Date with Destiny
a series of Chrono Trigger shortfics by Dot
II. 12,000 B.C.: Beautiful Dreamer
Zeal, the Kingdom of magic, so blessed by the great Queen that no one needs to do anything except sleep. A lie, a terrible lie built on mountains of corpses.
But the citizens were far too comfortable in their beds to care for the truth. They showed no concern for anything except their own pleasure, not even when they learned that beneath them, countless people shiver in caves, banished to the endless blizzards because they had no magic. If it is by nature that the Enlightened Ones live among the clouds and the Earthbound Ones stay chained to the earth, then what of my step-brother Janus?
He was, I think, the sole reason that I stayed in this web of deceit. He did not get along with anyone else in the Palace, and he seemed to think the single purpose of the Earthbound Ones was to obey his endless orders. I had been trying to teach him to fend for himself, but we had precious little time together as Mother’s demands got more and more strange.
I was not surprised that Janus was the first to plant the thought of escape.
I had returned to my room after an exhausting day in front of the Mammon Machine when Janus came in, ordered all of the maids to leave the room, and closed the door behind him.
“Let’s run away, Schala,” he had whispered into my ear that day, his wide eyes darting around the room. “Let’s hide somewhere nobody can find us.”
He then left the room before I could give an answer, and without realizing it had reignited the hope that I had long feared dead.
Freedom. The mere thought of the idea was intoxicating. But I needed to consider my options before I made my move.
It almost went without saying that we would not be safe anywhere within the sky kingdom. No one would be willing to risk their necks to shelter us, not if it meant the end of their beautiful dreams.
The Earthbound caves were not that much better. My conscience would not permit putting them in that much danger, even if they were willing to welcome us and Janus would be able to adjust to the harsh living conditions.
Beyond the ocean—was there anything out there, besides the monster that dwelt in its depths?
My mind went back to the Mammon Machine again. I had never allowed it to reach full potential, for fear of what it might do, but–what if–
To Mother’s surprise and delight, I began experimenting, pushing my limits more and more. She thought that I buckled beneath her will and decided to be an obedient little puppet.
She had no idea.
Janus, being a bright boy, picked up on bits and pieces of my true intentions right away, but he pretended to sulk and grump at his precious sister not being around more often.
He, also, had no idea.
Despite being the most powerful mage in all of Zeal, aside from Mother, I still lacked the strength to have total control over the Mammon Machine. For Janus to be safe once and for all, I would have to remain and make sure that the portal closed all the way.
If Janus were to ever find out, he would never agree to it. But I had to get him away from here. Mother’s obsessions will destroy her and all of Zeal as well. I could not save everyone, or anyone else, or perhaps we all deserved to die. But I could at least make sure that Janus survived.
Be strong, Janus. I know you will think that I have abandoned you, but someday you will understand.
Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
The scene dividers is the roman numeral for twelve, symbolizing the Zeal kingdom’s belief that it was at the pinnacle of human achievement.
Janus is, at least in the English version of Chrono Trigger, Schala’s step-brother. (So says a random young man in Kajar.) Unfortunately, the game doesn’t go into detail explaining exactly how Janus, Schala, and Queen Zeal are related. I suspect that this translation may be to avoid the potential incest angle because the two of them interact as adults without Schala knowing Janus’ identity (though she may have suspected); checking up on the original, the dialogue does seem to imply that Janus and Schala are direct siblings, but I can’t read Japanese well.