Christian: [Having suffered transformation due to the effects of the world's natural energies, Christian is now a female Sorenian. Features include dark magenta skin, majestic, transparent wings, dominant colors of gray and purple. Christian's clothes have been transferred to the world of Soren, however adjusted to fit this new body. The long jacket has lost its sleeves, though Christian still wears the hood to conceal his Sorenian body's face. As this species, Christian only stands at two feet tall.]

Dragon Escort: [With a slightly larger build, this male Sorenian has wyvern-like wings, jagged prongs on his arms, and heavier, military apparel.] Bayer, we are here. The Fairies will have more to offer one of their own than we ever could.

Christian: [Stops, taking in the scenery. The path of red brick cuts through fields of flowers, decorated fountains, and shining grasslands. Standing high above this series of gardens is a magnificent, pearl castle, lavish floral designs spiraling up and down its many spires. This structure pierces the clouds, kissing the blue beyond.]

Dragon Escort: It doesn't look very busy around here. Saves me trouble. They may be on lockdown because of the problems we're having west of the plains. They've been quiet lately... You say you want to get away from Earth, but it may be no safer here. [Shrugs, turning back.] Hey, check around the castle. They'll let you in before dark. 'N maybe lose the hood? Fairies might find that creepy. Take care Bayer. [With a mighty flap of his wings, he takes to the skies, leaving the grounds with little hesitation.]

Christian: [Watches the sky as the Dragon leaves, averting attention to the planet's local star, which is showing little intention of providing daylight for very much longer.] (Mm... I feel the Connection welling up inside me. It feels bright...) [Faces the castle once again. The reinforced wooden bridge rests diagonally at the other end of the castle's sparkling moat. With a few flaps of her wings and a well-timed leap, Christian takes to the air, flying around the raised bridge, and landing in front of a lowered portcullis. Through the gaps of the wooden seal, Christian identifies what appears to be a rather small marketplace along a straight path, before leading up to a massive set of opal double doors. Within this bazaar, not a soul is seen. Unfortunate for Christian.] (This is strange. I understand the futuregrounds seeing issues with Riot last time I was here. Why are the Fairies of this time period still holed up like this?) [Grasping one of the bars of the portcullis, Christian takes a closer look around the marketplace.] Hm...

[Days earlier, in Castle Blossom's courtyard.]

“Wh-wh-what are they?!”

“I don't know, just... just get back! Get back to the castle!”

“No! It's no use! They're in the marketplace!”

Kutzu: {Kutzu is male, yet a Fairy, having suffered from a peculiar mutation due to the effects of gamma technology. His wings are elegant, reminiscent of a butterfly's, much like other Fairies. They are quite small, however. His body is a deep blue, eyes the same color. Certain edges of his body are highlighted silver, such as hands and feet, as well as princely hair. His attire is a dark gray, tight to his skin to keep his maneuverability high. The jumpsuit-esque clothing does not cover his arms, nor his ankles.} [He stands with a small group of various Fairy soldiers, directing citizens into the castle.] Hurry! Steer clear of the things!

Ectie: {A former Illusion, faction to the east. Ectie is a bright green Fairy, wings shaped vaguely like rose petals. Such wings are translucent pink, as are the highlights in her bright blond, straight hair. She wears a small white dress. Her hands are gloved with a thin, white fabric, a single magenta jewel in each glove.} Such rambunctious gremlins! The fiends are coming in bunches! We can't let them through, girls!

Kutzu: [Clenching his hands into fists, he leaps from the crowd, taking flight.] We have to hold them off!

Ectie: Kutzu, what in the Soul Spheres are you doing?!

Kutzu: I'm going to take the hurt to these things. [His fists shimmer with a clear fire; the torrent of gamma within him.] 'Looks a bit like they want it!

Ectie: [She gives a look of shock to one of her fellows, who returns the look.] Should we help him?

Ressa: {Ressa is a veteran Fairy; a dancer within one of the many elite orders. Her skin is bare white, many of her colored features standing out vividly: her red lips, crimson, ruffled casaque, blue rose in her ponytail, maroon bows on her ballet shoes. She is a wingless Fairy, thus incredibly more capable of grounded movement than others.} I shall! These bugs want something of ours—well they will have to face up to us! [With the number of fleeing Fairies thin, she hurries to Kutzu, a few other soldiers sharing in their courage and joining them.]

