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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (英雄伝説(えいゆうでんせつ) 閃の軌跡(センノキセキ)) is the seventh instalment in the main Trails series and the second game of the Erebonia arc, set in Erebonia.

Synopsis

Setting

Trails of Cold Steel II is a direct sequel to Trails of Cold Steel with an approximately one month interval. Following the Noble Faction's occupation of the Erebonian capital Heimdallr, a civil war has broken out across the empire. The provincial armies, loyal to the aristocracy and the Four Great Houses, have claimed many of the nation's great cities in the name of the Noble Alliance. The Imperial Army, called back from the four corners of the Empire, has only just begun sweeping its counterattack.

Plot

Prologue - The Depths of Despair

Trails of Cold Steel II starts with Rean waking up in the northern Eisengard Mountain range. With his Divine Knight, Valimar, and Celine next to him, he learns he has been unconscious for over a month. Worried about his friends, Rean makes his way downhill. The Magic Knight, a golem created during the Dark Ages, he runs into overpowers him. Toval, accompanied by Rean's sister Elise and Princess Alfin Reise Arnor, manages to save him in time. They escort him back to Ymir, his hometown, where they and Rean's adoptive parents, Teo and Lucia, update him on the situation.

As Rean, Elise and Toval check up on Valimar in the canyon, a hologram of Vita appears before him. That same moment gunshots are heard coming from Ymir. When they return to the town, they find jaegers hired by Duke Albarea attacking the village. Rean sees one jaeger mortally wounding his father, awakening the ogre power within him. Vita appears again as a hologram, casting a spell on the jaegers to return them hypnotised to their commander. Altina teleports into view and kidnaps Elise and Alfin, leaving Rean and Toval behind.

Act 1 - Ashen Chronicles

Rean and Toval use Valimar's Spirit Path to warp to Lunaria Nature Park. They make their way to Celdic, where Rean reunites with Machias, Elliot and Fie. They head toward the ruins of Garrelia Fortress, where they face off with Xeno and Leonidas, the regiment commanders of Zephyr and old companions of Fie. Their battle is interrupted by the arrival of a Panzer Soldat platoon of the Noble Alliance. Before Rean is able to summon Valimar, however, the 4th Armored Division under command of Lieutenant General Craig, Elliot's father, and the sniping skills of RMP's Captain Claire Rieveldt are enough to chase off the Noble Alliance squad.

After a short stopover in Ymir, Class VII make their way to the next destination: Nord Highlands. There they witness the 3rd Armored Division holding off another Panzer Soldat squad that has occupied the Watchtower. Rean manages to meet up with Gaius, Alisa and Millium. Together they infiltrate the Watchtower. At the top of the tower they are stopped by Enforcer Bleublanc and Altina. As the situation becomes dire and Rean wants to resort to his ogre powers, Class VII is saved by Sharon Kreuger, maid of the Reinford Group and Enforcer on leave. The Noble Alliance answers to Class VII's infiltration with another squad of Panzer Soldats, which Rean manages to fight of in Valimar. Together, the Class VII members return to Ymir.

To find their final classmates, Class VII heads toward Legram, where they investigate the oddities in Lohengrin Castle. There they run into with Laura and Emma, who are fighting off a cryptid. On the way back from the castle, Emma reveals herself to Rean as a member of the Hexen Clan. The group heads to Bareahard, the Noble Alliance's bulwark in East Erebonia, to find Jusis. When they find him aboard an airship, Jusis reveals that as the son of Duke Albarea he cannot return to Class VII as he has to fight on behalf of the Noble Alliance. Giving Rean the opportunity to change his mind through means of a duel in horseback riding and a sword fight, Rean convinces Jusis to return to Class VII. They reunion is interrupted by Enforcer McBurn and Stahlritter head knight Duvalie. Class VII ends up being saved by their instructor, Sara Valestein. Before they can settle on the definitive outcome, Duke Albarea commands them to stop and Jusis to return home. Ignoring his father's wish, Jusis joins Class VII as they return to Ymir.

Having decided on a third path that sides with neither the Noble Alliance nor the Imperial Army, the reunion of Class VII is interrupted by Vita Clotilde, who announces the arrival of the Noble Alliance in the airspace above Ymir. Outside they find the members of Zephyr, Enforcers of the Society, Rufus waiting for them. Ordine, piloted by Crow, is also among them. Class VII, however, learns that their capabilities fall short compared to their opponents. Duke Cayenne then appears as a hologram to invite Rean on board of the Pantagruel, hoping to persuade him in joining the Noble Alliance. Rean accepts the invite to board and pilots his Divine Knight toward the Pantagruel.

