I needed a year…a freaking year to finish this story. My procrastinating habit is worse than I thought =.= sorry…
Yes friends, all good things must end. I am sorry if it wasn't exactly that 'wow' in this chapter. To be honest, I feared that I worn out from this fanfic which is why I needed to finish it before I completely forgotten about it.
I also added thanks to Iris Irine for helping me with previous chapter.
I thank everyone for reviewing, favoring, putting on alert list or even just reading it. Your support was making this as the first fanfic which was actually have a REAL ending (as you all know how bad my procrastinating habit).
So enjoy this last piece, inspired by my last beach vacation…
Ps. It's a raw version.
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Nothing could interfere him, now. Hel was defeated, so were her demons. The world was saved, the heroes…and Marta will live in that serene world.
He saw the auburn haired half-elf turned and declared, "Then there's something I want to ask you… Since you're capable of dividing into both Core and a physical body…"
Ratatosk didn't reply. He waited patiently and allowed Richter to continue, even though he was once his enemy.
"-Perhaps you could separate into two forms. Emil and Ratatosk, and live that way. If necessary you could live out off my body."
The Summon Spirit was surprised, though so he shook his head immediately, "Impossible. I have the task of separating the mana from the world."
A voice echoed in the room. It was smooth and elegant,. It was Tenebrae's voice, "We Centurions and monsters would be happy to carry out that task, under your orders, of course. As long as you stay in contact, there's no issue with you dividing yourself into two forms."
"Lord Ratatosk…" Aqua added, "To us the lifespan of a human being is nothing more than the blink of an eye."
He sighed, "The fact still remains that I actually took a human life. That single act has led to all of this. And is affection the lives of countless others. I caused all this tragedy." His crimson eyes went misted, "I can't just simply ignore it."
"But Emil…the other 'you', regretted Aster's death." Richter spoke, "…and even though the crime was not committed by his will, he tried to atone for it. Don't you think that Emil should be allowed to live out his full life as a human being?"
Those words struck the ancient spirit, "But…Richter…"
The remaining other spirit, Verius who hadn't moved since the door closed, had finally spoken, "Ratatosk, your heart has spoken. It wishes you to live the life that Aster, who died at your hands, could not."
Ratatosk almost laughed sarcastically. He finally understood why Verius had stayed. So that was his plan all along.
"-I am prepared to carry out that wish for you."
"I'm sure Aster would've wanted it this way. He was such an idealist."
"Thank you…" Ratatosk whispered before the light from Richter's forehead blinding his sight.
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Few Weeks later…
Emil was looking the azure environment that spread wide beyond his sight. He closed his eyes to feel everything, the breeze, the sun, the sound of the ocean...and Marta's warm hand gripping his. Nothing can compare the way he felt right now. The time when Ratatosk decided to divided him into two forms, when he reunited with Marta. The world was at peace once again, no more war no more Vanguard, the two worlds were starting to tolerate to each other.
"Hey, you two lovebirds!" A voice teased from behind.
Him and Marta stammered, both of them scrambled from each other, flushed faces avoided anyone's stares.
"Z-Zelos..." Marta pouted, "Leave us alone..."
"Hey, I know you two just got together few days ago, built right now we have a lot to do." The male ex-chosen declared, "We're helping Lloyd building his boat to continue his journey for expheres. The Palmacosta's harbor has beautiful sea, but let's put aside romance for a while, okay?"
"Aw, cut some slack, Zelos..." Lloyd laughed from behind, he was carrying some woods, "They just got together. Besides, Emil needed to get used of his current being. I guess it's not easy to merge into two forms."
"Oh it's so sweet!" Colette chirped from the other side she was holding the blueprint of the boat, "I wish I can hold hands and looking at the sea with someone special." She spoke that sluggishly looking at Lloyd.
Lloyd's face went red immediately, "I...uh sure it would be nice."
"Then we all should holding hands!" Zelos loudly spoke that he almost succeeded on taking's Sheena's hand who was the one nearest to him if only the girl didn't hit him.
"Don't touch me, you pervert Chosen!" Sheena yelled.
Everyone winced once Sheena pounced red haired chosen.
Emil then said to Lloyd, "I... It's okay, Lloyd..." Emil blabbered, "I'm sorry, I'll help you Lloyd."
"Sure thing, please hold this, we're going to fix the sail." Lloyd handed some utensils to the younger blond. He noticed that Emil didn't fully paying attention because he was distracted by the sky.
