Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Lizard Librarian FedoraChar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hyrule
    Posts
    1,187

    Little Lizard's Library of Tales (Update 12/22 Now with more Christmas)

    Little Lizard's Library of Tales

    Greetings, readers, and welcome to my anthology (of sorts)! I've recently had a laptop scare--and I thought for certain I was going to lose my wide collection of stories I've written over the past. Everything's going to be okay, I believe, but I figured I'd better find a place to back up these stories--and what better place then here on PXR?

    So, what's going to be here exactly?

    I'd like to post all of my old short-stories... along with some stories I haven't quite finished yet. There's been a few stories that I've had to scrapped because, well, I have a short attention span and... little time. EMBARRASSING. Still, I would someday like to go back and finish some, but since I don't know if that will happen or not. So, in the meantime, I will just be posting what I got. I guess if there is enough interest, I'll see what I can do about finishing it--or, you could VM me and see about coming up with your own ending. That'd be fun, eh? ;)

    Content-wise, most of these will be Pokemon stories, although I might have a crossover or Kingdom Hearts story here and there. There's healthy mix of comedies, angst, fantasies, and so on. As an author, I don't use strong language or have explicit content. Most will be rated E for everyone and up. Maybe some PG for violence. But yeah. I hope to update somewhat frequently--up until I get all my stories posted :D (For those of you that might be familiar with my old novel Lunar Destinies... LoL, I'm not sure if that will go up here or not. We'll see xD)

    Without further ado... Have a fancy Table of Contents! :D



    LE TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Vatonage::Pokemon::Adventure/Drama
    The Secret Ein Files::Pokemon/Kingdom Hearts::Sci-fi
    Down to Earth::Kingdom Hearts::Comedy
    Echo Through Time::Pokemon Ranger::Fantasy
    Kingdom 2 Come (Part 1)::Pokemon::Fantasy
    (Part II)
    (Part III)
    (Part FINALE)
    Char's Christmas Bash::Pokemon::Comedy, Drama

    Last edited by FedoraChar; 05-25-2014 at 11:50 PM.


    Banner by the legendary Neo Emolga!
    Little Lizard's Library of Tales
    Paired with
    SlenderfairyComatose


    Number III, the Argent Flame

  2. #2
    Lizard Librarian FedoraChar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hyrule
    Posts
    1,187

    Vatonage

    Author's Note: Okay, time for our first story! To give you some background on this one, it's a spring-off from the side-game Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia (I srsly love the Ranger games <3). So... it might be a little confusing if you haven't played that game all the way through. This story was originally written for Pe2k's WAR IX fanfiction contest--the theme had to involve the line, "I first thought I'd eventually find the answer by searching. I never knew it was in my soul the entire time." Looking back... I can't remember what place it ended up getting, but I remember Neo Pikachu really enjoying it ^^

    This is one of my older pieces... but I like it. I hope you do too! :D







    Journal Log 153
    April 27, 2010
    Dr. R. H. Marks


    Once again, I have been disappointed. Far too many of my colleagues have given up hopes on reviving the organization formally known as Dim Sun. I do not blame them for losing faith in its name, but they fail to see the genius of my plans. I, too, have given up any ties to Dim Sun, and instead I have taken a new name upon myself and loyal followers. We shall be known as Phoenix as—just like the mythical creature—we have been reborn from the ashes of flawed plans. We will pick up where Dim Sun left and achieve a greater degree of Glory.
    _____
    Journal Log 175
    May 5, 2010
    Dr. R. H. Marks


    I have familiarized myself with one of Almia’s old legends. It seems to have ties to the four stones that led to the demise of Dim Sun’s plans: the Tears of Princes and the Shadow Crystal. I do not understand all the details, but the legend tells of an old monarch who had three sons. The princes grew to be foolish, and the King was forced to banish them. Consumed by guilt, the King began to immerse himself into the darkness, and it consumed him. It is said that this was how the Shadow Crystal, the old weapon of Dim Sun, came to be. The princes, bowed to the depths of humility, shed tears for their loss, and from this the three stones known as the Tears of Princes were formed. As we saw with the downfall of the old organization, the Tears of Princes are able to purify the darkness found in the Shadow Crystal and transform it into the Luminous Crystal.

    My followers have successfully recovered large portions of shards from the Shadow Crystal, some straight from the so-called Tower of Peace, formally known the Altru Building once ran by the head of Team Dim Sun. After much research, I have confirmed by earlier suspicions: the crystal does indeed hold some of Darkrai’s power. This better explains why Pokémon reacted so adversely when exposed to Giga-and-mini-remo units, allowing us to control them. (As you may recall, the Remo machines each held a shard of the crystal.) Blake Hall sought to use that power, but he took a much more timid approach to unlocking it. I, however, see a much better technique, one that would ensure better control.

    We must find a way to extract that power.
    _____
    Journal Log 226
    July 30, 2010
    Dr. R. H. Marks


    My plans are finally unfolding. Everything we have shed sweat and tears for will now be repaid. We have succeeded in developing a way to transfer the crystal’s power to another being. I know that many would approach this differently, wanting to infuse that power into a Pokémon, but not I. You see, one of my goals is to eliminate the problem of the Rangers. I want to wipe them from the face of the planet. If I gave the crystal’s power to a Pokémon, I would fail in this endeavor. Thanks to their capture technology, the Rangers would be able to turn the Pokémon against us.

    This is why the power must be transferred to a human. With our superior intelligence, we would be able to utilize and control, plus the Rangers would be unable to capture our power. I shall be the first person in the world to create the perfect weapon—a human weapon. Then no one, not even the foolish Ranger union, will be able to stop me.

    Of course, there is still some work to be done, bugs to fix. Luckily, I have the perfect guinea pig to experiment on. Just the other day, a young boy stumbled into our operations, and my grunts quickly captured him. The best part is that he’s an amateur Ranger, and now that we have his friend (the foolish girl came looking for him when he disappeared) he is easily manipulated. Tomorrow we shall perform a test and then…

    ERROR: FILE CORRUPTED….

    _____

    An explosion shook the entire Hia Valley, causing several avalanches to roll down the permanently frozen slopes of the mountains. A cloud of smoke swirling with snow ascended into the air above a well-hidden building as chaos erupted within. Men and woman were scrambling frantically through the halls, trying to escape the fire that was slowly spreading. At the heart of the problem, the building’s main laboratory, the machines were going hay-wire. Lights flashed, sirens screeched, and circuits fried in the chaos. Though the scientists tried their best to deal with the meltdown, they were scared out of their wits by the subject of their experimentation. Something had gone terribly wrong, and now they had lost all control. In the center of the room, mixed within the writhing flames, were tendrils of nearly solid darkness. They reached out like tentacles from the floor, wrapping themselves around wires and ripping them out of their places. As they did so, electricity cracked and sparked, igniting any nearby flammable material.

    “It’s no good!” one of the scientists shouted, his face dripping with sweat from heat and effort. “We got to get out of here!”

    No one bothered to argue. The white-coats turned heels and raced for the exits, but before they could escape black smoke-like tentacles shot forward, racing flat against the floor towards their fleeing feet before snapping up in full three-dimensional forms. The shadows grabbed them around the legs and began pulling them back. The men cried out as they desperately reached out for something to grab a hold of, but their attempts were all in vain. Slowly they sank into holes in the ground created by churning pools of darkness, looking if they were caught in quicksand. One individual, instead of disappearing into a dark void, was yanked towards the center of the lab where the shadows were the thickest. Firelight flickered against his glasses as he looked at his fate, his face white with terror.

    “Please,” he begged with some unseen being. “No, please… Have mercy…”

    When he was inches away from the mass of darkness, he could see how it moved like light-less fire. He couldn’t see beyond the outer layer, but he didn’t need to in order to know what was behind it. Suddenly, a gloved hand shot out and grabbed him by the color of his shirt. He half expected something otherworldly, but to his surprise the arm belonged to a human—a mere boy. Yet the strength he exerted to lift the researcher to his feet was incredible. The scientist prayed that he wouldn’t see the rest of the boy’s face, but this was denied to him as the shadows parted. Now he confronted the child he had so willingly experimented on.

    Though he looked human enough, they boy’s skin had a gray pallor to it and his eyes were glowing with an eerie light. The red Ranger uniform he had been wearing before the test was now completely stained black. The expression on his face was coldly consumed with rage as he brought it close to the scientist’s face.

    “Where is she?” he spoke, though his voice sounded like a myriad of people—all with different pitches and textures—speaking together at once.

    “I-I-I d-d-don’t know,” the scientist mindlessly began babbling while quivering pitifully.

    “Where is she?” the boy repeated firmly again, but his time with less patience. As he tightened his grip, the scientist gulped audibly.

    “In the kennels,” the scientist caved, spilling his soul. “In the southern section of the building, the last cell on the right.”

    The experiment threw the scientist back onto the ground, the shadows around him twitching angrily. “For your sake,” he hissed, “she better be okay.”

    Suddenly, the shadows all collected around him, forming a cocoon around him before flattening themselves against the floor. They dispersed like fog, leaving no sign of the boy or any of the other faculty. The scientist was alone in the burning lab, where he collapsed and wept.

    Meanwhile, the building was being evacuated. Taken by such surprise, no one could get organized enough to fight the fire. Instead, they fled like cowards for the safety of the valley and left their base for destruction. Some would discover that avalanches blocked their escape, but most were lucky to find safe passage down the slopes, thanks to whatever vehicles they could find. Among the fleeing individuals was a boy, holding in his arms the limp form of a girl as he ran with everything he had.

    *****

    “Ella?” a concerned voice called through the darkness of her dreams, calling the teen back to reality. As her senses reawakened, she became aware of a chilling breeze nipping at her skin. Why was it so cold? She wondered, but she didn’t bother trying to move. Her limbs felt a little stiff and sluggish, but it really wasn’t too uncomfortable. Lying still like that felt rather nice. Yet when she felt a pressure on her shoulder gently shaking her, she decided to finally open her emerald eyes. A familiar face hung over her, with short black hair and bright blue eyes, but for some reason she couldn’t recognize who it was right away. She blamed the poor lighting, wherever she was.

    “Ella?” the face asked again, its expression pinched in worry.

    “Tristan?” she asked as the name clicked in her head.

    The boy breathed out a long sigh of relief, but he continued to watch her warily. The guy looks so exhausted, Ella thought with a frown. Sitting up, she took in her strange new surroundings. Now she understood where the cold came from. They were in an icy cave with blue-tinted walls and slippery surfaces all around them. The light faintly filtered in from outside, allowing her to see the steam that issued from her mouth as she breathed. She was confused at why she was here, but memories flooded back to her like a tidal wave. The lab, the men, Tristan…

    “Where are those people? Where are we? How did we get here?” she started spewing questions with intensity.

    “Calm down,” Tristan waved her down, his voice scratchy as if he had just finished a screaming contest. “We’re fine…”

    Ella paused, taking a closer look at her friend. She had known him since they were toddlers, and out of all those years together she had never seen him so beaten down. Examining him now, she realized that he had a gray hue to his skin. His face was drawn, and shadows encircled his eyes.

    “Are you okay?” she asked, taking her turn to be the concerned one.

    “I don’t know,” he answered honestly, leaning back against the cave wall. The cold hardly seemed to bother him. Even though she was starting to shiver, he remained still.

    She studied him for a while, growing more and more uneasy about his unusual behavior. Scooting up to the wall next to him, she asked, “What happened, Tristan?”

    The boy Ranger sighed, not too keen to explain, but he opened his mouth. “They… they threatened me. They told me that if I didn’t do what they wanted, they would hurt you. So I listened. They strapped me up to this weird machine and… Well, things got blurry after that, but I remember going through a lot of pain—burning intense pain, the worst that I had ever been through in my entire life. Then there were explosions and screaming and… I… I don’t know. I think I hurt people, but I don’t remember…”

    He turned to her, his eyes swimming in a confusing pool of emotions.

    “You hurt people? How?” she asked. She couldn’t see how that would be possible. The kidnappers certainly did horrible things to them, but Tristan wasn’t vengeful. She couldn’t picture him harming others.

    The boy hung his head as he brought his knees up to his chest. Shoulders shaking, he explained, “I don’t know. After the pain cleared, I remember feeling this… this strange energy building up in me, this overwhelming power. I felt like I could do anything. I don’t know what they did to me, but somehow, I’m different.”

    Ella fell silent, trying to sort through it out in her head. What Tristan had told her didn’t make much sense to her, but it seemed rather difficult for him to talk about it. She wouldn’t ask questions quite yet, not until he himself made sense of it. She was simply glad that it was over with. Now they could go back home…

    “Maybe they deserved it,” Tristan spoke up suddenly, a dark look consuming his expression.

    “What?” Ella’s eyebrows lifted, alarmed.

    “They deserved what happened to them,” the Ranger went on. “They should have known better than to do the things they did.”

    Ella hardly believed her own ears. Didn’t she just get done thinking about how he was never vengeful? She had never heard him sound so wrathful before, so charged and full of anger. What was wrong with him? What did that machine do to him? Half of her wanted to slink away frightened by the transformation, but the overbearing sympathetic part of her kept her by his side. She could sense how hurt and confused he was, and she wanted to help some way…

    He was fiercely clenching his fists, but with his head bent she couldn’t see his eyes. With the low lighting, she also failed to see how tiny tendrils of shadows were curling themselves around his body. Hesitantly, she reached out and placed her hand on his. The shadows immediately dispersed as the tension in his body relaxed.