Intermission - Aboard the Pantagruel

After being strong-armed into coming aboard by Duke Cayenne, Rean found himself in the expansive halls of the Pantagruel. The duke’s goal in doing so was to have the opportunity to invite Rean to join the Noble Alliance. With Chancellor Osborne out of the picture, his priority lay in ending the war as swiftly as possible, or so he claimed. A goal which could be accomplished with much more ease if Rean agreed to join their ranks.

Escorted to a private room to think it all over, Rean found himself at a loss over what to do. In the midst of his thoughts, Crow paid him an unexpected visit. Realizing that he hadn’t changed much at all in spite of everything, Rean began to question him. Why did he loathe Chancellor Osborne so much? What led him to form the Imperial Liberation Front? Unable to resist Rean’s earnest questions, Crow gave in and agreed to talk.

At a young age, he had lost both his hometown and family to Osborne’s schemes. He then wandered the country until he met Duke Cayenne. The two allied over their shared grudge for Osborne, and, funded by the duke, Crow sought out likeminded people to form the Imperial Liberation Front. During this time, Vita, who had been in contact with Duke Cayenne, guided Crow to become Ordine’s awakener. Finally, he enrolled himself in Thors as a cover for his true goal to assassinate Giliath Osborne and rid Erebonia of him once and for all. Though Rean was visibly upset by this story, Crow insisted that he not let it influence his decision.

Crow then took his leave, recommending Rean visit the ship’s guest of honor room. Rean took the opportunity to wander around the ship, gathering information and speaking to the various people aboard, before finally heading to the guest of honor’s room.

There, he found none other than Princess Alfin. According to her, Elise was currently being held with the rest of the Imperial family. After they briefly exchanged information, Alfin posed a question. Would Rean join the Noble Alliance forces, or would he escape from the ship? Rean, however, did not yet have an answer for her. His heart was telling him not to side with the Noble Alliance under any circumstances. Yet he also felt the desire to end the war as soon as possible. For Elise’s sake. Hearing this, Alfin couldn’t help but set Rean straight with a heartfelt speech. She told him he shouldn’t use Elise as his excuse, not when Elise’s greatest desire was for Rean to follow the path he believed in most.

This opened Rean’s eyes. He finally came to the realization that those he cherished felt the exact same way about him. And with that realization came further growth. The power he was once unable to control would no longer torment him. The only thing he had left to do was listen to his heart. And his heart’s message was loud and clear. He would take Alfin and escape from the airship. With the help of his power, he was able to shake off all who stood in his way.

Thus, they successfully reached the ship’s deck. But Crow was already there, waiting for them. This led to a duel between Rean and Crow, no Divine Knights involved. Rean was able to use his power to gain the upper hand, but said power ran dry before he could land a decisive blow. What’s worse, it gave time for those pursuing him to finally reach the deck, too. With nowhere left to run, the situation couldn’t have been any more dire.

Suddenly, a red streak zoomed through the skies overhead. The Courageous had come to the rescue. A number of trusty allies leapt from the cruiser and landed on the deck of the Pantagruel. Emma teleported herself and the rest of Class VII aboard, as well. Rean was both relieved and stunned at this turn of events, but the biggest surprise had yet to come. Prince Olivert, owner of the Courageous and chairman of Thors, also made his appearance.

With both sides having assembled formidable rosters of equal strength, it was concluded the battle would likely end in a draw. Appearing soon after, Vita suggested that the Noble Alliance take their leave to avoid a pointless battle. Thanks to her intervention, Rean and the others were able to leave the Pantagruel unscathed.

Act 2 - The Awakening Lions

Rean was saved from the perilous situation aboard the Pantagruel thanks to his friends and allies coming to his rescue. In the end, the situation was defused, and both sides cautiously stepped away. With Alfin successfully freed from the Noble Alliance’s clutches, the group welcomed her aboard the Courageous. Once things were settled, everyone celebrated their various reunions. In addition to the princess, the group had also found Prince Olivert, who had been missing since the start of the civil war, and Viscount Arseid, Laura’s father.

From there, the group began discussions on the state of the war. The main topic was one posed by Prince Olivert: What did the members of Class VII intend to do from here on? Rean took it upon himself to answer in his classmates’ stead. Class VII had come face-to-face with the country’s many problems during their field studies, and due to that experience, they were uniquely qualified to help the country through its new crisis. And due to that experience, they were uniquely qualified to help the country through its new crisis.

