And here's the finale! Sorry it took a while. As you can probably tell, it's much longer than my other chapters so that's one reason why it took a while. I was aiming to upload this last week but I got distracted a lot. Then I decided to beef up the story a little to make the chapter as a whole better.
Anyway, on with the finale!
A Cure for Most of What Ails You
"What the hell?" Ragna exclaimed, not believing what Kokonoe had just done. "You just infected her?"
"Professor, what are you thinking?" Litchi questioned, just as shocked.
"W-why?" was all Noel could bring herself to say. Scared wasn't the best word to describe how she felt. She was completely terrified. Kokonoe said nothing in response and observed Noel's actions. Rachel, Valkenhayn and Hakumen also said nothing.
"You'd better have a damn good explanation for this!" Ragna shouted at her. "We're possibly the last few people left alive and you infect another one of us. Are you insane?"
"Professor…" Litchi said with unease.
"Will the two of you shut up?" Kokonoe glared at them. "That's enough time. How're you feeling Noel?"
"I- I don't know" she replied. She currently didn't feel any different. From what she saw when Litchi was infected, it was painful and she would be able to feel it. "I don't think I feel any different." Maybe her previous fear of being infected was all that was different.
"I thought so" Kokonoe smirked.
"It seems you were right after all Kokonoe" Rachel said.
"What do you mean?" Noel asked, still worried about the infection inside her. "You infected me so I can't be okay."
"On the contrary; you're immune to it" Rachel stated.
"What?" Ragna asked, confused. "How can she be immune? What makes her different?"
"You should know already, Dark One" Hakumen replied. "It's the insect's doing." He stabbed his sword into the ground with Arakune still impaled by it.
"Aggggggg! Azure Azure Azure! G ve t to me!" Arakune screeched.
"Shut up!" Kokonoe told him, annoyed. "But yeah, it's his doing. It's the same reason why Litchi's not completely infected, only to a more advanced degree."
"So when he attacked me before…" Litchi began.
"He only covered part of the left side of your body" Kokonoe concluded. "More than just your arm probably haven't been infected but your clothes are probably hiding it. I didn't really care to check."
"But how was this plan supposed to work if he didn't try to eat me?" Noel asked.
"The plan was to let him try" Rachel answered.
"Wh-what?" she responded, almost horrified. "You let him eat me? I could have died!"
"Why else do you think you were rescued so quickly?" Hakumen said. "We followed you to stop you from being consumed."
"You all planned for him to try to eat me?" Noel asked once again. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Isn't that obvious?" Kokonoe scolded her. "What would you have said if we told you to go to the sewers and let yourself get eaten?"
"Well, if you would have explained why, I might have thought about it" Noel thought.
"You're kidding right?" Ragna said to her. "You were going to think about letting yourself get eaten? Jeez, you really are an idiot."
"You probably would have said no straight away" Litchi agreed.
"I thought you were on my side" Noel muttered.
"Moving on, you got completely covered by him and you're immune to the virus, that's all that matters" Kokonoe summarised.
"Wait, how did you know that this would happen?" Ragna questioned.
"You said it was the same as what happened to me but how could you have known when I kept showing different symptoms?" Litchi asked.
"I figured out what happened to you after I asked about it" Kokonoe explained. "After that, I re-examined your blood sample and found the answer."
"If I may interrupt, you told me that you couldn't work because of the guilt you were suffering from" Rachel recalled.
"Yeah well, you weren't watching me work the whole time" Kokonoe defended herself. "Anyway, I found traces of whatever the hell that crap is that Arakune calls a body in the sample. Then that's when I figured it out. I can only guess and say a small amount of it got in the bloodstream when he attacked but it was pretty much acting as a filter."
"A filter?" Everyone looked confused.
"While blood was flowing around normally, that filter was the reason why your arm was uninfected" Kokonoe explained, facing Litchi. The infected blood passed through, with the infection being filtered out. When blood flowed back from the arm, the infection was picked up again. That's all there is to it. I just thought that if the whole body was covered, the infection wouldn't have a chance to progress."
"That's actually pretty weird don't you think?" Ragna asked.
"Yeah but I'm a scientist. I've seen plenty of weird things but this one takes the cake for weirdest" Kokonoe answered. She then sighed and turned to Litchi. "Litchi, this is the only time I'm gonna say this but thank God you didn't give up on him. There, I said it, now let's move on." Litchi couldn't help but smile a little.
"You say a cure will be made soon" Rachel began. "How soon?"
"Can't say for sure" Kokonoe replied. "The immediate solution from him just prevents infection but it shouldn't take too long to make a cure out of it."
"Okay that took a little longer than expected but I've finally got something" Kokonoe announced. She approached Litchi, ready to test the potential cure. "Here's hoping that it works." Injecting what she thought would be the final solution, she stepped back. "And now we wait."
"Great, now how long's that gonna take?" Ragna asked, growing impatient with all the waiting.
"How the hell do I know?" Kokonoe retorted. "It's not as if I've done this before. It could take five minutes or it could take five hours."
"How do we know if it's worked or not if that's the case?" Noel asked out of curiosity.
