Through Human Eyes: The Dark Truth Behind Chrono Cross' Ending
"Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Radical Dreamers' Genesis: Amour Interdit. Before we jump into the story portion, its necessary to cover the contents of this article presented below which I've developed from theories I've crafted over the years and serve as the foundation to everything explored in the subsequent plot. As a fan of the Chrono series' compelling narrative of time and dimensional travel, I've taken it upon myself to delve deeper into the mysteries surrounding the series and fill the void left by the absence of a new installment which answers the true meaning behind Chrono Cross' confusing ending.
This article contains four main theories as well as subsequent sections presented after each of them to expand upon whatever issues they bring up or address matters related to them thematically. The theories are presented in a certain order because they build off from and work in conjunction with one another. That said, I've also made use of theories from the Chrono Compendium and explore what its theorycrafters got right, and what they didn't to challenge the long-standing conventional wisdom concerning Chrono Cross' ending embodied in the Chrono Cross Resolutions article.
My first theory explains the dark truth behind what happened to Schala when she merged with Lavos into the Time Devourer and her fate after Serge "rescued" her in Chrono Cross' ending. My second theory is a new theory exploring the nature of the Ghost Children and makes use of previous speculation surrounding them from the Chrono Compendium's Salt for the Dead Sea article, specifically it invokes the Shades Theory from the section concerning the Ghost Children as well as Armageddon-Branch Theory from a section found earlier in the same article. My third theory is a new theory exploring the Unification of Dimensions and how Home World and Another World were realigned with one another, Armageddon-Branch Theory is also invoked from the Salt for the Dead Sea article in this instance. My fourth and final theory is perhaps the most ambitious one out of the four, it attempts to answer the seemingly impossible question of who Schala was referring to in her lines about searching for someone.
Anyone reading right now can probably already see the heading of the first theory in bold, so I won't waste any more of your time and let you dive right in, but do so knowing by the end, you'll be convinced Chrono Cross' ending showcased not Lavos' destruction, but rather its evolution into a new form through which it now sees the world through human eyes!
Lavos' Sacred Host Theory:
At the end of Chrono Cross, Schala was rescued from the Time Devourer and Lavos was seemingly destroyed once and for all… Or was there more to it than that? In a nutshell, this theory states Lavos survived its destruction as the Time Devourer through altering Schala into its soul jewel. Is it entirely possible Lavos' original plan wasn't to destroy all of existence as the Time Devourer, but rather to escape the Darkness Beyond Time and return to existence in a new body perfected from what Lavos was and combining it with what Schala was as a human? And the crystal prison Schala was seen in was the manifestation of that original plan to start a new evolutionary cycle? Let's examine the evidence:
Anyone who knows about Radical Dreamers knows it was the inspiration for Chrono Cross and many of its elements were incorporated into the latter game. The Kid and the Sunflower scenario from Radical Dreamers was no doubt the inspiration for the Time Devourer we saw in Chrono Cross, but what's really interesting about that scenario is how one of the options to rescue Kid was to stab her with a soul jewel knife capable of allowing her to escape from the Mandora Monster at the cost of her original body. It's entirely possible Lavos planned to do the same when after Crono's involvement in the Ocean Palace Incident, it kept Schala as a backup plan during Chrono Trigger to use as a measure of last resort should it have ever been defeated.
While it's true the Kid and the Sunflower scenario from Radical Dreamers is non-canonical, there are many uncanny parallels between the situations of the Time Devourer and the Mandora Monster. Aside from the obvious, something everyone has overlooked up till now is just how closely Schala and her crystal prison match the description of the soul jewel from Radical Dreamers. For one, the way in which Schala was attached to the Time Devourer in her crystal prison until the Chrono Cross "freed" her is reminiscent of how the soul jewel was attached to Serge's knife until a new body became available for Kid to inhabit. Even more compelling is how Schala sparkled and shimmered as she was separated from the Time Devourer the exact same way the soul jewel from Radical Dreamers sparkled and shimmered as Kid's soul was separated from the Mandora Monster. Schala's dress is even the same white as the soul jewel from Radical Dreamers.
Another angle to consider is how Chrono Trigger DS and Chrono Cross note how antithetical the Dream/Time Devourer was to Lavos' nature. After all, its natural drive was to grow in power and spread its existence through its evolutionary cycle. We know after it merged with Schala, her mind was filled with Lavos' hatred and sadness which resulted presumably from Lavos experiencing emotion and self-realization for the first time through her and not knowing how to handle it, thus causing half of Schala's mind to become set on destroying all of existence. Yet, Lavos' plan was always survival up to the point it was thrown into the Darkness Beyond Time, so it's not beyond reason to think Lavos had an entirely different intention for relegating Schala to the Darkness Beyond Time before it was defeated and subsequently gave up on its evolutionary desire because of that first taste of emotion.
During the Keystone timelines, the only two people we know are alive in the Ocean Palace after Lavos awakens and Schala sends Crono's friends to the surface are Schala herself and her mother. Queen Zeal's evident relationship with Lavos would've allowed her to make the bargain she made with it for immortality, which empowered her to live into the far future while the Black Omen existed, but with a being like Lavos, it's more than likely Queen Zeal's immortality came at a price. And what was that price? Queen Zeal exchanging her own daughter by throwing her into the Mammon Machine, who Lavos would then keep as its backup plan because of the danger it realized Crono and his friends posed when they fought it during the Ocean Palace Incident. After its defeat, Lavos began the process of merging with Schala not to create the Time Devourer, but to remake Schala's body into its own and use the Sacred Host spell as a part of this process, yet what it didn't realize was how Schala's emotions would affect it and lead it to evolve into the Time Devourer. This suspension of Lavos' original plan is of no consequence however, since as noted by Schala in Chrono Trigger DS, it was only a matter of time before Lavos consumed the whole of her awareness. She said this over ten thousand years before Serge intervened and used the Chrono Cross with the Song of Life to free her. By that time, it would've already been far too late.
