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Ever since she woke up, Lumine had dreamed about seeing her brother again. For months she’d been exploring Teyvat, following any and every lead she could. Whether she was seeking out the Archons of this world or digging up information on Khaenri’ah, everything she had done was with the goal of finding Aether.

She could never have imagined that when she did, it would be like this.

The day had started off fairly normally, though she’d taken a special commission to investigate some concerning Treasure Hoarder activity that eventually led her to some Abyssal ruins. That’s when things started to get weird.

She’d found one of the Treasure Hoarder leaders she’d been after—dead, tied up, and left as an offering to a desecrated Statue of the Seven. When making her escape, she’d been interrupted by an Abyss Herald, who was somehow able to recognize her.

Lumine had wondered how the Abyss Herald had seemed to know her, and after half a day of tracking it across Teyvat with a little help from Dainsleif, she finally got her horrifying answer: Aether was the Abyss Order’s Prince. She didn’t even realize it at first, not with how relieved she had been to see Aether again, but that didn’t last long. Aether himself confirmed his affiliation, warning her not to oppose the Abyss and not to oppose him.

It was… a lot to process, even without the revelations about Khaenri’ah and the Abyss. Her brother had sided against the gods of this world, against Celestia itself, and was willing to make an enemy of humanity in the process. Lumine could understand his distaste for gods—she hated the one who had separated them more than anything in this or any other world—but she could never side with the Abyss like he did, not if it meant making all of humanity her enemy, and certainly not if it would’ve kept her from Aether any longer.

Though she never would’ve expected Aether to be capable of that either, and it broke her heart.

Lumine had all but begged Aether to come home, to stop this fight and travel with her once again, but he had only reaffirmed his commitment to destroying the celestial thrones before making his exit through the Abyss Herald’s portal. With tears threatening to spill from her eyes she had chased after him, but to no avail. The portal had closed too soon, and for the second time since she arrived on Teyvat, Lumine was powerless to keep her and Aether together.

Nothing could match the pain she had felt when Aether was first taken from her, but reuniting with him only to be separated again so soon and on such tense terms had reopened many of those emotional wounds.

Paimon had talked to her after that encounter, trying to reassure her and figure out their next steps, but Lumine was too focused on Aether to give the conversation her full attention. She couldn’t stop thinking about what he had said, nor could she hold back the wave of sadness and betrayal that had been building ever since her brother had turned to leave. After everything the two of them had been through together over the years, and after everything Lumine had gone through to find him again, he had walked away of his own free will the moment she found him again. It felt as if in finding this new purpose, Aether had given up on her.

Lumine had finally achieved her dream to be reunited with her brother.

It was a shame he hadn’t shared that same goal himself.