Hero Undone Chapter 7
"I still cannot believe he hath passed." Frog croaked quietly, his hand resting on the other Crono's headstone. They had buried him two weeks ago, under the great tree in the Royal Gardens. His armor stood behind the stone, watching over the grave like a mighty sentinel.
Marle sighed as she spoke. "I know. He seemed so tortured, but he still fought for the light. He stopped Lavos once and for all. He saved this world, all of its different, uh, 'planes' he called them." Marle looked around, then turned to Crono. "Crono, where's Lucca?"
"I'm not sure." He answered. "She left the morning after he died. I tried to talk to her, but I couldn't get her to tell me anything."
"I hope she knows what she's doing." Marle said, her worried eyes turning back to the grave.
"Surely, the lass would'st not try anything foolish." Frog croaked as he turned from the headstone. He shook his head. "Such a waste."
"What?" Crono asked. "What was wasted?"
"Never thee mind. 'Tis of no consequence." Frog cleared his throat, changing the subject. "It is regrettable that Magus and Ayla were not able to join us."
"Yeah. Robo didn't even stay past noon." Marle walked to a small wooden bench a few feet away and sat. "It's like they didn't even like him."
"I don't think they really did." Crono said as he sat next to her.
"How can you say that?" her eyes were tearing up again.
"Well, think about it.", Crono began. "This guy claims to be from another world, tells us his life story, expects us to believe it, takes us to Lavos, who he then proceeds to kill by himself and take his 'soul?'. Look at what happened to his sword." he said, pointing to the massive blade, now twisted and discolored a mottled red and purple. "I can't blame the others for not liking, or even trusting this guy." His eyes dropped to the ground. "I think Lucca's the only one who did both." Crono bolted to his feet as the ground began to shake. "What the hell is this?!?" The ground shook harder now, small fissures opening around them. Hands gripped the edges and hauled monsters up from the graveyard. They were the graveyard's residents, each one's flesh and clothing tattered and rotten. Those that still had eyes turned them to the three heroes and began to advance, the others ambled forward, their arms reaching forward. Crono and Frog's blades were out instantly, cutting the undead down when they had gotten too close. They fell to peices, but the peices continued to move, to crawl and claw their way toward the grave.
"What do they want?" Marle shouted, using her ice spells to freeze several of them in their tracks.
"I don't know," Crono shouted back, slicing another zombie in half at the waist, "but I think it's in his grave!".
"What would'st these fiends want with the other Crono?" Frog croaked as he stomped the unlife from the bare skull of a zombie. "We must stop them from reaching it!" he shouted, relieving another two of their heads. They seemed unfazed by their own beheading, continuing their march, more of them pouring out of the fissures in the ground. One of them reached the grave and began to dig, it's rotting hand snapping off on the hard ground. Undaunted, it began to use the ends of its own radius and ulna to scoop dirt away. Light began to flood out of the hole it had opened, and the ground began to shake harder.
"Something bad's happening!!" Crono shouted as he ran to Marle. "We better get outta here!"
"We can't just give up! We can't!" Marle said as she froze another score in a block of ice. Ten more clambered over their frozen comrades and continued on. Frog came leaping over the zombie's heads, taking a few off as he went, finally landing to Crono's side.
"Look! They do not even notice us any more!" he croaked as several of the undead ambled past, one of them's weaving gait took it right in between Frog and Crono, but it continued on. "What are they doing?" he asked his friends.
"Oh my God," Marle gasped, "They're digging him up!" The light from the grave was growing more intense with each passing second. Soon, the nearest zombies were consumed by the light and burned away. The light began to spread out now, engulfing more and more of the undead. They had dug the six feet of the grave in a matter of moments. Crono and his friends shielded their eyes and braced themselves for what was coming. Marle's voice was a little-girl whisper as she stared at the grave. "This can't be."
