Hikaru: Well! I've found out my Geometry grade is going down the gutter today. Wonderful, isn't it? Anyway, enough 'bout moi.





It was really amazing, how intensive studying of Nemesis revealed the workings of shape shifting and how the Renegades have even managed to create a living organism with such power!

Nem in his usual form, sat down in his chair, hooked up to all sorts of wires and magitech devices the life form in question didn't even know the name of. Professor Raine stood at a table not too far away, carefully putting a glass slide beneath a microscope. She adjusted the knobs, peering through the lens closely.

"Tell me what you see, Raine." Nem said through the net of wires and magitech sensors.

Raine had taken a sample of Nem's skin cells and examined them.

"Fascinating . . ."

She didn't seem to hear him.

"Raine . . ." Nem whined, very Zelos-like.

She ignored him still.

Idly Nemesis wondered if he should change into a ruin.

Finally she spoke.

"Your skin cells . . . your current skin color is dark, but when I look at them here, they're light blue . . .and when I feed some mana to them, they change color . . ."

Nem rolled his eyes. Would she just tell him how his confounded body worked?

"Raine, just tell me how it works."

"All right. But first." Raine turned, a syringe in hand. "I'll need your blood."

Nemesis paled.



Iselian weddings were quite simple, unlike those elaborate Tethe'allan weddings that took at least a year to plan out and cost people several homes' worth of money. It was a custom going back generations, perhaps even before Mithos split the world in two.

Firstly, the bride and groom in question take a trip to the nearby Martel Temple to pray that their marriage would work. Since it was revealed that Martel was not in fact a plausible deity, though, the villagers were lost as to whom they should pray.

Noishe, as the bridegroom, suggested that they pray to the Spirits. They did, after all, influence the world quite profoundly.

After prayers, back to the village they went to dress up for the occasion (for while praying it was best to be humble). The most expensive things in an Iselian wedding were the outfits, after the rings.

Noishe was outfit in a handsome manner of dress—a rich navy blue tunic embroidered with silver elvish runes, each spelling out blessings, a nice pair of matching slacks and boots, dragon leather gloves, and a cloak that shimmered like mist. He was the last Protozoan, but he remembered what his parents once told him when he was young—when a fully evolved, humanoid protozoan is married, he paints his face with the symbol that favored him.

Noishe chose to paint a wolf's paw print on one cheekbone.

Colette was beautiful, every bit the bride. Her silk white dress was long, trailing to the ground. A deep red sash was wound about her waist with a length of it left hanging, the perfect accessory. Her golden blonde hair was gathered into a long sweeping braid, tied off with a red ribbon, with crimson jewels adorning her braid.

The rings had already been made. Dirk and Altessa worked together on them. Noishe's ring was a band of gold set with an emerald. Colette's ring was thin silver set with lapis lazuli.

The ceremony was fantastic and straightforward. The whole village turned up to witness the event (which took place at Dirk's house), and of course Lloyd and everyone else turned up. Fenrir had found a female wolf he'd taken a liking to, and not long after that, wolf cubs followed, all of them taking mostly after their father. Well, after four thousand years of being Celsius' guard dog, it must've been great for Fenrir to get out into the world again.

The former Sylvarantian Chosen marrying a Protozoan, who tamed the ice wolf Fenrir and said wolf now had cubs of its own.

What a family!


Genis, like Raine, devoted himself to the further study of mana. Tethe'allans didn't care much for magitech, so it was likely that they didn't spend much time researching mana, either. Thanks to the magitech four thousand years ago, the Giant Tree had withered and died, and mana disappeared from the world.

Genis studied mana for a way to invent a type of machinery much like today's magitech, but his machine would have to be more than a insatiable parasite feeding off the world's lifeblood.

To make his studying easier, Genis Sage (aided by Dirk and Altessa, naturally) built a simple house in the forest near the Giant Tree. All the materials he needed to research he brought with him, and he discovered more and more about mana the longer he stayed.

It wasn't long before Yuan joined him.

The Cruxis gone, the Renegades had no purpose, and were besides destroyed by Mithos and the Nemespawn.

Yuan had drifted for a while before finally deciding to settle near the Giant Tree, to be with Martel. His ring he wore always. He made no grave for Martel, since she lived on in the mesh of souls that was the Spirit of the Tree.

But rarely the Spirit appeared.


Presea had almost single-handedly rebuilt Ozette. After the Nightshades were discovered to bear powers, almost all interest in rebuilding the village evaporated.

But although the village was rebuilt, all its buildings back to their original splendor (whatever of that could be found), Presea lived alone. No one came to settle, for fear of the very thing that destroyed it—lightning of judgment, and angels descending from the heavens to exterminate the unworthy.

Presea didn't mind living alone. She'd been alone a long time.

But alone or not, she needed adequate work to support herself. She continued her father's woodworking business, but had to travel far to sell her wares. Her items sold well, but with all the time and effort she needed to make the things, she had no time to farm efficiently (although she had a small garden), and she needed money on hand to buy food and other necessities for herself.

So she found work in Regal's Lezareno Company. Most of her job was to dress up as Klonoa, Altimira's mascot, and help the Katz perform their plays. Her pay was good, and she had two people to talk to on her free time—her sister and the Lezareno president.

Regal had set up another headquarters in Sylvarant to help develop towns that asked for help. George was in charge of that headquarters. Regal was determined to restore the political order Sylvarant once had before the Desians, or rather, the Cruxis, had interfered. So far, Luin, the most developed Sylvarantian city had the most investments, residents, and had great access to routes of sea and land trade. Luin was swiftly moving down the road to becoming Sylvarant's capital city. It was odd, imagining Luin to be Sylvarant's capital. Both Regal and Presea thought that Sylvarant's eventual capital would end up being Iselia.

