AN: Well...hi there. Great entrance I know, but it has been awhile. I could give you a million reasons for it but I'm sure you have better things to do than listen to me prattle on about why this took me three years to update. You can start throwing rotten fruit at me now. I hope the chapter is worth the wait and doesn't leave you disappointed. I rewrote several parts of this many times and I think I'm finally satisfied with it. Enjoy the next chapter of Ice and Snow.
"…his wish is one anyone might have.
As long as they have something they don't wish to lose.
Something once lost will never come back again."
"Eagle!" Umi rushed forward as the young man she called fell to his knees and then slumped forward lifelessly into the snow. 'Please, no, not now. Not after everything, not now,' she pleaded silently as she reached him and dropped down beside him.
Not far from Eagle's prone body Elantra shrieked like a banshee, shaking her head furiously, brown curls whipping back and forth. "No, you can't. I won't let you take her from me. Not again. I won't be left behind again! I'll kill you for this, I'll kill you!" In an explosive pulse of magic she sent everyone and everything around her flying, including some of the soldiers Impreza had summoned and then men from Autozam.
Hikaru gasped, tears blurring her vision as she stumbled from the knock back, trying to make it to her friends, "Eagle! Umi!"
"Eagle!" Umi pulled him up into her arms frantically looking for help, Fuu, Hikaru, anyone who could help her. Desperate blue eyes latched onto Camry, "I need more time, Camry!"
The elder man was already upon her and before she realized what he was doing she felt the sharp, cold pain of being pulled over to the other side. A sharp gasp from her and a breath later they were gone.
Fuu caught up with Hikaru just as Camry reached Umi and Eagle; the two knights came to a screeching halt as the three of them disappearing from the snow. Only the pool of tell tale red from Eagle left any sign that they'd been there and amongst the mess of a bloody battlefield that wasn't much.
"Where did they go?!" Fuu turned to Hikaru just as a magic attack came hurdling towards them. "Guardian Wind!" Her protective magic came up just in time to reflect the brunt of the spell away.
"You took milady away from me, you took her! How could you? I hate you, I hate you all! I'll kill you!" Elantra screamed and Fuu realized the powerful magic attacks were coming from her.
Hikaru blanched, cringing at Elantra's screams. They were so familiar a cry.
"You are the ones who killed Zagato? You killed my beloved Zagato!? I hate you!"
Forcibly shaking herself from her stupor, Hikaru tried to cast the bad memory aside. She had to find Eagle and Umi.
Where had Camry taken them?
Umi's teeth chattered in the frigid wind, the final evolution of her armor not being the warmest of outfits. All around her were the bodies of the battle she'd just been a part of, but none of the living. Everything was pale and muted, as if it were the ghost of the battle. It felt like a faint memory, like smoke lost in the wind and not the actual aftermath.
At first she thought Camry had pulled them to the other side, but something felt different, this place, it didn't feel like it was anywhere. She couldn't explain it but it just felt like…nothing. She saw nothing in the blackness but bodies and red tinted snow.
Eagle still lay motionless in the snow, his head in her lap, eyes closed, still warm in her arms. She felt certain her tears would freeze before they fell but she didn't care, "Eagle," she cried faintly and looked up again. "Camry?" She called out into the snow and silence.
He suddenly appeared beside her, pulling his cloak off he dropped it over her shoulders.
"Here in this place time slows down, frozen in this moment he still lives, as long as he remains here." Camry spoke softly but his voice seemed to reverberate all around her.
"What is this place?" She sniffed and tried to hold onto the ragged shreds of her courage.
"It isn't, it's nothing. It is a space between spaces, a void between dimensions. A moment between the living and the dead. Here time is irrelevant, but it is only temporary, we can not stay here, we aren't meant to be here." He looked down at Eagle's still body and then at Umi.
"You stopped his time?" she questioned.
"No, I do not have that ability. Time in this place is stopped, here nothing moves forward, not him, nor you or I, but time that does not move forward is no different from death." He knelt down beside her and tugged his cloak more tightly around her shoulders.
"Is this what you foresaw? Is this what Eagle was seeing?!" Umi was close to hysterics, her voice strained, her gloved hands clenched tightly, but she managed to keep herself together.
"I saw some of this…but Eagle saw what was most important…" Camry trailed off, his voice dissipating into the silence as if he wasn't sure what to do either.
