You've Come A Long Way, Baby Chapter 5

By Imrahil

Crono bolted towards his burning home with such speed that the other three were left far behind on the road.

“Mother!” Only one word echoed through Crono’s mind. He quickly reached his doorway and he pulled his jacket over his face. Crono backed up from the house for a moment, and then took a running jump into the fiery door. His powerful kick sent burning wood shards everywhere.

“Crono, no! Wait!” Marle screamed when she saw Crono’s form disappear into the blaze.

“Oh, damn!” Lucca covered her mouth in surprise. “Stop him! I’ll be right back.” Lucca shot off toward her own house while the other two darted after Crono.

Meanwhile, Magus was deciding something. He knew Crono had helped him immensely, yet Magus was still not crazy about saving the boy’s life.

“Magus, please tell me you know some water magic!” the two were running towards the house very hastily, but Magus was still able to discern a heavy note of despair in Marle’s voice.

“Of course. Stay back for a moment.” Even though it went against everything his mystic education had taught him years ago, Magus had decided to save his rival from the fire. He lifted both his hands and stared at the ocean.

“Please do something! Please!” Marle was hysterical. She kept repeating the same ice spell over and over, but her efforts were not even a little helpful. The ice did almost nothing to extinguish the fire.

After a few seconds of standing completely still, Magus smiled and put down his arms.

“What? What are you doing? Crono!” Marle screamed at Magus with tears in her eyes. Magus looked down with his half-grin and disappeared.

Almost immediately a huge amount of water hit the house with a resounding force. Marle opened her eyes. Fish and seaweed were strewn everywhere, but the fire was almost completely gone, except for a few places here and there on the house. Unfortunately, the water had drenched Marle, as well.

“Ugh! Sea water!” Marle yelled with disgust as she removed a long strand of kelp from her wet hair. But she quickly remembered about Crono. “Magus? Where are you? We have to see if Crono is alright!”

Magus reappeared beside Marle. He seemed to be enjoying Marle’s condition tremendously. “Of course we do. Let’s go.”

“Couldn’t you have made me disappear, too? I don’t like getting hit by a ton of seawater, you know,” Marle said to Magus angrily. All signs of her former hysteria had left her face.

“Hmm. I didn’t even think of doing that.” Magus had begun to stride towards what was left of Crono’s house.

“How’d you do that, anyway? I thought you only knew ice magic, like me.”

“Easy. I just displaced a large portion of your ocean and helped it to re-materialize directly above Crono’s house. After you.” Magus bowed to Marle and pointed his hand in the direction of the entrance.

Marle was so surprised to see Magus act almost like a gentleman, that she forgot she was mad at him. “Thank you, Magus.” She blushed.

When they were both inside, Magus muttered a few syllables and the green glow of a reinforcement spell became visible underneath several of the fragile beams in the roof. “Just in case,” Magus said to Marle with that same half-grin that made her uncomfortable.

“Over here!” Marle yelled after a few minutes of searching some of the debris. She picked up the small form of a crumpled animal. It was Marle, the cat. It mewed pathetically.

“Let me look upstairs. Stay here.” Magus mumbled a few words and disappeared before seeing the cat.

Marle continued to search the debris with one hand, stroking her namesake with the other. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something. Underneath the blackened kitchen table, Marle saw the arm of a woman.

She put the cat down gently and began to free up the rubble around Crono’s mother. After removing everything that wasn’t too heavy, Marle pulled the battered woman out from under the wreckage.

“You’re going to be fine, miss,” Marle said while brushing the woman’s disheveled hair from her face.

“Good, you have found the woman.” Magus was once again in the room, and he was carrying the broken form of Crono. “I found him. He is still breathing.”

Marle darted up from the floor and towards Crono. Crono’s face was smudged with blood, and his clothes were burnt in most places. His arms were badly cut up, and a stream of blood was trickling down Magus’ arm from behind his head. Marle put her arms on top of him, crying.

“You know, princess, it would be helpful if you used one of your more potent healing spells on him. He is not dead, but he will be soon,” Magus said, turning his head away from the scene.

Marle looked up from where she had been burying her face in Crono’s chest. “He’s still alive?”

“I thought I had already said that several times.”

Marle immediately put her hands together and closed her eyes. Bright energy flowed from her fingertips toward Crono’s form. The wounds on Crono’s arms disappeared almost on cue, and the color returned to his face.

Crono’s eyes opened, and he looked about his surroundings. Seeing himself in Magus’ arms, he said, “Well, Magus, it looks like we’ve switched places.”

“Excuse me?” Magus asked while helping Crono to stand up. “Oh, I understand –”

“Crono! What did I tell you about getting yourself killed?” Marle put her arms around Crono’s neck again after brushing the tears from her eyes.

Crono enjoyed the embrace for a moment before coming to his senses. “Mother – where is she!?”

“I’ve healed all her wounds, but she is still unconscious. Do either of you have a revive potion on you?” Magus said while kneeling over the woman’s body.

“I might have some back upstairs in my room,” Crono said while running over to his mother, bringing Marle with him by her hand. “Where was she?”

“I found her underneath the kitchen table. Oh, and there’s your cat.”

“Marle!” Magus said as he bent down to pick up the cat.

