The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
This summary contains spoilers for The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
Final Chapter - For Whom the Bell Tolls
The following day saw the capital shrouded in a dark cloud. All radios were tuned in to the report on the emperor's health and a special edition of the paper was being distributed.
Martial law had been declared and the students were forced to stand by at their camp. The only one not there was Altina, having received orders from the Intelligence Division.
Thinking about Altina's resolve to gather intel for Ash's sake, Rean and the other students rallied themselves as well.
Before long, the government issued a grave statement to the nation.
Chancellor Osborne declared that the infiltration of Heimdallr by Calvardian agents and the attempted assassination of the emperor was no less than a declaration of war.
He then announced the enactment of the National Mobilization Law, which was designed to bring every citizen of the Empire together to prepare for war.
Were they simply using Ash as a convenient scapegoat? Or had he been their unknowing pawn all along?
Either way, it seemed the wheels had been set in motion, but to what end, no one could say.
In order to gather all of Class VII together, Emma and Celine made it so Rean and the others could travel through the spirit veins.
It was thanks to this that Rean and his students were able to sneak out of their camp and meet up with Old Class VII in Himmel Cemetery.
At Emma and Gaius's suggestion, they all headed to the Heimdallr cathedral.
There, Thomas was waiting for them. He revealed his true title to all of them as the Second Dominion of the Gralsritter.
Furthermore, Gaius then introduced himself as the successor to the Eighth Dominion, having inherited his master's stigma.
Finally, the Crimson Witch, Roselia showed herself. Together with Thomas, she explained in detail the story of what happened in Erebonia 1,200 years ago.
Back then, Erebonia housed two Sept-Terrion: Fire and Earth. Each had its own people that served it, but the two groups were at war. In their final clash, the two Sept-Terrion ended up fusing together.
Their tremendous powers combined into a single being, and the Great One--the Sept-Terrion of Steel--was born.
Knowing its power was more than mankind could handle, the Kins of Fire and Earth worked together to seal the Great One away.
The Kin of Earth created seven vessels, while the Kin of Fire split the Great One's power and infused each vessel with a part of it.
Seven figures in the form of knights, each bearing the Great One's power--the Divine Knights.
As the centuries went by, the Kin of Fire became known as the Hexen Clan, and the Kin of Earth, the Gnomes. Together, the two groups watched over Erebonia.
Until 900 years ago when the Dark Dragon appeared. In dealing with the crisis, the Gnomes lost their Holy Beast, the witches their Elder, and the alliance between the two groups ended.
Presumably, this was the point where the Gnomes became the Black Workshop and began their work to unleash the Great Twilight.
All this was the 'fairy tale that tells of the end' Vita had mentioned, and the current state of things was a telling sign it would soon be upon them.
There were only two people who knew the whole truth: Chancellor Osborne and the Chief of the Gnomes, Black Alberich.
As the group was puzzling over what had happened, Vita appeared and explained Ouroboros' plan.
They had decided to work with the Chancellor and the Gnomes to bring about the Great Twilight, completing the Phantasmal Blaze Plan amid the end of the world.
A bell then rang out in the distance, and Vita conjured up a vision of what was going on outside.
They watched as pitch-black mana erupted from the ground below the Karel Imperial Villa, transforming it into a twisted, foreboding structure--the Gral of Erebos.
Among the group of the Chancellor's followers and Ouroboros members at the scene, they saw George, who had been missing for some time, Altina, lying unconscous...
...and a white-haired man with red eyes: Black Alberich.
But as soon as Alisa saw him, she recognized him as her father, Franz Reinford, who was thought to have died 10 years ago.
As if summoned by the bell, the city was suddenly overrun by cryptids and Magic Knights that appeared out of thin air.
Working together to fight off the enemies, the united Class VII headed for the Gral of Erebos.
As they reached their destination, the Derfflinger arrived on the nearby tracks. The students and instructors of the branch campus disembarked, ready to help.
Before them stood an army made up of the Stahlritter and two jaeger corps. George, now going by the name Copper Georg, stood among them, facing his former friends.
Combining their powers, Thomas and Roselia were able to open a small gap in the barrier that surrounded the Gral.
