Got ourselves a bit of a messy part coming up here.

Not in the bad way.

Or good way...

...

Got ourselves a bit of a confusing part coming up here.*

...

Got ourselves a bit of a confusing part here.*

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

...

"Feenix, you should give up all hope. We can see your every move."

...

(Cruce Maximilius here. I was... I don't know anymore. It's been about a day, I think. I see sunlight from where I am, and it was nighttime last. I really can't tell when I'm awake or asleep. I don't feel tired, but I don't have the stamina of a normal human being... It's different with me. Anyway, I was with Safiri, who had become a fairy from some sort of Crossblade interference. Because of that, she can use the Crossblade now. And it is far more complicated than it sounds. I'm going to find her and try to settle things with Darkness... But I've got no clue where I ended up.)

-Frozen Ancient Growth Forest-

Cruce: [He is now rushing through an icy, leafless woodland. The deep snow crunches beneath his shoes. Through this nearly lifeless land, he encounters a handful of Nightmares, varying from imps, to Safans, to Scorpii, to a fourth creature type... Sustaining plentiful wounds from a lack of knowledge on his foes, he manages to cut through their ranks.]

...

[The green of the forest comes into view. Cruce steps from the snow, crossing the border between a frozen forest and a lively, lush woodland.]

Cruce: [Breathing heavily.] That's... bizarre. Why does the snow just end all of a sudden? ...Hm... (I wish I knew where I was going. But this is new, so it's promising. I'll keep heading this way.)

[That said, the young warrior strives on, pushing his way through endless foes with decreasing ease as exhaustion begins wearing on him. He stops to catch his breath, leaning on his Blade for support.]

Cruce: Hoi... Sheesh... [He takes a deep breath.] ...They have... a lot of those things at their disposal. Ugh, they hit hard. Not much room for mistakes... I-I'm not supposed to be this weak, heh... I think giving a Crossblade to Safiri took a lot out of me. And I'm... going crazy and talking to myself. 'Wonder how she's doing. 'Wonder where that evil Safan took her... Safa... huh... Come to think of it... Is this the same Safa?

[Cruce overstays his welcome. A small group of Nightmares--mainly Safans--ambush him, taking advantage of his dwindling power.]

Cruce: [He wipes his forehead with his arm, standing upright and taking up his Blade again.] Ugh, fine... [Taking a few more hits than previously, he endures what he must to outlive his opponents. His combinations of attack vary from lifting his foe into the air for a brutal slash to a ranged flurry of shock waves. Again, he manages to pull through.] ...Dammit, my arms are giving out... Why do I feel so weak? Ah... ...

"Oh... I remember now..."

[Before he can speak again, this mystical force overcomes him. He drops do his hands and knees, again undergoing a transformation. The Ecliptic Pull reverts him into his previous, black fox Safan state. The Crossblade has vanished... Cruce feels no better than he had moments ago.]

Cruce: [His legs nearly give way.] ...(Am I... a fox thing again? A Safan? So that Pull thingy works again? Or is this a different... a different... different uh... Can't think... Gah, everything hurts.) [Casting all thoughts aside, he walks forth, albeit at an inadequate pace.] ... ... [He stumbles, Darkness arriving in time to finish him off. They come in the form of four Nightmare Safans. Cruce does realize the danger. He makes an effort to stand, though fails as he is pushed to the ground and beaten mercilessly, the foes shredding away at his body. Refusing to give in, a burst of strength throws him back to his feet. Without his Blade, he bites into one of the Nightmares, tossing it into another before pouncing on another nearby. This outburst is accompanied by surges of black and white light with each movement Cruce makes. He leaps from foe to foe, unleashing these energies in the form of rapid attacks, which is more than enough to complete the task at hand...]

...

(Ah... Here we go again... Can't keep myself up anymore...)

[Cruce falls to the cold grass, limbs unresponsive.]

(Those damned things ruined me...Something did. And it did a good job. I feel too weak to be myself... But I can't remember how strong I was in the past; before all of this. Why am I so pathetic now? Ai... can't... drifting off again... Hope they don't... ...don't...)

[He slips into a state of deep unconsciousness...]

...

"Darkness?! I thought we finished them off! Why are they back? How are they back?! ...And... why is this all on your worlds now...? ...Hey, it's good to see you all again. But things are really beyond me this time."

(My name is Cruce Maximilius. I'm a human, but I look like a Shaymin right now. I'm fifteen, and here I am on some interplanetary war. The war happened like eight times on Earth. I remember it was called the Ethereal Cross, something that would repeat itself until exhausted. I was apparently chosen as the Connector to defend the Eclipses because of the creation of Reality, which made them a lot weaker. I haven't done the best job... I'm also the bearer of the Crossblade. There's too much to explain for now. What's important is that I'm on Chronic right now. And I see Safans. It feels like the first cross all over again. I don't know what's going on. I just got here, and I have no clue where the Circle is. Topher, Keagan, Jasmine, wherever you guys are, wait up for me. I'll come get'cha...)