"Theoretically, it should work" Kokonoe explained. "If it works, her skin should start fixing itself. If not… well nothing will happen. We've just gotta wait and see."
"If we are to cure the remaining population, this solution is highly impractical Kokonoe" Rachel pointed out. "How do you expect us to inject every last one of them with the cure and more to the point, how do you expect to wait for it to take effect if they decide to attack?"
"It also shouldn't take as long to take effect on me since I'm not fully infected" Litchi agreed.
"In your case Litchi, there can't be too much of a gap in time between curing you and curing them but it still shouldn't take too long to start working" Kokonoe said. "First things first though, we have to make sure that this cure actually works. If they do attack us, to be honest, there's nothing we can do but hold 'em down and wait for the effects to take place. An injection is the most practical since I've got no other ideas of what I can get from him and as you can see, we don't exactly have a shortage of the source." She gestured to Arakune who was still flailing around on the end of Hakumens sword.
"You said we have no choice but to hold 'em down" Ragna began. "How do you expect us to hold down a potential city of 'em?"
"My plan was to cure a few of 'em and then bring them on our side to finish off the rest" Kokonoe said. "Simple. Enough of that though, you guys can sit back and watch what happens to Litchi. I'm gonna work on something to make this particular solution work faster."
"It's slowly working" Litchi said, looking down at herself. The necrotized look of her skin was slowly receding and returning to normal. It hadn't taken too long to reach this stage but it was certainly working at an admittedly slow rate. It wasn't clear if the bloodlust of the other infected would fade at the same time as Litchi had overcome it some time ago.
"It works. That's a start" Kokonoe commented. "Well everyone, once I finish working on improving its performance, we'll have a cure for the virus."
"That's good news" Noel sighed in relief. It was finally going to be over. Everything could go back to the way it once was or close enough to how it once was anyway.
"Great now can you let us out of here?" Ragna asked. "I'm still fine if you hadn't noticed."
"Maybe so although it is rather amusing to see you trapped in there" Rachel smirked. Ragna scowled in response.
"Just let 'em out Rachel" Kokonoe told her. "He's not gonna shut up about it otherwise and Litchi, you can help me with improving the effectiveness of our current solution."
"Well this is it" Kokonoe announced. Some time after Litchi had fully recovered, she and Kokonoe had finally created what seemed to be the final solution. Noel finally returned Lao Jiu to Litchi now that she had been cured. "We've got the cure, now we just need to distribute it." She held a number of syringes each containing what would cure the virus and gave them out. Rachel handed hers to Gii for him to carry. They were given to all but Hakumen since he had nowhere to put it and because he couldn't carry it due to wielding a two handed sword. "After working on it, the amount of it in each syringe takes about a minute to start working."
"It'll be at its maximum potential if it's injected into the neck" Litchi finished. "It still works when injected into other places but our time estimates have been based largely on an injection to the neck."
"It's about damn time" Ragna ran his hand through his hair. "We just have to beat 'em senseless and inject this into 'em right?"
"That's pretty much it" Kokonoe answered. "You three should all be fine if you get bitten" she said to Ragna, Noel and Litchi. "Just hold 'em down until it starts working and don't let yourselves get torn apart."
"I'm just glad we could put an end to it" Noel said. "It'll finally be over."
"Indeed, the madness will finally end" Rachel agreed. "Now" she said, creating a portal. "Shall we be going?"
"Hang on a sec" Kokonoe interrupted. "First off, we gotta send him back." She pointed to Arakune.
"Valkenhayn" Rachel said. Valkenhayn didn't need to be told anything more. He created his own portal while Hakumen pulled his sword out of the ground. Before Arakune could recover, Valkenhayn threw him into the portal.
"Sorry Litchi but you're gonna have to find him again yourself" Kokonoe said to her.
"It's fine" Litchi replied. "This is more important now anyway."
"Okay. Second of all, Hakumen, hold out your arm." Hakumen did so hesitantly. With the circumstances considered, it couldn't have been anything to make it easier to seal him again later. "I'm gonna coat you claws in this stuff. There's enough of it to go on 'em to be almost instant if you can dig them into someone."
After applying it to Hakumen's claws, Kokonoe turned to Valkenhayn. "I guess it'll be all too easy to cure someone if we cover your claws in it too." Valkenhayn nodded, and transformed into his wolf form.
After covering Valkenhayn's claws too, the group stepped through the portal to Kagutsuchi. Rachel had created a portal to take them to where they had sent the infected when they last encountered them.
"So, you came to give yourselves up?" Tsubaki questioned the group. "We couldn't get to you by any means so why are you out here?"
"Funny you should ask" Ragna replied. "See this?" He held up a syringe. "This is the shit that's gonna fix you guys up."
"A cure?" Makoto wondered. "There's no way you could have made something like that. We've tried everything."
"Geez are you blind or something?" Kokonoe questioned. "Take a look." She gestured to Litchi. "Does she look as infected as when you last saw her?"
"So what if you found a cure" Carl responded. "We're still hungry from last time."
"Your appearance here doesn't help the hunger" Bang stated. "If you managed to cure yourselves, we'll end up infecting or eating you this time."
