A/N: Thanks for everyone that has followed this story. I'm sorry it went on to a hiatus for so long and then suddenly just started writing again. I thank James Birdsong and Emiri-Chu for reviewing and everyone who faved and put this on their alerts. I appreciate it deeply and I hope you enjoy the final chapter.

Princess Tutu: Hour of the Swan

Final Act: "The Mirror's Curse" Final Hopes

It had been a week. Ahiru had turned back into a duck when her pendant had disappeared thanks to Drosselmeyer; however, her mind was far from that. It was focused on the death of a girl who she had one-sidedly fought against for the past weeks before becoming an ally and then sacrificing herself for Ahiru. The young duck had barely known Sylvie but it was still a sad thing. They had a small connection and it was enough to make her shed tears for the dead knight.

"…Just…finish the story…Live a better life than mine…save your friends…from whatever…cruel fate…" Ahiru had taken it upon herself to do just that; she promised to protect her friends so they wouldn't die like Sylvie. The young duck whipped away a tear that began falling from her eye with her wing. I'll do it, Sylvie, she thought, I'll fight for everyone again, no matter what form I'm in. As a duck, a girl, or Princess Tutu, I'll keep going so we can advert another looming tragic end.

The sun shown through the window, falling on the duck's side of the bed and then over onto the face of the sleeping teen. Ahiru turned to look at him, eyes soft. If she could, her beak would have turned up into a soft smile. I'll fight for us all, Fakir. Please, write for me again.

A new shadow fell over her and Ahiru gave out a surprised quack. She looked back but never got a chance to see the owner's shadow, as her vision was blocked by water falling onto her body.

Apparently, it had also been dumped onto Fakir as well as his voice screeched out, "Uzura! What'd I tell you about doing that?"

Ahiru shook off her feathers and gave a sighing quake. Uzura had been doing that all week, only to get the same results. Ahiru looked at the puppet child, who studied her curiously. "Why isn't Ahiru changing into a girl, zura?" Uzura asked, blinking.

Fakir sighed. "It was ever since Drosselmeyer took the power from Ahiru's necklace she's been unable to turn into a girl," he explained. Fakir bent down and took her with him while he went to get a towel. Charon met both of them. He had been informed about what had happened to their "friend" (for Fakir, this word being used to describe Sylvie was awkward)—of course, he wasn't fully informed about exactly she died and what had happened afterwards. The story they went with was that she helped them find Ahiru and took the blade in Ahiru's stead after she refused to be married.

"Is Ahiru going to be at the funeral today?" he asked. "I haven't seen her since she disappeared and it's odd that she hasn't come over to visit. And you've brought home a duck as well."

"She's going to be busy taking supplementary classes to make up for what she had missed," Fakir answered. "I'm sure she'll visit her grave when she's good and ready."

Charon raised an eyebrow before looking down at the duck. "What's the duck's name?"

Fakir didn't answer, turning away and heading to change after retrieving his towel. Fakir was sure to hand Ahiru to Uzura before closing the door behind him.

~X~*~X~

The casket was dropped into the ground. The small crowd surrounding the new grave caused a bout of curiosity to those who passed by. Ahiru watched from afar as prayers were said and the flowers were dropped in before the hole where Sylvie was buried was covered. The duck, looked down and put the inside of her wings together and gave her own little prayer, of hope and luck before folding her wings at the sides of her body.

Ahiru watched the four humans until Charon left them. With him gone, she waddled over and plopped herself between Fakir and Rue's feet and stared at the grave.

Mytho suddenly broke the silence. "How much longer do you think?" he wondered aloud. Of course, he was talking about how much longer they had to wait for the climax.

"Soon enough, most likely," muttered Fakir.

"I hope we can just finish it already," Rue murmured bitterly. "I just want to get this over with and defeat Drosselmeyer already."

Ahiru quacked softly in agreement.

A few more minutes of silence past before they left. They continued, just about ready to separate when a voice stopped them. "It's time," cackled a manic voice. The four stopped and turn their eyes towards the heavens where the sky suddenly showed the face of Drosselmeyer. They didn't answer, readying for what the insane author had in store for them.

From the sky, a small drop of light fell towards them and hovered in front of Ahiru. A sudden urge for her to touch it filled her but she refrained, unsure what it would do. For all she knew, it could be bad news.

She glared up at the sky and quaked. What is this supposed to do?

Drosselmeyer only grinned before disappearing.

