Arthur shook his head and sighed in exasperation "first Isolde, and then Tristan. These two seriously...",
Lancelot rose and turned his back "I'm gonna pick her—".
"wait", Guinevere caught Lancelot by the back of his collar "there's no need for us to interfere here".
"seriously?", Lancelot choked, caressed his neck "with our enemy is getting closer to Vaizel—".
"don't forget, although her magic power is not as strong as mine, Isolde's magic power is still powerful enough to the point she can protect herself. Tristan and the Captain with three other members of Seven Deadly Sins are also there. They should be fine", Merlin cut him off "though I don't expect to see you in Vaizel, Escanor".
That was when Guinevere saw Merlin's heart, about what happened that day. Yes, when she who was still a child, accidentally brushed the old wound on her godmother's past, about her divorce with Tristan right before Escanor came into the room. When she had cowardly run off of her godmother's laboratory and bumped into her Dad, Meliodas who had encouraged her to go back, to see if she should apologize to Merlin in case she really did something wrong (because Meliodas had convinced her that she didn't do anything wrong, it was purely her curiosity getting the best of her as a child and how could she be blamed for it?) that make Escanor and Merlin have a fight. Meliodas had so persisted to drag her to the garden after that and Guinevere never pestered about what happened between Merlin and Escanor after Meliodas dragged her, but now she knew.
Guinevere saw it, what happened that day.
Escanor confessed his feeling to Merlin but Merlin still felt doubt to accept it. He leaned down but she turned her face to the side, holding his biceps. No, it was not because of she still had feeling and was still in love with Tristan. Merlin and Tristan truly had been a good friend and they didn't even think to get together again, romantically. It was just, Merlin still felt doubt if she deserved to be happy with the man she loved, after she had betrayed her little sister (which she didn't, Guinevere thought, honestly. How could she think she had betrayed her little sister just because she had married with, well, the man who was her little sister's husband, before her little sister passed away).
Back to the main topic, Escanor had promised Merlin "it's fine even if you don't return my love and feeling. I fully aware that you are not the person that would walk alongside me. However, I will protect what's precious to you so your smile won't disappear".
Merlin lowered her head futher "why? I don't think I am the woman who deserve your affection, such devotion and fidelity...".
"because when I was drowning in absolute darkness, you are always the one who illuminated the path of my life. That's what a sun does, to keep shining without hoping for anything as return. I love you. Even if you don't belong to me, it's alright. As long as you can be happy, then it will be my greatest happiness", Escanor said as he cupped her face before turning his back "...I should go, it's about noon already. But please remember, I really mean it when I said I will protect what's precious to you, be it little Gwen, the Captain, our comrades in Seven Deadly Sins or even your ex-husband. Also, I do think you should talk and clear everything with Tristan".
Merlin tugged the back of his shirt before Escanor went, leaning her forehead on his back "about my answer to your confession... could you wait until I'm ready?".
"of course", Escanor turned his back and stood tall face-to-face with her "if it's for you, I can wait for centuries"
They locked gaze. Merlin looked up. Escanor looked down. As they closed their eyes together, they—
"KYA?!", red-faced Guinevere dropped the books and scrolls on her hands, tucking her bangs behind her ear and crouching on the floor to gather the fallen books and scrolls "oh, my bad".
"what's wrong?", Arthur quickly came to her side and helped her "it's unlike you to being clumsy".
Right after she put the fallen books and scrolls to the chair nearby, Guinevere buried her bright red face on his shoulder with hope she could calm down her heart, pointing to random place "...a cockroach".
Arthur immediately lifted the scroll, looking around to find the cockroach but didn't find it "huh? Where is it? Where?".
Lancelot crouched behind her and narrowed his eyes "why did your face turn red, huh? You don't think about something lewd, right?".
Guinevere turned to him with her usual poker face "don't group me with you".
Lancelot stuck his tongue out "cheeky".
"ah... so that's what happened?", Guinevere had to cover her blushing face behind the book. Oh, my. No wonder Meliodas instantly dragged her from that place. It was so cunning to see other people's heart like this, she knew it, but with her naturally born with it, what she could do? Looking to Merlin, as her adopted daughter, Guinevere decided "...a push to that direction wouldn't hurt, then".
