We’re Back! (1000 A.D.)
Crono, Lucca, and Marle arrive safe and sound back at the Millennial Fair with the present seemingly unchanged. Lucca apologizes for the trouble that her device has caused but Mare shrugs it off saying that she’s had the time of her life and she’s happy to have made some new friends. Marle then suggests that Crono and Lucca come back to the castle with her to celebrate but Lucca wants to return home so she can study the Time Gate phenomena some more. Crono is then left to escort Marle back to the castle on his own.
Despite the fact that Crono and Lucca both know that Marle is actually Princess Nadia, she insists that the pair keep calling her Marle. But why is that? My personal head cannon explanation for this has always kind of complicated. One explanation; she doesn’t want them calling her Nadia just in case someone overhears them and figure it out for themselves. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem since they’re rarely even in the right time period, let alone the right area, for this to even be an issue. A second possible explanation is Marle is her middle name and since many people don’t know it, that’s what she prefers people close to her call her. Or three, Marle is just what Crono and Lucca are used to and she wants to avoid any potential confusion. Could be any one of those things, could be some combination of all three.
Anyway, while going through the fair, Crono and Marle learn that the vendors at the fair have left for the day to restock their supplies. While going through Truce, Crono and Marle stop by at the market to see if they have anything worth looking at on location. The owner of the market wonders aloud where the heck his employee Fritz is before he notices the pair. Marle then gets some much-needed upgrades to her equipment before they head to the castle.
An interesting thing to notice as Crono and Marle travel to the castle is the fact that there is no trace of the cathedral that was in the western forest. I like to think that after Leene was rescued, King Guardia XXI ordered that the cathedral torn down brick by brick so that no trace of it survives to the present day.
Once Crono finally get Marle back home to the castle, the current chancellor rushes to the entrance excitedly and proclaims that he’s had soldiers searching the kingdom for her because he thought the princess had been kidnapped.
The chancellor immediately accuses Crono of being the kidnapper (despite the fact that he’s clearly returning her to the castle) but Marle protests and tries to stop the guards from apprehending him. The chancellor, apparently hysterical in his fervor to punish someone for Princess Nadia’s disappearance overrides her and has Crono apprehended on the spot.
The Trial (1000 A.D.)
Crono is dragged in front of a magistrate in short order to face charges of kidnapping the princess. The chancellor himself has decided to act as prosecuting attorney while Crono’s defense lawyer is presumably a public defender named Pierre. The chancellor gets things started by immediately suggesting the death penalty for Crono. Pierre (correctly) points out that no crime has even taken place given that the princess went along with Crono willingly and considers him a friend.
The chancellor suggests that Crono coerced the princess in order to lead her to Lucca’s demonstration where she disappeared. The chancellor then suggests calling character witnesses. Pierre objects at first due to relevance but relents when he realizes that the chancellor has no witnesses on his side. Pierre decides to call the little girl from the fair who lost her cat so she can recount for the jury how Crono found her kitty for her and generally make the chancellor look foolish for suggesting character witnesses.
After the girl’s testimony, Pierre suggests that Crono should in fact be rewarded and points out that the chancellor hasn’t established any motive on Crono’s part. The Chancellor grills Crono about the princess’s wealth being a motive but since Crono didn’t even know that Marle was the princess, he rebuffs the chancellor convincingly.
Pierre reiterates that the chancellor can’t establish a motive and the defense rests leaving the case to the jury.
Potentially, this is where things can go pear-shaped for Crono depending on your behavior during the Millennial Fair. If you take the old man’s lunch for example, he’ll testify against you. How you treat Marle can also count against you in a lot of ways. If you try to grab her pendant after bumping into her before you see if she is OK, that will count against you. If you try to convince her to sell her pendant to Melchior for some quick cash or if you are impatient with her while she’s trying to pick out some candy that will reflect poorly upon Crono and count against him in the trial. Also, if you lie during your testimony at any point during the trial, Crono will be that much more likely to be found guilty of trying to kidnap the princess.
The idea that what seems like pretty innocuous actions at the beginning of the game can change how Crono’s trial goes down was pretty mind-blowing the first time I went through the game. Like most people (I imagine), there was plenty of evidence against me and I was found super guilty by the jury.
The first time I played back in 1996, I pretty much did everything wrong, having no idea that it was going to come back to bite me a couple of hours later. I did talk to Marle before grabbing the pendant and I did reunite the little girl with her cat. However, I did take the old man’s lunch after getting beat up by Gato, I tried to talk Marle into selling her pendant to Melchior so I could afford to buy his most expensive sword and I had no patience for her at all when she was picking out candy.
