(Cruce here. I'm still wandering aimlessly in some place I don't know. Actually, that's untrue. I have a goal, I just don't know if I should meet it. I've been told do go and find this girl on this random animal planet from some alien person I just met. Am I high? I've never been high, so I don't know. I've also been told by this Ethan person that I probably should stay away from Rush, which is the "alien"'s name. Then again, Ethan said he knew me, or someone who looks like me, as a friend. At the same time, I can't help but find it suspicious that he was just hanging out here in the forest all this time. What was he doing...?)

...

-Ancient Growth Forest-

Cruce: Ethan...

Ethan: Whassup?

Cruce: How come you were hanging out here just as I happened to appear?

Ethan: Nice rhyme! If you must know, and I know you must, I was hiding.

Cruce: You were hiding? From what?

Ethan: He calls himself the Divine Sentinel. He's a pretty powerful dude, what with all of his white magic and stuff.

Cruce: Christ, does everyone have some sort of title here?

Ethan: Kind of. Don't you have one too?

Cruce: Yeah, I guess so...

Ethan: Just goes to show, "Cruce", you fit well here. Not to mention your appearance. Don't expect the Sentinel to not mistake you for the Believer.

Cruce: He had a bone to pick with that guy?

Ethan: Try a whole skeleton. It was pretty much fanatic against fanatic, even though I'm on Chris's side.

Cruce: At least you know what side you're on. I still don't even know what "sides" mean here.

Ethan: You'll figure it out as you go. It'd be impossible for me to explain everything.

Cruce: Sounds like a plan... [He sighs, looking at the ground as he walks.] This all fours thing is not gonna be fun to deal with when or if I gotta fight.

Ethan: That's why I prefer using magic. Doesn't matter what shape your body is. You can be a blob and still cast a spell. And ooohhhhh man, trust me. From what I've been through thus far, you're going to be turning into a bunch'a s**t.

Cruce: ...That sucks... Whatever, as long as I can defend myself. For some reason, I feel like I've already been a lot of things. Little vague maybe, but... My head's all scrambled. What can I say?

Ethan: [Shakes his head and smirks.] For now, just go with what'chur given.

Cruce: Focus on the task at hand, you mean?

Ethan: Yep. And that's gotta do with this Safiri chick. And me hiding from Mr. Sentinel.

[With not much left to say between the two for the time being, they continue forth through the thinning woodland, not very confident in their sense of direction. Although the first signs of progress seem to be evident, as the clearing in the woods suggests.]

Ethan: Would you look at that? [He dashes forth into the clearing, sunbeams concentrated within this small area.] I remember this spot. I came through here earlier. So we've managed to backtrack! [He turns around, facing Cruce with an eccentric smile.] Easy to get lost here, but looks like we've managed.

Cruce: [Can't help but smirk in return.] Dude, you've been leading me.

Ethan: Oh, like I know the area better than you.

Cruce: You've seen it more than I have. [He joins Ethan in the grassy clearing.] Alright, so what does this mean? We keep going straight?

Ethan: Righto. We're close to a good-sized village. Oath Tribe or something. Should be home to the girl you're looking for.

Cruce: That was easy... (Rush did say this was probably going to be easier than anticipated.)... I wonder then... why was that portal so close to Safiri...?

Ethan: Portal? You mean like the one Riot left?

Cruce: Yeah, you know him?

Ethan: He's from my time period. Guy's a psycho, wants to tear everything down and build an almighty mega super duper kingdom of evil evilness and bad guys.

Cruce: And that's not what Darkness is about?

Ethan: Darkness doesn't want to destroy everything. The Overlord admires the design of the universes! And he wants to control it with the intent of harnessing enough power to open up the portal to the multiverse!

Cruce: ...What?

Ethan: [Sighs and shakes his head.] Think of space exploration.

Cruce: Right?

Ethan: Now think of universe exploration. That's where Darkness is at. Darkness wants to open up the realms of Reality and Fantasy, as they're called, to the greater multiverse. They want to expand and explore, but Light has always prevented them from asserting power over the realms. Light's cautious. They want to keep things they already are and prevent drastic change. But it's like they've been blinded by their own light! They're a collective paranoid mess.

