Chapter 1 / The Girl and the Gate

Do you have any idea what a individual goes through when named Crono? I'm going to go with a resounding no. Why? Because I am the only one with the name Crono. And let me tell you...it is one hell of a name. People think its funny to ask me what time it is like I'm some damn walking clock. God, I hate my name. I can't stand the others my age in all of Truce, my home town. The only friend I have is Lucca...and she is about as eccentric as you get so I don't even get to see her that often because she always has her head stuffed in a book or neck high in various electrical and mechanical parts with her newest invention.

So what do I do? I hunt monsters to keep Truce relatively monster free. Believe me there is no shortage of them either. But, because of how physically demanding a job like that tended to be, I found it really hard to wake up in the morning.

"Crono!" came the first yell from my Mother from downstairs. She did this every morning...yelling at the base of the stairs. I pulled my pillow over my head. "Crono, Crono! Come on, sleepyhead! It's time to get up! Breakfast is almost ready."

As if on cue the smell of bacon and toast seemed to make its way to my nose...naturally my stomach reacted to this and beckoned me to follow my Mother's words. "Alright, alright..." I grumbled as I tumbled out of my bed and onto my feet, but nearly lost my balance back to my bed. "Damn you stomach." Not bothering to change out of my pajamas just yet I made my way down the stairs to the dining room as my Mom was happily humming before the sound of Leene's Bell could be heard. It was a sound that some may find irritating but was something that was comforting to me for some reason.

"I always seem surprised when I hear Leene's Bell...but it is always such a beautiful sound," my Mom commented as I sat down at the table. She turned and had a stack of french toast and a plate full of bacon and placed it on the table. "Here you go...make sure you get plenty to eat. Lucca has her big unveiling of her newest invention today at the Millennial Fair. Is that why you had taken so long to get to sleep?"

"Lucca has had her nose in that damn invention for so long I'd forgotten she even existed," I grumbled as I grabbed a piece of bacon as I topped some french toast with butter and syrup. So I was a little bitter...but I hadn't even really talked to her in over half a year...and even then it hadn't been for very long. Yeah, it was irritating. "Seriously she can't even take time to say hello."

"Now you know how important this is for her. The Guardia family even gave her the central show place for the fair," My Mom said as she sat across from me.

"Yeah, good for her. Her family is basically the reason why the fair even exists to begin with. Her family line has always been inventors for the throne...its more surprising they don't have more influence with the crown than they do," I muttered as I took a big bite of the french toast and quickly chowed down breakfast.

"Slow down, Crono," My Mom scolded for a moment as she was cutting her own french toast. "I heard that they might be showing the Princess off by the end of the fair. She's getting close to the marrying age after all."

"That would be a first...they've never so much as shown a painting of the Princess, why would they suddenly start letting her do public appearances? Seems unlikely to me," I said before engulfing more of the stack of french toast. Well I had slowed down because my Mom had asked...but these french toast were damn good. Still it did seem odd that there was a lack of any publicity for the Princess...from what I've read there was always a sense of pride of showing off their Princess and next queen of the kingdom. But it was understandable why the King was so protective of her...the last Queen had died when the Princess was young so she was essentially the last of her line. There had to be a lot of pressure related to that. I had no way of understanding anything like that...all I did was practice my sword skills and hunt monsters down to sell items to the local shop. That was how I helped Mom hold the place down. Mom worked as a day care of sorts...and a bit of a teacher on top of that.

Mom was also rather well educated as a result and in turn had done her best to keep me well educated as well as bringing me new books to read when I wasn't out trying to improve my swordsmanship. We made due with what we had. Mom said that Dad had died a long time ago back when the route between Truce and Porre hadn't been as well traveled. And also why Mom supported me becoming a better fighter...as to not end up like my Dad did. Apparently my Dad and their family line had always been knights for the kingdom so I was planning to go that route eventually.

"Either way make sure you are respectable to everyone you meet at the fair. Though I'm not worried I always hear what the perfect gentleman you are," Mom smiled. I couldn't help but groan as I finished up breakfast.

"Well we have to make a living...no point in getting on the bad side of potential customers. As soon as I have enough saved up I can start covering other aspects. Then I can start being a bodyguard and the amount of money I can get will increase," I got up and took my dishes over to the sink.

"Speaking of which," Mom had apparently gotten up as well and presented me with a pouch. "Here 200 gold for you. Now I don't want to hear you complain I want you to go and actually enjoy yourself at the fair. It isn't every day you get to relax and do a little celebrating."

Fighting here on this wasn't a battle I knew I could win. When Mom makes a decision it is iron clad and non-negotiable. So I took it with a frown.

"Don't give me that look...now just go enjoy yourself for once. Who knows maybe you'll run into someone and..."

"Don't start on that Mom...dating is hardly something I am thinking about," I interrupted her and headed back up the stairs to my room. I tossed the pouch of gold on the bed as I pulled out my clothes. Knowing how some things with Lucca's experiments often led to trouble for me...I had better be prepped to fight anyway. I slipped on my green undershirt and light yellow pants and then slipped on my light blue tunic over it and my black belt on top of it. I sat on the edge of my bed as I put on my dark brown boots and then slipped on my bracers as I got back to my feet. The last thing I put on was the bandanna that I had next to my mirror. And one of the only things I had left of my Father. At least that was what Mom said. But the less time thinking about that the better. I picked up the pouch of gold and put it with what I already had in my bag. Then I grabbed the sheath which held my katana and tied it to my belt.

Looking in my mirror I had next to my desk, I sighed. My hair was red...somewhat long and incredibly spiky. I wish I could say it was by choice and it was stylized but...It literally just refused to do anything else. So instead of fighting it, I just went with it and well...I kinda liked the way it looked...it was just a little irritating when I was sleeping.

I headed back down stairs to see my Mom was cleaning up the dishes. "Alright, Mom, I'm heading out."

"Later Crono. I'll probably run by the fair later to check out Lucca's invention. Mind telling her for me?" Mom looked over to me as I walked to her.

"Yeah, no problem," I gave my Mom a hug. "Bye Mom."

"Have a good day," she gave me one last smile as I left the house.

