Okay. So. It was brought to my attention that there are some…interesting points of view I could've explored at the beginning of this story. So, while a lot has happened, I think it was just as good to go back and add some context— so think of this as a, ah-hem, refurbishment update. If you look through previous chapters, you'll see some scenes that add a lot of information about what's going on in Angel Land. Two gods have a conversation, Viridi strikes a deal, and the sea itself is conquered… so before continuing with this story, I'd highly recommend going back and reading through those chapters.
And that's the great thing about this being a living, breathing work of fiction— the fact that things can be pointed out to me, and I can go back and fix them accordingly. Now, I feel much more confident about the pacing and information revealed up to this point.
I cannot see past the target on your back…
"But…" Pit mumbled, brain still hazy. "I… I've done everything I could. We imprisoned them… Medusa and Hades. They can't hurt us anymore."
They're attached to you.
Pit reached out. The air around him was thick, tinged with an icy stillness he'd never quite felt before. It was dark here… an oppressive blackness, that seemed to pulsate with a breath of its own. However, his body glowed with a faint aura… the aura of light, something that all angels were graced with. Looking all around him, Pit could see nothing… not even the ground he was standing on.
Not all of them wish you well.
"Who?" he whispered, looking up. "Who attacked me?"
Suddenly, another voice caught his attention. He looked to his left, startled, as a happy giggling filled his ears. He was met with a welcoming sight— Lady Palutena, glowing just as he was, her smile bright. She didn't seem to see him, however; she was walking away, out into the darkness surrounding them. Pit reached out. "Hey, w-wait! Come back!"
All gods break their oaths. It is in their nature.
Pit stuck his foot out, tapping the ground ahead of him. Sidling forward, he began to pick up his pace as his goddess made ground on him.
You cannot trust a god… Not even the ones you love.
He followed Palutena for a few moments. However, with each step he took, it seemed as if she was moving farther into the distance. Finally, when his muscles were aching and he couldn't go on, the girl ahead of him stopped. Cautiously he approached, halting a few yards behind her.
Once again, she did not respond. Instead, as soon as the words left his lips, he watched as she spread her arms wide. She pitched forward, falling into the darkness around them.
Pit froze. "No…"
"Lady Palutena!" he screamed. He lunged for the edge, but was blown back as a horrible wind roared past him, knocking him from his feet.
Your time has ended.
"No!" he repeated. "No!"
He struggled against the gale, but could manage nothing more than to pull himself back to a standing position. As he fought to regain his balance, he looked up again, only to have his breath stolen from him as he did.
Two golden eyes glowed in the darkness. They weren't human— they were much too big. They were beast-like, feral… and, he thought with a sickening feeling, familiar.
Where had he seen those eyes before?
All oaths will be broken, and all gods shattered.
The eyes moved around him, and he could hear a faint growling coming from their direction. They circled around him, examining him as if he were some type of prey. He stepped back, but could go nowhere— the wind formed a barrier. Gritting his teeth, Pit faced the monster, utterly defenseless.
A new golden age has begun.
The creature charged forward, and Pit could do nothing but throw his hands up, his own cries resounding in his ears as he did. All Pit could see were the shapes of two yellow eyes, glowing in the terrible blackness. And then, he felt nothing.
My, my. You are one hard angel to catch.
Pit bolted awake.
His return to reality was so powerful that he threw himself sideways, falling from something soft onto something hard underneath him. Instinctively, he threw his arms out to catch himself, forgetting just how serious his wounds were. As soon as it met the ground, his arm gave out, and he felt a jolt in each of his bones as he crashed to the ground. Groaning, he peeled himself from the floor.
The angel's eyes had trouble adjusting to his surroundings. When he'd went to sleep, he was in the throne room… but now, he was sitting in the comfort of his own chambers, his fluffy blankets in a pile on the floor beside him. Palutena must've ordered the Centurions to take him to his own room... he had to admit, her gilded throne wasn't comfortable, but he still would've felt better beside her. Especially with what he'd just gone through... It was a dream. But it certainly didn't feel that way.
