|An Unlikely Alliance - Conclusion|
The main library of the Kingdom of Zeal. Thousands of books on every subject imaginable. From the prophetic ramblings of nus to the life stories of entire worlds. Painted onto the stone walls is a chart of the evolution of life on this planet. The evidence of Lavos's influence is more than apparent... Between the rows and rows of books are large stained glass windows letting in the light from the sun.
Another day, another volley of questions on the mind of Queen Nadia Guardia I, Queen of Guardia and wife of Crono of Truce. At least, at one point in time... But that seemed so long ago...so long ago that she loved the aloof, spiky-haired man samurai from the small village Southeast of where she once resided and ruled... Her King to his Queen... It's amazing how much can change over the course of several months... For example, Marle now resides in Zeal, of all places, with Magus as her best beloved, much to the shock of those who know... But today...another day in the life of Nadia 'Marle' Guardia...was a day of query...
In the library of Zeal she sits, arms crossed atop a table, head resting there... What was she doing here? Not reading...but thinking... Thinking about the information she'd only just learned a day ago... Thinking of what she'd say to her husband if she actually DID meet him after all these months away from him... Thinking of how to explain that Magus ISN'T the maniac everyone sees him for... She couldn't do it to Lucca any more than Lucca could convince her that Magus WAS everything everyone said and less... How could she possibly explain it to Crono? This was all too much for her... Her strength shattered, a night of rest missed, she lightly doses in the library... What else could she do right now? She didn't want to face Magus like this again... He was DEPENDING on her! ...no...she knew she was too weak to be depended upon right now... And so, here she was... Weary...confused...angry... Unknowing of what to do next...
Out of the shadows comes the form of Johnny C. He doesn't seem to be looking for anythng in particular, and he certainly didn't come expecting to find anyone here. Infact, he doesn't even notice the Queen as he gazes up at the drawing of evolution painted on the wall. He shakes his head and stabs the human form standing just after the designated fall of Lavos. With a slight glare he speaks to himself. "Right there. If me an' Emi hadn't been so excited to see people like us... If I'd have just turned my backs on them... I wouldn't be stuck here WAISTING MY FUCKING TIME!" Growling again he yanks the blackened dagger out of the wall again and spins around to see. Blink. "Oh. Uh... hello...?" There's an akward moment. The manaic is in his more normal form, nothing out of the ordinary... but the dagger...
The young Queen shivers as Johnny forms, but doesn't seem entirely aware of just what happened... She raises her head, turning towards the figure, and freezes. '...?!' As he speaks, she quickly stands up, inedvertedly causing the chair to make a 'scoot' noise across the tiled floor. Quickly, she reaches around for her... '...I...Lucca never gave me my equipment back!,' she realizes all at once. Instead of playing the defensive offense, however, she simply stands there until addressed, not wanting to seem hostile... As soon as she hears 'Hello', blinks, returning the greeting with a "Hello..." of her own. She did seem to notice that the dagger the man possessed matched that of her beloved's 'key of power', but she didn't say anything regarding that. Instead, she simply asks, "...who...who are you? How'd you get up here?" She asks these questions not in a 'Get out of here!' sort of way, but more as a friendly curiousity than anything...
Johnny blinks. He'd been all over this palace and not crossed paths with anyone. He was starting to wonder if anyone was actually using more than the throne room or not. Oh well, too late now. Bowing he looks up at her with a smirk, his dagger vanishing in the process. "My name is Johnny. Johnny C. You can call me 'Nny." Standing again he leans against the wall, crossing his arms behind his back in the process. "I've been here for a few days now. Waiting... Anyways, who might you be, miss? I thought it was just Magus and his lackies in here..."
As if the sun had just burst through the clouds on a rainy day, Marle once again finds composure...focus... "Johnny??," she repeats. "...you... You're the guy I've been wanting to talk with!" She clears her throat, trying not to sound too excited or anxious. After a moment, she simply waves Johnny over to the table where she was sitting. "Come. Sit, Mr. 'Nny. I'd like to have a few words with you..." She gives the man a firm look. ...does she know who she's dealing with?? If Johnny can scan her...then he might know that she knows just who he is...
