Well this is an awkward moment. o.o

I said I'd start the new Ethereal Cross here, but I'd like to go back and take care of another adventure before I get ahead of myself. Sync 3 continues after the first Sync, which ended in Ixis_Muugen's journal. It was a messy, crazy, nonsensical story that I'm throwing back into the fray. Kind of a weird idea, but I'd like to make it even crazier. If at all possible. I think it is.

So here it is.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

C H A P T E R - 1
Light. Darkness. Eclipse.


The following takes place after Sync's last battle in the Empyrean Paradox...

...

Cruce: ...Feeling... tired... [In the midst of nothingness, his eyes are closed.] ...

(Where am I going? Am I sleeping...? Am I'm drifting off into sleep? What's happening? I'm... I can't remember anything... No, I need to wake up. Get me out of here. Someone! Someone help me out! ...Dammit... 'The hell is going on now...? ...Ugh... can't... stay awake...)

...

-Empyrean Paradox...-

...

Lea: {A Sorenian witch. Originally, she was partially wolf, however I've decided to make her a "pure fairy". She has no animal traits. Her body is dark purple all over. Her hair is of the same color. Her apparel is regal; a flowing dress with roses tied to it. Her wings are colorful, yet quite dark, and shaped like a butterfly's.} ...Brother... are you really gone? [She remains on her hands and knees, tearing at her Brother's disappearance.]

Danny: {Safan fox. He is dark with streaks of icy blue in his cold fur. He possesses three tails which are tipped with icicles...} I guess so... What do we do from here?

Idi: {Originally an Antifigurate, but he is now a human. His skin his pale and scarred by fire. His ominous appearance compliments his shady clothing. He is hooded with a cloak, the rest of his body covered in spiked, black and red armor.} [He is standing with his arms crossed.] The only thing we can do is return to our Lord and report to him. The longer we stay here, the less we get done. And we cannot let the fools of Light gain any momentum.

Ginsengaar: {A Mobian wolf with black fur. Think along the lines of a Sonic-style character. He is clothed in eastern, samurai-esque armor, a large katana sheathed at his side. His hair is black, styled in a mohawk. All four of these characters possess dark red eyes.} And what of these three? [He opens his palm toward the three creatures standing before him...]

[Each of these three are actually Pokémon. Their appearances are rather dark. They stand together.]

Adam: {He is a Torchic with blackened feathers and a dark red body.} We are intent on serving Darkness. [He bows before the four Shades. His two allies do as well. One of his allies is named Mudkip; the name of his species. His body is black, fins red. The other is named Eve. She is an Eevee with fur darkened to blend in with the two.]

Lea: [Stands, holding her staff in one hand.] It is the least you can do for battling with Brother... [Sighs.] This has become too messy to clean up, you three. [Turns her attention to her fellow Shades.]

Ginsengaar: Between the Eclipse worlds and Brother's home planet, I'd have to agree. Everything's gone too awry. Who knows what in the worlds it would take to fix things for all of us. Darkness, Light... Everyone... Brother's untimely death will make this all worse.

Idi: Out of his death, Darkness will rise. Shades, we are to act: to follow the wishes of our Lord. We will amass a greater army than ever before, and make Light regret hindering Brother in his quest.

Lea: Yes... [She nods.] For Brother.

Danny: For Brother.

Ginsengaar: For Brother.

[Following their moment of silence for this Brother, they utilize a method of transportation known as a dark corridor, sending them through the fabric of space, and ultimately to their destination: Castle Tartarus.

Dark corridors are a special advantage of Darkness. They are able to conjure these portals to move quickly between space. They are especially useful in long distance trips, as well as confusing their enemies.

Tartarus is the home of all Darkness. It is growing diminutive, thus Darkness is seeking an additional world to rule over. That world is called Corus. These side plans have nearly been completed, however with all of the recent happenings, finalization has been put on hold...]

...

