A Chrono Trigger Crossover
by Benjamin "Toma Levine" Avner
[TOMA'S NOTE: The following story contains mild violence,
language, and nudity. Readers' discretion is advised.]
Crono stood alone at the edge of the town of Truce,
staring off into the distance as if in a daze. He
unconsciously ran his hand through the top of his spiked,
fire-red hair. His light brown eyes riveted on nothing in
particular - an action which also described his state of
mind. He was trying to concentrate on piecing together some
coherent thoughts or explanations, but there was nothing to
Back at home, this had seemed so natural. To just go
to Fiona's Forest for a walk. Now, he was beginning to
wonder what the hell he was doing. He'd gotten a few stares
along the way which cast further doubt in his mind about his
He trudged on again, all too slowly leaving Truce
behind him. The grass under his feet grew thicker as he
walked. Looking down the ground ahead, he saw that the rich
green stalks would soon give way to plain dirt. Crono
stopped again, continuing to mull over in his head what he
was doing. No answers came. He walked on another few
steps, then stopped yet again.
Guardia Forest loomed off to his right. Even at this
distance, Crono could make out the leafy tops of a few of
the individual trees, and the general line where the green
separated from the dark brown hue of the thick trunks. Why
wasn't he going there for his walk in the forest, rather
than making the long trek to Fiona's Forest? No answer.
The midday summer sun beating down was starting to get to
him, and he squinted, bringing his right hand up to rest his
Crono spun around, his hand instinctively flashing to
the sword at his belt. Then he relaxed as he saw who it was
walking up to him. "How're you doing, Lucca?"
"Okay, I guess." Crono's childhood friend jogged over
the remaining few paces separating them. Lucca wasn't
wearing her usual dorky-looking helmet, Crono noticed,
leaving her short-cropped purple hair to drop down to the
top of her thick glasses. They stood there for a moment
while Lucca caught her breath.
"So, what're you so uptight about?" Lucca finally broke
Crono shrugged. "Wish I knew."
"Is anything wrong?" Lucca looked concerned.
"No, nothing in particular. It's just that... I don't
know. I find myself doing things without knowing why." He
paused to stretch for a second. "Like now, I feel like
walking to Fiona's Forest. Don't ask me why."
Lucca scratched her head. "That's kinda weird. I
don't really know what to tell you. Um, why don't you just
follow your instincts? Maybe there's a reason."
He nodded. "Yeah, I guess maybe I will. Thanks." He
started to turn away, but stopped when Lucca put a hand on
"What're you doing being so serious about everything,
Crono? Lighten up a little!" It was a little unusual, Crono
had to admit to himself. Usually, on a day like this, he
would either be feeling enthusiastic about life, or joking
about everything. Or sleeping, of course. Lucca continued
to appraise him.
"You know, I think I'd like to come along. Do you
Crono thought about that for a minute. One of his main
reasons for taking this little trip, he suddenly realized,
had been to get away from people. But the prospect of
having a friend with him was appealing now. "Sure. No
"Good." Lucca abruptly grinned. "You know, I have the
best ideas sometimes. Maybe everyone could use a little of
my intellect; the rest of the world doesn't have much to go
Crono cracked something of a smile for the first time
all day. "Lucca, when we told you to quit with the false
modesty, we didn't mean that false arrogance would be any
"Hey, I'm not arrogant. I'm just good. You want to
take the ferry?"
"No, we'll walk." To Lucca's interrogative glance, he
told her that he was just following his instincts.
"It's more than just the weird desires, I think," Crono
was saying, referring to the mild depression that had first
set in a few days ago. It had been about an hour since he'd
met up with Lucca. "I don't feel comfortable any more.
Life isn't an adventure. I really don't know why I feel so
"Since Marle left? She'll be back by the end of the
week; you know that."
Crono had to smile at the though of his blonde tomboy
princess. It gradually turned into a sigh. She'd left a
void in his life when she'd left for Medina two weeks ago.
Damn governmental functions. This was the longest they'd
ever been apart since their first meeting. "Don't think for
a minute that I'm not counting the seconds 'till she gets
back. But it's more than that."
He paused for a second to re-tie his boot, then ran his
hand through his hair, thinking. He'd never tried to
articulate this mood before. "I feel. empty. I guess
that's the best way to put it. I want some kind of
challenge. Maybe a good sword-fight or something."
Lucca shrugged. "Sounds like just post-world-saving
letdown. I'd think it'd be normal for warriors to feel
restless after they've finished their quests or whatever."
"Well, do you feel anything like that?"
"Not really," Lucca admitted. She thought for a
second. "Maybe it's because I have my inventions, so I can
always challenge myself. Maybe you need to find someone
else who's really good with a sword; competition is supposed
to help with stuff like that."
Crono grunted non-committally. He didn't feel like
talking any more.
They reached Fiona's Forest. They'd seen the woods
before they were halfway across Zenan bridge, so there was
no danger that Crono would ever expect to see the wasteland
that had been there before he and his friends had changed
Crono wasn't looking at the scenery much at all - he
hadn't since leaving Truce. He and Lucca had been talking
the whole way, until just now. It had been their first real
conversation since their victory over Lavos some two months
earlier, and Crono was rediscovering how much friendship
could help him with his emotions. He'd opened up to her
without really realizing it, until any privacy he'd his
emotions possessed had slipped away, with no regrets.
"Well?" asked Lucca, staring into the green-ceilinged
maze ahead. "What does your instinct tell you now?"
Crono looked up. "Give me a second. You're supposed
to be the patient one, remember?" He started looking around
among the deep-rooted trees, their color of their cracked
brown bark matching well with the smoother and slightly
darker brown of the dirt floor below.
Slowly, he moved into the forest, not really paying
attention to where he was going, trying to let his instincts
guide him. Lucca followed curiously. Putting his hand out,
he felt at the neck-high bushes between two oak trees. The
dark green leaves compressed about his hand, blocking his
tentative efforts to push them aside. There was nothing
unusual. But he felt...
"Here," he announced.
Lucca's eyes widened. "How'd you know about that?!"
Now it was Crono's turn to stare at the other
curiously. "Know about what?" Lucca didn't respond,
carefully averting her eyes. "What are you not telling me,
"Er..." Lucca adjusted her glasses. "Nothing special,
really. Just that, well..."
