So that's what happens when you actually go into the towns.

You meet nice people.



"Feenix... You cannot outsmart me... You possess so little, if any, understanding of my true power over time and space. I am the Alpha and Omega."


(...Cruce... here... I'm not sure where I am right now... I don't know how long I've been here... If I'm anywhere at all. I'm beginning to remember more about who I was. I remember Safa. I recall Safiri and her friends. I know they played a very important role... As of right now, I'm paralyzed. I can't move... I can't talk right. I think that Shade turned me into a Safan, but I have no awareness... because he screwed my body up. I can't tell who I am, what I am, or what's going on. I'm stuck in my own head, but I keep feeling like I can break through... I think I can... I just have to try...!)


[In Dr. Maiwell's laboratory, the alternate Sliannas and Rilias have met. Those of this Safa have returned from the nearby village with miscellaneous parts the doctor requires. Meanwhile, the Phaze Guardians Riolu and Lavender have encountered a mysterious young girl who goes by the title of Rainbow Dash. Lastly, no one seems to understand what it is that ails Safiri... Through all of the commotion, she appears to be making a breakthrough.]

Safiri?: Mmgh... [Struggling to at least sit up.] Ngh!

Rilia-S: [Baffled at the sight of her Ethereal Cross counterpart. She does notice Safiri's tense movements.] Hey! Safiri! What's she doing?!

Slianna-S: If she's doing something, that's an improvement.

Lavender: [Moves quickly to Safiri's side.] She may be pushing too hard in her weakened state... Safiri, can you hear me?

Safiri: [Her ears flick a few times.] I can hear... you...

Dr. Maiwell: I say! This is good. We haven't heard her speak coherently until just now.

Lavender: She's doing a lot better already. What's driving her, I wonder?

Rilia-S: Everyone, c'mon! Let's try and help her. [She and Slianna, that is, the Slianna she is more familiar with, move near Lavender.]

Slianna-EC: [She gives a curious glance to the Rilia just knows best. They approach Safiri as well.]

[Riolu walks to Lavender's side as Dr. Maiwell, Daniel, and Rainbow Dash watch as closely as they can.]

Rainbow Dash: Who's this girl?

Daniel: Her name is Safiri. She's real important around here. Probably the most special Safan around, really.

Rainbow Dash: Whoa, really? What does she do?

Daniel: More than I could tell you, and she makes it look pretty simple... ...Who the heck are you and where did you come from anyway?

Rainbow Dash: Rainbow Dash. That's all I know.

Daniel: ... (Rainbow Dash? ...So she can't remember her past? Is amnesia a trend now?)

Safiri?: [Aware that many of gathered around her, though unsure why this is, a burst of strength allows for her to sit up, and then stand on all fours with her head down.] ...

Slianna-S: ...S-Saf?

Rilia-S: [She pokes Safiri.] Safie, are you alright? You're scaring me.

Slianna-S: Abso-exactly what I was thinking, Ri.

Safiri?: [With her head lowered.] Safiri...?

[Silence as this "Safiri" raises her head and scans those around her with an unusual gaze.]

Riolu: ...No... You are not Safiri.

Rilia-S: EEP! [She hops back, retracting her paw.]

Slianna-S: H-how can you tell, Riolu?

Riolu: The aura is telling me something you might not see clearly.

Safiri?: He's right, I'm not Safiri... [Looks back at her body, still dazed from the state of paralysis.] ...

Lavender: [She recognizes the nervousness amidst the air. Both Sliannas and both Rilias have backed away.] An imposter, then.

Safiri?: [She sighs.] I don't mean to be... Why am I Safiri? Furthermore, why am I not an fairy? Last I saw Safiri, she was one of those Ancient Growth Fairies.

Slianna-EC: Wait a moment, we're on the same page. [She approaches.]

Rilia-EC: How come a Safiri clone knows the actual Safiri from this world?

Rilia-S: And why is Safiri an Ancient Fairy? Did Darkness do something to her?

Daniel: Fake Darkness, you mean? Probably. They really messed up the Growth.

Safiri?: Uh... So this is the first Safa I ended up on? Slianna and Rilia of this world. The Safiri you know came with me to the Ancient Growth to investigate a disturbance. And to find an old friend.

Lavender: I believe I know who you are then. Because I was a part of that investigation, Cruce.

Cruce Safiri: That's right. I'm Cruce. But why am I in Safiri's body? Her other body?

Slianna-EC: I knew that huge scary Shade did something out of the ordinary!

Cruce Safiri: [Faces his allies, Slianna and Rilia.] Good to see you two. Wouldn't want to lose you. Even though I've already lost myself here.

Daniel: ...(Cruce...? Who the... Who is Cruce? I need to know already! I'm tired of hearing the name!) Cruce Cruce Cruce. I've heard your name mentioned too much. What--who are you? Seriously?

Cruce Safiri: [Faces Daniel.] ...I'm nobody, really...

Lavender: I wouldn't say that. Darkness values that Crossblade of yours. I would think they are quite nervous to do battle with you, Cruce.

Rilia-EC: Sis is right! You're not nobody~! You've promised to help us find our good friends. And look! We've found Lavender~! All we need now is Nuvlora.

Cruce Safiri: [She lowers her head.] Maybe what I want to do is for the best, but what keeps happening to me just... sucks. I feel like I'm dead weight. No idea what's going on, keep getting bullied around by Darkness... Lavender, I'm not sure they even see any use in me. They're just treating me like some toy.

Slianna-S: ...I hate to interrupt, but... Cruce, if you're here... Where is...

Cruce Safiri: You're concerned about the Eclipse, I know. Safiri's... well she's...

