The waves beat on the hull of the boat. Marcus thought it would be most appropriate to come to Ionia in such a way. The last time Noxus had launched ships to Ionia, it was to crush them under their heels. It was time to pay due compensation. The sun shone over the sea brightly, the smell of salt water lingered through the air as they traveled. Staring out over the vast horizon the general remained silent; encompassed in his own thoughts. He vaguely remembered the dream from the night in Noxus. As the ship made it's course he replayed the dream in his head, trying to find a deeper meaning in all of it. Looking behind him he caught sight of his god daughter, wrapped in the loving embrace of her mother. Not far away Talon stood with his head peering out over the ocean, a smile was spread across his face, and Marcus smiled as well. There was a commotion from the hull as Lux stormed onto the deck, her face bright red. LeBlanc followed close behind, her arms outstretched awkwardly trying to get a hold of the small blonde.
"Lux, it was only a suggestion!" LeBlanc's voice was unsteady as she walked onto the deck awkwardly.
"Why would you suggest it, hm? I'm not good enough? Is that why?" Lux's voice resonated a certain anger that no one could have expected from her.
LeBlanc raised an eyebrow, she shook her head completely confused, "Wh...How did you get that from suggesting a piercing?!"
"You want to defile me," Lux turned her nose upwards.
"I said a small one!"
"Defiled!" Lux yelled loudly.
"Wh...buh..." It was strange to see LeBlanc of all people frustrated in such a manner. "Okay, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to...defile you...I was just saying it would look good."
"Uh huh. I'm sure." Lux's voice was sarcastic
Talon looked over and rolled his eyes, "What are you two talking about?"
"She wants me to pierce my tongue." Lux said in an angry tone.
"Is that it?" Talon's voice was indifferent to the situation.
"And my nipples." Lux added swiftly
LeBlanc and Talon snorted simultaneously. The Deceiver yelled, "I did not suggest that!"
"You wanted to."
"No! No I did not!" LeBlanc was visually upset as she attempted to counter the other female.
Talon held a hand up to his mouth, which allowed him to hide the growing grin on his face while the rest of his features were deadpan. He would say something, but he was enjoying this far too much.
"She also said I wasn't pretty enough, and wanted me to pierce my belly button. And also my cl-" Lux was cut off abruptly by LeBlanc screaming.
"Oh now you're just outright lying!"
"Isn't lying ninety percent of what you do?" Talon removed his hand from his mouth revealing the broad grin across his face.
LeBlanc's mouth snapped close. A fire glinted in her eyes for a few moments before she busted out in a fit of laughter, "Okay, you're leading me on."
"Tell me I'm pretty." Lux's eyes sparkled in the sunlight.
"You're pretty." LeBlanc said flatly her face maintaining its bright red color.
"Yeah I'm leading you on," Lux smirked deviously. "It's what you get for trying to change me, darling."
Du Couteau reeled around after hearing the short exchange, and yet there was still no sign of the other 3 people aboard the ship. Walking slowly through the small entrance to the underside of the boat he stepped down the stairs softly. Coming to the closed door he stood silently for a moment. There was a loud gasp from in the room followed by a high pitched cry. Du Couteau gripped the handle tightly shoving the door open. The room appeared empty except for a twisted mess of sheets on the bed. As his footsteps sounded the sheets moved slightly, Fiora's head poked out, turning bright red.
"I...uh... dropped my glasses." Fiora's voice was shaky. In one hand, she held a ruler. In the other hand were the bedsheets. A peek of red hair could be seen from under the covers.
Turning around swiftly Du Couteau put a hand against his forehead and stepped out of the room closing the door behind him.
"So how's Katarina's private tutoring going?"
"Don't ask." Du Couteau sighed heavily before ascending the stairs onto the deck once more.