    “Everything is okay, now,” she spoke in a low, gentle voice. “We’re both safe. They can’t hurt us anymore.”

    Tristan’s eyes gradually moved from her hand up to her face. He looked at her as if seeing her for the first time. After a long moment of sorting through his thoughts, he asked, “What do we do now?”

    Ella smiled back, though she was still troubled within. Normally he was the one coming up with the plans. Still, in his emotionally distraught state she didn’t expect him to be thinking straight. She hoped that he would recover soon, however. She would try her best, but she never was a good leader. The teenager stood up, feeling Tristan’s eyes following her as she shuffled carefully over the ice to the cave’s entrance. Peering outside she could see Hia Valley stretching out before them, pure white with a fresh coat of snow. A plume of smoke was rising from the west, which she guessed to be the ruins of Team Phoenix’s base. She frowned, thinking back to what Tristan had told her, but didn’t linger long.

    “I guess we should try to find Shiver Camp,” she finally declared. “They have a Ranger Base there, don’t they?”

    “I think so,” Tristan replied, still sitting against the cave wall.

    Ella shivered, wishing she had a better protection against the cold. It wasn’t going to be a fun trek across the valley, but they had to hurry before it got dark. If they failed to reach the camp before then, they could freeze to death. For the umpteenth time since becoming a Trainer, she wished that she had a good strong Staraptor to fly her around. Currently, all she had was a young Shinx that could hardly provide any assistance out here in the snow tundra. Tristan had lost his styler, so he couldn’t capture any wild Pokémon either.

    “Well,” Ella turned around, forcing another smile on, “shall we start?”

    “Okay,” Tristan agreed, though he didn’t sound too enthusiastic. He sluggishly climbed onto his feet and stumbled towards her. As he stepped out into the sunlight, he squinted painfully.

    “’s bright,” he commented with a weak smile, raising his hand to shield his eyes nonetheless.

    “Just a little,” Ella laughed, though she wasn’t as sensitive to the light as he was. She thought that something could wrong with that, but she didn’t say anything out loud. Inside, she was beginning to fear what those men had done to her childhood friend, and what that would mean for them. Was she losing her best friend?

    Together, they carefully descended down the slope away from their ice cave and into the valley. Before long, both were uncomfortably wet and cold. The fact that the snow was much deeper than Ella originally thought didn’t help much. Often times she would misjudge and step into particularly deep spots, then she would need Tristan’s help to get back out. Luckily, the skies were clear and bright, allowing the sun to warm their backs and prevent them from freezing. There were times when they had to pass through the shadows of winter-frosted pine trees, and then they would be reminded just how miserable it would be without the sun. Ella was plenty relieved after those stretches when they came out into the sun once more, though Tristan never looked quite as happy. Even after a good long hour of trekking, his eyes still hadn’t adjusted to the snow glare. He constantly stumbled over rocks and fallen branches.

    In all honesty, Ella wasn’t sure if she was going the right direction. She had learned some tricks about finding directions from the sun and all, but for all she knew she could be missing Shiver Camp altogether. If only Tristan was himself. He would know what to do.

    “Hey, do you hear something?” Tristan suddenly spoke up, pausing.

    Ella stopped as well, letting silence fall around them. Without the crunching of snow under their feet filling their ears, they realized how much noise they had been making. She was surprised that Tristan had been able to pick anything out with it. They were currently in a small patch of trees that were widely spread out, allowing stripes of sunlight into their path. It felt peaceful enough, or at least that was what Ella thought before otherwise proven wrong. She picked up on a swishing noise that sounded like wind moving through the bind needles, followed by a long, drawn out crunch.

    “What did you—,” she started, but Tristan interrupted her.

    “Look out!” he shouted, leaping in front of her.

    The events occurring afterward seemed to play out in slow motion. Ella turned to see what was going on, but when Tristan jumped a wall of blackness suddenly rose up before them. She wasn’t sure what was going on, but she heard glass-like shattering noises on the other side. When the attack stopped, the wall lowered, and Tristan and Ella found themselves facing a seven-foot, extremely bulky monster. With a bearded, block-shaped face, it glared down at them with angry purple eyes. Raising its thick, branch-like arms, it roared to prepare another attack.

    “An Abomasnow!” Ella gasped, and leapt aside as the arm fell down towards their heads. She started backing away as quickly as possible, but the creature had its eyes on her. Grunting grumpily, it swung its arm again, releasing pointed shards of ice aimed straight for her body.

    Once again, shadows leapt from the snow into dimensional forms, blocking the Ice Shards before they reached her. She turned and spotted Tristan staring at her with his hand outstretched.

    “Are you doing this?” she asked, stunned.

    “I… I think so,” he replied, just as amazed as she was.

    They didn’t have much time to wonder over this, as the Frosted Tree Pokémon was charging once more. Instinctively, Tristan whirled around to face it, cupping his hands together. A black orb crackling with electrical, purple light immediately formed in his hand, and as soon as it had grown to the size of a skull it shot off towards the attacking Pokémon. Apparently, it hadn’t been expecting a human to fight back. Its eyes widened in surprise, but it was too late to turn away. The orb blasted into it, knocking it off its feet.

    “Shadow Ball?” Ella mouthed, recognizing what she saw but not wanting to believe it. How was Tristan doing this? That was a Pokémon move! Humans couldn’t do that! That was unheard of!

    The Abomasnow shook off the attack, getting back onto his feet while clutching its head in its thorny hands. It glared at Tristan for a brief moment, and then decided that it wasn’t going to fall for anymore tricks. Roaring, it ambled forward for another assault. Ella shouted a warning to her friend, but he didn’t move. Instead, he stood his ground—allowing the creature to get close enough to strike. As it brought its arm down in a Wood Hammer attack, the boy simply sidestepped it.

    Shadows suddenly snaked forward from the ground as the creature’s fist missed, securely snagging it down. Despite its desperate attempts, the Abomasnow couldn’t free its limb from their grip. Stopping, it stared at Tristan before reaching out its other arm to grab him. With a deft motion, Tristan bent down and dodged that swing as well. As he straightened, he lifted his arms and more black tentacles detached themselves from the forest floor and wrapped around the creature’s only free hand. The Abomasnow was completely flabbergasted. It had just been outsmarted by an intruder! It gaped at the boy emptily, as if all its brains had been swiped out of its head.

    Tristan, meanwhile, moved forward with a glossy look and a raised hand. Ella moved closer, trying to figure out what was going on. He looked as if he was sleep walking, only half-paying attention to his actions. His hand was outlined with a glowing pink light, which he placed on the Ice Monster’s forehead. Immediately, the creature’s eyes rolled back into its head, and it collapsed with a heavy thud onto the ground. The forest fell silent once more.

    “Is…,” Ella moved forward with a gulp, looking the Pokémon over. “Is it dead?”

    Tristan swayed unexpectedly, holding his head in his hand. “No… I think… I think I just put it to sleep. I hypnotized it or something.”

    “Tristan? What just happened?”

    He lowered his hand, glumly taking in the result of his actions. “Remember what I told you back in the cave? I am starting to think that somehow those scientists… well, it sounds crazy…”

    “No, tell me.”

    “I think that they gave me Pokémon powers.”

    Ella frowned. Was such a thing even possible? How could they do that?

    “But,” Tristan continued, his eyebrows knitting together in worry, “the scary thing is… I don’t even know how I am doing it. Whenever they pop up, they seem to do their own thing. I don’t think about any of it. Ella? What if I can’t control them?”

    Ella forced herself to meet his eyes. Deep inside she had that same fear, but she couldn’t let him know that. She still had confidence in him. She knew that if he had the courage, he was strong enough to overcome this. “Maybe you can learn to control them?”

    “How?”

    “Well, even superheroes had trouble controlling when they first got their powers.”

    “Superheroes?” he cocked an eyebrow at her doubtfully, bringing back a reminiscent of his former self. Ella was glad to see it, and felt heartened.

    “Of course,” she smiled, getting a little excited. “If you think about it… You’re like one now. A real one! And you know—even though those bad guys did this to you—you can turn around and use that power for good. You could really help people, Tristan, more than any other Ranger ever did.”

    “You think so?”

    “Yeah, and you could do all that typical superhero stuff: fight crime, bust bad guys, stop speeding trains. Hey, we could even make you a nice outfit to wear. Oh, and a nickname! You could be PokéBoy or something.”

    Tristan laughed a true, full-hearted laugh. “We could forgo the nickname and uniform. I never was a fan of tights and capes.”

    Ella practically glowed, so delighted to hear him joke. Teasing, she said, “Aw, come on! That’d be the funnest part!”

    Tristan’s smile faded a little, and as he looked back down at the Abamosnow it completely disappeared. Despondently, he asked, “How do you know I’m not a supervillain?”

    Ella knew what he meant. The powers he had been using had obviously been from dark-type Pokémon. Taking a step between Tristan and the Abomasnow, she was going to set him right. Fixing him with a fierce and determined expression, she said, “Don’t even think that. I know your heart, Tristan. You are a good person, of that I have no doubt. There’s no way you could ever be a villain. Look, I know that this stuff you can do seems shady, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do good with them. Darkness is a part of this world as much as light. It’s what you choose to do with it that makes the difference. You got to believe that, okay? No more of this mopey stuff, got it?”

    Tristan lifted his head, locking his eyes into hers as he searched their depths. He was overwhelmed by what she had just told him. How could he have so much faith in him? He wanted so bad to believe her words, but he still doubted himself. But… if he had to, he would try. He would try for her. Slowly, he nodded.

    “That’s the spirit,” she beamed, then paused as her eyes climbed to the top of his head.

    “What’s wrong?” Tristan asked, confused.

    “Oh, well… there’s a patch of white hair on your head,” she explained, indicating the area on her own head, just above the right eye.

    He reached his hands up and grabbed where he thought she meant, but his hair was too short to pull down to see. Nothing felt out of place, but that didn’t reassure him. White hair? What could that mean? What else was going to happen to him?

    “I’m sure it’s nothing,” Ella saw his sudden panic and tried to dismiss it. “We’d better get going before the Yeti here wakes up.”

    “Yeah,” he lowered his hands slowly, ashamed by his reaction.

    *****

    Ella felt a little uneasy as they began climbing up a slow incline. Of course, it was natural that she should be a little on edge after nearly being mauled by a territorial creature. Yet that wasn’t the source of her anxiety. What irked her was the very fact that they were climbing uphill. She had visited Shiver Camp once before, and she couldn’t recall it being on a hill. Maybe she was just being paranoid, but she hoped that they were going the right way.

    Finally, the slope peaked and they could see the valley unravel before their view like a scroll. Directly ahead of them was a lake riddled with ice, looking calm and peaceful as it rested undisturbed in the heart of the valley. Ella felt disheartened at the sight of it. She was certain that she had never seen it before.

    “I have no idea where we are,” she let her shoulders droop in a defeated manner. She looked to her friend, wishing that he would jump in and take over. He knew this area better than her, but he still seemed to be struggling, remaining aloof to most of their journey. His eyes were fixed on something in the distance.

    “I think I do,” he suddenly spoke up, startling the teenage girl.

    “You do?” she blinked, recovering from the shock to allow some hope to resurface.

    He nodded once, then pointed ahead saying, “See that?”

    Ella followed, and her eyes widened as she saw it: a man-made building erected up from the snow by the shores of the lake. It didn’t look like any modern building she had seen in the rest of the region. Pointed towers built from stone reached out for the skies above, giving it an ancient appearance. Even though the snow was slowly reclaiming it, Ella could tell that it had been standing for some time.

    “That’s Almia Castle,” Tristan explained. Thoughtfully, he added, “Shiver Camp would be just southeast from here. But I think we should head for the Castle.”

    “Why?” Ella frowned. That place sounded interesting and all, but at the moment she would much rather prefer some warmer clothes and civilization.

    “It’s closer than Shiver Camp,” he shrugged, “and we might find some archeologists there. They’ll probably be able to help us out.”

    “Okay,” Ella said slowly, thinking it through, “but what if we don’t find anyone? It is getting close to sunset…”

    “The castle does have fireplaces,” he smiled, trying to be reassuring. “We could just start our own fire and stay the night there. And…”

    “And?”

    “Well… you know the legend about that place, right?”

    “No, I don’t think so…”

    “It’s the same as the Shadow Crystal,” he returned his gaze to the castle. “Long ago, a King ruled over this region from that castle’s throne. He was a noble and kind monarch, but his three sons grew spoiled and rebellious. In the end, he was forced to banish them, but it tore him apart. Grieved by his decision, the King immersed himself in darkness, and from his sorrow the Shadow Crystal came into existence.”

    Ella nodded, having heard the tale before. “I didn’t think that his Castle actually existed. But… Why are you telling me this?”

    “Remember that struggle the Rangers had with that old organization known as Dim Sun? From that, they discovered all that stuff out about the Shadow Crystal that’s common knowledge around Almia now. But what most people don’t know is that they also discovered that Darkrai is the crystal’s guardian, and could possibly be the King himself.”

    “I still don’t see where you’re—”

    “That machine they put me in was connected to shards from the Shadow Crystal,” he cut her off bluntly, his face paler than usual.

    Ella was taken aback, but managed to ask, “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

    “Because,” he sighed, turning his head away from her, “I was scared.”

    “Tristan,” she reached out for him, but he jerked away.

    “I don’t understand what’s happening to me,” he spoke firmly with determination with his back to her. “But maybe if we looked around the Castle, we could find some answers.”

    The brown-haired girl still had her hand outstretched, but slowly she retracted it. “All right,” she softly agreed. “Let’s go, then.”

