We’re almost at the end. Next up is Victor Frankenstein (CV: Kakihara Tetsuya), who may know more of the truth than we think he does. This follows from the Common Route.
Chapter 9: Wanted Criminal
It’s been some days since Fran disappeared, and there’s still no news. As much as Cardia would love to search for him too, ever since the day Finis died her body has been feeling heavy. So she was told to rest. Saint come to find her with some tea, and observes that she’s worried over Fran. But he questions if it’s really just because Fran is a friend, or something more. Trying to find the answer, Cardia describes how she feels calm when with him, and wants to keep talking with him. She feels happy when she sees his smile, and affected when he’s angry or upset. Hearing this, Saint just tells her to treasure her feelings, as he plans to support her from the shadows. When she does realise her feelings, he’s sure that it will widen her world. Saint tidies up, and says that he will brew a new pot of tea. Cardia comes to the realisation of how much Fran means to her, who told her that she’s a kind girl and not a monster.
Later in the afternoon when everyone has returned, Van informs them that Victoria has taken back her protection over Fran. In other words, they are once more allies to a class one terrorist and being pursued. The news will be officially announced tomorrow. The reason for this is that apparently, Fran committed a terrorist act by using jikterium in the palace that has left 20 dead. Everyone finds it hard to believe this, but the truth remains a mystery. As everyone is about to discuss how to act from here on, Cardia’s horologium burns and she collapses. A few seconds later, the pain subsides and she reassures everyone that she’s okay. But she can start to see changes in the horologium’s light, even if it’s very slight.
Everyone else returns to searching for Fran, and Cardia returns to her room. She comes to the conclusion that the changes in her body and the horologium must have started since that encounter with Finis. And it isn’t a welcoming change. Left uncertain about the truth, she can only call out Fran’s name. She’s unable to sleep, and she can’t stop worrying about Fran. Since their first meeting, it’s obvious that Fran has been hiding something from everyone – the truth of her bring a homunculus. But there’s probably something else, and it may have to do with his disappearance. She decides to search his room for some clues.
While she feels guilty about trespassing, Cardia eventually finds what looks like a diary. The pages are filled with jargon and formulaes. But then she flips to one page which writes: “I created Cardia.” Her mind goes blank and she drops the notebook. Many questions run through her mind, but she tells herself that Fran can’t be Isaac and wouldn’t lie to them about this. Some time later in her room, something knocks against her window. Cardia finds a paper wrapped around a stone, and on it some text is written in Fran’s handwriting, telling her to come to Tower Bridge alone with telling anyone. Apparently there is a betrayer among them. While feeling relieved that he’s alright, Cardia is at a loss. The rest haven’t returned yet. After a short while, she leaves a message for them before heading towards the bridge.
There, she spots a shadow thinking that it’s Fran. Unfortunately, it turns out to be Arester and he’s brought a whole lot of Tasogare members to capture her. He had imitated Fran’s handwriting with that note to lure her into their trap. But Finis is dead already, so she questions their motive. Arester only answers that they’ve under the directive of a much larger organisation now, who desires her. As his men close in on her, a bright light explodes before them. A voice calls out to Cardia, which she recognises as Fran’s. He carries her, and jumps off the bridge, telling her to hold her breath. His face winces in pain for a moment, as they plunge into the waters. Though she has many questions for him, all she wants to do now is to not let him go.
In the river, Fran soon reaches his limit. So Cardia pulls him along as she keeps swimming, till they finally reach the shore. They escape into a nearby forest to avoid being chased after. While he wonders who is saving who like this, she replies that she’s truly thankful for him saving her back then. There, they dry their clothes and rest for a while. Cardia then makes full use of the skills Lupin taught her to escape, and Fran expresses his admiration. She points out that he was pretty reckless just now, and he agrees, saying that his body moved on its own. Cardia is happy that he’s safe, and thanks him again. Fran smiles, as he’s happy to see how much she worries for him, even though she must have a lot to ask him.
Just then, she notices his abdomen bleeding. She quickly makes him rest against a tree, while she treats it. He reassures her that it’s a light wound, and tells her to maintain her composure while treating – just like he taught her. But truth be told, he’s happy to see how worried she is despite how horrible he is. His words puzzle her, but once she’s done he gets up to leave. Fran stresses that he isn’t behind the terrorist act, and that it’s an excuse to target them. He doesn’t know who is after them, but he does know that at this rate many people will die due to acts of terrorism. He recalls the terrorist plan found in the underground lab, and believes that it’s being carried out now. He wanted to investigate more into it, and that’s why he disappeared. Fran apologises for acting on his own, and says that he plans to confront Victoria about this.
