Smiling weakly at the sight of Kazir, their only remaining-and most antagonistic-enemy, slumped flaccidly against the ruins of tyranny, Shinji collapsed with a sigh. "No!" Jinsoku snapped, quickly rushing over to catch his girlfriend's fall. She relaxed in his arms as her friends gathered around. Jinsoku removed her helmet and carefully stroked her forehead, her long, wavy blonde hair falling back as her helmet fell away. Rakurai, Arashi and Tsubaki stood still with solemnity, not knowing how to act seeing as they didn't really know Shinji, while Gale, Gigas and Mizu stood by, trying not to get upset.
"Jin...I'm...sorry, I..." Shinji croaked weakly.
"Don't talk, save your strength," Jinsoku said, tears rolling down his face.
"It's too late," she sobbed quietly, stroking his face. "I don't need it."
"Yes, you do! You're not gonna die here! I won't let you!" he cried.
"You don't...have a..ch...oice..." she wheezed, clutching Jinsoku's hand tightly. "I'm already dead...more...or less-!" she said, almost shouting her lest word as she violently coughed up blood for a few short moments, then settleing back down.
"Shinji...please...!"? Jinsoku whimpered.
"Gale...Mizu...congratulations..." Shinji said feebly, then turned to Jinsoku, his eyes red with tears. "Jin...I love you...so much..." she whispered.
And with that, Shinji Amimaya breathe her last. Her hand fell limp in Jinsoku's and her eyes los their light, remaining open while her head fell to the right (her right), gazing up at the bright,? now cloudless? sky. Jinsoku screamed wildy, crying into his dead beloved's abdomen, still clutching her hand as if she were still alive. Gale let out a wratg-filled growl, and threw of sword to the ground aggressivley.
"GODDAMMIT! IT WAS OVER, IT WAS DONE! IT'S NOT FUCKING FAIR!" Gale shrieked with grief and ager at losing her best friend. Mizu quickly took ahold of her and pressed her against his chest, where she sobbed into his arms.
"It's not fair..." she whimpered amidst the pain.
"I know," Mizu said under his breath resignedly. With all the sordid ends that close friends and comrades had met in this battle- Makoto, Nina and? Altair-,? the loss of someone as? close as Shinji? was almost too much to bear. But it must have been utterly soul-destroying for Jinsoku.
In that moment of despair, Roux came running up.
"Guys, we did it! We-" Roux's mood and tone immediately sullened when she was Jinsoku carrying Shinji in his arms. "Oh...I'm sorry..."
"It's alright..." Jinsoku murmured, wracked with pain, grief and remorse.
"Um, on a...lighter note, Mizu and I...we're...we're getting married," Gale said, but with an air of formality.
"Oh, wow! Congratualtions! I..can tell you'll make a great couple," Roux replied, regaining som of her lost joy for a moment.
Follwoing this, Enshi reappeared, empty handed.
"I see that the battle is over. We are victorious!" he exclaimed, then sombered down the way Roux had as he notcied Shinji's body in Jinsoku's arms.
"Oh, dear...my condolences, young one," Enshi muttered. Jinsoku didn't utter a word, merely nodded in appreciation.
"Enshi, where's Skylar? She alright?" Gigas asked formally.
"She will be fine, but she will be profoundly? deaf in her right ear. There's nothing I could do. She would've been deaf entirely if I had not acted when I did. I'm sorry," Enshi said miserably.
"It's fine, It's not your fault. Besides, you save one, right? Thanks,f or helpin' her out."
"You are most welcome, sir. Now, if you will, all please? come with me to the citadel. The rebels are gathered there, and I must speak for us all as their leader."
The group then telported to the front of the citadel, eager to witness the acknowledgemnt of their sacrifice...and their liberation.
____________________________________________________________________________________________Gale, Mizu, Gigas, Jinsoku, Skylar (who had been brought out to the citadel from the abandoned work camp,where Ehshi had treated her injuries) and Roux all stood? with Enshi atop the fairly tall pile of rubble that had amalgamted where the citadel entrance once was, gazing down at the crowd of remaining rebels of Kasai, Kyuuryuu, Chikyuu, and about thirty of the two hundred Sukaians that had been sent here to fight (some had been treated for their injuries after being found alive). Gale and the others had all removed their armour, discarding it on the battlefield. They would easily get new armour, and they didn't want to keep a reminder of the losses they had suffered this day. The murmurs of the soldiers fell silent as Enshi began to speak.
