Like Father, Like Daughter

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Star vs. the Forces of Evil


Chapter 34: Of Life and Death

Many Years ago…

The portal opened, and Hekapoo walked out and took a look.

The rest of the Commission followed the Queen stepping out last.

"What a mess," Hekapoo whispered.

They were in the world of Malfraun, and it was indeed a mess.

It had never been a critical world to Mewni, but something was wrong. A little looking into it on Omni's side found something was genuinely wrong. They detected terrible and unstable magical forces.

"Why are we here?" The Queen asked them. "We are supposed to be expanding Mewni villages into monster territories, yet you'd have me here. Those monsters will attack again like they always do; I must strike them down before they get a chance."

"Patience, My Queen," Reynaldo urged her, "we would not have brought you here if it wasn't of the utmost importance." The giraffe man tried to calm the Queen.

"Then make it quick; why are we here?" Queen Solaria spoke up.

"Uh, this," Hekapoo held out her hands, motioning all around her.

Malfraun was a lush planet with life, flowing rivers, and lively villages. The ground was generous; they could farm bountiful crops every season.

The once blue skies were now crimson, the rivers were dry, and the land was gray.

"This world is dead!" Hekapoo shouted.

"What of it? Perhaps it is a plague or a conflict amongst the people. There is little we can do about that."

Lekmet poked at a building that looked like it had been burned, only for it to crumble.

"My gut is telling me something is super wrong here," Rhombulus grumbled.

"I was here a week ago; it wasn't like this," Hekapoo pointed out.

She had visited last week to help transport some of the food they had sold to Mewni; it went to one of Solaria's new villages to help with the startup.

Plus, she got some lovely jewelry. The Malfraun were a large bird-people species with an excellent eye for color.

Omni floated above them, "Something magical is afoot here."

"A weapon?" Solaria mused, "That might be useful against the monsters."

Hekapoo rolled her eyes. Why was Solaria so set on fighting the monsters? Sure they caused problems, but none of the previous queens had been this obsessed.

Solaria probably didn't care because these people weren't Mewman.

"Greetings."

The group turned and readied to attack, Solaria lighting her wand/sword.

They found a bird person. Her feathers were pure white except for her dark blue and black wings.

Solaria barked, "Identify yourself, Avian,"

She blinked, "Malfraun,"

"Uh," Rhombulus raised a hand, "Isn't that where we are? Like the name of this world?"

"It is."

"And it's your name too?"

"That is my designation,"

"Uh, so the name, I guess that one less thing to remember."

She didn't reply. She just looked at them without blinking and a friendly expression on her face.

"You okay?"

"I'm optimal," Rhombulus used the chance to take a few steps back.

Hekapoo walked closer, "So, mind explaining some stuff? Like, I don't know what happened here? Where is everyone?"

"They're dead." She spoke perfectly casually, so much, so the Commission almost didn't take it in.

"Excuse me, what?" Hekapoo asked.

"All 343,653 living souls on Malfraun had been extinguished."

Reynaldo blanched, "343,653 deaths?"

"Yes, well, to be exact, that is all sentient life forms in this world. I presumed that you'd only be interested in them. All fauna, fungi, and flora life have also perished. I can give you the exact number of those deaths if you wish."

Hekapoo dared to ask, "… How many people are still here?"

"Currently, there are eight entities in this world."

Omni wagered, "Eight survivors of an entire world?"

Reynaldo corrected him, "There are six of us, and one of her."

"Then who is the eighth?" Solaria gripped her wand.

"Yoohoo!" A dark figure turned a corner. "Did you miss me?"

"Erebus!" Rhombulus zapped him, trapping him in a crystal.

After a few seconds, the crystal shattered, "Really? We gotta do that every time?"

Erebus looked up and down at the Queen in armor with her hair mostly shaved off except for a long braided ponytail.

"Who's the broad? The new Butterfly?"

"Its Queen Solaria Butterfly, fiend," Solaria leveled her sword at Erebus, "You are the Lord of Darkness? I expected something more impressive,"

"Well, you have a dumb haircut. So, there."

Hekapoo held out her scissors dagger, ready to stab, "What are you up to?"

"Straight to business then?" Erebus sighed as he fixed his waistcoat. "Okay, so decided to drop by."

"We noticed," Reynaldo glanced at the destruction.

"That wasn't my intention at first, but let me keep going, or you'll never understand. I thought I found something interesting, and I didn't. Then I did; you see I found this ancient temple here. I like temples, the people here used to worship spirits and the world. Then someone came up with a neat idea, to give the world a voice and power to protect them."

Hekapoo got a nasty feeling about it, and she and the Commission held their thoughts.

"I'm sure you know that everything comes with a price. One they thought was too much to pay, so they forgot it. I decided to pay up. Can you guess the price?"

Some had started to piece things together and didn't wish to speak them.

"That's right! Lives, to create it, requires a lot of power. You see, creating a guardian for a place is easy enough, sometimes with the right factors comes together, one just randomly pops up. But not for something big, not like something like a planet. To make it happen, it takes lives. Sure souls have more power, but souls can be tricky unless you take steps. But that's too much trouble, you know? So I bled this planet dry. It took every life on this planet, every year they could have had."

Lekmet looked around to see a world devoid of all life.

"Honestly, I probably could have stopped way before everyone was dead, but I figured I'd top it off. No point in doing something halfway after all."

Hekapoo snapped and rushed to stab Erebus, but failed. Malfraun moved to take the blow faster than she should react. Hekapoo's scissors dug deep into Malfraun instead.

"And here we have Malfraun, the collective lives of everyone on this planet in a tiny package."

Shaking, Hekapoo stepped back, and Malfraun just plucked the weapon out of her chest.

"Don't worry," Erebus said giddy, "she doesn't feel pain unless I tell her to. Malfraun, feel pain."

Malfraun collapsed onto the ground howling in pain, grasping at her chest.

"Okay, you can stop." She stopped, "Look!" Erebus held out his hand, and her body contorted and twisted, breaking and reforming, taking on a form like a Mewman, "Everything about her is to my will. She doesn't have a thought in her head, no desire; she isn't even really alive. She's bound to me as her master, a bond that can't be broken unless I die, and that ain't happening. She certainly can't die unless this whole ding dang world is gone. She can't leave the world either, but that's a Genius Loci for you. "

Hekapoo conjured flames around them to try and burn them.

