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[Darkness, Light, and a Believer teamed up to put a stop to two corrupted Eclipses. Yet, the true problem has ascended to greater heights within the Growth of Oaths. They now have no choice but to request aid from those at Oathville. Light and Darkness must team up to destroy this threat to both... yet, Darkness believes that Light should "vanquish themselves" with these Black creatures... Lythrie and Al, with Slianna, retreat in a dark corridor, assured that Daniel will catch up... but in reality...]
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P A R T Y
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(Vulpixis - Daniel - Safiri - Ray)

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-Growth of Oaths Base.-
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[The four are recovering from their previous battle, Eenie now out cold. The Ancient Growth's loss of energy is draining her...]
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Safiri: [Standing, but weakened.] ...Great Growth... ...[She turns to Daniel.] Why are you still here...? Didn't you say you would leave?
Ray: Yeah, if you're going to deliver something, do it already.
Daniel: ...Shush, Dimwit and Dimwette. [Sitting, staring at Eenie.] ...I... have a lot of things on my mind right now.
Safiri: [Snaps.] And like we don't!? Look around you, Daniel!! Look what you did to our precious home! Because of you, Eenie's dying! Because of you, our entire region will freeze!! Like I don't have enough on my mind right now!? Agh!
[Ray remains silent. Daniel flinches at this.]
Daniel: L-look!! It's not like I had a choice! Naught's becoming more power-mad than you could imagine. He... He wants something of the Eclipses! All of them! He's become a different Figure... He wants total control.
Ray: Is there any difference!?
Daniel: From what, before? ...Yes... [Lowers his head.] ...He assumed Chris was gone for good... He wanted you... all. He wanted to probe the Eclipses... Nothing else mattered... until another plan was developed... I'm too afraid to speak of it. [Splays his ears.]
Safiri: You're afraid!? You're afraid!? [Steps forward.] Do you even know what everyone in Fantasy fears!? It's far beyond you!
Daniel: [He growls, stepping forward twice.] Shut the hell up, you mutant b***h!!!
Safiri: [Flinches, stepping back and beginning to tremble a little.] Wh-...
Ray: [He growls, but before he can say anything...]
Daniel: [Looks at Ray.] You too! If I hear one goddamn peep from either of you, you're frozen!! ...[He forgets that Vulpixis is watching him... Daniel cools back down, sitting again.] ... ...
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Daniel: ...[Sighs... He lowers his head, blocking his face.] ... ... ... [He begins whimpering until a tear falls from his face. It freezes before it reaches the ground... Safiri and Ray take notice of this.] ...I used... used to be active with Darkness... then Naught found new Shades... he began...tossing us aside... like Nightmares...And ... and with that, he ruled with fear... An-any slip up... anything we do... and we're done for... we're gone... The f-fear Naught uses... I... C-can't... do this!! [Daniel collapses face first in the snow, crying.] I can't!!
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Safiri: [Watching Daniel break down.] ...
Vulpixis: ...This guy's a good liar. I wouldn't be surprised if he was doing his job right now. [He scoffs, turning away.]
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Ray: ...Are you sure he's... lying...? [Watching Daniel.]
Vulpixis: Darkness are all lying scum. They're fickle! You saw what Lythrie and Al did, they left. And now here we are with this punk... [He turns to Daniel, stepping on his head.] Listen you little s**t, you've been in league with Naught for what, six years now? You think this tiny breakdown is gonna change that? You think tears can reshape history!?
Daniel: [Sniffling and whining, he refuses to say anything.]
Safiri: ...[Shakes her head.] As sad as this is... Vulpixis is right. Even if you weren't lying, you can't change what you've started. What you've done in the past... is written in stone. It's written in infinity...
Vulpixis: So now you get it... [He brings his paw off of Daniel.] Lovely... we've gotta find Amen and company. Maybe they're back at that cave... Let's go, you two. Leave this thing here, but take Eenie... [Shakes his head at Daniel.]
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[Ray picks up the forest fairy, and follows behind Safiri and Vulpixis... the two leave Daniel in the snow.]
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Daniel: [Sniffles... he looks up, his face soaked with tears.] ...Ch-Chris... [Whining, he slams his face into the snow again.]
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P A R T Y
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(Chris - Amen - Aren)

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-Ancient Growth Forest.-
[The three, short of Nightfall and Eden, have returned from Oathville, which was desecrated. Villagers had perished in the crossfire of the battle with an elusive demon... BlackMatter... And a surprise guest, Vince. The Phaze Guardians are scarred and bruised... Chris is not.]
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Aren: Th-that... w-was horrible... [Shivering.]
Amen: We failed to rescue them in time... And that Vince... The lengths he is capable of achieving must be put to an early end...
Aren: H-he took Nightfall and Eden... he t-took them away... b-but where?
Amen: I wish I could say, Aren... I cannot... Why was he possessive of your previous shape, Chris?
