Chapter 47 - At a Cost
Corrin's heart hammered violently, threatening to burst from his chest. Every bone and fiber of muscle in his body ached and burned, fire having replaced the blood in his veins. His breath came in ragged gasps, each failing to bring in enough air to replace what was spent in the desperate marathon.
Even at full speed, even with dragon wings carrying him on the winds themselves, he was still too slow to reach the Hoshidan capital in time. But he didn't need to reach there, just get closer. Just get as close as possible, to give even the smallest boost to the chances that Robin's insane, foolhardy plan would succeed.
"So let me get this straight, we are going to manifest the portal in the real world and then move it all the way to the capital?" Marc asked, speaking uncertainty, still working over the logistics of what they were about to attempt.
"Yes. With Corrin in that world, we can manifest it like normal, and then while it's active physically move it somewhere within, or least close by, the city," Robin explained.
"I dunno, father, that sounds crazy. And I am like, the master of kooky crazy strategic nonsense," Morgan said, somehow having become the voice of reason. "Gods, why am I the one saying this. Is this an opposite world? Did I travel to another Outrealm without realizing it? Why am I the sane one?"
"If we fail…" Corrin warned, his voice barely more than a whisper.
"Then the whole astral keep gets ripped apart and we all die horribly," Robin said, sighing. "But, I have faith we can avoid that outcome. That and if we want to save countless more lives, that's a risk we have to take…"
Corrin leapt back into the air, having given his wings time to rest. Alternating running and flying had allowed him go without stopping much longer than he'd otherwise have been able. But would it be far enough? He had to ensure the distance between himself and the capitol was as small as could be, lest the spell fail.
While Robin, Marc, Owain, and Ophelia all concentrated on stabilizing the portal between the real world and the astral keep, he along with Morgan and Sakura, who would exit the portal to join him, would magically move the portal the remaining distance between them and the city. As the only three spellcasters of their group familiar enough with it and the surrounding region, it was up to them to maintain the translocation spell. Unlike teleportation, this would move the portal at high speeds through the air, a process that would require them to focus on every instant and position along its path.
Faster. Faster, dammit! Corrin pushed himself to even greater speed, the land beneath him sailing past with each beat of his wings. The hammering of his head now felt like an entire city worth of blacksmiths were banging against the inside of his chest. His throat burned, each breath fire in his lungs.
"Corrin. We are almost ready. How close are you?" a voice echoed in his head.
"Still not… in sight… need to...get…" Corrin tried to respond mentally, even the act of answering Robin's magically facilitated communication was a struggle.
There was a long pause before the voice sounded in his head again. "Corrin, you need to slow down. Any closer you get at this rate won't matter if you're too tired to work the spell properly."
"I...can...do...it...I'm… ….fine" Even as he thought these words, Corrin felt the muscles in his wings buckle. He began to fall, managing to keep his wings open just enough to slow his decent to a safe, if a bit hard, landing. He staggered a few steps as his momentum carried him forward before toppling, rolling several times before coming to a scrapping halt.
For an instant he lay there, the world spinning before he staggered to his feet, lurching back into a run. Just a bit further. Just a bit further.! Come on! Just a bit further!
"Corrin!" Robin's voice snapped. "You have to stop. We're close enough, just rest now and then we can-"
"No! I can… I can do this!" Corrin countered, more forcibly now. He managed to straighten, falling into a more steady run now. "Focus on your part. I… I can do this. Trust me"
Corrin felt a wave of annoyance that was not his own: the mental equivalent of an exasperated sigh coming over the spell before Robin's presence withdrew.
Corrin gritted his teeth, using his own anger as fuel to keep driving him forward. He could rest after their plan worked. It would take time before he, Sakura, and Morgan could follow. They'd need to wait until the wards were disabled first.
Minutes tore past as he ran, slipping away like sand draining from a dial. Each moment draining what little time they had left. The land had begun to climb now, up to a ridge that overlooked the wide valley where the heart of Hoshido lay.
Spurred onwards, Corrin ran with all remaining strength he had. His legs felt like jelly beneath him, each step more shaky then the lapse. Just as he reached the crest, the world spun before him, and the next thing he knew he was face down, tasting dirt. He coughed, laying there as he gasped for air.
At last his vision stopped spinning, and he managed to half-crawl, half-scramble, forward until he gazed down over the valley.
The capital still lay many, many miles away, little more than a speck in the distance. He could see the river that cut through the valley, winding like a ribbon as it shrank to what seemed only a hair's width at the edge of sight.
