Chapter 5—Journey Beyond Death
Kain fell out of the portal, landing on his knees, noticing immediately the intense cold of his surroundings. He had fell into snow so heavy that he couldn’t feel the ground.
As he looked around at the environment, his poet’s instinct began to write a stanza in his mind:
Or maybe stars.
‘Hmmm…that’s alright…maybe I’ll write it down sometime.’ It was then that Kain remembered where he was, or, rather, where he wasn’t, and realized poetry wasn’t exactly a high priority at the moment.
‘Ah, but for a true artist,’ he thought to himself sardonically, ‘No time is a bad place for his art.’
The comforting razor that was sarcasm left him as quickly as it had came, and he suddenly felt hopeless.
‘How am I going to get back home? Or, can I even go back home? If those soldiers, and the strange voice, told the truth, then I’ve committed a crime punishable by death.’ And while Kain had no fear of the afterlife, in fact embraced it with open arms, he still had work to do, poems to write, a life to live. To go back to Guardia just to die would be pointless. Especially when he hadn’t done anything wrong.
‘So what should I do?’ The answer came to him very quickly. ‘That man. The voice. The voice that was controlling me. I have to look for him. But…’ his mind seemed to overload with thoughts. ‘How can I find him if I don’t know where I am? I could be in any time…obviously it’s not near my own, there’s snow covering everything…What if no one’s even alive in this time? I could be stuck here. Forever.’
In an instant, he
decided. ‘Dumb little man.
You’re not getting anywhere sitting knee-deep in snow.
The only way you’re going to find anything is if you get going, and the
direction really doesn’t matter all that much.’
Without abandon, following one of his creeds that thought in crisis rarely did any good, Kain started trudging through the snow toward the direction of the rising sun.
Kain thought about the life he had lived before the darkness as he walked on through the cold.
Back in Truce, he’d met a girl named Aubrey while he was hanging around the town. Her hair was long, a luscious dark red, eyes a dark blue that captivated him, a charming smile and a good figure. A really good figure. She’d been sitting by herself, watching the fountain in the middle of Truce Canyon, somehow looking content and miserable at the same time.
He’d sat down by her, started a conversation, found himself allured to her charm and alto voice. He was too skeptical to think it was love at first site, but he was stricken enough to know that it was something big.
Apparently she felt the same way. They dated for a few weeks, and things seemed to be going well. Then she confessed as they sat together on the edge of the sea by the Ashtear house: “I don’t think it’s going to work out between us.”
”Why?” Kain had asked, struck with surprise. “What do you mean, things are alright—“
“I…can’t be around you anymore…Every time I’m around you, your…gloomy mood depresses me. And your poetry, and how you always say things…you’re shaking everything I hold dear to me, all my beliefs, and I can’t take that…I’m sorry.”
He was speechless as she held her hand to his cheek and walked away.
He called after her, but she ignored him. He visited her house later, and she didn’t answer. He didn’t know what he could do, nor what he should have done. He still had no idea now. That had been last week, what now seemed to have been a century ago.
‘Because I’m gloomy. Well, what am I supposed to do, change my entire personality? I’m a gloomy person. That’s just the way I am…If I asked her to stop acting like a pretentious—“
He stopped himself in midthought.
‘No. There’s nothing wrong with her, she didn’t do anything. It’s all your fault. You were dragging her down. That’s all it was.’ Bitterness welled up in him. ‘And I’ll probably never see her again, either.’
His legs were getting tired, but he made himself keep hiking. He was more worried about the freezing cold, which clung to him with ferocity. He shivered, and spat.
‘Well, she did a lot of good. I’m sure happy now. I feel so cheery! Yeah, great move, Aubrey.’ Kain kicked the snow in anger, but it didn’t seem to want to fight.
‘Too bad,’ he thought. ‘I wish I could kill something right about now.’ Then he halted himself again, remembering Lacan, the mutilated bodies of the soldiers.
‘…No…don’t say that….don’t wanna become that again. I can’t think anything like that, the voice will come back…by the stars, the voice will come back, I sound like some screwhead from the asylum…’
As he thought about his teacher again, and his father and mother, and Aubrey, the unescapable beauty in his mind, he thought, ‘Well, cheers. Here’s a toast—To a destroyed life. Mine.’ He raised his hand in the air with an imaginary cup, a grim smile coming upon his face.
‘By the Sun Stone, I AM crazy.’
Crono, Marle, and Lucca fell from the portal. The world was white and empty. No trace of anyone marked the planet.
Lucca got up and hugged herself reflexively. “It’s cold! Look at all this snow!” Surprised at the oddness of the surroundings, she turned around.
“Where are we?” Crono had to speak loudly to be heard above the wind.
“Back in the Ice Ages? The Zeal Era?” said Marle.
“No, not the Zeal Era,” replied Lucca. “The floating continent would be visible from here…” Marle stood up and looked around. “Right.”
“And not after the Zeal Era, since there’d be Earthbound villages around here.” Crono thought. “Stars, Lucca, could you cast a us a little warmth?”
“Oh, right.” Lucca waved her hand and an aura of red surrounded her. A circular red-tinted barrier briefly appeared around the group. The wind suddelny stopped, and the cold became less numbing. Marle sighed in appreciation.
“Maybe…we’ve ended up before the Zeal Era,” continued Crono, but he paused. “Or…maybe…we’re in the future.”
“Um, hello, we saved the world from Lavos, oh Hero.” Lucca knew he didn’t mean that time, had already figured it out, but needed to fill the silence. Already this time was getting to her.
“No, I mean…the far future. After…our entire civilization ended.”
Marle shuddered reflexively. “Could this be…”
“Well, we could return to the End of Time and find out—“ Crono stopped Lucca.
“No. We’re here to find Kain. We’re already late, we came in the portal about a half hour after he did, so he could be far away by now. If we go anywhere else—“
“It’s alright, Crono.” Marle placed her hand on his shoulder. “We’re not going to give up on Kain. We’ll stay here. But how are we going to find him? There’s no tracks, the wind must have blown them away by now—“
“You’re forgetting magic,” said Lucca. “Kain’s a…Shadow elemental, right?” This said was some trepidation—Magus, Zeal, and particularly Lavos had been Shadow elementals, evil seemed paired with it—and the only reply was a slight nod from Crono. “So we can just trace his aura and find where he traveled…”
“I’ll do it,” said Marle, before Crono could volunteer. He needed to save his strength, she knew, and Lucca had to hold up the fire barrier.
Crono started to argue but could almost read her mind, and only nodded again.
Marle was getting fearful for Crono as well as Kain—‘He doesn’t usually act like this…He’s terribly scared…The last time I saw him like this was when we entered Lavos’ shell.’ This sent a chill down her spine, as she remembered that Lavos was the reason behind the first gate’s opening, at least if one believed in fate, which she did. ‘Is something equally evil being unleashed on the planet? If the first gates were spawned from a need to save the world…’ She didn’t want to continue the thought, but followed it anyway.
‘Kain was the first to go through that gate, it appeared for him. How would he be able to fight something as terrible as Lavos all by himself—“ A sudden thought occurred to her, more horrible than any she’d thought before.
‘What if my son is the evil? What if Kain is the new destroyer of our world?’
Then another thought, worse, came to her.
‘What if I had to kill him?’
She didn’t think she could. She loved Kain nearly as much as she loved Crono. But if he doomed everyone else…
Marle couldn’t bear to think about it anymore. She expunged the thoughts from her head and concentrated on revealing the path where her son had gone, unaware of the consequences of her actions on him and herself.
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