Hearing this, Prince Olivert decided to leave the Courageous to them. He intended to travel to western Erebonia--where the fighting was fiercest--to help. Meanwhile, eastern Erebonia would be left in Class VII’s care. They were given full use of the Courageous, and Towa was named acting captain. Claire and Toval also left the group at this point, needing to return to their respective organizations.

After seeing them off, the group took Towa’s suggestion and narrowed down their goals to a more manageable ‘what’ and ‘how.’ For the former, they decided their first order of business should be to take back Thors from the Noble Alliance. As for the ‘how’, they would increase their numbers by finding their fellow students scattered through the country and bringing them on board the ship. Having settled on their new goal, the group put their all into accomplishing it.

Some time after this, they were contacted by Angelica, whose family belonged to the Noble Alliance. According to her, the Reinford Company had been occupied by her uncle. What’s more, Alisa’s mother, Irina, was being confined within the building. Hearing this, the group wasted no time in heading to Roer. There, they met up with Angelica, who had formed something of a resistance. She had tried to convince her father to withdraw from the Noble Alliance, but to no avail. Instead, Marquis Rogner told her the only way she could convince him was by force.

Having taken his words to heart, she had begun plans to rid Roer of the Noble Alliance well before Class VII had even arrived. After convincing Angelica to let them help, Class VII’s first order of business was to rescue Irina. Fortunately, Angelica had already located her. She was being held on a train currently stopped within the Sachsen Iron Mine. After a series of fierce battles with the jaegers hired to guard her, and a chance reunion with Sharon, they successfully freed Irina from her imprisonment. Continuing the momentum from this victory, they rode the train back to the RF building and proceeded to seize it from within. All that remained was Angelica’s father, Marquis Rogner.

Wishing to settle this on her own, Angelica engaged him in a one-on-one duel with Panzer Soldats. And as the dust settled on the century’s greatest family feud, Angelica stood tall as the victor. Accepting his defeat, Marquis Rogner announced his withdrawal from the war entirely. Losing the support of one of the Four Great Houses would prove a heavy blow to the Noble Alliance. As had become the norm, however, things would not proceed quite so smoothly.

Vulcan, a member of the Imperial Liberation Front, appeared in a gargantuan Soldat to challenge Rean. Rean accepted this challenge, hoping to finally bring things to a close. While Vulcan’s new model of Panzer Soldat proved a difficult foe, Rean was eventually able to best it. However, the battle put a significant strain on the massive Soldat’s systems, putting it at risk of self-destructing. Vulcan ignored Rean’s pleas for him to exit the machine, having already decided this would be his final resting place. Finally, the Soldat’s engine hit critical, resulting in a massive explosion. When the dust had cleared, there was no trace left of the machine...or Vulcan.

This tragic turn of events left a deep scar of regret within Rean’s heart. He blamed himself for not saving Vulcan from his fate. But with the situation in Roer now under control, the group had to set their sights on their next target: Erebonia’s spirit shrines. They did so in order to collect the pieces of Zemurian Ore housed within the shrines. With enough ore, they could create a more powerful weapon for Valimar.

However, one day, they received word from the 4th Armored Division that Celdic had been set ablaze under orders from none other than Duke Albarea himself. Jusis attempted to leave the group to confront his father on his own, but the others argued that this was something they needed to handle together. No sooner had they steeled their resolve to act, than they received a message from Rufus. He informed the group that the Noble Alliance took no part in the attack and did not condone the duke’s actions.

He also told them that while he would not take direct action against his father, he could not let his actions pass. Knowing Rufus was just using them, Class VII nonetheless decided to make use of his info and headed to Aurochs Fort to restrain Duke Albarea. With backup from the 4th Armored Division and the RMP, they were able to reach the fort. Once they did, however, they were met by the Imperial Liberation Front’s Scarlet.

Much like Vulcan, she appeared piloting a unique type of Panzer Soldat; one specialized in speed. Also like Vulcan, she challenged Rean, hoping to find a resting place of her own. Rean, however, refused to allow events to repeat themselves. He accepted her challenge, but was determined to prevent her from dying. Though she was a formidable opponent, Rean was able to best her in the end. In a further parallel to Rean’s last encounter with a member of the ILF, the strain of the battle caused her Soldat’s engine to begin to self-destruct. Without an ounce of hesitation, Rean dashed in. With a single precise slash, he tore off the Soldat’s cockpit and leapt away from the explosion. Though her machine was in pieces, Scarlet herself was unscathed. Rean had saved her. The group breathed a sigh of relief and headed into the fort. Rean, however, stayed behind to make sure Scarlet was okay.