"Ow!" Erebus yelled out. To him, that seemed uncalled for! "Mal! Put out the flames!"

A massive gust of wind came, blowing out the flames.

"And here I was, happy to show you guys my new toy. Let's play! Mal mess them up!"

Malfraun raised her hand, and the ground shook as spikes shot out at the Commission.

Solaria jumped from one, "How is she doing this?"

"Genius Loci have control over some aspect of their place." Hekapoo explained as she dodged, "If this is one is for the whole world, then she can attack with the whole world."

0000

Solaria had gotten more injuries than she'd cared to admit. Fighting the actual world was not an easy task. The rest of the Commission fought Malfraun and barely held her off when Solaria managed to slide past.

Erebus was enjoying the fight when the Queen rushed with her sword drawn. Solaria would not miss her shot and slice the shadow in half. Both slices hit the ground.

Solaria took a breath of relief and spat at the remains, snarling. She said, "I thought I knew monsters, but you're a monster among monsters. Worry not. I will soon send you more of your kin to keep you company."

She turned to help the Commission in their fight when she felt a sickening sensation.

Turning back, she saw the world twist as the two pieces rose into the air like they were being tugged with strings—a black slime shot between the parts, pulling them close together.

The mask was cut in half, and Erebus quickly held it in place. "Wanna see something cool?"

Before he could drop his hands, a pair of yellow pants wrapped around his head. "Ah, what?"

"That's enough,"

Glossaryck appeared behind Erebus. "You've caused enough trouble now."

"Old Man, is that you!" Erebus struggled to remove the pants.

"Glossaryck?" Solaria was surprised. It was pretty obvious he didn't like assisting her, and he showed up without being asked.

"Yeah," Glossaryck sighed, waving his hand. The Queen and the Commission all vanished, and were sent back to Mewni.

Once they were gone, Glossaryck looked at Malfraun, "For what it's worth, I am sorry for all of this,"

He held out his hand, and white light erupted, consuming everything.

Erebus finally managed to rip off the pants just in time to see it, "Dang, game over."

Malfraun vanished that day. The world was gone. The Commission never spoke of it. They feared that someone might try to repeat it.

0000

Marco gasped as he woke up in bed exhausted. He was sure he slept for at least eight hours, but he still felt tired. On top of that his whole body ached.

"Marco!" Angie was by his side. She held out a glass of water, which Marco happily took.

After a moment, he asked, "Where's Hekapoo?"

"I think you need to see the Queen," Angie responded.

Marco rushed out of the room. Angie tried to stop him, "Maybe you should eat first."

He rushed to a spare room. Something was pulling him there.

As he opened the door, he found the high Commission, Star, and Seraph. They were around Hekapoo, who was asleep in bed.

"What's wrong?" Marco asked.

Seraph grabbed her father, pulling him into a hug.

"Marco, I think we need to talk," Moon tried to explain. She held out the Keyblade, which now had cracks all around it. "But I have some questions."

After discussing something, they figured out a few things. They also informed Marco that Keyblades were rare powerful magical items, to the point that even legendary beings thought of them as legends.

Omni explained from his crystal ball, "So, as the dimension collapsed and Space fizzled out, the Keyblade performed a bit of magic. I say a bit, but making a path of Space where none existed is something-" He cleared his throat, "I'll save you the complicated explanation, just it's rather impressive that it made a path for you."

Marco held the key. Seeing it cracked seemed wrong, whenever he needed it would just show up to help. It even saved his and Hekapoo lives.

"Then there is the other thing," Omni explained, "There is something about Hekapoo that you don't know that-"

"Her species," Marco wagered,

"Yeah," Omni gulped.

Moon looked around, curious, "What does that have to do with anything?"

"We've never actually said what her species is. We've just always let people assume she was a demon or a fiend… she's not."

"Bah Baw Baw," Lekmet explained.

"What?!" Rhombulus yelled, "Why didn't I know about this?"

Omni explained it to him, "Yeah. It's a secret, and we didn't think you could keep a secret."

Rhombulus glared, "I can keep a secret if I wanted to."

Marco felt a headache start coming on, "Genius Loci, also known as the spirit of a place. It's a secret because if people found out, it could be used against her."

"Wait, what?" Star cringed, "What does this mean?"

"A long time ago, when the universe was still young and still forming energies ran wild," Omni began to explain. "Space overlapped and collided, dimensions were born, and dimensions collapsed. Then a strange thing happened, several dimensions collided, but they were brimming with so much magic they fused together, stabilizing in the flames that forged the universe. In the center, a world formed at a phenomenal rate. All those dimensions that collided together had a strange effect on time, like how intense gravity affects time; all these dimensions fusing together caused time to speed up."

"Mom's dimension," Seraph realized.

"Yes," Omni confirmed, "something happened in the center of the universe; the world that formed took all the potential energy that should have caused countless species to form. Instead, only one life in the whole dimension emerged. The only life that could emerge from it, a Genius Loci, the living embodiment of that whole dimension. Something strange happened though, Genius Loci don't have wills of their own, but Hekapoo did."

"So, Hekapoo is adopted?" Rhombulus asked, confused.

"Maybe," Marco sighed, "Hekapoo has never been sure about that. Glossaryck might have changed what she would be, let her have some ability to think. Or she could have just been like that the whole time and Glossaryck could have shown up at the right time. Hekapoo was born from magic and developed on her own. Hekapoo was alone in a barren world for so long by herself. Hekapoo thinks she developed the power to clone herself to have some sense of not being alone, but that didn't exactly work. Because she was born from flames, she developed the ability to make and control flames. Because of all the compiled dimensional energies and her nature as Genius Loci, she learned to manipulate them to create portals. That's when Glossaryck showed himself. You've talked to him; you can barely follow what he's saying. He told her how she was born that he watched over her from a distance until she was ready. Saying that he was there to help bring out her full potential. That could mean he did something magical to let her developed her own mind or left her to be alone to make her stronger." Marco crossed his arms, still annoyed at him for a variety of reasons.

"Well," Omni didn't deny it, "he helped Hekapoo learn to use her power and got her to develop a magical network that all our portals work on. He brought her in when the Commission was still young before Rhombulus was even created."

"Wait, was I the only one who didn't know?" Rhombulus asked. "Did Reynaldo know?"