Another horrid creature rose, large and powerful, it's red and black hair matted with dirt. A massive axe hung in it's hands. Its tattered flesh was dessicated and gray, its one remaining eye scanning its surroundings. It stopped when it reached the three. It's voice was hollow as it spoke.
"I have returned at last." the corpse looked down at his hands, and a ragged sigh escaped him. "What has happened to me?" The corpse reached up and stroked his hair, a large clump coming off in his hand. "What have I become?"
"Crono?" Marle asked quietly.
"Yes, I am Crono. You remember me? Then I am back on the last world. Alive again." the other Crono looked at his reflection in the axe. "This isn't right at all." the other Crono's remaining eye twinkled as he remembered something. He seemed to consider this for a moment then let out a short giggle. Then another. A moment later he sank to his knees and vomited soil and earthworms onto the ground. His head rose, his other eye had returned and his muscles began to reconstitue themselves, his heart pumping blood once again. He fell on his back now and laughed as his body finished it's reconstruction.
Crono stepped forward, a look of shock still on his face. "How did this happen?"
The other Crono suddenly stopped laughing and sat up. "It was a lie, Crono. You and I stopping Lavos was all a lie." He stood now, continuing his speech. "We were merely the means to an end. A bitter, bitter end."
"What?" Crono asked.
"We were used to create the Time Devourer. You were used, Crono, and I still am."
"Then why are you here now? Shouldn't you be dead?"
"Apparently not," His gaze shifted to the ground. " I am immortal now."
Marle stepped forward now. "Is Schala still alive? Is that why you came back here?"
"Schala is dead!" The other Crono shouted as he began to glow. "My Schala is dead." He seemed to calm himself, and the glow faded. "I am here to stop the Elders."
"Who?" Crono and Marle asked in unison.
"The Elders. They are the ones responsible for all of this, this lie. I am going to kill them and restore this world's creator to it's rightful place."
"What are they?" Frog asked.
"Atropos, Clotho, and Lachesis. The past, the present, and the future. They are corrupting this world. Being able to travel time, I am the only one who can stop them." Crono began to speak, but the other raised his hand, cutting him off, "No, you aren't going with me. Not this time."
Crono glared as he spoke. "Why not? We're just as much a part of this as you are."
The other Crono frowned slightly. "You are a mere fraction of what is going on in this world."
"That's not true!" Crono's voice was rising quickly.
The other Crono's frown deepened. "You aren't strong enough, Crono. None of you are."
"We're strong enough!" Crono shouted. Nothing got Crono angrier than being told he didn't have the strength to do something.
"Are you, Crono? What I am going to do is beyond even your power. If you want to accompany me, you must be able to defeat me." the other Crono said as he leveled his axe towards Crono. His gaze was lethally serious. "I will kill you, you know."
"What?! You can't kill Crono!" Marle shouted, grabbing her love's hand.
"Marle, you still have your resurrection spells, don't you?" the other Crono asked. She nodded sheepishly . "Good. Your husband will need them. Now, where will we fight? You know we can't here."
"Right." Crono thought for a moment. "I know! We can fight in the Prehistoric era. There aren't many people there."
"Just what I was thinking." the other Crono's eyes lit with power, and all of them were gone. They rematerialized in the year sixty-five million B.C. , at the top of a great mountain. "Is this what you had in mind?" the other Crono asked his counterpart.
"Exactly." Crono answered, drawing his sword. "Aren't you going to draw your weapon?"
"What for?" the other Crono asked as he stepped back, tossing his axe a few feet away. He then looked over at Marle and Frog. "You two shouldn't be involved in this." he said, raising his hand. A dome of energy formed between them and the two Cronos.
"Crono! Be careful." Marle called to her Crono. "I love you!"
"I love you too!" he called back.
"Are you two done yet?" the other Crono interrupted.
"You're wrong about us, you know," Crono turned to the other. "We're stronger than you think."
"Why do I doubt that?" was his only reply.
