The irony continues~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
...
...
...
User Image
The First Cross:
The Crystalline Genesis

...
...
...
(S a f i r i -- R i l i a -- S l i a n n a)
User ImageUser ImageUser Image
-Xanthous Crystal Forest.-

...
[Earlier...]
...
[Safiri, Rilia, and Slianna have left in the same direction as Team Time, though they have not come across the strange plains. They are, instead, heading in the direction of the Santee airport. The three have made considerable progress so far.]
Safiri: Stupid Danny... making a mess here too... But whatever... maybe we'll get lucky and the two Shades that are will disagree to something stupid and fight it out.
Rilia: I hadn't thought about that possibility...
Slianna: Speaking of that other Shade, has anyone else noticed the lack of Safan Nightmares? I've only seen Pokémon.
Safiri: Who knows? Maybe they're all with Cruce!
Rilia: Heheh, maybe! Eek... Safiri, I have a question regarding the Pokémon we've seen so far...
Safiri: I don't like them.
Rilia: B-but Safiri! What if some of them are good?
Slianna: Like that Riolu? He seemed nice. Lavender liked him.
Safiri: ...(Lavender... like Riolu...?) ...I don't like him either. He's too full of himself.
Rilia: There's Pachi... and he's an Eclipse.
Safiri: Okay, maybe Pachi's the only one who I don't dislike, but he's an Eclipse! I can't not like an Eclipse...
Slianna: True... To be honest, that Topher's kind of a cutie.
Safiri: Topher's gay, Sli.
Rilia: Aw, come on, Safiri! I think he's cute too...
Safiri: No... I mean he's homosexual. Isn't it obvious?
Slianna & Rilia: [They look at each other, then back to Safiri while moving.] Not really...
Safiri: Heheh, alright. Maybe not to you two.
Rilia: Ohmygosh Safiri, you barely know him... Okay okay, what about... Nic?
Safiri: I dunno, Nic's kind of mysterious.
Slianna: Um... [She blushes.] There's Al...
Rilia: Oooh~... Al... He's kind of cool~...
Safiri: Al's a hothead. He got all whiny and mad because his friend, the Idiot, made new friends.
Slianna: The Idiot...? You mean Cruce?
Safiri: Yep. I mean, Al's fine and all, but he's too impulsive.
...
[They continue through the thickening forest. A few Nightmares, Pokémon and grunt alike, show up to provide them with obstacles. Their combined efforts prove to be too much for the Nightmares...]
...
[The three, having faced a few threats thus far, reach a break in the tree line. They come to a tiny clearing in the forest that lets them obtain their bearings with the addition of a surprise.]
Safiri: Hey, check it out... [She steps forward a little until coming too an exhausted survivor...]
Rilia: Who's this...? Is he okay?
Slianna: Eck! He doesn't look okay!
[The survivor, who is a Safan deer, has had one of his front legs blackened and slightly deformed by Darkness.]
Safiri: ...Hey... [She taps the Safan with her front paw.] You alive?
...
Safan Deer: [He looks up at Safiri with no hope in his eyes.] ...Somebody actually found me...? ...Great...
Rilia: How did you end up here, Mr. Mystery Guy?
Raymond: [His voice is breaking.] My name's Raymond... Officer Raymond... I was leading two other young officers... We captured this thing... he got away with one of his friends... Led us to these black creatures who attacked and disfigured the other two officers... I escaped... found shelter for a while... I was attacked by the things and... my body... it became darker... I must have passed out... I woke up, and... I was... whatever the hell I am now.
Slianna: You were a human... And you turned into a Safan?
Rilia: We've seen this before, but he was attacked by Nightmares... We have to help him.
Safiri: What can we do Rilia...? [She sighs, looking down at Raymond.] He's already been corrupted by the Nightmares... It's only a matter of time before he becomes one of them.
...
Raymond: Leave me... The rest of my life would be tainted... I've already lived to see the apocalypse... Mankind is out of its league.
Safiri: ...Don't say that... You still have a fighting chance... Mankind has to be stronger... I'm... sorry this is happening to you... I wish there was a way I could help, but...
Raymond: [He shuts his eyes tightly.] ...When I am one of them... I'll try my hardest not to find you three... and if I do... I'll fight the urge... to hurt you...
