Author's Note: And yet again here I am! Seems that I'm getting back into the writing business for serious now. A good thing? Well, you can decide on that with this latest piece. Unlike my previous two fics where it was either a oneshot or a retelling of previous adventures that occurred in the game, this is going to be completely original and multi-chapter. And, for those of you who like the pairing, it's going to be all about Matthew and Sveta!

I do have a general idea of where I'm going with this story but, so far, it is pretty general. I actually intended to get a lot more down for this chapter but I ended up cutting a few things, pasting other things, and taped it all together to form this prologue to hopefully get people interested with something short and sweet. So it's time to get interested! As always, Golden Sun, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, and any and all property related to them belong to Camelot and Camelot only.

Xxxxxx

The third climb was nearly impossible.

Spots already playing in front of his eyes, the ladder with its rungs made out of what seemed to be pure light caused him to squint as he forced himself to keep going. The rest of him didn't like this. Having fallen twice, his body was battered and, other than the pain of the falls, his flesh felt as if it had one monster sunburn all over from the exposure. Passing each rung was torturous but he forced himself to continue on anyway.

He just needed to activate it. All that was required of him was to turn it on and the nightmare that they caused would all be over. Reaching the last rung, he forced out whatever strength he had left to pull himself up over the edge while bracing himself for what was to come.

It wasn't enough. Having felt the burn at his arm transform into an inferno when he reached the top, his face and torso felt it full force when he pushed himself up. No amount of squinting could protect him from the amount of light that shined into his eyes and he closed them while crying out in pain. What had to be the purest of light scalded him and, unable to take it, he lost his grip.

It was a long way down and upon impacting the ground another cry tore itself out from his throat. Blinking rapidly, he tried to stare back up at the ladder while trying to push himself up for a fourth climb.

He couldn't do it a third time. His arms gave out before he could raise his body an inch from the ground. Even worse, he couldn't see! The intense, white light having been the last thing he saw before falling, it was now the only thing he saw as his eyeballs felt as scorched as the rest of him. How pitifully he must look now as he squirmed upon the ground, trying to get his body to move while his eyes squeezed shut before opening wide, trying to regain a sight that was now lost to him.

That was enough.

"I…I can do it…"

He felt a soft touch at his arm, raising it from the floor. Turning his head, he once again blinked and squinted hard, trying to see. Despite the light that had scarred his vision, he could barely make out his hand that was now hugged tight against someone's chest.

"Please help me."

The soft, sad words pierced through the veil of torment. As he stared, he could see that the hands that so desperately clung to his were, while feminine, possessed nails that were longer and sharper than any human's could possibly be. Drifting his gaze upwards, Matthew could see the green eyes that looked at him pleadingly, framed by violet hair that had become unkempt between all that has happened.

He felt her squeeze his hand within hers when he slowly, weakly, nodded his head.

His body suddenly felt numb, the searing pain that had been inflicted upon his body vanishing. What replaced it were thoughts and emotions that poured into his mind. When all he had felt was weariness, he now felt a calm that overrode it, allowing his thoughts to focus and his body to strengthen. When all he had thought about was of defeat he now had a cool, firm resolve of what he had to do.

These thoughts and feelings were not fully his own, especially the ones that he felt underlying his newfound. Sorrow and despair for a brother that he may have unwittingly slain, an overwhelming sense of responsibility for a people that he had to not only save…but to make sure that his brother's mistakes would be rectified.

Even if it meant his death.

The body that he now found himself in was not his own. The eyes that he looked through were sharper; able to pick up visual details that had been hidden from him before. The same was for his sense of smell. Not only did he detect the scent of the blood that had tainted the area, he could detect the scents of his friends, his enemies, and his own sibling. He flexed his fingers that were tipped with such long, sharp nails, feeling the inherent physical power that came with being a beastman.

This was not his body. Through these new eyes he could see that his was lying directly in front of him, having become completely limp upon the ground.

