Enjoy the newest chapter!

Disclaimer: I do not own Honkai Impact 3rd.

Every part of Durandal's body ached as her fists connected with the punching bag in front of her. The blond Valkyrie was all alone in one of the many training rooms that the main Schicksal's headquarters possessed. Dressed in Schicksal white sport clothes, one could see multiple bandages adorning her body.

In such a condition most would have been confined to a bed to recover but for the S-Rank Valkyrie most of her injuries were non-critical. Pair that with her excellent physique and the medicinal capabilities of Schicksal she would be back in top shape in about a week.

Mentally however…

Durandal scowled as she kept on punching the punching bag in front of her with all of her strength, the only thing occupying her mind was that news that she was informed of after she had woken up.

"Commander Durandal I bear bad news."

"25% of the Immortal Blades are currently hospitalized, with 10% of them in critical condition."

"Tyrfing and Gungnir Squadron are gone now, with the exception of Valkyrja Midori Aki being the sole survivor."

"45 casualties in total. Some of the bodies have not been recovered."

"Their families have been contacted and proper funeral rites are underway,"

"High Command is scrambling to devise a new plan to combat the Herrschers."

"Rita Rossweisse is currently undergoing a medical operation, her condition was critical and unknown at this time."

Every recollection was a punch to the gut, each one worse than the last one. Each piece of bad news was a reminder of how much she failed Schicksal, how much she failed humanity by allowing the two Herrschers to escape with their lives…

How much she failed the Valkyries that looked up to her.

Her mind was brought back to the night she had awoken. Ignoring the panicked calls of doctors and nurses, her injured body had hobbled itself out of the hospital and to a certain location on the floating headquarters. She did not care about the strange looks that she had been getting from the people she passed by, caring only that her body did not fail her in getting her to her destination.

It had started raining by the time she had reached her destination. Thankfully due to the shielding of the headquarters it had safeguarded everyone from the effects of the weather, though it had done nothing but add to the somber mood.

For the location that she had strained her body to reach was a memorial, one erected to honor those that had fallen in the war against the Honkai. It is a rather simple memorial, a massive statue of the winged insignia of Schicksal with multiple slates of marble that had the names of the fallen inscribed on their surfaces.

It was a place that every Valkyrie knew would most likely be their final resting place.

And standing right in front of her was a new marble slate, the names of all the Immortal Blades that had fallen in battle already inscribed on its surface.

She had stood there solemnly, her blue eyes dulled as they slowly read down the list of names inscribed before her. The blond Valkyrie had tried her best to remember the face behind each of the names, to remember all of their quirks, all that made them the exemplary Valkyrja that she was proud to lead.

Valkyrja that would no longer be able to follow behind her.

Shaking her head, Durandal pushed the bitter memories away as she focused all of her strength on the punching bag in front of her. She lost herself to the repetitive action of thrusting her fists out, not caring about anything else. She needed to get stronger, stronger so that such a tragedy could never be repeated again.

And if her eyes got watery at any time and affected her vision she simply chalked it up as sweat.

Walking through the halls of the Schicksal Headquarters, I could feel the tension that was pervading the air. I didn't need to listen in on the conversations of the people I passed, I knew what was on everyone's minds.

The recent defeat of the Immortal Blades.

It was simply unfathomable for Schicksal that their most elite Valkyries could face defeat. They were the best of the best of humanity's vaulted defenders, led by the strongest Valkyrie to ever exist. Defeat was unfathomable.

Though when the shock of such an impossibility becoming reality faded it was swiftly replaced by uneasiness. For if their most elite warriors had failed, what did that mean for the future of humanity?

I knew that the Immortal Blades could not be blamed for this defeat as this was the first time that two Herrschers had awoken at the same time. Add in the fact that both Herrschers were of the Previous Era meant that they were an enemy that even the Flamechasers had difficulty facing.

But despite all of that I knew someone who would be blaming themselves for this defeat, even if I knew they had done everything in their power to save as many people as possible.

"It's a small mercy that Theresa has woken up." I thought as I remembered the current absence of the 5th Valkyrja Squad and why they had not accompanied us to check up on the Immortal Blades.

It was definitely some much needed good news to hear that the principal had awoken from her coma, albeit in a very lethargic state and that she would be unable to be on the field for quite some time. Kiana had been stuck between wanting to be there for the Immortal Blades and Theresa.

Ultimately our two squads had come to an agreement that while the 5th Valkyrja Squad would stay behind to be with Theresa the 6th would go and check up on the Immortal Blades with the other squad's get-well wishes.

Mashu and Layla had gone to go check up on Rita, who was currently resting after a medical operation. Keji had gone over to visit Midori while Asplund, Marie, and Fu Hua had been called by the Overseer for some reason.

As for me? I was on my way to visit Bianka. I had already made plans to visit the Valkyrie but after getting a message from one of the Immortal Blades that the S-Rank Valkyrie was not taking things well made me hasten my pace to my destination.

"Haruto-san?" The Valkyrie who had contacted me was waiting for me in front of a double door of one of the many training facilities on the floating headquarters.

"Alvitr-san was it?" I greeted the dark haired Valkyrie with a handshake, one that she reciprocated back.

"Indeed," The dark gray haired Valkyrie greeted back. "I trust you understand what you are about to be dealing with."

"Yes," I said as I could imagine the only reason why she, or anyone else, had not made any progress in reaching the S-Rank Valkyrie. While Bianka was an outstanding Valkyrie that everyone strived to be, time spent with her and the memories I had of my other self's time with her showed that she could be quite stubborn at certain times. It was a trait that all leaders should have, not willing to back down when it came down to it.

But it made it quite difficult to reach them when it was needed.

And now just so happened to be one of those times as Bianka was coping through the worst possible way.