"godmother", when Merlin turned to her questioningly, Guinevere pleaded "why don't you just go to Vaizel to see if you can get uncle Escanor and bring him here? I really mean it".
Merlin raised her eyebrow, it was unusual for her adopted daughter to ask her to do something for her, at least not ever since she was a child and they entered the Castle "...it's an order from the princess?".
"well... no, just an advice from your daughter because... if we will invade to Liones Castle, we need the force of our own. Uncle Escanor's aide will be a big help for us, right?", Guinevere pushed further, one more push "and about Vaizel, I believe everyone will be okay since Daddy and everyone are with Aunt Isolde, Aunt Gelda and Tristan there".
"well, I guess you're right", Merlin caressed her chin thoughtfully before looking straight to her adopted daughter in suspicion "but you don't plan something out of my knowledge, do you?".
With a bright smile that far too innocent, Guinevere laughed "hohoho, of course not, godmother! We have no secret, remember?".
Merlin rolled her eyes before she sighed "...fine then, I guess I will go to pick him. I will come back in minutes".
After Merlin snapped her fingers and disappeared, using her teleport to go to Vaizel, Guinevere lifted both her hand "mission started~".
"so you do have a plan", Lancelot narrowed his eyes "what are you planning now?".
Guinevere smiled cheerfully and chirped "be a cupid for godmother and uncle Escanor".
Lancelot grabbed his sister's hand and shook her hand "count me in, sis!?".
Arthur shook his head to their antics "I wonder what kind of crazy family I'm about to getting into?".
Ban spat his blood to the side "tch, that brat got me".
On the latest moment when Ban thought he was gonna win, instead his own attack got back to him as Tristan smirked "Full Counter".
Thus Ban got hit as Tristan sent him flying.
When Diane and King turned to ask Meliodas, Meliodas confirmed "yup, Full Counter. Unlike mine, any physical attacks that directed to Tristan, would be returned back to its owner instead, since the magical attacks could be handled by Tristan with his magic powers".
"Sir Meliodas can repel any magic attacks with Full Counter, right?", Tristan tilted his head "it's the subtle difference between us. My Full Counter make me can repel any physical attack delivered against me back at its user at greater than double the strength".
Elizabeth pouted "but you really make us worried! You even make Lady Maria crying".
Meliodas snickered as his son apologized to Elizabeth again. Diane and King still felt uneasy because what kept bugging their mind, was what happened right after that.
Yes, after Tristan used Full Counter and Ban's blood splattered to his body, some of Ban's blood had landed on Tristan's lips, some even came into Tristan's mouth and strange thing happened. Tristan's pristine blue eyes turned bloody red and the white of his eyes turned into black, his eyes turned into the eyes of blood-thirst beast. For a split second, Diane and Ban thought they saw a diamond-shaped red stone gleaming on Tristan's forehead and a pair of scaled-hands(?) came out of Tristan's back to push him off of the ground. On a mere second, Tristan stood and caught Ban's wrist before he giving some blows that strong enough to send Ban flying.
What was it actually?
At first, Escanor only wanted to re-fill the supply of his Ales and food, but like he didn't expect to see the spitting image of Rosa, he also didn't expect to meet again with the love of his life.
Looking back, Escanor in his day version dropped the barrels and a wooden basket of fruits on his hands "Merlin?!".
"I wonder what will change when we meet again", Merlin chuckled as she approached him, helping him to gather the fruits back into the wooden basket "you have moustache now".
Escanor covered his blushing face "and you're still beautiful as ever".
"let me come with you?", Merlin carried the wooden basket of fruits on her hands, tilting her head to the side "well, I guess I can help you to go back to your place right away with my teleport and we can... spend time together to catch up, about what how we have been doing for these 10 years...".
"very nice idea", Escanor smiled brightly, telling her the exact location of where he had taken residence right now "I open the bar now, and I have your favorite Bernia Ale".
"really?", Merlin smiled before lifting her hand "let's go, then".
After Merlin went with Escanor using teleport, Gelda who watched everything from the first place on her place on the rooftop, lifted the Communication Orb on her hand "...Gwen, what are you planning?".