Rilia: ...[Bothered by this, she looks away.]
Safiri: ...You're not going in vain, Raymond...
...
[Silence...]
...
Slianna: ...Safiri, Rilia... [Shakes her head, her eyes closed.] He's gone...
Safiri: ...Yeah... [She watches the still, breathless body of Raymond.] Dammit... Let's keep going, guys. The longer we stick around, we... let's just go.
Rilia: [She looks up...] ...We need to go... to the Ancient Growth...
Slianna: Rilia...? [Looks up as well.] ...So that's what I was feeling.
Safiri: The Ancient Growth is here...? ...[Though she, Rilia, and Slianna are amazed at this discovery, the mood over the three is daunting.] Let's hurry to it. I doubt Danny doesn't know about this...
[The three hurry on ahead in the direction of the Ancient Growth, which was seen standing high above all other trees. The snowfall begins to increase.]
...
...
...
"Celebi, Leafeon..."
...
"We cannot stay here. It is too dangerous."
...
...
...
[Safiri charges through two Pokémon Nightmares, finishing up an encounter. An aggressive look resides on her face. Rilia and Slianna have fought alongside each other. They watch Safiri nervously.]
Safiri: [Stands a few yards away from the two, her head lowered.] ...Danny... is going to pay for this...
...
[They move ahead, the crystals appearing more intimidating as they come closer to the Ancient Growth. They come to a still-standing chain link fence... On the other side is the Ancient Growth. The empyreal tree stands miles high, its base a mile around. It seems to be standing where an airport runway had previously been.]
...
Safiri: There it is... One of the gods...
Rilia: It deserves better soil than this... We need to find a way around this blockage!
Slianna: [She turns her head to find that a section of the fence has been penetrated and destroyed by crystals.] Over here!
[The three run to the penetration and make their way through it. They run down to the clearing, reaching the enormous Ancient Growth. It is surrounded by rows of golden crystals. The snowfall here is black, leading to a black snowy ground.]
Slianna: What a sight... Abso-truly...
Safiri: You aren't kidding. [Looking up at the tree.] ... [She then looks around the premises.] I don't see any Nightmares.
Rilia: Think they're inside?
Safiri: Let's go check.
[The trio makes their way through the barrier of crystals, squeezing through an opening. They are now inside the Ancient Growth's base. It appears as a giant ring with a pool of water in its center, falling down the circumference of the true trunk of the tree. There seems to be multiple levels of the Ancient Growth. This is shown by the occasional pathway upwards. The base level is surprisingly lively with Safans and humans alike. Supplies, medical bays, guards, innocent families, and many elements of a refuge are scattered about the area. The energy emitting from the Ancient Growth is enough to re-power electrical equipment.]
...
-Ancient Growth.-

...
Safiri: [Walking with Rilia and Slianna close behind her. She looks around the tree.] Wow, what did we miss?
Rilia: I don't see anyone I know... or anyone from Oathville.
Slianna: Maybe there's some Safans from the other tribes.
Safiri: I'm not sure. Maybe if we ask around, we'll find somebody.
[A man approaches the three from behind.]
Awgo Officer: Excuse me. Are you three lost?
Rilia: [She turns around, looking up at the human.] Oh, hello!
Slianna: [Facing him.] We just arrived. Could you tell us what's going on?
Awgo Officer: Hah, I wish I could, little ladies. We were using an airport as a sanctuary for the civilians here, and the whole thing became a tree overnight! We got lucky though. This place gives off some sort of energy that powers our machinery. The price is being paid as we speak. We're all turning into animals, as you've already experienced for yourselves.
Safiri: Animals? Um... Excuse us for a second. [She gestures for Rilia and Slianna to come closer.]
[The three huddle up.]
Safiri: Okay, we're dead wrong. All of these Safans were humans.
Rilia: And they're using the Ancient Growth to stay safe? ...I... don't know how to feel about that.
Slianna: I don't like it very much. They're harnessing it's energy! That doesn't make them any better than Darkness.
Safiri: I don't know, Slianna. It's not that easy to harness the god's power... It must be deciding to help them out. In exchange, it's changing them into us...
[The three break.]
Awgo Officer: Is something wrong, ladies? Here, let me escort you to an open bay. You're probably exhausted.
