Author's Note: An update? After over a year? WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?!

I was cleaning up my desk and ended up finding the notes to my stories. So, time to get some stuff out of the way. You're welcome to skip this section.

Q: Are you going to finish In A Shattered Sky?

A: Yes, I hope to do so within the next 2 years.

Q: Are you going to finish Return the Darkness?

A: To be honest, I don't know. At the time of writing it I had a vague idea of where the story would go after the events of Any Dark Deed, but looking at it again I'm not sure if I can convey my ideas well enough to make the story worth reading. If I do decide to continue it, it will need a huge revamp, particularly with the character of Isis. Considering what her point in the plot is (it's big), so far she shows up way too often, which means rewriting much of the story. Will I ever do it? Maybe, if enough people are interested.

Q: Will there be a set update schedule?

A: No. I'm a university student now and studying takes up a lot of my time. I will do as much as I can when I can.

Q: The first two chapters of In A Shattered Sky have changed! What gives?

A: Rereading this old story has given me some new ideas on how I want it to go. While basic events and of course characters will not change, details have been switched up/added and things are being rewritten (also to fix some plot and spelling errors). This will take place alongside new updates. New chapters will be added in the middle of what has already been written, but the basic premise is the same.

Q: Will you ever write new fanfics?

A: I do have some new ideas. Since The Hobbit has come out I've reread both The Hobbit and LOTR, and now I'd love to write something on that. I have an idea for a LOTR/Pokémon cross-over, although I haven't decided if I will write it/ I don't have a real ending for it yet so it's probably not a good idea to get started on that. I would like to try some one-shots at some point, probably for Pokémon but I may do others as well.

Q: Will you reply to all reviews from now on?

A: Yes, unless they are not worth replying to (flamers).

In any case, on with the show!

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"I can't believe he did this to you! After all you've done for us, one minor screw-up and he beats you! He beats you!" Zelda was pacing back and forth in Link's room, her hands clenched into fists in anger.

Link just sighed and laid his head back down on the pillow. He was lying on his stomach underneath the sheets on his bed, the red welts still visible and very sore all over his lower half. While he had been allowed to dress and leave after his punishment just a few hours before, the fabric rubbing against his skin made him ache to the point where he'd rather just lie down without any clothes for the rest of the day. He had been planning to sleep off the pain until Zelda had stormed in, furious at her father.

"I was the one who chose to come along, and in any case there was nothing you could have done to prevent my accident. I'm not badly hurt, and you said Master Hand will likely give my father the money he lost…this is far beyond overreacting!" Zelda sat in a wooden chair next to Link's bed, "It's so rare for him to order anyone to be beaten…but you! The Hero of Time!"

"I'm not immune to everything, Zelda," Link replied, shifting slightly to rest his arms behind his head, "It doesn't matter now. I received my punishment and that's the end of it."

"I should be the one being punished. Not you."

"You already have a broken arm. That's enough of a punishment."

"It's still no excuse for what he did," Zelda snapped and began pacing again, "I'm only a few months younger than you. I attend council meetings. I read reports. I am a diplomat to neighboring lands, but I cannot battle?"

"Your father won't let you fight in the next tournament?" Link asked in surprise, his blue eyes going wide.

Zelda sighed, "He's not pleased with me, that's for certain. I told him I was going no matter what, and since you'll be around I'll have plenty of protection."

Link winced, "I don't think the king believes I'm doing a very good job right now."

"He'll come around. I know he will." Zelda looked at Link when he let out a yawn, "Do you want to rest?"

"No, no, I'm willing to listen to you. Keep going."

"You're tired. You've been through a lot recently. I'll let you get some sleep." Zelda turned to leave the room, but a sudden thought made her turn around. "Link," Zelda said softly, the anger now gone from her voice, "What will happen to Pit now?"

Link was quiet for a minute, deep in thought, before he replied, "I don't know, Zelda. But all I can say for certain is that things don't look good for him."

XXXXXXXXX

Weeks later…

Bent wings. Cracked ribs. Twisted ankle. Broken angel.

