Chapter 1: The Millennial Fair
Friday, August 1, 1000
My name is Fritz. I'm not famous. You won't find my name in any history book. I never did anything that meaningful.
The most memorable event of my life was when I was convicted of a crime I didn't commit. I was chained to a beheading machine for days until I was rescued.
But, of course, you wouldn't even know that tidbit unless you played a game by the name of Chrono Trigger, but even that isn't a hundred percent accurate. That game was made by Square. They bent the truth on more than a few occasions, mainly for dramatization purposes, but, in general, they were accurate. What really strikes me was what they didn't reveal. Thus, I'm writing this memoir, after all these years, so you'll finally know everything that really happened.
As I'm sure you're aware, our story begins in the Kingdom of Guardia. What you're probably not aware of is the fact that the islands are part of the Inner Hebrides, off the coast of Scotland. The year is 1000 A. D. China was early in the Song Dynasty. Robert II was king of a very young France, while the Holy Roman Empire dominated Europe. Meanwhile, one Leif Erikson landed on the continent Lavos would erupt on a millennium later.
But enough of the history lesson. The Millennial Fair began on August 1, not January 1. It was bitter cold at the turn of the millennium, and nobody had slept well that night. As it was the year 1000, pretty much the whole kingdom stood on a hill outside of Truce waiting for the world to end. They stayed out until four in the morning, but nothing happened. They finally went home, shocked and disappointed.
Of course, one person didn't buy the superstition.
"I told you so," said person would say at the end of the night.
Nobody listened to her, of course. She had been insisting that the world wouldn't end for months before the new millennium, but her warnings always fell on deaf ears. After the world didn't end, she was ignored as well, mainly because everyone knew she had been right.
That person, by the way, was none other than one Lucca Ashtear. Despite her opposition to superstition, her background was considered somewhat mysterious.
Lucca's father, Taban, randomly showed up to Truce in 979. There was no record of his birth of where he had come from. What is known is that two twin sisters fell in love with him, and he married the older one, Lara, in 980.
Lucca was born in 981. Her parents were, of course, happy at first, but when she was one and a half, she became too much for Taban. Family life became so stressful for him that he ran off and had a brief affair with the younger twin, Gina. That affair produced Crono.
And now you're probably wanting the hurl rotten eggs at me. Because Crono doesn't seem to have a father, so many speculations were made about him, some even referring to the supernatural, but it's time I finally put those to rest. Crono does have a father, and it's Taban. He and Lucca know they're both cousins and half-siblings, though they only acknowledge each other as the former.
Gina, meanwhile, raised Crono on her own in Truce. And it was the morning of August 1 that Leene's bell was ringing louder than usual. The bell didn't wake Crono, and Gina barely did much better.
"Crono," she called as she stood over the seventeen-year-old's bed.
There was no response.
"Crono!" she called again.
"Crono!" she called once more.
He finally opened his eyes.
"Come on, sleepyhead!" Gina commanded. "Get up!"
Crono groaned as he made eye contact with his mother.
The bell continued to ring as Gina made her way over to the window and opened the curtains.
"Ah, Leene's bell makes such beautiful music," she said aloud.
She then turned her attention to her son, who was still laying in bed.
"You were so excited about the Millennial Fair that you didn't sleep well, did you?"
"Not really," Crono admitted.
See, this is what I'm talking about. Everyone's been under the impression that Crono can't talk, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Of course he can talk. He has a pleasant tenor voice.
Gina, meanwhile, put her hands on her hips and stared him down.
"I want you to behave yourself today," she commanded. "Let's get moving now!"
Gina then went downstairs.
A minute passed by. Then another. And another.
Finally, Crono slowly rose to his feet and wiped his eyes. He then went downstairs himself.
Gina, sure enough, was waiting at the bottom of the stairs.
"Finally!" she exclaimed. "By the way, that inventor friend of yours...you know!" She paused. "Oh, dear, I've forgotten her name!"
"Lucca," Crono replied. "Lucca Ashtear."
"That's right," Gina said. "Lucca! Don't forget that she invited you to see her new invention!"
"She's a fraud," Crono mumbled to himself.
"Run along now," Gina commanded, "and be back before dinner."
Crono nodded and turned toward the door.
"Oh, I almost forgot!" Gina exclaimed.
Crono turned to his mother once more.
"Here's your allowance, dear!" she announced as she handed him two hundred gold pieces. "Have fun at the fair!"
She then hugged him good-bye.
Down the road Crono went.
Somehow, he felt as if that day would change his life forever.
"It's called the Dragon Tank," the Chancellor replied.
"You called me here for this?" the king, Guardia XXXIII, asked skeptically.
