I guess EC isn't going to write itself...
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The First Cross:
The Crystalline Genesis

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"We did it!"
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(C r u c e -- P a c h i -- R i o l u -- L e a f e o n)
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-Aphotic Tower.-

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[The room now consists only of them, having eased their guard. The battle seems to be over.]
Riolu: There's no time to lose! Let's keep it up! [He takes point, running ahead.]
Cruce: (Right... no time to lose...) [He remains at the back of the group...]
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[The next room appears to be a continuation of the puzzles. There are three ice cores wandering the room. Two box-shaped force-fields and one large obscuring one are the obstacles. The large force-field appears black, but the other two vary in color. Each of the cube fields possess a crystal switch. One cube field is purple with a green top, and the other is simply purple.]
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Leafeon: This looks simplistic. Pachi. Cruce. I think this one's up to you two.
Cruce: Got it... [He floats forward a little, Pachi at his side.]
Pachi: Hmm, I'll take this one! [He points to the purple cube field.]
Cruce: Do we know what purple means?
Pachi: Purple is lightning. And that's me~!
Cruce: ...Purple is lightning? ...Weird, I'd expect yellow to be. But okay! [He looks at the cube field he is about to breach.] ...(Through the roof, got it.) [He flies up and then down through the green section of the field, placing a paw on the switch. Nothing happens.] ...Hm, alright, I got mine!
Pachi: [Hops up to touch his switch. Suddenly, the large black force-field blocking the way is gone... however, the cube fields switch colors. Now Cruce is trapped in a purple cube field.]
Cruce: Uh-oh... Guys...?
Leafeon: Looks like we got Cruce trapped... Pachi, can you think of anything?
Pachi: Um... Give me a second, I'll come up with something! ... [He looks at his switch... then to Cruce's.] Cruce! Hit your switch again as I do. On three... One... two... three! [They both hit their switches. The colors swap once more, however the black field is back up.] ...Oh... This is a tough one!
Cruce: I have an idea... [He flies out of the top of his cube field.] Pach, remember earlier? You did that thing where you went really fast through the whole in the black shield? Maybe if you went fast enough to touch both of these switches at the same time...
Pachi: ...I like it! It didn't alert the cores either... Okay, stand back~...
Cruce: (But... I'm floating... ...I don't even realize this anymore...) [He flies back to Riolu and Leafeon.]
Riolu: Good idea, Cruce.
Cruce: I mean, this really is just like some puzzles I've done on V... 'Cept real.
Leafeon: V?
Cruce: Long story. I... I'm gonna have to tel you about it though... Because I have seen a Leafeon and a Riolu and a Pachirisu on V.
[Leafeon and Riolu stare at each other, confused...]
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Pachi: [Closes his eyes... he becomes a bolt of lightning quicker than one could blink. Possibly quite close to the speed of light, Pachi hits his switch, then jolts to the other and hits that one. He lets the ability die down immediately... The field colors switch. The black field is down.] Haha! Yay!
Leafeon: Good going, Pachi!
Pachi: It was Cruce's idea~!
Cruce: I think you would've figured it out too. I just got the bird's eye view is all. [Smiles and looks ahead.] Shall we?
Riolu: Indeed, let's.
[They move ahead to another hall... This one is a tad different. A Nightmare gazes at the four, then moves to the center of the room where a crystal switch is placed. It touches the switch gently, activating a light blue field which spans from wall to wall in the room... The Nightmare vanishes.] There is but one ice core in here.]
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Leafeon: ...Well now.
Pachi: Light blue is ice... Cruce, I saw you casting some ice spells a bit ago, but I don't think you can go through that field without casting a spell to take it out... And I see a core back there.
Riolu: ...Cores are not impossible to defeat.
Cruce: ...Sounds to me like we have to break a the ice to break the ice... I really don't want to get hit with a giant icicle, because I know it would hurt.
Leafeon: Very true. Grass-types are weak to ice...
Cruce: Let's make this quick then... [He looks ahead, starting his focus... He begins casting... though as he does, the core instantly senses the casting energy and casts a quicker spell of its own. An array of ice spikes rampage onwards to Cruce, ripping through the force-field. Cruce interrupts his own spell, flying up to avoid the oncoming ice.] WHOA, OKAY!
[The others jump aside.]
Pachi: Game time! [He acts quickly, sending a few bolts of lightning flying at the core, which shakes them off. The core continues casting rapid, back-to-back ice spells. Icicles are conjured above the group's heads no sooner than spikes of it are rising beneath their feet, and only barely do they manage to escape harm's way.]
