You've Come A Long Way, Baby Chapter 2

By Imrahil

Magus and Crono stepped into the entryway of the market. Crono was speaking persistently to Magus, and seemed to be quite upset about something. Magus, however, seemed to be completely ignoring Crono’s attempts to interrogate him.

“What do you mean, you named your cat Marle? What is that supposed to mean?” Crono asked vehemently.

Magus didn’t answer. Instead he continued toward the storekeeper who currently had his back facing the newcomers.

“Shopkeep, I come for groceries!” Magus declared.

The storekeeper was startled by the compelling voice and turned around quickly, dropping the poyozo dolls he was stacking.

Crono was still trying to get some answers out of Magus. “Wait…you named my cat…and you named it after my girlfriend…what is going on here?”

The storekeeper addressed Magus nervously. “Well, I – I need you to tell me exactly what you need, if it’s not too much trouble.” The storekeeper had seen some strange characters before, but he had never seen someone as startling as Magus. The simple businessman was quite intimidated by Magus’ tall, ominous form.

“What I need? Just some simple groceries! Do not anger me, peddler!” Magus retorted bitterly.

Crono wasn’t too surprised to see Magus answer with such fervor, but he abandoned his questioning and tried to calm him down anyway. “Magus, calm down. There’s no reason to get angry. We just need some – ” Crono was cut off by Magus.

“I tire of this. Where did you say that inventor friend of yours lived?” Magus snapped at Crono. Magus was still in his drunken haze since his encounter in the cave. He was having a very hard time concentrating on one thing at a time. His condition seemed to be getting worse, and physical signs of his affliction were beginning to become quite obvious.

“I’ll take two loaves of bread, and a pound of cheese, sir,” Crono said to the storekeeper, who was thankful to be talking to the youth instead of Magus. Crono turned back to Magus. “Oh you mean Lucca? Is that why you came here?”

“Yes, where does she live…? Magus turned away from Crono and staggered to the door. Magus had been able to retain his composure until now.

Crono received the groceries from the storekeeper and gave him a few coins in return. Crono turned back to where Magus had been standing, and heard a resonant thud from the direction of the door. On the ground lay a snoring Magus, with a large red welt forming on his head.

Crono furrowed his brow and looked up at the ceiling. He yelled, “Alright, who’s doing this? Gaspar, is that you?”

The storekeeper was about to inquire if Magus was alright, but decided to refrain from saying anything, for Crono seemed just about as dangerous as Magus was. The poor merchant instead ducked below the counter and curled up in a fetal position, hoping some miracle would save him from the two lunatics.

Crono put the groceries back on the counter and bent over the edge of it to speak to the storekeeper. “I’ll be back for these; could you hold on to them, please?”

The storekeeper nodded harshly while making a quiet whining noise.

“Thank you.” Crono bent down and picked Magus off the floor after attaching his katana sheath to his belt. Magus was much lighter than he looked. Crono left the market and began to walk to Lucca’s.

“Magus, you’re a real jerk, and I want you to know that I’m only helping you ‘cause you saved those kids. And I kinda want to know why you’re here, too.” Crono began to jog back towards his house, and then took the bridge south to Lucca’s house. Crono laughed to himself. The great Magus was no heavier than a sack of potatoes! “Frog would get a real kick out of this,” Crono thought to himself.

Crono finally reached Lucca’s door. Ever since Taban, Lucca’s father, had moved into Guardia Castle as the king’s new advisor(the chancellor’s position was retired, ever since the king was put on trial), Lucca had had the entire house to herself. She and her mother had been offered rooms in the castle, of course, but Lucca refused.

Unfortunately, her being alone in the house could not be considered a good thing, at least in Crono’s opinion. Whenever Crono visited, he noticed the rooms becoming more and more cluttered with scrap metal and small instruments. The last time Crono had come over, Lucca had had to talk to him outside.

Crono picked up Magus’ hand and knocked on the door with it. “Lucca! Can I come in?”

No answer.

“Lucca! It’s Crono! I have a special guest with me!”

Crono began to feel uncomfortable holding Magus like he was. He imagined what Magus might do or say if he woke up in his arms. Crono flinched, and then began to walk around the house to the back door.

Lucca’s back yard was littered with fragments of metal, and Crono was having a hard time navigating his way to the rear entrance. That’s when the situation got even more awkward. Crono snagged his boot in a large rubber circle and fell directly down on top of Magus. Unfortunately, on his way down, he managed to fall headfirst into a large stack of oil barrels. A deafening cacophony followed.

“You two having a good romp back here?” a female voice yelled.

Crono pushed one of the barrels off of himself and Magus. “Unh…” Crono groaned.

Lucca’s eyes widened in amazement, “Holy – that’s not Marle!”

“No, he’s not. Could you help me out, here?”

“Of – of course. Hold on.” Lucca managed to get enough of the heavy barrels off of Crono so he could get out. After standing up and gaining his composure, he bent back down and picked up the sleeping form of Magus.

