Ban was lying on the ground, unable to move after Jericho attacked him. Griamore was no better, after Guila attacked him with her bomb and Hawk was charred. Veronica tightened her grip on the hilt of her sword, but she didn't sure if she could fight these two. At least, their situation was in dire before strange things happened.
They saw it right in front of their eyes.
What they remembered, Elizabeth who holding the Goddess Amber in her arms, was crying desperately as she called Meliodas, begging him to save them. On the other side, Isolde kept cradling Tristan's head on her embrace, tears streaming down her face as she crying desperately, calling Tristan's name as well.
What they saw unfolded in front of their eyes after that, the Goddess Amber was broken as dark magic emerged from within the Goddess Amber. Unable to hold back the powerful dark magic, the Goddess Amber broke, emanating the waves of darkness before revealing Meliodas, stood tall with strange pitch-black marks swirling around half of his body. His usual green eyes had turned into dark, amethyst orbs.
On the other side, red light enveloped both Tristan's and Isolde's bodies before Tristan's body jerked up and floated on the air, you even could see there were two pairs of dragon hands from his back that supporting him. His pupils turned into golden and there were more than one of pupils on each of his eyes. His eyes were gleaming bloody red and the white on his eyes turned black.
The only same thing from them, they didn't seem aware of their surroundings even if their eyes opened.
There was not mistaking it, Ban thought. Once you felt it, you wouldn't forget it easily. The presence he had felt from the Captain was, undoubtedly belonged to Demons. However, it was different with the presence that Ban felt from Tristan. Ban felt like the presence from Tristan was, unmistakably was the presence belonged to human but there were more than one presences of human in Tristan's body. Or it was not only that? Some part of Tristan's presence also felt resembled with the Captain somehow.
Looking up with teary-faced, Isolde blinked "...Sir Tristan?".
Ban felt chilled as he looking straight to Tristan's eyes and warned Isolde to move away from him but surprisingly, Tristan cupped her cheek and smiled down gently as he grabbed her wrist, helping her to her feet "why are you crying?".
Isolde wrapped her arms around his waist, burying her crying face on his chest "I thought... I've lost you already...".
"don't cry", Tristan wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her wet eyelids before looking over her head to Jericho with deadly glares "...are you the one who make her crying?".
"Meliodas! How could you break out of the Goddess Amber?", Guila lifted the broken sword on her arm as she took a step backward. Next second, Meliodas got his broken sword back along with Guila's hand and Guila screamed on top of her lungs. Holding the wrist of her lost hand, Guila staggered "you bastard...".
Isolde, Elizabeth, Jericho, Hawk, Ban, Veronica and Griamore looked to the source of bloodcurling scream in horror when Meliodas took off Guila's hand of his broken sword and simply threw Guila's hand to the ground. Tristan tightened his grip on Isolde's shoulders protectively, but showing no interest on what Meliodas was doing or what just happened.
"what are you two... are you joking...", Jericho gasped, lifting her sword with her trembling hands before she lunged into Tristan "what are you, actually!".
"what an eyesore", floating on the air as he held Isolde on his hands, four pairs of dragon hands appeared out of his back, launching to Jericho. Disarming Jericho of her sword and snaking one of his dragon hand around Jericho's waist, Tristan threw Jericho off to behind "behave yourself there".
Jericho went flying and hit Guila's body, toppling them to the ground before Meliodas lifted his broken sword and a light swung from him, it was enough to send them flying. Jericho quickly retrieved Guila's hand and put it back on her arm, using Hyper Recovery Spell orbs. After Guila and Jericho recovered and argued over Helbram's hypothesize about Meliodas, Ban who had gotten recovered too, whistled after thanking Jericho and showing the incantation orbs that he'd stolen from Guila. Jericho grabbed the hilt of her sword, about to slash him again into pieces but Ban warned them as Meliodas lunged into them.
"you... are you really the Capt'n?", Ban prepared to strike him but something wrapped itself around his waist and pulling him out of the way "wha—".