Omni added, "We didn't even tell the queens. A Genius Loci is always bound to their locations. Usually, they can't leave it, but the dimensional nature of things Hekapoo allowed to wander; as long as her heart remained in the forge, she was forever linked to it. Even if her physical form were in another dimension and drained or destroyed, she'd exist. But that also became a problem; Genius Loci are also bound to a master. A conscious mind with a will to make up for the will they lacked."

"But Mom has a mind and a will!" Seraph insisted.

"Yeah, she does," Marco pulled Seraph close, "She became her own master, but there are spells to switch masters if conditions are met. Maybe because they lost their master, and we don't know how that works with Hekapoo. But it's possible knowing what she is, someone could use the right spell and take control of her. If they did that then, her personality, her memories, everything that makes her would be wiped. Like setting a computer to factory settings and modifying everything to suit your tastes." Marco looked away, "If someone did that Hekapoo, it wouldn't be Hekapoo anymore. So it was kept secret to protect her."

"You never said," Seraph said, "Mom never said,"

"She told me a long time ago, and we had talked about it before, but I think she wanted to wait until you were older."

Moon thought it over, "I've only read about Genius Loci. Their avatars, their physical bodies, ah, how do I say it?"

"Their bodies," Marco confirmed,

"They shouldn't be able to do certain things, like have children." Moon pointed out.

Marco smiled at Seraph, "That's why she's our miracle,"

"That is very enlightening, but that doesn't answer a question; Hekapoo no longer has a Location. We've confirmed her dimension is gone; how is Hekapoo still with us?" Moon questioned.

Omni scratched his head, "Yeah, that's the strange thing. I think it was the power of the Keyblade. Even with magic being on the fritz, it still managed to pull off one last trick." Omni held out his hand, and both Marco and Hekapoo glowed red, "Keyblades have a large potential for magic; as you held it, you made a wish. To get home with Hekapoo, and it did it as best it could. She would have faded away, but instead, the connection to her location was transferred to you. You are holding her. And that's the problem."

Moon sighed, "I see, this is all making sense now. Since we arrived, we've noticed that Hekapoo was running low on magical power, and you weren't waking up. A Genius Loci draw power from its location, which is now you. She's used to running a dimension's worth of power, and she's now draining your life instead. We need to sever the connection."

"Wait!" Marco objected, "If you do that, Hekapoo will fade away."

"If we don't, you will be drained until nothing is left, and then she will still fade away. I don't like this, but we don't have any other options. I already checked the Magic Sanctuary we use to restore the Commission; the fritz has corrupted it to the point that it's no longer usable. We don't have any other options."

"Can I have a moment alone?" Marco's voice was oddly soft.

Everyone started to leave the room; Seraph hesitated but decided to walk away with the others. Lekmet was making sure to push Omni's crystal ball.

They closed the door behind themselves when Seraph sensed something. "Is that a portal?"

Turning back, they saw a bright light coming from underneath the door.

"He couldn't be." Moon realized.

Seraph pushed open the door just in time to see Marco carrying Hekapoo into a portal. Seraph, unwilling to let him run off again, bolted at full speed.

"Seraph!" Star yelled, running after her.

Rhombulus chased after them, "I'll get them!"

They all ran into the portal, and it closed behind them.

0000

Seraph, Star, and Rhombulus crashed onto the ground before a large temple. They barely caught sight of Marco rushing into the temple with Hekapoo. A temple that was above the clouds on the top of the mountain.

They caught up to him in the middle of a hall; standing before him was a tall woman in a dark purple hood with the hood up. She had a bright red amulet around her neck and a few sparkly gems near her waist. Her thick lips curled up into a smile. Her skin was a mix of pink and purple; it reminded Star of the sky's color when the first rays of sunlight cut through the dark sky. She had seven eyes, four grouped like a square and a line of three beneath that group, and each seemed to glimmer with a strange light and each a different color lightly.

"I'm glad you're safe," she greeted Marco, "I was afraid you wouldn't make it."

"Help," Marco trembled,

"Of course," This woman towered over Marco but helped lead Marco into a side room. The woman pressed a button on a sofa chair, and it began to hover; she quickly helped Hekapoo's sleeping form into and helped Marco sit into a nearby chair. Without missing a step, she pulled out a bottle of Sands of Time; the sand like liquid glimmered like the night sky. The woman opened up Hekapoo's mouth and poured half the bottle and then passed it to Marco.

"Drink it now,"

Marco opened his mouth, but she stopped him. "Drink."

Marco did as he was told; he had looked rather pale and tired and started to look healthier as he drank.

"The Sands of Time have unique properties, one being that it refreshes, re-energies, and rejuvenates those who drink it."

Marco finished the drink and opened his mouth, "Wait, answer their question first?"

"Marco!" Star yelled, why did you run off?"

"She can help," Marco huffed, "Seraph, remember the story I told you about the oracle? This is her, Jheselbraum the Unswerving."

Jheselbraum smiled, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Princess Star Butterfly, Lord Rhombulus, and the young Lady Seraph Diaz."

Rhombulus blinked, "Wait, how did you know our names?"

"I'm an Oracle; it is my job to know things."

"But-"

"Yes, I could answer your questions before you ask them, but it's quite rude and often confuses people more than it saves time."

"Okay, then."

Seraph looked around at the large room they found themselves in. It was warm and inviting with crystal balls floating around in the air. The walls were covered in tapestries; each one adorned by the same figure, a pinkish salamander with a bright smile and dark pink frills on its neck.

Jheselbraum clapped her hands, "Star and Rhombulus, could you please go down the hall and retrieve everything in the closet. It's the closet down the hall, the fifth door on the left. It gets stuck, so give it an extra tug."

The pair did as they were told, confused by the presence of an Oracle.

As they left, Jheselbraum settled into a chair and looked at the family, "They will be gone for the next five minutes, so ask what you want to ask quickly."

"Can you save Hekapoo?" Marco asked without hesitation.

"No, but I can give you what you need to save her yourself."

Marco and Seraph sighed in relief at hearing that.

"You had another question," Jheselbraum snarked.

Marco glanced at Seraph.

"Seraph has fears. Your talk with Moon and the Commission has her doubting things and unsure of what she is. It would serve you better just to talk."

Marco sighed and shook his head, "Fine, did you make sure that Seraph would be born?"