Cruce: So Darkness just wants to grow in power for the sake of this universe to earn its place in the greater multiverse?

Ethan: Exactly! ...'Kay, you made me explain stuff. And I said it'd be better to wait. But... It's not like I've had anyone to talk to that wouldn't object and try to kill me... Everything's so one-sided. It's nice to have an open mind around.

Cruce: Hmm... That's a good point... I don't blame you for wanting to explain it. I'll take it into consideration, but dude, you gotta realize I don't play a part in all of this. I need to get back to my own world...

Ethan: ...Yeah... ...What if this is your world?

Cruce: ...It... isn't. It can't be...

[A brief gust of wind passes them by. The leaves ripple in the gust...]

Cruce: [Gazing forth through the treeline.] Feels like something's going on nearby.

Ethan: And naturally, that's where we're headed! [Without another word, he sprints from the clearing.]

Cruce: Wh-!! ... [Lifts a paw.] ... I thought you wanted to avoid trouble!! [Promptly assumes the chase.] Some warnings would really be nice!

...

"Are you sure, Safiri?"

"I've never been more sure about anything. He's gone. There's... nothing. No more Connection. It's like everything's turned black and white. It's awful."

"From what I know about him, the Connection can travel through the most sophisticated space and time. It's unstoppable. So if what you're saying is true, he's..."

"Don't say it... I don't want to hear it."

"Alright, but..."

"No! Please stop! I don't want to talk about this!"

"Who then... is Cruce?"

"...C-Cruce?"

...[A crash]...

...

-The Oathlands-

[The woodlands finally thin out to a much more bearable setting. A village, residences made of massive tree trunks. Despite the setting being less disorienting, it's a bit more disturbing. Much like Earth, large landmasses have been torn from the ground and dropped onto a new terrain. The land has been razed and juggled haphazardly.]

...

[Cruce and Ethan rush into the unfolding scene.]

Ethan: What on Safa?! [He observes the current crisis. It appears Rush is currently facing an unidentified, dark foe. The shape of his body is odd. Two strands of spiny "hair" split from the top of his head, and split into further spines. He is wearing jagged, black armor, pale red lighting the front and back of the torso. Most of his face appears to be concealed by a pale crimson cloak wrapped around his head as though it were a bandana. He holds another cloak of the same design, though much larger, which constantly covers one side of his body. That overall body is quite strange looking, dark brown fuzz making the majority of it, with portions lighted by light brown "wing-like" spikes behind limbs. It is a bipedal, eight foot tall creature out of a wild dream.]

Cruce: Don't tell me that thing is a native...!

Ethan: W-well I won't! It's not!

...

Rush: [He fans out an arm, conjuring a red beam of light from the device on his wrist. It acts as an energy sword.] I thought Darkness had other affairs!

???: [His voice is ominous; a blend of silent and cacophonous.] You would be correct. Your devotion to this world has been noticed. You are a warrior. And you are with the Light. Questionable blend in the face of Darkness. [He appears to be standing taller than anyone else, even in the small crater he has created upon landing, an arrant sign of his ability to destroy.]

Rush: [Safiri is watching from a few yards behind Rush.] Good to know you've made a note of all of that... I hardly knew Naught and the Shades were recruiting. I thought they were busy with Corus... So why are you even here? Who... Who are you?

Xulfur: Names are unimportant in such meetings. [He stands idly with his dark cloak concealing half of his chest plate.] And that is why I will tell you who I am. I am Xulfur, host of the power of the Dark Mistress Vesse... [As he speaks, he reveals a large scorpion tail now hanging above his head.] The Overlord's Darkness has set out to conquer this vast new realm; this alternate dimension... {Xulfur is a Scorpius from the world of Tulwar V in the Ethereal Cross series. He is a Shade under EC Naught.}

Rush: Alternate dimension...? What...? What is all of this? [He finally notices Cruce and Ethan standing near the treeline.] !!

