Many days passed and there was no trace of Anthos. Crono, Marle, Lucca, and Magus made a second exploration party. They weren't very successful however. Neither Anthos nor civilization had been found. They gave up after 6 days and returned to the site where their ship had crashed.
"Repairs are complete and we've already got the ship anchored in nearby waters." the Captain said, "We're ready to leave whenever you are. Princess Nadia, please give the orders."
"Yes. Now that the King is... no longer here, you are the highest presence of the Royal Family on this voyage. Please, give the orders."
"Ummmm... alright... let's head back to Guardia. It's kinda obvious that our voyage to reach Olean was kinda unsuccessful, huh?" Marle said sarcastically.
"Yes Your Majesty." The Captain saluted Marle and rushed off onto the ship.
"Well," Crono started, "I guess we can board the ship too... no reason to stay here. Are you coming Magus?"
"I suppose I must. At the moment, I don't have a way to return to my castle."
With that, the group finished packing what was left of their supplies and hurried onto the ship. They started sailing back to Guardia within a half hour. Lt. Alexander hustled around the ship the entire voyage back checking each of the injured men. Meanwhile, Lucca, Marle, and Magus had joined Crono in his chamber. Night had fallen and Lucca, Marle, and Crono were incredibly bored. Magus had removed his cape and hung it on the coat rack. Lucca had done the same with her helmet. Crono sat in his chair leaning against the wall, sharpening his sword with a rock he grabbed off the shore. Marle sat in her chair watching everyone in the room. Lucca sat back in her chair with her feet propped on the table. Magus was leaning against the wall in the darkest corner of the room, thinking to himself. Suddenly, soft piano music started to play. Lucca had started her sound system device again and set it on the table. Everyone, with the exception of Magus, smiled. Crono set down his sword and offered to dance with Marle which she gladly accepted.
Lucca watched the two of them slow dance in the middle of the room. It reminded her how she never had a boyfriend and of all those lonely nights at home. Lucca's smile quickly faded into a frown and she struggled to hold back tears. Magus noticed Lucca hiding her face and slowly walked towards her. Magus sat down in a chair next to her.
"Lucca, are you alright?" Magus asked, in a seemingly cold tone.
"Yes, I just..." Lucca replied, sadly.
"Liar. You're not alright. What's the problem?"
"How do you know if I'm lying?!"
"Your tone of voice. Now, tell me the problem so that I may be of some assistance."
"Oh alright... look at them, Crono and Marle, seeing those two together reminds me of what I've never had. I've never had a single relationship such as theirs. I mean, I've never even danced with a guy!"
"I can't offer much in the ways of a relationship, Lucca, however, if you'd like to dance..." Magus said and offered his hand to Lucca. She hesitated but took his hand.
Magus led Lucca on the dance floor and they, too, began to slow dance. A smile slowly crossed Lucca's face. Crono glanced over at them.
"Would ya look at that? I see it but I don't believe it..." Crono whispered to Marle.
"Yeah... I never thought I'd see Magus dance..."
"Well, not only that, but look at Lucca! She's never danced in her life!"
"You're kidding?!" Marle whispered in a playful voice.
"Nope... and what makes it even more unbelievable is that her dance partner is Magus!"
Marle giggled and had to hold back a laugh.
"Thank you, Magus." Lucca whispered softly and rested her head on Magus' right shoulder. Magus managed a light smile.
The group continued to slow dance for another twenty minutes or so before finally stopping to sit down and chat. Crono volunteered to go to the mess hall to get some food and drinks. The sound system continued to play with a lower volume throughout most of the night. Marle and Lucca sat down in their chairs at the table. Magus leaned against the wall near them. Marle wasn't very up to talking. Witnessing the death of her father was horrible and she now realized she's an orphan. A 17 year old orphan. Millions of questions ran through her mind and very few of them had answers. I'm still young, how would I run the Kingdom? How could I run the Kingdom? Would I run the Kingdom... I won't be underage when I turn 18 in three weeks? Could I run it then? But there is no prince to be King... no inheritors to the thrown except myself. What will happen?
Magus began to converse with Lucca. He talked with his cold, unemotional tone, as usual. He wanted to know when he could use the Epoch prototype to continue his search for his sister, Schala.
"When will I be able to use it?" Magus asked.
"A bit impatient, are we?" Lucca smiled and turned more serious, "Once we get back to Guardia I'll unload it behind my house. I'll take you with me and you can use it then."