Suddenly, the orb began zooming off. The four watched it race down the street like a bat out of hell. Ahiru started chasing after it, prompted by a feeling in her gut. Whatever it was, it wanted her to follow.

"Ahiru!" shouted Fakir and Mytho. The three friends were just about to chase after her when a sudden swarm of marionettes blocked their way. They all held swords and were dressed in dark colors.

"Oh, not yet," Drosselmeyer's said, patronizingly as an adult would to a naughty child. "I won't have the four of you mess up this beautiful tragedy."

Fakir growled. Rue transformed into Kreahe. Mytho readied himself. It was apparent that they'd have to take care of these puppets in order to advance and catch up to the duck.

~X~*~X~

Ahiru followed the ball of light only a few yards behind it. Through the strangely empty streets, she continued. She turned several corners and then out of the town's walls and into a grassy land outside.

As the chase continued, a thick fog began rolling in and Ahiru was having trouble keeping up as it kept disappearing but then reappearing. Several times, she stopped and looked wildly around for the ball of light to pierce the fog. Seconds later, she'd find it and the chase would continue.

Where is it leading me? she thought. What's Drosselmeyer's plan? Suddenly, the ground beneath Ahiru disappeared and she fell. It was a short fall and was cushioned when she landed in water. The duck flapped her wings in order to somehow slow her descent and then swam to the surface, taking a gulp of air as soon as she reached broke the water's surface.

She looked wildly around for the orb of light. Then, she spotted it and began paddling her way after it. The light went along slowly, keeping a short distance between it and the duck. For what seemed like ten minutes, Ahiru felt her feet touch firm land.

She waddled her way up onto the shore and took a look around. The fog began dying away, revealing the dark silhouette of a castle. It stood, strikingly ominous against the fog. Ahiru shivered and glanced up to see the ball of light dance above her head. It was like it was beckoning her to follow; follow it into the castle.

Ahiru gulped before gathering her wits. This was where it would all end. I'm going to get us a happy ending, just like I promised Fakir and Sylvie. She quacked and raced after the light as it descended into the castle. The light disappeared through a closed entrance. Ahiru stopped and stared at the door curiously. How was she going to get in?

Suddenly, she heard the creaking of old hinges. She quacked and backed away as the door blasted open, thudding against the stone wall with a thunderous crack. Ahiru just sat there, too startled to move. Something in her cried to race back but she swallowed her fear. She couldn't run, not now. Sure she wasn't Princess Tutu or the girl but they were apart of who she was.

I can't run. I have to have Princess Tutu's courage, even if I can't transform into her. She took a breath and quickly exhaled through her nostrils. With that, she entered the door and into the pitch black.

~X~*~X~

The puppets' movements were jerky and slow, making it easy to dodge. It was apparent that they weren't there to kill them but only to slow the three down. Fakir and Mytho took swords from the fallen puppets that Kreahe had destroyed. It was in no time that the puppets were destroyed, allowing them to then pursue their friend. Only problem was that they didn't know where she and the ball of light had disappeared to.

Mytho then suddenly got an idea. "Fakir, you can write a path into existence!" he said.

Fakir turned his attention towards the white haired boy. He nodded. "Right," he answered, turning towards a house in hopes of gathering a quill, ink, and paper. However, suddenly, two figures raced down the street towards them.

One was Autor and the other was a girl that Fakir had seen Autor with at the library a week ago. "Autor, what are you doing here?" asked Fakir as the two caught up with them.

"Long story," the musician answered, panting for breath. The girl next to him was panting as well.

"Have you seen anything strange?" she asked.

"A lot of stuff," she answered quickly. She took a glance at Autor and saw that the items in his hands were exactly what they needed. "Autor, do you think we can borrow those?"

The girl raised an eyebrow. "And what do you think you're going to do with it?" she asked, putting her hands on her hips.

"What do you need it for?" asked Autor. "Is your story coming to an end?"

"Yeah," Fakir answered.

Autor let out a sigh and handed it to the dark haired teen. The girl frowned and looked over at Autor, unsure of why it was a good idea to give the items to him. "You'll see, Corina," Autor said simply.

Fakir opened the inkbottle and dabbed the quill into it and began writing, mumbling to himself the words that would conjure them a path. He hesitated, none of it sounded right. He groaned before crossing it out.

"What is it, Fakir?" asked Mytho.

The musician looked over the boy's shoulder and sighed. "You're aiming for perfection," he said, rolling his eyes. "You aren't even believing in what you're writing, are you?"