Xulfur: [Just as well, he takes notice of Rush's surprise and turns to face the interlopers.] It would appear I am attracting the attention of others. That is good. Darkness is to make itself known. We will freeze the currents of time... [He raises his revealed arm, calling forth five puddles of blackness around him. The puddles give birth to an unknown, yet familiar, threat. Nightmares.]

{Nightmares are the grunts of Ethereal Cross Darkness. These particular Nightmares are Imps, small demons with razor sharp claws, diminutive wings, blackened bodies, and white eyes.}

Rush: [His eyes widen.] ! Well, you can surprise me! But you won't deter me!

Xulfur: Be that the case, I will bestow upon you the honor of quietus.

Rush: Agh, Safiri, stay back!

Cruce: (It looks like neither of these guys know who their foe is... This creature... I've never even seen anything like this. Some sort of alien. He's powerful... Did I hear him say something about an alternate dimension? Gah, I wonder if he knows anything about me then!) [Cruce steps forth, calling out.]

Ethan: [Having overheard Cruce's thoughts, he objects.] C-Cruce, wait--

Cruce: Wait! Wait a second!

Safiri: {Unlike her EC counterpart, she does not have the traits of plant-life. She is quite an ordinary-seeming fox Safan; orange fur, brownish head fur to replicate hair, and a flower in said hair. The very first Safiri.} W-wait, is that him?! Rush, I thought you said he was...

Rush: No Safiri. It's not him. It's...

Cruce: [Now that he has the attention, he speaks his mind.] X-Xulfur...? Uhm... You said you were from a different dimension, right?

Xulfur: Who is this one that wishes to know...?

Cruce: My name is Cruce. Cruce Maximilius... Wielder of the Crossblade if that happens to ring a bell. [Already, he notices Xulfur step back in shock. The Nightmares react defensively, each of them now glaring at Cruce.] !!

Xulfur: What?! [The urgency in his voice is clear.] You?! Curse it all. How did you get here?!

Cruce: That's my question! It sounds like you know who I am... Probably spitefully, but still! I have no idea what's happening around me.

Xulfur: Silence, Connector!

[A bit of shock shows in Safiri's and Rush's face.]

Xulfur: Nightmares, spare this adversary no quarter. Maim him. Go!! [With the command, the imps soar to their target.]

Cruce: Dammit! [Quickly, he summons the altered Crossblade into his maw, leaping back a ways. Ethan quickly sprints from the crossfire.]

Rush: [With the intention of assisting Cruce, he is abruptly stopped by a wall of stone shooting from the ground in front of him.] Ahh!!

Xulfur: [Holding his hand out in Rush's direction, having cast this wall.] No interruptions. Let him die.

Cruce: [Outwitting one of the Nightmares, he swerves to the side before slashing diagonally through an imp's body. The Crossblade tears through it with ease, leaving four to deal with. As soon as his paws touchdown, he is swept off of them by an attack of the Nightmares', followed by an assault. Prior to that comes an interference. Despite Ethan and Rush held bound by Xulfur's watch, this assistance comes in the form of a purple dome of energy around Cruce. It bursts outward, blowing back each of the Nightmares... He raises his head, searching for the origin of assistance.] Wh-who's...?!

Xulfur: [Instinctively scans the trees.] Who goes there...?!

???: Someone who is certainly NOT in a good mood today, thank you very much! [A trail of pale purple light follows her phasing into the air. She does so in front of Cruce.]

Xulfur: Stand down, Phaze Guardian... [The Nightmares regather around him.]

Lavender: {She is a light purple squirrel Safan, flowing brown hair passing her tiny shoulders. Her tail is larger than her, half white. Seen alongside Riolu in Ethereal Cross.} You know I cannot and will not do that, Shade. Come now, why do you have to be causing trouble? Can't you sit back and try to figure out what's going on? Like the rest of us?

Xulfur: Unlike the other imbeciles, Darkness is not lost. We have come together to make our enormity known in this universe. In doing so, we shall slay all who oppose us.

Lavender: So I guess nothing has changed.