The water knight suddenly reached up and latched onto his tunic, "Give him my time! You can do that, can't you?"
Camry looked startled his eyes wide, "Umi…you can't…"
"Give him all the time I have left!" she pulled harder at the fabric she'd taken hold of, nearly pulling Camry off balance.
"Umi you don't know what you're asking!" Camry grabbed her wrist.
"Yes, I do," looking up at him her eyes were stern, her lips set in a grim line. "Give him my time."
"Then you'll die instead, I doubt he would want that!" Camry placed his hands on her shoulders, trying to calm her down, but she would not be soothed.
"But he's the only one who can change what's going to happen!" Umi nearly shouted at him. "I can't do anything else but this, if we can give him this chance, he can change what happens next." Her tears returned, falling freely, "I wont die, but I have to do this. I have to do what I can. Give him my time and then let mine stop, like his is now."
"Umi…" Camry sighed, "If I do this there's no guarantee anyone will be able to help you."
"He can find a way. I know he can, he promised he wouldn't leave me and I wont leave him or any of the others behind either. I believe in them and in Eagle." She continued to gaze up at him, clutching at Eagle, her blue eyes fierce and unwilling to back down.
"I can do what you ask…" Camry relented, "But there is a price."
It was taking all they had to hold her back.
The numbers of the enemy were dwindling but keeping Elantra at bay was proving a far more difficult task.
Hikaru grunted, gritting her teeth against the pain in her injured leg. She hauled herself up out of the snow, breath forming in soft puffs in the chilled air. Fuu landed with a thud behind her, just barely able to dodge another of Elantra's attacks that split the ground open into a gaping chasm.
They had no idea she was this strong, had she been a failed pillar candidate too? It was like fighting Princess Emeruade all over again.
Only without Umi or the Mashine.
There was still no sign of either the Water Knight or Eagle after they'd disappeared when Impreza had fatally wounded the commander.
Ferio was beside them suddenly, wiping the perspiration from his brow on the back of his sleeve, "We have to push them back, they're getting too close to the castle."
Somewhere over the din of battle Hikaru heard Lantis call on his lightning attack.
The Fire Knight gripped her hilt tightly, they couldn't give up on them, they had to hold out and buy them more time. She had faith in her friends. "Fuu" she said, their eyes meeting quickly, the blond nodded curtly, understanding her thoughts.
Both moved together, rushing forward.
Fire and wind combined to roar forward in a massive fire ball.
They had to hold on.
'Umi, Eagle, hurry back' Fuu prayed silently.
It was a rather strange sensation, an odd feeling but not at all unpleasant. It was warm at least and he wasn't in pain anymore, part of him thought that odd, but that part of Eagle's mind was too far away to be bothered with such notions.
"Eagle" a light whisper, he felt a gentle hand on his cheek. "You have to go back Eagle, it's not time for you to come here. Go back to her, to the one you love most." One of the soft hands stroked his hair, he tried to open his eyes, but the light was much too bright.
He knew that voice…
"Eagle, my dear child, don't choose death to protect your love, no matter what, to protect your love, you must live." The woman lent down and pressed a light kiss on his forehead, for just the briefest of seconds he saw a pale face, framed by a familiar shade of blond hair and a pair of amber eyes identical to his own.
Realization dawned on him but before he could bring a voice to it he fell back into darkness, she smiled at him just before his eyes closed.
When Eagle opened his eyes again there was nothing around him but empty space.
"Where am I?"
Whirling to face the voice he was stunned to see a woman standing behind him. Long black hair framed a pale face and red eyes that measured him silently. He'd seen those eyes before, in his dream.
"Who are you?"
"I have been called many things, some call me the Space-Time Witch."
"Why are you here? Is this my dream?"
"The world people pass through on the verge of death is a dream world, so I suppose this could be considered your dream, and I'm here because you will have a wish soon, and I grant wishes."
The woman smiled but it was a sort of sad smile. "When you know your wish find your way to me and I'll see it granted, for a price."
The woman's form disappeared from sight as Eagle was caught up in a storm of snow and flower petals, suddenly he felt like he was falling.
He jerked awake from his dream as the chill of the snow returned him to his senses and warmth flooded it's way back into his cold limbs. He gasped for air as if he'd been holding his breath. The aura of magic swilled lightly around him, he knew it, this warmth.
