VI

Date with Destiny
a series of Chrono Trigger shortfics by Dot


VI. A.D. 997: Heirloom


Marle opened the closet, holding her breath as the dust settled in a small cloud at her feet. After she almost got caught before, she hadn’t dared come into the room for months. But this time, she was safe. Father was on one of his diplomatic visits again, and he knew that she was far too antsy to accompany him on what amounted to the world’s most boring field trip.

The last time she was bored, she had talked the Baron’s kids into flushing all the toilets in his Manor at the same time.

She began with her first discovery, a small music box that contained a tiny mechanical couple who turned and twirled with the melody. Somehow, it seemed to be the most representative of Mother—or, at least, what little she could remember.

The tolling of the grandfather’s clock startled her out of her reveries. She glanced at the face and gasped. Almost lunch already? I must have zoned out for longer than I thought! She stuffed the music box back into the drawer and made sure that the latch on the closet was in the correct position before running out of the room.

( xviii )

She didn’t have a chance to return until late at night, her father having made sure that her schedule was full of her favorite activities: horseback riding, sailing, archery, sliding down the banisters of the tower (well, all right, the last one had been her own idea, but it was fun).

The quarter moon gave the room some silvery illumination, just enough to see by so Marle wouldn’t have to risk lighting a candle or using her own talents. Candles were vulnerable to shifting winds, and her aura had the annoying side-effect of healing anyone who was close to it. Father had a fit when the villagers of Truce mistook her radiance for some sort of miracle and set up a small shrine to the Goddess of the Towers.

She was about to begin the ritual again when she saw the faintest of glimmers coming from beneath the bed. Lifting the corner of the heavy blanket, she was surprised to find a large chest.

That’s strange. I don’t remember seeing this before.

Opening the unlocked latch—another oddity—she almost dropped the top of the chest on herself as she saw a note in Father’s strong, elegant writing.

Dearest daughter,
I understand your fears that you are losing your memories of
your mother and your wish to reconnect with her spirit. Her
closet, however, was not where she kept her dearest possessions,
but rather this chest, which originally contained her dowry.
The first outfit you will find is what she wore when she was about your age.
~Your Father

She put the note back into the chest, being careful not to crumple it. Father.

( xviii )

She stood in front of the mirror, her face turning redder and redder until she was sure that her head would explode from embarrassment.

This—this—if my own choice of clothing fed the rumor mill, then what did they think of Mother when they saw her in this?

She tried to pull the upper half so it wouldn’t show so much of her blossoming chest, but to no avail. The tight midriff just pulled everything together again so that it accentuated her new feminine curves.

Why did you give me these, Father, why?

She had heard the whispers more often than she cared to admit, about how disappointed the King was that his child was a girl and not a boy. She became determined to prove that she was just as good as the boys, if not better. She dressed like one, because it was hard to run around in what people considered to be proper attire for a Princess, and on occasion acted like one as well, worse if she heard any nasty comments about Guardia.

But now there was no denying the truth. She would never be a boy. Her body betrayed her mind, and continued to go down the irrevocable path of womanhood. Just last week she had her menarche, and after her initial screaming panic had subsided, got a quick lesson in where babies came from.

The revelation struck her like a blow to the head. Perhaps Father is not as clueless as I think he is. Perhaps he’s noticed my anguish. Perhaps this is his way of telling me that it’s all right to be a girl—but on my own terms, not in the way that society expects. She did a quarter turn, coloring again as she got a glimpse of the backside. Oh, dear. This is going to take some getting used to.


Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
Because most tomboys don’t wear clothes bordering on fanservice. And King Guardia XXXIII needs some positive character development.
Once again, roman numerals = 18; reason = see Chrono’s chapter.

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