It's here everyone, the fourth and what may be the final arc of the whole adventure. Get ready for more AU stuff as well as making sure Alex gets the ending he truly deserves, but he'll have to go through a lot in order to get it. You could consider this as a prologue chapter of sorts, since this will be focused on a vision Alex is having. So with that being said, let's begin the end of this wretched tale!
Previously on Trails On Cold Steel 3
...the sight of true despair...
...hello darkness...my old friend...
Two weeks later...
Darkness...silence...the familiar void where nothing is possible, where nothing can exist, where nothing is free. But it is an endless void that I had gone through before. It happened when I fell into a coma of sorts, but this one was more...unsettling. And that was proven to be true, when I heard a faint voice calling from afar.
'You...how long do you plan to sleep in eternal darkness?'
'Open your eyes, chosen mortal. You must witness the vision of the world that exists within the fragmented soul.'
The vision of a world? What does it mean?
'Rise up and stand tall!'
That was enough to make me jump and the moment I gasped, my eyes opened and what I was seeing, was vastly different to the view I had before.
BGM: Fallout 1 OST - Desert Wind
I was no longer inside the Gral of Erebos. The place where we tried to stop the enemy from bringing the Great Twilight. I had no idea what happened after that, but what I did know, was that I was now standing up and looking around. It wasn't anything like I had seen, the whole area was...was like...a wasteland filled with nothing but rocks and dead trees.
"What the...where in Aidios am I?" I asked.
"So you have finally woken up, chosen one."
"Huh? Who's there?"
Suddenly, a small flaming aura appeared and then, it turned into a huge winged bat with big fangs.
"Welcome, my lord! You have returned to our sacred lands."
What the heck?! 'My lord' it said?
"Sacred lands? Wait...am I dead?"
The winged bat titled its head. "Hm? Well, you are able to speak normally, so I declare that you are not dead! And that you are very much alive!"
"Okay, I'm sorry, sheesh." I rubbed my head. "So who are you exactly?"
"Ah, I am Reef! Your guide for this world, my lord." He replied happily.
"This world? It doesn't look like Erebonia to me."
"Aha! You are actually correct." He then flapped his wings and looked at the horizon. "This is Erebonia, from exactly 1,000 years ago!"
My eyes opened wide. "What?! A thousand years ago?! Does this mean I've gone back into the past?"
"Not possible, mortal." He turned to face me. "What you are seeing right now is a vision from Revelio's past. This is how Erebonia looked during his reign over the northern mountains. At this moment, this is just before the war between us and the mages took place. All of which were from the Hexen Clan."
"So how are you here exactly?"
"It is just as I said. I was Revelio's most trusted scout, and I have existed for as long as he has kept me in his memory. A memory that lives on within his fragmented soul. It would seem that it wishes for you to view the world from its own vision. Perhaps to prepare you for when the worse case scenario comes to fruition."
I gasped. "My eternal transformation. So if I am seeing this vision, then that means..."
"You are very quick, mortal." Reef replied. "The Great Twilight has been realized, thanks to the unbridled rage of your fellow companion, who brought forth the calamity itself."
So it's true...Rean lost all control, and it's not hard to see why. We did lose one of our dearest friends...Millium...our enemies will pay for this.
"Then I don't have long until I become Revelio the Second."
"Indeed, and that is when Erebonia will be thrust into the dark ages again. And this time, for eternity." He then glanced at me. "However, I believe that you do not wish for that to happen upon this world, correct?"
"Damn right!" I clenched my fists. "There's no freaking way I'm going to let all that bad shit happen! I want my revenge on those who became our enemies, those who turned traitors and those who chose to cower and side with the enemy! But if I'm going to do that, I need to save myself first. But how can I stop it?!"
"Well, it is quite fortunate for you, chosen mortal. Deep within my lord's domain, lies a well-protected castle that resides within the land. If you desire to stop the transformation, I will lead you the way to the demonic castle."
I looked at him with a new-found ambition. "Show me the way."
"At once, my lord."
I followed Reef as we travelled away from the rocky area and down to the hardened and sandy ground. The whole place was like a hellhole, a perfect environment for dark fiends like demons and whatever else that roamed during Revelio's reign. The sky above me was red with dark clouds, almost as if it was ready to rain down the drops of blood onto the merciless ground that responds in total silence.
"Wait a second." I then realized something. "What would happen if others like you see me?"