Xulfur: [He ignores her question with a dismissive grunt.] Further debate would be pointless. I will not disrupt Darkness by attracting the eyes of Light. Both forms of it... You, Cruce. We shall meet again. You will face us. And you will at least be buried. [Pointing to Cruce, he fades into a corridor of darkness, leaving the Nightmares behind to battle with the group.]

[The foes immediately home in on their targets.]

Lavender: [With a paw outstretched, she casts a few bolts of purple energy to hinder her opponent.]

Rush: [With a few swipes of his energy sword, he easily slashes through his Nightmare.]

Ethan: [Quickly dashes under a Nightmare's swipe, facing it to cast a quick spell. It is simply a small, red energy flare. A few of these break the Nightmare.]

Cruce: [He notices the final Nightmare making its way to Safiri. In a burst of speed, he jumps, descending upon the creature with a vertical slice.]

Ethan: ...Haha! Well those guys aren't too bad. I wonder if they can sleep. I'd like to steal their dreams and see what that's all about.

Lavender: Hardly possible. Sentient Nightmares are rare. [She faces inward at her allies.] Seems as though we all have a little bit of explaining to do.

Rush: It does... fellow Phaze Guardian.

Lavender: Much explaining.

Safiri: A-alright, uhm, come with me. I'll take you to my friend's place. I think it would be a lot safer.

Ethan: You mean those friends? [Facing a crowd of Safans who seem to be baffled at the event.] Don't ask me when they got there.

Safiri: Oh! [With little warning, she scurries to the crowd, Rush pursuing, having stabilized the energy of his weapon.]

Lavender: That would be our cue to follow. [She does so, Ethan and Cruce in tow. Cruce's Crossblade is now absent.]

...

Safiri: Guys! I'm... way glad you're safe! [She approaches three particular Safans, though the attention of the entire crowd seems to be on her and Rush.] I guess you saw all of that?

Rilia: {The original Rilia. She is a darker brown squirrel Safan with a blue bow in her short, pigtailed hair. Her tail is much smaller than Rilia Ami's. Her last name, rather than Ami, is Meres.} [She wraps her small arms around Safiri's neck.] Oh goooosh... What happened out there, Saf?

Slianna: {The first Slianna is a very small green boa constrictor. Sure and strange enough, she too has hair. It is short, trained down with a light blue headband.} You need to stop being in danger, you know?

Safiri: Heheh, I try! It just follows me everywhere I go. Well... us. All of us.

Dr. Maiwell: {Almost unfitting with the tribal setting, he is a gray koala with large glasses and a white lab coat, from the original Sync.} I say, one episode precedes another! But it is good to see the kind Phaze Guardian at your aid.

Rush: Heh, think nothing of it. It's what I do. [He gives the Safans a warm smile.]

Rilia: Whoa whoa, wait. [Her ears flicker as she lets go of Safiri. She stares blankly at Cruce and Lavender. Slianna, the Doctor, and a number of others begin to do the same as Cruce faces away, seemingly embarrassed.] Chris? We were worried. We had felt the Connection slip away. It's... gone. What happened to you...? Naught took it away, didn't he?

Safiri: Y-yeah! Did he? He must've! It's still gotta be you in there. I-I know it is...

Lavender: [She speaks for Cruce.] Oh, I'm sorry little ones... You have the wrong Safan. I believe we all do. I see you three, and I know almost for a fact that you are Safiri, Rilia, and Slianna.

Slianna: [She frowns, tilting her small head to the side.] ...You know us?

Lavender: That confirms your names. And that concludes what I know of you three. We have crossed dimensions, you see. This Safa is not my own... My name is Lavender. I am the Phaze Guardian of Safa.

Rush: [His eyes widen. He gasps quite loudly before covering his mouth, then stroking his chin, a tad embarrassed.] ...S-sorry.

Safiri: [She blinks.] A Phaze Guardian?! From another Safa?!

Rush: Another Lavender... Another... her...

Ethan: Ooooh. Awkward! We have someone who looks like Chris here. Someone who is called Lavender here. And my head's never felt weirder.