The oracle giggled, "No, I know you've had some concerns over that since the time you told her about your quest for the key. But no. Yes, I gave you Sands of Time to heal you and help you impress Hekapoo later on. Though that action would not have changed anything, she would merely use the chance to tease you, that night would have ended the same."

"But-" Marco started.

"She'd tease you; she would still bring a bottle out to remind you of that night. The last night you spent together."

"Uh," Seraph hesitated.

"One of the abilities the Sands of Times time gives its drinker is that it can connect people who share a bottle. In this case, it syncs your body with Hekapoo, and that allows you to overcome some limitations, such as normally a Genius Loci being unable to become pregnant."

"So, you didn't-"Marco began to ask.

"The choices you made, what you two chose to do together, were your own."

Seraph asked, "So, I'm not your miracle?"

Marco hugged, "Yes, you are."

"He's right," Jheselbraum agreed, "miracles are simply what we call things that we can't explain, that shouldn't have happened but did anyway and was wonderful. Just because now we know doesn't make you any less special." She smiled and patted Seraph, "Please go help your uncle."

"Help? Why?"

There was a loud crash and yell from Rhombulus.

"Got it!" Seraph ran to help them.

"You planned that?" Marco said as Seraph left.

"That one, I did."

"How much have you planned?"

"Not as much you think, even knowing the future I have not left this mountain in years, there only so much I could do."

"But the Key?"

"The Keyblade choose you,"

"The Keyblade saved Hekapoo and me,"

"And me teaching you how to open locks and giving that chance to succeed was how I repaid her for saving me."

"By making sure I could save her."

"Yes,"

"I kinda wish I took the lessons you offered me; I probably would have done everything faster. Moon looked at the key like she was holding the Holy Grail!"

"Yes, Axolotl grants me my sight, and I have seen possibilities where you did."

"Why didn't you just warn us about Erebus?"

"Several issues, this sight isn't All-knowing just possibilities. Erebus' nature makes it hard to see him at all with it. Reality doesn't know what to do with him; metaphysical abilities react poorly around him. And even if I knew it perfectly and absolutely, the very act of telling you anything can change the events."

"Like stepping on a butterfly thing?"

"It's a tad more complicated than that, but in a simple matter, yes. You saw it first hand Erebus hearing the song lead to a timeline where I was dead."

"You know about that?"

"It came into my vision recently and vanished just as quickly, like a bad dream. The wrong words can cause chaos. If you act differently because of those words, especially around someone I can't predict, like Erebus, it could easily lead you to a new disaster. The best I can do is give you clues that you hopefully understand when you need to."

"Wait, is that why predictions are always vague?"

"Partially, sometimes vagueness is all we can decipher. He will tell you more of it in due time, but we have a new trial to overcome." Then she sighed, "Besides, do you know what people do when you tell them their future? They try to change it. Once they decide to take a new course, I don't know what will happen. I can't warn them. They go in blind instead of one where they can get a warning."

The trio came out carrying a large wooden box and put it on the floor.

Jheselbraum quickly opened it and tossed Marco a map. She then pulled out an hourglass and started it, handing it to Seraph.

"The drink I gave you will buy you time; I've calculated it, when the sand runs out in that hourglass, you will pass, and a second later, Hekapoo will too."

The room went silent.

"Good. Listen then," Jheselbraum pulled out an old picture book, "The Magic Sanctuary is corrupted but there are other forces in the universe other than magic. Magic is but one aspect of the universe, the power behind the Sands of Time is the cosmic forces of the universe. I intend to send you to reach a higher power."

The picture in the book showed a landscape flourishing with life. A beautiful mountain stood at the distance where a well sat on top. Above it, the sky was filled with bright colors.

"Long ago," Jheselbraum began,

"I've heard this one! In a Galaxy far away!" Star shouted, eager.

Jheselbraum shrugged, "Technically, yes, also avoid those movies the next few sequels will be... back to your quest,"

Jheselbraum flipped the page to one of the wells, "There was a world bathed in life, all because of a well, one that reached into the Realm of Life, the raw energies that helped birth the universe and life across the universe flow into the world. Then people who sought this power, to take it for their own, started a terrible war over it," flipping to the next page showed a wasteland, "the fighting destroyed the world, and the well was lost under damage. Some claimed that Life itself was disgusted by the fighting and turned their back on the world and left it to their partner, unto Death."

"Okay, what?" Rhombulus asked.

Marco explained, "There's a lost well of cosmic life energy that if we can find in time can save Hekapoo."

"Yes, restore her and you."

Star pulling through the box saw thick coats in their sizes; one even had gloves made for Rhombulus' snakes; they had holes to see.

"The world is barren and covered in ice. I can't send you next to the well. The war twisted the energies around it, but I can move you close to the mountain's base. You will have to travel up the mountain to find the well."

"We are going to save Mom." Seraph smiled.

Jheselbraum pulled out a blanket and draped Hekapoo with it. "I hope you enjoy the hover seat,"

"It's beneficial," Marco smiled, "It's not magic."

"No, magnetic lift, a visitor once built it in his spare time. I won't spoil it for you."

The group got ready. Star chuckled to herself as the oracle put a star on her jacket, and got a red one for Marco.

"I can only beg you to be careful. This journey won't be easy. It will test you, but if you overcome it, you will rise."

They gathered their supplies as they prepared to move out.

"I have words for you," Jheselbraum looked straight at Seraph, "Young one, listen. When you meet him, remember to trust him, trust the Skull-Kitty Man."

"Wait, what?" Seraph blinked.

Marco shook his head, "Trust me, just listen, I'm sure it will make sense later."

"Okay," Seraph scratched her head, "I'll trust a skull-kitty man."

"Oh! And when he tries to be a Mysterious when he introduces himself, remember Nyah-Nyah." She held up her hands as if they were cat paws.

"Nyah-Nyah?" Seraph repeated, utterly confused.

Jheselbraum was struggling not to laugh, "Yes, that's very important."

Seraph was rightfully confused.

Jheselbraum leaned in, "When he finds you, you will need to find him in return."

Seraph blinked and Jheselbraum just moved on.

Rhombulus found the Oracle standing before him, "You trust your gut, but there will come a time it won't be able to help you. When you are lost and feeling weak, remember your family saves you, your family supports you, and remember you are strongest together. Trust each other, be there for each other, and accept and forgive each other. A true family will make each other better."