The location of the fair was at Leene's square. It was expanded out further to accommodate the Millennial Fair which comprised a lot of what the Kingdom was proud of. And the square wasn't that far from the house either. The town of Truce was covered in decorations...balloons, streamers and a rainbow of colors. It was actually a nice change versus what it usually was like. Apparently there had been less communication with the castle as of late so many were wondering what was going on there. Still with also the rise in monsters lately...maybe there was something to worry about. Still this was more of a day for Lucca in my eyes. She had been locked away working on whatever invention she was unveiling that he had only seen her when he had showed up to make sure she was still remembering to eat food. Her Father was pretty good at that though and Lucca's Mom was always there to complain about them.

Leene's square was coming into view...the stone brick road led to its colorful flower beds that lined the pathway into the square. Walking under a archway revealed many stands and shops that were in the initial area of the festival area. I noticed Fritz and his sister Elaine setting up their own shop to help their Father. They were basically a general store that had miscellaneous goods but also one I dealt with the most with selling things I found from monsters. Fritz was a good guy and one of the few people I might consider a friend outside of Lucca. Elaine was a couple years younger than Fritz but seemed eager to help her Dad and Brother with the shop even though she didn't need to. I walked by most of the stalls...I figure I should go check in with Lucca before anything else.

I walked up a set of stairs up to where Leene's Bell is and stopped when I heard a couple voices and a couple kids ran by me. "Shouldn't they be with Mom today? I was sure they were part of the kids that were supposed to be there..." I muttered to myself before shaking my head and starting moving before I had even looked back. This, as it turns out, was not the best of ideas. As I turned my head back to where I was walking I only had a split second to realize I was colliding with someone. I probably could have stopped myself from falling, but in order to regain my balance meant I would probably hurt the other person in the process so instead I just let myself fall and tried to help them in the process.

I was a bit stunned for a moment but when I sit back up I see that the individual I had ran into was a girl...and not one that I recognized. I mean this is the Millennial Fair and more than likely there would be many people not from around the area...but for a few moments...she was the only thing I could see. She had blonde hair...not long...or maybe it was and it was deceptive because her hair was up in a high pony tail. She was what looked to be a white sleeveless jumpsuit that had gold trim along its top. Heck the jumpsuit didn't have a top to it...it seemed odd aesthetically but she looked amazing in it. She also wore gold bracelets and had a gold belt and chain. And she had dark brown sandals on her feet, but seemed well fitted for her to easily move around in. But what really stood out to her were her emerald colored eyes...and their close proximity didn't hide the fact that he had just been checking her out. Our eyes locked and it wasn't until this moment that I realized something...Leene's Bell was ringing just next to us.

Neither one of us didn't move for a long moment, and didn't break our gaze from each other. Finally, she got quickly to her feet and rushed over to me as if she was at fault, but I know I hadn't been paying attention either. Still she started to apologize.

"I'm so sorry! Are you okay? I wasn't really paying attention and," her eyes grew big and her hand went against her upper chest, grasping for something that clearly wasn't there. "My pendant! Where did it go?"

I got to my feet but decided to talk with her first, "Hey...are you okay? That was a pretty rough collision."

"Huh?" she looked back to me for a moment before registering what I had said to her. "Oh! Right...no I'm fine but I really need to find my pendant its really important and..."

"I'll give you hand," I said although she had already began to frantically search around. I took a moment to look at where we had been when we collided and if the clasp on the pendant had come undone. Then I spotted it under a nearby cart and I rushed over and grabbed it. The pendant was a simple chain with a turquoise colored gem...or was it a pearl? Either way despite its simple look I imagine it was quite old. I walked back over to the blonde. She was still frantically looking all over so I placed a hand on her shoulder so she turned to me. She was a little startled but quickly recovered.

"Yes?"

"Is this it?" I held it out in front of her.

I could see a wave of relief go over her, "Oh thank goodness! You found it! My pendant doesn't look like much but it has a lot of sentimental value."

I put the pendant in her hand, "I can tell, you should probably put a new clasp on it, or just be careful when running."

"Well I've never been in this town before so I was kinda looking at everything and not really watching where I was watching...and I noticed that Leene's Bell was about to ring and that's when I ran into you," She seemed somewhat flustered. "Say...are you from around here? I feel like I'll just get lost if I just wander around the Fair by myself. So if your free would you mind showing me around?"

Usually I would probably say No regardless of who it was. And yes she was incredibly attractive...but I felt something...I didn't want to just let this girl walk away, "You want to walk around with a guy you don't even know the name of?"

"Oh goodness...I never told you my name either. It's, uh...umm..." she had an apologetic look on her face. "Marle. My name is Marle."

"Nice to meet you Marle. I'm Crono. Where do you come from?" I figured I'd get the formalities out of the way.

"Well not too far away but I don't really get allowed to go into town," she said and avoided meeting my eyes while she said it. But she looked back at me a moment later dropping the previous subject, "So was that a yes or a no to showing me around?"

I chuckled, "I don't mind. I suppose it would be boring going around with just me. I just want to check to see when my friends invention was going to be shown first."

"Invention? Oh the one shown off by...what were they saying her name was?" She tried to recall.

"Lucca," I provided.

"Yeah, that's it!" She smiled...and it was about this time I realized that her smile was incredibly hard to look away from. Plus she had an energy that just seemed to draw me in.

"So if you don't mind I'm gonna see if I can check up on her and then I can show you around," I suggested.

"Yeah sure, I don't mind. I think I'd feel better sticking with you anyway," Marle said as she was carefully clasping her pendant back on her neck. "Lead the way."

"So I assuming you're here to check out the Millennial Fair then? I guess it was inevitable that we would get a lot of visitors...haven't really thought about it to be honest. Been somewhat busy with work," I said making just conversation as we headed towards the far side of the square where the main stage was which is where Lucca was setting up her invention.

"The Guardia Kingdom has been around for a thousand years. I feel like maybe this event should have been even bigger than this," Marle commented.

I shrugged, "Yeah I agree, but there has been an increase in monsters so I heard the King was hesitant to expand out as most of the Army is stretched thin as of late." It had certainly kept me busy, that was for sure. Part of the reason I wanted to do body guarding, because there was an increased demand for it.

