"YO! Red boy! Get down here!"
Crono had heard her screeching voice from afar, and was awake (somewhat) as Marle arrived. His face was shining with oil and sweat that emerged during his sleep, thanks to the warm sun. His hair was almost never actually combed or washed, which was why it hung in heavy spikes around his head. And yet, today, it seemed much dirtier than it usually did, pushed over to one side of his head from sleeping on it. He wiped the sleep from his eyes as he opened the front door. He saw what he expected, the always-excited Marle jumping around frantically, anxious to decipher the strange letter. He looked her in her eye and pointed to his empty wrist.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
He waved her away with his hands, gesturing to say "never mind." He had forgotten that Lucca's invention, the wristwatch, was a creation that Lucca had created ages ago to tell time, but Lucca had incorporated it into the design of the Gate Key, and never created another one. Pointing to the wrist was a gesture to ask about the time, a gesture that only Crono, Lucca, and Lucca's family knew, and Marle was never introduced to it.
Instead, he pointed to the sun, an older method of asking or telling the time.
"Are you kidding me?" She asked. "It's almost noon! Wake up!"
He groaned, and pulled his red locks out of his eyes. Marle held the letter up to his face.
I re erst pre n pizza bit liliolio aruuum a a; our m age weird. el !!!
"See what I mean?" Marle asked. "Do you think we should show this to Lucca?"
Crono nodded as they both left for Lucca's.
* * *
Meanwhile, in Ozzie's fort, the three ex-buddies of Magus were plotting to take over the castle.
"Now, you say that if we can beat those kids up, we can win Guardia, right? Why don't we launch an all out attack on wherever they live?" Slashed asked. "We don't know where they live!" Ozzie yelled. "But we can soon find out. Figuring Mount Denadoro is the biggest mountain in the Western hemisphere, it should have lookout on much of the area of the over world, right? With binoculars, we can manage to look out over Truce, San Dorino, AND Porre!" "And we shouldn't have a problem with humans, because there won't be any guards around! They're all dead!" Slash said, smiling brightly. "Wow!" Flea exclaimed, excited about the ingenuity of the plan. "I also took the liberty of planting monitoring devices in some of the wares in Dorino marketplace... one of our spies who works there will be selling them to the appropriate customers, including sir Magus, the walking oddity." Ozzie added. "Let's go then!" Flea said with excitement. "We're going down in the history books for sure!"
* * *
Magus was in the marketplace of San Dorino, shopping to fill his refrigerator. He ignored the stares and slow retreats of the commoners, as he carefully tested melons and bananas for ripeness. He picked his favorites, and carried them to the front counter.
"Excuse me, kind sir," he asked the clerk, "how much are these three fruits?" "Eighteen gold altogether."
The clerk grinned quietly. He was the first clerk not to give Magus all of his food for free, which made Magus feel a bit more comfortable that fewer people feared him so much.
"You know, sir... we have a special today, four fruits for twenty gold. In fact, I'll give you a special fruit... one of my personal best! Perfectly ripened, perfectly shaped, absolutely delicious." "That would be wonderful!" Magus cheered. The man handed him a strangely large orange, as Magus reached in his bag for the extra gold. "No charge, sir." The man said, grinning. "Hmm..." Magus said, as he thought to himself. "Well then. I suppose I'll be a repeat customer then, won't I... of course, I do most of my 'shopping' at night..." "Uhh..." "I'll be here, around midnight... see you then!"
Magus giggled as he walked away, anxious for his future plans. As he walked in the general direction of the castle, he searched in his bag for the "special" fruit that the man had given him.
"This seems odd..."
He shook the fruit up to his ear, and noticed a small rattle inside.
"He must have made a mistake... no use going back now, or he might just cancel our plans..."
Magus sighed, and threw the false fruit into some nearby bushes. As he walked away, a small, dirty young boy grabbed the item and ran away.
* * *
Frog relaxed as he overlooked the horizon on Zenan Bridge. The colors of the ocean were lovely, drawing the attention of most common people as they passed over the bridge. Frog was always entranced by the colors of the horizon, and often sat for hours staring at it, especially during the sunset.
But now, his mind was elsewhere. He focused on Magus, and his strange new patterns of behavior.
What could turn such a dark warlock into a white mage? Has Lady Schala returned? Or has he just gone mad? That would be understandable... if he went into further madness than he already was... but could the same be done to his cohorts? What if they-
"Sir Frog! Sir Frog! We need your help! Sir Frog!"
A young soldier came bumbling toward the bridge, just barely keeping balance as he tripped over the loose boards.