Blowing a strand of hair from his eyes, Pit peered through the cut-out window on the wall next to him. The moon hung low, its beams casting a pale glimmer over his chambers— judging from its position, it was just a couple of hours before dawn. He'd slept through evening and most of the night.
The thoughts of what transpired earlier spun around his head.
Lady Palutena? he called in his thoughts. Are you there?
He waited for a few seconds, but there was no answer. Pit pulled himself up, and a chill ran up his spine as his bare feet met the marble floor. Drawing his wings close, the boy crept forward, exiting his chambers.
Lady Palutena, please open up. I want to talk to you.
When there was no answer, he shook his head. Out loud, he said in a strained voice, "It's important."
But, once again, there was nothing but silence. His face falling in slight disappointment, Pit leaned against the marble. He closed his eyes, trying to locate her presence.
…Where are you?
The angel's shoulders slumped. Her presence wasn't close to him, as it usually was. Suddenly, he felt like he was going to be sick. Fear rising in his chest, Pit shouted louder, desperate to get his goddess's attention. "L-Lady Palutena! Please answer me! Please!"
However, no matter what he said, it was no use. No matter what he did, he couldn't establish a connection. However, Pit knew that this was no time to panic. So, instead, he cleared his thoughts, trying to find a solution. Hm… She could usually locate him by a mere thought. He wondered if he could do the same with her.
Closing his eyes once more, Pit pictured her face in his mind. The dark feeling was still pulling at his midsection, but the thought of his goddess made it… lighter, somehow. The reflection made him concentrate harder. He wasn't adept at using magic or manipulating Palutena's own powers himself… Their empathy link wasn't a two-way street. But still he felt a divine presence, pulling him towards the portal-door. Despite the strangeness of its location, the angel sighed in relief.
"My turn this time," he mumbled to himself, weary eyes opening. "Gotcha."
He bounded down the stairs. Pit being Pit, he almost tripped a few times, but he managed to catch himself by the flutters of his wings. Palutena was near the back entrance of the temple, the door that opened anywhere you needed it to, and he felt their connection strengthening with every foot he covered between them. As he passed through the temple's lofty interior, the night sky became clear to him… A few black clouds strayed here and there, but otherwise the stars casted their glow on the temple, making the luminescent exterior shine in a rainbow of colors. He didn't like the dark, but the beauty of Palutena's domain almost made it worthwhile to be out in it. He loved this place… and was proud to call it his home.
However, even with the dancing colors, Pit's eyes were drawn to something else entirely. A silhouette at the rainbow staircase was coming into focus, and he recognized it immediately.
But something kept him from calling out to her.
As he drew closer, he saw that she was doing something… her staff was raised high in the air, a sapphire light radiating from the orb on its head. Her halo, too, was resonating softly behind her. It looked as if she was trying to warp somewhere… outside of Skyworld. Shaking his head, Pit stepped forward.
The goddess elicited a surprised squeal, whirling around. She was so startled that her grip on her staff slipped, causing it to clatter to the stone below. When she saw who it was, however, she gave a sigh of relief— only to jump back, folding her hands behind her.
"Oh, P-Pit!" She smiled nervously, stepping away from him. "I thought you'd be asleep. You're supposed to be resting."
"Yeah, I could tell you the same thing," he said, nodding suspiciously. "Um, Lady Palutena? What's that?"
"Oh, just my staff. Heh. You know, use that thing every day."
"Funny. No, I meant the portal."
She glanced back over her shoulder. Sure enough, a circular inscription had appeared on the door, runes and symbols lining the outside of it. "I, er, have no idea what you're talking about."
"Gods, you're a tough one to crack," she muttered. Tilting her head, she gave him the most knowing smile she could muster, twirling her fingers in his direction. "This, my friend, is a dream. You're sleepwalking. And when you crawl back into bed, you'll wake up, and this exchange will have never taken place."
However, Pit wasn't having any of it. Gaze narrowing, he folded his arms. "You didn't notice me. You must've been really preoccupied with making sure you left quietly." Suddenly though, his expression softened. Looking up at her, pure confusion filling his eyes, the angel's voice was small. "Where are you trying to go?"
Realizing she'd been defeated, Palutena drew back. "I have something I need to do."
