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0030 A.R (After Alchemy's Return)
Apollo Lens, Endless Wall

"An innermost central fire, the grim mire in which Lucifer dwells until the Day of Judgement. The black sun, dark burning ball of fire, an intensity of darkness and light to rescue the human soul. A reflection of salvation to the cosmos, to create a philosophical gold: immortality."
-Azoth


"Ah, good. Have you finished with the preparations?"

Matthew and his group had been sent to Apollo Sanctum, a reflection of Sol, with the intent on ending the Grave Eclipse. Matthew knew of our previous agreement, to fire the Eclipse and then end it with the Lens, but his friends were still oblivious to my grand scheme.

Unfortunately I noticed some rare spark in Matthew's eyes.

"How-?" gasped Karis

"*@%!" swore Matthew.

I probably did look like the great villain, pulling everyone's strings and bringing them here, however I quickly realized Matthew suddenly thought the very same of me.

My heart ached but I didn't let it read on my face. What could his friends have said for him to now hate me?

"You!" exclaimed Crown

"What's he doing here?!" raged Tyrell

"Arcanus!" gasped Sveta

"Here?" Amiti said confused.

"This one has great power." Himi turned to Matthew.

"What kinda name is "Arcanus"? Eoleo jostled.

Quite an odd arrangement of friends my dear Matthew has gathered. I pulled a smile, "Tyrell, son of Garet…You seem displeased to see me."

"I'm only displeased to see you still breathing!" Tyrell blurted.

I warped in front of the Apollo Lens gate, standing before the party of adepts who intended to end this dark dawn.

"Ah, the impulsiveness, the overconfidence…You really are you're father's son."

Matthew caught my eye. He knew I was familiar with his family, so why did he look so angry?

"Y-your know my dad?" Tyrell said nervously.

I nod, "Obviously."

"Who are you? Why do you know so much about us?" Karis crossed her arms.

Matthew watched me closely, it appeared he wanted to know the truth as well. I thought highly that this was neither the time or place to discuss such trivial matters, but the old scholar always did like to kick me when I was down.

Kraden stepped forward, a frown across his face, "Hello, Alex."

Matthew's eyes widen, even my lover didn't know my real identity, my birth name.

Alexander, protector of man-kind.

Everyone else seemed confused but Crown yelled- "Alex?! The Mercury Clan's traitor? My mother's betrayer? THAT Alex?!"

Matthew looked disgusted.

I shifted uneasy, "What makes you think I am this 'Alex'?"

Kraden looked offended, "We traveled together for some time, Alex. I haven't forgotten."

I smirk slightly but now I find myself unable to look at Matthew, "You flatter me, Kraden."

"And I'll flatten you.." Tyrell interrupted.

Tyrell looked from Matthew to me, their sun clearly disapproved of my tricky moon.

"I should have realized sooner, but your chosen name, Arcanus, had me distracted for a while." Kraden pointed out.

"Oh, really? Why was that?"

"Well, in my travels, I had heard of a deck used for telling fortunes…" Kraden answered.

Garet had mentioned that Mia and him had studied such a deck between the Golden Sun and now. I was impressed, however, the future is never set in stone.

Unless you're the Wise One, that is.

I smiled, "Go on."

"Two of the suits of that deck are Swords and Cups, very similar to our Blados and Chalis." Kraden continued.

Knight of Swords: Challenges on the horizon and obstacles that need to be overcome, he represents the arrival of battles that are unavoidable if progress is to continue.

Queen of Cups: Deceit, a woman who turns her negative emotions on others in the form of jealousy. Here, her whimsical attitude and fickle fantasies show a lack of commitment to other people whom she constantly drains of energy.


"And how would that relate to my assumed name?"

"Arcanus sounds like the term for the most important cards in the deck. It seemed more then coincidence." Kraden shrugged.

"It figures that you'd name yourself for the most important part…" Karis pointed at me.

Matthew gasped and bit his lip, I was looking more and more like the villain.

"That's quite a theory, Kraden. I'd love to hear more, but I'm pressed for time."

