Samus looked back onto the planet's surface seeing the swarm of the enemy loom from the horizon. Thankfully with her gunships cloaking device Samus and Pikachu were narrowly able to skirt past the massive force and warp out of the area into another star system.
Was Peach alright? Would she be able to hold her own at least enough to survive? Optimistically Samus hoped so. Realistically the outcome wasn't in their favor. All she could do was pray for her friend and her Kingdom to receive a shred of mercy.
Traversing through space Samus realized just how quiet everything was once again. The sheer volume of the sound of the battle, the assemblage of Peach's forces, and the arrival of the armada of ships was still fresh in her mind. The cold silence of space was hard to adjust to even for the galaxy's fearsome bounty hunter.
Knowing the ship would be fine on autopilot Samus leaned back in her seat letting out a soft sigh. Unconsciously Samus drew up her powersuit and relaxed in the feel of the armor. Her thoughts drifted as her body eased up from all of the tension from the past few days. It was cathartic to let her mind drift in the silence and the comfort of her armor and just for this moment Samus felt the world fade away to black.
"Samus, if what you say is true, then we need Lucario now more than ever." Peach's words resurfaced. Back when the fight had gotten so dire that nearly every available hero had come together. Ike, Mario, Link, Peach, Snake, all gathered together by Peach and Princess Zelda. Samus remembered wanting to object. Wanting to argue otherwise that they wouldn't need him to come back. But she said nothing, knowing deep down that Peach was right.
"He's gone missing. No one has seen him in years. All we hear are rumors but we can try to go from there." Snake had spoken.
"Some say he's gone to a primitive world. Others say he's living on a mountain top. Some think Lucario simply has become a recluse in a cabin waiting to grow old. Take your pick my friends." Ike said brashly. Samus could tell he didn't buy into any word as fact.
"Why wouldn't he go home? The Pokemon Regions are where he is from. it'd make sense that he'd be there. Who wouldn't go home?" Link offered up hopefully. The others took that into account.
The smell of burning tobacco caught everyone off guard. Samus looked up spotting Snake holding a lit cigarette in hand. Though he did not bring it to his lips, merely content with holding it lit, letting it burn out.
"Lucario does have a home. But even if he won't admit it, it's not his anymore. His friends, his family, everyone he once knew has been dead for a thousand years. Even if he does get along with that new Queen, Lucario can't go back. So... what would he do?"
The group pondered Snake's words. Samus wondered why Snake's eyes seemed to change, not share the hardened steel of a soldier she knew too well, but soft melancholy. What did he know of Lucario anyways? He too hadn't seen the Aura Guardian for years the same as everyone else.
Zelda snapped her fingers. Everyone looked to the Hyrulian, her eyes glowing with mirth. "He would start anew. He would rebuild, continue where he left off one thousand years ago. And that would mean passing on the Aura to a new generation."
Samus eyes widened. The gears turned in her mind. Of course it all made perfect sense.
"What you mean, Lucario is taking students or something?" Ike questioned. Zelda nodded.
"But in fact if that is a clue, we still don't know where Lucario is. What world would Lucario go to to train new Aura Guardians?" Peach asked. Everyone now had this to ponder on their heads, a new task in their goal of recovering their ally.
Samus' eyes opened. In retrospect it seemed foolish of her to have not figured it out back then. She travelled far and wide across the known worlds, scouring for clues to his whereabouts. Intriguingly word of the "Last Aura Guardian" was whispered on many a far away planet. Samus could only wonder if Lucario had ever actually been there, how he'd gotten there, and just where he had finally settled down.
The trail had gotten cold and by then the Emissary had overwhelmed them. Mario, Link, and others were already beaten. What allies they did have had gone quiet, and Samus was cut off from the rest of their resistance until receiving a signal directly from the Mushroom Kingdom. Without haste Samus quickly sailed there and finally caught her break.
"You had this... all this time?" Peach's eyes dropped to the ground. She couldn't face Samus directly, the bounty hunter as shocked, and angry as she suspected.
"It didn't occur to me until recently. What Snake had said, it gave us the clues we needed. That's when I pieced it together."
In Peach's hand was a small device obviously mechanical but shaped more like a crystal. It was no bigger than a flash drive and small in the palm of Samus' hand. To anyone else it would appear to be just a simple storage device and nothing more.