Turning his head Eagle stared blinking at the dead all around him, bodies of soldiers from every nation, but none of the living. Was the battle over? The last thing he remembered was…'The arrow.' He sat up swiftly, clutching his left shoulder where the shaft of an half embedded arrow should have been, and knew he should have been lying in a pool of his own blood. Instead there were flower petals, a shade of red as dark as blood.
He reached down and took up a hand full of petals and let them fall back into the snow, at his feet a perfect blue rose, much like the one he'd given Umi.
In a sudden rush part of his dream came to him with startling clarity.
A desperate cry,
"Please, no, not now. Not after everything, not now."
And the cold reality.
"Please I need more time, Camry!"
Of the price of one life for another.
"Give him my time!"
He was on his feet in an instant, running across the field, his blood turning cold with fear, cold with the dead all around him, and cold with the realization of what she'd done.
Suddenly he saw her, his eyes drawn to her familiar blue cape.
Her lithe form lay prone in the snow, he could make out the soft curve of her cheek from the dusting of snow that covered her body. Sinking to his knees he gathered her up in his arms, unknowingly mirroring Umi's own earlier actions. Her long hair fell back pooling in the snow by her side, revealing her pale face with eyes closed, snow clinging to her lashes.
Her face looked so peaceful, as if she were only sleeping. She bore no injuries but she didn't move, not even her chest rustled with the intake of breath.
'No, please…' he buried his face in her hair.
"Eagle…" Camry was kneeling beside them. "You can't save her, for her wish was to sacrifice everything, even though she would never be by your side again."
Eagle looked back up at Camry, "Then give it back, give her all the time that I have left!"
"I can't…" Camry shook his head, his expression looked pained. "There is no more time. I can exchange time, not create more of it. No one can restart time that has stopped…"
"There has to be something…I saw this in my dream. Why should I even see the future if I can not change it? There must be a way to give her time back!"
"I don't know, but she told me she had faith in you to find a way, but if we don't stop Elantra now all of this will be for nothing. Umi gave you her time so you could stop her, she believed you were the only one who would know how. Think Eagle, the others can't do it alone, there must be something you know that I didn't that allowed you to see this. If you did truly see this moment then it is possible to change it!"
Eagle's mind reeled, what could he know about this that the others didn't? Impreza and the others weren't even in his dream, besides Camry knew them far better than he did. Though he had found it strange how Impreza had simply dissipated when he'd stabbed her, almost like one of the monsters they had been fighting, almost as if she wasn't…
His thoughts froze instantly as the realization suddenly came to him.
He reached up and grabbed Camry's shoulder roughly. "Before, when you told me my time on the other side had effected this ability I have to read people. I told you that Elantra's aura was far worse than Impreza's and you looked at me strangely, why was that?"
"Because, Impreza had been here on the other side far longer than her and was much stronger, Elantra shouldn't have anywhere near the aura Impreza had."
"Unless that wasn't Impreza at all…" Standing Eagle pulled Umi up with him, the wind snapping his cloak with it's cold fingers, "Take us back. This ends now."
"You have to leave her here Eagle."
"Why?" The commander protectively clutched the young woman close to his chest.
"I told her that was the price of exchanging her time with yours. If we take her back now her time will unfreeze and she'll die. We have to stop Elantra before we can help Umi."
Eagle struggled with himself, he couldn't bare the thought of leaving her alone in this place, but he had to go back, the others needed him, Cephiro needed him, of all people.
Glancing down at Umi he considered his options, "Is there a way to send me back without you taking me across?"
Camry looked mildly surprised, unsure of what Eagle was thinking, "You might, and I stress might, be able to do it, but why would you…?"
Eagle interrupted before he could finish the question, "I want you to stay here with her. I know it might be difficult, but it would worry me less if she wasn't alone here."
Camry seemed to hesitate for a moment, fingering something in his pocket and then sighed, "Very well, I will remain here with her, you have my word."
Eagle looked down at Umi once more, gently touching his forehead to hers, closing his eyes for a brief second. "I'll be back, I promise."
Stepping forward through the snow he passed her over to Camry, who gathered Umi up in his arms in a protective embrace, tucking his cloak tightly around her.
"When you cross over you must have a clear head, and a clear image of where you want to cross to. Picture it, think of details, but also consider the shadows, where the light is and then move to it. Most of all do not doubt yourself and believe."
With trembling hands Eagle took a step back and with one last glance at them he closed his eyes, inhaled deeply and took the plunge into darkness.
