The Search

[04.08.00] » by David Schwager

            "Stay away!"  That the child had spoken those works was surprising, not so much because of the situation as because he had managed to get them out of his mouth in between his crying and sobbing.  The monsters around him paid no more attention to his words then to his sobs, and closed in for an easy kill.


Out of the shadows of the twilight, a separate shadow emerged and flew across the ground towards the monsters, making less sound than a slight breeze.  Too late to give warning of his coming, the dark gleam of his scythe appeared from the folds of his billowing cloak.  The shadow-taken-flesh wiped the first monster out of the folds of time with a blast of his dark magic, and his scythe cut off the head of another before moving on to cleave a bird in two.  Another blast from his magic wiped out a fourth, and his scythe cut through the fleeing back of the last.  A good, clean fight.

The man would be a sight to inspire fear in many brave, grown men, and the boy was almost as frightened of the stranger as he was of the monsters.  Lacking anything better to say, he fell back on what was being driven into him every hour at home.  Manners.

"Uh…uh…th-th-th-thank y-you…" he said rather awkwardly.

"It was nothing.  My name is Magus.  What are you doing out here in these mountains?  It’s dangerous here."

It was reassuring for the boy that he was not dead already.  That, and having a question asked he could answer.  "I was l-looking for my d-dog.  Mr., h-have you seen him?"  The question was academic, however, as the named dog hurtled out of a bush to the side.

"ROVER!" cried the boy in delight, forgetting the stranger.

"You have a good dog there.  He led me back to you."  Magus didn’t have to ask the next question, but he always did.  He never expected an answer.  Or at least, not the one he wanted.  "Have you seen a girl?  Blue hair, pale, pretty face, named Schala?  Possibly in long blue robes?"

"No, sir, I would have remembered if I had seen a girl with blue hair.  That’s not exactly common."

Magus didn’t even feel the slight disappointment anymore.  "No matter.  I’ll walk you back to town."  Magus did, and his presence was enough to ward off any monsters.  He left the child as the town came into view.  He had only gone a few feet before he was accosted by Glenn.

"Hail, Sir Magus.  I saw the end of thy fight with the monsters.  Or mayhap it was the beginning, from the way the fight wast going."

"Is it surprising that I helped the boy, Glenn?  You must know I’ve changed since then."

"And so hath I.  My name is Frog now, and I accept that.  Do you mind if I asketh thou a question of rather personal nature?"

They were friends now, of a sort.  Frog would always be Glenn to Magus.  It was his way of trying to make up for his mistakes.  After their great adventure, Magus had apologized to Glenn about the curse, and offered his neck if Glenn wished it.  Glenn didn’t, and things between them had fallen into a strange pattern ever since.

"Of course, Frog."

"Why doth thou continue thy quest for Schala?"

"You mean that she’s almost certainly dead, right?  You’re probably right, but I have to keep searching.  What would I do otherwise?"

"That doth not be my quandary.  Why doth thou not search for her in her own time?  That is where thou shalt most likely find her."

Magus paused and stared at Glenn for a long time.  Finally, he answered, but not in the way Glenn expected.  "What did you have to gain when you saved Lucca, back when you first met her?  Personally, I mean."

"Well, I suppose nothing."

"But you did it anyway."

"Of course.  I couldst not allow others to be destroyed."

"So you did a simple, good deed, and it led you to come to peace with yourself for Cyrus’s death."

"I…suppose it couldst be put in that fashion."

"Throughout his travels, Chrono always helped others when there was no personal gain.  In the end, it led to his redemption."

"I doth not understand how this matter pertaineth to my question."

Again, silence greeted the question for a long time.  Then Magus replied, in a voice almost too soft to be heard.  "I have done great evil, and no good…I have done nothing to warrant my redemption."

"Thou art wrong, Magus.  Thou hath done good.  Thou hadst nothing to gain from helping that boy."

"No, my friend, you’re wrong there.  I did have something to gain."

"The boy could not possibly have been in possession of knowledge about Schala."

"Of course."

"Then what didst thou have to gain?"

For the third time, a long silence followed.  Magus turned around and began to walk away, and Glenn did not think he would get an answer.  But then Magus stopped, and still facing away, said

"My soul."

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