Sighing, the goddess picked her staff up from the ground. Once back in her hands, its glass orb resonated, echoing the power she gave to it. She ran her fingers along it, a somber look filling her features. "I guess we've both gotten too old for me to sneak past you anymore, huh?"
Pit looked down, wings drooping. "I just… want to know why you think you'd need to in the first place."
Palutena winced at the hurt in his voice. "Pit…" She stepped forward, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Because if I told you where I was going, I knew you'd try and stop me— and you'd win. But I can't afford for you to. Not this time."
He sighed, staring at her hand. "You… You're going to fight the storm, aren't you?"
Shaking her head, Palutena had a deep seriousness in her face. "I have to do something."
The angel looked up, wings flaring. "No way! Not a chance! Do you see what that thing did to me? If... If it got ahold of you... Gods, I can't even think about it."
"Pit." She turned her gaze towards the horizon. The night was still… a deep contrast to the tempest that seemed to be raging within the goddess. He saw within her at that moment something that he didn't see often— true sadness. "I didn't wake you for this, because I didn't want you to worry about me, but…" She stumbled, seemingly trying to find the words to say. Pit silently begged her to continue. Finally, the goddess straightened, reservation creeping into her stature. "I… had a nightmare again, Pit."
"Lady Palutena," he whispered, shooting her a helpless look. "Why wouldn't you tell me that?"
"Because making me feel better is not part of your job description," she answered.
"Well, sure, but I thought we were past that."
She nodded thoughtfully. "Well… Yeah, we are. But that doesn't change the fact that the storm hurt you. Badly. I'm just… I'm sick of having to put you through all of this. I'm sick of having to go through it myself. That storm, the darkness it brought with it, it's not natural… I-I think it's gotten to some of the others already."
Pit glanced back at her. "What do you mean?"
"That thing hurt you, Pit... And I was helpless. I couldn't do anything. My powers— they're being blocked. And I think that's the reason why I haven't been able to get into contact with Dyntos, or Thanatos, or even Pandora. And my nightmare... Poseidon. He was calling for me. He's in trouble. I have to go help him."
"You can't." Pit's eyes were large and serious. "Lady Palutena, that thing is after you. You can't go and help Lord Poseidon. You can't. He's gone already."
"But..." She reached out to him. "How can you be sure?"
A new golden age has begun.
He struggled to steady his breathing, once again clutching at his burning scratches. "Something's happened."
"Your highness! Your highness!"
His attention was ripped away as another voice entered the chamber, from the hall that led to the grand entrance of Palutena's temple. There, a Centurion Knight hovered, an urgent look riddled across his face. He gave a quick bow, but that didn't stop him from waving his bow frantically. "It's bad! It's so bad!"
Holding her hands up, the goddess stepped forward. "Calm down! What's wrong? What is it?"
Pit walked up beside her, taking the Centurion's headwings with both hands. Effectively immobilized, the knight looked up, eyes passing between the concerned faces of his superiors. Shaking slightly, he saluted.
"It's Mistress Viridi," the Centurion said, voice trembling. "You should come quickly, my lady— she's been hurt."
"I just… I don't understand! It's only been a few hours— I didn't even feel her presence!"
Their footsteps echoed around them as they made their way forward, to the front entrance of the throne room, which was closed off from the grand hall proper. There, the huge double doors were quaking slightly— no doubt from the wind that had accompanied the clouds into Skyworld. Panting lightly, Palutena reached for the edge, Pit opposite her. Together, they pushed the doors open just enough to let them through.
Palutena's breath caught in her throat. "Oh, no…"
The scene outside the temple was chaos. Everything was gray— from the low-hanging clouds all around them to the wild wind that blasted through the marble pillars, the entirety of Skyworld had been enveloped in the dagger-like rain. Pit squinted to try and see through the storm, but he could barely make out even those buildings that were close to him. With the wetness came a chill— a freezing one, the kind felt in winters that were not native to Angel Land. The air bit at his skin as they peered out, even under the bandages. It seemed as if the coldness of the air made his cuts burn fiercer.