We should also reflect on the nature and cryptic words of the Ghost Children which merit another theory unto themselves, since considering what they say leading up to the final battle with the Time Devourer in the scheme of this helps to reinforce what's already been said above. For example, nowhere do any of them say Lavos is going to be destroyed once and for all, but rather they specifically state what your determining is how Lavos will evolve from here. Obviously, something has to be alive to continue to evolve. Therefore, this means Lavos survived to evolve in a different form, in Schala's human form after its soul had either merged with or slowly devoured her soul over time and took her body as its own. Sadly, should this theory turn out to be true, it means Schala once again got the shaft, but it does help to explain Chrono Cross' ending and provides an explanation for how Lavos could've survived.
Many people will object to Lavos' Sacred Host Theory on the basis of the oration Schala delivered at the end of the game. To those people, I challenge them to read through it again in light of the theory, and then they'll see it in a whole new light. All that talk of evolution, survival of the fittest, and "spermatozoa" inseminating planets – sorry, you don't get much more Lavos than that. What's even more damning is how the Dragon God, an avatar of the Time Devourer, brought up all these issues the battle before, and at the end of it said:
"Now I shall truly awaken again… This too is destiny…"
The Chrono Cross may have healed the enmity keeping the Time Devourer together, but in the end, Lavos did awake again in Schala's human form.
I also anticipate objections to the idea Lavos would coopt Schala's name as its own, especially in the context of the diary we see at the beginning and end of Chrono Cross. Recall, however, Lavos already identified itself with Schala's name in its earliest stages of merging with her into the Dream Devourer, evident in its response to when Magus cried out:
"No, Schala! Free yourself from its spell! Please… You must open your eyes!"
Lavos' response to Magus' plea by opening its "eye" and blasting him away. After all, now with the two merged into one being, who's to say where one ends and the other begins?
On an unrelated but relevant note, many people will object to the idea Queen Zeal was the one who handed over Schala to Lavos since the Ghost Children tell us how Schala was sucked into a dimensional vortex with the Lavos Mammon Machine as the Ocean Palace collapsed around her. Again, I would point out this isn't necessarily contradictory since we don't know all the details surrounding Schala's internment in the Darkness Beyond Time. Furthermore, I argue the Ghost Children would've left this detail out on purpose since it would've been a dead giveaway as to what was really going on during Chrono Cross' ending and expose the connection the Ghost Children themselves have with the Dream/Time Devourer which I will detail in my next theory.
It's impossible to say with any degree of accuracy how Lavos' full transition into humanity and the effects of the Chrono Cross may have changed it, but if the oration is any indication, it feels vindicated in its own existence and ready to follow through whatever plans it has for the future…
Crono, Marle & Lucca Time Devourer Avatars Theory:
The Ghost Children seen in Chrono Cross require a whole new interpretation if Lavos' Sacred Host Theory is correct. If it is, then one would have to conclude that they are avatars of the Time Devourer in the same way the Dragon God was. This would also conveniently explain the behavior of the Shades seen in Chrono Trigger DS' Dimensional Vortex if they themselves are the same beings as the Ghost Children.
When the Time Crash happens at the end of Chrono Trigger DS, it leads to the subsequent split of Home World from Another World when Serge either lives or dies in 1010 AD. As shown by the Shades Theory, the Time Crash Shift's unique type of time travel caused certain points in time to become part of the same region of other points in time. However, when we see the three Dimensional Vortexes open in the Chrono Trigger DS after credits, we actually see it from the point of view of Home World rather than Another World. This is evident during the sequence showing the ruined future when the Dimensional Vortex opens in 2300 AD. Anyone familiar with Armageddon-Branch Theory knows the reason for this is because Home World is beyond the reach of the original Crono from Another World. I'm aware of the possible counterargument showing the ruined future during the Time Crash sequence is a concession the game designers had to make, but I dismiss it on the basis the Temporal Research Lab found in the Dimensional Vortex of 2300 AD is likely a fragmented version of the Time Research Lab spoken of by Chronopolis' chief existing in Another World's future since its year coincides and its outside contains a lush forest, in stark contrast to the future you just arrived from running parallel to it. This would mean if the Ghost Children are indeed the real spirits of Crono, Marle and Lucca, consumed by the Time Devourer, they would come from Another World rather than Home World.
During Chrono Trigger DS' post-game exploration of the Dimensional Vortex, you play as the Home World equivalents of Crono and his team who encounter the Ghost Children as the Shades, who by that time in their own dimension of Another World had long since been consumed by the Dream Devourer and reach out to you from Home World's Dead Sea since the times and regions the three Dimensional Vortexes open in have all been intertwined indistinguishably into the same location there. Placing Chrono Trigger DS' post-game content into canon has always been a challenge, but this theory assigns greater canonicity to Chrono Trigger DS' post-game exploration of the Dimensional Vortex as a representation of events which did happen, but not in the manner presented as a part of Crono's quest. This exploration alludes to the Dream Devourer consuming not only the versions of Crono, Marle and Lucca from Another World, but also their Home World equivalents after being lured by the Shades.
Their reasons for attacking you in Chrono Trigger DS are the same as the Dragon God's in Chrono Cross, they are acting as avatars of the Dream Devourer who is still thirsty for revenge and enraged to see Crono and his friends safe and sound in Home World when it had already gone through the trouble of consuming them at various points in Another World. In terms of the role they play as part of the Time Devourer, they represent the vestiges of Lavos' desire to survive and evolve in a manner similar to how the Dragon God apparently represented Lavos' desire to destroy and take revenge upon humanity. This is why the Ghost Children urged Serge on to use the Chrono Cross after the Dragon God's defeat so Lavos could escape the Darkness Beyond Time in Schala's human form and start a new evolutionary cycle.