Rhombulus blinked and whispered to his snake hands, "Do you guys know what she means by that?"

Jheselbraum turned to Star, "Princess, a dark shadow looms over you and the kingdom. At your darkest moment, do not let yourself fall into the darkness. In the dark and alone, he will not be able to guide you, but he has taught you enough. He has left you all you need. Think!"

"What is that supposed to mean!?" Star yelled, throwing her hands in the air.

"Just try to be reasonable," Jheselbraum told her, "Good luck."

Jheselbraum paused before Marco.

"You have a prophecy for me?" Marco asked her.

"You know I have one for all those who come to my temple to help them go where they need to go."

"You gave me a map and bought us time."

"I did. I am very generous," She smiled, but it wavered a bit, "I need to ask you a favor first. If you make it through this, one day you will meet a man. He made that hover chair. I'd be grateful if you saved him. Give him a chance, stop her from taking him away. After all they've been through, they deserve to have a chance to be together after being torn apart."

"Okay, how will I know him?"

"He is twinned but unique."

"Okay, I'm sure I'll get that when it happens."

"And for your prophecy, one for you and Hekapoo, fear not the cat and fear not the serpent." She leaned down and looked Marco right in the eyes, "Marco, listen, this is the most important part. No matter what I've said, no matter what trials come, trust your heart. The Keyblade choose you because of your heart. It burned the last of its power because of the wish in your heart to save Hekapoo. When the end comes, speak from the heart, be honest, and what you really want. When all is lost, be honest with yourself. Focus on what you really want, for Hekapoo's sake, and what you want for her."

Marco stared, unsure of what wisdom he was supposed to take from that. He only hoped he could understand it in time.

Jheselbraum pulled out a pair of scissors and opened a portal for them. They carried their supplies and walked through it.

Jheselbraum sighed. She hoped it would work out. She could only give advice and words, but they didn't always understand it in time.

"I hope this isn't the universe she destroys magic, that doesn't work out."

0000

The group found themselves in front of a mountain on a world that seemed frozen in an endless winter. The sky was a pale gray.

"Okay, let's get going," Marco said, determined, pushing the hoverchair with Hekapoo. Seraph pulled the blanket over her mother, hoping she'd be warm.

They didn't talk much. Star asked how he knew the oracle, and Marco explained his trials. The Oracles dimension had once been one that Hekapoo hid in her dimension.

Seraph had a question as they walked, "You knew Mom was a Genius Loci?"

"Yes," Marco admitted.

"Ah, so being half-human and half-Genius Loci is that the reason I aged fast? I mean, Mom is the representation of her dimension, and I was in Mom and-"

"You figured it out," March half smiled, "I figured it out a while ago, and your Mom and I talked. That's our best guest, especially since there isn't anyone else like you. Your Mom's dimension runs faster because… well, how well did you learn relativity?"

"I got the basics from Mom."

"Good, you know how black holes or anything with powerful gravity actually makes time slow down. Your Mom's dimension had so much mass and space in it, and when she kept pulling on worlds and dimensions, it added more and more. That's part of the reason that time ran faster there than other dimensions. We guessed that you being in the manifestation of the dimension and in the actual dimension was what caused your personal time in the dimension to go wild." Marco sighed sadly, "Your Mom didn't realize it, and she hated that it happened. She blamed herself for it. We did plan to explain this all to you when you were older, but we never found the right time."

"It's okay," Seraph whispered as they continued to hike.

Both Rhombulus and Star felt like they were left out but hearing Marco's tone, they understood why no one told them anything about this.

They found a path into the mountain. It was once used to make it easy to travel onto the mountain to see the well, but it had long since been abandoned, covered in snow.

Marco hated the sound of snow crunching beneath their feet, hated how his socks felt cold and wet, and hated how he felt weaker. The others started to notice it too. The Sands of Time were beginning to run out, similarly the sand in the hourglass dwindled with each passing moment.

The hard got harder for Marco. He blamed it on the thinning air, but it wasn't.

"In with Hekapoo," Star told him, "rest up and stay warm."

Star gave him a half-smile as Seraph helped him get into the blankets with Hekapoo.

They pushed the floating chair as they continued their trek.

They followed Marco as he read off the map. Star silently wondered if the Oracle hadn't given him the map to keep him distracted.

They walked as fast as they could; the sands kept moving in the hourglass. They knew they might not make it.

With each passing second, Star saw Marco grow weaker, and Seraph went silent. It was almost as if the life was draining from Seraph as she desperately tried to hide her fear. Star couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose both of your parents at once. Star saw a few of Marco's hairs turn gray. Somewhere deep inside her, Star hated Hekapoo. If Marco could just let her go, he'd be fine. Why did he have to be so determined to save her? Why?

Star hadn't thought that she could have such a dark thought.

"We have to go in there?" Rhombulus asked as he pointed to a cave.

Marco coughed, "Yeah, the map says through the cave, and we will end up on a path right to the top and to the well."

Marco leaned over to Hekapoo, "We're almost there. Just hang on."

They ventured into the cave, and Sereph conjured a ball of fire above them lighting their way. The shadows on the wall seemed to dance, and the wind blew through it like the breathing of a giant.

After walking in the near dark, they spotted a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then they heard the growling and out of the dark leaped a large beast. They thought it looked like a hybrid of bear and wolf with a tail like a scorpion and eyes like spiders. It leapt out of the shadows right for the chair. Seraph jumped before it and hurled flames at it.

"Strawberry Lasso!" Star whipped out her wand, and the lasso wrapped itself on its neck. Then Star pulled it back with all her might.

Rhombulus fired his spell, but it failed to crystallize it completely, only getting patches of fur. Rhombulus sensed it. His magic was getting weaker and could no longer trap anything larger than himself. The beast lunged its tail at him, and the commissioner managed to encase its tail. The creature quickly swung it around like a mace. It broke through the lasso and went wild, lashing out at random, hitting the cave walls. A stalactite on the ceiling shook and came loose, heading straight for the chair. Seraph ran and pushed it as hard as she could, throwing them out of the cave and just barely avoided the spike herself.

The ground beneath them cracked. The crack grew larger, and then suddenly the cave shuddered as everything began collapsing. Rhombulus grabbed the girls and ran to the entrance of the cave. The beast was behind them but was not fast enough. They barely jumped out of the cave mouth as the rock gave way crushing the beast.