Chris: ...I don't know, Amen. I don't... Vince is... in my position at the earlier days of when I betrayed Light, except far more powerful, I hate to say. I... want my form back! I want it so that I can get rid of these weirdos, whoever they are... whatever they are... wherever they're from.
Amen: If anyone should know of such evil, it is Darkness...
Aren: B-but they said they had n-no part in this!
Amen: Yes, they are also capable of misleading...
Chris: I'm not sure... I've been with Darkness, but they really sound sincere about this one. They helped us fight off BlackMatter...
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(BlackMatter... That demon... Why was he so bent on sparing me? And Vince? They didn't attack me... I didn't fight them. I could only watch... What do they want here...? ...Who are they? I know they're from Reality, but... Oh forget it, what about Nijiiro and that other voice? Why I even became a Safan again? I have my own problems, and this is Light's... maybe even Darkness' too. ...Are my problems even related...? They have to be... Vince is me... or... sort of. And BlackMatter... that thing bugs me. It... just bugs me. Who the hell are these freaks!? I can't shake it! I gotta know!)
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Amen: Say, Chris...
Chris: [His ears perk up.] Y-yeah?
Amen: ...Are you...? ...[Does not finish his thought.]
Chris: Am I...? Am I what?
Amen: ...Hmmm... Never mind. [Shakes his head.] Disregard that.
Chris: [Watching Amen.] (...Am I... what...?)
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[The three come to the cave that Amen had previously run into Nightfall, Vulpixis, and Eden at... The fire is out, and the white of the blizzard no longer scours the area, hiding the cave in plain view. They enter, only to find Safiri, Ray, and Vulpixis.]
Amen: Ah! Vulpixis! And Eclipses! I am relieved...
Aren: Vulpixis...? [Tilts his head.]
Vulpixis: Haha, look who it is! Surprised you recognized.
Safiri: Amen... [She smiles.] I knew the Phaze Guardians would be here too...
Amen: Safiri... It has been so long...
Chris: Saf, Ray... [He approaches them.]
Safiri: Who're you? Are you...? [Gasps.] Chris? You're a Safan again!?
Ray: B-but how!? I thought you...
Chris: Heh, I'm curious too, but... [He noses at Safiri's cheek.] It's a lot more like old times now.
Safiri: [Giggles, licking back at Chris' muzzle.] It is. It really is.
Ray: [He holds up Eenie.] ...Chris...?
Chris: [Turns to Ray.] ...Yeah? Oh... Eenie... What happened to her?
Vulpixis: Let's just say we had a little encounter...
Chris: An encounter!? With who!?
Safiri: [Splays her ears.] The devil...
Vulpixis: This enormous black parasitic thing. It possessed Saf and Ray here, making them fight us... We owe it all to Eenie to be in this condition... And not dead.
Amen: By the gods, black parasite!? It is BlackMatter! Hellspawned!
Vulpixis: So that's what they're called... eh...? Chris?
Chris: ...It's still freezing... where's Daniel?
Amen: ...? (...?) [Watches Chris.] (Does he not have a concern for what BlackMatter had done to the Eclipses...?)
Vulpixis: ...The little baby started crying outside the Ancient Tree over there. 'Said something about regretting... stuff, I guess. Made it pretty convincing.
Chris: ...Crying...? Danny doesn't cry... unless... N-no. Danny doesn't cry... [Shakes his head.]
Safiri: He was crying, Christopher. And... he was unstabler than I've ever seen him...
Chris: ...[He turns around, facing the exit of the cave.] ... [He begins walking.]
Amen: Where are you going?
Chris: I'm gonna find Danny...
Amen, Aren, & Vulpixis: What!?
Vulpixis: Are you out of your mind? I know you're a Believer, but... are you really gonna side with Darkness on this one?
Chris: It makes no difference if I did, but no... Danny... Danny, Lea, Idi, Ginsengaar, as creepy as they are, they're my family. The Eclipses are too. Light or Darkness, I have family in both...
Safiri: ...[Before Chris can leave.] W-wait... [Rushes up to him.] ...I'm coming with...
Aren: ...S-Safiri?
Safiri: [Turns to Aren, then Amen.] I think... I know there's a "Connection" we share, and I know Chris shares the same thing with the Shades. It's for the best...
Ray: Then I'm coming too... We still need to rescue Slianna, and I'm sure Daniel would help us, right?
Chris: [Nods to Ray.] He will. He just needs... his brother...
Ray: He does... He needs all of us... Amen... Aren... Vulpixis. [Ray hands Eenie to Amen.] Take care of her. She's so important to this entire forest... and so much more helpful than you think. [Smirks.]
Amen: [Takes Eenie into his arms, still struck silent by this "Connection", how it functions...]
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[With one last nod, the three leave the cave...]
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Vulpixis: ...How difficult was it fighting him...?
Amen: Vince...? BlackMatter...? ...Chris...?
Vulpixis: ...Chris...
Amen: ...It was not a fight, my friend... It was a disaster. The Connection... is quite a thing, yes...