[Before Cruce can finish his thought, a tremor overtakes everyone. This massive quake lasts for a good thirty seconds before dying down... Glances are exchanged before a word is spoken.]

Dr. Maiwell: Good, glorious heavens! What on Safa have we to deal with now?!

Lavender: Riolu. Out we go.

[Without saying another word, both Phaze Guardians bolt out of the lab, leaving a perplexed group.]

Rilia-EC: Sis is always leaving me behind! Wait up! [She makes haste, chasing after Lavender.]

Slianna-EC: Riri! Gah! Cruce, are you going to be alright?

Cruce Safiri: I think the worst is over. I'm out of that weird trance. Need me to do something?

Slianna-EC: Willing to get your--erm... Safiri's... paws dirty? I suppose?

Cruce Safiri: Considering this isn't really her current form, I guess that's okay. Lead the way.

Slianna-EC: You got it. [She leads Cruce out of the lab...]

Slianna-S: I think Ri and I will be staying. Doc, we need to help you assemble a few things, right?

Dr. Maiwell: That would be most appreciated.

Rilia-S: Let's help out then. Danny? What are you and your pretty friend gonna do?

Daniel: ...Uh...

Rainbow Dash: [She gives a bit of a giggle.]

Daniel: Hm, I'm not about to miss whatever gave us a good shaking! [Much like those before him, he jets out the doorway.]

Rainbow Dash: All the fun's outside... I wanna see what's up too. [She follows after Daniel.]

[Outside, a mind blowing sight has risen from oblivion. A tower of black diamond has spawned from the world of Tartarus, scraping the sky near the edge of the Ancient Growth Forest. While this tower is nowhere near as large as the Ancient Growth itself, it still strikes the group as a daunting new challenge.]

Riolu: ...A Tower... Why is this here?

Lavender: I remember. This is the Aphotic Tower. Danielle must have found a way to get to this alternate Safa.

Daniel: Danielle? Aphotic Tower?! Are you kidding me?

Lavender: I'm not laughing.

Daniel: ...Whaaaa?!

Slianna-EC: The Tower's a place we've passed through before... I wonder why it was summoned...

Rilia-EC: Eek, I'm more concerned with how Danielle got here, and what could have happened to that other Safiri.

Cruce Safiri: (Safiri... s**t, if Danielle's here, then her Crossblade must've been used to get here... Maybe that other Shade helped Danielle? Ahhh, I don't know! I need to get back into my own body, this is embarrassing! I don't know how to be a Safan girl. I don't even know how to be a Safan! I respect Safiri, but I'm useless if I can't use the Crossblade... c-can I use it? She can... Maybe the only way to figure things out is to get through this tower...)

Riolu: ...Dash, Daniel, Cruce. [He gazes at the tower while speaking to the three.] If you are going to be coming with us, there's much you need to know about the Towers of Tartarus... Each Shade of Darkness possesses their own custom tower. To start, these structures are alive. They can feel your presence; your spirit. And if you fall within one of them, you will likely become a Nightmare.

Rainbow Dash: A Nightmare?

Riolu: You will meet plenty of them soon enough. As I was saying, the Towers are alive. They host a variety of puzzles and challenges that fall anywhere between brainpower and brawn... There are always two portions of a Tower. They are commonly known as the east wing and the west wing. There is little difference in the challenges on either side.

Lavender: When you enter a Tower, it's puzzles will always be different. They are constantly changing. Something to be very attentive about is your numbers. For example, if two enter the Tower, they have been gauged by it, and they will face puzzles based on their abilities. But there is only two of them. The puzzles will not be as difficult, though may be a tad harsh on them should battle be involved.

Riolu: It is a good idea to travel in a group of at least three when infiltrating a Tower. If you exceed six, the puzzles become incredibly difficult, and could take hours to solve.

Rainbow Dash: Whoa!

Slianna-EC: That happened to us a looooong time ago...

Rilia-EC: We learned the hard way.

Lavender: Yes we did, and we won't make the same mistake. When we go inside, there's no turning back... I'm sure Danielle will be waiting for us at the top. She is the only one who is able to move her portable fortress here. But what do I know at this point? Here I am standing on the grass of another Safa.

Riolu: All the more reason to be prepared for anything. I know there is a trap waiting for us inside. Darkness does know we are here.

Lavender: Hmm... I wonder what they are up to. Ri, and Slianna. We'll go as a team.

Riolu: I will accompany you three, then. [He faces Rainbow Dash, Daniel, and Cruce.]

Rainbow Dash: [Head high at the Tower.] Waaiiit, I could just totally fly up to the top, right?

Riolu: I wouldn't try that if I were you. Darkness has some very aggressive answers to exploits.

Rainbow Dash: Oh! M-maybe I'll go the long way then.

Daniel: ... Buh, she gets her own lair and everything... I wonder if she's hot.

Riolu: Daniel... focus. What interest would you have in attempting to infatuate your alternate?

Daniel: I didn't say I was gonna woo her! I'm just thinkin' maybe she's a pretty girl!

Cruce Safiri: It's not that she's not hot, which she's kinda not; she's freezing cold.

Daniel: Punny. But what?

Cruce Safiri: But, she's captured Safiri. She's cunning. She and an annoying Nightmare got the best of me...

Daniel: ...Mmgh, she got Safiri, huh? You looked like Safiri, but I didn't feel that weird "bond" around you. So I knew she was somewhere else, but... I didn't know it was this bad.

Lavender: Neither did I... Cruce, you will need to tell us what happened over there. The Ancient Fairies are highly worried. While they're safe in these "future grounds" I am hearing so much about, they had hoped Safiri would be too.