"Your majesty," Chancellor Vanim assured him, "this is the most powerful weapon ever built. If an attack ever came from Porre, they'll never stand a chance."
"I'll need to see it in action before I sponsor more," King Guardia XXXIII declared.
At that moment, Pierre, the public defender, approached.
"Pierre," dismissed Vanim, "we are busy. Can't you tell?"
"This really can't wait," Pierre insisted.
"What is it?" the king asked.
"It's Princess Nadia," Pierre replied. "She's gone."
The king's eyes widened.
"Find her!" he demanded. "Search every house and every cupboard!"
"I'll send the Dragon Tank!" the chancellor announced.
"And how will this find my daughter?" the head of state demanded.
"Because anyone who lays a finger on her," Vanim answered, "is a dead man."
Crono stood at the entrance to Leene Square. It was indeed the Millennial Fair, complete with tents, games, and other things he previously could not imagine.
Among the tents and kiosks, Crono could see Melchior, the local sword smith. He was selling his swords again; Crono had bought his own off of him a year before.
Near Melchior, there was a racetrack. Two soldiers, some kid in some weird green costume, and a cat were racing each other. People were quickly taking bets on who would win.
Beyond the racetrack, Crono could see a set of stairs. Something...seemed to be telling him to climb them; as if something awaited him at the top.
He made his way across the track, focusing on the stairs to the point that he had forgotten that there was a race going on. Steel Runner, who was basically a knight, tripped and fell head-first into a kiosk.
"Buy something from Melchior, the sword smith?" offered Melchior as Crono passed by.
"Maybe later," Crono replied as he continued toward his destination.
He slowly began to climb the stairs.
I wonder what could be at the top? he thought to himself. Something tells me that once I get there, my life will never be the same again.
And then, he reached the top, only to find himself staring face to face with Leene's Bell.
As wave of disappointment shot through Crono's mind.
That's it? he thought. I could have sworn...
And then, suddenly, Crono felt something crash into him with such force that he was knocked to the ground.
"Hey!" a female voice exclaimed.
Crono turned his head to see a teenage girl rising to her knees. She was wearing a white tunic and, unusual for a girl, white pants to match. Her hair was red, the exact same color as Crono's, and was in a ponytail. Her eyes were sky blue.
"Ow," she muttered as she rubbed her forehead. "That hurt."
The girl then rose to her feet and walked over to Crono, who was still on the ground.
"I'm so sorry!" the girl apologized as she placed her hand on his shoulder. "Are you okay?"
Crono was somewhat shocked. He had just met this girl, yet nobody he knew, not even Lucca, had shown him any affection.
"I'm fine," Crono assured her as he rose to his feet.
"Hooray!" the girl exclaimed with a smile as she placed her hand on her heart. And then, her smile faded.
"Uh-oh," she muttered. "My pendant! Oh, no! Don't tell me I lost it!"
Crono, out of the corner of his eye, spotted the pendant on the ground several feet away.
"There it is!" he announced as he retrieved it.
"Oh, thank goodness!" the girl exclaimed as her smile returned. My pendant! It has a lot of sentimental value! May I have it back?"
"Of course," Crono replied as he handed it over.
The girl's smile widened as she put the pendant around her neck.
"I came to see the festival," she said. "You live in this town, don't you?"
"Born and raised," Crono replied.
"I feel a little out of place here," said the girl. "Would you mind if I walked around with you for a while?"
Crono felt his heart racing. This girl didn't know him, but she was choosing him to spend time at the Fair with.
"Sure," he quickly said.
"You're a true gentleman!" complimented the girl. "Oh, by the way, my name is Marle! And you're?"
"Crono," he replied.
"Crono," Marle echoed "What a nice name! Pleased to meet you! Now, lead on!"
Up until this point, Crono had never had a friend, other than Lucca. Meeting Marle was somewhat of a new experience. Not only was she a new person in his life, but she seemed to be the most fun-loving and free-spirited person he had met.
"So how old are you, anyway?" she asked.
"Seventeen," he replied.
"I'm sixteen," Marle informed him. "Do you live in Truce?"
"Right in the village," he replied. "You?"
"I'm from the Truce area," Marle replied, after some hesitation.
"And yet, I've never seen you before," he observed.
"I've never seen you before, either," Marle pointed out with a smile. "No wonder my life used to be so boring!"
King Guardia XXXIII sat on his throne. He felt defeated, although he would dare not show it. His only surviving child was missing, and he feared the worst. She was indeed a princess, and any kidnapper would no doubt put a high price on her head.
"Your majesty," greeted Chancellor Vanim as approached the throne, "this is Ogulus Rime."
A young man in his twenties approached the throne and knelt.
"This is the man who will find Princess Nadia," Chancellor Vanim announced.