But even so far away he could tell not all was right. For the sky seemed dark over that white city, faint streams of black smoke rising into the sky.
The battle had already begun. They were out of time.
"Robin… I'm ready. Hurry." Corrin gasped, too tired to differentiate between speaking aloud and communicating mentally. So long as he thought the words, the spell would let the tactician hear him all the same. Not waiting for a response, Corrin reached out with a hand and closed his eyes. It took only a moment to find the silvery strand that hung in the back of his consciousness: the spiritual connection between him at the keep. He tugged at it, opening the way.
Opening his eyes he watched as a silvery point of light appeared, slowly growing into an oblong disk that hung in place before him. A minute passed. Then another. Then just as he was about to reach out again to urge Robin to hurry, two figured emerged from the portal, lugging a large object between them,
It was the pedestal from inside the keep that held the crystal sphere that allowed the portal to be opened from the inside. Even though this was part of the plan for Morgan and Sakura to bring it with them, such that it could be used as a focus to move the portal, seeing it outside the keep was still unnerving. If the way were closed and Corrin were killed and otherwise incapacitated, than anyone inside would be trapped. Forever.,
"Alright, are we going to do this or what?" Morgan said, chipper as always, abruptly letting the burden she and Sakura bore. The princess for her part let out a yelp, nearly toppling with the pedestal. Corrin winced, his breath escaping in a hiss. That… had been a little too close for comfort. If the thing had broken…
Well… at least the others wouldn't have been trapped. But their plan would have been ruined before they could even fully begin.
"Just… be careful. Please," Corrin pleaded, if futility. Even in the short time he knew her, he doubted Morgan even registered the words, let alone was willing the heed them.
"S-So, we… we just, um, focus on the orb and… uh… focus on where we… want it to go. Right?" Sakura asked nervously once she'd regained her footing. She looked to Corrin and Morgan expectantly.
"Pretty much." Morgan confirmed. "Let Corrin and I do the heavy lifting here. I'm the bestest spellcaster out of the three of us, and Corrin has that connection-link-thingamajigger to the keep-place."
Sakura nodded quickly, hurrying to take up her place around the orb, Morgan and Corrin doing the same.
Corrin still felt shaky as he staggered into place, trying his best to collect what little strength he had left in the moments before they began. All they needed now was to wait for Robin's signal to begin.
. . . . .
Robin watched nervously as Morgan and Sakura vanished through the portal. It would only take them a few moments to get things set up on their end. Which means they needed to get the finishing touches on theirs.
Already Ophelia was making the finishing touches on the magic circle she and Marc had laid around the spot the pedestal once stood, now surrounding the open gateway, chalking out the last few magic glyphs and laying a handful of precious stones as intervals around it's edge. While not strictly necessary for what they were about to attempt, or for any spell for that matter, such ritual elements gave something for spellcasters to focus on during particularly complicated spellwork. And for something that could fail spectacularly should their focus break… well, this sort of thing couldn't hurt at any rate.
Still makes me feel silly. I really thought we'd moved past all this superstitious mumbo-jumbo generations ago, Robin mused, keeping the thought to himself. Then again, this wasn't exactly his world and he frankly didn't know much about how it was done here. Maybe that was why Ophelia practiced such things…
Or more likely, she just had a flair for the dramatic like her father did.
"So you sure you don't need my help?" Soleil asked from the sidelines along with the other non-spellcasters who would not be taking part in the ritual directly. "Like, really, really, really sure? Because mom has been teaching my magic, and I could totally-"
"No," Robin cut her off before she could finish.
"No!" Robin repeated, several others chiming in in unison this time. They'd all seen what "Soleil" and "doing magic" looked like. The training ground was still a crater… nowhere near the target dummies.
Grumbling something about going to check her gear, Soleil began fiddling with the straps on her armor, leaving Robin to return to collecting himself.
Okay, so all we need to do is stabilize the portal long enough for it to be moved. Not that hard… we're only going to be trying to keep it from ripping the whole pocket-plane apart at the seams . No pressure, really. Honest. It's not, rambled the all too critical voice Robin really hated. Seriously, he was supposed to be the optimistic one, not the nervous wreck one. This was his idea.
Just breath, Robin. Breath. Breath and focus, he told himself.
"Are you alright," Lucina asked, approaching him. Evidently he'd showed more of his nerve than he'd thought. That or Lucina had gotten particularly adept at reading him over the years. Probably the latter. They were husband and wife after all. Came with the territory.
