Birthright Part 8

By Dave Church

Public hangings were outlawed except for capital offenses, and this one was certainly a capital offense. Bane had been charged with escaping from prison, 2 counts of kidnapping, 19 counts of bribery, and a half dozen conspiracies, including attempting to become the king. On a platform above the ground stood King Guardia XXXII, Bane, about 4 guards, and Marle(Princess Nadia to the public, but you’re a privileged guest). A crowd had formed just outside the castle, where this was held. Phil had retired for the day, worn out and in need of time to think. Lucca was recovering in a 24th century habitat with Robo right at her side. Only Phil’s quick thinking had saved the young scientist.

And the absence of my thinking, Crono thought. The memory that had surfaced during the courtroom brawl had found a place in Crono’s mind. He knew what it was and where it was from(And if you read part 6 well enough, you should too). But he put it aside for now.

I’ll be able to reflect on that later, Crono thought. Bane was lead up to near the rope by 2 guards. The crowd cried for his head. The noose was put around his neck, but he was still standing on the platform. As soon as he was prodded off, it would be over.

The king stood facing the crowd, to address them. “This man, Bane, committed many heinous offenses against our noble kingdom, including making you think that I was dead. For this, he will get the highest punishment: a public hanging.” The king turned toward Bane and started talking. “Bane, do you have any last words?”

Bane smiled. Crono want to throw his sword at him, but controlled the urge.

“Yes, your majesty.” He looked at the crowd, and opened his mouth: “There is still the matter of the birthright that betroths me to Princess Nadia.” He turned toward the king. “By the agreement in the birthright, the princess cannot marry anyone else if I am killed.”

The king was very startled. “I do not know about any birthright.”

Bane grinned. “Ask Mr. Tinara.” he said, gesturing at Crono. “He’ll confirm it.”

The king whirled to face Crono. “Is this true? Was there a birthright?”

Crono nodded, thinking. “Yes,” he said in a trembling voice, wavering between anger and frustration. Marle just gave Bane a nasty look and went down to speak with Crono.

The king, obviously angry, sent his guards to get the “birthright agreement” which Bane said was “on a desk in the king’s room.”

Marle whispered to Crono, “I heard Bane talking to his flunkies! That birthright’s a fake!” She wore an angry look that Crono then vowed never to be the receiver of.

Crono shook his head. “You can’t fake those agreements. Not only do they have to be signed by both fathers, it’s printed on a type of paper in a certain tree that only high priests of a church can extract. Unless something has changed recently, that’s still the way it is.”

Marle was desperate. “There must be something we can do!” she said.

Crono whispered, “Nothing. Yet.”

Just as the king’s guards were returning with the birthright, someone was running toward the crowd from a distance. Some people in the crowd were turning to look. When the figure had made his way through through the crowd, Crono had recognized it as Phil. He appeared to be holding a messenger’s scroll. Phil stopped at Crono, out of breath.

“I found something!” he said, excitedly. The king’s guards handed the birthright to the king, who looked over it.

“What is it?” Marle asked.

Phil held up the scroll. “You know the phony birthright that Bane put over on us?”

Marle’s eyes came out of her head. “Bane’s trying to use that to get out of his execution!”

Now Phil’s eyes widened. “You’re kidding? Anyway, I found this near a messenger who was lying dead at the side of a road near my house. They’ve found a way to easily reproduce the paper that they make birthrights on.” Phil breathed heavily, out of breath. The king was making his way up to the wooden platform, and looked somewhat frustrated.

“Tell the king! Hurry!” Crono said, motioning him up to the platform. Phil ran up to the platform to try and stop the king.

“With this new information,-”

Phil was starting up the stairs to the platform.

“I have no choice but to-”

Phil got up to the top and ran over to the king

“drop the-”

“YOUR MAJESTY!!!” Phil yelled, drowning out the king’s next word. Bane suddenly frowned, recognizing the scroll that Phil held.

The king turned toward Phil, and grimaced at him. The king noticed Phil’s armor, and recognized him as a knight. “You better have a good reason for this outburst, knight,” he whispered.

“Read this!” Phil said, exasperated and out of breath.

The king’s eyes scanned the scroll. He smiled and looked at Phil. “Where did you find this, knight?” he asked.

Phil answered, “Near a dead messenger at the side of the road. Judging by the date it was signed, it should have been here 3 days ago. My guess is that-“

The king stopped him. “No need.” He turned toward the crowd, and turned up the volume on his voice. “With this new information gathered by this brave knight, I add murder to Bane’s crimes.” He turned toward the guards. “Push him off.”

The crowd got louder and louder as Bane was prodded toward the edge. But one of the 2 guards who was pushing him off drew his sword.

Put him out of his misery, Crono thought. But then, the guard cut the rope.

The other guards on the platform mugged the traitor guard, as Bane jumped off the platform and took off the noose. The crowd scattered. The king yelled, “After him!” but all of his guards were concerned about the traitor

Marle pulled Crono. “We have to go after him!”

Crono, angry, frustrated, tired, and having more than enough of Bane’s trickery, drew his sword. He was not too far away from Bane, but did something weird. He took it by the blade, looked it over carefully, and took aim at the rapidly running Bane. He threw it like a knife, and it wedged itself into Bane’s back. He fell to the ground, dead.

Marle stared at Crono as he went to get the Rainbow out of Bane. As Crono pulled the sword out of Bane’s back, he looked at the blood on the blade, and scowled. “Gotta get this cleaned,” he said, without a trace of a smile on his face. Marle was curious as to Crono’s behaviour. What’s wrong with him? she thought. As the crowd calmed down, and the rogue guard was led to the dungeon, the king smiled. He hugged his daughter, and told the crowd to go home.

As Phil and Marle helped restore the order, Crono went off to be alone with his thoughts…


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