His relief at seeing she was fine was cut short by a familiar voice. It was Crow. He had come out of concern for his last remaining team member. Seeing she was safe, he left the group with some parting words of encouragement before flying off.

After watching him leave, Rean turned his focus to the fort once more. He arrived just in time to bear witness to the end of Sara’s solo battle against the Northern Jaegers. Having convinced them to leave, Sara stayed behind to rest. The rest of the group continued on ahead, eventually facing off against Duvalie. Class VII defeated her again, causing her to leave in a huff.

Upon speaking with Duke Albarea, it was clear he had no remorse for his actions. Yet, he quickly fell into despair upon learning all his allies had abandoned him. Having lost his will to go on, Duke Albarea was arrested by his own son. When this was announced, the soldiers still working under the duke retreated, effectively ending the Albarea house’s role in the war. The Noble Alliance was shaken by the loss of yet another of the Four Great Houses.

In a final gambit, they gathered a majority of their forces around Heimdallr. In doing so, they lowered their grip on the rest of the country, however. Trista was one such place affected by this turn of events. As soon as they heard Captain Claire’s report, Class VII knew this was the chance they had been waiting for. Wasting no time, they began their plan to retake the academy.

Knowing a number of Panzer Soldats lurked in the area, Rean charged in with Valimar, making quick work of their foes. Thanks to that, they were able to effortlessly drive back the remnants of the Noble Alliance troops still stationed around Trista. With peace restored to the town, its residents gave their liberators a warm welcome home. But before they could celebrate, Class VII still had one more task: freeing the academy itself.

Arriving on the campus, they were greeted by the upper-class students who had been placed in charge of the academy. Led by Patrick, they had named themselves the Order of the Lion. Considering themselves Class VII’s rivals, they wished to stake their pride and honor on a battle against them. After a fierce clash between the two groups of students, Class VII proved victorious. Acknowledging Rean as an equal at long last, Patrick disbanded the Order of the Lion and pledged the upper- class students’ support to the Courageous.

Finally, after all their struggles, the group had taken back the academy. With all the students of Thors united under one banner, the academy now truly represented a third path for Erebonia.

Finale - Forward, Relentlessly

Having successfully taken back the academy, the students took some time to celebrate together. The war itself was reaching its climax, however. As a result, the group received a request from the Imperial Army. They asked them to rescue the Imperial family and Elise. The Noble Alliance had been holding them captive at the Karel Imperial Villa. The fact that the students weren’t affiliated with either faction made them perfect for this task.

Under Towa’s command, they flew towards the villa the day after. They weren’t alone, however. They were aided in reaching the villa by the Imperial Army’s assault on Heimdallr. They also had the help of not only the upper-class students, but all the other students they had recruited during their travels around the country. With the strength of a united Thors behind them, they were able to fight their way to the top floor of the villa. There, they found the people they had come to rescue.

Before they could breathe a sigh of relief, however, the group was confronted by Altina once more. Millium took this chance to question her about the possibility of them being sisters. Altina confirmed her suspicions, claiming that the two of them were technically related. Though they were curious about what exactly the pair meant by this, the group’s priority was rescuing the hostages. Altina and her puppet proved to be formidable foes, but Class VII prevailed against them as they had all others before. In doing so, they were able to rescue the Imperial family and Governor Regnitz. And Rean was able to reunite with Elise at long last.

Their job wasn’t over yet, though, as the group learned Duke Cayenne had taken Prince Cedric. Just as they tried to question Altina, however, a pillar of light erupted from the capital. It was centered where Valflame Palace should have been, but in the palace’s place rose something dark and twisted: the Infernal Castle. According to Emma, it was summoned forth by the Hexen Clan’s most forbidden incantation. Claire took the Imperial family under her care, while Towa tried to get a better grasp on the situation. Rean, however, could feel Crow’s presence within the castle. He knew he was waiting for them there.

With that, Rean and the rest of Class VII resolved to make their way into the imposing structure. Using Valimar to cut their way through its massive front door, they climbed upwards, fighting ever more powerful foes. Members of both Ouroboros and Zephyr stood in their way as well. Though the students put up valiant fights, their foes were just too strong. However, well-timed aid from their more experienced allies allowed them to continue advancing through the castle.

After a long climb, they finally reached the Vermillion Throne--their final destination. Crow and Vita were there waiting for them, as well as Duke Cayenne and the captive Cedric. Rean told Crow about the promise he made to Towa, Angelica, and George: that he’d bring Crow back and make him graduate with them. Though Rean knew full well how unlikely it was, that only made him want to accomplish it all the more.