His gaze lingered on his body – a body that now looked like a corpse – before that firm resolve reminded him of what was needed to be done. He almost missed an unknown emotion that caused a flutter in his chest but before he could understand what it was the job came back to his mind. Steeling himself, he turned to the ladder that he had fallen from thrice now and then started to climb. Having nearly killed himself during his last climb, he was amazed at the ease of which he now climbed each rung. The brilliance of the rungs stung his eyes even further due to his enhanced sight but he kept his focus on ascending them and the goal that awaited him up top.

I'm sorry for making you come with me.

The thought was not his own and yet, in a way, it was. It reverberated in his mind as if he had thought it himself but he knew that it was not his but rather hers.

At least we can die knowing that our lives might buy the lives of others – a small price to pay.

He nodded though he was unsure if he actually physically made the gesture or if he imagined himself doing it. Either way, she detected the meaning behind it and he was nearly overwhelmed by the amount of trust, sorrow, regret, and that strange emotion that he now felt. If only it had not come to this…perhaps they could've…

What?

It didn't matter; what regrets and wishes they may have were trivial in the face of duty.

The light that had scalded him in a raging inferno of pain might as well be a small flame upon reaching the top yet again. This was no doubt in thanks to the gear that he wore this time; the pieces of which they had scoured all around the world for, for this moment. Nonetheless he felt it. As good as the gear had been in protecting them during their ascent of the Sanctum, the pure light that now washed over them was becoming too much.

Between the light that had already been absorbed by the Umbra Gear and what they were currently exposed to, they were going to die upon firing the weapon.

Again he felt her sorrowful emotions of what was to come and how bringing him here was tearing her apart. He believed her for the heart that was breaking inside of her was, for these final moments, his as well. And again he gave her his assurance that he wanted to be here; that he was meant to be here with her. To serve as a guardian of the world, even if it meant the cost of his own life, was what he had been trained for all his life. They both believed that they belonged here.

All right, let's go.

They breathed. Staring at the controls that were now only a few, agonizing feet away from them, they took what could possibly be their final breath into their lungs and slowly let it out. It was time. Stepping forward, they raised a hand, beginning the activation-

The roar shocked the both of them. Their ears rising at the sound, they looked up just in time to see the giant silhouette of their brother that fell from above and landed in front of them, blocking their path from the controls. The giant, black, lupine head stared down at them and, with another roar, he swung one of his huge arms and smashed it into them.

He felt the pain and the sensation of being flung back before he found himself back in his own body, as if his soul had been torn from her and driven back into his own mortal shell. For some reason he was now able to see and the first thing he saw was her, falling just as he had after getting struck by her brother.

There was no pain in his body when he moved, whether it had miraculously been healed or if his fear and concern for her blocked it out he didn't know. Either way, it allowed him to leap to his feet in time, his arms held high to catch her. She fell into them, her fall coming to a gentle halt as he held one arm at her back and the other at her knees in a cradle that made sure that no harm would come to her. Her eyes met his briefly before they looked up.

Following her gaze, he saw the giant form of her brother who looked down on them. With a low growl, the King of Belinsk turned to the controls of the Apollo Lens, raising a hand as he activated it.

"Volechek!" The cry came from in his arms, torn from her throat as she stared with wide, blurry eyes.

"Sveta…" came the voice of her brother.

The light of the Sanctum gathered at the end of the giant cannon as the weapon activated. As had been foretold, the Apollo Lens took this light, absorbing, concentrating, and magnifying it to unspeakable levels. As was hoped, this light would be enough to stop the Grave Eclipse.

But was it aimed at the right target?

"…Farewell…"

The weapon fired, consuming everything in sight in a brilliant, blinding explosion of pure white.

Xxxxxx

"Are you sure you're okay?"

"I'm fine," Matthew answered as he limped forward.

Tyrell nodded slowly but he kept a tight hold over his friend's arm that was currently thrown across his shoulders. "You look terrible you know that? Usually I would make some joke about you being left out in the sun for too long but…"

"That would pretty much be exactly what happened." Grinning, Matthew couldn't help but chuckle only to immediately regret it. Walking wasn't the only thing that he was having a problem with as his body had been banged up pretty consistently during their time in the Apollo Sanctum. Other than his insane climbs to the controls, the fight between Blados, Chalis, the Chaos Hound, and the later Chaos Chimera had taken a toll on just about everywhere with him.