Fran wants Cardia to go back and inform the rest, since Tasogare already knows the mansion’s location. He wants to find Victoria first, saying that she wouldn’t harm him despite the capture orders – as she values the knowledge he possesses. Before he can leave though, Lupin and co. stop him. They overheard everything, including the terrorist plan, so it has everything to do with them. Cardia also persuades Fran to rely on them, just like how he told her to do so. Eventually, he agrees and they retreat elsewhere to talk over things.
Some days ago in the underground lab, two shadows noted that fighting took place here. They also heard of how Finis died here, and head towards the room filled with books and paperwork. One figure found the plans Isaac, and Finis, wanted to carry out. They decide to make use of this same plan, for the sake of England.
Chapter 10: British Queen
They move to one of Lupin’s hideouts, together with Dela and Sissy. As Fran tells the rest what he told Cardia, Lupin points out that right now the culprit’s motive is terrorism. But from what they know, Finis’ aim seemed to be different, especially since he needed Cardia. So it’s unlikely that Tasogare is still carrying out the same plan. In any case, Fran wants to appeal directly to the queen since she should help them stop the terrorism. As everyone gathers together to formulate a plan, Cardia asks Fran to help check the horologium as she cites the recent happenings. He immediately pulls her into a room. But then he realises that as he left the mansion in a hurry, most of the medical items he need are still there.
As such, Van escorts them back to the mansion. Cardia describes the symptoms to him, and Fran guesses that they started since she came into contact with Finis’ pendant. When asked to let him see the horologium, for some reason she feels awkward and conscious of his gaze even though she never felt this way before. Hearing this, Fran insists that he’s only seeing her as a doctor would treat a patient – though he did go quiet for a moment. He becomes embarrassed too, averting his gaze at first. After a while, he returns his gaze and observes that there’s nothing out of the ordinary now. But he asks her to let him know if anything else happens, and advises her to move together with him so that he can treat her immediately. Cardia feels happy just to hear that he won’t leave her side anymore. But she’s still unable to bring herself to ask Fran about the truth of those words he wrote in his notebook.
A few days later, they are ready to infiltrate the palace. As advised by Lupin, Cardia and Fran use the sewers to approach the palace. The rest will be helping them follow-up in case anything happens, as it was deemed that the less number of people infiltrating the better. Thanks to Lupin’s sources, they head to the throne room where it’s said that Victoria will be having her sessions the whole day. They wait for the right time before exiting, when no guards are around. They then hide in the bushes, and use Impey’s device to show their location. However, it explodes when they press the button. It looks like Impey failed this time and it puts them in grave danger as all the guards come marching here.
When they attempt to escape back into the sewers, Leonhard blocks their path. He proudly declares that he’s been staking out here every night, knowing that they will attack this blind spot. Fran throws a smoke bomb, before escaping with Cardia. But it proves futile, for they are soon cornered and brought into prison. She’s locked in a separate area from Fran, but she notes that they’ve only handcuffed her and seem to take her poison lightly. Just then, Leonhard appears and apologises for having to lock up a lady like this. While Cardia replies that he’s just doing his job, Leonhard also apologises for what happened in the past – including the fact that one of his men called her a “monster”.
Later, she appeals to him to let them talk to Victoria as Fran isn’t the real culprit and in fact wants to stop the terrorist attacks. Leonhard only replies that it’s not for him to decide. When asked if he believes that Victoria can stop the attacks, he says that what she does is right but she is ruthless in her methods. He recalls that he lived in poverty, and committed crime in order to survive with his sister. He was caught stealing on the day of her parade by a guard, and she saved him. Victoria even gave him a piece of her adornment, to exchange for money, after hearing about his story, and promised to give him a position as a guard. Ever since then, he’s sworn loyalty to her. While Fran treats Victoria hostilely, Cardia sees that Leonhard deeply respects her. She can only wonder which is the real queen. Before leaving, Leonhard asks her to believe in the queen, that she’s doing it all for the country, despite the circumstances.
The thing is, the plan for them was to get captured. After she checks that the guard is resting, she puts her mouth to the handcuffs and melts it. She lets herself out, and knocks the guard unconscious. After stealing his keys, she goes to find Fran. As expected, the security for his is a lot heavier. While she distracts the guards, Fran releases smoke and she takes the chance to knock the guards out. Though he is worried about her condition, Cardia reassures him that she’s fine. She releases him, and they go to find Victoria. Strangely, they encounter no one on the way and in fact, the throne room is empty. Their suspicions are confirmed, when all of a sudden they are surrounded by Leonhard and his men. Victoria also appears, as she reveals that they purposely fed them with information on her schedule to lure them out.
