That's right, I'm baaaaack!
Thanks to a couple of brief but touching PMs written this year, and the final season out, I've been inspired to write this again. Besides, you must always finish what you start.
This means you too Markal! :/
Also, I've decided to use the titles of the Flame Haze and Crimson Lords/Denizens that were either on the English subbed version or on Wikipedia, so as to avoid confusion. i.e. Wilhelmina will be called Manipulator of Objects, so as to prevent confusion. Trust me, this time, there will be too many characters to count, so I want to lessen the chance of getting names and titles mixed up as much as possible.
And so, without further ado, the final installment of the Shakugan no Shana Eternity saga.
Prologue: Forever Togetherness
Yuji gulped, his palm was sweaty, his body tensed, and his heart was pounding like a drum. He did his best not to show it, putting on his bravest face, but to the one next to him, it was quite obvious.
"Don't worry Yuji, it'll be just fine," whispered Ike. Since the past three years, he had been a lot more involved with the Eternal Alliance and their campaign. "Even if you mess up, she'll be able to cover for you."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Yuji replied sarcastically.
The Mystes, if he could still be called that, being as powerful as he was, had never been so nervous in his entire life. He had encountered and defeated the most dangerous beings of two worlds, at least two armies, a monster with powers like his, two Crimson Gods, and indestructible entity, but none of those times could be compared to today.
The great double-doors opened, and light poured into the already well-lit hall. As Yuji looked in its direction, his heart beat even faster.
Walking in with graceful strides was his beloved Shana in white. Her silky white gown, decorated with gold thread, flowed like water and spilled onto the carpeted floor. Her long, beautiful black hair was crowned with white flowers, with a short veil behind. In her hands, gloved with the same white cloth almost up to her shoulders, was a bouquet of red, blue and white flowers. But among all these, what caught Yuji's eyes the most was her smile. She was so very calm – no, serene, and happier than he had ever seen her.
Beside her was Wilhelmina, wearing Alastor around her neck. In their own way, they were her parents for years, and today they would finally be giving the girl they raised to a man she loved, a man who had proven time and time again that he was worthy.
They were followed by Hecate, Shana's Maid of Honor. Even though Yuji had chosen Shana over her a while back, she still loved and followed him, yet she also loved Shana. She continued to do her best for them and the Alliance, and was more powerful than ever, and at the same time, had become more and more human. She also became more expressive, like Fumina Konoe had been, but without the innocence she had. For this day, she wore a more ceremonial and less fancy version of her priestess garb, minus the hat.
As the women walked up the aisle, the Flame Haze, humans and even Denizens on either side watched the bride with awe. Time and time again, the Flaming-Haired Blazing-Eyed Hunter had shown herself as a fierce and powerful Flame Haze, surpassing even her predecessor, that meeting her in battle was a great honor. Even today, she was still a great Flame Haze, but she was also Shana, a beautiful young lady worth admiring.
She looked at Yuji, who was also well dressed for the occasion, and smiled sweetly at him. The young man's heart still thumped, but he finally calmed down. Today he would be wed to the young woman he had loved for years, the one he wanted to walk alongside forever. Nothing could go wrong today.
As Wilhelmina parted with Shana, and Hecate took her place beside the bride and held the bouquet for her. Shana stood at the altar, facing Yuji straight in the eye. She was no longer shy about her love for the young man, as she had once been when she was a rash, confused girl. Yuji looked back at her and returned her smile.
Sophie Sawallisch, the Braider of Trembling Might, as well as a Great War veteran, headed the wedding ceremony. She was not a part of the Alliance, but she was a very influential person among the Flame Haze, respected by all, even by Crimson Denizens.
The entire time she performed the ceremony, dressed in her usual nun-like garb, Yuji and Shana gazed into each others' eyes. Finally, she reached the vows for the young couple. It was also the time to exchange rings, and Ike respectfully passed the rings to the very soon-to-be wedded couple.