Fakir glared at him. "Be quiet," he muttered.

"Autor's probably right though," Rue suggested. "We don't have time for perfection and you can clean it up later. Ahiru needs us!"

Fakir exhaled loudly and looked down at his paper. Maybe Autor was right. He was aiming for perfection. He took a deep breath and then begn writing, the quill flying across the page. After several seconds, a sudden path of light hanging in the air appeared. The five looked up, amazed.

"Let's go!" exclaimed Mytho. The three friends left the musician and gaping girl behind.

~X~*~X~

Ahiru walked down the hallways, keeping an eye on the orb of light. She didn't dare cast her eyes on the walls that were covered in cobwebs and creepy paintings.

"All on your lonesome self?"

Ahiru stopped and looked back. No one was there. The duck turned back and continued on her way.

"You think you'll defeat this ending, what a joke."

Ahiru looked around but continued on her way. She shivered as she saw the cobwebs. Then she heard a loud crash behind her. She quacked and ran, crashing into something hard. She got up and went behind it.

"Who's there?" she quacked.

"And you're supposed to be Princess Tutu yet you runaway. Where's that swan's grace you're supposed to have?"

Ahiru sighed. I have to continue, she thought, walking forwards.

"What can a duck do?"

Give hope to keep fighting.

"Is that all a duck can do? If that's how it is, she won't be able to last, will she?"

"She's all on her own."

"Hope is nothing on it's own, isn't it?"

No…No it isn't.

"Yes, it is. Hope can do nothing on its own. You're just a burden. You're the one who set this story in motion."

I couldn't leave Fakir to die…Ahiru stopped. The light suddenly disappeared. The duck looked down.

"She accepted the necklace after all and it killed that poor Sylvie girl."

Ahiru looked up, her eyes watering. That's right…she thought. Sylvie died because of the story…maybe if she hadn't accepted the pendant, maybe none of this would have happened…

"Ahiru, don't listen," a voice in her head said.

Fakir? she wondered. Something warm inside her stirred

"Ahiru, none of this is your fault. It's all Drosselmeyer's. We're all going to win! You just hang on." It had to be him! He must've been writing for her!

Courage welled in her. Right, she thought. I'm not alone. I'm so silly to listen to these voices. Hang on, everyone…and thank you.

Ahiru quacked and raced off down the hall. The voices kept taunting her but the taunts fell on deaf ears. She refused to listen, ignoring the dissonance of the screaming taunts, wanting to be heard. Eventually, the light came into view at the end of the hall. It hovered, as if waiting for her. When the duck reached it, the light disappeared through a door. The ancient oak door was cracked open and Ahiru pushed it open.

She stepped into a simple stone room. There were several torches that light the room. The only furniture in the room was a large mirror with black and gold edgings. She took several steps into the room and stopped.

"Well, if it isn't the little duck Ahiru," greeted a chorus of voices.

The doors closed with a loud bang behind her. Ahiru gave a startled quack but quickly recomposed herself. "You were the one who was writing the story?" she asked, quacking. "Why?"

The voices understood her. "I wanted my soul to be brought back together after that wretch destroyed the mirror," said the voices. "I am the demon of the mirror and I want out."

"The mirror was brought back together," she answered, "you have exactly what you want."

"Yes," the demon replied. A face suddenly appeared in the mirror. It had serpentine features with ugly pale green skin and eyes without irises. Its lips stretched into a sinister smirk. Ahiru held back a gulp.

The face disappeared with a chuckle, replacing it with two figures that the duck recognized as Rue and Mytho, dressed in beautiful robs of gold linen. They were looking at each other fondly, silent love being communicated between their happy faces.

"The deceitful raven," the demon in the mirror spat. "That's your Prince, isn't it? You loved him with a pure heart but she sought to break him, keep him from becoming his true self. She did nothing and got the happy ending…"

Ahiru took a deep breath. It was true; Rue did get the happy ending.

"And you worked so hard but you stayed as a duck in the end," the demon continued. "What kind of justice is that?"

"I did it because I simply wanted them to be happy," Ahiru quacked. That had always been her intention from the beginning. She had wanted to see him smile and be happy. "That's all I wanted."

"Is that really true?" the demon asked, "at the expense of yourself and your own happiness?"

The duck looked at the mirror and her gaze fell to the floor. "Yes," she said, "I was willing to allow Mytho to become who he was on my borrowed power."

