"So Tsuruko was one of those...?" Rosa shook her head—though she didn't want to admit it, this was rather bad for her. "....I should have seen this coming. I mean she was so odd..." She paused; as that first meeting flashed through her head. "...In a good way." Rosa clutched her sides; smiling subtly.
"Tsuruko is Tsuruko!" Excellen's loud voice called out; echoing throughout the cramped room that the whole team was staying in; the words that she used held quite a meaning; they were something that Tsuruko herself had told her not too long ago. "Humans, demons, whatever, there are people you like and ones you don't. That's all there is to it!"
Gary cracked his knuckles, as he bluntly told Tsuruko, "I never really gave a damn about that race crap. S'not like it really affects anything."
Giselle, although previously silent, placed her hand on Tsuruko's cold, metal shoulder. "Tsuruko, there's something I need to talk to you about." Her tone was one of absolute seriousness; completely lacking the dry wit that she usually laced her words with.
"Ehhh!?" Tsuruko was surprised by this; asking, "Why not tell me right here? I mean it won't hurt..."
"This is something that I've been speculating, and it all adds up." She suddenly grabbed Tsuruko by her left wing-ear-booster which was constantly protruding out in a spike, before dragging her outside. "Come on, Tsuruko."
Once the two were outside, Giselle let go of Tsuruko's wing and turned around, muttering, "It's time that I revealed something important to you, Tsuruko..." Closing her eyes momentarily, right as she put Tsuruko off, Giselle whispered in a somber tone, "I'm your mother."
"Oh, you're my mother, what else did you want to sa—" Tsuruko suddenly realized what exactly Giselle had said; it all clicked inside of her head. "Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!?"
"…I was thinking of it since we met. The hints piled up since we've been fighting the Zodiac Knights, and I realized it when I found you at Alphonse's grave before. You being a Kaizorg only confirmed my suspicions." Giselle hugged her sides slightly, as she continued, "I'm sorry it took so long to tell you this."
Tsuruko was utterly speechless; though she backed up slightly—not sure how or what to respond with.
"Alphonse was a research subject of the Zodiac Knights. They were trying to create a symbiote inside his body. When I learned of the Zodiac Knights' plan to create an Demon Impact, I attacked them and descended upon this land, where I met Alphonse. After meeting him, I realized that I couldn't defeat the Zodiac Knights by myself. I began to search for a way for somebody to harness the power to destroy demons to put an end to the Zodiac Knights, the Dust to Dust Ancient Spell."
"...The Dust to Dust?" All this was confusing Tsuruko further.
"Yes. However, Alphonse and I were pursued by Kirika. We traveled from place to place, and when you were born, with you as well, but we were finally caught by Kirika." Giselle paused, "But I want to tell you about your own origins."When you were born, you were gravely ill...the reason for that, is during your birth, Alphonse's symbiote, Star Phoenix, transferred from him into you. You had an incurable disease that science couldn't fix...I tried so hard to save you."
Giselle tapped Tsuruko's chest armour.
"But in the end, I could only resort to an option that crushed me. I had to convert you into a Kaizorg in order to stop the disease from progressing. As your flesh and bone converted to Orichalcum, I regretted my next options ever since: I converted the Dust to Dust Ancient Spell into data, storing it on a disk called the Laplace Program, and installed it into your body, so that you'd be able to activate Dust to Dust whenever you feel a strong emotion. But because of that, you're hunted by the Magic Council as well as the Zodiac Knights..."
"What about Dad!?" Tsuruko snapped in an uncharacteristic manner.
"Alphonse was turned into a monster as Kirika tried to fight me...the lack of symbiote inside of him caused the magical power inside of him to go out of control, and he turned into a demon...When it tried to devour you, I had no choice but to use..." With a swish of her labcoat, Giselle revealed a tricked-out crimson belt which had a phoenix-shaped belt buckle—the phoenix symbol had a flashing golden symbol in the middle. "...The True Phoenix Driver, the second Driver Belt ever created."
"...Wait." It all suddenly hit Tsuruko. "That means you're...!"
Slipping an emerald ring upon her finger, she scanned the ring over the belt around her waist; causing the belt to expand around her waist like a deck of cards wrapping around. Giselle threw her right arm at a diagonal to her right then rotated it clock-wise until it was a diagonal to her left, then she retracted it to her waist and thrust out her left arm at a diagonal to her right. With this, her special belt released five cards of pure magical power before her, all which shot towards her, enveloping her body as everything about her changed completely.
Giselle was now clothed in white robes which had golden linings; covering her upper body in a glowing mantle that draped her shoulders. Her attire otherwise consisted of a white trenchcoat, white baggy pants, as well as white, pointed, elf-esque boots. She wore black gloves, and her face was concealed by a draconic-looking orange mask, which was covered by a hood. "I'm the Phoenix Knight...or should I say, Soul Armour Knight Phenex."
"...This suddenly all makes sense!" Tsuruko exclaimed, "Why the Phoenix Knight saved me after the Sabbath, why they saved me from getting killed all these times...!"
"Ahem." Giselle responded, "Let me finish. When Alphonse tried to devour you, I fought him until he regained control of himself, no matter how momentarily it was. But....he asked me to kill him."
Tsuruko looked away, unable to take any more of this. "...I've heard enough."
"Alphonse went out of control again and turned on you. Then I…"
Tsuruko, now enraged, snapped at her mother, "I said, that's enough!"
"After that, Kirika attacked, then you and your sister fell down the cliff along with the Phoenix Driver that I created for your use. …I fought off Kirika, and descended the cliff, but all that was left were the symbiote corpses, half-eaten by monsters. …I thought there was no way you could still be alive."
"…Is that when you decided to become the Phoenix Knight again?"
"I just gave up. Bah, as long as I live, conflicts are left and right. It's endless. I didn't dream of a world without conflicts. I just wanted people to not cry. There is nothing at the end of saving people. Everything felt so damn meaningless." Giselle's words were soaked with cynicism. "I just let the damn Zodiac Knights do whatever the hell they wanted; I couldn't care less what happened to others after that. I came to think that maybe the Zodiac Knights could free me from this curse...until I met you."
"Me?" Tsuruko pointed at herself, in astonishment.
"You remind me of my old self. Just like you, I was desperately trying to save the world. I didn't give up. No matter how much I was oppressed, I was hopeful…until the day my family was killed. Hehe, I suppose it runs in the family." She laughed bitterly. "But there's a difference between me and you."
"No, not that. You realize that you are capable of making mistakes. Or rather, if you make a mistake, you are capable of acknowledging it. That takes courage. I'm unable to do that. You young ones might think the Phoenix Knight is a wise, all-knowing and powerful warrior, but truth is, I'm quite flawed."
"The courage to acknowledge one's mistakes…" Tsuruko wondered to herself; to her, it didn't really click why Giselle would see Tsuruko as superior.
"I was incapable of correcting my flawed path. I gave up on correcting my mistakes. You didn't give up."
"If you feel that way, then you must have realized it by now! Mistakes can be corrected. It's not too late!" Tsuruko assured her mother; as she extended her hand outwards towards her, taking Giselle's hand, as the two instinctively shook hands with a reverse hand grip, with Giselle tapping Tsuruko's fist on the top; Tsuruko's fist tapping Giselle's on the bottom before they bumped fists. "Let's look for a way to defeat the Zodiac Knights without losing any more lives together!"
Giselle laughed, "Tsuruko, you're like a sun that shines brightly upon us...no, the entire planet. You're way too bright."