"Oh right...I think I did hear him talking about that..." Marle said.

"Heard who?" I asked.

"Oh um...my Dad hears a lot of rumors from the castle...I forgot that he had talked about it," she said in a somewhat rushed tone. But it seemed enough for her to realize why the Millennial Fair was limited in scope despite celebrating 1000 years of the kingdom existence.

I saw a couple people that had blocked off the approach to Lucca's invention...and even from this distance it looked to be her biggest and most elaborate yet. I guess it explains some of the errands Lucca occasionally asked me to go on. Mostly go to the port in Porre and pick up a part for her.

"Ah hey, Crono," one of them said as I approached. It took me a moment to realize who it was.

"Oh, hey Keith. Lucca drag you and Hank to be bouncers or something?" I asked.

"Yeah...as well as helped her drag all this crap out here and won't even tell us what it does. She claims it will ruin the presentation if she spoils it. I'm surprised she didn't try and rope you into it," Keith groaned.

"I'm sure she would have if I hadn't been working," I chuckled.

"Well anyway, Lucca is still setting up and she is insistent on keeping everyone away until she's ready. And that includes you as well Crono," Keith said with a look of understanding. Anyone that knew Lucca knew not to argue with her when she was like this...she was mostly just in full invention mode...and good luck getting through to her when that happens.

I shook my head, "How long?"

"A few hours. She is aiming to be ready by noon," he shrugged.

"Alright I guess I'll be back later then," I said as I turned giving him a slight wave.

"Later Crono," Keith said as I walked off.

Marle had been standing nearby but hadn't approached him either so it saved me from having to explain her...although I can imagine Keith eyeing me from behind and the company I was keeping. I couldn't blame him...Marle was bound to turn heads.

"Looks like its gonna be some time...how about we check out what games they have to play?" I asked her.

She immediately brightened with her amazing smile, "Yes, this is gonna be so much fun! What should we hit first? I saw some games over there...but then there is that tent on the far side there and...oh...I don't know, you decide where we start Crono." Marle had been bouncing around next to me as she was pointing out at all the different games.

"Alright, alright, come on lets start with the simple games. We have to build up our silver points first to do the good games," I had read all about the activities of the Millennial Fair a while ago since it had been a huge deal in them preparing and planning it. I had helped ensure the clearing of local monsters and was paid to keep up patrolling the area just in case. But some of the attractions awarded silver points onto a card which I already had one. Then it could be used to participate in the bigger events...specifically Norstein Bekklar's Tent of Horrors...he was kinda an odd dude.

"Silver points?" she asked.

"Yeah, the ones in charge of the fair thought it would be a good way to make people see more attractions. You start with the smaller events...like say the Ring the Bell game, where you hit the target as hard as you can and try to make the bell at the top ring. And you get a silver point for succeeding, and each game awards a different value. Once you gather enough you can go to the bigger events like that tent over there," I pointed to the Tent of Horrors. "There you spend your silver points and when you win you can get pretty good prizes."

"Prizes? Oooh like what? Come on Crono I think I see a sign that tells us," Marle grabbed my hand and dragged me over to the tent.

It was an odd assortment of prizes...a Poyozo doll, cat food of varied amounts...an actual cat...and a Crono doll and...wait what? I looked over it again and yeah...that's what it said. Had Norstein lost his mind? "Is this serious?"

"A Crono doll?" Marle looked at me for a moment...which worried me. "I want one! Lets see...looks like we win it in the Copycat game." She giggled, "I guess that's a good prize then if you were to win it...a copycat of you for winning the copycat game."

"Well it looks like its more than just me...but he's advertising mine for some reason," I said as I was reading the finer print on the board.

"Alright so we need to get 40 silver points to play the copycat game," Marle said with determination.

"You're really set on this aren't you?" I asked.

She giggled at me and playfully poked my chest, "Oh come on, it isn't every day you get the chance to snag a doll of yourself right? Plus having a clear goal in mind can help us plan our activities."

I couldn't argue with that...with a goal in mind that meant we would be going with a focus instead of just wandering around and playing games without an ideal what we could get out of it. And well I can't say I cared to have a doll of myself it was at least something unique and would definitely be memorable years from now. "Alright...so maybe we should gather around 80 silver points so we can attempt it twice. That way we can have an opportunity to fail and then learn how best to win the game."

"Now you're talking! Let's get us some silver points. What's a good way to get points?" Marle was definitely getting into this.

I started by hitting the smaller games. Ring the bell was relatively easy but you only gained one silver point for hitting the bell...I could do that a number of times...and Marle had been rather impressed with my strength but that was hardly going to get us silver points effectively. There was some other small games, like throwing rings onto soda bottles and then knocking over bottles with a ball...some simple games...I could have done the footrace wager which you spent five silver points for the chance to win 20 but that took a lot of time to finish the races.

"Hey Marle, can you fight at all?" I asked as I eyed one of the signs that led to another game.

"I know how to use a crossbow. But I left my crossbow at the item check-in person at the entrance," she said curious as to why I had asked.

"I just remembered that Lucca also has her robot Gato here you can fight and earn 15 silver points each time," If Marle used a crossbow that would actually work really well with the two of us.

"Wait...how does that work? If you beat it up how can you fight it again?" Marle asked the obvious question.

I chuckled, "Yeah well Gato is one tough customer. And you don't really beat him up so much as hit specific points on his body. Think of it as a much more active target practice."

"That doesn't sound bad...well lets go by the entrance so I can pick up my crossbow," she said and grabbed my hand and led me towards the entrance. The check-in station for belongings had been a last minute addition as it had been a surprise request by the people of Truce. That way they wouldn't have to carry anything when going around the fair. It only took a moment for her to retrieve her crossbow...which was a lot more than I thought it would be. It was definitely custom made and at first I doubted she would have the strength to pull back the string to set it...I was thankfully wrong. Marle seemed to actually be much stronger than she had appeared. And actually her outfit made a lot more sense to me. Having a sleeveless and strapless top seemed like an aesthetic choice but it might have been a functional one instead. Freedom of motion went a long ways when using a weapon like a crossbow. Marle's seemed to be heavily modified for one thing...speed. It was meant to be fired quickly and reloaded quickly. Which probably meant that Marle was always moving while fighting. And likely was constantly reloading her weapon...that meant sleeves and other clothing must have gotten annoying so she opted for an outfit where it wasn't a factor at all. She strapped on a quiver with a large amount of bolts contained within. She attached her crossbow to her hip off of her belt and I noticed the hook it was on made it easy for her to become unattached.

