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if you have the resolve to roar it out (then unleash the melody that is second to none)

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Miku hadn’t heard the absolute quiet in ages.

There was total silence within her mind, no Shem-Ha, the constant buzz of a god’s power simply… disappeared, there one second, gone the next. There were no taunts, no jabs, no faint memories of a time before, of voices she didn’t recognize, of a language she didn’t understand, yet still felt down to her bones, from deep within her soul. But now… there was nothing, except maybe her own thoughts, and for the first time in ages, she could hear herself think.

She was no longer bound, free to move as she pleased in the recesses of her own mind, but that did not change the fact that she was still in the dark. While she was still unable to awaken from wherever she was, it was warm, comforting. Like a lazy afternoon with Hibiki, the sun shining down on them while they lay on the couch, wrapped in each other’s arms, taking comfort in each other’s presence, basking in their own warmth. It felt nice, like home almost, but it was also quiet.

Too quiet.

Miku didn’t like that.

She had tried to rouse from it, but it was difficult, being within her own mind after being kept from it for so long made her feel rusty in her own body, like a wall separating her from complete control, but she persisted. With a bit of pushing from within and pure stubbornness, she felt herself getting closer to alertness, coming back to the world of reality and away from her subconsciousness. 

She awoke slowly, carefully, taking steady breaths from lungs she hadn’t felt in ages, the rise and fall of her chest grounding her. She didn’t open her eyes, but instead listened for everything around her, just in case. There was only rumbling from the earth below her and muttering, frantic voices she could barely make out from afar. She was laying on something soft, her fingers feeling the nylon of the material as they glided across the surface, head cushioned but unmoving.

Where was she?

Last she remembered was Shem-Ha taunting her, letting her glimpse through her own eyes, the sky a murky brown and smoke so dense she could feel it burn the back of her throat with every breath Shem-Ha took with her own body, pillars of pulsing red jutting from the earth like a fungus, a disease, the blank looks of her friends in the distance, of Hibiki with a look of fear, as the goddess began to use them as tools. The absolute devastation of the world around her she had witnessed brought her to tears, shaking, begging for her to leave them alone, screaming for Shem-Ha to release her, and ultimately cursing herself for the weakness that brought this upon them all. Had she not been selfish, even for a second, even for that single moment of desperation, this could've all been prevented. Her selfish desire to understand Hibiki, to have herself understood in turn, to talk to her, her desire to simply communicate with Hibiki, those desires came and destroyed everything she held dear, and for that, Miku despaired.

But then, a melody, the soft notes of a voice that she recognized, the flash of a light she knew intimately broke through the cold tendrils she had succumbed to, a song so sweet, so tender, a warmth that rivaled the sun wrapped around her, whispering sweet honey laced words, of a promise for a future she would lay bare to witness, of a hope that dared reignite the spark of rebellion that had been snuffed out just moments ago, that tore away the despondency from her heart and made her reach, reach for the voice, for the hand that extended towards her and she did reach and she did grasp .

And once she finally grasped, she held and pulled herself forward with her own strength, towards the light.

Towards Hibiki.

And then, nothing.

And that's how she found herself here, eyes now open and alarmed, mind simultaneously cleared and filled with a restless energy to get up and find her.

She had to find Hibiki.

To be with her, to be at her side.

To stay there, to speak of everything she had failed to communicate and finally release the words she had always wanted to say, to breathe them into existence, just to make sure they're there. That they're true.

She shifted a bit and tried to rise.

Big mistake.

Her body screamed at her, bruises flared to life, making themselves known amongst the expanse of her skin. Miku managed to swallow a whimper from the pain, she persisted, she had to find her – get up, she needs you – hissing all the way, she managed to get into a sitting position, propped up by her elbows, and then by her own strength. She looked around.

She was in some sort of base camp, cots filled with other sick and injured around her, most either resting or groaning in a haze of pain, as the dark green tent did nothing to shield them from the breeze bearing down upon them. The smell she had briefly experienced while trapped felt even more suffocating; a thick blanket of soot and energy crackled around her, making the hairs on the back of her neck stand as a shiver of uncertainty and wrongness fell on her. Not to mention the ground that rumbled and shook, shifting her like a rocking boat. The world around her felt unnatural, it wasn't what she remembered. It was… wrong.

“Miku!” came a startled cry from her left.