Safiri: [She looks to Rilia and Slianna, nodding. She looks back to the man.] Thanks.
Awgo Officer: You're welcome.
[Led by the officer, they come to a small tucked away section of the tree. The medical bay here is shared by another four. It has plenty of rations.]
Awgo Officer: This area needs to start seeing some more people... You girls don't mind staying here, do you?
Rilia: Not at all~!
Slianna: Yeah, this is fine.
Safiri: Thanks for helping out.
Awgo Officer: Of course. Make yourself at home. [He walks off, looking to assist anyone else.]
Safiri: ...[She looks down at the ground beneath her paws.] ...This... is our home... isn't it...?
Rilia: Hmm... What do you girls think? Should we stay here?
Slianna: This is one of the gods... We need to make sure it's completely safe. There could be Nightmares on the upper levels, and no one would know.
Safiri: Good point. We'll check that area out soon. I need to take a rest break though. The cold finally got to me out there.
Rilia: Ohmygosh, me too.
Sianna: I agree completely.
...
[The four Safans they share the bay with are all kitsunes. One pair has black and blue fur, while the other two have white and yellow fur.
...
[Rilia walks to their section, greeting them with heart.]
Rilia: Hello! I hope my friends and I aren't disrupting you or anything.
White Kitsune: [Familiar voice.] Oh, don't worry Sweetie.
Black Kitsune: [The male.] ...You girls are really young... It's horrible to have to see the kids suffer.
Black Kitsune: [The female.] Where are your parents, Hon?
Rilia: Oh... Parents? ...[She lowers her head, frowning.]
Black Kitsune: [The male.] Are they... okay...?
Rilia: I hope so... They could be here, or not...
Slianna: [She slithers up to Rilia's side, having overheard the talk. Safiri is currently eating a bowl of grapes.] Ri... I've come to the conclusion that our parents can't be here.
Rilia: You think so...? But... wh-what about Lavender being here a-and...
Slianna: You know the position Lavender has... It's just like Pachi told us... Those who've come here are figures with hugely important roles.
Rilia: [Her ears flatten.] Our parents do have roles like that... Oh... [She returns her attention to the four.] I'm sorry. My name's Rilia.
Slianna: Hi, I'm Slianna. Nice to meet all of you. That's our friend Safiri back there.
Janet: [White Kitsune. Older of the two.] Those are unique names... I'm Janet This is my daughter Molly.
Molly: Hello~...
Marcus: [Black Kitsune.] I'm Marcus. Pleasure. I'd shake your paw... or tail... but that's much harder now. [He chuckles to himself.]
Dianne: [Other Black Kitsune. She rolls her eyes.] Hmhm... I'm Dianne. His wife
Marcus: Yep. That's the wifey.
Rilia: Hehe. Good to see people still have their humor~. So what's it like being turned into a Safan?
Dianne: Safan...?
Marcus: ...Is that what I am? We are? ...Mind if I ask, how do you know that?
Slianna: Um... we... overheard... [She pretends to look at Safiri, turning around. In truth, she whispers something to Rilia.] We can't tell them. It'll cause trouble.
Rillia: [She nods.] Yup. We overheard the name on the way here...
[Safiri joins the group.]
Safiri: Hello folks. I don't know if my friends told you, but I'm Safiri.
Marcus: Yeah, they told us. Nice to meet you three. So, where are you from, do you go to school around here?
Safiri: Uh, yeah... We... go to school... here...?
Rilia: We go to sch--
[Interrupting Rilia are screams of panic.]
...
"Th-they're here!!"
...
"The demons! The demons are here!"
...
"They've penetrated our defenses. Come on officers, let's go! Move move move!"
...
Safiri: Demons?! Come on you two. Let's hit it.
Rilia & Slianna: Right!
[They move to the actions, which is only a few bays down. The four can see them from here even still. They have become the center of attention.]
...
[The interlopers are six Safan Nightmares, all standing around a single Safan: Princess Danielle.]
...
Danielle: Oh my! I didn't expect to see this! Why, I am strolling through surprises now, aren't I~? Hmhmhm.
Nightmare Bear: Your higness... We must be careful... the humans will attack us. This is where they seem to be keeping their injured.