Fire scorched the ground and filled the empty sky with red. Hikaru leaned upon her sword, her body quivering with each breath she gasped for. Lantis was a few strides behind her, his lightning attacks illuminating the battlefield intermittently, displaying the carnage in all too real detail.
They could not withstand this much longer.
The whoosh of a magic attack and a strangled cry forced her to take up her blade again.
"Fuu!" Ferio's call brought her attention to her friend.
Fuu fell to the ground, her barrier unable to withstand the powerful attack, dissipating like a puff of smoke. The force of her fall forced her to relinquish her sword; it landed beside her sinking deep into the snow.
"I'll get you now, I won't forgive you Magic Knight," Elantra moved quickly, raising her scythe high and whipping it downward in a low slicing arc at the Wind Knight who could only stare up at her attacker, reflexively throwing up her arms to shield herself.
"Fuu, no!" Hikaru rushed towards them, Ferio coming in from the opposite side. 'We're not going to make it!' She drew her hand back ready to try the dangerous chance of launching a fire attack so close to her friend. Before the words to summon the spell could leave her lips the sharp clang of metal contacting metal resounded.
Fuu gasped as Eagle suddenly reappeared, stepping out from the shadows as he drew his sword and blocked Elanta's strike.
She jumped back, rage coloring her face. "You, you're the one! You took milady from me! I hate you!"
She struck again from up high and Eagle blocked her, taking a high guard. "Fuu are you alright?" he grunted out from clenched teeth. Metal sung as his blade was struck by Elantra's once more.
"Yes, I'm alright, but Eagle where's Umi?" The Wind Knight staggered to her feet behind him, her voice taking on a worried tone when mentioning her friend. "Is she alright?"
"Eagle!" Hikaru, close to tears of relief at seeing him, ran up to them just as Elantra threw another magic attack, the shock wave sent them all flying backwards. They were hurled back into the snow resembling a child's tossed aside rag dolls.
Finding her feet once more Fuu cast her protective magic again. "We don't have much time, my barrier wont hold long against her." She was already gasping for breath with the strain of keeping her wind magic up.
"Eagle, are you alright? What happened? Where's Umi and Camry?" Hikaru gripped Eagle's elbow drawing his attention for the moment.
"I'm alright Hikaru, Umi's with Camry on the other side." Eagle held up his hand, projecting a mental barrier to help reinforce Fuu's.
"Why didn't they come back with you? Is she hurt?" Fuu dared a glance back at him, wincing as another magic attack bounced off her barrier.
Eagle looked down at the ground, "She's not injured, but she took my place"
"What does that mean?" Ferio yelled over the roar of Fuu's magic.
"I was on the brink of death when she had Camry trade out our time…" Eagle clenched the hilt of his sword so hard his knuckles turned white. "I don't know what we'll have to do, but I will find a way to help her. I will not let her die."
Hikaru's eyes were wide in her pale face, fear echoing in her voice. "We have to go help her then!"
"I know and we will, but we have to stop Elantra first." Eagle gazed followed Elantra, she had stopped her assault momentarily and was circling around them, looking for an opening, like a hungry predator.
"How do you suggest we do that?" Ferio said, "Even if we could all gang up on her it'd be difficult and we still have the rest of this army to deal with. I'm seriously starting to think she's a failed Pillar candidate too."
"Perhaps, but I think someone, or something, is lending her this extra power. She's so much stronger than Impreza was," Eagle flinched along with Fuu this time as another magic attack collided with the barriers, the blond clenched his fists, trying to hold back as much of the attack as he could. "And I think I know why," Eagle drew a deep breath but just as he was about to explain some of Elantra's magic punched though sending them all scattering.
Elantra went strait for Eagle and strait for the kill, "You, you're going to die, you have to pay for what you did!"
He blocked her blade as she swung down, "Elantra stop this, it wont bring her back and you know it! There's a reason isn't there, a reason she disappeared after I stabbed her?" Eagle grunted against the strain of holding her blade back, "She disappeared because she was never really here to begin with, was she?"
"Shut up, shut up, shut up! You killed her, you did! She's gone because of you!" Elantra's glove gem flared to life once more, a bright fuchsia color, magic pulsing.
"Look out!" Fuu's warning was futile but she could not help herself, the commander didn't have time to get away or put up a barrier.