"Elfnein?" The girl in question was sitting up in the sleeping cot next to her. She looked terrible, bruised and lab coat covered in grime, dark stains on her shirt– maybe blood? She should get that checked –, not nearly as prominent but still noticeable, were the red rimming of her eyes, puffy and irritated, as if she had just been crying. She was grasping at the sheets covering her small frame, knuckles white.

"You're awake! I'm so glad!" The relief was evident in her voice.

“Elfnein… are you-?”

“I’m alright! It’s just that… you’re -you’re okay!” a new wave of tears seemed to overwhelm her as she went to wipe them away. Miku went to reach for her, and despite the bruising telling her to rest, she settled her hand on Elfnein’s own. She rubbed circles on the back of her hand, feeling the shakes of the girl trying to hold herself together, but as the seconds ticked by, the shaking turned to whimpers and then into outright crying.

“M-Miku! I’m sorry! I tried to kill you!”

Miku froze.

“-and even after everything you did for me, protecting me when Millaarc came and-and not leaving me and, I-I still tried.”

“Everything seemed so hopeless, the others were on the moon and weren’t going to make it back in time, the roots were growing- everything was so bad, there was nothing to stop Shem-Ha, so Carol and I, we tried to take her down, but we failed and Carol, she-she-,” A deflated Elfnein stared ahead, an expression a thousand miles away.

“What happened to Carol?” Not to mention when had she returned and when had she decided to join them? But if Elfnein’s reaction was anything to go by, she should probably hold the questioning for later, when all this was over and everyone could sit down and talk.

“She’s… gone, forever. It was during our second battle, this time with everyone. Shem-Ha had overwhelmed us, we broke concentration, I don’t remember, but just as Shem-Ha was going to kill us, she sacrificed herself, erased every last trace of her memories, for the others, for me.” Elfnein’s face scrunched up with grief and she pulled her body away from her, curling into herself.

“She left me with a message, but-but still, what I tried to do- it was awful!” Miku went to grasp her hand and comfort her, but was met with a full body flinch so she pulled away. “Miku, I’m so sorry!”

“Elfnein, it’s okay. Really. I actually want to thank you for trying to stop me.” She kept her hands to herself, she didn’t expect Elfnein to respond well to touch at the moment, if the way she was reacting was any indication. The urge to hold her dug itself into her heart, but she pushed it away, not now.

“ I had… originally given Hibiki my blessing to… stop me from causing trouble,” she fiddled with her thumbs, suddenly embarrassed about bringing up such a personal conversation, “but seeing just how much destruction I had caused, I don’t blame you for stepping in. I’m actually grateful. So, thank you Elfnein.” She smiled.

Elfnein frowned. “But still, it’s not right.”

“I never said it was right, I would never want to put anyone in that position ever again, it’s just that, at the time, it was a necessary course of action. A logical one, so I understand.” Elfnein looked at her, stunned. She isn’t sure if she said the right things, but as Elfnein let’s out a sigh and goes to hug her, she feels satisfied by what transpired. She most likely still needs time to make her own amends, trying to kill a friend isn’t something you could easily get over afterall, and it will take a while for her to be comfortable with her again, but that was something they could work on. Later though, not now.

Just as they pulled away, Genjuro walked in. He was a welcomed sight who was towering behind Elfnein, water bottles and medical supplies at hand, watching them both with concern. Aoi was in a similar state, except she had ran to Miku's side, taking a bottle from Genjuro and unpacking her own medical supplies.

"Miku, hello, nice to see you again,” she put on some latex gloves without much of a pause,” I'm going to need you to sit still for a bit," she said and laid down all she needed, antiseptic and gauze with a few other supplies Miku herself was unfortunately familiar with.

It was a reminder of the days when she would wait, barely staying awake with an inch of alertness, an empty cup of tea at her side and a book in hand, the drone of the television as an added background noise as the silence settled into the late hours, legs covered in a soft blanket that smelled of sunshine and lavender, awake only to see Hibiki home, just to make sure she came through that door and greeted her with that dazzling smile of hers, wounded, tired and covered in the remnants of dust the noise she fought earlier had left behind, but no less there, whole, alive and breathing–

She felt a pressure on her hand that brought her back. It was Aoi, she held her hand, two fingers pinched at her skin as she fixed her with a critical look.