"I…" Robin stopped, realizing he was making an excuse. No, there was something else about this that put him on edge besides the risk involved. It was the fact that they'd be attempting essentially to do the very thing he'd done those months before that had gotten him and Lucina into this mess: keeping a portal from collapsing as it tore itself apart.
So not at all something I have the best track record on, Robin noted sarcastically, to only himself.
"Just remember, it's different this time. Is it not? You have others assisting you this time," Lucina assured him. Despite her own words of encouragement, Robin detected the faintest of wavering in her voice. He knew at once what it was. After all, their bond went both ways, so he could tell what she was thinking just as easily as she could him. She was scared too. She'd almost lost him that day. She didn't want to go through that all over again.
"I'll be fine," Robin assured her. Lucina nodded, but did not return to the others, instead opting to remain by his side. He was glad for that. He was always glad for her support.
"Father, we're ready," Marc announced.
"The time draws near where we test the fragile tether of reality itself. However, I can feel it in my blackened blood, an echo of chaos that shall tear the dimensions asunder should we falter," Owain warned, to which Robin felt a chill run down his spine. Even though it was his usual theatrical speech, the tone was actually serious, which is equally as terrifying as him dropping the theatrics.
Marc nodded. "Yeah, let's hope it doesn't come to that, and if it does, hopefully, we're not caught in it. So... Naga be with us."
"Would the Astral deity not be the one to bless us for this maneuver?" Ophelia pointed out.
"It can be Moro or Naga, just hopefully we can make it," Marc settled.
Taking up position along one axis of the ritual circle, facing the gateway. Reopening the mental link from the spell he'd woven between him and Corrin before the latter had left, Robin spoke with his mind. "Corrin, we're ready."
He felt affirmation coming from the prince.
And so, it began.
As one, Robin, Marc, Owain, and Ophelia reached out for the portal, locking their focus upon it. They felt from the hum of the magic, the musical notes that accompanied the weave of the spellwork. Soon the notes of their own magic joined it, touching and binding to it.
Almost the light of the portal shifted hues, changing from silver to brilliant blue edge is a shimmering, almost prismatic radiance. It began to pulse, flashing brighter and dimming as it's edge rippled and wavered. There was a tremble beneath their feet, as if the whole pocket dimension was moving.
Which it was, in a manner. But also not. But the effect was all the same. Corrin, Morgan, and Sakura had begun as well.
The ground soon trembled with each pulse of energy from the portal. Even with their efforts to stabilize it, the strain of the magic was already destabilizing the walls of the astral-bubble the keep resided within. Gritting his teeth, Robin poured more magic into the gateway, hoping to strengthen the walls of the opening and keep the shockwaves from spreading.
They'd just have to hope the place held long enough.
. . . . .
A pillar of light burst into life around the orb, piercing the heavens above them in a blinding radiance. Corrin nearly recoiled back, feeling the pulsating waves of powers as the magic linking this world to the astral sea spewed forth.
If the enemy didn't know they were coming before, they certainly would now. They'd only have one shot at this.
Close his eyes, Corrin reached out further, his fingers resting a hair's breadth above the wall of light. Every hair on his neck stood on end, the very air crackling with power. He focused on a vision of the space around him, of the portal lifting into the air.
He felt the air shift, the portal moving just as he, Sakura, and Morgan believed it would.
A sharp pain lanced up though his spine into his skull before pressing down on him like the weight of an entire mountain. He was staggered by it, the mental strain of the spell shocking him. They'd only just begun and already he could feel reality pushing back, space preventing the hole ripped within in it from shifting.
Shaking, Corrin lifted his other hand, pressing it against the back of the other. It felt almost like he was pushing against some force even as the mental assault continued to batter him from within. Focus. Ignore the pain. Keep visualizing the land. See it like you are there. Focus!
Pulse after pulse slammed into him from the spell's epicenter, threatening both to knock even as the magical backlash battered down him from within. Corrin's chest tightened, no longer able to even breath. The pain was getting worse. So much worse. But he fought on.
The portal began to move away from them, picking up speed. He felt it as much as he saw it in his mind. It was working. They were-
Corrin screamed in shock of agony even worse than before rushed over him. This wasn't like before. No, this wasn't the strain of the powerful magic they were wielding. This came from within, from the very depths of himself. It was his spiritual link to the astral keep Lilith had forged for him. He could feel it. All of it. He could feel it was keely as he could feel part of himself.
It was coming undone.
"Corrin!?" he heard Sakura cry out.
