It was daytime—right after that great battle, Tsuruko Sejren had passed out; the small group of Rosa Dimaggio, Excellen Kilekion, and Gary Straights were taking care of their ally, whom had taken up the mantle of Soul Armour Knight Gaiki.
With Tsuruko Sejren unconscious, Rosa Dimaggio approached Tsuruko, whom was barely breathing, taking out a syringe in an attempt to sample her blood so she would be capable of diagnosing how to prevent her from knocking out after activating Gaiki again. Pressing the needle to her right arm, Rosa attempted to press down...only for the syringe to snap immediately; as if it had touched metal. "...Ehh, what's this!?" She suddenly realized; "...Don't tell me..."
Rosa blinked a few times at Gary, who reached into his jacket and pulled out a small bottle with his hands. Gary popped the top of the bottle and gingerly squeezed the bottle’s contents onto the cupcake, giving the sweet a swirl of white condiment. "Pure deliciousness!"
Gary gulped loudly and smiled. Unfortunately, that smile slowly faded away when he realized that a pair of green eyes leered at him, "Uh, hello?"
"Excuse me, but what do you think you’re doing?" Rosa asked as she poked Gary's chest a few times. "Don't you know that…"
"Stop, I know exactly where you're going with this," Gary replied as he lifted up one of his hands right before Rosa's face. "And you're right! It was rude of me to do so!"
Rosa smiled a little bit at Gary, "Well, at least you…"
Gary then used Chimera's extra limb to lift up another cupcake from the display and held it in front of Rosa. Then Gary poured the contents of the bottle on the cupcake and held it up. "Don't hold back on my account! Eat! Eat!" Rosa pulled back as Gary lifted the mayonnaise covered treat to her, "It's really good!"
"I… I'll take your word on that," Rosa replied as she inched back slightly. "And I don't want to eat the sweets; they're for Tsuruko and…"
Gary smiled brightly at Rosa, "Nothing like mayonnaise to bring out the best of any food!"
"M-Mayonnaise?" Rosa gagged in her mouth. "Why would you put that on sweets? That's just weird."
"You just don't get it," Gary chuckled as he lifted up the bottle of mayonnaise up into the air once more, a bright light shone from the container. Rosa turned away from the mysterious illumination. "Mayonnaise is the best food in the world! It can bring out the flavour of any food!"
"Look, you're more than welcomed to put whatever you like on your food," Rosa sighed as she tried to look at Gary (not really effective due to the light that originated from the bottle). "But could you please stop eating these sweets? These are supposed to be for Tsuruko when she wakes up."
Gary rubbed his head, sighing, "Oh, alright, alright. But DAMN I'm starving..."
Excellen quickly burst in. "Someone's here and…!"
"I'll have to send them home," Rosa replied with her head fallen as she stood up. "This place is closed and this isn't the best time."
"Oh?" A regal voice sounded. "That's a shame, your confectionary is quite good."
Excellen lifted her head up and reeled backwards at the sight in the lobby before her. Seated on the couch with a cup of tea in her hands was a familiar, yet obviously different figure – The design was aesthetically the same to Tsuruko's Gaiki, but pure white with atop of her orange jeweled mask. Her costume was a white robe with a familiar belt at her waist and two silver bands strapped on her chest with rings upon it.
The masked being lifted up the tea cup to her mask and actually drank it through her bejeweled mask, "Nothing like a spot of tea to soothe the nerves, eh?"
"W-Who are you?" Excellen asked as Gary kept next to her.
The being placed her tea cup on the arm of the couch and placed her hands together. "I am the Phoenix Knight. And I am here to speak to you, Exalted One." The Phoenix Knight waved her right hand up, revealing a familiar looking ring on her finger. "I am here to bestow my knowledge to you."
A moment passed as Phoenix Knight took another sip of tea through her mask and gingerly placed the teacup on the decorative plate. "I'll start this off with a simple question, Excellen, what was one of the biggest signs that signified the return of Varian in the legends?"