"She could be anywhere," the king said solemnly.
"I know she is still in Guardia," Ogulus replied. "The Zenan Bridge has been sealed off. The guards informed me she did not cross."
"Then where could she be?" asked the king.
"I think I have an idea where she might be," Ogulus suggested.
Back at the Fair, Crono and Marle had spent two hours playing games and getting to know each other. Marle had a smile on her face the whole time; she had grown up without knowing anyone in her age group, and she could not recall the last time she had talked to a boy.
And then, her smile faded. In the corner, near one of the tents, sat a five year old girl with tears streaming down her cheeks.
"Where's my cat?!" she sobbed.
Marle placed her hand on her chest, looking as if she wanted to cry herself.
Crono, meanwhile, spotted an orange tabby on top of one of the tents. He quickly climbed up, retrieved it, and handed it to the little girl.
"You brought back my cat!" the girl exclaimed. "Thank you!"
Marle immediately smiled at her new friend.
"You're so sweet, Crono!" she complimented.
Crono and Marle continued to explore the Fair. They spent a few moments watching the race.
"You know," Marle admitted, "this is my first time here."
"This is Leene Square," one of the Fair-goers explained. "They say people who hear Leene's Bell ring will have interesting and happy lives!"
Marle suddenly began to giggle.
"Crono," she said happily, "I'm having a great time!"
And then, Crono suddenly overhead a girl and her mother talking.
"Lucca's device is all set up," the girl said. "She's at the north end of the Square."
"I heard Lucca and her dad have made another crazy invention," the mother dismissed as she shook her head. "Hope it doesn't blow up like all the others!"
"This is going to be fun!" Marle exclaimed. "Come on, Crono!"
He began to lead her to the north end of the square. Suddenly, Marle stayed his arm.
"Hold your horses!" she exclaimed as they passed a candy kiosk. "I want to get some candy."
Let her browse, Crono thought to himself. There's no need to drag her like some kidnapper.
"Hi!" Marle greeted. "I'd like some of this."
"Sure, young lady," said the clerk as she sold her the candy.
Marle then turned to Crono and smiled.
"Thanks for waiting!" she said. "I know you're anxious to see your friend."
"I just want to give her a good experience, given her situation."
"Her situation?" Marle asked.
"She's going blind," Crono replied sadly. "Her eyes began to fail last spring. By the time she's twenty one, she'll be completely blind."
Marle lowered her head in sadness.
"Can anything be done for her?" she asked.
"Unless there's some magic way to take the stress off her eyes, than no."
Unknown to either of them, Ogulus was watching them from the corner.
Crono and Marle approached the north end of the Fair to be greeted by what they could only describe as two weird looking gazebos. There were few people there, as the two presenters were regarded as charlatans. Melchior was also there, and he seemed to be the only one intrigued.
"What is it?" Marle asked.
"I have no idea," Crono replied. "But I know it's fake."
Lucca and Taban were spotted near the devices.
"Give it a try, kid?" offered Taban before he recognized who was visiting. "Oh, it's you, Crono!"
At that moment, Lucca's failing eyesight spotted him as well.
"Crono!" she exclaimed. "Where have you been?"
"I overslept," he admitted.
"No one wants to try the telepod!" Lucca complained.
"I wonder why," Crono mumbled to himself.
"How about you?" Lucca invited.
"Me?!" Crono exclaimed.
This has to be a joke, he thought. I'm not about to make a fool out of myself.
"It looks like fun!" Marle exclaimed.
Crono turned his attention to Marle's hopeful eyes.
I just can't say no to her, he thought.
"I suppose," he resigned.
"I'll watch while you try it out!" Marle said happily.
Meanwhile, a smile appeared on Lucca's face.
"Just hop onto the left pod!" she commanded.
Without further ado, Crono slowly made his way to the left pod.
"Don't worry," Taban assured him. "We tried it on our pets! There's no reason why it shouldn't work as well on humans!"
Crono took another step.
"So, step right up!" Taban continued as he went behind the left pod.
"You don't have pets," Crono pointed out as he stepped into the left pod.
"All systems on!" Taban announced, ignoring Crono.
"Begin energy transfer!" Lucca declared.
Suddenly, Crono felt the trap door open below him. He was now in a dark tunnel, and had to feel his way around to get to the other side. He quickly found the ladder, and climbed it. Moments later, he found himself on the surface, on the right-hand "telepod."
"Oh wow!" exclaimed someone in the audience.
"That was great!" shouted another.
"So, how was it?" asked Lucca. "Want to try it again?"
Crono shook his head.
"Once is enough," he insisted.
"It worked?!" Tabin exclaimed, feigning amazement. "I can't believe it!"
"Could that be magic?!" Melchior exclaimed.