Crono rushed in with a shout, his sword ringing as it cut the air between him and his other. The other Crono simply spun to his right and used the momentum for a powerful roundhouse kick that blasted the back of Crono's head, sending him skidding face-first on the ground. Crono lept to his feet in a blink, thrusting for is other's heart. The other Crono slapped the blade past him and sent Crono flying again with a quick kick to the chest.
"I thought you were smarter than that, Crono." the other said, his axe suddenly in his hands as Crono lept to his feet. "You can't beat me."
Crono came again, more slowly this time, but each slash and thrust was skillfully parried by his other. Crono spoke as he continued his advance. "I don't need brute strength to beat you, Crono," he stopped his advance and threw his hands up, "when magic works just as well.". Lightning radiated out from Crono's body, striking everything around him. Marle and Frog flinched beneath their dome. The other Crono was struck by a score of bolts and went to his knees, dropping his axe.
"Not bad, but not nearly good enough." the other said as he rose again, his hair singed from the electricity. Crono moved like lightning as he charged in on his other's right side. His sword sliced in a mighty forehand stroke, straight at the other's throat. Crono felt it hit, but came to a complete halt next to his counterpart. His head turned to see what had happened, and the color in his face drained. The other Crono had caught the blade in his left hand, but no blood poured from the wound. Their eyes met, and the other Crono whispered "Not enough." into his counterpart's ear. His hand flashed to Crono's throat in an instant. Still holding the sword and Crono's throat, he spun in a tight circle, shaking his head in disdain. He then hurled Crono over his head, sending him tumbling high into the air, sword and all. Crono, never one to quit easily, righted himself in the air and began to glow a pale green. Frog and Marle both gasped when they saw this.
"He casts Luminare on his other!" Frog shouted.
"He has to!" Marle answered. "He has to. Luminare is Crono's most powerful spell. If he doesn't use it, he could lose."
The green dome of energy surrounded the other Crono, trapping him, suffusing him with pure magical energy. He roared in rage and pain as he fell. Crono landed on his feet a short distance away. "It's over, Crono. You're beaten."
The other Crono rose again, laughing softly as parts of his burned flesh fell away. "You just don't get it. It's never over. EVER. When you think it's finally over, it's just beginning." He began to glow now, colors swirling around him. "I survived your magic, Crono. Can you survive mine?" His hand swept out, and Crono's sword was knocked away. His other punched the air before him, and blue power lept off it to coalece into a third Crono, composed of pure energy. This simulacrum rushed forward and began to pummel Crono, landing heavy blows to his face and chest. He fought back, but his counterattacks passed harmlessly through it. The energy being sent Crono flying with a spinning back kick, then faded away. The other Crono's voice was flat as he spoke. "You should admit defeat now, Crono. I don't want to kill you. There is no Time Egg this time."
Crono shakily rose to his feet, his eye already swelling shut. "You're going to have to kill me. I won't quit."
"I know. That's what makes this so difficult." The other Crono said sadly. He brought a fist up to his side, and it began to glow. Not a natural glow, more like the light was drawn in and never came out. The other fist came up, colors swirling around it, green and red, blue and white. "I'm sorry, Marle." He brought his hands together, and a massive beam escaped from them. Crono was impacted, his flesh burning away from his bones, then bones burning away to dust. Marle and Frog watched in horror as Crono died again.
"CRONO!!!" Marle screamed as the barrier dropped. Frog rushed the other Crono, Masamune drawn. He lept into the air, intending to slice the other Crono in half. The other Crono caught the blade, as he had done to Crono, and took it out of Frog's hands, knocking him away with a backhand blow.
"I told him it would be to the death." the other Crono said simply as he dropped the Masamune.
Even with her royal upbringing, Marle could barely keep her voice from shaking."You bastard! How could you do this?!? You knew you were too strong for him!"
"He knew what he was getting into, didn't he?" the other Crono glared at her and Frog. "You still have the magics of Life, don't you?"
"I can't resurrect someone from ashes!" she screamed at him.