With Rita haven taken a critical injury that would leave her confined to a bed for at least a month she could not be here reaching out to Bianka right now. Alvitr probably made an attempt to reach out but her unfamiliarity with the blonde Valkyrie probably made it impossible to say the right words to reach out to her.

"How is she?" I asked as I looked past the Immortal Blade Valkyrja and to the entrance of the training facility that Bianka had cooped herself up in. I could see the door lightly shudder from how intense the S-Rank Valkyrie was being right now.

"Not doing well," Alvitr informed me as she turned around to the entrance, a frown on her face as the ground beneath us slightly shook. "Durandal-sama blames herself for their deaths. She's been in there since early morning and hasn't gone back out for anything, not even to eat."

"She places too much on her shoulders," I frowned sadly as I turned to the door, thinking of how my friend was treating herself, placing all the responsibility onto herself.

"Can you reach out to her Haruto-san? I know I speak for the rest of the Immortal Blades that none of us blame her for how it all turned out." Alvitr asked as she turned to me with a hopeful and slightly desperate look.

"I'll try," Was all I could promise her. Sure we had a friendship but how much of that friendship allowed me to reach out to Bianka was another question altogether.

Still I couldn't sit idly by while someone I cared about suffered.

"Thank you," The Valkyrie thanked me before she began to walk past me. "I'll make sure no one comes by to bother you two. Please bring Durandal-sama back to us."

I simply nodded as I made my way to the entrance of the training room that the S-Rank Valkyrie was in. Stopping right in front of the doors I could feel the floor beneath me shake even more, a testament to just how much strength Bianka was putting into her training.

I took a deep breath and gathered all of my strength before I opened the doors and entered the training room.

Immediately my eyes took note of all the ruined training machines that littered the room. State of the art technology that must've cost thousands were but scrap and scattered all throughout the room. The pristine white walls of the room were marred with cracks as they were the unfortunate targets of thrown machines.

And at the center of all that destruction was where the S-Rank Valkyrie was, absolutely tearing into a punching bag with her fists. Off to her side was a massive pile of destroyed punching bags that I knew would only keep growing if she wasn't stopped.

"Bianka," I called out to the blonde woman, but she was so engrossed with the punching bag in front of her that my call went ignored.

"Bianka!" I called out again but again it went ignored. Making up my mind I began to approach her, knowing the danger I was putting myself in. However I was not scared, Bianka would never hurt her friends or comrades.

So despite the fact that each step I made closer to the S-Rank Valkyrie the ground shook with more force, I had no fear.

"...Bianka," I said much softer this time as I stood right behind her. My calls went ignored yet again but I knew that she had heard me, the way that she lightly jolted at my touch and her punching tempo had slowed down.

"Bianka," I said as I slowly placed my arms around her, trying to give her all the comfort that she needed at the moment. "It's not your fault."

"...I failed them Haruto," She hissed out as she tried to move out of my grasp but hearing the choke in her words made me tighten my hold on her. "I-I have to-,"

"No one would have been able to predict how that mission went," I told her, knowing my words were reaching her. "Not even the strongest of warriors can prevent people dying and I know you did everything in your power to save as many of them as you could."

A sob almost escaped Bianka but she had barely managed to reign it in, though with my body embracing hers I knew that the inevitable was about to happen. "B-But I-,"

"Just be Bianka," I murmured to her as I held her arms. "Don't be Durandal, just for today, just for this moment. Don't be the Valkyria that everyone looks up to for strength. The person that everyone looks to succeed and be victorious."

"Just let it out. I know your Immortal Blades would not want you to go through this silent suffering."

I said nothing else as those words proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back. The S-Rank Valkyrie tried to hold back her sobs but they were in vain as Bianka let her grief and sorrow finally be voiced.

I gently held unto Bianka as she fell onto the ground, clutching my arms as tears ran down her face. In turn I merely hugged her body closer to mine as the mantle of Durandal slipped away and allowed Bianka Ataegina to be herself for just this moment.

She was falling…

Or was she stuck considering she wasn't even moving despite it looking like she was?

Kiana Kaslana did not know where she was, the dark spaceless void that she was seemingly suspended in was seemingly endless as no matter she looked there seemed to be no end in sight.

Turning her head around in the void the white haired woman saw nothing as always but it felt as if she was being watched by…something…

Or someone.

"All right you got me." She called out with a smile as she took on a carefree expression. "I know that I shouldn't have played all those games late into the night and this is my mind punishing me."

She placed her hands behind her back as she relaxed. After all, if this was her dream didn't that mean it ultimately bent to her will? And who could possibly be harmed by their own dream?

"You can come up now and let's end this dream alright? I mean you aren't scaring me now." She called out to whatever was watching her. Sure she probably could've forcibly woken herself up now from this dream but let it be known that Kiana Kaslana was no coward.

Especially from her dreams!

The answer she got was more laughter and the Kaslana resisted the urge to sigh. She knew watching one of those new horror animes that came out recently was a bad idea. Even if they were good she doubted that they were worth it if she was going to have dreams like these every night.

"Oooo I am so scared." She put on her best scaredy cat voice as she floated in space. "Please stop hiding oh scary monster. I'm just an innocent little girl."

"Why would we need to hide?" The voice behind the laughter spoke, seemingly coming from every single angle in this strange void space that they were in. Kiana tried her best to pinpoint where all the voices were coming from.

Why did it sound like they were all coming from right…

"After all…"

Eyes wide in realization Kiana spun completely around to see a complete replica of herself just inches away from her, glowing gold eyes peering into her surprised blue ones.

"We are you."

Kiana's body jolted as she was suddenly returned back to reality. Blue eyes blinking confusedly, the Kaslana saw that she and the rest of her squad was currently in the room that Auntie Theresa was recovering in.