She guesses that he’s here to ask for the same request again, but Fran answers that it’s a much bigger issue. He informs her about Tasogare’s terrorist plans, which eventually aims to kill massive numbers of people in many European cities with jikterium. He pleads with her to stop it, but Victoria replies that she doesn’t want to. It’s not that she doesn’t believe them, but the fact is that she was the culprit behind the palace terrorist attack. She’s making use of Isaac, and Finis’ plans. Of course, Fran and Cardia are in utter shock. The former is angry that she’s suggesting that they witness the same hell again. But she states that it’s a necessary choice, just like the Vampire wars 2 years ago. Due to the previous King Edward‘s colonisation efforts, the country grew stronger but at the same time they’re seen as a threat by other countries. So they had to expand their army as quickly as possible. It was fortunate for them that Isaac appeared, as his discoveries further strengthened them. Even so, it’s not enough to take on the world.
In order to display their prowess and to scare the other countries, they used the vampires as a living target example. To her, if it weren’t for the Vampire wars they would be engaging in war with other European countries. Thanks to that, they’ve progressed even further. But she can’t guarantee that the military knowledge and skills they’ve gained will be leaked out one day. If that happens, their sole advantage will be gone and they will be at risk once more. That’s why she plans to stir up a war now and take the chance to reign over the whole of Europe. But naturally, there will be opposition. So she put up a performance so that there will be a common enemy for everyone to be united on. She then plans to carry out terrorist attacks in all parts of Europe, and of course all the culprits will be related to England – including Fran. When that happens, war is bound to happen. Victoria says that she’s prepared to do anything to protect this country, and questions Fran’s resolve to stop her.
The queen then directs her attention towards Cardia, whom she has read about in the documents in the underground lab. She remarks how she never thought that Isaac would be the type to create a daughter. Noting how she speaks as though Isaac is dead already, Cardia also observes that Victoria doesn’t treat Fran as if he’s Isaac. This only deepens her confusion over those words Fran wrote. Victoria then states that she won’t kill them, but if they fulfill her request then she will remove the warrant for them. She wants Fran to create jikterium once more. Apparently, there is still a large amount of it from the last production but its location remains a mystery. So she needs to ask Fran to make it again.
Naturally, Fran is reluctant to see it used to kill people even if she intends to protect the country. Seeing this, Victoria instead presents Cardia with a pocket watch which displays the amount of time she has left. Though Cardia is clueless, Fran reacts immediately. The queen observes that he didn’t tell Cardia about it, as expected of him. It all started after Finis used the pendant, which she takes out, to start the awakening of her horologium. So the nature of her horologium has started to change, and she has limited time left till she becomes a real monster. When that happens, the poison in her body will spread throughout London and kill everyone.
They made that watch based on the information they gained from the papers, and right now she has 30 hours left. Victoria wants to have guardianship over her till then, and avoid having her kill anyone, including Fran. Her words invoke Cardia into recalling what happened to Elaine. Fran is determined to save Cardia though, and tells her not to listen. For a moment, she is tempted to obey the queen. That is till Fran pleads for her to believe in him. In the end, Cardia rejects the offer and chooses to stay with him. So Victoria plans to lock them up till they change their mind, and orders Leonhard to fire. But the man hesitates, and Fran drops his button to set off a light explosion. They quickly make a run for it outside. Thankfully, Lupin and Impey come to their aid by handling the guards chasing them.
Once they’re no longer being chased, they catch their breath. Fran apologises for not telling her, as he didn’t want to give her more trouble. As Cardia gazes at the watch, she wonders if she should leave everyone’s side. But Fran grabs her hand, insisting that he won’t let her do so. She has saved him countless times – when she worried for him, when she said that he was important. She’s a kind girl, there’s no way he’d let her become a monster. Saving her is also a form of repentance for him. They return to the hideout. But before they can do so, the horologium starts burning and Cardia passes out.
Chapter 11: Secret of Alchemist
Cardia has a dream of the past, wishing that she could live peacefully with Elaine and Etty forever. There’s 9 hours left, as she wakes up and realises how much time has passed. During that time, Fran and the rest have been searching for the missing jikterium but to no avail. However, they are not looking for someone who was involved in that same project as him in hope of a lead. So everyone else has gone out. Fran is determined to find it before the government, and will do his best to cure her poison and save her. Even if it costs him his life. Cardia is grateful that he’s doing so much for her, even though she’s a monster. Once more, he corrects her and says that she’s a normal girl.