With their path in secured, Emma cast a spell, transporting her and the rest of Class VII into the dark structure.
The arrived at the top floor of the Gral. Ready to fight any that would stand in their way, Rean and the others descended down the spiraling path.
Along the way, they battled Anguis and Enforcers of Ouroboros, allies of the Gnomes, and the Chancellor's Ironbloods--Millium included.
In order to allow Rean and his students to move on, the members of the old Class VII stayed behind to occupy their opponents.
Carrying their friends' hope onward with them, Rean and the new Class VII finally reached the bottom of the Gral.
There, they found Osborne, Alberich, Cedric, Altina, and in the middle of the massive room, the sleeping figure of the Black Holy Beast.
When asked about the Great Twilight, Alberich was more than willing to explain.
The Great One's curse lingered all over Erebonia, altering the course of society and planting twisted seeds in the minds of its people.
He and Osborne intended to use that curse to bring together the seven pieces of the Great One and reforge them into a whole once more.
In doing so, they could drown the world in conflict, the endless struggles leading humanity to ever greater heights...
By slaughtering the Holy Beast with the proper tool, he explained, the curse would be released, and the Great Twilight would fall over the land.
This tool--a sword--required a being fully synchronized with a combat shell. One who was both human and weapon.
A being which could sublimate into the Sword of the End in exchange for its own life, the final model of which...was Altina Orion.
The Holy Beast then awoke, blood-red eyes opening up all across its body, and let out a roar of pure rage.
Rean summoned Valimar and his students' Panzer Soldats and together, they fought back against the beast with all their might.
The Holy Beast found an opening, however, and released a massive attack, blowing the students' mechs away.
The only one left on the front lines, Rean brandished his sword, but the beast clamped down on it with its fearsome fangs.
Then, as if to drive Rean further into a corner, a vision of the battle taking place outside the Gral appeared before them.
The Courageous had arrived on the scene, with Prince Olivert, Viscout Arseid, and Toval on board.
Alberich then pulled out a device, and with the press of a button, Class VII watched in horror as the airship was rocked with explosions, sending its pieces plummeting to the earth.
At that moment, the Holy Beast shattered the tachi in its jaws and leapt at Valimar, biting down on the Divine Knight.
Rean let out a pained scream from the cockpit as he felt the feedback from the attack.
It was then that Altina suddenly awoke. She jumped on Claiomh Solais and attacked the Holy Beast, freeing Rean from its grip.
The beast was unfazed, however, and moved to strike at Altina, who was trying to protect Rean with her combat shell's barrier.
At the last second, Millium rushed in and knocked Altina out of the way.
Despite pleas for her to stop, she had Airgetlam put up a barrier in place of Altina's.
'I'm gonna protect everyone!!!'
Millium made her final declaration before the enraged beast's claws struck.
Valimar managed to catch Millium and the destroyed pieces of Airgetlam in his arms as they fell.
Millium smiled weakly as a pale light engulfed her and she began to transform...
...into an enormous glowing blade--the Originator Zero sword.
Rean cried out in anguish and rage, his power consuming him. As it did, Valimar was overcome with its aura as well, changing to a sinister-looking form.
Rean reached out for the sword, effortlessly lopping off the beast's arm and proceeding to chop away at it in a relentless, blind fury.
As he landed a final strike to its heart, the beast faded away, releasing a sinister wave of darkness that spread outward from the Gral to every corner of the Empire.
As Rean lost himself in an uncontrollable anger, Azure Siegfried's mask fell to the ground, revealing the face beneath.
Having finally regained his memories, Crow descended to the lowest level of the Gral. Rutger and Arianrhod joined him, all three summoning their Divine Knights.
The Azure Knight held Valimar back as the Palatinate and Argent Knights wrested the blade from its hand.
Prince Cedric then boarded the Vermillion Knight and finally, Osborne called out to his own Knight--Ishmelga, the Ebon Knight.
As it held Valimar by the neck, Osborne made an ominous declaration...
'Now, Rean. Let us begin.'
'Together, we shall write the end to this wretched fairy tale. In ink, black as despair.'