Foce took the airship down while the others rested in the living room, and called them out when she landed across the road from where a large, vaguely familiar mansion, and when they were in the yard, Foce cried out, "There it is!"
A dark mist surrounded a patch of ground and she turned to Banshee, "Please, bring it from the dimension."
Foce felt her breath catch in her throat as a worn headstone appeared, dried rose petals and the sword that she left there sat on the surface, "It's still here...you're still here, Lux..."
"Foce." Jessie whispered softly as she rested her hand on the vampire's shoulders and stared at the grave.
"I...I remember now, I pulled the flower heads apart from the thorny stems, because I wished to remove the pain from our lives and just keep the rose petals," Foce shuddered from something other than the cold as warm tears rolled down her cheeks, "I only wish her happiness. Lux, I...I miss her...Jess...you know I liked her, but I think I loved her."
"I can't imagine how hard that'd be, when I think of losing you..." Jessie held Foce closely and let out a deep breath, "I bet she was an amazing person."
"Even when I bit her, she didn't resent me..." Foce wiped her eyes and smiled, "that's kinda like what happened with you."
"Yeah, it is." Jessie frowned suddenly as she stared at the sword on the ground, "Foce, was her headstone so worn back then?"
"No, it wasn't." Foce whispered, "Why?"
"Because that sword is so...pristine." Jessie stared at the blade intently and sighed, "But...that doesn't make sense."
"Do you think it's...the Guardian of Light's sword? But I held it, I was a vampire when I set it...w-when I...laid it there."
"I know, Foce." Jessie drew her blade and carefully held it out, "It looks awful similar to mine, no?"
"It...Jessie..." Foce looked up at her and let out a deep breath, "Do you remember that necklace you gave me?"
Jessie stared into Foce's eyes, something about what she said made sense, "D-did you...did we ever learn what the words meant?"
"It's what he said to me, before I turned into...this. What I am." Foce stared at her hands and closed her eyes, "Was this life better than the last one, or will it be exactly the same tragedy?!" she felt her breath catch as Jessie gently took her hands in her own, "I never told you, but some day before that autumn we met, I had my first memory of a rose, it seemed like any other flower, but when I grabbed the stem, it cut me. I told you about that, right?"
Foce closed her eyes and slowly remembered.
"That's when I learned that, as inviting as it seemed, that flower is guarded and leaves a painful impression to those foolish enough to reach for it, but I always liked that about them, the marks they leave behind let you know...that you held them. That they were there, and within reach, and that you cut yourself on them, for better or worse." Lux smiled and rubbed the back of her head awkwardly, "Who knows, maybe I'm a special kinda fool! But that's when I realized I didn't hate roses for the thorns, I'm sure they have their reasons for being guarded."
She tapped Foce's shoulder, "Turn around now, Foce."
A dozen thorn roses, thorns removed from the stems, "I'd pull the pain out of every part of your life if I could, so you could freely reach for anything you wanted, but I can't...so I want to promise to always be with you, to fill every day with as much love as I can...but only if you want me to."
"I do." Foce whispered. She accepted the roses and took a deep breath filled with their scent, "I love you, too, Lux."
"I'm sorry that I left you last time," Jessie stared at her gloved hand for a moment and smiled, "this time is different, I'm strong this time."
"Jessie, I think you're...I think we might be the Infinity Guardians...the vault reminded me of the place you grew up, specifically, the path we took resembled the path to the gift you gave me, the medallion...that's why I believe the vault doesn't have to hold something physical, it can reveal a path to the heart of the Guardian of Light."
"Something did feel oddly familiar...maybe I didn't want to believe Lux was a Guardian so much, I never realized it until this life...and you bridge the gap between my lives." Jessie smiled and cupped Foce's cheeks, "Looks like Vindicatus messed up; I remember who I am because you pointed out the similarities between my two lives, Banshee told us only infinity Guardians reincarnate, and if you love me and I love you, in both lives...realize yourself, my Guardian."
