I wholly apologize for posting this in the wrong place last time. I promise it won't happen again.
Hello everyone! It's been some time since I've been on the Chrono Compendium. I recently replayed and reread Radical Dreamers: Le Trésor Interdit.
I got inspired and wrote a small story about what happened to Serge directly after, though it's probably not exactly my best work. Rather than let it fester on my hard drive, I'm going to post it here. Please enjoy! Or not. Note that this is unfinished, though I don't know if I will ever finish it, and comments are appreciated!
Jonathan Seigl sighed to himself as his partner again tried to interrogate the blond-headed boy. Though Vera was sure they had been a trio, they'd found only this young man, and not the fabled Phantom Thief or the Shadow-walker. Nothing seemed special about this boy. With a photograph of him, they asked around the city of Regiorra. Some shop owners and innkeeps recognized him, yes, but they had said especially compared to his companions, this boy was completely normal—boring,
So why, then, was it so hard to coax information out of him? Two days had passed since the came across him, alone in the woods surrounding the land near Viper Manor, and the blond just didn’t seem… right
to Officer Seigl. Something was off, to be sure; his eyes were faraway and starry, and he spoke with distance and nostalgia in his tone. Of course, with what had happened to the young man, it didn’t surprise him. Traveling as part of the band of thieves known across the country as the Radical Dreamers was sure to make him a subject of infamy, but the horrors of the Manor itself would change a man forever.
Jon was just happy he had gone to that horrible place in a squad of thirty.
Staring at Markus Waterstein, his partner, the Porrean policeman watched as, yet again, even the slightest scrap of information was attempted to be wrenched from the boy’s mouth.
“State your name, please,” Mark began in vain. This much information they had already gotten.
“Serge Maxwell,” the boy replied simply.
“Now, your age, if you would.”
“Date of birth?”
“January 11th, 997.”
This much was a constance. Serge wasn’t lying to them about who he is, at least.
“So what exactly did you see in Viper Manor? Tell us. We’re not here to hurt you, son.”
And this is when Serge Maxwell’s demeanor changes, every time. He begins to shift, and he looks down at the edge of the wooden table in the brick interrogation room. The words are the same, no matter when or how it’s put or asked.
“Please elaborate,” Markus quipped, and Jon readied his pen, though it was more out of habit than anything at this point.
“Weren’t you there? You saw it.”
“Only a fraction. Now, Mr. Maxwell, if you would just tell us—”
“She’s gone. You won’t find her. I need to find her. But I can’t. And I won’t. You won’t either.” Serge cut Mark off. This was new, thought Jon to himself. Maybe he was getting as tired of this song and dance as they were.
Mark ignored Serge Maxwell’s outburst, and continued. “Who? Kid, the Phantom Thief? Leader of the Radical Dreamers? Where is she now?”
“I can’t find her. No one will. She’s gone,” Serge Maxwell repeats. Nothing will get his information to change, and Jon was certain and he thought Mark knew this too, but he kept at it.
“What about Magil, the Shadow-walker? Is he with her?”
“I don’t know.”
“Vera once healed your wounds, you know. You owe her for that; the least you could do is tell us.”
Jon sighed, irritated. The one thing you’re taught in the Academy is never to promise the interrogatee things you cannot follow through on, be it due to being the exact opposite of the goal of the case, or being an outright lie. Both of these had been stewing in Jon Seigl’s mind since the second day, and now it was sundown on the third day.
Before he could tell himself better, the Porrean officer blurted out what he’d been avoiding to say all this time. “Look, kid, we don’t want you to be here anymore than you want to be here. We’re not looking for the girl or the magician; we just want to get on record about what you saw and heard in there.”
Before Jon can immediately regret his words, however, Serge Maxwell begins to speak in a soft tone, still staring at the edge of the table. “…Venus is dead. She’s a—was a Mirror of Whispers. Lynx told her to take me to the Realm of the Looking Glass. Riddel, the adopted daughter. She’s… Lynx is gone. She’s all alone. No—no, Esmeld is still there. Esmeld is okay, don’t hurt him.”
Esmeld? Riddel? When they searched the manor, they had found no one else. Riddel was… Viper’s daughter, right? The old general Lynx overthrew. Sure, she was adopted by Lord Lynx, but… She was nowhere to be found. Did she run off with this… Esmeld, in the midst of the chaos? It seemed pretty likely. Serge Maxwell continued.
“It was beautiful. Intact ruins of the lost Magical Kingdom,” the blond boy recited. “Then when the Chrono Trigger shattered, it was mindblowing. The world—all worlds, all times melted together. This world, it isn’t the only one. And she found it.”
This piqued Mark’s interest, and Jon was scribbling down notes furiously now. “Who? Found what? Kid?”
Smiling, Serge Maxwell’s expression seemed nostalgic again. What fond memories did this boy have? He was only nineteen. Silence passed, and Jon was just about to exhasperatedly stand up and leave the room to get more coffee, when the young blond man opened his mouth. Queitly, he spoke as Mark and Jon listened in.