"This will probably the fastest way to earn silver points," I said as Marle walked back over to me.

"Surprised I can fight?" Marle asked leaning towards me and looking straight into my eyes.

"Impressed, actually. Most of the girls in Truce don't learn how to fight," I admitted as I started walking.

"Do you like a girl that can fight?" Marle asked, this time not looking at me as she walked next to me.

"Haven't thought about it really. I'm usually working a lot so I don't really have time to think about that kind of stuff," I glanced at her as we approached a large courtyard and the robot Gato stood in its center.

"So...no girlfriend then?" she pressed.

"No, nothing like that,"I said as I stopped in front of Gato and glanced back at her.

She grinned at me, "Good."

I raised an eyebrow and wanted to ask why she cared but before I could Gato spoke.

"I am Gato, made of springs and metal joints. Hit all targets on my body in time and ear 15 silver points. Will you two take this challenge?" the voice was very sing songy...but...wait didn't he sound like...

"Gato sounds like you Crono," Marle finished my thought out loud for me.

I made a fist and felt myself get angry, "Damn you Lucca! I thought I told you to not use my voice...and you even modified it!"

"Do you accept the challenge?" Gato asked again.

"Damn right we do! Let's defeat the hell out of this thing, Marle!" I unsheathed my sword.

Marle giggled as she pulled up her crossbow and pulled back the bow string and loaded a bolt. "Do you like Lucca?"

"She's more like an annoying little sister that only bothers you when she wants something," I groaned. "Alright I'll focus on the front, you circle around it and try and hit other targets as they appear. Most of them have a limited time to hit it. If time runs out he'll automatically reset and we'll lose."

"Got it!" Marle confirmed and ran around Gato while keeping her distance.

However, I knew Lucca...and more than likely...

I jumped back just as Gato swung its fist down at me.

"I knew it," I grumbled and brought my sword up.

"Crono!"

"Don't worry just stick to it...its just Lucca's way of making it interesting," I said as I stepped in as Gato attacked again. I met the arm with my blade, stopping the attack and saw one of the targets appear on its left leg. I pushed the arm of Gato over me and slid away from it and then hit the target with the sword. It briefly glows red before disappearing. I also hear the sound of Marle's bolts hitting the back of Gato. But Gato stayed trained on me and continued to attack. Fortunately Gato is big and slow...just powerful. Gato tried to trap me so it could hit me but it didn't factor in Marle. And damn was she good...I'd call her a marksman. She missed a couple times but that came from not knowing how Gato moved than a lack of skill. She got better as the fight continued and before long we had hit all 10 targets and won.

"15 points you have won! Come on back and we'll have more fun!" Gato said in that annoying singsong voice that was a clear imitation of my own voice. I put the card for our silver points on Gato's chest terminal and registered the points.

I turned to Marle. "That brings us up to 25 points." As I said that Marle's bolts fell off of Gato.

"Hmm, I was wondering if I needed to pull them off him or something," Marle quickly gathered her bolts and inspected them. "I'm surprised it didn't ruin any of the bolts."

"I wish I had a chance to watch you. I've never really seen someone use a crossbow...and you seem to be really fast with it," I commented to which immediately made Marle smile.

"I wouldn't mind you watching me but I think its more fun fighting together...like a team," Marle said as she reloaded her crossbow. "Come on we need a lot more points so lets get to beating this robot."

I could tell it was going to take time to get used to her. But her smile had a way of making me want to see more of it...I wanted her to smile...and I found myself growing more and more comfortable with her being around. Fortunately we still had plenty of time of the day left to us.


"Alright! Final Silver Point count Crono!" Marle smiled as I took the last of our silver point winnings from Gato. I had lost count how many times we had fought the robot. I looked at the card.

"We have...155 silver points," I shook my head. "We fought him nine times...we definitely have more than enough."

"I haven't had so much fun in a long time," Marle said from next to me. I didn't realize she'd move so close to me. "You're an amazing swordsman, Crono. I bet you could give Guardia's Captain of the Guard a run for his money."

"I wouldn't want to be in a position where I needed to," I chuckled. "It isn't something I want to brag about, its just what I do to make money."

"Oh right, you said you were a hunter, right? Ever been a bodyguard?" Marle asked as we started walking away from Gato.

"No, but that was actually my next step. I can make more money for my Mom and I. It can be more dangerous as you have to deal with other people sometimes but I'm not worried about that aspect of it," I said rubbing the back of my head. It wasn't a subject I talked about...now that I think about it I rarely have an opportunity to talk to anyone anyway. I'm usually off working and hunting monsters than in town. The one I usually talk to is Fritz and his sister Elaine when I go to sell monster loot. Lucca was a terrible conversationalist, especially over the last month or so as she was focused on her invention. Her and I hadn't really connected or talked in a long time, I was beginning to wonder if she could be considered a friend at this point.

"Then...maybe one day you'll be my bodyguard," Marle said this in a softer tone than she had been talking in before.

I laughed, I couldn't help it. She gave me a questioning look and I just shook my head, "With the way I've seen you shoot? You are hardly in the need of protection."

"Well I can't carry my crossbow everywhere with me you know. My Dad only lets me use it because my Mom encouraged it. And well...my Mom's been gone a long time, but Dad wouldn't stop lessons of mine that my Mom wanted me to learn," Marle fidgeted with her bow that was hanging from her hip as we went back to the main area and over towards the tent.

"I'm sorry to hear that. My Father is gone, but I wouldn't know if he died or just went off somewhere," I shrugged but then stopped when I heard a noise. I looked over to see a familiar animal in the back behind a stall. "You again?"

"What is it Crono?" Marle moved next to me to look where I was. "Oh its a kitty...and a cute one at that."

"It's Rita, she's the tabby cat that belongs to a little girl named Hannah. A girl that is usually at my Mom's daycare," I knelt down and extended my hand towards the cat. The cat hesitated but slowly moved to me and after a moment I picked her up.

