Nothing to say here, just onwards with the chapter.


Meeting Of The Mines

Dateline, September 26th, 1204.

We were standing outside the HQ building and ready for the second day of our field study.

Fie yawned. "I'm tired..."

"So am I, but I also feel refreshed." I said. "Might be because of the mountains."

"I'll say. Compared to the capital, the air quality is pristine." Machias added.

Rean nodded. "Well, the capital does have a few hundred thousand more people living there."

"But still, you must've been riding on a wave of courage when you were painting the town last night." Crow said. "I gotta give you credit for that, Alex."

I laughed nervously. "Well, it's not something I should be praised for, considering how easy it is to get the wrong idea."

Rean and I agreed to tell the rest of the group what we talked about in secret and what I had heard from Claire. Alisa was relieved that Rean didn't go making me believe they talked about something, but Fie was glaring at me which I should've seen coming.

"Umm Fie, you do know that I was telling the truth, right?" I asked.

"I do, I won't tell Emma about this." She replied, a little sternly. "Just don't do it again."

"I know, I know...but I didn't want Rean to land himself in another awkward moment. I was looking out for him, like any other good friend would."

"Well, I can't deny that it was a kind thing you did." Machias said. "But even if we assume Captain Claire is trustworthy, I'm not sure how wise it was for you to go out on your own."

"But I had to, cause I also wanted some answers that had been bugging me for a while. I also give her credit for not being in her uniform despite the growing tensions among security."

"I'm guessing she's more than strong enough to handle herself." Fie said. "At least you didn't handle her."

"Alright Fie, that's enough teasing." Rean added.

"I wish I could've seen her all dolled up though. Bet she was a real knockout." Crow sighed. "C'mon. That would put a spring in any man's step. I don't blame you for sneaking out alone."

"Are you trying to piss me off?!" I exclaimed with a clenched fist.

Crow blinked. "Woah, take a chill pill."

"Yeah, you guys should cut it out." Alisa said. "I'm grateful for what Alex did, so let's leave it at that."

"Fine..."

Rean shook his head. "Still, thanks to the information Alex got from her, we have a pretty good idea of what's going on here in Roer. And now that we know, we should be able to do something about it. What do you think, Alisa?"

She nodded. "Yeah, I'm in."

"So in short, the Railway Military Police are investigating the 1st Factory which did something that caught thier attention and the Provincial Army is trying to prevent that from happening." Machias said. "Also, let's not forget that the 1st Factory is run by none other than the Noble Faction."

"Yeah, that's pretty much the gist of it." I replied.

"I know that the divisional directors have been operating without much in the way of executive oversight for years now, but mother always allowed it." Alisa said. "She thought that encouraging competition among the divisions would yield more innovations. I never thought that it would lead to something like this."

At least she's taking this well, I thought she would freak out, but I guess not.

"Seems like the lesser of two evils." Fie said.

"By the way, hearing about the 1st factory made me curious. Do the other divisions have thier own political allegiances?" Crow asked.

"Well, to give you a basic idea. Divisions are made of many people and they all have their own opinions. But the positions of each division's directors are clear as day, though." Alisa explained. "The 1st and 2nd Factories in particular have had a pretty fierce rivalry going on between them for years. But even still, I wouldn't have expected the 1st Factory to do something flagrant enough to prompt a military inspection."

"Neither would I." Rean nodded.

"All right! We're gonna do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of this. And when we tie this up all nice and neat for her, even my mother will have to admit she's grateful to us!"

"Sounds like a plan." Fie agreed.

"Oh yeah, let's kick today's tasks to the curb!" I posed.

Rean laughed. "Yeah, let's take a look at the field study task Sharon gave us."

He opened the envelope to see today's request.

"A monster on the Nortia Highway, that should be nearby." I said.

"Look alive, everyone. It's time to get to work." Rean added. "Nortia Highway should be on the west side of Roer."

We went down the escalator and took a right turn, passing by a small diner and through the tunnel to the exit. In front of us was a highway road. With it being a clear day, this would be no problem. We traveled along the roadway and took a turn onto the grassy path.

"The monster we're looking for should be around here." Rean said.

"Yeah. We'd better be careful." Machias added.

"Then what are we waiting for?" Crow asked. "Let's get to monster hunting."

We dealt with few monsters along the way, flying bugs being the most tedious to deal with. It was a slight maze to go through, but we made it to the large area at the top to find a multi-headed monster and there were three of them.

