The Queen Returns (600 A.D.)
After tumbling through time for a while, Crono finally emerges from the other side of the portal in a forest clearing. Before he can leave the clearing though he is ambushed by a bunch of little humanoid creatures with what look suspiciously like butt cracks on the back of their heads.
Even if you haven’t done any fighting up to this point, these guys shouldn’t be too much trouble. Crono dispatches the attackers and leaves the clearing into a small canyon. After picking up some gear and saying no to crack a couple more times, Crono exits the canyon and finds himself in town that looks similar to Truce but is clearly not the town that he was in just a few moments ago. The atmosphere here is much more somber and landmarks like Leene Square and Crono’s house are missing.
Crono decides to ask around town for information and the residence of a nearby house don’t know what this talk of a “Millennial Fair” is all about. The kingdom is only 600 years old and they have been at war with the Fiendlord for more than a decade. Now that Crono has found that that the portal sent him 400 years into the past, he decides to seek out more information at the inn and see if he can find any clues to Marle’s whereabouts.
At the inn Crono hears more talk about the war against the Fiendlord. The war has apparently not been going terribly well for Guardia but the troops have received a significant morale boost now that the missing queen has been found wandering the canyon north of Town. Hmm, a young woman was recently found wandering the canyon that Crono just came? And she was taken to the castle because they thought her to be the queen that’s been missing? I’ve taken bigger leaps in logic, might as well check it out.
Before heading to the castle, Crono stops by the local blacksmith Banta, who has begun working on a bell made in Queen Leene’s honor. Now that she’s been found, he’s regained his motivation to work on it. The man’s wife tells Crono that Banta hopes for a daughter that is both fair and clever. Wait, a family that values intelligence with a man whose name is suspiciously similar to Taban’s…could these be Lucca’s ancestors? Probably, but a question for later.
Crono heads to Guardia Castle but first he must pass through the forest surrounding it. Like the canyon, Guardia forest is filled with hostile animals and butthead imps but nothing that poses too much trouble for Crono even by himself. Before exiting the forest though, Crono comes across what looks like a treasure chest but it can’t be opened due to a strange force sealing it shut. We’re going to make a mental note of you.
Once Crono arrives at Guardia Castle he’s immediately confronted by two soldiers who proceed to hassle and mock him for his strange appearance. The guards’ good time comes to a quick end however once the “queen” shows up and admonishes them for showing such disrespect for a friend of hers. She orders that Crono be given free reign of the castle and heads off giggling. Now that Crono can move around the castle at will (and he knows that Marle is safe), it’s time to do some exploring.
Heading to the left of the entrance, Crono finds the knight’s quarters. Here Crono can rest up and get some more intelligence about what been going on with the war effort. The knight captain reiterates that Zehn Bridge must not fall or else the enemy or else the Fiends will be in Guardia proper. The bridge is the last line of defense before Guardia is overrun. One soldier laments the absence of Cyrus, the previous knight captain who went missing ten years ago. Another solder tells an interesting story about a fearsome monster who used to occupy the western forest but disappeared after the cathedral was built there, attesting to the sites holiness.
To the east of the entrance is the dining hall and kitchen where the soldiers there invite Crono to partake in some of the cuisine. Apparently, the cook really knows his stuff and the food is quite good. Talking to the head cook reveals that he takes is job very seriously even if he is a bit haughty, although he not above asking Crono if he knows anything about the “eyes cream” that the queen has been asking for since she returned. As Crono is about to leave the dining area the knight captain comes in with a couple of his knights and has a very testy exchange with the cook in front of everybody which leads to the captain storming out of the dining hall.
The throne room, logically, is directly through the main entrance. The chancellor, not much for words, skulks off when you try to talk to him. King Guardia XXI is more cordial. He thanks Crono for his hand in Queen Leene’s return (whatever that was) but laments that she has been acting rather strange lately and the she seems to have lost her coral hairpin, and important heirloom.
From the throne room, Crono can either head up the king’s tower or the queen’s, because for some reason they live in separate apartments in the castle. Even though King Guardia shows concern for Leene’s safety cares about her in a general sense, it seems that their relationship is primarily a political marriage. Going to the left will lead you to the king’s tower. While going up the tower you can see another one of those strange chests that are sealed with the mysterious power. Once Crono reaches the king’s apartment, he runs into the chancellor again but attempting to speak to him only results in him acting openly hostile to Crono. One of the guards outside the king’s bedroom remarks how the chancellor has also been acting strange lately and states that he’s seen him sneaking out of the castle at night, however the maid attending the king’s bedroom reassures Crono that the chancellor is just very religious and spends a lot of his time at the cathedral in the western forest.
Now that Crono has explored the rest of the castle, it’s time to head up the queen’s tower. Once in the queen’s room one of the maids remarks how Queen Leene looks even younger now than she did when she first came to the castle over ten years ago. The queen then dismisses the maids so that she can speak to Crono in private. Once the maids are outside, she teases Crono a little before come out and admitting that she’s actually Marle and that she’s was mistaken for Queen Leene when she was found in in the canyon. How that mistake happened is anyone’s guess. It’s likely that not a lot of people actually see the queen on a regular basis but even people who know her immediately noticed that this girl found in the canyon acted and even looked different than Leene. Perhaps the kingdom has been in such a crisis lately that they were desperate for any good news and Marle and Leene are similar enough in appearance that everyone just went along with the idea that they were the same person.
Regardless, after Marle explains the situation she expresses her happiness at seeing Crono and states that even though they haven’t known each other for very long, she knew that Crono would come for her. It’s actually a really sweet moment. Unfortunately, the moment is interrupted when Marle becomes distresses and tells Crono that she feels like she’s being “torn apart” and then vanishes in a fit of pain and fear. What is it with this girl and disappearing every then minutes? With a new mystery to solve and nowhere else to go, Crono heads back down the queen’s tower alone and…
Holy shit it that Lucca!?