Class VII’s determination took Crow by surprise, but Duke Cayenne used the moment to make his presence known. He told the group of his ancestor, Emperor Orthros, the one known as the False Emperor during the War of the Lions. Cayenne’s goal was to realize his ancestor’s dream and make the country one ruled exclusively by the nobility. The group was astonished by his selfishness, prompting Rean to respond to the duke’s declaration. He told him they didn’t care one way or the other about his dream, but the fact remained he had kidnapped the crown prince. Thus, in order to rescue him and settle things with Crow, Class VII would do whatever it took to put a stop to Duke Cayenne’s plans.

Though Cayenne was visibly upset by this, Crow and Vita interrupted him by drawing their weapons and standing in Class VII’s way. The time for talking was over. Their final showdown had come. It would be no easy battle, however, as Crow and Vita showed surprising levels of teamwork. Class VII couldn’t afford to lose this fight, though. Far too much was riding on it.

Mustering everything they had, they were eventually able to eke out a victory. This wasn’t the end, however. Once the battle was over, both Rean and Crow jumped into their Divine Knights. It was up to them alone to finally settle the score. Pouring his feelings into his new blade, Rean stood face-to-face against Crow once more. Their battle pushed each of them well beyond their limits, but in the end, it was Crow who was brought to his knees. It was an outcome so incredible, the rest of Class VII could scarcely believe it. All except for Sara. She broke their stunned silence and made the result official. ‘Yep, I think the victor is clear. The battle goes to Rean!’

After being one step behind him for so long, Rean had finally scored a decisive victory over Crow. The rest of his comrades wasted no time surrounding and congratulating him once he had disembarked Valimar. Crow and Vita accepted their defeat, signaling the Noble Alliance’s defeat and marking the end of the war. Or rather, that’s how things should have gone, if not for a certain individual who refused to accept this outcome.

Forcing the captive Cedric into its core, Duke Cayenne revived the entity responsible for the calamity 250 years prior. The Vermillion Apocalypse. It drew its power from the Vermillion Knight and the member of the Arnor family housed within it. Once the creature was freed, it wasted no time draining mana from all across the empire. Thinking quickly, Vita activated a barrier that prevented Class VII from suffering the ill effects of this power. But it was only a matter of time before the Apocalypse’s overwhelming power broke through it. It was enough time for Crow to devise a strategy, however.

Having Vita enchant his weapon, he dealt a significant blow to their foe, giving Class VII an opening to rush in. Each gave every ounce of power in them to stand up to such a fearsome monstrosity. And after fighting it off for long enough, both Valimar and Ordine had recovered enough to join the fray. Their target now was the Vermillion Apocalypse’s core--where Cedric was being held. Crow took it upon himself to draw the Vermillion Apocalypse’s attention in order to give Rean an opening. In doing so, however, he allowed it to deal a blow that pierced Ordine’s chest.

Rean was shaken by the sight of this, yet Crow’s words of encouragement were all he needed to close the distance to their target. After a mighty blow, he had succeeded in ripping the monstrosity’s core from its chest. The creature bellowed out in agony before fading away for good. With that, Heimdallr had been saved from impending disaster. Cedric himself was safe and sound, too, which came as a huge relief to the group. But it wasn’t long before they noticed Crow wasn’t with them. They turned their attention to Ordine in search of him, only to see the Divine Knight had fallen to its knees. A pallid Crow emerged from within, clutching at his chest.

Rushing to his aid, the group realized he had suffered a wound identical to Ordine’s. Emma and Celine tried their best to heal him, but it only delayed the inevitable. As his life slipped through his grasp, he apologized to Rean for being unable to keep his promise to Towa and the others. He also gave parting words to each member of Class VII. And with his final breath, he asked that they live their lives with hope for the future. His last moments spent with his dear friends, he was able to pass in peace.

He fell silent, leaving only the tearful sobs of his friends to echo through the halls.

Yet, before they could even recover, Duke Cayenne let out an enraged bellow. In a desperate, final bid for victory, he had Cedric at knifepoint. Vita, less than pleased with his selfishness, attempted to quiet him by force. But before she could, an unexpected turn of events took place.