    They started trekking through the snow once more, but this time it was Tristan who took the lead, and Ella who followed behind quietly.

    *****

    “Are we allowed to go in?” Ella innocently asked, lifting her eyes to gape up at the building that loomed over her. She hadn’t realized just how big it was until she got right up close to it. The arched doors they faced were several hundred heads above them, and she guessed that even Arceus would have been able to pass through.

    “Why wouldn’t we be?” Tristan replied without any concerns. After admiring the cathedral-like architecture, he moved forward and—pressing his shoulder to the wood—forced the double doors apart. Then, stepping aside, he said, “Ladies first.”

    Ella gave him a strange look before moving inside. There it was again, she thought, a tiny moment when he acts like his old self again. She knew it was too good to last, but she hoped that as time went things would return to normal again. Yet as he slipped in behind her, his grim seriousness had returned like a bad memory. She shivered, but not from the cold.

    The moment they stepped inside it felt as if they had walked into a freezer. Everything within was coated with a fine layer of ice, from the sides of the walls to the high vaulted ceilings. Ella found herself wishing that she could just turn back around, but she wasn’t about to leave Tristan. As she continued looking around, she realized that all the details of the furniture and architecture were perfectly preserved. If it wasn’t for the frost and the dominating feeling of loneliness, she would have believed that she had taken a step back through time. The walls and floor were constructed from white marble, and none of it was chipped or broken. Blue rugs were stretched out beneath their feet, stiff but looking fresh as if they were placed just yesterday. Tapestries hung on the walls, though they couldn’t see much of their details due to the thick layers of frost clinging to their fabric.

    Speechless, the duo walked across the grand hall deeper into the castle. Despite its potential to house thousandths, there were no other signs of life. A hollow and empty silence enchanted the air, filled with a mixture of emotions. Ella sensed deep respect in it, as if she was entering a cemetery or a church. It helped to clear her head, and slowly she found herself drifting through various thoughts. She nearly ran into Tristan when he suddenly stopped before another unnecessarily massive door.

    “Do you think that the throne room is beyond this door?” he asked her in a low whisper, being reverent to the castle’s stillness.

    Ella examined the door for a bit, spying the texture the frost created with the wood. Finally, she answered, “Only one way to find out.”

    Together, they pushed open the door. For a moment, it resisted their attempts, but after complaining loudly it swung away to reveal a room much bigger than the entrance hall—though just as empty. Windows spanning the entire distance from the four-story ceiling to the floor filtered in the fading winter sun. Ornate chandeliers hung from the roof, but their golden arches were spiked with pin-sharp icicles. Around them was painted cloudy sceneries populated with cherubs and Clefairy, plus the occasional Legendary Pokémon. Ella felt her breath stolen away as she took in the room’s beauty, but Tristan wasn’t as impressed.

    “Where’s the throne?” he asked ignorantly.

    “I don’t think this is the throne room, Tristan,” Ella put him straight, gliding forward with her head raised to admire the artwork. “I think this is a ballroom.”

    Someone clapped.

    Tensing up, Ella and Tristan spun around in time to see the door they had just entered through slammed shut by a trio of men dressed in black. The man whose applause was echoing eerily through the air stood in the shadows, leaning with his shoulder against a wall.

    “Congratulations,” the hand’s owner spoke coolly to them, surrounded by several other shapes. “You have guessed correctly. This is indeed the Castle’s ballroom.”

    “You!” Tristan’s eyes narrowed, recognizing the stranger. “You’re the one! You’re the one who—”

    “Please,” the man cut him off short, stepping closer into the light. He wore a white lab coat, proclaiming his status as a researcher. His long, greasy hair was streaked with gray, and tied back into a pony tail. His face was hardened and gruff, looking like a living stone carved to look like a human. Out of any person Ella met, she agreed that this guy had to be the winner of the most unfriendly-looking class. “Call me Doctor Marks,” he spoke to them as if giving them the time of the day.

    “I’ll call you what I want to call you, you filthy—,” Tristan started again, but Dr. Marks interrupted him again.

    “My, my, what a temper,” the man chuckled darkly. “Perhaps that is one of the side-effects of our little experiment, yes? Most interesting…”

    He waltzed up to them, holding his chin in his hand as he circled them, inspecting Tristan as if he was some strange curio he was considering to buy. Ella could feel her friend shaking beside her, and she saw a look of absolute hatred on his face. She didn’t know which she was more terrified of: the man or her friend.

    “Tell me,” Dr. Marks lifted his head arrogantly, eyes looking down his pointed nose. “What other changes have you gone through? I can see that your hair is turning white.”

    “Shut up!” the boy Ranger spat. “You’re sick! You’re a monster, and you—”

    “I am a genius!” Dr. Marks raised his voice, letting it boom across the empty ballroom. “I have done what no other man has dared to do before! I have created the ultimate weapon. The world will know my name and shall fear it for generations to come. You are only the first of many, my boy. With your power, I shall eliminate the Rangers and then the world shall be mine!”

    “Not if I can help it!” Tristan growled and took a step forward. Ella shrieked as thick shadows gathered around his feet, hastening across the floor from their hiding places within the corners of the room. They reached up out of the ground and waved around like grass shaking in the wind. Eyes flashing, Tristan cupped his hands together as Ella had seen him do in the forest and formed another Shadow Ball. Doctor Marks impassively stood by, and didn’t even flinch when the dark orb was fired before him.

    Before the Shadow Ball could reach him, however, another blue-colored orb shot across the room to meet it. The collision caused smoke to fill the air, but when it cleared they could see a new creature standing between Tristan and the scientist. Though it stood on two legs like a man, it had a canine-like face with tall, pointed ears. The black coloring over its blue fur made it look as if it wore a mask.

    “I figured you would end up here,” Doctor Marks began explaining, sticking his hands into his pocket casually. “So while we were waiting around for you to show up, we stumbled upon this rare creature: a Lucario. It wasn’t too pleased with our intrusion, but we quickly contained it with one of our Mini-remo units.”

    Ella’s eyes strayed back to the group of darkly dressed men, only to discover that they had completely surrounded them. One of them was holding a laptop-like machine before him, smirking like he had just pulled a clever trick. Was that the mini-remo? She had heard of those things from Tristan before this all happened. Apparently, Team Dim Sun had used them to hypnotize and control Pokémon, but it had been thought that they had all been destroyed. She sure hated to see the Rangers proved wrong.

    “Now be careful,” Doctor Marks addressed the Mini-remo operator, walking away. “I want to return the boy to our back-up base in once piece.”

    The group of men darkly chuckled, but Tristan found no humor in it.

    “Don’t walk away from me!” he shouted, thrusting his hand forward. Immediately, the shadows underneath that arm surged forward like a tidal wave toward the scientist. Once again, Tristan’s attack was stopped short as the Lucario jumped forward, this time emitting a vertical wave that crashed into the shadows, dispersing them like smoke. The Aura Pokémon quickly followed by racing forward with incredible speed and knocked the boy from his feet.

    “Tristan, no!” Ella shrieked, but her friend surprised her by regaining his ground. She edged backwards as Tristan growled in an un-human way, his eyes lighting up with blue fire. Cords of blackness began threading up his body, from his legs up to his shoulders. As it touched his skin it faded away its color, leaving him as black as night. His hair was now completely bleached white, and flickering like a flame. Ella was now seeing the pinnacle of Tristan’s transformation, but the worse side of it. Her worst fears were now confirmed. The boy she knew and grew up with was no longer there. Instead, it had been replaced by the ugliest side of human ingenuity.

    The shadow’s Master raced forward, tackling into the suddenly tentative Lucario with incredible force. The Pokémon was sent flying across the ballroom, skidding against the marble floor.

    “Get it up, you fool!” Dr. Marks barked at his operator, who nearly jumped out of his boots. Finally, the man tentatively tapped a key on the Mini-remo, and the Lucario stood back on its feet with a shake of the head. Tristan didn’t wait for it to completely recover, however. He formed another Shadow Ball, but instead of shooting a single orb several of them rained forward. The Lucario braced itself against their impact, but the force of them slid him backwards across the floor.

    “Give me that!” the scientist seized the mini-remo, his patience finally running thin. Once he was at the keys, the Lucario began to retaliate. It shot more Aura Spheres from its paws, then charged forward as Tristan was distracted trying to block them. When it was close enough, it released a series of punches and jab at the boy without holding back. Tristan took every blow until he managed to grab a paw in his hand. With a quick movement, the transformed Ranger twisted the dog’s arm around and flung him across the room—straight towards the mini-remo.

    The scientist and his cronies stepped back as the Pokémon crashed into the computer, shattering it to pieces. The men gaped, utterly speechless now that their plans had failed. They stood cemented to the ground staring stupidly as the Lucario stood back up, freed from their hypnotism. The dog-like Pokémon turned and gave them a sharp growl, but deciding that Tristan was the bigger threat, the creature kicked up the wreckage of the mini-remo and prepared its own attack. Dodging the spikes of shadow that Tristan caused to rise out of the ground, the Pokémon lifted its paw and punched the boy with a Sky Uppercut.

    With that blow, Tristan flew upward, but the Lucario didn’t stop there. It fired another fury of Aura Spheres and then sent out a brilliant light wave from his mouth. Stunned by the uppercut, Tristan was unable to dodge the other stream of attacks. He absorbed them all, then fell limply back to the ground. Ella lifted her hand up to her mouth with a gasp. He wasn’t… he couldn’t… Tears began welling in her eyes.

    The Lucario stood over his fallen foe, panting from the exertion he went through to power those last moves. When Tristan made no movement, he turned his back and began to walk away. Seconds later, the creature regretted that choice.

    Tristan’s eyes flashed open, a new rage burning within them. He sat up and raised his arms up in an ‘x’. Throwing them apart again, a wave of dark energy flew from them, rocketing at the unwary Lucario. The creature received the full blunt of the attack in his back, and fell on his face, winded. Ella watched as the shadows writhed in new fury, slowly lifting what was once her best friend into the air. Suddenly, they split out into different directions at the various foes in the room. The ex-Dim Sun gang started screaming as pools of darkness collected at their feet and began pulling them into a nameless void.

    Ella herself was spared, but she could see the pure terror on each of their faces. Tears were earnestly streaking down her face now, signs of the conflict stirring within her. Make it stop, she pleaded in her head. Please, just let this all go away. She never asked for any of this. She just wanted to go home, back to a normal life away from all this pain and darkness. Most of all, she wanted her friend back. It tore her apart to see him like this, knowing what his heart was really like within. She knew he was good, but she couldn’t understand what was going on. Why was he hurting these people?

    Vatonage, a thought came to surface in her mind, but its origin did not come from her thinking. She froze up, realizing that the word had come from somewhere else, as if a voice was speaking in her head. She felt an urge to glance to her left, and when she did so she could see the Lucario. It was still down, unable to rise up anymore than onto his arms, but it was staring right at her.

    Vatonage, the voice spoke again to her, and Ella realized that it was the Pokémon talking to her. It was telepathy.

    What? She thought back, baffled.

    Vatonage, the creature repeated with a grimace. To rekindle the light lost in darkness… You alone can do this.

    Ella shivered as apprehension dawned on her. She knew what it meant, but was she strong enough? Taking a chance, she strode forward.

    All that she could see of Tristan’s face as she approached was his glowing blue eyes. He didn’t make any sign of noticing her approach. He only floated there motionless as he stared blankly ahead. The shadows continued thrashing around him like the tentacles of an enraged sea monster, but Ella passed through them unharmed and unchallenged. Finally, she was close enough to touch him. Slowly, as if every second was stretched out into an eternity, Ella raised her hand and grabbed his wrist before it could drift out of her reach.

    Immediately, the shadows stiffened. The men’s anguished screaming was cut short as the shadows began retracting, sucking back towards where Ellla and Tristan stood. Those that were half-way through the void were suddenly spat back out onto the solid ground. The tendrils that had been lifting the boy from the air shrunk, and Ella kept her hold on his arm as he was lowered back down. Doctor Marks and his men watched in awe as darkness faded, leaving only the black form of their test subject.

    As soon as Tristan’s feet were back on the ballroom’s floor, Ella moved forward and embraced him. With her eyes squeezed shut, she couldn’t see the second transformation her friend was going through. Color was coming back into his skin in full, no longer black or even gray. The white in his hair receded, allowing the natural black to regain its claim. He exhaled a long breath, and would have collapse if it wasn’t for Ella’s tight hold.

    “Ella?” his voice whispered in her ear, sounding surprised.

    She still didn’t let go, instead holding him closer as her tears continued to fall. Between sobs, she hoarsely whispered, “I thought I lost you.”

    Realizing the state she was in, Tristan returned the embrace, “You brought me back.”

    “I couldn’t let you go,” she finally turned to look in his eyes. “I… I love you.”

    Tristan solemnly looked back, searching her emerald eyes. All the years they had been together, they had always been the best of friends. She had always believed in him, and he knew that he could always count on her. If it wasn’t for her, he would have been lost. Finally, he said, “I love you, too.”

    They embraced again, holding each other close. As they did so, a voice spoke in both their minds:

    The King, torn apart by his decision, fell into darkness. The people mourned as they seemed to lose their beloved leader, but there was nothing they could do to bring him back. The princes he had banished, however, were deeply humbled by their experiences. They realized deep down how much they truly loved their father, and when they received word of their father’s fate, each shed tears for their loss. But by their love, they invoked the power of Vatonage. The light within their father’s soul was rekindled, and peace returned to the kingdom…

    Ella and Tristen broke apart, finding that the Lucario was standing right next to them.