But Samus' travels across the galaxy taught her much. She had seen a variety of technology from human to alien to the unexplainable. This was no exception and a great link to their struggle.
"I spent time with Lucario when he and Snake and Meta Knight took back the Halbird. He spoke much of his past and mentioned in passing his uncertainty of the future. Then, after you and he killed Tabuu, I helped him recover lost information of the ancient Guardians. To guide him."
"And where did you two get this? You realize how many empires and bounty hunters would annihilate just to have this?" Samus held up the device. Peach shook her head.
"In truth I didn't know what it was. But Lucario found it, he was using it to chart out his destinations. Then one day he gave it to me. That was the last time I saw him."
Samus looked back at the device. She put it back into her coat pocket for safekeeping.
"Lucario once said, the Aura Guardians were the keepers of peace. Keeping balance in the Aura. That was what made his mission so important, to bring back balance through the next generation. The Emissary taking over the galaxy is only destroying that peace Lucario wants. Because without Mario, or the others, there can't be a balance. But this clue should get us in the right direction."
Samus looked to Peach. Her hand thumbed the device in her pocket all the while pondering the royals words. "Well... with this, now we've got a fighting chance."
The ships controls pulled Samus from her memories. Glancing through her vizor the display screen flared a green hue. It was bright enough that it awoke the sleeping Pikachu in her co-pilots seat. Samus sat up and checked her ships computer for additional information before stopping as she read the navigation readings in the right hand side.
At first she thought it could've been an error. But checking her systems the gunship was up to speed and functioning perfectly. Samus looked again at the clear words of EARTH and sat back down in her seat.
"All this time... I have been hunting him down all this time, and Lucario was on earth!?"
Samus did not mean to shout. Yet the echo passing through her whole ship proved that she had indeed. Pikachu cowered and rolled into a ball. Noticing that Samus quickly apologized to the yellow mouse and patted his head. Her eyes looked back to the screen for another time and confirmed it was true.
Without another word Samus sat back in her chair and shut off autopilot. Taking back the controls she piloted the gunship to make its descent on planet earth.
Lucina did not often go out for drinks with her fellow shepherds. She had thought it was due to not enjoying the bitter brew as much as others, something even they had respected. But on this night, wrestling Robin back into bed Lucina realized that it wasn't that fact at all. Rather Lucina disdained being the designated babysitter to any of her drunken friends. And unfortunately Robin was the worst of them.
"C'mon baby I can fight! Did you see me? You didn't I was so fghatne." Robin laughed hysterically. She thought she was so funny yet Lucina couldn't be any less annoyed by the tactician.
And this was the same woman who'd saved all of Ylisse from Grima. This silver haired tactician was one of the best fighters in the entire country. Here she was babbling on and on. It didn't ease Lucina that Robin was even more clingy and pulled on her hair.
She kicked the door open of the available room in the inn. It was simple with a small desk in a corner and a double sized bed. With some struggle Lucina dropped Robin down on the mattress and began to pull off her cloak and boots. All the while Robin continued to babble.
"I mean... I could've been qweenie. But Chrommy... he didnd't like - like, like like me - get it?"
"I hope to God you're not implying what I think you are." Lucina pulled the last boot off and tossed it into the corner. She made to stand up but felt a tug at her wrist. She looked back at her companion who sat up smiling wolfishly. Lucina wasn't sure what she was up to until Robin held a hand to cup her cheek.
"You know Luci... you kinda look like Chrom. I wonder if you're the same way" Robin giggled batting her eyelashes as she did so.
Lucina was confused. But then her eyes widened figuring it out in her head.
Without another thought Lucina kicked Robin away from her. The tactician flew backwards onto the bed with a yelp. She clutched her stomach remarking on her 'Precious abs' being damaged. Lucina paid her no mind as she stepped out of the room and made sure it was properly secure so the drunken tactician could escape.
Lucina made her way out of the inn through the front bar and paid the barkeep an extra bit of coin in assurance. She checked her equipment briefly, though really made sure Falchion was properly secure on her belt. With that she left and headed down the main road of the village and off to where all the commotion was. It being not a large place it was rather easy to spot the many wandering warriors and sellswords gathered in a band to locate the problem.
