The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
This summary contains spoilers for The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
Chapter 4 - Radiant Heimdallr
July arrived, and brought with it a sweltering heat.
During one of their free days, Rean dropped by the Keep, where he had an interesting conversation with Professor Schmidt.
He told Rean about a man named Franz Reinford, who had died in an explosion ten years prior.
Not only was Franz the professor's first disciple, he was the inventor of the Panzer Soldats...and Alisa's father.
Later that day, the branch campus was informed their next field exercises would take place in Heimdallr, which was preparing for its Summer Festival.
This time around, there had been no word of movements from Ouroboros or any jaeger corps, but there were rumors of another threat.
The branch campus was to assist with local security, and this time they wouldn't be alone--the main campus would be there as well.
That evening, Rean spoke to his friends in the old Class VII about his field exercises. They all agreed the chance for their long-awaited reunion had finally arrived.
The next day, the students had another session of Panzer Soldat training.
Rean and Randy introduced them to the Goliath, a giant model of Panzer Soldat.
Most of the students had a hard time controlling the behemoth, but Altina seemed to take to it better than the others.
A mock battle was arranged, pitting Altina against the other members of Class VII. Though she was a formidable opponent, her classmates proved the victors.
However, Altina didn't exit her mech afterward, and gave no response when the others called for her.
As they tried to reach her, the Goliath began emitting a strange sound and sprang to life once more.
Juna and the others were blown back by its unexpected attack. Rean summoned Valimar and had him scan the berserk mech.
According to him, Altina appeared to be in a trance, unconsciously piloting the colossal Soldat.
Rean deftly evaded her attacks and delivered a clean blow to its cockpit, snapping Altina out of whatever had come over her.
With that, the Goliath stopped its attack and powered down.
Meanwhile, high above the training ground, a floating black sphere witnessed everything unfold.
A dispassionate, clinical voice concluded the conditions were met to advance to 'the final sequence' before the sphere vanished.
As they departed for their field exercises a few days later, Class VII sensed the danger looming ahead, but resolved to confront it together.
Surprised to find that Principal Aurelia and Professor Schmidt would be joining them this time, the students and faculty boarded the train and departed for Heimdallr.
In order to meet with the local representative as usual, Class VII headed to Heimdallr Central Station.
Once there, they entered the Railway Military Police's headquarters and reported to Governor Regnitz.
They weren't the only ones this time, however. Prince Cedric and the main campus' Class I were there to report in as well.
After recieving their orders, Rean noticed a form among them labeled 'Top Priority Mission.'
'Investigate and capture the members of 'Hercules,' a special task force from Calvard currently hiding out in Heimdallr,' it read.
Hearing the details of their mission made the students a bit uneasy, but as they were going over things, the meeting room door opened and a surprising guest made his entrance.
It was the Blood and Iron Chancellor himself, Giliath Osborne. He greeted the room before turning his attention to Rean.
The two exchanged a brief greeting, the tension in the air palpable.
The reason the chancellor had come was to announce to the students that they had been invited to a party at Valflame Palace the day after tomorrow.
Though Class I was thrilled by the news, Class VII found themselves wary of the sudden invitation.
As Ash watched Osborne leave, he suddenly winced in pain, covering his left eye.
After the meeting, Class I issued a mocking challenge before departing, and Class VII headed to their assigned area.
As they made their patrols and searched for clues regarding the whereabouts of the Hercules members, they ran into someone on the outskirts of the city.
That someone was Thomas Lysander, the former history instructor at Thors' main campus.
But Rean knew him by his true moniker...Lysander the Partitioner, second among the Dominion.
He was a high-ranking member of the church and had been pursuing the truth behind the Black Records.
Class VII visited the Heimdallr Racetrack next. The manager had requested their help investigating the strange noises coming from beneath the track.
They descended underground to explore the tunnels beneath the city, and there, they found several patches of scarlet Pleroma Grass.
No sooner had they found them, though, than a Magic Knight suddenly appeared before them.
They dispatched it and then destroyed all the nearby Pleroma grass they could find.
As they were leaving the tunnels, they heard the sound of heavy boots echoing through the corridors.
They belonged to members of the Hercules squad. The agents had been using the tunnels to move about the city unseen.
Class VII took the opportunity to quickly surround them, weapons drawn. Their foes seemed unconcerned, however.
And for good reason. As soon as they were able, they made use of their state-of-the-art battle orbments to easily slip through the group's fingers, running deeper into the tunnels.
