Prelude

1005 A.D., Guardia Kindom

The sun slowly penetrated the dark curtains, creating streamers in the dust that floated about the room. He looked up weakly, feeling destroyed on the inside. The things he had seen… Just in the last six hours, the bloodshed… It boggled his mind. How had things gotten out of control so fast? He could remember… Only five years ago… Five years… Had they grown up that fast?

He slowly walked to the window and peered out onto the kingdom that he had worked so hard to save… Now it lay in ruins, flames licking hungrily at the buildings… Burning everything… Everything… He collapsed against the wall in silent grief. His right arm panged and he looked at it, wincing at the blood-stained cloth, and the horrible wound concealed beneath. The bone was showing through at one point, and he gingerly covered it back up with more of his robe. He had long ago lost feeling in his hand; the damage in his arm was just too great. So now he hid, not like a coward, but like a predator stalking its prey… He knew that the assassin would come for him, and he would make a last stand. He looked up towards the window, where only five years ago… He bowed his head, unable to stop tears. He had seen so much in his short life… He was only twenty-one now, finally a man. The others were even younger… Only twenty. And the others who had been lost… He looked back to the window, feeling the warm sunlight on his face. Even in this time of unending darkness, the sun was still able to shine. And it glimmered before him now, blazing in the sky like a great beacon, urging him on. If the sun could find the courage to rise, so could he. He looked to his katana, which laid beside him. As the sun's rays gently caressed the blade, it began to glow vibrantly. The prismatic colors danced about the room as the crystal blade accepted the energy of its life giver—the sun. He took up that glowing, blessed sword, and closed his eyes as the suns warmth washed over him. He opened them again and looked at his reflection in his blade, his crystalline eyes trying to take in every detail of his own face, just to make sure that he was still real—still alive. The face that stared back at him was a mere shadow of his former self—the once courageous, sparkling blue eyes were now dull, almost empty. The spirit had been sucked out of them by the events that those eyes had had to witness. One of them was swollen shut. His red hair was in complete disarray, which wasn't what actually surprised him. He always wore it spiked, even though it made him look very unprofessional. What surprised him was that the spikes were drooping, sloppy, and matted together. His face was pale, almost gray. Four jagged wounds had been inflicted to the rest of his face, and one of them had made a direct hit to his left eye. There were rings under his eyes—those same blue eyes that had watched the death of his father, and now… The deaths of those closest to him… Tears dropped onto the blade, but he wiped them away with his good arm, refusing to submit.

"I am the king of Guardia." He said to himself, in as strong a voice he could muster. "My name is Chrono, and I can't submit to Porre… No matter what they do. No matter…" His words failed him, and his hand dropped back into his lap. Now the tears came faster, drowning his courageous spirit in a torrent of sorrow. After everything we did… He thought angrily. After we worked so hard… Lucca… Marle… Why couldn't we see our own fates written in the future? Why was Guardia able to go on in that future? Did defeating Lavos seal the fate of the kingdom that we fought so hard to protect? In creating a new future, did we erase our own? The thoughts were irrepressible. He had heard what Lynx had said very clearly. He had known for nine days that they were dealing with a monster from the future that was not allowed to exist… But he had no idea… No idea that that monster would bring an army… He slammed his good hand into the ground before him, clenching this fist so hard that it bled.

It had all begun ten days ago… And he knew inside as he looked at the sun… That today's sunrise would be the last he'd ever see.

Chapter one

The first day;

How it all began

IT ALL BEGAN WITH A VISIT TO LUCCA'S HOUSE. Chrono and Marle had decided to go for good two reasons. A, they hadn't seen Lucca in awhile, and B, the ice machine at the palace was broken again. So they had loaded the ice machine into a wagon and had it hauled to Lucca's house. Chrono liked to arrive unannounced as a measure to tease his old friend. She hated it when he visited if her house was a mess, and he loved to see her get worked up. He joked to Marle about making a national sport out of it.

This time, however, they were busted by a spunky little blond kid nicknamed, appropriately, "Kid". Kid was Lucca's number one stooge, and she was obviously the one on point that day at Lucca's orphanage. By the time Chrono realized they were busted it was too late to think of a witty way to still bug Lucca, besides, he was too lazy. But Marle wasn't beaten yet. She executed her plan secretly. They were met by Lucca at her front door, and she looked proud of her preparedness.

"Trying to catch me unprepared, eh?" She said, grinning broadly. Chrono perked a brow, looking her over.

"Looks like I almost did." He said, smiling broadly. Lucca did look like she hadn't been expecting company—her clothes and hair were messy, and even her glasses looked like they were falling off of her face. She scowled at him, fixing her glasses. Marle grinned.

"Kid just made it, huh?"

Lucca grinned.

"Yeah." She confirmed, smiling. "She saw you guys when she was on her way back from Truce. Ran all the way here." She looked behind them, grimacing at the wagon. "Ice machine's broken again?" Chrono nodded.

"Yeah. I don't know what the heck's wrong with it. You're the brain."

"Heh heh, and you're nothing but muscles and hair!" Lucca teased, shoving him a bit. Chrono didn't even move. Marle smiled.

"You two… I never get tired of watching you squabble." Lucca suddenly peered behind Marle, adjusting her glasses.

"Where are they?!" Lucca demanded. She looked up at Chrono, her eyes narrowed. "Why don't you ever bring your kids here to visit me?!"

Marle grinned at Lucca.

"Oh Lucca, you know we always leave them home because you spoil them! All those snacks make them hyper!" Lucca scowled back at Marle.

"And yet you manage to live with Mr. Pixie Stixs over here."

"Hey come on!" Chrono exclaimed. "I didn't eat THAT many!"

"You ate nearly one hundred!!" Lucca pointed out.

"On a dare!!!" Chrono shot back. They would have continued too, except that two small voices from the wagon rang out.

"Daddy's funny!"

"Daddy ate Pixie Stixs!" Two little redheads popped over the rail, one a boy, one a girl. The two looked at the adults and let out cries of glee.

"Miss Lucca!!!" The little girl hopped out of the wagon, running for Lucca. The boy, who was younger, had more trouble getting out, but he managed it. The two of them hugged Lucca, who beamed.

"I knew you were up to something." She said.

Marle grinned.

"That one was my idea."

The group went inside after that, into the cooled air of Lucca's house. She had invented an improved air conditioner, fixing the flaws in her father's design, so her home remained cool most of the time. Chrono liked this as much as his family did. The castle was too warm in the summer, and Lucca's was a nice retreat. The adults sat on couches in Lucca's living room, while to the children played underfoot. Kid had joined them now, along with most of her posse—a bigger boy named Louie who got a kick out of hiding Lucca's blueprints, a girl named Marissa who was obsessed with her hair, a toddler nicknamed "Dribble" who drooled nearly all the time, and another girl named Ally who liked maps. The kids of the orphanage loved with Chrono brought his children over, since it was an instant change in routine. And Chrono's kid's fit in well, even though they were royalty.

Chrono and Marle had originally wanted to wait a bit before having kids, but it only took a year before they changed their minds. The girl, Jade, was a tomboy like her mother. She loved nothing more than a good prank on the poor cook. Even at four she was hard to handle. The boy, Aaron, was mellower. He seemed to have innate magical powers, and a high I.Q.. Lucca often joked around with Chrono about Aaron being "switched at birth". "I never thought I'd see YOU with such a smart kid!" She'd exclaim. Both of the children had red hair like their father, and his same bright blue eyes. Jade was even taking up the katana. She wasn't advanced enough to wield the Rainbow Blade, but Chrono still had his old bowken, and that was perfect for a kid her size.

The three talked for hours, chatting about this and that, as always most of it was meaningless. Towards the third hour though, they did hit a serious subject. They were now very comfortable, drinking chilled sodas.

"I heard that Porre wants its independence." Lucca said, taking a sip from her soda.

Chrono scowled.

"Oh… THAT." He said unhappily. "Yeah. It isn't just that they want their independence… They want our land too. I already told them that they can be their own country if they want. I don't wanna start a war over something so stupid… They seem to want to take advantage of my age. I never thought that Porre would be the place you'd find a revolutionary…"

Lucca nodded.

"That guy… What do they call him?"

"Lynx, I think…" Marle said softly. "He's been boasting that he's got an ace up his sleeve, but he hasn't come to us in person."

"Don't you think that it's a little odd that Porre would become organized so quickly?"

Chrono nodded.

"Yeah. I woulda expected Medina to bother us before Porre ever did. Even Chorus… But Porre…" Chrono shook his head, looking down. It was obviously bothering him. "I mean… My dad was from Porre… He was always so proud of the alliance between Porre and Guardia." Lucca peered at him over her glasses.

"Did Aaron ever mention them being displeased with Guardia? He was friends with the mayor of Porre, right?" Chrono blinked.

"Aaron? Oh, you mean dad… Sorry, since Aaron's been born, I've been getting the names mixed up…"

"Chrono…" Marle looked at him sadly, knowing that memories of his father made Chrono extremely sad. But Chrono seemed willing to continue.

"My dad never said anything about them not liking Guardia… The mayor even brought a special memorial to him… After the fire…"

Lucca was quick to change the subject.

"Anyway, I think you should subdue that Lynx character. I mean, he's the one who stirred this whole mess up."

Chrono shook his head.

"I'd just love to, but they've blockaded their end of the Zenon bridge." Lucca blinked.

"Can they do that?!" Marle nodded solemnly.

"They can do anything they want with their side of the bridge." She said softly. Lucca lowered her tone, worried the kids would overhear them.

"Have they declared war yet?" Chrono shook his head.

"Luckily, no. Also, we have Medina and Chorus on our side. If they pull anything, our allies will help us…" Marle laughed.

"I personally think that Porre is crazy. I mean, not only is Guardia the most powerful kingdom on the planet, it's also home to US! I mean, we won against both Magus and Zeal's armies! We defeated Lavos! What would possess them to try and attack us?" Lucca blinked.