Oh that's right, she and the 5th Valkyrja Squad had stayed behind to behind with the recently awoken Principal of St. Freya whilst the 6th Valkyrja Squad went to check up on the Immortal Blades. Both she and Mei wanted to check up on how Midori and Durandal were doing when they received the news but ultimately her concern for aunt made her stay behind whilst Haruto promised to deliver their wishes in their stead.

Somewhere during a particularly boring conversation she must've drifted off enough to daydream. That in it of itself was crazy as she had daydreamed the dream she kept having for the last few nights.

Mentally patting her cheeks to not drift off to daydream again, Kiana re-focused on the conversation happening before her.

"Himeko I'm not an invalid," Theresa groaned from her bed as she took a glass of water from the red haired Valkyrie. Sitting alongside Himeko was the entirety of the 5th Valkyrja Squad.

"I'll believe you when you can hold a glass of water without dropping it," The redhead Valkyrie deadpanned as she waited for Theresa to finish her glass of water without dropping it like the previous time she had been handed a glass of water.

"I told you already that I was just lethargic that time, I'm better now I swear!" The petite principal snarked back as she handed back the empty glass of water. Before she could, however, her grip on it loosened and in turn she dropped it, almost shattering on the ground if not for Kiana's fast reflexes.

"You should listen to Himeko-sensei auntie," Kiana teased as she placed the glass on the bedside table. "We don't want the doctor to be disappointed in you like last time."

"Kiana-chan!" Mei looked at her teammate in disappointment at her words whilst Bronya just shook her head and muttered 'Idiotika'.

"Hah, hah. Making fun of the principal just because she's stuck to the bed. How very mature of you Kiana." Theresa shook her head exasperatingly before she looked up at the ceiling. The principal's blue eyes were deep in thought before she let out a tired sigh.

"It truly is some dire times we are in, to think that Durandal and Rita would be bested by the Herrscher of Death and Binding."

Her words brought a damper on the mood of the room as they were all reminded of the recent news that was troubling Schicksal.

Kiana had never thought a day would come that Durandal would lose in a fight. The S-Rank Valkyrie was seemingly invincible, if there was anyone that could take down a Herrscher it would be her.

And yet here they were, the Immortal Blades having been defeated and their adversaries gone like the wind.

"That may be the case but if the reports are true then the Herrscher of Binding wasn't exactly in the best of shapes either." Himeko gave some optimistic news. Apparently numerous Valkyries, including Durandal herself, had reported that the Herrscher of Binding had been in some kind of pain that had resulted in the both of them retreating. It wasn't much in terms of good news, but the implication that their enemy had also been wounded in some manner was a much needed morale boost.

"And without the Herrscher of Binding to cloak them, that means our Valkyrja teams can track them down much easier." Bronya realized.

That was at least a silver lining. If the Herrscher of Binding had been injured to a certain extent then it was only a matter of time until they'd be able to catch up to them. They might have fared well against the Immortal Blades, but how well could they fare against a bombardment of multiple high yield explosive ordinances.

As Himeko-sensei and auntie began to talk about possible strategies Kiana began to tune them out as she thought about the daydream that she just had. Usually she didn't give much thought to her daydreams but this daydream had been the same as the dream she just had. Even stranger was that ever since they had returned from Siberia she had been having the same dreams over and over again.

It usually revolved around her floating around in the void until she awoke in a cold sweat but this had been the first time that something had actually answered her.

Like a never ending nightmare.

She wondered if it was that bastard jester from Siberia's fault, some sort of side condition that he had 'forgotten' to mention when they had made that deal for her escape. A part of her was expecting that bastard to make an appearance in one of her dreams to gloat but he had yet to.

A shame really, she was looking forward to smashing her fist against his stupid looking mask.

At the thought of the red jester, Kaslana's mind drifted to the two companions that she was with during their strange journey. "I wonder how Ai and Bella are doing right now?" She thought to herself. Regarding Ai she had actually no idea where the woman was from, the only thing that she had was that she looked oddly similar to the Hyperion's friendly AI. She had no idea where she came from or if their paths would ever intersect.

Bella however made her confused. The little girl that she encountered was someone that she wanted to protect at all costs. She was like the little sister that she never had.

But associating Bella with the Honkai Judgement Class Beast Benares was difficult for Kiana. How could that sweet little girl she protected be associated with that beast of destruction, responsible for the deaths of so many in the Second Eruption. Logic dictated that such a connection was impossible…

However deep down Kiana knew that the two were connected and that was it.

But would that explanation even sway anyone in Schicksal? All they saw was a Honkai beast to be put down. Without knowing it the white haired Valkyrja clenched her fists as she thought of her friend being hunted down like some rabid dog. That would not happen, she would not allow it.

She made a promise to protect her, one that she would fulfill no matter what.

Iche liebe d-


Suddenly hearing Mei-senpai's voice brought the Kaslana out of her thoughts as she raised her head up to see that everyone was looking at her with varying degrees of concern.

"Y-Yes Mei-senpai?" Kiana's cheeks turned red at having not been paying attention and subsequently becoming the center of attention.

"Are you okay?" The dark purple haired Valkyrie looked at her teammate in concern. "We were calling for you but you weren't answering any of us."

"Totally okay!" She gave her teammate a thumbs up, covering up the fact that she was definitely not okay. "I just didn't get any good sleep yesterday. Probably because I played super late into the night so no biggie. I'll be good in no time!"

Mei raised her eyebrow, unconvinced by her excuse. "And what about the other nights as well then? Don't think me and Bronya haven't noticed you not catching enough sleep lately."

Kiana paled on being called out as Bronya nodded along with Mei's accusation. She had hoped that she had hidden her sleepless nights well but apparently her teammates had seen right through her facades.

That got a reaction from Himeko as she jerked her head towards Kiana. "Has this been going on ever since we returned from Siberia? Why haven't you told us anything?" The 5th Valkyrja Squad Leader demanded with a stern tone.

