[SCN: deep underground in dracula’s castle, a graveyard scene appears in a long hallway. fogging up the further into the hall viola and belmont go]

VIOLA:
Ghhh.
What the hell is going on with this hallway?

[after a point, it completely covers the screen, leaving nothing visible…]

VIOLA:
I can’t see a damn thing.
C’mon, Bel, let’s head back.

[there is only dead silence]

VIOLA:
Bel…?

[fade to black…]

[…and a hard cut to the top of a mountain, a sunset behind, and belmont all alone. belmont walks forward.]

???:
“A filthy dhampir, through and through”, they’d say.
“Scum, unworthy of using a weapon so powerful.”

[kneeling at the edge of the cliff, a familiar man appears, albeit much more pale and green in tone, wearing an open short-sleeved jacket and a black ponytail kept on the back.]

???:
So, Juste–if that was ever your real name.
The rumors were true, weren’t they?

Belmont:
Maxim.

Maxim:
I should have believed them, honestly.
It’d be impossible that a mere Belmont alone would have half the magical prowess you do.
But I didn’t want to speak ill of my dear friend like that.
Surely, with something as critically important as that, you would tell me.

Belmont:
You know precisely why I couldn’t.

Maxim:
Right, of course.
It’s the same to everything odd about you, after all.
Like all those little toys you brought from the future.

Belmont:
Y-you knew?

Maxim:
I might not have that gifted brain of yours, but I’m not dumb.
Especially not when it comes to all the ways you are.
You were my rival, after all. I needed to know everything.
Everything was a path to beating you.

Belmont:

Maxim:
Still, I would have preferred you not tease me with our duel for the Vampire Killer.
I knew I was destined to lose, but actively mocking me by playing weak?
Where was your honor?

Belmont:
It was… an unfair fight.
I was forced into using magic against a swordsman. I didn’t want that.

Maxim:
You think I couldn’t deal with a few lightning bolts?
Hmph. Hundreds of years later, and you still think you’re better than me.

Belmont:
T-that isn’t—

Maxim:
Very well, I suppose there’s a reason the powers that be brought us together.
It is time for me to get the duel I wanted all those years ago.

Belmont:
I…

Maxim:
Planning on breaking honor again?
Oh, do not worry, old friend, if there’s anything you’ve taught me…

[maxim quickly tries a swipe with his sword, and belmont quickly moves back]

Maxim:
It’s to play dirty.

RIVAL

Maxim Kischine

[a solo fight, maxim fights not dissimilar to how he did in harmony of dissonance, but far more mobile and with a much larger array of cheap shots to catch them off guard. a fight of pure precision, belmont defeats him…]

Belmont:

Maxim:
Why… did I think I could beat you?
I couldn’t even manage it when you were a teenager,
and yet, here I am, losing to my rival hundreds of years later.
I’m so useless…

Belmont:
No, you aren’t.
If anything, you’re far more useful than me.

Maxim:
What?
You, of all, people, couldn’t surely believe that?

Belmont:
My only job was to protect the Vampire Killer.
That is why I went to the past, while still so young.
…Do you know what I did with it, after you were gone?
I threw it away. I couldn’t even bear to look at it, anymore.

Maxim:
W-what!? What the hell is wrong with you!?
You only ever had one expectation all this time,
and you couldn’t even manage that!?

Belmont:

I know. I’m pathetic, aren’t I?
Not like you. You always had the determination to do anything.
That’s why the village was training you, they saw talent where noone else did.
It was nice, to have someone else alongside me.
Someone who genuinely cared about me. Not as a Belmont, but as a friend.
Up until then, I… never had anyone to be with.
I would just go to places, all alone, with noone by my side.
The closest thing I had to a mother died while I was still so young…
And then I was thrust into all of this. I never wanted any of this.
I was born with one purpose, and I could never leave it.
But you chose this path. I always had such respect for that.
You deserved to wield the Vampire Killer far more than I did.
Apparently, I was the only one there who believed this…

[cut to an old flashback, of a younger belmont dropping their tomes in a middle of a fight against a teen maxim]

Belmont:
Because that entire duel was rigged.
I was told by the village that I had to use a new kind of magic for it.
A form of magnetism, that was effective against steel swords.

Maxim:
…I was never told this.

Belmont:
Of course not. They had already decided who they wanted, after all.
The entire game was made for me to win, so my only reasonable option was choosing to lose.
I was going to tell you, but you had already ran before I could…

[cut to another flashback, this time of the final fight of HoD, with dark maxim]

Belmont:
And then, the next time I saw you, Dracula’s Castle had awoken,
all because of my failures spinning out of control.
I barely even recall what happened after that.
I just see the little things, obsessing over the furnishings inside there,
all the colors blending together into a blur,
and then by the time I thought consciously once more, you were gone.

[fade back to the cliffside, with belmont on their knees, tears in their eyes]

Belmont:
Every time I’d hold that damned whip, I’d remember you again.
Remember all the things friends ought to have done,
the things I should have done to help you,
what we could have been, had this not become my curse.
I don’t want to be a hero. I never did.
I just wanted my best friend back.

Maxim:

You know, when I was on my little quest for Dracula’s parts,
There was one thing that kept me going.
I felt this need to relieve you of your fate.
It was how I always felt,
always seeing how you’d react to even being shown that whip.
I viewed it with bitterness,
believing that you were simply too lazy, too gifted to care.
But I suppose that sad face of yours was just a cry for help, wasn’t it.
Some ally I must have been, taking it so personally.

Belmont:
You know where we are now, correct?

Maxim:
Well, I should be dead, and I seem to be temporarily conscious and alive.
I can only think of one entity that can allow for that.

Belmont:
It was my fault this time, too.
This all started by my own blood.

Maxim:
Looks like fate still wants to cling to you, then.
Promise me one thing. Once this is all done, and you’ve finally done what it wants,
make sure you can actually do what you wish with your life.
Perhaps you could even become a proper interior decorator!

Belmont:
How do you know that—

D-did you see me doing that back then?

Maxim:
Oh, come, now, it was endearing to see you move everything in your room around.
No wonder it always looked so much nicer than the rest of the village.

Belmont:
A-ahem.
I… suppose I could do that as a proper career.

Maxim:
Good.
No sense in letting your creative genius go to waste, being forced into combat.
I guess it must be time for me to go, then.

Belmont:

Could you…

Maxim:
Of course.

[maxim sits down with them, arm over their shoulder side by side]

Maxim:
Even after all you’ve been through, you’re still a softie, huh.
Hmph, no wonder I’d get so envious. You’re far too good for this world.
Don’t worry, alright? You’ll do fine. You always did.

Belmont:
Maxim…
Thank you.

[fade back to the graves, as the fog begins to dissipate, and belmont is seen lying on the ground]

Viola:
BEL-BEL! Okay, thank god you’re here.
You worried me for a sec, being all silent!

Belmont:
Ngggh?

[belmont sits up, tome in hand]

Viola:
Wait, I haven’t seen that tome before.
Have you been hiding this from me, Bel?

Belmont:
A new tome?
…Oh.

Viola:
You have been!
And here I thought I’d already found out all your secrets.
You’re a tough shell to crack, you know that?

Belmont:
Y-yes, I suppose I am.
Let’s get going, please.

TOME OF: MAGNETISM
A tome that can bring metal objects closer and further to its user.
A note can be found tucked in the final page of the book:

"Relieve yourself of this fate for me, would you?
- M"