"Today is November the eleventh, 1111 A.W.D. Today is also the day that, elevan years ago, the White Star Empire attacked our land and imprisoned our people. Today, eleven years on, is the day teh empire was brought crashing to the ground and it's leaders brought low. TODAY IS THE DAY...OF! OUR! LIBERATION!"Enshi began soulfully, already inspiring cheers and hoots from the crowd of excited and overjoyed soldiers. Enshi paused until the cheers had died down before speaking once again. "Many of us have lost everything. Our homes, our friends, our loved ones and our pride. But there is one thing that we will always have, one thing that we will always chersih, one thing that will always be at our disposal, and that, my brothers, is FREEDOM!? Even if it is taken from us, we will take it back! Even if it is hard earned, we will earn it! Even if he have to fight through flesh and blood and bone and a thousand fiery hells to hold onto our freedom, WE WILL!" More cheering and affirmative whoops from the crowd followed.
"But enough about us. We may always have our freedom at the end of all of this, but we would be dead, if it were not for these noble warrior, these unsing heroes, these hunters,a nd Descendants! Without thier experience, knowledge and powers, we would be dust beneath the feet of the Wyrms! ...We must honour them...and those of them who have sacrificed thier lives in our name," Enshi continued. "A memorial will be erected here, for those fallen heroes; Makoto Suzuki, Altair Tatsumaki, Shinji Amimaya, Rakurai Kaminari, Queen Tamari XI? of Kyuuryuu, and Queen Nina I of Hikari, which now lies in ruins. This unfinsihed city, this battleground of fate and freedom, shall remain barren: a memorial to heroes fallen. They shall not be forgotten, even in our darkest hour. For it is they and their cherished allies who led us to victory. A solemn, affirmative and acknowledging murmur spread amongst the soldiers, before they dispersed, placing their dead, weapons, armour and other miscellaneous objects? onto extremely large? numbers of carts that were arriving, pulled by trusty Popos.
As the ceremony ended, the old comrades began saying thier goodbyes, for now, at least.
"It was a pleasure meeting you and fighting alongside you. I hope we can keep in touch," Enshi said politely. "Well, it it not quite goodbye yet; I will be sending many of our Forgemen over from Kasai to rebuild your village, Gale. But I will honour your further. I could take your tiny village, and make into the greatest city this land as ever known. Would you like that?"
Gale thought for a moment and consulted with Jinsoku and Mizu.
"Actaully, no. A city is too big. But If you can make it into a town...thanks," Gale said, smiling despite the loss of Shinji. Even Jinsoku was smiling, if only just a tiny, tiny bit. It was hard not to when you'd saved your kind from destrcution.
"Very well, I shall begin preparations as soon as we reach Kasai. Farewell, for now."
And with that, Enshi walked briskly away to a nearby cart, which promply drove away with a few other soldiers on it. Then, Gigas approached and shook all of his comrades' hands.
"You guys weren't too shabby...for kids, that is," he joked, blowing a few O's with his cigar. "I'll be in touch, an' I'll make myself useful at the reconstruction."
"Thanks alot, old man," Mizu joked back.
"Seeya 'roud, "Papa Gigas"," Gale chuckled.
"Later," Gigas grumbled, running off to catch the nearest cart before it departed for Kasai.
"I'll be going with him, guys. Thanks for letting me tag along. See you soon, I guess," Roux chirped brightly, before sprinting off to catch Gigas' cart before it left.
Skylar was the last to leave, heading toward a cart full of Sukai ninjas.
"Thanks for everything guys! I'll come help rebuild your village! Stay in touch, 'kay!" she shouted, laready running to the cart. Gale, Mizu and the tohers simply waved, smiles on their faces (however fleeting) as she clambered on, the cart departing for Sukai.
Gale, Mizu, Tsubaki, Rakurai, Arashi? and Jinsoku, still carrying? Shinji's body, headed for one of the empty carts, also one of the few that hadn't begun to leave. They climbed in, as the? driver,? who sat in the back of the cart asked them for their destination.
"Hyoku," Gale answered, finally at peace with herself, laying on her fiancé's chest as she stroked her head lovingly, the cart pulling away, headed for the ruins of home, soon to be rebuilt.
To Be Continued in: Fate and Freedom- Epilogue: Skylar Kuuki