Well ladies and gentleman, I have decided that this will be the last chapter of the story. It has been great fun writing this sequel, but it's nearly over and I do want to move on to other stories I have planned in the future.
Till The Day We'll Meet Again
Dateline, March 12th, 1205.
I was in the process of trying to get my head around to what I had heard. To think that Chancellor Osborne's was Rean's real father, it turned out that Rufus and Claire knew about it, I guess this was why he didn't take it well when he finally figured it all out.
In the months that passed, the palace at Heimdallr was returned to normal and everyone who was a victim of being kidnapped were able to breathe a sigh of relief. The Noble Alliance was disbanded as Rufus ordered, Cayenne was now serving his sentence and Vita and the rest of the oroburos people left the country. A part of me had a feeling that we would meet them again.
The pointless war that had costed a few lives was over and once peace was restored around Erebonia, we were given time to take a long period of relaxing before we resumed with our studies at the academy. Speaking of which, Rean was given a task by Lechter to go to Crossbell and stop an intel leak with the assist of Altina. He returned a few days ago and we were all happy to see him after he was gone for a month.
As for Crossbell, the city was brought back to being under control and as for Calvard, there was no word of them ever since their armies were forced to back down, they hadn't attacked the surrounding areas since. As for me, my relationship with Emma had gone from strength to strength and with how happy my life was now, I didn't need to think about my powers.
March however was the month, where our class group would be saying our goodbyes. However, because I wasn't sure what to do or where to go from here, I made the decision to stay at Thors so I can continue my studies. I learnt a lot since I started doing all this for nearly a year, but there's still more for me to learn.
We were in the middle of wrapping up today's homeroom session and in our uniforms...I had missed these.
"Heehee, nice work, guys." Sara said. "You poor kids must be exhausted. Feels like all your other instructors are dead set on cramming your brains with as much material as humanly possible."
"That's an understatement." I replied. "Ugghhh..."
"I want to crawl in to a hole..." Fie moaned.
"Ahaha, you said it." Elliot said.
"Still, this is exactly how we wanted it." Laura added.
"Right." Gaius nodded. "They're doing it for our sake, so I don't mind it so much."
"There's no way we could cover everything in class, so it's sweet of them to give us the bullet points while they still can." Emma said.
"It's paying off for us in the long run, yeah, so we owe them a lot." Alisa added.
Machias sighed. "Forcing you to try and keep up with us is a little unfair of us though."
"Well, he does have his responsibility to be a national hero." I shrugged. "I could've been one, but I think I'll stick with being a mysterious demon lord."
"Not only that, but you and Rean are gonna be doing all of this next year." Millium replied.
"Are you two sure you're fine with this arrangement?" Jusis asked.
"Yeah, there's a lot I wanna make up for and I don't know where my life is going." I answered. "So I just wanna focus on completing these studies and then graduate. By then, I should have a good decision on where to go next."
"He's right. This is to my benefit, too." Rean added. "If I get all of this crammed into my head now, maybe I can even come out on top on next year's midterms."
"Heh, I'll make sure to give you a challenge, that number one spot is mine!" I smirked.
"That's some confidence." Fie said.
"Haha. I wouldn't be surprised if you actually did it, though." Emma added.
Sara got our attention. "Anyway, tomorrow's the day you've all been waiting for, your next free day. I know you've got enough school work to choke a horse, but try to carve out a little time for your clubs and all that youthful jazz."
"That's a good thing." I replied.
"The forecast for tomorrow is clear, blue skies, might be the chance to sneak off and get into some ooh-la-la with that special someone."
I frowned. "Ha ha ha, in your dreams."
"And truly, you teach us all by living your life as a shining counterexample." Machias said.
"Spoken like a true lifetime member of the lonely hearts club, Instructor." Jusis added.
"Heeey. I'll have you know that there are plenty of guys who'd do anything for a private lesson with yours truly." Sara responded.
"I think the polite thing to do here is just smile and nod." Gaius said.