-Ravaged Land...-

[The sky is red. The world is torn to pieces. Rubble and masses of land are strewn about the entire area. It is unrecognizably Earth. The scenery is apocalyptic. Streets have caved into the earth. Chunks of landing are hanging suspended in midair. An undying fire rages throughout the landscape...]

Cruce: ...[Laying atop a pile of broken reinforced concrete.] ... ...Ergh... [Coming to, he grits his teeth together and clenches his fists.] ...Ahh, what--... What... happened...? [He sits up, a hand against his forehead. Cruce manages to get a glimpse of the world around him.] Oh what the... ...Right... [He stands slowly, popping his neck by pushing a fist against his chin.] (What is this? Is it Hell? Earth? ...Both? This is crazy. I need answers. Now.) [He leaps from the pile of debris, landing with both legs and a fist to the ground, his right arm raised behind him. The air solidifies into a shimmering, cross-shaped weapon which he holds backwards in his right hand. The weapon itself can be held at many lengths. The blades are serrated, crystallized black spikes of solid energy...] Huh... [Cruce stands straight, observing the Crossblade.] (Looks like I can still summon the Blade. That's good, I'll probably need it here. Especially if this actually is Hell, I guess.) [All thoughts aside, he decides on a path to travel and runs ahead...]

...

(I hope I can find someone here, but anyone in their right mind wouldn't come out into this deathtrap of a place. Fire's everywhere. All this place is missing is random streams of lava or something. Maybe I'll get lucky. Not with the lava, with people... I can't remember a damn thing about how I got here. I can't even remember if I remember. It's strange. It's like I'm filling in for someone else. Not sure if I can explain it any better, but I don't need to. I just need to find someone. Anyone...)

...

[Hours pass...]

Cruce: [Comes to a stop at a scorched building. He thrusts his Crossblade into the soil and sits on the dirt ground, wiping the sweat from his forehead.] ... This is bullshit... For sure. I guess this is one way to kill me! Throw me on a random world with nothing to my name. Old school... [Shakes his head and leans back into a tree's base, the upper section of the tree having been snapped off.] (At least give me something to fight... Like some sort of giant hell worm or something. Some demon or vampire or whatever... Because while this is a cool looking place and all, I'd like to see some cool looking people. Maybe I should lower my expectations...)

...

[Cruce keeps his eyes closed, his head back against the tree. He attempts to recall anything that might have brought him here. Although he fails, he regains some motivation with respect to finding anyone to ask what is going on. Fortunately, that is not needed...]

...

Cruce: (Well, guess I should go.) [He grabs his Crossblade and stands, pulling it from the soil.] ... ...?

Rush: {Profile.}...[Leaning against the opposite side of the tree with his arms crossed.] You're hard to get rid of...

Cruce: So what if I am? [Unmoving.]

Rush: [He opens his eyes, staring at the ground.] ...I didn't think you'd survive going into the Strayer Void...

Cruce: Alright... [He turns his head back a tad.] Now you've lost me. What exactly are you talking about?

Rush: You really don't remember?

Cruce: No, but it sounds like you do. And if so, you're exactly the kind of person I'm looking for.

Rush: Hm. [Pushes himself from the tree and walks around to greet Cruce, his body being far smaller than the human's.] It's Rush, in case you were wondering or maybe forgot that too.

Cruce: Rush? Well met, I guess. [Curiously looking down at this creature...] My name is Cruce... Huh, you look familiar.

Rush: Cruce? [He raises an eyebrow.] Not...? [He seemed to be about to mention another name.] ...Hmm... I came back to Earth to search for missing persons.

Cruce: (Earth...?) ...How'd that go?

Rush: Not good, I'm afraid. But maybe you can help. In return, I'll try to inform you on what's happened here. That'll be hard for even me, and I've been here the whole time. In summary, everything's a mess.

Cruce: I noticed. It's an easy deal.

Rush: [Nods.] Alright then. Follow me, and I'll explain what I can...

...

"This world's been torn asunder by what we believe to be the forces of Darkness."