"She's sooo cute! Can I hold her?" Marle asked.

I shrugged, "Give her a moment she can be rather picky about people." Marle extended her hand towards Rita and let her sniff her before Rita jumped into Marle's hands.

"Okay Rita, you cutie. We're gonna go find Hannah now," Marle said.

"She's probably not far...Rita loses sight of Hannah and get scared and hides typically," I said as I continued to look around the area. And on the other side of the area behind a small set of stairs was Hannah. Marle and I approached her. "Hannah, I think you're missing someone."

"Here you go," Marle handed the tabby cat over to Hannah.

"Rita! Thank you, Crono and um...hey Crono who's the lady with you?" Hannah asked as she hugged Rita to her...who was also purring excessively in her arms.

"I'm Marle. A friend of Crono's," Marle introduced herself with a elegant smile.

"Just a friend?" Hannah eyed her, obviously not convinced of that answer.

"Hannah...aren't you supposed to be at the daycare today?" I interrupted.

"I...uh...well my Dad is running the Soda Guzzling competition and..." She started but was interrupted by another voice.

"Hey Crono, my Hannah not giving you trouble is she?" It was Alan, Hannah's Dad. I occasionally dealt with him if he needed specific supplies. Alan was actually a fur trader so he often went hunting as well but he only hunted specific animals.

"No, I just found Rita on the other side so I was returning her to Hannah," I commented and shook his hand.

"Seems like your always helping someone. Your a good kid, Crono. Tell you what how about a free shot at the Soda Guzzling contest? As long as you get at least 4 you'll walk away with some silver points," He grinned and looked to Marle. "I'm sure you and your date could use it to have fun."

Was he trying to be funny or something? I'm not quite sure I understand what he was getting at. "No we're fine on silver points. Actually we kinda need to take off we want to sneak in some games at the tent of horrors before Lucca's invention presentation starts."

"Well, don't let me hold you up then. Say goodbye to them, Hannah. And thank you," Alan nudged his daughter.

She gave a small bow, "Thank you, Crono and Marle, for bringing back Rita."

I nodded, "I will see you both later then."

I walked away heading towards the tent and I looked back to make sure Marle was following me...which she was she just had gotten quiet. She looked up at me for a moment.

"Hey Crono," she started.

"Everything alright?" I asked based more on her tone which had gone softer than it had been before.

"Huh? Oh yes! Everything is alright, better than that, its great. I've had a lot of fun with you. That's why I just wanted to tell you that I...really appreciate all our time together today," Marle was being rather serious which she hadn't been up til this point.

"What brought this on? Besides we still have a lot of day left you know," I said hoping to tease her a bit.

"I...you're right! But first we have to win the Crono doll!" she bounced in front of me and that smile that seemed to work its way into me was back. She grabbed my hand but seemed to be blushing a little bit...but maybe I was just imagining it. "Come on, Crono!"

"I'm coming, you don't have to pull so much," I said and couldn't help but smile too as she dragged me into the Tent of Horrors. I think this was what could be described as being swept up in the moment. We both barely knew each other...but we had such a great time with one another so far that it was slowly becoming...hmm whats a good word...intimate. Hannah might have suspected this when she saw us. And considering how Marle kept taking my hand and the general way it felt being with her...I would have to say I wasn't opposed to people getting the wrong idea about us. Or maybe it turning out not to be wrong at all. Marle was incredibly beautiful after all.

Inside the Tent of Horrors...as expected it was dark...and what looked to be a floating face and hands began to talk. Man...Bekkler is a weird old man.

"Welcome to Norstien Bekkler's lab. The spine tingling show is about to start! Now tell me, what is it that you two want to play?" he asked with a laugh.

"We want to play the copycat game!" Marle said. It wasn't until this moment that I realized she was still holding my hand. For now I would try not to call attention to it...she didn't seem like she wanted to let go.

"Let me guess, you want the Crono doll?" Bekkler lightly chuckled. "Alright this game is simple. First let me get the 40 silver points."

I pulled out the card and handed it to him. After a moment he handed it back, "So how is the game played?"

A snap of his finger and the gate at the end of the tent opened and what stepped out was...me? Bekkler grinned. "All you need to do is flawlessly copy your double and then the Crono doll will be yours. This is your game to play Crono."

"Right...one question though...why me?" I asked looking at him.

"Why do I have a doll of you, Crono? Don't worry...one day, I will tell you. But I think you should focus on just enjoying yourself. I'm sure that is also what the young lady you are with wants," Bekkler smiled and for some reason it made me okay with how things currently were. If he was going to explain it all later then that was fine.

Marle hesitated for a moment before stepping away from me, "Do your best, Crono. I'll cheer you on."

I looked towards my apparent double, "So I just mimic him?"

"He will go between certain actions. First we'll go over the different ones to look for. As long as you keep up with him you'll be fine. Okay, practice round..." Bekkler enticed as the game started.

Playing a game when you mimic someone is pretty hard in itself...especially typically it isn't a game and it is a thing you just do for theater. I only know that because Elaine, Fritz sister had asked me to help her...while she wants to help with the shop she also wants to be an actress. Or just try to get me to do stupid movements while claiming it to be for acting practice. Still it was definitely harder when you are looking at yourself. My mind just cant seem to make a disconnect that the person in front of me is not actually me. That was what really made it difficult. As much as it was a mental battle...I nearly completed it all but made a huge mistake at the end...it had deliberately threw out a tell that it was doing one thing and then quickly switched to something else.

However after spending another 40 points and Marle giving me a few words of encouragements and pointers...and damn does she have really good eyes...but I suppose she would given how good she wields a crossbow. Between the experience of the first loss and tips from Marle I perfectly mimicked my supposed 'double' the second time.

"Oh ho, nicely done Crono," Bekkler laughed as he came forward. "You have one the Crono doll. It's life size so I'm not sure you want to carry it around. I'll go ahead and have it delivered to your house, alright?"

"That's fine with me," I shrugged.

"Aw...I was hoping to hold it...but life size?" Marle pouted a little bit. "You'll take me to your house later today so I can see it right?"