With that, homeroom was now finished and Sara left.
"Time really does fly, it's hard to believe our last free day is tomorrow." Elliot said.
"Yeah. It felt like we still had more time." Alisa added.
Rean nodded. "For me, it feels like it's been ages since I last had one."
"Honestly, those are the days I look forward to the most...cause they're all I need." I said, singing the last few words. "By the way, how was Crossbell?"
"Well, it was okay, but I kinda felt very uncomfortable there."
I sighed. "Yeah, I thought so...the home I used to have there is long gone."
"So does anyone have anything planned for our free day?" Laura asked.
"Well, I gotta keep up with my vocals at the music club." I then looked at Emma. "But since it will be the last one for us as a whole, I think I may skip the club and spend all my time and devotion to my love."
Emma blushed. "Oh, you don't have to do that for me..."
"Wow, how romantic." Fie smirked.
We all then left whilst Rean stayed behind a little longer. I saw Alisa then go back into the room, she probably wanted to spend time with him. At least Fie's teasing towards me had gotten less since Alisa and Rean announced they were in a relationship.
After our clubs were finished, we walked from the academy and we were going over the day we first met. To think that one year ago, we would meet for the first time and now we had become the best of friends. The same is double for me, considering that I had a very troublesome burden.
"So folks, shall we get some ideas for a catering session for dinner?" I asked.
"That won't be necessary." Sharon answered who was waiting for us outside the dorm.
"What reason could you possibly have for being here?" Alisa asked.
"The chairman gave me her permission to return to my former position as your dormitory's caretaker." Sharon smiled. "Which means, I am here to serve you all once more."
"Well...I guess some things never change." I shrugged. "That saves us the leg work at least."
"Heehee. Sharon's cooking's better than whatever grub we could rustle up together, anyway." Millium said.
Sometime later after dinner, it was now the evening and I had left my room. I made my way up the floor and saw Rean come out of his room. He walked over to me when I saw him.
"Oh, hey Alex." He said.
"Hey there, Rean." I replied. "You thinking what I'm thinking right now?"
"Maybe, I'm just going to go around and see how everyone else is."
"By starting with your girlfriend, right?"
He laughed. "Yeah, you got me."
We walked up the girls floor.
"I thought so, I'm gonna be doing the same with Emma. I have a feeling that after our last free day with everyone has gone by, it's gonna be sad to say goodbye to them."
"Exactly, that's why we need to make the most of tomorrow as much as we can."
"Yeah, by the way...about you and Alisa, you're not planning to let her go, are you?"
He shook his head. "Absolutely not! I'm the one who fell in love with her, just like how you fell in love with Emma. No matter how far she and I are, I'll always be thinking of her."
"Heh, you better...or I might just transform and kick your ass." I winked.
He shivered a little. "Please don't..."
"I'm kidding, friend...my dark days are over. We both had to overcome so much to get all this back, I have no regrets on all I've done."
"That's good to know. So if you're gonna be with Emma..."
"Yeah, I don't wanna be disturbed, so try to resist going into her room, okay?"
"I'll remember, see you in the morning." Rean shook my hand.
I shook his hand in return. "Yeah, see you then, Rean."
Rean went over to Alisa's room whilst I went to Emma's room, I knocked on the door and entered.
"Are you alright, Emma, am I interrupting anything?" I asked.
"No, it's okay." She replied. "Dorothee and I are gonna put together one final collection of stories as a club. I just finished reading over this book."
"Ah I see, the literature club. I bet tomorrow will be jam-packed, right?"
She nodded. "Since then, I've been working on a story for the students who'll join the club next year."
"Oh yeah, tomorrow will be the last day of music club for Elliot. It's gonna be strange not to hear him or his violin. But Instructor Mary has assured me that there will always be talented musicians that will come here to aid my voice...well, that's how she puts it."
"Hehe, that does sound like her."
"So about the story you're working on...wait, does the story have an age rating?"
