As I walk through the valley of...no...sorry...just trying center myself...through being comical...
Let me start again, is that alright?
Yes? Take my time? Hey, that is quite nice of you. I knew that I could count on us weebs being there for each other when it counts.
As I walk slowly through the 'hallway' that connects the two spots where I teleport from and to, I can feel the heaviness in my heart slowly disappearing...
Although I can feel myself stopping every now and then too...
Just to think...to process...
Maybe it is an effect of this quiet and tranquil place...
A place where time flows differently since I do appear 'instantly' on the other side. It doesn’t matter if I walk or run here...
I wonder just how much time have I spent here...?
Anyways, I walk forward again, if only just a bit...
Maybe it is an effect of my inhuman body?
No, I am not in the same case as the Undead Majesty.
"Besides, I made sure that that would not happen, Auros. Your body might be of a different race, but your mind is yours, your heart is yours...you are you. That, I swear."
I know, Nerinne.
If that was the case it would've kicked in when my emotions where at its peak.
But I know you considered all of this when you told me there was no problem in doing this.
So maybe it is something else...
Maybe it’s that she was at peace?
Maybe it’s that I know that there still work to do?
No...I think I know...
It is simply the fact that I have accepted what I've done...that I have accepted what I will do and that I know that death is not the end...
I cannot get tired of saying this, but knowing what death truly means and what comes next can really help...I guess...for there is no feeling of being lost...
Or not in the traditional sense...I am not doubting...I am not denying...I simply jumped through all those stages?
Maybe they are happening all at once?
I know where I am, I know my destination and who I am...
“I killed Violet Death.”
She was in no way innocent.
Her army too.
And in doing so, I both have rid the world of someone that had harmed so many innocents and saved all those she would have harmed in the future. I protected this world because I love it and I want to know more of those I have met here.
“There is no turning my back on those facts.”
Even then, she died in the way she wanted to die.
She died peacefully and seemingly with no regrets.
If I am to give up because of it, I would be disrespecting our fight.
I would be disrespecting the character whose form I chose for my body.
I would be disrespecting the feelings of all the Maid-Knights, of Gabrielle, of Erevain.
I would be disrespecting the feelings of Nerinne.
“I would be disrespecting…my own feelings.”
I can't have that...
“I can't just stop...”
So, I'll keep saying it...until it becomes true!
“Until I make it true!”
I must be stronger and in order to achieve that, I need to keep moving!
I need to keep living this life I have been given!
I need to keep the parts of me that make me who I am intact and add more to them!
I need to grow!!
Because even if I am an adult, there is still much to learn!
"And I want to learn! I want to live! I want to help! I want to laugh! I want to cry! I want to see!"
And as I keep repeating these words, I notice that I have almost reached the end of this 'hallway'.
Also, I have come to realize something.
I was wrong.
This weight is not disappearing.
It will probably never disappear.
I am just picking it up and carrying it rather than letting it weigh me down.
Because that is my responsibility, not as a hero, not as me interpreting my waifu, but as a person who grew up with a grandmother who hammered a moral compass into them.
Someone who taught me to take responsibility for my actions and carry their weight.
No matter the world...those lessons will always be with me and nothing can take that away.
Not even a lazy amnesia plot.
This I swear to you Nana!
So, let’s take a deep breath and…
"Time to go."
And so, I step through the white 'exit'.
Five minutes earlier, when her Master was burying Violet Death at the base of the mountain after their fight, Erevain was running towards the battlefield.
And following close behind was her family, who were inside of a floating [Magic Shield] shaped like a wagon large enough to hold them.
Its speed was the same as hers, so it made Licht and Mary a bit afflicted with motion sickness.
Furthermore, they were keeping silent in fear that if they opened their mouths something would get out or even worse, get in.
But there was something that made both feel quite confused.
Euphemia was surprisingly alright.
Indeed, she showed no sign of having motion sickness or any discomfort whatsoever, even as Erevain jumped and leaped from the roofs and walls of the capital at a great speed.