Cruce Safiri: Don't worry, we've got a pretty passionate duo working on that as we speak.

Rilia-EC: Hehe, yes we do!

Lavender: Hmhm, I see. Good! So let's see what the Princess is up to. Are you all ready?

Cruce Safiri: I may be a bit slow at first, but...

Riolu: We will pace ourselves. We mustn't waste another minute! [He hurries ahead, Lavender close behind.]

Cruce Safiri: (So much for pacing then!) [Alongside Daniel, he sprints forth, comfortable enough with running on four legs.]

-Aphotic Tower-

[As they enter the arched opening, a wall of black frost seals them inside. The only light within the crystalline foyer comes from torches burning blue around the circular room. An eerie chill is the only welcome... Unless the ice effigies of various Nightmares are included. At the opposite end of the foyer is a glorious sculpture of the Ice Princess herself.]

Daniel: [Daniel proceeds to approach this sculpture.] Whaaaa?! You're joking!

Lavender: Again. Not laughing.

Daniel: ...[Examining the sculpture.] Dang! ...'Guess she's not half bad looking at all.

Cruce Safiri: You don't want to start anything with her. She's got all sorts of love issues from what I heard.

Daniel: You're not just saying that, are you?

Cruce Safiri: 'Fraid not.

Rilia: [She wraps her small arms around herself, tail following this action more efficiently.] It's cold again... [She pouts.] I don't like going to so many cold places.

Lavender: Girl, you should be used to it by now.

Slianna: I h-hate the cold, and I didn't notice it until you said something, Riri.

Rilia: Eep! Sorry! We need to keep moving to stay warm.

Lavender: Very true. Riolu, I'll be taking the west wing. Take care of yourself and your team.

Riolu: Will do. [He gives Lavender a firm salute, one palm gently flattened against his chest.] May Supernova be with you.

Lavender: [She replicates his salute.] May Wax-Wan be with you.

Cruce Safiri: (Hm, who are Supernova and Wax-Wan...? It's... probably nothing I should worry about. I have a bit of a bigger problem weighing me down.)

Riolu: [He watches the other team off.] Alright. We have a team of four. The challenges we encounter will be more pressing than Lavender's group.

Daniel: Ah, shmooey. I wanna get to the top before they do and meet Miss Me. I've got some questions.

Cruce Safiri: Don't we all.

Riolu: It would appear that way. [With a motion of his arm, he calls his group to follow him into the eastern hallway. Around the bend within this narrow corridor is a stairwell of ice leading into a larger, sanctum-esque chamber. The contents of this chamber suggest the start of their climb.] Here we are again.

[Within the room are two massive blocks of deep blue ice. While they are blocks, they are also blockades. One block is rather short, while the other is an effective wall. No enemies can be seen over the first block.]

Rainbow Dash: Wait, this doesn't look so bad.

Riolu: Agreed. Dash, would you take a look over the obstacle for us?

Rainbow Dash: No problem. [Already in flight, she swerves up and over the blockage, examining the space behind it for foes.] There's no one here. I don't know what's behind that other wall though!

Riolu: We can meet you over this wall for now. Hyah! [With a quick lunge, Riolu leaps for the wall, landing on its ridge.] Daniel! Cruce! Can you two make it?

Daniel: Tch! I can make my own escape if I wanted to. Need a lift, Crusaf? [He gives Cruce a smirk.]

Cruce Safiri: Crusaf, huh? Alright, I'll need some help. I can barely run in this body...

Daniel: Takes time. [Facing the wall, he begins concentrating on a spell.] Yeah, time... 'Never got to teach Brother all of the tricks of being a Safan. He would've made one hell of a spell-spar buddy.

Cruce Safiri: Who?

Daniel: ...Never mind, just a bit of emotional gibberish. Here we go...! [Channeling his signature energy into the ground, a small staircase of ice rises to the platform. He walks up these stairs, turning and awaiting Cruce, who does the same.]

Riolu: Yes? What is it? [He and Rainbow Dash are currently working together to scout up ahead.]

Rainbow Dash: [Flying over the higher raised platform.] There's a square hole in the wall that looks like it leads outta here, but... It has a glowing shield in it.

Riolu: A glowing shield? I have to see... [With another skillfully executed jump, performed with the ceiling of the room in mind, Riolu lands beside Rainbow Dash, who has set down now.] That is our way out, but a field is blocking our way.

Rainbow Dash: A field? Like a force field?

Riolu: Exactly. These force fields are as numerous as Nightmares within the legion of Darkness. Let's wait for the other two.

Daniel: 'Ere we go! [A second spell gives rise to another stairway of ice, leading to the next platform.] Crusaf, you're so needy... Do I need to protect you in battle too?

Cruce Safiri: [She blushes, only out of embarrassment.] I'd be a bigger help to the team if I weren't Safiri at the moment, you know... [Looks away as she heads up the stairs.]

Riolu: We will all have our part to play. Look below. [He points at the glowing force field blocking the exit.] A field of Darkness. [This particular field is goldenrod, with leafy designs upon it. It is flickering noticeably.] Lavender told me that she saw a field like this before. Only Safans may pass.

Daniel: Applejacks! That's a cool toy...

Rainbow Dash: Huh? [She looks at Daniel... His eyes catch hers.]

Daniel: What? What'd I do?

Rainbow Dash: ...Oh, uhm... [Looks away, blinking.] Something you said made me remember something else. Someone else, I think.

Daniel: Oh. That's a good thing, yeah?

