The Beginning Of The End Chapter 2
By John Donahue
Frog walked slowly back into the mail hall of Castle Gaurdia, where everyone was feasting, laughing, and toasting to Crono and Marle's health. With a deep sigh he cleared his voice. "My dear friends," he began, and everyone stopped to listen to him, "I have some terrible news. The newlywed's..."
A great cry went up as he spoke.
"Ohh...my head," moaned Marle, as she sat up. She looked around. Epoch was on the ground, the glass shield for the cockpit smashed, the right wing gone, and the entire ship sparking now and then. She looked over the side, and discovered Lucca and Crono leaning up against it. "Hey," she said wearily.
Both of them looked up at the same time. They took a glance at each other. "Well, you win," said Crono, as he handed Lucca a small pouch of gold.
"What was that for?" asked Marle.
"We were taking bets on how long you would be unconscious," said Crono, "Lucca won with twenty hours, give or take a few minutes."
"I've been out almost a day?" Marle asked.
"More. We didn't wake up for a good six hours."
"A day without food, you must be pretty hungry," said Lucca. "Here." She tossed Marle something that she recognized as emergency rations. "I don't know were we are, but I intend for us to find out. As far as I can see, there's nothing but broad desert for at least seven miles, though I think that could be a building in the distance, about halfway."
"I guess we'd better get moving then. But what about Epoch?" asked Marle.
"I didn't think I would ever say this, but...we have to leave it. If we try to drag Epoch, then we won't have enough water to make it."
"I guess we have no choice...sorry Epoch, we really are, but it's the only way."
"Besides, we'll be back for 'im, or die trying," Crono said, obviously with more bravery than he felt.
With that they set off.
The wakes for the three took place the day after the wedding. Since there was no evidence that any of them had been killed, except for the fact that they vanished and didn't return to any time frame, there were no caskets. There were, however, pictures of the three as they were best remembered. Among the pictures were them growing up, Lucca getting a good shock as she tinkered with her first machine, Crono with his father, Marle with her parents. As people came to pay their respects and leave, quietly, the closest to them remained up there. Ayla, Robo, stood for hours about five feet from Lucca's shrine. Tristain and Frog stood at Crono's. Schala and Leene stood at Marle's. The parents were each standing at the respective grave. Even Magus, far off in a corner, wept. And Dar? For days he neither slept nor ate. All the while, kneeling in front of Lucca's shrine, weeping. Every now and then, he would look up to the stars, and say, "I never told her how I felt," or, "Why did this happen now?" or, sometimes, when his emptiness totally consumed him, he would stand, look up, and scream, "DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU, ETERNAL!"
Far off, Lucca, trudging through the desert, wept.
The next day...
The next day, the three were almost out of water, and had eaten the last rations. There was not much morale among them, but they kept walking. Lucca was the first to collapse from sunstroke. Marle and Crono carried her. Later, went Marle went, only Iron Will kept Crono going, and having the strength to carry both his wife and his best friend.
Just about when Crono was expending the last of his strength, he stumbled across the front steps of an enormous castle.
"Halt!" shouted the guard.
"Please, help..." began Crono, before the darkness took him.
Hours later, Crono woke suddenly. A woman quickly rose.
"Come, come, you must lay down and rest," she said.
"Wh-Where am I?" asked Crono.
"Why, you're in Figaro Castle, of course."
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