Pain was not a feeling the Empress of Light was accustomed to.
Maybe it had been, a long time ago, before the Hallow made her its Champion, but she could not recall any memories of the days before the Hallow's calling.
Where was she?
The fae goddess found herself laying on a grassy surface, facing the night sky, with no idea how she'd gotten there. The last thing she remembered was descending (or was it ascending? She knew not) from the Hallow's depths to cleanse what was surely an Impurity.
She met, instead of an Impurity, a Celestial made flesh.
The Empress of Light, despite being one of the newer Deities created solely to govern the destruction of Impurity, still recognized the signs of a fellow being of immense power, and indeed, the Hero of Terraria boasted a power unlike any other. Under normal circumstances, that would be of no concern to the fae goddess, except for the fact that the Hero was clothed in armor forged from gods, and bore weapons that harnessed the power of the World itself.
Even then, the Hero only won barely, but won nonetheless, vanquishing the Empress from the realms of the living.
She faintly remembered asking the Celestial made flesh to bury her in the Hallow before letting her light fade.
This was not the Hallow.
For one, she could no longer feel the Hallow's presence, which set off alarm bells immediately. How long had she slept, that the Crimson of the Corruption had wiped out the Hallow?
Only, she could not sense either Corruption of Crimson either.
That, somehow, was even more worrying.
Rising from from where she lay, the Empress of Light nearly fell to her knees almost immediately. Finally focusing on herself, it became evident that the many wounds she had obtained while fighting the Hero had not left her.
At the very least, in confirmed she was not in the Afterlife.
Pushing away such thoughts, the Empress closed her eyes and focused for a moment, and she began to shrink from her massive figure to a size more suited to an adult human. The fae goddess had learned, from who or what or where she did not know, that when greatly injured, it was better to condense her form into a smaller one as to increase her recovery speed.
Having done that, and already feeling the slight effects of her sped up healing-factor, the Empress finally began to take in her surroundings.
She found herself in a forest, untainted by either Corruption or Crimson, by the looks of it. The trees were as green as the grass she now toed, and the night sky shone above her filled with clouds and a broken moon-
Catching sight of the broken celestial sphere, the Empress froze, staring at it. The Moon, the indomitable domain of the Eldest One, left in ruin? Even as she faced the Hero, after the vanquishing of the Eldest One, the Moon had remained intact.
What had happened while she slept?
She had no time to ponder the question, however, for that was when the pack of what she would be later told were Beowolves made themselves known.
Creeping in from the edges of the clearing, they stalked up to her, growling with animalistic rage, as if personally slighter by her presence, and the Empress froze.
But not in fear, no.
She trembled in anticipation.
Wherever, or whenever she had been sent to upon her defeat at the Hero's hand, it seemed to be clear that she'd been sent to this world to do what she had been chosen to do all those millennia ago.
And, despite herself still being injured, she let the Hallow's Light gather in her hands, and spread her wings and rose to the sky in all her blinding, luminescent radiance.
The Corruption was here.
And, unfortunately for it, so was she.
It was morning, and Ozpin had barely slept at all.
He wished he could say that wasn't a common occurrence, but it happened all too often, which was why he was thankful for Beacon's seemingly never-ending coffee supply.
It might be the only thing that keeps me going at this point, he thought ruefully to himself. It was probably true; almost all his actual reasons for accepting the God of Light's proposal so long ago were now either dead, in possession of the enemy, or was the actual enemy itself.
Ozma's thoughts nearly strayed towards a memory of a blue-eyed, blonde-haired woman, and Ozpin just as quickly shoved it away.
Tapping his cane rhythmically against the floor, the Headmaster of Beacon hummed to himself as the elevator took him up to his office above the rest of the school. Arriving at his destination, he strode out out the open doors and made for his desk, only pausing minutely in mild surprise at Glynda's presence. "Professor Goodwitch, it;s an odd thing to see you up this early." And early it was; the sun had barely crested the horizon, and Glynda almost never woke up before a set time.
Unless, of course, these was a situation that called for the utmost urgency.
"Ozpin," she greeted hastily, increasing his ever-growing worry. "I was just about to call you. Something odd is happening in Emerald Forest that I think requires your input… rather desperately."
Quickly making her way over to him, she handed over the tablet she was holding that displayed the camera feeds of the many devices Beacon had hidden in the forest. Ozpin's eyebrows raised in concern when he noticed several of them, all in the same sector, had gone out, while the rest in that sector were seemingly blinded by a bright light. "Where those always like that?"
Glynda shook her head. "I only noticed it when it woke me up half an hour ago. The lights were flashing rather quickly, which was cause for alarm on it's own. The other cameras being out in the same area only made me more certain that something had gone wrong." Swiping a finger on the screen, she displayed a previous recording made prior to the cameras offlining or blinding, and Ozpin's eyes narrowed. "Those Beowolves… they're hunting something."
Nodding in agreement, Glynda switched to another tab, handed the device to him, and stalked back to Ozpin's desk to retrieve her staff. Ozpin himself made for the elevator doors again, keeping them open until his fellow colleague joined him, and they begun the journey down. They stood in silence for a few moments before Glynda turned to him again. "What could possibly have agitated all those Grimm?"
Ozpin didn't have an answer.
The new Creatures of Corruption were weak, even more so than usual.
It confused them Empress mildly; for even the various Champions of Corruption the biome would spawn from the land where she hailed from boasted more power than the ones she fought now, though even these weak creatures would occasionally bring forth a Champion of Corruption, usually in the form of a large scorpion, or twin basilisks.
Even in her weakened state, still healing from her fight with Terraria's Hero, her powers were more than enough to purge the Impure creatures from the earth, smiting them with Hallow's Light and scorching the ground where they died, the slowly-spreading Hallow cleansing the earth of their vile presence.
However, what the Impure beasts lacked in strength, they made up for in numbers, throwing themselves at fae goddess numerous times, seemingly uncaring for their own lives son long as the chance to defeat her was an option. And though it galled the Empress, she was growing weary. The small bits of Hallow she had sown were not enough to boost her recovery, and the hordes of Impurity seemed never-ending. At least, at first.
In the end, as the sun rose in the East, as it was wont to do, the hordes of monsters started to become less, and less.
And then, abruptly, there were none left.
Lowering her hands and descending from where she was hovering, the Empress scanned her surroundings one more time, determining the threat of Impurity had been vanquished. Then, judging herself safe, she let herself collapse on one of the small pieces of Hallow, folding in her wings and laying on the patch of familiar biome-earth.
She closed her eyes and slept.
She did not hear the humans arriving.