"We'll cure you with this before that happens" Noel said. "Once we inject this into you, you'll all be back to normal and this time, you can't infect any of us. We're immune to the infection."
"If we're immune to infection, the window of opportunity you get from biting us doesn't exist" Litchi concluded.
"Boobie lady's confusing Tao" Tao looked at them curiously. "They don't look immune."
"Why would they?" Jin reprimanded her. "You may be immune to infection but that doesn't protect you from being eaten."
"Hmph, just try to get to any of us" Hakumen said.
"If we can't be infected, you all have no choice but to devour us in a matter of seconds" Rachel explained. "Considering our numbers, that will be quite impossible."
"Professor, leave this group to us" Litchi said to her. "You'll be targeted if you can't fight to defend yourself."
"Yeah I know" Kokonoe replied. "I'll find some people around here to cure. Just don't waste those samples while I'm not around."
"Time to put an end to this, you freaks" Ragna said, drawing his weapon, starting the conflict. Jin launched a frozen sword at him, which Ragna slashed through before advancing. Tao sprung towards him attempting to halt his advance only to be knocked to the ground by Litchi's attack with the Mantenbo.
"I'll deal with you myself, Tao" Litchi said as Tao recovered.
"Let's play boobie lady!" Tao cried happily, darting towards her.
"Tsubaki, Makoto, I'll save you myself" Noel faced both of them.
"Don't be a fool" Hakumen stated, standing beside her. "You can't hope to fight both of them alone."
"Aww, we would have been fine with facing Noel alone" Makoto sighed.
"It can't be helped I suppose" Tsubaki commented. "Considering the amount of us, we all have one opponent."
"So who's facing who?" Noel asked.
"Hmph, naïve" Hakumen muttered, leaving her behind while he advanced towards the two. It didn't matter who faced each other just as long as Noel didn't get in his way.
"It seems everyone else has chosen their opponents" Rachel commented, standing beside Valkenhayn opposite Carl and Bang. "Valkenhayn, do keep that sweat drenched barbarian away from me." Valkenhayn nodded and then snarled as he charged at Bang.
"You'd be wise to not underestimate me" Carl said to Rachel as Valkenhayn and Bang began fighting. "You don't look like the fighting type yourself."
"You shouldn't underestimate the princess, young man" Nago replied
"Yeah, the princess will mop the floor with you" Gii agreed. Rachel didn't respond at all.
"If you think that those two are scaring me, you're mistaken" Carl told her.
"They're nothing to be scared of" Rachel said calmly. "However, if you deem yourself to be a worthy opponent, try to keep me amused at least."
"You're still trying to beat me Jin?" Ragna smirked. "Did you forget what happened last time?" The two traded blows leaving each other at a stalemate.
"What happened last time isn't important now, brother" Jin replied. "This time, there's no interrupting our battle." He quickly let go of his sword to grab at Ragna's coat to freeze him. Ragna saw this and lowered his stance to follow up with a rising slash. Jin countered by swiping his own sword in a quick draw motion just about making contact with the Blood Scythe when Ragna brought it down to block in time.
"Shit, that was close" Ragna thought. "What the-?" He looked up to see ice begin to form on his sword. He jumped back to prevent the entire sword freezing over. Upon landing, Jin already rushed towards him and slashed in multiple directions wildly. Ragna was able to block most of them. The strikes he was hit by didn't bother him too much. They were only light scratches to him. In a brief pause from Jin, Ragna released dark energy from his sword low to the ground. Jin was merely pushed back by it though.
Following the blocked attack, Jin pierced the ground with his sword, summoning a frozen blade to strike from ground below. Finding himself jumping back again to avoid it, Ragna didn't see Jin speeding towards him on an icicle. Barely swinging the Blood Scythe in time, Ragna struck the ice and shattered it but his timing was off. Jin had already jumped off and was bringing his blade down on him. Ragna jumped, swinging his own weapon up at Jin to hopefully overpower him and knock him off balance. Jin however quickly landed when he anticipated Ragna's attack. He swiftly sheathed his weapon, throwing Ragna's aim off.
"Gale" Jin called, once again unsheathing his sword and stabbing it into the air directly above him, using Yukianesa's power to boost its range and effectiveness. Ragna couldn't block in time and was knocked down to the ground. "Reaping Blizzard!" Jin smirked as he launched a huge wave of ice at the frozen Ragna. With no way to escape, Ragna was struck by the wave.
"Gah! Shit" Ragna grunted as he slowly got back onto his feet, spitting out blood.
"It's over, brother" Jin said.
"Not yet Jin" he muttered He grabbed his right arm activating his grimoire. "Blood Kain!" The grimoire unleashed a huge wave of black energy, stunning Jin. Ragna roared as he sprinted towards Jin, unleashing a mighty swing with his weapon. Amplified by the grimoire's power, Jin struggled to block but was still able to do so. Ragna continued his relentless attacks, slowly feeling his energy drain. Jin continued to block Ragna's attacks. He was being pushed back enough by each attack to provide a quick decision on where to block.
"I'm not getting anywhere like this" Ragna told himself. When he approached this time, Jin was ready to block when Ragna reared his sword back. This however was a feint. His arm was now covered with seithr taking the form of the Black Beast's claw. He grabbed Jin with the claw. "Now it's over." Spears of darkness continuously struck Jin's body until Ragna slammed him into the ground.
