Birthright Part 1
By Dave Church
As he broke through the castle wall, Bane reflected on his accomplishment. He was free! He pushed some branches out of his way and headed for a clearing. He was just about to sprint into it when he heard voices. I hate Guardia and all who live in his kingdom. Bane was a young man, about 23. He had orange hair, which had become long due to his time in prison. He had a scar along the left side of his face. He also had a beard.
"So you convinced your father that it was a fluke that Ian got you?" The voice was male, Bane thought. Wonder who it is.
He laid still and looked through. He could make out the male. He had red, spiky hair and a red outfit. He was with a female. Wait a minute... that's Princess Nadia Guardia! This guy must be important! he thought.
"It took quite a bit of convincing. He's still not in great shape. How's your mother doing?" The two were holding hands, and were close together. What's this about the princess being captured?
"She seems to be recovering. She's still asking questions about the magic that we did and how this "Ian" guy knew me." It seems like this guy was one of the reasons the Princess got captured. Magic? This guy's crazy. Bane got an idea. What if I could shake King Guardia's confidence in this guy even more? He shifted a bit so he could see what was going on.
"Well, we got out of it ok." The princess turned to face the spiky haired guy. She drew him closer.
"Yeah." The two kissed. Bane's mind raced as the two kissed. They seemed to be deeply in love. He's probably an important person in the kingdom. If I could somehow rattle the king's confidence in that guy, I could get my revenge on the kingdom. And everyone in it.
As the two left, Bane ran low through the trees to set his plan in motion.
Crono returned home, refreshed from the date with Marle and ready for the picnic that night. He bathed, changed his clothes, and kissed his mom goodbye before heading to Lucca's house.
"Lucca? You all set?" He waited at the door as Lucca came down the stairs.
"Ready to go!" Lucca stood at the door. Her hair had grown quite long recently, and had gone down to her waist. She had shunned her hat, and was still wearing her glasses. Crono still wondered how her hair had gone purple.
As Lucca waved goodbye to her parents, Marle ran up behind them.
"I got all the food. Did you guys bring the cooking gear?" Marle, too, also had her hair long. Crono liked it that way. And he was glad that their parents had let them go on this picnic. After the recent incident with Ian, they had been quite overprotective.
Lucca had a little pot under her arm. "Yup! I have a new invention! Makes cooking a heck of a lot easier."
Marle and Crono exchanged glances, knowing how much trouble Lucca's inventions have caused.
"Don't worry, I've tested this one. It's safe." Lucca gave them a look of assurance.
Crono breathed a sigh of relief. "Let's go then."
The trio had barely gotten five minutes away from Lucca's house when Lucca stopped them. They were near an underbrush.
"Hold it! Do you hear something?" Lucca had a hand cupped to her ear.
"I don't hear anything-"
Crono was cut off in midsentence as some men jumped out of the underbrush, knocking him down and grabbing Marle and Lucca. He jumped to his feet and looked. Both men had one arm around their respective prisoner and one with a knife.
One of them yelled, "You move and the girls die!" He seemed dead serious. Crono assessed his options. He hadn't brought any sort of a weapon, why should he have?
He couldn't use magic with civilians near, and by the time it had started to hurt them, they would have realized what he was doing. Crono's mind raced.
It was a clear area. It was getting darker out, but still light enough for someone to see. Keep talking. Keep them distracted until I can get help.
"Why are you doing this?" He thought of more stuff to keep them occupied.
"Shut up!" one of them yelled. One of the cronies was holding Marle and one was holding Lucca. They weren't choking them, but just a restraining hold. They didn't seem to be buying it. Why didn't they just kill the girls now and-
Just then an armor plated man jumped out of nowhere and knocked both of the men down. This caused them to lose their grip on Marle and Lucca- How, Crono did not know- and they lost their knives. Crono immediately took this to his advantage and went over to restrain one of them.
"No need," the knight said. He punched one of them and kicked the other. That seemed to be enough for the hoodlums, and they ran off.
"And don't come back!" The knight was wearing full armor. No weapon? Even more impressive, Crono thought. There seemed to be something fake about that fight, though.
The knight extended a hand to Lucca and Marle to help them off
"Thanks," said Lucca, regaining her composure. "Mr..?"
The knight pulled off his visor and smiled. Crono estimated his age to be about 25. The mysterious knight had long orange hair, and a beard. "You can call me... Bane."
As Crono and Marle reported the incident to the king the next day, he was shocked. "So who got you out of this one?" he asked after hearing about how the thugs had grabbed Lucca and Marle. They were in the throne room. Crono was on one knee. Guards were at the entrance. The king was in his throne and the chancellor sat to his right.
Crono said, "A mysterious knight, known only as...
"Bane," said Bane, who had come in through the far entrance. "I come from Porre. I saw this helpless boy in need and I came to his aid." Bane grinned. Crono winced inwardly at the use of "helpless boy".
The Chancellor stood. "That "helpless boy" is a hero."
Bane seemed shocked. "How?"