Her eyes looked through the many in the company there. Lucina was rather surprised at how many didn't look green at all but rather competent. Swordsmen, axemen, spear wielders, horse riders, even a mage or two could be seen amongst the many. It made Lucina all the more glad knowing she wouldn't be the only one pulling the weight around.
At first it seemed as if all the warnings had been for naught. Perhaps the call of an attack was the ramblings of a village fool or a drunkard. No one had yet turned back however when suddenly a loud rumbling roar erupted from the sky. Lucina then looked up above before gasping at the sight.
Soaring above them were many upon many massive vessels of a silverish make. In all of her years fighting Grima in the dark future and her adventures with her father Lucina had never bore upon such a sight. The largest ship was so vast and so large that it cast a looming ominous shadow over the entire village area.
Smaller ships began to get closer descending quickly. Someone had yelled a war cry, what it was Lucina did not properly hear. But she was at the ready and charged along with the rest of the company. They headed past the village's entrance where a ship was making land. Exiting from it were many masked humanoids donned in black armor wielding weapons no one had ever seen before. But from them bolts of fire flew and struck down hapless souls. Thinking quick Lucina moved faster than the others leaping with a powerful jump over their heads.
Many of these drones were caught off guard at the sight of Lucina's mighty blade. None were prepared as the Shepherd brought it down cutting them to shreds. She moved even faster taking out more who were momentarily distracted. All the while her Falchion continued to glow a luminous blue.
"Take the woman's charge! We can win this!" A large, bald burly man yelled. He had driven a long spear through one of the enemies already as he cheered on the others. The rest of the company let out equal a battle roar in respect of Lucina. She merely smirked as she ran ahead towards more oncoming foes.
The battle did not last as long as Peach had hoped. Her forces though ready to defend their home were outgunned, outnumbered, and quickly overrun by the enemy forces. Even stepping into the battle leading the charge Peach was no match. She was beaten.
Peach felt a kick to her back as she was made to continue moving forward. Two of the drones of soldiers, faceless sans glowing red eyes, led her into the courtyard of her castle grounds. The once cheery place full of her denizens now occupied by the enemy forces. Toads and the like were corralled en masse and buildings and structures torn down by the invaders. Their ships loomed ominously above blocking out the sun and casting the grounds in shadow.
She had fought and lost. Though in truth Peach knew her meager hold couldn't really win against the full might of the enemy. But it was still enough to hold them off here and buy Samus time. Peach wondered if she'd escaped safely and was on the trail to find Lucario. Hopefully they'd succeeded and would turn the tide of the fight. If not Peach feared the worst.
One ships engines roared distinctly amongst the fleet. Peach looked into the sky watching as a smaller craft with horizontal wings made it's descent to the ground. The drones stopped forcing her to walk and stopped just a short walk from where the ship was landing. Smoke emitted from it's underbelly and spread throughout the ground. Peach closed her eyes as dust and smoke flew alll the while the ship opened revealing a masked figure in black armor exiting.
Is that their leader? Peach did not recognize them. But it was not a stretch to wager that they were some sort of a commander for the army. Peach straightened herself to stand fully tall all the while the masked man approached ever so closely until stopping right before her.
"Princess Peach, you are much stronger than I anticipated." Their voice was deep and garbled amongst static. Peach guessed it must've been some sort of a voice box on their mask.
"I get that a lot. I'm not so delicate."
The man laughed, it sounding all the more horrifying from their mask. "You did manage to defeat my ground commander. For that you have my respect."
Peach grinned at that. The leader of the forces attacking their castle was a hulk of a cyborg - beast. But Peach was still skilled enough to fight back and beat the creature at her gates. Though she was overwhelmed by the sheer number of drones in the end.
"You know why I have come here. We know you have the location of Lucario. It was foolish to hide it from me."
"Even if you do find him, no coward who hides behind a mask could hope to beat him. He's the master of aura!" Peach spat back. The masked man looked at her. Peach didn't know what he was thinking but he approached closer.
Then her body grew deathly stiff. Peach screamed as she was suddenly lifted into the air. Her arms and legs constricted and her throat began to grow tight as if someone was choking her. She gasped for air not knowing just what was happening.
Her subjects cried out but were silenced by the drones. All the while the masked man held her up in the air through the power of psychic energy. The masked man said nothing more as held Peach's life in the balance.