She was even casually talking to Erevain and in her innocent tone one could see that she was making up for the lost time.
"Elder Sister, can I ask you something?"
"Of course, Euphy."
And Erevain was more than happy to oblige. Moreover, she was overjoyed at the fact that she was able to talk to her little sister as that, siblings. No need for an alias and made up backgrounds.
Although she feared that her question may be about the fate of their father, but if that was to be the case, she had already resolved herself to answer honestly.
"Lady Argento, you love her, right?"
Yet, her worries were proved to be unfounded with Euphemia’s question. One that she made without an ounce of subtlety and took Erevain completely by surprise.
"Wha—GH?! *COUGH* *COUGH*"
A surprise that extended to Licht, who in his attempt to voice it found that his fears were founded. As in…something got in.
Meanwhile, Mary only listened attentively.
"...is it that obvious?"
Euphemia smiled warmly as she saw the tip of Erevain’s ears turn beet red while she asked that.
"Even if it is easier to read you now, the eyes you show to her are something that I have never seen you show to anyone else."
As Euphemia said that, her voice was filled with happiness for her elder brother, now sister, but she could not deny that there was a bit of envy mixed in there.
But it was not an envy fueled by the desire to receive such romantic feelings from her eldest sibling, rather she was envious of the closeness her eldest sibling seemed to have with her Master.
Regardless of such feelings.
A closeness she had lost due to being separated for such a long time.
She knew it was immature of her to feel like that, not to mention improper for a princess, but then again…she could not help it.
After all, deep down inside her heart…she was just a normal girl. One that felt sad at seeing a rainy day and one that felt happy whenever she found a better leather for her hidden armor.
She also wanted to ask about something else, but with her now sister being easier to read, she had gotten the answer to that question without even asking directly.
'I shall wait until she decides to tell me.'
So thought Euphemia about such subject.
"At first, I…did not see her in that light. But when I truly saw her, I simply knew that I wanted to be with her. And that has not changed ever since. I want to know more about her, about the burdens she carries, about that hidden side of her that one can only catch glimpses of, and so much more. But I also want to follow this person who did not hesitate to help the innocent and felt hurt for their deaths. This woman who has vowed to carve a path for a better future with eyes full of honesty."
So declared Erevain with the only expression that would fit such words, the expression of a person in love.
Licht was surprised and clearly jealous, but he understood that his elder sister's feelings were genuine. He also was in no position to object given all that happened.
Mary, on the other hand, had a saddened expression, if even for a moment, before closing her eyes, smiling heavily, and shaking her head.
'After what I did and what happened, this feeling is...this feeling is a just punishment. Besides, I could never compete with that...'
That is what went through her mind as she looked down.
"I see, then she is indeed a good match for you, Elder Sister! That makes me happy!"
Said Euphemia as they got closer and closer to the battlefield, and what seemed like a tower from afar started to look more and more humanoid in form as they did.
"Thank you, Euphy."
"Hm? For what?"
Asked Euphemia a bit confused about Erevain’s sincere thanks, all as everyone realized what it was that they were seeing.
Licht and Mary wondered how would Erevain's comrades be able to deal with such a thing.
A thing that…weirdly enough seemed to be fighting against something below it.
Meanwhile, Erevain and Euphemia thought that since they were already going there to fight, there was no problem in continuing their talk while they got there.
"For not treating me any different despite what happened and my change."
So said Erevain as she prepared her sword and leapt with all her strength towards the battlefield from one of the Capital's ramparts.
"Oh, that? Why would I do that, Elder Sister? What happened was not your fault and I do not blame you for it, not a single bit. And you are you, no matter if you use a suit or a dress!"
Causing Erevain to giggle, Euphemia said that with a big smile on her face and love in her voice.
And she did so as she let her mana flow freely, which looked as if it was ecstatic about doing so and moved around quite vividly.
