The final chapter of the story, but it will not be pretty...


One Tragic Disaster

We finally reached the bottom floor and we had a quick briefing together.

"Beyond here is the deepest layer of the Gral." Rean said. "I can safely say that beyond here, we'll enter what will be our final battle. If all of us are prepared for whatever we might face beyond this point, then we cannot waste any time."

"Agreed." I nodded. "But that's why we're all here together. To stop the Great Twilight from happening...and to save me from permanently turning into a demon."

He nodded. "Going out there, we may even come face to face with death itself, but we need to bet everything on this chance. Class VII: Special Operations, move out!"

We rushed through the archway and entered the bottom layer, near the middle was a giant monster, that had to be the Holy Beast, but in skeleton form. On the top of a stairway platform was Osborne and Alberich, near them on the right was the Vermillion Knight with Cedric and Altina close by.

"Allie!" Juna pointed.

"There she is." Musse added as we rushed over near them.

"Stop right there, Cedric!" I said.

"What have you done to her?" Kurt asked.

"Oh, don't worry. She's fine...for now." Cedric replied. "And address me as the Crown Prince if you're going to speak to me."

"Tch, that attitude of yours is really pissing me off. Actually, I can be honest now that we're here." I replied. "I don't like the way you've changed and recently, the way you've been dragging the family name around! What you're doing right now, you aren't worthy of being called a crown prince!"

"Hmph! Your words won't change anything. And what right do you have of addressing my family name so casually?"

"I have one, because I made a promise to Princess Alfin. That is to stop you at any cost."

"My sister asked you to do that? I had a feeling that she and I wouldn't see eye to eye sooner or later. But putting that aside for the moment...you really should greet the hosts of this little event before me. It's only proper..."

We then looked at the other two.

"So you've arrived, Rean Schwarzer. I see you've brought Alex, and your students, too." Osborne said. "Uninvited guests though you may be, I welcome you all the same."

"We don't need a welcome from the likes of you...father!" Rean responded. "And you, the other one up there. Professor Lughman, or should I say...Black Alberich!"

"Hehe, I suppose I should say it's a pleasure to meet you?" He replied. "I'm surprised you know that name though. Did the crimson witch or the Gralsritter tell you about me? Well, I'm glad I don't need to waste time explaining. I'm rather a busy man, you see."

"If you could just stop sitting on your high horse...we have two questions." I said. "What is the Great Twilight? And what do you plan to do with Altina?!"

Alberich laughed. "Astute questions, indeed. It's difficult to explain the Twilight in a succinct manner. But, I suppose it can be described as something which will lift the curse that lingers over all of Erebonia. Or perhaps, it would be more accurate to say it, it completes it."

"So that curse is the great one." Musse said.

"It also seems to have some relation to Valimar." Kurt added.

"You want to complete the curse?" Juna asked. "What is wrong with you?!"

"As much as I wanna hear the details, we don't have time for it." I said. "If that happens, I'll have a short while before I become a demon forever. Or is that part of your plan as well?"

He chuckled. "In all honesty, I did not expect Revelio's power to be factored in when he was defeated over 900 years ago. But if you wish for it to be simple, simply put that the fragment of Revelio's power and the Great One's curse was intertwined. However, it did bring forth the events as they were expected to happen. All the way to when the Emperor was shot."

"So the curse...it brings out aggression?" I asked.

"Correct. Much like it does when you turn into a demon. But it does bring me to the Hamel incident, what you heard then was true as well. But the ones who started it were't exactly sinister or anything of the sort. Isn't that right, Your Excellency?"

"Yes, for better or worse, they were ordinary men." Osborne answered. "Though they were facing pressure from the Four Great Houses and being goaded by Ouroboros, they were not the only causes. During the hearings afterwards, they claimed it was 'a moment of weakness' and they 'couldn't believe what they'd done'."

I sighed. "And that's where the curse comes in, the curse that Ash had."