“The Unstealable Treasure.”
“Come again?” Mark asked, urging Jon to write more, write faster.
“It’s hers, and you will never be able to take it from her. She told me herself,” sighing in admiration, Serge Maxwell continued. “Her strength and beauty… Oh Kid. I hope I can see you again someday…”
“What is this Unstealable Treasure?”
“Le Trésor Interdit.”Luh Tray-sore In-tear-dee? What the hell?
Officier Seigl thought to himself. Is this boy just completely mad?
“It’s who she is. The Unstealable Treasure.”
“Please, tell us,” Mark began, but it seemed Serge Maxwell had resumed talking in that undescipherable, philosphical manner of his.
“What we see and feel isn’t real; it can’t be. We’re all just like that old man—the man in the catacombs, did you see him? Please don’t hurt him, he’s tortured enough… We all close our minds and see only our subjective realities.”
“That’s enough, Mr. Maxwell. Thank you for your time.” As they as this, Officers Waterstein and Seigl got up to leave the interrogation room for the day, and hopefully for the rest of this case. But Serge Maxwell spoke again, and his tone halted them in their tracks.
“Officers,” he began, “Listen to me. Until you open your eyes and see what this world for what it really is… Until you open your eyes and find the truth… You’ll never find her. That’s why no one will. Even me. I need to find her. Kid…”
And with that, his mouth snapped shut. Serge Maxwell was done speaking for the day, but today they got more out of him than they had in three days. Closing the door behind him, Markus Waterstein congratulated his partner.
“Way to go, Jon—finally, a break! Now let’s see what Vera wants to do with this little shit.”
Jon only grunted in response, holding the page and a half of scribbled notes, rife with shorthand and abbreviations. He was going to rewrite all of this for Vera’s sake, just because the old broad was so hard up on this case. For her to get involved meant it was bigger than a whole lot of things.
But it wasn’t just that, though Jonathan Seigl could not and would never admit to himself. What Serge Maxwell had said… unnerved him. Not in the way a typical crazy unnerves a normal person either. It was that the blond’s words chilled the officer for their pure, raw truth dripping with every syllable.
Tomorrow, or so they thought, would begin day four of the questioning. But in the end, they were forced to let Serge Maxwell go the next day. Both Jon and Mark silently agreed it was Vera’s doing, and while both acknowledged their mutual agreement, they never once spoke on it. And while there was a bit of a feeling of loss—the one that normally accompanies this type of situation, where a person or multiple persons think there’s more to be done, yet it is decreed over by a third party, it was also relieving.
The boy was a kook, simply put. How or why he would benefit the Phantom Thief and the Shadow-walker was beyond them.
Serge wandered aimlessly for days. He was a changed man, and nothing would ever bring him back to being the same scared little boy he once was. Some of the gold he’d been given by Kid was spent on rooms at inns; some of the gold he picked up and kept at Viper Manor went to food. The rooms were only good enough to keep him warm and dry, however, and the food was only tasteful enough to fill his gut.
His entire adventure of being in this group, this Radical Dreamers with Kid and Magil was over. There was no denying that. Yet it didn’t seem real. It all felt too… dreamlike, for lack of better term. Did he ever even meet them? The Star-stealing Girl and the Wanderer of the Dark. They seemed almost like characters out of the novellas he used to read as a child.
And so he kept moving idly from place to place, having no direction. Singing the same song under his breath.Sweet winged child, cling to my arm, are you harmed?
Oh my sweet winged child, what will I do without you?
Angel, here, on earth, it’s not so kind
So please, keep this on your mind
Dear meek child, speak without words when you’re hurt
Oh my dear kind child, we do not choose what we lose
Angel, here, on earth, it’s not so kind
But I’ll stay long as you’re mine
He wrote it for her at age fourteen. He didn’t know it yet, but it was hers. Serge didn’t know when Lucca heard it, but it was his only song that spread like wildfire, and none even remembered it was his composition. But the mere fact that his song could be a favorite between them—to even become music boxes for Kid’s older sister and Riddel—was touching enough.
Serge knew he needed to find her again.Kid.
He needed to tell her it was her song, and that he wrote it for her. But he would never find her.
He will continue the search. Endlessly. Fruitlessly.Sweet winged child, cling to my arm, are you harmed?
Oh my sweet winged child, what will I do without you?
Angel, here, on earth, it’s not so kind…
They’d heard of him, of course. Shiela Ramgaard had been running her inn in the town of Maschi’en for 40 years and never forgot a face. This boy, he’d come by with a girl with a braid and a gaunt man in a mask. Where’d they gone? The three had seemed, well, thick as thieves—pun intended. If there was one thing that Shiela had learned throughout the years, it’s that companions like that don’t separate so easily unless it’s for good reason, so naturally Mrs. Ramgaard’s curiosity was piqued. What, exactly, had this boy gone through?