"What is so pressing?" Amiti interrogated me.

"The Tuaparang." I said and then looked up as a rather large Airship flew overhead and dropped several pods. The black containers opened upon contact and soldiers jumped out.

"W-what do you mean?" Karis screeched.

"?!" Matthew was at a loss for words.

"What IS that?" Crown asked.

"I've got a bad feeling about this.." Tyrell quoted.

"Look out, everyone! Oh! Who? It's them, all right." Shouted the others.

"You're TALKING to them, Arcanus?!" Blados suddenly warped close to the soldiers, "Why aren't you just KILLING them?"

I could never kill Matthew, I had a promise to keep.

"That's actually not his name. " Chalis warped beside Blados, "Alex, was it?" she giggled.

"You were eavesdropping. How rude."

"You traveled with the old man? " said Blados ignoring me, "Does that make you one of the 'Warriors of Vale'?"

"No!" Crown angrily threw his fists up, "Alex was NOT one of the Warriors of Vale. He was a power-mongering schemer."

Great, now everyone was mad at me.

"He'll probably betray you lot as well. I don't think he's ever honored a vow or promise." Crown caught me red-handed.

Matthew took a step back towards his friends, he looked shattered. I wanted to read his mind, to tell him everything was going to be OK, but I couldn't.

I might have broken promises in the past, but people can change.

Can't they?

"You can't really be Alex," Karis blushed," Alex tried to use the Golden Sun to become an immortal, but he failed and was killed."

I was killed, she was correct, but for some reason the Wise One let me live.
Now I was newly born man, a fallen angel of Judgment's design.

I smiled happily, there was hope for me yet. I might look the monster currently, but I would convince Matthew that I was on his side if it was the last thing I did.

"Alex, Arcanus, who cares?" Blados shrugged, "I never liked you and your superior tone."

"Keep your temper in check, Blados. The High Empyror would not want us fighting amongst ourselves. " Chalis purred.

The pink-haired women then glared me down.

"Hmph." Blados snorted.

I frowned, "Your expression suggest that imperial loyalty is not the first of you priorities."

"Funny, Alex. Your expression says the same thing." Chalis countered.

"Perhaps, then, it is finally time for us to untangle our remaining webs of deception."

Blados looks nervous, "What are you saying?"

"We have our orders, Arcanus. We will not deviate from them." Chalis reminded me.

Now I had both of them caught.

"Our orders are that Matthew should activate the Apollo Lens. The methods are ours to choose." Perhaps I sounded like I was the High Empyror, "I have determined that the truth is now our best weapon."

I still couldn't force myself to look at him, but I had to tell him something to make him trust me once more.

"Matthew, you should know that the Tuaparang are scions of the Umbra Clan, also called Dark Adepts."

Blados and Chalis looked even more nervous.

"Dark Adepts?" said Tyrell confused.

"?!" exclaimed Matthew. I knew he was making a connection from the psynergy vortexes to the Eclipse.

"What is he talking about?" Crown asked.

"From an Umbra Clan?" Karis tried to confirm

"Yet he seems to be telling the truth…" Sveta tried to pry into my mind with no avail.

"Impossible." Crown thought.

"Another Clan?" Himi turned to Crown.

"Well I never heard of 'em" said Eoleo, who knew of Tuaparang's tyranny.

"The High Empyror sent me to make sure the Apollo Lens was used according to his plan."

"So the High Empyror doubts our loyalty?" Blados growled.

"Or you're setting us up…" Chalis grasped the necklace at her chest.

"Naturally we can't really trust each other, but I need to ask one question. Are those men who came down from the airship really Tuaparang soldiers?"

They looked away from me instantly.

"They seem to have strange powers unlike normal Psynergy…just like you two." I looked away as they looked back at me. A light smile on my face, "You are here for the Apollo Lens, correct? What will you do with it?"

Destroy it, or use it as a weapon?

"What a good question! Chalis, what will we use it for?" Blados taunted.