"Ah, do not fret, my lord." Reef replied. "From your view, you are simply Alexander. But from their view, you are Revelio The Tyrant."
"So I will look completely different to them. Then I'll take your word for it."
He smiled a little. "Trust me, mortal. A guide always put his lord's safety above all else."
We carried on wandering through the cold and barren land. For a while, it seemed like it would never end, that there would be nothing, but an endless horizon with nothing to show for it. But then, after crossing past a hill pathway, I saw a giant castle in the distance where the formation of the dark clouds swirled around it.
"The castle is within our reach." Reef said. "We have not long to go, my lord. Once we arrive, I will then explain what needs to be done."
"You're not gonna stop calling me that, are you?"
"Why of course." He turned to face me. "But that aside, do you have something on your mind?"
I nodded. "Yeah, you mentioned how I'm able to see this because of Revelio's fragmented soul."
"I see. Revelio did mention that your soul overlapped his when you accepted the true powers, did he not?" He flapped to the ground. "That was the day, where both souls had merged into one. Simply state that everything he saw when he reigned, now resides within your soul. But do not be alarmed."
He smirked. "Even in this vision, death cannot reach you."
I frowned. "You didn't have to say it like that."
"Hmph! Quite a fuzzy mortal this one. Now then, let us continue onwards."
We walked down the rocky pathway and across the barren land. I could now see that we weren't alone, there were flying demons around the castle towers and multi-headed dogs that were patrolling around the side gates. The main entrance gates were open and guarded by two giant statues that looked very much alive.
"Umm, is it safe to pass here?" I asked. "Because I don't like the sight of those."
"They are being controlled by the most powerful druids, my lord." He explained. "Their role is to guard the main gate, nothing else interests them."
We walked to the castle entrance and the giant statues didn't even flinch when I walked past them.
BGM: Fallout 1 OST - Underground Troubles
We were now inside the castle, and we walked into a huge giant hall that was dark and gloomy with only flickers of the flames that lit brightly on the torches that hanged along the castle walls. There were also clay statues that resembled two giant dragons that looked very familiar. They were almost like the dark dragon that we fought back in the Heimdallr Underground.
"So this is Revelio's home." I muttered. "I can't help, but feel intimidated by all this."
"It is understandable, my lord." Reef replied. "Now then, if we continue onwards, we'll reach the throne room. And as your guide, I will speak on your behalf."
"Okay, I'll trust you...for now."
We walked past the hallway and up the short stairs before reaching a pair of very tall doors. I opened it with the handles and they slowly opened to reveal a large throne room. Statues and pillars of demon faces were present along the walls and a huge lit chandelier was hanging way above us. At the far end, was a throne chair with a large backrest that had the shape of a giant sinister skull at the top.
"My lord! You have returned!"
Suddenly, a pair of normal demons wearing armor rushed up to us and they kneeled down.
"Welcome back, my lord!" One of them greeted. "I see Reef has kept you under his guidance."
I looked at Reef who winked at me. "Yes, guards, we have returned, but now isn't the time to bother him."
"Oh! A thousand pardons, my lord!" One of them said.
"Please excuse us, we will return to our posts!" The other guard added.
The demon guards walked away and they stopped near the small steps, where they stood guard on each side of the throne chair.
"Come with me, my lord." Reef said. "The way to the archives is behind the throne room."
I nodded and followed him past the throne chair. Even if I did have time, I had no desire to sit on that chair. Reef showed me a large wooden door behind the throne area, I opened it and walked down a very long stairway. The way down was well lit and when we reached the end of the stairs, I could now see several hallways and there were signs above the arches.
"We should be safe to speak freely down here." Reef said. "Only you and myself have full permission to wander in this underground area."
"That's a relief." I sighed. "So what's down here exactly?"
"To your left is the way to the Dark Dragon's chamber. I'm sure you recall that he was Revelio's greatest pet. He was raised for many years and was taught to carry on his wish, should his master ever fall to his enemies."
I guess that confirms what Roselia told me back then, so my connection to that was true after all. Well, at least the Dark Dragon was banished for good.
"In front of you, is the way to the prison grounds. Any lifeform that threatens us, is captured, and sent down here to live out their days in eternal captivity. And to your right, is the way to the archives, it is also where Revelio himself learnt to wield and master the many powers of dark magic."
"So the archives is where we need to go?"