Johnny blinks in confusion. "Eh? With me?" Shrugging he steals an empty chair from another corner of the room and puts it opposite the table where Marle was sitting. "Ok, shoot. Do I know you or something? Is this a dream I forgot." As he speaks he stares, trying to place this person. In the back of his mind something nags at him. Something very long ago, but he just can't place it. Leaning back slightly he puts his boots on the edge of the table and crosses his arms at his chest. "Y'know, if I had a drink right now this'd be so much better." Of course, this -isn't- the Truce Inn or the Usual Restaurant. Frowning at his voiced thought he stares back at Marle curious to know, before anything else, what her name is...
"Easy, Johnny. She is with me," says a voice from behind Marle. The voice belonged to The Magus who had been observing for a moment. As soon as he felt Johnny appear... as soon as he felt the presence of the dagger he was there in an instant, but he first wanted to see what Marle would say. "This is Marle... The Queen of New Zeal. My lover." He makes that point perfectly clear as he looks Johnny in the eye. His hand falls to her shoulder as he does so. "Remember? The woman I told you I had to discuss... 'terms' with? This is who I was speaking about. Now that we are all here, we may as well get down to business. So, shall we?" The mage waves his hand over the table, which causes three glasses of red wine to appear. One in front of each person gathered.
Marle tilts her head at the strange man. "Well...what would you like?," she calmly asks. 'They say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,' she thinks to herself. 'A drink isn't that much to ask for, besides.' Truthfully, she wishes she could conjure up drinks like Magus, instead of having to walk all the way to the kitchen and back... Actually, at this point, a minion would do just as well... ...shame there aren't any around right now... Speak of the devil, though! Marle stands up and looks at Magus, blinking. She tenses, not wanting Magus to drive off Johnny... Magus can probably sense this, of course. Without even thinking, she says, "Magus, can you summon up a minion or something? Whatever Johnny wants to drink, we can provide it," she says as she turns around, smiling at Johnny. Though it was sort of a 'serious smile'... She quietly sits back down and only then notices the glasses of red wine with a blink. "...uh...nevermind." With a clearing of her throat, she politely asks Johnny, "Is red wine alright, 'Bny?" Mistress of diplomacy, this one is...
Johnny puts his feet on the floor and nearly jumps out of his seat until the glasses appear and he realises this isn't a prelude to a fight. As Magus introduces the girl he leans towards her and smirks. "Oh. I see." He lowers his voice. His grin widening, "I am -so- sorry." Leaning back into his chair again he takes the glass and smells it, listening to Marle's words as he works up the courage to taste the wine. With a comical expression of confusion he takes a tiny sip and winces. "Nah, it's ok. I was speaking more outta habbit than anything." Sitting the glass down he pushes it to the side slightly. He's not entirely sure he'd trust anything from this place anyways. "So, back to the point. Marle, was it? What did you want to discuss? You've got my attention." Is he deliberatly not acknowledging Magus? Probably. The mage isn't his favorite person in the world right now. In truth, The Magus could care less... besides, he had played his hand all ready with the owner of the dagger he currently possesses. It is now Marle's turn to play hers, just as the two of them had discussed previously. As such, he takes a seat next to Marle and takes the cervase into his hand, lightly fingering the rim of it before actually taking a sip.
