It's the freaking final chapter. Read it, review it, don't plan for anything else...
Final Chapter: The Promise Under the Blue Sky
"But I have no intention of letting you just die here. Just...get that ring back to Asakura...and...tell my family...tell everyone...tell Sakura...I'm sorry...I'm so sorry...I love you...and I always will...so please...live..."
I could hear his voice getting further and further away. I couldn't lose him now...not when we were so close to each other. I couldn't move my left arm...but I still had my right arm!
The gears on my Revolver Knuckle began spinning with such ferocity that it seemed like it was going to break. But I didn't care...it could always be fixed! Countless empty cartridges shot out as I slammed my fist against the black cage, and to my surprise and relief, managed to break a hole in it.
I flailed my arm around desperate to grab Yuu-kun. I tried to look through the hole but couldn't really see anything. But, I felt it. I felt him grab my hand.
"Subaru...I..." I heard him say but then I felt the cage move. "Subaru...let go..."
"No! I won't!" I screamed at him, tightening my grip around his hand. "I'll never let go! I'm going to take you home!"
"Subaru...it's too late...I'll find another way..."
"If there was one you wouldn't be doing this!"
"Subaru! Let go now!"
Then I understood why he was telling me to let go. A sharp pain smashed into my arm and it felt like a bone snapped.
"Your arm is going to be crushed by the warp! Let go!"
"No! I won't! I definitely...won't!"
This is bad...I'm starting to feel light headed. On top of that, it feels like something is beating my arm with a sledgehammer. I felt another impact which was accompanied by a loud crack and I was unable to hold back a scream of pain.
Yuu-kun let out a sharp cry before speaking with telepathy.
"Subaru...let go or I'm going to cut my arm off."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I pressed my face against the hole as much as possible and I saw him holding his other arm up with his teeth pressing his bladed fingers against his shoulder.
"It's useless...please...just let go before you get hurt even more..."
I couldn't even if I wanted to. That last impact caused me to lose all feeling in my arm. I have nothing more than a death grip on his hand now. And then...one last impact hit the back of my hand. I couldn't feel anything, but I knew...it had forced his hand out of my grip as I felt myself being pulled away.
I found myself falling as the scenery changed from the black cage to one of a blue sky before hitting some water and then floating back to the top. There seems to be come sort of commotion. Large objects were moving around slowly like they were being dragged into something as two figures came into my sight.
"Is that...hey it's her!" one of the voices said.
"Subaru-san? What in the world...?" a second voice sounded concerned.
"Worry about that later, she needs treatment now!"
"But...where are the other two? Yuu-san and..."
"I said later!"
"You don't think they're..."
"Do you hear the words coming out of my mouth?"
They were closer now and one of them was waving something in front of my face but my vision was too blurred to make anything out.
"Oh damn, she hadn't the fortune to fall unconscious...can you hold her over there?"
"Her legs look injured too. There's a lot of blood and its seeping into the water."
"Right...let's push the stretcher underwater then and move it under her."
I felt my body being lifted from the water before my world went dark.
"...multiple cuts and lacerations all over the body...dozens of fractures...right arm splintered in two parts...once at the elbow and again at the fore arm...hand utterly crushed...left arm injuries similar to those that have been hit by RPGs...stab wound in the left leg...magical properties preventing synthetic regeneration...will have to let heal naturally..."
There was someone talking nearby. I tried opening my eyes but could only open my left one. My vision was also a little blurry.
"If it had been anyone else...with all these injures she should be...guess it pays to be literally made of iron."..hmm? Oh, you're awake..."
"Asa...san...?" I tried to speak but my body felt too unresponsive.
But she didn't answer me as she pulled open my eye and shined a light in it.
"Hmm...recovery seems a bit slower than normal...is the problem the stab wound...or perhaps something mental? Humph...preposterous.."
"Quiet. Stop trying to talk."
She walked over to my left arm and undid its binds.
"Hmm...the integration of synthetic skin is perfect. I doubt even a dermatologist would be able to tell the difference...can you feel this?"
She pressed something cold against my arm and I nodded. She repeated with a bunch of things, making sure my sense of touch was working properly. She didn't say anything except when she wanted me to let her check something. Her silence hurts.
"Three weeks. It will be three more months before you are back to your best. I'm afraid I won't be waiting that long. You're going to have to find a hospital somewhere else for any further treatment."
Three weeks...I've been asleep for three weeks?
"The portal disappeared the moment you came out. The area it had occupied has returned to normal, though a few of the Bureau's ships were damaged when they were pulled towards it when it was resetting itself. And we didn't get a location on the planet we saw either..."
In short...everything was a failure...
"I'm going to sedate you and prepare to hand you over to the TSAB. After that, I'm going to leave TSAB space. There is nothing left for me here after all. One mission succeeded...the other failed..."
