The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
This summary contains spoilers for The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
Chapter 1 - Reunion
Two weeks had passed since the entrance ceremony, and everyone had started to settle into their daily lives. After finishing his work for the day, Rean returned to his room...
...only to hear an unfamiliar sound coming from his ARCUS.
Confused, he looked at it to find the words 'Round of Seven' and none other than Elliot's face on his screen.
Elliot explained that it was a new communication app Prince Olivert had created specifically for Class VII's use.
Glad to see his friend again, Rean and Elliot chatted well into the night.
The day after was the branch campus' first free day.
After a morning walk around town, Rean attended a briefing with the rest of the faculty.
Major Lechter Arundel of the Intelligence Division was also in attendance. He had come to inform them of the special lessons the branch campus would soon participate in.
Tagging along with Lechter on his trip was Millium, a member of the old Class VII and one of Rean's friends he hadn't seen in quite some time.
With everyone present, Lechter handed out the plans outlining the nature of the special lessons.
'There have been disturbances in the west half of the Empire,' the document read.
'Thors' newly established branch campus will be tasked with handling these threats.'
The students were to be sent to perform field exercises all across the Empire, where they would face such threats as hostile jaeger corps and even agents of the society--Ouroboros.
While the instructors reacted with a mixture of indignation and surprise, Aurelia appeared more intrigued than anything else.
She believed it would help teach the students two of the concepts on the branch campus' charter: to think of the world as a battlefield and to become the foundation of the world.
The others reluctantly agreed and it was decided they would leave for Sutherland the following Friday.
Later that evening, Rean was back in his room when a familiar tune began playing on the radio. To his shock, the radio show, Abend Time had resumed after having been off for over a year.
Its host, Misty, was actually Vita, an Anguis of Ouroboros who had been missing since the end of the civil war. Unsure of her plans, Rean decided to keep an eye on the situation.
The next day, the school had its first bout of Panzer Soldat training.
Rean and Randolph instructed their classes on the basics of piloting the mechs before ending the lesson with mock battles.
However, Ash Carbide--a student from Class VIII--demanded to face Rean one-on-one.
Unbeknownst to everyone but Ash, his mech's weapon had a hidden function, letting him make a sudden attack on Rean before the battle had started.
Though he was taken by surprise, Rean calmly dodged the attack and proceeded to easily defeat Ash.
Scoffing, Ash walked off as though he'd done nothing wrong. Though it was clear Ash would be a handful in the coming school year, Rean and Randy both recognized his talent.
On the day they were to leave for their field exercises, an armored train specifically for branch campus use, the Derfflinger, pulled into the academy's station.
Major Claire Rieveldt of the Railway Military Police disembarked, having come to personally hand the train off.
Pleased to see Rean and the others for the first time in several months, Claire accompanied them on their trip to Sutherland.
As the instructors boarded the train to depart, Aurelia bid them farewell and gave Rean some words of advice.
'As someone with great power, you must stay alert and always be aware of the flow of events in the world.'
'Face that which you lack head on. Rely on those around you when you need to.'
With that, the students and instructors of the branch campus set off to confront the turbulent era that awaited them ahead.
The next morning marked the first day of their field exercises.
They arived at the site where they would set up camp on the outskirts of Saint-Arkh--one of the oldest cities in Erebonia and its former capital.
During their time here, each class was assigned a different set of exercises to perform. Class VII was given two main tasks: patrolling the area and assisting the local citizens.
Together, these two tasks would be classified as Special Ops missions.
For their first order of business, Class VII made their way to Saint-Arkh to report the start of their field exercises to Marquis Hyarms, the noble in charge of the region.
It was also there they received the tasks they would perform for their Special Ops missions.
In addition to the list of requests from the citizens, they received a document labeled 'Crucial Investigation Report.'
It was an investigation into the strange monsters that had recently been reported around Sutherland.
Rean left the students to decide how they approached the tasks and after a bit of discussion, they had begun their first day of Special Ops missions.
After they had finished their patrol of the city, they began investigating the strange monsters. They went to the nearest sighting, just off the main road outside the city.
Suddenly, the sound of clanging metal and screeching gears filled the air...
...and three mechanical monsters appeared before them. They were archaisms--weapons developed by Ouroboros.
Their suspicions confirmed, Rean and Altina dispatched the machines, with Kurt and Juna following their lead.
After the battle, they heard a gruff voice call out to them.
A well-built middle aged man approached them.
He introduced himself as a 'hunter' and spent a few moments casually chatting about the archaisms and the branch campus' field exercises before heading off.
Rean advised the students to search the area, just in case there were any more archaisms lingering around.
As they investigated the direction the hunter came from...
...they found the smoking remains of several more of the machines lying in a pile at the bottom of a nearby cliff.
Later in the day, the group found themselves in the Isthmia Great Forest. Suddenly, the air went still and a mysterious blonde girl appeared before them.
Rean looked around to find his students seemingly frozen. He was the only one who could see the girl. Smiling mysteriously, she gave him a cryptic message before disappearing.