She blushed. "The content is totally appropriate for children of all ages, I assure you!"
"Oh right, well at least you're keeping Dorothee in line, who knows what goes on in her mind."
Emma then stood up and put her arms around me.
"I'm sorry, Alex...no matter how much I try to think about everything else...I just end up worrying about you."
I put my arms around her and held her close to me.
"I wish there was a way for me to stay with you as well." She cried. "Hic...but I can't..."
I sighed. "I know...it's going to hurt for a while. But this is what's best for me. I made my decision and I need to stick to it. I have one dream right now, and that is to study all the way through this and next year and then graduate. You have a dream too, don't you?"
"Yes...hic...I want to uncover the complete mystery of the Divine Knights, but I also wanna travel and find Vita." She sniffed. "I want to keep researching and always become stronger, so I can one day reach her level and be a proud witch."
"Then that's the dream you should follow...I know you're worried about me and my demon powers. But I need to remind you that those days are over. I no longer live in fear, I have my powers and I'm going to use them to protect the future, that's what I promised to do." I looked into her eyes. "I'll be alright studying here and every day that goes by until I graduate or when there's a holiday break between terms, I will always be thinking of the smart, unique, strong and beautiful girl that I fell in love with."
Emma looked back at me with a smile and tears in her eyes. "Alex...I love you..."
"I love you too, Emma."
We then shared a romantic kiss and then exchanged little kisses with each other.
"Are you okay now?" I asked.
"Yes...I'm alright." She answered. "You don't have to spend your whole day with me...as long as we can spend it tonight."
I blinked. "Oh, you mean like we did a few months ago?"
Emma blushed madly. "Yes...I'm gonna miss you so much, so I would like to let you know how much you mean to me."
I smirked at her a little. "Then it would be my pleasure to show how much I'm gonna miss you too."
We engaged in a moment of passion, one that I was happy to share the night with that was filled with intimacy...
Dateline, March 13th.
The next day arrived and after successfully sneaking out of Emma's room, I left the dorm feeling refreshed and a little pride with myself. I was going to make the most of this free day by sharing my voice with a song in the music room. I was sitting with the piano and I sang as played the song's melody I had learnt to play.
Oceans apart day after day
And I slowly go insane
I hear your voice on the line
But it doesn't stop the pain
If I see you next to never
How can we say forever
Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you
However, I was interrupted when I heard a familiar bell go off. I also sensed something that made me jump a little. Looks like something big was about to go down today. I left the music room and then the main building before going over to the Old Schoolhouse. I saw Claire, Toval, Elise and Alfin who were with Rean.
"Well, well, what's going on here?" I asked.
"Oh, hello, Alex." Alfin greeted.
"It's been a while, Alex." Elise added.
"Yeah, it's been some time." I replied. "If you're wondering why I'm here..."
"You sensed it too, right?" Rean asked.
"Yep and I bet the old schoolhouse is involved, there's no way I'm ignoring that."
"Well, this sure is an odd place for everyone to be hanging out in the middle of the day." A certain kitty said.
I turned to see Celine who showed up which made Alfin squeal and picked her up, I forgot that she liked cute things.
"I thought something felt odd over here, but I guess that's because of you guys."
"Yeah, I sensed something strange earlier, then..."
Rean was cut off when the bell at the old schoolhouse went off again.
"Woah...I just felt a sudden chill!" I blinked.
"Wait, didn't Sara say that the last time this rang?" Toval asked.
Suddenly, the old schoolhouse began to glow as it rang a few more times.
"Celine, this is just like before." Rean said.
"Yeah, this is obviously serious." Celine agreed. "Unlike the last time, however, there doesn't appear to be any kind of barrier around it."
"Let's get everyone here who has an ARCUS right now." I suggested.
Moments later, our class group arrived along with Sara, Towa, George and Angelica.
"What in the world?" Machias asked.
"It's just like the first night of the festival." Gaius said.