-Treasure Town-

[Cloudy skies dim the sunshine upon the seaside location of Treasure Town, a hotspot for Pokémon alike. {This is the same town from the Mystery Dungeon Explorers series. Pretty much used in all of my stories.}]

Grovyle: {The leader of Team Time from Ethereal Cross. Seen in the original game. One of the Ecliptic Guardians of Chronic, alongside Celebi and Leafeon.} [He is sitting around a small bonfire upon a small beach. He and his friends are gathered near the rocky wall, a bit of a ways from the crashing waves. A cavernous opening nearby leads to a location simply known as Beach Cave.] We can no longer deny it. Darkness has returned.

Celebi: {A female Celebi of the shiny variation. Closest partner to Grovyle. Fellow Ecliptic Guardian.} Oogh, that is such a downer to hear.

Grovyle: It's even more of a downer to have seen with your own eyes.

Leafeon: {The third of Team Time. Not a character seen in the Explorers game. Ecliptic Guardian.} So true. [He sighs.] When I saw those Nightmares attacking the town, I almost thought I was going insane. I've been in this for a long time, and...

Celebi: You're too reckless to go insane, Leafy.

Leafeon: Hey! It's not like I charged at the Nightmares when they showed up!

Grovyle: Apologies for my actions back there. The townsfolk were in danger.

Cruce: {At the moment, the Ecliptic Pull has transformed him into a Shaymin in sky forme. This Cruce is different from the other. He is younger, with an enormous range of magical abilities he has picked up over the obstacles.} Sure wish I would have showed up sooner so I could help out. Darkness hates me, heh!

Grovyle: ...[He faces Cruce.] And... you, Cruce. I fail to understand how you've come to our world.

Celebi: I fail to understand how our world came to Safa.

Leafeon: Or vice-versa.

Cruce: I'm in this with you guys. When I say that, I mean it in different ways. I don't know what's happening, but I'm going to be fighting with everyone here again.

Safiri: {This Safiri is not a fairy. She is a plant-like Safan fox, quite similar in concept to Leafeon. Her fur is a bright, pale green. Her hair is a bit messy and tomboyish, resembling long leaves. Her ears do the same. At the tip of her tail appears to be a small bush of leaves.} ...Hehe... Hee~...

Rilia: {An alternate Rilia. She is a squirrel, much like her counterpart. Her fur is a brighter brown, though she looks somewhat like Lavender, happening to be her sister. In her hair, styled in small strands, is a flower much like the alternate Safiri's.} Uh, Cruce! I think Safiri's uhm... I think she wants your attention.

Cruce: Oh, right. [Turns to face Safiri, who is sitting right next to him, actually quite in his face.] Whoa! Hey! He-hey there!

Slianna: [Next to Rilia,s he smirks.] I've never seen Safiri get like this with anyone, Cruce! I forget what happened between you two. {She is not too different from the alternate Slianna. She is a dark green boa constrictor with a bit of a striped pattern, shorter hair, and bluer eyes.}

Rilia: They kissed. I saw 'em! Hehe~!

Safiri: Shaddup! [She sticks her tongue out at Rilia and Slianna.] It was such an awesome moment for us.

Cruce: [He smiles dumbly.] Mmmmhm...

Safiri: And I've decided that I wanna date 'im! I know he won't go around kissing other girls, right~? [Gives Cruce a devious smile.]

Cruce: N-no! I really won't, Saf! I like you! You're all tomboyish. I like that.

Safiri: Nyeh. [She gives his cheek a lick.] You're just using that to call be boyish. See, you spend too much time with Topher.

Cruce: ...[He blushes.] He lives with me!

Grovyle: [Notices that Celebi is looking at him suggestively.] ...Erm, pardon my interruption, but...

Safiri: Yeah yeah, I know. We have a whole crisis happening around us.

Cruce: We do, and we're missing a lot of important people.

Grovyle: Yes. I haven't seen Pachi anywhere. Surely an Eclipse would stand his or her ground in such a catastrophe.

Safiri: I saw Nuvlora before we left to check the Ancient Growth.

Slianna: We got a little distracted, and ended up here in the nick of time. But we haven't seen Nuvlora anywhere around here.

Rilia: So weeeee~... need to go back home?

Leafeon: Each of us know our homelands pretty well, I'd think! So I'd agree with that logic.

Slianna: Sounds feasible. Have you three seen Mewtwo around?

Grovyle: We haven't, but he is someone we must be on the lookout for. He's likely scheming away.

Celebi: And those schemes put the Time Gears in danger again.

Rilia: This time, you guys know where they are, right~?

Grovyle: They are secure in the Hidden Land with Dialga. Mewtwo will have a difficult time surpassing him.

Safiri: And that Princess won't have fun with the Ancient Growth! The fairies are there.

Rilia: But Safie, didn't we feel something happening? Something wrong? Like cold?

Safiri: Uh-huh, but Darkness is back. I'd think they're just wandering around stupidly! Bunch'a zombies!

