Chapter 18: Black & WhiteEdit
- Avatar: This place is so beautiful...so calming.
- Azura: Isn't it? This is Izumo. It is known as the kingdom of the gods. Even as outside kingdoms quarrel, it remains neutral and peaceful.
- Avatar: So this is the beauty that peace allows for... How inspiring. If this place is neutral, perhaps we should rest here for a while. Everyone must be exhausted after all our many travels and battles.
- Azura: Agreed. We might be able to gather some useful information here too. The area surrounding the Hoshidan capital is heavily guarded. As of now, we have no good options for getting there safely. Perhaps someone here know something that could help. Then it's settled. Let's go!
(Scene transitions to inside a castle)
- Izana: Hello there! Greetings and salutations! You've traveled far, haven't you? You have! Welcome to my not-so-humble abode, Nohrian friends!
- Avatar: Thank you very much for the...erm, warm welcome.
- Izana: My castle here is a teeny tiny bitty baby, but please make yourselves at home.
- Avatar: We, um, will do that. But...may I ask who I have the pleasure of addressing right now?
- Izana: Oh! OH! Silly me! Yes, allow me to introduce myself. I am Archduke Izana, first heir to the divine bloodline, descendant of the gods...keeper of prophecies, and winner of best hair six times running. Not to brag. It's so nice to meet you!
- Avatar: Y-you're an archduke?! Really? ...Really, though?
- Leo: Impossible. He's so disgustingly casual...
- Camilla: I'm a little surprised he's able to lead a whole kingdom like that...
- Xander: It's downright unsettling...
- Elise: Hi, Izana!! It's great to meet you too! Let's be best friends, heehee!
- Izana: Ooh! Aren't you the cutest little girl this side of the Bottomless Canyon! You are my new favorite, Lady Elise!
- Elise: Hm? Um, did I already introduce myself? I know I'm forgetful, but...
- Izana: Ah ha ha... Ehem. Right. Don't be a goose, milady. You are all part of the Nohrian royal family. I know all of your names! It's only fitting for an archduke such as myself.
- Elise: Oh, that makes total sense!
- Azura: Hmm...
- Izana: I must say, you royals have the most exquisite of exquisite timing. Tonight I am hosting a banquet fit for lovely little royal types like you! I already have the most TO DIE FOR guest list. You'll die! You simply MUST attend. You must! You will, yes? Will you? Won't you?
- Avatar: Guest? Who might they be?
- Izana: Yes! It's hard to believe, but you're not the only royals I've collected today. I also have the honor of hosting the Hoshidan royal family!
- Avatar: What?!
- Sakura: Avatar?! Is that r-really you?
- Hinoka: Avatar! What are you doing here?!
- Takumi: ...
- Ryoma: Avatar... How unexpected.
- Avatar: H-hello...
- Xander: Stay back, Avatar! Those people are dangerous. They will stop at nothing to steal you away from us.
- Ryoma: Ha. Nohrian logic at its finest. Don't forget who stole our brother/sister first.
- Xander: Speak ill of Nohrians again, and so help me...
- Ryoma: Why are you angry? It's not an insult if it's true.
- Xander: You really desire to feel my blade at your throat don't you?
- Ryoma: Just try it! I dare you!
- Izana: Whoa! No, no, no! Stop this at once! You don't want to be held responsible for breaking Izumo's neutrality pact, right? Put those awful swords away THIS INSTANT.
- Xander: What pact?
- Izana: Our lovely little Izumo has a strict pact that prohibits fighting of any kind. Even princes like you would be severely punished if you broke said pact. So let's all just put those nasty weapons away and enjoy supper! That's an order.
- Xander: ...Fine. As a fellow ruler, I will respect your laws.
- Ryoma: I may stay my blade, but don't expect me to let my guard down. I don't need a weapon to kill you, should the need arise.
- Xander: You wish to engage me in hand-to-hand combat? That can be arranged...
- Izana: Heh heh...ehem. Now, now, silly princes. Enough of this combat talk. So boring! You may be at war, but as long as you're under my roof, you'll play by my rules. They're such fun rules too! We'll start by locking away those weapons of yours. Now, our bountiful banquet is still cooking, so enjoy our amenities in the meantime.
- Xander: ...
- Ryoma: Hmph.
(Scene transitions to the Avatar and Xander in another room)
- Xander: Well, that was unexpected. How are you holding up?
- Avatar: OK, I guess. I'm so sorry about all this, Xander.
- Xander: Not everything in the world is your fault, little prince/princess. We're here because you're a good leader who wished to give us a safe place to rest. None among us would even consider blaming you for what's happening.
- Avatar: Thank you, Brother...
- Ryoma: Hello, Avatar.
- Avatar: Ryoma?!
