“Yes, but some other cataclysm may have caused this destruction, or the buildings simply might have been abandoned.”
“Why? From what I’ve observed, humans have been quite persistent beings.”
“Only under certain circumstances.”
“What do you mean?”
“Humans can’t simply exist; their lives need a purpose. They lost that when this place turned into a wasteland. After Crono (among other things) destroyed the factory, though, the people had hope to live again. Now, they have big plans for restoring this place.”
“Yes, they certainly do.” Magus observed two humans gesture over the blueprints. Now he understood why the humans of A.D. 600 waged war against him; he had threatened to take away that ‘purpose’ which they treasured.
“Robo!” One of the people called. “The people beyond the sewers need your help!” After excusing himself, Robo left.
Alone, Magus went back to thinking. He wondered if he, like the humans, needed a reason to live. Perhaps he did: first, he was exulted in his power over others; then, he was consumed by a desire for revenge; now, he was determined to find Schala. Then again, the satisfaction that Magus got from his power didn’t last long; even after killing Lavos (and giving that S.O.B. what he deserved) the feeling of joy (?) disappeared after a few days.
In fact, Magus felt more empty and alone than he had ever felt before.
Pushing that feeling to the back of his mind, Magus got up and began pacing. Even through the thick chemical fog Magus could see Death Mountain where, using the time egg, brought Crono ‘back’ from the dead. He remembered (perhaps with some guilt) how Crono died to save his life, even though he was Crono’s enemy. Magus never understood why Crono did that; it was, in the end, a meaningless gesture.
“Magus!” Robo panted, running toward him. “I saw—I saw—”
“Calm down and talk slowly.” Robo gasped for a while, then regained his composure.
“I saw four men that were going up Death Mountain.”
“So?” Magus was a bit annoyed that Robo interrupted his musings.
“They had this woman with them. If she had blue hair, I swear she might have been Schala.” This immediately got Magus’ attention.
“What did she look like?”
“Well,” Robo began, trying to remember, “she had long black hair, a round face and sad eyes. Oh! And she wore a weird looking robe!”
Wait a minute, that sounds more like Jana! But that’s not possible, unless—Magus whirled around; Jana wasn’t there. He realized what had happened. “Damn!”
“Is something wrong?”
“I’ll explain it to you later.” Magus grabbed his scythe as he hurried out.
Why didn’t I notice she was missing? Magus wondered as he flew up Death Mountain. Because, an inner voice replied, you were too concerned about yourself to care. Magus tried to ignore the voice, but it just wouldn’t stop accusing him. You, it continued, have been a selfish, self-righteous brat ever since you were old enough to think.
“That’s not true!” Magus said aloud. He was surprised to hear his own voice; he sounded just like a six-year-old having a temper tantrum. Yes, it is. You think that everything revolves around you. Before Magus could counter, he spotted something moving up the mountain. The voice forgotten, he flew faster to catch up to it. As he drew near, he recognized the men. He considered surprising and killing them all, but he didn’t want to risk hurting Jana. He decided to follow them at a safe distance and find out what they were up to.
“I’m cold,” one of the men complained. “Couldn’t we have gone somewhere else?”
“No,” another replied. “The time freeze here is the best chance of reviving our Queen.”
“Oh,” the first said, still confused, but continued walking without asking more questions. Magus overheard every single word of their conversation.
They’re planning to resurrect Queen Zeal? Magus recoiled in horror. It was his mother’s insane desire to live forever that had awakened Lavos. If these people could bring her back, they could certainly bring Lavos back, too. These people HAVE to be stopped!
After what seemed to be an eternity, the men reached the top of Death Mountain. Their leader produced a strange object from his pockets and mumbled something unintelligible; the time freeze expanded, engulfing all of them. When the blinding light faded, all Magus saw was Schala.
“Schala!” Magus shouted. One of the men moved forward to stop him, but was restrained by their leader. Jana opened her mouth to speak, but was also stopped. Schala turned.
“Who are you?” She asked. “And what do you want?”
“It’s me. Janus.”
“Janus?” Schala looked at Magus with skepticism. “You can’t be.”
“It really is me, Schala. Don’t you recognize me?”
“Janus disappeared when he was six years old.” Schala responded.