The image faded. The demon let out a chuckle. "You are a strong spirit but I can read you like a book," it said, "and I know you don't want to turn back into a duck at the end. You want to talk and live as a girl. I can give you that."

Ahiru quacked and looked up. A hope deep inside her stirred but then it calmed. No, she thought, I won't give him what he wants. "I don't have to be a girl!" she screamed. "As long as my friends stay alive, I'll be content! Even if I die."

Suddenly, the doors clanged open. Ahiru looked back and watched Fakir, Mytho, and Rue race into the room, ready for a fight. "Ahiru! Don't run off like that, moron!" Fakir shouted.

~X~*~X~

Drosselmeyer sat in his rocking chair, dissatisfied with how the story was proceeding. He was hoping to use the little duck's previous emotions to his advantage but his pen refused to write it. Her deep love for the prince seemed different now. Then now, the three had caught up to her and where the mirror was.

"Now, now, this won't do," he tut-tutted. "It's time to take a different approach."

~X~*~X~

Ahiru raced towards the three, quacking and pointing to the mirror, trying to convey her message to destroy the mirror. However, she wasn't able to do it for long.

Suddenly, a black mist formed out of the mirror and wrapped itself around Ahiru's body like the dark hand of the devil, claiming a soul. "I guess I'll do it the easy way, then," the demonic chorus sang, pulling in the squirming and quacking duck.

Fakir was quick to go after her, his hands flying after her and wrapping at thin air just as the mist and the young duck disappeared into the rippling surface of the glass. The teen swore as he got up and banged on the glass, demanding that the demon return her.

The chorus of voices chortled before it slurred into a manic laughter. Voices melded together into a single voice, sinister and dangerous. "And now, I'm free!"

A blast of wind erupted from the mirror, sending Fakir back several feet and landing on his butt. Mytho and Rue ran to him to help him off the floor. The watched as two hands appeared out of the mirror, gripping it's frame. A serpentine head and the rest of its humanoid body followed the gnarled and twisted pale green hands. Despite being gruesome, it was dressed in fine clothes like those of nobles.

It turned its pale blue eyes down at the three humans.

"Where's Ahiru?" demanded Fakir, glaring up at the creature.

"You're friend is where she should be," the demon of the mirror stated, a sinister smile spreading across his face. "You can soon join her though."

Fakir was quick to stand. "Over my dead body!" he declared in a battle cry, charging at the demon with his sword ready. He swung it horizontally but the demon easily caught the blade and in one swift movement, sent the blade out of the teen's hands and skittering across the floor. Fakir was then back with a blast of wind.

"Ah, so you're the reason why," the demon said, licking his fingers.

Then, Mytho and Rue went to cover for Fakir. Rue, as Kreahe, spun and unleashed a storm of sharp feathers at the demon. Like the dragons from tales of knights, the daggers harmlessly bounced off his skin.

The demon only smirked and threw his hand out, a wave of wind sent them flying backwards into the wall and they slumped to the ground. The demon curled his fingers into fists and whipped his tail around. "It's so good to have my body back," he smirked.

~X~*~X~

Ahiru felt her body sink downwards in empty space. She didn't know how long she had been falling…or maybe she was floating? There was no breeze to signify that she was falling and there was nothing solid under her feet to tell her that she was standing upright.

She even had a hard time remembering her own name, as she was far too preoccupied with the various negative emotions and memories rushing through her mind like tides being swept in by a storm. A fog of uncertainty clouded her mind and her sight, keeping her lost and wondering about in her unhappy memories. Any positive thoughts she could light were quickly extinguished by a blast of wind or rain from above, leaving her to remain lost.

I put Mytho through that fear and suffering and confusing for him to regain his heart. I put the story into motion and Rue became Kreahe and I nearly got her killed when Lamour kidnapped me. Fakir nearly died, trying to save me. Sylvie died to protect me.

Now, I'm stuck in this stupid mirror and the demon's out and I have no way out. The demon's going to kill everyone and there's nothing I can do about it…I should have just stayed as a duck…none of this would have happened then…

~X~*~X~

Drosselmeyer watched the duck—now girl because the affect of the mirror's magic—hover, lamenting her and her friend's future. "My, my, little Ahiru," Drosselmeyer cooed, "What can you do?" Then the old man frowned; he was dissatisfied. "I'm missing the willingness to this," he sighed. "That's what makes a tragedy beautiful."

