Epilogue: Beyond the Flow of Time
A burst of light flashed around Lucca and she saw her bedroom, her mother's joyful, tear-streaked face...her dad looking at her with pride...the little boy in the village, Crono...her dad spending so much time on his inventions, even though they never seemed to work right...she hated those inventions until they day her mom almost died...from that day forward she vowed to master all of science, to make sure no accidents could ever happen again...
"Do you think your life," Marle asked, "will flash before your eyes when you die?"
"I don't know," Lucca answered as she gazed into the campfire, "probably."
She looked around the forest clearing and smiled as she saw all her friends gathered around her, Crono still asleep by the fire, Marle lying on her stomach listening, Ayla sitting with her legs folded beneath her while Frog sat by the fire and polished the Masamune. They were teenagers, all of them, and she looked down to find herself in her old clothes, her sight-scope helmet on her head. Just like the campfire ten years ago.
Something seemed wrong, though. She looked around suddenly for Robo and Janus and realized neither of them was there. But they should be here, she thought, Janus was propped up against that tree and Robo had been sitting right here as she'd made adjustments to his circuitry. She remembered them being here.
"Where," she asked Marle, worried, "where are Janus and Robo?"
"It's not time for them yet," she answered, "don't worry about it, you'll see them again."
"Lucca," Ayla exclaimed happily, "Lucca brave! Lucca very strong!"
"But I wasn't," she sighed, "I couldn't stop them. I wasn't even strong enough to fight them..."
Ayla gave her a puzzled look, leaped up from her sleeping bag and tilted her head left and right.
"What you saying? Lucca beat Lynx," she shouted, then tilted her head again, "maybe Lucca forget?"
"The lass is right," Frog chirped as he put down his sword, "you stopped Lynx from awakening the flame and consuming history. A more noble choice hath never been made."
"You don't know how brave you were, Lucca," Marle said from across the flames, "if it were me in that weird city, with those two freaks guarding me, I don't know what I would have done. But you knew exactly what to do."
"Lynx hath failed to obtain the Frozen Flame," Frog said, "and his schemes will come to their rightful end."
"I hope so," Lucca sighed, "but who's left to fight them? Robo can't hold out forever and they've already changed history, even without the flame. Is Janus strong enough to beat them on his own?"
"No, he's not," Frog answered with a shake of his head, "but as the proper time comes he'll have help, and they will bring peace to our world just as we once did."
"But who will," she asked desperately, "who's left that even knows about what's happening? I should have prepared for this, I should have gathered allies...I was so sure we could beat them on our own..."
"Lucca," Marle answered, at once exasperated and joyous, "you did exactly what you were supposed to do! Kid's alive because of you and that's all that matters!"
"Kid," Lucca answered slowly, trying to comprehend the good news, "you mean she's still alive?"
Marle chuckled softly and rolled onto her back to look up at the thick blanket of stars above them.
"Isn't that what I said? This all began with her and she's the one who's going to finish it. Schala knew she could trust you to protect Kid and you did. Now it's all up to her and Janus."
"Schala trusted me with Kid," Lucca murmured, confused, "wait, you mean Kid isn't Schala?"
"Oh no! This story give Ayla bad headache! You tell it, Marle!"
Frog croaked merrily, his chin quivering and yellow eyes alit as he snickered.
"'A very meandering story, 'tis true, but you've time enough to hear all of it."
"But there'll be time for that later," Marle cried out, "you've got to see everything over here, Lucca! There's so much more to all this than the forest, you know! Besides, you can't stay here forever, we've gotta go!"
Ayla nodded quickly and jumped up and down, shouting happily.
"Yes! Show Lucca bright lights, Marle! They're pretty!"
Lucca just scratched her head.
"Huh? What on Earth are you two talking about?"
"It starts with your life flashing before your eyes, but it doesn't stop there," Marle answered as she pointed at the horizon, "tell me, what do you call that bright group of stars just above that far-off hill?"
Lucca stared out into the wispy night sky and looked at the small group of gleaming stars, hovering above the twilight horizon like a ring of bright jewels, and smiled, recognizing her favorite constellation.
"They're called the Pleiades Cluster. But why?"
"Haven't you always wanted to see them up close?"
Marle suddenly pushed herself off the ground and swept upward through the air, her arms hanging out from her sides as she darted among the branches and laughed.
"Um, Marle, you're," Lucca ventured nervously, "uh...you're flying..."
"So can you! Now come on, there's a whole universe we've got to show you!"
She heard a familiar ribbit and turned around to look at Frog, who'd sheathed the Masamune and now stood waiting for her by the rapidly fading campfire. He croaked happily and began to levitate into the air himself.
"There is more to our lives than that mortal coil. Come Lucca, adventures beyond human dreams await us!"
"Come Lucca! Come to shiny world! Pretty up there!"
Lucca took a breath and closed her eyes tightly, trying to mentally push herself into the air, but the ground still just as solid and unyielding as ever. She shook her head, not grasping in the slightest how to break free of the Earth; it just didn't make any scientific sense, she knew she couldn't break gravity just by wishing it.
"Lucca, it'll be okay," a familiar voice called out just a few feet over her, "just don't think about it."
She looked up and grinned as she saw him hanging upside down in front of her, his spiky red hair tumbling down from his head, his eyes wide with his usual innocent friendliness as he offered her his hand.
"Are you sure it'll be okay," she asked nervously.
"Lucca strong," Ayla's voice called back from somewhere deep within the evening sky, "Kid and the blue haired one strong too! Both blue-haired ones! They make everything okay, you see!"
"Forthright they shall slay Lynx and restore history to its rightful course," Frog's voice rang from the vast starry night, "when they do, thou shall awaken from this into thine own bed, and this shall all be a dream!"
Crono nodded his head and gave her the same friendly, cheerful smile that had won her over so many times.
"Alright Crono, but just so you know," she said with a grin, "I might get airsick!"
She took his hand and suddenly leaped upward into his arms, somehow right-side up as she clung tightly to his shoulders. She opened her eyes and noticed the grass and almost-extinguished campfire hanging above her head, the whole world upside-down and the sky dropping like an endless abyss beneath her dangling feet.
"Crono, we're going to fall!"
"Don't be afraid, I've got you."
She opened her eyes again and saw her friends flying all around her, Marle right beside her while Frog flew straight ahead and Ayla looped and somersaulted through the moonlit cloudtops. The ground swept beneath them, a blur of trees and meadows, and she looked up into the stars, into the constellations she'd gazed upon as a child.
"Here we go," Marle called out to them, giggling, "last one to infinity's a rotten egg!"
"Stars pretty, Lucca! More pretty than anything!"
The stars suddenly surrounded them, a vast black ocean filled with gleaming gems as the rainbow orbs of brilliance she'd once called the Pleiades grew bigger and brighter, finally giving way to a universe of blinding light and shimmering color. She gasped in wonder, the distant campfire finally burning out somewhere far below, as the five disappeared into the rainbow-colored wall of starlight, their laughter echoing through the heavens.
Ayla was right: Lucca had never seen anything so beautiful in her life.