    “The Tears of Princes,” Tristen pieced it together, remembering the Rangers’ tale of those precious stones. He had never heard that part before, however. “When brought together, they were able to purify the Shadow Crystal.”

    The Lucario nodded once. You two are bound together, sharing the same light in each other. By shedding her own tears, this girl was able to restore the light within you that the darkness of the Crystal had smothered. She invoked her own Vatonage to save you. Looking between the two, the Pokémon added, My Father would be proud.

    In a flash on an eye, the Lucario jumped backwards and blurred out of their sight as he moved with such speed that they couldn’t follow him.

    “I see now,” Tristan spoke with his eyes still trained on where the Lucario disappeared. “I first thought I’d eventually find the answer by searching. I never knew it was in my soul the entire time.” He lowered his eyes back to her, smiling. “The light that I share with you.”

    Ella smiled shyly back, taking moving her eyes to the rest of the ballroom. She stopped as she realized that something was wrong. Doctor Marks and all his men were gone. “Where did they go?” she asked, tensing.

    Tristan glanced around the room, but frowned. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “We should just go home.”

    “Home sounds nice,” Ella sighed, relieved to hear the word.

    “Ella?” Tristan still hesitated.

    “Yes?”

    “…Thanks.”

    “You’re welcome,” she replied, and took her hand in his.

    When they exited the building together, they found out exactly what had happened to Doctor Marks and his Phoenix crew. A full regiment of Rangers had been waiting just outside, and as soon as they tried to escape, they ran into the Rangers and succeeded in getting themselves arrested.

    “There you are!” a familiar face shouted up to Tristan and Ella, and they turned to see Tristan’s Area Leader, Rallyn, come skipping up the Castle’s entry way to meet them. “We’ve been looking all over for you. Are you okay?”

    “I’m fine,” Tristan laughed, happy to see another Ranger.

    “What the heck happened?”

    Tristan and Ella exchanged glances before the boy replied, “It’s a long story. A really long story.”


    *****
    The End


    Banner by the legendary Neo Emolga!
    Little Lizard's Library of Tales
    Paired with
    SlenderfairyComatose


    Number III, the Argent Flame

  3. #3
    Lizard Librarian FedoraChar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hyrule
    Posts
    1,187
    Authors Note: Happy Halloween, guys! :D I thought I'd get on and add another story today. While I don't have any specific Halloween-themed pieces, I thought I'd go ahead and share this one today since it's a little dark.

    So, this piece I just kinda wrote on a whim. Something I've been really wanting to do is write a Pokemon/Kingdom Hearts crossover, with Shadow Pokemon from Pokemon Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness. The concepts between them and Heartless would go well together, I think. Although I couldn't think of a real direction to take the story (which I wanted to call Shadow Rise), I went ahead and wrote these "journals" through Ein's perspective (I wanted him to make a return since Shadows really are his babies--he was the one who created them). Taking a jab at Kingdom Heart's "Secret" Xehenort Reports, and using Colosseum's "Ein Files", I dubbed this little excerpt "The Secret Ein Files". Enjoy!





    Report I

    My dream of creating the ultimate Shadow Pokémon had been foiled. How foolish it was of me to ignore what seemed like a minor irritant. I earnestly take a vow that I will never be so naďve again. I will not make the same mistake twice.

    For the past seven years, I’ve been a prisoner. The imbeciles who call themselves authorities have kept me under vigilant security both day and night, and it’s been far too long since I’ve seen the light outside concrete walls. I am alone, for the most part. Whatever happened to the other CIPHER Admins escapes me, but it matters little. Each were fools, as far as I’m concerned.

    Some news of the world outside leaks in occasionally. Two years ago, great alarm had spread across Orre when it seemed that CIPHER had been resurrected. I had not thought it possible, but security doubled around that time, as if the guards feared that somehow I’d break out and rejoin the cause. Of course, no such thing happened. Apparently, the fools who dared to steal the title of the old organization hadn’t thought that I was important enough.

    I wasn’t surprised when they failed once again. Defeated by another boy, nonetheless. If they accomplished anything noteworthy, however, it was the creation of XD001. I heard the rumors, and they told me that this Shadow had been designed to be incapable of purification. Created from the DNA of another Legendary Pokemon, the creature had undergone both physical and mental transformation. This intrigued me greatly, but I was disappointed when great hurrahs echoed through the region. Despite their claims, the boy hero managed to find a way to revert XD001 back to its original form.

    Once again, Orre has settled down. Nothing else of great importance has trickled down to my ears of late, but this has lent me time to reflect. Why do the Shadow Pokémon fail us every time? If XD001 was said to be beyond redemption, why was the organization proven wrong? Is it really possible to create the ultimate Shadow? Perhaps we researchers have missed something crucial in our work. Maybe there is something more to the Shadow Pokémon, and the process that creates them.


    Report II

    How I long for my old laboratory! Within this cell, they have shut me off from any kind of research. I now find that time has erased some details of my work from my memory, but in order to preserve what I have left, I will write down what I remember. The guards at least allow me to keep a daily journal while suffering through my sentence. Though they do read through what I write, I give them mere decoys, and hide these real reports from their eyes.

    Shadow Pokémon are created through a process that artificially closes their hearts. The beasts CIPHER made in the past showed no passion, no pity. Ruthless and cold, the Shadows acted as those without souls. They were brutal fighting machines that gave their opponents no mercy in battle, and their unpredictable nature sometimes led them to attack Trainers. That which was most attractive about them, however, was their power. We called them “Shadows” because of the unusual abilities they developed after their transformation. These abilities or powers could almost be compared to Darkness, and yet they seem to be unaffiliated with the Dark-type family.

    Should I ever get the chance to escape this prison, I need to discover where this power comes from. For now, I have theories that perhaps these “Shadow” capabilities are perhaps a taste of what true darkness is like. While the powers of the Dark-type family is admirable, perhaps nowadays they are only a vague assemblage of what Darkness once was. A fascinating concept, but it brings further questions. What exactly is true Darkness, and what defines it? And if the process of creating Shadow Pokemon somehow unleashes it, why is that so? Does closing the heart really bring it about? And last but not least, does the Darkness spring forth from the closed heart?

    Once again, I yearn for my lab…


    Report III

    Fortune smiles on me, it seems. Now my desires will be satisfied.

    Not long after my last entry, I was visited with a peculiar stranger. Somehow, he had managed to slip past the guard’s radar—and even broke into my specialized cell without the key. Even now, I do not know his true identity, or even his face, as he wears a hooded gray cloak that hides his features. Many mysterious surround him, and though I still do not trust him, he gave me an offer I could not refuse.

    Now I am glad to report that I’m free of that dismal prison, and can once again resume my research. Of course, there are a few requirements the cloaked stranger requires of me. Yet we both share common goals. He also wishes to uncover more of the mysteries of Shadow Pokémon, and so I believe that our arrangements will work out for the best of our interests. Finally, someone has remembered my ingenuity, my importance. CIPHER never would have existed without me.

    The stranger, who prefers to go by the name Draxos, has provided me with a laboratory. Exploring its premises today felt oddly nostalgic. It isn’t the same as the lab I operated in the desert, but some of the original equipment was recovered from there. The “new” team had tampered with the calibrations, but after some aggravating work I restored them as best as I could. Now, I’m ready to pick up where I left off.

    To begin again… First, I shall start off my investigation of this Darkness, and its connection to the heart. In order to accomplish that, I’ll need test subjects…




    Report IV

    To my delight, Draxos was able to accommodate my request for test subjects: several Pokémon taken from a shelter outside of Agate Village. In the past few weeks, we have placed them through several experiments as we sought for secrets within their hearts. A choice few were transformed into Shadows, and their power continues to amazes me. However, an interesting incident occurred while testing one of the other subjects.

    We had been investigating the properties of a “pure” heart, but apparently our experimentation had placed too much stress on the Pokémon. As a result, the subject’s heart didn’t just close—it utterly collapsed. Our instruments picked up on an increase in darkness, so much that it actually broke our devices. The subject went comatose, and there was not much we could do to revive it. Yet after hours of close observation, the creature underwent the most curious transformation. Its very body came to epitomize the Darkness claiming its heart, a pitch-black, mutated monster of the likes which we have never before seen. However, before we could take closer observations, the creature disappeared without a trace.

    Though my assistants searched everywhere for the creature, none of them were able to recover it. Disappointing, but we have emerged from this incident with intriguing new theories. I am now confident that this True Darkness of which I seek is hidden within the hearts of Pokémon. Closing the “door” to the hearts allows some of this Darkness to emerge. Yet perhaps we can completely unleash this Darkness by collapsing the heart. I wish to experiment more on this matter, but somehow I must find a way to contain these new Shadows.




    Report V

    The task has proved difficult, but with Draxos’ continued support, we have been able to devise a containment unit for the unusual Shadow Pokémon. Thus, we are able to conduct more thorough observation on these fascinating creatures. Repeating the technique we discovered by accident, we have created several more extreme Shadows, and we have gathered some interesting data from them.

    First off, the Pokémon, despite its transformation, retains its shape—though this shape is highly mutated. It almost seems as if it lacks an actual body, existing perhaps as a highly solid shadow. I may be mistaken in that thinking, as the creatures prove to be highly dangerous. With or without a body, these Shadows can inflict great harm.

    Speaking of lacking, my team and I have also discovered that these creatures also lack hearts. I believe we have gone beyond our wildest dreams—for without a heart, how could these new Pokémon be purified? They are truly beyond the light, with no hope of redemption. But they now exude a whole new level of power. My colleagues and I must be very careful when we deal with these creatures, as I have noted: they have proved to be quite dangerous. I have noticed that they violently try to attack any living thing that approaches them—not just other Pokémon, but people as well.

    This could prove to be problematic for our cause, but we are actively seeking a way to control these creatures. Once we do, I can see nothing hindering us in our plot to market them as weapons.




    Report VI

    Finding a way to control our new breed of Shadow Pokémon is proving to be more difficult than I thought—and certainly, more dangerous. There was an incident in the lab this past week that resulted in the demise of one of my research assistants. He was being careless, and the creature struck swift and true. However, something unusual happened. The researcher did not pass from this world in the usual way. A Darkness not unlike that which covers the Shadow Pokémon consumed him, leaving nothing behind. Not even a carcass. I have reviewed the security cameras time and time again, trying to understand what happened.

    He was there one moment, then gone the next. Yet moments before the disappearance, I noticed a glow that flickered briefly before the darkness closed in. I have tried to form hypothesis on this startling occurrence. It leads me to a whole new plain of perception. Perhaps what I saw that moment before his death was the researcher’s own heart.

    All living things have Hearts. Perhaps the Heart of a Pokémon differs from the Heart of a human, or perhaps their Hearts aren’t at all dissimilar. What connections exist between them? Would these connections, if they are real, explain the real strength behind a Pokémon Trainer? Pertinent thoughts, of course, but what I really wonder is this: does this Darkness I discover in Pokémon also exist in human Hearts? If so, then perhaps exploring this avenue would bring me closer to discovering a way to control these heartless Pokémon.

    I feel that the label “Shadow” no longer fits the creations I have made. I will give them a new name, a name that will describe their deepened power.

    Eclipse Pokémon—they who have utterly crossed into the twilight.




    Report VII


    It has been several weeks since I last heard from Draxos, but he suddenly reappeared the other day. He seemed content to sit back and allow me to do my work, only coming in convenient contact when I just so happen to need his assistance. This time, however, he came with an order for evacuation.

    It seems that the Orre police force is on our tail. Ever since the last Shadow Incident, they have grown keener to the affairs of their region. Needless to say, with the “mysterious” disappearance of Pokémon these past few weeks, they have grown suspicious. Orre has certainly changed over the years; no longer is it a corrupt region.

    Our work is too important to risk exposure. We have gone farther than we ever have before. Thus, to preserve our research, we are not only fleeing the region, but also the nation. Somehow, Draxos has procured us a secluded property in a small, largely unknown region in the nation under Unova. I was troubled at first about securing passage, but yet again Draxos has surprised me. We have cargo ships even grander than the S.S. Libra to carry us to our new location.

    I should feel sentimental about leaving Orre, but I feel as if I had severed my connections with it long ago—just as I have severed my connections with CIPHER. The old organization is dead; it will never be revived. But rising from its ashes, a new syndicate will rise like the legendary PHOENIX…



    Report VIII

    I have been able to spend an unusual amount of time with Draxos while we’ve been relocating, with which I shared the progress my research has made. The man is incredibly hard to read. I could not tell if he was impressed by our findings or not. Still, he seemed intrigued about my theories of how to control the Eclipse Pokémon.

    As soon as we landed in our new location, he had me direct him to one of our strongest specimens. The Eclipse in question was a Garchomp we happened across by chance. I created it to test the extent of raw power my new Shadows held, but in the end I had grossly underestimated its potential. We barely managed to contain the creature after it wreaked havoc in my laboratory, and since then we have kept it locked away until some future date.

    Despite my warnings, Draxos insisted on inspecting this Eclipse Pokémon. Because of all he had done for my team, I could not refuse his desire. With extreme precaution, we released the beast. I expected it to tear the laboratory apart, but something extraordinary happened. Draxos barked one order at the Eclipse, and it obeyed.

    Draxos turned to me, and told me I was on the right path. The Eclipses were created by Darkness, fed by Darkness—Darkness is all they know. Therefore, they would only respond to Darkness. But only one kind of Darkness: the Darkness of the heart. With those words, Draxos and the Garchomp disappeared before my eyes under the cover of shadows…



    Report IX

    Since Draxos’ revelation, I have been pondering the results of my research.