[It is true. The officers have their weapons pointed at the interlopers. Crowds of innocents are moved away from the scene.]
Danielle: The situation is hostile. They are well aware of the damage that has been done to them by Nightmares other than you.
Nightmare Dingo: They are most likely to sort us into that same category, your highness.
Awgo Officer: Who the hell are you freaks...? And what the hell do you want from us?
Danielle: Oh, now that is no way to address a princess!
Safiri: You're no princess, Danny!!
Rilia: You wish you were~!
[Safiri, Slianna, and Rilia work their way through the crowd and the circle of officers.]
Awgo Officer: Those girls...? H-hey, what are you three doing?! Get back! This is no game!
Danielle: Oh, hush. I know these three.
Safiri: Yeah, she does... Sheeee does...
Slianna: It's not like you to show yourself around so many others, Danny... But it's like you to come to the Ancient Growth for reasons we just can't let happen.
Danielle: You three, please--
Safiri: No! None of your crap! I know what you're up to, Danielle... I know how you think!
Danielle: ...[The Nightmares stand ready to fight if they must.] Safiri... Rilia... Slianna... Listen to me... I am not asking that you trust me. You cannot trust me... perhaps ever. What I have done in the past is unforgivable. I understand if you hate me... I understand if you refuse to ever collaborate with me, but do hear me...
...
Safiri: What...? What do you have to say now...?
Danielle: I no longer wish to harm Light...
...
Slianna: Then why are your Nightmares here? If you didn't know there would be people here, why did you bring Nightmares to defend you?
Danielle: ...Very well... You two. [She looks at the Nightmare Bear and Dingo.] Take the apes and go to our Aphotic Tower. Cruce, my love, should be returning there soon. I know he'll be there... It is where he met... And I am positive he is seeking me out. [She steps to the side, a dark corridor opening up from where she was standing a moment ago.] This corridor leads to the Apex. Once you step through, you will be granted permission to re-open the corridor. It will lead here... Please do so once you see Cruce... Do not return to me hastily. Remember, we must keep quiet. We cannot risk letting the others know of what we are doing... We are rebelling.
Nightmares: Yes, your highness.
Nightmare Bear: [The other step into the dark corridor before him.] Princess... if Cruce is to arrive with allies?
Danielle: Let them come too. I... trust his judgment. [She smiles, a bit of a bush on her face.]
Rilia: ...[Tilts her head.]
Safiri: [Raises an eyebrow.]
[...The dark corridor disappears. This leaves two Nightmares behind.]
Danielle: [Faces the three.] ...So you see... I cannot travel alone. It is far too dangerous.
Safiri: Dangerous? For you?! Ha!
Rilia: ...You think it's dangerous... Danny...?
Danielle: ...I do, Dear.
Safiri: ... ...It's not something I'd expect to hear from you...
Danielle: Nor is it something I thought I would hear myself say...
Safiri: ...Um... authorities?
[A few of the officers give her inquisitive looks.]
Safiri: We'll watch her and those Nightmares... Don't worry... we can handle it.
Danielle: If I have not yet earned your trust, and I know I haven't, I will start now.
...
Awgo Officer: Fine... Keep an eye on them... We will too.
...
Slianna: We will, Sir.
[With this clarified, the officers disperse in effort to calm the crowds down. Few remain to watch Danielle and the Nightmares.]
Safiri: ...Danny... Come with us.
Danielle: ...Very well. Nightmares, you may leave.
[Within an instant, the Nightmares vanish. They give her no question.]
...
[The three, with Danielle, return to their bay.]
...
Diane: Oh, what was all that commotion? And who is the lovely young lady?
Safiri: This is Danny, Ice Princess of Darkness. She commands the army of black, evil things that have been attacking us and causing pain far and wide.
Danielle: Safiri, Dea--
Safiri: Yes. And she's manipulating boys so that she can screw with all of us.
...
Danielle: Safiri, please listen. My relationship with Cruce is sincere... It isn't--
Janet: Cruce? Did you say Cruce?
Danielle: [Faces Janet.] ...Yes...? Is there something I should know?
Molly: Cruce as in the only Cruce in California? Possibly the U.S.? World?
Janet: My baby! My baby's okay!!
Safiri, Rilia, & Slianna: What?!