But she’s afraid at the thought of losing him, and tells him not to treat her kindly. Fran refuses, admitting that while he is scared of dying, what he’s truly afraid of is running away from her without doing anything. Cardia wonders how he views her, and she finally summons up the courage to admit to what she saw the other day. If there are only 9 hours left till she’s no longer herself, all the more she wants to know the truth. So Fran finally confides his past in her.
He was born in Switzerland, and came to England with the ambition of becoming an alchemist. He was accepted into the Royal Society, and started his research. Every day was fulfilling. Then one day, his thesis was widely praised and he received support from the country to lead a project on it – to create the philosopher’s stone. He worked hard, hoping that one day it will save many lives. But instead, a poisonous by-product was made, jikterium. Taking responsibility for his failure, Fran resigned. Isaac took him in though, saying that he had talent, and recommended him for the position of court alchemist. He was elated, but had no idea what was installed for him. Isaac proposed for him to research more into jikterium as it may prove to be useful in the future, which he gladly did.
That is, till he first hard that it was being used as a weapon in the Vampire wars. He immediately went to find Victoria to persuade her, but she told him to carry on with his research as surely it will pave the way for the future. Fran was furious at Isaac, Victoria, the government. But above all he was furious at himself for being so foolish. He quickly hurried to the site, hoping to salvage the damage. But he was too late and he encountered hell. Collapsing to his knees, Fran quietly whispered for forgiveness. He was in despair that his research for humanity led to this. So he fled from everything. He could’ve fought to prevent it from being used as a weapon again. But he was afraid and didn’t want to face up to it. After that, he heard that the government had kept a large amount of jikterium. So he decided to find and dispose of it before it can be used again.
He heard rumours that Isaac was researching on a homunculus. So when he saw Cardia’s horologium, he knew instantly. Fran blames himself for all the pain she went through, and is going to feel from here on. And he only wants to save her so as to escape his own sins. With clenched fists, he admits to being a lowly coward. But Cardia hugs him instead, and thanks him. If it weren’t for him creating jikterium, she wouldn’t be here. It may be a scary weapon, but thanks to it she could meet him, and spend her days with him. So she wants to keep fighting till the end beside this kind, cowardly but also brave person. After some time has passed, Fran admits that without realising it she has become important to him. He vows to save her, and Cardia feels sad as she observes how he’s being trapped by his sin.
8 hours left. The rest are outside and have come to a house where the key person is said to be living in. But there are no signs of anyone living here recently, and true enough the person inside is already dead. Perhaps he committed suicide out of guilt. They search his house and come across a letter left by him: “Terrorism would start in London first. And then it would be announced that it is the work of people sent by European countries. It would start from Buckingham Palace, and eventually switch its target to the people. The place would be an impoverished street in the outer wall of London.” Van immediately stuffs the letter in his pocket after reading, as the next target is just next to where Cardia and Fran are now.
At the same moment, bombs start to explode where Cardia is and a sweet scent fills the air. Both her and Fran instantly recognise it as jikterium, and they leave the building while covering their mouths and noses. Outside, Fran tries to lead the people away but his voice is lost in the chaos. Curiously, Cardia’s body feels lighter so he tells her to escape first as he wants to minimise the damage. Of course, she refuses and insists on helping him to evacuate the people. Along the way, other people also help them.
But as time passes by, she feels better but Fran is seen coughing more. When the smoke finally dies down and the police arrive, they leave the scene. He is surprised to see her feeling better, until something hits him. Fran quickly picks up a small stone, and starts writing formulas on the floor. When done, he realises that the solution was simple – using poison to combat poison with jikterium. He can’t make it in time, but as long as they find the hidden stash she can be saved. But the celebration is short-lived, as Tasogare’s men appear behind them out of the blue.
7 hours left, Victoria is gazing at an identical pocket watch. She predicts that the impoverished streets is in chaos now, all according to the plan. They just need to do the same in Europe, and say that it was England’s responsibility. With this, a war is bound to happen, and in the end England will take all. When she asks for Leonhard’s views, he only replies that as long as it’s for the future peace. She agrees, saying that everything is for the country and her people. But it’s questionable as to whether she’s speaking as a dignified leader or not.
Chapter 12: Calamity
6 hours left, Cardia and Fran are fleeing from Tasogare till the gathering point. But he soon tells her to go ahead while he acts as a decoy as there is little time left. She object to this, saying that she’s resolved to end her own life if she doesn’t make it in time. And so, she wants to stay by his side instead, for as much as possible, just like how he stayed by hers. Not abandoning him is the most important thing to her now. As she describes her feelings, she asks Fran what it is. He replies that it’s probably love, and the word sinks into her. Cardia confesses her feelings. Though he says that he is not worthy, she points out that she just loves him.