    All living things have hearts, but People and Pokémon have particularly special Hearts coupled with spirit and intelligence. In many ways, these Hearts are much the same—or, at least, they have special connections with each other. As we have seen, Darkness may be drawn from a Pokémon’s by closing its heart. Since our hearts are similar, Darkness must also dwell within a human.

    But does this human Darkness hold the same kind of power? Perhaps, but maybe not in the same sense. If one examines the relationship of a Trainer and their Pokémon, we can see that strong bonds are formed through what I believe to be a connection between hearts. How else could these creatures understand our orders in battle with a language barrier between our species? This would explain why Shadow Pokémon are sometimes difficult to command—why sometimes they undergo a fever and violently attack people. That connection no longer is plausible, because their hearts are closed.

    A different kind of connection is needed. If what Draxos said is correct, then Eclipse Pokémon will only respond to Darkness. This then is my hypothesis: by cultivating Darkness in Trainers’ Hearts, we can cultivate a bond stronger than any other with Eclipse Pokémon. How do we cultivate this Darkness? We cannot artificially close our hearts; we must do just the opposite. We must open our hearts our Hearts to the Darkness.

    I am keen to test my hypothesis.



    Report X:

    My hypothesis has been proven to be true.

    I have enlisted the help of several volunteers to research into the Darkness of people’s Hearts. Thanks to their contributions, I have discovered a way to control the Eclipse Pokémon. Now, I will begin mass production.

    There are dangers, however, to opening one’s heart to Darkness, as we have noticed in our experimentation. If one is not cautious, the Darkness may very well consume them in entirety, and they will lose their heart. Several volunteers were reckless and met their demise at the claws of the Eclipses, and it was difficult to find replacements. Lucky for us, we found some meddlers trying to sneak onto our territory. So far, they have been useful test subjects…

    In regards to the ability to resist Darkness, I have theorized that this is—in a sense—connected to the strength of willpower and courage. What we call a “strong Heart” is one that is fearless and astute. Test subjects with a “strong Heart” have shown an aptitude for controlling and resisting the effects of Darkness. Those with weaker Hearts tend to be fearful and cowardly, and thus are unable to resist power.

    I have noticed that there are side-effects to prolonged exposure to Darkness. Test subjects who have used Darkness repeatedly develop darker skin and amber eyes. Interestingly enough, their hair also begins to lose its color, slowly fading into a pale white. On some, I have also noted that their ears are becoming slightly pointed. These side-effects appear to be of no consequence, and could be useful for distinguishing ourselves from the world.

    After all this thorough research, I have been exploring my own aptitude for Darkness. Why should I deny myself the pleasures of power?




    Report XI


    We are ready to unleash our creations upon this pitiful world. I can in nowise see how anyone can resist our rise to power. Our Eclipse Pokémon are beyond purification, nor can they be stolen by thieves’ technology. I have yet to find a pure Pokémon capable of matching their prowess in battle.

    Due to their peculiar characteristics, Eclipses cannot be contained within Poké Balls. I have devised instead a specialized capsule that I will refer to as Shadow Spheres. They do not open or operate like a Poke Ball—but instead, they bind the essence of the Eclipse to device that mimics a weakened Heart. They can only be freed when beckoned by a Trainer who can command Darkness.

    We have found numerous Trainers capable of controlling the Eclipses willing to support our cause. Draxos and I have founded a new organization, picking seven of the strongest and most loyal Trainers to act as Admins beneath us. Team PHOENIX now rises from the ashes of CIPHER. We begin our takeover with this lowly region, then set our sights on the rest of the world.

    Between our Eclipses and our newfound power over darkness, nothing can stand in our way.




    Report XII

    We have encountered a problem.

    As our Trainers confront others from this region, our Eclipses aren’t just defeating their Pokémon. They are stealing hearts and creating more Eclipses. We have been unprepared for this unexpected outbreak—once one escaped from us, wild species began propagating like weeds. The population has grown out of our control, wreaking much more havoc than we anticipated.

    Added to this chaos, a new type of creature has emerged—one the likes of which I have not seen before. Draxos has informed me that they are of no consequence; they can be controlled, just like the Eclipses. I doubt, however, that they are a type of Pokémon. I believe that these new creatures are the results of a human losing their Heart, as I imagine that many have been affected by the Eclipse outbreak.

    Perhaps this problem may work to our advantage. Our fighting machines are cultivating fear in this region, and trouncing any resistance. As long as we maintain our hold over the Darkness, we will accomplish all our hopes and dreams.

    On the morrow, our first region of many will fall into our hands.




    Report XIII

    I’m… not quite feeling myself right now. Might have overexerted myself against… Darkness is closing in on my heart. What I fool I was for believing that it was on my side. Darkness does not care for me. Does not care for my wants. It will only feed. Keep feeding, keep waiting.

    I’m trying to regain my sanity, but I’m slipping. What will happen to me? Will I become even as they are? Will I become a Heartless?

    Draxos knows too much. He knew this would happen eventually. Thought he seemed familiar, but he’s not like us. He’s different. He’s not like us.

    What will happen to me? What is happening to me?

    What have I become?


    Banner by the legendary Neo Emolga!
    Little Lizard's Library of Tales
    Paired with
    SlenderfairyComatose


    Number III, the Argent Flame

  4. #4
    That was an absolutely gorgeous read.

    Your stories are fantastic Char, absolute jems! I adore them so very much. <3
    I really love how you really get into the mind of the characters. That right there is what makes a good story. When you really feel what they felt, see what they see, hear what they hear. When you are truly absorbed into their world. It's perfect. <3

    Keep up the amazing work!

    {my sig is a work in progress.} { My Gallery } {banner by XaiakuX eep thank you!}

  5. #5
    Lizard Librarian FedoraChar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hyrule
    Posts
    1,187
    Wow, thank you so much! :D Never really actually thought about my writing like that But now that I think about it, I really do like delving into character in my stories. It's certainly taken a lot of practice, but I have a lot of people to thank for that. ^^

    But again, thank you! I'm really glad you enjoyed my stories! :D


    Banner by the legendary Neo Emolga!
    Little Lizard's Library of Tales
    Paired with
    SlenderfairyComatose


    Number III, the Argent Flame

  6. #6
    garlic bread champion Bulbasaur's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    New Joysey
    Posts
    10,635
    It's funny, I was going to make my own thread with short stories once I finished another short story.

    Anyways, I really like The Secret Ein Files! Good job with it. :D

    ☄♥ Happily paired with ninjaskarmory ♥☄
    My Links

  7. #7
    Lizard Librarian FedoraChar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hyrule
    Posts
    1,187
    I hope you still do that, then! :D I'm hoping to do short stories and some longer projects I'll probably never finish xD

    But hey, thank you! :D Glad you liked it! ^^ One day I'd really like to do more with the idea, but I don't know if that will ever happen xD Still, it was fun writing those reports ^^


    Banner by the legendary Neo Emolga!
    Little Lizard's Library of Tales
    Paired with
    SlenderfairyComatose


    Number III, the Argent Flame

  8. #8
    Lizard Librarian FedoraChar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hyrule
    Posts
    1,187
    Author's Note: Okay, folks, I think it's time for another story! (I'm totally not slacking on NaNoWriMo or anything... Okay, well, maybe I am xD). So, these last few stories have been a bit, well, grim. So I thought I'd search my collection for one of my humor pieces to brighten up this little anthology. I've already posted one in a different thread--An Afternoon Tea Party, which I'll probably post in here sometime just for the sake of keeping all my stuff together--so my next option was this story: Down to Earth. If I remember right, it's one of my earlier works, but I wanted to poke some fun at Sora from Kingdom Hearts. It's not super long, definitely not one of my deepest, but I intended it to be goofy. So, yeah. Hope you find it at least a little bit amusing... xD




    In which Sora learns a lesson about the forces of gravity...

    *****


    “And so I found myself surrounded… blood-thirsty pirates at my back, and a hungry gator eyeing me from the water,” the young boy held out his hands in emphasis, drawing out all drama. Yet the suspense was slaughtered by the crooked grin on his face as he turned to his sole audience. She walked beside him down the beach, smiling softly at him in good nature, sometimes pulling her wine-red hair behind her ear. Waves gently lapped up at the white sand beside them, its brilliant blue waters glistening in the humid afternoon sun.

    The two of them were alone. Somehow, they had found a way to escape to their tropical playground and now spent the precious time catching up one with another. She was quiet most of the time, but she was quite content to just listen to his voice—the voice she had not heard for well over a year. It almost seemed surreal sauntering down the shoreline with him once again; the scenery was ever the same, but the two had drastically changed since the last time they had the chance to take it in.

    But one thing never changed: their endearing friendship.

    “They forced me down the plank,” eagerly the boy continued with his tale. “And I had no choice—they were holding Peter’s fairy captive. If I didn’t do what they wanted, they would hurt her, and I didn’t want that to happen.”

    “So what did you do?” she asked, blue eyes bright with earnest curiosity.

    “I walked the plank,” he said simply, putting his hands into his pockets. “I walked right to the edge of it, and stared straight down into the throat of the crocodile.”

    Kairi glanced down, hiding an amused smile. She found Sora’s dramatic enthusiasm irresistible, even if his stories tended to be a little exaggerated. Nonetheless, she could tell when he was being honest. She already knew his adventure by heart… because her heart had literally belonged to his.

    “And then?” she gave him a long side-glance, knowing that it was exactly what he wanted her to ask.

    His characteristic smile turned sheepish as he answered, “And then I closed my eyes… and jumped.”

    “You jumped?” she guffawed, eyebrows flying heavenward.

    “Yep,” replied he with a pop. “Fell like a rock, right towards the jaws of the croc. But before the monster could snap them shut, I remembered what Peter told me. And then, next thing I knew, I was flying!”

    Kairi stopped dead in her tracks.

    “You flew?” she repeated with an expression full of doubt.

    He stopped as well, turning around to face her. “Yeah, I did. I really did!”

    The young woman laughed, much to his chagrin. “You’ve told me a lot of strange things, Sora, but that has to be the most unbelievable.”

    “Come on,” Sora’s face furrowed in frustration. “I’m serious! I really did fly! Tinker Bell’s pixie dust worked after all. I just had to believe that it would.”

    “Sora, I’ve been around you for a while now, and I’ve never seen you fly,” replied Kairi after her laughter died down.

    “Well, yeah,” the boy awkwardly ran his hand through his spiky hair. “It seemed to work a little differently in Neverland, but… I could still glide outside of that world. I… I just don’t really think about it that often.”

    “Yeah, sure,” she raised her chin, purposely marching ahead. She couldn’t deny that she enjoyed how much her apparent disbelief tormented the boy.

    “No, really! Kairi, you got to believe me!”

    She glanced over her shoulder with a look of amusement. “Why don’t you prove it then?” she asked slyly. “Right here, right now.”

    “Now?” he blinked at her blankly.

    “If you want me to believe you,” she turned to walk backwards, hands behind her back.

    He searched the beach ponderously. They had been trekking around the backside of the island, where he and his best friend Riku had their infamous obstacle-course races. A zip-line ran from a tower just over their heads, ending at a cliff on the other side of the cove. More trees grew here, and closer to the edge of the water. A year or so ago, the three of them—Kairi, Riku, and himself—had crafted a raft in hopes of reaching other worlds. Before they could take off in it, however, destiny had its say. They were separated and scattered, but embarked on an adventure even wilder than they had imagined. Only now, after being through so many trials, had they returned home.

    “Okay, then,” Sora breathed in, expanding his chest as his determination grew. “I will prove it!”

    Abruptly he took off, aiming for the cabin that would lead to the other side of the island. Kairi, watching his rapid disappearance, rolled her eyes and giggled. That boy just didn’t know when to give up; once he had his simple mind set on something, he would stick to it like glue. Maybe she shouldn’t have challenged him, but… boys will be boys. She couldn’t only hope he wouldn’t hurt himself.

    A frightful imaged flashed through her head. Immediately, concern overcame her. He wasn’t going to jump from a cliff, was he? Sora really would do something like that, if he thought it’d prove his point.

    “Sora?” Kairi called after him, but the boy was already out of her sight. Worried, she trotted after him, praying that it wasn’t too late to talk him out of doing something undoubtedly stupid.

    As she reached the west side of the island, she spotted him running overhead—on a bridge connecting to an outcropping within the shoreline.

    “Up here!” he shouted to her before vanishing into their “usual spot”.

    Kairi stared after him while wondering how he got up there so fast. She couldn’t decide whether he was a fantastic athlete, super acrobatic, or just… strange. Before their adventure, he had never been this quick or strong. Perhaps it was something that came naturally to Keyblade wielders. Would she end up the same way?

    She cautiously walked beneath the bridge, really starting to fret now. Her eyes were glued to the outcrop where Sora was climbing onto pale trunk of the Paopu tree. The young woman didn’t even notice Riku walking down from the docks until he called out to them.

    “What are you two doing?” the older boy asked, his voice mixed with suspicion and amusement.

    Before Kairi could speak up, Sora boomed from atop the outcrop.

    “I’m going to prove to you all—once and for all—that man can fly!”

    “This can’t be good,” Riku stared up at him from behind his long, silvery hair.

    “Sora, what are you going to do?” Kairi yelled up, her brows creased.

    Undaunted, the spiky-haired boy walked further up the bent trunk of the tree with a confident smile. “I told you, I’m going to fly.”

