Hello there! To my returning subscribers, welcome back and I hope that this fan work will convince you to pick up a copy of White Knight Chronicles. And a note to those of you unfamiliar with the franchise: in WKC2, both games are crammed onto one disc. I would have LOVED to have known that when I bought a used copy of the first game. To newcomers, this may be my first WKC fiction, but I've already written a lot and I hope you look at some more of my work.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own White Knight Chronicles. Please support the official release.
SPOILERS FOR BOTH GAMES! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Tales of the Stardust Knight
An End of One Story
Leonard pushed his way through the wall of Ladies-In-Waiting and maidservants. He heard whispers of "The Princess is smitten with him," and "He's a handsome one" as he ran down the hall. He ignored them. He ran all the way down the lavish hall, ignoring the stabbing pains that filled his entire body. He was still recovering from breaking free of Madoras' control—something that had been made to be nearly impossible to break free of ten millennia ago.
The bond was so strong that Leonard himself—along with his fellow Pactmakers whose Knights had once held shards of Madoras' soul—had acted as a physical anchor for Madoras, allowing the Yshrenian emperor to remain on Earth and plot his next campaign for world domination. So long as they were alive, Madoras would have been free to wait atop his ancient fortress. If it had been Leonard alone that linked Madoras to life, then he would have had Cyrus pierce his heart on the spot, but knowing that his friends also bore the burden… He could never bring himself to ask them to make such a sacrifice.
But Mureas had spoken through Cisna once more.
The Demon King must be struck down thrice, the Athwani queen had said. The maiden unbound by the chains of fate is the Key. Strike once when the wars begin and when the Key is unborn. Strike again when the Demon King returns and the Key shall fight along destined warriors—her closest friends. On the third strike the Key shall end the great wars once and for all.
She must fight the Demon King alone.
No one wanted to agree with it—not even Cisna. Cyrus had proposed that Mureas may have been referring to him, but he hadn't been there when Madoras had stolen Leonard's body—he hadn't been there during the second strike. That (and the "maiden" part) meant that she was the only possible candidate. Their dear friend was the only one that Mureas could possibly have been referring to. Unlike the Pactmakers or Eldore, she had chosen to follow them on their journey of her own free will—no preexisting obligations or destinies involved. She was neither Traveler nor Pactmaker nor reincarnation of a figure from the original Dogma Wars. She was unbound by the chains of fate, but still fought alongside them.
Leonard had been very adamant about trying to avoid sending her in alone at all costs. Even when finally convinced that she would have to go it alone, he suggested rushing the repairs to the Shagna and offering her air support. The magical barriers around Vellgander completely eliminated that option.
So Caesar had called on his resources back in Greede and had the finest craftsmen in the city create her the lightest and strongest armor ever made. Cisna commissioned the Court Mage to enchant this armor. Cyrus had found the fastest horse in Balandor's royal guard to get her to Vellgander. Yulie, Leonard and Kara had pooled their resources to get her some of the best potions available. Miu even showed up with a new staff for her. "Father Yggdra had our artisans make this from one of his branches. It is the Staff of Yggdra and its magical power is unrivaled," she'd said.
And so their dear friend had left. The wait was agonizing. Eventually, Cisna and Miu gave into their advisor's…advice…and stationed patrols around Vellgander as they waited for her to finish the fight with Madoras.
And she had. But not without paying a price.
Leonard came to see a grim-faced Cisna standing outside of their friend's room. Eldore and the other Pactmakers were there as well.
"Is she doing any better?" Leonard asked.
Kara frowned and entered the room. "See for yourself."
The lodgings were incredibly luxurious. One maidservant had said that they were only surpassed by Cisna's own bedchambers. There were large windows that offered a full view of the palace gardens and the full moon outside. The canopy bed was covered in some of the finest sheets in all of Balandor. A nearly lifeless girl lay underneath of them as gifted healers pumped blue energies into her body in a last-ditch effort to bring the young girl back to good health.
"She looks worse than you did when the White Knight…" Caesar cut himself off, realizing that it might have been too soon to start cracking jokes about why the White Knight had weakened Leonard—how the Yshrenian emperor within was trying to seize control of his body.
"How did this happen?" Leonard demanded. "She was drained of most of her mana after the battle—I get that! But we've been pumping her full of the divine magic and every potion around, and her condition hasn't improved at all."
Miu stepped in, her Farian headdress and robes elegantly swaying as she walked. "It is because she lacks more than a source of magic," the Archduchess explained.
"I don't get it," Yulie said.
Eldore stepped forward. "You see, think of life as a flame in an oil lamp; the oil is essentially the same as the life force in this case. When it's gone, the body shuts down."
Caesar groaned. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"During her battle with Madoras, she ran out of mana and started to rely on potions to replenish her supply of magic," Cisna explained. "When she ran out of potions, she tapped into her life force."