With the teacup on the table, Excellen tilted her head at Phoenix Knight. "There were a number of signs, the alignment of the stars was one, but one of the most major ones was the day of dark sun – A solar eclipse that blocked the sun for an hour. I remember when it happened, a number of ponies were shocked at it happening, and it was then that I devoted the time into studying the moon and why it occurred.
"During my studies I came across the tale and I figured that Varian was responsible as a Solar Eclipse was one of the signs of its return."
"Really? I thought it was because you believe bullshit like that," Gary pointed out with a little smirk on his face. That earned him a little leer from Excellen.
Phoenix Knight chuckled slightly as she locked her fingers, "Quite so, Excellen, I am impressed that you can remember an event that occurred over four years ago. Yes, a solar eclipse was one of the major signs of Varian."
"But what does that have to do with anything?" Gary asked. "And are you the same Phoenix Knight in the story?"
"The day of the solar eclipse," The Phoenix Knight sighed as she turned her head. "That was the day that Varian was reawakened – That was the day that many symbiotes were born."
Excellen reeled back slightly. "Wait, Tsuruko mentioned that symbiotes were born from despair when another symbiote was present when somebody was exposed to despair – But how would those symbiotes be born from a solar eclipse?"
"As there are many forms of magic in this world," The Phoenix Knight replied as the ring on her left finger shone brightly, transforming the ring once more. "There are many ways for darkness to appear and take shape in this domain. A long time ago, the one known as Amadam created the first symbiotes… However, most history books neglected to tell the process of how symbiotes were brought into this world. This was before the Sun and Moon were guided by Origin and Varian, when the sun and moon were divined by a single being. But even then, the being needed to have the moon and sun coincide once in a great while in order to restore control over both celestial bodies. When the solar eclipse was performed, a surge of magic would be released and imbue the land with magical energy as well as empower the being who controlled both the sun and moon. However, on the day that the solar eclipse, the magical energy that was produced was used to create the very first symbiotes many years ago. Unfortunately, that is all I know about how the first symbiote was born."
"However, when the signs of Varian began to appear, a being saw its chance and prepared for the solar eclipse." With a wave of her hand, a window of light began to materialize to the Phoenix Knight's side. The window flashed with light until an image of a rocky waterfront appeared in the window. On the shore there were a number of beings – Humans, Demons, and even Dragons – but there were other sentient creatures that Excellen read about in books or had seen.
"Whatever darkness was behind this," The Phoenix Knight explained as she kept her hand up. "It gathered a great number of sentient beings to a secluded location. And when the eclipse occurred, it began the ritual what most of the symbiotes referred to as the Eclipse Ritual."
On the window, the sun above the large group was beginning to be blocked by the moon itself, plunging the shore with darkness. Of course, that didn't last long as dark purple energy erupted from the earth at their large groups' feet.
The dark energy traveled up their bodies, causing them all to scream – Although, there was no noise generated by the window, but the looks of pure pain and terror that were drawn to their faces were enough to make Excellen and Gary assume the worst. The Phoenix Knight cleared her throat as the beings collapsed to the ground as the dark energy cracked even more of the creatures' bodies. "You may turn away if you wish."
Gary closed and covered his eyes, but Excellen kept her eyes on the magical window – More of the beings' bodies began to follow suit, transforming into various monstrous forms – A few looked familiar: most of the shadowed figures of the Zodiac Knights, all of which stretched their new bodies and sauntered off. Other symbiotes continued to shed their original forms and began to walk away from the ritual area.
The Phoenix Knight nodded her head, "The Eclipse Ritual – A day of rest, or in these poor souls' cases, the final rest for them. I tried to find the location where the ritual was taking place, but nobody can be everywhere at all time. If it wasn't for the mass of magical energy that surged through the air, I wouldn't have found this scene."