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Leafeon: [Having sent a few razor leaves at the core, this proves to be of no avail as they freeze upon contact with it.]
Cruce: Ugh, I'm useless here! [Flying, trying to avoid the core's spells.
Pachi: Don't worry, Cruce! Just keep yourself safe! [He releases a single powerful Thunderbolt. The core is stunned. Another Thunderbolt.]
Riolu: [Empowers his fist with burning aura.] Keep it down, Pachi... [He readies himself.] Hrrrrrrahhh!! [He dashes at the core as it is stunned, jumping in the air and then striking down at it with a single blow. It shatters as Riolu's aura splashes away from the impact.] ... Good work, Pachi! [He stands, looking back at the three.]
Cruce: ...Okay, they are dangerous.
Leafeon: Very dangerous... But we're all set.
Riolu: Come! We can't let Mewtwo get too far!
[Another movement forward leads to the last hall...]
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Pachi: This is no mystery dungeon...
[Ahead of them lies three switches attached to the ceiling. They seem to be on a rotating wheel that moves through a purple force-field, which blocks the room. Four cores wander throughout this room...]
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Leafeon: Well now...
Riolu: I am not about to do battle with four of those.
Cruce: ...We can cheat this one...
[Everyone looks at Cruce.]
Pachi: Hmm~?
Cruce: I only see the purple field... Those three switches up there mean that they all have to be touched within a certain time span of each other for this purple field to deactivate, based on that last experience with the box force-fields. Pachi's got that light speed power of his that makes him into a lightning bolt. The cores don't notice that... So maybe if Pachi sprung through the field, it would break open and give us a clean shot outta here.
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Riolu: Brilliant... I... I would not have thought of it...
Leafeon: For good reasons. We know Darkness... maybe too well. It's good to have a fresh mind with us.
Cruce: Fresh mind?
Leafeon: Yes. Darkness loves using deception. They make things look far simpler than they really are... But with as many things gone haywire as they have today... I doubt Darkness would now be a step ahead of us in this world.
Cruce: Hm... I need to meet some of these darkies...
Riolu: Reasoning with them is possible, just difficult. I have heard a rumor of one member of Darkness who questions herself, albeit secretly... Yes, Darkness is bad, but there is a glimmer of Light within it from time to time... But, to more important matters at the moment. Pachi, if you would be so kind.
Pachi: Right away. [He focuses in subtle energy... then bursts to the other side of the room in a flash... The field is not broken, but a hole has been cut through its center. It is sealing back up.] Whoa! C'mon guys!
[Riolu and Leafeon dash ahead, diving through the hole. Cruce isn't as lucky, despite the fact that he reaches the other side. A feels a zap as both of his hind legs get caught in the field.]
Cruce: Ahh!! [Struggles to break free. He manages to, though with his legs partially electrocuted.] Ohh... ow... [He sets down, immediately falling to his side.] ...Cold... ground...
Pachi: Cruce, are you alright?! [Quickly approaches Cruce.]
Leafeon: The field closed on him...
Cruce: ...That hurt... That really hurt...
Riolu: [He crouches a bit, observing Cruce's legs.] It is very dangerous coming into contact with one of these fields if you do not require what is necessary to pass... I'm surprised the damage isn't as bad as it would be.
Pachi: I imagine getting shocked with that is worse than what I can do on my own...
Cruce: ...It's a good thing I can fly... I'm gonna need to stay off of my legs for a little. I'm fine though.
Pachi: Are you sure...?
Cruce: Yeah... I'm good. [He lifts himself, floating in midair now.]
Riolu: ...Hm... [Watches as Cruce lifts himself up.] ...I have never known anyone to recover that quickly from fieldshock...
Pachi: Cruce is a special case...
Riolu: ...He is... isn't he?
Leafeon: Able to shake that off that quickly... [At this moment, he feels an unexplainable spiritual sensation as he looks at both Pachi and Cruce...] ...
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Riolu: ... Hm... [Looks to the path ahead, which leads to a dimming light outside... the sun is beginning to set.] ... (That feeling...) Leafeon... Pachi... Do you feel it...?
Leafeon: [Looks to Riolu, perhaps his own feeling differing from theirs... At this moment, he does begin to feel an unrest within him.] The feeling...
Pachi: I feel it...
Cruce: ...(What is it they're feeling...? I... I only feel cold...) ...
Riolu: [He leads the way outside, though walking slowly. They are greeting by an awe-inspiring sight... miles of destruction in the setting sun. Black diamond dust falls from the sky, each tiny crystal reflecting, and at the same time absorbing the sun's dying light.]