"Oh, we can't spoil the surprise, can we?" Chalis smiled.

"Based on the trajectory, your target is Tuaparang…or perhaps the area around Sol Sanctum…" I paused and dark psynergy smoked from the dark adepts, "Since you have no contradicted my deductions, may we now consider Dark Psynergy an open secret?"

Blados warped behind me and rested his hand on his sword.

"Or…you still intend to keep it secret by eliminating me."

I warped and floated above the crowd.

"I knew you'd figure it out eventually, " Blados snapped.

"You were always so very clever, Arcanus." Chalis mused.

"I can handle these two," I told Matthew, "Go throw the switch for the Apollo Lens."

I jumped into battle with the dark adepts as I gave Matthew and his party time. Blados had no regrets in fighting me, he didn't take his time as he came down slicing his sword at me. I found myself dancing around his thrusts and swings, he was indeed too slow for me.

"We're not going to let you win this, Arcanus!" cried Chalis.

Her long poisonous fingernails swiped from behind and I was forced to warp above them. Chalis spared no time and countered by extending her nails upward, I lightly dodged her attack towards my lower body with a sigh of relief.

"There is nothing you can do!" yelled Blados  as Matthew's group got to the switch, Blados sent their Chaos Hound down to stop them.

I knew what they had done to Volechek, but Sveta couldn't tell her own brother stood before her. She unknowingly attacked him.

Bad news.

Between a blow from Blados I saw Sveta read his mind and figure out this was somehow connected to the Umbra Clan scheme.

Blados used the moment I looked down at Sveta to distract me with his sword. I continued to dodge several blows but I knew I had to warp away.

I bought them time, but I couldn't change reality. I needed Matthew and co. to fight Blados and Chalis. I needed to stay trustworthy to my lover.

Once I disappeared, the Tuaparang Generals turned their attention to the Apollo Lens.

"Looks like I have no choice…" sighed Chalis, " I hate to make it hurt more, but I need you just a bit more destructive…" she said to her Chaos Hound.

"Time to repay all we've done for you." Blados smirked.

"Hmph. Not much fight in him. Maybe we should have stalled longer." Chalis continued, " We did everything we could but he's just too strong willed."

The Chaos Hound roared in pain but Chalis continued to feed him darkness.

"Ready?" Blados asked.

I took this opportunity to change the direction of the Lens. Little did Blados and Chalis know that I was aiming it to Belinsk instead.

While I worked I caught some of their conversation.

"Oh, we'll take care of the eclipse…when the time is right."

"As pleasant as this little chat has been, I'm afraid we can't let you live much longer, but we're genuinely grateful to you- we simply weren't equipped to start the other Alchemy Machines…and without the power they provide, the greatest weapon of the ancient world wouldn't now be in our hands!"

"You must stop them, Matthew. If they get their hands on the Apollo Lens, we're doomed!" Kraden pleaded.

Like in the past, when I traveled from lighthouse to lighthouse, I watched my inferiors fight the proclaimed heroes.

This time I was educated to expect the unexpected. Matthew would surely win.

"Pathetic. How do a bunch of children beat the elite of the Tuaparang Empire?" groaned Blados after Sveta sent him to his knees.

"Blados, I think it's time to fall back on our alternate plan. Let's call on the power of Dark Binding!"

An ancient taboo, one the Wise One committed without remorse. I had heard of the merging of beings before to create a stronger fiend but never with the help of dark psynergy. – together, Chalis, Blados, and the Chaos Hound formed the Chaos Chimera.

Together, the adepts defeated the monstrosity .

"My…my own brother!" Sveta screamed.

The beastwomen could now see her brother clearly before her, she fell to her knees weakly in agony and Kraden asked Matthew to throw the switch. I noticed Matthew stomp the ground lightly in anger but he turned to the ladder of the light that lead to the switch and moved to climb it.

Yet before Matthew could reach the top, he was thrown back on the ground by a force of light.

"Don't succumb to the power of the light!" Kraden cried.

"Steady, Matthew!" Karis encouraged her long-time friend.