Leonard was speechless. Couldn't she have done something else? Fought Madoras hand-to-hand? His friend wasn't just a powerful mage, but she also knew her way around a short sword. She was one of the few Swordmages working for Balandor. Most were—or rather, had been—on Yshrenia's payroll. Of course not, Leonard told himself. Not only was Madoras an incredibly powerful mage, but he also somehow maintained his ability to become the White Knight despite no longer having its ark. Leonard had not seen it personally—he'd been trapped in the darkness of Madoras' soul—but his friends had explained everything; it had been her magic that allowed them to break the White Knight and free Leonard of Madoras' control, for no normal attacks did any damage. Back then, they could offer her their support and even perform spells that could transfer their mana to her. The second time around, she didn't have that luxury.
Leonard and friends stepped closer to the weak figure. Even as she wheezed and barely clung to life, she managed to maintain that nigh-perpetual smile. But her tanned skin was now pale and cold. She could barely manage to keep her dark brown eyes open. It was absolutely heartbreaking.
"If she… If we can't…" Yulie had trouble finding the right words. "Could Yggdra do for her what he did for Kara?"
Miu shook her head. "When a flame is prematurely extinguished, the fuel is still there. It can be relit and continue to burn. Without fuel, the flame will not survive for long. If it survives at all"
"I'll give up some of my life force," Leonard offered. He felt responsible for his friend's condition. If he hadn't insisted on using the White Knight's power then Madoras might not have been able to possess him in the first place, and they wouldn't be in this mess. He had to help somehow.
"I will too!" Caesar interjected.
"As will I," Kara added.
And suddenly, they were all agreeing. Even Cyrus and some of the Palace Guard offered their life forces.
"It's the least we can do for the girl that avenged our king and ended the Dogma Wars once and for all," Cyrus explained.
The room fell silent. The excited chatter about making such a noble sacrifice vanished as the girl that had silently fought alongside the Pactmakers finally spoke up outside of the battlefield.
"It… It doesn't…" Much to everyone's shock and dismay, she attempted to sit up, revealing the thin tunic and leggings she'd worn under her armor. Yulie and Kara attempted to get her to lay back down, but she refused. "It doesn't… Work like that."
"She's right," Eldore said. Everyone turned his attention to him as several maidservants helped to get the brave girl back under the bed sheets. "Once we've opened the pathway to our life forces, it can never be closed again. Our life forces will all come pouring out until nothing is left, even if we stop using it for magical purposes. Giving her your life force will extend her own by a day or two at the most, and you'll all also eventually die."
"So what you're saying is that it's pointless," Yulie realized.
Eldore was clearly not happy about being right.
"It isn't totally over," Miu said. She stepped towards her. "Father Yggdra foresaw this when we received word that the magical barriers around Vellgander had fallen. At that point the battle was already over and it was already too late for her, but fate is going to reward this hero for her sacrifice."
Their friend weakly stared at Miu and managed to smile. "You m…mean…?"
"For choosing to cut your own life short for the sake of others, you will be reborn. You will be given the chance to live a new life."
"She's going to be reincarnated?" Leonard breathed.
Caesar rushed to the girl's side. "Listen here. Even if this life is over, we're going to make sure that you live your next life to the fullest!"
Leonard imagined seeing his friend as a newborn infant. It was a strange thought. How would they even tell which child born in the next few years was their friend's reincarnation?
"I'm afraid that won't work that way," Miu said sadly. "When she is reborn, we will all have passed on. It will be another ten millennia before she walks this earth again."
"But why so many years from now?" Yulie asked. "Why does it have to be that way?"
"Because fate says so," Caesar grumbled.
Once more, the room fell silent.
"History… Can't remember me," she weakly mumbled.
The "Sinca Five" as some had come to call them, along with Eldore, Cisna, and Miu stood around their friend.
"Don't say things like that," Yulie sobbed. "You're going down in history as the girl that gave up everything to save everyone."
The girl shook her head and pulled something out from under the covers. Her hand trembling, she revealed an iron sphere with the insignia that all Knight Arks were engraved with.
"Is that…?" Kara breathed.
"It's a Knight Ark," Cisna realized. "But how? And you don't mean to say that it's working, do you?"
Everyone stared at her in shock. They all knew that the Knights no longer working was a blessing in disguise. Word of the Knights' power had spread far and had been heard by many ears. Now more than just the Yshrenians wanted their power, but since they no longer functioned, they were no more than antiques.
But there was a new Ark right before them—one that was not bound to Madoras, and thus, it was fully functional.
"How did you get that?" Eldore demanded.
She looked towards a Cat Girl standing in the corner.
"Framboise!" Cisna exclaimed. "Do you mean to tell me that you actually managed to create a Knight?"
The young inventor yelped and shook her head. "Well—not completely. I-I-I used materials she'd found in those portals that had appeared before. Half of the Knight was already made!"
A look of dismay took over Cisna's face. Mureas had been aware of Athwani attempts at replicating the Knights, just not of any successful ones.
"If… If she hadn't… Made me the Knight… I wouldn't…"
"Save your strength!" Cyrus ordered the girl as if she were one of his subordinates.
"Cyrus, it's pointless," Eldore told him.
The girl continued, "I would never… Have defeated… M…Mad…Madoras."
Her eyes fell closed, and the girl stopped speaking.
Their friend was gone.