Then he fell silent as words echoed through the cogs and gears, rebounding and echoing the quiet whisper of defeat that Drosselmeyer was waiting for: "Maybe I should just accept this…this time, maybe I couldn't defeat the happy ending. I'll just disappear…"

Drosselmeyer's frown turned upwards and grew, stretching from one ear to the next as the words satiate his desires.

He then turned towards the next cog, showing the desperate ex-knight, prince, and crow princess. Their courage and unwillingness to give up was commendable and it only made the coming ending far more beautiful to him. They would kill themselves fighting the demon to desperately save their friend and Ahiru would disappear into the sorrows of the mirror. Drosselmeyer had planned to use Sylvie for the mirror's occupant but that hadn't turned out but either way, he was satisfied. The end was close and he could almost taste the glory it would have.

He then paused. Something wasn't right. The story and words began having a hard time transferring from the pen to paper. Drosselmeyer watched the cog with his descendent intently.

"What are you doing, dear Fakir?"

~X~*~X~

Fakir looked around wildly, unsure where the voice was coming from. It sounded familiar. "Sylvie?" he asked aloud.

The demon looked at the teen, his eyes narrowed, bemused. "Ah, my ex-lackey," he said, "sad thing that happened to her." He wiped his tail around. Fakir rolled out of the way to the best of his ability but the edge of the demon's tail clipped the back of his hand.

"Yeah," answered the disembodied voice of the girl.

Kreahe looked over at him. "What are you doing?" she called to the knight.

Fakir ignored the raven princess and listened to the voice. "Ahiru's the only chance to reseal the demon in the mirror. She needs your help. Use me if you have to…after all, I'm your character."

Fakir looked over at Mytho, who rose, leaning against his sword. "You think you can keep that damn demon busy?" he asked.

Mytho nodded but gave him a questioning glance for a split second before seemingly deciding to find out later. Fakir only needed to look over at Kreahe and she understood his tacit question. She got to her feet and twirled around and having raven's feathers fall down around the demon.

Fakir meanwhile went to look for the bundle of papers, quill, and inkbottle that he had gotten from Autor and Corina. He found it, close to the entrance and scrambled over it, ducking out of the way of misfired feathers and blasts of wind. Suddenly, from the mirror, a bird emerged and flew at Fakir and towards his heart. The ex-knight used the flat edge of his sword to bat it away and then slashing it in half as it came flying at him.

Fakir snatched up the items but wasn't able to escape a blast of wind that sent him into the hall from the force. He landed on his back. He forced himself up despite his back's protest. He reached for the closest sheet of paper and the quill and the bottle of ink. His hand fell on something wet. Realizing that it was ink, Fakir dabbed the quill in it quickly and began to scribble down words. Come on, Ahiru, he thought.

~X~*~X~

Drosselmeyer gritted his teeth; no way would he be cheated on his ending! "Demon! Get my descendent!"

However, Drosselmeyer watched as Kreahe and Mytho blocked his path and slow him down by whatever means they could think of such as vines and the torch that was used to light the room. This was enough to make him draw back, hissing in rage.

Drosselmeyer then turned towards the other cog; his grasp on victory was slipping.

~X~*~X~

Ahiru closed her eyes and then opened them. Something in the distance began calling to her. She couldn't make out who it was and what they were saying at first but then it grew from an inaudible whisper floating on the wind to something louder. The call, beckoned to her. "Ahiru! Ahiru!" it called. At first, it was one voice then it was two. A girl and a boy's…two very familiar voices with names that remained out of reach…

A warm feeling filled her body and a light began glowing in her hands. She was careful to shield the little fragile light as she began taking off after the voices. As she came closer to the voice, the fog began to thin out, the little light in her hands began to grow larger, and the wind and rain died down. Ahiru, too, was able to think clearer. The names came to her as well as happy memories.

The fresh taste of gaining their happy endings after the defeat of the Monster Raven, being content when she was with Fakir on beautiful days, being able to see her friends smile; it all came flooding back.

"Ahiru! Ahiru!"

"Fakir!" she shouted in response. Tears of joy ran down her face and the fog lifted, leaving her in a dimly lite study. The girl stopped, quizzical on where she now was.

"Wasn't I in the mirror?" she thought out loud.

"You still are," came the voice of Sylvie. Ahiru quacked and clamped a hand over her mouth. Startled, she looked at what she thought would have been her feather. Ahiru ran her hand over her head, feeling the hair she had as a human.