With that, their light conversation ended and thus they gave the serious matter they were approaching their full attention.
"Elder Sister, I am going to use my magic against that colossus. You do not have any problems with that, right?"
So asked Euphemia with a more serious tone, even if such question was really a mere formality, for she was already weaving her mana.
"It is alright, you are fifteen years old now so there should be no problems. Besides, I want to see it Euphy. Your strength."
With a proud but serious tone, Erevain said that, sending Euphemia’s motivation right through the hypothetical roof and causing her to smile eagerly as she started her chant.
"Being that is bound to me, I ask you to come..."
And as that was happening, Erevain glanced at Licht and Mary.
"Mary, you have done enough, just rest. And please, do not escape."
Mary's eyes widened a bit at the look of concern in Erevain's eyes before she nodded without showing any signs of wanting to refuse.
After all, there was no reason for her to escape.
"Licht, if you see any monsters or undead doing something suspicious near you, use your power to stop it. And do not even think of escaping."
Licht immediately nodded at his elder sister’s words, for he felt that even if he tried to escape, it would be useless.
And with that, Erevain willed the ‘wagon’ to descend in a safe area close to the battlefield.
It was then that Erevain's ears caught something.
They caught the sound of someone's excited laugh and metal clashing with something incredibly heavy.
Some would probably think of such sounds as nothing more than them mishearing, but in Erevain’s case…
She knew very well who was behind those sounds.
"Kris, you truly are mad."
As the path of two people converged, one Maid-Knight dared a mountain to hit her...
"MY TURN!! ORRRAAAAA!!!"
...and pushed it back.
Indeed, for the arm with which the colossus was wielding its sword was suddenly thrown upwards by the absurd strength of Kris, leaving said Grand Monster utterly bewildered and quite open to Kris’ incoming attack.
So she screamed as she swung her sword upwards with all her strength. Obviously, the sword itself did not meet with the colossus body, but that was not what Kris had intended anyway.
'Kris, you…crazy muscle head!'
Thought Gabrielle as she saw it.
The result of Kris' strength.
A result that materialized as she cut the air in a way that it turned into a massive blade, one that in turn cut into the colossus’ rock-hard armor-like skin, which pushed the colossus into a deeper state of bafflement, but it also made it consider that human ant as a threat.
"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! THIS IS WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT!!!"
Not only that, but the human ant was laughing, which angered the colossus.
And in its rage, it swung its sword at her again...
...only to be stopped all the same.
She then pushed it back and countered in the same way she did before, slashing at the air with her absurd strength and creating yet another massive blade, one that carved into the colossus’ torso like the first one and caused the cracks on it to both deepen and take she shape of a rough ‘X’.
But this time the colossus did not stop in utter bafflement and continued attacking Kris with its sword, slashing down at her again and again and again.
Surely common sense and logic would dictate that the maid would not be able to withstand such furious flurry of colossal attacks and yet…not only did she withstand them, but she was matching each and every one of them with attacks of her own, causing the ground to shake with each clash.
"ORA!! ORA!! ORRRAAA!! IS THAT ALL?!!!"
Moreover, she also kept creating blades of wind pressure that flew unimpeded towards their target and created more and more cracks on its target’s body.
And with every attack, the colossus could not help but wonder why…
Why it was being so difficult to crush its opponent?
Why was someone so small able to challenge and inflict so much pain to it?
Why…why was its arm growing weaker and weaker with every attack?
Indeed, such were the questions of an angered and deeply confused colossus, who felt an increasingly worse pain run through its sword wielding arm and hand every time its sword was repelled by the human’s.
Almost as if…as if the colossus were attacking something harder than itself.
That was impossible.
It must be.
…as numerous and deep cracks covered its sword wielding arm and hand, it felt it, that maddening pain, the worst it had ever felt, even in that fight, and it could not help but let out such a deafening wail. One that was not only filled with such sensation, but also fear, confusion and…despair.