Rhombulus huffed as he watched half the mountain fell into itself. They had barely jumped to a safe spot.

"Mom! Dad!" Seraph yelled out, "I pushed them out but-"

From off in the distance, a red and a yellow flare shot into the air.

Seraph thought of something, "They told me stories, that when they were going to meet, they were going to pause the trial. I think it means they're safe."

Seraph looked through their bag and pulled out another flare. They held five shots.

"Dad!" Seraph yelled, "If you're okay, please fire one flare into the air, two if you're not!"

They waited for a moment before a single flare shot into the air.

Seraph gasped in relief. "What would Dad do?" It didn't take her that long to figure it out. "Dad! You're going to try and get Mom to the top, aren't you? And not wait for us?"

A single flare shot into the air, answering her question.

"He can't take her alone. He can barely move!" Star yelled. "We have to find another way, maybe get help."

Rhombulus shook his head, "I don't think there is another path, and if we can't portal, we'd have to go all the way down to do so and get help. We don't have the time. Hekapoo doesn't."

Star pulled out her mirror to try and make a call, but it didn't have a signal. The energies in the place that didn't let them portal seemed to mess up mirrors.

"Dad!" Seraph yelled, "Promise me you'll be okay. We will wait for you, do you get it?"

Another single orange flare shot into the air.

Seraph knew there would be nothing to stop her father. They could only hope that something good would happen. Maybe the fact that the oracle gave them flares with five-shot meant that was all they needed.

0000

It looked like half the mountain collapsed, and they barely managed it to the other side. Except a boulder shot out and struck the chair, breaking something and lost its floating abilities. He managed to send out a message with the flares, but now the hard part began.

He had one small pack of supplies. He bundled Hekapoo up and blankets and carried her. With every step, it felt like his muscles were ready to snap.

"I did 16 years of crazy stuff; just a few hours of this is nothing." He told himself with a huff as he climbed. Resting on Hekapoo's stomach was the hourglass. "What's the thing you told me, yeah, that I was too determined. No one else would have been stupid enough to chase someone for a pair of scissors. I bet-" his head was dizzy, "well, it's good that I'm so determined."

As he hiked down the path, he talked to himself, to speak to Hekapoo about their adventures and the adventures they had yet to have.

"I took Seraph to Paris the other day. I had to keep the promise to Brittney. I took Seraph to see a famous painting and everything. She was so excited. We spent an hour talking about why the Mona Lisa smiled. She was really confused by a statue that kind of looked like Rhombulus but was titled Heka. She's going to want to ask you about it." Marco chuckled, "I wanted to take her to Italy too. Why don't you come with us? It would be like when we went to the theme park. Seraph seemed so happy. You seemed happy. I know I was."

Then Marco came to fork in the path, "Where's the map? Did I lose it at the cave?"

He didn't have time to test both paths. If he chose wrong, it would end.

"Mrw."

He turned around the see a black cat with bright amber eyes sitting there in the white snow.

Usually, Marco wasn't fond of cats; he was allergic to them. He was tired and cold and didn't have time to worry about it, but the oracle had told him not to be afraid of the cat.

He sighed, "Hey, uh, do you know the way to the well?"

The cat looked at him, almost like she was studying him. She turned around and started to walk down one path.

Marco knew he didn't have the time to check both paths; he had to pick one, might as well follow the cat. Jheselbraum did say to trust the cat, didn't she?

Every step he took, he grew more tired, and he grew colder. He held Hekapoo close.

"You know," Marco whispered to her, "remember when we met? I thought you were so arrogant and mean. Heh, you didn't even believe me when I said I just borrowed the scissors. Yeah, they had your name, but you never even asked me anything else. Then you had to insult me; and I know you were just giving me the trial, to just try to get me to leave, but I didn't. You were just so rude. I wanted to show you up. You were mean, and I was just too pig-headed. I should have turned back so many times; Janna asked me why I didn't do it. I think I just couldn't admit that I couldn't do it. It was so stupid. But it was the best thing I ever did. I got to know you, and we made Seraph. I never regretted it."

As he carried Hekapoo, Marco knew he wanted to tell her something but his mind couldn't make out the exact words. As he walked, he found himself talking, telling Hekapoo stories or his thoughts on things. All the while, Marco reminded himself of what Sera gave up to give them a chance and what Hekapoo was willing to give up to save them. He couldn't let that be for nothing.

Marco was pushing himself forwards and followed the cat. He wasn't sure that cat was actually there anymore.

The world started to spin when the cat stopped.

Marco was on the edge of a cliff that looked over the world below. Not that there was anything to see, all he could see was snow and ice. Even where they were was barren except for one old and thin tree without even one leaf.

Marco blinked to find a well sticking out of the snow. Most of it seemed to be buried under snow; only about a half a foot of it was still above the snow. The top of the well was covered in snow too, Marco assumed there had to be a cover covering it up.

Marco quickly settled Hekapoo by the well. Marco brushed some of the snow off, but he found the top frozen over instead of finding a lid.

"No. No. NO!" Marco yelled in a panic.

He jumped onto the ice and immediately began punching it. He hit as hard as he could until he heard a crack. Marco's fingers all pointed in odd directions; he didn't feel it all now the cold had made his hand numb. Marco used his good hand to pull out his scissors and used them to stab at the ice, desperate to shatter it.

Every hit grew weaker, and his breath got shallower; all the energy and fervor ebbed away. The scissors fell from his hands as he found it hard to breathe. Looking at the ice, he had barely formed a small crack.

He looked to the hourglass that the cat sat next to it; the grains of sand were nearly gone.

"I can't- I- I-" Marco collapsed; he looked at Hekapoo.

Marco took her hand in his own, "I'm sorry… I'm sorry… I can't… I climb a mountain in the freezing cold, but… I can't anymore…"

Everything started to get dark as he felt the energy in the body began to leave him.

"Finally!"

"What?"

Marco forced his eyes open.

The grey clouds parted, and lights of brilliant colors poured out. Marco thought he was looking at the northern lights, but that didn't make sense. His eyes focused on rainbow-colored lights slithering through the sky, a shape forming from the color-filled sky. Then he saw a pair of diamond-like eyes look at him. A giant snake made out of colorful lights looked down on him.

