The Day The Shadow Fell Silent From that day, Beuce had spent four months in the city, among his people. He knew it, in actuality, was probably not very long. It was only from his perspective that such a length of time had passed. Still, he was beginning to grow accustom to life in Umbrel once again. At times, it grew difficult to remember that he was in an illusionary world, crafted from his memories of the real thing. Partially because the illusions were so life-like and real. They spoke, walked, and behaved exactly like the real people when they had been alive. He didn't think he remembered them that well, but...Maybe part of it was that deep down, he wanted it to be real. He wanted a second chance to make something of himself here, in his home. He wanted a second chance to save his people. Still, as the days left grew shorter, Beuce found himself more and more nervous. He could tell that his friends noticed, so he tried to distance himself from them, so as not to worry them. He knew full well that what was about to come, he'd have to face alone. Even if they wanted to help him, they couldn't. It seemed like fate itself wouldn't allow it. Honestly, if that turned out to really be the case, it wouldn't surprise him all too much. As the months went by, the days began to grow longer. Spring was approaching. Every year, they would have a festival to celebrate the coming season. To celebrate that they had made it through the harsh winter. Umbrel was a harsh and unforgiving environment, but the people believed that made them stronger. Most were beside themselves with joy about the coming festival, but Beuce greeted it only with dread. When the day finally came, Mari came to fetch him from his room. She stood in his doorway with a scowl. "I came to make sure you didn't skip out on the festival. You've been depressed lately, i expected you to sit in your room and sulk instead of spending it with us." She said in a straight to the point tone. Beuce looked over at the woman. He didn't blame her for coming to get him. He'd considered running from today, but somehow, he knew he'd never be able to. If he ran away now, he wouldn't just be running away from his people. He'd be abandoning his friends. The ones he'd made after today. He had to face himself. He needed to reach out to truth. Pushing himself up out of the chair, he gave a smirk. "Wouldn't miss it for the world." With that, they left. The spring festival was vibrant. One of the few times that the black city was filled with color. Sweet smells filled the air as stands were set up and lined the streets, peddling food and drink of all variety. The buildings were lined with bright floral decorations, grown and preserved from the summer of last year. Beuce walked down the street with his three friends, they laughed and made small talk together, but his focus was somewhat split. He was trying to figure out a way to stop Sorenia's massacre. The very thought of the woman frightened him to the core. Try as he might, he couldn't picture a scenario in which he triumphed over The Butcher. The eleventh hour approached all too quickly. Finally, he heard his name called out. Darien, The leader of their nation and race beckoned him up to a stage set up in the center of the city. He was a tall, slender man with dark tan skin. His hair was smooth and short. He'd heard Mari comment on more than one occasion how attractive she found the man. The loud conversations turned to hushed ones, wondering what was going on. Beuce could barely force his legs to carry him forward. He knew what was about to happen. This was where everything went wrong. The only time he'd ever heard the entire city stand silent in shock. The day his people died. He stood next to the man who had called him, and looked out at the massive crowd of onlookers. Sweat ran down his forehead as he looked up. It was there that he saw her. The Butcher of the High Throne, Sorenia. The woman had long blonde hair, and deep red eyes. She held a crossbow, aimed at Darien. He remembered this day from when it happened. She was going to fire it, it was going to go through his throat, and the entire city would fall silent, before she and her underlings murdered them. His legs were frozen. He couldn't bring himself to move to stop her. To push him out of the way. He couldn't even warn him. He closed his eyes, awaiting the event that sealed his fate, but it never came. He heard the whistle of the bolt zipping through the air, but there was no splatter of blood. Instead, there was a metallic clank, and he heard the arrow fall onto the ground. He opened his eyes, and in that one moment, all his worry fell away as he saw a lumpy, buck toothed smile looking at him. "G'warsh Beuce. I was gonna let ya do this alone, but I ain't never seen ya look so scared before. Is she really that tough...?" He fell backwards with relief, and sat on the ground. He had no idea what the dog knight was doing here, but he'd never been so glad to see anyone in his life. The two didn't have any time for any catching up, because a displeased groan filled the air, and Sorenia leaped down onto the stage between them and drew her blade. Goofy stepped between her and the panicked Darien to protect him, but twelve more cloaked figures dropped next to her. Beuce drew his blade and took his position next to Goofy, but they were outnumbered. "I'll handle the others. You just handle the girl. Seems like she's got a bone t' pick with you too." Goofy said, and he was right. The Dominesian king was glaring at him. Clearly she knew who he was. Sorenia didn't waste time with words. She simply charged and attempted to sever his head from his shoulders. As promised Goofy, with the help of Zaktus, Mari, and Alana managed to keep the others off of him. He only needed to deal with Sorenia. He gave a mental scoff. Only beat the butcher of the high throne. Right. No sweat there. He blocked her blade and pushed it off to the side, but immediately he noticed something was off. She swung again, but he stepped to the side and avoided it. Several more times, they clashed. What was going on...? Why... She retained the offensive, striking blow after blow, but none of them managed to get through and wound her opponent. Eventually, the butcher brought the long metal blade down from an overhead swing, but Beuce brought his own up to defend against it and locked their weapons. With her sword pressed against the flat of his blade, they pushed against one another, but the same thought kept echoing through his head. Why... Why was she so... weak? It was then that the realization hit him. He almost couldn't believe it, and he began to laugh. Stepping back, the Dominesian king gave him an odd look. "Is there something you find amusing, boy?" He slowly ceased to laugh, and looked at her in disbelief. "I used to be so afraid of you...." He muttered, shaking his head. "Excuse me?" "You were always the stuff of my nightmares. You were an impossible force that i had to defeat. If I didn't everyone I knew and loved was doomed. An incompletable task that was thrust onto me and said 'do it or die.'. I've been going over the fight with you again and again in my head but...I can't believe i didn't realize it." Sorenia looked at him as though he were insane. She wasn't sure if there was some off the wall tactic to confuse her and create an opening, and so she kept her guard up. "What are you babbling on about?" Beuce smirked and dropped his blade. "Giving up?" He instead extended his hand forward, and in it a long light appeared. It was a beautiful spiral of red and blue, blurring together in harmony. "I surpassed you a long time ago. Nequa, Aux, Arma, Spectrum, even Mortimer. Next to what I've already faced, you're nothing. Barely even worth the effort." His voice let on that he wasn't lying. Hesitantly, she took a step back. It seemed like now, for the first time in her life, she was afraid. All her opponents had seen her as a threat which had to be overcome, but no one had ever dared claim that they were so laughably above her as this, and she as she looked into his eye, she knew he meant every word it. The light burst into a dual-ended sword. His keyblade. Based on the look of them, each one of the ends of it could by their own rights have been considered a keyblade, and yet, with the way the melded together, there was no question that they were a single weapon. He gripped the blade by its handle, and, at his command, the two blades sent power spiraling down the chain into the gems grafted into the keyblades handle and causing them to shine with a blur of the two colors. The once-again wielder began to resonate with an azure and crimson aura, all around his body. "But don't make any mistake. Just because you're weaker than me doesn't mean I won't come at you with everything I've got!"