"Kiana we can get you checked up," Theresa spoke up with a reassuring tone. "If something has been bothering you then it's imperative we treat it before it gets worse."

"It's just a period of nightmares, nothing more auntie." She grinned to placate them. "Before you know I'll be right as snow!"

It was just a period of bad dreams, why were they worrying so much about it?

Everyone looked at each other with skepticism, unsure whether or not they could hold Kiana to that promise. "...If you say so." Himeko spoke and that signaled the end of that conversation.

Kiana was glad that no one had decided to ask her anymore questions. She was sure it was just a passing thing and by the time the week passed it would be a memory of the past.

"Speaking of our new Herrscher threat, have there been any new updates from Schicksal on how we are to proceed?" Theresa asked Himeko.

The redheaded A-Rank Valkyrie shook her head as she leaned back into her chair. "No word as of yet but the higher ups believe that the Overseer will soon issue the order to mobilize the entire Schicksal force to hunt down the two Herrschers."

"With the Herrscher of Binding injured she might not be able to hide their honkai signatures as well anymore, making our efforts all the more easier." Bronya added. "If there was a time to strike it would be now."

"But the fact that the Immortal Blades were defeated, despite their best efforts, is giving the higher-ups pause." Himeko countered.

"Durandal will bounce back," The St. Freya Principal spoke up with confidence. "She won't let something like this hold her down for long."

"And when she does she'll come back with a vengeance!" Shouted Kiana supportingly.

"I hope you're right Kiana." Theresa smiled at Kiana's infectious energy before she turned to Himeko, losing a bit of that smile for a more look.

"But I will not lie and say that our situation is precarious right now. Inform the faculty and our stationed Valkyries that I want them ready for deployment in case grandfather does decide to mobilize everyone, and…" The petite principal of St. Freya turned to the 5th Valkyrja Squad with a frown.

"I want the students to be ready for this war as well."

The first thing that Midori Aki became aware of was just how incredibly sore and in pain her body was. Moving any part of her body even an inch would immediately be answered by pain and discomfort.

She groaned when she moved her shoulder and strained a particularly sore nerve, prompting her to hear someone rapidly moving closer to her.


Hearing that familiar voice the Valkyrie slowly opened her eyes to reveal the worried visage of her friend, Keji, looming over her. "K-Keji? W-Where am I?" She croaked out before coughing as her dry throat burned in irritation.

Thankfully Keji was quick to hand her a glass of water. "You're back at Schicksal's main base where you're currently recovering from your injuries." He explained to her as she finished her glass of water. Handing the glass back to him, the valkyrie looked at the medical room that she had apparently been placed in while she recovered. It was one of the private, and rather luxurious, recovery suites that Schicksal had. However being placed in one of these rooms confused the recently awoken Valkyrie.

These rooms would normally be reserved for injured high-ranking Schicksal officials or dignitaries, not for regular Valkyrjas. Even as an Immortal Blade there should be no reason why she would be placed in one of these rooms instead of the Immortal Blade medical facility where she would be recovering with the rest of her squadmates.

Speaking of squadmates, where were they? The black haired Valkyrie looked around the suite and hoped to see one of her teammates be present, which only increased her confusion when she saw none of them present.

Surely if they were recovering too they would've awoken faster than her, right?

Keji, unaware of his friend's confusion, continued to inform her of her condition. "I was told that your injuries were quite severe and you won't be on the frontlines for awhile but the doctors' assured me you'll make a full recovery."

"How about my teammates?" Midori asked, prompting Keji to freeze right in his tracks. "W-Why can't I see them here with me. Are they recovering elsewhere? How are they right now? They're okay right?"

When she got no response she turned her attention to her glasses wearing friend, noting how he seemed to be doing everything in his power to avoid her eyes. "Keji? S-Say something dammit."

In response he nervously rubbed his arm as he timidly looked at her. "I-I shouldn't say, you have to rest and then-!"

"Keji!" She interrupted him with yell, glaring at him in irritation. Her entire body was aching and she wasn't in the mood to deal with him skirting around her question

He opened his mouth again to try and reason with her but before any words left his mouth he tiredly sighed before and covered his hands with his face. Midori watched as he murmured something to himself before removing his hands from his face.

"Midori," He started out as he looked at her seriously. "How much do you remember?"

That got a confused look out of her, caught off guard by his sudden change in demeanor. "Remember?"

"Do you remember how you ended up on that bed in the first place?" He elaborated as he moved closer to her bed.

Of course she did, what did he think she was? Invalid? She was with her Tyrfing Squadron hunting for the two Archers in the forest. They had reached the spot where they were to rendezvous with another squad. Then the Herrscher of Death had…

And as if a glass of cold water had just been doused on her everything came rushing back to her.

The ambush.

The sudden death of her squad leader.

The helplessness she felt as she saw every one of her teammates die before the hands of the Herrscher of Death.

The elation she had felt when she had severed the Herrscher of Death's head.

The horror that had engulfed her entire being when the Herrscher stood before her with her sickle raised in the air.

"O-Oh god," She brought her hands to her face as she began to shake. That was why the room was empty, why she was the only one recovering here, why she could see none of her teammates right now.

Because they were all dead.

She was the only survivor.

"Midori!" Keji shouted in concern as she cried out her sorrow

"They're dead, all of them!" She sobbed as tears ran down her cheeks.

"Midori listen to me!" Her friends shouted as he closed the distance and held her in her arms, not minding that his shirt was being used to soak up his friend's tears.

"I failed them!" She wailed as her mind raced back to when the Herrscher of Death loomed over her. She hadn't been scared of dying in that moment, no she had been scared of making her teammates' sacrifice in vain. They had placed all of their hopes and wishes on her, and she had failed them

"You didn't," The brown haired teenager held onto her as she lost herself to her grief. "Midori there was nothing you could've done differently. That was a Herrscher you were fighting, even Durandal couldn't stop them."

