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Dashing blindly through the undergrowth, his broken arm flopping uselessly at his side, Gray sprinted away from the Dungeon. He would never forget the roar of the Paladin as his own hammer rebounded on him, forced away by Gray's new-made Terra Blade.
Branches whipped his face, leaves striking him all over.
There were no leaves in the land of Terraria anymore. Just metal approximations. Why were there leaves here, in the heart of the Jungle?
Gray looked down at his leg, where a green-and-brown light curled softly around his sword scabbard. The Terra Blade. Its magic was so strong, it could turn the mechanical leaves into what they were before. That was something.
Pausing in his running, Gray unsheathed the blade and held it up. The green glow strengthened, till it was bright enough to light the leaves of the trees several meters above his head - leaves.
Gray resumed running, charging faster than ever toward the Corruption. Behind him, the leaves withered and resumed their rigid, metallic pose.
As soon as he reached Ignis's cave, Gray collapsed. The Diabolist whisked over and began treating his arm. Pain registered on his bony features. Gray, noticing this, asked "What's wrong?" The effort made sweat appear on his face.
Ignis bowed his head, and began his story.
"I have done this for you before. You should not have ever had to know this, but your knee was not damaged by any farm accident. Nor were your parents and their friends killed."
Gray started to interrupt, but exhaustion overwhelmed him and he lay back down.
Ignis continued. "Arthur came to your house, that fateful day. He was evil, and very evil. He killed your parents and friends as they tried to protect you. Well, almost all of them. I believe that Silver and Swaggins went into hiding, but we can't be sure.
"Oh, they were mighty warriors, all of them. Arthur's Paladin armor was badly damaged. If you'd ever seen it before he melted it down, you would know that it was badly broken. The legs were nearly crushed - nothing can resist the power of the Flairon. The head was peppered with dozens of small dents. Stryker was an able gunman. Squazz's slashes mar the chestpiece.
"But it was not enough. They all perished, except Silver and Swaggins, who ran from the might. Silver, as a veteran of the Dungeon, knew quite well that no force known to mankind could stop the hammer of a Paladin. They were doomed if they stayed, and could accomplish more by running.
"Swaggins didn't want to go. He was the one that countered Arthur's hammer as the Paladin attacked you, a seven-year-old child digging in the fields. His Flairon, and mighty strength, hit the hammer just hard enough to keep it from striking you anyplace vital. The hammer was destroyed from that heroic blow. But it still hit you in the knee, crushing it.
"I attempted to heal you, but I could not counteract the destructive magic that a Paladin's hammer has. I healed you just enough to keep you from being bedbound for the rest of your life; the limp, I could not heal."
Gray, recovered slightly, asked, "Why did you erase my memories of that?"
Ignis's mouth twitched. "How ironic, that the man whose memory was erased and replaced, can infer so well. Yes, it was me who erased your memory and replaced it with the backstory of the farming incident. I did it so you would not be bitter.
"You see, Arthur was your friend. You had heard stories about his heroism, and how he died. Betrayal of a friend - that can scar the heart beyond all healing, in a place where no medic can touch. It can turn one evil. And we could not have that in you, a budding hero with great power."
Gray nodded slowly, not angry now that he saw Ignis's motives. "So what do we do now?"
The Diabolist responded slowly. "Well, if Arthur does indeed wish to obtain the Hallowed metal of ancient Terraria, we must stop him by removing his grasp from the only sources left to mankind: the Twins."
Gray put the pieces together. "Since I killed the Destroyer and Skeletron Prime... the Twins are the last sources of Hallowed metal, which could make him almost invincible, immune to Swaggins's Flairon, or Silver's magic, or anything I could throw at him?"
Ignis nodded. "But it takes a human to distract the Twins, to make them chase after, abandon all other premises. To lure them away from an enemy. And, as you must be the one to defeat Arthur, we must find another human to distract the Twins."
Gray looked on in dismay. "But there are no other humans left that aren't hidden so deeply they are all but lost!"
A deep voice at the cave entrance said, "Not so."
Cecil, flowing white beard and all, stepped in. "I am a Guide, and have served the heroes of Terraria since the beginning of this land. Now it is my job to distract a monster, to give you - indirectly - a chance to defeat our greatest enemy. I may well fail, but it must be done."
"Yeah, but we won't," said a voice behind him.
Cecil turned, staring at two figures: one lithe and slim with long blonde hair, and one with a thick brown beard and bulging muscles.
"Swaggins and Silver, at your service," they said in unison.
"We heard there was a party here," Swaggins rumbled. "Why miss it?" He hefted his Flairon over his shoulder - over a hundred kilograms of pure destructive force.
Silver nodded, lifting his Inferno Fork and Shadowbeam Staff. He had a Nettle Burst clenched between his teeth. He removed it, then spoke up. "We can distract the Twins. We've done it before, and won too. Cecil can help us." He made all his spells emit sparks of varying colors - some golden ones even spouted out of his left pocket, where he had a Magic Dagger stored.
"Well, that's settled, then," Ignis said happily. "Gray, you start back to the Dungeon. I'll go with you and ease your passage. The monsters will be out in force now that Arthur has put his plan in action, and been thwarted. Cecil, Silver and Swaggins, you will go to the eastern side of Terraria, and summon the Twins. Distract them, lead them out over the east ocean, but don't kill them yet. Do not kill them. Give up the chase at sunrise - it will all be over by then, anyway." He handed Cecil a small, metal-coated eyeball from a chest farther inside the cave. "I'll give this to you, because I know Silver's reputation with summoning things." He gave a wink.
As Silver protested indignantly, Gray packed his weapons with Ignis. The old Diabolist bent down and touched his shoulder. "You are now holding the fate of Terraria in your hands, Gray, lone warrior of the night. And I am confident you'll defeat Arthur, one way or another. Just remember what I've taught you, and you will wield a power beyond the hammer of a Paladin."