Hello again!

A lot happened in the last episode. There are a lot of side stories going on. At the end of the part, which is coming up, I'll wrap it up by going back in time and switching the viewpoint over to characters like Lavender, Rilia of Sync, Cruce of EC, and varying characters on the Pokémon side.

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...

"Feenix... You see your own demise before you. The Copy... Don't you understand?"

...

-Round of Oaths-

[The Round of Oaths is a village much like Oathville. It is upon the EC universe's Safa. This village has a stronger tribal theme to it, huts designed with circles of stone around them. In essence, this a large campsite, varying huts and dens signifying the hierarchy of the Oath Tribe. Leaves of weeping willow trees conceal the village grounds. Giant flowers grow around the campsite, warding off harmful insects with glowing spores flowing haphazardly around the camp. The pollen also serves as a deterrent. The lush land is more jungle-oriented than its counterparts, which results in the Round of Oaths being a bit more of a labyrinth.]

...

"So who are they? They just appeared outta nowhere."

"You're asking me? Like I know. All I know is that they showed up at a bad time."

"At least they're not Nightmares."

"...One of them has Lavender's scent..."

[The two Safans speaking are at the center of town. Rather than a statue clarifying this, a tall cluster of sky blue rafflesia flowers does so. A clear, crystalline ring encircles these flowers. One of the Safans is a green ringtailed lemur with the qualities of a plant, such as leaf-like ears. The most notable feature of his are the blue petals growing from his wrists. The other Safan does not possess these plant characteristics. This one is a diminutive brown horse. He does have a few hues of red running through his fur. His mane is spiky in front, straight in the back, and a distinct scarlet, as is his tail.]

Boris: [The small horse. {EC variant.} He was the second one to speak.] Staring at them all day won't do a thing. We'll ask one of the shamans about this.

Ilmor: [The lemur; the first to speak. He stands on two legs.] Weird how we're the first ones to notice this... [He speaks sarcastically.]

Boris: It's a trend of ours. Let's go, it's getting dark. [He starts walking off.]

Ilmor: And cold. [Follows Boris. He continues speaking to the other as the two head to a particular house...]

...

[Time passes... the sun gives way to the coming navy blue of the sky.]

Cruce: [Laying before a clear structure...] ...Smm... Safiri...? [His eyes open.] ...

[There is no response from Safiri, who has managed to stay consistent with her regular form.]

Cruce: [The Ecliptic Pull of this world has kept him locked within his dark-furred Safan form. He tries to rise to his feet, but falls a bit roughly to his chest as a flare of pain surges within his back. He was struck with Euwer's weapon.] (Hrp... Not a good feeling. Good God, what happened now? Am I dead yet?) ...No, not yet... C'mon Safiri. Wake up. [Laying down, he nudges at Safiri's back with one paw.]

Safiri: [She groans, simply tossing the other direction. She is now facing Cruce, although her eyes are still closed.]

Cruce: (Good, so we're not dead. So where are we?) [He tries to stand once again, this time prepared for the pain.] (Gah, when did I get so easy to hurt?) [His ears flick up.] (Wait, I'm me again! I-I mean, I'm my own Safan! But my Spirit Cross...) [Now standing, he opens his mouth. His green-streaked Crossblade shimmers into the light, materializing within his bite.] (No, I have it now... Why's that, I wonder?) [Letting the Blade disappear, he takes a legitimate look around, doing his best to figure things out without having to rely on Darkness for the answers.] (...Safiri used her Crossblade to get away from Xulfur. I went with her... We traveled through the Oron Mo again... Did Xulfur say that would restore me? Feels like it happened days ago. Maybe it did. I think we made it to the other Safa though. That's good, at least... But all of those Safans... are they all good? s**t, I hope they are.)

Ilmor: Just over here! Near the Rafflesia of Promises.

Cruce: Hmm? [He looks ahead, seeing three Safans come his way.]