Unable to recall exactly what had just happened, Rean decided to keep the strange presence he had felt in the back of his mind as he left the forest with the others.
As they finished their tasks in the area, they happened to run into Elliot, one of the members of the old Class VII at the Saint-Arkh Cathedral.
Since graduating, he had made his debut as a musician and was performing in the city as part of his tour.
After a friendly chat, they left Saint-Arkh and made their way to Parm, the Spinning Town.
They arrived in Parm later that afternoon and headed out to a nearby road where more of the suspicious monsters had been sighted.
As they expected, more archaisms appeared, and though they struggled against them, they were ultimately able to prevail.
However, there was one more machine nearby, waiting for them to let their guard down. As soon as they did, it teleported behind Kurt and Juna, preparing to strike.
It was then that Rean dashed in, unleashing his power and making quick work of the machine with a few strikes.
Using his power left Rean exhausted. Kurt and Juna were confused by their instructor's strange ability. Altina, however, was very familiar with it, scolding Rean for calling upon it.
Once they had confirmed the area was clear of archaisms, they headed back to Parm.
After seeing to their other requests, they began searching the byroad south of town for anything suspicious. Before long, they came across an abandoned road that had been sealed off.
Following it, they came to a gate leading further into the mountains. It had been locked with a strong chain, and a sign warning of landslides had been posted on it.
As they debated what to do next, several new archaisms quickly descended on them.
Rean and his students withstood the machines' rapid strikes, eventually taking them down.
Just when they thought they had won, however, enemy reinforcements arrived, blocking off their escape route.
Due to the back-to-back battles they had been put through, the students had all but reached their limits.
Rean knew he would have to rely on his power once more to protect them. He readied himself to unleash it...
Just then, a blue-haired woman leapt in, seemingly from nowhere, and reduced the archaisms to scrap metal with a few swings of her massive sword.
It was Laura, another member of the old Class VII. Having finally mastered her family's sword style, she had come to Parm to help at the training hall.
Together, they all returned to town, and then parted ways with Laura. With their first day of Special Ops missions over, Rean and his students returned to camp.
That evening, the instructors met up to discuss the implications of so many of Ouroboros' weapons appearing in Sutherland.
Though there were a number of groups they could have reached out to for assistance, Michael decided they would handle the threat on their own.
Before their meeting could finish, however, it was interrupted by a challenge issued from a loudspeaker and the sound of an explosion outside. The camp was under attack.
The instructors rushed out to find a red-haired woman holding an anti-tank gun. It was Shirley Orlando, the Sanguine Ogre.
By her side stood the head knight of the Stahlritter, Duvalie the Swift.
The two members of Ouroboros had come to give the branch campus a 'greeting' and proceeded to call in an army of archaisms to attack.
As Classes VIII and IX defended the camp, Class VII moved out to support their classmates.
While they fought off the archaisms, however, Shirley managed to blindside them and dashed toward the train in an attempt to destroy it.
Just when it looked like it was too late, a barrage of gunfire stopped her in her tracks.
A girl with silver hair stood atop the train, her twin gunswords at the ready--it was Fie, another member of the old Class VII.
Elliot appeared as well, playing a melody on his orbal staff to heal the branch campus students. Finally, Laura leapt into the fray, demonstrating her newfound skill by challenging Duvalie.
The two members of Ouroboros decided they'd had their fill and retreated, but not before warning the branch campus to stay out of the events that were about to take place.
Though the Derfflinger survived the attack, some of the students were seriously injured and the Panzer Soldats had been badly damaged.
With this, there was no doubt left that Ouroboros had begun to take action once more.
Their second day of field exercises began on a tense and somber note. The faculty attended a briefing with Major Lechter, who had arrived earlier that morning.
Michael informed them that the Imperial government had decided the branch campus would deal with these threats without the army's aid. Upon hearing this, Rean came to a realization.
As if to confirm his suspicions, Lechter then produced a document and read it aloud.
'Ashen Chevalier, Rean Schwarzer--The following orders are on behalf of the Imperial Government.'
The document he held out was the same kind which had forced Rean to take action on many occasions in the year and a half since the civil war had ended.
Rean accepted the orders, as he had always done.
Though he disliked the way the government was using him as its pawn, he proclaimed that as a member of Class VII, there was no way he'd sit idly by if people were in trouble.
Hearing this, Laura, Fie, and Elliot entered the room, and announced they would be helping him.
They revealed that they and the rest of the old Class VII had had enough of watching Rean take on all the unreasonable requests the government foisted on him all alone.
They had decided to come together to help their dear friend.
As Rean and his classmates left to go stop Ouroboros, his students confronted him, having heard about his orders.
Kurt demanded to know why Rean was leaving them--and him, specifically--behind. In response, Rean bluntly explained Kurt wasn't skilled enough to bring to such a dangerous place.
This comment touched a nerve, and Kurt stormed off. Unsure if he had been too harsh, Rean left the camp with his classmates.