Cruce Safiri: (I never had the time to speak with or try to figure out this Dash girl. She's not a Safan, but I think she could fit in pretty well. Talking animals is pretty popular on this planet. You know, she almost looks like someone from a cartoon...)

Riolu: [Strokes his chin as he watches the field.] Cruce and Daniel.

Daniel: Sure. [He drops from the high platform, sustaining no damage from the fall. Daniel simply trots through the force field unharmed.] Come on Crusaf. I'll shield you! [He grins mockingly.]

Cruce Safiri: [Shakes her head.] Ugh... [Looks over the edge.] H-hey I'm not used to four legs, and that's a bit of a fall...

Daniel: Oh, just hold on... [He sighs and focuses his magical aura into the ice beneath Cruce, Dash, and Riolu. A steep ramp of ice protrudes from the platform.] Come on down!

Cruce Safiri: Sure... [Carefully, she steps on the ice, immediately sliding to the bottom and through the force field.] Aahh!!

Daniel: Thatta girl.

Cruce Safiri: [Having closed her eyes, she opens them to see Daniel nearby.] ...Thanks...

Daniel: Yep. Now how are you two going to get through?

Riolu: If my suspicions are correct, you should be able to destroy this force field.

Daniel: Huh? Couldn't we've done that before going through it?

Riolu: I'm not even sure if you can now. Some can be destroyed while others cannot. It's impossible to tell the difference by eyesight.

Daniel: Then let's test it out. [Promptly, he exhales a gust of freezing air at the force field. It flickers before vanishing.] Test shows positive!

Riolu: Good! Good job. [In a skater's position, he slides down the ramp. Rainbow Dash flies behind.]

Rainbow Dash: That was easy! Does it get any tougher?

Riolu: [He nods.] It will.

[Passing a flight of stairs proves Riolu correct. A chamber equivalent in size to the previous, minus the obstructions, holds new obstacles.]

Cruce Safiri: [She notices that the chamber has a couple interesting enemies floating about. These look familiar to her: hovering clusters of blue ice crystals around an orb of light blue radiance. Ice Cores.] Wait, I remember those things...

Riolu: Cores... [In the center of the chamber is a large pit aglow with a deep azure. Three Nightmares hover over this pit.] We seem to have a problem.

Daniel: Wh-wha... Wait, are those Nightmares?! The Overlord's working on an army of those. He hasn't completed them all yet, but those are the imps! How can they be here?!

Riolu: Daniel, are you forgetting? This Darkness differs from your own.

Daniel: ...B-but they have the Nightmares already?! That's hardly fair!

Riolu: Well, that is Darkness.

Daniel: ...I bet they're sucky fighters. C'mon, you fakers! Show me what'cha got! [Before anyone can call out, Daniel focuses on shaping a bridge of ice across the gap, using magical energy in the process. This, and only this energy, is what alerts the beings known as Cores. Magic. They begin casting their own spells.] Uh?!

Riolu: NO! DANIEL! They're attacking!

Rainbow Dash: Whaa! [She flies high.]

Cruce Safiri: Oh God oh God oh God. [Looking back and forth.]

Daniel: [He blinks, looking forward as the Cores complete their spell, an enormous pillar of ice rising from underneath Daniel. It strikes him from below... although, the spell fails to take effect on the physical and spiritual levels. As the ice makes contact with Daniel, it shatters, followed by evaporating into nothingness.] Oh, hahaha! Is that what you're worried about?! C'mon, dimwits! I'm the master of ice! The Ice Fox! Y'can't beat me with my own element, crud-for-brains!

[As he speaks, the Nightmares head for him, ready to attack.]

Riolu: Look out! [He leaps forth, crashing down upon one of the imps with a forceful blow.]

Daniel: [Hops back, blowing a storm of ice shards at another of the Nightmare's, temporarily stunning it.]

Rainbow Dash: My turn! [With confidence, she darts for the third Nightmare, ramming right into it. Dazed, the Nightmare falls into the blue liquid beneath. It does not emerge.] Whoa. Lucky break.

[Both of the Cores attempt to assault Daniel with the same magical element once again. Annoyed, Daniel absorbs this spell. He utilizes a darker sorcery to convert the magic into a form of dark matter, rather than ice, as granted to him through the power of his Overlord and his allegiance. Spheres of black energy consume both Cores. The power of each of their spells is maintained, albeit used in a form of dark-elemental energy which swallows them whole.]

Daniel: ... [He shakes his head rapidly, presumably drained from his own attack.] Whew. I don't get to pull that one off too much...

Riolu: That was an impressive spell, Daniel. Bravo! You defeated the Cores!

Rainbow Dash: That was actually pretty fun!

Daniel: I'll say!

Cruce Safiri: [Walks up to the three, ears splayed.] ...Uh... hi...

Daniel: Crucie! You missed a good game!

Cruce Safiri: I'm aware. [Lowers her head.]

Riolu: ...Ah, come now. You'll return to your regular form soon enough. The quicker we rise to the top, the sooner you may receive the answers you chase.

Cruce Safiri: Alright, well that's a good point. Let's not stick around for any more of those Cores.

[In agreement, the four move on, the only obstacle being the Nightmares and the gap which Daniel took care of. The next stairwell swings around, leading to a new chamber.]

[Four icy triangular obstructions block the way. One is upon the floor, while two are attached to the walls, and another rests upon the ceiling. Within the X shape that they form is a black force field.]

Riolu: What a show... This field is impassable, lest we have a dark-based companion.

Daniel: In the fur! [He smiles wide.] What'll it be this time?

Riolu: Try to break this field with a spell. If there are any Cores on the other side, we have learned that you are quite strong against them.