"Indeed, my lord. Do be warned though, the archive houses literally thousands upon thousands of books. You will see for yourself."
He made a right turn and I followed him down the hallway on the right and up to a large door. I opened it, and in front of me was a giant library with countless books and countless shelves all around the place. And in the center, was a pedastal with a book that was floating, but it was sealed up by a purple shield.
"Ahhh, I do enjoy visiting here to read from time to time." He said. "Now then, to find out how to stop the transformation."
"Yeah, that's the most important issue for me right now." I replied.
We moved along to the pedastal with the floating book.
"The book you're looking for on transformations, is right there. But as you can see, it is sealed by dark magic. Revelio and myself are the only ones who can chant the spell that is needed to remove the shield away. I assume you have no knowledge of this, correct?"
I shook my head. "Nope, he never said anything about that."
"I see, then even in his fragmented soul state, he was too cautious to disclose his darkest secrets." He cleared his throat. "Then I shall be the one to chant the spell. Now listen carefully, what you are about to hear is the ancient language of the demon tongue."
An ancient langauge? Just how many secrets does Erebonia have?
I stood back as he chanted several words that made no freaking sense, and whatever he was saying, I didn't want to know. But then, the shield evaporated and the book flew down to the pedastal, as if it was ready to be opened. Reef looked at me and nodded. I walked up to the pedastal and opened the book to find lists and descriptions of several spells. It was in alphabetical order, so I started at the page where it talked about transformations.
"There we are, transformations. Read page 666 for a spell on halting transformations."
"Okay." I replied as I skipped to page 666. "Alright, let's see what it says..."
I then read a section that caught my attention.
'In the event of a transformation that is not desired, because it was related to another event beyond one's control, this spell will be all that you need. But it can only be done through one such method. You must claim the souls of your enemies and inherit their power. Only when you have quenched the thirst for many souls, they will manifest together and they will cease the eternal transformation. How many enemy souls you must acquire however, remains unknown.'
"What?! I have to sacrifice my enemies and claim their souls?!"
"That is what it says in the book, my lord." Reef answered. "If you wish to stop the eternal transformation, sacrifices must be made and blood must be shed."
I went silent over his words. The enemies who all allied together...I have to...kill all of them?
"My lord, do not believe that you are a failure. You cannot allow yourself to be weak. If you desire to deliver payback to your enemies, you cannot be slow with your goals. Grasp your desire for revenge, and save yourself from the calamity that threatens to turn your world into eternal darkness!"
"Those words...so it was you who was saying them."
He nodded with a serious look. "That is correct. I was reaching out to you from deep within Revelio's soul. In fact, it was my desire to bring forth this vision that saved you from what could've been your last battle."
"So...I didn't actually die then."
"Hmph! You still doubting me?!"
"Look, even with what I know now, I still have my doubts on whether I'll ever be able truly understand what it means to be a human with demon powers." I exclaimed. "You can't exactly blame me for feeling like that!"
He sighed. "Perhaps you are right, my lord. But now that you know the spell and what you must do, there is no reason for you to remain in this vision for much longer."
"Wait, I haven't read the spell's chant yet!"
"Very well, read this chant on the page." He pointed it to me and I read it.
'Oh greiving soul that now wanders without a purpose, surrender yourself to the demon lord, and become a savior of the world under my guiding hand!'
So that was the spell's chant. It seems simple enough to remember the way I saw it.
"Just remember those words when you make a sacrifice attempt, and the soul you acquire, will take care of the rest." Reef said.
I nodded slowly. "All right, but make sure I can remember it, just in case."
"If it must be done." He sighed. "Now then, Alexander. It is time for you to leave this vision behind. When this journey ends, you will wake up in the real world once more. Do not forget what you have learnt today and always remember. You have far more power to change the course of fate, than you realize."
The power to change the course of fate, huh? That sounds like something worth remembering in future.
"Farewell, chosen mortal. I imagine that we may well meet again..."
I nodded and then, the view of the library around me started melting away and the vision became blurry, no longer able to see anything. And then, the faint noises of the area and the feeling of my body moving stopped. I was back in the endless void again, but it didn't last for long. I saw a huge bright light and when it became too much to look, I jolted and my eyes opened wide.
End Of BGM
That was the moment where I finally woke up...
Whew! I find myself impressed with what I tried to put in here, and so it begins.
Next time! After waking up, Alex learns what's been happening, and vows to lead the new Class VII in Rean's stead.