"Wait, why am I human? And Sylvie, why are you here?" she asked, looking in the general direction of where the voice was coming from. Sitting in a chair was Sylvie, dressed in a simple deep red dress and her hair drawn back in a ribbon.

"I was here because I was connected to the Mirror Shard," she explained. Ahiru's confused expression prompted Sylvie to better explain it. The dead girl closed her eyes. "How can I explain this so that it's understandable?" she thought aloud. A minute passed before she opened her eyes. "I guess my death in the story was untimely," she said, "and because my role came to an abrupt end, my spirit wanted to continue fighting somehow. Fakir right now is using me so I can help you get out."

Ahiru's mouth dropped. "Wait, are they all right?" she asked, concerned.

"I don't know," she answered. "I can assume they are since Fakir is still writing." Sylvie suddenly rose and walked over to Ahiru, taking the small orb of light from her hands.

"Hope would guide you here, kindness can show you the way out, and love will take you there," Sylvie told her. The light began glowing red. "Now, we have to stop Drosselmeyer from continuing writing the story."

"But how?" Ahiru asked, frowning.

"The machine is in this room," Sylvie answered, she then turned and allowed the light to shine brightly on a piece of furniture that looked much like the machine that Fakir had dismantled months before.

"You've known it was here all this time?" Ahiru asked. "How's come you haven't destroyed it?"

Sylvie sighed. "I've only known about it since the mirror was put back together and I came across it here. And I don't have a physical form here, so I can't destroy it. That's all up to you."

"That, my little knight, won't happen."

"Drosselmeyer!" the two girls exclaimed.

The two both turned as two purple figures emerged from the shadows, one with the silhouette of a ballerina and the other with a long paintbrush-shaped staff. Ahiru gasped. "Wh-what's going on?"

"It's Pride and Hate," Sylvie muttered. She touched the small red light and extracted a rapier from it. "Ahiru, you take care of the machine and I'll take care of these two entities. Be careful to not get hit by them."

"But aren't they like you?"

"Not really. And don't give me that look! I'm not the madman who made this world and the laws that applied to it!"

"Enough chitchat!" the one with the paintbrush staff cried, pouncing at them. Sylvie passed through Ahiru and parried the staff with her sword. Ahiru scrambled off, only to get her path cut off by the ballerina shadow. It spun and unleashed a kick at her. Ahiru did her best to duck but took the hit, sending her to the ground. The girl then rolled out of the way and onto her feet.

The shadow then pounced, leaping at her. Ahiru launched herself forwards to dodge, landing on her belly a few feet from where she had been. The small ball of light followed her. Ahiru got to her feet and then ran the rest of the way to the machine that was writing words furiously.

Ahiru was at a loss of what to do with it. She then just reached out for the strings and began tugging at them. They snapped with little effort but the pen kept scribbling. Suddenly, something clamped around her neck and Ahiru was pulled backwards.

The girl flailed around, trying to get whatever had been wrapped around her neck off. The orb of light danced furiously around before it disappeared out of Ahiru's line of vision. The clamp on her neck then gave way. She pulled it off and looked back. The small orb of light had distracted her captor, the ballerina shadow figure.

"Go!" a voice yelled at her.

Right! The girl got to her feet and went back to the machine. She grabbed a piece of wood that was in her reach and yanked at it. It gave and Ahiru fell backwards, startled. She got back onto her feet and began furiously grabbing and yanking away whatever she could—strings, paper, bits of wood—until there was nothing left.

~X~*~X~

Everyone on the outside of the mirror shared the same looks of surprise as the demon froze and howled in pain. Something was going on, all right. Wild blasts of wind erupted from the angry demon. The papers that Fakir had held tightly to were ripped out of his hands.

The great monster roared and glared at the mirror. "NO!" it screamed. He began heading towards the mirror, intent on destroying it. Kreahe and Mytho got to their feet to stop it, energy coursing through them, as they knew something had happened to make the tide turn in their favor.

Fakir listened as a monstrous scream of pain echoed into the hall. He got to his feet, forgetting about the papers he was trying to retrieve. To his astonishment, he watched as the demon was overpowered by Mytho and Kreahe. He felt a new burst of energy. He grabbed the closest torch that hadn't been extinguished from the demon's blasts of wind and ran to join his two friends in slaying the demon that was now, for some reason, pervious to their attacks.