This time will be different though. Crono was a model citizen throughout the Millennial Fair and the chancellor had nothing on me. I’m going to walk today.
After a short deliberation, the jurors come back with their verdict. Unlike the American jury system, the verdict by a simple majority vote by the seven jurors who each individually announce their finding in front of the judge:
Juror 1: Not guilty
Juror 2: Guilty
Juror 3: Not guilty
Juror 4: Not guilty
Juror 5: Not guilty
Juror 6: Not guilty
Juror 7: Not guilty
Despite the singe dissenter (who is clearly on the take to the chancellor) Crono is found not guilty by a 6-1 margin. However, the judge rules that even though he is found innocent of kidnapping the princess, he did aid in her flight from the castle so Crono is sentenced to spend three days in prison. Not a big deal all things considered, Crono can probably do that standing on his head.
The guards come to seize Crono but Marle interjects on his behalf once again and demands that he be set free. However, she is overridden by the King who reminds her that no one is above the law and Crono is taken to the dungeons.
When Crono makes it to the warden’s office the chancellor pulls one of the biggest dick-moves in history and claims that Crono has been found guilty of sedition and is to be executed in three days. The warden puts up some token resistance saying that he hasn’t heard any order for an execution but the chancellor insists that the paperwork is backed up and the warden goes along.
Crono is then taken to his cell and placed under heavy guard. In the cell a sympathizer has sent him a care package and a drink in the corner will restore his him to full health. Once Crono is back to 100% he decides it’s time to remind the guards that he isn’t locked in here with them, they’re lock in with him.
In order to facilitate his escape, Crono decides to start making a ruckus in his cell until one of the guards gets fed up with him and decides to put the boots to him a little. Fortunately for Crono, the justice system of Guardia is as incompetent as they are corrupt since they forgot to disarm him. As soon as the guard turns his back, Crono pulls out his sword and strikes him with the blunt side of his blade knocking the guard out. After dispatching the second guard, Crono attempts to make good his escape from the Guardia prison.
During his prison break, Crono finds out just how incompetent and/or corrupt the Guardian justice system is. A number (greater than zero) of cells in the prison have dead people in them, decomposed to the point that they are skeletons. Seems that the guards in the prison aren’t too strict on feeding their charges, or even removing the bodies once they die. In one room, full of guillotines and iron maidens, Crono finds Fritz alone and strapped to one of the guillotines with no one supervising him. Crono naturally frees Fritz letting him return to the Truce market. Hopefully he wasn’t in the prison for actually committing a terrible crime…
After making is way through the prison complex, making sure to loot the place of course, Crono finally makes it back to the warden’s office just in time for Lucca to show up. Lucca was on her way to break Crono out but fortunately he was able to spare Lucca the horrors of Guardia’s underbelly. Far from being useless though, Lucca is just in time to help Crono when soon after the chancellor decides to bring out the big guns: the Dragon Tank.
Despite its fearsome appearance, the Dragon Tank is no match for the combined efforts of Crono and Lucca and the pair destroy it. The chancellor gives that pair and obligatory “you’ll never get away with this” and Crono and Lucca are just one final push from making their escape from the castle. The pair are mere feet from the door when it looks like they are about to be overwhelmed by soldiers however Marle shows up at the entrance as well and orders the soldiers to stand down. Unfortunately, the chancellor and the king are nearby to overrule her once again. Marle argues with her father and tries to appeal to his common sense but he won’t be moved. Finally fed up, Marle has her “fuck this, I’m out” moment and joins Crono and Lucca and the trio rush out of the castle before the soldiers can compose themselves.
It really is an injustice, on top of the Jenga-tower of injustice at the center of Guardia, that Marle has a reputation as being such a spoiled, bratty, tomboy throughout the kingdom. Marle clearly has a strained relationship with her father but she obviously values other in a clearly non-selfish way. She has repeatedly put her neck out for her friends despite being constantly undermined and in the end, gives up everything rather than see her friends treated so unfairly. She might be a bit on the naive side, but I think but I think Guardia would be in much better shape with her in charge.
The trio continue to be chased through Guardia forest until they reach a clearing with a Time Gate in it. Marle immediately suggests that they go through it but Lucca hesitates stressing that they have no idea when or where it leads. The chancellor then enters the clearing with a handful of soldiers forcing Lucca’s hand and the trio jump into the new Time Gate to eras unknown.