(on the Camelot Kingdom, Guinevere grumbled "oh, come on, just give godmother time to have fun. She's been restlessly working lately, so give her time to relax will not harm and why do people keep thinking that I have plotted the schemes here?".
Arthur and Lancelot said in unison "because you did".
Guinevere whined "not you too, love!?".
Arthur wrapped his arms around her waist when she pouted, crossed her arms before her chest and turned her back against him "don't be mad to me, honey~ I'm just kidding".
"just find a room, you two?!", Lancelot sighed in exasperation as the Royal lovebird turned on into their usual necessity. When Merlin wasn't around them, this was how his life turned into, huh? Lancelot just remembered "oh, shoot! I just remembered! How could I forget it? I have to meet with Lady Morgan".
Both Guinevere and Arthur snapped their head to Lancelot.
Guinevere smirked "for a date?".
Arthur jaw-dropped "are you dating with my sister now!?".
"NO! She just asked for my help on her job, that's all?!", Lancelot went red-faced this time as he went to explain "I have to find proper clothes for your wedding and she said she can help me if I help her to go shopping today when we go to infiltrate into the black market. The thing is, what she want to find is only can be found in the black market and it's not proper place that a Lady like her should visit alone, so I volunteered to accompany her when she asked me if I can find someone who can be her private guard when she goes to the black market".
Guinevere giggled "a gentleman you are, huh?".
Arthur still felt uneasy but since it was Lancelot who would go with his sister, he could believe on him "take care of my sister, Lancelot".
"will do", Lancelot lifted his thumb and on the door, he narrowed his eyes "and keep clothes on as long as I leave".
"just go already!", Guinevere threw her shoes to the door that instantly slammed closed by Lancelot before Guinevere said "good, at least Morgan took my advice about how to have a date with him".
"see? You indeed plotted the schemes", Arthur shook his head at her antics "first Isolde and Tristan, second Merlin and Escanor, now Lancelot and Morgan. Actually, how many couples do you want to match with?".)
"...I just know you have a hobby of being the matchmaker, niece", on the rooftop, Gelda looked up and stood as she felt the magic power approaching "...the storm is coming".
"Isolde, do you love him?".
Cain's question startled her and successfully made her squealed but remembering what happened just now, no wonder the old Knight asked her about it.
"...he is my first love", Isolde admitted as she tucked her bangs behind her ear, nodding her head with bright, flushed cheeks before she covering her blushing face "and I did something outrageous again!? I don't know what's getting into myself... I lost my mind when I'm with him around me...".
Cain laughed with mirth genuinely before he asked her "even if he is a widower and had married with your adopted older sister once, even having child with his late wife? Despite all bad news about him that people told you?".
"I don't care about his past. I don't care he had a child from his late wife and had married once with my adopted older sister. I don't care even if he is a widower. Whatever bad things people said about him, Sir Tristan is Sir Tristan. I really mean it, when I said he's my savior", looking up to the bright blue sky above, Isolde smiled "it's a lie if I say that I never hope or want him to return my love and feelings for him, but I don't hope he will return my love... I only hope, he can be happy even if he doesn't belong to me...".
Cain suggested "you should tell him".
"you're not the first person who told me that, Sir Cain, but... no, I can't...", Isolde shook her head "after all, Sir Tristan took a great care of me, only because of my sister and I resemble with his late wife".
Cain still suggested her to talk and clear everything with Tristan. Isolde just nodded her head, telling him that they really should go back.
On the semi-final, first round was between Meliodas and Diane. Diane wanted Meliodas to win, so she went easy on him and she even told him that he could throw her off of the ring.
Which he did.
Diane whined as she landed on King's Chastiefol in pillow form "Captain! That's so mean of you?! You truly threw me off of the ring?!".
Meliodas scratched the back of his head as he approaching them "but you said I could throw you...".
"it doesn't mean you should really throw her off like that?!", King shrieked before trying to comfort the crying shrunken-giantess "please, don't cry, Diane".
Tristan scoffed and shook his head "see? told you, you are an expert on make woman crying, even worse than me".