However, the moment is interrupted by Arester and his men. He says that the queen has given them a choice though – if they can get jikterium then they’ll be free. He explains that Lupin and co. already gained a lead before they could – the researcher’s last notes which also reveals the location of the missing jikterium. But he wants to take Cardia as a hostage, while Fran goes to get it. Knowing that they only have 6 hours left, he decides to give Fran 4 hours. If he doesn’t obtain it by then, they’d have to stop the horologium from awakening with force. Even if the queen may see value in Cardia as a weapon, Arester has no qualms killing her. He also hints that he has other plans for the jikterium, desiring to make a more beautiful world. He plants a tracking/listening device on Fran, and even has his men follow him lest he does anything.
Cardia persuades Fran to not listen, as she’s sure that Arester will recreate the living hell from 2 years ago. She is resolved to kill herself if time runs out. But he tells her to believe in him, and promises to save her. He hasn’t given up, and asks her not to do so either. With 5 hours left, Fran dashes off to reclaim the jikterium. If it was before, he wouldn’t hesitate to dispose of it so as to save countless lives. But now, all he wants to do is to save Cardia. The person who didn’t leave his side and loved him despite knowing the truth.
On the way, he encounters Van who said that he and Impey had been searching for them. Lupin and Saint have headed to where the jikterium is hidden. When asked where Cardia is, Fran does his best to calmly explain that he’s found a solution to her poison but they have little time left. At the same time, he taps morse code on his hand, hoping that Van realises the real situation. As expected of a former Tasogare member, he understands immediately and quickly brings Fran to the destination – underneath the palace. 4 hours left, Cardia is tied to a chair. Even her gloves are tied so she can’t escape like before. Arester tells her that Fran knows the location already, and he has sent his own men there. From the start, even if Fran obeyed he never expected Lupin and co. to do the same. When Cardia expresses her anger, he only appears amused. Noting that she doesn’t have much time left, he goes to prepare her last meal.
Left alone, Cardia can feel her condition worsening again. She has to escape now. Seeing a large gear decorating on the wall, she moves herself there to lightly cut her hand against it. The poison in her blood should melt the ropes, but strangely it doesn’t. The weakening of the poison could be a sign that the horologium’s changing. She focuses on undoing the ropes with the skills Lupin taught her. With 3 hours left, she’s feeling dizzy and unwell as the horologium burns. Finally, she’s free of the restraints. Cardia quickly checks the room, and notes that she’s on the 2nd floor. She seals the door with heavy furniture, before breaking the window open and leaping out. She takes down the guard there, and grabs his dagger before escaping. However, she’s soon chased down. Thankfully, Impey appears on his ornithopter and saves her. She briefly explains the situation to him, and they head to where the rest area.
At the same time, Fran and Van have arrived at the underground facility to regroup with the rest. They’ve been trying to find a way to open a large door but to no avail. As Fran talks to the rest, Van explains the real situation with morse code. It doesn’t take long for Tasogare to show themselves, and start to attack them. Seeing that Arester doesn’t want to keep his promise, Fran quickly comes up with a countermeasure. He explains to Van that Tasogare isn’t united at this moment, and with Arester absent from the scene it would be easily to manipulate them. He grabs the device off him, and loudly negotiates with Arester. As he demands that he has the last trump card needed to get the jikterium, the Tasogare members freeze. He goes on to say that only those involved know how to open the door to the room which contains jikterium, which includes him. Fran threatens to kill himself if anyone is hurt, even when Arester brings up the fact that he has Cardia as a hostage. But the older man refuses to take the risk, and says that his men will take care of everyone.
As another conflict is about to break out, Cardia arrives with Impey. While they are surprised to see her, now they no longer need to hold back and Fran tells Arester that it’s his defeat. But the latter only appears amused as he plays the phonograph. Just then, one of his subordinates report that they’re currently surrounded by the military. It appears that the queen wasn’t that foolish either. Arester only smiles as he draws his sword, and remarks that Tasogare is currently destroyed as of today. He stabs his subordinate dead to test his skills, before retreating from the stage of history as he fights his way out .
1 hour left, and Leonhard lead his men in to take down Tasogare. But it doesn’t mean that the situation has taken a turn for the better, as Victoria also shows up. She thanks them for distracting Arester and Tasogare, which gave them a chance to take them out – and led them to the location of the jikterium. She remarks that she’s doing all of this for the well-being of the majority. Saint agrees that it’s understandable to sacrifice a few for the majority – but that only applies to England. When taking the world into consideration, her opinion is one-sided.