"You can do it!" Tyrell cheered.

"Good luck! Matthew! You must succeed. You can do this." The others were also confident in their Venus leader.

Sveta paused, sadness in her eyes as she looked up at Matthew,  "You mustn't give up!"

I watched as Matt tried to climb the ladder of light once more, only to be tossed once again. I couldn't stand to watch anymore.

"Stop!" I tell him, "Matthew, you cannot do this."

He shook his head in anger, and I was confused by his motives as he went for the ladder again. This time I wanted to catch him myself but I couldn't, instead he fell and landed by Kraden for the third time.

"You might as well give up." Blados coughed.

"You're going into the very heart of the light. You don't have enough of a dark side to survive it." Chalis smiled through pain.

"And Volechek's sister is the only one of your crew who can wear the Umbra Gear." Blados told them.

"And no matter how much shadow you wear, the amount of light up there will probably kill you anyway." Chalis continued.

Blads finished, "We were gonna send Volechek up there to get rid of him when he'd played his part."

"This would seem to be an impossible situation…" Kraden sighed.

"No! We can't believe that!" Karis refused.

The others agreed in concern.

"I…can do it…" Sveta attempted to move towards Matthew but she fell again to her knees.

"Sveta has already been exposed to so much light. Any more will surely.." Kraden trailed off.

"Matthew, please help me. I will need to borrow your strength to reach the Apollo Lens…" Sveta begged him.

Liquid gold eyes opened to meet Sveta. Matthew had been highly exposed to the light as well, but since he was a Sun symbol, his body couldn't break it but absorb it.

His eyes glowed yellow like during our Magnum Opus and he agreed to help the Princess of Belinsk.

Matthew's eyes then closed as he gave Sveta his strength and courage. I couldn't help but notice the ring around his finger glowed a soft hue as well.

Together for a brief moment, Sveta and Matthew weaved spirits, and I tried not to be jealous.

This was to end the Eclipse, nothing more.

"Matthew, I'm sorry for making you come with me." Sveta eyes now glowing gold from his influence of Sol.

Anger erupted through me as Sveta climbed the ladder. I knew Matthew was unable to penetrate the light, thus I was not worried, but with the help of Sveta…

Matthew would lose his life.

Maybe I really was bad at keeping vows and promises.

"At least we can die knowing that our lives might buy the lives of others- a small price to pay." A single tear fell from Sveta's eyes.

But was it?  Were they really saving lives by ending the Eclipse, or is that what I kept telling myself so I could convince Matthew?

"Soon we'll reach the controls for the Apollo Lens, and this will all be over…" she continued and they reached the top towards the switch, "All right, let's go."

I had to do something: I glanced at the Chaos Hound, he was my only option.

"Vaaaaaarrrrrrruuuuuu!" howled Volechek.

I gave the beast back his conscious, I flooded memories telling him Sveta was in trouble and he jumped up at the switch. The group's eyes widened, Volechek suddenly was mobile and everyone watched in horror as he hit Sveta away from the Lens.

Matthew's adrenaline snapped him back in his body and he was able to catch Sveta before she hit the ground.

Everyone gasped up at Volechek.

"Brother…" cried Sveta

"Volechek is still alive! What is the Apollo Lens aimed at?" said Kraden concerned as he looked up.

"It's over…We've lost," frowned Karis.

"There's gotta be a way!" yelled Tyrell.

"Heh…heh…heh," Chalis suddenly laughed.

"How pleased you must be that your plan is proceeding," said Amiti unimpressed.

"No, it looks like seeing his sister in danger has snapped Volechek out of it!" Blados assured them.

"I do believe he's about to give his life for his sister and his people…" coughed Chalis, blood dripping from the side of her mouth.

"Volechek!" yelled Sveta in agony.

"Sveta…farewell…"

Volechek smiled one last time as he fired the Apollo Lens. A beam of light shot directly at Belinsk and showered Ei-Jei with the sun's holy light.

A processor of the Golden Sun.