Ectie: Oh grace... To battle, it seems! [Reluctant, she flies into the open marketplace, the jewels on her gloves becoming radiant.]

“They put up some kind of fight...”

“Is that the last of them though? I know I'm not alone when I say I would hate to have one of those little demons sneak up on me.”

“I think we're good for—Ack!! Oh, for the love of--!!”


“It's okay! I... I'm alright, just took something to the—oh shoot.”

“More! More of those shadow things! Clobber 'em!”

Armored Fairy Soldier: [On her knees, she keeps herself up, leaning on the hilt of her energy sword.] I can't keep this up... They're relentless...!

Ressa: [Hops back beside the young paladin.] Hey, keep it together. Get back and give it a quick rest, or get inside! [She supports the other up.]

Armored Fairy Soldier: Thank you. I will not be long...

[A blinding bolt shoots, oddly enough, parallel to the ground, darting straight through the wounded soldier. She falls, nearly dragging Ressa with her.]

Ressa: By Spheres! Soldier!

Armored Fairy Soldier: [The bolt has burnt through her body, leaving a small, fatal gap in her chest. She chokes, incapable of speech.]

Ressa: S-Soldier, can you hear me?! Wha?! [She looks back, attempting to locate the source of this bolt.]

Kutzu: [Frozen with caution, having narrowly avoided the same bolt, he turns back as well.]

Ectie: [She does the same. The perpetrator stands on all fours underneath the open portcullis, large dual tails pointed forward, sparking with electricity.]

“Knock knock. Darkness here. Stop resisting us, lemmings!”

“Darkness?! What do you mean Darkness?!”

“I mean what I said, but I don't need to say anything else to you! Out of my way, or I'll show you what a Shade can do.”

“You... little devil... You've already done ENOUGH! Back OFF!”

“No chance!”

???: [This tiny, striped creature presents himself as an untouchable foe, shooting across the marketplace in a matter of seconds.] You should'a all died to the Nightmares when you had the chance! At least you'd be reincarnated as 'em! Now I get to kill ya and make you my slaves, so be good pets and STOP MOVING!

Kutzu: You first! [Taking advantage of the Shade's distraction with other Fairies, he neglects his wings, leaping up as his enemy darts across the air once again, bolts of lightning firing from his tails at the few other soldiers. Kutzu strikes with a heavy attack, both legs outstretching and making contact on the fiend.]

???: [Cries out, struck back. He flips backward before reaching the ground, sliding on all four paws.] You want my attention, you GOT my attention!! Raaahh!! [He darts for Kutzu, who, in return, makes a bold dash to his opponent.]

Kutzu: [Fists glowing furiously, he sprints ahead, fearless.]

“He... he's gone, th-they...”

“What just happened? What the blazes happened?! Ectie!”

“Kutzu's—he's gone! Vanished!”

“With that little lightning rat?! Th-those shadows're still coming by the dozen! We need to get inside and seal them off!”

“What about our fallen?! And Kutzu?!”

“Kutzu can take care of himself! If we stay too long, we're pulp! Faries, dead or alive, wouldn't want that, Ectie!”

“Close everything! Seal the entire castle up!”

“Yes, your highness!”

“N-no, it's... it's not...”

“What?! What is it, Mimi?!”

“They're inside... Those dark things are inside Castle Blossom!”

“What do we do...?”

“Shh... w-we can't hold out here, we have to escape the castle. Just... on my lead, okay?”

“Okay, but where will we go? The foul things must have this entire castle surrounded.”

“Don't think like that. There's a way out. There's just gotta be. And we are out, we'll go to those futuregrounds. That's our last refuge—a chance at it anyway.”

“Oh grace... Oh g-grace...”

“Ressa...? Ressa?! ...Where are you...? Where is everyone...?”

“Princess? Mimi? Hilina? Any...anyone...?”

[Days of lonely emptiness pass...]

[Christian sighs quietly, tugging on the wood of the portcullis.]