I looked up at her. She had taken off her mask but my vision was still too blurry to see her face.
"Do...you...hate...me...?" I struggled to get the words out. I was scared of her reply but I needed to know. She seemed to be a bit taken back at my question since she didn't reply right away. Or perhaps she was just thinking it over.
"Blau...Defender Blau was like family to me," she said, placing her hand on the bed as she leaned closer to me. "I watched over her and helped her as she went from a blank slate to something close to human, even though it was against my overall plans. She was hot headed, selfish, and never knew when to keep her emotions to herself."
Asakura-san's stare was like daggers piercing through me. From what I saw in her memories...she was extremely similar to myself.
"But I could never hate her...and therefore I could never hate you. I love both of you too much to ever hate you. So don't ever ask me that again. And...thank you...for bringing it back to me..."
She held up the small ring that Yuu-kun told me to take before he disappeared. I didn't quite get it, but it seems like it was important to both Ghost and Asakura-san. As I felt a needle enter my arm, the door opened and I saw a brush of blue hair walk in before my eyelid dropped.
Three months have passed since then, and Mid-Childa was slowly rebuilding itself. Like Asakura-san said, I was able to be up and about but my left leg was still healing and my right arm was still in a full cast and I had to use a crutch but at least I was no longer confined to the hospital and I was able to see out of both eyes properly, even though my right eye is permanently yellow while my left is green. After receiving the okay, I decided to take a walk in the city for my rehabilitation.
People were going on and about with their busy lives, but the scars of the short war against Null Enders would take a long time to fully heal. The damage to the planet, the loss of lives, and the loss of security.
Having another attack so quickly after the JS incident cause the citizens to question whether or not the TSAB was truly up to the job of protecting them. Many riots had broken out, not just on this planet, but all across TSAB space. I wonder if this was Null Enders's plan all along.
But at the very least, things were changing. They had to, or else another powerful militant force would attack, costing more lives...more precious...lives...
Yuu-kun never came back. If I hadn't gone after him would he have been able to use that black cage to get back instead? But he was about to be killed when we found him...would Null Enders have been the one to come out instead? Why is this so hard?
"Then you should stop thinking about it," someone behind me said. I turned around and saw Aoi-san standing there, wearing a business suit. "Glad to see you are able to stand on your own too feet."
"Aoi-san...I..." I began but I didn't really know what to say to her. The entire family had been avoiding me the past three months. Sakura-chan came to visit in the hospital once to visit three months ago, but I haven't seen her since then, and neither Aoi-san nor Shichiro-san came at all. Did the family hate me?
"What's wrong? Did you have something you wanted to say to me?" she asked as she walked up to me. "Well I have a few things to talk about as well. Walk with me."
Although she said that, the two of us didn't say a word to each other and I had kept my head down the entire time. I would rather just turn around and walk away, but I was too scared to do so.
"It's become so pretty hasn't it?" she said suddenly.
I lifted my head and looked around. We were in a park that I hadn't seen before. It was filled with lush green grass and flowers. There were stone walkways throughout it and many people were sitting on benches or passing through admiring the scenery, especially the monument in the center.
"This place was bombed during the battle," Aoi-san explained. "The TSAB sure can do a good job when they get their asses into gear. Hard to believe this only took three months to restore. Though it was a building complex before. I suppose they're trying to win back the populace by doing community work or something. That gaudy monument was erected and opened recently to 'honor' those that gave their lives during the war."
We walked closer to the monument which was bigger than I initially thought. There were hundreds of names written on it and almost as many photos, no doubt of the same people, placed around it. There were also tons of bouquets and wreaths next to each picture.
I understand now...these people were not admiring the monument...they were...
I was knocked off balanced when a small girl bumped into my crutch, causing me to fall on top of her.
As Aoi-san bent over to help me up, an older girl came by and picked the smaller one up. She had short brown hair that almost reached her shoulders and had emerald green eyes and was wearing the uniform of the TSAB ground forces.
"I'm so sorry!" the elder girl apologized again as she bowed her head and forced the younger one to do the same. "Marika, apologize as well!"
"Sorry..." the girl called Marisa said emotionlessly. She looked around Sakura-chan's age, her soft sapphire eyes shined past her shoulder length cherry brown hair.
"No...it's okay!" I said quickly. "My cast didn't crack so its fine...umm...?"
"Oh, my name is Amia Lee," she said extending her hand. "This is Marika Lowell."
"I'm Subaru Nakajima," I said as I took her hand.
"Kimura Aoi," Aoi-san said stiffly. "Did you lose someone as well?"
Amia looked taken back by Aoi-san's bluntness but she nodded.
"Yes...my mother...and Marika lost both her parents...
"I see...my son, who is also her boyfriend, is currently MIA," Aoi-san said as she placed her hand on my shoulder. Although I didn't feel this was the time to add that, I was relieved to hear that as it meant she didn't hate me at least...probably. "Were they civillians?"