"What's wrong?" Apparently having noticed him wince when he chuckled, Karis stepped to Matthew's side. "Tyrell, let's stop for a second."

"It's nothing," Matthew insisted beneath the searching look of his childhood friends. Nonetheless, Tyrell stopped, refusing to let him go any further.

"I'll call Rief over," Karis assured them, quickly turning to look for their designated healer. "Rief! We need you to have another look at Matthew!"

Despite the annoyance he felt at being looked after like a child, Matthew had to admit that he didn't mind taking a break as Tyrell eased him down. Taking a seat on the grass, the Venus Adept gave a nod to his friend and, taking slow, deep breaths, he tilted his head back to look at the sky.

How nice it was to see the sun again. Upon exiting the Apollo Sanctum, there was a collective feeling of jubilation and relief when there were no shadows to greet them; especially none of the monsters which had dwelt within them. Instead of the black skies and the impenetrable fog, there were now clear blue skies, even clearer air, and a sun that casted its glow all throughout the lands.

It had been weeks since the disastrous events at Belinsk. Through faults that were partly their own, the Eclipse Tower had been unearthed from the ruins beneath the city due to the activation of the Alchemy Dynamo and, with it, a seemingly never-ending period of darkness enveloped all of Weyard with its citizens falling prey to an army of monsters that had been unleashed. To fix what they had inadvertently caused, they had scoured all of Weyard for parts of the Umbra Gear and keys in the form of colored orbs that would allow them to enter the Apollo Sanctum and fire the Apollo Lens, the only counter to the Grave Eclipse.

And they had done it. The world had been on the verge of being lost to the Eclipse and yet they, the children of the Warriors of Vale, had followed in the footsteps of their parents to take up both sword and djinn to save the world.

But at what cost?

"What's wrong?" Rushing over and immediately dropping to Matthew's side, the blue-haired Mercury Adept known as Rief focused his eyes on his de factor leader. "Are your burns acting up?"

Though he had been reduced to lying blind in the Sanctum, the hidden strength that had allowed Matthew to awaken and catch Sveta continued to persist when they marched out of the Sanctum. Well, marching in a loose term as Matthew had allowed Tyrell to lend him a shoulder to help him move. Not that Matthew had any choice in the matter as none of his friends were allowing him to walk unaided.

Still, just because he could walk didn't mean that he was a hundred percent fine. A brief look at his own form had – other than the cuts and bruises – allowed him to see how absolutely red he was. Lacking the protection of the Umbra Gear, Matthew had paid horribly upon being exposed to the light of the Sanctum in the form of the most unpleasant sunburn that he had ever experienced. Though some healing psynergy would've been welcomed, it was not only Matthew but everyone else that had suffered during their final battles; they were all spent whether it came to psynergy or their stamina.

Matthew and Sveta had it the worst due to their exposures. With the thought of her coming to mind, Matthew turned his head to where he had last seen Sveta. He found her immediately, hunched over by a tree with Amiti at her side. Mercury Adepts tending to make the best of healers, Amiti had been assigned to watch over Sveta while Rief placed his attention more towards Matthew who was the most injured of them all.

Matthew couldn't see her face, her back currently turned to him, but he could see how her head was lowered and that Amiti, talking in low, hushed tones with her, placed a hand at her back and rubbed it gently. Though it may be Matthew that was suffering the most when it came to physical damage, it was Sveta that had to be suffering the most mentally and emotionally.

"Matthew? Can you hear me?"

Pulled from his thoughts, Matthew looked to Rief who was looking at him with an increasing amount of concerned. Shaking his head, Matthew replied. "Yes Rief I can hear you; was just lost in thought."

"Okay, then tell me what's wrong."

"Nothing."

Rief gave him an exasperated look. "I know that it's certainly not 'nothing' otherwise you wouldn't be limping everywhere."

"I can walk fine!" Matthew insisted and jerked his head towards Tyrell and Karis. "They're the ones forcing me to do it!"