She looked so damn funny when she tried to play
innocent. But Crono felt an unexplained surge of
impatience. "C'mon, Lucca. What's this about?"
"I stowed the Epoch here."
"The Epoch? You said that you dismantled it!" Lucca
shook her head wordlessly. Though he didn't know quite why,
Crono was upset about it. "It was your idea, remember?"
She gave a helpless kind of shrug.
Now that he thought about it, Crono remembered that
towards the end, Lucca had started getting reluctant to go
through with their plan to dismantle the Epoch. "You
promised us you'd do it, Lucca! And we trusted you!" Now
he understood how he felt. Betrayed.
"Look, I'm sorry, Crono. Really, I am. I couldn't
bear... it's just such a work of genius, like art or
something. I should have told you, but I was afraid you'd
insist... I'm sorry, all right?"
Crono grimaced inwardly. He didn't feel better about
it, but there was no reason to hurt Lucca by holding a
grudge. "Forget about it. Let's just look here, okay?"
"Sure." She started to move towards the bush, then
paused a second. "You think maybe something about the Epoch
is what's drawing you here?"
"I don't know. All I know is that my instincts tell me
to search this damn bush. You're the genius; you figure it
"You're getting uptight again, Crono. Relax."
Crono started pushing his way through the leaves,
fighting them as they tried to spring back into place.
"I'll relax when we find out why I'm here."
It took them a few minutes to fight their way to the
strange little ship. There was a decline a few meters in,
leading to a pit. The Epoch was there, in a small clearing.
Completely surrounded by towering bushes on all sides and
low-hanging pine branches above, Crono wondered how Lucca
could have possibly found this spot in the first place.
Upon approaching the Epoch, Crono felt nothing. He
didn't really know what he'd been expecting - nostalgia,
memories, a sense of adventure, or what. He felt none of
those things, nothing but the continued urging of his
instincts, now telling him to enter the ship.
Lucca had stayed back a few steps and was taking out
some kind of sensor device, which she pointed at the Epoch.
"Crono? This is weird. Epoch is emitting some strange kind
of energy. I've never seen this pattern before; it might be
dangerous. What do your instincts say?"
"Inside," answered Crono shortly.
He stepped into the small lift that Belthasar had
installed. Lucca joined him on the platform, muttering to
herself, "Why do I know I'm going to regret this?"
The two friends entered and sat down within the clear
dome of the ship's cockpit. Crono confidently eased into
the pilot's chair, ready to fly the ship to wherever or
whenever they needed to go. Lucca took her place in the
seat beside him, and immediately got to work reading the
various displays in the panel that took up the entire side
"Okay, we're safe now," she announced. "The ship
should be able to protect us. Energy levels are rising
outside, though. I can't tell if this stuff is coming from
the ship, or if Epoch is being bombarded with it."
Lucca reached into one of the narrow cabinets, and
began mixing herself a coffee drink. That particular drink
machine had not been part of Belthasar's original design for
the ship, but had been added by a certain bored teen
inventor when Crono had chosen not to include her in the
search for the Rainbow Shell. Crono sat back in his chair.
Now the memories were starting to return. He'd been in that
chair many times, leading a little group of seven heroes
against enemies from throughout time and space, with the
fate of the world at stake. Crono at their head. And him
He returned to the present as Lucca finished making her
drink. Returning to her panel, she took a sip, then stared
at a gauge in surprise. "The energy outside is building way
too fast! We're at dangerous levels. The ship's starting
The rest of her sentence was lost in a flash of light
and sound. Crono was pressed back hard against his seat by
sudden acceleration. The mug hit the floor, scattering some
of its scalding contents over Lucca. Fighting to keep his
head raised, Crono could see the familiar pale pink and
light blue swirls of energy that usually accompanied a time-
warp. But this was different. The colors gradually gave
way to a slower-moving swirl of penetrating green glow. The
tunnel effect was still there, but the now-green light began
to drift away from the outside, and gather in front of the
ship. Then Crono's head was forced back into his chair, and
he saw no more.
The Epoch came to a sudden stop. Crono felt himself
propelled forward out of the chair, and quickly grabbed the
sides, his powerful biceps the only thing keeping him from
smashing through the front of the cockpit.
Lucca, not being as stong or as lucky was thrown
forward. Crono reached out with his right arm to catch her,
still gripping the chair with his left. She flew into him.
The collision broke most of her momentum, but there was
enough left over to make him lose his grip on the chair and
send both teens flying forward into the front screen.
The next thing Crono knew, he was slumped on the floor
stars. He gritted his teeth and tried to assess his
injuries. He'd gotten the wind knocked out of him, but
nothing permanent, he decided. Lucca was already on her
feet, staggering a little bit; his body had cushioned hers
from most of the worst. He raised himself to a seated
position, fighting back his pain and trying to breathe more
deeply and evenly.
"Ug... thanks," murmured Lucca, her voice sounding
groggy. "You all right?"
"Yeah. Remind me to strap myself in the next time an
energy surge unexpectedly sends us careening through space
and time." Lucca helped him up and to his chair before
sitting down herself. "So, where are we?" he inquired. "Or
when? Or whatever?"
For an answer, Lucca started punching computations into
a panel. Breathing more steadily, he looked out the front
window. There was a lot of dust. Other than that, he could
make out dirty, jagged rock walls with a low ceiling. A
cave, or maybe a mine.
He heard a gasp from behind him. "What's wrong?" he
Lucca turned to face him, her eyes wide. "Crono!
We're in another world!"
Sliding out of the Epoch's confines onto the gray and
dusty ground of the mine, Crono had no idea what to expect.
Everything here seemed to be made out of the light gray
rock. It was definitely a mine, they'd determined, though
no one seemed to have used it for awhile. There were
assorted picks and shovels scattered near a one of the
walls, discarded and beginning to rust, but no other
evidence of human life. Actually, Crono corrected himself,
he didn't even know whether the inhabitants of this world
were human or not.
A few meters away, Lucca was conducting her own survey
of the area. She had found no damage to the Epoch, per se.
