Hello everyone, it's been a long while, but it's finally here. Welcome to my rewrite of Trails Of Cold Steel III. I have been very excited to start this after playing through the game several times. And now is the perfect time to continue Alex's journey as he and Rean begin their new chapter at Leeves.
I have two things to make clear however. First is that I've decided to not to put in details of battles that happen since they burn me out a little bit. So if you see the words *Battle Skip*, that means a battle took place, lol. Secondly, since this will be from Alex's POV, some things will change.
Anyways, that's all I wanted to say. So let's begin and I hope you enjoy.
A Fresh Start
Dateline, April 1st, 1206.
What a difference a year makes. Last year, I was resuming with my educational studies alongside Rean at Thor's Military Academy in Trista. And now, I was on a train journey across the Western part of Erebonia. A branch campus was made in the town of Leeves which was affiliated under Thor's Military. The purpose behind it all was unknown to me, but it was going to be a place where Rean and I would be living at for the time being.
A lot of time had passed since the civil war ended and that peace was existing just about everywhere. However, there was the one time when Rean was summoned by his father to help quell an emergency breakout which became the Northern War. Thankfully, I had no part in that due to my own commitments, such as not getting rusty with my true demon powers as well as maintaining my relationship with the one and only beautiful Emma.
But today was going to be an important one. Rean and I were heading to the Branch Campus, Rean was going to be an instructor for one of the new classes and I was going to be the support assistant. I didn't mind playing second banana, since I felt that Rean would be much better at coping with his new responsibilities, just like I would be with mine when the time comes.
I was looking out through the window whilst on the train, reminding me of how this was where I began my journey when I arrived in Trista over two years ago. Rean was sitting opposite to me, but he went off to check on Valimar who was on the very last car of the train. I then saw two unfamiliar people walking on by, but they were checking over something, so I didn't think more of it.
'Attention passengers. We will shortly be arriving at Leeves, Leeves. The next stop will be...'
I stretched for a moment, since I had to get off soon. The train then soon stopped at Leeves station, and I grabbed my travel bag before hoisting it on my back with the straps secured. I needed it since it would contain my trusted gauntlets which had been improved and upgraded since last year, and I couldn't wait to show them off.
'We have now arrived at Leeves Station. We will be stopped for ten minutes to unload cargo.'
I stepped out of the train and onto the platform. When I was a few feet away, I turned back and waited for Rean who came out and stood by me.
"Well, here we are, Alex." He said. "We made it to Leeves."
"Yeah, but that was a long journey." I replied. "Anyways, that cargo will no doubt be Valimar. I almost feel sorry for him in a way."
He chuckled. "I wouldn't sell him short like that."
Patrick then appeared as he came up to us. Now of course, I still remembered the time when he badmouthed at me and I snapped, but that was under the bridge. Especially after we had a very lengthy discussion that ended with exchanged sincere apologies, that was over a year ago though. We watched as the train crew came by to help open the side of the last car and unload Valimar off the train and onto a large trolley.
"Heh, it would appear that little has changed." Patrick said. "The Ashen Knight is as beloved by the masses as ever."
"Well, I tried to lay low this past year." Rean replied. "I've turned down all the interview requests I've been bombarded with."
"All of which were sensible options." I added. "I don't wanna imagine how I'd be feeling, if I had all that attention."
"Well, it is quite different for you, Alex." Patrick responded. "No one can blame you, if you wish to keep you true powers to only a select few that know. But with you, Rean, the rumors of your role in the Northern War have, by this point, far outstripped the truth."
Rean felt a little uncomfortable about that and Patrick realized his slight error.
"Ah, my apologies. That was a regrettable slip of the tongue."
"No it's alright." Rean assured. "It's just something I'll have to deal with."
We then heard an announcement that the train was preparing to leave. We said our goodbyes to Patrick and left the station. We stood out into a pathway and we witnessed the first of many interesting sights of Leeves with a small flower garden at the centre of a circle path.
"And here we are." I said with a big sigh. "This looks promising."
"Yeah, and that building over there on the left must be the dormitory." Rean added. "And the leaves, they remind me so much of Trista."