"Yuji Sakai, Mystes of the Reiji Maigo, do you take this woman, Shana the Flaming-Haired Blazing-Eyed Hunter, to be your lawfully wedded wife? To love, cherish, support and protect her so long as you live."
"I do," Yuji answered with a voice of peacefulness. He slipped the golden band onto Shana's small finger.
"Shana the Flaming-Haired Blazing-Eyed Hunter, do you take Yuji Sakai as your lawfully wedded husband? To love, cherish, support and protect so long as you live/"
"I do," Shana said with the most beautiful and happiest of smiles. Likewise, she fitted the other golden ring onto Yuji's finger.
"With the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife," Sophie finally said. While her expression bore seriousness for the entirety of the ceremony, she smiled like a mother would for their child at this point. "You may kiss the bride."
While their faces came together, Yuji bent lower slightly as Shana stood on her toes. The young man softly put a hand on his bride's cheek as they savored in the soft, sweet touch of each other's lips. As the kiss deepened, the same hand softly pushed aside Shana's hair and veil as it moved to the back of her head. Likewise, Shana had an arm wrapped around the neck of her groom as they kissed, sharing in each other's warmth. All the while, the fingers of their other hand intertwined with each other.
As they broke the kiss, they smiled and looked at each other in a loving gaze. Although they had kissed many times, it still made their hearts thump rapidly, like a stampede of horses, and made either of them flush a faint pink at the cheeks.
Without hesitation, Yuji picked up his new wife in his arms, as if she were a princess. And indeed, she was his princess. Shana returned the gesture and happily wrapped her arms around Yuji's neck and nuzzled him.
Not forgetting the tradition of the natives of this world, Hecate passed the bouquet back to Shana, who, still wearing the same bright smile, tossed the bouquet to where dozens of maidens, human, Crimson Denizen and Flame Haze alike, gathered together in the hopes of catching it. The flowers landed in the arms of the one known as Rebecca Reed, a Flame Haze with dark wild hair and wore a fur jacket over a white polo.
Rebecca, wide eyed and blushing and never actually expected to catch it, expressed her confusion in a single exaggerated word.
Shana, Yuji, Hecate and a few others laughed. Wilhelmina in particular showed one of her rare giggles.
After Shana and Yuji cut the cake with hands together – with a regular knife of course – various guests gathered together as they took part in a massive feast in the same hall – a hall so massive it could contain a large army or two. Although they had been at war for centuries, today the barriers between Flame Haze, Crimson Denizens and humans were lifted. Even those who were not a part of the Alliance, yet were invited, had little trouble, to their own surprise, actually holding conversation with old enemies.
Among them, Wilhelmina approached Rebecca. "Indeed, I had not known you had that kind of desire," she teased her old friend.
"Sh-shut up!" Rebecca said, flustered. She crossed her arms and spoke with pride. "Who are you to judge me? Even if I wanted to, a girl can dream can't she?"
"Shy," said Tiamat in the guise of a maid headband rested atop Wilhelmina's head. She continued to retain her usual soft monotone.
"She just wants something to get interested in," said Rebecca's contractor, Balar, the Widened Eye of Pulverization, who took the form of a gold chain around her wrist. "With the war finally over, she has been bored out of her wits."
Rebecca groaned. She didn't like it, but he was right. Wilhelmina giggled again, which annoyed Rebecca even further.
Meanwhile, seated at a round table, Keisaku snatched a goblet of alcohol away from Margery Daw, who was dressed in a dark purple dress for the occasion and had her blonde hair tied in a long, golden ponytail.
"Margery, I know it's high horse champagne, but you know you're not supposed to drink," he said, gesturing toward the round bulge on her belly, which happened to not have formed from her drinking habits.
"At least you've managed to fight back the urge for so long, my longing prego, Margery Daaaaaw!" said the Claws and Fangs of Violation, Marcosias.
Margery promptly pounded the book with her fist. On her ring finger was her own gold ring, matching one that Keisaku wore as well. "Shut up, stupid Marco," she said.