Daniel: Too strong! I can't wait to meet this Danielle chick. Good golly Darkness, she's got a good taste in architecture. [Giving the field little regard, he simply spits a ball of dark energy at the force field. It vanishes with little resistance.] Woot.

[Suddenly, a small tremor ensues. The lowest triangular blockade shatters as a rampage of earthen spikes rush Daniel. He is struck and thrown against the wall, leaving the other three speechless. From the icy dust comes a Core. Dark brown geodes float around a bright yellow light. Rings of sand and soil orbit this small "planetoid" of a Core.]

Riolu: An... Earth Core... [He takes a step back.] This is not good. [Clenching his fists, he rushes ahead, quickly striking the Core with a combo empowered with his own blue aura... Though he is blown back with a spell-summoned rock.] Agh!! [Lands on his back in front of Dash.]

Rainbow Dash: You okay?!

Riolu: [Kicks himself back up.] For now.

Daniel: Ahhh... [Stands back up.] ...D-dumb Core-thingy!! You're supposed to be weak to me!

Cruce Safiri: Hmm... [She lowers herself to a more predatory stance, as if about to pounce the Core.]

Riolu: Look out! It's coming back!

Daniel: Where is it?!

Riolu: Where else?! Straight ahead! [He points forth.]

Cruce Safiri: [Unleashing the Eclipse's power, she bolts ahead at a speed only Safiri could manage. For but a second, she is a beam of yellow, blasting through the Core like nothing and narrowly avoiding Riolu and Rainbow Dash.]

Daniel: ... [Blinking...]

Riolu: [He stares ahead, still pointing...] ...

Rainbow Dash: [She watches with her mouth wide open.] ...

Cruce Safiri: [Having crashed into the wall at the end of the room, she lays in an awkward manner, dizzy from the attack.] ...Ehhh... (Whhooooeeeahh... Wha happened...)

[The others hurry to her position.]

Daniel: Crusaf! Did you just pull a fast one?!

Riolu: Likely.

Cruce Safiri: [Inverts herself to a proper position, moving to stand back up.] I'm... sure I couldn't do that again... I just... don't know. Being in Safiri's body, or one of them for that matter... it's incredible. She's got a lot of power stored up. I think I found out how to unlock it or something, but it makes me a little nervous.

Rainbow Dash: But that was awesome!

Cruce Safiri: It felt awesome. I'd like to try it on a long stretch of open grass...

Daniel: Looks a little like you have Saf's powers as an Eclipse. That's weird, man... You're not an Eclipse at all.

Cruce Safiri: Maybe this isn't Ecliptic? Maybe it's a natural power of hers?

Riolu: I know Safiri to be capable of such speeds naturally. So you would be correct.

Daniel: Damn, girl. Check you out...

Cruce Safiri: [Blushes.] Save that for Danielle...

Daniel: HA! 'Kay.

[All joking aside, they move up the stairs to the next chamber. It contains an Earth Core and an Ice Core. The room is precarious. A narrow bridge of ice provides the only method of reaching the opposite side, lest one falls into a pool of liquid ice below. Blocking the exit is a dark blue force field.]

Daniel: Okay, so no magic stuff.

Riolu: Yes. Please... At the far end of this room is a water force field. We cannot pass... [Tall stalagmites of ice have formed at the bottom of the pit. At the tip of a couple of these stalagmites are crystalline pedestals.] There are switches on those spikes of ice. Dash, could you activate them?

Rainbow Dash: Sure, but... Those bad guys aren't going to attack me, are they? They're tough...

Riolu: Don't worry. Cores will only attack if touched, or if one releases an energy of any sort. Mana, per se.

Rainbow Dash: Gotcha! Be back in a jiffy. [She flies across the room, touching the first crystal switch she sees. It brightens, floating slightly above its pedestal. The next switch is nearby. She touches this one as well. With both switches activated, the field at the far end of the room disappears.]

Riolu: Good work! Quickly, before the switches deactivate! [With caution, he leads the way across the slick bridge.]

Cruce Safiri: Alright... alri--aah! [She slips, sliding into the sub-zero hazard below.]

Rainbow Dash: [Sparing no thought, she flies for Cruce. Dash grasps Cruce by the back of the neck with her mouth, setting her down on the wider land.] ...Close one!

Cruce Safiri: [Shudders.] ...Hrrgh... Dash, you're... [Shakes her head.] Thanks. Just... thank you! I-I can't stop shaking!

Rainbow Dash: [She smirks.] No problem! Be more careful. I think the cold is getting to you. I don't like flying around when it's this cold, so I know for sure that it's getting to me.

Cruce Safiri: [Saying nothing, she nods.] (I'm... pretty sure she just saved my life... And I barely know her.)

Riolu: Are you alright, Cruce?

Daniel: Yeah dude, you almost took a one-way slip'n'slide.

Cruce Safiri: I'll be fine. Thanks to Rainbow Dash.

Riolu: An invaluable ally, I'll say. [He gives her a smile.] ...Hm, those Earth Cores are a sign of foreboding. The Ice Princess cannot possibly control those. It must be...

Cruce Safiri: The other guy. The other Shade from the Ancient Growth.

Riolu: The Scorpius. He favors earth. I know not of his title, but I know he is dangerous, if not more so than Danielle.

Cruce Safiri: I think he is. He's taken some kind of power from the Growth...

Daniel: Son of a... I'm going to get that guy. He's the one who screwed me over in the forest. I'll smash him! And... slash him! And impale him! Just like he did to me...

Cruce Safiri: Easy, easy... I want him to lift this stupid spell from me before he goes and dies to you.

Daniel: Ugh, right. Sure.