Waterfalls poured over Palutena's marble structures. She reached an out under them, her hand struggling to keep up under the torrential water. She pulled back and shook it dry, an uncomfortable expression crossing her face. "I don't know what we can do," she said. "It's not like we can fight a storm."
"Lady Palutena! Captain, sir!"
The two looked out to the courtyard, glowing ominously in the pre-dawn light. There, they could barely make out the silhouette of a burly, ape-like creature hovering through the rain. Accompanying him were two smaller shadows, each carrying a halberd— Centurion Knights and one Strongarm. The bravest of the three flew forward, water dripping off the sides of his helmet. When he met his comrades, he turned to look back at them, an unsure expression crossing his face. "Mistress Viridi is here in Skyworld. Permission to allow her entry?"
"Where is she?" Palutena cried, her voice nearly getting lost in the wind.
"Here, my lady," he responded. He gestured to the Strongarm, who the must've summoned to their side— she hadn't noticed it before, but something was draped across his arms. Sure enough, as he moved into the torchlight, what she saw made her heart yearn in sadness.
Viridi… the Goddess of Nature, their ally, their friend… was lying in the Strongam's hands, shivering in the night air and looking only half-conscious in the dim light. Her amber eyes opened only halfway, and it seemed that she was using all her strength to keep them that way. Bruises and Scratches covered her head to foot— none quite as severe as the ones Pit had endured, but painfully similar. The deep pink dress she always wore was in tatters, and the ponytail that normally held her golden hair had been tugged loose. Her breathing was shallow, and rain dripped from her skin. Palutena slowly approached her, tears pooling in her eyes. "Oh, Viridi…"
Pit was amazed at how fragile and tiny the young goddess looked in the huge Centurion's arms. One wrong move, Pit was afraid, and he'd crush her.
"Pit…" she panted. "Palu… tena…"
The Knight drifted forward, shaking his head in remorse. "She was dropped off here by someone, I couldn't tell who— I just caught the tail end of their shadow before they dived off the side again. The rain didn't start until she arrived here. I believe she has something to do with it."
"And the Forces of Nature?'
"Nowhere in sight, I'm afraid."
"Thank you," she whispered. "You're dismissed."
Exchanging looks with one another, the trio of Knights began to back away, leaving their lady to her grievances. His feelings of uncertainty growing every second, Pit turned back to the goddesses. Viridi was looking to Palutena, her eyes wide with fear and desperation. Pit had never seen such a look on her face. If he had to be honest with himself… it terrified him.
"They… They followed me," she said.
However, before she could answer, the younger goddess's muscles seized in pain. Looking up, Palutena tugged on the Centurion's arm. "Help me get her inside."
Nodding, her servant pushed past the doors and carried her across the room. At Palutena's direction, he deposited Viridi on the chair. She winced at the sudden movement, but made no protest. Holding hand over one arm, she looked up at her fellow goddess, eyes wild.
"I'm— I'm sorry to have come here, but I didn't have anywhere else to go—"
"It's okay, Viridi," Palutena said, gently lowering her onto the throne. "It's all right. You're safe here."
As Palutena knelt to start assessing her damage, the Centurion left them alone. Kneeling next to them, Pit took Viridi's hand, allowing her to squeeze it as Palutena applied pressure to the scratches that were bleeding. None of her wounds looked too bad— perks of being a goddess. She seemed more scared than anything else. The few superficial marks she had gained weren't nearly as bad as his own, but still she clutched them, trying to curb the pain. Pit's eyes filled with sadness, and a sympathetic look crossed his face. As silence laced the throne room, he twisted one of Palutena's cloths around his free hand, looking at it as if it could tell him the cause behind Viridi's injured state. He had a suspicion… and he didn't like where it was taking him.
Palutena must have thought the same thing. He met her eyes, and they softened.
"…What did this to you?" he asked.
"There were so many…" she whimpered, resting her head against the back of the throne. "I don't… I don't remember."
Once again, a hush fell over the trio. After a few moments, Palutena stood, lips thinning.
"Wait here, Viridi," she said.
The girl groaned in response.
Pt raised an eyebrow as his goddess moved around the back of the throne, toward the reflecting pool. Careful not to disturb Viridi, he sidled beside her, climbing the steps to meet the green-haired girl.