"No! Keep… going! I can… do this!" he hissed through clenched teeth. They couldn't stop now. They had to keep going.
At least if there was any solace he could take, it was only him suffering this new agony. At least the others would be spared. That… that brought some small comfort.
Seizing hold of the threads holding the spell together, Corrin focused every fiber of his mind onto his connection to the keep now, seeking to prevent it from fraying. He'd have to rely on Sakura and Morgan to work on moving the portal. Now… now all he could do was stop everything from coming undone on his end.
Both the portal, the keep, and himself.
Again and again he was battered by the unrelenting shockwaves as he felt the astral-bubble heaving against the assault against it and himself. With each passing moment it felt like a part of himself was being torn away, replaced only with agony. Soon he couldn't feel anything else. Soon he could barely form a conscious thought or memory. He almost forgot why he was there. Why was he suffering? What this was all for?!
Only on instinct did it cling to the thread of light, pouring more and more of himself into it. Please… please be done… Please just hold… and let it end…
Yet it did not end. On and on the torture continued, every bit of himself torn away until he felt nothing more than a shattered thing of agony itself. And with those last shreds, so too ebbed away at his resolve.
I… can't… I need… to… Corrin felt his consciousness slipping away, every fiber of his being buckling under the combined assault from without and within. He felt it all of it!.He could feel the space coming undone! Rent asunder! It was all he could do just to hold it together.
Corrin's legs buckled and he collapsed to one knee. Yet still he clung to it all, a small part of him refusing to let go. But even now it was but a candle's flame, fighting against a raging storm.
. . . . .
Robin's jaw tightened, his body wincing with each shockwave that rocked the astral keep. The sky had grown dark, clouds blotting out all light but that cast from the portal that now swirled like the eye of a storm. Waves crashed against the outer walls, nearly taking the earthquakes tearing the place apart from below.
Focus… focus, Robin repeated to himself like a mantra, pooling his power into the foundation of the spellwork. The translocation spell was working, and so far they were holding, Just a bit longer now. Just a bit more.
Around him he could see the faces of the others: those weaving the spell cast in grimaces. Those helplessly watching from the side looking on with trepidation, concern, or outright fear. They were counting on them too, their lives in his, Marc's, Owain's and Ophelia's hands.
His head began to throb, dully at first, but soon grew to a searing heat. The strain of maintaining such a difficult spell- it was just like before. He could feel it, threatening to shatter his mind beneath it's unrelenting force.
Then, something snapped. There was a crackling thunderous light, a shockwave within reality itself rippling out from the gateway. Robin felt his knees start to give out beneath him, almost all at once the full weight of the spell crashing down upon him and everyone else. A single thread of the spellwork had broken. Then another. Then another, the effect cascading as the portal grew more and more unstable. And with it, one by one he felt his focus and that of the others slip.
Thunder crackled again and again, the air splitting open all around the shimmering ring, spewing light. The ground shook, not in brief trembling, but a constant rumble. The walls of reality that held the astral keep in place were breaking apart.
Robin's vision began to darken. He couldn't focus. He began to slip, a wash of numbing pain spilling from within his skull to smother him. Then a hand seized his, pulling him back to reality. Lucina was there, clutching his hand. Not in desperation, or fear, but in silent support, To let him know she was there with him. That he couldn't give up now, no matter how impossible the challenge may seem.
Robin squeezed her hand back, feeling the warmth of her hand. He smiled.
His eyes snapped back onto the portal, new determination in him now as he redoubled his efforts. For just an instant, he was able to relieve the pressure from the others, allowing them to regain their focus.
The ground shook more violently now, the air crackling with discharges of flashing light, reality breaking down all around the gateway. Threads of the spell snapped under the strain, reality buckling back against the weakening portal, forcing Robin to frantically weave strands of his own to replace each that broke. He alone would have failed, just like he had on the battlefield that day as he fought to keep the portal between his world and Anankos' domain open. But with everyone else here with him, with others adding their own thread of magic, their own notes to the song, they could do it!
They just needed Corrin to complete the spell on his end. To open the way straight to Hoshido before cracks became too much for them to maintain.
Just a… little… more… Robin urged himself. He squeezed Lucina's hand tighter, drawing strength from her presence. Even if she herself could not contribute to the spell, her support let him give even more of himself, to push past his limits of fight on for the two of them
Yet even still, he could feel Corrin begin to slip, the other end of the spell starting the knew Corrin was losing control of it, and it was all Morgan and Sakura could to hold it together.
Come on, Corrin! Just a bit more!