"Oh." was his only response. He began to glow white now, and slowly raised his hands. An unseen wind began to swirl Crono's ashes into the air. They seemed to grow thicker and thicker, forming new bones and flesh, leaving Crono lying on the ground unconcious. He coughed several times, then sat up. "There, that's better." the other Crono said as Marle rushed to her love.
"Crono you're alive!" Marle said, half helping him up, half kissing him.
"Yeah, I guess I am," he answered, kissing her. He turned to the other Crono, but he was already gone.
"Uh, guys," Crono said while looking around for his sword. "How do we get home?"
The other Crono reappeared at his own grave. He approached his armor and lay a hand on the chest panel, as he always had. His mind projected the password into the armor, and it slid open, as it always had. The other Crono climbed in, and the armor closed, as it always had.
"Welcome back, Crono." it was still his Lucca's voice, as it always was. He couldn't remember how the armor had acquired her voice, but he used to be glad it did. It was the only thing he could take comfort in during his long, bitter search for Schala. Now, it seemed to mock him, as if to remind him he had lost everything.
"Run bioscan on me and compare results to last known entry." the other Crono said, curious as to what he would find.
"Bioscan complete." Lucca said.
"Results?" he asked.
"No physiological changes detected." she replied.
"Run magic scan on me." he said anxiously. The green beam swept his face several times, just as before. The pain came with it, but seemed much duller now.
"Magic scan complete." Lucca told him.
"Well?" he asked.
"Magic scan error." she said simply.
"How is that possible?"
"What? Explain magic scan error."
"Unable to comply, magic scan er-" Lucca's voice died. The other Crono tried to move, but the armor stood statue still. "Respond. Respond, dammit!" he began to yell. Still nothing. Then the green beam returned, and the pain that came with it was a thousand times stronger. Crono thrashed against his own armor to no avail. The armor began to glow now, the shape and form beginning to blur as Crono fought the waves of pain that crashed into him. It was growing hotter inside the suit by the second. Crono fought, even as the armor's Mammon Machine components began to droop and melt in all around him. He tried to simply teleport out of the armor, but soon found it merely caused more pain. The armor had turned into an almost gel-like substance now, gooey and soft. It began to flow now, into Crono's mouth and nose and ears. He tried to resist, thrashing more now, but the armor responded by moving through his pores, into his blood. The heat had become unbearable now, and Crono knew he wouldn't be able to resist much longer. Crono could feel the armor as it flowed throughout his body. It was changing him, he could feel it. At last, the pain faded away, leaving Crono inside the gooey sac that his armor had become. Then, he heard a great voice in his mind.
"Crono." it was the being he met in the Underworld.
"You!!! What have you done to me?!"
"As I said, your armor is becoming a part of you."
"It will merge with you. It will be a part of you now." Crono glared as he hung, suspended in liquid like an egg yolk.
"What will happen to me?"
"Your own mind shapes what form you take, Crono. The armor will reflect your true self, the form that all beings have within themselves, but can rarely bring to the surface."
"How long will this transformation take?"
"I do not know. Time has no relevance to beings such as us."
"Doesn't it? If time has no hold over me, why do I desire only the past?"
"Your own perceptions, Crono. You want to return to the time when you were blissfully ignorant of the things you know now, but you know you can't ever go back there."
"You think you know so much about me."
"I know so much because I chose your destiny. I chose your LIFE."
"My destiny is my own."
"Your destiny is whatever I decide it to be, Crono!"
"You don't control me."
"But I do, Crono. I had control of everything in this world until the Elders came. Now all I have left is you."
"No one controls me! I will never be controlled by anyone! Ever!"
"What do you think I have been doing for your entire life? I ensured the Time Devourer's creation. It is the beginning, and the only way to get the Elders to take a corporeal form on this world. Once the Time Devourer is dead, they will appear. You must find them, where and whenever they appear."
"How will I know where to go?"