And so, having been blinded by such overwhelming emotions and sensation, it stopped swinging its blade with a with a rudimentary technique and started to swing it at the maid in a manner reminiscent of a child throwing a tantrum, and while those desperate swings were indeed much faster than before, the Red Scourge still blocked, repelled, and matched every single one of them.
"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA SAY GOODBYE TO THAT..."
That is…until she did not need to.
Thus, for the first time in ages, the cries of a colossus could be heard all throughout the battlefield and beyond. Cries that even overshadowed the sounds made by its own arm as it fell apart, turning into many large pieces that rained down upon nearby allies and enemies alike, and while the former were crushed beneath them, the latter used their superior speed to leave the area with ease, including Kris.
Even then, the anger of the colossus was much, much bigger than whatever anguish it was going through, and so, having located the one who had hurt it so much, it raised its massive foot and attempted to squash Kris with it.
And what did the maid do before such thing?
Did she ready her weapon and prepared herself to push back an even greater part of the colossus?
Did she invoke one of her empowering skills?
Did she begin to move in hopes of avoiding it and create a chance to inflict even more damage to her opponent?
No…the maid did not do any of that.
Not at all.
"TRY IT! I DARE YOU!!"
The maid…the Red Scourge…she simply nailed her weapon on the ground, smiled at the sight before her, and shouted that from the top of her lungs, fanning the flames of rage that burned within the colossus and making it not just want to squash her anymore, now it wanted to completely erase her from the face of the planet.
Seeing that, her friend, her rival, quickly dashed towards her friend in hopes of helping her in whatever way she could, but then she felt it and stopped her advance.
Indeed, she felt the reason behind Kris’ ridiculous actions.
The reason behind her current smile.
She felt…the presence of those who were approaching the battlefield and understood.
And then, such feeling became a reality as a certain someone appeared seemingly out of nowhere, said that with a cold and regal voice, and proceeded to wrap her ominous looking holy sword in her black and red stormy mana, creating a massive blade with which she cleanly cut off the colossus’ leg at knee height.
Yet instead of falling upon the battlefield like the first of its lost extremities, it simply disappeared.
Or rather…it was teleported to a deserted location by the same person who had cut it off.
She was Kris' and Gabrielle’s Master.
But that was not all, for as the colossus cried in pain and lost its balance, it failed to notice the other two people who were fast approaching it. And they did so from up high, falling from the great altitude one of them had gained with her mighty leap.
One who was clad in a shining silver aura so strong that it painted her hair with the same color.
One whose combat clothes were covered in a hovering armor made from that same aura.
One…who gathered her mana onto her brandished blessed longsword and shot it at the colossus in the form a silver beam of light, which not only increased the pain it was in, but as it landed on its chest, it made a hole on it, exposing its core, its…heart.
It was beating like any other heart but rather than being made of flesh and blood, it was a crystal that emanated a rapidly flashing orange light from deep within, making it clear that the colossus was in complete distress.
And just as the silver-haired woman was close enough to the colossus, a chanting teen girl with black and white checkered hair appeared behind her.
"...your name is Aelux, I entrust all of my mana to you, so fight for me! [BLESSED FAMILIAR SUMMON]!!"
With that, the girl's white colored mana swelled and became as massive as the falling colossus, and not only that, but it also quickly took a humanoid form and threw a punch while it was still materializing.
In the brief instants that it took such attack to land, both the familiar’s hand and its still actualizing body became covered in an armor that while plenty unique, it still resembled the designs of the church, and in the center of its armor one could see her summoner, floating inside what looked like a gem, eyes brimming with power.
Thus, the familiar’s fist flew with an incredible speed and strength towards the now open hole in the chest of the colossus…
…and it went right through it, causing the colossus to release its loudest wail yet as its heart was forcefully pushed out of its body and was currently in the hand of the massive familiar, a hand that was now coming out from the colossus’ back.