The girl doesn't acknowledge the wine at first...but carefully, she decides to take a long sip of the beverage. Magus can tell...that for some reason, Marle is keeping a rather close watch on him here... As such, she sincerely hopes that Magus isn't the type to spike a wine with something bad... "Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Mr. 'Nny.," she addresses to the weilder of the daggers. It was a purposeful neglect towards Magus she made, but really, she didn't think Magus was here to begin with when she asked for an audience! "It's been at my attention for a while that we are in possession of something of yours; something you seem to have a strong desire for -- a desire strong enough to pose physical threats, violence...even WAR for. Of course, the object I speak of is the other obsidian dagger, which is in the possession of Magus at this point." She briefly looks to Magus. "...from what my beloved's told me...you have powers even greater than his; powers to physically alter time and space to how you see fit." She thinks about what he'd said earlier. "...we realize that this is your 'dream world,' so to speak...and I'm guessing that you can't seem to 'wake up' from it... ...but...Mr. 'Nny... ...I would like to formally request your help in exchange for the dagger you value. We realize that we are in no position to bargain with you; that you could more than likely just dissolve us without a second thought..." Was Marle trying to butter him up? Did she even have a firm grasp on how powerful Johnny was or wasn't? She was hoping she was right about these guesses... "...but we would still like to ask for your help in certain things... I'm sure you have a couple of ideas as to what we'd like, but if you'll allow, I'd like to address a few more issues..." With that, she sits back, taking another sip of her wine and awaits Johnny's responce.
Johnny grins at her words. He seems to be... No. He -is- trying not to laugh. As she finishes he's chuckling slightly. "Well, address away but I should get some things straight here. First off, the daggers are called Dread Daggers. (Although, Obseidian sounds far better for a name) I do know how to alter time. I can manipulate space to a limited degree, mostly through illusions and shadows. I don't feel, however that you exist in my dream. I think the whole universe is a dream that we're all trapped in. Yes, I have every intention of finding out how far this dream goes. I want to see what lies beyond it. I want to wake up and go back to my life before," He guestures around the room, "...all of this. I'm tired. I've been here too long, but I'm also trapped here without someone coming to get me, or that dagger. It shouldn't have been given to him, but..." He grins at Magus, "We all know the Queen has her ways of controlling people." Laughing he crosses his arms atop the table. "...but as I said, go on. Address away."
Upon hearing the reference of Queen Zeal and the idea that she "controls" people, the Magus is visibly upset at the notion, yet he keeps the thoughts he has in check. If there is one topic and one person he hates more than anything, it is his mother. Still, all of what has been said so far is stuff he all ready knows, so for the moment, he has nothing to add. Marle is doing a marvelous job of it... though he can tell she is nervous. He takes one of her hands into his and gives it a gentle squeeze as if to reassure her that she is doing a good job.
Marle blinks at the casual way Johnny talks about things and almost immediately relaxes...even more so when Magus squeezes her hands. Taking a deep breath, she thinks of what to say next... "...before we get into the 'what we'd likes' of things, would you care to explain why the dagger is so important to you? I'll assume that you can't just make ANOTHER Dread Dagger, given the way Magus spoke of how you wanted its return. ...and the damage to our throne room," she idly mentions with a light cough, but seems to be...grinning. ...did she think it was funny Johnny did that? It would seem so.
At the mention of the weapon he draws the dagger from where it's concealed under his sleave. Just a flick of his wrist and it's in his hand being turned slowly to let the light play off it's features. "They where made by the demon Benedict to kill the goddess Cassandra. They where bestowed to me when I was tricked into pledging alegence to him. They take the shape of the person who weilds them. Mine look like the daggers I used to carry around with me until that point." To emphasise this he flicks his other wrist, drawing an identical but ordinary dagger in his other hand. "The daggers are attuned to my waste lock, meaning that they draw negativity that my body naturally absorbs and stores and provides a means for me to use that energy without having to overkill my own absorption at the cost of the remains of my sanity." With a double *ka-chink* the daggers are withdrawn and vanish once again. "On this world I've found they work surprisingly well because they're drawing off of the two sleeping La Vos on this world. But being flooded with negative energies tends to drive one mad." With a very serious nod towards Magus he announces, "He's just re-enacting what his mother did with the Mammon Machine on a larger scale. That's why I didn't care what he did with the dagger originaly. If you draw too much energy from the big guy, it just wakes him up..." Johnny's face stays serious. Very serious. For once, he's not kidding.