What are you doing?" Pit whispered, taking his place beside Palutena.
"A good thing," she replied. She twirled her fingers in the water, sending ripples all the way to the bowl's edges. "I'm contacting Pittoo. I'm going to see if he's felt any more disturbances in the Overworld."
"Too late," Viridi mumbled.
Palutena looked up, startled. "What?"
Before another word could be exchanged, something burst through the front doors of the temple. In a blur of black and green, it slid across the floor, quickly recovering and bouncing back in the opposite direction— it was trying to close the doors. With great difficulty, too, because the relentless wind was fighting against him. Perhaps through strength or sheer willpower, he managed to close the door, collapsing back against it as he did so.
The two blinked, unsure if what they were seeing was true. Pit had barely had time to jump into a fighting stance, but as he lowered his fists, he saw that he was facing no enemy. He didn't understand it, but the sight relieved him.
Breathing heavily, the figure threw his hand up. "You called?"
"Pittoo!" Pit rushed over to him, offering the dark angel a hand. To his surprise, it was accepted, and he pulled the boy up. "Are you okay? You look… a wreck."
His twin, too, was dripping from all the water he was laden with. His black hair was pasted to his forehead, and visible droplets collected on his wings. Giving them a good flap, the angel splayed water everywhere, wringing the tail of his tunic on the front doorstep. "How do I look now?" he asked.
Pit wiped the water from his face, flicking it in his opposite's direction. "Like a million hearts," he responded dryly.
Palutena shot a questioning look at Viridi, but still kept her gaze on Dark Pit. The Nature Goddess looked straight ahead, as if she was still living a nightmare.
"He… helped me," she said. "Pittoo saved me. He's the only reason I made it out of my temple alive."
"Really?" Palutena asked. Pit received a mixture of emotions—she was both surprised and impressed. And she wanted him to know it. Understanding, he turned to his doppelganger.
"Why'd you help?" Pit asked.
Dark Pit shot him a snarky look, placing his hand on his hip. "Oh, I got out of bed this morning and decided that I wasn't feeling particularly malevolent— figured I'd spend the day getting cats out of trees or something. But here we are."
Pit grunted, exasperated. "Pittoo—"
"Because I'm a good person, okay?" He threw an arm out. "When I got Viridi's distress signal, I decided it was worth my time to help her. Turns out, things were worse than I'd thought. That little rainstorm you were playing in earlier? It followed her home. I'm glad I did help, because if I hadn't, she would have ended up just like Phosphora and the others-"
"Pittoo." Pit's eyes widened. "What happened to Phosphora and the others?"
The dark angel shrugged. Turning away, he folded his arms, narrowing his eyes as if the very thought made him angry. "Well… They got attacked by the same things that attacked you," he said. "Viridi's been trying to get ahold of their spirits, but her connection with them isn't like yours and Palutena's, or yours and mine. I'm not sure what happened… we all got separated in the storm. I told them to meet up with us here, but… doesn't look like they made it."
Pit shook his head. "Oh, my gods…" He swallowed, unsure of how to process this new information. "I feel so bad for them…"
"Yeah. I do, too."
They fell into silence as they watched Palutena clean what remained of Viridi's wounds. However, Pit noticed one more thing he wished to question his twin about. Turning to gaze at his hardened crimson eyes, Pit leaned in close to him, making sure that his observation was correct.
"You don't have a scratch."
Dark Pit glanced down at his arms, still folded tightly. "No… I don't."
Wrinkling his nose, Pit turned back to the goddesses across from them. With Dark Pit trailing behind, he ascended the small platform that the throne sat upon. Viridi was almost completely attended to now, and her injuries didn't glow as angrily as they had when she'd first arrived.
Inhaling sharply, she closed her eyes. "I know why it came after me."
Each of them lowered their hands, giving the injured goddess their full attention.
"After I left here, I went back to my temple to try and figure out what was going on," she said, and the other goddess nodded. "It was the others, Palutena. They didn't answer my calls. I sent the Flages to their domains, but… they were... Empty." She leaned back, looking at the temple's ceiling. "All of them are gone."
