Chapter 4—A Perfect Circle

1023 A.D.


Crono swore and slammed his fist into the desk before him.  Marle looked on from behind her husband, troubled greatly.


“You’re saying…a Portal opened up in Truce Canyon?  And my son jumped into it?”


The commander of the militia Crono had sent to arrest Kain answered quickly: “Well, we don’t know if it was a portal or not—“


“A Gate looks like a blue circle, a perfect round circle, that’s been cut out of the air with a knife.  Did it look like that?”


“Ah, yes sir, yes, it did—“


“Alright, then!  It was a Gate!  Argh, I can’t believe this is happening!”


Marle put her hands on his shoulders.  “Crono…please…we….  We can’t overreact…”  But she couldn’t say anything more.  A lump caught in her throat.


“Marle…my son just went insane, brutally killed five people, and jumped through a Gate that could lead him anywhere in the flow of time.  I’m not overreacting.  I’m underreacting!! 


Marle let go of Crono and walked around to look him in the eyes.  She leaned toward him and put her forearms on his desk.  “Crono…  We don’t know if he was insane.  Maybe he had a reason.  Maybe he was just scared…  Why else would he have jumped through the Gate?”


Crono looked up at her, returned her stare.  “Kain, according to the reports of this man, slashed each soldier through with his sword at least five times before the man fell to the ground.  That was not desperation.  That was bloodlust.”


The Queen of Guardia stood up sharply, put her hand over her mouth, turned away from her husband.  “No… I can’t believe it.  I won’t believe it!”


“That was one of Kain’s favorite subjects….He always said people were too innocent to believe the truth.  Now, it seems, his fantasy has become his reality, by his own hands.”


“Why are you doing this?!” she span around and screamed at him, despair overwhelming her.  “He’s your son!  How can you abandon him when he needs you?”


Crono snapped out of his chair, coming to his full height, looking down at Marle.  “I’m not abandoning him.  What he did…was his own choice.  I don’t know how…”


Before Marle could respond, the door to Crono’s office flew open.  Lucca, Crono and Marle’s genius friend, ran straight up to Crono’s desk, red in the face, heaving with exhaustion.  “I….when I heard….I ran here as fast as I could,” she explained between breaths.


“What?” demanded Crono. 


“Hold on, Lucca.  Take a few breaths,” said Marle.  “Now, tell us.”


“Alright.  I heard in town that a Gate opened in Truce Canyon.  Is that true?”


“Yes.” Crono stated bluntly.


“Kain…our son… jumped into it as he was being chased by Guardia soldiers.”  Marle looked toward the ground, guilt overcoming her.  And there was nothing I could do.  She realized that was exactly what Crono must be feeling, why he was so angry. 


“Huh?  Chased by….why?  What’d he do?”  Lucca was bewildered.  Kain had never been in trouble with the law before.


“He murdered five people.” Crono spit the words out like acid. 


“Crono!” Marle cried, another blast of grief hitting her.  He didn’t have to tell her like that!  Lucca doesn’t deserve that…


“Oh--!”  Lucca’s eyes went wide.  “But…how?”  When Lucca looked into the eyes of her griefstricken friends, she hastily said, “Nevermind.  I’m…I’m going.  To the Gate.  Is it still there?” 


The commander, behind her, said, “Yes, it was still there when I left.  A group of soldiers is guarding it.”


Lucca nodded.  “Good.  I’m going into the Gate.  It opened for a reason, and I need to know why.  And maybe I can find out what happened to Kain.”


Marle started, “Lucca—“


Crono cut her off.  “I’m going too.”


“What?  No, Sire, you can’t!  We…” the commander saw the look on Crono’s face and stopped abruptly.  He was certain that this was the mask of determination Lavos had seen before he was killed by the man.  The commander had never thought he would feel empathy for Lavos, but this made him hope the end had been swift for the creature.  He pitied the man or beast who survived Crono Triggara’s wrath.


When Marle put a hand on his arm, all the language she needed to say she disapproved, he turned to look at her, and said: “He’s my son.  If there’s any logical explanation as to what my son did, then going into that Gate is the only way I’ll find it.  And Lucca’s going, too…she’ll need help.  Guardia can survive without me. 




“I’m going…  I have to.  Nothing you can say will—“


“Crono…if you go, I’m going with you.”



”He’s my son too.  I have to help, also, or I’ll always regret it.  Besides, you said yourself Guardia can survive.  The Chancellor can run things for a little while.  Stars know he’s been pushing for it since he came into office.” 


Lucca reminded them of their situation.  “Look…I know it’s an important decision, but the Gate could close at any minute.  If you’re coming, we’d better hurry up and get ready.”


“Alright.”  Crono nodded at the commander.  “Tell the Chancellor he has temporary power over State until we return.  We’re going now.  Alone.  We have no need of a personal guard in the Timestream.”


“As you wish, Sire.”


The man left the chambers, leaving the three time travelers alone.  They looked at each other, remembering their past travels.  With a nod of his head in respect for their memories, Crono launched out the door. 





The three time travelers, Crono, Marle, and Lucca, stood before the portal.  In Lucca’s hands was the Gate Key she had gotten from her laboratory.  Before, when she had looked at it in reminiscence, it had seemed dull, even lifeless.  But now, as she held it up to this new Gate in Truce Canyon, a beam of sunlight reflected off of the metal tip, as if the Key had been reborn, had regained its old glory.  It nearly glimmered.


“It’s good to be together again, all three of us…” said Marle.


“I just wish it could have been under better circumstances,” replied Lucca sadly.


“Yes…”  Crono began to look at the ground, but his eyes were drawn to the Portal.  A sparkle of hope flickered in his heart.  “But maybe…maybe through this…we’ll find the answers.  We’ll find the truth.”


Lucca nodded, observing with her keen scientific eye the Gate Key she held in her hand.


“Let’s see if this thing still works.”


She flicked the switch on the handle. 


The Gate reacted to the Key, opened with a mighty whir.  Determination sparkling in their eyes, the three warriors jumped through the Gate, reliving a time when they had, twenty three years before, done the same thing, in the same place, but in a far different situation. 


Their job for Fate was not quite over yet.  




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