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DuskOfTheStars

The Eternally Guilty Sun | IC | Smash Bros RP

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“Man, where is he?”

 

The last hours before sunrise were always the coldest. The moisture in the air was inescapable, dampness settling in between his layers as palpable discomfort. Even when he sought refuge under the eaves of a gift shop, leaning into the soft wooden wall sopped his cloak down to his skin. He shivered and jerked away, walking out a bit from the shade to look out toward the ocean. Maybe if he listened to the waves, watched the sky waver on its surface long enough...

 

Footsteps approached from his side. His heart leapt at the notion of leaving, but fell back half-sullen when he realized it was just the quartermaster. He adjusted the neck of his cloak and the strap of his pack impatiently—the man was bent and wizened, tiny spectacles fitted close against his wrinkled tan skin. He had a walking staff upon which he leaned and grey robes befitting his elderly frame. “Ah, good morning, Lord Ike.” The old man smiled warmly at him. His face remained drawn, humorless.

 

“You can drop the title.”

 

“Oh! Of course, Lo- Ike. My apologies, sir. No offense was intended...” Ike sighed inwardly and relaxed his features to the best of his ability. Even the “sir” bit was obnoxious, but it wasn’t this man’s fault. He had to remind himself that it was just a formality at this point.

 

“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” He managed a weak smile to reassure him, but it fell quickly. “What can I do for you?”

 

“I just thought I might come by to confirm your departure time with you. All supplies have been accounted for,” he motioned toward the sack strapped around Ike’s back, ignoring the ornate hilt sticking up behind his left shoulder, “besides that which you have there. Should I...?” Ike shook his head.

 

“No, thanks. This stays with me.” He glanced back out toward the horizon, noting the color. “About how much time do we have left?”

“Close to 30, 45 minutes, sir. Perhaps you should board with haste, you and your companion. We’ll be lifting anchors soon. Once the ramps come up, they will not be let down again.” Ike didn’t really hear him, though. His eyes were looking all over the area, absently trying to find what he was looking for.

 

“Uh...yeah, okay. Thanks for telling me.” The quartermaster bid him farewell, and shuffled back along the dock, Ike watching after him with his arms folded. The light tinge of orange was starting to poke up out of the mist beyond, lightly highlighting the sides of the shacks dotting the shoreline. Still, the port remained quiet and empty, devoid of the discerning looks cast by the townsfolk. It was almost peaceful, just the right environment for a silent celebration--one without any fanfare and dress code, manners or the ever-present menagerie of false faces spouting pleasantries. It was almost peaceful--

 

“Hey there, Commander.”

 

Ike nearly lost his footing on the stones beneath him when he jumped. He stumbled and caught himself before whirling around to find the source of the voice--

 

“Gah! Volke? What are you doing here?!”

 

There was a man—the one named Volke— standing propped against a post a few feet from him, his lips playing around the mouth of a long-stemmed pipe in his right hand. He had that look on his face, one that hid many secrets and was devoid of any allegiances. The tug at the side of his face indicated his shameless amusement. Ike, however, was infinitely less humored by the whole thing.

 

“I’m here on assignment,” he said simply. He stiffened.

 

“...For me?”

 

“You could say that.” He took a draw off his pipe.

 

Ike’s hand went to Ragnell. Volke snorted, a puff of smoke darting from his mouth and nose. He straightened his back and nonchalantly waved the hand hugging his elbow.

“Not so fast there, son of Gawain. I’m in your favor for now.” Ike’s face drew up into a scowl. His fingers adjusted against the hilt in preparation for whatever he had in store.

 

“Pft. ‘I’m in your favor’? Come on Volke, don’t play games with me. What are you here for?

 

Volke kept his eyes on Ike, placing the pipe secure in his lips and reaching around his right to the pouch on his belt. In one deft motion, the flap flipped up, and a slip of white appeared between his index and middle finger. He held it out far enough for Ike to see it. He dropped his arm, eyes widening in recognition at the gold stamp.

“Look familiar?”

 

It definitely was.

 

“...Oh.”

He slouched and slapped a palm to his face. How could he be so stupid? Of course...

 

“Agh, sorry, sorry. I completely forgot about it. It’s just all this planning--” A chuckle came from the dark-clad man.

 

“Well, your little tactician sure didn’t. And good thing, too...wouldn’t you agree?” Ike recovered and shared a laugh himself. It was one of the only genuine sensations of happiness he’d felt for days.

