Unbelievingly, they meet at a clearing in the forest.
On one side stands Medusa, backed by a seemingly infinte army, the Skaggen by her side and an evil smile on her face.
On the other stands Maka, tall and defiant, backed by a much smaller group of fighters, rudimentally armed, but ready to fight. Soul takes a step forward, lock eyes with the witch and smiles, hoping that she seems a little bit fazed, at least. But upon seeing him, her smile widens and a chill runs through his body.
They stay like that, assessing the other for a while, none willing to strike first. And then, without there really being a catalyst, both armies start running, clashing in the middle, their side painfully outnumbered.
Soul looses all sense of what is going on around him. He knows he has to fight so he does, slashing, cutting through bodies, unwilling to let himself dwell on what he is doing or who he is killing, because he doesn’t like it, but it has to be done. After a while he realizes they’re a lot more than they were at the beginning, and almost most elves, although strangers to him, seem to be as poorly armed as they were, some of them are well armed, well trained, and Soul realizes that some of the Kraigeri have turned against their own.
He briefly sees Tsubaki, plowing through bodies with ease, long sword graciously flowing through the air, and Black*Star, close on her heels, dashing and sinking his daggers into every body that runs his way.
He’s distracted, an elf manages to throw an arm around his neck, suffocating him, but when the man lets go, Soul looks around to see Kim, a bit removed from the heat of the battle, winking at him and making another soldier to his side fall down, unmoving, all with a movement of her hand.
He keeps fighting, trying to tune out the sounds of bodies falling, metal clashing, and the screams, both of victory and pain. He slashes through another elf and then sees her, glorious, wielding the scythe like she’s done it her whole life, looking she’s hardly broken a sweat. He looks away, because he knows there’s no room for distractions, and avoids looking at the ground, scared of seeing familiar faces looking back at him.
He’s so engrossed in the battle, that he takes a lot more time than he should have to realize that something is wrong. The blade of his sword is vibrating, humming, and although he stops, it swings on its own, slashing through the body in front of him. He has half a mind to drop it, but the hilt seems glued to his hand and he can’t let go of it. he panics, wonders what is happening, and then he’s not in the middle of the battle anymore, but in a long corridor, like an undergroung tunnel, full of indentations on both sides. Logically, he knows this has to be in his head, but he doesn’t know how he got there, or how to get out.
He takes a step forward and hears a splash, like there’s water on the ground. He looks around to see that it reaches the top of his feet and has a weird color, not clear like water should be, He starts walking foward, unsure of where he is going, and realizes that the liquid is much thicker than water. When he looks back down, it reaches his knees,
He starts running, frantic, now trying to get away from the blood, he realizes, once the iron-like smell hits his nose, black blood that now reaches his waist. The more he runs, the faster it seems to climb up his body, clinging to his skin. He keeps desperately trying to get away from its grip, tries to reach the light at the end of the tunnel, Maka Maka Maka Maka Mak-
The blood engulfs him.
Maka looks around the battlefield, now only a few individual combats going on. She doesn’t see Medusa, but she looking for Soul, failing to see him as well. And once she sees him, she wishes she hadn’t.
It’s not Soul, she tells herself because the man chasing down the wounded soldiers, slashing at them and cackling, maniacal, can’t be Soul. His eyes are more red, she realizes, and his teeth are sharper, like he’ll use them to rip through someone at any moment. It’s not Soul.
But when she sees the Skaggen, behind him, black sword raised, she can’t help it. “Soul!” She screams his name, desperate, and he looks at her, like he doesn’t know her, but the something cracks.
She sees the blood coming out of his chest and screams, runs to him as he falls down, eyes returning to their usual color, and a fond smile spreading through his face.
Maka doesn’t pay atention to anything else as she runs to him, craddles him in her arms, screams to the skies because she’s lost him. He splutters, raises a hand so he’s caressing her cheek and she looks at him, although he can barely keep his eyes open.
“Soul don’t go, please, stay with me, please, I need you.” She begs, and lets the tears fall down her face, freely, because she can’t lose him, not when she’s lost so much already.
He smiles at her. “I’m sorry. I wish I could stay.” And lets his hand fall, lets himself inhale one last time and closes his eyes.
Maka freezes, shocked, and only lets him go when Stein forcefully takes him away from her, Black*Star holding her back as she tries to get out of his grip and hold Soul again.
Both Soul and Maka miss the moment when Kim and the Skaggen fight each other, when Kim finally redeems herself from the spell that had gone wrong, leaving Maka with no memories, and manages to free the spirits that had taken over the Skaggen’s body.
They find out their name is Crona, and they’re scared of everything, but after being possessed by spirits their whole life, no one blames them, and their habituation to life in society, life as themselves, is slow.
Both Soul and Maka miss the moment when Medusa flees the scene, only for Stein to throw one of his daggers at her, for her to fall down paralyzed, and Black*Star to unsheathe a dagger, one with a carved hilt, one he’d never used, finally avenging his father and ending her.
The blight of the land starts leaving, slowly, but the moment the witch is dead, the air starts getting cleaner, lighter, and because of it, or despite it, the sun shines on the bloody battlefield, illuminating not only their victory, but their mistakes.
Some claim that Maka is the one who should rule them now, she’s a light elf, she’s a leader, but Maka reffuses to even talk, crying over her companion, crying over her friend, crying over the fact that she’d never told him how much he meant to her.
Kid raises to power, on the premise that his father had been the ruler before Medusa, promises to bring balance to Skaldur, he’s Kraigeri, after all, not light, nor night, and to clean up Medusa’s messes, in time.
Maka is sitting on the floor of her chamber, facing the wall, not crying because she feels like she has no more tears left, the ache on her chest, holding her down. The door to her chamber opens. “Go away.” She mutters. She doesn’t want to eat. She doesn’t want to go outside. She definitely doesn’t want to talk about it.
Instead of Marie, Stein stands at her door. “He’s awake.”