Across the table sat a young human lady with short hair and glasses. "No matter what I do, I still can't get used to that," said Fujita. She frowned as a lion walking on two legs wearing medieval clothing walked across her field of vision.
"It's been a week since Ike revealed all this to you, hasn't it?" said a young looking girl in a lavender dress.
"Yeah, Leanan-sidhe-san," replied Fujita. "He said since I'll be working as his secretary, I might as well know what our company is being used as a front for."
"How are you two doing by the way?" asked the squint-eyed Eita.
"I don't really like to discuss it, but we're still on-and-off," answered Fujita. "Right now though, I'm just his secretary. He's been too busy the past month, since his father died."
"It must be a sad thing, losing someone close to him like that," said Khamsin, who sat beside Leanan-sidhe. "However, I was impressed with how he took it. Even though he already had a good position in his father's company, and has now secured his inheritance to own it, it still would have been a painful thing."
"Well, it's Ike, and he's always been determined to fill in what we lost, those three years ago," said Ogata with a sad smile.
Silence filled the table for a while, then Eita spoke.
"If she could see how things have changed though, I'm sure she'd be happy," he said.
To the side, Kantaro and Chigusa Sakai sat with Johan and Pheles, the Engaged Link. They watched Yuji and Shana as the newly-weds greeted and thanked guests of various shapes and sizes.
"One of the best things a parent can ever witness," said Chigusa, "is see her little boy grow up and get married."
"He's not a little boy anymore though," said Kantaro. "He's been a man for quite some time, before we even noticed. I'm proud of him."
"They make me feel old," said Johan. Pheles playfully pushed him lightly.
"I wonder about them though," she said as she turned her eyes to the four year old girl Yumiko Sakai and her three year old son with blonde hair, Reiji. "What kind of world will they experience as they grow up?"
"One much better than the one you knew I'm sure," Kantaro said as he took a sip of his drink.
"You think they'll get along together?" said Chigusa. "I really hope they become the best of friends."
"I'm sure they would," said Pheles.
"We have a lot to look forward to," said Johan hopefully.
The sound of clinking between two glasses chimed at a corner as the Thousand Changes Sydonay and Hayato Ike exchanged a small toast. Around the groom's best man's neck hung the crimson vessel of Alastor. The Flame of Heaven had decided to roam and partake of the celebration in his own way.
"Whether the True Trinity is aware of it or not, this event will be a huge booster to the morale of our group," said Ike.
"I agree," Sydonay replied, needing no explanation. "Same applies to those on the outside who support us."
"However, as I recall," said Alastor, moving on to another topic, "we had invited more than these guests."
"Decarabia didn't want to come," said Sydonay. "He's still hunting that Flame Haze whose Crimson Lord stole his name."
"That one working for Outlaw?" said Ike. "I'm actually surprised you invited one of our enemies. He was a strong follower of the Snake of the Festival after all."
"Just as the Braider of Trembling Might is an influential figure among the Flame Haze, the same could be said for Decarabia. If we could have him here, it could have helped get him on our side," Sydonay explained. "I never expected him to come anyway, he never did like parties."
"Well, thankfully most of our conflicts are more political than violent now," Ike said as he leaned back on his chair, "even if you guys have to be a little rough sometimes."
"It has been a long three years since that last major battle," said Alastor. "During that time, the Alliance has had a lot of work to do, bringing the world to order. We've had many meetings with various influential Crimson Lords and Flame Hazes, with the results ranging from ideal to nearly disastrous. Many of both sides to this day are still against the prospect of co-existing with the other, but we cannot force them."
"It took a long time, but at least the Alliance has finally managed to have them agree to stop seriously fighting each other, and convinced Denizens to stop consuming humans," said Ike. He turned toward Shana and his best friend. "They and Hecate were at the very middle of all the work too, so they never really had any time for rest, until today."
Sydonay glanced at Keisaku and the pregnant Margery and grinned. "Although that didn't stop some people."
