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the new world

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Chapter One


The sunlight reaches into every crack of the world, showing Roy how truly alone he is.

Wings of light, once again an ultimate condemnation. Warriors decimated before they could finish a first breath in the face of the illuminator, the remaker, the destroyer. An afterlife spent in a void of choking eternity, interrupted by a brave, warm hand and starry eyes soon lost in the veins of chaos plaguing the land. And once again he is alone.

Spirits dance around him in the rifts of the deep forest, candlelights of hope trapped behind a veil that he could not breach—their hands passed through his, their moving mouths utter no sound. Sleep could not comfort them, nor could his pleas reach them, and the world could not cradle the souls it had lost and mourned. The world left hollow lets him pass, both of them in a tortuous, soulless haze.

A day he spends haunting the gutted world until angel wings and fire cross his path. A counterfeit of the Goddess Palutena meets his gaze across the clearing, flanked by a shadowy doppelganger of himself. Palutena leers, enslaved fire snaking around her fingertips. The sunlight falters.

She strikes.

A fire-stroked staff knocks the wind out of him as the image of his best friend breaks through the goddess's visage. Her hair morphs green to teal to indigo for a desperate second before he trips the goddess's feet from beneath her. He hesitates as he raises his sword against her and his doppelganger springs forward, driving its sword through his stomach.

He grabs the blade and wrenches it out even as his strength bleeds out of him, feeling the palms of his hands split in two. The infernal light world suppresses all wounds, but the pain is still blindingly real. The goddess's own light shoots for his head, he ducks and locks his sword with her staff. She is on her knees, losing the literal upper hand. As his doppelganger closes in he fills the sword with his soul and it explodes, knocking all three of them to the ground. The doppelganger vanishes perfectly. Roy stands as the imaginary burns along his arms scream for surrender but he ignites the blade once more and fells the false goddess before passing out.

*.*.*.*.*

Lilina visits him as he dreams. Her face is solemn but holding a strength he lacks. She says little, exhausted from keeping herself anchored and intact in the realm of spirits, lest she lose herself in the endless ocean of despairing souls.

"I'm sorry you have to do this alone." She hides her face but somehow he senses her tears, knowing that they've just come back from the brink. Yet he can't bring himself to cry in this subconscious realm. "I'll be with you, now. We'll be strong."

She fades from his mind.

*.*.*.*.*

He wakes to the smell of ash, lying in a fairy circle of scorched earth. The sky is a blur, flooding the clearing with a revealing amber. He wipes his face and finds that his eyes are wet.

Sitting up drains his strength. The sunlight pinches his skin and the sting nearly overwhelms his mind, but he grits through the pain to find small flames lacing his hands. For a moment his frayed tunic shifts into a beige skirt and ruby emblem. He rubs his burnt face gingerly but knows the presence is not a dream.

He rises with the spirit of Lilina under his wing.

*.*.*.*.*

She appears again in the lonely night, sitting beside him, flickering in the light of the fire. She says nothing but rubs comforting circles into the back of his hand as the wind wraps around him, through her ghostly form. He can't bear to look her in the eye.

"I'm sorry," he chokes. His head falls into his hands and he weeps.