But, for reasons that Lucca hadn't been able to figure out,
the time-travel circuits were inoperative. So they wouldn't
be able to travel through time, but as she had assured
Crono, Epoch could still fly and take them around this new
world. Assuming they could find a way to get the ship out
of the mine, Crono reflected.
Turning around, Lucca asked him "You find anything
"Not much. I take it you didn't either?"
Lucca shook her head. "Nope. Still no idea why we
were sent here. Random accident, I guess."
"Maybe." Crono ran his hand through his hair. "Either
that, or we were drawn here for a reason."
She snorted at that. "Great and Mighty Heroes summoned
by a Higher Power to fulfill a Noble Task? I don't think
"Well, whatever," responded Crono a bit defensively.
"Weirder things have happened. So let's check this place
out!" He realized how much that sounded like something the
old, adventurous Crono might say. He still felt vaguely
disturbed, but most of his unease had fallen away. He
pumped his fist in front of him, feeling rejuvenated.
"Whatever there is to do, I'm ready!"
Lucca smiled, presumably at the change, and punched him
playfully on the arm. "Well, remember, Hero, it was _your_
impulses that got us into this, so anything that goes wrong
is your fault."
"My fault?!" Crono assumed an expression of
exaggerated shock and outrage. "Speak for yourself, Little
Miss 'follow your instincts.'"
Lucca smiled while trying to think of a comeback.
Crono saw her eyes suddenly move to stare behind him, to his
left. "Hey, who's that?"
Crono turned, following her gaze to see a man entering
the area through a natural rock doorway. He looked human.
Crono sighed with some relief; it seemed he and Lucca
wouldn't be too out of place here. As the man approached,
Crono could see that he was fairly tall, with a muscular
build. His head was shaved, and he wore a dark blue casual
business suit. He held a strange round thing in his mouth
which emitted a steady stream of smoke.
"Excuse me?" called Crono. The man didn't even slow
down. Crono shrugged and called more loudly, "Excuse me,
This time, there was no way the bald man could have
Crono, but he continued walking, completely ignoring the
youth. His gaze passed over where Crono was standing
without a second glance. Crono stepped forward. "Hey! Why
are you ignoring me? You're starting to piss me off."
Still, the man didn't even bother to acknowledge his
Crono's hand went to his sword, his eyes flashing with
anger. Lucca lifted a hand to restrain him, but he brushed
her off. With the return of his sense of adventure, he'd
also rediscovered his lightning-quick temper. This bastard
wouldn't just insult him like that and get away with it.
He decided not to draw his sword yet, but positioned
himself directly in front of the approaching blue-garbed
man. "Rude asshole! I'm talking to you!"
The man walked through Crono.
Crono stood for a moment, his mind registering what had
just happened. The man had just walked straight through
Crono as if there had been nothing there. Neither had felt
a thing. He turned to Lucca, and saw shock in her eyes that
probably mirrored his own.
"Did... did you see, I mean...?"
Lucca nodded. "What in Gehenom's name...?" She
trailed off as well. Crono shrugged, still bewildered.
Taking a deep breath and trying to slow his heart rate
down to something lover than the speed of sound, Crono took
another look around the room. Now he noticed something else.
Despite all the dust that was swirling around him, there was
none on his clothes. He stamped his foot on the ground, but
no additional dust flew, and his boot left no footprint.
He and Lucca exchanged meaningful glances. Crono
extended his arm to strike at the wall of the mine. His
hand slid through the wall as if there was nothing there.
"I knew there had to be a catch somewhere," he
muttered. "Why couldn't we get a normal alien planet?"
The noise was faint at first, but the very fact of a
new, distinct sound caught Crono's attention right away. It
was a semi-steady pounding from the direction the bald man
had gone, through a short tunnel. Lucca was already
starting to move in that direction, so he followed.
Their short path wound through a series of fairly
unspectacular cavelike areas similar to the one they'd
landed in. The sound grew more distinct as they moved; it
was the footsteps of a group of people, coming their way.
As Crono and the makers of the noise approached each other,
he could also distinguish the murmur of voices, though he
couldn't make out what they were saying.
Crono had decided that he would at least try to talk to
them, though he seriously doubted they would even know he
was there. According to Lucca's best guess, the two of them
were "out of phase" with this world. Nothing they did would
affect anything in the world, and vice versa. Crono wasn't
willing to just accept that. Something inside told him -
maybe because he wanted so badly for it to be true - that
there was a reason for their being here. There had to be
something that they could do.
As they approached yet another of the natural arches
that separated one section from another, they did see
something different. A fairly short and lightly-built
figure stood beside the arch, facing away from them. This
person was dressed in a gray robe, light in both color and
texture. The figure would have been camouflaged easily by
the mine were it not for its black hair, curled at the
bottom, cascading down to the middle of the figure's back.
The figure's gaze was riveted on the top of the arch.
As he approached, Crono could see both from the face and
from the amply-shaped chest that this person was a woman.
She seemed fairly young. Still staring at the top of the
arch, she was muttering something under her breath, and
Crono sensed the familiar feel of a spell being cast. The
woman stepped back, satisfied.
She turned, her pale blue, almost green eyes sweeping
over Lucca and Crono. To Crono's surprise, she didn't ignore
them as the bald man had done, but seemed to see them, and
froze in place. Then the woman was running. Through the
solid rock wall of the mine.
Crono was about to follow her, but held up as people
began to step through the arch. One of them was a young
man, maybe in his early twenties. He seemed to be leading,
and he had the look of a warrior. Crono was mildly amused
to see that this man's blond hair was arranged in spikes
like his own, though in the strangest pattern Crono had ever
seen. He was a fairly large man, and very muscular. His
blue eyes were penetrating, almost seeming to glow, but like
the bald man earlier, his gaze swept across Crono without
seeing him. Across his back was strapped the hugest sword
Crono had ever seen.
Next to him walked a green-eyed young woman with light
brown hair, about the same age, wearing a long pink dress.
She moved more easily, and seemed to have an air of
suppressed girlish mirth, which came to the surface as she
smiled at something the blond man said. There were others
behind these two, but Crono never had a chance to see them,
as a shuddering sound the had been building for a few
moments caught his attention.
From the place that the mysterious robed woman had been
staring at when she cast her spell, a large flat rock, about
three meters in diameter, suddenly worked itself free from
the arch and plummeted towards the two strangers below.
