This story contains major spoilers and assumes you have completed the main storyline in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn.
And I mean, if you haven't beaten it then you probably don't get the rationale for Matt/Sveta anyway.
Also, apologies for the slow start - I didn't have a plot in mind until about chapter 4 or 5. But that's also when the story starts to take off! I recommend you stick with it until then.
I hope you enjoy it!
Golden Sun belongs to Nintendo and Camelot, and as such, NONE of the following story belongs to me. It belongs to them. Hell, if they wanted to, they could just take it word-for-word and publish it as their own thing, I wouldn't care. Consider this a statement that I'm voiding my right to sue them over copyright infringement or WHATEVER. I'd actually love to see bits of the Golden Sun universe with a more mature/intellectual bent anyway...
Matthew stood awkwardly in the entryway of Belinsk Castle.
One of the beastmen in the hall - a squirrel in a waiter's outfit - addressed him. "The Queen will be with you momentarily, sir! She's just changing - her royal vestments are not considered proper clothing for an informal meeting!"
Matthew nodded. He looked around, and, one of the beastman courtiers sensing his intent, directed him to a seating area. He sat down on one of the plush, velvet chairs and waited.
He hadn't told Sveta - Queen Sveta, he corrected himself - that he'd be coming. As far as he knew, she was still settling into her newfound royal duties; she had been crowned shortly before their last meeting, and that had only been a few short weeks ago. He had overheard a small amount of conversation in the streets as he had entered, and from the sound of it, she had been set to make a royal address today; it had been postponed for some reason, however, and no one was quite sure why.
Matthew was idly nervous. On the one hand, this was his first time seeing her since they had parted ways shortly after the end of the Eclipse. Matthew was naturally somewhat shy, a trait he inherited from his father's side, and he anticipated a change in Sveta's behavior since she had been granted her higher station. On the other hand, however, he was worried about the subject he had to broach - that of the Psynergy Vortexes.
After returning to their Mt Aleph home, Matthew, Tyrell and Karis had noticed an immense Vortex over the ruins of Sol Sanctum. The nature of the Vortexes was not yet fully understood, but it was agreed that the location could not have been a coincidence. After conferring with Isaac and Garet, the decision was made to split the group. No one knew how many more of the Psynergy Vortexes had appeared, or where they were, so while the adults went to investigate the Sol Sanctum vortex more closely, Matthew, Tyrell and Karis were going to gather information in different areas around the continent.
Before leaving, however, Kraden himself appeared at Goma Plateau. After speaking with Ivan, who had also been studying the vortexes, Kraden had prepared a letter to give to Matthew to deliver to Belinsk.
The letter was intended to warn Sveta of the untested effects of Psynergy Vortexes on the beastman race.
Vortexes had been confirmed to have negative effects on Adepts in the past, temporarily draining their powers before adversely affecting their health. Kraden theorized that the Vortexes attacked psynergy in some manner. It naturally followed that beastmen, a species that first cropped up officially after exposure to the Golden Sun's power, could be in even more danger of a Vortex's effects than any regular Adept.
Matthew read over Kraden's letter, pondering the implications. What if Sveta had cancelled her royal address because a Vortex had been discovered? Even worse, what if she was too sick from Vortex exposure to be seen in front of a crowd? He began to tap his foot impatiently and run his fingers together. She HAD been taking a very long time.
After what seemed like an eternity, Matthew finally heard voices coming down the hallway to his left. He couldn't see from where he was sitting, so he stood and began walking toward the doorway. Wait, no, Matthew thought. Don't want to seem too impatient. Sit back down... uh, wait, the squirrel butler guy is still there. Just... just stand. Stand there. Good. By this point, the voices were loud enough that Matthew could distinguish what was being said.
"Your Highness, our nation's food stockpiles are still running very low! We need to begin trading if we are to survive!"
"My Queen, you still need to hold a public funeral service for the victims of the Eclipse!"
"If it pleases Your Majesty, our chefs await your request for tonight's meal! It will take some time to prepare, so they would like plenty of notice!"
"STOP! Please. All of you." Sveta. "We have already sent a request for aid to all neighboring cities. Port Rago and Kolima have already promised to provide whatever aid they can. The public funeral will have to wait until Belinsk has regained its footing. And please tell our cooks to STOP PREPARING GRAND FEASTS! We cannot afford five-course meals when our farms are ruined and we barely have anyone left to harvest them as-is!"
The third voice began speaking again. "B-but Your Highness, you are entitled to more food! You ARE the most important person in the kingdom-"
Sveta interrupted. "I am NOT the most important person! The important ones are those out there, trying their best to rebuild our lands after the tragedy that befell half the world! If the cooks must prepare feasts, let us allow public access rather than letting all of that food go to waste."
Sveta came through the door at last. "The people of Belinsk need support more than I. If anyone needs a grand feast, it is..."
She turned and noticed Matthew standing there. "...Matthew? What... It is good to see you, but what are you doing here?"
Matthew looked at her in confusion. He then looked at the squirrel who had met him at the entryway. The fellow was looking very nervous, and he immediately began chattering to another courtier. The other beastman - a fox, this one - ran off.