Lloyd chuckled, "Nice weather...eh Emil?"
"Y-Yes!" Emil quickly turned to Lloyd again and took the utensils, "Fog forecasted the weather will be bright and sunny today."
"She's a Nereis." Emil smiled.
"Nereis…" Lloyd stammered, "Wait a minute. Emil, you didn't..."
Lloyd quickly looked the side of the boat. When he reached the edge of the boat, his suspicion came true. On the sea beside the boat the red clad swordsman saw some aquatic monsters which Lloyd suspected that Emil brought them all. The pink mermaid, a Nereis, which he suspected it was 'Fog'. The others were giant turtles, floating fishes, bobbling frogs all jumping or grunting with excitement.
"Emil…" One of Lloyd's eyes twitched while backing away from the sight slightly, "You brought them all again?"
"But I couldn't help it!" Emil whimpered, "They seemed lost and I just couldn't left them alone."
"They're monsters, Emil..." Lloyd grimaced, still feared those aquatic monsters in most shape and sizes, "The Sea is their habitat."
"But they said that they wanted to follow me…and…and…" Emil stammered, "I'm sorry if I'm troubling you,"
"Heh…I actually don't mind…just don't bring too much okay?"
Lloyd just shrugged because if it's Emil's habit which he couldn't hinder. Emil may have been separated form from Ratatosk but that doesn't mean that Summon Spirit completely separated from him. As the lord of monsters, his appearance attracted any monsters around him. He also gained some ability that enabled him to communicate with them.
The blond boy looked at Marta who was busy with other task. For a while both of the young lovers exchanged small warming smile, faces flushes, and nervous laugh, before they departed with their task. When Emil and Lloyd reached their destination, the boat's sail, he heard a snicker from the dock. He looked up to see the youngest Symphonian eight teasing him.
"Emil and Marta kissing on a boat." Genis sang his song while fiddling his hands according to his self-made song rhythm, "K-I-S-S-I-N..."
He couldn't finish it once Raine hit him on top of his head. "Leave Emil alone! Back to work, you twerp."
"Ouch, what did I do?" Her brother yelled back.
"That is immature, Genis..." Presea spoke when she passed beside Genis. The axe wielding girl was carrying luggage twice heavier than what Lloyd carried.
"P-Presea!" Genis stammered and quickly apologized, while he was still convincing her, following the rose-colored girl.
"Can you believe that boy?" Raine huffed, "He didn't listen to me, yet he took every word from Presea."
Regal who was beside her was chuckling, "Things are always different when you fall in love."
When Emil watched all of the people who helped, most of his friends who was helping him on their previous journey were there busying themselves with each other's task. He then realized that a certain ancient man was missing from that scene.
"Oh, he's up there." Lloyd said, while pointing the edge of the cabin, where Kratos stood. The man was stoic as usual, seeking quiet place and avoiding the crowd. But when Lloyd called his name he looked at his son and smiled a little.
Ever since Lloyd travelled with his father, Kratos smiled often. But despite his founded new happiness, his new habit bore trouble. Common girls from every city thought he was more dashing since he smiled. When Lloyd walked with Kratos they were often followed by some group of girls like magnet. Though Lloyd thought it would be awkward that many girls were attracted to his charm and his father, but it was useless to inform his relationship with Kratos. Not all people would believe that late twenties man, who was accompanying Lloyd, was his biological father.
"I just don't get it. Why do girls like him now?'
"Oh he always had been chased by a lot of girls when he was young." Emil laughed nervously, "Apparently you got his charm too. He often asked my monsters to help him escape from his fans."
Lloyd blinked, "Why didn't I hear that from Yuan?"
"Well, when he got older…girls might think he was scary when he didn't smile. He hadn't smile until he was married… Still, not much girls following him after he was married. But maybe is because my monsters said your mother bitch-slapped any who dared to flirt with her husband?"
Lloyd looked at his blond companion weirdly. Innocent Emil used dirty words didn't matched, but he had to get used to this. Ratatosk had surely messed up his brain. So, when Lloyd turned to his father. The old man could only cough at this reaction. That means it was true.
"Aw…lighten up Dad. You have to be used on getting admired."
Kratos rolled both of his wine eyes, "Yes, and soon you will have a mother that is younger than you. No, there's no woman for me but Anna."