As the hours passed the others chatted idly, but Du Couteau remained silent. 'What will I say?' the thoughts that raced through his mind formed a torrent of guilt inside the warrior. As the high peaks of the mountains came into view his inward struggle ceased. 'No time left to think.' As the boat inched it's way closer to the stony shore of Ionia Marcus attempted to prepare himself.
As the boat came into port people began to gather on the dock offering the travelers help off the boat and onto the dock. As Du Couteau made his way to the edge of the rail he leaped off landing on the dock deftly. Standing up he looked out at the faces in front of him. It was no surprise that as they looked back a certain hatred could be seen in their eyes. 'They have every right to hate me.' Cloaked in black the last member of the party descended onto the dock, standing to the side of Du Couteau.
"I know what you're thinking, and you're right, they do."
Zelos walked up beside the General. He shrugged his shoulders, "But the thing is, you may not be able to make everything right, hell, if life was truly cruel you'd be able to do nothing to right it but...here you are, trying to do something that should be completely impossible and succeeding at it. So if they hate you, you cannot make them love you, but you can show that you're still a person. You can show that you make mistakes, and you'll live with em."
He reached into his satchel, took out a slender tobacco pipe, placed a pinch of tobacco in it and drew out a match. He snapped the head of it on his hakama and puffed at the pipe, "Or I could be totally wrong, we turn this ship around and you conquer the world. I'd have to kill ya, but you'd prove yourself right at least."
"I've run from this day for far too long. It's time that I stop. If the people here do not accept what I have to offer than so be it. I will know that I tried, and I will die knowing that I gave it my all. Death... it seems is the only thing that people want for me." Du Couteau stepped forward spotting Irelia amongst the crowd.
As he began to walk forward there was a small commotion to his side as a very slender man came rushing towards him, a small dagger clenched in his hand. As the blade made contact it dug deep into Du Couteau's flesh but he did not falter. Raising his hand slowly he grasped the other mans softly removing the blade from his shoulder. The slender man was visibly shaken as he stepped back slowly.
"I do not blame you. I deserve much more than a single dagger embedded into my body. But that's not what I am here for." Du Couteau's voice took on a very gentle tone as he spoke, and as he finished he stepped forward once more.
Irelia came bursting through the crowd towards him. Scanning the man quickly she stood in silence. Seconds passed like days before the silence was finally broken by a beastial growl,
A large, shaggy man stepped forward. A large bear pelt covered his head and went over his wide shoulders. He cricked his neck as he stepped forward, "General Marcus DuCouteau. You were said to be a great fighter. How wonderful a day it is to test your skill."
The man rushed forward and was about to punch Marcus when a gentle, yet firm, voice spoke up, "Udyr."
The beast man stopped. He looked behind him and snorted. A few more feet and he would have closed the distance. A woman wearing a formal black and white kimono stepped out from the crowd. Her gentle voice calmly said, "I wish to hear why he is here. Please, Udyr, let him speak before you act."
He glanced at Marcus, snorted, and walked away from him, "He has one minute to live. If he does not prove himself worthy for life, we will gut him."
Irelia spoke up, "I gave all this time, I gave you this chance, what is it that you have for us, Marcus? What is it that you have that will be able to sway the people of Ionia?"
"Irelia." The woman stopped her from speaking further. "Let me speak in your place, please."
"Please. If he moves, if he acts in a crude manner, if he does not breathe right, then I will have no qualms from the actions you and Udyr may wish to take."
She walked towards Marcus and politely bowed to him, "Greetings High General Marcus Du Couteau, I am Duchess Karma."
Looking at the small woman he smiled politely but did not speak. Raising his hand slowly he signalled for the cloaked man to walk forward. As the man stepped forward Du Couteau's voice rang powerfully through the open air.