It was Tristan who had pulled him using the dragon hands that came out of his back. Not only Ban, but also Elizabeth, Hawk, Griamore and Veronica before he shielding them from the flying debris, due to Meliodas' attacks on his rampaging condition.
"if you don't want to get your body slashed into two, just stay still here behind my back", Tristan took some step forward after telling Griamore to use his barrier. Griamore did what he instructed, using his Wall to protect them as Tristan walked forward to Meliodas, ignoring Elizabeth and Isolde's call when they banged Griamore's Wall. Unfortunately, even Griamore's Wall didn't strong enough to hold back Meliodas' attack and Tristan had to stand in front of them. When Meliodas wanted to strike him, Tristan simply crossed his hands before his chest, pointing his dragon hands to his face "stop it, you moron. You don't even recognize us?".
Meliodas sharply stopped on the air before landing on the ground, sniffling to both Tristan and Elizabeth before lifting his right hand. The darkness on his body shifted to his right hand in form of a wing before Meliodas flew to the sky, leaving them all gaped in wonder (except Tristan).
When Elizabeth and Hawk wondered what happened to Meliodas or was he even Meliodas, Griamore blurted out "um, maybe he recognized us from our smell?".
"just like the dog, you mean?", Veronica scoffed "forget it. Just to where he's gone?".
Tristan shrugged "maybe looking for his another prey?".
Ban still felt uneasy, lifting his hand to halt Elizabeth and Isolde "are you... Tristan?".
That was when they heard groans in pain from Guila and Jericho who lying on the ground, barely alive.
"oh, still alive?", the dragon hands from Tristan's back wriggled "well then, I just need to finish them off".
Before he could send his dragon hands, Isolde spread her hands to the side and stood in front of him "stop! They will seriously die if this goes on!".
Tristan frowned disapprovingly "why should you protect them? They are our enemy".
"that's right, I haven't even forgiven them for hurting you, Sir Tristan, but I also don't want to see you kill anyone in front of my eyes. They are our enemy, but to kill anyone mercilessly and unreasonably", Isolde shook her head "this isn't you".
"you really have the heart of gold, Isolde", he touched her chin and lifted her head up, leaning down "that's what make me fallen in love with you".
"NO!", Isolde pushed him and backed away. Unlike the usual, this time she felt cold when he touched her and she clenched her fists on her chest "who are you? You are not Sir Tristan. I can tell for sure".
Elizabeth felt shivers on her nape, somehow her instinct told her to believe Isolde's words "who are you? Get out of Sir Tristan's body and give him back to us!".
"why is it always 'Tristan' for you?", whoever he was, he glared down to Isolde as he reached out his hand to her "my, my, your devotion to Tristan is unwavering, huh? While I can say it's admirable but your devotion is also what make your husband suffering, Isolde".
Before he could reach her, unfortunately, he jumped backward as the ice pillars came out of the ground "why, hello... isn't it the Great Sorceress Merlin? Overprotective of your little sister as always, huh?".
"stop disturb my little sister", Merlin stood in front of Isolde, lifting her hand to the side "I know it's you, Mark. Give back that body to Tristan".
"she's right. You have to walk over our dead body before you lay your finger on her. Dare to mess up with our little sister, you have to prepare yourself for the consequences", Escanor caressed the corner of his moustache, leaning his Divine Axe Rhitta on his shoulder "not to mention, women dislike pushy and overbearing man, you know?".
Merlin smirked and clapped her hands "that's very good words we have here, Escanor. Thank you very much".
Elizabeth blinked her eyes "um, you two are...".
"sister!", Isolde wrapped her arms around Merlin's waist, never she felt this relieved to see her again "you really come for me!".
Merlin smiled fondly and patted her sister's head "anything for my little sister. Glad to see you're safe and sound. Tristan does a great job of protecting you, huh? Though, that idiot must have slept inside. We have to wake him up".
Ban jaw-dropped, pointing to the reunited sisters "you are her WHAT!".