A glaring problem with this theory is during Serge's adventure across dimensions, Belthasar never makes any kind of mention or indication the Ghost Children are avatars of the Time Devourer like he did for the Dragon God. Since he was the mastermind behind Project Kid, he would've obviously known about it if they were. The answer to this is deceptively simple however, Belthasar did know and knew Lavos had made Schala into its soul jewel, but still manipulated Serge to use the Chrono Cross anyway. Why? Because it was the only way to save all of existence. This may seem quite insidious on Belthasar's part, but keep in mind, this is no worse than everything else he did to see Project Kid through. As a side note, this makes Chrono Cross' ending all the more tragic, because Belthasar tried everything he could to save Schala, only to relinquish her to Lavos in the end for the sake of all of existence while it returns to masquerade as her. Of course, Belthasar being Belthasar, might have another plan up his sleeve to rectify this too…
Further Thoughts on the Ghost Children:
When I played through Chrono Trigger DS and Chrono Cross, I always found it strange how the Ghost Children always appeared wherever either Lavos' or the Frozen Flame's influence was felt, and it was these observations which gave way to the Crono, Marle & Lucca Time Devourer Avatars Theory you see above. For our beloved trio to be consumed by Lavos the same way it consumed the Dragon God as the Time Devourer seems like a rather ignominious fate for our heroes who sacrificed everything to save the world, but it does make a lot of sense, especially in the context of Lavos' want of revenge as the Dream/Time Devourer.
To this day we still don't really know what happened to Crono, Marle and Lucca during and/or after the Fall of Guardia, but given the theory above, we can safely make several presumptions. When Lynx and Harle attempted to abduct Lucca in 1015 AD, its likely Lavos would've intervened either during or after the attempt to consume Lucca, leaving nothing but a physical avatar we see as the Crimson Shade in Chrono Trigger DS and as the Ghost Child we see in Chrono Cross.
Crono and Marle would follow suit and become the beings seen as the Steel Shade and Alabaster Shade in Chrono Trigger DS and in Chrono Cross as the Ghost Children. However, this would not yet be the end of our heroes. When Kid traveled back in time to save Serge and split Home World off from Another World in 1010 AD, its likely duplicates of Crono, Marle and Lucca were created at that moment. These duplicates would be blissfully unaware of what happened to their Another World equivalents, but Lavos itself as the Dream Devourer would be enraged to see them safe and sound again in this new dimension after having dispatched them in Another World. Whether Lynx and Harle would burn Lucca's orphanage again in Home World just as was the case in Another World is rendered moot, Lavos would consume her, Crono and Marle again just like in Another World, the only difference now is, it now has their Another World equivalents to lure them as the Shades, making their consumption easier than was the case the first time around.
Once their Home World equivalents met the same fate as their Another World equivalents, the Ghost Children seen in Chrono Cross would represent both sets of equivalents of Crono, Marle and Lucca from their respective worlds. Lavos would first project them through the Frozen Flame to Serge while wandering the Dead Sea to test his resolve. It would later project them through the Frozen Flame at Terra Tower to urge him on to use the Chrono Cross. Finally, the Ghost Children would appear one last time at Opassa Beach right before Serge went to use the Chrono Cross so Lavos could escape the Darkness Beyond Time and return to existence in Schala's human form. Obviously, the Shades' appearance before you fight the Dream Devourer in Chrono Trigger DS mirrors the Ghost Children's appearance before you fight the Time Devourer in Chrono Cross and both appearances convey the connection they have with it.
Serge and Kid's Marriage:
In light of the theories I've made so far, I feel I should address what most likely happened to Serge and Kid. What we do know is Serge remembers his adventure after waking up on Opassa Beach. Based on the wedding photo at the end of the game, he and Kid did find each other and married. However, should we consider the theories presented so far as correct, the most likely scenario for them is they suffered a terrible fate at the hands of Lavos now set loose in Schala's human form.
Armed with the memories of his previous adventure across dimensions, it would've only been a matter of time before Serge realized the truth Schala is Lavos. Of course, Lavos would've found Serge as it had promised, and before he discovered the truth, it would've attended his and Kid's wedding and shared with them times of joy and laughter under cerulean skies, but it would all come to an end once Serge and Kid realized the truth. They would've confronted Lavos at some point, but would be no match at all for it. After their defeat, Lavos would consume them. Keep in mind it did this to the Dragon God as the Time Devourer and to Crono, Marle and Lucca as the Dream Devourer as shown in the Crono, Marle & Lucca Time Devourer Avatars Theory. Once Serge and Kid had been consumed, physical avatars of them would remain, but they would be nothing more than extensions of Lavos.
When Schala/Lavos encloses her last diary entry as Schala "Kid" Zeal, it would be in reflection over doing to her daughter-clone what the Dragon God did to Harle after she retrieved the Frozen Flame for it. Recall both Kid and Harle have the exact same fortune, the only difference is Harle's fate was sealed the moment the Dragon God was unleashed, while Kid's was sealed the moment Lavos was unleashed in Schala's human form. It would only be a matter of time once Serge and Kid found out the truth and then confronted Lavos. To the outside world, Serge and Kid would be happily married, but beneath the surface, all they are now are appendages of Lavos' will. The memories they and Lavos shared together would be nothing more than fleeting dreams doomed to fade into the distance. Although this is the fate Serge and Kid would meet in this dimension, there are other dimensions where they can begin their true journey…
Influence of the Time Devourer over the Radical Dreamers Dimension:
One final thought I wanted share regarding Lavos hunting down and consuming Crono, Marle and Lucca as the Dream/Time Devourer is how it would've undoubtedly done the same to the versions of them existing in the Radical Dreamers Dimension, given as I explained in the Crono, Marle & Lucca Time Devourer Avatars Theory, it consumed the versions of them existing in Home World and Another World. This may seem farfetched, but consider for a moment how, despite Radical Dreamers being the original sequel to Chrono Trigger before being replaced by Chrono Cross, the Time Devourer's existence creates a beautiful retcon explaining why Crono was not revived after the Ocean Palace Incident and the absence of Marle and Lucca in the game's backstory.