I didn't mind but..."You want to come over to a strangers house?" I mean we weren't complete strangers now but shouldn't she be more cautious?

"A stranger?" Marle frowned and came up to me and poked my stomach. "After everything we've already done today you are calling me a stranger? Come on we worked together to get the doll of you. And we fought together and...I mean we're at least friends now. Crono! Are you trying to insult our time together!"

I put my hands up in mock surrender, "Sorry, I'm just not used to it." It was true...I hardly ever spent time with other people...I was often out by myself focusing on training or something else. Monster hunting was often a lonely affair as well. "I just want to make sure you've thought about it."

We left the tent of horrors and towards the courtyard. We wandered a bit as we talked.

"Crono, I meant what I said earlier. We've only known each other a few hours but you've been more honest with me than most people have been my whole life. We worked together as a team to achieve something...and you talk to me like an equal. And I feel like I know you based on just what I've seen you do in this short amount of time. I mean you try to sound annoyed by most of it but you care about the other people around you. Isn't that why you really became a monster hunter? And that's why you want to be a bodyguard?" Marle asked as we stopped near Leene's Bell.

I didn't say anything for a long moment, "You have very keen eyes, Marle. I imagine you are very good at judging peoples character."

"I have to be," she said simply looking up at Leene's Bell. I looked at her...and I felt there was something heavy that weighed down her words. She truly did appreciate her time with me...and it was obvious to me that I was not close to understanding exactly what that meant.

"Marle, I'm sorry if I insulted our time together. But it doesn't seem like you want to explain why it means so much to you either," I commented as she looked back at me. Our eyes met and I saw an even more depth of emotion there.

"That isn't it Crono...I want to tell you but..." Marle broker he gaze with me and looked to the ground. "Can you give me time to think about it? There could be consequences for both of us if I tell you the truth."

This definitely caught my attention, "Consequences?"

"Just tell me...we are friends now...right?" Marle asked.

There wasn't any doubt in my mind, "Friends and partners. We're a good team together, don't you think?"

Her solemn look was replaced by a big smile, "Definitely! Gato had no chance against us and that copycat game was a cinch! We've got a 100% success rate in goals achieved." She turned and without any warning pulled me into a hug. "Thank you, Crono. It's kinda funny...we met when ran into each other just before Leene's Bell rang. Then it was ringing when our eyes met. There is a bit of a legend when meeting under those circumstances you know."

"Hey...Crono? Who's this?" it was Keith. Marle had been around but hadn't been with me when I talked to Keith initially.

"Hey! I'm his partner, Marle," She broke the hug from me and gave a short bow to Keith. It was a blink and you'll miss it kind of moment because that bow was more like it came from an individual that had done so on a regular basis. I was probably reading too much into it. And what legend was she talking about related to Leene's Bell and meeting someone? It probably wasn't important.

"Partner?" Keith's eyes went from her to me. And then jumped to a different conclusion. "Since when did you get a girlfriend?"

I internally rolled my eyes at the words and choose to ignore it, "What do you want, Keith?" I guess it wasn't too outlandish as he had approached me after she had been hugging me and she probably looked really relaxed and natural with me. Plus that kind of conclusion I was okay with people assuming. Marle had the right to object if she wanted to. But she didn't, she just stayed next to me.

"Oh right. Their done setting up and started seating people for Lucca's invention. Since I saw you I thought I would let you know," Keith said.

"Thanks," I nodded.

"No prob, have fun with your date," Keith said as he walked away.

I watched him walk away, "Do we really look like we're on a date?"

"Hmm...well we've played a lot of games and we've been walking around together and...yeah I'm sure to an outsider it probably looks like we are," Marle had a grin on her face as she held her arms behind her back and playfully observing my face. "You also didn't tell him we weren't on a date either."

"I guess that's true," I said smiling back at her. I could play this game. "Maybe I just don't want to put a title on our relationship yet."

"Oooh, think you have a chance with me?" she said taking a step closer to me.

"You would know that best, wouldn't you?" I couldn't help but get drawn into this...what has undoubtedly turned into a flirt session. Then again I wasn't exactly well versed in this kind of thing but I really couldn't help myself with Marle. Plus her pale emerald eyes made it that much more difficult to look away. They just had a way of enticing me to get closer...as if they were drawing me to her.

"That...I most certainly do," she said and bit her lip as she stepped away from me. "Come on Crono. I want to go grab some candy before we go see Lucca's invention."

She was most certainly holding back information on this subject. Still we had plenty of day left. I followed behind her to the candy stall as she looked over the many options.

"Oo...how about some cotton candy...wait is that strawberry or bubblegum? I'm not sure I've had bubblegum...oh but what about the white one whats that? Lime? That sounds good...yeah I'll take some of that...and some popcorn too," Marle was talking with the stall owner and as soon as she was done handed over the gold for the purchase and then turned back to me. "Thanks for waiting. Now come on, we need a good seat!"

We made our way to the main stage and as it came into view I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by what we saw. Not one but two identical devices sat on different sides of the stage. And Lucca looked like she was still tinkering on one of them. Marle immediately dragged me into the front row of seats and eagerly sat down.

"Calm down, Marle. It isn't going anywhere," I couldn't help but chuckle.

"But aren't you excited? You're friend made this, its amazing," Marle said staring at the devices on stage. They were pretty big...big enough for people to stand on the strange pad portion of the device. I was getting an odd feeling looking at it.

"Yeah...my friend," I said somewhat bitterly. I wonder if you can say that about someone you don't even really talk to anymore. Speaking of, it turns out Lucca had finished whatever she had been doing and spotted me...she ran over to me where Marle and I were sitting.

"Crono! I was wondering if you would be here to show up. So what do you think?" Lucca proudly pointed to her devices.

"So this is why I haven't seen you in like six months?" I couldn't hide the fact that I was a bit sour about it from my voice. It made Lucca falter for a moment. But she quickly shook it off.

"It'll be worth it, I promise," she said somewhat softly. "I ran into some dead ends along the way but my theory is sound so I know it will work."

"You...haven't tried it yet?" I was now concerned.

"Don't be ridiculous...of course I have. And little Shia is just fine," Lucca said dismissively.