Truth be told, the Magus... did not realize he was drawing energy directly from Lavos. Of course, that would explain his surge in power, but... He hasn't directly felt Lavos in him, or any energies thereof. It is shocking news to him... it makes him feel sick. "Lavos..." he simply says aloud as for the first time, he draws his dagger out. The mage keeps it in his hand as he looks at it, studying it. The hold it has over him is strong... and if it does draw directly from Lavos, that would explain why it has such a strong hold over him. "As I told you before, contrary to what people believe, I do not want destruction. The horde of demons is a distraction to keep the others focused on them so that they do not disrupt our efforts to craft our new world. ... The bloodshed that comes with it is a necessary evil. We truly have the best in mind for this world." Is it possible that even throughout this ordeal that the Magus has kept some of his former integrity? Misguided though he may be, and even that is up to interpritation. Still, the knowledge that his power he has assumed is because he is tapping into Lavos makes him uneasy. The dagger is kept in his hands as he looks over to Marle.
Marle looks at Magus as he speaks, but turns her attention back to Johnny shortly afterwards. As much as she'd like to comfort Magus, there are matters of higher order at hand now... "So... These Dread Daggers ARE feeding off of Lavos... ...Lucca was more right than she realizes," she quietly admits, remembering what she'd said. "...that aside, I see the value of the daggers now, and why they should never be used by anyone else. It's...fortunate," she says, choosing her words carefully, "that Magus was the one to pick up the dagger, in a manner of speaking, then. As you can see, Magus is nowhere as irrational as Queen Zeal I was back in 12,000 BC... At least...not anymore." She smiles to Magus, knowing she had a part in helping him. Or at least hoping so. "So...to the matter at hand, Mr. 'Nny... You say you can alter space?" She thinks for a moment... "But not time?"
Johnny stares blankly at the other dagger as it's drawn. His face is full of disapointment. His body reacts as well, darkness pouring over his features. Even at this distance he can feel the weapon drawing him closer. This is greater than anything Magus would feel for one simple fact. That dagger is a part of his soul. The black-bodied maniac stares on with white eyes, only half hearing Marle as she speaks. He hears the last part of what she says however. Shaking his head he turns towards her, "No. I said I can alter time. I've done it before when I brought cherries here from Metropolis. I did it again when I broke the timeline and shattered the continents into one mass. Zeal forced me to do it once more when I brought her palace from it's timeline and merged them so she could replace Guardia Castle with this one. It's a bit more complicated than I really want to explain, surfice to say I could easily do something like that again with my dagger back." He crosses his arms, drawing his dread dagger in the process and feeling the energies from both weapons as they try to pull their strengths into his form. "Look. I don't care about your world. I may have been there to watch over it for the most part. I might have helped those kids back in Zeal. I might have damaged things and brought you all into this mess together. But I really don't care. All I want is my dagger. I offered to revive his sister's corpse as a puppet and give it my illusion powers. She could paint whatever reality Magus here wants, but it's not an option without the dagger. I'm not at full strength like this. I loose too much when I'm without the other half the set." He eyes the other dagger, resisting the temptation to fight again. "As for her natural magics, they're all in this room. These books are what they taught people with. There's books on every culture the Kingdom destroyed in it's alternate timeline. There's a mess of enslaved people in statis down in the labs. There's tech from dozens of worlds waiting for someone to plunder. This palace was a gift to Magus while Zeal does her thing with La Vos. That dagger is only going to bring you misery. I want it back."
The Magus looks down, then, at the dagger. He does not like what he is hearing... or the way he speaks of Schala. He knows the Schala here is not his Schala... and though the offer is tempting, even though it's not his Schala, he doesn't want to outright use her for his own deeds. He still cares for the girl, after all. ... Yet, even so, the dagger is drawn again, only to be stabbed into the table top for all three of them to see. "Do not grab for it yet. We have not made our decision," he states simply, but it is easy to see he is troubled... he still has some morality.