"Sir Frog! Ozzie and his gang have staged another attack! He has kidnapped a family in San Dorino! They've sent the Mystics upon the entire village and the surrounding plains! He's holding the family at Fiona's!" "Arrange all available men and ready them for war! We shant allow another war to start, not as long as I'm around!"
The knight helped Frog up from the side of the bridge, and they both ran off toward Guardia Castle. Luck was on their side, as all of the living knights were preparing for a ceremony in the castle to honor their bravery during the war. In less than ten minutes, the available soldiers were marching onward through Guardia Forest, toward San Dorino.
When they got there, however, they saw large hordes of Imps, Grimalkins, and Henches, fleeing from the town. Frog gestured for the men to search the town for leftovers while he went towards Fiona's house. To his surprise, inside the house, he saw Magus, consoling the mother of the freed family. In the corner of the room, Ozzie, Flea, and Slash sat, tied together on the ground. They turned their faces away from Frog, angry at their defeat.
Frog's eyes turned back to the family, of which the youngest member, a small boy, ran towards a strange steaming fruit on the ground. He kicked it as hard as he could with his bare foot, sending it straight into Ozzie's oversized gut. The boy then ran to Magus and wrapped his arms around him while Magus laughed. Fiona, who stood off to the side, started giggling as the boy and his family rejoiced. It was only then that she noticed Frog, awestruck at the rescue.
"Sir Frog! Where have you been? We all would have been killed if it weren't for Mr. Janus, here. He saved us!" said Fiona. "Yeah, Mr. Frog! Why didn't you come to help us? We lost all hope until Mr. Janus appeared!" yelled the boy.
Frog turned away, his eyes full of hatred and confusion. He heard the sound of the boy giving him a raspberry as he left the house.
* * *
The next day, a parade was held in Magus's honor. Balloons and floats on grocery carts wheeled slowly down the streets of Truce, being dragged by lavishly costumed citizens who were celebrating Magus's brave rescue. They wheeled through the newly completed Leene Square, as residents laughed and cheered at the sights. Speeches were made by the more educated townspeople, and a lot of celebrating was done. At the end of the celebration, the square was celebrated by the hanging of Leene's Bell. All the while, Frog sat in the trees, watching as Magus was being praised for his bravery.
"That was MY victory!" Frog cried. "That should be ME making that speech! That should be ME hanging the bell! That should be me surrounded by beautiful women!"
Frog stopped himself. His beady eyes widened as he stared downward at the crowd of women that surrounded Magus.
"Girls? Girls now? No. No. Not Magus. Magus is ugly. Magus is evil. Magus is a downright pig! Do they even recognize him? He killed their families! He burned their homes! Why do they flock to him? Magus doesn't even like women! Magus doesn't like anybody! I must be drunk. I shouldn't have drunk all that ale..."
Down in the square, Magus was answering the questions and signing the autographs that were requested by the women that surrounded him.
"No, no, actually, I am a practicing mage now, but I never TRY to be a hero." Magus said confidently. "Mr. Janus! Talk to me!" One girl cried. "No, me! Me! I'm your biggest fan! Please talk to me!" another whined.
Many of the women targeted his clothing. They squealed as they tore at his white cape and pants. One lucky girl even managed to rip the tie that Magus had in his hair.
"Wait-what are you doing! No, please... I am REALLY busy tonight-yes, I can help you build your house if you want-No! You're not my type! Believe me, you're not my type. I don't need your underwear! I have my own, thank you very much! Hey! Quit touching that!"
Magus began to turn red as he became angrier and angrier, as the women continued to pursue him. Finally, he started pushing them out of the way, trying to leave. They still insisted on latching on to him, though, pulling off more of his clothing even though Magus had barely any of his cape or pants left. He was in shreds. One young lady suddenly ran up to him, latched her arms around his shoulders, and planted a sloppy kiss on his lips. He pushed her off and looked at her smiling expression, and lost it.
"THAT'S IT! AAAAAAGH!!!"
Magus's body became engulfed in a white flame. His hair turned gold as did his eyes, while his body glowed with his magic.
"SUPER SAIYA-JIN INTERIOR DECORATOR!!!" He cried, as suddenly every woman was thrown backward in the square. Sparks of energy flew from his body and flew into the distance, landing at locations invisible to the naked eye. Magus then bolted into the sky, flying away from the crowd.
"I can't believe these women! It's as if the entire female population needs a cold shower, not to mention a better sense of gay-dar..."
Magus aimed himself toward Guardia Castle, as he decided to go to the prison to visit Ozzie and his cohorts, to make sure they were kept in check.
