Faint footsteps could be heard from a distance followed by an echoing scrape after every other step. It had been too long since Hotaru had been seen or heard by anyone, as soon as her mother passed away, she began pulling away from everyone, isolating herself, until slowly she was just no where to be found. Watching you're mother sacrifice herself to try and better the world, only to realize that her sacrifices were in vein would drive any teenager to the brink of insanity. Paper pushers of WAL began whispering behind her back, echos of the alternate world (Eternity Crossroads) that was almost destroyed by her own hands were said to be coming into this world by the way she was acting.
But her mission wasn't to make people feel safe, oh no, right now it was to find a way to bring her mother back. Searching through the internet, books of the old, magic, and even into alien races, she found many ways to bring back her mother, but none of them seemed to be physically possible for the young woman to achieve on her own.That was until she spoke to her life long family friend, Wando. When Izaiah found out the only thing left by her mother at her death site, was an Azurian Artifact, he began speaking to her about it, how it had potential properties to horde the former users soul to increase its power for the next wielder of the item.
Using the Library in Helioplis it was found that Stephanie COULD be brought back to life using the amulet with another acient item that hadn't been talked about for a while... the Lazarus Pit that Ziccarra used to bring herself back to life all that time ago. It was shown that a resurrection could be performed if both of them were used together.
The only downside to that, was the fact that a living body would be needed for full restoration of mind and body, but with Stephanie's body no longer physically around... She would need to find a body that would be able to house not only the soul of her mother, but one that would be strong enough to handle her raw power, this is when things began to become darker for the princess of pyro. The soul of the body that would be used for Stephanie would be sacrificed, killing off the being and allowing Steph's own soul to be replaced.
Everything came at a price, and if it meant to kill someone in the process to bring back her mother, so be it. This is the part that took the longest for the Fire Princess to figure out, who would be the 'sacrifice'? Who's life would Hotaru forfeit to bring her own mother back? It was finally brought to attention that one of Ziccarra’s cousins, Zeon Liafador, Queen of Xiox, landed upon Earth many, many months ago looking for her cousin for unknown reasons, but was now simply causing a ruckus around the world. The Uchiha took this as a sign, as ironic as it would be, her mother's death was partly due to a Ninjans action and now she would be brought back as one.
As soon as she found out exactly where Zeon was at, she went on a full assault on her, no real reason behind, Hotaru called it 'early justice', saying she was going to prevent another 'All Out Assault' by stopping Zeon before she became like her older cousin. Killing all of the Royalty Guards she took the Queen to where the living pool was to be located at, Grimm City.
Hotaru’s exhausted body was seen dragging a large white body bag of with a chain wrapped multiple times around it, the young ninja holding the other end of it. Sweat ran down the temples of her face, her body covered in scrapes, bruises, and dry blood as she saw the glow of the life giving pool. Standing around it were the Cardinals she had managed to 'gather', this is was another thing that took time, trying to track them down and basically kidnap them. Each of them chained to the ground so they couldn't escape, wearing black hooded cloaks.
Finally stopping she unzipped the body bag, the young Ninjan laid knocked unconscious, her face bruised and disfigured from her battle she had with the Princess of Pyro. Picking up her body from the ground she let out a grunt, throwing her over her shoulder as she walked up the steps of the Lazarus pit, the raw energy of the pool could be felt as she laid the Ninjan down along the edge of he pit. Reaching to her back pocket she pulled out the only thing left of her mother, the Azurian Artifact. Not even a scrap of ash was left of her after her final attack on Arrow.
It was time to begin...
“I give you Lazarus, a living sacrifice...” Her dark emerald eyes glared over at the cloaked men, each of them jerking a couple of inches in fear, as they began their eerie chant in a foreign tongue. “as a vessel for Stephanie Ardor, and as a anchor for her soul, accept this amulet.” The amulet gave off a soft golden glow, something that Hotaru sought as a sign that this was going to work. “To combined the two into one, I give my blood, the daughter of the deceased.” Reached behind her she grasped onto the hilt of her mothers blade, The Honoo Tachi. In a swift motion pulled it from its sheath as the light of the pool gave off a reflection from it. Opening her hand that held the amulet she used her mothers blade to slice into her flesh, her crimson blood filling the palm of her hand as she pulled the blade away, setting it down as she covered the artifact in her blood. The chants of the Cardinals began louder as the pool began to boil and Zeon's eyes slowly began to open, finally regaining some conscious. Crouching down next to Zeon she shoved the amulet in her mouth with one hand, she pulled out tape from her back pocket with the other, taping her mouth shut. Zeon's eyes widen, as if she realized something bad was about to happen. "LAZARUS, ACCEPT MY OFFERING AND GIVE US STEPHANIE ARDOR!"