Niy: {Niy is one of the female Oath shamans. She is a small black ocelot, whiskers drooping a couple inches as a sign of her age. Her tail splits into two, jeweled green rings around their tips. These rings are seen around her legs. They serve some other purpose than matching her emerald eyes. Symbological markings are seen at her sides. They are barely visible at the moment, however.}

Boris: There. It looks like one of them is awake...

Niy: So you say. So I see. Do I need to wake the other up from her nap?

Ilmor: But Niy, that might help us out. The village is crawling with those Nightmares.

Niy: I had thought Safiri, Cruce, and those Poké kids went to silence their leader.

Boris: That could be the case! I haven't seen any for a while. But night's upon us.

Ilmor: [Only a few meters from Cruce, he takes it upon himself to say something of a greeting.] Er... Yo!

Cruce: (Friendly Safans. Thank the lord.) [He lifts his paw a tad for a wave.] Heyo!

Niy: [She approaches Cruce, sniffing at his cheek before walking around him and investigating his presence.]

Cruce: Umm... [He stands completely still, eyes shifting between Boris and Ilmor.]

Niy: This one... [She finishes her examination of Cruce, now standing in front of him once again.] This one is good. He carries the scent of one of our own.

Ilmor: Lavender? I knew it...

Niy: Yes. Lavender. You, Boy. Who are you?

Cruce: My name is Cruce. Call me crazy, but I'm probably not supposed to be here.

Niy: [She retorts quickly.] Impossible. There is already a Cruce here.

Cruce: Huh? Oh! So I am on the other Safa?

Boris: Other Safa...?

Niy: You... may be good, but you are a strange one.

Cruce: I-I know, it seems that way. But look. [A second time, he conjures the Crossblade.]

Niy: [Hops back.] Ah!!

Ilmor: Whoa, whoa, whoa!

Boris: Where did you get that?

Niy: What manner of sorcery is this?!

Cruce: [Lets the Blade go.] It's the Crossblade. I'm legit, trust me.

Boris: ...Crossblade?

Niy: That magical weapon of yours did surprise me... Fine then, Cruce. So you say you are who you are... But who is this? [Her head faces Safiri.]

Cruce: My friend Safiri. N-not the Safiri of this world. The other world. I'm a different Cruce too. I guess that's a little confusing, um...

Niy: ...You speak of parallel worlds.

Cruce: [Nods.] That's what's going on here. Did the other Safiri or Cruce mention anything to the town about us?

Boris: ...Ah! Now that you mention it, I overheard Safiri saying something about Rilia and Slianna. She said she was wondering about those two meeting themselves. I thought she was just ranting on about something, but...

Ilmor: Parallel worlds... She was talking about parallel worlds. I knew she and Cruce weren't telling us the full story.

Safiri: ...[She groans once again, ears flattened.]

Cruce: ...Huh? Safiri, you alright? Come on now, wake up. [He rests his paw on her side, shaking her lightly.]

Safiri: [Her tail flicks once. She livens, opening her eyes slowly. Cruce is the first one she sees.] Cru...

Cruce: There you go.

Niy: Is she hurt?

Cruce: (...Are you? Did you do something I didn't see?) [He faces Niy before speaking aloud.] I'm not sure. As far as I remember, we went through the same thing

Safiri: [She manages to pull herself up, only sitting, slightly wobbly with her eyes half open.] Uhie... Cruce?

Cruce: Heyo, Saf! We're on the other Safa! We got away.

Safiri: [Snaps awake in a moment's notice.] Other... Sa--Oh! Oh! Cruce! We're on the--... [She is interrupted by her own failure to observe the surroundings, which she now does, standing on all fours.] This is the other Safa...?

Cruce: Yeah. We've been found also. [Grins at the three Safans.]

Niy: Well I'll be... You really are from a parallel universe. I do not think you would make this up. Come with me. The night is dangerous.

...