Meliodas crossed his hands before his chest, leaned up "wanna have a fight, cheeky brat?".
Tristan crossed his hands before his chest, leaned down "oh, why not? remember we will meet on the final—".
"both of you are just the same", Isolde stood in between them and smacked their head using the side of her hands with sweet smile on her face "and don't forget, you still have to fight me before you can fight godfather on the final, Sir Tristan".
Meliodas protested to her "just hit Tristan's head. Why did you hit my head too, little Maria?".
"that's for make her crying", Isolde chided him "it's not really nice way to treat a Lady, godfather".
After Isolde scolded him, Meliodas apologized to Diane "I apologize, Diane".
Diane forgave him, of course, and after she stopped crying, Diane wrapped her arms around Isolde and gave her a bear hug "I started like you?! You're so kind?!".
Isolde smiled brightly "ahaha, godfather's friends are my friend too. Only doing what I should do for friend".
"second round of the semi-final, Anna Maria VS Tristan Jr.!?", Love Helm announced "let's see how the lover here finish their quarrel!?".
Tristan and Isolde shouted in unison with blushing face "we are not lover?!".
Tristan had to admit, he didn't expect to fight Isolde, at all. He kept dodging and blocking her attacks but he never attacked her. If even Hawk could realize it, of course Meliodas, Elizabeth, Cain and the Seven Deadly Sins members along with Isolde realized it.
Isolde even stomped as she whirled and sent flying kick to his head "be serious!?".
"I don't want to hurt you", Tristan caught her ankle before pushing her. As Isolde lost her balance, she fell backward with her head barely landing on the ring but Tristan caught her first, wrapping his arms around her waist "but how do you expect me to be serious when I already am?".
Isolde only got angered as she gave good head-butt to him "you do not... you never did?! Why? Because I am a woman? Or because you still think of me as your little sister? sorry to disappoint you, but I don't want to be a mere 'your little sister' anymore?! I don't want to be only protected by you!? I'm tired of it already?!".
Rubbing his forehead, Tristan demanded "then what is it? what do you want?".
"I need your clarity. I only want you to acknowledge me. I don't want to fight and I hate the violence. As a doctor, the only thing I'm good with, is to heal people and not to hurt them. Even so, if I have to sacrifice something, even if it means I have to fight, I want to protect you too. I always look up to you. That's the only reason of why do I choose to learn martial arts and fight. Why don't you understand such simple thing, you moron!?", Isolde launched her fist which caught by Tristan so easily. Looking down and gasping breath, Isolde narrowed her eyes as tears threatened to burst out of her eyes "...or is it? in the end, I'm only your burden?".
"don't tell me you want to protect me", Tristan wrapped his arm around her wrist, pulling her before he kissed her eyelids as he running his fingers on her hair "it only will make me become greedy".
She felt her face burned before she pushed him before launching another fist with enough force to leave a crater on the ring "ah, stop teasing me already!".
Tristan deadpanned, arms-crossed before his chest "do you think I teased you? I'm serious".
"what the—", Isolde's eyes widened as she turned her head up "coming! In 10 seconds".
"that's fast. Let's end this, then", Tristan put his hand on his hip "as your Master, I know your ability and I believe you. For how long you can dance?".
"with my magic power right now, about a half hour", Isolde lifted both her hands gracefully "for how long will it take for you to move all living things here to safety?".
"good, because I just need 30 seconds to move them all to the safety", Tristan smirked as he moved his hands "Moventur Ad".
Right before Meliodas wanted to jump to use his Full Counter to dodge meteor that flying to them, Isolde lifted her hands up "War Dance Second Stage : Gaia".
There was a large magic circle on the ground, the one Tristan was created as he closed his eyes, casted the incantation. In ten seconds that Isolde mentioned, there were some large boulders with fire, meteors that flying to them. People were panicked but Isolde kept dancing. What happened next time was just like miracle. The Water extinguished the fire of meteors, Earth and Woods blocked and protected them from the fallen meteors. Some of Meteors were even flying to the sky.
Guila tightened her grip on the hilt of her sword "oh, interesting magic power. Who is the caster that powerful enough to switch the direction of my magic attacks while moving the Earth and Water in order to protect the commoners, I wonder?".