"Shia! You aren't supposed to use my cat you know!" I felt myself incredibly alarmed now.

"You weren't around to ask and your Mom said it was fine. Besides it more than worked out. And I made it worth Shia's time," Lucca crossed her arms.

"So not only you used my cat as a guinea pig you bribed her?" I shook my head...sometimes I could hardly believe what Lucca did.

"Crono, you have a cat?" Marle asked from next to me...who up to this point had simply been observing the two of us.

"Yeah a high and mighty pretentious orange cat named Shia," I muttered. "You'll be able to see her later when we go by the house."

"Awesome, I can't wait," Marle smiled.

"Wait...Crono...who's this?" Lucca asked as if she hadn't realized she was there...how very much like Lucca. She only ever saw what she was focused on.

"This is Marle, a friend I met while enjoying the fair," I said simply.

"And his partner," Marle added and grabbed my arm while extending her other hand out to Lucca. "I've heard a little bit about you Lucca. I heard your an awesome inventor."

For some reason the air between the two of them felt a bit tense. Maybe it was my imagination. Either way the place was starting to fill up with people.

"Looks like we're just about ready to start. After this is over you'll have to tell me how you managed to pick up such a cutie like her, Crono," Lucca said as she moved back towards the stage area.

"So now I picked her up?" I muttered under my breath. "Is it really so odd for me to be walking around with a girl?"

"Says the guy who just a moment ago wouldn't mind if people got that misunderstanding," Marle teased while still holding on to my arm. "Ooo there gonna start!"

Of course the one to start the announcing was Lucca's Dad, Taban. He was in his usual blue pants and green shirt that he almost always had on. "Ladies and Gentlemen, today we are going to show you a wonder of science! A sneak peek on what the future might hold in store for all of us! We are going to show you the hyper-dimensional transporter, the invention of the century! And its a simple idea. Step onto one telepod and you'll appear at the other! The possibilities could revolutionize the way we move in our world!" Taban then took a step towards the crowd. "This fantastic machine is the masterwork of my beautiful and brilliant daughter, Lucca!"

Lucca came onto the stage and I couldn't help but realize just how long it had been since I really saw her. She still kept her plum colored hair relatively short...often citing that it always got in her way. Not that it mattered she always had that green helmet that for some reason had an antenna on it and something like a microphone or something...she had on a long sleeved dark teal-green shirt with an orange tunic on top of it and underneath she had her usual black shorts. She had socks that were the same color as her long sleeved shirt and then dark brown boots. Then she was wearing her dark yellow scarf and her brown belt that also had her small brown bag which mostly held tools. She pushed up her glasses, "Today I'm going to show you not only that it works but that it is completely safe for anyone to use. To do that I want to ask you, the audience for a volunteer!"

Her declaration was only answered by silence...everyone was looking around to see if anyone would do it. Well I figured this would happen...and despite how irritated I was that I hadn't really heard from her at all in six months, I got to my feet. Everyone seemed relieved that someone had volunteered and many began to clap.

"This kinda looks fun. I want to try it after you," Marle said as she got up as well. The two of us went on stage.

"Thanks a lot, Crono," Lucca said as she moved towards me. "And Marle, you too."

Marle nodded, "Now come on I want to see this thing work!"

"Alright Crono if you just come over to the left telepod," Lucca said motioning for me to follow. She brought me to the one on the left and I passed her and stood on the telepod.

"Do I need to do anything?" I asked Lucca.

She shook her head, "Not a thing."

"System Activated," Taban said as he was pushing some thing on the terminal as Lucca moved to the other pod.

"Everything good here! Initiating energy transfer!" Lucca yelled from the other.

I heard something get louder and I saw a blue light...then it blinded me. I'm not sure what happened but when I regained my sight I was no longer standing where I was. It was Taban that was next to me at the terminal...it was Lucca...and I was standing at the right telepod.

The crowd erupted into cheers and applause...I stepped down from the telepod somewhat confused. Marle was already running up to me.

"Oh my goodness, Crono! You were standing over there and then you turned into this like pretty blue light...its kinda like the color of your eyes and then it went and zoomed over to the other pod and you were there. That was amazing...but I was also kinda scared you would disappear and not come back but glad that didn't happen...but still that was awesome! I definitely have to try it now," Marle was talking at about a mile a minute but her voice settled the confusion in my mind and made me smile.

"Impressive, Lucca. Just don't try to explain to me how it works because I'll never get it," I said as Lucca came over to us.

"Lucca, it's my turn! Look I'll go get into place!" Marle eagerly rushed over to the other pod.

"She's...got a lot of energy," Lucca giggled. Then looked to me, "How have you managed to keep up with her?"

I shrugged, "I have no idea." I moved back but stayed in view of Marle and watched as she looked super excited to be apart of it. It was an amazing technology, there was no doubt about that. I'm still not sure how it happened but to me it felt almost instantaneous and not only that but everything on me, clothes, weapons, my headband, everything was on me that I started with...this was more than an amazing breakthrough...this would likely shape the future of Guardia.

"Hey Crono, don't run off on me while I'm teleporting," she winked at me. I couldn't help but laugh.

"We still have a lot left to do you know," I chuckled.

"Alright, Lucca! I'm ready," Marle said giving her the thumbs up to start.

"Okay everyone! Let's give her a hand when she reappears," Taban said to the crowd. He turned to the panel, "System activated." The machine could be heard revving up.

"Alright, initiating energy transfer!" Lucca stated as she worked the other terminal on the other pod.

Energy started swirling around Marle...but something in me screamed in alarm...I could tell something was wrong. Then I saw it...Marle's pendent was glowing...it was pulsing with its own energy. Instinctively I called out to Lucca. "No! Shut it down!" I yelled. But it was too late...electricity arced from both machines forcing both Taban and Lucca to be thrown back. "Marle!"

"What...what's going on?" Marle looked at me in a panic as she was slowly being turned to that blue energy that she had described happening to me. "No...I...Crono...CRONO!"

Then she was turned completely to energy...but something even more crazy happened...something opened. I don't know how to describe it...but a large hole appeared between the two devices...something that opened up into a void and Marle's energy went inside it and she reformed. I took a step forward and then another and another until I was sprinting...I jumped towards the hole...but it disappeared. "MARLE!" Quickly I turned to Lucca. "Lucca...what just hap..."