"I wonder…" She slowly stood up and walked to the window. She gazed out of it, her eyes fixed on something outside. Chrono walked up to her, and saw that her eyes were fixed on the sky.

"What's the matter?" He asked, blinking. Lucca turned and smiled at him, tilting her head a bit.

"Oh, it's nothing! I was just remembering something that I had forgotten a while back." She sounded confident, but her eyes betrayed her. Chrono shook his head.

"You're worried. I can tell." Lucca smiled again.

"You just be careful, Chrono… Don't take Porre or Lynx too lightly. Remember that even the tiniest spiders can be poisonous." Chrono laughed, shaking his head.

"Have you forgotten? We wasted Lavos! Our wars are over! I mean, it would take someone even stronger than Lavos to defeat us!" Lucca shook her head.

"Don't you get it, Chrono?! We aren't invincible! If we had never found out about the gates… We would have always been normal kids! It was Spekkio's magic that saved us! We never would have made it out of the Heckran cave alive without it! To say that we're the only ones capable of becoming this strong is completely illogical!" Marle stood up, joining them by the window.

"Yes, but Lucca, you forget… Each of us had something special to begin with." She pointed to Chrono. "Even in the beginning, he was really good with the katana. And I had my pendant, my Aura powers, and my crossbow… And you were a genius! You built weapons that even future technology couldn't beat! Look at the Wonder Shot!" Lucca bowed her head.

"I know that we were a bit advanced… But I'm sure that we weren't the only ones. You don't need magic to be strong. Sometimes all you need is charisma, and a lucky break. That is probably how this madman Lynx got involved with Porre in the first place." Lucca bowed her head. "And… If Lynx has the power to turn a usually docile territory into a bunch of revolutionary guerrillas… Who knows what he could do with Medina. The Mystics may seem calm and peaceful since we tinkered with their past, but they may be easy for Lynx to turn against us. And we know how powerful they are as a whole." Chrono nodded.

"I understand what you're saying… It's a shame we can't use Epoch to visit the future again… I'd like to see how this wraps up BEFORE I have to live it. That way… If anything does go wrong…" Lucca shook her head.

"We can't use Epoch anymore. I left it with Gaspar on my last visit. I didn't have the heart to take it apart, so I thought he might find something useful to do with it…" Marle looked at her in surprise.

"How did you get back? I thought that the gates were dead…" Lucca grinned.

"Oh come on. You think a little technicality like that is gonna phase the greatest scientist in the world? Oops…" She blushed a bit, but recovered. "I had Gaspar make a little tear for me. I used the gate key to direct the path here."

Marle laughed.

"You're always coming up with stuff like that!" Chrono sighed.

"I liked the Epoch… It was cool to fly around in. Why'd you have to give it to Gaspar…?"

"You owe him your life!" Lucca exclaimed. Chrono pouted.

"I know… But I liked Epoch…"

The day continued on, until it was nearly dusk. Finally, Chrono was forced to tell Lucca goodbye. The visit had been an overall happy one, except that they had neglected to get the ice machine fixed, so they left it with Lucca, said their last goodbyes, and headed off towards Guardia Castle. Halfway there, they were met by soldiers who had come looking for them. Chrono waved their worries off, telling them that they had left secretly so that they could avoid all the hubbub that came along with escorts. The soldiers knew it was useless to argue—Chrono had been born free, not under royal rules. And he intended to live as normal a life as possible.

They arrived at the palace just in time for supper, and after that Chrono and Marle put their kids to bed. The two of them then headed to their room where they sat and talked, mostly about the kingdoms newfound problems. The two had very different views of the problems—mostly because of their difference in upbringing. Chrono had difficulty understanding why the problem couldn't be solved with simple diplomacy. Marle, with her knowledge of royal practices, had no problem shooting down most of Chrono's ideas. She assured him that Porre wouldn't give up on the extra land that easily, and that the only way to really calm things down was to show that they were not weak, and that they wouldn't surrender that easily. Chrono shook his head.

"I don't want to start a war… Marle, I don't want our kids to see the things we did." He said unhappily. Marle sighed.

"Chrono, you can't be afraid of being a king. The army… And this country's safety are in your hands. You can't make them think that you're vulnerable!"

"It's not that… I've just got a bad feeling…" Chrono looked down again, staring at his hands. "I've got the same feeling… That I had that time I faced Lavos alone…" Marle looked at him with worried eyes this time, and she stood up slowly.

"Let's talk to Melchoir. I'm sure he'll have an idea… Maybe he can contact Magus."

Chrono blinked.

"Why Magus…?" He asked.

"Well… Magus predicted what happened to you, didn't he? I mean, even if he was a little kid at the time… Maybe he'd be able to…" Chrono shook his head.

"Even though he predicted it, it still didn't change the future." He said softly. Marle looked down again, closing her eyes.

"I'm sure it's nothing to really worry about… I mean, we can take on almost anybody, right?"

"Yeah…" Chrono said, gazing up towards the window before them. "You're right. I think Lucca's wrong for once. No one currently on this planet can match us, and that Lynx guy is just some islander from ElNido. They can't time travel, because the gates are gone, and the Epoch is with Gaspar… I guess I'm just worried. This is my first problem as king." Marle smiled and put her arms around his waist.

"See? I told you… You worry too much!" She winked at him. "Whatever happened to that Chrono that I met at the fair? You weren't scared of anything!"

"Accept Ayla when she was drunk." Chrono said, laughing. Marle giggled, and slowly walked the dresser, on which sat a framed photograph of the entire group—minus Magus. They were all laughing and happy. Marle smiled fondly.

"I miss everyone. I wish we could have a reunion." Chrono hopped off of the bed and joined her, smiling at the picture.
"Yeah, that would be great… Who knows? If Lucca could maybe talk to Gaspar again…" Marle sighed.

"I wonder how everyone is…"

"I'm sure they're fine." Chrono said, putting his arm around her shoulders. Kaeru is probably happily guarding Queen Leene, or slaying monsters or something, Robo is probably hanging out with his friend Aco—whatever her name was… I'm sure that Ayla's drunk off her mind, partying with the rest of the Ioka, and Magus is probably still looking for poor Schala... Who knows? Maybe he found her."

Marle smiled.

"I hope so…" She leaned against him, and they looked out of the window again, staring into the sky. Marle sighed softly. "I wonder if they are as happy as we are…"

"I'm sure they are…" Chrono smiled and pulled her close, kissing her.

As they turned away from the window, they didn't see the dark figure staring up at their window… And they didn't see the gleam of his blade in the moonlight…

Chapter 2

A nightmare relived;

A warning from across time.

CHRONO DREAMED THAT NIGHT. And the dreams were not good ones. He tossed and turned, childhood fears returning to him. He slowly walked through a shroud of mist, looking through the murky air to see the dark figures of his mother, and several others. He came closer, and he could see them then… All of then, the same… And he heard the same voices… The same voices from that night… His mother was screaming, pointing at the house in terror.

Where's Chrono?! I can't find Chrono!!! My son is in that house!

Chrono shook his head. He tried to speak, but he couldn't… Just like always… He thought to her desperately… Trying to stop what he knew would happen…

I'm not!! Mom, I'm here! I'm here! I'm just scared! I can't… Chrono looked up through that murky smoke and saw a tall figure run to his mother. He could see every detail now… The red hair… The blue eyes… The man who Chrono had always strived to be… The man who he only resembled, the man with a spirit he would never be able to match…

Dad… He felt the hot tears rolling down his cheeks when he heard his father's voice… So clear… Even after fifteen years he could remember that voice…

I'll go back in, Cara! He must still be in his room!! There's still a chance for him! Chrono watched as his parents embraced one last time… Heard the voices…

Aaron, be careful, please!!!

It will all be okay… You'll see… I won't come back until I find Chrono! Chrono shook his head desperately, reaching his arms towards them. Fear had frozen him, and he watched through a child's eyes… And no matter what he did, he couldn't move…

Mom!! Don't let Dad go!!! I'm right here!! I can't move! I'm scared! Just look this way! Mom, please!!! His cries when unanswered, and he watched helplessly as his father dashed back into the house… Saw his mother spot him only twenty seconds later… Heard her begging for his father to return… Saw his father appear in the doorway, his tall form framed by fire… Saw his father grin with relief as he laid eyes on Chrono… It seemed like everything was fine… Like everything had worked out as it should… And Chrono was happy… His mother was hugging him, his father was starting to run towards them… And suddenly Chrono saw the house begin to fall forward, the flames reaching like hungry snakes for his father… Watched in terror as his father turned to face the house, only to be engulfed in the flames and fallen debris… He heard his father's screams of pain as he burned alive… And the night echoed with the blood curdling scream that his mother had uttered…

AARON!!!!!!!!!!!

And Chrono looked up just once… And he saw himself in the fire instead of his father… He and Marle and Lucca… Burning…

Chrono jerked awake, crying out. He looked around frantically, only to see that he was back in his bedroom in the castle. He felt himself all over, making sure that he was still in one piece. He brought his hands to his face, trying to stop tears that were threatening to fall. He breathed heavily, feeling nauseated. The fear had been so cold… So real. He looked to Marle and saw that she was still asleep, and he was glad. He didn't want to keep her awake with his problems. He brought his hand to his bare chest, and felt his heartbeat. It was really going. He exhaled and laid back, staring at the ceiling.

What could that dream had meant…? Dad… He closed his eyes painfully. Why did I see myself and the others burning in the end…? I wish… Tears welled up again, but he shook them away. The event had damaged him badly inside, but he had sworn that he wouldn't let it get to him for the rest of his life. But this time… He couldn't stop shaking. He tried to go back to sleep, but he knew that that would be all but useless. It was going to be a long night.

The next morning he finally got some answers.