The squirrel spoke up. "Forgive me, Queen Sveta, but someone had been dispatched to inform you of Sir Matthew's arrival! He bears important news for your Royal ears only. The messenger who failed to reach you will be dealt with-"
Sveta held up a hand to silence him. "Do nothing to harm him. He probably thought I was in my quarters, as I had planned to be." As she said this, she passed a look over the three who had been hounding her (one of them literally a hound). "However, several matters arose that apparently demanded my attention. The one I am currently pursuing, however, can wait."
Sveta turned to Matthew. "Thank you for coming. Shall we reconvene in my quarters?" She spared a glance at her advisors. "Privately?"
Now that she had turned to face him, however, Matthew was having trouble finding his words. She was wearing a gorgeous white dress with purple filigree, a necklace with a large ruby in the centre, and a sparkling silver tiara on her head. A far cry from the modest monk's trimmings she had worn for the majority of their travels, to say the least! Matthew blushed, and quickly nodded.
Sveta noticed his gaze and looked down, apparently just now remembering that she was wearing her royal garments. She blushed as well, a deep red that complemented her necklace. Her ears twitched. "Perhaps I should change first. Umm..." She scratched the back of her head. "Nevermind. I would not keep you waiting longer than you already have been. I will show you the way to my chambers."
Her third advisor, the hound, stood ramrod-straight. "I will go inform the head chef to begin preparing the feast you requested for Sir Matthew!" He immediately turned and left.
Sveta held out a hand and called out to the hound. "Wait, that is not what I...! Oh, dear. Umm, alright. Thank you, everyone. You are dismissed. N-Not you, Matthew! Come with me. Please." As Sveta's court filed out of the room, she gestured to Matthew. As he followed her, watching her long braids sway with her hips - No! Stop. Look elsewhere. Up. - watching her walk just a little too quickly up to her quarters, he noticed her hands balled tightly into fists. Sveta had never been one to lose her composure, but it was obvious that she was nearing her limits.
As they came to a door at the end of a hallway, Sveta stopped. "Thank you for coming, Matthew." She took out a key, unlocked the door, and opened it. "After you." Matthew stepped through the portal. He looked around for a moment at the lavish trimmings, and then stepped aside so Sveta could enter.
She closed the door behind her, locked it again, and placed the key on a nearby cabinet. She took a deep breath in, and exhaled. She then walked over to Matthew and threw her arms around him.
"Thank you. Thank you so much. I needed desperately to see a friendly face again. I am afraid I am not quite used to the duties of a Queen yet."
Matthew returned the hug, perhaps a little more gingerly than before. Remembering Sveta's mindreading abilities, he tried very hard to focus on her words to the exclusion of all else. Even so, he detected the slightest hint of perfume, and the warm embrace brought memories rushing back to his mind of the battle atop the Apollo Lens - catching Sveta as she was knocked off the massive weapon, watching her transformed brother activating the Lens, feeling her tears as she cried into his shoulder, knowing that her brother had just given his own life to save hers and the lives of many others.
Sveta continued. "Volecheck was always the stronger leader of the two of us. I am at least thankful that there was a strong foundation in place when I took the throne. But I worry that Belinsk will not remain prosperous for very much longer." She moved back a step and held Matthew at arms' length. "Please do not speak of this to anyone, of course, but I have no confidence in my ability to lead whatsoever. You have seen already the chaos that has arisen during the few weeks I have held this responsibility."
Sveta walked to a table that sat in the corner of her room. She pulled out a chair, and motioned for Matthew to sit at its twin. "I am sorry that you had to see that... display downstairs. It is unfortunately always like this. In the wake of the Eclipse, some staff had to be replaced. Some of my faculty is inexperienced. The rest... well, some could be said to be TOO experienced. I hope it evens out, but at this point, I just do not know."
She removed her tiara and set it aside. Then she let her face sink into her hands. "Have I helped you save my kingdom, only to let it rot at my own hands? Things used to be so... simple."
Matthew put a comforting hand on her shoulder. Sveta took her face from her hands and gave him a sad smile. "I wish Volecheck was still here. I am not the right person to rule Belinsk. I cannot believe I am destined to be a queen. And after our adventures..." She looked away. "I would be lying if I told you I preferred the safety of my castle to the mystery of the wide world."
Her eyes snapped open. "Oh, but of course! You must have come for a reason, even if it was just to visit. What did you have in mind?" Sveta gave Matthew a broad smile that faltered for a moment when she saw his unsure expression.
Matthew scratched his head. Did he really want to give her even more to think about? If she hadn't encountered the Vortexes yet, did he really need to bother her with the details? He sighed. Better safe than sorry, he thought. He pulled Kraden's letter from his pocket and handed it to her.
Sveta's face fell and her ears drooped slightly. "This is not good news, is it?" She looked at the letter. "From Kraden? ...Oh. I believe I recall one of the four of you mentioning these Psynergy Vortexes at one point in our travels. The thought that more of them may be appearing is... disconcerting, to say the least. And he is right - the beastmen are people deeply connected to the flow of psynergy, and if they can drain an Adept's powers, even temporarily..." Her voice trailed off.