"Oh don't misunderstand. It was not the sole cause of those events." Alberich replied. "However, it is something that plants a twisted, black seed in people and society. I believe you've all seen the results of such a seed firsthand?"

"So Ash was implanted 14 years ago during the tragedy of Hamel?" Rean asked.

"Hahaha, correct. I'd also like to make clear, we had no involvement in that. Once afflicted, he was doomed to cause some manner of incident one day. In all likelihood, no one could have removed what was planted within him. Not even the Goddess herself. Especially you, Alexander, when you tried to stop him, but failed. You cannot stop what is inevitable."

"You conniving son of a bitch!" I exclaimed.

"Don't you find it ridiculous for us to continue to be at the mercy of such a thing?" Osborne asked. "That is why I sought to take this curse and use it for my own ends. The Great One is mighty, but as its physical form was divided, its ability to affect this world was limited. However, were it possible to reforge its scattered pieces into an even stronger being, I could use it to drown the world in conflict, the endless struggles leading humanity to ever greater heights!"

"Truly inspiring, chancellor Osborne." Cedric praised.

"And the Great Twilight is what will lead to all that?" Rean asked. "Then both Altina and that beast are the keys."

"Indeed. That creature lying over there is the Black Holy Beast. Originally sent by Aidios to watch over the Sept-Terrion of Earth." Alberich answered. "It was one of the two Holy Beasts who worked alongside the Gnomes and the Hexen Clan to suppress the Great One. It was corrupted after cosuming a majority of the curse into itself 900 years ago. It then sealed itself and the sacred land away in the abyss. But by slaughtering it with the proper tool, the curse in it will be released. With the advent of the Twilight, the Great One can be made whole."

"That is beyond insane." I muttered.

"The completion of that tool, the sword, was crucial to our plan. It required a being fully synchronized with a combat shell. One who is both human and weapon. The raw material from which a blade capable of slaying a Holy Beast can be forged. A blade to be wielded by a Divine Knight. That is the 74th and final model...a being which can sublimate into the Sword of the End...in exchange for its own life."

"So it's just like I thought. Cedric is going to sacrifice Altina so she become the sword and then he'll use it to kill the beast and unleash the curse across the entire land of Erebonia and beyond." I reminded. "This is just...I can't think of any other words right now..."

"How do you justify all this?" Rean asked. "Don't you have a family you care about? How do you think your daughter would feel, knowing the awful things her father has done?"

"That was nothing more than a fleeting version of the old me." Alberich answered. "By the way, I am aware of your relationship with my daughter. Though I'm not one to question her choices, I do believe she has found someone special. But that is all I will say about my past self. I have abandoned my life as a human and taken on this mission in order to realize a grand wish. I am nothing more than a humble servant who does his master's will."

"Tch..."

"To that end, I have assembled a host of different technologies for the sake of Oz's creation! I stole the process for creating homunculi from the alchemists of Crossbell! I provided the mages with the technology required for the Magic Knights during the Dark Ages! I distributed experimental weapons to high-ranking jaegers to collect combat data! I joined Ouroboros's Thirteen Factories to get closer to Epstein's top disciple! I even took advantage of the continent's leading manufacturer of heavy machinery, Reinford!"

'Wow...I feel for poor Alisa.' I thought. "So if we're done taking, can we get to fighting now, we're one step away from me entering into a time limit, you know?"

"Of course...your part in all this." Osborne replied. "The longer we chat about this, the closer you become a demon for eternity! So why continue to waste time?!"

"Father...no, Giliath Osborne!" Rean drew out his sword. "If that is truly your wish and you intend to carry it out, I will put every ounce of my being into stopping you!"

"No way we'll let you do something so terrible!" Juna exclaimed as she brought out her gun breakers.

Kurt drew his words out. "I shall stake my family's name on this battle."

Musse armed her rifle. "We'll put this vile plan of yours in check."