"Miku, I need you to tell me how you're feeling, I was speaking to you–" oh, was she? ”– and you didn't respond for a while. Any headaches? Gaps in memory? Pain in or around the head? Nauseousness? Unfocused eyesight?" She prodded gently around the crown of her head, looking and feeling for any sign of injury. Miku gently shook her head, it hadn't occurred to her that there might have been something wrong with her, only bruises marred her skin, but well deserved for the trouble she had put them through, and the odd feeling of being able to touch things again, a bit overwhelming, not that she voiced it.

"No, no I'm fine. I was just thinking." A frown, a prod to her shoulder, and she was unable to hide the wince from the unexpected pressure on her skin.

"Okay, I'm just… sore. All over."

Sakuya’s voice piped up from where Aoi and Genjuro had appeared, "I would believe so! Being possessed by a goddess for so long must've taken a lot out of you. Even then, she did use your body for combat, so it must've been even worse." Miku grimaced at the reminder.

She didn’t like to think about how her body was used as both a shield and sword, as a puppet to harm those she cared about, who were reluctant to hurt her in the first place, who would have gone as hard as they usually did had it been anyone else but her. It was a grim reminder of what she had made her friends do, the scars of the battle would never truly go away, but it was now in the past, in the present she had no time to deal with it, so she’d leave it for the future. When everything’s over, there would be time to sit down and for words to be said. 

“Miku, we’re going to have to ask you to recount all that you can remember while you were… absent in the mind of Shem-Ha. Preferably any sort of weaknesses and… keep it within the span of ten minutes.” Sakuya offhandedly mentioned as Aoi went to treat a cut on her shoulder, cleaning around it to the best of her ability.

“What?” she said before the antiseptic burned at her skin and she hissed, Aoi muttering apologies under her breath.

“We need to know any weaknesses of Yggdrasil, we’ve ran into a bit of trouble involving it.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t remember much,” she tried to think, “she kept me trapped in the dark most of the time, the only times I would be able to see through my own eyes was when she was tearing at everyone. It wasn’t… something I want to remember.” Sakuya, everyone around her actually, gave her a mix of concerned looks. Aoi even stopped mid bandage to squeeze her hand in comfort.

“It’s alright Miku, relax for now. You’ve been through a lot.”

Sakuya sighed. “You’re right, she needs to relax in the meantime, but that still doesn’t do anything for the current situation at hand.”

“A-Actually, Carol told me what we need to know,” Elfnein said. Everyone snapped attention to her.

“Carol? Where is she? Can we speak to her?” The look of grief on Elfnein’s face was as much of an indication as any. Aoi gasped.

“Oh Elfnein…” Those aboard S.O.N.G. headquarters were all aware of just how hard Elfnein had worked to bring Carol back. It wasn’t a secret that she would work on Dr. Ver’s direct feedback system during her spare time to try and reconstruct the fragmented memories that still resided within her. She would spend hours upon hours on it, sometimes allowing her work to extend into the late night or even the early hours of the morning. It was heartbreaking to see the young alchemist’s months of work to be completely destroyed within the span of a day.

“It’s fine, well, it’s not fine, but I’m fine.” she wiped a stray tear away and shuddered. She took a moment to control her breathing before continuing. “To what I said, before she… disappeared, she said to me that Yggdrasil, if destroyed at the core, would only be slowed down for a short while. After, another root would take its place as the main core and pick up where it left off, thus completing the reconstruction of earth’s environment… it’d be useless to attack it.”

A deafening silence settled in the tent.

“But,” she continued, “it can be deterred with phonic gain. Seven scales. Seven harmonies. Seven planets. When harmonized it connects everyone with the universal language. Together, they can alter even the very will of the gods.” she glanced over to Miku.

“That's why Carol tried so hard to save you at first. She knew if she were to fall, that you, using the Faust Robe Shem-Ha had created from the fragments of Shenshoujing, could take her place. It’s why she placed her trust in Hibiki to save you, knowing her sacrifice would not be in vain.”

“Faust Robe…? The Shenshoujing Faust Robe?” 

Elfnein nodded. “It’s within you, Hibiki’s gear only destroyed the bracelet in which Shem-Ha resided in, freeing you from her control. And since Faust Robe is a twin to the Symphogear system, it should be able to keep in pace. Carol did it with her own, and with the help of the others, they were able to destroy the impossible physics of Shem-Ha.”

That’s all Miku really needed to hear. “So then, I can go?”

“What? No!” Aoi’s voice startled everyone in the room. “Miku you’re injured, you need to rest!”

“She’s right.” Ogawa added. “Miku, can you even stand?” 