The king explained how Crono had defeated Lavos. Bane nodded and smiled.
"Impressive," Bane said, making mental notes of how important this "Crono" was. "You must have a lot of friends."
"And enemies," replied Crono, "As the incident yesterday attests."
"All right," said the king. "Crono, be a little more careful in the future. In the meantime, Bane, I name you knight captain because of your rescue of my daughter. If you accept..."
"Of course, your Majesty," replied Bane. He went down on one knee to be knighted.
Crono couldn't take it and left.
Crono sat in his room, staring at the stars. Marle and Lucca were still shaken from the previous days events and had been thanking this "Bane" guy for the rescue. They had asked him questions about his life and where he was born.
Crono couldn't help but be jealous. He also admired Bane, and he had thanked him once for getting them out of that. Bane seemed to have gotten in the king's favour quite quickly.
Lucca ran into his room, short of breath. "Crono! Come quickly! The king's in trouble!"
Crono leapt off his bed, down his stairs, and out the door. He grabbed the Rainbow on his way out.
He could see in the clearing a crowd. It was near the exact same spot he, Lucca, and Marle were attacked the previous day. It was late afternoon, and a breeze was blowing. He could hear swords clashing against armour and crys of pain.
As he headed toward where the crowd was, he noticed Bane fighting off about 5 guys. The king was nearby on the ground, just watching. By the time Crono had gotten there, Bane had taken care of them.
"Too late, Hero," Bane said, with more than a hint of arrogance. "The king was going on
a trip to Porre to meet my parents. He came upon some hoodlums on the way. I was nearby, though. I could have used your help."
Yeah, but I don't guard the king 24 hours a day because I have other things in my life, Crono thought.
Crono could see the king getting up slowly. Marle ran up to him.
"My father was attacked!" Marle said from over by the king. She bent down on one knee. "Father, are you okay?"
"I can see that," Crono said. "Seems like Bane was in the area at the time."
"Lucky for him," Marle replied.
The king shook Bane's hand. Lucca came up to Crono and whispered something into his ear.
"The king just made Bane his bodyguard," Lucca said.
"Already? This guy's getting in favor with the king quickly. I don't like it," Crono said.
Crono was suspecting something. He thought it was quite convinient that Bane was always in the general area when something bad happened to a member of the royal family. He didn't mention his thoughts to anyone else until the next day....
Bane came out of the castle. "I have bad news, citizens," he said. He had just been in the king's room, and was speaking to the public just outside of the castle. They were huddled near some trees in Guardia Forest "King Guardia is ill. He requests that only I see him."
Marle was one of the people listening, and she cried out, "What? I can't see him?"
"Unfortunately, no princess, you cannot see him. He said that only I could."
The people began to chat among themselves as Marle went up to Crono. "Something's wrong here. My father would want to see me if he was ill. I'm sure of it!"
"I don't trust that Bane guy. Maybe we should try and get to your father. Is his room near a window?" Crono looked at her.
"Y-Yes," answered Marle. She scratched her chin thoughtfully. "Maybe we could use Epoch to go see in the window."
"No." Crono shook his head. "If someone saw it...."
"I have an idea." Crono and Marle turned their heads to see Lucca. "Perhaps we could fly Epoch under the window so that someone could stand on it and see in."
Crono and Marle exchanged glances. "Good enough," said Marle. "Let's go!"
Crono waved. "You two go," he said. "I have to go home for lunch. I'm hungry."
Marle and Lucca ran to Lucca's house to get Epoch....
Crono had just finished his lunch, so he went to see how the girls were doing. He ran towards the forest, through a patch of trees, and around to behind the castle. He could see Lucca sitting in Epoch, and Marle looking in to the king's room. They were in the air just above a clearing. Marle was standing and peering in.
Crono looked at Epoch. He was a few metres away from the spot they were hovering above. He saw Marle duck down. Marle noticed Crono, and Lucca then steered Epoch over to where he was.
"Find anything?" Crono asked. Marle looked angry.
"It's a plot. I know it." Marle said, an angry tone in her voice. "We oughtta expose that miserable.."
"Hold it! Do you think anyone would believe us?" Lucca said while steering Epoch back to where they found it. "I think we should wait and see what happens next."
"I'm with her on that," Crono said. "He seemed to advance fast up the king's scale. I think those fights were rigged. The only thing we can do is wait."
Crono and Lucca headed home after waving goodbye to Marle. Marle headed into the castle.
As Marle passed by her father's room, she heard some noises. She could tell one of the voices was Bane's. She pressed her ear against the door and tried to listen.
"Keep him quiet. I'll get the birthright done. Just make sure he doesn't get out."
So there is a conspiracy! Marle kept listening but was unprepared for Bane coming out into the hall.
"Princess! What a pleasant suprise!" Bane said. He clapped his hands. "You know too much now. You must be detained." Two guards came into the hall and took Marle by each arm.
The guards took Marle to her room and stood guard at the door.
Marle just sat by her bed, plotting an escape plan....
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