"And together, we'll save Altina and stop the Twilight, no matter what you say!" I declared.

"Hm...interesting." Osborne replied.

"You needn't bothered with them, Sir." Cedric said. "The Vermilion Knight will soon be fully repaired. Once its ready, I'll take care of things myself."

"Oh really?" I responded. "You get any closer to us, I'll just beat the crap out of you!"

"I hadn't finished yet! But since you seem so confident, why don't you and the rest of the class take on the Holy Beast that is about to awaken? I think it'll prove more than sufficient for the opening act."

"Do as you please." Osborne nodded.

Alberich clicked his fingers and suddenly, seven small poles rose around us and a giant barrier surrounded us and the Holy Beast which then woke up and roared at us.

"Bring it on, you skeleton monster! I'm not scared of you!" I exclaimed as I drew out my gauntlets.

"Class VII, prepare for battle!" Rean ordered. "We need to keep it at bay until we have the chance to call in our trump card!"

"Battle Skip*

Well, it came at us hard and aggressive, but we held it back for a moment.

"Gh...it's fully awakened!" Kurt said.

"Now is when the true battle begins." Musse added.

Rean raised his hand. "Right...heed my call! Valimar, The Ashen Knight!"

"Don't forget to bring the other Soldats too!" Juna added.

Seconds later, Valimar and the four other Soldats appeared behind us and they cracked through the barrier, breaking it instantly. We each got into our respected soldats, ready and re-energized for the next battle, it appeared that we were linked with everyone who was rooting for us to win.

"Well, well..." Alberich muttered.

"Now then...we will see how they fare." Osborne said.

The beast changed color and roared as our second battle started.

*Battle Skip*

We overcame it somehow and the beast was weakened, we then stopped.

"Wait, instructor Rean, we should make sure we don't kill it, right?" Juna asked.

"We won't have to worry about that. It can't be killed with normal weapons." Rean assured. "We've tired it out, though. Let's capture it while we have-"

The beast however got up and roared so powerfully, our soldats were knocked away and on our backs.

"Ow! Ngh...what in the heck?!" I exclaimed as my cockpit part opened up.

Rean charged at the beast, but the sword was suddenly caught in the beast's mouth.

I slowly got off my Soldat. "What the...ngh, is it trying to eat the sword?"

Alberich laughed. "I told you, didn't I? Not even a weapon forged with Zemurian Ore will work against one of Aidios's Holy Beasts! The only thing that could possibly have an effect is a blade forged from a soul, the Sword of the End!"

"Then I have no other choice...DEMON TRANSFORMATION!"

I turned into my demon form.

"Hahahaha! I'm afraid that were you to use your demon powers on the Holy Beast, it will simply regenerate its health, not deplete it. So now-" He was interrupted with a call. "What is it, Georg...what? Fine, send me the monitor feed."

We then saw a huge circle-shaped monitor footage of the outside...it was the Courageous. Olivert and Victor Arsied had to be on there.

"Heh, looks like we have reinforcements on our way." I smirked.

"Reinforcements, you say?" He responded. "Well, shall I?"

Cedric and Osborne nodded and Alberich brought out a small switch.

"What are you doing? Stop!" Rean exclaimed.

I gasped and by the time I realized it, we saw the courageous covered in explosions...and then, the ship itself broke away into pieces.

"OH HELL NO!" I yelled.

First the Emperor...and now Olivert, Victor and Toval, I heard they were on that ship...I suddenly heard those words again.

...failure...weak...slow...betrayal...dark...revenge...

By then, Kurt, Juna and Musse were out of thier Soldats. Olivert gone...and Laura's father is gone...the feeling of losing a father...it's too familiar.

"Chancellor Osborne...was this really okay?" Alberich asked.

He nodded. "Yes."

"Farewell, Olivert." Cedric said quietly.

"Rean, get back!" Sara warned.