(I made it out alive. I even have Safiri with me still. It's good that we're back to our normal selves. I don't care how it all happened, but we're here. I'm more concerned with Safiri's friends and family. The villagers. Those Guardians. Glace... She didn't make it... I think I understand now. She couldn't just back away from Darkness with impunity. She was still tied to it, and that's how they got her. I wonder if it even mattered in the end. Xulfur did a lot to ruin Safa, I'd gather... Jeez, all of Safiri's work undone in minutes... I gotta get back to that Safa. But there's no way I can take on Xulfur alone. I might be able to enlist the help of some Safans here. Maybe even the Pokémon. The only ones I've met are gone... So I have to go and avenge them.)

...

[The interior of this wide hut is laden with papyrus charms, dreamcatchers, and symbolic relics. Torches of two different colors--green and yellow--line the walls of the round room. In the center of this room is a clay cauldron above a few embers. A sweet aroma flows from its contents. This is but a small section of the shaman's house.]

Niy: Make yourselves at home... I've no clue what you could do to pass the time in this enchanted abode of mine.

Safiri: [Astounded with the charms and various symbolic objects belonging to Niy.] ...W-we'll think of something, I think. Gee, this place is a little spooky.

Niy: Thank you! [She cackles a tad.] Each of the Oath shamans have their own personal touch. I like to convey a chilling tone... I am Niy, one of those very shamans, as you could have guessed.

Boris: [He and Ilmor had just entered through the loose drapes.] Niy's famous for her potions and enchantments. That sort of thing.

Niy: I am more of a witch than a shaman. Hehehe... what can one do? You be who you want to be, and you will see what you want to see.

Ilmor: The witchdoctor said that too... hey, Cruce and Safiri. I'm Ilmor. It doesn't look like it, but I'm a tribal warrior.

Boris: Call me Boris. I'm Ilmor's adventuring fellow; not initially from this village, but I've grown accustomed.

Ilmor: Ehheheh... [Rubs the back of his head.] He's more of the leader out of the two of us.

Safiri: ...The leader... That's who my friends saw me as...

Cruce: Safiri? Do you...

Safiri: I remember everything that happened... I was still conscious through that horrible curse they put on me. I couldn't say no to Darkness. That... dark mark--no, it wasn't a dark mark. It was worse. They did something to me. I just couldn't get away... I was too weak. The Safan named Danielle captured me and cursed me... They used me as a way to move across worlds and study the Oron Mo. It was over before it began.

Cruce: You remember everything from when you were under their control...? Even...

Safiri: I remember going back to Oathville and taking my Script to Xulfur. Not even that broke me free of the mark. The most precious artifact to me couldn't even wake me up. I remembered thinking from within... I didn't deserve to be called an Eclipse... To hand my Script to Darkness like that.

Cruce: But you couldn't control yourself.

Safiri: But I should've! I've always had willpower! I've broken free of temptation! I was too weak...

Cruce: It wasn't temptation. You were under their spell. You know that...

Safiri: Cruce, you're wrong. It wasn't just that. There was temptation. The temptation for me to give up... I had the thought, even when I was possessed with that awful mark. I m-might've still... ...my world... Growths of Safa, my life is... meaningless without... them...

Cruce: Saf, settle down and listen for a sec. I--

Safiri: I know you tried to save them! You tried... But you're not the Connector! Look at what happened to me! That's going to happen to all of the Eclipses without my... their... Connector... without him... And so many lives will just be turned over to Darkness. Because that Crossblade got us into this... A-and I have it...

Cruce: It's not the Crossblade's fault...

Safiri: Yes it is! Without the Crossblade, this would've never happened! I would still be on Safa with Rilia and Slianna. Dr. Maiwell. My brother and mother. Everyone. You're no Connector! It's not enough, Cruce! My world is probably dead because of you and Darkness!

Cruce: [He bobs his head back...] ...Are you... so upset at me because I'm not strong enough?

Safiri: The Connector would always pull through for us, no matter what. He'd risk his life...

Cruce: I risked my life more than once to get you back! Look look, this is not easy to get through. But you will. All of your friends will. I'll make sure of that... I know I can't do it alone. I need your help...

Safiri: What can we do? We're both powerless.