"No...they were defending the evacuation shuttles. According to the reports I read, it seems they were attacked by only three enemy soldiers that were more larger than the others."
I guess they were Titans. Having only fought by their side on Planet Earth, I could tell they were strong soldiers. Tea seemed to think so as well.
"They were stupid," Marika suddenly spoke up. "Why did they have to die protecting strangers? Why did they have to leave me alone?"
"Marika...they were trying to protect..." Amia began but Marika cut her off.
"If they wanted to do that then they should have got on the shuttle too!" she snapped. "They were supposed to be...on vacation...your mom was too!"
"But they were also the only ones there at the time..." Amia said softly.
"Three off duty mages sacrificing themselves to ensure evacuation shuttles could escape," Aoi-san said with her hand on her chin. "The TSAB sure was spread out."
"They came out of nowhere...it was a completely unprovoked attack..." Amia said not looking at Aoi-san.
"Ahaha, of course they would say that," Aoi-san laughed as she shook her head,
"What do you mean?" I asked her.
"Nothing, nothing...it isn't my place to say anything."
Amia however was looking right at Aoi-san.
"Umm...please don't take this the wrong way," she said slowly. "But you're the Blue Rose, aren't you?"
"And why would you think that?" Aoi-san asked, smiling.
"I picked up your communication at the Ground HQ. I'm a Communications Officer, and I thought I'd heard your voice somewhere before."
"And if I am?"
"I want to thank you for your timely arrival. It's thanks to you that we managed to repel the enemy's space fleet."
"Are you sure you want to thank me? Technically, I am a criminal."
"But your leadership prevented my father's ship from being shot down. Criminal or not, my father is alive thanks to you. The reinforcements you brought also prevented the enemy from attacking the evacuation center, saving Marika as well."
"That credit belongs to either Enforcer Edward Kaufman who lead the defense or the Captain that was in command of those reinforcements. Though I daresay she won't be contacted by anyone for a while. Though, it's nice to see someone with a flexible sense of things. I only hope the military tribunal does too."
"You're going to court?" I asked, in shock.
"In about three hours. I know there is no escaping jail time. I could always go back into hiding, but I don't like running away."
"Then shouldn't you be at the courthouse?" Amia asked.
"I let the aide they gave me handle the paper work. He's a smart and understanding boy. I think he's around your ages," Aoi-san added pointing to Amia and me.
"Understanding?" I asked.
"I wanted to see my daughter again before this. Speaking of which..."
She activated her device and a long scarf appeared in her hands. She then held onto one end as the other end went flying over to her right. There was a loud grunt followed by a scream as she fished someone out of the crowd.
"You're late boy," she said, disabling her device and kicking the boy in the head.
"I'm sorry Aoi-san," Alex-kun said as he rubbed his head. "But Sakura-chan had to use the restroom and we ended up missing the bus..."
"Alex-kun! Okaa-san!" a small voice called out to them as a little girl came running up to us. "Oh...Onee-chan too."
For some reason, that last line pained my chest. I turned away from her and started to walk away but Aoi-san grabbed me by the shoulder and kept me from leaving.
"I'm not running away, so don't you dare run away either," she said and I immeidaly stopped trying to escape as Sakura-chan walked up to me and touched my cast.
"Does it hurt?" she asked looking up at me.
"No...not any more," I replied. I couldn't bare looking at her face.
"Subaru?" Amia asked looking between me and Aoi-san.
"She was part of a small rescue team that tried to save my son," Aoi-san said bluntly. "Tried."
Amia covered her mouth with her hand and became very quiet.
Was this Aoi-san's way of getting revenge? I never wanted to run away more than I do right now, but her nails were digging into my shoulder, as if warning me not to move.
"But she tried...that's all I can ask for."
I looked at Sakura with surprise. I never would have thought to hear her say that, especially since she looked like she had given up on everything when I saw her at the hospital. Did Alex-kun do something?
"Are you kidding me?" Marika, who had been extremely quiet the entire time, finally spoke up and was glaring at Sakura-chan. "She was supposed to save your brother and failed, and you are okay with that?"
"No one else was even trying!" Sakura shouted back. "Even though Onii-chan saved and protected everyone, no one even tried to rescue him when he needed help! They abandoned him because no one even was sure he was alive! But...Onee-chan tried. And I know he's still alive. And I believe he will come back!"
Marika was stunned at Sakura's words. Frankly, so was everyone else. The only one who wasn't was Aoi-san, who had her arms cross and was nodding with approval at her daughter's words.
"How...how can you be so strong?" Marika asked, her tiny body shaking. And finally, she seems to say what was really on her mind "Aren't you lonely?"