 

“Yeah, it is. It’s hard to imagine where I’d be without him.” Of course Soren had already made arrangements for the delivery of Elincia’s letter. The two had talked about it months back, but Ike had been lax and hadn’t committed it to memory. Honestly, it had come as a surprise to him—Soren had been the one to suggest Volke’s employment, and he’d originally taken it as a joke. But Soren very rarely ever joked, and must’ve met him in secret at some point in the past. It was a little concerning, considering Volke’s dubious resume, but the faith he put in Soren’s judgment was as great as his faith in his sheer magical prowess. Volke turned from Ike and rested back against the pole. He peered at him sidelong through narrow eyes.

 

“Indeed...and so, I’m amazed that you stand here without him now.”

If there was ever a man to ask about that, he was standing within striking distance.

“He was supposed to be here just a few minutes ago. You wouldn’t have happened to have seen him today, would you’ve?”

 

“Ten thousand gold.”

 

Ike froze, awestruck.

“What? Ten thousand?! Volke clicked his tongue and withdrew an implement of sorts. He tapped out the excess tobacco and gave the bowl a few scrapes.

 

“Ten thousand. Up front.”

He scoffed, incredulous of such an outlandish sum. “You’re crazy!”

 

“I know. That scornful face is worth far more than thrice that, at the very least. A mind like his could command mountains, raise empires, usurp the gods as we know them...” He studied the mercenary knowingly. “And you’re only asking for information. If it were his capture or his head, we both kn—"

 

Stop that!! And I know you just saw him recently!” He was angry now, very angry. Volke didn’t seem too concerned, though. He produced a match from his hip and struck it on the pole. When it came alight, he cupped the bowl with the match held to it, giving it a few test puffs until it caught.

 

“I don’t do contracts under obligation.”

 

“You can’t be serious.”

 

“If you’re hiring me to caper, that’ll cost extra.”

 

Ike growled in relent and pulled out a sack from his shoulder pack. Inside, coins of all assortments jingled and tinkled against one another. He parted out a few larger coins into another sack, then handed the majority remaining to Volke. The man took it with a smirk, and spirited it away into his jacket.

 

“Your humble patronage is appreciated.”

 

Robbery. It was absolute robbery. As soon as Soren found out, he’d likely combust on the spot. But his safety was more important than money—one could be replaced, the other couldn’t. Ike was even more appreciative of Soren’s incessant dutifulness; had he not already paid for their arrangements, they’d be stuck right now. Just by touch, he could tell they had maybe just enough for another ticket and overnight lodgings, but Ike wasn’t about to leave without him. Such a thing was unthinkable.

 

“So, you’re hired, I guess. Now, what can you tell me about Soren’s whereabouts?”

 

Volke walked toward Ike and past him, motioning for him to follow. He raised an eyebrow at him, but couldn’t coax out an immediate answer. They went along for awhile in silence, soon enough coming up on a familiar grey-stone lodging. It was a single-bedroom apartment, one bath with what had become an office space in place of a living room, up a flight of steps, giving a nice view of the ocean beyond. Ike cast a questioning glance at Volke as he opened the unlocked door and went up, but held his objections until they reached the office above.

 

The door at the top was wide open, uncharacteristic of a man prone to solitude and secrecy. A thousand possibilities came to mind, each more disturbing than the last.

 

“What happened? Why is the door open?” Ike placed a hand on the doorframe and entered it slowly, peering around the room for any sign of his fussy friend. Everything seemed to be in its right place, from all the gaudy furniture supplied against Soren’s wishes, to the singular teapot situated at the corner of the desk at the end of the room. Very little besides that pot and its two cups were what he considered property, and everything else looked just as untouched. Strange, considering it was still here and he evidently wasn’t...

 

“This is how I found the place. I came up to receive the package, and was greeted by the door swinging in on its own. Your tactician was nowhere to be found. The letter, interestingly, was lying just outside the doorway, where he might’ve stepped previous.” Ike touched a few fingers to the side of the iron pot. It was still warm, with some amount of what smelled like licorice inside.

 

“So, in other words...you haven’t seen him. And I paid you for that.” Too bad. He’d make it up to Soren later, if he had the chance. Certainly, there was need for his line of work elsewhere...no matter how much it pained him to admit it. Maybe he could take up a more domestic trade, like carving or smithing. Ike wasn’t terribly artistic, but if he could focus himself into something he had some experience with—

 

“Don’t sound so disappointed. The mere fact that he’s late to a meeting should give you some indications. Not to mention, he didn’t appear to deliver his letter to me.”