Something had yelled out off to the side. The masked man spotted something swat away four of the drone soldiers into bits. It was Bowser the Koopa King, the behemoth breaking his constraints and charging at him with all of his might. He was much bigger than the masked man and would surely tear him apart.
Bowser was knocked back by a force he did not know. His body was shot into a tower and crushed by the structures collapse. The masked man had to smile beneath his mask at that, besting the fearsome foe with such ease.
"Wh- what are y- you?" Peach managed. The masked man let her go with a wave of his hand. Peach landing back on the ground unconscious from the shock. The masked man looked back at her before signaling the drones to take her away. He walked away wordlessly back to the ship.
Who am I? I am the one who will kill Lucario.
Snake wasn't sure what really to have expected when he decided to find Lucario. After eight years so much had changed for all of them, and yet even still, he did not quite believe what he was seeing.
Those kids - he couldn't remember their names - were jovial and loud around their "master". Somehow Lucario wasn't quite the stoic stick in the mud Snake thought he would be but smiled and went along with it. He conversed on their level as he prepared their lunches in the large kitchen / dining room inside of his home. It took him off guard but Snake guessed that this was what it was like at his Aura Academy.
Meta Knight stood by Snake also watching in silence. Snake looked to his companion unsure of what he thought after their "tussel". The knight glanced at the soldier before walking off into the hall ways.
So much for the company amongst allies.
When he'd finished Lucario told his students to stay put while he talked to Snake and Meta Knight. The eldest kid - apparently he was called Griffon - objected to being left in the dark. Raven, the second youngest, also joined in but argued she was the best student. Lucario took even longer assuring them that he was hiding nothing from the future Aura Guardians.
In all of that Snake spotted a quiet girl. She had short brown hair and big brown eyes. He didn't notice anyone mention her name. You almost wouldn't notice her just from how quiet and reserved she'd been the whole time. Yet despite being withdrawn Snake couldn't help but finding her to be the stand out.
"Children, please, it is important I speak to Mr. Snake alone. We haven't seen each other in so long that we must catch up."
"Are you gonna beat the crap out of the old dude too?" Zara said loudly pointing directly at Snake. Suddenly he felt like he'd aged another ten years.
"No. No, we will only talk. Just, stay here." Lucario waved his hands ending the discussion. He shot a glance at Snake before walking into the hallways. Snake stood up and followed him. Snake briefly looked back at the kids with most of them pouting in annoyance except for the girl who still kept to herself.
The two said nothing as Lucario led him down towards the main entrance before having to climb the staircase. From their they climbed up another level to the third floor and down another hallway. Looking back Snake realized they were walking into the East wing of the mansion. There was a small library, more sitting rooms, and even two rooms for weightlifting and exercise located their. They stopped however at one sitting room at the very end of the hall. Snake followed Lucario inside as he closed the doors behind them.
Snake looked back to his friend whom dropped the friendly facade. Though Lucario wasn't angry he was back to the stoic normal gaze that everyone remembered him by. The Aura Pokemon walked over towards one of the two couches which sat across a small coffee table. He did not sit but merely stood there shooting a glance back to Snake.
"Talk. You did not come all this way for nothing."
"Fine then. First though, why did you make it so hard to track you down?" Lucario blinked back at Snake. He held no punches.
"Hard to find? This is Canada Snake. It's not exactly Hyrule or Zebes."
"Yeah but, Lucario everyone has been looking for you. Us, the enemy -" Snake stopped. Lucario raised a brow at his friend.
"What enemy? Is that why you're here?"
Nothing could be hidden from Lucario. Snake knew it best, he'd fought alongside him years ago, and he'd studied him with all of his skills as a secret agent. He had to tell all.
"Eight years ago, you and Samus pretty much... well, obliterated, Tabuu. That was fine and dandy. We saved the universe."
Lucario still said nothing. His crimson eyes looked at the ground. Snake couldn't read his thoughts, he didn't have the Aura like Lucario. He continued on.
"But there were others. Villains, you'd say, who rose up to build an army, a remnant, of the Subspace Army. Of course we never expected it, who'd want to plunge the world into Subspace..." Snake scratched his chin. "And yet, out of nowhere this... Shadow Remnant has already attacked several worlds. They've succeeded in conquering some, and I, and a few, are what's left standing in their way."