A female voice from behind the two yelled "Look out!"
but the blond warrior was already moving, grabbing the young
woman's hand and diving back, just in time to escape being
Even after other rocks that had been jarred loose had
fallen, and the echoes of the crashing had stopped ringing
in Crono's ears, he hesitated for a second. The arch was
now blocked, but the company on the other side would easily
be able to clear out the heap of mostly-small rocks. Crono
looked back and forth in indecision between the arch and the
wall that the robed woman had walked through a few minutes
Lucca, who had been adjusting her glasses and staring
at nothing in particular now snapped back to reality and
turned to Crono. "What do we do now?"
Crono came to a sudden decision. "Epoch," he
announced. Lucca nodded her acknowledgment. Moving
quickly, but not exactly running, the two teens returned the
way they'd come, towards their ship.
Ignoring the part of his mind that was telling him to
take in everything he could about this alien world, Crono
ignored the scenery and tried once again to sort everything
out in his mind. The mine made a pretty boring view anyway.
He and Lucca were "out of phase" with this world. It
was as if they didn't exist; they were only observers. The
blue-eyed young woman in the gray robe was apparently in the
same boat they were; she had seen them, and she could walk
through walls too. But Crono thought maybe she could
somehow manipulate things in this world; her spell seemed to
be the reason that rock had fallen when it did, almost
crushing the blond warrior with the big sword and the green-
It was probably premature to be making judgments, but
Crono felt inexplicably certain that if it came down to a
fight, he and Lucca would be on the warrior's side. Not
really knowing why, Crono felt a kind of empathy for him.
He sensed that they were alike; would-be heroes leading a
small band in a seemingly-hopeless quest. And now someone
from another world, who this warrior wouldn't even be able
to see, let alone fight, was trying to drop rocks on his
As he silently slid into the pilot's chair of the
Epoch, Crono felt determination welling up inside him. He
would figure out who this mysterious woman was. Who the
warrior and his friends were. And why she was trying to
The Epoch ascended, sliding through the rock and
stalactites of the mine ceiling without a shudder.
Tensed over the controls, Crono waited. The Epoch
hovered, waiting to streak across the sky of the alien world
at his command. But, Lucca needed to finish her scan so
they could figure out which way to go. They figured that
all they really needed to do was look for life-signs; since
they were out of phase with the world, the only life-form
that registered would be the magician in gray. Restlessly,
Crono kicked at the bottom of his console, the hollow thunk
providing a nice harmonic counterpoint to the steady beeping
of the keys Lucca was tapping.
Without any kind of warning, a flash of light and sound
rocked the ship. Alarmed, Crono gripped the arms of his
chair tightly, remembering what had happened the last time.
This time, though, there was no physical acceleration, just
a familiar swirl of equally brilliant reds and blues. They
were traveling through time. As before, a green glow
gradually appeared, but it seemed content to stay on the
outside of the tunnel of
light this time. The viewscreen went black.
Slowly, the world began to fade in. Everything was the
same. The slate of the peaks that housed the mine rose up
beneath them, bridging a wide, shallow swamp on one side and
rolling, grassy plains of a thousand shades of green on the
other. It had apparently been a normal time-warp, other
than the green glow. And other than the fact that the
Epoch's time circuits were supposed to be broken.
He turned to Lucca. "I don't understand it either,"
she said, before Crono even had a chance to open his mouth.
He opened it to ask another question, and again Lucca cut
him off. "To answer your question, we're five days ahead
now. Same position in space." He stared at her as if she'd
lost her mind, and she flashed him a quick smile of triumph.
"You're kinda predictable sometimes, Crono. I already know
which questions you're going to ask, so sit tight and leave
the thinking to me.'
Turning back around, Crono drummed his fingers on the
console. "Hey, do you
"No, Crono, I haven't searched for life-signs yet."
"Bzzzt!" He startled Lucca with an annoying buzzer-
like sound. "Wrong! I was going to ask if you had any idea
why were thrown through time like that."
"I've got a theory about that, actually." Lucca had
abruptly turned serious again. "The energy that built up
just now was the same kind that got us here in the first
place. Maybe there's just a residue on the engine, and it
"So, is this going to happen every time we start the
Lucca shrugged. "No, I think it'll pass. Eventually
the residue will be spread out too thin to make a
difference." She paused, then changed the subject.
"Anyway, I'm looking for life-signs again. It'll take a few
Crono settled back, trying to get a little more
comfortable. He started to fly in a slow circle, more from
lack of anything else to do than for the view it offered.
The plains below would have made a pretty picture, but Crono
found that he didn't care. Maybe if Marle could be there to
see it with him... A sudden flood of longing swept through
'Stop it,' he told himself with a bit of annoyance.
The sooner they figured out a way back, the sooner he'd be
able to see her again. No use just brooding. With renewed
determination, he looked around again, getting his bearings.
A little meter on the screen told him which way was north.
"Got it!" Lucca's voice announced. "One humanoid life-
form to the west, not mov..." She broke off. "Hey! It's
"Gone? Just blinked out?"
"Yep." Lucca scratched her head. "I assume that was
our magician, but why... maybe something happened to her?"
Crono thought for a second. "Maybe. No, wait.
Simpler than that. Maybe she sensed our scan, so she used
her magic to block it."
"Hey, that makes sense. Good thinking, Crono!"
Crono adjusted an imaginary pair of glasses. "Well,
with my intellect, all my ideas are good," he said, in a
fair imitation of his friend's voice. He reassumed his
normal voice as he turned the ship westward. "Just tell me
to where we last picked her up, then."
"Yeah, all right. Straight west for now." Lucca knelt
and started to mix another hot drink as the ride stabilized.
After a few moments, Crono asked her, "What do you
think of our magician?"
Lucca reemerged with her coffee. "I don't know. She
has to be pretty strong if her spells can affect this world
while she's out of phase."
"Stronger than us?"
"Well, we couldn't do it."
Crono sighed. "In other words, she's stronger than
"Maybe. Maybe not. Her talents might just be directed
in different directions than ours." But her face was grim.
There was some smog in the air. As he flew through it,
Crono realized this might not be a very clean planet
compared to his own. There were a few small forests below,
rich dark green islands of life dotting the sea of fields,
but the plains didn't look quite so vast or wild anymore.