Lucca held up her hand to cut me off as she approached me, "Wait."

"Thanks everyone for coming to the demonstration, we hoped you enjoyed our little performance at the end and hope to have another showing of our invention as the fair goes on, Thank you all." Taban was easing the crowd as Keith and Hank were ushering people out of the main stage area.

Lucca was rubbing her chin while in deep thought, "The way she disappeared...it couldn't have been the telepod. And that rift that appeared...and if I saw it right her pendent had reacted to the device...is it possible?"

Word of her pendent had me scrambling to the left telepod where Marle had been. I looked around...and sure enough...her pendent was on the ground. Looked like the clasp had gotten loose as a result. Was it possible to follow her? I picked it up and turned to find myself looking at Lucca.

"What are you thinking Crono?" Lucca asked.

There really wasn't a choice for me...there was no telling what might have happened to her. I was in no way going to just abandon her. I wanted her to be there and see what we won together...what we had both achieved. It might be something silly but...this was important. "I have to go after her. I'll do it the same way she did."

"I figured you would," Lucca shook her head. "You know that girl looked familiar...but she said her name was Marle..."

"Going after her?" Taban asked me as he walked over and saw me holding the pendent.

I nodded, "Yeah, let my Mom know I might not be back for a while."

Taban laughed, "Don't worry, Gina's a tough woman and she knows you're tough too. Just go bring that girl back."

"That's the plan," I said as I stepped onto the telepod.

Lucca moved over to me, "Crono, I'm sorry I've been so wrapped up in this experiment and now...its put someone in danger. I don't like sending you like this but we can't waste time. After you're through I'll try and figure out what happened...but make sure you hold tight to that pendent, it might be your only way back to wherever it takes you."

"Thanks, Lucca. And hey...maybe we could actually spend some time together after all this instead of having to wait till you're free. Don't let us be strangers anymore," I said not realizing how much it had affected me. "But right now I need to find Marle."

"Got it, let's do this," Lucca ran over to the other terminal.

"System activated!" Taban yelled.

"Initiating energy transfer," Lucca yelled.

I held onto the pendent as I couldn't help but think about the strange day it had been. I had only met her today...had been with her for several hours...in that time we ran into each other as Leene's Bell had been ringing and then we talked and she asked if I would show her around. Then since we had time before the beginning of Lucca's invention would be showcased we made a goal of getting one of the prizes at the tent of horrors. We gathered a bunch of silver points by playing a lot of games but mostly fighting Gato...in which we had to work as a team to effectively beat. And we worked really well together...and we only got better each time we fought...to the point that we fought him 9 times before finally stopping to try our hand at the tent of horrors. And we succeeded in getting our prize as a team...her keen eyes were able to give me hints I needed to beat it on only my second attempt.

I felt it starting to change me...both machines did the same thing as before...and the hole appeared to me...no. This wasn't a hole...it was a gate. The girl I had met today had passed through this gate...and now I had to follow. I didn't want my relationship to end with her like this. And I wouldn't let it. I was surrounded in blue and then the next moment I was inside the Gate as it was slowly closing. I could see Lucca looking at me. But whatever she said I couldn't hear and the Gate closed and I began to fall.


A/N:

Chrono Trigger is most likely the game that most influenced my life. It came at a time of my life that I really needed it. I sunk countless hours playing the game over and over...digging for every ending, every item and every variant character interaction I could get. To this day it is probably the only game I can say I have 100% completed in nearly every way possible. So that is actually why I never wrote Fan Fiction for it. It had been so integral to a very hard time in my life I wasn't sure I wanted to approach it. But then as I was sitting around and struggling to write on my other projects...I just started writing. Chrono Trigger recently had its anniversary, which is why it had sparked for me. Because I realized there was one aspect of the game I wanted to elaborate more on. The relationships between the characters and the world.

Let me point out that I enjoy the pace of Chrono Trigger and how it approaches its narrative. For the most part it comes at you fast, and to begin with you are reacting to the events that are out of your control. Marle being pulled into a Gate, to a different time, is a fixed event...you can't stop it from happening. So Crono runs off to save her. From there one there are many surprises...you are unexpectedly dealt consequences for the actions you take when you meet Marle. One of the coolest narrative parts in the game. And the game doesn't let up. And while you do get to learn more about the characters as you go along...there are a few things that by the end of the game...I really wanted to address.

The end of the game heavily insinuates the relationship between Crono and Marle pretty hard, right from the beginning. But as Crono is the player...your reaction and growth with her is never really explored. Most relationships to Crono are naturally ambiguous as is the nature of having a silent protagonist. But relationships are pretty much set in stone...so there were moments I wanted the game to take to maybe just give us more interaction and learn why Marle grew attached and eventually fell in love with Crono.

So...I had to give Crono a background and a personality to match. I think this is probably the part where people will like, or dislike this fan fiction. Because Crono is a silent protagonist...everyone who has played it has their own image of how Crono should be. I'm no different, but I also wanted to explore Crono's background a bit more...so I'll start there. We know that Crono has a Mom named Gina (you can find this out from some of the other NPC's) you also know that for whatever reason...Crono's Dad is either missing or dead. It is never alluded to which way is true. So for now...I will leave that fact ambiguous. Also his only childhood friend...who is called such is Lucca. So while I've given him a couple of other friends in this story...she is the only one he considers to be his childhood friend. But there is tension here. In order for Lucca to be as smart as she is, and be able to make the inventions she has and does at her age...that means she has not actually been the greatest of friends. Likely forgetting play dates, or his birthday, or suddenly going home or various other things. I want to create some believable relationships as this story goes forward. As Crono is no longer silent this will inherently change events that occur along the way. Some just slightly...but others much more significantly.

I'm not sure how often this will be updated at the moment. (Schedule for writing projects is pretty tight right now) But I'm aiming for at least once a month. To compensate the chapters should be pretty meaty...about 10k to 15k word count in length. So anyway I hope you enjoy this start and that you look forward to more. If you have any suggestions or want to tell me what you would like to see along the way, leave me a review and let me know. Thanks for your time. See you next time.