Dr. Maiwell: By the heavens, as if things could not become more of a mad mess! Entangled dimensions?! Fascinating! It is a pleasure to meet you, Lavender of another Safa!

Lavender: Hmhm, it's nice to meet you too. I agree in that this is fascinating, but Darkness knows there is resistance on this world. They will pursue that with stronger forces and greater numbers.

Rush: Uhm... [Finds the courage to speak to this new Lavender.] Y-you're saying Darkness is coming to destroy this world? But... that's not what they do...

Lavender: Maybe Darkness as you know it refuses to harm the Ecliptic Worlds. But... This Darkness is different.

Safiri: Th-they're coming to... harm us? The Eclipses...?

Lavender: [She faces Safiri for a few seconds...] ...Excuse me? Eclipses?

Rilia: Mhmm. Us three. Safie, Slianna, and I are the Eclipses of Safa.

Lavender: !! [She covers her mouth with both paws.]

Rush: [Smirks a bit, though shrugging as well.] Things work differently in your world, I gather?

Lavender: ...It's dawning on me... that I have little comprehension of this dimension.

Cruce: You're not alone... [Still facing away, he speaks quietly.]

Rush: [Rubs the back of his head.] Right, so Cruce. I owe you an apology.

Cruce: Hm? [Looks up to Rush.]

Ethan: He was gonna say sorry that he didn't trust you when you told him who you were, and that he was trying to test the Connection for Safiri. Hah, though Rushy, it looks like we've got a new toilet of problems!

Rush: [His eye twitches as he watches Ethan.] ...H-how?! What a--when... Who are you? Your voice sounds familiar...

Ethan: I'm just going to go ahead and say it. I'm Ethan. You remember me, right?

Rush: ...Oh, you're Danithan's like... rival? Why are you even here?! The last thing we need is another servant of Darkness running around in our lines!

Ethan: Lines? Look look, I'm not here to fight. I wasn't wanting to fight! Like ever! Even when I was on Chronic with Chris.

Rush: Wait, that's right! You were the last one to travel with the Believer. Where did you two go?!

Safiri: Y-you know where he is?! Please tell us! Ethan, this is important for us Eclipses... [She frowns, almost trembling...]

Ethan: Sorry, 'kay? We got split up after we dealt with business in Mirror World. I was on some Pokémon World, and I helped fight a guy named Darkrai. We beat him, then I was taken back to that wreckage of a planet we call Earth. Naught accepted me into his ranks--I think you meant "ranks" in place of "lines", Rush--and I was sent to Safa for... you don't care. 'Point is, I lost Chris. Didn't lose Skyelord though.

Rush: Skyelord departed for Safa a while ago. I think he had left recently.

Slianna: ...Ethan, you were being chased by him. I remember a skunk being chased... By a human.

Rilia: You must have done something naughty.

Ethan: Naughty. Naught. I get it. But I was just looking around for these gangsters called the Predators! Apparently Riot is controlling them and Naught wants to know a lot more about Riot, so he wanted me to... blah blah blah, Cruce! Talk more. You're too quiet.

Rush: ... [He scratches his forehead at Ethan's words.] Cruce... That Shade called you the Connector.

Cruce: [He nods.] ...I'm beginning to remember being called that often. I remember a Safiri. A Rilia... A Slianna. Even a Lavender. Safa. Ancient Growths... It's coming back to me slowly. The thing is, this isn't the Safa I know.

Lavender: And I have my suspicions that it could not be my Safa.

Kewen: {A gray fox Safan with traits similar to Safiri's. He is from the futuregrounds, which suggests that he is an offspring of two certain Safans.} Uhhhh, wait wait! [He steps from the crowd.] Is it possible to go to these other Safas?

Dr. Maiwell: Ahh, the boy brings up a valid point. You have arrived somehow, yes? Might you be able to return, Lavender? Cruce?

Lavender: I don't know, I'm afraid. I woke up on this world after a curious slumber... I'd like to think it's possible. If the Shade we saw can use dark corridors to travel from Safa to Safa, if he is doing so, that means it's very possible.