Regal's Lezareno headquarters also helped to finance and rebuild the devastated Palmacosta, the great city leveled to the ground over a year ago. It took a great deal of time to move or remove the debris from the ocean and begin rebuilding. It was common thought that Neil and Cacao had died during the natural disaster a year ago, but Genis and Raine had run into them when they dropped by Palmacosta to see how the rebuilding was going.

Neil and Cacao had survived the disaster, but barely. Cacao wanted to know badly where her daughter was, and was elated to know she was alive. Neil was rather somber at the fact of his city destroyed, but he put forth the most effort in rebuilding, even more so than Pietro had for Luin. Who, incidentally, Raine and Genis also came across in Palmacosta. The native Luin had indeed carried out his word to journey the world and help those in need.

Presea sorely wished that someone would move into Ozette. She could stand the cold, empty woods alone no longer.


Zelos was notoriously rich. And he donated a great deal to great causes—the revitalization in Sylvarant, for instance. He also, alongside his long-lost brother Raphael, founded an organization dedicated to protecting half-elves, the Half-Elf Liberation Front (HELF). Organization headquarters had been rooted in every city of Tethe'alla and Sylvarant, and were chock full of people (half-elf, human, elf, and even dwarf) devoting themselves to make a difference.

Even Seles was part of the organization.

Under the former law, when the law of the Cruxis meant a world's life or death, Seles could not be free as long as Zelos lived—as long as she posed a "threat" to the Chosen One. But with the downfall of Cruxis and the abolishment of the Church of Martel, there was no need for such strict measures any longer. Since Seles was still not quite old enough to live on her own, she lived with her older brothers.

HELF was a support group, a civil rights movement, a kind of legislature, and court all in one. It fought valiantly to support half-elves oppressed for any reason at all. For example, nobility and gentry who were not fond of half-elves bought them as slaves at high prices according to the half-elf's background. Unlike the intelligent half-elves enslaved at the Imperial Research Academy and elsewhere, those who weren't useful as such were sold into another slavery entirely.

Now anyone who marketed half-elves as any kind of slave was punished severely, for Tethe'alla's government had formally declared that half-elves were people like humans, elves, and dwarfs, and all deserved equal treatment.

And Zelos had been behind that marvelous success, with the generous help of his brother, sister, and the Sage siblings.

Zelos was actually making a difference.

One day he was on his way to King Tethe'alla the XVIII to tell him of a bright new plan to further HELF, but just outside the king's chamber he stopped, keen angelic hearing in high gear. Any trace of his brilliant plan vanished into the little nooks in the back of his mind.

King Tethe'alla XVIII . . . starting a war?


The Nightshades' father indeed was in Triet. He'd been there ever since Kvar had thrown him from the Asgard Ranch over by Luin, and he'd been devising alchemic, magic, and even magitech weapons to take over the ranch and rescue his daughters.

He seemed a tad disappointed when his daughters, upon finding him, told him that all human ranches were no longer in operation to manufacture Exspheres. Nevertheless, Remiro Sunstone was glad to have his family back.

Remiro had a small shop of alchemic wares, all of elvish make, to sell, and they sold well. Satsuma had begun an instructor's course in the handling of guns (which were a product of magitech). Hikaru had joined an organization called the Media Communications Academy (MCA), a Tethe'allan group in origin whose primary goal was to improve ways of communication between towns and eventually countries. An ambitious man named Chamberlain led the MCA. The first thing to improve upon was the newspaper. Hikaru and Satsuma became writers for some newspapers, and hunted juicy stories down like lions on the hunt.



Lloyd Irving lived in New Mizuho, husband of the Chief, and recently had begun training as a Mizuho swordsman. Their twin boy and girl children, Leneth and Liath had begun Igaguri training as soon as they were able to walk, talk, and run. Leneth had taken after his mother in terms of his dark hair color (which he liked keeping in a short ponytail at the nape of his neck), but after his father in his eye color. Red, crimson, blood red. Liath looked most like her grandfather. Her dark crimson hair parted just the way Kratos' did, which she kept long and wore braided. Her eyes were Sheena's, and her personality was a mix of Sheena's, Lloyd's, and Kratos—stubborn, intelligent, enigmatic when she wanted to be, and a natural fighter. She preferred short katanas and throwing knives and shruiken, while her brother favored a short katana and the guardian cards. The Mizuho shinobi garbs suited them well, even if they weren't entirely of Mizuho origin.

Dirk still lived at his house (along with the Chefs), keeping up his livelihood of crafting things as he always had. Kratos lived in New Mizuho with his family, becoming more open than he ever had before, coming so close to doting on his grandchildren that Lloyd feared the angel was ill.

Orochi was like an uncle to the kids. He helped train them and he grew quite fond of them, often acting like a doting Kratos. And don't even get Lloyd started on old Chief Igaguri. Vice-Chief Tiga tried to retain his dignity in the presence of the kids, but one look at the young ninjas melted his heart.

The Fujibayashi-Irving family was training late afternoon, when the sun was sinking below the Iselian forest horizon. Leneth, Liath, and Lloyd were learning from Sheena how to utilize one's mana in order to achieve great superhuman speed and other such abilities—like running across walls and climbing up trees parallel to the ground with your feet alone. The kids were a natural at it—Lloyd fell flat on his face a number of times before he got it right.

When the sun set, and evening settled upon the region of Iselia, Orochi rushed to the Chief as fast as he possibly could—and even for a shinobi, that was pretty dern fast. He came bearing huge news—bad or good, no one could tell.

Kuchinawa had returned.

He had become the Chief of Old Mizuho.