There are times in our lives when we must accept inevitable change and allow things to come to a natural end. Judgment is often referred to as a time of resurrection and awakening, a time when a phase or period of our life comes to an absolute end making way for dynamic new beginnings.

Let the beastmen have their light.

Allow the cycle to continue.

~*~

0030 A.R (After Alchemy's Return)
Near Belinsk, Ei-jei, Morgal

The Apollo Lens brought unimaginable light to the beastmen of Belinsk; but as soon as the sun faded from the sky, light disappeared and was replaced by rain.

All their sins were being washed away with newfound soul.

Yet I had other matters to attend to.

Standing, his head lowered as water pelted against his blonde head, Matthew waited for me outside the kingdom of Belinsk. We had no prior arrangement to meet after the lighting of the Lens, but an inner instinct told me he'd be out here.

My heart pounded hard against my chest and I took a few steps towards my lover. I had warped here to meet him but he made no movement towards me when I became present.

"Matthew-"

"Why!?" he yelled, still looking at the ground but his fist shaking, "Why have you been deceiving me!? Was this all a lie! Why…why….did you make me believe…is…is this just some card game to you?!"

I found it unbelievably difficult to breathe.

"I…I don't understand."

"More lies… Alex!?" he looked up and I met rough sapphires, the rain covered his tears.

The feeling of fear never occurred to me, however, I took a step back in panic. My mind raced with an answer, but like a maze my thoughts kept coming to a dead end.

Matthew continued, "That's your name, isn't it? The name of a dirty traitor!"

"Please, you don't know-" I began but Matthew was quick to cut me off,

"Of course I don't know! What could I possibly know, I'm just a stupid child that you can play around with like a puppet! All you've ever wanted was the power of light, it was never me, you don't love me, you just love power!"

"Black sun as an image of the non-Self. This reflection focuses on a way of understanding the Self not so much as an ideal union of opposites but rather as paradox and monstrosity.
-Azoth


"That…that is not true!"

"Oh, then what is? 'I have determined truth is our best weapon' Yeah @#*^ right! The only weapon you've ever wanted is the power of the gods; you even used dark psynergy to help you!"

I was still speechless, but no matter how much he yelled  I could still see his tears hiding in the rain.

It made me glad that the water hid my tears as well.

"No!" I yelled at him and ripped the mask from my face; his jaw dropped as he saw the burn across my right eye, "Darkness might be harmful, but you don't understand how badly the light can burn!"

"A…Alex."

"Using the Eclipse Tower was the only way the Apollo Lens could be fired, but I never intended for the Tuaparang to use the light for their plans. That shot from the Lens could have given them enough power to start a war!"

"Is that why it hit Belinsk instead?" he asked.

"Yes, light psynergy is dangerous but the beastmen wield it well. No harm can be done with Sol on their side."

Silence.

"No…" said Matthew after a pause, "I don't believe you."

I took a step forward but he moved away from my intended warm embrace.

"Matthew, I promised to protect you- to love you!"

"And how often do you keep those promises, 'Arcanus' ?" he jeered.

He refused to look at me.

"People….change….," I told him, " I couldn't stay the same Alex forever because…no one loved him. Every person I came in contact with loathed me after the Golden Sun event, it was better that they believed I was dead, " I bit my lip, "Matthew, I've been searching for a way to redeem myself, to help save Weyard from those who are truly evil."

My lover turned his back to me.

"People don't change, Alex."

Weakness and temptation; taking what appears to be an easy option that you could regret in the future. Lack of commitment and a failure to recognize the true nature of a relationship: The Lovers reversed.

And slowly he walked away from me, leaving me standing alone, mind forever lost on a single ideal as my tears mixed with the rain on my cheek.

Harmony, diverging from our chosen path, finding measure of cost in these spiritual desires.

Matthew's ring rested in the grass at my feet.
Slowly my hand coiled into a fist.

What is an evil man without a cure?

A villain.

~*~
Apollo Lens.
Matthew leaves Alex.

Golden Sun (c) Golden Sun/Camelot
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