CoT Part 19: Under New Management

The New King (12,000 B.C.)

Once Lucca and Marle compose themselves and add Ayla to fill out their group, they head out into the Last Village. Amazingly, some of the Enlightened Ones have managed to survive the destruction of their entire nation and the subsequent globe-altering carnage and found their way to the refuge. Unfortunately, for them at least, the surviving Enlightened Ones have lost their ability to use magic. One of the Enlightened Ones at the Commons wonders how they will manage to go on without magic but a nearby Earthbound One tell them that they’ve been managing it just fine all along which puts them a bit at ease. Some of the other Enlightened Ones recognize that they had become too dependent on magic, particularly the power that came from the Mammon Machine. There’s a strange combination of both despair and hope throughout the camp, all of Zeal has been destroyed and fallen into the sea but the clouds have broken and the blizzard which has been tearing at the land for as long as anyone can remember has finally abated.

Things are starting to look a little too rosy however, so naturally Dalton has to show up with a number of soldiers to ruin any good feeling anyone might be feeling. Somehow Dalton has retained his ability to use magic, perhaps because he was exposed to so much of Lavos’ energy while in the Ocean Palace, and declares himself the new King of the World. He then recognizes the group and states that he is going to take them prisoner so they won’t have an opportunity to foment any resistance to him and on top of that, he is commandeering the Epoch for his own personal chariot. Ayla, Lucca, and Marle take issue with this of course and decide to put a stop to Dalton’s shenanigans. Unfortunately for the team, Dalton has one surefire trick up his sleeve, the “look behind you” gambit, and the team falls for it and are blasted in the back by Dalton’s magic. In fairness, this may actually be the first time in history that this trick has been used. Although Lucca at the very least should have known better.

Sometime later the group wakes up in a cell. The guards in this facility did have the foresight to take the team’s items and gear from them so they’re already doing better than law enforcement in Guardia. A ladder in the back of the room leads to an exterior ledge where the team discovers that they are in fact on the Blackbird, the enormous aircraft that was docked near Kajar. When the trio get back inside, Lucca thinks that she has found a way to get up into the ventilation system which will allow the group to move around freely and perhaps regain their gear. Fortunately, the group has Ayla with them and although she doesn’t have any of her armor with her, she can do quite a bit of damage with just her fists if they should run into any trouble. Ayla, Lucca, and Marle make their way around the Blackbird via the aircraft’s ventilation system spying on guards and searching for their stolen equipment. Eventually, the group comes across one of the guards sleeping next to a treasure chest allowing the group to sneak into the room and loot the chest which contains Marle’s equipment. A short time later, the group finds Ayla’s armor making her all the more dangerous.

While exploring the vents near the Blackbird’s tail, the group hears a voice coming from below. Peeking in through the ceiling, the group sees the Epoch in a small hanger with Dalton overseeing some modifications in order to make it an appropriate airborne throne for him. With nothing to be done at the moment, the group heads to the front of the aircraft and recover their money, items, and Lucca’s gear. Once the team has all of their property back, they make their way onto one of the Blackbird’s massive wings. While on the wing, the group runs into the Golem Boss, the most powerful of Dalton’s Golem minions, who intends to put a stop to the group’s escape attempt. The Golem Boss is afraid of heights however which is a significant disadvantage when fighting on the wing of a giant aircraft so the Golem doesn’t manage to put up much of a fight before being defeated.