"There it is." Machias pointed.

"A hydra?!" I exclaimed. "Have we wondered onto Mount Olympus?"

"Definitely not the kind of beast you'd tangle with by choice." Alisa said.

"I don't think it's anything we can't handle." Rean added.

"But let's double check our equipment. Just to be safe." Fie advised.

Crow nodded. "Sounds good. Ready when you are."

We prepared our equipment and quartz before entering the battle. We formed the combat links and took on each one in pairs. Machias and Fie used their range and close attack combo quite well before eliminating one. Rean and Alisa used the assists to their advantage and overwhelmed the second hydra. Me and Crow had the third one to deal with, however, I had a blank mind moment and lost my footing. That was a big mistake, cause the hydra knocked me back with its heads, Crow saw an opening and eliminated the third one, ending the battle.

"All right. That takes care of that." Crow said as we put our weapons away.

Machias looked at me. "But still...that was..."

"Yeah, that could've ended a little better." Rean added. "Are you okay, Alex?"

"Hah..." I sighed. "...I don't know what happened there, but I think I'm losing my edge."

"Maybe you're overthinking everything too much?" Alisa asked.

"That might be it...I just hope I'm not starting to stress out. Cause that's the last thing we need right now."

"Well yeah, but we have bags of time before sundown. You can rest if you want to." Machias said.

I shook my head. "No, I just need to get my head straight and get back in the game."

"Well if you say so." Crow said.

Fie glanced around the area and lightly sniffed. "Yep, I thought so."

"What is it, Fie?" Rean asked.

"Looks like Rufus did land his airship here."

"How can you tell?"

"They leave fairly distinctive indentations in the ground. Looks like he's flying one of the latest Reinford models too."

Alisa blinked. "You can tell that without even seeing the ship itself?"

"Well, she used to be part of jaeger. So it wouldn't be surprising to know that she has a stronger sense of smell than we do." I answered. "Anyways, we should get back to rest a little."

"Yeah. It's not over till we report to the client." Rean agreed.

"Sweet, the best part of any mission is the reward at the end." Crow said.

I frowned. "It's not gonna be that kind of award."

We left the area and walked back to the city, when we suddenly heard a siren go off.

"What..." Rean was the first to hear it.

"Uh oh...was this the bad feeling I was having?" I asked myself.

We then saw a building in the distance that was covered in smoke.

"I see smoke!" Fie exclaimed.

"Is it coming from the factory?!" Alisa asked.

"Was there an explosion?" Machias added.

"Damn, we better see what's going on." Crow said.

We rushed over to the building and saw three men that were outside.

"What the heck happened here?" I asked.

"We were attacked...by monsters!" A worker answered.

"Monsters?" Alisa asked.

"In the middle of a city?" Crow added.

"These weren't your everyday beasties." A solider answered. "They were more...mechanical."

"You thinking what I'm thinking?" Fie asked.

Machias nodded. "Yeah. Sounds like the archaisms we fought at Garrelia Fortress."

"We need to go in." Rean said

I blinked. "You serious, bro?"

"The people in there need help, and right now, it looks like we're the only one who can give it to them. How many minutes until the fire claims someone we could've saved? I'm not about to just stand by and do nothing!"

"You make a valid point, but the RMP aren't here. You heard what Claire told me, you sure you want us to go against her word?"

"Every second counts here." Fie said at me. "The sooner we go in, the better chance we have of saving those inside."

"You can help us out by evacuating everyone still in this area." Machias added.

"Sounds like we're just gonna have to pin our hopes on you guys." The worker replied.

"I beg you. Save the others inside!" The guy in the lab coat added.

We nodded and rushed inside the building towards a big area where there three more workers and two soldiers running away from a giant walking mechanical monster. Definitely not what we had seen before.

"Metal gear...it can't be!" I muttered in a different voice.

"Leave this to us!" Machias exclaimed as that got the mechanical monster's attention to us.

"You guys make sure all the workers are evacuated!" Alisa added.

The workers replied and they ran away to help with the evacuation.

"Right, time for me to redeem myself and reduce this REX wannabe to scrap!" I exclaimed.

The battle began and we dealt some damage to it, but it fought back with a few strong attacks. This wasn't going to be easy, we kept on fighting back and it was working, but then it unleashed a powerful attack that knocked us back quite a bit away from it.