Cruce: If we could, maybe I could trace my memory from there. The Crossblade is a pretty powerful weapon against Darkness. (From what I observed... The shadows I fought gave me little trouble, at least coming at me one at a time.)

Ethan: Leaving so soon?

Cruce: I think I have to. [He nods at Ethan.] What I've heard about all of this collision so far points to a really... odd fact. Our struggles have been all... I dunno... squished together? We only know our own enemies at the moment. I think it'd be best if I sought mine out, so it doesn't take advantage of my disappearance. In other words, or "worlds", in this case, I feel like I have someone to defend. And I'm not there.

Rush: ...Gotta say... That's a good analysis. You do realize that even if you're defending whoever it is that you need to, it's not a guarantee that you'll be facing an enemy you know?

Lavender: He's right. Multiple Darknesses. Multiple legions of evil. Countless enemies. They will cross over to the other worlds. Indefinitely.

Cruce: If that does happen... I still have the chance to retrace my memory.

Safiri: ...Cruce... Cruce, would it be alright if I came with you?

Slianna: What?!

Rilia: [She gasps.] B-but Safie!

Rush: Yeah, I don't know about that, Safiri. You're an Eclipse of this Safa. You're needed here... I don't want to just say no to that. It's your choice.

Safiri: What good are we Eclipses without our Connector...? Cruce... is the closest thing to a Connector that we have now.

Rush: But you have--! ...You... you have us... the Phaze Guardians.

Ethan: With as busy as you guys are, I doubt they're very safe, 'kay?

Rush: Ugh... We are busy. And now we're going to be even busier.

Kewen: Mom--erm... Safiri... Are you really leaving?

Dr. Maiwell: It is a decision worth pondering over more, Safiri...

Safiri: As far as I know, we're more of bait here than we are on the run. Once that new Darkness knows about us as Eclipses, they'll try to do something. What that is, I'm not sure at all. But it's not like they're as friendly around Eclipses as our Darkness is... And even then, ours may try to take us in too. If the Connection is gone... that means...

Rush: Shoot, you make a really good point, Saf. The Naught we know is probably frustrated if he no longer has... the Believer at his side.

Rilia: Are you going, Safiri...? I'd hate to see you leave...

Safiri: I don't want to leave you, Rilia. I never will. Never you or Slianna or Doc, or anyone here. This is my world, and I know what it means to be an Eclipse. Well... not anymore... But maybe... Maybe he really is still out there. And I want to go out there. If I find him, I'll bring him back. I don't care if he's working with Darkness still.

Slianna: Awh, Saf... You're brave.

Rilia: ... [She finally nods in agreement.] I won't hold you back. But you don't ever do this again, okay?! You're our best friend.

Slianna: And you always will be. No matter what.

Safiri: ... [She closes her eyes and smiles, licking Rilia's cheek, then Slianna's.] I love you both. I'll be safe. I promise! ...I'm guessing you don't want to come with~?

Rilia: Hehe, eep! Slianna and I have a lot of stuff to figure out with Dr. Maiwell.

Slianna: Abso-truly. Those Predators made a mess of his lab.

Dr. Maiwell: Did those hooligans ever! Why if I ever get around to inventing that laser, I sure as shillings know what its first use will be for!

Slianna: Whoa, Doc, let's not get too violent.

Safiri: [She chuckles, looking to Cruce.] I hope it's not a burden, I really do... Will you let me come with?

Cruce: (This girl... Safiri... Well she wants to come with me, and she doesn't know me. At all. Nor do I know her. But I remind her enough of the Believer for her to cast that aside. She's got a good spirit. I don't know what it means to have an Eclipse like this with me though... Ethan, if you're hearing my thoughts, I... Well... Will you be coming with too?) Sure. I've got no reason to say no.

Safiri: Oh! Oh, thank you so much!

Ethan: Making girls happy is always a good thing to do, my eerie friend! As for me, well... [Having heard Cruce's mind.] I'm going to be looking for Predators or whatever. Not the scary invisible ones. The Safans. Can't let the 'ol Naught down, 'kay?