Marle resists the urge to slam her hands on the table at the words 'sister's corpse' and 'puppet'. That aside, she speaks. "You seemed fine a few moments ago, 'Nny," she idly mentions, lightly scowling... "Stable... A little less tense..." She grins a little. Though she feels like she's the only one in the room who doesn't really care about the dagger, she also feels thankful for that, as not only does it give her the creeps, but apparently, it's like a drug to anyone who touches it... "Listen, Johnny," Marle says with some degree of sharpness. "I'll stop dancing around the topic... Care for this world or not, we want to give you the dagger...but in return, we want you to help US." Without missing a beat, she leans back and asks a rather dangerous question... "How do we know you'd still be willing to help us if you were at full power with your second Dread Dagger? How do we even know you're willing to help us NOW? The Schala WE have isn't the RIGHT Schala, you see..." She grins, clasping her hands together in front of her, resting them on the table. "...this Schala here is just a shell of the one WE know... The one YOU saw back in 12,000 BC when you saved us all...if you're who you say you are..." Johnny? 'The Entity'? Marle might be jumping to conclusions, but... "What did you do with her, Johnny? Where is she now? Can you retrieve her?" She continues to grin, being entirely serious. "We'd like Janus' sister...the one he was torn from so long ago." She gestures to Magus beside her. "THIS...Janus' sister. Schala Zeal." And then...the clincher... "...I won't take no for an answer...and I doubt that Magus will, either. It's entirely up to you now, Mr. 'Nny... What's it going to be?" With that, she rests back in her chair, focused on Johnny as she awaits her answer.
Johnny's anger is obvious as his eyes tint to red. "I've got no reason to go back on my own word. I -don't- break promises. That's what got me into this fucking mess to begin with." Slamming his hand down on the table he clutches the side of it. Magus's dagger reacts automatcily. Darkness begins pouring off of it and drawing straight towards... Johnny. The dagger in his hand actually does the same, but the darkness on his form does a good job of making that less obvious. The dagger in the table wobbles slightly and tilts it's hilt towards him. However, he's not doing this conciously. Infact, he barely pays attention to it at this point as he focuses his eyes on Marle. "SCHALA IS DEAD! You want to bring her back? Let me revive that corpse like I stated. Then when you find her soul you can merge the two. That's the best your gonna get! FUCK! She's probably wandering around Truce as we speak..." He stops and blinks. His body returns to normal as he begins counting on his hands. "No.. no... wait. Yeah, I think." He puts away his dagger and crosses his arms as he thinks. "The girl was supposed to find her. The inventor. I think that's what the Guru said." He makes a heavy sigh. "Or was that before I broke time...? Y'know. I'm not sure, anymore. But yeah. She's somewhere..."
Good job, Johnny. You just insulted Schala and, in an indirect way, the Magus. Without warning, the mage leaps up from his seat. He takes the dagger back out of the table and sheathes it again at his side. "... Selfish bastard. All you care about is yourself and this stupid weapon." The Magus is seething with anger. He desperately wants to reach out and wrap his hands around Johnny's neck... but he knows doing so would only make things worse. However, if Marle were not around... But, she is. Thusly, he takes a deep breath and leans against the wall. "You dare insult that which I care about. MY BLOOD. You think of this as a game, but to Marle and myself, this is as real as it gets. You mocked my sister once, twice and now thrice. Do it again and all of the negotiations are off. You will never get your fucking dagger back." ... He cussed. He is very, very pissed.
'What is this? A SHIPYARD?' Marle grunts a bit at Johnny's words, having...not expected Schala to actually be DEAD...only temporally misplaced... However, she has to push that aside right now and focus on the negotiations at hand... Which...have already turned quite sour, she notes. "... Magus." She looks to Magus, a stern look to her eyes. "...just give the weakling his toy back... It's obvious, as I'd thought, that he can't be reasoned with. He won't even TRY to give us what we want; the body and soul of Schala united." She looks back to Johnny, deciding to play 'the dangerous game' again. "Or maybe it's beyond his meager powers... Maybe it's not that he won't try...but that he physically CAN'T! Maybe...he's not as powerful as we'd figured." She shakes her head. "Give him back the dagger, Magus. Let him have his toy and have his way. It's obvious he's a useless CHILD that can't help anyone or anything." Marle says this with all seriousness. "We have no further business with you, Johnny. 'Mr. 'Nny'. So take your plaything and begone." That said, Marle stands up, not giving a second thought to Johnny or Magus, and starts to head towards the exit. '...I sinerely hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew here...,' she thinks, though trying to hide her thoughts from anyone listening.