Let's begin with the Keystone Dimension, which we know has to be the original dimension, in it, Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross take place. However, as we all know, the Keystone Dimension is split into Home World and Another World when the former branches off from the latter. Just like Home World, the Radical Dreamers Dimension had to have branched off from the original Keystone Dimension at some point. How this happened is a topic for another time, what's relevant in our consideration is it exists, and the reason it exists is because just like Home World, something happened in the past to cause it to split off into its own dimension. Although the exact point of divergence is unknowable, we can make an educated guess the Radical Dreamers Dimension came to be in a timeline of the Keystone Dimension during which the Dream/Time Devourer was in existence. This point of divergence would be somewhere between 65,000,000 BC and 12,000 BC, after which, once the Radical Dreamers Dimension becomes its own self-contained universe, the future beyond its point of divergence is completely wiped clean of all time travel.
This would necessitate Crono and his friends redoing the events of Chrono Trigger in this newly created dimension to nullify the destruction Lavos would once again cause in 1999 AD, but of course, it would be the versions of Crono and his friends native to the newborn Radical Dreamers Dimension who would accomplish this and not their Keystone counterparts who were consumed by the Dream/Time Devourer. When the events of Chrono Trigger once again take place in the Radical Dreamers Dimension, everything would more or less happen the same as in the original Keystone Dimension, however, once Crono dies during the Ocean Palace Incident, slightly different events start to unfold after his friends attempt to revive him only for their efforts to be met with failure.
As we saw in the FMV of the Ocean Palace Incident, Lavos has the ability to devour the souls of its victims, which it did to Crono's soul when he originally died. However, in the Keystone Dimension, Crono is successfully revived when his friends switch him for the doppel doll at the last possible second before this happens, unfortunately, when they try this in the Radical Dreamers Dimension, they retrieve his original body to the top of Death Peak after switching it with their own doppel doll only to discover to their horror its nothing more than a soulless husk doomed to expire shortly after its retrieval! Why? Because this time around in the Radical Dreamers Dimension, the Dream/Time Devourer exists behind the scenes in the Darkness Beyond Time, and as we all know, although Lavos couldn't prevent time travel as the Dream/Time Devourer, it could reach out to its alternate selves either for consumption or to carry out some other evil. Why is this relevant? Because Lavos, still thirsty for revenge and seeing Crono once again die at the hands of its alternate self in the Radical Dreamers Dimension's version of the Ocean Palace Incident would use this opportunity to enact its revenge on Crono right there and then by consuming his soul through its alternate self from the vantagepoint of the Darkness Beyond Time.
Crono's soul would then be subsumed into the being seen in Chrono Trigger DS as the Steel Shade and in Chrono Cross as one of the Ghost Children. This would make any attempt to resurrect him in the Radical Dreamers Dimension impossible, as without Crono's soul, all his friends would get for their efforts is a soulless husk. After their failure to resurrect him, Crono's friends would bring his body back to the present for burial in the grave Kid spoke of during her adventure with Serge and Magil in Viper Mansion. Crono's friends, of course, would go on to defeat Lavos and save their dimension's future without his help (or maybe with the help of a past version of himself as suggested in Masato Kato in CT Ultimania). After the end of their adventure, they go their separate ways, returning to their own eras. Eventually, Marle and Lucca would suffer the same fate as Crono and be consumed by the Dream/Time Devourer just like in Home World and Another World. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding Marle's consumption by the Dream/Time Devourer, her impending absence would leave the Kingdom of Guardia sadly desolate and its territory in North Zenan up for annexation by Porre once it rises as a military power. As for Lucca, just like when Lavos intervened to consume her when Lynx and Harle burned her orphanage in the Keystone Dimension, it would intervene to consume her when Lynx and his minions do likewise in the Radical Dreamers Dimension.
This would be the point where I would end this section if not for a plot hole involving Time Traveler's Immunity and Time Bastard across dimensions. The plot hole I speak of exists, even before all the new details I added involving the Dream/Time Devourer, because of the nature of dimensions branching off from one another and the preservation of changes made by time travel in a newborn dimension's history as long as it was already a part of the history of the dimension it originally branched off from prior to the point it split into its own self-contained universe. Simply put, the Radical Dreamers Dimension branched off from the original Keystone Dimension, but as I explained before, it would be at a point somewhere between 65,000,000 BC and 12,000 BC, effectively wiping Crono's adventure clean in the newborn Radical Dreamers Dimension, however, as the Radical Dreamers Dimension came into existence during a timeline when the Dream/Time Devourer was already existence, this would mean in the past of the Radical Dreamers Dimension, the changes Crono and his friends made to 65,000,000 BC would be preserved as a part of the Radical Dreamers Dimension's history! This causes a problem of duplicates since, on the one hand, you have the new versions of Crono and his friends existing in the Radical Dreamers Dimension who are blanks slates with regards to Time Traveler's Immunity and Time Bastard since they came to be within their own dimension having never time traveled, and on the other hand, you have the carbon copies of Crono and his friends from the Keystone Dimension meddling in 65,000,000 BC who would inevitably be Time Bastards. So, what happens when the versions of Crono and his friends from the Radical Dreamers Dimension travel to 65,000,000 BC as a part of their quest to save the world?