They were eating breakfast when Lucca suddenly showed up, looking fairly distressed. She explained to them that she had gotten a message from Robo, and that though it was jumbled, it didn't sound good.

"It came in at about twelve last night. I was working on my space pod, when suddenly the transmitter went off. The reception was horrible, but I kind of got the idea." She said, breathlessly. Chrono spoke in a serious tone, his stomach knotting.

"Can you play it for us?" He asked hopefully.

Lucca nodded.

"Sure." She went to work setting the equipment up right away, and within ten minutes they were able to hear Robo's voice for the first time in five years. The signal was indeed bad, so Lucca urged everyone to be absolutely silent.

"Lu…a…Whirrrr…assassin…" There was a great deal of static, and then. "Danger… … …Guardia… …think it is… …La…" And it ended with an explosion of static. Marle blinked.

"What did he mean? Assassin? Danger? In Guardia?" Lucca shook her head.

"I don't know. But we should be on our toes. You know that Robo IS in the future, so he'd know how our lives end up…" Chrono bowed his head, placing his hands on his forehead.

"Great… As if I didn't have enough to worry about…" He sighed, and stood up. Marle blinked at him.

"Where are you going?" She asked. Chrono looked back at her. He seemed to be thinking very hard.

"I'm going to tell the knight captain to ready the troops in case… You know…" Marle shook her head slowly, in disbelief

"You don't think… That Porre is gonna actually—"

Chrono nodded solemnly.

"I'm gonna take your advice, Marle. I'm gonna show them that I'm not so weak." Just as he turned to leave, the chancellor came running into the room, his eyes wide.

"Sir! Lynx of Porre is here to see you!!!" Chrono stopped in his tracks.

"Lynx?!"

"Yessir. He insists on speaking with you."

Marle looked at Chrono horrified. Lucca stood up, her eyes scared too. Chrono looked at them reassuringly.

"It's gonna be fine. Don't worry. Marle, you run back to our room and take Jade and Aaron with you. Lucca, could you go with her and bring me the Rainbow Blade?" Lucca nodded.

"You can count on me." She said, hurrying away. Marle shook her head.

"I don't want you to face him alone." She said pointedly. Chrono smiled.

"I'll be fine, Marle. Someone needs to watch the kids though… And heck, I bet he's just here to surrender." He patted her shoulder. "And if he tries any funny business, I'll just fry him with Luminaire."

"Okay…" Marle said softly. She hurried back to the table, and quickly took the kids upstairs. Lucca was back ten seconds later with Rainbow. Chrono buckled the sheath to his belt and then hurried out to meet Lynx. His heart was pounding, and that feeling in his stomach was getting worse… Like he was marching to his own doom…

Chapter 3

Threat of the Demi-human, Lynx;

A dark vengeance from the future

CHRONO SEATED HIMSELF ON HIS THRONE, AND AWAITED LYNX TO BE BROUGHT BEFORE HIM. Because Lynx was considered a threat, he had to be disarmed before he was allowed in the main hall. The doors slowly swung open, and Chrono finally got his first view of Lynx, and he was surprised.

Lynx was a feline demi-human who stood about six feet two. He had cold piercing eyes, and he wore long dark robes. He snarled at Chrono when he saw him, and he spoke in a low tone, growling like a lion.

"You're nothing but a boy…" He said spitefully. Chrono glared at him.

"What do you want from us, Lynx? Have you come to make peace with us?" Linx snarled again, but this time it was a laugh. A dark laugh that sent shivers down Chrono's spine.

"Oh no… I'm not here to make peace… I'm here to explain a few things to you, your majesty. First off… I don't see why they wasted a Chrono Trigger on bringing back a coward like you… Look at you… Shaking like a child!" Chrono's eyes widened.

"How do you know about the Time Egg?!"

"Oh, I know much more about you than you think…" Lynx said lowly. He snickered. "I know that you cheated death more than once, and once Lavos put you in your place, your friends used the Chrono Trigger to rewrite time… I know that you destroyed a timeline, denying billions the chance to exist just because that future wasn't "good enough" for you…" Chrono stood up.

"That future was horrible!!! The humans there were dying! They supported what we did!!!"

Lynx glared at him.

"Only those delusional fools in Arris Dome did… Doan was a senile fool."

"Shut up!" Chrono pointed at Lynx, his eyes flashing with hate. His dislike for Lynx was immediate, because he sounded so much like Queen Zeal. Heartless, cold, and twisted by the dark light of Lavos. "You don't know anything about that future! We worked so hard so that people wouldn't have to go through that tragedy! Even though that future had nothing to do with us, and we knew that we would be long dead by then, we fought to fix it!!" Lynx growled again.

"And when you were "fixing" the future, did you ever stop to think about those who wouldn't exist if Lavos was destroyed? Did you think for once, that maybe some of them were just happy existing?!" Chrono bowed his head.

"We knew… That there would be a chance that that would happen… But we… We didn't want to hurt anyone…" Lynx sighed.

"Well, I have to tell you… You didn't only hurt "other people"… I'm sure you got Prometheus's message? The one from the new future? Heh. Did you know that Guardia doesn't exist in that future?" Chrono's eyes widened.

"What do you mean…?"

Lynx smiled, this time almost sickly.

"Because… In that future, the kingdom of Guardia was destroyed… In the year 1005… It's young king and queen were assassinated, and Truce Village was burned to the ground. Porre ascended to power, and it began a conquest to take over the world. Medina and Chorus were eventually added to its empire… As well as the ElNido archipelago. You see… By erasing that "unfit future", you erased your own kingdom's future. Guardia would have gone on until 1999, becoming a great prosperous kingdom. Because of your "gallant efforts", you have managed to destroy Guardia a full 994 year's early! Congratulations." Chrono stared at Lynx in shock, his mouth open. Lynx snickered again.

"And the first to fall… Will be Guardia's young king… The charismatic Chrono, the one who is beloved by all his people… But who is scorned in the destroyed future… In the future that was denied existence…" Lynx raised his hand, and dark light began to glow about him. A sickle became visible within his robes, and he flew across the room, quick as lightning towards Chrono. The soldiers ran to stop him, but it seemed too late. Just as Lynx reached Chrono, however, a single shot was fired from behind the throne. Lynx tumbled backwards, hitting the ground. He looked up, growling as Lucca stepped out from behind the throne, holding the smoking Wonder Shot. She narrowed her eyes at Lynx, aiming the gun at him.

"Don't move." She said lowly. Chrono stood up, drawing the Rainbow Sword, but Lynx only laughed.

"You can't fight destiny." He said, standing. "I'll see you again… And next time… You will all die." He vanished in a dance of light, and as he did, his evil laughter echoed through the palace. Chrono dropped his sword and let out a long sigh. Lucca looked at him.

"You okay?" Chrono nodded, looking at her.

"How did you know he would attack…?"

"Robo's message… It mentioned an assassin… So I decided not to take any chances. He was faster than I thought though… Powerful too." Chrono nodded.

"I'm going to assemble the army. I don't want him or anyone from Porre getting into Truce or Guardia, for that matter…" He turned, and faced the bewildered chancellor. "Call for a meeting immediately."

"Yes, your majesty…" Said the Chancellor, and he hurried off. Lucca looked at Chrono, her eyes serious.

"I want to head back home, if it's okay. I want to check on the kids." Chrono nodded.

"That's a good idea." But then he looked down. He spoke in a worried tone. "On second thought, Lucca… I think you should leave Guardia."

"What? Why?!" She exclaimed. "You need me!"

Chrono shook his head.

"You're in danger too, and you don't have a castle to keep that guy out. I think you should retreat to Medina. Stay with Melchoir. He's a guru, so maybe he can do something about Lynx…" Lucca shook her head.

"I have to stay in Truce, Chrono… What if we get more messages from Robo?" Chrono bowed his head.

"I can't force you, Lucca… But I really wish you would…"

She smiled a bit, and then shook her head.

"You worry too much! Look at what I just did to Lynx!" Chrono closed his eyes, bowing his head.

"Still… I've got the worst feeling…" He shook his head, suddenly understanding her point. She didn't want to leave him and Marle. "You hurry home then, and watch those kids… I'll send soldiers to guard your house. If things get hairy though, use the underwater passage to escape to Medina."

Lucca nodded.

"Okay. I will." She saluted, and hurried away. Chrono watched her go, and he sighed, looking down. He brought a hand to his chest, and drew it away again. It was smeared with blood. The wound he had gotten was very minor, almost only a scratch. But Lynx had gotten so close… The scene played out in his mind again. He had believed that Lynx wouldn't be able to touch him in his palace. He had always believed that if anyone attacked him, or his family, he'd easily fend them off. But if Lucca hadn't been there… He would have been run through. And then… He doubted Lynx would have stopped with him… He was brought out of his shock by the chancellor.

"Sir, everyone's ready in the briefing room." He said. He then got a look at the wound, and he gasped. "Sire!!! You're injured!!!" Chrono shook his head.

"I'm fine. It's just a scratch… I'll go talk to them now."

Chrono headed down the stairwell to the soldier's briefing room. When he arrived, all talking in the room ceased. The knight captain took his helmet off and bowed, moving out of his way. Chrono crossed the room, heading for the podium. When he got there, he closed his eyes, thinking of what to say.

"As you may or may not know…" He began. "Only moments ago I was attacked in the grand hall by Lynx of Porre." There were an assortment of cries from the soldiers around the room, but Chrono raised a hand, silencing them. "Lady Lucca was able to stop the attack, but it opened my eyes…" He studied the faces of his soldiers. They were shocked, and angry that such a thing had happened right under their noses. Many of them had been the same soldiers that had thrown him in jail only five years earlier, but now they adored their young king. Chrono had been kind to them every day since his ascension after the death of the former king. He had instated laws that increased their paychecks, and gave them more time with their families. To hear that he'd nearly been assassinated enraged them. Chrono took a deep breath, and he continued.