But even before such legendary scene, there was something else that caught everyone’s attention, from the Maid-Knights and the Riders to the Capital’s approaching forces, something that surprised all of them even, and that was the fact that the colossus’ heart was still beating.
Thus, the colossus wailed and tried to break free from the familiar’s grasp, no matter the pain, the lost limbs, or that its very life was literally in the hands of its enemies, it tried and yet…that would not come to be.
Because in the end, it did not even matter, for the familiar crushed the colossus' heart in the very next instant.
What no one knew was that the grimoire that summoned it was inside its now destroyed crystal heart, or to be precise…the grimoire was its actual heart.
And as the colossus started to turn into mana particles and disappear, revealing its nature as a non-living summon, Euphemia's familiar also started to vanish.
"Thank you, Aelux. This was not bad for a first time...but I guess my body not being in top shape is at fault. That cold is surely to blame..."
With that, the familiar disappeared as it nodded at Euphemia's words which surprised her.
She then started to float down to the ground and was caught by her elder sister, who was using a [Magic Shield] as an elevator.
There, as she remained on her sister’s arms until they both reached the ground, she proceeded to ask her the following:
"How did I do, Elder Sister?"
"You did very well, Euphy. I am proud of you."
Erevain’s heartfelt words made Euphemia truly happy, happy enough that her eyes became teary and her voice gave out, for it was at that moment that her deepest and greatest frustration finally disappeared.
She was no longer the weak child that was sent to another place to be protected.
She was now someone that could help her sister in battle, someone that could defend her home from harm, someone who could fight.
And as they walked towards the woman clad in a nightmarish black armor and the one that had been fighting the colossus, Euphemia wiped the tears off her eyes and let out smile filled with both great joy and confidence.
"Yo! Long time no see, Master!! I could have handled the colossus fine on my own, but I guess I've had enough fun!! Hahaha!!"
So said Kris loudly with a big smile on her face after waving hello to the Absurd, who took off her terrifying helmet and smiled back at Kris.
"I can see why Nerinne praised your strength Kris, it is truly amazing. You are amazing, Kris."
Said Auros showing complete honesty.
"And I'll keep getting stronger, Master!! All so that I can fight you for real!!"
"Hmph, I shall look forward to that day then."
Hearing Kris’ words and seeing her challenging expression, Auros said that with an expectant smile, as she imagined how ‘epic’ and ‘montage worthy’ such a battle could be.
"That shall only be possible when you are able to beat me, Kris."
So declared the silver-haired woman who approached them both. She was accompanied by a teenage girl who was dressed as a maid for a reason no one there knew.
"Ha! I know!! After all, beating a Dragon Lord like Eternal Winter tops fighting a colossus...hm? Hmmm? That hair…Euphemia?! Is that you Lil' Euphemia??! That would mean that that familiar was yours...!! Who would have thought you had that strength within you, Lil' Euphemia!! Hahaha, that’s incredible!!!"
Kris, who recognized her friend and rival without a problem and answered to her words, got her attention taken away by the teenage girl that was beside said friend, for she seemed familiar to her. And after realizing who she was, she could not help but proudly and happily pat her head as she talked to her in an overly familiar manner, impressed by the power she had shown.
At first, Euphemia was confused as to who was the redhaired woman who was patting her head, but then she noticed two things: the ridiculously big sword that was nailed on the ground besides the maid and how she spoke with both her and her now elder sister.
"Could you be...?"
Thus, such murmur escaped her lips as she began to wonder if her thoughts about that person’s identity were right.
It was also then that…
"AH! I DEEPLY APOLOGIZE, PRINCESS EUPHEMIA!!"
...Kris realized that there was no way Euphemia could recognize her as she was now and as such, she was no different than a complete stranger to her.
One that was being overly familiar with her, a princess.
And that prompted her to quickly bow and ask for forgiveness in the politest tone she could muster, even if it was a ‘bit’ loud.
"Could you be...Kristoff?!"
"Eh?! You can recognize me?!"