Unfortunately, the closest thing we can get to an answer is the planet's dream would correct this problem of duplicates by favoring the presence of the Radical Dreamers Dimension's versions of Crono and his friends in the past of their own native dimension over the carbon copies of Crono and his friends from the Keystone Dimension who would just be Time Bastards anyway, essentially overriding their presence once they arrive in 65,000,000 BC to perform the exact same actions in the exact same manner. Needless to say, from an outside perspective it would be as if the Radical Dreamers Dimension was always its own self-contained universe without a discernable point of origin whatsoever, and whatever lingering connections it may have had with the Keystone Dimension, similar to those Home World and Another World had with each other, would be lost if not completely erased.
The Dimensions Didn't Really Reunify Theory:
Over the years there have been numerous theories attempting to explain the unification of dimensions regarding Home World and Another World and how such a unification happened despite the diverging histories of each dimension. Even though the game makes it clear the Chrono Cross can rewrite history and combine the elements of each dimension if so used, this doesn't necessarily mean this is what took place. If we stop to consider the ramifications of Lavos' Sacred Host Theory and make use of Occam's razor, we can come up with a theory which is as close to the truth as we can get short of being clarified in a new game.
After Serge used the Chrono Cross to "free" Schala, she clearly says:
"Time, which has been divided,
will be unified again now."
Keep in mind, however, the game is full of statements which can't be taken as literally true at their face value. With this in mind, let's consider what happened when the Chrono Cross was used at the end of the game. As most other theories point out, problems arise regarding which timeline's history is allowed to continue as the real history of the world, or how both can seamlessly merge into one with all the contradictions each worlds' histories entail. This is made even more complicated when trying to keep track of all the Time/Dimensional Travelers' Immunities existing in and between both dimensions. My answer to this is that both dimensions were never merged back with one another at all, but rather, the Chrono Cross was used to wipe the timelines of both dimensions clean of all time and dimensional travel which took place up to that point!
Before I explain further, we first need some context. During Chrono Trigger, there was only one dimension, the Keystone Dimension, later renamed Another World when Home World branched off from it. After that point, there were now two dimensions, but before then, there was only one (leaving the Reptite and Radical Dreamers Dimensions aside). As we learn from Magus in Chrono Trigger DS, there are as many worlds as there are potentialities, however, these worlds aren't real until something actualizes them physically. In the case of Home World, it was Kid traveling back in time under unique circumstances to save Serge from drowning in 1010 AD. From that point on, Home World is now its own self-contained universe, possessing a carbon copy of Another World's past up to that point. Yet, Home World's future beyond 1010 AD is completely wiped clean of all time travel which took place beyond 1010 AD, and this is the exact reason why Home World's future ends in destruction, because Crono and his friends never appear to defeat Lavos in Home World's version of 1999 AD, as demonstrated in Armageddon-Branch Theory. The split in dimensions applies retroactively rather than just concurrently. Therefore, if someone from either dimensions' future traveled back into the past preceding the point of the dimensional split, like 600 AD for example, they wouldn't arrive in a shared time/dimension, they would arrive in that dimension's respective version of 600 AD since they are now self-contained universes.
Returning to the subject of dimensional unification, or better said, lack thereof, the game makes the Chrono Cross' ability to rewrite history and combine the elements of different dimensions clear, by virtue of this ability, it would necessarily have the ability to nullify contractions existing either due to time/dimensional travel or divergent histories. This ability would allow one to use the Chrono Cross to wipe these timelines clean of everything distinguishing them from one another, from their time/dimensional travel to their divergent futures. The ramifications of this are extremely far reaching, for one, it would mean not only was Serge's adventure across dimensions nullified, but Crono's adventure across time was nullified too. Despite this, the Day of Lavos wouldn't come back into existence in the wiped clean version of Another World because as we know from Lavos' Sacred Host Theory, Lavos is inserted into the new timeline in Schala's human form. As we all know, Time Traveler's Immunity and Time Bastard would dictate that, regardless of whether Crono and his friends intervene in 1999 AD, Lavos would disappear before it destroyed the world. Consequently, Home World's future would still end in destruction in 1999 AD since there is no equivalent human version of Lavos existing beyond its personal time in that dimension to ensure its cessation.
As we know from Chronopolis' observation of Home World and Another World, FATE had always been observing and guiding them prior to the point of the dimensional split, which has been quite the conundrum for theorycrafters at the Chrono Compendium since it shatters the internal logic of the split occurring in 1010 AD even with its retroactive nature considered. What's certain, however, is time is considered "unified" prior to the formation of the Dead Sea in 1010 AD which marked FATE losing control over Home World since it's when the dimensional split had to have occurred concurrently even with the supercomputer treating each dimension as its own separate self-contained universe up to that point. This part of the plot which has been an enigma for theorycrafters and other fans alike may actually be a plot device to convey the self-contained nature of each dimension and how both would remain such even after time had been "unified".
Both dimensions remaining their own separate self-contained universes would also be a necessary evil so in the (however unlikely) event another Time Devourer comes into existence, the Chrono Cross can be recreated to nullify the threat it would pose, whether it would be recreated by Serge or some other time/dimensional traveling hero in a future game. In short, when Schala/Lavos told Serge at the end of the game time would be unified again, she didn't mean in the literal sense that each dimension's self-contained universe existing parallel to one another would merge together, rather, everything distinguishing them from one another would be erased, thus everything in each timeline would more or less happen the same from beginning to end, up until Lavos' past self is either erased or awakened when 1999 AD rolls around of course.
There would only be two exceptions to the Chrono Cross wiping the timelines of both dimensions clean. The first would be the effects of the Time Crash which led to the creation of El Nido from 12,000 BC onward, because we clearly see Serge with Leena on El Nido's Opassa Beach in 1020 AD at the end of the game, and the second would be the possible appearance of Kid with Schala's pendant in 1004 AD. Again, all of this is necessary as a failsafe so if the Time Devourer should ever come back into existence, someone can hop between both versions of El Nido and neutralize it.