“Yes, I did.” Magus paused, letting the words sink in. Schala was still incredulous. He took off the pendant hanging around his neck. “Do you remember this?”
“Yes, I—” Schala gasped.
“—you, my sister, gave it to me on that day.” Magus finished for her. She stared at the pendant, then at him.
“Janus, is that really you?” Magus nodded. “Oh, Janus!” Excitedly, Schala ran towards him. A brilliant glow of energy knocked her backwards. “What’s going on?” She demanded, almost crying.
“Time.” Magus murmured. The same force which had separated the siblings now stood between them once again. “The spot that you’re standing on is in the past; mine is in the future. We don’t belong together.” She pounded on the invisible barrier. “It’s no use, Schala; it won’t budge.”
Suddenly, the ground quaked; everyone was thrown to the ground. Schala began to fade in and out.
“What’s happening to me?” She asked, looking at herself.
“Great.” The leader observed. “The time freeze is breaking up. The Master will not be pleased.”
“Oh no!” Magus blurted. “That means—” He was unable to go on, but Schala seemed to understand. She tried to cross the barrier again, but to no avail.
“No! I don’t want to lose you again!” She sobbed. “Please, stop this!”
“I can’t.” Magus lowered his head in shame. For the first time in his life Magus felt true helplessness and despair.
“Janus. Help me.” She pleaded as she disappeared. The time freeze also vanished, leaving Magus and the men on top of Death Mountain.
“How touching.” One of the men remarked, dripping with sarcasm. “Well, since the time freeze is gone, we’ll be going as well. If you would like to stop by and visit, we’ll be at Lavos’ old home.”
Magus stood at the peak, numb, as the men took Jana away. Thoughts swirled in his head.
He had been so close, yet so far.
He would never see Schala again.
“Schala.” he whispered.
Only howling wind answered him.
Magus was shocked to feel a single tear drop roll down his cheek. He touched it, then stared at his moist fingertips.
Wiping the tear off his cheek, Magus walked down the mountain, his legs moving by themselves.
The Entity nodded to Itself.
“What happened up there?” Robo had never seen Magus look the way he did when he entered the Proto Dome. Magus didn’t answer; he walked past Robo as if he wasn’t there, then jumped into the time gate. Robo scratched his head; what could have possibly happened on Death Mountain that could have shaken Magus up?
The End of Time was even more decrepit than before; the ground was extremely unstable, and Magus nearly fell when he came out of the time gate.
“You’re back!” Gaspar exclaimed. “Did you find her?” Magus, still in shock, shook his head.
I’ve lost her. Lost. Lost.
“Well, it seems that you have one more chance,” Gaspar gestured toward the remaining time gate. “I’ve checked it out, and it leads to 12,000 B.C.”
“It does?” Magus was jolted out of his shock. This is almost too good to believe!
“Yep. I’m going to jump into it myself, when it’s no longer safe to stay here.” Magus ran up to the time gate, nearly giddy with joy.
Another chance. I’m getting another chance!
He hesitated before jumping into the time gate.
“Gaspar, can Lavos be revived?”
“No, not even you could revive it if you wanted to.”
Well then, Magus thought with relief, the world is safe. He was about to jump when he hesitated again.
“Are you sure this is the only time gate left?”
“Well, there is that one—” Gaspar answered, pointing to the bucket. “—it leads to the Lavos Core, or what’s left of it. I’m surprised that it’s still there.”
Upon hearing Gaspar’s words, Magus hesitated for the third and last time.
He thought about Jana and what had happened on Death Mountain.
He knew what he had to do.
Gaspar was surprised to see Magus step away from the time gate and walk towards the bucket.
“Where are you going??”
Before Magus jumped into the bucket, Gaspar called to him again. “You won’t be able to come back.” Magus looked at him with a sad smile.
“Strange fellow.” Gaspar muttered after Magus left. “He gave up the only chance of finding his sister. After everything the Entity did to make sure he was at the right place and the right time, too.”
The Entity only shook Its head and smiled.
When Magus exited the time gate, he could not help admiring his foe’s ingenuity: gone was the Lavos Core; in its place they had built a magnificent fortress, which must have been at least twice as big as his own. Its high, twisting towers were set so that they loomed with proper ominousness; a slight miscalculation and the effect would have diminished. The stone creatures ‘guarding’ the entrance looked so ferocious and real that they seemed ready to leap from their pedestal and tear to pieces anyone who dared to cross their paths.