After about 20 seconds, Tristan was able to move them all from the Vaizel to the meadow near Vaizel where they could see Vaizel was destroyed from far distance. This place was surely far enough for the commoners to have the chances to run for their life.
Ban exclaimed as he tapped Tristan on his shoulder "you really did move us all from there?! Great job, Kid!?".
Isolde dropped to her knees, gasping breaths "is... everyone... alright?".
Diane came to support her "yes, you did great!?".
"I see... thanks god...", sweats covered her face, Isolde smiled weakly before she fell forward "I guess... I will take a rest... for a bit...".
Diane caught her before Tristan carried her bridal style, turning to Cain "old man, can you take care of her for us? We have to go. If you can, help Taizoo and that Holy Knight to evacuate the commoners".
Cain nodded his head, supporting Isolde "wait, where are you going?".
"it's our fight now", Meliodas waved his hand "let's go!".
Tristan asked them "Elizabeth, Hawk, just stay with Isolde, okay?".
Elizabeth nodded her head "be careful, everyone".
However, it turned out that Isolde ran back to Vaizel once she regained consciousness, knowing Tristan and Meliodas with his group had gone back to Vaizel in order to fight their enemy "I only want to be with you and always stay by your side. Although it won't become my voice, even if you just take advantage of me or even use me as your tools, if it will make you wanted to live your life again, I don't mind at all, because... I will die too if you die. Please, be safe".
Of course, Hawk and Elizabeth had gone to pursue her.
Cain reached out his hand "Isolde, wait?! Go back!? It's too dangerous?!".
"don't worry, old man", Escanor tapped his shoulder "we will make sure they're gonna be fine".
With confident smile, Merlin floated by his side "though I never expected we will be gathered this fast... I hope this is worth enough and we can have dinner next time".
When they arrived on Vaizel, they found Meliodas and Ban collapsed on the ground and King just dealt with two Holy Knights "princess, young Lady, Hawk, take care of the Captain when I take care of them, will you? and if you're not tired anymore, please heal them".
Tristan was nowhere to be found nearby because he was with Diane to get Diane's Gideon right now, but as a healer, Isolde had more urgent task as she carried Meliodas and Hawk carried Ban "leave it to me, Sir King!?".
Once they reached the safe place (well, as safe enough as they were on the battlefield) to hide, Elizabeth lifted her hands, praying as Isolde healed them. Hawk rubbed his eyes, telling that Elizabeth was getting bigger before indeed, Elizabeth turned back into her normal size. Veronica and Griamore were shocked to find Elizabeth, naked, but luckily Isolde had two more sets of clothes that she just bought on Vaizel. Elizabeth borrowed them thankfully but Isolde convinced she could take them just fine. Veronica and Elizabeth had an argue and at some point, Veronica even questioned if Isolde who aided Meliodas and Seven Deadly Sins with healing them, was trustworthy enough or not.
"I don't know for what reason people hate each other, but do we need a reason to help people who need help? Then again, what did you say about Sir Meliodas and Sir Tristan just now? What do you know, princess? I dare to challenge you, you don't even know anything about them and you dare to say those terrible things about them? they are monsters, you said? Actually, who decided it?", Isolde stood tall and lifted her chin up proudly as she challenged the second princess of Liones Kingdom "I don't care if you're a princess or Lady Elizabeth's older sister, but princess Guinevere that I know personally and I proudly serve on Camelot Kingdom, she is truly loved by her people because she never discriminate anyone based on appearance and social status, she would never do such things like you did just now, accusing people you barely know just because of whatever bad things you have heard from people. Better you watch your mouth if you know nothing, princess".
After Isolde had mockingly called her 'princess' in the end of her speech, Veronica pulled Elizabeth to bring her home by force. Hawk and Isolde were about to interfere but Meliodas woke up. Standing tall in front of Elizabeth, he pushed Veronica away, shielding Elizabeth behind his back and telling that he promised he would protect Elizabeth even if it would take his life as its cost.
"you really brainwashed Ellie", Veronica pulled her necklace "let's see who... or what you truly are".