The New Names of Home World and Another World:
If I had to give names to the reset versions of Home World and Another World, Home World would now be called the Geddon Dimension since it would be virtually identical to the timeline Chrono Trigger first starts out in save for El Nido's existence which simply comes about without the need of Project Kid and the possible appearance of Kid with Schala's pendant in 1004 AD. Another World, being the Keystone Dimension after the dimensions split in 1010 AD, would now be called the Gemstone Dimension since it would be the mother dimension of Lavos reinserted in Schala's human form.
Further Thoughts on Serge and Kid's Marriage:
Now that I've unveiled the Dimensions Didn't Really Reunify Theory, I wanted to finish my thoughts on Serge and Kid's marriage and the ramifications this theory has for them. As I said before, Serge and Kid would be consumed by Lavos after confronting it, but this would take place in the Gemstone Dimension. Other than this, everything else would happen the same in both dimensions, including the scene on Opassa Beach where Serge wakes up with the memories of his adventure across dimensions.
If the diary entry at the end of the game is any indication, Lavos in Schala's human form would travel to the Geddon Dimension to meet Serge again and see if he remembers his adventure there as well. If he does, Lavos would presumably redo its actions from the Gemstone Dimension, however, things would likely transpire differently this time around. With the equivalent of Serge and Kid from the Gemstone Dimension consumed by Lavos, the Angelus Errare distortion at Opassa Beach would likely function again and the equivalent of Serge from the Geddon Dimension would slip into this new incarnation of Another World.
With the memories of his previous adventure across dimensions, Serge would quickly realize the dimensions hadn't really reunified and learn the fates of the versions of himself and Kid in this new incarnation of Another World. Serge would thus learn of Lavos' return in Schala's human form much sooner than his equivalent from the Gemstone Dimension had. After this, Serge would find his way back to the Geddon Dimension, but rather than confront Lavos with Kid as their Gemstone Dimension equivalents had, they would go on the run and try to find someone who could help them. Keep in mind, this is just the best-case scenario. It's unknown what would happen to them after this…
Schala's Last Chance:
It would be an understatement to say the implications of the Dimensions Didn't Really Reunify Theory are far reaching, but one implication I wanted to touch on here is the new version of Schala who would now exist in the past of the Geddon Dimension. Unlike her Gemstone Dimension equivalent who would disappear due to Time Bastard at the exact moment Schala was originally confined to the Darkness Beyond Time by Lavos, this new version of Schala wouldn't face this problem since the Chrono Cross wiped the dimensions clean and would leave her without any time traveling article existing beyond her personal time.
It goes without saying Schala is still technically alive and unsubsumed in the Radical Dreamers Dimension, but there so little we know about it that it's beside the point and a topic meant for another consideration. What's important to consider here is how just as Home World was Serge's saving grace during Chrono Cross, the reset version of it we refer to as the Geddon Dimension may be Schala's saving grace as well if another time traveler were to avoid the mistakes Crono and Magus made during the Keystone Timelines and save her from the Ocean Palace Incident.
Who would this time traveler be though? Again, this is a whole different topic meant for another consideration (skip ahead to the final theory which provides the answer). What's relevant with regards to it is when such a time traveler does succeed in saving Schala in the past of this dimension, it'll create a different but equally true outcome diametrically opposed to the Gemstone Dimension's outcome of Schala being subsumed by Lavos. Think of how for example, during Chrono Cross, the Acacia Dragoons were dead in Home World but alive in Another World. This may be Schala's situation in a future installment to the Chrono series.
Perhaps when such a time comes, the Chrono Cross can be used to truly reunify the dimensions in a literal sense, rather than just wiping them clean, once it can be guaranteed Schala's rescue is made the true outcome rather than her being merged/subsumed by Lavos. Such a scenario may even be a part of the plan Belthasar likely has up his sleeve which I alluded to at the end of the Crono, Marle & Lucca Time Devourer Avatars Theory. The only problem with this is it would remove the failsafe I suggested in the Dimensions Didn't Really Reunify Theory against the Time Devourer coming back into existence. One plausible explanation to this apparent discrepancy, however, might lie in the possibility the failsafe is Lavos' intention for keeping the dimensions divided while Belthasar's intention is to use the division to create an outcome where Schala is rescued and only truly reunify the dimensions once this outcome can be made the true one. I anticipate there will be objections to the Dimensions Didn't Really Reunify Theory on the basis of arguing Schala's/Lavos' words regarding the dimensional unification were literal. To those people, I would counter even if they were, Belthasar wouldn't have permitted it, as without the Geddon Dimension's existence, all hope of saving Schala is lost.
The Original Serge Theory:
Debates have persisted to this day of who "Schala" went to look for after the ending of Chrono Cross. After all, her oration at the end of the game seems to imply she went to look for Serge after he "rescued" her from the Time Devourer with the Chrono Cross. This task was made to seem impossible, but other evidence suggests she knows where and when to find him in El Nido. So, what gives? The answer to this may be simpler than we think if we start from the beginning with Radical Dreamers.
We know one of the computer monitors in Chronopolis heavily implies the events of Radical Dreamer's took place in its own dimension, and in this dimension, Schala was reborn as Kid, Magus found and presided over her as Magil, but strangely, Serge still exists in this dimension despite the fact there was no Time Crash which hurled Chronopolis back into Antiquity for him to be born in El Nido. How then does Serge exist in this dimension? The answer is the Serge first seen in Radical Dreamers is a different person than the Serge later seen in Chrono Cross. Keep in mind, just because the characters have the same names and similar profiles doesn't necessarily mean they are the same persons or each other's dimensional equivalents. For example, Kid in Radical Dreamers isn't the same person as Kid from Chrono Cross, since the former is Schala herself reborn in the present as an infant while the latter is her daughter-clone.