"I never wanted war." He said, softly. "After everything Queen Nadia, Lucca, I, and the rest of our comrades went through for peace… I didn't want to see Guardia in another war. Especially a war with Porre. My father was a soldier in the local militia there, and I've always had a closeness with Porre. But now… They have made it clear that they will not support the peace that I have strived to keep alive. Lynx came bearing direct threats to not only I and my family, but to the entire kingdom. I have decided then, to increase the number of soldiers posted at Zenon Bridge. I also want the ferry to stop running to Porre, and I want all of our ships ready to inact a barricade of Porre. I also want the cannons ready incase we have to destroy Zenon Bridge all together. I'm going to contact Chorus and Medina to ask for volunteers to help us. Now…" He looked at all of them, and he lowered his voice. "It's important that I know this now… How many of you are from Porre?" A few hands were raised, and Chrono sighed heavily. "If you want to go back to Porre, to join up with their military, you will not be persecuted. I know that… If I were a soldier serving in Porre right now, I would want to be able to join an army from my homeland so I could defend Truce, and my family and friends."

One of the soldiers who had raised their hands then stood, looking at Chrono.

"Sire, I think I speak for everyone here when I say… We will all do everything we can to prevent bloodshed. We are all at your service." His comment was rewarded by cheers, and Chrono smiled.

"Thank you all…"

The soldiers cheered and sang Guardia's national anthem, cheering about how their kingdom would go on forever…

If only they'd known the truth…

Chapter 4

Lynx's plan revealed;

Chrono realizes the mistake too late

THE BATTLES BEGAN ONLY THREE DAYS AFTER THE FIRST ATTEMPT ON CHRONO'S LIFE. The first of them were fought over possession of the Zenon Bridge, as Chrono had anticipated. He sent a large amount of troops to Zenon to meet the enemy, and at first spirits were high. Everyone in Truce thought that they were fine. Reinforcements were ready from Medina and Chorus if it was necessary, and after all, Guardia's King and Queen had helped destroy an ancient evil. No one believed that the fighters from Porre had a chance. For a day and a half the Porre forces were pounded by a stronger, more experienced Guardia, and the entire world mocked Porre's idiocy. Why would such a small territory dare attack the mightiest country in the world? Chrono was sure that everything would be okay, and he even made time to make appearances in Truce Village. He visited his mother, as well as Lucca. He even took the ferry to Medina to make a visit to Melchoir. He seemed far more confident then that he had before the war had broken out. For the first time, he felt sure that he had made the right decisions. But that all changed suddenly on the sixth night of fighting…

Chrono was awakened from his sleep by shouts outside, in the hallway. He blinked the sleep away, and hurried out of his room. The chancellor met him there.

"Sire! There's been a surprise attack on Truce!!!"

Chrono's heart froze. He stumbled backwards in shock, his eyes wide.

"What…?" He choked out in disbelief. Marle joined him at the door.

"What's happened at Truce?" She asked, concerned. The chancellor bowed his head.

"They got through our blockade… I don't know how they managed it… But they did…" Chrono collapsed to his knees in disbelief.

"It was a set up…"

"What?" Marle looked at him in shock. "What do you mean a set up…? What was?"

Chrono closed his eyes painfully.

"The fights on the bridge… They did it to keep us busy… Lynx knew what I would do… He knew…" He shook his head in shock. "I walked right into his trap… He attacked me just to provoke me to take the initiative… Then he simply struck somewhere else…" He looked back up at the Chancellor. "How much damage has been done to Truce? Are there any reported casualties?"

The Chancellor nodded.

"A few people were killed near the docks… The soldiers that were posted there have been all but wiped out… But those accounts are over an hour old…"

"Can we spare any soldiers from Zenon?"

The Chancellor shook his head.

"I'm afraid not… We're still being pounded on that side. A retreat there would mark our doom." Chrono sighed heavily.

"I want all extra soldiers in the palace to go face the enemy in Truce. I also want Truce evacuated. We don't need civilians getting killed for no reason."

The Chancellor nodded.

"Yessir. I'll give the orders right away." Chrono nodded.

"Good. Also, get my horse ready." The Chancellor blinked.

"I don't understand…"

"I'm going." Chrono said. The chancellor nodded, saluted, and hurried away.

Marle shook her head. "It's too dangerous!!!" She cried, looking at him pleading eyes… Eyes that saw more in Chrono than they wanted to see… Chrono knew she could sense his fear. He cursed himself for being a coward… For worrying Marle. But he faked a smile, and placed his hands on her shaking shoulders.

"It's okay Marle…" He said, softly brushing her hair back. "I'll be fine… They need me, Marle… And I have to take care of my mother…" Marle smiled up at him, despite the tears rolling down her cheeks.

"I understand, Chrono… But please… Please promise me that you'll come back…" She looked directly into his eyes, and winked. "And that you'll give 'em hell." Chrono hugged her, smiling.

"That's my girl…" He whispered happily. Marle grinned.

"Don't forget your Rainbow Sword… Or your armor…" Chrono laughed softly.

"I thought that you were gonna trust me?" He asked. Marle shook her head.

"I never said that. You'll always be a bit of an airhead. I just want to make sure you don't get out there and then realize that you forgot your sword, that's all." She forced another smile, but no one was laughing. Both of them knew that Guardia was in terrible trouble, but neither wanted to admit it to the other. The initial attack on Truce had been an hour ago… It would be another hour before help could reach the town… Chrono went back into the room and quickly dressed, grabbing all the essentials. He took all the same pouches he had taken when he fought Lavos, wore the same armor… Only now he wore the garments of the Guardian Royal Family over them. He then adorned the Royal War Armor, a golden ornamental plate worn over his royal cloak. He looked at himself in the mirror as he buckled his belt. He admired how he looked in his war armor in the full-length mirror that hung on his wall—it was the first time he'd needed to don it. He looked like a boy in man's clothing, and that annoyed him. Marle walked to him and handed him his helmet. It was golden as well, with read markings an gemstones imbedded into it. There were two wings on either side of it. He looked back at Marle, how rested her hands on his arm.

"Listen." She said, her voice on edge. "You're my husband, Chrono… We've been through too much to have it all end now. Please… Please come back to me when this is over…" Chrono smiled down at her reassuringly.

"Marle, don't worry… Look at that mirror." He gestured to the mirror before them, and then looked back to her. "As long as this castle stands, and this mirror isn't broken, you'll never have to see yourself in it alone. I swear to you Marle… As long as Guardia survives, I will too… I won't let anyone hurt you, Jade, or Aaron. I'll protect you… As long as my soul will hold out, and that is a long time. You don't have to worry… You'll never be left alone." He pulled her close, and they kissed passionately, standing there in front of that golden mirror. The moonlight illuminated them both as Chrono pulled away with the whisper of "I love you…". He turned on heel, looking back at her in the moonlight that shown through the window.

"I love you too… Please come back to me, Chrono…" She whispered.

Chrono winked.

"Have I ever let you down before?" He asked, grinning to hide his worry. He then turned and left the room in a hurry. Marle sat down on the bed, and she looked down.

"I have the worst feeling… Chrono…"

Chapter 5

The beginning of the end;

The Fall of Truce

TRUCE VILLAGE WAS AFLAME WHEN CHRONO REACHED IT, AND HE AND HIS MEN STOOD THERE IN SILENT AWE AT WHAT THEY BEHELD. Chrono shook his head as he moved through the debris. They had moved fast… So fast… One of Chrono's men spoke in a horrified voice.

"They left no one alive… We're too late…"

It seemed to be true. The dead littered the streets, homes had been destroyed… They moved from burning house to burning house, searching for any survivors… But they found no one. Chrono felt his stomach knot as he neared his mother's house. He reached it, only to find it burning as well. Memories from his youth threatened to come screaming back into reality, but he held them in check. He moved closer, only to hear a meow at his feet. He looked down and saw his cat at his feet. The cat meowed at him again, and he looked down.

"Oh, Kitty…" He said softly, reaching for it. But the cat dashed out of his reach, and it ran behind the house. Chrono followed it, but stopped in his tracks when he got there. His crystal eyes filled with tears at the sight that greeted him. The flames licked at the house behind him, the soldiers were screaming something about an ambush… But he heard nothing… Nothing but the pounding of his own heart, and the sound of his own sobs…

His mother lay dead in their back yard. She had collapsed after taking an arrow to the back. His father's sword was in her lifeless hand. She had tried to fight back. It was the only explanation. She was just a homemaker… Just a mother, and a woman… Nothing more… She'd done nothing to anyone in her life… Chrono was the only accomplishment she ever made. She had raised him, mostly as a single parent. She had always been cheerful, she had never complained about having a shortage of money… Never complained when Chrono needed extra funds to buy a toy sailboat… Never complained when he came back battered and bruised after playing in the ravine… She had always taken it with good humor, saying things like "you should behave more often, Chrono… You're such a naughty boy." Or "You do know that goblins like to eat naughty little boys who go in their ravine.". Chrono had loved his mother more than anything… But now she lay lifeless at his feet, her face expressionless. He saw her in his mind, smiling at him, announcing that she was going to be making his favorite dish for dinner, and that he needed to make sure to wash his hands before supper… All of that shattered, as did his heart. He dropped to his knees, and placed his gauntleted hand to his mother's cheek.

"Well mom… At least… At least you're with dad now… …" He hung his head, and stayed like that for what seemed like an eternity, until he heard someone cry faintly: "Protect the king!!!" Chrono looked up just in time to hear a gunshot. He saw the soldier holding the smoking gun, and he braced himself for the impact. A guard brought himself up between the bullet and the young king, however, taking a fatal hit in the process. Chrono leapt to his feet as the soldier fell, and he let out a cry of agony. The Porre soldiers looked at him bewildered pointed to them and spoke in a low tone.