The air was filled with the scent of blood and burnt flesh and the screams and battle cries of both sides as they received blows. Blood pooled on the floor and the demon's power began to fail it as the demon's blood left it. The Mirror Demon attempted to shield itself from the blade but the raining feathers dug into its hand and arm.

After a few more minutes of relentless fighting, the demon fell, exhausted from its fight. Both gasped. Mytho, Kreahe, and Fakir watched as life slowly left the creature. For a moment, they felt guilty. Only a hair's breath from death, the demon looked pitiful, almost like a dying doe.

Mytho approached it quietly. He raised his sword into the air and brought it down on the demon's skull, cutting through the flesh and piercing its head. The Mirror Demon drew its last breath and died.

~X~*~X~

Ahiru watched as the little light disappeared as well as the two shadow figures. Curious, she got to her feet. "Is it all over?" she asked Sylvie.

The girl nodded, lowering her sword. "It's dead," she stated, "the story is over."

Ahiru smiled. "We did manage to get a happy ending," she smiled, looking upwards and closing her eyes. Tears began streaming down her eyes. "It's all over."

"No, you're still stuck in here," Sylvie said, turning towards her.

Ahiru lowered her head and shook it slowly. "No, everyone's safe. It's all right as long as they're safe, even if I'm stuck in here."

Sylvie's face hardened angrily and she attempted to smack her but the dead girl's passed through the redhead. However, Ahiru shivered and looked at Sylvie. "Don't go saying that! You worked hard for a happy ending! You shouldn't settle for nothing less! Don't go fooling yourself that you'd be happy being trapped in here!" Sylvie yelled.

Ahiru shook her head. "No—!" she denied but then stopped. Sylvie was right. She wanted to see her friends, all of them. Tears welled in her eyes and she fell to her knees. I don't want to stay here, she admitted to herself. "I want to see Rue and Mytho happy together! I want to be a ballerina and become a beautiful dancer like Rue and Mytho and Fakir and Princess Tutu! I want to see and talk to Fakir! I want to see him smile and call me a moron! I-I want to tell him so much!"

Sylvie nodded. "Fight for those you care about and the one you love."

"FAKIR!" she wailed.

~X~*~X~

Fakir heard her cry. They all did. The teen was the first to race towards the mirror. He rested a hand on it. "Ahiru!" he shouted. Rue and Mytho quickly followed. The image of the crying girl appeared on it. They heard her wishes echo out to them and they touched the three's hearts.

"Get me the paper!" Fakir shouted quickly. "Get me something to right with! I don't care if I have to use my own blood! HURRY!"

Mytho and Rue were first to race out. Somehow, they found sheets and the quill. Fakir reopened the wound on the back of his hand he had obtained from fighting the demon and used his blood as ink. Akin to his ancestor, the young man wrote using his own blood, however—unlike Drosselmeyer—Fakir was writing to save someone from despair.

~X~*~X~

Ahiru listened to the call of encouragement from her friends and the wonderful words that rolled and waved in her ears of the story to retrieve her. Ahiru rose and looked up as a bright light fell down into the dim room, brightening it up. Ahiru looked up and reached upwards, a grateful smile crossing her lips.

She turned towards Sylvie and grabbed her. "You're coming too!" she exclaimed.

Sylvie didn't answer and didn't fight. The light brought them upwards and out of the mirror. Her vision went dark for a minute. When she felt something warm wrapped around her, she opened her eyes. She looked up at the person holding her and smiled. "Fakir," she said but it came out as more of a quack. I'm still a duck, she realized.

She looked up at him and he gave her a warm smile. The duck was nearly surprised that there were tears in his eyes. A new pair of hands grabbed the duck and Rue and Mytho's faces filled her vision, both showing the same happy and tearful faces. "Welcome back," Mytho said.

Ahiru looked at them all and a small smile etched itself on her beak. Then she quacked, remembering Sylvie.

There, floating next to them was the translucent figure of Sylvie. She smiled at them all. "I'm glad that everything has ended this way," she said. "My time here won't last too long, so I have a few last requests."

"Of course," Mytho nodded.

Sylvie looked at the mirror. "Destroy the mirror and make some good use of it." Then she looked towards Fakir. "Be sure that you don't cheat you and her of a happy ending."

Fakir nodded. "That was my plan," he answered simply.

Sylvie then smiled. "I thank you all for being with me," she said, "even if you can't really call me a friend, I am grateful for the short time I've spent with you all. Rue and Mytho, thank you for showing me the light and thank you Ahiru for trying to talk to me and thank you Fakir for allowing me to somehow help." Suddenly, her figure began to grow fainter.