“Is that – ?” Lucca began.

“Yeah, it’s him. Let’s get inside and see what’s wrong with him.”

Lucca rushed to her back door and opened it wide. “Hold on, lemme clear a few things out of the way!” A loud series of crashes followed. “Come on in!”

Crono brought Magus through the door. “Put him right here.” Lucca had cleared what seemed to be the kitchen table. Crono gently laid Magus down upon it.

“We were at the market, and he just collapsed. Actually, I think he may have hit his head.” Crono said while scratching the side of his own head.

Lucca was holding some sort of probing instrument over Magus’ head. “Well, that would explain the huge red welt right here.” She pointed to the bump on Magus’ forehead.

“Look, I know you’re not a doctor, and I know you’re busy, but could you help him?” Crono asked sheepishly.

“Well, I’m not a doctor, that’s true. Hand me that round blue thing.” Lucca pointed to one of the leaning piles of clutter that lined her kitchen walls.

“Lucca, I don’t see anything like that. The junk over here is waist-high, and I don’t know what any of it is.”

“Just rummage through it! It’s there, trust me!”

Crono looked and looked and finally found about two or three things which fit under the description “round and blue”. Crono dumped them all in Lucca’s hands, and then sat down in the corner with his legs stretched out.

“Just tell me when you find out what’s wrong,” Crono yawned.

“Great, thanks.” Lucca rolled her eyes and threw away two of the objects. She took the last object Crono had handed her and began waving it back and forth above Magus’ body.

Crono watched Lucca from behind as she brought the blue disk over Magus. A small screen on the instrument was blinking as it gathered data. Crono slowly began to doze off as he watched the screen go back and forth.

Lucca promptly woke him out of his daze with an abrupt sentence. “OK, Crono. I know what’s wrong with him.”

Crono snapped to attention. “Pray tell, Lucca the Great.”

Lucca turned around, hands on her hips, with a mocking expression on her face.

“O Crono, Savior of the Realms, please allow me to do the honor,” she said with extreme sarcasm, returning the jest.

“Lucca, Master of the Deadly Flame, Connoisseur of Home Appliances, I will you to continue.”

“Why of course, Crono, Sage of the – ”

A ribbon of dark energy suddenly shot forth and wrapped itself around Lucca’s mouth. Her eyes widened and she began to claw at the magic gag.

“Calm yourself, Lucca, it is not dangerous. You can still breathe out of your nose, can’t you?” Magus was now awake and sitting up. He looked like his usual indifferent self, but he seemed to be very tired.

“Take it off of her!” Crono was, once again, furious. Magus’ latest antic had caused Crono to shed any tolerance he had developed for the mage.

“Yes, I suppose your moment of playful joking has passed. My point is made.” Magus calmly raised his hand in Lucca’s direction, and the dark ribbon evaporated.

Lucca fell to the ground, holding her throat and coughing. Tears were streaming down her face.

Crono was red in the face, and had his hand on his sword. He could barely speak. “Why – why?”

“I am very sorry, my dear; quite the faux pas on my part. No insult intended, it is just that your voices are causing me…intense pain.” Magus flinched as he said these last words.

“Couldn’t you have just said something?” Lucca said shakily. She had gotten up, but she was still quite stunned.

“We’re trying to help you, Magus!” Crono shouted.

“Help me? I am fine, and quite capable of taking care of myself. Now excuse me, while I – ” Magus swung his legs off the table and planted them on the floor. Almost immediately he lost his focus and sense of direction and fell headfirst toward the ground.

Crono grabbed Magus’ cloak and pulled him back up onto the table before he had hit the floor. “Right,” Crono said with a sneer.

“Why am I…here?” Magus said weakly. Magus started to get up from the table again.

“Hold him down, Crono!” Lucca shouted.

Crono grabbed Magus’ shoulders and held them down to the table. “Hold still, Magus! It’s for your own good!”

But Crono’s violent restraining motions threw Magus into a different world. His surroundings changed into that of his cave-home. To Magus, Crono and Lucca were two armored men, trying to perform various horrific experiments. The damage caused by the huge armored man’s magic had permanently destroyed Magus’ perception of reality.

“Good boy, stay down.” Magus heard one armored figure say. The voices were coming from the depths of his mind.

“I…will not be…subdued!” Magus was screaming in fear.

“Negative, I have everything under control here. Heh.” The other figure spoke in Magus’ mind as well.

“Dammit, Crono, you have to hold him still while I do this!” Lucca had to yell to be heard over Magus’ hysterical rantings.

“It’s not easy, Lucca! He’s hitting me – ow!”

“Just lemme get this…into his arm…there!” Lucca had managed to get a sedative into Magus.

“What the hell is wrong with him – ouch!” Crono was taking the full brunt of Magus’ delirium.