Pit was lying on the mattress in the attic again, chained to the wall by an iron collar around his neck. His wings lay limply at his sides, the golden sparkles shining dimly in the starlight from above. His skinny chest rose rapidly against the bandages wrapped around him, each breath sending a wave of pain throughout his body. Pit could do nothing but stare up at the stars through the skylight and listen to the countdown on the television below.

"Three…two…one…happy New Year!" the announcer shouted as horns squawked and fireworks exploded in the background.

"And a happy birthday to me," Pit whispered quietly, thinking about what it meant to be twelve. One year down, six more to go – that's what it meant. He couldn't bear the thought.

He had Lance, and…that's it. That's all he had to be thankful for. That one thing was like a candle in the darkness, a speck of hope in despair. The Smashers couldn't be counted on – Master Hand had said he would be invited to the next tournament, and clearly he had lied.

Or more likely, Emily did something to prevent him from fleeing.

Pit just didn't understand. If money wasn't the issue, and if the bow was the whole point of keeping him…why talk as if it was a family treasure rather than just something he could summon? What were these riches his relatives spoke of? Were they simple material goods, or perhaps something more?

The young angel just sighed and closed his eyes, a few tears slipping down his cheeks. The future in front of him seemed to be nothing but darkness into eternity. "Oh Lance…I could really use you now. You are there for me when nobody else is."

XXXXXXXXX

Master Hand leaned against his desk in defeat. He had been trying for weeks to contact Pit or anyone in his household, but had not contacted anybody. He had delayed the cut-off date as long as he could, but had no choice now – it was time to close sign-ups. With fans and companies eagerly awaiting the Super Smash Brothers Melee tournament to begin, he couldn't put it off anymore. Pit just wouldn't able to compete this time around.

The right hand sighed and began to type. The introductions of the fighters for the universe would begin at the end of January and he needed to make sure that everyone's rooms were ready for the next tournament.

"Big brother! Where arrrrreeee yyooooouuuu?" Crazy Hand floated into the room and dropped something onto Master Hand's desk, "Look what I found!"

The other hand looked at the object. It was a small, gray and white kitten. "Where did you find that?" Master Hand asked.

"Outside. Can we keep it? Plllleeeeasseee?"

"Your cat, your job," Master Hand shrugged, knowing it was pointless to argue with his twin.

"Hooray! I shall name you…Tybalt!" Crazy Hand scooped up the kitten and was about to leave when a new thought entered his busy brain, "Hey bro…something wrong?"

Master Hand sighed, "It's nothing, brother. I'm just disappointed that some fighters couldn't make it into the tournament. That's all."

"Ah," Crazy Hand's fingers wiggled with understanding, "You're doing a great job here, though. Don't feel down. Just because someone can't stay doesn't mean they can't visit. Keep your wrist up!"

"Thank you, brother. Have you checked on the food supplies?"

"Check and double check! Let's make waffles, Tybalt! I'm so excited for this tournament! WEEEEEEE!" And like that, Crazy Hand was gone.

Master Hand's thumb twitched slightly before he returned to his computer. He couldn't help but think about the little talented angel that had been at the Base only a few months ago. Why hadn't Pit responded? Was something really wrong with his home?

"Maybe I could check up on him sometime…but first, these need to be finished…"

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Three days later…

Lance gripped Pit's upper arm with one hand and carried the younger angel's backpack with the other. The other kids around them were calling out to each other after the long winter break. Lance was simply trying to keep Pit from fainting. The younger angel wheezed with every breath up the stairs, his ribs paining him with every step. Long green sleeves covered the damage done to the young angel, although his pale face hinted at his true exhaustion.

Finally the two managed to make it to their new homeroom for the semester. Currently there was nobody else in it, so the two boys were able to get desks right beside each other and talk without being overheard.

Pit gave Lance a short version of the story of his break, and all Lance could do was shake his head and sigh, "Oh Pit…how long are you to take this? You won't survive at this rate. Forget the money and get out."

"It's not money, Lance. It's something else. I think it's the bow they want – something that only I can gain. Whether or not I lose it if I leave…I cannot take that risk. It's too important to lose," Pit replied.