Eagle's pulse was racing, blood roaring in his ears, like the sound of crashing ocean waves. A familiar and yet foreign magic thrummed through his veins. For a brief moment his dark glove gem turned a familiar shade of blue, words, almost of their own accord, sprang from his mouth, "Ice Blade!"
Lethal shards of ice hurtled though the air like so many frozen darts. Elantra screamed, her half gathered magic dissipating as she was thrown backwards.
On the other side Umi flinched in Camry's arms, a pale blue light flickered about her for a moment, she let out a ragged sigh.
"Doing your best to protect him still I see," Camry stroked the top of her head, trying to comfort the girl. A sharp tremor pulsed through the ground and ice cracked all around them, "Hurry Eagle, there's not much time left."
Back at the palace grounds Elantra lay in the snow, sprawled out on her back, blood gushing from the numerous slices created by the razor sharp ice. Attempting to regain her feet she stopped cold at the feeling of a blade at her throat. Straining to crane her neck she looked up to see Eagle looming over her, his sword at her throat. Heated amber eyes bore down at her, "That is enough Elantra."
"Finish it!" she hissed at him, her voice full of hated, but also pain, "Finish it!" Her dark hair fell forward as her head lowered, awaiting his move.
All around them the battle still continued, but it was clear that it was only a matter of time before what was left of the force Impreza had brought would be defeated.. There were many, many bodies in the snow, Eagle tried not to think of that right now. He stood frozen in place, his blade poised for a killing blow, looking down at the wretched girl. He was running out of time, he had to get back to Umi. All reason told him he should kill her and end this, it would be justly deserved, and yet staring down at her he found he felt not rage or hatred, but pity. Pity for her pain, for her misunderstanding of the cost of this battle, for her broken heart and mind. For a brief second he allowed himself to recall the conversation he'd had with Umi in the garden.
"No" Umi had said, softly pausing for a moment, he had waited quietly for her to continue. Setting her glass down beside her she had gazed downward, some lose strands of hair sliding down to hide her eyes from him. She really did have such lovely blue eyes. "You stopped me from doing something I would have greatly regretted, if I had killed that woman…I would have never forgiven myself."
"You and Hikaru made me understand that dying doesn't change anything, if you want things to change and to protect the people you love, you have to live."
"I don't think I'll be able to stop what's going to happen…but what happens after that moment, that I do believe I can change."
"Don't choose death to protect the one you love…"
"Don't choose death…"
Eagle lowered his sword, letting the blade tip sink into the snow in front of Elantra.
"Eagle…?" He heard Hikaru question from behind him, Fuu and Feiro were just to his left and Lantis was making his way in from near the palace gates. It would be over soon.
Elantra looked up to him startled, her violet eyes wide, not comprehending his choice, she had every bit expected him to kill her. "But why?"
"Because dying changes nothing," Eagle said quietly, his face pale, the weariness of his earlier fight and crossing over from the other side now readable in his posture, he leaned heavily on his sword. "If you died it would change nothing. It would bring no one back, it would not undo any of what has been done today, nor would it help save Umi. It's the same for you, killing me would not bring Impreza back, even if what I destroyed earlier had been her to begin with."
"What does that even mean?" Feiro asked, he had not retired his sword and still glared untrustingly at Elantra.
"In Cephiro the heart controls all, does it not? If you wish strongly enough for something it comes into being, or at least an illusion of it does, bringing back the dead is far too heavy a wish for even Cephiro to grant."
Here he paused and closed his eyes wearily for a brief second before returning his gaze to Elantra who still stared up at him numbly, "I first noticed something when I was taken captive, you weren't as strong as she was but the aura you gave off was different, it was darker and colder and so much heavier than Impreza's. I didn't know what to make of that until Camry said Impreza's should have been stronger because she was on the other side for far longer."
Elantra let out a sob from her place in the snow, "She didn't come back! She told me she was going to come back! She went to see him after I found this," wiping her eyes she pulled something out that was stored in her glove gem, a white feather marked with a heart like symbol glowed in her hand.
Eagle squinted at the glowing object, it gave off an aura very different from Impreza's or Elantra's. Whatever it was, it was powerful, even from where he stood he could feel the magic pulsing in it. Yet somehow the feeling it gave off was gentle, despite it's magic or how it'd been used.
"This came floating down from the sky after the last Pillar died, when Cephiro and the other side are most connected. Impreza said it could help us, she told me that man had told her we could us it's power, but when she didn't come back I went to look for her…" Elantra was now crying too hard to speak anymore, her face blotchy from the tears.