Lucca sat down on a pile of junk to catch her breath for a moment. “I’ll tell you in a second.” Lucca hated needles. She looked down at the syringe in her hand with distaste. Her father was a good inventor, but Lucca was the real engineer in the family. Taban was more of a doctor than a thinker, and he was a good one, too. His skills had managed to rub off on Lucca, even though she abhorred the sight of blood or wounds. In fact, even the sight of a scalpel made her queasy, hence her preference for guns over swords.

Magus finally began to stop screaming and kicking, and fell back into a deep sleep. Crono let go of Magus’ shoulders hesitantly, and then walked over to Lucca.

“What’s wrong with him, Lucca?” Crono asked persistently.

Lucca snapped out of her stupor and looked up at Crono’s flushed face. “What? Oh, yeah, Magus. Well my data recorder showed – ”

“Your what?” Crono didn’t want this to become another conversation where he had no idea what Lucca was saying.

Lucca pointed to the blue disk. “That. Anyway, it said that Magus is hurt. Bad. Almost every blood vessel in his body is ruptured, including the ones in his brain. He should be dead.”

“Blood vessels?” Crono suddenly wished he had spent more time studying during his days at Leene Basic Education instead of learning how to use a sword.

“Yeah, y’know, the hollow tubes that carry blood around your body? Anyway, something is keeping him alive, and it looks like it’s his immune system. His immune system seems to be vastly superior to ours, and it’s constantly mending his blood vessels. Unfortunately, his blood vessels are rapidly deteriorating, and the immune system can’t keep up with the damage. I think that…”

Crono tuned Lucca’s voice out. The phrase ‘immune system’ had totally confused him. Crono thought of how hungry he was. He had missed breakfast this morning. He really wanted to sink his teeth into some pancakes, or something else doused with syrup. Maybe some eggs, and sausage, and –

“Are you listening? Jeez, Crono, you sure seem to understand the physics of time well. Why can’t you be the same with simple biology?” Lucca cocked her head with a half smile.

“I dunno, I guess I just want to know what caused him to be this way,” Crono said in an embarrassed way while scratching his head.

“Well, I know it sounds crazy, but it’s as if something grabbed onto every particle of iron in his blood stream and held them still. And then he was shaken around like a rag doll until his insides were ripped up,” Lucca said knowingly, waving her hands around for emphasis.

“Iron? Inside our bodies?” Crono was still bewildered.

“Yeah, fine particles of iron are in everyone’s blood, silly,” Lucca said. “So now answer my question.”

“What?” Crono said in a distracted manner.

“Where did you get your Magus? I’ve been dying to get my own,” Lucca laughed loudly, but Crono only looked at her with a blank expression. “Seriously, where’d he come from?”

Crono thought back to earlier that morning, and told Lucca everything that had happened since he had woken up, skipping over the part about the battle Magus and he had almost had.

“So he was hitting on your mother? He really is messed up!” Lucca laughed.

“Actually, I think he was totally aware of what he was doing. He seemed to be enjoying my anger far too much…”

“And he named your cat…Marle? Before his brain damage? Ha, that’s rich. I can’t believe he tried that macho thing all throughout our adventure – ”

“OK! I’m still mad about that!” Crono grimaced.

When Lucca had finally stopped laughing, Crono spoke, “So, what are we going to do? About Magus, I mean.”

“Well, I’ll just find a way to fix him, I guess.”

“I meant about his body. We’re not going to help him, especially after what he did to you.” Crono was serious.

“What? We have to help him. He’s a…friend, I guess.”

“He almost killed you!”

“That’s just his way! He’s really…er…good deep down.”

“Remember the battle on Zenan Bridge? Did that slaughter seem like it had good intentions behind it?”

“Well, no, but you know Magus wasn’t the real general of the mystic army! Ozzie did all the real decision-making. Magus was just some kid with magic powers in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ozzie confused Magus and used him!”

“I suppose that fact excuses all the deaths Magus caused.”

“Look, I’m not going to stand by and let him die on my table!” Lucca had tears in her eyes. She remembered the hundreds of times Magus had intervened with a defensive spell to protect her during their past adventures when Crono wasn’t around. She knew he didn’t have to, and she had always thanked him afterwards. He had never met her eyes when accepting her thanks, but she knew that Magus was a good person. He had to be.

“Then I’ll move him outside!” Crono moved over to pick Magus up.

“No, Crono.” She jumped in front of the table. “If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be here today. He saved me, Marle, Frog, and the others countless times. You owe him your life.” Lucca had suddenly turned solemn. “He told us how to save you.”

Crono stopped his advance, and let his rage towards Magus subside. “I really hate Magus, Lucca. For what he did to Glenn, and Cyrus, and the countless soldiers of Guardia. But it’s obvious he gained your trust during the ‘days’ I was dead. I will accept him for you, Lucca.” Crono turned around to Lucca, with a sadness in his eyes.

After a moment of silence, Crono clapped his hands together. “Now, let’s get started.”


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