"What?" Marco gulped.

"I've been waiting for you to learn that determination will not get you what you want all the time. You did the trial, and you pressed on, sure you have some skills, but you could have easily gotten killed. It was such a stupid thing to do, especially for a pair of scissors. You can't just force reality to bend through grit and spunk."

"Who are you?"

"Ah, you are at my well."

"Your well?"

"I'm Life, and that is one of my wells."

"Oh, I thought Jheselbraum meant it more metaphorically when she said well to the Realm of Life."

"Nope, literal."

"Are you here to save us?"

"Ah, nope."

"But I learned a lesson. I climbed up your mountain and-"

"Marco Diaz," Life spoke Marco's name casually like someone who knew him his entire life; he probably did. "I didn't promise any reward. I'm just glad you learned that lesson before you died. Jeez, your whole family seems to burn themselves out to try to save the rest. It's been distressing to see."

"But- But- ah, isn't your job?"

"Marco, my job is to keep the natural order between the borders of the living and the dead. To make sure that life has a chance to flourish and grow. I'm not even supposed to intervene directly with the lives of people unless certain situations come up."

"Isn't that what you're doing now?"

"I'm talking Marco, talking isn't intervening, plus you've got less than five minutes. There's not much to interfere with."

"But Hekapoo!"

"I'm not trying to be heartless. I feel for you, I do. The world will go on, people will mourn both of you, but they will carry on."

"But the well is supposed to heal Hekapoo and me, and it's-"

"Marco, the well was a fluke. A small breach into another dimension, a physical link. They happened between countless dimensions. Some dimensions intersect dozens of dimensions. One opened up here, and the people used it as a miracle cure. It was fine at first, but in the end, they used it as a weapon. They brought on an endless winter, and it sealed itself. Opening it up again could have countless unplanned consequences, and you're not prepared for the level of power in the well."

"But you are; you could do it!"

"I could, but I'm not. Interfering, Marco, unless there is a good reason for me to act-"

"Payback for taking care of the little flame."

Marco blinked as the black cat spoke with a feminine voice.

"Hm," The snake mused on it, "That's flimsy, but it might work. Death, you're usually not helpful at keeping people on this side."

The cat snorted, "Thank you?"

"Love you!" Life told her, before turning to himself, "Should I though? I only talked to you on a lark; I'm getting a lot more involved."

Marco wasn't sure if he was going insane, but he had to try, "Please! I'll do anything! At least save Hekapoo."

"I like the humility you're showing. Plus, our daughter would be angry if I'm part of letting this story end on such a sour note. Still, I feel funny about this. Okay, know this, Diaz. My interference will tip the scales, causality will twist, and I can't say what trouble will find its way towards you."

Marco mustered what strength he had and pulled Hekapoo into a hug, "I don't care if Hekapoo is okay… I don't care. I'll deal with anything that comes our way. I won't let anything take my family."

"Hm, okay, there will be one final test after all. Not for me but for Hekapoo's sake."

"What?"

"She's a Genius Loci; I can adjust things so that you can support her energy needs without it being a danger to you too. But your link… it can affect her. So I'll activate it, and something will happen," His voice grew dark and deep, and Marco was sure he heard thunder in the distance. "if you fail to live up to the sentiment… if you fail to do right by her. I'll snuff you both out myself. Are you sure you want to do this? I can break your bond and save your life instead."

"No, I don't care. I'll save Hekapoo. I promised. I promised our daughter."

"Okay, let's see if you live up to your talk."

The black cat jumped on the well and snickered, "Don't mind him; he's a softie but can be very protective over these sorts of things. He hates it when his powers are misused."

The black cat's fur shimmered; it looked like hundreds of small star specks of lights were sprinkled over her coat. With a tap of her paw, the ice shattered, and a brilliant light consumed the mountain.

Marco felt the heart in his chest beat, it had gotten slow, but now it was starting to speed up. Then he felt something before him, another beating just before him. Slowly his heart began to beat in time with it.

"Hekapoo," He realized it was Hekapoo's heart; as they beat in time, he could feel her presence. He handled everything that was her. It was like when they put on the rings. Everything that made Hekapoo was before him, all her glories and all her regrets. He could feel the years of loneliness and the days she spent with Seraph.

"Okay, here's the game," Life's voice rang out in his mind,

He felt it all, the good days, the bad days, every good thing she did, both bad and good. It threatened to overwhelm him. He braced himself and looked on, unwilling to look away.

Hekapoo appeared before him, her eyes closed, and then he felt it. Everything she was could be shifted and changed drastically. All it would take was a thought, a simple desire, a stray belief that could change her forever.

It all depended on what Marco wanted, what was right in his heart.

She opened her eyes and embraced him.

There was only one thing Marco wanted, and he wanted Hekapoo. The Hekapoo, who he got to know, with all her flaws and issues, the person he was desperate to save. He didn't change anything. He made sure he could never use the bond to change her. They were connected. They would live like people and grow as people do.

Marco hugged her back.

"Okay," Life's voice boomed in his head, "I had my doubt, but I guess you really- wait, did you leave people on the mountain?!"

0000

Seraph stared in the direction her father went. She had no way of knowing if he was safe. She was sure that by now, that hourglass had to be done.

Star and Rhombulus sat beside her, unsure what to say. They didn't want to give up hope, but there were things they couldn't ignore.

Then at a distance, they saw a shining bright light. Then the entire mountain rumbled and shook apart, and they were blasted off it.

Star was stunned for a moment as rocks pelted them. She saw them falling and the wand beyond her reach. Rhombulus grabbed both girls and held on to them for dear life, hoping he could at least cushion their fall.

"It's going to be okay. It's going to be okay." Star desperately tried to reassure Seraph, who was clinging to her, terrified.

Desperately Star tried to flap the small wings on her back, but they were too weak to carry her, much less two added passengers.

Seraph saw this, and the ground hurtling towards them, and the flame spun into life between her horns. She wondered if it was an inspiration or what, but images flashed into her mind.

Seraph remembered going to a museum with her grandma and looking at a painting of an angel. Angie made a joke about how her name was Angela. Seraph recognized the passion it must have taken by the artist two paint these two beautiful flaming wings; the art spoke to her.