Ragna stood over him. "Jeez, I can't believe I have to cure you but whatever." He jabbed the syringe into Jin injecting the cure. "Just stay there and wait for it to start working."
Tao was a tricky opponent as always. Litchi couldn't land any strikes worth of note because of her speed. On the other hand, she was able to block her attacks with relative ease.
"Try to catch Tao, Boobie lady" Tao punched the air in a friendly taunt. She didn't appear to be taking the fight seriously at all.
"Tao, this isn't a game" Litchi replied. "I'm trying to help you but you're not fighting seriously. If you're just playing a game, let me cure you.""
"If Boobie lady gets tired, Tao can eat sooner" she responded, ignoring most of what Litchi said. "Tao didn't forget how Boobie lady beat me up before."
"So that's what she's doing" Litchi thought. "I can't match her speed no matter how hard I try. I just have to trick her and find openings." Taking Tao's intelligence into account, tricking her might have been a good choice to go for. She set the Mantenbo on the ground, planning to use it to create chances to attack later. She dashed towards Tao who, as expected, nimbly dodged any attack that she attempted, both low and high attacks. Of course, Tao still knew that Litchi's offence wouldn't be without holes. When her attacks started to show openings, Tao countered by grabbing her attempting to bite her.
"Feed Tao!" Tao said happily. Litchi quickly recalled her staff to knock her away. Barely calling it back in time, Tao was knocked away but quickly recovered and began slashing wildly at Litchi. Holding the staff in her hands, Litchi attempted to block and hopefully stop her barrage of attacks.
"If I can catch her claws while she's rearing one of them back to attack me, I should be able to stop her, if only briefly" Litchi thought. She was already being pushed back slowly by the continuous attack and decided that jumping back when there was enough space between them would also be a good strategy. Unfortunately (but also inadvertently), Tao changed the angle of her attack towards the edge of the Mantenbo, knocking it out of Litchi's hands and also deeply cutting into her arm. Luckily, the event caused Tao to stop her attack briefly allowing Litchi to make a quick retreat in spite of the pain in her arm.
"Tao's hungry!" Tao cried as she pounced directly at Litchi baring her teeth in response to her retreat. Reacting quickly, Litchi jumped back once again but this time straight at her staff, causing Tao to land empty handed and look confused. Jumping back at her staff, Litchi kicked the lower portion of it, sending it spinning towards Tao, striking her, as she wasn't prepared for it. Tao quickly recovered once again. She was injured but didn't let it show.
"Thirteen Orphans" Litchi called, finally seeing her chance to end the conflict. The Mantenbo sprouted arms and legs and flailed wildly at Tao, consistently striking her until it spun around in a flurry of punches to finish. Before Tao could recover, Litchi approached as quickly as she could and injected the vaccine. It wasn't an easy fight but she had succeeded in curing Tao. "This should be enough to stop you" Litchi said, breathing heavily.
Bang was being much more cautious against Valkenhayn this time even though he didn't know that it was Valkenhayn. His wolf form could easily cause much more harm than before. This also made it difficult for Valkenhayn to cure him since he couldn't land a successful hit and his claws couldn't break through Bang's gauntlets.
"Foul beast, prepare to- gwahh!" Bang began before Valkenhayn crashed into him. Valkenhayn himself was surprised that the attack hit since he was blocking so well before. Bang was sent flying back by the hit but turned his fall into a roll in order to recover. "H-how dare you interrupt me, beast! For that I must teach you-!" Once again Valkenhayn had charged at him, forcing Bang to block, this time successfully. "How foolish of me. I would expect a beast to have no concept of honour."
"If he wouldn't start talking after I had started an attack…" Valkenhayn thought. He felt that he should explain the situation to him later as he couldn't risk changing back into human form and losing the effects of the cure on his claws.
"Take this, Steel Rain!" Bang threw out an umbrella, which opened itself and released a torrent of nails over Valkenhayn. Not expecting the umbrella to do what it did, Valkenahyn was hit by several nails before he was able to escape its radius. The pain wasn't enough to affect his performance substantially though.
"I'm not through yet! Volcanic Fury!" he bellowed, already charging at Valkenhayn with his shoulder. Valkenhayn nimbly dodged out of the way of his path by leaping into the air and dived down at Bang when his attack had passed. He swiped at him with his claws, almost certain that he would succeed. Bang quickly turned on the spot and raised his gauntlet to block once again catching the werewolf by surprise. In the brief pause, Bang unleashed a powerful punch, striking Valkenhayn in the side. He followed up the attack with a double palm thrust, knocking Valkenhayn a considerable distance away.
"Stay down unless you want to face the might of Bang Shishigami once more!" Bang yelled confidently. Valkenhayn picked himself up again and snarled as he leapt towards Bang once more. "Very well, I will finish this fight." Bang jumped to meet Valkenhayn in the air, reaching out to grab him. "Hurricane Bang- wha?" Valkenhayn swiftly turned his body and smacked Bang down to the ground with his tail before he could be grabbed. Seeing a chance to end the fight, Valkenhayn dived straight down after him, baring his claws. Bang rolled away to the side just about dodging and prepared to counter attack but Valkenhayn sprung from his landing point, dodged Bang's counter and raked his claws across his chest.