“What, Magus?” the princess asked.

Crono quickly jumped in. “Magus, you should transport back upstairs and grab my armor and stuff. The house feels like it’s about to collapse.”

Magus looked at Crono with an irritated expression, and disappeared with the cat in his arms. Immediately afterward, the house shook as it became apparent Magus’ reinforcement spell was weakening.

“You know, I kind of remember your cat being more yellow. It looks almost purple now,” Marle said casually as she gently squeezed Crono’s hand.

“Yeah, ever since Magus brought her back, she’s kinda…changed color…weird, huh?” Crono turned toward Marle.

“I missed you, Crono.” This sentence surprised both Crono and Marle. Marle hadn’t meant to let it slip out, and it made Crono very uncomfortable as he stood there, holding her hand and staring into her eyes.

“Marle, I – ” their faces got closer and closer. Crono parted his lips a little, and tilted his head to the side. Marle closed her eyes and unconsciously squeezed Crono’s hand a little harder.

“Hey guys, where’s the fire?” Lucca jumped over some of the debris in front of the door and pranced over to the two, who had let go of each other’s hands, and were now quite red in their faces.

“Uh…we were just waiting for Magus – ” Crono began awkwardly.

“Yeah, Magus was just going upstairs to get Crono’s stuff,” Marle finished quickly.

“O-o-o-o-kay, but how did y’all get the fire out? I ran all the way to my house to get this, you know!” Lucca had a large canister with a hose connected to it in her hands. After seeing the baffled expressions on her two friends’ faces, she explained further. “It has a substance in it that puts out fires really well. So, did your ice spell put the fire out, or something?”

“Oh, uh…no…Magus picked up part of the ocean, and kinda dropped it on top of the house, and got me covered in seawater, and then we went inside and found Crono and his mom, and Crono was hurt, so I healed him, and then Magus healed Crono’s mom, and then we found –”

“Alright, Marle, I got it. Wow, you talk fast. So, Magus is ok?” Lucca immediately regretted asking this. Luckily, Crono interrupted.

“Yeah, when I ran inside, I couldn’t find mom anywhere. So I ran upstairs, and a beam from my ceiling fell down on top of my head. Knocked me out, cold.”

“That was stupid, Crono. You could’ve been killed!” Marle blushed instantly when she looked at Crono again.

“Actually, he did the right thing. He just should have had a protection spell handy before he had walked in.” Magus was once again in the kitchen, but this time, he was carrying a load of armor and potions, not to mention Marle the cat. “Let us leave before my reinforcement spell completely wears off.”

The four helped carry Crono’s mother out of the collapsing house, and watched Crono’s home fall down entirely from the front yard. The blaze had attracted the attention of many Truce villagers, and several citizens had gathered around the house. When the building had finally collapsed, the small crowd dispersed; not one person said anything to Crono.

“How rude!” said Marle, cross-armed.

“Yeah, they’ve been that way ever since we got back. Most people don’t trust us, anymore, I guess.” Crono looked down at his mother’s form.

“Yeah, I know, Crono. People think we’re – different then them, now,” Lucca said, “although they’ve always been that way around my family.” She tried to smile.

“There are currently more pressing matters than your popularity, at hand,” Magus said solemnly.

“Such as?” Marle asked, irritated.

“Such as how this fire began. Here is a revive tonic.” Magus handed one to Crono. “I believe the blaze was not an accident.”

“You think someone deliberately lit the house on fire? That’s absurd!” Lucca said with a hint of nervous laughter.

Crono poured the tonic down his mother’s throat and waited. “What makes you think that, Magus?”

“Well, first off,” Magus walked over to a collapsed wall and pointed down, “there are long burn marks on the walls. Just like the ones your robotic friend used to make when firing his…la – sers.” Magus glanced over at Lucca for correction, and she nodded at him to go on. “And secondly, if this fire had been an accident, your mother would have undoubtedly gotten out before the fire had gotten out of hand. And even if she hadn’t, I am positive the cat would have been able to escape.”

“Look, the laser burns are on the inside of the wall! That means the arsonist was inside!” Lucca yelled triumphantly.

“But if someone dangerous came inside the house, wouldn’t the cat have jumped out a window or gone upstairs, or something? I mean, I found the cat buried right beside Crono’s mom,” Marle added.

“Exactly. Which brings me to my next point. I believe that the said party was invited into the house by your mother as guests. I am betting she had no idea that her visitors were dangerous. But the cat did. So to prevent the cat from running away, I believe your mother picked up the cat and put her into her own lap when she sat down with her guests.”

“Ok, I appreciate you figuring out why my cat was still inside, but it would be a little bit more helpful if we figured out who did this,” Crono said angrily to Magus.

“Well, I may be able to help you there as well. You see, I seem to have recovered my memories from before I arrived here,” Magus said nonchalantly while examining a footprint in the front lawn.

Before anyone could react, Crono’s mother moaned and came to. “Oh, Crono? I’ve been looking for you.” Everyone’s eyes went to Crono’s mother. “Hello, again, Janus. Some visitors came calling for you, but you weren’t in bed. I had to tell them to come back later, but one kept telling me to shut up, imagine that? Where am I?”


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