Danielle: Ex-...Excuse me...?
Marcus: So the boy's alright... Good to know... [He looks to his wife with a frown...]
Janet: You... are manipulating my son...?
Danielle: Absolutely not... When we kiss... it is a mutual love.
Molly: Kiss?! He's know you for how long!?
Danielle: Long enough to know how he and I feel about one another.
Janet: No! I won't let you near my baby anymore, you witch!
Danielle: Well now. Why don't you just simply let him decide, mm?
Janet: ...Where is Cruce?
Rilia: We're not sure. He wasn't at his school when we left... We all slept there though. He can't be far.
Slianna: His friends Pachi and Al weren't there either.
Molly: Al's alright?
Slianna: ... [She smiles, perhaps forgetting the tone of the conversation. She quickly shakes her head.] Um... Y-yes.
Danielle: ...If I am correct, Cruce should be here shortly. I predicted his next move... So that we may see each other again.
Janet: ...I won't... I won't let you...
Safiri: Heheh, what luck? Cruce's mom and sister are here to tell you off, Danny? How does that feel?
Danielle: I will let you know after my darling decides.
Janet: Don't call him "your darling..."
...
Safiri: (...This lady's got guts. She's so lucky Danny doesn't freeze her solid... Maybe something... maybe something good is going on inside Danny's head... Maybe...)
...
Diane: Could I interrupt...? This may sound off topic... but have any of you girls seen a boy who goes by Topher around?
Rilia: Oh. Yes! He's at Cruce's school. He's safe.
Diane: [She gasps, turning to Marcus and laying her head against his.] Our boy's okay...
Safiri: Wo-how! We found the family, didn't we?
Slianna: Looks like.
Danielle: ...Mmrgh... (Maaya... Is... that you...?)
...
"I can... feel you..."
...
"What are you... doing...?"
...
"Maaya..."
...
...
...
[Slightly earlier, in the surreal field...]
...
(G r o v y l e -- C e l e b i -- L e a f e o n)
User ImageUser ImageUser Image
-???-

...
[Team Time moves through the shimmering air of the mysterious field. The further they go into this field, the further they seem to feel the life being drained from them... They have been attempting to escape the field. At the moment, they have spotted an enormous, tree-like structure in the distance. They are heading there now.]
...
Celebi: Erk... m-my dear... Grovyle... I feel weak...
Leafeon: I do too... I'm not hungry, but... I feel like I've just fought a hundred battles here.
Grovyle: [He nods.] I feel the same. This accursed place is not safe. The Nightmares we've seen thus far are far stronger in this area... We cannot risk staying here any longer...
...
[Perhaps it is now that Celebi notices the cloud cover here has a greenish tint to it... It is as if there are leaves amongst the clouds. He eyes follow this green color all the way to the tree tower in the distance.]
...
Celebi: (That is... a very big tree...)
...
Leafeon: ...Have you two noticed... that... the only Nightmare's we've seen ever since the school... have been grunts and Pokémon?
Grovyle: I did not think it was significant. I could be wrong.
Leafeon: Maybe the Safans are up in arms with other things...
Celebi: It's possible. Remember what we heard about Danielle? She and Cruce are... well...
Grovyle: Ah, you are right! How could I forget about that...? That Safiri had been furious over this and would not stop mentioning it.
Celebi: I saw Danielle kiss Cruce... Those two have fallen in love at the worst possible time.
Grovyle: And I venture Cruce will strive by Light's side. It is likely that Danielle will join Light... Riolu mentioned she was not enjoying her seat of power in Darkness.
Leafeon: That's not getting through to any of the Safans either... If Darkness were to find out about Danielle's feelings... I wonder what would happen to her.
Celebi: It would not be pretty. That's for sure.
...
[Behind the group, a lone Nightmare grunt sinks back into the ground, having heard this information...]
...
...
...
[Deep underground... in an icy abyss...]
...
"...What is it...?"
...
"Do not be ridiculous. That is completely idiotic."
...
"...Questioning Darkness...?"
...
"What?! With Cruce?!"
...
"That... that traitor... The Overlord must be notified! Her powers will be taken! We must find her and destroy her immediately!!"
...
...
...
[At the Ancient Growth.]
...
"He's here..."
--E n d i n g--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~