"I could have! I had her right where I needed her to be! I-If only I had aimed my sword any better I could've avenged them!" She sobbed as she held onto Keji like a lifeline, not knowing what would happen to her if she let go of him. The black haired Valkyrie buried her face into her friend's shirt, not daring to think of the fact that she would eventually have to return to the Tyrfing Squadron sleeping quarters, which would now be an empty sleeping quarters.

She would see all of her teammates' belongings and the mere sight of them would have her think back to all of the fond memories she had with her teammates, from her first day as one of them to the final dinner they had together before the operation.

Teammates that she would no longer fight alongside anymore.

The realization that she would now be alone almost broke her.

How could she move forward, knowing that she had failed her squad?

How could she ever make it up to them?

Layla Gunnhildr frowned when she saw Mashu walk in the opposite direction of where they were supposed to be going. The two of them had both wanted to visit Rita who had sustained serious injuries in her battle against the Herrschers. When they had landed the two had just learned that the maid had just woken up after recovering from her surgery.

Rita Rossweisse was a Valkyrie that had a profound place in both of the 6th Valkyrja Squad members that this moment, despite it being a bad one, could've helped heal the rift that had opened up between the sniper and shielder.

Yet ever since they had left Coral City that rift had slowly opened to become a chasm that strained their friendship. Days where they would almost be inseparable were spent in earnest trying to avoid the other. Even with help from both Haruto and Fu Hua only helped alleviate some things but it didn't help that both

It wasn't like she wanted to avoid her friend, hell Layla would rather die than lose a dear friend, but whenever she opened her mouth to try and talk to Mashu the words to say couldn't come to mind.

The end of their argument over her father still loomed over the sniper and it left a sour taste in her mouth that she could not voice what she wanted to say properly to make things up.

The entire walk to Rita's room had been filled with silence and tension, with neither of them speaking a word to the other. Layla could only hope that somehow talking with the maid would help solve the problem.

Yet just before they got to the floor where Rita was resting Mashu had said that she needed to check up on something and said that Layla could go ahead. Before she could even say anything in response the Schariac bowed before turning on her heel and walking in the opposite direction.

Well there went that plan.

Sighing to herself Layla pushed her deteriorating friendship with her teammate out of her mind and focused it on the meeting with her mentor. After all, the sniper doubted that she would be in the 6th Valkyrja Squad without the tutelage of Rita Rossweisse. She owed everything to the maid.

The black and green haired Valkyrie knocked on the door before entering the room, only to freeze in shock when she saw that Rita already had a guest.

A guest which just so happened to be Keji's older sister, Marie.

Heat creeped up in her cheeks as she found herself being stared at by both of the people inside the room, having interrupted whatever conversation that they were having. "O-Oh am I interrupting something? I can leave right now if you want and come back later."

"Not at all Layla-san," Marie assured her as she stood up from her chair. "I've been taking too much of your time Rita, later again?"

The bed bound maid Valkyrie smiled at the scientist's offer. "Yes, I would like that very much, Marie."

The black haired scientist gave the maid another smile before she left the room, leaving Rita and Layla alone. The brown haired maid said nothing as Marie left, merely motioning to Layla the chair that her guest had just been sitting in.

Accepting the silent offer the sniper took her seat right next to Rita's bedside. "I'm glad you are okay, teacher." She started out.

The maid smiled at the title that she was given. "You know that I didn't teach you enough to be considered a teacher. Just a few tips here and there whenever you were with your sister, the Valkyrie that stands before me is only due to her tenacity and determination. But thank you for your words Layla-sama."

Meeting Rita had just been a chance of fate really. She had been visiting her big sister as a child when she had been deployed near their hometown. The maid had been the commanding Valkyrie at the time and was charmed by her younger self's determination to be better than her big sister.

She hadn't actually trained her, just gave her a few tips on how to start training to be a Valkyrie. As a young girl she took all of the information to heart and they helped create the Valkyrie that she was today.

"I am sure you are curious about my acquaintance with Marie I assume? We met when I was training to be a Valkyrja. It was an accident of us bumping into each other around a corner that felt more like a passing meeting. Yet fate had other plans as we met again and again. It evolved into the point that we kept in touch from time to time, each circumstance more stranger than the last." Rita answered as she looked up to the ceiling with a fond smile.

It shocked Layla that there existed someone in the world that the maid would not have the suffix '-sama' after their name. Even Durandal, the person that everyone considered to be Rita's closest confidant, was not spared this suffix so to hear the maid regularly refer to someone by just their name.

"But that is a story for another time." The maid looked back at Layla with a small smirk on her face and Layla almost groaned. Just when she was about to get some juicy gossip about her mentor she had just been denied.

The smirk on the maid's face quickly transformed to a stern expression. "Now tell me what's bothering you."

That definitely caught Layla off guard as she stiffened under Rita's questioning gaze. "T-There's nothing bothering me. You must be mistaken," She unconvincingly answered back.

"Layla-sama," Rita spoke in that cold professional tone that never failed to get a shiver out of her. "We both know that you are lying."

The black and green haired Valkyrie was tempted to try and downplay it but knew that the S-Rank Valkyrie had long been able to see through any lie that she could muster up. "S-Sorry," She apologized.

"I assumed something was wrong with the absence of a certain shielder, who I knew would not pass this opportunity unless there was a very special reason," Rita explained as she settled into a comfortable position on her bed. "I had my suspicions but by the way you're acting has confirmed that whatever is bothering you just so happens to relate to Mashu's absence."

"It's just…" Layla then told the maid the incident that had happened with the shielder's father, of the conversation that they had after, to the fallout that continued to affect their relationship up to this very moment.