Upon arriving at Saint-Arkh, the group received word from Toval, a bracer they were acquainted with.
He informed them the Bracer Guild had concluded that Ouroboros was attempting to steal the Phantasmal Blaze Plan back from Chancellor Osborne.
With this, the group's first step was to find where the society was hiding their stash of weaponry and archaisms.
Fortunately, Agate, an A-rank bracer from Liberl better known by his moniker, 'the Heavy Blade,' arrived to help them with their search.
In order to gather intel on Ouroboros' movements, the group headed to Dreknor Fortress first.
On the way there, Laura asked Rean why he hadn't been using his Spirit Unification technique to call upon his power.
He revealed that during the Northern War, he overused his power, and it went out of control, leaving him unconscious and weakened for several days.
Because of that, he had decided to not use it again, unless he absolutely needed to, unsure of what would happen if he lost control again.
After arriving at Dreknor Fortress, they met with General Craig. The general agreed to hear the group out, but told them his hands were tied.
After listening to the general's explanation, Rean was able to deduce that the army knew where Ouroboros was, but was unable to act due to a situation unique to Sutherland.
Unable to offer them any direct assistance, General Craig decided to hand Rean and the others a document granting them access to the place Ouroboros had most likely set up their base.
However, he explained, this place was home to a national secret, and thus, they would need to receive Lord Hyarms' permission as well to enter.
They immediately set out for Saint-Arkh to meet with the marquis. Upon hearing their request, he immediately agreed to grant them passage, handing them a key with a pained look in his eye.
It was the key to the sealed off road Rean and his students had found the day before. The road led to the ruins of Hamel, formerly a village of the Empire.
The tragedy that took place there was a dark shadow on Erebonian history, and the ruins had since been sealed off from all, the Imperial Army and the marquis included.
Now knowing what awaited them, the group steeled themselves and headed to the Parm Byroad.
As they reached the gate, Agate joined back up with them and they proceeded up the mountain.
On the way, he explained to them the truth of the Hamel tragedy.
Fourteen years ago, jaeger dropouts had been hired to attack the village. In the process, it was destroyed and most of the villagers were killed.
The masterminds behind it were a group of noble officers in the Imperial Army looking to trigger a war with Liberl to make a name for themselves--the Hundred Days War.
When the truth of the incident was uncovered, the Empire signed a ceasefire with Liberl on the condition they never make public what had happened.
Hamel's name was quietly wiped off the map, the road sealed up, and the 'truth' became that a landslide had occurred in the area.
Upon arriving in the ruins, Rean and the others laid flowers in rememberance of the fallen villagers.
To their surprise, they encountered Shirley and Duvalie, who were there to pay their own respects. Despite this, the two groups ended up facing off against each other.
With Agate's help, Rean and the others were able to overcome the various beasts and archaisms the pair from Ouroboros summoned.
However, they were joined by even more reinforcements--the other two members of the Stahlritter and a regimental commander of the Red Constellation.
Just as it seemed like the battle was about to reignite, a Panzer Soldat suddenly charged out of nowhere, scattering the ranks of the society's members.
It was piloted by Ash from Class VIII. Kurt, Juna, and Altina leapt in as well. With their foes caught off guard, they pressed the attack.
Kurt readied his twin blades for battle, having come to terms with his inexperience. He told Rean that he had finally found his own identity as swordsman and as a member of Class VII.
Just then, however, a massive archaism appeared, swatting Ash's soldat away with ease.
It was the Aion Type-γ II. A successor to one of the godlike machines that had appeared in Crossbell two years prior.
Seeing it, Rean immediately raised his hand and called out to Valimar.
Together, they launched attack after attack at the Aion, but not even Valimar's Zemurian ore tachi had any effect on its massive armor.
Unable to sit by and watch any longer, Kurt helped a winded Ash out of the Panzer Soldat and took over, joining Rean in the fight.
Together, they were able to knock the Aion off balance and hit it with a flurry of solid blows. Visibly damaged, it finally shut down.
The members of Class VII cheered for their victory. Their celebrations were interrupted, however, by the appearance of the mysterious figures who had been watching the battle unfold.
Standing on a cliff above the fight were the members of Zephyr: Trap Master Xeno, Leonidas the Behemoth, and...
...Fie's adoptive father, Rutger Claussell, the Jaeger King, who had died three years prior.
After a brief conversation, Rutger leapt inside what appeared to be a purple Divine Knight and impaled the Aion, utterly destroying it.
Both jaeger corps and the members of the Stahlritter then quickly withdrew, their jobs complete.
After the dust had cleared, Rean began scolding his students for going against orders, but praised them for their performance in such an unexpected situation.
He also recognized Kurt's impressive display of skill and how far he'd come in developing his style in his own unique way.
At last, the final day of their field exercises was upon them.
Though still wary of what Ouroboros and Zephyr had planned, Rean and his old friends bid each other farewell for the time being, looking foward to their next meeting.
With their tasks in Sutherland complete, the members of the branch campus boarded the Derfflinger and prepared to return to Leeves.