Christian: (The marketplace is normally open to the sky during the day, but if what that guy said is true about this lockdown business, the sky view will be closed. I'll be able to get a better view from there though. 'Stuff's made out of glass.) [She turns her attention from the gate, looking skyward. She takes flight, coming up on the semi-circle roof of reinforced glass over the marketplace path. Christian lands on the stone ridge of this roof, peeking into the walkway.] (Anything... anything at all? ...Holy crap, what's...) [She notices a few Fairies, eerily idle, their heads low. They are seated against one of the alcoves behind an empty stand.] (That's spooky. What're they, sleeping or something? They on watch?) [Looking closer, Christian spots a rather disturbing wound in the chest of an armored Fairy. It appears as though a fire burned its way completely through her body.] (Bigger sleep than I thought. s**t, I have to get in there. How the...?) [Perplexed, she contemplates trying to break through the glass. Her strength is meek, however. She stands back, a new thought in mind.)

A Voice Within: (You know that things are dead around you now. Remember what to do, Christian? Just give it a good reach, and you'll be fine!)

Christian: (What...? Like... reach for their souls, or something? ...Hello?!)

[No response.]

Christian: ...Ff, you could be a little less enigmatic. [Knowing well enough that the voice will not respond, she heads back down to the portcullis, and slowly reaches through one of its gaps.] … [Closes her eyes.] (I think... I hate this...) [A faint pink essence amasses in the marketplace, the light coming from the alcove of the fallen Fairies.] (...Conjoin in... Bring it in... Take it slow.) [The cloud of essence comes to Christian's hand, spreading throughout her body, before siphoning through her skin. The pink essence remains visible around Christian's hands.] (Good, good. I feel it. I feel their resolve...) [Grasping the wooden portcullis with both hands, she lifts, easily forcing the contraption up, before maneuvering underneath it, and letting it shut with a loud thud. She hurries to the site of the deceased Fairies.] (...Sorry... I'll put this to good use. Even if it doesn't seem like it.) [Looks away, distraught at the sight of the dead.] (Your souls don't tell me who did this to you, but you fought hard. I'll finish that fight for you—I'll try...)

[A day ago...]

“How long have you been in the castle?!”

“N-not long! I promise. Maybe a few nights, but I promise I haven't done a thing!”

“Have you been hiding?”

“I assumed this castle was completely abandoned. I was using it to shelter myself while I developed some understanding of this world.”

“You frightened me so. I thought you were one of those devilish shadow creatures.”

“The Nightmares? Darkness is here...”

[That night...]

“Equinox, you must know how Darkness emptied Castle Blossom in such a frenzy?”

“I'm sure they've taken your friends to Tartarus, or maybe the Fairies escaped.”

“I... missed my chance then... It's because I was such a coward. I'm so frail, I cannot even hold myself up in battle.”

“Don't scold yourself. This is an enemy you know nothing about.”

“But... but I do know Darkness... and the Darkness I know wouldn't do this.”

“Would they not?”

[The next day, during the early hours of twilight.]


“I simply can't leave! I can't!”

“Come now, we can't spend another night in this castle. Your friends need you.”

“But, Ressa... w-...they wouldn't want me to die... I would be okay here! I could be safe here!”

“With risk comes reward, you know? We need to find Darkness and work as a team. Understand?”

Ectie: [Trembling, she sits with her knees close to her chest, hugging them tight. She and her companion are within a quaint room of petite size: her own; a soldier's quarters within the castle.] I do understand...

Equinox: {A fanfiction character, Equinox is a Mobian; a black fox of the “Sonic the Hedgehog” universe. She is from the discontinued EC series. Equinox was seen only briefly as a Phaze Guardian. She is very young, as well as very darkly dressed. She wears a small black dress, its corset spiky and thin. The only color upon her is her red hair tie, keeping her long, jet black hair in check.} Then we have to go.

Ectie: What if Darkness finds us?

Equinox: We're the ones looking for them. Your friends will be okay, so long as we take the initiative to leave this place.

[A thud from outside, marginally audible to Equinox.]

Equinox: [Her ears flicker, as she looks to the door of Ectie's quarters.] Hm?

Ectie: …? Di-did you hear something? Is someone out there?

Equinox: It's possible. I'm going to check. [She starts for the door. Ectie reaches for her arm.] !

Ectie: Wait! I... I can't be alone...

