Note: Of course, I wouldn't end the installment with just a battle. There should always be a little something aftrerwards to make one's audience really excited for the next part of the series.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
Deep underground, in one of Egypt's great undiscovered tombs, several figures, hooded and cloaked in black, gathered together. Some of them still concealed their entire bodies while others had exposed their faces. In one corner f the hideout was a crystal tank filled with liguid. And floating in the transparent, bubbling liquid was a single matured human fetus.
From the hidden tunnel which led into the hideout, the Immortal returned.
"So, how was your trip?" Merihim asked smugly.
"Humiliating," the Immortal replied. "To think he could send me, the toughest among us, flying right out of the atmosphere with a simple blow."
"And this is just their first day," said the Slayer, who sat in a corner, trying to sow something together with silver threads. However, every time it began to take shape, it fell apart.
"I'm actually impressed, to think they could surpass Johan on their use of the potentially most powerful Hougu in existence," said the Immortal.
"You did an even better job than we had hoped," Kensei Satou told the only female in their group, the one who seemed to have horns under her hood.
"You don't feel any loss for your fallen clan member?" she merely responded.
Kensei smirked. "Don't you remember? My son disowned him from the clan," he said. "All I ever gave Tsurugi was a chance to redeem himself and exact revenge, but he couldn't even do that."
The Immortal looked to the tallest of his comrades, who stood silently next to the crystal tank. He was the one who appered to be hiding a blue mask under the cowl of his hood.
"I trust you were able to gather enough negative Power of Existence from that battle, Necromancer?" the Immortal inquired.
The Necromancer nodded once. "Enough to raise an army," he said, "or to animate something with even greater value. Although I had to wait until certain people left the area before I could harvest the 'ash cloud' over Mongolia."
Outside of the conversation, Yuri leaned back on a humble couch and put his hands behind his head.
"This is only a taste of things to come," he said to himself. "But as the years will pass, they will become stronger. And hopefully, they will be ready for us when the time comes."
It was just a couple of days after Yuji and his friends had graduated. Most of the council of the Eternal Alliance was gathered in an airport.
"We better be off now," Keisaku said as he and Margery's scheduled flight to America called for those boarding.
"Try not to get in trouble," Eita said.
Keisaku grinned. "When have I ever done otherwise?" he said.
"Take care of your boyfriend," Margery told Ogata.
"I think you should be more worried about yours," Ogata responded with a cheerful smile.
Margery chuckled. "You're so right," she said.
"And don't worry about my desperate housewife, Margery Daw, either," Marchosias said. "I'll try to make sure she won't mess him up too ba—ohow!"
"Shut up, stupid Marco," Margery said with a fist to the Grimoire.
Ogata laughed a bit more from the scene she probably would not see so often anymore.
"See you around, Margery-nee-san," she said.
"Yeah, see you later."
Meanwhile, at another terminal, Yuji, Shana and Hecate, along with Kantaro, Chigusa and Pheles, were seeing off Wilhelmina and Sydonay before they would leave for Europe. They had already said their goodbyes to Margery and Keisaku earlier
"Are you really sure you want to do this?" Yuji asked.
Sydonay nodded. "There are still many rouge Flame Haze and Denizens out there," he said. "Our work of uniting these people is still far from over."
"Although with any potential organization leaders out of the picture, it should be a lot easier," Kantaro noted.
"Good luck," Pheles said to Wilhelmina. The former carried a small baby boy in her arms. He appeared human, but he was actually more Denizen than anything else.
"Thank you," Wilhelmina said. "Indeed, we will need it."
"Don't forget to come by every now and then," said Chigusa, who, as usual, held her baby daughter Yumiko. "You're a godmother to two little children now."
Wilhelmina blushed a bit. "Indeed, I am honored for that," she said.
Shana suddenly embraced her, burying her head into her chest.
"I'll miss you, Wilhelmina," she said.
Wilhelmina, although surprised for a while, returned the embrace with one of her rare smiles.
"Indeed, I shall miss you as well," she said. "But you truly don't need me anymore now, especially when you have those two."
Sydonay watched the display of affection with feelings hidden behind his sunglasses. He turned to Hecate.
"Where's my hug?" he said.
"Don't push your luck," she said in cold monotone.
Suddenly, a moment after replying, she gave him a short hug as well.
"Take care Sydonay," she said.