"Y-you! You're from the previous fight!" Bang said, surprised as Valkenhayn jumped back and transformed into human form.
"This battle is over. The cure for the disease is now flowing through your bloodstream. In a few moments, you will be cured" Valkenhayn explained. "I must apologise for what you misconstrued about fighting with no honour." He bowed. "I did not anticipate your words when I began an attack."
"Your attempts are feeble at best" Rachel admonished Carl. "I expected more of a challenge after your words from a short while ago."
"I'm still not finished" Carl said, catching his breath. He could barely get close to Rachel. Not only was a strong wind against him but he was also being bombarded with a multitude of projectiles including two lightening rods which had yet to serve their purpose.. When he was able to get somewhat close, Rachel would nimbly spin out of the way and counter.
"The princess is just too strong for you" Gii taunted him.
"He's right. You may be strong but you're in a different league to the princess" Nago agreed. Both were silenced by a hit from Rachel.
"You are the vigilante who possessed the Nox Nyctores: Nirvana am I correct?" Rachel questioned. "I don't see why you would discard it when your capabilities are rather low while alone."
"My sister wouldn't listen to anything I said after I was infected" Carl told her. "She told me she wouldn't help me sate my hunger, not that I blame her. She wouldn't do something so barbaric."
"Then perhaps it would be best if you gave up and let yourself be cured" Rachel suggested. "There is little you can do to me at all."
"I told you I wasn't finished yet" Carl repeated.
"Oh? Is there something that you have yet to show off?" Rachel wondered.
"As if I would tell you now" Carl muttered. He set off on another head on charge.
"George XIII" Rachel calmly called out George XIII to meet him in the middle of his dash. George slowly made his way towards Carl ready to let loose a powerful shock. Just as the frog began releasing it's electrical charge, Carl jumped over it before it could do any harm. Rachel reacted by creating a gust of wind, pulling George back to intercept Carls landing. Carl quickly produced his dagger, stabbing with it multiple times before hitting the ground. George was hit by a few of these strikes and disappeared in an instant. Rachel summoned her jack-o-lantern to send it towards Carl with another gust of wind. Carl performed a quick roll underneath the passing projectile.
"P-p-princess! He's getting closer and he's dodging everything we throw at him now!" Gii pointed out nervously. Rachel remained silent.
"Throw out one of your own attacks you idiot" Nago berated him. "That's what we've been waiting for."
"Oh yeah" Gii replied. "Take this!" He threw a pink coloured object at Carl, which he was able to dodge as normal. The object hit the ground and morphed into a tall lightening rod. "Waah! Princess, do something!" Rachel responded by grabbing the bat familiar, stretching him out to form a shield for herself. Her reaction was timed just about right as Carl summoned a huge gear which spun wildly, threatening to cause a great deal of harm.
"Damn" Carl muttered. Despite Rachel lack of care the familiar, he didn't expect her to go as far as to use him as a shield. The gear disappeared shortly after it was summoned. Rachel quickly retaliated with a strong headwind pushing Carl back towards the previously summoned lightening rod.
"Baden Baden Lily" Rachel called, summoning lightening to strike around herself and on the rods. No matter what Carl did, he couldn't guard against lightening. He was struck multiple times as the lightening kept up. When it subsided, he collapsed onto the ground.
"Gii, finish this" Rachel ordered.
"R-right away Princess" he said weakly, still recovering from Carl's attack. He flew over to Carl, barely able to keep himself aloft, and injected him with the vaccine.
"You were no match for me before" Hakumen commented as he raised his hand, effortlessly catching Makoto's fist. "There is no difference now." He lifted her overhead and slammed her into the ground. Tsubaki approached from behind ready to deliver a quick attack with Izayoi only to see Hakumen block it with his wrist. He turned and stabbed his sword at her. Tsubaki was able to block with her shield but had a hard time doing so. Not paying attention to her surroundings due to the attack, she didn't see an Optic Barrel shot and was knocked back.
"Tsubaki, Makoto, please just let us cure you" Noel pleaded. "We're already overpowering you."
"Maybe he's overpowering us, but you're not, Noel" Makoto said.
"Attack him again, I'll cover you this time" Tsubaki said to her quietly. Makoto nodded and attempted a jumping attack on Hakumen this time. Hakumen blocked the attack as usual and moved to counter however, Tsubaki quickly closed in and struck him with Sanctus Decus before he could attack Makoto, pushing him back. Hakumen merely grunted but was barely harmed. Makoto saw exactly what Tsubaki had planned; she was planning on holding off Hakumen while she could go after Noel. Noel, confident that she could still hold Makoto off on her own, fired at her to halt her advance however Makoto knew that this was what Noel intended to do and created two illusionary copies of herself to throw her off.