Johnny stares at Marle, his head going down pitifuly. He... doesn't scream? Instead he offers his hand, wanting his dagger back. He doesn't argue. He doesn't care. He could do more at full power but he'll be damned if he'd let either of them realise that now. Instead he leaves his head down as the words weigh heavily on his head. He doesn't like being talked down to. He doesn't like feeling weak. But fighting, this one time, is likely not the best altertnative. Not yet. He waits, his hand outstretched palm up. He waits and he plans. But what is he planning for?
The Magus looks over to Marle and blinks, then over to Johnny. He sees the outstretched hand and he knows what he wants. Reluctantly, he pulls out the dagger, but he doesn't give it to him yet. Not without one more comment. "Give me Schala back. We have your word. Otherwise... I promise you there will be no Hell worse than the one I send you to. I will not listen to your insults or selfishness again." He still hasn't handed it over... he will, but he wants to hear Johnny say it.
Marle twitches at hearing these words. 'Magus!' But then, she just sighs and walks out of the room entirely, not thinking of saying anything more. She was done... And now, thanks to Magus, whatever plan she'd had probably isn't going to work. IF it'd had a chance of working to begin with, of course.
Johnny glares at Magus. His eyes twitching as he tries not to ruin this moment. "I SAID I would. I keep my word." Taking the opportunity he draws the first dagger in his right hand and yanks back the air with his left. The dagger appearing within it before Magus can close his hand. Instantly the shape of the dagger seems to change becoming an exact copy of the one in his other hand. Johnny's form fades to transparency, and then back as his eyes turn completly black. His grin appears and stretches nearly from ear to ear as the two daggers seem to melt with the darkness pouring from them and over Johnny's body. Within seconds his entire form is blanketed with darkness which swirls as it burns off his his body. This being made of black liquid smoke opens it's eyes, which are burning white once again. He twirls the two daggers in his hands and in reaction the shadows everywhere in the palace seem to shift and lurch towards his location. The very air seems to brighten as the shadows vanish and become apart of the maniac. The darkness splits abruptly from head to toe and the blackness peals back from Johnny becoming a black coat which seems to move on it's own as it struggles to keep it's form. The age in NNY's eyes seems to wash away restoring him to his more youthful appearance. The daggers vanish from his hands and seemingly into thin air as he holds his hands to his sides, the shadows around him react and form assorted weapon which launch into the air and snap back within him. Laughing he lifts off the floor an inch, and then drops back down, his powers calming themselves again. He draws his daggers and twirls them as his coat seems to 'cool' back into a real coat as he looks to Magus and tilts his head. "So... let's go fix your sister."
Marle could feel the sudden change in the atmosphere from on the other side of the door, making her stomach lurch in illness... She took a deep breath as she waited for whatever was going on behind the door to come to a head... Truth be told...she didn't really even WANT to try and stop the conversation...but somewhere in her mind, the old, overtly-caring Marle took pity on the form of Johnny... His words touched her... She tried her best to disguise this feeling...hide it from Magus and Johnny as she turned it into a reverse-psychologic ploy. She takes another deep breath, bringing her pendant to face, staring into it... "...what have I done, beloved? ...what have I done..."
The Magus shakes his head as he watches the transformation. Through it, he simply stands there, unshaken by what Johnny is doing. "I said I would hand it to you," he states simply. "Whatever. It is done now. I want my sister back. Marle." The mage walks over to her side and takes her hand carefully. "Come on. We should get this over with."