Palutena took a step back, the goddess paling as Viridi's words reached her ears. "That's… That's not possible."
The Goddess of Light looked as if she'd been winded. Utterly confused, she lowered herself onto the marble steps, dully aware that Pit had moved beside her. Raising an eyebrow, Dark Pit turned back to Viridi. "Why does that matter?"
"Because," Pit said, reaching out to steady his goddess, "it means that something happened to them. The other gods only leave their domains for two reasons: one, they're up to no good, or two, they were forced out. And if all of them went missing… Which one sounds like the better option?"
"I'm not liking where this is going," his twin responded.
"So, if we're the only two gods whose whereabouts are known, that leaves seven others unaccounted for," Palutena said, pacing down the throne room. "I know you looked for Poseidon and Dyntos, but did you check on the others too?"
Viridi nodded. "First I tried looking for Pandora and Thanatos, they'd kept mostly to themselves after the war. The places they usually hang out were devoid of their auras— graveyards, the Labyrinth, and even their home bases in the Underworld. Then, I noticed that Pyrrhon's soul had been in Angel Land recently. But that stupid thing he has, the Sun Chariot— I found it abandoned in some field over by Phoenix Mountain. And the worst part?"
"Dare I ask?"
"Even Medusa and Hades, where their souls had been imprisoned by the rest of us… they were gone from there, Palutena. There was no trace of them anywhere."
Pit sighed, breaking his gaze from his allies. "That… that thing tried to take me. If it followed Viridi and tried the same thing with her, then we know what must've attacked the other gods. And if all of them are gone—"
Dark Pit inclined his head. "We know who they're going for next."
"So what do we do? Prepare for war?"
"With what?" Viridi interjected. "We don't even know who our enemies are. Even if we did, there's no way we could take them. Look how powerful they are— one scratch, and they almost killed you, Pit. You're the closest thing we've got to a weapon, and even you're powerless against it!"
"Argh…" Pit scowled, balling his fists. "It's… that's so unfair!"
"That's your weakness," she said. "That's how it is."
"Viridi's right," Palutena whispered. "As it stands now, we can't face this... thing, whatever it is. You and I wouldn't last a second out there. I just…" She looked down, guilt filling her eyes. "I don't understand how all of this got past me. I'm the ruler of Angel Land… I'm supposed to know these things."
"You've done what you could," Pit said, moving beside her. "This thing is blocking you, right? You can't help that. But what I don't get is why someone would kidnap the gods. I mean, without them, the natural balance of this place will go haywire. Does somebody really hate the humans that badly?"
"Seriously," Viridi said. "Not even I did."
"I don't think that's the case." Palutena shook her head. "It looks as if it has something to do with our powers. Pittoo knows this better than any of us: when you defeat a god and take their powers, you'll be capable of many, many things. I don't think another god is doing this. We all know too well what happens when we invade each other's domains."
"Yeah, that'd be pointless. Unless…"
"Someone's looking to remove us from power."
Viridi exhaled. "I think you're right."
A distant boom sounded outside the temple, signifying that the storm hadn't passed. The rumbling reflected the heavy atmosphere that had settled over the temple. It was a startling revelation indeed… and Pit felt his mind rush at the thought.
"The Reapers…" he whispered.
"Yes." Palutena closed her eyes. "They never go outside their domain unless told to do so. Previously, it had been Medusa and Hades who'd given them orders. What attacked us had been the Reapers, no doubt about it. So, someone who has influence over the Reapers… The question is, why do they look so different? I doubt they'd be able to evolve like that on their own. Especially given their rather… quirky design."
"But that doesn't tell us anything," Viridi said. "Any person with half a brain can claim to be the Underworld's ruler—especially now that there isn't one— and rally the Reapers in their favor. We should've kept an eye on them."
"We should've done a lot of things," Palutena sighed. "We have too many enemies. We won't know until they want us to."
"Maybe not," Dark Pit interrupted, "But I get the feeling we're about to find out."