At that, Miku set out to prove him wrong. She grabbed at the edges of her cot and pushed. Like earlier, much to her dismay, her bruises flared to life and she was blinded by the sudden, striking pain. She whimpered before she lost her grip and flopped back down. Aoi caught her midway and gently settled her back. Her hand hovered around her and went to grab more bandages, but Miku stopped her midway.

“It’s fine, I’m fine. I just need a minute.” She took a deep breath. She made another attempt to stand, this one was a bit more successful, but she still needed to be settled down by a worried Aoi.

“No, it isn’t fine! We can find someone else to take your place in the meantime. Miku, you need to sit down and heal.”

“That’s not possible. The Faust Robe is synced up to Miku exponentially at this point, probably around the same levels as Hibiki and Gungnir. Also, we don’t have that kind of time, Yggdrasil is going to completely alter the world in ten minutes, it’s Miku that needs to do this.” Elfnein said in her defense. “Carol put her faith in her, I will too.”

“Elfnein, that’ll put her in danger, even more so while she’s still injured! Hibiki asked us to take care of her.”

“But, they won’t be able to destroy the core successfully without her-”

“Is there a chance they would be able to?” Sakuya cut in, feeling anxious at the tense atmosphere that clouded them.

The alchemist shook her head, “Carol said we needed seven harmonies… but Miku’s in a bad state…” she rubbed at her chin, “I might be able to access Carol’s own Faust Robe, but I’m not sure it would even resp- ”

“I’m going.” She said it on a whim, but the more she settled on it, the more sure of it she felt.

“Miku, your injuries...”

“I’m fine-”

“You’re not fine, look at you-”

“Enough.” a booming voice cut through their squabble in an instant.

“Genjuro?” The man in question stood at the far end. He had been watching them quarrel amongst themselves, not stepping in once, until now. Eyebrows furrowed in concentration, arms crossed. He looked over to Miku and she felt him stare straight into her soul.

“Miku, how would you get there? You’ve been possessed for weeks, most likely haven’t had any sort of nutrient since your kidnapping, you've barely been in your own body for a few hours, you’re injured despite the care the girls had when fighting, you can barely stand . How in the world can you get to them in this state?”

Miku wanted to retort. She had the Faust Robe, the Shenshoujing could fly without help and she could probably make it to the entrance on her own, but as the seconds ticked by and she thought about it for a bit longer, no argument came out. Because he was right, of course he was right, they were all right. She didn’t know how she would get there, she didn’t think about just how much energy she would expend in the midst of this, she was… exhausted. Their worry was not unfounded. The bruises all over her were a glaring statement, and her earlier attempt at standing was simply the cherry on top. There was no logical way she could get there on her own without hurting herself even more.

But still, despite everything, despite the fact that she had everything going against her…

She looked down and saw her hand, palm up.

And in that moment, she thought of the ordinary girl who survived a massacre. Of a lonely, scared girl who had endured months of abuse from peers, people she had once called acquaintances, maybe even friends, for having the audacity to continue living while a beloved idol died in her stead, of thousands of others who lent her their luck in a gamble, a game she had no idea she had played or set in motion. Of a girl who learned just exactly how cruel life could be, how it beat down and was merciless to those who extended even the smallest bit of kindness, the kindness which always came with a price.

Of that same, ordinary girl who defied fate and the will of gods. The one that extended her hand to even the most malicious and cruel people, who wanted to listen to their troubles and understand. Who taught that violence was never to be responded to with more violence, who knew she had to be kind to others, even if they stepped all over her, even if they used her for their own selfish gain. The girl who believed in the good of people, that even amongst the darkness, those who had succumbed to their own misery and pain, controlled by grief and selfish desires, that there was still good she could use to reach to them, that they were worth saving, their futures were worth saving despite it all.

And if she couldn’t reach them? She would grieve. Over their loss, their future, those undeserving of her kindness, her strength, her willingness to listen. She’d tear at herself for not being enough, for not having the strength to reach out to them and learn from them. The loss of a life she couldn’t reach, a marking of her own failures. She remembered those nights she would hold her tight, as Hibiki cried over them, people she didn’t know yet tried so desperately to, of people she couldn’t save, of the voices that haunted her, those that would torment her for what she could’ve done differently.

And in those instances, she wished she could tell her that it wasn’t her fault, that they were not her responsibility, that they had made their choice. That those choices are what drove them, made by their own free will. It is not her responsibility to take care of them, but she couldn’t find the words, so she did what she’s always done.