Dismissing his words, Victoria explains that Isaac had helped to install a large facility here for one purpose. They can’t let an enemy country gain the information and skills they’ve developed over the years. So right here, there is a mechanism which will disperse the jikterium to the whole country. She plans to sacrifice the country to trigger the war. While many may die, including herself, the jikterium will completely disappear in a few dayas. And the survivors will end up taking revenge against the enemy countries. She’s confident of their victory with the weapons they possess. Her role as a queen will the end. Fran is enraged, but she only comments on how she’s envious of him. He always stands for what’s right, but doesn’t notice the many sacrifices that are born from it. If she could, she’d rather not take responsibility.
Victoria then takes out Finis’ pendant, saying that only Finis could open the door. Now that he’s dead, his pendant is the key. As she lifts it, a bright light shines towards the writings on the wall, and it opens up to reveal a pathway. She’s aware that Cardia needs the jikterium, and willing to cooperate with them. But she wants Cardia to lent her a hand in the future. In other words, she wants to use Cardia as a weapon. If not, she would end up killing everyone anyway if she doesn’t make it in time, which still works in her favour. There’s only 40 minutes left. Cardia answers that she won’t obey for there’s no meaning in only her surviving. She’d rather stay with everyone. Hearing this, Victoria orders the guards to attack them as she and Leonhard disappear down the hallway. If Cardia won’t cooperate, she has no qualms killing her off. But if she changes her mind, she can come after her.
Fran takes Cardia’s hand, as he confesses that all this time he’s been escaping from his past by trying to dispose of the jikterium. But upon knowing that it can save Cardia – being both an object that connects to her future and his past – he finally realised that there’s no meaning in running away from his past. It’s the same for the queen. Nothing can change the past of England’s colonisation. Instead, she’s trying to forcefully write over it. So even if she may temporarily succeed, she will end up inviting in more hatred. The world will keep walking down the wrong path. So he wants to stop Victoria. He is determined to both atone for his sins, and to save her. The rest tell the couple to go ahead, as they handle the guards.
Chapter 13: Knight of Princess
30 minutes left, and the couple run down the hallway after Victoria. But Cardia can feel her body getting worse, and she contemplates killing herself before things get out of hand. But Fran stops her from taking out the dagger. It’s because she’s too kind, she doesn’t know how others feel. He won’t be happy if he gets left behind. As much as she wants to believe in him, she’s reminded of her own past. She tells Fran how she once killed someone who was kind to her, and can’t stand to have it happen again. He stresses that he won’t die, and says that he caused people to die too. In fact, his sin weights a lot heavier compared to hers. That may be why he can’t leave her alone. Fran asks Cardia to promise him not to give up, to believe in him till the last second. She does so, asking him to let her believe in him.
He removes his gloves, and gently reaches for her face. The jikterium loses its poison for just a while when transforming, so that’s probably what’s happening to her horologium now. Fran finally touches her, saying that he wants to convey all of his feelings. He’s well-aware of her fears and pain. Just like how she said that she doesn’t mind that he’s a sinner, that same goes for him. He loves her. Even if she gives up on herself, he won’t abandon her. Even if she becomes a monster, he will continue to love her. While Cardia is still uneasy to even hope for a future, she’s encouraged not to give up either. Left with 20 minutes, they reluctantly let go of each other and continue down the hallway.
At the end of it, lies a large tree-like mechanism that has a blue glow like the horologium. A glass wall encases it, and Fran guesses that this is the mechanism to disperse jikterium. Victoria appears with Leonhard, as she says that she has already started it. So even if they want to stop her, it’s too late. Fran says that being Isaac’s disciple, he understands the man’s research to a certain extent, and is confident of being able to destroy the mechanism. Upon the queen’s orders, Leonhard steps forth to stop him. But they are taken aback when Fran removes all weapons off himself. The alchemist remarks that this is his way of fighting. They want to use force to control the world. So he would be doing the same thing as them, if he also uses force to defeat them and to prove his point.
His actions make Leonhard speechless, as Fran is clearly at a disadvantage. But Fran doesn’t stop even when his leg is stabbed. He stops Cardia from coming any closer, and soon the tree-like figure starts to rumble. Victoria remarks that it’s over, as is her role as the queen. Fran struggles to stand up again, and Leonhard remarks that if he obeys Cardia will be saved even if he dies. But Fran says that he believes otherwise. He definitely won’t die and leave behind his loved ones. Though he’s not a knight, this is his own knighthood. And he won’t give up trying to persuade Leonhard. He should know that this is wrong, and that there’s no justice in this terrorism. The knight is clearly shaken, as he hesitates to strike the finishing blow.