"I see…" Rita said she became contemplative at what she had heard from the sniper. If the maid, who had taught both of them and was seen as a mentor figure by the both of them, could not help her then no one would be able to. "I will not lie, Mashu's past is something that is very sensitive and not even I know the best way to handle it. I do see why you would choose to help her confront it."

Then the maid understood where she was coming from! "Then you must see that we have to-!"

"But I also know that in the end it is up to Mashu if she wishes to confront it, not you." The maid interrupted as she fixed a stern look at her. "Her demons are not for you to confront."

"Not even when I know it's harming her deeply?" Layla challenged with a determined look. "Shouldn't a friend shouldn't be there for her when she's hurting?"

"You cannot force someone to confront their past, even if it is with good intentions." Rita countered back. "You cannot force healing."

"But I…" Layla trailed off as she realized that she wasn't getting anywhere. Just when she thought that she was making progress she found herself back at square one. Frustrated, she stamped her foot down. "What am I supposed to do? Just sit back and do nothing?!"

"Yes," The maid's simple response had the younger Valkyrie stopping in her tracks, making her look at her senior in shock. A melancholic expression took over Rita's face. "That is the hardest part of being a friend. To know that all you can do is stand back and watch."

The way she sounded made Layla think that she had experienced this personally and that confused her. The maid was nothing but insightful on any problem, no matter how difficult it may be, but that shouldn't be possible.

After all she was Durandal's right hand woman, who in the world could Rita no be able to help?

"I know it is difficult." Rita's voice was soft as she placed a comforting hand on Layla's hand. "To sit back and watch. All you can do is be there when they need your help the most. Trust me Layla-sama, there will be a day that Mashu-sama will reach out to you for help. You must be there to take it."

"I…see," It was not the answer that the sniper had hoped to receive from this conversation, but it was an answer that made her hopeful for the future. "Thank you teacher,"

"You can thank me by making up with Mashu-sama," Rita smiled as she rested her arms on her stomach. "It pains me to see the both of my students at odds like this,"

"I will," The 6th Valkyrja Squad Member nodded resolutely as she stood up from her chair.

"Thank you. If that is all, I believe that is all that my body can handle for today."

Saying her goodbyes to allow the maid to rest, Layla Gunnhildr walked out of the room with a lighter heart and a resolve to better things with her partner.

Meanwhile in an unknown location, Veliona the Herrscher of Death had just gotten back from a perimeter sweep of her and her partner's new temporary shelter.

"Not exactly the best place to rest at but it'll do for now," She said to herslef as she walked into a rather dusty basement. It could hardly be called a shelter because of how unlivable this place almost was. Mold was practically propagating in every corner of the damp basement, dust clung to every surface possible, and not to mention there was hardly any light except a small crack in which moonlight was peeking in.

And while it may be considered a hellhole, it was the perfect place for them to lay low for a while.

The Herrscher of Death had found her partner near where the moonlight was barely coming in, her back turned against her as the nun's posture looked comatose to the world around her. Add on to the fact that her hands were still covering her face, not dropping them ever since she had lost her metal eye mask.

"I lost most of the Virtues in covering our escape from Schicksal," Veliona continued talking as she sat next to the Herrscher of Binding, who didn't react to her presence. "Some are still with us and I've had them lay low around us, ready to alert us if someone shows up."

A few moments of silence passed before the short haired Herrscher turned her attention to Gabriel. "How are you holding up partner?" She softly asked her partner.

"It's over," Was all she could barely hear from the usually stoic nun. Her defeated tone was a far cry from the confident and infallible nun that made Veliona frown. This was not the partner she had been resurrected alongside with, not the Herrscher that she had grown to respect.

"Hey now," She tried to be assuring, which was hard for the Herrscher of Death. Dammit this wasn't she was good at, she knew how to kill things and make people beg for their lives. Not comforting other Herrschers like right now.

"I…" The ash white haired woman closed her mouth when no new words came out, seemingly losing her will to speak any more as she reverted back to her dull state.

Unsure of how to get her partner to get out of her current state, Veliona decided that maybe something drastic was required.

"When I first awoke I didn't really want to be a Herrscher." The Herrscher of Death started out. "I know that sounds weird but it was true. Didn't really know I was one until much later, and by then I didn't want to be one."

After all, in the face of that smile, it felt like she had everything she could ever need.

"...What changed?" Gabriel softly asked her, her curiosity having gotten the best of her.

"...Humanity did what it does best," Veliona closed her eyes as her mind brought her back to that fateful night. "Killing all of the good in the world and taking the one thing that really mattered to me."

Where the innocence of innocent spring love had been defiled and left to rot right before her eyes.

After which the rage came and she embraced what she was always meant to be whole heartedly.

Coming back to reality the Herrscher of Death fell into silence. God what was she thinking, telling her sob story just for the chance of breaking the ice and getting the Herrscher of Binding to engage in conversation. She had no doubt in her mind that the nun would've berated her for 'squandering God's gift' and whatnot but clearly that was not the case. All her plan had resulted in was more silence and the self loathing that came whenever she thought of the past.

However, just as she was about to stand up and leave the room to clear her mind, the unexpected happened.

"...I was a nun that worshiped God." Gabriel slowly started out.

Veliona had not expected Gabriel to give out her origin story but she was not complaining. "Not surprising considering your clothing." Snorted Veliona as she settled back into her seat and prepared to listen to Gabriel's story.

"Yes I suppose my choice of clothing was a dead giveaway." The nun lightly smiled, which Veliona considered a victory, getting the other Herrscher to smile at her joke. "I helped lead services, provided comfort to those who walked through the doors of the church, and prayed for the deliverance from the Herrscher threat. Many people flocked to the church's doors, seeking respite from an increasingly worsening reality."