What's this have to do with who Schala is searching for you might ask? Well, one of the most perplexing aspects of Chrono Cross' plot was Schala's obsession with and endeavor to help Serge while he was seemingly just a random kid out of countless others, until you stop to consider at the time to Schala, he may not have been a random kid, but rather someone who was a facsimile/recreation of a different person holding the same name and a profile compellingly similar to his. This different person who Schala was looking for could be none other than Radical Dreamers' Serge, who she knew outside the context of the Radical Dreamers Dimension because he has his own dimensional equivalent separate from Chrono Cross' Serge somewhere in the Keystone Dimension. As for why Schala addressed Chrono Cross' Serge directly after he "freed" her as if he was the one she would look for, keep in mind Belthasar planned everything about Project Kid right down to Schala intervening to save Chrono Cross' Serge after he was bitten by the panther demon. Belthasar knew Schala would intervene because he knew she'd take the bait in her search to find Radical Dreamers' Serge. This draws a parallel with Marle being mistaken for her ancestor Queen Leene, so likewise, there might be a familial connection between Chrono Cross' Serge and Radical Dreamers' Serge. This would make the former still essential in Schala's search for the latter since his DNA would be needed to trace his lineage until Schala/Lavos found the point where Radical Dreamers' Serge exists.
It would also follow Belthasar knows exactly where and when the Serge Schala is looking for could be found. However, as we know from Lavos' Sacred Host Theory, "Schala" is Lavos masquerading as her, therefore Belthasar would never tell Lavos where to find him, leaving Schala/Lavos to search every corner of time until he was found within either the Geddon Dimension or the Gemstone Dimension which we know have to exist from the Dimensions Didn't Really Reunify Theory.
Exactly how Schala met this original Serge outside the context of the Radical Dreamer's Dimension is a whole different can of worms. Yet, if everything else proposed in this theory is correct, it would necessarily follow that they met sometime in the past before she was absorbed by Lavos after the Ocean Palace Incident. My own speculation regarding this is too much to go over here, which is why I will go into detail in my subsequent story.
Lavos, FATE, and El Nido:
Given the points I've brought up in my theories so far, I feel the need to address what the world would look like at the end of Chrono Cross with Home World and Another World wiped clean into the Geddon Dimension and the Gemstone Dimension. As I've discussed, Lavos would be reinserted in Schala's human form, but what I'd like to consider here along with that is how Schala/Lavos would presumably have the ability to transverse the dimensions at will in its search for the original Serge. It's clear the original Serge remains important to Schala/Lavos, even after their merge into one being. At this point, it's nearly impossible to know a full answer as to why, but based upon my own interpretation of the lyrics of Radical Dreamers from the Chrono series arrangement album, even now there may be a part of Schala still independent enough to want to see him one last time before being subsumed forever. The song's lyrics reflect how the original Serge's sorrow found its way into Schala's life and her hope becoming fainter than evening dew with Lavos subsuming her soul, but still she finds comfort in her hope she will find the original Serge one day.
As I discussed after the Crono, Marle & Lucca Time Devourer Avatars Theory, Serge with the memories of his adventure across dimensions would inevitably find Kid and eventually realize Lavos was still alive around the time he and Kid wedded, at which point they would be consumed after posing a threat to it. Unlike the Chrono Cross Resolutions article, which suggests FATE and Chronopolis will now never be built, I propose both will exist again in the future of the Gemstone Dimension under Lavos' control. Chronopolis' and Dinopolis' inhabitants will appear out of thin air at the edge of the Sea of Eden in 12,000 BC thanks to the effects of the Time Crash granting them Time Traveler's Immunity to terraform and colonize El Nido, with their counterparts existing in the new iteration of the future disappearing due to Time Bastard. The Records of Fate will once again be distributed, but will disseminate Lavos' influence instead of FATE's over El Nido either directly or indirectly through the supercomputer.
Just like during the Keystone Timeline involving Project Kid, Serge will be born in 1003 AD and Kid will possibly appear with Schala's pendant in 1004 AD due to Time Traveler's Immunity even though Schala/Lavos didn't create her in this iteration of the timeline. As I mentioned earlier, the scene at the end of the game where we see Serge wake up at Opassa Beach would take place in both the Geddon Dimension and the Gemstone Dimension, because both new versions of Serge will receive the memories of the original dimensional traveling article due to the Chrono Cross' side effect of transferring memories. Obviously, even though the Sea of Eden will contain Chronopolis in the Gemstone Dimension, the Sea of Eden will once again become the Dead Sea in the Geddon Dimension in reflection of its ruined future. Other than this, however, everything else will more or less happen the same in both timelines due to the Chrono Cross wiping everything else clean, any influence Lavos exerts aside. This holds true for the Geddon Dimension because, even though Chronopolis will never be built in the future of that dimension, everything else mentioned above will still come about due to Time Traveler's Immunity. The Records of Fate won't function properly in the Geddon Dimension, but unlike FATE, Lavos will be powerful enough to disseminate its influence across dimensions through them to influence the actions of the Geddon Dimension's versions of El Nido's inhabitants.
Many people will wonder why the new Lavos who exists in Schala's human form from the Gemstone Dimension would allow the Geddon Dimension's future to suffer destruction at the hands of its alternate self, and the answer to that lies in what Lavos once was before it merged with Schala. Despite the fact this Lavos is now human, it would likely still see its spawn on Death Peak as its children and retrieve them. Death Peak would also be a valuable source of power for Lavos to use and help advance whatever plans it has for the future. The survivors of the Day of Lavos who were also sent to the Darkness Beyond Time when Crono originally defeated Lavos would also exist again in this new iteration of the ruined future, and it's doubtful Lavos would want them to suffer that same fate again having experienced it firsthand.
Unlike the original version of the ruined future where humanity was rendered extinct in the centuries which followed, the new Lavos from the Gemstone Dimension would likely intervene in some form, as it now has a vested interest in the survival of humanity, even in the Geddon Dimension. Efforts might even be made in restoration of the planet to ensure an eventual recovery, though much of it would still lie in ruin for an abysmal amount of time.