"W-well..." Lloyd stammered, "Point taken…"
"Kratos...is that..." Emil pointed to the ex-seraph's face, "...glasses?"
Kratos nodded, "Yes...is something wrong?"
"No, I just never saw you wearing one." Emil thought deeply, "Even back when you were young and I was Ratatosk., I never thought you had eye sight problems."
"Yes, I had farsighted problem. I had it recently...a century to be exact."
"But…isn't farsighted were only for old people?"
Both Lloyd and Kratos were staring at Emil without saying any word. Neither the father nor the son expected such unintentional insult from the reluctant Emil.
"Ah! Uh... I'm sorry!" Emil was blabbering. His apology and sluggishly stepped back.
Lloyd regained his conscious and asked his father, "You're not mad, are you Dad?"
"No..." Kratos spoke quietly, but there was a hint of confusion; a rare expression that came from the ancient man. "I was getting used on being insulted, when he was Ratatosk. But I'm not adapted to his spontaneous apology."
Another voice was heard, "Even as Emil, Ratatosk was still had tendencies to insult you, Kratos." There was a black smoke puffed in the middle their presence. The certain black panther-like dog emerged from the black smoke.
"Tenebrae!" Lloyd exclaimed, "I thought you're dead!"
"I'm not dead yet, I'm..."
Tenebrae couldn't finish his sentence because Lloyd suddenly hugged the creature's neck without warning.
"Boy, you had no idea how I missed you!"
Tenebrae gritted his teeth because he couldn't bear Lloyd's strength. Almost chokingly he gagged some words, "...Yes...you...had...your...father's strength!"
"Oh! Sorry..." Lloyd realized it and quickly released him.
The centurion felt relieved after Lloyd released him. He glared at the warrior's father who could only smirk, feeling proud of his offspring's strength.
"As you can see I am not dead." Tenebrae continues, "I only in suspended animation. During my mobile form the conscious of Ratatosk supported it, but if his life was in danger I will be stuck into Centurion Core. I returned to my original state and met Lord Emil shortly after he reunited with Marta."
"Tenebrae…" Lloyd called quietly when he saw other floating things beside Tenebrae, "Tell me it's not other monster again…"
"Monster? How insulting," The Centurion of Darkness huffed, "These are the other Centurion on their true form. Of course you wouldn't recognize them because they were in Core State."
Tenebrae's words are true, because one of those floating Centurions was Aqua.
"I thought they were in Core State and accompanying Ratatosk to guard the door?"
Tenebrae answered, "We have a task to collect unused mana in this whole world and one of us should watch
"One of you?" Lloyd raised one of his eyebrows, eyeing the whole cast of Centurions, "…really?"
"W-well… It's our day-off."
"I didn't remember giving you a day off before…" Emil chuckled.
Tenebrae took his opportunity and whispered to Lloyd, "Actually he did not. But we're so lucky that Emil was gullible."
Lloyd almost protested until he realized that one of the Centurions which Lloyd was floating closer and then yelled, "Whoa… Is that…Lord Kratos Aurion?"
"Whoaaaa it is! I heard rumors that he returned but still…this is weird to see him well."
"He's still the same."
"Of course." One of them scoffed, "He couldn't age."
"Hey, hey! Kratos! I thought you were dead once Lord Ratatosk set a trap for you."
Kratos face palmed, almost unsure how to react, "Long time no see, all of you."
"Sorry Kratos…" Emil winced.
"Who's the other…?" one of the Centurions looked at Lloyd with curiosity.
"That…" Tenebrae proudly announced, "...is the son of Kratos."
"Too bad for you, Aqua… He was married. Didn't you have hots for him?"
"I DID NOT!" Aqua fumed, "I only liked Master Richer…"
"….suuuuuuuure… Because he's a red-haired like Kratos."
"I HEARD THAT!"
"…Be respectful, guys…" Emil sighed, "Lloyd Irving Aurion here is our new master, the new Name-giver of the other mana tree."
"Our new Name-giver is Kratos' son?"
"GAAAAAAAHH! Now I've seen everything!"
"Shut up, all of you! Lord Emil and Name-giver were busy. Shooo shoooo!" Aqua yelled.
Despite protest and complains to her comrade Aqua was refused to let them harassed Emil and Lloyd. When the Centurion crowd had dispersed, the brunette and blond boy gasped for air once they escaped. Still that didn't prevent Kratos from being hassled by the other Centurions. But the father took all of their questions once by one, patiently.