(Ryoma is shown)
- Xander: What do you want, Hoshidan?
- Ryoma: Please, calm yourselves. I mean no harm to either of you. I simply wish to speak with my brother/sister.
- Xander: So that you can steal him/her away to Hoshido the first chance you get? I won't allow it.
- Ryoma: Watch that temper of yours, Nohrian prince. I admit I acted out of line earlier, but I will not stoop to violating Izumo's peace pact. As high prince of Hoshido. I don't have the luxury of making such a political misstep.
- Xander: ...As crown prince of Nohr, I am bound by the same political constraints. If you and yours can behave amicably then so can we.
- Avatar: Hmm...
- Xander: Is something on your mind, Avatar?
- Avatar: It's just...despite your differences, the two of you are quite similar in some ways.
- Xander: Avatar! There's no need to insult me like that. I could not possibly be anything like this sorry excuse for a prince.
- Ryoma: For once, I agree with Prince Xander. To start, I'm far more attractive.
- Xander: Beg pardon?!
- Avatar: Whoa! Easy there! Don't fight now—we just started getting along! And I wasn't talking about your looks. Maybe it's because you're both heir to your respective thrones... But the dignified way you carry yourselves...how you care so deeply for your kingdom... I just think deep down, you two are more alike than you may think.
- Xander: ...
- Ryoma: ...
- Nohrian: There he is! The high prince of Hoshido! Get him!!
(Izana shows up with two soldiers)
- Avatar: Nohrian soldiers? What is the meaning of this?!
- Xander: How dare you act against our orders!
- Izana: Ignore those party poopers, soldiers. Capture Prince Ryoma! Do it now!!
- Ryoma: What the... Unhand me!
- Xander: As crown prince of Nohr, I demand you to stop this at once! What are you playing at, Izana? I thought all violence was forbidden here.
- Izana: Heh heh, that's the best part. I...am not Izana.
- Xander: What?!
- Zola: Eeheehee! It's been a long time, Lord Xander.
- Xander: Zola!
- Zola: Phew! It feels SO GOOD to finally be myself again! It was hard pretending to be that twit of an archduke with the Hoshidan royals around.
- Xander: Where is the real Archduke Izana? What have you done with him?!
- Zola: Eeheehee, I'm afraid he and his ridiculous hair have been locked away a long while. He'll no doubt enjoy the company of Prince Ryoma in that ungodly cell. Oh! Let's not forget the other Hoshidan royals. Sweet death awaits all of them! I wonder if the littlest one will c-c-cry when her time comes...
- Xander: You monster! Do you really mean to kill them? Even the youngest ones?!
- Zola: But of course! King Garon will be so proud when I tell him of my triumph! When I heard the Hoshidan royals were attending a royal banquet in Izumo... I used my incomparable illusive magic to take the archduke's place. Genius, no? Then it was only a matter of time until the Hoshidans crawled into my web, hyo-ho.
- Xander: That's despicable, even for you.
- Zola: No more flattery, please! I'll blush! Now we can capture Hoshido once and for all. I bet the king will grant me a new title! If you'll excuse me, I have some very important death sentencing to do.
- Xander: Zola, halt! ZOLA!!
- Avatar: Xander... Wh-what are we going to do?
- Xander: Don't worry, Avatar. I won't allow this treachery to go unpunished. Hoshido may be our enemy, but to murder its royals while they are unarmed... I won't have us win the war this way. We will win with honor or die trying. Come, Brother/Sister. Let us go set free our sworn enemy.
- Avatar: I'm with you all the way, Xander. You really are my hero. I hope you know. ...Heh heh.
- Xander: Was that a guffaw I heard? Out with it, little prince/princess. What's so funny?
- Avatar: Heh, sorry... It's just that you and Ryoma really are so much alike. If you weren't on opposite sides of a war, I think you could have been great friends.
- Xander: Yeesh... Do me a favor and keep that nonsense in your head where it belongs. Now, to the task at hand. Gather our troops and prepare for battle. Zola isn't one to postpone violence. We haven't much time.
- Avatar: I'm on it!
“Why are you fighting this?! I am not you're enemy, those Hoshidans are! I act only for the glory of Nohr! Why is this happening? WHY?!”
—Zola's Conquest Chapter 18 pre-battle quote.
“I must...r-report back...to King...Gar...on...”
—Zola's Conquest Chapter 18 defeat quote.
- Avatar: It's over, Zola. Release your prisoners.
- Zola: But why?! I captured Nohr's enemies for you! You should be thanking me!
- Leo: Contemptible fool. This may be our father's way, but it is not ours.
- Zola: Lord Leo...