"However as more and more Herrschers appeared many lost their faith, thinking that God did not exist in the face of Herrschers. That he was the one punishing them by sending them to cleanse humanity." The small smile Gabriel had turned into a neutral expression. "By the time the Herrscher of Domination had been subdued, I was the last of my order."

It made sense to Veliona on how people could lose faith in God if Herrschers kept appearing while the numbers of humanity kept getting cut down. For Gabriel to be the final nun near the end of it all was a testament of her will and faith.

"Many spat on me for keeping to my faith, that I was worshiping the Devil but I kept to it. Nothing could shake my faith." Slowly the nun's hands began to leave her face. At first the woman seem to hesitate, almost about to reverse her action, but she slowly lowered her hands before she turned to her partner.

"And then…" Veliona barely suppressed the gasp that left her mouth when she Gabriel's face. She was beautiful, even a Herrscher could see the beauty that the nun was. But it was not her beauty that had made her gasp in shock.

It was the milky white eyes that were staring into her own.

The Herrcher of Death's eyes trailed over to the symbol of the cross that had been branded over Gabriel's eyes, making her blind. "The man that I looked up to, the man whose faith I aspired to have one day took a branding iron and blinded me."

Moving her gaze away from Veliona the Herrscher of Binding brought her knees closer to her chest as she relieved those memories. The hot searing pain that took her eyesight, the goading of the Father as he stood before her, his crazed preaching as he declared to his false god that he had brought down a demon.

"You may say it if you wish…" The nun whispered as she clenched her fists. "That it is ghastly and ugly to look at. You will not offend me with such words. I have long gotten used to it." But just because she had long accepted her circumstances, it did not mean it could not bring her pain.

But she would be surprised when she felt Veliona's fingers on her chin, soft and gentle, slowly turn her head back to face her. "It ain't the most pretty thing to look at," Veliona admitted. "But it's not something to be ashamed about."

Such a response threw Gabriel out of the loop. "How does that-"

"It shows that you're strong," The short haired Herrscher firmly stated. "It shows that no matter what bullshit this world threw at you it didn't pull you down. You're a survivor, just like me."

That had thrown Gabriel out of the loop. She had never thought of her impairment as something to be proud about. She knew that she had been mocked for it, before and after her ascension as the Herrscher of Binding, so to hear it from a different angle was strangely…


She was broken out of her thoughts when she felt Veliona's finger retract from her face before something was placed on one of her hands. Her hands inspected the object she had just been given before turning her attention to Veliona.

"Is this?" She questioned as she held a strip of white cloth, just large enough to wrap around her eyes.

"I know it's no replacement for the one you lost but…" Veliona's cheeks gained a slight red tint as she turned her head away. "Just take it before I say something dumb and mess this up."

"I see," A small smile formed on Gabriel's face as she accepted the gift and wrapped it around her head. It may not have been as regal as her previous garment but it did the job nonetheless. With her new blindfold in place the nun turned back to her partner Herrscher.

"Thank you."

Veliona merely hummed a response back as the two sat close together in continued silence, enjoying the peace and quiet as the night continued on.

Su glanced at the starry night that hung above them. Siegfried, Yae, and Seele were sitting with him by a campfire. They had settled in for the night and were currently having dinner. They were no longer in the forest where they had battled the two Herrschers as it was now under heavy Schicksal control. A conflict with the organization was not favorable and unnecessary so after they were able to regroup they set out for the next destination.

A destination that he had just explained the importance of to the group.

"So let me get this straight," Siegfried started out as he lowered his can of food and looked at Su. "The Will of the Honkai is not really what its title suggests."

"Correct." Su nodded.

"It's actually your robot friend who got uploaded into the Honkai, which is somehow possible, and has actively been sabotaging the Herrschers since the beginning."

"In a way that allows for the best chance of success, even if it may not seem like that." He elaborated further.

"And you believe after that strange event that we were part of that they are no longer present and you think that something funny is happening with the Honkai."

Su nodded. "It is only a suspicion but one I believe to be true."

Yae spoke up after hearing the gist of what had happened to the duo in the forest as she was with Seele at the time. "And for that we're abandoning the hunt of our two adversaries? Is that the wisest option to take?"

"For now," The gray haired man said as he stared into the campfire. "Schicksal has been stirred and will stop at nothing to deal with the two Herrschers. Our assistance will not be necessary now."

"So our objective is to now verify your suspicions." The pink haired samurai asked to which he nodded in confirmation. If his suspicions were proven correct then they were about to deal with a threat far worse than the combined might of the Herrschers of Death and Binding.

"But how will we reach that place again?" Siegfried asked with a confused look. "Don't we need a Herrscher to do so?"

"Not necessarily," He shook his head. "All Herrschers except Finality cannot commune directly with the Honkai as that was all Prometheus' misdirection. If she has indeed been compromised then we have no feasible routes of accomplishing this task."

And if Prometheus had been compromised then he knew that going back to the place would be to walk straight through to their deaths.

"Which is why we need the Cosmic Juggernaut," He said as he pulled out a map of the world. On that map a certain part of London had been circled, the access point in which the Second Divine Key was being kept in. "We had built a failsafe into it for this very scenario."

A scenario that both he and Dr. Mei hoped had never occurred. If he was forced to utilize the failsafe in any scenario then the situation was bleak.

Because it signified that their enemy was aware of them.

"Hmm but you said it is in possession of the World Serpent." Siegfried moved slightly closer to inspect the map, only to frown when he saw the symbol of the organization next to the circled city. "Can't exactly be easy to get it with them guarding it, its gonna be tough for all four of us."

Tough was an understatement. While he may not know what sort of defenses the World Serpent had guarding the Cosmic Juggernaut, he knew that Kevin would spare no expense to see it guarded.

And he knew that there was the small possibility that his friend himself might be defending the Divine Key as well.