They stood in silence for a good three minutes. Lucario then finally took a seat and closed his eyes. Snake wondered if he was beginning to enter a meditative state as he would in the past. Though it looked more as if Lucario was merely taking in everything he said. Without movement of his lips Lucario spoke.
I had a dream - a glimpse into the past. Remember.
Without warning Snake found himself not in the quiet sitting room but in a world of dark and purple. He was nearly thrown off his feet but stood his ground. He looked in every single direction spotting nothing else but the strange ominous environment of abstract matter.
Lucario grabbed his shoulder. Snake nearly jumped but was calmed as Lucario seemed unfazed. He then gestured elsewhere and Snake looked over at the sight he was all too familiar with. Several fighters stood in a battle ground while a giant glowing body floated in the air above them and amongst them Snake saw himself.
Someone had yelled. Snake remembered the moment. Mario had leaped into the sky to attack but was knocked away by one swoop of Tabuu's hand. Link and Donkey Kong led a charge but they two were beaten back by the unholy power Tabuu wielded. It was horrific as one by one each and every fighter, the best of the best, was taken out so easily by the evil entity.
Snake was then back to reality. He stood exactly where he was and yet almost didn't believe it. The soldier looked in every direction of the room and patted himself down to ensure if was real. Lucario merely sat on the couch as calm as ever.
"Shame. We didn't get to the good part."
"You... could've just told me you had a nightmare." Snake didn't notice he had been out of breath. He fell back to sit on the opposite couch as he began to inhale and exhale loudly.
"Right. Sorry about that. Though in some instances showing rather than telling works best."
"I think I'm getting a heart attack." Snake leaned back. The soldier covered his eyes feeling too bright from the light in the room. Lucario sighed stepping up.
"You'll be fine. But revealing that much takes a toll, even on the strong of heart. I'll make you some tea-"
Lucario paused. He did not move an inch, his body still as a post planted firmly where he was. Snake noticed his friend's sudden silence and glanced over. Though he said nothing recognizing that look on his face. It was obvious Lucario sensed something through the aura.
The Aura Pokemon left the room leaving Snake to himself. Lucario quickly ran through the mansion heading back to the stairs and climbed up another level until making it to the roof of the building. He stood there and looked to the sky which was still clear and sunny. To anyone else it looked normal, but Lucario could inherently sense the distortion of matter through the aura.
He closed his eyes and soon was enveloped in the black and blue world. Though Lucario had to concentrate all of his power to better tap into the aura of nature and of space, deeper than the simple aura in all life, to better grasp the situation. The blue sunny sky was now a blackened void yet crackled with purple distortions as loud as a thunderstorm. Lucario searched deeper into this and travelled far enough to detect the aura outside of the planet's atmosphere into the stars.
A large mass was heading towards the planet. The closer it got the easier Lucario was at detecting its energy. Not content with waiting Lucario focused his energy and guided his spirit through the aura closer towards it. Openly his body still stood on the roof of his home, but to the aura Lucario's spirit was miles away floating in the darkness of space.
Lucario floated above and realized that the mass was in fact a spacecraft. It was much more advanced than what was currently available on earth. Searching deeper was no problem and soon Lucario found the pilot's aura.
Inside the ship Samus gasped. She twisted the controls causing the ship to veer to it's side. Samus quickly recovered and got back on course though was thrown off at the sudden feeling that coursed into her mind.
On earth Lucario opened his eyes. He looked back to the sky and awaited his next guest.
"Welcome back, my apprentice."
Flying Lion: For Lucario's story, it's easy to see the parallels which can be drawn with the Jedi from the Star Wars franchise. But in practice his Aura Academy is more like real world martial arts schools. He's simply starting a new form of combat, building his school, and passing on his style to new kids. Still the Jedi allusions are not that coincidental and do extend to the "search" part of his story.
As far as Lucina's part. I had a difficult time with it. Because while I do like how Fire Emblem is medieval fantasy I approached her narrative more so like real world medieval combat. Think like if you were watching Britain or Spain in the Dark Ages suddenly get attacked by aliens. But since it's pushed Lucina further, closer to the major, multiple worlds storyline, then it's all good.