"Do my eyes deceive me?! Are all three of the fabulous fifteens here in one place?!" Angelica exclaimed happily.
George sighed. "Way to keep your priorities in check, Angie."
"Rean, can you tell everything you know?" Towa asked.
Rean explained it to us and everyone of us went in to witness the shock of our lives. We were expecting to see the entrance hall, but it was far from that. Now there was a massive open outdoor area with a large tower in the middle.
"WHAT THE HONK?!" I exclaimed in shock.
"Not right near my ears." Celine sighed.
Each one of us had a word about all of this. There was no sign of the door with the elevator and none of the seven floors were present. We all agreed that we couldn't leave this be, so Rean called for Valimar who appeared in front of us.
"Valimar, do you understand anything about the situation we're in?" Rean asked.
"Hmm, my memories have yet to fully return." He responded. "But what I can confirm is that this place was created by the gnomes."
"The gnomes...are they the same gnomes from the dark ages during Revelio's reign?" I asked.
"That is correct. Some of thier finest technology is gathered in this place. The creation of a large-scale phase space, the expansion of flexible materials. As well as the development of the trial system."
"Then they must also be the ones behind the spirit shrines, right?"
"Let me get this straight. This is all related to the truth behind what happened 1,200 years ago, right?" Angelica asked.
"We've gotten ourselves wrapped up in something that's truly out of his world, haven't we?" Alfin added.
All of us Class VII nodded in agreement.
"You're gonna try and get to the bottom of this, aren't you?" Sara asked.
"You know us so well." I answered. "That's exactly what we're going to do and what better way to spend our final free day together than to do this."
"I think we can all agree that we have a duty to see this through." Alisa said.
"And we'll be sure to do so by the end of the day." Machias added.
"Haha..." Toval rubbed his head. "Like there was even a point in asking, Sara."
"I do believe we should be acting a little cautious." Claire said. "But where do you even prepare for a situation like this?"
Sara nodded. "Well, if you all insist, but we're coming, too!"
"Right on!" I replied.
That was when Sharon turned up, looks like everyone who can fight was going to be with us to the very end. George would of course be staying behind to help us with upgrading and stuff.
"Well, if everyone is joining in on the fun." Alfin said.
"The two of us would like to assist you as well." Elise finished.
This surprised nearly everyone.
"Your Highness, I'm not sure..."
"Please don't try and stop me, Captain." Alfin cut Claire off. "This academy was founded by one of my ancestors and as a member of the Arnor family, I hardly feel that I can turn a blind eye to what is happening here." She then got out a staff with a crown shape at the top. "And besides, I just so happened to receive this wonderful gift from my brother."
"Wayhey, looks well pimped out and ready to grind in the dungeon." I said.
"Hold on a minute. Isn't that the Epstein Foundation's latest model?" Toval asked.
"Heehee. My brother used his connections to get it for me." Alfin answered. "And it's been adjusted especially for me, so I have no problems using it."
"Naturally, if Her Highness is going, I will be accompanying her." Elise said. "And I'm afraid that nothing you say is going to change my mind."
"Don't fight it, Rean. It's almost embarrassing to see you lose against Elise every time." I smirked.
"All right, I get it..." Rean sighed. "...everyone, our final mission is to investigate and resolve the strange situation here. This is our final trial...so let's give it everything we got!"
We all cheered in response. Rean went forward to the elevator, selecting me, Alisa, Emma, Laura, Jusis and Sara. Everyone else would have to wait as we took the elevator to the first area. There were tough monsters to deal with and an elevator at the end of each area, but we pushed on through until we reached a checkpoint of some kind on the 4th floor. A monster that looked like a giant wolf was waiting.
"Is that a cryptid?" I asked.
"Defeating this monster could be part of the final trial." Rean answered. "I'd prefer to try and defeat it with everyone at my side if I can."
I put my hand on his shoulder. "Oh Rean, you know we'll always have your back for moments like this."
"That sounds fair to me. I would prefer to test my strength." Laura said.