The Mammon Machine(#1250R)
Accessible only from a series of floating steps rests the fabled Mammon Machine. Created in 12,001 BC, the Mammon Machine draws forth the energy of Lavos into an endless supply of energy taken directly from the life force the beast constantly consumes. The Machine can only be activated or deactivated from a pendant worn by the royal family. The massive armor-like structure rests upon the lowest platform floating over the void that exists in the center of the Kingdom of Zeal. At the base of the Mammon Machine is a small control panel with an indentation to hold one of the royal pendants in the event one needed to be recharged.
Johnny turns towards the doorway himself and marches past Magus and Marle. Without any hesitation he makes his way straight to the throne room and down the steps to the Mammon Machine. His coat reacts to the energies and begins to wave around wildly again. Nny comes to a halt overtop the casket of Schala and looks down at her for the first time, shaking his head. When he speaks his back is towards the pair, and his voice is very calm and quiet. This is between him and her. "Emi... Schala... whatever you where. Whatever you became. You where my friend. You helped me regain who I was. You helped me learn what I was. You opened my eyes... and I closed yours. I gave in to power, like I always have. I let Zeal control me and I ended your life. I used the dagger's poison and silenced you before you could stop me. You should rest forever... you should stay like you are forever... but this life isn't fair. You where a figment like the others, and a figment you'll always be..." Drawing his daggers the coat closes itself, and the maniac is black once again. The very air around him ripples as the darkness is both drawn and cast out by his powers. This won't be like Sammy. This one won't be a shadow. He plunges the two daggers down and into the lid of the casket sending cracks up and down the length of the transparent top. The blades manage to -just- pierce the girl's skin. Her body reacts and literally jumps as darkness pours into her body once again. Her eyes open up and a horrible sound is heard as air is forced both in and out of her lungs. She screams. This is the scream of the dead. A brilliant light pours out of her eyes as the casket's lid begins to melt from the energies. Magus may try to stop Johnny at this point, but he'll never make it close enough to do anything from the searing heat. The girl continues to scream until it sounds like her very throat would rupture from the force, and then... the light fades. The girl rests once again. Her vains are completly black as Johnny yanks the daggers out of her flesh and stands, panting. The vains slowly fade back to normal as the maniac turns his head towards Magus. "DECIDE. NOW. THE POWER TO PAINT THE WORLD, OR THE POWER OF THOUGHT. WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT?"
As remorseful as she was a moment ago, upon seeing this sincere madness, she's only MORE-so. Part of her old self comes back as she finds herself tightly clinging to Magus' arm through the wind and the wild powers... Scared? You bet she was... This wasn't right... She didn't know much about bringing people back from the dead, but she was positive that THIS was NOT the proper way to DO IT!
"HE'S KILLING HER, MAGUS!!," she screams. "THE DARKNESS IS GOING TO OBLITERATE HER IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING!! JANUS!! THIS ISN'T WHAT WE WANTED AT ALL!!" She growls and takes a step forward, apparently aiming to confront Johnny, live or die. But as suddenly as she does, she sees the removal of the daggers from Schala's body... This calms her...but only a little. Without even thinking, she'd already started to gather energy...moisture from the air... Despite the dark energy that clouded the room, Marle had gathered a rather impressive amount of magical energy of her own... Apparently, she intends to strike Johnny down! Though she makes no move yet, waiting for Johnny's next move... ...and should it be one she doesn't agree with...well...
"Johnny!" Magus walks up towards the casket... as far as he can, at least, and falls to his knees in horror... Marle was right, this is not what he wanted at all. This realization was falling upon him now. All that he had done the past few months... what was it for? This? More bloodshed? The death of his sister? This... he could not handle. The mage slams his hands palm first into the ground and hangs his head low. Quiet sobbing can be heard from him as he does so. He has been moved to tears because of this... it's only now that he is realizing just how far he pushed it. Seeing his sister like this was the breaking point. He can't handle that vision. "... Let her go, Johnny. Either let her rest in peace or bring her back of her own accord. She is not a puppet to be controlled. ... I leave it up to you." Tears fall from his face to the ground because he can not bear to look back up to any of them. The pain is too great.