Sveta put the letter down. "Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Matthew. I will be sure to put the word out." She was silent in thought for a moment.
Matthew looked at her. She was still wearing her royal gown and necklace, but her expression tore at him inside. It hurt to know that he had just made her problems even worse. They had parted on such good terms, complacent in the knowledge that they had averted a major disaster. How could he have known that her life would have fallen so far in such a short time?
As he watched her face, a single tear fell from her eye. He traced its path as it ran down her face. He flashed back again to that moment atop the Apollo Lens, holding her as she cried tears of loss, of despair. At the back of his mind, he wanted to be holding her again, doing his best to comfort her in the midst of all this chaos. His eyes took their own course, looking again along the folds of her dress...
...And then he noticed a distortion at the edge of his vision. Or, more accurately, felt one. Sveta was blushing again, her ears twitching. Realization dawned on Matthew that they had been silent for at least a full minute. He blushed and cleared his throat to hide the panic he was feeling at the thought that maybe, just maybe, Sveta had just...
"I-I am sorry... you have told me that you do not wish to have your mind read," Sveta stammered. "I just... it is so hard to get a response from you sometimes, and I..."
Matthew stood up silently, suddenly very eager to be anywhere but here.
Sveta started after him. "No! Wait. I... umm, I appreciate your concern. About my well-being as queen, I mean. Thank you for visiting. I would appreciate if you would stay longer, and if you do not already have a place at the inn, I am sure I can find a room to accommodate you here!"
Matthew looked back, still somewhat embarrassed. She was his friend, of course. He had never meant to think about her in that way. It was an accident. And if she still needed company, why, of course he wanted nothing more than to stay nearby! That was what friends were for.
He opened his mouth, but no words came out.
Sveta looked at him. Matthew looked back at her. Sveta coughed. "If you really would prefer that I stop reading your mind, you may want to speak up once in a while." She gave a light smile. "I know you are not the most talkative, but... I want to hear about you sometimes, too. It is selfish of me to always go on and on about my own troubles."
Matthew smiled slightly, but didn't say anything. What was there to say?
Sveta laughed. "Alright, then. If you need to, umm, collect your thoughts... we can reconvene later. I think that a feast is being prepared in your honor. I am... not sure about that." She smiled. "But again, if you need accommodation, you can probably speak to Mr. Bentley. He is the squirrel fellow you met in the lobby. He knows the castle's capacity much better than I, and it would probably be better if he knew exactly where you were staying, too."
She walked over and picked up her room key again. She unlocked the door and opened it. "Thank you again for visiting, Matthew, even if it was not just to be friendly. And even though... umm... I am very, very sorry for reading your mind, I promise to dress more conservatively when we meet for dinner. You do want to meet for dinner, right? If not, we can... umm... I..."
Matthew smiled and nodded. He took a step toward the door.
"Of course! I did not mean to keep you. I, umm... thank you, goodbye!" Matthew walked out and Sveta closed the door behind him.
After he was sure the door was safely closed, Matthew smacked himself on the head several times. Stupid, stupid! You know she's a Jupiter Adept, and a beastwoman at that. She can read the minds of the dead, stupid. She'd have no trouble sorting through yours. Be more careful next time! What if things get really awkward now? Why did you even do that?
He began the walk down the hallway. Why HAD his thoughts led in that direction? Matthew and Sveta had been close on their journeys, of course. All 8 of them had been, to some extent. Close friends. He had never thought of Sveta as anything more than a friend, though. Had he? Had she?
His thoughts flashed back to the Apollo Lens once more. Their spirits had been intertwined for a short while as he gave her the strength she needed to climb the Lens and activate it. And... it had felt right. It just made sense. Of course, he had never done that with anyone in the past, but he wondered to himself: if it had been anyone else, would he have been ready to make the same sacrifice? He honestly wasn't sure.
He would have a lot to think about, he realized. He went to search for the squirrelman in the front hallway. And to think, he hadn't even been planning to stay in Belinsk overnight. Who knew where this would lead? Maybe nowhere, he thought to himself. But... she hadn't said no, had she?
I don't consider myself to be a Spiritshipper, but this is one pairing I just can't help but love. And, I mean... it's like shipping James Bond and whatever female sidekick he meets. You just know it's going to happen.
This is also my first fic that deals with anything approaching romance. I would love to hear any criticism you have, and I'm sure that I'll be able to read every review I get. Tell me if I to something wrong, if I misspell anything, or even if you just don't like how it's progressing. I wouldn't be posting this online if I intended to keep it to myself.
I put Adventure in the genre for this story as well because to be honest I don't know quite where I'll take it. I had an idea midway through that I might check out, just to see where it leads.
Apologies for the puntastic name, but I couldn't help myself. And yeah... I know that it sounds more like an erotic IvanxAnyone fanfiction than a Sveta-centric story. At least the lyrics of the song (Drops of Jupiter, I mean) somewhat lend themselves to a story like this, if you squint and tilt your head.
Especially this line:
"And tell me, did Venus blow your mind?
Was it everything you wanted to find?
And then you missed me
While you were looking for yourself out there?"