Cruce Safiri: (Not that there's anything stupid about this body. It's an amazing body, in fact. Being a natural Safan with this power's really something else. It's nothing like when I was a Safan with the Crossblade. It's different. I almost like it. But I can't manage it whatsoever. I need to become human again.)

[The next chamber is almost entirely empty. The room is so desolate that an echo repeats itself five times over before fading. Blocking the exit is a red force field. In the center of the chamber is another crystalline switch.]

Riolu: This is... hm... I don't like this.

Daniel: What does red mean? Fire?

Riolu: Yes. Unless one of us knows how to use fire to our advantage, I am afraid we are going nowhere until we can figure this out.

Daniel: Well there's a switch here. Lemme hit it. [He walks up to the switch with little discretion.] Here goes.

Riolu: Be careful.

Daniel: What's the worst that can happen? [Touching the switch causes it to glisten. A huge, cylindrical golden force field spawns around Daniel after a couple seconds. Just as well, the red field at the end of the room becomes golden. These Safan-only permitting fields last for less than three seconds before either converting to red or vanishing altogether.] ...Wait what?

Rainbow Dash: It's those bright yellow shields again.

Riolu: Only Safans can pass. It looks like that switch changes the blocking field to Safan. Hit it again, would you?

Daniel: Yeah yeah. [He does so. Another cylindrical field rises around him. The red field turns golden... Both actions undo themselves within a matter of seconds.

Cruce Safiri: [Sighs and lowers herself into a predatory position again.] I know what to do, but it may hurt...

Riolu: Ah, yes... Proceed carefully, Cruce.

Daniel: You gonna go lightspeed on us again?

Cruce Safiri: I think this will work. Hit it on three, Danny. One... Two... Three! [Having studied the delay, Cruce awaits her chance to burst through the force field. After a couple seconds, both fields are golden, as is she in a blurring beam. She tears through both obstacles, crashing into the ice at the far end of the room.] !!

Daniel: ...Y-you nearly snagged my tail off! Jeez!

Riolu: Hey! Are you okay over there?!

Cruce Safiri: [Raises a paw without saying a word.] Huuhhh...!

Daniel: I'll take that as a "kind of".

Riolu: Agreed.

[Joining Cruce again, they learn that she is not injured.

Cruce Safiri: ...I'm going to break something if I keep doing that. [Standing up, disoriented from the burst of speed.]

Daniel: Hopefully not something of ours.

Cruce Safiri: No promises.

[Giving Cruce a few moments to recover, the squad moves to another bending stairwell... The blue-lit pathway leads to another room of bright, reflecting azure. This puzzle chamber has been emptied; nothing more than a massive room of ice.]

Cruce Safiri: So... is this really just empty? Am I missing something? [Takes a few steps forward.] The only problem in here is... my feet freezing.

Daniel: Oh, it's not that bad!

Riolu: Actually, I am beginning to worry about the cold. It's hard to concentrate with such low temperatures.

Rainbow Dash: I really can't stand this cold... I don't think that Ice Princess and I are going to get along.

Daniel: I need to meet her. Looks like we have a little break here, so let's get moving again!

Riolu: Eyes peeled for traps.

[They proceed through the room... although they are stopped prior to the next stairway.]

???: [Having used a corridor of darkness, she now stands where the four had taken a moment to digest their surroundings. She calls out to them.] Hey! You! You lost?

Cruce Safiri: ... (That... voice...) [She is the first to turn around.] Oh no...

Daniel: [He whistles as he sees the girl.] Whoo, hi there, foxy lady.

Glace: [The very same Glaceon Nightmare from Safa, under Danielle's command.] Don't even start, you fake Shade.

Riolu: A Pokémon... Would you care to tell us who you are?

Glace: Nah. But I'll do it anyway. I'm Glace; a Nightmare.

Riolu: [He readies himself, paws aglow with blue aura.]

Glace: [She laughs.] Oh, you're the Phaze Guardian. That was easy. You're the only one freaking out, after all.

Riolu: You expected anything different?

Glace: No. Now look. There are way too many of you playing hero here. I'm only going to warn you once: stay away from our business. Darkness is already WAY more powerful than you think. We ran into a couple friends from... well... elsewhere.

Riolu: ...You think Light will not do it's duty to oust Darkness from the worlds?

Glace: The rules are different here! Soon, we'll be the ones making them. So yes! Light should go back and hide in the Gardens. Look, I'll even give you a chance to escape. I won't make it a trap. [With a quick motion of her paw, a small vortex of black and purple opens beside her.] Take the corridor. Check yourselves before you wreck yourselves.

Cruce Safiri: Wait, Glace.

Glace: ...Do I know you?

Cruce Safiri: Yeah... You do. But that's aside the point. Alright, see... [Looks to Riolu.] Only one of us here genuinely work with Light. I'll go ahead and guess that you know there is another group here. I don't know what's going on with the Phaze Guardians, but you gotta realize not all of us are here for the same purpose.

Glace: Are you trying to reason with me or whatever? Could you make it a little quicker?

Cruce Safiri: If you'd let me... Okay, Riolu wants to stop Darkness. That much is obvious, and I'm sure he'd have no problem with admitting it right here on his own.

Riolu: And I do not.

Cruce Safiri: We're backing him up and he's helping us out. But look at us. Daniel here is with another Darkness, Rainbow Dash just wants to try and figure stuff out about her past, and I'm here because... Well I'm just a freaking mess. Point is, we've all got problems, and this army of Darkness is making it harder on us. So you're just drawing attention from more than just light... You guys even have another Darkness pissed at you.