It was, he had to admit, an impressive structure.
He would have to admire the fortress another day; he had more important things to do. Perhaps, Magus thought with a wry smile, I could live here when I get rid it of those low-lifes. Now, though, he had to worry about how to slip in unseen. That problem was solved: except the useless statues, there was no one at the entrance to the fortress to stop him. The second problem, though, was a bit more difficult: find Jana and rescue her.
When Magus saw the giant wall map used to help the new recruits get around, he nearly did a double take; between ‘you are here’ and ‘you should be here’ was a veritable maze: hallways wound in and out of one another, sometimes into other floors, sometimes branching off, sometimes stopping in one place and starting at another.
This is insane! Magus stared at the map. How am I supposed to get anywhere? He chose a corridor and began walking, hoping that it would lead to the dungeon.
“An intruder is in corridor A307, your Eminence!”
The image of Magus appeared before a sinister shape seated upon a throne.
“So, you have come at last.” A cruel smile crossed his face.
“What are your orders concerning this intruder, my lord?”
“There’s no need to alert the entire fortress—yet,” he paused, wondering what to do with the meddlesome creature that dared to interfere with his plans.
“Aye. Any other orders, your Grace?”
He would wait. Magus would come to him. Then, he would be able to find out what exactly the turncoat Prince of the Mystics was up to.
“Watch him carefully and see what he does.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Hearing footsteps coming toward him, Magus darted into a storage closet nearby. Two soldiers engaged in conversation walked by, unaware of the intruder.
“Great plan this turned out to be,” he heard one of the soldiers mutter. “Everything is going wrong!”
“Shh! Did you hear that?”
“Over there.” The footsteps approached Magus’ hiding place. Someone yanked open the door—
“There’s nothing in here. You were just imagining things.”
“I’m not so sure.” Gripping their weapons, the soldiers searched the room. Satisfied that there was no one in the closet, they resumed their march.
“Oh, well.” The second soldier sighed in frustration. “Things have really been crazy around here, ever since The Master decided to kidnap that girl…”
“Um. And she doesn’t even know what magic is.”
“What a disappointment. I can’t believe she really is a descendant of our Queen.”
That was way too close, Magus thought as he sped away from the storage closet. He was glad that the closet, between two hallways, had a second door; he had slipped out just before the soldiers entered and gotten away as quickly as he could. I have to be more careful.
At the end of yet another winding corridor, Magus found himself in the dungeon. These people certainly take a lot of prisoners, Magus observed as he looked around. There must have been at least two hundred cells. Lacking the patience and the time to break open and search each cell, Magus simply grabbed a hapless grunt who was unlucky enough to pass his way.
“Where’s the girl that you’ve taken?” He growled, choking his victim.
“In-in cell 13.” the frightened soldier managed to gasp.
“Thanks.” Magus gave the soldier a quick, painless death; he didn’t want to be discovered just yet, and he was saving his worst for other people.
The guards of cell 13 didn’t know what hit them; they didn’t even have time to scream when the dark hooded figure jumped at them. The figure then took the keys off of one of the charred bodies and opened the door. In the cell lay Jana, who tried to speak when she saw him.
“Shhh.” Magus cautioned. Jana nodded. Magus almost cursed, though, when he saw the bruises and cuts all over her body. Those bastards. I’ll make them pay!
Magus was almost afraid to touch her; she looked so fragile and vulnerable. Tenderly brushing her hair out of her face, he noticed for the first time that she had pointed ears—not as pointed as his, but not as round as a human’s either.
Magus shook his head. Pull yourself together, Magus! This is no time to think about EARS!
With great care, Magus picked Jana up. She tried to stand, but accomplished little more than almost toppling both of them.
“Lean against me.” Magus ordered; Jana complied. He noticed, however, that she, perhaps afraid to overburden him, did not collapse against him. He knew, though, that her strength would soon fail her.
Jana proved to be the least of Magus’ worries: the moment that he stepped from her cell he met the two soldiers he had managed to avoid earlier.