"Seele?" Su heard Yae speak up, making him turn to the petite indigo haired girl who hadn't said anything throughout that entire discussion. "Are you okay?"

When the girl did not respond he feared that something had gone wrong. However, just before he could voice his concern, Seele suddenly stood up.

"I want to talk to her again." She said resolutely as she looked Su right in the eyes, indigo blazing with determination. No more words needed to be said as he understood who exactly the girl was referring to.

When he had first been introduced to the petite girl he had gambled on the chance that maybe, just maybe, that stigma of the Herrscher of Death imprinted on Seele's chest still persisted...

That the connection still existed, even after centuries had passed.

And after hearing from Yae of the young girl's encounter with the Herrscher of Death, it seems he was proven right.

Wordlessly he merely nodded his head in agreement to the young girl's demands.

There were many things that Welt Yang had expected to happen when he heard of Schicksal's failure to apprehend the Herrscher of Binding and Death. The Herrscher of Reason had expected the organization to resort to more drastic measures as they were known to do in order to ensure that defeat would not happen again.

Being personally invited to a dinner by the Overseer was not one of them.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Tesla asked from his left side as she eyed the suits of armor displayed in the hallway they were currently walking in. She eyed them as if they were to come alive and attack them, which would all but defeat the purpose of the invite that they were sent.

If the Overseer had wanted him dead, inviting him to a dinner was the least effective method to do so. Even if it was an ambush a bunch of suits of armor, even if they were mechanized with state of the art technology, would prove totally ineffective against him.

"Anything involving him is a bad idea. No doubt he has something planned." Einstein spoke up from his right, suspicion in her tone. Her suspicion was not ill-placed for he too was wary of the invite they had received.

This would be the first form of communication from the Overseer himself that they had gotten ever since the events of the Second Honkai Eruption.

"That may be," He said as they neared the other end of the hallway, where someone was waiting for them before a double door entrance. "But this opportunity allows us the best chance to deal with the Herrscher of Death and Binding. Anti-Entropy does not possess any anti-Herrscher weapons like Schicksal does."

Even with years of research and development alongside millions of dollars of investment, the best that they could come up with was the refitting of Arahato and the prototype suit of the Wotan class mechs. The Wotan class was an attempt to mass produce the massive Arahato mech but a mech the size of a mech that was almost 150 meters tall was expensive.

And that was for dealing with Judgment Class Beasts, the only weapons that Anti-Entropy had capable of dealing with Herrschers was the partially complete Selene and himself. They were in possession of none of the Divine Keys with the exception of the Star of Eden and himself.

After the events of the Second Eruption and his failure to kill Sirin before she could grow stronger Welt doubted that he could take on both Binding and Death.

Tesla looked like she wanted to say more but refrained from doing so as she knew his words to be true. "I suppose the risk is worth it." Was all she said as they came to a stop before the massive double doors.

"Greetings Sovereign of Anti-Entropy," The white haired woman, Amber he believed her name was, greeted as she bowed to them. "The Overseer is waiting for you inside. Are you ready to meet him?"

Getting nods from his companions Welt allowed the visor-wearing secretary to open the double doors. When the doors opened it revealed a lavish banquet room that had a small rectangular dinner table for two in the middle of it.

And sitting at one end of the table was none other than the Overseer of Schicksal himself. The blond man was indulging himself with a glass of wine when they had made their arrival known.

"Ah Sovereign of Anti-Entropy," Otto Apocalypse greeted the him with a smile as he lowered his wine glass. "A pleasure to meet you at last."

He motioned for the empty chair at the opposite end of the table. "Do please take a seat…"

"We have much to talk about."

In turn Welt merely narrowed his eyes. Whatever the man's game was he would discover, but for now he had a tense dinner to get through.

"Good luck Joachim," Einstein whispered to him before she and Tesla left the room, leaving him alone with the Overseer of Schicksal.

He did not show anything as he walked forward and took a seat on the opposite end of the table, his stoic expression a complete opposite of the smirk on the blond man's face.

"Yes, yes we do Otto Apocalypse."

And thus the fate of the world hung in the balance as two leaders of the most powerful organizations talked.

Certainly has been awhile since the last update huh? I swear it's not intentional, I just got really busy with school! I had no energy to concentrate writing fully during school as I would just write the main dialogue and call it a day.

Done with spring classes and I'll try to be more consistent in updating, I have joined a project for Summer so maybe not that much updates but I will honestly try to get more chapters out for you guys.

Now unto the chapter itself.

A Lot of POVs going on in this chapter. I know you guys want me to go back to Haruto's POV but I promise you one or two more chapters where he isn't the main POV. Have to get some plot points out of the way but I assure you it'll be soon.

I hope Durandal wasn't too OOC for you guys. I felt that how she reacted would be totally in line with her character, seeing how she was changed during her journey through the Sea of Quanta. I didn't think that a prolonged mourning period would fit Durandal, she will still feel grief and sadness over the loss of her squadmates, but it should light a fire in her to do better.

The other POVs were just progressing some stuff, Theresa waking up, Kiana having some not so good side effects after Siberia(You probably know what it is), Midori coming to terms with the aftermath of the operation, the continuation of Mashu and Layla's argument with some bonding time with Rita, some backstories of Binding and Death and the progression of their bond, the next goal for Su and his group, and

It's certainly a lot of stuff and I didn't want to stretch it out over a couple of chapters cause this fic will be much longer if I did so.

Welp that's all for this chapter. If you enjoyed it, drop a fav/follow/kudos as they really help me out with creating great chapters. Reviews are deeply appreciated, they're the biggest motivation to keep writing, and if you have a question or a really interesting theory I am more than happy to reply. Please be patient if I don't respond to you super fast. Even if I don't respond to your comment for whatever reason, know that I read each and every one of them! PMing me is the best way for me to respond to your questions.