    “Get down before you hurt yourself!”

    “No way! I’m perfectly fine. I know exactly what I’m doing.”

    Exasperated, the redhead girl turned back to the more mature male on the island. “Riku, go stop him!”

    “What am I suppose to do?” was her reply, added a shrug.

    “Ready to be amazed?” Sora cleared his throat.

    “Something!” his girl pleaded.

    “One…,” Sora started, focusing out on the ocean before him.

    “Sora,” Riku finally called back up, trying to be the voice of reason. “You should probably think this one through.”

    “Two…,” the comment was ignored.

    “Sora, will you please listen?” Kairi frowned, growing increasingly anxious by the second.

    “Three!”

    The boy threw all caution to the wind, leaping from the trunk towards the distant horizon. For a brief second, he sailed through the air…

    Before plummeting into the sea water.


    Like a rock.


    Banner by the legendary Neo Emolga!
    Little Lizard's Library of Tales
    Paired with
    SlenderfairyComatose


    Number III, the Argent Flame

  9. #9
    Lizard Librarian FedoraChar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hyrule
    Posts
    1,187
    Author's Note:

    Spoiler:
    Alright, looks like another Thursday! That means time for another story! One of these days I'll get around to posting some of my half-finished stuff--but for this week, I decided that since I've posted one of my Pokemon Ranger stories, I should do the next one. At one time I had considered turning this into a longer story... But really, this was one of those times when I just really wanted to write something. So this one is called Echo through Time. It's based off the most recent release in the Ranger Series (meaning I hope that more will come, but I'm not so sure that will happen lol), that being Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs. Sorry again if you aren't familiar with the Ranger games; if you haven't played GS, you probably won't have any idea what's going on. I'll try to explain it the best I can here, though.

    So, Guardian Signs is a pretty sweet spin-off that I'd suggest to anyone (along with Shadows of Almia, the predecesor that Vatonage sprang from.) In this game, you do the typical Ranger stuff--go around using the Styler to befriend Pokemon and help you take out bad guys. The region in this game, Oblivia, has a really interesting ancient history. It actually feels really Aztec/Mayan, with its ancient temples and legends. Apparently, there used to be a tribe that had the ability to control Pokemon through specially made armor (much like how the Styler works). They've been called Oracles--however, in time, they became corrupt, and they started being known as the Steelheads.

    At some point in the game, you gain the ability to travel back in time and witness this. It was this event and several other events that occured during the main story that got this theory in my head. I was rather disappointed when I found out my theory was wrong, but I still liked it enough that I wrote this story with this theory in mind. I've already taken up so much time explaining this, so I'll go ahead and post the story and let you figure out my theory. Just keep in mind that the main female protagonist's name is Summer...
    Spoiler:





    Echo through Time


    “Where are you taking me?”

    A young girl, no older than six, asked the question with her voice shaking fearfully. She stared up at the man roughly dragging by the wrist down a forest path, her big brown eyes swimming with welled-up tears. Above their heads, the night sky glittered with stars just as thick as the humid air. A thin crescent moon, barely hanging into existence, shed little light on the rainforest around them. Their path was only illuminated with the orange glow of a torch solemnly born by the man’s free hand. The writhing flames danced wickedly on the armor that masked his face so well, only adding to the girl’s fears.

    The Steelhead said nothing to her as he continued to yank on her arm. With his strong build, he could have easily pulled it out of its socket, but it was no use as the girl tried to resist. Her tears finally began streaming down her round cheeks as she found herself involuntarily led down the limestone-paved path. A pyramidal temple loomed before them, and though the sight of it had once thrilled her, she felt apprehensive about approaching it now. Squirming, she sobbed, “I want Mommy…”

    “You’re mommy is not coming,” the Steelhead tersely barked behind his armored mask, his voice surprisingly raspy and asthmatic. “Be silent, child!”

    The terrified youth snapped her mouth shut, though her bottom lip quivered. Nervously, she glanced to the trees behind them. Darkness gathered deeply between their trunks, forming ominous shapes that shifted like living creatures with every flicker of the torch. She was positive that horrible monsters waited out there, wanting to pounce on her at any given moment, but she couldn’t decide what was scarier: them, or the man kidnapping her.

    At last, they reached the temple gates. The skull-like emblems of the Steelhead grinned evilly from their wood, looking pleased that the mysterious man had brought them a little snack. With a simple gesture of the man’s arm, the gates noisily swung open with all manner of squeaking and groaning. As she was forcefully pulled past the threshold, the girl imagined being swallowed whole by a massive beast. For whatever reason, she got the feeling that she wasn’t going to see the outside of the temple for a long time. The gates sluggishly closed behind them on their own accord, and she took her last look of the tropical flora outside.

    The belly of the beast was glumly lit by lines of torches girding a raised alter at the center of the building. Shadows squirmed beyond their reach, and the girl wondered if Magical Creatures shifted within them. They came in all sizes and shapes, from being fluffy and charming, to fierce and terrifying. Many who lived outside the temple were good friends to her, yet those within… she couldn’t be sure. They worked closely with the temple oracles, and since some of those men and women went bad, perhaps the Magical Creatures had as well.

    Her kidnapper continued his relentless march, tugging the girl in tow. At the base of the pyramidal altar, five other Steelheads awaited them, their identities obscured by their stoic armor. The girl pleaded silently in her heart that that one would try to rescue her, but to her dismay the oracles didn’t do anything the like. Without saying a word, they respectfully stood aside for her kidnapper to pass by. As they began to ascend the long flight of stairs to the altar’s peak, the Steelheads closed in behind to block any chance of escape for her.

    An overwhelming sense of dread settled on the child as she lifted her eyes towards the altar. A great stone dragon glared down at her from there, its snarling face lit up enigmatically from below by blue light. As she got closer, she could see that the light actually came from inscriptions on a stone just her size. Something unspeakable would happen if she went up there; she just knew it.

    “No!” she suddenly screamed, planting her feet stubbornly as she tried to wrench back her arm. “No, I won’t!”

    “Silence!” her captor growled, jerking her limb harshly. He pointedly ignored her yelp of pain and continued half-dragging her up the rest of the stairs. Curtly, in his wheezing voice, he hissed, “You will do as I say!”

    The girl whimpered, but wasn’t about to give up. Using her free hand, she began pounding on his meaty arm, yelling shrilly, “Let go of me!”

    The Steelheads all paused, though not at her resistance. Mixing with her cries where those of the Magical Creatures stirring in the darkness. They sounded anguished and outraged, as if they wanted to rush to the young girl’s side but were restrained by some unseen force. A wide variety of trumpeting roars, whistling, and growls vibrated off the stone of the temple like a wild zoo unleashed.

    “Keep them in line,” the leader of the Steelhead ordered, sounding for the first time a little wary. After the simultaneous shaking of helmets, however, they continued onward. Her strength as powerful as a dried twig, the young child was unable to do so much as slow their progress. Reluctantly she found herself at the dragon statue’s feet, beside the eerie glow of the carved rock. The other Steelheads formed a circle around her and their leader, backs facing them. The uproar below calmed somewhat, though tension still chocked the air.

    “Let us begin,” gruffly the kidnapper said. He lowered his torch to the shallow dish resting on the altar’s crown, which immediately ignited. Then, without hesitance, he threw the torch ceremoniously between the dragon’s feet. That, too, caused flames to erupt, fully lighting the platform they stood on. The girl gulped as she took in the statue’s regal appearance, from the crested head held high by a long neck, to the tip of its slender but powerful tail. It lacked wings, but easily made up for the loss with wicked spikes and horns all over its body. A jewel lay in its chest, sparking in the dancing flames. Though made of stone, the creature looked very much alive to her.

    “Master of time, Father of history,” the girl’s captor bellowed, performing a deep bow to the stoic statue. “Thy humble servants call thee. Come to us at this time of need; witness this: the donning of new armor!”

    With that, the fervent man roughly pushed the child to her knees, yet his unrestrained strength ended up throwing her all the way to the ground. With new bruises and scrapes on her delicate skin, fresh tears began flowing once more across the youth’s round cheeks. When she dared to lift her gaze back up to the statue, she could have sworn she saw an angry glint its eyes.

    Then, the temple doors swung open.

    “Let her go, Jirelm!” a heaven-sent voice echoed across the empty air behind them, bold and defiant. The girl whirled her head about, trying to find the source of such an encouraging challenge, but her kidnapper scowled. Wrapping his hand around her small neck, he forced her to remain kneeling at the dragon’s feet.

    “What are you doing here?” she heard him wheeze behind his steel mask. “This is sacred ground! Only temple oracles may tread here. And you, Enik, are no longer one of us!”

    “I know what you’ve been doing!” the intruder continued, his voice growing stronger as he drew closer. “You’ve been abusing your power as Captain, corrupting the Steelheads!”

    “And now,” another voice, this one feminine, joined in at his side, “You are bringing an innocent child into this chaos!”
    “You’ve disgraced this temple, Jirelm!” came a third voice, a male with a deeper and more penetrating voice.

    Jirelm chuckled, sending shivers crawling down the girl’s spine. In his raspy voice that made the girl want to clear her own throat, he grimly replied, “You assume much, but I am afraid you fault at many levels.” He raised a hand, indicating the steel that he himself bore. “None of you understand the true power of this armor, nor realize its great potential. Those few who do comprehend should wield it, not fear it. As for the girl… she’s not as innocent as you would think.”

    Heart thrumming inside her chest, the little girl’s lower lip started to tremble. She didn’t understand any of this. Why was this man being so mean? What was he talking about? And most importantly, what was he going to do to her? She squirmed, tying to see who the others were while hoping that they were heroes. Come save me, please! she begged. Her captor tightened her grip, keeping her in place, so eventually she resulted to screaming, “H-help!”

    “Enough, Jirelm! Release her!” the first voice, the man apparently named Enik, fiercely demanded. His voice was tight with concern and outrage, apparently very worried about her well-being. He is going to save me, the girl wanted to cry. Before she got her hopes too high, a great roar shook the temple walls. The three rescuers cried out as something attack them that the girl couldn’t see.

    “Never!” the crazed Steelhead laughed back, a wild glint appearing in his eye. He finally spun the girl around to allow her one good look at her so-called heroes, all who faced a livid Magical Creature—a dragon, though much different than the statue. This beast stood on two legs, with its forelimbs ending in sharp and ready talons and a pair of wings rising behind it. The flame on its tail dimly revealed its snarling face, glaring murderously at the three braves.

    “Saeri, Teth! Be wary,” Enik warned the man and woman standing with him. “It’s being controlled by the Steelheads!”

    “You do not understand,” Jirelm lifted his voice once again, holding the girl out for them to see. “This child has the potential to rewrite history! She has more power than you and I together, power that has yet to be tapped into. Soon, I will claim that power for the benefit of all mankind!”

    “What folly do you speak?” Teth, dark-haired and dark-skinned, barked back with a frustrated thrust of his arm.

    “It is the Bond, the great Harmony; this child has the strongest of any I’ve ever seen in a human—stronger even than her father. She alone can achieve the greatest level of control, becoming one with any Magical Creature… even the great deities…”

    Teth and Saeri exchanged befuddled glances, but the older and wiser Enik widened his eyes.

    “You mean…” he trailed off, weathered face paling.

    “Yes, Enik,” Jirelm smirked as if greatly humored. “I do mean that. She is more than a young Oracle. She is a true Prophetess. Her heart, pure and good, harmonizes on a level much higher than ours. And soon… she’ll belong to me.”

    With those arcane words, Jirelm abruptly turned his back to them and sharply tipped the burning dish over on the altar. The young girl yelped as some of the flaming fluid splashed onto her arm, burning the skin. At the sound of her cry, Teth, frost-haired Saeri, and Enik leapt forward, but the dragon barred their way with a jet of flames from its mouth. Meanwhile, the rest of the oil slowly dripped down the sides of the stone alter-head, over the glowing blue runes. After the liquid reached the base, the whole stone illuminated with a brilliant eruption of white-hot fire. Jirelm and his captive both were blinded by the flash, but as their eyes recovered they saw the altar was just as it existed before… save for a metal helm resting on its crown as white as ice.

    Beneath his own helmet, the captain of the Steelhead grinned triumphantly. The armor had been forged, and now only one thing remained. He prodded the girl forward, saying loud for everyone to hear, “Behold your armor, child.”

    She stared at it wide-eyed in both wonder and horror, utterly mesmerized. Just by gazing at it, she could tell that it would fit her small head perfectly. The white metal had intricate silver etchings in its mirror-smooth surface. Its gilded edges danced in the firelight, beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Though the girl longed to try it on, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something unspeakable would happen if she did. Only after Jirelm lifted the helm from the pedestal did the spell break. She didn’t understand what was going on, but she knew one thing for certain: she couldn’t let that strange relic rest on her head.

    At the moment Jirelm held it out to her, she jolted away before the elder Steelhead could stop her.

    “Seize her!” Jirelm hissed in intense irritation, signaling to his statue-like guards. The other Steelhead had been standing idly by, but at his words one automatically detached himself from the circle to chase her down. She found too late that she was cornered. The Steelheads had her trapped easily atop the pinnacle of the pyramid, backed up against the flaming statue. Jirelm was approaching behind his lackey, the enchanting armor waiting patiently in his hands. The girl glanced between the fire and the men while trying to decide which was worse.

    “Nowhere to run now, girl,” Jirelm sneered. “No one will save you.”