"I have come here today in an attempt to make recompense for the sins of my past. I do not expect any of you to outright forgive me for what has been done, but know that the war had it's costs to all of us," Du Couteau slowly removed his jacket revealing the broken body beneath, an audible gasp could be heard from the crowd, "these scars are my reminder of those costs. Everyone had something to lose in those times, and I was no exception to that. I come here today to humbly apologize for the entirety of the events that took place, and to accept the blame for the bloodshed. Hear my words first, and then I will accept whatever punishment is offered up."
Pausing for a moment Du Couteau looked to the cloaked figure who shifted uneasily. "The figure that stands beside me is a familiar face, and the person who has made me see the truth of what I have done. It is for him that I come before you today. For a reunion, and for the sake of trying to mend wounds that have bled for far too long. Remove your hood." Du Couteau once again looked to the cloaked figure.
The figure shook his head, "Actually, I'd prefer if someone else did it...Hm..." He pointed about the crowd, "How about..." He stopped at Irelia, "You."
Irelia ran forward and ripped his hood off. Zelos grinned at her, "Surprise?"
A solid uppercut struck his chin. Zelos backpedaled while Irelia hunched over, breathing heavily.
"Gah! Seriously?! That's a mean right hook!"
Irelia repeated herself, "It's you. It's actually you. You replied. You felt real. You felt pain. This is real. This is real. This is real."
"Uh, Irie? You're sounding a little-"
Irelia wrapped her arms around his waist, "You're here. You're actually here."
"Yeah, I am."
Zelos motioned to Marcus with a jerk of his head, "You can thank him for that."
The crowds eyes once again fixated on Du Couteau who stood motionless, and indifferent expression shone on his face. Stepping forward he placed a hand on Zelos's shoulder. "If not for him, I wouldn't be here right now. If not for him I would be dead right now. I know it's not nearly enough to pay for the crimes that I've committed, but it is all that I can offer, along with my life, if you wish to take it."
"...You...you brought him back..."
"Irelia?" Karma tapped Irelia's back, "Are you..."
Irelia drew back and grabbed Zelos' ear, "You're coming with me."
"Ow! What? Why?!"
"You smell horrible. You haven't shaved in years, and you look like Cho'Gath swallowed you and spat you back up."
"What the hell's a Cho'G-Ow! Ow, ow, ow!"
Irelia dragged him by the ear through the crowd, not paying attention to anyone. She cast a look back at Marcus.
Irelia went back to dragging the still protesting Zelos, who could not help but have a smile on his face the entire time he was being dragged.
Udyr grunted, "Now what?" He circled his finger in the air, "Hurray, that was your first act. What else do you plan on doing? He is but one man. What will be done with the rest of Ionia, hm? What will you do as a man?"
Karma looked over at Udyr and shook her head. He fell quiet.
"What is this the start of, General?" Karma straightened her dress as she spoke, "What else do you plan on doing?"
"There is no way to take back the things that I have done, but there is a future to look forward too. A Noxus rebuilt. If it be your wish then let the beast come forth. You silence him but he speaks the truth. I can make no promises for what will be done, because it is not a job that I can handle as just a single man. I look towards the people such as you Duchess Karma, to plan for a better future, and to ensure that the bloodshed between our people has come to an end."
"Well then..." Karma smiled. She pointed behind her towards the crowd, "Shall we start?"
Du Couteau stepped forwards scanning the crowd in front of him. 'This is only the beginning.' He pushed the thought from his mind as he made his way closer.
Author's Notes: This is the final chapter to The Rose of Deceit. I hope that everyone has enjoyed the story as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I'd like all of you to remember that along the way I've had amazing help from both fans and other writers alike, especially Grand Viper from the official League of Legends North American forums. Without him this story would have never turned out as good as I think that it has, and I'd like to personally thank him for all of his help. If you haven't checked his work out yet I again urge you guys too, because he's got a lot of great writing. Sadly the story must come to a close, but my next story will be launching shortly. I hope to see all of you there and hope that you can continue to help me become a better writer. You've all been wonderfully supportive over the previous months and I can never thank you all enough for your reviews and criticism.