Cruce: ...[At a loss of words, he flies out over the edge of the ascending ramp, getting a better view of this.] ... (This is... so surreal... Is it really happening...?)
Pachi: Wooow...
Leafeon: What a view...
[The four of them take in this horrid beauty...]
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Riolu: [He looks to the ascending path ahead.] ...Let us hurry.
Cruce: [Turns to the three, who are already rising up the rising path which spirals around the outside of the palace from here on.] (They all act like they've done this before... I'm sure they have, but...) [Looks back out at the view.] (The fact remains that I haven't... I don't know what I'm in for... I don't know why this whole thing happened... I don't know why it's not some dream... And... I don't know Darkness like they do...) ...
Pachi: Cruce?! Are you alright?!
Cruce: Hm? Sorry, coming! [He heads up to the group.] (Still... this feels so real... my heart's racing like it's never done before. I feel like... like something is about to happen... something with impact.)
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[At last, the heights of the palace.]
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-Aphotic Apex.-

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[The jagged black pinnacle of the palace consists of a single large chamber, almost identical to a chapel on the inside...]
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[The four enter... a radiance emits from the altar of the chamber. Sealed to the icy wall with a mystic hieroglyph around it is a gear-shaped object...]
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[Pachi, Leafeon, and Riolu move forward very slowly, each of them in disbelief. Cruce follows, his eyes wandering around the chamber.]
Riolu: Could it be...?
Leafeon: I know it... Do you feel it?
Riolu: I do...
Pachi: What could it be doing here...? And, if it is... that means Chronic is...
???: Hello?! Is somebody there?!
???: Oh God, please let somebody be there...
Pachi: Who's that?! [Spins around, looking for the voices.] Hm...? [He moves passed the altar and looks into one of the concave areas of the icy wall. It reveals another small room, blocked by a black force-field. Inside are Grovyle and another...] Grovyle?!
Leafeon & Riolu: Grovyle?!? [The both move to where Pachi is standing and looking into the holding cell.]
Leafeon: Grovyle! You're safe! ...Sort of...
Grovyle: Be alert! It is a trap!
[Suddenly, the entrance walls seal shut.]
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Riolu: Quickly! Get back!
[Acting fast, they step off of the altar... Where they had been standing less than a few seconds ago, two black vortexes shift into being. From each of these, a figure walks, both very different from each other.]
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[They take full shape.]
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Mewtwo: [As one of the figures.] Ah, yes... Where did we leave off?
Riolu: You...
Mewtwo: Riolu, Leafeon, and Pachi... it has been so long since we have met like this. Why must out reunions be spanned over a rather uncomfortable course of time?
Leafeon: There's nothing comfortable about this reunion and you know it!
Cruce: [Watching Mewtwo with uncertainty... he then turns to the other, who is far different than any Pokémon he has ever seen.] (Hmm...? That's no Pokémon... er... is it?)
Riolu: I take it you are not the only Shade here, Mewtwo...
Mewtwo: Ah, so you have noticed.
???: Allow me to introduce myself, darlings. I am Ice Princess Danielle...
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~Danielle [Maaya] Freece~
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Danielle: Oh my, what a lot you are... Hmhmhm...
Mewtwo: Yes, yes... They are quite the irritation.
Leafeon: Cut the chit chat and tell us why that Time Gear is here!
Mewtwo: Ah! You have noticed that bright, unmistakable Time Gear in this room. This sacred relic... has found its way to this... Earth... It has left Chronic, you see... For Chronic was not strong enough in the battle to hold dear to its most precious treasures... Its soul... Its children... Earth... called to Chronic... and Chronic obeyed.
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Riolu: That is ridiculous! Our world is strong enough to hold on to what keeps it alive! This is but an illusion...
Mewtwo: Riolu, you ignorant fool! You know Darkness is incapable of duplicating a world's power source! You are a Phaze Guardian, one of the many beings that brings tranquility and justice to Chronic... and you are here... On this Earth... You were a mere part of the polarity.
Pachi: [Keeps quiet, lowering his head...]
Mewtwo: And you, Grovyle... [Turns his head to Grovyle in the cell.] You don't even know who you are... neither you or Celebi or Leafeon... Has it not occurred to you how vast saving a world is? How unlikely the average Pokémon would be able of doing such a feat?! Why you three... survived to protect your world?
Grovyle: ...How could you say Team Time knows not about themselves...? Nothing could be further from the truth.