"How could you do this to Truce?!" He cried angrily. "They were innocent!!! These people had nothing to do with your stupid conquest! Couldn't they have just been captured?! Did you really have to kill them all?!" He brought his hands up, floating up into the air. "I'll show you… What it's like to fight someone who isn't so helpless!!!!" He closed his eyes, feeling the electric field around him building. He hurt badly on the inside, and that hatred was focused on these men. They would feel the pain that his mother and friends had. The men began screaming as the dome of electricity formed over them, washing down in torrents of pure energy. There was a blinding flash, and Chrono lowered back to the ground. The screams had stopped almost immediately, as if a wire had been snipped. Chrono watched as nearly twenty soldiers hit the ground in unison. He shook his head. "I never wanted war…" He whispered. He then turned back to his soldiers.

"I want this place cleaned out of those bastards. Rescue any survivors! Bring the dead to the palace! We'll give them a hero's burial…" He hurried back towards his horse, but one of the men stopped him.

"Wait! Where are you going?!" The soldier cried.

"To see if Lucca is okay." Chrono responded, swinging onto the saddle. He looked back towards the soldier. "Take news to the castle… Tell them that they need to be ready—a siege could come at any time. I also want word spread to the soldiers at Zenon… That bridge must be held at all costs! Lynx is probably planning to bring the forces that he got through Truce to Zenon to attack from behind. If our men get caught in a pincer, we're…"

"Screwed, sir?" The soldier answered for him, sensing the tension of the situation. Chrono nodded.

"Tell my wife to be ready. Her healing powers might be needed."

The soldier nodded.

"Yessir!"

Chrono urged his horse to go, and as he was leaving, he turned around to take one last look at Truce, his home… He heard the ringing of Nadia's bell, but then it stopped. There was a loud metallic thud, as if something had heavy fallen. Chrono's heart felt heavy. He urged his horse to go as fast as it could, shouting commands to it. When they got out of Truce, he was alarmed at how calm it was… That was when he heard the screaming… And he knew right then, that Lucca's house hadn't been spared in the attack.

He rode up to the bridge leading to her house, and then let out a cry of dismay at the sight. Lucca's house was aflame. It burned unnaturally, and this time Chrono could feel magic in that fire. Certainly Lucca hadn't purposely set it. Maybe she had been fighting and it had accidentally happened… Surely they were all all right. They had to be. Lucca was simply too powerful to die so easily. He wouldn't allow himself to believe otherwise. He rode across the bridge, and blinked in confusion when he saw Kid standing near a boy with blue hair. The boy was about 17, and he held a large Swallow. Chrono shouted to them.

"Hey!!! Kid!" Kid turned and looked at him, blinking.

"Uncle Chrono?" She blinked several times, and then looked up at the boy that was with her. "Wait here, okay? Please don't leave me yet…"

The boy bowed his head.

"I have to go… I'm sorry…" He said softly.

"Will I see you again…? So that I won't be alone?" Kid asked in a small voice. The boy nodded.

"Yeah. I'm sure of it." He looked up to Chrono, and the Swallow glowed a bit. Chrono though he heard two familiar voices…

"Look… It's Chrono…"

"Then… He's still—"

"Doreen! Can't we do anything?!"

"There has to be something!!!"

"I'm sorry, Masa and Mune… We simply don't have the power… I wish we could do something too…"

Chrono blinked. By now he had gotten off of his horse and joined the group.

"Masa and Mune?! What are you doing with that boy?!" The boy turned to Chrono, looking at him with deep purple eyes. They were sad eyes, as if he knew something.

"So you're Chrono…? You're one of Lucca's friends. I heard about you…"

Chrono shook his head.

"Who are you?! Are you with Porre?!"

The boy shook his head. He smiled a bit.

"I'm from ElNido. Don't worry… I'll take care of Kid." He smiled down at his Swallow. "And the Mastermune."

"Mastermune?!"

The boy smiled at him, his form dimming. Light began to rim his being.

"I wish I had more time to get to know you… But just remember… No matter what happens, my friends and I won't let the future that you fought so hard for disappear. I promise…" The boy vanished, and Chrono blinked in disbelief.

"He came from… The future?" Chrono stared at the place where the boy had stood, feeling his stomach knot. He was brought out of it by Kid's sobbing.

"He said he'd be with me! He wasn't supposed to leave!!!" Chrono knelt next to her, comforting her.

"Hey hey… Calm down. Where are Lucca and the others…?" Kid shook her head, her eyes glistening with tears.

"They all burned up!!!!" She screamed, dropping to her knees. Chrono shook his head.

"No… That… That can't be…" He looked to Kid. "Lucca… Where's Lucca?!" He cried, kneeling next to her. "Tell me Kid!!! Where is she?!"

"Big sis…" Kid whispered. "Lynx… He called himself Lynx… He… He killed big sis!!!!" Kid held the Wonder Shot out to Chrono, and he took it in his hand, bowing his head in utter horror, his blue eyes wide.

"No…" He whispered in a tight pain-filled voice. Suddenly, sheer terror gripped his heart. If Lucca could be overcome… Then Marle… He took Kid's hand roughly, pulling her away from the tree. "We're going to the castle. Now." Kid ripped her hand away.

"No! I'm staying here!!! Some of my friends might come back!!"

Chrono shook his head.

"Kid! I don't have time to argue!! We have to go—NOW!" Kid backed away from him.

"NO!" She turned and took off into the forest that surrounded Lucca's house. Chrono glared at the bushes she had disappeared into.

"Fine then!!! I'm not going to chase you though the woods all day!!! Just stay hidden—that's all I ask!!" He leapt back onto his horse and thundered off into the night.

And in those bushes, Kid slowly peaked out and watched him go. She sniffled and whispered.

"Good luck, Uncle Chrono…"

Chapter 6

The end of a Guardia;

Chrono's heart is destroyed

CHRONO DASHED INTO THE PALACE, PRAYING THAT HE WOULD MAKE IT IN TIME. He looked around, and was greeted by screaming and shouting. A man with a sword leapt at him from the staircase, screaming.

"Death to the Guardians!!!"

Chrono looked up, surprised, and he sideswiped the blow. Chrono ripped the Rainbow Blade out of its sheath, blocking the next attack. His assailant shouted out angrily and brought his sword down on Chrono again, and this time when Chrono parried, his enemy's blade shattered. Chrono easily took down his would-be assassin with one stab to the chest. The man fell to the ground screaming, but Chrono paid no attention to him. He had to find Marle and his children. He dashed up the stairs and into the Grand Hall, where he was greeted by a bloody melee. His soldiers were making their last stand. Unfortunately, most of Guardia's troops were still at the Zenon bridge. Chrono now saw the full scale of Lynx's plan. The Zenon bridge battle was not only a diversion, it was also a ploy to draw most of Guardia's defenses away from the palace. A more experienced king would have seen the trick, but Chrono… He had been so sure of their power when he had given the orders… He shook the thoughts away, and began to fight his way through the melee, heading towards the stairwell to his children's room. He fought with the fury of ten men, using his magic to down anyone who dared attack him. He reached the top of the stairwell and broke the door down.

Inside he was greeted by an arrow shaft.

Chrono let out a cry and he stumbled back, gripping his chest and the place where the arrow had hit. He looked up through fogged vision to see a figure bending over him. His mind raced with a thousand thoughts at once… He was certain that Lynx had beaten him to his children, and now Chrono was going to die, right there, from one arrow. He coughed weakly, slumping against the wall. He felt an explosion of pain in his chest as the arrow was pulled out, and he heard frantic voices. Suddenly, a cooling relief spread over his body, and the pain dulled and disappeared. Chrono coughed again, but he could now hear the voices better.

The voice was Marle.

"Wake up!!! Oh my God, don't die on me here! I didn't mean it! I thought you were someone else!!!" Then he heard his children.

"Daddy, wake up!!!"

"Daddy!!!!"

He felt a cool hand touching his face, and he opened his eyes, wincing. He was greeted by his family, each and every one of them in one piece. Marle threw her arms around him.

"I'm so sorry!!! I thought that you were a soldier!!!" She cried again, sobbing. Chrono smiled.

"I'm fine, Marle… Your magic did the trick." He looked down at his armor. There was now a hole in it directly where his heart was. He grinned at Marle. "But whoa—I'll remember never to make you mad. You sure do aim to kill!"

Marle sighed.

"I was so worried!! The castle was suddenly attacked by all of these soldiers! I thought for sure that they had killed you and all your men…"

"No." Said Chrono, shaking his head. "I'm fine… Mother and Lucca though… Marle, they were killed…"

Marle brought her hands to her mouth in shock.

"No…"

Aaron and Jade looked at Chrono worried.

"Daddy," Aaron said unhappily. "Will those bad men find us?"

"Yeah daddy," Jade echoed. "Will they…?"

Chrono bowed his head.

"Only if we stay here." He said, picking Aaron up. "We need to get out of here. If we can get to the underwater passage by Lucca's house, we can make an escape to Medina." Marle nodded.

"Good idea." She agreed, picking up Jade. "But how do we get out of here?"

Chrono looked at the ground. It had been easy enough for him to get in alone, but he didn't know how they would get out with the kids. Chrono was afraid to go downstairs with the children. Being the Royal Family, they would all most likely be shot before they got out of the door. And with the children, both he and Marle had their hands full. Escape seemed impossible. He knew they couldn't stay where they were… But how… Then it hit him. The prison! He knew that they could climb there from the window trellis, and from there they could take the passageways down. There was a secret passageway to Truce Canyon in the depths of the dungeon, and that was a royal secret. It had been built by the King in 600AD to be an escape route in case the Mystics ever attacked again. Well, it wasn't to fight the Mystics, but it would be used as an escape route. Chrono hurried to the door. He slammed it shut, and pulled the bed against it, barricading it the best he could. Then he turned to his family.

"Listen… We can take the passage in the dungeon. We're gonna have to climb, but we can make it."

Marle nodded, understanding.