When Meliodas were trapped in the Goddess Amber, Elizabeth snatched the Goddess Amber from her older sister, lifting Meliodas' broken sword and demanding "get Sir Meliodas out of this stone!?".
Veronica refused because she didn't know how to get him out too, and tried to bring Elizabeth back by force as Griamore used his Wall to trap Elizabeth.
"Isolde!", Tristan landed near them, breaking Griamore's barrier "what are you doing here?".
"we have no time to argue, Sir Tristan! Sir Meliodas, he's trapped in that stone?!", Isolde touched his biceps, frantically asking "you have to get him out?!".
"I get it. calm down", Tristan grabbed her biceps, asking her to calm down before looking up "we just have to figure out how to— wait, where were they going?".
When Tristan and Isolde spoke, Elizabeth had run off and Veronica pursued her. Griamore stayed here to watch over two women, Holy Knights who were given order by their leader to catch and bring back Meliodas' broken sword and Elizabeth, within his Wall.
Looking at Ban who lying bloodied on the ground, Tristan asked her "heal him, Isolde. I'm gonna get the princesses before trying to get that old man out of the gem".
Isolde nodded her head "be careful".
After Isolde healed Ban, they heard Guila said something regards capturing the princess, live or dead, before Griamore ran off to pursue the princesses too. Ban and Isolde had really bad feeling so they also ran to find their companion. They were shocked to see what happened after. Right before Guila's bomb that was planted under the ground exploding, Tristan pushed both Elizabeth and Veronica out of the way. Elizabeth and Veronica were shocked to see Tristan lying on the ground, bloodied from head to toe.
As Griamore went to check on Veronica who was totally alright, Elizabeth reached out her trembling hand to shake Tristan's body "...Sir Tristan? Why... no, why should you protect us?".
Veronica grabbed Griamore's hand with her shaking hand "I don't understand... why should you protect us and sacrifice your body?".
"sacrifice? Don't make me laugh", Tristan grunted as he coughed bloods "the reason... why do I protect you... princess Elizabeth... just laugh at it... but you have so much resemblance... with my mother... you reminded me of her... that's why...".
Hawk cried out in horror "Tristan! Elizabeth!".
"Kid, get yourself together!?", Ban gritted his teeth, approaching them "Isolde!?".
"no way... Sir Tristan...", Isolde dropped to her knees, holding him tightly as she tried to heal him with her healing magic but he didn't budge, neither he opened his eyes "no... please, wake up... you're lying, right?".
"ah, it's really a mess", Guila said, holding Meliodas' broken sword as Jericho took care of Ban "now, come with us, princess Elizabeth".
"ah, and you, the healer woman. You also should come with us", after Jericho took care of Ban, as Guila took care of Griamore and Hawk, Jericho forcefully grabbed Isolde's biceps "come on!? Don't be such a burden!? It's no use on clinging to a corpse".
Isolde slapped Jericho's hand, holding Tristan tightly on her arms and glaring up to Guila and Jericho "...I would never forgive you, ever".
Guila scoffed "and? Nothing you can do but to clinging to his corpse. Pathetic, I don't understand why our superior asked us to take you too".
Jericho reminded her "hey, Sir Helbram said she has ancient healing magic power that included as Lost Magic, that's why he asked us to not kill her and bring her back with princess Elizabeth and the broken sword, remember?".
Holding Goddess Amber tightly on her arms, Elizabeth kept calling out "Sir Meliodas, help! Save us!".
"no matter how you begged for your hero to come, he will not able to get out of that Goddess Amber", Guila lifted Elizabeth by her biceps "now, just come with us. Jericho, take care of that woman".
Crying harder, Elizabeth screamed "Meliodas!".
Still resisting from Jericho's iron grip, Isolde cried out "Tristan!"
Next second, Goddess Amber broke as the dark magic power spreading out and the red light enveloped Tristan's and Isolde's bodies. Meliodas stood up and and Tristan floated on the air, seemed unconscious even if their eyes were opened with frighteningly blank eyes and expression.
Escanor looked down, holding Sacred Treasure Ritta Axe on his hand "interesting transformation. What should we do now, Merlin?".
Even Merlin turned pale "oh, no... this is not good at all".