"Darkness...? As in a legion of the sort? That seems familiar."

"I wouldn't be surprised. Darkness has shown up to deliver an unforeseen punishment to Earth. They could not have done it without the help of the one I confused you for."

"Is that so?"

"That's something he enjoyed saying. Are you sure you aren't him?"

"Pretty sure."

"Good enough for me. We thought this guy was one of the good ones, chosen by Light to defend his home world alongside his friends. They were blessed with extraordinary power... But that power came from a dire origin. An origin which the Believer, as he is called, attempted or is still attempting to uncover. It has driven him insane. He is working with Darkness to find his true self, and will annihilate all in his path if he must."

"So he did all of this to his home planet then?"

"He contributed. This world had seen an ungodly fire before his conversion to Darkness. Now, we of Light know that Darkness can't just blow any planet up. They had help. They deny ever starting this, but who else could it be? There is no force more diabolical."

"What about their helpers?"

"Well, except for that, maybe. We know nothing about the 'Helpers', but it's likely that they're still working with Darkness. Their goals are unknown to us."

"Sounds like there are a lot of unknowns, dude."

"I can't really express how much we don't know. It's unbelievable. Everything's out of order. Even Light is in chaos. People blame Darkness. People blame the Believer. People blame Light. They might blame the resistance forming here called Awgo."

"Who do you mean when you say people? Just people on Earth?"

"Not exclusively. This is all spreading to other worlds. The worlds it's reaching are important to both Light and Darkness. They're balancing worlds, so to speak. Worlds which the Believer is tied to... It is odd. He could not bear to see those worlds in danger, yet he's the cause of such mass destruction which is slowly consuming those worlds."

"This Believer guy... What kind of power does he have?"

"He controls 'black lightning'. It's a magic that eats away at life force and pretty mercilessly devours those unlucky enough to get in his way. He has a type of rage which, when triggered, makes him unstoppable. No questions asked there. See, I know his powers have nothing to do with what you wield. I was doubtful that you were the Believer, but you're appearances are eerily alike. You even sound the same."

"I understand how that's a suspicious coincidence. But it really makes me want to meet him and visit these balancing worlds."

"You will. You'll need to be prepared for a different transformation each time until we can get you a barrier that protects against it. That said, you'd be allying yourself with Light."

"Heh yeah. That's fine. Good guys, right? That's what I am. May not look like much of one, but I am."

"...That's good to hear. Honest. We need new, powerful allies to combat any troublemakers."

"Yep. Though I'm concerned about these transformations. What am I turning into?"

"You'll find out. There's a lot that needs to be explained to you. There's a force looming over Earth that prevents me or anyone of Light from returning to the Gardens. We'll need to take a different route."

"Gardens? Force? Route? What route?"

"A route through one of the other worlds. I cannot take you directly to the Gardens. So I'll need you to stay on this other world. When you get there... I need you to look for someone."

"This is all right out of the blue, but... I'll do what I can."

"Thanks. We are heading to one of the portals set by Darkness, which are scattered around this landscape. It leads to one of the worlds. When you get there, you will transform into something close to an animal seen here. You can talk, don't worry. This world we're going to is sacred, and one of the people we're looking for is irrefutably vital to everything. We haven't been able to check up on them, so... We need help. When you get to this world, ask for someone named Safiri. It may be easier than it sounds..."

"Safiri? Got it. What animal will I turn into?"

"Not even I know."

"Hm..."

...

(My name is Cruce. I don't remember a thing about how I got here. I remember the Crossblade, but... I forgot how I got it. Maybe it has something to do with Rush. I feel like I knew him before, even though he's not a human. And Safiri. That name sounds familiar too. Darkness. Light. These concepts are all... known. I know them. Right? ...Well... I've been tossed into the middle of madness here on a messed up Earth. And I'm already going to another planet. I'll do what I can for the good guys. Seems like the smartest thing to do at this point. It'll bring me closer to this Believer...)