Class VII quickly gave chase, but lost the agents' trail after hitting a sudden dead end.
As they stood there, unsure how they should continue, the mysterious blonde girl appeared once more. This time, Rean wasn't the only one who could see her.
With her help, they were able to follow the agents through secret passageways and continue their pursuit.
Chasing their targets back up to the surface, they found themselves in Himmel Cemetery.
Awaiting them there were the smug faces of Class I, having just apprehended the agents they had been chasing.
The whole situation had gone according to Lechter's meticulously calculated plan.
After Class I left with the agents, Rean brought Class VII to one of the graves there at the cemetery.
It belonged to Crow Armbrust. The final member of the old Class VII, he had lost his life at the Infernal Castle during the war.
After paying their respects, they turned to leave, but Juna noticed something shining on the ground.
It was a decorative brooch engraved with House Rogner's crest--Angelica's brooch.
Ash then pointed out that the area surrounding Crow's grave looked like it had been recently disturbed.
Rean contacted the branch campus and upon returning to the grave to exhume Crow's body, they discovered it was empty, despite Rean and Towa having seen Crow buried there.
The group was at a loss, until Aurelia brought up the possibility that the body they'd seen at the funeral was simply a replica.
Meanwhile, the clock was ticking for the branch campus. Class VII received an order to capture the rest of the Calvardian agents by the end of the next day.
Despite all the worrying things on his mind, Rean was determined to keep his promise to his classmates. That evening, he took a bike from camp and headed into the city.
Rean arrived at the place they'd agreed to meet and found all of his former classmates waiting inside.
Together, they celebrated their first full reunion in over a year and had a lively conversation as they enjoyed the food Sharon had prepared for them.
As things started to wind down, the main topic of discussion came up--the task they had promised to do when they met once more.
'Identify the path Erebonia is headed down and determine how Class VII will act.'
Talking things over, they determined that Erebonia could only be headed in one direction...
An all-out invasion of the Calvard Republic. They had seen the swiftly increasing number of railway cannons and the rapid expansion of the military firsthand.
Further, they knew that behind the scenes, the Black Workshop was working under the Chancellor to plan something related to the Empire's dark past.
As the state of the world came into clearer focus, the old Class VII knew that the situation had become more dire than they had feared.
They knew that they had to stop the war looming on the horizon...
...and at the same time, discover what was happening behind the scenes and prevent whatever calamity was brewing there.
Everyone there agreed, resolved to do their part.
The second day of field exercises dawned, and the remaining Calvardian agents had become more cautious, with the majority of them hiding underground.
Principal Aurelia and Randy each led a team of students into the tunnels to conduct sweeps.
Meanwhile, Class VII returned to patrolling the city, hoping to discover any new clues.
Later in the day, they received word from the other two teams.
They reported that they had found the agents, but something was wrong. The agents had acted strangely, exhibited monstrous strength, then disappeared into thin air.
Rean then called Emma, who identified the agents as having become Nighttouched. She also told them she discovered the spirit veins below the city converged at the Imperial Museum.
As Rean and his students arrived there, they found one of the exhibits glowing with a strange light and they were told a similar light had flooded the museum's basement.
Heading into the tunnels below to investigate, they found that the entire area had been warped by the ominous miasma that filled the air. An otherworldly gate stood before them.
A group of agents emerged from the gate, their movements stiff and their behavior strange. The mysterious girl then reappeared, subduing the agents with special talismans.
It was then that Class VII finally learned her identity: Crimson Roselia, the elder of the Hexen Clan.
She told them the Dark Dragon of legend had begun to restore itself and was the cause of the agents' transformation into Nighttouched.
Mentioning she had her own mission to see to, she ran ahead into the imposing gateway.
Rean's classmates arrived shortly thereafter and together, the united Class VII entered the gate to help save Heimdallr from certain disaster.
After winding their way through the dragon's lair, they finally find themselves in its center, along with the Dark Dragon itself.
The beast let loose a powerful roar and a fierce battle commenced.
When there was an opening in the battle, Rean took it to call in Valimar to help slay their foe.
Wielding his Zemurian ore tachi, he unleashed a fierce assault, pushing the dragon back.
It let out an unearthly roar as it was defeated, and began spewing pitch-black miasma.
Seeing this, Roselia cast a spell, and the Dark Dragon disappeared, bathed in a soft, white light.
Class VII then found themselves back in the underground tunnels--with no trace of the Pleroma grass, the Dark Dragon's lair, or the ominous miasma.