Glace: None of us really care... We're too powerful now. We're not dumb. We wouldn't have come here right away if we didn't know what we were doing.

Cruce Safiri: Do you really know what you're doing?

Glace: ...What?

Cruce Safiri: You can't know everything that's going on. You can't be as powerful as you say now.

Glace: You don't believe me, eh...? [Two puddles of black liquid form on each of her sides. Four varying Safan Nightmares spawn from these.]

Cruce Safiri: ...I know Darkness is powerful... But you know what else I know? I know you guys are way in over your heads.

Glace: We don't have to prove anything to you. You should be the one proving something to us. Right here. Right now...

[A battle between the opposing forces commences...]


[Meanwhile, on the other side of the tower, Lavender's team has breezed through the trials due to her group's chemistry, as well as its size. They are within the last chamber.]

Lavender: We've climbed pretty high, girls. I wonder how Riolu and his team are doing. He hardly knows his allies, and I do not trust Daniel quite so much.

Rilia: I'm worried too. What if he turns on them~?

Slianna: Let's hope he doesn't. We don't know this Daniel very well... he's a little more rambunctious .

[The chamber they are faced with is quite tricky. There are ice Cores wandering throughout the room, and multiple obstructions. The first obstruction is a wall of ice spanning the length of the room. A hole in its center is lit with a light blue field. There is a crystalline switch near the obstruction. Lavender takes point once again, touching this switch. For about a second or two, the force field vanishes before reappearing.]

Lavender: Riri and Sli, hop through this as it opens. Be careful, it's quick. I'll keep hitting it until you think you understand the timing.

Rilia: [Gulps.] I-I don't want my tail getting electrocuted by the thing, Sis...

Lavender: Girl, you'll be fine. Just be fast. You're good at that.

Slianna: I think you can hold the force field open with your abilities, both of you. But the Cores wouldn't like that, so Lavender's plan will work best.

[Rilia and Slianna watch the force field fade in and fade out closely before making their leap.]

Rilia: Eeeeep!! [She lands on her belly, immediately hopping back up.] COLD COLD! Cold! Cold... ...Cold... [She wraps her tail around herself.]

Slianna: Oh, Ri... Look at me. I don't even have any coat of fur to keep me warm, and I've been slithering on this for at least an hour now.

Rilia: But that's part of your magic, right? You've got tough scales.

Slianna: Tough, yet supple! Hehe. Lavender, can you make it through?

Lavender: [From the other side.] I can't. The timing's too difficult from where I have to activate the switch. Check for anything on that side.

Rilia: [Facing a floating cluster of ice.] Th-there's a Core... D-don't touch it, Ri... Don't... touch...

Slianna: [She looks ahead at the next obstacle, which is equal in size to the previous. The hole within it is much different. It is tinier, and seems to swerve a bit, like a gopher hole in the ice.]

Rilia: I can't... I can't fit through that.

Slianna: I can. Ri, look for a switch around here, okay?

Rilia: Sure~! Leave it to me. [As Slianna lurches into the tiny hole, Rilia scans the small section of the chamber for a crystal switch, which she finds guarded by an ice Core. Avoiding the animated, yet unliving, creature is frightening, though manageable.] I-I don't like ice rocks like you, mister Core...

Lavender: Girl, you be careful over there.

Rilia: K-kay! [Shudders.] I found a switch, Slianna!

Slianna: Uurgh! [Squeezes through the exit, landing on questionable ice now on the far side of the room.] Huh? ...This ground is suspicious, I think. [Blocking the stairway is a black field, a crystalline switch nearby.] I found a switch too! I'm going to try it out. [With the tip of her tail, she activates the switch. She doesn't notice anything yet...]

Rilia: [In her section, the icy hole in the wall which Slianna had squeezed through rises slightly, causing a tad of a quake. It reveals a tiny tunnel which Rilia can crawl through.] Hey! That did something over here.

Lavender: What's going on? Why'd the place shake?

Slianna: [Examining the little tunnel.] Looks like you can get through now... Wait... wait, there's an ice force field in there. It's a really small one.

Rilia: I can't get through that... Mmph. [She curls her tail forth, laying on top of it so that her chest doesn't touch the icy ground. Peering into the tunnel, she can see Slianna on the other end of the shielded tunnel.] Hi~!

Slianna: Hihi! We have to get Lavender again. Look, the little hole I fit through is still here. I can go around that force field.

Rilia: Okay! But we still don't know what my switch does. Should I try hitting it?

Slianna: Go for it. Careful of the Cores.

Rilia: Believe me, I haven't forgotten them. [She walks back to the switch, careful not to disturb the floating elementals. Tapping her switch, another small quake occurs... The smaller ice obstruction behind her, which Lavender is stuck behind, rises slightly, revealing another gopher hole for Slianna to fit through.]

Lavender: [She steps back, observing the raised ground.] What's this...? I-I can't fit through that. ...Slianna! Can you hear me?!

Slianna: Yeah! Kind of! Did something happen over there?!

Lavender: Yes! There's another small tunnel for you here!

Slianna: ...Well that means I'd have to go back to her spot and hit her switch... I wonder what that would do... H-hang on! I'll be right there! [She returns through the tight gap, passing by Rilia and the Cores.] Hi Rilia. How's the weather~?

Rilia: Very funny... [She shivers.]

Slianna: Funny weather? [Chuckling, she squeezes through the newly created hole, greeting Lavender once again.] I'm back.

Lavender: Hello there. If those tunnels were made for you to return, maybe you need to take over my switch.

Slianna: Okay. You jump through the field when it's open?

Lavender: Seems like it. [She positions herself in front of the force field, ready to leap through.] On my word... ...Now!