"You can feel them, Crono. Just like you could feel the Lavos in each plane. Clotho will be the first. He is just as powerful as his siblings, but is the most arrogant. Remember this, Crono: The Elders are more powerful than anything you have ever experienced before. Stopping them will not be like killing your twin here......." Crono peered out through the walls of his sac as space tore itself apart and three people stepped out.
"Good thing Ayla's got a Gate Key." Marle said as the gate closed behing her.
"Indeed. That would'st have been a very bad predicament." Frog croaked in agreement.
"Especially since so many thing back then ate frogs." Crono added, smirking at his comrade.
"T'was exactly what I had in mind, lad." Frog retorted with a snort.
"I don't want to interrupt your brilliant conversation, guys," Marle said, her eyes wide, "but what's that?" Where the other Crono's armor had stood was a large teardrop shaped blob, which was pulsing with a soft, warm glow.
Frog cautiously approached the mass and lay his hand on it. It quivered in response. "Be this......the other Crono?" he asked, turning to the others.
"I don't know, but it doesn't look good." Crono said, resting his hand on the blob. It began to pulse faster in response.
"If it doesn't look good," Marle said as she approached the blob, then slapped thier hands down, "why the hell do you two have your hands on the damn thing!?"
"Sorry hon," Crono shrugged, "but it's like this thing's on fire inside."
Marle nervously placed a hand on the blob. "Hey, you're right!" She pulled her hand away. "That's weird."
"What?" Crono asked.
Marle pointed at one of the spaces between the armor's plates. "Take a look. It's not very clear, but something or someone's in there!" Crono and Frog peered in. Sure enough, a large dark shape floated in the center of the blob. It seemed a baby bird, still inside it's eggshell. After a few minutes, Marle turned to her friends. "So, what do you think we should do about this?"
"This is a most prickly issue," Frog began,"what would'st happen if this thing were to be moved?"
"Probably something bad," Crono said, "that seems to be the way things go around here."
"Precisely, lad." Frog continued, "Therefore, 'twould be best to leave it be."
"But it's right in front!" Marle protested, "People will notice something like this just laying here!"
"True, but what if you were to say that this was thine first attempt at art?" Frog asked, cocking an eyebrow.
Marle smiled. "That's great thinking! I'll say it's mine, and it's not to be touched."
"What if some art critics show up?" Crono asked his fiance.
"What critic would be stupid enough to give the princess' art a bad reveiw?" Marle asked slyly.
"Well, I think I could've done better." Crono teased.
"You do, do you? I can have you thrown in the stocks for that." she fired back.
Crono held his hands up in mock surrender. "Okay, okay. I don't want to be put in the stocks." he ceremoniously dropped to one knee and took her hand. "Please forgive me, o fair and just princess!"
"I'll consider it," she began giggling, "but only if you swear to never again criticize your highness' artwork"
"Oh, perish the thought!" Crono's eyes grew wide as he stood, still holding her hand. "I swear you'll hear nothing but praise from me!"
Frog gently interuppted them, "Many apologies, mine friends, but I should be returning to the Queen's side."
"Of course. We're sorry." Marle said. "Let's get to the telepods." The three entered the castle and took the long flight of stairs to the vault where the Rainbow Shell was kept. While the shell had been set on display in the Porre town square, the Telepods had been moved inside.
"Maybe next year won't be so.......exciting." Marle said as the Gate to the year six hundred opened.
"I am sorry I cannot stay with thee any longer, but duty calls." Frog stopped before the Gate and turned. "Goodbye, my friends."
"Goodbye, Glenn." Crono said, stepping forward to shake Frog's hand. "We'll see you next year."
"Until then." Frog said, stepping into the Gate, back to his time.
"Maybe things will get back to normal, right?" Crono asked.
"The eyes are the windows to the skull, my
"I think you mean soul, Bill."
"For those that have them, yes."
-Bill McNeil and Dave Nelson, "News Radio"
Chrono Trigger Fanfic