"Come on...why are not beating this thing down?" I asked, panting. "Grrrr!"

"Umm, is it me or is Alex starting to get a little mad?" Crow asked.

"Hah...that's it! No more holding back!"

I pulled off casting an aura around me whilst not transforming into my demon state.

"COME AT ME!" I yelled as I charged at it with a new craft I had learnt. "Get a load of this!" I landed countless punches at the mechanical monster before leaping upwards, ready to strike at it. "Prepare for the fist heard around the world...GLORIOUS GAUNTLET!"

I landed a fist and landed on the other side and the mechanical monster was engulfed in a massive explosion and when the explosion vanished, the monster had broken into several pieces before vanishing away. This battle was over and the aura around me faded away.

"Hah...hah...hah..." I panted heavily as I sat on my knees.

"Wow...what was that?" One of the workers asked.

"That was extraordinary!" A man in a lab coat added.

I however, didn't want to hear this. I ignored everyone's concerns and exited the building. When I was outside, I saw Claire and her guards rush on by. I looked at her with sadness and exhaustion. She saw me before they rushed in. I chose to go down to the ground floor of the town and stand with my back to the wall.

The time alone I needed lasted for several minutes until Rean and the others found me near the exit to Nortia Highway.

"Umm, Alex...are you alright?" Machias asked.

"Yeah, you just got all mad and smash that metallic monster like paper." Crow added.

I sighed with slight anger and sadness, not a good combo. "I was trying to make up...for all the times I've held back. You were right, folks...I am getting stressed by all this and when we we having such a problem against that archaism, I was getting mad and frustrated. I just couldn't take it anymore...and...shit!"

"Alex...how much of a burden are you carrying?" Rean asked.

"I'm sorry, I still cannot tell anyone about it. But all I will say is that I am bearing a much bigger burden than you are. So leave it at that, yeah?"

Rean sighed.

"I hate to be this depressed, but could you folks just leave me be for a while?"

"You're not gonna run off, are you?" Crow asked.

I glared at him. "Why would I think of doing such a thing?!" I sniffed. "I just wanna get my head straight in private. So please, leave me be!"

"Okay, okay...we'll give you some alone time." Rean nodded.

"Alex...what's happening to you?" Alisa asked.

"You heard him, let's go elsewhere." Fie said.

The group walked away, although Fie looked back at me with a worried expression.


It was the start of the afternoon and things around Roer had calmed down, I had cheered up somewhat, but I still had a hard time of keeping it together. I was relieved that I didn't transform when I got angry, maybe it's because my demon form was still in sleep mode after unleashing all of it back at Legram castle.

I was at the back of the diner building when I saw Claire notice me.

"Oh, Alex...do you need someone to speak with?" She asked.

"More or less...but aren't you busy?" I responded.

"Nope, I have some spare time. I had a word with the rest of the group, I had to scold them. That building you were in contains confidential information and only those with authorized access can enter the premises."

"That's what I warned Rean about, but he wasn't having it. Saying that saving lives is more important than following protocol. He probably did not want us to start acting the same way the provincial army acts."

"Well, he pretty much said the same thing. Lives were saved though so I'm willing to overlook it this time. And speaking of the provincial army, they haven't turned up at all and that's incredibly suspicious."

"I'm not surprised...I'm starting to see what you meant last night." I looked away and sniffed. "Dammit...I didn't want you to see me like this."

"Is this about when I saw you outside the factory?"

"Yeah, I was so angry that we were struggling against that metal monster than I flipped out and destroyed it without taking anyone's safety and concerns into consideration. After that, I just didn't wanna my friends talk to me, so I ended up getting mad at them in some way."

Claire stood close to me. "Do you need a shoulder to cry on?"

I sniffed. "Hic...okay..."

Claire put her arms around me and I rested my head on her shoulder. It felt polite to hug her back, so I did.

"Don't feel guilty for what happened." She said softly. "It's natural for cracks to appear when it comes to friendships and teamwork. But when they do, there are many ways to smooth them over. Time alone is the most effective and it helps you think things through when you're alone. Believe me, I have gotten to know you and the rest of Class VII and I think that you're amazing at what you do, even if you act a little reckless, but that doesn't mean you should stop feeling good about your accomplishments. So don't ever think that way, because you deserve to represent Class VII with pride and joy."

"Claire...I...I don't know what to say...but thank you...I needed to hear that."