"Uh, er, a thrilling display of science at its best, ladies and gentlemen!" Taban insisted.
Crono, meanwhile, rejoined his new friend.
"You scared me!" Marle playfully reprimanded.
Crono bent in.
"It's a trick," he whispered. "There's a trap door below. He pulls a lever and you fall. You go through a tunnel below and climb up a ladder to the other side."
"What a kick!" Marle giggled as she turned her attention to Lucca. "I want to try it, too!"
"Huh?" asked Lucca in confusion. She had seen Marle enter, but she did not realize that she was with Crono. "Hey Crono, how did you pick up a cutie like her?"
"We bumped into each other," Crono replied.
"And he helped me up," Marle added. "He found my pendant, let me browse for candy, and even helped a little girl find her lost cat!" She then turned to Crono and smiled. "I never realized there were still kind people in this world."
Marle then turned her attention to the telepods.
"Hang on, Crono!" she announced. "I'll be right there!"
Unlike Crono, Marle happily trotted up to the left pod.
"Behold, ladies and gentlemen," Taban announced, "as this vision of loveliness steps aboard the machine!"
Crono remained silent; he knew exactly what would happen.
"Don't go away," Marle announced to the audience. "I'll be right back!"
"You're sure about this?" asked Taban. There's still time to change your mind!"
"No way!" Marle insisted. "Throw the switch!"
"Okay, everyone," he announced. "Let's give her a great big hand when she reappears!"
Taban placed his hand on the lever.
And then, it happened.
Marle's pendant began to glow a light blue.
"W-what's happening?" Marle stammered nervously as she began to tremble.
Suddenly, sparks began to fly from the pendant.
Before she could finish, a circle opened around her. A light-blue void lay beyond.
"STOP!" Marle cried as she quickly grabbed her pendant and yanked it off her neck, dropping it a foot in front of her.
But the damage was done. The circle closed, disappearing as it had appeared.
Marle was gone.
All that was left was the pendant, sitting motionless on the ground.
"Huh?" muttered Lucca.
"Lucca!" Taban exclaimed. "Where is she?!" He then spotted the equally baffled spectators. "Show's over, folks! Let's head along now!"
"His name is Crono," Chancellor Vanim informed the king.
"Crono?" repeated King Guardia XXXIII. "He lives in Guardia?"
"In Truce," Vanim replied. "He's the illegitimate offspring of Taban Ashtear."
"And he was with her?" the king asked.
"According to me spy, yes he was," the chancellor answered. "He was eyeing her pendant and leading her around. I'm suspicious he wants to kidnap her."
King Guardia XXXIII's hand began to clench in rage.
"Find them!" he demanded. "Kill him if you have to!"
Crono didn't know what to think. He had met her just hours before. They had gotten to know each other, enjoyed the fair with each other, and made the day beyond special for each other.
Now she was gone. She had vanished into thin air.
Was she gone...forever?
The thought nearly sickened Crono.
"What's going on Lucca?" demanded Taban, breaking the hour-long silence. "Where is she?"
"The way she disappeared," Lucca observed. "It couldn't have been the telepod! The warp field seemed to be affected by her pendant."
Crono solemnly took a look at the lone pendant, sitting motionless on the left pod.
"What are we going to do now?" Taban groaned.
"She's so familiar!" Lucca replied. "I know I've seen her somewhere."
Crono continued to sit. For another interval of time, all he could think about was how his new friend seemingly vanished forever. He stared once more at the pitiful pendant, now almost wanting to cry.
And then, something occurred to him.
If the pendant sent her somewhere, then...
Crono then stood up.
"I have an idea," he announced.
"An idea?" Lucca asked.
"If the pendant sent her somewhere," he replied, "I can use it to go where she went and rescue her."
Lucca immediately grew concerned.
"What if she went nowhere?" she protested.
"I'm willing to take that chance," Crono insisted.
"But you just met this girl," Lucca observed.
"I know," he admitted. "But I feel like I have to do this."
"Crono!" Lucca exclaimed as she gave him a troubled look.
"I'll be alright," he assured her as he approached the pod.
"You're actually going to do it?!" Taban exclaimed.
"What a fine lad!" Taban complimented.
Lucca sighed; she realized there was no way of talking him out of it.
"Listen!" she sternly warned. I don't know where this machine is going to send you, but we haven't any other choice."
"Won't they both be lost?" Taban asked.
Lucca gave the answer Crono wanted.
"This is our only hope!" she replied. "That pendant seems to be the key, so hang on to it Crono, and brace yourself!"
Crono hesitated for but a moment before he picked up the pendant. The circle revealing the light-blue void appeared once again, and, before he could change his mind, Crono stepped through.