Fran goes on to question if the country is really doomed for at this rate, and if the country they’ve gone so far to protect is so weak. Unable to answer, Leonhard attacks him but Fran remains unfazed even when his leg is injured. Instead, he grabs Leonhard, saying that he always regretted not fighting back in the past. There is no justice in having to recreate that nightmare. Leonhard remarks that he only fights for Victoria, even if the path she chooses leads to hell. Fran points out that he’s not being a knight, when he can’t even protect the queen. If he’s a true knight, he would stop her from going onto this path of no return. The alchemist collapses on the ground when Leonhard pulls out his sword, and Cardia rushes to his side. Seeing this, Victoria orders Leonhard to kill Cardia, and notes that Fran can’t do anything more in this state.
Against her expectations, Leonhard refuses for he can’t strike a lady with no weapon. And he finds himself agreeing with Fran. Fran thanks Cardia for protecting him again, and drags himself to the controls. Meanwhile, Victoria says that she can’t stop here and says that she’ll do it herself if he won’t. Leonhard doesn’t budge though, as Fran desperately does his best to stop the mechanism. Then for the first time, the queen snaps as she points out how much sacrifice has been laid, and how much blood she’s stained her hands all for this day. But Leonhard replies that it isn’t a good reason to have more sacrifices.
Finally, Fran presses the final button and the room is filled with light. He’s succeeded in stopping jikterium from being dispersed, and also set off a self-destruct programme. But Victoria hasn’t given up, for she still has Cardia. There’s not much time left, and she observes that Fran is at his limit. While Leonhard persuades her to escape now, Victoria says that it’s all over anyway. She stabs him with a hidden dagger, asking him to die together with her. The guard only apologises and knocks her unconscious. He carries the queen, planning to leave with her first, and entrusts the rest to Fran. 10 minutes left, and Cardia can hardly move now.
While unconscious, Victoria has a dream about the past. She was extremely kind and meek when she was young. The type who would coop up in her room for a week when her pet butterfly died. Eventually she grew up, and came to recognise the hatred her father invited when war broke out on the colonised lands. So she tried to talk through and stop the war to seek peace. But that only earned the disfavour of her father. Then one day, she personally witnessed the tragedy as she saw the local people treated like slaves, and looking at them with contempt. This confirmed her belief that at this rate her country will be buried underneath the hatred from other countries. When she grew up and started having more political power, her own father saw her as an obstruction and planned for her assassination. When she caught wind of this, Victoria poisoned him first. After ascending the throne, she did all she could to rid of the root of evil left behind by the former king. She didn’t mind small sacrifices, and eventually started walking down a blood-stained path. And she’d reached the final point, thinking that she could finally put down the burden as a queen.
Victoria wakes up in Leonhard’s arms, recalling that he’d carried her like this when she was almost being assassinated. Seeing his unwavering loyalty even though she stabbed him, she’s overwhelmed with sadness. She remarks that it’s all over, and he’s now a traitor of the country. He agrees to accept any punishment, but insists that he’s never been her enemy once and will continue to swear his loyalty to her. So the queen orders him to kill her if Cardia becomes a monster, so as to take responsibility for her plan’s failure. When he refuses, she begs him to relief her of her duty already. Leonhard remarks that the country still needs her though, so she needs to take responsibility and keep on living for England.
Though she may think of herself as an unfit ruler, Leonhard recalls the warmth she showed him back then. She admits that it was all an act to gain public favour, but he states that it’s a fact that she saved his family. And ever since he served her, he saw that she was the saddest when sacrifices had to be made, and was the most conscious of her own sins. He’ll continue to serve her loyally, and will accompany her to the depths of hell when the time comes. Victoria remarks that he’s the most cruel and kindest person she’s met as a single tear rolls down her cheek. The first she’s ever cried since killing her own father.
At the same time, the room shakes as the self-destruct system has started. Fran says that he’ll have to remove the jikterium before that happens which will take 7 minutes. Cardia panics as there’s only 5 minutes left, but he reassures her that he’ll take care of it before her poison disperses outside. She’s worried about him, and he tries to calm her fears. Once more, he tells her to believe in him. Just then, something changes in her body and she struggles to keep it in. Cardia says that she’s very blessed to have loved him already, and begs him to kill her. The clock strikes zero, and a brilliant light shines from her chest and her whole body burns up. She can feel the poison seeping out, and Fran tells her to bear with it a bit longer.