"It's alright...you'll never be alone." She then let go of me. "They're your friends, you should make it up to them when the chance arrives."

"Yeah...I will." I nodded wiping my eyes. "I owe them an apology for the way I acted."

"If that's what you wish to do...now then, I should-"

"Captain Claire!" A solider intervened as two RMP soldiers turned up. "We've got trouble at the mine!"

"It's been hit by the terrorists!" The second one added.

"Wait, what?!" I blinked.

"We also report that the provincial army are there, but they're refusing to let anyone in or out!"

Claire gasped. "I feared as much...get our men to withdraw from the closed factory. We're heading to the Sachsen Iron Mine! Send a message to HQ! I need twelve companies from the surrounding area near the factory inside of two hours!"

"Yes, ma'am!" They saluted before rushing away.

"Sorry Alex, but I have to go. Keep your chin up and fight on with determination."

"Alright, I will." I nodded.

Claire then rushed off whilst I went around to look for my friends. I found them near the escalators and they were glad to see me back to normal. I then told them what I just heard from Claire.

"I see, looks like we're gonna need more details on what's going on here." Rean said.

"Yeah, I guess the suspicion about the Noble Faction and the ILF working together is more or less confirmed by now." I replied. "If only there was a way for us to get into the mine through a secret exit. That would work in our favor for sure."

"Sounds like you're planning to start the party without me." A voice intervened.

We turned to see Angelica and George turn up on a motorcycle.

"Angelica!" Alisa was surprised.

"You came too, George?" Rean asked.

"Yo! Figured you''d show up eventually." Crow said.

"Well, we had to test the side car obviously." Angelica replied.

"This bike is just full of surprises. We made the trip to Roer in seven hours." George added. "So speed-wise, we're just looking great. Comfort, though...we're gonna have to tweak a few things."

"I swear, you two never change." Crow sighed.

"So what brings you to Roer?" I asked. "Could it be to do with something that we're planning to look into?"

"Does this have something to do with those family affairs you told me you were worried about?" Rean added.

"Yeah, it does." Angelica answered. "I had some nagging suspicions about it. Unfortunately, my hunch turned out to be right on the money."

Something clicked in Alisa's head. "Hold on! Isn't the direction of the 1st Factory-"

"My dear uncle Heidel Rogner, yeah. Seems like it might do us both some good to swap info. How about it?"

"Let's find a better place to talk." George advised

We went to the diner near the city exit and we agreed to swap all the information we had gotten. Now we a better understanding of the situation. Selling iron on the black market was the big thing that caught my attention. Now we wondered how we were gonna get in the mine so I chose to ask about that.

"Since it's obvious that we're all gonna do something about it." I said. "How will we be able to get in without using the front door?"

"Leave finding our way in to me." Alisa answered. "If anyone's good at cutting red tape, it's my mother. Maybe she could help us out."

"She could...but would she?" Machias asked.

"Yeah, I find that a bit of wishful thinking." I added. "She doesn't pay much attention to us after all."

"Well, it wouldn't hurt to try at least." Rean said. "We just need to convince her as best we can."

"All right, I'll leave securing an alternate route to you, then." Angelica replied. "For now, I'm going to see if I can find out anything else about my family's or the provincial army's involvement here. George, give Towa a call and see if you can find out what the Imperial government is doing about all of this."

George nodded. "Got'cha. I'll see if I can turn up any machinery that might be useful too."

"Haha. This is starting to feel like last year's field studies all over again." Crow said.

We left the diner whilst George and Angelica rode off with the bike and we traveled to the HQ building, taking the elevator to the 23rd floor and entered the office to see Alisa's mother at her desk. We walked in with Sharon accompanying us.

"Mother, we need to see you." Alisa said.

"Please, excuse us." Rean added.

She looked at us. "I apologize for canceling our dinner plans last night. But it's looking unlikely I'll be able to join you tonight either."

"It's fine, we already know the reasons why." I replied.

"It's hardly surprising, given the current circumstances." Machias added.

We then explained to her what we had heard, although she stopped us in our tracks when she had a question that struck us closer to home instantly. Action with a purpose...and what is our purpose?

"I'll give you several additional tasks. I suggest you work on those for the remainder for the day." She said. "And considering the situation here, I think it'd be best if you leave Roer tomorrow morning."

"Denied." I responded as everyone looked at me. "Why not give us one task...to stop the terrorists."