Again the ground shook again, cracks beginning to split the ground. Stone rained down from the temple at the keep's heart, the structure beginning to crumble. But still they struggled to hold the gateway open, even as everything began to come undone all around them.
. . . . .
I… can't… Please... Corrin opened his mouth to scream, but no sound came out. He wanted to give in to the pain, to let the darkness claim him. There was so much pain. So much pain.
Someone…. Help me…. Please… he pleaded. But no one heard him. No one could hear him.
He heard voices shouting, oddly muffled. Is that Sakura and Morgan, a small part of him wondered, barely a breath against a storm. They sounded so far away now...
Corrin closed his eyes, plummeting into that blackness.
He closed his hand, as if seizing onto the edge of the precipice. He couldn't. Not now. Not when everyone needed him. They'd die. They'd all die if he faltered now. And it would be all his fault.
He wouldn't fail.
Every fiber of his being protesting as he staggered to his feet, Corrin fought through the agony.. He reached out, channeling everything into the spell. One final push. One final effort to succeed.
For a single instant he saw two other hands overlapping his. A warmth rushed through him, like the breeze over a calm ocean.
With a shout he pressed with his mind, giving every bit of himself to the spell. He saw the Hoshido capital clear in his mind, the shining fortress of Castle Shirasagi overlooking the white city.
Almost there! Hold on! Just a bit longer! Hold on!
The pillar of light rippled, reality rending against the crackle of magical force spewing as the weave of their spell began to fray. The ground shook, the sky darkened. The portal was above the fields outside the city now. Just a bit further… just a bit…
Then, just as they'd reached the end, the weave collapsed. The song of the spell vanished, and all was undone.
. . . . .
Jagged lines of light split the sky, opening to the void that lay beyond reality. Everything shook, nearly throwing Robin from his feet. The walls cracked and crumbled, building sinking as fissures opened in the earth. The waves crashed against the keep again and again, battering the dikes and spilittering the docks to ruin.
All the while Robin and the other spellcasters threw everything and more into the portal, even as the world broke around them. They were out of time. They couldn't hold!
"Jump!" Robin shouted, his voice barely a whisper against the rumbling roar as the keep tore itself asunder. The ground began to split, crackling energy spewing forth as the decaying walls if the pocket dimension came undone.
The last thing Robin remembered was reaching out for the shimming ring of light, his other hand still holding Lucina's tight. There was a blinding flash of light, then nothing.
. . . . .
The world before Corrin exploded in a blinding flash and a crack of thunder. More pain, slamming into him like an avalanche, then a second burst against his back. Then for a long while he felt nothing else, only the pain. Nothing but agony.
Slowly awareness of his surroundings came back to him. First flashing lights dancing across his sight. Then shadowy outlines of nearby trees and bushes. It was only then that he realized that he lay crumpled on the ground, many feet from where he'd stood moments before. "Sakura? Morgan?" he croaked out, dragging himself onto his hands and knees. He immediately regretted it, the sensation of a burning rod jammed into his skull returning with avengence.
"I'm… I-I'm okay," he heard Sakura stammer weakly, turning his head he saw her now through the smoke billowing from the crater that had been the epicenter of their spell. It looked like for whatever reason, most of the backlash from the spell's failure had been directed at Corrin, having not thrown her or Morgan as far.
It must have been because I lost my focus first, Corrin realized.
"I think…" Morgan coughed, the sound somehow mixing with a relieved laugh, "I survived too. Maybe. Unless the afterlife is exactly the same as regular life, just more exploding and craterery."
"What happened… did we…" Corrin looked back, seeing the smoking crater that had been the focal point for their spell. The crystal sphere used to open the way from inside the keep lay shattered, smoke curling from the blackened shards.
"The spell failed right at the end. But… we were there right? They'd have had time to get out, right?" ...Right?" Morgan insisted. Despite her best efforts to smile, the sudden fear in her voice was unmistakable.
Corrin didn't respond, reaching out mentally, feeling for the connection he had to the astral keep Lilith had created for him. Then he froze, a cold pit forming in his stomach. He felt… nothing. Nothing at all.
It was gone. Entirely gone.
He shook his head in disbelief, unable to fully comprehend the loss. As useful as it had been, the keep had been more than just a safe haven. It had become a home for him and his friends. It was the home he and Azura had shared. It was the last thing he still had as a reminder of Lilith…
Yet despite the loss, the feeling was soon eclipsed by a greater fear. If the keep was gone, then…
Worried looks spread across both Sakura's and Morgan's faces, his own expression having told them everything they needed to know.