* * *
Meanwhile, in an attempt to decipher the strange letter, Crono and Marle met with Lucca at her home.
"This is certainly something that I can't decipher." Said Lucca. "It looks way to complicated... I don't think even Robo could do this one." "Who is this Flig?" Marle asked.
Crono opened his mouth so speak, but Lucca interrupted him.
"Perhaps Magus has made an alias for himself? Maybe he's trying to lure us back to his time for some reason?"
Crono tried again, but barely a peep came out before Marle started to talk.
"Yeah! Maybe he needs us to help him find Schala or something!"
Crono tried again, to no avail.
"What if he wants to kill us or something? What if he's angry that he needed our help to get revenge on Lavos, and now he wants to prove he's stronger?
Crono tried again. No luck.
"You said it! That no good dirty low down pile of festering pencaps!"
Crono squinted and slapped his forehead. Lucca looked oddly at Marle.
"What?" she asked innocently. "I'm being creative!"
Crono got fed up and walked out the door, slumping his shoulders.
"I wonder what his problem was..." "I dunno. He's always been the strong, silent type... we'll probably never know."
Lucca and Marle went back to reading the note. A few minutes later, Crono suddenly burst through the door, back into Lucca's house, flailing his arms wildly and stomping his feet.
"Crono! What's up?"
He flailed his arms even more and gestured for Marle to go over to him. She looked outside, at Guardia castle. To her surprise, she saw the whole side of the castle, painted with the word "Loone."
"I... I never noticed this side of the castle before... this is so weird!" Marle exclaimed. "I need a closer look..."
The three rushed off towards the Epoch.
* * *
Frog finished the last stroke of his paintbrush, as he stepped backward. There was nobody to stop him from painting the castle... everybody was away at Magus's "celebration" and were probably drunk by then. He had hoped that they might notice the paint, and considering their new experiences in history, would have traveled back to see what was up.
"They should be here!"
Frog growled, as he waited for another second, and pounded his fists against his knees. He found a collection of small trees, and set off towards the southern continent in search of Robo, who was still planting the trees on the land.
"Tis time for drastic measures..."
* * *
Marle stared at the castle as they hovered toward it. The red of the paint was faded and hardly visible after 400 years of wear and tear, but it was there, present. She sighed as she looked it over, and wondered if her father had ever noticed it. Lucca sighed and looked out in the other direction, and noticed something odd.
"Hey... uhh... guys, look out towards the forest on the other continent..." "Where? You mean the forest Fiona and Robo planted?" Marle asked.
Marle gasped as she looked the forest over. Lucca started aiming towards the forest, and as they passed over it, it spelled out the name "Leene."
"That's gotta be Frog!" Marle exclaimed. "Enough said."
Lucca engaged the Epoch, headed for 600 AD.
* * *
Magus shuttled towards the prison holding Ozzie, Flea, and Slash. His hair and eye color had since returned to normal, and his mind set heavily on what he wished he hadn't done.
"I shouldn't have pushed them... I shouldn't have pushed them... its my temper... at least I re-did all their houses with my Interior Design magic..."
He elevated himself to the tallest tower of Guardia Castle, and landed on the bridge that was the entrance into the prison area. The halls were deserted, since every guard went to Leene Square to celebrate. The only sounds that could be heard were random Mystic felons crying for their release. Magus thought it was preposterous that they would leave an entire prison full of convicts alone, without a single watcher in the area. He sighed, added to himself that it wasn't his business, and walked onward towards the cell where Ozzie, Flea, and Slash were to be held.
When he got there, they were gone.
"Where... how... why??"
Suddenly, Flea fell from the ceiling, catching Magus within a large sack. From the shadows around the bend of the hallway, Slash came around and whacked Magus in the head with the flat side of his sword. Magus fell unconscious.
"Ha ha ha... that's what you get, traitor!!" Slash said, grinning. "Such a shame... what a stylish, stylish man..."
Flea sighed as Ozzie floated from the opposite corner.
"All done." Slash said. "Very well. Tie him up, and let's get going!"
Flea tied a rope around the bottom of the sack. They ran off towards the exit of the prison, with intents on going to their new outpost on Mt. Denadoro.
* * *
Crono, Lucca, and Marle landed in a large thicket of bushes at the foot of Mt. Denadoro. The three sat on the hood of the Epoch, and discussed where Frog might be.
"Where do you suppose we find him?" asked Marle. "I haven't a clue." Said Lucca.
Crono lifted his finger, about to talk, when Marle interrupted.
"Should we wait here?" "I think we should go looking." "You're right. He wouldn't just show up out of anywhere." "We go then."