He was sitting at a table in the café area. If he had ordered any food, it was gone by now, but Shiela suspected he simply had wandered into the area and ignored the waitress when she attempted to provided service. Turning over to one of the gals on duty, she asked for a cup of tea with honey, cream and sugar to be put together. Once it was stirred up and put on a saucer with a few home-made Ramgaard-style cookies, the innkeep brought it over to the boy.
“Hey there. Have a cup of Himalayan Chimpanzee on the house, hon, with some chocolate chips,” but before she could even finish, his ears perked up and now he was looking right at her. Aha, it seemed like he was a big fan of sweet treats. Or maybe this kind of tea had something to do with what happened to his companions… Setting it down before him, Shiela sat in the chair opposite of where he was seated.
“Well, go on—it won’t bite. You just looked so lonely, well, guess you could say it triggered my maternal insticts,” and Mrs. Ramgaard chuckled lightly at her own joke. The kid, however, was munching on his cookies eagerly. It seemed like he was avoiding the tea, or at least for now. “So what’s goin’ on? You headed somewhere in particular?”
It seemed for a little while that she’d get no response, but he eventually spit it out. “I’m looking for a friend.” So it looks like, at the least, he was looking to apologize for what he’d done. But the fact still remained that Shiela wanted to know the boy’s situation and the why of the split. “The girl with the braid?”
Ohhh, he didn’t like that one bit… His face paled and his body language changed completely. “H-how did—”
”Son, listen,” Shiela began, “When you’re in the business long as I am, you tend to remember your customers’ faces, especially if you’ve seen them more than once in your life. Now, when you see a troupe of travelers who have a bond that even people who don’t know them very well can see it, and then they look like they’ve split up for no reason, a lady might get at least a little intrigued. I’ve just got burning curiousity, that’s all.”
He seemed to to be taking all of this in. It was clear enough to Shiela that the girl with the braid was in trouble and he didn’t want to give too much about her away.
”Well, before a complete stranger pries into your life for no reason, let’s get a little acquainted. The name’s Shiela Ramgaard—don’t be shy, just call me Shiela. Mrs. Ramgaard was my mother-in-law,” and she chuckles again at this, and waits for the blond youngster to introduce himself.
”Serge.” If he had a last name, he wasn’t about to give it. But this was a start. “So what happened? I don’t need to know everything—well, I don’t need to know anything. But I’d like to hear a little bit.”
Biting his lip, Serge was looking for the right words; it was obvious on his face. “…The girl, she’s gone. We were chased by Porreans, and she and the man disappeared.”
was it. Damn those Porreans; why couldn’t they meddle in their own affairs? Of course, the occupation of these children didn’t exactly make them model citizens, but still.
“So are they together?”
“No. …I don’t know.”
“You… don’t know?”
“They might be together, they might not be. They… left me. She knew the Porreans wouldn’t want me; I’m not their target. But…”
He trailed off, not continuing his thought. The tea had surely grown cold by now, but nonetheless Serge picked it up and sipped it, making a few mmms with a fond look on his face. Yes, that expression: remnisicence. The face of a man who had lost the greatest thing in his life, and would not get it back. Shiela took in this pitiable sight and sighed to herself, looking away from the boy drinking his cold tea. So, Serge and his friends were taking care of business, probably off on some great job someplace robbing from some rich man’s mansion. But the Porreans found them, and they escaped… The girl and the man abandoned him.
Scrunching up her face, Shiela Ramgaard inwardly chastised herself. No, no—that couldn’t be it. Friends like that don’t betray one another. It’s more like that they separated so Serge wouldn’t get caught, so he wouldn’t fall prey to the tangled web the girl with the braid had woven. She tried picturing their faces for an instant: giggling at a joke Serge had made, braid swaying slightly. Eating the last of of his breakfast and smoothing his long, blue hair back over his shoulders.
Turning back from her thoughts, Serge had apparently finished the icy tea and was now staring at the empty cup on the saucer. Shiela felt obligated to impart something—some words, some age-old wisdom. Something to make it seem less hopeless of a situation and more selfless than her actual intent.
“Well, hon, if you keep searchin’ for ‘em, they’re bound to turn up somewhere. They couldn’t have left Zenan, and faces infamous as theirs will attract attention—that’s just the way of things.”
Slowly, Serge turns his gaze upward at her. “Shiela… It’s up to the Flame if we meet again.”…The flame? What?
Shaking her head, Shiela excused herself, wished Serge good luck, and gathered his cup and saucer, puzzled.
A flame. Did he worship fire? Or maybe he meant the Frozen Flame from that old fairytale.
For a third time today Shiela Ramgaard chuckles. No, that’d be impossible. Why in heaven’s name was she thinking of that silly old story for the first time in years? She hadn’t heard it since she was a girl.
Going back to the front desk, she cleared off her chair to greet her guests personally, and on some scraps of paper she began to doodle a large jewel, looking almost like a roaring fire frozen in time.