"yo, Ban. Long time no see, but how shameful for you, Fox Sin Of Greed, Undead Ban. To think you could be slowed down by the weaklings of those little wench from Holy Knights and someone before us, whoever he is", Escanor lifted his hand before he shook his head dismissively. When he looked back to Tristan, there was a bloody red stone in diamond shape gleaming on his forehead and both his hand and leg had turned into dragon-clawed limbs "what an interesting transformation. Unlike the Captain who seems unaware of his surroundings, you can even speak and recognize them. I bet our words are getting through to you clearly, right?".
"silence", he glared up and spoke with the voice of more than one persons "who do you think you are, you lowly human, speak that way to us? and who did you call as the weaklings just now?".
"how impertinent", Escanor tilted his head "you don't seem like the Tristan that we know and why did you refer yourself as 'us' while Merlin called you as 'Mark' just now? who... or rather, what are you? I mean, all of you inside him. Actually, how many people within you?".
"why should you ask? You, human, are the ones who have created us. We are what you, human, call as Homunculus. Mark only one of us and while it's right, this body belongs to Tristan, it's not like we can get out of this body just because we want it", Tristan swiftly moved to behind Escanor before both he and Escanor fought as Merlin kept the others safe within her Perfect Cube. Wriggling his fingers, 'he' or 'they' within Tristan's body, smirked "hm, as expected of Great Holy Knight of Cornwall Kingdom. This body is really strong".
The Cardinal Helbram appeared, landing on the ground near them after he sent last blow to Meliodas who had fallen unconscious on the crater of the wall "care to share me the story, Homunculus?".
"to make long story short, this man, the body where we have been resided, is dead already, ever since far too long, long time ago, but he was brought back to life by his wife even if it's undoubtedly the Sins they have committed...", glancing sideways, when his eyes landed on Meliodas' unconscious figure, he clutched his head and groaned in pain "kh!".
He dropped to his knees and looked like struggling against his own self, before he transformed again. His pupils turned into jet-black. His sclera that had turned into black, this time turned into bloody red. The dragon hands on his back turned into wings. Black-pitch marks, the one like Meliodas had on his body before, covered his limbs, swirling all around his torso before he growled and lunged to attack Helbram, the Cardinal of Holy Knights (from what Veronica and Griamore told them).
"Escanor, don't let Tristan go and snap him out of his berserk mode as quick as possible, please. If this goes on, he will die!", Merlin said as she holding Isolde back "that fool...".
"don't worry. I will not let him to", Escanor smiled "I will keep my promise to you no matter what".
"we rely on you", Ban nodded his head, lifting his hand "we will retrieve the Cap'n and Diane when you take care of him. Fox Hunt".
As fast and gentle as he could, Ban retrieved Meliodas' and King's bodies. Throwing Meliodas over his shoulder and carrying King on his another arm like a sack, Ban realized Diane's magic power "oh, crap. We really should get out of here".
When her little sister tried to go to the same direction to where Escanor, Tristan and Helbram were, it was not needed a genius to know what she was gonna do. Merlin caught her wrist "Isolde, don't! It's too dangerous even for you! He's not in his right mind!".
"but I can't lose him! You said if this goes on, he will die, right?", Isolde tried to resist "I can't afford to lose him and I have to stop him before it's too late!".
Merlin couldn't stop her, so she hugged her instead "you two have to come back in piece to us, safe and sound, understand?".
Isolde smiled with tears brimming on her eyes before she nodded her head, running to where she found Escanor tried to stop Tristan who wanted to send the killing blow to Helbram. Thinking this was his only chance (due to Hendrickson's instruction with urgency on his tone of voice as well, realizing that Diane in her cold fury was about to arrive there) to retreat and run, Helbram went to retrieve two of his disciples.
Realizing that his prey tried to run away, Tristan kicked Escanor on the gut and sent him flying before he tried to pursue Helbram "don't you dare to run!".
Isolde hugged him from behind "Sir Tristan, don't! Please, just stop this madness! This isn't you!".
"what do you know?", he turned to look behind over his shoulder "you know nothing of me".
"yes, I do know you. You are the only one that I love!", Isolde pulled him down and cupped his cheek, slapping his cheek lightly "look at me, look only at me! Snap out of it already! Remember who you are! You are the one who freed me from slavery. You are my savior, the light of my life. If you can hear my voice, please... just stop this. Don't lose from your darkness, Sir Tristan".