Having successfully saved the day, they breathed a sigh of relief. It was then, however, that Azure Siegfried appeared before them once more.
The mysterious figure readied his dual guns, looking for a challenge. Rean stepped forward to represent Class VII.
In order to prove something they had all long suspected, he would battle Siegfried one-on-one.
After a heated battle, the two reached a stalemate.
Frustrated, Rean confronted Siegfried about his true identity--Crow Armbrust.
However, it only served to agitate the masked man, and he promptly summoned the Azure Knight and teleported away.
On the third day of their field exercises, a ceremony was held at the racetrack to recognize the students who had helped to capture the Calvardian agents.
Though the events in the Dark Dragon's lair were not made public, Prince Olivert offered his thanks to the members of Class VII as well.
The students were then given the rest of the day to enjoy the start of Heimdallr's Summer Festival and take in the festivities.
Before Rean could plunge headlong into the celebration, however, General Craig summoned him for a meeting.
There, he told Rean what he knew of Osborne's past...and the truth about Rean's birth mother.
Fourteen years ago, Osborne was a Brigadier General in the army and lived happily with his wife and child.
That is, until a noble-born officer who had long resented Osborne for his success arranged for an attack on his home.
In the aftermath, only the body of his wife was found. Osborne and his five-year-old son had vanished.
Three months later, Osborne abruptly returned and swiftly brought the Hundred Days War to a close. In honor of this feat, he was appointed as chancellor.
But what had happened during those three months he was missing?
General Craig told Rean that, as Osborne's son, he was the only one who could discover the truth.
Heavy thoughts still weighing on his mind, Rean nevertheless enjoyed the festival before joining Towa and Class VII at the Imperial palace.
There, they spoke with Empress Priscilla, Princess Alfin, and a multitude of other guests they were acquainted with.
At one point, Claire notified Rean that someone wanted to speak with him, leading him deeper in the palace to a meeting room.
Waiting for him there was none other than the emperor of Erebonia, Eugent III.
With a grave expression, he told Rean of the curse that had tainted their nation from its very inception.
The people of Erebonia, he explained, were honorable and strong, yet history was full of their violent acts of folly. Sometimes, they would almost act as though possessed.
He also told Rean that the Imperial family was in possession of the true set of the Black Records, which detailed the events of the past and the future awaiting them.
If he had tried to steer the country away from its tragic acts, the force that distorts the minds of its people--the curse--would have only warped and twisted fate further.
This, the emperor told Rean, was why he had done nothing to hinder Chancellor Osborne's plans.
As their meeting concluded and Rean left the room, he was stopped by Osborne himself.
The chancellor told Rean that he sensed there was something he'd like to discuss, and the two headed to another room.
There, Osborne told Rean the truth of their shared history.
Fourteen years ago, when Osborne brought Rean to Ymir, he destroyed all evidence he had a son and of his past connections to Baron Schwarzer.
As a revolutionary taking on the Four Great Houses, Osborne explained, he couldn't have anything holding him back.
He then went on to explain the details of Ouroboros' Phantasmal Blaze Plan.
They had used the false 'phantasm' in Crossbell to awaken the sleeping 'blaze' in Erebonia. One of the legendary Sept-Terrion.
However, Erebonia housed not one, but two of these sacred treasures.
A clash between them thousands of years ago gave birth to the Great One. All of Erebonia was entangled in its blessings...and its curse.
As Osborne began to leave, Rean stopped him, asking for an explanation on why Crow's shot didn't kill him, and if it was connected to the scar on Rean's chest.
Osborne stopped, and with a small smile, begin to explain.
During the attack on their home fourteen years ago, Rean's heart had been pierced by a shard of debris. In order to save him, Osborne had given Rean his own heart.
The chancellor then left without explaining further, saying he would leave Rean to figure out the rest on his own.
His mind spinning with questions, Rean returned to the party to find that Ash was missing.
Hearing that, Lechter's face went pale. He, Claire, and Millium hurried to the room where Rean had met with the emperor. Rean and Class VII followed close behind.
As they neared the room, a single gunshot rang out.
They burst through the doors to find the emperor lying on the ground, blood pouring from his chest. Osborne had the culprit pinned to the ground. It was Ash.
He was unconscious and a malicious black miasma was seeping from his body.
Rufus inspected the small firearm Ash had used, and calmly declared it was of Verne Company make.
It was a gun from the Calvard Republic.