Rush: Don't cause too much trouble, or I'll tell Danithan.

Ethan: Ugh... That guy can suck it, man. We all had our little adventures together back on Chronic, and I still really had no idea what was going on. But! Let's not be fighting amongst each other, 'kay?

Rush: Isn't that kind of the point between Light and Darkness here? [He smirks at Ethan.] You make too much of a ruckus, and we have to tone that down?

Ethan: Probably! But I can already tell we'll be a lot more subdued than that power-hungry Darkness Lav here seems to know about.

Rush: Yeah, that's true. I'll stand by and let the other Guardians know what's going on. Lavender, you have a telepathic ability with your Phaze Guardian group, right?

Lavender: I do. And I'll be doing something similar to you. [She watches Cruce.] (I'll let them know about you, too... Cruce. If it's really you.)

Cruce: So we're going our separate ways? What're you going to do, Lavender?

Lavender: To be honest... I might have to come with you. My friends are in need. I really must be on my way looking for my home world, but if you two will be searching for other Safas, I feel I have to follow suit!

Safiri: Other Safas. That just sounds crazy... It's hard to take all of this in.

Cruce: You have to pace yourself for sure.

Lavender: Correct! Well met, Safans from another Safa.

Rilia: Yep! Maybe we can visit your world if we ever find a way!

Slianna: And when things are in order once again.

Lavender: I think that could be enjoyable.

Ethan: Folks! I need to dart. Cruce, it was swell getting to run around with you! We should do it again sometime when you're not seeking the craziness of your past! Buh-bye buddy! [Without another word, the febrile skunk races off into the woods, concealing himself from other Safans.]

Kewen: ... That's the guy that Danithan has a problem with... He's so weird...

Rush: You won't have to worry about him. He's harmless.

Cruce: Didn't get much of a chance to say bye, but... whatever, I guess. That reminds me. Lavender... thanks for helping me out back there. I should've thanked you earlier.

Lavender: You're welcome! If you ever need me to lend a paw, I'll help in what way I can. Quite a list, actually!

Cruce: I can imagine. Where would we need to go, by the way? I don't think we can just take a portal to another Safa like how I got here.

Safiri: Maybe it's vague, but I think we should investigate the Ancient Growth.

Lavender: Yes! Brilliant! Sacred objects are far beyond our understanding. Who knows? They could be resonating with one another between time and space... Such a mystery I believe we can solve with initiative. Come now, you two! I really don't have time to waste. I have to return to my world. Farewell, Phaze Guardian Rush. I will tell the Rush I know about you. She will be interested in hearing it, I'm sure.

Rush: Oh, alrig--SHE? Now, what? Wait. Never mind. Y-yeah. Bye. Er, nice to meet you too. I... yeah uhm... [He blushes slightly, looking away. Rilia and Slianna giggle at this reaction.]

[Lavender promptly walks from the scene as Safiri says her own farewells to her friends. Cruce waits by her side, feeling obliged to... However, they soon find themselves alongside their new, purple comrade, heading into the vast woods.]

...

(My name... Cruce... it sounds like more people know my name. I'm meeting new faces, yet... I know some of these faces. They look different, and that's because they are. I think I'm understanding what's going on here, but there's no way I can catch up to what has happened. In short, dimensions are colliding. How that's happening is beyond me. And what's happening in the midst of all of these dimensions... I think everyone's story is unfolding here at the same time. Rush wasn't lying when he said this was a mess. Ethan wasn't either. Everyone so far has been affected by this. And they're only just finding out that I'm not the Believer... I finally feel more at ease than I was before. I'm no longer alone. Rush trusts me, and so does Ethan. Light and Darkness trust me... Of course, there are other Lights and Darknesses. And I still know almost nothing. I'm not about to jump to conclusions. The Crossblade is still a mystery, and I came to this realm with the most knowledge of that. This is still the beginning... Hell, it's the beginning of the beginning. I can't say I've had too rough of a start. Could have been worse. I know it'll get worse though.)