Sighing, Rief looked to Karis. "What did you see?"

"His ribs might be bothering him. I remember him getting hit pretty hard by the Chimera before we had finished it off with our last djinn summons so that could've done it. I'm sure those falls hadn't done any better for them."

"Indeed they probably didn't."

"Look, it's nothing, I'm good to go-," Matthew started before Tyrell, taking the initiative, gave him a light punch to his afflicted ribs. Having not been prepared in the least, the Venus Adept couldn't stop the hiss of pain.

"That hurt?" Tyrell asked with grin.

"Why yes, punching me does in fact hurt."

"I didn't hit you that hard." Waving off any further complaints, Tyrell looked to Rief. "So what do you think? Can you muster any psynergy?"

Rief looked unsure but, nonetheless, held up his hands towards Matthew. "I might be able to as I think enough time has passed to recover for at least this." A blue aura came to life around his hands. "Stay still Matthew."

Seeing as he had no choice, Matthew allowed the examination to go on. While the Mercury Adept tended to his injuries, he couldn't help but look back towards Sveta yet again to find her and Amiti still speaking to one another. Despite his concerns, she seemed fine but, again, he was worried about how she felt. As much of a heroic action as it was, there was no changing the fact that Sveta lost a brother today.

Upon seeing that Sveta was about to give her life to activate the Apollo Lens, the twisted, dark monster that was Volechek had snapped out of the blood haze that blinded him for a few precious moments. Those moments were enough for the king of Belinsk to leap up, knock his sister to the side, and activate the Apollo Lens himself to correct his own mistake at the cost of his own life.

Out of everyone, Matthew was the most concerned about Sveta. If there was anyone that had suffered the most on this quest, it was definitely her. Having her people, her entire homeland, doomed with the start of the Grave Eclipse, thinking her brother having perished as well only to have him return so that she may fight him and nearly kill him, and then to watch as he sacrificed himself for her. Despite the calm persona that Sveta liked to constantly display to the group, Matthew was worried that she was ready to break.

"Hm…something's wrong," Rief spoke suddenly, his brows knitting in confusion.

"What's wrong?" Karis asked.

"I see what's wrong with his ribs and I'm trying to heal them but…they don't seem to responding to my Ply."

"What?"

Matthew's eyes suddenly widened. He knew something was wrong when Amiti suddenly jerked forward, now clasping both of Sveta's shoulders in his hands. The Jupiter Adept's legs had visibly started to wobble and, despite the support, Matthew watched in fear as Sveta collapsed.

"Sveta!"

The cry came from both Amiti and Matthew who shot up to his feet, surprising Tyrell and Karis and nearly sending Rief tumbling to the ground. Already taking two steps forward, Matthew tried to rush to Sveta's side. But it was on his third step that his sight was lost to him.

What…?

The white light that had left him blinded returned, causing him to gasp. Stumbling, Matthew sought to steady himself but found his strength rapidly vanishing. He fell, his arms immediately reaching out to support him and the Venus Adept briefly managed to support himself on his hands and knees before his strength gave out completely. Arms and legs giving out on him, Matthew felt himself dropping briefly before slamming into the ground.

The white light that blinded his vision started to turn black and before he lost consciousness completely he heard his friends call out his name in horror.

Xxxxxx

Author's Note: I know retelling events from the Golden Sun games are becoming a bit of a habit with me and my work but, hopefully, this will be the last time I do so. While I know how readers would love to see how a favorite scene of their favorite game is written, I certainly do not want to overdo it and reduce it to nothing more than page filler which I find lazy and I definitely don't want to give off the appearance that I'm a lazy writer.

Writing the scene about the Apollo Lens, however, was something I felt like I needed to get written up and put in this fic because, as the summary goes, something has happened to Matthew and Sveta since the events at the Apollo Lens and thus that's a bit of an important event to make sure to touch on. And what, exactly, has happened? Well that's for me to think up and write down and for you people to find out! Will see you in the next chapter! As always, if you enjoyed what you like, type up a review as you'd be surprised how they can motivate a writer to keep up the good work .