Cruce: I'm not weak. You and I were both screwed up because of Darkness. We're fine now! We can redeem ourselves!

Safiri: There's no more redeeming... If you're strong, just prove it here and now. Take that Crossblade of yours and finish the job.

Cruce: What are you saying now?

Safiri: Kill me... That's the only thing you need to do now.

Cruce: [He watches her, speechless...] ...

Niy: Mm... You need to rest. I don't have a clue what it is you have--

Safiri: [She interrupts.] No, no, no! The only rest I want now is... peace. I want to say goodbye. I'm done here. Cruce, if you're too weak to do this, I'm leaving. And if one of you try to stop me, I'll blow right through you like you aren't even there. So just don't!

Boris: Oh? Contradicts your hypothesis. You think you're weak, but you have confidence now?

Safiri: ...I-I don't want to be here... I don't want to be here! [With no warning, she darts out of the hut, her abnormal speed making it too challenging to attempt to give chase.]

Ilmor: [He tries to swipe her, though before he can even make the motion, she is already outside. He falls to hist chest.] Nngh! She's just like our Safiri!! I didn't know that!

Boris: Well if she's that fast, she can escape the Nightmares. But for how long? We need to go after her.

Cruce: (I haven't seen her get like this. But I honestly can't blame her. In the blink of an eye, she's lost so much. She knows who the real enemies are, but she thinks their power is too much... Goddammit, maybe this is all my fault. Maybe if I didn't come here looking for her in the first place, Safa would be fine... But she doesn't know what happened. Nor do I. Maybe things are still okay. Maybe someone made a heroic rescue? If there ever was a place, that would be it... Man, I can't believe she wanted me to kill her. I should go after her with these guys. Don't want her doing anything crazy.)

Ilmor: Cruce!? You coming?!

Cruce: I am, I am. Let's go.

Boris: Good. Niy, we'll be back here as soon as we can.

Niy: Eyes open at all times. Nightmares roam. Understand?

Ilmor: Understood.

[Teaming up with new allies, Cruce heads into the darkening wilderness in pursuit of Safiri. Although, she has already made considerable distance between herself and the others. The only way to follow her is by scent, which is left best to Ilmor, who appears to be capable of picking up scents with much more efficiency than Cruce or Boris; though Cruce's nose would normally be best suited for such an obstacle.]

...

(Big-a** downward helix... Stuff gets better, than you just get shat on. Takes no time at all for the people you actually care about to snap and develop a spur-of-the-moment death wish. Karmic balance had better play it's part. Things better get good again, or I'm just gonna stop. I make things better before making them worse. Cruce is no Chris; the name of this ******** superhero Connector. I'm not weak. I'm sure he isn't, or wasn't, either, but if he was stuck with my problems he'd find it real annoying that he couldn't use any of his own powers. His own capabilities that he's worked at mastering for a looooong time. All that training and experience put away just so you can sit back and watch a bunch'a crap go down faster than it can ever climb back up... Safiri, I'm no Connector. But at least I'm not -dead-.

...

That's hitting her too. She knows he's dead. Or maybe I just don't know how to talk to girls... ******** that, I was one for a good half a day. I was her. I know what she wants to hear. What she wants to see... What she can see. We can do this together. There's still a reason she has the Crossblade now...)

...

-Crystalline Threshold-

[The field of crystal grass connected Safa and Chronic has a visitor... She is a young fox Safan. Someone named Safiri.]

Safiri: [Breathing heavily, she is walking with a limp. A black gash shows across one of her legs.] ... [She is not holding the Crossblade. She is not making any effort to save herself from the Nightmares. Only from the Crossblade... The sun has fled from the skies. Safiri has reached the immense clear barrier dividing worlds.] Huh? ... [She turns around, seeing that she has lost the Nightmares.] End of the road... Is it? [She lifts a leg, moving it through the barrier. She cannot see her leg on the other side... Like a pool of water perpendicular to the ground, small ripples are sent out.] Not yet. [She enters the barrier, soon invisible beyond its boundaries.]