"Are you sure that you can't stay?" Ahiru wanted to say that but it only came out as a rapid set of quacks.

Sylvie, however, was able to get the gist of what Ahiru wanted to say. She nodded. "I'm grateful. Thank you all." With that, Sylvie closed her eyes and she faded in a sparkle of red.

The four were left in silence for several minutes. Then, it was broken by steps. Ahiru and Rue watched as the two boys pushed the mirror over. It shattered in a shower of pieces and remained like that.

The girl and duck looked at the boys. Fakir took the duck from Rue and they all exited the room and then left the castle.

~X~*~X~

Drosselmeyer sat in his chair, stunned. Once again, his tragedy was adverted. One would have thought he would have been angry but he was far from that. He was bemused. "Maybe this old writer needs a rest," he said, sitting back in his rocking chair. He then got up, reaching for a cup of tea. "I wonder if there was a fourth writer in this?" The old writer hummed to himself.

There was no point in continuing trying to write a tragedy here. He looked towards the other story that he had been working on until Ahiru destroyed his writing machine. The same thing probably would happen with this story, he decided.

"I think I should just appreciate other tragedies," he mused. He then walked down the gears and disappeared into the darkness and into time itself.

~X~*~X~

Final farewells were given and before they knew it, Fakir and Ahiru were in the same scenario as they were less than two months before. It felt odd, as if nothing had happened. Ahiru remained a duck and Fakir began thinking of a way to bring her back. The teen looked down at his notes by the lakeside.

Suddenly, Autor and Corina were next to him. Both looked over his shoulder. "What's that for?" asked Corina.

"Still trying to turn Ahiru back into a girl?" inquired Autor, slightly bored.

"The duck is Ahiru?" Corina asked, turning her gaze to the duck staring at them curiously. Corina looked back over at Fakir's notes.

"What are you two doing here anyway?" Fakir asked in a low voice. They were distracting him.

"Just curious," Autor answered simply.

Corina suddenly took the page that Fakir was studying from him. She ignored the writer's demands to give it back. "Everything is too elaborate," she said, finally.

The two boys looked at her curiously. "What do you mean?" asked Autor.

Corina handed back the sheet of paper. "I've been learning to study the arc of how literature works from Autor and you're trying to write a whole new story. Why don't you just try to write it like an ending?" she suggested.

"Oh, what do you know?" Autor demanded.

"Actually, that's not a bad idea," Fakir said, turning back to his paper. Simplistic, maybe that's what he needed.

The two stayed, waiting for Fakir to finish writing his story. He handed it to Autor and Corina read over his shoulder. Autor made a face.

"It's too cheesy," he noted.

"I like it," Corina answered. "It's better than half the gloom and doom in a lot of the stories that Autor makes me read."

Fakir nodded. It would be a short while before his story would become reality but he was satisfied with knowing that. He laid the quill and stared up at the sky and closed his eyes, listening to Autor and Corina argue about something that he didn't care about.

~X~*~X~

Once upon a time, there was a duck that became a girl to help a heartless prince to gather the pieces of his heart. A raven princess and a useless knight stood in her way but the duck-girl got through it. Soon, the four realized that they were trapped in a story and so they fought the pen to gain their happy ending, leaving the duck-girl a duck and in the company of the useless knight who took up a pen to bring her human form back.

Months pass and a shattered mirror called back all four friends to fight the demon's lackey, a wandering knight-girl. The knight-girl eventually saw the errors in her way and gave her life to save the duck-girl as she gathered the last of the shattered mirror. In a desperate fight against the demon, the duck-girl continued fighting, even when all hope seemed lost, earning them all a happy ending but she once again became a duck in the useless knight's company.

Time passed and the shattered mirror's magic reformed it into a pendant of magical qualities. It necklace was found by a thief before it wandered it's way into the hands of a peddler, who sold it to the knight, claiming that it would grant a wish to a pure heart. The knight brought the pendant to the duck and placed it around her neck, wishing that she'd take the form that would make her the happiest. In a flash of light, the duck turned into a girl. The knight and duck-girl were happy of her new form and they danced into the night a wonderful pas de deux that revealed feelings that they didn't even know existed: a deep love and a want to never part.

And so, they never did.

The Final Act: The End.

Princess Tutu: Hour of the Swan: Fin.