Johnny smiles. An evil, horrible smile as Magus drops to his knees and sobs. He turns his back to the mage and twirls his right hand dagger, preparing to plunge it into her chest. He stops just before it would pierce her heart, then the dagger vanishes along with it's mate. Johnny puts his hands on the sides of the casket, looking down at the resting form and continues to grin. "I could take advantage of this, you know. I could force you to experience nightmares so horrible from this day forward that you'd stay at MY side for all eternity. ...but I won't. I have to honor our agreement. Whether you want to accept it or not, she lives. She's alive now, but much like the Schala from your time her soul isn't here." Under his breath he mutters mournfully, "...souls..." The maniac pushes himself to his feet, his smile is no longer there. He marches towards Magus and kneels in his face. "I don't like to sleep. It brings the nightmares I don't want to face. It makes me awaken and not know which of them where real and which where my creation. I hear the voices of those who've died as they speak to me. As they cry out for vengence. The fact that I can't join them is enough, I've lived forever just to serve my time. You'll never atone for your own wrong doings. You can't change the past. You can erase it, you can create whatever world you want... but it doesn't help. The nightmares will never leave. Your sister's soul is alive. Find her. If she learns of her past and wants, she can claim this body as her own. But your sister. Schala, she wouldn't want this. She wouldn't want this palace or it's power." He stands, turning his gaze to Marle this time. "Change the past. Change the future, but it will always be there waiting for you. It all has to go somewhere. Guardia Kingdom falls in 1005 AD. They saw it in the past. In dreams. This... this isn't Guardia. This is Zeal. This is the dead unburried. I'm not protecting it anymore..." Johnny turns away from both of them, walking towards Schala's form and bowing his head. "I dont want to kill you again..."
The young Queen of Guardia continued channelling her powers as Johnny spoke... ...but as soon as he spoke of Guardia... It was like the crack in her armor of fury. She almost immediately calms down as the maniac speaks, seemingly to her. All at once, she remembers how this day started... All at once, she remembers... "...Crono..." Gradually, she lets the power she was holding go, letting it serge back from where it came... She then falls to the floor, kneeling on one knee... She brings her right hand up, looking at that golden band she's been trying to ignore...to disregard... ...Johnny's words ring clear like Nadia's Bell in her mind.
"...Janus..." She looks at the mage. "...we...have other things...we've got to...tend to..." There was a light hesitence to her voice...an insecurity there that wasn't there before... "... Johnny... ...t...thank you...," she quietly says with a sigh... This wasn't what either of them wanted...but it was done... "... Come." With that, Marle simply stands up and starts heading back towards the ruined throne room.
As it's all done now, Magus (no longer the Magus) stands back up and makes his way to the casket where Schala is now laying. He can feel the fact that she is... alive, but it still doesn't feel like her. Nonetheless, the mage reaches in and takes her into his arms, cradle style. He rests her head upon his shoulder, next to his neck for support with a heavy sigh. This is not... what he wanted. He screwed up so many things, all because of that dagger. He let it corrupt him. The all-powerful wizard was taken advantage of by a dagger... naturally, he feels sick. Still, he is quiet as he starts to make his way up the stairs, following Marle up with Schala in his arms. But, just before he walks out of sight, he looks back down to Johnny. There is anger in his eyes as he says "Leave and never return." He leaves it at that as he ascends.
Johnny's left behind with Magus's words echoing in his mind. His eyes are closed as he too tries not to shed a tear at everything that's happened. As Magus turns his back on him he fades into darkness, vanishing. The air is silent and a sticky warmth seems to hang over the spot. Not a sound can be heard as Magus makes his way up the steps to the throne room. The lights of the Mammon Machine however, are dark. This entire time they've been dark, ever since Johnny first plunged the daggers into Schala's sleeping body. The machine sputters and a dim light flashes accross it's equipment. A small warning light blinks to life and strange zealous symbols play overtop the displays. Then, suddenly... they all go silent. The machine is dead. A flash of light erupts from within the device and with a swirl of energies a blue light begins to dance around, mimicing the non-working machine. After a time it fades too and the machine seems to be normal again. Perhaps more has just occured than anyone will ever realise...