"Oh and how would that fit into your studies?"

"A lot more than you seem to be giving us credit for." I cleared my throat because what I to say was going to be a long one. "I cannot pretend to know everything about your work life and your family life. In fact, you have the right to keep that private and I'm willing to respect that. I'm also willing to understand that you have the role of working for this company at full pelt, with a firm grip and a strong conviction. But here's where we differ. I grew up with a life full of care and growth before it was taken away from me, I believe the same is true for you until something personal happened along the way. I'm not going to ask you why or how it happened, because I respect your daughter and Alisa has become a wonderful friend that I'm happy to know."

Alisa smiled at me. "Alex..."

"Whatever happened, that event has to be entirely responsible for the change in your behavior. It's one thing to face the world and move on, but it's a different matter when you choose to shut away the emotions that you grew up with who knows how long. That's why it saddens me when I see Alisa getting all worked up, because you won't give her the same amount of attention, love and support. Sure, I understand that you want to leave those to Sharon because of your work life, but it's still no excuse to not share those feelings with your daughter personally. That's just the way I see it and I'm not asking you to change who you are."

There was a moment of silence, my friends and Sharon looked at me with opened eyes.

"He's right, mother. After hearing everything Alex just said, I've decided on something important." Alisa said as she cleared her throat. "I'm not going to keep making the same mistakes anymore. All my life, I've turned a blind eye to what was going on right in front of me. I did it when you drove Grandfather out and took his position as chairman and I did it when father died and you let work become your life. All along, you've been working to build the company bigger and bigger and all along, I just looked the other way. But in our field studies here at Thors, I've seen the imbalances and injustices of the world crop up over and over again. But even with that, I...all of us, really...have to face that head-on. And that's exactly what we've been doing. You asked what our purpose is. After six months at the academy, that's my answer."

"Well said..." Rean said.

"Agreed." Fie nodded.

"That's why this time, I don't plan on backing down. You need to hear the truth, and I need to be the one to tell you." Alisa continued. "As your daughter, as your family and above all, as someone who's watched the Reinford Company grow ever since I was a little girl. Mother, you're running this company the wrong way!"

Irina looked at her. "Can I assume you, in your infinite wisdom, are planning to tell me the correct way to run my company?"

"Naturally. But I still need more experience before I can do that. I promise you though, that by the time I graduate from the academy, I'll show you how this company should be run. As someone who just might succeed you as the chairman someday. I should be able to do that at least that much."

"Very well put, I'd say." I nodded. "So Mrs. Reinford, my point is that no matter how much time goes by, it's never too late to make up for time that was lost. If you want to prove that you can cooperate with anyone to the best of your ability, if you want to prove that you can still be the wonderful and caring mother who loves her daughter since the day she was born, allow us to step in and save the iron mines before an economic disaster falls across the country of Erebonia."

She hummed quietly and stood up from her desk before walking towards Alisa. She took her hand and handed her something. "Here, take this."

"A card key?" Alisa asked.

"Correct. It opens the door to a passage that connects Roer City to the iron mine."

"There's really a secret passage?" Rean asked.

"The former chairman built it for use in case of an emergency. You'll find the entrance in the underground part of a maintenance room on the upper level of the city."

'Former chairman...is she talking about Gwyn, Alisa's grandfather?' I thought. "That's all the convincing we need. Thank you for your cooperation, Mrs. Reinford."

Alisa gave me the keycard and she hugged her mother, Irina laughed a little and sighed before putting an arm around her and stroking her hair with her other hand.

"Oh my, what a delightful scene between a mother and a daughter." Sharon commented. "Also, that was a well presented statement, Alex. I was very impressed."

I rubbed my head. "Well, since we got off on the wrong foot yesterday, I knew I had to make up for that."

Alisa and her mother pulled out of the hug.

"I'm not going to say thanks." Alisa said with a smile. "Right now, I just believe this is the best way to press forward and I'm going to tell you why through actions, not words!"

"Excuse us, madam chairman." Rean added. "We've learned a lot during our field studies and we'll put it all to use to come out on top."

"That's right, so just believe in us and we'll bring the ILF to justice!" I declared.

And with that, we nodded and left the HQ building before Rean contacted Angelica and George to meet with us at the maintenance room. We found the door we needed and now we just had to wait.

"Whew! You were quite the motivational speaker in there, Alex." Crow said. "You had my attention all the way through."