"Okay." She shifted Jade onto her back, and spoke softly. "Jade, honey, you're gonna have to hold on, okay? You can't get scared now."

"Okay mommy." Jade said.

"Aaron," Chrono said, shifting him onto his back as well. "You've gotta stay calm, okay?"

"Don't worry, daddy. I understand." Aaron said, smiling. Chrono felt his tension ease a bit. Aaron was perfectly calm. Even Jade had mellowed down. The two seemed to sense the severity of the situation. Chrono moved to the window. Just as he had opened it, shouts erupted in the hallway.

"The king is in here!!! I saw him come up these stairs!!"

"Oh no!!" Chrono cried. He cursed, and looked to Marle. "Go, quick!!"

Marle nodded and climbed out of the window. Jade began to cry quietly as Marle steadied herself on the trellis outside, but other than that, they had no problems. Chrono turned to the window himself, and he clambered onto the trellis. Aaron tightened his grip, but he kept quiet. Chrono looked down, only to see Marle swinging onto the catwalk that led to the dungeon. She dashed into the dungeon without a sound. Chrono let out a sigh of relief, but that sigh died in his throat when he heard shouting above him.

"Get up here!!! Get up here, or we'll shoot you and the boy!" Chrono looked up into the cold eyes of a Porre soldier. His gun was pointed at Chrono, but it was shaking. Chrono sighed painfully and climbed back up. He entered the window, and felt the cold metal of a gun against his head. He spoke lowly.

"Would you really shoot a child?" He asked. "What does it matter to you if you kill them…? You've already destroyed Truce, and killed most of our soldiers. Why can't at least my wife and children live on? Why do they have to die? If you want to kill for kicks, kill me. I'm not helpless." He heard a click next to his ear. Chrono winced, and Aaron let out a cry.

"Please no!" He cried. "Not my daddy!" Aaron dashed out in front of Chrono, and he looked up at the soldier. "Sir, please… My daddy is a good man…" The boy spoke with a wisdom beyond his years. The soldier looked at the three year old with mixed emotions. Aaron continued.

"Sir, my daddy and mommy and Ms. Lucca… They saved the world from Lavos. They saved our future. Are you a daddy? Please don't take my daddy away!" The soldier slowly lowered his gun, and he bowed his head.

"Take your boy and go… Before the others come."

Chrono brightened up.

"You're serious?"

The soldier nodded.

"I don't see what harm you pose to Porre now…" He shook his head. "I have a boy at home. He's older than yours, but I'd hate for him to grow up without a father… I want to teach him to look at every situation fully, and to make sure that he feels each action he does is right. It's the way I was raised… And now here I am sparing you, Sir Chrono…" He gave a half smile, and pushed some of his blond hair out of his face. "So get the hell outta here. Go into exile or whatever. Just take care of that kid." Chrono smiled.

"Thank you… If I ever do get to be in any position of power again, you'll be well rewarded."

The guard scoffed and turned away.

Chrono climbed out of the window again, and this time he successfully swung out onto the catwalk. He dashed into the cover of the dungeon, hurrying into the stairwell. Marle awaited him there. She threw her arms around him, sobbing.

"I thought that they caught you!!!" She wailed. Jade was hysterical too.

"Daddy, Aaron, we thought we'd never see you again!!!" Aaron smiled.

"You didn't have to worry. The nice man let us go." Marle looked questioningly at Chrono, but he shook his head.

"Don't worry about it. Let's just focus on getting out of here, okay?"

Marle nodded.

"Okay." She looked up the staircase worriedly. "But it's only a matter of time before they find us down here. We have to hurry!!!" Chrono nodded.

"Yeah. Let's go."

The group hurried down the stairs, heading deeper into the dungeon. Chrono remembered when he had been held in this dungeon after being falsely accused of kidnapping Marle. He hadn't known about the secret passage back then, and it was ironic that if he had known of it, they never would have ended up in the future, thus they never would have found out about Lavos. And he would be living with his mother right now, or he would have married one of the village girls. Porre wouldn't be attacking… He shook those thoughts away. It was no use thinking about it now, and besides… He wouldn't trade the last five years for a hundred years.

Deeper down, the paths twisted and turned erratically. They had been walking for an hour, and everyone was feeling tired. The battles were far above them now, and no one else knew about these passages anyway, so Chrono decided it was safe to rest. He looked back at his family, but felt an edge of regret. He should be up there fighting for his country like any good king. But he didn't dare leave his family behind. There was another thing bugging him too. Had Porre gotten into Truce Canyon? If they had, they'd be walking right into a trap. He looked around for somewhere where his family would be safe. He saw a cell that had a release on the inside. Obviously, it was for locking things out. Probably a weapons store or something. There was a keyhole on the outside, and now he was certain it was a weapons store. He turned to Marle.

"Marle, you and the kids get in that cell over there and lock the bars. I'm going to go on alone for a bit."

"But why?" Marle asked, blinking.

Chrono sighed.

"If Porre is in Truce Canyon, then they'll catch us all when we come out of hiding. I want to see if it's safe up ahead." Marle nodded.

"Okay then, Chrono… Please be careful. I'll wait here." She looked to Jade and Aaron. "Let's get in the cell, Jade, Aaron." Jade smiled.

"We'll be safe there, right mommy?"

Aaron looked to Chrono.

"Daddy, be careful, okay?"

"I will be." Chrono promised. He kissed his children goodbye, and turned to Marle. "Don't let anyone in except for me. Understand?"

Marle nodded.

"Don't worry so much!" She exclaimed. She then led Aaron and Jade into the cell, locking the door. She smiled to Chrono. "Good luck, Chrono…"

Chrono looked at them thoughtfully. He studied the cell they were in, making sure that there was no way in. Finally satisfied, he backed away, now studying the faces of his family now. He had a cold feeling of sorrow inside that he couldn't explain… Like a premonition. Finally he turned on heel and hurried down the passageway.

The passage was very narrow at parts, and it was in bad shape. He followed it to its end, emerging in Truce Canyon. It was quiet, and he could hear the babbling of a stream nearby. He heard no soldiers. He decided to try the ultimate test.

"Heeeeeeeey!!!!!!!!!!" He shouted as loud as he could. He drew his sword as fast as he could, readying himself for battle. Minutes passed, and no one came. He sighed, turning back into the caverns. It was safe. Finally he felt hopeful for the first time in hours. Truce Canyon would be safe for now, at least. He kept walking, listening to his heavy footfalls. His armor clanked too, and he wrinkled his nose. Anyone in a five-mile radius could hear me coming… He thought. As he got closer to the cell, he heard faint talking. He smiled, feeling warm inside. His family. He had lost his kingdom, his mother, and his best friend all in the space of one night, but at least… At least he had his wife and children…

That was when he heard the screams…

Chrono's heart froze in terror when he heard them. He knew right away… They had been followed. He was such a fool… He heard Marle shouting, and winced as a cold blast of air shot passed him. He began to run, drawing his sword. He turned the corner… Saw his children first, their wide eyes staring past Marle to him… Saw Marle next as she fell back… And saw the black cape of a familiar figure… Jade's face lit up at the sight of her father.

"Daddy!!!" She cried, running past the cloaked figure. Chrono gasped as the figure turned slowly, its dark eyes locked on Chrono. Chrono felt pure terror grip him when he recognized the figure. Lynx…

Chrono shook his head and screamed to Jade.

"Jade—GET BACK!!!!"

Jade didn't stop though, and Lynx smiled slightly as he brought his sickle down the girl. Jade gasped as it cut through her, her blue eyes widening. She fell onto the blade, where she lay motionless. Marle let out a scream of agony and Aaron began sobbing. Lynx coldly forced the girl off of his blade. Chrono shook his head, his blue eyes filled with tears.

"NOOOOO!!!!!!" He screamed running to the cell. He rattled the door, but it was locked. "Marle—Marle, open the door!!! Use your magic on Jade, do something QUICK!!!"

Marle shook her head in terror.

"He—he blocks my magic!!!" She cried, sobbing. Chrono kept banging on the door.

"Then open the door—Marle!!! Please!!!!"

Lynx said nothing. His cold eyes remained on Chrono for what seemed like an eternity, and he watched the young king try to break into the cell. Then he silently turned to Marle and Aaron. Chrono was screaming, throwing all of his weight against the bars. He began to spark with electricity, light glowing around him. Suddenly he felt a strange feeling come over him, and the electricity failed. He blinked, and turned, seeing a girl standing behind him. She was dressed in a harlequin's outfit, and she smiled, waving. She did a back flip and she vanished. Chrono turned back to Lynx and his family, and he tried to summon his magic, but it wouldn't work. That harlequin… She had done something to him. He knew it. So now he watched helplessly as Marle struggled to hold off Lynx with no magic, and a waning supply of arrows. Lynx easily blocked all of them, his grin broadening each time Marle had to frantically reload. He screamed, throwing himself at the bars.

"MARLE!!! AARON!!!" He shook the bars frantically, beating on them until his hands bled. Aaron ran for the bars, taking the same course his sister had. Only he was a bit smarter. He dashed in between the bars, hiding behind Chrono's legs. He was sobbing, clinging to his father. Marle screamed to them, firing the last two of her arrows.

"Run Chrono!!! You and Aaron run!!! Please!!!!"

Chrono shook his head.

"I can't leave you!!! Try to open the door Marle, please!!!"

"But then—" She winced as she realized she was out of ammo. "If I open the door, you two will be in danger!!!"

Chrono banged his fist against the bars again.

"Damnit Marle!!! I can fight him!!!! You're out of ammo—I can't watch you die!!!! First Jade… Not you too!!!!" He watched desperately as Marle slowly backed away from Lynx, who advanced on her. He let out a choked sob and screamed; "LYNX!!!! Coward, come and face me!!! I'll make you pay for what you did to Jade!!! Leave Marle alone!!!"