Now we turn to the subject of the fate of the Dragon Gods, since I need to rebuttal the absurd notion they might be free to become the fused Dragon God again and awaken Terra Tower as suggested in the Chrono Cross Resolutions article. There's no doubt they still exist in El Nido, but whether they exist as a full set in both the Geddon Dimension and the Gemstone Dimension or are again separated across dimensions as before is beyond the scope of this article. Regardless, what we can be certain of is they are once again under the firm control of Lavos and FATE, as otherwise, they would immediately try to wipe out humanity as they attempted to before. If Harle exists again as the seventh Dragon, she would be under Lavos' control as all the others.
The fate of Belthasar, in addition to those of Crono, Marle and Lucca are the most interesting cases. Personally, I think Belthasar resigned himself to being wiped clean along with everyone else out of guilt over having no choice but to let Lavos back into existence in Schala's human form. That being said, he wouldn't have simply allowed it to roam through existence without someone knowing about it, because of this, I think he might have had something to do with Serge remembering his adventure across dimensions even though Schala/Lavos told him he would forget about it. Belthasar might have even transferred his memories and knowledge of Project Kid to the version of himself he knows exists in the Radical Dreamers Dimension to continue his work and assist any who would follow in challenging Lavos in the future. Even though Belthasar presumably devised a way to keep Lavos from entering the Radical Dreamers Dimension to claim him, he's likely too holed up to effectively fight back as of this time or contact anyone in either the Geddon Dimension or the Gemstone Dimension who could help him.
As for Crono, Marle and Lucca, their fates depend upon whether Lavos would perceive them as a threat. What must be understood when we consider this is Lavos, even now as a human, is not evil, at least not in the conventional sense of the word. The Chrono Compendium's Ethics of Lavos article has a whole debate as to whether Lavos is merely a thoughtless parasite or is perhaps sentient, and whether its actions constitute evil since they are apparently necessary for its survival. My perspective on the matter is that it was never a question as to whether Lavos is sentient, because Chrono Cross's plot proves it is, but whether if it was sentient in the same way humans are, and the answer to that is a clear and resounding NO!
However, now that Lavos is human, a whole new dynamic has been thrusted into this debate. If its oration at the end of the game is anything to go by, it disdains harming and killing others, but fundamentally sees life as a competition of becoming that one chosen life-form which inseminates the next planet, and those who fail in this competition still serve that one chosen life-form in forming the link in the golden chain which culminates in the creation of a new universe. All of this reflects how Lavos previously took the best possible DNA, endowed it to its spawn, and then sent them to repeat the cycle on other planets. The differences now is, humanity is going to be the cornerstone in Lavos' new evolutionary cycle rather than the building blocks they were the first time around. From this perspective, Lavos as a human wouldn't go around maliciously attacking or hurting others, but would consume anyone who went out of their way to pose a threat to it, justifying it as merely being a part of the competition for survival.
Given how Lavos would know how Crono, Marle and Lucca would react if they discovered its survival, it's unlikely it would allow them to live their own lives like it initially did with Serge and Kid. Lavos might attempt to preemptively consume them just as it did as the Dream Devourer if it deemed them a sufficient threat, but there are no guarantees it would succeed even if it tried. For all we know, Crono could be waking up the day of the Millennial Fair in 1000 AD with memories of his adventure across time due to the effects of the Chrono Cross and that could be the start of the next Chrono game.
Wishful thinking aside, I'd like to enclose this with a consideration of how Lavos' humanity might affect its development in the future. Although its clear Lavos has always been sentient, its drive to survive and achieve perfection limited its capacity for free will, but as a human Lavos presumably has full capacity for free will now. It still holds to an alien morality emphasizing survival and evolution in the competition of life spoken of in its oration from what we can tell, but just as was the case when it became the Dream/Time Devourer, it's one misfortune away from becoming something truly evil. On the flipside of this, however, there's the possibility it could come to know empathy and compassion, but to truly do this it would have to transcend its alien morality which is extremely farfetched. As a human, Lavos could arguably be far more dangerous than it was in Chrono Trigger or even as the Time Devourer in Chrono Cross, because during Chrono Trigger it was a force of nature, during Chrono Cross it was nihilism incarnate, but as a human it now has the capacity to rally others and spread its influence to every corner of time until all of existence falls under its domination…
I anticipate the objections to my theories will be legion, and arguments will be made like "the color of Schala's dress was just a coincidence", or "the Time Devourer couldn't have consumed Crono, Marle and Lucca, because of X, Y and Z". My reply is the burden of proof rests on you considering we have such a lack of information for our questions within the universe of the Chrono series. We have no alternative other than to take our answers where we're able to find them. Just like everyone else who's a fan of the Chrono series, I'm tired of waiting for the answers, so following the example of the authors of the Chrono Cross Resolutions article, I've taken matters into my own hands and looked for the answers myself. Until we either get a new Chrono game (which I'm sorry to say is a lost cause at this point) or get the input of Masato Kato himself, this is the only way we'll ever have any sense of closure to this beloved franchise.
Anyways, I know all my theories and considerations presented in this article leave Chrono Cross' ending on a dark note with Lavos not only alive but now in control of almost everything, but these and other ramifications notwithstanding, I hope everything I've presented here will help provide the closure fans have been yearning for and leave enough loose ends to address in a future game if we (however unlikely) ever do get a direct sequel to Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. It's my hope the ideas I've unleashed provide a new perspective to Chrono Cross' ending and give feasible answers to many of the series' mysteries left unaddressed for two decades. With that said, if you've managed to absorb everything this article has to offer, you're ready to begin reading the story portion. Enjoy Radical Dreamers' Genesis: Amour Interdit…