…Euphemia exclaimed that while looking at Kris’ face closely or more like the scar that was on it, surprising Kris.
Euphemia then approached her and started checking Kris out with more familiarity, which made Kris feel a bit embarrassed, especially when she looked at her chest. Gabrielle joined them shortly after and Euphemia was at a loss for words after discovering who she was.
Meanwhile, Erevain smiled at the scene and approached Auros, who was also enjoying the wholesomeness of what was happening.
"Eternal Winter shall not be a problem anymore. As such, I have returned to your side, My Lord Auros."
"Yes, you have, Erevain."
Erevain’s words combined with her enthralling appearance and her smile took Auros’ breath away and made her heart flutter for a moment, yet she managed to control herself and such response, even if it was not in her usual regal and cold tone, but rather it was a soft and warm tone.
Then they both gazed at each other longingly for a moment that seemed longer than it was until…
...they both got beet red after feeling the stares of Kris, Euphemia and...Gabrielle.
"*ahem*...should we assist them, My Lord?"
Said Erevain as she turned her gaze at her comrades who were dealing with an unending sea of undead.
Despite the maids being powerful enough to fight Dragon Lords and having blessed weapons, those overwhelming numbers posed trouble.
Why? Simple. They kept coming. Destroy one. Two took their place. And even worse, the powerful ones simply reassembled themselves.
Such unrestful horde truly honored its name, Bone Legion.
And doing the same as her right-hand woman, Auros turned her gaze towards that side of the battlefield, sharpening it as she fixed her gaze on a member of a certain team, one who was carrying a superbly crafted weapon with a gorgeous red sheath.
And she smiled.
"No, we shall not interfere. If I do so it would mean that I do not trust Erica and the rest to solve this."
Having said that, she still made sure that every maid felt her presence, making it clear that she was back but she was not joining them.
"Besides, reinforcements are about to arrive.”
So she said as she looked at a certain point in the distance, one where the forces of the Church and the Kyrie Kingdom could be seen getting ever closer to the battlefield.
Thus, the last act of the battle that would become legend was about to begin.
To be continued...(cue epic illustration of Kris fighting and the other three doing their attacks!!) (Up next: Who shall bring light to the forces of evil?!)
Thank you for reading! I hope that you enjoyed the chapter and I’m sorry for the delay, a lot of things have been happening in my life and I also used a couple of days last week to focus patreon stuff, which may or may not be a song about making maids out of…well, you know.
In any case, the time has come FOR OFFICIAL ILLUSTRATIONS!! YES!! TODAY IS THE DAY THAT THIS STORY STARTS ITS PATH TOWARDS AN ILLUSTRATED FUTURE!! THANKS OBVIOUSLY TO LARH, MY KO-FI SUPPORTERS AND MY PATRONS! AND WHAT BETTER WAY TO START IT THAN WITH AUROS HAVING ACTIVATED HER [MANA BURST] AND WALKING TOWARDS VIOLET DEATH!!
Yes, you will find the first illustration at the end of chapter 84 and the other, the Nightmare version at the end of Violet’s monologue in chapter 87! Plus, if you want to check out another couple of versions, including an incoming helmeted one, you access them by becoming a patron!
I hope that you liked them!
And the next has already been decided, so please look forward to it as much as the next chapter!
Special thanks from the bottom of my heart to: EmbraceTheSleeb, Lord-Hollow, YukisoraRin, LordInquisitorSteele, Anon, Anon2, Tikku, Teresa, Ayth, Knight_Redundant, Schoookie, sumdudeguy, pokio, greatred, eeleater, ChaTY, CrimsonNarwhal, NAEON and AnimeFreak1982!
Please do not translate my work without my permission. Favor de no traducir mi trabajo sin mi expreso permiso.
Please do not repost the official or the fan-made art shown here and in the story in general. Por favor no repostees el arte oficial o hecho por fans mostrado aquí y en la historia en general.
See you all next chapter!