Hikaru came forward first and put a hand on Eagle's arm gently before she knelt down by the distraught girl, she really was like an upset child, despite her age. "I know, we all know how you feel, we've all lost people too, but why did you think killing us and destroying Cephiro would change any of that?"
"Impreza told me it was Cephiro's fault, that all of the Pillars suffered because of Cephiro. So I thought if I got rid of it she could come back, that man said I could do it, he said the feather was powerful enough. The witch warned me, but I didn't listen…I just, I wanted to see her again and the feather did it for me. If I could bring her back with the feather then I…"
At that, Eagle who had been leaning tiredly upon his sword again, shot up strait, "The Time-Space witch?"
"What man?" Fuu asked, "That person Camry spoke of? That is attempting to collapse everything? He's only using you Elantra, to get what he wants, to collapse Cephiro and the other nations for him. You mustn't listen to him anymore it wont bring Impreza back!"
Elantra was about to speak again when she doubled over, her face contorted in pain. "No, it isn't true. That isn't true…! I…it's not true! Impreza!"
"Elantra?!" Hikaru stood up but had to jump back as Elantra lunged at her, reaching into her sleeve to pull out a familiar weapon, Eagle's knife. He thought it'd been lost when he was first captured.
"Elantra, what's wrong? Stop please!" Fuu held up her sword to ward off the girl, who's eyes were now frantic and dilated.
"Liar, you'll see, I'll bring her back, I will!" Her small frame was shaking with rage and she called her fallen weapons back to her, "I'll finish this, since you could not," as she lunged at them again a pair of wings erupted from her back, white like the one that had infested Sentra.
Shrieking she lunged at Eagle who had only just lifted his blade to defend himself, "Elantra, Impreza would never want this. She wouldn't want you to become like this! You have to fight back!"
For a brief second the girls expression changed, her inner turmoil revealed on face, showing the strain but also great strength, "Feather…the witch…," she fought with her own arm and voice and shakingly brought her one hand up, releasing the feather from her glove gem again, "Take it!" With that Elantra's eyes went blank and she dropped her weapons. Eagle grabbed her by the arm as the feather fluttered to the ground by their feet.
"Kreee….," the wings flapped and pulled away separating from Elantra's back as the girl fell, dropping like a marionette doll who's string have been suddenly cut. "Kreeeee!" it hovered for a moment and then dove after the feather.
"Fire Arrow!" Hikaru threw her magic at it just in time, the ko flew up to avoid the attack and then wheeled away into the sky disappearing into the dullness above.
With it's departure what little of the resistance that remained mostly disappeared and the monsters were slain. People regrouped and the injured were being removed from the field and snow. They sky started to clear as Eagle looked down at Elantra, she still was unmoved, eyes staring blankly in front of her, she still breathed but Eagle received no response when he shook her and called her name.
Feiro waved a gloved hand in front of her eyes; she didn't blink. "The lights are on, but I don't think anybody is home. If you know what I mean. We should take her to Clef."
Eagle gently handed over Elantra's prone body to Feiro and then reached down to scoop up the feather she had dropped. It thrummed with a warm, gentle aura in his hand before sealing itself away into his glove gem. How was a feather going to help him save Umi?
The commander's gaze shifted suddenly at the sound of Camry's voice faintly echoing at the back of his mind.
"We're running out of time Eagle. Without Elantra and the others to support this secondary realm it's beginning to collapse. You must hurry!"
"Hikaru, Fuu we have to go get Umi and Camry now, the other side is starting to collapse!" Turning on his heel quickly he sent his sword back to his glove gem and took Hikaru by the wrist and jumped between to the other side.
The redhead snagged Fuu's elbow as she felt the sharp pull of being moved across to the other side. She caught Lantis' gaze right before they disappeared, "We'll be back, with Umi and Camry!"
And then they were gone.
AN: And there we have it, three years worth of work. Kinda, most of this was actually written in the last 6 months. I hope you enjoyed it. At this current point it's looking like one or maybe two more chapters will be it and this long seven year saga will be finished! I'm hoping the next chapter doesn't take me nearly so long to write, but free time and creative energy are in short supply at the current moment, but we shall see! So an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers. I look forward to hearing from you in the comments, it has been quite awhile! All the best and a big thank you to everyone that's kept with me all these years.