One Month Later
Alex hadn't the heart to leave Ghaleon behind. But he knew the others would never understand. He set his body down first, teleporting outside the Fortress to drop him off on the ground, then teleported back to the carrier. Later, when they had settled down and were tending to the wounded, Alex returned to Ghaleon's body, and buried him at the top of a mountain, similar to Dyne's. He found a lone tree for his headstone, and placed his sword into its trunk as the marker. He left him there, and returned to the others.
Much had to be done. First of all, the vitalities had to be regained. A day of rest did that. The next morning, everyone was back to their old age again. But Alex's friends and the entire countryside were still stricken with the magical illness. Tempest and Fresca had to rush back to the Stadius Zone, grab as many of the Black Dragon herbs as they could find, and rush back. They healed Alex's friends and as many healers they could find. Once they were up, they were able, with a great deal of toil, to set about curing the others. Still, it was going to be a few day task. They could only revive some to begin with. Those quickly gathered the rest of the sick and healed them as well.
After all the anguish that he had gone through, the group suggested that Alex take a nice, long rest as well. Unfortunately, they insisted on it all the more severely when he tried to tell them what had happened with Ghaleon. They thought that it had all been a dream of his, even Laike. At one point, Luna even took him personally to bed, and told him like he was a child that it was all over, and that he was just confused and would sort things out eventually. Just as predicted, no one believed him about Ghaleon. He was the only one who knew, him and Narnuud, banished into a black dimension forever. History would continue to defame him as the Magic Emperor forever.
Alex tried to search for information on this dark force that Ghaleon and Narnuud mentioned. He searched the library again and again, but all he could find was something that supported one of Ghaleon's last words. Althena, according to legend, had left a girl on the Blue Star to take care of it after the people had moved to Lunar. Was she who Ghaleon had spoken of? At any rate, there was no dark force mentioned anywhere, in any of the history books. As for the end of the Blue Star, it was merely the same legend again and again…the people had grown too evil and the world had died. Nothing more. Eventually, he searched so fervently that Jessica personally banned him from the library, and he was stuck back in bed. Finally, he decided to give it up.
The people were eventually all healed, and Alex found himself praised more than ever. Now that he was in the guise of the Dragonmaster, everyone recognized him. Some even bowed down to worship him. He scolded them for doing so, and thought what Laike would think. But he didn't know. The man had conveniently vanished again into the shadows. All that was left was for the group to celebrate. Once they were all recovered, along with everyone else, Vane and Meriba both threw a city-sized party in either district. The Zone Confederation was done away with, but it didn't matter. There was peace now. Alex was endlessly praised for destroying Narnuud. And as the praise came, he felt guilty again and again at each speaking of it. He hadn't destroyed Narnuud. Ghaleon did. Ghaleon had saved Lunar. And he would never receive any of the credit due for his sacrifice.
Alex stayed weeks in Meriba and Vane with Luna and Nall, taking a well-deserved break. They lived with their friends and had a great time. Tempest reluctantly stayed as well with Fresca, for which Alex was glad. But in the end, he bid farewell and left as well. Though his tribe was down to a mere twenty five members, he planned to live on the Stadius Zone anyway. After spending their month at the two cities, Alex, Luna, and Nall finally set out for home again. Alex's appetite for adventure was sated for now. As a parting gift, Ramus, who had been the biggest to benefit from the sales of the parties, gave Alex an elegant, silver trimmed case…for his armor. Yes, Alex still had that. He wasn't sure how he was supposed to get rid of it again yet. But he was content to be Alex again, in appearance if not inside.
Once he had returned, he restored the sword to Dyne's monument. The case Ramus had given him was buried under the floorboards in the underground storage room. His parents had some dispute about it, but were still glad to see him back. They, of course, had heard absolutely nothing of the crisis that had taken place last month. And it was a good thing for Alex. If they knew in what bad shape he had been, they might have made him stay in bed all summer and spoon feed him chicken broth. Nall, on his part, kept his big mouth shut…most likely because he was stuffing it with three baskets of fish from Lann that he had gotten from a mysterious benefactor…
Now, it had come to this. Alex was alone at Dyne's monument. Luna was back home, waiting for him. She was safe again. The world was safe. Yet still, he knew that the world was still full of danger. And as for that dark force mentioned…the one that destroyed the Blue Star…what was it? And who was the girl from the Blue Star? Would he be coming…and would he be worse than what they had seen so far? Alex had overcome his greatest challenge, but he knew that more would come. And like it or not, some might be even stronger than this last one. Some might come closer to destroying him, if that was possible. And he was still the last Dragonmaster…with power he still had to find a way to relinguish…
But one thing had changed. Whether he had the armor or not now, Alex felt complete. This journey had taught him many things, but first and foremost was that the worst enemy one can face could be themselves…but that even that enemy could be conquered. And if Ghaleon could turn after all these years, then there was hope for him too. There was hope for the future.
Quite possibly, there was hope for everyone.
Yeah...not much for the ending bit, just enough to wrap things up. Hope you enjoyed it.