Someone else dashed onto the scene, cutting down Vita’s familiar, Grianos, without mercy and attacking the Azure Abyss herself. To everyone’s surprise, it was none other than Rufus Albarea. He announced his intent to arrest both Duke Cayenne and Vita for their actions. Those present questioned why Rufus had chosen to appear then, of all times, especially considering the Noble Alliance had already lost. Further, why was he trying to arrest people who were part of his own faction? Their questions were answered by the appearance of Lechter and Claire and the answers would stun all present to silence, especially Jusis.

Rufus Albarea had, in fact, been the primary member of the Ironbloods all along.

Duke Cayenne, equally stunned, asked what he stood to gain by revealing this after Osborne’s death. He received his answer, though not from the person he expected. ‘He would gain nothing. Which is why it's rather fortunate I'm very much alive.’ The one who uttered those words made his appearance before anyone could truly process what he had said.

The man who now stood before them was a man who should not have been alive. The man Crow had shot through the heart: Chancellor Giliath Osborne. All Rean and the others could manage to do was stare in awe at the events unfolding before them. Osborne's survival had been kept an utmost secret. To the point where no one, save Rufus, had the slightest clue.

The mission Osborne had given him was to join the Noble Alliance and weaken it from within. Vita had her own questions on this matter, particularly regarding Altina, who had appeared with Osborne. Why did Osborne have full control over one of Ouroboros’ Thirteen Factories? What was his plan? Osborne’s reply was simple and straightforward. He was going to take over Ouroboros’ Phantasmal Blaze Plan. Hearing this, Vita asked Rean and the others to take care of Crow, before teleporting away.

Osborne ordered Rufus to move forward with the occupation of Crossbell, then began to take his leave. Rean, however, refused to let him. Running up to him, he let out every emotion he had bottled up inside. Not in regard to any of these developments, but simply to the fact that Osborne was still alive. ‘Why?! Why are YOU still alive?! Crow shot you! You're supposed to be dead! But in the end, he couldn't avenge his grandfather, he didn't get revenge on you...! Was everything he did... Was his whole life for NOTHING?!’

In response to Rean’s furious outburst, Rufus informed him that Osborne’s actions were tied to him as well. Upon hearing this, a memory buried deep within Rean’s mind resurfaced. A memory from twelve years ago, just before he was adopted by the Schwarzer family. ‘Rean... I pray you grow up strong and healthy. Oh, Aidios... If you're listening, hear me now. Please, allow this child...’

As Rean stood there dazed, pondering what this memory could possibly have meant, a ruthless grin spread across Osborne’s face. ‘I'm glad to finally see you again, my son. You've grown into a fine young man. Indeed, the empire will soon know of the Ashen Chevalier, the hero whose brave deeds allowed us to reclaim the capital. And who better to assist me than a national hero?’

Divertissement - The Occupation

Though Class VII had helped bring the war to an end, Erebonia’s fate remained firmly in Osborne’s grasp. Osborne, the man shot through the heart in broad daylight, had reappeared as though nothing had happened. By his side was Rufus Albarea, who was revealed to have been the Ironbloods’ primary member all along. Together, they presented Rean as the hero who had put an end to the war that had ravaged Erebonia.

Two months later, Crossbell once again suffered from its position between the continent’s two largest countries. An unexpectedly swift invasion from Erebonia left the city-state entirely under its control. Calvard, however, was not about to sit by and let its rival claim more land. The republic sent its own troops in as a counteroffensive. They stood little chance against Erebonia’s Panzer Soldats, however, and were forced to retreat. Rean, having been named the Ashen Chevalier, was sent into Crossbell to help fend them off.

During this time, a speech from the state’s new ruler had been scheduled at Orchis Tower. Chancellor Osborne began the speech with the typical formalities. Following that, he named Rufus as Crossbell’s first governor general. Rufus’ first act was to announce that the formerly independent state would be annexed into Erebonia. Crossbell’s freedom had been stripped away. Yet, there were those who were working to overcome this new wall before them.

One was a member of the Crossbell Police Department--Lloyd Bannings. The other was Rixia Mao, a woman who led a double life as both a performer in a famous troupe and as the legendary assassin, Yin. They had made their way into Crossbell’s underground network of tunnels in order to keep the state’s top secret info out of Erebonia’s hands. With the help of Heiyue, a mafia syndicate based in Calvard, they reached the Geofront’s E Sector. Their plan was to copy the information from the core terminal, then reformat the terminal itself.

Swiftly navigating the underground tunnels, it didn’t take them long to reach their destination. Once they had set up the initialization unit they’d brought with them, all they had to do was wait for the process to finish. While relieved at first, that quickly faded when a voice called out to them from behind. Turning to look, the pair came face-to-face with a black-haired boy and a girl dressed in black.

