Disclaimer: I am a horrible, evil authoress that does not own Chrono Crusade.

Author's Note: I am SO sorry. Seriously. I know that I'm a horrendous updater, and I feel really uber guilty. But unfortunately, I'm so busy that this nasty habit of mine will probably not be changing any time in the near future.

Again, my deepest, most sincere apologies, but that's just the way it is right now.

(And on that note, please enjoy this final chapter! XD)




Excerpt from: Report #23748666

Location: Magdalene Clinic for the Mentally Unstable (BURNED DOWN: 10/1/XX; NEVER REOPENED

Original Print Date: October 31, 2XXX

I figured it out.

It took some time, yes, quite a bit of it. Nearly a week. Seven days of sensory deprivation, seven days of excruciating conversations. Locked in that dark, dark room with her haunting, happy smile. The hands. . . the screams. The nothingness that haunts me still.

But I figured it out.

I figured out what happened to the others. Where they were, why they had gone. . . what had taken place within that dark, dark room when they had been the ones subjected to her happy, haunting smile. The fates of the first string of physiatrist and therapists that tried to understand Rosette's sickness. Their failure. . . They did not conquer her mind.

They were consumed by it.

Consumed. . . eaten alive by her honeyed words, subjected to her strange brand of insanity. Rosette was a demon in disguise, worming her way into your brain, tampering with your sense of reality. Her very existence was surreal. But the things she said—the lessons she preached—they stayed with you. Stuck to you. Her words. . . You couldn't forget them; you didn't want to forget them. I don't want to forget them. I don't want to forget.

I don't want to forget.

I don't want to forget.

I don't want to forget.




"You. . . shouldn't be able to do that."

Rosette looks up suddenly, distracted from her game of touch and hurt. The hands retreat. "Do what?" she inquires softly, intrigued by my sudden interest in conversation. I've been silent for so long. . . my voice cracks when I use it. "What shouldn't I be able to do?"

I swallow, hugging myself tightly; it is my only defense against the chill. "The. . . with the monsters. . . your devils. . ." I never realized how useless words can be till now; how irksome they are. There are no jumbled letters or grunting sounds that can describe my questions, my feelings. Why do I bother to speak at all?

But she understands. Somehow, Rosette always understands.

"No, I shouldn't, should I? Isn't it delightfully ironic?" she purrs, glee sparkling in her navy orbs. The shadows on her face lengthen; her pale skin glows. "It's like the monster under your bed. 'It shouldn't exist, you shouldn't be scared.' Parents who speak that way are fools. For as long as you believe in it; in its gnashing teeth and beady eyes and claws of rusted metal; as long as you're frightened-- it's real. Oh so very real! Because it has the power to make you scream and cry, because you give it that magic, it's alive. Oh so very, very alive. . . !"

I quiver, fingers nearly breaking as I tighten my hold my skirt. "Then are you. . . ?"

She smirks. "You're terrified, are you not?"

"Then—then if I learn to be brave. . . ?" Will she go away? Disappear? Would the world vanish like a heavy mist. . . ?

A snort. "Being brave and being unafraid are two different things entirely. Even the brave are fearful before a battle, and the unafraid courageous when faced with certain obstacles."

Biting my bottom lip, I choke: "But. . . to be nervous about things like that— it's human nature. There's no way that anyone could ever. . ."

Suddenly, her smile makes sense.


"Lands far across the sea, seem to be calling me—"

"You wanted to be an explorer, right? When you were little."

"Far away, here them say, won't you come and see. . . ?"

"And. . . hey, your brother did, too, didn't he? The brother that you loved so much? The brother that you killed?"

"Someday when I am grown—"

"Why did you kill him? Why?"

"—When I am on my own—"

"You said he was sickly! —Did you have no compassion?"

"This I know, I will go, to the lands that call. . ."

"—! . . . Or. . . did you do it because you had. . . "

". . . to me."

". . . I understand."


"You know they're going to kill you, right? The government. . . the jury?"

Rosette grins, head lolling lazily as she and her devils communicate: touching and arching and rubbing. Reminding the other that they are forever there. . . "Yes."

I frown, partially out of habit. Sort of an instinctive expression. I hate that about my face. "Why don't you plead insanity? They'd let you off of the hook then. And you'd just stay here. Or maybe be transferred to another hospital. At least you'd still be alive."

A chuckle falls from her dark pink lips, the sort of laughter one would expect to hear from a parent after a child asks a particularly stupid question. "Now, where would the fun in that be?"


Still smirking, she sighs and reaches out for me— a gesture that I've learned to respond to. I stand. The fingers gently enclose over my own; I follow them to her. Step, step, step, step. . .

"Oh, silly miss. . ." she breathes; her voice echoes through the endless gloom. Step, step, step, step. . . "Silly, silly child. . ." Slowing to a stopping directly before her throne, I wait until Rosette's invisible hands pull my chin to her face; our noses brushing.

I flush.