Lynx said nothing, but he turned away from Marle. He lowered his blade and spoke softly.

"Fine then… I will face you."

Chrono felt relief spread over him. His heart ached though, as his eyes fell on his motionless daughter. His eyes filled with more hot tears of anger and pain. But he managed to smile weakly to Marle.

"Come on Marle… Open the door… Escape with Aaron!!"

Marle looked at him, and their eyes met. She moved across the cell, and released the lock. The door swung open, and she ran towards Chrono.

"Chrono!!!"

She had nearly gotten to them, when Lynx suddenly smiled. Chrono's heart froze.

No… God please… No…

Lynx brought his sickle up, dashed forward, and swept it down onto Marle's back. Aaron screamed in pure terror as the blade cut through his mother's back. Marle coughed, tears flying from her eyes as they widened with shock. Lynx pulled the sickle from her back, and she fell forward onto her knees. She reached for Chrono weakly.

"Chrono… Chan…" She whispered.

"MARLE!!!!!!!" He screamed in agony, tears flying from his eyes like rain. Marle stumbled forward, somehow getting onto her feet. She reached for Chrono weakly again, whispering his name. Chrono dashed towards her, but just as he was about to reach her, the bars sprung up again. Chrono cried out as the sharpened edge of the base of the bars scraped against his arms. He looked up in shock, only to see Lynx standing by the switch. He smirked at Chrono, who helplessly reached through the bars for Marle. Marle gripped Chrono's hands weakly, her eyes filled with tears. Lynx slowly approached her from behind, his sickle raised. Marle looked up into Chrono's azure eyes, her own emerald eyes pleading.

"Run… Chrono… …don't let Aaron… see this…" Chrono looked behind him to Aaron, who was sobbing. He looked back to Marle, and he spoke in a trembling voice, struggling to keep calm.

"I've never left you before… And I won't leave you now." He said softly. He then looked up to Lynx, reaching into his pocket. His hand found the Wonder Shot, and he ripped it out of his pocket, firing at Lynx. It struck Lynx in the eye, and he roared in hate, leaping back. He gripped his eye, glaring at Chrono.

"Why can't you ever accept fate, bastard?! Why do you always insist on fighting?! Why can't you just to submit to what must be?!" He hissed, glaring at Chrono. "You took away the future for millions, so the trade is simple—submit to fate!!! Perish with the future that you would not let be!!! Stand back and let your wife pay for her own crimes—you will meet your own destiny shortly!!!"

Chrono narrowed his eyes.

"If we were so wrong changing the future…" He said lowly, glaring coldly at Lynx. "Then what gives you the right to change the past?! Aren't you destroying our people's future?!" He looked down at Marle, running his hand through her hair. He looked down at Jade, tears filling his eyes again. "Jade… What did she do to your future…? What gave you the right to take a four-year-old girl's future away from her?!" He shot Lynx again, knocking the feline demi-human into a wall. Lynx growled.

"Do you really think that gun will work?" He smirked, standing up. He pushed a button on his bracer, and a glowing shield appeared around him. "Remember… I'm from the future! Did you really think I would come against legends unprepared?!" He leapt at Marle, landing behind her. He raised his sickle, and Chrono began shooting at Lynx like a madman, but the shield nullified every hit. Lynx snickered lowly, taunting Chrono. "Watch, boy… Watch as I claim your dear wife's future as well!!" He stabbed downward, and Marle gasped weakly, blood welling up in her mouth. Her hand slid from Chrono's, and her eyes began to close.

"Don't… …blame… … …your…se..l…f… ….Chrono…" She then laid back, remaining still. Chrono shook his head in disbelief.

"MAAAAAAARLE!!!!!!" He screamed. Aaron screamed as well.

"MOMMY!!!!!"

Lynx began to laugh.

"Two down… Only one meddling time traveler to go…" He grinned at Chrono. "Oh yes… One and his son." His eyes ventured down to Aaron, who shrank back. Chrono shook his head. He spoke in a hate-filled voice, shaking with both anger and sorrow.

"I'll never let you get near Aaron!!!!"

"The same way you wouldn't let me get near your kingdom, your mother, Lucca, your daughter, and your wife? I'd say… That you are a failure as a king, a hero, a friend, a son, a husband, and a father."

"Shut up!!!" Chrono retaliated. Aaron shook his head at Lynx, and despite his tears, and his young age, he spoke in a strong voice.

"You're a bad man!!! You took my mommy and my sister away! Daddy is not the bad guy, YOU are!!!" Lynx laughed.

"Am I?" He moved towards the switch. Chrono stood up, moving away from the bars. He looked down at his wife's body, feeling a lump forming in his throat.

"Marle… I'll protect Aaron!!" He looked to Jade, and spoke weakly. "Jade honey… I won't let him get away with what he did to you… I swear!" Chrono then picked up Aaron, tossed him over his shoulder, and dashed away. He hadn't even rounded the corner when he heard the bars sliding up. He knew that if Aaron was to live on… If he were to save anyone, he was going to have to hide from the monster that stalked them, and he had to gain control of his magic again. Or else… They would be doomed.

Chapter 7

Through the caverns;

A final flight for freedom.

CHRONO AND AARON RAN THROUGH THE CAVERNS, TURNING WHENEVER THEY COULD. Chrono simply didn't feel safe if they stayed on the same path for too long. The two could say nothing; both father and son were broken emotionally. The caverns were alive with the sounds they made as they ran, Chrono's armor clanking and the sobbing of Aaron. Finally, they were forced to stop when both of them where out of breath. Chrono was satisfied that they had at least bought a few minutes. Aaron began to cry harder once they stopped, and Chrono felt his heart ache as he looked at the boy. Not even four years old, and he had just seen the deaths of his sister and mother. Chrono closed his eyes.

I didn't want war… It wasn't a statement anymore. It was a silent plea, coming from a shattered man. He pulled Aaron close to him, hugging his son tightly. Aaron hugged him as well, sobbing. Chrono closed his eyes, cherishing the bundle of life that he protected. That boy was everything Chrono had left. And he would fight to the bitter end to protect him. After two minutes Chrono's stomach began to knot. He picked Aaron up, hoisting him onto his back. Aaron protested.

"I'm tired, daddy… I'm tired, and I want Mommy and Jade!" He cried. His spirit had been shattered as well. Chrono could sense it. He sighed, looking at the boy.

"We have to go. If Lynx comes back… Then we'll have to face him again, and I don't know if we can win."

Aaron silenced. He whispered in terror.

"I hate that bad man… I don't want him to come after us!!! What did we do to him?!"

Chrono shook his head.

"I don't know…" He said softly. "But we have to keep moving. When we get to Medina… I promise that we'll rest."

Aaron nodded and spoke softly.

"Okay…"

So father and son began to trek through the caverns. Chrono at least could be glad that he wasn't lost—but he had ended up further away from the canyon than he had wanted to. He did the only thing he could—he walked. Aaron fell asleep on his back, and Chrono himself was feeling tired. But he didn't dare sleep. Sleeping now would be a death sentence for both of them. He walked as quietly as he could, but that was difficult. His pace was so slow that it was painful to him. He wanted out. He wanted out more than anything. And he knew that every corner he turned could be his last. If Lynx were there waiting… All it would take was a well-aimed hit from that sickle. And with Lynx's aim… He shook those thoughts away and continued on, trying not to think much. He was sure that he could make it out. He had to.

He walked for what seemed like an eternity, and the heat built up greatly. Chrono moaned, wiping at his forehead with his robe.

"Great… What next…?" He groaned, trudging on. He heard a jingle behind him. His heart froze and he drew his sword, facing the sound. He saw nothing. He narrowed his eyes. "Who's there?!" He cried, looking around horrified. A female voice answered him.

"Bonjure! So you are zee king. I finally got to speak with you." The harlequin appeared out of nothingness, and she smiled at him. "You are well, no?"

Chrono glared at her, feeling hot rage building inside of him. She had taken his magic. He knew it.

"Give me back my magic!!!" He cried.

The harlequin laughed.

"You think zat moi has your magic? Oh, non-mis petit. Your magic is just locked."

"Then unlock it!"

The harlequin shook her head.

"Non, monsieur Chrono. Your time is over. Monsieur Lynx is on his way, and you will be… As zey say, finished." Chrono glared at her.

"So why are you here?!"

She laughed softly.

"To get a look at zee boy everyone wants to kill. Zat is all." Then she looked down. "Do not fight—it will be less painful for you, and zee boy. Adieu, adieu!" She did a back flip, vanishing. Chrono blinked, sighing.

"What next…?" He whispered, looking up. His magic had been locked… It had happened to him before, but it had never lasted this long. What had she done…? Then it hit him that she had warned him. Lynx was coming, and if Chrono didn't keep moving, they'd be over taken. He began walking again, when he heard another noise behind him. Chanting. Chrono began to turn just in time to see a wall of darkness exploding towards him. In that darkness he saw thousands of glowing eyes ; cats eyes. The black forms flew past he and the sleeping Aaron, ripping at their clothing and drawing blood with their razor sharp claws. Chrono was protected for the most part because of his armor, but Aaron… He was awake and screaming in pain in two seconds. They had gotten his arms and legs for the most part, and now the boy protested to be put down. He leapt off of Chrono's back, dashing into the corner. Chrono turned towards him.

"Aaron!!! RUN!!!"

Aaron nodded and backed away from the fight. Lynx smiled at Chrono crookedly. Chrono drew his sword.

"Now we fight." Lynx said, grinning.

"That's right." Chrono said, glaring. "I'm gonna make you pay for what you did to Lucca, my mother, Jade, and Marle… You'll see why Lavos was so scared of us!"

"Pah." Lynx scoffed. "You've forgotten why you were so strong. That's why you are all so easily killed! Only one of you remains in this time, and you have no magic. Are your physical talents advanced enough to face me? Or was it Spekkio's magic that defeated Lavos?"