"Too important?! A bow?! Pit, I know you like archery but this is too much. You will die there, and then what?"

"You don't understand. I mean, I barely do. But this is important – something big. I need to stay. I need that bow. Trust me, Lance. Please."

Lance glared at the younger angel, mouth opening and closing as he struggled to find the correct words. Finally he slumped in his seat in defeat, and his wings fluttered with held-in anger, "Fine, but only because I'm your friend. Anyone else would get you out of there now, but I guess I'm too stupid to do anything useful."

"It will make sense in the end, Lance. You'll see."

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Late that night Pit was scrubbing the floors in the kitchen when he heard a scrambling noise from outside. He tried to ignore it, but after the scratching went on for two minutes without any sign of letting up he quickly glanced over his shoulder to see where his relatives were. With no one in sight, he approached the glass sliding door.

The soft snow outside sparkled in the cold, unbroken in the rarely used backyard. The noise continued, an insistent sound that seemed to be right out of his vision. Pit opened the backdoor and looked outside, shuddering at the sudden blast of cold air, and his eyes went wide with surprise.

There, not four feet away, was a phoenix!

It was small, only about as big as a hawk, but shining brilliantly against the dark night. Red, orange and yellow flames danced along its smooth body, and its eyes were like shining rubies within the fire. One of its claws was clutched around a small object while the other was scratching against the wall of the house. It flapped its wings to hover in the air and make the sound, but turned when it heard the door open.

Pit could only stare at the incredible sight before him as the phoenix came closer. It hovered in front of him and reached out with one claw, the one that held the object.

"For me?" Pit asked, holding out a hand. The phoenix dropped the object into his palm before turning and flying off into the night.

"Oh! Goodbye, then," Pit said a little sadly before shutting the glass door. Puzzled, he looked down at his palm and studied the little brown bag now in his hand.

"What are you doing?" a harsh voice commanded, and Pit quickly stuffed the bag into his pocket.

"Nothing," Pit whimpered, hurrying back to the mop. Tavor's hand caught him across the face before he could start working again.

"See that you don't continue to do nothing," Tavor snarled at the young angel huddling on the ground. As soon as he stomped off, Pit grabbed the mop and continued to work.

It was well past midnight when he was finally able to trudge up the stairs and get some sleep. As he huddled underneath the blankets in an attempt to get warm, he suddenly remembered the little bag. In the dark Pit scrounged around the floor and located his clothing. He felt in his pocket and retrieved the bag before scuttling back across the drafty floor to the mattress to get a better look.

In the thin starlight the bag looked normal enough. Something small and heavy rested inside. Pit pulled back on the drawstrings to open the bag and then tipped whatever was inside into his hand. A clear glass stone around two inches long rested on his palm. A golden arrow with a silver edge was carved into the stone. Pit turned the stone around and looked at it from multiple angles, but nothing looked out of the ordinary.

"Weird," Pit muttered before stuffing the stone underneath his pillow and going to sleep.

XXXXXXXXX

January 31st marked a special day for the universe, for it was the day the Super Smash Brothers Melee tournament would finally begin. Falco looked out his window at the growing crowd of news reporters outside the base.

"Nervous?" asked a voice from behind. Falco turned to see his captain and friend approaching.

"…Maybe just a little…" Falco admitted, which Fox understood to mean 'A lot'.

"Hey, it's cool. No pressure at all. Just smile and do your best. That's why I did and everything turned out fine," Fox said, slapping his friend on the back.

"I mean, jeez lawez, look at the crowd!" Falco pressed his beak against the glass, "Is it always this busy?"

"Nope. Just today. Stand out there, say your name and where you're from, and leave. Easy enough. It's not as bad as you think, honest."

"If you say so Foxy," Falco replied, stepping back from the window, "Ready?"

"My whole life," Fox said, leading the way outside.

X

A temporary stage had been set up in the front yard in front of the Base. It had two levels: a small one in front for the hands to stay and introduce the fighters, while the higher, larger stage was for the Smashers to smile and wave after they had been introduced. The curtain behind the larger stage was decorated with the brand new logo of the tournament, with red and black letters outlined with white on a black background.