    She whimpered piteously, pleading to some unknown entity with all her heart. Over and over, she chanted to herself, don’t let them get me. Don’t…

    All the sudden, a fierce red light ignited above their heads. With a startled gasp, the girl looked up to see what its source could be. The statue… its eyes were glowing…

    “Ha ha ha!” laughed Jirelm maniacally at the sight, not at all surprised or disturbed. “It’s working! He’s coming!”

    The girl—skin crawling at the eerie sight—was snatched up by the nameless Steelhead while she stared distractedly at the statue. He moved quickly, twisting her arms behind back with his thickly calloused hands. She cried out in protest, but she was forced to face Jirelm once more. The armor began to lower, honing in on her coppery hair.

    “No!” she screamed. She thrashed in the Steelhead’s iron-like grip, even lashing out with her feet, but nothing she tried could stop Jirelm from his goal.

    “Stop, you fool!” someone shouted from behind.

    “You can’t stop destiny, Enik!” Jirelm countered without turning, his raspy voice bleeding with craze. “Let Dialga show his face! By then, he’ll be too late! I will have control over him! Over all history!”

    The girl felt a strange sensation wash over her as the helm fell only inches away from her head. She stopped struggling and fell still, like something reached into her and shut off the controls. It was like she was falling into a trance, losing her will and her very being. The rim brushed against her hair…

    “No!” Enik yelled once more, suddenly appearing behind Jirelm. He wrapped his strong arms around the captain’s neck and pulled back. The both of them stumbled to the ground, causing the white armor to fly from Jirelm’s hand to clatter against the stone ground. The surrounding Steelheads belatedly rushed forward to assist their leader. They never got the chance.

    An earth-splitting roar shook everyone to their knees.

    Saeri and Teth—who had just reached the top of the stairs—nearly lost their balance, but it was the sight they beheld just ahead that just about caused them to tumble back down. The statue was alive, stomping and snarling with great agitation. Steel horns as sharp as blades rose from its head, angling alongside a brilliant blue crest. Sharp spikes sprouted from its chest, rump, and spine. An ominous crystalline stripe raced down its sides, glowing with sapphire light that made up for the loss of the flames that had been extinguished at its clawed feet. The creature was giant, taking up the empty space before them with its regal but menacing air.

    “Dialga,” Enik and Jirelm whispered together, forgetting their quarrel for a brief instance.

    The soldier holding the girl lost all poise at the sight of the beast. He let her fall limply to the ground as he stumbled backward like a timely coward. Jirelm cursed him under his breath before shoving Enik away and making a mad dash for the fallen armor. However, Dialga saw his motion and growled menacingly, enough to make even the most weathered veteran freeze in cold blood. To Saeri and Teth’s wonder, they watched the Magical Creature lower its head protectively over the girl. The two exchanged mystified looks, blankly wondering why a Legend would come to her aide. What exactly was so special about this child? Jirelm, on the other hand, either didn’t notice the warning or pointedly ignored it. He snatched up the armor and scrambled to his feet, wheezing with the effort. Just as he whirled about, the mighty dragon ripped out another thunderous roar.

    The whole platform shook beneath their feet. Steelheads, losing all courage, tumbled down the pyramid’s side as they lost balance. Even Saeri and Teth couldn’t keep their stance, falling down the stairs a few feet backwards. Soon only Jirelm, Enik, and the young child remained on the crown with a wrathful deity.

    Jirelm—instead of doing the sensible— stomped his feet like a spoiled boy who failed to get his way. “She is mine! You are mine!” he challenged Dialga shamelessly, holding out the helm defiantly.

    He is mad, Enik gaped incredulously. Screaming at a Legend as powerful as this? The man was seeking his own end.

    The dragon narrowed its red eyes within its armored face. Once more it opened its maw, but a roar did not issue forth this time. Instead, the very air around them began to speak with a hundred voices.

    “A special gift was given to this day and age, a precious one with power to brighten the path of both man and creature. Yet it is not well received, nigh abused, and brought close to destruction. Thou hast proved that such a gift was not ready to be given. Therefore…” the voices began to rise in volume, shaking the walls of the temple to their very core. “IT SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY!”

    Jirelm and Enik shielded their ears from the intensity of the word, but to no use. Somehow the speech reached deep into their souls, inescapable and undeniable. As they cringed in pain, they failed to see the blue diamond on Dialga’s chest shine with white-hot light. The creature lifted its head up high, and released a roar unlike any man had ever before heard. The diamond’s light flared out and consumed the top of the altar head, blinding any unfortunate enough to stare through it. Then, as quickly as it happened, it ended. The light faded, and a chocking silence fell upon the temple.

    “Enik!” Saeri called out, managing to regain her footing. She raced to the top as quick and swiftly as a panther, with a disoriented Teth following behind. As soon as they reached it, they felt the weight of the silence on their shoulders. Enik wasn’t there. No one was, nothing. Jirelm and the girl, as well as the statue and the stone were nowhere to be seen. Nothing was left of that chaotic scene but an empty platform and scorch marks left from the fire…

    “Enik…” Saeri breathed, hands flying to her face in dismay. Teth came up behind her, face solemn, and put a comforting hand on her shoulder. She turned to him, eyes watering, and asked, “Where are they? Where did they go?”

    Teth couldn’t meet her gaze. He stared off into the emptiness and said, “I don’t know…”


    *****


    “Hey, are you all right?”

    The voice was high-pitched and penetrating, rousing the girl back to consciousness. She opened her brown eyes, only to be blinded with a warm, overwhelming light. For a minute, she was confused by a static swishing filling her ears. Was something wrong with her? No, it seemed familiar… Waves? Her sight adjusted, and she realized that she was lying on her back on a sunny, white-sanded beach.

    The sun suddenly blotted out as a head leaned over her, startling the child.

    “Oh, good!” the head spoke, belonging to a young boy with fly-away hair and wild eyes. His impish smile lacked a few teeth, but he looked to be around her own age. “You’re alive! I was sure worried there for a bit. You just appeared out of nowhere!”

    He talked excitedly with his voice squeaking, as if the whole event thrilled him. The young girl blinked up at him blankly with little idea of what he spoke. Turning her gaze back to the beach, she wondered where she was, and how she got there. Nothing other than the crashing sound of the waves struck her as familiar.

    “Where…,” she started, her voice cracking. Her throat was terribly sore, as if she had been screaming long and hard earlier. Swallowing hard, she tried again, “Where are we?”

    “Na—na,” the boy screwed up his facing as he fought to pronounce correctly. “Nabiki Beach.”

    Nabiki Beach? She stared at him without daring to voice her new questions. Where’s that? How did I end up here?

    “Hey, you’re sure dressed funny,” the boy crinkled his nose. “Where did you come from?”

    With a frown on her face, she sat up and glanced down at her blue garb. It consisted of a long, gold embroidered tunic, framed with golden pendants of foreign make. Brown sandals shod her feet, with long straps spidering up her little legs. Long feathers were braided into her coppery-brown hair with bright beads of red and white. Altogether, it looked much different from the boy’s simple t-shirt and shorts. She suddenly wondered why she was wearing such a bizarre outfit. She couldn’t remember them. She couldn’t remember… anything…

    “Hey, what’s wrong?” the boy asked in clear concern as her expression turned sad.

    “I… I don’t know,” she pouted back, lower lip quivering as she choked back tears.

    Moved with compassion, her rescuer placed his tiny hand on her shoulder. “Hey, it’s okay. Don’t cry; everything will be all right.”

    She sniffed and looked at him with watery eyes. How could he be right? He didn’t know anything about her, or even why she was crying in the first place. How could he know how terrifying it was to lose all your memories?

    “My name’s Ben,” the boy introduced himself cheerfully, pointing with his thumb. “My daddy’s a big Ranger in the village nearby!”

    Again, she could only staring, having no clue what a Ranger was. And when he says big… she pictured Ben sitting on the shoulder of a giant.

    “What’s your name?” Ben poked another question, not at all bothered by her obvious confusion.

    “I don’t know…”

    “You don’t know?” Ben scrunched his nose again. How was that even possible, he wondered? Everyone knew their name! Yet as the mysterious girl’s lip trembled again, he moved forward gently.

    “I don’t remember anything,” she explained further, breaking closer and closer to a shower of tears.

    Ben didn’t understand, but he certainly didn’t want her to cry. She seemed pretty upset that she didn’t have a name. “Um, that’s okay,” he started thinking quick. “We can, um… We can give you a nickname! Until you remember!”

    “A nickname?” she stopped, peering up at him curiously.

    “Yeah!” Ben grinned eagerly, excited with his own idea. “Daddy has a nickname! Everyone at the Ranger Base calls him Chuck! It’s really fun!”

    He straightened his back and offered his hand to the girl. Hesitantly, she accepted his help and was pulled to her feet next to him.

    “O-okay,” she shyly smiled. Though she would rather have her real name back, something seemed all right with Ben’s idea. She wanted something to hold on to, somewhere she could start again. A name was a name, after all, and anything would be better than not having one at all.

    “Awesome!” the boy jumped in place. He quickly removed his goofy grin, however, and turned thoughtfully to the beach. “Let’s see… Um…”

    He scratched his head for a bit while mulling over all sorts of names popping up in his head. Admittedly, he didn’t know a lot of girl names; he didn’t know a lot of girls. But she deserved something pretty. Something that shined like her coppery hair. “How about… Molly?”

    The girl frowned and shook her head.

    “Ariel?”

    Another denial.

    “Trixie?”

    That earned him a funny look. He sheepishly smiled and folded his arms behind his head. This was harder than he thought. Maybe he was trying too hard—but then, inspiration struck him.

    “Oh, I know! Do you know what day it is today? It’s the first day of summer! How about we call you Summer?”

    “Summer?” the girl tasted it, considering its flavor. It seemed a little strange, being named after a season of the year, but it did have a nice ring to it. It was warm and bright, like the very beach they stood on. She thought it wouldn’t be too bad to be called that until she found her real name. Turning to Ben, she nodded with a giggling smile.

    “Okay, Summer!” Ben let his arms fall to his side, clenching his fists animatedly. “You should come meet my dad! Maybe he’ll know how to help you remember; he knows all sorts of stuff.”

    Without even waiting for her reply, Ben took a hold of her wrist and pulled her along. He could hardly wait to show his father his new friend. Summer was startled by his abruptness, but she learned to laugh as she picked up the pace. Soon, the two of them were racing, leaving behind them a trail of tiny footsteps side-by-side in the sun-bathed sand.



    FIN



    Spoiler:

    So yeah, my theory was that the reason why the main protagonist could even activate the Guardian Signs and call on the Legendary Pokemon was because he/she was the literal descendant of the old hero from the age of the Steelheads. So Echo = Summer. Srsly, that would have been so cool, if that had actually been the case! But still, Guardian Signs was a good game nonetheless!

    Also, familiar with Almia should know the significance of Nabiki Beach... Yeah. I went there xD


    Banner by the legendary Neo Emolga!
    Little Lizard's Library of Tales
    Paired with
    SlenderfairyComatose


    Number III, the Argent Flame

  10. #10
    Lizard Librarian FedoraChar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hyrule
    Posts
    1,187
    Author's Note:
    Spoiler:

    I got another story for you guys! This one... is interesting. Kingdom 2 Come started out as a short-story, then I turned around and tried to make it into a novel. And it never got finished. HA. Well, anyway, this story is pretty much where my character Zayna White came into being. She IS the female protagonist for Black and White--she's just MY version of her, since I despised the name Hilda (no offense to any Hildas out there)

    So, I have to say that out of all the Pokemon games (even X and Y), Black and White are my favorite, and that's because of the story. I loved it to pieces, and I also loved all the mythology there was behind the main conflict. Kingdom 2 Come was born out of that love--it is my own imagining of the ancient history of Unova.

    Since this story is so long, I'm breaking it up into several parts for ya :) Hope you enjoy!






    I’ve noticed that a lot of weird things have happened to me.

    I didn’t ask for any of them—hey, I just wanted a normal career as Trainer. But call it what you want: fate, chance, destiny… I’m stuck with it. Stuck with a stone, which everyone thinks will decide the course of the future. Of course, I have no idea what to do with it, much less how to use it.

    My name is Zayna White, and I’ve been chosen. The details of how and why are vague, even to me, but apparently I am one of the heroes of a new legend. Two conflicting ideas, both with honest intentions, have come head to head. Only one can prevail. One final battle will determine which will be the victor, and which shall fade from the pages of history. It has been decided that this fight will wage between a “king” and me. On the one side stands a man fervent in his beliefs, with a legendary dragon at his side. On the other side, there’s me: a teenage girl, confused on her own standing who wields…

    …A rock. Yeah, go figure.

    I don’t know what to do anymore. People expect me to do the impossible. How can I fight an organization so powerful if I’m just one person? If the Dark Stone actually worked, maybe I would stand somewhat of a chance. The myths say it holds the other key—the other legendary dragon that matched the other in all power. Yet the myths also add that it will only respond to the heart of one whose intentions are pure. And so far, I haven’t seen any dragon action.

    Is there something wrong with me? I thought that I could handle this. But maybe I’m not worthy?

    …Maybe… was N right all along?

    *****

    I wasn’t running away. Don’t even think about calling me a coward. When I set out from Opelucid City, I had every intention to head to the Pokémon League and face my “destiny”. But with the huge responsibility I was about to face, I needed some time to think. So instead of heading north for Route 10, I went west with no real destination in mind. I explored the terrain around Route 9, letting my mind wander as my body did. The forests to the north were near impassible, but down along the East River passage was gentler. Best of all, I was alone.