"Hey. This is interesting." Crono glanced back at
Lucca as she looked up from a panel next to his. "I'm
almost sure the energy that's been throwing us through time
is spiritual energy."
Crono wasn't surprised. "Our magician?"
"Probably. Or maybe she had some help." Lucca sat
back a little, taking a sip from her mug. "In any case,
this field is definitely man-made. Some parts of this 'out
of phase' thing are too convenient to be accidents. I mean,
if we were totally out of phase, how would we breathe? Or
stand on the ground without slipping through it?"
"Never really thought about it."
"Well, someone did. Someone knew what they were
Crono tried to digest that for a few minutes. He
usually tried to ignore complex science, unless it affected
him personally. This affected him personally, but he was
tempted to ignore it anyway.
He did have another question. "So where do we fit into
all this? How did we get here?"
Lucca smiled mirthlessly. "We got lucky. My guess is
it took a lot of spiritual energy to bring our magician to
this place. Some of it might've scattered throughout the
universe, including our world, and gotten drawn in by the
"So why was I drawn to the Epoch just in time to be
brought here with it?"
"We got lucky. Spiritual energy can have all kinds of
"So how do we get home?" Crono knew the answer before
Lucca turned to face him, and they shared similarly
unoptimistic glances. "Let's hope we stay lucky."
The next few hours weren't much fun. After crossing
the ocean, they'd swept back and forth across the continent
to the west, looking for any sign of their quarry. This
planet was huge compared to their own. In the vast expanses
between cities, they saw surprisingly little sentient life.
There was plenty of other life, though. Crono didn't know
why it bothered him so much, but he couldn't get used to the
idea that a person just walking across the fields would be
regularly ambushed by monsters. He wasn't used to constant
outdoor battles, except in forests and swamps and places.
The cities tended to be crowded, bustling. Crono
wasn't used to this kind of thing either, even after all his
touring back home. As people hurried through the streets,
going about their lives, they didn't even seem to notice
each other, except as obstacles. The only place where Crono
has ever seen this kind of introvertedness before was the
lazy Kingdom of Zeal.
He missed home. But still, he would have liked the
chance to explore this new world at a more leisurely pace.
Steering slightly rightward, Crono caught sight of what
looked like a vehicle of some kind moving northward into a
valley. Flying the Epoch lower, he gave pursuit. As he
flew, the sky reddened, as did the rock walls the formed the
valley he was entering. The grass of the plains abruptly
died away into a solid rock floor.
As the red glow washed over the valley, including the
Epoch, Crono thought for a second that the entire valley was
made of Dreamstone. A quick look at the cracked and
crumbling edges of the rock convinced him otherwise. It
seemed strangely clean here, despite the tight-packed rust-
colored dirt that made up the valley's many inclines and
Lucca reached forward to tap a panel to Crono's right,
and the image on the screen zoomed in on the vehicle. It
was a buggy, a darker shade of red, the sun glittering off
its smooth surface. A cloud of dirt and dust kicked up
behind it as its long black wheels churned up earth, easily
passing through the foothills here.
The car descended, and hills sprung up around it,
forming a nice-sized canyon. Now shadowed, the buggy
continued its journey, its narrow pointed back veering
slowly as it turned a bit to the left. Suddenly the canyon
was lit up as the car fired a spark of electricity into the
air. Brilliant white-hot lines crept across the top of the
car, and then with a pop, the buggy was still.
"More magnification!" ordered Crono, unconsciously
"Aye aye, sir!" Lucca's acknowledgment was tinged with
sarcasm, but she did as he said.
Under the increased magnification, Crono could make out
the car's door sliding open. The spiky blond-haired warrior
that they'd seen before stepped out of the buggy, staring at
the inert vehicle for a few seconds. Then, giving a slow
shrug, he motioned to those inside to follow him.
As the two watched from the Epoch, the warrior helped
the brown-haired woman in the pink dress out of the car to
stand beside him. Right behind her, refusing the warrior's
offer of similar assistance, came another young woman, with
hair reaching down to below her waist, where it was tied
together loosely. Even at this distance, Crono couldn't
help but notice that her outfit, a white tank top and a
short leather skirt, did little to hide her curvaceous
There were others within, but Crono abruptly remembered
the urgency of the situation. "Normal view, Lucca. We've
found somewhere to go." She complied, not commenting this
time on his giving orders, and he accelerated the ship to
its maximum speed.
After a few minutes, they were there. Without
hesitation, Crono flew the ship into the largish town in the
center of the canyon. Where else would anyone go if their
car broke down?
The warrior and his companions were climbing the
tallest of the town's several staircases and ladders as they
arrived. This particular staircase was naturally carved out
of the rock. The gray-robed magician stood at its foot.
She seemed absorbed in the spell she was casting, not
even noticing the Epoch's arrival. Crono coasted the ship
to a hasty landing, but by then, the magician had finished
her spell. The blond warrior was abruptly thrown sideways
off the edge of the stairs, thirty meters above the canyon
floor. Knowing he was too late, Crono leaped out of the
Epoch, nailing the magician in the back of the head with a
blast of lightning. Even as he
attacked, the dark-haired woman on the stairs sprang forward
and grabbed the warrior's hand.
Crono and Lucca both watched for a moment as the young
man hung suspended
in the air, the dark-haired woman keeping him from falling
any further with surprising strength. The young woman in
the pink dress ran over to seize his other hand.
The magician leaped nimbly back to her feet, having
recovered from Crono's surprise attack. Both Crono and
Lucca attacked again, lightning and fire leaping from their
respective fingertips. With none of the delay present in
her trans-phase spells, a pale black spherical barrier
flashed into existence around the magician. The teens'
attacks diffused harmlessly into it. The robed figure
raised a slender arm, and the barrier shattered, dark shards
flying into her foes. Lucca was thrown off her feet, but
Crono remained standing, shaking off the attack and pulling
Lucca back up.
Moving quickly, Crono struck again with the lightning,
and again the magician parried. Her sea-blue eyes flashed
as she counterattacked with a wave a glowing ice. Lucca was
able to burn away about half of it in midair with a burst of
flame; the rest struck Crono, and he endured it with effort.