Just then, Dalton finishes the modifications to the Epoch, adding wings and engines to it allowing it now to fly. Dalton renames the craft the Aero Dalton Imperial and prepares to take it on its maiden voyage after changing the music to something more appropriate. Ayla, Lucca, and Marle see Dalton flying around in his Aero Dalton Imperial and he decides to test out the craft’s new weapon systems on them. Then, in one of the greatest displays of raw guts ever, the group jumps from the Blackbird onto the Aero Dalton Imperial in order to do battle. After a short fight, Dalton sees that he is clearly outclassed by the women and, in a last ditch effort, attempts to summon the Golem Boss to aid him. Unfortunately, the Golem Boss has already been dealt with so Dalton ends up being sucked into the portal presumably to spend the rest of his days wherever he’s been summoning the Golems from. The group then retakes the Epoch but Dalton has changed the controls around. While trying to get a handle on the new control scheme, Marle accidentally shoots the Blackbird down to the great delight of the people watching from the Las Village. Marle manages to figure out the new controls for the Epoch and she lands the craft back near the village. Once back on terra firma, the group takes a breather and Marle hardens her resolve to find and/or save Crono. Ayla, for her part, remains incredulous that someone as strong a Crono could possibly die.

The group returns to the Commons, and more people have trickled in since the three were taken prisoner by Dalton. The lady that Crono spoke to and convinced to keep the small sapling that the queen had ordered her to burn is there and happy to report that the tree is doing just fine. A child is playing with what looks like Alphador, Janus’ cat, and generally the mood is much more upbeat that it has been. It seems that seeing the last remnants of the Kingdom of Zeal crash into the ocean has significantly raised the spirits of the survivors. Some of the people at the Commons report to the group about a mysterious man who appeared while the group was gone who seemed to be searching for someone. The last anyone has seen of him, he was heading north to the nearby cape.

When Ayla, Frog, and Marle get to the North Cape, it looks as if the mystery man has already moved on, however when they near the cliff-side overlooking the ocean, who should appear but Magus? The group immediately prepares for a fight but it seems Magus is more interested in taking in the view and opining about the great Kingdom of Zeal being destroyed and falling into the ocean. He then reveals to the group that in his youth, Magus actually lived in Zeal. The scene then switches back to the Ocean Palace’s Mammon Machine chamber where the Queen Zeal has gathered the three gurus with Schala. The gurus are urging the queen to shut the Mammon Machine down since it’s power is too much to control when Janus comes into the chamber looking for Schala. Before anyone can react, gates appear under each of the gurus and, to Schala’s horror, Janus, swallowing them all. Melchior is then seen bursting out of the imp’s cupboard in modern day Medina Village, Belthasar emerges in one of the ruined domes in the future, and Gaspar, having apparently drawn the short straw, appears in an empty void outside of time itself. The scene then cuts to Ozzie in one of the forests in the middle ages when a gate opens in front of him and Janus emerges. Ozzie then immediately sicks a group of imps on the child and the scene mercifully ends before we can see what happens to the poor creatures.

Back at the North Cape Magus explains to the group that he is Janus, Schala’s younger brother and prince of Zeal. He says that ever since the day we was transported to the middle ages he has lived only for the thought of destroying Lavos. He had nearly succeeded in summoning the beast when they interfered at his castle and coincidentally opened another gate bringing him back to his old home. He then decided to use his knowledge of upcoming events to convince his mother that he was an oracle so that he might get another chance at defeating Lavos but the monster is just too powerful for him. Magus tells the group that any who challenge Lavos will be themselves destroyed just like that “fool” Crono. Not surprisingly, that last comment doesn’t go over very well with the group and Frog in particular decides to take exception to Magus referring to Crono in such a way. It appears that Frog is about to throw down one-on-one with Magus but cooler heads prevail when he realizes that killing Magus won’t bring Crono or Cyrus back and decides against seeking revenge.

As the group is about to take their leave, Magus stops them and offers to join them if they insist on continuing to oppose Lavos. Perhaps their combined strength could be enough to face Lavos. Magus also suggests that Gaspar, the Guru of Time, may know a way to undo what happened to Crono. The suggestion that Crono can be saved is enough to convince the team to let Magus tag along, and the group heads back to the Epoch to return to the End of Time to speak with Gaspar and see what he can do. As Frog, Magus, and Marle take off in the Epoch however, something very strange and ominous happens. An enormous structure appears above where the Ocean Palace was located over the ocean, the undersea palace having been transformed into the Black Omen.

 

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