She stayed with her through the night, holding her close, fingers threaded in her hair and humming a lullaby to ease her back to sleep.

She would always stand by her, it’s what Hibiki needed to keep herself grounded, to not drift off and drown in her own self doubt and loneliness, and she knows, intimately, that she needed her too, to be there.

And knowing that, no matter what, no person, no god would ever be able to take that away from her. She'll be damned if she doesn't get there.

"I don’t know…” she finally settled with, “but… I’m tired of seeing the others risk their lives to fight while I stand by and do nothing. I want to help, this is my mess and I need to help fix it, I won’t leave them to do it for me.” A pause and a clenched fist.

 “I’m not… I’m not going to leave her alone, not again. Not ever again." She can barely hear her own voice with the buzz of her mind, running on overdrive with the efficiency of clockwork, but she knew it was filled with a resolve of steel. The glint in her eye was certain, no trace of doubt or hesitation.

She's done being left to wait, done being left to fiddle with her thumbs and have everyone else clean up the mess she created, the destruction she had contributed to, the moment of weakness that allowed all this to happen. That weakness that was exploited, that had hurt Hibiki more than it could ever hurt her. She acts now, she has to.

If not now, then when?

Genjuro gave her a hard look, critically analysing her, looking for any sign of flattery or uncertainty, even a smidge of weakness, just to keep her on bedrest. He sized her up, arms crossed and unmoving, giving off the intimidating presence that was a Kazanari. In that moment, he wasn’t her friend, he was an immovable mountain, the hardened commander of S.O.N.G., who always held the wellbeing of his subordinates and loved ones above all else. Miku was almost certain he would say no. Not that she would’ve listened, absolutely not, she would go, regardless of his objections. It didn’t matter to her, she would go to Hibiki’s side and fight alongside her, even if it were the last thing she did.

The stare off was suffocating, yes, but Miku would not yield. Never again.

And after what felt like an eternity, Genjuro let out a long sigh. He nodded.

“Go.”

Miku let go of the breath she had unknowingly held as a barrage of voices erupted around them in a split second. It’s a mix of furious protests and concerns for her health, cries for her own safety, a chaotic mess of noise that any regular person would be irritated by, but Miku’s mind had never felt clearer than in the midst of the chaos.

“But, come back alive you hear? You’re not allowed to die.” Genjuro’s voice was worried, but he had faith.

“I’ll come back, I swear.” her eyes shone with unshed tears she was unwilling to let fall. Genjuro nodded.

“And I’ll -I’ll help too!” Elfnein piped up. They both turned towards her and there she stood, away from her cot and on her own two feet. “I might not be able to fight anymore, but I’ll do all I can to help guide you!”

Miku smiled, small but genuine. “Thank you.”

Aoi rubbed at her temples for a good five seconds before she sighed. “Well, since you’re going out and it’s apparent that we won’t be able to stop you, I will arrange an escort,” she frowned. “But once you get to the entrance of the root, you’ll be on your own.”

“Got it.” Miku started to stand, making her way up as quickly as possible without irritating any muscles or injuries. With Genjuro to lean on for support, she made the effort to walk. It burned, muscles screaming at her from misuse, but she held fast, unwilling to break the trust the commander had instilled in her, even in her current state.

“You’ll also be on permanent bedrest when you come back, two weeks minimum, I’ll make sure to inform Hibiki of it.” Aoi shook her head before she grabbed Ogawa’s arm and dragged him outside to acquire her ride. That wasn’t something Miku herself was too happy about, but she’ll have to make do.

“I’ll get your wounds treated in the meantime, before you leave that is. Can’t have you passing out midway or else all this would be for nothing,” Sakuya said, already reaching for the supplies Aoi had left out. Miku couldn’t help the relieved sigh as everyone got to work. The commotion around her was a relief, she had permission to leave, she had a way to transport herself to the roots of Yggdrasil, and she had a viable Faust Robe to use to join the others.

Her first hurdles were done and over with, now for the real test.

 

///

 

Despite the conversation and words of encouragement she had earlier, Miku was nervous.

She shifted in her seat, hoping that by moving with the helicopter she could reduce the amount of anxiety in her system without causing more pain to herself. She hasn't fully healed yet. The crew had fixed her up to the best of their abilities down below, but with every shake and bump of the helicopter fighting against the wind, she was jostled around, aggravating her wounds. It left her clenching her jaw, determined not to let out any sort of pained cry as she pressed her head against the window.

