The Queen is Gone (600 A.D.)
After exiting the queen’s tower, Crono sees what is probably one of the last things he expects, Lucca running toward him. Not only has Lucca found a way to follow Marle and Crono 400 years into the past, but she has also managed to ninja her way deep into Guardia castle in order to track the two down. We should probably make a mental note to not ever get on Luccas bad side…
Crono updates Lucca on the latest and Lucca immediately works out what’s going on: Marle must have been mistaken for Queen Leene because Leene is Marle’s ancestor and they share a family resemblance. Marle is in fact Princess Nadia, King Guardia XXXIII’s daughter. Lucca deduces that since the search for Leene has been called off she doesn’t survive her kidnapping and thus the line of succession doesn’t continue resulting in Marle never being born. But if Marle was never born, how did she end up in the past to be mistaken for Leene and we come back to search for her and…
I need to lay down, I have a headache.
Lucca decides that if they can manage to rescue Queen Leene then this whole time paradox thing can be averted so the two set out to take history into their own hands. The pair decide to go back to Truce to look for clues after a quick stop at the market to see if they can upgrade their equipment. Speaking of time paradoxes, the market somehow sells a gun which is somehow stronger than Lucca’s own air gun. I always justified this in my mind by imagining that the “pea shooter” is a novelty item that Lucca tinkers with using her super-genius in order to turn it into a deadly weapon. Just another little head cannon moment.
While looking for clues, Crono and Lucca head to the inn to see if anyone there might know anything. At the bar of the inn the two run into Toma, another adventurer who offers to tell them a story if they buy him a drink. Once his drink is topped off Toma tells the pair that he thinks that here is something really fishy going on at Manolia Cathedral in the western forest and it might have something to do with the queen disappearance. Once he learns that the queen has been found he decides that he was mistaken but just can’t shake the idea that something foul is going on at that cathedral.
Crono and Lucca decide that’s more than enough of an excuse to check out the cathedral so they immediately decide to head in that direction. At first there doesn’t seem to be anything amiss although the nuns who occupy the cathedral say some strangely creepy things. After exploring for a little bit, Lucca finds something on the floor near the altar. It’s a hairpin with the royal crest of Guardia on it. Sensing that the two are on to them, the nuns surround Crono and Lucca and reveal their true monstrous half woman/half serpent forms. Crono and Lucca dispatch the four attackers but let their guard down thinking that they are safe for the moment. Another of the monsters appears then and strikes at Lucca before she can react, however before Crono can draw his sword another creature ambushes the monster and vanquishes it.
Once things have settled down the creature, who resembles some kind of frog-man, and asks for their aid in finding and rescuing the queen. Crono immediately agrees but Lucca is hesitant since she has a strong dislike of frogs. The frog-man is about to leave when Lucca decides she can deal with her aversion to frogs for the queen’s sake. Lucca asks his name to which he merely responds that they should call him “Frog” (simple enough). Frog suggests that they search every corner of the cathedral for clues which eventually leads to Crono trying out the organ in the corner. Playing the organ reveals a hidden doorway on the other side of the wall leading into the inner sanctum of the cathedral.
The inside of the fiend’s lair is positively bursting with monsters compared to any area Crono and friends have been so far. After clearing a short hallway of creatures, the trio enter a large central area. Attached to the mail hall are four smaller rooms which beg to be explored. On the left side of the hall Crono and the gang will find a treasure room which they lose no time looting. After searching the room and picking up a Naga Bromide, three large toadlike monsters take issue with the team and attack.
After taking care of the underlings, the trio move up to the next room which is protected by spikes on the floor. The switch deactivating the spikes is right next to the door so it would seem that the spikes are there to keep whatever in in the room from getting out rather than the other way around. Inside the room are two Gurdian soldiers who are being held prisoner. The prisoners express their graditude to the team and inform Crono that somewhere in the lair there is a shrine to the Fiendlord which is filled with treasure.
After leaving the soldiers to find their way out, Crono and friends head to the other side of the mail hall to explore the rooms there. The first room on this side of the hall is a chow hall for the occupants of the lair. Fortunately, the monsters on their lunch break mistake the team (Lucca and Crono anyway) for other monsters in human disguise and are pretty loose with their information. Another one of the snake women talks about how eager she is to eat the two soldiers in the other room (rate E for everyone!) while of the toadmen praise what a genius Yakra is for impersonating the chancellor and kidnapping Queen Leene. The third creature in the dining room says that his shift is about to start and wants to go pay tribute to the Fiendlord before he goes to work. Crono and crew decide to follow the creature to the other room where they find…King Guardia and Queen Leene?