"I can't tell the difference between them!" Noel thought. "Which one-?" Rather than think about it she attacked one of aerial copies with an angled shot. As she thought, it was an illusion. Quickly turning her attention to the ground copy, she was about to shoot but the other aerial copy, revealing itself to be the real Makoto when the ground copy vanished, attacked with a downward punch. Raising Bolverk instinctively to defend once she saw the copy disappear, Noel managed to block but felt herself being pushed down under Makoto's strength. Makoto reacted by allowing herself to land and attacking low before Noel could block once again. This time, Noel was swept off of her feet by Makoto's tail.
"Don't worry Noel, it won't hurt much." Not wasting any time, Makoto tried to finish off Noel by biting her in such a way that would kill her. With little to no time to react, Noel was left helpless.
Tsubaki wasn't faring too well against Hakumen. Her intention was just to give Makoto a chance to finish off Noel. All she had to do was hold off Hakumen until Makoto was done. Considering Hakumen's strength, it would be better to stay defensive, however, Hakumen's sword, being as long as he was tall, made blocking difficult since a single successful hit could end the fight. Because of the latter fact, Tsubaki tried to remain on the offence. She attempted many attacks on the legendary warrior but nothing appeared to work. Either he would block the attack or if he wasn't quick enough to block, he was unfazed by the attack.
Hakumen was well aware of what Tsubaki was trying to do but couldn't do much to prevent it. Constantly having her attacks countered before, Tsubaki kept out of his arm's range or dodged before he could do so. He carefully bided his time to find an opening but saw no such chance. Seeing that this was the case, he quickly formulated a plan to end the fight. When Tsubaki attacked again, Hakumen let her strike at his armour once again. Tsubaki was confused as to why he did so as even she could see that it was his intention to be hit. Nonetheless, she wasn't going to waste the opportunity and continued to attack, exactly what Hakumen had planned. During her attack, Hakumen stretched his arm out and attacked with the claws on his hands. Tsubaki attempted to dodge but since she was already attacking, she couldn't do anything as Hakumen dug his claws into her neck.
Hakumen lowered his sword. "You're cured" he said bluntly. Thanks to the amount of the vaccine that had been applied to his claws, it took almost instant effect on Tsubaki's cannibalistic thoughts. Her thoughts cleared from cannibalism, Tsubaki realized what she was doing and also lowered her weapon. "Help your friend" Hakumen told her, noticing Noel's current situation.
"Y-yes" she stammered before sprinting over to stop Makoto before it was too late. Hakumen stood back and watched. He knew that he could have stopped Makoto but he allowed Tsubaki to do so to allow her to redeem herself.
Knowing words wouldn't stop the infected, Tsubaki charged at Makoto, leading with her shield, before she could kill Noel. She succeeded in striking Makoto, knocking her down. Before she could get up again, Tsubaki pinned her down.
"What the hell are you doing?" Makoto yelled angrily, struggling against Tsubaki's grip.
"Noel, quickly!" Tsubaki called to her. She knew Makoto was stronger than her physically so she wouldn't be able to hold her down for long. Being slightly confused as to why Tsubaki was calling to her, Noel opened her eyes and looked in the direction of where her voice came from, instantly seeing what was happening. Noel hastily got back up and quickly injected Makoto with the cure.
After injecting Makoto with the cure and waiting for her to stop lashing out at her, Noel allowed herself to fall back on the ground. "It's over… It's finally over" she said, barely believing it herself. She looked around and saw the others were recovering too. The nightmare was finally over. "Tsubaki, Makoto!" Noel cried out happily, throwing her arms around both of them.
"Ugh, Noel not so rough" Makoto groaned. "I've got the worst headache ever right now." Tsubaki smiled at their reactions but it quickly disappeared. She was troubled by something. She didn't want to dampen the mood but she felt that she would have to say it eventually.
"Noel, after everything we've done, you still think of us as friends?" she asked. Noel let go and looked at both of them, concerned. Tsubaki and Makoto merely looked away. They had killed countless people, near enough decimated the city and even came close to killing her a few times just to partially satiate themselves. All of which were inexcusable.
"Of course I do" Noel replied. "It wasn't your fault and you weren't yourselves so you didn't mean to do any of what you did."
"Noel, we…" Makoto began. "We destroyed the city, killed all of the people and you're forgiving us?" Noel nodded. "We're so lucky to have you as a friend!" she cried, pulling both Noel and Tsubaki into a tight embrace.
"M-Makoto! I c-can't breathe!" Noel cried.
"What a touching reunion" Ragna commented. "You better not try any of that shit with me Jin." Jin didn't respond. "Tch, I don't know why I bothered with you" he groaned. "I should have killed you to pay you back for biting me earlier and you're just gonna try and kill me next time you see me anyway."
"Hmph" Jin replied. "Don't expect me to go easy on you in the future because of this."
"Yeah, I thought you'd say that" Ragna replied.
"Tao, are you alright?" Litchi asked, out of concern as Tao still hadn't gotten up. "Tao?" She nudged Tao with her foot just in case she was still infected. The Kaka was probably just asleep but she needed to be awake to show any signs of being cured. Ordinarily, Litchi wouldn't have bothered to wake her, knowing the futility of it but this time was different. She jabbed her staff into Tao's stomach with considerable force hoping that that might do the trick. It seemed to work as Tao suddenly gagged and covered her stomach with her arms.