With that, Hotaru's foot slammed into Zeon's chest, shoving her into the pool as it began to sizzle, the stink of burning flesh filled the area as Zeon's body could be seen thrashing back and forth, unable to scream out in pain as the entire pit gave off a blinding golden flash. A gust of power surged through the area, forcing everyone on their back, including Hotaru. The fluids of the pool stayed still for almost thirty seconds, almost giving the impression that the legends were false... until-
A hand reached out of the green fluid, followed by the naked body of a woman that... didn't LOOK like Stephanie but it wasn't Queen Zeon. Her body was bare as she rose out of the 'waters' her blond hair slicked against her scalp as her sky blue eyes glowed with power. Hotaru quickly stood up, getting up from her feet, she then realized something... this WAS her mother!
"M-mom?" The young kunoichi spoke in a surprised voice, realizing that all of her hard work to bring back the hero actually pulled off! Grasping a tattered rag on the ground she wrapped it around Stephanie as best she could as the glow in her eyes suddenly faded, causing a wave of fatigue to rush over her.
"H-hotaru?" Stephanie whispered, dropping her knees as she looked over at her teary eyed daughter. She was alive... but.... she was dead... the war... the desert... Final Arrow... what did Hotaru do?
"Y-yeah mom." it was the first time in a long time that Hotaru smiled, hugging into her mother tightly.
Just then her eyes focused on a few strands of blond hair hanging before her eyes, this wasn't hers... looking down at her body, her eyes widen even more, this wasn't HER body. Fear began to sink in, Hotaru called her mother, but she wasn't .. her. "What happen-" But before she could finish speaking, rushes of images began flashing, many that weren't her own, memories of Zeon were flooding her mind like pollution. Stephanie quickly jerked away, trying to organize her thoughts. "What is this!?" She didn't know WHO'S memories these were, but they were of a NInjans, they ran through her brain as if they were her own, trying to grab a hold of who she was... who Hotaru was... it was becoming difficult. Letting out a frustrating yell she stood up, wrapping her hands around her head.
Lavish palaces, armies standing before her, ready to fight for her was seen in her mind as he slammed her body against a wall. "Who am I?" At that moment everything stopped, her mind stopped going at a million miles a second and instead, and intense feeling overwhelmed her, as if something was PULLING her somewhere. She couldn't understand what it was, but for some reason... in a strange way, it felt so familiar to her. Her eyes looked upward towards the ceiling, she needed to get out of here.
"MOM WHATS GOING ON!" The Kunoichi yelled out as she began walking towards the confused hero. Fear began to build inside the teenage ninja, what did she do?!
Walking up to her mother she tried to grasp onto her shoulder, only to have Stephanie suddenly glare at her. The fire goddess' hands instantly grasped around her daughters neck, her eyes filled with pain, anger and confusion as a 'snap' was suddenly heard. Hotaru's body became dead weight as she let go, the young woman's body dropping to the ground with a loud 'thud', no sign of movement, or even life.
Without saying a word Stephanie began levitating off the ground, without her signature flame, the powers of the Ninjan body kicking in as her eyes focused upward. The newly reborn Ninjan shot upward, crashing through the ceiling and into the dark city skies, heading West where the energy was leading her. Right now things weren't making sense to, but one thing was, wherever this feeling was leading her, it had answers of some sort.
The chill of the atmosphere around her stung against her skin as her body rocket through the air, leaving a sound breaking boom behind her wherever she went. She was so close now, the pull was stronger than ever as she approached what seemed to be some sort of temple. Her keen eye sight could spot several men that surrounded the building, guards no doubt, and they seemed to have already spotted the powerful woman, pointing upward at the sky.
Without even taking time to think she felt a familiar burning at the pit of her stomach, gritting her teeth her eyes glowed yellow as she burst into blinding golden flames, crackling around her as she used them to speed her up, now going downward towards a specific section of the building where the pull was the strongest. Now just a few feet away from the ceiling she flipped her body, going feet first into the buildings roof as if it was paper, landing forcefully on the ground, creating fissures all around her, her flames died out, leaving the reborn woman in a crouching stance. Raising her head she saw a woman kneeling before some sort of series of shrines around her. The woman's raven hair ruffled due to the chaos that Stephanie just brought in.
Guards voices could be heard rushing towards the doors as the bewildered fire goddess parted her lips to speak in a foreign language a part of her seemed to have known. "Please... help me." was all she could say as she lowered her head, her blonde hair covering her face as tears of frustration began to fill her crystal blue eyes.