"Robin? Are you there?!" he thought, mentally shouting the words over the thought-link spell they'd been using. Please… please don't be dead… Please… he begged, waiting for a response he feared would never come.
. . . . .
Robin coughed, wheezing as he fought to expel the dust and smoke that choked his lungs. Everything hurt. Good. That meant he was still alive.
Opening his eyes, Robin found himself staring up at a sky filled with a hazy cloud. Groaning in pain, he willed himself to ignore the protests of his battered flesh and roll onto his belly. There he lay for another moment, working up enough effort to prop himself onto his elbows, lift his head, and…
Promptly blink in surprise and feel his jaw fall open in utter shock.
How in gods name am I even alive right now?! How are any of us alive right now?!
Sure enough he and all of the others seemed to have, against all odds, made it in one piece. Even now they were all stirring from where they lay scattering in the dirt near at hand. But what surrounded them… that brought the question of how they'd managed that into sharp focus.
All around then lay the shattered, broken, contents of the astral keep. The entire contents, from the buildings, to the walls, to the trees, to the piers that stretched out into the endless sea, filled the landscape around them. Some stuck half buried into the earth, others mangled beyond believe, others still having torn great swaths of the landscape into pieces as they were flung from the detonating portal.
No, not a detonating portal. The whole pocket dimension had ripped itself apart, it's entire contents exploding into the real world with a force Robin didn't dare contemplate.
We must have only just escaped before the whole thing left, Robin realized. Thank the gods the portal was some distance above the ground. We ended up being far enough down that everything inside was thrown clear over our heads after we jumped.
As for where they'd landed, they hadn't made it into the city as planned. They'd exited the portal perhaps half a mile beyond the outer walls. It looked like once upon a time where they stood had once been farmland, but had become devastated by fighting. You know, only now even more of a ruined mess thanks to someone dropping a keep on it. Opps.
Yet for now Robin couldn't afford to worry about the consequences of his plan. Even here the sound of frantic battle and the screams of the dying carried out from within the city. The attack had already begun. Right now they needed to collect themselves, and quickly at that. They were already out of time.
Just as Robin had finished picking himself up off the ground and moved to help some of the others, a voice in his head interrupted his thoughts. "Robin? Are you there?!"
Robin froze in place. He could hear the desperate urgency in the voice clearly enough, yet despite it he still found it difficult to collect his own jumbled thoughts enough to so much as make a coherent response. Only then did he realize just how much the spell had taken out of him, both physically and mentally. Here he was, worn out and the battle had barely started.
"I'm alive," he managed at last.
He felt the mental equivalent of a sigh of relief over the mind link spell. "The others, are they-"
"Everyone made it, don't worry," Robin assured Corrin. He looked around, seeing everyone picking themselves up. A few showed obvious scrapes and bruises from the fall, but none seemed particularly life threatening. His eye then caught the shattered remains of Corrin's treehouse home, the tree's trunk splintered in two and the house a pile of unrecognizable debris among the mangled branches. "But your keep…"
"I know, it's gone…" Corrin thought, Robin feeling the dull pang of loss that accompanied the thought-message.
"Well… not gone exactly... but…" Robin sighed out loud, not sure if Corrin would feel the impression over the spell or not. "It might as well be. I'm sorry. If there was another way…"
There was another long pause. "Just… make sure it counts."
Robin nodded even, though he knew Corrin couldn't see the gesture. Mentally and physically exhausted as he was, he had to push forward. Corrin had gotten them here, and it had cost him personally. Now it fell onto Robin himself to make sure that the sacrifice wasn't all for naught.
"I will," Robin assured him, hurrying to gather the others and prepare to once again enter the fray.
Author's Note: Okay, so you know how I said this chapter would be out sooner? I think I am going to stop making statements about when chapters come out to avoid jinxing myself, lol.
So yeah, hope you guys enjoyed this one. Honestly, destroying the Astral Keep was something that was long coming and frankly I should have done it sooner. Not to say I have any particular problem with it, more so that it really ends up being too much of a plot convenience. Basically it is so useful I can't NOT have the the characters use it without them just being dumb, but if I do use it, all the stakes of traveling through dangerous areas is completely erased. So yeah, it really had to go.
No guest reviews, so that's all for now. As always I'd love to hear what you guys thought of this one, your comments, theories, and feedback always makes my days. Plus constructive criticism is always welcome, as it's the only way I will improve as a writer. Until the next one, take care, and have a wonderful day!