Crono, Lucca, and Frog move quickly to try and evacuate the royal couple out of the fiend’s lair but the two insist that they are safe and that Yakra has been quite a kind host. The trio decide that they can grab them on their way out and head into the next room where they find several of the residents of the lair are singing a hymn to an ornate statue of the Fiendlord which finally allows us to put a name to the one who has been causing so much trouble for the kingdom:
Once the monsters in the shrine notice the three the do what monsters do and attack Crono and his companions. Once the monsters are taken care of, Crono loots the shrine of its treasure and head back to the king and queen. The royal couple still show no interest in leave just yet so the tree decide to leave them for the moment before the king and queen, along with another soldier, shed their human disguises and attack the team. It would seem that Crono and the gang stumbled on phase two of Yakra’s plan: To replace the King Guardia and Queen Leene with impostors and destabilize the kingdom from the top. That is some next-level subterfuge.
After dealing with the impostors Crono, Lucca, and Frog decide to head deeper into the lair. The next area of the cathedral lair consists of several small rooms that need to be cleared of beasties. The crew need to get through another spike trap in the central room so that Crono can play another organ and reveal the exit at the top of the area. The next area is a “gauntlet” hallway that is full of more monsters trying to stop Crono and the gang from reaching Yakra. It’s pretty straightforward; kill the monsters and move forward.
In the final room of the sanctum the crew finally find the real Queen Leene who is being threatened by the chancellor. Queen Leene recognizes Frog, knowing that her rescue is at hand and takes cover from the incoming battle. The chancellor, done with pretenses reveals his true form as the fearsome monster Yakra and the final battle commences. Crono and Frog utilizing a concept not seen much in RPGs before (or since) called “teamwork” and combine their abilities to attack Yakra at the same time using their ‘X-Strike’ technique while Lucca alternates between distributing curative items and killing it with fire.
Before long Yakra is vanquished and the queen is safe. Leene and Frog thank Crono and Lucca for their aid in the rescue. Crono and Lucca search Yakra’s office and find the actual chancellor stuffed in a treasure chest and reliability unharmed.
Once everyone is back at the castle the chancellor decides that they need to implement a much stricter justice system in order to deal with such attempts against the kingdom. Considering that we just killed Yakra and all of his cohorts, I can’t help but feel sorry for the next poor soul that is accused of kidnapping a member of the royal family.
Frog, feeling that he has irredeemably failed the queen decides that he needs to leave. Leene, then Crono and Lucca all decide to talk Frog out of leaving but he feels that his presence in the castle is only a danger to the queen. Frog compliments Crono on his swordsmanship but decides to follow through with his self-exile and leaves as Lucca declares that she is officially over her aversion to Frogs.
Once Crono and Lucca return to the throne room, Leene wonders out loud what became of the girl that was mistaken for her. Crono and Lucca immediately rush up to the queen’s quarters just in time to see Marle reappear. Marle recounts what it was like in whatever void she was in while Leene was still in danger. She describes how scared she was and how dark and cold it was wherever she was at and wonders if that is what it is like to die. Heavy stuff.
During the conversation, Lucca refers to Marle as “your highness” and she realizes that Crono and Lucca are aware that she is Princess Nadia. Marle apologizes for deceiving them and explains that she just wanted to have fun at the fair without all of the hassles that would have come along with being “the princess.” Crono assures her that he wouldn’t have treated her any differently which makes Marle feel better and the trio decide that with Leene safe, it’s time for the to try to get back to their time.
On the way out of Guardia Castle Marle decides to speak to Leene and remarks that they do in fact look very similar. She then advises the king and queen to get along in their absence and Crono, Lucca, and Marle leave the castle to head back to Truce Canyon. Once the three make it back to the forest clearing where the portal is Marle wonders how they are going to get it to reopen. Lucca then show’s off her latest invention as well is her mad-scientist levels of genius; a device that can open the portals at will. Lucca explains that she calls the portals “time gates” and her device a “gate key.” Marle marvels at Lucca’s genius and says that she would gladly trade her royal blood for intelligence like Lucca’s. Marle wonders why this time gate appeared and if there are others like it before the three enter the time gate and head back to their own time.