"Same here, the town was where it all began for all of us who were there at the time. Especially when you and Alisa first met when she bumped into you."
He smiled. "Oh yeah, I couldn't forget that. Ever after all this time, my love for her has not wavered."
"It's the same for me. Even though I can fly in my demon form and see Emma anytime I wished." Although it had been a very long while since I did that.
"Rean? Alex?" Someone called to us.
We looked around until I looked down and saw a familiar face in a military uniform with a tiny hat.
"Towa?!" Rean responded first.
"Well now, there's a face I haven't seen for a long time." I said.
She giggled. "It really is you two! But wow, the magazines don't do you justice, Rean."
Rean was unsure on what to say to that.
"And Alex, I haven't seen you for so long as well. You've gotten a little taller, haven't you?"
"Well, just a few reges." I rubbed my head.
"As for me, I haven't gotten taller. But I'm hoping my new work uniform adds some womanly charm."
"Wait, hold on." Rean said. "It's just that, we haven't seen you since you graduated last year, and then you just show up for work, in the same place Alex and I are about to start working?"
"I wonder if that could be a coincidence." I pondered. "Shall we get going?"
He nodded. "Yeah, maybe we should."
The three of us talked about a few things as we walked along the path and up the pathway before turning left which would take us to the branch campus building and it was just as big as the main campus back in Trista. We then entered inside the main building and Towa guided us to the faculty office. Inside the room were two men, one who was dressed up as a military officer of sorts, and the other man was more casual and he had long red hair.
"Rean Schwarzer, Alexander Lionheart. Welcome." The man in the green military uniform greeted. "I am Michael Irving of the Railway Military Police. Branch campus though it may be, I will do my utmost to serve as chief instructor."
"The RMP? Just like Claire." I replied. "Oh I mean, an honor to meet you. I am indeed Alexander Lionheart, but please call me Alex for short, if you could."
"Well well, lucky me. Didn't expect to run into such a celeb at a place like this." The red-haired guy spoke. "Name's Randolph Orlando. Got transferred here from the Imperial Army, Crossbell Unit."
"Crossbell? I haven't been there since the last summer vacation."
He looked at me. "Oh, so does that mean you're from Crossbell?"
I nodded. "Yeah, I'm not Erebonian."
"I see." He looked at Rean. "I've been hearing your name all over lately. Pleasure to finally meet the man himself."
"Rean?" Towa called as she looked at him with slight concern.
"I'm Rean Schwarzer." He answered. "Just a rookie who recently graduated from Thors Main Campus. Pleased to meet you, Major Irving, 1st Lieutenant Orlando."
"I'm the same as him." I said. "I also graduated from Thors too, but I'm bracing myself for a big challenge."
"Well, keep in mind." Michael replied. "We're not looking for heroic deeds from you both. We're only interested in your aptitudes as an instructor and support assistant."
Rean then looked at Randolph.
"That look tells me you know a little bit about me." He said. "Been peeking through the Intelligence Division's files, I take it?"
"Yes, I can't deny it." Rean nodded. "From what I can tell, it was a pretty complicated situation that sent you here."
"Hehe, not as complicated as yours. I'm sure."
"So, is this all of us?" I asked. "Or are we still expecting more?"
"Well, there are two more we have to meet." Towa answered. "But I hope you don't act too surprised."
"What do you mean?"
But before she could answer, the door behind us opened. We turned to see two familiar faces, one who was Professor G Schmidt, looking as pompous as ever. But the other was someone I did not expect to see again. Aurelia Le Guin...what in the world is she doing here?! Wait, could she possibly be...
"Hmph. Whatever is that slack-jawed expression for?" Schmidt remarked. "I believe we met during the civil war, or have you already forgotten my face? Not that I give a whit either way."
'Ugh, barely five seconds and already I cannot stand him.' I thought. 'And it's not his face that's the problem, it's his attitude...'
And it seems a few others had more or less the same opinion, but as for the woman, I was on edge...just a little bit.
"I'm starting to understand why I got hired here in the first place." Rean sighed. "I never imagined I would meet you here."