Curious expressions crossing their faces, Pit and Palutena walked to where the other angel had moved, looking through one of the cut-out windows near the throne room's entrance. Gazing out beside him, the two realized that their ally was correct— the darkest clouds, which had been skirting around Skyworld all night, had finally crested its borders, looming ominously over the city proper.
Palutena's breath shallowed. "No… Oh, no…"
Before the words could even cross her lips, however, another wave of thunder crashed through the sky. A bright flash shone against the purple pre-dawn light. Pit heard the menacing patter of rain before he saw it… but wet, circular marks were left on the marble of Palutena's temple. As the rain began to fall harder, the clouds parted to show something that sent a chill through the very essence of their souls.
"Something's out there."
"This is just like what happened at Viridi's place," Dark Pit muttered. "This storm's about to get a whole lot worse."
Palutena's eyes widened. "How could it have broken through my barrier? That's old magic!"
Viridi raised an eyebrow. "As in, not yours."
"No," she said, hands balling into fists. "As in, my father's."
Pit glanced at her. So that explained it, then. Palutena very, very rarely talked about her family— he knew that all gods were related somehow, but they didn't mention it. That was something they'd rather forget, he supposed. But he knew that Palutena's father was one of the old gods... The King of the Gods, to be precise. He'd left the title to Palutena when he'd left this realm. That had sparked many wars—two of which he'd participated in himself. If Palutena's barrier really was created by the Elder Gods, then it should've held… no matter the enemy.
Shaking it off, Pit turned back to the view outside of the temple. If he squinted, he could just barely make out the shapes of a few of his Centurions, huddled together and looking into the storm nervously. It was clear they were on edge, as they each held their bows against the clouds, flinching each time thunder pounded across the skyline. From the corner of his eye, he could see something stirring in the shadows.
"We have to figure out something."
"It's not like we can manhandle a cloud."
Pit watched intently. The shape in the cloud seemed too big to be a Centurion, too skinny for a Stongarm… and not defined enough to be one of Viridi's troops. Pit's fists tightened as it floated closer. The Centurions didn't seemed to notice to approaching shadow, and instead were shoving each other, probably arguing over who was to go out and investigate. Finally, the bravest of the three floated forward. He turned back, saying something to his comrades, and disappeared into the rain.
A few tense seconds passed. The atmosphere around the temple seemed to freeze. And then, something came flying from the clouds.
A halberd. A Centurion-sized halberd.
It drove into the stone beside them. Quivering, the Centurions looked up at the figure before them… and could do nothing as sharp claws wrapped around their bodies.
"No!" Pit cried.
The few who were left scrambled back, but they weren't fast enough— more Reapers shot from the clouds, swarming them, taking each one with little resistance. Even the Strongarms were no match; several of the creatures rushed them at once. They were utterly helpless— and yet, none of them seemed to be taking any hits. Instead, the Reapers were dragging them back into the clouds, their screams of terror cut short.
"What's going on?" Palutena shouted, rushing to the window. However, her face paled as she saw what was happening…
Her troops were hopelessly outnumbered.
"I've got to help them!" Pit yelled, lunging for the temple's entrance. Mouth agape, Palutena sprinted to the doors, a pale light already materializing in her hand.
"Pit, not again! You can't take anymore!"
She ran out after him, following him through the temple's front door. Dark Pit threw his arm out. "Uh, wait! You can't—"
He was cut off as the loud echoing of the front doors resounded through the room. Pinching the bridge of his nose, the dark angel let out a deep sigh.
"Gods…" Dark Pit cursed. "I'm surrounded by idiots."
He moved to follow them, but was stopped when the Goddess of Nature let out a sharp cry. She threw a hand out, catching the dark angel by the arm. He whirled around, a biting remark stirring in his throat, but it died as soon as he saw Viridi's face.
"You have to stop them."
He gave her a disgruntled look, trying to break free of her grip. "Why should I?"
"That was dark magic, Pittoo," she rasped, eyes pleading. "Something more powerful than what Medusa or Hades were capable of. It hurt me— but it'll kill them."
Sorry if all the expositional things were quite boring. But, they were needed, and now it seems that Pit and Palutena are in deep trouble… Things will be picking up in the next chapter, Hurricane! Hope to see you tune in!