"Yeah, I have to agree, that was spectacular." Rean nodded.

"Well, I was saying what I thought was right and I was doing what any good friend would do." I replied. "Were you alright with what I said, Alisa? I hope I wasn't too harsh."

She shook her head. "Nope, you were pretty much spot on...and thank you!" Alisa suddenly hugged me. "Thank you so much! You were amazing!"

"It's okay, I felt like I just cleared a huge amount off my shoulders after saying all that."

"It was pretty tight." Fie said.

"Honestly, I was in complete shock." Machias added. "Is there a reason why you said all that?"

"Yeah, I was trying to get my point across because I lost my mother a few years ago." I answered. "I felt that even though I don't have a mother anymore, there are those who still do and should make the most of enjoying their time with them."

"Alex..." Rean sighed.

Angelica and George arrived and we unlocked the door before going inside. We rushed down the stairs and found an elevator, we rode the elevator that took us a long way down and when it stopped, we saw a long underground tunnel.

"Who would've thought there'd be an underground passage going all the way from Roer to the mine? Gwyn really does think of everything." Angelica said.

"Oh, you know Alisa's grandfather?" Rean asked.

"I've heard you two got along famously back when he was still living in Roer." Alisa said.

"He taught me all kinds of great stuff." Angelica answered. "How to pick up girls, the best spots in the entertainment district, errr. You know. The really important things in life."

"Those lessons sounds worse than pick-up lines." I frowned. "And I know the worst ones too."

George then took a chair and placed a small satellite case next to him whilst trying on one of those portable computers. Seems like we'll be able to have some sort of communication down here. Angelica volunteered to join our group and we made our way down the very long corridor that seemed to take forever until we saw a ladder at the end.

"Well, we must be very close if there's a ladder here." I said. "As a gentleman in training, I shall head up first!" I grabbed the bars and climbed up.

Everyone else then got to climbing behind me.

"And I'm climbing a ladder...to heaven." I sung randomly.

I got to the top and waited for everyone else. Rean then lead the way and we went up the stairs before opening the door at the end. We went through a small room and then entered the cave that looked just like the one we were in yesterday. We rushed upwards to the exit and saw the roadway entrance now blocked off, we turned the opposite way and fought past several monsters until we reached a room where there was a group of hostages trapped.

It was the group of miners and we set them free. Crow insisted on escorting them back to the hidden passageway so we left him to do that whilst we carried on through the mines. When we entered a large mining area and made our way up a few ladders, we suddenly heard a faint explosion. We assumed it was some kind of cave-in and if so, then there's a chance our way back has been sealed off.

We carried on going upwards until we saw a large door at the very end.

"All right. On the other side of that door is the central control room." Angelica said. "There's where the other hostages are being held. With any luck, the terrorists won't see us coming."

"Then we have the chance to kick the terrorists from behind." I added. "Alright, no more hesitating...I'm going to use some of the skills that I've held back on all this time I think you're gonna like them."

"Really, then I'll hold you to that."

I can now use the craft skill Pummel Time, anytime I want. And when I'm at my peak, I can use the S-craft, Glorious Gauntlet.

We rushed through the door, only to find that we had company and not good company.

"Heh! Who'da thought you kids would turn up again?" The bulky guy asked. "You just don't know when to quit!"

It was V and he had a group of jeager solders with him.

"...now I remember." Fie said quietly. "Are you a survivor of the Arngarmr jaeger corps?"

V looked at her. "Heh. Surprised ya heard of it, Sylphid. It was long gone by the time you started makin' a name for yourself."

"I heard about it from the boss. He mentioned he'd faced you guys on the battlefield a few times. Said you were worthy opponents."

"Heh. I'm honored that the jaeger king himself would tip his hat to us. It's a little late, but you've got my condolences. He was one hell of a man."

"Okay, introductions aside." I sighed. "Surely you're smart enough to know that destroying the mine here would mean a critically damaging blow to the country's economy."

"Oh I know." V nodded. "But I'll do whatever it takes to slaughter the iron-blooded shitstain and let him twist in the wind!"

An aura appeared around him, this guy was totally not gonna be a pushover...fine by me.

"Okay, then let me put it another way. What's with this deep hatred you ILF folks seem to have? What did the chancellor ever do to you?"