"Don't worry Lloyd, Kratos was used to this." Emil laughed nervously.
"I can't imagine how…" Lloyd sympathized at his father's condition, "How did he lived up with their gossips and hassling?"
"He'll be fine…" Emil assured his companion.
When the unlikely duo returned to their work, it was already afternoon the harbor was heating up. Lloyd wasn't wearing his usual red jacket now, he take it off. Lloyd was now wearing his dark sleeveless undergarment, exposing his mild-built muscle. That made Emil staring at Lloyd, because he rarely saw that famous warrior at this humble state.
Emil stammered, "N-no... I just didn't expect you look so modest..."
"Hey, this so-called great Lloyd was once just an ordinary outcast boy who was raised by a dwarf." He grinned, "Back before I know who Kratos was, he once ask me what I want to be and I answered that I want to be a black smith but at the same time I wanted to travel the world. I didn't realize the irony because it was actually my father who was asking that question."
When Lloyd and Emil succeeded on fixing the sail, the wing blew the sailcloth. They watched their effort while looking at the top of the great blue sky.
"You know..." Lloyd murmured, "I have a secret."
"Oh, and what that would be?"
"When I was a kid I have an obsession with skies. I often gazed it too long during the class. I used to imagine what it's like to be like the birds, flying on the sky." Lloyd sighed, "But now I know that Kratos is my father, I guess I shouldn't be surprised why. Maybe it's the cause of being the son of an angel."
"I had some secret too..." Emil chuckled.
"When Kratos was young he was pretty rash you know?" Emil laughed slightly, "You remembered that I am a squirrel?"
"I bitted his finger once."
Lloyd gasped, "No...way."
"I'm not kidding." Emil laughed, "It's not just once. I did it several times, messing your Dad's hair or other things. He tried to strangle me and... Well, we pretty much driving each other's crazy.. But we used to be good friends…"
"Man, I can't believe that was happening. I'm sorry about my Dad betraying you..."
"He didn't mean to betray me back then..." Emil muttered, "Mithos was betraying me and then I tried to kill him. But Kratos interfered. He couldn't afford on losing anyone's life so he choose to betray me. There is a moment of silence until Emil asked groggily, "Why are you apologizing? Don't you hate me for what I did?"
"Because you were separating me from my Dad?" Lloyd spoke, still looking at the sky, "The only thing I regret was that if you didn't do that my mom would still be alive."
Emil's gaze fell to the ground feeling ashamed slightly.
"But then again I don't think thing's would get any better. Mom will die eventually shortly after that. Her body couldn't tolerate the power of her exphere. If she lived normally with us, Dad will watch her grew old and die. It was also possible that she would die in the hands of Mithos, or I would be kidnapped and Dad will be forced to be in Cruxis. If we manage to be away from them, I would live in fear from my Dad because he was my mother's muderer. I wouldn't meet Genis and Colette. I wouldn't crack the terrible truth behind Cruxis. I wouldn't save the world too. There are so many possibilities but all could be ended up in worse solution..."
Emil still looked down until he spoke, "I'm still guilty, you know."
"There's no use to dwell in guilt too long... Everyone makes mistakes. I'm not an exception." Then the red clad swordsman looked back at Emil, "The Regeneration stories back then didn't always success, it caused death, a lot of death. But we can't undo things, and we can't revive those people. All we have to do is fix our problems… We were doing it by saving their families, even if it was impossible. I believe it was never too late."
They stared the sky basked in tranquility until Emil spoke, "What would you do when it's over?"
"My journey on searching misused expheres was suspended. Now I had to continue..with my Dad." Lloyd sighed longingly, "It'll take time but Dad said you made me immortal. So I guess we can succeed it eventually, but what will happen to me then?"
"Uh... I don't know. Maybe you will grow until mid twenties? Until then you stop aging total and lived for a long time. I'm sorry if you're not comfortable with this, Lloyd."
"Hey it's okay. Being immortal might be strange but if I had Dad with me I think I'll be fine. Maybe I'll be alone someday but Genis, Colette and Zelos might be still around for some time and Dad will make up our lost time. Besides, I tried to reach a goal."
"Dad said to not die before him. I think want to live as long as or longer than him." He grinned.
"But, are you sure it's safe to go around?" Emil frowned, "Palmacosta people had received the news that you were framed. But the world still thinks you were a murderer."