The window shifted once more to a higher shot, showing that most of the symbiotes had cast off their original forms, or were removing the remains. "At the same time, from this darkness of despair, I found a single spark of hope."
There was but one remaining girl amongst the wandering away symbiotes, a girl who's body was cracking with a pair of large, phoenix wings ripping out of her back and a phoenix-like tail had ripped out of her lower back. The girl struggled to lift her head up and tried reaching towards the blocked out sun, the magical cracks trailing up her hands. "This young woman was able to control the symbiote within her with only her will. While the symbiote was awakened, she still contains the monster within."
Excellen tilted her head slightly at the image, leaning closer towards the young woman in the window. "A symbiote within… But, if this person was the only one who was able to survive this ritual. A person who's name was…Tsuruko Sejren."
Slowly, Tsuruko turned her head around to see that what stood behind her was a green and white scale-armoured monster whose armour was similar to what some ancient warriors used to wear, Excellen had remembered seeing it in some of her books. The monster's face was fully armoured save for a large red jewel in the middle of its upper forehead.
"Look out Tsuruko, it's a symbiote!" Excellen gasped with her hands to her mouth.
Gary immediately applied his palm to his forehead in laughter, "It's a damn projection, she can't hear you."
The Tsuruko on the screen reacted pretty much the same way as the scaled symbiote lifted up its hand and leapt from the rocks. However, before the symbiote got too close, a golden, runic circle appeared in front of it and propelled the symbiote through the air.
Tsuruko turned her head, and the window panned to show that the Phoenix Knight was standing a few yards away from where Tsuruko was. With that, the window disappeared, with the Phoenix Knight waving her free hand about, "I regret not showing up in time to stop the Eclipse Ritual. So many lives ended, so many monsters created, those lost lives I will bear for the rest of my days. But I am not here to drown you in my self-pity, Team Daybreak. I came to share my apprentice's origin with you, when the Eclipse Ritual occurred."
"Tsuruko Sejren considers herself a light of hope," Phoenix Knight continued as she lifted her right hand up into the air once more, the ring glowing brightly. "And it is true that she is, but even a small light such as her cannot withstand the mass of darkness that the symbiotes have unleashed. Even hope cannot stand alone. Hope may be necessary, but without friendship, belief, and kindness, hope cannot survive in the face of true evil. You two, you have witnessed the power that hope can perform, and Team Daybreak's bonds with their leader can make Tsuruko into that paragon. I ask that you keep Tsuruko Sejren on this path of hope, for when combined with the attributes, a miracle of infinity shall awaken."
"But, you've just made more questions than answers," Excellen stated with her eyes narrowed slightly at the mysterious mage. "Like why did you show up here out of the blue? Why didn't you help Tsuruko with her symbiote? And how do you know so much about me and Gary?"
"If all the answers to life were handed to us," the Phoenix Knight replied as the ring on her finger glowed brightly. "Then no one would grow, life would be dull, and this world would grow smaller with every passing second. I cannot give you all the answers Excellen, rather, that is for you all to decipher and I can merely give you the tools necessary to find the right path. It is the same for my apprentice, what she does with this gift or curse is up to her. As a great mind once said – 'Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.' It is how my apprentice shall learn, it is how she shall grow, and with you and your friends, you all shall grow alongside her."
A familiar runic circle appeared at the Phoenix Knight's feet, and began to slowly rise. As it did, the mage's body slowly disappeared as the runic circle passed her body. The Phoenix Knight bowed towards the trio, "Well, it has been a pleasure, but I must be off. Rosa, thank you for the sweets, we must do it again sometime in the future."
"Wait!" Rosa briefly stopped the Phoenix Knight from leaving; there were many questions left unanswered. "Well, I've made a few comparisons, I was wondering, are you Giselle?"
There was a short moment of silence; until Rosa obtained an answer. "Bitch, I might be." With a wave of her hand, the weird mage nodded towards the two before the rune completely engulfed her. "Cheerio!"