Trying hard to ignore the increasing pain coursing
through his body, Crono drew his Rainbow sword and launched
himself through the air at his opponent. With a speed to
rival his, she drew a similar-looking katana and raised it
to block his Spincut. The blades collided, colors pulsating
along the edges of both Crono's silver blade and the
stranger's black one.
Then Lucca struck, throwing one of her two remaining
Mega Bombs into the fray. A sphere of firey glow quickly
expanded towards them from below; Crono was ready and jumped
out of the way just in time. The magician wasn't quite as
fast. She flinched back as the red swept over her, leaving
a trail of explosions in its wake.
As Crono landed, he immediately unleashed his most
powerful spell, Luminaire. Intense beams of white light
formed a sphere even larger than that of the Mega Bomb. The
magician was stunned. Fighting mental fatigue as well as
physical, Crono cast the spell again. As he was finally
forced to let up his attack for a second, Lucca blasted
their enemy with a Flare spell. The magician staggered and
disappeared under the energy of yet another Lumainaire from
Crono, and two more Flares from Lucca.
Just about any magician they'd met - maybe even Magus -
been beaten by now. Amazingly, this one was still on one
knee, though she was obviously hurting. Suddenly she raised
a hand and vanished.
His head spinning, Crono looked around in every
direction. Stepping forward, he felt around the area where
the magician had been, thinking she'd cast an invisibility
spell. Then he saw the figure in the distance, little more
than a gray speck disappearing into the red-tinged horizon.
Raising his head to check on the blond man above, Crono
saw that the two young women had managed to pull him back to
safety. The three were talking quietly, but loud enough for
him to hear. He noted that both women's expressions
betrayed feelings deeper than just concern for a friend.
This was Crono's first chance to get a good look at the dark-
haired one. With an effort, he kept his gaze focused on her
face, and was struck by the mixture of youthfulness and
maturity, innocence and harsh experience, mingling about her
For his own part, the warrior was fighting his way back
to his feet. "Seriously, are you all right?" the dark-
haired woman was asking.
"Of course," he responded with a cocky kind of grin.
The other two looked relieved. From personal experience,
Crono could tell that the warrior was trying to reassure the
others before he dealt with his own feelings.
'Reminds me of me,' thought Crono.
He slumped slowly to the canyon floor, seeing that
Lucca had done the same. With the adrenaline of the battle
gone, Crono was feeling drained; physically, from the
magician's attacks, and mentally, from using too much magic
too quickly. His gaze swept over the other members of the
little company on the steps - a huge dark-skinned man, a red
wolf-like animal, a black cat standing on a huge white...
something, a girl his own age or younger- without really
Suddenly the mood was broken. Crono shot up to a
seated position. "What're we waiting for? Let's find her!"
Lucca didn't have to ask who 'her' was. Crono turned
as she tried to sit up, failed, and collapsed again.
"Forget it, Crono. If she has teleportation spells, there's
only one way we can catch her now."
"Epoch." With another abrupt move, he leapt to his
feet, grimacing with the effort. For a few seconds, his
concentration was fully devoted to staying on his feet.
"Well, if we're going to be losing time anyway, every second
counts!" He stumbled over and picked up Lucca in his arms.
Ignoring her weak protests, he carried her the short
distance to the Epoch.
Setting Lucca down on her chair, Crono collapsed into
the pilot's seat, and, bracing himself, started the engine.
The green-tinged time-warp began almost immediately.
"Here we go again..." muttered Crono.
"I want to go inside!"
That was the green-eyed young woman in the pink dress
talking. She stood at the top of a flight of stairs facing
what looked like a large sand-brick pyramid. With her were
the other two, the blond warrior and the dark-haired woman.
Her request might have sounded petty or childish under other
circumstances, but she said it with an earnestness and
conviction that made the others take notice.
"Okay." The warrior reached back and drew his sword
from his back. "Get ready. We'll probably have some
company in there."
"Well, I'll ask." She closed her eyes, smooth brow
furrowing in concentration.
The temple before the three seemed to glow with a faint
ethereal light, distinct enough from the regular midmorning
light to be noticeable, but faint enough that Crono couldn't
be sure that he wasn't just imagining things. The two teens
had only been thrown forward three days this time, and Lucca
was fairly sure that this would be the last time that would
happen. By luck, they'd seen a small plane cruising the
seas as soon as they'd re-emerged from their time-warp, and
they'd followed it here. Like Crono, the warrior leading
this group apparently recognized the strategic value of
traveling in threes; he and the two women were the only ones
Crono and Lucca had seen this time.
The brown-haired woman nodded out of whatever mental
contact she'd made. "At least one other person is here too.
The Temple usually seals itself when someone enters, but it.
they've been waiting, I think. For me?" Crono was a bit
thrown - she was speaking of this temple as if it were a
living thing. Several, actually. "But once we're in, it
won't open again, from either side, for a full day."
"Everyone ready, then? I've got a feeling it'll be a
busy day. It all ends here." The warrior stepped forward
towards the temple, sword still in hand, his face a mask of
focus and determination.
The dark-haired woman, who had been silent thus far,
stepped forward to join the others, adjusting the spiked
glove she wore on her right hand. She flashed the others a
quick reassuring smile and stretched, incidentally giving
Crono a view far more breathtaking than anything else he'd
seen on this planet. "Right. We can handle anything."
The three warriors moved on, entering the temple. A
barrier shimmered into view behind them, orange-red and
uninviting. Crono tentatively followed and placed his hand
against the transparent wall of light. It was solid. He
threw his body against it. Nothing. As they'd suspected,
the barrier was magical as well as physical. Neither they
nor anyone else who was out of phase with the world - not
even gray-robed magicians - would be getting inside the
temple for 24 hours. Satisfied, he turned away.
To Crono's unending delight, the Epoch did not suddenly
throw the two youths from Guardia through time. It figured.
Now that the energy residue was no longer causing them to
waste time, they had a whole day to kill.
Crono began looking at the map that Lucca had been able
to call up on her monitor. After a few moments, he found an
area that he liked. "There," he pointed. "Around there
should be good."
Lucca, who had been checking something else, turned
around and gave him a strange look. "What, in the middle of
nowhere? What are we doing?"