Cardia is at her limit, and doesn’t want to risk killing Fran. He says that he’s almost done, but she uses the last of her strength to stab herself with the dagger. She doesn’t have to kill the person she loves this time, and asks him to hold her hand one last time. She’s happy to have been able to love, and thanks him. Fran is in despair, and holds her hand tightly, begging her not to die. When Cardia no longer responds, he breaks down. Once more, he was helpless, unable to even save the person he loves.
He dreams of Cardia, and wakes up crying. It’s a peaceful morning, but Fran feels empty inside. Saint knocks the door, informing Fran that Lupin and Impey are leaving today. They still have not heard from Van, who disappeared that day to fulfill his promise to Dela. Saint says that he plans to return to France, for his duty is over. When asked about it, he only replies that it’s a terribly boring and sad duty. As for Fran, he’d thought over things and may accept the offer to return to the court. He’d heard that Victoria is finding a solution for peace, so he’s thinking of returning to what he does best. Saint remarks that it’s a good decision, noting that his time has finally started moving again. Fran says that it may be because he dreamt of Cardia smiling. He doesn’t think that he can forget Cardia easily, but he’s finally decided to stop despairing over her. For her sake, he’ll live to his fullest.
Cardia stops herself from taking the dagger, as she tells herself to not give up. Fran succeeds in obtaining the liquid jikterium in a test-tube, but she’s unable to swallow it down. So he feeds it to her with his mouth. While she’s surprised at this dangerous act, she also wants to just feel his warmth. After he’s done, Fran says that the poison in its liquid form is a lot weaker so he won’t die from this. After all, they’ve decided to both live on. As they confess their love again, the room is filled with light as the place threatens to break down. Thankfully, Lupin and co. come to help them out as they escape the underground facility.
On one morning, Cardia is woken up by Sissy. Fran finds her still half-awake, as he asks if she’s still tired from the farewell party. After everything has been resolved, they held one last night as each of them move on their own paths. Everyone has left already, as they all decided that it would be hard to do so if she was present. Lupin and Impey are widening their search area, while Van wanted to fulfill his promise to Dela. However, in the end he joined Dela to help gather the remaining vampires to do something for them. And Saint returned to France, leaving the mansion in their hands. Cardia apologises to Fran for falling asleep even though she requested for him to stay together, but he replies that he’s happy to be able to see her sleeping face. It made him truly happy to think of her as his lover.
Just then, he stops talking as he blushes. Finally, he asks if they can sleep on the same bed from tonight onwards. Though he can’t deny other intentions, he does want to spend as much time as he can with her. Cardia rejects the idea, as she is afraid of hurting him. Though the horologium is stable now, the poison still remains in her body. Fran recalls the promise he made her on their first meeting. And on that fateful day, he was lucky to have obtained a sample of the jikterium. He reveals a test-tube filled with a sparkling liquid, and tells her to drink it. After doing so, her body feels a bit hot. Fran immediately kisses her, observing that it’s a success. He made an antidote to suppress her poison, so now it’s alright as long as she takes it regularly. There’s no need to hold back anymore.
Cardia is grateful for this miracle, but he answers that he only did what he could. Moreover, she didn’t run away from the pain and sadness, and instead confronted it. They can have today, as both of them didn’t give up. He promises to make her even happier from now on. When she says that she wants to do the same for him, Fran says that he’s already happy enough to have her by his side.
Extra scene: On one afternoon after Cardia starting living with everyone at the mansion, she’s bored and goes down to the garden. She finds Fran tending to the garden, and helps him out. She admires how swiftly he pulls out all the weeds, and he explains that he does grow some plants for his alchemy studies. Though he says that it’s nothing, Cardia remarks that he’s admirable compared to herself, who always causes plants to die. Fran suggests growing a flower she likes then. 30 minutes later, they’ve cleared most of the weeds.
All of a sudden, Fran shoots to his feet as he exclaims that a poisonous bug has gotten into his clothes. It would be big trouble if it stings him. Against his protests, Cardia helps him by stripping off his clothes. When she can’t find it anywhere, she thinks that it could have fallen into his trousers. Fran thanks her for her kind gesture, but insists that she stops from going any further. In the end, they didn’t find the bug but he wasn’t stung either so it’s all good. But for some reason, Fran was extremely down after that and she wonders if he hates bugs that much.
That extra scene was golden. 😄 Anyway, Fran is such a sweetheart but he was also another tortured soul. (All the guys in this game are.) I liked how similar his and Cardia’s situation were, and that allowed them to better understand each other. The queen was pretty extreme here, but it was good that they gave quite a bit of backstory for her. Arester’s appearance here would also make more sense if you’ve already played Van’s route.
In any case, I enjoyed Fran’s route! I feel that my writing was rather repetitive though so sorry about that in advance. And finally, I can move onto Lupin’s route~