Yuan Ka-Fai walked into the clearing. The rubble and debris from the Tower of Salvation's collapse had finally been cleared out, and because of its infinite mana reserves, many plants had already started growing around the new World Tree.

Lloyd had said that he had a vision when it was first planted. It would eventually become the biggest, most spectacular, and the most beautiful tree the world has ever seen. But, as Yuan observed, it currently looked like a twig stuck in the ground. Not the best image for the source of magic and probably life itself.

As he approached the tree, the Half-Elf started fiddling with his silver ring on his left ring-finger. Kratos' son had said she was the new spirit of the World Tree. Or at least someone who looked identical.

Yuan stopped walking when he reached what he thought was a respectable distance from the tree (he had to constantly remind himself that it was not a twig). "So," he said aloud, as he felt the need to voice his thoughts. "this is the new World Tree...Yggdrasill. Heh," he dryly chuckled. "I can't tell if he named it after him, or...or you. Maybe both, as you two were siblings."

He sighed as he took off his ring and held it into the light. Even after 4000 years, it still shined as bright as a diamond. "It seems just like yesterday...Has it really been four millenia since you died? Time just seemed to fly by as I assisted Mithos with his mad schemes. I guess...I guess I was still shocked at your death. At the time, if he would've asked me to fry an innocent child's brain with Thunder Blade, I probably would've done so without a second thought...The scary part is, I really might have. I try not to remember the past too much; there's nothing good in it."

Yuan, starting to get tired from standing, decided to sit on the soft grass beneath his feet. "It wasn't until around 200 years or so ago that I finally snapped out of my stupor. Mithos was mad, insane. He'd do anything to bring you back from your eternal rest. So I secretly created the Renegades to combat Cruxis and the Desians from behind the scenes. Of course, looking back, I realise that some of our plans were a bit extremist also. I think we may have killed one or two chosens. Anyways, I was then blinded by revenge against Mithos. It wasn't until the World Tree prematurely sprouted and destroyed Palmacosta that I realised that I had to strike Cruxis at its core."

"It was...It was all for you, you know. But unlike Mithos, who wanted you to live again, I wanted your spirit to finally rest in peace. You were trapped inside that seed for so long...It must've been worse than any kind of torture imaginable. By your own brother, no less. Your heart must have broken as you watched your own flesh and blood descend into madness...

"You know, I'm the only one left now. You and Mithos are gone, and Kratos left the planet on Derris Kharlan. By around this time next year, he'll be out of communication range, and I'll never get to speak with my closest friend ever again. I...I miss you all. My student, my friend...My fiance." Yuan could feel tears start to form in his eyes, but he continued with his confession-of-sorts with an unwavering voice. "You know, I've been a faithful man. Even after your death, I've never even thought about another woman the way I thought about you. I know you probably want me to move on, so I don't become like Mithos...But I still love you, and I always will. There has been no woman that has ever been as kind, caring, and thoughtful as you were. No one will ever replace you in my heart; not this year, not next year, not in the next ten years...Not even in the next several millenia if I manage to survive that long!

"I don't think I ever said this enough back when you were among the living...I love you. I loved you then, I love you now, and I will forever love you in the future!" Salty tears freely rolled down his cheeks as he stood up with a determined expression and a fire in his eyes. He clutched a fist to his heart and said, "If your spirit does indeed still live on in this tree...Then I vow on my life to protect it! To protect the world! To protect you! From now until I breathe my last, I will stand by your side and prevent any misfortune that may befall upon you! In the name of you, Mithos, Kratos, Lloyd, Colette, and every single living being on this planet! I, Yuan Ka-Fai, declare myself the guardian of Yggdrasill, the new World Tree!"

He wasn't sure if it was the wind, or the leaves rustling, or something else, but Yuan would like to think that he heard Martel's voice in the air, thanking him for all the time they spent together in the past, and all the time they will spend with each other in the future. He tilted his head up to stare at the bright blue sky, and said, "I love you, Martel Yggdrasill."


Happy Valentines Day!

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