Grovyle: Technically speaking. Let's work on trying to find the Eclipses. I'm sure the others are as confused as we are. If we come across anyone else, such as the Phaze Guardians, we will inform them.

Safiri: We'll do the same. We're all worried about our families and Lavender and Nuvlora! And the Pokémon here don't look prepared for an attack. None of us are, or were.

Celebi: And we can't predict how many Nightmares Darkness commands. The could be needing more...

Cruce: (This is nerve-wrecking. I've done this a lot now, but it's still tying my stomach into knots. Darkness is a force we have to fight again... I've got confidence in all of us here, but we don't know what the heck is going on anymore. Not that we did back on Earth... But this is like the start of something completely knew. Now I'm on their worlds.) [He lowers his head as he mulls this over.]

Safiri: Mm? [She noses at Cruce's cheek.] You're quiet. What's with you all of a sudden?

Cruce: [He grins and closes his eyes.] Heh, nothin' nothin'.

Safiri: Oh yeah right. You'll need to prove that when you come with us to the Oathlands!

Cruce: I guess that means I'll be with the Safans.

Grovyle: Understood. Team Time will then lead the search for Pachi and Riolu.

Rilia: Cool~! Are we all situated~?

Safiri: I'd say so! Come on, we don't wanna slouch around here. [Already standing, she hops a few times.]

Slianna: I guess not! I'd love to stay and explore the region more. But we have a few things to do.

Leafeon: We'd be happy to show you around when he have the time, yes!

Celebi: You have to show us Safa, too! The Darkness-free version!

Rilia: Of course~!

???: [Silently watching from behind a stone at the mouth of the nearby cavern...]

Cruce: 'Kay, Safiri's all twitchy now. Let's go, I guess... [He looks back at the cave...]

Safiri: C'mon! Stop being so gloomy, Cruce! C'mere, I know what'll make you feel all better. [She pokes at one of Cruce's large ears with her nose, receiving his attention. She plants a brief kiss on his lips.] There!

Cruce: [He lets out a rather embarrassing squeak.] Meep!!

Safiri: Aaahahahahaha! Come again?! [She gives him another playful kiss, hearing another squeak.] Hahaha, Great Ancient Growth, you're stupidly cute. Bet'cha can't beat me in a race!! [With that as her taunt, Safiri dashes off of the beach, not utilizing her abnormal speed for this challenge.]

Cruce: [With a deep blush showing through his white fur, he frowns.] YOU SUCK, GET BACK HERE! [Hurriedly, he flies up to the ledge, hoping to at least intercept Safiri.]

Slianna: ... ...[Watching where Cruce flew off.]

Celebi: ... [Doing the same.] ...

Rilia: Ohmygosh, those two are so perfect for each other.

Slianna: Posi-truly. Riri, we're already behind! Let's try and catch up!

Rilia: Catch up?! With them?! You can't be serious! [She watches as Slianna slithers off.] Ohmygosh, you are!! Wait! [She takes off after her friend, leaving Team Time.]

Grovyle: Those three are an energetic trio.

Celebi: I'm glad we all get along now. They're nice girls!

Grovyle: Mm... [He makes a mental observation of Cruce's subtle suspicion by facing the Beach Cave. An out-of-place shadow vexes his eyesight.]

Leafeon: We should all have a duel.

Celebi: What? Leafy, what is it with you and fighting?

Leafeon: It's not bad fighting! It's good training.

Celebi: Don't we already get plenty?

Leafeon: Maybe. When, though, will we ever have the chance to battle with another Ecliptic Guardian team?

Celebi: I'm not gonna fight for no reason, you know? Am I right, my dear Grovyle?

Leafeon: Well then...

Celebi: ...Grovyle?

Grovyle: You there! Behind the rock! I know you're there!

[Leafeon and Celebi inquisitively watch Grovyle before facing the rock...]

???: [From behind the rock, an innocent, distressed creature slowly walks into the sunlight, ears flat.] H-hi. I didn't mean to spy, but...

{The creature is a small, blue Pokémon with a golden bell around his neck. He is small, about the size of Celebi. He is quite fluffy, his white chest showing that much. The same can be said for his huge, bushy blue and white tail. He would seem to be a hybrid between that of a Shinx, a Vulpix, and a Pachirisu. Even that, however, fails to describe his physical traits, such as the darker blue strand of hairs on his head, the black "watches" on both of his wrists, and the bell.}

Celebi: When did you get there?! Are you a Safan?

Leafeon: Or a Pokémon?

Grovyle: Or something else, maybe? Who are you? What is your name?

Edge: Edge. I'm a Pokémon. W-well, uh, a Nu-mon. I was too alarmed to come out when I left the cave and saw you. It was something I couldn't believe...

Grovyle: What don't you believe? Care to explain, Edge?

Edge: If there's plenty of time, I'll do my best... Sorry to disrupt you.

Celebi: You didn't disrupt us! You scared me a little bit, but that's okay. Because you're cute. Come over here and tell us who exactly you are.

Edge: If you say so. [The mysterious boy nods affirmatively, obliging to tell a brief story.]