You've Come A Long Way, Baby Chapter 1

By Imrahil

Crono was truly happy.

He felt his life was finally coming together. He was famous, and loved by all. And he had a gorgeous girlfriend – a princess, in fact. He knew what to expect, and nothing surprised him. This fact comforted him. He had been to the future, and therefore he had no reason to fear it.

Crono got out of his bed, stretched, and opened the drapes on his window. He looked over Leene square and watched the seagulls fly over. He dreamily sat there for quite a while with a smile on his face. He let his mind drift, and he could have fallen back to sleep on his window sill if it wasn’t for the sounds he began to hear from the kitchen. They almost sounded like a man’s voice.

Crono furrowed his brow. Who would be here at this time? Why would his mother let in strange men? Crono hoped she didn’t allow strangers in when he was not at home. With a little reluctance, Crono pulled himself away from the window.

He quickly dressed, tied a bandana around his head, picked up his katana, and then jogged downstairs.

On the way down, much to his dismay, he heard his mother giggle and say, “Oh, you’re such a charmer!”

Crono’s face turned red with anger, and he jumped down the remaining stairs to face the snake that was trying to take advantage of his mother. His head pounded as he sprinted into the kitchen entryway. He stopped so quickly he almost tripped over himself.

Crono’s expression was indescribable. He could not believe his eyes. In front of him sat his mother, sipping tea at the kitchen table across from Magus.

“I’m just so glad you were able to find our cat. I don’t really understand what happened that day when I jumped in that hole after her, but I went somewhere where that cat certainly was not,” continued his mother, laughingly. “What was your name again?”

“Ah, m’lady, call me Janus. And might I add that I think your son has awoken,” Magus lazily waved his hand at Crono who stood slack-jawed in the kitchen entryway.

His mother turned around to face him. “Oh good, Crono, you’re up. Janus came to the door this morning and told me he was a friend of yours. And look who he brought!” She held up Marle the cat. “It’s your cat!”

“Good morning, mother. Hello Janus. Mother, I’ll be at the market getting the groceries you wanted. I’ll be back in a little while.” Crono was furious, but he kept his anger in check. “Janus will come with me.”

“Crono! Is that any way to treat a guest, let alone an old friend? Don’t be so rude! Come sit down and have a cup of tea with us! It’s the least you can do since you missed breakfast.”

“Oh yes, please join us, Crono,” Magus said with a grin. Magus had his feet propped up on the kitchen table, but Crono’s mother seemed not to notice, even though she was quite strict about shoes on her furniture.

Crono glared at the mage, and then he looked at the smiling face of his mother. His mother had no idea such evil existed. Crono shook his head and sat down.

“Janus was telling me he knows Marle and Lucca, as well,” his mother said as she poured her son some tea. “He said you four are awfully close.”

“Yes, ‘awfully close’ sums it up pretty well, mother,” Crono said through his teeth. “Mother, Janus and I really must be going to the market. The sale ends soon.”

“I am sure the storekeep will make an exception for us.” Magus’ grin seemed to grow. “Right now, I am quite content sitting here and talking to your…very lovely mother.”

Crono’s mother blushed, “Oh, Janus.”

“I must…insist!” Crono shot up from the table, knocking his chair over. Electric currents began to dance up and down Crono’s forearms. He started to reach for Magus’ throat, but stopped himself. Magus tried his best to look offended.

“Oh Crono! What has gotten into you!” Crono’s mother said, obviously hurt. “Just go to the market! I want you to change your attitude before you come back in this house!”

“I will go with him. He needs someone to look after him in his…current state,” Magus added calmly. He was obviously enjoying the situation immensely.

“Mother, I’m…sorry…I —” Crono started.

“Just leave – give me time to think,” Crono’s mother said quietly. “Goodbye, Janus.”

“We will be back shortly, m’lady.” Magus said and bowed after Crono had begun to walk out.

A few moments later, they began to walk toward the market; Magus had just begun to catch up to Crono’s fast and deliberate pace.

Crono broke the silence.

“Just who the hell do you think you are – ” he began.

Magus suddenly appeared directly in front of Crono, causing him to stop short.

“Can you believe, even for a second, that I want to be here?” Magus’ powerful voice cut off Crono’s immediately. “I hate the white puffy clouds, I hate the happy people walking in the streets – ” Magus pointed to a nobleman walking past who seemed quite offended, “– and I especially hate you and your optimistic disciples!” Magus spat out the last few words with disgust.