Suddenly, the Holy Beast broke Valimar's sword in half and then it trampled on Rean, pinning him down.

"It would seem my turn has come." Cedric said as he picked up Altina. "Sorry, Black Rabbit, but this is the only way."

He then placed his fingers around her neck...that freaking asshole!

"I will make it as quick as I can-"

"LIKE HELL YOU WILL!"

I zoomed towards him and he let go of her just before I socked him in the face, knocking him into his divine knight.

"NGH!"

"How do you like that?!" I exclaimed. "You had that coming the moment you put your hands on her!"

"Ngh...must...I must protect...I must..." Altina was finally coming around. "Everyone...I must protect everyone."

"I didn't expect she'd develop emotion to such a degree." Alberich said.

"Come...Claiomh Solais!"

The black doll appeared and when she got up, she flew over to the holy beast and punched it, knocking it back a few steps and letting go of Rean and Valimar. She then flew in front of Rean and casted a barrier...no, she's gonna sacrifice herself!

"No, that barrier won't..." Emma exclaimed.

"It's not strong enough!" Celine added.

"Altina...run..." Rean groaned in pain.

"NO! I WON'T LET YOU DIE!" I yelled.

But as luck would have it, I zoomed over and stood in the way of the monster's attack, and I took every force when I felt its clawed hand strike me deep into my body.

"ARRRRGHHH!"

I then fell to the side as I coughed up blood and could feel my strength fading fast.

"Alex...no!" Rean exclaimed.

"ALEEEEEEEEEEEX!" Emma yelled from afar.

"Alex...why?" Altina asked as she got emotional. "Why did you protect me?"

I looked up at her with a weak smile.

"Cough...remember what I said...on the first day of campus...ngh...as support assistant...it's my job...to look out for Class VII...when Rean can't...cough...gh...I just...didn't want to...fail...again...but now...it's over..."

I looked at the holy beast who was ready to attack again and finish me off, when...

"HAAAAH!"

...Millium came by to save me as it knocked the holy beast back a little.

"Millium?!" Rean asked, feeling surprised.

"Millium, no!" Claire exclaimed.

"You fool! What are you doing?!" Jusis asked in shock.

"Wh-why...this is my role!" Altina insisted. "I'm the one who's supposed to become the sword! I'm the one who can protect everyone!"

"Nah, you just leave that to your big sis, okay?" Millium responded. "We got the same specs, I can fill that role, too. Actually, no, I don't care about that."

"Hey...nice timing..." I said, coughing.

"Don't say anything, Alex." She smiled at me. "Hey Kurt, Juna, Musse! Get Alex away from here, he needs serious help!"

The three of them rushed by and they dragged me away from the scene, and I was forced to witness the sight of true horror that I tried so hard to stop.

"Rean, Jusis, Alex, Alisa, Fie, Laura, Emma...Machias, Elliot, Gaius, Sara...you too, Tilly...I'M GONNA PROTECT EVERYONE!"

What happened next was what I call...true despair...

"MILLIUM, NO!" Rean yelled.

"NOOOOO!" Jusis shouted.

And then...in one fatal strike, Millium and her white doll were cut through.

"MILLIUUUUUUUUUM!"

And after that scream, her body landed into Valimar's hands and then, she faded away. Then, above Valimar, a giant sword appeared. So that was the Originator Zero sword. I then realized what would happen. Rean's going to use that sword and then release his ultimate rage and kill the beast, releasing the miasma all over Erebonia.

That, and the fact that I failed a third time, were the last thoughts I had before my mind and my body began to slip away. My eyes closed and my senses fell, back into the familiar world of the unconscious, just like how it was before when I was in a coma for a month back in 1204.

...hello darkness...my old friend...

THE END


DA-DA-DAAAAAAH! There's the cliffhanger...so until the fourth game, this is where it ends for now.

I wanna say a big thank you to those who read this story. Feel free to fave or follow me if you wanna see future stories from me.