"Of course I am..." Sakura-chan replied. "But I Alex-Kun and Onee-chan with me. Don't you have anyone like that?"
Marika raised her head slightly before straightening up and turning to Amia, who smiled at her warmly, before nodding her head.
"I'm Sakura. Let's be friends okay, Marika-chan?"
At this point Marika started crying as Amia comforted her. That's right...Yuu-kun promised that he'd come back someday. We just have to believe in him.
"That's why, Onee-chan..." Sakura-chan said as she grabbed by hand with both of her hands. "It's okay to be lonely...but don't be sad okay?"
"What is this?" I asked wiping my face. "Since when did you become so adult?"
That's because...last time Onii-chan went away," said looking down at her feet. "I would always cry. But when I stopped...he came home."
She then looked up, trying to keep a smile on her face.
"So if I stop crying...he'll be able to...come home sooner...right?"
I knelt down and embraced her as hard as I could.
"It's okay...you don't have to hold it in," I whispered to her. "I won't tell anyone...it's okay to cry when you are sad."
I felt her tiny body shake as she began to whimper and felt her tears on my clothes.
"It's okay to feel lonely, but you don't have to be lonely alone. You're right. So let's wait. We'll wait for him together...is that okay?"
Yuu-kun...I don't know if you managed to get off of that planet of not...but we're still here, alive and waiting for you. I don't know how many days, months, or even years it'll take for you to come back, but your sister and I will be waiting.
But we will remain here...until the day you decide to come back to us...
And so...the seasons pass...and everyone continued to live the lives protected...
Sakura-chan and I were walking down the street together.
Two years have passed and yet another incident was wrapped up.
"Are you okay?" I asked her.
"It's just not fair," she replied shaking her head. "We only just become friends...I wanted Onii-chan to meet her too."
"She's only just going to sleep," I replied. "I'm sure she'll wake up when Yuu-kun comes back. Who knows, he might even be the one to wake her up."
"Like a prince charming?" Sakura-chan asked with a sly smile.
"No no no no no,I don't think, or want, him to go that far," I replied quickly waving my hand in front of my face.
"That's right. Onii-chan is your prince charming, right?"
She managed to let out a soft giggle as she spread her arms out and began walking on the edge of the curb.
"I hope Ix will wake up soon," she said softly. "Onii-chan might not like it if he saw her asleep."
"You're probably right...he's had enough pain dealing with look-a-likes. Well, we should hurry up and get back. Tea is going to treat me to dinner. Do you want to come to?"
"Huh? Is it okay?"
"Of course! You can't keep thinking on an empty stomach after all."
The two of us will continue living, and we will also continue waiting as I'm sure the day you come back is closer than I could ever hope for.
HOLY CRAP I FINISHED? After three years, I actually finished this story? Hurray!
So...I wonder how many of you saw this ending coming? I sure as hell didn't.
I recommend listening to "The Place Where Wishes Come True II" when Marika and Sakura talk. It's really...moving...
The story changed a lot from my initial plans, mainly because I had moved on from the Nanoha series. Null Enders, as in Future Yuuki, was actually supposed the be the head of the Cyber Knights, an AU Yuuki that became power hungry and wanted to take over every single possible universe. Yeah, I realized that that was stupid, so the guy became a traitor to a larger empire instead. The story became more detailed and Null Enders became a much more complex character than I originally planned. I was gonna make him a complete monster, but he ended up being a somewhat fallen hero instead.
I also didn't even include Apfel and Blau in my original plans, but then I thought, what better way to make Null Enders more than an evil overlord than by giving him bodyguards of people that were close to him before he turned? Unfortunately, Apfel, like Teana, got shafted as far as the main story goes, being nothing more than semi-important side characters, though I did try to make them seem just a bit more important towards the end. Too bad I couldn't figure out a better way than with a god damn love triangle...but hey, romance...you gotta have one...sigh...seems a bit half ass...
Course, everything I did in the early chapters seem half ass and that's prob why no one would wanna read it. So I thank you, the few of you who stuck by me for these last few years.
And what about those Devil Arms huh? So many questions...yes oh so many questions left unanswered...
Who the hell is "The Creator?" Is "Yuuki" actually Yuuki, the son Shichiro remembers? How did Edward escape the exploding underground bunker? Did I just introduce new characters at the last chapter? Will Asakura find peace? Who were the people in that picture? What exactly was that planet? What happened to Null Enders? Is Yuuki dead?
I will totally never answer any of these questions in a sequel that is not going to happen any time soon, especially not one taking place after Sound Stage X. Really. Don't expect it. You'll just be disappointed.
No Really...don't...and all because you guys couldn't give me just two more reviews...
I wonder how far you can deny things before it starts sounding like sarcasm? Cuz you know...that's totally not sarcasm.
Update July 14: Yeah...I lied...big shock. Look for Devil Arms: ReturnerS for the sequel.