Chrono glared at him, gripping his blade tighter.

"I don't need magic to beat a coward like you… You only pick on women and children!"

"Is that what you think…?" Lynx mused, grinning. "Alright then, boy… Let's see how strong you are."

Chrono waited no longer. He sprang at Lynx, thrusting his sword forward. Lynx sidestepped the attack, but Chrono kicked him, sending the demi-human flying. Lynx leapt back up though, and he flew at Chrono with amazing speed. He swiped down at the young king with his sickle, but Chrono parried with the Rainbow Blade. He drop-kicked Lynx, again throwing the demi-human off. Lynx was getting annoyed, but he didn't dare show it. Instead, he called his magic into his sword. The elements on his weapon glowed black, and he swept the blade down on Chrono. Chrono flipped back, kicked off the wall, flew over Lynx, and planted a stab on his back. Lynx roared, but didn't seem phased. He only redirected his attack into a blast of darkness that engulfed Chrono. He flipped backwards, striking the wall. But Chrono wouldn't give up. He leapt up again, focusing his attention on the space around Lynx. He flew about the demi-human, performing his confuse technique. He was able to hit his enemy four times with his sword, but Lynx simply didn't seem like he was taking any damage. Lynx hit him again, this time with razor sharp claws. Lynx raked his claws across Chrono's face, and Chrono screamed, falling back. He dropped his sword and gripped his face. He brought his hands away, and saw that his gauntlets were smeared with blood. His left eye stung horribly, and he couldn't open it… Couldn't see out of it. He fell back then, shaking his head, trying to clear the vision in his left eye. He looked up, only to see Lynx looming above him.

"So weak…" Lynx said softly, shaking his head. He raised his sickle, and Chrono bowed his head, the blood falling from his face to the ground beneath him. He choked a sob, waiting for the blade to take his future away, just as it had Marle, Lucca, his mother, and Jade's.

"Just do it now…" He whispered weakly. "End this…"

Lynx was about to do just that, but he was interrupted by a small voice.

"Lightning!!!"

A small lightning bolt struck Lynx, and he looked up angrily. Chrono looked up as well, and to his utter horror, Aaron was standing there, electricity sparking about him. The boy glared at Lynx.

"Leave my daddy alone!!!"

"So…" Lynx said softly. "The little one has magic already…? He must be quite gifted. What a shame…" Lynx turned to Aaron, casting a shadow on the boy. "What a shame his path ends here…" Chrono shook his head.

"Lynx—NO!" He cried. "Please don't!!!" Despite the horrid pain in his head, Chrono managed to stand up. Lynx brought his sickle up to strike Aaron, who stared up at him wide-eyed. Chrono screamed out; "Noooo!!!" as he left up, placing himself in front of the boy. He brought his arm up to block the attack.

Lynx's sickle cut down onto Chrono's arm at an odd angle, slicing into the bone. Chrono screamed in pain again, and he tried to pull his arm away. Doing this caused a chunk of flesh to come off of his arm completely. Chrono stumbled back, his world red with pain. His entire arm throbbed, and he couldn't feel his hand. The pain was so intense that Chrono could barely even hear. But everything cleared up when he heard Lynx's voice.

"You think that will save your child?"

Chrono's eyes widened in terror as he felt something cold pass him, reaching for Aaron. He heard his boys screams of agony. The screams lasted only a moment, and by the time Chrono turned to help, it was too late. Aaron lay motionless on the ground, his little body pale. He wasn't breathing. Chrono knelt next to him, placing his bloody gauntleted hand to his son's cheek. His eyes welled up with tears, and in his left eye he wept blood. He turned back to Lynx, glaring coldly.

"You bastard…" Chrono could only manage a hate filled whisper, the pain in his body and heart was simply too much. Lynx smiled at him.

"I told you it was foolish to try and stop me. You thought you were invincible… You were all far easier to beat than I imagined!" Chrono's icy glare remained the same. He spoke through clenched teeth

"You haven't won… I won't give up… I will make you pay for what you've done."

Lynx laughed again.

"You're just as persistent as they say…"

"You haven't seen anything yet, bastard…" Chrono whispered hatefully. "Fight me. Fight me and we'll end this. One of us will die."

Lynx shook his head.

"I'll let you suffer a bit longer. I'll come for you when I'm ready, good king." Lynx smiled at him and vanished.

Chrono bowed his head, and he dropped to his knees. He cried more, hugging the body of his son. The pain that he felt inside was a billion times worse than any wound inflicted on his body. His eyes, the eyes of a son, a husband, and a father had seen the deaths of everyone close to him, and now he truly was alone. Alone in his own private hell.

Epilogue

AND NOW HE STOOD ALONE, THE LAST SURVIVOR OF THE HEROES OF GUARDIA. He gazed out of the window almost absently, half wondering how he had gotten back to his room. The trip out of the caverns was a blur, and all he knew was that he had gotten back to the palace only to find Porre flags flying. All of the soldiers, maids, cooks, and butlers had either been killed or captured, the chancellor was dead, as was most of the counsel and the judge. Chrono was the only living person left in the castle—the Porre soldiers had all withdrawn. He didn't exactly count himself with the living though… He was as dead as Lucca, Marle, or any of the others. He was just a living corpse, whose soul had been destroyed by one tragedy after the next… The fun, carefree, boyish Chrono was dead, and all that remained alive was his hate. He turned to the dresser, and saw that the picture of his friends that he had always had there had fallen off. The frame had shattered. He looked down at the picture, at them all smiling and laughing… His eyes wandered from the picture to the full-length mirror. It was somehow still intact, and he moved to stand in it. He remembered just hours ago he had stood there so proudly in his new armor… Marle beside him… He had really thought that he could stop the attack. Now he stood before it alone, his armor battered and destroyed. He had even lost his helmet. Now he only had one eye, one arm, and his sword to combat Lynx with. His magic had never returned, so he couldn't lean on Luminare. He laid the picture down on the ground in front of the mirror and the sat back down again, waiting…

He didn't wait much longer.

He sensed Lynx coming, felt chills race up and down his spine. He turned to the door, holding his blade in his good hand. He waited, hearing the heavy footfalls outside of the door. They stopped, and the door creaked open. He saw the dark form of Lynx framed in the doorway. Chrono glared at his enemy. The two studied each other intently, each with a cold stare. Chrono had degenerated to the point where he was just as cold as Lynx. Revenge was all he wanted now. He had nothing more.

"Let's see who Time favors, Lynx." Chrono growled coldly.

Lynx smiled, and drew his sickle, gesturing to Chrono to begin. "So you are finally a man…"

Chrono gripped the blade tightly in his left hand.

"Not a man, just a shell… A shell covering nothing but bitter hatred. The man who was Chrono died when you killed his family. I am nothing but his shadow."

"Very well then, shadow…" Lynx sneered. "We will see if it is you or I who will live on into the future."

Chrono was sick of talking, and he leapt at Lynx, bringing his blade up with all of his strength. Lynx parried with his sickle, and tried to counter, but Chrono flipped up, landing on the bed. He then leapt down on Lynx, performing his slash attack. The shockwave knocked Lynx back a bit, obviously the night's fights had tired him out a bit, but Chrono was much more tired. Lynx saw this, and he leapt up, kicking Chrono off of the bed. Chrono flew across the room, slamming into the mirror. It broke into a billion pieces, cutting him all over. Chrono howled in pain, coughing up blood. His ruined armor had done nothing to stop the sharp glass. Lynx laughed, bringing his sickle up. It sparked with electricity and dark energy.

"Then Time has chosen me!!!" He exclaimed, bringing it down on Chrono's chest.

Lynx's sickle cut down onto it like a billion knives and four tons of hot metal at the same time. It cut through Chrono's armor as if it were made of butter. The blow spread out over his skin, burning into his chest cavity. Electricity shot through his armor, burning his skin, and causing him immense pain. Chrono screamed, tensing up. The electricity caused him to arch up, actually putting more pressure on the initial wound. The sickle cut into his chest deeper, and the electricity increased. He howled more, but that howl became a gurgle as blood surged up his throat. His cerulean eyes widened, paled, and emptied as he slowly stopped screaming. He collapsed onto the sickle weakly. Lynx pulled it out of him. Chrono coughed, and spoke weakly.

"Marle… Everyone… … …I'll see you… …soon…" He coughed again, and Lynx sighed.

"Now… It can truly begin." He said, turning on heel. He exited, leaving Chrono to die alone.

Chrono weakly reached through the glass for the picture that he had left there earlier. He found it, and weakly picked it up. He had to hold it close to his face, because he couldn't see well anymore. He looked at all of them… Only five years before… Only five years before… When they had traded their future for their own.

"…everyone…" He whispered weakly, his eyes feeling heavy. "…I tried… I really… tried… to be a… …good king…" He coughed, and lost his grip on the picture. It fell into the glass again, but he hadn't the strength to recover it. He looked up weakly. The pain was gone now… Everything was quiet and serene for him… But he continued to whisper. "It… all depends… … …on that… boy from the future… …he said that… …he'd save… … …the future… …that we… gave so much for… …so no one worry… …I'm sure… …he'll do just… …fine… … … …" Chrono felt sleepy, and suddenly it became absolutely silent. He looked up weakly with his failing vision and saw the sun rise over the window sill… He managed a smile at that rising sun, and his crystal eyes closed for the last time. He exhaled once, and then he lay still.

Inside he felt himself freed from his pain. He soared above everything, to a brilliant light before him. And in that light, he saw his friends, children, his mother… And his father. And for the first time in days, he felt at peace, and he watched the sun rise over Earth that day, one final time. Only this time, he was not alone.

The journey was not over then.

Many years later, the young boy from the future,

Serge, and a mysterious ally defeated Lynx,

Avenging the fallen people of Guardia.

The story continues in "A New Dawn", the Chrono Cross stories.

NOW UP IN THE CHRONO CROSS SECTION!