"Let's show this thing what Class VII can really do." Alisa added.
We charged at the giant wolf with everything we had and overcame it in the end. We traveled the elevator to the fifth floor and repeated the same procedure. We encountered a second cryptid on the eighth floor and defeated it, making us become even stronger. The next set of floors were the same and we encountered a third cryptid on the twelve floor. This was the same by the time we reached the sixteenth floor and eliminated a fourth cryptid.
We took the elevator to the seventeenth floor and this turned out to be the last one, when we saw a doorway at the end.
"What is this?" Alisa asked.
I hummed. "This could be it..."
"I can sense an incredible amount of spiritual force from nearby." Emma said. "But it also feels somehow...hollow."
"You mean hollow like that giant shadow we fought a few months ago?"
"On the other side of that darkness, the source behind what's happening is waiting for us." Rean said. "Let's let the others know we're here."
We got everyone else to regroup with us and when we were all together, we set foot through the doorway and through a portal that took us to that very familiar place, the colorless sandy field with all the swords stuck into the ground.
"Well, never did I think we would come back here." I said.
"And so thou hast come..." A voice replied.
In front of us, a massive shadow appeared that was in a white colour, similar to the black one.
"I am Loa Luciferia." It spoke. "The Great White Shadow."
"It's gigantic." Alfin said.
"So pretty." Towa added.
"I assume there is some reason behind all of this?" Claire asked.
"Indeed." Loa answered. "The awakening of Vermillion and the Infernal Castle's ruination have led us to this juncture. The undulations of the spirit veins pierced even the depths of this sanctum. So it was that the proper trial was suppressed and in that void...that which was to be forever hidden from the eyes of man came forth."
"So what does that make you?" I asked.
"I am but a hollow trial. Thy victory would merit no reward, thy triumph, no recompose."
"A hollow trial?" Emma asked.
"That sounds like a good way to put it." Celine answered. "Utterly pointless."
"Hollow? Why does that matter to us?" Rean asked. "We must and will defeat you."
We all drew our weapons out.
"We aren't here seeking some sort of reward. We aren't here to find some hidden purpose. Overcoming this trial will be a fitting end to our time together as Class VII, and that's all the reason we need to earn our victory here!"
"Thou art possessed of a fine spirit." Loa responded. "Then let us commence the Shadow Trial! Now reveal unto me, children of man, how thou shalt fight and how thou shalt overcome."
"Damn right we will!" I exclaimed. "We will bring every fiber of our being to overcome you and put an end to all that we have gone through in our lives!"
This was the final battle, the one that we would ever have. This was perfect for all of us, everything that we had learnt, everything that he had chosen to stand for and everything that we swore to protect so that future generations can live on, it all came down to this one moment that we would never get to witness again in our lifetime.
All of us as one with Class VII was involved in the fight, everyone else that we had gotten to know as great friends supported us with all they could whilst we went on the offensive. Every strong attack we brought out, every buff from our arts that made us powerful, we called for them with every corner of our beliefs. Even I felt an almighty surge of power when I transformed.
The White Shadow was eventually on the ropes and after a timely critical strike from Rean's s-craft. It was my turn to end this one on a perfect note. Demonic Obliteration...for me, a fitting end to finish off and obliterate this greatest foe. It roared before before it finally vanished. Suddenly, the colorless area around us became a bit more colorful with a snow flakes falling down.
"Wow...we did it for real, everyone." I said, sighing in happiness. "Now it's all over..."
"We earned our victory." Laura added.
"Ahhh, I had so much fun." Millium felt her cheek. "Huh...why am I crying?"
"I think it's because its hit us hard." I answered, before I felt the emotion. "That we did it, we finished our final trial together...and now it's all over."
"Well, there's no shame in crying when you feel sad." Emma said, before she started crying.
I went over to Emma and I hugged her before I started letting my tears fall.
Fie and Laura began to cry and they hugged. Whilst Millium wailed, Alisa then started to cry and Rean hugged her tight.