- Leo: You are a mockery and a disgrace. It sickens me to think there are rats like you tainting our kingdom's grand legacy. Impersonating a peaceful leader to trick the Hoshidans into letting their guard down... That's a coward's game, Zola. You'd probably rather die than live with the shame, correct? In that case...
- Zola: EEEK! No! Please!! M-m-milord... I was wrong! S-so wrong! I have seen the error of my ways! P-please...spare my unworthy life!!
(Leo moves closer to Zola)
- Leo: Make peace with it, Zola. Perhaps on the other side you will find forgiveness. For your crimes against humanity... Begone!
(Leo attacks Zola)
- Zola: GYAAAAAAA!!
- Leo: *sigh*
- Avatar: Leo... Did you really have to kill him?
- Leo: I did it so you wouldn't have to. If we had let him live, he would have told Father we helped the Hoshidan royal family. Then all of us would have been in grave danger.
- Avatar: I suppose so...
- Leo: You're still too soft, Avatar. I envy your innocence. A rat like Zola must be cut down upon defeat for the good of all. What would you have us do? Accept him as an ally only to suffer betrayal later? The scoundrel would have just bided his time until he could blab to Father or Iago. But the dead can't speak, can they?
- Avatar: ... I know you're right... That doesn't mean I have to like it.
- Leo: Good, then this matter is settled.
- Avatar: Leo... You would have made a really frightening enemy...
- Leo: Hm? Did you say something?
- Avatar: Um, nope! Nothing at all.
(Scene transitions to an image of a feast)
- Izana: Ooh, it feels great to be free again! Thanks for saving me! I was almost toast, but now I can celebrate with a toast instead. HA!
- Leo: Ugh, so excitable. He's just as bad as his doppelganger.
- Camilla: I was hoping the real Izana would be a tad more...dignified.
- Xander: Truly unsettling...
- Elise: YAAAY! I got to befriend two Izanas in one day! That's a whole lotta Izana, KEEHEEHEE!
- Leo: ...
- Camilla: ...
- Xander: ...
- Ryoma: Hmph.
- Avatar: Ryoma! I'm so glad you're safe.
- Ryoma: ...
- Avatar: Is something wrong?
- Takumi: Quiet, you! Filthy traitors don't get the honor of speaking so casually to Ryoma.
- Leo: So he/she needs your permission to express concern? *sigh* Hoshidans are the worst. I'd drop the attitude if I were you. After all, we just saved your sorry lives.
- Takumi: Let me make something perfectly clear. I feel no gratitude for what you've done. Saving us was the natural thing to do, even for Nohrian scum.
- Camilla: Oh my... I didn't know the Hoshidan royals were such ungrateful little monsters.
- Hinoka: How dare you! This all happened because of one of your underlings right? You should be apologizing to us, not looking for a pat on the back!
- Camilla: That face... You should have that looked at. It's not right, darling.
- Hinoka: You... You—!!
- Ryoma: Enough. We are...thankful that you saved our lives. Were the situation reversed, we would have done the same. As such, we feel no need to express our gratitude for your actions.
- Xander: Agreed. As it were, we don't want your gratitude. We only acted as Nohrian royals should. When we leave this place, you'll be nothing but an enemy to be defeated once more.
- Avatar: Xander, Ryoma... Everyone... Um, even if we're still enemies, I'm grateful that we can all share a meal together. I know this is likely the only time this will ever happen...but I'll always remember it. I...I know once we leave here, nothing will have changed between us...
- Sakura: Um! Avatar! I, um...
- Avatar: Go ahead, Sakura. Say what's on your mind.
- Sakura: I was just, um...th-thinking...it's really nice to finally see you again. I'm glad you... I'm glad you f-found a way to be happy...
- Avatar: Sakura... I'm happy to see you too.
- Sakura: R-really? You mean it?! Oh, Avatar!
- Elise: HMPH! Back off, you! He/She's my brother/sister! MINE!
- Sakura: Ah! I'm s-sorry!
- Avatar: Elise! Mind your manners, little one.
- Elise: But she's trying to take you away from me... She's my archnemesis.
- Azura: Heehee!
- Avatar: Azura? Did you just...giggle?
- Azura: I was just thinking that, in a weird way, this is all quite heartwarming. We're like one big family...albeit, a dysfunctional one.
- Avatar: Ha! I was thinking the same thing.
- Azura: Even so...this is nice. I never thought I'd have the privilege of enjoying a meal with all of my siblings.
- Avatar: That's true. Even though you could cut the tension with a knife...I'm so happy.
- Azura: As am I.
- Avatar: Though the moment is sure to end, I'll be forever grateful for this. I hope all of us can meet in peace again after the war is over. I wish that with all of my heart. I know that's a strange thing to say when we'll soon be trying to kill each other. But for now, I'd like to revel in this feeling, and in my dreams of an impossible future...