 

Rummaging through the drawers and bathroom proved fruitless. Even his personal wrap, he realized, was missing. Maybe he’d just recently left to meet Ike at the dock? But then, why was the pot on the table, doors left ajar?

 

But what did all that mean? He didn’t change his mind, surely. He hummed with concern to himself, turning to see Volke again resting against the wall. He had since doused his pipe, an odd show of respect toward the owner’s wishes. Ike ran a hand through his hair and sighed.

 

“Well...I don’t know what to say. Are you certain that that’s all you know?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“Huh...” He chewed at the inside of his cheek for a moment before speaking again. “I guess that means you still haven’t been paid for the delivery then, have you?”

 

“Seems not. My pockets are feeling rather light.” Volke rifled through his pockets in mock protest. Ike scoffed at him before holding out the rest of what he had to him. When he received it, he deliberately made out counting it, stopping abruptly as he looked it over.

 

“Hm. There’s less here than what I charge for. But--” he stopped Ike before he could complain, “—I’m willing to give you a discount just this once. For old time’s sake.”

 

He knew better than to believe that. He didn’t raise a fuss, though; Volke now owned all of his personal assets and could provide nothing more. If this information alone didn’t kill Soren, nothing would. Again, Volke hid away the sack. Ike contemplated him with an irritated look on his face.

 

“Y’know, I've seen you do your work, and I don't put murder past you, considering. But a mailman? When did that enter your repertoire?”

 

“I don’t believe in limitations. I can be anything, so long as the pay is good.”

 

He set down his pack on the table and shook his head, deciding to busy himself with emptying the teapot and cups. There was a faucet in the bathroom—incredibly luxurious—with which he could rinse the strainer and the implements. That way, he could stow them away so they wouldn’t have to make a trip back to get them.

 

“...Sure. Well, I guess I’ll take a quick look around town before I get a search party involved. Feel free to leave whenever.” He looked over his shoulder at Volke for confirmation.

 

But he was gone. He tapped out the strainer against the sink basin and rubbed everything down with a nearby washcloth. After they were dried enough, he re-situated the contents to accommodate for the additional items. Afterward, he hefted the weight back over his shoulder and went for the door, nothing left to say or consider.

 

 

Without those spare few items, the room was completely devoid of its master's personality. Were some thief or nosy senator to come upon it, there would be no scent, no objects, no physical evidence that he had ever been there. It had been a mutual decision between them that what was to come would forever sever any connections to their homeland and all contained within, but somehow, Soren had striven to make his time here as impersonal as possible. And he had succeeded.

 

I hope he's okay.

 

 

He stepped through.

----------------------------------------

 

In a blur of black, his boots made contact with a bed of stone and liquid, splashing up on his trousers. His hands fell to catch himself, but he retained enough balance to sway back upright. The sloshing of water around his feet and rocks alerted him to the presence of a stream, which, to his chagrin, he was standing in. He could barely make out the edge of an embankment, roots and smallish trees silhouettes against a hazy sky. He took a few heavy steps over and clambered up the side, just in time before the water could settle into the sole of his boots. Once he gathered himself, he stood still long enough for his eyes to adjust and his senses to settle.

 

There was a faint noise of crickets and other insects about. The stream was behind him, and it was nighttime. He obviously wasn't where he was prior--maybe he had been knocked out? No, that was impossible. He was just as awake as he was a few moments ago, and there were no obvious gaps in his memory. He ran through recent events just to make sure, coming to the same conclusions over and over. This wasn't Crimea, or any of Tellius as he could tell. Even if he couldn't see it well, the foliage wasn't the same, and just the smell alone...

 

He sniffed the air. Something besides foreign flora was there. Something like a doused brazier.

 

"What is that?"

 

Fire could indicate civilization. Burning meant only one thing--struggle. He made his way toward where the scent was strongest. Ike noted the odd shapes of the trees and grasses, how they almost looked unreal, manufactured. The forest he was in was suitably dense, but it wasn't wholly...realistic? There was a sensation of recognition at the back of his mind, but it felt like it was from so long ago, more like a dream than anything. It felt like...he had been here before?

 

A fringe had started further in, where the plants had grown noticeably wilted. When he crossed over this boundary, the temperature steadily began to climb. There was no breeze to cool the sweat forming on his brow as he jogged onward, anxious to find the source of the growing heat. It didn't take long however; a massive clearing emerged from the heat, stretching out beyond sight and stripped down to scorched earth and blackened skeletons. Smoke arose from the ashy limbs of brittle trunks, and the surrounding area was devoid of sound. Whatever had taken place here, whatever cataclysm, no life remained. Nothing...

 

Above, a few beams of moonlight struggled through. They illuminated the ground in sparse spots, just enough for him to spot a bit of orange-red near a gathering of rocks. When he focused on the shape, he found it to be an elongated square, with pages trembling lightly against an insubstantial breeze. A Fire tome, though he wasn't sure of what designation. Someone had gotten too hasty?

 

Just almost out of sight, in the edge of the wavering light, were a few curled pale digits. Fingers. Stained with some brownish, red substance.

 

"S--!"

 

He dashed toward them, scooping them up under the shoulders and pulling them into the light.

 

Fair face, red Brand, hair such a dark shade of green it was almost black. He knew these features well. He promised he'd never forget them again.

 

"SOREN!!!"

 

He laid him back in the full shine. He felt for a pulse at the base of his neck and listened for any sign of breathing. Both were present, if not erratic and faint. Next, he checked his mouth for trauma and broken teeth. Finding none, he pushed up both eyelids with his thumb.

 

"Hey! Soren, can you hear me?" No response. Red eyes remained rolled in their sockets. He looked him over.

 

Soren's right shoulder was ripped down to his elbow, with four reddening gashes splitting the robe and his undershirt into jagged tendrils. His left hip was likewise torn; his sashes and belt had been sheared off, and red was seeping down into the white on his thigh. He tried to adjust the Archsage's waist to get a better look, but yanked his hand away from the sudden hotness of sticky blood. Where his palm had landed, a vivid dark stain was rapidly spreading, leaking out of holes punched in a uniform arc along the fabric.

 

Ike unsheathed the knife on his leg. He worked quickly, wasting no time cutting away the restrictive robe and longsleeve and tossing them to the side. He undid his extraneous items, like his cloak and satchel, and cut the cloak into strips to bind his wounds. The wet scraps from his dip in the stream he used to wipe off the blood to the best of his ability, then retrieved the Concoctions from an outside pocket of the bag. One would be enough--he rubbed a liberal amount of the thin solution into the cuts and punctures, soaking the bandages in the remnant fluid. He wrapped Soren's torso, arm and hip tight and snug with the anointed layers, then wrapped them again in dry fabric.

 

Finishing his work with a secure tug, he rocked onto his heels and undid the broach holding his cape. He dropped it in the bag and closed it, then eased his friend's body off the ground and wrapped him in the crimson cloth. He stood with him in his arms--too light...how long had it been since he'd eaten?--and retrieved his tome and personal belongings from the ground. The work he'd done was subpar in the face of an Elixir or a skilled Bishop's Mend staff, but it was all he could do. He walked toward where the stream had run, and took them further upstream, far away from the burnt husk of the vale.

 

"Soren," he said quietly, knowing his words were falling on deaf ears, "stay with me, okay? I didn't give you permission to die."

 

There was a little hollow next to the bank, up off the water enough that it remained dry. It was a prime spot to settle for the night, out of side from predators and close to a water source. He tucked the mage away in the crook of a sprawled root, and went to work gathering tinder from the surrounding area to start a fire.

 

((Jaysus, I'm a day late and a word count large enough to bury myself in. Forgive my Great Wall o' Text <:3))

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The people around Valerie seemed to be noticing the advantage she had given her - and using it as much as they could. The beasts had ran to other people after her initial attacks, but now they were coming back to her.

 

"This is taking long... we need to finish it fast." She whispered to herself more than anyone else.

 

"I need to go all out now. Sylveon, use Hyper Voice; Spritzee, use Dazzling Gleam!"

 

The attacks hit, the beasts looked as if they had almost been defeated, but there was a problem...

 

Ccchhhhiiiiiiiink! Crash!!!

 

Brightly shining, pink shards were floating through the sky, giving Valerie a mixed feeling of fascination and dissappointment; the contradicting sensation of something this beautiful, indicating something that felt like... failure.

 

The Trick Room had collapsed. They had lost the speed advantage, so they were now left to timing, strategy and sheer power. Spritzee was still able to fight, but obviously to tired to set up a Trick Room again.

 

-----

 

- "What are those things in the grass over there?"

 

- "It looks like they're pokéballs. I wonder why they're there."

 

- "I say we go check them out."

 

- "Alright, maybe somebody-

 

- "Oh no, something must've gone terribly wrong!"

 

- "What? Wait, are those..."

 

- "Valerie's Pokéballs. She would never leave them lying like that."

 

- "Let's take them back to her, she'll probably be worried about it."

 

- "Alright."

 

Kali picked up Spritzee's and Mr. Mime's pokéball, while Blossom picked up those of Mawile and Sylveon. They walked to the room where Valerie usually went to sit when she was worried about something, only to find that she wasn't there. They went to inform Katherine and Linnea as well, but after looking through the entire studio they still hadn't found Valerie. Now really concerned, Kisa and Blossom decided to let out Valerie's pokémon, only to find that Spritzee and Sylveon were gone as well.

 

- "Katherine, Linnea, will you look after the studio, then Kali and I can go look for Valerie, together with Mawile and Mr. Mime."

 

- "But Blossom, where do we even start with searching?"

 

- "I'm sure Mawile and Mr. Mime would be able to help us search."

 

- "I would certainly be ready to look after the studio, and you, Katherine?"

 

- "Me too. You two really need to go look for Valerie, though."

 

- "Alright, so you look after the studio. Now, Kali, shall we go?"

 

- "Sure, Blossom."

 

- "Good. Now, Mawile, Mr. Mime, any idea where we should go?"

 

Kali and Blossom followed Mawile and Mr. Mime to the forest, where Mr. Mime used psychic in an attempt to find Valerie somewhere. No trace.

 

"Klefki, go ahead! I want you to float up high and see if you can find Valerie anywhere."

 

Klefki started to search. When it finally found Valerie, she was involved in a battle with lost of things the Klefki had never seen before, however it did notice the unpassable barrier of Trick Room. It decided to move back to Kali and Blossom to bring them the news. Mr. Mime had to translate it for them, although their understanding of mime was also limited.

 

However, they understood that Klefki had seen Valerie and that she was in a dangerous situation, so they went off to follow the Klefki to where it remembered Valerie to be.

 

Ccchhhhiiiiiiiink! Crash!!!

 

In the distance, in the direction Klefki was heading towards, they heard an echo of a very familiar sound; a collapsing Trick Room. Now they knew they were getting close, they got even more eager to move quickly.

Edited by Felixr2

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A few especially forceful down-thrusts later, the panther split down the sides of Ilyana's blade, severed nicely in two and dissolving to a pasty purple mess. That looked good as dead to Alex, who stepped back a few with a sensation of thrilled disgust. Battle was something that'd she'd grown simultaneously fond of and sickened by. A little twinge in her brain reminded her of her own duality, but pushed it back with an odd mantra: "Janus, Janus, Janus..."

 

The particles of Val's attacks, or Sylveon's and Spritzee's better yet, glistened against the purpley backdrop of the Trick Room enclosure. She followed their source to where Valerie stood. The other cats were gaining on her all at once, but Alex wasn't about to stand there and watch her kindly comrade fall!

 

She scooted on over to her side, calling out for the assistance of the Wind spirits...

 

And skidded to a sudden halt, boots caught on some gum or tar, seemingly. She looked down, then the sound registered amongst the commotion.

 

Ccchhhhiiiiiiiink! Crash!!! Her head jerked toward the fractured shards, falling in dissipating heaps all around the foundation. Tiny pieces of the magical barrier clinked once or twice to the floor before fazing out of existence, much to Alex's dismay. A sensation of sluggishness in place of the lightning-fast speed before soaked into her, and her fatigue grew almost too much to bear. There was a flash of thought: of Libra sitting at their bedside, motioning her over with his calm mien and gentle voice...ah, how she'd love to be there with him right now...

 

Her eyes fell on Sylveon and Spritzee, obviously tiring from the strain. If they couldn't fight, then Val...

 

Even when her muscles resisted, she dashed out into the fray beside her, arm thrust out before her with Cereal Killer in tow. No matter what happened, she wouldn't leave her. She'd prevent even a single death from occurring, no matter what!

 

"Val! I hate to come off as too personal calling you that, but you can complain later if you want! Right now, keep beside me; I won't let any harm come to us, promise!" As another panther approached, she yelled out Cereal Killer's name, scythes slamming into its side and dragging it across the ground. It, too, fell away to nothing, leaving nothing but a runny pool of grossness. To another, she spun and flourished her hand again, proc-ing the Wind to empower her movement with a gale-force, and brought it, too, to the ground. She didn't look to see if it was down for good, too focused on the remaining two panthers still up and going.

 

Alex glanced to her side and flashed Valerie a smile. It wasn't much, but it was something, just a small bit to empower her newfound friend.

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((oh god why am I so late))

 

 

Ganondorf was blown back from Soren's burst of energy. Thanks for the warning! The sheer amount of sarcasm was real. He slid backwards, keeping his footing. The panther that had assaulted him was no more, turned to ash by the spell. Ganon examined his wounded arm for a moment. It was bleeding profusely. But that would have to wait. These panthers weren't going to give up now.

 

---

 

Midna watched the battlefield from a distance, observing Ganondorf being pushed away. Ha! Serves him right! Midna searched around, looking for a different panther to fight, seeing as how Ganondorf's was destroyed. She found one almost immediately. "You see that one over there?" The imp pointed towards the panther attacking Ascension. Link growled at it, before leaping forward.

 

A pink box seemed to surround the area, although it didn't seem to affect Link and Midna much; they only became slightly faster. Lucas had started to attack it with some sort of bar, causing it to be confused. The wolf began biting at the great cat, while Midna slapped it with her odd, orange hair-hand. A back claw kicked towards Doge Link's nose, scratching it badly. Link hopped back as Lucas froze the cat in place. Its blades still whirled around it.

 

---

 

An unknown panther crouched behind a bush at the very edge of the Trick Room. It had been waiting to pounce for what was seemingly forever. However, as soon as the tables turned, it had started to flee. The prey wasn't worth dying for.

 

However, it had become stuck in the odd box that seemed to slow its movements, and so it had decided to wait out the spell in the hopes that nothing would notice it...

 

---

 

Ganondorf felt an odd surge of power as the area in the background of his vision took on a pink hue. He stared deep into an area in front of him, and discovered a black, feline shadow, nearly perfectly still. He readied the larger Great Sword. The smaller one, seeing as how its arm became useless, was sheathed long before this. The panther pounced at him, but fixating on Ganondorf seemed to make its movements immensely slow.

 

The Demon King capitalized on this, sending the Great Sword slashing at the creature. It raked its claws against his chest as Ganondorf plunged the blade into its ribcage. He kicked the near-lifeless creature off his blade. His own blood and the blood of the panther were both dripping onto the ground. "Agh..." Even he had trouble taking this kind of damage. Ganon crouched on the ground, attempting to keep a firm grip on the world. Thankfully, he's decent at this endeavor.

 

The pink that was previously in his vision shattered to pieces.

 

---

 

Midna had an idea to finish off the frozen panther effectively. "Link, go back into human form real quick. I wanna try something." Not one to argue with a plan when he himself has none, Link reverted to his natural form. The wound transferred to his current form, appearing as a scar across his nose and cheek. "Alright, just throw a bomb at the stupid cat and we should be alright..." Link took out a blue, spherical bomb with a semi-short fuse. He lit it, sending the thing flying at the frozen creature. The box keeping them in and anyone else out broke into a thousand shards. Hopefully this wouldn't prevent the bomb from working... Midna started to yell. "Kid! Weird-looking fox thing! Get back!"

 

((Whoever answers the frozen kitty next can have it aspload.))

Edited by DarkShinyLugia

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Shrapnel from an explosion nearby flew into the air, icy bits filled with frozen blackness shattering and skittering across bare stone. In the heat of battle, Alex had failed to notice Link and Midna come into action, but she gave an inward nod of appreciation for their efforts. In a final push, Sylveon and Spritzee eliminated the wounded panther suffering from before. Alex ran a quick tally in her head.

 

Two disappeared at some point, and they simply aren’t here. I killed one, Lonk got one, and Val got one...so...

She glanced around quickly.

 

...where’s the other one?

 

She left Val against her better wishes to search the parameter. At first, nothing seemed amiss, but a rustling just down from the side of the foundation alerted her to the presence of a blackish figure trembling against the brush. Alex pointed Ilyana at it and muttered something under her breath.

 

The bush burst into a flashing pillar of electricity, shuddering with intense arcane power. A screeching yowling echoed outward for just a few seconds before abruptly halting as the power ceased. She clasped her blade back at her side, and shot an arc of Wind at it for good measure. The sizzling and burnt remnants of leaves shook and steamed, purplish ashes wafting away. It was a satisfying end, but not one without casualties she knew.

 

Alex turned back and rolled her shoulders. All the sudden strain after all these previous days of rest had made her weakish, and falling night brought upon her story ideas she’d love to extrapolate on in dreams. She sucked in a cheek and sighed, clearing away the sensations with the chill of crisp air—the total headcount remained largely the same, though Valerie’s crew was worse for wear. Ganondorf, try as he might to hide it, was nursing a substantial gash to his chest, which was new to her. She slowly and carefully made her way over to the two of them, producing a Vulnerary from her pocket.

 

“Hey, guys...y’all did good out there, and thanks for doing your parts. I say we’ve had enough excitement for the night...” she paused,” ...for a couple nights, to be honest.” Her eyes flicked back and forth between them. “Why don’t we make camp for tonight? I’ve got some healing items on me, but not enough for everyone. Lucas looks like he’s okay and in relatively good health, and Soren could prolly finally assist us with that Mend he’s been toting.”

 

Her eyes fell on the entire room. Over where Ascension and Lucas had been was where he’d been. She scanned the small crowd, but even through bleary eyes she knew he was absent—right now, he’d probably be lecturing them on being disorganized or just being plain not up to his standards. When a couple seconds passed, she had to ask: “Where did that lil’ mage bro go, anyway?”

 

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Kali and Blossom began to get tired from walking. Klefki was quite far ahead of them, but noticed this as he looked back and decided to wait untill they would've caught up. Mawile and Mr. Mime were a lot better off, but they remained close to the women in case something bad would happen.

 

In the distance, they heard growling and screaming, sounds of a very intense battle, coming to an end. Part of them was afraid and didn't want to continue walking, but Valerie was somewhere out there, so it was their duty to go and see if she's alright. Find her and safely take her back home, yes, there was no other option. With every step they won over their fear a little bit. The nightsky was dark and thrilling, nobody has probably ever been here before, there didn't even seem to be any pokémon, other than the three they were travelling with. The rustling of the leaves started to sound more and more spooky with every gust of wind that came by, every minute that passed. Another step, another foot closer to Valerie, another second less to fear. It's funny, walking always seemed to be simple, but now, walking through a forest in the dark, haunted by their shadows that were painted on the dirtground and twigs by the moon, deeply concerned about what might've happened to Valerie - was she hurt? - there was so much that went into it, so much thought, so much emotion… but was there? Or were they just distracting themselves from the ghostly noises all around them? Either way, their newly improved experience of walking wouldn't last for long, as knowledge that's gained in a traumatic situation often gets lost in history, forgotten to never be memorized again. Just like they would be, if they lost Klefki out of sight. Would Mr. Mime be able to find it? That would be their best and only hope.

 

They caught up, Klefki moved forward again. They could see pink flashes coming from the distance, as well as other things. They were getting close to the edge of the forest.

 

Voices… shouts with less volume reached their ears. Normal speech could be heard as whispers. They were getting close.

 

They could see the edge of the forest. They could now understand what the people were talking about. Was that Valerie's voice?

 

Valerie's sillhouette could be recognized now, as well as Sylveon, Spritzee, an Eevee, a girl with a Reuniclus and some other people… and such. All the time the social butterflies had been quiet.

 

Blossom was the first one to get super excited. She returned Klefki as she ran towards Valerie. Kali quickly followed and caught up. "Valerie," Blossom shouted, "we found you!".

 

-----

 

"Valerie, we found you!

 

Valerie heard a familiar voice shout out in the distance. As she turned to watch, she got group hugged by two women whom she could identify as Blossom and Kali just in time. "We were so worried about you", Kali said. "What happened? Are you hurt?"

 

Valerie started to cry a little bit, so did Kali and Blossom.

 

"It's alright, we got attacked by some strange creatures but together we could bring them down. I didn't get hurt a lot, but some of the others did."

 

As Valerie opened her eyes, another big surprised awaited her. Mawile and Mr. Mime were there. She pushed herself straight through the gap between Kali and Blossom to make her way to her pokémon. Sylveon and Spritzee noticed them as well. Tears were still welling in her eyes. She petted them, filled with relief that they were both alright.

 

"Oh, Valerie," Kali said as she remembered something, "I guess you would like to have your pokéballs back as well."

 

Valerie smiled. "Yes, thank you. Alright, Sylveon, Mr. Mime, Mawile, you deserve a bit of rest."

She returned all three of them, while Spritzee sat down on her shoulder.

 

"So, why don't you come back with us?"

Edited by Felixr2

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Ascension dodged ice shards and flesh shards. Then a yowl came from an explosion of magic, and things quieted down.

 

Alex sugested making camp for the night, something the Eevee agreed with.

 

"We probably should."

 

And then two girls arrived. Valerie seemed familiar with them. Ascension kept his ears pricked as the chatter went on.

 

One girl said "So, why don't you come back with us?"

 

Ascension looked at them. "Where are you from? Because your friend was dragged here by Nix's-- oh hold on, you don't know what happened.

 

Three thousand years ago, my siblings ruled this universe. Three thousand years ago, one kiled me. For three thousand years, I wandered the world of the dead. Until the Stars came, and brought me to the land of living. They told me Nix - my brother, ruler of night - and Eos - my sister, ruler of day - had to be killed in order to save the world from destruction. When I awkow, the area was rubble. The night was dark. Snd then I happenedbupon a group of people in the ruins. Therevwas lunar magicvwverywhere, lunar magic on some of them. And thisebones didn't know where they were. Likely dragged here by Nix. Then Nix showed up again and slaugtered a good few people. Then the panthers cane - Soulbond Panthers, one of Nix's favoured creatures forr the shick of them - and we killed them.

 

It's pretty late out, though. I think most of you need sleep. I'll stand watch."

 

Ascension turned away, trekking to the edge of the area where they were setting up. He stood, baring his teth, ready to bite an attacker.

 

The night seemed so long, but nothing else attacked. The ruins were silent when he saw a bedraggled figure struggling out. Another human. He snarled, and they backed up, raising their hands.

 

"I mean no harm."

 

His hackles flattened, but he still watched them warily. They introduced themself as Corrin, and found a pocket of rubble to hide in. He watched it for a bit, but they didn't seem to be doing anything hostile inside it.

 

The rest of the ruins were silent enough that thevscarred Eevee figured anyone still under there had perished.

 

When morning came, the sun... was not right. At first, Ascension hadn't paid it much heed - the rising sun was always dimmer.

 

But as it climbed in the sky, it continued to loom large and red in the sky, barely warming the earth. The sky wasn't the blue of the long past, but rather an orange colour

 

Eos.... something was wrong with Eos...

 

And then Corrin crawled out of the rubble hole. They stared at the sky.

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Everyone had settled for the night, finally. Alex had chased down Ganners and forced him to accept her help. All she had were the Vulneraries, which weren’t much help admittedly, but it was something. If she could supply just a little assistance, it was enough.

 

Afterward, she sat down, leaning against Boris for the warmth he provided, and went about cleaning up her notes as the night closed out.

 

--

 

“Mmmmmmraaaaagh....” Alex arched her back and stretched out her arms and legs. “Nnn...agh! Ow!” A twinge of pain pulled at the muscles in her neck; at some point, she’d slid down to the ground, her head bent at an uncomfortable angle pushed against Boris. She sat up attempted to rub it away. Alex was surprised by what she was greeted with.

 

The sky was...orange. Not too out of place, if it was sunrise or sunset, sure. But the shadows on the ground indicated to her that it was closer to daylight. She stood, using Boris as support, and took a quick trip around their makeshift camp. She needed some answers, and all this cosmo mumbo-jumbo could be only the domain of one incredibly squeezable fox.

 

“’Ey, Ascension, what’s shakin’, bacon? Listen, I think we need to have a little State of the Sky Address--” She folded her arms and caught sight of an overly-familiar black and grey clad person. They didn’t have overly distinct features, but she knew them. She knew them too well. Her face shriveled.

 

“Ugh, it’s Corn. Well, there goes my morning.”

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The group was going to sleep... Valerie really needed that. Sleep. After all that had happened... and it had only been a couple of hours. She returned Spritzee into it's pokéball and slept in between Kali and Blossom, who were still in shock of the story. Blossom by the idea that Valerie had helped those people kill panthers(?), Kali by the knowledge that this Eevee had seen death already.

 

Half an hour later, they finally fell asleep.

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((Booping for my convenience. I think the OOC disappeared. Prettey certain no one besides myself and Felix remain interested in this, so lemme know what to do, Dusky.))

Edited by Sugar-Free

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((I know Felix and I don't want it to die. I still have a typed passage or two to post, but can't. I'd like to still continue, but I won't force you to keep it going if you don't want to. Ideas I proposed to Felix is that, if you didn't want to continue it, we could take what's left and make it a sorta-kinda 1x1 (with your permission).

 

If you want to continue, we could trim the charas who won't come back via mod-kill or capture or whatever, and have a "we few chosen" situation, where it's a party of Felix/my charas surviving to save the world. Again, just ideas, not necessities~))

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((Alrighty. Got the original OOC back as well. -thanks Dusky for putting the link in the IC thread- Can't wait to get this moving again.))

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