"And I'm beginning to wonder why I was brought along as well." I said, frowning a little at the realization.
"It's been about half a year, hasn't it, Schwarzer?" She said. "And be at ease, Alexander, the civil war has been long over. I am Aurelia Le Guin, I was a general of the defeated Noble Alliance. I then oversaw the Northern War, resulting in the annexation of North Ambria. But as of today, think of me as the Principal of Thor's Branch Campus."
"I see..." I muttered.
"All that, packed into one woman." Randolph said. "Guess it's not so crazy for you to be here after all. Huh, Major?"
Michael looked away. "Hmph."
"So then, what's next?" I asked.
"Next is for us to be introduced by the students." Aurelia answered. "Herschel, gather up our fledglings and bring them to the grounds."
"Yes, ma'am." Towa nodded. "I'll see you both soon."
She left the room.
"All righty, time to see what guys and girls we've got this year." Randolph stretched a little.
"Schwarzer, Lionheart. See to it that you're aren't late." Michael added as he and Randolph left the room with the professor.
"Late for what?" I asked.
"To our entrance ceremony, of course." Aurelia replied.
Rean was surprised. "What? I had no idea..."
"That would be because we set the time and date without telling you both."
"Well, talk about a day of surprises." I shrugged. "How many more are we expecting?"
She giggled. "Just you wait and see."
That didn't quite fill me with confidence for some reason.
Rean put on a pair of glasses to look more professional and we left with the principal, leaving the building and making our way down a ramp that took us to an open ground area where a large group of students were waiting. From a glance, they all looked very different from each other. Once we were noticed, they looked at us, they were all new faces I would have to get to know, but then...at the far end of the line, was one little girl with white hair...wait a second, she looked familiar.
"What?!" Rean exclaimed quietly.
"Isn't that..." Towa noticed as well.
'Is that Altina?! What's she doing here?' I asked in my head, feeling shocked.
"Attention! I will have silence!" Michael spoke as the several conversations stopped. "We will now begin the entrance ceremony for Thors Military Academy's Branch Campus! The opening speeches will be omitted! We will begin by announcing class assignments!" He paused as Randolph and Towa received a clipboard each with papers on them. "First, Class VIII: Combat Tactics. The Instructor is Randolph Orlando!"
"Right. Step forward when I call your name." Randolph said as he brought the paper out. "Jessica, Wayne, Sidney, Maya, Ash, Freddy, Gustaf and Leonora. You eight."
Eight students came forward, standing near him.
"Next! Class IX: Military Finance! The instructor is Towa Herschel!" Michael declared.
"Umm, I'll call out names now." Towa said. "Sandy, Kairi, Tita, Louise, Tatiana, Valerie, Musse, Pablo and Stark. There are nine of you in total."
The nine other students came up to her, that left three students, one guy who had short grey hair, the other was a girl with long pink hair, and the third one...was Altina.
"Um, excuse me, I have a random question." I raised an arm.
"Save your question until after the ceremony, Lionheart." Michael replied. "We will now have a word from our Principal."
Guess that'll have to wait...and as Aurelia gave out her words of wisdom which I made sure to pay attention to, I had a think over the three remaining. There's no way that this is all a coincidence. This had to have been done for a purpose, but what that purpose was, I had yet to find out. Once the speech was over, the two classes left, leaving just the remaining students and Tita who was with the professor. At that point, Rean looked at me and wanted to ask the question for me.
"Principal, could I get you to announce the final class?" Rean asked.
"Very well." Aurelia nodded. "We'll be picking up after the main campus's classes I through VI with our own classes VII through IX." She then looked at the three students. "The three of you make up Class VII: Special Operations. Your instructor will be him, Rean Schwarzer. And in addition, you will also have a support assistant, Alex Lionheart."
Well, at least that was made official.
"So with that done, where to next?" I asked.
"Follow me this way." Michael answered.
So just those three and Rean and myself in one class...I know less is more, but why just us five? I hoped to find out soon.
And we're off with some minor differences, but with the main plot being kept in place, which is how I like it.
Next time! Einhel Keep is brought into play and the new Class VII gets acquainted.