"I for one am glad that with less work to do, Shana and Yuji can finally commit to each other in ceremony," said Alastor. "And let us just hope that someday, we may reap the fruits of all our labor."
When Yuji and Shana had finally met with all of the hundreds of Flame Haze, Crimson Denizens and humans present, they sat with Hecate, who happened to join Sophie Sawallisch and Wilhelmina at the same table.
"You've really grown my dear child," said the Braider of Trembling Might. Shana nodded thanks.
"So, what have you three been talking about?" Yuji asked.
"Indeed, not too much," replied Wilhelmina. "Just reminiscing a few things, like raising Shana, or sharing personal perspectives of old battles." At this, she glanced at Hecate.
"But truth be told," Sophie said, "when I heard about it three years ago, I was very surprised that you and the Supreme—forgive me—Hecate had joined forces. But I trust you, Shana, and believed it might have been for the best."
"But then you were about to announce that you were going to support us," said Hecate.
"The Flame Haze probably would not have been very pleased about it at the time, but they would have listened to you at the very least," said Yuji.
Sophie nodded. "But then that man suddenly captured me," she said. "That in itself is astonishing."
"I'm glad you weren't too badly hurt from that, or worse," said Shana.
Sophie smiled. "Only my pride was hurt child. But because I was unable to hinder him and the massing of the Flame Haze…"
"We lost Kazumi," said Hecate sadly. She bowed her head. The young human girl had been her first real friend in Misaki City, and was one dear to her heart.
Shana put a hand on Hecate's and smiled. "She never would have regretted it," she said. Like Hecate, Kazumi was close to her as well. Beside her, Yuji smiled as well.
"Thanks for performing the ceremony by the way," he said to the Braider of Trembling Might.
"It's the least I could do after rescuing me from that man's prison," said Sophie, "among other things."
"I know I've already told you this," she continued, "but I took in Shana soon after she had first become a Flame Haze, and taught her how one was to become a woman. She didn't get it right away of course, it took her a number of years, and she's still learning. Today, however, I couldn't be more proud of her. She has grown and matured and become her own woman, with many friends, a family, a sister," she glanced at Hecate as well, "and a man she loves. I am more than delighted to see you two married."
"Indeed, when do you two plan on having children?" asked Wilhelmina suddenly.
A year or two ago, Shana would have flushed and yelled her famous triple "Shut up!" line, but today…
"It'll just be the two of us for a few months, then soon after we'll do our best to have our first child," Shana answered. Her face was still red, but she answered calmly, without any sign of embarrassment.
Hecate smiled. She, of course, was to be the godmother for their first child. "Personally, I hope you have a daughter first," she said. "Although, regardless of gender, she or he will probably end u with some blessing that is also a curse."
Shana laughed. "I know what you mean," she said. It certainly was something she had to put up with Yuji for at least two years. Sophie and Wilhelmina laughed along, as did Hecate. The only one confused as to what was going on was Yuji, who could only smile.
"I look forward to it," Wilhelmina said. Sophie nodded, implying she felt the same way.
"Agreed," said Tiamat from atop Wilhelmina's head.
As the banquet came to an end, Shana and Yuji waved to the guests from under the large open doorway of the great hall with great bright smiles and hands held together, fingers intertwined. A pair of red and ivory wings grew from their backs as they took off into the sky, still waving back to their friends, family, supporters, former enemies, and the like.
As they soared out and above the walls of Sereiden, the couple temporarily parted and sped along the blue sky, leaving a blazing trail of shining ivory and burning crimson in their wake. They rejoined and sped off into the distance after writing two simple words in the heavens:
As the guests watched from outside the hall, Keisaku shook his head.
Ike, still bearing Alastor's vessel, glanced at him and grinned. Next to him Hecate giggled. Turning her eyes back to direction of the two closest to her, she smiled warmly.
Author's Note: Which of you actually expected them to cut the cake with the Nietono Shana? XD
Hope you liked it. It's been quite a while since I last touched this.
As always, feedback is much appreciated.