She could do this, wounds or not, she had to do this.

For a few minutes, it was silent, up until the pilot, Ogawa, cleared his throat.

“We’re here. Descending to get in as close as possible.”

She looked out the window and took a deep breath.

Genjuro promised that he would get her in as close as possible for her jump, but apparently Yggdrasil had a defense mechanism that attacked anything that drew near it so he couldn’t risk Ogawa’s life, which she understood, but regardless, the gaping hole of the root was intimidating, and the height still between the entrance and her? Even more so.

“Miku, are you with us?” came a loud, crackling voice.

‘Yes, I’m here.” Miku replied, adjusting the volume on the earpiece to make it less of a strain on her ears. “Descending and readying for the jump. How’s everyone?”

Elfnein’s voice came through. “Just fine, we’re adjusting and trying to communicate with the other wielders, but it seems like Yggdrasil is preventing communication, we can’t get a good connection settled.” There was a frown evident in her voice. “It’s possible we won’t hear from you either once you enter. You’ll be on your own on the way down until you can meet with the others.”

“Got it.” The helicopter around her slowed fully until it was hovering just about a mile away from the entrance. She made eye contact with Ogawa, who was doing his best to steady the aircraft, and he smiled at her.

“All clear Miku, you’re good to go.” 

She nodded. “I’m leaving the passenger's seat now.”

“Understood.”

She unclipped her seatbelt and with all her strength, opened the door.

The difference between the temperature in the helicopter and outside was rather striking, despite being inside the carrier for only a few minutes. The cold draft bit at her nose and cheeks, the air around her even more electrifying and present, it pressed on her skin and she could taste the tinge of iron on the back of her throat. She thought it was bad where they had set up camp, but it was nothing compared to being this close. Even then, it wasn’t really close, like how she’d be in a few seconds. She caught herself shivering.

“Miku, are you ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.” she said as she stepped out, grabbing the door with an iron grip, her knuckles white and back strained with tension.

“Then I’ll start, remember to activate your Faust Robe on the way down. It’ll save you from falling to your demise and the power output should let the others know of your presence.”

She nodded, mostly to herself. The Faust Robe made her a little nervous, but if it was the only way she could help Hibiki, then she’ll wear it again in a heartbeat.

“Be aware that Yggdrasil is probably already on high alert, the others have been at it for a few minutes now. Better to be prepared. And don’t forget to tell the others about Yggdrasil’s other ability.”

“Right, I won’t.” They were counting on her after all.

“Good, now that the review is over, I’m starting the countdown!”

‘You can do this,’ she thought to herself as her nerves frayed. She was shaking, but did not move any farther from the edge.

“Five!”

Every instinct in her body screamed out to move, to get away from the ledge and get back inside to safety. It was chilling, and despite her own efforts, she was still scared.

“Four!”

No, not scared, she was terrified. But like any other leap, this was one of faith. One to test her determination. It wasn’t one she was willing to fail.

“Three!”

So, she closed her eyes and held her breath, allowing her fingers to slip from the grip of the door.

“Two!”

She let go.

“One!”

And as Miku let go, she let herself fall head first.

For a split second, everything froze, that agonizing tick which felt like an eternity. And as she fell, the wind screamed past her, the sudden shift in gravity making her stomach flip, the quick descent leaving her adrenaline pumping. She felt as if this was her wits end, the amount of fear that coursed through her in that second was enough to nearly lock every muscle in her body.

But just as quickly as it overwhelmed her, it faded away.

Because something began to steel deep within her, something composed of her determination, of her purpose. Her heart pounding in her ears, blood rushing through her body in quick bursts, leaving the tips of her fingers numb. She vaguely heard a battle below her, shouts of power amongst the darkness, lighting up the way.

But she paid no mind to it, not yet, she needed to concentrate on herself.

So, despite the lingering fear in her heart, she took a deep breath and, for the first time, she truly let it all go.

The courage she managed to build because of her was released like no other.

And then, in that moment of clarity, she felt her, the golden light that warmed her, soothed her, and consequently, saved her. Her love, her shining sun.

'Hibiki.'

Her eyes snapped open.

This feeling… it awakened the melody within her.

And the resolve to roar it out was unleashed second to none.

“Rei Shénshòujìng rei zizzl.”