"...Isolde", Tristan blinked his eyes "why are you crying? What happened to me?".
"at least... my voice reached you...", just by looking at his eyes, she knew her Tristan had come back and she felt huge relief on her heart but next second, she was surprised to see him collapsed backward and she had to catch him before she cradled him on her lap "Sir Tristan! Stay with me! Where does it hurt?".
"this is why I always told you to stay away from me... don't come near me... if you stay close with me... it only will endanger your life... the least thing I want to happen... is to endanger your life...", clutching her sleeve, Tristan whispered weakly with his shaky voice as his tears cascaded down his face silently "you have to stay away... before I endanger your life... I'm nothing but an ugly monster...".
Isolde's eyes widened as she felt the wet on her lap where his head was lying and for several seconds, she also had to get herself together as she held back her own tears and tried to regain her composure.
"no, you aren't. What are you talking about? The fact that you're upset because you can't fully control your power, is the fact that you, without doubt, are human and have kindness within yourself, right?", Isolde said at least after gulping. She didn't care if her voice was shaky because of her own tears threatened to fall like waterfall and her heart was still shattered in pieces after looking at how the man she loved broke down in front of her eyes "No matter what your form, as long as you still have the heart to feel and tears to cry, you're not a monster. Even if your form could change, do not let it change your heart as well. It's alright, it'll be alright. No matter what people say, as long as you are you, Sir Tristan, you will never be alone because I'd keep my words to you, that I will never betray you, nor I will leave you alone. Even if the entire world turn against you, I will never leave your side or abandon you".
"thank you, Isolde", Tristan wrapped his arms around her waist, digging his fingers on her back before his grip started to get weakened "tell my father... it's alright... if you want to tell everyone... about what I am or my Sin... I...".
"Sir Tristan, you're sleeping?", Isolde looked down but after looking at perspiration covered his face, his body started getting cold and his lips turned into worrisome bluish tint "somebody, help?!".
Gelda came to gather them, telling her that Merlin was using her teleport to send them to the outskirt of Vaizel. Only several seconds after Gelda put Tristan and Isolde on the outskirt, they saw the flying giant boulder (Diane stood on top of it with Gideon on her hand after realizing what Helbram had done to her friends) as big as a mountain above Vaizel and Vaizel was wiped off of the map.
"wow, I admit this is crazy", Gelda saluted at the amazing event she just witnessed before crouching beside Isolde and Tristan, realizing the necrosis on some part of his body "this idiot. Luckily princess has predicted this, so she asked me to give this medicine to you. You have to take care of him and after you treat him, it's up to him to survive this or not. We rely on you to heal him, Isolde".
Isolde nodded her head and wiped the tears from her eyes "tell the princess, thank you so much and she can leave it to me".
The first thing Meliodas did after he regained his consciousness, was to check on everyone. He accepted Ban's punch that send him flying to the boulder, slashing the big boulder into two as the effect of Ban's fist. Elizabeth helped him to stand and Meliodas stood before Elizabeth hugged him in relief (much to Veronica's distress). After Meliodas groped her butt and mentioned to wear the underwear, Veronica, Hawk and Diane squawked to him. However, when Meliodas told Elizabeth that everything was gonna be alright for him (even if his precious broken blade was stolen by Holy Knights) as long as Elizabeth was alright too, Veronica couldn't protest after looking at how flustered her little sister who blushed furiously.
"but~ we really didn't expect to see Merlin and Escanor coming here together. Not to mention, the fact that Isolde is Merlin's little sister, is also more than a little shock", Ban scratched his nape and narrowed his eyes suspiciously "do you know it already, Cap'n?".
"you never ask", Meliodas pointed out the matter of fact before looking around "speaking of which... where is Tristan and Isolde? Obviously he can take care of himself, I believe he's that dependable, even if he can be too reckless sometimes. Also, what do you mean with Merlin and Escanor were coming here together?".