"What a way for everything to end." Jusis said.
"There's no point in pretending you don't want to cry too." Gaius added.
Rean nodded whilst hugging Alisa. "Yeah, you're right..."
"Hic...hic...you all know...that I love you all, right?" I asked, hugging Emma tight.
"We all do..." Elliot answered, crying. "...every one us has made it to the end."
"And the same goes for you, Alex." Machias added.
Whilst hugging Emma, I lend a hand out to Rean who shook my hand whilst hugging Alisa. We then shared a bro hug with tears, it was rare for me to share a friendly hug with a guy, but the emotion was too high to not let it out. We then went back to holding our girlfriends very tight.
"They all care for each other, so much." Towa commented.
"Well, I didn't see this coming." Angelica said.
Elise and Alfin were already there with the tears.
"They've probably been bottling this up for quite some time." Claire said.
"I'm sure they have...and yet they've never let it show." Sara added. "They just kept looking forward."
Sharon nodded. "To the very end, each of them walked the path they chose for themselves."
"Yeah, they're a real group of kids." Toval agreed.
After letting out everything we had kept inside, we left the area and out of the schoolhouse to recover from this moment that we would never forget...
Dateline, March 25th.
The day had come, Spring was on the way and it was time for Class VII to depart. Rean and I were in our uniforms still whilst everyone else were in their casuals, ready to say goodbye.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye for now." Machias said.
"Take care of yourselves, okay?" Elliot added.
"I promise to write letters to you...and especially you, Alex." Emma said.
"Yeah, I know you will." I replied before I held her hand. "Though I have a feeling we'll meet again sooner than we think."
"Yeah, I get the feeling we'll meet again before long." Rean agreed.
"Heehee, so do I." Alisa said before she gave him a kiss.
"Besides, the Empire is smaller to us than it is to most people." Laura added.
Millium nodded. "Yeah! If I use Lammy, I can be anywhere in no time."
"This isn't goodbye as much as it is see you again soon." Gaius said.
"In the meantime, we all have our share of duties to fulfill." Jusis added.
Fie nodded. "Yep, but as soon as they're done...well, you know."
"Of course. Here's hoping our time apart treats every single one of us well." Rean replied.
"Of course it will, I have the powers of a demon lord after all." I added. "That means that I can fly and visit any one of you folks at any time."
"A bit of wishful thinking there, mister." Sara remarked. "Anyways, just look at those lino flowers bloom."
"This is truly a new beginning." Sharon said.
We then turned to Sara and thanked her for all she had helped us, considering what we can do now. I then hugged Emma close and we shared a romantic kiss one more time. Rean did the same with Alisa and then they waved at us goodbye and walked into the station. Sharon was going with Alisa for obvious reasons.
Rean and I smiled at each other and did a high-five.
"So, Alex, how long do you think till they miss us already?" He asked.
"I'd give it a month at best." I answered. "That's how long it took until we found each other again."
"Hehe, I'll hold you to that."
"Anyways, time to show the first years how we roll, with your swordsmanship and my singing."
"Haha! You're on, Alex!"
We made our way to the academy ready to start the next day of our studying.
Everything that I had now made me the person I became today. One year ago, I came to this academy with fear, sadness, loneliness and nothing to lose. Now a year has passed and my life has changed for the better, I now had the life I always wanted, full of happiness, support and best of all, I now had someone who I will always be in love with.
This isn't the end, I know that there will be times ahead where things will become a struggle, but that's when I'll turn to everyone I got to know for help, Rean would agree with me there. For I had now promised to stand by one sentence that I would always remember.
No matter what changes, my love and my happiness will always stay the same.
Story ending theme:
Joey McIntyre – Stay The Same
Woohoo! The sequel is now finished! So until Trails of Cold Steel 3 gets translated, this is where Alex's story ends for now.
Feel free to follow me if you wanna see more of my stories...and thank you for reading this, it makes writing these worth the time put in.