Equinox: Why? Oh, never mind. Just come with me then.

Ectie: [She gives a slight whine, hovering close to Equinox.]

[Equinox lowers her head to pass through the doorway, relying on the silent guidance of Ectie to navigate the halls of the giant castle. Within a couple minutes, the two reach the main, unlit foyer of Castle Blossom; a suspended straightaway with water flowing beneath, large pink banners hung above the waterways. The great double doors are sealed electronically, allowing none through lest a Fairy would specify otherwise.]

Ectie: [She whispers.] I-I really should keep the lights on in here.

Equinox: As a Nightwish, I think it's pretty pleasant.

Ectie: Do you think it's safe to open the doors?

Equinox: I have no clue. We'll need to open the doors to somebody at some point, won't we?

Ectie: Yes, I suppose. [Reluctantly, she flies to a rather small panel near the doors, hovering her hand over the screen as it brightens. She configures a few settings upon the panel, accompanied by a beep or two.] ...Th-there, the door's unlocked...

Equinox: Thanks. Now... [Approaching the doors, she grasps both of its round, clear handles, and pulls, slowly stepping back as the remaining sunlight's rays crowd the doorway, filling the foyer with twilight.]

Christian: [Lost in thought at the idea of her soul-stealing capabilities, she looks away from the bodies of the Fairies nearby, eyes fixed on the brick path. She witnesses movement. The grand castle doors are opening.] Hm...? [She faces the doors.]

Equinox: [Holding the heavy doors ajar, her arms fully extended, she gives a puzzled look to the darkly colored Sorenian.]

Christian: [Raises a brow.] (A Mobian? Here? 'Guess it's not impossible. But she should've been transformed into a Sorenian at this point...)

Ectie: [Flies over Equinox, eyes going wide.] Oh my grace!! [Soars for Christian, enveloping her in a tight hug.] Christy!!

Christian: Wuh! [Arms splayed outward, she hesitates before returning the hug.] Ectie! Hi!

Ectie: [Squeezing the other tightly, she rests her head on Christian's shoulder, eyes shut.] I-I knew I wasn't losing myself. I knew that was the Connection I felt again, i-it had to be, and it was. You're back...

Christian: I um... I guess I am. [Frowns, holding this Eclipse close.]

[With no trouble in sight, the three situate themselves in the deserted marketplace, Equinox observing the bodies of the fallen as Ectie and Christian catch up on some details.]

Christian: [Crossing her arms.] So, Darkness did this?

Ectie: According to Equinox, yes. [She faces the Mobian.] How does it look?

Equinox: [Scanning the injury of the heavily armored soldier.] This wound is corrupted with the scent of Darkness. But a Nightmare didn't do this to them. It must have been a Shade.

Christian: [Shakes her head.] Darkness? Why? I don't get it, they aren't like that. What interest do they have in slaughter?

Equinox: You're not the first to say that. [She stands, turning and approaching the other two.] Ectie thought the same thing, Christian.

Christian: [She and Ectie give each other a look.] Only 'cause it's... hey, how long was I gone?

Ectie: [She gives a light shrug.] I stopped feeling the Connection for a... uhm... a few Lux passings...

Christian: (Lux passings, that's... that's months in their time, if I remember.) Kind of a while. But not long enough for Darkness to go mad like that.

Equinox: I have a suggestion. This Darkness may not be the entity you know. Christian, it was shocking enough to hear that you are the Connector, and that Ectie was an Eclipse. However, the Connector I know has a different name, and there is, or should be, only one, yeah?

Christian: From what I know, that's right. I'm the Connector, and if there was another, I'm sure Light and Darkness would have let me know about that. As it stands, I did just hear about it. From you.

Equinox: This is really strange. I won't jump to conclusions! Ectie, how are you feeling? Are you ready to leave the castle behind?

Ectie: As long as Christy's with us, I'm ready for anything.

Equinox: Spoken like a true Eclipse... Well then, Christian, I guess you're with us.

Christian: Glad to be with someone I know. [Smiles at Ectie.] 'Sides, this won't get anywhere if I've got no leads or clues. We gotta get Kutzu, the Princess, and all the Fairies back here.

Ectie: I think, um, some of them may have gotten away from those Nightmare bugs. I believe know where to check, too.