"Stop! I'm gonna throw up!" Tao cried. Litchi readied her staff just in case she attacked. Tao blinked several times, taking in her surroundings. "Boobie lady!" Tao sprang from where she was straight at Litchi who tried to protect herself but couldn't. However her intentions weren't to bite her but rather… to play with Litchi's breasts.
"T-Tao! Get out of there!" Litchi protested, feeling as flustered as she always did when this happened. As usual, Tao didn't listen and happily continued. "Hey! Knock it off!" She hit Tao on the head, hard enough to make her let go.
"Mew, that hurt boobie lady" Tao whined clutching her head. Despite her previous reaction to Tao's behaviour, Litchi couldn't help but smile in relief. At least she was back to her normal self. Speaking of being back to normal…
"Miss Litchi!" Bang bellowed. He approached her dragging Carl along with him and bowed deeply before her. He then forced Carl to bow as well. "I can only apologise for our behaviour towards you. I don't expect you to forgive us for our actions." He turned to Carl. "Master Carl, apologise to Miss Litchi" he whispered.
"No, you don't have to apologise to me" Litchi responded.
"She's right Mr. Bang" Carl agreed with Litchi. "We made life difficult for everyone who's still alive and everyone who worked on curing us."
"Don't worry about it" Kokonoe dismissed, making her appearance known. "But you guys owe us a lot of favours for saving your sorry ass's."
"Yeah I expected that" Makoto said.
"If there's anything we can do to rebuild the city, we'll gladly oblige" Bang offered.
"No shit" Ragna responded. "Kagutsuchi's a train wreck of a city now."
"If you'll all just accompany me for a while, we can recruit some others" Kokonoe said, leading the way. "There's somewhere I want to go to anyway." Everyone silently agreed and followed.
The now larger group roamed Kagutsuchi, following Kokonoe and curing people as they went. Eventually when they reached the Hanging Gardens, a familiar figure lay there on the ground not moving. Kokonoe approached alone.
"Hey, Tager, how long do you plan on just lying there?" She stood over him. "Even if you still look all messed up, you must have repaired yourself enough now to at least stand up."
"Kokonoe, you…" Tager began.
"Don't give me any crap, just get the hell up" she ordered. As Tager started rebooting many of his systems so he could stand again, Kokonoe looked over to the side, seeing a severely damaged Lambda nearby. "I can probably get her up and running again with… a lot of work. Damn, that's gonna be a pain in the ass to fix."
"Well I'm not completely repaired but I can still perform basic functions" Tager said.
"I'll fix you up properly later" Kokonoe replied. "You're not in much of a condition to do what we're trying to do at the moment. Anywhere else that anyone knows of where there'll be people around?" she asked the group.
"I believe Jubei has gathered a small group of survivors outside of the city" Valkenhayn said.
"Ugh, fine" Kokonoe groaned. "We're heading to the outskirts then. Tager, gather her up will ya?" She gestured to Lamda's broken form. "I'll fix her up too."
"There's a big group of people coming this way" a survivor said, earning Jubei's attention.
"All of ya, stay back for a minute" Jubei calmly ordered them. "Torakaka, come with me a minute. I'm gonna see what's happenin'." Jubei and Torakaka cautiously headed in the direction of the approaching group.
"It seems we have nothing to fear, cat person" Torakaka noted.
"Torakaka, cat person!" Taokaka leapt out from the group to greet them.
"Tao, it's good to see you again" Torakaka smiled.
"What're you and cat person doing outside the city?" Tao asked.
"We were gathering survivors Tao" Torakaka told her. "They would most likely have died without us rescuing them."
Upon seeing Tao and the rest of the group, a smirk crossed Jubei's face. "Well, well, looks like you've done pretty well for yerselves." Kokonoe looked away, not intending to talk to him at all. "Although some of you look a little worse for wear."
"Yeah, you're telling us" Makoto said.
"You look like you've been pretty busy yourself" Ragna noted.
"Yeah, this is everyone I could find" Jubei replied.
"You've gathered quite a few survivors" Jin said. "I assume this was the reason why we weren't able to find anyone for a while."
"Were you able to find more survivors?" Hakumen inquired.
"Not many more but even a couple are better than nothin' right?" Jubei said rhetorically. "So what's the situation back there?"
"You'll be pleased to know that it has become significantly more peaceful in Kagutsuchi" Rachel answered.
"We found a cure but there're still some people in the city who are still infected" Noel explained.
"Well that's the first piece of good news I've heard for weeks" Jubei chuckled.
"We're sorry for causing you any trouble in the last few weeks" Tsubaki apologised.
"Nah, as long as you're all back to normal it's fine" Jubei waved off her apology. "Lemme just gather the rest of my group here and we'll help ya out." Jubei briefly left to call the group of survivors over. Some were familiar to some members of the first group.
"Doctor, you're alright!" Linhua called to Litchi rushing over to greet her.
"Linhua, I was so worried about you" Litchi sighed in relief. "I feared the worst after I left."
"I tried to find you but I was attacked by them. Luckily Mr. Jubei found me and brought me here" Linhua explained. "How did you get away if you weren't here with the rest of us?"