They had received a special order to stop Lloyd and Rixia’s ploy. This was well within expectations, however, and Lloyd and Rixia decided to hold the mysterious duo off until the data wipe was done. Though their adversaries proved much stronger than their ages implied, Lloyd and Rixia pulled through. The battle seemed to take little toll on either the boy or girl, however. What’s more, the girl pressed the boy to stop holding back.

Agreeing, the boy began to focus his power. Rixia immediately noticed an aura of negative energy surrounding him. Both she and Lloyd braced themselves for an even fiercer battle, but just as they did, the initialization device finished its process. Lloyd and Rixia’s strategy to buy time had been a success. In response, the boy’s menacing energy dissipated. Unable to prevent the reformat, the boy and girl switched their objective.

The boy raised his hand and called out a name, causing a huge machine to appear out of nowhere. He proceeded to board it, and without wasting a moment, he destroyed the terminal with one powerful swing. Lloyd quickly retrieved the initialization unit as the terminal collapsed into pieces. However, he and Rixia were now cornered by a machine that boasted just as much power as the Aions they’d faced only a few months ago. Or so it seemed, until the boy allowed them to pass, telling them arrest warrants hadn’t been issued for either of them. With little other choice, Lloyd and Rixia swallowed their pride and made their escape.

But before they left, Lloyd turned and asked the boy a question. ‘As I'm sure you already know, my name is Lloyd Bannings, and I’m a police detective with the Crossbell State Police Department. What's your name?’

‘I'm with Thors Military Academy, Class VII... No. I'm a provisional military officer with the Crossbell government. Rean Schwarzer.’

Watching the two of them leave, Rean called Lechter to report his failure. Lechter spoke as though he were familiar with Lloyd and Rixia, and accepted Rean’s report without reprimanding him. Having done what was asked of him, Rean stated his intention to return before cutting off the transmission abruptly. Following that, he bid farewell to Altina.

Though Rean was concerned over the way Altina thought of herself as a mere tool, his concern didn’t seem to resonate with her. Before he left, he took one final glance in the direction Lloyd and Rixia had fled. Somewhat jealous of their ability to push forward through impossible odds and believe in the future, Rean took his leave from Crossbell.

Epilogue - Winter's End

Having carried out his orders, Rean made his return to Trista. Upon arrival at the station, he came across Claire, who had been waiting there for him. As she was a member of the Ironbloods, though, all she received from Rean was a cold shoulder. Not because of anything she had personally done, but simply due to her relation to people like Rufus and Osborne. Claire herself was fully aware of this, and could only see him off with pain in her heart. Rean felt regret over this, of course, but all he could do was continue walking and leave the station behind.

Once he did, a wave of nostalgia washed over him as he looked out at Trista once more. The excitement he felt after he and his friends finally set it free from the Noble Alliance was something he could never forget. And yet, despite all that...despite seeing the welcoming sight of the lino flowers blooming again, he couldn’t help but feel cold. Not long after, the rest of Class VII arrived to greet him.

Together, they made their way back to the academy.

The war had been brought to a swift close by Rufus’ hand. The Noble Alliance had been dissolved following Duke Cayenne’s arrest, and the remaining nobles made fully aware of the situation in Crossbell. After some persuasion, they had been convinced to throw their support behind Chancellor Osborne for fear of Calvard claiming the city-state for its own. With the country’s military united under one banner, they had marched into Crossbell. Lacking its own military to stand against them, Crossbell fell within a day, which led to the present situation. Erebonia was at peace once more, and thus, the members of Class VII could return to being normal students.

They went through their studies and tests as usual, taking care to enjoy what time they still had together as a class. Now and then, though, Rean couldn’t help but think about Crow. His friends and classmates had settled on new goals, and were each putting all they had towards achieving them. With their final free day around the corner, Rean found himself visiting the engineering building.

There he found George and Angelica, who each told him about their plans to travel around the continent. In the midst of their discussion, though, it was clear to them that Rean still felt guilt over participating in the battle over Crossbell. They reassured him that he didn’t need to feel bad, and that he had, in fact, played a key role in protecting Crossbell’s citizens. Rean could feel tears welling up over their kindness, but he held them back for now.

Following this, he paid a visit to the student council room. There, he found Towa fast asleep at her desk, having just finished her final duties as president. Rean watched her with a smile, thinking back to the last time he had found her like this. Suddenly, though, his reminiscing was interrupted by her mumbling. ‘Mm... Angie... George... ...Crow...’ The final name she uttered caused him to let out an involuntary gasp, which roused Towa from her slumber.