"We're taking a break."
"Yeah." Crono ran his hand through his hair. "There's
no reason to sit around the ship all day. Nothing's going
to happen. So let's go somewhere and relax for a little
Lucca turned to look at him, and seemed surprised to
see that he was serious. "Are you crazy? What if our
magician decides to attack us then?"
"She won't," answered Crono, surprising himself with
his confidence in that statement. "First of all, she won't
know where we are. And secondly, she's hurt worse than we
are. She'll also need some rest before she's ready to fight
"We don't know that! We don't know anything about
Lucca was gripping Crono's shirt by now. He gently
pried her hand away. "Look, Lucca, you're right. We don't
know for sure. But what I do know for sure is that I need
to recover. Physically, and mentally. And you do too." He
cut her off as she started to shake her head. "Don't try to
deny it. We've both gotten to the point where if we don't
take some time to recuperate, it'll hurt us. Badly. We're
That was the turning point. Though the argument went
on for another few minutes, Crono could tell that Lucca was
starting to just grab at excuses. By the time she'd
reluctantly agreed to his idea, Crono had found the perfect
spot on the map - a mountain-surrounded lake at the source
of a series of waterfalls.
It was nice here. The lake glimmered a brilliant, eye-
appealing clear blue that gradually merged along the edges
with the lighter green color of the narrow strip of land
that surrounded it. A small but still impressive waterfall
poured into the lake from the mountains above, the falling
water splashing into the lake below and leaving a light
spray of mist in its wake. In the distance, the other end
of the lake emptied into a larger waterfall as the water
continued its descent through the valley.
Lucca still looked slightly troubled with the whole
idea, but her unease seemed to be fading. For his own part,
Crono felt great. He was walking barefoot to get some
circulation back into his feet, and imagined that he could
feel the light touch of the grass he was now walking
through, leaving no trace of his passing.
Stepping forward to edge of the water, Crono reached
out and ran his hand through it. Crono felt its cool, wet
touch for a few moments before he realized the implications.
"Lucca! Take a look at this!" He held up his dripping hand
for her to see.
Lucca stepped forward, and dipped her own hand in the
pool, also seeming confused that they didn't seem to be out
of phase with the water the way they were with everything
else. Taking a handful of water, she drank. Crono stamped
his foot in the mud at the edge of the lake. Nothing. He
stamped in the water, and it splashed in all directions,
getting both of their legs wet.
"Want to explain this one?" he finally asked.
Lucca shrugged. "I'm not sure." She began to play
with her glasses, thinking. "Maybe since water's such a
poor conductor, it's not affected much by energy fields."
Crono looked at her doubtfully. "You really think
"No," she admitted. "Actually, I have no idea. Maybe.
damn, you're right. I do need a rest. I'm too tired to
Crono decided then and there that it really didn't
matter why they could interact with the water. Immediately,
he felt more relaxed.
"Well, a swim sounds pretty nice right now, actually."
He pulled off his shirt. "I kinda wish I'd thought to bring
a swimsuit for a walk to Fiona's Forest." Removing the rest
of his clothing, Crono waded into the lake. The water was a
little bit on the cool side, but refreshing, and easy enough
to get used to. The bottom of the lake dropped off quickly
as he walked. He waded for a little before turning back to
Lucca. "Not too bad. Colder than I might have liked, but
Lucca had averted her eyes, and didn't respond for a
few moments. Then she seemed to snap back to life. "Oh.
"Don't you want to swim?"
"Not really. I'm not in the mood." Lucca responded,
with a striking lack of conviction. Crono sensed the lie
right away and stopped walking, the crystal-clear water
settling neck-deep around him.
"What is it? Something wrong?" She only shrugged in
response, still not facing him. "Lucca! You okay?!"
Lucca began to shrug again, then seemed to think better
of it, and cautiously, almost gingerly turned around to face
Crono. "I don't know. I guess, I'm just, well.
uncomfortable. Yeah, uncomfortable is the right word."
"Huh? Uncomfortable with what?" Crono turned his full
attention to her, genuinely confused.
"With all this!" Seeing his blank stare, Lucca
continued, growing more forceful as she went along. "Maybe
you don't see any problem with us just taking off our
clothes and swimming naked together, but I do!"
Crono gave her another look of confusion, a feeling
which was reinforced by her defiant stare in return. She
was serious. "What in Gehenom is wrong with you? We've
known each other for what, our whole lives? And you
suddenly have a problem with us being nude in the same body
of water for five minutes? It's a pretty big lake."
"I just don't like it." She had grown vague again, and
seemed hurt by his dismissal of her sensitivity. "It
bothers me, and I just. I don't want any part of this."
Crono opened his mouth to try to reason with her, but
suddenly realized that her point of view could make sense,
and what came out was, "I understand. Well, I guess I
don't, actually. I mean, I don't see why it's such a big
deal." Seeing her eyes starting to narrow, he hurried on.
"But, uh, I'm sorry for being a jerk about it. I just
thought it would be more fun if you were with me, but if it
bothers you, it's no problem."
He started to wade again, then called back to her. "If
you really want to wait, you can go somewhere else. I'll
call you when I'm done."
"Crono?" He looked over his shoulder to see Lucca
chuckling, and slipping on the water-resistant glasses
covering she'd invented. "What you just said convinced me
that's it's okay."
A bit self-consciously, she started to remove her own
clothes. Crono had never really figured out why Lucca
seemed ashamed of how she looked; ever since he'd begun to
notice girls, Crono had found her attractive, in a girl-next-
door kind of way.
"If I ever understand women, remind me to stab myself,"
muttered Crono to no one in particular. Shrugging at the
whole thing, he resumed making his way deeper into the lake.
A few meters back, Lucca followed.
Their projected five minutes together in the lake had
ended up being closer to an hour. Even Crono hadn't
imagined that this would let off so much steam when he'd
suggested it. The two swimmers had alternated between
serious swimming and just enjoying the feel of the water.
At first, Lucca had seemed reluctant about any kind of
physical contact, and Crono had respected that, but
eventually she'd been caught up in the infectious nature of
it all. Now, they were finally making their way out of the
lake. The water was shallow enough by this point for Crono
to stand upright, and for Lucca to lean against his shoulder
and pull herself up to breathe.