"It's a long story. Let's just leave it at that for now" Litchi answered. "I'll explain some other time."
"Boss!" several of Bang's subordinates yelled. The ninja grouped around him, happy to see him again.
"My loyal followers, it warms my heart to see even a few of you were spared" Bang said. "For now, we must work on rebuilding the city for everyone left homeless by this plague."
"Yes boss!" all of them yelled.
"And Mr. Clover, there's somethin' you'd like to see here too" Jubei said to Carl pointing to a particular member of the crowd who stood alone.
"Ada!" Carl cried. "Thank you so much for finding her."
"Don't mention it" Jubei replied. "Weren't that easy to convince her to follow me though."
"…" Nirvana remained as silent as ever but Carl understood.
"I know" Carl looked down. "I'm sorry about what I did."
"Thanks sis" he said. "I promise I'll make it up to you."
"Kokonoe, why are you acting like this?" Tager questioned her noticing she hadn't said a word. "I'm aware of your dislike for Jubei but…"
"I've got nothing to say" Kokonoe interrupted him. "Everyone else just explained everything."
"Alright everyone, these guys have got a cure that they're startin' to distribute around the city" Jubei told his group. "We'll all be goin' back to the Kagutsuchi you know and love… well close enough to it anyway." The crowd cheered in response.
"At least until we get rid of the rest of the zombies, the city should be fine when we're trying to fix it up again" Ragna thought. "Terumi's probably gonna turn up at some point and screw everything up again though."
"Indeed but I doubt Terumi would have much use for a destroyed city" Rachel commented. "I believe he will at least wait for the city to be rebuilt and become a little more populated before he makes his move."
"There is little Terumi can do if he decides to show himself before all of us" Valkenhayn pointed out.
"When you say it like that, we shouldn't be worrying about him" Noel said. "If he can't do much, we can concentrate on the city and the rest of the infected people. Not to mention the people who lost their lives."
"We should at least pay our respects to them" Litchi agreed. "Rebuilding the destroyed parts of the city takes priority for now though considering the amount of work that needs doing."
"I agree" Carl responded. "The amount of repairs that need to be done will be difficult to say the least."
"Not to worry Master Carl" Bang said, placing a hand on his shoulder. "No task is too great when you have the ninja of Ikaruga working alongside you."
"Tao will work extra hard too!" Tao yelled, punching the air.
"That's the spirit Tao" Torakaka smiled. "Try not to work yourself too hard though."
"Hey, it's not as if you're working on your own" Makoto said. "But yeah, it's gonna take a while."
"Even though there are so few of us, we just need to work together" Tsubaki stated. "It doesn't matter how long it takes as long as it gets done eventually."
"With the situation as it is now, we're all allies" Jin said, glaring at Ragna.
"I will spare you for now Dark One" Hakumen began, also talking to Ragna. "When we next meet, you will meet your end." Ragna waved off his comment.
"Whatever, let's just get going already" Ragna said. With that, the now much larger group headed back to Kagutsuchi to set to work on the city.
"Well, that's the end of that" Terumi said as he and Relius watched the group from a distance. "Overall I'd say the experiment was a success even if it did get a little out of hand."
"Even though you had no involvement with ending it, I suppose I should start working on creating a new body for you" Relius stated.
"Ah, Relius, you're a true friend" Terumi replied. When Relius didn't respond, Terumi began thinking to himself. "What will I do next?" he asked aloud. "Vampire curse? Wait no, that's no good. Night of werewolves? Nah, that's no good either." He thought harder about potential future plots. "Feel free to make a suggestion any time" he said to Relius.
"Enough of this" Relius said. "Wait until you play your part in the Imperator's plan and then think about your own plans. However, thanks to your most recent plan, there are little to no sacrifices left for the Cauldron. Our plans will be delayed for a considerable amount of time."
"Yeah, yeah, I know" Terumi sighed. "Until then, you guys can look forwards to what we have planned" he said to the group who were already nearly gone from sight. "I look forward to seeing the roles each of you will play." He created a portal for himself and Relius to take them back to the Librarium. Both men disappeared through it leaving no traces of them ever being there.
Blazblue Zombies END
And there we have it. The zombie plague is over and everyone will be returning to their normal lives.
Terumi/Hazama's line at the end about vampires and werewolves was meant to be a jab at other types of horror films but then he realised Rachel and Valkenhayn already fit the bill for both his ideas so he scrapped the idea :P
Now that this is the end of the story, this'll be the only time I'll actively ask for reviews. I would just like to know what everyone thought of the story as a whole. Please tell me if you liked it, hated it or want to offer me constructive criticism etc. etc. Reviews like those help me improve for future stories :)
Speaking of future stories, I've got a small idea for one at the moment but yeah, it's still a small idea so it might be a while before I upload anything.
Finally, shout-outs to Snorkelbird who reviewed a while ago and took a guess at a plot point. That being Arakune's immunity to the infection and his involvement in Litchi's different symptoms. Well done to you for guessing right!
That's about it I think so I'll see you all later in another story.
I hope you enjoyed reading the story because I really enjoyed writing it.
Thanks to everyone who read, reviewed, alerted and favourited the story!
See you all in another story!