"Well, we ain't all pressed from a mold. We've got different reasons for bein' here. Gideon hated him for his ideology. And Scarlet, I heard she lost her old hometown when he went and built a railway through it."

"So that's what drove her to terrorism." Rean said.

"Me? Let's just say I've got a misplaced grudge against the guy. Not that I've got any intention of repentin' for it now."

We heard his tale from during his day in the jaeger corps, but even so, trying to go down the vengeance route is such an easy way out. I'm already learning that too well when I'm trying to suppress my demon powers from escaping.

V drew out his minigun, it was time to bring this guy and his guards down. We started the battle and as it went on, I felt like I had released a new amount of life that would help me become more focused and strong.

I then saw an opening on one of the jaeger soldiers, time to put my craft to good use.

"Come at me!" I exclaimed as I charged at the soldier. "Don't try to avoid my fists...Pummel Time!" That skill knocked the solider down.

Angelica then went for it on the two other soldiers with her s-craft and it looked very cool. Now we focused on V and he was soaking in a massive amount of pain. But even he has his limits. When Machias got him unbalanced, that was my opening.

"Come at me!" I slid towards V with my gauntlets at the front. "You're in for it now!" I landed multiple punches on him and leaped into the sky. "Feel the power of the fist that reigns around the world...Glorious Gauntlet!" It worked exactly the same as before.

V was now down and the battle was over.

"Hah...whew! Now that's more like it." I sighed happily.

"Bah...you kids hit harder than I expected." V replied. "Especially you, you've got a lot of guts to knock my face around over and over again."

"That's because I've developed a strong bond with these friends of mine. They are the reason that my power is possible."

"Hehe, sounds like you've gone through the same sadness and anger as we have...why don't I give you a sample of my true power?"

"Do not despair, Comrade V. This simply goes to show how much they've grown since our last meeting." A familiar voice intervened.

It was him again...C had arrived.

"Comrade S had already boarded the airship. I shall buy you the time to join her."

V's aura went away. "Bah...fine. I'll chalk this one up as my loss. But next time...next time, we'll have some real fun."

V and the soldiers rushed away onto the ship, now we focused on C.

"Alright, C...last time we met, we didn't get a chance to fight." I said. "However this time around, we will have this battle and also, you're taking on six of us at once."

"Hmm, the odds do seem stacked against me." C replied. "So I hope you'll permit me to even them ever so slightly."

A pair of archaisms appeared beside him and C drew out some kind of glaive.

"It was the height of summer when we last met beneath Heimdallr. Do you think you can prevail over me? Tell me not with words, but with steel!"

The battle started and we focused on the archaisms since those would be a pain. We did whatever we could to eliminate them. Once they were gone, C made his move and threw out a bunch of floating mines around us. We each took one out and then refocused our attacks on C. We each pulled out a s-craft skill with me delivering the last blow. C was finally knocked down and it pushed us to the limit to do so.

"Heh...most impressive." He said.

"How do you like that?" Rean asked.

C then stood up and dropped his glaive, the archaisms exploded and we had to cover our eyes. When the flash was gone, we could see that C disappeared. Then an airship rose up from below the hole. Suddenly, we saw both the RMP and the provincial army rush in and notice the airship flying away, the RMP soldiers fired at it but the provincial solders stopped them.

"My, my...what a spectacle." C spoke from the ship. "And the chancellor has sent his loyal lapdog to bark us up a tree, too. Go on and scurry back to your master, Icy Maiden. And tell him this...Our preparations are complete. Next time we strike, he shall be the one in the crosshairs."

The ship flew up...but then a gunshot went off and the airship took a critical hit before it fell all the way down the somewhat bottomless hole before crashing far away. I don't know how it happened, but what I did know was that there was no way C could survive that...so it seems his message would not be sent.

"We won this one...but I don't feel overjoyed about it." I said. "His last words sounded ominous."

"Yeah, there's something strange about that." Rean replied.

The provincial army officer then noticed us and it seemed like we would be in a world of trouble, but Angelica stood up for us and then we were surprised to see Prince Olivert arrive. Looks like he saved our bacon once again. It was sunset by the time we got back to Roer and the situation at the mine was settled for good. Throughout it all, it was C's last words that still stuck in my mind. He's gone, but the rest of the ILF could carry out his plan and take down the chancellor.

I could tell that they were not gonna give up...this was far from over.


Next time! The attention focuses on the Festival and Alex makes a decision on who to ask out...