Mewtwo: Hmhmhmhm... I am not saying you do not know who you are personally... But who you are figuratively... And it is all thanks to this naive fool. [He points to Pachi.]
Pachi: [Raises his head, looking at Mewtwo.] Be quiet, Mewtwo... Be quiet...
Cruce: Pachi...?
Mewtwo: You... Thanks to this cataclysm, which has taken you away from Chronic... Darkness has finally uncovered the truth which you have kept tucked away for so long...
Pachi: Shut up, Mewtwo! [He growls, his cheeks beginning to spark.]
[Everyone who can see Pachi stares blankly at him...]
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Mewtwo: Have your supernatural abilities been taken for granted...? I do think they have... Pachirisu... Eclipse of Chronic...
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Cruce: [The room goes bright to him...] ... ... ...
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"Eclipse..."
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"...Eclipse..."
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"... ...Eclipse..."
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"... ... ...Eclipse..."
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"... ... ... ...Eclipse..."
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"... ... ... ... ...Eclipse..."
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"... ... ... ... ... ...Eclipse..."
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"... ... ... ... ... ... ...Eclipse..."
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"... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...Eclipse..."
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"... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...Eclipse..."
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[The room returns to its original state for Cruce...]
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[Pachi has his head down. He is sobbing after having dealt an electric shock to Mewtwo, which had been blocked by Mewtwo's own power.]
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Cruce: ...[He raises his head, his eyes opening... He faces Mewtwo.]
Riolu: [Stunned, he turns to Pachi.] ...P-...Pachi...
Leafeon: ...I-it was never... a type mutation... It was...
Grovyle: [Eyes closed...] I see...
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Mewtwo: Heheheheheh... And the best part out of all of this... [He raises one paw, a purplish glow coming from it... Pachi suddenly begins to levitate towards Mewtwo. He give no resistance...] ...No one will save you now, Pachirisu... Now that you have lived a lie just to protect yourself...
[Nightmares begin to appear around the other three...]
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Riolu: No... [He prepares himself, though without confidence. Leafeon does the same...]
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Mewtwo: So now you see... No one, Pachirisu... No one shall ever answer your call... your plea... your begging for mercy... You are doomed. There will be no hope for any Eclipse...
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"Mewtwo."
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"Put him down... now."
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Mewtwo: Hm...? [Looks at the three.] Who spoke? ...Who just spoke those words...?
Cruce: I did. [He maintains a raised head and a vigorous glare at Mewtwo.] And I'll say them one more time... Put... Him... Down...
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Mewtwo: ... Hmph... [Refuses to do so.]
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Cruce: Riolu, Leafeon... Get down. [His red, flowery scarf begins to glow a bright white.
Leafeon: !! Seed Flare?! But how?! [Hits the floor.]
Riolu: [Does the same.]
Mewtwo: ! Ah, quickly! Down!! [He releases his focus on Pachi as he hits the ground, Danielle doing the same near him.]
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[With barely a moment's notice, the room brightens as well. The built energy around Cruce explodes in the form of multiple shockwaves, ripping through the Nightmares and destroying a fairly large section of the palace roof. Heavy crystals drop into the chamber. The wall has been damaged as well. The black force-field is down. The sky can now be seen... Crystals litter the chamber.]
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Mewtwo: [Throws a few crystals off of himself and stands.] Agh... You reckless fool... What is... so important... that you would...
Cruce: [Now standing on the top of the highest fallen crystal.] I told you to let him go.
[The others stand, now facing Mewtwo and Danielle. Grovyle and the other prisoner prepare themselves and join the battle.]
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Mewtwo: Urgh... [He turns around... The wall where the Time Gear was has been almost entirely torn down. Only a small section remains, and it just so happens to be the section holding the gear.] ... [He then returns a blazing glare to Cruce.] I will remember you... [A black vortex takes him away from the chamber...]
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[The wind howls...]
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[Pachi rejoins the group.]
Leafeon: ...What... what just happened...?
Grovyle: Cruce, that was you, correct?
Cruce: [He flies off of the crystal and onto the ground.] It was... Mewtwo wouldn't listen to me...
Pachi: [Approaches Cruce.] You wanted to protect me...
Cruce: ...[He nods slowly.] ...Yeah...
???: Cruce...?
Cruce: [He faces the other prisoner.] ...Oh my God... Mewtwo was right, there really is another Shaymin... a cool looking one too.
Topher: Cruce, it's me! Topher! ...
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~Chronic Topher~
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Cruce: What?! ...What...? Tophs?
Topher: [He nods.] I dunno what happened... One moment I was a human, and the next I looked like you do now... Except darker.