“Hey—” began one of the soldiers; Magus did not give him enough time to finish, but his cry already echoed across the corridor. Other soldiers appeared and attempted to stop Magus, and were mowed down by his swinging scythe. Soldiers seemed appear out of no where, blocking every turn; Magus did even look at them as he destroyed them and continued down the hallways with superhuman speed.
“The intruder is trying to escape with the prisoner, Lord Redav!”
Redav frowned as he watched Magus take down his best guards; he had seriously underestimated the Mystic. That Magus had to be stopped; it would be a pity to kill him, but Redav couldn’t risk keeping him alive.
“Sound an all-out alarm. Go after him—but don’t take him; I want to deal with him myself.”
Magus was starting to tire; running up and down the maze of hallways and corridors while carrying Jana and fighting off the soldiers were taking their toll on him. The blaring alarms were of no help either; Magus tried to block out the sound, but the noise was assaulting his eardrums.
He had no idea where he was; he even doubted if they would ever leave the fortress alive. Even worse, Jana was slipping in and out of consciousness: her eyes could start to close, but as soon as she began to slide downward she awakened again and tried to stand. Magus pulled her to her feet, hoping that Jana would not faint; if she did, he would not have the strength to carry her.
“Hang on, Jana,” Magus said to reassure her as well as himself, “we’re almost—” He stopped; something inside of him was holding him back, telling him not to round the next corner. He gently set Jana down in a niche in the wall, where she would be out of sight. “Stay here. Don’t move. Don’t make a sound.”
As he moved forward, what he saw made his blood run cold: row upon row of soldiers, ready to attack at an instant, lined up before a man seated on a throne.
“So you decided to come after all,” The man remarked with a grin. Magus tightened the grip on his scythe, hoping that his enemy would not see him tremble.
“Who are you?” He made his voice as menacing as possible. “And what did you want with a helpless girl?”
“The answer to your first question: I am Redav. I had the honor of serving the Queen in her quest for immortality.”
What? Magus’ jaw dropped. His shock quickly turned into anger. “You helped feed my mother’s thirst for power?” It was that unsatisfied desire which transformed her into a monster.
“You misunderstand. We were about to extend the kingdom of Zeal forever and ever, but that meddling fool Crono stopped us.”
“Yes, stopped you from destroying the world!”
Redav raised an eyebrow, then shrugged, as if the end of the world was something unimportant.
“As for your second question.” he continued, “her descendants are our last chance to restore the illustrious kingdom of Zeal, but you have prevented us from taking any actions.”
“Why would I want to help you?” Magus clenched his fists. “I lost everything because of Lavos.”
“Oh, poor Magus.” That fool thinks we want him, Redav thought contemptuously. If only he knew. “Kill him.” Almost instantly Magus was surrounded by the men. Magus ducked under the first few men, then swung around and killed them. The scythe sang as it moved through the air and grew red with blood.
Magus fought with tenacity, but there were simply too many enemies: it seemed that for every one he killed twenty more would take the fallen soldier’s place. Not that it really mattered; the soldiers were so weak that none of them got anywhere near him. Still, it was getting a bit tedious.
And then he noticed Redav watching him.
“Why don’t you come and finish me yourself?” Magus called out to Redav as he cut down more men. “Or are you afraid of me?”
“I accept your challenge.” With a wave of his hand, Redav dispelled the men and got up from his seat. One of his soldiers knelt before him and presented him a sword in an ornate hilt. Redav pulled out the gleaming weapon and dropped into a defensive crouch. “Prepare to die, traitor son of Zeal.”
“GO TO HELL!” Magis charged at Redav with iron determination. I will win, he thought as the two clashed. I HAVE to win. For the world. For Schala.
Magus swung, but missed. Pulling himself around, he charged again. This time Redav blocked his attack; the two weapons struck, and sparks flew from them. Magus kept on pushing his scythe against Redav’s sword, locking the two weapons against each other. He glared at Redav and growled; Redav glared back. Suddenly Magus pulled his scythe back into an arc, taking Redav’s sword with him; before Redav could respond, Magus swung forward again an cut a deep gash into Redav’s arm and jumped out of striking distance. Redav roared with pain, but regained his composure.
“Very impressive,” he inspected his wound, “but you won’t be so lucky next time.”