Vulpixis: ...[Shakes his head, looking at the firewood used previously.] ... [He blows a small ember on it, igniting it and immediately warming up the cave.] ...Tell me about him... Please.
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P A R T Y
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(Chris - Safiri - Ray)
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-Growth of Oaths Base.-
[The three arrive to find that nothing has changed... The snow no longer falls... Daniel lay motionless in the snow, ears splayed.]
Chris: ...[Frowns. He looks straight ahead at Daniel.] ...
Safiri: ...[Watches Chris.] ...No... he wasn't lying.
Chris: ...[Nods.] ... [He approaches Daniel with Ray and Safiri following on each side.] ...Danny...? [Chris looks down at Daniel.]
Daniel: [With his face still soaked, almost frozen with tears, he raises his head a little, looking at the paws in front of him. He looks further up until he sees Chris' face.] ...
Chris: [Smiles.] I know the truth...
Daniel: [Sniffles.] I thought it was you, Chris... Why are you a Safan?
Chris: It's a long story... I'll tell you though.
Daniel: It's okay, man... You've... [He stands slowly.] done enough already... You came back, and I wanted you back... Thanks. [He gives Chris' cheek a lick, then spots Safiri and Ray.]
Chris: [Smiles wider, feeling the cool breath come from Daniel's mouth.] ...It's okay... they're not upset with you, or anything.
Safiri: [Shakes her head.] We aren't... I think we both have stories we need to hear and understand.
Ray: I agree one hundred percent... Daniel, Chris is one of our closest friends... And I imagine he's yours too, right?
Daniel: [He nods, still watching the two Eclipses.]
Ray: ...Our stories are so different, but they have similar elements... the one we cherish the most... is Chris... If we have that in common, then I think there's something we're missing. Shades and Eclipses... Did we ever once believe that Shades were also... Eclipses...?
Daniel: ...[He stands silent.] ...
Safiri: If I were you, Daniel, and you were me... I'm positive that we would still come to this moment... Don't you see...? Chris united Light and Darkness... He's the "Connection" that bonds Light and Darkness together...
Chris: There's a little shade of gray between the change in color from white to black... Danny... You're that Shade... And they... are that Eclipse. And in the very center... in that tiny, grayest strand of whatever it is... That's where I am.
Daniel: ...[Closes his eyes, sobbing.]
Chris: ...[He rests his head over Daniel's.] ...What would you rather do...? Live a life in fear...? I know Naught's changed... ...Or would you rather fight with your family?
Daniel: ...I... think you know what I'd rather do...[Smiles, still crying.] I'd much rather... fight with you... Chris... [Chris raises his head. Daniel looks up, showing a sincere smile to the three.] Safiri... Ray... Sister... Brother...
Chris: ...Thanks, Danny... I promise, I won't let Darkness do anything to you anymore...
Daniel: ...Thank you, Brother... [He gives Chris' nose a lick.] ...Darkness... I still have to operate under them for a little while... at least until Light can build up their forces.
Chris: I have something else in mind. Heheh... That little shade of gray? What if that built up...? [Smirks.]
Safiri: ...You mean... Eclipses and Shades?
Chris: 'Xactly. Heh...
Daniel: ...One moment... [He steps back...then slams his paw into the ground, a black pool appearing in front of him. Slianna appears again.] ...Slianna? ...So nice of you to rejoin!
Slianna: Hm? Daniel? Do you require something? I thought you were returning to the castle.
Safiri & Ray: Slianna!!
Slianna: [She turns around quickly.] Ray, Safiri! ...Chris... Mmrgh... [She twitches a little, turning back to Daniel, who is smiling at her.] ...What is going on here...?
Daniel: A slight change in plans... I gave you that little fake Dark Mark, I can take it away, here goes! [He closes his eyes, stepping on Slianna's tail, darkness beginning to phase from her.]
Slianna: What's this--Are you... betraying... Dar--...k...nes...s...? [A glimmer of light is all she can see... Before very long, her appearance as returned to normal... Circulating around Daniel is a ring of dark energy. He opens his eyes to dispel it... it vanquishes...] I'm... normal... again... Daniel? Did you do this to me?
Daniel: Yep. [Nods.]
Safiri: Slianna... You're back...
Chris: Hello there, Snakey.
Slianna: My gosh... [Notices Chris.] Wh-what'd I miss? [She slithers to Ray and Safiri, raps her tail gently around Ray's torso, and leans her head against Safiri's.] We're together again...
Safiri: Thanks to him... [Looks ahead at Daniel, leaning back against Slianna.]
Daniel: Heh... nah, nah...that's all this guy. [Points to Chris.]
Chris: Yup. I'm a hero. And a villain! I'm all of the above... and below! [Chuckles.] Stupid puns... [Shakes his head.]
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It doesn't matter though.
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We're a family. Shades and Eclipses. They really are the same thing.

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--E n d i n g--
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