Though unhappy that she was caught sleeping, she could tell at a glance that Rean didn’t seem okay. Worried about him, she convinced him to sit down. She told him there was no need to endure everything that life threw at him, and that it was okay to sit and rest if things got too hard. Hearing this, the feelings Rean had been holding back burst forth. He confessed his regret over both losing Crow and breaking his promise to her. Like the others, Towa reassured him he did everything he could. After letting everything out to Towa, his final walk home of the year awaited him. Whether by coincidence or fate, he bumped into his classmates at the gate, and they all went home together.

Casting their eyes upward to the falling lino flowers, they thought back to their first day at the academy. The time they’d spent together since then was truly a treasure to each of them. Their time left together was short, but they would make the most of it.

Before they knew it, their final free day had dawned. Sensing an odd presence at the old schoolhouse, Rean made his way over to investigate. The moment he arrived, though, the presence mysteriously vanished. Just then, Toval, Elise, and Alfin all showed up. What’s more, Claire was with them, having come as Alfin’s escort. Both she and Rean took this opportunity to clear the air with one another, putting them on good terms once more. As the group chatted away, though, a bell suddenly rang out, and the Old Schoolhouse began to glow. The rest of the group rushed over to find out what was going on. The inside of the building had become a boundless corridor swirling with energy.

As Valimar was found in the Old Schoolhouse, Rean summoned him to see if he could remember anything. According to him, a trial separate from the one they had faced during the school festival had now been activated. Though the particulars of this new trial remained unclear, this was their chance to unravel the mysteries of 1,200 years ago. Once inside, they proceeded through to the end of the massive area. There, they found a white shadow resembling a Divine Knight waiting for them.

It claimed to govern the Shadow Trial, which was once sealed away, but brought back due to the Infernal Castle’s destruction. Class VII had previously passed the legitimate trial that led to Rean becoming Valimar’s Awakener. According to the shadow, there was nothing more to gain by passing this Shadow Trial. And yet, the group opted to take it, regardless. They wanted to do one final act to mark the end of their time together as Class VII.

Knowing this was their finale, the group spared no effort in their battle...and proved victorious. Upon its defeat, the shadow dispersed into thousands of motes of light that fluttered down like lino petals. Together, they had cleared another trial. Together, they had created another unforgettable memory. As they celebrated their victory, it finally hit them that this would be the last time they would be able to do so.

To everyone’s surprise, Millium was the first to cry. Alisa was next. She went to hug Millium, which in turn opened the floodgates for the rest of the class. This was the first time the group had let out the emotions that had been building up in each of them; their sadness over having to split up. The rest of the days before the end of the school year flew by all too quickly, and then, it was time for them to depart. Having gotten their grief out of the way, they each faced one another with brilliant smiles.

Though they were parting ways, they believed they would one day meet again. Before leaving, though, they thanked Sara for everything she’d done for them and teased her for crying in response. With that, it was truly time for them to leave.

Each had something he or she wished to accomplish. As they all made their departure from Trista, only Rean remained. Having finished seeing his dear friends off, he returned to the academy. He knew the challenges that lay ahead for him. He would be forced to accept the government’s orders for him and Valimar. But even so, he had made an important promise with his friends. Filled with determination to keep that promise, he strode forward, towards his future.

Release

Trails of Cold Steel II was originally released for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on September 25, 2014. Through a collaboration between Nihon Falcom and the Sony Computer Entertainment divisions of Taiwan and Korea, the Mandarin and Korean version launched alongside the Japanese version on September 25, 2014.

On 5 June 2015, XSEED Games announced a localisation of Trails of Cold Steel and soon thereafter Trails of Cold Steel II for 2015 and 2016, respectively. Trails of Cold Steel II, as the localisation was named, was released on September 6, 2016 in North America. NISA America was responsible for publishing the game in European territories September 11, 2016.

A remastered version, titled The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki II Kai -The Erebonian Civil War- (英雄伝説 閃の軌跡Ⅱ:改-The Erebonian Civil War-), was announced by Nihon Falcom on December 12, 2017 and released for PlayStation 4 in Japan on April 26, 2018. The remastered version runs at 60 frames per second with compatibility up to 4K and features a higher quality of audio. The game includes all available 102 DLC items. This PlayStation 4 version is compatible with save data of the PlayStation 3 and Vita version through the cross-save functionality. Save data from Trails of Cold Steel III can also be used to unlock the bonuses at the start of the game.

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