The air grew warm around them, and the light lit up around them; a pair of large flaming wings formed behind Seraph, flapping gently. It was the same skill that Seraph used to make her swords that let her make those wings.

It must have been a few seconds, but it felt much longer as they slowed down to the ground. Seraph trembled, trying to catch her breath; she felt so tired.

"You're amazing." Star hugged her close.

Nearby they found the wand, but they were also distracted by a rainbow of colors bursting from the top of the mountain.

"Nice view, right?"

They turned around to see a portal and Hekapoo and Marco stepped out. They looked much better; even Hekapoo's horn that Erebus broke had been restored.

Seraph jumped forward and gave them a big hug. The family held each other crying tears of joy, happy to be together after it seemed they wouldn't be reunited. After a moment, both Star and Rhombulus hugged them too.

0000

They were all tired.

It had been a long day, but everyone was alive and safe, and bonus Erebus was gone in the end.

Star went to check on Marco and pushed open the door to find him asleep. Marco wasn't alone. Marco and Seraph had sandwiched Hekapoo between them in a big hug. The three of them were fast asleep together, and after what they had been through, no one could blame them.

Star smiled sadly and closed the door.

At least everything was okay now.

0000

Ludo opened up a portal, and his critters followed closely behind him. The spell book on the back of his spider.

Ludo listened to the wand in his hand. It whispered to him that he had to leave Mewni.

"Okay, I guess this is where we continue," Ludo mumbled.

0000

In the far reaches of a dimension, Miss Heinous sat in her car as she looked at the magazine with pictures of Marco and Seraph. She ripped the pages out and tore them apart. She couldn't stand them; she had to do something.

0000

The pig-man named Buta ran through the woods holding a torch. Nearby there were other people wearing cloaks. Some of them had sensed something, and they thought it a sign.

They soon reached a temple. One of them paused, "the sky."

Above them, the stars seemed to go out, leaving the sky as a dark shade, and the flame on the torch grew dimmer but not any smaller. Rushing inside the temple, they found a green shard he found along with a few others, all glowing before a crypt.

Buta smiled as he saw the top of the tomb had been pushed open.

0000

An older woman walked down the streets at night. It had been a weird few days. No one really knew what happened the night before, but there was some sort of bizarre light show. The best they could figure was that it had something to do with the girl with hearts on her cheeks.

She tried not to think about it too hard. Then she paused as something caught her eye; sticking out of a wall was a pair of odd scissors. She reached for them and yanked them out, they looked dented and cracked, but they still looked like they'd work.

She wondered how they had gotten stuck into a wall. Did someone hammer them in?

For a brief second, they shimmered red.

0000

"The Butterflies."

Vox flew behind the blue-coated man, "Yeah, it's a smart bet. The dimension collapsed. There was a large and unstable wormhole directed right to Echo Creek. At least it looks like it's in one piece, and no one is asking anything."

"I've tried to be patient. I've tried to be understanding,"

"For you? Yes." The flying orb snarked.

"Yeah, I think it's time we deal with the Butterflies."

"What do you mean?"

"Open files: Butterfly Trap."

As they entered a new room, Vox projected files, documents, and blueprints. "Are you sure? This could mean toppling a kingdom. Or worse."

"Yeah, I know. I've done this sort of stuff before."

As they entered the room, the room was large, and there were museum pedestals spread across the room that held various items in various sizes and shapes. Even as magic weakened, he could still fill the powerful magic some had.

Vox projected images of several versions of the Butterfly Wand.

Vox explained, "Your plans need us to build something, and even if magic were working, it still wouldn't be easy to build. It would be nearly impossible at the size you'd need."

"Yeah, an impossible metal, compact dimensional energy separator/container, Quantum Field Generator, a reality anchor, metals resistant to temperatures both extreme cold and hot, psychic alloys, a magic conductor, a magic insulator, magic container, and this is a long list. There's like 20 more things."

"I mean, you do have some of these things, but it's going to take time."

He sat at his desk. "Okay, we better get started. I don't know how long before something happens. Maybe I've waited too long. It's time to put this to an end. Let's start putting out some feelers." He typed away at his keyboard and put on some music. "Let's get started. We got a lot of work to do."

"I'm trouble

Yeah, trouble now

I'm trouble y'all ~."

"Wait, let me put something else on. I'm not in a pop mood." Drums and guitars blared over the speakers, "There you go."

"Shut up and let me see your jazz hands

Remember when you were a madman.

Thought you was Batman and hit the party with a gas can

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na~"


Editor Note: Merry Christmas everyone.


Hey guys, it's me, RJ Writing Ink. When I found myself getting into fanfiction more than a year ago, Like Father, Like Daughter quickly grew to be one of my favorites. Now, here I am, having the honor of beta-reading it through to the end of the First Season. I cannot wait to see what ADDude has in store for Season Two. Until then, I've got my own story to work on.

That's right, I have my own fanfic now: Comet vs. the Forces of Evil. It's a gender-bent with (most) the characters having been swapped out for the opposite gender. And despite appearances, it's not going to follow the show after a certain point. It's on break right now, but it'll be back on January 7th of next year, so go check it out when you get a chance. Happy holidays!


Author's Notes: There's your update! It's a big chapter and a lot of moving bits. Plus, I just finished editing a video. Plus all while I got strep throat and mentally wondering I had something worse! So the 20 people who kept asking me when the update under anonymous reviews so I couldn't message you- there! I just mass deleted a dozen reviews about that.

I can't message people back if they review anonymously so don't ask questions like that, you won't get a reply.

I haven't slept in three days!

People, please just understand I have a lot of stuff besides this story. I have concerns and you guys complaining that I'm taking too long is not going to move me to work on it. This is a hobby and I do it on my own time.

Now, cheerier news. Taking a break but the next arc will be something you guys will like. Trust me! Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and that the next year will be brighter and better. Thank you for reading and I hope you keep reading, season two will come and my take on Battle for Mewni. Leave a review telling me what you think, what did you like about this season, maybe what you didn't, what did you guys think the purpose of some of the arcs were. Like I had a conversation about what metaphor was the last arc, I wanna hear what you guys thought.

So until then, We'll meet again. Don't know where. Don't know when. But I know we'll meet again some sunny day. Keep smiling through. Just like you always do. 'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.

That's not intended to be a hint, just the world looks bleak and to try to keep your head up. Or I'm lying.

I'll never tell~