“Well Magus, that’s just great. Just imagine my surprise when I awoke under that tree on Death Peak after Marle and the others saved me – just imagine my surprise at seeing the you, the most loathsome, vile creature imaginable standing beside my friends. I still cannot begin to understand why they let you join them.” Crono waved his arms for emphasis. “You and your army murdered hundreds of helpless people, with no remorse!”

Magus had no real desire to fight Crono again, but the armored man’s magic still influenced his mind, and Magus was unable to comprehend his situation exactly. There was one thing his mind knew: the last thing Crono said made him very angry. The zeal in Magus’ eyes faded and was replaced with anger. He bared his teeth and made a sound much like the grinding of two stones.

“You – you of all people, dare to judge me!?”

“I can take you anytime, butcher!” Crono unsheathed Rainbow. The light seemed to dance across the blade, mocking Magus.

Magus took his scythe from the air like a true magician, and swung it about him in various patterns. Crono jumped back, somersaulting to a defensive position further away from the dark wizard. Magus simply smiled, stopped swinging the scythe, and cracked his knuckles.

The town of Truce was in a state of shock. Passersby had no idea what to make of the two. Most people ran into their houses when Rainbow appeared in Crono’s hand, but a few curious children stayed behind.

“Glenn may have forgiven you, but I know your true visage, murderer!” Crono screamed. He rose up off the ground; lightning danced around him. A few beams of light grew outward from Crono’s form.

Magus began to prepare a defensive spell when he spotted three small boys cowering in fear behind Crono. He knew Crono’s Luminaire would kill them immediately. After a brief moment of hesitancy, Magus decided to act. He stopped his own spell and threw his scythe toward the floating Crono.

This action had no chance of stopping the spell, but Crono did pause.

“Behind you, fool!”

Crono, enraged at Magus for his petty distraction, began to power-up his spell even further.

Magus stopped, looked down for a moment, thinking, and then looked up at the livid Crono and smiled. The air around Magus shuddered as he muttered a few inaudible syllables. Magus’ form quietly disappeared from existence.

Crono’s mind had been clouded with fury, and this turn of events completely baffled him. The energy he had been building up quickly dispersed, and Crono returned to the ground. Crono knew Magus was certainly not one to run away from a fight.

A stifled scream startled Crono out of his thoughts.

Crono snapped his neck around, irritated, only to see three small boys running away in the opposite direction. Crono felt a lump form in the back of his throat. His face turned white and a cold sweat broke out on his forehead. He quietly sheathed his katana and turned back around, only to face Magus once again.

“Feeling a little light-headed, are we?” Magus said.

“All…an illusion? You disappearing…and the kids?” Crono said weakly.

Magus sighed, “You know, I never imagined that spell could be so powerful if used at the right time. Of course, I’ve only used it on idiots so far.”

“The kids…were right behind me?” Crono couldn’t seem to collect his thoughts to make sense of the situation.

“Look, kid, I need to talk to some of your more reasonable friends. Do you know where I could find one?” Magus said as he dusted off his shoulders.

“I was going to kill them…?” Crono was still trying to understand what had just happened.

“Maybe that inventor friend of yours? She seemed quite bright. Very weak, of course, but bright.”

“And…you saved them? Why?” Crono looked up at Magus’ disinterested face.

“That ice girl seemed understanding. She was the only one who said goodbye to me on the day I returned home.” Magus turned around and started to walk in the direction of Guardia Castle.

“Maybe…maybe I’ve been wrong about you, Magus. It wasn’t even in your best interest to save those kids. When did you change?” Crono began to walk beside the mage.

Magus stopped. “But first, we did promise to run some errands for your mother.”

Crono’s empty face changed to one of bewilderment. “Since when did you start to care about errands? I seem to remember a time when I announced we would all be going to Fiona’s Villa to help plant a forest, you whined about me being too slow to act on the ‘Lavos problem’ for days!”

“Well, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to go, I just didn’t think someone like Marco deserved to be with someone like Fiona. It’s simply an offensive situation. I don’t need to be around that.”

Crono wore an astonished expression. “Since when did you start to care about women?”

Magus was silent for a moment as the two began to walk towards the market. Then Magus smiled and said slyly, “Did I mention that I named your cat Marle?”


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