Foce was surprised by Jessie's proposal, but it was all slowly making sense to her now, "It's the only reason I could subdue the rage of the Guardians in the malice-polluted underworld, the malice that gathered because the Infinity Crystal didn't effect that world anymore, and I was unaffected, because I am an Infinity Guardian."
"Foce...we know where we have to go." Jessie took Foce's hand and they turned around together. The gasped and turned when they felt their wings brush against each others, "How'd that get there?"
"You flew." Foce murmured, then realized Jessie's confused expression, "Um, I mean, back there you flew."
"Oh, right, I did!" Jessie replied with a nod, "I guess my power's like yours."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, if you two are Guardians...that means you're star crossed lovers!" Romeo turned to Juliet and grinned, "Just like us!"
Juliet nodded with her own grin, "Talk about bookends, we joined when the team was formed, she joined when the team was entering the closing days of its mission to save the priestesses!"
"Haha, you two really are crazy." Jessie chuckled, "Though that is a good point...anyways, it's off to the Celestial Bridge! I...think?"
"That's correct." Banshee nodded approvingly, "For just having realized you're Guardians, you recalled where you had to go."
"And we'll know where to go, we'll feel it." Foce turned to the sword on the ground behind her. She held out her hand and it flew into her grasp, "Just like I know that I can hold this sword without fear, because Jessie would never let something hurt me, the one who made this felt the same. Jess, now that you've found yourself, restore the power of the blade you carry, the one you divided with your unwillingness to even entertain the notion of being the Infinity Guardian, grown from fear of rejection by the human race."
Jessie held out her sword and Foce laid the blade she pulled from the snow onto the one rested on Jessie's outstretched hands, the blade glowed with a gentle light as it reconnected with itself.
"And never forget who you are...that's a painful journey to walk, recovering's even harder."
Jessie nodded and sheathed her blade, "I feel like I owe Lux my thanks, but if she and I are the same...I'm more amazing than I ever thought."
"You are, but you're amazing for you and what you do as Jessie. I love you, Jessie...I loved and lost Lux..." Foce smiled back at the headstone for a few moments, "It's time to go now."
They cut the Celestial Bridge into the underworld and stepped forward, "We'll be back." Jessie promised, as they walked into the underworld's bridge together. The Guardians parted at the white and gold palaces and continued up their own path.
The buildings were large and contained rooms filled with the experiences of former lives. Light coalesced around them as they emerged, and the light became the robes of the Infinity Guardians.
Jessie wore a white one with blue lines along the side, and Foce's was a similar pattern with black and red. They pulled back their hoods to reveal their faces to the other, and smiled when they saw the one they had grown to love under the hood.
"Let's go." Foce whispered, winding her arm around Jessie's.
Jessie silently nodded and they walked down to where their friends waited, "Wow, class change to Infinity Guardian Light and Dark looks good on you two!" Sarah laughed, holding two thumbs up, "I think it's time to pay a visit to a certain sage! Won't he be surprised?"
"Oh, and how; I sense that you two have gone beyond mere levels." Ray observed, then cast a glance down at his arms, "Somehow I feel stronger too."
"Party boost." Jessie explained with a smile.
Eight girls circled around Yggdrasil in their crystals, eyes closed in slumber. Four stood watching, Commander, Lover, Thinker, and the sage.
"They will come here after they see we brought the crystal and we will make an offering to Fellnyx, the Goddess of Death created by life." Thinker muttered, reviewing the plan for the sage, "She will swallow the priestesses and gain unimaginable power, and I feel like the last Duplicate will appear around the time that they arrive."657Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡP5cRqiZr9t
"Then I'll finally get to drink the blood of the Guardian of Light." Commander smiled and licked her lips thirstily, "At long last, that blood overflowing with power will be mine."
"And you'll fuse with Fellnyx, just as she was supposed to?" Vindicatus concluded.
"Yes...that's how the plan goes. I will become the Infinity Death, born of light and darkness. With my power you shall subdue the humans and demons, as you always wished."
Vindicatus smiled, the end was so close, all he worked toward would soon come to fruition.ns22.214.171.124da2