    Seemed like a great opportunity, but that was before the rainstorm—and no regular rainstorm, mind you. I had been keeping my eye on the horizon, and for most of the afternoon it had been crystal clear. Towards evening, however, an ominous dark mass gathered from the south. With unbelievable speed, the beastly cloud consumed the sky and unloaded all of its fury upon my head. Now, I fought my way through torrential rain searching desperately for shelter.

    Shivers raced up my spine as another roar of thunder shook the drenched forest. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be so intimidated, but this storm was different. It was feral and fierce, attacking me like a predator with every weapon in its arsenal. Wind, rain, lightning… all of it swirled around me in a taunting dance, trying to overwhelm me. Unfortunately, it was working. Soaked to the bone and trembling like a soppy puppy, I trudged through the mud with my sense of direction utterly disoriented.

    “Is this some kind of punishment?” I cried to the skies, rain droplets streaming down my face like tears. “Have I done something wrong?”

    The ambiguous answer came in another peal of thunder, this time with purple lightning snapping across the black sky overhead with a shattering crack. I jumped, and raced a ways farther up the trail, cursing everything I knew. This was stupid. Why did I come out here, again? And of all people, why me? Why choose me to pick on?

    “Isn’t there some other miserable Trainer you can go plague?” I muttered again to the Fates, folding my arms across my chest.

    I slipped right on cue. I could probably thank the long, slick grass that grew on the top of a ridge, but either way I soon found myself sliding down the bank. Water flew into my face, blinding me as I lost all control of my fall. Screaming over the storm, I picked up speed—flying faster and faster until abruptly crashing against stone. Dazed, I laid in a puddle until the rest of me could catch up to this moment. Unfortunately for me, however, they brought company with them: pain.

    Groaning, I sluggishly pulled into a sitting position and gritted my teeth against my bodies bitter complaints. A momentary flash of lightning lit up my new surroundings, bouncing off several dark forms. Eventually, I could piece together what they were: pillar-like boulders like the one I had collided with. They rose against the dark sky like a giant’s pudgy fingers, their sides glistening with the filmy rainwater that rolled down their sides. The terrain around them had turned rugged and rocky, devoid of any vegetation. Just beyond the stone pillars…

    A cave.

    I stared at the yawning entrance, trying to figure out its significance. In my fuddled thoughts, I couldn’t ever recall hearing about a cave on Route 9. Its size was impressive; how could it be missed? Just how lost was I?

    Some instinct inside me warned me to be cautious, but right then, I didn’t care. As far as I knew, the cave meant shelter from the rain. I was more than happy to take advantage of that. Dragging my sorry hide out of the gravel, I unsteadily stood and stumbled into the cave’s welcoming darkness. Finally out of the storm’s reach, I collapsed against the cave’s dampened wall with a relieved groan. Made it. Now all I had to do was wait out the storm. Of course, I knew I should probably dry out—maybe have Rascal start a fire—but I allowed myself a moment’s rest. Just one minute…

    So were my intentions, but after five minutes of wishful thinking, I drifted off into a dreamless sleep. Not even the roar of a Haxorus could wake me, and I slept on totally oblivious to the passing of time.

    *****

    In the morning, I woke with a dreadful headache. Adding further to my misery, my clothes were still damp and they clung to my skin quite uncomfortably. I scowled in disgust before remembering the events of last night. I never started a fire! Now I was definitely sorry. But perhaps I could find a change of dry change of clothes? A quick search through my bag dashed that hope; everything I carried had been thoroughly soaked.

    “Great,” I growled to myself out loud. “Just great. Couldn’t have stayed up for five seconds, couldn’t I?”

    Sighing, I turned to the entrance and sought for one optimistic thought. Sunlight streaked through the steaming air outside, bringing with it the happy trills of singing birds. I blinked, trying to see beyond the glare to the skies beyond. A few white clouds dotted its vast span, but they looked thin and frail, a shadow of their former fury.

    “Well,” I forced a smile with some hope. “At least the storm’s gone. Maybe I can dry out in the sun.” Glancing down at myself, I frowned. “These clothes are going to be so gross, though…”

    I sighed again, wondering why I was talking to myself. How hard did I hit that rock last night? Experimentally, I stood, but immediately I winced at the pain in my side. Yep, pretty hard. At least I hadn’t smashed my head in. I wasn’t sure if I had broken a rib or not, but I was definitely bruised. Pacing around a little, I found that walking wouldn’t be too much of a problem. Though painful, I think I could tolerate it.

    “You’ll be okay,” I reassured myself. “Just get to a Center, and you’ll be fine. And you have to stop talking to yourself…”

    Bracing myself, I turned to the cave’s exit and took my first steps out into the sun. The sunny morning blinded me momentarily, but the gentle rays felt soothingly warm. Cupping my hand over my eyes, I adjusted to the light and made yet another wonderful observation.

    I was completely lost.

    Yeah, I had no idea where I had come from, or where to go from here. I could recognize the ridge I had slipped down last night, but the direction I came from before that… No clue.

    It’s times like these when you really learn to appreciate technology. I dug through my equipment and brought out my map, trusting that it would save my carcass yet again. But when I flipped up the screen, one unwelcome message greeted me:

    No service available.

    What?! I wanted to scream at the display. You had to be kidding me! I could always find a signal, even in the wilderness. The map ran on a GPS system for crying out loud. I fiddled with the stubborn device, but it never changed its message.

    No service available.

    Growing in frustration, I shoved it back into my bag. That had been worthless. Now what do I do?

    “Maybe… the Xtransceiver?” I thought about Professor Juniper. If the GPS satellite wasn’t working, then maybe I could still get through on the phone. The professor could definitely help me get out of this predicament. With renewed hope, I dived back into my bag for my other device. If I could call the professor, perhaps she could help me get out of this predicament. Flipping out the screen, I immediately dialed her number and waited for her face to pop up.

    Like a haunting memory, a familiar message appeared instead. No FREAKING service.

    I resisted the urge to throw the thing, but I didn’t hold back an irritated holler. Birds fled from their perches at my anguished cry. I imagined that I turned the heads of some other forest critters as well, but I didn’t care. With forced gentleness, I replaced the communicator. With the way this was turning out, I was going to end up doing things the old fashioned way. Sticking my chin defiantly into the air, I randomly picked a direction and prayed that I would luck out. Hopefully.

    *****

    After climbing up the ridge, I followed a lengthy meadow towards a pair of hills in the distance. I thought that I might gain my bearings if I climbed to a higher elevation, and those hills were the tallest points around. As far as the travelling went, I still couldn’t recognize a thing. The landscape seemed alien to me, like someone had rearranged everything while I slept last night. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something felt wrong. Was I even on Route 9 anymore?

    Before I traveled too far, I caught wind of a strange smell. Seconds passed before I could identify its woody, smoky flavor. Was it… fire?

    “A camp fire!” I fool-hardily jumped to conclusions, letting a smile spread across my face. I was so certain that that was what it was. A campfire meant campers, and campers meant a chance for directions. Ditching the hill idea, I grabbed a red and white sphere from my belt.

    “All right, Lilly! I need your help!”

    I threw the Poké ball, which opened up in a rapid white flash. Within seconds, my Pokémon appeared: a wooly, brown and purple dog with a sniffer as good as any—or better. Seeing me, she let her pink tongue loll out of her mouth. Her stubby tail wagged excitedly back and forth.

    “Who’s a good puppy?” I gurgled in a baby’s voice, lovingly scratching behind her fluffy ears. She barked delightfully back, squirming in place like she was still a Lillipup. For a minute or two, I spoiled her, though I think I was just taking comfort in having something warm and familiar. Pokémon therapy really works, I guess.

    Turning serious, I took a step back. “Okay, Lilly. You smell that? That smoke? I need you to sniff out its source.”

    Sensing my change in mood, the terrier lifted her head and sampled the air. After a minute, the Stoutland grew uneasy. She glanced back up at me with a sad whine.

    “What’s wrong?” I frowned, confused at her response. Could she smell something else in the wind? Normally, I’m one to pay attention to my Pokémon—but I was getting desperate. “Come on girl,” I rubbed her ear again. “I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about. Nothing we can’t handle, anyway.”

    She stared, unconvinced.

    I sighed, “Lilly, we don’t have much choice. We’re lost out here. We need some directions.”

    Lilly whimpered again, still nervous.

    “Lilly,” I asserted sternly. “I order you: Oder Sleuth.”

    The dog blinked, taken aback. Finally, however, she submitted. Lowering her snout to the ground, she hunted for the trail. Guilt stabbed at my stomach. I regretted using force like that, but it couldn’t be helped. I watched her shaggy coat slip through the tall grass, wondering what we would do if I was wrong. Would we end up wandering the woods for months?

    *****


    I should have listened to her.

    The closer we drew to the source of the smoke, the fouler the smoke turned. I began to doubt my previous theory—campfire was supposed to smell sweeter or earthier, right? What we smelled now better compared to a ditch fire, or compost burning. When we broke through a strand of trees, we finally found it: an entire village, burned to black skeletons.

    I stopped dead in my tracks, speechless and dumbfounded. The ruined village seemed devoid of life, with only embers glowing on the crumbling frameworks of a few houses. Some flames still danced around a larger building, letting inky black smoke billow up into the bright sky. The air all around owned an unbreakable silence, only hinting at the tragedy that must have befallen the inhabitants. Not even the birds sang here.

    The first question that broke through my numbed mind was an illogical what? The second was a stunned why? And the last, as an afterthought, was where? Before my brain could recover enough to think, I heard Lilly give a threatening growl. Confused as I was, I turned to see shapes emerge from the woods. Men.

    They were another oddity I could not explain.

    Each was dressed in an eerily familiar getup—like the grunts of Team Plasma. Yet these uniforms seemed more… authentic. Over their rugged frames they wore thick-woven tunics with chain-mail and dented armor. Underneath the ring-meshed hoods, their faces were grim. Eyes distant, they commanded an air of experience and sorrow I had never sensed from a Plasma goon. One sat in the saddle of a creature unfamiliar to my eyes, resembling a darkened Rapidash without fire or a horn.

    Oh, and did I mention that they were carrying weapons? REAL weapons?

    “Stay where you are,” the rider commanded as the other men pressed on with their approach.

    “C-can I help you?” I warily asked. Dumb question, I know, but I was scared out of my wits.

    “Careful,” one of the footmen warned, eyeing Lilly cagily. “She’s got a Beast.”

    Lilly’s hackles bristled as she bared her teeth, ready to shrike the moment these strangers showed ill will. I gulped nervously, unsure how to act. These really weren’t Plasma goons, where they?

    “Who are you? State your business here,” the rider barked again.

    “I… I am Zayna White, um, sir,” came my shaky reply. I don’t remember ever being this frightened before, even when I faced other criminals. I sensed something different about these men, something colder, crueler. “I am… I was looking for directions.”

    One of the footmen suddenly drew a sword—a real sword—waking me up to the reality of the situation. Lilly and I yelped together.

    “She’s a witch,” the footmen sneered. “I tell ya, Cap’n, she’s working with th’ enemy. Prob’ly come to plague us wi’ monsters.”

    “Look at her garments,” the first footmen added, almost fearfully. “I have never seen any of its like.”

    The rider balefully glared at my Pokémon. “Should she prove so, we shall deal with her accordingly. Bring her back to camp.”

    At his command, the soldiers pressed closer. For Lilly, that pulled her trigger. Before they could take another step, she lunged. After she latched her jaws around the arm of the closest man, the unfortunate victim cried out in pain. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the sword—

    “Lilly, no!” I shouted, though too late. The blade sung through the air, slicing across my Stoutland’s haunch. She released her hold, letting an agonized yelp escape her maw. I leapt at the man with the sword, grabbing his wrist before he could bring down the weapon again. For my bravery, I was rewarded with a face full of gauntlet. Lights danced in my vision as I fell on my back, dazed by the punch.

    “Bind her!” I heard the rider bellow, and immediately a pair of hands seized me. I struggled against their owner, but my feeble strength was no match against his. He wrenched my hands behind my back and forced me to stand back up. I became aware of the rough, unforgiving texture of a rope as it was wrapped around my wrists.

    “S-sniper!” I called out, not knowing what else to do. I don’t know if he could hear me, but sometimes the Pokémon knew when he was needed. Right now would be a wonderful time for him to burst from his Poké Ball on his own.

    “What is she doing?” a soldier asked, alarmed.

    “She’s summoning a Beast! Silence her, quickly!”

    A hand wrapped around my face, muffling my begging cries. I nearly gagged at the metallic taste that tainted my mouth. As soon as they finished binding my hands, a coarse piece of fabric replaced the gauntlet. I kicked and screamed for that brief moment when my mouth was free, but for once in my life… I was helpless.

    I had lost this battle.

    The rider brought his horse-thing up behind his men, looking down at their handiwork with satisfaction.

    “Leave the mutt,” he ordered, indicating poor Lilly, who was trying to limp toward me. A footman kicked her in the face, sending back into a miserable, whimpering wad of hair.

    I cried behind my binds, tears welling up in my eyes. I’m so sorry, Lilly, I wanted to beg for her forgiveness. This is all my fault…

    The last glimpse I caught of her, she weakly raised her head. Then the men forced me into a merciless march.


    [END PART 1]
    Part II-->
    Last edited by FedoraChar; 12-12-2013 at 01:19 AM.


    Banner by the legendary Neo Emolga!
    Little Lizard's Library of Tales
    Paired with
    SlenderfairyComatose


    Number III, the Argent Flame

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •