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Sugar-Free

The Eternally Guilty Sun: Revival

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The next thing Ratchet knew he was falling. kali and Ratchet had discovered that you could fall through the paintings and they would transport you to the next world. Nifty little bit of tech in his opinion, stylish too.

 

Ratchet activated is hoverboots right before he hit the stone platform. He dropped gently to the ground and surveyed the area. They were standing on the edge of a small lake. The irror smooth water slapped gently against the edge of the platform. Looking up, it appeared thay were in some sort of vast underground cavern. Under the castle perhaps? Ratchet turned back to Kali, "sooo...I guess we gotta go in there?", he inquired aloud, not really expecting an answer. Ratchet tapped a unseen button on the collar of his suit. A array of blue lasers zig-zaged from his collar and constructed a beige helmet around his face. His ears, still naked but sealed by a tight rubber seal. the readout of the screen was a green thumbs up, saying the air waas safe to breathe. "Alright. I'll see you on the other side" he said, his voice strangly muffled by the helmet. Ratchet took a running jump and cannonballed into the dark water, vanishing below the surface.

 

It was freezing for one. He wished he had some higher grade armor to keep him warm. Vsibility was surprisingly good despite the quaility on the surface. His display on his O2 Mask flashed a red thumbs up and a large frowny face flashed across his field of view. A veil of conforming plastic streched from inside the mask and wraped around his nose and mouth. A tiny hum was heard as the mask began to pump water through the intake and filtering out the oxygen. Ratchet took a breath of sweet air. "This place is pretty great. Usually I have to dive in a sewer or something." he said, the speakers in his helmet transmitted the sound through the water. Ratchet could see that this cavern went toa great depth and could feet a slight inward tug in the water. He looked at Kali and pointed down. then he did just that, Ratchet dove deeper to the bottom.

 

Whe they got closer to the bottom, Ratchet could see what the pull was coming from. A massive vortex was spinning from what appeared to be a metal grate on the cavern floor. The strage thing about this whirlpool was that it was pushing out. Rathet was having a harder and harder time swimming against the current.He constructed his Omiwrench, The added weight allowed him to sink in a steady rate and made it easier to fight against the vortex. Nothing looked like a star that they could see. There were some creepy things looking back at him from small caves in the walls of the cavern. Ratchet felt defenseless under the water, none of his guns worked submerged.

 

It wasn't long before the duo found a passageway in one of the craggy walls. A light on his helmet switched on in the low light and revealed that it traveled deep into to cliffside. Ratchet looked at Kali and shurgger. He paddled into the tunnel.

 

Ratchet Surfaced some time later in a smaller metal room. Floating next to them was a massive grey sub with a symbol painted on the side. ratchet's eyes followed the line of the sub to the ceiling. Moving in set patterns were yellow and black poles dropping from the metal grating on the ceiling. Ratchet pointed, "Guess thats the coins Ascension was talking about?" he said pointing a spinning oversized coin floating at the end of the pole directly overhead. Rathet swam to the sub and pulled himself up to thediving platform. Together they climbed to the top to devise a plan.

Edited by padfoot

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((Since there aren't any people alive who can transform into a dragon besides Corrin in Fates, Cyil's reaction to Soren's immediate discerning of her abilities is going to be somewhat paranoid. It may seem slightly OOC for her (or not, it depends on your mental image of Cyil), but it'll be explained later... Correct me if I'm wrong about the dragon thing though, there might be mentions of manaketes somewhere that I missed in Fates.))

 

“You’re a shapeshifter of sorts, aren’t you? I simply wasn’t expecting to see any of your kind here.”

 

The accuracy of Soren's reply surprised her, especially since she didn't exhibit obvious signs of being a shapeshifter like kitsunes and wolfskin did. Her ears were unusual, sure, but they didn't scream shifter like tails and furry ears did. Perhaps shifters in his land often had pointed ears? It could have been a lucky guess on his part. She waited for him to continue as he gave a shake of his head, sending water droplets and hair flying.

 

“You almost managed to hide it. Very impressive; if I hadn’t had any experience with shifters, I may not have caught it. I suppose I owe you my thanks for choosing not to take advantage of that, even if you did deceive me against my wishes. What exactly are you, anyway? If your appearance is anything to go by, I’d say a dragon. Am I right?

 

Her eyes widened a fraction as Soren pinpointed the exact manifestation of her abilities, although she quickly regained her composure. She waited a moment before replying, exhaling slowly and gathering her thoughts. He doesn't know why you can transform. He's just assuming based on his past experiences. There's nothing to worry about. Nothing at all. Maybe she was lying to herself about her concerns, maybe Soren could really read everything about her in a single glance. Maybe he knew all along what she was and was plotting to stab her in the back. After all, if he could tell she was a dragon, it wouldn't be too far of a stretch to determine what kind of dragon she was. And from there... No. Stop it. You're just being paranoid now. She mentally growled, pushing her worries to the back of her mind and focusing on formulating a response to Soren's statement instead. If nothing else, practicing diplomacy at least ensured that she could keep her face unreadable when she wanted to.

 

"I simply did what I had to. I suppose you could call me a dragon shifter, although I must inquire as to how you inferred that. Few people in my realm have knowledge of such a form, even fewer have actually witnessed a shifter. Are things different in your world?"

 

She kept her voice clear and calm, despite the thoughts that had been running through her head earlier. It was somewhat of a relief when they came upon the stone tower, as it offered a welcome distraction in the form of setting up. However, the damp atmosphere and dim interior gave it a distinctly unsettling feeling. There was a sense of creatures watching her in the shadows, of foul magic not unlike the spells Nohrian mages used to summon monsters. Instinctively, she reached for her weapons, only to find them missing. The memory of handing Yato and her tomes to Soren resurfaced in response, reminding her that she had given them up. Of course. How could I have forgotten?

 

The surprise from earlier must have thrown her off more than she expected. Even now, the fragments of paranoia lingered at the edges of her mind, making her muscles tense and pupils dilate. In the half-light, she looked more draconic than ever, ruby eyes glinting from her sharply contrasted face. Her pointed teeth were bared in a sort of half-growl towards the shadows, threatening the unseen but certainly known presence of the lurking creatures. Ages of living alongside practitioners of unsavory magic had attuned her to the feeling of twisted summoning spells, something she felt strongly in this place.

 

It was obvious that she was uncomfortable, although she wasn't sure if Soren shared her sentiment. Everything about the tower not only reeked of monsters, but brought back memories of her time spent trapped in the Northern Fortress. She would never earn back the days she spent shut up in the cold, unyielding stone of the fortress walls, forbidden from setting foot outside. Her sibling's visits brought a bit of light into the miserable gloom of the building, but it was never enough. Not when she had to endure the constant punishments Garon metered out. Once, back when her memory was still filled with holes, she hadn't thought of her time in the Northern Fortress as dreadful. The suffering had been wiped away, though the loneliness still lingered. Now, she knew every painful detail of the time she spent there as a child, whether she wanted to or not.

 

It was happier without remembrance - no feelings coming back to torture her. But she knew that the scars of her past would linger, whether she remembered them or not. The horrible memories always came back eventually, bringing with them the same suffocating loneliness she experienced in her youth. A long moment passed before she mentally recollected herself, finally managing to tear herself away from the shadows of her past. It felt like eons had passed from when she first stepped into the tower, but she knew it had only been a few moments. Quickly, she turned her attention back to Soren, just in case she had missed anything he said.

 

She had been lost in a moment of weakness, but she couldn't afford to do that again.

 

((I should really stop writing posts in segments because I feel like the flow of the post gets messed up by it ;-; ))

Edited by Silverphoenixx

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Lightweaver looked down at the beastfolk who had appeared from a hallway.

 

Outerfolk? What... no Beastclan I know uses THAT term. Curious, very curious. And just what is with it? It doesn't look much like any known Beastclan - it looks more like certain... creatures.

 

She shook her head, deciding that an introduction would be the best course if she was trapped here with these beastfolk. She had her magic, but unlike certain fools she wasn't just going to go around making an enemy of everyone. No, she had other ways than magic at her disposal to sting them...

 

The brown one seemed nervous, and the red and black one was watching her. Rather closely.

 

Now, to introduce herself as they requested.

 

"I am the Lightweaver - leader of the Sunbeam Ruins.

 

Who was this departed Princess... and why might I be here? I was torn from my realm, a land named Sornieth, while preparing to investigate the disappearance of one of my counterparts... he went missing without a trace - exited a room and no dragon in the hallway just outside saw him...

 

Finally... might you know why I've been weakened, and who might have done this?"

 

Lightweaver thought the Smashverse was rather an odd place, but she didn't voice it. She merely flicked one ear, eyeing the beastfolk. They were rather small - but size didn't tell all. That fool Arcanist may have been smallest - and youngest - of the Eleven, but HE managed to end the world twice, after all...

 

---

 

Solar eyed this Lightweaver. She noticed Lightweaver had a feminine voice... and that it seemed a little too sweet. Nor did the Torracat miss Lightweaver's eyes passing over them...

 

No. She was reading too much into it.

 

"Hey, Ascenion, as I was saying, I'm cool with teaming up with Valerie, but what about... her? I think it's a her..."

 

Solar was glad she could only speak in Pokéspeak - and that Lightweaver didn't seem to be a Pokémon. It would have been rather awkward otherwise.

 

---

 

Stormcatcher hissed as he was shoved. His mantis claw swung out. He bared his teeth. That Beastclan was lucky it wasn't a stabbing, or he'd be trying to slash her by now.

 

The storm-dark dragon lowered his frill slightly, hissing quietly at the nickname. It reminded him of Lightweaver - she'd call him that in a very sickly sweet tone when she was annoyed with him. It wasn't his fault his flight liked borrowing from her flight...

 

"Friendly... why?" Friendship was inefficient. And a waste of time. He continued, "And what do you mean by 'we all know what we're doing'? I'm sure at LEAST two of us don't know."

 

Stormcatcher's body tensed at the next question. It hit a bit too close to home, but he'd never consciously admit that. "I got better - why should I trust unknown Beastclan types when the ones I know are out for my hide because I'm a dragon? More accurately, one of their deities - still the same difference to them." The other reason he distrusted them - and their magic - had never made it into the Lorebook the Eleven had passed down. The reason? Stormcatcher was a proud dragon, unwilling to admit that it had happened - and Windsinger seemed to have forgotten. Tidelord... didn't say anything for some unknown reason.

Edited by Dusky_Flareon

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Cyil paused before gathering herself to speak. Something about her demeanor seemed to change with his inquiry, and it showed in the motion of her arms and stiffness of her neck. He tilted his head at this observation; he’d struck a nerve somewhere. Whether it was just the tone of his voice, which it likely could be, or some underlying implication of his words was unclear. How curious. The level of investment this display was lending him was far more than he typically subscribed to. In a world where expressions were highly animated, and people spoke longer than they listened...this was an exceptional occurrence. Could she have descended from a noble house? Or perhaps it was an artifact of her serving a royal ensemble at some point—Titania had retained quite a bit of her knightly mannerisms even though she’d left service long ago. He found himself intrigued. There were slight, barely discernible fractures in her composure...

 

But like a fleeting shadow, it passed, just as soon as it had come.

 

"I simply did what I had to. I suppose you could call me a dragon shifter, although I must inquire as to how you inferred that. Few people in my realm have knowledge of such a form, even fewer have actually witnessed a shifter. Are things different in your world?"

 

Different? He wondered. Did the beastmen of her world look through their half-bred kin as though they were shadows? Or were they closer to those who he’d had the most professional experience with—where they judged worth based on one’s skill or monetary value? He wondered that deeply. Soren couldn’t say his disdain of laguz was nearly as fixating as it had been in the past; though he wouldn’t call them friends, he had allowed a sort of acquaintance between himself and Ranulf, and while he found Skrimir almost insufferable, the fact that the king-to-be had taken a liking to him and valued his opinion somewhat softened his regard of the Lion. Soren adjusted the load in his arms, as the books’ edges were leaving creases in his skin.

 

“The beast-kin, better known as the Laguz, make up around half of the population of our world. They differ from humans, or Beorc, with the obvious trait of being able to transform into an innate animal form. The tribes are split into three, each with their own weaknesses and strengths: Beasts, broken down into Cat, Tiger, Lion, and Wolf; Bird, including Hawks, Ravens and Herons; and Dragons...” He lingered on the mention of them. A flash of memory: standing stalwart, never yielding...aligned so heavily with he who leads them that they would trade their lives for him...

 

“...separated into to Red, White, and Black, with Black Dragons comprising the royal family.”

 

One in particular pervaded his thoughts.

 

 

 

 

You are...what is your name?

 

 

 

 

He shook it away like the cold of the rain. Soren looked up suddenly, noting the lack of droplets against the fabric plastered to his skin. He was standing inside the tower, though he didn’t remember it being so...close. He looked to Cyil, and found her draconic mien staring back at him. Like that woman. Expectantly. Knowingly.

 

 

Soren.

 

The large stone doors behind him eased to a gravelly close, and all that was left was ambient lighting. Soft blue, ancient weathered stone. His mind went back to the Tower of Guidance.

 

 

I-I see. That...that is a fine name.

 

 

He untacked his nails from the tomes’ spines again. To avoid damaging her property any further and ease the ache growing in his shoulders, he set down her tomes and saw and stepped away from them. Now that they were in shelter, and she had shown him no harm, he decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. He went about rifling through the pack, backs of notebooks thumping together as he selected the one he desired—bound in dark leather and framed by braids and arcs—following with a silvery, polished cylinder about the length of a finger and as wide as his smallest finger. One end had been cut down to a rounded wedge, and the body was wrapped in a thin, parchment-like casing. While he preferred a stylus or a well-cut quill, these pens made of soft mineral were excellent for travelling and were less of a mess. He would take notes for Ike’s review when they convened again, hopefully sooner rather than later.

 

But for now, he could at last indulge that question that had been niggling at him for some time.

 

“Cyil,” he said, “I can’t help but notice your overall countenance. Given everything that’s happened, I’d say you’re holding yourself rather well. I find it surprising.” As he titled a couple columns with deft precision, he glanced up in between strokes. His expression remained merely curious, but he hoped his prod was enough.

 

 

((Response to Solar/LW/SC/others tomorrow!))

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Somehow, the continuation of the conversation relaxed her. It gave her something to focus on, a distraction to help her divert her thoughts. She recalled hearing Soren describe the various tribes of his home before they entered the tower - Cat, Tiger, Lion, Wolf, Bird, and Dragons, multiple dragons. Interestingly enough, it seemed that shifters were vastly more common in Soren's world than they were in hers. The way they were organized into tribes reminded her of the groups of kitsunes and wolfskin she knew back home, although the shifters in Soren's homeland obviously had greater numbers and more variety. She briefly wondered if any of the dragon tribes transformed into dragons that resembled her, but she knew the chances of that were next to nothing.

 

Though Soren had quickly begun writing in a notebook since his last statement, she knew that he was undoubtedly still listening for her reply. His tone wasn't exactly bursting with warmth, but she chose to take his words as a compliment. From what she had gathered of his personality, he was of the rather cold and reserved archetype. A chillier manner of speech was to be expected. While she could easily simply thank him and move on, she had a feeling his words were meant to extract a more detailed response from her. Very well, she would give him a bit of info, but not too much.

 

"Thank you. I've had my fair share of stress and decisions which have taught me patience and resilience."

 

Pausing, she debated on whether to reveal her status or not, but decided against it in the end. Finding herself without a further source of distraction, she began to idly inspect her armor. Of course, she knew that there was nothing wrong with it, but it offered something for her to do. Eventually, her attention strayed, and like a light to a moth, the shadows drew her eyes again. A particular patch behind Soren seemed especially malevolent and she began to get a distinct feeling that they were not welcome here. Soren seemed to be unaffected by this, but she was growing more and more apprehensive by the second. Her discomfort soon drove her to speech again, despite her earlier brevity.

 

"We should prepare to leave as soon as possible. This tower... I sense that we are unwelcome here. A certain stench lingers in the air and so does... something else. Something that reeks of unholy magic. The monsters in my homeland exuded a similar aura, not unlike..." She trailed off as her expression changed, eyes hardening and gaining a predatory glint.

 

"I'm sorry, but I have to do this."

 

In a flash, she took off running towards Soren, eyes narrowed and teeth bared in a ferocious growl. The Yato was in her hands in the blink of an eye as she charged forward, spraying water droplets behind her. Power flowed over her as the ancient energy of the Yato melded with her own, she was four feet, three feet, two feet away and still gaining speed. She was already readying the whirring blade of the Yato for a slash, its fiery edge blazing brightly in anticipation. Gone was the mask of composure, suddenly she was a hunter chasing down her prey. Prey which would be unable to escape, helpless to submit to anything but death.

 

Fire and water alike swirled behind her as she drew closer still, framing her figure in a conflicting vortex of destruction. A roar burst forth from her mouth as she reached out with one clawed hand, fingers elongated by the draconic power flowing through her veins. It would be a quick death - a single slice to amputate the hand to prevent an attack, then the head. No extraneous blood or guts. She raised her blade back for a swing, blade inches from Soren's neck...

 

...Only to propel herself upwards with a leap and a jet of water, vaulting past Soren's head. With a powerful strike, she chopped off the decaying purple hand reaching for Soren's back, causing its owner to let out a disturbingly human scream. Before it could attack again, Cyil spun midair and delivered a fatal blow to its neck. Without pausing, she crouched and leaped backward to stand behind Soren. More of the creatures were already emerging from the ground and converging on the duo, discolored flesh emitting a pungent odor.

 

"I'll cover you! Grab my tomes and charge up an area spell! There are too many to take out individually, so we'll have to work together for now!"

 

Keeping her sword at the ready, Cyil watched the creatures warily as she awaited Soren's response. A few of them were already closing in on her as she kept a defensive stance, slicing at the monsters that came too close. Oddly enough, the creatures seemed to be afraid of the fire surrounding the Yato. Could they be weak to fire? She waved her sword threateningly at the crowd of monsters, causing them to draw back and emit a variety of groans and hisses. Interesting. She would have to relay this information to Soren.

 

"They seem to be afraid of fire, so use that to your advantage!"

 

Hopefully, Soren would get to her tomes soon, as the monsters were already growing bolder and venturing closer to her blade. She couldn't go out and slay them while Soren remained unarmed, especially because mages usually had weak defenses. Unless Soren was secretly a Dark Knight, she didn't see him taking a hit without getting weakened considerably. Sure, these monsters seemed weak, but they had strength in numbers. Even she couldn't take all of these monsters on without some help.

 

((DID I GET YOU THERE??? Did you think she was going for Soren for a moment? Did you? xd.png I have no idea what Revenants sound like, but based on their appearance I just shoved in a bunch of generic zombie noises for them. Just so I can mentally plan my next few posts, about how many monsters are there and in how many waves?))

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Ratchet Gently touched down on the floating platform whith the shiiny yellow star had appeared. ratchet had had a time jumping from pole to pole. The fur on his hands made it difficult to grip the pipes he jumped too. It was embarrassing but he managed to slip and land flat on his stomach on the surface of the smooth water. He had resurfaced screamig in pain.

 

after a few more tries he finally got creative with his grappler and hoverboots. Uning themtogethe, he was able to swing from the ceiling and gather all the red coins. A yellow star appeared and rotated lazily on the hovering platform. Ratchet made his is way to it to retrive it.

 

As soon as Ratchet touched the star it felt as though he was shot from a cannon. A surprised cry escaped the lombax as he was flug threw the painting ad landed hard on his back. I guess if he did this a lot he would have known to land on his feet. Oh well, live and learn.

 

Ratchet rolled ovr with a groa and got to his feet. He opened his hand and the power star sprung forth and spun in is hand. He closed his fist and the star vanished. Now to go see Ascension in the main hall.

 

(((Ratchet is upstairs now, feel free to advance)))

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((Backtracking all that I've missed due to being busy...))

 

Kali took Ratchet's grappling hook and shot it at the painting. Not used to working with this kind of items, she lost control, and got flung straight through the painting, Azumarill tightly holding on to her waist. They landed in something that seemed to be an underwater cave. While Kali was still wondering where they were, Ratchet already dove into the water, practically forcing Kali to follow him. She held on to Azumarill as it carefully followed Ratchet's instructions. She was quite surprised, and especially relieved, to notice that she could do way longer with her breath than usual.

 

Then they arrived at a submarine that was half above the water. Climbing up it, Kali was relieved that she could breathe again, although her clothes were soaking wet now. Great, it all stuck to her skin, greatly limiting her mobility. Ratchet asked her if she thought the big, red coins on the metal structure were the ones Ascension had mentioned.

 

"I guess so." She replied. "I wouldn't know what else they would be. I don't think I can help gathering them like this, though. But we can solve that."

 

She stood up, grabbing her other Pokéball from her dress.

 

"Dedenne, I choose you!"

 

The orange electric rodent came out of the pokéball, immediately spawning on one of the metal platforms.

 

"I want you to help Ratchet to gather all of the red coins in this room!"

 

Dedenne looked around, seeing the odd creature in the even more odd suit, guessed that would be Ratchet, and gave it a short nod, before running to the coins on the right hand side of the room to gather them. Even though it was a mechanical construction, manoeuvring through it felt a lot like running across the treetops to gather berries. Together, it felt like they were done in no-time.

 

Then, Azumarill, still standing next to Kali, who was looking at Ratchet and Dedenne to see if they didn't fall, which Ratchet did one time, but he got back up again by himself quickly, was the first one to see the Power Star appear. It pulled at Kali's dress to get her attention.

 

"Alright, thank you, Azumarill and Dedenne, you've done very well!" She said, as she returned both of them. "Ratchet, I think the honor of taking the star is all to you."

 

As Ratchet took the power star, they were both shot out of the painting, launched back into the castle. Luckily, her dress was dry again now. Seemed the water didn't want to go out of the painting.

 

"Well, Ratchet, you did pretty well up there. So I guess now we go and look for Ascension?"

 

---

 

Valerie saw all the others in the hall leaving, aside from a few of them, including those who were supposed to go with her. At first she had tried to talk to them to get them back active, without any success. They seemed to have somehow forgotten where they were. Her pokémon also didn't have any moves that could help her here. Well, Mr. Mime knew psychic, but she doubted the practicallity of controlling all these people at the same time.

 

To Valerie's relief, Ascension and Solar showed up, and Ascension offered to help her-

 

THUD!!!

 

It sounded like something big had landed not too far away. Solar and Ascension were quick to run to it and Valerie tried to keep up with them, but she simply wasn't fast enough. When she arrived there, she saw a big dragon lying on the ground, and Ascension was talking to it. Better stay quiet for now. She thought.

 

---

 

Shawn and Blossom made their way to the painting they were supposed to go, they couldn't get Doey to come along with them, to and landed on a field filled with what seemed like... walking bombs? That probably was the reason it was called the "Bob-omb Battlefield", they guessed. Now, they had to defeat the Bob-omb King. But where could it be?

 

In the distance, shawn spot a mountain with a big, black, round, walking thing with a crown on top of it.

 

"Hey, Blossom, I think we have to go to that mountain."

 

It was only after saying it that he noticed all the things that were placed to protect it. Since he wasn't even sure if it really was where they had to go, he started to doubt if it was worth risking it.

 

"Although I'm not entirely sure. And it seems dangerous You don't happen to have the means to check if it's the right place, do you?"

 

"In fact, now that you say it, Klefki, I choose you!" ((Klefki at it again with the scouting work!!!))

 

"Klef!"

 

"Okay, Klefki, I need you to go to that mountain to see if you can find something that suits the description "Bob-omb King", alright?

 

Thus, Klefki went to the mountain, looking for something that would tell him what he was looking for.

 

((Tyrande doesn't really have much to do right now, and she isn't the one to randomly start a conversation with strangers of another species. Of course, I'll continue with Shawn and Blossom in my next post, but what's the fun in finishing it right away anyway? And I don't have time to continue writing on it now.))

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"I am the Lightweaver - leader of the Sunbeam Ruins. Who was this departed Princess... and why might I be here? I was torn from my realm, a land named Sornieth, while preparing to investigate the disappearance of one of my counterparts... he went missing without a trace - exited a room and no dragon in the hallway just outside saw him...Finally... might you know why I've been weakened, and who might have done this?"

 

This Lightweaver dragon had many questions, all questions easier answered as simple as possible. He sat back on his haunches and angled his head up at her, or...he assumed it was female.

 

“Peach was, simply put, the guardian of this castle. She has met her untimely end at the paw of my dark brother, Nix, who is the embodiment of the Moon. It was he who took you from your land, and it is he who seeks the annihilation of this world and all the worlds between and outward. He, along with Eos, my sister, were likely the source of your diminished power. On their behalf, I apologize for the inconvenience.”

 

He stood and paced a bit in place. If something wasn’t done soon, the entire multiverse was going to be piled under his feet, and while he appreciated the firepower, the thought of trying to organize any more made his skin crawl. Especially when his power had been so diminished by Nix’s poison-laced panther soldiers. He subdued the growl forming in his throat.

 

“Hey, Ascension”, came Solar’s voice, “as I was saying, I’m cool with teaming up with Valerie, but what about...her? I think it’s a her...”

 

That was what was bothering him. He paused his prior ruminations for a bit and looked behind himself, seeing Severa and Owain coming out from the Whomp’s Fortress Door. Judging by their expressions, he assumed they’d made quick work of the Whomp King. Disregarding any reservations he had about them, he had to admit they were certainly effective.

 

“We’ll bring her with us. I can’t just say no to another wayward soul.” He turned back to Lightweaver.

 

“Lightweaver, yes? If you wouldn’t mind doing so, you could join us on the hunt for Power Stars to advance past the Star Door up the steps.” He motioned up and to the left. “Unfortunately, I’m sad to say that, until the prophecy regarding my sibling’s deaths is resolved, you, as well as everyone you see gathered here, is forced to stay here. Know that when I say ‘you don’t honestly have a choice’, I say it with the noblest of intentions.”

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

 

It was at about this time that Ike decided to slow his pace and drop back a bit, getting close enough that Stormcatcher could hear him properly. He could practically hear him gnashing his teeth together in frustration at Alex, but she wasn’t entirely out of line with her questions. It did interest him with the mention of being a deity—whether that was true or not, Ike preferred not to find out—but his outright disdain for what he could only assume were humans from the way he was putting it was a little galling.

 

“You being outright dismissive of us isn’t gonna help things. Don’t you think if we were going to do something to you, we would’ve by now?” He rested his hands loosely on his hips as he continued, “We have literally everything to lose and nothing to gain from fighting. I have a great respect for the dragon tribes and so does Alex, even if she has a weird way of showing it.”

 

Alex flipped her hair and offered him a smirk.

 

“It’s called ‘fanaticism’. Get it right.”

 

“Whatever. Anyway, with all due respect Stormcatcher, if you’re a god or something back in your own world, that’s not gonna mean diddly here. From what Soren told me, the two warring deities here have the power to do just about anything to people who get taken here. I’m not trying to undersell your abilities, but I doubt Nix and Eos would have allowed someone anything but a heavily disadvantaged chance to usurp them.”

 

“Oh!” Alex piped up again, “Soren’s still alive?!”

 

“Well, y—“

 

“YAY!” She latched back onto his arm, causing Ike to twist oddly and nearly lose his balance. “I was worried about that little mage bro! People with nice hair aren’t allowed to die on my watch! Hims cuteful~.” She wiggled around in place; if she kept it up, they were going to make a sizeable rut in the mud. Ike slid his free hand down his arm to detach her hands from him again.

 

“I’m sure he’ll be pleased to hear it.” He directed his voice at Stormcatcher.

 

“I don’t know what’s driven you against humans, but it’d be easiest if you could just put it behind you for the time being. I said I wanted to help, and I mean it, but I’m not gonna fight another race war while I’m at it.”

 

Edited by Sugar-Free

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The brown one, Ascension, began to speak once again, offering answer to the Light dragon's queries. And interesting ones...

 

Ascension seemed nervous, bothered by something, and the red-and-black one - Solar - spoke to Ascension in repetitions of a sound that seemed to be something along the lines of 'Torr-uh-cat'.

 

She lowered her head to them while wondering how one would translate this language, and then she caught sight of two darkly-coloured folk who looked somewhat like a Centaur or Maren. They didn't seem to be pulling a weapon out, and Ascension didn't seem to feel they were a threat, if his noticing them with a look on his face that implied he didn't like them too much, but that they had done something helpful said anything. Interesting. Very interesting. Were the duo like certain deities who didn't play well with others? The brown creature's face changed, and he seemed as though about to growl, before cutting it off.

 

Ascension then looked over to Solar and began speaking in another one-sound language. 'E-v', that was the sound.

 

Solar nodded, seeming to have understood it, and Ascension turned to Lightweaver.

 

Lightweaver listened to Ascension's words, noting that he seemed... bothered by something.

 

So... this Nix is the Moon? And he stole my power? And I can't get back to Sornieth... not yet. It seems to be in my best interests to aid these creatures on their quest. Very well, then.

 

She cleared her throat before speaking.

 

"I shall aid you in finding these... Power Stars, you called them?"

 

---

 

Solar nodded as Ascension spoke.

 

"Fine by me, then."

 

She turned, and headed towards the room with the painting, pausing to hear Lightweaver stating she'd help, before continuing on.

 

---

 

Stormcatcher growled under his breath as the Beastclan chastised him, the dragon quietly snarling "Flights. Not tribes in Sornieth." when he heard Ike mention dragon tribes.

 

Then came the bit about being a deity in his own wirld not mattering. He snarled again, wondering if these Beastclan thought he woulfn't notice the weakening of something so essential to him as his magic. His magic was tied to his body, so tied to it that... if it was all gone, he'd be dead, and the Lightning Flight with him. And if he survived... not likely if it was true removal of all his magic.

 

He stared as Alex grabbed Ike, excited that this.... Soren... was alive. The female Beastclan was an odd one.... and annoying too.

 

And now Ike was telling him to put whatever had driven him against humans behind him. Humans? He wasn't sure what those were, but he wasn't going to say that. Instead he merely snarled at the suggestion he should forget millennnia of events... "I've spent millennia fighting off Beastclan trying to kill me and the dragons I rule. Mostly Centaurs and Serthis..." He watched Ike, awaiting a response. Sparks were visible on his body, and he was tense, fully expecting a fight.

Edited by Dusky_Flareon

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Now, the group had come past the burnt clearing, Ike having decided to steer them around it instead of going through it. No doubt the sudden deluge had likely flooded the river banks, and he didn't want to chance Stormcatcher's temper any more than he had. He stepped around a puddle and sighed. He needed to keep an even head, no matter how much he didn't want to. There was a misunderstanding here somewhere, he just didn't know how to uncover it.

 

"Sorry. You call them 'Flights' in your world? I've never heard of the denomination before."

 

There was another word he was throwing around that Ike didn't know the context of--"Beastclan". While he had no idea what "Serthis" was, centaurs were common creatures of myth. He'd assumed he was simply reffering to humans with that word, he couldn't fathom why he'd be lumping them in with something that didn't exist in his world. That was the hardest part of the ordeal--being able to separate expectation from other's realities.

 

"And you keep calling us 'Beastclan.' Is that what your people refer to us as?"

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"And you keep calling us 'Beastclan.' Is that what your people refer to us as?"

 

Stormcatcher went silent for a bit, before responding. "Beastclan are a group of non-dragon sentient species in my world. There's the Maren - never seen them in my territory because they're sea dwellers. They have upper bodies similar to yours, and the tail of a fish. Then Serthis - upper body like yours again, and the lower half of a snake. They like poisons - they'll kill dragons by sneaking poison in their food. The Centaurs - upper body like yours again, horse's lower half. They prefer swords. Some make peace with dragons.... but not that many. Longneck - they look like goats on two legs. They like to attack and chase out dragon clans. Harpies are birdlike warriors. Talonok are also birdlike, but unlike harpies they actually have beaks and birdlike faces. Raptorik Taolonoks are aerial attackers, Corvus Talonok groundbound.

 

And then there's you. You look like the other Beastclans. Like some tribe of Beastclan Sornieth's dragons don't know of."

 

He narrowed his eyes, still tense and sparking as he followed the rest of the group. His attention was mostly on Ike at the moment, but he was occasionally looking around. Chances were these Beastclan were more like the various aggressive types than they were like the peaceful Centaurs. He'd never seen peaceful centaurs in his territory, though.

 

The rain splashed down. He growled, surveying the group before returning to Ike and keeping an eye on his sword.

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Ratchet exited the door with the massive keyhole and walked back into the lobby. He looked around the large bright room and didn't see any other members of the team. Well, the loud couple were there but he wasn't about to talk to them. As he walked towards the stairs to sit down, he walked through a cool breeze. He looked to the door and noticed it was open. Ascension, Solar and, a new serpant thing walked into the room with them. Great, more team members. Ratchet hoped this creature wouldn't be as egotistical as the other one he met out in the storm.

 

Ratchet stopped as Ascension walked towards their next painting. He gave the Eevee a thumbs up, We got the star no problem. What's next?" He asked. His eye traveled to the small reptile that just arrived. It looked similar to the twins he had met earlier, just slightly larger. He waved to the dragon and smiled, "Hi there, My name is Ratchet. Guess you're trapped here too?" he introduced.

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As Ratchet walked past, Owain piped up, grinning.

"Hey, Racket!... Wait, no,... That's not right. Sorry." Owain apologized, rubbing the back of his head. "We got a Star! Did you get yours?"

But the fox man walked off before he gave a response, completely ignoring the pair.

"...Oh.. Well I guess we kinda deserved that." Owain said, forlorn.

"No we didn't!" Severa retorted, stunned. "I'll have to remember to punch him hard for that one later. Ugh."

They listened to what was happening outside for a moment, then Owain gave her a glance.

"Sounds like more challengers are approaching."

"Forget them." Severa replied, turning on her heel. "I'm going investigating. Let them talk and prattle for days. I want this done already. Where else could we go?"

"Wait wait, Severa." Owain held out a hand before her. "How many stars did we actually REQUIRE?"

"I don't know. Some big number?"

"Let's ask the fox-beast. Maybe we're already done! Or maybe he knows where to go for more!" Owain suggested.

"Gawds no. I don't want to talk to that condescending little furry thing again." Severa snapped.

"Well neither do I, beloved light of the moon!" Owain responded quickly. "But we DO require more information before we delve deeper into this adventure. Let us wait until they return. We don't have to affiliate ourselves with the newcomers yet, if you do not wish it."

Severa crossed her arms, then sighed.

"...Thanks. I don't want to deal with more people right now."

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By the time Cyil had answered, Soren had already gathered his preliminary observations of his surroundings. Now, he’d flipped to another page, listing her name in the top corner in elegant Heron for privacy’s sake, and had begun jotting down key characteristics in the flowing script for perusal later.

 

=A fighter of some degree of another world. Wields an odd-shaped sword and is magically attuned. Of draconic lineage, but to what degree remains to be seen. No shifting capabilities demonstrated, but expected; no obvious Olivi grass pouches or laguz stones evident.

=May have ties to royalty, including service in an army. Holds self with a composed air, but is obviously hiding something. Shows no outward signs of violent tendencies, but concealed a weapon (herself) when prompted to disarm. Overall observations bring me to believe she is skilled in deception, perhaps indicating prior involvement in government...

 

Cyil’s exceptionally limited acknowledgement of his prod coaxed a hiss of disbelief from him, but he didn’t extrapolate on it. He instead marked that in his notes: Has a frustrating tendency to dissimulate. I find it suspicious, and will be keeping an eye on further developments.

 

As he went on, he listened to her going on about the tower and its dubious nature. He didn’t completely disagree, but had already decided to stay against her wishes. It was strange that he didn’t seem to notice anything particularly malevolent about his surroundings, considering Cyil’s insistence that there was something there. Nonsense, he thought, if there was anything to pick up on, I would have sensed it. But would he? Maybe Cyil wasn’t being simply paranoid; if whatever it was had stolen away his magic, what was to say it wouldn’t take away his ability to discern it? In such an obviously-important tower, with its depictions of dragons lining its columns and walls—

 

 

 

 

"I'm sorry, but I have to do this."

 

 

 

 

The hairs on the back of his neck rose. A growing buzzing sensation, starting at the hand cupping the book and pushing through his arms like a wall caused his nerves to flare at attention. His heart leapt, the sudden throbs flooding his body with blood and adrenaline, numbing his mind for a second as it dragged his vision away from the text. Without knowing how, without knowing why, his hand came up in front of his eyes, and on his tongue was the last syllable of Rexcalibur’s prose.

 

 

 

A droplet of moisture brushed his cheek. Warmth following a growling blade; lungs tight with the spell that would cut it from its security. Time nearly halted. Soren’s eyes went wide.

 

 

 

A dragon looked back at him. Too similar for comfort, too close for Soren. The flames that rounded her sizzled as rain fell against them, puncturing them and bonding into ribbons of liquid in imitation. If she had spoken, it was lost in an incomprehensible roar to his ears, as he became fixated on the hand that threatened to choke the life from him. How it had darted out from beneath his attention like a predator seeking a kill. An animal. His eyes darted around her, trying in vain to find some semblance of the composed humanity he’d come to expect. Instead he found that familiar red. He saw nothing else.

 

Betrayed. Again. By the beasts that refused to acknowledge him in the past, no less. He was brought back to that darkness again, when he scorned the creatures as nothing more than plague upon him. Nothing ever changed, no matter where he would go, it seemed. It was almost a shame.

 

Soren’s eyes lingered on hers as his lips formed the word that would tear her to ribbons. She wasn’t even looking at him, more past him than through him. She couldn’t ev—

 

 

 

‘Past’?

 

 

 

And with that hesitation, she leapt above him, a spray of mist startling the held breath out of him. He spun on his heel, sucking in sharply as a disembodied head flung past him. A flourish of indigo appeared near him again, white bands lit by a pale orange tint by a blazing blade.

 

 

"I'll cover you! Grab my tomes and charge up an area spell! There are too many to take out individually, so we'll have to work together for now!"

 

 

She...hadn’t struck him? And now she was directing him? To work together? His expression hardened, but he nodded in response to her command. Soren located the faint form of the red and yellow bindings, and made use of the overwhelming magic flowing from Cyil’s person to him to make use of a Wind-powered dash, zigzagging through the narrow gap between three of the fetid humanoids. The scent of their skin was already a danger to the weakness in his stomach brought on by Cyil’s presence, but he was too invested in their very existence. Was this proof of more of Nix’s work at hand?

 

A revenant rose up in his path, its senseless voice hoarse with phlegm and abrasion. Without pausing, he withdrew the Physic from his back and planted the orb in the palm of his hand, wincing at the pain. He slammed the butt of the staff into its head, and as its body arched backward from the impact, dug the toes of his boots into its torso and climbed it, leaping off with enough force to bring it toppling down to the stone with a sickening thud. His momentum brought him to the tomes with ease, and while he scooped them up and holstered them in place of his own, he thought of the whereabouts of his three.

 

They should’ve been close by...but where...?

 

As his hand wavered over the Fire tome, beginning the soundless negotiation between himself and the spirits it called to, he scanned the growing crowd of undead and found a particularly nasty pair, one with pink hair and one with dark blue, dragging away his satchel. He growled at them, but would not give chase just yet—their time would come, certainly, but in due time. He began to run back over to Cyil’s side, and he could see her waving the whirring brand at the creatures, and he observed them swaying away from the light.

 

"They seem to be afraid of fire, so use that to your advantage!" Cyil’s voice rang out sharp and sure over the dull roar. Within moments, he was back at her side, and in the breadth of a second, he convened with the tome—Ragnarok. He noted its similarity to his own Bolganone, but was somehow different in a particular way. As it identified itself, and an aura of dark orange began to emanate from its pages, so did the prickling of blackness crawling toward his arms. Dark magic; an element outside of his repertoire, one seemingly confused and hesitant as to why he was wielding it. However, he had a prodigious control over all Anima, and with a stern command, the Dark spirits relented and became one with the fire, sealing their momentary pact. His arcane pathways bloated with the gluttonous draw of the Fire spirits on Cyil’s lent magic, and from his feet a jagged spiral inlaid with runes formed, dimming under the dragon’s shadow as he excepted her from the range.

 

When the magic circles had completed their formation, and the heat tossed the loose stands of hair about his head, he looked back at Cyil, eyes glowing with newfound power.

 

 

 

“Stay close to me. I shall burn them to cinders.”

 

 

 

His hand raised up and his fingers splayed apart, giving the Fire spirits the proper formation, and recognizing his stance, they did so comply: they bounded down to the ground and followed the tracings of magic underfoot, their infernal claws kicking up plumes of vibrant reds, yellows, and orange in their wake. The spiral’s arms spun out from them and devoured the hissing creatures that dared to defy them, leaving nothing but rasping onlookers and black casings of ash that fell to the ground in heaps. Anything in the near radius was utterly destroyed, and they spared naught but their owner and their summoner.

 

 

When the spell was complete, he dismissed the spirits with a quick flick of his arm, dropping it unceremoniously to his side as he stooped from exhaustion. The tome had rent away all of the excess magic he had within him, but it was steadily replacing as Cyil stood near him. For now, Soren changed out the tome for the Thunder tome, giving it a spread and noting the rather lovely handiwork of the script inside—much different than the typical lot you’d buy in shops in bulk. He wondered if it was hand-crafted for a moment, but let it slide to speak to Cyil again.

 

“That should keep the best of them at bay for now. Unfortunately, I think now is the best time to inform you that I’m unable to cast magic unless we stick together. I’d explain it, but now just isn’t the time.” A flicker of dark purple coaxed a sharp annunciation of Thunder out of him, eliminating it before it could even chance coming within reach.

 

"Ragnarok is too taxing for me to use reliably. I’ll have to rely on your Thunder tome until we either reach my tomes or we clear the floor. Speaking of,” he nodded his head toward one of the hollows in the wall. What he’d thought was just a prop skeleton had stepped down onto the ground, and was brandishing an ancient spear in hand.

 

 

“We'’ve got more company than we bargained for.”

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

 

"Right. They look like golden stars, and they have small black eyes on them Very self-explanatory, it's just the finding them part that's difficult."

 

He noted Ratchet's voice coming from above the steps.

 

"We got the star no problem. What's next?"

 

He passed a quick intro to Lightweaver before Ascension spoke.

 

"Good, we're making progress. That leaves only two left now..." He looked to the door that Shawn and Blossom went through. "They should be able to handle that on their own, seeing as Doey seems to be incapacitated." Ascension though about going up and making sure he was okay, but that malefic aura surrounding him convinced him otherwise. He looked like he could handle himself.

"Blossom and Shawn should be fine. Ratchet, would you mind accompanying myself, Solar, our new friend Lightweaver, and Valerie to Shifting Sands Land?"

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

 

Ike listened to Stormcatcher intently. So there was an underlying cause for his animosity. He hooked a hand over his shoulder, contemplating a response. Before he could though, he caught the dragon's eyes falling over him, focused on Ragnell's hilt. He dropped his hand.

 

"You don't have to worry about us. Sure, my kind, the Beorc, are just as capable of the atrocities that these Beastclan are, but know that neither me nor Alex are going to raise our sword against a friend. And you might not call us that, but as far as I'm concerned, that's what we must be. Or at least acquaintances, if that's easier to swallow." He shrugged.

 

"I'm sure Tyrande shares our opinion, too."

Edited by Sugar-Free

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So... these Power Stars... apparently they were looking for them. And that was the hard part. And given Ascension saying self-explanatory, she guessed they had some sort of power, going by their name.

 

Lightweaver noticed a Beastfolk-like fox which looked like a vulpine version of a Talonok, and seemed to have technology like the dragons of the Shifting Expanse.... her dark-scaled neighbour's domain. It seemed fairly agreeable, at least moreso than the Beastclan pair. He - she guessed its gender from the voice - introduced himself as Ratchet. She nodded in response to his question.

 

She then listened to Ascension talk of progress. Two left.... two Power Stars? Likely. This was certainly interesting... so now to wait for instructions. This was a ragtag group, at least seemingly... but why a group like this, and why had she been dragged into this world?

 

---

 

Solar looked up. "Alright, Ascension, got it. We heading over there when Ratchet responds?"

 

Solar turned to the Lombax, awaiting Ratchet's response to Ascension. She tapped a claw on the ground, uncomfortable with the sheer size of the great golden dragon.

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"I'm sure Tyrande shares our opinion too."

 

Although she wasn't very keen on it, this dragon claimed to be some sort of deity and the leader of a flight. A dragonflight she assumed and, by his way of talking, quite a large one. That'd put him on par with the five Dragon Aspects, so she'd rather keep him befriended for now. Sure, two of the dragon aspects had been killed already, but both by Alextrasza, the Dragonqueen, She Who Is Life, and Tyrande knew her powers wer nothing compared to her. Especially not right now, without the ability to channel Elune's power.

 

"Indeed, I sure don't mean to do any harm to you, Stormcatcher." She said. "And since you are the leader of a flight, I can have nothing but respect for you."

 

And fear, she thought, but she didn't make that thought visible in any way.

Edited by Felixr2

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Stormcatcher tensed when he noticed Ike's hand close to the hilt of the sword, and the Beastclan, noticing his gaze, dropped his hand from his sword. That wasn't the usual reaction of most Beastclan...

 

"You don't have to worry about us. Sure, my kind, the Beorc, are just as capable of the atrocities that these Beastclan are, but know that neither me nor Alex are going to raise our sword against a friend. And you might not call us that, but as far as I'm concerned, that's what we must be. Or at least acquaintances, if that's easier to swallow." He shrugged.

 

"I'm sure Tyrande shares our opinion, too."

 

He narrowed his eyes, not convinced Ike truly spoke for the last of the ...Beorc? Was that what he'd called them? While he wasn't sure what Tyrande was, she looked most like Ike and Alex's species.

 

"Indeed, I sure don't mean to do any harm to you, Stormcatcher. And since you are the leader of a flight, I can have nothing but respect for you."

 

He paused, still wary, but his body relaxed slightly. Ever so slightly. He still didn't trust them, but if they were actually telling the truth... The sparking had stopped now, as well.

Edited by Dusky_Flareon

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Ratchet opened his hand and the yellow star grew from the center of his palm. It was fascinating technology and Ratchet was unsure of how it worked. He closed his hand and the star shrunk into nothingness.

 

"Blossom and Shawn should be fine. Ratchet, would you mind accompanying myself, Solar, our new friend Lightweaver, and Valerie to Shifting Sands Land?" Ascension had told him.

 

Shifting Sands Land? That sounded like the opposite of what they just came from. Ratchet was in for it though. "Yeah sure. Lets get to it." he said with a thumbs up, " Maybe this place with be an actual challenge". He was feeling confident. These levels seemed like they would be a challenge if someone was armed with only jumping but for someone with the amount of tech as Ratchet, collecting stars and diving underwater was a cakewalk. Not to mention this would also be a good time to check out what everyone else could do. He hadn't seen much firsthand except Kali and her strange creatures and the brash woman and her unseen punches.

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Ascension nodded to Solar, hopping up the steps and stopping at the top.

 

“Alright; we’ll pass through this door and head to the basement. Keep an eye out for a wall that wobbles as you approach it. And Ratchet, this is Lightweaver, another of the Outerfolk. Lightweaver, Ratchet the Lombax. Those two sitting glum over there are Severa and Owain.” He looked toward them to show Lightweaver who they were.

 

“Speaking of which, you two will remain here. Keep an eye out for any funny business. If your earlier display was anything to go by, you shouldn’t have any trouble dispatching anything that comes in.”

 

With that, Ascension pushed the door open, and started leading the group back down to the basement.

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

MEANWHILE...

 

 

Another fine, bright day ascended upon the slopes of the Battlefield. From his position, he could see the fine-tuned functions of his world in motion: Bob-ombs patrolling the vale, Chompers dutifully bopping around in front of the Star's cage, menacingly, and cannons bursting with shots of water fired from their steely mouths. The King, on his great spiral throne of a mountain, crossed his arms behind his back, stately mustache raising at the corners, and offered a hearty chuckle.

 

"Another glorious day to be king!" He stroked at the wisp of white on his lip, his brow gathering as he stood over the ridge of the mountain.

 

"But not a single sighting of that red-cap't man in weeks...surely, my scouts haven't...?"

 

 

The sound of squishy footsteps approached from his left. They were frantic and rapid, and the hiss of a fuse denoted a very disgruntled Bob-omb. His feet were shuffling in place, the poor shaken orb shivering in his metaphorical boots.

 

"Bwip-bwibwip-bwip-bwip!"

 

"What now, boy? Speak sl--"

 

"Bu-bubwipbwip-bubwip! Bwipbwipbubw--!!!"

 

 

Sst! The King licked his golden palm and placed it around the burning wick. It ceased its burning with a puff of smoke, and the bomb stopped in place. Now that he had his proper attention, he asked again: "What's got you all in a fuss, boy?"

 

The Bob-omb began to babble slowly in the bubbling Bombspeech, and the King came to slowly understand his charge's words: there was an intruder, from the sound of it and they were coming up the mountain. He looked back over the mountain, seeing no sign of the mustachioed plumber he'd come to spar with over the years, but before he could chastise the soldier, a distinct clinking sound drew his attention again.

 

"What is that...no, hold your ground, boy! NO!" The bomb had scuttled down the slope as a ring of keys approached. In his haste, his wick had come aflame, and a loud KA-POW!! signaled the demise of another unfortunate soul. He shook himself in remorse, his expression steeling as he turned his girth to face the new challenger.

 

...but, it was just some ring of keys! What was the trouble? He eyed the thing as it started to chatter at him. What an annoyance...

 

"Sorry, chap, but I have no idea what you're on about. I'll have to ask you to go, as you look utterly incapable of facing me." He reached out and grabbed the creature out of the air, carrying it to the side and throwing it away from himself. He didn't have time for such distractions.

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Hmm, so the fox-beastfolk-like creature was called a Lombax? How interesting. Lightweaver wondered to herself why he had so much technology on him when most everyone else didn't.

 

And then Ascension mentioned a Severa and Owain, and the Light dragoness followed the brown creature's gaze to the Beastclan duo from earlier. They were so darkly-clothed... as though they wielded darkness. Darkness, the opposite to Light. If she had been showing her feelings, her lip would've curled a bit. As it was, she kept her face calm.

 

Lightweaver noted that Ascension was telling them to stay there and prevent any funny business. Good. At least she wouldn't have to team up with them.

 

The light-suffused dragon followed the brown foxlike creature and his contigent as they headed onward.

 

---

 

Solar's tail twitched as Ascension spoke, introducing Lightweaver snd Ratchet. The way Lightweaver looked at Ratchet was a little odd; perhaps she was from somewhere technology was not common?

 

And now Ascension was naming the rude duo. Solar noted with a bit of satisfaction that Lightweaver didn't do much in the way of acknowledging them. The Eevee told them to stay and watch the place. Good strategy, the Torracat admitted. Better than hers - she probably wouldn't have bothered with such.

 

As Ascension headed off, back to the basement, she took a spot between Ratchet and the Eevee.

Edited by Dusky_Flareon

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With Ratchet, Solar, Lightweaver and Valerie at his side, Ascension guided his posse down to the damp, green-blue stoned depths of the castle. For Ratchet, it was already a familiar sight, but he knew the standing water on the ground and sconces lining the halls made for a likely intimidating experience. He took a moment to reassure his comrades before looping around a wall to what appeared to be a dead end. However, as they approached, the wall began to tremble, like a water droplet disturbing a still lake, and he knew this was it. He turned to the others.

 

"Okay, everyone. I know it sounds ludicrous to do so, but everyone needs to take a jump at this wall in front of me. As Solar and Ratchet are aware, the wall is, in fact, an enchanted painting, and while it appears to be fluid, I can assure you that you'll feel nothing but a slight tug as you pass through."

 

Ascension pawed at the wall, demonstrating the drag of the mysterious barrier clinging loose to his fur.

 

"Beyond here is Shifting Sands Land. This world is fully of odd creatures, like Tweesters that will throw you around; Pokeys, looming cacti with eyes; and even the strange and rarely seen Tox Boxes. Don't let the name fool you--if you are caught under their girth in any place but the one space they provide...well...you'll be little more than paste, I'm afraid."

 

He stood back and poised to sprint.

 

 

"I'll see you on the other side! Make haste!"

 

He jumped.

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

 

 

Ssssshiiiing~

 

The sound of a painting being breached? Down here? Again? He crept from behind the wall.

 

What's this?! A dragon? A cat? A human and a...thing? He didn't know, he didn't know! What's this???

 

He waited. Quiet. As a mouse--no, a rabbit. Mice were squeaky things. And so was he, but only if he moved. So he won't. He waited. Quiet.

 

They all went forward! Into a wall, the painting--Shifting Sand. Oh! But there wasn't any time to delay! He was late. So late...

 

 

When the five had disappeared, he came up from his spot, taking a turn for the entrance and going for the door. It had a clear-cut keyhole--this one lead to the foyer. But could he make it? Was he late?

 

 

But with a push, it came open, feet a-squeaking as he bounded toward the Star. But NO! The door was closed now! And there was no sign of entry. Too late, too late! She--?!

 

 

...down there???

 

 

Down the steps he did see them, a three-fold: one blond, two black. What was this? Intruders? Maybe...maybe...?

 

 

"You there! You curs, you commons, you trespassers, you tourists! You...?" He paused. The rabbit stopped his squeaking.

 

"Have you seen my star?!"

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Lightweaver touched the painting. It rippled, and generally felt... odd. Ugh. Who'd set up something like this? Whomever they were, she figured they weren't much for company in these worlds... which could mean a battle. She growled uietky, before composing herself again, and went through when she realized she was alone.

 

The painting warped, and she was hurled into the ground, getting a taste of sand.

 

"Ckh!" The golden dragon spat sand out of her mouth. It didn't taste all that good. Looking around, it was a desert that reminded her of Stormcatcher's territory. Why he liked sand and deserts Lightweaver would never understand... her own Ruins were so much more glorious and lively.

 

---

 

Solar lunged through the portal, not pausing to see if anyone else was going through. Like before, it bent and felt like water and slime, but as she was expecting it, it wasn't half so bad.

 

She spied Ascension nearby, but no one else was there. She'd leapt in rather quickly, though, so the Torracat wasn't all that suprised.

 

Then the others came through.

 

Lightweaver was last, the golden dragon landing inelegantly and spitting sand out of her mouth before she surveyed the area. Solar wasn't sure why the way Lightweaver was looking at the place seemed off, but it did to the Torracat. She watched as Lightweaver came over to the rest of the group.

Edited by Dusky_Flareon

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As Soren returned, Cyil allowed herself to relax slightly, although she continued to ward off the monsters that got too close. She noted a slight dimming of the magical field she usually exuded while wielding the Yato as Soren channeled Ragnarok - perhaps he was using it to boost his magic? The drain continued as spiraling runes began to form underfoot, pulsing with a bright orange glow. Within moments, the tapestry of glowing lines was complete, bathing the area in a warm light. Oddly enough, she couldn't feel the tinge of darkness Ragnarok usually exuded. It made sense that Soren wasn't able to utilize it, seeing as he didn't appear to be a Dark Mage, but it surprised her that he was still able to complete the spell's runes at full power despite the lack of one of its elements.

 

He must be talented.

 

At that moment, she looked up and locked eyes with Soren.

 

“Stay close to me. I shall burn them to cinders.”

 

...Cinders...

 

She saw the image of her brother Leo flash in her mind, eyes aglow with passion and a certain sense of power.

 

"Nothing but cinders!"

 

...That tone...it's similar.

 

And then, for a moment, she saw Leo and Soren as one, expressions infused with the same fearsome intelligence.

 

But... while Leo showed respect and kindness on the surface, she sensed that Soren was different. Perhaps other factors had affected Soren's personality? Or maybe it was just the fact that Leo, being a Nohrian prince, had been taught diplomacy from a young age. Could that be it? A difference in their childhoods? One of the details she had noticed earlier about Soren came back, offering another possibility she had dismissed. He emanated a sort of draconic aura, not prominently, but it was still there. However, he didn't appear to be a shifter from what she could tell, at least not if shifters in his world worked the way they did in hers. And that mark on his head - she didn't know what it meant, but it had to signify something. The fact that he hadn't asked about her lack of a mark suggested that there were enough people without a mark to make it a normal occurrence.

 

If that was so, and the people of his world took on a similar enough appearance to the people she knew... then what could that mark mean? Soren hadn't mentioned anything about the mark at all, nor his faintly draconic air. The few traces of draconic power she could trace from him were quite different from the diluted energy of her family's blood, although it seemed to manifest itself in a similar way. They both imparted a greater power onto their inhabitants than normally possible, and both seemed connected to the life force of their possessors. Could it be that Soren... was of draconic lineage as well? Were they more similar than she had thought?

 

Her thoughts - and the illusion - were shattered by the sudden drop of Soren's arm, betraying the exhaustion of its owner. She looked around the tower as if noticing the destruction for the first time, taking in the burnt corpses of monsters and the multitudes of new ones stumbling forward to replace them. This was the true destruction her tomes could cause, held in the hands of a master. It was a force to be reckoned with, a force that she was glad was on her side. The skill with which Soren wielded tomes far surpassed that of an average mage, almost as if something unseen was aiding him. Perhaps it had simply been his extra draw on her magic, but she felt like it was something more.

 

A flash of Thunder drew her eye as she turned back to Soren, listening in surprise to what he had to say. So here he was - a mage above and beyond the likes of any average solider she had ever seen - and he was telling her that he couldn't use magic outside of drawing it from her aura??? How his previous display had all been created by utilizing the magical field she emanated? She was bewildered to say the least, but she suspended her disbelief in order to focus on the battle. Soren had said that it wasn't the time to explain and she agreed, especially since she noticed a few of the skeletons along the walls getting up and moving.

 

“We've got more company than we bargained for.”

 

For once, she couldn't agree more. Quickly, she scanned the battlefield, noting the amount of rotten animations still shuffling around and adding the number of skeletons into the mix. Needless to say, she and Soren were ridiculously outnumbered. Although the Ragnarok blast had cleared away a large group of the monsters, more were still crawling out of the ground by the minute. There was still enough space left around her for another charge of Ragnarok, but it would tire her out and leave Soren to fend for himself. It wouldn't be enough to wipe out all of the monsters anyway. Maybe - if she found Soren's tomes - then... yes, that might work.

 

It didn't take her long to spot the monsters crowded around Soren's satchel, seemingly both curious and afraid of its contents. Checking around her to make sure there wasn't an immediate threat to Soren, she made use of a jet of water to propel her in the direction of the satchel. Along the way, she spun around the Yato, carving a wake of corpses in her path. A circular slash dealt with the monsters surrounding the satchel, sending limbs flying and heads rolling. Before the monsters could close in again, she shot another jet of water out to propel her next to Soren.

 

"I've got your satchel, hold onto it tight."

 

She tossed the satchel towards Soren with a well-aimed throw, not even flinching before decapitating a monster behind her in the same continuous motion. Although the situation was dire, she couldn't help but feel... alive, in battle. Maybe it was the blood of the First Dragons flowing through her veins, but the thrill of a fight seemed to wipe away her stresses. Her earlier questions were still present, but with her focus on the battle, they seemed far away and out of sight. A small smirk spread across her face as she worked on clearing a space around herself and Soren, bringing death and destruction wherever she went. The purple-skinned monsters fell like flies as she swung her blade faster and faster, cutting through appendages like they were made out of butter.

 

Soon, the majority of the immediately threatening monsters had been cleared out around the duo, either by flashes of Thunder or the swing of a blade. Pausing for a moment to catch her breath, she turned back to Soren and looked him in the eyes. She made sure to fill her voice with gravity, as it was of utmost importance that he listened to her while the coast was relatively clear. They wouldn't have much time to perform the maneuver she had planned and the monsters didn't show any signs of slowing their attack.

 

"While this may be a bit sudden and surprising, I need you to trust me on this. We can't hold our ground against these monsters forever, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the skeletons will be harder to deal with. I'm going to transform into a dragon and have you ride on my back while you charge up some spells from the air, that way we can clear out some of the weaker monsters and weaken the tougher ones. You'll have enough time to aim and charge your spells while still being able to draw on my magic. We'll also have a better vantage point and be safer, especially since I doubt any of these monsters have weapons with enough range to hit us in the air."

 

With that said, she called on the power of her blood to transform. Purple tendrils of energy burst forth and obscured her from view before being softened by the light blue glow of her Dragonstone, casting a bright flash of light onto her surroundings. Within the light, her form changed and morphed into that of a serpentine creature, silver scales emerging and melding into smooth plates of armor. Branching antlers sprouted from her head as a smooth surface of blue fell over her face, lengthening into two flexible tendrils on the two sides of her skull. Two wings spread out from her back, just above the point from which a tail emerged. Her fingers lengthened and became tipped with claws as spikes formed along her tail, fanning into a leaf shape. Last of all, a single navy blue stripe blossomed along her underbelly. Control. Power. Elegance. That is what I am.

 

I am a dragon, what are you?

 

The transformation was complete in a matter of seconds as the light faded, revealing an graceful silver and blue dragon in the place of Cyil. Shaking her head gently, she bent down to Soren's level before speaking in a strange echoing voice.

 

"Well? Are you in?"

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“Link, come on it’s a beautiful day to go flying.” Zelda’s soft voice drifted in through his open window. Peeling his eyes open his could feel the dream he had been having slip through the clutches of his conciseness, fading to grey, forgotten.

 

Light filtered in through the open window catching the dust particles setting them ablaze and giving the room a hazy look before pooling on the floor in a warm golden glow. Link pulled himself up, joints creaking the whole way as they settled in his new position. Placing his feet on the warm floor he stood and stretched with his arms above his head.

 

ahhhh

 

Dropping his arms from their position above his head he brought one hand up to cover his mouth as a yawn escaped. Glancing around he spotted his green tunic and belt on the small table next to the window. He could feel the heat from the sun as he picked them up and slid the coarse material over his head. Getting the shirt on and pulling his pants up over his muscular frame he finished the look with his belt and stapes.

 

Pat pat pat

 

Making his way back over to his bed he sat down feeling the mattress sink from his weight. It was a cheap but he had insisted that Zelda get the new one when it was finished, as he was used to sleeping on the ground so an old mattress was better than nothing.

 

Reaching over to the foot of his bed he grabbed his brown boots and stepped into them lacing them up the back. Standing he took one last look around the room tugging on his gauntlets absently before turning to the door. He packed only the things he figured he would need

 

Sword – check

 

Shield – check

 

Link went through a mental check list of things he needed and wanted to do today as he padded down the long dark hall. Even for it being mid-morning the hall was mostly lifeless and dark, he had always wondered why they didn’t try to warm the dreary place up with some will lit candles or lights but that wasn’t his problem. He would help if asked, but if that was how they wanted it to be he wasn’t going to argue.

 

Coming down a set of stairs link walked up to a door with green and orange stained glass windows. The door its self was mad entirely of wood and was plain to look at. Placing his hand on the handle he turned the wooden knob and stepped out into the warm sun.

 

“link there you are. It’s about time you got up.”

 

Link smiled at Zelda as she came into view. Her long blond hair was up today with a few fly away’s framing her small face. Link smiled giving a nod.

 

Hmmm

 

“Come on where going to be late.” Zelda wrapped her slender fingers around his arms and pulled a little trying to budge him from his spot.

 

Uhhhmmmm

 

Tilting his head to the side confusion flashed across his face. Did he forget something today that she had planned? It seemed unlikely and she did have a history of not telling him important things.

 

“Did you forget today everyone is having a race to see who is fastest.” Excitement spurred Zelda to tug harder and this dislodged link from his spot in front of the door.

 

Well that explained why there was no one inside but what is so exciting about racing around. They did it on a almost day to day thing, but if it made Zelda happy then he would play along with it. He had faced many trials that had been far more exciting than weaving through the sky and racing around the island that they have been on for the last 18 years of their life.

 

Link let Zelda pull him down over the hill to the lookout post by the edge of town. Feeling the wind brush by his ears and hair he could feel a spark of excitement grow in him. It must have been from the carefree look on Zelda’s face as he weaved to the platform. Her eyes where large as she watched gross and his tag team go by. Chuckling he watched her with a smile and endearment on his face at his lifelong friend.

 

Link turned joyful eyes to the other onlookers and the surrounding building as he got closer to the look out. When Zelda didn’t show no signs of slowing he glanced back at her back covered in her normal pink clothing. Desperation filled his attempt to stop but it was too late as Zelda took a swan dive off of the side of the island taking him with her. He had always not payed enough attention when it came to her and this was one of the time he wished he had as he tumbled over the edge.

 

Panic set in for a split second as he tumbled head over head. Colors a mixture of the tan clouds and the green and brown of his cloths as everything blurred together. The frantic beating of his heart slowed though as years of practice and repetitive movements set in. Flinging his arms and legs out he stopped his spinning freefall to just free falling. Bringing his hands up to his lips he blows a whistle that pierced the sky and reached the heavens.

 

A flurry of red darted through the sky and link crashed onto the large back of his Loftwing. Putting his hand to his heart he willed the frantic pace to slow. That had been to sudden and if his crimson hadn’t shown up….

 

Shuttering he didn’t want to entertain that thought. Luckily there were knights on patrol that would spot a wayward child of stupid adult that got to close and happen to fall giving them a lift back to solid ground.

 

“liiiinnnnnkkkkkkkk” link turned to the long drawn out name of his.

 

yes that’s my name please don’t where it out

 

Link just smiled as Zelda pointed out over to a distant island that was floating a little way off. He got the slight impression that she wanted to race to it even though no words had been spoken, but they had been friends for a while and sometimes they had this weird habit of knowing things about the other. Shrugging he assumed this was one of those times as he nodded and watched as Zelda took off on her lavender Loftwing. She rode the wing like it was a part of her and her loft wing was her magic carpet. In a way it was with how smooth of a team they were.

 

Taking off he gained on her a little bit but let her maintain the lead. He would let he think she was winning and maybe, if he felt generous enough, he would let her.

 

ugh” link grunted as a strong wind picked up and almost flipped him and his Loftwing. When he glanced to where he had last seen Zelda he spotted he not far from there at the island. She looked fine and like she hadn’t even noticed the odd wind, but it wasn’t unusual other than it was a clear day and the winds had been fine.

 

AAAAAHHHHH

 

A large gust of wind hit his crimson knocking him from it and hitting both from the sky. Again he was free falling but with the wind knocking him about he couldn’t get enough of a stable position to call for his loft wing.

 

Green….

 

Grey……

 

a flash of orange

 

link was plunged into a darkening sky with rain pelting his skin like hail. It burned and soon his skin felt tingly form the small pieces and the wind ripping at his clothes. He would occasionally catch a glimpse of land coming closer to him but it was so fast that he would be turned over again before he got a good look.

 

Feeling dread at an impending doom he screamed on last time before he hit something cold. He sank down and then was pulled back up again before he would be jerked down. Links head broke the surface of water.

 

A river, he was in a river and a fast one at that.

 

Link felt the current drag him back down before he could get a full breath and his lungs burned as water invaded. Struggling he didn’t know which way was up and which way was down but when his head broke the surface for a third time he sputtered and choked. Glancing around with wide frightened eyes he spotted the muddy banks but they looked so far away. If he could make it there the water should be slower and hopefully he could catch his breath and make it out in one piece.

Edited by Acornia

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Ratchet followed the party down the stairs and back into the damp basement. He wandered around, tapping the stone walls with the back of his hand. He wasn't having any luck when Ascension announced that he found the right wall. He turned the corner in time to hear the Eevee's explanation on the native monsters in Shifting Sands Lands. Ratchet giggled with excitement. Monsters means it was his time to shine. He hoped there was a giant robot or gunship to shoot down. Ratchet followed after Ascension by jumping through the liquid wall.

 

Ratchet activated his hoverboots and slowed to a stop before he could hit the ground. The air was hot and dry like he expected. the sand shifted under his feet. Ratchet guessed that's where the name came from. Ratchet watched as one by one the rest of the team materialized above his head and touched down around him. He looked around at the rolling dunes and yellow landscape. He wondered where the star was for this one.

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