"I don't know," he said, as the water level quickly
dropped to below Lucca's chin. "I feel so much better now.
But looking back on it, doesn't all the splashing around and
trying to touch the bottom of the lake seem childish or
Lucca thought about that for a second. "I wouldn't
really say that," she responded finally. "If it helps you
relax, what do you care what someone who isn't here would
think? I thought it was fun, myself."
"Maybe you're right." Crono ran his hand through his
once-spiked hair, now hopelessly entangled, as they plowed
on through the water, the going getting easier with every
step closer to the shore. Lucca was squeezing some water
out of her own hair. Years ago, Crono remembered with a
smile, he had refused to believe that that light purple
color was natural.
"Well, we don't have towels either," Lucca changed the
subject as they reached dry land, which stayed dry wherever
they passed. "It probably won't take too long to dry off,
though. whaddaya grinning at?"
Crono (who had still been smiling at his memory) made a
show of leering at her. "No problem; I know I'll enjoy
looking at you until then."
He winced as she slapped him across the posterior -
lightly enough to be considered `playful' but hard enough to
sting. "You've got a pretty dirty mind for someone who's
practically engaged," she commented.
By this point, they'd reached the area where they'd
left their things. Lucca flopped down on her back
immediately, and smiled as she checked to confirm that the
`out of phase' dirt and grass didn't touch her. Crono made
as if to lie down on top of her, and she flinched away.
Laughing, Crono settled down a respectful distance away and
quickly became lost in thought.
Lucca's overt mention of Marle had stirred anew his
feelings of homesickness. No matter how great he felt here,
it just didn't seem complete without her. And how would she
feel, with him gone for so long? He could feel his playful
mood fading, replaced by a kind of bittersweet nostalgia.
If she were here, she'd be laughing, he was sure. Lucca had
joked in the past about how no one could so cheerful as
consistently as Marle without chemical assistance, but he
knew that she could always make him feel right.
"What're you looking so upset about?" asked Lucca
Her voice gently weaved into his thoughts, so it took a
few seconds for Crono to realize that an answer was
expected. "Just thinking. About Marle, mostly. I wish I
could share all this with her." Lucca didn't respond, but
seemed attentive. After a moment he elaborated. "I don't
know how to describe it - it's like she's a part of me. So
many of my thoughts are connected to her. even when I'm
happy, I don't feel whole. I think it's been in the back of
my mind ever since we left."
Lucca smiled faintly. "I kinda know what you're
talking about. Actually." She trailed off indecisively for
a second before finishing her thought with more conviction.
"Actually, I used to feel like that about you."
"Yeah." Lucca nodded. "I'm surprised you didn't
notice. I was really obsessed with you for awhile. You
were just. well, everything. I got over it, but most of
memories from that time have you involved, somehow."
Unconsciously moving a few centimeters closer to her,
Crono looked at Lucca as if seeing her for the first time.
Somehow he felt like a new layer had been added to his past.
"I guess you didn't want to tell me?" He took her silence
as an affirmative. "I wonder how things would have turned
out. You could have told me, you know."
Lucca nodded. "I know that now. Sometimes I wish I
had, but then everything might have been different. Or it
might have been the same."
Crono nodded back, and gazed into the distance. They
lapsed into a short silence that neither of them really
wanted to break. Finally, Crono turned back towards her,
moving a bit closer. "So, what made you lose interest?"
She thought for a second, then smiled. "I'm not sure
if I really did. But I remember one day I was thinking. I
just realized that all this time that I'd been infatuated
with you, I'd been, well, pissing away the chance to make a
great friend." She shrugged. "I decided I wasn't going to
let that happen anymore. It was keeping us apart."
Mulling that over for a second, he realized with a
flash of insight just how much Lucca meant to him. "Well,
since then, I guess it hasn't kept us apart. You're about
the closest friend I could have. You're tied in with a lot
of my memories, too." He paused, trying to put what he was
saying into words. Language was limiting him. "I don't
quite know how to describe it. It's kind of like how I feel
about Marle, except that I don't love you. Well, that's not
right either. I do love you, but not the way. damn, I have
no idea what I'm talking about." He shrugged helplessly.
Lucca nodded as she answered. "Yeah. It's been
different for me too, since I made that decision. You know,
I like having you as a friend. Now I don't think I'd want
us to love each other, or whatever you call. look, we need a
word or a phrase to describe this."
"Yeah." Crono paused again; they were used to the
pausing by now. "Okay, how about this- `I love you in the
most non-sexual way possible.' How does that sound?"
A bit unexpectedly, Lucca flashed him a wicked smirk.
"I don't know if you can call it totally non-sexual. Too
bad for you that you're a guy; when we were swimming, you
couldn't hide it when you had, um, impure thoughts about
She laughed, her smile turning friendly again. "But I
know what you're talking about. Whatever the we call it, I
care about you the same way."
Somehow they'd ended up lying next to each other,
almost touching. One of Crono's favorite fantasies a year
or so ago had involved lying naked with a girl in the grass
by a lake, and what they would do together. Thoughts like
that seemed so immature now.
The two friends stayed there in silence for a little
longer, before drifting to sleep under the gentle golden
touch of this out-of-phase world's sun.
That evening, as Crono and Lucca were re-loading the
Epoch, they received an unexpected visitor. It had been an
uneventful afternoon. Physically and magically Crono was in
good enough shape to fight, if necessary, but still far from
ideal; Lucca was the same way. They still had quite a few
hours until the Temple opened again, but they wanted to be
prepared. They had been fully clothed for awhile, and were
thinking about food. It was almost time to start moving
"Look, Crono," Lucca was saying. "You got your damn
break. So would you please stop complaining about
"I'm not," replied Crono, his voice staying calm. All
I said was that it would be nice to have some real food.
That hardly qualifies as `complaining about everything.'"
"Okay, whatever." Lucca finally gave up. "Well, what
we have is freeze-dried stuff and pretty good drinks. What
time is. you know, we really shouldn't have fallen asleep!"
That was the third time she'd said that.
Crono refused to be baited, and offered a wry smile in
return. "I'm so glad you're here to tell me these things.
In any case, we fell asleep, and got a few hours of rest.
Something bad could have happened while we slept, but it