Sydonay couldn't help but shed a few overemotional tears before Hecate let go of him.
When Shana and Wilhelmina broke their embrace as well, the latter approached Yuji.
"I leave her in your care," she said. "But if you hurt her again or take things too quickly, you might regret it indeed," she added with a heavy tone and a glare. Yuji could only nervously nod in reply.
After speaking with the Mystes, the Flame Haze looked around for the other, but couldn't see him anywhere.
"Pheles, where is Johan?" she inquired.
"Oh, he said he had something else to do," the Beautiful Whim answered in a somewhat solemn tone.
In a cemetary in Misaki City, Ike climbed up a hill to reach a certain grave. The sun was already setting. As he neared the top, he was surprised to see Johan descending. The two passed by each other without a word, however.
Among other tombstones overlooking the city from a distance was a stone cross which was identical in shape to Giralda, the Hougu once used to summon Pheles. At its center was inscription written in both Kanji and English.
A woman who taught us the meaning of love, warmth, friendship, happiness, true strength, courage, and sacrifice. She will be forever remembered by all in both peace and war.
"Hey Yoshida-san, we just graduated a couple of days ago," Ike began as he knelt closer to the grave. "Pretty soon, everyone from our class will be going to college or straight to work. We'll all have to find our way in the world, pursuing our dreams…"
As he spoke, he couldn't help but notice a large bouquet of various flowers, as well as a basket of assorted bread, placed at the base of the cross.
A little while later, Yuji passed through the streets of Misaki, heading towards the same cemetary. On the way, he crossed paths with Johan, who had a more serious expression than usual. The second Mystes of the Reiji Maigo smiled at the first in an attempt to cheer him up, and the latter simply responded with a forced grin.
As they passed by one another, Yuji looked back and spoke to himself mentally.
Thanks to the assistance of several Tuners, he was finally able to come up with a stable solution to the preservation of Power of Existence for both Denizens and Torches worldwide. On top of that, he now has a family, complete with a child. But he still doesn't seem content. Kazumi-chan's death was really hard on him, even after everyone's told him he wasn't completely responsible. She was a very good friend to both of us.
The Mystes bit his lip. I still haven't told him about the Immortal's true appearance, he continued. He deserves to be happy as much as any other father. And he'll have a lot to do now, since he has to raise a son along with other things. It might be best not to tell him or Pheles about something so disturbing just yet.
When Yuji arrived at Kazumi's grave, it was already getting dark. The Mystes found the other person he was expecting to see, Hayato Ike. As he neared, he saw that his best human friend was crying, and tears flowed like rivers from his eyes as he finished speaking to the girl he loved and bade her a final farewell.
Yuji glanced at the tombstone of one of his closest friends.
Life really is fragile, he thought. Although I'm as immortal as that enemy we defeated many months ago, this will always remind me of that painful fact.
He smiled. But life is also precious," he continued, "and Kazumi-chan proved that as well. If it weren't for her, we might not have been able to win that battle.
He tilted his head up to face the sky as evening came. Her family took the news pretty hard, he thought. Of course we didn't tell them she was involved in a secret war, but we definitely told them she had lost her life protecting those she loved.
Ike looked up at Yuji, wiped the tears from his eyes, and stood.
"Sakai, I want to do everything I can to help you guys establish peace between humans, Flame Haze and Crimson Denizens," he said bravely. "I'm sorry it took so long for me to decide."
Yuji smiled a bit. "It's alright, but are you really sure?" he said.
Ike nodded resolutely. "Don't forget that I have some pretty good business management and political skills," he said. "At the very least, I could help out with your organization's funds."
The young human male clasped onto his friend's shoulders firmly.
"I want to continue where Yoshida-san left off. I want to protect everything she loved," he declared with all his heart.
"Thank you Ike," Yuji responded.
As the two friends made their way down the hill, they saw Shana and Hecate waiting for them close to the base. Yuji smiled, even after joining up with them and making their way home.
Who knows what challenges we are destined to meet from here on, but as long as we have the will to fight for peace and a strong bond with one another, we can overcome anything. This Eternal Alliance will continue to build and fight for all eternity, as long as there are still humans, Denizens and Flame Haze still determined to have peace and unity. Let fate and destiny come and hit us with whatever they have!
Please give your full overall review for this entire installment of the series. Be honest. XD