Crono slumped his shoulders, and followed the girls as they walked into the forest, to search Frog out on foot.
* * *
Magus awoke, startled. He felt himself scrunched into something strangely small, and scrambled to free himself. He pushed his limbs outward, trying to stretch the bag and break it, but it had no effect. With a quick whip of his hand, a small flame appeared on his finger, which he used to burn a hole in the sack.
As he emerged from it's remains, his eyes fell upon one of the candles in the hallway. Although the light was dim, it burned into his eyes, causing him to shield them. It was as if he hadn't seen light in days. Worse, his head felt like it had been smashed several times with an aluminum baseball bat, each lump throbbing painfully under his hair.
"Where... am... I?"
He looked around him, squinting to avoid exposing his eyes to more light. Through the blur of his eyelashes, he inspected his body for cuts and bruises, and found a sight he hadn't expected to see.
"How… what? Why am I wearing these ridiculous colors? It's so... so... white!!!"
He stumbled to his feet, and managed a quick spell to change his clothing into something more enjoyable.
"Wait a sec... where are my underwear??? This is demeaning!"
As he regained his sense of balance, he became enraged.
"Nobody... nobody EVER steals my underwear!"
With a cry of anger, he set off towards his castle. Somehow, in some strange way, he knew that Ozzie, Flea, and Slash were involved. Now, he would just have to figure out what they did...
* * *
The three Mystic monsters were careful not to step on any branches as they made their way near Denadoro Mountain. Slash led the way, cutting large, more annoying bushes straight up from the ground when they couldn't be passed by normal means. When he made it to the end of the trail, he turned backward to Flea and Ozzie, and lifted his hand to give an "all-clear" sign. As he turned forward again, he noticed a strange glimmer through the trees. Upon inspection, he found the strangest machine he had ever seen in his entire life. He motioned for his cronies to hurry up and follow him... apparently, they had a sight to see.
"Look at it! It's beautiful!" "Wow! Isn't that that little flying thing that those twerps used to get around?" Flea asked. "Yeah, but they're nowhere in sight." Replied Slash. "Steal it!" ordered Ozzie.
The two looked at each other, and then at Ozzie.
"Are you sure? We shouldn't tamper with technology we don't know about." Slash said, calmly. "They could kill us." Flea added. "They're not here!" Ozzie replied, his eyes turning fierce. "Go get that ship before I kill you!"
Flea and Slash sighed, and walked out towards the Epoch.
* * *
"It was them! It had to be! Those FILTHY LOW-DOWN GOOD FOR NOTHING PIECES OF DIRT!"
Magus was enraged. He soared through the air toward his castle, trying to find something to blame on them. As he passed over the bushes at the base of Denadoro Mountain, he saw a strangely obvious trail that had been left there. Slash wasn't very intelligent when he was guiding his cohorts through the brush... he cut aside a large path, leaving a well visible earthly scar. Of course, Slash and the others were oblivious to this.
"Slash... it had to be Slash..."
As Magus flew towards Slash's obvious location, he saw another small clearing, with a strange arrangement of colors inside. As he set down upon the clearing, he was surprised to find Crono, Marle, and Lucca sitting there, chatting with Frog.
"Sir Janus?" Frog asked politely.
Magus stood back, astounded. Was it really Frog, addressing him? To his face? Using his real name?
"What did you call me?" Magus replied, calmly. "Janus." Answered Frog. "DON'T EVER CALL ME THAT!" Magus yelled. The force of the wind as Magus said those words almost blew Frog into a tree. "What are you doing here?" asked Marle. "I was following Ozzie. He seems to have found a reason to scale the mountain, and isn't being too inconspicuous about it. What are you runts doing around here?" "We got a message from Frog... he was about to tell us what the problem was." Said Lucca. "Why are Ozzie and them all the way around here?" "I haven't a clue. All I know is that they were headed North and they ruined my hair-" "NORTH?" Marle and Lucca screamed. They, along with Crono and Frog, ran to the Epoch's location.
They got there just in time to see Ozzie, Flea, and Slash lift off.
"How do we work this thing?" asked Flea. "I don't know! Just... just press that button." Slash replied. "Which one?" "The red one!" Slash yelled. Flea jammed his fingers onto a red button, as well as several other buttons and levers, trying to see what the machine could do.
"Did they just say 'red button' up there?" asked Lucca. "Red button... That's... NOOOOOO!" Marle screamed.
The Epoch suddenly engaged and jumped into hyper-space, headed towards unknown time coordinates. And behind them, all five of the present time heroes stood, flabbergasted. And strangely, at the same exact moment, all five, including Crono, spoke in unison.