The Absence of Friends Chapter 2

Another Loss

By Cloud Strife

Crono was temporally stunned. He was so lost in thought that he almost forgot that no one was piloting the Epoch, so first, he jumped into the front seat and landed the Epoch. He tried to think of what Lucca was going to say, But nothing came to mind. He saw Lucca piloting the Epoch! There wasn't anywhere she could go in that cramped cockpit! Crono wiped a tear from the corner of his eye, and started to head through the forest.

* * *

Although the forest seemed large and complex, Crono knew the many trails by heart. But besides the weak monsters flitting about and avoiding him, he sensed a stronger presence, lurking about. Crono turned around and shouted to nobody in paticular, "Who's there? Show yourself!" Silence came, followed by the rustling of leaves behind him. Crono turned around again to see a gold-colored imp emerge from a bush. Of course, like all imps, this one sported a smug look on it's face, and an almost cute pair of shorts. Crono nearly blushed when he realized he had been startled by an imp!

"Who're you?" Crono asked.

".......Looking for someone?" the imp asked.

He knows! Crono thought to himself. "Yeah. You'd better tell me where she is, or else I'll-"

"I'm not like my weak cousins, if that's what's you're expecting." the imp interrupted Crono's threat.

"Really? We shall see then..." Crono retorted as he drew the Rainbow.

Upon seeing the Rainbow, the imp recoiled and responded, "Wait a minute, WAIT A MINUTE!! You can't use that thing! It'll kill me! This has to be a one-on-one fistfight!"

"What? You gotta be kidding..." Crono protested, But eveuntally put the Rainbow in his sheath. Crono knew nothing about hand to hand combat, But since the target was 4 feet shorter than him, he thought nothing of him.

"He he he, let's FIGHT!" The imp suddenly rushed toward Crono with amazing speed, jumped into the air, and his right fist connected with Crono's chin! Crono felt as if he had been pricked by a needle. The imp's tiny fists couldn't hurt anything! He stared at the imp for a few seconds, and drew the Rainbow again.

"You know, all your "weak cousins" have died by my sword. So why can't you?"

"But, but you said that-"

"TOO LATE FOR THAT!" Crono shouted as he rushed foward and slashed the imp brutally! The imp crumpled to the ground, emitting a greenish-yellowish blood.

"But... I had.... gasp* information!" the imp struggled to say.

"No you didn't." said Crono. "If you really did have information, you wouldn't have risked your life by challenging me." Crono turned around, and continued to Guradia castle. Before leaving, he took one last look at the carcass of the gold imp, as blue eaglets began to feed upon it.

* * *

Arriving at Guardia castle, he spotted Marle in the throne room. She had her blondish-orangish hair tied into a neat ponytail, with her white dress, and of course, her crossbow. He also noticed that she was still wearing the same pendant that he used to hold for her. He ran toward her and started to explain.

"Marle! Something's wrong!" He started.

"What? What's going on?" She asked.

"Lucca came to me with the Epoch and she was yelling about something, and she started to explain why, and we were going to pick you up, and all of a sudden, she disappeared!" He exploded.

"What? She's....gone?" She asked.

"Yeah!! I can't find her!! We were in the Epoch!! there was no place she could possibly go!!!" He responded.

"Oh my god. I need to sit down..." She said.

After minutes of talking, Marle calmed down after a few tears.

"We need to find her! We just can't sit around here!" she exclaimed.

Suddenly, as Crono was about to respond, he noticed something.

"Marle? Something's wrong. You look...." He started to say, but it was too late. Marle actually faded away from sight in seconds!

"What the...Marle? Wh...Where did you go? No...not you too..."

The king witnessed this and walked over.

"Sir Crono? ....Where.....did she go...? he asked nervously.

Crono gritted his teeth and held back a wall of tears. His face was red, his palms were sweating, and he responded, "I....don't....know." Suddenly, Crono couldn't hold back his rage any longer. He suddenly ran out of the castle, and into Guardia forest. He immediately found a shitake monster.

"I'll kill everything! I'll destroy it all!!" He yelled. "Whoever's doing this will DIE!!"

The shitake was taken off guard as Crono leapt into the air and brought the rainbow sword down, right into the monster! Crono continued his streak of rage, and impaled a gold eaglet above him!

"What's....HAPPENING?!!" He screamed, almost expecting an answer.

Finally, after slaying over 20 monsters, he calmed down. Tired, he sat down on a rock to think of a logical explanation for all of this. But nothing made sense. should've told me sooner... he thought.

But without Lucca, he had to figure this out by himself. He got into the Epoch, and prepared to use it, once again.

Maybe, I should find my friends. he thought. I'll look for Frog first....

For the first time in an entire year, he moved the dial on the time indicator to the year 601 AD. (Editor's note: All years are set ONE year AFTER the present time used in the game, because one year has passed.)

As Crono traveled through time, he just couldn't help but wonder, "Two of my friends are already gone.... Who's next?"


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