“We’ll see about that.”
“Oh, really?” Magus almost didn’t see Redav attack; he was barely able to stop Redav from cutting him. He was knocked back from the force of the blow, and before he could recover, Redav delivered a painful roundhouse kick.
Magus went flying into the wall.
Shaking the stars from his vision, Magus saw Redav extend two fingers and shoot a dark beam from its tips. Magus ducked, but he wasn’t fast enough; the beam grazed his shoulder.
“You’ll pay for that.” Magus gritted his teeth against the searing pain and summoned his energy. “Dark Matter!” Redav’s eyes widened as he saw the energy surge towards him.
The explosion raised a cloud of dust between the two fighters; Magus gripped his scythe and waited for Redav to emerge from it.
Jana couldn’t wait any longer; something must have happened to Magus, and he was in danger. Slowly, she crawled out of the niche and began limping toward the sound of intense fighting.
“You have learned the secrets of shadow magic well,” Magus heard Redav say behind him. He swung, hitting nothing. “But you have no aim whatsoever.” Redav’s voice seemed to be coming from eight different directions. Magus backed into a wall and began to concentrate intently. Slowly, he was able to make out his enemy through the smoke. Picking up a small rock, he flung it across the room; it struck the opposite wall with a loud noise. When Redav turned in that direction, Magus charged again. Redav was prepared, though; his sword met Magus’ scythe, and the battle began afresh.
As the dust settled, Jana couldn’t believe what she was seeing: Magus, the same man who was incredibly rude to her was now fighting courageously to defend her. He seemed to be possessed by an extraordinary amount of energy and determination. She wondered if it had anything to do with what happened on Death Mountain.
Could it be possible? She thought, watching Magus’ deadly struggle. Could he really be—?
A cry of pain and shock jolted Jana out of her musings; Magus had succeeded in wounding Redav, who fell onto one knee.
“Well, what do you have to say now?” Magus asked. At that moment an enormous tremor ran through the fortress, nearly knocking him down as well.
“You haven’t won yet!” gasped Redav. “In a few more moments, this fortress will self destruct! You’ll never leave this place alive!” As if the fortress could hear him, the walls began to crumble.
“Shut up.” Magus killed Redav with a simple flick of his wrist, not even blinking when blood splattered across his face. Hearing a gasp, he turn around; Jana was staggering toward him. Without a word Magus ran to her, picked her up and flew out of the fortress; he covered her with his body as the fortress exploded and flew into a million pieces.
“Schala, where are you?” Janus called. He could not find his sister anywhere, and no one was willing to tell him.Suddenly, an awful noise came from the throne room, sending chills down his spine. Almost against his will, Janus moved toward the source of the sound.
In the throne room Janus saw a horrible monster. Schala was standing nearby, chanting words that he could not understand.
“Schala?” She turned, and gasped in surprise to see him. “What are you doing?” Janus walked toward her.
“Don’t come any closer! It’s dangerous!”
Her warning came too late. A giant hole opened under Janus, sucking him in.
“Don’t worry;” a warm, reassuring voice said, “he’ll be all right.”
“Thank you so much.” another voice gushed.
“Don’t thank me;” the first responded, “he was the one who saved your life.”
When Magus opened his eyes, he blinked several times to make sure he wasn’t dreaming; he was lying on a makeshift bed in a cave. This place looks so familiar.
“You’re awake!” Jana exclaimed, carrying a pan full of steaming water. Seeing her, Magus tried to get up, but every muscle in his body ached. She pushed him back down and began mopping his head with a towel.
“Where am I?” he moaned.
“You’re home. Uncle Janus.”
“What did you call me?” Magus couldn’t believe his ears.
“Uncle Janus.” Jana smiled. “Or would you rather be called Uncle Magus?”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Magus’ head was also beginning to throb with pain.
“Well.” Jana walked toward the entrance of the cave. “Let me introduce you to someone who might be able to clear this up for you.” With a motion of her hand, she led in a woman who was on the verge of tears.
Schala? Magus was overcome with shock. She had aged considerably since their separation on Death Mountain, but he could still tell that she was his half-sister.
“Magus,” Jana placed an arm around Schala, “meet my mother.”
The Entity sighed in happy relief; Its job was done at long last.