The Smashers waited behind the curtain for Master Hand to give his speech and eventually introduce them. The original fighters were relaxed, while the new ones were a little tense.

"I did not think there would be so many…" Pichu whispered, her small eyes doubling in size.

Jigglypuff patted the smaller Pokémon on the head, "Don't you worry. Everything is going to be alright."

"…And without further delay, here are the new Smashers for Super Smash Brothers Melee!" Master Hand finished. Cameras began to flash and microphones pushed closer to catch every second of this event.

Mario was the first one up, "It's-a me, Mario! I'm-a from the Mushroom Kingdom, and I'm-a hap-py to be here!" With a quick bow to the audience he took his place on the far left of the back.

Luigi followed his twin right after, "I'm-a Luigi, I'm-a Mario's brother and also from the Mushroom Kingdom. This tourn-a-ment is gonna be great!" Luigi went to stand beside his brother.

One by one the older Smashers introduced themselves. The new ones became a little calmer after seeing how the older fighters handled the crowd, but it was still a little intimidating.

After Ness had taken his place beside Jigglypuff, Princess Peach walked onstage and introduced herself with no issue. After all, she was the ruler of a kingdom and had done this many times before. Bowser and Ganondorf had no issues either, although Link kept his eyes on the Gerudo the entire time. He had no idea what Master Hand was thinking, inviting that monster here! Although he did not seem quite as evil as before, Link was taking no chances.

Fox smirked slightly when Falco introduced himself without a hitch, and the two Ice Climbers came out together to stay calm. Zelda conducted herself perfectly, but when it came time for Pichu's turn the little yellow Pokémon froze in fright.

"I…can't…I just can't!" Pichu whispered, rubbing her eyelids.

"It's fine. Go on!" Roy whispered back, nudging the electric type forward slightly.

"No way! Too many people and I'm too weak! I just can't do this!"

"You can. Just don't think about the crowd and go ahead. We're all behind you," Marth whispered, his English greatly improved.

"Don't be afraid," Mewtwo said softly.

"Okay…okay…deep breaths…" Pichu held her head up and walked onstage. A single glance back at three new Smashers smiling at her gave her courage. "My name is Pichu, I hail from New Bark Town in the Johto region, and I'm here to do my best!" Pictures taken and words captured on film, the electric type quickly took her place beside Zelda on the back stage.

"Good work," Zelda said under her breath as the final Smashers introduced themselves.

"Just needed a little support," Pichu whispered back as Mewtwo came to stand beside her.

After Roy was finished, Master Hand began to speak again, "On behalf of everyone here, I now declare the Super Smash Brothers Melee tournament on! Time to battle!"

Thunderous applause rose from the crowd gathered and enthusiastically copied by the Smashers present. The older ones, however, couldn't help but feel a tinge of disappointment at the lack of one angel in the roster.

X

Boris had the television turned up so loud that Pit could clearly hear all of the details of the new tournament. A sick feeling rose up in the young angel's stomach at the thought that he had been left behind. Tears built up behind his eyes as he put the dishes away, afraid that he'd never see any of the Smashers any time soon.

As he shut the cupboard door, Pit felt something odd. It was like a rock had suddenly taken residence just inside his skull and was placing slight pressure onto his consciousness. It was not an unpleasant feeling, just a demanding one. Pit closed his eyes and rubbed his temples as suddenly a new thought came to him.

"It's time."

Pit looked up in surprise, looking around to see if the voice was real. The television was still playing in the background, and Tavor and Kara were both out of the house. It was a perfect time to go and respond to the call.

Quickly Pit raced upstairs to grab the stone the phoenix had given him weeks before. Up until now he had no use for it, but now he understood its purpose. After pulling on a jacket and mittens, the healed angel unlocked the back door and flew onto the back fence without touching the snow. Within minutes he was well on his way back to the garden from December, and the marking on the wall.

That's enough for now. Best wishes, everyone!