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Reflections of Shadows and Lights

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Akari didn't much like seeing her reflections in mirrors anymore.

On a night she couldn't sleep, she wandered the dark hallways of Sephiro Fiore. Mirrors lined the walls, and her reflections seemed to mock her as an oppressive familiarity came over her. She wrapped her arms around herself to ward off a sudden chill, and the hard floor was cold against her bare feet. She had lived in such a place before, perhaps when her mother had still fought Daemonia.

She remembered long, dark hallways, and in those days she had only ever seen her mother, but she had never been lonely. She had been happy, ignorant of her mother's destiny and of her own destiny. But there had been cracks in that façade; although her mother had always smiled, there had been an air of sorrow around her that Akari had been too young to notice, and the scent of blood - her mother's blood - had always been familiar to her.

Akari often dreamed of those days now, and she could not remember what had been reality and what was merely a fantasy.

She stopped in front of yet another mirror, and she forced herself to meet her reflection's gaze. The reflection was of herself, but at the same time it was not. For a brief moment she saw hair of fire and red eyes full of bloodlust - her other self, her "shadow" in the Astralux.

Sometimes she felt as if she was becoming someone else. Her other self could so easily fight and kill, and she had killed Fuyuna and that grieving father without hesitation. But that shadow wasn't someone else - it was still her, a darker side of herself. She had murdered her cousin and that man with her own two hands.

Akari touched the mirror, and for an instant her hand was gloved, but even as she stared at her reflection it was only herself, the light to her shadow.

Her mother had tried to shield her from this destiny, so that she could always live in the light. However, now that her hands were covered in blood, only the shadows called to her.

If she had listened to Fuyuna, had been able to hear her voice, maybe she could have saved her from becoming a Daemonia and they could still be living together in peace. She hadn't been able to hear Fuyuna's voice at all - why had she become a Daemonia? Had there been anything she could have done to save Fuyuna's heart?

Akari's eyes grew moist. Yet she had heard that man's voice, and she still hadn't been able to save him. He had simply begged for death so that he could be free of his misery. She hadn't even known his name, and now there was no one left who would be able to remember his name.

"Is this really my destiny…?" Akari whispered, her words lost to the darkness. She lifted her head, and she saw that her reflection was once again her shadow self.

Her reflection's expression was dark and unchanging, and those eyes seemed to burn into her very soul. They weren't filled with bloodlust, but rather sorrow and determination.

Akari grit her teeth. "I will find a way to save them!" she yelled, tears stinging at the corners of her eyes. "That's the reason I can hear the voices of Daemonia, I'm sure of it! I'll keep fighting until I find the truth! I won't give up, I promise!"

Her other self's gloved fingers intertwined with hers, and just for a moment her reflection seemed to smile faintly. Yet when Akari blinked, her reflection was once more only of herself.

She pulled her hand back and touched her chest, feeling her heartbeat. There was a fire within her, one with the strength of the sun and that could drive away the darkness, she knew. Yet the world of light was forever denied to her, and the only path left to her was to protect that world from within the shadows.

Wiping her tears with her sleeve, she inhaled a deep breath. This was her destiny now, and she had to accept it, for her mother's sake and Fuyuna's. If this was her punishment for failing to save Fuyuna, she would keep fighting until all human hearts were safe from the Daemonia.

As she walked these dark hallways and the mirrors revealed her true self, that fire still burned within her soul.