"Nah, I wouldn't worry about that." Lloyd smiled gradually, "I didn't do anything wrong, I will prove to them that it wasn't me. Now that I had friend's trust and my Dad besides me, I think it would be enough. Besides..." Lloyd's smile grew into grin, "...if anyone want to mess with me they had to go through my Dad."
"Been there done that." Emil laughed raised both of his hands and waving nervously, "I don't want to experience that."
"Speaking of families… What happened to your uncle and aunt?"
"It was amazing!" Emil spoke, "The moment I went to the door, for the first time, Aunt Flora hugged me…even Uncle Alba! They were so relieved that I got home, and they accepted me as their child. The people of Luin had been nicer, since they realized I'm an ally of you."
"I'm glad things working out for you. But what are you going to do, Emil?"
"I'll help Marta and cleaning his father's name and also finishing any Vanguard's activity. We will help Raine and Genis stop the intolerance of half-elves and convincing the people of Tethe'alla to accept Sylvarant. We will try to bring peace to the world."
"In that case…" Lloyd looked back to Emil, "When I travel the world…until I gathered all the expheres. I will leave the world and my friends to you."
Emil looked surprised at Lloyd's sudden trust, but then he nodded, "Thank you for believing me Lloyd. You can count on me!"
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It was amazing that the Palmacosta city once terrorized by Vanguard. Had restored and became one of their beautiful resorts. It was the twilight that they celebrated their success on building the boat. They rented a restaurant with ocean view, with fire lighting the place and nice view at the sun set, the place is magical…
They all intent to say goodbyes but before Emil say
"Don't say that word…" Lloyd sternly spoke.
"W-what?" Emil stammered slightly.
"Don't say 'goodbye'" Lloyd gave a sad smile, "Because there is no 'good' in 'goodbye'. We should say 'see you later. Besides we'll call you again if we need help with monsters, right?"
"You spoke as if you afraid to meet again."
"Sorry Emil… I hated the word 'goodbye'"
That brought confusion to his other friends, "Really? I thought your most hated word is 'justice'."
Lloyd sighed, "I used too, but now I hated 'good bye' worst than any word."
"Okay then…" Emil nodded.
Then everybody choired, "See you later."
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Lloyd had not remembered the last time Kratos agreed to delay his bed time. They rent a room from an inn in Palmacosta and snuck on top of the roof to see the stars in the sky. From the top of the building Lloyd could see his finished boat anchored below the harbor near their inn. Tomorrow he will start his adventure with his father. His long-time dream will come true. Nothing could compare the way he felt right now: sitting with his father and see the stars relishing his childhood memory once more.
His father "Since when did 'goodbye' become your most loath word?"
"Since…" Lloyd gave a wry smile, "Since…I said goodbye when you left Derris Kharlan."
"…" Kratos was silent.
"I cursed myself for saying you that. I thought there's no way you'll come back." Lloyd faintly leaned his head to his father's shoulder, "I'm glad you returned."
"I am glad too." Kratos spoke quietly, but deep down in his heart, he was almost burst in joy, "Thank you, Lloyd…for everything."
"Thank you for believing me…and staying by my side."
Kratos hadn't reply. None of them need to. They sat basking in pure serenity. Even Lloyd felt that his mother was smiling among the stars, happy that her two most beloved men have been united.
"Speaking of hating word…" Kratos suddenly interrupted the tranquility, "You hated 'justice' because of one of Dirk's rule are in it, did you?"
Lloyd snorted, "Yeah…and Desians were using that word pretty much…"
"Did you know that Dirk inspired me to set up so rule of my own?"
"Really?" Lloyd looked at Kratos strangely, "So what kind of rule did you have?"
"It was more like integrity…" His father answered, "The first rule was to keep you alive."
Lloyd narrowed his eyes, "I should've known it's about me… How many rules did you have?"
"Only three…" Kratos smirked, "The last is to keep watching those who can harm you."
His son sighed, but then he asked again hoping it couldn't be worse, "What's the second?"
"Kill them if it necessary."
With this unexpected answer, Lloyd saw something incredibly rare. Either if his last statement was a joke or not, Kratos was laughing…
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So friends…this is not a goodbye. Like Lloyd said, "See you later" (more exactly, please see my other stories…lol)
Excuse me if the ending was weird…But if you look closely, it was connecting to the theme.
Have a good day, Flicker's Owner.