Magus nodded his approval.
"By the way," he paused, "why did you bring it along?"
"Well, I originally planned to work on it when we arrived it Olean. I wanted to get as much done as possible because it's taken me a long time to build and I'm really eager to test it out, and, on nights I wasn't able to sleep I worked on it."
"What made you unable to sleep at night?"
Lucca was hesitant, "Umm.. things.. just.. stupid things." Lucca got up to fetch the remains of her crumpled robot and brought it back to work on.
Crono returned with a jug of fruit punch, sausage, and a loaf of bread.
"I know it's not much for a little midnight party but it's all the chef would give me."
Crono set down the food and drinks and everyone began to dig in. Marle was quiet the rest of the night. Crono had his arm around her shoulder while she ate what little she did in an attempt to comfort her. Lucca tinkered with fixing her little robot but her mind was elsewhere. Magus ate a strip of sausage. His mind was elsewhere as well. He was thinking about Schala. In his mind he saw her. Her long white hair. Her magnificent purple robe. Her warm and loving face. He wanted her back. Without Schala he was an empty man. Maybe if... when he found her he would be whole again. He would be Janus again. Magus yearned for the day he would finally find the only woman he'd ever cared about in his lifetime.
Magus broke the silence that had gone on for almost an hour, "Lucca, could you show me your invention?" Lucca nodded and they parted Crono's quarters.
Crono noticed Marle ate very little food. She had a blank stare on her face. Crono was getting worried about her.
"Marle... come on... you should lay down. We can talk about what happened. Marle? Marle? Can you hear me?"
Marle finally nodded slowly. Just as Crono was starting to leave his seat Marle put her arms around him. Crono hugged Marle and held her close to him. She put her head on his shoulder and started to cry. A tear ran down Crono's cheek as well. It devastated him to see Marle in such horrible shape. Neither of them spoke. Marle cried while Crono embraced her. Crono picked up Marle and carried her in his arms to the cot where he gently laid her down. He knelt on the floor beside her and held her hand. He gently wiped the tears off of Marle's cheek with his other hand. Marle eventually cried herself to sleep and Crono stayed by her side, thinking of his future, her future, and their future.
Lucca led Magus to a large room a few floors under the deck. Magus observed the great machine standing before him. It was almost nothing like the original Epoch. It was a sleek black, lined with small yellow bars which provided more strength to the frame. It had bigger wings and was larger than the original. Looking inside the cockpit, he saw the time travel controls, buttons and switches for the plasma cannons on the belly of the black Epoch. It seated approximately seven people, Magus counted. It had one seat in the lead, which would be the pilot. Two seats off to the sides behind it, which controlled two small machine guns on the wings, and a bench seat behind those allowing the maximum of four more people to fit inside the Epoch.
"This is amazing Lucca... you live up to your title as 'Lucca the Great'." Magus complemented.
Lucca blushed and smiled, "Thank you.. it's taken a few months to build that with the help of my father, Taban. Could you imagine hundreds of these all used in the Guardia army? We'd have an unstoppable fleet to protect the whole Kingdom! But, that would be impossible to achieve."
"With you Lucca, nothing is impossible." Magus smiled lightly at her. Lucca couldn't help but blush more. Magus continued, "Perhaps with this I will finally find Schala." His mind began to drift off with images of himself and Schala together again. Lucca smiled at him.
"I hope you find her. I'm sure she's out there somewhere. I know it!" Lucca encouraged.
Magus didn't know for sure if she was alive. He hoped she was alive. But he felt her, somehow. The amulet she gave him was warm and always seemed to protect him from the greatest of dangers. He knew she had to be out there.... somewhere. He gave Lucca a look of uncertainty, but she saw the hope he had in his eyes.
"Has Lucca the Great ever steered you wrong?" she said jokingly. Magus smiled. Lucca hugged Magus and they both left to return to Crono's quarters.
Lucca opened the door and saw Crono motioning to be quiet. She crept in silently. Magus levitated and followed her in.
"She needs to sleep." Crono whispered, "She's gone through alot over the past few days. I'm going to stay here with her. Could the two of you leave for the night? I don't mean to be rude, but I want to be alone with her to talk when she wakes up." Lucca nodded.
"If she feels like talking. Good luck to your efforts, Crono." Magus said unemotionally and left. Lucca followed.
The ship reached the docks of Guardia Kingdom at dawn.
TO BE CONTINUED
Continued in Chapter 10
Return To CT Fanfic