"Living," she whispers; gentle, patient, "is a misunderstood verb. Do you really feel alive in here? Trapped inside this room? Trapped inside my mind? Your mind? No. . . no, this is not true living! There is no zest for life in this hellhole, no reason to breathe. The only time one ever truly appreciates this thing called 'living' is when the ride is almost over. Ah, yes. . . All of human kind—we're such children! Greedy little brats—unappreciative of this gift, life, until it's about to be snatched away! And me. . . even I, admittedly, am like that. I haven't lived. . . not once. And I want to. I want to live before I die, for both Joshua and myself; I want to experience that absolute horror, the fear! I don't want to waste away within this cage, this haven. And so I submit myself to the law; I want to pay for what I've done."

She pauses, smiling—her eyes both narrowing and piercing through me. Rosette can read me like a book. . .

"You haven't lived either, I see," she murmurs, barely able to be heard over the rushing of the monsters. But who's monsters are they. . . ? "Always on the go, always worrying about something. About the job you hate, about the family you loath, about the world you despise. When will you live, miss? This timidness you're feeling right now, standing before me, will be nothing compared to the sheer terror you'll taste in that moment." Her beam widens as I whimper. "Yes. . . tempting, isn't it? Quite an aphrodisiac, I think. . . oh yes." The hairs on the back of my neck prickle as the demon hands begin to writhe and rush; excited as their master giggles.

I laugh, too.


I don't know when it happened. But it did. Sometime when I wasn't paying attention. . . perhaps I fell asleep, or looked away, or blinked.

But when I came to, when I opened my eyes. . . I was back.

I was out.

She was gone.

Or, rather, I was.

". . ." Dropping heavily onto my black leather chair, I simply. . . be. . . for a few moments. Watching the vibrant red sunset stain the white, white walls, my lab report glowing on my monitor's plasma screen. I click print and send— a copy for me, a copy for my superiors.

BZZZZZZZZT! Ert—rrrrrrrrrrrt. . .

The sound pollutes my office.

I miss the silence and the dark.

Sighing, I find the gap between the blinds, making the space a bit wider. Light blinds me— a beam of intangible flame. I find myself savoring the stinging in my eyes. In fact, I like the hurt. . . it's better to feel the pain then the nothingness.

"The only time one ever truly appreciates this thing called 'living'. . . is when the ride is almost over."

The words sound foreign to me, though I am the one that speaks. Why? Probably because I shouldn't be the one to say that. . . it should be her. Rosette. . . I feel oddly empty.

. . . and am disgusted by that fact.

Falling weakly backwards, I swivel a bit in my chair. There's a strange sensation inside of me, I notice, growing stronger and stronger as my report continues to print. It fills the cracks and gaps and holes of my previous nothingness, leaving a bile-tasting lead in its wake. An. . . anger.

An anger over everything.

I hate reports.

As if on auto-pilot, I suddenly yank out a desk drawer.

I hate this job.

My fingers search madly inside of it on their own accord, grasping and groping for something.

I hate this building.

They find it.

I hate my life.

The squirming within my gut continues, an acidic-like searing accompanying the hatred. A burning. . . a burning like a fire.

Time passes.

I blink at the match in my hand, wondering when it was lit. When in the hours did it . . . ? It can't have been long ago; it's still flickering. And, though it takes a few moments, I realize that it was me. . . I lit it. I created this little light, this soft glow, this splash of color in the hated whiteness. So much whiteness— the walls, the carpet, the ceiling, the doors! It's driving me mad. . .

"I want to live. . ."

The voice is both mine and Rosette's and. . . and someone else's. Something else's.

Something else's.

12:01 AM.

I smile.

And I watch the burning match fall.


Excerpt from: Report #23748666

Location: Magdalene Clinic for the Mentally Unstable (BURNED DOWN: 10/1/XX; NEVER REOPENED

Original Print Date: October 31, 2XXX

"As long as you're frightened, it's real." That's what Rosette told me, what she taught me. That when you place emotions in anything, anything at all, they become real—a part of you— despite what others say. Despite the laws of science and psychology.

Despite the fact that they simply shouldn't be. . . they are.

In fact, that word—shouldn't— describes Miss Christopher's entire existence perfectly. She was something that shouldn't have been real; a twisted person who did things that shouldn't have been done. She loved a creature that she shouldn't have, and ended up in a world she shouldn't have ever seen, let alone commanded. But was she crazy. . . ?


No, I don't believe that Rosette Christopher was truly mad. Rather, I think that she was the sanest of us all. She knew what she was talking about, what had to be done. . . And, for that reason, was labeled as deranged. Rosette was a jutting nail that needed to be hammered down, back into place. She was different, and for that reason, wrong.

However, I do believe that she was a threat. This power that she shouldn't have had, these crimes that she shouldn't have committed. . . These words that shouldn't have lodged so firmly in my brain.

The Devil Master changed me, brought me from the whiteness and introduced me to the darkness. My darkness. And the monsters that the darkness hides.

I am scared.

I am alive.

And I will never be the same again.


Azmaria Hendric, PHD