Grovyle: The question still stands...
Leafeon: ...Many more follow...
Pachi: [Keeps his head down.]
Grovyle: But Pachi... Never would I have guessed you were the Eclipse all this time... Why...? Why did you keep it from us...?
Danielle: [Now standing at the altar again.] The Eclipses were once mighty and all powerful beings; overwatchers of their worlds.
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[Rather than objecting, they listen to her.]
Danielle: Time weakened them... It was evolution in reverse. They lost power as generations passed... Reborn time and time again, weaker... weaker... weaker... But still strong to most of us...
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Danielle: There came a time whence they needed a savior... A savior did exist... none knew where... But now... [Watches Cruce.] I do have a... hunch, you could say...
Cruce: ...I'm no savior... Now I know I'm not the only human who has transformed into a Pokémon... My cousin has too. I can't be a savior...
Danielle: Cruce... I understand it is difficult... The life you once knew was surely less... volatile, for lack of a better word, than what we are seeing here today... Cruce, the power within you, though it will take time to develop, is there. It is more than formidable.
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Riolu: Ice Princess... who did you say you were?
Danielle: I am Princess Danielle... a Shade.
Riolu: A Shade? ...You are nothing like Mewtwo.
Danielle: [Shakes her head.] Hmhm, Mewtwo would most likely say that I am... interesting to work with.
Leafeon: ...You are not going to take the Time Gear then...?
Danielle: Oh? [She turns around, facing the Time Gear.] This? You may have it, Darling.
Riolu: ... [He walks up to the altar.] ...Princess...? [Facing the wall with the Time Gear.] I believe I have heard rumors about you.
Danielle: Is that so?
Riolu: [He takes the Time Gear...] ... [There is no effect. The symbolic light simply disappears.] ... Indeed. [Faces Danielle.] I've heard that you question your methods; that Darkness... is perhaps a road you have second thoughts of?
Danielle: [Closes her eyes.] ...
Pachi: ...I think we should hurry back to the school, Cruce.
Cruce: ...You guys go ahead... Everyone, follow Pachi... (Something tells me that should've been how it was all along...)
Topher: B-but... Cruce... What're you...?
Cruce: [He smiles at Topher.] I'll be okay, Tophs. I just need... a few answers... It will help all of us.
Topher: ... Okay... Be safe...
Cruce: You too, little buddy. [Noses at Topher's cheek.]
Topher: [Giggles a bit.] Okay...
Cruce: Take care of each other. [Watches as the group forms and begins to take their leave.]
Grovyle: Join us as soon as you are able, Cruce.
Riolu: Indeed.
Leafeon: See you soon, Cruce.
Cruce: See you soon...
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[The group leaves the chamber...]
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Danielle: It is not often I receive an audience with a single individual... especially not one who walks the path of Light.
Cruce: Well... you're a Shade, right?
Danielle: Yes, I am. Hmhm, and a princess of Darkness... What is it you wished to speak about, Darling?
Cruce: You know a lot about what's happening here, do you?
Danielle: Oh, no. I only know what I have always known... I do thank you for feeling I am knowledgeable.
Cruce: You are... You said you knew about a "savior"... and that savior... Hm... [Lowers his head and sighs.]
Danielle: [Approaches Cruce, smiling.] Yes... you may just be the one...
Cruce: [Shakes his head slowly.] I don't get it though, why me? Why couldn't it have been someone with better qualities...? I'm not... I'm not fit for the--...
Danielle: Hmhm... [Places one of her paws on Cruce's.] Dear... you are so humble... I think you need more confidence. This is not an easy thing to digest... Do you know what gives us the confidence we need?
Cruce: [Looks up at Danielle, frowning.] ...Hm...?
Danielle: Someone who cares... I am sure... absolutely certain you have many of those caring people around you.
Cruce: ...I... I may... but my family's probably been wrecked by what's happened today. My friends are in mortal danger... I know I have Topher, but he's in an almost identical situation as me. I feel like I could lose them all in an instant--I... don't...[Lets his head fall once more.]
Danielle: [Gently moves her paw up Cruce's leg and under his chin, lifting his head.] ...You won't lose them... ...Cruce... ...has anyone told you that you have such lovely eyes...?
Cruce: [Seemingly entranced.] ... Y-yes... But it's never come from someone as beautiful as you...
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Danielle: ...Hmhm, come now, Dear... I am... just a girl...
Cruce: ...I'm... just a boy...
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[Slowly, their muzzles touch...]
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[Their eyes close... as their lips lock together.]
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--E n d i n g.--
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