Equinox: Mm, before we do go anywhere, there was something else... odd about the soldiers back there.

Ectie: [Sickened by the sight of her own fallen comrades, she winces as her eyes catch view of them.] Em... mhm?

Equinox: An outside force—something other than Darkness—acted upon them. It's very fresh.

Ectie: [She shudders.] ...I can't stand to see them here. They deserve proper burial, at very least to avoid such eerie actions taken upon their poor bodies.

Christian: [With no eyes on her, she makes sure her hood is covering her own.] (Equinox is smart. She's a Phaze Guardian though, so I should've expected that much. I've never heard of her. Might've been recruited while I was away... I'm... still not sure how I'm going to let the Eclipses know about what I have to do... The first order of business'll be bring 'em back together.)

[With the mysterious disturbance bothering Equinox left unsolved, Ectie opens the path out of the castle grounds for the two, sealing it back up afterward. She leads the way, the three bound for a northwestern destination.]

Spirit Cross: Episode 28:

(Cruce left with some guy who calls himself Canis Majoris, who admitted to being a Star Pony. We ran into him once before, and he sure put up a nasty fight. Even though he didn't fight us the second time he came to visit, I lost Cruce. The doofus is all, “You save Equestria instead of me”. Tch! Easy way out, Maxie... A spirit person named Vesse left Cruce, and went into my body instead. She promised to help me, but I don't know if I should believe her. She's making me feel so much better though, so I gotta take advantage of that. I asked if she could heal my wing, but she really didn't want to. Good think I convinced her to do that! Now to catch up to the others and wipe Darkness off the map!)

(More shadow guys... The Nightmares came back, and they put the hurt on me big time. That won't stop me! I can fly again, and the Crossblade's awesome against these losers! I just hope those Nightmare versions of Rarity and Spitfire don't end up getting in my way. I wouldn't know what to do otherwise. Would I hurt them? I need to find a way to free them... ...Why... do I feel so strange now? Vesse, is that you?)

(I finally made it to Ponyville. It's not looking good. Everyone's hiding in their homes, and I can't find my friends anywhere. The plan was to meet here, but Cruce and I got sidetracked, and winded up facing Darkness instead of finding any Star Ponies... well, I take that back. We found one. Or he found us. The ponies around here look scared of me. Something's got them spooked, and I just can't figure out what.)

(I feel... so gross... sick, and sore all over. Is this what the townsfolk are feeling, or is it just me? Vesse keeps warning me about something to do with my wing. She's telling me not to fight now, but...)

(...Darkness... took my friends... Those thieves who drove us apart... th-they're Star Ponies... and they're working with Darkness... I tried to get them, but they scrammed. They said to find them in Canterlot... Well they sure have a lot of guts to get me THIS mad, AND to make more trouble in Canterlot like that. No more horsing around! Watch out, I'm coming for you!)

(I'm with Impulse and Shining Armor. Spike's here too, and we're on Safiri's trail. I found signs of Darkness a bit ago, but Safiri's a lot more important—she'll tell us a lot about her decision to wander off like that. It would be nice if she didn't leave us at random times, but I'm seeing a lot of reasons why she would go off on her own: the Ecliptic energies within the area, possible contact with Star Ponies, or Darkness. There could be something I don't know, and I'm sure there is.)

(Safiri's not particularly in one piece. That said, she's with us again. She's a phantom—some shining ghost now. Rilia and Slianna are with her. Now, I don't think they jumped through the Strayer Void to get here, which makes the coming of Darkness that much more plausible. Safiri's altered form has to do with a Star Pony named Nebula, someone Spike seems to recognize.)

(The reason for Safiri's venture is unclear to me, but has to do with the strong Ecliptic flux. There's also a shared feeling between the three Safans; the Connection. If this is true, and it does seem to be, then the Believer has returned. Christian Bayer... If I find him, I will do everything I can to bring him to justice.)

(Darkness is here! They captured Spike and Shining Armor, and look like they're headed for Canterlot. I need to get ahead of them! They're building a Nightmare army with some of the more powerful figures natural to Equestria. Safiri, stay close this time. I don't know where Cruce is, but I'll need your help if I'm to battle a Darkness I don't know, especially with the Storm looming over our heads!)