[As the switch is activated, Lavender hops through the gap, clumsily sliding and tripping forward.]

Lavender: Wawawah--OOMF! ... [Quickly sits up.] Ow.

Rilia: Ooh, Sis? You okay?

Lavender: You didn't see that, Girl... I didn't slide into a Core either... [Shakes her head.] You deal with a queen of ice for so long, eventually she's gonna get'cha one way or another. [She notices the small crawlspace.] We can fit through this, Riri.

Rilia: I saw an ice force field in there.

Lavender: You did? [She checks the gap...] That's weird. I didn't see anything when I slid.

Rilia: Did it go away for a sec?

Lavender: A sec... Hey, Slianna! Hit that switch, will ya?

Slianna: Abso-righto! [Upon activating this switch, both ice fields are down. The smaller of the two seems to stay down for a longer window of time.]

Lavender: Just as I suspected. C'mon, Girl. We have to slide to safety.

Rilia: W-what?! O-on our bellies?! It's so cold.

Lavender: You want out of here, right?

Rilia: Yes...

Lavender: Well then slide, Riri, slide! [She grabs her sister by the tail and drags her over.] You're going first. Slianna! On my word again! Get down, Girl. You'll be fine.

Rilia: Eeep... [She closes her eyes, lowering herself to the icy ground.] S-s-s-sssso cold... [With her paws securely on the ledges, she readies herself.]

Lavender: ...Now! [Promptly, she simply kicks her sister through as Slianna hits the switch. Rilia passes by. A tad reckless, Lavender makes a quick sprint back before diving into the crawlspace, narrowly avoiding a painful shock from the reactivated field behind her.]

Rilia: Aaaiiaiaiaiaiai! [She shivers, wrapping her own tail around her while moving to the nearest blue torchlight. It provides no heat.] Nooo... Noookay... Okay... I'm okay~...

Lavender: [Stands, observing the ground beneath her feet.] This is unstable... or is it something else?

Slianna: [She joins the three again, now atop the unstable footing.] That black force field is still there...

Rilia: [Gathers with the team. As she steps on the unstable ice, it lowers about an inch or two. The black field is gone.] ...Whoa! What'd I do?

Lavender: A hidden pressure plate. Devious~. [She walks from the pressure plate... The black field is restored.] And tricky... Alright, we're going to make a run for it, girls.

Slianna: How so? The second one of us leaves the switch here, the shield is reactivated. U-unless... you're not going to... Lavender?

Lavender: [Stepping on the pressure plate, she instantly conjures up a bright purple shield of energy where the field once was.] Alright! Quickly! Move move! [Keeping her focus up, and aware that the Cores behind her are readily casting destructive spells, she runs forward, the black field attempting to dominate her aura.] It'll let you through! Get up there, now!

[Without a word, Rilia and Slianna rush ahead of Lavender, making their way to the exit.]

Lavender: [She is the last to pass through her own small wall of aura, leaving behind the Cores to assault the puzzle chamber. A few tremors occur as the black field closes once more, trapping the foes within...]

-Aphotic Pinnacle-

[From here on, the tower of onyx ice is outdoors, a spiral staircase encircling it's outer layer. Glowing diamond dust can be seen emanating from the tower's walls. It escapes, flowing freely into the air. From this height, miles and miles of the Ancient Growth Forest is seen. Though, still, the very top of the Growth itself is invisible to the naked eye as a seemingly endless tree branch scrapes the stars; a pillar to the heavens.]

Slianna: [Hurrying up the steps with her friends.] (This isn't looking good. Only Danielle can use the Aphotic Tower. That means she's here. On this Safa. Which would make Cruce and Safiri wandering aimlessly on the other Safa... I wonder if they're working with the Pokémon now. Maybe Mewtwo's up to no good. But we haven't seen him yet... Mmf... Why would Danielle raise her Tower so close to the Eclipse territory? The focal point of Safa? They must really want attention...)


"Danielle... You've done so well! This lovely fairy... You say this is Safiri, no?

"Hmhmhm, a variant of Safiri. The most valuable Safan of this world. And now she is ours, Mistress of the Wind."

"Your resilience is astounding, Ice Princess..."

"Thank you, Idi!" Mmm, Ginsengaar. How are our guests?"

"Which ones? The imitation Phaze Guardians?"

"No no. Those who test...~"

"They're coming now. They're blind. They've little a clue about the new approach of Darkness."

"My my, dears! Have six Shades ever before been on one world at a single time?

"It is a first for this dimension. This feeble realm..."


[Finally, the three Safan heroes reach the highest point of the Aphotic Pinnacle: a sanctum sealed with doors of black ice. The icy stairs sets a foreshadowing mood as the gloom of Darkness begins to enclose on the girls.]

Rilia: Something's... something's uhm...

Slianna: Lavender, I don't know about this.

Lavender: Mm? How do you both feel? [She stands before the massive doors, with Rilia and Slianna at her sides.]

Rilia: Scared... Very scared. This feels different than our last climb. Remember?

Lavender: Hmm...

Slianna: Ri's right. Really. [She raises her head to the doors.] This feels like more of a trap than... anything...

Lavender: Normally I would shrug off a little trap. But you two know the rules of a Tower of Tartarus. There is no turning back.

Slianna: Maybe not. But. We can wait... The Towers will allow it.

Rilia: Yeah! Let's wait~. We can wait for the others to finish.

Lavender: You know what, you both brought up a valid plan. We'll be much better off with seven capable fighters!


[The battle below rages...]
Sudden ending, probably quite a few errors.

Considering it's pretty long, plus it took forever to complete.