Not too long after Ban and Elizabeth explained what had happened when Meliodas was rampaging, it was more than shock to see how Meliodas blanched. They never saw their Captain showing this kind reaction in their daily life. Right when Meliodas wanted to look for them, using her teleport, Merlin came with Isolde and Escanor who piggyback-ride unconscious Tristan on his back.
"Tristan!", unusual of him (and for his companions), Meliodas was panicked "Isolde, treat him, quick!".
Merlin asked Meliodas to calm down "we need to treat him in proper place".
They quickly went back to the Boar Hat that was parked on the mountain near Vaizel. Because of her request, Diane's body was shrunken into human size like Elizabeth and the others. Hawk trotted to the bed before leaning his upper body on the edge of the bed as Escanor and Ban helped Meliodas to take off Tristan's clothes before Merlin and Isolde started to treat his wounds and stabilize his magic power. Veronica and Griamore decided to come with them, they stood on the sidelines along with Elizabeth, Diane and King who floated on the air as Merlin, Isolde, Meliodas, Ban and Escanor stood by the bed-side. They all saw what 'thing' exactly on Tristan's back that usually Tristan hid very well as one of his biggest secret.
Pointing to the diamond-shaped red stone that attached on the surface of the bulge on Tristan's back that throbbing like a heart, Elizabeth timidly asked "...Lady Merlin, is that?".
Merlin explained with grim expression "his artificial heart that was made by me due to the request of my little sister, Tristan's late wife, Isolde Belialuin. The diamond-shaped red stone that attached on his artificial heart is the source of life for Homunculus, the Philosopher Stone. This is also Tristan's Sacred Treasure and this is the secret of his massive magic power".
King was amazed because he just witnessed the Philosopher Stone that was planted on someone's heart "amazing... isn't it the stone that only exist on the legend? I can't believe I can see it myself with my own eyes".
Diane lifted her hand to cover her mouth "so, Tristan has the legendary stone as his Sacred Treasure? Great".
"it's not great at all", Merlin couldn't help but looked down in despise "Philosopher Stone is made by other people's life, after all".
"and not only a single soul", Meliodas added, ignoring the collective gasps around them "to create the Philosopher Stone as big as this, it's needed the lives of the entire Kingdom. Mark or whoever they are that you have met when Tristan was under his berserk mode, they are human who have been sacrificed to create this Philosopher Stone".
Isolde hissed when the others started demanding full explanations from Merlin and Meliodas "would you all just shut up so I can concentrate to heal him or just wait outside, please?".
After Isolde healed the wounds on his body, the real problem started as Tristan's body started thrashing around. Merlin asked Ban and Escanor to help Meliodas to hold Tristan down as Tristan's body writhed in agony.
"...kill me...", Tristan coughed violently, puking bloods and bile to the bed as bloods came out of his eyes and nose "KILL ME ALREADY!".
Isolde lifted her hand to wrap his body as she started using her healing magic power again "Sir Tristan, hang on! Get yourself together, please! You have to survive!".
"all of you, please wait outside. We've got this", Merlin asked them all to wait outside, ushering them all out of the room except Escanor, Isolde and Meliodas "Escanor, help the Captain to hold him down as I stabilize his magic power and Isolde keeps healing his wounds".
Ban, King, Diane, Veronica, Griamore, Elizabeth and Hawk peeked into the now-sickroom worriedly before Elizabeth grabbed Merlin's biceps with tears brimming on her eyes "Lady Merlin, he's gonna be alright, right? Please, you all have to save him! He was... he's getting injured because of protecting me and my older sister. I also consider him just like a brother, a family for me, so please... save him".
"leave it to us, princess", Merlin touched her shoulders gently and smiled down fondly, asking her to not blame herself "besides, Isolde is here. She will never let Tristan die, ever".
Outside the tavern, Gelda sat on the tree branch "are you sure, I needn't to interfere here?".
(Guinevere remarked, concern was obvious on her voice "let's just believe on Isolde and godmother".
Arthur squeezed her shoulder reassuringly "it will be long night".)
It would be a very long night, indeed.